Sunday, July 31, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 56

Yesterday the Red Sox magic number was 57. With the win over the White Sox today the number is 56. Yesterday I thought the Red Sox had a deal in place for Rich Harden. I thought it was a good deal for both sides. Harden has talent but his health was the issue while Lars Anderson is blocked in Boston with Adrian Gonzalez under contract for years. I was actually already rooting for Anderson to have a fresh start with the A's. Then the deal for Harden fell apart.

I am still hoping for some sort of magic number symmetry though. Yesterday the magic number was 57 which also happens to be the number of career victories for Rich Harden. Today the magic number is 56 which happens to be the uniform number given to Aaron Harang when he first came up to the majors with the Oakland A's (he was later traded by Oakland to the Reds for Jose Guillen). I am hoping that the Red Sox attention turns from a current A's player in Harden to a former A's player in Harang.

The Padres say they aren't trying to deal Harang but for the right offer I'm sure he's available. Lars Anderson probably won't be part of a deal with the Padres with former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo blocking the way but a third team could step in to take Anderson and give the Padres something they want (Billy Beane loves getting involved in deals like that and he just showed that he wants Anderson). It would take more than Anderson to land Harang though but that's OK - the Padres are very familiar with the Red Sox minor league system.

As an aside - is it me or does Aaron Harang look like Paul Giamatti if Giammati was to play an evil professional wrestler?

As a second aside - there would be even more symmetry with the Red Sox trading for Harang when you consider that he was first drafted by Boston in the 22nd round of the 1996 draft but chose to go to San Diego State instead. Though come to think of it - the symmetry works if Harang evades the Red Sox grasp to stay in San Diego just like 15-years ago.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Chad Ochocinco will wear number 85 for the New England Patriots while Aaron Hernandez will switch from 85 to 81. I wonder what that cost Ochocinco to get his uniform number? I think Ochocinco can have Wes Welker type production for that Pats. He doesn't need long bombs to be successful. He is very quick and good at running routes. He easily could match his uniform number in receptions with Tom Brady as his QB. So let it be written - so let it be done... Heh heh - Algorithm... The things you learn on the Internet (via Mental Floss): "In 1965, Alan Stillman opened T.G.I. Friday’s in New York as a way to meet stewardesses. He said it was the first singles bar." I just find that funny. A single's bar that now has a kids menu? If it had a kids menu back it 1965 it would be just creepy. Like a single's bar designed with NAMBLA in mind... 10 Reasons to Love Alex Trebek... It has been 36 years to the day that Jimmy Hoffa disappeared... Today is also Bud Selig's 77th birthday... This is literally scary good. Michael Chiklis' audition tape for The Shield (NSFW language)... Director Christopher Nolan turns 41 today. I will go to see any movie he directs.... The Red Sox Magic Number is now 57

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 58

The Red Sox won and the Yankees loss so the new magic number is 58 which also happens to be the uniform number of Jonathan Papelbon. Many Boston fans think Papelbon will be gone after this season and with good reason. Papelbon makes $12 million this year and is a free agent at season's end. The only way I can see Papelbon returning is if he unexpectedly accepts arbitration. Otherwise Daniel Bard will probably be elevated as the new Red Sox closer - a move that many fans are both expecting and looking forward to. Bard is 4-years younger than Papelbon and his ERA is almost half of Papelbon's this season (1.81 to 3.59). I still blame Papelbon's 8 blown saves last year as a big reason the Red Sox didn't make the playoffs (plus his blown save against the Angels in the playoffs the year before cost me a lot of money so I'm biased). For people outside New England it may seem strange that so many would be so willing to jettison a hero of the 2007 Wold Champion team but think about this - is that any different than Keith Foulke?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- The Strange and Twisted History of Ramen Noodles. For the record - I love Ramen Noodles. I could eat them seven days a week.

- Very cool looking motorcycle (though it doesn't look very comfortable)

- Wounded Warriors and President Bush (July 4th, 2011). Very cool video. History will be kind to Bush - Obama not so much

- Funniest newspaper layout ever (HT SI's Jimmy Traina)

- Maybe Colby Rasmus was traded because LaRussa didn't like his politics?

- Is there anything more manly than catching a shark from a kayak?
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Today is the 18th anniversary of the death of Reggie Lewis. I can't believe it's been 18 years... If I was the Cincinnati Bengals I'd be very happy with the retirement of Carson Palmer. He's just not that good of a QB anymore. If they get Bruce Gradkowski and he's healthy - he's a big upgrade over Palmer... I've had nightmares about dying in this manner. Has to be one of the worst ways to die... The things you learn on the Internet (via Mental Floss): "New Mexico State’s first graduating class in 1893 had only one student — and he was shot and killed before graduation"... Today is kind of Bugs Bunny's 71st birthday as on this day in 1940 the animated short A Wild Hare is released which introduced Bugs to the world... John Kerry's 'Swift Boat' ally jailed for child pornography and stripped of Silver Star. I'm ashamed Kerry is my Senator...
Red Sox Magic Number - 60

With the win over the Royals the Red Sox Magic Number is now down to 60. This gives me the opportunity to mention the Buckminsterfullerene better known as buckyballs - a spherical molecule with the formula C60. The geodesic dome of molecules.

I could have mentioned that Hanley Ramirez wore the number 60 in his cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 2005 (2 games) before being traded to the Marlins in the offseason but buckyballs seemed more fun to talk about.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I'm a fan of Mark Herzlich and had selfishly hoped he would have ended up with the Patriots. I wish him all the best with the New York Giants. I think anyone who knows his story is pulling for him. I do have to mention the fact that it is a little strange that an undrafted player is getting this much attention. Probably more attention than all the third round players put together... Harry Potter re-cut as a teen comedy... Who knew? Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts... It would be funny if it turns out that the Brett Favre to the Eagles rumors were started by The Onion... The Red Sox have four hitters on pace for 6 Wins Above Replacement. That would put them into the company of some of the most successful teams in baseball history... For the rest of my life if anyone says "This is all my fault" I'm going to say "Yes - yes it is"... A reminder of what's important. Best wishes to Dave Cameron of USS Mariner and Fangraphs on his fight against cancer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 62

With a Boston victory and the Yankees loss - the Red Sox magic number is now 62.

Sigmund Freud had an irrational fear of the number 62. My wife has an irrational fear of snakes. I have an irrational fear of locking the keys in the car. Some people suffer from ablutophobia which is the fear of washing or bathing (these people tend to be Yankee fans). FDR said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. When my kids were young I used to change the radio whenever the song The Macarena came on and I would tell them I did so because the song scared me because I had dreams of strange people jumping out of the closet shaking maracas and singing The Macarena (in reality I just didn't like the song).
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Adam Jones now has 17 home runs on the season. The Seattle Mariners could really use a bat like that in their line-up... Instead of the vulgar MILF the correct linguistic term is matronolagnia. The power of words... Today is the 28th anniversary of George Brett's Pine Tar game... Pumpsie Green Day would be a good name for a cover band... Many people are pointing to Reed Johnson as a potential trade target for teams needing an outfielder but I'm not so sure if it's worth giving up good prospects for a 34-year old player who is currently hitting 45 points over his career batting average and 168 points over his career OPS. You have to think he will fall back to his historical numbers. Then again what do I know - he could be the exact missing piece that takes a team to a World Series... Today would have been the 95th birthday of John D. MacDonald, the creator of the Travis McGee novels and a favorite of mine. It is interesting to note that after MacDonald got out of his military service in 1945 he poured everything he had into his writing. Working 14-hour days writing short stories, losing 20-pounds over a four month period that netted him nothing but hundreds of rejection slips until he finally got a $40 sale that put him on the path of being a writer. I love these little tidbits of perseverance... Comfort Bacon would be a good name for a band... Happy 26th birthday to Patrice Bergeron of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 64

With the win over the Mariners last night - the Red Sox magic number is now 64. Apropos of nothing to do with the Red Sox - here are my favorite Nintendo 64 games.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
2. Banjo-Kazooie
3. The Legend of Zelda: Oracina of Time
4. Super Mario 64
5. Dr. Mario 64

Friday, July 22, 2011

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Heh heh - the Mona Diesel

- Russia finally classifies beer as alcohol. I think this is a step backwards - "Foodstuffs" is a much better classification. "Proof that God loves us" would be even better.

- With all this heat - keep in mind the man who conquered it. He should have more than a Dome named after him.

- Interesting look at the Celtics financials. The Celtics and Lakers aren't the problem in the NBA but almost every other team is.

- I got a kick out of this beer campaign

- It was my understanding that Lipman Pike was actually very 1st pro baseball player as well as 1st HR king

- I am fascinated by Zeppelins
Cross Country Car Trip

I have always wanted to drive solo across the US. I'd love to meander down Route 1 from Fenway Park to Florida. Or drive Route 20 all the way out to Washington. That's why this article, Taking the Great American Roadtrip by Paul Theroux from almost 2-years ago peaked my interest.

Theroux drove from Los Angeles to Cape Cod. The furthest I've gotten is from Boston, MA to Washington, DC (530 miles) or from Auburn, MA to Auburn, NY (320 miles).

Some day. Some day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Top 5 - The 70's

Here's a Top 5 of things that were big in the 70's but now - not so much...

1. Burt Reynolds movies
2. People on TV in danger from quicksand. Did global warming dry up all the quicksand? When's the last time you saw someone on TV who had to be rescued from it? Used to happen all the time in the 70's.
3. The word "ghetto". Nobody uses the word "ghetto" today unless it is in the title of some bad black porn.
4. Mood rings
5. Columbia House Record Club mailings
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Fundamental truth is that greed always turns into fear. This helps explains why there will shortly be a new CBA in the NFL and why it happened at last minute. The greed that caused the lockout turned into fear that they were in danger of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs... McDonald’s Menu Items From Around The World... Someone should ask Brian Jordan, Gary Sheffield, Juan Encarnacion and Trot Nixon if Josh Reddick should replace JD Drew. Those were the right fielders that Drew has replaced in his various stops... I was surprised and saddened by the passing of Myra Kraft, wife of owner Bob Kraft. My deepest condolences to the entire Kraft family... The things you learn from the Internet (via Mental Floss): "In 1986, Ted Nugent made a $10 million bid to buy Muzak so he could close down the company. His offer was rejected"... Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies has been damaged goods ever since failing to find his name on those fake vanity plates they make for kids.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 67

With the Yankees losing 3-2 to the Rays last night the magic number has been reduced to 67. When you say 67 to any Red Sox fan thoughts immediately turn to the Impossible Dream team of 1967. I wasn't around for that season but even guys like me think of 67.

That year was also the season that Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown by hitting .326 with 44 HR and 121 RBI. It wasn't until this year that I learned that Yaz actually tied for the HR lead with Harmon Killebrew of the Twins. That doesn't diminish Yaz's accomplishment in my eyes though especially when you consider that in 1967 Yaz also led the league in runs, hits, OBP, SLG, OPS and total bases.

Yaz is one of those players that gets overlooked these days (even in Boston). Keep in mind that this is a guy who was an 18-time All-Star, had 7 Gold Gloves, is in 8th place all-time in both hits and total bases, 13th place in RBI, 16th place in runs and 33rd in HR.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- JFK the worst President of the 20th century? He was over-rated but not close to the worst.

- Five reasons Jim Thome’s run to 600 homers isn’t getting buzz. I agree with the reasons given and while I think it is too bad Thome isn't getting more recognition - I don't think he cares. He seems like the low profile preferring type (not like a Jeter or A-Rod)

- STARS WARS done as a western. It took me a minute to get C3P0 and R2D2.

- A fast-spreading invasive plant in northern US that causes severe burns and blindness. Wow - I'll have to keep an eye out for this plant.

- Hunter Pence attempts up to cheer up two young men with unimaginably sad stories.
Red Sox Magic Number - 68

With the drubbing of the Orioles last night the Red Sox moved their magic number down to 68.

My initial inclination was to tell the old 68 joke - what's 68 you ask? Well that's where you go down on me and I owe you one.

Then I thought I'd mention that Josh Reddick was given number 68 when he came up in 2008. Of course Reddick now wears the number 16 and hopefully he'll be wearing it as the regular right fielder for the foreseeable future. It is time for JD Drew to take a role as a pinch hitter and bench player.

Jaromir Jagr is perhaps the most famous 68. It is said he picked 68 in memory of his grandfather who died in the Prague Spring Rebellion that occured in Czechoslovakia in the year 1968. That's a nice tribute.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Diana Nyad - Wonder Woman

Diana Nyad is attempting to make the swim from Cuba to Key West.

This is not a retelling of her 1978 attempt. At age 61, Diana Nyad will be attempting the 103-mile swim this year.

She is inspirational.
Hypnotized Fish

Wanted to bump this up for those who may have missed it over the weekend. If you have a Kindle and you like my blog - please buy my book Hypnotized Fish.

The book is just $.99 and if I can sell enough I'll have some paperbacks printed up. Please buy the book.

Thanks in advance.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I think the people who made the Guitar Hero game should come out with Pan Flute Hero. You could make real music and maybe become the next Zamfir. Of course the slobber all over the flute could make sharing a bit of a problem... In the Progressive Insurance commercial about "the bundler" I keep hearing it as "the bungler" and thinking they for some reason want to insure my bung... Interesting stat from Peter Gammons: [Josh] Beckett vs. Yanks, Rays: 4-0, 38 IP, 12 H, 2 ER., 5 BB, 37 K. Boston 5-0 in those starts... Originally Capitol One was supposed to protect from those raiding Vikings but now they are the company mascots. This is like Orkin turning cockroaches into your butlers... A photograph of Albert Einstein riding his bicycle in Santa Barbara... Last night while watching the extra innings extravaganza I couldn't help but think that if they stopped serving beer after 7th inning - probably everyone at game was stone sober by the time it ended... It should be noted that a possible explanation of why Bruce Feldman has been silent in all his media forms is not that he's been suspended but that ESPN is working on a settlement with Mike Leach regarding his lawsuit and ESPN is keeping Feldman muzzled just out of precaution until a deal is reached... Here's why I don't understand about those soccer penalty kick situations - why don't they just kick it down the middle? The goalie always dives one way or the other leaving the middle open... Interesting stat from Buster Onley: Jacoby Ellsbury has 28 steals, .504 slugging average. Last BOS player to have .500+ SLG and at least 25 steals: Tris Speaker, 1914
Red Sox Magic Number - 69

I fell asleep on the couch just after the start of the 15th inning of last night's Red Sox / Rays game. For some reason I awoke thinking Boston lost 1-0 not won 1-0. I was happy to learn that it was the Red Sox on the winning end - a win which reduced their magic number to 69.

Everyone loves 69 - right?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Player Comparison

I was curious about a player comparison this morning:

Player A - 62 R/ 13 HR/ 46 RBI/ 16 SB/ .291 BA/ .862 OPS
Player B - 57 R/ 15 HR/ 57 RBI/ 6 SB/ .296 BA/ .856 OPS

Player A is Dustin Pedroia and Player B is Robinson Cano. I thought about the comparison because Cano is supposed to be the better offensive player and yet the stats are about even (or actually in Pedroia's favor). Pedroia is the much better defensive player.

Right now Dustin Pedroia is the best second baseman in the American League. Yet he didn't even make the All-Star team.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Red Sox owner John Henry tweeted this morning "Sox/Yankees biggest rivalry in US. LFC/MUFC biggest rivalry in the world. Typical match draws far more than triple the Super Bowl viewers." The LFC is Liverpool and MUFC is Manchester United. John Henry happens to own the Liverpool Football (soccer) Club. If this is really the case (and I'm not doubting it) someone should ask him if MLB should change the name from the World Series to the North American Series given the relative scope of the game... Southern lights from space... Is there anyone out there still legitimately steamed that Derek Jeter skipped the All-Star Game? Anyone?... Obama has a secret plan to take $4 trillion spending out of the budget just like John Kerry had a secret plan to get us out of Iraq... Richard Nixon's Humble Last Meal as President... It would be interesting to compare the number of albums and hits between Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band versus Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I would guess that they would be almost equals in terms of straight "stats"... Speaking of Springsteen - I have to think that the people not in loop in the recent Bruce Feldman / ESPN drama must have thought #FreeBruce was some sort of Springsteen MP3 giveaway... When good things happen for good people. Cleveland Indians starter Justin Masterson is now 8th in the American League in ERA (2.80), 13th in innings pitched, 20th in strikeouts (95) and 20th in WHIP. Good for him... What's not to like about Miguel Angel Jimenez? He loves golf, cigars and wine and has a stretching routine that would make any weekend duffer proud.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 71

Even though the Red Sox lost to the Rays last night because the Yankees also lost - the Red Sox magic number has been reduced to 71.

The Yankees also lost Thursday night which put the magic number at 72. I was going to write about how the Bruins (before this season) last won the Stanley Cup in 1972 or how when Carlton Fisk went to the White Sox he switched his number around from 27 to 72. Neither one of those ideas lit the fire enough to jot down a few words though.

But 71? That's a different story. 1971 was a big year if just for the fact that it was the year that the great Dirty Harry was released. The role that made Clint Eastwood a superstar. Many people know that Frank Sinatra famously passed on the lead role. Lesser known is the rumor that the role was actually written for John Wayne who supposedly passed because Dirty Harry was a little more morally ambiguous than the heroes Wayne was used to playing.

Having Eastwood play the role allowed a cultural torch to be passed. Sinatra and Wayne were the older generation. Eastwood was the new along with legends like DeNiro and Pacino who were also coming into their prime around 1971. But that was 40-years ago! In between we have had another generation of movie stars such as Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Denzel (to name a few). Who are the big stars today? Who is the torch to be passed to? I know others have made similar points but the truth is the talent cupboard or star power draw really seems to be bare these days.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hypnotized Fish

OK I took the plunge into self publishing. If you have a Kindle and you like my blog - please buy my book Hypnotized Fish.

The book is just $.99 and if I can sell enough I'll have some paperbacks printed up. Thank you for your support in the past but please buy the book.

Thanks in advance.
Bruce Feldman

Good article on the situation at ESPN regarding Bruce Feldman and Craig James.

After reading the article I was left with 3 questions:

1. How can the image conscious people at ESPN be so blinded to the fact that most viewers think of Craig James as a douchebag at this point? Craig James is tarnishing the brand not enhancing it.

2. It will be interesting to see if the ESPN Ombudsman addresses this issue. If not what is the point of having an Ombudsman at all?

3. Did ESPN choose James over Doug Flutie? If so it is not too late to rectify that. Flutie could easily assume James' duties and not a peep would be heard from viewers.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.
Lost Rainbow Toad found after 87-years. I hope they find the elusive hypno-toad next... Good to hear that Blue's Clues star Steve Burns did not die of a heroin overdose. Maybe I'm out of the loop but I wasn't even aware there were rumors of his demise... ESPN suspending Bruce Feldman is despicable. I don't have an Insider account I can cancel so instead I'm going to buy one of his books to show my support. Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life the Mike Leach book looks like a very good read... The administration at Kent State must be very proud of the level of education alumni James Harrison is exhibiting recently... The guys who do these short films are very talented. The Sean Bean Death Reel... I was late to the game for CSI but really got into watching the series via syndication. I burned out on the show just about the time Laurence Fishburne joined the cast. Having Ted Danson join the show just may peak the interest for me to start watching again... Some Linky Links to finish up:

- Tough Quiz: Name the Most Populous U.S. City for Each Letter of the Alphabet...

- This just made me laugh. I don't apologize...

- Beer Hydrates Better Than Water. Beer - is there anything it can't do?

- I also laughed at this. Again - no apologies.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why the Red Sox Will Make a Trade

Excellent look at the Red Sox 40-man roster and how that and the Rule 5 eligible players could make a trade attractive:
For that reason, the Red Sox can afford -- and, indeed, might be wise -- to trade three or four high-level prospects for an impact player. Not only could that impact player help them win the World Series, but the trade could clear the 40-man-roster logjam and allow the Red Sox to retain some of the other prospects they've devoted so many resources to developing.
They clearly have the minor league trade chips to make a deal. But do they have a need and is there a player out there to fill that need? The answers to those questions are the team clearly needs an upgrade in right field and a starting pitcher may be necessary with Dice-K out and everyone wishing John Lackey would join him.

In the outfield Carlos Beltran will definitely generate the most media heat but Ryan Ludwick may be another option but would either player really be that much of an upgrade over giving the job to Josh Reddick? I'd prefer giving Reddick the shot.

A starter may make the most sense but even though the Red Sox are bursting at the minor league level - my gut is telling me they may stay put. Then again - I wouldn't be surprised if they made a move especially after reading Brian MacPherson's analysis of the 40-man and Rule-5 landscape.
The Story of the Stuxnet

Fascinating article on the Stuxnet computer virus and how it was designed to attack nuclear facilities in Iran.

Fairly long article but once you get into it the story reads like a Tom Clancy novel written by the IT department.

I am conflicted about Stuxnet. My gut tells me that it may have been better for the world if the existence of Stuxnet virus had never come to light.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Paul Pierce's World Series of Poker run ends. He made it to day 2 of the tourney but going all-in with a pair of deuces makes me wonder how he got that far in the first place... Confession - I can't see the movie Lawrence of Arabia without thinking of the porn equivalent Lawrence of a Labia... Just a reminder of how lucky - yes lucky - Wade Boggs was to get to 3,000 hits (he finished with 3,010). If Boggs didn't play at Fenway Park he would have just been an average player. Doubt me? Here's Boggs career home / road OPS splits .934/.782. So at home he was Vlad Guerrero and on the road he became Shane Victorino without the speed. Plus if it wasn't for expansion he wouldn't have even been in the league long enough to get 3,000 - Tampa Bay used the local Boggs as a marketing promotion and then dropped him after he got his hit because by that time in his career he was pretty much useless... I wonder what was the last movie to feature an overture. If Slap Shot had an overture it would have been the perfect movie... All of the Planet of the Apes movies (and TV shows) are based upon the novel by Pierre Boulle but yet he never seems to get any credit. Can you think of any other book that launched as many movies and spin-offs?... Awesome marriage proposal... Just wanted to share this but in the new Brita commercial where the lady gives bottled tap water from the mall to an Eskimo - I always imagine the woman being from New Jersey... Speaking of commercials - if you close your eyes and picture Flo from Progressive Insurance as a talking turkey carcass - then commercials become much less annoying... Some Funny or Die type site should do an Anthony Bourdain spoof. Just call it Reservations. Even better do Anthony Bourdain spoof called Really No Reservations where a Bourdain-type guy eats fish heads, bone marrow and pigs feet from dumpsters... Succulent Pork would either be a good name for a band or a good euphemism for a sex act. Black Forest isn't a euphemism but Nappy Dugout is. Rusty Jones isn't a euphemism but Filthy Sanchez is. Who decides these things?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where Do We Find Such Men?

Today President Barack Obama will award Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry, with the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

Make sure to read the link.

The action was that of conspicuous gallantry but I'm guessing the media coverage will not be very conspicuous at all. If only men like Sgt. Petry got half the media attention we give to people like Snooki.
All-Star Game

Look at theses stats and tell me if this guy is an All-Star caliber player:

Player A - 116 R / 22 HR / 118 RBI

Not bad huh? Is that player Ichiro? Todd Helton? Some other stud? No - that player was Scott Cooper and before you start scratching your head thinking, "I don't remember Scott Cooper being that good." You are right. Those stats above are his combined numbers from the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Both of those years Cooper was named to the All-Star game.

Alex Rodriguez is having an off year and he still has 13 HR and 52 RBI at the break. Those were season total-type numbers for Scott Cooper. In fact those 13 HR would have equalled a career high for Cooper.

Why do I bring this up? Well here's a list of the Ten Most Laughable All-Stars in Baseball History. The list completely missed Scott Cooper - not once but both times he was named to the All-Star squad.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 73

Going into the All-Star break and the unofficial half-way point of the season, the Red Sox magic number stands at 73. Going into yesterday's game with the Oriole the magic number was 74 and after the 8-6 victory it was 73. Both numbers remind me of football - a thought compounded by the fact that there will basically be no games today or Wednesday to make me think of anything else.

The number 74 makes me think of quarterback Ryan Mallett who was taken with the 74th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Mallet was supposed to be a 1st round talent who somehow slipped to the 3rd round into the Patriots lap. I don't know what to make of Mallett. If he came out for the 2010 NFL Draft everyone says he would have been one of the top picks yet his Senior year stats would have seemed to have done nothing to damage his status. He has a strong arm, throws accurate passes and played in a pro-style offense - yet he dropped to the 3rd round. Why? And why does he need that extra "T" at the end of his last name? Like many Patriots fans I'm curious to see what the team has in Ryan Mallett but the only place we want to see him play is in preseason games for obvious reasons.

The number 73 reminds me (and many Patriots fans) of retired legend John Hannah - the man once acclaimed as the best lineman of all-time. Hannah and Leon Gray remain the gold standard for guard-tackle combinations in NFL history. Too bad that for many people when you say John Hannah they think of the guy who played the brother in the movie The Mummy.

So you have Ryan Mallett, potentially the future of the Patriots and John Hannah who represents the best of the past. The only thing missing is the present. I'm sick of so-called news about a labor deal. Just get it done and get me my football back.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adele - Rolling In The Deep

Everyone likes this song. How can you not like this song? This song will be one of the top 5 of this decade.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Derek Jeter is not considered a home run hitter but he now has more than double the career HR than Wade Boggs (237 to 118). And unlike Wade Boggs - Derek Jeter does not molest collies... When I was growing up every TV show at least once a season had a major character in danger of sinking in quicksand. Didn't make a difference if it was Gilligan's Island or The Six Million Dollar Man - quicksand was lurking. Did global warming dry up all the quicksand? Did I miss that news? When's the last time you saw a character struggling in quicksand on TV? (HT Noelle Hancock)... How The All-Star Starters Were Acquired... I forget - did Craig Biggio get this sort of attention when he got his 3,000th hit?... AT&T is an official Yankees sponsor but the guy who caught and gave back Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit is a Verizon Wireless employee. Big win for Verizon... Betty Ford dead at 93. She was eaten by wolves. She was delicious. Too soon?... HBO's Talking Funny (with Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais) is up on YouTube.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 75

With the win over the Orioles last night - the Red Sox magic number is now 75. If you say 75 around any Red Sox fan they almost immediately think about the 1975 team that lost what is called the Greatest World Series ever.

I was curious how this year's team matched up against their 1975 counterpart. Here's how I see it

Manager: 75 Darrell Johnson - 2011 Terry Francona - advantage 2011

Catcher - 1975 Carlton Fisk - 2011 Jarrod Saltalamacchia - advantage 1975. This was actually closer than you may think mainly because Fisk only started 79 games for that 75 team. Getting 53 games from Bob Montgomery and Tim Blackwell will drop the overall value at the catcher's position for any team even for a team where the regular starter hit .331 for the season.

1st Base - 1975 Carl Yastrzemski - 2011 Adrian Gonzalez - advantage 2011. Yaz was nearing the end of his career while we are just learning what the combination of Adrian Gonzalez and Fenway Park is capable of producing.

2nd Base - 1975 Denny Doyle - 2011 Dustin Pedroia - advantage 2011.

Shortstop - 1975 Rick Burleson - 2011 Marco Scutaro - I'm going to be generous and call this one a tie. Sox fans have fond memories of the Rooster but the fact is he only hit .252 with an OPS+ of just 73 in 1975.

3rd Base - 1975 Rico Petrocelli - 2011 Kevin Youkilis - advantage 2011

Left Field - 1975 Jim Rice - 2011 Carl Crawford - advantage 1975

Center Field - 1975 Fred Lynn - 2011 Jacoby Ellsbury - advantage 1975. I had to give this one to Lynn since he was the MVP in 1975 but it is actually closer than you may think. Lynn hit .331 with 21 HR, 105 RBI and 103 Runs. Almost at the All-Star break and Ellsbury has a .309 BA, 10 HR, 30 RBI and 62 Runs along with a league leading 28 stolen bases. That 1975 team had a total of 66 stolen bases. Ellsbury has a shot to get that many by himself.

Right Field - 1975 Dwight Evans - 2011 JD Drew - advantage 1975.

Starting Pitching - 1975 Luis Tiant, Bill Lee and Rick Wise - 2011 Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz - advantage 2011.

Closer - 1975 Dick Drago - 2011 Jonathan Papelbon - advantage 2011. Dick Drago is best remembered today for being a deadbeat dad. People may remember 2011 as the last great season Papelbon had before he decided to leave Boston as a free agent.

So the 1975 team has a obvious advantage in the outfield while the 2011 counterpart has a better infield and pitching staff. If the 1975 team came up just short - here's hoping the 2011 edition can go the entire distance.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Player Comparison

Here's a player comparison I found interesting:

Player A - 49 R/ 12 HR/ 58 RBI/ .276 BA/ .889 OPS
Player B - 39 R/ 13 HR/ 42 RBI/ .279 BA/ .826 OPS

Player A is Kevin Youkilis while Player B is Freddy Freeman of the Atlanta Braves. I don't make the comparison to try and say one player is better than another instead I was struck by how similar the numbers were. Trust me - comparing a rookie player to Kevin Youkilis coming from me is high praise.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

It would be interesting to combine the Samantha Brown and Survivorman travel shows for a few episodes. I just think that would be funny... Is a John Lackey for Barry Zito trade really crazy? The dollars match up. After this season Lackey is due $15.25 million for 2012, 2013, and 2014. Barry Zito is due $19 million in 2012, $20 million in 2013 and has a $7 million buyout for 2014 (assuming nobody will pick up the $18 million option). Zito is pitching much better than Lackey right now and has a full no-trade contract but who knows? I'm guessing Theo Epstein has at least made the telephone call to check... I'm a fan of the space shuttle and of Brian Malow, the Science Comedian, so linking to this is a no-brainer... People who complain about Jason Kendall and how much money he's made should take a deep breath and realize that he has made $15 million less than JD Drew in his career but been to 3-times as many All-Star games... Pet peeve - sites where the advertisement video is longer than the video I actually want to watch... Rumors swirl that President Obama may replace Joe Biden on the 2012 ticket. How funny would it be if Walter Mondale was chosen as replacement VP? There would be a certain Obama-as-Carter symmetry to that... Very cool - artsy animated GIFs show process of making beer.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Red Sox Magic Number - 76

With the Red Sox win over Baltimore and the Yankees loss to Tampa Bay - Boston moves back into first place in the AL East and also reduced their magic number to 76.

My initial reaction to the number 76 is to make the crack about the atomic number of osmium being 76 and osmium being the densest natural element with sports radio callers being the second densest naturally occurring element. I've made that joke before so instead I figured I would mention that the USS Ronald Reagan is CVN 76. I saw the USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego and was properly awed by the sight.

The Red Sox don't have close to the firepower of the USS Ronald Reagan but I think the Orioles were properly awed by the six home runs hit against them in the 10-3 Red Sox victory.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- Bill James not only wants to rid the world of the unnecessary bunt but also thinks that eventually we will get rid of murder. Interesting interview.

- The dog days of summer are the proper time to argue over who was the greater NBA center - Rick Robey or Greg Ostertag

- Time-lapse photography of a dust storm in Arizona. I find the photography very cool but am concerned about damage dust storm did. Like seeing an accident on the side of the road not knowing if there was a fatality.

- David Hasselhoff is coming to "Sons of Anarchy."

- Swamp Ass PSA starring Nathan Fillion. Am I the only one who things to could market knock off Gold Bond Powder as Swamp Ass Powder?

- Very cool and thought provoking video. Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. I look forward to the book.

- Mathieu Bich Fooled Penn and Teller. Very cool magic trick.
Pete Gabriel - San Jacinto

I'm a fan of Peter Gabriel. I like his music, his lyrics and his showmanship. I do find him to be politically naive but in general I don't look to my artists for political or economic insights.

It would be interesting though to revisit some of the blather from the Amnesty International concert from 1986 to see who made more of a difference in worldwide freedom - the musicians or the US Marines. I think we all know the answer to this and it isn't the folks taking bows and collecting royalties.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

U.S. History - According to Facebook... The Space Shuttle is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of a benevolent United States in the world. You show anyone anywhere a picture of the shuttle and they immediately think of the US. It has become perhaps even more recognizable than the Statue of Liberty (people no longer go through Ellis Island). Cutting the Space Shuttle program is a big mistake (if even just for the public relations impact)... For anyone who hates assholes that text in theaters... JD Drew will make over $94 million for his career. He has been selected to just 1 All-Star game over his 14-year career. Has there ever been a player paid more who only made 1 All-Star game?... I seriously doubt there's a truck-full of demand for this product... I admit that every time I'm in an elevator that has a female computer voice that says, "Going down." I have dirty thoughts... Interesting article on Ernest Hemingway. It reminded me of the quote, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you”... Speaking of Hemingway - his first book The Sun Also Rises was originally called Fiesta and then The Lost Generation. In England it was published as Fiesta... Cool- Videos Shot From Cameras Mounted on the Tips of Fireworks... Adolph Hitler's sister-in-law was named Bridget. Bridget Hitler. That just sounds funny. Like the name of an Irish punk band... Speaking of Hitler - Interesting read about an inch of hair that represents infinite evil
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. 1831 James Madison, last of the founding fathers, dies
5. (tie) 1804 Lewis and Clark celebrate first 4th of July west of the Mississippi (tie) 1939 Lou Gehrig gives his "luckiest man alive" speech at Yankee Stadium

Sunday, July 03, 2011

All-Star Selections

Here's who I think should be named to the 2011 All-Star teams.

Catcher: AL - Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers (though a case could be made for his teammate Victor Martinez but Victor plays more DH/1st); NL - Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

1st Base: AL - Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox; NL - Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

2nd Base: AL - Robinson Cano, New York Yankees; NL - Richie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers

Shortstop: AL - Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians; NL - Jose Reyes, New York Mets

3rd Base: AL - Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees; NL - Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs (very thin position in the NL)

Outfield: AL - Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees, Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays, Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox; NL - Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers, Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals

DH: AL - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers; NL - Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

Starting Pitcher: AL- Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers, Jered Weaver, Los Angels Angels; NL - Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies, Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves

Closers: AL - Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, Sergio Santos, Chicago White Sox; NL - Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves, Drew Storen, Washington Nationals

Derek Jeter will be voted in as starter at short for the AL but Asdrubal Cabrera should still make the team. Same is true at AL DH where David Ortiz (much more deserving at this position that Jeter is at his) will get voted in but hopefully the deserving Cabrera will be on the team. If Jacoby Ellsbury does not win the voting then he could lose his spot to a numbers game as each team needs a representative.

In the NL - I'm guessing that Jose Reyes hamstring problem from yesterday make make short moot with Troy Tulowitzki either being voted the starter or named the starter at short. At 3rd - Placido Polanco from the Phillies will probably get voted in while I went with Ramirez partly because the case is so close for so many players I took a Cub since they did not have many other options for an All-Star selection.

Looking at my AL selections, only Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Minnesota, Kansas City, Seattle and Oakland don't have representatives. If Josh Hamilton gets voted in (or named team representative) then the Rangers are all set. If not then starters CJ Wilson and Alexi Ogando are both worthy of being named. Also wouldn't be surprised if Adrian Beltre was named to back-up 3rd base. James Shields should be the Tampa Bay representative, JJ Hardy deserves to be the Orioles representative but I wouldn't be surprised if Matt Weiters is named because catching is so thin in the AL. Michael Cuddyer is the only one to put up decent numbers for the Twins but like Baltimore I wouldn't be surprised if Joe Mauer gets the nod because the AL needs catcher depth. Alex Gordon has to be the Royals representative, rookie Michael Pineda is the best choice for the Mariners and Gio Gonzalez is the best choice for the A's.

For the NL the following teams still need a guy; Florida, Pittsburgh, Houston, San Francisco, Arizona, and San Diego. For Florida, Josh Johnson was the best pitcher in the NL before getting hurt while Gaby Sanchez should be the second choice but 1st base is loaded in the NL. The Pirates surprisingly have a number of deserving players including Andrew McCutchen, Joel Hanrahan, and Jeff Karstens. Hunter Pence will be the Astros player. Tim Lincecum or Brian Wilson (maybe both) will represent the Giants. Likewise both Juston Upton and Ian Kennedy from the Diamondbacks deserve a spot. Heath Bell will likely get the nod for the Padres but I wonder if he gets traded in between the naming and playing of the game.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Todd Helton

I don't think Todd Helton gets his proper recognition. People discount him because they think he is just a product of Coors Field. I don't argue that Helton didn't post some awesome numbers at his home field but the same can be said of many many Hall of Famers.

Consider this, however, George Brett had a career OPS of .857 while Todd Helton has a career road OPS of .873. The stat of OPS+ is supposed to take into account park factors and when a player spent his career. This leveling stat has Brett at an OPS+ of 135 while Helton is at 137.
U2 - Numb

Numb by U2 is not really played that often on the radio. It is a fun song but pretty much forgotten because Bono doesn't sing it.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Part of me wonders if Derek Jeter is timing his return not so much so that he'll get his 3,000th hit at home but instead timing his return so he can start in the All-Star game... Was this an actual NY Times headline? "Whitey Bulger captured by FBI - Women and Children Hardest Hit"... This is an example of why the save is such a poor stat. I recently read that since ESPN started tracking save opportunities in 2002, the league leader in save opportunities has also been the league leader in saves. How would you think of home runs if the guy with the most at bats led the league in HR every year?... Quote of the Day from Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr Bean): "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."... OK - the Phillies beat the Red Sox 2 games to 1 in the recent series but just a reminder, "Whomever designed that park in Philadelphia was an idiot." Peter Gammons June 2005... Thing that still disappoints me most about Osama bin Laden's death is I haven't seen a photoshop of him wearing a Yankees cap (yet!)

Friday, July 01, 2011

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting and thought I'd share.

- People are lining up in Santa Monica to rent Whitey Bulger's old pad. I have to admit that I'd think it pretty cool to live in the digs too.

- The lede paragraph is the bomb! As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could explode!

- New York Times sells part of Red Sox stake for $117 million. This tells you two thing - John Henry and Company know how to run a business and the New York Times is cash starved because they do not.

- I got a kick out of these.

- Donald Rumsfeld explains the dangers in making the wrong cuts in Defense spending - and as is his way instead of just complaining about things Rumsfeld makes some common sense suggestions on how to handle the problem. One thing he didn't mention was ending our relationship with NATO. I'd be curious to know his feelings on that.

- Harpo Marx Telegram to John F. Kennedy July 14, 1960

- DARPA's first crowdsourced military vehicle.
Public Service Announcement

I read a study once where the experts explained that putting ice cubes up the rectums of unconscious people has no physiological benefit and can even lead to seizures and stroke. Of course I laughed at such a silly study. And the more I thought about it – I funnier I thought it was.

After thinking about it for a while I came to the unmistakable conclusion that men were completely responsible for such a thing. In order for the study to be done in the first place people must have been putting ice cube up the butts of unconscious people. Who would do such a thing? Men! A woman would never see an unconscious person and think – “Instead of calling an ambulance for help I think I will jam a large ice cube up the ass to see if that wakes the person up.” Say that to a guy and the chances are his response would be, “What the heck – give it a shot.”

And who would design and OK the spending for such a dumb study? Men! Do you think they told the test subjects what the study was all about? “OK we are going to knock you unconscious and then place ice cubes of different sizes up your rectum.” How would you like to be the test subject that ended up having a stroke because you needed the $50 the experiment paid?

The more you know.