Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Manny juices, too; Citi Field, Chan Ho and Johan

Post-steroid era, huh? Manny Ramirez has failed a drug test.

Manny juices, too; Citi Field, Chan Ho and Johan

Post-steroid era, huh? Manny Ramirez has failed a drug test.

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Yeah, I have to join the chorus of writers and players (who don’t say it with words, but with shrugs) that Citi Field is a dud. Unlike Citizens Bank or Busch Stadium, which are open and boast good lookin’ views beyond the outfield, Citi feels claustrophobic due to a gigantic video scoreboard that looms in center field. Also, I liked the cheesy orange that was all over Shea, and this new place is very…black. If you’re going to spend a pile of money and build a once-in-generation ballpark, why not make it spectacular?

But I’m probably not the right person to offer an opinion about a new stadium, as I have a natural bias against all of them. I don’t care how ugly a team’s park is; they should never build a new one unless the old place is unsafe, especially if they use any taxpayer money. I asked Keith Hernandez what he thought of Citi Field, and he grumbled, “it’s alright, but the tickets are too expensive for people to afford.” That’s the trend with many new parks: Taxpayers share the cost, but can’t afford to watch a game (Keith then asked me to help him move, which felt awkward because we barely know one another).
 
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The big story last night was Chan Ho Park, of course, who recovered his mojo just in time. In my game story, I detail some of the adjustments he made since his last start. Chan Ho’s body language had started to wilt of late, and last night you could see a restoration of the confidence he carried during spring training.
 
I watched most of Johan Santana’s starts last year, and midway through last night’s game noticed that he looked better than at any point in 2008. This was confirmed by Jayson Werth after the game. “That's probably the best I’ve seen him,” he said. The problem for the Mets, though, is everyone beyond Santana in the rotation. That’s lucky for the Phils, who have their own well-documented pitching issues.
 
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I’m about halfway through Selena Roberts’ book about A-Rod, and highly recommend it. You don’t have to care about him, or the Yankees. It’s simply one of the most well-reported baseball books I’ve read, about a remarkably insecure superstar. The first time I interviewed A-Rod, he spent about five minutes ignoring my questions, until I mentioned that some of his teammates had said complimentary things about him. That got his full attention.
 
“Really?” he said, his eyes instantly wide. “Who? What did they say?”

 
Strange guy, almost a sympathetic figure. Almost.
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