By Ross Newhan
Peoria, Ariz.--A few last thoughts on a last swing through the Cactus League:
--The scenario that has refused to die, from the beginning of the divorce procedures between Frank and Jamie McCourt, to a conversation with a major league owner before my departure from Arizona, continues to paint Milwaukee owner and L.A. based Mark Attansio as the inevitable owner of the Dodgers. The point: It will simply be easier to find a Brewer owner than for Frank to lay out a plan to satisfy a debt of more than $450 million no matter how his settlement talks with Jamie play out. I don't know if I buy it, but the scenario simply won't go away.
--I acknowledge the talented young pitching of the Oakland A's, but I'm not joining all those other "experts" in jumping on the bandwagon. I think there will be a lot of stress on that pitching staff given the questionable nature of the A's offense and the strength of the Texas and Anaheim lineups they're going to be asked to control.
--A scout of more than 40 years closed out his latest spring travels by saying that nothing in Arizona really opened his eyes. With due respect, I think you'd have to be pretty near sighted to have missed the maturity-- yes, it's only spring--of two young talents, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, and a barrage of first basemen who may or may not eventually make it but give the tape measure impression of having a chance, including: Mark Trumbo of the Angels, Brandon Belt of the Giants, Juan Miranda of Arizona and Anthony Rizzo of San Diego.
--Opening day choices (relegating Virginia Commonwealth to the hardwood):
AMERICAN LEAGUE--Angels in West, White Sox in Central, Red Sox in East.
NATIONAL LEAGUE--Giants in West, Reds in Central, Phillies in East.