Uh oh, the Yankees are on the brink of elimination tonight. To make matters worse, they’re sending AJ Burnett to the mound. Fortunately Major League Baseball is the least corrupt of the professional sports leagues. I can’t help but wonder, though, if NBA Commissioner David Stern was running MLB. First, they wouldn’t even be in this predicament in the first place. Why? Because the Red Sox would be in the playoffs right now. Remember that wild, amazing 162nd night of baseball we all had last Wednesday night? It never would’ve happened in the NBA since Stern would have made sure all the dollar signs associated with the Red Sox got in rather than the one dollar sign next to the Tampa Bay Rays. However, put in the position MLB is now, with the Yankees on the brink of elimination, and I know the NBA front office would be going crazy. We’d be in store for some of the worst umpiring ever witnessed tonight (we still may be). Here are some measures I would put in place tonight if I were David Stern (besides jumping in front of a train for the greater good of humanity)….
AJ Burnet suspended for insert prior incident here –This is quite simple. Dig up some prior incident on Burnett’s criminal record – surely he has one – and have someone close to the situation go public with it. There has to be an ex-girlfriend out there who can re-hash an old domestic altercation. Suspend Burnett, force the Yankees to start someone else, thus improving their chances of winning.
Exercise the Bartman Clause – Ever think back to the Bartman incident and think, “Hey, that would have been an out if it were the other team.”? Be it financial or something else, find a way to entice Detroit fans to reach over the wall. If they snag a ball out of play off a Tiger’s bat, then it’s an out. If a Yankee player hits it, give him a do over. This would really give New York a fair unfair advantage.
Humidor in the Yankee clubhouse – Oh man, this one makes David Stern drool! Unfortunately for him, it’d be impossible to make each team play with two different balls. Otherwise, he’d have done it in a heartbeat. In baseball, it can be pulled off. If I am Tigers player, I’m making sure to grab a ball while I’m at bat, and also grab one in the field, and then run scientific tests on it afterward. No big league player is going to do that though, so this move could be easily pulled off undetected.
Call more fouls – I know there’s no fouls in baseball (aside from foul balls), but one thing the NBA is really good at is star treatment. Fouls on Lebron James aren’t fouls on Lou Amundson. Let’s do the same thing in Major League Baseball. It’s true that supertstars already get special treatment. Look no further than Derek Jeter’s final at-bat last night in the 9th inning. Valvered threw a pitch for a ball that would have undoubtedly been called strike three against 99% of player. But let’s take it a step further. Let’s penalize other players for imeding the stars’ performance. Remember when A’s pitcher Dallas Braden told Alex Rodriguez to stay the f*** off his mound? Toss him! It’s the postseason now. The stakes are higher. If Porcello comes inside on Cano, throw him out of the game! There’s a good chance you can get Leyland out of there too.
There’s been a lot of hype about the movie Moneyball, but I still have yet to see it. I’m sure I will for sure one of these days, just not quite sure when. The opposite of the Moneyball A’s would probably be the Yankees. There was a funny spoof made at jest.com (a site I’d never heard of) if the Yankees were the subject of the movie. Clever and funny soundbites throughout. I must be losing my touch, because once again I can’t embed the video, but here’s the link. Enjoy!
Ok, someone uploaded it to youtube, so here’s the video without having to click on another site…
Man, were there a lot of knee jerk reactions this weekend. I had my share of knee jerk reactions to those knee jerk reactions. I had no other choice since I spent the majority of the weekend off the grid in spectacular Yosemite National Park. I had some spotty reception, and there was a TV in the tavern, but for the most part, I spent the weekend oblivious to what was going on in the world. The 20 minutes of sports I did catch was the SF Giants getting beat by the Astros, 5-0. I had no idea, until Sunday afternoon, once I touched back down in the California Central Valley, where there was reception again, that the 49ers – Raiders game was riddled with brawls and shootings. Well, you can’t say the Niners didn’t overreact to the incidents. So here’s my feelings on that, along with some other things….
49ers – Raiders Violence: Why wouldn’t these two fan bases wanna brawl? Both their teams sucks donkey balls, despite plenty of means to be a contender. They’ve both been deep in the postseason numerous times, but these times are hard for Bay Area football teams. It’s no surprise that fans would want to distract themselves from the garbage going on the field. But it doesn’t take a CSI cast member to see that the fights in the stand weren’t merely Raiders vs. 49ers fans. It was one group of dudes against another group of dudes. There was plenty of red on gold violence, and silver and black evil (which we call crime). For the 49ers to subliminally claim that Raider fans were to blame is ridiculous – much like their management of the franchise over the last decade. I’m the #1 apologist for Raider fans… I won’t claim responsibility for any of them, but it’s not that serious. The incidents that occurred at Candlestick Point this past weekend had very little to do with football. Yet, the 49ers’ brass wants to suspend all future preseason games against the Raiders. Alright man, if you’d rather fork over the cash for a charter flight and 50 hotel rooms in San Diego, go right ahead. I’m pretty sure a few extra security guards would be cheaper.
Raiders Grab Terrelle Pryor: Of course they did. Everyone knew the Raiders would go after Pryor, but it almost seemed too obvious. Now the naysayers are bantering about how soon he’ll be moved to wide receiver. Yet Pryor, along with agent Drew Rosenhaus, and according to them, Raiders management, all insist that Terrelle will remain a quarterback. Whether or not that comes to fruition, it’s a low risk – high reward move for Oakland. Because let me put it this way… IF TERRELLE PRYOR PLAYED NEXT YEAR AT OHIO STATE, WOULD YOU SAY THAT HE WOULD GO LOWER THAN THE SECOND ROUND?! ….DIDN’T THINK SO. So to give up a third round pick next year for a flier on Pryor, I’m with it. Especially when I think about how they would burn the pick next year. The Raiders have become a team that takes who they want, when they want. They reached on guys like Mike Mitchell and Demarcus Van Dyke, but that’s who they wanted, so it didn’t matter what pick it was.
Earthquakes Give A’s Home Field Advantage In Yankee Stadium: A 5.9 earthquake struck the East Coast yesterday, and so did the Oakland Athletics. Two violent aftershocks were reported, but were later discovered to be Brandon Allen home runs. The first baseman, acquired from Arizona for Brad Ziegler at the trade deadline, has immediately stepped into the starting first baseman role. Though he was expected to hold down the corner until Conor Jackson came back, Allen has remained at first – while Jackson has found his playing time in the outfield. The A’s have played as good of baseball as any team since the all-star break – unfortunately they’ve been too far out of the race – but a few newcomers have of all 90 of us fans excited for the future. There’s not a lot left to play for… but a sweep, or even just a series win, in the Bronx would do wonders for this team. The Yanks were clearly shaken by the earthquake earlier in the day, but that’s just business as usual for the Northern California A’s squad.
Matt Holliday Gets Earf*cked By A Moth: I had a giant moth land on my forehead today at the office, so I can relate. This story would have never caught my attention if I didn’t have a moth run in this morning. But my moth was way bigger than Matt Holliday’s. He had one burrow into his year. That’s some horror movie type stuff. I caught the interview with Holliday on ESPN radio this afternoon. He sad he felt a bug going crazy inside his ear. The doctors couldn’t see anything, but finally they broke out the light and were able to see something moving around in there. They tried to pull it out with tweezers, but kept only getting pieces of the wings. Holliday described the wings as basically flaking off. After some time, the doctor was able to grab the insect by the body and pull him out of Holliday’s ear. Nucking futs.
Even though I had my doubts when the Rangers drew the Rays in the first round, they still came through. For some reason I like the Rangers chances even more against the all mighty Yankees than I did against the Rays. Back in September when the Rangers swept the Yankees, I started to believe in them, and wrote a little about why. In that series they were without Josh Hamilton, and the Yankees were without A-Rod, so I figure those two injuries evened each other out lineup wise. What they got from that series more than anything was some extra confidence that they belong with the best. The Rangers have a swagger to them, there’s no way around it, and they’ve been that way all year. I know I brought this up in an older post, but I remember one game back in June when Ian Kinsler was yelling at the Angels players after the game in Arlington to get off their field. I thought it was kind of stupid since they played each other the next day, but it speaks volumes about this team’s mentality, and how together they are. I mean, how many teams would do a separate ginger ale celebration because one of their players is an addict? How many teams survive a manager’s dirty drug test? How many teams would have survived a bankruptcy during a season seeing guys that played in Texas eight years ago, still not being paid what was owed to them? Not many can go through that much turmoil in the workplace, but I think all those outside distractions just made them closer. They don’t roll over like the Twins did when things went wrong, they just move on to the next pitch. Continue reading
Tigers fans are probably cringing right now. Matt Nokes has got to be one of those names that just makes any Detroit fan shake his head. I may have been just a little whippersnapper in 1987, but I remember a pretty good AL Rookie of the Year race. Of course it would eventually go to my hometown hero, Mark McGwire, on the strength of 49 homers and 118 RBI. And first runner up may have gone to Kevin Seitzer of the Royals, but the guy I remember challenging McGwire for the trophy was Tigers’ catcher, Matt Nokes. Nokes was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round of the 1981 draft. He spent a few years in the minors, made his big league debut in 85, went 11 for 53 and was dealt the following offseason to Detroit in a multiplayer deal that was essentially the swapping of poo poo platters between the Giants and Tigers. Nokes made just 24 plate appearance for Detroit in 1986, but then he broke out in 87. While batting .289, the Tigers new star player jacked 32 home runs and drove in 87 RBI, which earned him an All-Star berth, a Silver Slugger award, and third place in the AL ROY voting. He even got some clown to give him an MVP vote. The future looked bright for Nokes….. but it wasn’t. He never topped any of those numbers, and despite a slight resurgence in New York with the Yankees in 91-92, he never really made any noise. Those were terrible Yankee teams, so the numbers didn’t mean much. To be honest, I probably haven’t even thought of Matt Nokes in years. I was contemplating a feature on Glenallen Hill or Milt Thompson, and somehow I stumbled upon Nokes. Here’s to you Tiger fans!
They don’t really have anything in common, it’s just what I felt like rambling about today. I’ve had a stretch of stuff to do, and that didn’t include much blogging. I guess it’s not a bad thing to have too much to do. If only there were more hours in the day! Anyways, it’s been somewhat slow in the sports world lately, but there were some things I felt like I wanted to get my opinion out there on, so skip to whatever interests you.
MLB Trade Deadline: I liked how much action we saw leading up to, and during the July 31st trade deadline. It seemed more active than normal. Everyone is praising the Yankees for their haul of Berkman, Kerns, and Wood.
Not too many poo poo platters this trade deadline... Mr. Hankey Approves!
Sure it’s nice, but I don’t really see any of them making much of a difference. All three of these guys would’ve been nice acquisitions four or five years ago, but now, not so exciting. After this weekend, I think the Rays did just as good by making a small move to get Chad Qualls. Maybe it’s the NY media trying to make everyone believe the Yankees made some genius moves, but I’m not really buying it. For me it comes down to two teams that were the big winners. The Rangers and the Padres made the moves that made the most sense for their teams to get to the playoffs. I won’t include Houston or Arizona, since we don’t really know how the trades will affect them for a few years. The Rangers addressed their biggest need in getting an ace, Cliff Lee. He hasn’t won a lot since he joined the rotation, but he’s saved the bullpen from having to do anything throwing complete games like it’s a AAA squad. They also added Christian Guzman and Jorge Cantu. They plugged up their hole at first base, and also found a replacement for Ian Kinsler since he went to the DL. I loved the meaning behind all three trades. It was especially surprising for a franchise that is bankrupt. Same goes for the Padres who have their layover until new management is in place, and they were also big winners in my eyes. They’ve been nothing short of amazing with the pitching staff and defense, but didn’t have many hitters that you really feared outside of Adrian Gonzalez. I thought they were done when they got Tejada, which MCeezy or me at this point really understand how he fit in. One thing about Tejada though, is if he’s in a good situation, he is going to fire everyone else up around him. Maybe being in the playoff hunt will spark his bat a little too. They also added Ludwick, which I was shocked to hear. Now they have a legitimate guy to put in front of or behind Gonzalez. I think these moves keep them ahead of the Giants in the NL West.
Stephen Curry’s New Team – I’m already ecstatic on the Warriors upcoming season, and adding David Lee to the roster is welcomed after the original shock of losing Anthony Randolph. Proven guy vs. a guy with a seemingly limitless ceiling. I guess you can’t argue with the proven guy that works hard with everything he does. With the new face of the franchise being Lee and Curry it may have moved the Warriors into a good character type of player instead of the me first attitude we’ve had over recent years, Monta, SJax, Baron (at times), Harrington, etc. The reason I started this ramble was that I am pretty pumped to see Curry made the cut for final 15 on team USA. No, not just because of the mancrush I have on him, but for the experience he’ll gain, and how it will help him down the road. I’m not sure he’ll make the final 12 man roster, but either way it’s a great thing for him to be there around some of the elite younger players in the league over the next month. Too bad his new teammate (David Lee) had to withdraw because of his finger, but here’s what should happen to Curry from this experience. A) He gets to play with guys that aren’t in the D-League (Pretty much the Warriors roster for the 2nd half of 2009-10). B) He might not be able to make a pact like the Miami Trio, since the dubs have him locked up for awhile, and hopefully never let him get away. I mean, he could try to make a pact with a guy like Durant, but that’s unlikely, so maybe he could make a pitch to Iguodala or Granger to move over to the Bay when their contracts are up (4 years). C) He gets to learn from Coach K., and hopefully gets some pointers on defense, and maybe learns a trick or two to stop turning the ball over. D) He gets to learn to play the ultimate team game, since winning is the ONLY thing that matters for Team USA. I don’t think I can say the same for a Nellie led Warriors squad that seems to just want to entertain at times. Hopefully when Nellie starts taking vacations in the season, the new owners dump him.
Brett Favre – Weird, he says he’s retiring for a third time, even though we saw him playing catch a few weeks ago with some High Scool kids. It’s a GREAT thing when a rumor comes out, and nobody believes it. Usually there are people on both sides of the fence, but with this one, nobody seemed to really believe he’s actually made his final decision. I guess it’s the ol’ boy who cried wolf. Love or hate the guy, he’s good for the league. I hate the guy, but do want to see him out there. I was giddy during that NFC Championship game. It was great to root for the Saints to pummel him over and over, and fortunately, they did! If he sucked last year like he did with the Jets, nobody would care half as much, and might be believing the rumor. It’s crazy that he’s the one controlling the NFC North. Is he texting to start a gambling conspiracy? The odds jumped quite a bit as soon as it was announced he is retiring, I’m just sayin… I hope it’s not true, because I like to root against him. It’s like Tiger for me, it’s not fun to root against him when he isn’t dominating. Or like my Raiders. Growing up, I would get crap from people all the time (hater nation), but now friends just feel sorry for me after losing for so long. Brett we need you as a villain, so I, like everybody else, don’t believe that you are retiring. Personally, I think it’s just a cop out, so he doesn’t have to go to training camps, and can make the Vikings bend over backwards buying him an armadillo farm to hunt at. Maybe he just likes the attention, but whatever the reason, I have a feeling he already knows what he wants to do, and that will be to play football.
On Sportsnation they put up a poll on Monday asking something to the tune of, Which is more likely to be a smash hit first?A-Rod hitting his 600th homer or Dinner for Schmucks (which is opening tomorrow). At the time I was thinking there’s no way A-Rod goes six games before he hits his 600th, but low and behold it still hasn’t happened, and I’m much more excited about Dinner for Schmucks coming out tomorrow than seeing him get to his milestone. I’m not a big “go to the movies” kind of guy, but this one seems like a can’t miss comedy. It will probably be one of the four I’ll see in a theater all year. Anyways, I’m usually pretty into milestones like this, but A-Rod’s 600th homer doesn’t really pique my interest.
I’m sure it has to do with the numerous guys breaking into the 500 and 600 HR clubs over the last decade, which has it’s diminished the worth a little in the PED era. Seven years ago, I wouldn’t have thought the 600 club would be achieved so easily/often. I never liked A-Rod, maybe because he’s an ass, maybe because we found out that he was a cheater in marriage and during his Mariners and Rangers days, and yes, there was that whole Dallas Braden thing. I can’t find one person that really even likes him, well, some Yankee fans probably do, but who cares about them. I think the real reason I can’t root for him is, he symbolizes the era. Lie, cheat, succeed, and get over paid for doing everything wrong. While he was HGH’d up (assuming he started in HS as some think), that’s about 350 HR’s to put in question. I’m not saying to take away 350 from his total, I’m more debating that he wouldn’t be on 599 yet. I have no idea what you’d shave off the total, 20, 50, 100? Who knows? I don’t really even care though, when it’s all said and done, I still want all the cheaters in the HOF as backwards as that sounds. The reason I come to this conclusion is that, it’s not completely the players fault baseball turned their heads on a more than obvious problem. I was never faced with these kinds of tough ethical decisions, so I can’t say I wouldn’t have tried PED’s of some sort if I was a really good player in that era. I’d like to say I wouldn’t, but the temptation of 70% of players around you using sounds tough.
I remember when Bonds was chasing his home run records, and maybe because I was a little younger, I thought it was more special, but I was rooting for the guy to break those records. No matter what people say about him, you have to admit, every time he came to the plate you wanted to see what he did, and he crushed some balls into the bay like nobody else ever will! Hell, Manny and Ortiz gave me that same kind of feeling, even if I wasn’t rooting for them. I always wanted to see their atbats. A-Rod just doesn’t do it for me, and it’s too bad because I want to care about greatness unfolding. He’s going to hit that 600th homer, and we’ll be talking about the 700th before you know it. I will be rooting against him the whole time, but that does nothing. I just don’t want him to be the face of this era. I’ve dedicated tomorrow to making sure I don’t watch A-Rod in Tampa, and help Dinner for Schmucks be a bigger opening day hit.
We had some very nice weather for Memorial Day weekend in California, which is probably why we didn’t get anything posted on the blog. As the ever so powerful NBA marketing campaign has taught me, we need to get back to the top of our game. So I’m back at the computer to dish out some MLB power rankings. San Diego, Cincy, and Oakland are by far the biggest surprises in the MLB as they all hold their respective divisional leads, and nobody saw that coming. If you did, you’re a liar! It was quite an eventful weekend, and maybe if you were camping you might not have known that Roy Halladay threw a perfect game or that the Lakers and Celtics are squaring off in the NBA Finals for another classic, yippee… Anyways, here’s who I see as the top 16 teams in the league.
#1 Tampa Bay Rays (34-17)
They may have struggled a little lately. Being swept by Boston and going 4-6 over their last ten isn’t encouraging, but they have to be tested sooner or later to see if they are indeed for real. It’s a long season, and that three game lead they have in the division could disappear quickly with everyone in the AL East playing well. I think they need Pena to hit a little better than .177, and the rest of their lineup has been in a little bit of a lull. I’m sure they will start hitting again. I don’t see any Phillies like slumps coming on.
#2 New York Yankees (31-20)
The Yankees are starting to put up some runs and wins in bunches. They’ve only lost one series this whole season, and whenever you see them on your teams schedule, you are worried. I almost put them atop my rankings, but just couldn’t talk myself into it since they are three games back. The Yankees have a cakewalk in June, so don’t be surprised to see them atop the AL East by the end of the month.
#3 Minnesota Twins (31-20)
I dismissed the Twins in our predictions for the season, but when fantasy drafts came around I was all in on guys like Morneau, Mauer, and Span for all my leagues. Seems like they love their new digs. They are 19-9 in their brand new Target Field. Nick Blackburn just finished off an amazing month going 5-0 with a 2.49 era. Twins are finally liking that extension they gave him. I still can’t figure out why I didn’t see them as this good when the year started.
#4 San Diego Padres (31-20)
How do the Padres have the best record in the NL going into June? It’s a loaded question. Are they a $38 million team, built for now!?! I’ll go out on a limb and say no, but the future is as bright as the sunshine in SD. What’s amazing is they could conceivable take on some big names around the trade deadline instead of shopping AGon and Heath Bell around like we all thought they would be doing. Matt Latos went 4-1 in May with a ridiculous 1.49 ERA. Looks like they got a pretty good pitcher from Chicago in the Peavy deal. Continue reading
It’s been a few weeks since we had our last power rankings up, and the landscape has changed a little now that we are about 1/5th of the way through the season. There were a few teams that fell out of the rankings, and some that moved up from the first power rankings we did. I’m really pumped that I haven’t had to put the Angels on the list. I think as long as Fuentes stays their closer that will help keep them off the list. Anyways, here’s how the top 16 shaking out.
#1 Tampa Bay Rays (22-10) – Getting zero hits and zero runs in one game doesn’t lose you the top spot, especially when it was the first time they lost two straight on the road all season, and it took perfection to do it. The Rays worst starter ERA is Wade Price’s 3.18, and is the reason they are doing so well. We will see if they can hold up when they start playing in their division more. If the Yankees hadn’t mirrored their losses, I may have moved the Rays down a spot.
#2 New York Yankees (21-10) – They’ve only lost one out of ten series they’ve played in this season. Maybe if Brett Gardner played a little better they might be number one, haha, just kidding. I’m pretty shocked how good Gardner is doing, and if he keeps it up I’ll be mad I didn’t pick him up for the fantasy team. Swisher has been great lately too, which makes me somewhat root for them, because I love my former A’s players. They’ve lost a couple in a row, but there are no concerns in NY now that Texiera seems to finally be seeing the ball.
#3 Philadelphia Phillies (20-12) –After taking three of four from the Cards, and playing ten days in a row going 8-2 makes me think they must be the best team in the NL right now. Jason Werth wants that huge contract this winter hitting .329 with 26 RBI’s already! Their starting pitching is doing well as of late too only giving up 8 earned runs over their last six games.
#4 Minnesota Twins (21-11) – No Mauer, no problem. Wilson Ramos seems like he belongs as someone’s backstop in the league. He might be able to take up a few extra games behind the plate sliding Mauer to the DH more often, so he can stay a little fresher. I don’t see why not with the way Ramos burst onto the scene last week (10 hits in his first three games). The Twins pitching has been better than I expected. They are +48 in run differential, and have allowed the sixth fewest runs, a good recipe for success.
#5 San Diego Padres (19-12) – I along with everyone are wondering when will they fade? Not anytime soon, if their pitching keeps going the way it has. They are tied with the Giants for the fewest runs allowed (97). They don’t hit for average or power, but they do lead the league in stolen bases, and seem to push the right buttons in their small ball approach. When Adrian Gonzalez starts heating up, watch out NL West! Continue reading
We now we have three solid weeks of baseball action in the books, and it looks like it’s time to look at how the top 16 teams stack up. MCeezy did a premature power rankings four games into the year, and it looks like that will likely be the last time the Giants and A’s lead the way. I’d love to see Battle of the Bay Part II, but unsurprisingly I don’t see anyway that would happen.
#1 Tampa Bay Rays – Nobody should be surprised to see the Rays playing so well or at the top of the rankings. We knew they could score runs, but we didn’t know that they’d have Garza and Price dominating the way they have! The Rays are 9-1 on the road including a sweep of the ailing Red Sox. They are trying to make a push in what could be the final year they are all together. I hope they do, and that’s why I picked them to win it all!
#2 Minnesota Twins – Who needs Joe Nathan!?!
Is this the Bash Brothers Version 2.0?
Losing him hasn’t hurt them on their way to one of their best starts in recent memory at 13-6. Rauch has been a huge pickup for fantasy teams, and has been great for the Twins closing out games. Justin Morneau looks like he’s finally healthy and back to his old MVP form. Mauer wants to continue off his stellar 2009 campaign, and has kept that MVP form thus far. Maybe Nike should look into getting these two guys some MVPuppet commercials.
#3 New York Yankees – They just lost their first series of the year, but this biggest concern should be Vasquez, who has been terrible donning the pinstripes compared to his solid 2009 season in Atlanta. It’s just reminding us that moving from the NL to the AL East isn’t a good move (see Brad Penny). Tex still isn’t hitting, but he will eventually…
#4 St. Louis Cardinals – Speaking of Penny, going from the Sox to the Cards seems to have helped him regain his form (3-0, 0.95 ERA). They’ve have great offensive players that don’t need to be mentioned, and now a trio of solid pitchers. Even Piniero is pitching well. Dave Duncan know how to mold pitchers to their strengths!
#5a Oakland Athletics – 12-8 doesn’t seem like that noteworthy of a start, but there is noway before the season started you could convince me that they would be atop the west for this much of April or any of it for that matter. Since 1992, they have only started 12-8 once, so there’s some reason for renewed but reserved optimism in Oakland. Their new style of play has them winning sooner than expected. Lots of injuries already though, and hopefully it’s not a sign that 2007-09 injury plagued seasons are going to continue. Gio has the highest ERA of 3.68 out of all their starters, which is amazing! This stat sums up the main reason they lead the league in starters ERA, and are close enough to win any given game.
#5b. San Diego Padres – Bud Black seems to have his guys playing some great baseball. This is the second team in a row that everyone, including myself, had very low expectations for. You may want to call their owner Uncle Scrooge with their $38M payroll, but the guys in there are playing smart, and have been opportunistic on the base paths, and helped them score some runs! It’s surprising how good their offense has been, and just like the A’s they are stealing bases, and have guys hitting for good averages. We will see if that starting pitching can hold up… Continue reading
Yesterday Dallas Braden got a little peeved when A-Rod broke an unspoken baseball rule by running across the mound. Robinson Cano was at the plate and hit a foul ball and A-Rod went from 1st to 3rd. A-Rod returned to first base by running across the top of the mound, and Braden was furious about the action, and after Cano grounded out on the next play Braden had to be pulled/escorted off the field by A’s Manager Bob Geren as he tossed out some lyrical pitches in the form of f-bombs in A-Rod’s direction. Here’s the analysis from Harold Reynolds on MLBTV. After the game, Braden spoke of the unspoken rule that the pitcher owns the mound, and no player should be on the mound besides the pitcher out of respect. Here is some of the he said she said that went on…
A-Rod told reporters “He just told me to get off his mound. I was a little surprised. I’ve never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I’ve never even heard of that in my career and I still don’t know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually.
Braden had a little more to say about getting so fired up, “The long and short of it is it’s pretty much baseball etiquette. He should probably take a note from his captain over there,” referring to Yankees leader Derek Jeter, “because you don’t run across the pitcher’s mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind. I was just trying to convey to him that I was still out there, that ball’s in my hand and that’s my pitcher’s mound. If he wants to run across the pitcher’s mound, tell him to go do laps in the bullpen. That’s my mound … He’s right. I don’t even have a handful of wins. I have three. Do the math A-Rod.”
I think Braden may have over reacted a little, but it’s not like A-Rod is a guy that’s known for his etiquette. Many recall the incident in Toronto when he yelled Ha rounding third base causing the 3rd baseman to drop the ball. The only problem I have with A-Rod is taking a shot at Braden’s win loss total. If he is that insignificant, you don’t need to say it, we all know how many wins he has. I said about a week ago that, Braden is a gamer, he’s the type of fiery competitor you love to have on your team. He was getting over a sickness so maybe that is what made him extra cranky.
Here we go… Easter lunch is out of the way, so now the real holiday can begin – no disrespect to Jesus of course. Two of Major League Baseball’s top franchises will take the diamond tonight and kick of the 2010 season. Normally I’d be as interested in a Yankees-Red Sox affair as I would in a Spurs-Jazz snoozefest, but tonight, I’m so starved for baseball I can’t wait to see these guys in action. Aside from the whole Opening Night thing, there’s plenty of other storylines to keep me glued to the tube. Sure, it’s a rivalry game featuring the defending champions blah blah blah, but here is what has got me excited…
CC Sabathia vs. Josh Beckett – Forget great Opening Day matchups, this is about as good a matchup as you’ll see on any given day in baseball. Sabathia is a Bay Area product, so he’s got plenty of supporters at Doin Work. He’s also one of the preseason favorites for the AL Cy Young Award. While Beckett isn’t as high on the Cy Young list, he’s still one of the best pitchers in the game. He may not have the hardware that most pitchers covet, but I’m sure he wouldn’t trade his two World Series rings or his World Series MVP for anything. One might anticipate a pitcher’s duel tonight, but there’s so much firepower on the offensive side for both teams that there are sure to be some runs put on the board as well.
New Additions – Each team picked up one guy I’m looking forward to seeing make their debut tonight. The Yankees replaced Johnny Damon in center field with former Tiger, Curtis Granderson. Granderson is quietly emerging as an elite player in this league, and the Yankees coveting him only further cements that. If he can get his average back up closer to .300 this year, he’ll surely build on his first all-star berth last year with many more to come, since there’ll be no shortage of exposure playing the Big Apple. The Red Sox, on the other hand, tested my hatred of them by signing the legendary Marco Scutaro. Even if Scutaro spurned the A’s to sign with Boston, he can do absolutely nothing to ever stop me from being a fan.
John Lackey in a Boston Uniform – You know how there are certain things that make you cringe or gag at the sight of it? I’m willing to bet that John Lackey donning a Red Sox jersey is going to be one of those. As much as I dislike the Red Sox, there’s not really any players on the team that I hate, aside from Papelbon of course. I think Lackey is going to be that guy, and I look forward to it. I’m actually going to keep a trash can by the couch to start the game in case the first camera shot of Lackey makes me throw up. It could happen.
First Fantasy AB of the Year – I try to keep my fantasy nerdom to a minimum here on the blog, but I can’t lie…. When Granderson steps into the box to face Beckett in the first pitch of the season, my squad, Five Tool Academy, is going to have a monopoly on fantasy stats for the duration of the at-bat. Beckett returns to my team by way of the draft (7th rd) after helping HolyShirtsandPants secure third place in last year’s league. Granderson is a new addition after being selected in the 5th round as part of my five tool plan, complementing other power/speed combo players Matt Kemp, BJ Upton, and Adam Jones. The fantasy season won’t be won with one at bat, but it starts here.
I remember reading about Pat Venditte when the Yankees drafted him. He’s the only ambidextrous (switch pitcher) I’ve ever seen or really heard of. I hope he makes it, mainly to see him switch throwing arms on different batters. I’m not sure how good his stuff is, but if he has some good movement he will always have a favorable match up. He has a six fingered glove that allows him to use the glove on both hands. Anyways, the at-bat below between him and a switch hitter towards the end of the season in Class A ball game for the Yankees prompted The Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC) to make the following rule. If nothing else happens, and he doesn’t make the pros, at least he put his stamp on the game!
The Pat Venditte Rule
The pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter. Engaging the rubber with the glove on a particular hand is considered a definitive commitment to which arm he will throw with. The batter will then choose which side of the plate he will bat from.
The pitcher must throw one pitch to the batter before any “switch” by either player is allowed.
After one pitch is thrown, the pitcher and batter may each change positions one time per at-bat. For example, if the pitcher changes from right-handed to left-handed and the batter then changes batter’s boxes, each player must remain that way for the duration of that at-bat (unless the offensive team substitutes a pinch hitter, and then each player may again “switch” one time).
Any switch (by either the pitcher or the batter) must be clearly indicated to the umpire. There will be no warm-up pitches during the change of arms.
If an injury occurs the pitcher may change arms but not use that arm again during the remainder of the game.
I guess it might be a stretch, since none of the four teams residing in the AL West are truly considered a threat to knock the Yankees off their thrown, but is there really anyone that looks like they can derail the Yankees besides injuries? I don’t think so… Can you name the only division that had three teams finish the season with 85 wins? Surprisingly, it’s the AL West! Sure you can argue that the AL East had three 84 win teams, but the basement is a lot worse than it is in the West.
The Yankees have pushed over the $1 billion mark in payroll a long time ago, and the Red Sox aren’t all that far behind, so we’ve been trained to see the East as far superior. Surprisingly the AL West had a great record versus the East going 95-79 in 2009. I think the best team in the West (Angels) regressed a little over the off-season losing their horse/ace in Lackey, and their versatile infielder Figgins, and that has put the division up for grabs.
I felt that Seattle made the biggest push to be a force in the west by trading for a bonafied yearly Cy Young contender, Cliff Lee, and last year’s runner up Felix Hernandez was already there setting up one of the deadliest duos in the league. They also stole Figgins away from the Angels, which should get them two guys on base if Ichiro and Figgy are hitting one and two. Milton might be able to knock them in if he’s on the field for more than 80 games, but that’s a big IF.
The Rangers bolstered their roster, but there are question marks already on the health of the players they signed. Vlad seems past his prime, but if he can be productive anywhere, it’s going to be in Arlington where careers being revived happens. They also signed the often injured Rich Harden, which could be a boost if they have a plan b for all the starts he gets scratched from each year. They were in the race for the West crown up to the last couple weeks, and have a ton of young talent that will only be better this coming season. It seems like a lot of the experts are picking them to win the west this year, but those predictions don’t seem to have much confidence behind them.
I’ll do my A’s preview a little closer to the season when I’ve gathered all my expectations of them, but honestly, all I’m hoping for from them is to stay healthy for once. We’ve used the DL more over the past two years than anytime in franchise history, and broke records two straight years in a row for DL usage. Not a good stat for a young team trying to figure out what pieces go where, and far from a recipe for success! Not sure about the offense, but the pitchers must be happy to have a true ace on the staff in Sheets. They owned a better run differential than Seattle last year, so there’s some hope!
All in all, I’d say the top teams of the AL West aren’t as good as the AL East. From top to bottom though, the West has teams that will be able to pull out wins night in and night out. You know you aren’t getting that from Toronto or Baltimore, who have both probably already given up on this year. I’d say that one distinct advantage that the West has over the East is in the farm systems. The East gets better through buying free agents that most of the time we can’t afford, and the West gets better by building up their prospects from within. I’m pretty pumped to see how it all shakes out, and one thing is for sure, the West is up for grabs this year with none of the teams completely out of the picture. Can’t say the same for the AL East.
What really defines the best division in baseball? The degree of difficulty? The balance from top to bottom? General intrigue?
Maybe I’ve been worn down from all the northeastern hype, and the YES network, but I believe there’s a solid argument that the west is the “best” division in baseball!
I’m still having trouble getting excited about the World Series this year. This game is intriguing to me though. I guess it took sending a former A’s player to the mound in Joe Blanton for me to get excited about it. I think Blanton will do better than people expect him to, especially since fans in Philly and New York are doubting him. He could go six and hold the Yankees to two or three. I was kind of excited to see Swisher actually do something last night, but in the midst of Halloween celebrations, there were other things that were more worthy of my attention. The old CC on short rest storyline is always over hyped. The guy has done it like fifty times already, we don’t need to keep hearing about it. I’m sure he’ll be extra fired up after losing the first one to Lee. One thing I’ll never understand about A-Rod is how all of New York forgives him when he gets one hit. If we start hearing the Mr. October bs again, I might have to boycott the rest of the series. Hasn’t he been sucking just as bad as Ryan Howard this whole series? Hopefully Blanton’s tendency to give up the long ball doesn’t include him serving one up to A-Rod… Jayson Werth has been hands down the scariest hitter on either team. I hope Philly can pull out a win, but they might have to wait another night like when they have Lee on the mound. I’m hoping for a slugfest tonight, which would improve Philly’s winning odds. Hopefully they can get to CC early or else they probably won’t get to him at all.