Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Dirty Harry Torture Test

The movie that made Clint Eastwood an icon was the 1971 classic Dirty Harry (I still can't believe that Frank Sinatra was the first choice for this role). In the movie, Eastwood plays Detective Harry Callahan - a cop with a black and white sense of right and wrong and a flare for bending or breaking the rules to bring justice to what George W. might call "evil-doers".

The reason I'm bringing this up this morning is all the recent talk about the McCain anti-torture bill coupled with this post by Instapundit brought these thoughts bubbling to the forefront of my feeble brain.

In the movie a psychopath (played by Andrew Robinson who immediately became typecast as "that guy who played the psycho in the first Dirty Harry") had kidnapped a young girl and had buried her alive with only so much time left before she runs out of air. Dirty Harry wounds the psycho in the leg and when he finally catches up with him he steps on the wound to torture the psycho into revealing where he buried the girl.

Unfortunately - the information comes too late and the girl is already dead.

I think it safe to say that most guys (and most girls for all I know) rooted for Dirty Harry as he tortured the information out of the psycho. We cheered and Dirty Harry became an icon because he acted how we wanted our cops to act when faced with those situations - torture and all. Some people today would seem more concerned with the civil rights of the psycho instead of the LIFE of the girl he kidnapped (in the movie the psycho actually cries out the he "has rights" just before Callahan makes him scream in pain).

If Dirty Harry was real life and I was on a jury reviewing Detective Callahan's actions - the only thing I would find him guilty of was having a bad 70's haircut. All the rest would be just fine with me.
Interesting Trade Rumor

I can see this happening:
Jim Edmonds traded to Yankees for Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang. Sure, it's a staggering idea at first. Considering defense, Edmonds is still unquestionably the best center fielder in baseball even at age 35. He's under contract for $12MM in 2006, and the Cards do have a need for a second baseman and a cheap young starter. Before you call me a crazy, evil Rumor Monger (that's a half-truth), remember that St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz originated the rumor.
Manny Ramirez Trade

I've become resigned to the fact that certain Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez will be traded by the Red Sox. At this point it seems to be the best thing for everyone involved. The question is what the Red Sox will get in return?

I had plenty of drive time yesterday to think about it and I'd like to propose the following trade - Red Sox send Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers for outfielder JD Drew and pitching prospect Edwin Jackson.

New Dodgers GM Ned Coletti would get to make a splash while at the same time undoing a move by his predecessor (the signing of Drew to a 5-year $55 million contract) that wasn't very popular with the local press. Jackson was at one time the number one pitching prospect in all of baseball but the sheen has come off the last couple of years. Maybe former Dodgers pitching coach and current Red Sox pitching coach Dave Wallace can put Jackson back on track.

The knock on Drew is that he's fragile but maybe he's just been unlucky? Last year he played just 72 games after breaking his wrist after being hit by a Brad Halsey pitch. Drew is supposed to be healthy and ready for spring training. At the plate - Drew is about 75% the hitter Manny is but he's better on defense and the basepaths.

Manny would get to go to a West Coast team and the laid back Dodger fans certainly wouldn't be as fanatical as the Red Sox fans. The Red Sox would save quite a bit of money in the deal as well since Manny has 3-years and $57 million remaining while Drew has just 4-years and $44 million due to him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

On the Road

In NYC today with no time to post. So here's a picture of a really hot girl to keep you satisfied.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A's Sign Loaiza to 3-year Deal - Zito to be Traded?

This is a move that really came out of nowhere for me. Blindsided I was.

Why do the pitching rich A's want Estaban "50-cent head million-dollar arm" Loaiza?

The A's already have Barry Zito, Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Joe Kennedy and Kirk Saarloos. Blanton and Harden have shown the stuff aces are made out of - so the obvious inference is that Loaiza is being signed just in time for the GM meetings because Billy Beane plans to trade Barry Zito. The question is "to who?"

The Yankees are a suspect. They need pitching but do they have the prospects the A's want? I don't think so. It also hurts the Yankees that the A's really don't have any dead contracts on their books. The closest dead money contract would be Jason Kendall but he has a no trade clause (and he wants to live on the West Coast). Mark Ellis and Robinson Cano are about equal at 2nd - so I don't see Beane trading Zito to the Yankees.

The Orioles are a suspect but again - do they have prospects the A's would want? A Hayden Penn or Nick Markakis maybe? The have lost Sidney Ponson and BJ Ryan and would like to make a splash.

With Kevin Millwood leaving - the Indians are running short of starters (I thought Loaiza was going to end up in Cleveland after a one-year Millwood like deal but the A's scooped them here). The Indians do have some decent talent in the minors but the Indians don't like trading their prospects.

The Twins, White Sox, Giants, Rockies, Padres, Marlins, Nationals, Cardinals, Pirates, Astros, Tampa Bay, Tigers and Toronto I wouldn't bet on for various reasons. Also forget the Angels, Rangers or Mariners because Zito's not staying in the division. The Diamondbacks want to shed salary and they have a pitcher of their own they need to trade (Javier Vazquez).

How about the Phillies? Do the Phillies trade Bobby Abreu or one of their top prospects like Cole Hamels? Would the Cubs part with Felix Pie? The Mets with Lastings Milledge? The Reds have Wily Mo Pena or Adam Dunn as bait - that's a possibility. The Brewers have some prospects and with Zito - they would be a team to be reckoned with (and that means ticket sales).

For some reason I'm thinking the answer is "none of the above". I'm thinking that Barry Zito is heading to the Dodgers.

Ned Colletti wants to (needs to?) make a splash as GM. Barry Zito is a West Coast guy and whatever team trades for him will want to have a good shot at a long term deal if they are going to give up something decent. Plus the Dodgers have a decent minor league system. The pieces seem to fit together.

I also wouldn't be surprised if Beane brings another team or two into this deal.

Anyway - that's my guess - Barry Zito Dodger in 2006.
Tike Redman to the Mets

In what I thought was an interesting move - the Mets purchased Tike Redman from the Pirates for cash. I find the move interesting for two reasons:

1. The Mets had earlier acquired Xavier Nady from the Padres in exchange for Mike Cameron. The idea was Nady could back-up all three outfield positions and maybe play first. Well with Carlos Delgado now with the Mets - Nady definitely won't be starting at first and now with Tike Redman in the fold - do the Mets really need Xavier Nady anymore?

I know that Tike Redman is cheap insurance (last year he made just $336,500) but you have to wonder. He's just as good defensively as Nady but Nady will make double what Redman will make in 2006. Sure that's relative chump change but with Delgado, Pedro Martinez, Beltran and now Billy Wagner's huge contracts - every little savings counts. Did Xavier Nady just go on the trade block? I know he'd look great with the Red Sox who still need a rightfielder to platoon with Trot Nixon against lefties.

2. lists one of the similar batters to Tike Redman as Johnny Dickshot. What a great name! Do you think have throwback Pirate's Dickshot jerseys for sale?
Goodfellas Discuss Mariucci Getting Fired

Jimmy Conway: Hey - did you hear? The Lions whacked Mooch today. They let him enjoy his Thanksgiving bird and then today when he comes into work "BANG!" - him and most of his staff gets whacked

Henry Hill: Really? I didn't think that prick Millen had the balls to tell Mooch to go home and get his shine box. Millen is the one that should get whacked. He's been there longer than Mooch and he's the ones thats been picking the players.

Tommy DeVito: Oh I think Millen is gonna get his. I saw Bill Clay Ford down at the hardware store buying a shovel and a couple of bags of lime. I think Millen gets whacked the minute the season is over. Believe me - that hole is already being dug. That guy Millen had no clue what he was doing. Henry - he knew the football business the way you knew the restaurant business.

Henry Hill: Hey Tommy that's pretty funny.

Tommy DeVito: Yeah, yeah - "I'm funny how? Funny like a clown? I amuse you?" Henry - that was funny the first time around. Right now I'm getting pretty sick of the old "I make you laugh? I'm here to frickin' amuse you? What am I a clown" bit. Next time you bring it up - I'm gonna go home and get my frickin' shine box and whack you up side the head with it.

Jimmy Conway: Ya know I'm not mad, I'm proud of Mooch. He took his firing like a man and he learned two great things in life - never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut. Plus he's still got two years left on his $25 million contract.

Henry Hill: What the hell has Mooch getting fired have to do with ratting on his friends? Now he gets to keep his $25 million and go on TV. One of the networks will scoop him up for a pre-game show. Then we see if he starts ratting people out. There's a lot of blame to be spread here and once Mooch gets on TV I bet he starts spreading it thick.
Touching All the Bases

I've long meant to add Touching All the Bases to my blogroll. Today Chad Finn has a very good analysis of the Josh Beckett trade.
Ultimately, though, I think this was the appropriate time and place to deal him [Hanley Ramirez]. Prospects are nothing but promises, and one more statistically mediocre season would have taken some of the sheen off Ramirez's superprospect status.
I think the Dodgers would agree with this (think Edwin Jackson) and I would also point out that Beckett is the same age as highly regarded pitching stud Jon Papelbon but Beckett has a World series MVP under his belt.

Recently to the blogroll I have also added:

Michael Yon
Tao of Poker
Hardball Dollars
Samantha Burns
William Stewart

If you have linked to me and I haven't put you on my blogroll - let me know and I'll rectify it.
Ryan Fitzpatrick

Last night the NFL watching nation got a glimpse at how good a Harvard QB can be. Ryan Fitzpatrick went 19-30 for 310 yards with 3 TD's (and one INT) plus he rushed for 23 yards on three carries in the Rams overtime victory over the Texans.

Fitzpatrick being good should be no surprise to readers of this site. Here's what I wrote on the day of this year's NFL draft:
You have probably never heard of Fitzpatrick but he will make some team very happy as a back-up QB for a year or two and then I think he will blossom into a very good starter. Fitzpatrick has a strong arm, is surprisingly quick and he is obviously pretty smart (duh - he went to Harvard). I watched Matt Hasselback and Glenn Foley when they were at BC and Fitzpatrick is better than both of them.

Fitzpatrick should go down as the best NFL QB to ever come from the Ivy League but that just means he has to be better than Jay Fiedler.
Heck - I even touted Fitzpatrick as a dark horse Heisman candidate at the beginning of last football season.
Morning Links

Some interesting stuff for a Monday morning.

- CNN employee fired for calling "X" placed over Dick Cheney "free speech" (I suspect the guy was just saying what the other CNN folks were saying too - he just happened to say it to a caller who was sick of liberal MSM bias)

- Michael Irving - "It wasn't my pipe." (It just happened to be in my car.)

- Is Fenway really a hitters park? Or just a Red Sox hitters park?

- John Leo on anti-Bush MSM reporting - its really only hurting the media's credibility

- George Will on the slippery slope politcal free speech is sliding down

- Joe Hachem as SI's Sportsman of the Year?

- The Heidi Klum collection including this all-time classic

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Some time very soon this site will have its 250,000-(andth?) visitor.

Thanks to one and all who stop by and read my ramblings. I especially want to thank the folks who make this place a daily stop and the folks who have thought enough of my blog to add it to their blogrolls.

I won't forget you when I make it big.

The Things You Learn on FARK

FARK had a thread on Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode having the piercing on his taint removed because he couldn't properly explain why he had it in the first place to one of his kids.

I imagine explaining that to a kid would be a bit of a problem. Although I could do without the mental image of any guy with a "taint ring" or the image of a kid asking his dad about it - being the wordsmith that I am, I was pleased to learn that two other words for taint are "barse" and "smellybridge". Just wanted to share that.
NFL Picks

Here are my picks for today's 1:00 EST games:

Patriots (+3) over Kansas City
Patriots money line (+$150) over Kansas City
Best Bet - Cincinnati (-9.5) over Baltimore
Cleveland (+4) over Vikings
Bears (+3) over Tampa Bay

I also parlayed the Patriots, Bengals, Browns and Bears for $20 to win $254.

Wish me luck.
BJ Ryan's Currency Related Discount

When word of BJ Ryan's 5-year, $47 million contract first hit - many people made the "I hope that's $47 million Canadian" joke. However, it seems that currency exchange rates may have actually fitted into the equation.

As I said before - yes the Blue Jays paid a premium for Ryan but they need a closer badly and they also have to face the truth that not every free agent wants to play in Canada.
X-Men 3 - Kelsey Grammer as the Beast?

The third installment in the X-Men saga, to be called creatively enough X-3, will be opening this May. Three of the new mutants to be showcased in this movie are Angel, Shadowcat and the Beast. In what I think is some curious casting - Kelsey Grammer has been tabbed to play Hank McCoy, Ph.D. aka the Beast. Sure Grammer can play the high brow Beast's intellectual side but the beast is supposed to be a huge, muscular being and that's not close to describing Grammer.

It will also be interesting to see how this movie stacks up against the first two which were directed by Bryan Singer (who also created The Usual Suspects). Singer left this project to work on the new Superman Returns flick.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Possibly the Gayest Thing I've Ever Seen on the Internet

Yup - no doubt about it. Allan Cumming is a three-dollar bill - not that there's anything wrong with that (although I am willing to admit that maybe this is a very well played joke by Floop).

What's next? Kordell - the Fragrance?

Not sure if a hat tip or blame should be given to Samantha Burns for this one.
Jose Lima - Still a Free Agent

BJ Ryan may have signed with a new team and Jim Thome may have been traded but let's not forget that Jose Lima is still a free agent.
BJ Ryan to Sign $47 Million Contract with Blue Jays

Reportedly, releiver BJ Ryan is about to sign a 5-year, $47 million contract to be the closer for the Toronto Blue Jays. To me - the only way this deal makes sense is if that's $47 million in Canadian money. Or does it?

At the current exchange rate of $1 Canadian for $.86 US - that contract would be worth $40.42 million US or a little over $8 million a year. If that $47 million is already in US - then that's $9.4 million per year for Ryan which is too much in my opinion.

Here's what a few of the top paid closers are currently getting paid:

Keith Foulke - $12.5 million over next two years
Mariano Rivera - $21 million over next two years
Jason Isringhausen - $17.5 over the next two years
Eric Gagne - $10 million in 2006 and $12 million option for 2007

OK - so I guess $9.4 million per year for BJ Ryan isn't too far out of the ballpark for a top closer but 5-years?

BJ Ryan will be 30 in December. How many top closers had 5 injury free years in a row starting with their age 30 year?

Mo Rivera was hurt when he was 32 (only 45 appearances) but bounced back to have 3 more excellent seasons (and counting). Don't ask Red Sox fans about Keith Foulke's durability (though we'll take the one great season he's given us). John Wetteland retired at age 33. Trevor Hoffman had five great season from age 30-34 but then completely broke down at age 35. Robb Nenn was out of baseball after age 32. Troy Percival had 5 very good seasons from age 30-34 (but ask the Tigers how he did this year at age 35). Jason Isringhausen has averaged 36 saves per year since turning 30 but he benefits from the 3-outs or less managing of Tony LaRussa.

So I guess the 5-years is a coin flip and a risk the Blue Jays probably have to take in order to get a top player to sign with a Canadian team. If they do sign BJ Ryan - what will they do with Miguel Batista? Does he go back to being a starter or does he become trade bait? Batista has one year left on his contract that will pay him $4.75 million in 2006.

If he goes back into the rotation - that gives Toronto a staff of Roy Halladay, Ted Lilly, Gustavo Chacin, Batista and Josh Towers with Dave Bush and Scott Downs waiting in the wings. Batista could make someone a good third starter or maybe someone else rolls the dice with him as closer again. Either way - he makes an interesting bargaining chip for Worcester's JP Riccardi.

If Ryan is signed and he cuts Batista's blown saves in half (from 8 to 4) and Halladay comes back to 2003 form - then the Blue Jays should be a 90-win team and one or two moves away from contending for a playoff spot.

I don't think Riccardi is done dealing. That's a guarantee.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Top 5 - Sports Figures Born Today

Here are my top 5 choices for sports figures born on November 25th (and the year they were born - and yes I realize I listed 8 names).

1. Joe DiMaggio (1914)
2. Eddie Shore (1902)
3. Joe Gibbs (1940)
4. (tie) Bernie Kosar (1963) (tie) Dovovan McNabb (1976)
5. (tie) Bucky "F'n" Dent (1951) (tie) Cris Carter (1965) (tie) Lennie Moore (1933)
John-John's Birthday and Daddy's Funeral

I may have known this fact but it must have slipped my mind - but did you know that today would have been John F. Kennedy Jr's 45th birthday and that today also marks the 42nd anniversary of John F. Kennedy's burial in Arlington National Cemetery? Can you imagine going through life having your birthday being the same anniversary of the day your father was laid to rest?

Just wanted to bring this up in case there were others out there who may not have known.
Victor Davis Hanson on the Iraq - al-Qaida Connection

You may still hear some people talking about the lack of WMD in Iraq but as VDH points out - those same people aren't talking about "no connections between Saddam and al-Qaida" anymore:
As American casualties mount in Iraq, politicians at home now fight over who said what and when about weapons of mass destruction and the need for going to war. One of the most frequent charges is that President Bush hyped a non-existent link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida — and that as a result, we diverted our efforts from finishing off the real terrorists to start a new and costly war to replace a secular dictator.

This charge is false for several reasons — and illogical for even more.
Read the whole thing.
Gary Glitter Hopefully to be put to Death

Is it wrong to wish death on someone? Even if that person sexually preys on children?

Gary Glitter has a long history of being a sexual predator and hopefully those days will soon be at an end.

While my first question may be a moral conundrum to some - the question of whether any sports venues should EVER play Gary Glitter's song "Hey!" is not. Glitter's tramping around the world in search of places he can have sex with children has been financed in large part by the royalties from his song "Hey!" which many sports arenas still play. This is plain wrong and I hope that any readers who visit this space will both boo as loud as their lungs allow and write to the management of any team who has the temerity to play "Hey!"
Thome for Rowand Trade

I've had some time to digest the trade of Phillies firstbaseman Jim Thome to the White Sox for centerfielder Aaron Rowand - so I figured I'd share my observations.

When I first heard about the trade I thought the White Sox were crazy. Why trade a Gold Glove caliber, all-star potential centerfielder for an aging player who at best could be your DH? At first glance I thought this was a terrible trade for the White Sox. Now I'm not so sure - oh wait a second - yes I am sure. This was an awful trade by the White Sox.

Why the Phillies would want to trade Jim Thome is obvious. The man who replaced the injured Thome, Ryan Howard won the 2005 Rookie of the Year award, Thome has a monster contract and there is no DH rule in the NL. Couple those three reasons and it was clear that Thome had to go. However, because of Thome's age, injury history, his monster contract and the fact that Thome had a no-trade clause in his contract figured to make moving him a difficult task.

Because of the obstacles involved in moving Thome - I was surprised the Phillies were able to get so much in return. My understanding is that the Phillies send Thome and $22 million for Aaron Rowand and two minor league players (supposedly lefthanded pitchers Giovany Gonzalez, Chicago's first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft, and Daniel Haigwood).

The White Sox will in essence be paying Jim Thome $8 million per year for the next three years. Jim Thome is 35-years old and coming off a season where back troubles and elbow surgery limited him to just 59 games. This is the same Jim Thome who only received a three-year offer from his Cleveland Indians back when Thome was a free-agent because the Indian were afraid his back couldn't hold up for more than 3-years. The obvious question is "Couldn't that $8 million per year have been better spent re-signing the 29-year old Paul Konerko who also plays first base?"

Another question is "Knowing that the White Sox were one of the only clubs Thome would agree to be traded to - why did the White Sox also have to include two top prospects?" Personally I think this is the perfect example of a good GM (Pat Gillick) out dealing a bad GM (Kenny Wlliams).

If you are going to use the justification that the White Sox traded Aaron Rowand because they have stud outfielder Brian Anderson waiting to play - you have to at least admit that Kenny Williams could have gotten much more for Rowand if he just waited to see who lost out on Johnny Damon. The Yankees or Red Sox would have been willing to trade anything for Rowand if they come up short in pursuit of Damon.

Plus the closer to the season it got - the more the Phillies would have caved in on any demands. The Phillies didn't want Thome and his contract on the 2006 books. Rushing to make this one of the first deals of the hotstove season makes ZERO sense.

In addition - this move makes cutting ties with Frank Thomas a fait accompli. Is it more likely that Thome or Thomas bounces back to 2003 form? Probably Thome but you wouldn't have to give up anything to retain Thomas. In regard to PR flack - in Rowand you are also trading one of the more popular players on a team that just won the World Series. Thome and Anderson are going to have to come up big to just make this a break-even deal for the White Sox.

Having said all the above - I like the trade. I like it for the simple reason that its good for the Red Sox. It takes the Phillies out of the running for Johnny Damon and it keeps Aaron Rowand out of the hands of the Yankees.

The trade also reinforces my belief that Kenny Williams and Jim Bowden are the two worst GM's in baseball.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving. And speaking of Thanksgiving - here is my favorite Thanksgiving story - originally told by Gabe Kaplan of Welcome Back Kotter fame:
When Gabe was a kid – his older sister was embarrassed about becoming a young woman. She used to have the young Kaplan go into the drug store to buy her "sanitary napkins". Gabe was curious and asked his sister just what these things were.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


You have two coins in your pocket that total $.35. One of the coins is not a dime. What two coins do you have in your pocket?

(I'll post the answer in the comments)
Time Magazine's 2005 Person of the Year

Here are the odds on who will be Time Magazine's 2005 Person of the Year. I only listed those choices with 10 to 1 odds or better (odds via

The Iraqi People 2/1
Mother Nature / Natural Disasters 3/1
Valerie Plame 3/1
Google Founders 3/1
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi 3/1
New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region 4/1
Disaster Relief Workers/First Responders 4/1
Bono 5/1
Mahmoud Abbas / Ariel Sharon 6/1
Bloggers 7/1
Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush 8/1
Lance Armstrong 8/1
Patrick Fitzgerald 9/1
My Space 10/1
Jalal Talabani 10/1
Pope John Paul II 10/1

I think the top three choices would be either bloggers, the Google founders or Mother Nature (because of the hurricanes). George W. Bush is listed at 50/1 while his dad is listed at 8/1 because he's linked with Bill Clinton? Pope Benedict XVI is a 25/1 shot. Someone will have to explain to me why Bono is at 5 to 1 while the Pope and the President are long shots.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Birthday Rodney!

Today would have been Rodney Dangerfield's 84th birthday. I tell you he still gets no respect.
Jiri Fischer Collapses on Detroit Bench - Game Suspended

This is scary stuff.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer suffered a seizure and collapsed on the bench during the first period of Monday's game against Nashville at Joe Louis Arena, causing the game to be suspended with the Predators holding a 1-0 lead.

Fischer was administered CPR by team physicians and his condition was stable and responsive at Detroit Receiving Hospital. A defibrillator was administered for Fischer, who was reported to be breathing on his own.
I'm sure I echo everyone's thoughts when I say I wish a full recover for Jiri.
Leeann Tweeden

One of the bonuses of trading for Josh Beckett is the fact us poor shmoes in Boston will get to see his girlfriend Leeann Tweenen more often (doesn't that look like a beautiful box she's got there?).
Red Sox Trade for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell

Supposedly the Red Sox have traded prospects shortstop Hanley Ramirez and pitcher Anibal Sanchez plus a player to be named later in exchange for pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell. As a Red Sox fan I really like this trade.

Some people have gone overboard and have been comparing Beckett to Pedro Martinez (who was also acquired by the Sox for prospects) or Roger Clemens (because Beckett is a fireballer who wears #21). That's going over the top. Pedro and Roger are two of the very best to ever play the game. Making those comparisons is pure hyperbole. Besides I see this situation more akin to the Mets trading Tom Seaver to the Reds (just kidding).

What is clear is that Beckett will be the most talented pitcher to switch teams this offseason barring the A's moving Barry Zito (funny my spellcheck wants me to replace offseason with obsession - that doesn't seem far off for most Red Sox fans).

One thing I am begging the Red Sox to do is contractually make the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" Josh Beckett's theme song. Not only does that song perfectly grasp Beckett's home / road splits but its also the song where Ringo shouts out "I got blisters on me fingers" at the end (Beckett has been on the DL 9 times for blisters).

The positives on Mike Lowell are that he won a Gold Glove at 3rd base last year and he's considered a good clubhouse presence. The negatives are he's due to make $18 million over the next two years and last year he couldn't hit his weight. Plus steroid rumors surround Lowell as if he was Ken Caminitti Jr. (who was also very good with the glove, a solid clubhouse influence and who played 3rd).

There is a rumor circulating that the Twins would be interested in Lowell if the Sox were to eat a big portion of his salary. I'm sure the Sox will be weighing their options but if they do keep Lowell then that means the Bill Mueller era in Boston is over and that makes me sad. (I don't understand why the Twins just don't sign Mueller - he's clearly the best 3rd baseman available).

Keeping Lowell also opens the question of what to do with Kevin Youkilis. Do you play Lowell or Youkilis at third and put the other one a 1st? If the Sox do keep Lowell - I'd like to see him at third (he's a legitimate Gold Glove - even though he won it this year only because Scott Rolen was injured) and once again let me bring up my suggestion to put Youkilis at first and acquire Carlos Pena to platoon with him.

ESPN actually described Hanley Ramirez as the Red Sox' "much-ballyhooed shortstop prospect" (which made me wonder if fans up in Portland actually yelled "bally-hoo!" whenever Hanley came up to bat). Many have been wondering lately if the hype on Hanley had been a bit overblown. The spin on Hanley being the best thing since Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented sliced bread began back when the Red Sox were trying to have a PR back-up plan in case they couldn't re-sign Nomar Garciaparra. I don't think its a stretch to think that this constant positive spin on Ramirez was a tad overblown.

As far as Anibal Sanchez is concerned - the consensus seems to be "thank God it wasn't Jon Lester". I don't know enough about either prospect but it does worry me that this consensus seems to echo the "thank God it wasn't Tim Naerhing" talk after Jeff Bagwell was traded for Larry Anderson.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sports Illustrated 2005 Sportsman of the Year

Here are the current odds on who will be named Sports Illustrated 2005 Sportsman of the Year (I'm only listing those choices with 10/1 odds or less):

Roger Federer 2/1
Lance Armstrong 3/1
Tiger Woods 3/1
Matt Leinart 5/1
Tom Brady 7/1
Danica Patrick 7/1
Michelle Wie 7/1
Chicago White Sox 8/1
Anika Sorenstam 9/1
Peyton Manning 10/1
LaDainian Tomlinson 10/1

My gut tells me it will be Lance Armstrong.
The Dilbert Blog

Scott Adams has a blog and its terrific. Here's a taste of one of is posts:
Unfair Stereotypes

I'm sick of all the stereotypes found in the news. Maybe you heard the story about the four suicide bombers who planned an attack in Jordan. The three males killed mostly other Muslims. Obviously the men were looking for Israel and refused to stop and ask for directions. And the one woman in the group apparently couldn't figure out how to operate her suicide belt.

I'm just wondering, how many women heard that story on the news and thought "Crap. Why did it have to be the woman who couldn't blow herself up?"
HT Joe's Dartblog
Marlins Fire Sale

Word has it that Marlins president David Sampson will be trading players to cut payroll to about $40 million. That means there's a good chance that between Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez - they will make more in salary combined than the entire Marlins payroll. That's sick.

It's also not the first time. In 2004 - A-Rod and Manny took home more than the entire payroll of the Devil Rays. That year Tampa finished with a 70-91 record. I get the feeling that will be about the over / under mark for the 2006 Marlins.
Top 5 - Things in My Pocket

Here are the top 5 things in my pants pockets right now (as it turns out I only have five things in my pockets - if you don't count the moisture missile of love that is).

1. $44 in paper cash
2. Pack of Trident gum (original flavor)
3. $.25 in coin (two dimes and a nicke)
4. Bank receipt from ATM when I took $200 out to go to the movies and mall
5. Receipt from Game Stop from Sunday when I got a new Game Boy Advance game for my son.

What's in your pockets?
Steve Belichick - 86 - RIP

I have no doubt that New England never would have won three Super Bowls if it wasn't for the example Steve Belichick provided for his son Bill.
The players had even grown so comfortable with him that he was treated to the ultimate insiders' tribute at Super Bowl XXXIX. ''I dumped ice water on him at the Super Bowl," recalled Tedy Bruschi. ''I was coming up with the bucket and I saw he and Bill embracing and I said, 'Ah, I'll get them both.' "
The Boston Globe has the story
Indianapolis 16-0

Count me among those who would like to see Indianapolis go 16-0. I'm a Patriots fan first and foremost and the Colts getting homefield advantage throughout the playoffs is a foregone conclusion. I want them to go undefeated because I'm sick of the Miami Dolphin players from their perfect season cracking champagne whenever the last undefeated team loses.

I find that unseemly.

Could you picture Joe DiMaggio popping a cork whenever someone's hitting streak was snapped? Of course not. Joe D. had too much class.
35 Innovators Who Made a Difference

Smithsonian Magazine has a list of 35 people who "made a difference".

Once again I find myself disappointed that the great contribution to human existence made by Otto Frederick Rohwedder is overlooked again! Otto Frederick Rohwedder is the great American credited with inventing sliced bread. What's made more of a difference than sliced bread? Ask yourself how often you've had a sandwich with sliced bread. Now ask yourself how often you look at pictures by Annie Leibovitz or listen to Yo-Yo Ma. Its a terrible injustice.
Ben Stein's Latest

Ben Stein always makes good reading.
It is not just a guess, but a certainty that if the U.S. were to abruptly withdraw from Iraq, as the Democrats are urging us to do, there would be a bloodbath in Iraq far worse than what we have seen so far. There would be outright civil war, large scale massacres of civilian populations beyond what we have seen by an order of magnitude, and a Middle East in chaos as Iran, the Kurds, and the Sunnis fought it out for land and oil and power. The word of the United States would be mud. Is this really what the Democrats want? Can they really contemplate with calm equanimity the mass murders that will follow a sudden U.S. withdrawal?
To paraphrase John McEnroe - "They cannot be serious!"
I see a frightening pattern here: the Democrats wanted us out of Vietnam, and never mind the genocide that followed. The Democrats want us out of Iraq and never mind that the Baathists will fill the vacuum and all Iraq will be screaming in pain except the murderers, who will exult -- especially Osama bin Laden. Can it be that the Democrats really want to surrender to the same man who killed 3,000 civilians on 9/11 and laughed about it? Are we so weak that in only four years, after a war smaller in casualties than many unknown battles of the Civil War, we are already eager to surrender to the man who murdered women and children and made terrified couples hold hands and leap to their deaths from the World Trade Center? If so, there really is little hope for us as a people. My prayer is that careful reflection will convince the Democrats that while we are all unhappy about the war, war is hell, and surrender is far worse. Maybe the Copperheads in the Democrat party, like those who wanted appeasement of the slave owners one hundred and forty years ago, will be a minority, and those who want to keep up the fight for human decency will prevail even as the Neville Chamberlains speak of peace at any price.
Stein gets in some pretty sharp digs here. It makes you wonder why you never hear calls for immediate withdrawal of US troops from Balkans. Is it because more chaos and bloodshed would follow - or is it because Bosnia was a war started by Clinton? One more jab Stein could have fit in would have been to call these "appeasers" a reincarnation of the "Know Nothings". Except this time instead of an irrational hatred of a religion (Catholics) - its an irrational hatred of a single man (Dubya).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Funny Signs

A collection of funny signs. Here's two of my favorites:

HT Samantha Burns
Heh Heh - Joke of the Day

Via Sean Sweeney;
A man bumps into a woman in a hotel lobby and as he does, his elbow goes into her breast. They are both quite startled. The man turns to her and says, "Ma'am, if your heart is as soft as your breast, I know you'll forgive me." She replies, "If your penis is as hard as your elbow, I'm in room 221."
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Isn't it time the Red Sox brought Paul DePodesta in for an interview?... I hope that the Mets do get Carlos Delgado as rumored. The Marlins want to act fast and with both the Mets and Orioles interested in Delgado - Omar Minaya would have to strike quickly to get his man. I hope the Mets get Delgado because that would greatly decrease the odds of them trading for Manny Ramirez (and I think they are the only real suitors for Manny)... I saw David Wilder interviewed by the Boston press and to say he's not ready for the Boston GM job would be a severe understatement... Here's a pretty good analysis of the rumored Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell trade to the Rangers for Hank Blalock and a top prospect. Peter Gammons reports that the top prospect from the Rangers would be either John Danks or Thomas Diamond. For what its worth - here were Blalock's second half numbers vs. Lowell's

Blalock - 296 AB/ 33 R/ 9 HR/ 35 RBI/ .236 BA/ .658 OPS
Lowell - 212 AB/ 25 R/ 4 HR 22 RBI/ .250 BA / .692 OPS

Not that far apart. Blalock got to hit half his AB's in Arlington's launching pad too. Texas has Teixeira who should be a 3rd baseman and a stud 1st baseman in the minors. Lowell is a great gloveman and could play either 3d, 1st or DH. Beckett had 29 starts last year. Only Kenny Rogers and Chris Young had more starts for the Rangers and I don't think Rogers is coming back. The key for the Marlins is shedding Lowell's salary and getting a TOP prospect for Beckett. I'd do this trade if I were the Rangers (they score plenty of runs - its pitching and defense they need and this trade helps with both). Having said that - I think Mike Lowell was/is a steroids guy.
Terrell Owens Hearing Holdup

On Friday Terrell Owens had his hearing about whether he will be reinstated to play for the Eagles. The hearing ran into an unexpected snag though and Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had to be involved after Owens announced that he was the one who told Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Why I Love Reading Big Stupid Tommy

Its because of lines like this:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I went to see this movie last night.

It disappointed me very much that Richard Petty did not make a cameo appearance in this movie.
His holiday conversation with his mother is also classic Tommy.
The Gabe Kapler Charity Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament

Red Sox fan favorite, Gabe Kapler will be holding a charity Texas Hold 'em tournament to benefit the Kapler Foundation which fights against domestic violence. Only 300 spots are avilable and the entry cost is $250.

The event will be held December 7th in Woburn (pronounced Woo-ben for you non-residents of Massatucky). Only 10 prizes will be awarded but the top prize is a seat at the WPT Borgata Winter Open in Atlantic City. Sure to be a good time and a worthy cause.

Information on the event can be found here.
Notre Dame and Navy

Here's some must read material for this morning. It has to do with last week's Notre Dame / Navy football game.
With no time left on the clock and the outcome decided, this respectful gesture wasn't about Navy's football team; it was about Navy. It was a sobering reminder that what we just poured all of our energy into was just a game. Many times that's easy to forget at Notre Dame, where football lies in the hierarchy of priorities somewhere between inhaling and exhaling. While we can spend countless hours worrying about Sagarin rankings, passing efficiency, and Mark May, Navy has bigger fish to fry. We may claim that we must protect this house, but Navy must protect something way bigger.
I watched that game and I was struck by how the Notre Dame faithful heartily cheered the Midshipmen when they first came on the field. Peter Schroeder points out in his fine article that Charlie Weis gets "it". Last week it was clear that everyone at the game got "it".

HT Hugh Hewitt
Sending a Message with a "No" Vote

Last night I sat transfixed to C-SPAN. The House of Representatives was debating a resolution which called for an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. The resolution itself was a bit of stunt by Rep. Duncan Hunter. I think the idea was "Hey these Democrats keep talking about pulling the troops out but if they really mean it let's make them vote on it and put their money where their mouth is."

The catalyst to the resolution were the words of troop "redeployment" from Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha. Before yesterday I had never heard of Jack Murtha. I joked with some calling him Jack Mothra the Representative from Monster Island.

Watching the proceedings those first couple of hours left me with one lasting impression, "None of these people have any idea on how to speak in public." If any of you watched it last night - you know just what I'm talking about.

It got good near the end when Jack Murtha and some of the more senior members of Congress had the chance to speak their peace. As I said above - before yesterday I had never of Murtha but after last night I was left with a deep and I'm sure lasting respect for Jack Murtha. He's just doing his damnedest for our men and women in uniform.

That said - I disagree with Jack Murtha on this issue and I can tell you exactly why.

Last night a Rep. from the Republican side of the House spoke about American military men fighting far from home for a country they had never been to before when the US invaded the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Jack Murtha pointed out that the difference was that the folks in charge of the invasion of Europe had a plan. Here's where my main point of disagreement with Jack Murtha arises.

Yes we had a plan to invade Europe via the beaches of Normandy but that plan was never made public. Eisenhower didn't come over and consult with Congress about his "plan". That would have been ridiculous.

And to make clear - the Allied plan for the war was to win. That was the goal but how to get there was constantly changing. That's why we ended up with Field Marshall Montgomery's disastrous Market Garden Plan to invade Holland. Montgomery was simply able to convince enough people to use his "plan of action" next on the road to victory.

Our plan in Iraq is to win and by win I mean leave Iraq a stable representative democratically elected government. Until we reach that "stable" point - our troops aren't going anywhere. Eisenhower never worked off artificial time-tables and neither should our commanders in Iraq.

Last fall John Kerry promised that he'd withdraw the troops during his first term as President. He was rightly ridiculed for setting an artificial timetable that would do nothing but allow the terrorists to sit back and whack 'em when the first four years were drawing to a close.

I saw on Instapundit where Larry Kudlow wrote:
It [the resolution] is not serious. It demeans the House. It totally politicizes the debate. It is a ploy and a rather weak one at that. . . .

Why not state the resolution in the affirmative? " We pledge to deploy troops in Iraq until the mission of liberation, freedom and democracy is satisfactorily completed." And why not seek to gain as much bi-partisan political support as possible? This would truly help the mission, and the troops.
I differ on this point. The 403-3 vote last night against immediate withdrawal does send an important message and not just to our troops but also to the people of Iraq. Have we forgotten how the Kurds suffered after we suddenly withdrew from Iraq the last time? If we have forgotten - you can be sure that the Kurds and the other people of Iraq have not. Last night's overwhelming vote against immediate troop withdrawal sends a very important message to the people of Iraq. Asking for a non-political, non-partisan debate on the issue by Congress would be asking too much. Didn't Kudlow watch the first couple of hours worth of speakers?

One final note - is there a person in Congress more worthy of our respect and admiration than Representative Sam Johnson of Texas? If there is I'd like to know who it is?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

As many of you may know - I'm a total Harry Potter geek and I just saw the newest installment in the Harry Potter saga - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The movie is not geared to anyone jumping into the middle of the Harry Potter story. There is no back story of who Harry is, why he's at a school for wizards or why some guy named Voldemorte wants him dead. You definitely have to know your Harry Potter to understand and enjoy the movie.

Well I know my Harry Potter and enjoy the movie I did. In fact I'm sure I'll be seeing it again soon.

The conversation for Potter fans will probably focus around what was not in the movie instead of what was. The book was of monstrous length and originally the idea was to have two movies. Instead the director, Mike Newell, cut out everything that he deemed not central to the story. Among the things you won't see in the movie are:

- the Marauders Map
- Dobby or Winkie
- the Dursleys
- Ludo Bagman
- the King of the Merpeople
- Bertha Jorkins
- Mrs. Crouch
- a certain animangus beetle
- The Tri-Wizard Prize (the cash that Harry would give to Fred and George for their jokeshop)

I understand leaving out the rest but why leave out that last bit? I thought that was pretty central to the rest of the story (book 5 and 6).

Anyway - if you're a Harry Potter fan - you'll love the movie. If you haven't read or seen any of the movies - the Johnny Cash movie may be more your style.
Heh Heh - Joke of the Day

Courtesy of Sean Sweeney:
Bill worked in a pickle factory. He had been employed there for a number of years when he came home one day to confess to his wife that he had a terrible compulsion. He had an urge to stick his penis into the pickle slicer. His wife suggested that he should see a sex therapist to talk about it, but Bill said he would be too embarrassed. He vowed to overcome the compulsion on his own. One day a few weeks later, Bill came home and his wife could see at once that something was seriously wrong. "What's wrong, Bill?" she asked. "Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my penis into the pickle slicer?" "Oh, Bill, you didn't!" she exclaimed. "Yes, I did." he replied. "My God, Bill, what happened?" "I got fired." "No, Bill. I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?" "Oh...she got fired too."
Today's Must Read Article

This is must reading for everyone.

Alex Belth produces the most beautiful and touching words that I have read on the Internet since Gerard Van der Leun's The Name in the Stone.
Chipper Jones

Word has it that Chipper Jones has allowed his contract to be restructured to give the Braves more monetary flexibility. Supposedly, Chipper would take a $6 million cut in 2006 and $4 million cuts in 2007 and 2008. In return the Braves would give him an option for 2009 and a $4 million signing bonus.

I've always liked Chipper Jones and talking about him being with the Braves till 2009 basically means he'll be a Brave for life. In 2009 Chipper will be 37 and it is not unrealistic that could be his final season in MLB. With this new "deal" I started wondering about Chipper as a Hall of Famer.

Let's assume he has some injuries over the next four years and averages just what he did this year (109 games and 358 AB). It's very possible Chippers' final stat line would look something like:

Chipper Jones - 2,245 H/ 1,365 R/ 411 HR/ 1,376 RBI

Those are very conservative estimates but they would put Chipper around 85th on the all-time runs list, about 40th on the alltime HR list and around 67th for RBI. Those numbers would seem close to Jim Rice's production or maybe Larry Walker. Both of those guys have an MVP award just like Chipper but both are borderline for the Hall of Fame.

If you looked at Chipper as a third baseman (even though he's played a lot of outfield and actually came up as a shortstop) would his case be better?

Compared to Wade Boggs - Chipper would trail in hits and runs but be way ahead in HR and RBI. Against a third-bagger like Robin Ventura who is borderline - Chipper would be way ahead in all categories. Even though Chipper doesn't have a Gold Glove like the one Boggs *cough* earned *cough* - I think he was a much better fielder. And again, unlike Boggs, it looks like Chipper will play his career with one team and that does count in the voter's mind (whether they admit it or not).

I find it amusing that lists Gary Sheffield as the most similar batter by age to Chipper. Can you in your wildest dreams imagine Sheffield restructuring his contract to give his team more flexibility and a better shot at winning? In the end maybe the defining perception of Chipper as a "team" guy who did what it took to win (whether it be changing positions without complaint or restructuring a contract) vs. a Sheffield who dogged it on purpose in Milwaukee so he could be traded will be the edge Chipper needs to get elected to the Hall of Fame.

The question to consider next is what will the Braves do with the $6 million Chipper just freed up for them?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

James Taranto had this snipet in today's Best of the Web that made me laugh out loud:
"Saddam Hussein was beaten up while he was being interrogated by a judge after he insulted two of the most revered figures in Shia Islam," London's Daily Telegraph reports:

Asked whether the shrines of the Imams Hussein and Abbas in the city had been attacked by Iraqi forces [during his regime], Saddam at first pretended not to know the two holy figures of Shia Islam.

But he then said: "Who do you mean? Those manayich [buggers]?" According to the Iraqi lawyer, two of the court's clerks who had been taking notes then lunged at the former dictator and started to punch him.

Saddam fought back until the judge succeeded in restoring order, but not before the ex-dictator's head was bruised. US guards posted outside the makeshift courthouse in Baghdad found the incident amusing and did not intervene, the lawyer claimed.
I just found the bit about the US guards pretty amusing. I think I would have had the same reaction if I were in their shoes.

I let the Spam mailbox on my GMail account get a little bit out of hand. I had over 2,500 spam emails in there and I've decided to make a concerted effort to purge about 100 each time I check my email. I know I could just let them collect and eventually GMail would toss them but every once and a while something that's not spam gets put into the spam mailbox and its a good idea to check every once and a while.

It seems that most of my spam falls into seven categories. There's the refinance ones, the ones that purport to be from Amazon accounts (or ebay or PayPal), the ones saying I won a lottery I never entered, shills for supposed cheap Canadian prescription drugs, the one's that begin with "from the desk of" insert name of embassy official, bank official or royal family member here saying they need to deposit money into my bank account, the ones in languages or characters I can't read, and the ones for Viagra or Enzyte type products.

Some of the ones from this last category can be kind of funny. I've had impotence or ED spams that started off with "If you haven't had an erection in five years then this email is for you." "Did you have to buy your wife a vibator for her birthday last year?" The Enzyte ones are even better, "Make your penis visible through your pants" or "With our new Viagra Soft Tabs you will be able to open a bottle of beer with your penis."

Hey I only said "kind of funny" (I didn't say it was Woody Allen funny - but come to think of it Woody Allen hasn't really been funny for a long time either).
Very Cool Military Technology

I'd have no qualms about Marines using this weapon:
This is a version of the standard USMC Shoulder Mounted Assault Weapon but with a new warhead. Described as NE - "Novel Explosive"- it is a thermobaric mixture which ignites the air, producing a shockwave of unparalleled destructive power, especially against buildings.

A post-action report from Iraq describes the effect of the new weapon: "One unit disintegrated a large one-storey masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed." Elsewhere it is described by one Marine as "an awesome piece of ordnance."
The argument against the weapon is the fact that the Marines won't always know who is in the house and "innocents" may be killed. I say that if the alternative is storming the house and doing a room to room search of a building that could contain terrorists at any corner - blow the house up and save some lives of Marines. People in the neighborhood would get a clear message and you would be sure that terrorists would be sure to get a negative reception (and people informing on their whereabouts would dramatically increase).

HT The Corner
Jennifer Aniston

Above she's pictured "topless" on the cover of the new GQ. I think Aniston is very beautiful but whenever I see her I think of the old saying, "No matter how beautiful she may be - somewhere some guy is sick of putting up with her shit." You get the idea that ear plugs would be the perfect Christmas present for whoever she may be dating at the time.
Walter Payton Award

The equivalent to the Heisman Award for 1-AA football players is the Walter Payton Award. Here's how I would rank the top finalists for the award.

1. Bruce Eugene QB Grambling 3,275 yards 40 TDs
2. Joe Rubin RB Portland State 1,702 yards 17 TDs
3. Erik Meyer QB Eastern Washington 3,482 yards 25 TDs
4. Nick Hartigan RB Brown 1,498 yards 18 TD
5. Ricky Santos QB New Hampshire 2,846 yards 33 TDs

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Best Piece on the NHL Experience I've Read all Year

Eric at Off Wing Opinion got to spend a game in Capitols owner Ted Leonis' box. After reading the piece - I'm rooting for both Leonis and rookie Alexander Ovechkin to succeed.
In this case, you ought to believe the hype. If you've followed the NHL very closely, you probably heard about Ovechkin more than a few times, even before the Caps drafted him with the first pick overall in the 2004 Entry Draft.

I got my first look at Ovechkin during last year's World Junior Championships, and the plain fact of the matter is you can't take your eyes off him because he's liable to do something special every time he touches the puck. He's speedy, he hits and he scores. He handles the puck in traffic as well as anyone I've ever seen on the ice, and unlike many players his age, pays attention to his responsibilities in the defensive zone too.

If anything, Ovechkin is the anti-Jagr, and as much damage as the tempermental Czech caused during his brief stay in Washington, I can't help but think Ovechkin will ultimately overshadow it all.
If Leonis was smart(er) - he'd give Eric a press pass.
Mike Cameron for Xavier Nady

If the Cameron for Nady trade is true - then my hat is off to Omar Minaya.

Cameron didn't have a real fit on the team after Carlos Beltran was signed and after his horrendous injury last year - most people would have considered him damaged goods. Minaya gets to offload Cameron's $7 million for 2005 and get a good player in return? Well played Omar my man!

Nady can play all three outfield position and play first. He hits lefties very well, which probably means a platoon with Victor Diaz in right field and he can spell Cliff Floyd's knees as a late inning defensive replacement.

Getting rid of Cameron's contract means that between Cameron, Mike Piazza and Doug Mientkiewitz - the Mets will have $25 million freed up for 2006. What will Omar spend that on?

That $25 million would go a long way toward signing catcher Ramon Hernadez and a stud pitcher like starter AJ Burnett or closer Billy Wagner. If Omar could pull that off - the Mets should be able to pencil in a playoff appearance in October of 2006.

As far as the Padres are concerned - I don't get it. Sure Petco needs a guy in centerfield who can cover a lot of ground but Cameron's 33 and he's coming off a horrible injury. Fans of Mike Cameron will point to his two Gold Gloves (but that was before his injury which may or may not make him a bit timid in the field) and they will also point to his 30 HR in 2004 (I'd point out that Brad Wilkerson hit 32 HR in 2004 too and like Cameron is always in the top 10 for strikeouts).

Maybe the best thing that could happen for the Padres is if Cameron fails his eye examination (and while the Padres are having people tested - try a dementia test on Kevin Towers).
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations:

- With Dayton Moore from the Braves bowing out of the pursuit of the Red Sox GM deal - that leaves just Jim Bowden and Jim Beattie left as far as folks who have been brought in to interview for the job. I think little of Beattie and even less of Bowden and I think all indications point to either the Sox promoting from within (one of the gang of four who represented the team at the recent GM meetings) or a last minute surprise naming of either Kevin Towers or Theo Epstein to the post. (My gut tells me that Epstein wants the Nationals job when it opens up in April and I'd be really disappointed if it was Towers.)

- As I mentioned to Sandy in the comments a while back - I hope the Red Sox don't pursue Carlos Delgado. He hasn't shown he can hit at Fenway (just 1 HR every 33 AB in 73 career games at the Fens) and I think he'll remind people of Mo Vaughn and his injury troubles before his current contract is all said and done. I'd be really happy in a Kevin Youkilis / Carlos Pena platoon (I don't think Pena will be offered arbitration by the Tigers and the Sox could pick him up cheap - plus Pena went to college in Boston and has killed the ball at Fenway in his career).

- Scott Boras wants $84 million over 7-years for Johnny Damon? What is Boras smoking? If I was the Sox I would do a 4-year (max) deal at between $40 and $48 million and no more. If the Sox lose out on Damon - then I'd go after Torii Hunter of the Twins (trade them Bronson Arroyo), Xavier Nady of the Padres (trade them Kelly Stoppach - the Padres will need a catcher after they lose Ramon Hernandez to free agency) or Brad Wilkerson of the Nationals (for maybe prospect pitcher Abe Alverez - the Nationals don't want to go to arbitration with Wilkerson and even though his defense is just OK - he's got 30 HR capabilities). If they lost Damon - they could actually do all three deals and put Nady or Wilkerson at 1st. BTW - Brian Giles is NOT a centerfielder and he's high on my list of steroid suspects.

- There is a rumor about regarding the Angels trading Steve Finley to the Padres for Ryan Klesko. In my opinion - keeping Dave Roberts is a better choice to play centerfield for the Padres but if this trade is made then I'd look for the Padres to trade Roberts back to the Red Sox for David Wells. If that does come to pass - then Kevin Towers would have placed the ancient Wells, decrepit Vinnie Castilla and old-timer Finley in important roles on the Padres roster. I'd say the odds of all three of those guys being on the DL at the same time in 2006 is about 50/50. I really can't see why anyone would trade for Finley and his $7 million contract. If Towers does this deal then all my respect for him will be gone (he took a big hit in my eyes when he traded for Castilla).
Only In Massachusetts

Having solved all the other problems in the state - four Massachusetts State Senators have introduced a bill that would soften the state's beastiality laws.
While the bill would keep bestiality technically illegal, it gives the option of less severe penalties. Previously, those convicted of "a sexual act on an animal" could receive up to 20 years in prison.
This reminds me of a joke:
A Massachusetts State Senator walks into his bedroom where his wife is in bed with a sheep under his arm and says "This is the pig I've been having sex with when you have a headache".
His wife says, "That's not a pig it's a sheep!"
The State Senator says "I was talking to the sheep!"
Only in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Otto Frederick Rohwedder

You may have seen lists of the top 100 Americans but these lists always seem to exclude Otto Frederick Rohwedder. He's the man credited with inventing sliced bread. What's greater than sliced bread?
Interesting Interview with James Ellroy

Jack Dunphy (not his real name) is a real life LA police officer and his interview with crime writer James Ellroy makes interesting reading:
Dunphy: Do you think the same contract between cops and criminals is still observed?

Ellroy: No. Since Rodney King, which was an event blown grossly out of proportion by a biased media, police are afraid to conduct business as usual in Los Angeles for fear of censure within the LAPD, censure in the media, and fear of a lawsuit. If you look at the entire Rodney King incident in context and in real time, you see that Rodney King had two companions in the car, both of them black. They submitted willingly and were led out of the frame. Rodney King charged several times and was thrown down and got up again and again, took a Taser from Sergeant Stacy Koon, kept on coming and finally took the 56 blows from batons that, absent context and in slow motion, look terrible. In full-blown context it looks like nothing but a justified response to a suspect who would not submit. I think most people not schooled in the street and the realities of police work think the cops are supposed to engage dangerous suspects in something like one-on-one fights like you might see on television, and of course it doesn't work that way.
Player Comparison

Take a look at the 2005 numbers of these two players:

Player A - .276 BA/ 14 HR/ 50 RBI/ .290 OBP/ .444 SLG
Player B - .221 BA/ 14 HR/ 45 RBI/ .295 OBP/ .376 SLG

Player A is a 12-time all-star while Player B was a 7-time all-star. Both players have won MVP wards in their careers. Player B's team from this year recently announced that they had no intention of having him back for 2006 and that news was greeted by most as a sign that Player B's career being over.

Player A has 2 more years and at least $16 million left on his contract (there is an option for 2008 plus various incentives).

Both Player A and Player B have been linked to steroid rumors. Player A was named in Jose Canseco's book as a steroids user and Player B appeared before Congress to testify on steroids and many have recently started to call Player B the "incredible shrinking man".

Player A is Pudge Rodriguez and Player B is Sammy Sosa.

The point of this exercise was to highlight how Pudge Rodriguez (like Gary Sheffield) continues to fall beneath the radar of reporters when speaking about steroids. I laugh when reporters are asked about how they failed to report on steroids as the steroid age was at its peak. Most of them say that they dropped the ball. I think they are still dropping the ball.
Holiday Shopping

You may have noticed that last night I added a search box for in the upper right hand corner of this blog. If you do have to buy anything at (and they do have the best prices on everything it seems) - consider buying it via this site and via that box. I get a very small commission and I really appreciate it when things are bough from Amazon via my site.

And I thank you.

I understand how the price of crude oil and refinery costs can precipitate vast swings in the price of gasoline. Why do we see vast swings in the price of potato chips?

Monday, November 14, 2005

An Oldie But a Goodie

Some people are unclear on the concept of "gun control"

Or as Dan Quayle may have put it, "What a terrible thing to have lost one's gun. Or not to have a gun at all. How true that is."
Happy Belated Blogday!

Big Stupid Tommy's blog turned three yesterday.

They grow up so fast!
Simpsons Neologisms

Wikipedia has a list of neologisms on The Simpsons. Here are some of my favorites:
Car Hole
A common man's term for garage, coined by Moe Szyslak in "The Springfield Connection". While "Car Hole" appears only twice in the series itself, it is often used by fans to jokingly refer to a garage, or garage-like structure.

The phrase first appears in a conversation between Moe Szyslak and Homer Simpson, wherein Moe ridicules Homer for his use of the overly formal word, "garage".

Homer: Hmm. I wonder why he's so eager to go to the garage?
Moe: The "garage"? Hey fellas, the "garage"! Well, ooh la di da, Mr. French Man.
Homer: Well what do you call it?
Moe: A car hole!

Dash Hole
Another name for the cigarette lighter power socket. Used by the automotive appliance salesman when asking Homer what he had plugged into his Dash Hole.

Groin-Grabbingly Transcendent
A phrase used by Homer to describe food (positively) during his brief stint as a food critic in the episode "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?":

Lisa: Hmm. What's the English equivalent for [drools like Homer]? I'd say...transcendent.
Homer: How about groin-grabbingly transcendent?
Lisa: Uh ... I don't think so.

Kwyjibo is a fictitious word made up by Bart Simpson during a game of Scrabble with his family. In the episode "Bart the Genius," Bart puts "Kwyjibo" on the board, scoring more than 150 points. When Homer demands Bart say what a Kwyjibo is, Bart replies, "A big, dumb, balding North American ape… with no chin." Marge adds in, "…and a short temper." At this point, Homer chases Bart away, causing him to exclaim, "Uh oh! Kwyjibo on the loose!"

Walking Bird
Another name for a turkey. In "Lisa v. Malibu Stacy," Grandpa Simpson drones on with a rambling story about Thanksgiving:

"I just used [my washtub] that morning to wash my turkey, which in those days was known as a walking bird. We'd always have walking bird on Thanksgiving with all the trimmings: cranberries, injun eyes, yams stuffed with gunpowder. Then we'd all watch football, which in those days was called 'baseball'..."
HT Samantha Burns
Morning Links

Some stuff to read with your morning coffee.

- Zach Hayes of All-Baseball with "Some rumors and reactions coming from a weekend with no real news to report…"

- Gene Menez has Vince Young leading the pack of Heisman contenders. I think that neither Reggie Bush nor Matt Leinart will win this year because they'll in effect split the USC vote. Me? I'm completely on the Brady Quinn for Heisman bandwagon

- Wretchard on the McCain Amendment on torture:
What the McCain Amendment will do is change the bean-counting rules. It will not create a framework in which real torture can be limited and stopped. That would require accepting moral responsibility for affirming practices which may be proscribed under the Geneva Conventions but fall short of real torture. That would mean explaining to the public that we are correspondingly determined to outlaw real, barbaric torture, even when by foreswearing it, public losses must be endured. Instead politicians will want to have it both ways and promise the public that they will neither soil their hands nor let the sleeping populace come to harm. No one who desires re-election can promise the voters only "blood, sweat and tears". The time is long since past when politicians could say to a nation at war "death and sorrow will be the companion of our journey; hardship our garment; constancy and valor our only shield." That's too much of a drag. Today even our conflicts, like our food, must be untouched by human hands.
- Newspaper readership and ad revenues continue to decline. On-line content is to newspapers what TV was to radio. Sure radio is still around but back in the 1930's it was the dominant medium. Now its an afterthought.
Debunking the Myth of "Bush Lied - People Died"

Excellent expose by Norman Podhoretz. Very detailed look at what people who are complaining they were duped said before the war, the "16-words" and Joe Wilson's lies.
What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.
Some people prefer to live in a fantasyland where the only thing they have to fear is George W. Bush. Other people live in the real world.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Heh Heh

I got a good belly-laugh from this joke.
Bush on the Offensive

Some people have questioned the timing of President Bush coming out swinging at the people who support a revisionist version of how the war in Iraq started. Others have questioned whether his speech on Veteran's Day was going to be a one time thing.

I think Bush's timing is perfect and I think that his opponents have once again "misunderestimated" him. Bush going on the offensive is not a one time thing. He's used a rope-a-dope and now is coming out swinging in the late rounds to finish off his opponents in time for the 2006 elections.

Others have pointed out that Bush has the facts on his side. Who and what Senators and Congressmen voted for is a matter of public record. Ted Kennedy, for example, voted against the first Gulf War and against the invasion of Iraq but he voted for the Clinton proposal to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Now that Iraq is free from the tyranny of Saddam and has its own constitutionally elected government - how can Kennedy honestly reconcile his votes to the reality of the situation?

Other now "anti-war" members of Congress also face these "I voted for the war before I voted against it" conundrums.

You can fool some of the people all of the time but you're not pulling the wool over the eyes of the military. They know who has stood with them and who has not. That is why Bush or Rumsfeld or Condolezza Rice can get huge ovations in front of military crowds and conversely why you'll never see a speech by John Kerry or Ted Kennedy from a military base. The people doing the heavy lifting know the job is worth-while and they know full well who has their backs here at home. Questions like "Senator Kennedy you're a Harvard alumni - how come you never came out in support of allowing military recruiters on campus?" would be among the least damaging and most polite questions the Senior Senator from Massatucky would face. The Junior Senator would be sure to face questions about Form 180 and whether he ever put himself up for any of his famous medals that he may or may not have thrown over the White House fence.

You can't say you support "our troops" and then vote against them at every turn. The people in the US are hugely for our men and women of the military and if you've been a hypocrite with your votes then you can forget about winning any general elections.

Bush opponents look at his current poll numbers and think they have him on the run. As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast my friend."

Bush has no more elections to win. He's got nothing to lose by going on a big "compare and contrast" binge/media tour right about now. Especially now.

Bush has the facts on his side. Every major leader and intelligence agency believed Saddam Hussien had weapons of mass destruction. (And keep in mind that those WMD may yet be found - it may be Saddam's ace in the hole to reveal their whereabouts to save his neck from the hangman's noose.) Almost every Democratic leader voted to remove Saddam and said it was because of WMD back when Clinton was President. Bush can simply point out that these people have now placed politics above national security.

And what was the alternative course to the course to war that Bush picked? The course chosen by the French? Another great compare and contrast opportunity for Bush. Day 17 and counting of French rioting leaves little wiggle room in the argument over who chose the right course in facing down Islamofacism - Bush or Chirac. Who has best handled their nation's economies? Bush or Chirac? Comparing Bush's leadership to Chirac's will be like shooting frogs in a barrel.

While I'm at it - let me say that the main stream media and the Democrats have taken their best shots at Karl Rove and he's still standing. The MSM may have tricked themselves into thinking that they're won a victory by getting Scooter Libby to resign but mark my words - it will be a pyrrhic victory at best. Libby has only been indicted. The real fireworks will come at his trial where Libby will be able to defend himself. No journalistic privledges will be allowed from the witness stand and the MSM will surely regret making a big deal out of Joe Wilson's wife's profession. When the truth comes out - it will be the Washington media that comes out bloodied and not Karl Rove or the Bush administration.

Javier Vazquez has asked to be traded. That is his right per the collective bargaining agreement as a player who was traded in the middle of a long term contract. Here's my question: if Manny Ramirez is traded can't he also invoke this same clause after next year? Right now Manny holds 10/5 rights as a player who has played 10 years in MLB with the last 5 with the same team - so he can veto any trade the Red Sox propose (even though he's the one supposedly asking to be traded). Don't you think that what the Red Sox would get in return for Manny would be diminished because of teams knowing that Manny could invoke the same clause that Vazquez is invoking? What team is going to give up its top prospects for potentially just one year of Manny?

This is another reason why I predict that Manny plays 2006 in front of the Green Monster in Fenway Park.

EDIT: While making a response to LargeBill in the comments - something occurred to me. Manny's current agent didn't make anything from his original contract. His agent at the time was Jeff Moorad who now runs the Diamondbacks. Getting Manny traded and having Manny opt out of the new team after just one year would be the agent's quickest way to a new contract for Manny and a big commission for himself. The new team would have to trade Manny or Manny would become a free agent. The agent could hold this clause over the new team's head in order to get a new deal for Manny whose current deal has just 3-years left to run.
Raging Fred

Heh heh - Fred Flinstone as Jake Lamotta

HT - Ed Kranepool at Sports Frog

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Some Links

Some links while I catch up on emails.

- Congressman Plagiarized Blogger - HT William Stewart

- Nice post by Rearview Mirror on how the NYT has handled the rioting in France

- Did someone say "blue balls"? Again HT William Stewart

- I'm a big Lord of the Rings fan but I did not know this version of The Return of the King even existed.

- Larry Lucchino on Theo Epstein - and while we are on the subject - Lyflines weighs in on the matter
Javier Vazquez Wants to be Traded

Vazquez can demand a trade from the Diamondbacks and Arizona would have until March 15th (beware the ides of March) to trade him. Otherwise he's a free agent and they get nothing but a draft pick in return.

What is Vazquez worth? Well his contract pays him $11.5 million next year and $12.5 million in 2007. For his career he's 89 and 93 with a 4.28 ERA. Basically Vazquez got his big contract on the basis of his great 2001 season where he went 16-11 with a 3.42 ERA for the Expos.

It has to be said that Vazquez is a horse. He hasn't had fewer than 32 starts in a season since 2000 and in that span he's averaged 219 innings pitched per season over that stretch. He also strikes out a lot of batters but he also gives up a lot of home runs.

Vazquez is just 29 and if he can get his home runs down - his numbers are very good. Would the Diamondbacks go for a Matt Clement for Vazquez swap? The two players had very similar numbers in 2005:

Vazquez - 11-15/ 33 GS/ 215.7 IP/ 192 K/ 4.42 ERA/ 1.25 WHIP
Clement - 13-6 / 32 GS/ 191.0 IP/ 146 K/ 4.57 ERA/ 1.36 WHIP

Vazquez has more K's but how many of those were against pitchers in the NL? Clement had a higher ERA but he had to face DH's in the AL.

Clement is due $9.75 million in 2006 and $9.5 million in 2007. So the Damondbacks would save $4.75 million in the deal. Sounds pretty fair to me. Vazquez wants to play for a team in the eastern time zones to make travel for his family in Puerto Rico easier while Clement may not be suited to the pressure of playing in Boston (but could flourish in the desert).

So let it be written - so let it be done.
Leave My Manny Alone

I go to the West Coast and the "Manny wants to be traded" scuttlebutt surfaces again. Well guess what - I don't want Manny to be traded and I don't understand why any Red Sox fan would want to see him traded either.

First - let me get off my chest that Manny is no Terrell Owens. His actions may sometimes seem like distractions to us but not to his teammates. I dare anyone to find a single teammate saying anything but positive things about Manny (unless they are said in jest).

The fine folks over at Sons of Sam Horn are speculating on what Manny would get the Sox back in a trade and to me it seems like none of their scenarios would get the Sox back equal value for a great player (and Manny is a great player) or the scenario is not grounded in reality (for example the Mets are not trading David Wright in any three team package).

It pisses me off to no end that the Boston Globe would run a headline saying "Manny Being Traded!" so close to the time when they were running stories about "Epstein Re-Signs for 3-Year Deal." The only negative thing that Manny brings into the clubhouse is sometimes the negative publicity that surrounds him. And where does this negative publicity come from? Given the smear campaign that ran Nomar Garciaparra out of town and the smear campaign that kept Theo Epstein from coming back as GM - I think this is the real story here.

What has Manny done to be treat so by the Boston media? Seriously? Dog it to first base? If you watch the games he hustles to first more than Trot Nixon (who is loved by the media). Lapse of judgment mistakes in the field or on the basepaths? Kevin Millar makes more of those in a day than Manny makes in a month. What has Manny done to make Dan "Balls on Chinless" Shaughnessy and his ilk write such hateful and hurtful things? Seriously? Could it be that the Red Sox just don't want to pay a player $20 million a year and are undermining him via the media? Given that the Boston Globe's parent company owns 17% of the Red Sox - isn't this a question that deserves an answer?

What has Manny done in the field for the Sox? Well this year here's how he finished in some of the top statistical categories:

HR (3 - more than anyone but A-Rod and Ortiz in the AL), R (t7 - 4 more than Ichiro), TB (6 - 22 more than Paul Konerko who will end up getting Manny-like money when it is all said and done), RBI (t2 with Mark Teixeira who the Red Sox drafted but were too cheap to sign), SLG (4 ahead of Vlade Guerrero - but I'll get into that shortly), OBP (7 - his worst OBP since 1998), and in HR per AB Manny was 1st in the AL ahead of both A-Rod and Ortiz (and second only to Andruw Jones in all of MLB this year).

Since he's come to Boston - Manny has won a Silver Slugger award and been named to the All-Star team every year. Every year he has been in the top 10 for MVP voting (he's the only player who's been top 10 in the AL every year since 2001). Every year since coming to Boston - he's been top 4 in OPS in the AL - NOT TOP 10 BUT TOP 4!!! He was brought to Boston to hit and he's more than lived up to his end of the bargain.

Compare Manny to Vlade Guerrero in 2005:

Manny - 152 G/ .292 BA/ .388 OBP/ .594 SLG/ 45 HR/ 144 RBI
Vlade - 141 G/ .317 BA/ .394 OBP/ .565 SLG/ 32 HR/ 108 RBI

Since 2001 (the year Manny first played for the Red Sox) Manny has had 199 HR and 610 RBI. Since 2001 Vlade Guerrero has had 169 HR (30 fewer than Manny) and 532 RBI (78 fewer than Manny). And if you are going to use the excuse that Vlade has missed a number of games in that span because of injuries you should realize that emphasizing Manny's health just increases his value over Vlade (and that their HR per AB rate during this span is almost identical).

Keep in mind that we are also talking about the guy who was voted MVP of the only World Series the Red Sox have won in 86 years.

And speaking of World Series - didn't anyone learn from this year's where the White Sox pitched around the Astros' only great hitter (Lance Berkman) and were able to neutralize the Astros offense that way? That's what would be in store for the Red Sox if they traded Manny. Nodoby would be there to protect David Ortiz. The streaky, can't hit lefties Trot Nixon? Yeah right! Jason Varitek? You realize that his second half numbers were .256 / .365 / .446 - right? The only thing that allowed the Red Sox to make the playoffs this year was the Ortiz / Manny 1-2 punch. And people want to break that up?

We should be singing Ave Manny - not talking about trading him. When you think about it trading Manny makes no sense at all. And while I'm at it - Dan Shaughnessy can go fuck himself!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day

I'll be flying back east today but in honor of Veteran's Day I wanted to repost something I originally put up last November.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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