It sure is nice to have a full baseball season back, cross fingers that Covid can be fully controlled. The great thing about a 162-game season - or maybe only 154 (the way it used to be from 1903-1960) - is you can't win them all.
And get ready folks - here comes another cliche: The best teams always lose at least fifty and the worst ones win fifty. It's how you do in the other 60+ that determines what cream will rise to the top in October.
The ability to bounce back from losses - simply flush them out of the mind - is so essential to baseball which is like no other sport in the length of its schedule.
Full credit to the Red Sox and the Braves who started 0-3 and 0-4. Now the Bosox have won six in a row (after games of Apr 11). They are the only team over .500 in the AL East. The Braves, too, have neared the .500 line after their opening losses.
Get ready for another cliche (but like most cliches it is true): A pennant is never won in April but you sure can dig an awfully big hole for yourself in April. The Oakland A's started 1-6, but they got a couple needed wins in Houston so they can still harbor hopes of contention.
Until starting rotations are settled, no need to panic. If If If you have the able arms and don't ruin your bullpens too early in the season.
The return of Alex Cora as Red Sox manager certainly steadied the team after the Orioles swept them in Fenway in the first series of the season. Cora was suspended for the 2020 season for his part as bench coach in the Houston sign-stealing scandal.
It is ridiculous to make projections on the basis of nine games except that the LA Dodgers have only two losses and look like they are primed to defend their crown.
Don't know if the Red Sox are true contenders but they have certainly been impressive in sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays at home and returning the favor by sweeping the Orioles on the road.
Slugger J.D. Martinez in the last year of his contract is off to a sizzling start and third baseman Rafael Devers's hitting is making people forget for the time being his defense. If they get pitching, they'll be interesting to watch.
Ah, the Orioles or the Woerioles as I call them in my darkest moments. I said in my last post that it would be a miracle if they won three games in a row all season because their pitching looked so weak. So they sweep Boston and pitch fairly well in losing two out of three to the Yankees. What do I know, huh?
They competed fairly well on the mound for most of the first two games in the rematch against Boston. But usually reliable Cesar Valdez couldn't get the save on Sat night and they lost in extra-innings. They got blown out in the final game of the series, the one time the pitching looked totally outmatched.
Speaking of extra innings, I will never get used to extra innings starting with a runner on second base. They might as well as have a Home Run Derby to decide a game. I'd rather have a tie than this artificial idea.
On the non-baseball front, I highly recommend the documentary "Oliver Sacks: His Own Life" directed by Ric Burns (Ken's equally talented brother). Sacks' fame was secured when he wrote "Awakenings," his study of psychologically challenged people that became a movie starring Robin Williams.
There is a very brief clip of Sacks meeting Williams in the editing room, but the strength of the film comes from its rendering in aching detail the story of Sacks' struggle from his earliest days to find meaning in his life and the world.
He was the son of two gifted English doctors of Jewish heritage who expected him to become a doctor. He did but he always was a loner. He remained close to his mother even after she was horrified at his homosexuality. I was very moved by the story of his arrival and adventures in America during the free-spirited 1960s.
Check your PBS schedules for when it might re-air. It is also available via free streaming through May 7. Google: Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Here's some TCM tips for the next couple of weeks:
M Apr 12 8p "It's Always Fair Weather" (1955) Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Michael Kidd, co-director Stanley Donen.
Originally intended as "On The Town" reunion, this is choreographer Kidd's lfirst appearance on screen.
W Apr 14 4p "Ladies In Retirement" (1941) - Ida Lupino plays another noirish role with Elsa Lanchester and Evelyn Keyes.
Sa Apr 17 4p "Mildred Pierce" (1945) always worth re-seeing with Joan Crawford as mother and Ann Blyth as daughter you wouldn't want to have - Jack Carson and Zachary Scott are wonderful secondary characters
Sun Apr 18 6a "Mr Deeds Goes To Town" (1936) I always get moved by Gary Cooper's pain when he gets humiliated by the press. It may be Capra-corn but I think it holds up. Maybe you'll get pixillated.
Sun Apr 18 "The Naked Spur" (1953) dir. Anthony Mann. Jimmy Stewart hunts Robert Ryan with the underappreciated Janet Leigh.
Tu Apr 20 6p "Pal Joey" (1957) - Sinatra as a louse with that great Rodgers-Hart score
W Apr 21 2p "Pete Kelly's Blues" (1955) - directed and starring Jack Webb - one of the better 1920s jazz-based films with Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald, Janet Leigh again (not one of her best roles) and Edmond O'Brien
Th Apr 22 starting at 8p - back-to-back-to-back "The Producers", "Psycho", "The Public Enemy" where Cagney hits Mae Clarke with the grapefruit
F Apr 23 145p "Rasputin and the Empress" - early 1930s - featuring three Barrymores, John, Lionel, Ethel
Sa Apr 24 130p "The Sea Wolf" (1941) - dir. Curtiz, with Lupino-Garfield-Edward G Robinson at top of their game.
based on a Jack London story so it was never made into a sit-com
Su Apr 25 945p "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956) dir. Robert Wise one of the greats and oh-so-versatile.
Paul Newman plays Rocky Graziano. He didn't get top billing but he was on his way. Sal Mineo Joseph Buloff got greater billing. Steve McQueen in minor role and sportscaster-onetime NY Titans owner (pre-Jets) Harry Wismer plays himself.
That's all for now. Remember to stay positive, test negative, and take it easy but take it!