Last night Craig Biggio, with a little help from Byung-Hyun Kim, broke Don Baylor's modern record for career HBP. As Biggio trotted to first base, he motioned to the dugout to save the ball for him. Cooperstown reported is asking for his elbow guard. Another achievement in what has been a great career.
Being a human target for 17 years is not what makes Biggio's career so great. At his current rate, Biggio only needs about 250 more games for 3,000 hits. That is very early 2007, like the first 10 games. He has over 1,000 RBI. His 1,600 runs scored is good for 28th all-time, 1 behind Joe Morgan. He's been an All-Star 7 times, won 4 Gold Gloves, and 5 Silver Sluggers.
To me, the great thing about Biggio has nothing to do with stats. He started his career at catcher. In 1992 he moved to second base and never went back. That's probably for the better, since there was much less tear on the knees. For a more than a decade Craig Biggio was the Astros' second baseman. Then in 2003 the Astros signed Jeff Kent. To me, at this point Biggio could have had a problem with the signing and I would have backed him. A decade as a team's second baseman should bring with it plenty of job security. Instead, Biggio quietly moved to centerfield to let Kent play second. When the Astros acquired Carlos Beltran down the stretch last year, Biggio once again moved.
In each of these cases, Biggio put his ego aside and did what had to be done to help the team. Kent was a better defensive second baseman, and Beltran a better center fielder. Biggio acknowledged this and just found another place to play. His loyalty is amazing as well. He's been on the Astros (1988) since before my sister was born (1989). I was 2 when he broke through. He's taken a paycut since 2003. In 2004 he made about 1/3 what he did the previous season. He and Bagwell have been part of the Killer B's for years while the third member has changed from David Bell to Lance Berkman to Carlos Beltran briefly then back to Berkman. I'm sure the fans of the Astros have found this consistency reassuring in leaner times. It's always nice to have a familiar face around when things get bumpy.
My only hesitation about this new HBP record is that it will be the focus of Biggio's illustrious career, and not a side note. When all is said and done, Biggio's accomplishments will far outshine his tendency to get plunked.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Last night Craig Biggio, with a little help from Byung-Hyun Kim, broke Don Baylor's modern record for career HBP. As Biggio trotted to first base, he motioned to the dugout to save the ball for him. Cooperstown reported is asking for his elbow guard. Another achievement in what has been a great career.
Eric Milton has given up 27 HR in 78.2 IP. This comes out to 0.344 HR/IP. To tie Bert Blyleven's single season mark of 50 HR allowed, Milton would have to continue at his current pace for 66.2 more innings. It's probably safe to assume that this will slow down a bit, but there is a very real possibility of this dubious distinction being passed to Milton. Now the discussion part:
Assume Milton gives up 50+ HR. With critics no longer able to use the argument of "most HR allowed in a single season" against Bert Blyleven, would his chances for the Hall of Fame increase? Would pro-Bert factions at least get more boisterous? Should Bert not get in at all, most HR in a season or not?Email me with your thoughts to be posted next week.
Posted by Andrew at 12:39 AM
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
For those of you who may not have noticed, Rafael Palmeiro is this close to 3,000 hits for his career. I don't blame you. No one is really covering this. I checked with the Orioles' website, no tracker. No tracker at MLB.com or ESPN.com either, although at the moment you'd be hard pressed to find any non-NBA draft related coverage. To rectify this tracker-lack I've added one to the sidebar. I think this a sad indictment of the game as it stands today.
No longer are people covering players who have produced year-in year-out. Now the hot topics are more passing and flippant. "Steinbrenner Pissed" or "Beer Tosser a Jackass" or "Boo-hoo, Dontrelle didn't win his 13th game" are all headlines on the front page of ESPN's MLB section. No where does it mention that last night Palmeiro had an all-together statistically significant game. Last night Palmeiro went 1-4 with his one hit being a 2 run home run. That may not seem like much, but this is a case of what that one hit did for the record books. The home run was his 563rd of his career, tying him with Reggie Jackson for 9th all-time. The 2 RBI from the home run gave him 1,813 for his career, passing Frank Robinson for 15th all-time. The
link to the game recap is buried in the "Must Read" part about how you have to read about Steinbrenner's latest load of bull. You think it would have made the headlines for no other reason that it involved the Yankees.
With 10 more hits, Palmeiro will have 3,000 for his career. When that happens, he'll join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray as the only players in both the 500 Home Run Club and the 3,000 Hit Club. When you look at the names I've mentioned through this post like Jackson, Mays, and Murray, it becomes even more apparent the lack of recognition Palmeiro has received for his efforts. Since 1988, his first season as an every day player, to the beginning of this season Palmeiro has averaged 31 HR/year, 167 hits/year, and 101 RBI/year. Add to that his 68 hits with 12 HR and 38 RBI this year and you've got your self a Hall Of Famer. It's only too bad he's not receiving HOF recognition.
Posted by Andrew at 12:21 PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The NBA draft is coming up tonight. I am interested for two and only two reasons - who are the Pacers going to get and the new age limits.
The Pacers have Jamaal Tinsley, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal, and Ron Artest as the core of their team. This is not shabby at all. Even as much as I hate Artest, if he keeps it under control he is a excellent defender. Add Jeff Foster to that group as the 6th man and you've got quite the team. So what do the Pacers need? In my estimation, they need a legitmate center
or maybe a shooter. I think a big man is more important.
The Pacers have O'Neal at center sometimes and Jeff Foster there at other times. Neither of these fit the role particularly well. Jermaine is better suited for a power forward role. Jeff Foster is not a starter. Or he shouldn't be anyway. Don't get me wrong, Jeff is a perfecty fine player and I like him on the team, but he is just not starting material. Besides, his style of play can be a big spark when used off the bench. Foster is a the guy who does the little things to get a team motivated. He'll take a charge or fight extra hard for an offensive rebound. Those kinds of things can really get a team motivated.
I don't think Reggie's retirement is as big a deal as some people see it to be. For the last few seasons, latest playoff run excluded, Reggie was not the focus of the offense like years past. Things were/are flowing through Jermaine O'Neal. Now having said that, getting a shooter who could be capable of 15 ppg could really augment Jermaine's output. I just don't see is as more important as a legitmate center who would then allow O'Neal to play the type of game of a power forward, which seems to suit him better.
Who do the "experts" predict the Pacers will pick? The two big names popping up everywhere are Rashad McCants and Francisco Garcia. I like Garcia better than McCants. Getting Rashad and Ron together may have the Pacers ending up competitng for the WWF Tag Team Title instead of the one the NBA gives out, you know - the real one. I must admit, the first time I saw Garcia was when he absolutely dismantled my beloved Hoosiers a few years ago, as a freshman. It was one of those games where you couldn't really be mad at him because he was doing everything so well.
With a lack of big men who could actually be evaluated, Garcia may be the best bet for the Pacers. Most of the centers who could be taken at #17 are from overseas, and I'm not a fan of drafting a guy because he's destroying the guys who moved to Europe because they couldn't make it in the NBA. (At first I had "destroying Serbians" and thought "Oh my, that's in incredibly bad taste" and changed it to "destroying Croats" but then thought better of
that too. But for some reason, I'm still telling you)
If nothing else, Garcia is a riot in the post-game interviews. He has to have the lowest height-to-voice pitch ratio of any basketball player ever. Usually you get guys that are gigantic with low-pitched voices, but not Garcia. Never in my life have I ever heard someone that tall with a voice that high. I'd mention the Pacers should hold off on drafting a guy who's testicles haven't decended yet, but he's 6'7", so that joke's out the window.
The New Age Limit
This year marks the last year for high schoolers in the draft. Next year, players must have been a year removed from their class' graduation to declare. I have a small beef with this, but for the most part I'm in agreement.
The new age rule only applies to American players. If age limits are in place, they should also apply to foreign players. The argument for protecting roster spots for veterans is completely negated by still allowing young Europeans into the draft. Other than this small bit, I'm in agreement with the new guidelines.
Many people point to baseball and hockey as examples of sports with young drafts. My position is that these sports have well developed minor league systems. Players are not immediately subjected to competition on the highest level. The minors serve as a safety net for young players. Players are weaned into successively tougher competition until they are ready. With the NBA, the approach is more like throwing your little brother into the middle of the pool to teach him to swim. Only instead of waiting to make sure he actually picks up on it, you go mow the lawn and forget about him. The high washout rate of NBA teens is a direct consequence of this "sink-or-swim" approach to the league.
There will always be talented players like LeBron James or Amare Stoudemire who can contribute directly out of high school. There are still others like Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal who have become dominate players after skipping college, but they were not immediately great and had to develop on the court. Writers bemoan the lack of future LeBron's for the future drafts. I have to say that waiting an extra year is hardly the apocalypse people are making it out to be. If anything, those players will be just that much better when they do make it. Carmelo Anthony went to college for one year. His path would be similar to those of future would-be draftees. Everything seems to be working out for 'Melo just fine.
Just One More Thing
Although I'm not too vested, I am curious to see where Bracey Wright ends up. My expert analysis - very late second round. He's shown he can't play on the road and he had difficulty rebounding from shooting slumps. Sorry for the basketball pun, it was only semi-intentional. I didn't want to use it, but it really is the best word for the sentence. I wish him the best, but I still feel he shouldn't have jumped.
Posted by Andrew at 5:08 PM
Friday, June 24, 2005
I'm going to start out my congratulating the Spurs on their NBA Championship. I was rooting for them the whole way. I like Tim Duncan. I have since he was at Wake Forest. That and I hate the Pistons. In the last two years they've knocked the Pacers from the playoffs. Until the day I die, I will detest Tayshaun Prince with every fiber of my being, that bastard. Him and Ron Artest. Ron took a great team with a chance to win and ruined everything. I will always blame him for taking Reggie's last chance at a championship away from him. Those two could lead the Pacers to 5 championships in a row and I would still hate them. Just a few thoughts about the state of the game:
- Can you still travel? Is traveling even an offense anymore? These guys look more like Aussie Rules players than basketball players. (For those who don't know, in Aussie Rules you only have to bounce the ball once every 15 meters.)
- Is there such a thing as a clean block? The tiniest bit of contact and the whistle is blown. For that matter, I think once the ball is out of your hands on a shot, you shouldn't be able to get fouled so easily. None of this fouled coming down stuff. If someone hits your arm and the ball is half way there, but you're still in the air, too damn bad. It doesn't really affect the shot anymore, does it? Now if someone knocks you into the third row, sure, but not any of this light contact crap.
- Any baseball fans who hate umpires should watch some NBA and then thank the baseball gods.
- I'm starting to get really sick of basketball, which I don't think I'd ever say. I was a kid from Indiana with hoop dreams (well, until I moved to Iowa, quit playing, grew 2 feet and lost my touch, and then figured out I wasn't any good anymore) who loved the game, but watching the NBA is slowly draining the life from me. I watched 2 games this year. Reggie's last game and Game 7.
- It's good to see Antonio McDyess again. Even though he lost, it's good to see him back from the basketball grave. My hatred for the Pistons collectively is beaten out by how much I like it when a guy who finally finds a place to be.
- Hubie Brown is a riot. I love that guy. Stuart Scott, however, can kiss my ass. No hugs or handpounds for you.
Speaking of Stuart Scott, have you noticed how much SC sucks now? I can name on 1 hand the people I like: Fred Hickman, Scott Van Pelt, John Andersen, and that other younger black guy that's not Stuart Scott. Sorry about the description, but I don't know his name. But even last night I heard Fred utter "Get-r-done" and I changed the channel. There are a couple of things that SC can do to get back on top. Most of these are addition by subtraction.
- Fire Linda Cohn. I cannot stand to watch when she's on, which seems like all the time. I'm all for women in sports and sports casting, but they should at least be competent.
- Get rid of Stuart Scott too, or at least confine him. He's like a weed, spreading everywhere and messing up my yard. I think "Teammates" is a great show, but I can hardly watch with him hosting. He needs to get a talk show on a different network so I can keep track of him and know how to avoid him. What's really sad is I remember when he was my favorite. A "boo-yah" here and there never hurt anyone, but he's lost control. He is(was?) a perfectly compentent anchor, but he's lost his touch.
- Get rid of "The Ultimate Highlight" I hate that thing. If you are going to keep it, at least get rid of the shot of the spinners every 5 seconds.
- Make the Budwieser Hot Seat actually a hot seat. I want to see people squirming. No more softball questions. Ask them a tough, straight-forward question and don't let the wriggle out of it.
- Tone it down with the graphics. I feel like having a seizure every time I watch. To many big flashes of logos and color.
- Let Dan Patrick retire or get him a new partner. Each time I see him he looks like a little bit more of him has died inside.
- Stop sensationalizing things. One of the first things I think of anytime anything remotely bad happens the first thing I think is "Oh crap. I'm gonna have to hear about this for a week now."
- I'm so sick of poker and pool. Would a little soccer kill anyone? Or maybe work out a deal with Minor League Baseball. Side Note: Does anyone else think Karen Coor looks like a man?Better yet - get a Fox Sports World type thing going. It doesn't have to be much, just a couple of hours a week. Show things like Formula 1, European Soccer, Aussie Rules Football, Rugby, stuff people in America don't usually get to see.
- Do not, under any circumstances, let Berman do the Home Run Derby. Hey, jackass, they're supposed to be hitting them that far. It's not really a surprise, so you can go ahead and tone it down a bit.
- Never show "Tilt", 3, Hu$tle, Junction Boys, or any of those programs again. And if you must make new ones, make sure it doesn't comprise 75% of your schedule for the week after it premiers.
Real Madrid is playing CD Guadalajara (more popularly known as Chivas - the real Chivas, not the sorry excuse for a team that is Chivas USA) in Chicago on July 16th. I am hoping to go, and the plans seem to be falling into place. Scheduled to attend are David Beckham, Figo, Ronaldo, Zidane, Michael Owen, and Raul. Only thing is you get saddled with Fire tickets too, and I can't really make it to those.
After that, the Fire play AC Milan in Chicago on the 27th. I would also like to attend that game, but it would be 2 trips to Chicago (7 hrs each way) in under 2 weeks. I don't know if I want to do that. Gas plus tickets will cost a lot, plus that's a lot of driving. Also, I don't know if I can still get tickets. It sounds like they may already be out. Who knows?
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Here are the first 7 top heaviest pitching matchups
1) Sabathia vs. Carlos Silva on 5/31/05 - 542 lbs.
2) Sabathia vs. David Wells on 6/20/05 - 538 lbs.
3) Sabathia vs. Joe Kennedy on 6/15/05 - 535 lbs. Sensing a pattern yet?
4) Sabathia vs. Brett Tomko on 6/10/05 - 518 lbs.
5) Sabathia vs. Roy Halladay on 5/15/05 - 515 lbs.
6) Sabathia vs. Mark Buehrle on 6/5/05 - 510 lbs.
7) Brad Penny vs. Carlos Zambrano on 5/31/05 - 505 lbs.
This means Sabathia's last starts have been #'s 1, 6, 4, 3, and 2. Also, look at May 31st. Between 4 guys there was over 1/2 ton starting pitching. I'm working on finding every matchup greater than 500 lbs, but this isn't easy, I have to sort through 5,041 matchups. I do have my friend Excel to help though, so it's not as bad as it sounds.
I've finished my research, and I've found 11 more occurences of pitchers weight a combined 500+.
Here is the entire list
|C.C. Sabathia||Carlos Silva||542|
|C.C. Sabathia||David Wells||538|
|C.C. Sabathia||Joe Kennedy||535|
|C.C. Sabathia||Brett Tomko||517|
|C.C. Sabathia||Roy Halladay||515|
|C.C. Sabathia||Mark Buehrle||510|
|Carlos Zambrano||Brad Penny||505|
|Aaron Harang||Jamey Wright||505|
|Aaron Harang||Roger Clemens||505|
|Daniel Cabrera||Freddy Garcia||501|
|Aaron Harang||AJ Burnett||500|
|Aaron Harang||Chris Carpenter||500|
|Runelyvs Hernandez||Freddy Garcia||500|
|Carlos Zambrano||Jason Jennings||500|
|Carlos Zambrano||Jose Contreras||500|
|Aaron Harang||Kevin Millwood||500|
|Carlos Zambrano||Livan Hernandez||500|
|Bartolo Colon||Runelyves Hernandez||500|
Also, C.C. Sabathia is expected to start against Aaron Harang on Sunday. If this happens, a new record of 560 pounds would be established.
Posted by Andrew at 4:31 PM
Right now I'm working on determining the biggest starting pitching matchups this season, by weight that is. I was prompted to look this up when I noticed that David Wells and C.C. Sabathia started against each other on Sunday. So far, I've whittled down all of the pitchers who have started at least 1 game and weigh at least 220 pounds. Updates to follow.
Posted by Andrew at 12:05 AM
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
As keeper of the Best Baseball Names I am endowed with certain privlidges, like an automatic induction into the group (hey - it's my site. Don't like it then go start your own). This man's name is so great, I won't even subject him to the insult of a vote. May I introduce to you the first member of the Best Baseball Names Class of '05, Cletus Elwood "Boots" Poffenberger. He played a mere 57 games in the majors over three years with the Detroit Tigers and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Probably to his misfortune, he is probably best remembered as one of the 231 poor schlubs who fell for the hidden ball trick. He was the victim of Frank Crosetti on 7/16/1937. Poffenberger is a 3-tool name guy. It's like being a 5-tool player. He's got a great real name, a great nickname, and a great last name.
Continue to send in your nominations for the Class of '05.
Posted by Andrew at 12:07 AM
Monday, June 20, 2005
So, I'm starting to get birthday cards. Tomorrow is technically my birthday, but since Dad will be out of town, I had to open everything today. I know, poor me. The question is "what to do with it?" My first instict is to put it in the bank. But since the advent of the Internet in my room, I've found many wonderful things to purchase. Dare I buy the first 3 seasons of 24? I'm just starting to get unlazy. I played tennis Saturday. (Side note: On my first go, I whooped my brother, who's been playing for months. He may only be 12, but I had to use a racquetball racquet, so I think we were evenly handicapped) I even got my own racquet today, so I'm promising not to be lazy. If I have 72 hours of Jack Bauer to watch (not to mention Elisha Cuthbert), will I ever leave the house? It's so tempting, but I should know better. I'll probably end up with it anyway, because Jack Bauer is freakin' amazing.
Posted by Andrew at 11:34 PM
Yesterday was Father's Day, in case you didn't notice. For Dad, we got him tickets to the Twins game. To make it early enough to get our Harmon Killebrew statuettes, we had to leave our house by 8:30. Of course, my brother didn't go to the bathroom or eat before we left, so we had to stop in Blue Earth at McDonald's. Then we had to stop again at the exit off of I-35 where you get off to go to St. Olaf's because my brother can't hold a small pop for 2 freakin' hours.
We almost didn't get a figurine because of that kid. The security guard gave us the head's up that this gate was gone, but if you go down to the next one that they still had some. We went over to the next gate and they had boxes full. They are pretty sweet. Mine is sitting on my desk at work right now.
The pregame was awesome. They had the Mascot Softball Game going on. Early on in the game, the Culver's Ice Cream cone tried to go home on a single. As he rounded third, TC got the ball and sprinted towards the plate. TC dove to protect the plate. The two met in a flurry of fur and cone. TC pulled a reverse Erstad and left the cone flat on his back. A feeling of Deja Vu would washover me not two hours later.
The game itself got off to a really good start. Johan stuck out 3 of the first six hitters he faced. He didn't allow a hit until the third. The defense, though a bit out of the norm, was a great help. Rivas made is first career start at shortstop, while Cuddyer played second base and the hot-hitting rookie Glenn "Gerald" Williams started at third. Joe Mauer got the game off since it was a day game after a night game. Lew started in right and LeCroy was the DH. He got some help from Rivas, of all people, to end the second inning. Rivas made a great diving play up the middle to get Miguel Ojeda. In the 3rd, Geoff Blum hit a rocket off of the top of the baggie, but Lew Ford played it perfectly and threw a laser back to Cuddyer to hold Blum to a single. The next batter would ground into a double play. In the 4th, Shannon Stewart preserved the 0-0 tie with a throw to Redmond that beat Phil Nevin and brought the crowd to its feet. That deja vu I mentioned eariler? Watch the video and see Redmond put his shoulder into Nevin, not the other way around. From our seats, Shannon picked up the ball pretty much right in front of me, so I had a great view of the whole thing.
If only the Twins could hit. When it was announced Jake Peavy would not be starting, and Darrell May would, I was torn. I was looking forward to seeing the Padres' ace all week, but I was lightened by the fact the Twins wouldn't have to try to hit off of the reigning NL ERA king. It really didn't matter much. Shannon got a single and stole 2nd in the first inning. The next hit would come in the 4th inning from "Gerald" Williams, who has hit safely in all 7 of his major league appearances. In the 5th, Matty LeCroy hit a home run over the baggie to give Johan a 1-0 lead. Dad kept saying up to this point that "1-0 might win this thing" and it looked like he was going to be right. The Twins would only get one more hit for the game when Lew doubled with 2 outs in the 9th. But alas, the Twins were already down 5-1 at that point and Torii struck out to end the game.
The 7th inning was something else. Johan walked the first two batters of the inning. The pitches were close, very close, to the strike zone, but were called balls. Johan was getting visibly frustrated with not getting the calls. After getting popout, he walked the next guy to load the bases. This whole time, I kept glancing at the bullpen, wondering if or when Gardenhire would get someone warming up. I understand having faith in Johan, but with the offense as weak as it has been, I would not be inclined to leave anyone in too long. The game was 1-1, and Johan wasn't getting the ball over the plate, at least according to Kevin Kelley. There's not really much of a reason to not use the best bullpen in baseball, is there? It's times likes these, where the offense is a little low, that the defensive side of the ball needs to step up and help carry the team. That may mean a few more innings than you'd like from the pen right now, but those will be repaid when someone gets a 7 run lead to work with and throws a complete game.
As for Johan he ended up giving up a double down the line that scored three, and I knew rally cap or not that this game was over. The Twins' punchless offense is only scoring 3.9 runs/game over the last ten games. They are 3-7 in that span. In the previous ten games, during which the team was 7-3, the Twins were scoring 5.5 runs/game. That run and a half decline in offense has been noticible. 11 games ago (June 8th), the Twins were 35-22 (0.614 WP) and thw White Sox were 40-19 (.677). Now the Twins are 38-29 (.576) while the White Sox are still at .677 (46-22). The gap is widening, from 4 games back to 7.5. The Twins went from a 7 game lead over 3rd place to 1 game. Since last Monday, both the Indians and Tigers have gained on the Sox (+2 and +1 game, respectively), while the Royals stayed steady at 21 back. Over the last week, only the Twins have lost ground. I don't know how you feel, but 3rd place is unacceptable for a team with the kind of quality players in Minnesota. We can only hope that the offense decides to wake up in conjunction with the Sox taking a collective crap.
I talked Dad into making a detour to Mystic Lake on the way home. I'd been legal to gamble in Minnesota for almost a year (I'll be 19 tomorrow. I went 363 days without gambling when I could have.) but had never taken advantage. I wanted to go, but several factors conspired against me, primarily my laziness and unwillingness to drive 3 hours. That and usually because I go to night games and just want to get home afterwards. I can't go before because I have to leave straight from work to make the game. This time we got out of the game around 4 and had plenty of time. My sister threw a mini-hissy fit, so I promised that I'd let her have whatever I made. She agreed, but little did she know I was only going to play $10. I just wanted to be able to say I'd done it. With my brother and sister along who are well underage, I had to go with just my grandma. There's nothing wrong with Gramie, but if I'm going to lose more than $10, I'm going with the guys and not in front of my grandmother. I headed to blackjack because I'm pretty decent at it. Anyway, I changed a $5 into chips. Then I realized that $5 was the minimum bet. So I lost that hand. I gave the dealer my other $5, promising myself that that was it. It was just me, the dealer, and another guy. The other two were really cool about my not knowing what was exactly going on. The dealer couldn't say "Changing 5" without laughing. He followed it up with "Here's five. All in." and laugh some more. I hit 21 on that hand, and was back to $10. I'd told myself I was either losing $10 or leaving once I got $15. I figure no good gambling story ends with "I left even for the day." I won the next hand with 16 after the dealer busted. The dealer actually helped me on that. I said "Oooh, I guess I'll have to stay" and he said "Good choice, I have a break indicator up" Which he did and I hadn't realized. With my $15 dollars in tow, I thanked the dealer for helping me out and was on my merry way. After that, I gave my sister the $5 I promised her. I think I'll head back soon with the guys.
Posted by Andrew at 3:14 PM
Sunday, June 19, 2005
For Father's Day, we're taking Dad up to the Metrodome. Dad, Mom, me, the 2 munchkins and my grandma are all going. We'll be in section136 behind the Twins' bullpen. If anyone else is in the area, stop by and say hi. I'll be in a Lew Ford jersey protecting my grandma, who is deathly afraid of the ball. As a kid, I had to play imaginary baseball with her. No bat, no ball, no bases. I thought it was great.
Posted by Andrew at 1:09 AM
Friday, June 17, 2005
Some tidbits from Today's news I've found interesting, funny, thought-provoking, or something I just wanted to yell about.
Air Force Finds No Trace of Lost Nuke
It's not that they can't find the nuke that intrigues me. The thing is safely in US Territorial Waters, so we really don't have to worry too much. Plus, if the USAF can't find it, how do you expect someone else too. The funny part, to me at least, is the estimates as to how deep it is.
In a July 2001 report, the Air Force declared the bomb "irretrievably lost" and estimated it lies buried beneath 8-to-40 feet of water and 5-to-15 feetSo, this thing could be anywhere from 13 feet deep to 55 feet deep. That's about a factor of four between the two measurements. That's like saying I'm anywhere from 4'0" to 16'0". You think they'd be able to narrow it down a little more.
of mud and sand.
Milan, Chelsea to play friendlies in United States this Summer
July 27th - Chicago Fire vs. AC Milan in Chicago. I want to go soooo badly. The only problem is that its the day before my brother's birthday and it's a Wednesday, so I'd have to take off work. I think this tour, along with the MLS All-Star game against Fulham (featuring US MNT member Brian McBride), shows the growing presence of US soccer in the world. Not 10 years ago, people laughed at the US. MLS was a joke. The National Team was rather subpar. Now, the WNT has won 2 of the 4 Women's World Cups, and place 3rd in the other two. The MNT went all the way to the round of 8 in 2002 World Cup, beating Portugal and Mexico along the way, before losing to the Germans 1-0. Americans are in the English Premier League, the French Ligue 1, the German Bundesliga, and the Dutch Eredivisie, which are all considered elite leagues. Top flight European teams like AC Milan, Chelsea, and Fulham will actually play against US teams, something the would have seen as beneath them not so long ago. The MLS may not be that good yet, but this tour shows some of the respect people are starting to show American soccer.
Tom Cruise Propoes to Katie Holmes
Shut up already! No one gives a shit!
Autopsy shows Terri Schiavo was in persistent vegetative state
Governor Bush wants prosecutor to examine Terri Schiavo's collapse
Probe Sought in Terri Schiavo 911 Call
Most of this section could seem cold and uncaring. Let it be known that I think that what happed to Terry Schiavo was a terrible thing I wish on no one and their family and it's worse that they were used for political reasons by the powers that be. Just a tragedy all the way around. Going down the list, let's have a look shall we?
First off, can you imagine if the autopsy came back that she wasn't a vegetable? It would have been like bad Mexican food at a fan manufacturers convention. It would have hit the fan at an unfathomable magnitude. Luckily, the doctors knew their stuff. Who would have imagined doctors would know something about a patient's medical condition? Not Dr. Frist, for one.
Further down in the first article, it explains how the parents still contend that Terry was not a vegetable. I understand that denial is a perfectly normal part of the grieving process, but 15 years worth? Someone needs to slap those two around a bit until they wake up and face the truth. I think towards the end the fight was less about Terry and more about just winning, which is both really sad. Sad in the sense a terrible thing had befallen their daughter and sad in the pathetic sense they lost sight of the important thing.
The next two article describe Florida efforts to probe why she suffered brain damage in the first place and why there was a gap between when her husband says he found her and when he called 911. At this point, I really would like to beat each and every politician over the head. I usually don't talk about politics because everyone pisses me off so badly, but this is the absolute last straw. This may sound harsh and uncaring but she's dead, end of story. There is nothing anyone can probe, investigate, or otherwise look into that could bring her back to life and reverse the damage done. If there was something to return her brain to normal functions, don't you think the would have done it 15 years ago? So just leave it. If the politicians really cared like they claim to, they'd let the family deal with the problem of losing a loved one in private. Instead, there is massive political posturing on both sides of the issue trying to appear to be the caring person. The bad thing is that there are idiots out there who are actually swayed by such things and those people are allowed to vote. A despicable display of the worst of the political system.
The Twins are in a bit of trouble up the middle. I would say the SS and 2B positions have been decimated by injury, but I can't use that word since the episode of "Monk" where he makes a big deal about it meaning "to reduce by 1/10th". What's the word I'm trying to think of that means what most people think decimated means? Anyway, take a look at the Twins infielders,
starting with the good
Doing Just Fine
Michael Cuddyer. With Glenn Williams available to play 3B, Cuddyer has been seeing time at 2B.
Juan Castro. He fouled a ball off of his ankle. In "isn't that weird" news, I fouled a ball off Castro's leg in MVP 2005 a day or two ago and he had to sit out a few games. I hope this isn't my fault.
Brent Abernathy. He injured his shoulder after bouncing off the wall in the bullpen. It's not nice to laugh at people's misfortunes, but I thought it was really funny the way the just bounced and fell. He was actually placed on the DL during the writing of this article. I first had him under
hurt, but then I navigated to a new page, and when I came back to the
roster, he was gone.
Nick Punto. He's been on the 15 Day DL since pulling his hamstring on June 2nd.
Luis Rivas. Rivas has been rehabbing in Rochester and could come off the DL today.
Jason Bartlett. Since the end of May, Bartlett has hit .310/.437/.402 (AVG/SLG/OBP) in Rochester after being sent down.
Who's going to play?
It's easy to easily take Punto out of the equation. There is no way his leg has healed yet. Same for Abernathy, they just put him on the DL. Gardy will probably sit Castro just for his ankle's sake. So we have Rodriguez and Cuddyer for sure right now. With Abernathy's placement on the DL, the Twins have an open roster spot for Rivas or Bartlett. Safe money is on Rivas, they've all but called him up. The bigger question is who is going to actually be put on the field.
The Padres are starting 3 righthanders in the upcoming 3 game series. Rodriguez and Williams are both switch hitters. Rodriguez has yet to get a hit off of a left hander this year, but is hitting .394/.485/.429 against righties in 33 AB. Williams is 2/7 career lifetime against righties. Look for Cuddyer to stay at third, with Rodriguez and Rivas in the lineups. All of Rivas' AB this year have come as the second baseman. In fact, Rivas has only played 4 innings of his career total of 4,555 at shortstop, a mere 0.088% of the time. In contrast, Rodriguez has seen 22 innings at short out of only 98 career innings, a 22.45% clip. In about 1/50th the career playing time, Rodriguez has seen 5 times as much action at short as Rivas. So it seems pretty clear that around the horn will be Cuddyer, Rodriguez, Rivas, and Morneau.
There are still two questions to be seen: how will Rivas preform after losing his job to Punto then going on the DL and how will the fans received him? If Rivas is out to prove people wrong, he may surprise us all. I know spite is one of the biggest (read: one of the only) motivators for me to do something. I personally love proving people wrong. As for the fans, I know there are many out there who hope that the good ship Rivas would set sail for another port. I am usually one of those people, but I think here that injury creates a necessary evil. We really don't have much choice. I think people will be quick to judge. The first miscue and people will jump all over him. I think this is wrong, but people will still do it. I say give him is fair shake. But, as usual, only time will tell.
Posted by Andrew at 12:40 PM
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Here is a quick rundown of some baseball topics for your reading pleasure.
Twins lose to Giants
Oh, where to start. Well, I guess with the starter. Kyle Lohse pulled a Radke and gave up 4 in the first, and then only 1 more through the next 6. The Twins were able to scrap back 4, but this would not be enough. The next few observations are not as solid as they could be. I didn't watch the whole game. I ran for awhile last night (about 2 miles. Well I ran about 1 3/4, and then being clumsy as I am I mis-stepped and tweaked my ankle and ended up walking the last few blocks home.) Then I had to take the subsequent shower, and then I rode my bike to DQ for dinner.
The offense looked inefficient for what I saw. I don't remember the inning, but the Twins got 2 walks an nobody past 1st base. How, you ask? Walk, Double Play, Walk, Groundout. Even with all of this, the Twins were only down by 1 entering the 8th, by no means an impossible margin to surmount. Then JC Romero gave up 3 consecutive extra base hits (double, double, home run to Vizquel) and the Twins were down 8-4, the final score. To JC's credit, he didn't let any inherited runners score. He didn't inherit any either, but lets not dwell on semantics.
The Twins 1-4 hitters (Stewart, Ford, Mauer, Hunter) went 6-16 with RBI for Ford, Mauer and 2 for Hunter and a run scored each. The 5-9 hitters (Jones, Morneau, Cuddyer, Williams, Castro and pinch hitter Michael Ryan) went 2-17 with 2 walks, 0 RBI or runs scored. Morneau, still in this month long funk where he is 12-81 (.148), went 0-4. To me, Morneau looks like is butt is going away from the plate when he swings. Is this just me, or does someone else see this?
Scioscia v. Robinson
I'm a little late with this, I know, but have you come to expect any less from me? The way I see it, I'd be doing you a disservice if I actually surprised you with timely insights. That'd just be to big a shock to the system, and I won't subject you to that.
Everyone cheats in baseball. Thomas Boswell said "cheating is baseball's oldest profession. No other game is so rich in skullduggery, so suited to it or so proud of it." There was Gaylord Perry's "hard slider" and Phil Niekro's emory board. There is a sense of doing what you can get away with, almost a "it ain't cheating if you don't get caught" mentality. This time someone was just called out on it.
Scioscia knew Donnelly had pine tar. Robinson knew too, and it's his job to stand up for his team. Was it a little petty? Sure, but Donnelly was still cheating. Scioscia looks like an ass for searching the Nationals' pitcher next half-inning. That was just a cheap shot. I'd be more upset by that than the shouting match, although I don't know what was said, but I do have a good idea.
I'll be at the Twins game on Sunday. Johan is taking the mound against Padre's ace Jake Peavy. I'm excited to get to see both of them pitch.
Turn off your speakers and click this link (opens in Windows Media Player). Watch the video and take a note of how hard you think Giambi hits this ball. Watch where it lands. Now watch it again with your speakers on. "Fairly deep to right field" my ass, this was crushed. I just about fell off the couch I was laughing so hard.
An article by Tim Kurkjian, who I generally find to be one of the more tolerable writers at ESPN, even though he looks like a ferret. It's a comparison between baseball and golf. A personal touch to this article: One time I was out playing golf at my usual course. I ended up in the trees on a dogleg right where I usually do. I've found my own balls from previous rounds before. That's how often I'm in this particular tree cluster. On a particularly bad round, and I stood over the ball I thought to myself "the only way they could make this game harder is if they threw the damn thing at me." Then I thought "Oh, wait, that's baseball."
Posted by Andrew at 12:26 PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
See also: Western Conference
Every team has an identifing logo associated with it. Some are better than others. To me, soccer has the best logos. Of all the sports, soccer logos seem to have the most spirit to them. Most come in the shape of some sort of crest or shield. These are my favorite. They have a sort of warrior feeling to them, like there is going to be an epic battle. They are a badge to be worn with pride and honor. I'll be discussing the Eastern Conference shields in terms of originality, creativity, colors, imagery, soccer inclusion, overall crestness, and just general impressions. Presented in the only order that makes sense to a neurotic kid like me, alphabetically by city. I had to shrink the images to save space on the page, so click on each logo for a full-sized view. Trust me, they look much better large.
First off, I'll give this credit for being both shield-like and an homage to the city's fire departments. The base for the logo is the firefighter's badge that you see on their helmets. The red seems a little too pinkish. I'd like something with a little more pop. The little white circle adds a little something without being overpowering. I like the simple addition of "Chicago" and "Fire" on the top and bottom. The center "C" is nice, except I do not care for the font. It's not symmetrical, and that does not sit well with me. I think pointier would be better, to give a feeling of a flame, but to not over do it. Overall, this is a fine logo, one of the best ones in the Eastern Conference.
I don't really like this logo. The three burly men on the logo seems a little too masculine, as though there is some sort of compensation going on. The logo does convey the sense of being "America's hardest working team" that the Crew bill themselves as. This serves two purposes. One is that soccer is a very intense game. It's even more exhausting than mass genocide. The other is that Ohio has historically been a place of physically demanding industry, like steel or tires. Good form on the shape of the logo. A good shot at an exceptional theme, but the dudes just don't do it for me. Maybe my sister would like this.
The current encarnation of the logo is pretty sweet. The original logo looked a little inert. It didn't convey much motion. This one looks like the bird is out for an ass-kickin' and you'd better watch yourself. And using the national symbol is usually a good touch. The name of the team really adds that little something. On one level, there is "United" as in the USA. On another, there is "United" like Manchester United. The red really pops, especially when viewed at full size. They could have very easily been campy and made the team red, white, and blue, but instead they went with a more sinister black. Again, good form on the shield. A personal favorite from the East.
Kansas City Wizards
WEAK! How am I supposed to fear a team that kicks rainbow soccer balls? The only way this could be less threatening is if it were pink. The font is nice. It's sharp and harsh. It does include a soccer ball, which is always a plus. Other than that, I very much dislike this logo. The shape presents two problems. The first being is that I'm not even sure if this is a shield. It does come to a point, a plus. But is also rounded at the top, which doesn't seem very powerful. Second problem is that it is wider than it is tall, and I don't really like that in a logo. It's just personal preference, but tall logos have more of a towering presence.
New England Revolution
This is almost my least favorite, second only to KC. No shield shape whatsoever. A big no-no. The patriotic theme was nice at first, but now that schtick is getting old. I know this team has been around since before all this terrorism and war stuff started, but the outpouring of faux-patriotism since then has made me sick of a lot of patriotic logos and symbols. That aside, there are other problems. I do not like the paint brush look. This looks like something Timmy did in art class on fingerpaint day. That or the printer needs cleaning. The starred soccer ball is about the only redeeming quality of this logo.
New York/New Jersey MetroStars
Well, first strike - what the hell kinda name is the MetroStars? Also, pick a place and go with it. The Jets play at the Meadowlands too and they aren't the NY/NJ Jets. If they had a passable team name, this would be a better logo. The lightining bolt T's are a little cheesy, but I can let that slide if I'm in the mood. I don't like the asymmetric paneling at first sight. I'm a guy who likes my symmetry. Upon further thought, the same image four times would be worse, so I'll take this. A skyline incorporated would be nice, perhaps rising out of the name, since this is a team named after the city aspect. The shield itself is very sleek and gives the impression of speed and swiftness.
Overall, these are some fine logos. Final thoughts:
Chicago Fire - Nice touch honoring the firefighters while keeping with a shield shape.
Columbus Crew - Not a fan of the guys, but what else are you going to do with "The Crew"?
DC United - My personal favorite. Angry animals are always a plus
Kansas City Wizards - The worst of the lot. It looks like the girl scout soccer merit badge.
New Enland Revolution - Put Timmy down for his nap and get a proper logo.
NY/NJ MetroStars - The elements of a great shield are there, but the name issues are holding it back.
Soon comes the Western Conference.
Monday, June 13, 2005
I've decided to do something with my summer. Sure, it was fun spending an hour designing an emblem for FC Des Moines in Winning Eleven 8, but it wasn't too fulfilling. So, to combat my ever growing sloth, I'm going to get started on my novel, the keystone to my plan of riches. This book will be a best-seller, giving me a good chunk of change. Moreso, this is going to make such a good movie I'll make a shitton of money on the movie rights. I'm not going to tell you too much, but I'll give you a taste. This book centers around a kid who's baseball dreams are shattered after being sent off to war and the depressive cycle he falls into. He must cope with the loss of his dreams and a failing marriage. "An emotionally powerful drama about love, loss, and redemption, this book is sure to be an instant classic" says the New York Times.
Posted by Andrew at 11:45 PM
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Let me just start by saying Hee Seop Choi is now my least favorite player in the majors. His thorough thrashing of the Twins this weekend has permanently disqualified him from ever becoming a member of the Best Baseball Names Hall of Fame. He can consider himself the Pete Rose of the Best Baseball Names world.
Choi's line this weekend was re-frikkin-diculous. His weekend went like this:
6-12, 6R, 7 RBI, 6 HRChoi doubled his homerun total for the year in 3 games. Without Choi's contributions to the Dodgers' offense, the Twins would have won today's game 3-1. Choi hit solo homeruns in his first 3 at-bats today. Add a solo shot from JD Drew after Choi's second for back-to-back jacks, and the Dodgers' scored 4 runs on 4 homers.
During the game, the Twins left 17 men on base, including 5 each by Juan Castro and Brad Radke. Twice those two came up with men on third and second, and both times the inning ended with Radke getting out. You can't really blame Hee Seop Choi for that, but I'm going to anyway. By the way, if I were to call Choi by his first name is it "Hee Seop" or just "Hee" or is Korean like Chinese where Choi is really his first name?
Friday's game wasn't much better. Choi hit a homer in the bottom of the first to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead, and then the game winner in the bottom of the 9th. Without those two homers the Twins would have won 5-3. The Twins are second in the AL with home runs allowed with 72, second only to the Devil Rays with 76.
Elsewhere in baseball
The Nationals are on a tear. They won their 10th straight game today behind newly acquired Junior Spivey's two-run blast. The Nationals traded for Spivey by sending pitcher Tomo Ohka to Milwaukee. The Nationals ended their homestand 12-1.
Cincinnati sent Austin Kearns down to AAA Louisville. The oft-injured Kearns was hitting .244 with 6 HR before his demotion.
As promised, Vlad Guerrero was off the DL Friday for the Angels' series at the Mets. He went 3-5 with 3 runs scored in his first game back, helping Bartolo Colon win his 4th straight decision.
Posted by Andrew at 10:41 PM
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Last night, the US Men's National Team (MNT) traveled to Panama to play their fifth match of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. CONCACAF is Confederation of North American, Caribbean, and Central American Football or something like that. It's Canada, US, Mexico, south to Panama, plus the Caribbean Islands. This would be the US's 2nd qualifying match in four days, having played Costa Rica in Salt Lake City on Saturday. The game was broadcast on ESPN2 at midnight last night, so I only watched the first half before going to bed. Turns out the first half was pretty exciting.
I actually accidentally stumbled across the game. I didn't expect it to be on until 1 AM, stupid time zones. About half the time ESPN tells me when something is going to be on, I forget to convert to Central Time. I turned the game just moments before Carlos Bocanegra scored the first goal of the game for the US. Bocanegra got position on his defender and headed a shot on goal off of the Donovan corner kick. The Panamanian keeper got his fingers on it, but that only served to deflect the ball into the cross bar before entering the back of the net.
The US's next goal would come from what could be described as a combination of a full-court press and trying to dig the puck out of the corner. Panama passed around among their defensemen, and the US forwards and midfielders moved up to pressure the ball. Landon Donovan, Brian McBride, and others were right up on the defenders with the ball, giving them no room to pass. One guy finally did this nifty little toe thing that allowed him to get the ball in the air to clear it over Donovan, but it ended up with the American side. The US dribbled upfield, and Landon Donovan would score a header off of a cross from Brian Ralston. Two-nil US.
The 26th minute would bring some of the finest goalkeeping I've ever seen. Fresh off a shutout against Costa Rica, Kasey Keller was still as sharp as he was in Salt Lake City. The corner kick was gained when Eddie Pope cleared a dangerous cross with a lunge on a ball about chest high. It wasquite the stretch to get his foot that high. On the corner, Panama got a header from the far post, only to be denied by a sprawling Keller. The rebound went right to another Panamanian, and Keller quickly got to his feet to stop the secondary attack. This block sent the ball straight into the ground, where it bounced high in the air in front of goal. Keller scrambled to gain his footing and leaped at the ball. The Panamanian got a head on it, but Keller's hands were there for his third save in about 5 seconds. Coach Arena said of the sequence, "those three saves were tremendous" and I couldn't agree more. Truly spectacular keeping on the
part of Keller.
The US would score a third first half goal on a left-footed shot by Brian McBride in the 40th minute. The US gained a free kick after McBride had been fouled. Donovan's effort would be cleared to Frankie Hejduk about 30 yards out. Hejduk let fly with a low squibbler that a defender would get his foot on. However, the ball went directly to McBride. McBride was just as surprised to have the ball as anyone, as he was already starting to turn upfield. With his momentum going away from goal, McBride released an awkward left-footed strike that found the inside of the post. The US entered half-time up 3-0.
At this point, I went to bed. I was tired and the US was up 3-0. Turns out, I didn't miss any other scoring. Neither team would score in the second half. The US would hold on for the win, giving them the ever-coveted 3 points. The US is now securely in second place, 1 point behind Mexico and 5 ahead of third place Costa Rica. Since the top 3 teams advance to the World Cup, it would take a collapse of epic proportions to not qualify. In theory, even Panama can still qualify. Even though they've only scored 2 goals in 5 games, if they win out they would have 20
points, which could possibly get them in.
Other Game Notes:
There were some significant milestones reached and passed in last night's game. With goals by Donovan and McBride, each moved up on the list of all-time goals scored. The all-time goals scored list for the MNT now looks like this.
- Eric Wynalda - 34
- Brian McBride - 28
- Joe-max Moore - 24
- Landon Donovan - 22
- Bruce Murray - 21
Eddie Pope appeared in his record-tying 30 World Cup qualifying match. The other men with 30 caps are Earnie Stewart and Cobi Jones. Pope will have to wait until the September 3rd match against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio (a match yours truly is planning on attending) to appear in his 31st. Pope will have to sit out of the US's next match, an August 17th tilt against
Trinidad & Tobago. Eddie Pope received a yellow card in the 11th minute. This an a previous yellow give Pope an automatic 1 game suspension.
Do you know what ESPN2 is showing right now? Pool reruns. Not new pool, reruns. From 4-7 today you could have seen guys shoot pool that you've probably already seen. This would have been an excellent time slot for the game. Does pool really draw enough viewers to relegate the MNT to midnight?
A question for the ladies out there. Is Landon Donovan an attractive man? Yes, these are the things I think about when cheering on my countrymen.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Does anyone have a copy or a link to the "Sport is Sport" commercial from Gatorade. It's been around awhile. It's the one that ends "It's ninety feet to first, no matter where home is." I love that commercial. If anyone can get me at least the transcript, I'd appreciate it, but I'd really like a copy for myself.
Posted by Andrew at 11:14 PM
We are all fully aware of Brad Radke's problems with pitching in the first inning. I ran some numbers and this is what I got.
IP H R ER HR ERA 1st Inning 13 26 19 17 6 11.77 2nd+ Inning 74 72 25 22 8 2.68 Totals 87 98 44 39 14 4.03
With a total of 87 IP over 13 starts, Radke almost exactly averages 6 2/3 IP per start (6.69 IP/GS to be more precise). This means that the 1st inning is effectively 15% of Radke's work load. If Radke worked perfectly statistically, you could expect 15% of his hits, runs, etc. to come in the first inning. Looking at the numbers, the story is quite different.
As you can see, Radke is experiencing higher numbers across the board than he would theoretically like. What is particularly disturbing is that Radke is giving up almost 29% more earned runs in the 1st inning than he is supposed to. The 2+ innings numbers are exactly inverse, where Radke then gives up 29% fewer runs than he statistically should.
IP H R ER HR 1st Inning 14.94% 26.53% 43.18% 43.59% 42.86% Expected 14.94% 14.94% 14.94% 14.94% 14.94% Variance 0.00% -11.59% -28.24% -28.65% -27.91%
His first inning ERA also raises a very large, very red flag. An ERA of 11.77 is almost 3.5 runs more than Jose Lima's season ERA, the highest ERA for qualified players (57 IP). Jose Lima, people! I don't have to explain what that means to you. It is a good thing is 2+ inning ERA of 2.68 would be good enough for 13th in the majors.
In the next few days, look for an followup of this post. I'm going to run a similar analysis of the other 4 starters and see what their data comes out to be. Then if, and believe me this is a BIG if, I'm feeling ambitious perhaps a random sampling of other pitchers or maybe the White Sox, just someone to get a comparison against. Or if anyone else feels like contributing, I'll be more than happy to post your results here.
I'm still keeping track of ETB. It seems like a lost cause at this poing, since on one has really given me much feedback about it. But an interesing note, with his sacrifice bunt in the 5th, Brad Radke garnered 2 ETB. This is now 2 more than Corky Miller.
As of right now, it is the 7th inning and Johan is 1-3. I don't anticipate him getting another at-bat with a7-0 lead and his spot in the lineup 8 back. Johan's single in the 3rd gives him 1 more hit than Corky Miller. However he is tied with Corky Miller with 0 ETB as a GIDP gave him a -1 to nullify the single. At least Johan did something to get to zero.
How great was Torii's dive under Alex Cintron last night? The look on Cintron’s face was priceless. I wish I could bottle that and sell it. He kinda looked like a guy who ends can’t remember where he parked, “I swear, it was just right here. At least I think it was.” On the replays, as Torii slid right through him, I did one of those “Whoop!” noises Berman makes when Barry Sanders would fake someone out of his pants.
Why didn't Gardenhire pinch-hit Lew Ford in the 6th inning instead of Glenn Williams? (Side Note: I honestly can't remember Glenn's name. I keep wanting to call him Gerald) At this point in the game, the Twins are down 5-2 with 2 on and 2 out. Instead of sending in the man Gardy was considering moving Jacque to first base just so he'd be in the lineup, he sent in the kid who'd been in the majors for a whole 24 hours. I understand wanting to get the guy some playing time, but was that really the best time? Lew ended up not appearing in last night's game. And who among you was really looking forward to Jacque at first. I know I was.
Posted by Andrew at 10:14 PM
I'm trying something new here. I was thinking about the return of movie and music reviews, along with starting book reviews. In conjunction, I'll be running some Amazon referal code to make some money. This code is completely non-invasive. The code is completely contained within the site, and you wouldn't know it was there without me telling you unless you read the source code. My point is, if you read a review of mine and it's something that you then want to buy, by clicking on the link on my page, I'll get a cut and it won't cost you any extra. I don't know how well this is going to work out, but I thought I'd give it a try with all the reviews I plan on making. You can access these links from whatever is on the side bar and in the individual review of the product.
Posted by Andrew at 4:52 PM
I've always liked to read. The first gift I ever remember getting was a book of nursery rhymes, and I had Mom read them too me all the time. Mom and Dad read to me all the time, and I eventually had quite the library for a kid who still crapped himself. I learned to read for myself at the ripe old age of 2. Mom wasn't feeling well one day, so I grabbed a book and read it to her while she laid in bed. I've been reading ever since. During the school year, I did manage to squeeze in Notre Dame vs. The Klan, but other than National Geographic and ESPN the Magazine I usually don't get to read for pleasure much. That's why I love summer. I can read whatever I want. So, my preliminary summer reading list is as follows:
The Man Who Found Time by Dave Repcheck (currently reading)
How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
and if I have time, either
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky or
Ulysses by James Joyce.
I'm not usually into the more literary types of work like Joyce or Dostoevsky. I tend to like learning about science or history rather than the human condition. As I understand it, both of those works are quite heady and could take some time to finish. I'll probably get started and then get bored and never finish it. I do that a lot. I've started Crime and Punishment like 8 times. I also tend to read a lot about the Irish and Scottish. I'm considering concentrating in Celtic Studies for my graduate work. That or military history. Who knows. Anyway, this is what I'm planning on reading.
On the sidebar, you'll notice a box telling you what I'm currently reading. Click on this and you'll be taken to the Amazon site corresponding with the book incase you want to read it too. If you are someone I'll see at school, let me know if you want to borrow any of my books. I'd be more than happy to lend you my copy of anything I have.
Posted by Andrew at 12:22 AM
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
There has been some talk in the Twins' camp of playing Jacque Jones at first base. Gardenhire had this to say about the notion:
I'm not afraid to do that at all. If we don't have Morneau, and four outfielders all swinging good ... you try to find a way to get them all in.
A simple enough idea. You have a guy who is hurt and his empty spot coupled with the fact you have 4 guys who are playing pretty well but not enough spots for them. My question is "Why Jacque?" Between Jacque Jones, Lew Ford, Shannon Stewart, and Torii Hunter, why has Gardenhire chosen Jones over the others? And why not use the real infielders?
Torii is the tallest of the group, listed at 6'2". This would give the infielders the biggest target. And you know Torii will catch it if it's anywhere near him. But that sentiment is exactly why Hunter will never be at first. His defensive abilities are far too valuable to be taken out of centerfield. Plus he's right-handed, making it just a little harder to field balls between the bases and to hold the runner.
For starters, Lew is next tallest at 6'0". Lew is usually the everyday DH, but that rule will not be in effect during play at the National League park. It would seem simpler just to move him from DH to 1B and leave the outfield as it was, using Michael Ryan to give guys days off. However, I think Lew's defensive abilities put him above the other two for outfield work. And again, right-handed. Moving on.
Shannon might not always get to the ball, but he has pretty good hands once he does. While by no means slow, he is, in my opinion, he is the slowest of the four. I have, in the past, advocated the position swap of Lew and Shannon, but I'm not so sure anymore after that "throw" home by Lew in Cleveland. Still, less territory to cover may be a good move. Added to this equation is the injured calf sustained from a self-inflicted foul ball that kept him out of Sunday's game. Does Shannon have the range of motion needed for outfield work? Shannon is listed at 5'11", a full 5 inches shorter than Justin Morneau. Will the infielder's be comfortable with the smaller target?
Jones is the only left-handed fielder in the group, which is generally a good thing for first base work.
TANGENT ALERT: In middle school, I almost lost my job to a kidAnyway...Jacque, right. Being at first means he's closer to everyone he may have to throw a ball to. This is actually worse on the air-mailed throws, because the ball will still be going up when it goes over someone's head. But on those throws he four-hops to the plate from left will actually hit Mauer on the fly now, or at least only one hop.
the class behind me because he was left-handed and could get more balls to his
right. Never mind that's all he could do better. I could jump higher, get balls
in the dirt better and had better range on popups. Coach ended up seeing the
folly of his ways and kept me there. In the end, I ended up in rightfield anyway
because our first baseman was built in the mold of a Hispanic Mo Vaughn. Coach
wanted both of us in the lineup, but someone had to play right and it wasn't
going to be Escobar.
Between the infielders, we have LeCroy, Cuddyer, and this new Williams guy. Why didn't anyone tell me the organization called this guy up? I don't know if he has 1B abilities, but he's gotta be better than Tiffee. I wanted to strangle Tiffee after he missed that catch. Who can't catch a shin-high throw? Das vidania, Terry. Otherwise, it's LeCroy or Cuddyer. Cuddyer could play first, and according to his bio page, Williams plays third. LeCroy could play first, keeping Cuddyer at third. I'm not comfortable with the idea of LeCroy being over there either. This leaves us with Stewart, Jones, Cuddyer, and possibly Williams. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to assume this guy can't field a lick of firstbase, not that that's stopped Gardy before. We're talking about Jacque over there in the first place, not to mention the Terry Tiffee Experiment.
Do the Twins go with Cuddyer, Stewart, or Jones? My first instinct would be to say Cuddyer. He is an infielder with 146 innings played at first, slightly more than 16 whole games. Neither of the other two have any career experience in the infield. If Williams is not up to the task of playing third, necessity dictates that Cuddyer stay there, leaving Stewart or Jones. Of these two, who do you go with? I think either choice is equally foolish, and yet I'm ok with the idea of either of them playing there. Maybe I'm still so appalled at the collective showing of Tiffee and LeCroy that I'm willing to put up with anything. The call comes down to Stewart's range versus Jones' arm. In the end, I think Jacque is actually the right pick for the job. As odd as this feels to say it, I think Jacque Jones could actually be a fairly effective first baseman. I don't think he'll ever be as good as a regular, but he doesn't have to be. The Twins have 6 NL park games coming up. If all 4 outfielders stay hot at the plate, look for them all to be in the field too.
Posted by Andrew at 3:43 PM
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Right now I have no clue where the following items are:
- Car Keys
- Baseball glove
- Guitar tuner (trust me I really need this one)
I've found everything except my passport. Good news is that I probably won't need it till December. Bad news is I lost my passport.
Posted by Andrew at 5:48 PM
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Whoever you are and whatever you did with the real Kyle Lohse, I don't care, keep him. This replacement unit is so much easier to watch without thoughts of driving 3 hours to the Metrodome and kicking it in the face. Kyle 2.0 has won his last 2 starts, and 3 of his last 4. Last night he only gave up 3 runs to the Yankees. If he keeps 1 ball down in the zone, the only lets 1 score. No one is going to get away with leaving that pitch up to Gary Sheffield. He'll make you pay.
I have to admit, I was rather dispondent at the prospects of the victory after the 3rd. The Yankees were up 3-0 and the only baserunner the Twins had had was Abernathy on a walk. Then the offense came awake and the Twins scored 6 unanswered. If not for Cuddyer's 2 inning ending GIDP, who knows how many the Twins could have scored.
The bullpen came in and threw 3 perfect innings to preserve the win. More and more I am comfortable with Jesse Crain. He fits in so well to his roll of being the first man into the game from the pen. Rincon continued to be one of the best set-up men, and Joe Nathan was just lights out.
I'd like to take a look at one play in particular. In the bottom of the 7th, Juan Castro is on 2nd and Redmond is looking to move him to 3rd with a sacrifice bunt. He gets the bunt down nicely and ends up safe due to the Yankees' miscommunication. If I could, I'd give Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada the errors on this one, not Mussina. When Mussina is picking up the bunt, Posada is telling him to throw to third. Only Rodriguez is just standing a few steps onto the grass. He was charging the bunt. Once Mussina got there, he just stopped. He didn't try to get back to the bag, he didn't even step to the side. He's lucky Mussina didn't plant the ball in his teeth. Mussina realized that there was no play at third, he tried to get Redmond at 1st, but he was too late.
Where was Captain Yankee during all of this? He went to cover second base. That's right, he went to the most useless place he could have. When Rodriguez charges the bunt, someone (Jeter, this is you buddy) needs to cover the bag. It's not like Redmond dropped down an drag bunt where no one saw it coming. He turned and squared around. At this point, Jeter should have been shading towards, if not moving to, third base. Robinson Cano, who had been in the Majors for one month, knew exactly where to go. You can see him sprinting behind Tino at first, backing up the throw. Did you forget your assignment while everyone was kissing your ass? You got showed up by a guy who has less than 100 career AB.
Who messed up on this play? Not Mussina. On bunts like that, it's the catcher's job to tell the pitcher where to throw. The pitcher can't see, he's bent over picking up the ball. Posada told Mussina to throw to third. You can clearly see him pointing. Mussina did what he was told first. Maybe Posada was expecting Jeter to be where he was supposed to be, instead of chilling at second base. "Intangibles" my ass. Posada still should have recognized no one was covering the bag. Rodriguez could have been doing something besides standing there. It looked like he waited until he almost got wanged in the face to say something to Mussina about throwing to first.
Posted by Andrew at 2:55 PM
Friday, June 03, 2005
Yesterday, the Twins got a win over the Indians in the 13th inning. Johan tied a career best with 14 strikeouts, but he did give up a homerun and triple in the 1st and another homerun in the 4th. Those few mistakes aside, Johan pitched an incredible game. But I ask you, at what price did the win come? Was this win really worth losing 3 of the Twins' most steady players? Mauer has been one of the most consistent hitters for the Twins, and would lead the team in AVG if he qualified. He's also thrown out 10 of 22 base stealers (45.5%) which is 3rd in the AL. Morneau has been in a slump as of late, but can hit the ball a mile when he's on. Punto has come
in from the bench to take the starting 2B job and has filled in nicely. While he may not be an incredible threat at the plate, he does hit near .300. His defense is above average and he and Castro have become quite the DP combination.
Morneau hyper-extended his elbow in BP before the game, and had to leave the game after batting in the 4th. His loss cannot rationally be explained on the length of the game, however, as his injury happened regardless of the length of the game. As good news goes, Morneau's x-rays came back and did not reveal any injury. Morneau is now listed as day-to-day. Punto pull his hamstring trying to steal a base in the 7th. Game length did not much effect on this injury either. This injury still occurred within normal game time. Hammies go all the time. There is not much one can do to prevent a pulled hamstring. If it was going to go, it was only a matter
of time. Otherwise this can be chalked up to an accident. All that's left to do is let Punto recuperate. The Twins placed Punto on the 15 day DL. It is Mauer's injury that concerns me.
Since May 25th, the Twins have played 8 games. Mauer has played in 3. This was, at least partly, due to the injury Mauer sustained to his groin. With Mauer's well-known knee problems and this recent groin injury, why would Gardenhire leave Mauer in the game into the 12th inning. While it's not certain when during the course of the game Mauer got hurt, I think it
is a bad move any way you slice it to leave him in that long. I keep Mauer in through the 10th, 11th tops. Bring in Mike Redmond. He may not have the bat of Mauer, but as back-up catchers go he is one of the best in the league. Maybe lose today and keep Mauer healthy, or leave Mauer in and hope he doesn't get hurt. With Mauer's history, past and recent, of injury, this is a no-brainer. No single game is worth risking Mauer, especially a June game against a .500 ball club.
Now the question becomes what do to with the lineup. With Punto's injury, the Twins recalled Terry Tiffee, whom they had just sent down 2 days ago. The following are the regulars who are not injured:
Stewart - LF
Ford - DH/OF
Hunter - CF
Jones - RF
Cuddyer - 3B
Castro - SS
The replacement of Mauer with Redmond is fairly obvious. Looking at the bench, the Twins have available:
Abernathy - 2B
LeCroy - 1B/DH
Tiffee - 1B/3B
Rodriguez - 2B/SS
Ryan - OF
Michael Ryan is a non-factor at this point as no injury occurred to the outfield. Ryan still provides a left-handed bat of the bench, which could prove useful in pinch-hitting situations. He'll also give regular outfielders a chance to take a day off. It is 1B and 2B that are a little more tricky. When Morneau was injured after being wanged in the head with a pitch in Seattle, Tiffee and LeCroy manned first base. I see LeCroy playing there since Tiffee is still in a funk at the plate. However, Gardenhire will probably think a crucial at-bat in the late innings will be
a good place to pinch-hit Tiffee to see if he remembered how to hit yet, because that's how Gardy rolls.
Second base presents itself as either Abernathy or Rodriguez. Abernathy played Wednesday and the last 3 innings Thursday. Rodriguez has seen playing time scattered across 7 games since being called up. As for overall experience, Abernathy played 117 games for Tampa Bay a few years ago, but since then has had seasons of 2 and 10 games in the majors. Rodriguez still has not totaled 10 games of major league experience. I think this one is a toss-up. I didn't get to see yesterday's game, so I've not had the opportunity to form an opinion about Abernathy. What I've seen of Rodriguez has given me reason to believe that he will be an fine replacement until Punto can return. Expect to see these 2 sharing time at second base, with Rodriguez also letting Castro have a day off at SS.
For all you people who still want to see Cuddyer playing second base, Gardenhire could set up the infield (from 3rd around to 1st): Tiffee, Castro, Cuddyer, LeCroy. Other emergency/after multiple switches/just plain crazy lineups could see Cuddyer playing 1B, LeCroy catching, and/or any combination of Rodriguez/Tiffee/Castro/Abernathy/Cuddyer at 3B/SS/2B.
For tonight's game, it is fairly safe to assume that Mauer and Morneau will not be playing. As for the time table of their returns, I don't know when the lineup will be back to normal. Tonight, the Yankees send Mussina (R) to the mound. Mussina has absolutely owned the Twins in the past. Coupled with the fact the Twins are trotting out a couple of bench players makes the outlook bleak for the game. You never know what will happen, but I sure wouldn't be putting money on the Twins tonight. The lineup tonight will probably look something like:
Stewart - LF - R
Cuddyer - 3B - R
Ford - DH - R
LeCroy - 1B - R
Hunter - CF - R
Jones - RF - L
Castro - SS - R
Rodriguez/Abernathy - 2B - S/R
Redmond - C
Let's hope for the speedy, but not before they are ready, return of Mauer and Morneau to the lineup.
Posted by Andrew at 12:23 PM
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
As you probably noticed, I made some changes around here. The site as feeling kinda old, so I decided to shake things up a bit. As with any shake up, there will be problems. If you are experiencing any trouble with the sidebar, let me know. I haven't quite worked out the spacing yet.
You may notice a few things gone and added. First off, the tag board and update box are gone. Two reasons:
1) They were causing popups. I appologize about those. I didn't realize they were happening. I use Firefox so I never got them. You should switch to Firefox if you haven't already. Then even inadvertant popups don't show up. You can click the "Get Firefox" icon on the side bar.
2)They were just taking up space. I never kept up with the updates and no one ever tagged the board. If you want either one back, let me know and I'll consider it.
Secondly, I added the MLB scorebox. I hope to be a little more resourceful than just bad jokes and Twins opinions. I also added a Google search box. You can search my site or the entire web, either one. If I actually wrote a post you remember and want to read again, just look it up.
Also, if anyone can figure out why I have an extra line at the bottom of the sidebar, please help me out. As geeky as I am, web design was never my strong suit.
Please, please, please let me know what you think about this renovation. Suggestions, opinions, help, tips are all welcome. I hardly ever look at my blog. I know what I wrote. It's you who look at it. If you don't like it or think there's something I could do differently to improve the design, it's up to you to let me know.
Posted by Andrew at 6:24 PM