Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Domo Arigato Mr. Ramirez

Baseball season started earlier than ever this year (I think the date is earlier, I know the 6:05 EST first pitch was early), following the trend set by Fat Tuesday and Easter (ironically, my New Year's was an hour later than usual.)

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth towards DirectTV who decided that giving me a consistent signal of ESPN and ESPNews was fine, but not ESPN2 which was carrying the game.

So basically, I woke up at 5:45am to follow a baseball game online.

I was all set to have a pre-7am beer too.

The overall verdict?

A win is a win is a win.
I will tell myself that often, so as to not fret about Dice-K nearly shitting the bed in the first inning, Papelbon looking decidedly un-Papelbon-ish, Big Papi going hitless, and Kyle Synder still pitching like he was on the Royals.

In the meantime, Jacoby Ellsbury can fly, literally, Manny is still Manny, and Brandon Moss...welcome to the bigs.

Baseball season just started and the Sox are in 1st place in the AL East.

Skipping over to the not-yet-playing-games-that-count National League...I'm cautiously optimistic about the Braves this season.

Last year they had a very good offense (once they added Texiera) and that figures to be true this season as well (yep, going out on a limb and predicting they don't miss Andruw Jones' 2007 production) but were stuck with Tim Hudson and John Smoltz as their only good pitchers, plus a deranged mess of a bullpen.

The bullpen may be better (it's certainly less David Wellsian in size), but the starting pitching could be vastly improved. If Mike Hampton can somehow be not the Mike Hampton of the past couple seasons (Viz. injured and not pitching) and Jair Jurgens can continue being surprisingly badass...suddenly the Braves have a really good starting rotation. Sure, no one's going to be Johan Santana...but the Mets don't have #4/#5 starters like say, Hampton, Glavine or Jurgens either. And over 162 games a good #1-5 trumps a great #1 each time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On Second Thought, Maybe No One Wants to Win It All

So the BCS bowl announcement should be on FOX soon (it's 7:30 pm EST right now...in the background I have sadly unmuted the annoying smugness that is Joe Buck, hoping that Rex Grossman and/or Eli Manning will hurry up and choke the game away).

Yesterday the #1 and #2 teams lost. UGA was #4.

Odds are, UGA doesn't play for the title.

You know what? I'm actually ok with that.

I said Nebraska didn't belong in 2001, and neither did OU in 2003. Of course both those teams also LOST their last game prior to the bowl, whereas UGA hasn't lost since the first weekend in October, something none of the other contenders for the BCS title can say.

But 11-2 and an SEC title trumps 10-2 and no SEC title in my book. Even though I think LLes Miles is an idiot and horrible public speaker (oh, and the misspelling of his first name is intention, given the number of Ls he gets per year.)

So my take is LSU sort of kind of deserves to be in the game.

Who doesn't? The Buckeyes.

Don't tell that to ESPN, who treated an Ohio State University in the title game as fait accompli from about halftime of the Big 12 title game on.

Of particularly crappy journalistic note was Kirk Herbstreit, who it should be noted played QB for anOSU in the early 90s, suddenly doing an about face from last year's politicking. He had no issue with a Michigan team, that just lost it's last game AND didn't win its conference, playing anOSU team again. But suddenly this year, everything's changed, and LSU's conference title mean's more than UGA's being previously ranked higher in the standings.

I'm not saying Herbie's biased, but it'd be nice if they put "Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN Analyst and former Ohio State QB" whenever he's on tv.

And the inconsistencies in reasoning bugs me.

UGA doesn't play and is penalized for it. AnOSU doesn't play and moves up.

LSU wins a conference title and moves up a lot. OU beats the #1 ranked team--by a large margin--and moves up, but only a little.

The worst possible scenario--a Hawaii-Kansas matchup--won't happen. I think.

But the best--and at this point I think it's an LSU-OU match up--won't either, because too many jacklegs at ESPN think Ohio State is the shit, despite:
1. No wins over a currently ranked team (vs. several other contenders having multiple wins over currently ranked teams.
2. Losing to the best team they played (a 9-3 Illinois team--in the Horsehoe--that was dismantled at a neutral site by Missouri).
3. Playing in the Big 10, which for this year at least, is one hell of a shitty conference if you go by the out-of-conference schedule. Sure, the Pac-10 had teams lose to Notre Dame, but Northwester lost to the only team Notre Dame whipped, Duke.

And worse, those old, tradition-loving Big 10 fans at the Rose Bowl will screw the public and UGA out of a game that could be better than the tile--USC-UGA--by selecting Illinois to keep "Tradition" alive. Leaving UGA playing Hawaii, who is overrated.


On second thought, blow it up: Kansas-Hawaii for the title.

I almost feel like I've watched too much college football yesterday anyway (probably because I was semi-bed ridden and feverish all day, and watched the Big 12 title because I felt too sick to go to an OPEN BAR company Christmas party. Yeah, being sick on the weekend sucks.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Baseball: In Theory

Why did the Sox of 2004 win a World Series and why are the Only-Team-In-ANY-Major-US-Sport-to-Blow-a-Three-Game-Playoff-Advantage-in-a-best-of-seven Yankees winning now?

Brutal 1-9 hitting with no (or very few) easy outs. (Because lets face it, I'm sure lots of Yankee fans expected to hit some HRs of Josh "Gopher" Beckett Saturday, but how many though it'd be the Corpse of Bernie Williams? )

There simply aren't enough high OBP, high P/PA folks on the FA market for the Sox to compete, hitting-wise with the Yankees next season (though we can always hope and pray for more of the older Yankee players to break down and have a rash of injuries that is statistically more likely as you get closer to mid-30s and 40.) But could there be an off-chance, fiscal possiblity of creating a dominating 1-5 of pitching?

This is long-shot, mostly talking out my ass thinking, mainly to see if any SoSH folks could run the numbers. Five true #1 starters probably isn't going to happen...but let's through another, hypothetical long-shot out there:

1. Schilling and Beckett stay on
2. A trade of two minor league hitting prospects (not both top prospects but likely one good PawSox guy) plus Lester, to the Astros for Roy Oswalt
3. Free agent: Jason Schmidt
4. Free agent: Barry Zito

Additional salary would have to be moved somehow to avoid Yankee-payroll levels, but one admittedly risky trade plus two (very) expensive but more-or-less safe free agent signings would give the Sox a pitching rotation of:
1. Schilling (playing for his legacy and wanting to go out on top)
2. Barry Zito (proven stuff for the AL, still fairly young and a lefty)
3. Jason Schmidt (power arm, possible injury risk due to age but still very good)
4. Roy Oswalt (multiple 20-game winner)
5. Josh Beckett (easily an ace if he gets the HRs under control).

The downside is the total cost for this 5-man rotation could be 60-70 million. But that's still a good bit less than the Yankee infield alone. The way to beat the Yankees is to out pitch them at this point...as the Yankee fan below pointed out (with perhaps too much pride) here's the Yankees rotation:

1. Mussina (not getting any younger, and his post ASB return to his higher career numbers mean any talk of him competing with Santanas of the world for a Cy Young are gone).
2. Wang (great young pitcher, not exactly lights out vs. the Sox, and some of us still think that his high groundball/low strikeout ratio will bite him in the ass one day. Especially with Bronze Glove A-Rod playing D. Add in the potential visage of Sheffroid playing 1st next season and that lineup may have to average 8+ runs to offset the defensive misery on the field.)
3. Randy Johnson. A few weeks ago the Yankee fans said he was old and cooked. Add another year to him.
4-5: Who? Getting Schmidt and Zito means they don't wind up in pinstripes.

So...can this (or part of it anyway) be done?

And will Theo and co. do it?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Poke 'em with a fork, they're almost done

So how has Theo Epstein gone from "Boy Genius" GM to "Grown-ass Man That Inexplicably Thinks Jason Johnson Can Pitch" GM in less than year?


If not for that WS title and triumph over the Yankees we fans would've seen what a dunderheaded move it was to let Pedro (THE best pitcher the Red Sox have ever had--including Clemens) go and, worse, how pretty much every trade or move related to pitching has sucked since then. Seriously, when David Wells has been your best pitcher brought in, something's gone very wrong.

Since Pedro was allowed to walk to Queens here's what Theo and co. have brought in to help Wake and Schill:
Matt Clement--sucks, also seemingly has a similar nancy-boy temperment like A-Rod's.
David Wells--pretty good when healthy, but at 43 and not exactly a shoo-in for a Men's Health cover, isn't often enough
(_____)--No starters were brought in for 2006, but with Arroyo and Papelbon as possible starters, who needs an extra starter? (*cue ominous music, hit Theo on the head for not talking the Reds into somehow taking Clement instead of Arroyo for Wily Mo*)
Jason Johnson--sucks. Only good thing about the kid was the brief moment of immature laughter at a Wang vs. Johnson game.
Kyle Synder--occasionally servicable out of the bullpin; sucks as as starter.

I won't even talk about the 'pen.

And Josh Beckett ain't ready for prime time.

2007 is Schilling's last season (probably...if he comes back, don't expect Clemens-type stuff in 2008). Beckett hasn't proved worthy as a #2 yet, and the reason the Sox are looking like a team that will be watching the playoffs on tv isn't just the bullpen.

Lester merely prolonged the inevitable, but he's not ready to be a #3 or even 4 starter. But when Tim Wakefield went on the DL that's what happened. The Sox then get really shitty guys struggling to go 5 innings every 5 days twice (#4 and #5 before Wells came back and got his "crap start back from the DL" out of the way) and the bullpen gets worn out. It's not helped by Beckett's inconsistantcy (when he wins, he's often great...when he loses, like the 8-walk day today, you really notice the shittiness).

So fuck it...if this is the season, and if this weekend is the dulled echo of '78's visit from the free-spending ass haberdashers from the Bronx, the front office needs to plan ahead.

Use EST if you have to, but convice Theo that Youk hits leadoff, not Coco. Wily Mo Pena (or in a pinch, Hinske or Mike Lowell) bats 5th. Give the good minor-leaguers some playing time. If Pedroia is ready to take over for Loretta next season, play him.

Then get better in the offseason, and any young pitcher not named Papelbon should be allowed as trade bait. Are Delcarmen, Hansen and Lester good? Sure. But if the team can sign Barry Zito and then use the younguns to trade for Andrew Jones (maybe Lester+Hansen+Crisp for Jones) a free agent middle-of the road starter and reliever can replace their likely production.

You then get a starting rotation of:
Clement or random mystery #5 starter

and a potential lineup of:

And if the contracts of Tavarez, Nixon and Clement (as well as Lowell) can be moved, new bullpen arms (and possibly an upgrade at SS) are possible.

$130 million should be better than a team that outside of Manny and Papi is inconsistant and streak at hitting and has no starting pitching depth and a depleted bullpen.

At the very least can someone plunk a Yankee hitter in the ass? Pedro would've done it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Good and Bad Day for Baseball

Yesterday had some good and bad.

The bad in that the Dawgs were unable to pound the Beavers (on the baseball field--the baseball field. You perverts) and are now on the likely boring flight home from Omaha. (Note: I figure, barring a "today's inflight movie: The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Baby Geniuses 2 double feature" announcement).

The upside is the Red Sox are capable of winning games even when they throw out a pitcher sporting an ERA above 20 and and a pedigree from that place where baseball goes to die (or to produce Johnny Damon--though given where he is now, and his current, fun-to-watch-if-he-wasn't-on-the-2004-team struggle to watch his brain cells compete to remain in greater number than the day before) aside all that, they can win with this guy starting.

The caveat is hopefully this doesn't happen as the result of some Faustian (re: Steinbrennerian) bargin; such as the ones that allowed the cursed Yankees to resurect Aaron Small from the scrap heap (temporarily) and transform Shawn Chacon from a 3-7 7.00 ERA NL pitcher to a sub-4.00 ERA, 7-3 AL East pitcher.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bold moves from the Sox soon to pay off.

Sure, it'd be nice if the Twins accepted their place in the AL Central, gave up, and both tanked tonight against Wake's knuckler and then decided that trading Santana for Julian Tavarez would be a good move.

But the Sox did do something. They got former Atlanta Braves All-Star catcher Javy Lopez for mediocre relief pitcher David Riske. And they're getting Javy to pitch (he had good numbers in the minor leagues, where he went by his full name, Javier).

Now if Cleveland could remember they're a better hitting team than the Yankees, and the Yankees could start playing like a team with an pitching staff anchored by a flimsy Wang and vets pushing into Rolling Stones'-aged territory, we'd be in business.

I'd say they should play like a team with injuries, but even if the injured players' salaries were removed they'd be a $160 million team. So fuck 'em. Let Mussina take a line drive off his leg and see if the Post makes any more cracks about David Wells.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Not Gone and No Longer Forgotten

Ok...the neglected blog needs a kick in the ass...

Or a new raison d'etre.

So rather than kick a bit of css stylesheets and xml in the ass, from this post on you get the new Wicked Pissah Y'all Blog.

Sports? Yeah, but pretty much confined to UGA, The Red Sox and bits and pieces of the Falcons, all heavily, heavily filtered through Rose-colored glasses.

If you want thoughtful, even-handed analysis, go elsewhere.

If you want comical bashing of A-Rod, Phil Fulmer-Urban Meyer Brokeback Mountain jokes and bold predictions such as Matthew Stafford throwing 25 TDs his freshman year despite not starting the first game, come here.