Monday, May 31, 2004

Buyers and Sellers - Atlanta Braves

The Braves should be in the hunt for at least a wild-card so it is tough picturing them being a seller before the trade dead-line.

If the Braves were to sell - the most likely players to be put on the block are:

- Antonio Alphonseca - some team may be desperate for a closer or for a decent set-up guy. Alphonseca will make $1.25 million this year and every nickel counts for the Braves so he may be sold no matter what happens.

- Russ Ortiz - a team who is trying for a playoff spot may trade for Ortiz who is a free agent at the end of the season. If the Braves fall out of contention - they may try to do what the Orioles did last year with Sidney "Greenstreet" Ponson. Ortiz makes $5.7 million this year and if the Braves are able to save half of that - they could use the savings to resign Ortiz in the off-season.

- Paul Byrd - about ready to come back from Tommy John surgery (almost two years ago). If healthy - Byrd has a talent level about equal to say Jeff Suppan and someone will be willing to bid for his services and $7.0 million contract (free agent at the end of the season)

- JD Drew - $4.20 - doubt the Braves would trade Drew after using their best minor league pitcher to acquire him but stranger things have happened.

- Rafael Furcal - I always thought that Furcal was overrated and you know that Furcal will be looking for a substantial raise from his $3.4 million salary this year. The Braves have Andy Marte waiting in the wings and will also have to give a big raise to Marcus Giles this off-season. Maybe Furcal gets the gate in Atlanta this year no matter where the Braves stand in the standings.

- John Smoltz - $12 million option for next year - I don't see them trading Smoltz.

Chances are greater that the Braves will be buyers in this market. Barring injury the Braves will probably be looking at upgrades at 1st, third and maybe 2nd (if Giles doesn't recover in time).

Two names I could see the Braves going after are Mike Sweeney of Kansas City and Shea Hillenbrand of the Diamondbacks. Sweeney would be a very good match at 1st for the Braves and you know that he wants to play for a winner. His contract runs through 2007 and jumps to $12.5 million per year if he is traded - so he may be too steep an investment for the Braves.

Hillenbrand was definately available until Richie Sexson went out for the season with a bum shoulder. Now Arizona may be foreced to hold onto Hillenbrand.

A name I wouldn't be surprised see added into the mix is Kevin Millar from the Red Sox. The Red Sox have a number of options at first and Millar is quickly becoming very expendable.

At third - the Braves may take a flier on Joe Randa who is in his walk year with the Royals.
1997 MLB Draft

Thinking about Lance Berkman got me thinking about the 1997 MLB draft (Berkman was taken 16th by the Astros).

The top three picks of the 1997 draft were:

1. Matt Anderson RHP - Tigers
2. JD Drew OF - Phillies
3. Troy Glaus - 3B Angels

Do you think the Tigers would like a do over on this pick? The top three remind me of the year in the NBA that Joe Barry Carrol was picked first by the Warriors, Darrell Griffith was picked second by Utah and the Celtics wound up with Kevin McHale. The third pick in both cases was much better than the first two combined.

How do good do you think the Phillies would be right now if they picked Glaus instead of Drew? (Of course we have to remember that the Phillies already had Scott Rolen in their farm system haven drafted him in 1993.)

San Francisco took Jason Grilli with the fourth pick and Vernon Wells went to the Blue Jays with the very next pick. Now is when I remind Giants fans that Wells hit .317 last year with 33 HR and 117 RBI.

Berkman was the next big success at 16. The Red Sox had the 17th pick and used it on LHP John Curtice who has had slightly less impact at the MLB level than Berkman [sarcasm off].

Almost exactly half of the 31 first round picks were used on pitchers (15 of 31). (None of which can be classified as all-star type successes so far.)

Almost exactly half of the 31 first round picks were used on high school players (15 of 31). Vernon Wells is the only high schooler from that draft that has made a real good MLB impression so far but you do have to give it some more years before reaching any sort of judgment.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some Memorial Day morning thoughts...

Hey - what ever happened to Mike Hall the guy who won ESPN's Dream Job competition? I've yet to see him on air... Holy Crap! You would never see a commercial like this in the USA!... With all the days off due to injury and all the walks - the potential exists for Barry Bonds to not qualify for the batting title (because of too few at bats) but still be in the top 3 in NL MVP voting... Quote for the day from Ted Nugent: "Ya gotta let the stupid people talk, so you know who the stupid people are."... Lance Berkman never seems to get credit for being one of the top young players in baseball. This is only Berkman's sixth season and already he has 139 HR, 470 RBI and a .303 career batting average, .414 OBP and .571 slugging percentage... So far this year the Expos have averaged just 9,746 for home attendance (which is by far the worst in baseball) yet for some reason the Expos have attacted more people on the road than either the Phillies or Dodgers (average road attendance for Expos 28,520, Dodgers, 27,436, Phillies 27,452)... I admit that now that the WSOP is over - I miss searching all the poker blogs for real time updates... Ben Affleck will be playing coach Don Haskins in the movie Glory Road. It is the story of the all-black 1966 West Texas basketball team that beat the all-white Kentucky Wildcats for the NCAA championship... Heh heh: Arnold Palmer vs. Clint Eastwood...
Top 5 Clint Eastwood Movies

Today is Clint's birthday (he turns 74 today - can you believe that?)

1. Outlaw Josey Wales
2. Any Which Way But Loose
3. Dirty Harry
4. Fistful of Dollars
5. (tie) Kelly's Heros (tie) Where Eagles Dare

Sunday, May 30, 2004

By the Numbers

Only the statistically deluded think Carlos Beltran is overrated.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Manny Ramirez needs 21 more HR to tie Jim Rice (and Frank Howard) for 46th place on the all-time HR list. Manny needs 24 more HR to tie Dwight Evans - who sits in 44th place with 385 career HR... Richard over at Pearly Gates points out that the Angels are the only MLB team to yet have a HR from the 1st base position. That's amazing!... I don't know the origin of "balls and strikes" in baseball but I do know that the word to "strike" in the stop work meaning of the word is originally a nautical term. Sailors would "strike" the sails - meaning take down the sails to help stop movement of the boat... People in Boston love to point out that they once traded Heathcliff Slocumb for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe (one of the all-time one sided trades in history). To be fair to the folks from Seattle - it should be pointed out that the Red Sox also traded Jamie Moyer (who will soon be the Mariners all-time leader in wins) for Darren Bragg (20 HR in 340 games for Boston)... Taking this joke from Big Stupid Tommy because it's just too funny not to share...
The time had come to find a home for the ailing matriarch of the family. Finally, they find the right place, and the family brings their frail, elderly mother to a nursing home and leaves her, hoping she will be well cared for.

The next morning, the nurses bathe her, feed her breakfast, and give her a chair at a window overlooking a lovely flower garden.

She seems fine, but after awhile she slowly starts to lean over sideways in her chair. Two attentive nurses immediately rush up to catch her and straighten her up.

Again she seems fine, but after awhile she starts to tilt to the other side. The nurses rush back and once more bring her back upright. This goes on all morning.

The family arrives to see how their mother is adjusting to her new home. "So, Ma, how is it here? Are they treating you all right?" they ask.

"It's pretty nice," she replies.

"Except they won't let you fart."
Boston Globe - Sunday Sports Section

- Gordon Edes writes that
One major league area scout said that Maine prep star Mark Rogers hit 98 miles an hour with one pitch last week and was consistently in the 94-m.p.h. range. "It was the best I've ever seen him," the scout said. "He's a little crude, but he's a very good athlete with three good pitches: fastball, curve, changeup." Baseball America, in its initial projection of the June 7 draft, has Rogers being taken by Anaheim with the 12th pick, which would make him the first Maine native (Orr's Island) ever selected on the first round.

Edes overlooks Bill Swift of Portland who was the 2nd overall pick in the 1984 draft (taken by the Mariners)

- Nice article on Terry Francona by Bob Hohler. With all the injuries and the Red Sox with one of the best records in baseball - you have to think Francona is a serious candidate for AL Manager of the Year

- Dan Shaughnessy writes a column comparing Manny Ramirez to Joe DiMaggio. At the beginning of the column he writes:
"That's Ramirez's 361st career home run, tying him with Joe DiMaggio for 59th place on the all-time list."

There it was. It hit me like a bolt of lightning. All this time I'd been wondering whom it was that Manny reminded me of and in a nanosecond it became crystal clear.

I have long believed that Shaughnessy writes nothing but nasty critiques and "woe is us" complaints because he really doesn't know the sports he is supposed to be covering. Here Shaughnessy all but admits that he has no idea where Manny Ramirez stands on the all-time lists. Some of the baseball folks in the Red Sox organization could explain to Shaughnessy that like it or not - Manny truly is in Joe DiMaggio's class as a hitter (and better in many regards). Shaughnessy uses this supposed epiphany to write a truly unfunny column which is nothing but a chance to slam another Dominican player (Shaughnessy's favorite passtime). Manny has been not just the team MVP this season but also has gone out of his way to be accessible to sportswriters and fans alike. For his trouble - Manny gets columns like this from a know-nothing jackass like Shaughnessy? And people outside Boston wonder why Red Sox players don't like talking to the media? I forget where I read the term "oxygen thief" but Shaughnessy epitomizes the term.-

- Nice article by Gordon Edes on the final out in yesterday's game coming down to a confrontation between friends and former teammates - Eddie Guardado and David Ortiz.

- NFL notes from Michael Smith (who I think is better than Michael Holley)
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some Sunday morning waiting for the first cup of Columbian thoughts...

Hey - Jose Lima pitched 8 innings of 2 hit ball yesterday for the Dodgers. The above picture is the only one I could find of Lima (I hope you don't mind - hey that reminds me - I need some cream for my coffee)... Calgary goes up 2-1 over Tampa Bay thanks to Jarome Iginla's Gordie Howe hat-trick (a goal, an assist and a fight)... The Giants are the hottest team in baseball (by record - going 9-1 in their last 10) but I remain convinced that San Francisco is a house of cards that is due to collapse... With Freddie Garcia giving up 4 earned runs in less than 6 innings yesterday - Curt Schilling has become the AL leader in ERA with his 2.82 ERA... The Lakers are the better team but if they spend too much time thinking about planning a victory parade (the NBA champion will definitely come from the West) then the Timberwolves can steal game six and set up a perfect storm situation for game seven in Minnesota... No truth to the rumor that Jose Lima's wife will replace the Twins in Coors Light commercials... Even though he lost yesterday - Zach Day remains the Expos most tradeable commodity... Kevin Youkilis has scored 12 runs in 10 games - he has more runs scored that hits (10)... Life is unfair - I'm still distressed by the fact that Joe Strummer is no longer with us while David Bowie still tries to tour... Here's the web site for the new WWII Memorial. The artist views of the site are breathtaking... On this day in 1977 - Dennis Eckersley throws a no-hitter against the Angels for the Indians... Happy 32nd birthday Manny Ramirez!
Top 5 Complete Package Centerfielders in Baseball

1. Jim Edmonds - Cardinals
2. Andruw Jones - Braves
3. Carlos Beltran - Royals
4. Steve Finley - Diamondbacks
5. Vernon Wells - Toronto

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Would You Recognize a Medal of Honor Winner?

James Robbins always has something good to say and this column is no different.

Seattle Mariners - All-Time Leaders

- Edgar Martinez leads the Mariners in games, at bats, runs, total bases and hits but his numbers would only be good enough for fifth place on the Red Sox all-time lists for those categories

- Edgar's 503 career doubles would be good enough for third place on the Red Sox list (behind Yaz and Teddy Ballgame)

- Harold Reynolds is the Mariners all-time leader in triples with 48. That would only be good enough for 18th with the slow footed Red Sox

- Ken Griffey Jr. is the Mariners all-time leader in HR and his 398 would be good enough for 3rd with the Red Sox (again behind Ted Williams and Yaz)

- Edgar's 1,223 RBI would only be good enough for 6th place with the Sox but chances are Edgar will catch and pass 5th place Bobby Doerr's 1,247 by the All-Star game

- Ichiro is the all-time batting average leader for the Mariners but his .328 would only be good enough for a tie for 4th (with Manny Ramirez) with the Sox

- Randy Johnson is the all-time leader in wins for the M's but his 130 would only be good for 3rd with the Sox (behind Cy Young and Clemens). Jamie Moyer is only 8 wins behind Johnson - so at some point the M's should have a new career wins leader this season.

- Jeff Nelson (and his Hitler mustache) is the M's all-time ERA leader. Nelson's 3.20 would be good for 12th with the Red Sox.

- Randy Johnson is Seattle's all-time leader in complete games with 51 - the Red Sox have 8 guys who have at least double that number

- Kaz Sasaki's 129 saves is only 3 behind the Red Sox all-time leader Bob Stanley. Dick Drago had 41 saves for the Sox but only 5 for the M's. Heathcliff Slocumb had 48 saves for the Sox but only 13 for the M's (Slocumb had to be mentioned - Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe say "hi").
Miscellaneous Baseball Thoughts

Some baseball thoughts while I have my first cup of coffee...

Somebody at SoSH suggested that Red Sox rookie Kevin Youkilis should be nicknamed "jelly" because his initials are "KY". I think that is pure genius... Carlos Pena (the pride of Northeastern) followed up his 6 for 6 night with a 0 for 4 night (including 3 strikeouts). Fantasy baseball owners everywhere who put Pena back in the lineup all just said, "D'oh!"... After starting out the season slow - Alex Rodriguez has finally caught Alfonso Soriano in batting average. Both players are now hitting .292 (A-Rod is killing A-Sor in OPS though .926 to .779)... Fred McGriff made his 2004 debut last night as a pinch hitter for the Devil Rays. Welcome back Crime Dog... Pedro Martinez has already given up 9 HR this season. He only allowed 7 in all of 2003. I wouldn't be too alarmed though - the year Pedro gave up his career high 26 HR - he also went 19-7 with a 2.89 ERA... Just something to think about - Pedro is supposed to be the fragile old guy while Javier Vasquez is supposed to the young fireballing stud - yet Pedro has a better record, more innings pitched, a better ERA and significantly more strikeouts than the younger Vazquez... Zack Greinke looks to be the real deal for the Royals. Last night he had 7 innings pitched and only 1 earned run... Is it time to start talking about Sean Casey as a possible NL MVP candidate?... On this day in 1972 - Moe Berg died. Berg was the subject of the biography The Catcher was a Spy. If you have a chance - you should pick up the book. It makes for good summer reading...
WSOP Finals

You can see the final results of the 2004 World Series of Poker here.

You can get a desription of the final table action here.

You can get a quick bio of the final table players here.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Harry Potter vs. God

Useful comparison (I had good intentions when I posted this but I guess I was just paving the road to hell).
Excellent Steven Den Beste Post on Heroism

As always SDB is well worth the read. After reading this particular post the words of Bill Guarnere (from Band of Brothers reknown) came to mind. Guarnere said that the real heros were the guys who didn't come back.
Here's an Idea for a TV Show

Combine the crazes for Sports Talk Radio and Poker on TV. Here's the format:

- Instead of an appearance fee - five players from a combination of sports writers / former pro athletes / local celebrities get $250 (or whatever the show's producers can afford) in poker chips

- The game is No Limit Texas Hold 'Em

- You have a dealer who is also the show's moderator

- The show last 2 hours and with each hand dealt the dealer/moderator throws out a quick topic of discussion

- Each player has 10-15 seconds to throw out their take on the subject AND decide whether to bet or drop

- The winner of the hand gets an extra 15 seconds on the topic

- At the end of 2 hours - the players get to keep their chips and if they bust out - the player gets nothing, nada, zilch.

How could this format fail (BTW - I reserve all rights to the idea)
Good News from Iraq

A roundup of good news that major media outlets have deemed not to cover. Good stuff (on many levels). I picked out this one nugget but there are plenty of good news items:
And the actor Gary Sinise, who played Lt Dan in "Forest Gump" had this to say after visiting Iraqi hospitals: "I also saw a beautiful interaction between our Soldiers and the Iraqi children. The kids I saw on my second trip to Iraq with Wayne Newton in November 2003 were loving our Soldiers and were so grateful to them for having liberated them from Saddam Hussein. It was a tremendous feeling to see these children hugging and kissing our Soldiers, cheering them with the thumbs up sign and in broken English saying, 'I love you'... Good things are happening over there [Iraq]. On the nightly news it looks like all hell is breaking loose, but I know, from being over there, there's another side to the story."

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some Friday morning before long weekend having my first cup of coffee thoughts...

The WSOP is down to its last 9 players. The chip leader is Greg Raymer with $8,215,000. The best known name on the final table is former champion Dan Harrington with $2,245,000 in chips... Last night's Red Sox 15-2 loss was so ugly that it gave Freddie Krueger nightmares... The ninth place finisher in the WSOP is guaranteed $470,400 in winnings... If you knew that Kenny Rogers and Jarrod Washburn would be leading the AL in wins at this point - raise your hand and take a bow... Jeff Bagwell needs three RBI for 1,452 to pass Jim Rice and move into 46th place all-time... This just isn't right. In Little League there is always a dominating player - you can't make them "illegal"..... A female Ninja is called a "Kunoichi" - that would be a good name for a WNBA team... The Yankees are gay! If it's on the Internet - it must be true- right?...
Top 10 Young (Under 30) Position Players in Baseball

1. Albert Pujols
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Carlos Beltran
4. Alfonso Soriano
5. Eric Chavez
6. Miguel Tejada
7. Andruw Jones
8. Michael Young
9. Lance Berkman
10. Richie Sexson

Thursday, May 27, 2004

A Large Regular Exclusive Photo!

The spin doctors who convinced John Kerry that delaying taking the Presidential nomination was a good idea.

Hurt / Bags

On this day in 1968 - both Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas were born. The way things are going the two players will share not just a birthday but the same induction day into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

If you look at their numbers you will see that they are within 10% of each other in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, walks, batting average, on base percentage and slugging. Kinda scary when you stop and think about it.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Hollywood is remaking the 1972 classic The Poseiden Adventure... Giving hope to all bloggers and operators of fan sites everywhere! Congrats to Steve Silva!... Jose Cruz Jr. of Tampa Bay has quietly been one of the hottest hitters in MLB over the past week hitting .474 ( 9/19) with 2 HR and 10 RBI... Steve Silva's deal with is probably even better than Bill Simmons' deal that brought him to (the first time around) because BOUGHT Silva's site (whereas Simmons was basically just a contractor for Digital City Boston and had nothing to sell but his skill as a humorist/writer/sports guy)... One of life's great mysteries has to be how a simple piece of white bread placed in with a batch of home-made chocolate chip cookies can keep the cookies from going stale in the cookie jar... Jake Peavy is put on DL by Padres - I hope it's nothing much to worry about (I have Peavy on two Fantasy teams)..
Presidential Odds

Yikes! The odds on George Bush have dropped once again. Bush is still the favorite to win the Presidential election at -$140 (meaning that you would have to risk $140 to win $100). Just yesterday Bush was a -$150 favorite.

John Kerry is now even money (meaning $100 risked gets you $100 back if he wins). Yesterday $100 risked on Kerry would have brought a $110 return.

I guess the betting community didn't like Bush's last speech.
NASCAR Potatoes

Found this at Something Awful.

I just find the idea that our culture would have NASCAR branded potatoes pretty funny.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some morning thoughts while I have my first cup of Joe...

Sounds like there must be a pretty good story here. Tommy Phelps is a 30-year old journeyman for the Marlins who got his firt career MLB start last night against the Reds. So what does he do? He goes out and throws 1-hit shut-out ball for seven innings (I have no idea why he was pulled after throwing just 93 pitches). Also interesting is the fact that Phelps was born in Seoul, South Korea.... Did you know that gas prices would have to get up to $3.50 per gallon to equal the inflation adjusted prices from 1981?... Darren Dreifort (the pride of Witchita) has pitched 20 innings of relief so far this year with a 3.92 ERA for the Dodgers. Dreifort will make $11 million this year and $13 million in 2005. How badly do you think Paul DePodesta wants to dump that contract?.. I wonder if she also had "gninromdoog" written on her forehead?... 12 of Barry Bonds 31 hits this year have been home runs... 32 players left in the WSOP. Even though it's not the traditional Red Sox hat - it's good enough reason for me to be rooting for former champion Dan Harrington... Wow! Mark Bellhorn is 2nd in the AL in walks, 10th in RBI and 17th in OBP (but he is also first in strikeouts)... Interesting point by the Baseball Crank... The next five people knocked out of the WSOP will all win $80,000. If a player can hold on and be the sixth player knocked out - his winnings jump to $120,000... Troy Percival blew his forth save of the season last night against Toronto. Percival only blew 4 save opportunities in all of 2003 (and 2002 for that matter)...

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

I wonder if Niagra Falls is technically classified as a Class VI rapids?... The fact that both the Sony Walkman and Kevin Youkilis made their debuts on this earth in 1979 keeps coming back to me. Part of me thinks that in honor of that fact - Kevin Youkilis should be nicknamed "the Walkman". The other part of me realizes that "the Walkman" isn't that great a nickname and that the "Greek God of Walks" is so much better... John Kerry has gained a little bit of ground in the Presidential odds. Right now you would have to risk $150 to win $100 on President Bush but $100 risked on Senator Kerry would win $110 (last week it was -$155 to +$115)... The politics of the world in a nut shell - Amnesty International spends more time in their latest report berating the US than any other country in the world. More proof that playing politics is more important than upholding founding principles. More proof that fundraising (preying on the guilt of the left) is more important to Amnesty International than helping prevent genocide. No word if Michael Moore and Kim Jong Il will turn the report into a movie in time for next year's Cannes Film Festival... Just a reminder - the Boston Celtics owned the first round draft pick from the Denver Nuggets with the option to excercise it in 2002 or wait a year and take it in 2003. Boston decided to take it in 2002 instead of waiting a year. In 2003 - the Denver pick ended up being Carmelo Anthony... Much has been made about Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla touching the conference championship trophy (and thus jinxing his team) but what is being ignored is the fact that as a team - the Flames have the better playoff beards (another time honored tradition). So don't the two cancel each other out? (I'm still rooting for Tampa Bay BTW)... Rose Richie was the highest finishing woman in the WSOP - coming in 98th place (winning $20,000). It's hard not to root for her after reading this article on her...
Hoosiers - Where Are They Now?

Very interesting article that details what the players from the movie Hoosiers have done with their lives since shooting the movie. (Found via Off Wing Opinion - one of my daily stops and someone I should have had on my blogroll a long time ago.)
American Idol

I'm not a fan of the show (but my oldest girls are huge fans) and I won't write about how I can't understand how people can watch this stuff (as an aside I really dislike when people who have never seen a movie, a TV show or read a particular book can take it upon themselves to write about how bad something they haven't seen is. Those columns and editorials are born out of laziness and ignorance - so I always try to avoid them). My girls can't see how I can be so fanatical about watching the Red Sox and I don't see the attraction for American Idol - no problem - different strokes and all that.

The reason I am bringing up American Idol at all is because of this article - link.

People are using autodialers to stuff the ballot box (so to speak). I'm not sure if you are aware of it but some casinos take action on American Idol - so we may be witnessing the TV equivalent of the 1919 Black Sox. The article just speaks about the cheap commercial autodialers. All it would take is one or two call-center quality autodialers to really alter the outcome.

Didn't the big favorite get voted off a week or two ago? Wasn't everyone really surprised by that result?
Very Interesting Post from Mark Cuban

Cuban talks about getting a competitive business advantage, some history of the computer industry and Bill Gates stealing his women.
The Manny Triple Crown Watch

Periodically - I thought it would be good to see where Manny Ramirez stands in the pursuit of the Triple Crown:

Batting Average - 2nd with .355 (behind Melvin Mora's .385 - it should be noted that Mora is a career .272 hitter)

Home Runs - Tied for 1st with Hank Blalock of Texas. Both players have 12

RBI - Tied for 9th - 32 - six behind leader (and teammate) David Ortiz who has 38

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some thoughts while I have my morning coffee...

I've seen Governor Mitt Romney at a number of Red Sox games so far this year. I like the idea of the Governor going to games with little fanfare... Did you know that boxing and canoeing are the only two Olympic sports that exclude women?... The Cincinnati Reds are in first place. That's snazzy. You can't deny the snazziness of that... The WSOP field is down to 83 players. All the women in the field have been eliminated... With Kevin Youkilis up with the big club until at least the All-Star break - he now becomes my favorite for the AL ROY (I'm not saying that he's the logical choice - I'm just saying I'm rooting for him)... I get the feeling that a former champion will take the WSOP this year. Doyle Brunson, Chris "Jesus" Fergueson, and Dan Harrington are still alive in the field... David Ortiz with 2 doubles last night continues to be an extra base hitting machine and continues to lead the AL in that category (with 30)... Very cool (found via NRO's Corner)... I'm not sure about other folks in Boston - but stories about Nomar's rehab are starting to get pretty irritating. Just let me know when he's back... Derek Jeter is still only hitting .189. His awful start to this season has already dropped his career batting average 4 points (from .317 to .313)... In memoriam Doug Pappas...
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some morning thoughts while I have my first cup of coffee...

I like the Angels as a franchise but I don't think they have the pitching to win the West. The A's are just 3 games back and they have 5 solid starters (plus Joe Blanton in the minors). I would look for Billy Beane to make his annual acquisition of a big bat (last year it was Jose Guillen) to help lock up the AL West for another year... Annie Duke and her brother Howard Lederer are both out at the WSOP... People are always quick to count out the Braves but they are just 3.5 games out of first place and they haven't come close to hitting on all cylinders yet... Heh heh - best WSOP quote I've seen so far (found at from Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot, "Every player on my table has shepherd's pie in their pants, the fish is off and running"... Don't count the A's out of the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes - remember the last time the Royals had a five-tool centerfielder they couldn't afford it was Johnny Damon and they traded him to the A's (they got Angel Berroa in return)... Tayshaun Prince's block of Reggie Miller's shot was great but by this time next year it will be forgotten (it didn't happen in a Game 7 or the Finals)... I wonder if the folks at ESPN realize that the term "Diamond Cutter" is also used to describe rock solid hard-ons (i.e "I woke up this morning with a diamond cutter")?... Very strange - Byung-Hyun Kim is going back to South Korea for medical advice on his injured hip/back. This whole thing with Kim is strange and getting stranger... Actually what you wake up with in the morning is more correctly called a "bemho" (basic early morning hard-on)... This is kinda scary - disease ridden ties?... Heh heh (from - 1922 - Babe Ruth is suspended one day and fined $200 for throwing dirt on an ump after being called out on a play at second base, then going into the stands after a heckler. He is also stripped of his title as team captain
More Un-PC Talk from the Globe Sports Department

This is from Dan Shaughnessy's column this morning:
Did anyone notice that two days after Manny Ramirez went to Florida to become a US citizen, Canadian-born Pamela Anderson was in California passing the same exam and earning citizenship? Adjacent photos of Manny and Pam, American flags in hand, would make for one of the great newspaper caption contests of all time

Did Shaughnessy just try to combine a dumb black guy joke with a dumb blonde joke? If I'm wrong - point out to me where the humor is.
Let Kerry be Kerry

Senator John Kerry recently unvieled a new campaign slogan of "Let America be America again." The folks at National Review Online believe this line was lifted / in homage to a Lanston Hughes poem. They think too much.

The line was more likely lifted / in homage to the show The West Wing where one of the episodes was called "Let Bartlett Be Bartlett." I figured I would bring this up before the slogan goes away and is replaced (because it will be replaced - it's not a good campaign slogan).

My favorite campaign slogan of all-time was Ronald Reagan's "Elect me and let's all forget the Carter Presidency ever existed."

Monday, May 24, 2004


Hey the last standing celebrity is Sal Iocono, Cousin Sal from The Jimmy Kimmel Show. Who knew?

I'm surprised that Bill Simmons didn't get ESPN to pony up the entrance fee as part of his package to return.

BTW - doesn't this sound like some sort of scam?
Presidential Address

I think President Bush did a good job in outlining the strategy in Iraq but just to be pre-emptive - here are some talking points / punch lines you can look forward to in the next 24 hours (please note that if you hear or read any of these - you can be pretty sure that the person saying it is more concerned with defeating Bush in November than what is right for Iraqis or in the security of this nation).

- President Bush outlined a 5-step plan for Iraqi sovereignty (look for some people to make AA 12 step jokes)

- President Bush did have trouble pronouncing Ab Ghraib prison (rimshot)

- Not all the networks carried the speech (look for quips about A Beautiful Mind or the The Swan )

I have no problem with Jay Leno / David Letterman type jokes coming from Leno and Letterman but do you really want monologue jokes from the newspeople who are supposed to be giving you information instead of punchlines?
Miscellaneous Thoughts

One of the coolest blog names I have come across has to be Lou Man Group. Talk of Foxwoods and softball? Count me in... Strange. Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi lead all AL batters in HR per at bat rate with one HR for every 14.0 AB. What I found strange/interesting is the fact that Posada and Giambi would only be tied for 14th in the NL. I don't know what to make of this (if anything)... Did you know that Norman Chad's writing credits included both the show Arli$$ and Coach? We won't hold that against him though... I didn't see either Ben Affleck or Gabe Kapler among the names of the 1,091 players remaining in the WSOP so I guess they were first round casualties... Joe Sheehan says goodbye to Doug Pappas...


Just some quick notes on the 2004 World Series of Poker

- 2,576 entrants to this years tournament

- First place gets $5 million while second place gets $3.5 million and third gets $2.5 million (equal to what the winner got last year)

- Almost 9% of the players will at the very least get their entry money back (181st to 225th place win $10,000)

- Vince Van Patten is still alive in the tournament

- My favorite name among the players has to be Charlie Buffalo (no word if he is any relation to Charlie Tuna). There is also a Scott Adams still alive in the field (if this is the guy who writes Dilbert - then he automatically becomes my favorite poker player).

- Some notable names that have been eliminated include Chris Moneymaker, Sammy Farha (Normal Chad must be very disappointed at that development), TJ Cloutier, and Men "the Master" Nguyen.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some morning thoughts while I have my first cup of coffee...

I thought this was interesting (found via Instapundit). EL Doctrow got loudly booed for an anti-war speech he gave at the Hofstra graduation:
Some Hofstra professors said Doctorow was on target in discussing the war. "I thought this was a totally appropriate place to talk about politics because that's the world our students are entering," said sociology professor Cynthia Bogard. "I only wish their parents had provided them a better role model."

So Professor Bogard takes a shot at the parents for not being better role models and she thinks speeches like the one from Doctrow will help prepare them for the real world? I hope she doesn't have any kids. I'm curious what Professor Bogard thinks a Sociology degree will be worth to the students in the real world... A week ago I think many people were ready to concede the NL Cy Young Award to Roger Clemens (myself included) but it seems that 41-year old Randy Johnson and 38-year old Tom Glavine are saying "Not so fast"... I did a quick Google search on Professor Bogard - her specialty is homeless mothers (it seems that sometimes they get depressed). That aught to be real helpful information for her students in dealing with the real world... Today is Bartolo Colon's birthday. Angels fans everywhere hope he takes it easy on the cake... Harry Potter author JK Rowling now has her own website (and yes I'm a total geek for this stuff)... I don't know what's funnier - Simpson's quote about the shorts or the synopsis of the plot of the movie (from
Britney Spears's hopes of landing the role of Daisy Duke in the forthcoming movie version of The Dukes Of Hazzard have been dashed - after bosses handed it to Jessica Simpson. While star Spears had expressed an interest in playing the sexy character from the '70s/'80s TV show, singer Simpson has been chosen as the blonde who will fill the extra-short shorts of original Daisy Duke Catherine Bach. Simpson's manager father Joe tells America's Star magazine, "She is really excited." Simpson herself adds, "I wanna wear those shorts so bad!" The film, about three redneck cousins, two corrupt public officials and a souped- up Dodge Charger car, begins production this summer

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Bonds vs. Evans

Who was the better defensive outfielder?

More Miscellaneous Thoughts

Now that I've had some coffee and been to church - here are some more observations...

Like most people in Boston, I want to root for the Indiana Pacers because of Larry Bird but rooting for the Pacers also means rooting for Reggie Miller and that's something most Celtics fans aren't comfortable with... (inappropriate out of context quote 1) Willie Wonka: "You can suck 'em and suck 'em and suck 'em, and they'll never get any smaller."... First place in the WSOP will be worth $5 million this year!... What a difference a year makes: a year ago the number one rated fantasy baseball player at this point in the season was Carl Everett... (Inappropriate out of context quote 2) Violet Beauregarde (from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory): "It's hot and creamy. I can actually feel it running down my throat!"... Is it me or is Eleanor Cliff morphing into Helen Thomas before our very eyes... I love reading Jason Stark on but I do have to take him to task for this gaff. On Wednesday (yeah I know but I just got around to reading it now) Stark had the following trivia question to end his column; "Randy Johnson has had three seasons in his career in which he won 20 games and had an ERA lower than three. Only three other pitchers currently on active rosters have even had one season like that. Can you name them?" This is what he listed as his answer, "ANSWER: Tom Glavine (three), Barry Zito (one) and Mike Hampton (one)." What about Pedro Martinez in 1999 or 2002? What about Derek Lowe in 2002? What about Roger Clemens in 1986, 1987, 1990, 1997, or 1998? And those were just the ones I could think of off the top of my head... OK while I'm criticizing writers - how about John Kruk (yeah - he writes for Page 2)? In his last column Kruk complained that young pitchers are basically babied and that old school pitchers like Robin Roberts were real men because they finished what they started and that Roberts once had a streak of six 300 innings pitched seasons in a row. This is a valid point but I would counter with the facts that Roberts led the league in innings pitched five out of six of those years and I would also point out that Cy Young once had a streak were five out of six years he had at least 400 innings pitched. That doesn't mean that Roberts was a piker compared to Cy Young. I would also mention that in his 10-year career Kruk only averaged 120 games per season - so I would be careful talking about the durability of any players... The dealers at the WSOP will split approximately $480,000 in tokes this year...
Lowe = Weaver?

It occurs to me that Derek Lowe is very much like Jeff Weaver of the Dodgers. Even though there is a three year age difference (Lowe is 31 while Weaver is 28) - they have both thrown about 1,000 innings in MLB (Lowe 947 and Weaver 1,001). Both had one very big year that seemed to elevate them above what their numbers seem to say about them. Weaver had some success with a lousy Detroit team - so people figured that he would be even better on a good team. That turned out to be a poor assumption. Lowe had a Cy Young like 2002 where he went 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA and people assumed that even if Lowe wasn't 21 game good every year - he would at least be 17 game good.

Both pitchers have thrown about the same number of walks and struck out about the same number of batters (288 walks and 668 SO for Weaver, 281 walks and 625 SO for Lowe) with similar WHIP's (1.26 for Lowe and 1.36 for Weaver). I grant that Lowe has superior numbers in ERA, ERA+, wins, etc. but it almost seems like a there for the grace of God type deal.

My theory on Lowe is that the great run support he recieved from the Red Sox (especially early in games) allowed him to relax and just throw his sinkerball. Without an early lead or in pressure games - Lowe tends to think too much and lose confidence in his best pitches (sinker and curve). Now he's thinking too much and everyone is wondering about his "fragile psyche".

Every once and a while both pithers will throw a gem seemingly out of nowhere (which makes people think that the lights out version is the true version). Right now Weaver is 3-5 with a 4.60 ERA while Derek Lowe is 3-4 with a 6.02 ERA. Weaver will be paid $15.5 million for this year and next. Most people agree that Weaver's contract is a bad one for the Dodgers to be holding. Derek Lowe will be paid $5 million this year and he wants a $10 million plus per year contract going forward. Would you pay that much for Jeff Weaver? Do you think anyone will pay that much for Derek Lowe?
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some morning thoughts while I brew the coffee....

Well no repeat champion at the WSOP this year - Chris Moneymaker busts on the first day... The word for today is "billingsgate" - I try to keep this blog an intelligent yet adult site without turning it into a virtual billingsgate.... Time to start talking about Manny Ramirez possibly winning the triple crown this year. Manny is currently 2nd in batting average (.358), tied for 2nd in HR (11), and tied for 13th in RBI (29 is only 5 less than the leader though)... Do you think George Steinbrenner has been bugging Joe Torre about dropping Derek Jeter from the 2 hole in the order?... Ever wonder what Kirk Cameron is up to these days? Me neither but I did happen upon this link. You have to love a site that has a "Good Person Test" and "Another Interview with God" (I must have missed the first one - was it on 20/20?). When I finished taking the "Good Person Test" - the text said that I had angered God (and at the top of the screen was a photo of Kirk with an orangutan - no I'm not making this up). They say that Saint Augustine did something very bad when he was young and his guilt is what turned him to Christianity. I wonder if what Saint Augustine did was worse than Growing Pains?... Don't feel too bad for Chris Moneymaker - he did win $2.5 million in last year's WSOP and just before this year's WSOP he won $21,000 by coming in 10th place in the Pot-Limit Omaha event (the winner got $500,000)... The Cheers episode where Cliff goes on Jeopardy has to be one of the top 5 Cheers episodes of all-time...

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Political Observations of the Day

I have two observations I would like to get off my chest for today.

First - have you noticed that there have been no follow-up stories on the supposed "Wedding Massacre"? My guess is that once the facts were checked - the main stream media learned that the military's version of events were correct. There was no wedding party in the middle of the desert celebrating at 3:00 am in the morning. Just 40 terrorists who made the mistake of firing on our boys in uniform instead of surrendering.

The main stream media (folks like The Boston Globe and The New York Times) were anxious to make this front page news when they thought it was a failure that they could carp on and quick to forget it when they found it to be a success for the military.

Doesn't that piss you off?

Isn't the fact that we engaged 40+ terrorists just 25 miles from the Syria border news? Aren't there important questions that need answering from such an event? Who were the terrorists? What was their nationalities? Who was funding them?

Instead of answers - we get silence. (And the editors of newspapers wonder why people turn to the Internet as their primary source of news.)

The media wants to feed us bad news - not information that we should have to make informed opinions about what our country is doing in the War on Terror. It used to be all the news fit to print. Now it is all the bad news we think will sell.

Take the case of Brian Chontosh. Have you heard of him? I'd be surprised if you had because the main stream media has ignored him. I did a search on The Boston Globe website and came back with ZERO matches to his name. Brian Chontosh is an American hero and is the same league as Audie Murphy and Alvin York and yet The Boston Globe has done zero stories on him. This is what Brian Chontosh did for his country in Iraq:
It was a year ago on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee.

When all hell broke loose.

Ambush city.

The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him.

So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire.

It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.

And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them.

Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.

And he ran down the trench.

With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers.

And he killed them all.

He fought with the M16 until he was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man’s AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man’s AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.

At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.

When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon’s flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.

On May 6th - Brian Chontosh was awarded the Navy Cross Medal for his actions in battle described above last March. The Navy Cross is just a step below the Congressional Medal of Honor and yet The Boston Globe thought fake pictures lifted from a porn site was more worthy of coverage than Brian Chontosh. They though allegations of a wedding party massacre were more newsworthy than someone like Brian Chontosh.

Doesn't it piss you off?

My second political observation for the day is more of a prediction. I predict that Seymour Hersh will go down in history as the modern day equivalent of James Callender (only Hersh is more partisan).
Buyers and Sellers - Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have very slim chances of making the playoffs (even though I picked them as the AL wild card). Most likely the Blue Jays will be sellers and their most valuable commodity will be Carlos Delgado but I don't think they will be trading him. Why? Because Delgado is maybe the most popular player the franchise has ever had and there is still a good chance that the team and Delgado can come to an agreement that makes sense for both sides.

So if Delgado is not on the market - then who will the Blue Jays have to sell? The answer is middle relievers Terry Adams, Justin Speier and Kerry Ligtenberg. All three make over $1 million and all three are over 30-years old. The Blue Jays also have a pretty well stocked farm system - so I wouldn't be surprised if JP Riccardi packaged one of those middle relievers with a prospect in order to get a better prospect in return.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some observations while I have my first cup of Joe...

Since when did the movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly get the title as the best directed movie of all-time?... How big of a slump has Derek Jeter been in this season? Roger Clemens still has a higher batting average (.222 to .194) and a higher OBP (.263 to .258) than Derek Jeter! We are a quarter through the season!... Judge Judy was at the game at Fenway last night - which gives me the opportunity to note that Judge Judy actually has a larger contract than Manny Ramirez. Judge Judy has a 4-year $100 million deal. Think of that the next time anyone tells you that athletes are overpaid... Here is some excellent advice if you are serious about your blackjack playing... If the Mets fall out of playoff contention (they're 20-22 right now) - do you think the Red Sox will talk to the Mets about a trade for Tom Glavine? Glavine is a local guy (although he now makes his home outside of Atlanta) who will make $10.5 million this year and next (with a 2006 option for $10.5 million that vests with 200 IP next year). If Derek Lowe doesn't turn it around - then a starting pitcher will be number 1 on Theo Epstein's shopping list... The World Series of Poker starts today and I have to wonder if TJ Cloutier is to the WSOP what Dale Earnhardt was to Daytona in NASCAR. Cloutier has never won the WSOP in 21 tries (although he does have two 2nd place finishes, one 3rd and one 5th)... The Red Sox should honor Johnny Pesky by officially naming the right field foul pole after him. They could attach a metal sign with his name and number to the sign in foul territory (I bet MLB would have no objection)... Here's a blog about a guy tracking the growth of his penis after taking super penis pills. I was disappointed that he disn't have a comments section (feel free to have a flashback to the opening scene of Porky's while reading this)...

Friday, May 21, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

If the season ended today - the Red Sox and the Cubs would be the two Wild Card teams... At the end of May last year Kevin Brown had an ERA of 2.02. So far this year he has an ERA of 3.13. Last year at the end of May Roger Clemens had an ERA of 3.71. So far this year he was an ERA of 1.72. I think they both help prove the idea that the difference between the AL and NL is about 1 to 2 runs of ERA... I bet hell is a lot like being stuck in an elevator with Stephen A. Smith and Gilbert Godfried while they have an argument... From today's - Yesterday on Dennis & Callahan, Bill Simmons was a guest and noted that as part of his new deal with he will have his own webpage there and do columns 2-3 times a week. This was not really followed up on by D&C... The Greek God of Walks - Kevin Youkilis and the Sony Walkman are the same age. Both made their debut in this world back in 1979... My how times have changed. There is a good chance that the Red Sox will sign David Ortiz, Pokey Reese, and Pedro Martinez while letting fellow free agents to be Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra walk away. If the situation was reversed - then you would see pundits across the country talk about how the Red Sox haven't yet broken free of their racist roots... One nice thing to note about having the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup finals is the fact that their fans won't boo the US National Anthem (Calgary = Houston with skiing)... The Red Sox have agreed to a two-year extension with David Ortiz (with an option for a third). My guess is that Pokey Reese will be next up for the Sox to sign... Johnny Damon shaved his caveman look for charity today. I will be curious to see if Damon's Disciples still show up at Fenway tonight...

Loco Lowe

In a back and forth with Mark in the comments of one of today's posts - a thought occurred to me.

Derek Lowe has long reminded me of Bob Stanley who not only was a starter for the Red Sox but is also is the team's all-time leader in saves. Stanley's bread and butter was the sinkerball - just like Lowe. The comarisons could go on and on. They are both among the most charitable of Red Sox players and both are known to enjoy a beer (or eight). Bob Stanley's nickname was the Stanley Steamer (as far as I know - Bob is not from Cleveland and the name refers to his ability to steam through opponents).

How about the nickname of the "Lowe Locomotive" for Derek Lowe? The name works on many levels. When things are going good - Lowe's sinkerball (to use a Superman term) is more powerful than an speeding locomotive. When Lowe is doing poorly - we can just shorten the name to Loco Lowe or Lowe Loco (since many people attribute most of Lowe's problems to the "neck up").

Loco Lowe - it does have a certain ring to it.
Yikes! Heed the Warning!

Found this via the Straight White Guy:
PLEASE NOTE: This is strictly a novelty item, and is NOT intended to be worn or used like a normal condom! It will not prevent pregnancy or the transmission of STDs, and will most likely cause injury to one or both parties involved. By bidding on this item you acknowledge that it is a novelty item and not intended for actual use! By purchasing this item you waive the seller of all liability and accept total responsibility for any and all injury incurred as a result of actually using this item!

See the item here - but be warned it could cause you to have distressing mental images
VDH Friday

As always - a cogent, logical and enlightening column from Victor Davis Hanson (please note that he did not mention Sparta or the Ancient Greeks even once - someone owes NRO some money!).
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Various thoughts and observations while I have my first cup of coffee...

Derek Lowe was awful last night. Seven runs in two and a third innings to the Devil Rays? Yikes! Just sayin' but didn't Byung-Hyun Kim get sent down to Pawtucket for having a 6.17 ERA? Lowe's ERA after last night's game is 6.02.... Gary Sinise will star in CSI New York this fall. That sounds like a pretty good match. I just hope that in the show he is a detective lieutenant and his first name is Daniel... Right now I would put the odds on the Red Sox resigning Derek Lowe at 0%... Let me get this straight: Friends had a huge send off, Fraiser had a little fan fare for its last show and now The Drew Carey Show will end its run in the dead of summer? At its peak The Drew Carey Show was the funniest of the three (with Fraiser a close second). Friends always seemed the kind of show that Frank Zappa would write a song about (satirizing it)... Last night Derek Lowe was just dripping sweat. I mean it was Albert Brooks in Broadcast News type sweat. This leads me to believe that Lowe either needs a good sports psychologist or a new anti-perspirant.... Troy in Fifteen Minutes (found via Boing Boing)... I know that Derek Lowe has been bad this season but it hasn't been Derek Jeter bad and there is a chance that he can turn it around and still have a 15+ win season. You do have to wonder at all the excuses though. In his horrid start earlier in the year it was because he had "too much time off". Last year he had the skin cancer scare early in the year and then inexplicably was awful in almost every road start. What was the excuse for last night?... If there is one thing to take comfort in regarding Derek Lowe - it is the fact that he is third among all MLB pitchers in his groundball to flyball ratio (3.08 - only Jake Westbrook of Cleveland and Brandon Webb of Arizona are better). That's the key stat for a sinkerball pitcher.... My how things have changed - from Today in Baseball History: 1923 - Formal transfer of T.L. Huston's interest in the Yankees to Jake Ruppert is completed for $1.5 million. Ten days later Ruppert buys two more sets of uniforms so his players can wear a clean outfit every day, an unprecedented move...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

It's an Outrage

Sign the petition! MLB can take our lives but they'll never take our BOOBIES!

EDIT: I'm bumping this to the top because a bunch of people have been getting friends to sign the petition (check out the comments if you haven't already - some are pretty funny).
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Just some random thoughts and observations...

Tino Martinez represents about 25% of the Tampa Bay Devil Ray payroll with his $8.5 million salary. What are the odds on Tino winding up back in pinstripes if Giambi's health continues to be an issue for the Yankees?... Heh heh - the new Louisiana State quarter... I feel bad for Marcus Giles of the Atlanta Braves. This was supposed to be the year he set himself up for a big payday in free agency (he only makes $430,000 for the Braves). Now he is out for 6-8 weeks with a broken collarbone (I know this is old news but I still feel for the guy)... Michael Moore = Comic Book Guy? Heh heh - "It’s really a bad idea to have sex before you’re 18 (at which point, Moore admits he remained a virgin until the age of 32)."... My tape worm likes pizza... $200 out of every $10,000 World Series of Poker entry fee is put aside for tips (tokes) for the tournament dealers. The House takes $400 from each entry fee to cover their costs...

Buyers and Sellers - Oakland A's

Anyone who has watched the A's under Billy Beane over the years knows that they are both buyers and sellers. The modus operandi seems to be to buy during the season and sell in the off-season though.

Every year they seem to make a mid-season acquisition that addresses their biggest need. What are their biggest needs this year? I would say a big bat to help the offense either at 1st, 2nd, SS (Crosby may be good in a couple of years but he's not Angel Berroa good as a rookie) or outfield. That leaves things pretty wide open for Billy Beane.

You can't help but hear rumors that they may be looking to deal one of their Big 3 pitchers (specifically Barry Zito - which I don't understand because Zito is under contract for 2005 for little more than what Mark Redman will be paid). In the past Beane would allow the top players to walk away as free agents (like Giambi and Tejada) because he knew he would be getting top draft picks in compensation. Now that has been taken away in the new collective bargaining agreement - so people look for him to deal his free agents that Oakland can't afford to resign. Why is that?

Beane has built his system based on value. A year of Barry Zito in his prime has a lot of value. It would be tough to get equal compensation for that value and what sense does it make to trade Zito out of the rotation just as you are making a playoff push? The A's have Rich Harden and Joe Blanton - so they are OK as far as prospects are concerned.

Beane has shown that he retains good relations with Paul DePodesta (now LA's GM) and JP Riccardi (the GM in Toronto). If the Blue Jays are out of playoff contention and have no chance of resigning Carlos Delgado - do you think Beane will use Delgado as a rent-a-player in Oakland this year?
Kevin Garnett

Just thought I'd mention this - Kevin Garnett just turned 28-years old. He has 13,864 career NBA regular season points.

By the time Kareem Abdul-Jabar was done with the season in which he turned 28 - he had 14,295 points.

Right now Garnett is averaging 20 points per game while Kareem finished his career with a little better than 24 ppg average. So Kevin has a little work ahead of him if he wants to catch Kareem. It should also be noted that by the time Kareem was 29 - he already had three NBA MVP trophies.

(It also should be noted that as a Celtics fan - writing anything nice about Kareem comes at the price of great personal pain.)
I Know I Shouldn't Laugh at This But...

A spy tells Lowdown that after handing out tube after tube of the decay-preventing dentifrice to passersby, the "Apprentice" team enlisted a plump 51-year-old woman to haul the unsightly empty boxes back to a nearby truck and haul back armsful of sparkling-new boxes.

For this, they offered her $20.

As the woman lumbered from the table to the truck and back - "working her a- off," says our spy - she was overheard mumbling, "I have to do a good job for Crest."

After about an hour, she had worked herself into a beet-faced, sweaty daze. At one point she tumbled over and began to roll around on the ground, chanting "Crest! Crest!" over and over.

"It was just spooky," said our spy.

Read the whole thing here.
Fallon as Fletch?

Now that Jimmy Fallon has stepped away from SNL - maybe his next big project will be playing Irwin Fletcher (better known as Fletch). Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, etc.) is working with author Gregory McDonald on Fletch Won (a prequel to the Fletch movie that starred Chevy Chase).

I wrote about this earlier for

It occurs to me that Fallon would be perfect for the role and that Smith and McDonald could also use the film to poke some fun at the culture of the 70's (something that Boogie Nights was able to do but Starsky and Hutch failed at).
The Only Presidential Election Poll That Matters

Senator John Kerry has made back some ground in the race for the Presidency against incumbent George W. Bush according to the odds at Sports Books across the Internet. For weeks Bush had a commanding -$165 to +$125 edge over Kerry (meaning you would have to risk $165 to win $100 betting on Bush to win vs. risking just $100 to win $125 by betting on Kerry).

The new odds are Bush -$155 and Kerry +$115 (meaning you would have to risk $155 to win $100 betting on Bush to win vs. risking just $100 to win $115 by betting on Kerry).

As Deep Throat said in All the President's Men - "Follow the money!"
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some various observations while I have my morning coffee...

Cool - Bush vs. Kerry bare knuckle boxing... Very quietly Baltimore is creeping up in the standings. Right now they are two games back in the AL East but they are tied with both the Red Sox and Yankees in the loss column... Why hasn't Comedy Central given Homestar Runner their own show yet? Strongbad would be bigger than Cartman from South Park... Red Sox fans are very concerned with Randy Johnson going to the Yankees but they should be equally worried about him winding up in California or Baltimore... David Ortiz leads the AL in extra base hits with 26. 62% of Ortizzle's hits have been for extra bases this season. Last season 56% of his hits went for extra bases... I know I said I was rooting for the Calgary Flames to win the Stanley Cup because they had the best playoff beards but if they play Tampa Bay I have to root for the Lightning because my roommate from college has season tickets and has brought me to several games (rooting for the Lightning is the least I can do)... The World Series of Poker starts this weekend and there hasn't been much change in the odds of who will win it (Phil Ivey is still the favorite at 12 to 1). The odds on Ben Affleck have come down to 450 to 1 which is only slightly worse than the odds on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays winning the World Series (400 to 1)... Have you read about the so called "Wedding party massacre"? Let me get this straight; ground troops approach a suspected terrorist safe house in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night (3:00 am), they come under fire and call in air support, the helicopters basically destroy the safe house and then the ground troops find weapons, foreign passports, satellite communications equipment and $2 million in Iraqi and Syrian money. So of course papers like the Boston Globe believe the wedding party story. You would think a week after publishing photos from a porn site the Globe would give more scrutiny to stories like this but I guess they'll never learn. BTW - I think it would have made for a much better story if the terrorists instead of saying it was a wedding party instead said it was a Bar Mitzvah... Here's the latest on Bill Simmons favorite football recruit... Seeing Phil Hellmuth get knocked out of the WSOP has to be one of the highlights of every year... Do you think Roger Clemens ever gave back that Hummer the Yankees gave him as a retirement present?... With the Yankees surging you hear less talk about how bad they're hitting as a team and less talk about whether Don Mattingly can cut it as a hitting coach (how can you not like Don Mattingly?). The Yankees are now 8th in OBP, 13th in MLB in runs scored, but just 26th in batting average (only the Mets, Reds, Devil Rays and Expos are worse)...

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Buyers and Sellers - Astros

The Astros could use a solid fifth starter (Tim Redding is not really cutting it) but otherwise the Astros ave a pretty solid roster. In fact - if given the opportunity I think the Astros would actually be sellers - specifically Richard Hidalgo and his big $12 million salary (with a $15 million 2005 option).

Unless there is a major injury - my thinking is that the Astros are unlikely to be making any major moves.
Buyers and Sellers - Angels

Never too early to take a look at teams who will be looking to trade for players (buyers) or dump salary (sellers). Today let's take a quick look at the Angels.

They are definitely buyers. At the end of the season they will be dropping about $37 million in salary (Troy Glaus $9 mil, Troy Percival $7.5 mil, Aaron Sele $8.5 mil and $12 mil owed to Kevin Appier). Of the four players - I would say that only maybe Sele would be back next year at a reduced salary.

The Angels should be in the playoff hunt all year and since they will be dropping all of the above salary - they shouldn't be too adverse to picking up a veteran player to help them make a playoff push.

The big needs are now at third (with Glaus going down) and at starting pitcher.

At third the one name you will hear bandied about by everyone is Aaron Boone who should be ready for the second half of the season. Also keep Aubrey Huff and Joe Randa in the back of you head for the Angels.

At starter - the Angels are certainly in a better position to make the Diamondbacks happy with prospects than the Yankees are for the services of Randy Johnson. The Pirates will be willing to move Kip Wells if the Angels lose out on the Big Unit.

(A Randy Johnson / Shea Hillenbrand trade from the Diamondbacks would cure both needs of the Angels and probably make them the team to beat in thr AL. Just something to consider.)

The Angels have some top rated prospects like current first baseman Casey Kotchman as well as catcher Jeff Mathis, Ervin Santana, and Dallas McPherson. Some of these guys may fit into the future plans of the Angels while others should make good trade bait.
Hunter S. Thompson

HST has been on my mind quite a bit lately for a number of reasons.

First off I happened to notice that he was listed among the columnists on Drudge (something I had never noticed before). When I clinked the link - I noticed that HST hadn't posted anything on for about a month (I mentioned this at the time and speculated on the reason for the absence).

After Bill Simmons announced he was returning to ESPN - I got an email from Jim Savage who pointed out that he correctly called an early 2004 return to Page 2 for the Sports Guy. Jim also pointed out that he speculated that one of the existing columnists would have to be let go to make room. I started to wonder if HST was the guy to go.

It seemed to make sense. HST probably is very well paid because he was one of the "names" ESPN used to launch Page 2 (along with David Halberstam and Bill Simmons) but now his productivity is just plain awful. His columns have the feel of being dictated 5 minutes before deadline. I wondered whether HST was the journalistic equivalent of Albert Belle but instead of a big contract and a bad hip HST has a big contract and a sotted head. Maybe ESPN was out from under HST's contract and free to make a bid to bring in the free agent Simmons (is how my reasoning went).

Then James Lileks (a writer I very much respect) mentioned HST in his Daily Bleat on Monday. Lileks gave some examples of what HST's writing has become and then noted:
That’s what this addled has-been was writing last summer. I love much of his early stuff – at his peak, he was the best fiction writer journalism had. But this is college-paper stuff. “Our highway system is crumbling, our police are dishonest, our children are poor.” And our aspirin bottles are hard to open and our dogs are stupid and our fries are too fattening and our parking lots are striped in such a way that today’s wider vehicles fill out the spaces, making it difficult to avoid getting a door ding, and our TV newspeople smile too much and our royalty checks are getting smaller and smaller as the newer ESPN website readers read this stuff and think, whatever, gramps instead of buying the books.

Lileks continued:
Of course in Thompson’s world the Big Darkness is always coming. Every day it doesn’t come means it’ll just be bigger and darker when it finally arrives. He’s the anti-rooster, bitching about the dawn: sure, it worked today, but one of these days the sun won’t come up, and then where will you be? Sitting on your nest popping out eggs like THEY want you to, completely unprepared for the Big Darkness! Which will be huge! And dark!

It would be funny if it was, well, funny, but it’s not even that. It’s just rote spew from the other side of the latter sixties. You had your Hopeful Hippies, the face-painters and daisy-strewers, convinced that human nature and human history could be irrevocably changed if we all held hands, listened to “Imagine” and realized that the war is not the answer. Regardless of the question. But the other side was the sort of dank twitchy nihilism Thompson spouts. It has no lessons, no morals, no hope. Imagine, Winston, that the future consists of a boot pressing on a face. Here’s the worst part, Winston – inside the boot is NIXON’S FOOT.

Thompson has less hope than the Islamists; at least they have an afterlife to look forward to. All we have is a country so rotten and exhausted it’s not worth defending. It never was, of course, but it’s even less defensible now than before.

He can say what he wants. Drink what he wants. Drive where he wants. Do what he wants. He’s done okay in America. And he hates this country. Hates it. This appeals to high school kids and collegiate-aged students getting that first hot eye-crossing hit from the Screw Dad pipe, but it’s rather pathetic in aged moneyed authors. And it would be irrelevant if this same spirit didn't infect on whom Hunter S. had an immense influence. He's the guy who made nihilism hip. He's the guy who taught a generation that the only thing you should believe is this: don't trust anyone who believes anything. He's the patron saint of journalism, whether journalists know it or not.

I read that and I thought Wow! - Lileks nailed him! That's exactly right!

I read HST hoping that I find a spark of his earlier intelligence and wit. Instead I get the drivel that Lileks documents. Normally I just skim over that stuff though (kinda like it was Peter King talking about his daughter's softball team).

Yesterday I noticed that HST had a new column up. I figured I's give it a shot. Then I read these lines and realized what an idiot I had been for giving this old bastard the benefit of the doubt over and over.
Yes, sir. We have taken the bull by the horns on this one, sports fans. These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport. Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these photographs did.

Ab Ghraib worse than the holocust? This was Bush/Hitler nonsense sanctioned by a major media outlet at its worst! Where is the outrage that followed Greg Easterbrook's brain fart?

HST is ashamed to carry a US passport and I am ashamed of myself for wasting all the time over the years reading his CRAP. No more. Yesterday was my last HST column.
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Just some random observations...

Perfect game from the Big Unit! I ended up watching the last inning and a half on TBS. When Johnson got the last out - I jumped up and pumped my fist (it was completely involuntary).... Terry Ryan has been very successful in Minnesota putting a playoff caliber team onto the field year in and year out on a very limited budget. Billy Beane has done the same in Oakland and now his "disciples" JP Riccardi and Paul DePodesta are running their own teams. How come we never hear of disciples of Terry Ryan getting interviews for open GM jobs?... His name is Randy Johnson and his nickname is the Big Unit and he's not a porn star?... Completely overshadowed by Johnson's perfect game is the fact that Jason Schmidt threw a 1-hitter and struck out 13 to beat the Cubs 1-0... Today's word for the day is "holoholo" which is Hawaiian for "to ramble for pleasure". Now I'm sure they mean walking but sometimes I "holoholo" with words here on this blog... The Angels beat the Yankees 1-0 in 11 innings last night but surprisingly neither starter went more than 7 innings... The Red Sox are back in first place by half a game... Four of the teams in last year's NCAA Men's basketball tournament had a graduation of ZERO... I have to point out the fact that I picked Jeromy Burnitz to lead MLB in HR this year and now he's tied with Steve Finley for the lead with 12... The last NL pitcher to throw a perfect game was Dennis Martinez - which begs the follow-up question of why Martinez never ran for President of Nicaragua like he said he was going to do... Jon Stewart's commencement aadress at William and Mary...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Just Sayin'

With Bill Mueller slumping just a bit - I was curious how his numbers compared to Shea Hillenbrand. So I checked 'em. Here are the numbers for both Hillenbrand and Mueller from the start of last season:

Shea Hillenbrand:

164 G / 622 AB / 74 R / 172 H / 41 2B / 1 3B / 24 HR / 114 RBI / .277 BA

Bill Mueller:

180 G / 661 AB / 107 R / 206 H / 51 2B / 5 3B / 24 HR / 105 RBI / .312 BA

Bill Mueller had a career year last year - so I was surprised that the numbers for the two players were this close. I know that Bill Mueller also kills Hillenbrand in the Moneyball OBP comparison (and my favorite - OPS+) and in Bill James win shares (25 win shares for Mueller and just 13 for Hillenbrand - which really tells the whole story).

I know that trading Hillenbrand allowed Mueller to have his career year and probably more importantly - allowed David Ortiz the AB's to prove his worth to the team. However, at the back of my head I keep remembering that Hillenbrand is four years younger than Mueller and that Johnny Pesky cried when told that Hillenbrand was traded (and that has to count for something).

I know at this point in time it was an excellent move by the Red Sox but I think we have to reserve complete judgement for a couple of years. There is the potential for a George Scott / Cecil Cooper analogy if Hillenbrand at some point finds his groove.

Anyway - I was just curious - so I checked.
The Red Sox / Patriots Comparison

I made the following comment to a post Alex had over at A Couple of Bleacher Seats:
Alex - I understand the concern over the injuries but in some ways doesn't what's happening with the Sox remind you of how the Patriots started their season? You have the injuries to Roosevelt Colvin and to the offensive line but those injuries actually made the team stronger over the long run (potentially the same can be said of the Trot / Nomar injuries).

People started off the season concerned about the arm strength of Tom Brady just like most folks are concerned with Pedro's velocity.

We had the vocal leader come in from a West Coast team (Rodney Harrison / Schilling) and finally many of the players played under the realization that the team wasn't going to overpay anyone (is Nomar the Red Sox version of Ty Law?)

The more I think of the analogy - the more I like it (although I think a Belichick / Francona comparison may be a bit of a stretch).

EDIT: The more I think of the idea - the less I like it (forget I ever brought it up)
New Peter Gammons

Peter Gammons has a new column up at Some thoughts:

1. Terry Ryan doesn't get half the credit he deserves for the job he's done with the Twins.

2. Gammons threw this out when talking about some of the moves Ryan has made for the Twins: "A-ball first baseman David Arias (who became David Ortiz) for Dave Hollins." Is he saying that Ortiz changed his name from Arias? That was news to me. (In fact as soon as I read it - I heard Johnny Carson in my head saying, "I did not know that.").

3. At the time that Nathan for Pierzynski deal was made - I thought that the Giants had gotten the best of that deal by a wide margin. Just shows you how little I know and how good a job Ryan does as GM.

4. I never thought the supposed Garcia / Damon / Beltran deal had any sence of reality about it.

5. With all those teams interested in Aaron Boone - what are the chances that he gets a signing bonus that is equal to the pay he lost when he was cut by the Yankees?

Tony Randall

The man famous for his role as Felix Unger has passed away at age 84. When I think of Tony Randall I think of three things:

1. His spot on role as Felix Unger in The Odd Couple. The 1970 TV show was based upon the movie of the same name (which was based upon the play The Apartment)

2. His command of the English language (he made Dick Cavett look like Joey from Friends)

3. His propensity for getting much younger wives pregnant. I half expect to see his obituary read "He leaves his pregnant wife XXX aged 24...."

Randall is also celebrated in some circles for his portrayal of Sidney Shore in Love, Sidney. This character was one of the first positive gay people in a major role on network TV. Billy Crystal's Jodie Dallas on SOAP was the first major gay character on TV I think (unless you want to count Mr. French from A Family Affair - what was the deal with him?).

Randall is described as an "expert ranconteur" (expert storyteller). Ranconteur is a word we don't see enough of or a skill that to see in wide supply today. Now we have one less.

The Comedic Stylings of John McGurk

John has a new Quick Hits column up at

People say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” That’s all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t really work for fellatio.

Heh Heh

Captain's Quarters had a caption contest for this photo:

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some thoughts while I have my first cup of coffee in the morning...

Former Holy Cross head football coach Dan Allen passed away on Sunday. Bob Ryan has an excellent piece on him in today's Boston Globe... Some people say that gay marriage will lead to this or lead to that but in reality the only thing that gay marriage will lead to is gay divorce... Wow - pretty harsh look at Troy Glaus' fragility by Scott Miller... I have no problem with gay marriage but to be honest - I don't think I'm ready to see "Jimmy will you marry me? - Bill" messages on the Jumbotron at games... The Minnesota Twins have the second best record in baseball and their payroll is about $2 million less than Oakland's. When do you think someone will write a Moneyball book about them? I mean at least the Twins have won a few playoff series... Mark Blaudschun of the Boston Globe also takes a look at Dan Allen... Baseball America has a very good primer on how the MLB draft actually works. Interesting note: "This year's draft will also be the last time the leagues will alternate selections. Beginning in 2005, teams will draft in reverse order of winning percentage, regardless of league." Worth the read... Happy birthday to El Guapo...

Monday, May 17, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Hey my first post in the new format!

Anthony Peeler was only suspended two games for the elbows he deliberately threw at Kevin Garnett. That was too light a punishment. It doesn't send the right message. What is to prevent some scrub from throwing elbows at Garnett (if he advances) or Kobe in the next series if all it will cost is a two-game suspension?... This shouldn't bother me but headlines that talk about "Wedding Bells Ringing for Gay Couples in Massachusetts" are just plain dumb. The couples are getting married in front of Justices of the Peace. No church bells are involved whatsoever... I've said it before but why is OK to have a business called Rusty Jones when you would get in trouble calling that same business Filthy Sanchez?... Who knew? Lyle Overbay and Craig Wilson are tied for most total bases (90) in the NL... Heh heh - NSFW ... Michael Young of Texas leads the AL in total bases with 100 (that's 24 more than A-Rod)... Eat Me! SFW...
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some more Sports Guy obsessing...

Yesterday morning I checked The Jimmy Kimmel Live website and I noticed that Bill Simmons is still listed on the front page. This means that there is no way that Simmons was fired from the show and that the parting had to be amicable (if Simmons was fired - the Kimmel show could be in trouble for keeping him on the website and if Simmons left on bad terms - why would Kimmel still have him on the web site?)... The NBA needs to protect its star players. An Anthony Peeler shouldn't be allowed to goad a Kevin Garnett into a suspension. My suggestion is for the regular season is to make the suspension for the guy who is the aggressor equal to the number of points per game (divided by 2), assists per game and rebounds per game for the guy he swung at minus his own points per game (divided by 2), assists per game and rebounds per game. For example Garnett (12+5+14) - Peeler (3+2+2) would equal a 24 game suspension. Harsh - yes - but nobody is paying $75 per ticket to watch Peeler take swings at the MVP (and who wants to see Garnett turn into the next Rudy T in a blink of an eye)... So why did Bill Simmons leave? Normally people leave jobs either to get away from a bad situation or to go to a better situation. Simmons seems to like Kimmel personally but it must be noted that Kimmel is still getting worse ratings and drawing fewer viewers than either Craig Kilborn's or Carson Daly's show. Man that sucks... For the playoffs - I think the NBA should use a rule of thumb for suspending guys who take swings at other players of Player A's salary (the guy who got hit) in millions minus Player B's salary in millions divided by two. For example Garnett makes $19 million minus say $3 million for Peeler divided by two would equal a 8 game suspension for Peeler... So what would make it a better situation at ESPN worth leaving Jimmy Kimmel's show for Simmons? Maybe the answer is as obvious as Jay Marriotti's Liza Minelli eyebrows. Could Simmons be the next host of Around the Horn?.. If the players in an altercation are equal - say Tim Duncan takes a swing at Garnett - then the league uses its best judgment. Yes - it promotes a star system but what's wrong with that?...
Gay Marriage

Since this is all anyone in Boston is talking about today - I thought I'd weigh in with my $.02.

I have no problem with gay marriage whatsoever.

I have never met a gay person (or even heard of a gay person) who says something like, "I can remember the day I decided to be gay." Every gay person I have ever met said that they were just born that way and that they were always gay. If that is the way God made them - who are we to discriminate against them and deny them the same rights everyone else enjoys?

To me - it would be like allowing everyone to get a drivers license except people who have red hair.

I see couples who have been together 20-years getting married and saying that this is the happiest day of their lives. I think "How great for them!" and then I think "How sad!" that these folks have had to live as second class couples for the past 20 years.

I know the religious arguments but I also know that most of the verses from Scripture that damn homosexuality as an abomination go on to damn shellfish in almost the very next line. I wonder why these folks protesting gay marriage never protest outside of a Red Lobster?

The State of Nevada made a big mistake. They should have OK'd gay marriage before Massachusetts because the amount of gay marriage packages to Las Vegas would have gone through the roof. Las Vegas hasn't fully recovered from the effects to travel due to 9/11. Couples would have been flying in from all over the country. This could have been a big boon to the economy (instead Massachusetts is getting all the extra cash from hotel rooms / restaurants / etc).

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Some random observations while I wait for my wife to get back from the store with the cream for my morning coffee...

I thought this was a hat at first... Barry Bonds has become the Ty Cobb of this century. When either player's name is mentioned people will think, "He was a great player but what an asshole!"... Benny Binion who started the World Series of Poker was convicted of killing two men and fled justice to Las Vegas. Binion was a mob boss in Texas. You never hear mention of that from Norm Chad on the WSOP broadcasts.... Smarty Jones win at the Preakness was just incredible. We may be looking at the Seattle Slew of our generation. Possibly one of the top 10 horses of all-time... Kevin Youkilis got the nickname "The Greek God of Walks" from the book Moneyball. Maybe after hitting a HR in his first big league at bat his new nickname should be "The Greek God of Home Runs.".... This is the best article I have read on David Lander (Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley) who is battling MS and is also a scout for the Mariners... Boxing is in big trouble. The last big name fighter - Roy Jones Jr. gets beat in two rounds by Antonio Tarver (who? No disrespect to Tarver but who the hell is Antonio Tarver?)... OK - I'll say it! I was a bit nonplussed when Smarty Jones trainer John Servis said, "He came through for America. I'm so impressed with his effort." Did I miss something? Was Smarty Jones running in the Olympics against a field of foreign horses?... If Pedro Martinez beats the Toronto Blue Jays today - I will shit my pants if Red Sox manager Terry Francona says, "Pedro came through for America. I'm so impressed with his effort"...