Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Senseless Baseball Cliches (Part I)

"Don't get beat with your second or third best pitch." I just heard Ron Darling echo this popular sentiment on the Mets broadcast. How does this make sense? It seems to me that the only way for one to avoid getting beaten on his second or third best pitch is to only throw one pitch. Everyone knows that, with the possible exception of a prime Mariano Rivera, pitchers need more than one pitch to get Major League hitters out. That is why catchers have to place a varying amount of digits betwixt their squatting legs before each pitch. It's kind of a big part of the game.

Saying "Don't get beat with your second or third best pitch" is tantamount to saying "Be Mariano Rivera". I don't think that that kind of advice is very instructive for the pitchers that lack the ability to throw a 95 MPH fastball that breaks 8 inches, without making the catcher move his mitt.

Rajon, Grant the Celts a title.

Have you ever seen a 21-year old point guard have even close to this much talent to work with?

Rajon Rondo had a very nice rookie season with the Boston Celtics, proving that he belongs in the elite group of young point guards that may usher in the new era, including T.J. Ford and Deron Williams and the like, and led by Tyronn Lue. But what has happened right in front of his young eyes is unprecedented. Will he have a sophomore slump while dishing the ball to the likes of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen? Or will Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin once again get to celebrate at the bar where everybody knows your name?

Thoughts on the Deadline Deals

1) I love what the Braves did in acquiring Mark Teixeira and two quality relief pitchers for their backup catcher, 5th starter, and some promising prospects. All things being equal, I am convinced that the Braves currently have the best roster in the National League. They easily have the best lineup in the NL, an excellent top three starters, and newly fortified bullpen. If the Braves were within 2 of the Mets right now, I would bet on Atlanta.

2) The Red Sox did a good job adding Gagne to the bullpen. They already had the division locked up, but they probably made themselves the frontrunners to win the World Series. Of course it's baseball, so the Brewers will probably stumble in the playoff back door and win the World Series.

3) Texas has torn their team to bits. At this point, they might as well trade their remaining veteran assets (Michael Young, Otsuka) and commit to another two years of sucking and rebuilding. They are going to be Washington Nationals bad for the foreseeable future.

4) I like the Proctor for Betemit trade...a little bit. Proctor is a serviceable reliever, who has so far held up to two years of Joe Torre's abuse. Somebody should really start a Safe At Home Foundation for victims of Joe Torre's bullpen brutality.

Scott Proctor in the lockerroom, entire upper body wrapped in ice. He hears Joe signature shuffle entering the room and curls into the fetal position.
Joe looks at what he has done to young Scott and begins weeping.
Joe: Don't you see?! I pitch you everyday, because I love you.

If Scott Proctor became completely ineffective over the next year or two, I wouldn't be surprised. More often than not, relief pitchers have a couple of decent years and fall off the face of the planet. I have no reason to suspect Proctor will be an exception. Besides, I have already written ad nauseum that the Yankees have better options toiling in the minor leagues; Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez, and Joba Chamberlain to name a few.

Betemit is a handy infielder who should mercifully bring Miguel Cairo's Yankees career to an end. He also give the Yanks a contingency plan, if A-Rod signs elsewhere. Of course, Betemit is not in Rodriguez's league. But Betemit would give them a league average third baseman and allow them to spend their money on an outfielder (Torii Hunter, Kosuke Fukudome?) I still desperately want A-Rod to return, but Betemit opens up additional possibilities for the Yankees.

More blatant misuse of the word "humbled"

This is something that has bothered me for ages, and I sadly feel that i'm the only person that ever notices it. In todays New York Post, this was a statement by Tom Glavine, in reference to his quest for his 300th career victory tonight. "Its the greatest measuring stick for starting pitchers. To have the opportunity is something i'm really excited about and certainly very humbled by."

Thomas, how does this humble you? The opportunity to join 22 of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game, and quite possibly be the last 300-winner ever makes you feel more humble? Wouldnt something like having 225 of those wins scratched from the record because baseball feels that umpires cheated to help you win, and at the same time never being able to do anything except give up home runs for the rest of your career humble you? That sounds more accurate.

I don't get why people say things like "having all of these thousands of people here to see me perform, and to honor my career - its just very humbling." One person that i've heard say something to this effect is Bono. It just comes off as disengenuous.

Someone agree with me, please.

The Benoit Standard

I just can't get it up for Bill Walsh's passing. Chris Benoit has raised the bar so high for celebrity deaths that I don't want to be bothered with a 75 year old dying of leukemia.

Uncle Jessie's Worst Nightmare

What a difference a decade makes for America's early 90's sweetheart Jodie Sweetin, a.k.a.-Stephanie Judith Tanner. TMZ cameras spotted the former honeybee and Giant's ace pitcher out on the town riding some tatted up loser (her husband no less). Sweetin apparently has a new show in the works where she picks up her former Full House role-while the show is set to air soon, writers are feverishly trying to narrow down suggested catch phrases that made the show such a TGIF Powerhouse back in the day. Among the early favorites:
"How rude!-of you to offer only an eight ball of coke for a hand job"
"The doggie ate my methodone!"
And you thought Danny was pissed when DJ brought Steve home, wait until this guy sells Comet for dog meat in Chinatown to feed his crippling meth addiction.

Garnett in Green

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen! A team with these three guys and a bunch of D-Leaguers would be pretty scary. Good thing, because that is essentially what they will be surrounded with.

To borrow a wrestling term, I am arguably the world's biggest Kevin Garnett mark. What is not to like about Garnett? He is 7 feet tall, is athletic as all get-out, shoots the ball well, handles it like a guard, is always in the top 3 in rebounding, plays outstanding defense, and is incredibly unselfish (perhaps to a fault). He never gets hurt and busts his ass every game.

Garnett's lone weakness, not always asserting himself on offense as much as he should, is offset by being teamed with a couple of conscienceless chuckers (I mean that in the most positive possible way). With the possible exception of Terrell Brandon, circa 2000, Garnett has never played with one guy as good as Pierce or Allen, let alone two. If the Celtics could find a hold down the fort Derek Fisher-type to play the point and a feisty prick of a big man, ala Mikki Moore,they would be the team to beat in the NBA.

Even though this move essentially 86es any chance of my Nets competing for an Eastern Conference Title, I'm happy to see this trade happen. I would be thrilled to see Kevin Garnett get a well-deserved championship. I'm tired of hearing people trash Garnett, because of his lack of postseason success. Skip Bayless just referred to him as Kevin Gar-not. I have never heard one of his critics address this issue; With which team should he have won a title? I think he will get one in the next two years.

Someone Took a Mets Loss Harder Than Nocedog

The early favorite for Overreaction of the Year is in. He is Michael Anthony and he killed his mother after becoming enraged by a Mets loss to the Nats over the weekend. Michael, the Mets are in 1st place and have the best record in the National League. Now this reaction might have been justified after Beltran took strike three to end the NLCS, but jeez this is a July game against the Nats. You can't win 'em all. Also since he was obviously more of a die hard fan than his mother, the murder will further complicate Michael's life because I doubt they offer the MLB Extra Innings package in Rikers Island. Losing pitcher Pedro Feliciano, who is the "but for" cause of this tragedy, could not be reached for comment.

Wow, talk about pulling a Benoit.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mets Make a Trade That is Unlikely To Help Either Team

Earlier today the Mets traded two of their C level prospects, Dustin Martin and Drew Butera, for Twins 2b Luis Castillo. I don't hate the trade, but I don't like the trade as I believe that it will not make the Mets a better team. In the words of the late, not so great A. Anthony Miller, I couldn't be more underwhelmed. To put it simply, Castillo isn't that good of a baseball player. Yes, he is still an above average glove, but he is no longer the base stealing threat he once was. I'm not saying that he has the legs of Lt. Dan, but he has only swiped 9 bases this year while battling through various lower extremity ailments. This is certainly not a good sign since his best tool is speed. Furthermore, this guy slugs worse than Mark Gastineau in a non-fixed boxing match. In fact, this year his slugging percentage (.352) is lower than his on base percentage(.356)...excuse me while I raise a red flag of concern. In the past, his lack of slugging was offset by his propensity for stealing bases, but a 90 OPS+ without swiping a lot of bags does not cut it in my book.

The combined production of a Damion Easley (.266/.339/.438) and Ruben Go Go Gotay (.350/.382/.504) platoon outweighd the offensive and defensive contributions of Castillo. Even taking into account Gotay's inevitable regression towards the mean I still believe the platoon will be just as, if not more effective than Castillo. Gotay's slugging is not a complete aberration. He OPS'd over .800 in his first several stops in the minors and after watching him the past few months he seems to have some nice pop in his pat and a strong approach at the plate. His career arch resembles that of Brandon Phillips....something to keep in mind. Also, since Castillo is not a long term solution (he turns 32 in a month and his OBP and speed numbers have declined the last two seasons) I would like to see if Gotay is capable of handling the position on a full-time basis.

But what about playoff experience? Luis Castillo has plenty it, you say. That has to mean something! I'll leave that intangible-laden discussion up to the Wallace Matthews' and Murray Chass' of the world, but baseball is baseball. If you can hit a ball in the regular season you can hit it in the magical realm known as the playoffs. But unfortunately it becomes the old catch-22 where you can't get the job if you don't have experience, but you can't get experience unless you get the job. Gotay is in this quandary. He is not considered playoff tested, so the Mets want to go with a known quantity (with a lower ceiling), but how is a guy like Gotay supposed to earn his stripes if he can't catch a whiff of playoff playing time after OPS+'ing 136 from the 2B spot?

On the positive side, the Mets get Castillo for next to nothing. Butera and Martin were not on any top prospect list I've read and neither puts up numbers that would endear themselves to sabermetricians. I sincerely doubt either will ever help out the Twins in anyway, so if the Mets get anything positive out of Castillo, they get the better of the trade. Additionally, if Castillo, who is a free agent to be, walks after the season the Mets would gain a 2nd round compensatory draft pick. Said pick will hopefully be used to pick a player with more upside than either Butera or Martin (Please Omar, no more relievers!!).

In sum, Castillo is not a very valuable baseball player anymore and the platoon of Easley/Gotay at the very least is just as productive as Castillo, so the trade is pretty much meaningless.

Something Big Going Down in Flushing?

The Mets pulled two of their top prospects, Fernando Martinez and Phillip Humber, from their games today. Martinez was lifted after one at bat while Humber, who was the scheduled starter, was replaced by Adam Bostick. It's probably a coincidence, but those on the Mets message board are predictably jumping to conclusions and there is now a lot of buzz involving Dontrelle Willis. Eh. He is more name than numbers at this point. Assuming it's a zero sum game, I'd much rather make a run at Carlos Zambrano than the inconsistent D-Train.

The Downright Nashty Prophecies

A while back Downright Nashty scribed that frequent suspension whores, Pacman Jones and Chris Henry should form a WWF tag team. Well Nashty's look in to his Magic 8 Ball has proven somewhat prophetic as it appears that Pacman has signed with Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling (TNA). If he doesn't come out to Fat Joe's "Make it Rain", Gene Kelly's "Dancing in the Rain", or Jesus and Mary Chain's "I'm Only Happy When it Rains" there is something seriously wrong with this world.

Also kudos to a Deadspin commenter who quipped, "Isn't it T 'n A that got him into trouble in the first place."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Bronx is Burning My Eyes and Ears

I have seen the first three episodes "The Bronx is Burning" miniseries and it is a folly on every level. Of course, I will be watching the remaining 5 episodes

Reasons I Hate "The Bronx is Burning"

1) I'm sure that I am in the minority among sports fans, but sports movies rarely work for me. Besides boxing films, which work because they frequently double as character studies of compelling individuals, I can only think of a handful of rewatchable sports movies. In baseball, you have a 25 man roster, a manager, several coaches, a GM, and an owner. It's a bit too much ground to cover (even for what amounts to a 6 hour miniseries). So you end up with very little Ron Guidry (ace of the staff), Graig Nettles, and no Sparky Lyle (a total character and 1977 Cy Young Award winner!). You can't very well tell the story of that season without those guys.

2) The team is portrayed as a bunch of complete shitheads. Fran Healy is the only person, who comes off looking good in this series. Others are portrayed as follows...
- Reggie Jackson - A completely self-absorbed asshole
- Billy Martin - An insecure drunk with Elijah Dukes's temper
- George Steinbrenner - A pompous ass
- Thurman Munson - A curmudgeonly prick, who jealously guarded his leadership role from newcomers
- Mickey Rivers - A dim-witted, jive-talkin deadbeat gambler
- Yogi Berra - A mongoloid (especially irritating, because his "stupidity" was a carefully crafted bit)

I am not saying that these characterizations are entirely untrue. However, the show is so heavy-handed in its caricaturization that it is impossible to sympathize with any of these men. I'm giving you 8 hours of my time; a little nuance is all I ask.
3) The show's attempt to tie the 1977 Yankees into the larger social context of New York City is specious at best. The Son of Sam, the blackout, and the mayoral race were coincidental with the season, not interconnected. Aware of the flimsy connections, the writers cut to shots of Steinbrenner, Martin, or Jackson reading the newspaper or watching television as these issues are being discussed. Very weak.
4) Most importantly, I hate the performances. John Turturro falls into, and out of, a Southern accent throughout the series. Billy Martin was born and raised in Northern California, but apparently that accent is not in John Turturro repertoire. It's as if Turturro knows he has to neutralize his Brooklyn accent, so he just runs with the first non-New York voice he can come up with. Next week, he might sound like a pirate, or a Pakistani, or perhaps Johnny Carson.
Somehow, the dude that plays Reggie, manages to make Jackson boring. He displays little of the cocksure swagger that made Reggie such a fun and controversial figure. I never for a second feel like I'm watching Reggie Jackson.
The guy that plays Thurman Munson has yet to change the expression on his face or the tone of his voice in the first three episodes. Unfortunately this is only a miniseries, so he can't make a run at Benjamin McKenzie's record of holding the same note for three consecutive seasons on "The O.C.". Worse still, is that the actor lacks the mass of chest hair, billowing out of the top of his jersey. That should have been a prerequisite, when casting Munson.
The show sucks and is destined to continue to suck. However I am still going to watch it, if only so I can complain about it. This can not be healthy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tom Glavine Nightmare

About a week ago, I had a disturbing dream involving Tom Glavine. The details are a bit fuzzy, but Glavine and I were teammates and/or close friends. Recently, Tom Glavine had been turning up with bandages all over his body. It started with a series of Band-Aids on his arms. Quickly the little Band-Aids made way for Ace Bandages that were wrapped around his arms and legs. When questioned, he had a carefully crafted excuse each time. All of his friends were deeply concerned for his well-being. We didn't know if he was hiding a severe case of hemophilia or if he was becoming a cutter.

Finally, I decided to confront him. I approached him in his basement workshop to find him placing his cheek into the path of a circular saw. The blade was very thin and he only stuck his face into it enough to tear a narrow, clean slice through his skin. The last thing I remember was Glavine turning around and looking me in the eye, as blood steadily trickled down his cheek.

It was at this point that I awoke, completely convinced that my dream had happened. I paced my house for a couple of minutes, before I came to the realization that
a) I don't know Tom Glavine
b) It's highly improbable that Tom Glavine, a 41 year old man on the brink of his 300th victory, would develop a disorder most commonly associated with 16 year old Goth chicks.

Who's More Now?

He IS Morneau!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Feeling Uninspired

I apologize for the recent lack of posts, but the last week in sports has left me uninspired. The Yankees are crushing competition like Italians on grapes (a Canadian dime to the first person to identify that reference). Yankee dominance is good for me, but bad for the blog. Worse still for this blog are corrupt referees, pit bull fighting superstars, and controversy over tainted home run records. Honestly, these stories are so beaten to death that I can't even fathom a unique angle on them. I can't stand reading about them, let alone writing about them.

Having said that, I will be back some time in the next 24 hours to share, in detail, a bizarre dream that I recently had about Tom Glavine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quick Thought On "Who's Now"

I finally realized what bugs me so much about ESPN's "Who's Now" segment. Not one bit of it is done tongue in cheek. The analysis for this ridiculous bracket is seemingly done in 100% complete seriousness. You need a guy like Skip Bayless in all his contrarianess arguing with a wink and a smile that Michael Phelps is "more now" than Lebron James. Instead you have Kirk Herbstreet legitimately trying to compare Vince Young's 6 wins last year against Maria Sharapova's endorsement contracts. This could have potentially been a fun, fake-serious segment (albeit it would have to be much abridged), but instead ESPN is not in on it's own joke and really seems to think that this bracket has cultural relevance.

Ok, I'm off to take the bar. Lates. (I rushed this post so sorry for grammatical errors or typos, I'll revise it later, but I just wanted to get some content up for Jimer)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Get To Know Your SYHD Blogger

We have just received footage of fellow SYHD blogger Tremont at Yankee Stadium during a recent game. Sit back and enjoy:

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Scott Olsen, you have made the leap! Before tonight, we knew you were a bit of a problem. You had had a couple of dust-ups with managers and teammates and just this week the Marlins suspended you for some vague violation of team rules. Alas, we did not have that signature disgraceful act that would place you in the Pac Man Jones/ Elijah Dukes/ Stephen Jackson/ Ron Artest echelon of sociopaths.

But today, my friend, you did it. Like Lebron in Game 5 against the Pistons, you have announced your arrival in no uncertain terms. Driving drunk, refusing to pull over, then kicking the cops. You're an inspiration.

One word of caution from your friends at SYHD. You are only 23 and are still a promising young pitcher and malefactor. However, in order for your delinquency to remain relevant, you are going to have to step it up on the field. At the very least, you must become a legitimate number two starters for teams to continue to put up with your bullshit. Make yourself absolutely indispensable and you could give me 15 more years of material.

Did He Just Say That?

Fox Baseball play by play man Matt Vasgersian just said this about Dodger reliever Jonathan Broxton:

"That Broxton is about 270 lbs, most of which is located below the belt."

Vasgersian then went on to compliment Broxton's "rear end." leaving broadcast partner Tim McCarver speechless...so well done Matt!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mama Mia! Marbury and Italy: A Match Made in Heaven

When reading the news that Starbury planned to finish his career in Italy, my initial response was one of concern for him. I was worried that he would be unprepared for the unflattering comparisons to eggplant that he would be receiving in every visiting city. However, upon further consideration, I believe that Starbury will find Italia perfectly simpatico. When you dig beneath the surface, there are staggering similarities between Marbury and Italy.

First, both Italy and Steph peeked very early. Italy has largely been a non-factor on the world's stage, since the fall of Rome, over 1500 years ago. The only reason anybody visits the country is to see buildings that were erected many centuries ago. Likewise, when teamed with Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury looked like he was headed for NBA domination. With each passing year, his career becomes more disappointing.

Second, both Italy and Marbury feature a pretty weak defense. After Italy became a nation in 1861, it failed miserably in its efforts to recolonize the world. Most famously they lost a war to conquer Ethiopia (Ethiopia!). They switched sides in World War I, when they realized their allies in the Triple Alliance were about to be defeated. Then they picked up a big loss in World War II. (Why doesn't Italy get shit for joining Hitler's team?) Smartly, they have kept a pretty low profile since then.
The opposing point guard seems to average 25 points and 10 assists against the Knicks.

Like the Italians in World War II, Marbury was the third banana on a losing team. I guarantee this is the first time you've ever seen Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford compared to Germany and Japan in an analogy.

Finally, much like Italians, Starbury doesn't make the people around him better. I grew up idolizing my Irish/English/Lebanese cousin. He probably wasn't that cool, but he was 9 years older, so to me he was the most. Then he started hanging out with the Italian kids. He adopted their way of talk, their mannerisms, and style of dress. Quickly he became an insufferable ass. His was not an isolated case. On the whole, I am probably a lesser person for my association with Italians.
Likewise, players never develop with Marbury running the point. In fact, every team he has left improved dramatically upon his departure.

If eHarmony matched people with nations, Steph and Italy would be doing a testimonial on their commercial.

(Any unfair oversimplifications of history or sweeping generalizations about Italians are done for the benefit of the analogy. In other words, calm down all you Salvatores and Josephines. Wipe off the pasta fagioli that you just threw at your monitor. I was kidding...sort of.)

There Goes My Birthday Present

According to Darren Rovell, Ookie has gone the way of Ron Mexico as far as personalized jerseys are concerned. Like they did with Ron Mexico requests, the NFL is not allowing people to personalize their blank Falcons #7 jersey with Ookie. All those who wanted to be hip and ironic or just an asshole will now have to find new avenues to mock the former anointed one. So if you are going to get that personalized jersey it looks like you're just going to have to stick with your own last name and prepared for the inevitable incidents of mockery such as: "(Insert team starting QB) sucks! They should put in Levenbaum!" or "Everybody look, Levenbaum is standing right there, lets get his autograph."

Apologies to reader Ziggy Schaffer who in middle school put his last name on the back of every jersey he owned.

Happy Birthday

SYHD wants to wish a very happy birthday to contributor Johnny Dakota. Have fun living it up tonight, which means nursing 2 1/4 rum and diets over a four hour period and throwing peach schnapps shots over your shoulder. Ba zing!!! But hey you have a 1pm tee time tomorrow, so we understand.

Not Only Does He Win BCS Titles....

But Urban Meyer also makes hot daughters (she's the one on the left). Please follow this link for more pics. I don't know if she's street legal, but I know what I'd like to do with my Oscar Meyer. Urban really needs to start taking her out on the recruiting trail- Let's see a 5 star recruit say no to that face.
(Thanks to the Big Lead)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Maybe He's the Vick-tim

We've had "Free Mandela", "Free Huey", "Free Mumia", "Free Mike Tyson", and "Don't Squeeze the Juice", so it's only logical that we now have "Free Ookie". Now this is a cause I can really get behind as long as I'm in a Fantasy Football League that gives quarterbacks more points for rushing tds than passing tds.

(Credit to Kissing Suzy Kolber for carpe diem)

On Behalf of Pit Bulls Everywhere

The Pit Bull community's response to the Michael Vick indictment and its shockingly gruesome factual basis was swift, strong, and to the point. But more importantly, how did that woman get that dog to shit on cue?

A True Epiphany

Last night I was at a friend's house and we had debate about clutchness of baseball players and how certain players are overvalued due to their perceived clutchness when in fact their numbers in "clutch" situations are not appreciably better than their stats in non-clutch situations. Please check out this FJM article for better articulation on the subject. Predictably, David Eckstein's name came up in conversation as a player who is continually overvalued because he is thought of as clutch and gritty. On my way home it hit me- like a lightning bolt of wit reigning down from Mount Olympus (channeling my inner Woody Paige) - David Eckstein shall now be referred to as David Husslehoff. It works on so many levels of mockery- I could barely contain my excitement and shot off a quick email to the Fire Joe Morgan guys urging them to use the nickname in a future article. If it gets a mention, I will feel more validated than I ever have in my entire life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Duality of Man(agers)

(Disclaimer: I'm ninety percent sure that I'm completely ripping this concept from somebody at Baseball Prospectus or The Hardball Times or Baseball Analysts or Rob Neyer or perhaps Steven Goldman. If you have read this before, let me know where and will give appropriate credit.)

Managing a baseball team involves two distinct and equally important skill sets. First, a manager must be able to strategically manage the game. He must know how to properly handle a bullpen, be able to weigh the benefits of the sacrifice bunt with the opportunity cost, know to properly exploit platoon splits, and optimally construct his lineup.

Second, a manager must be able to maintain a happy and productive work environment for his players. He must be able to settle in-fights, protect his players from media scrutiny, and know when a struggling player needs a kick in the ass or an arm around the shoulder.

A manager must be a master strategist and a leader of men. Perhaps that is too much to ask of one man. Maybe some day, a risk-taking organization will attempt to divide the manager position in two. Why not hire some egghead stratomatic champion to make on field decisions? Then you could hire some scrappy overachieving ex-ballplayer to motivate the players. He could also give the SABR geek the benefit of his experience on the field, advising him when a pitcher has nothing or where to position his fielders.

It would take two flexible men to fill these positions. Each would have to put his ego aside and cooperate. A guy like Lou Piniella would never be able to handle it. But after watching Joe Torre do his best to piss away this season, I would love to see the Yankees give it a chance.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Racist, No. Incompetent, Yes.

Imagine the San Antonio Spurs relegating Manu Ginobili to the D-League and only playing Tony Parker in garbage time. In their stead, the Spurs chose to give their minutes to Beno Udrih and Michael Finley's corpse. This would never happen, because RC Buford and Gregg Popovich are a competent general manager/coach tandem.

The fanciful scenario discussed above is analogous to Cashman and Torre's mismanagement of the Yankees bullpen. I won't waste your time further rehashing a point that I already made, when I posited that Chris Britton and Edwar Ramirez are the 2nd and 3rd best relievers in the Yankees organization.

Since then, Cashman has done half of his job, by promoting Edwar Ramirez on July 1st. Joe Torre has used him twice in his 16 days on the roster. Meanwhile, Luis Vizcaino has appeared in 8 games in the month of July. Scott Proctor has pitched 7 times and Farnsworth has been called upon 6 times, over the same period. Joe Torre has not seen fit to use Edwar Ramirez at all, since July 6th. If he pitches tomorrow, he will be doing so on 11 days rest. Nothing says "You're a valued member of the team" like nearly two weeks of inactivity.

You would think Ramirez must have gotten bombed in his two appearances for him to be so deeply buried. It is not so. In fact, in his first outing, he struck out the side in his only inning of work. Both Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau were victimized by his unhittable change-up. Watching Ramirez's Major League debut, I was all but certain that the Yankees had the answer to their eighth inning woes. In his next outing, Ramirez gave up a walk, a hit, and a run (Gasp!!!) in an inning and a third and hasn't been heard from since.

Joe Torre has no faith in Ramirez, because
a) he is not yet 30 years old (Joe loves him some grizzled relievers),
b) he has not scene him pitch in a big spot (Joseph Heller wrote farcical books about such situations)
c) Ramirez wasn't labelled a "blue chip" prospect
and possibly
d) he looks like a dork.
None of the above are valid reasons not to give the guy an opportunity. Well, maybe the dork thing is a good reason. Nobody likes dorks.

Yesterday I stated that I didn't believe Joe Torre was a racist. I still don't. But if it will get him fired, I am willing to start the rumor that I overheard him muttering "the n word" under his breath, as he passed a group of break dancers in Penn Station.

Mixed Feelings

Comic/actor Kevin James, who is an avid Mets and Jets fan, has named his second daughter Shea in honor of the soon to be torn down Shea Stadium(thanks to The Big Lead for throwing up the link). Part of me loves this and loves Kevin James (in a strictly nonsexual way) for doing it. It's always nice to see a B+ list star support my favorite teams in such a public way, but should the name Shea be off limits for Mets fans. Here's the thing- Chipper Jones, who is hitting something like .750 lifetime at Shea, also named his kid after the blue-ish purple-ish ballpark a few years back. Why? Mainly because LAAAAAAAARY had always raked in Flushing and the Braves of the late 1990's/early 2000's made the Mets their personal bitch almost every year. Thus Jones basically flipped the bird to every Met fan by naming his baby girl Shea, so shouldn't a true die hard shun the name Shea? I mean what Met head would want his kid to share a name with one of Jones' legitimized children? At the same time, if the name Shea were to go the way of Adolf, wouldn't that really be letting the enemy win? By James naming his daughter Shea, he has signaled to Mets fans that it's alright to name their children after their (and my) beloved eyesore, thus hopefully diluting the impact of Jones' baby naming choice. Hopefully James does not name his next daughter Meadowlands

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Half-Hearted Defense of a Bumbling Old Fool

Joe Torre does seem to have an aversion to a particular race...This year's pennant race!!! Bah-dum-bum!

After 27 years as a manager, I have to hear that Torre is a racist from somebody other than a chronic malcontent (Sheffield) and a mercenary that has played on nine teams since 9/11 (Lofton).

Thanks a lot, Gary Sheffield, for making me defend a man, whose life I selfishly wish would end.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Looking For a Sign That ESPN Needs to Scrap Its "Who's Now" Segment?

Well here it is:

Sheffield Crying Wolf

So Gary Sheffield is claiming that the are Yankees a racist organization. Honestly nothing could make me happier than finding out that Torre and Cashman watch "Birth of a Nation" together every Tuesday night, not because I condone such behavior, but rather because I gain happiness from any Yankee embarrassment. Sheffield adamantly feels that while he was a Yankee, African-American ballplayers were treated disparately from white players (Not counting Jeter who is "not all the way black"). Now these are some loaded accusations so I hope Sheffield would have some solid proof to back up his claims, but Sheffield clearly lacks a smoking gun or any type of evidence at all. He tries to cite the treatment of the organization- Torre and Cashman- toward himself, Kenny Lofton, and Tony Womack as examples its racist paradigm, but as you will see below these charges hold less water than New a Orleans leeve. Let's go through each:

Gary Sheffield v. Vlad Guerrero- Sheffield's main gripe is that rather signing him, Cashman and Torre wanted to ink Vlad Guerrero prior to the 2004 season. It's as if he is completely discounting Vlad as a player. Frankly, whether or not to sign Sheffield or Vlad at that point is a complete coin flip. Vlad was coming off a injury riddled season and there were concerns about his back, but he was eight years younger than Sheffield, had strung together five straight Hall of Fame caliber seasons prior to 2003, and those very same injury concerns helped to drive down his market value- making him one of the biggest free agent bargains in the history of the game. So at the time, it was probably a better idea to sign Guerrero over Sheffield, but lets see how it actually turned out. Ok, after putting on my Hindsight 20/20 tm contact lenses, the Yankees would have been better off signing Vlad instead of Sheffield. You can compare their stats yourself (Guerrero and Sheffield), but to sum it up in 2004 and 2005 Guerrero OPS+'d 154 and 156 respectively, while in that same span Sheffield had an OPS+ of 143 and 132. Both players were productive, but Guerrero was clearly better, and let's not forget the anecdotal evidence that Guerrero won the MVP in 2004. Also, 2006 was a lost season for Sheffield as he played in only 39 games, while Vlad was his usual impaling self, throwing up a stat line of .329/.382./.552. This year Sheffield having a productive season...for the Tigers as Guerrero continues to rake for the Angels. So Gary, do you really think that Cashman and Torre were wrong in preferring Vlad??

Kenny Lofton- According to this Ken Davidoff article, Sheffield actually convinced Steinbrenner to sign the aging speedster in 2004. The thought at the time of the signing was that Lofton would take split time with Bernie Williams, who had begun his precipitous career decline in 2003. Torre, when awake, is extremely loyal and according to the Davidoff piece Torre did not like the idea of playing Lofton over Bernie. Lofton was coming off a decent year for Kenny Lofton (.296/.352/.450), but at age 34 he clearly was not the long term solution for the squad. Futhermore, Lofton and Williams posted almost identical OPS+ (109 to 110), so you really can't fault Torre for playing Bernie over Lofton, unless maybe late in games where Lofton was well suited as a defensive replacement for Bernie. So, with all things being fairly equal, Torre choose to play a player that he had coached for ten very productive years over a player that he had no attachment to and who was not an upgrade. I'm still waiting for some evidence of racism.

Tony Womack- Citing that Davidoff article, both Sheffield and Womack think that Tony got that shaft in his lone season with the Yankees. With apologies to Christian Guzman, in 2005 Womack was probably the worst position player in baseball. If you don't believe me, please check out his stat line. In 329 abs Womack posted a anorexic .249/.276/.280, which netted him a quark-sized OPS+ of 47!!!. Womack should be ecstatic that he got a paycheck that year rather than be all salted up for losing his 2b job to Robinson Cano. Also, after Cano came up Torre still found playing time for Womack by moving him to the outfield where he was probably the least productive player in the history of baseball. Tony, the only people that got a raw deal during your tender in the Bronx were the fans who were subjected to watching you swing a wet noodle and misplay fly balls every day.

OK, though it looks like I'm completely trying to dismiss Sheffield's cries of racism in the Bronx, while I obviously can speak on what was actually happening in the locker room, Sheffield is going to need to do a lot better than trotting out Vlad Guerrero, Kenny Lofton, and Tony Womack as examples if we wishes to get a direct verdict in the court of public opinion. Furthermore, wanton claims of racism denigrates instances of actual racism, (see the parable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf") so Sheffield might actually be doing more the hurt the cause than help it.

(Question to Tremont- Before or after being traded, did Sheffield ever state that he wanted to stay with the Yankees?)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

End It With Beckham

Most of us have had the experience of a having a friend enthusiastically try to hip him to a band. Oftentimes, you don't understand what your friend has been raving about. You tell them as much, but they are insistent that you must be missing something. They ask that you listen to give them a few more listens, certain that something will click and you will share their passion. More often than not, it doesn't work. I have been annoyed by such friends many times. I have also been that annoying friend many times.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and even non-sports media outlets are that friend right now, with their incessant pushing of David Beckham on us. We really don't care. I played soccer from the ages of 4 to 14 and even refereed for several years as a teenager. I can appreciate the talent and strategy that goes into playing the sport. I just do not care to watch it played professionally. And as dreamy as he is, Beckham is not going to make me any more interested in it.

Did You Know...

that Lady Bird Johnson was alive until yesterday? I certainly didn't.

Nerd Alert

And if you thought our man Kige Ramsey was a little bit of a dork, check out this guy who spends 10 minutes dissecting shitty Super Nintendo basketball games. Keep in mind that this is just part 1.

Down and Out in Flushing Queens (Rickey Henderson In)

Newsday is reporting that Mets hitting coach Rick Down has been replaced by all-time steals leader Rickey Henderson. Henderson has been an instructor for the Mets over the past couple spring trainings and has served as a part-time baserunning coach over the past two seasons. This is a big promotion however, and it will be interesting to see how Ricky can handle it. I'm not saying Rickey can't do the job, but he has no prior experience as a hitting coach on any level. Furthermore, Rickey is widely considered a a third-person referring, arrogant jerk (kind of redundant I know), which is a trait I love in a player, but is not nearly as coveted for a coach. At this point I'm willing to give Omar and Co. the benefit of the doubt based on the decisions they have made to this point, but I'm generally weary of Hall of Famers who go on to become hitting/pitching coaches. The old saying goes, those who can- do and those who can't-teach (I have no clue who to construct that sentence in a grammatically correct manner). Ted Williams couldn't cut it as a hitting coach, and just a few weeks ago Eddie Murray was fired from the position by the Dodgers. Ricky, along with the above mentioned players, all had very special talent, but a lot of times that talent does not lend itself to instruction perhaps because they never had to analyze the mechanics the act like a lesser player would. For example, Ted Williams claimed that he was able to recognize a pitch by seeing the spin of the ball. I've never heard another player make a similar claim of being able to slow the game down to that level. This means that much of Williams success was due to abnormal reflexive and visual ability that simply can't be taught. Because of this there can be a great disconnect between coaches who were some of the best to ever play the game and the average player. The same line of thinking applies to pitching coaches as well. Two of the best pitching coaches in the game today are Rick Peterson and Leo Mazzone, who have thrown a combined zero major league innings. Meanwhile, the Yankees employ former Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry to middling results. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think teams are better of hiring a coach based on his resume as a coach rather than his resume as a player. The correlation between playing career achievements and coaching success is tenuous at best, while someone who has paid his dues and plied his trade at different levels of the game would be a much safer bet.

I'll leave you guys with my all-time favorite Rickey Henderson story (which unfortunately didn't actually happen):

The setting is Seattle Mariners batting practice. The year 2000.

Rickey Henderson (to John Olerud): Hey, Rickey sees that you wear a helmet in the field.
John Olerud: Yeah
Rickey: Rickey used to play with a guy who wore a helmet in the field.
Olerud: Yeah that was me Rickey.
(Rickey and Olerud had played on the Mets together the season before)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Last Post Ever

The day after the MLB All-Star Game is agonizing. Without the distraction of a job, the Yankees, and fantasy sports, it is a day that forces the unemployed sport fanatic to reflect on what he has become. This must be how Chris Benoit felt a couple weeks ago.

Boy That Brady Quinn is Photogenic

Mondesi's House first posted this photo of Brady Quinn and ex-Poison lead singer Bret Michaels and while The Big Lead and Deadspin have both given it some lip service, we'd be remiss not to pop it up on our site as well. Why? Because Brady Quinn photos always get us a ton of Google image search hits. How many of those bicurious web surfers do we retain? Probably none unless they enjoy junior high school level writing, puns, Hank Aaron bashing and one-liners. I also wanted to put the photo up for our loyal reader Jimer, whose entire trip into the blogosphere begins and ends with SYHD. Without us, he would never know that Brady is so attracted to lead singers of defunct 80's hair bands (Vince Neil, you're next!). Lastly, this photo is here because I think there is something inherently hilarious about Brady Quinn in pseudo homosexual/homosexual candid photo ops. Has this guy ever taken a straight picture??

(Note: Where were Brady and Michaels hanging? Looks like a party in some high school kid's basement. Maybe the photo was snapped in between rounds of Asshole.)

Update: It seems that the Michaels/Quinn picture was just the tip of one big gay iceberg. Video footage has materialized of Quinn and Browns RT Ryan Tucker on stage with Bret Michaels and his back-up band (if Rikki Rockett isn't on stage I refuse to call them Poison) singing "Nothin But a Good Time"- and by singing I mean Brady is moving around awkwardly waiting for the chorus to kick in. God bless you Brady Quinn. Check out the video here. Thanks to Kissing Suzy Kolber for posting this up.

Problem #352 with Boxing

Boxing has 8 (!!) divisions differentiating guys that weigh less than 130 pounds and only 2 for fighters over 175 pounds. Granted, we are a nation of fatsos, but I bet you know ten full grown men that weigh more than 175 for every one that weighs less than 130. Without doing any research, I think I can safely assume that these weight class distinctions, or some close approximation of them, are a relic of the turn of the century. (Are we still calling the late 1800s and early 1900s "the turn of THE century"?) The average man is probably 4 inches taller than he was when these divisions were made (again too lazy to research it) and nutrition and modern strength and conditioning programs lead to more muscled athletes. Boxing is the least reverential major sport in America. It is uniquely unafraid to make a mockery of itself. So why are they still stuck on these goofy weight classes?

At the risk of sounding gay, when I think of the quintessential jock, I imagine a guy that is tall, but not unusually so. He is somewhere in the 5'11 to 6'3" range. He is very muscular, but not to the point where it begins to make him a stiff. He probably weighs between 175 and 215 pounds. I picture NFL running backs or Olympic sprinters. Delicious fantasy aside, I have a point here. These are exactly the types of athletes that are incapable of becoming major boxing stars under the current system.

The Cruiserweight Division, for fighters that weigh between 175 and 200 pounds is almost completely ignored by the boxing fan. It has long been seen as a minor leagues for smaller heavyweights (Evander Holyfield, Chris Byrd). Cruiserweights get no respect.

Making matters worse is the recent dominance of the "super heavyweights" in the heavyweight division. Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis ushered in this dull era in the early nineties and the Klitschkos and other giant creepy Slavs are continuing it for the foreseeable future. Therefore, a guy that weighs less than 220 probably cannot contend for the Heavyweight Championship anymore. The prototypical athletic body, weighing between 176 and 215 cannot attain any relevant titles.

Boxing should cap the Heavyweight Division at 220 and add a legitimate Super Heavyweight division.

Kige Ramsey quick hits

As one of the few who was found worthy enough to make the Kige Ramsey facebook friend cut, I feel obligated to bring you, the American consumer who is frothing at the mouth for more Kige, some of his news and views straight from the mind this up and coming analytical phenom. Not since Jon Benet has a Ramsey held the American public's attention like this. Without further ado, I give you the gospel of Kige:
On immigration:
"I think that immigration is fine if you you do it legally and learn English. If you do these things I will accept you into our country, I would do the same thing if I went to Mexico to live."
On his typical friday night:
"What do you usually do on Fridays? For me I usually have loads of fun. Which includes but is not limited to Wal-Mart trips, Bowling Green trips, or simply hanging out at my house any one of these things, is good enough for me on Fridays. I know that most of you like to go partying, but partying is just not for me."
On the Beatles:
"I think that the best rock band of all time is the Beatles. The Beatles consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Some of their best known hits are I want to hold your hand, twist and shout, here comes the Sun,hey Jude, all you need is love, help, and please please me.

This is the kind of analysis we have grown to love and expect from Kige. Sports may be the man's love, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. And let me leave you with this: Dan Patrick suddenly and abruptly leaves ESPN the same week Kige emerges from his wood-paneled kingdom. Coincidence?

Good Job Tony

Way to not find an at bat for arguably the best hitter in baseball, Albert Pujols. Just because the Cards have no shot at making the World Series doesn't mean that LaRussa can piss all over the rest of the National League hopefuls by holding the former MVP out of action. How about pinch hitting Albert in Aaron Rowand's place for that last at bat? No? Oh, ok you wanted to save Pujols for extra innings? How did that work out for you...jerk.

The Dane of My Existence (An Homage to "The Blaine of My Existence)

Two years ago, the NFL brought us the terrific Don Cheadle Super Bowl ad campaign. Earlier this year, the NBA made us suffer through copycat David Blaine promos. Now, much to the chagrin of every male over 21, it appears that Dane Cook will be Fox's spokesman this season's playoff run. I was mildly intoxicated for the All-Star Game tonight, but it seemed he was trying to play the promo pretty straight. It is the height of arrogance for this son of a bitch to even attempt to turn the corner from "funnyman" and try to be profound.

I really thought I had a good rant in me, but at nearly 2AM I don't think it's going to pan out. Suffice to say, he stinks and I don't like him. These promos will be torture for the next 4 months.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Topical Joke of the Day (Reader Feedback Wanted)

Antonie Walker was robbed at gun point yesterday. Which is the better joke about this incident:

a) 'Toine 'Toine finally found a shot he didn't want to take

b) Good thing that the gunman didn't have Walker's shot selection

c)None of the Above
Ugh still can't put a headline up for some reason.

Stammerin' Hank

A corollary to Bonds' quest to unseat Aaron as HR king is Aaron's reaction to the whole circus. Aaron has already said that he will not be present when (not if) Bonds breaks the record and Aaron is also conspicuously absent from this week's All-Star festivities. Aaron's behavior is doing more to tarnish his legacy than Bonds will do to it by passing his record. Contrary to his perception, when Bonds belts number 756, Hammerin' Hank doesn't instantly become irrelevant. Did people forget about Ruth's accomplishments after Maris hit 61* or after Aaron surpassed his all-time HR record? No. By taking such a bitter approach towards Bonds, Aaron is giving off the impression that the only thing in his life that matters is the record, and that just makes him look pathetic. Playing dime store psychologist, I believe that Aaron is holding onto to this record with the grip of Man Hands (Seinfeld reference for the unindoctrinated) because he feels slighted by baseball historians and fans who laud Mays, Mantle, Dimaggio, Williams, and even Banks before mentioning Aaron. The record forces Aaron into the discussion, but maybe at the same time the record takes away from his accomplishments. By taking such a rigid stance on Bonds and the record, Aaron shines so much attention on his record that he actually obscures his other career accomplishments. Hank, you weren't Dave Kingman, so stop acting like home runs are the be all and end all.

Aaron was a fantastic ballplayer and has been a great ambassador for the game, but by refusing to give Bonds any credit he looks like a crotchety old man who loves to tell you how great everything was 40 years ago and how everything today is for the birds. Records were made to be broken and you might not like the man breaking it or the suspect way that he did it, but he is going to do it so you can at least acknowledge his existence. Keep this in mind...no one likes angry old men. Why do you think nursing homes were invented?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Thoughts while watching the Home Run Derby:

-They need to shorten this thing. It shouldn't as long to play as a Yankee-Red Sox game.

-I really hope Matt Holliday hits a line drive off the head of one of those kids in the outfield who can't catch. At least it would add a little excitement to this borefest.

-Berman needs to put a moratorium on his "Back, back, back, back gone" HR call during a home run derby. It's stale enough as he's been doing it for the past 20 years, but in a derby setting it's downright Excedrin size headache inducing. A Chris Berman derby drinking game would surely induce alcohol poisoning for all who attempt.

-Dusty Baker just said, "I'd love me some Vlad" after Guerrero hit a monster home run. Dusty, that's what we call a questionable statement.

-The camera work is horrible. One camera is so jittery it appears to be operated by a anxiety ridden crack addict who is on his 12th cup of coffee and has just seen the apparition of his dead mother while the another camera is apparently operated by an intern from the Helen Keller Institute as it just pans around the outfield hoping to find the ball.

-Do we really need John Kruk and Steve Phillips in studio to analyze the derby? Do we really need John Kruk and Steve Phillips to analyze anything? Hey here's a scoop, I heard Albert Pujols' secret strategy this year is to hit the ball long and hard (I think that just made Dusty Baker excited) .

-Pujols is eliminated after his valiant rally falls just short. Who is this Jordan Barber guy with the airbrushed shirt who keeps interjecting himself into every photo op as if he is relevant? Also, they showed Pujols' kid during his at bat, but I don't think it was the retarded one...unfortunately.

-The way ESPN covers this event it makes the derby seem much more important and relevant than what it actually is- mindless fun.

-Berman makes a "hanging chad" joke and it's not even during a Jets highlight. He is SOOO hip. The year 2000 called and wants it topical humor back.

-Vlad is being interviewed about not wearing batting gloves, but no mentioned is made of him urinating on his hands. I'm pissed, that's just irresponsible journalism.

-Alex Rios pulls a grounder way foul and almost hits Kevin Mitchell. I wish it hit him so Mitchell could get up, walk over to Rios, tear his esophagus out, and calmly walk back to his seat as if nothing had happened.

-Vlad wins in a final round devoid of drama. Ho hum.

-Geez I can't believe I'm sort of live blogging the Home Run Derby. I really need a life...being a curmudgeon just isn't going to cut it.
Bristol needs to sign this guy stat. A battle of wits between him and Skip Bayless would be one for the ages. Check out this outside the box take on the All-Star Game starting pitching matchups.
Who likes turtles? Apparently this kid does

Damn, I'm still have the headline problem

Overrated Omar

Before I begin this article, I must disclose that I am a complete Mets hater. I begrudge them even the slightest modicum of success. My earliest baseball memories involve the Mets dominating the New York baseball landscape from the mid-80s through the early-90s. I am still traumatized by being one of the very few die hard 9 year old Yankees fans on Long Island (all things being equal, LI is Mets country). Perhaps unhealthy, four Yankees championships have done little to satiate my appetite for Mets failure. So there is my bias. Having admitted that, I must also say that I am fairly adept at removing my personal feelings from my critical analysis.

After that unnecessarily long preface, my thesis is this; Omar Minaya is not a particularly good general manager. While this criticism might seem modest by most standards, it is heretical in New York, where every sports writer and Mets' fan has eaten out of Omar's magical hands for the past three seasons.

In 2005, Omar Minaya inherited a Mets franchise that had the most financial resources in the
National League and arguably the most promising tandem of 22 year old players in baseball. Steve Phillips and Jim Duquette bungled the GM job so badly, that an above .500 season in 2005 garnered Omar Minaya with a great deal of undue praise. Spending over $100 million for an 83-79 team in a subpar National League was seen as a smashing success.

Last year, Minaya reputation as the new millenium Branch Rickey was cemented when the Mets finished the season 97-65. They were a very good team and Minaya did a great job, but the Mets were more than a little lucky to finish with such a record. First, the National League was appallingly bad. The gap between the two leagues was greater than I can ever remember, in 2006. Second, the Mets outplayed their expected win total (based upon their runs scored and runs against) by 5 games. Third, the Mets got surprisingly quality seasons out of bunch of guys in their mid-thirties that had not played well in years. Paul LoDuca, Jose Valentin and Darren Oliver and Guillermo Mota who had stunk in the previous several seasons, played well in 2006, and have predictably returned to their previously established level of stink.

This year, the Mets are vastly underperforming expectations. They are only 9 games over .500 and have only outscored their pitiful National League opponents by 23 runs. The Midas touch Minaya seemed to have displayed last year, appears to have evaporated. He has not been able to repeat his 2006 effort of turning scrap heep finds into major contributors.

Minaya's track record is okay. But the New York media will have you believe he is beyond reproach. Being an affable guy, has made him the teflon general manager. Here are some of the debits and credits on his ledger...

Good Moves

1) Trading Kris Benson for Jorge Julio and John Maine- Although I will never believe that Omar thought he was getting a top of the rotation guy in Maine, this has been an unqualified success.

2) Trading Xavier Nady for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez- Both of the afforementioned trades were with bad organizations. However, good GMs should be swindling bad GMs, so kudos to Minaya for that.

Bad Moves

1) Signing Pedro Martinez- Theo Epstein was smart to let Pedro Martinez go. Pedro gave the Mets a great 2005 season, but was mediocre in the half season he played 2006, and still hasn't had his first rehab start this year. For his 4 year $53 million contract to be near worthwhile, Pedro will have to come back in August and dominate the rest of this year and next like it's 1999.

Also, it's absolute malarchy that the Mets had to sign him to change the culture of the team and attract more Latin players. Horse shit. Show me the guy that came to the Mets for less than top dollar and then we can talk.

2) Signing Carlos Beltran- When you spend $119 million on a ballplayer, you are hoping for more than one great season, one terrible season, and an average one. (This is complete hindsight on my part, as I thought it was a great signing at the time.

3) Trading off bullpen depth for nothing- Heath Bell, Royce Ring, Henry Owens, and Matt Lindstrom could all help the team. Instead Omar traded them all for garbage and replaced them with Ambiorix Burgos and Scott Schoeneweis. Schoeneweis is 33, with a career ERA of more than 5.00. Currently in his ninth season, he has only once posted an ERA below 4.18. How did he sign a 3 year deal worth over $10 million? Based on his track record, he should be a non-roster invitee every year.
Even though he already had Wagner and Feliciano, Minaya couldn't resist the siren's song of the southpaw. I'll never understand the fascination managers and GMs have with lefty relievers. They forego rational thoughts like "Can he get anybody out?" and revert to their reptilian, "good" baseball man instincts, which always tell them "Need more lefties!"

4) 2006 and 2007 drafts have been subpar by most accounts. Aside from outfielders, the Mets farm system is pretty barren.
5) Stubbornly insisting on carrying a nearly 49 year old player who hasn't had a 100 hit season in ten years. Wow! I know he is a nice guy, but this is the epitome of one of the Met organizations greatest problems; the idea that you have to smile your way to success in the big leagues. All of his teammates love Franco and LoDuca tickles David Wright's belly when he isn't looking and everybody gets along famously. But if chemistry was a substitute for good baseball players, the Oceans 11 cast would make a 100 win team.
Would you believe it if I told you that former NBA player Doug Christie has found a new way to emasculate himself? I bet you would and here it is.

On a side note, I'll be posting a lot less over the next few weeks because I am studying for the Florida Bar and in crunch time mode. Why would I subject myself to this experience again after taking the NY Bar? Masochism, I suppose, but I had nothing else to do so I figured I might as well take another bar. I will still try to throw something up once a day, but the posts might be even less thought out than usual, so I apologize in advance.

(Another side note- For some reason the site is not letting put a title on this post. I will try to rectify the situation later.)

Friday, July 6, 2007

One-liner of the Day

A conversation between Downright Nashty and I:

Me: What do you think of the Grant Hill signing?

Downright Nashty: It's great as long as the Suns trade for a left ankle.

Slow Sports Day

With the NBA draft over, baseball in the midst of its Summer doldrums, the NHL irrelevant, and NFL training camp still weeks away, please enjoy this clip of Mr. Belding singing Tom Jones' 'Delilah' at ameteur Karaoke night in Burbank. Hey, its only appropriate to give the guy that inspired all of us to shoot our hopes and dreams a little time in the spotlight.

John Maine = Rodney Dangerfield

Ok, I'm going to try to write this post as if I were a a typical sports journalist. I hope you hate it as much as I will.

Remember the Maine? Well the All-Star voters certainly didn't, but after tonight's performance the Astros won't soon forget him. Maine who was snubbed not only in the fan and player voting but also by All-Star team manager Tony Larussa pitched with an all-star sized chip on his shoulder last night allowing two runs in 7 2/3 innings while striking 9 and walking only two. The polite Virginian farm boy wouldn't admit it, but being left out of the last chance vote in favor of several relievers and someone named Tom Gorzelanny, hurt as well.

Maine gets less respect than Rodney Dangerfield attempting a Triple Lindy. Sure there are other players that have legitimate gripes about being left off the team, namely Hanley Ramirez and Chris Young, but Young has since been named to the team, while unfortunately for Hanley there is a glut of great shortstops this year. At the time of selection, however, Maine had put up better numbers than selection Cole Hamels and similar numbers to Ben Sheets and Brad Penny. Maine also has been having a better season that Pirates starter Tom Gorgonzola or whatever his name is, yet inexplicably Maine was left off of the Final Vote ballot.

Let's all agree that the the All-Star selection process is faultier than the U.S. Justice Department. Fans often pick the big name player over the most deserving one. Managers (see Guillen, Ozzie) will select one of their own players as a show of loyalty. Also because at least one player from each team must be selected we get stuck with Freddy Sanchez, instead of the aforementioned Ramirez. None of this will provide solace to the pitcher nicknamed the Maine Event, who couldn't even make the undercard for this year's all-star extravaganza.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fearless Prediction

If Alex Rodriguez is still sidelined with the hamstring pull, and the Yankees manage to average 6 runs per game for the next two days, at least two New York papers will run articles in the Sunday edition saying the Yankees line-up is better without A-Rod.

They Couldn't Just Leave It Well Enough Alone

Was there really a need to bring back Alvin and the Chipmunks? I loved them when I was six, but that was twenty years ago and now I think I'm slightly outside of the targeted demographic for this flick. Seriously, when was the last time they were even on TV? Is a trend forming where 1980's cartoons are reborn 20 yrs later in movie form catering to a nostalgic fanbase as well as to impressionable children who like anything marketed to them? At least Transformers were kickass robots, but looking back on it Alvin and the Chimpmunks were borderline gay and Dave comes off as a bit of a beastial pedophile. So which defunct cartoons will become the next Hollywood movie? Here are the odds:

GI Joe: 2-1. This movie would reign as long as Snakeyes has a large part

The Smurfs: 5-1 . Kids would eat this up and Vanity Smurf could become a gay icon. Dustin Hoffman to play Gargamel?

Thundercats and He-Man, tied at 8-1. I never really liked either of these, but I know plenty of people who did, so I had to include them. Besides, Mumthra and Skeletor would make for pretty awesome villains though.

Voltron: 12-1: Voltron may have been a little obscure for a Hollywood studio to dish out big bucks, but since it is a copycat industry there is a chance someone will take a flier on converting another robot cartoon. The forming of Voltron on the big screen would be worth the ticket price alone. It's also not up for debate that Sven has to be part of the film in some way as he really got a raw deal being killed off in the second episode. (On a side note, how cool is it that someone actually got killed in a cartoon. You never see that happen. Think of how many shots were fired in GI Joe, yet how often would a character die.) I considered Go Bots for this spot, but they were just a cheap Transformers knock-off and are not worthy of a 5 minute short let alone a feature length film.

18-1: The Real Ghostbusters. Oh wait, nevermind.

1000-1: Jabberjaw . Man this Hanna-Barbera cartoon about a cowardly shark sucked. He was part of a rock band which I guess is kind of cool, but their tunes were bland and derivative, so it actually blew.

Perusing the day's celebrity birthdays, as I am wont to do in moments of boredom, I discovered that Katherine Helmond (Mona on "Who's the Boss?") turned 79 years young today. I distinctly remember thinking she wasn't a day under 79, when I first starting watching that show. Should that line of thinking be attributed to the untrained eye of a 7 year old or did dear Ms. Helmond not age particularly well?

Too Bad WWII Didn't Prevent His Birth

After watching him get knocked around again, it has become painfully obvious; The Kei Igawa experiment was a very costly failure. Paying $45 million for a pitcher, doesn't make him a $45 million talent. In the words of Marcellus Wallace, "Now that's a hard mother fuckin' fact of life, but it's a fact of life that (Cashman and Torre's asses are) gonna have to get realistic about. "

Kei Igawa has displayed marginal "stuff", suspect command, and a tendency to keep the ball up in the strike zone. This recipe is significantly less appetizing than this. Next week he turns 28, so there is little reason to expect significant improvement. For any other organization, the Igawa signing would be a crippling blow. However, the Yankees are perhaps the only team fortunate enough to be in a position to survive this mistake virtually unscathed.

It is well-established that the Yankees have the coffers to outspend their mistakes. What is less widely known is that the organization is bursting with alternatives to Igawa's batting practice offerings. Bear in mind that I am only looking for a pitcher who can post a 5.00 ERA and pitch and average 5 or 6 innings per start for the rest of the season. I believe some, if not all, of these man are capable of doing so immediately. Choose one of the following guys, any of these guys, and give him a shot at the fifth starter until Phil Hughes returns...

Guys We Have Already Seen
- Tyler Clippard- features a nice change-up/curveball combination and just enough of a fastball to keep batters honest. Although scouts aren't in love with him, he has quickly climbed the organizational ladder and had success at every level. Despite a 6.33 ERA in his first 27 innings with the Yankees, he was very impressive in stints. Clippard made a good-hitting Mets teams look downright foolish at times in his first start. He struggled with his control in his first stint in the Major Leagues, but nothing in his minor league history suggests that he has trouble throwing strikes. Tyler Clippard deserves another shot.

- Matt DeSalvo- Much like Clippard, he doesn't have great stuff and relies on a funky delivery and pretty good secondary pitches to get batters out. He scuffled a bit in his first exposure to Major League hitters earlier this year. Anecdotally, I recall him being the victim of an inordinate amount of bleeders and bloopers on his way to posting a 5.87 ERA. Joe Torre showed zero faith in him, by pulling him early in a couple of games, in which he was getting punch-and-judied to death.

Scouts don't love him Two months away from his 27th birthday, he is probably nearly as good as he will ever be. His upside is probably limited to the back end of a rotation. Wouldn't you know it, that is exactly what the Yankees need! His 2.33 ERA, and 57 Ks in 54 innings in Scranton tells me that he would make a serviceable 5th starter right now. Perhaps I'm wrong, and the guy is a career Quadruple A pitcher. But at the expense of further kamikaze performances by Igawa, I am willing to find out.

Even More Unknown Quantities (Qualities)
- Ian Kennedy- The Yankees are notoriously cautious with prospects. When you are cruising to 98 wins per year, this approach is commendable. When you are likely to be under .500 at the All-Star break, it is foolhardy. Ian Kennedy was the Yankees' first round pick last year. While he is not thought to have "ace"potential, Kennedy was considered the most polished pitcher in last year's draft. This year, his composite ERA at A and AA 1.63 and he is striking out 10.63 batters per nine innings.

So, they drafted Kennedy out of college last year thinking he would be able to move quickly. He has proven them right with his performance thus far. Why not roll the dice? Tim Lincecum and Andrew Miller, both selected in the same draft, are pitching pretty well in the Majors. Why can't Ian Kennedy?

- Joba Chamberlain- As good as Kennedy has been, scouts think far more highly of Chamberlain. Drafted just after Kennedy, Chamberlain has also reached Double A and is dominating that level. Unlike Kennedy, Chamberlain features one of the best fastballs in the minors and is believed to be a potential ace. He has an ERA of 2.26 at the same two levels and is striking out over 13 per nine(!) and walking less than 3 per nine.

I don't see what can be lost by trying Chamberlain or Kennedy. If one of them is ready, you make a playoff run this year and then plug him into the rotation for the next 6 years. If they need more seasoning, send them back down. If their pysches are so fragile that they will be destroyed by a little failure, they were never going to be good anyway.

Other Better Options than Igawa
- Steven White
- Alan Horne
- Steve Trout
- Steve Blass (and any victim of his "disease")
- A pitching machine
- Dave Dravecky (with his right arm)
- Any recently murdered, pre-pubescent sufferer of "Fragile X" syndrome

Send Igawa on a well-paid 5 year vacation. Paying a man $45 million to do nothing sucks. But it is favorable to paying the same man $45 million to meticulously maim you for half a decade.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Isiah Has Some Huge Artesticles

According to Cnnsi, via fannation, via the NY Post, the NY Knicks are thinking of moving the expiring contracts of Dan Dickau and Freddy Jones for a swingman and that swingman might be..wait for it...wait for it...Ron Ron Artest! Let it be known that Ron Ron is my favorite player in the NBA, largely because he played for St. John's, but also because his bull in the china shop style of play coupled with his volatility makes him immensely entertaining. I wanted to Knicks to draft Artest instead of that posterized Frenchman and have been advocating for the Knickerbockers to acquire him ever since. Artest would be the perfect fit for this Knicks team as he would add toughness and defense to a squad that lacked both last year. Also Artest can hit the open three, handle the ball, and is effective in both the low and high post. Of course, he has some well documented attitude issues, but he has generally been a happy camper for a year before self destructing. Coupling Artest and Randolph would also provide the NY tabloids with endless fodder and NY strip clubs with endless business. It's a win/win any way you look at it.