This morning I said that, having been booted out of the Rangers ownership chair he fought so hard to claim, Chuck Greenberg will never get the last year and a half of his life back. Bob Nightengale puts this in perspective, however:
It may have been tough for Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg to step down,but will leave with $20 million to $25 million profit, easing pain
So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice. And to be honest, yeah, I think I’d take a year and a half of ugly litigation if there were two and a half units waiting for me on the other side.
Oh, “what’s a unit” you ask? I had a client tell me once that Texas oil men of the 1970s boom years referred to $10 million as “a unit.” And the idea was that, in those circles, you weren’t really rich until “you made your first unit.” Those without a unit need not apply to the boy’s club. Ahem.
I’ve never had corroboration of this — the guy could have been putting me on — but I’ve passed along that bit of trivia at enough cocktail parties that even if it isn’t true, I’m hoping that it one day enters into the realm of lesser slang.
Spring training is tough for players under the best of circumstances. Even in an age when players work out all year, getting back into the swing of baseball-at-full-speed is tough. Many players spend the bulk of February and March knocking off the rust and getting their timing back. Because of this — and because the games have no real stakes — it is not wise to take spring training statistics super seriously. Especially if the player in question is assured of a spot on the roster and is trying to avoid injury before the regular season arrives.
Spring training for Shohei Ohtani is doubly difficult. Not only does he have to knock the rust off from the offseason, but he (a) has to get used to a new country and language; (b) has to get to know all new teammates, coaches and, really, an entirely new baseball culture; and (c) do all of that while dealing with a media crush that hasn’t been seen in baseball since Ichiro first arrived 17 years ago. In short, Ohtani is under massive pressure and has to make massive adjustments in a short time.
With that said, neither the Angels nor Ohtani can be all that pleased with how his spring training has gone. In two actual major league exhibition games he’s allowed eight runs in two and two-thirds innings. Seven of those came on Friday when he was shelled by the Rockies in an inning and a third. If you include B-games against minor leaguers, he has allowed 17 runs on 18 hits, four of which were homers, in four games. As a hitter he’s 2-for-20.
As Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register notes, Ohtani’s peripherals are not bad, as he has struck out a lot of guys and walked very few and the average on balls in play against him has been brutal, which is not super sustainable. Bad luck and some fat pitches at a time of the year when luck doesn’t really matter and the pitches, because of the rust, are likely to be fatter than normal.
As Fletcher also notes, Nolan Arenado, who faced Ohtani on Friday, said that his stuff looked good and that he’s going to be a good big league pitcher. Ohtani and Angels officials are all striking the right notes about bad luck and adjustments, saying that they’re not worried.
I imagine they’d be worrying even less if things had gone well this spring. Unless of course this is just a professional wrestling-style work aimed at getting more of us to watch his regular season debut, in which he’ll reveal that he was sandbaggin’ all along.