Monday, May 31, 2010

Well this is getting Ridiculous

If you're like I used to be and like a lot of Twins fans and teams of American League teams in general are, you don't really pay much attention to the National League.  Well, you should start paying attention to the Rockies, but only every fifth day, because Ubaldo Jimenez is destroying the world.

Earlier today, he tossed a shoutout against the Giants, allowing just four hits and striking out nine.  This improved his record to 10-1, lowered his ERA to 0.78, and extended his streak of consecutive games allowing 2 or fewer earned runs to 11.  Staggering numbers.

That streak of 11 straight is the fourth best in history to start a season (behind Lou Vette in 1939 with 14 and John Tudor '88 and Edinson Volquez '08 with 12) and a top 50 streak in history (if he goes one more it will be a top-25 streak - Roger Clemens holds the all-time mark with 21). 

I can't find a way to look up lowest ERA at this point in the season in history, so I looked up a few guys with historic seasons to see where they stood at the end of May. 

-  In 2000, Pedro Martinez had a truly insane season, the best of his insane career, when he posted a 1.74 ERA in a year when the league average was 5.68, perhaps the greatest pitching season ever, all things considered.  At the end of May, his ERA was 1.05.

-  In 1985, super phenom Dwight Gooden had a season on par with Pedro's, chewing up the league with an ERA of 1.52 - the best since 1968.  At the end of May, his ERA was 1.75.

-  Greg Maddux, the best pitcher of our generation in my opinion, had back-to-back seasons in 1994 and 1995 that were just incredible, posting ERAs of 1.56 and 1.63.  His ERAs after May were 1.47 and 2.37.

-  For an easier frame of memory reference, you probably remember how Zack Greinke set the league on fire last year, and how he seemed completely unhittable out of the gate.  At the end of May, his ERA was 1.10.

-  Finally, in 1968, Bob Gibson would finish the season with an ERA of 1.12, the modern record.  At the end of May he was sitting at 1.52.

Ubaldo's ERA is lower than all of these, and in some cases by a half-run or more.  I don't know if this is the best start in history, because like I said I can't find that information, but he's off to a better start than the best seasons ever by a pitcher.  It's insane.

He's doing it with the fastest fastball in the league amongst starters with an average of 96.1 mph, and also mixes in a curve, slider, and change-up.  He gets guys to miss, and when they do make contact they hit groundballs twice as often as flyballs and pretty much never hit line drives, which accounts for a low BABIP of .226.  That number will almost certainly have to go up, and his WHIP and ERA along with it, but no matter what we are looking at a historically awesome start and possibly one of the best seasons in history, or at least this century.

He's everything we thought Francisco Liriano could be.  He also has one of the highest average pitch counts per start, as well.  Better hope that arm doesn't fall off. 


Week in Review - 5/31/2010

It's pretty tough to keep track of what's going on in the world when you're spending an entire weekend at a cabin without a computer and limited/no cell phone reception.  Of course, the trade off is that you get to spend the whole time alternating between drinking, fishing, and drinking and fishing.  Pretty sweet deal.  Plus I caught a monster Swamp Muskie.  A monster.


WHO WAS AWESOME

1.  Roy Halladay.  I, of course, missed this until I got back into town, but it seems Doc twirled himself a no-hitter this weekend.  That gets him to 7-3, with an ERA of 1.99 and a WHIP of 0.99, all while sporting a nice 70-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  So he's pretty much dominating the national league, just like I said, and has a shot to actually win 25 games, which I also said.  That's the reason I wanted to draft him early in our fantasy draft.  To which, Snake said, "I wouldn't draft Halladay if he was still there in the fifth round."  

2.  Jon Lester.  Remember watching this guy carve up the Twins a couple weeks ago?  Well that wasn't a fluke, and he continued mowing down hitters this week, going 2-0 and racking up 14 strikeouts in 13 innings while giving up just five hits and one run.  He's now #2 in the league in strikeouts and ranks in the top ten in both ERA and WHIP.  For years when I read about top prospects there was talk about the two Red Sock arms:  Lester and Clay Buchholz.  And now they've both actually developed and become top pitchers in the American League.  Since the Red Sox have more money than Scrooge McDuck they'll never have to worry about losing these guys in free agency and can just ride them for the next decade.  Great.  I really hate Boston.

3.  Buster Posey.  Besides having a sweet name, Posey is one of the top hitting prospects in all of baseball, but the Giants have kept him down at AAA because they are trying to figure out a position for him.  He's a catcher officially, but I think he's a catcher more like how Brian McCann and Brian Harper were catchers more than how Joe Mauer and the Molina's are catchers.  But when the bat talks, the bat talks, and after hitting .349/.442/.552 at Fresno the Giants made the call and brought him up this weekend.  He responded well.  In his first game, he went 3-4 with 3 RBI, and in game two on Sunday he 3-5 with two doubles and an RBI.  Sounds very Wilson Ramos-y, but I'm no anticipating that same dropoff for Posey.  Oh, and remember how I said he was a bad defensive catcher?  He played first base in both games. 

4.  Jason Kubel.  He's heating up folks.  Lock up your wives and daughters people, Kubel is heating up.  He hit .375 this week with 2 homers and 3 doubles, and continued to walk like a madman with an OBP of .500 - by far his overall best week this season.  What's crazy is even with his average languishing down in the .230s (and that's a big improvement lately), he's still OBPing at .355 and is second on the team in RBI.  If he can keep up this hot streak, I think we're talking possible triple-crown winner.  Yes, this year.

5.  The Daytona 500.  What a race!  It was amazing how all those guys drove in a circle so fast.  I'm kidding of course, because this stupid race is only thing that sucks about Memorial Day weekend.  I'd rather remove my own eyeballs with a shrimp fork than watch racing of any kind.  Not counting the Kentucky Derby. 


WHO SUCKED

1.  Phillies.  It seems a titch weird to be putting a team who had a pitcher throw a no-hitter for them into the sucked category, but that was only one of two games they won this week, going 2-4.  Going 2-4 might not necessarily warrant inclusion in the bottom section on it's own, but here are their run totals for the week:  0, 0, 0, 3, 1, 0.  And here is the illustrious group of pitchers who held them to four total runs for the week:  R.A. Dickey, Hisanori Takahashi (2 career starts), Mike Pelphrey, Chris Volstad, Josh Johnson (he's actually good), and Anibal Sanchez - and this doesn't even include the near no-hitter Dice-K tossed at them last Saturday.  I have a theory.  When Rollins was out, their midset was just "hold it together until J-Roll comes back."  Then he did, and there was much rejoicing.  But, as you would know if you have him on your fantasy team, he got hurt again and is back on the DL, and this time they're pretty bummed.  They're still going to end up winning the World Series, but they'll just do it in a less dominating fashion.

2.  Kendry Morales.   Remember when one of the Gramatica brothers blew out his knee after celebrating like he scored a goal in the World Cup?  This is like that, except not quite as funny.  In case you missed it, Morales hit a game-winning Grand Slam to beat the Mariners.  For some reason, despite it being a game in late May and not in September, the entire team met him at home plate to celebrate.  Morales jumped up to land on the plate, and somehow came out of it with a broken leg - a broken leg that might have ended his season.  Morales leads the team in average, home runs, and RBI and led in HRs, RBI, and OPS last year, so this is a pretty significant blow.  Seriously guys, I know it's exciting to win on a walk-off grand slam, but it's pretty hard to feel sympathy considering they were acting like they won Game 7 of the World Series.  Karma is always watching, and Karma hates jackassery.

3.  Bobby Jenks.  This guy sucks so hard.  He came into a non-save situation and gave up 3 hits and 3 runs while walking another 3 guys, and his ERA now stands at 6.35, and his WHIP is 2.06.  Somehow he's 7 out of 8 in save opportunities, but when he comes in and it's not a save opp he can't find the plate, and when he does he just gets ripped.  Plus he's a big fat idiot who sucks.  He's like Charlie Kerfeld crossed with Guy Fieri, with a dash of Jesse Crain.

4.  Vince Carter.  Bill Simmons long-running opinion of Vince Carter as a player you can't build a team around just continues to get validated over and over again, and really, just a bang-up job against the Celtics.  In the three games this week, Vinsanity managed to shoot 10-34, highlighted by an awesome 1-9 in game 4.  I saw the one basket he made, and it was a very nice take to the rim, one where he got hit pretty hard and made the free throw for a 3-point play.  But, just like Simmons says, if he gets hit he stops getting to the paint and settles for jumpers.  And that's exactly what he did.  The Magic are screwed with him on the team, but he's under contract for two more years.  Even more tragic:  he and Rashard Lewis (who also disappeared this postseason) will make a combined $36 million next year.  Thirty.  Six.  Million.  Dollars.

5.  NBA Finals.  Speaking of basketball, I'm bored by this matchup.  I'll be rooting for the Celtics, because I love watching Ray Allen shoot the J and I still kind of like Kevin Garnett and I hate Kobe Bryant and basically every other Laker other than Shannon Brown, but I'm bored with it.  It will actually be pretty fascinating to watch and see how Kobe deals with such a solid defensive team and if he is willing to keep getting Gasol involved or if he goes into one man show mode and how the Lakers are going to deal with Rondo/Allen/Pierce when Derek Fisher is going to be involved defensively.  Maybe it's really not all that bad of a matchup.  There are some good story lines and strategy decisions that need to be made here.  I take it back, it should be a pretty good finals.


Lastly, I didn't really want to put him in the official awesome section, but it should be noted here for posterity that Snacks had one of the best fishing weekends I've been privileged to see.  Apparently a chartreuse single-bladed spinner with a skirt guarantees you won't have to worry about going more than three casts in a row without catching something.  Nicely done.  Although I still caught the biggest swamp muskie (and the biggest crappie).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Live Blogs for the Price of One

I finally have a chance to sit and watch a Twins game in peace and to completion, and on an actual TV with actual sound instead of on the computer, so why not live blog it?  Of course, it's already the bottom of the seventh and the Twins are down 2-1 to the Yankees, but still.  It's a real TV with actual sound.  Which could definitely be a negative.  Whatever.  You suck.

8:08 - Delmoney!  Just as I sit down to watch, Delmoney hits one about 390 off the wall to tie the game at 2-2.  So runner on second with one out.  I would be willing to bet any amount of money that they don't get that run home.

8:10 - Like clockwork, Hardy bounces it right back to Pettitte who catches Delmon too far off the base and he's erased.  The ghost of Lew Ford strikes again.  Now it's a runner on first with Harris up and two outs.  I would now be willing to bet any amount of money x 2 they don't take the lead.

8:13 - Maybe Delmon would be a good name for a boy (Baby Boy W = 11 weeks from arrival and counting).  Or do I go with Delmoney?  Or just Delmon, but call him Delmoney?  Man, there are so many decisions you have to make with a kid on the way.

8:15 - Guerrier is in.  I kind of hope he ends up facing A-Rod.  Just because he can't possibly give up another home run, can he?  It's not like we're talking Jesse Crain here.

8:17 - A quick box score check shows A-Rod made the last out in the last inning, so this is definitely the safest time to put ole Matty Yardball in the game.

8:18 - Francisco Cervelli.  That's just fun to say.  And have you seen some of these guys on the Yankees now?  Juan Miranda.  Ramiro Pena.  Damaso Marte.  Alfredo Aceves.  Boone Logan.  Sergio Mitre.  They're like a linguist's dream.  And also sound like the roster of the Puerto Rican team from the World Baseball Classic.

8:21 - He walks Cervelli.  Walks will haunt.

8:25 - Butera just hit the ball as far as he can, which was really just in the gap, and it was still almost caught by Gardner, but just went off his glove.  First career extra base hit.  Congrats.  Way to only get a double, slow ass.

8:26 - Hold up.  Why the mother hell isn't Gardy pinch running here?  I know Mauer is DHing so if you pinch run and he moves to catcher you lose your DH.  But it's the 8th damn inning in a 2-2 game.  Guess what you do here?  YOU PINCH RUN GOD DAMMIT!  It's the 8th!  Odds are that spot won't even come up again.  And if he's trying to sac bunt - which he is with Span - even if you get Butera to third you'll have to hit it very deep to get him in.  This move makes zero sense at all.  None.  Zero.

8:28 - Awesome.  Span makes a bad bunt, Butera freezes at second, but A-Rod boots it and it's now first and third and nobody is going to say a word about not pinch running.  Bert and Dick haven't even hinted at it.  God this is annoying.  I hope Butera gets tossed out tagging on a medium deep fly ball.

8:29 - Line out.  1 down.  Mauer up.  This is screaming 4-6-3.

8:29 - Serious, Gardy makes more game mistakes than anybody I've ever seen ever, but this crap always happens and nobody ever calls him on it.  I have no problem granting that he is clearly a good manager in terms of managing people/egos/whatever, but his game management skills are worse than Dawger trying to manage a fantasy football team.

8:34 - My bad.  It was 6-4-3.  What a waste of an inning.  I wish I could blame this on Gardy somehow.  That was still a really stupid non-pinch run, even though it ended up not mattering.  It will at some point.  I often wonder if the Twins would make it further in the playoffs with somebody who understood basic strategy.  I bet he loses to kindergartners in checkers often.

8:36 - That GB Leighton song is brutal.

8:40 - Swisher with a monster blast off of Rauch.  Mariano is about to get two saves in one day.  Sweet.  I'm so glad I'm watching.

8:41 - I really liked the Lost finale, by the way, if you're wondering.  And I'm sure you are.

8:42 - Cuddyer has a pretty good arm, throwing out Tex going for two on a ball hit into the corner.  I'm still depressed.

8:45 -  So Pettitte warms up, but then before Morneau gets to hit they pull him and bring in Rivera.  So clearly the whole point of having Pettitte warm up was just to stall.  Doesn't seem legal.  Dick and Bert are saying it's supposed to be against the rules, so that basically guarantees it's completely legal, but it seems like it shouldn't be.  If I cared I'd be outraged.

8:49 - Cuddy lines one into the dugout.  I'll bet anything he was trying to take out Gardy.  I now approve of Cuddyer.

8:52 - Three weak grounders and we're done.  And if you thought this blog post was boring, the game was ten times worse.


Will the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals be any better?  I'm guessing no.

9:41 -  I took a short break to watch Above the Rim before I remembered this game was on.  How can you not love a basketball movie with 2-Pac, Marlon Wayans, and a guy who plays basketball against an imaginary opponent with no ball.  Plus, Bernie Mac back when he was funny before he got all popular and then sucked.   GET OFF OF ME!!!!!!!

9:42 - I don't know what happened, but Big Baby apparently got clocked in the head and is quite a bit disoriented right now.  So disoriented, that he basically sprinted right at the ref, who to his credit didn't get out of the way.  I don't know about you, but if a big black man is sprinting towards me with a crazed look in his eye my general strategy is to throw my wallet at him and run.

9:44 - Oh, and by the way that whole sequence was ten times more fun than the Twins game.  He went down like Zach Galifanwhatever when Tyson decked him in The Hangover.  Great movie.

9:46 -  We're heading to the fourth with the Tragic up 9.  Let's hope for a little entertainment here.

9:47 - When you go to put in labels for the posts (the little tags below each post), as you are typing tags you've used in the past with the same letter combinations popup.  When I was typing "Orlando Magic" in there, "Magic Taco" popped up.  I have zero idea what this could be referring to.

9:50 - Jason Williams is still playing, by the way, and after toning down the And 1 Mix Tape Tour crap he's actually a really solid back-up point guard.  It's kind of tough to get past the "White Chocolate" nickname, though.  Plus how he framed Randy Moss back in high school for all the issues he had.  It wasn't moss, it was Whitey Chocolate holding him down.  I'd mention his high school transgressions here, but for the life of me I can't remember what any of them were or why he ended up at Marshall.  I think he might have punched out some dumb white hick at a bowling alley, but that might have been Allen Iverson.

9:53 - Speaking of And 1, did anybody ever watch that show on MTV from like seven or so years ago, where it was basically Top Chef but instead of cooking it was basketball?  And instead of basketball it was street ball?  And Magic Johnson hosted?  And some white guy won?  It was so, so awesome.  I need to find a way to watch it again.  Plus, not working from home anymore I can't get my And 1 Tour fix on ESPN2 from noon - one every afternoon.  At least they're bringing back NBA Jam.  I love fake basketball.

9:56 - Oh my god.  Tell me Rico Tucker wouldn't be a dominant force on the And 1 Tour.  I should shoot him a message on facebook and tell him.  We're friends, so he wouldn't mind.

9:57 - Rashard Lewis has 12 points tonight.  I think that is what he had in games 1-4 combined.

9:58 - So I just checked, and it turns out Snacks put us down for the Magic to outscore the Celtics from the 12:00 mark to the 6:00 mark of the fourth quarter, and for the 6:00 to 0:00 half-quarter as well.  I didn't even know you could bet half quarters.  I think one of us has a problem.

10:00 - So it seems Kendrick Perkins was ejected for getting two technicals, and now Big Baby is down with a dented forehead, so guys playing relevant minutes for the Celtics include Nate Robinson, who is a good dunker for a midget and good in an uptempo game - the opposite of what the Celtics do, Marquis Daniels, who has been a third-stringer for like 10 teams in 10 years, and Michael Finley, who actually makes the Celtics average age increase by coming in the game.

10:02 - I haven't looked this up to verify or anything, but when Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Finley, and Rasheed are one the floor together, which they haven't been all night, their combined age is 207.

10:05 - Orlando is up 13 with 7:24 left.  Why is everything so boring tonight?  I actually have full control over the TV, and I'm bored out of my mind.  Watching Bernie Mac and that kid from that movie play one-on-one for Boomps is the most entertained I've been.  I wish I had a White Men Can't Jump DVD here.

10:08 - In case you were wondering, Rasheed can still shoot.  Also in case you're wondering, it would be pretty damn funny if the Celtics blew a 3-0 lead in the same year the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead.  I only know that because I heard it on the radio.  No, I don't watch hockey.  I'm not some kind of mouth-breathing cretin.

10:12 - The lead is now 18.  This is really fun.

10:16 - Marquis Daniels ended up leaving with a concussion at some point when I wasn't paying attention.  That explains everything.

10:18 - Lot of effort out there on both sides.  It's just a battle.  You got to love this passion and drive.  This is why the NBA is so much better than college, nobody is out there just going through the motions.  So much love for the game.

10:25 - Just realized that Kendrick Perkins is now automatically suspended for game 6 since he got ejected in game 5.  He's super, super important for the Celtics because he's basically the only one who can guard Howard.  And the play he got his second tech on was pretty bad, like NBA the fix is in bad.  Except I'm pretty sure the NBA wants Celtics/Lakers, so expect them to change the rules to get Perkins back in there.

10:27 - Game over.  Post over.  What a waste of time this all was.  Although if I wasted just one other person's time reading this, then I've done my part.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Want Ryan Boatright



Who is Ryan Boatright? you are probably asking yourself, and up until yesterday I didn't know either.  But now that I know, I'm jazzed.

Boatright is a class of 2011 point guard from Illinois who is ranked by Rivals as the #90 overall prospect and #16 point guard for the class, and who the Gophers and Tubby Smith are looking at.  He doesn't have an offer yet, but he doesn't have an offer from anybody because schools are still waiting on his ACT Score according to one article (not that it's been bad, just that it hasn't come back yet.)  Of course, another article says he has offers from Wake and Miami, so who the hell knows, but I know that I want him.

He's described as lightning quick with a crisp shooting stroke.  His passing is rated as "outstanding", with shooting, handling, and rebounding all rated as "good."  He led the U.S. Under 17 Junior National Team in scoring at 19.6 points per game this April in a tournament in Germany.  His ball-handling is described as elite and impressive.  He's said to have a good feel for the game.  He can score in bunches.  He can shoot.  He's an excellent defender.  He once delivered a baby while driving a city bus after the driver had a heart attack, fighting off a mugger the whole time - and then giving the driving a tracheotomy with a ball point pen.   He's everything I always knew I always wanted.

Boatright has been on the national radar for a long time, having committed to USC as a 14-year old.  Huge shocker here, but he has backed out of that commitment and is now hearing from West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Kansas State, and Wake Forest along with the Gophers, with it sounding like Kentucky and K-State are in the lead right now, but not by much.  Heady competition for his services, but Tubby has pulled things like this off before.  Not so much this year.  Or last year.  But the year before that was pretty good.  Do it again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week in Review - 5/24/2010

 How weird is it that in my very last post, the one about Justin Cobbs, I referenced 'Lil Romeo and his career at USC, and now news is breaking all over the place that Romeo is leaving the program.  Some people just report the news.  I create it.  With great power, comes great responsibility.


WHO WAS AWESOME

1.  Kobe Bryant.  I'm pretty sure anybody arguing that Kobe isn't the best player in the NBA at this point is either retarded or a moron, and it absolutely kills me to compliment him.  It's impossible not to after the games he's put together against the Suns this week.  Game 1:  40 points on 13-23 shooting, 5 assists, 5 boards.  Game 2:  21 points on 8-18 shooting, 13 assists, 5 rebounds.  And he was masterful.  Took over scoring in Game 1 when the Suns single-covered him, and then became facilitator when they doubled him in Game 2.  If he played like this all the time, he'd be the clear-cut best player in the NBA (he also had 36-11-9 in Game 3 but I didn't watch it because I was watching Lost so I can't comment).  Plus, he made an appearance on the awesome awesome Modern Family for their season finale, and actually seemed somewhat likable.  Or at least he didn't rape anybody.  That I know of.

2.  Dice-K.   Matsuzaka almost pitched a no-hitter on Saturday night, going 7 and 2/3 before giving up a soft single to Juan Castro (yes, THE Juan Castro) to break it up.  And why wouldn't he?  I mean he came into that game with an ERA of 5.97 and WHIP of 1.3, and had only made it 7 innings in one of his four starts since returning from injury, so it was obvious a game like this was coming.  Seriously, what is the deal with Boston and pitchers?  It's like anybody who goes there suddenly has these random unhittable nights.  Lester and Buchholz have no-hitters in the last couple of years, and now Dice-K with this masterful performance out of nowhere.  I'd be fascinated by this and look up who the pitching coach there is, but I hate the Red Sox with all my heart so I'm not going to waste any more time here.

3.  Bryce Harper.  I suppose it's gotten to the point where I can't really ignore Harper anymore, especially since he's going to be the number 1 pick for the Nationals in the upcoming amateur draft, and helped propel his JC team to the JuCo World Series.  How did he lead them to the NJCAA Western Division Championship?  Simply by hitting for the cycle on Friday and then following that up with a 6-6 game with four home runs and ten RBIs, going 12 for 13 in the last two games.  They hype on this kid has been ridiculous, but it's looking like he might actually be able to live up to it.  More background here if you're interested, but in case you aren't familiar with him a quick summary is that he's a 17-year old catcher who dropped out of high school to attend the College of Southern Nevada after his sophomore year, taking the GED in order to get eligible to play and will now be eligible for the draft despite not being able to vote yet.  Basically his whole life has been geared around being a professional baseball player.  When this burn out comes, it's going to be spectacular.  You know those repressed kids who get to college and just go insane with freedom?  Like that x100.

4.   Edwin Jackson.  You remember this guy.  Big-time prospect for the Rays, who was then a big-time prospect for the Tigers, who was then shipped to the D-backs for Max Scherzer.  So far this season, it had looked like there was a reason he'd been on three teams in three years, racking up a 7.43 ERA in 8 starts, allowing 60 hits in 46 innings, and walking 18 with just 32 strikeouts.  Suddenly this week, however, things look like they might be turning around.  On Monday he went 8 innings, allowing 4 hits and no runs while striking out 12 and walking just two.  Then on Saturday, he followed it up with a 7 and 2/3 inning performance, allowing six hits and five runs.  That Saturday outing may not sound that great, but he struck out 9 and walked none, and had allowed just one run through seven innings before giving up a couple of homers in the 8th.  He may very well go back to sucking, but that 21-2 K/BB ratio in his last two starts says he may have turned a corner.

5.  Justin Morneau.  Good god.  Completely ridiculous.  You know how a lot of people say Ted Williams was the best hitter ever?  And others go with Ruth, or Bonds, or maybe Ty Cobb?  Clearly all those people are idiots, because it's obvious Morneau is the best hitter ever.  I haven't looked this up, but I'm pretty sure his line drive % this year is 100%.  Or maybe like 75%, with 24% being home runs and 1% being ground balls that are hit so hard infielders are jumping out of the way.  Seriously, remember how amazing Joe Mauer's season was last year?  And yeah, it was pretty incredible, but this year Morneau is better than him in every single statistic.  18 points higher in batting average, 53 points higher in OBP, and 114 points better in slugging, and he's on pace to hit 15 or so more homers and walk about 60 more times.  Just crazy numbers.  Let's put it this way.  Morneau is about 30% better this year compared to Mauer last year if we use OPS+ as our guide.  To put that in perspective, last year Mauer was about 30% better than Michael Cuddyer last year.  That's how good Morneau has been.


WHO SUCKED

1.  Orlando Magic.  There is just so much to choose from here.  What's your favorite part?  Vince Carter's Dajuan Wagner impression at the end of game 2?  Getting smoked in an absolute must-win game by 23 in a game that wasn't nearly that close?  Letting Rasheed become a major factor?  Letting Big Baby become a major factor?  Dwight Howard being dominated in two of the three games by a combination of Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed?  Rashard Lewis taking three games to finally surpass his season per game average in scoring, and only surpassing it by a single point thanks to his 6-24 shooting?  Or maybe watching as KG and Ray Allen, who had looked pretty broken down at times this season, suddenly dominating like it was 2002.  Just a whole lot to love here.  I suppose I could give credit to the Celtics, but that's not nearly as fun, and it's really been pretty pathetic.  Orlando Tragic, indeed.

2.  Tommy Hanson.   There's nothing quite as exquisite as watching someone I've pimped on the record completely flame out.  Except instead of exquisite I mean whatever is the exact opposite of that.  Hanson is having an excellent year thus far, and will likely continue to have an excellent year, and will probably have a very good career, but for one afternoon he was doing a hell of a Jesse Crain impression if Crain was a starter.  On Thursday against the Reds, Hanson couldn't even get out of the second inning.  He faced a total of 16 batters, and got less than a third of them out, giving up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 8 earned runs in just 1 and 2/3 innings.  Ouch, Tommy.  Ouch.  I feel betrayed.  Like Caesar.  Or the Cherokee.

3.  Rickie Weeks.   Once a top prospect, Weeks struggled for his first four seasons a bit, being about a league average hitter and below average fielder.  Then last season, he seemed to be putting it together, adding some power to his already always impressive on-base percentage, hitting 9 home runs in his first 37 games, and looked like he might fault towards the top of the second-basemen rankings if such a thing existed.  Unfortunately, an injury derailed the rest of the season and he missed the rest of the year.  He started off this season again like gangbusters and was kicking some ass, but the last couple of weeks he's fallen off the face of the planet.  He went 3-18 this week.  When added to his 3-24 week the week prior, you can see why his average has dropped from the .330s where it was earlier this season all the way down to the .230s.  His power is also gone (slugging .382, lowest of his career), and he's already made five errors - which I think is more than the entire Twins team.  I think his window has pretty much closed, and he's never going to end up living up to his potential.  It's probably the dreadlocks.

4.  Kerry Wood.  Remember when I mentioned that Wood would probably be a pretty sought after closer around the trade deadline this year assuming he got healthy?  Well, he got healthy.  Too bad he sucks.  On Friday he pitched an inning against the Reds, giving up a home run, and actually lowered his ERA by more than two runs.  That's because on Wednesday he pitched against the Royals, and only managed to get one out.  While trying to get that one out, he walked two batters and gave up four hits, allowing five runs to score.  He did pitch a scoreless inning Sunday which lowered his ERA to 13.50 and WHIP to 2.63, and might end up being good again, but he certainly didn't get himself off to a good start.

5.  Channing Frye.  As far as NBA players go, Frye is not a particularly good one, although he's not terrible either.  He does have one particularly valuable skill however, and that is being 6-11 and being able to make three-pointers.  In fact, he made them at a 44% clip, good enough for 6th in the league, was in the All-Star 3-point contest, and takes more than half his attempts from behind the arc.  He's basically a more accurate Rick Rickert, except in the NBA it's a valuable skill and doesn't necessarily mean you're a big baby who is afraid to play inside.   Anyway, when a guy with one skill can't pull off that skill in the Western Conference Finals, it ain't pretty.  Through three games he's 1-14 from three, and 1-20 overall from the floor.  Somehow, the Suns are only down 2-1 despite this.  Just a brutal choke job.  Also, can somebody please tell Jared Dudley to stop cheering for himself so hard every time he makes a shot?  It's really irritating.  Like watching some chowder at open gym who finally hits a shot after clanging ten in a row off the side of the backboard.


Special mention for suckitude to Todd Coffey.  What a spaz.  I'm surprised they don't make him wear a helmet out there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cobbs to Cali.

Ok, so Mr. Cobbs is transferring, officially this time, to Cal.  Great.  Good for him.  Now he gets to play closer to home and be in a shitty conference.  I have to say though, I think he'd be much better served going to a mid-major type school rather than a BCS conference school - even in the worst conference.  I know we only got to see him for a year, but I don't think he'll be able to handle a starting gig in the Pac.

Do you think he'll be able to guard Malcolm Lee?  Isaiah Thomas (if he's still around when Cobbsy is eligible) would run circles around him.  The Pacific-10 might be in a down-cycle now, but they have some awfully good recruits coming in the next two years at the point.  Keala King at Arizona State and Ahmad Starks at Oregon State are already committed for 2010, and odds are guys like Anthony Wroten, Josiah Turner, and Jahii Carson will end up out there in 2011, right as he becomes eligible.  And Carson is a good bet to be a Golden Bear.  And that's not even mentioning Gary Franklin, a top-20 point guard and top-80 national recruit who is already heading to Cal next year.

About the only point guard he'll be able to guard in the conference is Lil' Romeo who, yes, is still at USC and will be a senior when Cobbs starts playing.

I just don't get this decision, and I'm not trying to rip the kid because I actually thought he would end up being a decent contributor and solid back-up PG down the line.  His reasons for transferring (outside of the understandable homesickness) were concerns about playing time and a dislike for Tubby's slow it down offense. But I don't see a real opportunity for more playing time at Cal, and the Bears are basically an average team in terms of tempo.  Faster than the Gophers, yes, but we aren't exactly talking Loyola-Marymount 1988 here.  Honestly Long Beach would have been perfect for him.  A big-time uptempo squad (38th) who can make the NCAA Tournament, and it's still a low-major so he'd have a chance to be a major contributor.

Fare thee well, Justin Cobbs.  I wish him luck.  I think he would have been best served sticking around and being the back-up PG for three more years and contributing that way instead of doing the exact same thing at Cal, but to each his own.  I just think he could have made a better choice.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Talkings (NBA Lottery, Morneau, Mbakwe)

-  Will the Wolves ever get lucky in the lottery?  I don't remember them ever even picking in their allotted spot, much less actually moving up, and they moved down again last night in case you missed it.  They should have picked second, but due to the inherent cruelty of a random universe they were booted down to fourth - and it's a two person draft, no matter what David Kahn will try to tell you.

The more interesting question is why do I care?  I was actually excited for the Lottery tonight.  I even set the Tivo and everything in case I was tied up with WonderbabyTM, because for some reason I couldn't possibly miss it.  Reading about it on ESPN even 15 minutes after it happened wouldn't work for me.  I absolutely had to see it.  Which is somewhat ironic, because the twenty minutes of the lottery that I watched was more than all the combined minutes of all the T-Wolves' games I watched last season.

And last season wasn't exactly unusual for me.  I don't remember the last time I watched a full Wolves game, and to be completely honest I don't even remember the last time I watched a half.  So why do I care so much about the lottery?  I was thinking maybe it's because if they got a young stud player I'd start watching again, but then I remembered that they had one of the best players of this generation in KG for like, ten years, and I rarely watched, and actually don't think I've watched at all since that run in the playoffs that one time, and I mostly only watched that because I was in Vegas at the time and slapped some money down on each game.

Maybe I'm just looking for some magic combination that will get me interested in the Wolves, but if Jonny Flynn couldn't do it I'm pretty sure John Wall, who I don't like, isn't going to do it.  Maybe if they had gotten Turner.  I would at least tune in to see how he develops.  Actually, with Wall I might watch because I like watching guys I don't like fail (Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, etc.).  Not that those guys fail all the time, or even often at all, but I still like watching when they do.  Could have been the same with Wall.

Of course, none of that really matters because they fell to fourth and will now end up with someone gross like DeMarcus Cousins or Wes Johnson, or they'll end up reaching for Al-Farouq Aminu.  Still, with three picks in the top 23 you can bet I'll end up watching.  I just won't watch any of the games.

-  Do you realize how good Justin Morneau has been this year?  He's on pace for a .366/.482/.694 season with 46 home runs, 120 RBI, and 125 walks - numbers that would give him a Mauer sweep (#1 in average, on-base, and slugging) and first in walks, third in homers, and 8th in RBI.  Those are insane numbers.

Do you want to know which players in Major League History have hit at least 46 home runs in the same season they hit .366 or better?  Babe Ruth (5 times), Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds, and Larry Walker.  That's it.  That's the whole list.  If you restrict it to only those seasons with an OBP over .480 you get just Ruth and Bonds - the two best hitters in history according to pretty much everyone who doesn't have the steroid thing lodged up their butt.

I'm not even close to expecting him to keep this up.  In fact, I'm actually expecting a pretty spectacular collapse and regression to the mean here soon, but watching him hit so far this year has been an absolute pleasure.  Still, he's improved his line drive and fly ball rate, and has improved his plate patience quite a bit.  Even though his BABIP right now is not sustainable (it's 30% higher than his career rate), he could still be heading for a pretty epic season.  Even if his numbers fall to a .330 average, a .450 OBP, and 42 home runs, he'd still only be the 14th player to do that, joining a pretty impressive list of players (Ruth, Gehrig, Walker, Bonds, Jimmie Foxx, Hack Wilson, Mickey Mantle, Jason Giambi, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, and Todd Helton). 

-   Lastly, I suppose I should touch on this Trevor Mbakwe deal.  In case you missed it, Mbakwe asked for and was granted permission to be released from his scholarship and look into transferring to another school if he so chooses.  This all happened not long after he met with Joel Maturi, and now a lot of Gopher fans are up in arms about Maturi.  There are a lot of things not to like about him, but I find it difficult to find too much fault with him for he Mbakwe situation.

You can't play someone who has a felony hanging over their head.  I doubt even Calipari would have tried to pull that one off.  I don't know why his trial has taken so damn long to take place, but I doubt that is Maturi's fault either.  Simply put, Trevor won't be able to play here until the trial is behind him (and he's found innocent), and I'm guessing that Maturi told him exactly that.  I'm also guessing that it wasn't really what he was hoping to hear, and all this is a snap decision based on what has to be an incredibly frustrating time in this young man's life.  Once he realizes that transferring to another school won't solve his problem and he'll have to sit out no matter where he goes until this thing is over (not to mention the possibility of another year sitting out due to transferring again) he'll back down and still be at the U.

And really, that's all I'm going to say on the situation until something more concrete comes down, but I fully expect Mbakwe to be a Gopher when it is all said and done.

Or in prison.  Deebo rides again!



Monday, May 17, 2010

Week in Review - 5/17/2010

 So I had this whole write up done for how the Twins suck and all that.  But I wrote it during the 7th inning of the game yesterday, and one swing of Jason Kubel's ample bat off Mr. Sandman erased all the bad feelings about this weekend.  We can now ignore Gardy's retarded use of Guerrier against A-Rod, Jesse Crain's inability to get anybody out (still), the fact that two of the spots in the lineup are going to be used by a combo of Brendan Harris, Nick Punto, Alexi Casilla, and Matt Tolbert, and the fact that the team is suddenly unable to get a big hit (save the Kubel slam).  But none of that matters, because the Twins went 1-2 in New York.  World Series, here we come.


WHO WAS AWESOME

1.  Stephen Strasburg.  Good lord, would you jerks just call this kid up to the bigs already?  After tossing 6-innings of 1-hit ball at AAA this week, he now has an ERA of 1.06 and a WHIP of 0.65 in his 7 minor league starts between AAA and AA.  He's faced a total of 125 batters, allowing just 22 to reach base on 14 hits and 8 walks, while striking out 40.  He's whiffed 3 batters for each one who gets a hit.  He's given up fewer hits than Jesse Crain in almost double the innings.  He has nothing left to prove in the minors, they're just keeping him down to try to save money down the line by keeping his service clock off, but at this point it's embarrassing.  They're just wasting his innings right now.  Although mark my words, if the Nationals stay in contention they won't make a trade around the deadline, they'll use the classic Twins line, "Calling him up is as good as a trade."  Classic Twins.

2.  Mike Leake.  Is it repetitive to put Leake in here week after week?  Maybe.  But do you know what else is repetitive?  His ability to get people out.  Again and again and again and again and again.  They seemingly keep him on a pitch count of right around 100, which is good for the rest of the league because nobody can hit this guy.  After a 6-inning, 4 hit, 2 run performance on Friday, he's now sitting at 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA, and he's just consistent as hell.  In his 7 career starts (all this year), he's never last less than 6 innings, never given up more than 8 hits, and has only given up more than 3 runs once.  And let's not forget this is a rookie who never played in the minors, just jumped straight to the Reds this year after being drafted last year.  He doesn't strike out a ton of guys so I don't know that he'll ever reach "superstar" status, but he will certainly be a star, and maybe already is. 

3.  Shane Victorino.  Thrust into the leadoff role for the Phils with Jimmy Rollins on the shelf, Victorino got off to a rough start this year.  And then we traded for him in fantasy.  And he is just destroying the ball.   In his five games this week, he had multiple hits in four of them.  And not just multiple hits, but a ton of extra bases as well.  In his 10-23 week, he picked up a double, a home run, and three triples and also walked three times.  He's always been a speed guy, thus the "Flyin' Hawaiian" nickname, but he's slugging the ball at an impressive .519 clip so far this year, which would be a career high, and already has 8 home runs against a career best of 14.  Perhaps a new nickname is in order.  This is where I'd put my suggestion but I can't come up with anything clever. 

4.  Adam Scott.  Welcome back Mr.  Scott.  After being one of the best young golfers on the tour a few years ago, to the point where he was known as the best golfer who hadn't won a major, a surfing accident (shark attack?) completely derailed him like that train from the Fugitive.  It got so bad at one point, that last season he missed the cut in 10 of his last 16 tournaments, and it was almost looking like he was basically done and might be heading towards David Duval land.  He had been looking better this year, making 6 of 8 cuts, and finally broke back through with a win at the Texas Open this weekend.  It wasn't exactly a top field, but there were enough good players there that this should be looked at as a huge positive step for Scott.  And between him and Aaron Baddeley finishing in third, it was quite the weekend for washed up young golfers.

5.  Young Pitchers.  Too many to name individually (not counting Leake, who is just a straight pimp).  Mat Latos tossed a one-hitter for the Padres.  So did Johnny Cueto for the Reds.  And speaking of Reds, the day after Cueto's gem Homer Bailey went the distance for a shut out.  Ricky Romero threw a complete game shutout, striking out 12, while Tommy Hanson struck out 10 in 7 innings.  Phil Hughes won his fifth game, as did David Price.  And someone named John Ely pitched a gem for the Dodgers in just his third major league start.   I don't know if it's a great era for young arms or just a weird week, but I've definitely noticed the youngsters this week.  You probably have too, perv.


WHO SUCKED

1.  LeBron.  I'm not going to belabour the obvious here when you can read 26,500 articles just by searching google for "LeBron James lackluster", but that was brutal.  Unless his elbow is far worse than anybody thinks, this was a shocking lack of effort and focus by someone who is thought as possibly the best player in the league.  On the other hand, he's only 25 (for real, I looked it up) and 25 years are prone to petulance.  I'm going to go ahead and not write him off just yet.  Seriously, if he wants to sign with the Wolves, I'm on board.  Smart money says the Nets, though.  Book it.

2.  Rich Harden.  Rich Harden is from Canada.  British Columbia, to be exact, the same province that gave us Kristin Kreuk (pictured), Jason Priestley, and Bryan Adams.  So you'd think that when he gets to pitch in his home country, like when he goes to Toronto, he'd be all amped up and be lights out.  Well, he might get amped up, but he sure as hell can't pitch for crap up in the great white north, and Friday's 2.2 inning, 4 hit, 6 walk, 7 run disaster in what has clearly become a trend at this point.  His other two career starts in Canada were nearly as bad.  In 2004, he went just 4 and 1/3 innings, giving up 7 hits and 7 runs, and in 2005 he gave up 5 hits and 6 walks in five innings, but escaped allowing just four runs.  So that means in his career his ERA is 13.50 in Canada.  Since Minnesota is basically Canada without the monopoly money and bigger fish, I'd say it's a good thing the Twins didn't sign him.

3.  Jason Bartlett.  Hey do you remember when Bartlett was thrown into the Delmon Young/Matt Garza trade and the only people who cared were the ladies who got all hot every time they looked at him because it looked like he was just going to be a mediocre shortstop?  And then remember last year when he hit .320 and stole 30 bases and showed some power and everyone was all angsty about how the team could let him go and blah blah blah?  Well, spaz, you can relax because he sucks again.  After going 3-23 this week, he's now hitting .236 on the year and isn't bothering to slug the ball even a little bit.  So it looks like the Twins got the better of the Harris/Bartlett part of that deal.  Suck it, Rays.

4.  Former Texas Open Winners.  Zach Johnson and Justin Leonard had combined to win the last 3 Texas Opens.  Back then it was played at La Cantera.  This year, they moved it to TPC San Antonio, and these two clowns apparently couldn't handle the long course, because they both missed the cut spectacularly.  Johnson fired an 80 in the first round that he couldn't recover from, which included a truly stunning six-putt after putting the ball on the green off the tee in one on 13, including three misses inside of three feet.  Justin Leonard wasn't quite as bad, but he also shit the bed in the opening round, posting a 76, and wasn't able to recover, which including a triple bogey after doinking his drive into the wilderness.  Excellent work, guys. 

5.  B.J. Upton.  Remember two years ago when I predicted Upton would be the MVP?  And remember this year, when I insisted that last year was just a down year and he'd be back and knocking the cover off the ball and all that?  Well it turns out I'm an idiot, because Upton just keeps sucking and sucking and is suddenly in danger of being benched.  He had a nice couple of games over the weekend after word came out that he was close to hitting the pine, including two doubles yesterday, but that still put him at just 4-18 for the week, and he's hitting just .119 in May and .225 for the year.  He has also lost his power, not having homered since April 19th, and isn't walking anymore either.  Last year he still had value even if he wasn't hitting because he would at least walk, so now that he's not hitting or walking, he's essentially worthless.  Let's just say it's pretty easy to decide who to bench to put Kubel back in the lineup.

Because Kubel is back, folks.  Hold on to your butts.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Zack Greinke has Lost Something

Yes, I am aware that Zack Greinke finally picked up his first win yesterday and good for him.  I'm actually all too aware of it since he was on Snake and my Fantasy Baseball team.  As you might imagine with that being the case, I've paid way too much attention to Greinke, including listening to radio broadcasts of Royals' games using the MLB app for my phone.  At I've noticed that he isn't nearly as good as he was last year.  Since someone was looking to acquire him in our league, I did a little more digging, and I found some interesting things.

No, I'm not judging him based on his paucity of wins this year - I do actually understand baseball.  And I know his basic numbers look pretty good; he has an ERA of  2.73 and a WHIP of 1.12.  There's nothing wrong with those numbers, even if they aren't as dominating as last year.  So dig deeper with me, won't you?

Let's start with a few basics.  First, his K/9 is 7.5.  Good, very good in fact, but a deep drop from the 9.5 he posted last year.  At the same time, his HR/9 allowed has nearly doubled from 0.43 to 0.85.  Again, good numbers, but substantially worse than last year.  Opponents are hitting .248 against him this year, up from .232 last season, while his BABIP is at .296, below his career number of .314 (he was at .313 last year), which suggests that the opponents average is only going to increase from here.

The home run increase can be attributed to giving up more fly balls (41% FB last year, 46% this year) and a higher proportion of those are flying out of the park (6.8% of his fly balls have gone out this year compared to 4.5% last year).

What's causing this?  I can see a couple of things, and the first is a drop in velocity on his fastball.  Last year he averaged 93.7mph, this year he's down to 92.2mph - not an alarming drop, but enough to make a difference.  And that difference has been enough to account for a huge difference in Greinke making batters miss.  Last year, batters made contact just 77% of the time they swung at a Greinke pitch - this year that number is 87%.  To put it in perspective, that 77% ranked him 17th in the majors.  This season, that 87% number ranks him 105th out of the 115 pitchers who qualify for the ERA title.

Finally, there is a stat called FIP, which stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, which takes in all pitcher stats and spits out a number that is a projection of what you would expect the pitcher's ERA to be in a generic park with an average defense behind him.  Last year, Greinke's FIP was 2.33.  This year, it's 3.45.

In conclusion, although Zack Greinke is still a very good pitcher, but so far this year he's been no more than very good - not anywhere near the dominant force he was last season.  Considering he was historically good last year and only managed to win 16 games, he's going to be lucky to hit 12 this year, which means that us trading him (along with Matt Kemp) for Jason Heyward, Ricky Nolasco, and Jimmy Rollins was definitely the right move.

Also I didn't start researching this to convince myself of that or anything, in case you're wondering.

By the way, prior to tonight A-Rod was 4-6 with 3 home runs against Matt Guerrier.  Can we all please remember this when a bunch of yo-yos start stumping for Gardy as manager of the year?  Please?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Random Stats

No real time to post anything substantial tonight, but here are a few less-publicized stats and the Twins' leader:

POSITION PLAYERS

Lowest percentage of pitches swung at:  Denard Span
Highest percentage of pitches swung at:  Michael Cuddyer
Fewest percentage of pitches seen that are inside the strike zone:  Justin Morneau
Highest % making contact when swinging:  Denard Span
Lowest % making contact when swinging:  Jason Kubel
Highest % of strikes not swung at:  Joe Mauer
Highest Line Drive %:  Mauer
Highest Ground Ball %:  Span
Lowest Ground Ball %:  Morneau
Highest Infield Pop-Up %:  Orlando Hudson
Worst Fastball Hitter:  J.J. Hardy
Best Fastball Hitter:  Morneau
Worst Curveball Hitter:  Mauer
Best Curveball Hitter:  Hudson
Worst Slider Hitter:  Kubel
Best Slider Hitter:  Hudson
Worst Change Up Hitter:  Hardy
Best Change Up Hitter:  Morneau
Best Fielder:  Hudson
Worst Fielder:  Cuddyer (note:  Young and Kubel don't qualify)


STARTERS

Best Fastball:  Nick Blackburn
Worst Fastball:   Scott Baker
Fastest Fastball:  Francisco Liriano
Slowest Fastball:  Carl Pavano
Best Curve:  Baker
Worst Curve:  Kevin Slowey
Best Slider:  Liriano
Worst Slider:  Pavano
Best Change Up:  Pavano
Worst Change Up:  Slowey
Highest Line Drive %:  Slowey
Lowest Line Drive %:  Blackburn
Highest Ground Ball %:  Liriano
Lowest Ground Ball %:  Slowey
Highest Chase Percent:  Slowey
Lowest Chase Percent:  Blackburn
Highest 1st pitch Strike %:  Blackburn
Highest Swing and Miss %:  Baker
Lowest Swing and Miss %:  Blackburn


ALL PITCHERS

Best Fastball:  Ron Mahay
Worst Fastball:   Jesse Crain
Fastest Fastball:  Crain
Slowest Fastball:  Pat Neshek
Best Curve:  Crain
Worst Curve:  Jon Rauch
Best Slider:  Brian Duensing
Worst Slider:  Jose Mijares
Best Change Up:  Rauch
Worst Change Up:  Slowey
Highest Line Drive %:  Alex Burnett
Lowest Line Drive %:  Mijares
Highest Ground Ball %:  Duensing
Lowest Ground Ball %:  Crain
Highest Chase Percent:  Duensing
Lowest Chase Percent:  Burnett
Highest 1st pitch Strike %:  Mijares
Lowest 1st pitch Strike %:  Burnett
Highest Swing and Miss %:  Mahay
Lowest Swing and Miss %:  Blackburn

Are you saying Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?



Monday, May 10, 2010

Gophers ink underwhelming Point Guard

I don't know what it is, but I can't get excited for the big signing of PG Maverick Ahanmisi by the Gophers that happened over the weekend, despite his sweet name.  Maybe it's because we're in the middle of a great baseball season, or maybe it's a hang-over from missing out on Cory Joseph (which does at least save us all from hearing people call him CoJo all year), or maybe it's just because signing non-rated players in the Spring period does nothing for me.

Yes, following in the grand tradition of Oto Osenieks, Maverick is another player not rated by any recruiting service.  Now, that doesn't necessarily mean anything.  Unrated players and low-rated players can certainly develop into good players, or even stars (see:  Hayward, Gordon), but that isn't exactly the norm.  Much more likely is that you are getting a player who will work hard in practice and probably endear himself to the drooling masses of fans with his "hustle", "grit", and whiteness, and who has an absolute top-level upside of having one skill that can help in very specific situations - like Jamal Abu Shamala against Northwestern.

In fact, here are the 0 star players the Gophers have signed since 2002 according to Rivals.com:  Kerry Woolridge, Kevin Payton, Limar Wilson, and Engen Nurumbi.  Does that thrill you?  None of those four even finished out their time with the Gophers, and I can't remember any of them contributing anything outside of some stellar high fives and towel waves. 

Certain things about Maverick sound good.  He's increased his scoring average every year of varsity ball and is described as a good scorer and excellent shooter, but his negatives, from his own mouth, are that he needs to become a better ball-handler and improve his defense.  This is what we wanted as a back-up point guard? 

It would be easier to handle shots like this at Maverick and Oto if there was a solid recruiting class in place to build from, but it is sounding like out of the five players coming in next year, four of them are going to be projects and/or redshirts with Mo Walker the likely lone contributor next season.  I know I've typed this before a few times on this site, and maybe at this point I'm just trying to convince myself, but I'm still willing to give Tubby the benefit of the doubt.  The big difference being that going into the previous two seasons I was already impressed by what Tubby had done, while this season he brings in a bowl full of question marks.

As Homer once said, "Prove me wrong, kids, prove me wrong."

Seriously, if I can't get excited for a guy named Maverick, there must be something seriously wrong.


Week in Review - 5/10/2010

Well the Players Championship was pretty lame.  Nobody within sniffing distance of the lead played well on Sunday with the exception of Tim Clark, letting that weird little midget and his gay-ass long putter to end up taking the win.  I refuse to acknowledge he is awesome despite the fact that I was planning on bestowing that status on whoever won at Sawgrass, because I refuse to compliment anyone who uses a long putter - and little people creep me out.  Also amongst the things done by creepy little people that I won't be acknowledging is Dallas Braden's perfect game against the Rays on Sunday.  To throw a perfecto against that lineup would normally be amazing, but every since his little 12-year-old-boy-like outburst against A-Rod for "stepping on my mount" I can't stand the little guy.  Plus his name is Dallas.

Actually, I suppose I could just put an entry for "Dwarves" in the Who Was Awesome section and talk about these two, but I don't really want to get into it because I have a couple of small friends and I'm not sure what side of the normal/freaky line they fall on.  So let's just ignore these oompa loompas this week and move on.  Agreed?  Agreed.


WHO WAS AWESOME

1.  Nick Blackburn.  Pretty tough to ignore the week Blacky pulled out, going 2-0 with a complete game against Detroit earlier this week and then following it up with seven shutout innings on Sunday against Baltimore.  I really don't know what to make of him.  He doesn't strike anyone out (just 9 this year in 40 innings), but he doesn't walk anybody (11) either, and when he keeps the ball down and gets batters to keep it on the ground he can be very effective, like in that CG against Detroit where he got 22 ground balls to just 11 fly balls.  Of course, when he's bad and batters are hitting the ball in the air, he generally gets shelled.  All said, he's a good middle of the rotation starter, just like every other Twins' pitcher not named Liriano.  In other words, he's good enough to win more than he loses, and with this team's offense should have a solid year.

2.  LeBron James.   Wow, talk about making a statement.  After the Celtics stole game 2 in Cleveland to even the series at 1-1 there was a lot of chatter about how the Celtics were going to win, and the Cavs choked and were likely to choke the series away and blah blah blah.  I'm guessing LeBron heard that, because he absolutely took the Celtics behind the woodshed on Friday and showed them his dark secret.  He scored 21 points in the first quarter on something like 9-11 shooting, grabbed every rebound, and assisted on several other Cav baskets in route to a huge 1st quarter lead that ended up in becoming a huge blowout win.  I've really never seen anything like it.  Against a very good defensive team, James could literally do anything he wanted.  I don't watch a ton of NBA, but now I know what all those NBA dorks are talking about with the "greatest ever" talk.  Just wow.  Of course.....

3.  Rajon Rondo.   Thanks to Rondo, you can't count the Celtics out just yet, because just as when LeBron is on nobody on the Celtics can stop him, the Cavs don't have anyone on their roster who can stop Rondo when he gets it going either.  Paul Pierce absolutely sucked on Sunday, but it didn't matter since Rondo basically became LeBron (who, by the way, gets every single call to the point of embarrassment), putting up 29 points, grabbing 18 rebounds, and dishing 13 assists.  Like James in the previous game, Rondo could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.  And as impressive as LeBron was, there's still a sense that he could do it whenever he wanted and sometimes coasts on his jumper.  With Rondo it was more impressive, because you really got that "raising his game" vibe.  Very fun to watch.

4.  Purdue.  With JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore having put themselves in the NBA draft but not hiring an agent, there was a pretty clear best and worst case scenario here.  If Johnson and Moore stayed in the draft, the Boilers would become Robbie Hummel plus talented question-marks and would likely be a fringe NCAA type team with a Sweet 16 upside and an NIT downside.  If those two pulled out of the draft, the become a national title contender where a Sweet 16 elimination would be a failure.  Since I'm putting this team in the Awesome category, you can probably guess that Moore and Johnson have decided to return.  Actually, with Talor Battle, Mike Davis, and Demetri McCamey all doing the right thing and coming back to school, the Big Ten is only losing Evan Turner and that dumbass Manny Harris to early entry.  Great.  I love it when the conference gets stronger.

5.  Vladimir Guerrero.  Monster week for Vlad.  It seemed like every time I was watching Sportscenter they were showing a Vlad home run this week.  And he certainly was ripping the ball, hitting .360 and slugging .840 this week with 4 home runs and 13 ribbies in the 7 games, probably because he's feeling threatened by the awesomeness that is Justin Smoak.  Whether it's Smoak-related, the change of scenery to Tejas, or health related, it's working.  After a disastrous 2009 where he hit just .295 and OPSed .794 with 15 home runs (all career worsts) , his stats this year are at a much more robust .348 average with an OPS of .941, numbers much more suited to his prime years.  Ponce de Leon was wrong.  The Fountain of Youth isn't in Florida.  It's in Texas.  At the Alamo.  In the Basement.



WHO SUCKED

1.  Clayton Kershaw.   Kershaw, a big-time SP propect for the Dodgers, had a very, very nice season last year - his second in the bigs.  He was just 8-8, which doesn't really matter, and in 171 innings pitched he allowed just 119 hits while striking out 185.  Those are pretty incredible numbers, which makes his struggles this year even more confusing.  Going into Sunday he was sporting a 4.99 ERA this year (it was 2.79 last season) and a WHIP of 1.70 (it was 1.23 last year), and he hit his nadir (at least thus far) in a disaster of an outing last week against Milwaukee, where he lasted just 1 and 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and seven runs before getting yanked.  I've watched Kershaw pitch a couple of times, and the kid has electric stuff.  I'm not sure what the issue is, but I'm sure he'll get it figured out and start making morons look like fools at the plate again soon.  Or he's in a death spiral and will be out of the league in two years.  Since he actually bounced back with a really nice outing on Sunday and out-dueled Ubaldo, I'm betting against the death spiral thing.

2.  Atlanta..   Starting with the Hawks, who are now down 0-3 to the Magic, and haven't even been close in a game yet, losing by 43, 14, and 30, and I literally watched three Hawks watch a missed Orlando three pointer bounce right back to the shooter, then continue watching as he waltzed in for an uncontested dunk.  They can't shoot either, with their best shooting performance in the three games has been just 40%, and "star" Joe Johnson has practically torn-up the max contract someone was going to give him this offseason by chucking it up some stinkers:  10 pts (4-11 shooting) and 5 TOs in game 1, 5-16 shooting and just 2 rebounds in game 2, and just 8 points on 3-15 shooting in game 3.  He's helped to guarantee that this is the most boringest series of the most boringest NBA playoffs ever.  Seriously, three of the four series suck.  At least Phoenix/LA and Cleveland/Orlando should make for a pretty good Final Four - as long as LA doesn't win again.  And although the Braves haven't been terrible, they did toss out a couple of clunkers this week.  First, they almost get perfected by Scott Olsen on Tuesday, and then on Friday night they let old man Moyer toss a complete game two-hitter against them, just his second shutout in the last seven years.  And don't forget, this is the team that was no-hit by Ubaldo earlier this season as well.  The Braves might not be a horrible team overall, but at their worst, they hit like a collection of nine Puntos.  Or Kubels, at this point, jesus.

3.  Tiger Woods.   Well he made the cut at the Players, which is good, but had to withdraw in the middle of the fourth round due to a neck injury, which is bad.  And his swing right now is all kinds of F'd up.  Not only can he not hit a fairway to save his life (he only 6 last week at Quail Hollow), but he can't hit for distance either - he was dead last in driving distance this week at just 258 yards.  Seriously, Brad Faxon thinks Tiger hits the ball like a girl.  Clearly, he rushed himself back a bit early, and if he's smart he'll shut it down for a bit and maybe target the PGA Championship for his return.  Of course, he won't be able to stay away from the rest of the majors, at a minimum, but I really think he needs to take a lot of time, and get himself back into the same shape he was before his wife lost her mind.  He's at a very interesting crossroads, that's for sure.  Can't wait to see how this goes down. 

4.  San Antonio Spurs.  Speaking of boring series, I knew the Spurs window was closing, but I wasn't expecting it be slammed shut on their fingers with a 4-0 sweep by the Suns.  I guess when, except for a couple of guys, every contributor on the team is either old or white Father Time can catch up pretty quickly.  You might be tempted to chalk it up to the fact that they were playing the Suns and their unusual-ish style, but the Spurs have basically owned the Spurs over the years.  Getting swept by the Sun in round 2 is probably more damaging and soul-baring than getting swept in the first round by the Mavs would have been.  Realistically, they can hold on and be a non-threatening playoff team for a couple of years, but if they're smart it's time to start trying to get all the value they can out of whichever pieces they can move, otherwise they'll be looking at a long fall down the line.

5.  Jason Kubel.  As you probably know, I am Kubel's biggest fan.  However, he is starting to lose even me, going just 3-15 this week and is still hitting just .209 this year and is still sitting on two home runs - the same amount as Orlando Hudson.  He's still walking, which shows he hasn't completely lost it, and he isn't striking out significantly more often, but he just isn't hitting.  I haven't seen a lot of hard hit balls right at people or miraculous plays to rob hits, it's more a bunch of super weak tappers at infielders and infield pop ups (he's doubled his IF popup % from last year) and he's now losing at-bats to Thome.   I know one of these days he'll be back, and when he does he's going to be white hot, you can count on it.  I just don't know when.  So I'm going to try to jump start his season for him - we'll be benching him in fantasy this week.  That practically guarantees he's going to break out.  Or at least he better.  I don't want to have to burn my Kubel shirt.  It cost me like fifteen bucks.


Finally I'd like to add a couple more people that are awesome in honor of Mother's Day:  Mama W and Grandma W.  You both rock, and have been a huge influence on the person I have become.

Shame on you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Random Thoughts whilst watching the Twins game

-  Hey Punto, when you end up on the ground after throwing the ball all the way from the infield grass over to first base you don't look like a gritty hustler, you look like a moron.

-  Text from Snacks at the game:  "I'm actually watching Matt Wieters in person.  He looks 10 feet tall."  Seems low.

-  Hey Bert, when Miguel Tejada slides into first base on a close play on a grounder, you shouldn't laud him for being a great leader for a young team at age 35.  First, he's from Latin America which means he's probably closer to 40, and second, sliding into first is literally one of the dumbest things you can do on a baseball field.  For an ex-player you are insanely dumb.

-  You know what makes me feel really grown up and classy?  The fact that I'm sitting here drinking Captain Cokes.  After this maybe I'll just wash it down with some Coors Lights from the fridge.  I can't decide if I feel more college or more trailer.

-   Do you realize that both Ron Coomer and Dan Gladden are affiliated with the Twins in some sort of broadcast capacity?  Don't you want to look for maybe more, I don't know, cerebral ex-players to fill these roles?  I get Bert, because he's very friendly and personable in both real life and on the broadcast, so his dumb little things he says are almost endearing, but Coomer and Gladden drive me crazy.  Especially Gladden.  The Dazzle Man?  The Dazzle Man?  Dear god, why?

-  So apparently on the broadcasts now they do a "Legendary Performance on this date in Twins' history" thing.  Tonight's was from 2008, when Joe Mauer doubled in the top of the ninth to break up Gavin Floyd's no-hitter - a game the Sox won 7-1.  Seriously?  That's the best thing you could find on this date in Twins' history?  Something that the White Sox could use as a legendary performance on this date in their history?  Or is this just a Joe Mauer thing?  Like, every day they have to say something Mauer did once?  So maybe tomorrow it could be "On this date in 2007 Joe Mauer actually played catcher in a day game following a night game."  Awesome.

-  I somehow missed Wieters second at-bat.  How is he 0-2?  Is Carl Pavano now Warren Spahn?  What's happening here?

-  Kubel almost got a hit!  That would have made him 2-2!  Yep, facing Brad Bergeson cures all.

-  Did you know Alexi Casilla has stole 29 bases out of 32 attempts in his career?  That's incredible.   And just now FSN flashed that same stat up, thus meaning I wasted my time looking it up on my own.  Thanks, dicks.

-  Even with that success rate, however, in the five pitches they threw Punto (which ended in him, yes, sliding headfirst into first base) they didn't send him.  Know why?  Wieters.

-  Don't you find it awfully fishy that Dick and Bert get the daily trivia question right like, 99% of the time?  I'm pretty sure if you came up to them on the street and asked who was the all-time leader in home runs they wouldn't be able to get it, yet they just nailed all four Oriole managers since Ron Gardenhire took over.  Suspicious.

-  Bert now whining about how so many players who have hit more HRs than Harmon Killebrew are "tainted."  Then he said Jim Thome "has no taint."  I'll leave that one alone.

-  Wieters with a great at-bat, falling behind 0-2 and then fighting back to work a walk.  Guy is just solid.  Like Jesus.  Just a solid dude.

-  Brad Bergeson entered tonight's game with an ERA of 10.57 and a WHIP of 2.22 over 5 starts.  He hadn't even made it to the sixth at any point this season, and got ripped by teams like Seattle and Toronto.  He was so bad he was sent to triple-A at one point this year.  He is so bad, I just realized I've been spelling his name wrong this whole time.  And yet, he's now shut the Twins out through six and allowed just five hits.  Jesus, talk about an emotional hangover after sweeping Detroit.

-   The Twins trying to hit Bergeson is like Audrina trying to look like less than a perfect 10.  Futile.

-  Well, they finally chased Bergeson, and we now have two on and two out in a 2-0 game with Morneau up facing some fat lefty they just brought in.  Since Morneau is on my fantasy team, I'm going to predict a weak ground-out.

-  Well, he got him 0-2 and then walked him.  You might say that Morneau is very Wieters-like in his ability to work the count.

-  And Thome strikes out with the bases loaded, still 2-0 Orioles.  They should have signed Jermaine Dye instead.

-  This is a really impressive outing for Pavano.  8 ips, 6 hits, 8 Ks.  Other than that home run to Wiggington he's been basically flawless.  On a related note, did you know Wigginton has 10 home runs this year?  How can that even be possible?  His career high is 24, and now he's on pace to hit 50.  Probably a roids guy.  Also, did you know he finished 8th in the rookie of the year voting in 2003?  You probably didn't.  That's why I'm here.  I'm an educator.  You're welcome.

-  Funny story.  You know that MacGruber movie that's coming out that is based on those terrible SNL sketches and seems like the worst thing you've ever heard of and how could anybody be dumb enough to make that movie?  Yeah, it's currently at 100% at Rotten Tomatoes.  It's only 7 reviews so far, but every single one has been positive.  I have no idea how this can be.  I'm flummoxed.  Also flummoxing is Jason Kubel's sudden inability to hit.

-  Text from Grand Slam:  "Is Tejada a Hall-of-Famer?"  My gut says no, so I decided to check out his actual numbers to be more accurate.  According to the Black Ink and Grey Ink tests on baseball reference (these evaluate a player based on leading the league in things or top 5) he's not even close, but according to Bill James' HOF Monitor test, which awards points for hitting over .300 or 30 home run season and such, he should be.  Looking at his career, he has had some seriously monster seasons (including a 150 rbi year) and has gotten an MVP vote in 8 different seasons, including winning one in 2002 (not even his 150 rbi year).  Being an offensive force at a position like SS definitely helps his cause.  He's third all-time in HRs by a SS and 6th in RBI.  I don't think he's got enough to get in, but he'll be an interesting case.

-  Alfredo Simon in to get the save, and lucky for him he gets to start with Casilla and Punto.  This guy is super hittable/walkable.  If I were the Twins I'd make sure to come back and win this game.  You just can't lose to the O's.

-  Ground out, Ground out, Ground out.  Game over, and the Orioles have shut out your precious Twins.

Season over.

-   God the NBA is boring.  Or at least this Orlando/Atlanta series is.

-  Jamarcus Russell was straight up cut by Oakland?  Man, I don't use this often because it's stupid but L.O.L.  I did hear a story on the radio today about how coaches always prepare a DVD of the game plan for the next game and give it to the QBs to study, and the Oakland coaches suspected that Russell wasn't watching it.  So one week they gave him a blank DVD, and then asked him what he thought of it and his answer was "it looks pretty good."  Seriously though, if he didn't blow through his money like a typical athlete, he's set.  He got $31.5 million in guaranteed money, so if he just lived even remotely frugally he'd be set for life and he would have hardly ever gotten tackled.  He could just chill for the rest of his life and never have to work again.  Of course, I'm going to assume he owns like 8 cars and has 6 kids and is probably already close to broke and we'll hear about him robbing a liquor store in three years, but I'm a stereotyper like that.

-  I just read that Russell's cousin is Marshawn Lynch.  Wow.  That family really has their shit together.

-  Also, he was actually better than both Ryan Leaf, and Akili Smith.  God there have been some really bad quarterbacks (Spergon Wynn).  And this is also a super boring conversation so I'm just going to stop now.

-  Before I go, I want to let you know that Justin Smoak went yard again today.  ROY (unless they give it to Wieters, even though it's his second year).

-  Jenna Fischer is still hot.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

****OFFICIAL WIETERS TRACKER****

HOME RUNS:
Matt Wieters:  4
Joe Mauer:  1

$/HR:
Wieters: $100k
Mauer:  $12.5 million



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Think We're Alone Now (Live Movie Blog)

Alright, it's time.  I know I haven't done a live movie blog in a while, and I figure it's time to break it out again.  I'm sitting here with some Red Stripe and looking for something to watch and it's time to break out the big gun.  Yep, we're going with "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus."  I've been sitting on this since I Tivo'd it in January because the title is just too perfect and I'm afraid I'm going to be let down.  Then again, with a title like that it might also be the type of flick that doesn't take itself seriously, and that would suck too.  I don't want to rip on self-aware crap movies, I want ones that actually think they're good.  Let's find out what we have here together.

-  Looks like we're getting started in the great frozen north which is where I'm guessing someone is going to thaw out a giant prehistoric shark.  But more importantly, the opening credits inform me that our leads are Deborah Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas.  Yes, that Debbie Gibson.  Also yes, that Lorenzo Lamas, but you probably knew that part.

-  They just showed a giant sheath of ice sliding off a glacial wall, which basically guarantees that they are going to end up blaming global warming in some way for this.  Great.  Nothing like getting a political statement from a crappy B movie, especially considering the science they usually use in these is less accurate than your average Delmon Young throw to the plate.

-  On on mother effing cue, they show us a school of Hammerheads allegedly swimming around in Alaskan waters.  God damn it, people.  Hammerheads are tropical.  I'm almost positive they only shark you'd find in Alaskan waters is the Greenland Shark.  Why not just show some Greenland sharks?  Lazy stupid morons.  At least attempt to get it right.  I know I'm a nerd, but even a minimum amount of research would tell you that you would never, ever, ever find a hammerhead anywhere near Alaska.  It just makes me so mad.

-  We're two minutes in.  Two minutes.  And now they show us reef sharks and manta rays.  In Alaska.  Frozen Alaskan waters.  Reef sharks, manta rays, and hammerheads.  How about you just toss in a tropical coral reef or the Loch Ness monster.  At this point you've already destroyed your credibility.  This is almost as bad as that goblin shark movie.

- Huh, Debbie Gibson is actually a halfway decent actress.  She doesn't have much to work with here already.  For example, some army guy dropped some kind of sonar bomb into the alaskan ocean and it's forcing this bunch of whales to start ramming glaciers.  Uh oh and oh noes they rammed so much ice so effectively that they freed both a mega-shark and a giant octopus who were frozen in their endless struggle through eternity.  I am going to go ahead and assume these are the titular creatures.  Heh, titular.

-  Oooh, and right away the giant octopus attacks an oil drilling platform and crushes it to death.  That is a really, really big octopus.  Also to the best of my knowledge no giant octopus like that ever existed.  I can't confirm for sure since I'm just a shark nerd and not an octopus nerd, but based on this movie's complete disregard for factual scientific science I'm going to assume they made that all up.

-  They just found a dead whale basically bitten in half and the guy who is going to turn out to be the stuffy professor who never believes there's a giant shark says it was killed by a boat propeller.  Based on the size of half of the whale, the boat would have had to the size of Rhode Island to have propellers that big.  Also, the whole "it wasn't a shark it was a boating accident" thing was already done by Jaws, and every other shark-related movie since.  At least be original in your crappiness.

-  Debbie Gibson just jedi mind-tricked some security guard so she could get into some random giant tent and examine the dead whale body.  Damn what the rules say!  She's a rebel.  She's also singing to the whale "I Think We're Alone Now."

-   Some asian with glasses is yelling at some other asian with a goatee.

-   Oh for the love of god.  The giant shark just lept out of the ocean to grab and eat a plane.  I don't even know where to start with this.  First, the plane had just broken cloud cover which means the shark jumped a minimum of 5,000 feet in the air.  Second, the shark was at least 5 times longer than the plane, despite the fact that the biggest estimate for a Megalodon would put it at about a quarter of the length of a 747.  Finally, why the hell would a just de-frozen shark jump up in the air and grab a plane when it has had no learnings that plane = food.  Plus, a shark that size wouldn't be interested in people because sharks need to eat high amounts of fat from like whales and seals and stuff, and I am pretty sure metal isn't high in fat content.

-  I take it back.  Debbie Gibson is not a good actress.  She should stick to posing in playboy.  Google is your friend.

-  Now the asian guy with glasses is meeting with Debbie and her mentor science guy who is being played by a guy who reminds me of the guy from Cocktail and has the same accent.  Remember in that movie when Elisabeth Shue took her top off?  She was awesome.

-  So Asian guy thinks the thing killing stuff is an Octopus, while Debbie and Cocktail guy think it's a shark.  OMG THEY'RE BOTH RIGHT!  TWO PRESHISTORIC CREATURES UNLEASHED UPON THE WORLD SIMULTANEOUSLY!!

-  I was going to write about something else that just happened but then, just now as predicted, Debbie gives us this "The Polar Ice Caps are melting so rapidly, maybe this is our comeuppance."  THANK YOU MOVIE!  I WILL NOW REPENT MY LIFE AND BUY AN ELECTRIC SCOOTER AND COOK MEALS OVER AN OPEN FLAME!  YOU HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE!

-  This is a really god-damned stupid movie.

-  The shark just killed a navy battle ship, but they couldn't be bothered to show anything to us because they're stupid and cheap.  Instead it would show the shark swimming, kind of, in some of the worst CGI I've ever seen (comparable to Etch-A-Sketch) and then cut to some army guys in a room that was shaking.  Do that three times, then cut to head army guy yelling "noooooooooooooo" and then fade to black.  Thanks a lot.  That was super entertaining.  I hope Aquaman shows up and kills everybody dead.

-  Asian guy with glasses just now compared the two creatures to Hurricane Katrina.  I can't decide if that's offensive, and since I'm not affiliated with and really wasn't affected by the hurricane, I'm just going to chalk it up as being unfunny instead.  Which once again proves that asians aren't funny.

-  Shocking.  Military guy wants to destroy the creatures, while the Sciencey people want to study them.  Just like every animal destruction movie ever.  And did I really say Debbie Gibson was a good actor, earlier?  I need to be gut-punched.

-  Do you think Wilson Ramos is more like the next Johnny Bench or the next Mickey Cochrane?  Nevermind, I'm being silly.  He's the next Matt Wieters.  Who, by the way, has 3x the home runs of your precious Joe Mauer.  Since HRs are the only really viable way to evaluate a hitter, I'd say it's clear Wieters is tops.  Other than Ramos.

-  Asian guy is now telling some sob story about how he has always wanted to be a marine biologist ever since he saw a dolphin get killed in a net when he was a kid but his family all wanted him to follow in his footsteps.  I didn't catch what it was they wanted him to be, but I'm going to assume ping-pong player.  And now he's humping Debbie Gibson.  Clearly she's pretty easy if that story worked.  Eww Debbie.

-  Since we're talking about studs, guess how many AL third-basemen have a better batting average than Evan Longoria?  Zero.  Guess how many have a better OBP.  Zero.  Guess how many have a better SLG.  Zero.  Plus, he'll steal your girlfriend.  Such a pimp.

-  Some fighter guy like Maverick or Goose just got slapped out of the air by an octopus tentacle, which means I guess nobody learned anything from the plane that got eaten by the shark earlier.  Also, since I'm sure you want to know how awesome it looked, it was a screen of a plane, then a shot of a tentacle, then the guy inside the plane with red flights flashing and him yelling.  Then they cut to the people in the big ship running this whole operation and they were all sad.  This movie rocks.

-  Nice pony-tail, Lamas. 

-  I still don't get the switch from Sci Fi Channel to SyFy Channel.  I mean, you're basically going to get two reactions - either irritation or indifference, so what's the point?  Not really seeing an upside here.  This is the worst marketing decision since they eliminated Crystal Pepsi.

-  For a movie about a giant shark and a giant octopus (which doesn't and never has existed) there has been a stunning lack of footage of said monsters.  And not the good kind of tension building keeping the monster hidden like in Jaws, the bad kind.  Like that one time I accidentally watched a male model show - The girls never came!  The girls never came!

-  They're doing something with pheremones to attract the monsters or something, but for some reason these pheremones are a glowing fluorescent green, like the ooze from TMNT.  Oh my god!  Maybe it is the ooze, and when the octo and shark meet up and fight they'll break the container and the ooze will spill everywhere and create a giant Shark/Octopus hybrid!  That would be the greatest thing ever!  Please let this happen.  Or at least turn Lamas into some human/shark creature.  He'd probably be more articulate.

-  I've never watched a movie that utilized shaky camerawork more often.  It's worse than the Blair Witch Project.  More like if the Blair Witch Project was filmed by Michael J Fox.  Or any movie, really.

-  Sweet jesus.  The shark somehow disappeared from the radar of the navy battleship which is currently attempting to shoot it with torpedos.  We've already established this thing is at least 200 feet long.  Nice radar.  Must be american-made.  Oh, there is is.  It ate the ship, and then it ate the Golden Gate Bridge.  I'm assuming we're not in Alaska anymore, but with the fact-finding and accuracy we've seen in this movie who the hell knows.  I'm guessing it'll go after Big Ben next.  Not Roethlisberger.  He'd probably hump it while it tried to get away.

-  The  new plan is to drop nukes into San Francisco Bay (the shark) and somewhere in Tokyo that I don't remember (the octopus) in order to "avoid a global catastrophe."  I don't even know where to begin.

-  Awesome.  Now they are going to try to get them to fight and kill each other instead, because "Sharks and Octopi are natural enemies."  Good lord.  This seriously puts every other one of these movies to shame, even that one with the Baldwin brother.  Don't worry, I'll be back with another one after this.   I have something called "Mega Piranha" waiting for me.  Hard to get a better title than that.

-  I'm really sick of fantasy baseball.  Our pitchers just keep getting Greinke'd.  First off, we have Greinke, who has a 2.27 ERA and zero wins.  Then tonight, Cole Hamels goes 8 innings, gives up 1 run, no win.  Last night Mike Leake pitched a gem and got nothing.  It's not fair.  We have the best team by far (Wieters AND Longoria) by are just 2-2 because of cheaters and cheating and bad luck.  We should be 5-0, even though it's only been four weeks.  Yep, we're that good.

-  By the way, I really wanted to like V, but I just couldn't get into it.  I feel like I'm insulting my childhood.  Then again, a certain recent remake of a certain awesome classic kind of destroyed it already.  Unfortunately, I can't elaborate.

-  I see Wilson Ramos is 0-3 with a K right now tonight.  I know a little bit of regression to the mean is inevitable, but if he doesn't end up hitting at least .500 this year, I think you have to consider his season a failure.

-  I'm thinking Gardy should have stuck with his unbreakable routine and brought in Rauch to finish the game.  Oops.  (I'm getting back to the movie, I swear).

-  $20 says this movie ends with another message about the evils of global warming.

-  Debbie and Asian guy just had a really touching conversation via video computer phone.  He's apparently in Asian now which I guess makes sense, but they're in love or something which doesn't.  And their romantic talk involved some quote from my guy Julius Caesar, but it was a pretty gay one.  The whole thing was awful.  Kind of gave me a hankerin' for watching Anakin and Padme.

-  Mmmmmmmmmmmm.....Padme.  Remember in the second movie how the somehow manages to rip her shirt just perfectly to get some nice mid-riff action?  I couldn't decide if that was awesome or stupid, and I still can't decide.  I know I didn't complain though.


-  Ok, so if you're going to make a movie with two giant sea creatures, and advertise in your title that you have two giant sea creatures, do me a favor and have some kind of a special effects budget so most of the time you can show the creature instead of just shake a camera and when you do show it it doesn't look like it's out of Super Mario Brothers.  Seriously, the octopus looks just like this:

 -  I quite literally have no idea what is going on anymore, but Debbie Gibson just punched some dude out (unfortunately not Lamas.  or the Asian guy) and then somebody said "Ice Wall!  Right Ahead!" which I think was supposed to be an homage to Titanic.  This is pretty surreal.  But not in a good way in the least.

-  So the Shark and Octopus are fighting, just like in Debbie's master plan (as natural enemies are wont to do), and they're actually showing the fight.  Sort of.  They're also using the shaking camera manuever, and when they do show them it looks like something I could create in the bathtub using Wonderbaby's toys pretty easily.  And she doesn't even have an octopus.

-  How do they keep losing the creatures on their radar?  This is about the fourth or fifth time.  Way to keep going back to the same plot device over and over again.  And, speaking of, we now have more shaking cameras.  I really can't stress enough how prevalent this has been.  This movie is as predictable as a Jesse Crain outing.  As shaky, too.

-  The octopus from Super Mario just squeezed the asian guy in half, but $50 says he shows up again because he and Debbie are in love and we need a happy ending to get us all through the day and our pathetic lives.  Also I'm betting we aren't getting any TMNT ooze ending, which is a total bummer.

-  I think they're looping the footage from the octo/shark fight.

-  And the two creatures actually managed to kill each other, which is obviously super realistic.  And there's asian guy to give us a little more Anakin-level banter in case you needed a little more.  Just fantastic.  I've seen a lot of crappy movies, but this is the worst.  Other than Jumper.

-  And we're set up for a sequel, because some old guy just gave our heros a file and said "here's something else" or some similar line.  They better not be in Piranha.  I can't take it again.

-  Well there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed this, because I sure as hell didn't, and I'm once again questioning why I keep doing this to myself.  It must be for you, because I love you.  Seriously, though, if I have to juice between a Giant Shark and a Giant Octopus, I'm going with crab juice.

-  And just so this night isn't a total loss, here is a picture Snake snapped of a guy who was sitting near us at the Twins game we went to on Monday.  I'm not even going to go with any commentary, I think it speaks for itself.