Wednesday, May 28, 2008
New Jersey. Dinner. Drinks. Beer. Sink. Go
- First off, I want to give props to the staff at the Marriott I was at last night. When I checked out this morning and headed to the office, I realized I had left my watch in the room. I called to let them know and tell them where it was, and said I'd pick it up later this evening. Since most hotel workers are foreigners, and all foreigners steal, I figured I'd never see it again. But sure enough, when I went by after work it was there waiting for me. Good on you Marriott.
- I'm flipping between the Celts/Pistons and Dodgers/Cubs games. For the record, I took Detroit +6, it just seems like the kind of game a team like the Celtics is going to drop, or at least squeak out at the end. I'm also rooting for Derek Lowe to suck, I hate that son of a bitch.
- Speaking of dudes I hate, it's nice to see Delmon Young pull a Torii Hunter, and not only that, but somehow make it a much worse decision. Let's see, we are up 3, and the guy at the plate is the tying run. Why would I just keep the ball in front of me? What a jackass. Still can't hit either. In all of baseball, only two guys hit the ball on the ground more than Delmon, Luis Castillo and Julio Lugo. At least he's among the league leaders in something. He also has the second worst SLG among american league outfielders. Meanwhile, Matt Garza pitched another good game today. I want to punch myself for being in favor of that trade at the time.
- I know you want to know, so yes, I was upgraded to first class on the way out here and am upgraded again tomorrow on my flight home. It hurts sometimes being so awesome.
- So the big news across the ticker is that Sammy Sosa is announcing his retirement after this year's World Baseball Classic. Hey Sammy, you haven't played all year. Nobody wants you. It's not called retiring, it's called forced retirement. Big difference. Ass. And who corks their bat AND takes steroids? Jesus, make up your mind.
- Speaking of forced retirement, why in the holy hell hasn't an american league team signed Barry Bonds? Is he just asking for ridiculous money or is everyone that stupid? Here is one of the top 2 hitters in history, sitting around doing nothing. Just as a reminder, even at 42 last season he OPS+ed 170 and pulled a .480 OBP. Is he being blackballed for the roids thing (stupid) or is everyone afraid of "chemistry issues" (monumentally stupid)? I'm going to tell you a secret: Chemistry is extremely overrated in all sports, but in baseball it is virtually non-existent. Chemistry really means teamwork, and when is their teamwork in baseball? Double plays, relay throws from the outfield, and probably fly ball issues in the outfield. You know what, you sign him in the AL and make him DH and all of this is irrelevant. Does the fact that Bonds is an ass really affect the next guy at the plate's at bat? I would hope not. God people are idiots. I would be thrilled, nay, ecstatic if the Twins found a way to pull him in. Yes, I know there's no chance in hell that happens.
- On the radio on the way to the hotel the NY radio dudes were excited for an upcoming matchup between Pedro Martinez and Barry Zito. THE MOST ANTICIPATED MATCHUP OF 2002!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- When I was having dinner in the hotel bar/restaurant thing, there were these dudes seated near me, and the one dude was just berating the other one. In a calm voice and everything, but I don't know if they were relatives or friends or coworkers or what, but it was brutal. Some quotes: "I don't understand what you've done with your life. Are you ineffectual? Timid? Not in control of your life at all? Whenever I've had an opportunity I've taken it, that's why I am where I am in my life." And "I was an air force pilot. While you were busy screwing around, I was doing something productive with my life." And "Ritalin? No way. My kids don't go near the stuff and don't need it. You need to take control of your kids and give them some discipline. Ritalin is just a drug for bad parents." And "You've never been to Europe? Wow, I go at least once a year. I have a stash at home of leftovers Euros from my last trip. I don't even bother cashing them in because I go so often." Classic.
- Jesus. I actually miss Bill Simmons.
- There is a sometimes commenter here by the handle of "Dharma Bum." If you've ever wondered what he looks like, check out Adam Wainwright. Even more of a twinner than The Todd/Spencer Tollackson.
- Since grandslam sucks now and nobody else will step to the plate, here's your golf preview, courtesy of yours truly:
Mickelson has to be the favorite, after winning last week due to a lucky shot on 18. He also plays well historically at the memorial. But nobody ever wins twice in a row on tour unless they are Tiger, and he's not, so he's out. Last year's winner, KJ Choi, is playing well this season, but he's asian and I don't trust him. Stewart Cink? Please. Yes, he's playing well this year and has a great record at the Memorial, but dude has proven he straight up can't win, so he's out. Ryan Moore? Yawn. The winner will be either Rod Pampling or Kenny Perry. Both are playing well and have good records here, and neither are winners from last week, asian, chokers, or boring. Mark it down.
- If you're a hotel, why would you sell beer in your giftshop that requires a bottle opener to open? Good thing I'm still a big enough loser to have a bottle opener on my keychain! Holla!
- I don't want to get into a whole Reusse thing here again, but two of his recent articles deserve mention. The first his how it is such a shame that the Rochester minor league club has been looted of players by the Twins due to injuries. Guess what Pat? The only people who give two shits about Rochester are the losers that live there and the manager of said club. Not even the players care, they are just hoping to get called up to the big team. The second is about how Tom Kelly tried to make David Ortiz use all fields and Ortiz didn't like it and now he's awesome and "a fair percentage of Ortiz's clutch its go to the opposite field" and how he's never thanked Kelly for that. First, let's just dismiss the whole thanking Kelly thing. Second, although I can't find the actual stats - which surprises me but then again I'm drunk so F off - I'm willing to wager that Ortiz hits almost exclusively to the right side, clutch or not. It would help if Youtube would let people put up actual replays of their games, instead every highlight is Zapruder quality and basically impossible to figure out what is going on. Someone find the data and prove me right. I do know that he once hit a game winning homerun off Johan Santana in the WBC, and that went to right.
- For some reason today I found myself thinking about this doofus who played on my amateur baseball team. You know how a lot of guys have little quirks about how they play? For example, one guy on our team used a lot of pine tar because he liked the sticky. I didn't wear batting gloves because I liked to feel the wood (hee hee). Snacks used eye black because it helped him see the ball. Another guy wore wristbands because his arms got really sweaty. Well, this dude did all of this. Pine tar, no batting gloves, eye black, sweatbands. Add in high socks, sunglasses, and a cocked hat, and he truly was the tool of all tools. It's like he took every kind of baseball schtick just to that guy. He reminded me of Jim Carrey playing basketball in The Cable Guy, but, you know, baseball.
- Jesus Christ! I thought some gangster rapping black man had broken into my hotel room to yell statistics and five year old catch phrases at me, but it turns out it was just Stew Scott on the halftime show. Or Carlton Banks.
- I just went down to refill the sink, so I should be good to go for a while. I think the gift shop guy is judging me.
- You know which team has a pretty good baseball future, other than the Rays and D-Backs? The Reds. Excellent young pitchers in Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto are already up. Super prospects Joey Votto (ROY candidate) and Jay Bruce (awesome debut) are there. Second baseman Brandon Phillips is young (27), good (OPS+ 121), and cheap (less than $3 mil this year). CF Norris Hopper and SS Jeff Keppinger are both very good, are under 30, and are making essentially the big league minimum (read: less than Bogart). Plus, future ace Homer Bailey is in AAA waiting for the call up. Consider me with a boner for the Reds.
- If I'm mentioning prospects, I must mention Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. He gives me a bigger boner than the Reds, Andrew Miller, and Mila Kunis combined. A Zito-like curve (when he was good), a Randy Johnson fastball and a Johan Santana changeup. And you think I'm kidding. Multiple Cy Youngs, I'm calling it now.
- Don't forget to gaze upon the Scott Stahoviak page at baseball reference. By the by, Clayton Kershaw's page is already at $180 for a year, and he's pitched one game.
- As long as I'm on baseball and off your mom, I might as well mention the whole Jabba Chamberlain thing. I don't get what the Yanks are doing here. The guy is an absolute monster for one inning. Clearly the heir apparent to Mariano. Not that he needs it just yet, as he's in the midst of maybe his best season ever, but he's thirty-eight, and can't do it for ever. Jabba seems like a natural to take over, just like Rivera did from Wetteland, but they are moving him into the rotation (with a 50 pitch count limit). Actually, I get why they're doing it. Kennedy and Hughes aren't ready and/or are hurt, and Mussina/Pettitte are both old and craptastic. Wang is their only good pitcher this year, so they need a boost, I just don't think it's the right way to go. This will implode in a hurry. Plus, dude only throws two pitches. That usually doesn't work too well for a starter. Remember that thing about how the Yankees were going to suck that I said that one time? yeah. what up?
- Mariano Duncan pretty much sucked.
- Did I ever tell you I once saw Tom Skerritt at the Newark Airport? I went up to him and said, "You can be my wingman anytime." I'm pretty sure he wanted to punch me in the face, but the dude is like 5'4, I mean like, shorter than Theory. So he didn't.
- Fun with stats: Darnell McDonald in the Twins' system has the sixth best OPS in all of minor league ball. I have no idea who that is. Jason Pridie has the fifth worst.
- Major League fun with stats: ISO is a fun stat. It stands for isolated power. Essentially, it's a measure of extra bases (not singles) per at-bat, and takes singles out of slugging percentage, because batting average can skew slugging if you want to look at it as a power measure. The Twins have four guys in the bottom 25. Delmon (12th), Mauer (15th), Lamb (19th), and Harris (23rd). Sadly, they all rank below Jason Kendall, one of the most notorious non-power hitters in major league history. No other team has more than two in the bottom 25. So next time somebody tries to tell you the Twins aren't a bunch of single hitting fairies, you punch him in the face. In case you're curious, the top five are Dan Uggla, Lance Berkman, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, and Adam Dunn.
- There's an article on yahoo right now about how baseball games are too long. This is the graphic they chose to run with it:
Yes, they're complaining about a 15+ inning game being "too long." The incompetence in the media continues to astound me.
- My current boss is dating a relative of a prominent Minnesota-based athlete. I haven't figured out how to use this to my advantage yet, but rest assured, I will.
- Since I know you want to know, the next two books on the list are Three Nights in August (about Tony LaRussa and the Cards - off Bears' reco) and Living on the Black by John Feinstein (one of my faves) about Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine.
- How long, exactly, is Rip Hamilton going to wear that mask for? Gotta be at least three years now, no?
- Arky Vaughn doesn't get enough play.
- You know's who's hot? Ryan Reynolds.
- So Detroit covered, which is awesome. Also, somehow the Twins won 9-8 by scoring five in the ninth. Since they don't really have the Twins on TV out here, I'm going to assume there were a lot of hit batters and singles. And no walks. Never any walks. FYI - Twins have taken more walks than only the Royals in all of MLB.
- As much as I would love to write SOMETHING about the Gophers here, there's just not much going on. I don't much care about the football team, and I'll leave that to the other guys, and nada is happening on the hoops team. The one thing I do want to touch on, is that it appears Tubby is recruiting Glen Rice, Jr. for the 2008 class. If it comes down to Rice v Williams for a scholarship, please choose Rice. Glen Rice Original was the best college basketball player I've ever seen, and based on Tony Gwynn Jr., Dale Berra, and Tim Raines Jr I can only assume he's awesome. Yes I'm fully aware those are all baseball sons, but go ahead and try to find a list for the NBA. Impossible.
- There's a link over on the side over there for a site called With Leather. It was, at one time, a very funny sports-related blog site, the sister site of WWTDD. If you don't know what that is go to hell. Anyway, it's not funny anymore.
- So I didn't touch on my first class flight earlier in this post because I didn't want you peons who fly coach to feel bad, but now I'm drunk enough and bored enough that I must mention it. I was on the window, unfortunate, as I prefer the aisle but who am I to protest when I get an upgrade? So the dude next to me, some dirty asian, goes ahead and makes the area into a permanent camp ground. First off, he puts his laptop in the seat pocket, which is a clear no-no and is announced as such. Then, four seconds after take off, he takes it out, clearly in violation of the "no electronic devices" edict. Obviously, rules will not hold our villain, and do not apply to him. When sky waitress comes by, he orders a water, a cranberry juice, and a beer. I wish I was kidding. Of course they serve him all three, which, along with his precious laptop, book, and file folder he uses to take up not only his seat, his tray table, and his extra fold out table thing, but also the little table in between us that we are supposed to share. Now, as weird as it may seem, I actually need to get out and get my properly stowed laptop at some point to do some work for my meeting. Once they announce it's cool to use electronic stuff, I want to grab it but dude has a full on campout going on. I figure, I'll wait, he'll finish his stuff (complimented by 6 bags of various nuts, chips, and pretzels they bring around) and I'll be good to go. Not so. Half hour goes by, and his fort is still in full magnitude. I finally say "Hey dude, I need to get my computer" and not only to I get the sigh (expected, though uncalled for) but it takes him a full three minutes - and multiple extraneous sighs - to get his little fort out of my way. Obviously on the rest of the flight I made sure to have to get up a few extra times to prove a point, but I don't feel good about it. And in summary that is why I don't trust asians. Especially Koreas. Although they are very good at ping pong.
- I kind of wish I was out of beer but I'm not so what are you going to do? Fully expect the rest of this post to be even worse than the previous, if possible. To make it up to you, here's some girl who is allegedly a Spartan fan:
I hope we can still be friends.
- God, I was going to bet on the French Open winner just to be a funny bit but I can't bring myself to do it. Tennis is so gay.
- Has anybody seen Idiocracy? I truly love Luke Wilson in a manly way, but I thought this was one of the worse movies of all time. It recently came up in conversation with a co-worker and he loved it. I don't think he's an idiot, but now I'm not sure. If you've seen it, please tell me what you thought.
- In case you're curious, out of the top 100 prospects, the Twins have three: Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, and Ben Revere. For the other AL central teams, the Indians have two, White Sox have one, Royals two, and Tigers nada. So I guess that's something.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
A couple quick Twins' related notes following the 27-2 stomping at the hands of the Tigers.
- Was in the car and heard Henry Lake and some dude discussing who was the better pitcher, Johan Santana or Nick Blackburn, based on Blackburn's 3.55 ERA vs. Santana's 3.36. Well, first off, Santana's ERA is better, so I don't understand where this discussion is coming from. Secondly, although I get the whole thing like how this is a homer rationalization thing to make the loss of Santana feel better, but stop being so stupid. Nobody should be allowed to talk about the Twins on that station because they are all idiots. I'm going to start my own show. For the record
ERA: 3.36 to 3.55, Santana
WHIP: 1.18 to 1.41, Santana
OAVG: .253 to .304, Santana
K/9: 7.8 to 4.8, Santana
Wins: 5 to 4, Santana
BB/9: 1.6 to 2.0, Blackburn
HR/9: 0.57 to 1.48, Blackburn
Not really even close to being close.
- If you were like me yesterday, you were like, "Who the hell are Howie Clark and Matt Macri?" So I looked.
Clark was drafted in 1992 by the Orioles (yes, 1992) and took ten years in the minors before getting his first call up by the O's. Since then he's bounced around in the O's and Blue Jays systems, spending the majority of his time in the minors with a call up here and there, topping out with 115 ABs in 2004 with the Jays. He was signed to a minor league deal by the Twins this offseason, and was cited in the Mitchell Report as a steroid user. So the Twins called up a 33 year old career minor leaguer who could only muster a career minor league OPS of .761 while on Steroids. Even better, he's the dude who let a popup drop last season after A-Rod yelled "Mine" while running the bases. The Twins are clearly moving in the right direction. At least his middle name is Roddy.
Last night was Macri's debut after coming over from the Rockies last season. He was the dude the Twins picked up for Ramon Oriz, so any production out of him would be a bonus. He was originally a fifth round draft pick, so he has some potential, and was a pretty solid minor league bat in his five minor league seasons, usually hitting close to .300 with a good batting eye and some decent pop. I'm much more optimistic about his chances as the utility infielder than Punto's.
Friday, May 23, 2008
But first, I want to do a quick book review of one I just finished, Fantasyland by Sam Walker. It's written by a sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal, who - at the time - had never played fantasy baseball, and finally decided to give it a try. Rather than playing in a local league with friends or colleagues, he wrangles himself an invite to Tout Wars, the premiere Rotissiere Baseball league in the country. It's pretty solid. His methods of preparation for the draft are a fun read, and involve a good amount of the good ole stats vs. perception debate, and when he writes about players it's a lot of fun. He does get bogged down at times talking about some of the history of fantasy baseball and describing his fellow competitors, but I suppose that's what you get in a fantasy baseball book compared to a baseball book. I mean, that stuff was interesting, but it got to be a little much. It does have some nice local flavor, as the poor bastard ended up with Jacque Jones, Doug Mientkewicz, Brad Radke, and Corey Koskie all on his team at some point in the season. I give Fantasyland a mild recommendation. Check it out.
Anyway, here's a little rundown of the prospects bandied about in Johan talks, and we'll start with the Yankees' guys:
Phil Hughes: The name that kept coming up but was allegedly not going to be included in any deal, Hughes season has been a trainwreck so far, with a WHIP north of 2.1 in 22 innings and an ERA of 9.00. Somewhat surprising, given his success in 13 starts last season and a couple of good postseason relief appearances, but it appears he may not have been ready just yet and is now on the shelf until July or so. He also gives us an excellent excuse,
"Phil Hughes will be wearing glasses when he returns to the mound to help dull the glare of the lights during night games. Hughes said he had trouble seeing the catcher's signs and is "slightly nearsighted." "When I looked through the prescription, it made a pretty big difference."
Awesome. Rather than worrying about the catcher's signs, I'd worry about throwing good pitches if I'm Hughes. His strikeout rate is way down, his walk rate is way up, and opponents are hitting .354 against him. His BABIP (batting average balls in play) is a silly .395, which will regress to the mean a bit, but when 29% of the balls opponents hit off you are line drives, your BABIP is going to be high.
Ian Kennedy: Hughes is pretty much the only guy who could make Kennedy's season look good so far. At one point he seemed very likely to be headed the Twins way, he's looked like garbage, posting a 1.79 WHIP and a 7.27 ERA after cutting it by more than a run following his outing Thursday night. He finally put up a decent outing, going six innings and only giving up one run. His control has been god awful, throwing out 25 walks in 35 innings, which is not a problem he had in the minors.
Melky Cabrera: The CF to go along with Ian Kennedy in a package which I hated. I believed Cabrera's upside was a merely average center fielder, and now that he's become the Yanks' regular CF, he's shown me nothing. He's actually been slightly below average this season, putting up .242/.322/.422 for an OPS+ of 96. He does have six homeruns, and shows good plate discipline with 15 walks so far. I'm pretty much sticking with an upside of "average."
Other assorted Yankee Crap: A few other names thrown about from the Yankee system include P Jeff Marquez - promoted to AAA this season and getting shelled, P Alan Horne - hurt all year and pitched in only two games so far in triple A, and OF Austin Jackson - OPSing .780 in AA with just two homeruns in 171 ABs.
Basically, right now all the pieces from the Yankee offers are looking like crap. Any of these guys could still develop into a very good player, except Cabrera, but this season they look terrible. How about the Sox?
Clay Buchholz: I don't remember for sure, but I don't think he was ever actually on the table. I kind of wrote about Buchholz while writing about Reusse, but it boils down to the fact that Buchholz hasn't had anywhere near the success he had last season. He's struggled with injuries and a 1.63 WHIP, but his BABIP is a big .376, which should come down along with the rest of his metrics. I still think Buchholz is the best prospect out of this whole mess.
Jon Lester: He tossed a no-hitter already, so obviously he's doing something right and it's more than just beating cancer. Although his K/9 is down a bit, but has increased is groundball percentage from 34% to 50%, and correspondingly his home run rate is way down as well. He's pitching very well this year, and is looking like a top level prospect.
Jed Lowrie: The shortstop I was very excited about getting, mainly because the Twins haven't had a good one in years and Adam Everett hasn't exactly stopped that trend. Got the call to the bigs this year, and in 42 ABs has put up .310/.340/.476. Small sample size, yes, but he certainly hasn't look overmatched at the big league level.
Jacoby Ellsbury: Kid has followed up last postseason with a excellent beginning of the season so far. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and call him the next Ricky Henderson. A line of .291/.396/.426 for an OPS+ of 122 to go along with 4 homeruns, 19 steals, and 23 walks. An OBP 100 points higher than his BA gives me a serious boner. He's in the top 30 in walk rate this season and top 40 in not swinging at balls outside the strike zone, and he's only 24 years old. Add in his rugged good looks, and I think I have a serious crush.
Justin Masterson: Kind of a throw-in to the Boston trades, he's been called up to make a couple of starts for the Red Sox when they needed him to fill in. He's gone at least six innings in each, giving up just one run each time on the way to a 0.97 WHIP and 1.46 ERA.
Ryan Kalish: Another throw-in prospect type, this one isn't having quite the same success. Kalish is in A ball for the third straight year, and is putting up just .255/.342/.363. On the bright side, in his minor league career he's 25-28 stealing bases.
Coco Crisp: Blah blah blah he's an excellent defensive player and an above averge hitter. boring.
So there you have it. If they could have pulled the trigger on the Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie deal, that would have been the one to get, and I prefer that very much over what the ended up with. Hopefully I'm wrong, and Gomez will be the next Ricky Henderson and the three pitchers all end up good.
By the way, if you're looking for someone to have a monster rest of the season, look out for Marlins' pitcher Andrew Miller. You heard it here first.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Not yet anyway. I appreciate the concern Bear. As sad as it is to admit, I did indeed take it easy last night and hit the bed early. Fortunately, tonight is different. I don't have to leave the hotel for my flight home until 11:30 tomorrow morning. After tooling around Queens and Brooklyn all day checking out stores, we had a very nice dinner in Manhattan (Grilled Swordfish, really excellent) where I had a couple nice drinks, followed up by some beers in the hotel bar where I showed why I never play pool. I have some Coors Lights in the hotel sink on ice, and am ready to write random, mostly uninteresting comments whilst watching the Spurs/Lake Show.
- First off, here's something annoying. We're in Queens and Brooklyn all day, and when it comes time for lunch, my co-workers have zero interest in hitting up any kind of local establishment. Every place we pass that looks interesting is either too dirty, too weird, or I've never heard of that place. So guess where we eat? Applebees. I like to very cleverly call it "Crapplebees." Feel free to use that. So annoying. I don't understand why you'd go all that way from home and eat at a chain, and a god awful chain at that. I was surprised when we were in Manhattan that they didn't suggest one of the 8 million Sbarro's we passed or the "fancy" Olive Garden in Times Square.
- The awesomest thing ever - Beer Pong coming to the Wii, which I own, as I am awesome.
- The Wolves got the third pick in the draft, which is actually what I was hoping for. If they got one or two, they'd end up with either Beasley or Rose, and whoever they ended up taking would end up being a bust. This way they can take Jerryd Bayless who is going to be the Chris Paul of this draft. The two other dudes who might be taken instead would be OJ Mayo or Brook Lopez. Mayo runs funny, and Lopez is a tall white dude. Consider the history of tall white college dudes in the NBA, and in particular consider this franchise's history with white centers. Granted, the statistician in me realizes past performance isn't indicative of future behavior in this case, but his name is Brook. That can't be good. Now, if it was Brooks, like Brooks Robinson, you'd have something here. The only other athlete ever named Brook was baseball legend Brook Fordyce, career OPS+ = 82. So yeah, history isn't on your side here.
- With apologies to stepping on Dawger's toes ever, you know, if he ever reviewed movies anymore, I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall last weekend instead of the Narnia movie. I have to highly recommend it. It's like a date movie, but a guy kind of date movie if that makes sense. It's not funny out loud constantly laughing like Superbad, but it's very funny in it's own way, and Jason Segal is nails as the lead - plus you get to see his junk like 100 times. As a bonus, both Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis are very hot, especially Kunis (see above). It's like she played that girl on that 70's show, then disappeared for five years, and then reappeared as a top five girl on the WWWWWW list. Fun, stalkerish fact: she has two different colored eyes.
- Speaking of movies, how is there another Hulk movie coming out? Didn't they just do this like two years ago and it bombed? And there are billboards all over Times Square for this thing. I don't get it.
- Is there a more worthless player than Bruce Bowen? The dude is known for his defense which basically consists of holding and pushing the other player, and supposedly he's a good three point shooter but get this. They just kicked the ball out to him on the wing for three, wide open, and he wouldn't take the shot even though the Lakers weren't guarding him. The announcer guy mentioned that he won't shoot the three from anywhere but the corner. What the f is up with that noise?
- Back to Bayless, who else is going to be the "point guard of the future" for this team? Telfair? Please. He'll be arrested for something in the next year or so, and even if not, he'll be hurt. And last year he shot a less than stellar 40% from the field, which was THE BEST OF HIS CAREER. Seriously, Snacks, get off Telfair. And Foye is the other choice, but he's a shooting guard and let's not pretend otherwise. Oh, and Jaric would probably be good to party with, but not to run a team. And if you doubt my rookie NBAers prowess, just remember how I predicted Corey Brewer to be the third best rookie this year - second after Oden went down - and he ended up with nary a vote in the rookie of the year balloting.
- Home cooking in full effect in the Western Conference Finals. With one minute left and a 2 point game, Duncan - who is the world's biggest crybay homo, by the way - grabbed a rebound and got slapped on the arm and the ball went out of bounds. Not only no foul, but ball to the Lakers. Frighteningly bad officiating. It's like that one cheater guy whose name I don't remember right now is back.
- Hey Nick Blackburn fans, what happened? And please, spare me your "only one of those runs was earned" bs. Dude got killed. 6 hits and 7 runs given up in the sixth. Good to know I won't have to hand over the keys to the blog to that jackass Dawger.
- You know who doesn't get nearly enough play? Arky Vaughn.
- Seinfeld/Simpsons is on zero channels right now, whilst Sex and (in?) the City is on two channels. How the f does this happen? And Kristen Davis is on Letterman. Sweet mother of the holy baby infant jesus.
- In case you missed it, ESPN gives the Gophers the #25 recruiting class in hoops for next year. I'd love to do some research into the classes above them and compare, but dude, I'm drunk. Why don't you f'ing go do it yourself, ass.
- Remember when Adam Sandler was funny? Seriously, this Zohan movie looks like something Eddie Murphy would crank out. Sorry Bogart/Dawg. For those other of yous, if you want to check out an under the radar awesome Sandler flick, rent/buy Bulletproof.
- In my semi-drunken stupor, I've finally done something I've always wanted to do and sponsored a player page at baseball-reference.com (the online baseball encyclopedia). The player chosen for this prestigious honor: Scott Stahoviak. As of this moment, the message isn't showing up as they need to audit it to make sure I don't say "ass" or "tits", but it should be there shortly. Simply awesome.
- Funny thing about the sponsoring, is that Stahoviak is only $5 per year (we have him locked up for 2 years, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABY!), but Rich Becker (aka Bitch Wrecker) is $10 per year. Probably because if I remember correctly he's some coach for some team, whereas Stahoviak is coaching a high school team now (Carmel Catholic High School in Illinois). Chip "Chiper" Hale is only $5 too. Jack Cust is also available, but he's $90 per year. $90. Jesus. Nick Punto is sponsored by a Twins message board that bills itself as The Scccrappiest Twins fans on the interweb. Pretty active too. Never heard of them though. One of the first posts on there points out how 319 major leaguers have home runs this year, but Mauer and Delmon aren't two of them. I think I dig those guys.
- Are you wondering where Jerry Holman is now? Me too. After playing in Turkey for three years, he's now landed in Qatar. I guess they have basketball there now. Guess who else is on that team? Mo Hargrow. Other notable names in that league, assorted amongst the Al-Muhammeds and El-Hadads, include nobody I've ever heard of. I'm thinking Dusty and Rick's Australian YMCA could come into this league and roll on undefeated. And somebody would probably get shot, but whatever.
- Continuing on this theme, Travarus Bennett is currently playing in Switzerland. Others in his league include Rashard Lee (Tennessee), Sheray Thomas (Kentucky), and Ray Henderson (Clemson). Not exactly top shelf.
- Is there a creepier movie trailer out there right now than The Strangers? Or Ever? Jesus Christ, just the preview scares the poop out of me. And then they choose Liv Tyler for the lead actress? She's scary enough by herself.
- Last year, prior to the draft, I predicted that that year's Rick Rickert would be JamesOn Curry of Oklahoma State. He ended up being picked in the second round, 51st overall by the Bulls, four picks before where Ricky went. This season Curry played 29 total minutes, with a grand total of 7 points. NBA.com has Rickert with career totals of 6 minutes and 3 points, all with the Pistons. Expect Curry to rip up the Australian League sometime soon.
- Bernie Mac's best movie role was pretty clearly Big Perm.
- Current NBDL allstars: Tony Gipson (LSU), Errick Craven (USC), Billy Thomas (KU), Wendell White (UNLV), Taurean Green (FLORIDA), Jelani McCoy (UCLA, career minor leaguer and awesome shot blocker), DJ Strawberry (maryland), Julius Hodge (NC State and got shot so he's tough like fitty), Darius Washington (Memphis and nice free throws ass), and Nick Fazekas (NEVADA).
- I don't know what's up with Grandslam, he keeps telling me he's "busy" with "work." I'm pretty sure that's code for his new Indian girlfriend (dot not feather) has him wrapped around her little finger. Point of fact, I'm looking for somebody to write a guest golf column. Nick Faldo, I'm looking at you. Or Theory. Or Dr. Acula. Or Stork.
- Jelani McCoy, by the by, was absolutely the best shot blocker I've ever seen in my college basketball watching history. He couldn't do much else, and he was born in Oakland, which is without question the worst city in the history of cities. Dude hooked on with the NBA for a bit (several teams) but sucked and could never stick, since he couldn't block shots in the NBA. In eight extremely partial NBA seasons, never got over a 1 block per game average, despite four good chances to be a contributor. Shame. Probably the weed.
- There is now an infomercial on with a toll free number asking "if you've been a victim of witchcraft please call 1-888-332-4141".
- FIN. Thanks for reading, nerd.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I’d like to start by mentioning this jackass next to me here in first class. Did I mention I’m in first class? Have you never been? Well, I’m better than you, so that’s why. Anyway, there are two kinds of people who fly first class. The first, like myself, consider themselves very lucky to be there, and are very happy and respectful to be there. Also, we take advantage of the free drinks. The second kind, like assface mcgillicutty next me, feel all entitled and are assholes. Let’s see: faggy leg crossed style of sitting that takes up the whole wide row so when I have to get up it’s a huge production – check. Acting super annoyed at said production – check. Not turning off his phone nor ipod when he’s supposed to and waiting until asked twice – check. Putting his stupid diet coke in the middle table thing we’re supposed to share and not moving it even after I sit down and have a beer with no place to put it – check. Just overall looking like a smug asshole who I want to hit in the face – check.
So I’m already annoyed, even though I have a first class seat. Did I also mention they just brought the free snack tray around, and he took not one, not two, not three, but four things out of it? Yeah, it’s free and all, but jesus Christ dude, try to have a little self control. It also annoys me that MS Word just automatically capitalized Christ. If I wanted to capitalize it, I would have done it myself. It’s a sad day when the religious right takes over our computers. Anyway, that’s my big airplane rant, hopefully this is followed up about three and a half hours later by a post from my hotel room.
EDIT – They’re bringing me beer faster than I even want it. Being awesome is awesome. Also wanted to add than captain asshat next to me just went to the bathroom for about ten minutes and just sat back down and the stench has followed him. Seriously, he smells like Baby W after a particularly nasty diaper load. Just nasty. I’m going to need another beer just to handle this.
Ok, so I'm back. The bad news: due to co-worker incompetence, hotel ineptitude, and no rental car, I have no beer at all. The good news: none.
So glad the Spurs beat the Hornets. We're totally heading towards another Spurs/Pistons final and the death of the NBA. The good news is, if my baby gets all cranky and not sleepy, I can make her watch one of these finals games and she'll be out like a light.
Please also read the Sidler's post below this one. He's much smarter than you, and you could probably learn something. Hopefully drunken posting to come
There are two things you can take to the bank - Jenna Fischer is hot and The Sidler's going to bore you with more baseball stuff!
Today's topic is the off-season trade that brought Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie to the Twins in exchange for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan. I've broken it down into top prospect, middle infielder, and minor leaguer categories for convenience.
Delmon Young vs. Matt Garza
This is going to be the comparison that makes or breaks the trade. No one is really going to care about Harris vs. Bartlett in five years and there's a much-better-than-zero chance that Pridie and Morlan don't make any impact in the majors.
One thing is for sure, no one doubts Delmon Young's talent. At least that's what the Twins braintrust and the media keeps saying. Unfortunately, it is easy to doubt the results so far—his power is non-existent (although those ground-ball extra-base hits in Colorado were sweet), he doesn't walk, and strikes out way too often. He does have a great arm and has been an efficient base-runner at least. Prior to the season, some were saying he would immediately step in and replace Torii Hunter's production; clearly, that is a laughable thought.
I bet WWWWWW is happy he didn't fall to us in fantasy baseball.
Similarly, no one doubts Matt Garza's talent. His season started horribly before going on the DL with nerve irritation in his throwing arm but he has bounced back, going 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA in his 5 post-DL starts. While that 3.72 ERA puts him ahead of everyone currently in the Twins rotation, his 4.87 season ERA is only better than Boof and Slowey. Garza hasn't struck out more than 3 batters in any of his starts, is sporting a career low 3.65 K/9 (down 50% from last year), and has a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If he starts striking out twice as many batters again and can stay healthy, he should have a league-average-at-worst season. Not bad for a 25-year old.
Advantage: Rays, but not by much, although the Twins pitching depth has looked good enough to justify trading Garza. But Garza still has more ace potential than any of the current Twins pitchers, in my opinion. Delmon has been slightly better than replacement-level player so far and is at least showing some signs of improvement, even if it is well below "impact bat" levels.
Brendan Harris vs. Jason Bartlett
With this part of the trade, the Twins were trading defense for offense. Yes, Bartlett's errors were annoying, but he has plus range and a strong arm from shortstop, making him a very valuable defender (he is one of the factors behind the Rays tremendous defensive turnaround so far this year). Brendan Harris, on the other hand, has a terrible defensive reputation and Gardy definitely doesn't seem too happy with what he's seen so far. Apparently Tolbert's injury came just as Gardy was about to start giving him more playing time at the expense of Harris and Lamb. But Harris has a better bat and had a 10% better OPS than Bartlett last year that has continued into this season, even though both are having rough starts. At least Harris' patience at the plate has been a welcome addition to the rest of the hackers currently taking at-bats for the Twins.
Advantage: Rays, slightly. Bartlett's shored up what was an awful defensive squad (thanks in some part to Harris) and the Twins have gotten so little from Bartlett's replacement, Adam Everett, that I'm hoping for a speedy Punto recovery. It doesn't hurt that the Rays had Evan Longoria ready at 3B so they could move Aki Iwamura over to 2B and not miss a beat.
Jason Pridie vs. Eduardo Morlan
There just isn't much to see here. With Neshek's injury, it might be a minor blessing for the 2008 Twins that Juan Rincon wasn't included in the trade. Morlan has been awful at AA, but his track record suggests better days are ahead. If he pans out, he'll be a solid, cheap bullpen arm for the Rays in a couple years or so.
Jason Pridie is probably the 3rd best CF prospect on the Twins behind Gomez and Span. He had a great AAA debut last year but hasn't hit for average or power so far in 2008. His upside is a 4th OF or future trade throw-in.
Advantage: Push. The Twins have plenty of pitching prospects to move to the bullpen, but Morlan has a higher ceiling than Pridie.
OVERALL: There's still no clear winner in this trade, even though I think the Rays are slightly ahead at this point. Putting a small sample size of performance aside, this trade looks great for the Rays from a roster management perspective. Harris and Young have been replaced by Evan Longoria and a patchwork platoon in RF (Hinske, Haynes, etc.), both of which have outperformed the new Twins. Garza gives the Rays at least four legit starters for the first time in their history.
The Twins shouldn't be happy with their haul so far. The team has long-hated shaky defensive players, so Harris is probably not going to be one of Gardy's favorites (hello Punto!) and Delmon appears to have an unnatural ability to keep the ball on the ground. There is still plenty of pitching depth, but it would be nice to have a more immediate return for the guy with the highest ceiling of the bunch. Just look at what the Rangers/Reds trade (Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez) has done for both teams as an example.
I wasn't a big fan of the trade when it happened and nothing has changed my opinion. Hopefully I'm as wrong about this trade as I have been about Livan Large Hernandez. The Common Man has hooked up the negatrometer, so I'm obliged to say Delmon's potential is off the charts; he is going to be the impact bat the Twins need.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Gopher Target DaShonte Riley, a 6-11 center out of Michigan has gone the way of Verdell Jones and Krys Faber, spurning Tubby's advances in favor of another school. This time it's Georgetown, as Riley will head there in 2009, and fits in with the school's tradition of top flight defensive centers.
Losing Riley hurts a bit more than Faber or Jones, since he's 2009 whereas they were 2008, which is an already loaded class. On the other hand, Riley has been in pretty much a free fall in the rankins all season, bottoming out at #111 on Rivals most recent list after being in the top 10 at one point. #111 is still good, obviously, but that kind of a fall is a definite warning sign.
Riley was targetted early by the schools and recruiting services based on his size and natural defensive ability. He was given a lofty ranking, with the assumption his offensive game would develop. Well, it seems it didn't, as seen in a scoreless outing he had vs. Howard Pulley. He is still considering one of, if not the, top defensive big man in the '09 class, but his offensive game is weak enough to drop him to #111 overall. Whether he's a Dikembe Mutombo-type or an Antoine Broxsie-type remains to be seen, but I'm guessing he won't see much floor time for a year at least with the Hoyas, as he's now seen as a bit of a project. This may be a "good" miss for Tubby and staff.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
BB-Gun or Burnsy (I haven't decided which nick name I prefer) put another notch on his bed post last night by going into a notorious hitters park (Coors Field) and mowing down the Rockies. Bursy is now 4-2 and the Twins just played their 41st game. Using my Cooper math skills (just ask Rodney), that means the Twins and Burnsy are roughly a quarter of the way through the season, herego Burnsy is on pace for 16 wins. Which means I should be able to evict the WWWWW's from their house around Labor Day. Baby WWWWWW will be able to stay because Grace needs a sparring partner.
Moving on, BB-Gun was invincible except for some guy named Barmes who almost hit for the cycle. The Rockies are absolutely stacked at short stop with Barmes and Tulowitski (out until the All-Star break with torn quad). How is that fair? The Twins best hitting short stop in the last 20 years was probably Pat Meares.
Look for Livan to win his 7th game today and Young to notch his first homerun of the season.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Once again, the Star Tribune's Pat Reusse writes an unresearched, speculation-laden article presented as fact, this time analyzing Boston phenom Clay Buchholz in a piece entitled, "What Good is a Live Fastball if you Don't Use it?" Interesting premise, but let's look deeper and see if, as usual, we can uncover Reusse's time tested reporting technique of "guessing and making stuff up" from the Stephen Glass school of journalism.
Naturally he starts off with five paragraphs of rambling nonsense that would make an alzheimer's ridden grandparent proud, but eventually gets to the point of his article, which is that Buchholz only threw 37 fastballs among his 90 pitches against the Twins on May 12th. According to Pat, Buchholz - and every other pitcher - need to rely on their fastball in order to be an effective pitcher. Obviously, this is false, and the headline and premise alone got me worked up enough to do the research on this he obviously didn't. Let's look, and make sure you put on your nerd glasses, it's going to get all geeky up in here.
First off, despite the fact that the box score says Buchholz threw 90 pitches, the pitch f/x data only comes up with 84. I am just learning how to use the pitch f/x, so I don't know why or how this happens, but I can only go off the 84 pitches that were tracked - 35 of which were fastballs. This comes out to 41.7% fastballs, compared to the 41% Reusse gives us. This is good. He's actually pretty much right on with his stats, which is a first. So we can pass him on that. But what about the main premise of his article - let's go further.
First I want to figure out what "relying on your fastball" really means, and second, is this necessary to be a great pitcher. Well, we need to figure out how often an average pitcher throws his fastball. We'll just look at starters, since relievers are often one trick ponies who basically rely on only one pitch, like Mariano Rivera and his cutter or Brian Bass and his give-up-a-homer pitch. According to fangraphs.com, their are 103 pitchers this season who qualify as "starters." Since there are a couple of weird outliers like Tim Wakefield (15.9% fastballs) and Daniel Cabrera (85.9%), we'll use the median instead of the mean, and call our "average" the fastball % for the 51st pitcher, Ben Sheets at 60.3%. Actually, I just now calculated the absolute average, and it comes out to 59.6% percent, so we'll just use 60% as our average.
Clay Buchholz has thrown his fastball 44% of the time this season, down from 53% last year. This 44% puts him eleventh in terms of fastball scarcity, so clearly Buchholz doesn't throw a lot of fastballs. However, the standard deviation of the numbers is 11.8, which means he is within two standard deviations of the mean, and nearly within one, which puts him in the "normal" category. So although he throws less fastballs than the majority of starting pitchers, he is by no means abnormal.
Another consideration is that Buchholz has three high quality pitches, and throws his curve 21% of the time (Reusse's describes it as Blyleven-like) and his changeup 27% of the time (described by Pat as "wonderful"). There isn't a single pitcher who throws his fastball greater than the average percentage that has two other pitches he throws at least 20% of the time. In fact, only Odalis Perez, Carlos Villanueva, Roy Halladay, Gregory Smith, and Dan Haren throw three pitches more than 20% of the time. Perez, Villanueva, and Smith are junkballers and don't have the velocity Buchholz has, but if you compare him to Halladay and Haren who have similar profiles, well, that's pretty good company.
It's pretty clear if you have good velocity, it doesn't mean you have to rely on your fastball. Johan throws 91mph but uses his fastball only 58% of the time, Jake Peavy throws 92mph but only throws it 55% of the time, and the aforementioned Halladay averages 93mph on his fastball but only brings it 42% of the time, and those might be the three best pitchers in major league baseball.
Now, let's look at that game against the Twins and see why Buchholz might have shied away from his fastball. Of the 35 fastballs he threw, just 14 went for strikes (including balls in play). Of his 8 hits allowed, four of them came on fastballs and no fastball put into play went for an out. Additionally, only one fastball was missed when swung at, and there were just four called strikes.
Now, if you look at his curveball and change combined, he threw them for a strike 22 out of 32 times. The Twins swung and missed four times, and their were 8 called strikes, and were 3-7 on balls put in play - still high, but much better than the fastball numbers. Add to this the fact that every scouting report on Buchholz calls out his fastball as his third best pitch, and once again it becomes apparent Reusse has no idea what he's talking about.
Essentially, Buchholz is one of the top pitching prospects in the game, maybe #1. He mixes a good fastball with an outstanding curve and changeup, and has struggled this year after being pretty lights out last season. One thing I can guarantee, it's not because he's not throwing his fastball enough.
Last bit, this from Reusse:
And those things don't change the fact that like every other starter on the planet -- like Santana, Brandon Webb, Greg Maddux -- Buchholz will have to work off his fastball if he plans to start fulfilling his potential sooner than later.
Well, Santana throws his fastball just 58% of the time, less than the average, and throws his change 27% - top five in the league. Maddux was throwing his change around 27% of the time back when he was in his prime as well, and has only come to rely on his fastball more as he's aged. I guess he's got me on Webb, although he mixes his three pitches very well (70% fastball, 13% curve, 16% change).
This is example number 8 million of why Reusse is a horrible journalist. Basically, he saw Buchholz get lit up by the Twins, and somehow, someway, accidentally saw the stats which showed a smaller percentage of fastballs thrown than Livan Hernandez in that game. Rather than do any research whatsoever, at the very least getting a scouting report on the kid, he ran off to write up his article. Again. The same thing he's been doing over and over and over again.
It's got to stop.
[NOTE: I wrote this start and stop style in between feeding the kid and watching The Office with the wife, so I apologize if it has no flow. The reasoning is still sound, which is more than I can say for Pat.]
Here is the link from deadspin. Whole post here:
We're not the only ones who noticed that Bill Simmons hasn't written a column in two weeks — until today, anyway — and hasn't been featured much on the home page of ESPN.com. We figured it was nothing; the man has taken extended breaks before. But, just to be thorough, we emailed him and asked if anything was up. His response, on the record, surprised us.
Here's Simmons' complete remarks on his (relative) absence from ESPN.com over the last month or so.
Yes, I still work for ESPN. No, I'm not writing for ESPN.com as much — my choice, not theirs. That's just the way it will be from now on, unfortunately. I'd have more to say, but I'd end up being profane and I don't want to offend Buzz Bissinger.
When we inquired further, Simmons went on:
I still love writing my column and only re-signed last year because I really did believe that we had hashed out all the behind the scenes bullshit and come to some sort of agreement on creative lines, media criticism rules, the promotion of the column and everything else on ESPN.com. Within a few months, all of those things changed and certain promises were not kept. It's as simple as that.
So ... there's that. Suddenly, 2010, when Simmons' most recent deal expires, seems rather far away. Flipping around while researching this post, we stumbled across this, and some cursory Web sleuthing does seem to track it back to Simmons. (Hey, if Jemele Hill can have an outside blog, why can't he?) Simmons obliquely has played the ESPN-won't-let-me-be-ME card in the past, but this is the first time, in our memory, that he's plainly stated his frustrations in a public forum and actively written less for the site because of them. Not quite the end of an era, but certainly seems to mark something.
Also, Boy this site sucks for breaking gophers news these days. New rankings are out from Rivals, Royce White was bumped up to a 5-star prospect and is rated the 18th best prospect in the country and Rodney Williams moved up to # 28.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Another question I have is how in the world does anyone work with this tit? If I was Jeff Dubay or Justin Gaard I would literally walk out of the studio when PA started singing while I was talking. What an obnoxious asshole. Who thinks that is funny and why hasn't their program director been fired for not telling this no talent idiot to knock that shite off. He also comes off as the type of guy who would be upset if someone did that while he was talking.
Question for you. Do you think PA believes he is "hip" because he plays RB music? PA is about as hip as Bogart with a poop/vomit covered arm.
Can someone tell me what in the hell "Yadot" means??? Does PA think he is coining some new hip term in the twin cities. If I heard either one of my two friends say Yadot, I would punch them in the mouth. "Yadot"....honestly.
This was going to be a quick little post, but now I am pissed off thinking about this f'ing tit. Thanks for wrecking my morning you no talent twat!
Not only is PA obnoxious and knows little about sports, but he dresses like Mike Max. Note to PA, sweaters that look like a Leprechaun blew his rainbow colored load all over the front of your chest do not look good. I know you think you are sophisticated because the sticker on that rag was $200, but in reality everyone but Mike Max and Kevin McHale are laughing at you.
I also love how PA acts like he is a man of principal yet he turns around and sells his soul for any half ass product that will pay him $20. I swear to god he would put his name on a underage prostitution service if they paid him a couple bucks at let him make a commercial. Sellout Twat!
Lastly, Just because you announce the Vikings game on the radio doesn't make you an NFL insider. Quit acting like a tit your entire show and then transform into "Joe Professional" when you discuss football. You have no idea what you are talking about and the next time you have your own opinion on a team or player will be the first time. Who does he think he is fooling when he talks about that stuff? All he does is call a couple of his fantasy bo-bo's and regurgitate what they tell him. PA, You don't understand football so knock of the charade. You calling football games makes you know as much about football as me or any one of the 60,000 fans in the Metrodome on Sunday. Also, knock off the canned touch down calls, you sound like an idiot.
Little known fact. Did you know Bogart called into the PA and Dubay show once and actually asked legit questions? God did you wet the bed on that bit bogart!
PA needs to go!
Side Note: TJ Oshie is going to sign with the St. Louis Blues within the next 72 hours. The one good Sioux players is no more. At least I can once again hate the Sioux with all my heart!
P.S. Kubel sti....has always blown!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
- First off, Sergio Garcia won the Players at Sawgrass, beating little known Paul Goydos in a playoff. Goydos missed a par putt on 18 that would have won it, but a lot of people bogeyed that hole, so I wouldn't overly hold it against him. Goydos is featured prominently in the John Feinstein book, "Tales From Q School" which I can't recommend highly enough. If he could have held on, it would have been like a 16 seed winning in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Alas, it was not meant to be, and Sergio takes it down. Look for Garcia to end up winning his first major this year as well. I'm betting the British but the US Open or the PGA wouldn't surprise me.
- The Twins went 2-1 against the Red Sox a this weekend, including holding onto a 9-8 victory while waving around pretty pink bats on Sunday, despite Nathan's best efforts to give the game away. Of note was Craig Monroe's two homeruns. Also of note is that his mother's name is Marilyn. Yes, Marilyn Monroe. Not that one.
- In a shocking turn of events, Patrick Reusse actually wrote a good article. Of course, it's basically a beat writer style recap of the Twins game, and he's actually supposed to be an opinion columnist, but whatever, it's an improvement. Fear not, as Jim Souhan used Reussian logic in part of his article, wondering whether Gardenhire did a great managerial job in 2002. Using arguments like, "Corey Koskie is hurt now" and "Torii Hunter was bad then" and "Jacque Jones is bad now" to try to show Gardy got the most out of his players. I'm not going to break the whole thing down, but it is truly a dizzying mess and I'm actually pretty surprised it came out of Souhan rather than Reusse or Sid.
- A scandal has been uncovered involving former USC star OJ Mayo, who recently declared for the NBA draft. According to one of Mayo's former friends, Mayo received money and gifts including a flat screen TV for his dorm room. Allow me to speak for everyone when I say, "Well no shit." This story must have broken by the same guys who broke the "Barry Bonds used Steriods" story.
- Oh yeah, Nicky Punto is on the DL, which would normally be good news but it means we're going to see a whole lot more of Adam Everett than anyone could ever want to. Yes, I'm aware he hit a homerun Sunday night, but let's not pretend he's good when we all know he sucks dirty Dawg ass. By the by, that gives Everett 36 career homeruns, 9 more than Scott Stahoviak, about whom Bear once said, "he'll be a perennial 30 homerun hitter" and I'm not even kidding.
- My baby is the cutest baby ever. If you don't believe me, just look:
I asked her once what she thought of Delmon Young, whereupon she shat herself. So she's smart too.
Friday, May 9, 2008
University of Minnesota wrote:
Minnesota junior forward Blake Wheeler has withdrawn from the university to pursue a career in professional hockey. Wheeler, who was a 2004 first-round draft pick by the Phoenix Coyotes, has 30 days to sign with the team. Following the 30 days, if the two parties do not reach an agreement, Wheeler will become a free agent. He is the ninth Minnesota player to leave college early for the professional ranks since the end of the 2005-06 season. Wheeler is the third Gopher to leave from the 2007-08 season with Okposo, Frazee and now Wheeler. “Blake is an outstanding student, person and hockey player,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “He was a leader on our team both on and off the ice and we will certainly miss Blake’s contribution to the program. We are excited for the future in front of him and there is no question that he will have a long career in the NHL.” A native of Plymouth, Minn., Wheeler led the Gophers’ scoring charge with 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points this past season. He spread his 35 points over 29 different games and his 15 goals over 14 different games. In 28 conference games, Wheeler tallied 23 points and was named a third-team All-WCHA selection. He tied for ninth in WCHA scoring and 12th in both goal and assist scoring. One of the team’s assistant captains, Wheeler had six multiple-point games this season, including a season-high three-point performance in a 4-1 win over Minnesota Duluth (3/7). The Gophers finished seventh in the WCHA standings and were the WCHA Final Five runner-up team. Wheeler and the Gophers then made their eighth-straight NCAA appearance, only to fall to eventual champions, Boston College. In his career, Wheeler posted 42 goals and 54 assists for 96 points. In his sophomore campaign, Wheeler ranked fifth on the team in scoring with 38 points, while posting 23 points as a rookie in 2005-06. He was named the WCHA Final Five Most Valuable Player in 2006-07 after scoring a sensational overtime, game-winning goal in the 3-2 win over North Dakota in the title game. Michelle Traen Assistant Athletics Communications Director University of Minnesota gophersports.com
In the spirit of actually updating this thing, since I haven't in a few days and none of the other lazy writers have bothered, I'll just make a few quick notes.
- Francisco Liriano pitched again for Rochester on May 5th and it went much better, but there are still some warning signs. He went just five innings, giving up 2 hits and one run to go along with four strikeouts and four walks. Obviously, four walks in five innings is not good, and even more alarming is that he threw 87 pitches, just 48 of which were strikes. So he's still struggling with his command of the strike zone. The good news is that when he did manage to find the plate, the Columbus team he faced wasn't hitting well. Whether that was because of good pitching or poor hitting, who knows.
- Pat Reusse wrote yet another god awful article, this one bemoaning the decline in popularity of printed newspaper when compared to the internet. I'm not going to break it down, because it's pretty worthless, but it reads more like an autobiographical letter to the editor than an actual column in an actual newspaper. His point is that newspapers have better access to the local sports teams than internet sites do, which of course he doesn't get around to making until the last few paragraphs of his rambling column. And honestly, as long as sites like the star tribune, pioneer press, sports illustrated, and espn keep making their content available online, there is going to be the same level of access on the internet that their is in the papers. Reusse continues to show his contempt for the internet medium, even as more people read him online every day than do in the actual paper.
- I mentioned this in a comment on another post, but it bears mentioning here. Former Twin Terry Tiffee is destroying triple A pitching in the LA Dodgers system, hitting .454 through 34 games and 141 at bats for their Las Vegas club. A .494 OBP and .652 slugging give him an OPS of 1.146, which basically make him Barry Bonds (pre-roids). Yet another David Ortiz the Twins let slip through their fingers.
- Glen Perkins is going to get destroyed Saturday.
- I have to interview a guy here in a few minutes, and I just met him before he started interviewing with my boss and he looks like a real nerd. And not a baseball nerd, because those guys are awesome and cool and smart. Like a nerd, nerd. Great.
- Gary Russell is still on the Steelers, and right now is behind Willie Parker, Verron Hayes, and Najeh Davenport. Although it sounds like Davenport might be moved to fullback. Pittsburgh signed Mewelde Moore also, that's another guy G-Russ will have to deal with. And yes, that was totall a Sid Hartman kind of thing to write. Shut up.
- You people who don't think Pam from the Office is hot are seriously retarded.
- Went to lunch with Snacks, Optimator, and the Todd today (Panchero's, suck it Sidler). The Todd had a beer before heading back to work. You gotta like that.
- Over at the Players, Sergio Garcia has already choked away his lead, meanwhile my sleeper pick Retief Goosen has finished his second day at even par, five back and well ahead of the projected cut, in perfect position to make a run over the weekend. If you're interested, you can go here to watch the action live. Look on the left side for a link that says "Live@Watch Now" and you can watch the action at the 17th hole, one of the coolest holes in all of golf with the island green.
- That's all I got, and I have to interview this nerd soon. I'm hoping to get a special guest post from a reader later today, so check back.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I'm not trying to turn this into a Fire Joe Morgan type blog against Patrick Reusse, but after his Royce White column, I couldn't resist taking a peak here and there to see what he was up to. After reading his latest piece attacking the former owner of the Wild guy and extolling the virtues of Carl Pohlad, I am now starting to wonder how he has a job.
His premise is that the Wild owner, Bob Naegele, is a bad guy because he sold the Wild for a profit and then moved back to Florida, while the Pohlads are heroes because they still live in Minnesota. Pretty dubious already, but Minnesota is very homercentric, so maybe he's just trying to cater to that audience. Whatever. Let's move on.
The first four paragraphs describe the disappointing Wild season after going out in the first round. I don't really follow hockey - at all - but that sounds like a good article, if that was the point he was trying to make it - which it isn't. That was all leading up to this:
The stage was set for the Wild's early departure at the Feb. 26 trading deadline, when President/GM Doug Risebrough's only move was to bring in Chris Simon.
He played in 10 of 19 regular-season games and two of the six games against the Avalanche. He didn't have a goal or an assist, nor did he hit an opponent over the head with a stick.
That last fact could mean one of two things: A) Simon has learned his lesson; or B) He moves so slowly these days that he can't catch an opponent to goon him.
I truly wish I followed hockey more closely, because I don't really know what was available, if the Wild had the parts to get what was available, and what would have been a good move. From a cursory glance at the NHL Trade Deadline transactions, it appears that other than the Penguins, most teams moves involved picking up a player for a sixth or seventh round pick, just what the Wild gave up, so it looks like their move wasn't out of the ordinary.
What's more, is they would have had to pay Simon a salary, whereas if they keep the pick instead, that guy wouldn't get paid until he was brought up to the Wild. Thus, Patrick's little insinuation that Naegele didn't make a bigger move in order to save money is absurd.
Naegele's departure was greeted with great hoorays for his noble work as a Minnesota sports owner. He accepted this praise with giggles and grins, then returned home to Naples, Fla., with his huge profit.
I don't really understand what this is supposed to mean. I mean, he lives in Florida. There's no state income tax there. A lot of pro athletes live there for just that reason, doesn't mean they hate where they play. Derek Jeter lives in Florida, but he's known universally as a "True Yankee" and Pat seems very much like the kind of guy who would suck Jeter's jock. As a matter of fact he is, having written an article entitled Jeter Continues to be a Most Special Yankee. Puke.
Who else thinks this is Pat's way of trying to make him sound extra evil? How dare he make a profit after taking an expansion team and turning them into a playoff team! And if I recall, the dude he sold the Wild to is the kind of guy who has always dreamed of owning a hockey team. The exact kind of guy you want running a team. If Naegele is evil, him selling the team should be Nirvana to Pat.
Here's where his stellar research skills come into play:
The Wild has claimed nothing but sellouts for seven seasons. The parent company, Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, doesn't publicly reveal its books, but the conversation in local business circles is that the hockey team's annual profits have approached $30 million.
We'll call that generous by 25 percent, and concede that Naegele's group lost money -- say, $10 million -- during the lockout season of 2004-05. There were also $20 million in startup costs. So, let's take a shot at this.
Naegele group's costs: $80 million, plus $45 million, plus $20 million, plus that $10 million loss, equals $155 million. Naegele group's profits: $260 million from Leipold and Falcone and $168 million for seven seasons of big profits equals $428 million.
That would mean Naegele cashed out with a profit of 276 percent after eight years of operation in a brand-new, publicly financed, high-revenue arena, to go to Florida to pay his personal taxes, and he's heroic, right?
Don't you love all the guesswork and hypotheticals here? Even better, is with just the smallest amount of effort, I was able to find this list from Forbes giving the financials of every team in the NHL for the 2007 season. According to this, the Wild actually LOST $1.7 million that year. In 2006, they did post a profit - but of $4.7 million, not $30 million. Honestly, his number of $30 million is so far beyond what I can find FACTUALLY it has me doubting my own sanity here. Let's double check, he says "conversation in local business circles is that the hockey team's annual profits have approached $30 million." Annual. Profit. $30 million. Yep, it's all there. I'm going to go with Forbes on this one.
Not to mention nobody knows the sale price of the Wild. It hasn't been reported, but rumors are it was around $260 million, the amount of profit reported by Pat. I'm beginning to think he has no idea what profit actually means.
Meantime, Carl Pohlad has been operating the Twins in the low-revenue Metrodome for 24 years. Pohlad's original investment in 1984 was $38 million, and that now stands at $150 million after more losing than profitable years in the Dome.
Now it really gets rich. $150 million? Guess what again. You can find the actual value of the Twins with just the slightest bit of effort. Forbes was kind enough to do baseball as well, and they list the Twins with a value of $328 million. The year before? $314 million. I have no idea where $150 million comes from, and I suspect neither does Pat. Must have been the word on the street again. Guess how much the Lynx are worth? Stabby Joe down at the barbershop told me he heard eleventy billion dollars!
As with Naegele, Pohlad was supposed to pay for one-third of the actual stadium ($130 million of $390 million), but that already has been added to with $15 million to help with land cost overruns and $22 million for ballpark enhancements.
Notice here, how Pat adds the new added costs into Pohlad's investment, but neglects to raise the costs incurred by Hennepin County. Yes, Pohlad's investment goes from $130 million to $152 million, but after adding in infrastructure and financing costs, the county pays not $260 million, but $350 million. Giving a total of $502 million, less than a third of which is paid for Pohlad. So one could argue Carl is getting a better deal than Naegele did. But I have a feeling arguing with Pat would be much like arguing with a lamp.
The Pohlads also have a covenant in their ballpark deal that if they sell the team in the first 10 years, the state gets a cut of the sale price. Naegele simply took his gigantic profit and ran back to Florida fewer than eight years after the first puck was dropped in St. Paul.
Good for Naegele. Frankly, it's a horrible clause for Pohlad to sign.
Yet, he's such a grand fellow, and those miserly Pohlads are taking advantage of us, even if they will have $327 million (or more) invested in keeping baseball in Minnesota by the time the new yard opens, and even if they did commit $152 million to Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer during this offseason.
This is the second time he's referred to Naegele as if he's hero worshipped around here, and frankly, he isn't. The guy was instrumental in bringing hockey back to Minnesota, and in this hockey-retarded state that isn't something to be taken lightly, but I don't think he's looked at the same way as Bud Grant. Seriously, if you want to write an article about a guy who is hero worshipped who shouldn't be, start there.
Anyway, I do agree it was great that they signed Morneau and Cuddyer. Morneau is a star, even though he probably shouldn't have won the MVP he did, and Cuddyer is a nice player who was signed for a nice price. I still think they'd be better off trading Nathan at the deadline since they aren't a playoff team, but whatever. But here's a good place to address the "losses" the Pohlads put up with every year. Once again, from our good friends at Forbes. Guess how much the Twins made last season? $23.8 million. Profit. The previous year? $14.8 million. Poor Carl. It should be noted here that Santana signed for $19 million this year, which, based on the $23.8 million profit from last season would leave Pohlad about $5 million for the cryogenic freezing process that keeps him alive if he would have just signed Santana.
Oh, and one more note: The Pohlads remain Minnesota taxpayers.
Pat's big finish. Pretty much the most nonsensical piece of this entire article, which is saying an awful lot.
Honestly, I've never seen so much disinformation spread since my history teacher tried to tell me the holocaust happened. I think in Pat's world, he comes up with an idea, and then just writes his article without actually looking anything up. "Facts" and "research" are just fancy words for nerds. There are a lot of numbers here, but every single one of them is a supposition by Pat, a half-truth, or an outright fabrication.
The irony of all ironies or hypocracy of all hypocracies or whatever you want to go with here, is that Reusse himself wrote an article degrading bloggers for their lack of professionalism. The article is no longer linkable on startribune.com, but luckily, the guys at Fire Joe Morgan already went after him.
Honestly, this guys sucks. I have decided that this is the best representation of Pat Reusse:
WWWWWW - I was too lazy to scroll down to last weeks posts related to Twins prospects but I believe you missed this up and coming stud. Luke Hughes is absolutely lighting it up with the New Britain Rock Cats. This young Aussie was named the Twins minor league player of the month for April and it was really a no brainer. He's like a Nick Punto that can swat. Apparently they have played him at multiple positions but he appears to be settling in at 3rd base, most likely because that has been a giant black hole in the organization since the God Man was patrolling the hot corner.
Here are his stats in 29 games.
Nerd Appeal 100%
Not sure where he was drafted. Not sure where he is ranked in our prospect list but who cares. Keep an eye on this hitting machine.
Monday, May 5, 2008
In case you missed it, Verdell Jones committed to Indiana today, as reported by the Bear in the comments section below. This comes as somewhere between a major and a minor surprise, as Minnesota was reported as the "prohibitive favorite" this weekend after Jones cancelled his visit to Arizona.
I'm not exactly certain what the attraction is to go to IU here, unless he's going with a Kris Humphries-type attitude. The Hoosiers are going to be a nightmare next season. It's been reported in many other places, but pretty much everybody is gone. DJ White, Mike White, Lance Stemler, AJ Ratliff, and Adam Ahfeld graduated and Eric Gordon entered the NBA draft early. Eli Holman is transferring. Armon Bassett, JaMarcus Ellis, and Deandre Thomas were all kicked off the team. No word on if Thomas was kicked off for being a fatass.
This leaves new coach Tom Crean with Jordan Crawford and little else. Crawford averaged 9.7 points, 3.4 rebs, and 2.3 assists per game last season, while no other returnee averaged as much as 2 points, 3 rebounds, or 0.3 assists. Welcome to the big time Kyle Taber! Indiana had a pretty good incoming recruiting class when cheater Kelvin Sampson was still there, but after everything blew up the two jewels of the class, forward Devin Ebanks and guard Terrell Holloway, opted out of their committments. Ebanks, a 6-8 small forward who ranks as the #11 overall recruit on Rivals Top 150, is considering Rutgers, West Virginia, Memphis, or Texas. He claims Indiana is still in the running, but that's a bunch of crap. Smart money is on Huggins and the Mountaineers. Holloway, #100 on the list, has already signed on with Xavier.
This leaves the Hoosiers with a bunch of 3-star nerds to go along with Jones. Verdell has become the hero of the class, coming in at #127 for Rivals. Only swingman Nick Williams at #146 cracks the top 150 amongst the Hoosiers' other incoming freshmen. In other words, the Hoosiers are going to be a collection of crap. Good luck Verdell.
I'm not going to be the kind of idiot who pretends Jones sucks and I never wanted him in the first place just because he went somewhere else. I definitely wanted him. The Gophers' are still lacking a bit in the point guard area. Although Al Nolen acquitted himself well as a freshman, there's no guarantee he'll continue to develop. He showed just enough flaws throughout the season to leave a bit of a question mark about his future. Although I'm pretty confident he'll be a quality player, it's not a certainty, and if struggles there isn't much there to help out. L-Dub can fill in here and there, but let's not kid ourselves, he's a 5-10 shooting guard. Devoe Joseph claims to be able to play the point, but I'm considering him more of a Shawn Respert-type at this point. And Kevin Payton? Please.
Looking forward, there are no point guards for 2008 considering the Gophers at this time. The only 2009 point guard the Gophers are reported to have interest in is 5-10 Johnnie Lacy out of Wisconsin. Considering Lacy is from Badgerland, and the Badgers are interested, the Gophers' chances of landing him are slim.
So I don't know what they're going to do, but that's a lot of hopes pinned on Al Nolen right now. If they're signing anybody else for 2008, it'll likely be 6-10 Steve Goins. But I hope not. According to Scout, Goins weaknesses are rebounding and that he plays below the rim. Just what you want in a 6-10 center. His more likely destination is South Florida, where he'll fit in just fine.
I'm so tired because of my new daughter that I can't remember where I was going with this but it is certainly a lot of words. Basically, I wanted Verdell, and it sucks that he's going to the Hoosiers instead, but no big whoop. Look at this class and smile:
#59 Ralph Sampson
#61 Devoe Joseph
#138 Colton Iverson
#4 JuCo Devron Bostick, and JuCo player of the year
Oh, and Paul Carter. Not in the JuCo Top 200 and smallest PF ever at 6-8 and 190. By the way, Limar Wilson made that list. In the top 50. So, there's that then. But pay more attention to the top four guys on that list.