Friday, July 31, 2009

Slice of Life

So I was in Minneapolis a while back and had some time to kill one night. I asked a friend from the area in my Boston accent if he knew of any poker bars because I was in the mood to play cards. He looked at me for a minute and then replied, "Try Nye's Polonaise it's close by to where you are staying."

So try Nye's I did. It was close by and it has a great reputation (named the best bar in America by Esquire). I was completely underwhelmed. I sat at the bar and asked the bartender if they played poker there (thinking there may have been a back room or another floor or something).

"Did you say poker?"

"Yeah poker - you know Texas Hold'em."

"Sorry no cards here."

"Hmmm... my friend told me that this was a poker bar."

"Maybe he was having fun with you. This is a polka bar."

Damn - me and my Boston accent - dropping the R's off words bit me in the ass that time.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Ever noticed that nobody ever gets killed on the show Burn Notice? I think it would be a much better show if one the bad guys actually died a gruesome-had-it-coming death every once in a while... After shutting out the Rockies yesterday - the only team the Mets' Johan Santana has not faced is the Minnesota Twins - which is understandable if you think about it for a minute... I still wonder what impact the awful contracts of Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood had on the decision of the Indians to deal Cliff Lee. Westbrook is on the books for $11 million next year while Wood will waste up $10.5 million of salary... Quote of the Day: "I try to live in the now- where the ghosts of old wrongs do not abide." Captain Nemo - from the movie League of Extraordinary Gentlemen... "The Grotto for People in Love" would be a good name for a bar. I wouldn't go to such a place but it would be a good name nonetheless... WTF? Ted Keith of SI writes a piece on the Phillies rotation with Cliff Lee and neglects to mention Joe Blanton even once...
Crazy Roy Halladay Trade Proposal

Just tossing this out there but if I were the Red Sox GM for today - this is a package I'd offer to Toronto for Roy Halladay. I would offer Clay Buchholtz (everyone has him in a package), Manny Delcarmen or Justin Masterson (JP Riccardi gets to pick one), a lower level prospect and Jonathan Papelbon.

Yup - Jonathan Papelbon.

That would be the package. Four quality players for Halladay with one being a big name who is a current All-Star and one of the premier closers in the game. And if JP Riccardi wasn't interested in Papelbon (who is under team control for another two years) - then hey flip him to another team for a top prospect or two. The Blue Jays could get as many as five or six top prospects in this deal.

From the Red Sox perspective - they would be getting one of the top starters in the game. Replacing Buchholz in the rotation with Halladay would be awesome. Boston can afford to lose Papelbon because they have Josh Bard ready to step in with his overpowering fastball to become the new Papelbon. What many outside of Boston don't realize is that Papelbon is setting himself up to leave as a free agent after two years and that talk along with his inconsistent performance have soured many Boston fans on the closer.

So let it be written. So let it be done.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

David Ortiz

Today comes the news that David Ortiz flunked a drug test for performance enhancing drugs back in 2003. Is anyone really that surprised?

I travel a lot and I recently had a long conversation about this very eventuality with a cabbie on the way to the airport in Dallas. The cabbie asked if I thought Ortiz was juicing and I responded something along the lines of:
As a Boston fan I really hope not. However, as a parent you would have to be naive to think that even though your kid hangs around with kids who smoke pot that your kid has never tried it. Miguel Tejada, A-Rod, Manny and a few others Big Papi hangs around with down in the Dominican have all flunked drug tests. You would have to be blind not to see the possibility. I don't even blame the players. Look at Rafael Palmeiro who was born poor but made over $100 million playing baseball. He made that money because he juiced. His name is mud in baseball now but he secured the future for his kids and grandkids. They'll never know hunger. I can't blame him at all.
If Ortiz flunked a drug test in 2003 then that would have been within 12 months of having been released by the Twins. Ortiz has made about $57 million since then. Think about that - from being released to making over $57 million. Would you have tried steroids if you were in his shoes? I'm pretty sure I would have.
USS Indianapolis

On this day in 1945 a Japanese sub fired on and sank the USS Indianapolis. The sinking of the Indianapolis set up Captain Quint's mesmerizing soliloquy in the movie Jaws:
Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that when you're in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn't know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin', so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named "The Battle of Waterloo" and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark go away... but sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces. You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist. Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us... he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened... waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.
I get chills just reading that. I can't imagine what the real survivors of the Indianapolis must have gone through.
Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama

Just saying but you could pretty much replace the name Barack Obama in this Michael Barone piece with the name Jimmy Carter and the message and history would remain almost exactly the same.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm adding a couple of links to my blogroll.

First up is Jeff Pearlman. I don't always agree with his takes but he's writes in an interesting, intelligent manner that makes it worth the read whether you agree with him or not.

Second is Sexy Archaeology. I think if Dirk Pitt was a real person that he'd read Sexy Archaeology. I'm adding Sexy Archaeology to the blogroll because Dirk Pitt would want it.

If you can think of any sites you think I'd like - please let me know about them in the comments.

Also just a reminder - you can also follow me on Twitter @ALargeRegular
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Alex Rodriguez needs one more run to pass Cal Ripken for 31st place all-time with 1648. You know that passing Ripken means something to A-Rod... My respect for Bono just dropped several notches. On Twitter he's following both Tony Robbins (not much of a problem) but Yoko Ono? WTF?... Who knew? Eric Aybar of the Angels is the hottest hitter in MLB - hitting .420 over the last 30 days. Aybar's improved performance this year is in large part due to cutting down his strikeouts from 1 every 7.69 AB to 1 every 9.23 AB... Quote of the day: "God is an intelligible sphere, whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere" How deep is that?... With Boston retiring Jim Rice's #14 - I wonder how many Red Sox fans will now starting playing Keno slips with the numbers 1,4,6,8,9,14 and 27? All 7 numbers wins $5k on a $1 bet using the Mass Lottery... Way cool - Billy Mays Gangsta Remix - now the scratch has met its match!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Politics as Poetry

Today's poetry is brought to you by the letters, R, N and C.

Sarah Palin's speech as poetry. Very good.

However, Donald Rumsfeld remains the standard against which all other would be poets are measured.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian are done. Maybe Barack Obama should invite Bush and Kardashian to the White House for a beer to help work out their differences?... Boston College's football team was picked to finish last in the ACC. I put $20 on them anyway since it would return $1200 if they turned all Cinderella on us. What's $20 compared to the bragging rights I'd win with that bet?... Excellent analysis of the Ryan Garko trade from the Indians to the Giants... This quote is so spot on: "I think the Obama administration has been spending political capital at roughly the same rate the federal government spends money. Eventually, it runs out," Paul Light professor at New York University. A similar sentiment can be made for Obama's TV appearances. Use them up all at once and they lose effectiveness. Spread them out and people will pay attention. Obama has been on TV more often than Billy Mays but without Mays' eloquence... Very good look at A's GM Billy Beane by ESPN's Howard Bryant... Maybe Wilpon and the Mets took so long to fire Tony Bernazard because Bernazard was the one who got Wilpon into Amway sales and Wilpon was afraid that it would affect his pyramid?...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Obama and Golf

I don't think golfing once a week is excessive at all. Obama playing 10 times in 10 weeks is a non-story story in my eyes. Good for him I say. I disagree with the nickname of "The First Duffer" though. Given the facts that he golfs once a week, his policies are extremely wasteful and will probable lead to him being a one-term President - I think the Suessian nickname of "The Onceler" would fit much better.

The most interesting thing for me about the story was the update on what Reggie Love is doing. I lost track of Reggie Love after the defense of Brad Renfro in The Client.
Strange Dream

I awoke to a strange dream this morning. I was in the OSS / CIA / paratroopers - something along those lines and was assigned the job of going into Germany and killing Hitler. This wasn't war-time Hitler though. This was didn't kill himself in the bunker but instead went to jail for many years and now is out and is hosting the very popular German version of the Price is Right Hitler. (I said at the top that it was a strange dream).

I get to the show and am standing on the side when a beautiful blonde jumps in front of the TV camera holding a sign and starts singing. I assume that it is some sort of protest and that she's singing the forbidden national anthem of her homeland but then it dawns on me that she's singing "You Light Up My Life" in German. Hitler, in full military uniform, claps for her and says, "How wonderful." Just then Hitler notices his cameraman his not feeling right. The cameraman is dizzy and Hitler is concerned for him. I can tell instinctually that these two men have been together for many years. Hitler apologizes to the crowd but insists that the cameraman goes off and rest because he obviously isn't feeling well.

My eyes follow the cameraman who schleps off and up some stairs. As the cameraman reaches the balcony he looks over and his expression suddenly turns to shock and horror. A gunshot is heard and the cameraman yells "NO!" I just know that his yell is not out of concern for Hitler (who was just murdered off screen as it were) but for the fact that he'd been filming Hitler for years but didn't have his camera rolling and on him when his end finally came. The cameraman is depressed and I awake.

Two things about the dream. I don't know if I was the one to shoot Hitler (I'm sure that has some psychological ramifications) and I can't understand why Hitler didn't die "on screen". Bad guys are supposed to die on screen. I hope my subconscious isn't going all Marge Schott on me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Really? Roy Halladay's real name is Harry Leroy Halladay. Harry Halladay? Yeah really... How funny is it that sponsors the Johan Santana page on I find it very funny!... With his loss today - John Smoltz of the Red Sox tied George Bradley for 154th place on the all-time list with 151 losses. George Bradley once lost 40 games in 1879 playing for the Troy Trojans. Wow - 40 games! Times sure have changed.... If John Smoltz happens to ever win another game for the Red Sox - he'll tie Chief Bender for 88th place on the all-time wins list with 212 wins. Though John Smoltz is widely acknowledged as playoff tough - Chief Bender pitched 3 complete games in the 1911 World series. That's playoff impressive... I don' understand that KGB service. Is it for people too stupid or lazy to use Google or Bing?... The Tigers Edwin Jackson needs just 4 more to match his total from last season. Truly a tale of two seasons...
Henry Louis Gates

The House to introduce bill on Monday asking President Obama to apologize to Sergeant Crowley.

How long before people start to refer to this kerfuffle as "Gates-gate"?

I'm amused by the reminder that it was the aftermath of a break-in that brought down President Nixon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Interesting piece by Bill James regarding steroids and the HOF. I agree with James that steroids, hormones and other wonder drugs will most likely be a large part of our culture in the future. However, his talk of wonder drugs and sexuality make me think of Aldous Huxley and his vision of the future in Brave New World. That never came to be. Overall I find James' logic to be flawed... OJ said wear Spot-bilt's or he'd kill our moms... Cool blog - Sexy Archaeology. $500 million treasures, killer asteroids, and 4,000 year old keg parties - and that's just the latest post... Since being traded to the Mets - Johan Santana has been 27-15 with a 2.74 ERA in the DH-less NL. During that same time Jon Lester has been 24-13 with a 3.45 ERA in the tough AL East. Given the age difference and salary difference - I don't think I would trade Lester for Santana straight up... Heh heh- OJ went bad only after he switched from Dingo's to Bruno Magli's... Today should have been Walter Payton's 55th birthday... Heh heh - failure to thrive, and fatigue... Today used to be the Feast of Saint Christopher in the Catholic Church. You may have guessed that St. Christopher would logically be very close to my heart...
Henry Louis Gates II

OK - instead of acknowledging it was a mistake to become embroiled in a local police matter President Obama has decided to get even more involved in the issue calling both Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police Sergeant James M. Crowley and inviting them to get together at the White House for a beer.

So instead of this not being a national issue at all if President Obama didn't get involved - it has been the issue that has been the most divisive in the country these last few days. Police unions are upset with the President because no matter how much he backtracks - he called a cop "stupid". Now if Crowley and Gates get together at the White House - this will also be the issue that leads the news cycle to start of the week as well. And this President was supposed to be media savvy?

Think on this - what if President Obama wants Crowley to apologize to Gates during the sitdown and Crowley refuses (which he should under the circumstances). If that happens and news gets out you will see Obama's approval ratings plummet. Obama has nothing to gain from being involved in this matter but he may be risking it all by putting himself at the center of it. What does that tell you about his judgment?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Henry Louis Gates

First off President Obama shouldn't have inserted himself into what is basically a local issue. Doing so will cost him support among law enforcement agencies across the country. It showed a lack of judgment on his part. However, it also may have showed loyalty to a man who may have been a mentor and role model to him.

Henry Louis Gates may been having had a bad day - who knows the real reason he was locked out of his house for instance. Something may have been going bad at work or in his personal life and then getting locked out of his own house was just the staw that broke the camel's back. Not showing ID to a police office and then making a "your momma" comment? Tremendous lack of judgment on the professor's part. Harvard must be very disappointed today.

The main point I wanted to make this morning though is the fact that Henry Louis Gates would be very wise to invest in a good security system ASAP because I'm guessing it would take a three-alarm fire to get Cambridge police or fire to respond to a call at his address now. If I was a burglar in the Boston area - I'd be casing Gates house right now because the Cambridge police may not respond to any calls to his home anymore. And who could blame them?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jake Peavy

Don't be surprised if the team who doesn't get Roy Halladay suddenly gets interested in trading for the injured Jake Peavy. Peavy would be under control for more years than Halladay and maybe ready for a September playoff push. Peavy could still be in a position to put a playoff contender over the top and with 3 more years on the contract - the prospects a team would give up could be more than justified.

Padres would love to dump his salary. Peavy makes $11 million this year and $15 mil in 2010, $16 mil in 2011 and $17 mil in 2012. That $5 million or so that the Padres would save this season would be huge for San Diego.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adam LaRoche II

Another thought on the Adam LaRoche trade in effect the Pirates traded closer Mike Gonzalez to Atlanta for 37 home runs and three prospects that will never make the big team.
Adam LaRoche

The Adam LaRoche trade when looked from the Red Sox point of view was the opportunity to pick up a player who can A: help the Red Sox against right-handed pitching and B: give them additional depth to rest Mike Lowell. The cost was basically nothing from the Red Sox point of view. They gave up two prospects who never were going to sniff the grass at Fenway as players and the $3 million remaining on LaRoche's 2009 contract is pocket change to Boston. In fact - with LaRoche a free agent at the end of the year - the draft pick they get if he signs elsewhere may yield a much better prospect than either the Red Sox gave up (combined).

From the Pirates point of view - this was a salary dump. That $3 million to them is a very big number.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Pope and the Crossword Puzzle

The Pope is working on a crossword puzzle and asks his assistant, "Can you think of a four-letter word for 'one type of woman' that ends in u-n-t?"

"How about aunt?" says the assistant.

"Oh, yeah," says the Pope. "You got an eraser?"
Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett needs 10 more starts this season to guarantee his $12 million 2010 option. However, the Red Sox like to rest their starters to make sure they are fresh for the playoffs. My guess is that sometime soon the Red Sox announce that they are picking up the 2010 option no matter what and are also looking at an extension for Beckett but that negotiations won't commence until after the season.

$12 million for a healthy Beckett is cheap and I'm guessing the Red Sox are trying to wait as long as possible to make sure he doesn't blow out his arm or anything. They won't wait too long though because they probably don't want to make this an issue like Pedro's option became a couple of years ago.
Shortstop - Defense Against the Dark Arts Position?

In the Harry Potter series of books we learn that Lord Voldemorte cursed the teaching position of Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts because if he can't have the position - then he didn't want anyone else to have to position either. After the curse - no teacher lasts longer than one year. Professor Quirrel, Professor Lockhart, Professor Lupin, Professor Moody, Professor Umbridge, Professor Snape.

Something similar seems to have happened with the Red Sox and the position of shortstop. Did Nomar curse the position on his way out the door? Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Nick Green. Can anyone hold on to this roster spot for more than one Hogwarts' school year worth of time?

I'm hoping that Jed Lowrie can break the spell but I also would be surprised if the shortstop was wide open again next year.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Heh heh - I'd play this or watch others play. It would be cool - you could pay the players in tickets to be redeemed for prizes... Childish - sure. Funny - you bet... It would be interesting if you could replace Steve Buschemi in every role he's ever played with Steve Burns the original guy from Blue's Clues... Today would have been the 72nd birthday of Richard Jordan who would have been first team in Bill Simons "That Guy" Hall of Fame". Jordan wasn't well known but you'd recognize him from his works in such films as Rooster Cogburn, Dune, The Secret to My Succe$$, and The Hunt for Red October. Jordan died of a brain tumor in 1993... Who knew? Great Britain was once the world champion at ice hockey. They won the Gold Medal at the 1936 Winter Olympics. I bet there's a story there.... Happy 58th birthday to one of the great baseball writers of this or any generation - Jason Stark...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Wire and the World

An in depth look at the show The Wire and what David Simon was trying to get across.

The full title of the article is "The Wire" and the World: Narrative and Metanarrative. It is a very encompassing article but the main flaw is that you just can't use Baltimore and the world David Simon projects as stand-ins for the rest of society. If you are a fan of the show - the article is worth the read. If you haven't been hooked by the show yet - then give it a pass.
Michael Lewis on AIG

This article has been out there for a while now but if you haven't made time to read about what really happened at AIG - take the time.

Well worth the read (as Michael Lewis almost always is). Joe Cassano sounds like a Grade A douchebag.

This video is all full of strange. Strange to see Steve Burns of Blue's Clues fame with a shaved head. Strange to hear him covering a They Might Be Giants song. Maybe strangest of all that the upbeat guy picked the existential Dead as the song he wanted to cover.

Pick of the Day

Today's pick of the day (POTD) is the Red Sox (-$112) with Brad Penny facing off against the Blue Jays and 38 points of Scrabble letters in Marc Rzepcynski. Penny is almost a lock these days to give you a quality start and the Red Sox MLB best bullpen is plenty rested. The Red Sox have been heating up while the Blue Jays have been cold.

POTD record 11-5 and plus a mythical $513
Julio Lugo Released

Let me just add my $.02 to Julio Lugo being DFA'd by the Red Sox.

I'm glad he's gone and I'm also glad that Lugo took the high road. It may have been Lugo's fault that he was so bad in the field but it wasn't his fault that the Red Sox overpaid him by so much. A friend of mine went to a Red Sox game last year with his daughter and he said Lugo couldn't have been nicer to the young girl. Maybe it's just me but I think on a very real level Lugo realizes that he hit the lottery with this contract with the Red Sox. Now he gets his money and he doesn't have to put up with "Red Sox Nation" constantly complaining about his contract and his contributions on the field. I'm as guilty as anyone and I'm glad not to have Julio Lugo to kick around anymore.

I bet Julio Lugo is just as glad - but much richer.
Top 5 - Strange Search Results

Some people have this site bookmarked. Others search for subjects I have commented on. Others get here via searches that i just don't understand. Here are 5 recent strange searches which ended up at A Large Regular.

1. Old ladies f*cking large dildos
2. Dan Rather is a jerk
3. Celebrity butt crack
4. Jennie Finch naked
5. Tressel rental for weddings

Friday, July 17, 2009

Red Sox Magic Number - 72

Starting off the second half of the season - the Red Sox magic number stands at 72.

I think most true Red Sox fans associate the number 72 as the reverse of 27 - the numbers Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk wore (72 with the White Sox and 27 with the Red Sox). Fisk is just one of eight people to have their uniform number retired by at least two teams.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Whitlock's Strange Tang would make a good name for a fantasy football team. Or a lesbian Motown cover band... Darvin Moon is the WSOP chip leader for the Main Event final table. According to Gene Bromberg - Darvin won his seat at a Wheeling WV casino and usually plays at the local VFW. What a great story it would be if Moon was to win it all. With Phil Ivey also at the final table - this could shape up to the equivalent of a local pro beating out Tiger Woods at the US Open... Kegs, pegs and eggs! Beer, cribbage and breakfast on a Sunday morning. What a great combo! If I were to open a bar - I definitely would do something line this every Sunday... Dreamt last night that Emo Philips was taking my order at a Starbucks. He kept screwing up the order. Maybe I was seeing into the future?... In Minneapolis there is an adult gift/sex toy shop called Lickety Split. I have the sense of humor of 12 yr old since I was amused by that. Still am...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jason Bay

Very cool first person account of attending the All-Star game by Jason Bay. I loved this part:
Or coming to realize that they just played a recording of the Canadian National Anthem instead of having somebody come in and sing it. That seemed strange, that they couldn’t find anybody in St. Louis who knew ‘Oh Canada.’ Morneau and I could have done it if they really needed somebody.
The bit about Ichiro was also funny. I'm guessing that Ichiro used a different word than "mess".
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Trivia Question: Who held the home run record before Babe Ruth came along?... Last night Bill Simmons was making excuses for Obama's weak first pitch saying that you had to give him a break because he was wearing a big bullet-proof vest. Some people can't drink enough of the cool-aid. George Bush wore the same vest but he didn't throw like a girl... Someone named David Wells cashed in 603rd place at the WSOP. Could this be Boomer Wells? $21k could buy a lot of hamburgers if it was... Interesting to note that Jim Thome of the White Sox has a CAREER OPS of .965 while Justin Morneau of the Twins has never equaled that OPS in a single season... I've become a fan of Michelob Golden. I understand that it has a very limited distribution area of just Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, Summit Extra Pale Ale is my new favorite Minnesota beer... Jon Heyman of SI speaking of the first pitch by Obama tweeted last night that George Bush's biggest tool was his pitching arm. I disagree. His biggest "tool" was Ari Fleisher... Trivia Answer: His name was Roger Connor and his old record for home runs was just 136

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Metrodome

I had a chance to visit the Metrodome on Sunday to see the Twins play the White Sox. I had a great time. I was really struck by the difference between going to a big market stadium (like Fenway Park) versus the small market experience of going to the Metrodome (no offense).

It started with the parking. I paid just $5 for parking just a couple of blocks away from the Metrodome. Then just out front of the stadium a scalper (probably the wrong term but I'll get to that in a minute) approached me asking if I needed a ticket. I said yes but I misheard him. I though he said "I have a good seat for $131." "I'm not paying that much for a ticket." "Whoa - don't speed away. How about the ticket for $20." It was then that I realized that he wasn't saying "$131" but actually "one for $31." I bought the ticket for $20 (less than face value so it wasn't scalping - more like discount retailing). The seat was 10 rows off the field down the third base line. I had almost the same seat at Fenway earlier this year and that ticket cost me $180.

Nice is the best word to describe the crowd and the people in general at the game. Very respectful. There was one thing I found amusing and wanted to comment on. During the singing of the National Anthem you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was standing still, all hats removed and many with hand over heart. However, at the Metrodome the American flag is in centerfield while the Canadian flag is behind home plate. Pretty much everyone in the stadium was facing towards home to watch Miss Minnesota sing the anthem. They were supposed to be facing the American flag. Instead they were, in a manner of speaking, paying homage to the Canadian flag instead. I found that amusing.

At Fenway Park - the game is the thing. Nothing extra. At the Metrodome there was all sorts of extras. Shooting T-shirts into the stands, a between innings pop fly challenge, a Blue Bunny (ice cream) promotion, etc. It was like being at a AAA game (no offense).

The Brats and beer were great but one thing that has to be noted was the trough-style urinals in the men's room. Stainless steel troughs. Augusta National is the only other major sporting venue that I can think of that still uses trough urinals. I wonder if trough-style will be used at the new stadium downtown?

One final note. About 80% of the shirts people were wearing at the game had Mauer or Morneau written on the back. There is no way that the Twins will allow either player to walk as a free-agent. No way.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Charlton Heston

Glenn Reynolds posted Charlton Heston's "cold dead hands" speech and notes that the speech could be considered mainstream today. This brought to mind something I posted about Heston a while back:
It seems to me that the political voyage of Charlton Heston is a reflection of the changes many in the country have also undergone these past 50 years. Heston was a civil rights crusader (he marched with Martin Luther king Jr.) and the Democrats asked him to run for Senate in California in 1969 but the left turn of the Democratic Party turned him off and made him more conservative in his views.

In the early 60's - Heston could have been the face of the Democratic Party. Now he's viewed as an icon of arch-conservatism. When you know the history - the transformation is enlightening. Chances are that Heston always remained the same person but it was the Democratic Party that changed.
Charlton Heston may be more relevant today than he ever was.
Pick of the Day

Tonight's pick of the day (POTD) is the Blue Jays (-$120) with hot rookie Ricky Romero facing off against the Orioles and Rich Hill who has not lasted longer than 4 innings in any of his last 4 home starts.

POTD record 11-4 and plus a mythical $633
Lugo vs Betancourt

The Mariners wanted to dump Yuniesky Betancourt and - voila! - the Royals obliged by taking his contract off their hands. The Royals gave up a couple of flotsam and jetsam prospects and will have to pay just $7 million of Betancourt's remaining contract ($2 mil in 2010, $3 million in 2011 and a $2 mil buyout in 2012). Joe Posnanski explains just how horrible Betancourt really is.

Reviewing the facts - I have to wonder where the Red Sox were on this deal? They are just as anxious to dump Julio Lugo and despite Lugo's current reputation - he's a much better player than Betancourt.

Fielding - Lugo has a -6.8 URZ this year and a -1.2 in 2008 but he's also been injured. What excuse does Betancourt have for his -8.3 2009 and -12.6 2008 numbers?

Base Running - Lugo is 15 for 19 in stolen base attempts the past two years. Betancourt is 7 for 12 in the same time period.

Hitting - Lugo may not be a great hitter but he's still better than Betancourt.

Sure Lugo is much older but honestly either player is just a rental for the Royals and the Red Sox could have made the finances work so that the Royals would be stuck for just $7 million overall for Lugo (same as Betancourt). Lugo's the better player for the Royals. I think this was a missed opportunity for the Red Sox to shed Lugo's contract.
Red Sox Magic Number - 76

With the Red Sox win and Yankees loss - the Red Sox magic number is now 76.

The atomic number of osmium is 76. Osmium is a member of the platinum family and is the densest natural element. The second densest natural element is sports talk radio discussions regarding the trade value of Roy Halliday.

The number 76 also happens to be the registry number of the U.S. Navy's nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). We could sure use a guy like Ronald Reagan at the helm of the country today.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

In 2006 the Red Sox picked Kristopher Johnson with the 40th pick of the MLB draft. With the next pick the Yankees took Joba Chamberlain. Johnson is 3-9 with a 6.14 ERA for AAA Pawtucket... I'm a Nathan Fillion fan and I would pay money to see this movie. Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern. Pretty impressive trailer. Too bad it was put together by a fan and isn't real... Scrabble Champ - Toronto's Marc Rzepczynski has a tough name to spell but in Scrabble it would be worth just 38 pts - the Braves Javier Vazquez's name is worth 43 points... A vastly underrated movie from the 90's was Barbarians at the Gate. You never see this movie anywhere and that's too bad. James Garner was great in this HBO flick... Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - going into yesterday's game, Vernon Wells of Toronto is hitting just .172 at home but a smoking .337 on the road.... I caught the pilot of Warehouse 13 and I must say I was impressed. This series has lots of potential and I'll be sure to tune in for future episodes. The casting is very good and you can't help but like Saul Rubinek as Artie Nielsen... The American League record for pitchers used in a season is 32. The Indians have now already used 26 and we're not even at the All-Star break... In case you haven't been following it or haven't heard - Mariners Single-A prospect James McOwen had his hitting streak end at 45 games last night...
Matt Holliday's Diminishing HR Power

Back in April I predicted that:
I expect Matt Holliday to be a bust in the American League. I wish there was some place that would take a prop bet that at least one Rockies outfielder will have as many or more HR than Holliday this season.
I was right in my prediction so far (Brad Hawpe has 13 HR to Holliday's 8) but I didn't spot the trend. Now the trend is painfully obvious.

In 2007 Holliday hit a HR on average every 17.67 at bats. In 2008 it was a HR every 21.56 AB. This season it just one HR every 37.75 AB. If the progression continues then in 2010 we can expect to see Matt Holliday with Coco Crisp-like power numbers. I'm not even sure that even a return to the NL at this point will stem the tide for Holliday. We may have already seen his peak years.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pick of the Day

So the Mariners were up 3-0 going into the 9th inning and just then David Aardsma's fairy dust, deal with the devil or whatever faded away or maybe suddenly he just remembered "Hey, I'm David Aardsma and I'm really not that good" but the result was the Orioles scoring 5 runs in the top of the 9th to snatch my POTD victory out of my greedy little hands. It was like a kick in the gut. I couldn't even bring myself to make a POTD yesterday.

Tonight we are getting back on the horse and taking Tampa Bay at home (-$160) against the A's and the rookie Vin Mazzaro who has a 6.35 ERA in his last 3 starts.

POTD record 10-4 and plus a mythical $533
Moneyball Back On?

It looks like Moneyball is not dead as a feature film. I enjoy Aaron Sorkin's writing of dialogue as much or more than the next guy but I still don't see Moneyball as worthy of being made into a picture.

I'm a big Michael Lewis fan and I'd suggest The New New Thing focusing in on the character of Jim Clark or a adaptation of The Blind Side as two Lewis books more worthy of being made into a film than Moneyball.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Telly Savalas - If

Who love ya baby!
The 10% Tripwire

Mark Penn argues that 10% unemployment is a psychological tripwire number that has "the potential to undermine the hard-won confidence enjoyed by the Obama administration." I agree that 10% unemployment would be both a real problem and a psychological watershed but I don't agree that President Obama has any "hard-won confidence" from the American people. More like squandered mis-placed enthusiasm. Penn then goes on to argue that if that 10% number became a reality - then President Obama could be forced into the following course of action:
First, the administration could pitch another stimulus package, in the form of direct, immediate tax rebates or some other, more tangible, measures, such as increased federal money to cash-starved states and localities. The Republicans are now on record in opposition to any stimulus. So they would be forced to vote against temporary tax cuts or money to the states, votes that could be problematic for them in the midterms.
Yeah another stimulus package because the first one worked so well. Second - Republicans would be right to be against throwing more money (that we don't have by the way) at the problem but not against tax cuts. Can Mark Penn be that thick?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Pick of the Day

Today's pick of the day is the Mariners (-$120) vs Baltimore. The Orioles are 7-17 against the AL West, 6-16 in day games and just 1-11 in series finales on the road.

Last night the White Sox beat Cleveland to raise the POTD record to 10-3 and plus a mythical $653
Nails Bankrupt

Morally and financially? Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra filed for Chapter 11 U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection in California on Tuesday.

I sort of feel bad about this - not because I like Dykstra - because I know he did this to get out of paying people who he owed money. This reminds me so much of Jack Clark and how he used bankruptcy to get out of paying a lot of "little people" who did work for him.

HT Digital Sports Daily
You Learn Something New Every Day

Until today I had never heard of Tusculum College of Tennessee. Now I know that it is Tennessee's oldest college and that it's motto "Sit Lux" means "Let There Be Light" (although Fiat Lux seems a more common version of that phrase among college mottos).

According to Wikipedia the "original Tusculum was a city near Rome, Italy and home to Roman scholar and philosopher Cicero."

You learn something new every day.
Cleveland Indians

Since being one game away from going to the World Series in the autumn of 2007 - the Cleveland Indians have gone a combined 114-135 (that's a winning percentage of .463). A record like that won't keep a manager in his job. Despite Mark Shapiro's statement of support - I'd guess that Eric Wedge will be out of a job well before the Indians report to Spring Training.

If there was any justice then Mark Shapiro should be joining Wedge on the unemployment line.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Pick of the Day

Tonight's pick of the day (POTD) is the White Sox with Mark Buehrle starting against the Indians with Jeremy Sowers. Chicago is a -$153 favorite which is a much better price than the Red Sox -$260 (should be a lock with Beckett pitching).

Buehrle is in a 11-1 / 2.38 ERA stretch pitching at home. The White Sox are hot lately (7-3 in their last 10) and hot when Buehrle pitches (12-4 in his starts this year). Buehrle is also 6-0 pitching at night this season. Meanwhile Jeremy Sowers has never been able to beat the White Sox (0-5 with a 6.23 ERA in 6 career starts vs Chicago).

All signs point to the White Sox.

That doesn't mean that I'm over confident though. Baseball is still baseball and all signs pointed to a Colorado victory last night and while they did win - they needed some luck to pull out a 1-0 W.

POTD record - 9-3 and plus a mythical $553
Andy Marte's Not Dead Yet

Andy Marte was considered a bust after failing to live up to his prospect reputation for the Indians but don't bury him yet. According to the Indians:
Yesterday, INF ANDY MARTE was named the International League’s Batter of the Week for the period of June 29-July 5 as he batted .458 w/ 2HR & 6RBI becoming the IL’s 1st back-to-back Player of the Week since May 2006 (Cole Hamels, WB)
Back to back International League batter of the week - not bad. Maybe he'll help out the Indians yet.
The Persian Domino Effect?

Christopher Hitchens has a column worth the read. He asks:
Did the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, and the subsequent holding of competitive elections in which many rival Iraqi Shiite parties took part, have any germinal influence on the astonishing events in Iran?
The answer seems to be absolutely yes. I wonder if George Bush will get credit from the historians for that?
Red Sox Magic Number - 80

The Red Sox magic number now stands at 80. That happens to be the number worn by all-time Patriots great Troy Brown.

Troy Brown is from South Carolina just like soon to be enshrined Hall of Famer Jim Rice. Troy Brown is fast like Jacoby Ellsbury. Troy Brown was a small man who excelled at a big man's sport just like Dustin Pedroia. Troy Brown led by quiet example like Jon Lester. Troy Brown was an all-time leader in some franchise records and fan favorite but just not of Hall of Fame caliber just like Tim Wakefield.

The Red Sox are very much like Troy Brown. Troy Brown wore number 80.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Pick of the Day

Today's pick of the day (POTD) is the Rockies over the Nationals. The price is high (Rockies -$200) but I feel pretty good about this one. Jason Marquis is starting for the Rox and Washington has struggled against Colorado.

POTD record - 8-3 and plus a mythical $453
The New New Thing

I'm a fan of Michael Lewis and when I had the chance to pick up his 2000 book The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story I jumped at it.

Lewis' modus operandi is to have a subject and illustrate that subject through the lens of two main characters while bouncing between these characters with chapters in between discussing examples of how the subject hand is illustrated by various people. In Moneyball the subject was statistics and how they were changing baseball. The two main characters were Billy Beane and Bill James. Players like Chad Bradford and Kevin Youkilis were used to illustrate the main point of the book.

In The New New Thing one main character is obviously Jim Clark but the second main character is not so obviously Jim Clark's new sailboat the Hyperion. Silicon Valley big shots and start-ups are used to illustrate the main point of the book of how the new, new thing had created the Internet IPO boom and changed the way business is done in the modern day.

It was interesting to look back at the Internet boom of the 90's through the lens of Jim Clark - a giant of an American Industrialist who does not get his proper recognition. All the time spent discussing the new state of the art sailboat the Hyperion - not so interesting. I recommend this book but because Lewis has a skill in telling a story but it wasn't his best work.

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

If Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena is not on the All-Star team - he'll be the first player leading the AL in HR not to make the roster since Detroit's Mickey Tettleton in 1993... More than half of Washington Nationals' Adam Dunn's plate appearances do not involve a member of the other team (other than the pitcher and catcher). Close to 51% of Dunn's PA result in either a walk, a strikeout or a HR.... The Tampa Bay Rays will send 4 players to the All-Star game with all of them being under 30-years old. Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist are all under 30-years old. Carl Crawford of the Rays won’t be 28 until August 5th. He’s been in the league so long that you forget that he’s still that young.... There's been lots of sturm and drang about steroids users Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez not making the All-Star team but what about Ryan Franklin of the Cardinals? He was suspended in 2005 for steroids use and he was named in the Mitchell Report. Has he passed some sort of probation period or do people just care about steroids users who hit home runs?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sarah Palin and the Tea Party

Over at Instapundit I saw lots of speculation about Sarah Palin having resigned to possibly found a third party to confront the Democrats and Republicans in the 2010 and 2012 elections. The idea is that Sarah Palin may form a formalized Tea Party.

It should be remembered that the Republican Party was once a third party itself. When it started in 1854 the main issue was slavery but the party was also interested in the well-being of small business and the middle class. The issues that this new Republican Party were attractive to many voters from both of the existing political parties and by 1860 this new third party had elected Abraham Lincoln as President.

The Tea Party would have a single main issue - over-taxation and an out of control government bureaucracy with waste the rule and not the exception. This issue is appealing to members of both parties (not just Republicans). The abuse Palin would receive at the hands of the MSM wouldn't even be worse than the press that Abraham Lincoln received from the Democratic leaning press of his day.

Could the new Tea Party do in half the time what it took the Republicans 6 years to accomplish a century and a half ago? Why not? Back in 1854 I bet not many thought the new Republican Party would have success defeating the mighty Whig Party who had just elected 3 out of the previous 4 Presidents of the United States. But they did. Why not Sarah Palin and a Tea Party?
Thoughts on the NL All-Star Roster

You can find the full NL roster here

Some thoughts on the NL selections. You could argue that Benjie Molina is having a better season than his brother Yadier but that's a coin flip at best and what the heck - they are keeping it in the family. Orlando Hudson started off hot but has really cooled off. He's probably getting the Tim Wakefield good guy slot.

Was Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero more deserving than teammate Johnny Cueto or did Cuerto get stuck because of the arbitrary ratio of starters to closers? Ryan Franklin's not one of the 10 best pitchers in the NL. Johan Santana made the team based upon past performance but adding him or Ryan Franklin probably cost Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo a spot on the roster.

An argument could be made that Mark Reynolds and Pablo Sandoval are more deserving than Ryan Zimmerman but Zimmerman is the Nationals sole representative and all three players are very close in value. There some slim pickens for outfield in the NL - isn't there? You could argue Matt Kemp over Hunter Pence but that just points out how thin the position is. That will have to boost Matt Holliday's trade value.

I'm still amused at the fact that the Cubs with their $135 million payroll have to use the "every team gets a representative" rule to get Ted Lilly on the roster.
Thoughts on the AL All-Star Team

You can find the full roster here

In my opinion - Ian Kinsler definitely got jobbed by the selections. He should be the starting 2nd baseman. I'm a Red Sox fan but Dustin Pedroia doesn't deserve it this year. Kinsler was more deserving than his teammate Michael Young but Young got the nod probably because the team needed another 3rd baseman (which in turn jobbed Chone Figgins of the Angels).

Does Josh Hamilton deserve the starting position given all the time he missed? Did Curtis Granderson get the nod over teammate Miguel Cabrera because he was more likable? Or because the team had too many 1st basemen? There is also no way Granderson should have made the team over Adam Lind. Hamilton should use his health as an excuse to let either Kinsler or Lind take his spot.

Excellent arguments could also be made for Kevin Millwood of the Rangers (where would they be without him this season) and Russell Branyan of the Mariners.
Pick of the Day

Today's pick of the day (POTD) is the Cardinals with Chris Carpenter against the Reds with Bronson Arroyo. The Cards are a -$141 favorite and I'm counting on Chris Carpenter returning to his winning ways and Bronson Arroyo sticking to his recent slump.

I made two mistakes yesterday. First I should have made the over (61.5 hot dogs) at Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest my POTD. Going over was a lock (the winner ate 68 hot dogs). Second my friend Pete does what he calls a "reverse parlay" where he picks four teams and then also bets the other sides in a second parlay because in his experience he's been all or nothing too many times. Yesterday I did a 4 team parlay and came up with nothing. I had Boston, Atlanta, the Dodgers and the Blue Jays. All four lost. If I did Pete's reverse parlay as insurance - I'd be sitting pretty today.

POTD record - 7-3 and plus a mythical $353
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I love these "Hitler in the bunker" spoofs. My favorite was the Terrell Owens one. In the newest one Hitler learns of Michael Jackson's death. Hitler loved Michale Jackson as much as the next Nazi... Pitcher Dan Haren has the 4th best batting average on the Diamondbacks (3rd best if you kick out Alex Romero who has only played 6 games). It should come as no surprise then that the the Diamondbacks have the 2nd worst team batting average in the NL... Drew Bledsoe is opening his own winery. I am so jealous. I would love to own my own vineyard and winery. I'll be buying a couple of bottles of Doubleback when they become available... Do the Nationals have the Braves number? Last season the Nationals were 12-6 against the Braves including a 7-2 mark at Nationals Park. This season the Braves are 5-3 against Washington but all 3 of the Nationals wins have come at Nationals Park. Even if I knew those numbers before now - I still would have picked Tommy Hanson and the Braves yesterday as my POTD (of course if I knew the final score I would have gone the other way)...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pick of the Day

Today's pick of the day (POTD) is Atlanta (-$112) over Washington. The Nationals are at home and they have the skillful John Lannan taking the hill but they're still the Nationals. The Braves have a chance to get to .500 for the season, they are riding a winning streak and they have rookie phenom Tommy Hanson starting. Plus they're playing the National.

There was no POTD yesterday as instead I ate cookout food, drank beer and watched fireworks.

POTD record - 7-2 and plus a mythical $465
4th of July Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations on this 4th of July.

The over / under for the number of hot dog consumed by the winner of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest (according to Bodog) is 61.5 hot dogs. The world record is 66. I took the over because I like rooting for gluttony... For the record - I'm not a fan of the Celtics trying to sign Rasheed Wallace and I'm disgusted by the way they've treated Leon Powe... On this date in 1802 - the United States Military Academy at West Point was opened... I really don't know how to comment on this without offending someone so without comment here's Kush Support (I do have to note that the name of the product sounds like a non-profit in support of Afghan rebels)... Today also marks the 373rd anniversary of the founding of Providence, Rhode Island...
Red Sox Magic Number - 82

The Red Sox magic number now stands at 82. I blew it. I had a window between Wednesday night and Thursday when the Yankees lost to the Mariners where the magic number was 83 and I was going to compare this Red Sox team to Patriots receiver Wes Welker who wears number 83.

I was going to point out that he's Texan like Josh Beckett. That he's fast like Jacoby Ellsbury. That he's a small man excelling at a big man sport like Dustin Pedroia. That he leads by quiet example like Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield. I was going to do a bunch of those comparisons. Now the magic number is 82 - and I don't even think there's even a player on the current Patriots roster who wears number 82.

The comparison idea has gone down like a lead balloon. Oh yeah - by the way - the atomic number of lead is 82.
Top 5 - Memorable Things That Happened on a July 4th

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

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

Friday, July 03, 2009

WSOP Main Event

Just a reminder that today is the start of the World Series of Poker Main Event.

As always - the best place to follow the WSOP is over at Dr. Pauly's place the Tao of Poker.

I'm not misogynistic but the only prop bet I have on the WSOP Main Event is that no woman will make the final 25 (-$185). Just a numbers thing. I'm pretty sure the guys out number the gals by at least a 25-1 ratio.
My NL All-Star Team

Here are the players who I see as the most deserving to be playing in St. Louis in the summer classic. The back-ups are in parenthesis.

C - Brian McCann - Braves (Bengie Molina - Giants)
1st - Albert Pujols - Cardinals (Prince Fielder - Brewers)
2nd - Chase Utley - Phillies (Freddie Sanchez - Pirates)
SS - Hanley Ramirez - Marlins (Miguel Tejada - Astros)
3rd - David Wright - Mets (Mark Reynolds - Diamondbacks)
OF - Ryan Braun - Brewers (Brad Hawpe - Rockies)
OF - Raul Ibanez - Phillies (Matt Kemp - Dodgers)
OF - Justin Upton - Diamondbacks (Jason Werth - Phillies)

Here are the 10 pitchers who I see as most deserving to be on the team:

1. Tim Lincecum - Giants
2. Dan Haren - Diamondbacks
3. Josh Johnson - Marlins
4. Matt Cain - Giants
5. Yovani Gallardo - Brewers
6. Chad Billingsley - Dodgers
7. Jonathan Broxton - Dodgers
8. Heath Bell - Padres
9. Francisco Rodriguez - Mets
10. Huston Street - Rockies

That leaves 6 spots on the 32-man roster and I still need representatives from the Nationals, Reds and Cubs. Here's how I would fill out the final 6 spots:

1. Adrian Gonzalez - Padres
2. Ryan Zimmerman - Nationals
3. Pablo Sandoval - Giants
4. Johnny Cueto - Reds
5. Ted Lilly - Cubs
6. Ryan Howard - Phillies

You could pick just about any one of the following for that last spot but I picked Howard simply because I figure Charlie Manuel will end up adding Howard anyway. Toughest omissions (two of these players are likely to be picked since they expanded the roster to 33 and Ibanez is injured); Orlando Hudson - Dodgers, Troy Tulowitzki - Rockies, Jason Marquis - Rockies, Brandon Phillips - Reds, Javy Vazquez - Braves, Johan Santana - Mets, Chris Carpenter - Cardinals, Jair Jurrjens - Braves, Francisco Cordero - Reds and Chipper Jones - Braves

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Top 5 - AL Players Who May Be Trade Bait

Here are 5 AL players who are probably being shopped as you read this.

Matt Holliday - A's - $13.5 million 2009 contract - I think he definitely gets traded mostly for financial reasons. The A's just can't afford him. They should get a better haul back on Holliday than what they gave up for him. He would fit best with a NL team in need of a bat.

Aubrey Huff - Orioles - $8 million 2009 contract - Huff has a line of 10 HR / 52 RBI / .270 BA. He's an available 1B /DH for a team that needs a bat (especially a left-handed bat). I'm not a fan and I question how Huff would handle a big-city pennant race. Huff will probably be a Type A free agent so whatever a team gives up for him may come back to them with draft picks (assuming Huff does not accept arbitration which is a risk I wouldn't be willing to take on Huff - do you really want to take the risk of having to pay Huff $11 million in 2010?).

Cliff Lee - Indians - $5.75 million 2009 contract with a $9 million 2010 team option. If Lee is traded it will be because the Indians have too much money tied up in bad Kerry Woods, bad Jake Westbrook and bad Travis Hafner. If Cliff Lee is traded - Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge should both be shown the door. My guess is that Lee will not be traded though because it would be admitting to everyone that the Indians have failed on the field and on the budget front and that would lead to Shapiro and Wedge getting fired. It's a Catch 22 for the Indians.

Adam Kennedy - A's - $4 million 2009 contract - would be a good fit for a playoff contender with a need at 2nd base (the Mets and Tampa Bay are two potential landing spots).

Mark Teahen
- Royals - $3.5 million 2009 contract - Teahen is arbitration eligible for 2 more seasons and he can play 3rd, OF or 2nd in a pinch. That makes him attractive trade bait. For whatever reasons the Royals have been down on Teahen (Alex Gordon being reason A Teahen has been shunted in KC). I'm not sure the Royals want to be paying Teahen $5 million next season. If Mike Lowell's hip is worse than thought - I'd look for the Red Sox to make a play for Teahen.
Pick of the Day

Tonight I'm going with the Angels as my pick of the day (POTD). Jeremy Guthrie is starting for the Orioles and he's been solid as of late but the Orioles are generally not a good road team and after the excitement from the past 2 games and cross country travel - I'm guessing the team as a whole will be emotionally and physically just a step behind. The Angels are a -$157 favorite.

POTD record - 6-2 and plus a mythical $365.
Simon Pegg

I like Simon Pegg. I mean what's not to like? He's probably best known as the actor / writer of movies such as Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. Trivia wise - I love that he played Captain Sobel's lackey Sgt. Evans in Band of Brothers.

Last night Simon Pegg moved up to a new level. I saw Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Simon Pegg completely stole the show as Buck(minster).
My AL All-Star Team

Here are the players who I see as the most deserving to be playing in St. Louis in the summer classic. The back-ups are in parenthesis.

C - Joe Mauer - Twins (Victor Martinez - Indians)
1st - Justin Morneau - Twins (Kevin Youkilis - Red Sox)
2nd - Ian Kinsler - Rangers (Aaron Hill - Blue Jays)
SS - Jason Bartlett - Rays (Derek Jeter - Yankees)
3rd - Evan Longoria - Rays (Chone Figgins - Angels)
OF - Carl Crawford - Rays (Ichiro Suzuki - Mariners)
OF - Torii Hunter - Angels (Adam Lind - Blue Jays)
OF - Jason Bay - Red Sox (Jermaine Dye - White Sox)

Here are the 10 pitchers who I see as most deserving to be on the team:

1. Zach Greinke - Royals
2. Roy Halladay - Blue Jays
3. Justin Verlander - Tigers
4. Felix Hernandez - Mariners
5. Josh Beckett - Red Sox
6. Joe Nathan - Twins
7. Mariano Rivera - Yankees
8. Jonathan Papelbon - Red Sox
9. Kevin Millwood - Rangers
10. Edwin Jackson - Tigers

That leaves 6 spots on the 32-man roster and I still need representatives from the Orioles and A's. Here's how I would fill out the final 6 spots:

1. Adam Jones - Orioles (he's the most deserving Oriole - although an argument could be made for Nick Markakis, George Sherrill, Luke Scott or rookie Brad Bergesen)
2. Andrew Bailey - A's (you could pick starter Dallas Braden as the A's representative and I wouldn't argue - it would stink if Matt Holliday gets chosen strictly because of his name)
3. Tim Wakefield - Red Sox (sentimental choice)
4. Miguel Cabrera - Tigers
5. Ben Zobrist - Rays
6. Russell Branyan - Mariners

That's my team. Every organization is represented. A little heavy in 1st basemen but what can you do (besides use Youkilis at 3rd)? Toughest omissions; Mark Teixeira - Yankees, Marco Scutaro - Blue Jays, Carlos Pena - Rays, Jered Weaver - Angels, Brian Fuentes - Angels and Johnny Damon - Yankees.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pick of the Day

The Red Sox with Josh Beckett pitching is today's pick. This won't be a typical getaway day for the Sox. They will be looking to avenge last night's debacle. Josh Beckett won't let them lose today. The Sox are a -$150 favorite but they are the pick.

POTD record - 5-2 and a plus $265 mythical dollars.
It was the Best of Games - It was the Worst of Games

It really was the story of two games last night. In the first game John Smoltz was extremely effective and the Red Sox bats owned Orioles pitching. After exactly half a game (4.5 innings) the Red Sox were up 9-1.

In the second game Mark Hendricks of the Orioles tames the Red Sox bats and the Red Sox bullpen fell apart. In the second (half) game the Orioles beat the Red Sox 10-1.

If this was poker - this game would be known as a "bad beat". Thing is about bad beats - nobody wants to hear you complain about them. You just say "that's poker" and move on.