SUPERGOOD/SUPERBAD

August 19, 2007

 

McLovin. 

Not a whole lot is going on in these dog days of summer, so after some inspiration from the movie “Superbad,” which was HILARIOUS, I’m going to pass some judgment on random nouns of all sorts.  We’ll save the good stuff for last and start off with the disses first.  Here goes:

SUPERBAD:

Tina Cervasio–she is so bad at her job, I don’t see how NESN can keep her on after this season.

Annoying/excessive coverage of Tim Donaghy, Michael Vick, Pacman Jones, and steroids–I’m over it, now give us some interesting rumors about trades and stuff, it’s ok if you make it up, that’s better than hearing about how Barry Bonds is the devil, because I DON’T CARE.

Rude people–yeah, you should just not be rude.  When you get on the T, for instance, move in so that other people can also have their rightful 2.3 square feet of awkward space.

Garret Anderson–not only does his name lack another “t,” but he’s incredibly overrated and has been for years.  A sub-.300 on base percentage isn’t so hot.

SUPERGOOD:

Vladimir Guerrero–he’s incredible.  One of the most unique players in the history of the game.  You’ll tell your grandkids about him.

Erik Bedard and Fausto Carmona: Not a whole lot of people talk about them but they might be two of the top 4 or 5 pitchers in the American League this year.  Look ’em up.

Hanley Ramirez–He’s crazy good.  It was worth giving him up for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, but the Marlins certainly got back a fair return.

The Ryan Braun/Prince Fielder combo: Both are 23, they fill the corners for years to come with economic contracts, and they MASH.  Braun actually has a better OPS than A-Rod right now.  Think about that, he’s a rookie.

Mo Vaughn–he’s been fixing up housing projects in New York City and giving poor people a home to feel proud of.  Also, when he renovates his buildings he puts in hundreds of security cameras and this makes it harder to push drugs and gives little kids a better environment. 

MLS/Beckham–The LA Galaxy/New York Red Bulls drew over 66,000 fans, and they saw a ridiculous game, with the Red Bulls winning 5-4.  Although it’s not exactly the purest form of soccer, lots of scoring and entertainment is what Americans want from the game, so that’s cool, let’s hope it continues and more guys come over to help Beckham with marketing the game, and I have to eat my words about it not looking good for the foreseeable future.


Rick Ankiel=Babe Ruth??? And relax, Sox fans, it’s all good.

August 13, 2007

 

 

Rick Ankiel is the modern day version of Babe Ruth.

Hyperbole?  Yes and no. 

 

I can’t think of another player who changed from a damned-good (there’s a pun in there) pitcher into a potentially solid positional player ever.  That’s probably because I’m only 21 years old and missed quite a few years in between the two, but in some limited research and reading I can’t think of ANYONE AT ALL who comes close.  Prior to Ankiel’s losing the mental ability to throw a baseball anywhere near where he wanted to on the mound, he was the definition of a phenom.  The guy was dominating the National League at 20 and 21 years old.  He had the potential to be much better too, as his walk rates were high, typical for a young pitcher. 

 

Now he’s back, and has had a nice little week up in the majors, hitting homeruns and making spectacular catches in the outfield, and he was dropping bombs in AAA all season.  I’m not sure how good the guy can be, because his numbers have varied in the minors in terms of walks and on-base percentage, which is not so good, but his raw power has been evident even when he was a full-time pitcher, so time will have to tell on this one.  He’s 28 now, so here’s hoping he gets enough at bats and luck to take advantage of his prime and pair with Albert Pujols to give the Cards a nice 1-2 punch over in AAAA.  It would probably be cruel to ever ask the guy to pitch again, but wouldn’t that be something too?

 

This is also an example of why we should never forget that even though the pitcher usually looks like a fool when he hits in National League stadiums, if he practiced enough he’d be pretty good, because you know he was that same guy who hit .500 and dropped bombs in high school.

Relax, the Red Sox are fine.  The Sox AND the Yanks appear set to both make the play-offs, and we all know that while the rest of baseball might not like that, the Northeast corner loves it and is hoping for another classic ALCS match-up.

 

Gagne is fine too, he’s still throwing the ball great, he just hasn’t executed his pitches or mixed them up correctly recently, he’ll be nasty again soon enough, PLUS he also didn’t speak English when he got to the majors, and that’s pretty cool (he’s from Quebec). 

 

As a side note, from simply watching Red Sox games constantly since the arrival of Terry Francona, I can say he truly has greatly improved as a tactical manager over his years in Boston.  When he started I would have taken Joe Torre over him in a heartbeat, but now I would actually take Francona over Torre and his 4 world championships as a manager.  When Francona started he mismanaged his bullpen and routinely left his starters in too long.  He has done a solid job of correcting his past errors and now generally does a great job with his ‘pen.  However, since the addition of Gagne, he has resorted to this silly lefty/righty business at the end of games—silly because he’s using Okajima and Gagne in that manner when they are devastating against the opposite dexterity.  Both have a great splitter/change-up and can pitch inside, mitigating the lefty/righty advantage.  In fact, Gagne’s splits are actually better against lefties because of his darting change-up (lefties hit .217 with a .546 OPS, righties hit .247 and .762), meanwhile, Okaji kills everyone with his disappearing splitter, solid curve, and well-commanded fastball (righties are hitting .180 with a .485 OPS, and lefties are at .156 and .413).  So, my point is this: Francona is still a good manager, but since he’s been blessed with so many toys to work with after the acquisition of Gagne to go with Papelbon, Okajima, Delcarmen, and Timlin, he has started to over-manage a bit.  Like he originally said he would do, Francona should give Okajima and Gagne fresh innings because that’s how good they are—they don’t really need any help.  Thus, Terry should refrain from bringing in both Gagne and Okajima as he did the other day when Miguel Tejada took Gagne deep to tie the game (Gagne threw Tejada only good, hard fastballs, which is why I’m not worried about him, if he had mixed his pitches up better there’s no reason he shouldn’t have gotten the job done against a fastball mashing hitter like Tejada).  Both Okaji and Gagne are good enough to get the job done themselves, and there’s no reason to use them both when you could maximize their influence by pitching them whole innings or splitting them up on different days to keep them fresher.  Lastly, in the same game, Francona warmed Papelbon up twice and never brought him into the game because there was no save opportunity, instead choosing to throw Manny Delcarmen and Kyle Snyder.  This type of move is managing by the book to the extreme and should be forgotten.  When you need a 0 no matter what, bring in your best reliever available.  Don’t lose the game with an inferior pitcher on the mound when your ace reliever is available.


Bill Simmons mailbag leads to people reading my blog…details below, plus B’s, Pats, and REGGIE MILLER!

August 11, 2007

 

 

 

So my blog stats show what people search on google, etc., to bring them to my site.  Combinations of “Jill Kelly/Chasey Lain/He Got Game/Ray Allen/3some” have brought about 200 people to my blog (I wrote about it in a Celtics blog) over the past two days since ESPN’s Bill Simmons referenced Jesus Shuttlesworth’s big scene back in the ’90s.  Pretty sweet, so if you happen to be one of these people, welcome.  I hope you think this blog does something other than suck, and please feel free to let me know either way with some comments. 

 

Question: Does anyone still care about the Bruins?  At all?

 

Well, I sorta do, so I’m going to throw them a bone with a little post.

 

I think they’re going to make the play-offs this season, most likely as a 6 seed or so, and definitely lose by the 2nd round, probably in the 1st.  That’ll at least be some fun, so that’s cool.

 

My reasoning is this: They have a mediocre group of defensemen, solid centermen, and a glaring lack of wingers.  On the other hand, if Manny Fernandez works out (a goalie they traded for this off-season), then they’ll have a nice 1-2 combo in net, and that’s the most important position for obvious reasons.  Tuukka Rask, a young goalie they recently signed, is set to replace Thomas after this season, and then take over as our #1 the season after, which is a nice little plan, but has no bearing on success this season.  Add a star winger and a solid defenseman to the Bruins and I’d be quite intrigued, but since that’s not apparently going to be happening all that soon unless some of the young kids they have make huge leaps this season, it’s safe to say we won’t be waving 4 championship banners in Boston this year, so we’ll have to settle with a potential run at 3.  Here’s the Bruin roster àhttp://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/teams/roster?team=bos ß just in case you’d like to have some idea who’s actually on the team—you might be shocked to find that Joe Thornton’s gone, because they pretty much gave him away in a panic trade a couple years ago, sorry if you haven’t been paying any attention since before the lockout, because he was probably the only guy you might have known then anyways.

 

 

“Not walking through that door.”–Rick Pitino

Record numbers have been showing up to the Patriots’ pre-season training camp this year and everyone’s asking “Why?”  My answer: they’re going to be NASTY. 

This team is going to maul the entire NFL.  If the Pats get the Asante Samuel situation under control and maintain their health at a reasonable clip, anything less than a 12-4 record will be disappointing.  Severely so.  That’s pretty impressive.  Put me on record as putting the over/under of wins at 13.  Niiiiiice. 

 

They have depth everywhere on defense, a nice mix of ages, a potentially DYNAMITE offense, and the best coach in football.  Oh, and Tom Brady, who’s totally NOW, based on past performance and future potential, according to ESPN, Giselle, and Bridget “the goalie puller” Moynahan.  I’m giddy.

 

One reason why Americans like football more than any other sport nowadays—in other sports a blow-out is boring, especially in baseball or basketball, but in football it’s still fun to see your team literally beat the other guys up.  Running over someone is still awesome whether it’s 34-32 in the 4th quarter against the Chargers or 43-7 against the Browns in October. 

Oh, yeah, and another thing.  Reggie Miller?!?!?!?!?!?  Really?????  Absurd, but let’s do it just ‘cause it’s too funny not to.  Also, if you check his career stats, the guy’s way overrated.  He averaged 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in almost 35 minutes per game over his career.  Those were not the numbers I was expecting when I clicked on his profile: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?statsId=231.


A-Rod’s nothing-special-season, MLB play-off predictions, and NBA talk

August 5, 2007

 

 

While most have now decided that A-Rod has “changed” and can “handle New York” because of his early season heroics, I’m going to have to dispute that claim.  This is the same guy who won the MVP award two years ago, and the same guy who “struggled” in years one and three in New York.  He is great, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice he’s having a pretty standard season compared with the rest of his career—and that’s not meant to be a dig at A-Rod, it’s actually a complement.

Take a look at his career numbers: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=3115.

Yeah, he’s pretty good.  Also check out his number thus far and his projected numbers for the season: http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=5275.    

In case you didn’t notice, the guy isn’t even having his best season in the big leagues; he’s so damn good that this is basically a normal season for him.  If you don’t believe me, check out his 3 year splits and all the rest of the numbers on his profile, and you’ll see that other than in a few cases, he’s just punchin’ in like he has any other year, the only real difference being the timing of his hits, but as evidenced by David Ortiz’s “struggles” in the clutch this year, a lot of that is due to random variation; in fact, if you look at A-Rod’s “close and late” stats since 2002, there has been constant variation, and the main reason being that he gets only about a 6th of his at-bats in that spot every season.  I don’t think that Papi is now a choke-artist, and A-Rod isn’t really any more clutch than he has been over his career.

Alex Rodriguez is a clear-cut, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, but quite simply, he was last year too, as well as in year one in New York.  So, keep that in mind next time someone tells you he’s under/overrated, because the truth is it probably changes every year, based on random snapshots of an evolving career.

Post-season Predictions:

The Yanks will win the Wild Card; the Red Sox, Tigers, and Angels win their respective Divisions.

I’ll let you know who should win based on their rosters at the time, it’d be dumb to say much more now.

Oh yeah, and the Mariner Moose almost killed Coco Crisp on an ATV today at Safeco Field.  That’s absurd, that Moose needs to be fired.  Orrrrrrrr, they could just get rid of stupid mascots, but whatever. 

 

Also, Coco’s playing great, he’s been one of the best players on the Sox since the start of June (I think Buster Olney first wrote that, so big ups to Busta).  Check it out: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?playerId=5299

NBA chatter:

Nice move by the Grizzlies to get Spanish SG Juan Carlos Navarro: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2960667.  The Grizz have done a nice job adding some assets to their team this off-season, and along with Seattle, Portland, and potentially Minnesota if things go well, Memphis has really set itself up for long-term success.  Pau Gasol, Darko Milicic, Rudy Gay, Mike Miller, Mike Conley, Navarro, and others combine to make a pretty solid core of young veterans and even younger potential studs.  Pretty interesting that they hired former Celtics GM Chris Wallace to oversee their rebuilding process, and yet things are still going well.  Not sure that this roster will be up to par with Portland and Seattle, but they should have a shot at being a perennial play-off contender.

The Celtics signed Eddie House to a one year deal to be their back-up PG/SG.  Not a bad move, he’s a shooter and that’s a skill they could use off the bench.  I’ve read about the possibility of Dikembe Mutombo coming next, and that’s not a bad idea.  P.J. Brown has also been mentioned. Not sure what would be left in terms of cap space to fill their last roster spot, so I’ll reserve final judgment on the Celtics’ post-KG moves until the roster is finalized.


A little ballpark etiquette

August 3, 2007

fenway_park_060305.jpg 

Photo Credit: J. Rissmeyer

 

Here goes, in one big run-on sentence: No gloves over the age of 14, no nets under any circumstances (don’t be that guy), don’t boo unless you know why you’re booing, know the rules and do your homework if you’re going to heckle, don’t ever reach onto the field if there’s any chance the ball was not foul (if you’re not sure of this then don’t reach onto the field for the ball, period), if a fielder reaches into the stands for a pop-up you must let him get it if he is on your team, and if he is on the other team you must make sure he does NOT catch the ball (this does not mean hit the guy, but it does mean interfere as much as possible, mostly by trying to catch the thing yourself, and succeeding), don’t spill beers as you walk, just take a sip before crawling all over 85 people on your way back to your seats, don’t stand up too often, but don’t be afraid to stand up when the game calls for it, even if you have snooty stuck-ups saying annoying stuff behind you, but that means know when it calls for it, keep the gratuitous swearing to a minimum, there are little kids around, but on the occasion it’s ok, as long as it’s not something terrrrrrrible, take a second to look around and appreciate it: games are expensive now, so enjoy the fact that you get to be there, and always be friendly to the staff, if you’re not then you deserve to get hit with a foul ball—that’s another thing, don’t get hit with a foul ballbe ready for that, because, yes, it can happen to you, know when and when not to change seats, you’ve got to pick your spots, it’s better to be clever than insulting to the other team/players, don’t boo your own unless you know that he’s hurting the team by not trying his hardest, otherwise, get off his back and he’ll probably start hitting again. 

 

Got anything to add?


Is the MLS doomed to mediocrity for the foreseeable future? Oh, and a little baseball talk.

August 1, 2007

 

Becks 

 

Freddy Adu just left; David Beckham’s here; too bad we would be better off the other way around.  Adu’s MLS career is a failure and Beckham’s following his lead in that department. I know it’s too early to pass judgement, but it doesn’t look good for Beckham turning things around in America.  Missing games right out the shoot, although legit with his shaky ankle, is a terrible thing for the league, as it will create disenchantment with an already apathetic American market.  And after all, Becks isn’t here to win the MLS Cup, he’s here to win Americans over to futbol.

 

Meanwhile, Adu is headed to Portugal, and the true hope for American soccer rising soon went with him.  Other than winning a World Cup, the best way to spread the popularity of MLS is for an American star to burn holes in the back of the net, and control the game the way Sidney Crosby and LeBron James are currently doing in hockey and basketball.  Too bad.  Hopefully someone new comes along with less hype and more substance than Freddy, and soccer takes the leap.

Johan Santana recently said that he doesn’t really see much of a future in Minnesota since all the organization ever worries about is, ironically enough, the future.  This could be huge.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Johan backtrack in the off-season, but if he doesn’t the Twins really must move the guy, and there will be no shortage of teams looking to acquire the left-handed version of Red Sock Pedro Martinez (more like Pedro’s little brother who never quite is as good as the big bro but is still damnnnnn good).  I can’t really even imagine how much the guy would be worth.  His contract will be gigantic so only major market teams can consider him, but ALL of them should do just that.  Whoever gets him will probably agree to a gigantic extension that will start in 2009 and pay Johan well over $20 million a season for 6 years or so.  I would say it would cost probably a team’s top two prospects, and one must be a potential ace, plus other guys, and the top tier guys must be in AA or above for sure.  Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Masterson, and Dustin Pedroia: think something along the lines of that offer, maybe more or less depending on what other teams throw out there, and that would be a haul, much better than what Minnesota just got for Garnett.

Another guy who is likely to garner similar attention is Miguel Cabrera, who is basically like Albert Pujols, only younger.  He has less power, and has a growing weight issue (I personally think he just wants to look like Bartolo Colon, which he’s well on his way to doing),

 

 

 

but could develop consistent 40-homerun power, maintain his mid .300 batting average and other sexy offensive numbers, or possibly do both.  He also can play multiple positions, anywhere on the corners in the infield or outfield.  The bidding will be similarly high on the guy.  Both Santana and Cabrera could be big risks as trade acquisitions if their agents choose to take them to the open market to stretch every dollar out of their newly found free agency, but I still expect teams to go after the two guys fervently if they become available.

 

With the impending departures of Curt Schilling, Matt Clement’s contract, Manny Ramirez, and others, the Red Sox, with their slew of pitching prospects, may be in play for one or both of these guys one way or the other over the next couple of years, and I think Miggy might look dece qualls replacing Manny in front of the Monster. 

Sox Appeal is boring.  The Bronx is Burning is way better.  At least in this case, the Yankees win, theeeeee Yankees win.


A guide to living with a sports fan

August 1, 2007

Typical sports fan

This is meant mostly for girlfriend types, but non-sports fans can make use of it too if they’d like.

  1. Let him watch the game…I know you think there’s “always” a game, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that he wants to watch THAT game.
  2. Listen to him when he talks about sports, he knows you don’t really care, but if you show you’re willing to listen to his crap he’ll love you for it and listen to you about your job and your girlfriends and other things he doesn’t particularly want to hear about.
  3. NEVER walk in and stand in front of the TV.  Creep into the room and observe for a few seconds, and once you’ve taken in the game and understand the situation, take a seat and ask an intelligent question.  This will seriously make you the coolest girl any of the guys in the room has ever known.
  4. Remember this: 95% of the time, in baseball, basketball, and hockey still? (football and soccer are exceptions, so find out what your team does), the home team is wearing white (the pants at the very least in baseball).  There are occasions where teams wear alternate jerseys, but you can’t really be faulted for that, so please check that out before you ask where’s the game?  Also, memorize what your hometown venue looks like.
  5. Don’t make comments about how much guys get paid.  That’s just annoying, I’m aware that a basketball player probably doesn’t “deserve” more than $20 million a year, but I’m sorry, teachers are never going to be making more than professional athletes, so get over it.  We live in a market society, so that means that there is enough demand to pay outrageous salaries, which really means they aren’t outrageous at all, but what they should be.
  6. Take him to a game once a year, this should get you taken to whatever your favorite outing is at least once a year as well.  Reciprocity is dope.
  7. If you’re free and he’s somewhere that he doesn’t want to be while a game is on or you happen to hear some big trade, send him a text with the score or who went where and you will be getting a romantic dinner cooked for you sometime soon.
  8. Don’t jump on the bandwagon.  That’s the worst.  Pink Sox hats, saying the Yankees suck, all that jazz, it’s a wack over-simplification of things.  It’s like saying the Trojans sucked, go Spartans.  There’s a lot more to the story than that.  Take your time to get to know the history before you claim allegiance based on a relationship that isn’t marriage, and even then, proceed slowly.
  9. NEVER say anything when his team loses, EVER.  Just give him time, no conversation is needed unless he starts it, and even then you really ought to just listen.  It will save a lot of stupid fights that need not occur.
  10. Use his obsession with something you find potentially pointless to your advantage.  Do something productive and fun for you while he wastes his time; get him to understand that if he doesn’t do some damn cleaning then he’s not going to get to watch the game in peace; be so damn cool that he just loves you even more and wants to make you the happiest woman he can.