Monthly Archives: July 2011

Let’s Make Some Deals!

It seems now that football is rolling along, it’s now harder to find baseball information during one of the most important times in the baseball season, the week leading up to the trade deadline. If I wasn’t into fantasy sports, I probably wouldn’t even know what trades had gone down since they’ve been trumped by NFL signings and trade coverage. Here’s all the major trades since Tuesday in case you missed some, along with some quick thoughts on each. I’ll update it as the day goes along…

July 26th

OF Johnny Gomes traded from the Reds to the Nationals for LHP Chris Manno and OF Bill Rhinehart. It seems like a weird move for the Nationals. Yeah I get they lost Adam Dunn last year and are missing power, but adding a 30-year-old that wasn’t hitting in the friendly Cincinnati settings seems like a head scratcher. Aren’t they supposed to be building for the future when Strasburg and Harper are on the team? Seems like they’d hang onto their prospects instead of adding a bat, especially when your team is hanging out in last place…

July 27th

Mets trade OF Carlos Beltran and cash to the Giants for RHP Zack Wheeler. A win-win situation here for both teams. The Giants didn’t add payroll, and got the bat they were desperately seeking. The Mets got a potential ace of the future with Wheeler, the 2009 6th overall pick in the draft. It was funny to hear some of the Giants fan reactions to giving up Wheeler for a chance to win it all again. I never understood why a fan base would reject the idea of trying to win this year. How can you be mad!?! Sure, Beltran might not work out towards getting you another ring, but it’s worse to not be trying at all.

Blue Jays trade RHP Jason Frasor and RHP Zach Stewart to the White Sox for RHP Edwin Jackson and INF Mark Teahen. Toronto trades RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Octavio Dotel, LHP Marc Rzepczynski, OF Corey Patterson, and three PTBNL or cash to the Cardinals for OF Colby Rasmus, LHP Brian Tallet, LHP Trever Miller and RHP P.J. Walters. This one was a handful of so-so players mixed in with some prospects. The biggest names are obviously Jackson and Rasmus. Edwin the constant journeyman will probably fair better back in the NL under Duncan. The Cards needed a pitcher after all the injuries they’ve suffered this year, and Edwin might be able to fill that void. The Cards also set themselves up to get some draft picks aka prospects out of the trades. Dotel, Jackson, and Patterson all have the potential to garner draft picks should they not resign with them this offseason. Colby Rasmus might be a big loss, but it sounds like he already wore out his welcome in St. Louis (or his dad did). The White Sox meanwhile got a solid reliver, and we all know they need bullpen help. Toronto got another bat and some possible prospects down the road. Maybe Bautista can teach Colby how to be a professional, then again, he didn’t seem to learn much from Pujols or McGwire.

July 28th

Cubs OF Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians for RHP Carlton Smith and OF Abner Abreu. Probably one of the least exciting trades, but it was the headliner on the 28th. Kosuke hasn’t really lived up to the hype he brought across the pacific, but the Indians really need some help in the OF with Choo and Sizemore chillin on the DL. The prospects the Cubs got don’t seem all that exciting either. Probably didn’t even need to put this trade on the post, but it happened, so here it is.

Brewers acquire utility IF Felipe Lopez from the Rays for cash. I guess with Rickie Weeks on the DL, they needed a competent 2nd basemen. Maybe the A’s should’ve hung onto Ellis a little longer, and they could’ve gotten money instead of a PTBNL.

July 29th

Phillies get OF Hunter Pence and cash, the Astros get 1B Jonathan Singleton, RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Josh Zeid and a PTBNL. The Phillies always make a big deal at or close to the deadline. Two years ago, they got Cliff Lee, last year they got Roy Oswalt, and this year they grab Pence. Honestly, Pence is one of my favorite players, I might even have a little mancrush on him. There’s nothing pretty about his game, but you know he’s giving you 110% Eckstein style. He’s the perfect fit in Philly, and is the right handed bat they truly needed since Werth left. I was surprised that Philly gave up two great prospects since Pence is an unrestricted free agent after the season, and could walk. Houston boosted possibly one of the worst farm systems in baseball by adding two top 50 prospects.

Diamondbacks get OF Ryan Langerhans from the Mariners for cash. The ol’ cash for poo trick. Not sure what the D’backs need for Langerhans is. If this is their big move to match the Giants and Phillies moves (Pence and Beltran), it was fun while it lasted AZ. I think they could’ve got Cust from the M’s for free if they wanted!

July 30th

Diamondbacks acquired RHP Jason Marquis from the Nationals for SS Zack Walters. Not a bad move, but not that exciting either. Marquis is at best an end of the rotation guy. I’m kinda puzzled by Arizona’s moves, Langerhans, then Marquis. Two guys you could replace on your team with AAA players isn’t going to help them challenge the Giants for first in the NL West. I’m booing this trade from my Doin Work headquarters.

Texas trades RHP Tommy Hunter and INF Chris Davis to the Orioles for RHP Koji Uehara. There’s nothing I hate more than a team in the A’s division acquiring a player I like, because I instantly can’t root for them anymore. Koji is going to add some nice Asian spice to the bullpen. Losing Tommy Hunter won’t lose anyone sleep in Texas. I was a little surprised to see Chris Davis in the deal, but Young and Moreland are more than adequate at 1B. I wish they traded for Bell, so I could still like Uehara.

Boston acquires INF Mike Aviles from Kansas City for INF Yamaico Navarro and RHP Kendal Volz. Another meh, kinda move. I guess he’s good to throw in the lineup when someone needs a day off. Aviles has had an awful year at the plate, so I don’t really see why they wanted him. Maybe to bring off the bench to pinch run?

Brewers acquire INF-OF Jerry Hairston Jr. from Washington for OF Erik Komatsu. Ummm, didn’t they just trade for Felipe Lopez to replace Rickie Weeks a couple days ago?!? This move kinda confuses me, so I don’t have a lot to say about it. I guess he’s a good utility guy. K-Rod is still their biggest trade acquisition, but at least it looks like they’re trying to do something.

Mariners trade RHP Doug Fister and RHP David Pauley to the Tigers for OF Casper Wells, INF Francisco Martinez and LHP Charlie Furbush. I’m actually a little disappointed in Detroit. It sounded like they were pushing hard for Ubaldo, but maybe the Rockies were asking too much. Fister is an underrated pitcher, probably more so because he’s on the Mariners. Despite his 3-12 record, he’s had a good year and recieves the lowest run support of any starter in the MLB. What I like about this trade for Detroit is they have control over him for next year too, so it’s not a rental situation. Does this keep Detroit in first? I won’t hurt. David Pauley will also give them a little extra bullpen help, and every team can use help in the pen. Francisco Martinez seems like the prospect this deal was built around. We’ll see if he can be the heir to Chone Figgins at third.

Colorado acquired RHP Alex White, RHP Joseph Gardner, UT Matt McBride and a PTBNL (Drew Pomeranz) from the Cleveland for RHP Ubaldo Jimenez. The headliner of the day sent Colorado’s ace to the Tribe. I feel like the Indians gave up too much in this deal, but then again if they contend and take the AL Central it will all be worth it. P0meranz and White were both first round selections, and it feels like the Indians might have had the next Ubaldo in one of the two guys they traded. We’ll see how it pans out. If the Indians make the playoffs, it will no doubt help them forget what they gave up.

Giants acquire Orlando Cabrera for IF Thomas Neal. Guess the Indians are already trying to restock the farm. They must be sold on Kipnis starting everyday, because it seems like you’d want to hang onto a vetran like O-Cab down the stretch to keep everyone focused. The Giants made a great deal here as they added where they needed to as they have Sanchez, Tejada, and Derosa on the DL. The Giants seem to be pushing the right buttons so far.

Pirates acquire Derek Lee from the Cubs for 1B Aaron Baker. I’d like this move a lot more for the Buccos if D-Lee was a little younger and having a better year. He has been heating up, and maybe being in the playoff hunt will re-charge him. The Pirates haven’t been buyers in two decades. It might be tough to flip that switch and remember what it’s like to be buying.

July 31st

Braves acquire Michael Bourn from the Astros for OF Jordan Schaffer, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Paul Clemens, and RHP Juan Abreau. Bourn is having a great season this year, and this trade could go under the radar. I was waiting for the Braves to do something, and here it is. I thought they’d maybe go for a SS with someone like Furcal, but getting that top of the order guy is going to help this team a lot. Another good thing about trading for Bourn is they have him for next year as well as this one.

Cardinals acquire Rafael Furcal from the Dodgers for OF Alex Castellanos. I’m sure the Dodgers are happy about cutting some payroll. I’m actually surprised that they haven’t traded some more players straight up for cash. I like the move for the Cardinals even though Furcal hasn’t been that good this year (.197 BA). He’s a big upgrade over Theriot at SS, and I think being in a place where the front office cares about baseball he should make him try harder.

Diamondbacks acquire Brad Ziegler from the A’s for 1B Brandon Allen and LHP Jordan Noberto. Woohoo! The A’s finally made a trade that didn’t fall through. The Dbacks got some really good help for their pen in Ziegler. He has a career ERA of 2.45 over four seasons. Hell, I think he’s more reliable than JJ Putz. The A’s got a MLB ready 1B in Allen, and a pitcher that might be a reliever in the future. Seems like a good move for both teams.

Rangers acquire Mike Adams from the Padres for RHP Joe Wieland LHP Robbie Erlin. For awhile we all thought it would be tough for the Rangers to compete in the postseason without adding another starter, but their second glaring weakness was the bullpen. Yesterday they added Koji, and today they added one of the best set up men in the game in Adams. The Rangers were already the favorite to take the AL west, not it just seems like it’s a given that will happen with the Angels making no moves to strengthen their squad. The Padres on the other hand have added yet more quality pitchers. They have three guys now that they’ve received through trades that could be starting in their rotation by next year.

Pirates acquire Ryan Ludwick from the Padres for cash and a PTBNL. Not bad, not that exciting either. Seems like the Pirates are trying a little with adding Derrick Lee and Ludwick to the mix, but neither of them seem like they’d really put this team over the top. Maybe next year they’ll be better at this whole buying at the trade deadline thing.

Red Sox acquire Erik Bedard and RHP Joshua Fields, the Dodgers acquire C Tim Federowicz, Juan Rodriguez, and Steven Fife, and the Mariners recieve OF Chih-Hsien Chiang and OF Trayvon Robinson. This is kinda of a big deal. Lots of prospects moving around in this one. I guess Boston isn’t sold on Andrew Miller in their rotation or they wouldn’t have made this move. The reliever Fields I heard is decent. My gut reaction is that Seattle got the best of this deal, and naturally I’ve heard of the Asian kid (Chih) before. He sounds like he has some power and should be a good hitter one day. Same goes for Robinson being a solid power hitting switch hitter. I don’t really follow Boston’s prospects much so I’m not really too sure on the guys the Dodgers ended up with…

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Best Brew In Baseball

Over the weekend I wrote about the best breweries in America. Now I’m thinking about the best Brewers in Major League Baseball. The reason for that is I recently caught myself thinking about how stacked the Brewers roster is, and then I started to realize how the majority of them were homegrown (drafted by Milwaukee). It’s amazing not only how many of their draftees they managed to keep, but how many became major contributors….

Prince Fielder – 1st round, 2002

Rickie Weeks – 1st round, 2003

Ryan Braun – 1st round, 2005

Corey Hart – 11th round, 2000

Yovani Gallardo – 2nd round, 2004

Jonathan Lucroy – 3rd round, 2007

Add to that, former draft picks Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley were used to acquire CC Sabathia, and 2008 1st round pick Jake Odorizzi was used to get Zack Greinke. Talk about rebuilding through the draft. I challenge you to find a better draft record then the Brew Crew in all of baseball!

 


Goodluck Nnamdi

The NFL lockout is over which I’m sure you heard. Here’s an Icky Shuffle video to celebrate. Although I wanted to see them miss some regular season games, losing them money and fans, I guess I don’t mind the NFL’s coming back now. It would’ve been tragic to be without the NFL and NBA this winter. I mean, actually having conversations with the family on Thanksgiving instead of watching football sounds completely ridiculous. It’s no secret, the top free agent in the ocean sized free agent pool seems to be Nnamdi Asomugha as they’ve been talking about him a lot the past week. I pretty much know for a fact he won’t be back with the Raiders, or he and Al would’ve worked out a deal or Al would’ve honored the rest of his contract instead of terminating it last season. It’s sad to see the Cal star turned Raider heading out of the Bay Area, but sometimes you need a change in your life. I will continue to root for him to succeed wherever he goes (as long as it’s not the Patriots).

Nnamdi was an interesting Raider. Since we drafted him in 2003, he was pretty much the lone bright spot on teams that sucked year in and year out, which you can point to a number of reasons, but none were his fault. Normally the Raiders have the dysfunctional head cases or cast offs playing for them, but he was a different breed of Raider. He liked community work even going back to his days at Cal. If you met him you’d probably think he’s some slick businessmen instead of a football player. I’d actually elect him as the NFLPA rep as soon as he retires. He continues to do talks to college kids about the importance of education on his own time. He even fly’s around the country to help recruits understand what they are getting into, and takes the time to debate with our former president showing everyone his expertise isn’t only football. He’s pretty much everything you’d want in a star player. Humble enough to work hard. Smart enough to put the film time in, and just like on Sunday, he’s never in trouble aka bringing bad PR.

Is he worth $20M+ per year? That’s a double edged sword right there as a few of our readers don’t think he’s worth it from what I remember. I didn’t feel like the Raiders overspent when we signed him to the contract making him the richest CB in the league, and most deemed the contract ridiculous at the time, but he produced. Hell, our Deangelo Hall signing was 100 times worse. I would say Nnamdi as the whole package is worth the $20M+ per year. You get a shut down corner that opposing teams don’t throw at. Of the 474 passing plays ran the last two seasons against Oakland, only 7% of those plays targeted Nnamdi. A combination of blanket coverage and respect of his talent forced opposing QB’s to look the other way. He’s also out of the Charles Woodson mold when it comes to tackling, which I feel is one of his most underrated attributes. Cornerback might be the hardest position to evaluate, and while I understand why some argue that getting a ball-hawking corner like Antonio Cromartie for a third of the price makes some sense. On the other hand, a guy like Cromartie is a huge liability, and can’t even remember his kids names. Also, how much did Cromartie benefit from having Revis across the way from him. If Nnamdi had someone half as good as him on the other side, I would be willing to bet you he’d have more picks. Anyways, wherever he lands, be happy you got him. He’s well worth the money. My prediction: Baltimore….


Top Ten Breweries In America

Believe it or not, this is NOT Chappy and I getting our drink on.

I usually start every non-sports related post with an apology, but not this time. If you like sports, there’s a 98.5% chance you like beer. The two go hand in hand. Well, maybe beer goes hand in hand with everything. You might notice a little West Coast bias in this list – much like everything else we write about on Doin Work. It’s also affected by the fact that breweries I’ve visited tend to skyrocket up my personal power rankings. But I also truly feel that the best beer is brewed along the Pacific. If it’s from California, Oregon, or Washington, I’m usually on board. So, apologies to fans of Allagash, New Belgium, or Victory Brewing Co. This list isn’t for you. Well, maybe it is. Maybe it’ll inspire you to step up to some better beers. First I should introduce my taste. I’m a fan of Pale Ales, IPAs, and Pilsners. If the mood is right, I can appreciate a good Porter or Stout. What you won’t catch me enjoying is a Hefeweizen or White Ale. If it’s brewed west of Germany / Denmark or East of Colorado / Montana, I probably won’t like it. (If I’m truly missing out on something, let me know. I’m not too proud to prove myself wrong) I don’t claim to be a beer science expert. You won’t hear me talking about aromas and finishes and what not. I just like what tastes good. I used to feel like the hoppier the better, but I’ve since been proved wrong. There’s a fine balance.

#10 – Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing:

This is the equivalent of the NFL Draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant”. I can’t honestly say that Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is the 10th best brewery in the world, but it makes my list because it’s the one brewery taproom I’ve been to where every single beer I tried was flawless top to bottom. Like many of my brewery visits, this place was a completely impromptu stop on a weekend road trip. I don’t even know how we found the place – I had never heard of it before that one random weekend in Santa Cruz. We must’ve just seen a sign on the side of the road or something. Anyway, it felt like we were hanging out in a trailer where they served beer out on a farm. Okay, that description doesn’t really do it justice. I had a phenomenal afternoon on a Sunday drive home to San Francisco circa 2006. What’s funny is that was the only time in my life I ever drank Santa Cruz Mountain beer….. until recently. I stumbled upon an Organic Dread Brown Ale at a BevMo somewhere in the last year. I’m pretty neutral when it comes to Brown Ales, (I still think Newcastle does it best) but this one excels. Like I said, everything top to bottom is solid.

#9 – Grand Teton Brewing Co.:

These guys are poised to start jumping up on my list. I seemed to stay away from their beers for a while, perhaps because of something so simple as boring labels. To be honest, Grand Teton brews don’t really stand out. But every one I’ve tried to this day has been great. If anything, you know them for Bitch Creek. It’s an average ESB, but their real gem is the Sweetgrass American Pale Ale. That’s some great stuff. I’m also a big fan of the seasonals and limited releases of late, thanks to my local grocery store being of the boutique fashion. There are three from Grand Teton that stand out in my memory. The Pursuit of Hoppiness Imperial Red and the Trout Hop Black IPA were particularly good, but it was two days ago when I had the beer that would forever cement Grand Teton in my top ten. I was perusing the beer aisle when the Persephone Imperial Pilsner called out to me. I tell you it was glowing on the shelf. Time stood still. It was $9.99 for a 750mL bottle, but my confidence in this brewery was sky high. They exceeded all my expectations with this one. If you see a Persephone Pils on your shelf, grab it. It’s well worth the ten dollars. Or if you see one of Grand Tetons traditional offerings, feel free to try that instead.

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Tiger and Stevie Break Up

 

What better place to find a reasonable explanation of why Tiger fired Stevie than the Taiwanese re-creation. According to this video the breakup is because Tiger clubbed women coming out of the ground, then his putter went limp, then he karate kicked Stevie Williams out of his life! I’m not really positive what happened between the two, but we all could see it coming. Stevie kept carrying Adam Scott’s bag. Hurt or not, Stevie should’ve stuck by the man that made everyday people actually know a caddies name. Let’s face it, those two both have pretty big egos, and neither is going to like being shown up.  I mean his ego was so inflated from living off Tiger’s success, he even called Tiger out saying “He’ll have to earn my trust back.” just after the first dozen mistresses came out. Really, you’re going to call out the guy that made you relevant. Like you didn’t know something was going on the side. That would’ve pissed me off if I was Tiger, and from that point on the writing was on the wall. It’s not like Tiger will have a hard time finding someone to carry his bag. Oh, Tiger if you happen to read this. I’d be happy to carry your bag and study course layouts to tell you how to attack the pins. I’ll even go on Kenny Powers like rants for you on the course, so I look like the asshat.


For Real? MLB Contenders Or Pretenders…?

Let’s play a little game called, “Just the Tip.”  Just for a second, just to see how it feels. Now let’s see which MLB teams can hang over the course of an entire season. Every year, someone comes out of nowhere and contends longer than they were supposed to. It then becomes a game of “will they or won’t they.” This year there are two teams that have come out of nowhere to lead their respective divisions at the time of this post. There are also two honorable mention teams that just so happened to meet in the World Series last year, but still, they don’t necessarily look like the best teams in their divisions.

The Giants, defending World Champions, don’t look like a championship team, but their pitching has kept them atop the NL West. Not sure if that’s so much a credit to the Giants, when you consider the division just seems pretty bad top to bottom. The Rockies have underachieved, and the Dodgers and Padres are pretty much irrelevant. Arizona has been a surprise, but no one really believes they can hang around and contend for the NL West crown. For that we say, the Giants will.

The Rangers, on the other hand, came into this season more or less as favorites to win the AL West. But, a lot of people saw either the Angels reclaiming the division, or the A’s making the jump and riding their pitching to a postseason berth. Instead, the Rangers have played just well enough to hold a 5 game lead over the Angels in the division. Their offense was never in question, but they’ve had surprisingly strong pitching that has kept them perched atop the AL West.

On to the real surprise teams of the 2011 campaign. I’ll start with the Indians because I sort of saw this coming. To be honest though, I’m sort of waiting for the team to fall off, as part of me doesn’t really believe they are for real. I at least thought that Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner could manage to stay healthy, and combine that with two guys who I knew would be solid this year, Asdrubal Cabrea and Shin Soo Choo, and it seemed the Indians were poised for an improbable run at the trophy this year. Unfortunately, Sizemore and Hafner have been sidelined often, Choo’s blood-alcohol level has exceeded his batting average, and Asdrubal Cabrera is left with few RBI opportunies costing him much deserved MVP attention. I’m also questioning whether that starting rotation can hold their ground for the remainder of the season.

Finally we come to the Pirates. I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but if they did, post a link showing off your premonition like I am once again HERE. Like many good teams, they’ve ridden their pitching to a division lead in late July. I honestly don’t remember the last time I saw this. I believe the statistics say it was 1992. That’s a long time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Pirates have the longest streak of futility in ALL of professional sports. Is that right? Either way, I’m a big time Pirates fan this summer and fall. I wonder how many players I can name on that team….? Let’s count. Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Ryan Doumit, Joel Hanrahan ….that’s all I’ve got. But I’m on board. Will they hang on? Not a chance. With Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati (my other World Series pick)  all chasing them, they’d be lucky to finish third this year.


Kobe Spoof on Lockout Issues

I posted the original funny or die spoof when the Lakers got beat by the Mavs. I did like the first one slightly better, but this one was worthy of posting as well. He brought up the very important point of heating in arenas. Players shouldn’t have to be wearing sleves to keep themselves warm, that will be an interesting talking point as the negotiations heat up, if they ever actually do. While scouring the internet for videos, I also ran across this new Steve Nash commercial, which was pretty funny as well if you have another minute to kill…


Hacky Sack, The Sport

 

Growing up I partook in my fair share of hacky sack circles. I was never the guy to carry the sack around, but would join in on a circle every now and then. Anyways, I never thought the sport would evolve into anything that required much more than some foot eye coordination, but it has, and these guys have some serious skills. If bicycle kicks are the most exciting play in soccer, then with a bicycle kick happening every point (or every other kick) this sport is more exciting than soccer! This sport is called Sepak Takraw originated in Malaysia, and is played with pretty much the same rules as volleyball (in scoring and touches per side of the net).


Getting Back To Work

It’s Monday, which pretty much explains itself. I made the smart move of putting some work off on Friday in the name of leaving early, and in turn, set myself up for a pretty impossible Monday. I feel like I’m not the only one having a hard time getting back to work though. There’s a few baseball teams out there that didn’t look like they were ready to get back at it after the All-Star break. Sounds like the NFL and its players will soon be getting back to work. And while the NBA seems like an afterthought now, some of its players have begun to look for work overseas – a trend we’re likely to see continue as the beginning of the season fast approaches. So, while it’s been a dreadful past month in sports if you don’t watch soccer, it starting to feel to me like the calm before the storm. Pretty soon, we’re likely to see flurry of player movement in all sports. The Major League Baseball trade deadline is looming, and it sounds like nearly every team is exploring options. Once the NFL lockout is officially over, it figures to be one active offseason since teams will be scrambling to get their rosters set and into camp. In the NBA, hearing about guys like Avery Bradley and Pooh Jeter looking to sign overseas doesn’t get me jazzed up, but who knows, maybe the dominoes will fall faster – and bigger.

Baseball Trades I Expect To See – No Explanations (or prospects) – Toronto trades SS Yunel Escobar to San Francisco for SP Jonathan Sanchez. Anaheim trades C Hank Conger to New York Mets for OF Scott Hairston. New York trades OF Carlos Beltran to Texas for OF Julio Borbon and C Taylor Teagarden. Seattle trades 3B Chone Figgins and SP Doug Fister to Detroit for OF Ryan Raburn and P Phil Coke. Pittsburgh trades 3B Pedro Alvarez to Oakland for OF Josh Willingham and OF Hideki Matsui. Los Angeles trade OF Andre Ethier to Philadelphia for RP Antonio Bastardo.

Football Signings I Expect To See – No Explanations – Nnamdi Asomugha to Dallas. Cedric Benson to Jacksonville. Terrell Owens to Tampa Bay. Braylon Edwards to Kansas City. Antonio Cromartie to San Diego. Tamba Hali to Chicago. Santonio Holmes to Oakland.

Basketball Players I Expect To See Sign Overseas –  As if the previous predictions weren’t asinine enough, how could I possibly know who’s going to play in what country? Instead, I’m just going to visualize what it could be like if more guys like Deron Williams, who just made his deal to Turkey official on Friday, made the jump to an international location. All of a sudden, Dwight Howard is hinting at going international and specifically mentions China. I just hope he doesn’t take his talents to Foshan to team up with Stephon Marbury. Howard would be a perfect fit on the Shanghai Sharks. It’s Yao’s former team (and I think he even owns it), and Shanghai is really the only city that’s big enough for Dwight. Even though he could join a Flying Tigers team that featured MVP Quincy Douby and went 31-1 last year, I can’t imagine Howard moving to Xinjiang. Seriously, look it up. It’d be like if Alaska had an NBA team. Instead, he could turn the 12-20 Sharks into instant contenders, and quite possibly be the Dirk to Yao’s Cuban.


RFP Of The Day: Dana Barros

When’s the last time you thought of Dana Barros? Most people remember him, if at all, as a role player. What a lot of people don’t know, and I didn’t either until I looked at his career stats, is that he had a phenomenal season in 1994-1995. Barros averaged 20.6 ppg, 7.5 ast, and 1.8 stl for the Philadelphia 76ers. Shoot, in most of his highlights he looks like Allen Iverson. People forget he was that good. The Celtics thought he was a little better than he was though, because after that breakout season (a contract year of course), Boston signed him to a long term deal. His play, and minutes, declined each year until he faded into obscurity. You know what else is obscure? This track he recorded in 1994…..


How to Make the All-Star Game More Interesting

The pool might had as much coverage as the actual game...

I just got done reading a fellow bloggers post (Chris Ross) on why the All-Star game is boring, and doesn’t need to be meaningful to be relevant. Seeing how I doubt the A’s will be in the World Series anytime soon I don’t really care that home field advantage is a result from the game, but do agree with most everyone that it’s ridiculous to have the outcome effect the World Series. Exhibition does not equal “meaning something” last time I checked, but who are we kidding, we want to be entertained regardless of the stakes.

The ASG has been on the decline for years now (based on the ratings the last few years), and with numerous players dropping out for whatever reason, we don’t usually even have the real “stars” of the game out there playing. I read the other day that over 10% of the league made an All-Star team for a second straight year. How ridiculous is that? I understand pitchers ducking out from pitching too recently, and other guys actually ON the DL, but guys like Jeter being “emotionally tired” is stupid reason to miss the mid-summer classic. I hope he donated the money he got for getting selected, because he doesn’t deserve that bonus. Maybe he knew deep down he didn’t deserve to be the starter and wanted Asdrubal to start in his place since he was clearly better this year. Either way he should’ve at least shown up.

Anyways, this wasn’t supposed to be a bash the guys who are in the game post. It was supposed to be a little constructive, so here’s three easy ways I think that the MLB could fix the All-Star game aka make it more competitive and entertaining for us baseball fans…

  • This first move would automatically make me like the actual game more. Have the players that the people voted into it, finish the games. Maybe that won’t work with pitchers, but for the hitters this is an easy way to change the structure on how it’s managed. I want to see the best players decide the game in the clutch. I don’t care about seeing players like Miguel Montero, Matt Wieters, Howie Kendrick, Scott Rolen, etc. coming up when it matters in the late innings. I want to see the starting lineup out there, so let’s make a rule that all the fan selections come in to play after the fifth or sixth inning to finish the game or as close to that selected starting lineup as possible.
  • Offer up a monetary gain for the winning team. I don’t know one person that isn’t inspired by money, and I doubt even the players could pass up the chance to win an extra half million each. Instead of just giving all of them a $500K check as thank you for showing up bonus, they should only give that “bonus” money to the winning team. Let’s see how serious the players get with a half million on the line. Maybe even make the losing team donate some money to charity or something along those lines.
  • Push the game back one day. This seems like the easiest fix on my list. Start the season one day earlier and give the players one extra day before the ASG, so we can get the best pitchers to pitch. No offense to Robertson, Wilson, Walden, or League, but wouldn’t you rather see Verlander, CC, Felix, Price, and Haren pitching instead? No need to answer, it was a rhetorical question.
One last quick thing they should do is add some more skills challenges. It feels like the HR derby is as popular as the actual game, so why not try to add to it. I don’t give two craps about the celebrity softball game, ok maybe watching EA and Kate Upton wasn’t terrible TV, but it wasn’t good either. How about they do an outfielders challenge where they set up targets on all the bases and you get points for accuracy and maybe some bonus point for hitting targets on the fly. How about a game of horse between pitchers. Like throwing certain pitches to parts of the strike zone like a whiffle ball strike zone, and making the next guy match it or they get a letter. How about a presidential race like in Washington. Put some players in those funny president suits and have them run a lap. I could think of a million stupid little games that I would watch if pros were doing it, so I’m not sure why they wouldn’t try to include a few extra skills challenges, and I’m sure the players would be down, well, at least the ones that like to have fun. As always though, no changes will be made and baseball will be stuck in reverse yet again…

Why I Think Felix Hernandez Is The Best Pitcher In The World

Every so often, there’s a debate about who’s the best pitcher in baseball. Or, who is the best in each league, i.e. who should start the All-Star Game. Today on the old radio, there was a debate about who would you want to pitch in a one-game World Series. The debate eventually became Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum, but I can’t ever help like Timmy has a home field advantage out here in Northern California. Obviously, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game. On most occasions that I’ve seen him pitch, he’s been dominant. On the other hand, I’ve seen him look extremely mortal at times. He’s prone to the occasional blowup. Halladay, however, never seems to give up any more than 4 runs in a game – and that’s when he’s off. Granted, I probably have a bit smaller sample size when it comes to Roy, but I probably see arguably his more important games. Though I will concede that Lincecum is usually solid in the big games as well.

There’s one guy, though, that I always consider to be one of the top two pitchers in baseball that no one really ever seems to bring up until you get to the top 5 or 10. Ever since the first time I saw him pitch when

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Elephants and Seals

As always By will be covering the Giants and Chappy will be covering the A’s portion.

San Francisco Giants (1st place 50-40)

Oakland Athletics (4th place 39-51)

Three Up –

Oakland A’s -Mark Ellis is wrecking pitchers lately going 11-32 with four doubles, three homers, and 7 RBI’s in his last seven games. Too bad he’s now a member of the Rockies. Tough for me to find a lot of positives outside of Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore, but I guess our leading RBI man Josh Willingham is healthy and back in the lineup. Guillermo Moscoso pitched 24.2 innings only giving up one run, but was sent back to AAA today. I guess that shows you how good our pitching has been even with numerous injuries. I’d like to see us trade a couple of these pitchers for a bat. Is that asking too much? I guess so. I think it’s a good thing they are going to let our top prospect Chris Carter keep playing in Oakland. It’s not like he could do worse than Barton was doing at first base. I hope we sell off some players and get something worthwhile at the trade deadline. I’d love to see them unload Fuentes.

SF Giants – There’s so many positives to write about, but I’ll keep it short.  Let’s start with the obvious, the Giants remain in first place, and the only goal for the miSFits is to win their division and make the playoffs.  Another positive, the G-Men are sending four All-Stars to the desert, and if not for horrible run support for Mad Bum, perhaps five.  How about Barry Zito guys!?  While most Giants fans are raving about his “return” to prominence, I still remain skeptical.  Let’s just appreciate his last three starts for now before we go handing him the Cy Young shall we?  And lastly, it is good seeing Buster Posey in the dugout again.  We miss you buddy ~

Three Down – 

Oakland A’s – Where to start!?! We score no runs, and the only games we win are 1-0 or 2-0. Those wins are also few and far between. We are last in the worst division in the AL.  We’ve hit the fewest homers, and are in the bottom three in all of baseball for runs, RBI, and batting average.  When you see stats like Kurt Suzuki has 6 of our last 16 hits, and Derek Holland with a career 5.22 ERA holds you to a 4 hit CG shutout, you know you’re in trouble. I’m tired of writing how they can’t hit, so I’ll spare myself. If there wasn’t enough bad mojo going around this team, even fans are dying at the park when they hit foul balls…

SF Giants – I hate to sound redundant, but the one downer for these Giants is their hitting.  While they remain scrappy and stay true to form with their “A Different Hero Every Night” approach on offense, it’s hard to fathom them keeping it up the entire season.  Especially since it started last season.  Overall, not much to complain about with the Giants, especially while they’re in first.


In Case You Need Some KP in Your Life…

I never understood why HBO put Eastbound and Down on during October and November when they could easily have it on during the actual baseball season. Whatever the case I was looking for stuff about the third season, and found out that it could be the last installment of our irrational hero Kenny Powers. I hope it’s not, but it got me looking up some youtube clips this morning, and I stumbled across some K-Swiss commercials that were pretty good. Not sure why they didn’t push these on the sports channels like they did with the Terry Crews commercials, but here’s him signing his contract and one of his better K-Swiss commercials with Patrick Willis.  Continue reading


Remembering The Great NBA Lockout Of 1998

I’ve come to believe that I don’t have to worry about football not happening this year, but I’m afraid I’m a long ways from feeling that about basketball. I’ve only got my ear semi-firmly pressed to the ground when it comes to sports chatter, but the majority of news you hear about the NFL is that a deal will ultimately get done. The debate seems to be more about how much training camp time will get cut and at most, will we lose any preseason games? On the NBA front, it’s more about whether they’ll lose a half or a whole season. I am confident that it’s now time for us to prepare for a significantly shortened 2011-2012 season. A great way to do that is to revisit the last season in which a work stoppage wiped out half the season. 1998 saw no basketball games played until February of 99, and when play finally resumed, it was a pretty dreadful season. The Kings were the top scoring team, and the only one to average triple digits, with an enormous 100.2 ppg. Nine or ten teams averaged less than 90 ppg. It’s safe to say that the rust showed. But a few things happened that turned out to set major changes of the tides in motion in the NBA that season. Can we expect similar changing of the guards this season? Let’s revisit some of the top storylines from the 1999 season…

The Spurs won their first NBA Championship, and of course, they’d go on to win three more after that. It was their second year with the short-lived twin towers, Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The Spurs were contenders in the years before, with the exception of the lost season of 96-97, which enabled them to land Tim Duncan in the draft. The strike-shortened 1999 season was just what they needed to get over the hump. The Spurs have been a dynasty ever since. In fact, 1999 was the last time the Spurs failed to win 50 games in a season. That’s tough to do when they only played 50 games that year.

Who could it be this year? Maybe the Cavaliers, perhaps? They spent the decade building a contender, but then their star player was lost. It only took the Spurs one year to turn it around, so why should we expect anything different from Cleveland? Like San Antonio, they were fortunate enough to land the number one pick and get a sure-fire franchise player. Or, do you disagree? Add to that, they had the fourth pick too, and got a perennial all-star there. Oh, don’t like that one either? Alright, so maybe they’re a longer shot to win it all this year, but I bet there will be one similarity there. Antawn Jamison’s 11-12 season will look a lot like Sean Elliott’s 98-99 year.

Michael Jordan was no longer there. His Airness retired after notching a second three-peat from 96 to 98. The Bulls immediately fell to the bottom of the standings, losing an unprecedented 37 games in the shortened season. That’s the most losses in a season they had since 1987. Fans and media immediately started searching for the next Jordan. Would it be 5, 10, 20 years before the next Jordan came along? Where are we at now…

Jordan still isn’t here. I think Kobe came pretty close there for a while, but until he gets another title, people will probably always point to the 6-5 championship edge for Jordan. Even if it gets tied up, winning rings with Shaq / Pau arguably has a lesser degree of difficulty than having Pippen as your next best guy. In the meantime, we can pretty much write off Lebron James and Dwyane Wade until further notice. They proved in this year’s finals that they won’t be producing any Jordanesque highlights in the closing seconds of games in the quantities that he did. Dirk’s “clutch” stock skyrocketed this year, but to be the next Jordan, you gotta do dunk contests, not three point shootouts. Though he did rock the tongue out like Jordan in this year’s finals.

Jason Williams took the league by storm. I’ve always felt that J-Will doesn’t get credited enough for his part in winning back the league’s fans. He came into the league as the seventh pick by the Kings and immediately started cranking out must see highlights. He was doing things that no one had really seen on the court to that point. In a year where the pace of play was at an all-time low, J-Will sped the pace up, and he MADE people watch. Practically overnight, his jersey became the biggest selling in the country. It helped that he got to play with newcomers Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, but he definitely played a key role in getting a franchise turned around and become a contender for years to come. I remember 1998 being called a weak draft, much like this year’s installment. Can anyone in this also weak draft class make a similar impact on the league and his franchise?

For the first time since the 1998 draft that produced Jason Williams, the Kings were to select seventh this year. There was no obvious pick, much like 98, so they took a gamble. Only this time it was on someone that already had a little more accompanying fanfare than the relatively unknown Williams had. It’s not too far fetched to imagine that Jimmer Fredette, depending on how his rookie season goes, could wind up being the hottest selling jersey in the league. I envision close to 80% of those sales coming the kids sizes, but I could see him being this year’s must see TV and help soften the blow of a lockout season. He doesn’t have the flashy ball-handling skills that J-Will had, but he has something of his own that no player has had in our lifetimes: his own range. Most rookies have to worry about adjusting to the distance of the NBA three point line. Not Jimmer. The new three point line isn’t even in Jimmer Range. Hopefully the pro game won’t force him to reel it in a bit, much like it did with Williams a few years in, because the 30 foot three bomb is the short white guy’s slam dunk. If Jimmer starts dropping 3 or 4 of those each night, every short white guy in America will be watching his games. Throw in the Mormon population, and the fact that he’s one of those guys you can’t find any reason to hate – unless he just torched your team for 40 or 50 points – the NBA could very well have it’s next lockout-shortened-season-savior.