Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quick Question

Has anybody else noticed most pitchers have lost some velocity this year?

Desperate Times

The Yankees are two innings away from finishing April below .500. Again! So for the fourth consecutive season, I will be writing off their season before Memorial Day. Hopefully my present powers of prognostication prove to be as weak as they have in the previous three seasons. But I seriously doubt it for the following reasons:

  • The Yankees two most irreplaceable players, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, are on the DL. Derek Jeter, their third most important position player, still does not appear to be 100% after straining his quad early in the season. None of these men are spring chickens. Their soft tissue injuries could linger for the better part of the season.
  • The Yankees have yet to win a game pitched by Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy. At worst the youngsters were expected to anchor the back end of the rotation. I actually believed that Hughes would be an instant number two starter. Hughes has lost about 3 MPH on his fastball from this time last year, which is scary. Scarier still is that he is locating it with all the precision of someone who does something extremely imprecisely. Kennedy has average stuff across the board. He made it to the big leagues in just over a year, on the strength of his command. He simply cannot get Major Leaguers out if he doesn't hit spots.
  • Despite a recent hot streak, Johnny Damon is a hair band and it's 1991.
  • Jason Giambi is a hair band. And it's 1993!
  • They can't really keep playing .700 ball after the All-Star break every season.

If I were Cashman, I would take the following drastic measures in order to salvage the season.

  • Demote Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes immediately. Promote pitchers Darrell Rasner and Dan Giese. Plug Rasner in as the 4th starter.
  • Get Joba Chamberlain into the rotation by the end of May. In the meantime, throw your bullpen by committee every fifth day. Next time this spot comes up, use Chamberlain, Ohlendorf, and Giese for three innings a piece. Stretch Joba an extra inning every time this spot comes around. Within a few weeks, Joba will all stretched out.
  • Acquire a competent starting first baseman. I'm thinking either Nick Johnson or Adam Dunn. Both play for organizations that undervalue their on base skills. Neither figures to be part of their teams' long term plan. A couple of middling prospects should be enough to land either one.
  • Release Jason Giambi. All he could ever do was hit. And he can no longer do that. It's over.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good for Bobcats, Bad for Brown

At season's end, the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Toronto Raptors may be looking for new coaches. If the Pistons get bounced in the first round, Flip Saunders's job might be in jeopardy as well. All of this makes Larry Brown's decision to take the Charlotte Bobcats gig all the more ponderous. Brown is a great coach, but I'm starting to think the man is a masochist.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Love and Rocket

You know what is infinitely more disturbing than a 28 year old man carrying on an affair with a 15 year old girl? A 28 year old man having a platonic friendship with a 15 year old girl.

I myself am 28 years old and work in an environment with adolescent girls. NOT THAT I WOULD EVER DO IT, but I could see how a grown man would consider pursuing a sexual relationship with some of them. However it would take a true deviant for an adult male to befriend one.

Posting for the Sake of Posting

I am unilaterally crowning Cliff Lee "The Sultan of Sell High". I don't want to hear it, Pat Burrell!

Until IMDB posted that it was Jack Klugman's birthday last week, I was under the assumption that he had been dead for many years. I had a similar misunderstanding about Carl Weathers. In Weathers's case I suppose the fact that he died in the only three roles I've ever seen him play (Apollo Creed, the soldier in "Predator", and Chubbs Peterson) led to my confusion. In Klugman's case, it's probably because he was old in the 60s.

The NFL Draft was mundane. There was really only one guy the casual fan could get about and things went pretty much according to plan. Nobody traded up for a top-tier player. Nobody slid overly far. At least it was fast.

Who would thought that Jeff Van Gundy would become one of the most colorful characters around basketball. I could see him going completely off the deep end, a la Bill Raftery, in his old age. The thought of watching this alone gives me the motivation to live into my 40s

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hey Madonna,

Knock it off! You're this close [holding index finger and thumb just far enough apart to see daylight] from being Mona from Who's the Boss?

NL East "Preview" (Now this is just stupid)

I am at the point now where I don't remember what I would have predicted had I written these previews on time. So I won't even try to remember. I will adjust to the developments.

Phillies (90-72) Division Winner
When is somebody going to get the "Chase Utley is the best player in baseball" train a-rollin'. I want my own car. Utley is one of the 10 best hitters in baseball and he plays a mean second base (one of the most demanding positions on the field). If you rank him behind anybody other than A-Rod, Pujols, and possibly Hanley Ramirez you just aren't paying attention. Based upon their shaky starting pitching, I had a hard time picking the Phillies to win the division. But from what I have seen the Mets are not as good as I thought.

Mets (87-75) Wild Card
The Mets are 62-62 in their last 134 games. At a certain point, you have to start wondering if they are fundamentally average team.

They only have one pitcher who is capable of completing 7 innings. Even on their best days, Maine and Perez cruise for 4 innings, then walk the ballpark in the fifth and sixth, causing them to rack up 100+ pitches. If Maine and Perez were teenaged female babysitters, they would do a great job helping the kids with their homework, play some fun board games, and get the kids tucked in by 9:00. A flawless start. Then they would invite their friends over to party, get drunk bang their boyfriends on the parent's bed, waking up the children and leaving them horrified.

Like a loser, I did the math on Jose Reyes last calendar year. In his last 674 ABs and 740 PAs, Reyes is batting .258 with .324 OBP and a .387 SLG. That adds up to a .711 OPS. It's safe to say Mets fans expected more than "Neifi Perez the Sequel" when they were going bat shit about him this time last year.

Atlanta Braves (86-76)
When healthy this team has the most upside in the NL East. However they can't keep their relievers healthy, Glavine is on the DL, Smoltz's arm is already barking and Chipper Jones's lower half (besides his sweet sweet cock) is about as structurally as that bridge in Minneapolis.

Florida Marlins (73-89)
This team has absolutely no pitching. Seriously none. If the Marlins held a pitching garage sale, I would probably pick up Kevin Gregg to pitch in middle relief and leave the rest. Scott Olsen has been doing it with smoke and mirrors. He doesn't strike anybody out and has a 1:1 K:BB rate. Olsen hasn't really turned a corner and he will come crashing down to Earth in May.

Remember when people argued about whether they would rather have Hanley Ramirez or Jose Reyes. Oh, those were simpler times.

Washington Nationals (65-97)
Now this is exciting! How often can you finally write off three formerly hot prospects on the same team, at the very same time? And to have them all come from the same, separate organization? It's magic! Those three gents are Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, and Felipe Lopez.

I will be rooting hard for John Lannan, since I work with two of his relatives. However their pitching stinks as much as the Marlins and they don't have any mashers to make up for it. A bad, bad, bad baseball team.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

NBA Western Conference 1st Round

Lakers over Nuggets (in whatever I said before): It's become fashionable to shit on the Nuggets for their inability to play defense (particularly on the perimeter). Obvioiusly this is a fair criticism. But consider if they were playing in the Eastern Conference. They would be a second or third seed, mopping the floor with either Philly or Toronto, on their way to a coin flip second round match-up with the Pistons. No team's public perception would benefit more from a change of conference.

Hornets over Mavs (IWISB): Were it possible, I'd be willing to have Chris Paul's baby. I can't think of a decent sports analogy for his playoff debut. On impact alone, I can only compare Paul's postseason performance to Ryan Atwood's arrival in the O.C. (sorry, that was too "Sports Guy). If Paul continues playing like he has in the first two games of the Dallas series, the Hornets can realistically skip three years of growing pains and win a Championship this year.

Jazz over Rockets: I got nothing.

Suns over Spurs: I'm sticking to it. God just owes the Suns a little bit of luck.

Yes I got lazy with this post. However writing about these games was preventing me from watching them. If you feel ripped off, I'll send you your money back.

Life's Simple Pleasures

I can only think of one pleasure that has retained nearly all of its value from my early childhood to my adult life. Driving through a car wash is every bit as enjoyable today as it was when I was still in diapers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pie in the Sky Idea

If Cubs outfielder Felix Pie had any type of sense of humor he would switch his number to 3.14. That is all.

(I fully realize that the mathematical figure is spelt "Pi" and Felix's last name is pronounced Pee-A, and that this joke doesn't work at all.)

NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Preview (Expanded Edition)

Celtics over Hawks in 4:
Besides Mike Bibby,who they acquired at mid-season, the Hawks 6 best players are natural 3 or 4s. If the Hawks' executives were playing Nintendo's Ice Hockey they would select an entire team of middle size guys.

Pistons over Sixers in 5:
I should probably revamp this prediction to a six game series at this point. A few points on yesterday's game. I come out of that game more unimpressed with the Pistons than I am impressed with Philadelphia. The only Sixer who really played well was Reggie Evans. By the way why hasn't that son of a bitch found a home yet? He's an animal. Evans needs to be playing 33 minutes a night for a serious contender. And Jason Maxiell is a Reggie Evans clone. (That's a compliment).

Magic over Toronto in 6:
The Raptors are poised to have a run like the Hawks did in the mid-90s Lenny Wilkins era. Sure they have enough talent to be one of the 4-6 seeds for the next several years. But they are never going further than that. I'm curious as to whether Dwight Howard will leave this series as a sure-shot top 10 NBA player?

Cavs over Wizards in 7:
The Wizards certainly have a legitimate shot. This pick is strictly a show of faith in Lebron, as the Wizards obviously have the second, third, and fourth best players in the series.. The fact that these teams hate one another makes this the best series in the East.

Thanks Hank

Hank Steinbrenner's comments about Joba Chamberlain segue beautifully into something I wanted to write about anyway. I whole-heartedly agree with Steinbrenner's assertion that Joba needs to be in the rotation ASAP.

After Pettitte and Wang, the Yankees rotation is in shambles. Mike Mussina is probably finished. He can't hit 88 MPH on the gun anymore. Ian Kennedy, with acoustic stuff, needs to hit spots in order to be effective. Thus far this season, he has walked 13 men in 14 innings. It's starting to look like he could use a couple more months on the farm. Phil Hughes's stuff has nearly returned to his preinjury form, but he is curiously missing spots with his fastball, leading to fat pitches in hitters' counts.

Throw in the fact that the Yankees have relief pitchers coming out of their ears on the farm (Britton, Ramirez, Patterson, Albaladejo, Giese, Veras, and even possibly Humberto Sanchez, J.B. Cox, and Mark Melancon by the All-Star break) and it's a slam dunk. I know these names mean nothing to the Mike and the Mad Dogs of the world, but the Yankees have more solid relief prospects than they will ever be able to utilize. Will any of them be as good as Joba? Probably not. But if any two of them can do a respectable job it makes all the sense in the world to give Joba the opportunity to throw thrice the innings.

Yes Chamberlain hasn't "proven" that he can be a great starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. The same thing could have been said about every great pitcher, just before they proved that they were great. The guy throws four pitches, three of which are plus-plus. He throws strikes and is a big stocky kid. Show me the red flags that cast doubt on his ability to start. Besides, has he even "proven" he can hold up to the rigors of a whole season in the bullpen? The guy has been a reliever for about a half of a season. I believe he has pitched on consecutive nights twice in his life and has never pitched on three consecutive nights.

Give 'em hell, Hank!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Holy Crap!

Instead of broadcasting Game 1 of the Lakers-Nuggets series, the local ABC affiliate has decided to show the Papal Mass. Ok, the Pope coming to NY is a big deal (to Catholics only) blah blah blah, but the CBS and NBC affiliates are covering the mass as well, so there were already two viewing avenues for people who want to rid themselves of sin, but now there are none for those who want to watch Kobe and Pau take on AI and Carmelo. With the Pope splitting viewers amongst the big three networks (I doubt any channel's coverage is inherently any holier than the other), ABC would have been sure to bring in big viewership, but nope, we NBA fans are stuck with the eucharist. Gay. There is no God.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cut His Mic

Tim McCarver is rapidly coming unhinged. During today's Mets/Phillies game, he was attempting to make the point that Virginian Charlie Manuel is underestimated as a manager, because of his Southern drawl. I'm not really buying it, as simple, slow talking, tobacco spitting baseball lifers are almost deified in the baseball world. But whatever. Tim's entitled to his opinion.

Then Tim goes on to draw a cringe-worthy analogy. I'll paraphrase to the best of my recollection. "Manuel is like two other famous Virginians, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. They were also underestimated by Americans, because they were from Virginia. (snickers whimsically)". Congratulations Timmy. You broke your own world record for "Least charming aside on baseball broadcast".

Two problems. Firstly if early Americans had such a low opinion of the intelligence of Virginians, why were 6 of our first 16 presidents from the state?

Secondly, and far more importantly, why are you celebrating traitors, who are so flagrantly on the wrong side of history? These were not uneducated Southern farmers, confused in the fog of war, uncertain for what they were fighting. One could give those folks the benefit of the doubt. Jackson and Lee were West Point grads, who knew full well that they were turning on their nation to preserve the institution of slavery. This should not be portrayed as a cutesy underdog story anymore than the Third Reich.

Good thing McCarver isn't announcing the Mavs/Hornets series. We would be treated to something like this. "Everybody is underestimating Dirk because he lost to the Warriors in the playoffs last year. But people also underestimated another famous German, Adolf Hitler, after his nation lost World War I." (snickers whimsically)

NBA First Round Predictions

Straight chalk in the East
Lakers over Nuggets in 7
Jazz over Rockets in 5
Suns over Spurs in 6
Hornets over Mavs in 7

Details to follow. I just wanted to be on the record before the games started.

Kid 'n Play Fighting

Bench clearing brawls in Korean baseball suck. Or do they rule? You be the judge.

I understand the dance move takes some dexterity and athleticism, but if you want to execute it properly you have to jump your other leg through the leg you're holding. Just grabbing your leg and hopping up and down does look that cool.

See below at the 2:51 mark for a perfect example of how the move is properly executed:

(Hat tip to JBlo)

Deep Thoughts- MLB Edition

If Dice K were to throw Nick Markakis a Gyroball, would Markakis try to eat it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Attempting to Create the Most Niche Holiday Ever

As cynical an a-hole as I am, Take Your Daughter to Work Day is kind of a sweet idea. Nothing is more adorable than a bunch of bundles of sugar and spice and everything nice checking out what daddy or mommy does for a living.

But not having an offspring with internal genitalia on Take Your Daughter to Work Day is a lot like not having a main squeeze on Valentine's Day. You just feel left out.

So for the rest of us, I propose a phonemic reversal of the first sounds of the words "daughter" and "work" and a slight tweak in spelling. Suddenly you have a new holiday "Take Your Water to Dirk Day". The festivities are rather self-explanatory. Find a guy named Dirk and bring your water to him. As a sports fan, the first Dirk that comes to mind is Dirk Nowitzki. This year TYDTW Day falls on April 24. This is one day before what will likely be a crucial Game 3 for the Mavericks in their series with the Hornets. I strongly encourage our enormous Dallas/Ft. Worth fanbase to bring Dirk bottles of water on this day. You know he is going to be thirsty. Avery Johnson will have that team busting their asses in preparation for the first home game of the postseason. Dirk will need to be properly hydrated.

Sour Grapes

Josh Beckett's lower legs are my least favorite part of any limbs on any professional athlete's body. I can't believe such a knock kneed doofus is a world-class athlete. He can't even walk properly. Beckett should be hobbling around in those oldie time corrective leg braces, not making my team's offense look foolish.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are You Guys Still Cranky About the Anne Frank Post?

Am I blogging in a complete vacuum? Why do my posts, better in both style and substance than Mookie's, generate crickets in the comments section while he gets two or three responses to every banal statement he makes? I'm starting to develop a complex.

AL West "Preview"

Not that it's particularly noteworthy, but in writing this headline it occured to me for the first time that "AL West" is spelled the same as the name "Al West". I have never met nor even heard of anybody named Al West, but I'm sure scores of them exist. And I would trust my life to each and every one of them sight unseen. On name alone, I can tell that Al Wests are about 6'2", barrel chested, and as honest as the day is long. A more decent name you'll never find.

1) Anaheim Angels: 86-78 (Division Winners)- I think 86 wins will be enough to take down the AL West this year. I'm just not sure which team will get there. My best guess is the Angels. Although their rotation is worse than it his been in years, their offense should be better than it has been since the '02 Championship team. Obviously four months of a healthy John Lackey will be crucial to the Angels' success. Perhaps it's his dopey face or putzy name, but nobody gives Lackey the credit for being the top 10 pitcher that he has clearly become. He is rapidly becoming this decade's Kevin Appier.

2) Seattle Mariners: 85-79 - The M's lineup is very soft and their bullpen is shambles with Putz injured and Sherill in Baltimore. They are going to need Cy Young caliber seasons out of Felix Hernandez AND Eric Bedard to win this division. If they stay healty that is a distinct possibility.

3) Oakland A's: 81-81 - On a scale of 1 to 10, just about every A's player fits in the 4-6 range (Rich Harden and his glass arm notwithstanding). Given the complete lack of star power and the absence of SF Giants level stinkers, this team is mediocrity defined. If Harden throws over 110 innings, the A's peek above .500. If he throws less, they dip just below.

4) Texas Rangers: 73-89 - Given the Rangers spotty choice for low level scouts, I don't have much faith in this organization. But seriously, folks. After Baltimore this is the worst team in the AL. They really don't do anything particularly well. Well that's not fair. Josh Hamilton is really awesome at doing drugs.

The Next Frontier

Last year SYHD live blogged the NFL Draft. Since we have already climbed that mountain and since far better sites are probably going to do it this year anyway, I think it's time we move on to another challenge. So on Day 1 of the draft I will be live blogging someone else's live blog of the NFL draft. I will provide no original thoughts on the day's happenings; just comments about a more talented writer's comments on the draft. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gimmick Infringement

I know I'm totally stealing FJM's bit here, but last night Joe Morgan repeatedly said something incredibly stupid. In attempting to explain the 2 MPH difference between Dice-K's 90-91 MPH fastball and Phil Hughes's 92-93 MPH fastball, Morgan claimed that Hughes's has more "late movement". He seems to think the phrase "late movement" means that the ball picks up speed the closer it gets to the plate, which is a scientific impossibility. In fact the term means that the ball changes plains right before it hits the glove. I don't have to explain this to you if you are more than a casual baseball fan, but apparently Joe Morgan doesn't get it. Amazing.

Dear Harlan Chamberlain,

Put on a happy face and tell your boy that nothing would boost your spirits more than to watch him pitch. Heroically keep the true extent of your ailments hidden from him and allow him to concentrate on baseball. Then pass away in early in the offseason, so he can have plenty of time to deal with the grief and dedicate the '09 season to you.


Emotionally Detached Yankees Fan

NBA Awards

Since I have some time now, I'll jump the gun by a couple of days and give you my picks for the NBA regular season awards.

1) Kobe Bryant- Writers tend to get too cute with this award. Well, Kobe is the best player in basketball. He plays on the best team in the best conference. That is enough for me.

2) Chris Paul- The only other guy who has a legitimate argument. Early in the season Mookie and I had a discussion about whether we would rather have Deron Williams or Chris Paul on a team. We both said we would take Paul by a hair. Since then Williams has stepped his game up dramatically. But Paul's play has been so off the charts brilliant, that it's no longer even debateable.

3) Kevin Garnett- Numbers are down across the board, but he doesn't need to carry the load on this. With all due respect to Ray Allen, Garnett's presence in the lineup turned this team from laughing stocks to the best bet to win the championship. I HATE talking about shit like intangibles, but with a guy like Garnett you just can't ignore them.

Conspicuosly missing) Lebron James- When your team fails to outscore it's opponents on the season, I can't put you in the discussion. (Rule does not apply to baseball)

Coach of the Year-
1) Byron Scott- He has already been to two finals as the coach of a Nets team with fairly modest expectations. However, this has to be considered his signature year as a coach. Most people expected the Hornets to finish just above .500 and scuffle for an 8th seed. With two games left in the season Scott still has them competing for a 1 seed in an historically loaded Western Conference.

2) Doc Rivers- Maybe he isn't such a shitty coach after all. Half of last year's Celtics team are wearing T'Wolves jerseys now and playing like dog doo (pardon my French) for another coach. Meanwhile the Celtics are laying waste to the league.

3) Jerry Sloan- It's a shame that Sloan has never won a chapionship, because he is arguably the best coach of his generation. Considering Riley's past couple of seasons, the only guys who belong in the discussion with Sloan are Phil Jackson and Larry Brown.

Rookie of the Year-
1) Henry Rowengartner-
1) Kevin Durant- Mildly disappointing rookie season. He clearly needs to get more rebounds and shoot a higher percentage. Both of those stats should improve as he adds some muscle (in my head I just pronounced the "c" like Popeye). l still expect him to be scoring 30 per game within two seasons.

2) Al Horford- Already a very nice player, but perhaps I'm the only one who doesn't really see a crapload of upside. Don't get me wrong, he'll eventually be good for 16 and 10, but I don't think he'll ever be a great scorer.

3) You guys don't deserve a number 3

6th Man of the Year-
Ginobili is a SMINO (sixth man in name only). In fact he is probably only a sixth man so he can this award, so fuck him. To the rest of the candidates, all I have to say is "get better!". If you aren't one of your team's 5 best players, you don't deserve an individual award.

Most Improved Player-
Another stupid award. Theoretically a player could pop-and-lock at mid-court for a whole season, come back the next year and average 8 and 5 and win this piece of shit. I can't be asked to care.

Shouldn't He Get Some Extra Heismans?

Suddenly the infamous Herschel Walker trade that in effect landed the Cowboys Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland among others doesn't seem so lopsided. Little did we know that the Vikings received several Herschel Walkers in the deal.

Perhaps I'm naive but this seems like a desperate attempt to get some attention or justify some horrific behavior in the past. I don't see how a person who lived his life in the public eye for fifteen years could not have had such an illness exposed by now. His father had no clue. His wife didn't know. None of his teammates or members of the media saw this.

His ex-wife's corroboration of the story is a bit flimsy as well.

"Well, now it makes perfect sense, because each personality has a different interest," Grossman told "Nightline". "This one has an interest in ballet, this one has an interest in the Marines, this one had an interest [in the] FBI, this one had an interest in sports."

Talk about a wake-up call. As a fella whose interests include baseball, the Revolutionary War, salty snacks, and the feel of a moist vagina on my penis, I thought I was well within the bounds of sanity. In fact I thought those, and other interests, qualified me as a rather well-rounded person. But according to the former Ms. Walker, enjoying 4 or more things is a tell-tale sign of mental illness.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

AL Central "Preview"

I acknowledge the absurdity of previewing a division nearly 2 weeks into the season. No matter, you'll read it anyway. The real test of your loyalty will be when I get around to my NL West preview around Labor Day.

Cleveland Indians: 93-67 (AL Central Winner)
Joe Borowski has to be the best fella in the world. I mean, he must be the kind of guy who makes unsolicited air pressure checks on his teammates' tires, just to make sure their safe. The Lord knows there is no baseball-related justification for his strangle hold on a closer spot.
The Indians have as good a nucleus as anybody in baseball. Sizemore, Peralta, Hafner, and Martinez are All-Star caliber players in their prime. Sabathia and Carmona are as good a 1-2 punch as anybody has. To be a great team, they will need to add some decent complementary players. Another middle of the rotation starter and a solid hitter at one of the corners would go a long way to making this the team the best in baseball.

Detroit Tigers: 92-68 (Wild Card Winner)
I sensibly adjusted my forecast for the Tigers down from 96 to 92 wins because of their horrible start. However unlike many analysts I am careful not to go off the deep end based on a bad 11 game stretch. The sports media lives to jump all over an underachieving team with a high payroll. By rote they churn out a bunch of drivel about the team lacking the requisite spunkiness and the need for role players. In a sense, this team will be adding three to five All-Stars to their lineup shortly. Curtis Granderson will soon return. Miguel Cabrera will commence to mashing baseballs, because he is a baseball mashing cyborg, the likes of which rarely start to malfunction until well into their 30s. They will also be trading the stiffs currently embodying Ordonez, Sheffield, Rodriguez, and Renteria for the genuine articles. Their pitching staff remains a source of mild concern. Dontrelle Willis seems to have read Steve Avery's "How to Go from Dominant Southpaw to the Independent Leagues by Your Late Twenties". The Tigers pen looks weak, but bullpens are notoriously unpredictable. So who knows how the Tigers' relief situation will play itself.

Chicago White Sox: (79-83)
This is probably the least compelling team in baseball. They are awash with known commodities on the down sides of their careers. Too bad that there is probably juuuust enough juice in those old bones to prevent the ChiSox from being a bonafide laughing stock. I guess that's why God made 2009. Until then only the odd Ozzie Guillen meltdown will keep this in the news.

Kansas City Royals: (78-84)
For the first time since the Saberhagen era, the Royals might actually be building towards something. That something is likely a 3 year run of slightly above .500 baseball ('09-'11), but beggars can't be choosers. They have developed a nifty little pitching staff and Billy Butler will be destroying the ball for many years to come. Without a whole lot left on the farm or the money to get big time free agents (Meche and Guillen don't count) they will have a hard time becoming a true contender.

Minnesota Twins: (77-85)
Unless Francisco Liriano returns to 2006 form, this is going to be a tweener year for the Twins. While they continue to feature the best bullpen in the sport, they have too much youth in the outfield and the starting rotation. This squad is hard to predict as any, as I can easily envision scenarios in which they disappoint and win 70 games or shock the world and win 90. Bold prediction: The 2009 Twins go from worst to first like they did in 1991.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Early Take on the Mets

They're not that good. More detail to follow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Last Opening Day at Shea

Tremont fan Bobby Snyder and I will be attending the final opening day at Shea Stadium. It will hopefully prove to be a historic event full of drinking and winning baseball and most importantly there will be blogworthy happenings. If not, well, at least I get a sweet magnetic 2008 schedule.

This Pretty Much Sums Up The National Championship Game

Text exchange:

In overtime I text DownRightNashty: Douglas-Roberts reminds me of Shawn Marion.

Nashty's response after Kansas wins and he loses his tourney pool: He reminds me of the Hindenberg.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lousy Smarch Weather

I just realized that SYHD was updated only 6 times in March. Granted, outside of college basketball postseason tournaments March is one of the lamest sports months, but still six posts is completely inexcusable. So I'd like to officially apologize to the three readers still checking the blog after the Anne Frank post and promise that the blogging frequency will increase during baseball season. And with this post, we have already matched last month's output.

Early Returns on the Girardi Era

It's ridiculously early in the baseball season to draw conclusions about nearly anything. However it's not too soon to start paying attention to a new manager's tactical tendency. Girardi's first four games (he missed 2 due to illness) as Yankees manager have been a bit of a mixed bag.

First the good. I love the way Girardi has handled the bullpen thus far (at least the members whom he has chosen for the big league roster). Thus far we have only seen one reliever go less than an inning in an outing. Changing pitchers every batter to capitalize on platoon splits is a surefire way to run your pen into the ground by August. He has properly utilized his two bullpen aces (Rivera and Chamberlain) in tight games and allowed his lesser pitchers to eat up the garbage innings. I know this seems obvious but having watched Joe Torre for the past several years, I no longer take common sense for granted. Particularly impressive was Joe Girardi pulling Wang yesterday with a 2-0 in the 7th, with nobody out, and runners on first and third. He had Chamberlain and Farnsworth warming in the pen and I was nearly certain Girardi was going to foolishly call on the lesser option. Instead Girardi summoned Chamberlain who worked out of trouble without allowing a run and pitched a scoreless 8th as well. Girardi proved that he would not be a slave to the "Joba must pitch 8th. Rivera must pitch 9th" mentality.

The bad news is that after Chamberlain and Rivera, Girardi did a miserable job constructing his bullpen. I honestly believe that the Triple A Scranton bullpen is better manned than the Yankees. At this point a Congressional Committee should be formed to uncover what exactly Chris Britton has to do to make the team. What about this resume suggest that he doesn't belong? ( He is clearly the third best reliever in the organization. I also believe that Edwar Ramirez and Scott Patterson are better than Farnsworth, Bruney, Ohlendorf, and probably Hawkins.

Girardi also seems to overvalue the prevention of a single run early in the game, while opening himself up to bigger innings. In the third game of the season in scoreless game in the 4th, Girardi brought the infield in with one out and a runner on third. Ultimately the decision did not affect the game one way or the other. However that type of thinking will be a detriment in the long run

Up(ton) With People

The Uptons, Manny (Bossman Sr.) and Yvonne should just start breeding children, as people do with former race horses. Their two sons, Justin and B.J., were picks Nos. 1 and 2 in their respective drafts and are poised to become stars (B.J. is just about there already). They both will likely make over $100M in their careers, and some of that money will surely go to their parents, to make sure they live a comfortable lifestyle. I would gladly pay upwards $100,000 to get me some Bossman Sr. sperm and Yvonne eggs. I would then make sure that kid would have the best coaching/training money could buy. Even if the kid is not as good as his biological brothers, I can still live with raising an early round draft pick.

Of course the deal will be null and void if a chick is sired as there is absolutely no money, excitement, and/or pride in female athletics.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fantasy Baseball Idea

Maybe I should just keep a roster spot open and pick up whoever is pitching against the Giants on a given night (if they are available, of coruse). They might have the worst lineup I've seen since the Lovely Ladies of Baseball Stars.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hawk attacks Girl At Fenway

Just the other day I was wondering what Andre Dawson was up to. Now I know.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

AL East Preview

Most teams have already played 2 games so I suppose I shouldn't really call this a "preview". However, I don't know what else to call it. Here we go:

The AL East is clearly the best division in baseball this year, with 2 juggernauts (Sox and Yanks), a very good team that would probably win the AL West, NL Central, and NL West (Blue Jays), and an up-and-coming D-Rays team that would contend for an NL Wild Card. Unfortunately (for me), I think the strength of the division will make it difficult for two teams to reach the playoffs from the AL East.

Boston Red Sox- (94-68, AL East Champs)- Mike Lowell's slide back toward mediocrity will be offset by J.D. Drew's improvement. The absence of Curt Schilling will be offset by Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz's increased role with the team. Other than that I don't expect much to change. They are still favorites to win the division.

NY Yankees- (92-70)- I will devote an entire post to them either today or tomorrow. In short, this will be the fourth consecutive season that I predict they will miss the postseason. I hope that I'm as right as I've been the past three seasons.

Toronto Blue Jays (89-73)- Same story as the past two seasons. If nearly everything breaks right for them, the Jays can win the division. Once again it's a bit of a long shot given the injury-prone nature of many of their key players. Still this is a very good team, with perhaps the deepest pitching staff in baseball.

Tampa Devil Rays (80-82)- Incredibly, the D'Rays are about one season and a free agent ace (they should back up the truck for Sabathia) away from threatening to take this division down. As for this year, I expect them to hover around .500 if Kazmir can give them 30 games and they call up Evan Longoria in short order. What I don't really understand how a team with no fanbase has the balls to keep such an obviously ready blue chip prospect (Longoria) in the minors to save some arbitration money in a couple of years. The D-Rays have yet to top 70 wins in their 10 years of existence. How much longer should the people of Tampa have to wait for an enjoyable product?

Baltimore Orioles (63-99)- There is no team in baseball further from contending for the playoffs than the Baltimore Orioles. Sure there are worse teams (Giants, Pirates, Marlins, Nats), but none of them have to contend with the two greatest powerhouses in the sport in their divisions. Making matters worse is that Peter Angelos does not have the stomach for rebuilding projects. Expect him to continue his cycle of panic splashes in the free agent pool, followed by panic fire sales for many years to come. Only the names change.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fun With Athletes' Maladies

Rocco Baldelli- Hey Rocco, nobody is buying this cock and bull story about your mitochondrial abnormality. Like a typical Italian you are malingering when it's time to get to work. Need proof? Mitochondria is an anagram for "I'm a con rdith! O!" By "rdith" Rocco meant "artist". See, also like many Italians he can't spell words that are longer than 3 letters long. So he writes them phonetically. Unfortunately he has an awful lisp that makes it nearly impossible for him to produce the "s" sound. Also, like Paulie Walnuts he accentuates many of the things he says with an "O!" Alright I made that whole thing up.
The truth is far sadder. It appears that the synergistic effect of a diet of strictly meatball parm subs and Stella D'ora breadsticks can lead to the premature breakdown of the body. If only Aunt Theresa made a better lasagna dish, poor Rocco might be on his way to the Hall of Fame. Damn shame.

Nene- I can't wait until they air "Nene's Nut Cancer Special". To see him sing "Hey kids feel your balls" in Portugese might be the highlight of my life. I also need to hear him repeat the word "tubing" in a variety of silly voices and introduce his parents to Drew Barrymore.

Kaz Matsui- I was requested by a faithful reader to make a joke about Matsui's anal fissures. No joke exists that can top the phrase "anal fissures" on it's own. So here goes: Anal fissures! ROTFL!