Another winter melts behind us as the boys of summer return to dazzle us with diving catches and deep drives. Our local ballplayers — no doubt champing at the bit to show off the latest skills honed in devotion to their craft — are led by a sensational group of starting pitchers that cannot be equaled by any other ‘Ton in our great Kingdom. Indeed, the hurlers of the Landia outpitch, outhustle, and outgut their adversaries with such grit and determination that nearby metal smelts itself. Mercy!
And of course, dear readers, if you come to this gossip rag, then you are surely aware that the group as a whole is immaculate (and in more ways than one). You will also know that many in our community believe the selection of this season’s diamond is already pre-ordained. That may be true, but would Lord Buntingstone spill ink upon this parchment if it should not later be used as a receipt? Heavens no, dear readers.
The Duke enters another season as a prize upon which league eyes may always pry. It’s no surprise; try as batters might, there is no respite from the tight bite of his meandering missiles. Though Sir Miguel Cabrera blasted a dong in the last vestiges of winter last opening day, the Duke pitched without mercy against opponents the rest of the way.
Unless an unexpected turn in a skirmish finds Duke Bieber tossed from his horse or on the receiving end of an errant drive, we can expect him to rise to the occasion once more. He has already been proclaimed the diamond of the league, and readers - he might do it again.
Unfortunately for the Duke, some of his own compatriots may want a word.
Oh, the prestige of legacy!
Though his lands and notoriety may be buoyed by the bountiful bequests of his lineage, Sir Quantrill enters this season as one of the more mysterious suitors for a coveted collection of W’s. A man from a foreign land?! Naysayers may say nay, but nary a hitter faces Sir Quantrill without positively guffawing at their own inadequacy. Or perhaps they are just distracted by his devastatingly handsome flow? Reader — a batter never whiffs and tells.
In duties mixed betwixt relief and starting, Quantrill pitched 149.2 innings while holding desperate opponents to a sub-3.00 ERA.
Scrumptious, dare I say? Please provide scones aplenty this season, Sir Quantrill.
This season’s diamond darkhorse may also be a bad boy? Heavens.
The young Mr. Plesac also comes from a family of the game. I must say, dear readers, that this author found themself disappointed at the quality of effort last season from this potential pariah. The drive, the emotion, the determination — any of us can clearly see that Mr. Plesac possesses it in spades! This season, it is my most earnest wish that he realizes this and stops tossing his talent around like dirt.
We are becoming more familiar with this name, but it comes as a shock to this author that Aaron Civale has yet to throw more than 124 innings in a single season.
Readers who survived the recent plague will recall that it shortened and otherwise discombobulated a number of recent seasons. Readers who did not survive the plague have explaining to do.
In the aftermath, we can expect a healthy and seasoned Aaron Civale to spin sensations. Not every time out, mine you. The man isn’t a wizard.
As far as we know.
Perhaps the most intriguing man of the bunch, Mr. McKenzie arrives to begin his third major league campaign. Like Mr. Civale, it is likely to be the first of his career that shall require a full workload.
Readers, we have touched on injury concerns briefly within the confines of this page, yet I would be remiss if I were to not return to that discussion at this time. Lord Buntingstone is not one to speculate idly on the durability of a pitcher. IDLY, mind you. As such, I shall use this opportunity to exercise restraint and simply elucidate that Mr. McKenzie is a dazzling young talent who other gossip mongers have marked for self-destruction.
Advanced readers may or may not understand the intricacies of mechanics in the pitching motion; suffice it to say that it is far too complex for a gossip column and nearly inscrutable to I, a simple scribbler. Wise men proclaim that pitching prospects are a myth; men who know better than to proclaim anything just hope he keeps it down and near the zone.
It is not a cotillion unless someone you have never heard of inexplicably shows up.
But you have heard of Logan Allen, Eli Morgan, and Sam Hentges. These are young men who must miss bats while catching eyes in order to earn their keep. It is unclear whether or not any of these men will receive expanded opportunities to begin festivities or if they shall primarily follow. Any reader of this column surely knows that how a man finishes is crucial, but let us take a moment of silence to recognize the importance of endurance.
Each of these men possess the talents to go the distance but must stake their own reputation and confidence in order to turn heads. Each will be given an opportunity, and we shall eagerly await the results. It is not too often that the five men who arrive in camp with “SP” next to their name keep it there until October. Let alone May!
And so, dear reader, Lord Buntingstone rests his quill for the evening. We await nothing so eagerly as radio waves surging through the living room, breaking over our ears as Tom Hamilton reminds us where truly spring begins.