Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Legalize steroids!

Players are dropping like flies this season--it's bad for the game. MLB needs to legalize steroids so injured players can heal faster, old players can revitalize their careers, and so Jose Reyes has less of a chance of pulling a hammy so he can steal 100 bases! Who cares if they fall apart at the end of their careers? We need them to entertain us now!

Alex Rodriguez - Best player in the game. Quad injury? A little Andriol would heal him up nice and quick so he can get back to breaking Barry Bonds'* home run record!

Barry Zito - A quick Proviron injection would turn him from a $126 million middle-reliever to the new best pitcher in the game now that Roger Clemens* has retired.

Andruw Jones - I need him for fantasy purposes. Just let him take some Halotestin and I'll be in first place*!

Francisco Liriano - Again, I traded C.C. Sabathia for him. Rub some gym candy on that arm and he'll be my #1 pitcher*!

Troy Tulowitzki - He's young, but quad injuries can nag. Some synthetic stackers would get him right back on the field so we can see the ultimate matchup - Tulowitzki vs. Zito*.

Carlos Delgado - His numbers have dropped since coming to the Mets. I don't like cheaters* on my team, so it needs to be legalized before we slip him the HGH.

Derek Jeter - No amount of 'roids can help him. He sucks (no asterisk).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

AAAAAH!

I forgot to activate Curtis Granderson in one of my fantasy leagues.


Oh well, at least I had Andruw Jones playing in his place.


...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What a fantastic poll question!

ESPN's Page 2 always has reasonably humorous poll questions, but the one I just saw takes the cake:

Who is your favorite Dallas Cowboy?

Tank Johnson
Pacman Jones
Terrell Owens
Tony Romo


What a crew!

I haven't answered the question yet, so I'm going to work through it as I blog.
We can begin by eliminating Tony Romo. Page 2's style is to have three logical answers and one joke answer (which everyone usually chooses), but here, they only have one logical answer. Romo is a very likeable guy, great with the media, an excellent quote, and he knows his stuff. I remember a press conference where he came out to talk to the press, still dirty, in a wife beater, and he just seemed like a down-to-earth, blue collar guy. Even still, I have to knock him out first. He hasn't shown me that pizzazz yet to set him apart. Maybe he needs to make some funny commercials. Like Peyton Manning or Warren Wallace.

Next out is Tank Johnson. I get a kick out of his legal troubles, but he seems like he might actually kill me someday. He's missing the comedic value that Pacman and T.O. have.

When it comes down to Jones and Owens, I appreciate what both of them bring to the NFL other than raw talent. Pacman is the pimp of the NFL like Ricky Williams is the pothead of the NFL. He openly admits his need to shower strippers in dollar bills. He's not ashamed!
With that, I eliminate Pacman.

I love reading about him, he's a great player (I detest that he's a Mountaineer, but we'll get over it), but the nature of the question just makes me appreciate the face time that T.O. gets on offense compared to what Pacman might get on defense.

I'm voting for T.O., but leaving it open in the grand scheme of things in case Pacman wins me over with a nice end zone dance on a pick-for-six if he ever gets reinstated.

The Cowboys might be more fun to follow than the Bengals this upcoming season. Maybe Big D can swing a trade to acquire Ocho Cinco! That would be amazing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MLB scheduling sucks (or does it?) and other banter

Ever since interleague play started, scheduling has become a huge issue for Major League teams. My fine example tonight is the Mets and the Cubs. They played yesterday and today. Then they don't play again until September. Serious? I like Wrigley! I like seeing Wrigley! But as a Mets' fan, this was my only chance to see it this season!

Then again, also as a Mets' fan, I'm thrilled we only play there once seeing as how we can't seem to score runs against the Cubbies, nor can we get Kosuke Fukudome out. That's what I get for trashing him before the season even started. Not only does he appear legit, but he rubs it in my face when he plays my team.

But that's neither here nor there. My point is I'd like to see certain teams more than six times a season--on that same note, there are teams (Braves? hello.) I'd love to see a few less than 19 or 20 times a season. Just as the Yankees don't want to see the Rays as much as they do. Of course, they're probably just fine with playing the central juggernaut Kansas City Royals six times a season.


Ron Darling made a great point during today's broadcast. It was the bottom of the 6th or top of the 7th when he started talking about how most teams have stressed not just having a great closer, but also a top-of-the-line setup man. Since teams have solid 8th and 9th inning pitchers to rely on, the important stats will be coming out of the 7th inning this year. You figure with pitch counts and the Mike Mussina's of the world being what they are, a starter is normally good for the first six innings, then you've got a Joba or a Carlos Marmol in the 8th inning followed by a Takashi Saito or Francisco Cordero in the 9th, so offenses are looking to do damage in the 7th inning. In the Mets' case, we haven't put Duaner Sanchez into the 8th inning role where he belongs, so we got lit up again late today.

Quick fantasy note. Here are a couple of rules I always implement:
1) Never draft anybody on your favorite team. They'll get hurt or suck.
2) Always draft good players you hate. If they do good, it's less of a ball-buster. Chase Utley is a prime example. If he gets hurt and sucks, it works out for me too. The only time I don't use this is with Derek Jeter. I've only had him on my team once and that was so I could bench him all year.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Manny being Manny

MLB would be lost without a personality like Manny Ramirez.


We've got Curt Schilling who makes headlines via blogging, Jimmy Rollins and Hank Steinbrenner who make headlines by talking to the press. We've got Pedro Martinez who isn't afraid to drill a guy, say he drilled the guy on purpose, then drill him again. Quite frankly, they all back it up, too. Schilling and Pedro, when healthy, put up decent numbers. J-Roll won an MVP. Hank puts enough money into his franchise to guarantee a 90-win team.

Then there's Manny.

He doesn't talk too much. He doesn't bitch and complain. He just goes out there and does his job, and does it well. But then his personality kicks in. Throw it up and in? He'll point his bat at you. Pitch around him? He'll take first base and let Lowell, Youk, and Varitek do the damage. Make a mistake on the inside half of the plate? He'll hit the ball 450 feet, hold the bat in his finishing position, up nice and high, watch that ball soar, drop the bat, maybe stare for a few more seconds, and then get into that home run trot. Hell, he'll even do it if he hits the ball 350 feet off the left-center wall. Manny likes singles (even if he's thrown out at second)!


That's how Manny makes headlines.

It's a beautiful thing. Watching a flawless swing and a majestic hit. In last night's Yankees/Red Sox game, after Manny's second inning home run off of Mike Mussina, Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay commented that you can't fault Mussina for giving up that hit--nobody on the Yankees can get Manny out consistently. Hell, he's third on the all-time list in career home runs against the Yankees with 55. That's a lot of home runs.

Flash forward one inning. Manny is up again. The first four pitches are outside or on the outer half of the plate. Kay comments that Mussina is hell-bent on getting Manny out on the outer half of the plate and says he just can't put one inside unless it's way inside.

Next pitch? Not inside enough. "SSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEYA. A home run for Manny Ramirez!"

Later in the game, Kyle Farnsworth threw a 97-mph heater behind Manny's head. He dropped his bat but didn't even look out. He just continued with his at-bat and the Sox went on to win the game.

After the game, Manny had this to say:
"They've got to back up their players and he did."

He also said this:
"I'm going to 600 [home runs]."
(he's at 495)
He knows about 25 of those will come against the Yanks.

Just Manny being Manny.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mia became known as "Nomar's wife,"

Hopefully Candace Parker doesn't become known as "Shelden Williams' wife."

John the Uber Commie sent me this article, which chronicles Sports Illustrated's blatant disregard for the most dominant player in the game of basketball (male or female) since Michael Jordan.

It's disputable, but I think Parker is better than Diana Taurasi was in college, and will be better in the pros. Other than the Auriemma/Summitt feud and the Marist Red Foxes supremacy in the women's game (yeah!), she has been the biggest and best story for women's basketball the last two years.

Why is she getting no respect? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see her in a bikini, but I don't think she needs to get in one to earn a spot on the cover of S.I. That's for mid-card talent like Natalie Gulbis (start drooling), Anna Kournikova, and Martina Navratilova. When you're talking raw domination like a Parker, Hingis (first time around), or Mia Hamm, they need to give credit where credit is due.

Psycho T can take a back seat for one issue.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yanks/Sox starts tonight!

Did you feel the same emptiness and lack of adrenaline when you read that headline?

So did I.

I'm not tired of hating Jeter. I'm not tired of Manny being Manny. I'm not tired of the Steinbrenners addressing the media, nor am I tired of Curt Schilling's Web site rants.

I just think with upstart clubs such as the Rockies (they aren't for real, but they get tons of hype), Diamondbacks, Indians, Tigers, among others, the Yankees and Red Sox are taking a back seat, and the media needs to realize it.

Granted, I don't think any new rivalry will reach quite the level that Boston and New York did over the last five years, but it's time to move on before it gets beaten to death.

Here's my vote for the new enmity:
The Rays and Royals finally square off at the Trop in a four-game set July 4-7. I'm shocked the games aren't sold out yet. Anybody down for a trip to St. Pete?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are these bottom-dwellers legit?

Baltimore Orioles: 6-1
Kansas City Royals: 6-2
Chicago White Sox: 5-2
Florida Marlins: 5-3

It's only been a week, but you've got to ask yourself these questions. The Royals have looked impressive with a team earned run average of 2.25, a sweep of the Detroit Tigers (central favorites), and they've taken the first two from the Yanks.

Same story in Baltimore. This team was labeled as one that would "struggle to win 50 games" this season. They swept Seattle and busted out six straight wins in a schedule a little less impressive than the Royals', but six out of seven is six out of seven any way you look at it.

Driving home listening to John Sterling, who was calling the game alone tonight(...very odd, by the way. Rather than fill the gaps of Suzyn Waldman's analysis with some insight of his own, he just left dead air, the #1 faux pas of broadcasting. Especially on radio when there is no picture to speak for itself), I considered the possibility of an all-around Cinderella season since there has been so much hype put into the Tigers, BoSox, Mets, etc...

Are these teams contenders? I answer with an emphatic, resounding NO. Common sense, I know, but bear with me.

The best analogy I can give is men's college basketball. How many times do you see Central Michigan jump out to a 12-2 lead over Purdue, maybe keep it close at halftime, then get blown out midway through the second half? It happens all the time, and it's happening here. Yes, K.C. has incredible pitching, but how many of these guys in their rotations have made more than 30 starts in a season (three, two of which have done it multiple times), and then how many have made 30+ starts AND had a successful season? ZERO. I could throw the stats out there, but basically it's they either made a ton of starts and finished below .500 for their season record, or they finished a few games above .500 with an E.R.A. over 5.00.

The wear and tear of the central is going to dessimate their staff, and the offense just can't keep up. It goes the same way all around. Orioles, Marlins, you name it. The most legit bottom-dweller hasn't even been mentioned yet. It's Tampa Bay. But they play in the A.L. East, so they're aiming to finish .500 for the year, but would be completely satisfied with 75 wins.

The Yankees looked terrible tonight, but I equate this to the same thing that's happening with the Tigers, Mets, Red Sox, Braves, and Dodgers. They've got proven guys throughout the lineup and can persevere. Nobody can tell me that A-Rod won't hit at least 35 homers and drive in 120 this year. You can't tell me El Capitan won't have 200 hits (though I pray he doesn't) at season's end. I won't believe Bobby Abreu will finish with an on-base percentage of less than .400. Same with Giambi if he stays healthy. These teams are in no rush to perform. It's just been a long offseason and we've forgotten it as fans. Just wait for that defining comeback win from the Yankees. I guarantee it comes this weekend against Boston. That flame will be reignited under their ass, early season jitters will be tossed out the window, and they'll get going.

Where were they last year at the All-Star break? Under .500.
The only thing that will drag them down is if Joe Girardi turns into a Lou Piniella, or if Hank steals the show and makes himself larger than the game. Other than that, I expect some excitement down the stretch.

And I hope the Phillies make four errors every game against the Mets. We need all the help we can get. More on the Mets soon.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dear Johan, welcome to New York :-)

Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday...opening day, 2005. Pedro's first start as a Met. They were playing the Reds, and Pedro wasn't lights out, but he was good. I think the score was 6-3 Mets when Pedro was taken out, either in the 6th or 7th inning. The bullpen imploded, and the Reds came back with three runs on back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Mets, 7-6.

I thought to myself, "Pedro is gonna hate it here."

Well, three years and countless missed starts later, Pedro and the Mets are even. We screw you, you screw us. It's a nice symbiotic relationship. I'm over it.

Enter: Johan Santana. The answer to all of our hopes and dreams. We put up a nice 7-spot for him in his first start and let him do the rest. But we aren't paying him to beat the Marlins. We're paying him to beat the Braves, Phillies, and any A.L. team we might run into...oh, let's say in the end of October.

Coincidently, in Pedro's second start as a Met, he faced...the Atlanta Braves, and....JOHN SMOLTZ! I remember that game just as vividly as Pedro's first game. Smoltz dominated and struck out 15 Mets, but got into some trouble in his last inning of work where Carlos Beltran hit a two-run job to put the Mets up 2-1 and knock Smoltzy out of the game. Pedro did his job, only allowing one run, and God answered our prayers by giving him some run support.

Johan was not so lucky today.

Like Pedro, Santana faced the Braves and Smoltz in his second start, and did everything we could ask of him. He only allowed a single run to a dangerous Braves lineup (ask John Maine), but with all of our offensive weapons, we couldn't offer him a single run to support his effort! That is, until the 9th inning, after Heilman allowed an extra two runs to be tacked on, so our deficit was 3-0.

It's understandable that Santana had a 15-13 record with a 3.something E.R.A. last year in Minnesota. He will not be a happy camper if he yields the same results this season in New York with such an incredibly potent offense "supporting" him.

Run support, you fools. Give him some!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

When American League games drag on and bore the hell out of you...

I thought NASCAR was my only other option! Thanks to routine, I changed the channel to SNY during the 3rd inning of the Yanks/Rays game, and what did I find?

June 16, 1997! The first ever interleague game between the Mets and Yankees. You'll never see this one on Yankees Classics (like you'll never see game five of the 2000 World Series on Mets Classics). Forget the outcome of the game (of course the best team won that day), but check out these starting lineups--this throwback is enjoyable for fans of either team:

New York Yankees
SS - Derek Jeter
2B - Pat Kelly
RF - Paul O'Neill
DH - Big Daddy Cecil Fielder
1B - ConstanTino Martinez
3B - Charlie Hayes
LF - Mark Whiten
CF - Chad Curtis
C - Joe Girardi
SP - Andy Pettitte
RP - Graeme Lloyd

New York Mets
CF - Lance Johnson
RF - Bernard Gilkey
1B - John Olerud
C - Todd Hundley
DH - Butch Huskey
RF - Carl Everett
2B - Carlos Baerga
3B - Matt Franco
SS - Luis Lopez
SP - Dave Mlicki

The first base umpire was Don Denkinger, infamous for the blown call at first base in game six of the 1985 World Series.

Somewhere, Dave Mlicki and Mark Whiten are googling their names to see if anybody remembers them. They will stumble upon this blog and it will make their day.

We follow Man Law on days like today.

Man Law #94: A perfectly beautiful day is a perfectly good reason to be inside watching sports.

A New Yorker's itinerary for Saturday, April 5, 2008:

1:05 p.m. EST - Tampa Bay Rays @ New York Yankees
-The first place Rays (had to throw that in there) placed a beating on the last place Yankees yesterday. Yankee fans have to be concerned about the shakiness of Ian Kennedy (KENNEDY!). They'll make all the excuses in the world (early in the season, he's young, blah blah blahhhh), but here's the plain truth: You can rely on a whopping one and a half pitchers in your starting rotation. I give Phil Hughes a little credit. My main reason for watching today is to see how Andy Pettitte fares in his return after an eventful offseason.

-I was going to blog twice yesterday about the Rays/Yanks game. The first instance was after Tampa Bay jumped out to a 6-0 lead. I changed my Facebook status to something along the lines of "Travis is enjoying watching the Yankees get pummeled." After about 10 minutes, the Yankees put up a four-spot and I quickly cleared my status. During the long offseason, I clearly forgot about what the Yanks are capable of. I was going to blog about how much I hate the A.L. East and how I was ready to watch a slugfest that I referred to a few days back.
-The second instance was in the 8th inning. I was thoroughly impressed with both bullpens, not allowing a single run since the starters left. As I opened the blog to create a new post, LaTroy Hawkins started getting a good old-fashioned beat down reminiscent of what the legendary Devil Rays used to do game-in and game-out. Should have stuck with my first instinct not to trust American League Pitching.

-On to today, I expect Pettitte to exceed expectations from Yankee haters such as myself. Five solid innings pitched, 1 earned run, four walks, five strikeouts, and he will get the win. The Bronx Bombers should touch up Edwin Jackson for a hot 6-7 runs before he's pulled.

Enough of this American League crap, let's get into the real games!
3:55 p.m. EST, New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves
-We got rained out yesterday, so let's try it today! John Maine had an exceptional spring, allowing five runs in 29 innings pitched. Tim Hudson already reasserted his dominance in his first start of the season, going seven innings, allowing three hits, and two runs. He got a no decision. No predictions on this one, because the Braves will probably win.

6:07 p.m. EST, UCLA Bruins vs. Memphis Tigers
-Tough game to call, Memphis has really shown how good it is this March, dominating each team it has faced. For the sake of my bracket (since I'm always wrong in my picks), I'll pick Memphis to win, 66-60, and hope I'm wrong!

Approx. 8:47 p.m. EST, North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Kansas Jayhawks
-I'm done listening to and reading this "Roy Williams vs. his old team," garbage--I want some basketball! He did little, if any recruiting for this team he's facing tonight. Granted, it will be a Kansas crowd, but what good is booing a coach going to do? Will it shake Psycho T? Ty Lawson? I. Don't. Thinkso. I usually get one pick right, so I'm going to go out on a limb and take UNC, 80-72.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hansbrough named AP men's player of the year

Tyler Hansbrough 56 votes
Michael Beasley 15 votes
Chris Douglas-Roberts 1 vote



Normally the AP and the coaches aren't terribly far off, so it looks like Hansbrough will win National POY honors (as he deserves). Take that Beasley! I hope you get drafted by the Knicks!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Screw "Donnie" Baseball

I'll take Johnny Baseball any day of the week!

Here's the latest interview with John Rocker, courtesy of thecheappop.com.

My favorite part comes when the interviewer asks Rocker why baseball fans in the northeast are so brutal to opposing players:

"It’s that element that comes to the game. Of course, the bleachers are the cheap seats. The folks may be economically challenged, and it’s like they’re just mad at their lives. They just vent their frustrations at you just because you’ve got another jersey on they think that gives them open season to call you every name in the book."

I certainly know the #1 reason I hate John Rocker is because I'm poor.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rule of thirds

Everything is better when in groups of three. Tonight, the topic is "bad news for the Mets."

1) Pedro is hurt. In the 4th inning, Pedro came up tender after his delivery, and "heard a pop." Preliminary diagnosis is a hamstring injury, a la 2007 Phil Hughes. This is just a little worse. Martinez is (was) our #2 starter, not our #5, and he's in his 30's, not early 20's. When you're older, recovery time turns weeks into months. Hughes was out for months. I don't expect Pedro to be back before the all-star break.

2) Robert Andino. A walk-off home run against the Mets came courtesy of a .198 career batter. To boot, he wasn't even supposed to be on the Marlins' roster. Alejandro de Aza got hurt in the last inning of the last spring training game, and Andino was called up as his replacement.

3) Ron Darling is a superb analyst. When Matt Wise fell behind 2-0 on Andino, Carlos Delgado walked into the mound. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez commented on how peculiar of a meeting that was. Darling noted that Andino is, in fact, a .198 career hitter with no big league home runs, so Delgado was probably telling him this is the guy they want to get out. Wise threw a circle change right over the plate to make the count 2-1. Darling said "it's okay to do that once, but you can't do it again, you'll get hurt if you throw a slow pitch up in the zone." As he said that, Wise threw the same pitch and Andino put it in the stands. Why is this bad news, you ask? It's bad news because it's the best news that came out of the Mets' clubhouse tonight.



I don't want to end this blog on a bad note, so here's a video I shot and edited today of Marist CF Pam De La Llave hitting a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the 7th inning in the Red Foxes' game at UAlbany. Marist won the game 6-5. Pardon my incessant screaming and shoddy camerawork. I get excited about things.


video