Monday, July 28, 2008

Nod to Valdosta.

This is a shout-out to Valdosta, GA. Well done on the TitleTown USA. Somehow, a city that wins it mostly on prep sports titles somewhat validates the contest in my mind. These are the towns that live and breathe hometown sports. Why couldn't ESPN make this competition focus solely on prep sports, or collegiate sports, or pro sports? Anyhow, congrats to Valdosta!

The worst thing about your team playing Milwaukee is...

...Cory Hart. I don't know why, but I despise this guy. He's never done anything to me. He hasn't gone all John Rocker and offended half of New York (that would probably make me like him more). I let it go when he was elected to the All-Star Game in the Final Vote. Actually, I was really busy that week and didn't blog much...but I still let it go. There's just something about this guy that makes me dislike him for no reason. Does anyone else get this way with certain baseball players?
Here are the other players I really dislike:
Yadier Molina is another one for me. I think the root of my Molina hatred comes from my frequent trips to Busch III (I would go to Wrigley more often, but its too far). I think I despise any player that has a name or nickname that rhymes with "hottie." If you can't figure out why, just visit St. Louis for a series.

J.D. Drew is one that I don't like. He always seems so self-righteous. It bothers me.

Rick Ankiel is unnatural. Few pitchers (or former pitchers) can hit that well. The one that comes to mind is Mr. Ruth. Ankiel is not the Babe.

(Notice how most of these are Cardinals?)

A.J. Pierzynski is a grade-A ass-hat. There's nothing more to it. He didn't deserved to be punched by Barrett for the play at the plate. He deserved to be punched by Barrett because he's an ass-hat.

Michael Barrett was a player that I really didn't like defending as a Cub. He just seems to be a complete moron.

Johnny Damon is a Neanderthal. Nothing more. He's just a caveman.

Stephen Drew...maybe I just hate him because his brother's a jack...that and the "ph" in Stephen.

That's all I care to list now. I am really beginning to think I have anger management issues. Why else would I project so much anger on these men who have done nothing to harm me?

Titletown revisited

ESPN does a lot of bad things once they go beyond showing highlights and commenting on highlights. Who's Now series last year was horrible, very horrible. I'll never get over the fact that part of the arguement for Lebron James being "Who's Now" was the fact that he had a nickname. ("Nickname....King James" as the voice over said so matter of factly).

Now we have Titletown USA where ESPN basically recites a resume of each city and their championships and at the end they or maybe voters declare a town Titletown. At first, the idea isn't Who's Now bad but as always they fail to have any criteria for selection and the process dwindles some vague, odd voice over recitation followed by visits to small college towns with crowds and sometimes the whole town screaming "We're #1" albeit at swimming but yeah "We're #1 at swimming and we should be Titletown USA" or "Joe Dimaggio moved here when he was 1 so that means we should be considered Titletown USA" joke that was one of the factoids cited for San Francisco.

They visit towns like Chicago, ok, they have the Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears.......somethings missing, I can't put my finger on it. Anyway, they go over the championships won like I said for each city. This I'm fine with.

But then they go deeper and then is where things start to go wrong, they start to look past championships and at individuals who won championships but not necessarily for the city. For example, when they went to Palo Alto and went over the resume of why "Palo Alto is Titletown USA" they used John Elway who played at Stanford but that what not the crux of their arguement. "Elway played for Stanford but went on to go to the Super Bowl with Denver and eventually leading them to the NFL promiseland twice". Ok, Ok, a couple of things here. First of all, you can't have it both ways. You can't use Elway for Palo Alto, then turn around and use him for Denver when you visit Denver. Basically, they shouldn't use individuals, that's silly.

Also, how does Joe Dimaggio moving to San Francisco when he was 1 have anything to do with San Francisco being a Titletown?

"Palo Alto Title town USA"? Here are a list of towns I could understand being under consideration. Pittsburgh, yes. New York, yes. St. Louis, yes. Chicago, yes. Miami, yes. Tallhassee, yes. Dallas, yes. Chapel Hill, yes. But Palo Alto? C'mon!

Ok, Mr. ESPN listen to me, first thing establish some criteria so that you aren't visiting Palo Alto and using a guy who played in Denver to argue that Palo Alto is Titletown USA. Stick to Professional team championships, college championships and any individuals needs to be tied to a professional team or college team that was located in Palo Alto. So, Tiger Woods would be on the table for winning the College Golf championship John Elway playing at Stanford would count if he had won a championship but John Elway playing in Denver wouldn't. Also, you might want to weight the different sports, I mean don't you think you would lose all credibility if you gave "Titletown USA" to a town where the highschool football team in Parkersburg, VA won the state title 30 years in a row or to Brandon, FL who's wrestling team didn't lose a match in 20 years. Do you really think that has as much weight on the national scale when compared to other bigger towns? Don't get me wrong, its a great thing what those towns have down, its amazing really.

I mean if we are talking about "Highschool Wrestling Town USA", then OK, Brandon, FL you are in the mix and a major player, but if we are talking about "Titletown USA" then I would consider them a major outlier.

So, in summary, ESPN needs to parse down the cities and focus on those cities that have professional and college championships. So, Palo Alto would still be in the mix because of their baseball championships in 1987 and 1988 but not because John Elway won the Super Bowl in Denver.

San Franciso would be in the mix because of the 49ers dynasty but not because Joe Dimaggio moved there when he was 1.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

TitleTown USA

I've let this go for a while. This is another crappy "let the viewer get involved" kind of poll, just like "Who's Now?" from a couple of years back. I can't even begin to tell you how much I loathe these polls. These are really subjective and don't mean anything. Quit taking up valuable Sportscenter time!

Apparently on ESPN's TitleTown page, they let readers submit their case for their favorite TitleTown. Here's a tasty little nugget for San Francisco:

Submitted by rc49ers53

San Francisco!! Hands down we show more loyalty than any town. When the Giants are winning 70 games, we're still drawing 40,000 at the games. The Niners still draw 60,000 even though we haven't won 10 games in a couple of years. Just look at the Bay Area: Niners: five championships, Giants: contending every year. We are TitleTown.

Green Bay, nah, all they have is Green Bay. Boston ... nope, 'member when they hadn't won a World Series in 100 years. Just look at the facts, the Bay Area in general deserves it. WE stick with our teams through thick and thin. Even if we don't win, we know it.

First of all, "Green Bay, nah, all they have is Green Bay."??? What the hell does that mean?!? Second, Boston never went 100 years without a World Series. Unless you count the time before the Boston's first World Series, then Boston hadn't won one in like 4 billion years (or however old the earth is). This one makes my head hurt: "Even if we don't win, we know it." Is this person referring to the fact that San Franciscans know when their teams suck?

Another part that bothers me is that this fellow (I assume it is a fellow) thinks that the Giants are contenders every year. Really?

2007: 71-91/19 games out
2006: 75-85/11.5 games out
2005: 75-87/7 games out
2004: 91-71/2 games out
2003: 100-61/Division Winner
2002: 95-66/2.5 games out
2001: 89-73/2 games out
2000: 97-65/Division Winner
1999: 86-76/14 games out
1998: 89-74/9.5 games out

So, for the last 10 seasons, the Giants were contenders in maybe 5. 5 out of 10 "contending" seasons doesn't equal a title. Thus, this argument is void for TitleTown USA.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's a seller's market in St. Louis...

Fresh off the heels of a four game sweep at the hands of the division rival Brewers, the Cardinals regrouped and lost 2-7 aganst the Mets. With two other competitive teams (and, quite frankly, better teams), St. Louis may want to look at selling off some of their current assets to invest in the future. Who do I have in mind, you ask? Two of the biggest stars for the Cards this year need to be traded. Ludwick and Lohse should be on their way out if LaRussa and Mozaliek know what is best for the Redbirds. I know many Cards fans won't agree with me. St. Louis fans fall in love with their players and seeing them traded is like a girlfriend breaking up with you. I can't tell you how much I liked watching the Eckstein/St. Louis breakup...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

C.C. Sabath-tastic

You read it here first. C.C. Sabathia will, after this year, receive the most lucrative contract in MLB history. After watching C.C. embarrass the Cardinals last night, it is clear that he is in his contract year. He's going to make the most of the situation. Here's how he's made the most of his situation with Milwaukee so far: 4 games started; 4 games won (somewhat of an arbitrary stat, I know) ; 1.36 ERA; 33.0 innings pitched out of a possible 36.0; 0.85 WHIP; 3.88 K to BB ratio. Will Sabathia come back down to earth? Yes. Otherwise, he would win the C.C. Sabathia Award (Formerly Cy Young Award). The only caveat to my prediction that C.C. will be laughing all the way to the bank (the money bank) is that there may be enough pitching talent available through free agency that the contract numbers may be somewhat suppressed. For example, Ryan Dempster and Ben Sheets will presumably be available during the off-season (assuming they are not locked up by their current teams; possibility for Dempster, nearly impossible for Sheets).

On a lighter note (and I use that term loosely), I would really love to see C.C. and Prince have it out in the Sumo ring. That would be sweet...except for the big, half-naked dudes in diapers. Maybe that's not so cool after all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Not the best choice...

Joe Morgan? Baseball For Dummies? Is Joe Morgan going to warp unwitting minds that do not know anything about baseball? How can they do this? This should be against some kind of law!

Look for these other "For Dummies" books that will be in stores soon:
Sobriety and Religious Tolerance For Dummies by Mel Gibson
Handling Your Wine For Dummies by Tony LaRussa
Being A Straight Guy For Dummies by Mike Piazza

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP)

If there are any real baseball fans out there that love the stats, love the management details that a GM would have to deal with then I highly recommend OOTP. I have been playing this for about 3 years now and I can without a doubt state that it is the best baseball simulation game out there.

If you are looking for an arcade game like 2K or EA Sports this is not what you are looking for. However, if you want to control a historical, fictional or current team. Or if you want to decline the option on your aging vetran free agent to be or if you want to add a South American League or a Super Euro Baseball League to your universe or if you want to see how Babe Ruth would have done as a pitcher....then this is the game for you. Do you want to manage the Chicago Orphans or the Boston Beaneaters? You can. Do you want to see how the non-steroid version of Brady Anderson stacks up against the real steroid induced version? You can. Do you want to bring your dark horse draft pick up from Short Season A Ball to AA ball? You can. All with statistical accuracy. No Ozzie Smith type players jacking 50 home runs here.

Not only is the game itself great out of the box, but it is totally customizable. I just got through modifying the uniforms and hats for my 24 team "United States Baseball League". Side not here just to impress you more, I restricted the league to US citizens when I created the league which was set in 1995 but now in 2004 I am allowing two foreigners per team. Back on point, whatever you want to do or wanted to do with a baseball universe, league or team, this game allows you to do it.

Lastly, the OOTP community is strong and active, there are logo specialists, schedule genuises, league creation journeyman all on the OOTP message boards. Markus Heinshon is the creator, designer and main programmer behind it all. If you find something you don't like or something you want added to the next patch or version of the game and you post it on the boards don't be surprised to get a direct response from him. Regardless, someone will be there to answer your questions or just give you an opinion.

The game can be located at

Rick Reilly.....STFU

So, the homerun derby,...... here is a compition that over the years is met mostly with yawns and with Chris Berman at the helm doing the announcing with his constant and reptitive back, back, back, back, back, back, back, back, back, it is met with a lot of annoyance. Over the years I have realized that Berman is not a fan of the game, nor a fan of the fans of the game.

Then along came Josh Hamilton.......Josh Hamilton was pretty awesome especially considering what he was, where he went and how he came back. More on Hamilon later, but what the hell was Rick Reilly on? First, he starts off talking about how there were only white players in the derby. Now, I am not sure how the whole HR derby invitation piece works, but I am quite confident that anyone is part of the All-Star team could request and be part of the HR derby.

Then we have the derby, which the announcers went on and on and on about hitting a HR out of the stadium, like somehow Yankee stadium would not be complete until a former heroin addict, turned Jesus Christ superstar hits one out of the stadium. It was annoying and took away from Hamilton's accomplishment as it is a great story.

I love baseball, I love almost everything about it. I should have been a baseball player, I envision myself like a Jeff Kent type of player even though I would probably be more like Tom Lawless. I understand what it takes to make it, it take a lot of talent, a lot of luck, a lot of dedication, a lot of people helping out, a lot of work. Not unlike a lot of other professions where people have made it big but in some ways very much different. Regardless, Josh Hamilton made it, he had the talent, he had the luck, he had the dedication, he had the family and coaches helping out. He was the number one can't miss draft pick in 1999 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, he got injured and got severely hooked on hardcore drugs and basically was attempting to kill himself. He then comes back and comes back and is a potential MVP candidate. He doesn't trust himself and has a friend or bodyguard go with him everywhere, not to protect him from fans but to keep him from doing drugs or doing something that could potentially lead him to do drugs.

I don't know the dark places he went but I can assume it was pretty dark and drastic. I don't know what its like to be on drugs but I watch Intervention on A&E when my wife tricks me into it and those people are pretty horrific and most go back to drugs. I know that what Josh Hamilton did in the HR derby was personally significant to him, anyone who watched and who knows anything about baseball would know this, what he was doing, what he was hearing from the crowd was significant to him not just as a baseball player but as a person. That mattered.

However, Rick Reilly took away from it, his comments on "How come all the players are white". "The old guy wakes up stiff in the morning" and his "Bad night to be an atheist" were horrible. Then the constant discussion and repackaging of Hamilton into this "New and improved" version was eye-rollingly bad. Rick didn't matter that night, the sad thing is that you didn't realize it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fun with Photos.

Ha! This is all I can think about during BBTN.

Was this the cool thing to do this year?

What is with the Cardinals and blinking during official Major League photos? Really. Couldn't they take a second picture? This really makes me mad. Why? Was this something that Duncan and Thompson worked out before the photos were taken?

Duncan: Dude, I bet you won't blink during your picture.
Thompson: Bet I will. You wouldn't do it.
Duncan: Just watch me.
Thompson: Fine. You're on.
Photographer: OK, Mr. Duncan. On the count of 3. 1...2...3.
Photographer: Mr. Duncan, you blinked. I'll just take another quick picture.
Duncan: Nope, I'm good.
Photographer: Are you sure? You know this will be on the jumbo-tron during games and on and stuff?
Duncan (snickering): Yeah, it's fine.
Photographer: Mr. Thompson, on 3...

Breaking News

I have now finalized details on my "Things I think I know" tour. As many of you know earlier in the year I toured the US and brought "Things I think I know" to such great cities as LA, Orlanda and Albequerque....I also should have done Santa Fe but I can summarize Santa Fe up in a few short sentences.

I think Santa Fe could have a really rich tradition and cool city but they have whored themselves out to tourists and for the most part Santa Fe really sucks. I do not recommend Santa Fe, there are other much cooler, less whored out cities to visit in New Mexico....there has to be. I give Santa Fe a score of 0 on a scale of 0-10. If Santa Fe played St. Louis in a soccer match and points were based on which city has whored itself out more Santa Fe would win 17-1.

Ok, back to my tour announcement. I am announcing the South American Leg and the Canadian Leg of my "Things I think I know"tour. The South American Tour will visit Buenos Aires and Pergammino, Argentina and Sao Paulo and Uberlandia, Brazil. The Canadian Tour will be Toronto.......eay.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This is just dumb.

The boys over at FJM picked up on this three days ago. This is how I found it. If you haven't seen them already, you must check out the cartoons put out by the Rays. I'm not going to get into the fact that they name the villain "Dr. Stat." These are just bad cartoons. Horrible. Really. Not kidding. Just watch.

This ain't a scene...

it's an arms race. Sorry for the Fallout Boy reference. The NL Central is the AL East of recent past. It is hands-down the toughest division in baseball...and just got a bit more difficult. The Brewers picked up C.C. Sabathia yesterday. Good call, Runningman. You knew that the 'Crew had the prospects to satisfy the Indians. Today the Cubs picked up Rich Harden from the A's. I was skeptical that the Cubs could pry Harden from the A's. If you have ever read Moneyball, you will know what I am talking about. Both pitchers come with question marks. Will C.C. return to Cy Young form? Can Harden stay healthy? In all this mayhem, the Cardinals are holding tight...for now. Your move Redbirds.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's official.

Captain Awesome's leading lady has agreed to become Mrs. Awesome.

Captain Awesome likes speaking in the third person.

Captain Awesome thinks it makes him sound important.