Thursday, April 30, 2009

Holy Crap!

This certainly puts the Federal budget into perspective.

HT LyfLines
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Under the radar - Baltimore's first three in the batting order are all in the top 11 in batting average in the AL - Brian Roberts (.356 11th), Adam Jones (.359 10th) and Nick Markakis (.381 3rd). That's quietly impressive... I get confused - is I Want Revenge the name of the Kentucky Derby favorite or the name of the Selena Roberts book on A-Rod?... I feel bad for Pittsburgh's Ian Snell. In his last three losses he gave up a total of just 6 earned runs. Why is it that some pitchers always seem to have bad luck when it comes to their team's offense always taking a day off when they start?... There are still 4 players who have as many or more home runs as individuals than the Oakland A's have as a team total... People in Boston are very worried about David Ortiz. I imagine that people in Chicago may be similarly concerned about Derrek Lee and his single HR and .200 BA... Not for nothing but if A-Rod had 3 HR but was hitting just .197 - he'd be booed both at home and on the road. Those are Mark Teixeira's numbers so far... Is Julian Tavarez really the Nationals new closer? Wow - things are worse in Washington than I thought.
Interesting Player Comparison

Player A - .328 BA/ 1152 R/ 312 HR/ 1131 RBI/ .999 OPS/ 141 OPS+
Player B - .305 BA/ 1583 R/ 317 HR/ 1595 RBI/ .857 OPS/ 135 OPS+

Player B had the benefit of 3 more full seasons to compile more runs and RBI. Just looking at the comparison makes you think that the players are fairly close in offensive skills. It should be noted that Player A has won 3 Gold Gloves while Player B won just one.

Have you figured it out? Player A is Todd Helton while Player B is George Brett.

Helton may be the most under-rated player of this generation. Many people credit his numbers to playing at Coors Field but consider this - Helton's career road OPS is higher (.886 to .857) than Brett's overall career OPS.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brad Penny

The only pitchers in baseball who have started 4 games for their teams but yet have a worse ERA than Brad Penny and his 8.66 are the Mets' Oliver Perez (9.31) and the Indians' Carl Pavano (9.50).

The optimist in me says "At least the Red Sox don't have Oliver Perez and his 3-year $36 million contract." The pessimist in me says, "For Penny's production the Sox would have been better off with Pavano's $1.5 million contract." The realist in me says, "All three of these guys suck."

As an aside - Pavano's contract has $5.3 million in incentive bonuses. That's funny.
Very Cool

I never saw a person rock with a ukulele before but this was so awesome that I half expected him to smash his ukulele at the end.

Eric Gagne

Is it time to revisit the trade that send Eric Gagne from the Rangers to the Red Sox? Within Red Sox Nation the deal is viewed as perhaps the worst evah made by Theo Epstein. Gagne was a warm barrel of suck during his time in Boston but it has to be said - the Red Sox may have actually gotten the better end of the deal. Here's the deal according to Eric Gagne's page:
July 31, 2007: Traded by the Texas Rangers with cash to the Boston Red Sox for Engel Beltre (minors), Kason Gabbard and David Murphy.
Kason Gabbard has been reacquired by the Red Sox for cash considerations. David Murphy has been absolutely awful - hitting just .097 in 31 AB this season (that .097 is not a typo). Engel Beltre has a .307 OBP for Single A Clinton. Meh! Meanwhile the Red Sox used the compensation pick for Gagne signing with the Brewers to select Bryan Price - a 6'4" righthander who can throw 95 mph.

The Sox may have actually won this trade.
Brad Penny

Is it unseemly to complain about a loss after your team had just won 11 straight? I don't care - it should have been 12 in a row. Two players cost the Red Sox the win. Brad Penny has an ERA of 8.66, couldn't get out of the third inning last night without giving up 7 runs and really shouldn't be starting any more games once Dice-K comes off the disabled list. Justin Masterson should take Penny's rotation spot but that won't happen. They will stick with Penny and he'll continue to stink the joint up.

Does it seem strange to anyone that Penny was able to get a $5 million contract but Pedro Martinez was not? The other player who cost the Red Sox last night was Javy Lopez - the lefty relief guy who lefties are hitting an even .400 against. The Red Sox should jettison Lopez ASAP. He's a waste of a roster spot.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The New Orleans Hornets lost by 58 points last night to the Denver Nuggets playing perhaps the worst game in NBA playoff history. In my mind though - it still pales to the complete crapping the bed performance of the San Jose Sharks in the NHL playoffs. The Sharks had the best regular season record in all of the NHL but now they are out of the playoffs after suffering a first round defeat at the hands of the 8th ranked Mighty Ducks. Maybe I was wrong about Joe Thorton? Is he the A-Rod of the NHL?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Johnny Damon

After this season the Yankees will have some decisions to make about their outfield. Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are both free agents. The top outfielder free agents will be Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. Knowing that the Yankees will have a hole to fill and the fact that Bay has fit in so well in Boston probably means the Red Sox get Bay wrapped up (they CANNOT let Bay go to the Yankees). That leaves Holliday as the top free agent but the problem there is the fact that maybe Holliday is not as good as his Coors Field inflated numbers would indicate. He has yet to hit a home run this season and I predicted that he'd be exposed this year.

Today the Yankees have Damon, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher as the starting outfield with Brett Gardner poised as the CF of the future and Xavier Nady as the corner insurance plan. Hideki Matsui is basically just a DH at this point and I don't see them re-signing Godzilla.

I guess the Yankees could live with an outfield of Cabrera, Gardner and Swisher but I think the Yankees will start to realize that Johnny Damon is more important to their plans than most people realize. My prediction is that Damon eventually gets a two-year extension from the Yankees and finishes his career having played more games in pinstripes than in any other uniform.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Manny Who?

During the Red Sox current 9-game winning streak they have a team OPS of 1.025. That's the same OPS Manny Ramirez has for the season.

Going into today's action - Manny was 19th in the major leagues in OPS. Jason Bay - Manny's hopefully long term replacement - is 5th in all of baseball with a 1.135 OPS. Kevin Youkilis leads everyone with a mark of 1.345.
Pick of the Day

Today's pick of the day is the Tigers (-$150) with Armando Galarraga taking the hill against Kansas City who will be starting Sidney Ponson. I like this pick as much for Galarraga as I do Ponson. Galarraga has been generally tough to hit while Ponson has basically been a pinata.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Back from Vegas and the damage to the wallet wasn't as bad as it could have been. I did spend a night gambling in old Vegas - downtown - and I'm a convert. Just a huge difference in the vibe between the strip and downtown. So many people just stick with the strip and I think that's a huge mistake.... Best beer man ever. I had to watch it three times to get the full effect... I stayed at the Paris for my time in Vegas and I must say the gambling there is awful. First off they got rid of their poker room about 7 months ago. The poker room used to be my main reason for going to the Paris. Their sports book also leaves a lot to be desired. I won't bother going back to the Paris... Separated at birth - Matt Garza and Mentok the Mindtaker... Hearing the late Harry Kalas' voice on the Coors Light commercials with the various football coaches creeps me out... Pick of the day - Derek Lowe and the Braves (-$122) over the Cincinnati Reds...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Las Vegas

Off to Las Vegas for the rest of the week - so blogging will probably be light.

Yesterday I had a great day going into Boston to watch the Red Sox beat up on the Orioles in the Patriot's Day matinee. Patriot's Day is a Massachusetts holiday celebrating the battle of Lexington and Concord and "the shot heard round the world." These days its pretty much known as Marathon Monday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Heh Heh
A very classy lady walked into a Lexus dealership to browse, and spotted the most beautiful, perfectly loaded Lexus she ever seen. She walked over to inspect it closer. As she bent forward to feel the fine leather upholstery, an unexpected little burst of flatulence escaped her. Very embarrassed, she anxiously looked around to see if anyone had noticed. Sure enough, there standing right behind her was a salesman. With a pleasant smile he greeted her, "Good day, Madam. How may we help you today?" Trying to maintain an air of sophistication and acting as though nothing had happened, she smiled back and asked, "Sir, what is the price of this lovely vehicle?" Still smiling pleasantly, he replied,

"Madam , I'm very sorry to say... if you farted by just touching it, you are gonna shit when you hear the price."
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Carl Pavano comes back to pitch against the Yankees today in the new Yankee Stadium the day after the Indians pounded they Yankees 22-4. Often a pitcher pitches very well against former team the first time out but just as often a top team who gets shelled the day before comes back the next day to do the shelling. It should be interesting to watch... File this under once a thought gets in your head - its tough to get that thought out. Nelson Figueroa pitches today for the Mets. In my mind I always confuse the 6'1" Figueroa with the 2'4" Nelson de la Rosa. I know this is completely unfair to the only major league player to ever play at Waltham Mass's Brandeis University but at this point I can't help it... Early season craziness. The Florida Marlins have the best record in baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best team ERA. Who knew?... Going into today's action - there are 20 major league players who have more home runs by themselves than the A's have as a team (3)... Just to simplify things - I think if Chipper Jones plays for the Braves today then the Braves win. If not - the Braves get swept by the Pirates... No team's offense has been better at not giving up free outs by striking out than the Phillies. As a team they have struck out just 50 times so far this season. The reason they don't have a winning record is because no team's pitching staff has been as generous at giving up home runs in baseball than the Phillies. Brad Lidge gave up the team's 25th dinger last night... Today is Rick Miller's 61st birthday. That makes me feel old. I remember a tale told about Miller of how he ended up getting a nice contract as a free agent in 1977 because Angels owner Gene Autrey told his GM to get that outfielder from the Red Sox and that Autrey liked that player. The GM signed Miller only to learn that Autrey was referring to Dwight Evans. Rick Miller is tied to Butch Hobson in his personal history. In 1980 - Miller with Mark Clear and Carney Lansford were traded to the Boston Red Sox for Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson then two years ago Miller replaced Hobson as coach of the CanAm league Nashua (NH) Pride...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gary Sheffield's 500th HR

There has been lots of gushing over Gary Sheffield's 500th HR with nobody willing to come out and say that despite the 500 HR - Sheffield ain't no Hall of Famer. Well I'll say it.

Gary Sheffield quit on the Brewers, used steroids with Barry Bonds and if the Yankees had signed Vlade Guerrero instead of Sheffield in 2003 - the Yankees in my opinion would have at least 2 more World Series victories to their credit. These are just some of the reasons Sheffield won't get elected to the Hall of Fame.

Hitting 500 HR is supposed to be a ticket to Cooperstown but consider that both Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire have 500 HR and little consideration from voters. Why would Sheffield be any different?

It took Sheffield 22 seasons to get to 500 HR. It took Fred McGriff 19 seasons to get to 493. Sheffield is supposed to be a slugger but yet never led his league in HR. McGriff led the league twice. Teams traded for McGriff to help them win. Teams traded Sheffield because he was a pain in the ass. I think McGriff has a much better case for the Hall of Fame.

I wish someone would tell the talking heads on Baseball Tonight that. Gary Sheffield is not a Hall of Fame player.
The Joe Kerrigan Effect

As of this morning the Pittsburgh Pirates and their impressive 2.90 have the lowest team ERA in all of baseball. Just by purely looking at the stats - you have to assume that Joe Kerrigan is doing a heck of a job as pitching coach for the Pirates.

Pat Maholm has emerged as a legitimate Ace - going 2-0 with a 0.87 ERA in three starts so far. Zach Duke is back to his 2005 form - the form that allowed him to go 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA as a rookie, Duke is 2-0 with a minuscule 0.59 ERA. Maybe most impressive is the fact that the enigma that is Craig Hansen has yet to give up a run in five innings of relief work this season (though with just 4 K's to 3 BB - Hansen probably isn't out of the woods).

The Pirates were dead last in the NL last year in team ERA. Who could have guessed that the Pirates pitching staff would be one of the more interesting stories of the young season?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Red Sox - Orioles Flotsam and Jetsam

Sci-Fi Connection: Pretty amazing game tonight. Brad Penny gives up 7 runs in the 2nd only to see the Red Sox came back to eventually take a 10-8 victory. The start by Penny made me wonder if the Red Sox front office is employing the Harkonnen Strategy. In the book Dune - the Baron Harkonnen first sends his ruthless nephew Glossu Rabban to rule Arrakis with the idea that he'd be so bad that the people would automatically welcome and love the Baron's nephew and heir Feyd Rautha. In this scenario - Brad Penny is playing the role of the grossly overweight Rabban and John Smoltz is being poised to look like a savior. Brad Penny's season ERA now stands at an even 11.00.

Playing the Role of Andruw Jones in 2009?: In the 7th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd with none out - I swear the Orioles pitched around Dustin Pedroia (4 straight balls) to get to David Ortiz. How the mighty have fallen. Ortiz then quickly struck out. The Orioles then got out of the jam by getting Kevin Youkilis to ground into a double play. I know its early but Ortiz is eerily reminding me of Jack Clark in his final year in Boston.

Because John Wasdin is not on the roster: Javy Lopez is really my least favorite player on the Red Sox roster right now. I get ill every time he comes in to pitch. Mike Timlin might be a better use of a roster spot - at least Timlin could get the bullpen guys doing that stomp-type music.

Prediction watch: I predicted that Coco Crisp would have as good or better numbers than Jacoby Ellsbury. Right now Crisp is hitting .235 but has 2 HR while Ellsbury is hitting .220 with no HR. Still a good trade for both teams - the Royals got a Gold Glove centerfielder and the Red Sox got Ramone Martinez who has been great in the bullpen for Boston.

My wallet thanks you: Just as impressive was the San Diego Padres come back from a 5-0 deficit after the 1st inning on the road to beat the Phillies 8-7 in Philadelphia. The Padres were part of a improbable 4-team parlay with the Red Sox (coming back from 7 runs down), the Marlins (coming back to win in 10 innings) and the under in the Atlanta game. Woo-hoo! Did I mention I'm going to Vegas next week?
The Red Sox the Buy the Boston Globe?

The Boston Herald today reported a rumor that principal Red Sox owner John Henry has mad overtures to purchase back the 17% of the Red Sox as well as the struggling Boston Globe from the New York Time Co.

I have no doubt that John Henry has probably indicated his willingness to buy-back the shares in the Red Sox. It makes sense that the Red Sox would want to get the 17% of the club the NYT owns. The valuation of the Red Sox keeps going up. The question is why would the Red Sox want the Boston Globe? Why would they want to do a reverse Tribune / Chicago Cubs situation?

The answer is - they probably don't want to buy the Boston Globe but that may be part of the cost of doing business to get that 17% back. If that was the case - then I wouldn't be surprised if the Worcester Telegram was also made part of the package since that central Mass paper is also owned by the NYT Co.

The smart money says that this never happens. The Red Sox have no need to take on distressed properties. They can let the New York Times continue to struggle and maybe get good terms for that 17% from the bankruptcy judge when the New York Times eventually has to sleep in the bed that they have been making.
Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge had a mild heart attack. I wish Danny all the best and especially a speedy recovery. Ainge doesn't get the credit he deserves - not even from the fans in Boston.

Ainge returned to the Celtics in 2003 when he was hired as the Executive Director of Basketball Operations. Not the President - that title Ainge made sure was returned to Red Auerbach who had been stripped of the title during the reign of ego maniac Rick Pitino. Only after the death of Red did Ainge become President of Basketball Operations. That was the classy thing to do and Ainge did it with little or no fanfare.

Not all of his moves have been perfect but he brought Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to town and with them the Celtics were able to win the championship last year. When the Celtics won the championship - Ainge pretty much stayed in the shadows to allow Doc Rivers and the players the spotlight. Again - a classy thing to do that brought little fanfare.

It his his skill at judging talent that especially goes under-appreciated. Ainge traded for the rights to draft Rajon Rondo; he drafted high schooler Kendrick Perkins because he saw in him a future NBA starter at center; Leon Powe; Big Baby Davis, the number of diamonds in the rough goes on and on. Do you think the Celtics are able to acquire Kevin Garnett if Aigne first didn't recognize the value of an Al Jefferson and a Ryan Gomes?

Danny Ainge may be under-appreciated in some circles but not here. I wish him all the best and most of all a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

All four of the Philadelphia Phillies' wins this season have been come-from-behind. The Phillies bullpen deserve a good deal of the credit as opponents are only hitting a measly .130 against them... The expected line-up for the Astros for tonight's game against Pittsburgh has hit a combined .439 against tonight's Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf. The bad news for Houston fans is that Mike Hampton is starting for the Astros... Tim Wakefield's complete game today ties him for 11th among active players. He's tied with Bartolo Colon and Jamie Moyer. As an indication of how times have changed - Wakefield's current 31 complete games doesn't even put him in the top 1,000 all-time... The only two players in major league history to have 10 seasons of 30 HR's and 30 doubles are Manny Ramirez and Carlos Delgado. That's amazing. Babe Ruth only had 5 such seasons...
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Happy tax day. Tea Party protests are nice but those protests mean nothing if people still vote for the same people who are responsible for the out of control spending. The only way this works is if there is a "throw the bums" out sentiment at each election day going forward. Hopefully then people will get the message that tax dollars are not to be wasted on pork projects... The percentage of black players in the major leagues increased to 10.2 percent last year, the first rise since the 1995 season. I have a dream that one day players will not be judged on the color of their skin but on their OPS+ or ERA+.... Josh Barfield was once one of the top prospects in baseball. Now he can no longer be really be called a prospect since he'll be 27 at the end of the year. Now Indians fans probably think of him as a flop. The only good news for Indians fans I guess is that Kevin Kouzmanoff hasn't really be setting the world on fire for the Padres...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Morning Links

Some interesting stuff to peruse over your morning coffee.

- The story of Under Armour. I love stories like this. From the grandmother's house to $700 million in sales. Incredible.

- What's that "V" on Tiger's hat? I was wondering about that.

- Phrase of the day - sang froid. You never hear that phrase anymore. Angel Cabrera exhibited sang froid in yesterday's playoff. Kenny Perry? Not so much.

- I agree with Lyford 100% on this.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

I've never understood the appeal of Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson. He's the highest paid player on the Pirates and yet his career OPS+ is just 79 (an average player would be at 100). Pirates management even saw fit to give a player who has a career batting average of just .270 a limited no-trade contract. Maybe this, in a nutshell, explains why the Pirates suck... At one point Edwin Jackson was the highest regarded pitching prospect in baseball. The Dodgers wouldn't trade him for anyone. Then Jackson's decline came. Last year I pretty much took the over in any game Jackson started for Tampa Bay and I must say that was a nice little run for me. This season Jackson started out with a 7 1/3, one run no-decision for the Tigers and you have to wonder if he's finally put it together. Today's start against Kevin Millwood and Texas should go a long way in answering that question... The Cleveland Indians sport a league-worst 9.86 ERA and their pitching staff has allowed opponents to hit .357. That's beyond putrid... I've said it before but I expect Matt Holliday to be a bust in the American League. I wish there was some place that would take a prop bet that at least one Rockies outfielder will have as many or more HR than Holliday this season. I'd guess that two Rockies outfielders will out-homer Holliday... 17 years ago today Boston's Matt Young pitched eight no-hit innings at Cleveland but lost 2-1 in the opener of a doubleheader. Young was not officially credited with a no-hitter because he did not pitch a full 9 innings... Pick of the day - Atlanta (-$200 - meaning you would have to risk $200 to win $100) with Jair Jurrjens starting over the Nationals (and yes I know the odds are steep but they are steep for a reason)...
Baseball and Divorce

Interesting tidbit from Nick Carfardo's Baseball Notes column today:
Dr. Howard Markman, University of Denver. He did a study on divorce rates in cities after they acquired baseball franchises. In 1990, Denver's divorce rate stood at 6 per 1,000. Seven years after the Rockies played their first game, the divorce rate had declined 20 percent to 4.2 per 1,000. The overall US divorce rate dropped only 15 percent. Markman found a 30 percent decline in divorces in Phoenix, a 30 percent drop in Miami, and a 17 percent drop in Tampa Bay after teams in those cities were born.
I have to watch baseball honey. It's for the marriage!
Happy Easter

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Heh Heh

I can't look at this photo without laughing my ass off. It is funny on so many different levels.

HT Deadspin
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

The Yankees open the season with a 9 game road trip. That's the longest season-opening road trip in franchise history. I wonder if this was done on purpose by the scheduling folks just in case there was a couple of things about the new Yankee Stadium that needed time to fix before the first regular season game.... Today's Mariners game will not be broadcast on TV up in Seattle. It's one of three games this season that won't be on TV. This boggles this Red Sox fan's mind. If a Red Sox game was not broadcast there would be a complete uproar. People would be complaining that their civil rights were being violated... I'll be curious to watch how the Pirate's pitching staff does this season. Joe Kerrigan has joined the team as the pitching coach. I have loads of respect for Kerrigan as a pitching coach and the Pirates have some talented young starters who seem to be all over the map in terms of performance... Jamie Moyer is already in the top 50 all-time in strikeouts and wins. With another 50 innings pitched - he'll be in the top 50 all-time in that category too. Among non-active players - only Jack Morris, Jim Kaat and Tommy John are in the top 50 in all three categories and NOT in the Hall of Fame. Just tossing that out there... I'd like to sponsor the David Wells page on and just have the words (in bold) "GET IN MY BELLY!"... The Yankees are the only team in baseball yet to make an error. Derek Jeter will fix that... Happy 37th birthday to Jason Varitek.
Master's Saturday

Today is Master's Saturday and also Opening Day for the local Little Leagues. In my neck of the woods it is a gray, rainy day. So rainy in fact that the Opening Day Little League Parades have already been canceled and rescheduled. It won't be overcast in my soul though as the magic that is Augusta will surely brighten the day.

I have Angel Cabrera in one pool and my friend Steve has Angel Cabrera in another - so I guess you know who we'll be pulling for (though since mine was a $20 pool and Steve's was a $50 pool - he'll probably be pulling for Angel twice as hard). When I was first told that I had Angel my original thought was, "I got a baseball player? Well that's $20 down the tubes." Shame on me for being such a pessimist.

So enjoy your Saturday and be sure to pull for Angel Cabrera. The power of Vince compels you!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Who Pays Our Taxes?

It is important to remember (or be reminded) who actually shoulders the lions share of the tax burden in this country. This editorial does a nice job:
In 2006, the top 20 percent of earners paid 70 percent of all federal taxes. On average, they paid 26 percent of their income to the government. The very richest -- the top 1 percent of taxpayers, with household incomes of over $332,000 -- paid 28 percent of all taxes, with an effective tax rate of 31 percent. The middle three quintiles paid rates of 10, 14 and 18 percent. The lowest 20 percent of households paid only 0.8 percent of all federal taxes -- and the bottom 90 percent of households paid only 45 percent.
Emphasis added. You have 10% of the country shouldering 55% of the tax burden. The "tax the rich" mantra is already stretched too thin.
Baseball Salaries

Interesting information on baseball salaries. This seems to be the most quoted item from the article:
While there is a decline in overall spending, the average salary is $3,240,206, up 2.7 percent from last year. This is due to less players being on the DL going into the season, where replacement players are often paid the league minimum. According to Ronald Blum of The AP, just 69 players started the season on disabled lists, down from 106 last year.
So average player salaries are actually up over last year? Interesting. The tidbit that really caught my eye was this:
Here is the average player salary, by League:

* American League: $3,371,417
* National League: $3,121,812
The general impression is that the American League is superior to the National League. I guess here's some proof that on average the American League players are at least $250,000 better than their National League counterparts.

HT Baseball Musings
Morning Links

Some interesting stuff tyo read with your morning coffee.

Touching post saying goodbye to Nick Adenhart

Steve Wilson is definitely a guy I'm rooting for at the Masters. Though today is probably the last day I'll get to root for him since he finished the first day 7 over and basically next to last in the standings.

Honestly - I thought Amarillo Slim was dead. After reading this interview with him I'm not sure what to think.

I had meant to link to this post earlier. Sorry. Lyford takes the Boston Globe to task for obsessing over race. Amen brother.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

On Tuesday for the Red Sox Opening Day - the music for Ted Kennedy's intro was first the theme music from A Band of Brothers and then Tessie by the Drop Kick Murphy's. Not sure if Band of Brothers was really appropriate for Kennedy who used his dad's political connections to insure he never saw any combat in his undistinguished tour in the Army. The Irish drinking-like Tessie on the other hand seemed more like Teddy's style... Your really don't hear the phrase "shiver me timbers" anymore - not even on Talk Like a Pirate day. The phrase probably gained its original popularity via the character Long John Silver in Treasure Island. I don't know why I thought about this in the first place but if there's a place for random thoughts this is it. I understand the phrase "well blow me down" is still popular in certain circles - not that there's anything wrong with that... You may have heard the trick question "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" The answer of course is President Grant. However, the trick answer to "What was Ulysses S Grant's first name?" is actually Hiram.

Monday, April 06, 2009

More Opening Day Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

The Cincinnati Red Stockings won the first ever professional baseball game on May 4, 1869. They then went on to win their next 129 games until their winning streak was broken by the Brooklyn Atlantics. That seems to be some cosmic bad news for the Reds who today play the Mets (the spiritual heirs to the Brooklyn Dodgers who I guess would have been heirs to the Atlantics)... Ted Kennedy is scheduled to throw out the first pitch today at Fenway Park if he is healthy enough. No disrespect to Kennedy but this is an insult to Jim Rice who is newly elected to the Hall of Fame. Can you imagine another franchise who would have a player elected to the HoF but not have him throw out the first pitch while instead having a politician do the honor?... Time flies. The last time the Indians opened against the Rangers in Texas- Manny Ramirez was still on the team and Cleveland was so loaded offensively that ManRam batted 7th... Nick Johnson is the only remaining player on the Nationals roster who was with the Expos when the team moved to Washington... The Tampa Bay Rays had 16 sellouts last season but 8 of those sellouts were playoff games. The Red Sox always have full capacity at Fenway...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Opening Day Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

The Braves were 4-14 last season against Philadelphia but the strange thing is that they were 0-9 at home at Turner Field and 4-5 up at Citizens Bank Park... Jermaine Dye needs just 2 HR for 300 career and just 9 RBI for 1000 career. I forget that Dye started his career with the Braves. Cliff Claven would say the answer is six guys who have never been in my kitchen but the thing these six players have in common - Keith Lockhart and Michael Tucker, Neifi Perez, Todd Belitz, Mario Encarnacion and Jose Ortiz - is that they were all traded for Dye in three separate trades... Tim Wakefield and Pedro Martinez both have exactly 400 career starts... I read an interesting point over at Baseball Musings over whether the Mets signing of Gary Sheffield might cause a rift “between Wright and those players who might be replaced by Sheffield or sent down to the minors to make way for him.” Fernando Tatis is up there in age (34) and is just making $1.7 million this year. Sheffield could take at bats and by extension money off his family's table. Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy are both lefties. It is Tatis who is the right handed bat Sheffield will be replacing for the most part. The devil in me hopes that Tatis cold-clocks Sheffield in a locker room brawl ... I'm glad Kris Benson made the Rangers. I've sorta missed seeing pictures of Anna Benson every once and a while...
African Americans in Baseball

OK it is once again time for my pet peeve - the Boston Globe's penchant for talking about the lack of African Americans in baseball. Today the subject made up a large portion of Nick Carfardo's "Notes" column under the guise of "The diversity count".
The University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports will likely release its annual racial and gender report later this month, telling us how Major League Baseball graded in diversity issues in 2008. The institute's report last year showed that African-Americans constituted 8.2 percent of major league rosters in 2007 - a 20-year low and a growing concern for MLB.
Carfardo then goes on to list by team the number of African Americans on the team rosters for this season. The punch line of course is that the Red Sox have none. African American's make up roughly 12 percent of the population - so on the surface the difference between 8 percent and 12 percent would seem to indicate a problem but the numbers are completely skewered.

The census numbers would count both Manny Ramirez (a US citizen) and Coco Crisp (a natural born citizen) the same and classify both as African Americans. People who do these baseball surveys though would count them differently - Crisp as an African American and Manny as a Dominican. That's the real reason there is a difference between the 12 percent population number and the 8 percent "diversity" number.

The Red Sox are a very diverse team - 32% of the team would be classified as other than white by the census. The "white" population of the US is 74%. See how numbers can be skewered?

Hey - gay and lesbians make up 4 percent of the population but I can't think of any openly gay baseball players. Maybe that Globe can make that their next crusade. I mean the study Carfardo used was a racial and gender report. Does the Globe not count gays as people? Why does the Globe hate gay people?

Just kidding - a report on gays in baseball would be just as asinine. Teams like the Red Sox put the roster together with the eye toward which players give them the best chance to win. Not based upon the color of their skin. No wonder the Globe is going out of business.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

NCAA Championship Game

The Michigan State Spartans have attained the NCAA Championship Game.
Whither Tom Jackson?

The Jay Cutler saga and subsequent trade to the Chicago Bears has been almost non-stop news on ESPN. You've had former Bronco Mark Schlereth giving his opinion on the subject on almost every ESPN show since the story broke but one former Bronco seems to be conspicuous by his absence. Whither Tom Jackson?

The guy is the most senior football analyst at the network and he's in the Bronco Ring of Fame but yet I haven't heard a peep from him. You would think the network would want at least a sound-bite from the guy who said Jay Cutler was a better passer than Tom Brady. But no. Nothing. Not a peep. Not even a phone-in.

Maybe ESPN has figured out that subjecting the audience to 21 years of the Joe Morgan of football analysts was enough?

We can only hope.
The Boston Globe

The New York Times Co. has threatened to shut The Boston Globe unless the newspaper's unions swiftly agree to $20 million in concessions, union leaders said yesterday.

Seeing how the above sentence is taken from - the Globe's website - you would have to say that the threat is real. I must say that I'm stunned.

Stunned at how completely incompetent the upper management of the New York Times Co. continues to be. The Boston Globe was purchased in 1993 for $1.1 billion and now it may be shuttered unless it can shave $20 million off operating costs? Please.

I have no doubt that some of the cuts and concessions are necessary but the real problem here is not the economy, it is not the state of the newspaper industry - it is the senior management of New York Times Co. Specifically Pinch Sulzberger - the man who has almost single-handedly turned New York Times Co. stock into junk.

I have no doubt that the Boston Globe will fail as a business if its fate remains in the hands of such a klutz as Sulzberger. No doubt. It is time for local ownership to take back the Globe. Someone like Jack Welsh. That's the only way the Globe will survive. The concessions being called for today are just a band-aid on a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Just Sayin'

God may be your co-pilot.

But Dustin Pedroia is my bartender.

Less than 3 days till opening day.
Austrian Rules Football

Very amusing and interesting read about "American" football.

I had a friend who did this too and although he enjoyed the experience - he was glad to be back in the States.
Hypocrisy - Thy Name is NCAA

NCAA president Myles Brand is a piece of work:
In a separate news conference at Ford Field, NCAA president Myles Brand said the organization only prohibits gambling on college and professional sports But Brand said he would prefer athletes don't gamble at the casinos.

"Well, I warn against that slippery slope. It's a fair question," said Brand, who was not asked specifically about Lawson. "What a student does, play bingo in his church for example, while we discourage that, we prefer not to try and regulate that particular kind of activity. But it's highly discouraged."
Did any reporter have the brains or balls to follow up by asking Brand about all the gambling associated with March Madness brackets? Does Brand try to discourage broadcast partner CBS from offering brackets and bracket contests (for amusement only wink wink) for instance?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Jay Cutler

Just a thought but how funny would it be if Jay Cutler flunked his physical and the trade with the Bears had to be rescinded. That would be too funny.

Can you imagine how awkward it would be then in Denver?
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Item - Spring Training home runs are a good indicator of a how a player will do in the season - see Ryan Howard leading all players in Spring Training HR with 10... The Bears gave up way too much for Jay Cutler who will go down with the moniker of strong armed, whiny baby Jay Cutler... Item - Spring Training home runs mean exactly nothing - see Michael Wilson who was second in Spring Training HR with 8 but still wasn't able to crack the pretty weak Mariners lineup. Wilson was actually released by the team a little while ago to make room for Ken Griffey Jr. and was not picked up by another team before re-signing with the M's. Teams may have missed out on Wilson. It will be interesting to see if he gets a call-up this season. If I ran a casino - I'd have a prop bet that Wilson will average more HR/AB than Griffey this season (as long as both get a minimum of 50 AB)... Kyle Orton gets traded to the Broncos and you can bet that not only will he not have a problem of communicating with Broncos owner Pat Bowlen they will even be able to exchange secret handshakes. Both Orton and Bowlen were members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity...
Penn Jillette Calls Bullsh!t on Obama

The Emperor has No Clothes moment from Penn Jillette?
Obama tells us that we can spend our way out of debt. He tells us that even though the government had control over the banks and did nothing to stop the bad that's going on, if we give them more control over more other bank-like things, then they can make sure bad stuff doesn't happen ever again. He says we can get out of all those big wars President Bush caused by sending more troops into Afghanistan. And I don't know. I really don't know.
Penn Jillette isn't exactly a hard core Democrat but he is the sort of voice from the Left that will start questions being asked.

I had a dream this morning shortly before getting up for the day.

In the dream I had decided to take a class on wine appreciation at a local community college. My friend told me that I couldn't take that class because it interfered with me being on the college basketball team. I thought for a second and then told my friend, "No, I'm taking the wine class."

They symbolism of the dream is painfully clear.

I'm guessing that I couldn't play for the basketball team because I had already given up my amateur status and was playing in the NBA at the time. That's the only possible explanation. Right?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jay Cutler

The Broncos have come out and publicly said that they have had enough of Jay Cutler and will be trading him.

If I'm the Broncos I would have called Cutler's bluff in a different way.

I would have calmly told him that - hey you want to be traded and you think you are better and worth more than Matt Cassel? Fine! Here's the deal - you and your agent get us a deal where we get a first round pick in exchange for your overrated, whiny ass and we'll sign off on the trade. If you learn that you are overrating your self-worth and cannot make such a deal by draft day - then you come back and apologize to everyone in the Broncos organization and you fire your bad advice giving agent. That's the deal and it's that simple.
Gary Sheffield

So Gary Sheffield was released by the Tigers. I've seen a number of people both speculate where he may end up (the Phillies seem to be the rumor leader) and I've also seen a number of people talk about Sheffield being a Hall of Fame player.

Let me state what seems to be obvious to me but somehow seems to elude many of the talking head experts; Gary Sheffield is cooked, nobody is going to pick him up and he is not going to get close to the votes to get elected to the Hall of Fame.

Nobody is going to pick up Sheffield for three reasons:

1. There are better options available just as cheap. Wily Mo Pena is available and so is Frank Thomas. Yes Pena is wildly erratic and Thomas is just as cooked as Sheffield but they are both still better options in my book.

2. Sheffield isn't a calming veteran presence like a Cliff Floyd - Sheffield is a time bomb.

3. Nobody is going to pick up Sheffield just so that he can be in uniform for his 500th HR. People are psyched for the early season games anyway so they don't need his circus act.

Sheffield won't make it into the Hall of Fame because he's a steroids tainted, quitting on his team, jerkface. Sheffield's no Fred McGriff and there will be a backlash against him from writers who loathe anyone even remotely associated with steroids. If McGriff doesn't get into the HoF then that backlash will be directed right at Sheffield and maybe Jeff Bagwell (based upon speculation).