Friday, March 31, 2006

AL Central predictions

AL Central time.

Indians - 95-67
White Sox - 90-72
Twins - 85-77
Tigers - 81-81
Royals - who gives a shit-do they exist

I love the Indians. I love that lineup. I like all their players. I think their one weakness is Ben Broussard doesn't cut it at first. Other than that, I really like their team. I think they've got a strong staff and a decent bullpen. They're my pick at the top.

I like the White Sox too. I just feel like Ozzie Guillen might start to get old, and it's always reasonable to expect a 99 win team to lose a few more times the following year.

The Twins are starting too many borderline players to really get excited about them - Rondell White, Shannon Stewart, Luis Castillo. Eh. Johan Santana can only win so many games, and who knows what kind of impacts Baker and Liriano will have yet. And not to be the strikeout nazi, but Carlos Silva, come on. That worries me. So I think they'll end up about where they were last year. For what it's worth, I feel like they'll be a competitve 85 wins, not the mediocre year all year and a sudden surge to end up with an inflated win total.

The Tigers are my big bold prediction. I'm pretty sure the last time the Tigers .500 Al Kaline was in the lineup. But they don't have a bad collection of players really. Bonderman is due to really break through this year. Ditto Shelton and Granderson. I think Jim Leyland sparks them for this year. Although I think in the very near future he'll burn out again/the team will get sick of him, I think he'll bring them to respectability this year.

Feel cheated that I didn't give you a win-loss projection for the Royals? Then I'm sorry. You must have a terrible life. But I'll help you out. 68 wins. Better now?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The fearless forecaster

Anybody ever see the old SNL sketch with Garrett Morris as an inmate in a prison talent show singing "I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whiteys I see"? That has nothing to do with anything, but the song just popped into my head.

Let's do some predictin'. Leading off, the AL East.

Yankees 93-69
Red Sox 91-71
Blue Jays 85-77
Devil Rays 75-87
Orioles 73-89

Some explanation.

The Yankees and Red Sox still own this division, but not as dominantly as they have. The Yankees pitching is highly suspect, as has been bitched about by Yankee fans. This time though, the whiners are probably right. When all was said and done Randy Johnson had a very respectable year. But he's 42. You can't assuming anything of a 42 year old. Mussina's getting progressively worse. Shawn Chacon was great last year when he came over from Colorado. But, last I checked, he's Shawn Chacon. Let's not go nuts here. Chien Ming Wang surprised people last year, but look at his numbers. 47 strikeouts in 116 innings. That's alarming. And 32 walks to those 47 strikeouts. It's best when those two numbers don't nearly match up 1:1. Maybe he improves on that, but again - a question mark. Pavano and Wright can't get worse. But can they get much better? Pavano was grossly overpaid by the Yanks and it shouldn't surprise anybody if he performs no better than a 3 or 4 starter the rest of his contract.

The Red Sox offense is weaker with the loss of Damon, but I think they'll hold their own. I'm worried about the pitching there too. Curt Schilling has the distinct disadvantage of no longer possessing an ankle. Josh Beckett gets blisters on body parts I didn't know existed. David Wells is very fat. Clement and Wakefield are fine on the back end of a rotation, but if the other three go down, do you want them anchoring your club?

The Blue Jays were declared the big offseason winners by acquiring many players, which is easy to do when you're willing to spend huge sums of money on those players. But will they actually win on the field? Of course they will. No team has ever gone 0-162. Ok, having established that the Blue Jays will win, we may now turn to the question of how often they will win. (Note: the idiotic way in which I broke that down will actually get you points on most law school exams.) You see my projected win total above. Glaus and Molina help that lineup. And while I don't like Overbay, especially for a team that had 4 guys like him, he's probably the best version of the light powered corner IF they have, so I guess that's an upgrade too. And a healthy Burnett helps that rotation. But as I said during the winter, they're a hitter away. And Burnett could break down. Result? A better team, one that may play meaningful games in September, but one that will fall short - and likely not down to the wire either.

The Devil Rays pitching is revolting. Beyond Kazmir it's a damn house of horrors. But I really like that lineup, and I have a feeling Maddon will get a lot out of that team. So I'll be bold and predict the highest win total in D-Ray history. 75 big ones baby. Yeah, there's only so much one can get out of that team. But I maintain they'll be mentioned as a wild card possibility when people are previewing the 2008 season.

I just think the Orioles are very bad. You can like Bedard and Cabrera's upside. You can like Tejada. Maybe Corey Patterson bounces back. People are talking about Chris Ray. Dynamite. They stink.

Another division or two tomorrow. I'd like to be finished by opening day. I don't want to be influenced by the Pirates starting off 1-0 or anything. But we'll see if I make it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cheap one

AJ Burnett is going to start the season on the DL. Good for him, popping his cherry early on being injured for the Blue Jays. Don't waste time, get in the comfort zone right away.

MLB plans to look into past steroid use. Is this constructive? We know that it was done, we have good suspicions as to who did it, but what penalties can realistically be handed down as the result of this? I think it's better to stay focused on looking ahead and preventing steroid use as baseball moves forward.

I saw this today: "The Giants purchased the contract of RHP Jamey Wright from Triple-A Fresno and designated LHP Jon Coutlangus for assignment." Wow. That is a TOUGH name to grow up with. Say it fast to yourself; you'll see what I'm talking about. Ever see the SNL sketch with Christopher Walken in which he plays a guy named Colonel Angus, and everybody keeps slurring his name, resulting in a risque pronunciation? (oh golly!) Yeah, same thing.
I should really start with some predictions. But I'm tired now. So, I'll pass. And with that, I leave you with a pretty crappy entry for today.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Roto recap #2

Have any of you ever been the commish of a yahoo league? If you have then you're aware of the horrible tedium that is inputting the draft results for the league. You have to select each name from a list, and can't even search by last name to get to the name quickly. Just have to scroll down. A pleasure. And you can't even go in alphabetical order to be more efficient - each time you click a name the list pops back up to the top. Ok, for two points, who's at the top? David Aardsma. Cheater, with his two As just to be first in an alphabetical listing of major leaguers. Sneaky bastard. Oh, and the best part is a letter with an accent mark on it, such as the i in Rodriguez, is considered to come after z in the alphabet. Helpful. I know this now. But the first year I did it I spent hours wondering where the hell Danys Baez could have disappeared to.

In sum, yahoo should be ashamed of themselves, charging us absolutely nothing and then making it less than perfectly convenient for me to input my rosters.

As promised, a full recap of each and every pick from last night's law school league draft. Dare me to do it? It'll be like Andy Kaufman reading the entire Great Gatsby on stage. Anyway, I won't bore you with too much; I maintain that it's never interesting when somebody says, "hey, want to hear my roto team?" They ask because they want you to say, "hey, great job, nice players there." It's stupid. Every team assembles some marquis names that will elicit the "hey, he's good." Out of the context of who else you could have had though, I think it's pointless to try to evaluate how well somebody did at his draft.

In general, I'm happy with the results and feel like I put together a well balanced team. I don't think that means anything, but it's good for my sanity over the next week. A couple of interesting things from the draft. Matt Holliday went in the third round, before the following players: Carlos Delgado, Richie Sexson, Vernon Wells, Eric Chavez, Hideki Matsui, Todd Helton, and Troy Glaus. I know we're all supposed to love the Coors Field effect, but did the city of Denver get raised another mile above sea level during the winter? Francisco Liriano and Justin Verlander went in the 15th and 20th rounds respectively to the same guy. We're all very excited about these two, but I think that's pretty high for 22 year old pitchers. This is a keeper league, but a player can only be kept for two years following his intial year of being drafted. That means if a player doesn't produce in year one you've already given up on a third of his value, which then means you shouldn't be so trigger happy on a rookie. Remember Jeremy Bonderman last year? Everybody was predicting his big breakout, and in the end, he wasn't bad, but he wasn't all that helpful. And he had already put together two years under his belt. So how good will Verlander be in 2006 for a roto team?

Ok, have no fear - this will not become a roto only blog. But if you're one of those anti-roto guys, you'll probably be a little annoyed at times over the course of the season. Oh, and you're also a lunatic.

Barry Bonds said this today: "My life is in shambles. It is crazy. It couldn't get any crazier. I'm just trying to stay sane." Jesus, shut up, shut up, shut up. Just go out there and play ball and stop auditioning for the part of Job in the new play, "Everybody Is Out To Get Me." There, I feel better.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Preponderance of Pitchers

With apologies to mediocre EB for having slacked off the past couple of days, I now return to entertain you. Had my NYU league roto draft in NY yesterday. At one point I had the following IM exchange with a female friend:

Me: I'm in NY today.
Friend: Why?
Me: I have a fantasy baseball draft.
Friend: Hahahahaha

This is why girls really shouldn't be allowed to speak.

I love auction day. The fun of watching your team take shape, the strategy of bidding, making jokes about crappy players, and the excitement knowing that baseball is finally here. All great stuff.

Less great is deviating from your strategy like an idiot and messing up your team. I'll explain. After winning the bidding for Carlos Zambrano at $47 (steep, yes, but this is a keeper league, so inflation dictates that's not an outrageous price), a smart owner would have been content with that as the marquis pitching acquisition. Not I! Before the draft I played with different combinations of how much money to allocate for various positions. In none of them did I pencil in the bucks for two big time pitchers. Considering that I was entering the draft keeping Cliff Lee and John Lackey, 2 big pitchers at the auction seemed like a waste of money.

But there I was, joining the bidding on Roy Oswalt. I was thinking, "Hey buddy, I like Roy Oswalt." $40! $45! $50! Going once, going twice, sold to Eric, for $50. "Wow, Oswalt and Zambrano, that's great. Ok, now let's get some hitters...oh, look at that, can't do it. Well that was fun, now let's try to build for 2007." I was still able to get Gary Sheffield for $43, but then had to watch impotently as the remaing top level OFs were beyond my price range.

The result? Cursing at myself like a homeless nut the rest of the evening and an OF of my keepers Ryan Freel, who doesn't have a starting job, and Craig Monroe, who isn't all that good but I figured was worth keeping at $4, Sheff, and Dave Roberts and Matt Murton at a buck each. And two utility spots filled by Edwin Encarnacion at $3 and Josh Barfield at $2. Now, Murton, Encarnacion, and Barfield could be fantastic keepers. But because I'm not the Kansas City Royals, I don't customarily write off the year before it begins.

Oh, and the worst part is I ended up with one dollar left at the end of the auction. This drives me nuts. I got home and stared at my spreadsheet that read "total left: $1" for a good hour, stewing in anger. No excuse for having even a buck left; that's a rookie mistake. I just sat wondering when and where that money could have gone, replaying scenarios in my head when I should have gone one dollar higher on a player.

A couple of important take away points here. One, It was 4 am and instead of going to sleep I analyzed the composition of my imaginary team of men whose chosen profession is to hit a ball with a stick. Two, it elicited such emotion that I simmered in disgust at myself. And, I guess by way of inference from the first two - three, my life has no meaning and it would probably benefit mankind if I were removed from the whole earth thing we have going on here.

The great thing about roto is that usually everybody hates his own team at the end of the night. It's like we go in somehow expecting to load up on superstars across the board, and having even one or two lower tier dollar picks ruins the whole thing. "I can't believe I lost out on the bidding for Guerrero AND Pujols. Now some other guy has them. My team stinks."

I love this stuff. And with that, I'm heading out to my law school league draft. Self-absorbed recap of that tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


The Cardinals are going with Sidney Ponson as their fifth starter, sending Anthony Reyes to the minors and Adam Wainright to the bullpen. Now, the Cardinals are contending, so I can understand the general choice of the veteran over the prospect. But have you seen Sidney Ponson? My gosh. I don't care how impressive his spring has been. He can't possibly be good. Why? Because he's Sidney Ponson, that's why. This guy has been awful. And let's not forget his off the field problems with the law - literally and figuratively. It reminds me of the classic Simpsons dialogue with Lionel Hutz: "Oh no, we've drawn Judge Snyder. He's had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog." "Really?" "Well, replace 'acidentally' with 'repeatedly' and the word 'dog' with 'son.'"

Ah, Lionel Hutz. I really miss Phil Hartman.

Anyway, Sidney Ponson, not good. And I still don't understand the whole "I'm from Aruba but I'm white" thing.

Also about the Cardinals, I noticed today as I was flipping through a very comprehensive roto mag and found that Rick Ankiel hit 20 homers and 75 rbi in under 400 minor league ABs last year. He's been around forever but he's still only 26, and it doesn't seem impossible that he could still have a respectable career as an OF.

Evidently Juan Gonzalez hasn't reported to Red Sox camp and his agent Alan Nero can't get in touch with him. Sounds like a strange situation is going on there. I'm sure the Red Sox aren't devastated, but you have to wonder why a guy would just go AWOL like that.

Alfonso Soriano made a couple of errors in LF field today. Yes! I've already been vindicated in my criticism of the Nationals! Eat it, Jim Bowden!!

The best news of today is that the Mets' new network SNY and Cablevision reached an agreeement for the network to be carried on Cablevision. As somebody who lives in Cablevision teritorry, I'm relieved. Although that network has absolutely ntohing worth watching besides Mets games. They have hours of paid programming blocked on the schedule. Have to start producing some Metsographies. ("today on Metsography...Choo Choo Coleman") Ideally they really should get another team's games on SNY. Anybody know when the YU Macs' broadcast deal with Adam Cohen's computer expires?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Left it is

Today I was playing MLB '06 and fell behind 6-0 in the third. I got very frustrated at that point and decided to throw the game. But when I throw a game, I really throw a game. None of that Black Sox let's try to be subtle stuff. No, I proceeded to hit batters until I got every single pitcher ejected from the game. In total I hit each opposing batter 7 times, in addition to issuing 10 intentional walks and giving up a grand slam. Final score? Twins 108, Indians 0, called after 7 1/2 innings when I had enough. Good times.

I've also discovered that I like to devote a lot of time to rotisserie baseball. This hit me at around 3:30 this morning when I was still up deliberating over how to allocate my dollars in my auction league. "Now, what if I projected spending $53 on a top pitcher, then I would have to take $2 away from my fourth OF what if I planned to spend $3 less on my second reliever..." It's good to be in law school.

So Soriano decided that $10 mil is a lot of money to give up and played left field for the Nationals today. Not a big shock. Now that Soriano is off the jerk train we can shift the focus to how the Nationals botched this, because this hasn't had a happy ending yet necessarily. I'm not talking about Soriano's relationship with his teammates, Frank Robinson, Jim Bowden, and the fans. That should be fine if he keeps going out there and plays. I'm talking about having a guy switch positions a week and a half before opening day. Players have a hard time switching from 2nd to SS, or RF to LF, and those are far more comparable positions. Second and left are completely different. How is Soriano at getting a read on fly balls? What's his range out there? What are his instincts going to be? Granted, he wasn't a good second baseman, but who's to say that he isn't going to be as bad or worse a left fielder? This will be worth monitoring for a while.

I just read that Pedro doesn't see any way he'll be ready to pitch on opening day. Fantastic. And let's not forget that Billy Wagner had to shut it down for a few days with a finger problem and Carlos Delgado hasn't seen much action. If I were to beat myself over the head with a frying pan, how long would it take before I pass out? Let's find out...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

2B or not 2B?

Now that is a kickass title.

Sounds like Soriano is trying to do damage control. He's now claiming that he didn't know he was in Monday's lineup, which might be possible because it seems that there was a version of the lineup card circulating that didn't have Soriano on it. He's also apologized for not talking to the media yesterday, and has said he's going to make his decision tonight about what to do tomorrow.

Steve Phillips gives his view in an ESPN article, which is basically that he thinks the Nats should use the dq list if it comes to it on Thursday, but that they should first try to trade him and spin it as a good baseball deal until people believe it. Interesting insight into the mind of a former GM. Phillips also advised Jim Bowden to commit lots and lots of adultery in the process.

As I said, I think Soriano is going to give in. If you were due $10 mil that would be forfeited if you didn't follow your employer's instructions, you'd probably listen to them. "What's my position? Toilet licker? Yes sir, boss!" Also, you'd think that Soriano is starting to balance the gain in value of his next contract by insisting that he play 2B versus the loss in value by teams thinking he's a pain in the ass. Up to a point, there will also be some team that will overlook all that if they're desperate enough. But there is a limit, and Soriano may be in for a lot less money than he'd have expected, second base or otherwise, if teams think he's too hard to deal with.

Then again, it didn't take too long for T.O to find work, so I'm probably wrong.

Compare this story, that I think is genuinely interesting and noteworthy, to the constant Barry Bonds updates. For example, ESPN finds it important to report today that he'll miss one exhibition game because he went to California on the day off and can't come back in time. Information like that should not make it past a blurb in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cincinnati Bowtie

So Japan is officially the best baseball playing country on the planet, one game being sufficient to make such declarations. I didn't watch the game tonight so I have no comment about it specifically. In general, it seems that the WBC was at least a modest success, if not more, so I'm happy about that. I hope next time around they hold it in November though.

Alfonso Soriano refused to take the field today after being pencilled in to start in LF. Jim Bowden is talking tough and said that if Soriano does it two more times he's going to ask the commisioner's office to place him on the disqualified list. That would suspend his pay and his service time, meaning that he wouldn't be due for free agency until he returns and plays a full year. This could get very interesting. My guess is Soriano will pull this again for another game and is going to blink the following day when he realizes that the Nationals are serious (at least they should be). As I said before, the Nationals were dumb for trading for him and thinking his aversion to the OF would just disappear, and Soriano, for his part, is acting like a jerk.

The Sox made a trade of note today, sending Joe Borchard to the Marlins. Ha ha, got ya! You expected me to talk about the RED Sox genuinely noteworthy trade of Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena. But instead I brought up the WHITE Sox insignificant trade. Zinger!!! Remember when Borchard was a decent prospect? Long time ago now.

Ok, Arroyo for Pena. I don't get the Reds. Wily Mo is still very young with plenty of upside, why deal him yet? The plan was to start Pena, Griffey, and Kearns in the OF with Dunn at 1B. But the Reds did this to clear the way for Dunn to move back to the OF with Scott Hatteberg playing 1B. Go check out Hatteberg yourself and tell me if you think this is a wise move. This is the same team that refuses to give Ryan Freel a clear starting job so that Tony Womack or Rich Aurilia can play 2nd, which is bad for the Reds as well as bad for my roto team. Arroyo isn't a bad pithcer, but he isn't that good, and I don't think he's worth the loss of Pena, certainly not because Scott Hatteberg needs to start. Once again, these small market teams baffle me.

Boston could afford to trade Arroyo given their surplus of pitching. This is a good move for them, although it's not great news if you've already drafted Pena in a league expecting him to start, as now he'll platoon with Trot Nixon. Oh yeah, Arroyo took a below market contract just a few months to stay with Boston. So they're sort of a bunch of douchebags. But when your "below market" sacrifice means $4 mil a year, I'm not gonna shed too many tears for you. Although nobody should be forced to live in Cincinnati, so maybe I should.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lousy Pittsburgh

Nothing like losing one of your final four teams before the sweet sixteen. Thanks Pitt! When I saw the news of the loss I screamed out "FUCKING BRADLEY!" My roommate had a friend over at the time and he had to explain to her, "I don't live with a mental patient, it's the NCAA thing he's reacting to." He had a tougher time explaining things three minutes later when I shouted, "Applesauce!!! Doorknob, DOORKNOB!!!! MARTIN VAN BUREN'S PAJAMAS!!!!!"

Fortunately, I'm still in this pool. I have Duke as my national champion, which could happen. If they win, I can even have a couple other things go against me and still win. If they lose though, well, it's gonna be back to drinking paint thinner to drown my sorrows for me.

The Red Sox gave Juan Gonzalez a minor league deal. I'm sorry for wasting your time telling you that.

In other Sox news, David Wells is upset that he might not get a start for a few weeks into the season and may once again ask to be traded. Can he shut up? The yutz was playing for a west coast team. They wanted him back. He jumped ship to the Red Sox. So now either be quiet and play for them or, if you want to move away so badly, retire. But enough of this.

Mike MacDougal is going to miss at least the first month of the season with a muscle strain. Muscle strain, that's all? MacDougal's lucky his whole arm doesn't fall right off with that insane motion he has. Talk about violent movements. Said Buddy Bell, "It's not good news, but we have to deal with it." I think it's cute that the Royals are going through the motions of reacting to this as though they were a real team. I guess you can say that you don't want to kill the morale of the young kids by blowing game after game. But giving Doug Mientkiewicz 500 ABs will kill morale much more than any blown save could.

Also, just what is the Royals' realistic ETA? They've been rebuilding for 15 years now, so what, another 7 or 8 and they'll be good to go? I don't want to go off on a rant here but the last thing that took this long to build was St. Peter's Basillica, and they were doing that 500 years ago. Unless the Royals plan on having the Stanze di Raffaello in Kauffman Stadium they've run out of excuses. Now the Royals are going to use Ambiorix Burgos as closer, which is like Boo Radley trying to lead the Union in the Battle of Fort Sumter. Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Goodnight folks. That's the blog and I am outta here.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's a Madhouse!

I'm in DC for the weekend visiting my friends Jesse and Elana Mendelson. Jesse has demanded a shoutout in this entry. Well, there you see it, his name has appeared twice so far. I think that about covers that.

Speaking of DC, I've been meaning to commend the Nationals on their recently revealed stadium plans. It seems they've listened to my complaints that every new park is the same these days. While it appears that it has the basic "retro" shape, they'll be going with an exterior look that matches the DC monuments (e.g. white stone) as opposed to the generic red brick that teams think is so fascinating and thrilling.

Well that was a boring paragraph.

So we're looking at Cuba and Japan in the WBC finals. This is why I think the WBC is a little silly. I think it is particularly unfortunate that Korea has already beaten Japan twice in this tournament, but tonight's loss sends Korea home and Japan on to the ultimate game that will forever determine baseball supremacy on the planet earth l'olam va'ed. Yes, I think Japanese baseball is genuinely ahead of Korean baseball. But let's keep this thing internally consistent. If we're going to have this thing and go through some motions of taking it as an indicator of baseball achievement, don't let a team lose 2 of 3 to another team but advance while that other team gets sent packing.

I can't say I particularly care about the outcome of the final game, especially since a grand total of one major leaguer will appear in it. You have to wonder if MLB is a little unhappy with this final matchup. This tournament was designed to increase interest in baseball internationally, but Japan is pretty far along in that regard and Cuban players are (for now at least) largely off limits to major league teams. But what the hell do I know? I'm just the stupid doorman.

I haven't written about March Madness yet. My mother mentioned to me that she heard the stat they trot out every year about the loss in workplace productivity, and then asked, "you don't do that, do you?" Emphasis on the first "you," implying, "you, my intelligent son, whom I know already compiles phony teams of baseball players in some odd competition with his friends, don't further waste your time by taking guesses on which college basketball teams will win games in some tournament and placing money on those games...right?" Since I've been in a pool in most of the last ten years, I have to question my mother's skills a mother for having to ask this question. So yes, of course I participate, as should any male who has even a passing in sporting events.

I love the excuse that some people give that they don't enter pools because "I don't really follow college basketball." Well, as somebody with great proficiency at reciting the entire George Mason roster...yeah right. People, I've got news for you: Not that many people follow college basketball that closely until March. Are you expecting that you'll unsuspectingly join a pool full of 20 Billy Packers, all lurking to take your money by way of their vast college basketball acumen? Well let me tell you something.

There are three types in a tourney pool. You have your couple of real college ball guys, the ones who really know what's going on. Paradoxically, these guys usually are the ones who have lost no fewer than 4 of their Elite Eight teams and one Final Four team by Saturday night. Then you've got your total guessers. These people admit they don't know, they don't care, they're in this for the fun of it and have no qualms filling out their bracket totally at random on Thursday morning. It is not uncommon for somebody like this to win the whole damn pool. And it's often a girl. Bad enough they give us boys cooties, now they have to win our tournament pools as well?

If there's any justice the winner will emerge from the third category, which is by far the biggest. These are your fakers. I put myself in this category. The fakers are the ones who aren't following that closely all year and then suddenly perk up during conference championship week, hoping to pick up enough tidbits on TV and ESPN articles to (a) get a leg up in picking upsets and, most importantly, (b) sound smart when they're talking to people about the tourney. "Oh yeah, Allan Ray's eye injury, you can't like that for 'Nova. The Wildcats sure must be ticked off. Yeah, sucks to be their head coach Jay Wright right now." Fakers also like to put up smokescreens to their ignorance by bringing up famous, obvious moments from past tournaments that they stupidly think will fool others into thinking they are college basketball historians. "Hey, you never know who could be this year's Valpo. There's a Bryce Drew lurking somewhere, there always is." "And don't count out those 15 seeds - don't forget Coppin State in '97" If a faker is lucky nobody will ask him a follow up question like, "Who do you think is the strongest bench option for Pitt?" Such a question is far too much for a faker to be able to answer from his one week of half assed research. A faker, when confronted with such a question, can do three things. He can try to answer. This is stupid. The faker can't answer, the faker is an ignoramous. That's why he's a faker. He can change the subject to a safe faker subject. "Well I don't know, but the real question is how good is Duke - isn't Coach K something?" Finally, he can throw something at the questioner, thereby giving himself time to run away. I don't want to take a position, but I think you all know which route I find to be most attractive.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Crappy Americans

This is where the World Baseball Classic was bound to get annoying. Team USA loses, and we shall now be subject to the inevitable barrage of articles proclaiming the strides other countries have made in the sport that enabled them to knock off the big bad Americans. Please. Baseball is not a sport designed for one and done games, three game pools, or even a seven game series. To reinforce my point, I shall now assault you with several very overused baseball related cliches. Let us begin: Baseball is a funny game. Baseball is a game of inches. A baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. The worst team can beat the best team on any given night.

Don't get me wrong, this is still embarassing. And this only strengthens my belief that the United States should just stop participating in international competitions in team sports. Why should we? We don't seem to care as a country. Did you hear all the bells and drums and whistles at the games in Puerto Rico? Or by the Mexican fans tonight? I've got Jae Ahn IMing me every three minutes to tell me some guy on the Korean team just blew his nose. All these people really cared about this for national pride. Americans don't seem to. So let's leave this stuff to the countries that are getting worked up about it.

I don't really mean that. It's a defense mechanism. I painted my body red, white, and blue and ran around Philadelphia naked all week to support Team USA in this thing. Now I'm just a little hurt, that's all, and this is how I react. I'll be ok. I'll be ok.

In other news, today was the launch of the Mets' new network, Sportsnet New York, cleverly known as SNY for short. Something that's bothered me that I should have mentioned earlier. The Mets defected from Fox Sports Net New York to start their own network. They're touting it as this big new thing and a big revolution on the NY sports scene. So don't you think they might have chosen a name that would differentiate themselves just a bit from the old network? The Founding Fathers didn't decide to call our country Ingland.

Anyway, hopefully SNY and Cabelvision will work out an agreement soon and it will be available to the whole NY area by opening day. I watched the initial game broadcast via tonight, with Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez. So strange to hear Gary Cohen on a tv broadcast. Seemed very out of place. But loving that Keith Hernandez is on board for all the games now, instead of the limited sampling of the past few years. And the best part? Fran Healy is nowhere to be seen or heard. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Purim is fun - jealous, gentiles?

Lousy purim, take me out of the blogging game for two more days. But I had to drink, what could I do? It's the one day all year where being Jewish isn't a...what's the word? The bird. Not vulture...albatross! That's the word I'm looking for. So you've got to show your support.

For those who aren't aware, purim is a Jewish holiday that took place this week to commemorate the victory by the Jews against Haman's plans to kill them. Basically, Haman convinced King Ahasuerus to sign an edict that the Jews should be killed. Those crafty Jews would have none of that, and Mordechai and Esther worked to petition the king to change his mind. He got angry at Haman and had him killed instead. There was, however, the problem that the decree had already been signed, and, lo and behold! An edict sent out with the king's seal cannot be rescinded! So what the king did instead was send out another edict that authorized the Jews to defend themselves against their attackers.

Now then. I've never understood two things. One, why could the edict not be rescinded? It's like when you're dealing with some customer service guy someplace who can't help you because "that's store policy," when there's really no good reason to abide by the policy. But alas, "sorry sir, that's our policy." But why? "Well that's our policy you see." Now, the customer service guy is afraid his boss will find out that he didn't "follow the policy," but what was Ahasureus' excuse? He's the king! Who's above him that he's afraid of? "Sorry, can't rescind an edict; kingdom policy." Makes no sense.

Two, what kind of concession is it to issue an edict allowing the Jews to defend themselves? Say some knife wielding anti-Semite is coming to kill you and your family. Are you going to sit around lamenting, "Oh, woe is us. If only the king had given us permission to defend ourselves from the knife wielding maniacs. Ah well, my hands are tied. Commence killing me." Seems to me that maybe Mordechai and Esther got a lousy deal there. Should have jewed the king down more to get a better 2nd edict.

Anyway, purim is a very merry holiday, with the requesite drinking. The custom is to be drunk until you "don't know the difference between the blessing of Mordechai and the curse of Haman." Now this is a tough one. I got damn drunk last night. I could still keep a simple one sentence phrase straight. Just how much alcohol can one humanly consume in order to fulfill this? I think a more reasonable thing would be to get drunk enough that you don't know the difference beween urinating in a toilet and urinating in a mug. Or the difference between thinking "man, look at that girl's rack" and saying loudly, "HEY GUYS, LOOK AT THAT GIRL'S RACK!!!" These are levels of drunkennes I feel I can get to.

Ah, drukenness. Nothing more thrilling than waking up the next morning, trying to reconstruct the previous night's events, and thinking "oh boy, what am I going to find out I did last night?" It's like a good movie, keeps you in suspense, and who knows how it will turn out. In my case, the answer to that usually is, "with embarassment."

But you know what I hate? Those bastard friends who get really drunk with you and while you're trying to figure out just what happened and what you said the previous night, they declare, "Oh yeah I remember everything." Well goody for you, you obnoxious prick. They act like they've won a gold medal in the memory olympics or something, all proud and smug. These are the same people who open the conversation with something like, "Well YOU sure had a good time last night." Yes, yes I did. That's the point of drinking, fuckwad. To have a good time. If drinking caused me to have a bad time, I would refrain from doing so. And they then proceed to fill you in on what you don't remember but they, with their superhuman memories, have no trouble recounting for you. Fabulous. Your mother should be very proud.

Why is ESPN not showing every WBC game? Nobody has ESPN Deportes. If you're going to pretend this thing is a big deal, televise the thing. They televise all sorts of crap nobody watches - they even show some hockey playoff thing in the middle of June. Why not every game of the WBC? I know, I know - the interest in the US is not the focus, but still, make the games available.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Isn't Pedro Precious?

Pedro threw 81 pitches off a mound Saturday. Injured superstars are like infants. Everybody gathers around to ooh and ahh over every little thing. "Pedro threw off a mound today, and then he put his whole fist in his mouth! It was adorable!" Don't get me wrong, I'll make a fuss with the rest of them. I've paid $27 for my opening day ticket, and those aren't Tom Glavine prices.

$27 for a seat in row quadruple Z or whatever the hell it is is a little nuts. Of course, $27 isn't the face value of the ticket. Included in that prices is something like a $1 internet charge fee and a $4 convenience fee. Convenience fee. Actually, I'd find it more convenient to pay less money for the ticket. If they're going to charge those extra dollars, at least don't insult my intelligence by calling it a convenience fee. "You're under arrest. No, those aren't handcuffs. They're freedom shackles."

It's just like with the fun size candy bars. You know what I'm talking about? The ones that are the smallest they sell? Like the bite size. Just what the hell is fun about that? Fun size should be those novelty bars they sell at Hershey Park, like the hershey kiss the size of my head. Now that's fun. Sinister candy bar manufacturers. Let's get Michael Moore on this. I'll bet he'll discover all this tricky nomenclature has something to do with the Bush administration and Saudi oil money. You just know Haliburton is involved here.

I fucking hate Michael Moore.

So anyway, Pedro threw 81, but there's a long way to go there. He hasn't faced live batters yet, which, the last time I checked my version of the Major League Baseball rule book, happens during a real game. Plus, 81 pitches isn't going to cut it. Unless Willie wants to make it a habit of needlessly taking him out of games in the 5th inning after having thrown 50 pitches only to let the Nationals rally to tie the game from 8 runs down thereby making me so angry I curse for ten minutes and nearly break everything in my room and have Chris Woodward have to win it with a single in the 11th to save face but I'll still be so tense all night long from that stupid blown lead that I'll nearly drive my car off the road anyway. I don't think that's a good strategy. So, to sum up, Pedro needs to be able to throw more than 81 pitches.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Spring training part two

Ok, we're getting back on track now.

Have you ever been in prison? From what I gather, it's pretty bad. However, I'd venture to say that it's nicer than Fort Lauderdale Stadium, spring home of the Baltimore Orioles. What a dump. I didn't realize how nice Tradition Field was field was until I had something to compare it to.

I don't have all that much to say. Didn't get autographs. The Twins wear nameless jerseys for spring training. Considering that all their facially recognizable players are in the WBC, that made it kind of tough to get excited. It was pretty much, "that guy's number is below 60, so I presume he's a major leaguer whose name I'd know." I did recognize Ruben Sierra though.

The cool thing about spring training is you see these guys up close, free from the glitz of a major league park and a regular season game. And they're just regular guys playing baseball. It's like stopping in Central Park to watch a company after work league game ore something, but the players are insanely good. They throw the ball 200 feet without breaking a sweat, they hit it to the warning track with no problem, they run fast, etc. And you see Ron Gardenhire come out and watch his players during fielding practice and joke around, it makes it all much more human. It's interesting.

My one scouting nugget - Chris Ray pitched an inning for Baltimore and I thought he looked pretty good. But like I said after St. Lucie, it's still pretty early.

Ok then, that's my report for now.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Report from Florida

I write to you from the lobby of a hotel in South Beach. Any typos throughout this entry will be the result of trying to type as I leer at the girls passing through the lobby in their halter tops. You know, Miami is warmer than New York. I like that very much. I may just move to Miami.

Sorry for the two day hiatus; I haven't had the access I hoped to have. You've all been very devoted readers and I didn't want to let you down. So thank you, both of you, for understanding.

Went to Port St. Lucie on Monday to see the Mets and the Astros. Let me tell you something about Port St. Lucie. It is a very boring place. They have a Friendly's there, at which I purchased a soft serve cone. I think I noticed a couple of gas stations as well. I think that's about it. No wonder the players hate training there. Anyway, we got there about an hour before game time, in time for Astros batting practice. For those who haven't been to a spring training game, there's nothing unusual that happens - it's the normal pre-game routine. It's the better access to players in the way of autographs, etc that's the real draw. And don't think I didn't take advantage. That's right, I now have a hat autographed by Juan Padilla, Todd Self, Joe Hietpas, AND Mets coach Sandy Alomar. An all star lineup if ever there was one.

Hang on a sec, leering again.....

Ok, back, sorry about that. So I didn't quite get the autograph bonanza I'd have hoped for, but what can you do. As for the game itself, we were in the "upper deck," which is the equivalent of the upper half of field level in a major league park. Not bad. The tradeoff, though, is you're surrounded by people who easily remember the Hoover administration, and every time you're inclined to get excited you remember that the game doesn't count for anything. I was hoping to come back with some scouting reports, but I can't say I have much. Two things though. Kaz Matsui looked good, making solid contact each at bat and not screwing anything up in the field. My prediction: Matsui will still suck in '06, because he does. Also, Lastings Milledge seems a little too eager to swing for the fences. He took some cuts that make Jeromy Burnitz look like Tony Gwynn. Trachsel started. He looked fine, but you can't put too much stock in the pitchers at this point in the spring.

We decided not to go to Jupiter today but we plan to see the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow. Stay tuned tomorrow for all the juicy tidbits from O's camp.

And can we just agree that the US will stop fielding teams for team sports in international competition? Sucking in Athens in '04 in baseball and basketball, poor showing in hockey a few weeks ago, and now a loss to Canada? I, as an American, am very depressed at this result, as I cared deeply about the World Baseball Classic as a means of validating my patriotism.

Alrighy then, back to the leering.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Get me where it's warm

Flying to Florida tomorrow morning. Oh hell yeah. As I said, I'll try to post each day, internet access permitting. See what I've done there? Now, if I get lazy for four days, I can just claim that I had no internet, and you can't be mad at me. I'm a genius.

Sad news today in baseball; Kirby Puckett had a stroke. Nothing to say about this except he's a 44 year old father and you have to hope for his speedy recovery. Kirby hasn't been a saint in his life, but he's endured more than his fair share of health problems. I always wonder just what he could have done if he didn't have to retire so young, but that's secondary right now. I hope he gets better.

In less serious news that I'm going to take far too seriously, Pedro is already issuing the warnings that he may not be ready for opening day. This is no good. See, I would prefer that he be ready for opening day. Perhaps we can pass that along to him? Damn toe. It's a toe! How does it cause so much trouble? Yeah, this is no good.

The Marlins terminated Pokey Reese's contract today after his unexplained flight from camp. It's bad enough I'm not gonna see Beltran and Delgado on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, now I'm not gonna see Pokey Reese in Jupiter on Wednesday? Well I just may not go at all then. After announcing they had terminated the contract Larry Beinfest and Joe Girardi expressed disappointment both at how Reese behaved and at how it impacts the roster. I don't see how there's any reason for disappointment on the latter. "Well we expect to lose somewhere in the range of 105 games this year, and with Pokey being as horrible a baseball player as he's proven to be, we really liked how he fit in to our whole plan for terrible baseball." Dontrelle Willis could leave that team tomorrow and it ain't getting any worse, so who cares about Pokey Ordonez?

Oh, by the way - what I invariably do is say: "Hey, Jack McKay...Wait, why did I do that, why didn't I first say, 'hey, Mr. Hogan?' That made no sense. I'm well aware of the Hogan Family, I've watched it many times. So why would I first identify an actor by a small role he had as opposed to a lead role in a long running sitcom? Let's do that again...'Hey, Mr. Hogan!'...No, now it's too late. Whole damn thing is ruined. Why didn't I just say Mr. Hogan first??? Why, why, why? Well, there's no way I can go on. Gotta kill myself now. Nah, too chicken for that. I'll just take a nap and hope I've forgotten all about this when I wake up." Usually goes something like that.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Recognize this man?

Sitting in services this morning, the above gentleman popped into my head. I've often wondered something about him, and realized that now that I have a test audience of a whole five or six people thanks to this blog, I could finally conduct the poll I've been waiting for. So, my question to you is: When you see him, do you say, "Hey, that's the dad from the Hogan family!" or "Hey, that's Jack McKay from 90210!" I have my answer, but I don't want to influence the results. Please submit your vote if you can. I also encourage theories as to what illness I may have that causes me to think of that guy (his name is Josh Taylor) as I'm saying shemoneh esrei.

The Yankees have posted apologies at the Legends Field box office to fans for the lack of A-Rod, Jeter, Damon, and Bernie while they're away at the WBC and reminding fans that they didn't support the WBC and encourage those dissatisfied to complain to MLB. That's great. I love that that Yankees didn't just stop at opposing the WBC, they've gone on to scorning it openly. Even though I don't care for the WBC either, I would be remiss if I didn't declare them assholes for doing this. It's just something I'm expected to do as a Mets fan.

Pokey Reese left Marlins camp with some undisclosed personal issue. That seems to be all the rage this offseason. Remember when Elaine didn't show up to dinner with Jerry, George, and Peterman, at which point Jerry made an excuse to get the hell out of there too? I think that's what's going on. "Hey, where are all the cool, good players? The WBC? Shit, are you serious? Man, I've got to get the hell out of here too...Hey, uh....I've got a....thing...yeah, that's it....a personal matter...yeah, gotta leave camp, but good luck with the whole thing there.....uh....ok, bye." (sound of slow, calm footsteps giving way to running and the sound of a car starting)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Fun in DC

Jose Guillen may miss the first few months of the season with a wrist injury. You'd think this would be enough bad news for one day for the Nationals, but Alfonso Soriano would have none of that. Continuing his "I'm a selfish asshole" stance, he said that the Nats "have three weeks" while he's at the WBC to "fix" the problem of him slotted in as the LF. Frankly, I think the Nationals were sort of idiots about this. His aversion to switching away from 2B has been well documented over the past few years. Did they think about this before trading for him? What were they relying on to make them think they could switch him over to 2b without a problem? They thought maybe he was kidding? It's like when George Costanza wasn't sure if he was offered a job and just showed up to the office and hoping for the best. It's probably not really like that, but whatever. And considering the stink Soriano's made, have they at least considered making Jose Vidro move? I'm sorry, Jose Vidro is just not the type of player you make an immovable roadblock. Still, Soriano's been acting like a jackass, and I think we could all do without his terrorist threats. Idiot.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

WBC Kickoff

Pedro opted out of the WBC today. This is good for two reasons. One, I hope he'll be around Port St. Lucie when I'm there next week. Two, he'll rehab his toe at his own pace without pushing it in a game situation for the DR, and won't be there to risk other injuries as well. It's bad for one reason. His toe is still injured, not that it's a surprise. So while I'm glad in a sense he's skipping the WBC, I'd rather have a healthy Pedro and sacrifice him for a few days to the Dominican national team.

Kudos to Korea for their 2-0 win over Chinese Tapei in the WBC's first game. Jae Seo, Byung-Hyun Kim, Dae Sung Koo, and Chan Ho Park combined on the shutout. I'm going to write that sentence again: Jae Seo, BYUNG-HYUN KIM, DAE SUNG KOO, and CHAN HO PARK combined on the shutout. Put those guys in a row in a major league game, the only way there's a zero in the opposing team's run column is if there's a "1" preceeding it. Man, that must be some dream team Chinese Tapei is running out there

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Happy March everybody. As you know, March goes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I remember one year in school we made a lion and a lamb out of construction paper in honor of the expression. I thought it was kind of a waste of time, but my teacher said, "Eric, if you expect to pass the 11th grade, you're going to make that lion and lamb. And your fingerpainting assignment was subpar as well." I didn't go to a very good high school.

So Bret Boone retired, thus increasing the chances that Kaz Matsui will be the Mets' second baseman on opening day. This, in turn, increases the chances that I will vomit repeatedly on opening day.

More players withdrew from the WBC today. Vlad withdrew for personal reasons in the wake of the family tragedy he recently suffered. CC Sabathia and Billy Wagner also withdrew, to be replaced by Al Leiter and Gary Majewski. That is just about the worst substitution I've ever heard of in my entire life. Well, there was that one time I went to Prime Grill and after ordering my food the waiter said, "I'm sorry sir, we're out of steak - but we do have a hobo cadaver in the back, would you like that instead?" That was probably, no, the Leiter/Majewski thing is worse. Hopefully Team USA will overcome this setback and make do with the remaining 24 All Stars on their roster.

Manny Ramirez arrived at Red Sox camp today. Yeah, when he dresses up like Mariah Carey, let me know. Until then, I'm not all that interested in the pointless Manny updates.

Speaking of arriving in camp, Mr. Sinensky and I will be in attendance at spring training next week. We first thought about it Monday and booked it Tuesday. How's that for fast action? The tentative schedule is Mets-Astros in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday, Marlins-Red Sox in Jupiter on Wednesday, and Orioles-Twins in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday. I'm going because I've never been to spring training and figure I won't get to go to for quite some time if I don't go now. Also, I'm kind of desperate for things to post, and I'll obviously go to great lengths for some material. I'm hoping to file a report each day, internet access permitting. Stay tuned.