It's been brought to my attention that I haven't posted since Friday, and apparently people are upset about this for some reason. So here's some things that caught my fancy:
- I want to start with something that world's worst announcer and former world's worst GM Steve Phillips said during the Mets/Braves game last night which makes me even sadder than usual that Fire Joe Morgan closed their doors. In the game the Braves beat Johan Santana and the Mets 8-3, with the NY Mets (my favorite squadron) scoring just one run while Johan was in the game. Cribbed from here for accuracy, this is what Phillips said,
[“You know, we're talking about the run support for a pitcher, and I believe that pitchers often earn their run support, and here is why. I was in the front office for 13 years, at every home game, for many of the road games up in the box, and you start to feel the pattern of the game for each of the starting pitchers.
"Over the course of time it seemed to me there the same guys started to get runs, there was a pattern and rhythm to their game and the same guys didn't get runs because of the pattern and rhythm to their game.”
Orel Hershiser then asked if Santana had a bad pattern or rhythm for an offense, and Phillips responded with this:
“I think it is the feel of his game. Whether it’s his teammates...I don't think it’s a conscious thing. Players always go, 'nah, there is no way, there is no way' but I see it, I feel it every time you watch games. They don't hit for Santana.
"I think part of it is because he is the ace on the mound. They think it’s a low-scoring game, he is not going to give up runs. It’s just this rhythm of the game that he has. Steve Traschel, used to pitch for the Mets, the slowest worker ever. He never got run support. and I think he earned it.”]
What. The. Hell. It boggles the mind that someone who is not only an announcer, but also once held a position of making the most important decisions for his team, could actually believe this. It's the kind of thing that I expect Dawger to try to sell.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Santana's Mets teammates have run up against some very good pitchers so far this year in Johan's starts. In his seven starts - and in case you aren't paying attention he's 4-2 with a 0.78 ERA in those seven starts - the Mets have scored 3, 1, 3, 4, 1, 1, and 2 runs; not very much. Santana's opponents have been Aaron Harang (season ERA: 2.93), Josh Johnson twice (2.34), Yovani Gallardo (3.09), Scott Olsen (7.00), Chan Ho Park (6.67), and Derek Lowe (3.80). Five of his seven opponents are better than league average, with four of those starts coming from guys who are in the top 13 in the NL in ERA.
In conclusion, Steve Phillips, yes the same guy who traded prospect Melvin Mora (1,121 hits since and counting) for a washed-up Mike Bordick (50 hits for the half-year, then resigned with Baltimore in the offseason) is a complete idiot and should probably die.
- High school hoops was in town this past weekend with the Sabes Invitational in Minneapolis. I didn't attend, of course, because I'm not a weirdo, but luckily the internet does a good job of summarizing these bits.
There were a lot of players of major interest in town for this thing, including Harrison Barnes and Chad Calcaterra - Gopher targets I've written about before - as well as Rickey Kreklow, Jacob Thomas, Ricky Kreklow, and Alex Kirk, all of whom are also on the radar.
Barnes is the jewel of the group, ranked #4 on Rivals150, and still has the Gophers' in the mix as he cut down to his top 12. Obviously he's not that good, since his team lost it's first two games, but I suppose I'd still take him on the Gophers. I read somewhere that since he had extra time after being bounced he made it up to campus to check out the U. I'm hoping he got the Jesus Shuttlesworth treatment.
The other guy I've written about before is Chad Calcaterra, who I think I said I was worried could be another Kevin Loge or Kyle Sanden, mainly based on the other schools chasing him. The reviews from the weekend sound pretty good, however. They praise Calcaterra's defensive effort, saying he totally dominated in the paint, and also talked up his ability to get out and run on the break as well as scoring both inside and out. I'm sold. Another reason to trust Tubby.
Speaking of trusting Tubby, that's a big reason I'm not sold on Columbia Heights guard Jacob Thomas. He's known as one of the best shooters in the entrie Midwest for the class of 2010, but he's still waiting on his first offer - from anybody. He's also made it clear that his dream is to play for the Gophers, but even so, Tubby is like "meh." I don't know. The reviews from the weekend are very positive and say he looks like he can score (and he dueled Bradley Beal, a class of 2011 guard with offers from Florida and Kansas already, to a standstill) but then where is Tubby on this? Like I said, I trust Tubby.
The guy I hadn't heard of who I am very intrigued by now is SG Ricky Kreklow, a 6-5 wing from Missouri. He has offers from Missouri and a handful of Missouri Valley teams, but Tubby is showing some interest and had Kreklow up to campus for an official visit this weekend, and has since said if Tubby extends an offer the Gophers would instantly be in his top two or three choices (with Missouri and Creighton). Kreklow is an awesome shooter, which always makes my pants tight, and was also called the best passer at the event. He sounds like the kind of kid who might be lightly recruited because of physical attributes (size/strength + he's white), but just gets it done with a great feel for the game. With my Eric Bledsoe crush no longer in play, I think Kreklow might be my new wishlist guy.
Lastly is Alex Kirk, a 6-10 center from New Mexico. Kirk hasn't received an offer from Minnesota, but he's on their radar. Right now his best offers are from the Pac 10 (Cal, Wash, USC), with a handful of lesser teams trying to grab him as well. I'm not overly impressed with what I've read, and it sounds like Kirk had only one good game out of three this weekend, spending large chunks of the other two on the bench against more athletic teams. Plus, he's a ginger, so we don't want him.
- Doug Gottlieb is usually a moron, but he finally gets something right with this Stephen Curry article about how his skills might not transfer to the NBA. Well no shit. I just can't figure out why the national media as a whole doesn't see it, and instead keeps trying to linguistically hump him. Doesn't blow by defenders off the dribble. Isn't big enough to shoot over NBA defenders. Can't play defense against quick guards. Doesn't fit into a clearly defined role at the next level. Too small for a 2, yet doesn't have PG skills. Jesus christ the more I type about this guy the more and more I get convinced he's going to be a Timberwolf in the future. He and Corey Brewer can sit on the bench together and talk about how awesome they were in college and how they just can't fit in and keep up at the NBA level.
- Patrick Patterson has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft, and holy god is Kentucky going to be absolutely loaded next year, and with a much better game coach in John Calipari as well. Patterson was the fourth leading scorer and third leading rebounder in the SEC last year, and he will be joined by a recruiting class that is ranked as the #1 class in the country, and contains Rivals #2, #22, #23, and #40 along with a big-time JuCo recruit, and they are spread all over the floor, from the paint to the wing to the point. Even scarier? They might be getting even more. #1 recruit in the country John Wall is still unsigned and has Kentucky as one of his finalists, and Jodie Meeks - last season's top scorer in the conference - may still pull his name out of the NBA draft. Make no mistake, Kentucky is back in a big, big way.
- If you're into this kind of thing, here's a stupid little puff piece on the Twins from ESPN's Tim Kurkijan - normally a writer I like. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I think chemistry in baseball and "good clubhouse guys" is the biggest crock of crap since the moon landing (obviously faked). Seriously, the article is so sugary sweet I got a stomach ache. Plus, Cuddybear is the central figure in most of it, so that ought to make a bunch of people around here pretty happy.
- Lastly, I think Chris Hoiles is the leader for the guy I'm going to sponsor when my Scott Stahoviak sponsorship runs out. You probably had to be a fan of Tony LaRussa baseball II in order to truly get it. That was the game when we (me, Snacks, and Bear) had some truly epic seasons when we were growing up, and Hoiles was a central figure. He was a good catcher, but the best was every player had a picture, and it was clear that the day they took those pictures Hoiles showed up either massively hungover or still drunk. He had bloodshot, glassy eyes, was completely unshaven, and his hat was cocked sideways and barely on his head. Truly a trainwreck.
But even better, and nobody really knows this, but Hoiles had an epically great season in 1993. Yes, G-R-E-A-T.
He hit .310/.416/.585 with 29 home runs in 503 plate appearances.
That .310 was 11th in the league, and 15th best by any catcher from 1980-2000.
His .416 OBP was 5th in the league, and 25th best by a catcher ever (like in all-time).
The slugging pct. of .585 he put up was also 5th in the league, and is the TENTH BEST IN THE HISTORY OF CATCHERS HITTING THE BALL. I'm not making this up.
Put together that OBP and SLG for the OPS, and he was fourth in the league that year and SEVENTH all-time by a catcher, behind seasons by all-time greats Mike Piazza (three of the six better), Bill Dickey, Gabby Hartnett, and Roy Campanella. It boggles the mind.
His 29 home runs in 419 at bats works out to one homer every 14.4 at bats, a rate that ranked him fourth that season, and is 18th best in the history of catching.
Oh, and he also threw out 46 of 113 attempted base stealers that year, or 41% (lg avg = 36%), while allowing just two passed balls all year.
Seriously, we are talking a truly awesome, awesome season. He was really hurt by only knocking in 82 runs that year, since the media and other slack-jawed cretins are wowed by a stat that relies more on opportunity than ability, but still finished 16th in the MVP voting. Looking at pure batting stats, he should have been fourth behind John Olerud, Frank Thomas, and Ken Griffey. And somehow, nobody knows this because it's Chris Hoiles.
Sadly, I can't locate that actual picture from Tony 2, but he looks pretty drunk in this one too. Just imagine him 58% more intoxicated, and not exactly sure where he is or what's going on.