4:56 PM | Comments (1) | by Governor X
There really isn't anything quite like a classic baseball manager's meltdown. Bad umps, shitty teams, jerkoff fans - there are plenty of reasons for these guys to go balistic from time to time. And quite frankly, the more cursing in these rants the better, because much like Captain Yardley, I don't trust a man who doesn't curse. I've probably missed some good ones, and if I have, go ahead and email them to us and I'll do a follow up. Lets begin the rundown:
Lee Elia - A Disheartening Fucking Situation
In spite of my presence and my pro-Dodgers propaganda, this is ostensibly a Cubs blog, so to kick things off we have Lee Elia's classic from 1983. My co-authors could probably tell you more about what provoked this, but here's what I can gather: The team was bad and the few fans that bothered to show up for the day games were riding everyone's ass pretty hard. Elia snapped. Like most of the others, this is basically audio only, but the folks who put it on youtube added some odd and entertaining pictures behind it.
Earl Weaver - Terry Crowley's Lucky He's in Fucking Baseball
The first of two excellent Earl Weaver clips I found. Apparently he appeared on something called Manager's Corner while managing the Orioles. I guess he wasn't in the mood the day he recorded this. The fans questions are met with just a little bit of disdain.
Earl Weaver - You and Your Crew Were Put Here to Fuck Us
A three minute gem with the accompanying video of Earl Weaver going off on an umpire.
Tommy Lasorda - Kurt Bavacqua Couldn't Hit Water if He Fell Out of a Fucking Boat
My own personal lord and savior, Tommy Lasorda, delicately explaining if he ever had a pitcher throw at a guy intentionally, he'd throw at someone better than Kurt Bavacqua.
Tommy Lasorda - Put That in Your Fucking Paper
Tommy takes offense at a reporter questioning his enthusiasm. The best part is at the end when he tells TJ Simers from the LA Times what every Dodger fan has wanted to since that rag hired him.
Tommy Lasorda - Garvey Needed a Fucking Oar to Hit the Ball Tonight
A nearly six minute long collection of Tommy Lasorda gems, including the two above. Its worth listening to all the way through though to hear the last two bits about Garvey and Slim Fast farts.
Like I said, I probably left out some great ones. Let us know.
1:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
1. DETROIT TIGERS
2006: 95-67 (2nd)
So Long: OF Alexis Gomez, P Troy Percival, OF Matt Stairs, P Jamie Walker
Welcome: P Jose Mesa, OF Gary Sheffield
C - Ivan Rodriguez
1B - Sean Casey/Marcus Thames
2B - Placido Polanco
SS - Carlos Guillen
3B - Brandon Inge
LF - Craig Monroe
CF - Curtis Granderson
RF - Magglio Ordonez
DH - Gary Sheffield
Starting Rotation - Jeremy Bonderman, Kenny Rogers, Justin Verlander, Nate Robertson, Mike Maroth
Setup - Jose Mesa, Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya
Closer - Todd Jones
Picking Detroit number one is probably viewed a bit as a cop out move. Take the defending American League champions, real original guys. But dammit, why wouldn't we? Minus Matt Stairs and his glorious permullet and the ghost of Troy Percival, the team has stayed completely in tact and the young guys have another season of experience under their belt. Then they added Gary Sheffield at DH, and bolstered the bullpen with Jose Mesa (he's far enough removed from ever needing to close for them that it's a good pickup). This season, it'll be Detroit's division to lose.
Speaking of Percival, let's take a look at that contract real quick. $12 million over two years, for what amounted to 25 innings of work and only 8 saves. Has their ever been a more expensive save? I guess if you're looking at a per year basis, the Dodgers dropped $10 million for one save last season.
Mr. Sexy Time: SP Jeremy Bonderman - At 23 years old, Jeremy played in his 4th full major league season last year. A walking case study for what can happen if you bring a guy up too early, he took his lumps in the Tigers rotation early on (6-19 his rookie season with a 5.56 ERA). Now heading into his 5th season, he's finally emerged as the ace of this staff and looks to improve on his breakout 2006 season. Expect great things from him for years to come.
Bringing Old School Back: Jim Leyland - Jim's gritty no-nonsense style of managing helped rejuvenate this franchise last season. But I think the biggest reason he was successful was the 'stache. Seriously, there needs to be a team that as a collective group decides to all sport mustaches to pay homage to their 80's predecessors and who better to do it than the Tigers? Look at the 1984 world champions. You had Lance Parrish, 'stache. Larry Bergman, 'stache. Howard Johnson, Kirk Gibson, Tom Brookens, Chet Lemon, Jack Morris, Larry Herndon, Willie Hernandez, Ruppert Jones, all 'staches. The only guys that didn't seem to sport the ole' pushbroom were Whitaker, Trammell, Darrell Evans and Rusty Kuntz. We'll give Whitaker a free pass, and I'm not sure Trammell or Evans could even grow facial hair. Rusty Kuntz didn't have one, but he could do whatever he wants, because he's Rusty f'n Kuntz. Anyway my point is, this team is good, but if they started sporting the classic handlebar, they'd be championship bound easily. Not to mention their popularity would soar. Curtis Granderson would just be that much more kickass.
Oh and Sheffield's weird little Hitler 'stache doesn't count. What the hell was up with that thing?
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was in): P Kenny Rogers - Cheap Gambler references? Not here. We go deeper into the Kenny Rogers catalog. So what is Kenny's condition? Tired, apparently. EDIT: Apparently Kenny had surgery to remove a blood clot in his shoulder and could be out for 3 months. I personally think it's all an elaborate coverup for him as he's still trying to find a better way to hide his poo-stained hand when he pitches.
FOR MORE READING
Roar of the Tigers
2. MINNESOTA TWINS
2006: 96-66 (1st)
SO LONG: 1B Phil Nevin, P Brad Radke, OF Shannon Stewart
WELCOME: 3B Jeff Cirillo, P Ramon Ortiz
C - Joe Mauer
1B - Justin Morneau
2B - Luis Castillo
SS - Jason Bartlett
3B - Nick Punto
LF - Rondell White
CF - Torii Hunter
RF - Michael Cuddyer
DH - Jason Kubel
Starting Rotation - Johan Santana, Boof Bonser, Ramon Ortiz, Carlos Silva, Sidney Ponson
Setup - Juan Rincon, Jesse Crain
Closer - Joe Nathan
Minnesota has won the division 4 of the past 5 seasons, and yet have watched from home as two of their division rivals played in the World Series, with one even winning it. While a World Series appearance eluded them in recent years, you can't deny that this team is a contender every year.
I don't know what else to say about them, so I'll talk about their proposed new stadium. All I gotta say is "Thank God". I mean the Metrodome has served them fine, and it can be a hostile environment for opposing teams, but apart from the regular fans, I don't see many people making the drive up to the Twin Cities to catch a game, and the dome is part of the problem. This new stadium looks pretty sweet. Open air, the Minneapolis skyline providing a striking backdrop, and a limited number of upper deck seats to create a more intimate setting. Also there'll be natural grass, which means only Tampa Bay and Toronto will be the only teams still playing on turf. Hopefully they can get this done.
Mr. Sexy Time: SP Johan Santana - How can he not be? The guy is head and shoulders above all other pitchers in the league.
We Thought You Were Dead: 3B Jeff Cirillo - Once he left Colorado for Seattle a few years ago, his stats plummeted and so did his career. Jeff hit rock bottom in 2004 when he was released by the Padres during the season and it appeared all but over for him. But in 2005 he signed with Milwaukee and in a bench role, found his stroke again. Last season he hit .319 in 263 at bats. While his days of starting are over, he should be a decent pinch hitter for the Twins.
Am I Late?: OF Michael Cuddyer - Cuddyer has been around forever it seems. Once upon a time he was considered one of their top hitting prospects. After a few seasons of bouncing between Minnesota and the minors, Cuddyer seemed to stick as a serviceable utility man. Then last year, he turned a corner, hitting .284, with 24 HR and 109 RBI. At 28, Cuddyer is firmly entrenched in the starting lineup as their right fielder and looks to continue his newfound success on offense.
FOR MORE READING
3. CLEVELAND INDIANS
2006: 78-84 (4th)
SO LONG: 3B Aaron Boone, P Keith Foulke, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
WELCOME: 2B Josh Barfield, P Joe Borowski, OF David Dellucci, P Keith Foulke, P Aaron Fultz, P Roberto Hernandez, OF Trot Nixon
C - Victor Martinez
1B - Casey Blake/Ryan Garko
2B - Josh Barfield
SS - Jhonny Peralta
3B - Andy Marte
LF - David Dellucci/Jason Michaels
CF - Grady Sizemore
RF - Trot Nixon
DH - Travis Hafner
Starting Rotation - C.C. Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, Jeremy Sowers, Paul Byrd, Fausto Carmona (Cliff Lee DL)
Setup - Roberto Hernandez, Rafael Betancourt
Closer - Joe Borowski
Cleveland fans will say last year's record doesn't do the team justice, and to some extent they are right. While they finished 78-84, their incredible run differential put their pythagorean W-L at 89-73. So why the huge discrepancy? You can chalk it up to a lackluster bullpen, blowing leads late in games countless times. This offseason the Indians worked on strengthening the pen, bringing in Aaron Fultz, Roberto Hernandez, and Joe Borowski. Whether that helps remains to be seen. Borowski's history as a closer has been everything but a smooth one, and Hernandez is 42 years old, so who knows how much gas is left in the tank.
I'm expecting a better finish than last year for sure, but there are a lot of folks out there that are projecting them as this year's division champs. Of course many seem to be trying to save face as they predicted huge things from Cleveland last season.
Mr. Sexy Time: OF Grady Sizemore - He's my pick for this year's winner of the David Wright Award, for the guy that everyone loves. He's a five-tool player, he can play great defense, and he makes women swoon. It's only a matter of time before the mancrushes follow.
Best DH Ever?: DH Travis Hafner - It's incredibly premature to anoint him that title but you figure even Edgar Martinez didn't become primarily a DH until he was 32, so Hafner already has a good head start. The guy they call Pronk only played in 129 games last year but still managed to hit 41 dingers with 117 RBI.
Seriously, This Guy?: OF Trot Nixon - I'm gonna say that his best years are definitely behind him. When Baseball-Reference lists your "Most Similar Batter" as Richard Hidalgo, that can never be a good omen.
FOR MORE READING
Teepee Talk (Easily the best name an Indians blog could have.)
4. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
2006: 90-72 (3rd)
SO LONG: C Sandy Alomar, P Freddy Garcia, OF Ross Gload, Dustin Hermanson, P Brandon McCarthy, P Jeff Nelson, P David Riske
WELCOME: John Danks, OF Darin Erstad, P Gavin Floyd, C Toby Hall, 1B Eduardo Perez, P Andy Sisco
C - A.J. Pierzynski
1B - Paul Konerko
2B - Tadahito Iguchi
SS - Juan Uribe
3B - Joe Crede
LF - Scott Podsednik
CF - Darin Erstad
RF - Jermaine Dye
DH - Jim Thome
Starting Rotation - Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez, Jon Garland, John Danks
Setup - Mike MacDougal, David Aardsma
Closer - Bobby Jenks
I'm not gonna lie. You put this team in the NL Central and they're probably considered one of the favorites. But for me, in this division, they're fourth of the four good teams that could contend. That'll probably be the nicest thing I ever write about the White Sox.
This is basically the same team from last year, minus Freddy Garcia, so we know that they're capable of winning, but I just don't feel it. I know, that's some real crack analysis on my part, but what the hell do want from me? Next to Houston, the White Sox are the team I absolutely loathe the most.
On another note, is anyone else excited for Ozzie Guillen's inevitable meltdown? He's yet to have a .500 year, but when he does, you know sparks are gonna fly. And I have to say, that I'm pumped about Lou vs. Ozzie. Someone's getting beaned, mark my words.
Mr. Sexy Time: P Charles Comiskey - A man so cheap and loathed by his own team his players were willing to throw a World Series. Now that's sexy.
Chris Singleton Award: OF Darin Erstad - Jesus, is the only criteria that White Sox management have for their center fielder is to be capable of catching a pop fly?
Who Barrett Should Punch Next: ESPN execs - You know darn well that A.J. Pierzynski is positioning himself for some sort of television gig like Baseball Tonight once he retires. Can we please, PLEASE stop this from ever happening? We already have to deal with Kruk talking out of his ass while the rest try to come up with some intelligible response to his asininity.
FOR MORE READING
South Side Sox
The Bard's Room
5. KANSAS CITY ROYALS
2006: 62-100 (5th)
SO LONG: C Paul Bako, P Ambiorix Burgos, P Runelvys Hernandez, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, P Mark Redman
WELCOME: P Brian Bannister, P Octavio Dotel, P Gil Meche, SS Tony Pena Jr., P David Riske
C - John Buck
1B - Ryan Shealy
2B - Mark Grudzielanek
SS - Tony Pena Jr.
3B - Alex Gordon
LF - Mark Teahen
CF - David DeJesus
RF - Emil Brown
DH - Mike Sweeney
Starting Rotation -Gil Meche, Odalis Perez, Zack Greinke, Jorge de la Rosa, Brian Bannister
Setup - David Riske, Joel Peralta
Closer - Octavio Dotel
Like Tampa Bay, the Royals have been a struggling franchise who's job to improve becomes much harder given the division they play in. This team does appear to be improving though. Ever since Allard Baird's departure, this team has been slowly headed into the right direction. For the first time in a while, the team has some rookies that are garnering a lot of buzz, and while they weren't exactly blockbuster moves, the signings of Octavio Dotel and Gil Meche are promising. Also Zack Greinke has come back after leaving the team last season due to mental health issues. He'll be competing with Josh Hamilton for best comeback story this year. I expect the Royals to do better than their 100-loss season a year ago, and finish with a better record than at least 3-4 teams.
Nowhere to go but up, right? I'm kind of pulling for them. I've visited KC a couple times and despite the dismal team in recent years, their fans are still loyal and incredibly devoted. They deserve better.
Mr. Sexy Time: 3B Alex Gordon - The preseason favorite for AL ROY, Gordon was the 2nd overall pick in 2005, the minor league player of the year in 2006, and now, the starting 3B for the Royals in 2007. Let's just hope you at least fare better than KC's last ROY. Something like their ROY previous to the last one would be nice, and definitely nothing like the one before that.
You're No Rey Sanchez: SS Tony Pena Jr. - With fans getting their noose ready before having to endure another season of Angel Berroa at shortstop, the Royals made a trade and acquired Tony Pena Jr. Junior has a decent glove, but his offense can hardly be called an upgrade. Tony's dad was the last guy to manage the Royals to a winning record back in that flukish 2003 season. Before that, the last winning season for KC involved Vince Coleman.
Todd Jones Award: RP Octavio Dotel - Awarded to the pitcher who's best days seem to be behind them, only to emerge as a solid closer yet again and parlay that into a fat contract somewhere else. Last year's winner was Joe Borowski.
FOR MORE READING
KC's Royal Fan Zone
Royales With Cheese
8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
UCLA - 10:1
Lord knows they always seem to make it pretty far in the tournament. But can I speak frankly for a second? No one outside of Southern California knows any of their players. C'mon now. That damn Pacific time zone renders all West Coast teams virtually anonymous to the rest of the country. All I know is every time they make it this far, we as a society are cruelly exposed to numerous crowd shots of Bill Walton. Get over yourself Walton. Isn't there a Grateful Dead concert you should be at?
Georgetown - 5:1
These guys are athletic. Which translates to 'they don't have any white guys'. What they do have is Patrick Ewing's son! And apparently the support of the late Ronald Reagan.
Ohio State - 3:1
I don't like Ohio State per se, but I will be casually rooting for them (even though I picked Florida to beat them in my office pool) based on the fact that they're in the Big Ten and they're the one team of which I am actually somewhat familiar with. What a matchup vs. Georgetown. Patrick Ewing's son vs. Robert Parish. As a quick aside, the Buckeyes are really good on NCAA March Madness for Xbox and I really enjoyed my few games at the controls. For that reason alone they have my halfhearted support.
Florida - 2:1
How hard is it to repeat in college basketball? I dunno. Why don't you ask Bill Walton? He's right there in the crowd. Florida seems to be the logical choice and I've always been nothing if not a logical man. If they win, I win $100, which one could surmise I will donate to my favorite charity. Unfortunately if Florida wins, we may all have to witness the sequel to this. God help us all.
10:58 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
Mark, assuming you make your way back to Chicago, could you bring me back some pork tenderloins and sweet corn?
9:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
He was kind of funny.
Sure, the show itself was uneven at best, but lets call a spade (David) a spade (David) here: SNL hasn't been consistently funny in years. (As an aside, why does the show feel the need to start out with a forced political skit all the time? It's like they're saying, "We know this skit sucks, but we feel we should have at least one political skit to remain 'edgy' and 'relevant'. We know it's not funny, but don't worry we'll get it out of the way at the beginning. And c'mon, we need to fit Darrell Hammond in the show somehow." Further muddling matters is that they haven't had a solid Bush impersonation since Ferrell jumped ship. But that's neither here nor there.)
There was a nice skit ribbing Manning's character for 'pulling a Manning' (synonomous with 'blowing it') and ridiculous skit where Peyton dances as the coach tries to motivate his basketball team at halftime, but the real classic was the United Way commercial spoof.
On the field I'd still like to punch him in the chin (oh wait, he doesn't have one). But I'll man up and admit it. This was good stuff. Ripe for parody and a bit obvious, but funny none-the-less.
Well played Manning, you son of a bitch. Well played.
8:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
Double Filet-O-Fish, a Large Fry and a Diet Coke (Spectacular, especially during Lent)
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: Last year he didn't even want to play in the outfield. Flat out refused. Don't get your feelings hurt outfield...that was more a reflection on the Nationals than it was you.
Carl Crawford, Devil Rays: A poor man's Carlos Beltran. When will the power come Carl? When will the power come? No seriously Carl. The power. Where is it? I'm not fucking around here.
Carlos Beltran, Mets: A rich man's Carl Crawford.
Jason Bay, Pirates: Is this guy white or black? And yes, that matters where I draft him. Where is Pittsburgh? Somebody get me a GD map. I feel uncomfortable drafting this guy. I honestly don't know him from Honus Wagner.
Vlad Guerrero, Angels: I've never heard of this guy, but my nephew tells me he's good.
Grady Sizemore, Indians: Ladies love him. I love you too Grady. I'm a thrice divorced bachelor who likes to party. (whispers) Call me.
Double Cheeseburger Meal with a Sprite (Reliable)
Manny Ramirez, Red Sox: I haven't smoked pot since my last stint in Sing Sing, but this is a guy I would really like to get high with.
Matt Holiday, Rockies: See Garrett Atkins. File under 'Guys I know nothing about but will draft because they're Rockies and their stats look good on paper.'
Ichiro, Mariners: He is to Asian baseball what Ricky Martin is to the Latino music explosion.
Vernon Wells, Blue Jays: Look for him to be deported back to America within the month.
Hideki Matsui, Yankees: The second best Hideki ever! (Irabu was just misunderstood.)
Snack Wrap with Ranch (Sleeper)
Matt Murton, Cubs: THUNDER MATT! THUNDER MATT! Sing it with me now fuckers!
Rocco Baldelli, Devil Rays: That sound you hear is Rocco Baldelli collapsing in pain and your draft going to shit.
Josh Hamilton, Reds: What I said about Manny? Same thing goes with Josh, but replace pot with heroin and a late night motorcycle ride.
Chris Duffy, Pirates: You fast for a white boy, but you sho' are crazy!
Asian Chicken Salad with a Bottled Water (Trendy)
Delmon Young, Devil Rays: He will throw a bat at you! I am SERIOUS. He WILL throw a motherfucking bat at you! So just shut up and turn around. You can draft him, sure. Just don't fuck with him.
Alex Rios, Blue Jays: What can you say about this guy that hasn't been said already? Well, probably quite a bit, but I'll choose not to go there.
Johnny Damon, Yankees: Johnny, you are SOOO New York. Love ya babe.
Big Mac (Overrated. Will make you go #2 alot)
JD Drew, Red Sox: As I write this, he was just diagnosed with AIDS. And back spasms. And a really bad tummy ache.
Bobby Abreu, Yankees: Like the Stones. Sure he's good, but c'mon. He's not THAT good.
Ken Griffey, Reds: Ouch. I've made enough injury jokes already. See my writeup on JD Drew if you want some more of that comedy gold.
Brian Giles, Padres: Hasn't been good since Nam' but people draft him anyway. Nice tan Brian!
12:41 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
11:30 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
1. NEW YORK YANKEES
2006: 97-65 (1st)
So Long: P Octavio Dotel, OF Aaron Guiel, P Tanyon Sturtze, OF Bernie Williams, 1B Craig Wilson
Welcome: P Kei Igawa, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, P Andy Pettitte, C Todd Pratt
C - Jorge Posada
1B - Doug Mientkiewicz
2B - Robinson Cano
SS - Derek Jeter
3B - Alex Rodriguez
LF - Hideki Matsui
CF - Johnny Damon
RF - Bobby Abreu
DH - Jason Giambi
Starting Rotation - Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Kei Igawa, Carl Pavano, Jeff Karstens (Chien-Ming Wang DL)
Setup - Mike Myers, Kyle Farnsworth
Closer - Mariano Rivera
It's hard for me to look at that starting lineup and not vomit. The Bronx Bombers are stacked from top to bottom with All-Stars, and Doug Mientkiewicz. If one thing ends up killing them it will be the starting rotation. Mussina continues to provide worry-free innings but beyond that who knows? Pettitte should be decent but it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy all season. Kei Igawa may or may not be the second coming of Hideki Irabu. Carl Pavano is struggling to be the first player to break out of the Alyssa Milano Curse. And with Wang hurt, they're starting the season with Jeff Karstens as the #5 starter. Look for rookie Phil Hughes to make an appearance at some point this season.
But all rotation iffiness aside, this team can flat out rake. So your starter gets shelled for 6 runs? No problem, we'll just score 8. It's because of that offense that I have them number one. The pitching will figure itself out and there's bound to be 1 or 2 pitching acquisitions at the deadline to shore up the rotation.
Mr. Sexy Time: SS Derek Jeter - Just like Tom Brady, even if you hate the dude, you still respect him. The guy has his own cologne for God's sake! You know you've reached a whole new level when guys are willing to smell like you. Driven has sold much better than David Wells' ill-fated attempt for a line of cologne a few years back, though not many people care to smell like buffalo wings and an ashtray full of Marlboro reds.
David Eckstein Award: 1B Doug Mientkiewicz - The Yanks are notorious for having those scrappy gamers that rise to the occasion in the postseason. Whether it be Scott Brosius, Jim Leyritz, or Luis Sojo, these guys were far from spectacular during the season, but come playoff time they got it done. Dougie M. seems to fit that mold. I can just picture him coming up with a clutch hit late in a pennant game that turns the tide. One thing though Doug. If you record the final out of the World Series again, just give the ball to the team right away. Mr. Steinbrenner will probably have you murdered if you don't.
I'm Big in Taiwan: P Chien-Ming Wang - "Uh hello? Over here? Asian media? Yeah, it's me...the guy who led the league in wins last year? No, for the last time, I don't throw a gyroball. No, I look nothing like him! I'm Taiwanese, not Japanese. Sigh. Whatever."
FOR MORE READING
River Ave. Blues
2. TORONTO BLUE JAYS
2006: 87-75 (2nd)
SO LONG: OF Frank Catalanotto, P Ted Lilly, C Bengie Molina, P Justin Speier
WELCOME: SS Royce Clayton, C Sal Fasano, P Tomo Ohka, OF Matt Stairs, DH Frank Thomas, P John Thomson, P Victor Zambrano
C - Gregg Zaun
1B - Lyle Overbay
2B - Aaron Hill
SS - Royce Clayton
3B - Troy Glaus
LF - Reed Johnson
CF - Vernon Wells
RF - Alex Rios
DH - Frank Thomas
Starting Rotation - Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, Tomo Ohka, Shaun Marcum
Setup - Jason Frasor, Brandon League
Closer - B.J. Ryan
Was there a team that finished with a better record last year that no one seemed to give a shit about? Buried under the tight finish in the AL Central and the constant barrage of "How crappy is the National League" stories, the Blue Jays put together a pretty damn good season.
While their rotation took a hit with the departure of Ted Lilly, the batting order got a nice shot in the arm with the arrival of Frank Thomas, who put together a nice career renaissance last season. The Big Hurt will fit nicely in the clean-up role and with Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay hitting on either side of him, should put up some solid power numbers yet again.
Meanwhile it appears the hole left by Lilly has been filled by Tomo Ohka, who's been having a pretty good Spring. It remains to be seen what he'll do all season, but if he can pitch like he did a few years back in Montreal, he could be a decent asset.
Mr. Sexy Time: OF Vernon Wells - Alright you got your payday. Now let's see what you do with it. Wells signing long-term should really help the team's image, that management is committed to winning.
Seriously, This Guy?: SS Royce Clayton - Not particularly good at anything, save for looking like The Predator, Royce continues to stymie all forms of logic and common sense by obtaining another starting spot.
Greatest Fantasy Roster Trick: 3B Troy Glaus - Last season Glaus started in 5 games as a shortstop, which gave him roster eligibility there in Yahoo Fantasy Baseball. This has allowed the savvy fantasy manager to draft Glaus later than some of the other big-name shortstops and get good value out of that position. Here's to hoping he plays a few games there this season as well.
FOR MORE READING
D.A. Humber: Baseball Central
3. BALTIMORE ORIOLES
2006: 70-92 (4th)
SO LONG: P Bruce Chen, P LaTroy Hawkins, P Rodrigo Lopez, OF David Newhan, P Russ Ortiz, C Chris Widger
WELCOME: P Danys Baez, C Paul Bako, P Chad Bradford, 1B/3B Aubrey Huff, OF Jon Knott, OF Jay Payton, P Paul Shuey, P Steve Trachsel, P Jamie Walker, P Scott Williamson, P Jaret Wright
C - Ramon Hernandez
1B - Aubrey Huff
2B - Brian Roberts
SS - Miguel Tejada
3B - Melvin Mora
LF - Jay Payton
CF - Corey Patterson
RF - Nick Markakis
DH - Jay Gibbons
Starting Rotation - Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera, Jaret Wright, Adam Loewen, Steve Trachsel
Setup - Danys Baez, Chad Bradford, Scott Williamson
Closer - Chris Ray
"What? You have Baltimore THIRD? You must have shit for brains." Wait, wait, wait. Before you begin pelting me with tomatoes, just hear me out. So far my predictions have been pretty tame. OK, incredibly tame. But every year there's a team that breaks out and performs way beyond everyone's expectations. Case in point: last year's Tigers. Not that I'm saying Baltimore is World Series bound by any means. I just don't think they're as bad as some have them pegged out to be.
They purged the pitching staff of Bruce Chen, LaTroy Hawkins, Rodrigo Lopez, and Russ Ortiz, which is the greatest "addition-by-subtraction" I've seen this offseason. They shored up the bullpen by bringing in Chad Bradford, Scott Williamson, Paul Shuey, Jamie Walker, and Danys Baez to compliment their young closer Chris Ray. Then they brought in Jaret Wright, who is reunited with Leo Mazzone, the guy that resurrected Wright's career in Atlanta a couple years ago, and Steve Trachsel, who has a little bit left in the tank. At least enough to be a decent #5 starter.
The batting order should be pretty decent with the emergence of Nick Markakis and the addition of Aubrey Huff, who should have something to prove after two disappointing seasons. I guess when you can bat Corey Patterson in the 8 spot, you can't be all that bad.
Of course if the O's crash and burn this season, feel free to mock me mercilessly.
Mr. Sexy Time: OF Nick Markakis - The big fat greek phenom, Markakis is poised to have a nice breakout season this year. Baltimore fans have to be pumped about this kid.
No Reason to Hold a Grudge: OF Corey Patterson - You may not have noticed, but Corey did in fact cut down on his K's per AB last season. Ah, it sucks to see him succeed somewhere else, but I've come to grips that he was never going to improve while in a Cubs uniform. It was for the best. At least we got Carlos Perez and Nate Spears for him. Wait, who the hell are those guys?
Seriously, This Guy?: OF Jay Payton - At least he's batting 9th. Not that Payton isn't good, but he's just another case of a guy being a little overrated after a nice little offensive stint in Colorado (cough, Neifi!, cough).
FOR MORE READING
4. BOSTON RED SOX
2006: 86-76 (3rd)
SO LONG: P Keith Foulke, SS Alex Gonzalez, OF Gabe Kapler, 2B Mark Loretta, OF Trot Nixon
WELCOME: P Brendan Donnelly, OF J.D. Drew, SS Julio Lugo, P Daisuke Matsuzaka, P Hideki Okakima, P Joel Pineiro, P J.C. Romero
C - Jason Varitek
1B - Kevin Youkilis
2B - Dustin Pedroia
SS - Julio Lugo
3B - Mike Lowell
LF - Manny Ramirez
CF - Coco Crisp
RF - J.D. Drew
DH - David Ortiz
Starting Rotation - Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Julian Tavarez
Setup - J.C. Romero, Brendan Donnelly
Closer - Jon Papelbon
Wow, I can feel the anger in the air from Boston fans. You know, a few years ago, you guys weren't that different from us Cubs fans. With a long history of disappointment and curses, you came to accept the inevitable failure in stride. Then 2004 rolled along and suddenly everything was wiped clean. This team was a winner, and was going to be for quite some time. Well you know what? It's high time you taste some disappointment again. Looking at this lineup, I can't help but feel that you're one Big Papi injury away from playing out a "Cubs in '06" type of season. Not that they'll finish as bad as the Cubs, but once D-Lee went down, all the bolts came loose and the wheels fell off.
Also that pitching staff is scary, and not in a good way. Who knows what Schilling will do? Is Dice's gyroball going to blow everyone's mind? Beckett finally threw over 200 innings, and watched his ERA balloon with it, not to mention his K/9 ratio dropped for the third straight season. The bullpen is such a horrible mess that the Papelboner has been thrown back into the closer role, pushing Julian Tavarez and his winning personality to the #5 starter spot.
Maybe I'm just bitter and want to see Boston crash and burn, but I just get the feeling this team has drifted a long way away from their 2004 glory days.
Mr. Sexy Time: P Daisuke Matsuzaka - This was a given. Has anyone drew more hype without having even played in an official Major League game? He could be the greatest Japanese pitcher ever to play over here. Seeing that the bar is currently set at Hideo Nomo, he won't have to reach that much.
Do They Award a "Bronze" Glove?: OF Manny Ramirez - Seriously, is he even trying out there? I fully expect him to wear an iPod in the field this year.
The Chris Farley Show: P Curt Schilling - Remember that time when you pitched in a World Series? When you were really good? Heh. That was AWESOME. Remember when you had the blood on the sock? That was so cool. And everybody said you were..um..heros and stuff? Do you remember? I love you guys. My dad says you're just going through a rough patch. Do you still have that sock? That would be awesome if you did. Did you see Die Hard? Remember that part where he.....
FOR MORE READING
Inside the Monster
5. TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
2006: 61-101 (5th)
SO LONG: OF Damon Hollins, P Brian Meadows, SS Tomas Perez
WELCOME: 1B Hee Seop Choi, 3B Akinori Iwamura, 1B Carlos Pena
C - Dioner Navarro
1B - Ty Wigginton
2B - Jorge Cantu
SS - Ben Zobrist
3B - Akinori Iwamura
LF - Carl Crawford
CF - Rocco Baldelli
RF - Delmon Young
DH - Jonny Gomes
Starting Rotation - Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Casey Fossum, Jae Weong Seo, J.P. Howell
Setup - Dan Miceli, Shawn Camp
Closer - Seth McClung
A couple years ago, Bill Simmons coined the phrase "perpetual putridity" when talking about the abundance of bad teams in the NFL. I think that term can be applied to the D-Rays as well. Like a AAA team stuck in one of the consistently toughest divisions, Tampa Bay has finished last every season they've been in existence except for one (2004, which I think was more a product of Toronto being exceptionally bad more than the D-Rays being any good).
So why have they been so bad, when their expansion team counterpart, Arizona already has a ring to show off? I'm sure there's a multitude of factors that play into it, but I'd like to think it has to do with that stadium. Is there a more depressing venue in Major League Baseball these days than Tropicana Field? I mean, Jesus, this team plays in sunny Florida, yet the City of St. Petersburg built a frickin' dome back in the early 90's to lure a team there. Way to build off your city's assets St. Pete by locking the fans in a concrete behemoth while it's bright and sunny outside. I sure hope someone got fired/voted out of office for that incredibly stupid decision. According to ballparks.com, the city built a dome despite MLB's advice not to, and the league has told them to be out of there by 2010.
Some day the sun will shine on the D-Rays, but it's not gonna be any time soon.
Mr. Sexy Time: OF Delmon Young - As long as he can keep from throwing bats at umpires he should be ok. He appears in much better shape then his brother Dmitri, who did all of his offseason training at Old Country Buffet. We can only hope that he fares better than fellow prospect B.J. Upton, who could be upstaged in fielding drills by Jim Abbott.
The Rock Bottom Award: 1B Hee Seop Choi & Carlos Pena - Wow. Remember when these two guys were slated as the stud first basemen of the future? Now they're fighting for the starting 1B job in Tampa Bay, and are undoubtedly going to lose to Ty frickin' Wigginton of all people. Rock bottom.
The Carlos Beltran Award: OF Carl Crawford - Given to the player whose career and profile will soar and whose potential will finally be reached once he is granted a one way ticket out of baseball purgatory. Wait, we established that Pittsburgh and Kansas City are baseball purgatory. Tampa Bay is most certainly baseball hell then.
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Rays of Light
7:27 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X
If 2006's anti-Jew DUI rant was Chernobyl, Thursday was a mere Three Mile Island, but I'll take what I can get. While we can all draw our own conclusions about Mel's personal beliefs regarding the various peoples and religions of the world, one thing is for certain: The dude can't handle criticism.
While speaking about Apocalypto Thursday at Cal State Northridge, Gibson fell apart after being criticized for that film. When a professor accused him of using racial stereotypes in the film, Gibson exploded and told her to "fuck off". Then, as other Mayan supporters were heckling, Gibson yelled at them to make their own movie.
So thats the latest, but I think it would be beneficial to our loyal readers if we recant Mel's meltdowns over the years. Here you go:
#1 - 1956 - Mel's genes melt down causing him to be born with his kidneys fused together in a u-shape.
#2 - 1979 - Mel melts down after a biker gang avenging the death of their leader, The Nightrider, kill his wife and child.
#3 - 1984 - Mel gets loaded whilst filming The Bounty and is severely injured in a bar room brawl.
#4 - 1984 - A drunken Mel gets in a car accident in Canada and offers the guy he hit a drink after shouting profanities at him.
#5 - 1990 - Mel melts down and makes Bird on a Wire with Goldie Hawn.
#6 - 1990 - Determined to win a drunken bar bet, Mel makes Hamlet.
#7 - 1992 - When asked by a Spanish magazine whether he worries people will think he's gay because he is an actor, Mel melts down and goes on a rant against gays including the suggestion that one's asshole is for shit only.
#8 - 1995 - Mel melts down and makes a historically inaccurate film bashing the British.
#9 - 1995 - Suggests Bill Clinton and other Rhodes Scholars running for public office are part of a "New World Order" Marxist plot.
#10 - 2000 - Mel melts down and makes yet another historically inaccurate film bashing the British.
#11 - 2000 - While drunk, Mel agrees to star in What Women Want.
#12 - 2003 - Mel admits to The New Yorker that he hears voices.
#13 - 2004 - Mel melts down and builds his own church so he can attend mass in a language no one understands.
#14 - 2004 - Mel melts down and makes an anti-semitic snuff film in a language no one understands.
#15 - 2004 - Mel defends his father's repeated denials of the Holocaust.
#16 - 2004 - Mel buys a Japanese island, enraging the natives.
#17 - 2006 - Mel melts down on a California roadside, blaming the Jews for all the wars in the world, calling a female officer Sugartits, and claiming he owns Malibu.
#18 - 2006 - Mel melts down and makes a homo-erotic action picture in a language no one understands.
#19 - 2007 - Mel melts down at Cal State Northridge and tells a professor to fuck off for criticizing that homo-erotic action picture he made in a language no one understands.
For further Mel Gibson reading, I highly recommend "Mel Gibson's Guide to the Good Life".
9:07 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
The final bench spot will probably go to Ronny Cedeno. That's fine I guess. As long as we're not relying on him as an everyday starter he should be fine.
Lou also has said that the 5th spot in the rotation is not "100 percent decided", leaving the door open a crack for Mark Prior to take the spot over Wade Miller. Two weeks ago this decision probably would've been a little easier to make, but Prior actually showed some signs of life yesterday, throwing 4 good innings and even hitting the low-90's on the radar gun. So much for writing him out of my life. I guess I'll prepare myself for more disappointment wrapped in a thin candy shell of optimism.
Strictly For My Ninjas
Yesterday, the folks at Goatriders linked to this fantastic article discussing Ryan Dempster training to be a ninja. Check out his quotes.
"You have to (learn) how to throw a throwing star and nunchucks and all those kinds of things..... Obviously you've got to do martial arts and learn how to be really quiet, which is a tough task for me because I talk a lot...... It's pretty cool. I wear the outfit around the house and try to sneak up on people...."This further proves that Dempster would be a pretty cool guy to hang out and have a beer with. It also gave me inspiration to bust out a new shirt at the Thunder Matt store. You didn't know we had a store? Yeah, neither do most people. Although last time I checked someone besides me actually bought a Thunder Matt shirt. Our best seller remains to be the Rick Astley shirt. If I ever see a person wearing that shirt, I'm not sure if I'll approach them or quickly walk the other direction.
AL East Preview to come later today, which can also be translated as tomorrow.
9:40 AM | Comments (0) | by Brant Brown
The other sports tidbit which is cause for celebration in the heartland is late word that Steve Alford will be resigning his post as basketball coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, and assume the same position at the University of New Mexico. A press conference is expected Friday. And the peasants rejoiced. If only Dr. Tom Davis could be coaxed out of retirement. Look for a Steve Alford War Criminal profile in the near future.
6:36 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz
3:34 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan
- Players 1-50: Draft with confidence, all will be well.
- Players 51-100: Still reliable ranking to go on, but listen to your gut as well.
- Players 101-150: Not as confident, if you're high on a guy in the "Just Missed the Cut" list, feel free to substitute.
NOTE: There will be no update to this list. This son of a bitch is too much of a bear to keep making revisions to it.
|1.||Albert Pujols, STL||1B|
|2.||Alfonso Soriano, CHC||OF|
|3.||Johan Santana, MIN||SP|
|4.||Jose Reyes, NYM||SS|
|5.||Alex Rodriguez, NYY||3B|
|6.||Ryan Howard, PHI||1B|
|7.||Carl Crawford, TB||OF|
|8.||David Ortiz, BOS||1B,DH|
|9.||Miguel Cabrera, FLA||3B|
|10.||Carlos Beltran, NYM||OF|
|11.||Chase Utley, PHI||2B|
|12.||Vladimir Guerrero, LAA||OF|
|13.||David Wright, NYM||3B|
|14.||Lance Berkman, HOU||1B,OF|
|15.||Travis Hafner, CLE||DH|
|16.||Grady Sizemore, CLE||OF|
|17.||Matt Holliday, COL||OF|
|18.||Derek Jeter, NYY||SS|
|19.||Chris Carpenter, STL||SP|
|20.||Jason Bay, PIT||OF|
|21.||Manny Ramirez, BOS||OF|
|22.||Mark Teixeira, TEX||1B|
|23.||Carlos Lee, HOU||OF|
|24.||Justin Morneau, MIN||1B|
|25.||Miguel Tejada, BAL||SS|
|26.||Jimmy Rollins, PHI||SS|
|27.||Ichiro Suzuki, SEA||OF|
|28.||Roy Oswalt, HOU||SP|
|29.||Hanley Ramirez, FLA||SS|
|30.||Garrett Atkins, COL||3B|
|31.||Aramis Ramirez, CHC||3B|
|32.||Roy Halladay, TOR||SP|
|33.||Derrek Lee, CHC||1B|
|34.||Andruw Jones, ATL||OF|
|35.||Vernon Wells, TOR||OF|
|36.||Carlos Zambrano, CHC||SP|
|37.||Bobby Abreu, NYY||OF|
|38.||Jake Peavy, SD||SP|
|39.||Brandon Webb, ARI||SP|
|40.||Joe Nathan, MIN||RP|
|41.||Paul Konerko, CHW||1B|
|42.||Michael Young, TEX||SS|
|43.||Jermaine Dye, CHW||OF|
|44.||Francisco Rodriguez, LAA||RP|
|45.||Joe Mauer, MIN||C|
|46.||Johnny Damon, NYY||OF|
|47.||Rafael Furcal, LAD||SS|
|48.||John Smoltz, ATL||SP|
|49.||B.J. Ryan, TOR||RP|
|50.||Chone Figgins, LAA||2B,3B,OF|
|51.||Mariano Rivera, NYY||RP|
|52.||Ryan Zimmerman, WAS||3B|
|53.||Jim Thome, CHW||DH|
|54.||Ben Sheets, MIL||SP|
|55.||C.C. Sabathia, CLE||SP|
|56.||Hideki Matsui, NYY||OF|
|57.||John Lackey, LAA||SP|
|58.||Billy Wagner, NYM||RP|
|59.||Adam Dunn, CIN||OF|
|60.||Juan Pierre, LAD||OF|
|61.||J.J. Putz, SEA||RP|
|62.||Aaron Harang, CIN||SP|
|63.||Carlos Delgado, NYM||1B|
|64.||Scott Kazmir, TB||SP|
|65.||Bill Hall, MIL||SS,OF|
|66.||Brett Myers, PHI||SP|
|67.||Carlos Guillen, DET||SS|
|68.||Scott Rolen, STL||3B|
|69.||Dan Haren, OAK||SP|
|70.||Jeremy Bonderman, DET||SP|
|71.||Felix Hernandez, SEA||SP|
|72.||Chris Young, SD||SP|
|73.||Huston Street, OAK||RP|
|74.||Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS||SP|
|75.||Prince Fielder, MIL||1B|
|76.||Gary Sheffield, DET||OF|
|77.||Victor Martinez, CLE||C,1B|
|78.||Torii Hunter, MIN||OF|
|79.||Chipper Jones, ATL||3B|
|80.||Brian Roberts, BAL||2B|
|81.||Trevor Hoffman, SD||RP|
|82.||Nick Swisher, OAK||1B,OF|
|83.||Troy Glaus, TOR||3B,SS|
|84.||Robinson Cano, NYY||2B|
|85.||Brian McCann, ATL||C|
|86.||Richie Sexson, SEA||1B|
|87.||Rocco Baldelli, TB||OF|
|88.||Cole Hamels, PHI||SP|
|89.||Delmon Young, TB||OF|
|90.||Curt Schilling, BOS||SP|
|91.||Adam LaRoche, PIT||1B|
|92.||Raul Ibanez, SEA||OF|
|93.||Alex Rios, TOR||OF|
|94.||Dontrelle Willis, FLA||SP|
|95.||Jason Schmidt, LAD||SP|
|96.||Erik Bedard, BAL||SP|
|97.||Magglio Ordonez, DET||OF|
|98.||Felipe Lopez, WAS||2B,SS|
|99.||Julio Lugo, BOS||2B,3B,SS|
|100.||Jeff Francoeur, ATL||OF|
|101.||Mike Mussina, NYY||SP|
|102.||Jered Weaver, LAA||SP|
|103.||Bronson Arroyo, CIN||SP|
|104.||Bobby Jenks, CHW||RP|
|105.||Todd Helton, COL||1B|
|106.||Matt Cain, SF||SP|
|107.||Dan Uggla, FLA||2B|
|108.||Barry Zito, SF||SP|
|109.||Jason Giambi, NYY||1B,DH|
|110.||Justin Verlander, DET||SP|
|111.||Michael Cuddyer, MIN||OF|
|112.||Corey Patterson, BAL||OF|
|113.||Francisco Cordero, MIL||RP|
|114.||Takashi Saito, LAD||RP|
|115.||Chad Cordero, WAS||RP|
|116.||Jonathan Papelbon, BOS||SP,RP|
|117.||Andy Pettitte, NYY||SP|
|118.||Chad Tracy, ARI||3B|
|119.||Lyle Overbay, TOR||1B|
|120.||A.J. Burnett, TOR||SP|
|121.||Josh Beckett, BOS||SP|
|122.||Josh Barfield, CLE||2B|
|123.||Brad Lidge, HOU||RP|
|124.||Edgar Renteria, ATL||SS|
|125.||Randy Johnson, ARI||SP|
|126.||Adrian Beltre, SEA||3B|
|127.||Chris Ray, BAL||RP|
|128.||Adrian Gonzalez, SD||1B|
|129.||Mike Cameron, SD||OF|
|130.||Rich Harden, OAK||SP|
|131.||Rickie Weeks, MIL||2B|
|132.||J.D. Drew, LAD||OF|
|133.||Chris Capuano, MIL||SP|
|134.||Dave Bush, MIL||SP|
|135.||Tom Gordon, PHI||RP|
|136.||Ervin Santana, LAA||SP|
|137.||Willy Taveras, COL||OF|
|138.||John Patterson, WAS||SP|
|139.||Brandon Phillips, CIN||2B|
|140.||Scott Olsen, FLA||SP|
|141.||Eric Chavez, OAK||3B|
|142.||Ian Kinsler, TEX||2B|
|143.||Eric Gagne, TEX||RP|
|144.||Frank Thomas, TOR||DH|
|145.||Derek Lowe, LAD||SP|
|146.||Ramon Hernandez, BAL||C|
|147.||Melvin Mora, BAL||3B|
|148.||Brian Fuentes, COL||RP|
|149.||Rich Hill, CHC||SP|
|150.||Tadahito Iguchi, CHW||2B|
Just missed the cut: Chuck James (SP-ATL), Howie Kendrick (1B,2B-LAA), Freddy Garcia (SP-PHI), Mark Teahen (3B,OF-KC), Barry Bonds (OF-SF), Kenji Johjima (C-SEA), Aubrey Huff (1B,3B,OF-BAL), Carlos Quentin (OF-ARI), Coco Crisp (OF-BOS), Nomar Garciaparra (1B-LAD), Ray Durham (2B-SF), Kelvim Escobar (SP-LAA), Nick Markakis (OF-BAL), Kevin Millwood (SP-TEX), Ivan Rodriguez (C-DET), Jeff Kent (1B,2B-LAD), Jorge Posada (C-NYY), Mike Piazza (C,DH-OAK), Brian Giles (OF-SD), Brad Hawpe (OF-COL), Pat Burrell (OF-PHI), Greg Maddux (SP-SD)