Tuesday, December 30, 2008

He Should Have Went Over to Say "Goodbye"

How quickly to can go from Mangenius to Man-looking-for-a-job.
Top 5 - New England Patriots Personnel Decisions

Here are the top 5 players who are free agents for the Patriots and whose situations are the most pressing.

1. Matt Cassel QB - he hit the jackpot. Do the Pats try to sign him long term (as insurance against Tom Brady not making a successful comeback)? Do they franchise him and then trade him?

2. LaMont Jordan RB - he was a very important part of the Pat's depth at RB. He's sure to see offers but I hope the Pats bring him back.

3. Pierre Woods LB - with all of the injuries at LB this season the depth of having a guy like Woods became self-evident.

4. Chris Hanson P - there wasn't much talk about the Pats punting game this season and that's good news. The Pats should bring back Hanson to keep the kicking game a strength of the team.

5. Rodney Harrison S - I don't care if he can play. Harrison is worth it to the team just for his leadership and example he provides. James Sanders is also a free agent at S and I think he comes back.

Mike Reiss has a complete breakdown on the Pats roster. Worth the read.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Adventures of Jerry Jones and Roosevelt Riley

I saw this article about Tony Romo collapsing after yesterday's choke job against Philadelphia. What struck me was the fact that Jerry Jones has a personal bodyguard called Roosevelt Riley. That just hit me as funny.

I Googled Roosevelt Riley and found out that he used to play hoop for among other teams the Harlem Globetrotters and that he stands just 5'8". This really struck me as funny.

I couldn't help but think of Jerry Jones and Roosevelt Riley jetting around the world getting into adventures as they scout for players and cheerleaders. Make it into a show - like Johnny Quest. Jerry Jones would be the Dr. Benton Quest role and Roosevelt Riley would play the Race Bannon role. Instead of the two kids - they would travel with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. They could solve crimes, fight killer robot monkeys and raise awareness of important global issues. The show could be huge

Who do I talk to in order to make it happen?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I'm hoping Jamie Moyer pitches until he's 50-years old. I think that would be awesome and I also think the advertising opportunities for Moyer would make it worth his while. He could represent AARP, Advil, Grecian Formula and a whole host of older guys products and services.... The Yankees signed CC Sabathia and that got lots of media noise but don't forget that Tampa Bay will be adding David Price to their rotation next year for the full season. That move by the Rays may have just as much impact... Sometimes the mind plays tricks on you. Last week the Phillies signed Christopher Walker to a minor league deal but my mind kept on seeing it as Christopher Walken. I guess I just wanted that to be true... Nice article on Mayor Lou Merloni. I've been on the Lou Merloni bandwagon for years... The Celtics lost to the Lakers yesterday and in hindsight it's something you easily could have seen coming (I wish hindsight was available when I put my bet in).... Yesterday would have been Humphrey Bogart's 109th birthday. It still blows my mind that Ronald Reagan was the original choice to play Rick Blaine in the classic Casablanca... Tonight Central Michigan plays Florida Atlantic in the Motor City Bowl. This is basically a home game for Central Michigan and I expect them to win despite the number of times the announcers will note that Howard Schnellenberger has never lost a bowl game as a coach (5-0). I think the Chippewas cover the 7 points. I'm not so sure about the over/under. The game will be a shootout but over 68 points? I'll have to think about that one...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The George Washington Interview

Today A Large Regular is lucky enough to have been granted an interview with one of the if not the most important person in US history. President George Washington.

ARL: Thank you so much for joining us today.

GW: No problem Chris. I've long said, "Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company." I've decided to bend that rule to associate with you today.

: Ummm... thanks I guess. Today is an important anniversary in your personal history and also of course in the history of the United States. It was on this day back in 1783 that you resigned as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

GW: Chris, Chris, if I wanted to speak about history I would have given this interview to someone who knows history. Like Betsy or the guy over at Boston 1775. I came here to talk sports.

: Of course, of course. Well jumping right into it. Who do you like in tonight's Poinsettia Bowl?

: I will tell you right now that Ben Franklin likes Boise State because he's a big fan of gimmicks and gimmick plays. I, on the other hand, know the importance of a good defense and TCU has one of the best defenses in the country. It should be noted that both of TCU's losses came on the road. They just barely lost to Utah at Utah and also lost 35-10 to Oklahoma at Oklahoma. This game is at a neutral site and there's good reason why Boise State is the higher ranked team but TCU is still favored in the game by 3 points. Many people have pointed out that Chris Peterson has had extra time to prepare for TCU's defense but the same is also true of TCU. They have had extra time to prepare for Boise's offense. I recommend taking TCU and giving the 3 points.

ALR: Changing gears. Where do you think Mark Teixeira will sign?

GW: Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. I don't think Mark Teixeira will have such virtue. Is Teixeira a German name because at this point he seems to be no better than a Hessian mercenary to me. I weary of the entire situation. Let me just add that Mark Teixeira's next big hit in an important game may well be his first. A compiler of statistics is what he seems to me.

ALR: OK - going back to football. Tomorrow's Hawaii Bowl pits Hawaii against Notre Dame. Who do you like?

GW: Chris I believe that you should let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse. Has anyone been more afflicted this year than Notre Dame fans? I have never been a fan of Popes or Popery but I do have compassion for the Golden Domers. That said - you should never bet with your heart and the amount of my purse that I can risk because it would make me feel good is very low. These two teams have met only twice before with Notre Dame winning both games but by only a combined 7 points. It is interesting to note that Vegas started out with Hawaii as a 1.5 point favorite but the line has moved to Notre Dame giving 2 points. In my eyes this game comes down to whether the Fighting Irish can pressure Hawaii QB Greg Alexander and turnovers. My heart tells me to take Notre Dame in this game but my head tells me not to risk too much.

ALR: Thank you so much for joining me today.

: My pleasure Chris and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Thanks for Nothing

I pick on SI's Jon Heyman because sometimes he deserves it. For what he wrote in today's Hot Stove New Tracker he deserves it. Let me address two specific quotes:
Things appear to be heating up in the Mark Teixeira talks, and baseball people believe now that Teixeira will have a new team before Christmas.
Two things - first anyone who follows baseball knows that most top free agents are signed before Christmas because both the player and the team signing them don't won't these things hanging over their heads during the holidays. That's common knowledge and common sense. Second - who are these "baseball people"? The hotdog vendors at Yankee Stadium? A couple of other sportswriters you spoke with over beers? Are these the same baseball people who told you that the Yankees would offer Bobby Abreu arbitration or the ones who told you A-Rod was close to signing with the Giants?

Second quote:
The Red Sox, disappointed when they failed to make a deal with Teixeira late last week, are still viewed as the favorite by most executives on other teams, though it's not known whether that's inside information or guesswork.
See - right there is the problem. Heyman can't tell the difference between inside information and guesswork. His readers don't have that problem though. It's clear that just about everything Heyman tosses out there is guesswork and not inside information.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Abe Vigoda

Abe Vigoda is still alive.

That is all.
Yankees 2009 Starting Rotation

So far this off-season the Yankees have added CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett but they have also lost Mike Mussina to retirement and Andy Pettitte is a free agent who may not be returning. So in essence you have added two starting pitchers and have probably lost 2 starting pitchers. How do the pairs compare? Using 2008 numbers:

Sabathia 17-10 / 35 GS / 253 IP / 76 ER / 2.70 ERA
Burnett 18-10 / 35 GS / 221 IP / 100 ER / 4.07 ERA
Combined 35-20 / 70 GS / 474 IP / 3.34 ERA / 6.77 IP/GS

Mussina 20-9 / 34 GS / 200 IP / 75 ER / 3.37 ERA
Pettitte 14-14 / 33 GS / 204 IP / 103 ER / 4.54 ERA
Combined 34-23 / 67 GS / 404 IP / 3.97 ERA / 6 IP/GS

The incoming tandem had 1 more win and 3 fewer losses (and yes I know how subjective wins and losses are). Even if you added 4 additional wins to the Yankees in 2008 - they still would have finished in 3rd place.

Probably most significant among the above stats is the fact that the new combo pitched about 1 more inning per start than the old combo. The Yankees bullpen was a weak spot for the team last year (and probably next as well) so going deeper into a start is a big plus. The caveat that has to be noted is that both CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett had their career bests in innings pitched last year. Asking them to match those numbers may be asking too much. It is very likely that the extra inning per start will evaporate and the production levels will be along the lines of what Mussina and Pettitte contributed.

An independent measurement of a player's contributions is Bill James' Win Share Method (where 4 win shares = one team win). Here's how the 4 players did in 2008:

Sabathia 25 WS
Mussina 18 WS
Burnett 14 WS
Pettitte 11 WS

Based upon those numbers the incoming duo had 10 more win shares which translates to 2.5 more wins. Which again wouldn't have been enough to have gotten the Yankees out of 3rd place last season.

I guess this is a long way to explain that Yankee fans shouldn't be placing orders for World Series travel plans quite yet.
Florida Gator Girls

In case you needed an extra reason to root for Florida over Oklahoma.

Here you go
Jamarcus Janikowski

Heh heh - this is pretty amusing.

And I agree - Jamarcus Janikowski would be a badass name.
Christmas Humor

I got a big kick out of this cartoon.

Remember - three more shopping days till Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heh Heh

Found this via Deadspin:
"We're going to go out to the parking lot. I am going to remove my britches and get and maintain an erection in front of at least 55 drunken sweatpants wearing oafs in the waning light of this 31 degree Sunday afternoon, and then I am going to somehow dominate you physically, and put my penis inside of you. And, sure, my knees might get scuffed up on this gravel. And you might not stop punching me in the face and throat, but you are going to become pregnant....And that will teach you to root for the New York Jets so enthusiastically."

That is a scenario that can only come from someone from Buffalo's mind.
Funny stuff but it only addresses the hypothetical conception. It's the ripping and tearing involved in the hypothetical delivery that makes me cringe. Would the Joe Pesci Jr. offspring come out of the guy's ass?

I also couldn't help remember that James Carville was once described as the offspring from the love scene in the movie Deliverance.
Sunday Funnies

I saw these over at The Sports Frog and thought I'd share them here.

Dear Abby,

I have never written to you before, but I really need your advice.

I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs; phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up. My wife has been going out with 'the girls' a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, just some friends from work, you don't know them.

I try to stay awake and look out for her when she comes home, but I usually fall asleep. Anyway, I have never broached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just did not want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to finally check on her. Around midnight, I hid in the garage behind my hockey equipment so I could get a good view of the whole street when she arrived home from a night out with 'the girls.'

When she got out of the car she was buttoning up her blouse, and she took her panties out of her purse and slipped them on. It was at that moment, crouching behind my hockey gear, that I noticed a hairline crack where the blade meets the graphite shaft on my new one piece hockey stick.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the pro-shop where I bought it?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mark Teixeira

Here are some things to ponder while waiting for Mark Teixeira to announce where he will be playing for the next 8 to 10 years.

- Teixeira was huge for the Angels after being traded for. In 54 games he hit a blistering .358 with an OPS of 1.081. He also hit .379 with a 1.130 OPS in 30 home games for the Angels. He clearly was comfortable hitting for the Angels.

- If the Angels fail to sign Teixeira then that means that they traded Casey Kotchman and prospect Stephen Marek for just 54 games of Teixeira. The Angels have added incentive to make sure they didn't lose Kotchman for just a rental.

- In his career Teixeira has played 19 games at Fenway Park and he has hit an anemic .194 with a lousy .637 OPS in those games. I know that screams out "SMALL SAMPLE SIZE" but you have to think that psychologically Teixeira does not have fond memories of hitting at Fenway like he does at Angels Stadium.

- The Red Sox have made it clear that they will not go to a 10-year commitment for Teixeira. What they have in effect done is tell other teams, "Hey if you want to knock us out of the running - just go the extra two years on the deal." The Red Sox don't normally comment during a negotiation unless they have a reason. Here the reason seems to be that the Red Sox are not as serious about signing Teixeira as is being made out. If the Red Sox were truly serious there would be no comment from anyone until the deal was done.

What this points to in my mind is the Angels getting Mark Teixeira signed to a mega deal that will probably be 8-years in length with 2 option years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top 5 Songs About Boxing

This post over at the Straight White Guy got me thinking. The Zevon song Boom Boom Mancini has always been mesmerizing to me but where does it stand in relation to the other songs about boxing? Here's my attempt at listing the top 5.

1. Hurricane by Bob Dylan
2. Boom Boom Mancini by Warren Zevon
3. Song for Sonny Liston by Mark Knopfler
4. The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel (ummm... maybe a bit of a stretch despite the title of the song)
5. Black Superman - Muhammad Ali by Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band

Geez - there's not a whole lot of quality songs about boxing. Maybe I'm missing some songs but I struggled to fill out the list. I almost had to go with Eye of the Tiger by Survivor to fill out the list.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations for a Tuesday morning.

Doug in Hillsboro, NH is right. When I was speaking about Rajon Rondo and Dustin Pedroia being small in stature but large of heart and courage - I should have put Wes Welker of the Patriots in the same group. Nobody is more fearless going over the middle than Welker and now he's in elite company becoming just the 8th receiver in NFL history to have back-to-back 100 plus reception seasons... I have to agree with Charles Barkley - Turner Gill's resume is more impressive than Gene Chizik's. I don't know if race played a part in the choice but I really can't understand how Turner Gill hasn't been snapped up by a big program yet... Jamie Moyer was given a 2-year contract by the Phillies. Most of the reaction has focused on Moyer's age. What seems to be lost is the fact is that Moyer went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA last year. Without Moyer the Phillies may have not made the playoffs last year and never have gotten the chance to win the World Series.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Ghost of Todd Karns Inteview

A Large Regular is lucky to have gotten the chance to interview the Ghost of Todd Karns best known to most as the man who played Harry Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life.

GOTK: See that right there was my biggest problem. I was just 25 when that movie was made and despite my good looks and acting background - both of my parent were actors - after that movie I was forever known as the guy who played Harry Bailey. Talk about being typecast. After It's a Wonderful Life I was relegated to either bit TV guest roles or uncredited movie roles because every time went into a casting office the people would say, "Hey - it's Harry Bailey." I had to open my own theater in Mexico to get away from it.

ALR: I'm sorry. I didn't realize.

GOTK: Oh don't get me wrong. I loved that movie. It was great working with all of those folks. Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra and Donna Reed were as nice in real life as you could possibly imagine. It's just that I guess I get a little bitter that for some reason I was the only one type-cast. It's like Mark Hamill in Star Wars to a lesser degree I guess.

ALR: One of my favorite actors was Ward Bond. He was always great as the buddy or the foil or just an added character in a movie. Besides It's a Wonderful Life he was in Sergeant York, Fort Apache, Gentleman Jim, Mister Roberts and perhaps my favorite Ward Bond role as Father Lonergan in The Quiet Man. I bring him up because there's always been something that bothered me about his role are Bert the Cop in It's a Wonderful Life. At the end when Bert was supposed to have been rushing you from the airport he shows up at George Bailey's house not just with you but also with an accordion which never gets played. What was up with that?

GOTK: You know I don't know but now that you mention it that is strange. It's like a random prop. Why an accordion? If you think about it - it's just as strange as if he showed up with a fishing pole or some other random item. Maybe Ward was supposed to play Ode to Joy on it or something but that got cut. I had never thought about that, "Hey Harry I know we are in an awful rush but can you hold on a minute while I grab my accordion?" That's just strange now that you mention it.

ALR: Thank you so much for your time.

GOTK: You're welcome. And a Merry Christmas to all of your readers.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

If I Were Theo for a Day

There's a glimmer of hope that Jake Peavy could be open to a trade to the Red Sox:
“Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. If Jake's ever going to accept anything to the American League – and I don't want this to be taken wrong – I can safely say that it's going to be the Yankees or Red Sox or maybe the Angels. Those teams are going to be in contention and are going to spend money. If there were circumstances where he would be asked to go to the AL, kicking and screaming, those are the three places.”
That being the case - if I were Theo Epstein I'd make a blockbuster offer to the Padres. The offer I'd make would be something like Clay Buchholz, Lars Andersen, Oscar Tejada and maybe two minor prospects for Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez. That's three of the top 10 prospects in the Red Sox organization.

From the Red Sox perspective - Peavy gives the Red Sox perhaps the best starting rotation in baseball (Peavy, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matuzaka - all potential 20-game winners) and Gonzalez would give them a young power bat for the middle of the order. Gonzalez is exactly the type of hitter the Red Sox are trying to get via their offers to Mark Teixeira but he would come without the 7-year plus mega deal. They would be giving up top prospects but all of them are blocked - Buchholz by Peavy, Andersen by Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis. Tejada is blocked by Jed Lowrie.

From the Padres perspective - they would be able to shave $12.5 million off the 2009 payroll. They would also get two MLB ready players who could be stars and one player who is about a year away. The offer I propose above is perhaps the best offer the Padres would see from anyone.

I like the idea of including Buchholz because he originally came to the Red Sox as the compensation pick for losing Pedro Martinez. I like the symmetry of losing one Cy Young Aw ard winner eventually leading to the Red Sox getting another.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Saying

Yes the Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a big contract but how will that convert into wins and losses for the Yankees? I have long believed that the first year in the Bronx is taxing on any pitcher and even the biggest names have struggled in their first season. Here's how the last 6 big name pitchers have fared during their first year at the House that Ruth built.

Carl Pavano - 4-6 with a 4.73 ERA
Randy Johnson - 17-8 with a 3.79 ERA
Kevin Brown - 10-6 with a 4.09 ERA
Javier Vazquez - 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA
Roger Clemens - 14-10 with a 4.60 ERA
Mike Mussina - 17-11 with a 3.15

Everyone is optimistic that CC won't be overwhelmed by the experience of playing in the Big Apple. The argument goes that his temperament and his experience of playing in the American League will cancel out any extra pressure of playing for the Yankees in New York. That clearly hasn't been the case historically.

The Yankees will be lucky to get 17 wins out of Sabathia. Lucky! More likely they are looking at 14 (if history is any guide). Keep in mind that Sabathia is taking Mussina's slot and Mussina finally won 20 for the Yankees in the 8th and final year of his contract. Everyone was optimistic that given the run support of the Yankees that the super free agent Mussina could be penciled in for 20 wins a year. How did that work out? How many rings does Mussina have again?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Player Comparison

Here's another interesting player comparison. Take a look at these minor league numbers of two slugging first basemen:

Player A: 48 G / 171 AB / 10 HR / 28 RBI / .316 BA / .994 OPS
Player B: 41 G / 133 AB / 5 HR / 30 RBI / .316 BA / .962 OPS

Player A is Mark Teixeira and the numbers are from when he was a 22-year old at AA Tulsa.

Player B is Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson and the numbers are from last year at AA Portland. Anderson will be 22-years old next year. Here's something to note from the linked page:
Upside potential: All-Star-caliber first baseman that will contend for batting titles and RBI crowns, with plenty of homers to boot.
That's a description of Mark Teixeira. And that description of Lars Anderson is perhaps the main reason why the Red Sox won't be signing Mark Teixeira.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Player Comparison

Here’s an interesting player comparison between two All-Star first basemen with Gold Glove caliber fielding. Both went to college and both had played all or parts of six seasons in the big leagues before the age of 29.

Player A: 904 G / 3414 AB / 566 R / 989 H / 203 HR / 676 RBI
Player B: 821 G / 2921 AB / 582 R / 973 H / 186 HR / 623 RBI

Player B had been to 3 All-Star games, won 2 Gold Gloves and won a batting and RBI title all before the age of 29. Player A has been to one All-Star game and won 2 Gold Gloves. We are talking about two very, very comparable players here.

Player A is Mark Teixeira who is currently seeking a 10-year contract through his agent Scott Boras. That contract would tie a team to Teixeira for better or worse until age 38.

Player B is Todd Helton who signed a 9-year contract with a one-year 2012 team option (or $4.6 million buyout) in 2003. Essentially Helton’s contract was 10-years in length. Essentially Helton signed his long-term deal at the same age Teixeira is seeking his.

Seeing how comparable the players were up until their age 28 seasons – it would stand to reason that Helton could serve as a preview of what to expect from Teixeira. Oh and if you want to discount Helton due to the Coors Field effects also keep in mind that is probably more than off-set by the fact that Helton remained very healthy in the first 5-years of the contract (averaging better than 151 games per season). Many people view Helton’s contract as an albatross that the Rockies have had to carry these past few years. Will Teixeira’s contract be viewed in the same light a few years hence?

Buyer beware.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Top 5 - Christmas Songs by Rock Stars

1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen
2. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
3. Father Christmas - The Kinks
4. God Rest Ye Merry Genlemen - Bare Naked Ladies
5. Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby and David Bowie
Omar Vizquel

I feel bad for Omar Vizquel. With the Giants signing Edgar Renteria it could be all over for Omar Vizquel. Here's something I wrote about the possible Hall of Fame Class of 2014:
Finally you have the case of Omar Vizquel who deserves induction as one of the greatest defensive shortstops in history (11 Gold Gloves). It can be argued that Vizquel was the better all-around player than Ozzie Smith but my guess is if he tries to go in with all these other greats then unfortunately he gets greatly overshadowed.
I think that still holds. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and maybe Jeff Kent and Pedro Martinez will overshadow Vizquel and he won't get his due. It's sad but true.

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are also the reason Mike Mussina won't get voted in. The true reason Mussina should get passed over is because he doesn't belong but it will be the overshadowing of Maddux and Glavine (and maybe Pedro Martinez if Pedro doesn't play another season) that will cause Mussina to be overlooked in reality.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Plaxico Burress on Gun Safety (NSFW Language)

HT Little Green Footballs
Dustin Pedroia and Rajon Rondo

Almost any time Rajon Rondo is on the floor - he's the smallest guy on the court. Any time Dustin Pedroia takes the field it's a given that he's the smallest guy out there. Yet neither player's heart and talent can be measured by their size.

Early this summer the argument was about whether Dustin Pedroia deserved to be an All-Star. It was argued that Ian Kinsler was more deserving. By the end of the year Pedrioa was the MVP even though he was on a team with All-Stars like David Ortiz.

The latest talk-radio produced argument in Boston is whether Rajon Rondo is an All-Star. Some are saying that Devan Harris is more worthy. Now I'm not predicting that Rajon Rondo is going to win the MVP but if you've had a chance to watch the Celtics this season you'd see that like Pedroia with the Red Sox - Rondo is the heart of the Celtics.

Boston fans are lucky to have two such passionate "small" men. I hope fans take the time to appreciate them because both players play with such abandon and disregard for their bodies that injuries are almost to be expected.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Vazquez to the Braves

The White Sox have supposedly traded starter Javier Vazquez to the Braves.
In exchange for Vazquez and relief pitcher Boone Logan, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves will send four young players to the White Sox: catcher Tyler Flowers, third baseman Jon Gilmore, pitcher Santos Rodriguez and infielder Brent Lillibridge. Lillibridge is a player White Sox GM Ken Williams has been after for awhile.
Lillibridge may be the best known but catcher Tyler Flowers may be the real diamond in the group. The Braves have Brian McCann standing in Flowers way - so he was expendable but two years from now he very well could be the American League Geovany Soto.

Many, many people are down on Vazquez as a soft pitcher without enough heart to match his God given skills. It could be that in the more polite than passionate atmosphere of Atlanta - that Vazquez finds his game. With the trade of Vazquez to the Braves - I can't help but think of Russ Ortiz who went 36-16 in two full seasons in Atlanta. In any case - if Vazquez is anything but a #4 starter for the Braves then Atlanta will once again miss the playoffs.
Peter Gammons Interview

Excellent interview with Peter Gammons by the Fire Brand of the American League. Two things I want to comment on:
They look at Teixeira at age 28 and see a star who can produce for an easy eight years, then figure out what to do with everyone else. I don't think they're in the mode of refusing to be outbid; they never work that way. But with the age of Ortiz and Lowell, to put Teixeira in with Youkilis and Pedroia in their primes would give them offensive predictability.
Spot on. See if you can get Teixeira first and then figure out everything else from there. The days of "Vince Coleman? Where would we play him?" are over.
This ownership looked around and saw there's no land for a new park, and they've done a brilliant job marketing Fenway and the Red Sox brand. There is a limited ceiling to revenues, but I can't believe they will not remain in the top 3-5 in revenues even with the $2500-a-seat tickets at the new Yankee Stadium. How about those tradeoffs to give Mayor Bloomberg his luxury box.
The scarcity of seats at Fenway is a huge plus for the Red Sox ownership in terms of NESN revenue. The local TV revenue they don't have to share with other teams. This makes them very profitable. The Red Sox have the best of all worlds here. They get to play the keepers of the public's trust by not just keeping Fenway but making it even nicer - a Disneyland-like destination for baseball fans and they also get fans to make NESN part of the basic cable package at every cable operator so every cable viewer in New England basically has to pay for it.
A Christmas Classic

It's A Wonderful Life.

In 30 seconds.

Acted by cartoon bunnies.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

One Nation Under God

The Rev. George M. Docherty, who is credited with getting the words "under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance, has passed away.

"Under God" was added to the Pledge in 1954 during the height of the Cold War. Literally added at a time when many felt the end of the world could be at hand because of nuclear bombs - the words helped differentiate our country from that of the "Godless" Communist Russians who could not pledge allegiance to both God and their country at the same time.

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes and it is also true that at times of combat our country turns to God. The words "Under God" being added when they were is a prime example. Another example is the words "In God We Trust" being added to our currency during the Civil War. Church attendance soaring after 9/11 is another exhibit of the country turning to God in times of stress.

Many believe that much of this stems from the fact that God is not mentioned at all in our Constitution. That has always bothered some. They are afraid it makes the United States itself a Godless country. Or that it shows a lack of gratitude for the freedom and bounty the country enjoys.

Perhaps the best resource for the relationship of Christianity and the United States is the book Head and Heart: A History of Christianity in America by Garry Wills. I highly recommend the book.

Jon Heyman - Flipflopper

Back on November 18th Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees had decided to offer Bobby Abreu arbitration.
The Yankees have decided to offer star outfielder Bobby Abreu arbitration, people familiar with their thinking tell SI.com. However, it remains more likely that he will sign elsewhere as a free agent.
Here's what he wrote today:
The Yankees will not offer arbitration to free agents Andy Pettitte and Bobby Abreu, SI.com has learned. The Yankees did not want to chance taking either player to arbitration since both players made $16 million in 2008 and stood to make even more than that in arbitration. Both players can still re-sign with the Yankees though only Pettitte appears to have a good chance to do so.
Was Jon Heyman just throwing stuff against the wall back in mid-November? Is he doing so now? If I had a dollar for every time Heyman was wrong about something in print - then I'd be able to buy that ivory backscratcher I've been longing for.
Football Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous football thoughts and observations.

OK - I'll say it. The Patriots are not a Super Bowl team with Matt Cassel at quarterback and for the long run they are better off missing the playoffs this year. To some that seems like an obvious statement but others have had their reason clouded by a couple of 400-yard passing days by Cassel. I'm not down on Cassel because of yesterday's performance - it's just the way it is. Tom Brady does make this team a Super Bowl contender (if not favorite) and a higher draft pick this year in the long run is more beneficial than making the playoffs this season... The Patriots are a completely different team with Tom Brady at QB. Same too the Cowboys with and without Tony Romo. I just wanted to mention that I first heard of Romo when he was at Eastern Illinois where he won the Walter Payton Award his senior year (2002). I say this because Dominic Randolph of Holy Cross could very well be the next Tony Romo. Randolph is one of the 16 finalists for the Walter Payton Award this season. I've been on the Randolph bandwagon for a long time. Remember where you first heard his name when he gets drafted by an NFL team this spring... I can easily see the Eagles dumping both Coach Andy Reid and QB Donovan McNabb and replacing them with Patriots' Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels and free agent QB Matt Cassel. Reid and McNabb have brought that team as far as they can and everything else is going to be downhill. McDaniels and Cassel would bring a fresh energy to the team and the fanbase. I think Philadelphia would be a Super Bowl contender with the new duo. They have a better overall team than New England. They have a better defense and they have Brian Westbrook (Walter Payton Award winner in 2001). Romeo Crennel may also be available to be McDaniels' Defensive Coordinator at the end of the year. Tell me Philly fans wouldn't get excited about those changes?... Remind me not to bet on a game where either the Denver Broncos or New York Jets are involved. You never know what team will show up... Plaxico Burress has played his last game for the New York Jets. Maybe the strict Catholic Tom Coughlin had his prayers answered? "Dear God - can you please do something about Plaxico Burress? I don't want him hurt bad but I would really appreciate it if you could get him out of my life."