Saturday, July 31, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Wrap your mind around this - 95 percent of the US taxes we have now did not exist 100 years ago. I'd be willing to bet that many of the taxes were enacted for a specific purpose that no longer applies but the taxes still do... I'll admit that my first thought upon hearing that Dez Bryant was hurt at Cowboys training camp was, "I hope no veterans helped Bryant off the field." That's not what they are there for... First they took away Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Now they are taking away my favorite childhood dinosaur? The dinosaur we call "triceratops" never existed... I have perfect confidence that Tom Brady and the Patriots will work out their contract issues. Perfect confidence... In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue (and the Jews were expelled from Spain). It's funny the history you are not taught in school... Happy 45th birthday to JK Rowling. Your Harry Potter books have brought me and my family hours and hours of reading pleasure... With Al Gore (sexual assault) and John Kerry (tax evasion on a multi-million dollar yacht) both being in the news lately - aren't you glad that both failed to beat George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Five Steps to Fix the Mets

The New York Mets have no chance this year but management is so dense that they think their fans don't know that. Here are the five steps I'd take to put the Mets back on the right track.

1. Fire Omar Minaya. He's the worst GM in the game. Assuming that I would be unacceptable - I'd hire Josh Byrnes who was recently let go by Arizona but who would be a great fit here.

2. Fire Jerry Manuel. I would have replaced him with Buck Showalter but the Mets are too late there. Manuel still has to go.

3. Trade Johan Santana and Oliver Perez to the Yankees for catcher Jose Montero, second baseman David Adams, and pitcher Phil Hughes. This would give the Yankees an absolute stud pitcher who would be no stranger to the pressure of pitching in New York while giving the Mets a young stud catcher, a young stud pitcher and the ability to shed about $30 million off the 2011 payroll.

4. Trade outfielder Jason Bay, 25-year old reliever Bobby Parnell and $16 million to the Red Sox for pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, infielder Jed Lowrie and outfielder Josh Reddick. This would require both Bay and Dice-K to approve the deal but I think they would. The $16 million would pay for the 4th year of Bay's contact which was the sticking point with him and the Red Sox in the first place. The Red Sox need an outfielder with punch and bullpen help. Bay also gives the team something to peak the fans interest and keep the ad revenue on NESN from slipping. Dice-K would thrive in the canyon-like expanses of Citi-field and New York has a large Japanese population to help make this deal worth his while.

5. Trade Jose Reyes to Cardinals for OF Jon Jay and RHP Adam Ottavino. As SI's Joe Sheehan points out - shortstop is Saint Louis's real weak point and this deal would address this.

These moves would remove the problems at the top of the organization while giving the team a young core of players plus a new financial flexibility. The moves would drop the payroll down to about $80 million which would let them be major players in the hunt for 2011 free agents Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. Signing either one of those players would make the Mets players for the 2011 World Series.
Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Funny sports quote mash-up

- Maybe The Greatest Bill In Congressional History. Of course it will never pass.

- How to Drink Like Mad Men

- Who are you, and how did you get in here?

- This man is more dedicated to puns than you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Scott Podsednik

Scott Podsednik has been traded from the Kansas City Royals to the Los Angels Dodgers. The 34-year old Podsednik will most likely bat lead-off and play centerfield for the Dodgers. This season Podsednik was hitting .310 with 30 steals for the Royals. Podsednik's wife - Lisa Dergan Podsednik (pictured left) was not available for comment.
600 vs. 3,000

Go ahead and hit the damn home run already! I think that sentiment applies to maybe 90% of baseball fans when it comes to Alex Rodriguez and his quest to hit his 600th home run. Sure some Yankee fans may be actually happy and looking forward to the blessed event but many, many more of us would rather not think of anything Alex Rodriguez related. And we are sick of the updates of the inevitable.

Part of this is due to A-Rod's admitted steroid use and part of it is due to the just the fact that Alex Rodriguez is not a likable human being.

On the flip side you have Derek Jeter who is 138 hits away from the magic 3,000. I think next season you will see a countdown for that event that fans will be genuinely interested in following. And not just Yankee fans.

Keep in mind that only 6 people have reached the 600 home run plateau while 37 people have 3,000 hits. Yet it the more frequently done accomplish that will catch the public's imagination. That speaks volumes about both Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Garza the Out-taker

Last night Matt Garza the Out-taker threw a no-hitter. A Large Regular was lucky enough to catch up with him to ask a few questions.

ALR: Were you nervous at all when the game was going on?

Garza the Out-taker: Well I started getting nervous in the seventh inning but then I started picturing scenes from Sarah Plain and Tall and I was at peace.

ARL: Were you aware that Tampa Bay had never had a pitcher who threw a no-hitter?

Garza the Out-taker: Yes I was and I willed it so.

ALR: I understand that that you do some charitable work battling teenage pregnancy with the The Candie's Foundation in New York City.

Garza the Out-taker: Yes I've worked combating teen pregnancy with Hayden Panettiere and Bristol Palin for the Candie's Foundation in New York City. I'm a very religious man who believes that if a person's not married by the time he's 35, he's got a better chance of being robbed at gunpoint by a desperate and somewhat bloated Christian Slater. I'm a big believer of teenage marriage coming from teenage pregnancy. It worked for me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Am I the only one who consistently confuses basketball player Kurt Thomas with Richard Thomas? I have no idea why the Chicago Bulls would want to sign John Boy Walton... Interesting: Ant drinking from a rain drop... This sounds pretty cool - USA is producing Burn Notice prequel movie starring Bruce Campbell as Sam. I'd watch that (even though Burn Notice is becoming pretty lame and predictable)... Heh heh... Originally Jimmy McNulty was supposed to be Jimmy McArdle on The Wire. I have no idea why the name was changed... I'm hoping that Chris Speilman will replace Pat Hayden in NBC booth for Notre Dame football broadcasts...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ralph Houk - Badass

Ralph Houk passed away today - in his honor below is a post I made about him a while back.

File this under you learn something new every day. I knew Ralph Houk as the respected baseball manager who took the reins of the Boston Red Sox after his best years as a manager had been used up by the New York Yankees. I knew his nickname was "The Major" but I never knew the nickname was a literal moniker.

It turns out that Ralph Houk was every bit the badass in World War II that Dick Winters of Band of Brothers fame was. Like Winters - Houk entered battle as a Lieutenant and finished the war as a Major from the result of battlefield promotions. Both fought in the Battle of the Bulge and like Winters - Houk was wounded in the calf but returned immediately to combat.
Houk received the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, four campaign stars and clusters during his service in Europe. "He was an extremely popular platoon commander," Fiore explained. "His baseball training helped."
Ralph Houk - leadership through being a quiet badass. My hat's off to you sir. Read the link provided but keep in mind that much seems to be left out of the story. Fighting in the Battle of the Bulge? Three days alone behind enemy lines and coming back with a bullet hole in your helmet? Capturing 9 Germans during a patrol? There seems to be much more here behind the story but badass leaders like Houk wouldn't brag.

RIP Major
Player Comparison

I just found this amusing:

Jason Bay 2010 - .261 BA / .352 OBP / .410 SLG / .762 OPS
Daniel Nava 2010 - .285 BA / .385 OBP / .456 SLG / .840 OPS

This is a perfect example of a small sample size but I'm amused by the thought that if Bay was putting up Nava's numbers in Boston or New York then people would be OK with him. If Bay was putting up the numbers he has with the Mets in Boston - the talk shows would be screaming for Theo to replace him and crucifying Theo for re-signing him in the first place.

EDIT: Just saw this tweet:
@GlobeChadFinn Jason Bay has two fewer homers than Bill Hall and as many as Darnell McDonald.
Lies Damned Lies and Statistics

I had forgotten that Jim Edmonds was still playing for the Brewers. I saw he hit a home run last night and was curious of where Edmonds stood on the all-time list and whether a case could be made that Edmonds was a potential Hall of Fame player.

What I learned got me thinking about stats and whether they are all that people are cracking them up to be.

Jim Edmonds is in his 17th major league season. He won 8 Gold Gloves in a 9-year stretch during the prime of his career and was a feared slugger during that same stretch. He currently has 387 HR which places him 54th on the all-time list. That puts him just below Albert Pujols (388 and counting) and Johnny Bench (389). He's also just above Dwight Evans (385) who seems like the natural comparable in my mind.

Evans also won 8 Gold Gloves in his career and was also known more for his glove than his bat. That's not to belittle the offensive prowess of either player (Edmonds or Evans). What's strange is that in certain circles Dwight Evans is elevated above teammate Jim Rice in regards to offensive accomplishments.

Where am I going with this? Well I was just wondering if the type of person who argues that Dwight Evans was the superior player to Jim Rice would also try to argue that Jim Edmonds is a superior hitter to Johnny Bench. As has been pointed out both players are basically equal in HR and Bench played in 17 seasons - just like Edmonds. However, Edmonds has the better career OBP (.376 to .342), OPS (.903 to .817) and OPS+ (131 to 126) compared to Bench. Those are the type of stats that sabermetric minded folks eat up.

I would never dream of putting Jim Edmonds ahead of Johnny Bench but now I won't be shocked when someone makes that argument. You know it's coming.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bill Murray

Excellent interview with Bill Murray. I liked this piece of truth:

Seinfeld! I never saw Seinfeld.

Come on.

Really! I never saw Seinfeld until the final episode, and that's the only one I saw. And it was terrible. I'm watching, thinking, "This isn't funny at all. It's terrible!"
That's so true. Having said that - I just don't see Chevy Chase being funnier than Murray in real life.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Delaying the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight just serves to further slowly kill boxing as a sport. I hang with sports fans and none can name the heavyweight boxing champ. Most of these same guys know Brock Lesnar is the UFC champ. And honestly, Mayweather and Pacquiao are probably the only two boxers I could name right now... Awesome Pictures of Alaska. I think I could actually see Russia from one of the pictures... Next week the Rockies will have to face Josh Johnson on Thursday and then Roy Halladay on Friday - both on the road. That's a killer schedule... This is an awesome wine glass. If only it was a little bigger so you could fit ice cubes in it... It is tough to beat the first sip of a really cold beer on a hot summer day... Heh heh - Advice for young Girls from The Little Mermaid... RocknRolla is a very under rated movie. I hope they go through with the sequel. I've slowly become a Guy Ritchie fan... Mad Men thought for the day. The first thing Betsy learned from Henry Francis is that when you don't have the power - you delay. I think she was planning divorce for some time - even before their trip to Rome. She finally acted when she thought she had the power because of her knowledge of Don's past... I did not know this! Chris Farley was the original voice of Shrek. Almost a year after Farley died, Mike Myers took on the role... Hard to believe but Miguel Olivo of the Rockies is having a better year offensively than the Twins Joe Mauer. Olivo has more HR, more RBI and better BA, OBP and SLG numbers than Mauer... In the history of bad free agent signings - ESPN signing Rick Reilly has to be near the top of the list.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Bullpen Gospels

An excellent book for fans of baseball - especially minor league baseball. The Bullpen Gospels gives an excellent look inside the world of a minor league pitcher. The fears, sexual escapades, the insecurity and the lack of glamor are all exposed in this very well written tome.

Don't get the book looking for dirt regarding steroids or other matters. Dirk Hayhurst doesn't really address steroids and the only "name" players (at least to me) are Chase Headley and Trevor Hoffman (back when he was on the top of the hill). Not giving anything away from the book but Dirk Hayhurst made it to the bigs and lost his virginity! He's currently playing in the Blue Jay organization.

The book has a few laugh out loud scenes and lines. I heartily recommend it.

You and Your Johnson

This was funny.

You, your girl and your Johnson indeed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner has passed away. As a Red Sox fan I've always found it easy to hate the New York Yankees and I've mocked them whenever possible. However, any jokes made about George Steinbrenner were made out of admiration. Any honest Red Sox fan would tell you that they would have loved to have had George Steinbrenner as the owner of the Red Sox. Having George as an owner would have made all the difference in the world. As it made the difference to New York to the tune of seven (7) World Championships during his reign.

DiMaggio vs. Williams, Fisk vs. Munson, Boggs vs. Mattingly, Nomar vs. Jeter. At their respective peaks these comparisons were always close. The arguments could be fierce. But George Steinbrenner vs. whoever owned the Red Sox? That comparison was never close. And that has made all the difference for the Yankees.

I hope Yankee fans appreciate what they have lost. As small consolation - at least Bob Sheppard was in heaven to announce George's arrival.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

This Always Makes Me Giggle

My lib-eee-doooooooh yeah!
Micky Arison

Everyone in the sports world knows who Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert is now after his Comic Sans screed against LeBron James. It occurred to me today that I didn't know who owned the Miami Heat. The answer to that question of course is Micky Arison the son of Carnival Cruiselines founder Ted Arison.

I came across this hit piece on Micky Arison that was pretty interesting.

Just a few comments; first I can't really blame Ted Arison for trying to evade the death taxes in this country. I believe them to be excessive. Parents work hard so that their children can have a better life - not so the government can squander their live's work via exorbitant taxes. Second - I do not doubt that sexual assaults occur on board Carnival Cruiselines. And in no way do I condone that behavior. It's just that I'm not naive enough to not know that there is a sordid underbelly to the hedonistic lifestyle Carnival promotes. Personally I wouldn't even go on a Carnival cruise if it was given to me free.

In short - I'm no closer to knowing the owner of the Miami Heat than I was when I awoke this morning. At least now I know his name though.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Who does Lyle Overbay get traded to? Tampa Bay? Angels? They seem the most likely spots. Rays could move Pena to DH. The Blue Jays will be looking to save a few million by trading Overbay - I'm sure of it... Hymen was the Greek god of the Wedding Feast. Today he is more likely the god of the Junior Prom if you know what I'm saying... If LeBron's ESPN special has you down on sports, this one's for you: 10 Acts of Good Sportsmanship... I did not know this - Indian reservation gambling generates more income than Atlantic City and Las Vegas combined... Prohibited means "not allowed" but you never hear anyone say the word hibited for things that are allowed. I'm not sure if hibited is even a word. I'll be very gruntled if it is...It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock and Roll) by AC/DC may be the perfect rock song. How can you beat electric bagpipes?... Strife was the son of the goddess Eris (Discord). Strife always followed Discord. I'm not sure if Delonte West ever slept with Eris...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Joe Posnanski's great piece on LeBron James and Dan Gilbert

- Tomorrow, Watch the Largest Asteroid Flyby Ever, Live

- The best players never to make an All-Star team. I was surprised by Kirk Gibson's name on the list.

- A Chart of Unemployment Since 1995. Cause and effect.

- 10 Things You Might Not Know About Indian Reservation Gambling

- Great movie insults (NSFW)

Count me among those underwhelmed by LeBron James and his move to the Miami Heat. The best laid plans of mice and Olympic basketball teammates often go awry. I don't think this farce will work out the way LeBron envisions it working out.

If one of the big three goes down with an injury for any length of time - do you think two superstars and a team of scrubs can compete? I don't.

Even if all three are playing together - on any given night a team with depth can run them ragged. Do you think all three can handle the grind of playing 48 minutes a game for an 82 game season? I don't.

I should note that in all honesty - I am pretty much a fair-weather NBA fan. I root for the Celtics but when they run cold - I don't bother watching them. So all this hoopla is nothing more than an amusing distraction to me. I just know that if given the opportunity of taking Miami or "the field" for the NBA championship next year - I'd bet big on the field.

It should also be noted that not since Air America defrauded the Boys and Girls Club has the non-profit been so abused by a media entity the way ESPN and LeBron James abused them last night. The kids were the equivalent of human shields. I was reminded of a Saddam Hussein video from 1990 but last night the role of Stuart Lockwood was played by the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich.

So there is a new 5-Guys franchise in Worcester. I have heard so much about 5-Guys and seen how many people debate whether 5-Guys or In and Out Burger deserves the title as best burger joint in the US. I went there on Saturday with my wife and youngest daughter.

All three of us had a burger with different toppings. We were impressed with the topping options and my wife really liked their French fries. You could actually taste the potato was her observation (meaning many other people's fries are more grease than potato). The burgers were very good but there was no "Oh my God! What a great burger" epiphany for any of us.

I'll go as far to say that it was a good burger but the best burgers in Worcester are at either Breen's Cafe or Bennie's. Either place has it all over 5-Guys in both quality and value. At Breen's you can get a bacon cheeseburger Friendly's style (meaning served on grilled toast) with two Bud Lights for less than $10. I really can't see a 5-Guys or In and Out topping that.

As luck would have it on Sunday - me, my wife, my youngest daughter and my son went to a Steak and Shake in Florida. I explained to them before going in that Steak and Shake is like the Friendly's of the South. Everyone liked the Steak and Shake experience. My wife and daughter liked it much better than 5-Guys. We liked it so much that we went back to the same Steak and Shake yesterday.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Top 5 - Memorable Things That Happened on a July 4th

Happy 4th of July. Here are the top 5 things that happened in US history on the 4th of July. Don't forget that July is American Beer Month.

1. 1776 Colonies declare independence
2. 1826 Presidents, patriots, rivals and friends John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die on the same day
3. 1863 The surrender of Vicksurg to General Grant (the town of Vicksburg would not celebrate the Fourth of July for 81 years)
4. 1804 Lewis and Clark celebrate first 4th of July west of the Mississippi
5. 1939 Lou Gehrig gives his "luckiest man alive" speech at Yankee Stadium

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Even if Jamie Moyer gets to 300 wins - does that make him a Hall of Famer? His ERA will most likely be north of 4.22. I know he'll be a very sentimental choice but Bert Blyleven was a better pitcher and he's been kept out... Surprising - no team in the AL has more hits than the Kansas City Royals (786). That's 15 more hits than the Rangers and 16 more than the Red Sox... Things are so bad for Joba Chamberlain that even Yankees fans are making meth jokes about his mom... Before the season started I made 2 bets with a Yankees fan buddy of mine. First that John Lackey would have more wins than AJ Burnett and secondly that Lackey would have a better ERA. I'm ahead in both bets but both players have pretty much sucked... I was fooled by Casey Kotchman. I thought he'd have a breakout season for the Mariners instead he's hit just .187 with a measly 3 HR... Dear Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez - would you mind if the Red Sox paid you in gum?
Stinky is Coming Up!

When Geeks attack! Maybe it's just me but I thought this was a great bit of unintentional comedy.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Tim Wakefield

The Red Sox win tonight gives starter Tim Wakefield 192 for his career. That puts him in a tie with Lon Warneke "The Arkansas Hummingbird" for 134th place on the all-time wins list.

Surprisingly - Wakefield is also 60th all-time in strikeouts with 2030. He needs another 15 to tie Dazzy Vance. Wakefield is ahead of some very well known names on that list like Orel Hershiser, Catfish Hunter, Whitey Ford and he's 200 ahead of Old Hoss Radbourn. Wakefield has amassed those K's in 4 less games started than Hall of Famer Whitey Ford too.

Volleyball was invented in the town of Holyoke, Mass. I mention this for no real reason. I just find the name of the town amusing. The name is pronounced Holy-Oak. If the town's name was Religious Tree - would you find that amusing?