Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Wow, I am not a Pirates fan but I have just found out that I am an enabler; thanks for explaining this to me. I have been giving my friend Michael Beasley money to purchase alcohol and illegal substances for the past few months. No, really I am guilty. I have attended more Pirates’ games in the past 12 months than any non-pirates fan should. In fact, embarrassingly enough, I have been to more Pirates’ games than that of any other team (non IM-basketball division of course).
Attending games, supporting the team, buying apparel, this is what a fan does. Yes, the Pirates’ front office is inept. Yes, their recent percentage of successful free agent signings is that of Tony Romo’s win percentage in the playoffs (for all you Cowboy fans that number still remains at .000). But I repeat that is the job of a fan, to support a team through thick and thin. If you can’t support a team and be a fan of them when they are losing then you aren’t a fan at all. If you were a fan when Barry Bonds played for Pirates you should be one now, if you were a fan when the great Roberto Clemente was a Pirate you should be one now. If you aren’t a fan of them now you weren’t really a fan of them then.
Fair-weather fans don’t exist, if you don’t cheer for a team when they are losing you were never a fan in the first place. You were just riding the wave of enthusiasm brought on by a winning atmosphere. Being a fan isn’t about going to games when they have a shot at the division; it’s about being there when they are 20 games out of first 30 games in to the season. Real fans have boundless hope for their team. They get excited at the beginning of every season. They show up to games just to support the team. The Pirates show that Pittsburgh has a fan base, not the Steelers not the penguins. It is much more impressive to me that 20,000 fans show up for a Buccos game than it is that all Steelers games are sold out for the season, wow impressive the Super Bowl Champs are sold out, who would ever have imagined that happening.
One of the greatest things about being a fan is seeing your team go from being in the basement and in years win the championship. Believe me I know. I am a Phillies fan. I am and have been for years. My friends would torment me about how bad they were when I was in high school and now I can bask in the glory of a World Series Trophy. In fact, I miss some of the old days when I could show up the night of the game and buy tickets. Now you need to buy tickets weeks in advance to have a shot at getting tickets. This is the reason I could not attend a game this year, all of the non-fans who decided they should start going to games. Not that I am complaining, I can watch on TV and support them that way. I’ll save my games for the time when my team needs them most.
That is all beside the point. I am most interested in the theory of tanking if for 5 years and loading up a team. I love it. In fact I love it so much I am going to show how it would work out, besides taking the obvious way out and pointing to the Florida Marlins. Ok so in order for me to do this I decided that I started the project 5 years ago and I was going to take a 1 shot deal at the World Series in 2010. All of my players who are still on the roster because we brought them up and they are still within their arbitration are fair game, the only player I would ever consider keeping for talent purposes would be Zack Duke. I limited my self to a $150 million pay roll to fill out an entire roster; I would put almost all of that into starters and 2-3 bullpen pitchers and hope that I could find bench players and relief pitchers on the cheap.
So my lineup would look like this.
1- Chone Figgins-3rd base: 8 million (Consistent .300 hitter, 100+ runs, 50+ steals)
2- Carl Crawford-CF: 15 million (Maybe the most athletic and versatile player in the game, steal 50 hit .300, 25 homeruns, and can flat out play defense)
3- Jason Bay-LF: 12 million (Beautiful in his return to Pittsburgh, stepped up his game when wins mattered, big RBI guy in Boston would get about 125 with these 2 in front of him)
4- Matt Holiday-RF: 15 million (Cardinals have the best record in baseball with his acquisition, it hurts me to say this but he should have been MVP 3 years ago)
5- Victor Martinez-C: 10 million (best hitting catcher in baseball, enough said)
6- Adam Laroche-1st base: 8 million (sorry guys, weak year at 1B but he looks good again in Atlanta will produce in this lineup, plays better when he can be in the supporting cast)
7- Mark Derosa-2nd base: 6 million (consummate professional, can play all over infield, and offensively has taken his game to another level in his later years)
8- Orlando Cabrera-SS: 5 million (struggled with Oakland, has turned it on in Minnesota provides some pop and RBI potential at the bottom of the lineup)
1. Tim Hudson-SP: 12 million (1 season since his rookie year with an ERA over 4, wins 2/3’s of his decisions, solid staff ace)
2. Jon Lackey-SP: 12 million (averages 200 innings a year, winning record all but 1 season, career ERA under 4.00, one season over 4.00)
3. Eric Bedard-SP: 8 million (recent injury struggle, nasty stuff, averages 8.9 K per 9 innings for career, ERA of 2.8 and 90 K’s in 80 innings prior to injury this season)
4. Jon Garland-SP: 8 million (work horse, throws over 190 innings every full season in majors, wins ball games)
5. Zack Duke-SP: 3 million (The lone pirate, an all-star in 2009 with a real pitching coach and an organization who cares he could be a stud)
Closer- Brett Myers: 7 million (Wants to close; yes I know he has been a starter most of his career but if anyone saw the Phillies run to the division in 2007, they saw the emotion and the talent he has, world class curveball, mid 90’s slider & fastball serious mean streak, I mean he beat his wife mean streak)
Set up- Rafael Soriano: 7 million (graduated form setup role to closer this year has the ability to do either)
Set up- Fernando Rodney: 7 million (looks great in first years closing)
(Weakest part of team, I am banking on my starters going 7+ most of the time I should only require an inning from this crew)
RHP: Jeff Karstens 400,000
RHP: Joel Hanrahan 400,000
RHP: Jesse Chavez 400,000
LHP: Scott Erye (FA) 1.5 mil (situational lefty who can get out hitters)
Bench: (great speed and defense in the outfield, power off the bench with Branyan)
C: Jason Jaramillio: 400,000
1B/3B Russell Branyan (FA) 3 mil
2B/SS: Delwyn Young: 415,000
OF: Brandon Moss 415,000
OF: Andrew McCutchen $410,000
*My wild card signing would be Brandon Webb, but I would need to check his injury progress. Would replace Bedard and be staff ace if healthy.
OK, so I had a weak free agent class to work with this year. I had no real stud such as a Manny or an A-Rod to sign. I went with a lot of athletic players who could fill the stat sheet. Playing in the NL I designed my team with speed up top. I should be able to get 110 steals or so out of my top 2. I do have big time RBI potential 3-4-5. I have above average 6-7-8 hitters. Up the middle with Cabrera and DeRosa, I have no superstar but I have above average veterans who know the game and have been difference makers on winning teams.
Defensively, I am pretty solid in the outfield, with great defensive replacements. Figgins has a great glove at third, DeRosa is an above average 2nd baseman, and Cabrera may have lost a step, but is more than adequate at short. Martinez is my only defensive liability but is more than worth the risk behind the plate.
My bench is very solid. It has great speed in the outfield. Russell Branyan brings big time power off the bench and forces the opposing manager to worry about a late inning pinch hitter.
The pitching staff is made of veterans who have been known for going deep into games and eating innings. The veterans all know how to win ball games and bring good career ERA’s to the team. Duke is the diamond in the rough; he could be a standout in that 5th spot. The bullpen has big upside at the backend, some solid guys after (Erye, Hanrahan) but nobody to write home about.
I think this team wins the Central Division no questions asked. May not win the World Series but has a great regular season because of the full 5 starters and no holes in the lineup. Regardless Pittsburgh would have its first exciting baseball team in years, and now that they broke the Phillies’ previous record for most consecutive losing seasons they could finally make the playoffs.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
There's no way this wouldn't be the biggest story in sports. Michael Vick would have to murder Britney Spears on Monday Night Football to be a bigger story. Who wouldn't come see this team lose 100-0 every night? How exciting would year 5 be? Then start the cycle all over again for another 5 years.
It may not be real efficient, but it would be one hell of a ride. But until this happens, I'm not giving any more of money so one of my old friends can go buy more coke.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I ask Mr. Werenka why he believes that Usain Bolt is juicing? So, he broke a record, ok he broke a record pretty easily; but isn't that what happens to records? Are they not meant to be broken? Especially with increased knowledge on training, nutrition, and natural evolution of humans. Usain Bolt (6’5”) is bigger than Michael Johnson (6’1”), in fact he is naturally taller than almost all of his competitors. Yes, we have this preconceived notion that smaller more powerful sprinters are faster. Why not a taller individual with the same turnover. Bolt is beat out of the blocks in most races. Analysts say he can drop a tenth of a second if he improves his starts. That is all beside the point however.
Let us take a look at Bolt. First as I said he is taller than everyone else. This leads to a much larger stride length which does increase speed. Second, he is not more muscular looking, in fact he appears to have a much less muscular build than many of his competitors, which lends me to believe that he is not juicing. Next, Bolt did not come from thin air. When Bolt was 15 he won the world junior championships in the 200. He was the first junior to go sub 20.0 in the 200. This lends weight to the fact that Bolt has been putting up good times for a long time. Bolt was 6'5" by the time he was 15, he is a physical freak. Most importantly he has tested clean every time he has been tested; before the Olympics, after the Olympics, before the worlds, after the worlds and every time in between. He is the fastest runner in the world he is probably the most tested runner in the world as well. He passes all these tests under extreme scrutiny every day. If the IOC and governing track bodies say he is clean so will I.
As a fan I look at athletes in awe not in a skeptical manner. I want to be impressed that is why I watch. Just because we have been let down in the past does not mean we can't look for hope in the future. Call me innocent, naive, or anything else. I come from a background where you are not guilty by association. If you continue to prove to me that you are clean than I will believe you. Testers get caught everyday, Usain Bolt is not one of them. Get down off your high horse and enjoy sports as you once did, with a youthful enthusiasm and state of awe for what talented individuals can do, it will put the fun back in to sports. In today's society enough things can make you cynical, depressed and stone hearted, don't let sports be one of them.
Just a note Michael Johnson lowered the 200m record by .39s (19.72 to 19.33); Usain Bolt only managed to lower it 0.14s (19.33 to 19.19). If Michael Johnson could lower it by almost 3 times what Bolt did and be considered clean why can’t Bolt?
Monday, August 24, 2009
"Yes, this year he has AP, but so would have whoever won the Vikings QB battle, my money would have been on the sleeper John David Booty. The Vikings will make the playoffs with or without Brett"
First off, to think that freakin John David Booty is going to start is some wild stuff. Especially when you consider his name hasn't even been mentioned when the two guys above him are SAGE ROSENFELS and TARVARIS JACKSON. Then when you look at this sentence again, you realize he believes that John David Booty is a playoff quarterback. When you can't even make the discussion to compete for a job with guys named Sage and Tarvaris, its probably a safe bet you aren't gonna do much this season.
I guess I'll answer the question anyway though. Actually there are two different questions on the board. The first being which was the better football move, Vick or Favre. No brainer. Favre easy. Without Favre, the Vikes would be lacking a great deal of balance. Teams would stack the line without risk against AP. Look what happened to Larry Johnson over the past few years. He has had just garbage under center since his breakout year when he was just a horse. Since then, injuries and garbage. But I guess since some people think that Minnesota was stacked at quarterback before Favre with John David Booty, that would make Vick the better move.
A move that will bring little more than distraction, the Vick signing seems more of a favor to Tony Dungy than a football move at all. If you're an Eagles fan, why would you want a guy who hasn't played football in 2 years to take snaps away from a guy who is probably bound for the Hall of Fame? He has never played wide receiver, so rule that out. (Look how long it took Devin Hester, a guy like Vick in that he "just makes plays", to become a good receiver) And McNabb said the wildcat is nothing but a flash in the pan that he doesn't believe the Eagles will use. So what's left? Returning punts?
A different question that is asked is which will end in a better season. The Eagles started out with the better football team before either of these moves. I think that Minnesota has the slightly better team now, however. Both defenses are very good, so we'll call that a wash. The difference will be Brett Favre. Last year, in New York, Brett was tired halfway through the season. He played excellent the first half of the season, but by the time that the end of the season had rolled around, he had thrown too many balls. The Vikings will be smart this year in that they can keep Brett's attempts lower in the beginning of the season because they know Peterson is still the workhorse of this team. Brett will be ready mentally and physically when his favorite time of the year rolls around this time.
Something else that got my attention was the statement that all high school athletes should go to college. Not all athletes need to go to college. If a kid comes out of high school and makes just a million during his first year, that's like making $50,000 a year for 20 years. Why risk that?
The next issue I have is with the Benny the Jet comment. To suggest that he is in the same realm as Chitwood or Hobbs is all kinds of dumb. One of the reasons...he teaches Smalls to catch. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds like coaching. Stan van Gundy - you could make the argument that he's a good coach, but this man is no athlete. Another reason is that he outruns a dog. But judging by the 1:10 mark of the trailer, this dog weighs roughly 800 pounds. And you really shouldn't be slower than anything 800 pounds unless is a tractor trailer or a T-Rex.
Speaking of speed, Usain Bolt is juicing. And so is all of the Jamaican athletes. They just got too good too fast. Outside of Asafa Powell, Jamaica hasn't had much of a history on the world stage. Now they are making the rest of the world look like they're running in mud. Bolt is not just breaking, but destroying records, including a record many track experts thought would stand for decades, Michael Johnson's 19.32 200m. There will be a Jamaican PED scandal before the next Olympics. And that is a prediction you can count on.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Secondly, I must say that despite a great list of fictional athletes he did miss the greatest of them all. That would be Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, better known as Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez, from The Sandlot. Why you ask is he better than Jimmy Chitwood or Roy Hobbs? The answer is simple he managed 3 of the most amazing sports feats.
1) He knocked the cover off a baseball. (He is so badass that he was pissed he couldn't play anymore)
2) He taught Smalls, who couldn't catch a cold in the middle of January at the North Pole, to catch in about 15 seconds.
3) The most impressive of all: He out ran a dog, that’s right a dog, for an entire montage. People don't out run dogs. Dogs are fast. "The Jet" was faster, plus he ran on a table, through a movie theater, jumped on and over a car, and some other crazy stuff as well.
You can keep Jimmy; I'll take Benny.
So anyway, now that I have righted some the previous wrongs, I will begin with an introduction of what in sports interests me. Topics in sports that I feel are important are almost strictly regulated to 4 sports (Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey); however occasionally individuals in other sports do cause a peak interest in the second tier sports. This can be seen by Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and Michael Phelps. In addition there are also the Olympics but that is only a blip on the radar screen every 2 years (anyone who gets excited about curling or badminton more than every 4 years needs to reevaluate their life).
-Topic in sports that I am most tired of hearing about: Steroids in Baseball from 2003. If they test positive today then yes that is important. You can practically commit any crime outside of rape and murder and after 7 years it exceeds all federal statutes of limitations. In addition all the evidence is hearsay and concerned with somebody leaking information. We all know it happened, get over it. Thank God for Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard, but more importantly guys like Jim Thome and Ken Griffey who played through that era and are clean as a whistle in my book.
-Close second, Brett Favre, retire already. You have become a mediocre QB who wants to be treated as a top tier QB. Last year you did not even stay with the team on road trips. What a great way to show leadership to a younger generation.
-Recent topic in sports I am most amazed at is the dominance of Usain Bolt. Not only did he shatter his own World Record; he still looks as if he is barely trying. He blew away Tyson Gay, who just happened to set the American record in the same race. So how do you follow up a performance like that? Simple, set a new world record in the 200m. He is just so scarily smooth he is like no other sprinter I have ever seen. With all the bad press track & field has gotten with PEDs, I think Bolt can save it. He passes every drug test thrown his way and most importantly has fun while competing. He is exciting to watch and as an American, I cheer for Usain Bolt. I can't help it, seeing records fall by a clean athlete is one of my dirty pleasures.
-Close second, Tiger Woods & Y. E. Yang. This weekend’s PGA Championship was one for the ages. It had an absolute no name player hunting down Tiger Woods in the final round. That in itself is amazing, but what amazes me is that Tiger Woods is so good that all he has done this year is lead the tour in earnings, FedEx points, wins (5), top 10 finishes (11 of 13 events), and his world ranking is nearly double Phil Mickelson who is #2 and we consider it a bad year. That’s right a bad year, Tiger really let us down this year.
-Some personal beliefs I will always hold when writing/talking about sports.
-March/first weekend of April is and always will be the best time for sports all year. It includes March Madness, Opening Day & Spring Training, its crunch time in the NBA and NHL, and because football isn’t on there is coverage on everything.
- Money does not buy Championships. It may give you more room for error but that’s about it. Just ask Dan Snyder of the Redskins.
-High School athletes should go to college, unless they play baseball. This is because of the minor leagues. If other sports had a real minor league (no the NBADL does not count) than I would feel they should go pro.
-My last entry is a question towards my fellow author. Despite my better judgment I ask, which high profile quarterback acquisition in the past week was a smarter football move, Vick to the Eagles or Favre to Vikings. We all know Favre will start more games but which move will lead to a better season?
-It is my belief that Mike Vick is a better pickup. Brett is old he slowed down at the end of the season last year when the Jets' season was on the line. Yes, this year he has AP, but so would have whoever won the Vikings QB battle, my money would have been on the sleeper John David Booty. The Vikings will make the playoffs with or without Brett, they won't win a Super Bowl with him and they wouldn't have with out him. Now Vick, the Eagles have a ton of weapons, if everyone stays healthy. Vick just adds to the mix. He does not take anyone's spot; he isn't taking a significant amount of snaps. However, he will take away an opposing coordinators time by having to put in a game plan for him. That means people will be worried about him, plus anything he does is a bonus. If he steals one game for the Eagles it is more than Brett will do for the Vikings.
-Steelers – strongest franchise in NFL history
-Penguins – franchise hasn’t made a mistake since 2003
-Pirates – Arguably the worst franchise in sports over the past 17 years. But I don’t know anybody who would want to argue against this.
-PED’s will always be in MLB.
-Weed will always be in the NBA.
-Brett Favre will always be in the NFL.
-The “T.O. Show” must be produced by the same people that did “Date my Mom” or “Next” from MTV. The reason this doesn’t work is because you can tell when he reads the cue cards it’s the first time Terrell has read outloud since he was POPCORN reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” in 8th grade.
-Nobody follows the WNBA. Nobody.
-Barry Melrose knows less about his profession than MTV knows about making quality television.
-Guidelines to optimum sporting event viewing:
1.You must be watching with people who are all approximately on the same sports IQ level.
2.High Definition Television
3.Have 1-2 people who are rooting for the other team.
With one stipulation: group must be larger than 4 in this scenario. This puts much more on the line.
-Contrary to what Korean judges think, Roy Jones Jr. beat Park Si Hun.
-Jimmy Chitwood is the greatest fictional athlete of all time, narrowly edging out Air Bud and Roy Hobbs. In fact here are the 8 fictional athletes of all time (I stopped at 8 because I started to debate whether Coop and Reemer from Baseketball counted and realized how ridiculous it was):
So let’s start back a year before this movie starts when the Hickory Huskers were a very good team. We hear that they went deep into the playoffs. Fast forward to next year. New coach. No Jimmy. Huskers start playing like you would think a team that has 7 boys come out for the basketball team would. Uh oh, Jimmy’s back. Team doesn’t lose another game with Jimmy accounting for roughly 90% of the team’s scoring. The final score of the championship game is 42-40. Jimmy scores at least 32 of these points from what we see.
Hobbs was well on his way to possibly becoming the best pitcher in baseball. He said he could strike out who was basically Babe Ruth with three pitches. He did. He had to be shot to be stopped. We don’t see him again til he’s well on the other side of his prime, but this time as a slugger. He must have batted .600 in this movie. Then, the only way to stop him…is to shoot him…AGAIN. Accept he parks one to win the whole damn thing that destroys the entire stadium.
3. Air Bud
Here’s the thing about Air Bud. He comes into the game, a game against humans mind you, when he is down 72-56. He puts up a triple-double in about 4 minutes. Against humans. Carries his team to an 83-82 victory. The only thing Air Bud couldn’t do was create his own shot. But I’m nitpicking at this point.
4. Steve Nebraska
In Brendan Frasier’s finest performance of his career he plays Steve Nebraska who gets signed by the Yankees but only plays one game for them. But it was in the World Series. All Steve Nebraska was throw a perfect game…striking out all 27 batters…with 82 pitches. Obviously this feat will never be duplicated.
5. Teen Wolf
Drags this incredibly awful basketball team to not only win, but be the most exciting team that ever existed. That and he’s doing handstands on moving trucks. Let’s see Lebron do that.
6. Forrest Gump
All-American kick returner. Best ping pong player in the world at one point. Ultra-marathoner.
7. Kelly Leak
Again, drags a god-awful team to compete.
8. Adam Banks
Again, this team was nothing until Banks decided to turn his back on the Hawks and become a Duck.
-NHL playoffs are more exciting than March Madness when you are attached to a team. With no attachment, MM gets the nod.
-You can never have too many LaRoche’s
-The Stanford Tree is the worst mascot in sports.
-Golf is interesting 16 days per year.
-Golf is exciting 4 days per year.
-The NHL, MLB, and NBA seasons are way too long. The NFL manages a 16 game schedule, why can’t these leagues cut theirs’ down to the 50 range at least?
-Decathletes are the best athletes in the world.
-Barry Bonds is like the Beatles. Only in reverse. Run with me here. Before Barry went to the Giants he could do everything. But later became a one dimensional player. He could do one thing better than anyone else. Hit home runs. The Beatles started out one dimensional. But damnit they could pump out those tunes with the most basic lyrics that would make women weep. Kinda like how chicks dig the long ball. (starting to make sense now right? see i told you) The turning point in both of these cases was PED's. Bonds had steroids. The Beatles had LSD.
-Shaq is the funniest athlete in sports