Thursday, January 31, 2008

Budweiser Upside Down Clown

Perhaps my favorite Super Bowl commercial of all-time. It was only aired once during the Super Bowl but then pulled because many people thought it was distasteful. I thought it was funny.
George Bush - the Original Zionist

George Bush - no not that one - the other one - no not that one either - was perhaps the original Zionist. The George Bush I'm talking about was born in 1796 and was the first cousin of George W. Bush's great- great- great- grandfather.

This George Bush was also perhaps the first person to advocate a new state for Jews in Palestine. Bush's 1844 work, The Valley of Vision or The Dry Bones of Israel Revived called for a new state of Israel. I guess you could say that support for the state of Israel runs in the blood of the Bush family.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

On one hand you have to feel for Patriots back-up QB Matt Cassel because he's always a bridesmaid and never a bride. Cassel was a back-up in college (at USC to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart) and now he's a back-up to Tom Brady. You know the guy wants a shot to show people what he can do. On the other hand - being back-up to Tom Brady has to be a great gig to have... Today would have been Jackie Robinson's 89th birthday... Plaxico Burress's prediction of a 23-17 Giants victory will help the Patriots in a subtle way. I'm thinking that the Patriots will make it a point to bump, push, and shove Burress at every opportunity. This extra contact could wear down the receiver just enough so that he's slow on a route or maybe drops a pass. The refs will probably let the Patriots get away with a little extra because subconsciously they might think that Burress brought it on himself... Today is Nolan Ryan's 61st birthday.. Professional back-up Matt Cassel should take comfort in having a better pro career than Heisman Trophy winners Danny Wuerffel - 1996, Chris Weinke - 2000 (who holds the NFL record for most consecutive losses by a quarterback in a season at 14), Eric Crouch - 2001 and Jason White - 2003 (who never even got a regular season snap in the NFL)... I played cards last night and a guy at my table saw the Georgetown / St. John's halftime score and said "Wow - St. John's is getting beat 41-14." Another guy at the table asked, "Is that a women's game?" The first guy then shouted over to a friend at the next table, "Hey Joe - did you see the St. John's score? They're getting beat 41-14." A guy at the second table asked, "Is that a women's game?" The final score ended up being 74-42. St. John's should have kept Kevin Clark as coach.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Beatles Last Performance

On this day 29 years ago - the Beatles made their last public performance. The gig was on the roof of Apple records and I imagine aging hippies who've since joined PETA are today conflicted about the "concert".
Johan Santana and the Red Sox

As a Red Sox fan there are three major pluses to Johan Santana being traded to the Mets.

1. The Red Sox get to keep their young players. There was a growing sentiment that people wanted to keep the Jacoby Ellsbury's, the John Lester's, the Justin Masterson's, and the Jed Lowrie's. Watching the young players mature can be quite exciting and it gives the fan a special feeling of ownership watching homegrown talent blossom.

2. The Yankees didn't get him.

3. With Santana in the NL - the chances are the Red Sox won't have to face Santana at all.

There is one downside to the trade as far as Red Sox fans are concerned. With Santana out of the AL Central - that makes it easier for Detroit and Cleveland to rack up more wins against the Twins. That in turn will make it easier for one of those clubs to compete for the Wild Card playoff spot which seems to have been the birthright of the AL East and the Yankees and Red Sox these past many years.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Johan Santana Trade

It looks like Johan Santana is getting traded to the Mets (pending physical and the Mets signing Santana to an extension). The Twins will be receiving outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra in exchange for Santana.

It seems many people think that this deal is less than what the Twins could have gotten if they had made a deal with the Red Sox or Yankees at the Winter Meetings. I agree.

The Transaction Guy has a nice first look at the trade.

My first thought was to wonder how this trade stacks up to some other recent blockbuster trades for Ace starters.

The Twins have traded a Cy Young winning pitcher to the Mets in the past. In 1989 they traded Frank Viola to the Mets in a 5 for 1 trade. Of the 5 the Twins got back in exchange only Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani were worth it. David West, Tim Drummond and Jack Savage - not so much. Aguilera made 3 All-Star teams for the Twins while Frankie V won 20 games in his first season in Flushing, was below average in his second season and was in Boston by year 3.

In 1997 the Expos traded Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez to Boston for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas. This was a huge one sided win for the Red Sox. This is the cautionary tale the Twins are afraid of duplicating with the Santana deal.

It is tough to compare the Santana deal to the deal that brought Cy Young winner Randy Johnson to the Yankees because the deal for the Big Unit ended up being so convoluted. In 2005 the Diamondbacks sent Johnson to the Yankees for 3 players and cash. Two years later - they sent 4 players to the Yankees for the Big Unit and more cash. The net for the Diamondbacks was pretty much getting Randy Johnson back plus top prospect Chris Young along with a bunch of George Steinbrenner's cash.

Finally and maybe most significantly - Dan Haren was traded just over a month ago to the Diamondbacks from the A's. Haren and Connor Robertson went from Oakland Athletics in return for Carlos Gonzalez, pitchers Brett Anderson, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland, outfielder Aaron Cunningham and first baseman Chris Carter - a 2 for 6 deal. It can be argued that the A's got a better group of prospects for Haren than the Twins got for Santana. It will be interesting to compare how Carlos Gonzalez does in comparison to Carlos Gomez.
Bob Ryan's Loss

Bob Ryan's son has died.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Bob Ryan and his family.
Bless those who mourn, eternal God,
with the comfort of your love
that they may face each new day with hope
and the certainty that nothing can destroy
the good that has been given. May their memories become joyful,
their days enriched with friendship,
and their lives encircled by your love.
May those who knew Keith remember only the good things.
May those who know Bob and his wife surround them with love and prayers.
May those who know Keith's wife insure she never has to shoulder a burden alone.
Red Sox ZiPS Projections

Nice summary - with emphasis on JD Drew - on how the Red Sox project using ZiPS Projections. I too am on record for thinking that JD Drew will rebound this year and I used almost the same reasoning as Evan Brunell:
I’m here to tell you that J.D. Drew will be better than ever in 2008.

How could he not be? Free of the pressures of adapting to a new home, the medical woes of his son and trying to win a World Series for a historically-challenged team? He’s done it all, and he did it all in the same year.
Not sure I agree with the "historically-challenged" part but everything else - 100% agreement.

Some other thoughts regarding the ZiPS Projections:

- I think the projections for Manny Ramirez will be way off. They say 23 HR but I'm saying 30+ HR based upon my "gut" projections.

- The projections have a total of 63 wins for Red Sox starters. Last year the top 5 starters for the Red Sox had 69 wins. I don't see that number decreasing to 63. I see it in the 70's.

- I think the projections for Curt Schilling are way off. The ZiPS Projections have him at 11-10 with a 4.25 ERA. I'm not getting where that ERA is coming from. Last year Schilling had a bad June (5.79 ERA) but then he shut it down for the whole month of July and when he came back as a "finesse" pitcher he was very effective (a 3.34 ERA in 9 post All-Star starts). Even with the awful June numbers - Schilling still had a 3.87 ERA for the year. I'm not saying Schilling will challenge for the ERA title next year but I do think his ERA will be better than the 4.25 being projected.

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union Address

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. President Bush's speech tonight started off with economic matters and it wasn't until 9:39 PM EST that Iraq was raised as an individual issue. The way I see it - this bodes well for Mitt Romney and poorly for John McCain.

The economy is Romney's strong suit whereas McCain - not so much.

On the Democrats side - I think Ted Kennedy supporting Barack Obama will be viewed as a tipping point and just watching Hillary Clinton's body language makes me think its over for her. Sure the race will be close but I think Obama will generate the enthusiasm needed to carry the day on Super Tuesday.

As of the time of this writing (9:51 PM EST) - Bodog has Hillary Clinton as a 1 to 6 favorite to win the Democratic nomination (meaning you would have to risk $6 to win just $1). Barack Obama is listed as a 3 to 2 underdog (meaning you would risk $2 to win $3). I wouldn't be surprised to see the race listed as even money within the week.

Right now John McCain is a slight favorite to win the Republican nomination (20 to 21 - just about even money) while Mitt Romney is a slight underdog (5 to 4 meaning risk $4 to win $5). I would be surprised if Romney isn't a big favorite this time next week.
Chuck Klosterman

Another solid interview by The Big Lead. This time Chuck Klosterman (the man Bill Simmons yearns to be) answers some questions.
Roger Clemens - Leper

I find a certain symmetry that Roger Clemens' agents would issue a report on World Leprosy Day.

Here is the report done by the Hendricks Brothers (PDF Document). I went over it briefly and it seems to purport that Roger Clemens performance was pretty much consistent throughout his career - which I guess is evidence in the mind of the Hendricks Brothers that Roger couldn't have used steroids. I did not see anything which would address the idea that steroids could have been used to allow quicker recovery time and allow an older player like Clemens to work out like a 20-something year old. A fried of mine also has the theory that Clemens held out the first few months of the season these past few years to allow the steroids to get out of his system or to avoid the spring training drug testing. I don't see anything in the report that would disprove that idea.

I like the Leprosy symmetry because Roger Clemens has become untouchable. Nobody wants anything to do with him. He might as well go around shouting, "Unclean, Unclean!" everywhere he goes. It's going to take a miracle to cure him. And this report from his agents is no miracle.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ted Kennedy to Endorse Obama

Ted Kennedy is set to endorse Barack Obama who is probably hoping Ted makes his endorsement via press release so that this doesn't happen again.

Frank Rich Doesn't Get It

Frank Rich can't see the forest through the trees in his analysis of the 2008 Presidential race. I credit him with seeing that Bill and Hillary Clinton are more exposed and ultimately less electable than Obama would be. However - he completely misses the mark when it comes to understanding the Republicans.

Rich seems to think that John McCain would be the Republican who would give Hillary the most trouble in a general election. He's completely off the mark there.

No matter who is nominated for the Republicans - they will hold the upper hand when it comes to National Security. The Clintons will be peppered with questions about old quotes condemning Saddam Hussein and his WMD, questions about Sandy "the document buglar" Berger and why they did not go after Osama bin Laden. Not to mention her cut and run strategy of pulling out of Iraq ASAP which plays nice to the far left but not so well with the general centrist population who will chose the President.

If Mitt Romney is nominated - he can point directly to his accomplishments as Governor and in the private sector as his economic bona fides. Hillary is no match on the subject of the economy. Sure her husband was a good steward of the economy but how does that qualify her? My wife does a great job with our checking - that doesn't make me a banking expert. Romney also has a huge trump card when it comes to health care. Massachusetts actually has a workable plan in place whereas Hillary's healthcare plan was a complete disaster. So much a disaster - as Frank Rich points out - she hasn't released the documents about what was going on behind the scenes and how much a a clusterf*ck her managerial style actually was.

Rudy Guiliani would hold the edge in National Security and also appeal to the people who want fiscal responsibility but with a certain liberality on social issues. McCain would be the least effective of the three.

Rich doesn't even mention what will perhaps be the deciding factor in the 2008 election - the choice of running mate. For the Democrats it's a non-factor because if Hillary is nominated then Bill will be the defacto running mate. The person named as VP wouldn't be worth a warm bucket of spit when it comes to actually doing anything.

If Mitt Romney heads the ticket - he could add John McCain, Rudy or a General Petraeus as VP with the selling point that the VP would focus on military matters and on winning the war on terror. That would be tough to beat.

Frank Rich writes well and is liberal in his views - which is why he flourishes at the New York Times. However, he is hardly ever correct in his analysis. This is another example. I have to think that in reality he's just toeing the company line. The New York Times endorsed McCain and now Rich is trying to make it out that McCain is the most viable Republican. That just isn't the case.
Celtics Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous Boston Celtics thoughts and observations.

Did you realize that the Boston Celtics are 12-0 against teams from the Western Conference? Playing the tough Western Conference teams was supposed to be their Achilles heel... Lies, damn lies and statistics. Al Jefferson of the Timberwolves is actually posting better numbers than the man for whom he was traded - Kevin Garnett. Jefferson is averaging 20.8 points and 12.1 rebounds per game while Garnett is putting up 19.5 and 9.8 numbers. I doubt you would find a single basketball writer willing to say for the record that Jefferson is better than Garnett. It should be obvious to anyone that Garnett is better than Jefferson (not to say that Jefferson won't mature into a great player like Garnett)... The Patriots would go 19-0 if they won the Super Bowl. If I ran a casino I would have a prop bet that would couple the Pats perfect record with the Celtics perfect record again Western Conference foes. The Pats would be the first half of the parlay and the Celtics going 13-0, 14-0 and so on all the way up to 19-0 against the West would be the second half of the parlay. The first games would be even money but if you bet both the Celtics and Patriots going 19-0 then the odds would be 1,000 to 1... I bring up the Al Jefferson and Kevin Garnett comparison because some people seem to think that Dirk Nowitzki is the equal of Larry Bird just because the numbers are similar. It really bugs me when I hear that comparison because not only does Bird have better numbers in points, rebounds and assists - Larry Bird won things - like NBA Championships.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Boston Globe Sports New Low

Will McDonough must be spinning in his grave. Here's what passes as "news" at the Boston Globe these days. They decided to dress someone up in a New York Giants jersey and other Giants stuff to see what reaction he'd get. It's only technically that the Globe isn't a tabloid I guess.
Immediately after the reporter exited the store, expressions from passersby changed. Some people whispered from behind. Others broke out in condescending, knowing smiles.
Hard news indeed. I'm surprised that the word reporter isn't in scare quotes.

This is an embarrassment for the once respected Globe sports section. Not only that but some of the quotes don't really pass the smell test. Is it any wonder that people now get their news - sports and otherwise - from the Internet instead of places like the Boston Globe.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chuck Knoblauch and the Monte Carlo Hotel Fire

A rumor is making its way through the Internet that Chuck Knoblauch was involved in the fire that was started at the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas today.

The story goes that Chuck Knoblauch, who is on the run trying to avoid being served with a federal subpoena to discuss steroids in baseball, thought that the best place to hide under an assumed name was in Las Vegas. Knoblauch remembered the story of how Howard Hughes had avoided subpoenas for years hiding out in Las Vegas and was trying to do the same.

Some private detectives were trying to serve Knoblauch with the subpoena but were getting tired of waiting for him to come out of hiding in his room. Supposedly the detectives thought some other people would get to serve Knoblauch first and they would thus be out of the processing fees - so they tried to "smoke him out." It was only supposed to be smoke but it quickly got out of hand.

Knoblauch was first spotted playing craps in the casino of the Monte Carlo. Some Yankee fans thought it was him but when he acted afraid to throw the dice - they were sure.

At least that's the rumor that's on the Internet now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Red Sox Milestones

Miscellaneous Red Sox milestone thoughts and observations.

Manny Ramirez is in the last year of his contract but the Red Sox also hold the rights to two option years. It is amazing that as good as Manny has been for the Red Sox that even if he played 3 more years with the Red Sox averaging 35 HR and 125 RBI per year - Manny still would not be able to crack either the top 4 in HR or the top 5 in RBI in Red Sox history. Manny currently has 254 HR and an even 800 RBI in a Red Sox uniform. The top spots go to Ted Williams (521 HR and 1839 RBI), Carl Yastrzemski (452 and 1844), Jim Rice (382 and 1451), Dwight Evans (379 and 1346) and Bobby Doerr also has Manny beat in RBI with 1247... Jason Varitek has already passed Carlton Fisk for most RBI by a Red Sox catcher (611 to 568) but with 148 HR - Varitek still needs 14 more HR to catch Pudge on the Red Sox all-time list... If David Ortiz has just 100 RBI this season - that will put him in the top 10 all-time. Currently Ortiz has 642 RBI in Boston and Joe Cronin is in 10th on the list with 737. I can easily see Ortiz also passing Mo Vaughn who is in 9th place with just 10 more RBI than Cronin... Of course overall - Manny Ramirez has 490 HR which means he needs just 31 this season to tie Ted Williams (and Willie McCovey) career mark of 521 HR. In overall RBI - Manny currently has 1604 which means another 100 will move him into the top 20 all-time passing Reggie Jackson's 1702... Currently Jonathan Papelbon is in 6th place on the Red Sox all-time saves list but he needs just 32 to tie Dick "the Monster" Radatz in second place with 104 saves. Bob "Steamer" Stanley is the all-time leader with 132. I'm thinking that Papelbon needs a nickname... Tim Wakefield is 38 wins away from tying Cy Young and Roger Clemens for most wins in Red Sox history at 192. However, Wakefield is only 3 strikeouts away from tying Pedro Martinez's 1683 for second place on the all-time list.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wow - Just Wow

I'm not usually a fan of Mike Lupica's writing and I can't root for the Giants in the Super Bowl - but this article is something special.
"I told them that of course after all the exteriors had been stripped away, they played the game for themselves. But that they had to play the game for each other. Then I talked about myself, how my old teammates came to my need, and how I was reminded again the power of a team, the emotional commitment teammates have for each other, that when a team finds a way to do things greater than they thought they could do, that they couldn't have done individually, that a bond is formed that can live forever.

"I told them that truly great teams usually form that bond by going through something together, and how whatever they were going through at that point in the season that no success ever came easy. And finally I reminded them that nothing is promised to anybody in this life, starting with tomorrow."
It got a little dusty for me when I read that article.
Heath Ledger

Like most people I was shocked by the news of Heath Ledger's death. It is obviously unwise to speculate as to whether the death was accidental, suicide or maybe natural causes. I will confess that once the immediate shock of the news wore off - my first thoughts were about the upcoming movie The Dark Knight. I wondered if the movie is complete and then I wondered if there may evolve some sort of curse on this film similar to the one supposedly connected to the movie Poltergeist. Ledger is the second person connected to the movie to have died.

No matter what the coroner reports - I think I will find it very had to relate to. Like all those reports of people being more unhappy once the win the lottery - I don't think I can fathom the problems of being young, rich, handsome and famous.
The Greenbrier Ghost

An interesting piece of US history. The only instance of the testimony of a ghost making its way into a murder trial in US history.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Peter Weller

So this weekend I'm flipping around the channels on the TV and I see a program called Engineering an Empire about Roman engineering feats and history. One of the "experts" talking about Roman engineering history was "Peter Weller - Syracuse University." I'm like - wait a minute - that's Robo Cop!

I must say that I'm pretty impressed that Peter Weller is not just some vapid Hollywood actor. The guy has his Masters Degree in Roman and Renaissance art and he comes a cross as a guy who really knows his history. I just bring this up because it came as such a pleasant surprise to me.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Not for nothing but I'd look for the Red Sox to get much better offensive production across the board from their outfielders in 2008. Manny had an off year last season but supposedly is working out like a madman. I don't think it is out of line to expect a 30 HR 110 RBI season from the ManRam. In center - Coco Crisp hit just .268 with a .712 OPS last year. I'd expect those numbers to improve with either Jacoby Ellsbury taking over or Coco winning back his job. I also think that this year will see JD Drew hit 20 HR and drive in 100 runs for the Sox. Drew had to adjust to Boston last year and the health problems his son had must have effected his performance. Drew was Boston's hottest hitter in September last year (.342 BA and 1.072 OPS) and I'm hoping that carries over to the start of this season... The LaDainian Tomlinson action figure. I'm sorry but I can't help but think of Tomlinson as a spoiled diva. Remind me again - what's any of his teams ever won?... Interesting look back at the Andy Marte / Edgar Renteria / Coco Crisp deals. I must point out that the analysis of the trade made here at the time is pretty spot on:
The key player from the Indians side is Andy Marte who is rated by Baseball America as the 9th best prospect in baseball. I have no problem saying that I hope Donald B. our expert on all things related to Georgia sports (especially Braves baseball) is right when he says that Marte is nothing but the second coming of Melvin Nieves.
Nice call by Donald. Melvin Nieves indeed!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Super Bowl Odds

The odds for the Super Bowl opened at the Patriots -13 over the Giants with an over / under total of 54.

This was a public service announcement.
Championship Sunday

That's why Philip Rivers is Philip Rivers. - Doherty head football coach Sean Mulchahy.

That's why Tom Brady is Tom Brady. - Internet legend Chris Lynch

There are who we thought they were. - Beer spokesperson Denny Green
I don't think a team winning a spot at the Super Bowl was ever less climatic then the Patriots yesterday. It's kind of sad but it was just expected. I'm sure even jaded New Yorkers went more nuts after the Giants victory than Patriots fans did yesterday.

Just a couple of observations from yesterday's game.

Screw Bill Cowher. In his pregame spot he took the Patriots to task for overlooking the Chargers. His evidence was that Randy Moss had moved his court date in Florida till after the Super Bowl. Cowher took this as evidence that Moss and the Patriots just assume they will be in the Super Bowl. This is the same Bill Cowher who made team reservations in New Orleans for the Super Bowl the week the Steelers were playing the Patriots in the AFC Championship. How did that work out for you coach jawbone? Now he's trying to paint the Patriots with the same brush.

I have to wonder if Tom Brady was sick yesterday. If you saw him on the bench - he always seemed to have his head down as if he wasn't feeling very well.

Has anyone heard from Tiki Barber lately? Who would have thought that Tom Coughlin would last longer as head coach of the Giants than Tiki Barber would last as a TV "personality." Oh I know Barber is still on the air but for how much longer?

I think everyone in the world who bets teased the Patriots with the Packers yesterday. I wonder how many people were astute enough once the Patriots end of the tease came in to take the Giants to try and "middle" the bet? I did. I needed the Packers to win with a field goal for a big payoff but since I took insurance by taking the Giants - I pretty much finished even for the day.

A friend of mine met Pam Oliver once and he told me that you wouldn't believe how big her ass is. Well - after seeing this I wouldn't say it was gigantic but it ain't small.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I picked up a book called The History of the World and have started reading it. What I find amusing is that the book has an epilogue - as if the author knows what happens after the world ends... Very well done video on the fall of the Cowboys... The ESPN Sportscenter commercial with Richard Simmons has to be the worst one they ever did. I have to think it was an inside joke / punishment played on the the ESPN News guys. Why else make Brian Kenny front and center in a commercial with Richard Simmons while making Kenny wear a pink shirt.... A question that lingers is whether the Chargers got off to a bad early season start because they were adjusting to new coaches or whether the early season slump was caused by the beatdown they got from the Patriots in week 2? I'm sure it was a little of both but I'd also bet that San Diego is just one early quick score from cowering in a fetal position... Janis Joplin would have turned 65 today. I'm guessing that she wouldn't have aged very well...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Philip Rivers in Strange Wilderness

My kids think this clip is funny. They aren't as mature and sophisticated as I am. Yet I find the clip funny too but I find it amusing because I can't help seeing that goofy shark at the end and thinking, "Hey - that's Philip Rivers!"

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day

Today is Winnie the Pooh day.

For the longest time - whenever a friend would have a baby - my wife and I would give them The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh. It's a great gift. It doesn't matter if the baby is a boy or a girl and is a great "chapter book" for parent to read to the kids before bed.

Herschel Walker Has Multiple Personality Disorder

I guess that Dallas / Vikings trade was more of a multi-player exchange than we thought.
Said his former coach, Vince Dooley: "That's all news to me. All I know is whatever personality he had when he had the football was the one I liked."
HT Sports Frog
Morning Links

Some stuff I found interesting.

- Interview with Mike Lowell who brings up the interesting point that a HGH test that was 99% accurate would still lead to 7 false positives among major league players.

- It really looks like a shake-down attempt on Randy Moss. I hope his attorneys go on the counter-offensive and go after this seemingly slimeball attorney.

- Interesting look at school choice and where it stands in the country. I had not considered how the closing of Catholic schools due to the cash crunch caused by the priest sex scandals had harmed school vouchers before. Long article but very informative.

- Interesting look at the people who set the Vegas lines and their thoughts on the BCS:
“We laugh a little,” White says. “You just have to make a line on Hawaii and Georgia. The whole time you’re thinking, why are these two teams playing?”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Battle of Cowpens

Today is the anniversary of one of the most significant battles in the history of the United States and nobody seems to notice. A short history of the Revolutionary War could read like:

- The British surrendered at Yorktown after being surrounded by the Continental Army on land and bottled up by the French fleet at sea.
- The British were stuck at Yorktown because they had been so long occupied in the South by battles like the disaster (for the British) at Cowpens
- Cowpens was made possible by Valley Forge and the victory over the Hessians at Trenton
- The French navy was brought into the war because of the overwhelming victory over the British at Saratoga.
- Trenton was made possible by the Continental Army slipping out of Long Island where they really should have been trapped and destroyed by the British
- Long Island was made possible by the victory over the British in the siege of Boston which in turn was made possible by the guns taken from Fort Ticonderoga and by the start of the war at Lexington and Concord.

Of the above - the Battle of Cowpens (which happened 225 years ago today) is probably the least remembered.

If it is remember it is probably the version that was put forth in the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot. In the movie there is a battle without a name in which Gibson's character asks the infantry to get off two shots and then retreat to trick the British into chasing after them. This is the same basic "plot" to the Battle of Cowpens. The Jason Isaacs character of the dark-hearted Col. Tavington is loosely based on Col. Banastre Tarleton who led the British troops at Cowpens. Unlike the battle in the movie, however, in real life Tarleton (nee Tavington) escapes to fight another day.

One other note that may only interest me. In the movie The Patriot, Gibson's character uses straw soldiers to convince the British to let captives escape. In real life this trick was used but it was used by the British to allow the "captive" loyalists to escape Boston via ships in the harbor under the cover of "troops" placed overlooking the city on Bunker Hill. The troops later turned out to be straw dummies.
Heh Heh

Not sure if I've posted this before but what the heck - it's still funny.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Randy Moss

I have to say that my instincts tell me that Randy Moss is telling the truth regarding the allegations of battery his lady "friend" has brought forth. Here is my reasoning in the matter:

1. It is battery and not assault and battery that is being alleged. Based on what I remember from Mr. Paul's Criminal Law class in high school - that tells me that there was no intent in any contact or harm that may have occurred.

2. There are no criminal charges pending - so it wasn't criminal battery. Randy mentioned an "accident" - so my guess is that there was some accidental contact and now his friend is trying to cash in on it.

3. I have heard that his lady "friend" was asking for six-figures in compensation and the timing seems funny. If it was a legitimate injury - I doubt the woman would know the full medical costs she would be faced with since this just happened last week. It sounds to me like she is trying to cash in on Randy Moss as her one shot to hit the lottery. Maybe she thought that Randy would be easy pickings because he'd be anxious to avoid any bad publicity or distraction to the team. If he was guilty - I'm sure that would have been the case. Instead he seems pissed off that a friend of 11 years would try and pull this "extortion" job on him.

There's nobody worse in my eyes than a person who would harm a child or a woman but I'm afraid that I have to believe Randy Moss and give him the benefit of the doubt here based upon what facts have been made public.

EDIT: Here is the restraining order complaint against Moss.

After reading it - I'm still inclined to believe believe Randy. Again - I'm no lawyer so I don't know if the person filing a criminal complaint has more potential liability or burden of proof than filing a restraining order but I have to think that if Randy Moss really hurt this woman and then kept her from getting medical treatment then criminal charges would have been in order. Yet 8 days after the alleged incident no charges have been filed. Instead a restraining order asking to keep Randy Moss 500 feet away is filed. Was the purpose protection or embarrassment? Or maybe extortion?
To Be, or Not to Be in the Bullpen

Over the Monster has an excellent analysis of the effectiveness (or according to the post - ineffectiveness) of lefty reliever Javy Lopez. There was an awesome post in the comments section by 0157H7 that bears special attention:
To be, or not to be in the bullpen

That is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the
Slings and arrows of outrageous relief pitching,
Or to trade Lopez against a sea of undesiring
teams, and by trading, cut him? To cut; to have
No more, and by a trade to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That Lopez brought us; 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To not have, to relax;
To relax, perchance to fret; aye, there's the rub;
For in that void of Lopez, what relievers may come
When he has shuffled off for a bag of balls
Must give us pause; there's the consideration,
That makes calamity of relief pitching;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of Lopez,
The unintentional walk, the lefthanded home-run,
The pangs of wildness, Francona's delay,
The incompetence of the LOOGY and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When Theo himself might our peace create
With a mere release? What would fans bear,
To yell and storm at the manager,
But that the dread of something after Lopez,
The Undiscovered Reliever, from whose arm
No talent exudes, puzzles the mind,
And makes us rather bear the evil we know,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all
And thus the native hue of Red Sox Nation
Is sicklied o'er with the fell shroud of doubt
And trades of great pith and moment,
With this fear their currents turn away,
And lose the name of action.
Kudos! Bravo! Of course when you are arguing over the LOOGY in the bullpen it cannot be the winter of our discontent in Red Sox Nation.
Mitt Romney

With his victory in Michigan last night - Mitt Romney has become the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I'm on record of predicting a Romney victory - back in June of 2004 when almost nobody was talking Mitt Romney - I predicted that he'd be the Republican nominee.
Keep this in the back of your mind: Mitt Romney will be the Republican Candidate for President in 2008. He has excellent name recognition from his work on the Salt Lake Olympics and he has bases of support in the Rust belt (his dad was Governor of Michigan), the East (he is Governor of Massachusetts) and the West (he owns Utah after saving Salt Lake from humiliation). He also will not have any trouble raising money.
If I were working for the Republicans - I would suggest they spin the "three states to three different people" as a sign of strength. Some talking heads are trying to spin this as a sign of fracture within the Republican Party but I would compare it to the SEC in football. I'd say that the Republican Party is just like the SEC having a number of football teams capable of winning the National Championship. This comparison should resonate in South Carolina home to the Gamecocks whose victory over Georgia may have cost Georgia a shot at the National Championship.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ron Paul

The truth about Ron Paul

The truth about Ron Paul Hilights Magazine style.
Heh Heh

Deaf Bud Selig

Maybe Bud Selig is just too vain to wear a hearing aid?

Maybe he just likes drawing attention to his huge ears?
Good for Rudy

Rudy Giuliani won't sign any Packers gear this week.

Good for Rudy. People know Rudy's a sports fan and if anyone can understand being true to your team its Packers fans. I don't see this harming him in the Wisconsin Primary. In fact if the Packers end up winning Sunday - it could help him as Packer fans who are swing voters give their vote to a guy who is passionate about football.

HT The Big Lead

Monday, January 14, 2008

Glaus / Rolen Trade

Scott Rolen has been traded from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays in exchange for Troy Glaus. Most reaction around the Interwebs seem to be that the Cardinals got the best of this deal.

I can see the point. Glaus will be hitting the weaker NL pitching and he's been the better power hitter the past few years. Plus he's 2-years younger than Rolen and seemingly less injury prone. Something just doesn't seem right.

I like and trust JP Riccardi and have to think that there's more to this deal than meets the eye. Glaus was named as a steroids guy and maybe his weight has dropped to 150 pounds (just kidding)? Maybe Glaus was demanding a trade behind the scenes? Something just doesn't seem right.
Heh Heh

You knew this was coming.

Too bad this wasn't done while TO was having his post-game snack.

Johnny Podres Passes

Curt Schilling has an appreciation up for the late Johnny Podres.

The dictionary should have Podres picture next to the phrase "big game pitcher." Podres was 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA is 6 World Series starts.
Red Sox Top 10 Prospects

An interesting compilation and re-ranking of the Red Sox top 10 prospects. I thought the comment to #6 was interesting:
Michael Bowden (46): Is looked at as an Ian Kennedy type, with perhaps a higher ceiling.
Kennedy is ranked as the #3 prospect for the Yankees but a player with a higher ceiling makes it to #6 for the Red Sox? I'm really starting to lean toward not wanting the Red Sox to trade for Johan Santana. I want to see the kids develop and play.
NFL Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous NFL thoughts and observations.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rested their starters the last game of the season and now they are out of the playoffs. The Giants played the last game as good as they could with all top players playing and they will be in the NFC Championship. The Colts rested their players the last game of the season and now they are making tee times. The Patriots played all of their starters in the last game of the season and now they will be hosting the AFC Championship game. Yet next year some "experts" will be suggesting teams rest their players the final game of the year instead of staying sharp... Don Banks says that Sunday's biggest winner was the Patriots. Now the Pats get the banged up Chargers instead of the Colts. Sunday's biggest winner is actually the Packers since now they get to host the NFC Championship game instead of having to go to Dallas - a place where Brett Favre never wins. I don't even know how you could argue otherwise... Tony Romo now has two postseason strikes against him. One more first-round loss next season and he automatically becomes the NFL's Alex Rodriguez - a player who puts up great regular season stats but who comes up short in the playoffs and who fans have turned against because he's got a big contract and is just too perfect. Dallas fans will give him one more strike otherwise Romo's new nickname will be Mr. October... In my head I heard Suzy Waldman screeching at the the end of the Dallas / Giants game; "Of all the dramatic things that I've seen. Tony Romo's just thrown an interception."...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Johan Santana Trade Proposals

Aaron Gleeman has a very good analysis of the proposed packages being offered for Johan Santana.

Aaron likes either the Yankee package with Hughes or the package from the Red Sox that includes Jacoby Ellsbury who he compares to a young Kenny Lofton. I've long thought that the best comparison to Ellsbury was Brett Butler but the Lofton comparison works too.

Gleeman's analysis does not take into consideration any package from the Mets and that I think is the one drawback. I think the Mets will end up putting together the biggest package.

File this under - you learn something new every day.

Last night my buddy Jim called. Him and a couple of co-workers went out to Colorado for some skiing this week. A few days into their trip - Jim and the rest of the guys all came down with a bad case of HAFE

Never heard of HAFE? Well neither did I. It seems that HAFE (High-altitude flatus expulsion) is a real - though not dangerous side effect for some who travel to high altitudes.
High-altitude flatus expulsion (HAFE) is the spontaneous and unwelcome passage of increased quantities of rectal gas noted at high altitude. It may become an embarrassment but is of no true medical concern. Avoid foods such as chili and beans that are known to induce flatulence at low altitudes, and show consideration for other members of the party in sleeping arrangements. If stricken, a traveler may benefit from chewable tablets or simethicone (Mylicon 80 milligrams) or simethicone 80 milligrams with activated charcoal 250 milligrams (Flatulex tablets) once or twice a day. Charcoal Plus is another simethicone-activated charcoal preparation.
Jim and his buddies developed HAFE after a few days of skiing and drinking microbrew beer. Their HAFE damn near cleared out a pool room from what I hear.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Heh Heh

I missed this Monday. Pretty funny stuff.

HT Baseball Crank
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Supposedly the Braves are looking at trading for Mark Kotsay of the A's. I say supposedly because the linked article smells more like an advertisement from Billy Beane that says that Kotsay is available to any team that missed out on signing Mike Cameron (who just signed with the Brewers). You would think the Braves would be better off giving prospect Jason Heyward a shot than trading for Kotsay and taking on both his salary (at least a few million worth of it) and the risk he'll hurt his back again... Wow! Robin Ventura had an ankle transplant. Read the whole thing - very interesting story about one of my favorite players of the 90's... As I mentioned earlier - Mike Cameron has signed to play with the Brewers. I like this move by the Brewers... Oakland Athletics third-baseman Eric Chavez thinks he'll be traded. Chavez with 3-years plus an option year at an average of about $11.5 million a year is the biggest contract left on the A's payroll. If Chavez was to be traded - my guess it would be to one of these four teams:

Phillies - they could use a 3rd baseman and could easily afford the $34 million over the next 3-years due Chavez. Probably would require the Phillies parting with a Carlos Carrasco or a Josh Outman (what a great name for a pitcher!) or some other highly thought of pitching prospect to get it done.

Giants - they need a 3rd baseman and solid bat in the order but would the Giants make a deal with the cross bay A's?

White Sox - they could use a 3rd baseman but they emptied the cupboards to trade for Nick Swisher. Josh Field will probably take over for Joe Crede. Low probability but who knows what the crazy White Sox GM will do?

Twins - 3rd base has been a sore spot for the Twins for years. Beane is the master of the 3-team trade so maybe Chavez is worked into some sort of Mets / Twins / A's deal? Chavez does have the Twins listed as one of the teams he doesn't want to be traded to in his limited no-trade clause which dampens the prospect of this happening.
Heh Heh

Tony Romo never should have challenged Tom Brady.


HT Sports Frog

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Top 5 - Walter Hill Movies

Happy 66th birthday to writer / director Walter Hill. In his honor - here are what I consider his top 5 films (although I wish there was a way for me to add in his work on Deadwood somehow because that was top-notch).

1. 48 Hours
2. Hard Times
3. The Warriors
4. Another 48 Hours
5. Last Man Standing
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I know that sometimes people make predictions purely to get the shock factor. I think this prediction of a Jaguars victory over the Patriots fits that bill. You would think that a guy with credentials like Jeremy Green wouldn't be so cavalier. The again - maybe there's a reason Green is writing about scouting instead of actually doing it... Interesting break down by Karl Rove on why Hillary won in New Hampshire. I'd take issue with this sentence though:
Despite Sen. Harry Reid's son serving as her Nevada chairman, she's likely to lose that state's caucuses on Jan. 19.
I'd argue that she may lose Nevada because Harry Reid son is her state chairman. Harry Reid isn't the most popular guy in his home state right now and if Reid was up for re-election this year he'd be a big underdog despite his years in office... I don't agree with Dan Shaughnessy often but I do agree with him that Jim Rice was a better hitter than Wade Boggs. Kudos for pointing out that 3 straight years with 35 HR and 200 hits tops 7 straight years with 200 hits. Wade Boggs was never even the best player on any team he ever played on yet he gets to be in the Hall of Fame while Jim Rice is still on the outside looking in... One stat to think about - Wade Boggs is considered a hitting machine but he only made the top 10 in the league in total bases 4 times in his career. Jim Rice meanwhile led the ENTIRE league in total bases 4 times (and was top 10 in 9 seasons)...
Heh Heh

Pretty funny stuff. I'll have to disagree with Dustin Pedroia being the second coming of Christ though.

HT Sawxblog

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Commercial that Could Have Won New Hampshire

After some further thought - here is a commercial that I think could have completely changed the results of the New Hampshire primaries. I would have started running this commercial starting last Friday in both New Hampshire and in South Carolina.
Mitt Romney: [steps to center of stage] I'm Mitt Romney and I'm running for President. On Tuesday there will take place a very important vote in New Hampshire.

Barack Obama: [steps to center stage beside Romney] I'm Barack Obama and I too am running for President. Mitt and I come from different worlds and we hold different beliefs on many important matters. However, there are two areas where we are in full agreement.

Romney: We both agree that it is important the citizens of New Hampshire get out to vote on Tuesday. The United States is a beacon of Democracy in the world and the eyes of the world will be on New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Obama: The right to vote is not something to be taken lightly. Sure Mitt and I would both prefer that you check our names when you enter the polling station but the important thing is to get out Tuesday and exercise one of our great symbols of freedom. The right to vote.

Romney: We are in bi-partisan agreement on that Obama. And I think we also agree on another matter.

Obama: Yes Mitt. On Tuesday there will be another important election. The Baseball Writers of America will announce the results of their votes for election to the Hall of Fame. Both Mitt and I want to urge any baseball writers out there to make sure you do the right thing and vote for Red Sox legend Jim Rice.

Romney: During his career Jim Rice was the greatest player in the American League and Barack and I urge you to vote #14 into the hall in this his 14th year of eligibility.

Jim Rice: [stepping to center stage to stand between Romney and Obama] I'm Jim Rice and I approved this message.
This commercial would have changed the dynamics of the election and swung enough die-hard Red Sox fans to vote for Mitt and Barack instead of Hillary and McCain. If people doubt the power of pandering to Red Sox Nation in New England then I guess they missed the commercials John McCain constantly ran featuring Curt Schilling. Heck if Barack really wanted to win in New Hampshire - all he had to do was circulate those pictures of Hillary wearing a Yankees hat.

The Jim Rice ad would have had the added benefit of helping in South Carolina where Rice was born and raised and still looked up to as one of the great athletes in the history of the state and easily one of the top 5 baseball players in the history of South Carolina.
Jim Rice and the New Hampshire Primary

Yesterday was a big day. You had both the Baseball Hall of Fame announcement for the 2008 inductees and there was also the New Hampshire Primary.

I was very disappointed that Jim Rice failed to get the 75% of votes necessary for enshrinement. I thought for sure that the 14th year would do the trick for #14. As it was - Rice received 392 votes for 72.2% of the vote - just 16 votes shy of the 75% he needed.

As usual - the votes were made in secret. The writers don't have to step up and take responsibility for their actions which of course explains the following:
Rod Beck 2 votes
Travis Fryman 2 votes
Robb Nen 1 vote
Shawon Dunston 1 vote
Chuck Finley 1 vote
David Justice 1 vote
Chuck Knoblauch 1 vote
Todd Stottlemyre 1 vote
That's 10 votes which in my mind are completely unjustified. Yet nobody is ever going to have to own up to being the guy who thinks Chuck Knoblauch was Hall of Fame worthy. In a system worth it's salt - the writers who cast those 10 votes would have their voting rights revoked. If that was the case (those writers getting their right to vote revoked) - then Rice would need just 400 votes for the 75% threshold (400 of 533). I'm also guessing that in a system where the writer's votes are made public - then enough writers who publicly say they support Jim Rice but privately execute their own little private vendettas would also be exposed. The combination would be enough to get Rice over the hump. It's sad to say but Jim Rice's dream of being in the Hall of Fame is being deferred by the petty and frivolous.

Speaking of voting and numbers - yesterday Hillary Clinton edged Barack Obama and John McCain beat Mitt Romney in the New Hampshire Primaries. The sentence from the linked story that stuck out for me was the following:
With 96 percent of the precincts reporting early today, 281,266 votes had been tallied in the Democratic race and 232,804 in the Republican one.
So if McCain beat Romney 37% to 32% (unofficial) - that means that the margin of victory was about 11,700 votes which to put it into context is less than the average attendance for even the worst drawing NHL team.

The Democrats? The margin of victory was about 8,450 which is about the number of people you'd find in just the endzone seats of just about any NFL game.

I throw those numbers out in sports attendance context to make a point. If you swung half of those hockey game votes or endzone votes in the other direction - then you have different winners in New Hampshire yesterday. I think if either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama had publicly and loudly supported Jim Rice's attempt to gain entry into the Hall of Fame then that small move would have been enough to sway a sufficient number of Granite State Red Sox fans who were on the fence and enough to change the results of the primary.

It's a sad commentary about our Presidential electoral process that I'm probably right about this.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Tale of Two Angry Men

This morning I'd like to discuss two angry men.

The first angry man is me. I'm mostly angry with myself for not only taking Ohio State last night but compounding the fact by taking the under as well. How could I be so stupid? This is two years in a row now that I've duped myself into taking Ohio State. I'm so stupid!

The line for the game started at 6.5 but by game time it was just 3.5 points. Normally I trust the linesmakers are right with their initial lines barring injuries or weather related issues. For whatever reason - I went against my normal inclinations to take the Buckeyes. The under? Well I though the game featured two tough defenses and two running orientated offenses. That usually equates to low scoring - right? Well when it comes to National Championship games - coaches usually let it all hang out. That means scoring and damn it - I knew that!

The other angry man to discuss is Roger Clemens.

You could pick the word defiant to describe Clemens performance yesterday but I prefer the word angry. I also think that anger is at the root of this situation.

I'm no psychologist and I don't even play one on TV but I can't help but think of an angry Roger Clemens leaving Boston "in the twilight of his career" angry that his body was failing him. Angry that he would not last in the league to put up Tom Seaver or especially Nolan Ryan type numbers. Angry enough to imagine that he'd been wronged - wronged enough to justify the taking of steroids to get back at the whore mother natured and that bastard father time who had conspired to rob Roger of his fast ball.

In his mind - I'm sure that Roger Clemens feels he's the victim and that this whole thing has turned into some Shakespearian tragedy (or more befitting Roger's tastes - a very special episode of the ABC After School Special). Roger may think himself as some modern day Hamlet but the Shakespeare quote I couldn't shake after watching Roger yesterday was, "the Roger doth protest too much."

Getting back to angry me. I'm also angry with Roger Clemens because of the timing of all of this. The Mitchell Report came out on December 13th but yet Roger timed all this so that the 60 Minutes interview came out two days before and his press conference happened the day before baseball announces the 2008 inductees into the Hall of Fame. Yesterday Roger made it clear that he does not give a "rat's ass" about the Hall of Fame. And that self-centeredness extends to any common courtesy that should go to Goose Gossage and Jim Rice and the other potential inductees who will now have to answer questions about Roger Clemens on what could be one of the greatest days of their lives. This is as bad as Scott Boras using the final game of the World Series to announce Alex Rodriguez was opting out of his contract.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Roger Clemens

After watching the 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace - there is no doubt in my mind that Roger Clemens took steroids. He ate Vioxx like Skittles and had no compunction against taking pain-killer shots or vitamin shots. Better living through chemistry seems to be part of Clemens preparation for playing. With that mindset - it's not too far a leap to believe he was a steroids-shooting cheat.

One of the side benefits of Roger Clemens being implicated for steroids use is that nobody will be clamoring to have his number retired by the Red Sox. Supposedly you have to meet three criteria to have your number retired by the Red Sox; you have to play at least 10 years in Boston, you have to be elected to the Hall of Fame and you have to have retired as a member of the Red Sox. That last requirement was bent in order to retire Carlton Fisk's number 27. Since Clemens is tied for all-time wins by a Red Sox pitcher with 192 (tied with Cy Young) - I bet Clemens would have had his supporters petitioning the Sox to retire his number. With these negative steroids stories - Clemens will be lucky to make the Hall of Fame now never mind having his number retired by the Red Sox.

Have you seen those Jason Taylor ASPCA commercials? I'm guessing those commercials are a not so subtle way for the NFL to counter the negative press generated by Michael Vick's dog killing ways. I have to wonder if baseball will come out with a similar commercial to counter Clemens ass-injecting ways? Greg Maddux would be the natural (pun intended) candidate to counter the negative press created by the Clemens revelations but the last time baseball had a commercial with Maddux it was the "chicks dig the long ball" spot he did with Tom Glavine. In retrospect - that commercial seems almost insulting given the steroids issues which have been exposed.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Body Armor

Michael Yon has an excellent post up on body armor and a faux controversy involving the unwanted Dragon Skin.

His post made me think two things:

1. The individual military branches should have more control over picking what they need as far as weapons and materials. The current procurement process through Congress leads to far too much political maneuvering that has nothing to do with the item's effectiveness or even if the item is wanted by the troops on the field in the first place. I know this move won't end graft or corruption but I think it would be better than what we have now.

2. Biblical historians say that one of the reasons David was able to kill Goliath is the fact that Goliath was so weighed down with armor - 125 pounds of armor (technically 5,000 shekels) and another 15 pounds for his massive spear (600 shekels). Goliath just wasn't able to catch the quicker David and David was able to kill Goliath despite the "body armor" by hitting him with a rock from his sling where Goliath had no armor (between the eyes).

Related Posts:
Little Green Footballs

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fuel Efficient Vehicles

This is very interesting:
This means the H3's electric motor will be able to perform awesome feats of acceleration and power over and over again, like a Prius on steroids. What's more, the turbine will burn biodiesel, a renewable fuel with much lower emissions than normal diesel; a hydrogen-injection system will then cut those low emissions in half. And when it's time to fill the tank, he'll be able to just pull up to the back of a diner and dump in its excess french-fry grease--as he does with his many other Hummers. Oh, yeah, he adds, the horsepower will double--from 300 to 600.
Wow! Just - wow!

I'm not a big global warming guy but I am a fan of anything that cuts down our dependence on foreign oil. Plus a Hummer with double the horsepower and double the miles per gallon? Wow!

HT Instapundit
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

So now Roger Clemens is saying that it was B12 and lidocaine that Brian McNamee injected him with. So - just for the record - Andy Pettitte admits McNamee injected him with HGH and now you admit that McNamee was correct in saying he injected you in the ass. But you want us to believe it was B12 even after your good buddy Andy admitted it was HGH? Roger - when you hit bottom you are supposed to stop digging... Matt Clement signs a deal with the Cardinals. This could be a move that works out just fine for both sides. The Cardinals desperately need pitching and Clement needs an atmosphere where the fans are super supportive. I'm rooting for Clement to be the 2008 NL Comeback Player of the Year. He seems like a really nice guy... I've long thought Kenny Williams and Jim Bowden were the two worst GM's in baseball. The more I think of the Swisher trade - the more I'm convinced I'm right about Williams. The White Sox just basically emptied their farm system for a 25+ HR guy. The fact is that even with Swisher - the White Sox have no shot of out-hitting either the Indians or Tigers. Pitching is the White Sox' only shot at contending but yet Williams traded away Jon Garland and now he's dumped his bargaining chips that were his one shot at a guy like Eric Bedard on Swisher. Maybe Williams is just trying to stay ahead of the Royals?... Joe Torre does his best Sergeant Schultz impression when it comes to steroids. "I see nothing. I know nothing."...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Iowa Caucus

The other day I asked my wife if she was following anything regarding the Iowa Caucus. She said no that it was still way too early to care. I guessing that most people in the country feel the same way.

The way I see it - the Iowa Caucus is like spring training in baseball. Only the die hard fans really follow what happens in spring training. Most of the TV stations and newspapers will send people to cover "the action" but honestly most fans wait till the season starts or until late in the season when a team you like starts looking like they might make the playoffs to actually care. Only then will most people become emotionally involved and start following the minutia that goes with the team.

The Iowa Caucus is the same way. Only the really die hard political junkies are emotionally involved at this point. The people in Iowa? They're just like the people in Florida or Arizona during spring training. They are having their "moment in the sun" - so to speak. They get to see the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Cubs in person but soon those teams will be moving on to bigger and better things. Tomorrow may be the last time anyone in Iowa sees any of the top candidates set foot in their state.

Also - like spring training - the results are more of a guide post than anything else. Sure teams like to leave spring training with some momentum but it more important to leave spring training healthy and with the kinks worked out. Nobody wants to lose a key player to an injury in spring training. In Iowa it was probably more important for the top candidates not to make any mistakes and to move on to the real primaries. Avoiding a Dean scream or a Gary Hart "lick my erection - not wreck my election" episode was almost as important as winning.

Spring training is a place for no-name players to make an impression in an attempt to make the roster. This equates to people like Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. Sorry - back to AAA guys. Maybe even time to hang up the spikes?

Conversely - a word of warning for you Huckabee, Obama and Edwards supporters - this year in spring training JD Drew hit .356 and everyone thought he was going to light the world on fire. Just saying.
Swisher to White Sox

The Oakland A's have traded Nick Swisher to the White Sox for 3 prospects.

I'm surprised by the move mostly because Nick Swisher was not only the face of the franchise - he was also signed to a very reasonable contract ($3.5 million next year, $5.3 million in 2009, $6.75 million in 2010 and $9 in 2011 with a $10.25 million club option for 2012). Compare that to Aaron Rowand's recent 5-year $60 million contract and you can see how much of a bargain Swisher's contract is and why I'm surprised the A's would part with him.

The Transaction Guy has a pretty good breakdown of the deal. My guess is that Billy Beane thinks he knows the ceiling of Swisher's talent and that Beane is hoping to get at least one prospect out of the three with a higher ceiling.
Shark vs. Octopus

This is an old video but still fascinating.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cool Time Waster

This is pretty cool.

HT Sports Frog
Buck Weaver's of the Steroids Era

John Brattain brings up an excellent point in regards to those who knew about steroids in baseball but said nothing:
In recent weeks, much has been written about the Mitchell report, Pete Rose, Joe Jackson and the Black Sox in discussing how the steroid era fits in among baseball’s great scandals. One question that has not been answered is this: How many Buck Weavers are there in baseball’s performance-enhancing drug chapter? How many players (not to mention coaches, trainers, managers, GMs, team executives, etc.) never injected themselves with human growth hormone, rubbed THG into their skin or popped a pill containing Stanozolol yet knew those who did but remained mute?

What about them?
Buck Weaver never took money and never threw a game but he knew about the 1919 fix and for that he was banned from baseball for the rest of his life. I agree that throwing a baseball game is awful for baseball and throwing a World Series is the worst case scenario but it is a question worthy of consideration. What about the Buck Weaver's of the steroids era? The players, the coaches and the writers who knew and yet said nothing - what's to be done about them?
Hot Stove

How soon they forget! John Donovan of SI has a pretty good recap of what's transpired in the hot stove season so far. I will take him to task for one thing - no mention of Curt Schilling re-signing with the Red Sox for a very reasonable amount. Schilling was the best available free agent starter and his deal at least should have been mentioned in his "Best risk for the buck" section.

Jay Glazer Interview

Nice interview with Jay Glazer over at The Big Lead.

Nicely done!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Joe Foss

It was five years ago today that American hero Joe Foss passed away. Joe Foss lived one of the fullest lives of almost anyone I can think of. He was a military hero - he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was a politician - he served as Governor of South Dakota. He was a businessman - he served as the first commissioner of the American Football League (stepping aside just 2 months before the merger with the NFL). He was an activist - serving as President of the National Rifle Association. He was also quite literally The American Sportsman.

It seems a shame to me that a man like Joe Foss could accomplish so much but be known by so few.
Bowl Money Should Be Taxable

The number of bowls has grown in my lifetime from a handful to the current 32. Last night we had the Humanitarian Bowl, we've had a PapaJohn' Bowl and a Meineke Bowl among others. The reason we have so many bowl games is because TV networks like ESPN can make money off them and because the hosting cities can also make some ready cash.

It's greed. And for the most part - it's tax free.

Don't get me wrong - I love all the bowl games but I have to ask what all these extra games have to do with education. Colleges and Universities get tax breaks because they supposedly provide a service to the community at large by providing a haven for higher learning. Does the Humanitarian Bowl really forward the purpose of higher education? Other than allowing more people to learn that the turf at Boise State is blue - what other lesson is being taught here?

Can anyone give me a good reason why the money the colleges get from the Bowls shouldn't be taxed? We are talking millions and millions of dollars for the bowl games and even more for basketball and March Madness. Why shouldn't that money be taxed?

Again - don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of college sports but I do think that Division 1 sports that receive TV revenue should have that income taxed.