Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ty Willingham let go by Notre Dame

This came as a surprise to me. Sure he was just 21-15 in his three years and sure he got smacked around by USC 41-10 last Saturday night but he wasn't Bob Davie bad (at least so I thought).

Of course one of my first thoughts was that now there are only 2 black head football coaches at the NCAA 1-A level and that is a sham. Universities are the most liberal bastions in our society and for university president's to allow this to happen is criminal (compared to major college football - Bull Connor's Birmingham of the sixties was fully integrated).

The discrimination against black head coaches is a disgrace but it is also a separate issue. Notre Dame felt a change was needed and it wasn't because of the color of Willingham's skin.

The leading candidate to replace Willingham is rumored to be Utah's Urban Meyer who was an ND assistant coach from 1996-2000. Meyer would be a good choice but I would like to mention another possibility - New England's offensive co-ordinator Charlie Weis (who is an ND alum).

Another coach who deserves a look-see by ND would be Boston College's Tom O'Brien who has beaten ND four years running and is used to running a program that both has high academic standards but still manages to turn out many NFL caliber players. Think about it - the players O'Brien is recruiting today all have to pass BC's entrance requirements but he still manages to win. The high academic standards of ND have been a fool's excuse for too long. The New England Patriots have more college graduates than any team in the NFL and are probably the smartest team. You want a smart team! Teams don't lose because they were too smart.
Robert Downey Jr.

He should be stopped before he sings again.

He's Don Johnson, Eddie Murphy bad as a singer.

The words "no talent ass-clown" come to mind.
Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs is on the Hall of Fame ballot this year and while I concede that he'll probably get in please consider the following:

- Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly came into the league in the same year. If at any point in his career Mattingly was offered to the Red Sox straight up for Boggs - then they make that deal in a heartbeat. Don Mattingly will not get into the Hall of Fame but Wade Boggs will.

- Robin Ventura had 176 more HR, 168 more RBI, and 4 more Gold Gloves than Boggs (in two fewer seasons). It can be argued that Ventura was much better than Boggs and personally I would rather have had Ventura. The very fact that this can legitimately be argued should make you question Boggs worthiness for induction.

- Dwight Evans and Jim Rice were always considered more valuable to their Red Sox teams than Wade Boggs ever was. Both finished with way more total bases than Boggs but yet neither will make the Hall of Fame while Boggs probably does.

Wade Boggs is the definition of paper great.
Looking Back

Looking back at the Martha Burk / Augusta National flap - the thing I find the most amusing is the fact that among credits given to Martha Burk - she was often also described as a syndicated columnist. I have never met anyone who has seen any of her columns in print... Looking back, every time I think of President Reagan I picture him smiling and confident.... Looking back at this year's presidential election, the thing I found funniest was the fact that John Kerry's college soccer coach used to call him "the didler"... Looking back, the Dave Cowens led Celtics won two NBA championships while the Larry Bird led Celtics won three but Dave Cowens never seems to get the kind of recognition he deserves... Looking back, whenever I picture Jimmy Carter he is always frowning, dour and worried....

Monday, November 29, 2004

Separated at Birth?





Mr. Potato Head and Mike Holmgren
Re-Readable Books

Hugh Hewitt wants to hear from Bloggers about books that they re-read (I think that is more correct than "reread").

As I have gotten older I have gotten away from re-reading books because time is too precious. I have also found that I no longer feel obligated to finish every book I pick up. If I start a book now and I just can't get into it - then back on the bookshelf it goes. I used to not be able to do that. A bad book would stay on my bedside table until the task was complete but no more - life's too short for boring books.

When I was in high school I used to read Trinity by Leon Uris every year. I think it was my way of trying to connect with my Irish roots. However, I haven't picked up that book in 20-years - so I won't count it (now I try to connect with my Irish roots by drinking Guinness - brilliant!).

Today the fiction books I occasionally re-read include:

- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. I try to read this each year just about the time the battle of Gettysburg occurred. This book puts me in mind of the sacrifices that were made by hundreds of thousands so that we would have the country we have today.

- Most things by Hemingway but especially A Moveable Feast (which I consider his finest work). I will also re-read Steinbeck's Cannery Row.

- One of my all-time favorites is The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham. Bill Murray tried to do a "serious movie" based on this book and it got me interested in both the book and in Maugham (who is very under-rated - especially as a short story writer). I'm not 100% sure but I think the often colorful Larry, Darryl and his other brother Darryl from the show Newhart were some sort of strange tribute to the main character of The Razor's Edge (which of course has nothing to do with why I re-read it but I thought worth mentioning).

- The Harry Potter books are on my list of books I re-read and I have no shame about it! In fact when the new book comes out I'll be first in line. As it stands, I've read each book at least twice and will re-read a particular book right before the movie based on the book comes out (so I can see what the director chose to leave out of the movie). For the record - Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite so far (both movie and book).

I think that maybe the key to a work of fiction being "re-readable" is length. If a book is short enough (say under 250 pages) - then I don't feel bad about spending the couple of sittings to re-read the book (of course that doesn't explain why I've re-read Lord of the Rings so many times). It doesn't seem to matter if the book was a classic (Hemingway) or pure entertainment (Harry Potter) - brevity seems to be the key to re-readability.

Flotsam and Jetsam

I think it is great that Sports Illustrated named the Boston Red Sox as the Sportsmen of the Year but the cynic in me thinks that the fact that members of Red Sox Nation will surely buy the issue by the armful may have played a part in the selection. I mean the folks at SI know that picking the Sox meant selling the most copies... Is this irony, poetic justice or what?... There should be a word to describe the act of drinking the milk straight from the bowl after you have eaten the cereal... Heh heh - I think anyone who blogs will appreciate this...
Freedom in the Ukraine

The election troubles in the Ukraine are still fighting for media exposure against the latest revelations about Princess Di in this country. One thing I found interesting in the Ukraine story was the involvement of people like Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa.

In the 1980's - Havel and Walesa were the symbols of freedom in Eastern Europe. They remain steadfast supporters of freedom to this day which is why their involvement in this story is newsworthy.

Who are the symbols of freedom from the United States?

It isn't Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton. Their embracing of dictators during their presidency make any endorsement of democracy now less than genuine. Do you remember the joke that was Jimmy Carter the last time he got involved with certifying a presidential election abroad?

Probably the historical enduring symbol of freedom from the United States will be Ronald Reagan. (The New York Times or John Kerry may not have been fans but ask Havel or Walesa what they thought of Reagan.) With Reagan passed on the question remains - who is the living, breathing symbol of freedom from the US?

George H W Bush could bear the mantle but he has to be careful not to step on his son's toes and to be honest - Reagan did the real heavy lifting while Bush Sr. was there to get the ball in from the three yard line. Meanwhile George W Bush is a sitting president and has certain constraints that preclude him.

I would nominate Nancy Reagan. She is old and has earned her rest but if she went to the Ukraine she would be a powerful symbol for those who wish to cheat the people to have to deal with.

Nancy Reagan would be sniped at by the liberal media but in the hearts and minds of Eastern Europe and the former territories of the USSR she would be a force. A symbolic force that would carry the legacy of her husband.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Red Sox Roster

Just thinking out loud.

When I go through the Red Sox roster in my head and try to figure out the total salaries to be paid out in 2005 - I come up with the following:

- With Doug Mirabelli back in the fold - that leaves 9 roster slots and about $42.5 million to spend (assuming that the Sox want to stay at $120 million or less)

- If the Sox re-sign Pedro Martinez for about $13 million per year - that leaves 8 slots with $29.5 million to spend.

- If the Red Sox have to keep BK Kim - that leaves 7 roster slots and $24.5 million to spend (Kim will make $6 million this year but the cap number is only $5 million). As an aside - don't you think Theo Epstein is trying everything he can to trade Kim?

- Those 7 slots are for shortstop, catcher, utility infielder, back-up outfielder, starting pitcher and 2 middle relief guys. Shortstop (Orlando Cabrera), catcher (Jason Varitek) and starter (Derek Lowe's spot) are the three most important spots to fill.

- Varitek is looking for about $10 million per year, Cabrera probably wants about $8 million and a third starter is probably going to cost between $7-9 million per year. That's $26 million for those three players when there's only $24.5 million left to spend and 4 other spots to fill.

- If all three (Cabrera, Varitek and Lowe) were given arbitration and accepted - it would probably cost the Red Sox about $22-23 million.

- The Sox have offered Varitek a contract worth $8.5 million per year. That would leave 6 roster slots and $16 million to spend.

- The Sox need a top 3rd starter - so they will probably have to spend between $7-9 million there. That would leave 5 roster slots and just about $8 million. That means that the Sox can't afford a shortstop in Cabrera's price range (which explains why they have not extended any offers to Cabrera as of yet).

- Of course if Pedro doesn't re-sign - then the entire math is different. The bottom line is that the Sox can't afford everyone and right now it looks like Cabrera is on the outside looking in. Of course if Varitek goes for more money elsewhere - then Cabrera is back in (even though the Sox have Hanley Ramirez about a year away). If Pedro goes elsewhere then both Varitek and Cabrera are back in the tent.

Of course I could be completely wrong.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Is This What is Meant by Gun Control?

This is pretty funny.

Found via Leather Penguin.
OK - I'll Say It!

Is it just me or does the Yankees front office seem to make a major bonehead move involving one of their starting pitchers every year?

This year they opted against picking up Jon Lieber's $8 million option. Now if they are to resign Lieber (or replace him) it will cost at least $8 million per year but it have to be at least a 3-year contract!

Last year they neglected to offer Roger Clemens arbitration which made him a free agent. Sure they thought he was retiring but offering arbitration would have cost them nothing and they would have retained his rights. (You can also argue not resigning either Andy Petitte or David Wells as bonehead moves.)

The year before they traded Ted Lilly to get Jeff Weaver. We all know how well Weaver worked out for the Yankees. In the end - the Yankees basically traded Lilly for Kevin Brown (who they can't wait to get rid of) and now Lilly is perhaps the best left-handed starter in the AL East. Do you think the Yankees would love to swap Brown for Lilly today?
One of the Greatest Internet Exchanges of All-Time

We are approaching the one year anniversary of one of the greatest Internet exchanges of all-time - so I thought I would post this link.

Just for the record - in shark vs. bear - I go with bear.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Flotsam and Jetsam

I think the supposed pending trade between the A's and Pirates will actually be good for both sides. The A's would send Arthur Rhodes and Mark Redmond to the Pirates and the Pirates would send Jason Kendall (and probably at least $5 million in cash) to the A's. Kendall has the reliability and high OBP that Billy Beane loves and the Pirates have young bats but need pitching (and they need out from under Kendall's contract). Kendall's contract isn't so bad for the A's because they get out from Redmond's contract (they have young cheap arms who will easily replace his innings) and Rhodes just wasn't working in Oakland. I like the deal for both teams... Was the Cowboys / Bears the most excrutiating game to watch this year or what? That game definately needed more cowbell... Did you know that the song "Over the river and through the woods (to Grandmother's house we go)" is actually a Thanksgiving song? I did not know that. I also didn't know that the river in the song is actually the Mystic River right here in Massachusetts...
Morning Links

- The NBA - it's Taser-ifferic!

- BC Must Beat Syracuse!

- Peter Gammons posted a day before Thanksgiving column (in case you missed it)

- Top 10 Seinfeld Sports Momments

- VDH also snuck his weekly column in on Wednesday

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Day

I didn't realize until just yesterday that most of the nation does not have high school football on Thanksgiving Day. I'm truly shocked by the revelation.

What does everyone do on Thanksgiving Day morning if they're not watching football?

Thanksgiving football is a HUGE tradition in my neck of the woods. Today will be the 99th meeting of Leominster vs. Fitchburg and it will be the 80th meeting of St. Peter-Marian vs. St. John's.

Seriously - no high school football in the morning? Yikes!
Flotsam and Jetsam

Last year the two biggest weaknesses on the Patriots were the running game and punting - and they won the Super Bowl. This year they have Corey Dillion making the running game a huge plus and Josh Miller averaging better than 45 yards a punt. The increased ability of the Patriots to use up the clock and control field position should not be overlooked. This is a much better team than last year... Al Gore was born 9 months after aliens supposedly landed at Roswell, NM. That sounds like something directly out of a Simpson’s “Tree House of Terror” episode but it’s true.... Hey - what ever happened to Rod "Shooter" Beck?... Here’s what Theo Epstein’s father had to say when Epstein was named GM at the tender age of 28, ''It's a little dizzying, that's a good word,'' said Theo's father, ''but at Theo's age, Alexander the Great was already general manager of the world.'' I’m not sure if the father was kidding or just trying to keep Theo humble. I have to wonder if Theo’s dad goes around telling people who are 32 years old, “You know at your age Alexander the Great was dead.”... Martha Burk and the NWCO plan to protest outside of the offices of American Movie Classics because of AMC’s showing of the movie, “Twelve Angry Men”. Burk wants AMC to stop showing movies with exclusively male casts...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Heh Heh

From the twisted mind of John McGurk (aka Flower Blossom):
Before we go any further, a tangent. While checking the dictionary for a spelling of the word vaginally, I discovered the word vagabondage, which is a noun form of the adjective vagabond. Webster’s defines vagabondage as “the state or condition of being a vagabond.” I, on the other hand, define vagabondage as my ticket to Easy Street, because the word inspired a brilliant idea that will surely make me millions: S & M videos starring homeless people. Get it? Vagabondage – that’s the name of the videos. We’ll have a whole series! Vagabondage 1: Hobos in Heat. Vagabondage 2: Back Alley Lovin’. Vagabondage 3: Are You Gonna Eat That? Hell, the double entendre alone should reel in the renters.

Seriously, this idea has all the makings of a winner. It’s ingenious, it’s never been done, it appeals to people’s most despicable instincts, and it’s cheap as hell to make. I mean, what’s my financial outlay? Some whips, some ball gags, a few bottles of Mad Dog and some Handi Wipes and I’m home free. All I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if by this time next year I’m writing my dick jokes from the comfort of a five-bedroom Spanish Colonial in the Hollywood Hills and my pool boy is a 17-year-old Mexican girl named Vanessa.
Oh - and he also has something to say about Detroit fans ALMOST being as bad as Philly fans.

Catcher Comparison

Catcher A - first six full seasons with the Red Sox - 647 games, 69 HR, 287 RBI, .274 batting average.

Catcher B - first six full seasons with the Red Sox - 694 games, 79 HR, 345 RBI, .265 batting average.

So far Catcher B looks like the better player. How about if I tell you that both players were universally praised by their pitching staffs? Still pretty equal but an edge has to still be with Catcher B. How about if I tell you that at the end of their first six years with the Red Sox Catcher A was only 26 and that Catcher B was 31? That changes it a little. How about if I added that Catcher A was named to the All-Star team twice but Catcher B was just named a single time?

Dispassionately you might say that Catcher A might be the better value after six seasons with the Red Sox because of his age - but when you know that Catcher A is Rich Gedman and Catcher B is Jason Varitek - I bet most of you who hadn't already figured this out did a 180 change of opinion and decided that this information has no value.

Does this information have value? Maybe and maybe I was just bored and curious and maybe this information cannot be viewed in any proper context (and maybe I went to the same high school as Rich Gedman and am predisposed to defend him or sing his praises).

I do know that a wrist injury robbed Gedman of his hitting ability (and turned him into a much mocked one handed swinger). I also know that Bill James often looks at a player's best three seasons as a way of comparing players from the same position. Lets take a look at Gedman's best three seasons vs. Varitek's.

Gedman:

1984 - 24 HR, 72 RBI, .269 BA, 118 OPS+
1985 - 18 HR, 80 RBI, .295 BA, 126 OPS+
1986 - 16 HR, 65 RBI, .258 BA, 100 OPS+

Varitek:

1999 - 20 HR, 76 RBI, .269 BA, 100 OPS+
2003 - 25 HR, 85 RBI, .273 BA, 120 OPS+
2004 - 18 HR, 73 RBI, .296 BA, 121 OPS+

The numbers again are pretty even.

Maybe all this excercise proves is that Rich Gedman was a pretty good catcher at his peak or maybe all this information does is raise the question, "How much would you pay Rich Gedman in today's market?" That question has bearing on Varitek because if he is just the equal of Gedman then maybe he shouldn't expect to get paid like Carlton Fisk in his prime.
Great Thanksgiving Story

My favorite Thanksgiving story comes from Gabe Kaplan (of Welcome Back Kotter fame).

When Gabe was a kid – his older sister was embarrassed about becoming a young woman. She used to have the young Kaplan go into the drug store to buy her Sanitary Napkins. Gabe was curious and asked his sister just what these things were.

“Oh, they’re special occasion napkins,” she would reply.

This explanation was enough for Kaplan and he didn’t give it another thought.

Then one Thanksgiving morning – young Gabe was left alone at home while his parents and older sister drove to the airport to pick up his uncle. Gabe was left with the job of setting the table for Thanksgiving. Then it occurred to him, “what could be more of a special occasion than Thanksgiving?”

Needless to say – his parents were confused, his sister was very embarrassed but his uncle couldn’t stop laughing when they came home and saw the creative way young Gabe had set the table for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Bill Simmons on the Malice at the Palace

Good piece from Bill "the Sports Guy" Simmons - money quote:
Look, I'm not comfortable with what happened, but I'm a realist. The NBA has been straddling this line for years: crazy players, boozed-up crowds, everyone on top of one another. Throw in a sense of entitlement for some fans -- they take escalating ticket prices and mind-boggling salaries as a free pass to belittle players -- and this was inevitable. If the league truly wants to prevent riots, why does it sell beer after halftime? Why let drunken troublemakers sneak down into premium seats? Why aren't policemen protecting the visitors bench? If they don't change the rules after this, forget $5 lottery tickets; you're better off buying $125 tickets to an NBA game, getting bombed and baiting opposing players into a lawsuit.
Hmmm... sounds similar to what I wrote a couple days ago.

The only thing I would disagree on is Simmon's Top 5 Jaw dropping TV nights. The morning of Sept. 11th and the Challenger disaster have to be mentioned (even if they didn't happen at night and were a reality all of their own - I know that it is completely different but it still should have been mentioned just out of respect).

More notes on the melee from Simmons. I found this nugget particularly interesting:
Intriguing note on Wallace: One of his posse members was the huge guy who attacked Fred Jones from behind. During the initial altercation, you can see the guy lurking behind Artest as Artest lies on the scorer's table, almost like he's ready to jump him. You can also see him consoling Wallace's kids after the fact.
I've been writing about player's posses for some time and am not surprised in the least. The NBA is going to have to address posses at some point.

Again I have one point of contention with Simmons. He lists potential teams interested in trading for Artest and says this about the Celtics:
Boston -- Artest and a No. 1 for Jiri Welsch and Yogi Stewart. Unfortunately, the local media would skewer the Celtics for this one ... so it's not happening. Red Auerbach would have made this trade though. He's the same guy who traded for Kermit Washington 27 years ago.
Simmons knows that was a completely different situation and that Washington had always been a solid NBA citizen except for that one incident. Complete cheap shot on Red and Kermit by Simmons.

On a separate note - this is what Simmons used to be like back when he was The Boston Sportguy. Top notch and we used to get stuff like this almost every day.
The Pass - 20 Years Later

Today is the 20th anniversary of "The Pass". Flutie to Phelan. BC over Miami. I remember it well.

It was the day after Thanksgiving and I was a senior in high school. The day before I played almost every down as the St. Peter-Marian Guardians beat St. Johns (even though St. Johns has over 1,100 more boys from which to pick) in the longest running parochial school rivalry in the country.

I was over my friend's Sean's house. His dad had a den where he often sat, smoked a cigar and enjoyed a cold beer while watching sports on TV. Sean, myself and a couple other guys from the football team did likewise that Friday (because Sean's dad and mom were away).

Sean made us turkey sandwiches, another firiend got the cigars and I picked up a case of Bud (because I was the one with the ID). I don't remember much from the game but I do remember all of us jumping for joy when the pass was caught.

There are too few times in a man's life when you can be utterly, blissfully happy without a care in the world and that was one of those times for me.
Sorry - But I Say "Give this man a medal!"

"I just couldn’t take it anymore," O’Neal said. "He put a gun in my face and threatened to rape my kids. I’m not having that."
Let's face it - everybody roots for Charles Bronson in Death Wish. I say good for Bob O'Neal!

Here's the link.

Morning Links

- Presidential Melee in Chile

- Basket Brawl - Here Come the Lawsuits

- In the UK - Security Forces foil a 9/11 like attack

- Jim Geherty has a good take on the Malice at the Palace

- Facelift at Fenway

- MLB Hot Stove

- You can only say "Wow!" and "Thanks" when you read of such acts of courage and sacrifice
Heh Heh

These two old ladies, Myrtle and Mildred, are at the beach, when Myrtle notices that Mildred's pack of cigarettes have a condom stretched over it.

"Why on earth did you do that, Mildred?"

"It's the best way I've ever found to keep the sand out of my cigarettes while at the beach!"

So the next day, Myrtle goes to the drug store, and tells the pharmacist that she'd like a pack of condoms. The pharmacist is surprised, and says, "Well, Ok, but they come in different styles and sizes. Do you know what you what?"

Myrtle responds, "I really don't care as long as they work on a pack of Camels."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Heh Heh

This is pretty funny (in a strange way). First read this - OK - now read this.

Warren Zevon once wrote the lyrics, "Grandpa pissed his pants again - he don't give a damn" - but I bet even ole' Warren never could have come up with something like this.

Found via Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before
Sportswriters Who Don't Get It

Over at SportsJournalists.com the brawl in Detroit (OK Auburn Hills) was a big topic of discussion as you may well expect. What was unexpected (to me at least) was the play a particular thread got.

The question was asked whether ESPN should be actively participating in the Detroit PD's (OK Auburn Hills PD) investigation (ESPN had simply allowed the police into their production truck to review video from the game).

Common sense says to me that this is a non-starter - of course ESPN should co-operate. However, the question got six pages of debate - a debate that seemed to reveal more about the sportswriters (and journalists in general) than it did to actually answer the question (which was a non-starter to begin with).

The first few who posted supported ESPN but then "JR" (most of the members at SportsJournalists.com use anonymous screen names) posted the following:
It's not the media's job to "aid police investigations" any more than it is the media's job to support Bush's war.

At minimum ESPN should demand a court order.
Now in full disclosure - I've met "JR" in real life and he's a publisher in Canada not a sports journalist but his post had resonance among other board members (also please note how quickly George W. Bush got dragged into this - it's as if when first viewing the video of the tape most journalist's first thought was "this never happened under Clinton" - unbelievable).

"Shotglass" later responded:
And it strikes me that the simpler issue here is, do you want to help justice being served, or do you want to hinder it?

No reason, no reason at all to make this an adversarial thing with the police. Just give them full access.
The voice of reason and common sense. Why is this an arguable point?

Why? Because some journalist seem to believe that there is more honor in the Mafia sense of "omerta" than in assisting the police in any way (I was going to say that this is unbelievable but I guess there is a reason journalists are being lumped with lawyers and used car salesmen in terms of how much the public trusts them. Just for proof - a well know Boston writer later in the thread ends with, "Forget 'I love you.' The three best words in the English language are 'I can't remember.'" He gets kudos for this from other journalists. Omerta and obstruction live hand in glove with no moral qualm for some journalists I guess). Oh and again in the spirit of full disclosure - when I posted on the board I was often at odds with "Shotglass" but when a man's right you give him credit.

"2muchcoffee" responds:
That the Auburn Hills PD should have been taping the game. Alternatively, they shouldn't get jacksquat without a warrant.
The normally levelheaded (and humorous) "PCloadletter" chimes in:
You don't work for the police, and you don't want the public to have the perception that you work for the police. If your video is really going to help find justice here, they can get the damn warrant. It's not exactly hard to do.
Someone should explain that co-operating means working WITH not working FOR. I can't think of anyone (well maybe with the exception to journalists) who saw the police officer reviewing video in the ESPN truck and who came away thinking that ESPN has sold out to "the man".

To be fair to "PCloadletter" - he later adds:
And the cops can have any video that has actually aired; it's unaired stuff that they would need a court order for. (A point I should have made a while ago.)
But he never explains why an adversarial relationship between ESPN and the police has to exist in the first place. To him it seems a given. This adversarial relationship gets support from "ink-stained-wretch" (note: cops = bastards in his worldview):
If the footage has been aired. Police can quickly get a court order for the originals. If the cops are in there looking at raw footage, different angles, etc. I'm calling the lawyer to fight the bastards.

Do I turn over, sans a court order, anything the cops want? Not in my lifetime.
"Seabasket" (fellow Red Sox fan) cuts to the quick:
If you wouldn't choose to help the cops in this situation, you're a dick, plain and simple.
"Seabasket" is 100% right but what he fails to understand is that many journalists just don't realize that they are being dicks. Many in the public see or hear this stuff and they do think "what a dick" with the reporter being blissfully unaware of his/her dickhood. I mean this question got six pages of debate!

Speaking of being unaware of acting like a dick - "TigerVols" tries to hide behind the 1st amendment and adds (when he is called on that ridiculous argument):
All this does is further cement the idea in the public's mind that the Government=Media, that they are both one-in-the-same.
Talk about clueless. Yeah - in the public's mind George Bush controls the New York Times. He's actually serious in his belief. Wait it gets better (better meaning worse in this case). "Fenian-bastard" chimes in:
But, you have to admit, most of the "people" have forgotten what their rights are, and probably look at them all as "loopholes" if they think of them at all, and thus, wouldn't be outraged if the Auburn Hills PD torched the Bill of Rights in the parking lot. So "where's the outrage?" isn't really a measure of very much any more.
First off putting "people" in scare quotes is condescending to begin with but consider that this "bastard"s argument is that the "people" aren't smart or educated enough to know their rights or when they should be outraged so it is up to journalists to tell them what they should care about. Talk about being a horse's ass (full disclosure "Fenian-bastard" is in real-life a nationally known writer but I think he's a total dickhead and I've made that pretty clear to him).

We get more commonsense from "Lugnuts" (SMYT!):
It's an interesting issue to raise, but the video is in the public domain. Even though the NBA and/or ESPN technically owns it, there's a doctrine for stuff like this called "fair use."

Besides that, sometimes you have to be pragmatic and use common sense.

If the President had been shot, and NBC News captured it on video, does NBC turn it over to the authorities ASAP so the guy can be caught, or does NBC wait for a court order?

Common sense. Pragmatism.
"Lugnuts" knows what she is talking about because she is a TV reporter. What I found amusing (and revealing) is that she is backed up by two other "sports journalists" based upon them watching fictional TV shows like SportsNight and Law and Order. Hey - if you saw it on TV then it must be true!

Six pages of debate on this! Yeesh.

Again in full disclosure - I wrestled with posting my thoughts on this matter but I decided that this site is for my thoughts and opinions and this subject has bothered me most of the weekend. Also the people at SportsJournalists.com have shown no hesitancy to quote other boards like Sons of Sam Horn - so it would be a double standard if they thought what they were debating was a private affair.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Did you know that the record for an interception return for Harvard is 104 yards? It was done back in 1910 when they played on a 110 yard long field... Peggy Noonan points out that Condoleeza Rice now holds the position first occupied in this country by Thomas Jefferson (our first Secretary of State). That's just incredible when you stop and think about it... So the Marlins are interested in Al Leiter. That makes a lot of sense in that he would replace the exiting Carl Pavano at a reasonable rate ($7 million for one year). For his career Leiter is 22-9 with a 2.77 ERA in 38 starts at Pro Player Stadium... Did you know – in 1978 Robin Yount held out from Spring training not for money but because he wanted to decide if he really wanted to be a professional baseball player or a professional golfer... List of the week – here is a partial list of some of the drinks that have been served at Mo’s Tavern on The Simpsons:

Original Duff Beer
The Flaming Moe
Duff Lite
Duff Dry
Dark Duff
Duff Dark
Raspberry Duff
Lady Duff
Red Duff
Red Tick Duff
Out of Control Duff
Tartar Control Duff
D├╝ff (not a real drink)
Duff Blue

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Ahhhh Ahhhhhh - Run Away! Run Away!



Is this a picture of:

A.) Sally Struthers with a dye-job
B.) the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Jigglypuff balloon
C.) Steve Perry from Journey in drag
D.) Linda Ronstadt

Eric at Straight White Guy has the answers (be sure to click the links in his post)

I'm # 84705

Get your number.

Hat tip to the Happy Carpenter.

The NBA - It's Fan-Fight-tastic!

Count me as not surprised that this happened.

There have been so many trends pointing to just this type of riot for the past 15 or so years that anyone who follows the NBA is foolish to be even in the least surprised by what happened. In a manner of speaking the NBA reaped last night what it has been sowing for years.

First - let's start with ticket prices. Long gone are the days where the average Joe-sixpack would have season tickets. Today fans of a team are lucky to see one or two games a year because between the tickets, the parking, the concession food and miscellaneous costs the total is up around a couple hundred dollars to see an NBA game. If a guy brings a date - then he is probably going to be spending about the equivalent of a monthly car payment.

The NBA can't use the threat of pulling season tickets from unruly fans the way the NFL can simply because most fans don't have season tickets.

With the high price of tickets comes a sense of entitlement on the part of the fan. If he shelled out a couple of hundred for a seat - then he gets the feeling that he'll damn well do as he pleases. The cost of bail is less than the cost of a courtside seat - where's the disincentive?

Secondly - look at how the NBA markets its product. It went from "fan-tastic" where the fan was the focal point and fast moving, slick passing action was the product to today where individual players are held up as the reason to attend a game. The NBA doesn't try to sell the idea of come to see the 76ers - they try to sell the idea that the fan should shell out his hard earned money to see AI - the Answer.

The team is secondary to the marketing of the player in the NBA and this leads to a whole series of problems of it's own.

Many players make just as much off shoe sales than their NBA salary, so "street-cred" is all important in making sure the homies want to buy the shoes. The NBA has bred a "disrespect me and I'll pop a cap in your ass" mentality in the players and now the NBA brass will act surprised that something like this happened? That's BS.

When some people speculated that Kobe may have increased his street-cred with his rape charge and an owner like Mark Cuban says that the rape trial may be good for the NBA - then someone in NBA marketing should have had a clue that things were going in the wrong direction.

Speaking of Kobe - could you picture Kevin McHale and Larry Bird acting as childish as Kobe and Shaq? Larry and Kevin didn't get along but it was about TEAM and winning a championship. Today the NBA has bred a "me first" attitude among the players and last night's lack of self-control on all parts is just an off-shoot.

At least last night the players took action into their own hands because there is an NBA reality that is even scarier than what happened last night.

Most of the top players today have hangers-on - a posse. If a fan disrespects their guy, their meal-ticket - then that fan better watch out. Last year in Boston Antwoine Walker's posse almost went after a guy. What would have happened last night if 10 guys from Ron Artests' posse went into the stands to clean house and protect their guy or to exact revenge on behalf of their guy?

How long before some fan gets beat to death in the parking lot because during the game he was booing a particular player and that guy's posse exacted revenge after the game? Sound far fetched? I don't think so.

So I know that we'll be hear a lot of sanctimonious cries of "this is a disgrace" over the next few days but the honest answer is "we should have seen this coming" or "we got what we were asking for".

Looking on the bright side of this - with all the suspensions to the Pacers and Pistons - the Celtics now have a good shot to win the East.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

I still think it's funny that at this time last year Michael Jackson came out with a single called One More Chance and it was written by R. Kelly... Rumor has it that Toronto is hot for Matt Clement. If the Jays land Clement then I think that they will actually have a better starting rotation than the Cubs next year (I'm assuming Halladay will be healthy). The Jays would have Halladay, Lilly, Clement and Batista vs. Prior, Wood, Maddux, and Zambrano... I know my ass from my elbow but I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between a castle and a keep... Real bad album covers... Jeff Bagwell with 446 HR is just 6 HR behind Carl Yastrzemski who currently sits in 27th place all-time...
Baseball Sex Videos

What is it with baseball sex videos lately? First there was the guy blackmailing Gary Sheffield and now some guy is trying to ruin Dodger outfielder Jason Werth's marriage because Werth's wife chose Jason over the guy who obsesses to the point of declaring he has sex videos of Werth.

Are these sex tapes a step up from last year's Kaz Tadano gay porno flap? I quess that's a question that's open to debate.

All this sex talk makes me want to read Jim Bouton's Ball Four to remember a time when the game was pure and the players were all about the game with no sex, drugs or rock and roll.

Morning Links

- This guy's an idiot but what does this say about the people who tune in to listen to him

- Stephen Barbara on Joe Namath (actually on a biography of Namath). Well worth your time to read this piece.

- Running Revolution Started as Evolution

- Sox pursue Pavano

- Very interesting glimpse into the world of interrogation (via Betsy's Page)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Odds on Orange Bowl Match-up

Here are the odds on what the match up will be in the BSC Championship Game which this year is the FedEx Orange Bowl:

USC vs Oklahoma - 5/6
USC vs Auburn - 1/1
Auburn vs Oklahoma - 7/2
Any Other Match - 5/1
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Back from Orlando. It was a work trip - not a fun trip but I still managed to have some fun last night. I'll probably write about it later... Even if you took away all of Barry Bonds' hits this season - his OBP would still have been better than Kevin Millar because of all the walks. That's incredible (although Bonds is still a prick)... I read PJ O'Rourke's Peace Kills on the trip (I'll probably write a review sometime soon)... Don't read much into Pedro's lunch with the Boss (Steinbrenner). There's no way he signs with the Yankees. I would be afraid of the Angels signing him but not the Yankees... At the airport I saw most of Bush's speech at the dedication of the Clinton Library. I burst out laughing when Bono and the Edge were introduced following Bush. I just thought it bizarre. Was Bush their warn-up act? I love U2 but couldn't they find a US performer to play at the dedication? I guess it could have been both worse and stranger. Imagine if Clinton had invited the Dixie Chicks instead?... Speaking of the Dixie Chicks - are they this generations Bananarama?... I'll post more later after I untangle more of my jangled thoughts..

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Smiling Bob - the Enzyte Guy

Down in Orlando on business but I didn't want to leave you guys hanging - so here's something i wrote back in March that still bothers me.

You can't watch a sporting event today without seeing Smiling Bob the Enzyte guy at least once. Here are some thoughts on ole Bob.

No product or commercial is more insulting to your intelligence than Enzyte’s series of Smiling Bob commercials.

If you had never seen an Enzyte commercial and you were shown a picture of Smiling Bob would you think:

A: The guy is smiling because he’s an utter moron
B: The guy is smiling because he’s convinced his penis is growing because of a pill he took
C: The guy is a moron for thinking his penis is growing because of a pill he took

Just ask yourself – what exactly is the natural way to male enhancement? Is taking a pill natural? If there were natural ingredients – wouldn’t men from the dawn of time been gobbling the substance by the handful?

In our ultra politically correct society – I’m surprised nobody has said anything about the Enzyte commercials. Talk about stereotypes.

In the commercial where Bob dives into the pool and loses his shorts – it is the black woman who is most impressed because – well you know – it’s black guys who normally have the biggest penises but the black woman never saw a penis as enhanced as Bob’s before.

How about the commercial of Smiling Bob in Japan where all of the Japanese men are intimidated by “the big wood”? The stereotype is that Japanese men all have small penises (although come to think of it – you never do see any Japanese porn stars).

And now we have Enzyte NASCAR commercials because – you know – NASCAR fans are just stupid enough to buy “male enhancement” products. Isn’t that the stereotype?

What is funniest about the Enzyte commercials is the offer of a 30-day sample pack. So let me get this straight – a guy is going to measure himself (think of the opening scene from Porky’s) – then take the Enzyte 30-day sample pack and then remeasure himself to see the “enhancement”? Doesn’t it sound more like a SNL skit than a real product?

Now I read where Enzyte is being sued by a man who did not experience any “enhancement” and wants his money back. Is it just me or does this have all the makings of a Jerry Springer show?

Oh and while I’m being so critical – the woman who play’s Smiling Bob’s wife is ugly

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I Just Don't Like Wade Boggs - Redux

Yeah - I had nothing for today but one of the benefits of blogging for over 2 years is the ability to just pick stuff from the past. So today please enjoy as I rant against Wade Boggs once again.

I don’t deny that Wade Boggs has a great case to make the Hall of Fame but I do say that his election will lower the bar at third base for future Hall of Famers.

The case for Wade to make the Hall of Fame rests on the following accomplishments:

1. 3,010 career hits – no player ever to get 3,000 hits has failed to make the Hall of Fame (except Pete Rose of course). It is considered a “magic” number. (23rd place all time in hits)

2. .328 career batting average (34th all time)

3. 10 All-Star Games

4. 7 consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits

We’ll come back to these numbers but first let’s compare what Wade Boggs has done vs. the other 3rd basemen who have been elected to the Hall of Fame. To date 10 third baseman have been elected although only five have been elected by the Baseball Writers of America. Let’s see how Boggs stacks up against these five.

George Brett: During his career with Kansas City Brett averaged 19 HR’s, 95 RBI, a .305 batting average and 95 runs scored. Brett was a 12 time All-Star and also the 1980 AL MVP. Brett was also a top producer in the post season where in 9 series he hit .337 with 10 home runs. During Brett’s career he averaged 369 total bases per season.

Sorry but I would take George Brett over Wade Boggs any day of the week.

Eddie Matthews: During his career Eddie Mathews averaged 35 HR’s, 98 RBI, a .271 batting average and 102 runs scored per season. Matthews hit 512 career home runs and had a career .885 OPS.

Batting average notwithstanding – Boggs doesn’t stack up against Eddie Matthews.

Brooks Robinson: During his career with the Oriole Brooks averaged 15 HR’s, 76 RBI, a .267 batting average and 69 runs scored. Robinson was a 15 time All-Star and a 16 time Gold Glove winner. In 1964 Brooks beat out Mickey Mantle for the AL MVP and in 1970 Brooks was the World Series MVP.

When you think third base – you think Brooks Robinson and not Wade Boggs. Not even close.

Pie Traynor: During his career Pie average 5 HR’s, 106 RBI, a .320 batting average and 99 runs scored. Pie’s career ended in 1937 meaning that even though he played in the dead ball era – he still almost matched Boggs average of 8 HR’s per year.

Sorry Wade – give me a guy who can average 106 RBI and 99 runs scored over a guy who averaged 67 RBI and 100 runs scored anytime.

Mike Schmidt: During his career Schmidt average 37 HR’s, 107 RBI, a .267 batting average and 101 runs scored. Mike had a career .907 OPS was a 12 time All-Star and won 10 Gold Gloves. In addition to his 548 HR’s he also won 3 NL MVP awards (and was in the top 10 in MVP voting 10 times).

Mike Schmidt is widely acknowledged at the best all-around 3rd baseman in history. Wade Boggs wasn’t even in the same league (literally - Schmidt played in the NL).

So Wade would be lowering the bar with his election by the Baseball Writers of America. For those who like to hang their hat on Wade’s batting average – consider that of the six we just talked about Mike Schmidt had the worst batting average but is considered the best player while Wade had the best batting average but would be the least of the 3rd basemen examined.

Now let’s take a closer look at those numbers we mentioned at the beginning.

3,010 hits – 23rd place all-time. Very impressive but consider that 500 home runs has always been a magic number but recently people have been mumbling about Fred McGriff getting to 500 and not deserving Hall of Fame election. Why McGriff and not Boggs?

Let’s take a closer look at those 3,010 hits. The only person who got fewer bases out of their 3,000 hits than Boggs was fellow slap singles hitter Rod Carew. Keep in mind that Fred McGriff is in 43rd place for total bases all-time while Boggs is only in 59th. Even two of Boggs old teammates from the Red Sox – Jim Rice and Dwight Evans – had many more total bases than Boggs.

.328 career batting average which is 34th all-time. Ten people ahead of Boggs have better batting averages but yet are not in the Hall of Fame. Sure those ten include Joe Jackson and an active player like Todd Helton but it is proof that a high batting average is not a guaranty of election.

10 All-Star game appearances. At first glance this looks impressive but keep in mind that there wasn’t much competition for Boggs during this time. Scott Cooper - his replacement in Boston even made the team twice - in 1993 and 1994 (take a look at his numbers those years for a good laugh).

7 consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits. Can you say statistical anomaly? Ted Williams never had a 200 hit season – would anyone ever suggest that Boggs was a better hitter? Truth is most of Boggs’ hits were slap singles. Sure he was good at making contact but is that justification for Hall of Fame induction? I don’t think so.

Now I know that Boggs will probably get in simply based upon the 3,000 hits but to me he simply wasn’t anything special. You would be surprised how many fans in Boston who had the best chance to see him play feel the same way.

Monday, November 15, 2004

FARK Joke Thread

There was a joke thread over at FARK but to save you - my loyal readers - the time of wading through the really bad - I'm posting some of the better efforts:

An atom is walking down a road when he bumps into another atom, knocking him down. "Are you okay?" he asks. "No! I've lost an electron!" "Are you sure?" "I'm positive!"

Why are there so many Smiths in the phone book? Because they all have phones.

A 15-year-old boy walks into a bar and asks the waitress for a beer.
"Yeah right, kid. You wanna get me in trouble?"
"Maybe later, babe; right now I just want a beer."

A man walks into a dentist's office and says, "Doctor, I think I'm a moth!"
The dentist looks surprised and says, "Sir, I think you need a psychiatrist, not a dentist."
"Yeah, I know," replies the man.
Even more confused, the dentist asks, "Well then why did you come in here?"
"The light was on."
A man is driving far out in the bush in Australia. A kangaroo suddenly shoots past his car and is chased by a running man. The man flying tackles the kangaroo, pulls it down to the road and has sex with it. Horrified, the driver pulls off at a small settlement and goes into the bar/general store, and while waiting for service sees a one legged man in the corner furiously jerking off.

The bartender comes over and the guy buys a beer, then he asks the bartender, "what the hell is going on around here? On the road I saw a man run incredibly fast to capture and have sex with a kangaroo, then I walk in here and see a one-legged man jerking off in the corner?"

"'ell he sure couldn't catch a kangaroo with one leg, now, could he?" says the bartender.
Why don't women blink during foreplay?
There isn't time.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Control freak. Now, this is the point where you say "Control freak who?"
A woman walks into a tattoo parlor and asks "Are you good at doing tattoos of celebrities?"

The guy says, "Sure, I'm pretty good. What do you want done?"

The lady says, "I'd like a portrait of Robert Redford on the inside of my right thigh, and a portrait of Paul Newman on the inside of my left thigh."

"No problem," says the artist. "Take your pant off and get up on the table."

After a couple of hours, he finishes, and she sits up and examines the tattoos.

"That doesn't look like either of them!" she complains.

"Sure it does," he says, "and I'll prove it to you." With that, he runs out of the shop and grabs the first man off the street he can find, who happens to be the town drunk.

"Well, what do you think?" the woman asks the drunk, spreading her legs. "Do you know who these men are?"

The drunk studies the tattoos for a couple of minutes and says. "Well, I'm not too sure who the other two are, but the guy in the middle is definitely Willie Nelson!"

A police officer pulls a guy over for speeding and has the following exchange: Officer: May I see your driver's license?
Driver: I don't have one. I had it suspended when I got my 5th DUI.
Officer: May I see the registration for this vehicle?
Driver: It's not my car. I stole it.
Officer: The car is stolen?
Driver: That's right. But come to think of it, I think I saw the owner's card in the glove box when I was putting my gun in there.
Officer: There's a gun in the glove box?
Driver: Yes sir. That's where I put it after I kidnapped the man who owns this car and stuffed him in the trunk.
Officer: There's a BODY in the TRUNK?!?!?
Driver: Yes, sir.
Hearing this, the officer immediately called his captain. The car was quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the driver to handle the tense situation:
Captain: Sir, can I see your license?
Driver: Sure. Here it is.
It was valid.
Captain: Who's car is this?
Driver: It's mine, officer. Here's the registration.
The driver owned the car.
Captain: Could you slowly open your glove box so I can see if there's a gun in it?
Driver: Gun ? What...there's no gun in it.
Sure enough, there was nothing in the glove box.
Captain: Would you mind opening your trunk? I was told you said there's a body in it.
Driver: I said what ????
Trunk is opened; no body.
Captain: I don't understand it. The officer who stopped you said you told him you didn't have a license, stole the car, had a gun in the glove box, and that there was a body in the trunk.
Driver: Yeah, And I'll bet he told you I was speeding too!!!

Two blondes were standing on opposite sides of the lake. One yells, "how do i get to the other side of the lake." The other yells back "you are on the other side of the lake"
Top 5 Morning Stops

Here are the five sites that I check out first thing in the morning to get my news:

1. Cosmic Tribune
2. Boston.com (straight to the Globe sports section)
3. Instapundit
4. FARK
5. NRO's Corner


Today's Must Read Column from Dodger Thoughts

When I first read that Brian Gunn from Redbird Nation was calling it quits - I was going to post my reaction and my thoughts about his "retirement" and about blogging in general but I could not find the voice to my feelings nor the time to explore the subject with the depth it deserved.

Luckily Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts did have the time and the passion to voice his view of not just Brian Gunn hanging up the blogging cletes but also Edward Cossette from Bamino's Curse (I'm ashamed of my self for not knowing this already).

This is must reading for any reader or writer of baseball blogs (or just blogs).

Morning Links

- It seems like every year there is a story of someone jumping from a plane and surviving - here's this year's story

- AP CEO say Internet is the future of news reporting - Chris L says "tell me something I don't already know"

- Heh Heh - Keith Olbermann - recovering sportscaster

- Peter Gammons (who should have the disclaimer "Chuck LaMarr and Jim Bowden contributed to this report" after most of his hot stove columns)

- Omar Vizquel signs with San Fran - so much for the reports that the White Sox had him wrapped up

- "The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity" - I just hope the Israeli's have that Peace Wall built

- I loved Drew Bledsoe as a Patriot but Ron Borges is right - the end has come. As Imus would say "it's dog track time"

OK - I'll Say It!

I'm sick of seeing Peyton Manning in commercials. I can only imagine how insufferable and ubiquitous he'd be if he ever actually won anything.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Hot Stove League - Catcher

Red Sox

Obviously the Red Sox would like to re-sign Jason Varitek but the Sox front office has also shown that they will not overpay for players (see Rod, A-). The Sox will probably offer 3-years $24 million but according to Varitek's agent Scott Boras - it will take 5-years $50 million to get it done.

Normally you could take talk like that from Boras as pure bluster but the fact is Varitek is the only Grade A catcher on the market this year and his services may well fetch that high a price (though I seriously doubt it). If that's the case - thanks for the memories Jason.

Plan B for the Red Sox would be to make Doug Mirabelli their regular guy and get a solid back-up to ease (or equally share) the load. Mirabelli is not a switch hitter like Varitek but he does very good against both lefties and righties (with more power than Varitek if truth be told). There have been rumblings about getting Schneider from Washington or signing Damian Miller to catch Schilling - an idea that has merit (Miller was Schilling's catcher in AZ).

Personally - I would like to see Varitek back but I don't want to see the Sox overpay. Plan B works just fine for me.

Top 10 Catchers in MLB

1. Ivan Rodriguez
2. Jorge Posada
3. Victor Martinez
4. Jason Varitek
5. Javy Lopez
6. Jason Kendall
7. Johnny Estrada
8. Paul LoDuca
9. Mike Piazza (so low because no longer really a full-time catcher)
10. Mike Lieberthal

Top Free Agent Catchers

1. Jason Varitek
2. Everybody else

There are 27 other catchers available other than Varitek but the drop off in talent is major. The closest in talent may actually be Varitek's back-up Doug Mirabelli.

Here are the teams that should be all-set in terms of a catcher:

AL: New York (although for some reason Posada trade rumors are rampant), Baltimore (although they may pick up a quality back-up for Lopez who is not a defensive whiz), Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit, Texas, Kansas City (they got Buck for Beltran and Buck gets his chance this year)

NL: Atlanta, New York (but who knows with the Mets - anything is possible), Philadelphia, Florida (assuming they offer LoDuca arbitration), San Diego, Cincinnati (with LaRue's signing - all-set)

These are the teams that will definitely be doing something this off-season:

AL: Boston, Chicago, Oakland

NL: Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago (but I'm assuming Barett is re-signed)

These are teams that may stand pat or who may make a move.

AL: Tampa Bay, Toronto (Cash is still young but will they have patience?), Seattle, Anaheim

NL: Houston, Coloroado (definitely trying to move Johnson but they already have two decent catchers), San Francisco (Pierzynski not a clubhouse favorite), Washington/Montreal, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Arizona

Predictions


1. Jason Varitek does NOT re-sign with the Red Sox

2. The Dodgers and Pirates work out a Jason Kendall for Shawn Green trade with the Pirates kicking in about $6 million extra. Of course both players would have to waive their no-trade clause which is where a third party comes in to take Green who probably would prefer not to play in the Steel City.

3. Look for 8-10 of the free agents to re-sign with the clubs they played for this year in a "devil you know" arrangement.

4. Michael Barrett re-signs with the Cubs (one of the "devil you know guys")

5. The market for Varitek is not what the pundits believe. The Dodgers traded away LoDuca - why would they sign free agent Varitek who is a similar player? Billy Beane in Oakland is not a Varitek fan - so don't expect them to make a bid. The White Sox and St. Louis are possibilities but they have other priorities they need to address first. The Mets may step up but I believe that all that Ranger talk is generated by Boras.

Here's the thing - the Sox won't wait and if Varitek doesn't accept their 3-year $24 million offer - then they will go to plan B. At that point the teams interested in Varitek will wait to see if Varitek is offered arbitration (and thus would cost a first rounder). Meanwhile, teams will be spending their available cash on other priorities (mostly pitching) and maybe a few teams drop out of the running because they spent their available cash.

In the end - Varitek will sign with someone for 3-years / $24 million and if it's not Boston - then Scott Boras will have serious egg on his face and Varitek will forever be coupled with the names Bruce Hurst and Fred Lynn.


Morning Links

- Gordon Edes Baseball Notes

- David Ortiz in Japan (strangest fact from the story - Ortiz has homes in the Dominican which is understandable but also in Green Bay - WTF - Green Bay?)

- Peter May's NBA Notes (one note - I didn't realize Chris Wallace was still with the Celtics)

- Hot Stove Talk

- Heh Heh

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Red Sox Free Agents

Here's where I see the Red Sox going with negotiations with their free agent crop.

1. Pedro Martinez: They have offered 2-years $25.5 million with an option for a third at $13 million.

I think Pedro signs with the Sox. If another team jumps into the bidding and offers a third year - then the Sox will guarantee that third year. If no team steps up to match the Sox offer - then Pedro focuses in on what is needed to guarantee that third year and bonus money (I like the idea of a $3 million bonus for winning the Cy Young, $2 mil for second in the voting and $1 million for third). Pedro will be back next year - I'm sure of that because John Henry and Bill James are HUGE Pedro fans.

It was very smart of the Sox to publicize their offer to Pedro because it set the market and at the same time it showed a great amount of respect to Pedro ($25.5 million is nothing to sneeze at).

2. Jason Varitek: Scott Borias has said it will take 5-years and $50 million to get this done. Boras also asked for a no-trade clause which is a complete no-no with the Sox.

When Boras first made this announcement - I thought that he had made another mistake like last year when he said it would take 3-years and $30 million to sign Kevin Millwood. Then I thought maybe Boras asked Varitek what it would take for him to sign elesewhere and Varitek said 5-years - $50 million (otherwise Jason would take the Sox offer of 3-years $24 million).

I now think that Scott Boras may have inadvertenly trapped his client. Nobody is going to offer 5-years and $50 million - NOBODY. However, now the Red Sox can move in another direction (rumors are Schneider from Washington plus Doug Mirabelli resigning). My gut tells me that the Sox wanted to move in another direction all along and Boras' demand of 5-years $50 million gives them the PR cover to let Varitek walk.

From a business sense it makes plenty of sense.

The Sox can get a Schneider / Mirabelli platoon for $3 million per year and not have much drop off (if any) in production. The $5 million they save at the catcher position can be used at shortstop or for a prime starter (Pavano). Please note that Paul DePodesta was faced with a similar situation when he traded the very popular Paul LoDuca from the Dodgers (like Varitek - LoDuca was an intangibles guy who was the "heart" of the team).

3. Derek Lowe: The only way Derek Lowe is with the Sox in 2005 is if they offer arbitration (which they will) and Lowe accepts (which I don't see happening). I see Lowe getting a 3-year $24 million contract from someone. For Derek's sake - I hope he signs with the Tigers, Dodgers or Mets (he needs a pitcher's park where an occasional long fly ball won't kill him).

4. Orlando Cabrera: It all comes down to how much he likes to win. If he wants to win above all else - he signs with the Sox (for 2 / $16 with an option). If he wants to make his one big payday (and I wouldn't blame him for that) - then he signs elsewhere.

5. Doug Mirabelli: He re-signs - maybe for 2 / $4 million.

6. Scott Williamson: He won't get much of an offer from the Sox but would be a good risk for a team like the Astros or Angels (where he can set up and occasionally close but if he's not healthy - his absense won't kill them).

Friday, November 12, 2004

Here's an Old Test (but a good one)

Take the test (and the song will be stuck in your head all night)

What is a large regular?

If you go into any coffee shop in Massachusetts (or most of New England for that matter) and ask for a "large regular" - you will get a large coffee with cream and sugar. Since I frequently travel, I know that this phrase is pretty unique to this area. In other parts of the country a coffee with cream and sugar is called a coffee with cream and sugar - not regular (that's for gasoline as far as the rest of the country is concerned).

The name of the blog also works on another level since I consider myself "large" (a little over 6 feet and a little over 200 pounds - more over 200 pounds than over 6 feet by the way) and a "regular" guy (with regular guy interests).

Now I hope that the phrase "a large regular" doesn't have some unknown fetish context. I was also afraid that it may have some sort of Lane Bryant type connotation. However, since most of the good names seem to be already taken and since the other unique New England phrase that came to mind definitely would have more subtext baggage (I thought about using the word "packie" - which is what we call a liquor store in New England but I figured that word would definitely have some gay meaning. If I was going to name the blog "The Packie" I might as well name myself "The Catcher" - not that there is anything wrong with that).

Anyway - that's the explanation behind "A Large Regular". Any questions?
Something to think about

Prior to the US invasion of Iraq - UNICEF had estimated that between the UN sanctions that created shortages and the brutality of Saddam Hussein - roughly 5,000 Iraqi babies (children under 5 years of age) died or were killed every month (that's 60,000 per year).
Top 5 Arnold Movies

1. T2
2. True Lies
3. Conan the Destroyer
4. Terminator
5. Kindergarden Cop

(Not making the list - Jingle All the Way)
Picture Worth 1,000 Words

Saw this yesterday on LGF - thought it would give you something to think about today.


Morning Links

- ASU to honor Pat Tillman on Saturday

- Pedro in pinstripes - not gonna happen (the AP writer should have asked Posada about the trade rumors that have him out of town because Steinbrenner likes Varitek better)

- MLB Hot Stove: Pavano a hot topic

- This is just BS - I wanted to watch this last night but Channel 5 in Boston pulled it

- Krauthammer (who has reached one name status) on the myths of the "Angry white man" and "Bigoted Christian redneck" (via Betsy's Page) - (Captain Ed has more info debunking the myth)

- Jonathan Last defends John Kerry - yup not a misprint

- Hey - speaking of Tonya Harding- My favorite bit:
After her March 2002 bout with Jones, she began to train six days a week under the tutelage of ex-boxer--and mortician--Paul Brown, who has worked with heavyweights such as Leon Spinks
Miscellaneous Thoughts

In addition to yesterday being Veteran's Day (formerly Armistice Day) - it also would have been George S. Patton's 119th birthday... The official drink of the Men's Olympic Figure Skating Team?... I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I picked Johan Santana as the AL Cy Young winner in preseason... Happy birthday to Sammy Sosa (36), Tonya Harding (34), Neil Young (59) and Al Michaels (60)... There has been some controversy over where Yasser Arafat will be buried. The simple solution to this dilemma is to have an open casket in Palestine and then let his followers swarm over his body. You know that they will be grabbing pieces to have as mementos. Within an hour or two nothing would be left and the funeral dilemma would be all over...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veteran's Day

With yesterday being the 229th Birthday of the US Marines and today being Veteran's Day - the two put me in mind of this post. I originally found it on a discussion board at the History Channel a couple of years ago. It was so good and so moving that I immediately cut and pasted it and emailed it to myself. Anything I say about it will not do it justice - so I'm just posting it here for you to read:
Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, Wisconsin, where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip we stopped at the Iwo Jima Memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history - that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II. Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, "Where are you guys from?" I told him that we were from Wisconsin.

"Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story."

(James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who has since passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C., but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around he reverently began to speak. Here are his words that night.)

"My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called "Flags of Our Fathers", which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called "War."

But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old. (He pointed to the statue) You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph --- a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection, because he was scared. He was 18 years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the "old man" because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, "Let's go kill some Japanese," or "Let's die for our country." He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, "You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers."

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, "You're a hero." He told reporters, "How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me, and only 27 of us walked off alive?" So you take your class at school. 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of 32 ... ten years after this picture was taken.

The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, "Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night." Yes he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy.. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, "No, I'm sorry sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back."

My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press. You see, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, "I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back."

So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall 7000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time."

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice. Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War and all the wars in-between that sacrifice was made for our freedom. Remember to pray for those still in murderous unrest around the world....and thank God for being alive in the greatest country on earth.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

On this day in 1975 the Edmund Fitzgerald is sunk during a major squall on Lake Superior. Here is a link that shows the history of the Edmund Fitzgerald that focuses on the final two days.

Here are the lyrics to the song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitgerald made famous by smooth voiced Canadian Gordon Lightfoot.
Early Odds on 2008 Democratic Nominee for President

Hillary Clinton......2/1
John Edwards......3/1
Howard Dean.......8/1
John Kerry.........15/1
Joe Lieberman.....35/1
Al Gore..............80/1
Early Odds on Who Will Be the 2008 Republican Nominee for President

Rudolph Giuliani.............2/1
John McCain..................5/1
Bill Owens....................12/1
Bill Frist.......................12/1
Jeb Bush.......................25/1
Dick Cheney...................50/1
Arnold Schwarzenegger.....200/1
MLB Managers of the Year

Today MLB will name their managers of the year. Here are my choices:

American League

1. Eric Wedge
2. Buck Showalter
3. Ron Gardenhire

I'm sure the official results will look nothing like my choices but hey - that's the way I see it. Wedge almost had the Indians at .500 this year and now they could be a playoff team because they learned to win this year. Showalter took the Rangers from worst to almost first and Gardenhire won the Central with a team that had scant better talent than the competition. Francona may win the award but remember that the vote was taken before the playoffs. My problem with Francona was that in the first half of the season - the Red Sox were blaise and only after Theo Epstein made his changes did they really take off.

National League

1. Bobby Cox
2. Phil Garner
3. Tony LaRussa

People will be hesitant to vote for Garner because it seems like Jack McKeon redux. Meanwhile Cox always gets his team into the playoffs and has not gotten his proper recognition over the years. Some writers just don't like LaRussa and I think that plays a role here.

Morning Links

- Jason Stark on Schilling's Ankle - with pictures. (Schilling's Ankle would be a good name for a band)

- Scary - three members of Iraqi PM Allawi's family have been kidnapped

- Text of John Ashcroft's resignation letter

- The Belmont Club on Fallajah

- Captain Ed thinks Giuliani would be the ideal replacement for Ashcroft

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

AL Cy Young Award

All year I have picked Johan Santana as my choice for Cy Young (even though as an unabashed Red Sox fan - I should be vocal for Curt Schilling). At the very end - I may be wavering and it is because of competition.

The East is just much more competitive than the Central. Is there any arguing that fact? What would happen if you took away the best and worst team from their respective divisions for each player to try and even the playing field?

Johan Santana went 3-1 vs. the Royals this year - pitching 36 2/3 innings in 5 starts while giving up 10 earned runs. If you took away his numbers against the Twins - Santana's ERA would barely increase from 2.61 to 2.63 but his record would have been 17-5.

Against Chicago (the second best team in the Twins' division) - Santana went 2-2 in 4 starts. If you threw out Santana's numbers against the best and worst of the Central (Chicago and Kansas City) - he would have been 15-3 with 193 strikeouts and a 2.47 ERA.

Curt Schilling went 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA against Toronto (the last place team in the AL East). If you throw out his record against Toronto - Schilling would have been 20-4 with a 3.02 ERA.

Schilling went 2-0 with a 4.82 ERA against the Yankees in 3 starts this year. If you threw out the starts against the best and worst of the AL East (Yankees and Blue Jays) - Schilling would have been 18-4 with 158 strikeouts and a 2.83 ERA.

Schilling 18-4 / 158 K / 2.83 ERA
Santana 15-3 / 193 K / 2.47 ERA

Those numbers are very, very close. Overall I think you still have to give the award to Johan Santana but it is a much closer race than I expected.
Hunter S Thompson - Sloppy Seconds

Hunter S. Thompson still "writes" for ESPN.com's Page 2 but it has gotten to the point where his columns go straight into the bin marked "Second Helpings". This is the Internet equivalent of straight-to-video.

Today Thompson has a screed on both the election and the Colts winning last night but not covering the point spread. I wonder how Jim Irsay feels about fielding questions about why he didn't cover the spread from Thompson after tough games?

Thompson used to be a giant - now it's straight to Second Helpings. I wonder if ESPN is trying to send him a message that his drug addled mind is not quite picking up on.
Morning Links

- This would be just awful for the Democrats

- Worse than it looks for the Democrats

- Hot Stove Talk from MLB

- Mark Cuban on the music industry

- Kerry as Wilson and Bush as Jackson - sounds right (via Betsy's Page)
Heh Heh

Pinocchio was receiving complaints from his girlfriend about consummating their passions. "Every time we make love," she said, "I get splinters!" So he went back to his maker, Gipetto, the carpenter, to ask for advice. "Sandpaper my boy, that's what you need," was the carpenter's response. A couple of weeks later the carpenter saw Pinocchio again, "How are you getting on with the girls now?" "Who needs girls?" replied Pinocchio.
NL Cy Young Award

Here is how I would vote for the NL Cy Young Award

1. Randy Johnson
2. Roger Clemens
3. Carl Pavano
4. Jason Scmhidt
5. Roy Oswalt
Ray Bourque

Ray Bourque was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last night and I would be remiss if I didn't say a few words on his behalf. Ray Bourque was a great player (some would argue him over Bobby Orr as the greatest defenseman of all-time) but he is an even greater person.

In fact three of my top memories of Ray aren't from action in a game. The first was the night Phil Esposito had his number retired. For those who don't know the story, Esposito was a Boston great but he was traded to the Rangers and there was some rancor involved. Esposito wore number 7 and that number was then given to a young stud rookie named Ray Bourque. Over the years the rancor disappeared and the Bruins decided to retire Espo's 7. That night Bourque presented Espo with a jersey and then shocked both Espo and the crowd by taking off his own jersey to reveal his new number of 77. Those number 77 jerseys immediately became the best selling jerseys in Boston.

The second memory is of Ray Bourque attending the funeral of Reggie Lewis as the unofficial representative of the Bruins. It always struck me as a pure class move. It was the right thing to do but the thing is - nobody ever had to tell Bourque what the right thing to do was - he always just did it.

The final memory is of Bourque bringing the Stanley Cup back to Boston after winning it with the Avalanche. No other athlete in Boston history could have had thousands of people turn out to honor him after the athlete leaving the hometown team to pursue a championship. We wanted that championship for Ray as much as he wanted it for himself because we loved Ray.

And we still do.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Strange Bedfellows

Just like the peccadilloes of Bill Clinton were a Godsend to Rush Limbaugh's ratings - the re-election of George W. Bush seems to be a boon to the stock price of the New York Times.

Consider that even while they print stories that seem to be begging for an "act of God" (i.e. assassination) to rid the country of Bush - their stock price has gone up every single day since the election:

Nov. 2nd - $40.06 per share
Nov. 3rd - $40.63 per share
Nov. 4th - $40.99 per share
Nov. 5th - $41.16 per share
Nov. 8th - $41.45 per share

By the end of Clinton's first term - listeners to Rush's program were derided as "ditto heads" - is it at the point were readers of the Times can be derided as "moonbats" ready to grasp at any theory that makes them feel comfortable in their perceived superiority?

Many readers of the Times like to believe that the more educated a person is - the less likely they are to be Republican but the fact is (according to Gallup) the more educated the voter - the more likely they were to vote for Bush. 58% of college graduates voted for Bush this year along with 56% of the voters who had "some college". I guess the more educated a person - the less likely they are to buy into the spin of the New York Times (sort of like Pravda in the former USSR - only the facts that fit).

In any case, the credibility of the New York Times may be shot (at least among the educated) - but their stock seems to be doing OK (that doesn't mean they won't continue to editorialize about a rotten economy).
It's The Length - Not the Size

Many people have a problem with the Yankees giving out the richest contracts but it hasn't served them well (no championships in this century). To me what will really kill them is the length of contract that they routinely give out. Here are the people on the Yankee roster who have guaranteed contracts for 2005 and beyond:

10 year - Roger Clemens basically gets $1 million a year until 2014
6 year (2) - Jeter, A-Rod
4 year - Giambi (with option for 2009)
3 year - Vazquez
2 year (5) - Contreras (even though he was traded away - Yankees still picking up large part of that contract), Mussina (with option for 2007), Posada (with option for 2007), Rivera (with option for 2007), Sheffield (with option for 2007)

Compare that to the Red Sox who have one 4-year deal (Manny Ramirez), one 3-year deal (Keith Foulke) and three 2-year deals (Nixon, Schilling and Ortiz with Ortiz also having a 2007 option).

The Yankees have depleted their farm system and if they continue to take on long bad contracts - then they will run out of both money and roster spots. Even the Yankees have a limit to what they can spend and I think they are getting close to that limit.

BTW - the only other 6-year contract in the AL belongs to Eric Chavez of the A's but it should be noted that he's 2-years younger than A-Rod and 4-years younger than Jeter.