Monday, February 21, 2011

Trout and Other Fishy Business

    By Ross Newhan

    --At 19, Angel outfielder Mike Trout may be the No. 1 prospect in baseball, as many publications and scouting services claim, but save me from those comparisons to Mickey Mantle that are sneaking into stories out of the club's training camp. Trout may have Mantle's pre-injury speed (58 steals in 125 minor league games) but he doesn't yet have the power (a total of seven home runs in those 125 games) and he bats only right handed compared to Mantle's ability to switch-hit, which allowed the Yankee great to avoid pitching match-ups. All I'm saying is, slow down.

   --As Commissioner Bud Selig has been cautiously and judicisiouly watching the Dodger ownership turmoil, he may have a bigger problem on the East Coast with the investigations into the ties of New York Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon to scamming Bernie Madoff taking on criminal overtones. It's a complex picture and not a very pretty one.

   --Former neighbor Tom Kenney writes from his new home in the Pittsburgh area that he was avoiding the cold on Sunday by watching the MLB network show a replay of the 2002 All-Star home run derby in which ESPN glorified the power of Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, all admitted or suspected users of performance enhancing drugs.As interesting as it was, Kenney noted, he was surprised --as I am--that MLB would be trying to have it both ways, showcasing the foursome on their own network amid existing industry policy regarding the use of PEDs.

   --An article in the L.A. Times Calendar section Monday dealt with casting directors talking about their unhappiness at the absence of an Oscar in their category. Casting directors, of course, play a major role in the success or failure of a movie, just as scouts play a major role in the success or failure of an organization but still don't have an award entitling them to entry into the Hall of Fame. It's a subject I've touched on many times, with the Hall's response being that in many cases it is difficult to determine whether it was the area scout or the cross-checker or the scouting director who should get credit for the signing of a player. Isn't it possible, however, that a body of work can be honored, as the Hall honors writers and broadcasters with the J.G. Taylor Spink and Ford Frick awards? Of course, until Marvin Miller gains entry no one should be complaining.


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