Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Check this Out

While watching Denard Span single-handedly beat the Tigers, I had a thought.

Here are Joe Mauer's numbers going into tonight:  .300 avg, .378 OBP, .428 slugging, 3 HRs, 34 RBI.

Sound at all familiar.  It should.  Let's extrapolate those numbers to the rest of the season, and then compare them against a prominent catcher from the team's past:

Yes, that's right.  Your precious Joe Mauer's is putting up nearly identical numbers to Brian Harper's 162-game averages while he was a Twin, only with less power and more walks.

The Twins have committed $23 million a year to Brian Harper with chicken-arms.  And sadly, that $23 mil is more than the real Brian Harper made in his entire career (best season = $2.5 mil). 

Not only that, but he gave the world two amazing gifts:

1.  His only begotten son, Bryce, a blessed deity inhabiting a human body, who was sent to the Washington Nationals to lead them out of the shadow of satan (Cristian Guzman).

2.  That sweet stache.

So really, who should be making the $23 million here?

This nerd:

Or this obvious lady-killer:

Choose Wisely.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week in Review - 6/28/2010




1.  The World Cup.  I'm not a soccer fan, not really at all, but I really, truly dig the World Cup.  All these countries, battling to be the king of the most popular sport in the world, and the more I watch, the more I understand.  I now know the difference between a good, legal tackle and a foul.  I now know a lot of the strategies involved, including the cross and various versions of the give and go, and I knew enough to know that once Ghana scored it would be very difficult for the U.S. to tie it up, so when they did on Landon Donovan's penalty kick I knew enough to know it was pretty incredible (and on a related note, I also now know why a commenter on this blog who posted a lot about soccer used the handle "L. Cakes.")

Will I continue to be interested in soccer after the World Cup is over?  Almost certainly not.  Will I keep watching even though the U.S. has been eliminated?  You bet.  I'm even at the point where I understand all that passing around the mid-field area.  Seriously, if you can't enjoy the World Cup, you might want to re-evaluate yourself as a sports fan.  And probably as a person, too.

2.  Carl Pavano.  At the time when the rest of the Twins' starters are pitching as if they've gone retarded, creepy mustachioed man Carl Pavano is coming to the rescue, much as Super Mario comes to the rescue of the Princess whether she has been kidnapped by a giant, barrel throwing, mechanically inclined monkey or a giant, fire-breathing, axe-wielding turtle dragon.  A nice little complete game shut-out on Saturday to stop the season death-spiral of doom was just what Dr. Mario ordered, and is the second complete game he's spun in a row.  Pavano actually has shockingly good numbers this year.  His ERA of 3.33 is 16th in the AL, and his WHIP of 1.03 is second behind just future Twin Cliff Lee.  I'll do a more thorough breakdown of why Pavano is so frickin' good and if I think it will continue or is just fluky in a future post, but for now I suspect he either ate a mushroom or some kind of fireball flower.

3.  Edwin Jackson.  It doesn't really matter that he walked 8 guys, and it doesn't matter that it took 149 pitches, a no-hitter is a no-hitter.  And a no-hitter against the Rays is an awfully nice feather to place in one's cap, if one was so inclined.  I've featured Jackson on here before for being awesome, and he's just been out of this world lately.  After running up a record of 3-6 with a 6.03 ERA during the first two months of the season and causing people such as myself to wonder if he was a lost cause.  Well, now in June he's , all topped off by this no-hitter.

Of course, 149 pitches is ridiculous, and now he'll probably get lit up like a Blackburn the next couple of times out.  Then he'll be put on the 15-day DL with "arm soreness" or "dead arm."  He'll come back and get lit up again, and then will be shut down for the year.  Then it will come out that he needs offseason surgery on his arm and he'll miss a full year.  Then when he comes back his fastball will have lost about 5 mph and he won't be an effective starter.  He'll reinvent himself as a mediocre middle reliever and hang on for a couple years before ending up in the Northern League for a couple years.  But hey, at least got the no-hitter.  Sweet.

4.  R.A. Dickey.  What the hell?  I mean seriously, what is going on?  Dickey, after tossing eight shut-out innings on Wednesday against the Tigers, is now 6-0 with an ERA of 2.33 and a WHIP of 1.29 since joining the Mets rotation in mid-May.  Carlos Silva is 8-0 for the Cubs with an ERA of 3.01 and a WHIP of 1.05.  Livan Hernandez is 6-4 with an ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP of 1.28.  What do these three have in common, other than their ex-Twinness?  Well, for one, they are all three putting up better numbers that Matt Garza so far (8-5, 4.10, 1.31), the only ex-Twin starter I thought I would miss.  For two, they'd make a better 3-4-5 than Baker, Slowey, and Blackburn right now, and it's not even close.  I still believe these guys are going to regress, and regress hard, but I've been believing that for two months.  For now, I'll just say this is a bunch of crap, but it doesn't change the fact that Baker/Slowey/Blackburn suck.  We need some kind of nickname for these dickfors.  Like, the Sucktastic Three or something.   

5.  White Sox.  I know I mentioned them in this space last week, but the run continues and they are suddenly just X.X games out of first place.  Last week you could chalk up to a scheduling fluke since they swept the Pirates and Nationals, but this week included a sweep over the Braves, and that's no joke.  A joke would be "A woman goes to check out at the Super Market, and puts a carton of eggs, a package of bacon, a gallon of milk, and some butter on the conveyor.  The checkout guy looks at her groceries, looks at her, and says with conviction, 'You're definitely single.'  She looks at the guy and says, 'Wow, you could tell that just from four items I bought at the grocery store?'  He replies, "No, it's because you're f*cking ugly."

Anyway the Sox pitching is suddenly really awesome (particularly Peavy) and they're probably going to win the division after they end up trading for Prince Fielder.


1.  Twins.  Really no other way to say it, these guys sucked balls this week.  A 1-5 road trip against a couple of middling National League teams?  Ugh.  And with the Tigers still playing well and the Sox nearly as hot as Alice Eve, we've got yet another three team barn burner in the central.  I really wish you could point to just one issue, but suddenly it's everything.  The pitching is completely mediocre, but giving up an average of 5.5 runs per game should lead to more than one win if you have a good offense - but suddenly they don't, scoring an average of just 2.5 runs per game themselves.

Getting shutdown by Yovani Gallardo is one thing - it sucks, but it's acceptable - and I guess Pelphrey has somehow become decent, but Manny Parra?  Jon frickin' Niese?  Special shout-out to Cuddy Bear for hitting .167 this week with no power and 3x as many strikeouts as hits.  Although to be fair, that might not be Cuddy's fault, since there was apparently a mandate that came down from high against hitting with any kind of power, since nobody bothered to this week unless they were going against Johan.  Apparently unless Carl Pavano comes to the rescue (see above comparison), this team is screwed.  Might as well not even bother trading for Lee.  Just becoming sellers and pick up some prospects.    

2. Timberwolves. Seriously, what the hell? The more I think about this draft the more upset I get. Wes Johnson is fine and was the obvious and necessary pick at #4, but after that they end up with another wing who has been in the league for five years and proved himself to be pretty mediocre, an undersized power forward, and two Euros? Euros never work out, everybody knows this. The success rate is like 4%. How would this have sounded instead: Johnson, James Anderson, Jordan Crawford, Soloman Alabi, and Derrick Caracter? Or Johnson, Anderson, Hassan Whiteside, Terrico White, and Gani Lawal? Either of those scenarios could have happened last night, with the trade of pick #23 or not. Instead they got the ball rolling with the insane trade of Luke Babbitt and Ryan Gomes for Martell Webster, and just kept doing baffling things all night. Gomes' contract is a valuable asset because it isn't guaranteed, why thrown him in on a deal that's probably already slanted against you? Why I expected anything more, I have no idea.

3.  Tommy Hanson.  There are bad games, and then there are epic bad games (hi Nick Blackburn).  Hanson's outing on Tuesday was essentially the quintessential definition of "getting the shit ripped out of him."  Three and two-thirds innings pitched, 13 hits allowed, 9 runs allowed.  13 hits.  An average of more than three per inning.  Nick Blackburn's worst outing was nowhere near this bad.  "But wait!", you say, "Blackburn had back-to-back crappy outings, surely he is worse than Hanson."  Not so fast my uninformed friends.  Hanson pitched again on Sunday, and again lasted just three and two-thirds innings, this time surrendering six runs on eight hits.  An improvement.  At this rate he might last past the fifth inning by sometime in August.  It's a deadheat betwixt him and Blackburn for the Livan Hernandez award for worst starter who keeps getting the ball (a fluky Livan year does not change the name of the award.)   

4.  Italy (and France).  Defending champions?  Ousted.  Dirty frenchies?  Heading home in complete disarray.  No, I'm not an expert or even a novice when it comes to soccer analysis so I can't and won't really try to break down any of this, but these teams were both expected to, at the very least, advance to the knockout stage.  But they didn't, with France losing to both South Africa and Mexico and Italy losing to Slovakia and tying Paraguay (ok) and New Zealand (mind-boggling) to finish last in their group.  Seeing how soccer is the #1 sport over there, and the World Cup is the by far biggest event, I'm guessing there are a lot of wine drinkers not very happy right now.  Seriously, in Italy they have taps for wine right next to the beer taps.  Crazy.

[UPDATE:  I'm going to go ahead and throw England in here too, since I'm watching them get destroyed by Germany in the first knockout round.  Good god, they play defense like the Golden State Warriors.]

5.  A.J. Burnett.  At this point we almost have to assume he's actively trying to sabotage the Yankees, right?  In his two starts this week, Burnett lasted just seven combined innings, giving up 15 hits and 13 earned runs with an 8-to-9 walk-to-strikeout ratio.  And he certainly didn't waste any time setting the tone for the week, giving up three home runs in the first inning of his first start (against Arizona).  He's striking out about a third less batters this year than in previous years, giving up about 25% more home runs, and allowing batters to hit about .030 higher.  Oh, and he's lost a full mile per hour off his fastball, and it's by far his worst pitch, but since he's lost confidence in his curve for some reason he's throwing it far more often.  Which would explain why he continues to get hammered.  That's four out of five starts where he's given up at least six runs, three straight where he's pitched four innings or less, and a season ERA of 5.25, which ranks 51st out of 56 pitchers in the A.L. who qualify (Nick Blackburn is last), and a WHIP of 1.54, which is 49th.  Oh, and he's still owed $66 million over the next four seasons.  And THAT my friends, is really a joke.   

Lastly, I need to make a very, very strong movie review and I'm telling you to go rent She's Out of My League.  Funny throughout with several laugh out loud moments ("I'm sorry, are you a plane doctor?") and really hilarious scenes (bowling), to go along with a super hot chick.  Very strongly recommended.  The anti-Scottie Reynolds of movies, if you will.

Plus, this:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Second Annual DWG NBA Draft Live Blog

Such a weird year.  In case you aren't paying attention, perhaps the best NBA free agent class is about to hit the market.  A class which includes Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudamire, Dirk Nowitszki, Joe Johnson, and Darko Milicic.  Due to that, teams that are positioning themselves to try to make a run at multiple players from the list are shedding salary no matter what it takes.  This week alone the Heat have traded a pretty good young guard (Daequan Cook) and the 18th pick in the first round to actually move down into the second round, all in order to save $3 million, and the Bulls unloaded a very solid player in Kirk Hinrich in a similar deal .  Such a weird year.  Some teams are going to be very disappointed, and second-tier guys like Rudy Gay are going to get overpaid just so the teams that miss out on the real prizes can feel good about themselves. 

I also read that, as the Heat try to shed even more salary, they are looking to trade Michael Beasley.  Since they have to get approximately equal salary back due to the salary cap rules, one guy who they would be very interested in would be the Wolves' Ryan Gomes, who makes about the same amount as Beasley.  The difference is that Gomes money isn't all guaranteed, only $1 million of it is if he's cut, so the Heat would get another $3.5 million under the cap if this happened.  I really, really hope David Kahn has been on the phone with Pat Riley nearly constantly to get this done.

And with that introduction, I bring you the second annual Down with Goldy NBA Draft Live Blog.  Let's begin.

-  Wall and Turner go 1 and 2, no surprise.  I have to say that I'm not quite getting the John Wall thing.  Maybe I caught the wrong games, but he's the most underwhelming consensus #1 pick I can remember in a long time, maybe ever.  Last year, I remember just being blown away by Blake Griffin (insert sad trumpet waaah waah right here) and knowing he deserved to be #1 - clear cut.  I don't feel that way about Wall at all.  I'd actually prefer Turner if I had the #1 pick. 

I'm not exactly sure what it is about Wall I don't like.  He's not a great shooter, but neither was Russell Westbrook, and there's a lot more to his game then other famous bricklayers like T.J. Ford and Jacque Vaughn (and he's not nearly that poor of a shooter).  I guess I'm just not impressed.  Call me an idiot.

-  Favors to NJ at #3, so all the posturing about them taking Wes Johnson was just that, no shock there.  A Favors + Rubio combo would have had some potential to build around.  Assuming Rubio stops being your typical Euro Whiner baby flopper (hi Italy!) and gets over here to play.  "Oh, it's so cold.  Oh it's a small market.  Oh blah blah blah blah SHUT-UP."  We own your white ass, so either buy a nice gortex jacket with some feather lining, or prepare yourself to play the equivalent of single-A league basketball.  Seriously, I'm so sick of this kid.

-  Nobody screwed anything up, and the Wolves get Wes Johnson as expected.  I don't know.  Seems like the kind of guy who is going to be solid but never spectacular, although he's probably one of the best Wolves already.  I still can't shake the feeling that he's more of a half a good player.  Like if you combined him and Corey Brewer altogether you'd have a really good player.  Unfortunately to my knowledge, you can't actually do that.  Yet.

-  DeMarcus Cousins goes #5 to the Kings, joining Tyreke Evans in a move that I'm sure makes John Calipari and World Wide Wes happy, and whoever the coach of the Kings is ready to file his resignation.  Seriously, can you imagine trying to coach those two knuckleheads?  And on cue, there's coach Cal, looking slimy as ever.  And he wants us to know that "this is the biggest day in the history of Kentucky basketball."  Uh, Cal, you can probably go ahead and dial it back a bit.  You know the Wildcats have played fo rkind of a lot of years, right?  And they've won kind of a lot of games?  And a few titles?  Jesus, dude, you're starting to believe you're bigger than Jesus Christ, and remember where that got John Lennon?

-  Cousins' MUST IMPROVE in his profile:  Maturity.

-  Pistons are up for #7 with Greg Monroe on the board after the Warriors went with Ekpe Udoh.  Please please please let the Wolves make one of the rumored trades and get this pick to take Monroe.  Please.

-  A-holes.  So lame.  Monroe's MUST IMPROVE:  Assertiveness.  I heard one time at Denny's, Monroe asked for sausage patties with his Grand Slam, but they brought him sausage links instead.  And he didn't say anything.

-  Clip show take Al-Farouq Aminu, which feels right.  He's super athletic but perhaps a bit unskilled, and is very tweenery between the 3 and the 4.  That feels Clippery, doesn't it?  Although they are putting together a decent team over there.  Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and Chris Kaman isn't a joke.  I don't know who their SF is, because Aminu can't shoot (and Bilas just pointed out that he can only go right - great pick for a wing, just really stellar). 

-  I will give anybody $5 if they can decipher the point of this article by noted retard Pat Reusse.  He's trying to say that the Twins were able to go from terrible to good (true) and now the Timberwolves need to do the same.  He then mentions that a main reason for the turnaround was trading Scott Erickson, Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, and Mark Guthrie.  These are the players the Twins received:  Ron Coomer, Manny Parra, Scott Klingenbeck, and Frankie Rodriguez.  His very next sentence points out how it took the Twins another six years after those trades to get over .500, at which point none of those players were on the Twins' roster any longer.

I would say it was more good drafting and solid player development that turned the Twins' franchise around.  Something that would be an extremely relevant point, especially if one wanted to compare the Twins to the T-Wolves, particularly on the same day as the NBA draft.  Seriously, that guy is a complete dummy.  He's got the intellect of Ox from Saved by the Bell.

-  Utah's gotta go white boy here, right?

-  Right.  It's Gordon Hayward, and I have a feeling this pick is going to pan out in a big way for the Jazz.  He's a very skilled and very smart player who can jump, handle the ball, and he has good size (although he needs to put on weight) and who is more athletic than you'd think.  I think he's got a better chance of becoming an all-star than a couple of the guys who have gone before him (Udoh, Aminu).

-  They just showed Hayward's twin sister.  MUST IMPROVE:  Looks, Chest.

-  Pacers go with Paul George, who I hate because I've never seen a minute of his play, but who I know was a hot commodity due to being of the "workout warrior" type, and those always work out.  Stu Scott informs us that he had originally committed to Pepperdine, but then de-committed and went to Fresno.  Is there any question he was scared of Rico Tucker?

-  NBADraft.net compares George to Trevor Ariza/Danny Granger.  That downside isn't really even that bad.

-  Hornets take Cole Aldrich, in what has to be the least exciting pick ever.  I mean really, can anybody be excited about getting Aldrich?  I know he's an excellent defender and you know he can rebound, but he's really got little to no offensive game, and people don't come to games to watch good defensive footwork.  I think the next time he scores outside of the paint (not counting groupies) it'll be the first time.

-  Memphis goes with Xavier Henry, who is a guy I love as a sleeper.  I know a lot of people think he's little more than blacker Blake Hoffarber in the NBA, but I think he can be really solid.  Draft Express lists his upside as James Posey with a downside of Martell Webster, so clearly I'm an idiot. 

-  Looks like Oklahoma City just traded a couple of picks for Cole Aldrich, and now I can see somebody getting excited for him.  Aldrich is kind of boring on a bad team, but on a team that's already loaded with good scorers and is already a contender, and he can be the missing piece.  Love this trade for the Thunder.  Love it.  Even though they also had to on Morris Peterson and his bloated salary, this is the kind of trade that makes them a possible contender.  Unless Aldrich is the next Greg Ostertag.

-  Toronto takes Ed Davis.  Hey, you guys remember when the Hawks took Marvin Williams #3 overall (over Chris Paul and Deron Williams) based on potential?

-  Patterson to the Rockets, Larry Sanders to the Bucks.  Sanders goes quite a bit higher than expected, but he's one of those "huge upside" picks, and I'll guarantee you he'll end up better than Ed Davis.  Wolves now on the clock.  I'm hoping for James Anderson or Luke Babbitt here.

-  Pick = Babbitt.  Not sure I love it, but at this point of the draft in this particular draft I'm not really seeing anything better.  He was projected to go somewhere like 9-12, so if you look at it that way it's kind of a steal, and it's hard to not like a lefty.  His comps are Keith Van Horn and Chris Mullin, and in his interview he called himself "the best shooter in the draft."  I like him already.

-  The Bulls take some frenchy at #17.  How lame.  Crowd breaks out in a U-S-A chant.  Stay classy, NYC.

-  OKC grabs Eric Bledsoe, and now a very young team that pushed the Lakers in the playoffs has added Aldrich and Bledsoe, and it's a great spot for Bledsoe because he won't have to play the point right away with Westbrook there.  And on cue, his MUST IMPROVE is "point guard skills."  Yeah, you're going to need those when you're 6-1.

-  I just looked at Bilas's "Best Available" and when Jerome Jordan sneaks in there and you're only at pick 18, you know this is a shitty draft.  Time to liven up the party:


-  Celtics take Avery Bradley, the reason Cory Joseph is going to Texas.  To me, this clearly means the Celtics are looking to trade Rondo.  Probably to the Wolves.  Probably for Ryan Hollins.  Hey, the salaries match.

-  Whoa, so apparently when I was in the other room they announced a trade, and the Wolves traded Babbitt to the Blazers for Martell Webster, also known as the worst case scenario for Xavier Henry who was projected to go after Babbitt.  I'm not exactly sure what happened here. 

-  I missed a pick or so, but at #21 Craig Brackins goes to OKC (who is shipping him to New Orleans).  Really interesting pick, considering if he had come out a year prior he would have been top 10, maybe top 5.  Good chance this is a huge steal here.

-  I really don't think I understand this Webster/Babbitt trade.  What is it exactly about Webster you love?  His one skill is supposed to be his outside shooting (surprise!  the same as Babbitt) but he's a career 37% three-point shooter.  And it's not like you can't wait for Babbitt to develop, you're not winning any time soon.  I'm baffled.

-  Now they are up again.  And they go with Trevor Booker, and undersized power forward who was projected to go in the second round.  This draft is a disaster.  It's like a Patrick Reusse article in real-time.

-  Wait, hold on.  So now they just traded Booker to Washington for picks 30 and 35.  Ok, I'm calm again.  If they can get Devin Ebanks and Jordan Crawford with those two I'll be happy.  Also if they could trade Al Jefferson for for somebody who is more gooder.

-  Memphis takes Dominique Jones, and that's a pick I like.  He can get to the rim, and although he might not be the best shooter or ball-handler, he's got a better shot than most at this stage to be an impact player down the line.  Great pick for Memphis.  With Henry and Jones they've taken two of the sleeper type picks I liked.  Either they're figuring it out or I've become dumb.

-  I just heard someone say that OKC traded Eric Bledsoe to the Clippers for a future first rounder.  Holy crap man, I can't keep up.  This is awesome.

-  Well there goes Crawford.

-  I just heard that Gomes might have been included in the Webster/Babbitt deal.  Not that I have mad love for Gomes, but that makes this a lot worse.  And when is Lawerence Westbrook getting picked?  I think it's about time.

-  It seems there is a decent number of people who like the Webster trade, since he's only 23 and has more upside than Babbitt (according to them), and Gomes is just a basic rotation player, which he is.  I guess this is sort of a home run attempt.  Can Webster flourish and become awesome when he's not having to share time with an assload of wings like the Blazers have?  Remember he's just 23 and came into the league out of high school and hasn't exactly been given a ton of minutes, although he's averaged around 10 points a game lately.  I guess.  I'm not quite buying in.  I think I'll just hang around outside for a bit and see how things seem before I walk through that door. 

-  Stu Scott just went on a huge intro for this pick, #30, for the Wizards and what are they going to pick to pair with John Wall and blah blah blah.  But this pick is going to the Wolves for Trevor Booker.

-  The Wolves go with Lazar Hayward, and I have to admit this isn't a guy I thought of at all, but now that I see the pick I'm intrigued.  He's a fundamentally solid player who can play defense, rebound, and score and inside and out.  And thanks to his years playing with those three crazy good guards, he knows how to play when he's not the focal point of the offense, or even one of the first few options.  I'm intrigued, and I think I even approve.

-  Man, with all the pre-draft hype about moving up and moving down and trading Jefferson and all that, this is really kind of a buzzkill.  Wes Johnson, Martell Webster, and Hayward?  Yawntastic.

-  Not a good year to be a seven-footer with few skills but "size" and "athleticism."  Hassan Whiteside, Soloman Alabi, and Jerome Jordan all slip into round 2.  I think teams are getting smarter, those guys would have been first-rounders and Whiteside would have been a lottery pick five years ago.  Actually, if the Wolves can get Whiteside at pick 35 that would be really solid.  I also just remembered that I loved what I heard and saw from Webster the year he came out straight from high school.  Maybe I'm selling this draft too low.  Or maybe I'm an idiot.

-  Jesus, this Euro-dork that was just taken at pick 31 by Atlanta?  His highlight film looks like it was filmed at the YMCA.  I'm not kidding.  I will say it's refreshing to watch a draft with relatively few Euros.  Other than that French dork named after a kind of angel (nice soccer team Guillermo) and this YMCA all-star, I think we've been relatively dirtball clean.   And Vazquez.  Geez, how could I forget the king of the dirtballs.  He makes James Franco look like Howie Mandell.

-  Dexter Pittman?  Didn't we already try this with Oliver Miller?

-  God I want to punch preacher-boy Avery Johnson in the face so bad.  You know what was one of the hardest things about growing up?  Having a best friend who was a Spurs fan.  Every time I see some crybaby whining about abuse or abandonment and all that I think, "You don't know what I went through, son.  You just don't know."

-  There goes Whiteside.  This draft is officially a disaster.

-  Maybe they can get Alabi.  He could end up a Kendrick Perkins type.  Damn.  They really should have taken Whiteside at 30.  Guarantee you Hayward would be here at 35. 

-  Ebanks is still there?  I'd like that pick too.  But you know who I really wanted?  Antoine Broxsie. 

-  Newsweek calls Knight and Day "easily one of the best films of the summer?"  There's no chance.  That looks worse than Jumper.

-  Dominique Jones to the Mavericks for cash.  Doesn't that seem wrong?  Why should deep pockets McGee just be able to ship money over to the poor morons in Memphis to get this kid?  That would make me so mad if I cared. 

-  If the Wolves take Jerome Jordan here I will quit watching T-Wolves basketball.  Which I actually already have. 

-  Christ, some god damn Euro from Serbia.  One of the highlights they just showed of him was grabbing a rebound off a missed free-throw.  Totally serious.  God I hate this pick and I hate this draft.  You people all suck.  And I don't even care about the NBA.  I can't imagine how the real fans must feel.  Ugh.

-  I'm 99% convinced the Knicks took Andy Rautins right here just so the crowd wouldn't boo them.

-  Heat take Jarvis Varnado, and why the hell not at #41.  He's probably too skinny for the NBA, but that kind of defense could end up working out.  This is a great pick at this point, seriously.  I know, I know, he's got no NBA worthy offensive game, and if he gets dragged out on the perimeter and has to guard a pick and roll he's probably screwed, but I like the gamble here.

-  I just checked NBADraft.net, and they compare Hayward's upside to Ryan Gomes.  Awesome.  This is a sub-20 win team again next year, which I guess is good because it means I'll care about the draft for another year.  Seems like an awesome time to shut this down. 

God I hate this team. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The First Ever DWG Mailbag

Big sports day today.  The world's longest Tennis match and a big win for the U.S.A. soccer team to win their pool at the World Cup.  But since I am equal parts don't know enough about it (not that that's stopped me before) and don't really care, I'm going to take a pass on writing about either of those things.

Instead, we're going to go with the first ever DWG Mailbag.  Thanks for writing, those of you who did. 

Q.  Which incoming Gopher basketball freshman are you most excited about?  And what's a reasonable expectation for the upcoming season?  I was unbelievably excited about last year until the debacle, but I'm actually getting pretty excited for this year as well.  I think we have the chance to be better than people give us credit for.

-  James M.

A.  None of the above?  Really, this is an incredibly underwhelming class.  You have a throw-in point guard with a cool name, a skinny white foreigner who might not even be eligible, a skinny shooter with a high basketball IQ who might have to redshirt, and a string bean prairie white boy center with chicken legs who might have to redshirt to go along with Mo Walker.  Since Walker is the only top-100 type, and maybe the only top-200 type, I'd go with him.  If you want a less obvious answer, I'll say Austin Hollins (the skinny shooter with a high IQ referenced above).  Shooting and a high IQ are good traits for a sleeper recruit to have, and a skinny kid can always grow into his body (Tayshaun Prince excepted).

As far as next year goes, if Mbakwe plays and guys like Rodney, Devoe, and Ralph continue to develop I could see a Sweet 16 run, but more likely they'll end up with a lower-upper division finish in conference and around a 6-7 seed.  If Trevor doesn't end up playing and everybody stagnates, you're probably looking at an NIT bid.

Q.  What do you see as the pros/cons of the Twins going out and acquiring Cliff Lee? & are you as baffled/outraged as I am that the Twins allegedly have interest in guys who have been designated for assignment by crappy teams like Pittsburgh and (not as crappy) Toronto (Encarnacion from Tor & some other reliever guy for Pittsburgh)?

-  Andrew W.

A.  The pros of acquiring Lee are that you have an established, proven, shut-down pitcher who always gives you a chance to win and is capable of essentially winning a game all by himself.  Not to mention an outstanding 1-2 punch at the front of the rotation, which can be all you need in the playoffs.

The cons would depend on what you gave up.  I highly doubt they'd be able to or even interested in signing Lee, so you're essentially paying for his services for a few months.  Additionally, every contender is going to be after him, so that price might get driven up pretty high.  The real worry is if they make the trade, don't advance beyond the first round, and then one or more of the traded pieces develop into a star.

Even so, I'm still advocating a Slowey/Ramos/third prospect offer.  Slowey is the kind of pitcher the Twins' minor-leagues are riddled with, so there should be no real issue with trading him.  He throws strikes and has below average stuff.  They have 10 more of these guys ready at AAA.  Ramos is obviously the center piece of the deal, and I'm not saying they should be jumping at the chance to get rid of him, but it's obvious catcher here is taken care of for a while, and they need to use this chip before the shine wears off.  Even if Ramos turns into an all-star, if Lee gets the Twins to the World Series it's worth it.

Also I am pretty sure there is no way they will have the balls to make this trade.  They will be too afraid to "mortgage their future" and instead will continue with the routine of making the playoffs and getting bounced by the Yankees.  Lame.

And I don't know anything about the Pirate reliever, but as far as 3B goes I'm just fine with the Twins exploring any and all possibilities to fill that hole, even if it means looking at the Blue Jays' castoffs or 93-year old Mike Lowell.

Q.  I’ve caught hints in a couple of posts that you watched LOST.  I’d be curious to know what you thought of the final season/finale and the series as a whole.

- John R.

A.  Faithful watcher of Lost since episode 1 here.  The show kind of lost it's way, but it veered pretty hard from what I thought I was getting myself into in the first place.  I was expecting a "stranded on an island with monsters and shit" and instead got something essentially out of the Twilight Zone.  Not that I'm complaining.

One of the best TV moments I can remember watching ever (EVER) was the first flash-forward episode in the season finale of I think season 4.  An absolute, knock-you-on-your-ass-holy-shit-no-way moment if ever there was one.  Or the opening to season 3, where The Others are sitting around, living a normal life and you think it's a flashback.  Nope, it's in real time, and the plane just crashed.  Awesome, awesome tv.  Right up until they started in on the Time Travel, this was the best show I've ever seen.

It was still good, just not great, and I was looking forward to the finale and have mixed feelings about it.  The island stuff was solid, giving you a nice wrap-up to the whole thing, and although they didn't answer all the questions, they answered enough for me.  The sideways world thing I think they could have done without, and if the final season focused on the island, and solely the island, I think it would have been stronger.  That being said, I also understand the need to finish with a big emotional payoff, giving you a happy ending for the characters you watched for the last 6 six years, and it did that.

Overall, I was luke-warm on the finale at first, but I've warmed up to it.  I would still strongly recommend the series to anybody who hasn't seen it, just know that after being blown away for four seasons, you just kind of coast to the end.

Q.  Which is your favorite shark movies of ALL the shark movies?

-  Kaylyn K.

A.  They rank like this:

Tier 1:  Jaws (not just a tier 1 shark movie, a tier 1 movie of all-time, and one which desperately needs to be released on Blu-ray)
Tier 2:  Jaws 2
Tier 3:  Jaws 3, Spring Break Shark Attack
Tier 4:  Almost everything I've blogged on here
Tier 1000000:  Shark Hunter, Deep Blue Sea
Tier 1000001:  Jaws 4

Out of the crap in tier 4, it's tough to pick a favorite.   Malibu Shark Attack will always have a soft spot in my heart for the worst science out of all of these (not counting Jaws 4).  Raging Sharks had Vanessa Angel, which is good, but also had some sort of alien crystals which caused sharks to attack humans, which was very, very bad.  And who could forget one of the Baldwins in Sharks in Venice?

But the best for pure campiness would have to be Shark Attack 3:  Megalodon.  Just go ahead and click on that link, and if you don't want to read the whole thing just watch the Youtube clip at the end.  Totally awesome.

And by the way, I really want to see Red Water again, a movie about a bull shark in a freshwater river starring Kristy Swanson and Mr. Belding (and Coolio).  I watched it when it first came out in 2003 and haven't seen it since, and it never seems to be on TV.  If you ever see that it's going to be on, please please please let me know.

And that's that.  Thanks for the mailings, folks, it was fun.  Feel free to go ahead and email at anytime if you have questions you'd like answered.  I can't say the amount of mailings was anywhere near enough to make this a regular thing, but still, go ahead and email anytime, and I'll get back to you (on here, probably).  Or, if I get enough again, the second ever DWG mailbag.

Two last things:

1.  It seems Super Sioux Fan has finally gone ahead and cracked.  And I mean all the way this time.

2.  It seems Wendy Peffercorn turned into quite the party girl.  No idea if Benny or Ham were involved.

It was probably Squints' fault, anyway.

Monday, June 21, 2010


This will probably crash and burn before we get off the runway, but I was reading the Fringe Bowl Team blog (link on the right) and noticed he does a mailbag.  I couldn't help but wonder if I could do one here.  It seems fun and, as Sports Guy says, it is a way to write without having to actually come up with a subject.  And it has kind of worked before. 

So let's see.  If you have a question you want me to answer, or if you can think of a question I could answer, or if you've ever had a question about anything ever, shoot an email over to downwithgoldy@yahoo.com.  If I get enough, I'll do some sort of Q&A mailbag deal.  If not, oh well. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week in Review - 6/21/2010

Man, I am full.  Full, full, full.  I just finished up the most awesome steak ever.  I actually cooked it on the grill, and I can generally cook a steak well but I've never quite nailed one the way I just did.  Toss in my newly discovered steak rub - which makes Paul Prudhomme look like an amateur - and that was just the perfect way to wrap up a father's day that included a viewing of Toy Story 3, which was pretty good.  You're the best ever, WonderbabyTM.

And thanks for everything, dad.


1.  Scott Baker.   This guy is maddening, isn't he?  He always looks incredibly stressed on the mound and looks like he's going to cry if he gives up a run, and at times is wound up so tight he can't put the ball anywhere near where he wants to and gets destroyed and is extremely proficient in allowing home runs.  Then, just when you think he's no better than an end of the rotation type, he busts off a game like Wednesday against Colorado when he allowed just 2 hits and struck out 12 over 7 innings, and was basically unhittably brilliant.  He does this just enough to tease.  A 3-hitter in 8 against Baltimore earlier this year.  The two near no-hitters.  Multiple games with more strikeouts than innings or 7 ips or better and 3 or less hits.  When he's good, he's very good.  Unfortunately he's about as consistent as Ron Artest's jumper.

2.  Ron Artest.  Speaking of Ron-Ron, you got to hand it to the guy, he got his title and game up huge in the biggest game of his career.  He scored 20 (against a season average of 11), pulled down 5 boards, and grabbed 5 steals all while playing excellent defense on Paul Pierce who was just 5-15 in Game 7 and shot just 38% for the finals in Staples.  Artest also hit the biggest shot of the game, and thus the series, with his 3-pointer with just a minute left in the game.  Celtics were down by three, and with the shot clock winding down he let go with a heave despite being fairly well covered.  It was the exact shot the Celtics would have wanted to see the Lakers take in that situation, it just happened to go in and now Artest is a hero.  He's clearly insane, although I blame Stephen Jackson more for that brawl than Artest, but is there anything more entertaining than an insane person who is also deliriously happy?  I think his post-game interview answered that question. 

3.  Wimpy, limp-wristed, slap-hitting Twins.  Specifically, Matt Tolbert, Nick Punto, and Drew Butera.  All three of those little wiener kids hit a home run this week.  And Tolbert also kicked in two doubles and a triple this week.  Punto overall hit .450 this week and had four multi-hit games.  And even Butera hit .667 and is now the proud owner of a 2-game hitting streak.  Those five total bases he had this week?  Just one shy of his season total previously.   I suppose getting production from anywhere is a good thing, even if it means Gardy is going to feel validated going with these clowns as often as he does, and assuring that we are going to be in for a lifetime supply of Matt Tolbert and Matt Tolbert clones as long as Billy Smith and Gardenhire are in charge.  Oh joy.

4.  Josh Johnson.  You know, in all the Ubaldo hoo-ha, we seem to be missing out on the fact that Mr. Johnson is having a pretty damn good season for the Marlins.  This week he pitched twice, going 7 innings on Tuesday, allowing just four hits and one run and striking out seven, and then following that up on Sunday by going 8 innings, allowing six hits and again one run and striking out nine.  Those two starts drop his ERA to 1.80 with a WHIP of just 0.98.  In exactly 100 innings he's struck out 98 while giving away just 26 walks and allowing only 72 hits.  In short, he's having an insane, incredible, out of this world season.  So try to remember that as Ubaldo marches toward 30 victories with an ERA under 1.00.    

5.  Chicago White Sox.  I still hate them, and always will, but it's time to recognize that the Sox are playing pretty good ball.  Yeah, I know their six game winning streak has come against the Pirates and the Nationals so it's not like they're playing world beaters, but the week prior including winning 2 of 3 against the Tigers, and they've cut the Twins lead over them to 5.5 games and are within four of the Tigers - close enough that it's maybe time to take notice.  Their hitting is still pretty poor, but the pitching is starting to come around, with Danks and Peavy each pitching a gem and Gavin Floyd tossing two, and Freddy Garcia and Buehrle having a couple of nice outings as well.  I'm not worried, because any team with Bobby Jenks as a closer isn't scary, but we might need to start paying some attention here.


1.  Nick Blackburn.  Yuck.  One and 2/3rds innings and 8 runs allowed?  I praised Baker earlier for hitting one of the good squares on the wheel of random, and it seems Blackie hit the big double-zero.  And that's why I really hope they trade for Cliff Lee, even if it includes trading Wilson Ramos.  Baker, Blackburn, Pavano, and Slowey are all way too random and way too inconsistent.  All of those guys have games where they get destroyed too often.  Liriano is the only Twins pitcher who when he takes the mound you know you have a chance to win every time.  Those other guys have too many games where they get destroyed early and the game is basically over.  Blackburn just gave up 8 earned runs.  Cliff Lee (since becoming good in 2008) has never allowed 8 earned runs in a game.  He also pitched less than 4 innings in a game just three times in three years.  Blackburn has done in it three of his last four games.  Lee also has failed to pitch at least seven innings just once this year.

The current four are fine and they'll win some games and probably get you to the playoffs, but if the Twins want to make any kind of a run they need another top-shelf arm.  Go get Cliff Lee, Mr. Smith.  Just do it.

[UPDATE:  Funny story.  I wrote the above on Saturday morning.  Not more like five hours later, Kevin Slowey helps hammer my point home by not getting out of the second inning, going just one and 2/3rds innings and giving up 7 runs.  Which is less than Blackburn, so I guess that's an improvement.  Please Billy.  Go get Cliffy.]

2.  Europe.  A lot of people think Europe is full of smelly, non-showering drunks with bad teeth, but that's not what I'm referring to here.  I actually enjoyed the hell out of Europe the one time we visited, so I have nothing but love for those weirdos.  But I have to admit that they suck at soccer.  And I'm talking about all of Europe, I'm talking about the big boys who were supposed to be title contenders and are now going to have to struggle to make it out of group play; specifically Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and England.

England tied with both the U.S. and Algeria.  France tied Uruguay and got rolled by Mexico 2-0 and is almost certainly out of the playoffs or whatever they call the tournament part.  Germany destroyed Australia 4-0 in their opener and was looking like a possible juggernaut, but then got beat by Serbia, and Spain, who was maybe the strongest European team, lost their opener to a bunch of mincing nancies from Switzerland.  Italy might have had the biggest mismatch of the pool round, going against a pretty crappy New Zealand squad, but even they couldn't pick up a win, playing the Kiwis to a draw at 1-1.  Even though the continent has some nice surprise teams like the Netherlands and Slovenia, it is an ugly, ugly Cup so far for the Euros.  Probably a good time to invade.  Pay attention Obama.   

3.  Manny Corpas.  Corpas, the Rockies' current closer, had himself a pretty awesome weekend.  He had been pretty solid, saving nine of his last ten opportunities, and not being over remotely shaky in those chances, giving up no runs and more than one hit just once.  The this weekend happened.  First, on Saturday, he came in to save a game against the Brewers only two give up two singles and then a game-tying home run to the suddenly superstar Corey Hart.  Then, on Sunday, he had a chance to redeem himself, coming in again in the ninth, this time in a 1-1 tie against the Brew Crew.  Just to mix it up a bit, he didn't even bother getting an out, giving up three doubles (amongst other things) on his way to allowing five runs and turning a tie game into a 6-1 loss.  For christ's sake, Trevor Hoffman got people out in that game.  Trevor.  Hoffman.

4.  Baltimore Orioles.  God they're just so bad.  They're now 19-50 (19-50!!!!!), and there aren't really any signs of getting better.  Their two young pitchers of the future, Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta went with their Blackburn/Slowey impersonation this weekend against the offensive juggernaut that is the Padres, with neither of them getting to the fourth, and Tillman's ERA is now over 8 and he's been shuttled off to the bullpen - a great, great way to help build the confidence of one your building blocks.  And speaking of building blocks, two of the supposed biggest - Matt Wieters and Adam Jones - have been absolutely terrible this year.  I don't know if it's still true, but I read somewhere earlier in the week that there are three teams in the NL whose pitchers have a collective slugging percentage greater than the Orioles' first basemen.  Yuck.  No matter what they try to do, it seems they'll never turn this thing around and get better.  The curse of Jeffrey Maier lives on. 

5.  Dustin Johnson.  It's not often you see someone totally dominate and then completely and completely fall apart all in one weekend.  He raced out at Pebble, shooting 71-70 in the first two rounds, and then had a monster 66 on Saturday to set himself up with a three shot lead over Graeme McDowell and a five shot lead over Tiger, who was alone in third place.  Since he had won the previous two tournaments held at Pebble Beach, it was looking like a possible runaway situation.  He then came out on Sunday and threw up all over the place  He triple-bogeyed the second, double-bogeyed the third, and bogeyed the fourth.  He ended up with five more bogeys on the day (and zero birdies) to finish up with a +11 round of 82.  Nightmare.  The fall from the first three rounds to the final round would be just like the Ohio State football program turning into the Gophers.  Yeah, it was seriously that bad.

And I want to give a special shout-out to Hunter Mahan.  Thanks for making me look like an ass, jerkface.  That's two majors this year, two guys I was absolutely convinced were going to win, and two guys who missed the cut, and not only missed it, but were basically already so far out of it after one day that they would have had to pull out a miraculous second round just to stay alive for the weekend.  Obviously, neither of them did.  You can now consider Mahan on my list along with Furyk.  Betrayers!  The both of them!  J'Accuse!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can You Feel the Excitement?

NBA Finals, Game 7.  It feels like it's been a while since we've had one of these, or at least one between teams that mattered.  See, I generally always watch the NBA Playoffs (although I skip the regular season), but I wouldn't say I really ever get excited for them - more like "interested."  I would say my usual level of excitement for them is somewhere between waiting in line at the DMV and watching an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the 800th time (unless it's the one with the dragon, that one rocks).  So why do I watch every year?  I guess I'm waiting to get excited.

As you can then imagine, I'm pretty thrilled that my current level of excitement has reached "hearing the ice cream man's bell" levels going into this game.  If we get something good here, I'm hoping to at least approach "Audrina just asked me to join her in the shower" levels.  At this point I don't really even care who wins (although I'd prefer the Celtics, and I'd prefer Ray Allen win the MVP at 8-1), I just want a good, exciting game.  Hopefully somebody will hit a big shot with time winding down in the fourth or a buzzer beater of some kind.  I'll even take a big shot by Kobe, even though he's pretty much a dickmitten.  I just want to see something good.

This won't be a live blog of the game per se, but I'll be watching and tossing out random thoughts as I think of them.  Try to stay with me here.

8:44 1Q - Lakers are looking to pund it low to Gasol and Bynum.  That is a really good strategy, which means bad news for the Celtics.  And by the way, I am no longer rooting for a close game if i tmeans the Lakers win.  It took 3 minutes of watching Kobe, who is now whining about a Rondo foul, to hate them again.

6:54 1Q - I love how they're playing Kobe.  Ray Allen playing tough, in-your-face one-on-one, and they're doubling him every time.  But they aren't sending the double until he puts it on the floor and starts his move.  He seems to be in "I'm Michael Jordan" mode tonight, and he's taking his sweet time getting a shot up so teh double is really affecting him.  He's like, 0-3 with couple turnovers already, and the last time down he tried a turnaround fade-away with both Pierce and Allen on him from about 18 feet and hit the top of the backboard.  I love it.

5:10 1Q - Wallace out for Boston, Glen Davis in.  This is where it gets interesting, because Davis can't score on Bynum, and he can't stop Bynum.  Due to Bynum's knee injury though, he can only play limited minutes.  I'm a little surprised Rivers is going to Davis already, but I guess with Wallace's bad back and explosive temper you have to pick your spots.

3:52 1Q - Kobe ended up on KG on a switch, fell asleep, and gave up an easy alley-oop dunk.  He's really not having a very good first quarter.  If this double-teaming defense can frustrate him and get in his head, this could get ugly for the Lakers.

1:36 1Q - My bad, Glen Davis now has 6 points in about 3 minutes, all against either Bynum or Gasol.  Now Odom's in.  He's a huge key for LA.  If he's dialed in, he can destroy either Davis or Wallace.  If he's just floating around, dreaming about candy and women who are built like men, he's going to get killed by either of them.

0:00 1Q - 23-14 Celtics after one.  Really couldn't have gone much better.

10:43 2Q - Rondo takes a jumper from the elbow and misses.  They're going to give him that shot for infinity and if he can't make them pay it's going to be tough for the Celtics to win.  He's got to be able to hit that shot.

9:24 2Q - The Lakers have 12 offensive rebounds already, and they're still down 4 after scoring the first five of this half.  Incredible.  Celtics are playing amazing defense, but just can't get the rebound.

8:44 2Q - So I have some bad news.  It seems my body can no longer handle jalapenos.  At work the cafeteria has an awesome taco salad, but it's best with jalapenos and this jalapeno salsa.  But it destroys me.  Like, it wrecks my whole night and I can barely walk by the end of the evening.  I've tried with just jalapenos and no salsa, and with just salsa and no actual jalapenos, but no matter what I almost die every time.  That is not an exaggeration.  It's similar to taking a bunch of Taco Bell's fire sauce, dumping them into a shot glass, sprinkling Ex-Lax on top, and then using it wash down a meal of White Castle and fire.

6:34 2Q - Ray Allen can no longer shoot.  This is the most depressing thing I've ever seen.  It's like in Superman II, when Superman decides he loves Lois Lane so much that he gives up his powers for her for some stupid reason (probably because all women are evil) and then they go to that diner and he gets beaten up by that hick guy who probably loves "muddin'" in his crappy jeep. 

8:18 2Q - And we're tied.  9 straight for LA.

4:22 2Q - Artest seems to be under the impression that he can shoot.  That is good news for the Celtics.  At this point he's like the guy at open gym who got lucky and hit a couple of threes one day, so now he's convinced he's a shooter, and so you just dare him to shoot and it's like watching Snake and Dawger play a game of HORSE.  Clang clang clang.

2:48 2Q - Wow does Derek Fisher whine.  WonderbabyTM whines less when you take away her little fairy wand.  I mean baseball.  Her baseball.

1:22 2Q - Artest goads Pierce into a double-technical.  Not smart - at all - by Pierce.

0:41 2Q - I'm not sure who these announcers are, but one of them has the exact cadence of Trent Tucker.  It's awesome.  "What the Timba-wooves need to do hea, is take the ball........to the bas-ket."  Also I think I lied, this is definitely a live blog.  I didn't mean it.

HALF -  Celtics up 40-34.  In a game this ugly, it's easy to expect the Lakers to kick it in gear in the second half, but that would be discounting the Celtics incredible defense.  It would be like blaming the Twins for only scoring 1 run against Ubaldo Jimenez this afternoon instead of crediting his pitching.  What's that?  Mauer sat out because he "took too many foul tips?"  That can't be possible.  I don't believe you.  That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.  It's far too preposterous to be true.  That would mean Butera, Valencia, Punto, and Tolbert all would have had to play against Ubaldo.  They did?  Wow.  I gotta say, in that case scoring 1 run is basically a victory, no?

10:55 3Q - Allen misses again.  I'm going to go ahead and consider that MVP bet a loss.  Damn dude. Big State will never want you now.

10:30 3Q - Kobe launches one from about 6 feet behind the three-point line.  Getting desperate, and activating Chucker ModeTM despite the fact that he can't get any open looks. Maybe Allen needs to be considered for MVP after all.

9:45 3Q - Celtics up 11 now after a Rondo floater.  Also we have Tornado and Thunderstorm warnings all over the place tell you to "take shelter in a structure that is not a mobile home."  Sorry Nickelback fans.

8:20 3Q - 49-36 Celtics, and Rondo has the MVP sewn up if Boston doesn't blow this.  And what's funny about that, is if the Lakers were up 13 right now, I'd be tempted to just turn the game off and chalk up as a win for evil (like Empire Strikes Back).  But it's so hard to believe the Lakers won't make a run, so I'm actually nervous for Boston.  Like right there Ray Allen threw a pass that was intercepted by Derek Fisher.  Do you know how terrible a pass has to be to be intercepted by Derek Fisher?  Let me put it this way, it would take Brett Favre's career-worth of Brooks Bollinger playing QB to have Fisher pick one off.  Also, related - hey Pete Rose of basketball - go ahead and hang 'em up anytime.

7:34 3Q - Wait, the NBA draft is next Thursday already?  Awesome.  That is always a fun time.

6:20 3Q - Gasol can't guard KG.  That's at least the third time KG has just blown by him from the perimeter.  God damn I still love that insane mofo.  I'm willing to bet at least 50 bucks he's killed somebody at some point.  Also mini-Laker run, lead down to 6.

3:25 3Q - Rasheed has been ridiculously good tonight.  This would be like if Adam Morrison came off the Lakers bench and hit a bunch of threes.  Admit it, you giggled thinking of Morrison.

2:12 3Q - Ray Allen with a huge steal against Kobe.  Man, if he was playing any offense at all he'd have MVP wrapped up thanks to some pretty incredible defense on Kobe in the series, particularly in the fourth quarters.  I don't know what the numbers are, but he's been awful in fourth quarters.  Hopefully that continues.

1:24 3Q - Allen now 1-9.  Other than his monster game 2 and a good game 6, he's been brutal.  Time to bring it in Q4.  Luckily Kobe is 5-20.  I hated Jordan, but anybody who compares Kobe to him ever again should probably just have their throat ripped out, Dalton-style.

0:00 3Q - C's up 57-53.  Best replay ever is Garnet screaming "mother fu...." right after scoring on Gasol and right before ABC cut away.  Very nice.  Pretty sure this one is coming down to whoever decides to actually make shots, Ray Allen or Kobe.  Fingers crossed for Ray.

Also what happened to Heath Slocum?  The guy was looking like a genius longshot pick, and now I look and he's at +4.  Which is 3 shots better than my pick to win, since Hunter Mahan shot a 78!  And Ben Crane, maybe the hottest golfer on the planet, shot an 80!  Good god, and 80!  I thought this US Open would be a little more reasonable since it was at Pebble.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  I'm betting -4 ends up taking this thing in the end.  Hopefully it ends up being Karlsson or Furyk.

10:22 4Q - Pierce making some horrendous decisions when it comes to shot selection.  Honest to god it's like Pierce and Kobe are filming a Bad Idea JeansTM commercial. "Normally I wear protection, but I figured, when am I going to be in Haiti again?"

8:23 4Q - Allen with a floater over two Lakers to put the Celtics up 61-58.  Maybe that's the shot he needs to get going.  Come on Jesus.  I love you Jesus.

7:13 4Q - Kobe actually has sex with Ray Allen as he goes up for a jumper.  When he's called for the foul, he reacts as I'm sure O.J. did when they told him he was accused of murder.  One difference:  Kobe was guilty, while O.J. was innocent.

5:56 4Q - Tied at 64.  Kobe heading to the line.  I don't like where this is going.  Celtics offense has disappeared.  Come on, Ray.  This is sick.

5:56 4Q - I thought about it, and even though it's over, I'm going to tell my wife about the afffair.

5:33 4Q - Allen misses another jumper.  Kobe hits one on the other end.  Lakers by four.  This feels over.  I also think Mark Jackson (announcing the game) is likely retarded in some fashion.

5:33 4Q -  They use an Eminem song in the trailer for the video game Call of Duty?  I....I....I....I literally can't think of anything to say.  I am completely stupified right now.  Completely.

Well, he's an ex free-base addict, and he's trying to turn it around, and he needs a place to stay for a couple of months.

4:38 - I don't mean to sound like some crybaby chowderhead or anything, but the refs are clearly handing this to LA at this point.

4:13 -  Allen with a missed layup.  Jesus.

3:05 -  You can really tell the Lake show is feeling it.  They're playing better defense now than they have all game.  Three point Laker lead, Gasol going to the line.  Hopefully the Lakers win by less than seven.

2:20 - Lakers up 74-68, and they've made about 20 free throws thsi quarter.  Thanks refs.  Lakers up 32-15 in free throw attemps.  I don't even know why I watch this crap.  Let's all cheer ourselves up for a moment:

Better?  Better.

1:30 - Ballgame.

1:23 -  Rasheed 3 pointer.  76-73.  Interesting. 

1:01 -  Artest with a 28-footer.  Clearly it's meant to be.  Or, Allen answers with a three.  Crazy right now.  Like a typical sorority after I show up. 

0:26 - Kobe misses a three, but Gasol with the rebound and Kobe ends up getting fouled.  As was clear early, LA offensive boards are the key.  Fuck this sucks.  I really hate that guy.  Congrats David Stern.  No matter how much you orchestrate it ( and the refs made it clear their was a mandate) this dickmitten will never be another Jordan.  And I hated Jordan. 

0:00 - Gay.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

U.S. Open Tips

As you may or may not know, the U.S. Open is tomorrow at Pebble Beach.  I usually do a preview of some sort for the golf majors, but that sounds boring.  Instead, I took a look at the odds to win as offered by a website that caters to people who are interested in that sort of thing.  Much like I picked the winner of the Kentucky Derby and nearly picked the winner of the Belmont (my pick finished second), I'm going to give you a few good value bets here, and odds are one of these guys will be the winner.

Hunter Mahan, 30-1.  My favorite bet on the board because I think he's going to win the whole thing.  He's a stud at the majors, and particularly the U.S. Open where he has finished 13th, 18th, and 6th the last three years.  He's also had a pretty good year, with a win already at the Phoenix Open and a 6th place finish at the Masters.  The fact that he's missed the last two cuts concerns me, particularly the Memorial, but he's one of the best ball-strikers on tour and is going to win a U.S. Open some year - why not now?

Jim Furyk, 18-1.  There are a handful of true favorites (as much as I believe he'll win, even I don't think Mahan is a real favorite) who all have a shot at this the one I think with the best shot also has the best odds in Furyk.  He's already won twice this year, he's an absolute US Open monster (including one win), and you're telling me his odds should be four times worse than Tiger (who is 9/2)?  Or twice as bad as Mickelson and Lee Westwood (9/1)?  And equal to Dustin Johnson (who I do like, but not at just 18/1)?  If he hadn't burned me hard by missing the cut at the Masters I'd say this was the best bet on the board.

Robert Karlsson, 66-1.  This is probably the best bet on the board.  Because of Karlsson's eye injury in 2009, causing him to either play poorly or not play at all for most of the year.  Don't forget but before that he was one of the best golfers in the world, and was actually ranked #6 in 2008 after winning the European Order of Merit and finishing in the top 10 in three of the four majors (and finishing 20th in the fourth).  He's showing that he's back lately, with a win on the European Tour earlier this year and a 2nd place finish last week at the St. Jude.  Frankly, at 66-1 you're almost stupid not to bet on him.

Retief Goosen, 30-1.  Goosen's combination of a solid year with some top finishes plus a solid US Open track record make him an intriguing pick.  The good news is that he's made 7 of 8 cuts, he's grabbed five top tens in those 8 tournaments, he's hot, finishing 15th last week, and he has two career US Open wins and has finished top 16 the last two years.  The bad news?  The cut he missed this year was at Pebble Beach.  Ouch.

Nick Watney, 35-1.  I love Watney to win a major at some point in his career.  He hits greens, he putts well, he drives well, and he's just a solid all-around player, who has the kind of demeanor that seems to never get to high and never get too low.  Just a steady, steady player, who is capable of brillance at times.  He hasn't fared well at the U.S. Open in his young career (CUT - T60 - CUT), but he generally plays well at Pebble.  This is probably the weakest of the bets I'm listing, but I'm convinced he's going to win a major at some point, and if he does it here and I don't list him I'll never be able to live with myself.

Heath Slocum, 80-1.  Out of all the big underdogs, this guy actually has a chance to win.  He doesn't have much of a track record in the majors, although his best ever finish is a T9 at the 2008 US Open, but he's got a lot working in his favor.  He's having a great year, making the cut in 14 of 15 tournaments entered with three top 10s and nine top 30s.  He played in the Masters this year for just the second time ever and finished 18th (this would be essentially just his third U.S. Open).  Maybe most interestingly, the two biggest keys to this course for the Open this year are Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation; Slocum ranks 4th and 7th in those metrics.  If he can find a hot putter, he could breakthrough for a win.  Hey, Lucas Glover last year had only been in two other US Opens and had missed the cut both times.  It could happen.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tom Izzo Won't Go Away

It seems Tom Izzo will be staying with the Spartans in what seemed obvious from the beginning but had just enough legs to make me hope he'd leave the conference.  Seriously, who would want to go to Cleveland to coach, even with LeBron?  And without him that team is probably worse than the Timberwolves.  I have a feeling ole Tommy wasn't ever too serious about this, and was just wondering why, after 5 final four appearances in 10 years, he doesn't get the ole ass-kiss treatment from the media dickholes like Coach K and Roy Williams enjoy.  When the Cavs came a-calling and started stroking Tommy a little bit, I think he probably enjoyed it quite a bit, but when it came time to get down to it he realized what a good thing he has going in East Lansing, and he made the right call.  Plus, Cleveland.  Oof.

And that's just the latest in a number of possible Big Ten Basketball weakening moves that would have helped the Gophers that went the wrong way.  If Izzo left, Delvon Roe had said he'd transfer.  Obviously he is now staying.  JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore put their names into the NBA draft.  Far, far, far worse players with less chance of being drafted have stayed in the draft in the past, but these two made the right decision and backed out.  Talor Battle and Demetri McCamey could have stayed in and maybe gotten picked in the second (plenty of players have stayed in hoping for the second round selection) but both made teh right call and came out.  Two Ohio State players (William Buford and David Lighty) are exactly the type the NBA loves - neither even entered their name for consideration.  Iowa easily could have justified giving Lickliter another year or so, essentially guaranteeing further years of suck.  I mean, McCaffrey will probably suck too, but Lickliter was a guarantee, and I'm not so sure the Hawkeyes aren't better off without those transfers (especially booze-hound Tucker).

So yeah, the conference is going to be an absolute monster this year.  Purdue and Michigan State are National Championship contenders and Ohio State isn't far behind.  Illinois is pretty loaded, and Northwestern is looking feistier than ever.  Wisconsin is always a pain in the ass, and Indiana's excellent class from last year will have another year of experience.  Plus Talor Battle is back and you know he's going to win a couple of games all by himself, you just hope they aren't against the Gophers.

Tubby's got his work cut out for him.

Other random thoughts while watching the Twins game and the NBA game.

-  Wow.  Todd Helton just hit that ball a mile.  I hear all this talk about him being washed up, and I'm not sure I see it.  Guy is a legend.  He should probably be able to set his own ground rules at this point.  I hope Colorado fans appreciate what they have there.  He's just a gritty, gutty gamer who gets it done.

-  Uh oh, looks like Lamar Odom decided to show up tonight.

-   Do you want to know what sucked?  Avatar.  We rented it this weekend on Blu-ray to watch on my fancy new Blu-ray player, and I'll admit the visuals were not overrated.  It was truly some of the most stunning scenery and visual scenes I've ever seen in a movie.  Of course, after an hour of that you start getting sick of watching cartoon/computer graphics, realize this story is going no where, and then cry silently to yourself as you realize you have two hours left.

Really though.  I've heard so much about this movie, I was tricked into thinking it must have a good, or at least coherent, plot.  I didn't count on the fact that if you give most people pretty pictures you don't have to include any kind of fancy "character development", "plot", or "common sense" because your average movie goer is the same kind of slack-jawed yokel who enjoys Olive Garden, Nickelback, Old Country Buffet, High School football, Overalls, Remember the Titans, Garth Brooks, giving their kid a mohawk, David Eckstein, hockey, garage sales, the blue collar comedy tour, church, college football, Teri Hatcher, Marlboro Reds, Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs, brandy, unions, Michael Cuddyer, Wheel of Fortune, State Fairs, the Terminator movies, pick-up trucks, Mama Dawger, Barbecue, Circus Circus, Dean Koontz, wrestling, the Winter Olympics, Josh Hartnett, the Vikings, the sacrifice bunt, naming their kid Tyler, Rob Schneider, showing a little hustle, Disney World, Domino's Pizza, Leann Chinn, and pointing out the difference between Nascar and whatever other kind of car racing there is because when I say "Nascar sucks" I really mean car racing in general and I don't care nor do I need you to explain that open-wheel racing or whatever it's called is better.  No, it's not.  It's still driving a car in a circle.  It's stupid.


Anyway, the plot sucked, I had no reason to care about any of the characters, not even Smurfette, and just when things seem like they're going to make sense and the "good guys" (who are really just blue hippies) are going to get destroyed, perhaps the biggest Deus Ex Machina since The Stand (or Jurassic Park, if you prefer) except this one makes even less sense.  Remember how Snow White could get the birds and the squirrels to do her bidding?  It's like that, but this isn't supposed to be for kids.

And, and I'm sorry here I'm rambling, there's this part where they make this huge deal about the guy from Clash of the Titans who plugs himself into his World of Warcraft machine so he can hump the bloofer lady has to subdue some dragon/bird thing and now there's this unbreakable bond and crap.  Then for the climax, he just goes and gets a different horsedragonbird anyway.  So dumb.

Rent it on Blu-ray, watch it for an hour, and then turn it off.  That's all you need.

-  Fun fact:  Joe Mauer signed a contract for $184 million.  Those numbers add up to 13.  Also adding up to 13?  4-6-3.  Believe it.

-  The basketball game just went to commercial (it's a Laker romp thus far) and they said, "Avatar on Blu Ray!  Own it today!"  Don't you dare, people.  Don't you dare.  If you do it I forbid you from reading this blog.  I would rather watch Slovenia/Serbia on a continuous loop.  I want you to notice how those teams haven't played, but they are two of the biggest slow-it-down defensive teams who would bore you to tears.  Shows I'm paying attention.

-  Shannon Brown can still jump.

-  I'm not convinced that if the Lakers win this Kobe should win MVP over Gasol.

-  Rajon Rondo is 4-16 on free throws in this series.  I don't know if I've ever heard anything quite so ridiculous.

-  US Open winner call:  Hunter Mahan.  Grandslam's rebuttal:  Dustin Johnson.

-  Well this is ugly.

-  Delmon 3-4 tonight.  Delmon rising?  Delmon rising.

-   Tiffani Thiessen gave birth to a baby girl tonight.  No word on if it's mine. (NOTE:  it probably is)

-  Lakers up 27.  I say again:  Lakers up 27.  I see no reason to continue here.  And the announcer just said "tooken" as in "the Celtics haven't tooken many free throws."  I wish I knew who this guy was.  I can't decide if he's awesome or I hate him.  It's like being married.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

F you, Blogger

 I had a gigantic Week in Review post ready to go, and was just putting the finishing touches on the last entry (Who was Awesome - Juan Uribe) when everything got effed up.  Suddenly, nothing is here anymore, and I know this was one of my best WIR posts ever.  Maybe my best post ever.  But now it's gone.  Gone like the wind.  That should be a movie.

Seriously, almost everything is gone.  I had an entry about how Stephen Strasburg was jesus because he gives everyone around him magic powers.  It's true.  The first time he started, 12 other pitchers went at least 7 innings and gave up two runs or less (it's true) and the second time we almost had dueling no-hitters. 

But, its gone.  It's all gone..  My comparison of Nick Punto to herpes.  My discussion of Carlos Pena's home run streak and how it must suck to be a fantasy baseball player with him on your bench (hi Elk).  My praise of Delmon Young.  It's all gone.  Along with most of my breakdown of the epic suckfest that is Robert Garrigus. 

I'm just going to give you what's left.  You get an intro, and outro, and a couple of things in between. 

Thanks blogger.  You make me look like an ass.  This is probably how my dad feels.


 This conference realignment stuff is pretty fun, huh?  I don't think I've been this glued to the internet looking for constantly updated information since Spencer Tollackson and Dan Coleman put their names in for the NBA draft.

It seems a bit odd to me that Texas would choose the Pac-10 over the Big Ten if all things were equal, so I'm guessing they aren't.  I would be willing to bet that the Big Ten offered Texas equal membership, while the Pac-10 is bending over backwards to offer them extra concessions.  Whether it's a bigger share of the money or more power in voting, it would surprise me very much if we learn there's nothing like that going on.

And I really hope the Big 10 (or whatever) doesn't stop here.  I like the Nebraska addition and all, but since I'm more of a basketball guy I'm hoping they bring in some basketball talent, which is the opposite of what Nebraksa is.  That's why I'm still rooting for either Missouri or one of the good Big East teams like the Cuse or Pitt.  Of course, there probably won't be anybody added at all unless Notre Dame agrees to join up, so we're probably stuck with the Irish if we want any fun new basketball teams.  I guess for football fans though adding both Nebraska and Notre Dame is pretty awesome.  So I guess congratulations, football dorks.


1.  Francisco Liriano. I hope you were able to watch him on Friday, because that was as close to the vintage Liriano as we've seen.  Eleven strikeouts in 8 innings is obviously impressive, and his highest single game total since 2006, but even better was just how devastating and unhittable his change and especially his slider were.  Nine of his Ks were on the slider (the other two were on the change) and he made some pretty good hitters look pretty ridiculous.  Both Brian McCann are Jason Heyward are really patient hitters with a good eye for the strikezone, but he struck them both out on pitches that wouldn't have been strikes if the plate doubled in size.  Hell, one of Heyward's strikeouts came on a pitch that bounced in front of the plate.  Maybe it's a NL thing and they haven't seen his pitches before (Braves swung at 50% of his pitches out of the zone, second highest total of the year), but he was devastating.  Hopefully we see more of this, including against the AL.

2.  Carlos Pena.  What in the hell is going on with this dude? 

3.  Juan Uribe.

4.  Delmon Young.  There were people who said I should have included Young here last week, and they're right after his .  And he followed that up with another stellar week,   

5.  Stephen Strasburg


1.  Jamie Moyer.  I hate to pick on an old man who throws a 83 mph fastball and routinely sends back soup at a deli, but anytime you give up 9 runs in one inning of work you're going to find yourself here.  Here's how his night against Boston went on Friday:  walk, fielder's choice, double, double, double, home run, strike out, single, fly out, single, double, double, double.  That is a shit load of doubles allowed.  I looked it up, and that's actually the most doubles allowed by a pitcher with 2 innings pitched or less in the game.  Yep, that Jamie Moyer is amazing.  He's 47 years old and still breaking records.  Incredible.

2.   Chad Qualls.  There is a long standing tradition of sucky closers continuing to keep their closer jobs even as they are sucking simply because they've gotten saves before.  Jose Mesa is probably the king of this, but let's not forget guys like Bobby Jenks, Joe Borowski, Todd Jones, Jason Isringhausen, Armando Benitez (towards the end), and currently Brad Lidge, David Aarsdma, and especially Chad Qualls.  Qualls closes for the D-Backs, and out of.16 save opportunities he's blown a solid 4 of them, second in the league to Trevor Hoffman (who needs to be put out to stud).

After a truly stellar outing Thursday which went single, strikeout, single, single, single, game blown he's now carrying an ERA of 7.77 and a mind-blowing WHIP of 2.09.  2.09!  That means your closer is allowing more than 2 base-runners per inning!  Since Arizona is already 12.5 games back, I guess they don't really need to do anything, but if they were planning at all on trying to trade him at the deadline good luck.  Although I suppose there's always some GM dumb enough to do it.  

3.  Robert Garrigus.  I know nobody really cares about the St. Jude Classic, but oh my goodness what an epic meltdown. 

5.  Nick Punto. 

I thought I'd end up including something on the World Cup here, but I just don't know.  I'm trying to get into it, and watched a pretty big chunk of several games (including almost the entire Ghana/Serbia game) and although it isn't as boring as I remembered I'd be hard pressed to describe it as "awesome" or "exciting."  The entire time I watched I saw just one goal and it was on a penalty kick, which is like watching a walk-off balk.  The game is dominated by an awful lot of kicking the ball around the mid-court line slowly without really pressing the action or "running."

I actually started doing a live blog of the England/USA match on Saturday.  Here it is:

12:55 - Halfback passes to the center.

12:56 - Center passes to the wing..

12:57 - Back to the center..

12:58 - Center holds it.

12:59 - Holds it.

1:00 -  Holds it.

And so on.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's that time again

Yes, folks, it's the beginning of summer.  The time when thoughts turn to baseball, women in short shorts, women in low-cut tops, and sponsorships at baseball-reference.com.  That's right, our sponsorship is going to run out in 18 or so days, and so it is time that we discuss who we should throw our considerable financial and web-trafficky might behind. 

A brief history:

Way back in 2008, I realized there were a great many of older, shitty players who were not being sponsored at BR.  I also realized that you could sponsor them for anywhere from $5-$15 a year.  This happened after I realized they actually had sponsorships.  Obviously, I wasn't expecting an increase in visitors or anything, but the hilarity and shtick potential was off the charts.  So I jumped in. 

For a measly $10 a year, less than the cost of a case of Busch Light, I sponsored the great Scott Stahoviak.  I chose Stahoviak for a couple of reasons.  First, he was a crappy Twin and that always makes everybody laugh.  Second, a former frequent commenter and hopefully still frequent reader of this blog made the comment in Stahoves rookie or second year that "he would hit 30 homers someday."  I meant in a season, but even if he was talking career he still would have been wrong, as he finished his career with just 27.

After the year was up, I chose not to renew, because really, what's the fun of just keeping the same sponsorship when there are shitty players all over the place who can be exploited for hilarity's sake?  I will note here that nobody has taken up the sponsorship mantle on Stahoviak since we declined renewal, leaving him sad, alone, and unloved in the great big cyber-world.  All this despite his price being lowered to $5 a year.  Sad.

Moment of silence, please. 

Last year, the player we chose was a mere $5 a year, perhaps because he only played three seasons and totaled just 82 innings pitched in his career.  But he wasn't picked because of his real-life stats, nor because he had a stint as a Twin.  No, Mo Sanford was chosen because he was an absolute, shut-down, unhittable middle reliever on Tony LaRussa Baseball II on the PC.  So much so, that he acquired the nickname "Big Train" ripping it right out of Walter Johnson's stubby little fingers.  Between him and "Quality" Paul Quantrill, I'm pretty certain that game had no idea how to evaluate and rate relievers. 

In any case, it was a fun ride of one year, the same length of time he wore a Twins uniform, and I know I got at least one internet visitor coming here because of the link on Big Train's page, but it's time to move on.

So please, if you read this blog you must have at least a passing interest in baseball.  As such, you have no doubt noticed or seen at least one player whose name still makes you giggle like a school boy watching Basic Instinct for the first time.  Whoever popped into your head reading this, and you know somebody did, go ahead and suggest them in the comments section. 

It doesn't need to be a former Twin at all - I almost went with Chris Hoiles last year - but they do need to cost $15 or less to sponsor.  And also they need to make me laugh.  Here are a couple of posts about this from last year (you have to scroll down a ways to get to the pertinent info on this one). 

Come on people.  Let's make this year's sponsorship drive the best ever!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Boof is Back, Baby!

The Boof is back!  That's right folks, the one and only Boof Bonser is finally back in baseball after being M.I.A. since 2008 with apparently the world's worst shoulder injury.  Of course, he's no longer a Twin, having been sent over to the Red Sox in 2009 for minor league reliever Chris Province (who is sporting a 5.86 ERA in AA this year).

Tonight, with the Red Sox down 3-0 to the Indians going into the 8th, and Clay Buchholz tuckered after throwing 107 pitches, they turned to Mr. Bonser to hold down the fort.  Here's how that went:

0ip, 2 hits, 2 walks, 4 runs.  Every batter he faced scored.  Season ERA = ∞. 

Ouch.  Welcome back indeed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Oh no! What's wrong with Joe Mauer!

This week I've heard from a couple of different radio programs that something must be wrong with Joe Mauer.  He must be injured and we don't know about it.  He must be pressing too hard because of the new contract.  He must be coasting because of the new contract.  There's something wrong.

How about he's playing exactly the way we should expect?  You didn't really think he'd hit .365 with 28 home runs every year, did you?  Even though his career averages suggest he's more of a .325 hitter with 15 homers?  You didn't really, did you?  Oh my god, you did.  How embarrassing for you.

He's hitting .312 this year at this exact moment as I type this thanks to his 1-2 so far tonight.  That's not exactly terrible.  That still ranks in the top 15 in the AL.  And would you be happier if he was hitting .350?  Do you know the difference between .312 and .350 at this point in the season?  Seven hits.  Or, one extra hit every seven games.  That's it.  And I've got news for you:  Batting average will fluctuate wildly for a non-power hitter.

That one hit every seven games could be a liner hit at somebody, a diving catch, or a blooper that just doesn't quite fall in.  At some point those are going to fall.  His line drive percentage is up quite a bit this year (27.6% to 22.6%), and his BABIP is down from a ridiculous .373 last season (though still high at .337).  He's going to be fine.

Oh.  Wait.  You probably thought he was suddenly going to turn into a power hitter thanks to that ridiculous stretch of games last year.  Did you know that last year, according to hittracker.com (which is awesome) that 11 of Mauer's homers were classified as "just enough?"  Meaning they barely cleared the wall.  Did you also know that last year his HR per Fly Ball spiked to a ridiculous 20.4%, a number which ranked him with guys like Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez?  Did you know his career number is around 10%?

So process all that.  Is it really realistic, in the least, to expect him to hit 30 homers?  Or even 25?  Using his career fly-ball rate and his career HR/FB rate (including last year's ridiculous number), you can expect Mauer to hit about 14 home runs per year.  You can also expect him to hit around .325-.330 ever year.

And this is a disappointment?  No, those numbers aren't worth the contract he just signed, but if you thought the contraction was just for his production, you probably think he'll hit 40 HRs in a season, too.

No, you're not dumb.  You're a visionary.

-  As long as I'm here, I might as well weigh in on Strasburg's debut.  I watched the first six innings, and there is no doubt I came away impressed.  He was hitting 97-98 with his fastball all game, and I expected the radar gun to be a little juiced, but the way some of those Pirates were swinging at the ball (and yes, granted they are the Pirates) I think I believe it.  You can read more about Strasburg than his mom would even want to if you go to basically any website, so I won't belabor it here, but I'm going to make two points.

First, just this line:  7ip, 4 hits, 2 runs, 0 bb, 14k.  14 strikeouts, no walks.  Wow.

Second, watching him strike out 5 of 6 batters in the fifth and sixth was like watching a dominant closer come in and shut the door.  Except it was two innings, and it was his fifth and sixth frame of the night.  Wow.

He had a lot of hype, and it's going to get worse, but for tonight at least (and I'm sure there will be rough patches) he absolutely lived up to it.

And he's on our fantasy team.

-  By the way, those of you who thought I was an idiot for calling out that there was something wrong with Zack Greinke can suck it (Dharma Bum -> hi). 

-  Also Kobe Bryant is absolutely playing like a man possessed tonight.  He has been so impressive in this postseason.  Like, a whole new level.  At this point, I have to say he's the fourth best guard I've ever seen behind Magic, Jordan, and Glen Rice.

-  UPDATE:  Celtics making a nice little run here, cutting the lead down to four.  Getting murdered by the refs though.  I didn't think the "Lakers must win" mandate would come down until Game 5, four at the earliest.  Also, Rondo is very, very good with the ball, but he's passing up 15 footers out there.  He should be in the gym four hours a day this offseason figuring out how to shoot.  He'd be unstoppable.  Like Big Baby is now, apparently.  Wow did he come to play.

-  UPDATE:  These refs are just brutal either way.  Baby goes up for a layup, a little bit of contact.  He missed, and now there's a whistle and a foul on the Lakers.  Really just terrible officiating.  Story of the finals, unfortunately.

-  UPDATE:  Kobe in "Operation Chucker" mode.  Fisher carrying the Lakers right now.  Also, Kevin Garnett is not dead yet, having a monster game.  If Ray Allen could hit anything (just missed another open three and I think he's 0-12 now) Celtics would have this.

-  UPDATE:  Garnett 25 points, 11-15 shooting.

-  UPDATE:  Ray Allen 0-13.  Denzel Washington is sad.

-  UPDATE:  This constant reviewing of out-of-bounds calls is killing this game.

-  UPDATE:  Ray Allen just missed a layup, although it didn't count because KG was called for a moving pick.  John Thompson would be so proud.

-  UPDATE:  Still hate the Lakers.