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3.10.2006

Airing Copeland, or, Farmfare for the Common Man 

Prospect guru Kevin Goldstein joined Baseball Prospectus a few weeks ago (one more reason to subscribe) and immediately dived into a division-by-division roundup of minor league systems. The NL West roundup came out today.

The good news is that the vast gap in quality between the Giants farm system and the top-notch Dodgers and Diamondbacks systems remains for the Giants only a theoretical unmitigated disaster. It won't become a disaster in reality until fabulous L.A. and Arizona prospects such as Stephen Drew, Carlos Quentin, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, et frickin' cetera, do something at the major league level, which may happen this year but may never happen at all, insh'allah.

Fooled you! That was actually the bad news disguised as good news. Here's the good news: Goldstein doesn't say too many bad things about the Giants system. Perhaps he was raised with good manners, because his overview can be summed up as, "Yes, Mr. Sabean, Matt Cain is a fine young man. Did I mention that Matt Cain is a great guy and we'd love to have him join our fraternity? Yes, sir, Matt Cain Matt Cain Matt Cain."

Makes me think this Cain fellow might be pretty good.

Sure, Goldstein goes on to talk low-key trash about the Sabean "who needs 'em?" draft-pick philosophy; and he reminds us that Eddie Martinez-Esteve is a hitter without a defensive position; but his summing-up wasn't the sopping wet blanket I expected to have tossed over my post-Barry fantasy of lithe, home-grown men in orange and French vanilla who cavort in the fog and restore spark and sizzle to the old, saggy franchise rattling around the half-empty Mays by the Bay.

Goldstein also manages to say nice things about Travis Ishikawa, Marcus Sanders, and Jonathan Sanchez, and even shows a little leg for Ben Copeland, unheralded first pick for the Giants last year who has yet to crack high-A ball.

I'll take all the hope I can get.

Small print update

I finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. It started slow but author Haddon did well to settle into the brain of the teenaged autistic narrator Christopher. Seeing the world through his eyes made me think a lot about baseball fandom: obsession with numbers and statistics, irrational hatred of certain colors (for Christopher, it's brown; for Giants' fans, it's blue), inability to make emotional connections with normal human beings. Next up: William Trevor's short story collection A Bit on the Side.

After a couple months of thoroughly enjoying a New Orleans mix my main man Elbo made for me, I wanted more Allen Toussaint and found the Allen Toussaint Collection pretty darn cheap at Amoeba. Almost as tasty as Louis Armstrong's red beans and rice via Elbo's Kitchen.

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