Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

I think CC Sabathia will be traded but I don't think the Red Sox will be involved. Why give up a Clay Buchholtz or a Justin Masterson for potentially only half a season of Sabathia? Starting pitching is not a major concern for the Red Sox anyway with a front four of Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester followed by a pick your choice of Clay Buchholtz, Justin Masterson and Bartolo Colon as fifth starters. I think if the Red Sox do trade for pitching - then it will be for bullpen help and they won't be giving up too much in exchange. I'm guessing that just in the AL you'd have either Chad Bradford of the Orioles or Ron Mahay of the Royals available for the right price... Speaking of Clay Buchholtz - it looks like he's being very effective at AAA Pawtucket. He's 3-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 7 starts. It looks like he's also on a pitch count since he hasn't pitched past the 7th inning in any of his starts despite the low runs allowed. The idea is probably to keep him fresh for the second half of the MLB season. An idea I agree with... Is Jeff Kent a Hall of Famer? With one more RBI he will break his tie with Dave Parker and have 48th place on the all-time RBI list all to himself. Unless I'm mistaken - Kent has the most HR and RBI of any second baseman in history... If Kent sticks around for another year or two - he will most likely catch and pass Harmon Killebrew who is tied for 34th on the all-time RBI list with Rogers Hornsby (both players have 1584 RBI). Passing Hornsby would be important for Kent because Hornsby is considered the best offensive second baseman in history (although he played over 600 games at other positions - thus the reason Kent has more RBI as a second baseman). I won't argue that Kent was close to Hornsby with a bat (Hornsby had a career .358 BA and an OPS+ of 175) but passing Hornsby on the RBI list will be significant for Kent nonetheless... Speaking of Harmon Killebrew - today's his birthday! Happy 72nd birthday Killer. How screwed up is the Hall of Fame voting? Consider that Killebrew has 573 HR and in his first year of eligibility for the Hall he only got 59.6% of the votes. Killebrew had to wait 4 years to be voted in by the gasbags who call themselves baseball writers...
How Many Dongs for a Dollar?
...dollars are being swapped for dong in Vietnam’s vigorous black market.
Yeah - sometimes I can be a real child. Here we are with a potential monetary crisis in Asia and I'm thinking of ways to make some sort of 16 Candles or dick joke. I know it's serious - but come on - their currency is called a dong!

I know it's serious but you would think that investing in the banking or currency of a Communist country would seem like a huge risk in the first place. No matter how much progress toward a market-oriented economy is made in Vietnam – it’s still a Communist country. Plus - over 21% of the country’s exports go to the US (the largest export country) but a very small percentage of their imports come from the US (even less than the 4.2% of imports that come from Malaysia).

Vietnam has over 86 million people which puts the country at about 30% of the population of the US jammed into an area about the size of New Mexico. What’s interesting is that according to the CIA Handbook the migration rate is “-0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)” That means as bad as things are in Vietnam slightly more people are moving in than moving out. With a thriving black market for US dollars – I think you’ll see more Vietnamese in the US sending back money to the “old country”.

I don't pretend to be versed in monetary theory or Asian economic thought but I do know that for a long time I've been hearing people complain about how weak the US dollar has become. Now the US dollar is become strong against another nation's currency and it is considered a crisis? If the US dollar becomes stronger against the Canadian loonie - or any other currency - will that too be a crisis no matter the circumstance?

HT Instapundit

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Kevin Jarre

Kevin Jarre wrote the screenplays to some very entertaining movies such as Rambo: First Blood Part II; Glory and Tombstone. He also wrote the story for the movie The Mummy. That's some serious Hollywood credits to his name.

The reason I bring Kevin Jarre up is because it seems he hasn't written anything since The Mummy in 1999. It's coming up on 10-years without anything new from Kevin Jarre. Writer's block?
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Betting in sports - I found it interesting that John Burkett's page on Wikipedia includes the snippet that he "was known as "Sheets" in the Red Sox clubhouse because of his betting and organizing pools for games in the National Football League." I guess that MLB rule about no gambling is more of a guideline. And if you are wondering why I was checking Burkett's Wiki page - I was just curious if he made the grade as a pro bowler... People talk about Fresno State winning the College World Series as the greatest upset in history. I disagree. I think the Holy Cross men's hockey team knocking off of 5-time champ North Dakota in the 2006 NCAA Hockey Tournament was the greater upset. The Crusaders were the 16th ranked team and North Dakota was considered one of best teams in college hockey and North Dakota was playing at home!... Every once and a while you have to go back to - it's just good for your soul. I smile every time I click that site...

My ROY picks at the half-way point:

1. Evan Longoria - Rays
2. Jacoby Ellsbury - Red Sox
3. Joba Chamberlain - Yankees
4. David Murphy - Rangers (most RBI by any Rookie)
5. Greg Smith - A's (3.69 ERA in 15 starts)

1. Jair Jurrjens - Braves
2. Geovany Soto - Cubs (highest OPS of any Rookie)
3. Kosuke Fukudome - Cubs
4. John Lannan - Nationals (3.34 ERA in 15 starts)
5. Joey Votto - Reds

The votes being split between Fukudome and Soto put Jurrjens in the driver seat in the NL
The Scotsman and the Dentist

A Scotsman goes to the dentist and asks how much it is for an

"$85 for an extraction sir" was the dentists reply.

"Och huv ye no got anything cheaper", replies the Scotsman getting

"But that's the normal charge for an extraction sir", said the dentist.

"What about if you didn't use any anesthetic?", asked the Scotsman hopefully.

"Well it's highly unusual sir, but if that's what you want, I suppose I can do it for $70", said the dentist.

"Hmmmm, what about if you used one of your dentist trainees and still without anesthetic", said the Scotsman,

"Well it's possible but they are only training and I can't guarantee their level of professionalism and it'll be a lot more painful, but I suppose in that case we can bring the price down to say $40", said the dentist.

"Och that's still a bit much, how about if you make it a training session and have your student do the extraction and the other students watching and learning", said the Scotsman hopefully.

"Hmmmmm, well OK it'll be good for the students I suppose, I'll charge you only $5 in that case", said the dentist.

"Wonderful, it's a deal" said the Scotsman..."Can you book the wife in for next Tuesday?"
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

The Red Sox may have the best record in the AL but they still have a losing record on the road at 19-22. My guess is that by the All-Star break the Red Sox will have a winning record both at home and on the road... There is probably no bigger fans of Inter-League play this year then the Twins and the Royals. Both teams are 13-3 against their NL foes... Carlos Delgado had a huge game in the first half of yesterday's Mets / Yankees doubleheader. He had 9 RBI to not only set The Mets club record - he also blew past Mark McGwire on the all-time RBI list. Delgado went into the day in 65th place with 1409 RBI. He now has 1418 to pass Mark McGwire and his 1414. Next up on the list for Delgado are Luis Gonzalez with 1421 and Jim Bottomley in 62nd place with 1422. Delgado may catch Bottomley but I doubt he'll ever match Bottomley's record of 12 RBI in one game set back in 1924 (since tied by Swinging Mark Whitten).... Things can't be good for the Yankees if they are trotting out guys like Dan Giese and Sir Sidney Ponson to start games. Seeing Dan Giese get hammered by the Mets - I couldn't help but remember that he was originally drafted by the Red Sox (34th round in 1999). If the Yankees need outfield help does that mean they'll have their eyes set on Ben Marbury - the Red Sox pick in the 35th round of the 1999 draft?... Jim Edmonds has been reborn in Chicago. Since joining the Cubs he has 7 HR and an OPS of 1.001...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ed Wade - A Disaster of a GM

Ken Rosenthal takes Ed Wade to task for his responsibility in the Chacon confrontation. Rosenthal says that it's Wade that needs to look in the mirror. I say its Wade that needs to get fired.

The trade for Miguel Tejada is a disaster. First Tejada gets named in the Mitchell Report and then it turns out he's been lying about his age. Meanwhile Luke Scott has been great for the Orioles with 12 HR and an .868 OPS in the harder to hit AL. Also Matt Albers who was included in the deal could really be helping a weak Astros bullpen.

I can't think of any move made by Ed Wade that has been good for the Astros. Is Jose Valerde and his 4.34 ERA really an upgrade over Chad Qualls? Michael Bourn for Brad Lidge was a steal - for the Phillies! Kaz Matsui? Really?

Think about this for a minute - the Astros would be better off right now if they had no GM. If they had no GM then they would have an outfield of Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence and Luke Scott - so their offense would be better. The pitching would be better with Matt Albers still in the pen along with Brad Lidge and Qualls. Would they be in first right now? Probably not but then again they wouldn't be spiraling out of control either.

If they had no GM then they wouldn't have bloggers like me making fun of them for having a jerkface clown for a GM.
Kennedy v. Louisiana

In 1658 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony a person could be given the death penalty for the crime of being a Quaker. On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled in Kennedy v. Louisiana that a person cannot be given the death penalty even if he heinously rapes a child.

I get the feeling that the pendulum has swung just a bit too far.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ed Wade - A Real Piece of Work

Here's something I posted almost 3 years ago about Ed Wade. Here's a bit from the post:
Late this summer, Wade repeatedly chewed out closer Billy Wagner - sometimes in person, sometimes over the phone - for comments he read in the newspaper and during contract negotiations. Wagner took this verbal abuse for a while, then got fed up and began hanging up on Wade.

Years earlier, Wade called a team meeting to scream at players. One pitcher said everyone buried their heads in their arms so Wade couldn't see them laughing at him.
Makes you wonder if maybe Shawn Chacon was goaded into his actions. Wade always seemed like a jerk. I'm guessing he won't be long lasting in Houston and that this was perhaps his last shot at being a MLB GM.
NL All-Star Team

Here's my picks for who is most deserving to be named to the NL All-Star Team:

C - Brian McCann Braves - narrowly over Russell Martin
1st - Lance Berkman Astros - complete player
2nd - Chase Utley Phillies - any questions?
SS - Hanley Ramirez Marlins
3rd - Chipper Jones Braves
OF - Nate McLouth Pirates
OF - Ryan Braun Brewers
OF - Ryan Ludwick Cardinals
DH - Albert Pujols Cardinals
SP - Edinson Volquez Reds

Reserves - Russell Martin Dodgers; Geovany Soto Cubs; Adrian Gonzalez Padres; Dan Uggla Marlins; Jose Reyes Mets; David Wright Mets; Carlos Beltran Mets; Jason Bay Pirates; Pat Burrell Phillies; Ben Sheets Brewers; Ryan Dempster Cubs; Brandon Webb Diamondbacks; Tim Lincecum Giants; Kerry Wood Cubs; Jon Rauch Nationals;

Notes - Derrek Lee probably would start for the AL team but there's a good chance to might not even make the NL team... It is very possible that the middle infield combination of Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez may be the best middle infield pairing to appear together in the history of baseball... Aramis Ramirez may not make the team. I bet that would go over well in Chicago.... There is a good chance that all three outfielders voted in by the fans will be players who will be undeserving based upon this season's performance. Ken Griffey, Jr., Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome both of the Cubs are the leading vote getters but none of the three really should even be on the team... Matt Holliday will most likely be the representative from the Rockies. Holliday making the team could cost Pat Burrell or Ryan Ludwick a spot on the team...

Pauly has some great perspective about Day 1 of the WSOP HORSE event.

Unless Norman Chad is bringing his A game - there is no better poker writer on the planet than Pauly. He's the only place for me for WSOP news and updates.
Rove on Obama

There's no "I" in team but Karl Rove points out there's plenty on "I" in Barack.

After reading that article by Karl Rove - I was reminded of a quote from the show The West Wing. The fictional President Bartlett is talking about Bill O'Dwyer who is running for Congress and he says, "I don’t like guys who run for congress because they think it’s a great gig." I came away from the Rove piece thinking that Obama is running for President because he thinks its a great gig and would look great on his resume.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just Sayin'

Compare these two players:

Player A: 16 GS / 7-6 / 107.7 IP / 2.92 ERA / 139 ERA+
Player B: 17 GS / 6-2 / 103.7 IP / 3.13 ERA / 138 ERA+

Figured it out yet? More hints:

Player A: 95 SO / 103 H / 35 ER / 29-years old
Player B: 65 SO / 99 H / 36 ER / 24-years old

Player A is of course Johan Santana and Player B is Jon Lester. I wonder how Twins fans feel when they see Lester pitching or Jacoby Ellsbury playing the outfield. I know how I would feel and it wouldn't be very charitable towards the Twins GM. I'm guessing that the Red Sox weren't ever really serious about making any trade for Santana though.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Today would have been the 132nd anniversary of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the death of George Armstrong Custer. Perhaps my favorite movie about the battle is 1970's Little Big Man starring Dustin Hoffman and the always underrated Richard Mulligan as Custer. I also find it amusing to see people on IMDB talking about factual errors in the movie as if it was historical accurate and not a fantasy in the first place... Today would have been George Orwell's 105th birthday. Truth be told Orwell is probably disliked in the US for the simple fact that a few generations of American high school students have been forced to read either 1984 or Animal Farm and most were not ready to understand the genius of the works.... Happy National Catfish Day!. In honor of National Catfish Day here's some catfish noodling.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Olympic Basketball Team

Here's who was chosen for the US basketball team:

G Jason Kidd
G Deron Williams
G Chris Paul
G Michael Redd
G Dwyane Wade
G Kobe Bryant
F Carmelo Anthony
F Tayshaun Prince
F LeBron James
F Carlos Boozer
F Chris Bosh
C Dwight Howard

A couple of thoughts on this team - if they fail to win the Gold then the blame will fall squarely rightly or wrongly on Kobe Bryant's shoulders.... I don't like the makeup of the team. They have 6 guards and one center? How does that make sense? An Al Jefferson or Kevin Garnett would have greatly helped the team because neither player needs the ball on the offensive end but could add rebounding and strong defense to a team of ball-hungry players. Replace Jason Kidd and Tayshaun Prince with Jefferson and Garnett and the team is 100% better... Speaking of Garnett - where are the big three? No Garnett, no Paul Pierce? No Ray Allen? Didn't USA Basketball learn anything from 2004 or from watching this year's NBA Finals?...
Heh Heh

I found this amusing - though in real life I like the Ramones' seal better.

It also reminded me that if I was to ever run for office - I'd make Alice Cooper's Elected my campaign song.

Monday, June 23, 2008

David Carle

A story of class.

A player finds he's got a heart ailment and withdraws his name from the NHL Draft. The kid would have been at least a 2nd round pick. Class move by the kid.

A college that had given him a full scholarship honors the full-ride even though they know the player will never lace up the skates for the university. Class move by University of Denver and head coach George Gwozdecky.

An NHL team knowing that a dream of a kid who wanted more than anything to play in the NHL had been shattered - uses their 7th round pick to make that dream a reality. Tampa Bay drafted David Carle and nobody will ever be able to take that away from the kid. Class move by the Lightning (no matter what the yahoos say).

This reminds me of Red Auerbach using the Celtics 10th round pick to draft Indiana's Landon Turner in 1982. Turner was paralyzed just after Indiana won the NCAA's in 1981. Auerbach made the pick both as a favor to his friend Bobby Knight and also because it was a nice thing to do for a player who was sure to have been a first rounder before tragedy struck.
AL All-Star Team

Here's my picks for who is most deserving to be named to the AL All-Star Team:

C - Joe Mauer Twins - .331 BA
1st - Kevin Youkilis Red Sox - .919 OPS and Gold Glove defense
2nd - Ian Kinsler Rangers - leads AL 2nd basemen in most offensive categories
SS - Michael Young Rangers - best of thin pickings in AL
3rd - Alex Rodriguez Yankees - any question?
OF - Josh Hamilton Rangers - 76 RBI
OF - Milton Bradley Rangers - leads the AL in OPS
OF - JD Drew Red Sox - .318 BA and 1.017 OPS
DH - Manny Ramirez Red Sox
SP - Cliff Lee Indians - 10-1 with a 2.45 ERA

Reserves - Justin Morneau Twins, Dioner Navarro Rays, Brian Roberts Orioles, Orlando Cabrerra White Sox, Joe Crede White Sox, Carlos Quentin White Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox, BJ Upton Rays, Roy Halladay Blue Jays, Justin Duchscherer A's, Joe Saunders Angels, Mariano Rivera Yankees, Jonathan Papelbon Red Sox, Joakim Soria Royals

Toughest Omissions: Grady Sizemore Indians - deep outfield costs Sizemore a spot mostly because he's up against better known names or spots need to be used for sole representatives for some teams; Johnny Damon Yankees - ditto for Damon; Scott Kazmir Rays - very deserving but time on DL hurt him.

Miscellaneous thoughts.

Manny and Big Papi will probably get the nod at OF and DH in the voting and you know MLB wants Ortiz in there for the "call the shot" promotion they have spent so much money on. I just hope that their inclusion doesn't keep Drew from being on the team. He's more worthy than either Manny or Big Papi this season... Derek Jeter will probably get the start at short which may cost Orlando Cabrera a spot on the team... I don't think Ichiro has earned a berth this season but he's probably going to be voted as starter or picked as the only Mariner representative. That spells doom for Jacoby Ellsbury's chances... Dustin Pedroia will probably get the start at 2nd and with Brian Roberts potentially the sole Orioles representative - that means that Ian Kinsler could get left off the team even though he's the most deserving to start. Of course Nick Markakis could be the Orioles rep and that would put Kinsler on.. Kinsler being left off the team would be bad but my guess is that the biggest screw job will be the omission of either Milton Bradley or JD Drew... If you notice - I have representatives from every team except the Tigers. Who really is deserving from Detroit? Anyone? If you pick Magglio Ordonez then you are dealing with bumping another deserving player from an already crowded outfield. A pitcher? Todd Jones may be the only choice there and who do you bump for him? Jonathan Papelbon? Could this be a year without a Tiger?
George Carlin

George Carlin has passed away at age 71. In tribute - here is his bit comparing football to baseball.
Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.
Also: in football,basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.
In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform,you'd know the reason for this custom.
Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.
I enjoy comparing baseball and football:
Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.
Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park!
Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.
In football you wear a helmet.
In baseball you wear a cap.
Football is concerned with downs - what down is it?
Baseball is concerned with ups - who's up?
In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.
In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.
Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.
Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.
Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.
Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.
In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.
And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:
In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam - Ken Griffey Jr. Edition

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations about Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr. had an RBI today to move his career total to 1733 which broke his tie with Honus Wagner to give Junior 18th place on the all-time RBI list all to himself... Junior needs just one more run scored to tie Rogers Hornsby for 45th place. Currently Griffey has 1578 and with 5 more he can tie George Brett in 44th place... Even though Ken Griffey Jr. is an all-time great - I don't see the Reds picking up his $16.5 million option for 2009. I also don't see them trading him. Junior could be one of the only reasons to go out and see the Reds in the last two months of the season... Griffey is huge in Cincinnati in large part because he came from Cincinnati and went to Moeller High School there. It was out of Moeller that Griffey was taken with the 1st overall pick in the 1987 draft. It should be noted that the 2nd overall pick in that draft was also a outfielder taken out of high school. Mark Merchant was taken with the 2nd pick of the 1987 draft by the Pirates out of Oviedo HS in Florida. Merchant was one of the biggest draft busts in history and he never saw a single plate appearance at the MLB level...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Curt Schilling

With the news that Curt Schilling will need surgery that will probably end his career - the question everyone is asking is "Is Curt Schilling a Hall of Fame Player"? Here's my thoughts on Schilling's accomplishments and conclusion whether he deserves to be in Cooperstown or not.

1. Schilling had 3 20-win seasons. He went 22-6 in 2001 and 23-7 in 2002 for Arizona. Both of those seasons he finished 2nd in Cy Young voting to teammate and future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson who went a combined 45-11 with 706 strikeouts total in those two seasons. In 2004 Schilling went 21-6 for the Red Sox and again finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting. That year Johan Santana went 20-6 for the Twins but with a better ERA and more K's than Schilling. You have to wonder if Schilling's bad luck of having his best seasons the same years other future Hall of Fame pitchers were having theirs will cost him votes. If he had won a Cy Young in one of those 3 seasons would he be looked at differently?

2. He has "just" 216 career wins. That's one more than what Kenny Rogers currently has but still 8 short of Catfish Hunter and Jim Bunning's 224 which stand as sort of the unofficial Hall of Fame minimum for wins for pitchers in the modern era (Sandy Koufax's 165 being the exception that proves the rule). Schilling was every bit as good as either Hunter or Bunning and he may pick up some votes from people who buy into the argument "if you let Hunter or Bunning in then you have to let Schilling in too". Those votes will probably be offset by the people who look and see a guy with about the same number of wins as Kenny Rogers and exactly the same number of Cy Young Awards.

3. Schilling is one of only 16 players in MLB history to have over 3,000 strikeouts. Of the pitchers in the 3,000 K club - 9 are already in the Hall of Fame, 4 are very likely Hall of Famers (Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz) and then you have the special cases of Roger Clemens and Bert Blyleven. On the surface it would seem that membership in the 3,000 K club equals Hall of Fame induction, however, it also looks like Schilling will face some backlash if Blyleven is not inducted by the time Schilling becomes eligible.

4. In terms of playoff performance - Schilling's only equals may be current teammate Josh Beckett and fellow 41-year old John Smoltz. Schilling went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 12 post season series. In winning his 3 World Series titles - Schilling was named co-MVP in one and had the legendary "bloody sock" postseason heroics in another. If Schilling gets into Cooperstown then it will probably be on the merits of his postseason performance as much as anything else.

I may be biased but I think that Schilling deserves induction. His election will be close and it may take a few years but I think Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer.

EDIT: Others around the blogosphere asking the question "Is Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer?"

YSFS - says yes and has the stats to prove it

Odds and Sods - says yes and also has the stats to prove it

Check the Fien Print - has a Red Sox bias but still says that Schilling is not a Hall of Famer and he has the comparisons to prove it

Friday, June 20, 2008

Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays today fired manager John Gibbons. They replaced Gibbons with Cito Gaston. A few thoughts on this situation:

1. The Blue Jays are a better team than their record. The pitching has held up their end of the bargain with a 3.64 ERA but the team just hasn't been able to hit. Vernon Wells being hurt hasn't helped. Alex Rios having an OPS over 150 points below his production the past two years is also a big part of the problem.

2. Cito Gaston is there to kick guys in the ass. Make no mistake. He has nothing to lose. If he gets the team to perform - he gets a big league managing job. If not he fades back to obscurity.

3. The team needs a big bat and JP Riccardi is on the hot seat. That spells TRADE. Look for the Blue Jays to be active in emptying the minor league cupboards in trying to win now. Maybe a play for Jason Bay is in the cards. My guess is that Adam Dunn won't be high on the list though. Of course Riccardi does have a contract until 2010 so its not like he's got a gun to his head.

4. Look for outfielder Adam Lind to be recalled from the Syracuse Chiefs. He's the only minor league bat who could help the offense right now. This is of course unless Lind is traded for a veteran (see above).

5. Maybe instead of firing more people or trading anyone - Toronto should change the team name to just the "Jays". Hey it worked for Tampa Bay.
Stool Pigeon's and Clit Panda's

Paul is out reporting on the WSOP. He's too cool to use the word pigeon and the word "fish" is worn out. He has some suggestions for some new names for dead-money suckers.

His rant made me think of "stool pigeons". I once cared enough to post about the history of that term.

Maybe future generations will wonder about the origin of the term Clit Panda? I hope they give Pauly the credit.
Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics won their 17th championship on Tuesday night and I was a little melancholy about it. Don't get me wrong - I was ecstatic that the Celtics beat the Lakers like a drum. Ecstatic!

It's just that I had to watch the game from my hotel room in Pennsylvania. Alone.

I received text messages from friends out at bars going nuts. I was alone in my hotel room just a little ticked off each time my phone beeped with a new message. I didn't even get to watch the victory parade due to work. Let's just say that I feel more than a little disconnected from the victory.

I guess that makes me a little sad if truth be told.

So where does this Celtics team stand in the pantheon of past Celtics Champions? Bob Ryan had a great piece examining just that question. Far be it for me to argue with Bob Ryan but I admit that I was surprised that he ranked this year's team as the second best Celtics team ever.

I think this team reminds me more of the 1983 Celtics than the 1986 team that is often called the best team in basketball history.

That 1983 team had some older guys. Robert Parish was 30, Dennis Johnson was 29 and Cedric Maxwell was 28. Of course Larry Bird and Kevin McHale we just entering their primes at 27 and 26-years old respectively. That team, however, had role players who were tough and reliable coming off the bench. Players like Quinn Buckner, ML Carr and Gerald Henderson. That team also beat the Lakers in the Finals with the signature play of the series being Kevin McHale clotheslining Kurt Rambis. (Those two have not spoken since that play - that's old school). The Celtics were tougher and had more heart than their Lakers' counterparts and they have rings to prove it.

Likewise this year's Celtics team won because they had more toughness and heart than the Lakers. The team may be slightly older than the 1983 vintage (with Allen 32, Garnett 31, and Pierce 30) but they also had those role players coming off the bench like Leon Powe, Eddie House and James Posey.

I just hope I can get to enjoy the next championship a little more.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boston Celtics - Game 5 Thoughts

Here are some thoughts on game 5 that I jotted down as I was watching the game but haven't had the chance to post.

- Kevin Garnett = Ray Bourque. The Boston Bruins traded Ray Bourque to the Avalanche for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson, and a first round draft pick. The trade gave Ray Bourque a chance to win a championship which he did in his first season in Colorado. Likewise Kevin Garnett was traded out of Minnesota so that he could get a chance to win a championship. Kevin McHale is made fun of for helping the Celtics get to the point where they are about to win a championship but truth his he did a much better job getting a return for Garnett than the Bruins did for Bourque (and yes I know it's apples to oranges). That said - if the Celtics win - Danny Ainge should order a ring for McHale.

- I was watching the game at a bar. After the first quarter I was getting a bit depressed. I decided to watch the second quarter on the porch while smoking a nice Cohiba Crystal. The Celtics proceeded to mount a big comeback and I became convinced that they were going to win the game. I was so convinced that I decided to play the numbers 4-1-17 in Keno (4-1 for 4 wins to 1 and 17 for the 17th Celtics championship). I finished my cigar and went back into the bar where I saw the numbers 1-4-17 on the screen. Another omen! I played the numbers for most of the rest of the game but alas they did not come up for me and the Celtics lost the game. If I was Bill Simmons I would write 10,000 words about how I jinxed the Celtics. Instead I'll play 4-2-1-7 in the daily numbers.

- I keep talking about how this season should solidify Paul Pierce as a Hall of Fame player. Then I remember that Dennis Johnson won three championships and he's still not in the Hall (stupid, stupid voters).

- I can't tell you how much those Denali commercials with that stupid parking lot attendant annoy me. The most annoying commercials on TV by far.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bill Simmons

Josh Q. Public calls out Bill Simmons in an open letter. He basically accuses Bill of going from the Vito Corleone of sports blogging to the Fredo "I knew it was you" Corleone of sports loyalties.

I must point out that I called this back in 2002 and even pinpointed the time the change happened in Simmons' sports soul:
This past fall Bill had a column that announced that he had gone over to the dark side of luxury boxes instead of bleacher seats. He even switched the picture that accompanied his columns from the one of him wearing a Red Sox jersey to one of him wearing a suit and tie. (In yesterday's mailbag Bill tries to pass the buck to management on the new picture but the excuse is as weak as the last few columns - come on Bill you could have said no to the new picture and you know it.)

I don't think that Bill realized that the "going over to the dark side" column was symbolic in more than just his choice of seating at the ballpark.
Suit Simmons has always been different from the jersey Bill we all learned to love. We still read him though because every once and a while jersey Bill makes a reappearance.

HT The Big Lead
The All-Disappointment Team

Going into the season many fans and fantasy baseball players had high hopes for certain players but not all the big names have pulled their weight. Here's my All-Disappointment team up to this point of the season.

C - Victor Martinez Indians - 0 HR before going on the DL
1st - Richie Sexson Mariners - .675 OPS
2nd - Freddie Sanchez Pirates - .236 BA - where's the guy who won a batting title?
SS - Troy Tulowitzki Rockies - .152 BA before going on DL
3rd - Ryan Zimmerman - just a .718 OPS before going on DL (yet still leads the Nationals in HR and RBI - that's how bad the Nationals are)
OF - Curtis Granderson Tigers - just 3 SB and a .246 BA
OF - Delmon Young Twins - Just 1 HR - the Twins would have been better off trading for the power hitting of Coco Crisp
OF - Gary Sheffield Tigers - .213 BA before going on DL - may be the end of the line
DH - Travis Hafner Indians - 4 HR before going on the DL
EDIT: As Donald pointed out - Andruw Jones should have been listed. He's the worst free agent signing this year.

SRHP - Roy Oswalt Astros - 5.06 ERA - really?
SLHP - CC Sabathia Indians - starting to turn things around but still no back-to-back Cy Young Awards
Closer - JJ Putz Mariners - 7 saves and a 5.21 ERA before going on DL
EDIT: As groug (what kind of name is groug?) points out - Barry Zito should be the SLHP. Mea culpa.
Boston Celtics

I've heard mention time after time that the Celtics could soon win their first championship since 1986. The undertone is that Celtics fans have waited a long time for this. Maybe I'm starting to get self-conscious about the overflow of riches Boston fans have fell into these past few years but the attitude that Celtics fans have waited a long time for this is a bit off-putting for me.

Consider that since 1986 only 6 franchises have won a championship. There are 30 NBA franchises - so that means that 23 franchises have either never won a championship or have had to wait longer than the Celtics current 22-year wait.

I mean try explaining to Cleveland Cavaliers fans or Knicks fans that the fans of Boston have been patient.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert

Tim Russert has passed away at age 58. His death came due to a coronary embolism but he was doing the job he loved. I feel awful for his wife and son. Awful.

Besides family - the big loves of Russert's life were politics and sports. He was a giant in politics. Anyone who was anyone had to do his show Meet the Press. The President of the United States stopped what he was doing when he heard the news of Russert's death to express his condolences. You don't get any bigger than that.

Because of his "power" Russert got to meet all the sports heroes and go to all the games he wanted. Almost every obituary will mention his love of the Buffalo Bills. He got Bud Selig, Hank Steinbrenner and Larry Lucchino to all issue press releases of sympathy and loss.

It seems to me that Tim Russert got to live his dreams. We should all be so lucky. He drank fully from the cup of life. I'm guessing that if God gave Tim the chance to do things over that he'd live his life the same way but with a request that once, just once, the Bills got to win the Super Bowl.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

I don't believe in the White Sox. I just don't see them winning the AL Central. My pick is the Indians. The Pythagorean W/L says that Cleveland has had the worst luck (-5 games) of any team in the AL. Meanwhile the White Sox are just 11-17 against teams with a winning record. I see Chicago falling back to earth, Ozzie having another tirade and finally getting fired... The Mariners are bad. It certainly doesn't help that they can win close games (7-14 in 1 run games). With JJ Putz going on the DL - I wouldn't look for that record to improve either... The Braves are 7.5 games behind the Phillies mainly because Atlanta just can't win on the road (8-24 on the road) or in extra innings (1-7)... Many people picked St. Louis to be awful this year but if the season ended today - they would be the NL Wild Card. They lead the Marlins by 3 games... Just saying but JD Drew has the 2nd best OPS in the AL. His .973 is better than Josh Hamilton's .961 and Manny Ramirez's .940. (Milton Bradley leads with a 1.077 mark and Jason Giambi is 4th with a .953 mark)... Oakland's Jack Cust leads the AL in walks with 52 and is 2nd in strikeouts with 70 (just 1 behind Carlos Pena). I'm rooting for Cust to "win" both categories... It's bizarro world. The NL has the top 4 HR hitters in baseball and the AL has the top 2 base stealers... If I had to give out the NL Cy Young Award today I'd give it to Tim Lincecum for being 8-1 for a lousy (and I mean lousy) San Francisco Giants team...

Friday, June 13, 2008

McCain's Baby Mama

Fox News is in hot water for referring Michele Obama as Barack's "Baby Mama". Lost in the kerfluffle is how much John McCain's wife Cindy looks like the star of the 2008 movie Baby Mama Amy Poehler.

Bill Simmons Live Blog

Here are 5 things I think I think about Bill Simmons Game 4 live blog.

1. Simmons makes fun of how "pedestrian" Doc Rivers pre-game and half-time talks are. Two thoughts on this - A: most of a coach's work is done in practice and in the film room and Doc has a reputation for being very prepared and B: if Bill Belichick said the exact same words you can bet your bottom dollar that Simmons would have had a very, very different reaction.

2. This must have hurt him to write:
For all my bitching about Doc Rivers over the years, I have to hand it to him -- he played the right guys at the right time and helped facilitate one of the great moments in Boston Celtics history. The man deserves all the credit in the world. He outcoached the Zen Master. It happened. His focus was on winning, and they won.
That last sentence was a crack on Doc's halftime speech. Even when trying to praise Rivers - Simmons tries to bury him.

3. Simmons has his list of the 10 most dramatic Celtics wins of his lifetime. The Bird stole the ball pass to DJ for the lay-up game vs Detroit is 3rd on the list. The thing is - you can't argue with the top 2 choices. Celtics fans have been blessed.

4. Here's an image that I won't be able to get out of my head:
By the way, wouldn't Lakers games be more fun if Gasol dressed like a bullfighter for the pregame intros, then waved a red cape for the other starters as they ran by him?

5. I agree with this:
The Kobe-MJ thing ... done. Over. Jordan never would have let that happen in the Finals. Ever. Under any circumstances. Nobody is ever allowed to bring this up again.
I wonder how Kobe is at baseball though.
Boston Celtics - I'm a Believer

The Boston Celtics are on the brink of their 17th Championship and the bandwagon is getting full. I'm a believer and have been a believer for a long time.

Going into the series with the Lakers - I believed the Celtics were the better team and I think I have been proved correct. When everyone was talking about how this series was going to validate Kobe Bryant as a super star - I was talking about how a championship would be the coup de grace to getting Paul Pierce's ticket punched into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

During the hard fought series with Atlanta - when everyone was talking about the Celtics not being a championship caliber team because they couldn't win on the road in the playoffs - I was talking about every championship team having to overcome a major unexpected bump in the road and that the Hawks would prove to be the Celtics close call.

During the season - when everyone was talking about how great the Western Conference was - I was saying watch out for the Celtics. When people were talking about how the Western Conference Championship would be the real NBA Finals - I was talking about how the Celtics didn't have the best record by accident and that their steamrolling of their Western Conference opponents boded well their chances in the playoffs.

Everyone was happy when the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett but what about when they traded for Ray Allen? I was in the minority in saying trading the 5th pick was a great move by the Celtics. I had belief that the trade for Allen was a good move and my belief is being rewarded.

When everyone seemed down on Doc Rivers as a coach - I was in the minority saying Doc Rivers was the right man for the job. I believed in Doc's ability to teach young players and motivate veterans. It was Doc's coaching that allowed Al Jefferson to develop into a player equal to being traded for Kevin Garnett. It was Doc's mentoring that has allowed Rajon Rondo to emerge as a budding Tiny Archibald. It was Doc's backbone that allowed him to help make Paul Pierce as much a force on the defensive end of the court as on the offensive end. Doc Rivers is validating my belief. Not only are the Celtics outplaying the Lakers - they are out coaching the Lakers.

My belief in the current Celtics started with the man who seems missing at this point - Danny Ainge.

When Jim O'Brien turned petulant bitch because Ainge wanted him to change his defensive coaching philosophy - I defended Ainge at a time when almost all the Boston writers were polishing Jim O'Brien's halo. Ainge wanted an up-tempo offense and strong defense. O'Brien wanted a half-court offense and a fronting style defense. Ainge's style worked for Red Auerbach and Tommy Heinsohn and that style is about to lead the Celtics to their 17th banner to hang in the Boston Garden. Jim O'Brien's style has led him to failure in Philadelphia and in Indiana.

It's easy to believe in the Celtics at this point. I believed in Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers when supporters were few and far between. My faith is being rewarded. In a big way.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Archie Karas

Pauly spins a great yarn about Archie Karas and how he turned $50 into $50 million before blowing it all.

The post is Exhibit A on why Pauly is the best poker writer going.
Rockefeller Lied

John D. Rockefeller chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee that recently released a report who supposedly showed that George Bush misled people in the run-up to the Iraq War.

In today's Washington Post - Fred Hiatt looks at the report and comes to the conclusion that it is Rockefeller that is the one being misleading.

Here's the problem I have with this whole situation - to believe Rockefeller you would first have to accept the premise that Rockefeller can look into the situation as an uninterested, impartial third party. That just isn't so. In fact it was Rockefeller not Bush who had made up his mind:
"I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11."

So spoke Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) on "Fox Sunday" on November 14, 2005, who at the time of his trip was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and is now its vice chairman.
So if Rockefeller was not able to show that Bush had cooked the books in this latest Senate Report - then Rockefeller's actions would look almost treasonous. Should anyone be surprised that Rockefeller's conclusions seem to support Rockefeller's own earlier actions? And what were the consequences of Rockefeller's earlier actions?
For the past two years, international security experts like John Loftus have been saying that because the U.N. and French obstructionists delayed the United States entrance into the Iraq war for over a year, Saddam Hussein — having been forewarned by Sen. Rockefeller’s solo mission to the Arab world — was busy ferreting his WMD out of Iraq.

Loftus, an attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor, once held some of the highest security clearances in the world, with special access to NATO Cosmic, CIA codeword, and Top Secret Nuclear files.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Phil Ivey Bets Big on the Lakers

I'm hoping Phil Ivey loses lots of money on the NBA Championship. From the Tao of Poker:
A trustworthy source confirmed that Phil Ivey bet $2 million that the Lakers would win the NBA championship. That was before the final began. He's in the hole 1-0 after the Celtics took game #1. He's gonna be sweating the game big time on Sunday. FYI, I bet the Lakers in game 2. If Ivey is betting them, so am I!
I guess I'm rooting for Pauly to take a hit too. Nothing personal. I'm just a Celtics fan.
Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon went 6-6 yesterday. In a single day he was able to raise his season batting average 18 points from .308 to .326.
Doc Rivers and Bill Simmons

Doc Rivers has led the Celtics to the best record in basketball, to the biggest single season turnaround in basketball history, the the NBA finals and to victory in the first game of the NBA Championship. Yet Bill Simmons still can't help but take shots at Doc Rivers at every opportunity.

Simmons was the most vocal critic of Doc Rivers last year. Now I think Simmons' ego won't allow him to admit he was wrong about Doc. Simmons really believes that he knows more about basketball than anyone else and its that belief that won't allow him to give Doc Rivers any credit.

It reminds me of how Stephen King was critical of Terry Francona calling him Francoma. Of course King is smart enough to realize and admit to his misjudgment of Francona. Simmons isn't smart enough to realize he was and is similarly wrong about Doc Rivers.
Martha Burk

I was surprised to see uber harpy Martha Burk back in the news. Burk has become a human "jumped the shark" indicator. Any time she appears in the news you can be sure that the issue at hand has jumped the shark. Hillary's campaign for President? Interview Burk to indicate it's toast. John Roberts nomination for the Supreme Court? Interview Martha Burk to show that his confirmation is a foregone conclusion. The NHL's marketing campaign? Interview Martha Burk to try to stir up publicity. The New York Times as a credible paper of record? Use Martha Burk's protest of Augusta to show that the people running the paper are tools in the vernacular sense.

Having said all this - now iron my shirt and make my dinner Martha.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Paul Pierce

The Boston sports world is abuzz about the game one victory over the Lakers and Paul Pierce's return to action after his knee injury.

For the past few days I've been thinking about Paul Pierce. Mainly I've been wondering if he's a Hall of Fame player.

Pierce was taken 10th overall in the 1998 draft. Of the people taken ahead of him you can make arguments for only Dirk Nowitzki and maybe - just maybe - Vince Carter being better players. Lots of teams screwed up not taking Pierce. Heck - he wasn't even the first player taken from his college team (Raef LaFrentz went 4th to the Nuggets).

Pierce is closing in on 17,000 career points and has so far averaged 23.1 points / 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Are those Hall of Fame numbers? He's been to 6 All-Star games but has never made better than 3rd team All-NBA.

Overall currently he sits in 77th place on the all-time scoring list and 6th on the all-time list of Celtics scorers. Next season though he should pass both Bob Cousy (just 15 more points) and Kevin McHale (390 more points). I wouldn't argue that Pierce was as good as either or even close but if he keeps compiling points then I can see him coming close to or passing Adrian Dantley's total of 23,177. Dantley is a Hall of Fame player and I think Pierce compares very favorably to him.

My guess is a Championship this year cements Pierce's place in the Hall. Otherwise he'll have to keep plugging to get close to Dantley's numbers to get in.
Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are still in the hunt for both the AL East and the AL Wildcard despite only averaging an anemic 4.1 runs per game. Their offense is obviously the big problem and it hasn't been helped by the fact that stars Alexis Rios is having a sub-par year and Vernon Wells has been injured. The spotlight was earlier on Frank Thomas and his awful start for Toronto but the fact is the Rios / Wells production has been missed the most. The Blue Jays have been just 9-13 in one run games and with more offense that easily could have been 13-9 which would have put them just a game and a half behind Boston in the AL East and out front in the Wildcard race.

If the Blue Jays make a trade for a hitter and either (or both) Rios and Wells round back into form - then the Blue Jays will be a team to reckon with. Of course this is assuming their pitching remains healthy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bobby Kennedy

On this day 40-years ago - Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed. Many people remember the anniversary but most forget the reason Bobby Kennedy was killed.

He was killed by a Palestinian on the first anniversary of the Six-Day War.

In 1973 the PLO kidnapped the US Ambassador to Sudan - Cleo Allen Noel and the former Ambassador - George Curtis Moore. Freeing Sirhan Sirhan was one of the main demands made by the kidnappers. Both Noel and Moore were shot and killed.

The Democratic Party leaders embracing people like Arafat in the past or Hamas today is a slap in the face of the memory of Bobby Kennedy. Yet nobody remembers or maybe they don't care?

It should also be remembered that Sirhan Sirhan was prosecuted by Band of Brothers hero Buck Compton.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Greetings from Turning Stone

I’m up at Turning Stone Casino in Vernona, New York for a couple of days. Turning Stone is an interesting place. The rooms are very nice, the food is OK but it is the differences that make the place unique. What differences? Well let me list a few.

A) There’s smoking. That may not be a big deal for those of you in states that still allow smoking in restaurants but I come from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts and Turning Stone is in the Nanny State of New York where smoking in restaurants or public spaces is not “tolerated”.

B) The newspaper of choice is The Indian Times. After the initial novelty wears off you start to yearn for the sports section of the USA Today.

C) The big difference, however, is the fact that THERES’S NO ALCOHOL! Imagine that – a dry casino. It’s just strange. All I can think about is those old Westerns where somebody is always getting into trouble for selling “fire water” to the Indians. It’s as if the “white man” in New York is determined not to allow the Indians to return the favor.

I’m having a pretty good time here. Last night I entered their nightly Texas Hold em tournament. It was $70 to enter and there ended up being 50 players. The top 6 finishers got paid with the payouts ranging from $975 for 1st to $150 for 6th. I made the final five players with me and this older guy being by far the chip leaders. The older guy negotiated a chop with me and him getting $600 each and the remaining three players splitting the rest (which ended up being $383 apiece – which was actually slightly better than what 3rd place would have paid). Not a bad night’s work.

Today I golf.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Dear ESPN,

I don't write these type letters in general but I have something to ask of you and frankly I think I deserve to be heard.

I am your target demographic. I'm male, a sports nut and I make a pretty good living (your advertisers should love me). I am a devoted ESPN watcher. I haven't complained when you week after week forced upon the viewing public the brain dead ramblings of Joe Morgan or John Kruk during baseball broadcasts or on Baseball Tonight. I've defended Chris Berman even though he's become the Bozo the Clown of NFL analysis. I was disgusted yet silent when you foisted screaming Stephen A. Smith upon the viewing public. For the most part I've remained silent and loyal in my viewing habits.

But now I want something. I want you to force Stu Scott to wear a monocle.

I know it may sound strange but that's what I want.

Stu Scott is an embarrassment as sports reporter and now I'll be forced to endure large doses of his inflated ego because I'll be sure to watch every moment of the NBA Finals. I don't ask much and I don't ask often - I want you to make Stu Scott wear a monocle.

Most ESPN fans know that Stu Scott has a glass eye. For some reason it bothers me when I see him on-air wearing glasses. Only one of his eyes needs a corrective lens. A monocle would do several things; provide that corrective lens for the eye that needs it, let us the viewer know for certain which eye is the real one and maybe most importantly - humble Stu Scott. Perhaps looking like Colonel Klink on air will help keep Stu Scott from letting his mouth and ego run amok. I really want this.

I want you to force Stu Scott to wear a monocle.

Thanks for your time and consideration.


Chris Lynch