I can't really muster any enthusiasm about Kris Benson. For a year of mediocrity (a career-high 33 home runs allowed and a 4.82 that was bested by Steve Trachsel! the following year), the O's sacrificed John Maine, who last season won 15 games. For a sobering bit of perspective, no Baltimore pitcher has topped 15 wins since Mike Mussina in 1999. The price paid for Kris Benson is compounded by his more literal cost: a shade under $15 million for two years.
The lanky righthander only made it onto the field for the first year of his tenure in Baltimore. A torn rotator cuff has claimed the past year and a half on Kris' baseball career. He's currently under contract with the Phillies, and just made his first minor league rehab start on Saturday. For what it's worth, he got battered, allowing five runs while facing just thirteen batters for Single A Clearwater. As discouraging as the performance had to be, I'm sure he was relieved just to be back on the field. I can imagine that Kris would have to be tired of sitting on the sidelines, watching, performing workouts long on physical conditioning but short on actual baseball activity.
Of course it's also got to be exhausting being married to Anna Benson, who seems to have an opinion about everything. Jim Bouton reflected on baseball marriages in Ball Four, particularly on how the couples actually thrived on separation. It was a lot harder to get sick of a person when you were away from them for the better part of the spring and summer. Bouton's own first marriage died a slow and agonizing death when his playing career was over and he found himself casting about for something to fill the void of constant travel and competition.
I'm pretty exhausted myself, which made it hard to get warmed up to this writing exercise. After spending my weekend occupied physically and mentally with moving into my new apartment, I have fallen behind on my sleep. Coming home from the aforementioned Pearl Jam show at 12:30 Sunday night/Monday morning didn't help matters. I've always been a night owl, and I don't have the common sense to pull myself away from the computer and/or television to ensure that I get more than the bare minimum six hours' sleep before my long commute on weekday mornings. On each Monday and Tuesday night I didn't lay my head on the pillow too much before 1 AM, and at that point had difficulty drifting off. There are unusually chatter-y birds that sound as though they're right outside my window, and I've been struggling to figure out the perfect combination of sheets to ensure the right level of warmth. I'm running on empty and counting the days until the week ends and I can begin a much-needed vacation at the beach.
Two more days...