Before I ever joined ESPN, I had my own website. And before I had my own website, I had an idea.
The year was 2004, and the idea was a way to engage all the readers of TalentedMrRoto.com (only the worst URL in the history of URLs) on a regular basis. So I decided to do a nightly (and I mean every single night) blog. We posted it on the site, and we also emailed it to all our subscribers.
I called it TRUM, which stood for "Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless information and Musings." And while unwieldy (I was big with the long names, apparently), it was also appropriate, as it never really had any form. Just a free-flowing brain dump of whatever I noticed or was thinking about that day or night. I discussed issues with the site, my personal life, fantasy sports and whatever random thoughts popped into my head. Once, on a slow night, I merely published a list of everything that was on my desk. Got lots of compliments on that one. The early versions of the TRUM were unedited -- it appeared just how I wrote it -- a raw first draft that went out late every night. For whatever reason, it was wildly popular. Maybe I'm better when I don't think about it. Who knows?
I tried to continue doing the TRUM when I first started at ESPN, but it soon became apparent that it was impossible. We were building a new team here and that takes a lot of time. I had more demands on my time than ever, and the editing and posting process for a piece that would run on ESPN.com was more elaborate and time-consuming than just throwing it up on a small, independent blog. As it should be.
So eventually, sadly, quietly, after a decent run on Mondays during the 2007 football season, the TRUM finally went away for good. Or so I thought.
My editor, Pierre Becquey -- who was the main editor of the TRUM when we brought it to ESPN, and wrote many himself back in the day -- suggested that for my final baseball column of the year -- that's right, final -- I bring it back for one night only. And I liked the idea. Not the one night only part -- I reserve the right to dust this off from time to time -- but just one final romp through baseball and whatever else is on my mind.
We will still have a lot of baseball content here on the site and I'll continue to do my Fantasy Focus baseball podcast through the end of the season, but there are only so many hours in the day and preseason football is where I need to focus my efforts. So with all that said, let's take one stroll through the box scores for Wednesday night. I've written this entire thing the way I used to back in the day; my thoughts, as they occur to me, with no self-editing. [Editor's note: Since we're bringing back the TRUM in its original form, the editor reserves the right to bring back the editor's notes portion of the TRUM, where we keep Matthew honest and humble.]
And now for the ever-impressive, the long-contained, the often-imitated but never duplicated (duplicated, duplicated, duplicated) Genie of the TRUM!
Three hits, two runs, four RBIs and a home run for Juan Rivera, who is now hitting .338. Sure, that makes sense. Any time you can move to Dodger Stadium away from Toronto, you always start hitting. I always liked Rivera when he was with the Angels and didn't like the deal that sent him to the Blue Jays. In fairness, you could have sent me the T-Mobile Girl and I would have thought it was a bad deal if I was also stuck with Vernon Wells. Anyway, Rivera was batting fifth, and while he's not this good, of course, I never thought he was as bad as he was in Toronto. [Editor's note: Are you sure he ever played for our Blue Jays? We're scouring our recollection of the season and there's a big blank there as to whom you're referring to, eh?]
Ten baserunners in just 4 1/3 innings for Chad Billingsley. Ugh. ERA is now 4.17. Inducing fewer ground balls seems to be one of the problems. He's got no chance of equaling his draft-day value next season; he'll either be a great bargain or fall way short.
So Ryan Howard hits home run No. 25. And he is now hitting an exciting .252. He's on pace for an 86-run, 35-home run, 126-RBI season to go with the low batting average. We took such crap in the preseason for our low rank of Howard, especially me, and you know what? We were right, dammit. Where are all the Howard defenders now? Other than the RBIs, he's been a disappointment. Howard was drafted as the No. 26 player overall. He's currently 64 on our Player Rater. I shouldn't get so worked up over stuff like this -- like with all preseason predictions, I get a lot right and I get a lot wrong -- but it just seemed the two that people had the biggest issues with were Ryan Howard and Josh Johnson, and both turned out right. Happy about that. Sometimes, it's the petty things. [Editor's note: Sometimes? Have you met you?]
There's the Pirates! Whew. And there's my little Jeff Karstens, still available in 60 percent of leagues, with six innings, two earned runs, nine strikeouts and no walks. I know people keep saying he's lucky and want to say the bubble's gonna burst, but he's walked just 25 batters in 136 innings. You walk that few guys, you're gonna have a chance.
I'm just sort of scrolling around our player pages. They really are terrific. I don't know who designed them but I love how you can go to any player on any team, how it tells you if the guy is available in your league. Just very cool.
How is Curtis Granderson not a first-round pick next year? … Another win for Ivan Nova. I think he's sticking. … I mentioned on the podcast that I traded Philip Humber and Wade Davis for Neftali Feliz and David Murphy. Boy, did I bail at the right time. Never fun when we see them turn into a pumpkin before our very eyes, is it? It was fun while it lasted, Philip ….Adam Dunn goes 0-4 with three strikeouts. Take that, Nate. [Editor's note: It's a Board thing.When reached for comment, Nate Ravitz had only two words to say. "Ben Francisco."]
Another good game from Jason Kipnis. Goes 5-for-5, four runs, three RBIs, his sixth home run and is now hitting .295. Available in 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
Ugh. Another bad start for Gio Gonzalez. Nate and I discussed him on the podcast yesterday and I actually benched him, fortunately, for his start in Toronto. He's now given up at least four earned runs in four straight games. I'm only starting him at home for the time being, and even then I'm a bit cautious. Something's not right.
… Kevin Millwood?!!? Kevin Millwood. …
HanRam to the DL (sigh), but Justin Morneau is being activated Monday. How lucky do you feel?
Break up the Padres! I'm buying Jesus Guzman, Kyle Blanks and Will Venable. But then again, I'm not rational when it comes to that team. … I have Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello in deep NL- and AL-only leagues, respectively, where there's no bench (everyone on your team is active at all times unless on the DL). Good times. … Another game from the plucky Jose Constanza. For all the big-name rookies that have come up and flopped, we're seeing a bunch of less-heralded guys produce recently. I've already mentioned some of them; add Constanza and the Astros' J.D. Martinez to the list.
I follow way too many people on Twitter. Waayyyyy too many. … Matt Joyce batting leadoff? Matt Joyce batting leadoff, and hitting a home run. Nice! Add Johnny Giavotella to the unheralded rookies contributing. Like him less than Kipnis or Lawrie, but more than any of the other guys. … Another home run for Melky Cabrera. He is going to be one of the toughest guys to evaluate next year.
Josh Hamilton hits home run No. 14. And Ian Kinsler hits No. 18. Would not have guessed that at the start of the year. … Weird that Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz were used in non-save chances. Against the Mariners.
My mind is crammed with fantasy football. I'm in the middle of writing my Love/Hate preseason football piece. I'm at 7,000 words and not done. What the hell is wrong with me? Why do I write so long? [Editor's note: We have our theories. Alternate response: What the hell is wrong with you? Why do you write so long? The copy desk quickly seconded that emotion.]
I've really enjoyed writing for you this year in baseball. Thank you for reading it. I don't mean it lightly when I say it is truly a privilege and an honor to get to do what I do. So thank you.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- doesn't want Dan Uggla to think that all is forgiven. Berry is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. He is a charter member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his cyberfriend