Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mark Teixeira and the Rangers

When is Mark Teixeira going to hit a Home Run? Here is my conversation with my fantasy baseball competitor and brother...

Me: Ah yes, Mark's up, bases juiced, no outs.
Me: Nuh uh... great, skies one to left, and out at the plate. You've got to be kidding me, double play, and with Kenny Lofton too.
Me: Not his fault Kenny plays like he's on the wrong side of 40...

Except I feel like it is his fault. The Rangers had the bags full with no outs and they walked off without scoring a run. And don't tell me Mark was trying to hit a sac fly, because who does that with no outs in the top of the first? This guy has to seriously pick up his game. Dave offered me Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Markakis for Tex. I didn't take it. Simple word of advice to any fantasy beginners out there - whoever gets the best player 'wins' the trade. Two good players are not worth one great one, because they take up twice as much room on your roster. You would be surprised how many people ignore this rule. Either way, Nick Markakis has a cannon. Guy could throw out a laser beam trying to stretch a single into a double. And thank goodness the kid plays right field, because you know what that means - we are going to see him throw a guy out at 1st base. Ten bucks it happens to Frank Thomas. He'll hit a blooper in front of Nicky, put his head down, and run to the bag. Meanwhile, Nick scoops it up and lets loose with a Super Crow Hop throw to first, Thomas is out. Imagine the look of shock and disbelief on Biggy's face when that goes down. Unfortunately, such plays are not awarded points in our fantasy league. A few bizzaro leagues award points for assists though...

Kameronloe5806A little follow up on that Indians - Texans game - Kameron Loe, who is still on the Rangers, still 9 feet tall, and still not living up to his potential, gave up a 3-run Shot to Trot. Loe is getting a decent start on this season so far - 3.29 ERA in 13.2 innings - but I said it last year and I will say it again - the Rangers don't care about pitching. They will leave this guy in here no matter what he does. Like last year when he went with a 5.86 ERA in 15 games. After your young talent puts up a season like that, it seems wrong to just chuck him back into the starting roto. But he's only 25, so I guess they're thinking he'll break out soon enough. Of course, that is what the minor leagues are for. Unless you want to take the Ranger's route and just demoralize the crap out of the guy until he matures. I had the same complaint about the Tigers last year when they threw Justin Verlander into the rotation. I had seen the kid pitch and I didn't think he was ready. He proved me wrong. But that kid had lights out stuff. Kameron Loe can only fall back on his massive mound presence.

It's great to see the comments starting to stack up around here again. I have yet to see a comment for the Mariner's Payroll post I wrote, which makes me sad. That's the first post I've really been proud of writing since I got back, so I'm asking you guys to check it out. It's "funny and interesting" according to Kevin. So dive in! Saif, good to see you at BHGM. If I understand your comment, you're saying that the team with the most starts from their original rotation will win the rotation. I like it. Except this theory has a major flaw - it assumes that the starting rotation is a good one. If you've got a rotation of Kameron Loe, The Padilla Flotilla, Brandon McCarthy, Robinson Tejeda and Kevin Millwood, you aren't going to go very far - even if they never miss a single start. Surprisingly, there really is a team in the Major Leagues trying to pull this off - the Texas Rangers. It's funny... because I said the exact... same... thing... last year. And Joseph, thanks for the comment. You see, that's all I'm asking from you guys - a quick, 'good post, keep it up. Huddy's the man.' That's all we need to see around here. So don't get embarrassed if that's all you can contribute. Just be happy you could add something. One last update on that Ranger's game - they're down 5-1 now, and Tex just went another 0 fer. He's now 0-2 on that game... Leave your comments boys.

"This is our year!" - April 6th, 2006
The Mariners' Payroll is really $107 Million? - April 24th, 2007

Birthday Bash Flashbacks! Royals and Yankees

BHGM's second birthday bash is Sunday, April 29th! That will still, technically, be the weekend, so let's all celebrate! This is a perfect opportunity for me to bring up a lot of fun posts from the last couple years. I'm going to skip the obvious ones, such as Manny's greatest play of all time, which has evolved into it's own separate entity on the web, (Google: "greatest play of all time.") Anyway, for the next week or so I am going to throw out some surprises like this, in addition to our regular postings. You lucky readers!

Here's two posts I wrote last year that are perfect for now. The first one is entitled, "Take a look; you'll never see a worse team than the Royals." I wrote a lot about the Royals last year, but this is probably my favorite short quip at them.

Next is "Yankees SP, Friday in Review," where we looked at potential starters that the Yankees  should acquire. This is especially interesting given where these guys actually ended up, who we did get before the trade deadline last year, and the current situation of our pitching. For added fun, I've added some Wonder Years style updates to the post that really hammer those points home. You can pretty much skip the rest of the post, and just read the bold, I was kind of long-winded last year. Anyway, the best part of this post is the video at the end. I'm just going to go ahead and repost that part right here, as you're all apt to not actually click on any link I post.

Kids these days. They really like to set up basketball rims by their trampolines and dunk like Michael. Here's the thing - jumping too high can sometimes be a bad thing. Things can happen when you jump over the rim that shouldn't happen. By the way, when we're injured, can we not lay motionless and moan? What happened to walking it off? It would also be nice if this kid's friends hadn't run away and abandoned him to the elements. However, the cameraman laughing at him is perfectly acceptable behavior.

The Greatest Play of All Time - February 28, 2006
Take a look; you'll never see a worse team than the Royals - May 25th, 2006
Yankees SP, Friday in Review - May 26th,2006

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

However many wins Tim Hudson finishes this yeah with, feel free to add one.

Well here's what happened. Huddy, (who, as you may remember, we discussed recently,) had a real gem going. Whole sha-bang. 8 innings, 12 K's (12!), 6 hits. Now we are entering the 9th and dude has a pitch count the wrong side of 100. The Braves are up 3-0 against the Marlins. On the one hand, it is the Marlins, and you've got Huddy on the mound and, after all, your closer is Bob Wickman. On the other hand, it's only a 3 run lead, and Huddy is north of 100 chucks on the night. So if you're Bobby Cox, do you keep Huddy in and let him go for the complete game shutout, or do you pull him for Big Bobby? Well Cox chose to keep Huddy in, who promptly gave up three consecutive singles. Now, with the bags juiced and no outs, he reverts to Plan B, and pulls Huddy for the Wickman. Well that was a smart idea. Miguel Olivo then doubled, scoring two runs. Wickman intentionally walks Borchard, re-loading the bases. Now it's 3-2, Braves. Wickman then throws in three consecutive balls to Josh Willingham, all three of which looked, from the Game Day, to be in the dirt. He somehow pulled back to strike out Josh.  Just when you thought the fire might be dying down, Amezega singles, bringing in the tying run. Dan Uggla's up, and Wickman throws a wild one in the dirt to bring home the winning run. Fantastic.

Hudson's line before the 9th:
8 IP - 12 K - 6 H - 0 ER
Hudson's line after the 9th:
8 IP - 12 K - 9 H - 3 ER

Now, I could really go on a tear about this... except that Bob Wickman is a great guy - from personal experience (you're going to want to go near the bottom of that post for this story) - and Bobby Cox is probably one of the greatest managers this century. So, I guess you could chalk it up to that simple point-counterpoint argument we had at the top of the post. Cox just figured it was worth the gamble to leave Huddy in. However, when Hudson allowed that first single, he should have been pulled. You don't throw a guy like Bob Wickman in the mix when you've got the bags loaded, no outs, and a meager 3-run lead. If you've got Francisco Cordero , (8 saves, 17 K's, 0 ER, 9.1 IP), then you make that move. But not with Bobby Wickman. The L goes to Wickman, thank goodness, but the W stays away from Huddy. And, the three runs Wickman let score stay with Huddy as well. Just not right.

Braves v. Mets, Yankees v. Sox - April 21st, 2007
Mailbag: Cleveland Indians - March 30th, 2006

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Mariner's Payroll is really $107 million?

bavasi2 The Mariners 2007 payroll amounts to $107 million. That's the 6th highest in the league. That's incredible. Now, before you start spouting about how the Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball, and they don't win the World Series, understand this - I'm not saying that the Mariners should win the World Series. However, it would be nice if they could at least smell contention in one of the weakest divisions in the league. It would be nice if $107 million bought you, I don't know, a .500 record? One could say that it's early in the season. You can still turn things around, right? Well... we will get to that in a minute. Next comes the argument that your payroll is your investment. You have to wait for your investment to mature... unless it is already very, (33+ years) mature. I don't see any of these working out, but for the sake of the previous two points, let's look at last year. The Mariners had a payroll of $88 million, which was 11th in MLB, (but a mere $11 million from the 6-spot,) and finished 78-84, 15 games back of first place. In fact, the last time the Mariners finished closer than 15 games back was in 2003, when they won 93 games and finished only 3 games back of the A's. So, with this information in hand, you would expect that the additional $19 million spent by GM Bill Bavasi would be spent on some pretty significant improvements to the club. You should be expecting some pretty good things from this team this year, right? Now let's dig a little deeper.

For the sake of reference, let's take a broader look at the 2007 Payroll Standings.
New York Yankees - $195 mil - Good bet to win their division.
Boston Red Sox - $143 mil - Should finish 2nd in a very difficult division.
NY Mets - $116 mil - Should win the division. If not, will win a lot of games finishing 2nd.
LA Angels - $109 mil - If they don't win, they come close. Colon is making $16 mil.
LA Dodgers - $108 mil - Should take the weak NL West.
Seattle Mariners - $107 mil - Once again, a lock to finish last place in the weak AL West.

Does that $107 million now seem a bit more suspicious? Where, you may ask yourself, is this $107 million going?

Richie Sexson - $15.5 Million
This was a pretty bad waste of jack. Sexson, who is 32 years old, has never finished with a batting average higher than .279 while playing in more than 60 games. The Mariners signed him after his 2004 season, in which he played 23 games and finished with a .233 average. In 2005, he batted .263, but hit 39 HR and knocked in 121 runs. Not bad. However, the most similar batter to Sexson that year was Paul Konerko, who made just $8.75 million. Even after he carried the White Sox to a World Series title, he was signed in 2006 for $12 million. He is also two years younger than Sexson. Alright, so now you can make the argument that it takes more money to bring a good player into a bad team. Kind of like reverse economies of scale. Maybe so. But still - in the good world, Sexson is signed for $11 million, tops. Make it an incentive-laden contract if you have to, but he simply isn't worth that much.
Adrian Beltre - $12.9 Million
Wow. If Sexson snuck his hand into the cookie jar, then Beltre ran off with the whole thing. At least Beltre was coming off a good year in 2004. We looked at why this was a bad decision (halfway down,) a year back. The Dodgers had been sitting on Beltre, waiting for him to develop for years and years. Finally, he goes nuts and hits 48 HR - nearly three times his previous average. Stats went berserk all across the board for this dude. Then, mysteriously enough, the Dodgers make no attempts to re-sign him when he demands big jack. Not taking the hint, the Mariners give the guy millions... and he falls back into his typical, .250 average, .300 OBP, 20 homer self. Wonderful. Way to blow the bank, Bavasi. In his defense, Beltre was coming off a huge year. One he has no chance of ever, ever repeating, but big nonetheless.
Ichiro Suzuki - $12.5 Million
No argument here. This team is nothing without Ichiro.
Jarrod Washburn - $9.9 Million
Another Beltre situation. Jarrod had an ERA of 4.43 in 2003, and 4.64 in 2004... but managed a 3.20 in 2005, after which he was promptly picked up by the Mariners. So there are two ways to look at this. Either he had two off years in '03, and '04, (and pretty much every year of his career besides 2002,) and the 2005 performance is the real Jarrod Washburn. Or, he had a weird year in 2005, and the other nine years are the real Jarrod. I would go with the second choice. Bavasi, needless to say, went with the first. Last year, Jarrod won 8 games and finished with an ERA of 4.67 for the Mariners.
Jeff Weaver - $8.3 Million
Has anybody, ever, in the history of the world, done less to earn more? Weaver had one good year in 2002, where he finished with an ERA under 4. He has been cashing in on that year, and on his supposed upside, ever since. I'm pretty sure he has been making about $9 million everywhere he goes. And he keeps turning in these 4.20+ ERA years. Good going, Jeff.
Jose Vidro - $7.5 Million
$7.5 Million for a DH who has only hit more than 20 HR once, six years ago? A guy who's only knocked in more than 65 runs twice? Who is also 32 years old? According to, the most statistically similar batter to Vidro is this guy, Todd Walker. Todd just got called up from the AAA club to the big league Athletics on April 1st, and is making $450,000 this year. So you over paid by $7 million. No big deal, right? Actually. that's 7 million dollars. Take Travis Hafner. He's a great guy to build a team around. Young, good guy, seems like a tough worker, puts up great numbers. He's making $4.5 million. Of course, when his contract runs out he'll cash in for at least $12 mill. But if you're looking for value...
Miguel Batista - $6.0 Million
Yeah. That Miguel Batista. The one with the career 4.54 ERA.
Felix Hernandez - $420,000
Felix is 2-1. He has 18 K's in 17.1 IP. He has an ERA of 1.56 and a WHIP of 0.69. However, after pitching just .1 Innings against the Twins and giving up 3 runs, he was yanked... straight onto the DL. Understand that this man was responsible for two of your five wins. So, what happens now?

Now Felix should be back by May 4th. But still... You've got J.J. Putz, ($2.7 million,) who has yet to get a save. And by the way, is Putz really the best name for a closer? In fact, he has yet to pitch in a save situation. Furthermore, the Mariners are now on a six game losing streak. They've been losing games all week!

Now, how about your boy Igawa? He gave up a monster blast to Baldelli that, "landed 20 rows deep," according to CBS's Sergio Gonzalez. He gave up 7 runs to an awful Devil Rays team. See guys, this is what I meant when I said that this rotation wouldn't work out. Seven runs to the D Rays? If there's a team in the AL that you can just sit back and mail it in against, it's the Devil Rays and the Royals. When you play these guys, you take your day off. ArodballOr you drop your appeal on your two-game suspension. Or you play around with your lineup. But you don't send out your scheduled starter and get 7 runs dropped on you. Bright side? A-Rod had two more home runs. Good because that gives him 14 HR and 1,300 RBI in 18 games. Bad because, well, it's not really bad at all, except that we don't want him to use himself up. He's got more HR than quite a few teams do right now. Do you understand, seriously, how insane this guy is right now? It's like he's playing a video game. He's on god mode. And, he is trying to steal Jeter's boyfriends. Honestly, I could hit maybe 90 HR with A-Rod when I played a full season of MVP 2004 for X-Box. I could also win 30 games with Roy Halladay and a .32 ERA. I was very good, and it was very easy. Alex is on pace to beat those numbers. Now, on pace really means, "isn't going to happen," in April. But still... I believe he has now broken the record for HR and RBI in April. And there are still six days left! Yes and, regarding the picture... got A-Rod to sign that in 2005. And the lower right is a Woody Williams one. And of course, The Kid (when he was with the Mariners, how fitting) in the left. And in back is a picture of Jeter making a very Jeterian dive into the stands during that Sox game back in July of '04. I don't know if I would call it a shrine, but...

Nats owner news, Royals, Mariners, and big news - May 4th, 2006
Dude, it's time for a Yankee post - April 11th, 2007
Alex Rodriguez Trying To Steal Jeter's Boyfriends (Deadspin) - April 23rd, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Braves v. Mets, Yankees v. Sox

Wow. Watching the new Yankee battery of Karstens and Nieves is just not doing it for me. But more on that in a few minutes.

Anyone see last night's (Friday) Braves v. Mets? I was excited about this for a long time, for many reasons. First, the fantasy implications. I've got Jose Reyes, Brian McCann, and Tim Hudson. Reyes and Hudson are, of course, on fire. They're both playing out of their skulls. So that was the second reason. The third reason was that, since TBS, ESPN, and FOX are the only channels I get that actually televise baseball, I would be able to watch this game. Now, back to my boys. Reyes is leading MLB with 4 triples, (remember when Steve Phillips predicted Reyes would hit 30 triples, and Corey Patterson would hit 40HR with 140RBI?) Reyes has 2 HR, is 9 for 11 in SB attempts, and has an OBP of .456. Yikes. And Hudson is an even better story. After he left Oakland prior to the 2005 season, he cooled down some. Especially in 2006. Which was disappointing, because he is one of my favorite guys. But this year he is insane - you just have to see the whole line for yourself. The point is, he is 3-0, with an ERA of 0.62, and 19 K's in 29 IP. And of course, he was looking even better in person last night. All his off speed stuff was working perfectly. Guy had a perfect game going for 3.2 innings, and a no hitter going till the bottom of the 5th. He left before the 9th inning, (?) with a shutout, having thrown 107 pitches. Now, I know that was only his fourth start of the season. And just like A-Rod won't hit 120 HR this season, Huddy won't finish with an ERA of 0.62. But a good start doesn't hurt, and while I'm not going to say that the old Huddy is back, I'm certainly hoping. Anyway, for the 9th inning, the Braves sent out the arsonist Rafael Soriano and his 7.36 ERA. Needless to say, he poured the gasoline, lit the match, and fanned the flames. Braves still come out ahead, 7-3.

Interesting event here. Home Plate ump Bob Davidson, (we're back to the Yankees v. Red Sox,) who I'm sure we are all familiar with, was miked for today's game. Davidson went to give this little Bostonian Child a ball, but not before making him raise his hand and take an oath to never yell at an umpire. One fan at a time, eh Bob?

Now, I've asked before, but I have yet to receive an answer. When did Mark Teixeira become so bad? He started out last season pretty crappy, but he (almost) made up for it in the 2nd half. Dude is just 27 years old. That's prime time. Finished last year with 33HR and 110 RBI, which isn't half bad. Down 10 HR, 30 RBI, and .20 Avg points from 2005, but not a terrible year. Before the All-Star Break he had just 9 HR in 353 AB. After the game, which he did not participate in, he had 24 HR in 275 AB. So far this year, he has 2 RBI and just 1 extra base hit - a double - in 16 games. Dude is batting .214... but his OBP is .343, with 10 walks. Maybe he'll step it up after the All-Star game again? Who knows... he's on my fantasy team as well, so any thoughts on this would be welcome.

Back again to the Yankee game. The FOX TV crew is promoting Ortiz's new book, written with Tony Massarotti, and they claim that the most interesting part of the book are the stats. He hit something like 58 HR in 6 years with the Twins, and was released because of his lack of power production. And then, he comes to Boston and hits 31, 41, 47, 54 HR the following years. Really? You guys think that's interesting? So do I. Just a little PS - Tony wrote another book with John Harper, called "A Tale of Two Cities - The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for The Pennant." Excellent book, and strongly, strongly recommended. Well, after the FOX crew stopped talking about this, Ortiz went and jerked another out of the yard. This puts the Sox up 7-4.That was the last part of the game that I saw. But after looking at the box score it looks like that was pretty much the entire game. This is what I meant when I said that we'd have trouble with this rotation.

Leave your thoughts. And another thing. BHGM logged it's 50,000th hit a few days ago. That's in about 13 months. And BHGM itself turns 2 on April 28th.

Braves v. Mets Box Score ( - April 20th, 2007
Are John Kruk and Steve Phillips stupid? - April 10th, 2006
A Tale of Two Cities - The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for The Pennant. (

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Buehrle pulls through

mark buehrle So we all know the stories. If you want to throw a no hitter, do it a time when I'm not anywhere near a TV or a computer. Because if I start to follow the game, your no-hitter is over. And last night was no exception. At noon today I hit up and saw the headline, "Buehrle unlikely candidate to throw no-no." First, I couldn't disagree more. But we'll get to that in a minute. I've talked about how I literally prevent no-hitters. I've accepted the fact that I will never witness one. It's just depressing to see the evidence continue to stack up. Buehrle's no-no was another case. I was out the whole night, and I missed the thing. I didn't even know the dude was pitching. It's unbelievable. We've covered this curse before, most recently with Felix. In general, superstitions have always made me curious. I'm a curious man, and when it comes to baseball, I'm also superstitious. I wrote a whole post about superstitions near the start of last season, when Rollins had his hit streak going. This is what it's like for these ballplayers.

How many little things do you think Rollins has running around in his head right now? If you ask him, he'll say he just goes to the park every day, does his thing, doesn't even think about the streak. Either Rollins is superhuman, or he's a liar. There's no way he hasn't picked up at least seven different tricks that help him get a hit every day. Maybe the first day of the streak, he had an omelet with three slices of ham instead of the usual two. He was probably at the end of the 'roll' and didn't want that last slice to go to waste. Then he gets a hit. Think he'll ever have another two-slice ham omelet? Not a chance. It's things like that. By the end of the streak, Rollins will be so full of these little things, he'll be a basketcase.

Little superstitions. They'll get you every time. Like the Steve Finley/Darin Erstad magic bag.

Now, why do I think Buehrle was the perfect candidate for a no-no? First off, I've been saying he'd throw one for years. Shouting it from the rooftops. So much so, that as soon as I saw MLB's article I IMed my brother, (who, let it be noted, I did beat in last week's fantasy match up). "Missed that, man... Buehrle threw a no-no." Not five minutes later, I get another one from Kevin. "So your boy got a no-no last night." He already knew what I was thinking. Buehrle works fast, and he's efficient. He threw something like 105 pitches last night. Walked one guy. You get guys out that quickly, you don't lose your strength in the 7th inning. Common sense. You can make contact off the dude, but you'll pop up or dribble to short because he'll throw you some tricky off-speed. He's not that fast, so you can't just throw your stick out and connect for a 400ft blast. Interesting note, however - some major league poll found that, according to MLB batters, Mark Buehrle has one of the best fastballs. It's not fast, but it's got movement, and it's tricky. It was only a matter of time. Thanks, Mark!

Dude, it's time for a Yankee post - April 11th, 2007
The Hit Streak v. The Perfect Game: Superstitions - April 3rd, 2006

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yankees pitching - and a freak injury flashback

I caught a lot of flak from some of you guys after I wrote about how the Yankees needed to beef up their rotation if they expected to make the Series this year. I'm not going to say I told you so, but seriously. Now that Moose and Pavano are on the DL, the rotation stacks up like this: Andy Pettitte, Kei Igawa, and Darrell Rasner. I guess some kid named Chase Wright just got called up. Now, I don't follow the Yankees farm system at all, so it's possible he's a AAA stud, I would have no idea. But I am going to say that I have never heard of him, and that is because he has yet to make his MLB debut. Now, I know it is ludicrous to suggest that we are going to be riding Chase and Rasner into the playoffs, and I'm not trying to. I know we'll get healthy at some point. But what I am saying is, even when this rotation does get healthy, is it really that lights out? I'm not sure it is. Furthermore, people keep dismissing these health problems, and saying that it doesn't count against the rotation, (or the team's,) strength. If these were freak injuries - a pitcher hit on the elbow with a line drive, etc - they would be correct. However, that's not what's happening. These guys are getting hurt just by playing the game as they would normally play it. They're not getting felled by crashing head first into the outfield fence, (Aaron Rowand.) They're not getting smashed by their own teammates, (D. Lee.) I would suggest following that link, because it's hilarious. But here's the summary, or rather, the lead-in:

Derrek Lee - All-Star and team leader - and last-reliever-standing Scott Eyre were both injured. In the same week? Yes. Same game? Yes. Same inning? Yes. Same play? Yes. One thing if they did it to each other, but they didn't. Imagine having nearly a quarter of your players on the field go down within seconds.

That was really one of the saddest moments in Cub baseball. Additionally, simply because I'm in the mood for it, I have to bring up another classic post: "I guess Operation Shutdown also involves Cocaine." There's no reason at all for this, I just wanted to bring it up.

In any case, I would like some of you guys to explain this to me. How can we expect this rotation - and the rest of the team - to simply hold up forever? I would really appreciate it if someone could give me a good, solid, reason why we shouldn't trade for some up and coming pitchers. We've got offense to give. So why not make a deal that sends, say, Abreu out for two or three promising young arms? I know you have to wait on the development, and it's anything but a sure fire thing - you may end up getting nothing for your investment. But you've got to end the cycle at some point.

Cranes, Cubs, Yankees, and DL notes - April 20th, 2006
I guess Operation Shutdown also involves Cocaine - April 22nd, 2006

Friday, April 13, 2007

Congratulations, Washington

A lot of people thought that when the Expos moved to Washington, D.C., they would be able to turn things around. Baseball was 'back' in the District and that was great. Well, it's a step up from playing your games overseas because no one at home cares. Unfortunately, it does not produce the W. I no longer subscribe to MLB.TV, (because I have no money and, even more importantly, no bandwidth at school,) so I can only catch a game on the rare occasion that one is on TV and I have a chance to step in. Which isn't often. And that's how I ended up watching Nationals v. Braves last night. As far as baseball games go, this one was not spectacular. Summary: 8th inning, Smoltz is still in a 0-0 game with runners on the corners. Belliard singles to right field to bring home a run, and the Nationals went nuts. Ryan Church, in the dugout, yelled, "we got ahead, finally!" Sadly enough, he wasn't referring to just this game. This was the first time in 61 innings that the Nationals had held a lead. And so the team freaked out. Not wanting to jinx their 'rally' they returned to their previously occupied positions on the bench. Another single by Zimmerman brought in yet another runner, 2-0 Nationals. Go team!

Technically, this was the Nationals first in-game lead of the year. Their only previous lead this season was a walk-off, game winning single by Dmitri Young. So the Nationals weren't really ahead in that game, technically speaking. But enough of how bad this team is. Starter Jason Bergmann went 6 innings, walking four and giving up just one hit while striking out eight. Remarkable, because in his last outing he gave up six walks in 3.2 innings. Bergmann explained his sudden improvement by recalling a "nice chat" he had with GM Jim Bowden, in which he told him that he was disappointed in him, but behind him 100%. Jason decided that walks, "are just not fun," and that's our story. Didn't anyone ever take this kid aside in A-ball and tell him to stop giving the other team free bases? We could've avoided this whole thing altogether. Well, this is the Nationals organization for you. They're so bad, it's even hard to make fun of them. This should be a good year for cracking at the cellar dwellers. We've got the Royals, Marlins, Devil Rays, Nationals, Cubs, Pirates... is it just me, or are the bad teams multiplying?

What was Jim Bowden thinking? - March 21, 2006

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dude, it's time for a Yankee post

darrell rasner Now, I've taken a look at our boys over the last few days, and I think that any realistic fan will admit that we have to make some changes if we are going to get anywhere this year. Darrell Rasner? Who is this dude? And I wish you guys could have heard me when I found out Pavano was opening for us this year. I flipped out. And it doesn't matter that Wang is just waiting to bust out of the gate for us, and you know why? Because he is still Chien-Ming Wang. And he was on pace to open for us before he blew a hammy. And that's what gets me, and I'm going to say this right now - unless the Yanks make some changes in this rotation, they are not going to the World Series. And maybe some of you guys are going to hit me for that, but you know I'm right. And if you don't, and you think Wang, Pavano, and Mussina are going to carry you to a championship, you're an idiot. I say this because fans, and apparently those inside the Yankees organization, need to speak up. All your stars are getting up there on Father Time, so if you're Cashman, you have to make something happen now.

I think that part of the problem with this team, of late, is the fact that we don't have a stable of steady horses. And I don't just mean in the rotation. What we need right now is a sports psychologist. Or maybe just a social psychologist. Someone who can explain to me why a team of stars can perform worse than a team of moderately performing players. Perhaps it has something to do with motivation. If you're already making tens of millions for a season of play, maybe it's tougher to set aside all that ego and pull it together as a team. I have no idea. But it's not a chance thing anymore - the Yankees are not the best team in the American League right now. Either way, this team is not going to shock anyone in the post-season this year. So c'mon guy's, lets step it up. Unfortunately, the only thing Yankee fans can really do is stop attending games, buying merchandise, etc. And that really makes no sense. So let's just hope the big guys like to win as much as we do. We need to get some young blood - good, young blood - into this team. That takes time, I understand. So let's get going.

Meanwhile, enough of that... we all know that. How about last night? 10-1, good guys. Pettitte had a nice outing. I say nice because the guy went 6 innings, that's good. Four hits, three K's, one walk. One problem. Dude chucked 96 over the plate in those 6 innings. 36 balls to 60 strikes. But I'll chalk that up to beginning of the year jitters. And this is what needs to happen more often now - we get a guy to go in there for 6 innings, let the big boys throw a few - or in this case, 7 - runs up on the board, and then you're straight. You can't lose if you play like that. Actually, you can. But it's tough. And how 'bout big man? Dude's got six shots already, and we're seven games in. Just for old time's sake, remember when he went for the Home Run cycle last year? Had a grand slam, 3 run jack, a 2 run jack, and came about 5 feet from a solo shot. I'm tired of hearing about how New York hates Alex. Dude produces. He's got problems with the clutch, but they're just confidence problems. How the best player in the world, or at least the former best best player, can have confidence issues is beyond me.

And how about this. As we know, I have a long streak of breaking up no-hitters. And it happened again tonight. This one was uncanny. Followed The Kid's bid for the no-no against Boston for about 2 hours online, only because he was pitching for my brother's fantasy team this week. And we get pretty worked up about these family fantasy match ups. Finally, it's the bottom of the eighth and I figure I have a shot of seeing something happen. So I look at the TV listings online, and I see it's on ESPN2. I flip it on and I hear, literally, "He's 21 years old. And of course, you know Felix was thinking about the no-hitter, because it's human nature. Here's a look at the hit that J.D. Drew..." That makes me angry, because I know that no matter how long I live, I will never see a no-hitter. Ever. I didn't even know about the last no-hitter until the day after it happened, when I checked during class. It'd just be nice, one day.

The Moose just popped a hammy. Seriously, what's the deal? These hamstrings are popping like a bunch of big bright balloons at the fair. At least partly due to the cold weather, we have to hope. Which doesn't explain The Moose, since that was an indoor pop. Or Wang's, since that happened in spring training, right? So I guess we can only explain Zilla's this way. But I tried to justify it. Shoot.

Yankee OF and catchup - Part I - May 15th, 2006
The Hit Streak v. The Perfect Game - April 3rd, 2006

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Remember Mark Prior?

At least Mark is dealing with his recent demotion with all the grace that could be expected of a guy in his situation. And by 'his situation' I mean, 26 years old, former All-Star, won 18 games in 2003 and struck out 245 with an ERA of 2.43. That was almost four years ago. And now, he is a proud member of the AAA-Iowa Cubs. Shoulder_1Actually, he's not technically on the roster, because he has yet to 'return' from another injury. I'm not sure how, during spring training, he was being considered for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Prior doesn't seem to have an acute injury. He simply has one, very chronic, shoulder injury. His velocity in the spring was in the mid-80's. For a guy that relied largely on a lights-out fastball, mid-80's is pretty awful. I find it absolutely ludicrous that, with millions of dollars at stake, not to mention his professional reputation, he hasn't found some way to rehab it and strengthen that rotator cuff. There has got to be more to the story. But I don't think we should keep reading his name in reports as, "Prior (shoulder) hasn't made an appearance since..." until we actually have a description of this phantom injury. Or at least something like, 'he visited a specialist, who can't find a problem.' Well, enough speculating. What does Prior have to say about this?

I'm just an employee. The goal now is to go down and help that team win and try to make the AAA All-Star team. Maybe I can get invited to the Futures game or something. I'm still 26. It's part of the business. That's the way I look at it. There's not much I can say. I'm a controlled player. I do what I am told.

Wow. That's seriously depressing. And a major bummer. Here's a former 18-game winner who is aspiring to make the AAA All-Star team, and maybe, maybe, if he gets really lucky, he can even make the Futures game. That's really sick. I do what I am told? It's almost like he's been emotionally beaten into submission by some force within the Cubs organization. Creepy. Also, the previous link was not a mistake.

And you know Rich Hill is going to be a lights out guy someday soon. I meant to write about him about a year ago. I saw him throw a couple years back and the dude had a lights out curve ball. And so I drafted him in the 20th round of my pay league. Dude went for the perfect game against the Brewers, and didn't allow a hit until Corey Hart took him deep in the sixth. He ended up with 6 K's in 7IP. And that HR was the only hit he allowed. Just watch out for the guy.

Kazmir, Cubs, C. Duffy, and College Baseball Lying - May 18th, 2006

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

You'd think that Dusty Baker the Commentator would be great, right?

dusty baker As we all know, Dusty Baker is no longer at the helm of the Chicago Cubs. He left, and Lou Piniella took his place. That's a pretty big adjustment for D. Lee, Dempster, and A Ramirez to make. But I'm sure they'll make it work, right? After all, they always find a way. It'll be interesting to see if this team implodes in on itself again, if it actually performs to expectations, or if they resort to beaning opposing batters to "defend themselves," as Lou's previous team did. In the end, I'm disappointed, because I will no longer be able to poke fun at Baker's crazy antics, or the fact that he is flat out the worst in-game manager in the sport. Especially since Alan Trammel took himself out of the running last year. Bummer, I'll miss Baker.

Or so I thought.

See, I turned on ESPN yesterday to catch some opening day ball. And then I heard one of the announcers mention something about how to catch a pop-up, concluding what I'm sure was a flash of brilliance with, "isn't that right, Dusty?" I've got rabbit ears for the guy, and if I'm not 100% focused before, I sure am now. Sure enough, Dusty Baker was in the booth, "commentating." I did some digging and found out that Baker is not only going to appear on the regular season telecasts, but he is a full-fledged analysis on Baseball Tonight as well. I missed that, because Baseball Tonight isn't my favorite show. That's great. Now, I didn't hear any interesting Baker-isms, but I'm sure he's just starting off a little shy. He'll warm up. By the All-Star break, we'll start hearing about how all the walks the A's are getting are just clogging up the bases for the guys that can run. Just wait for it.

Ben Sheets is back. Apparently, he finally remembered who he is, and what people used to think he was. People used to expect great things from the guy. Especially after he shut down the world in the 2000 Olympics, allowing just 1 run in 22 innings. But lately he hasn't been so hot. I've always had faith in the guy. But nothing adds to faith like a 9-inning, 2 hit, 1 run opening day start.

What do you mean, Baker's out? - October 17th, 2006
D-Rays and Red Sox - May 1st, 2005
Are John Kruk and Steve Phillips stupid? - April 10th, 2006