Long story short. My "real" last name is Breytman but everyone seems to pronounce it as Brightman the first time around. So one of my math teachers in high school decided to give me the nickname The 'Bright' One as a play on my last name, assuming you butcher the pronunciation of my last name, and the fact that i'm super smart. Most people think it comes from the fact that i'm an arrogant prick. Although that may be factually correct, the origin of the name was derived from an old high school teacher.
First, Braves rookie Jordan Schafer came close by fanning 37 times in his first 87 at-bats. However, he has slightly improved his contact rate. However, the king of the strikeout this year has been Chris David. After striking out 88 times in 295 at-bats in his partial season last year, he has already strikeout 71 times the first 158 at-bats for a sweat 44% K rate. I'm pretty sure that would be a record. Assuming that he reaches 600 at-bats which is a fair estimation, he would accumulate approximately 250 strikeouts. WOW! Zips projections are being very modest projecting Davis to finish with 195 K's on the season. My experience has shown that players tendto get worse instead of better when it comes to making contact and I'll predict that David does break the record of 199 assuming he reaches 550 at-bats. Adding his low walk rate of 6% makes Davis a scary player to have, not in a good way.
There is a second problem with the firing. Jim Tracy was named as the interim manager for the remainder of the season. This may sound contradictory but Hurdle may actually be a better manager than Tracy. Tracy has already failed twice as a manager, once in Los Angelas and a second time in Pittsburgh. He is definitely not the solution. Why not offer the position to Don Mattingley or Terry Pendelton instead of some recycled old failed managers.
SS Jimmy Rollins became only the second player in Phillies history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season in 2007. Since that season, he has hit only 14 homers in 186 games. "Power's still there," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm not saying he's going to hit 30 this year. But I'm saying he possibly could. If he did it once, why can't he do it again? He's 30 years old." Manuel said opposing pitchers have adjusted to Rollins by throwing high fastballs out of the strike zone and slow breaking balls. "They respect the fact that he has power more," Manuel said. "They work on him more. When Jimmy's patient, he'll get better balls to hit."Let's actually look at the facts instead of make blind, ignorant assumptions.
In 2007, Jimmy Rollins hit 30 home runs, averaging 379 feet per jack. His HR/FB rate was a league-average 10.7% and he set a career high in long balls thanks to an 8% uptick in FB% compared to both his previous season and his career average. With a career ISO just over .160, he's not a slugger by any means. His power numbers are about .20 points short of Youkilis's average numbers, pre-2008. Thus, if we normalize Rollins' numbers to represent his career averages in power, he calculates to be more as a 15-20 home run guy. Not a 25-30 tater slugger. There is very little evidence to suggest that Rollins' 2006-2007 power surge was anything more than an outlier -- his K and BB rates remained constant, the power (380 foot home runs) was not impressive or improved (it actually decreased) and he saw career highs in change ups thrown to him. Rollins' 2008 production level was more along the lines of his true ability.
Now, Manuel claims that Rollins is seeing more offspeed breaking pitches since his 2007 "breakout" -- this couldn't be any more wrong. As his fangraphs page indicates, Jimmy Rollins is seeing less change ups, less cutters, less sliders and about an equal number of curveballs (although he is seeing 2% more curveballs this season compared to 2007) since his 30 jack season.
I don't know what game Charlie Manuel is watching, but it's clearly not baseball.
Also, as a side note, there is just so much not to like about Rollins at this point -- the three year slide in speed score (it sits at a career low 6.4), the increasing age and decreasing ISO, the lack of LDs and BBs, etc.
This year, in 2009, the elder Upton is drawing slighly more walks (12.4 BB%), striking out a little less (32.1 K%) and running faster (7.5 speed score). Yet, his wOBA is .110 points lower this season than it was in 2007. What gives?
In 2007, BJ Upton hit for a lot of power (.207 ISO) and drove the ball with authority (19.6 LD%). Since then, shoulder injuries have limited his effectiveness and power, as his ISO has fallen from .207 to .128 and now .091 in the past two seasons and his LD rate has decreased from 19.6 to 18.9 to an anemic 13.8% (13th worst amongst MLB starters). Luck also had much to do with BJ Upton's 2007 successes. In 2007, Upton sported an unsustainably high .399 BABIP (xBABIP was .328) and shot 19.8% of his flyballs for home runs (league average is 11%).
To be fair, a lot of Upton's home run success was made his own, as his home runs averaged 395 feet in distance. That's a lot of pop, but it still does not equivocate to 24 home runs with sub-40% flyball rate. BJ Upton, who supports a lifetime 1.50 GB/FB rate, hits the ball on the ground way too much to be a prodigious power hitter. BJ Upton is strong, to be sure -- just look at what his brother can do -- but he gets on top of the ball way too much to consistently drive pitches out of the yard.
Despite injury last season, Upton increased his moonshot average to 407 feet, but his increasing GB rate led to a correction in his home run numbers. His 8% HR/FB rate may have been a little low, but it certainly was more within the realm of reasonable expectations from a guy who hits half of his balls in play in the form of grounders.
Some people claim that BJ Upton has been getting unlucky this year. I tend to side with them, but I do not think that the elder Upton will improve much this season -- at least not if he is still being affected and limited by lingering shoulder issues (just look at Geovanny Soto). Right now, Upton has a ridiculously low 4.5 HR/FB%, but his two jacks have averaged an anemic 365 feet in length -- less than those of midget MVP Dustin Pedroia (370 foot average). His BABIP is .270, but his xBABIP is only .290, thanks to a sharp decrease in line drives this season. Really, the only thing that BJ Upton has improved upon is his plate discipline (marginally) and steals/speed (by a lot).
All of this says one thing to me: if I am a fantasy owner, I do not want BJ Upton on my team. If I, like The 'Bright' One, owned him, I would try shopping him to salvage whatever value I could get. I do not see Upton hitting even .260 going forward or eclipsing 10 HR this season (and if he does, it won't be by much). He'll get 40 SB this season, but probably kill your other categories (except runs) in the process.
Sell! Sell! Sell! (and no, not to me).
Blogs are notorious for being very critical and often times cruel to people in the sports realm, however younger athletes are usually given a reprieve due to their amateur status and common sense for that matter. There is one exception though...Every year ESPN hosts the national spelling bee which features kids from 5-8th grades competing for the ultimate prize - best speller ever!
This is a perfect display of what happens when you decide to home school your children. Obviously most of these nerds are home schooled, how else could someone memorize 500000 words from 10 different languages not including geographic sites and prescription drugs? Yes, public education is embarrassingly bad in this country and everyone wants their children to reach their full potential, but denying your children human interaction, big macs, and athletics only leads to bad things. You know that when those kids reach their late teens, they will ethier(inside joke) end up snorting meth or on girls gone wild, most likely both.
In reality this competition is extremely difficult. I'm sure everyone outside of Ken Jennings thinks half these words dont even exist, but there was one situation this year that really got my blood boiling. Some kid got the word Kalium, which means potassium in latin, actually in russian as well. It looks like an easy word, especially for the late rounds, but i didnt really care that he spell it right. But the first letter should have been a given. If he has ever seen a periodic table, which he has cause they said he has competed in science tournaments, he should know the one letter abbreviation for potassium is K. Who doesnt know this? Business majors know this!!! Of course, he spelled the word with a C. Cause he's a moron, once again i dont care that he's 12. Inexcusable. I just have one question for you. Do the chickens have large talons?
The new main reasons I say that is because this year the team added WR Joey Galloway and RB Fred Taylor. First Taylor.
Taylor is a borderline HOFer who is proven to be successful. He has a career 4.6 YPC (which is fantastic. Hell I thought he had a career 4.2 YPC which I thought was really good) and he doesn't fumble the ball or lose them (He's only lost three fumbles in a year which was in '03 and only has 20 career fumbles and 13 lost fumbles in 11 years and 2,428 attempts). His worst YPC was last year with 3.9 (which again extremeley impressive) and that I mainly contribute that to his below average (19th ranked) rushing offense line. Taylor is now moving to a team with an amazing rushing offense line. Last year New England's rushing O-line was ranked 2nd overall and ranked first in '07. They have also increased their run blocking between 2005-2007. Now while Taylor really only gets about 10-15 touches a game, I think him platooned with any of NE four RBs they used last year/ when Laurence Mauroney is healthy will make the NE running game the best running game Brady has ever had. I also think Taylor will do amazing things with his limited touches.
The second main addition is Joey Galloway. Galloway is also a borderline HOFer has has been proven successful in recent years. And while Galloway will not be the same reciever he was in Tampa Bay, he doesn't need to be. He'll be the third wide out in NE. Last year (with Matt Cassel throwing to them) Randy Moss was 13th in the AFC in YPG and was first in TDs. Wes Welker was third in the AFC in YPG. In 2007, when Brady played, Moss was first in DVOA and DYAR and Welker was 4th in DYAR and 11th in DVOA. In 2007, Galloway's last healthy season, he was 12th in DYAR and 16th in DVOA. This will be an upgrade to Donte Stallworth (the Pats #3 reciever in '07) who, last year, was the bottom of the league in DYAR ansd DVOA. In '07, when he had Brady throwing to him, Stallworth was 29th in DYAR and 30th DVOA. This means, if Galloway can stay healthy (which I think he can because he won't be the go-to guy), Galloway will be an upgrade to Stallworth, especially with Tom Brady thowing to him.
The the key factor here is Bill Bellichick. The first game of the '07 season, Bill Bellichick was caught taping the Pats/Jets game. So on the heels of Spygate, Belichick decided to say "fuck you" to the league and decided to throw more and run up the scoreboard which led to Brady and Moss barely setting league records. Peyton Manning had a better TD/attempt in his record setting year (mainly because he sat a lot during the 4th quarter) and Jerry Rice had one less TD than Moss but did it in four less games.) So I know it's hard to think Brady and Moss and the others will put up 2007-like numbers, and in fact they probably won't, but when you include the huge upgrade in the running game and the slight upgrade in the passing game, on paper, this teams seems better than it was in 2007. But will they put up more TDs? I guess probably not because Belichick probably won't be as much of a dick as he was 2 years ago. But does this team have the potential to? Absolutely. So I know it's kind of hard to say this NE offense will be better than it was in 2007 because they score less TDs, but the team and individual talent seems better.
I am also not saying the Pats will go undefeated again. I think their defense has decreased the past few years due to age and free agency and I don't like their secondary. And even if this team does end up having a better overall offense, it's just so so so so hard to go 16-0 and obviously hard to go 19-0. But I do think the offense alone will be better.
Some concerns TBO mentioned: 1) the AFC East is much improved sicne '07 and 2) the Pats have had too much coaching turnover. My response to that is 1) I agree the division is harder but when you're that talented it doesn't matter. 2) That team is Bill Belichick's team. I don't care if Charlie Weis, Josh McDaniels, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini or whoever is on the sidelines, Bill Belichick is the master of that team and as long as he is there, the specific coordintors will make no difference.
So, Patriots, don't prove me wrong!
UPDATE: Right now, the only podcast available on iTunes is a demo I did just to made sure the website worked. I deleted that podcast from the site. Hopefully the podcasts on podbean will eventually get uploaded onto iTunes. But right now, for up to date podcasts visit the website.
First, the Twitter account, then the podcasting, and now iTunes! We're moving up in the world! While, granted all these things are done by me and no one is reading our Twitter account and no one is listening to our podcasts, hopefully things will change. Our podcasts that we have up on gameofinches.podbean.com, are now available via iTunes.
If you go to the iTunes store and type in "gameofinches", you can subscribe FOR FREE for our podcasts. Now that we have potential listeners, I promise we'll actually have better podcasts. Maybe.
Some people want to blame the WBC. Firstly, Soto never had a full spring training, due to his obligation to the Puerto Rican national team, where he was benched most of the time for Ivan Rodriguez. Secondly, when he did arive to the Cubs, he had a severe shoulder injuriy that sidelined him for another 3 weeks. Whether the injury was due to the WBC is debateable, but surely is partly responsible to the slow start Soto has had behind the plate. Other people will blame his weight on teh struggles. Soto is a pretty heafty individual and this year appears to be even heavier. Finally, the only other explination is that Soto had a fluke year last year, and is actually an older prospect who is only average offensively.
However, looking at Soto's advanced statistics on fangraphs.com, I see no reason that Soto shouldn't rebound to his 2008 form and have another productive offensive season. Nearly all of Soto's stats are identicle to last year, except for the extremely low batting average and slugging percentage. One of the main reasons to explain this the great disparity between the BABIP from this year and last. Last year it was .338, much higher than major league average, but sustainable due to his 20% line drive percentage. This year the value has dropped to a meager .266 despite an equivalent 20% line drive percentage. Clearly Soto has been getting quite unlucky in terms of batting average, however it still does not explain the decreased slugging percentage which sits at .066, which is lower than David Eckstein for reference. The problem is the 3% HR/FB rate he has this year. Just like Edwin Jackson cannot sustain a 3% HR rate, neither can Soto, given that it is nearly 5 times lower this year than last. His spike in infield fly balls will eventually turn into deep fly balls, prefereably over the fence, and Soto will regain his status as a top 5 offensive catchers in baseball.
"And that is why I am better than everyone in the world. The motherfucking end"
Stupid fucking Ozzie.
Apparently, no one can ID the pitches of Porcello, Pettite or Jurjjens
You can check us out here and also via a link on the side of the blog. TBO, Cubsfan, and myself have officially created the first podcast tonight and soon more will come. I have also registered us with iTunes so hopefully soon you can download our podcasts as well.
Enjoy our infinite wisdom!
- I seriously feel i was way ahead of the Clint Hurdle getting fired propoganda. With another loss to the impressive Rick Porcillo, Hurdle may be on his way out, with Dan O'dowd
- 7 more home runs at the new Yankee Stadium. Maybe they could simply start construction over? Arod has 6 homers and i predict will lead the AL despite missing 6 weeks
- Adam Eaton got released the day after I create the "Adam Eaton" line. Just my luck. Look out for Adam Jones. He reminds me of the terminator. That's his new nickname.
- When Sizemore isnt asked to sac bunt twice in one game, he manages to hit a homer and steal a base. Wow! 21st century baseball
- There was no fantasy goat for Tampa. Every starter had a hit, in the first 3 innings. Nolasco got sent down to the minors after back to back 8 ER games. And check this out, Dale Thayer got a save protecting a 14 run lead cause he pitched 3 innings. Fuck you MLB rule book
- Kawakami outduels Halladay only because Halladay cant pitch every inning of every game.
- Michael Cuddyer hits for the cycle, the second for the twins this year(Kubel). Justin Morneau is my early AL MVP candidate.
- Gavin Floyd 2-hits the Pirates. Mazel Tov
- Just as the Cubs have only scored 2 runs in 4 games, the Cardinals have only allowed 2 in 4 games. This time it's Todd Wellemeyer.
- My theory of low scoring games in night games in the weat coarst continues. 3 runs in Oakland, 4 in Wales Vagina, 4 in LA, and 3 in Seattle. How has no one cought up on this trend?
2B-Carlos Beltran (he did it Tuesday!)
SS-Carlos Rojas (minor leaguer...he's getting called up for this game because Guillen can't play SS anymore)
PECOTA Projection: 87 wins (better than the Dodgers)
What I'd like to talk about today is just how far this site looks at sabermetric statistics and peripherals and just how much we miss the big picture and the usefulness of traditional stats. Now I am of course guilty of this as well. I have looked at Fangraphs so much over the past few weeks I didn't know the actual MLB leaders right now. I could tell you who I think is GOING to do well, but not who is. I have been looking at Fangraphs so much that it was a HUGE shock to me just how well Joel Pinero is doing right now. I think that it can not last and he will soon blow up and suck, but let's not take for granted that him and others like him have still put up some decent numbers.
The ten main traditional stats are the ones used by major 5x5 fantasy leagues: W, ERA, WHIP, SV, K, BA, SB, HR, RBI, and R. Now individually, all these stats are pretty bad indicators of how good a player is. In 2005, Justin Morneu won the AL MVP solely on RBI's which was pretty lame, but that doesn't mean RBI and the other 9 traditional stats are completely useless either
RBI: We get so caught up in all these statistics that we forget the basic goal of the game of baseball- to face a pitcher in order for a player to round the bases or the prevent players from doing so. And at its core, if a player gets an RBI, he's helping his team win the fundamental game of baseball. Now we are know that great players can have mediocre RBI totals (Pujols) and that not the best can have phenomenal RBI totals (last year Josh Hamilton). But BA of RISP isn't necessarily a bad statistic. If guys are on base, you need to make contact in order to bring those runners home. BA RISP is very close to RBIs and we think that's a decent indicator right? OBP has a causal effect with scoring runs and a guy like Adam Dunn can still get a shit ton of RBIs despite his lack of contact because of his power. Also, I would be very happy with RBI being eliminated altogether. But I don't know, it and its essence can be useful.
BA: As mentioned earlier and something everyone who argues baseball needs to know the great importance of OBP, but BA CAN still be useful. Prime example- 2008 Nick Swisher (also Ryan Howard). Last year both has great walk rates and plate discipline. But both had pretty bad OBP that were frankly unacceptable and this was caused by their poor BA. Also, I don't care if a player hits .200 or .375, a .400 OBP is a .400 OBP no matter. So if you're a guy who can't really walk that well, it's OK to hit the ball a lot because that still helps your team. Obviously, a guy who walks in more prone to stabilizing a .400 OBP versus the .375 BA hitter, but if in 162 games you still maintain a high OBP despite low walks, more power to you.
SB: High SB can suck (Scotty Pods) but high stolen bases while rarely getting caught (Carl Crawford this year), EXTREMELY helpful to your team. Yes, SB alone needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but stealing a lot can be very beneficial to a ball club
HR: Probably the only great (or even pretty good) traditional stat. A HR is a HR, no mater what and a lot of them help your team
W: As Dan Haren has shown this year and as many pitchers have shown throughout the game of baseball, you can pitch just a fantastic game and get the L. But over time, if you generate a shit ton of W, you're pretty good. Just like QB rating in football, just because you're #1 in this category doesn't mean you're the greatest, but you sure belong in the discussion. Look at all the guys who have 300+ wins, all HOF worthy players right (I guess DME can find me one who isn't HOF worthy but that's besides the point). In one game you get the W- probably meaningless. Over the course of time you get W- pretty good
ERA: As The Hidden Game of Baseball overtly mentions, ERA can be so subjective with unearned runs and such. Hell, yesterday, Bartolo Colon only got ONE earned run even though he let in 8. And we look at FIP so much and that we almost discount ERA altogether. However, we almost forget just how useful ERA can be. If you consistently have a low ERA, you're probably a pretty good pitcher. I think minor changes should and have been made to ERA and what really constitutes an earned run and how much defense if blamed by the defense and not the pitcher and all that junk is what makes ERA so problematic, but can be extremely useless. I think we tend to overlook ERA a lot when he delve deeper into peripherals. I mean, why do we look at WHIP and FIP and such for the most part, to see if a pitchers ERA can stabilize, right?
K: Obviously if a player can generate a shit ton of SO, they are pretty good. But a player can be great without striking out a lot of guys (Buerhle) and a player can strike out a ton of guys and suck (Parra). This tends to tell me that K aren't THAT useful as people hype them up to be. In my heart of hearts I want all my players to strike out a ton of guys every outing and as DME has said: Ks have a causal relationship with run prevention. I think this stat is very similar to HRs in that it is widely used and many people use it as an indicator for greatness. In this stat though, I'm going to go the other way and say, as a whole, yes, it can and should be used as a measure, let's take K along with K/9, BB/9 and other stats as well.
SV: As Moneyball has shown us, saves really just inflate the value of a pitcher and I think with the signing of K-Rod and other closers this year, teams are finally realizing saves are overrated. The odds of losing a 3 run in an inning is extremely low and a lot of pitchers can get saves. But 1) I think SV can be like W, one is meaningless but a shit ton is awesome and 2) there are many save situations (like holding a one run lead) ARE extremely useful. While a lot of pitchers (especially those on the Halos staff) could have saved 60+ games like K-Rod did, we still should give the man some props for saving as many one run games as he did. Also, SV should be used like SB, look at a players net value, not outright value. Also, personally, I like saves despite common knowledge and logic.
Now let me get this clear (please read this carefully DME) 1) I am not arguing for traditional stats. I love sabermetric stats, but I think we completely absolutely overlook traditional stats and I think we need to at least keep an eye on them 2) Please look at my broad themes and not my specific examples. I don't need some long winded post about how good Manny Parra is or anything or the sort. If you do, you absolutely missed the point of what I'm trying to say. I think sometimes we look so deep into sabermetrics and Fangraphs and whatnot that we forget the broad landscape and all I'm trying to do is make you see that. And while I have sort of sent conflicting messages, all I'm saying is that sometimes it's OK to look on ESPN's MLB stats page and see how players are doing RIGHT NOW.
DUSTIN PEDROIA (2008)
JUSTIN UPTON (2008)
Oh yeah, and Pedroia can't hit the high inside fastball.
50 PA: Swing %Cool stuff.
100 PA: Contact Rate
150 PA: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches/PA
200 PA: Walk Rate, Groundball Rate, GB/FB
250 PA: Flyball Rate
300 PA: Home Run Rate, HR/FB
500 PA: OBP, SLG, OPS, 1B Rate, Popup Rate
550 PA: ISO
From MY point of view as a White Sox fan, FUCK YOU YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKER. IF I EVER SEE YOU I'M GOING TO CROWBAR YOUR ASS! COME TO THE FUCKING WHITE SOX.
Kudos to Kenny Williams for going out and making this deal though- tough break
That is all
Pete Rose also signed this baseball:
He deserves to be in the hall of fame for his humor (oh, and his amazing career stats)
- A Blanton/Owings matchup screams offense and thats exactly what we had. J-Rol with a 4 hit game back in the leadoff spot. Utley and Ibanez continue to rake. Victoriano 'the flying hawaiin' has one of the worse UZRs in center field to find a flaw in the phils.
- Edwin Jackson is a converted position player, so it took him longer to learn how to pitch, and it appears he's figured it out. 3.24 FIP thanks to a walk rate half his career low. He threw 132 pitches tonight and was throwing 99 in the 8th. Granderson leads the tigers with 11 homers from the leadoff spot.
- Maybe the White Sox were just heart broken from being rejected by Jake Peavy, but they suffered the worst loss in franchise history losing by 19 to the Twins. Mauer hit grand slam and is hitting a homer every 9AB. The fantasy goat was Nick Punto despite 2 runs and an RBI.
- Grady Sizemore has gone from an MVP candidate to a number 2 hitter who sac bunts twice in the same game! I know they're facing Greinke, but as the Great Run Expectancy chart to the right states, it's never a good idea to give away outs. The Indians do take down the great Zack Greinke, while Victor Martinez leads all position players in VORP
- The A's took a 2 run lead into the 9th, manager chose to leave Andrew Bailey in the 9th for a second inning instead of the closer, oops! 3 run 9th wins it for the (Devil)Rays.
- Aaron Cook with a 20-4 groundball/flyball ratio in a complete game shutout. Todd Helton's grand slam provided the offense for the Rocks
- Joba can't stay healthy leaving in the 1st with a leg injury. Yanks had the pleasure of facing Adam Eaton who's era is sooo close to 9. I think a 9 era should have a special name like the mendoza line. Lets call it the "Adam Eaton" line.
- National bring up another youngster, Caig Stammen, who wasnt overly impressive in the minors nor was overly impressive in the majors. However, Z-pack and Dunn lead a 2 run comeback in the 8th and the game was closed by Joel Hanrahan. Is he finally the closer?
- The Red Sox keep rolling and are now just .5 games behind the Blue Jays. Jason Bay may end up being the far greater part of the Manny Ramirez deal. His .386 career wOBA is much lower than manny's .421, but Bay is entering the prime of his career. His defense is almost as horrible as Manny's with UZRs of -11, -18, -21 the past 3 years. Here is a really strange stat. Manny Ramirez has played 905 games in RF and 917 in LF. In right he has a UZR of 17.1, in left he has a UZR of -12. Explain that DME!
- Andrew Miller and Max Scherzer went back and forth with 9/10 K's respectively. Mark Reynolds hits the game winning 2 run homer and now has double digit homers and steals.
- Trevor Hoffman is off the charts. 11 for 11 in save opportunities and has yet to allow a run
- Cubs manage just 2 runs in a 3 game sweep to the Cardinals. Lou needs to take his old people medication and go off on this team. Baseball is not that hard. Wait until you get a pitch over the plate and put the barrel of the bat on the ball. The Cubs have been doing neither of those 2 things. God I wish I was the manager.
- More low scoring games on the west coast tonight. I really need to see stats that prove my theory that night games on the west coast are abnormally low scoring. Maybe it's the thick air off the pacific. Brian Wilson blows the win in the 9th and the Padres have won 6 staight. Break them up!!!
- Eric Bedard gives up 2 hits, both homers and takes the loss 3-0. Gary Matthews Jr. hits his first homer of the season. Well worth the 55 million for shizzle
This will probably shock you, but Clint Hurdle has been the manager of the Rockies since 2002. That is a long long time for a baseball manager. Outside of his one miracle season, where the Rockies got to the playoffs thanks to winning 21 of the last 22 games, and ended up losing in the world series, he has been an embarrassment of a coach. The highest win total he had outside the WS year was 76 games. That is 10 below .500. He has never won the NL West. Now he is literally becoming a dictator in the way he is managing his team.
Due to Garrett Atkins' struggles in the early part of the season, he was benched for 5 straight games as a form of punishment for sucking. This wasnt a David Ortiz situation where he got the weekend off to get his head straight, Clint Hurdle admitted that it was punishment. The he benched Troy Tulowitski for Wednesday's game because he swong at a first pitch and grounded into a double play in the 8th inning down by 5 runs. Seriously, he got benched for swinging at a first pitch. Soriano wouldnt make it 2 straight days in the lineup if that was a norm in baseball. This is how Clint Hurdle is going about teaching his team about plate discipline. He also accused of Tulo of not understanding game situation, even though there was no take sign for Tulo on the pitch. If he wanted him to take pitches, then why didnt he put up the take sign?
The Rockies have been perenially in the top 10 in the majors in OBP the entire decade. This year they have slid back to the 23rd spot, but that seems like a combination of the humidor and really bad players. Has anyone noticed how white the Rockies are? Seriously! Iannetta, Helton, Barmes, Atkins, Tulo, Spilborghs, Hawpe, Stewart, Smith, Murton. That's 10 of 13 position players who are white. Also, 9 of 13 pitchers are also white. Not to mention the Manager, General Manager, and Owner. The snow isn't the only thing that's white in Denver
1:30PM UPDATE: ESPN.com talked to Peavy's agent, who indicates that Peavy is leaning against accepting the deal.
If I had to make a bet on it, I would guess that Jake would say he's not ready to take that step today," Axelrod said. "But he wouldn't necessarily preclude it at any time in the future.________________
"We aren't hiding anything from anybody. Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. He has a comfort zone there, he's been successful, and he's won a Cy Young Award. I don't know that on May 21, that preference has eroded very much. From our point of view we may say, 'Let's give [the Padres] more time and see if a National League team might step up over the next six weeks.'"If I had to make a bet on it, I would guess that Jake would say he's not ready to take that step today," Axelrod said. "But he wouldn't necessarily preclude it at any time in the future.
"We aren't hiding anything from anybody. Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. He has a comfort zone there, he's been successful, and he's won a Cy Young Award. I don't know that on May 21, that preference has eroded very much. From our point of view we may say, 'Let's give [the Padres] more time and see if a National League team might step up over the next six weeks.'
10:50AM UPDATE: Peter Gammons says Beckham is not part of the Peavy deal.
According to Jon Heymen of Sports Illustrated, Jake Peavy has finally been traded to Chicago...the south side of Chicago. The Chicago Tribune claims the White Sox and Padres agreed to a deal to ship the Padres ace to the South Siders sometime within the last 24 hours and are simply awaiting Peavy's OK on the deal. Peavy, however, does not plan on approving the deal within the next few days and Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald claims the Cubs remain Peavy's #1 destination choice.
Though the prospects in the trade remain unnamed, the Padres are in desperate need of a shortstop. Logic, therefore, would indicate that the Sox would be relinquishing top middle infield prospect Gordon Beckham, the 8th overall pick of the 2008 draft. Beckham, who the Sox shifted over to 2B in the minors to accommodate the now struggling Alexei Ramirez at SS, has posted wOBAs in the mid-.370s at both A and AA. Though minor league numbers rarely translate directly into big league success, Beckham's strong ISO (.180), quality walk rate (9.8 BB%) and above average defense in the middle of the field have tagged him as one of the game's most interesting prospects to watch.
Names directly speculated in the deal are top pitching prospect and #1 draft pick from 2007 Aaron Poreda (LHP, 100 MPH fastball), Clayton Richard (LHP) and possible major league bullpen names like Matt Thorton and Scott Linebrink.
Peavy, who is due $11 million in 2009, will also be owed a sum of $52 million from 2010-2012 and, given his no trade clause, will probably require his $22 million option for 2013 be picked up.
What do you think Chicago fans? Are Cubs fan jealous? Are Sox fans happy? Is it a good idea for the South Side to obliterate its already weak minor league system for one of the game's best pitchers?
- Javier Vasquez stuck out 5 of the first 6 batters. DME made a stupid bet that he would get 13K in the game. He finished with only 6 and I get a free subway sandwich =) Braves get 9 runs in the 4th in a blowout of the Rockies.
- Verlander continues to dazzle with 8K in 6IP hitting 99 on the gun. Nelson Cruz only hit his 2nd homer in 26 games.
- The Yankees went back to back to back. Surprisingly all 3 homers went to right field. Nice job yankee stadium. Obstructed view seating and a little league fence in right. Well worth the 1.5 billion. Phil Hughes with his best start fanning 9 in 5IP.
- Joel Hanrahan strikes again! Gives up 3 hits and a walk off wild pitch to lose the game. Maybe we should just admit that this guy sucks at baseball.
- Scott Kazmir is completely broken! He cant even have a decent start against the no offense A's. I would rather have D-Train at this point. On the bright side, the Rays are 71 for 79 in stolen bases. That's a 90% success rate, Bill James would approve.
- Order is restored to the universe with big papi hitting his first home run. Another bet that DME lost. Jason Bay hit a sedan across the street from the green monster, and Jason Varitek hit 2 home runs. MLB is obviously fixing games in favor of the Sox, that is the only explination to their dominance. That or a smart front office. Here is the secret, get jewish people to run your team. Andrew Friedman is to thank for the Rays success, not Longoria.
- I dont know how Aaron Harang is making 14 million this year, but he's kinda earning it by shuting down the powerful phillies roster. He's also a monumentally horrible hitter with a career average of .081. If Raul Ibanez is so inspired to leave Seattle that he has 14 homers this year, imagine what Ichiro and King Felix would do if they ever left the M's
- Way-Rod outduels Gallardo thanks to a 2.33FIB. How is it so low, well he gave up his first home run in the last 90IP. Also Michael Bourn got a hit and Kaz Matsui got called out for batting out of order, so Bourn got to hit again and walked. How hard is it to write out a lineup card people!?
- Kerry Wood tried to blow another save by walking 3 in the 9th, but managed to protect a one run lead. Sidney Ponson is now 1-5. How does he have a job, but Jim Edmonds does not.
- White Sox show off their one good quality by hitting 2 home runs including Jermaine Dye's grand slam. Maybe his clutch factor can move from 2nd worst to 4th worst! On the bright side, it's may 20th and Konerko is hitting above the mendoza line. Liriano's 4.8 FIP should be worrisome to his fantasy owners.
- Chris Carpenter returned to the Cardinals after his 1oth DL stint. When healthy the guy is a beast posting FIPs of 3.85, 2.9, 3.44, 3.24 his 4 full years in St. Louis. Cubs are dreadful offensively, seems like Lou needs to blow a cylinder soon. Marmol has walked 17 in 19IP
- Petco park should be considered a national park given it's size. People can go hiking and biking there for days it's so freaking big. Just another 2-1 padres win. The real Eckstein is featuring a negative VORP. In facts, 14 out of 24 eligable position players on the Padres have negative VORPs lead by Brian Giles -11.8
- Mariners win a 1-0 game over the Angels thanks to that Jakubauskas guy. It appears that David Aardsma is the official closer for the M's. Aardsma actually comes first in the baseball dictionary just ahead of Henry Aaron.
- For some reason all the west coast games tonight had 3 runs or less. This is no coincidence I am sure. Anyone have a clue why that may be the case? Maybe they know no one is watching hence they can just slack off? Anyway, Dodgers outlast the Mets 2-1
- Dbacks and Marlins played in double header. First game went to the Fish behind a Dan Uggla 3 run homer. Mark Reynolds somehow managed 4 stolen bases and stole another base in game 2. He also hit 2 homers in game 2. The story was Justin Upton hitting 2 3-run homers in game 2, both to the upper deck measured at 420 and 458 feet. He seriously has 60 homer power and he's only 21!!!
Other guys Dusty refused to rest: Edwin Encarnacion (DL), Aaron Harang (broken last season), Mark Prior (broken every season).
Reds players beware.
The obvious key to any organization doing well is are its lines. Last year Minnesota had THE best defense line to help them go into the playoffs (While they're O-Line was dreadful, it didn't matter because they have one of the best RB that can perform despite a line). I talked about in a previous post that in fact, position players like a RB are not as important as an offensive line. This means that if the Bears do want to win, it is imperative to have a good offensive line. The Bears have a great RB and QB in Matt Forte and Jay Cutler respectively, but that won't matter if their O-line is terrible.
Football Outsiders actually looks and devises a way to measure offensive lines. While, yes, those stats are extremely dependent upon the position players themselves, I think they do a great job of making the line independent on the players. And when you think about it, that's fine, because the whole job of the line is to make sure the position players do well and gain yardage. When looking at the website, I found something that startled me, the Bears were 11th in pass blocking but only 24th in run blocking. The run blocking at first was a little shocking considering how well Matt Forte did last year. But then I thought about it and if you, like I did, actually watched Bears games, you would notice how little opportunities the Bears offensive line give Forte and you saw just how awesome Matt was despite what little was given to him. But the passing shocked me.
Kyle Orton was alright, but I didn't think he had that good of a line to work with. But it turns out the line did an above average job preventing sacks. In 2007, the line was pretty bad, but watching games you would know that Grossman mainly got sacked because he sucks at football and not because of the O-line. But in 2006, when Grossman overall had a decent year, the Bears pass blocking ranked 5th overall.
This year newly acquired Orlando Pace and 2008 first round draft pick Chris Williams will start. Despite many fans love with Pace, me and my cynicism disagree. Last year, the Bear left tackle, John St Clair, ranked 17 last year over Pace who ranked 23rd (FO looks at the direction a play went and how many yards the play went for. Because of substitutions, rests, and injures, it is practically impossible to determine which individual player gets credited with the ranking for for our purposes here it is safe to assume that the FO rankings are essentially attributed the full-time starter in these instances). John St. Clair played well for us considering and either Pace or Willaims (unless he ends up having a monster year) will actually be a downgrade at LT. But, in all fairness, the Bears are not only replacing the Left Tackle, they are also replacing the right one as well. If Williams and Pace both start and stay healthy then this Bears O-line will improve. However, if Pace starts and Williams sits on the bench, which is what is currently listed on the Bears website, then the Bears O-line actually takes a hit.
So what's the verdict on the upcoming O-Line? Well the run blocking concerns me. Hopefully, the addition of Pace and Williams does a better job of that, however, the chances seem slim. The fact that as a rookie, Forte touched the ball too much worries me as well (see: Cadallic Williams), but I think if either Kevin Jones or Adrian Peterson (preferably Jones) gets more carries to ease the burden, then the Bears running attack will be fine despite a sub-par line. I think Forte does have a lot of talent to be darn good without a line. So while the run blocking will probably not be that good, the Bears running attack I think will be fine. Another thing to ease Forte's burden will be the addition of Cutler. I think he will not be the same QB as he was in Denver because he has shittier receivers and a shittier line, but the Bears passing line isn't really that bad. I think a combination of the line improvements and the fact that Cutler is much better than Orton and Grossman, I think, at evading sacks, that the pass blocking will improve greatly this year.
Jerry Angelo might be an idiot for thinking the Bears have had a solid offensive line throughout his tenure- he obviously hasn't, but I was a proven a bit wrong too because I thought the Bears line was much worse than it actually was.
Not even the memorable Bears games on MNF stood out to me. I recall Korny gushing over Hester's 2 return touchdowns agaist the Rams, but showing your man crush on a football player doesnt exactly put you in the broadcasting HOF. I think it's pretty clear that the Kornheiser expirement was a bad idea, just like Dennis Miller was a bad idea, just like Eric Dickerson was a bad idea. Did anyone know OJ Simpson spent several years doing color commentary for MNF? Naked Gun and MNF...if only he didnt butcher his wife.
Despite the utter failure in the booth, Kornheiser will continue doing PTI, which is a college students best friend, and all will be restored to the universe.
Former Raiders and Bucs head coach Jon Gruden will take Kornheiser's seat in the booth. I have never heard Gruden analyze football, but considering this guy worked 20 hour days as a coach, i'm guessing he knows something about the game and will bring great insight to the position. He young, semi-hip, and very energetic/intense which is what the position needs. And if not, at least he's a better option than Matt Millen
The key to Todd Wellenmeyer is to have a low hit game. When he has a high hit game, he can't keep from giving up runs
I'm glad MLB network isnt afraid to point out the stupidity of baseball announcers, which are the worst in all of sports and will be further documented in a future post. I'm super excited to see how this new channel will enhance the baseball watching experience.
- Alex Rodriguez, who missed five weeks of the season with a hip injury.
- Willie Bloomquist, whose only extra base hit last season was a double.
- A handful of NL pitchers, including Paul Maholm, who now has 1 career home run -- in fact, at a "robust" .611, Ortiz and Maholm have identical OPS's on the season.
- Matt LaPorta, who has spent all of about 15 minutes in the majors.
- Emilio Bonafacio, who han't even hit the ball to the warning track this season. Bonafacio has not heard of Carl Yastrzemski.
Sonnanstine went 1-3 with an RBI and a K and also reached base after an intended sac hit got fucked up the the Indians defender. Sonnanstine also got the win for the Rays
You can read about this blunder here
Also, it's stories like this that we need to bring back Box Score Tonight!
First, the autographs. In order to get Jay Cutler's, Brian Urlacher's, Matt Forte's, Orlando Pace's, Chris William's, or Greg Olson's autograph. You had to be one of the first 4,000 people in attendance at Soldier Field (SF from now on). If you were in the first 4,000 you received a scratch off card with ONE of those players names on it. You got to wait in line to get only that ONE player's autograph. Seeing as how I did not want to wake up at 6:00 to catch a 7:00 am train to make it to SF when the doors opened, I was not one of the first 4,000. Thus I had to settle to waiting half an hour (each) for the great talents such as Rasheed Davis, Anthony Adams, Mike Roach, Patrick Mannelly, Kevin Jones, Trumaine McBride and Brandon Rideau. As for all you avid Bears fans you thought those names were obscure, I won't bore you with the other 10 or so names of players you could have gotten autographs from.
I waited in line to get Anthony Adams autograph (it was either that or wait twice as long to get Rasheed Davis') and before I got to Adams' table there was another player signing. After I got both players' autographs I asked the Security Guard there to "protect" both players (for all those Anthony Adams fans out there literally dying to see him) who the other player was. He just shrugged his shoulders. If the people paid to protect you don't know who you are- your signature just devalued my football designed to get autographs that I got at Wal-Mart the day before.
Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, Peanut Tillman, Nathan Vasher, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Mark Anderson, Wale, Alex Brown, Roberto Garza, Olin Kruetz, Brad Maynard, and Robbie Gould all felt that a day dedicated to their fans was above them or realized it wasn't in their contract to do so and thus were unavailable to get autographs from in any way shape or form. The only players that you would have wanted to get autographs from/ players who have fans that actually buy their jerseys were also essentially off limits. I think the policy the Bears organization said to their players was: if you're borderline for making this team, you better show up to the Bears Expo to sign autographs to keep your roster spot- at least for another week.
Secondly, the interviews. I stayed and watched three interviews/ press conferences. One with coach Lovie Smith, GM Jerry Angelo, and CEO something or other. The second one was with the assistant coaches- offensive coordinator Ron Turner, newly acquired D-line coach Rod Marinelli, defensive coordinator Bob Babich, and special teams coach Not Important Enough Person to Care About. The third interviews was with Jay Cutler, Orlando Pace, Matt Forte, and Greg Olson. These were kind of cool and I got to stand about a foot away from all of these people which I have to admit was almost worth the price of admission. But the problem was that these people never give you straightforward answers. This was the same bullshit you hear at every single interview. The same bullshit that spews "Rex Grossman is our Quarterback" then "Brian Griese is our Quarterback" then "Kyle Orton is our Quarterback". Now I know they probably can't answer to the public to same as how they answer these questions in private, but I mean come on guys, a little SOMETHING would be nice.
I got to ask a question during the second interview with the coordinators- something I admit I enjoyed heavily. I going going to apologize to Maranelli for being the coach of a Matt Millen 0-16 team or yell at Ron Turner for being shitty and pray to him that he doesn't ruin Jay Cutler. But surprisingly, I had more class than that. I was going to ask "Last year we were pretty bad at sacking the quarterback even though we were first in blitzing. In fact, we let Brian Greise get 65+ attempts without a single sack. How do you go about fixing this?" But then some douche two spots ahead of me asked something similar and Babich and Marinelli spent five minutes preaching the "fundamentals" and "doing better" and more bullshit. So then I decided to ask Ron Turner about Brandon Lloyd and about Illinois and about giving Lloyd more playing time. But then I turned to the guy standing behind me and realized Lloyd got cut. So I eventually did ask them this question: "So many teams are using the 3-4 defensive schemes and in fact the Green Bay Packers recently switched. Do guys see yourself doing the same and why?" I got a vehement "NO". You know guys, your defense sucked balls last year and now essentially this same team is one year older and that much crappier. The D-Line can't rush the passer for shit, Brain Urlacher can't do shit now in the middle of the field, and that secondary is great and run prevention but shitty at pass prevention- you know the main job of a secondary. And you're going to look me in the eyes and adamantly reject a defense that essentially has been successful everywhere it's implemented? OK, Bob Babich, have fun looking for a new job next year...
While writing this I probably appear to you as just being vengeful at the way the coaches answered my question which I assure was not the case. However, I am upset that this staff can't take fault in the fact that they put a shitty product out on the field week in and week out in 2008. It was refreshing to hear Bob Babich say he took full responsibility for that Atlanta loss last year, but as a whole, really generic and inane answers from people who owe us better. And getting Jay Cutler- which was a unanimously great decisions by all fans and one in which I also now applaud despite public criticism- does not excuse you all for the bullshit you fed me for two and half hours.
Lastly, the days events. I got to kick a 10 yard field goal- or attempted to (fuck, that's harder than it looks, I swear), take a tour of the Bears actual locker room, and had the ability to buy Rex Grossman's old jock strap (I shit you not. There was this event sponsored by the Chicago Tribune where you could buy all old clothes and apparel and shit from former players. Some like 8 year old bought a giant box of old Under Armors. My buddy I went with bought a former facemask- not the helmet but that little guard part- for two bucks because the guy said it was formerly Matt Forte's. Sure it was only two bucks and still kinda of cool to have weather or not it really was Forte's- which it probably wasn't. Point is, crappy waste of my two minutes.) And I will admit, seeing as how I have never been to SF it was pretty sweet to stand on that grass or turf or whatever. But there were only three minor "events" for me to do. This was supposed to be a day dedicated to treating the fans and this is the shit I get to "enjoy".
So good job Chicago Bears. That CEO guy I mentioned earlier I think had a big part in planning this Expo and the dude's a really cool, down-to-earth guy. But his event sucked. Now maybe if I was with a family (which I know the like four + readers of this blog are not) or with a bigger group of friends it would have appeared better than it was, but overall, sort of a disappointment. However, if you go with a bigger group and extremely low expectations, you can have a great time for the 2010 Expo.
- Jair Jurrjens (SP) for Edgar Renteria (SS) and Gorkys Hernandez (OF)
- Andrew Miller (SP), Cameron Maybin (CF), Burke Badenhop (P) plus a handful of unknowns for Dontrelle Willis (SP) and Miguel Cabrera (3B/1B)
- Rudy Darrow (SP) for Josh Anderson (CF)
- Matt Joyce (CF) for Edwin Jackson (SP)
A hour or two earlier the Nationals game had ended and Zimemrman did not extend his hitting streak to 31 games. In fact on the scroll on the bottom of the screen has mentioned this fact a handful of times throughout the broadcast.
Good job fellas.
ESPNews just gave me the name of the reject. It's Ryan Burr. You're on my list!
I tend to disagree with this statement on the basis that as a guy who hits 700+ home runs -- steroids or not -- still hit 700 homers, which is not a remotely simplefeat by any means. The records of these cheaters, unless overturned by MLB, will remain in place in history and the only real punishment incurred by these players (well, accept Manny, who also got a 50-game suspension) will be a ban from recognition as truly great and impactful upon the game of baseball.Is this really fair, however? On one hand, yes, they took steroids and cheated and tarnished the reputation of the sport. On the other hand, according to most accounts, steroids have long been utilized in the game. Who is to say that guys before Canseco and McGwire who are already in the hall weren't users? Who is to also say that simply using PEDs makes you an underserving cheater (it's not like guys who take steroids just inject themselves and then spend the offseason eating potato chips on the couch; they still have to work out very intensely and the steroids aid these "cheating" athletes in reaching the next level of super saiyan). Many of these cheaters", like Barry Bonds pre-1997, were still great (40/40, anyone?) before they started taking PEDs. Hell, even beyond PEDs, guys like Pete Rose, who tarnished the game in their own unique ways, were still among the game's great players.
For these reasons and many more that I am too lazy to list, I assert that we should start a new Hall of Fame for everyone who was great at baseball, but tarnished the sport in someway or another. We can call it The Hall Of Fame* and put a giant asterik over the entrance doors to the museum (perhaps the asteriks can be the door handles!). Here, in The Hall Of Fame*, we can chronical the history of the various players and events (ie, the Black Sox) that tainted the history and reputation of the sport. Rather than pretend steroids and cheating never happened, we can acknowledge it's existence and impact upon the game as we know it. That way, rather than pretending PEDs, gambling, cheating, etc. never happened, we can learn from the past and examine how it affects our present and will affect our future.
Knowing Bud Selig, however, if there were to ever be a Hall Of Fame*, he would probably hide it in the basement of the real Hall Of Fame.
Anyhoo, Phillips shared his theory as to why Johan Santana has had such low run support from the Mets in his 2 years in the big apple. It all comes down to "rhythm". As the Mets GM, he had noticed that some pitchers had a certain rhythm on the mound that would influence the course of the entire baseball and game and every individual on the field. Apparently, Santana is so good because he lulls the opponents to sleep, however the effect is also compounded on his own teammates. Hence, Santana may pitch 8 innings one run ball, but if the team doesnt score behind him the start is considered a failure.
Once again Steve Phillips proves that his eyes see things that your tiny little brains cannot. It's kinda like a sixth sense. If only Johan Santana has Sidney Ponson's rhythm, all the worlds problems would be solved.
Most of you have probably already heard the Roger Clemens interview this morning on Mike and Mike. And most of you have realized the idiotic logic Clemens made up...eerrr...used to explain why he would never use any drugs, ever. He claimed the past heart history in his family would make it suicidal for him to take steroids or HGH. He cited his brothers heart attack and the fact that his step-dad died of a heart attack. Clearly he has zero genetic relationship with his step father, unless he performed genetic tests to determine that he and his step dad share a common gene associated with heart disease, but something tells me he did not due so, hence his claim makes no sense.
However, here is some idiocy you may not have considered. Clemens threw under the bus...eerrr...admitted that his wife had take HGH to get in shape for their magazine cover photo. I have yet to start med school, but i'm pretty sure she shared more genetic information with her dad, than Roger shares with her dad. So Roger would never take HGH because it would be quote "suicidal", but would gladly let his wife take the hormone, even though it is superiorly much more "suicidal" for her. It's a shame baseball players are such morons.
1) Mainly based off of the teams professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey teams. Sometimes I will consider the college level as well- especially for basketball and football.
2) Did the teams win the championship? Make it to the playoffs?
3) For hockey and basketball- based off the current season happening now. For college basketball and football and professional football- based off of the last season played. For professional baseball, since the current season is so young, based off a combination of the 2008 season and the expectations and current standings of the 2009 season
4) Recent off season moves are taken into account.
Although the Texans still stink- they are doing very well for a franchise that's only about like 5 years old and didn't end up last in the division and wasn't under .500. The Astros also stink but still won 88 games last year. But the main reasons Houston has a a spot on this list is because the Rockets won a playoff round and are doing very well against the Lakers.
Yes, the Lions were the only franchise to go 0-16- but that's an awesome feat people were rooting for and they also overhauled their system and got awesome draft picks like Georgia QB Matthew Stafford. Yes, the Pistons were swept in the playoffs and were the elite of the NBA for the past five years or so, but hey, at least they MADE the playoffs. Yes the Tigers ended up being last in the AL Central behind the fucking Royals, but they're in first right now and projected by BP to win the division. But the main reason Detroit is here because the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup last year and I see no reason why they can't do it again. Plus, the Final Four was played in Detroit and Michigan State went to that- that's close enough. Right?
The Dolphins went from winning one game in 2007 to 11 in 2008. They won their division and ended up forcing the perennial powerhouse Patriots (who DID win 11 games) out of the playoffs. The Heat had a great year this year winning the 5th seed in the East and G Dwayne Wade some MVP votes. The Marlins- while technically not Miami, but really close and soon WILL be the Miami Marlins- had a good year last year being in playoff contention for most of the year and this year got off to a great start with a damn fine rotation and some big name hitters. However, the Miami Hurricans have been terrible in the college ranks- in both sports.
The Falcons went to having one of the most fucked up sports franchises after their star QB- Michael Vick- tarnished the sports world by getting arrested on dog fighting charges and had their head coach left for the college ranks after 13 games to winning 11 games and making the playoffs. Matt Ryan doesn't hurt either. The Hawks may have just gotten destroyed by LeBron in four games but they did win the 4th seed in the NBA playoffs and did win a series. The Braves did end up 4th in their division last year behind the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies, but their team looks good this year with the addition of Javy Vazquez, Derek Lowe, and a damn fine defense. Although the NHL franchise sucked this year- but whatevs.
6) North Carolina
Yes, obviously North Carolina is NOT a city but a state, but seriously, look at all the teams that play in NC- they have Carolina as their city so I'm saying North Carolina as my choice for #6 (and yes I do realize Carolina is for both North AND South Carolina. you know what whatever, just let me speak). The North Carolina Tar Heels won the NCAA bracket this year and helped myself and Obama win their respective brackets as well. The Carolina Panthers ended up being the #2 overall seed in the NFC- although the did lose to the Cardinals in the first round. And the Carolina Hurricanes did end up going to the playoffs, won a playoff round, and are looking extremely well against the #1 seeded Bruins.
The White Sox, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks all made the playoffs last/this year. The only team that didn't was the Bears. But they were one game away from doing so and just added fucking Jay Cutler. The White Sox and Cubs did both get bounced in the first round last year- but hey, winning the division is still winning the division. And the Cubs will probably do so again this year despite the freak out of their fans right now. The Bulls got the first pick in last years draft- Derek Rose- and played one of the greatest post season series in recent memory- although yes they did lose in Game 7. But the most impressive sports franchise in Chi-Town has been the Blackhawks. They are officially in the Westen Conference Finals(anyone else think it's kind of funny that a Chicago team is in the WESTERN conference?)
4) Los Angeles
The Dodgers, Angels, and Lakers all made the playoffs. While the Clippers and their NHL franchise, the Kings, sucked hardcore, the reason I put LA (begrudgingly) ahead of Chicago was because the teams, for the most part were better than the Chicago teams. The Lakers were one game away from having the best record in the NBA this year and went to the Championship series the year before. The Dodgers beat the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs and the Angels were the only team last year to win 100+ games(wait a second for DME and TBO to scream "LUCK" loudly into computer screen). While for some odd season LA doesn't have a football franchise, they still do have the powerhouse of USC to root for.
The one thing that hurts this city are the Pirates. If they didn't suck SOOOO bad then I would move Pittsburgh to #2. Pitt had a #1 seed and played extremely well in March. The Penguins right now won a playoffs series and just tied Washington to make it 3-3. They also went to the Stanley Cup the year before. Oh yeah- those pesky Steelers won ANOTHER freaken Superbowl.
The MLB WS champs were the Phillies who ended up having the 5th best overall record last year and still look pretty good this year. The 76ers won the 6th overall seed during the very end of the season- beating out Chicago who could have easily gotten it. The Flyers had a damn good year as well finishing 5th overall in the Eastern Conference of the NHL. The Eagles also did extremely well in the playoffs winning two games to make it to the NFC Championship (if only they won it like Football Outsider and myself had predicted they would!) "Experts" also said they had one of the best drafts this year
If Bill Simmons miraculously read this blog- not only would that be AWESOME- but he'd be pretty happy right now. The Bruins ended up being the #1 overall seed and are not out yet. Boston University won the NCAA hockey tournament (although no one really cares about that...). The Boston Red Sox forced the Rays into a Game 7 in the ALCS and will probably win the division this year. The Boston Celtics won it all last year and will probably face LeBron in the Conference Finals. The only Boston team to not make the playoffs were the Patriots- even though the ONLY won 11 games. Boston is the cream of the crop and have been for the past year or two.
Cities I didn't put on:
New York- The Knicks, Yankees, Mets, Jets, and Islanders didn't make it to the playoffs. The Rangers and Giants both did but got bounced in the first round. I also still say that neither the Mets nor the Yankees go this year. Very close call and one can probably make a great case for them to beat out Houston or Detroit but my bias and the fact that they have so many teams that had potential and missed out/the Knicks were really really bad makes me put them at "#11"
Cleveland- Probably will win it all this year or at minimum beat out Boston/Orlando to make it in the NBA. But the fact that the Browns and Indians are the bottom of the barrel forced Cleveland out
St Louis- Blues made it to the playoffs and the Cardinals are doing awesome right now but the fact that these are their only two major teams makes me question them. Also similar to Tampa Bay that only has the Rays, Bucs (who missed the playoffs), and Lightning (who sucked this year)
Dallas- The Mavs won a playoffs round and were the lower seed but that's it for the city. The Cowboys had, on paper, one of the best teams and missed the playoffs. The Stars (NHL) also did terrible.
Minnesota- (don't make me use my North Carolina logic again). The Vikings won their division and the Twins essentially got unlucky that the Sox beat them in the 163rd game. But the fact remains that they didn't make the playoffs. Plus the Wild (NHL)and the Timberwolves (NBA) sucked hard core.
But this even has come into fruition again when this past Sunday, closer Bobby Jenks threw behind Texas Ranger 2B Ian Kinsler. That series, Texas pitchers hit 6 White Sox batters in three games. One hit batter is an accident. Two hit batters is a freak coincidence, but when six batters were hit, you can't necessarily take that lying down. So in the final inning of the final game with two outs left and nobody on base, Jenks threw behind Kinsler. After the game Bobby said he was "trying to send a message" but he just lost control. Nobody throws behind a batter on purpose. Even Sidney Ponson has enough control to throw it where a batter can hit it (and the batter usually DOES hit it...).
But I think Bobby Jenks had every right to do what he did. I'm sure Ozzie ordered his closer to actually hit Kinsler, but no matter what, Bobby needed to take retribution. In every sport, if your team "gets attacked" in a similar fashion to this one, you attack back. This past NFL season, when the Pittsburgh Steelers played their division and hated rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, Steelers wide receiver laid out a huge hit that injured a Baltimore LB during their first meeting. Of course, Ravens players made all sorts of comments saying how they were going to put a target on Ward's back and make sure he would be "punished". What did all the pundits say about this? While they all agreed maybe the Ravens players should have kept that information out of the public, they agreed with Baltimore. If Baltimore felt like they were "attacked" by Ward, then on the playing field, make sure they get retribution. During these current NBA playoffs, Orlando Magic G Rafer Alston slapped Celtic Eddie House because he felt House used unfair physical contact. When Houston's and NBA's resident crazy person Ron Artest felt Lakers Kobe Bryant used unnecessary physical contact when both were trying to get a rebound (although everything Kobe really did do was perfectly fair and legal), Artest ran over to Kobe and got in his face. And do I really need a hockey example?
My point is, is that in the other three major sports, retaliation is just a part of the game. You obviously shouldn't make it public and Bobby probably should not have overtly said he was trying "to send Kinsler a message", but Bobby needed to do something. Ozzie has obviously been an outspoken supporter of retaliation and his pitchers hitting his batters. I think he's absolutely right. Ozzie has gotten better at this and does not purposefully hit people since really 2006. In this instance, when you're up by 1 and there's two outs, the odds of you winning that game are high. Although yes if Jenks had actually hit Kinsler, it would have potentially allowed Texas the possibility to come back into the game, but in reality the Sox still would have won. This makes it an ideal place to try and send your message.
And don't get me wrong, I think this should hold true for all MLB clubs and all professional sports. I don't agree with it just because it's the White Sox, I agree with it because it's a truism for professional sports.
Jenks did end up with a measly $750 fine and this is appropriate, I guess. I think what he did was fine and necessary and I think he should have hit Kinsler (although obviously not injured him- I need him on my fantasy team!). But at the end of the day, people need to stop putting their panties in a bundle every time retaliation occurs- in any sport.
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Try to guess who will lead the majors in strikeout in May. If you pick Nick Adenhart, you will most likely be wrong
NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves trade Kevin Garnett to Boston Celtics
In the off season before the 2008 NBA season, former great (and someone I'll mention a little later) Boston Celtic and then Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale traded away his star Kevin Garnett for essentially nothing. Garnett then helped the Celtics win the NBA title and helped the C's become the elite of the NBA while the Timberwolves are still hoping they're lottery picks will pay off
MLB: Boston Red Sox pick up Minnesota Twins' David Ortiz
Big Papi was the Twins DH and played for them between 1997-2002. Ortiz showed flashes off being good, but in in six season, he was either injured or sucked. But then Boston picked him up in 2003. Since then (with the exception of this year), Ortiz has been a powerhouse and a huge offensive force. Since playing in Boston, he's had a borderline Hall of Fame career, been known as Mr. Clutch (obviously not necessarily true), and has helped the Red Sox win two World Series
NFL: Former Minnesota Vikings Randy Moss plays for the New England Patriots
Yes, Moss actually went to the Oakland Raiders and just ran in circles for three years before getting traded to New England during the 2007 NFL Draft. But Moss was a great wide receiver for both the Vikings and Patriots- and not so much the Raiders. Randy Moss had been an offensive juggernaut for New England helping them go 16-0 (before losing in the Superbowl), help Matt Cassel become good, and has the most TDs for a WR in the past two years with 34- helped by his record setting 23 in 2007.
NFL: New England Patriots draft Minnesota's Laurence Maroney
While obviously in this instance Minnesota did not have a choice in the matter, this is just another example of a player from Minnesota thriving under the Boston headlights. And yes, I will give you the RB has had some injury problems of late, but he still is a damn good player that, if healthy, will be great in New England
MLB: Minnesota Twins trade Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston Red Sox
While Mientjkhdfweqgfhadbcwisz has not necessarily been the best player ever, he still was a great defensive 1B for Boston that helped them win the Wold Series in 2004. Boston wanted to be extra careful this time around that another easy ground ball wasn't misplayed.
NBA: Boston Celtics draft Minnesota's Kevin McHale
McHale, born and raised and played school in Minnesota, was drafted by the Boston Celtics 3rd overall in 1980. He helped the Celtics win three championships and was considered part of the original "Big Three" with Larry Bird and Robert Parish. Again, just like Maroney, Minnesota didn't really have any say in the matter, but just another case of Boston getting the best of what Minnesota has to offer
And speaking of Kevin McHale, he's a great example of the drek that Boston has given back to Minnesota. As mentioned earlier, McHale was the crappy GM in Minnesota and is now the crappy coach. Some other "great" examples: Red Sox Lew Ford, Celtics Mark Blount and Ricky David and Patriots and Boston native Jermaine Wiggins all went to play for Minnesota teams and sucked. Although, in all fairness, the Wild did screw over the Boston Bruins by giving them Brian Rolston. OHHHH!
So Minnesota, the next time Boston comes knocking at your door, don't be fooled by their quick talking and charming good looks and smile. Just slam the door in their face and shout "NO MORE!"