Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trade Time

Surprisingly, this year's deadline did not disappoint as opposed to years past. Superstars were moved, HR Kings switched teams, and as usual prospects were thrown all over. Here's my rundown/recap of this year's trading events:

  • Ken Griffey Jr. is still a great player, as far as I'm concerned, and brings a lot to the table on name recognition and HR power alone. It was long past time for the Reds to move him, he and the city have grown part and it's time he played for a contender again. The only problem I see is that Griffey isn't a superb CF anymore and the Sox already have two DH's and two full time corner OF's. Good for the Griff, he's always been a good guy and good story, I'm happy to see him back in a pennant race.

  • I like the Red Sox moving Manny Ramirez for Jason Bay. They gave up Craig Hansen, who never fulfilled potential for them, and Brandon Moss, who I like, but is an acceptable loss with the money and piece of mind they save. Bay is a great player in his own right, who should finally get the recognition he deserves playing for Boston in a pennant race. The Sox will miss Manny's offense, but Bay will be a great replacement.

  • This is also a good deal for the Dodgers. They weren't ready to win before Manny, but he gives them a great power hitter to make their line-up complete. Andy LaRoche is another underachiever, definitely worth giving up for Manny. Manny's lax personality and lifestyle should be great in LA. Also, if they can't resign him, the draft picks they are now guarenteed to get will help a seemingly overrated farm system.

  • I'm not sure Arthur Rhodes is the answer for anyone. I'll never understand why teams shuffle around subpar old relievers when they could get the same production from a young prospects they have down on the farm.

  • Gaby Hernandez seems like a decent prospect, a nice pick-up for the Mariners.

  • I have trouble picturing Ivan Rodriguez in Yankee pinstripes, but he's a smart buy, especially for Kyle Farnsworth who's hardly reliable and definitely worth moving. They've got the young arms to easily replace him.

  • From the Tigers side, I like Brandon Inge as a nice replacement, but is Farnsworth really worth it?

  • Casey Kotchman will be a tremendous pick-up for the Braves if he improves as everyone projects he will.

  • The Phillies didn't make any moves, but they're a strange team with strong chemistry. If they all put it together at the same time they won't have trouble making it to the playoffs.

Who wins? Who loses? Well it is too soon to know, but we'll have a good idea as this season moves toward the finish.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fads of the 80s

Chia pets, parachute pants, permed hair, and Atari. These are just a few useful items we owe to the 1980s. But as outrageous as some of those fads were, nothing can compare to my favorite trend of the 80s. Music videos made by professional sports teams.

The infamous "super bowl shuffle" gets all of the attention, but while surfing youtube a few months ago, I stumbled across some real gems. The Miami Dolphins produced "Can't Touch Us", an absolutely terrible video that doesn't actually feature any real players. After watching this video, I am thoroughly convinced that everyone in the video is on cocaine. Another classic, is the 1985 Seattle Seahawks Locker Room Rock. This song features actually players, and their singing is brutal.

My absolute favorite comes from The L.A. Rams, with a video entitled Ram It. And yes, the video is just as sexually suggestive as the title. I can't help but feel bad for #21 "Hollywood Hanson" who may be the worst dancer on the planet. And I'm pretty bad.

I really don't know what these teams were thinking, but its fun to look back at them and laugh. Take some time to watch these videos. They won't disappoint.

Fantasy football magazines

Due to the enormous amount of money I invest in fantasy football each year, preparation is always key. Fantasy football magazines can often be expensive (as much as $10), so making the right choice is very important. The other day I took a trip out to Barnes and Noble (I didn't think I'd ever openly admit that), and scanned through countless magazines. There is a wide variety of magazines, and most of them have similar content. However, in my search 2 magazines really stood out: Fantasy Football Weekly ($8)

One of the best fantasy magazines I've ever purchased, it features comprehensive rankings, auction/draft strategies, mock drafts, player profiles, sleepers, and busts. But perhaps the best feature is that it is very user friendly and easy to read. It is visually appealing and so easy to follow. Well worth the $8. Great work guys.

SportingNews Fantasy Football Preview ($8)

A little more simplistic, this magazine features just as much great content as the fanball magazine. The only downside is that the player profiles are listed alphabetically which makes it a little difficult to follow. Overall, it is an outstanding magazine, which provides some of the deepest rankings I've ever seen.

I strongly endorse both of these magazines. For me, its less about the actual rankings which I prefer to do on my own, and more about the organization of information. In the end I couldn't choose between the two, so I purchased both. I'm hoping for a repeat of 2007 where I won all three of the leagues I participated in. Of course, having Brady in every single league and Moss in 2 certainly helped.

Lackey Can't Close The Deal

John Lackey came within two outs of a No-Hitter tonight. The ESPN headline read, Lackey flirts with no-no.

More like, Lackey takes no-no out to dinner, brings her home, goes into the bedroom, everyone gets undressed, and then she falls asleep. Rough.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quick Brain Scan

Not truly a Mind Dump, because I haven't that much excess thought lying around...
  • Surfing Rob Neyer's blog, I can't help but agree: Where is Fransisco Liriano?, Jeff Samardzija in the pen is a great idea, and the Phillies rotation is still a mess. Why wouldn't I agree? the man is obviously smarter than me, and most of us when it comes baseball.

  • Mark Teixeira trade good for both sides. Matt was right. Why else would I blog with the man?

  • Read Love of Sports' Top 20 Baseball Quotes of all Time. It's a great list. My personal favorite, that isn't on the list is from Bull Durham: "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Just let that sit for a while, it gets better with age.

  • Sal Fasano is sad and that makes me sad. You've got to love Sal, if not for his tremendous facial hair, then for the fact that he Plays The Game Right. Sal was a true ballplayer and I will always wish that I showed up at the ballpark and showed him respect like all these great people.

  • It appears the Phillies may try to swap Pat Burrell for Manny Ramirez. At first, this seems like a no-brainer for the Phils, but "Pat the Bat" is having a similar statistical season and the people love him. We may have to think this one over a little bit more.

Big Donkey Hit Ball Far

Recently, I found a cool website, HitTracker, that measures the true distance and other stats for every home run hit in the majors over the course of each season. It's fun to surf around and see who hit the farthest and highest home runs and other cool stuff. What sticks out to me is Adam "Big Donkey" Dunn. Dunn leads the majors currently, with 30 home runs, which is no surprise to any baseball fan who has seen the big guy's numbers. What's notable is that according to the website, he has hit 15 no doubt home runs. This is 5 more than second-best Carlos Delgado and almost 10 more than everybody else, in both leagues. Also, Dunn leagues the majors in farthest average distance, with an average of 412.3 ft. per home run. Wow. That means that the average Adam Dunn home run is going to be out at most any ball park to all fields. Delgado is the only other player in the average distance top 5 with atleast 15 homers. Basically, when Dunn hits the ball, he puts it into orbit almost everytime. Look for him to keep pace and then some in the second half, unlike Brian McCann and Ramon Hernandez, who lead their respective leagues in lucky homers.

Adam Dunn has been in trade rumors for the past few years and no one is really sure if or when the Reds will move Dunn to a contender. This year is no different, Dunn is surfacing in rumors all over. I've read about Dunn for Manny Ramirez swaps at Baseball Analysts, and about him possibly being the most underrated player in the game at UmpBump. As UmpBump mentions, he is a paradox because his batting average is routinely horrendous, however his on-base percentage and slugging percentage are always great. Add in massive amounts of massive home runs and he is a truly interesting player.

With such an active trading season, and so many moving pieces, I wonder would I rather:

Adam Dunn or Manny Ramirez? -- With comparable defense, OBP and SLG, I'd take Dunn for his chemistry, age, and power. All three of which are getting worse in Manny's case.

Adam Dunn or Mark Teixeira? -- Teix is only a year younger and doesn't bring nearly as much power. If I've got a gaping 4 or 5 hole in my lineup, I'll take Dunn's added power or Teix's higher batting average everyday. If I need a 3 hitter, I want the consistent average. But how many contenders don't already have an established 3 hitter?

It begs the question as to why more teams aren't after "Big Donkey" Dunn, and to be honest, I can't understand it. Take at look at these contending line-ups after acquiring Dunn (doesn't show what they'd have to give up to get him and only the meat of the orders):

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Dunn, Pat Burrell -- This would be devastating for opposing pitchers. Howard, Dunn, Burrell, would be a murderer's row of HR/K hitters.

Mets: Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Adam Dunn, Carlos Delgado -- Good thing Dunn isn't Latino or I would have something to worry about.

Dodgers: Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Adam Dunn, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Jeff Kent -- A very solid lineup, and Dunn is the home run threat they badly need.

Yanks: Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Alex Rodriguez, Adam Dunn, Jason Giambi, Robinson Cano, Xavier Nady -- Now there aren't any weak spots here. They've certainly got prospects to get it done should they show interest and commitment.

Those are some scary line-ups without Dunn, but with him things really get dangerous. I'm curious to see if anyone will wise up and make a move for the slugger.

Angels land Teixeira

According to Jayson Stark, the Angels have acquired Mark Tiexeira for Casey Kotchman, and a second "lesser name". This move may come as a bit of a surprise to many, as Arizona and Boston appeared to be the front runners.

Finally a trade that helps both sides. I honestly believe that as of row now, this is as even as it gets. Of course, a lot can change in the next 2 months.

The Braves definitely made the right decision to trade Tex, considering that he is destined to hit free agency this winter. Teixera will probably command a $20MM+ contract, and it was clear that the Braves were not going to resign him. Once the Braves were finally smart enough to realize that they cannot contend this year, trading Tex was a no-brainer. So, all things considered, anything the Braves get in return is good. Casey Kotchman is an excellent hitter, with loads of potential. At only 25 years old, he could easily develop into a player that resembles Teixeira. It hurts me to say it, but this was an excellent move by the Braves.

On the other side, the Angels solidify their position as the best team in baseball. As much as I like Kotchman, Teixeira is an instant upgrade. The key to the Angels is clearly pitching, but this lineup is downright scary right now. Vlad, Tex, Torii Hunter, and Garret The only downside to trading for Tex is that he could just as easily flee to NY in the offseason. The Angels certainly have the resources to sign him, but are they willing to overpay like the Mets will?

Only time will tell who wins in this trade, but I really feel like the Braves got the better end of the deal. Not that its a bad trade for LA, but I feel like Tex is a little overrated, and theres a chance that he is simply a 2 month rental.

UPDATE: is reporting that the second player in the deal is AA pitching prospect Stephen Marek. The 24 year old reliever is 2-6 with a 3.66 ERA this year. He also sports a 57/21 K/BB ratio.

Nonsense Rumor: Favre to Jets?

According to a friend, The New York Jets just waived Punter Joe Smith. Why do I or you or any one care? Because said Punter wore uniform number 4.

I did some research and apparently there is an un-retired QB who wears no. 4 who may be on the trade block.

This is probably inconsequential and possibly, Joe Smith still has a job and I received poor information. Also possible, you heard it here first. So there. Take that Chris Mortensen.

It's A Screwball?!?

As a catcher, i spend a lot of time in the bullpen trying to throw pitches that I either can't or have no business throwing. My new fixation is the screwball. I don't know why or how, but I am enamored by it and constantly try, unsuccessfully, to throw one. All hope is lost for me throwing the pitch, but I can't help but wonder why it's a lost art in the majors. Two of the greatest pitchers of all time, Christy Mathewson and Carl Hubbell, threw it, so obviously it works. Nonetheless, I can't even remember another pitcher who does.

A little research unearthed some interesting things. First the definition of what the screwball is from Baseball Reference, "A screwball is a "backwards curveball." When thrown by a righty, it breaks like a lefty curveball, and vice versa. This pitch was conjured up because hitters have an easier time hitting pitches that break in on them than those that fade away. Lefties would throw this against righties, and righties against lefties." Now that that's out of the way, some other notable screw pitchers were Fernando Venezuela and Mike Marshall. Some others include Mike Cuellar (?), Willie Hernandez (I'm too young for this), Tim McGraw (finally I know one), and possibly John Franco.

It is assumed that the pitch has been shelved because for one, it is a very dangerous pitch for the arm and can cause serious injuries if improperly thrown. And two, you can get by without it, so why take the risk. Well, that's no fun.

Some good screwball reading at The Pitching Professor explains the different types of screw, from backwards slider, to reverse curve, and even the reverse screwball if that makes any sense. It also talks of Mike Marshall being the best there ever was at the pitch, which may be true. However, Hubbell's famous strike out streak of five straight Hall of Famers (Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, Cronin) in the all-star game gives him a strong case too.
Despite all this fun reading, I was quite down, until I stumbled across a screwball driven Hardball Times article. There is tons of graphs and charts about Pitch f/x that i simply don't understand and don't have the time to.
More importantly (to me), it talks of Reds prospect Daniel Herrera, a modern day screwballer! He's made two big league outings and thrown a whopping 63 pitches in the show, but more importantly he tossed 20 screwballs. There's confusion as to whether they are change ups or screwballs, but who cares? Mike Marshall, now a pitching coach, says that a screwball can be thrown safely if properly taught, so I'm holding out hope that the screwy makes a resurgence because, simply, I think they are incredibly interesting and want to see what somebody can do if they master it. With today's exploding curveballs and unhittable sliders, it's time for a new sensation and this could very well be it. Best of luck to Herrera, I'll definitely be tuned into his next outing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Play The Game Right

For all of the people reading who don't know me (probably no one), I play baseball at the University of Pennsylvania. As you probably assume, in college baseball you find a much different style of play than in the majors. Namely, there is a widespread lack of respect for the game, playing the game right, baseball etiquette, whatever you choose to call it in professional baseball. This post is a tutorial on how baseball is supposed to played. I'm not talking mechanics and strategy, but the little things that are to be done, that seem to be lost as the generations pass. Here's the rundown:

Hustle -- Routine groundballs, lazy flyballs, doesn't matter, you gotta run it out. 9 times out of 10 you're out anyway, but that one time when an error is made and you can't capitalize, makes you look very bad. Also, going the extra mile to run everything puts pressure on the defense and may in return help you get on base more as it is.

Home Runs -- Great you hit a home run, chances are it was very impressive. But, don't stand there and watch it like it is God's latest gift to man. There's no better way to get one of your teammates plunked, than pimping your homer around the bases. Act like you've done it before and take a quick jog around, no showboating, no nonsense. However, it's fine to show some passion with a fist pump or something of the like if it's a big moment or a game winner. Not if it's an 8-2 game and you're losing.

Poor Umping -- Baseball is the game of human error and the umpires are definitely included in that name. Chances are if you don't play in the major leagues, you will be subject to amorphous strike zones, missed calls, incorrect calls, and/or a total lack of knowledge of the rules. However, that doesn't mean as a player you get to ostercize them at every opportunity. Coaches are meant to yell and criticize the umps, not the players. Want to look like a real tool? Turn around and bitch at the ump after he calls you out on a questionable strike. Or yell obscene things from the dugout to try and be funny. But, if you really want to look bad, throw a mini temper-tantrum and show the ump up in front of everyone.

Routine Plays -- Not hustling has already been covered, but this is for the guys who field a ground and take a mini victory lap after every play they make. Congratulations, you made the play you were supposed to make, now you just look like an arrogant jerk.

Bean Balls -- There is a time and a place to hit somebody. Doing a lot of the things mentioned already can cause that to happen, but that doesn't make it right. However, if you do want to hit somebody, you don't hit them in the head. With the serious injuries that can occur to the head, bean balls should always be throw at the body just to send a messge, not to inflict pain or injury.

These are very simple things to follow, but you can't watch a baseball game on tv without seeing multiple infractions. The list of ridiculous home run trots is endless. Manny, Ryan Braun, Soriano, Griffey (who I excuse because he's my idol), Carlos Lee, etc. Not hustling is the norm for guys like Manny (probably the worst), David Ortiz, Bonds, and many other superstars. Kyle Farnsworth is one I've seen throw at a guy's head. And plenty of guys simply abuse umpires on close calls.

Believe it or not, you don't have to make millions for this to happen because I see it in person all the time. Kids yell at umps, walk to first after home runs, don't run balls out, etc. It is embarrassing to the kids themselves, the parents and the coaches. It all stems down from the big leagues, but more coaches need to set the tone for how things will be done or it will only get worse. Like the kid in the Little League Word Series who called his shot a few years ago. Too bad he probably got an endorsement deal out of it and didn't learn any lesson.

Manny Being Mindless

Great article by Peter Gammons (as usual), on Manny and the circus he constantly is the star of. In the past, before the blog and most recently in the blog, I've always defended Manny and his charades. But, there are a lot of new, surprising things Gammons writes that I didn't know.

The most shocking being that he's been unable to play mainly against big-time opposing pitchers, namely: "Joba Chamberlain (twice), Felix Hernandez (twice), Edinson Volquez, Justin Verlander." This is something I find seriously disturbing. I don't care that he wants some absurd contract and is selfish, because let's be honest you find that all over in sports. However, avoiding specific pitchers is simply unacceptable. How you can alienate your teammates and responsibilities is beyond me.

Manny has always been a phenomenal player and this has masked the off-field distractions very nicely. But, I don't know how the clubhouse is dealing with this. Something like this could easily cause a terrible rift on a team that is contending for another World Series championship. Chemistry is an x-factor that you always talk about with the best teams and always seems to be a problem with underachieving ones. The '04 Red Sox had this with Manny then, but I don't know if that can happen again with Manny now.

This should be a very interesting situation to keep an eye on down the stretch. Which shouldn't be difficult because it will be all over ESPN whether you like it or not.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Thoughts 7.27.08

  • I find it astonishing that the Bears and Devin Hester have reportedly agreed to a 4 year $40 Million contract extension. However the more I think about it, who else possesses better ability to change a game than Devin Hester? Good signing.
  • I really think Manny Ramirez might be mentally ill. But he could play for my team any day. How many players hit .315/35/120 year in and year out and enjoy playing as much as Manny. Some people are turned off by Ramirez odd behavior, but to me "Manny being Manny" brings a certain energy to the clubhouse that can't be duplicated.
  • It hurts me to say this, but you gotta hand it to the Phillies. They have a lot of fight in them. No lead is safe when you play the Phils.
  • The Dodgers made an interesting move in acquiring Casey Blake. I like it a lot, and I think Blake is a very underrated player. He's a solid veteran bat that should make the Dodgers a much better team.
  • Did the Orioles really lose 15 straight games?? That franchise is a disaster.
  • Is it just me, or did anyone else completely forget the WNBA even existed before last weeks brawl?
  • I think its safe to say that the arrival of David Beckham did nothing to promote American soccer. However, I do have very high hopes for the US in the 2010 World Cup. I could easily see us making it out of group play. Unless of course they put us in the "group of death" agian.
  • I'm excited for fantasy football, but I having a real tough time making my rankings. It seems like there is a major drop-off at every position after the first tier. Especially at QB and RB. On top of that, there are so many players (Steven Jackson, Larry Johnson, Derek Anderson) that could be big time boom or bust. It should be interesting.
  • The Mets are absolutely on fire, and playing like a team. If Santana builds off of todays complete game dominance, and Pelfrey and Delgado continue to tear up the league, watch out. The Phillies really scare me though.

What is Brett Favre worth?

According to earlier reports from the Tampa Tribune and Rotoworld:

"it is believed" that the Packers and Bucs were close to agreeing on compensation in a trade that would've sent Brett Favre to Tampa Bay on Saturday. The Tribune suggests that renewed talks Sunday may have been why Favre and Green Bay are at a standstill. In addition, beat reporter Roy Cummings says "it is believed" that the Jets are not bidding for Favre's services. The Packers are thought to be holding out for a conditional draft pick that could escalate to a first-rounder if Favre plays a certain amount of games.

If these reports are in fact true, I find it completely ridiculous that the Packers would have such a high asking price. Yes, I understand everything that Brett brings to the table, and I truly believe he is an excellent fit in Tampa Bay, but the Pack simply have no leverage in this case.

To me, its pretty clear that the Packers do not want to bring Favre back, based on the resounding support of Aaron Rodgers within the organization. And they have every right to feel that way. Rodgers is a very promising player, and its time to move on. However, the fact that Favre is not likely to be the Packers QB to start the season lowers his value significantly. There is also the chance that Favre never reports to camp, or decides to re-retire. This is a real concern to many teams, which should also lower his value. They are being stubborn in not granting his release, and they need to save face and avoid all-out media mayhem by trading him. Preferably out of the conference, but at least out of the division.

So what is Favre worth? I definitely think its fair to ask for a conditional pick that could escalate, but it should be a 4th/5th rounder that could escalate to at most a 2nd rounder if he meets certain performance bonuses. The packers could also seek a player, such as disgruntled QB Chris Simms.

The longer this whole saga drags on, the more of a distraction this creates for the Packers. They should cut there losses and trade Favre to the highest bidder. This would gave a huge vote of confidence to Aaron Rodgers, and get rid of the media circus that surrounds Packers camp.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Team Building Activity

I've been reading some about who the best players in baseball are to build a team around. Neyer and Sports Illustrated both have pieces and here's my take on the topic based on building your franchise for the next 5 years starting next year:

1. Felix Hernandez - The talent is ridiculous and he is easily the top pitcher here. Only 21. Dominant already and only improving.
2. Hanley Ramirez - He's all-around terrific and very young (a theme of most of the list).
3. David Wright - There isn't much he doesn't do well and he's a great face for your franchise.
4. Grady Sizemore - He's a catalyst and a superstar just entering his prime.
5. Alex Rodriguez - If anybody can produce well into his 30s A-Rod is the guy.
6. Chase Utley - Playing 2B and being as consistent and productive as he is, is rare enough to get him in the top 10.
7a-b. Tim Lincecum/Cole Hamels - Can't go wrong with either of these aces, especially at their ages. Lincecum is A to Hamels B, only because of Hamels injured past.
9. Evan Longoria - Undeniable talent already produced great numbers a rookie.
10. Josh Hamilton - Now that he has his life together, everything is falling into place for him.
11. Ryan Braun - His defense keeps him from moving any higher, but the power is incredible.
12. Joe Mauer - His only problem is whether or not he can stay a catcher for all of that time.

Notable Omissions: Pujols (is he really 28?), Miguel Cabrera (he might eat himself out of the league), Santana (diminished stuff hurts him), Anybody Else (it's my list, screw everybody else)

Mind Dump

I've got too many things to say, but nothing worth it's own post, so here's all of it:
  • All kinds of Manny drama after his time off and rumors that Boston is done with him. They've always known he's selfish and brainless, but he's one of the best hitters in the game so they looked the other way. It's tough to get on your high horse now after years of excuses for him. If I'm an opposing GM, I try to steal him now and ride everything he's got left because he still mashes.

  • It's great to see the Phillies so active this year. I like the Blanton trade because he fills a big need and they don't have any worthwhile prospects, so who cares what they give up? They're losing out a lot, recently on Casey Blake, because of this lack of quality, but i can see them making atleast one more move before it's over.

  • I hate to see the Yankees making good deals, because I hate the yankees. But you've got to give it to them here. Probably a post on vets for prospects deals coming soon.

  • Did you see the pimp job Ryan Braun gave a few nights ago? The ball only cleared by 10 feet and it was a clutch homer but come on, just run around the bases and act like you've done it before.

  • Chase Utley is a disaster right now, hopefully he rights the ship soon. He's obviously pressing and he's bound to come out of it but it's painful to watch right now.

  • Olympics are coming up. I don't care though.

  • This Brett Favre situation is getting ridiculous. Why can't he ride off into the sunset and be done with it? Plus, he's ruining what would be a great Aaron Rogers season, i think we're all going to see the guy can really play.

  • I'm on the fence about Jerry Manuel. I just can't figure him out.

  • I won't be surprised if the Eagles contend for the Super Bowl or if they lose 9 games and the team is in complete disarray.

  • Anybody else think the Carter 3 was good but could definitely be better?

  • Brett Myers might just need a fresh start. He's tired of starting despite the good of the team, so it might be time to part ways. Maybe we can find another team with a disgruntled starter and trade trash.

  • MLB would definitely benefit from Mark Cuban. It's a shame that nobody running things has figured that out yet. Look what he's done with the Mavs. Why wouldn't that be good for baseball?

  • Madden 09 looks really good, as opposed to the downers we've gotten in recent years. The people need Madden to be great. Right now, NBA 2k and NHL0- are the best sports games out.

  • World Series prediction? -- Angels over Brewers in 6. Why? Because of quality starters and more importantly, anything could happen so why not take a shot at looking smart?

  • More guessing -- Johan wins a Cy Young. Sabathia gets screwed out of one.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Josh Hamilton: The Movie

You can't watch a Rangers game without hearing about The Josh Hamilton Story and how it's going to be made into a movie. I read a few blogs talking online about who can play the role and everyone is missing the best choice. Cole Hauser is the spitting image of Josh Hamilton, actually I think they might be brothers. He's a decent actor, but not too big time that he'd turn down the role. So, somebody make it happen!
Random Movie Thoughts: Batman was incredible. If you haven't seen it, stop reading, go to the movies right away. The Joker is worth the price of admission all by himself.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Second Half Predictions

As a Mets fan, the 2007 season was a painful reminder that nothing is certain until all 162 games have been played. One thing is certain however. The first half of the 2008 season was full of surprises. So far we’ve seen the emergence of potential superstars Evan Longoria, Ryan Ludwick, Edinson Volquez, Ervin Santana, and most notably Josh Hamilton. The Tampa Bay Rays are finally a legitimate contender, Chipper Jones has flirted with .400, and Rich Harden and C.C. Sabbathia both found new homes in the national league. With the trade deadline approaching, and tight races in nearly every division, the second half of the season should be exciting. With roughly 100 games in the books, there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played. Here’s how I see it playing out.

Final Standings

National League

East: Mets
No doubt I’m being biased here, but the resurgence of Carlos Delgado, and a potential emerging ace in Mike Pelfrey make it justifiable. Jose Reyes is the key to the rest of the season.

Central: Cubs
Undoubtedly the best team in the national league, the Cubs are loaded with talent and primed to make a World Series run. The acquisition of Rich Harden puts the Cubs over the top, unless his arm falls off.

West: D’Backs
Easily the worst division in baseball, this is still up in the air. The entire division is loaded with young talent, but nobody wants to step up and take it. The D’backs are by far the best team in the division, but the Dodgers are very dangerous. And don't sleep on the Rockies

Wild Card: Phillies
They will be in a tight race with Milwaukee, and the Mets for the East. However, their lineup is dynamite, and once Chase Utley returns to form watch out. If only they had better starting pitching

American League

East: Boston
The defending champs are an offensive juggernaut, and have the best team batting average in all of baseball (.280) . With Big Papi coming back, I see the Red Sox running away with the division.

Central: Minnesota
The Twins have been quite a surprise after parting ways with Johan Santana. Mark my words, Fransisco Liriano will return to the majors soon and dominate once again

West: Angels
This one isn’t even close. Billy Beane is half the reason for that.

Wild Card: Rays
Everyone loves an underdog, and the Rays are the feel good team of the year. But theres more to this story than the Rays being an underdog. They are a solid team, composed of players that really care about winning. Thats a rarity in todays game. The Rays strength is pitching, and their starters need to maintain their current pace, considering that Akinorni Iwamura leads the team with a .277 average.

World Series: Boston over Chicago in 6
It hurts me to write this, because I’d rather make a bolder prediction. But its tough to bet against them


Albert Pujols

Runner up: Jose Reyes, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Brad Lidge


Josh Hamilton

Runner up: Fransisco Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler, Grady Siezmore

NL Cy Young

Tim Lincecum

Runner up: Edinson Volquez, Jake Peavy

AL Cy Young


Runner up: Cliff Lee, Justin Duchsherer, Roy Halladay

Random Thoughts:

-The Marlins will fade
-Chipper Jones battles through injuries and slumps, but still finishes at a respectable .355
-Mark Texiera stays put
-Josh Hamilton ends the season around .320/35/165
-David Price gets the call in September and is lights out
-The trade deadline will pass without any major blockbusters
-What are the A’s doing?
-I'd be perfectly happy if I never heard the words "Bonds" or "Clemens" ever again

Again these are just predictions, and the vast majority of them are based on gut feelings. I can’t wait to look back on these and laugh at myself. All I can really hope is that my prediction in the NL East is correct, otherwise I may have to go into hiding for a while.

Midsummer Classic Mash-Up

I think the entire format of the all-star game should be changed to increase the competition between the players. My idea would be to have the game between baseball's Next Generation (guys in atmost their third (maybe fourth) year of service time) versus the Veterans (everybody else). I think this would work because it is one of the few true rivalries that still exists in today's sports world. No matter how good an athlete you are there is always that fear of what's next and this could really change the intensity of the game. The Game would lose the conference vs. conference aspect but with interleague play that doesn't mean nearly as much anymore. We're not going to see anybody derailing the catcher like Pete Rose back when the game really was important to the players. This will never happen because baseball is all about its traditions, but it's fun to think about. Just for fun, here's what this years rosters could have looked like, i realize that some of these guys may not be all-star quality but it's just an idea:

Next Generation:

C: Geovany Soto, Russel Martin, Brian McCann, Dioner Navarro

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Connor Jackson

2B: Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Dan Uggla

3B: Evan Longoria, Edwin Encarcion, Kevin Kouzmanoff

SS: Hanley Ramirez, J.J. Hardy

OF: Josh Hamilton, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Carlos Quentin, Nate McLouth

SP: Tim Lincecum

P: Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, Edinson Volquez, Joe Saunders, John Danks, Jonathon Papelbon, Joakim Soria, James Shields, Felix Hernandez


C: Joe Mauer, A.J. Pierzynski, Jason Varitek

1B: Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols, Kevin Youkilis, Justin Morneau

2B: Chase Utley, Brian Roberts, Brandon Phillips

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Guillen, David Wright

SS: Derek Jeter, Michael Young, Jose Reyes,

OF: Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Grady Sizemore, Matt Holliday, Pat Burrell

SP: Roy Halladay

P: C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb, Ervin Santana, Ben Sheets, Mariano Rivera, Fransisco Rodriguez, Ryan Dempster, Brad Lidge

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Opening Day...More Than Half Way Through the Season

Welcome to Cheap Seats. This is the first post to start off the blog about, whatever we feel like writing about, although mostly sports. If anyone can write anything they want about sports, well then, we should fit right in. Theres a good chance that no one ever reads it, but that's beside the point. Having a blog will probably result in nothing more than wasted words and constant harrassment from friends, but it should be fun along the way.

Who knows whether or not there will be daily, weekly, or monthly posts, but hopefully anyone who reads will stick around for a little while and enjoy the grumbling, rambling, mumbling, and arguing that will go on. This is two friends, writing about sports for the hell of it and it will probably be much more fun for us than anyone else. However, if you like sports with a little (attempted) humor, then this is a great place to waste some time.
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