Monday, December 9, 2013

Home Plate

Miss TigerBlog wanted to play Monopoly the other day, so she broke out the game, set up the board, got out the pieces and divided up the money.

Then she realized that there weren't any dice with which to play.

Back when TigerBlog was in middle school, the only solution would have been to steal the dice from another game. Eventually, when it was time to play that game, nobody would know where the original dice went.

So what does a 2013 middle school kid do when she can't find the dice?

Right, she downloads a dice app onto her iPhone. TigerBlog then did the same. And that's how they played.

For the record, TB won, employing a strategy of getting all four railroads and putting hotels on the green properties and red properties.

And now he has a dice app on his phone.

It was during the Monopoly game that TB first saw the news that the Seattle Mariners had signed Robinson Cano, the former Yankee, to a 10-year, $240 million dollar contract. To that, TB has one question - what in the world are the Mariners thinking?

TigerBlog attended a Mariners game last summer when he was in Seattle. If you've never been to that city, make sure you go. And do it between June and September, during the dry season.

It's a beautiful city, and the ballpark is also beautiful. TB saw the Mariners lose in 13 innings to the Twins after Felix Hernandez looked unhittable for eight innings.

TB understands why the Mariners would want Cano. He has no idea why they'd agree to that much money for that much time.

Do these people never learn? When was the last time a team gave a player that kind of contract and had it work out? Never?

Cano is a great player. But he's not a game-changing player. He's a second baseman. He's a really good piece on a really good team, not a player to build a championship around.

Besides, didn't anyone learn from the Red Sox last year? Take the money, divide it up among five or six really important pieces and build a winning team.

TB would love to see one of Princeton's Major League alums on a World Series winner.

He'll have to settle for seeing them back on campus, their home plate, as it were.

Will Venable, David Hale, Chris Young and Ross Ohlendorf will be back at Princeton tomorrow as part of the Jake McCandless ’51 PVC Speaker Series. The four will talk about their experiences as Major Leaguers and Princeton athletes and alums tomorrow evening at 7:30 in McCosh 50; the event is free and open to the public.

Young and Venable were two-sport athletes at Princeton who actually were much better known for their basketball careers as undergrads. Young could have had a long NBA career, TB supposes, and Venable was a thousand-point scorer and great defender, not to mention an explosive highlight reel type player.

Venable played all four years of basketball and his last three in baseball. Young only played two years of each before signing a contract after being drafted by the Pirates, which in the Ivy League rendered him ineligible in all sports. In the rest of Division I, he could have played basketball after signing a pro baseball contract.

TB will always wonder what Young would have done in basketball had he been able to play his final two seasons. TB senses it would have been a lot.

Like Young, Ohlendorf and Hale are both pitchers, and Hale made his Major League debut last season with the Braves. The first batter he faced was Venable, an outfielder with the Padres.

TB isn't sure what Young's future in baseball is, after he's had trouble the last two years staying off the DL. Ohlendorf is an established reliable pitcher, and Hale is just starting out.

As for Venable, he's in his prime. If he can get off to a good start next season, something he's struggled to do in his career, he could be an all-star, something Young was in 2007.

The life of a Major League baseball player is certainly an interesting one, with all the travel, all the money, all of the issues regarding steroids and PEDs. The perspective of four Princeton alums should be fairly fascinating.

And free.

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