Saturday, May 31, 2008
Dear Cliff Floyd
Friday, May 30, 2008
Links of the Day 5/30/08
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Links of the Day 5/29/08
I want to see video of this. Not calling Showalter a liar, but it sounds pretty hilarious.
A geography lesson involving the Baltics could be in order.
Labels: Links of the Day
Instant Replay, the instant replay
Commissioner Bud Selig has been long trying to find ways to speed up the game. The games run a long time, and aren't filled with the intense action of football and hockey, where players are running into each other, knocking each other down, and in general putting themselves in harm's way constantly. (Minnesota Twins apparently play the fastest games in the majors, but there are some nights they need to speed things up, too.)
Like Ryan mentioned, part of baseball’s charm is the human element. Some days, the strike zone is just a tiny keyhole. Other days, the strike zone is so big, you could fly a 747 through it. As a fan, this doesn’t bother me--as long as it’s consistent for both sides. It’s not fair giving Greg Maddux a strike zone big enough to drive a truck through, while his opponent has a strike zone the size of a Matchbox car. It’s frustrating to see a location called a strike for one pitcher, and a ball for the other. I have an acquaintance who would like to see balls and strikes called mechanically--the technology exists to do that, but no. I’m not in favor of that.
So, instant replay. There are multiple times it could be used. I listen to the radio at the ballpark, and have friends at home who are watching on TV. It’s very frustrating to be sitting there after a player has been called out attempting to steal and thinking, "he looked safe to me", and hear from the radio, or from friends, "he was safe." It can change the course of the game. Instead of a runner on second with no outs, there are no runners on with one out.
When a ball is hit down the line, and the umpire gets turned around, he has to make the best call he can from what he sees. He has to decide if the ball went over first in fair or foul territory. When a batter checks his swing, the first or third base umpire has to decide whether he truly checked it, or failed to check it. When a ball is hit towards the stands, should fan interference be called, or was the ball out of play? When a ball is hit close to the foul pole, was it a home run or a “long strike”? For that matter, did the pitcher really commit a balk or not? And was that ball really caught on the fly or did it bounce as the fielder dived for it? (A couple of years ago, Torii Hunter was nominated for some fan-based vote award--best outfielder or something. The video they had to highlight his skills showed clearly that the ball bounced before he caught it, but the umpire called it caught. A day later, mlb.com picked a different video where Hunter actually did make a catch.)
When should instant replay be made available to the umpires? I’m in favor of never. Just let the umpire make the call, and move on. They’ll get it wrong. And it will be annoying and frustrating every time. However, sometimes they’ll get it wrong against the team you’re cheering for, and sometimes they’ll get it wrong in favor of the team you’re rooting for.
The main reason I don’t want it for anything is because once you allow something, it makes it easy to allow more. Today, we’re allowing instant replay on home runs (which might not be a bad idea). Two years from now, someone will argue that it’s needed on base-stealing calls. And some day in the future, umpires will all be sitting in their homes, watching the games on TV making the calls, and the fans in the stands will have to await every call to be announced on the JumboTron. That will take all the fun out of booing the umpire when he doesn’t make the call in my favor…
Speed the game up. Let the umpires make the calls as they see best, accept that they’re humans and they’ll make mistakes, and move on.
The first thing people supporting the idea of replay point to is its success in other sports. While it is true that replay has been an important improvement for the NFL, NBA and NHL, the comparison strains under the fact that replay in those sports is practically a necessity. In baseball, there is not the constant activity seen in those other sports. With 12 athletes on the ice, the NHL has four officials skating. The NFL has 7 officials to manage 22 competitors. The NBA uses three referees in order to monitor 10 players. In all three games, that is a lot of action to cover. In baseball, there is one person designated to monitor the one thing going on, be it the pitch, the play at first or the fly ball in the outfield. For the most part, umpires don't need the help like officials in other sports need.
Part of the mystique of baseball is that it is a game designed for intelligent fans. Statistics are so easily interpreted and derived, situational defensive positioning and hitting so prominent in the game. One of the mental facets of the game is getting inside of a hitter, convincing him that a fastball is coming and dropping in a curveball, busting him inside, things like that. Smart pitchers, like Greg Maddux, are in demand because of their command of that fluid entity that is the strike zone. Not only that, but Maddux, through his years in the league, has garnered the respect of the men in blue, and perhaps a little leniency on the corners have allowed his Hall of Fame career to continue, as he doesn't have to throw in a smaller window, allowing hitters to key on pitches that have never been overpowering. As stupid as that reasoning may be, it is and has been a fundamental aspect to the way the game has always been played and shouldn't be altered.
That being said, as the other big three sports have advanced technologically, or in the NFL's case, fundamentally altering the rules over time, replay has been used to keep up with these changes. The NFL has seen itself evolve from a running oriented game to embracing the forward pass, necessitating several officials downfield as the area of action can quickly change by 30-40 yards. It's easier if there are cameras available as back up. In the NBA, a red light flashes behind the backboard when the time runs out, eliminating any equivocation on whether or not a shot was fired off before time expired. The NHL uses replay to determine the validity of questionable goals, as officials often need to navigate their way through 4 guys in their ever more bulky pads and simply can't see what just happened. The game of baseball has remained relatively unchanged for decades.
There is one exception. Every stadium is different, and MLB has managed to deal with that by allowing for specific ground rules from stadium to stadium. Different stadiums also have different iterations of outfield bleachers that umpires must become familiar with from city to city. Because of this, because there is so much going on with a home run call, I have no problem with replay for situations where the veracity of a home run call is questioned. It sounds like that is what is on the table, so hopefully that's where it ends.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Links of the Day, Deluxe edition
If you were interested in catching that Brewers-Red Sox game from a couple weeks ago, lived in Minneapolis and have Comcast, it was blacked out. Uh... what?
BREAKING: Ozzie Guillen may be difficult to get along with. To be fair though, Orlando Cabrera doesn't exactly come out of this smelling like a rose either.
Scott Martin; ass.
Speaking of college basketball, From the Barn interviews Gophers recruit Colton Iverson about.... The Office.
Yesterday's Orioles-Yankees game was rather awesome.
In my continued quest to bring you the latest breaking news from the city of Victoria, here's the latest. Their chamber of commerce is merging with two other cities'! Feel free to discuss the ramifications in the comments/
Monday, May 26, 2008
ESPN Summer Programming Preview
ESPN Confidential: Summer Programming Plans
Women's Softball and Bowling Tonight
Hosted by Lisa Fernandez and Parker Bohn III, this nightly hour-long show will give all of the women's softball and bowling fans out there the highlights and coverage they need. Barry Melrose will serve as the field reporter for the show because we don't exactly remember what we hired him to cover. NOTE: extra security will be required to restrain Brian Kenny from running on the set to demand boxing be discussed.
The Tip of the Horn
The Sportscenter following PTI will be pushed back to bring you The Tip of the Horn. Much like Around the Horn, points will be awarded for conversation points, but not for making good points, but for talking the longest and loudest. There will be only 2 competitors each day, Stephen A. Smith and Dick Vitale....sitting face to face....in a room with only a bright red background. Whoever stops yelling first forfeits a point to the his opponent. Sportscenter can be aired on ESPN 2 on days where the 30 minutes are not enough.
The Rick Reilly Show
Rick Reilly works for the World Wide Leader now! Join Rick each week as he goes yachting with Tiger Woods, plays on exclusive club courses where the mere sight of you in the presence of the clubhouse would make the members vomit, and even makes visits to members of his biggest constituency of readers: Guys that are members of golf clubs that enjoy fine cigars and popped collars, don't spend much time with their family because they are busy golfing, and have a son that used to be captain of his high school's lacrosse team until he was stricken with a rare and debilitating genetic disease. Get the tissues ready!
Everybody Loves Joba
Stop the Presses! The New York Yankees, only 6 games out of first behind the Tampa Bay Rays, are beginning the slow process of converting middle reliever Joba Chamberlain to a starter! The daily 15-20 minutes allotted to this on Sportscenter just aren't enough, so we're bringing you an hour long show each day with all of the Joba you need. Sure, there's a slim chance he'll be out of baseball in 2 years, but this conversion from reliever to starter has probably never been done before and we can witness the birth of the greatest pitching career of our lifetimes before our eyes.
ABC's Wide World of Sports Presents the National "Hockey" League
ABC has long been known for bringing you the widest variety of sports from across the globe from cliff diving to the World's Strongest Man competitions. Now, ABC continues that tradition by bringing you games of a bizarre sport known as "hockey" or more formally, "ice hockey." In this curiosity of a sport, men from Canada and cold regions of Europe skate on a sheet of ice that is indoors, carrying wooden sticks, and try to shoot a rubber disk into a net, similar to soccer in many ways. Despite the players origins in cold regions, the "NHL" features teams located in cities such as Miami, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Dallas, Anaheim, and Raleigh, NC. Note: Games will be shown on taped delay from the previous season no earlier than 1 AM.
Memorial Day is traditionally the first weekend of summer for most of us, and I hope we all enjoy ourselves, but please, don't forget those who have died in the line of duty, or who have served this country and passed on.
RIP Carl Isaacson, Maggie Duran, Walt Henning
Labels: God Bless America
Links of the Memorial Day
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Someone who HAS seemed to develop man muscles, much to everyone's surprise, is Alexi Casilla. Of course, Alexi Casilla seems to have aged about 20 years since the last time I saw him. Either way, I've been impressed with his presence in the dugout. He seems a lot more relaxed and comfortable in the field and at the plate. Oh. And he just LOOKS a lot older:
This is a Casilla from 2 years ago (from MLN) and this is this years picture of Casilla from the Twins site:
Hard to believe it's the same guy. Somehow, he has 2 homers, and once again, Delmon Young and Joe Mauer combined have 0.
Links of the Day 5/25/08
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Belated Cup predictions
We're a period into Game One, but frankly, I don't care. I'm still making my official Stanley Cup prediction now. Pittsburgh Penguins in 6. Not that I want that to happen. I find Sidney Crosby a little bit aggravating in sort of an Alex Rodriguez sort of way, if that makes sense, and I still can't forgive the Pens for annihilating the North Stars in 91. Also, the Red Wings no longer have Sergei Fedorov, who was my least favorite player in the league until he started to suck (it's Matt Cooke now), and they have Niklas Kronwall, who is an absolute delight to watch as he lights up inattentive forwards.
Getting right down to it though, the Pens and Wings are very similar teams, with elite young forwards and veteran defensive corps.This difference, though, is that the elite young forwards on the Pens are simply more talented than those on the Wings, and the defensemen with the Wings are simply, well, more veteran. So I would bet online for the Pens. The difference is going to be a younger, fresher more limber goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury than the geriatric Chris Osgood and Domenik Hasek. There you have it. Enjoy the games!
Links of the Day 5/24/08
Penn State blog Nittany White Out ranks Ross Ade stadium as the 7th toughest Big Ten venue. I can't really argue with that. The student section is one of the best I've seen, but the rest of the fan base is pretty timid, and the team hasn't really been much cause to really excite them lately. The Metrodome was ranked #8.
Lastly, please, everyone, make sure that your nipple cream is safe.
Labels: Links of the Day
Friday, May 23, 2008
Best Double Play tandem?
Naturally, the classic Sandberg-DeJesus combo is second in voting right now. Excellent research.
I trust that you, Victoria Times readers, can find a better combo than that fictional one. Maybe Dunston-Sandberg, one that actually existed? Personally, I say any combo with Ozzie Smith, be it Tom Herr, Jose Oquendo or Luis Alicea. I mean, look at this form!
The Wizard indeed.
Links of the Day 5/23/08
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Wild acknowledged the honor, but have stuck to their slogan, “State of Hockey”. It seems the legislature is in on the act. They had added to an education bill to make hockey the official state sport. It was removed because there are some parts of the state where hockey isn’t popular. Well, the Walleye is our state fish, and I don’t like fish, therefore, the walleye should be taken away. There are many people in the state who are lactose intolerant, and milk is still the official state drink (link). I’m not here to argue that legislature should get the bill back on the table.
I grew up in Minnesota, and had pretty much no exposure to hockey as a kid. I followed baseball exclusively, as can no doubt be noted in my posts. But I can’t deny the sheer number of children who are on the rinks playing hockey. I like to ice skate, which I’ve done since I was a wee child. No hockey was played on the outdoor rink down the block, so I was never tempted to try it. However, now whenever I got to local parks, it amazes me the number of kids with sticks and pucks who are out there. It doesn’t matter if there are only two kids, they’ll find a way to play a game. If there are 20 people of all ages, games still go on (although a distinct lack of goalies; the costs of equipment is prohibitive—once I saw the goals turned over, making a smaller target, and other times).
Maybe Minnesota is the State of Hockey. Why not? We can play it cheaper than some states (find a frozen pond, and your only expense is a snow shovel, skates, a punk, and a stick). In winter, outdoor choices are limited, and skating gives kids something to do that’s simply fun—but challenging. The number of schools—high school and college—with strong hockey programs is likely unmatched (Massachusetts and Michigan are up there). It’s not a pastime to hockey families, it’s a part of their lives.
Links of the Day 5/22/08
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Enough with the slap hits
This is what Baseball Prospectus said about Joe Mauer last season:
Mauer is the best position player on the Twins, and one of the best in all of baseball. The scary thing is that he`s probably only going to get better from here: the 36 doubles and 13 home runs he hit last year are going to slowly morph into something more like 25/25 over the next few years, and that batting average is anything but a fluke. Oh yeah, and we haven`t even mentioned how good he is defensively. We`re guessing all that talk about the Twins making a mistake by taking the hometown boy over Mark Prior with the first pick of the 2001 draft has calmed down a bit.This is a quote about Delmon Young:
In terms of hitting ability, at 6'3", 205 pounds, Delmon presents an intimidating and strong plate prescence, and his hitting ability has often been compared to that of Albert Belle.25/25 and a comparison to Albert Belle seems to suggest that they should be hitting for some degree of power, right? Then why do new call up Alexi Casilla, Adam Everett, and David Eckstein all have more home runs than Young and Mauer combined? I would venture to say that it's no coincidence that both of these vaunted hitting prospects are essentially floundering in the same system that rejected David Ortiz.
The Twins system preaches a slap hitting, opposite field approach that will work out for fast guys like Carlos Gomez, and strong, patient guys like Justin Morneau. Mauer isn't particularly fast, and he seems to timid to pull the ball with any authority. Delmon Young is simply to impatient, and needs to be taught how to work a count and drive pitches. The fact is, the Twins need to start scoring more runs, especially if their pitching starts to deteriorate, which it appears likely to do.
Links of the Day 5/21/08
Pacifist Viking goes way over my head to tell us that the NFL is considering prohibiting long hair.
The second biggest single sporting event in the world gets the second spot on today's Links. The Champions League final saw one team from England beat another team from England.
On that thread, were you two run afoul of a Serbian who told you that he wished your wife to give birth to a centipede, so you could spend your life working for shoes, would you be devastated? You should be.
Labels: Links of the Day
The what's in where now?
Sure, the city hosts two huge sporting events a year, in the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 500, both auto racing events, and every once in a while, they have an NCAA Final Four. That being said, NFL fans are a bit more discriminating than NASCAR fans, and more voluminous than college basketball fans.
The downtown entertainment district nearest the stadium is impossibly small, and the next closest real place to have a good time is Broad Ripple on the northside. But don't go too far, because then you're just looking at a lot of corn. Not in February, I suppose, but the point holds true. The Indianapolis metro is small and without a whole lot to entertain the teeming masses for a week. You can only check out the Speedway so many times. And it won't help that everyone there will also be trying to visit the Speedway (which happens to be in a rough side of town. Speaking of, most of Indianapolis can be a rough part of town if the Pacers are around). I've often said that the best thing to do in Indianapolis is go to Chicago.
Then there is the other concern. The Colts are building this new stadium, to be used to host the Super Bowl. I had the opportunity to stay right across the street from the stadium and look into it this past weekend from my hotel room:
I can't tell exactly what that looks like, but I have a few ideas.
A large indoor swimming pool
A huge F'in barn.
But I'm sure that's the image Indy is looking to project. We're completely rural hicks. Join us as we drink beer in a field and play football in our barn.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Links of the Day 5/20/08
BMR has a Stanley Cup Finals contest underway. I'm taking the Penguins, because I'm pulling for the Red Wings, and years of living in Minnesota have taught me that no matter who I cheer for, I will always be disappointed.
Boiled Sports continues a blogging tradition, but keeping an eye on what pretty girls are doing. Presently, they are driving very quickly.
And for Beth, who has fastidiously been monitoring the T-Wolves status in the draft lottery, we found out today that they have the 3rd pick in a two person draft this year. No doubt they will select someone awful.
Labels: Links of the Day
Monday, May 19, 2008
Links of the Day 5/19/08
Proving that even though they can't fly, they're still awesome, Penguins beat Flyers to head to the Stanley Cup Finals.
An umpire admits he made a mistake!
If anyone really cares, Russia came in first, Canada first and Finland third in the IIHF World Championship.
Labels: Links of the Day
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Links of the Day 5/18/08
Here's a great rundown on the commercials we've been hit over the head with while watching the NHL Playoffs.
This one's from last week but it's good so it's here. Erin Andrews talks a bit about Internet pervy types. Heh, that's funny, Erin, but I know you mean other dudes and not me. You're my girlfriend after all. We even have pet names -- I call you sweetums and you call me Get Away Weirdo.
For a complete non-sequitor, here's a blogger I read on a regular basis whom I don't know personally, but who I've always found quite entertaining.
And finally, has Sean Avery gone completely around the bend? Maybe his ruptured spleen has made him decide to pursue other careers. But interning at Vogue magazine? Umm, well, okay. Maybe he thinks it'll get him some tail.
Well, that's all for me, folks. Thanks for having me and a tip o' the cap to Ryan and Steve for inviting us to partake. Come on over and say hi sometime.
Labels: Links of the Day
- The Boston Celtics held on this afternoon to eek out a Game 7 victory over the Cavaliers to move to the Eastern Finals. No team has ever begun the playoffs 0-6 on the road and won a title. The C's are eight wins away from doing that. However, I have to believe that Detroit is good enough to win one in Boston so the Celtics must figure this out, or else the 66-16 season goes down in flames, Doc Rivers is probably fired, and KG is cemented as a playoff non-performer.
- The Flyers rolled over and played dead this afternoon, as the Pens crushed them 6-0 to finish the Eastern Finals and move on to their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1992, if memory serves correctly. I believe this was the East's last chance to get the Penguins while they're still young and able to be rattled. They remind me so much of those early '80s Edmonton teams, it's scary. It's also scary to think how good they could get and for how long they might dominate. My Rangers missed their chance this year. (Also, one of my major pet peeves is lazy/stupid headline writing -- and ESPN.com is pissing me off greatly with "Penguins March To Finals." Like the movie, March of the Penguins? Get it? GET IT?? Yes, ESPN, we get it. It's f-cking stupid.)
- For a little local VT flavor, the Twinkies got bounced by the Rockies again this afternoon. Justin Morneau showed up but he wasnt enough to stop the Rockies onslaught led by Clint Barmes.
- I shot a 46-46-92 at my course this afternoon, compiling the best 18 I've had on this course yet.
Recapping Saturday's Stud Performances
In Detroit, Marty Turco stood tall and continued his quest to get to play defenseman as he actually assisted on Joel Lundqvist's game-winning goal in the second period. The Stars held on to win 2-1 and send this series, which was once 3-0 Detroit, back to Dallas 3-2. That's Turcolicious.
Now Detroit's got to be a little nervous. They weren't able to close out the Stars in Hockeytown so now the Stars go home to a rocking building with nothing to lose. Win and you've pushed an 0-3 deficit back to a Game 7. Turco will surely lose that one, but it would still be cool to see Detroit frightened.
Philly tries to do the same thing today in Pittsburgh -- win on the Pens ice to force a Game 6 back in the city of brotherly love. Sidney Crosby, by the way, is not a stud in the facial hair department.
Our final stud is Johan Santana, late of the Minnesota Twins, who beat the Yankees at the Stadium yesterday. Whatever, we Yankee fans didn't want him anyway.
Buckle Up, Kids -- Uncle J Is Here
We’d like to say we at Boiled Sports were flattered to be asked to fill in today, but given that we don’t usually do much on our own site on the weekends, this was kind of like Bill Lumburgh coming over and telling us he needed us to, “go ahead and come in on Sunnndayyy. Ummm, yeeeeahhhh. Okay, greeeaaat.”
No, really, it’s always fun to help out a fellow blogger and we might even check the veracity of things we post, too!
As for Ryan and Steve, well, they’re off the reservation this weekend because of a wedding. Inside sources tell us it’s not to one another, but hey, the rules, they are a-changin’.
No, but seriously, folks, Steve is getting married this weekend and we wish him the best. Of course, none of us at BS actually know Steve personally – if we did, we’d probably be at his effing wedding instead of writing this claptrap. But I digress. All the best, Steve. Welcome to the dark side.
As for today, well, I’ve got the keys to VT and who knows where I’ll take us. Boilerdowd, one of my compatriots on BS, suggested that in keeping with the theme of our feature, Sideboob Friday, maybe we could do “Manboob Sunday” here at VT. You know, just to try out a new idea. I’m still thinking it over.
I like the opportunity because I know hockey is fair game around here, whereas when I try to talk about it on my own site, people nod off. Silly Midwesterners. For those of you who don’t know, Boiled Sports is a sports site that we like to call “Purdue-centric.” We are indeed obsessed with Purdue athletics but we also talk about all sorts of things in the world of sports.
And we like to stir the sh-t from time to time. I’m kind of a bigger a-hole that the nice guys (and gal) you’re used to reading here, so cover the kids’ eyes and get ready to roll.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
It's Time for the Third Biggest Wagering Day in America!
From 2002-04 three horses won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, only to suck wind and come up short in New York. The past three years, no horse has been able to take home even the first two legs. Today Big Brown, a heavy favorite, is racing against a field that resembles the episode of South Park where a bunch of kindergarten kids faced off against the Detroit Red Wings. If he doesn't become the first horse since Smarty Jones to win the first two legs then, well, horse racing can chalk up another year of not taking America's dreams by storm (but they do try so hard, what with all the touching story lines being shoved down our throats!). Instead, it will be a long year of PETA protests and negative publicity. Doesn't that sound fun?
Without any further ado, here are your betting lines for the 133rd Preakness Stakes. 133 years? Jeez. It amazes me more and more every year that somehow, a long time ago, horse racing and boxing were on top of the sporting world. Gotta love 'tradition'.
Oh and Big Brown is 1-2. Seriously. What the hell is going on?
I guess I have to give some sort of prediction at this point. I'm going to close my eyes, and point to a random spot on my computer screen. Really. And the pick is.... Racecare Rhapsody! Good luck everybody!
PP Horse ML
-- ----- --
1 Macho Again 20-1
2 Tres Borrachos 30-1
3 Icabad Crane 30-1
4 Yankee Bravo 15-1
5 Behindatthebar SCR
6 Racecar Rhapsody 30-1
7 Big Brown 1-2
8 Kentucky Bear 15-1
9 Stevil 30-1
10 Riley Tucker 30-1
11 Giant Moon 30-1
12 Gayego 8-1
13 Hey Byrn 20-1
Twins Introduced to Coors Field, Carlos Gomez Introduced to Wall
Last night, the Twins made their first-ever trip to Coors Field. To their dismay, they were not showered in beer upon arriving. Somehow I though that was a custom over there, too. Apparently not -- but it should be. In all actuality, Coors Field turned out to be just like every other major league stadium except, you know, the whole altitude thing.
The game was close the whole way but the Twins did take a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth. The play of the game was made at the last moment, as Rockies' catcher Yorvit Torrealba (is there a more random assortment of letters anywhere else?) hit one to deep center with a man on and two out. Being a naive and uninformed baseball fan, I would imagine the darned thing would leave the park and keep going with the thinner air and what not (you mean they can't hit the ball to the moon??). Suffice to say,
I can't find the video on YouTube, but head over to MLB.com and check it out. It's worth it and it really makes me appreciate outfielders. Seriously, the dude just hurled himself into the wall. It was like watching a bird fly into a glass window, except somehow premeditated. I'm just glad that Gomez came out of this collision more or less alright. Bruised, yes, but not of the Aaron Rowand wall smashing variety.
Twins center fielder Carlos Gomez had both wrists wrapped, a sore lip because he had just bit it and a slight headache."Oh, no way."
"I run to the ball and when I see it, I said to myself, 'Jump,' " Gomez said.
He caught the ball, smacked into the wall and tumbled to the ground. Game over.
"When I catch it, I say, 'Oh, no way,' " Gomez said.
When even you don't believe what you've just done, I'd say that's pretty impressive. Imagine LeBron James going 'oh, no way,' after dunking on Kevin Garnett as if all of a sudden awakening from a lucid dream. But to be fair, I have that same reaction every time I get half off imports during happy hour. It's that exciting.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Too late now
The Mets made the trade, giving up three pitchers and an outfielder. They’ve got a better record than the Yankees, 20-19, but not by much. But they have Santana, who has a 3.10 ERA (4-2 record).
Did the Yankees screw up by not making the trade? It depends. If they wanted to be the Yankees forever, then maybe. The Yankees, stereotypically, have bought the best players on the free agent market every year, as needed; trading their future one year and buying great players to fill in the next. Smaller-market teams have developed talent within, suffered through learning curves, and enjoy the good years when they can get them; there are no holes to fill in, because the future is always with them.
Would Santana have helped the Yankees win more games in 2008? No doubt. However, based on their minor league stats, I’d expect them to turn things around, and they’ll be very useful members of the Yankees’ rotation for a while (as much as it pains me to say this). It might be harder for teams that are used to winning to, well, not win. It’s painful to watch players go through learning curves. If you’re not used to learning curves, you might see it as a complete disaster.
It’s not. It’s a change in philosophy. It’s the Yankees looking at the smaller-market teams and saying, “Wait. We could do that, too, and it would be a whole lot cheaper.”
The whole question comes down to: do we want to win now, or do we want to win in the future? If the Yankees insisted on taking the philosophy “live for today, for tomorrow may never come”, then they needed to try harder to gain Santana . But it seems as if the Yankees have decided that tomorrow will come, and they’ve held onto their future.
The only thing they might want to notice is that future doesn’t always turn out the way you expect. “Sure things” fail sometimes, and you never know when.
Links of the Day 5/16/08
Unlike some athletes, Ken Griffey, Jr., gleefully pays his debts.
The most disturbing thing about this article is not that the guy didn't reach home. Rather it's that he lists himself as "a Yankee and Met fan". Pick a team!
Which true statement is more stunning: First-place Rays beat last-place Yankees 5-2 or Royals finish sweep of Tigers? I'll go with the Rays.
Labels: Links of the Day
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Links of the Day 5/15/08
The guy who inspired Steve and I to get into the whole sports writing thing, Bill Simmons, is apparently unhappy with his current situation at ESPN.
Playoff beards are funny. I used to grow a "finals beard" every semester when I was in school. Nobody ever noticed.
This is for all the Vikings fans out there. It just proves that there is no way for a grown man to look good in purple.
Labels: Links of the Day
Money, money, money...
Speaking of paying money to attend games, the Washington Nationals are in a bit of a quandary. Apparently, they’re filling more seats than it might look to those watching from home. Why? The seats behind home plate, those most visible to the television audience, are sparsely populated.
It’s explained here. The Nationals expected these seats to be sold to lobbyists, who in turn would give them to government people. Except that there are limits now on the value of gifts given, and the lobbyists can no longer give away these seats. The blog linked offers suggestions of how the Nationals can fill their $325 ($335 Saturday; $400 front row) seats. It’s a bit odd, though, for me to think of paying more for *one* game than I pay for my 81-game season tickets. However, we should be relieved to know that A-Rod could attend 846,153.85 Nationals game (or 820,895.52 Saturday games or 687,500 games in the front row!).
But, hey, not filling one area is a whole lot better than the Marlins, who are averaging 14,980 fans per game. The Nationals average over 29,000.
Confidential to the Red Sox fan sitting behind me on Monday: The Red Sox are not the only team in baseball that would waste a lead-off double. The Twins have turned that into an art form.
Scott Baker may be heading for a re-hab stint soon. It’s hard to say. Nonetheless, the period of mourning continues.
One of my favorite parts of this site is reading what other people have to say. I think Beth has an innate way of giving unique perspective to statistics while still maintaining a childish enthusiasm for athletics that makes her posts fun to read. I appreciate commentors who log on to tell me how they agree with me, tell me how much I suck, or simply engage in a debate with me. Then, of course, there's Steve.
The thing I appreciate the most about Steve is that, even after knowing him for 5 years and writing with him off an on for over three, he still continues to surprise me. Steve, like most Purdue graduates, is an engineer, which lends itself to certain stereotypes. Instead of being obsessed with numbers, though, Steve brings engineering into his sports writing by introducing an acute sense of detail. What some of us would describe as "creativity" Steve, I'm sure, would just view as being really aware and having a good memory. It's really a shame that he doesn't have more time to lend to writing here, because he would certainly be sensational.
If you aren't appreciative of the nuances of sports, then Steve could rub you the wrong way, as he is always ready to talk sports and has an incredible sports database tucked away in his brain. One of the first times we met, a mutual friend told me to ask a random sports question, like when was the last time Villanova was in the Final Four, and Steve would be able to answer it. I don't remember exactly the question I asked, but I do know that he answered it correctly, and I was then forever in awe of Steve's sports prowess (not to be confused with athletic prowess, of which he has none. With none being a generous assessment).
In the perfect male blogger world, those traits would be the perfect aphrodisiac for women, and for Steve, it has been. Yes, our little Steve-o is all grown up, and he's getting married this weekend, and I couldn't be happier for him. Best of luck and congratulations to Steve and the future Mrs. Steve. Mazel Tov.
In case you hadn't guessed, I will be headed down to the wedding this weekend. If you need me, I'll be the guy in Indianapolis with the tux and the .12 BAC. The Times will not lie dormant, thank goodness, because we've still got Beth and a couple of guests on Saturday and Sunday. See you Tuesday!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Links of the Day 5/14/08
Which MLB teams are for real after their good start this early in the year? A lot of room for debate, and I fall into the Rays and A's are for real while the Marlins and Cardinals are not, and the Twins are doing as expected (around .500), but the Indians will eventually overtake them anyways.
All the women are retiring! First Sorenstam and now Justine Henin. Strange.
Labels: Links of the Day
Two pertinent questions
Second, with it becoming more and more apparent that the Red Wings and Penguins will be meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals, who does the responsible Minnesota Sports fan cheer for? The Red Wings are commonly viewed as the Yankees of the NHL, even though they are more like the Cowboys, since their dominance has been interrupted and incomplete, and I'm pretty sure that some pop star is going to be dating Valtteri Filppula any day now. The Penguins, on the other hand, not only beat the Minnesota North Stars in the state's only time seeing a team in the Finals, but they embarrassed them, both on the ice and with their cruel, cruel words. Three things make me think that I will be pulling for the Red Wings. First, they will have dispatched the Stars in the Western Finals, which is sweet for Minnesotans. The North Stars were bastards for leaving us, and even worse for not letting Minnesota keep the North Star name. Then, there's Sidney Crosby, who will surely have about 15 more chances at the cup. Last, when push comes to shove, you always root for your own conference. So in that two week long Red Wings fan spirit: Hey Malkin! You lay on the ice like a little... You lay on the ice like a broad, Malkin!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Links of the Day 5/13/08
Bugs and Cranks is taking a look at the worst states for baseball. First up? Alaska. That's like taking candy from a baby, no?
Now when you watch ESPN for 9 straight hours in the morning, you can tell your significant other that indeed, it IS different than the last time you watched it.
Labels: Links of the Day
Labels: Pictures are easy
Monday, May 12, 2008
Links of the Day 5/12/08
For Mother's Day, I'm talking about clothes.
And then there was third place finisher Jeff Quinney. I don't have a problem with the pink shirt, since it's mothers day and all, but, well, is that a Phoenix Coyotes logo on there? For shame. But hey, a third place finish is one any 'Yotes fan should be proud of.
I may not be able to hit the ball straight or put or marry Swedish models, at least I can dress myself without looking like a complete douche. And yes, this was a blatant attempt to get another "apparel" tag.
More photos available here.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Links of the Day 5/11/08
The new Twins
We're up to May 11th, and the season is now over a month in. It's a good time to rank the new Twins (just the ones that came from outside the organization) and their impact so far versus the expectations coming in.
7. Adam Everett - Everett has had problems with injuries thus far this season, surely limiting his effectiveness. He was never anticipated to be a big bat, but he hasn't been as spectacular at short yet as we had hoped. He hasn't been bad, either, and he's mostly flown under the radar.
6. Mike Lamb - Lamb has been mostly disappointing, but with his game winning hit two nights ago, and a career average of .280, he'll climb out of this season starting slump. Surely, his average has climbed substantially over the past couple of weeks, and given the stability he provides at third base, he's certain to turn things around.
5. Delmon Young - Young has really suffered thanks to the change in approach from Tampa to Minnesota. In Tampa, they were teaching him how to hit home runs, while in Minnesota they are trying to give him an even more aggressive slap hitter mentality, and it's turned into just 4 extra base hits and way too many strikeouts.
4. Craig Monroe - Monroe only rates this low because he has to split time with Jason Kubel, but when he's been in the lineup, he has shown the skill that made him such a Twin killer when he was with Detroit. He actually is keeping his strikeout total down, which is great, and now he is a threat to hit homers again. Oddly enough, his splits are almost exactly the opposite of what one would expect.
3. Brendan Harris - Anyone who says they expected Harris to be as solid as he has been is a filthy liar. He's one of only a few Twins with multiple homers and has been pretty good at second base with the glove. He went an 8 game stretch with only 2 hits, so his average isn't where it was earlier. A two hit game last night though will hopefully provide a return to the form we saw in April.
2. Carlos Gomez - I really thought that Chuck was over valued, given his atrocious batting average, but unlike Young, the Twins were certainly the right environment for him. He's finding a way to get on base, rather than to get 4 bases with one swing. He is learning how to use his speed to his advantage, something that wasn't as encouraged in New York, since the Mets had Jose Reyes at the top of the order. I would still love to see Gomez take more pitches, but so far, he's proving me wrong.
1. Livan Hernandez - I heard all sorts of moaning and groaning when Hernandez was inked, but he has done exactly what was expected. He's eating innings and winning games, all while providing a dose of veteran stability in a rotation that is very young and has thus far been dinged up. On top of that, he is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA, which is pretty much in line with what one expected from Livan about 5-6 years ago. Not bad.
Labels: Minnesota Twins
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Links of the Day 5/10/08
Remember that 10 worst franchises article I linked to the other day? Fire Joe Morgan also took issue with it, and they're funnier than me.
Jacques Lemaire has agreed to stay on with the Wild next year. This is god. After losing Jacque Jones a few years back, if we lost Lemaire, I'm not sure how Minnesota would survive, Jacque(s)less.
Labels: Links of the Day
Friday, May 09, 2008
Links of the Day 5/9/08
Instead of directly linking to Ryan Zimmerman's blog, I'm going to send you to an edition of the Dugout making fun of Ryan Zimmerman's blog.
UPDATE: I got a shirt.
Labels: Links of the Day
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Links of the Day 5/8/08
Somehow, the Twins made the list of the top 10 worst franchises because of their "moneyball" practices. Then that should mean the A's are #1, right?
The Pens-Flyers series is about to get underway, and The Pensblog completely exhausted themselves over it.
Labels: Links of the Day
In that respect, sports can offer a diversion away from the realities of life. That mental break is necessary sometimes. This became even more clear when I read about a golf course in Baghdad. The summary is that there is a golf course in Baghdad for the military to use. It’s in the middle of fighting, and there are bomb blasts and helicopters flying over, and every once in a while you have to take cover. The war is never far away.
What would possess people to take up space in a desert to put up a golf course (although severely lacking in grass)? To get away. They’re never far away--the evidence is always there. It’s not a safe place--there are none there. But sometimes you have to get as far away as you can, even when you can’t leave. These people there might not actually leave the war zone, but for a brief time, they’re thrilled that their only decision is how they’re going to hit this little white sphere. They’re taking their mind off the pressures placed on them by being in the middle of a stressful situation. It’s not about the exercise; they get that through their work. It’s about relaxing the mind.
That’s why entertainment exists--we give our minds changes of pace to rest, and get read for whatever usually occupies our mind, whether it’s predicting the weather or programming a computer. Even people who love their jobs find they can’t do it 16 hours per day, 7 days per week. A programmer might race cars on weekends. An accountant might go to the opera. And a soldier might go play golf.
A period of mourning has begun, as Scott Baker has been officially placed on the DL. Sigh.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Links of the Day 5/7/08
How you know you have a struggling franchise
Have you heard? Anyone? Has anyone told you what Tuesday, May 6th was? No? I was. Several times, baseball fans frantically told me that 10 years ago on that date, Kerry Wood pitched his 20 strikeout game. If you know a Cub fan, I'm sure they were happy to tell you about this.
Now, I'm not usually in the business of Cub bashing (I leave that to Steve), but sweet merciful poop. How bad is your franchise if you hearken back to a regular season game 10 years ago as your gleeful memory? Also, have you no self respect? How dare you even think to hearken back to a regular season game? (And yes, to my surprise, that is how you spell 'hearken') So, Cubs fans, stop wistfully looking back at things like the Kerry Wood game, because you're depressing the world. Look instead to the future, because eventually, their is bound to be something good there.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Links of the Day 5/6/08
I made a comment about the White Sox-Twins rivalry is not nearly as heated as that of the Red Sox and Yankees a while back. Thank goodness.
Pavol Demitra looks to be leaving the Wild after this season. Where to? Looks like Vancouver. Dammit.
Labels: Links of the Day
The Tigers, losing and paying a lot of money to do so, have cut
Monday, May 05, 2008
Links of the Day 5/5/08
Closer to Mexico, Dallas played the eighth longest game in NHL history, knocking off the Sharks to win their series. Oddly, it's only the third longest game in Stars history.
Just a little exercise in the standing of the various writers here. Steve? Linked to by SI? Ryan? Given negative votes on Ballhype.
I have been known to take some crazy road trips in my day, but this? This seems a little too crazy, even by my standards.
Labels: Links of the Day
I want one of these shirts
I don't know if you peruse the news sites as much as I do (it's been pretty quiet lately at Real Job Inc.), but i find myself at CNN rather frequently, mostly because it's very easy to type in. While on their site today, I stumbled across this. Yes, now you too can get your favorite headlines on a T-shirt. But hurry and nab that LBJ Tapes Reveal Sudden About-Face shirt, because they only last as long as the headline is in "latest news" surely making these collectors items.
I'm disappointed that there are only a few headlines available, and some aren't made available. I can think of a couple people I would want to give a "Incest suspect served time for rape" shirt. As for me? I'm waiting for a big 3 part interview with Ben Bernanke so I can get a "Fed to raise interest rates" shirt. In black, of course.
Also fun? The frequently asked questions, particularly the first one. "What are the minimum computer specifications required to use CNN shirts?" I hate it when I don't have enough RAM to wear a certain shirt, or my video card doesn't work with my pants.
Seriously though. I can't stop looking at CNN now, just waiting to see what riveting headline I can forever remember by wearing it. Complete with a timestamp.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Links of the Day 5/4/08
As more details emerge from the Marvin Harrison incident... It grows cloudier.
Scott Baker's must be the most aggravated groin out there.
Labels: Links of the Day
A heart to heart conversation Friday night
Delmon Young: Carlos! Carlos are you OK?
Carlos Gomez: Yes. I get hit in the head five times in my career already. Is no problem.
DY: Oh. Well, while you're laid up, maybe you can watch some tape and find a solution for our.... problem.
CG: Yes. The curveball.
DY: I still say the solution is to get a longer bat.
CG: Yes. Is one solution. Maybe we swing harder?
DY: Not a bad idea Carlos! Get the air swirling around and maybe the ball will come to the bat. Sort of a Bernoulli effect.
CG: Yes. Bernoulli.
/Justin Morneau, listening from the doorway, steps in to the room.
JM: You know, guys, I too had a problem with the curveball not so long ago. But I overcame those issues.
CG: Yes. You very good hitter now. Use a longer bat? Swing harder? Always bunting?
DY: Did you threaten to chuck your bat at the pitcher if the catcher so much as flashed the sign for a curve?
JM: (paternal laugh) No fellas! The trick is to not swing at everything. Especially stuff you can't reach. Just swing at the pitches you know you can hit.
DY: That's crazy!
CG: Yes. Is crazy.
JM: Crazy enough to work.
DY: Naw. Just crazy.
(At Saturday night's game)
Umpire: Ball four! Take your base!
DY: But... but all I did was stand here! I can really just go to first because he threw 4 pitches I couldn't hit if I tried?
U: It's called a walk, son.
DY: It did work! I can't wait to tell Carlos!
Delmon Young would go on to score the go ahead run on Craig Monroe's homer. Carlos Gomez recovered from his head injury, while Justin Morneau just smiled the smile of a teacher watching his students excel.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Links of the Day 5/3/08
Whatever. Here's a video
Boss: We've decided to screw you over tonight, you're staying until 1AM.
So anyways, I don't really have the patience to comment on things like this or this, big news for my favorite teams. So instead, here is a Twins commercial I like. EDIT: Now to add the video....
Labels: Angry Ranting
Friday, May 02, 2008
Links of the Day 5/2/08
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Links of the Day 5/1/08
Melt Your Face Off breathlessly chronicles the scary Sean Avery situation of yesterday. Avery lacerated his spleen and went into cardiac arrest. Scary.
Tracer Bullet at Epic Carnival takes a look at ESPN's 2009 (!) mock draft and decides that the Eagles would be best served by taking... someone else.
Labels: Links of the Day
Last week I was in Texas, to attend my cousin’s wedding. Because the wedding was on Monday, and the reception on Saturday, Baby Brother, Wee Sister, and I had a little extra time in Texas. Thus, Wee Sister and I went to a couple of sporting events.
Minute Maid Park gets stunning reviews from us. It always helps a stadium when the weather is lovely, and the weather was lovely. The roof was closed when we got there, but opened up, showing the Houston skyline, but mostly the blue sky above. The hot dogs were hot dogs--nothing to warrant a rave review or a trip to the hospital. The Helmet Sundaes offered choices of hard ice cream (I had Vanilla; Wee Sister went with Cookies and Cream), and they had the choice of chocolate or caramel topping. The souvenir soda glasses are nicer quality than most other stadiums, and are probably about 20 ounces in volume. A nice size, really.
The sightlines from the front of the upper deck, approximately between home plate and first base were just fine for viewing a game, for $22 per ticket. Like every other ballpark not named the Metrodome, the pitch counts immediately disappear at the end of the inning, which is frustrating to score-keepers like Wee Sister and myself.
And, of course, the feature of Minute Maid is the train that runs atop the stadium wall in left field. Every time the Astros scored, the train would chug its way down the track. I rather prefer that to the typical fireworks for home runs. Speaking of home runs, we saw one hit over the stadium wall in left field, which is fun for someone who usually sits in an indoor ballpark.
The fans were lovely and well-behaved (and the little five-year-old boy behind us gave quite a lesson on baseball to his cousin…), although it probably helped that there was no opinion of the Twins, and we wore our free Astros ballcaps we were handed for Earth Day. The couple behind us tried to convince us that we should move to Texas, but my inability to handle heat and humidity hinders that idea. My amused moment was that after “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the Seventh Inning Stretch, they played a song, which included the lines “Deep in the heart of Texas.” My only thought was, “We’re not in the heart of Texas. We’re on the edge of Texas!” (When it was played in Arlington, that was much more appropriate.)
In Arlington, we went the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, which might be Ameriquest Field or something, but I wasn’t quite sure. The stadium felt more enclosed than Minute Maid Park, simply because the office closed off any view you might’ve had beyond the ballpark in the outfield. Whole areas of the ballpark are cut off from a view of the JumboTrom (which is where the line-ups were listed), a fault which is inexcusable in my opinion. (I believe this is also true at Minute Maid, but I wasn’t sitting in those seats.)
They did not have Helmet Sundaes, a fault which is a tragedy, although on Sunday it was too cold to eat ice cream! (Sure, they had ice cream and sundaes, but not Helmet Sundaes!) The hot dogs were fine, and the souvenir pop glasses were the 40 ounce cheap variety that are seen at most ball-parks.
For lower deck, right field, the tickets were $33, and quite nice seats for watching a baseball game. I could still correct the umpire on his calls from there, so I was content (I have a better view than the umpire; he’s got the catcher in the way).
Those at the stadium are very polite and friendly (there was no harassment for showing up branded in Twins items). The child behind us, about age five, was attending her first baseball game, and couldn’t quite get down outs, innings, who was up to bat (after two pitches, she was calling for strike three, no matter who was up to bat--or if the first two pitches were even strikes. It was adorable).
In summary, I liked Minute Maid Park more than Arlington, but any time you get to attend a baseball game, be it in Yankee Stadium, Minute Maid Park, or Tropicana Field, it’s never a bad thing.
The Minnesota Swarm are in the playoffs, and will have a home playoff game. The question is: does Beth attend the playoff game, or the Twins game that night, which will feature the temporarily healthy Scott Baker?