There is a famous Jerry Seinfeld bit where he talks about fans just rooting for the laundry, as in, they root for the uniforms, not the players. And, of course, as it is with all good comedy, there is truth to the joke.
I'm a Cubs fan, I root for the Cubs despite the fact that a third of the team will be different this season from last season.
That being said, I do attach some feeling to some of the players as well and continue to root for them after they leave the laundry behind. That's why I'll be rooting for the Indians to have a good season. They have two of my favorite players with them this season, Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa (both Cubs last year).
One of the players that I will always root for is Matt Murton. He is going to be a hell of a player when he gets the chance. Last season with the Cubs he was clearly not going to get a chance to be an everyday player. There were too many players ahead of him in the outfield. He got traded to the A's in the deal for Rich Harden, and while I was sorry to see him go, I thought that he would finally get a chance to play. Well, the A's didn't really give him much of a chance and his numbers weren't too good in the part time position that they used him in.
Yesterday, they traded him to the Rockies, meaning he'll have a chance to prove himself to his new team in spring training and play in a park that caters itself to offensive power. I'm telling you right now he's going to have a monster season.
In his only full year to get playing time with a big league club (the Cubs in 2006) Murton batted .297 playing in 144 games and 455 at bats. He hit 13 homers and had 62 RBI. He had a .809 OPS (the number you get when you add your slugging to your onbase percentage, OPS stands for Onbase Plus Slugging and it is considered the best statistic to gauge offensive prowess). This was in his first (and as of yet) only full season in the bigs. It stands to reason that it will only get better (and those numbers are already pretty good). Add in the fact that he'll get 81 games in Colorado at Coors and I predict a break out year for him this season.
In fact I'll go even further and predict that he'll be in the All Star Game.
Not enough of a limb for you? I'm predicting that he's going to have a season of a .300+ avg., 30+ homeruns, 100+ rbi, and a .900 OPS. Those type of numbers are MVP consideration numbers. In fact, why not, if the Rockies are in the NL West race at the end of the season, I'll go ahead and predict that Murton will be in MVP consideration.
I really believe that he's going to be a hell of a player and have a hell of a season. While I'm sad it isn't for the Cubs, I'm not too upset, because I think that Rich Harden is going to have a Cy Young type year, so it was a good trade for us.
Either way, I'm rooting for the kid, and not at all because of the laundry.