Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holy Moses!

I haven't posted here since July. I can't lie, I have been busy. The future Mrs. Awesome is now the current Mrs. Awesome and we have moved into the Awesome Homestead.

I do have a comment to make that is baseball related. Bernie Miklasz, the fat oaf that contributes to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, wrote this charming article.

Please take the time to read this article in its entirety.

Done? Good. Let's discuss.

Bernie declares that Albert Pujols has clinched his spot in Cooperstown with his third MVP win today. Bernie, you are an idiot. If Pujols didn't win his third MVP and he finished out his career with a string of slightly below league average seasons, he would still make the Hall of Fame. This statement is coming from a Cubs fan.

If you haven't already, go ahead and read the comments posted by stltoday.com readers.

A bunch of readers actually agree that it was this arbitrary award that sealed it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Without Runningman, J2T, and the Yellow Dart...

...am I free to write whatever I like without fear of repercussions.

I have a beef with Cardinal fans that I am going to illustrate here. This is one of those angry rant posts, so read on with great care.

Cardinal fans like to call themselves "The Best Fans in Baseball." This couldn't be farther from the truth. I will tell you why.

Most Cardinal fans really aren't. Go to Busch the Third and ask anyone who won the '85 World Series. Heck, ask them the last time the Cardinals won a World Series prior to 2006. You would be lucky to get 2 out of 5 fans that would know the answer to both questions. The fact of the matter is that the Cardinals have legions of casual fans. They are fans because all their friends are. Consider this. A group of 5 people are all friends. Friend 1 likes the Cardinals because Friend 2 likes the Cardinals. Friend 2 likes the Cardinals because Friend 3 likes the Cardinals. Friend 3 likes the Cardinals because Friend 4 likes the Cardinals. Friend 4 likes the Cardinals because Friend 5 likes the Cardinals. Friend 5 likes the Cardinals because Friend 1 likes the Cardinals. In this group, you have nobody that is really knowledgeable about the Redbirds. FYI, all my previous girlfriends were Cardinal fans (including the future Mrs. Awesome). One girlfriend asked me who Stan Musical was. Musical!

Cardinal fans will chastise you for booing players on your team. I actually got into it with the Yellow Dart recently over this one. Cardinal fans are like parents of a little league player. "It's OK, go out and get them next time. You gave it a good shot." Puke. I buy team apparel. I attend games. I am paying the bills. I demand results. You don't produce and I will let you know about it. I'm not going to coddle you.

Cardinal fans are extremely uppity. Recently, some bonehead with a laser pointer in Philly disrupted the game. All I heard the next day was "Philadelphia fans are so obnoxious. Philadelphia is a sh*thole. Philadelphia fans are not real fans. They only sell out because they just won the World Series." Way to prove that you are the "best" fans of any team by slamming other fans. I shouldn't even mention it, but the preferred nickname of Wrigley Field in St. Louis is "The World's Largest Gay Bar." Good one, St. Louisans.

Finally, I am a Cubs fan living in St. Louis. Don't tell me you are a more dedicated fan. You don't know what dedication is until you have to hear "When did your team last win the World Series?" on a daily basis. Where were all of you in the early 90's? Oh, so you're not the "best" fans in sports when your team sucks.

I feel better now. I have made up for defending a Cardinal.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I defended a Cardinal

...a couple of posts ago. I told a good friend today that post was a result of the part of my personality that is generally a baseball fan. The part of my personality that is a dedicated Cubs fan must have been asleep at the time. Well, that snarky Cubs fan personality is awake and ready to deal.

St. Louis has become San Francisco east. What do I mean by this? The Cardinals look a little fruity with the new 'staches [that's how the cool kids in the 'Lou (that's how the cool kids say St. Louis) say mustache] that they are sporting. Maybe Duncan got out just in time... Poor Colby Rasmus has this thin, hispanic-looking mustache. I can only assume that it is because he can't grow a full mustache. Chris Carpenter looks like a tool. Skip Schumacher just looks queer. Albert...still has the goatee...no complaints.

The reason I am so militant against this is because it looks ridiculous. It's like the "cool" kids in high school who decided to grow their hair out. They just looked like dinks...and so do the Cardinals.

Word on the street is...

Chris Duncan is shipping up to Boston (not necessarily to find his wooden leg).

If this is true, my condolences Yellow Dart.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A New Arch Nemesis has Emerged!

Norman Chad, you just made the list. If you are not familiar with Norman Chad, he writes a column called Couch Slouch for SI.com. If you want to read this inane drivel without my comments, you can follow this link.

I almost hate to do this, but here we go:

Sports' statistical debris piling up

This ought to be be good...

I was watching a regular-season baseball game on TV the other night -- granted, it was a stupid thing to do and I'm already paying the price -- when the following piece of data streamed across my screen:

"Todd Helton is only the seventh player in MLB history to possess a .325 career batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .575 slugging percentage."

You could've knocked my socks off with that one, except I was already barefoot and drinking PBR out of a can.

The Helton factoid is what I would call statistical debris.

Ha! Look at that phoney slice of redneck Americana. Barefoot and PBR in a can. Genius!

In the old days, a garbage truck would come by twice a week to haul that stuff away, but nowadays this sporting trash is piled up so high so often, it's too costly to dispose of on a regular basis. And so it is heaped into our living rooms and we must learn to live with it, like an evil mother-in-law who's moved in indefinitely.

I want to know what type of subdivision you live in that offers statistical debris pickup twice a week. I sure could use service like that.

For years, ESPN has led the statistical avalanche. But it has plenty of company now. The Wall Street Journal covers the world of business and the world at large pretty adeptly; however, when it comes to the world of sports, the Journal has turned into USA Today, with bigger words. The Journal reduces all of sport to numbers, graphs and pie charts -- it's a statistical junkyard, with spare parts nobody needs.

Zing, USA Today. ESPN has hardly been on the leading edge of this statistical avalanche. For example, ESPN employs a baseball commentator by the name of Joe Morgan. Mr. Morgan rarely cites statistics over anecdotal evidence. What's with ripping the Wall Street Journal in a sports column? You really go to the Wall Street Journal for your sports news? I used to go to seemingly reputable sources like SI.com.
Furthermore, I thought you were an all-American, barefoot, PBR drinking kind of guy. Now you read the Wall Street Journal?

The Journal even offers daily predictions. For instance, "
Los Angeles Lakers 103.2, Houston Rockets 90.9" or "Philadelphia Phillies 5.2, New York Mets 4.8." "Scores are based on the average of 10,000 game simulations," we are told, "and rounded to 1 decimal point." I am somewhat thankful, for both my own emotional well-being as well as the emotional well-being of my unborn children, that the scores are not rounded to the hundredths or thousandths.

I don't get it. If there was such a thing, would you have decimalphobia?
Did a decimal point kill one of your close relatives in an apparent mugging gone bad?

(I have another problem with the Wall Street Journal. Recently, it started a Monday feature in which someone watches TV all weekend; it's called "The Couch." Really? The Couch? Last I checked, I am The Couch Slouch. Have been for quite a while. Is there not some intellectual infringement here -- well, assuming there was any intellect attached to becoming The Couch Slouch? Couldn't they've been a bit subtler about stealing my shtick -- maybe call the column "The Sofa" or "The Ottoman"? Why doesn't the guy just sit in my lap, eat my Fritos and take my third wife? Please!)

I doubt I or the Wall Street Journal have ever heard of you and your column before this monstrosity. I don't think they copied your shtick. Third wife? Fritos? There you go again with the "every American" persona. Please, I need more furniture jokes.

The Journal ran a story earlier this year detailing how a couple of University of Pennsylvania professors studied 6,500 NCAA basketball games from 2005 to 2008 and concluded that teams have a 51.3 percent chance of winning when they are behind by a single point at halftime. In other words, when you're ahead, chances are you will lose; apparently, you are more motivated when you are behind.
Geez, using that theory, the Washington Nationals should be undefeated, no?

No. You are missing the point of the Penn study. They concluded that teams between 2005 and 2008 had a 51.3 percent chance of winning if they were down one point at halftime. Your application of this study to baseball was horrible. It would be more like "Baseball teams between 2005 and 2008 had a 51.3 percent chance of winning if they had been pitched one more strike than their opponent through four innings."

Baseball remains the biggest sports-by-numbers perpetrator. ESPN litters the baseball screen with updated, situational numbers on every pitch -- with a magnifying glass, you can figure out how a hitter does better when the count is 2-0 rather than 0-2. Speaking of which, I read the other day that the Dodgers have increased their "pitches per plate appearance" from 3.63 in 2007 to 3.81 in 2008 to 3.96 in 2009, which puts them second in the majors.

Most reasonable people use statistics or "numbers" to compare two or more things. Take measuring for example. I could look at two lengths of wire from a distance and say, "I think the black wire is longer than the blue wire." Then I would measure them and find out that the blue wire is 156 cm while the black wire is only 154 cm. In this case I would be wrong because I didn't obtain good data before throwing out a guess.

Here's an actual sentence from a recent USA Today story: "Earned runs are constructed from a confluence of events." Frankly, I thought I had stumbled onto a crime story and was about to digest a police toxicology report. But it was an article on ERA and what affects it. It included the following words on Atlanta Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens:
"...a low 5.2 strikeout rate and 1.6 K/BB ratio are worrisome. His .260 BA-BIP and 84 percent strand rate are both primed for regression. Jurrjens' 5.03 xERA is nearly three runs higher than his actual ERA, an ominous indicator."

Just because you can't understand big words doesn't make the USA Today wrong. What makes the USA Today wrong is the horrible writing.

Heck, I'm scared.

You should be, moron.

Okay, folks, here's a stat for you:
Nobody gets out alive. Nobody. So enjoy it while you can, and I'll see ya 6.0 feet under.

You really are a massive bonehead. It would be a stat if you said that 100 percent of humans die at some point. What you wrote is just idiocy disguised as a sports column.

Si.com should really reconsider having you on their payroll.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Everything is renewed in the second "half."

I'm a little late to the game with All-Star comments, but you must forgive me. The festivities were in my backyard (not literally).

My main grip with All-Star coverage really came after the event. St. Louis and national media felt compelled to write about how big of a let down Albert Pujols was. This is abso-fuckin-lutely ridiculous! This dude is the best player in a generation. He's better than A-Rod, better than Bonds, better than anyone else from the modern era that you want to name. What's that? Chris Duncan? Yeah, he's better than Chris Duncan too (this is directed at you, Yellow Dart.). All the media can write about is how Albert went 0-for-3...and how he didn't win the home run derby...and how he committed an error.

Let me break this down for you.

Concerning the HR Derby, this is a meaningly showcase. It's entertaining, but still meaningless. Players that do well in this type of competition are those who can hit a ball off a tee with enough of an uppercut swing for the ball to arc over the fence. This is why you see Josh Hamilton bust out. This competition made him. Pujols on the other hand muscles out line drive HR's. He's not good for this competition. Any yokel that can hit a lollipop out of the yard can participate in the HR Derby. Pujols distinguishes himself in the game of baseball by being able to consistently crush major league pitching...not lollipops.

Pujols went 0-for-3 in the All Star game. He's f'ing human and he's f'ing facing the best pitchers in the AL. Pujols faced Halladay in the first, Buehrle in the third, and Hernandez in the sixth. He saw 3 different AL All-Star pitchers in his three at bats. How do you expect anyone to adjust to the pitcher if you know you're facing some other stud next time around? Besides, this is a microscopic sample size of a whole season. They might as well have said, "Albert's a disappointment in 2009. He went 0-for-4 on April 23rd."

Pujols did commit an error, but in his defense he was screened by the runner. He tried to snag it behind the runner on an in between hop. He just missed it. It was a rough play.

Now that I am done defending a Cardinal, I need to shower. I feel dirty.

On with the second "half"...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pirates secure another season of futility (as if there was any question).

The Pirates traded Nate McLouth to the Braves today for three minor league "top prospects." This could be, what, the Pirates' 17th consecutive losing season (MLB record)? OK, OK, let's get real. The Pirates weren't going anywhere this season. They've pretty much clinched it now.

Let me tell you why this is a typical move for the Pirates. Their talent pool undergoes a specific cycle:
develop/trade for minor league talent --> talent flourishes in the big league club despite team mediocrity --> big league talent traded (often within the division!) --> develop/trade for minor league talent --> talent flourishes in the big league club despite team mediocrity --> big league talent traded (often within the division!) --> develop/trade for minor league talent --> talent flourishes in the big league club despite team mediocrity --> big league talent traded (often within the division!) --> develop/trade for minor league talent --> talent flourishes in the big league club despite team mediocrity --> big league talent traded (often within the division!) --> develop/trade for minor league talent --> talent flourishes in the big league club despite team mediocrity --> big league talent traded (often within the division!)

I think you get it. Until the Pirates get an owner that cares to spend, this will be the Pirates' destiny.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My posting in my sophomore season is like many batters after their rookie season.

This is post # 18 for 2009. By this time last year, I was at 31 posts...and I started at the end of March! At this pace, I should only have 43 posts by the end of the year.

I attribute this to overexposure. Last year, pitchers didn't have any tape on me. As Runningman puts it, opposing pitchers let up mentally on me because I was a rookie. I had a wildly successful first year, and pitchers have started to sit up and take notice. I think they're studying my game film. That just means I'll have to adjust my swing. I bring my hands in and shorten up that swing.

Wait...what was I taking about?

My suggestions to make the game better...

Opinions are like a**holes...well, you know the rest of that quote. Don't take the following as my opinion. Take the following as fact.

Captain Awesome's List of Things to Make Baseball Better (Working Title)
- Set up Hooters franchises in the ballparks. Wings make everything better...sports, drinking, sex...wait, maybe not that last one. On the other hand...
- Rid the American League of the DH and Steinbrenners. In fact, lift the lifetime ban of Pete Rose and place a ban on the Steinbrenners and all of their progeny forever.
- Lower beer prices for Pete's sake! You could spit on the Anheuser Busch (sorry, I mean ABInbev) brewery from Busch III, and it still costs $8.50 for a beer. Weak.
- I like the 7th inning stretch. Let's have a 5th inning stretch. The 5th inning stretch would have T-shirt cannons and midget bowling.
- Watching baseball for three hours goes by too quickly. I always want to hang around and drink afterwards. After the game, they should have women's mud wrestling and/or foxy boxing.

See? Like I said, these are fact.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Some thoughts on the first quarter of the season...

- ManRam's positive test for human chorionic gonadotropin wasn't entirely surprising. I like his defense that he has passed many previous drug tests. Yep, that exactly the desired result of designer steroids. With MLB and steroids, you are guilty until proven innocent. Sorry folks, that's just the time we live in right now.

- San Diego's current 10-game winning streak is surprising. There were much better odds at the beginning of the season that San Diego would experience several 10-game losing streaks. Do I want to jump on the Padre's bandwagon? No. No, I don't.

- A-Rod's leaked positive PEDs test was not surprising, but it was somewhat disappointing. Everyone had hoped that A-Rod would be the anti-Bonds and erase all the steroid-tainted records in the books. What isn't surprising is that A-Rod came back from injury and is tearing it up. That's just what he does.

- If PED evidence was ever found against Albert Pujols, the city of St. Louis would cease to exist. Really. It would.

- If PED evidence was ever found against Ken Griffey Jr., MLB would cease to exist. Really. It would.

- Greinke is a moster. What else is there to say about this guy? Although I hate W-L records for pitchers, this guy is 7-1 for the Royals. Let me say that again. This guy is 7-1 for the Royals.

- I haven't heard too much about "The House that Jeter Built" recently, but I found the homerun friendly Yankee Stadium hilarious. I think New York almost experienced a riot.

- I would like to reiterate my hope that Jeter's name was on the 104 positives of the PED survey in '03. Yankee fans worship that guy. I hate him. He's on my list. (Hmmm...maybe I need to publish my list. I've forgotten everyone that's on it.)

- The Rays found out that the loss of the DH isn't disasterous. You hear that Hank Steinbrenner? Sonnanstine didn't injure himself by batting and having to run the bases.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If I were Twittering (tweeting?) during the game in St. Louis tonight...

...it would go something like this:
Top 1 - Way to go Sori. One batter one hit. It will be a good night.
Top 1 - WTF, mate? Is the ump blind? How did he miss that pick-off call?
Bot 1 - Walks aren't good. What is Colby Haircut bunting for?
Bot 1 - Pujols pops out right up the shaft...haha! Shaft...up...Pujols.
Bot 1 - F'ing Yadier. Slow, stupid sonofabitch.
Top 2 - 0-1 not too hard to overcome. D-Lee looks on tonight.
Top 2 - F'ing double play. Way to go, Gameboard.
Bot 2 - WTF is a Stavinoha???
Bot 2 - 1-2-3 inning. Boo-ya!
Top 3 - Ugh, c'mon Chicago. Show a little patience.
Bot 3 - No walks, Theodore.
Bot 3 - I said no walks, Theodore!
Bot 3 - Whew. Dodged a bullet there.
Bot 4 - WTF happened to the top of the 4th? I just got up to go to the bathroom...
Bot 4 - Way to hack, Duncan. You suck.
Top 5 - Patience, grasshopper! Show patience and you shall walk!
Top 5 - A double for Fontenot. Now he's like 2 for his last 35 (estimation).
Bot 5 - Who hit that HR? Colby?!? Go get a f'ing haircut!
Top 6 - Way to waste an at-bat Miles.
Bot 6 - I think I'll Google Stavinoha. Isn't that one of those Nepalese mountain guides...nope, sherpa. Damn.
Top 7 - *sigh* This isn't looking good...
Bot 7 - Good 1-2-3.
Top 8 - Can the Cubs buy a hit?
Bot 8 - Fantastic. Gregg. Mr. 4 runs on 4 hits.
Top 9 - Please get a run. No CG shutout.
Top 9 - F! Now I have to listed to those stupid fair weather Cards fans tomorrow.

Here's the play by play so you can follow along with my thought process:

Top 1st 0 run, 1 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 0
Soriano singled to left.
Soriano was picked off, catcher Molina to first baseman Pujols, Soriano out.
Theriot grounded out, third baseman Barden to first baseman Pujols.
Fukudome grounded out, shortstop Ryan to first baseman Pujols.

Bot 1st 1 run, 1 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Ryan walked.
Rasmus sacrificed, pitcher Lilly to first baseman Lee, Ryan to second.
Pujols fouled out to catcher Soto. Ryan stole third. Molina singled to center, Ryan scored.
Duncan struck out.

Top 2nd 0 run, 1 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Lee singled to center.
Bradley grounded into a double play, second baseman Thurston to shortstop Ryan to first baseman Pujols, Lee out.
Fontenot grounded out, first baseman Pujols unassisted.

Bot 2nd 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Stavinoha flied out to right fielder Bradley. Barden popped out to second baseman Miles.
Pineiro struck out.

Top 3rd 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Soto grounded out, shortstop Ryan to first baseman Pujols. Miles grounded out, pitcher Pineiro to first baseman Pujols.
Lilly struck out.

Bot 3rd 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Thurston walked on a full count.
Ryan walked, Thurston to second.
Rasmus flied out to left fielder Soriano.
Pujols flied out to center fielder Fukudome.
Molina grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop Theriot to second baseman Miles, Ryan out.

Top 4th 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Soriano grounded out, shortstop Ryan to first baseman Pujols.
Theriot grounded out, third baseman Barden to first baseman Pujols. Fukudome flied out to left fielder Duncan.

Bot 4th 0 run, 1 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Duncan struck out.
Stavinoha infield single to third.
Barden grounded into a double play, shortstop Theriot to second baseman Miles to first baseman Lee, Stavinoha out.

Top 5th 0 run, 1 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 1
Lee lined out to center fielder Rasmus.
Bradley grounded out, first baseman Pujols unassisted.
Fontenot doubled to left.
Soto grounded out, third baseman Barden to first baseman Pujols.

Bot 5th 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Pineiro struck out.
Thurston lined out to first baseman Lee.
Ryan singled to center.
Rasmus homered to right on a 1-2 count, Ryan scored.
Pujols grounded out, shortstop Theriot to first baseman Lee.

Top 6th 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Miles was out bunting, pitcher Pineiro to first baseman Pujols.
Lilly struck out.
Soriano grounded out, third baseman Barden to first baseman Pujols.

Bot 6th 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Molina grounded out, third baseman Fontenot to first baseman Lee.
Duncan grounded out, first baseman Lee to pitcher Lilly. Stavinoha flied out to left fielder Soriano.

Top 7th 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Theriot grounded out, first baseman Pujols to pitcher Pineiro.
Fukudome grounded out, shortstop Ryan to first baseman Pujols.
Lee flied out to center fielder Rasmus.

Bot 7th 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Barden grounded out, pitcher Lilly to first baseman Lee.
Pineiro struck out.
Thurston lined out to center fielder Fukudome.

Top 8th 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Schumaker in as left fielder. Robinson in as right fielder. Bradley grounded out, second baseman Thurston to first baseman Pujols.
Fontenot flied out to left fielder Schumaker.
Soto struck out.

Bot 8th 0 run, 1 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Gregg pitching. Ryan flied out to right fielder Bradley.
Rasmus flied out to right fielder Bradley.
Pujols doubled to left. Molina grounded out, shortstop Theriot to first baseman Lee.

Top 9th 0 run, 0 hit, 0 error
Chicago 0, St. Louis 3
Miles grounded out, shortstop Ryan to first baseman Pujols.
Hoffpauir pinch-hitting for Gregg. Hoffpauir struck out.
Soriano struck out.

Friday, May 8, 2009

One of the greatest book ideas of this or any century...

is Hot Chicks with Douchebags.

You can also find pictures like the one above on the internet. Go ahead. Do a Google search. I'll wait.
See? It's hilarious! I would like to add an entry of my own:

Ha! Look at this toolbox with that stone fox. Wait a tick...I...think I've...seen...this guy...before.

My stars! That's Houston's right field heartthrob, Hunter Pence.

Hunter Pence is also on my list. He's in the Corey Hart category of players I hate, but I'm not exactly sure why. It's probably because he's so doofy looking.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I am so ashamed...and you should be too!

I have been slacking. Slacking like there may be a tomorrow, but I don't feel like getting off my duff to plan for it. You, the reader, should be ashamed too. I really don't have a reason for it, except that I don't want to feel shame alone.

Anyhow, back to the craziness.

I present to you: Chris Duncan.


...or adorable?

I prefer douchebag.

Duncan, you just made my list for having stupid pictures. I gave you the benefit of the doubt last year. No longer, my friend.

Friday, April 17, 2009

WBC Bashing Time

Dice-K. Injured.

Blame the f'ing WBC. Go ahead. Oh, you already did...

According to the Boston Globe, "the team" is blaming Daisuke's injury on the WBC. How about this? Instead of bitching, teams that have players that are to play in the WBC should begin training them for competitive baseball earlier. I'm tired of every injury to a WBC participant blamed on the WBC. It's like the media is waiting for one of these players to be injured so they can call for the end of the WBC.

My dream scenario would play out as such:
A Yankee is hurt in the regular season after playing in the WBC. Hank Steinbrenner would storm into Selig's office and demand an end to this "pathetic hoedown" (his words). Selig would then punch him square in the face. It wouldn't just be any punch, though. It would be the wussiest punch ever thrown by a man. This would develop into the wussiest fight ever between two men. This goes on until both men are even too tired to lift their arms anymore...at which point the Incredible Hulk enters and punches them both in the face.
The End

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm cheating...

...but I'm making my predictions on the second day of the season.

Tampa Bay - WC
New York

Kansas City

Anaheim (Sorry...I mean Los Angeles)

New York
Philadelphia - WC

St. Louis

Los Angeles
San Francisco
San Diego

In addition to my picks for each division, I am going to throw out all of the story lines I expect to see this year:
- The new Yankee Stadium is great (this story will be spearheaded by ESPN)
- The contrast between the ultra new Yankee Stadium and decrepit Fenway Park (ESPN again)
- Joba Chaimberlain has lost his fastball - in all fairness, this story has already begun. I think it will continue...all season. The media loves Joba Chaimberlain for some stupid reason. Personally, I think he's kind of a dink.
- Tim Lincecum will have a season for the ages - this dude's a monster
- New big names surface from the steroid list. Big Mac and Sammy are finally exposed definitively.
- The Mets break their choking ways and make the playoffs.

Notice that most of the story lines come from the east coast...thank you national media. Thank you for reminding us that there are no other divisions besides the AL EAST and the NL EAST. Thank you for also reminding us that the Blue Jays, Orioles, Marlins and Nats don't actually exist. The way you see it, it is a huge race between the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays for the AL pennant, and between the Mets, Phillies, and Braves (to a much lesser extent; kind of a hold over from the mid 1990's) in the NL.

I hate you national media. You don't play fair. I'm taking my ball and going home.

P.S. By the way, TST was one year old as of March 25. Hooray for us. That just goes to show that this blog wasn't some stupid idea that we came up with when we were drunk and abandoned a few months in.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All seems to be right with the world...

I emerged from my doomsday bunker (aka Runningman's garage) this morning to find the world essentially as I left it. By the way, Runningman, you are out of Keystone light and puppy kibble. I discovered that Japan again won the World Baseball Classic. Whew! I mean, I really would like to see the mediocre US team win it all, but maybe they'll get lucky one of these tournaments. I was really relieved to see that the Netherlands had been eliminated.

All seems right with the world now...that is except that the start of the MLB season is still almost two weeks away. What's this crap, Bud? Why is Spring Training so excessively long? I was excited when pitchers and catchers reported, but I quickly grew tired of single A scrubs filling the lineup. Let's get with the program.

(Please excuse my anger. I haven't had "people food" in two weeks.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The third horseman of the apocalypse...

The sky will open and the oceans become as blood. A team from the Nether Kingdom shall reign supreme in conquest.

OK, OK. The third horseman of the apocalypse is famine. My reference here would be more closely related to the first horseman of the apocalypse, which is conquest. So, I am being a little dramatic, but this is huge.

In the baseball world, it feels like we just skipped over the first two horsemen and we are staring down the third. The End of Times is here...metaphorically speaking. I know that any team with decent skills can win two games, and if you played the games over again the Dominicans would probably win 96% of the time. So what? The Dominicans didn't win. That's so what.

This is all A-Rod's fault, dammit!

Monday, March 2, 2009

If you love acronyms...

you'll love this MLB WBC TST Kickoff post.

I would first like to analyze Team Korea.
Approximately 28.5% of Team Korea has the last name of Lee. Even more amazingly, 2/3 of the Korean outfielders on the current roster has the last name of Lee. If I had to pick a winner of the WBC based on the highest amount of Lees per capita, I would pick Team Korea to win it all.

All things considered, I would still rather play for a Lee-infused Team Korea rather than Team Kingdom of The Netherlands.

***Disclaimer*** I really don't know whether Lee is a surname or a given name in Korea. Some eastern nations put surnames first and given names last. I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I can't tell you how relieved I am...

that the Milwaukee Brewers and Cory Hart came to terms before the evil arbitration process caused bad blood between the two. As far as I am concerned, the 'Crew and Hart are made for each other. I'm not too fond of either one of them.

I have been trying to get to the bottom of my disdain for Corey Hart. I am not prone to hate people I've never met, so this really bothers me. After much soul searching (by "soul" I mean Google), this may be why I hate Corey Hart so much...

I wonder if the Brewers' Cory Hart wears his sunglasses at night too...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

HOF and Records for the Steroid Era

I've been inspired by Hank Aaron. His point of view of MLB records and their fall during the Steroid Era has me thinking. I am going to throw this topic out there for discussion, but first I would like to give you some quotes from Aaron regarding the all-time HR record:

"In all fairness to everybody, I just don't see how you really can do a thing like that and just say somebody isn't the record holder anymore, and let's go back to the way that it was." "If you did that, you'd have to go back and change all kinds of records, and the [home run] record was very important to me." "It's probably the most hallowed record out there, as far as I'm concerned, but it's now in the hands of somebody else. It belongs to Barry. No matter how we look at it, it's his record, and I held it for a long time. But my take on all of this has always been the same. I'm not going to say that Barry's got it because of this or because of that, because I don't know."

I completely agree with Mr. Aaron. The records from the Steroid Era should stand. Who can say what would have happened if steroids and other PEDs had not been introduced into the sport? Nobody. In the annals of history, everyone will know about Barry Bonds and his suspected (confirmed, if he is convicted of perjury) use of PEDs. Nobody will be looking at these numbers in a vaccuum. Everyone will know that Hank Aaron held the record without the cloud of suspicion. Someone will come along, years down the road, and take the all-time HR record from Bonds. He won't hold it forever.

The HOF is a different animal. Pete Rose was banned for gambling. The rules the forbid betting on games are there so that the results of the game aren't changed by some outside (or inside) force. I'm looking at you, Black Sox. Rose broke a rule that was to protect the integrity of the outcome of games. PEDs are designed to help a player change the outcome of a game. If it is found that Barry, in fact, used PEDs, he cannot go into the Hall unless the ban is also lifted on Rose. There's no other answer.

Just my two cents.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No four sweeter words than...

Pitchers and catchers report.

After a long winter of dumb rumors and steroid allegations, we can get back to the sport. Don't get me wrong, there will still be dumb rumors and steroid allegations, but at least that will be offset by athletic competition.

This is the time of the year that we will get to hear insane predictions as well. I am hoping some sports writer comes up with something like "Tim Lincecum will win 30 games this year." For you fans of the NL Central, this is the time of year that someone (incorrectly) predicts the Reds to be the "dark horse" of the division. "Their players are due for a breakout year. This may be it." Blech.

Anyhow, I can't contain my giddiness. I'm even ready to get into the WBC. That's how desperate I am for baseball...

Monday, February 9, 2009

No Snappy Title Here

Anything clever that I could think of would have already been printed in a newspaper, on a website, or on a blog. Of course, I am referring to A-Rod's admission of steroid use.

This is a big thing for baseball, although I didn't feel it was totally unexpected. I've already seen the articles claiming gloom and doom. I'm calling you out, Ted Keith.

A-Rod controversy spoils entire 2009 campaign before it begins

That dog won't hunt, monsignor. Let me tell you why I respectfully disagree, Mr. Keith. I will pick apart your article a la FJM.

Baseball's new season has not yet begun, but it has already been defined: This will be the season of Alex Rodriguez.

OK. I'm ready for your arguments. Go.

As surely as 1998 belonged to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and 2007 to Barry Bonds, 2009 will be all about A-Rod. It will be about steroid questions, explanations and controversy, about being suspicious of a ballplayer's achievements instead of a celebration of them.

I think you are drawing a faulty comparison here and you even point out your mistake. Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds all broke long-standing records in those years you mentioned. People followed those home run chases for months. Why wouldn't you remember that for a particular year? This A-Rod thing is a (presumably) one-time announcement. Besides, your theory is shot to hell when the next big name comes out from the 104 "anonymous" tests.

One general manager contacted for this story was asked what impact the Rodriguez story will have on the game this year. He begged off the topic, saying he just wanted to focus on spring training.

If I were an owner, I would fire my GM if he wanted to run his mouth about some player on another team. Really, what did you expect him to say?

Indeed, of all the reactions that have been expressed in the aftermath of the news about A-Rod, the most disappointing of all is this: The Steroid Era lives on.

I would more correctly term this the "Discovery of the Steroid Era Era." Players will still test positive for steroids, just as they will still test positive for amphetamines. I would find it hard to believe that we will see a big name player test positive this season.

This is not the first salvo of a new battle but rather the latest one in an old battle that everyone had hoped was finally over.

You can hope in one hand and crap in the other and...I forget how that goes. Anyhow, if you thought the Mitchell Report was the end of it, you are a complete moron. I would stop reading SI because of you, if it weren't for that delightful Mr. Verducci.

Baseball will need plenty of unexpected good news on the field in the coming months, because there are few known events forthcoming that will be sufficient enough to divert the attention from the Rodriguez saga.

I'm holding you to this sentence, jack-ass. This isn't done. We will revisit this after the season.

...Rodriguez's presence on the Dominican team will only serve as a giant distraction, this time with the worldwide media on hand to chronicle and inflame it.

No arguments here. Sports broadcasters will probably beat this one to death every time the Dominican team is mentioned.

The Yankees are always good for several storylines that can distract from any controversy at hand, but this year the Yankees are the controversy.

Aren't the Yankees always the controversy?

The only thing worse than having '09 be overshadowed by this tsunami of negative attention is the knowledge that it may only grow worse in the years to come. Rodriguez's was the only one of the 104 names on the list of players who tested positive for steroids in 2003 to be revealed. The rest of the list is out there somewhere and it seems to be only a matter of time before other names surface, bringing with them new stories and new controversy all over again.

I already covered this, fine sir.

As Rodriguez inches closer to the all-time home run record this story will explode all over again, a most unwanted sequel to the drama that played out just two years ago: the game's best player chasing its most hallowed record with the twin labels of "cheater" and "drug user" riding shotgun on his pursuit of history.

This is a statement of the obvious. I'm sure anyone who follows baseball could have come to this conclusion. I'm sure most did. I want to meet the guy that reads that and thinks, "Hmmmm, I never thought of that."

Just as baseball readied itself to rise from its winter slumber with the dawn of a new season, it has found that its long, national nightmare is still far from over.

I thought you hoped it would be over by now. Have you changed your mind during the writing of this article?

Seriously folks, I would be pissed if I was A-Rod. The MLBPA promised him an anonymous test. The MLBPA should have destroyed the file that linked names to test samples a long time ago. Why would you even want to hold on to that? The test was done to gauge steroid prevalence in MLB. They accomplished that. Good. Now destroy the samples and results for heaven's sake.

I'm not condoning A-Rod's use, but MLBPA really F'ed up.

Someone owes A-Rod (and eventually 103 others) big time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just for you little guy...

In honor of So being signed to a minor league deal by the Cubs, I have changed the title bar color of the blog. I hope you don't mind, Runningman.

Good Golly Miss Molly....

I will throw this out here right now. I know it is January and many things can happen between now and October, but the Cubs will be WS Champs in '09.


It's not just because I am an avid Cubs fan. It is really because of this. The Cubs now have the power of the So Swunt! Look out pitchers and hard-charging corner infielders. When you play the Cubs this year, you may have a new short-ball threat to worry about.

(Short-ball - adj.: Pertaining to baseballs that are hit 0 to 60 feet away from home plate.)

This is an apocalyptic sign for the Cubs two year run at the playoffs. I still think they would have to be the favorite in the NL Central. The Cardinals biggest offseason move is to count on Chris Carpenter to, once again, become their ace. I see shades of Wood and Prior cerca 2004-2006 in this decision. Milwaukee has really bolstered their pitching staff by losing the Sabathia sweepstakes and letting Ben Sheets persue other teams via free agency. But, hey, they signed 41 year old Trevor Hoffman. The rest of the division is just that...the rest of the division. The only team that may (and I want to stress "may") make noise is Houston. If they do, good for them. I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking for a better year in 2009.

Happy 2009 everyone. Now that the holidays are over and I am a little less pissed about the Yankees buying the free agent market, I can get back to posting.

I am not completely over the Yankees thing, so here is my abbreviated tirade. All I want in 2009 is for the Cubs to come into the new Yankee Stadium for the exhibition game and thoroughly trounce the Yankees. I think 37-5 would be an acceptable score. I'm all for teams spending money if they have it, but the Yankees do it in excess. The luxury tax payment doesn't make up for it, but whatever. I just hope that the baseball gods don't look favorably on the Yankees greed. Here's to a Yankees 40 man injury roster in 2009.

P.S. I really don't want only a Cubs exhibition game win in 2009. A WS Championship for the baby bears would also be nice.