PILOT ARRESTED FOR BEING DRUNK BEFORE FLIGHT
California police arrested an Aloha Airlines co-pilot for allegedly being drunk as he tried to enter a plane to fly it from Oakland, Calif., to Hawaii Saturday...
...The FAA said a breath test indicated the pilot had a blood alcohol level of .18. The legal limit for pilots is .04. That means he was more than four times the legal limit.
The legal BAC for pilots is .04? WHY ISN'T IT ZERO? Why do pilots need to drink before flying?
DOUG MELVIN CHAT ON MLB.COM
Check out the entire transcript here.
On the bullpen...
"The difference between our bullpen this year is that we have more guys capable of longer performances, longer innings. We broke camp last year with five guys who would give you one inning. This year's cub, with Hernandez and Dave Burba and Ben Ford and Jeff Bennett, we have guys capable of giving you three innings."
Ned Yost and Doug Melvin have mentioned that they like the make-up of the bullpen this year because they have more pitchers available to go more than an inning. Sheets is the only real horse on the staff, so quite often the bullpen is going to have to work from the 6th inning on.
About the absence of a lefty in the pen...
"We feel that we will probably go without a left-hander, but do feel confident that a few of our right-handers are capable of getting left-handed hitters out. Unless we are going to add a quality left-hander, we need to go with the seven best arms we have in the bullpen."
In my opinion too much is made of a lefty vs. righty matchup sometimes. I like what Melvin says here. Why keep a lefty in the pen just for the sake of keeping a lefty? I throw left-handed...I don't think any clubs are going to be calling me in to face Jason Giambi anytime soon over whatever righty is available. I'll take a good righty vs. a left-handed hitter over a bad lefty vs. lefty everytime.
On playing "small ball"...
"Not necessarily. The lineup will be somewhat different than in the past, but we are not a team blessed with a lot of speed. Our offensive strengths are that we have selective hitters who use the whole field. I think you will see a lot of doubles this year as opposed to the home runs we have hit in the past. "
Other than Podsednik, who on this team can steal bases consistantly? It's nice to know that the organization understands that just because you don't have a lot of homerun hitters, that it doesn't mean you have to take unneccesary risks on the bases to make up for that lack of power.
On the club's chances in 2004...
"Baseball people view our division as a two-tier division, placing the Cubs, Cardinals and Astros in the first tier and the Reds, Brewers and Pirates in the second tier. We obviously want to be the best team in that second tier with a chance to jump up. I feel comfortable that our club has shown improvement, but what separates tier 1 from tier 2 is the pitching."
I figured that finishing "1st" in the second tier of teams in the NL Central was a goal (that is why I stated it as my goal for the club with my MLB Predictions on Mar 26). I plan on listing the "NL Central Second Division" Standings on this blog during the season.
QUESTION ABOUT THE MR. 3000 WRAP-PARTY
I received this question in the email bin...
"When you were hanging out with Bernie Mac, did you notice that he has a lazy eye?"
If you're not familiar with the story, scroll down to 03.29.04 ""MR. 3000" AND HANGING WITH BERNIE MAC"...
Sorry, Matt. I'm not going to make fun of people's personal appearance on my website. There really is no place for it here. I'm not going to make fun of Bernie Mac's lazy eye, or comment on how Chris Noth should wear a "bro" or "manzier", depending on which title you prefer. Sorry, I'm not going to do it.
MONEYBALL AUTHOR ON RADIO TOMORROW
Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball, is going to be on The Jim Rome Show tomorrow morning. I'm not sure on the exact time, but the show airs from 9AM-Noon PT.
Of course Moneyball is a must-read for any avid baseball fan. Personally, it was very interesting to read the behind-the-scenes banter between scouts and management during the 2002 First Year Player Draft.
COCKFIGHTING BAN UPHELD IN OKLAHOMA
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a ban on cockfighting despite the efforts of enthusiasts of the blood sport, who had tried to block the measure for over a year.
How would you like to be described as an "enthusiast" for cockfighting?
The ban, passed in November 2002 by a statewide vote of 54 percent to 46 percent, carries penalties of one to 10 years in prison for those convicted of engaging in the cockfighting business, as well as fines of up to $25,000.
It passed by only 54% to 46%!?!? What exactly is the "cockfighting" business? Is there a Don King-type promoter? I wonder if there is a ton of corruption like in real boxing.
Cockfighting is illegal in all other states except Louisiana and New Mexico.
Why would any state want to make the act of strapping razors to the beaks of roosters and having them peck at each other illegal? If your idea of America is one without cockfighting...If that's your idea of America--count me out.
NEW YORK POUNDS TAMPA BAY
The Yankees beat Tampa Bay 12-1 in the Far East this morning. Hideki Matsui went 3-5, Jorge Posada homered from both sides of the plate and Kevin Brown threw a solid game in his Yankee debut going K Brown 7 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run, 5 Ks and 0 BB. Now we have to wait until Sunday night for more Major League Baseball that counts.
YANKEES V. DEVIL RAYS PART 2
Kevin Brown makes his debut in pinstripes this morning. Jeremi Gonzalez throws for the Devil Rays. I assumed that this game would be on ESPN or ESPN2 but I was wrong. I stayed up late now and I have no baseball to watch. I could watch Kids in the Hall reruns on Comedy Central, but I think I'm going to go to sleep instead. I hope I wake up to a 2-0 Tampa Bay Devil Rays squad.
BREWERS 25-MAN ROSTER SET
This according to Brewers.mlb.com
Here is the article.
Assuming another move isn't made, here it is...
RHP Ben Sheets
LHP Doug Davis
RHP Matt Kinney
LHP Chris Capuano
RHP Wes Obermueller
RHP Brooks Kieschnick
RHP Luis Vizcaino
RHP Jeff Bennett
RHP Dan Kolb
RHP Dave Burba
RHP Ben Ford
RHP Adrian Hernandez
L Scott Podsednik, CF
L Craig Counsell, SS
L Lyle Overbay, 1B
L Geoff Jenkins, LF
R Junior Spivey, 2B
L Ben Grieve, RF
R Wes Helms, 3B
R Chad Moeller, C
R Gary Bennett, G C
R Bill Hall, IF
R Keith Ginter, UTL
R Trent Durrington, UTL
R Brady Clark, OF
...With no lefty in the pen, it wouldn't be surprising if the club made another move before Opening Day, April 5. Doug Melvin did say that ""It has got to be a good lefty. I am not going to add a lefty for the sake of adding a lefty."
...If a lefty is added to the pen Ben Ford would most likely be the odd man out.
...With the bench being all right-handed, Brooks Kieschnick looks to be the top left-handed bat off of the bench.
...The Brewers don't appear to be worried about the first 5 of 6 hitters in the lineup hitting form the left-side of the plate. The club points to the fact that there are only two left-handed starting pitchers in the NL Central at the start of this season (Andy Pettitte in Houston and Oliver Perez in Pittsburgh).
...In regards to Matt Kinney, I wonder how long of a leash he will have. He struggled in September last season and had a rough spring training. The Brewers now have the depth to replace him if he falters.
...Top to bottom the club appears on paper to be better than last years team. With the depth in the minor leagues, even a few injuries won't break this team (unless guys like Sheets or Jenkins get hurt).
OAKLAND SENDS KOONCE TO THE MINORS
Graham Koonce, the SABRmetricians dream, was sent to the minor league camp today. Koonce is 29 and is blocked by the likes of Erubiel Durazo, Bobby Kielty, Scott Hatteberg, and Eric Karros for the 1B/DH spot with Oakland.
Koonce in 2003 (at AAA Sacrmento)
480 AB, 23 2B, 1 3B, 34 HR, 115 RBI, 98 BB, 119 K
Koonce has basically been over or near .400 in OBP for the past few seasons
2003 in AAA .403 OBP
2002 in AA .440 OBP
2001 in AA .429 OBP
2000 in A+ .425 OBP
1999 in A+ .392 OBP
In 1998 Koonce played independant ball at Chico (.331/.426/.517).
This is how he did in the minors in the years before that.
1997 in A- .287/.422/.392 (3 HR)
1996 in A .238/.323/.345 (8 HR)
1995 in A- .280/.349/.374 (3 HR)
1994 in R+ .208/.364/.242 (0 HR)
It seems like Koonce had very little power when he was young. I'm interested to hear why he was released after a solid campaign in 1997.
CAPUANO IN THE ROTATION AS ESTRELLA AND FRANKLIN ARE TRADED TO SF
The Brewers traded Wayne Franklin and Leo Estrella to the Giants for minor league pitchers Glenn Woolard and Carlos Villanueva. Franklin simply walks too many and gives up way too many homeruns. Franklin also has absolutely horrible pitching mechanics. I'm aware that this is a subjective opinion. Whenever a player has poor mechanics it is difficult for them to remain consistent, because so many things have to work together in order for the best results to be achieved. Franklin threw about as far across his body as I have ever seen a MLB pitcher throw (who wasn't a sidearm or submarine guy). Add to his poor mechanics, his propensity for walking hitters, his below average fastball (meaning giving up lots of jacks) and you have a recipe for ineffectiveness. Estrella had a decent year out of the pen for the Crew in '03 after being picked up off of the scrap heap by Doug Melvin. Estrella has lots of action on his fastball, which is why he was a pretty good fit in Miller Park. With all of the young arms the Brewers have though this is a good move.
Wayne Franklin in 2003
30 years old
10-13, 5.50 ERA
34 GS, 194.2 IP, 201 H, 36 HRA, 94 BB, 116 K
...Too many HRA
...Lots of hits allowed
...slow, straight fast-ball
Leo Estrella in 2003
29 years old
7-3, 4.36 ERA
58 AP, 66 IP, 75 H, 10 HRA, 21 BB, 25 K
...High HRA for reliever
...Good sink on fastball
Carlos Villanueva in 2003 (at Scottsdale, R)
20 years old
3-6, 3.97 ERA
59 IP, 64 H, 1 HRA, 67 K, 13 BB
Glenn Woolard in 2003 (at Hagerstown, A-)
23 years old
8-9, 3.44 ERA
25 GS, 144 IP, 126 H, 10 HRA, 135 K, 43 BB
This was said by Ned Yost about Capuano's chances at the rotation...
"To be realistic, it's probably an easier decision now," Yost said before heading to the meeting. "(Capuano) is pretty impressive. Our goal as a (pitching) staff is to get better. He brings that to us. He threw 13-pitch and 14-pitch innings today. That's a key for for us, because it doesn't chew up the bullpen."
If Capuano is a decent back-of-the-rotation guy, the Sexson trade will look even better.
BIG STEIN IS NOT HAPPY
The Yankees lost to the Devil Rays, 8-3 in Japan. Tampa Bay outhit New York 15-7. Despite giving up two runs in the first inning on a Jason Giambi pop-up HR to left, Victor Zambrano turned in an impressive performance against a very tough lineup. 6 Innings, 3 Earned Runs. Good enough for a quality start and a victory on Opening Day.
No word on whether or not Big Stein called Brian Cashman into his office to curse him out, or whether or not Big Stein fired anybody after the completion of the game.
I woke up at 2am to watch the game and stayed up for about the first three innings. I fell asleep and then woke up again in the top of the ninth. I'm getting pathetic at my old age.
I won't be updating this site until later tonight, but there are a lot of posts from yesterday to keep all of you entertained hopefully.
DODGERS AFTER MENCH
I heard on the radio today that Los Angeles is trying to acquire Texas OF Kevin Mench. Mench is a solid hitting prospect (26 years-old, .275/.341/.452 with 17 HR in 491 MLB ABs), but is definitely not the type of bat that the McCourt family promised to acquire. If they make this deal I guarantee Dodgers fans are going to get all worked up saying "This is the bat you promised us? Kevin Mench?!?!". Making this deal would give the Dodgers the player with the largest hat-size in baseball (Mench wears an 8!).
OPENING DAY KIND OF
I don't think I like the way the season starts when two teams are on the other side of the planet starting at 2am PT. Especially when the other 28 teams still have a few more spring training games left. My plan is to go to bed now (11pm) for a few hours and then wake up at 2am to watch the game, then sleep until I have to wake up (about 9:30am). Mike Mussina vs. Victor Zambrano. The Yankees' lineup vs. poor Victor Zambrano. BASEBALL SEASON IS HERE!!!
ASB 2005 CASHES IN ON BARTMAN
I was just reading the developers' diary about All-Star Baseball 2005, which is now out for XBox and is going to be released for PS2 tomorrow. ASB has an awesome franchise mode, complete with salary arbitration, the 40-man roster, minor league options and basically anything else you can think of. I did find this particular feature intriguing...
"One of our favorite challenges (especially for our Cub fans) is the "Leaping Alou" scenario. It's game 6 of the NLCS and Luis Castillo steps to the plate with one out. He hits the infamous foul ball towards the stands in left. This time we give you the chance to make the catch with Alou as the fans will stay out of his way. It's not as easy as it sounds; you'll have to time your leap carefully."
I have a better idea...Why don't they pick the game up from when Alex Gonzalez booted the potential double-play ball? How about they pick it up from just before Kyle Farnsworth came into the game and absolutely got lit-up? Why don't we go back to the start of the inning when Dusty Baker didn't have somebody ready in the bullpen? Even if Bartman didn't make contact with that ball (and assuming the other two or three people that reached for the ball didn't make contact with it either) there was no guarantee that Alou was going to catch that ball anyway.
You know what. I like this feature. Let Cubs fans make the catch and win the game and then go onto the World Series and win it. I hope winning the World Series in All-Star Baseball 2005 will fill the huge void in their lives left by the almost hundred-year stretch without a World Series victory.
Go ahead Cubs fans. Blame your futility on Bartman, a black cat walking in front of the dugout at Shea Stadium, and not letting a goat into the 1945 World Series. Instead of blowing up the Bartman ball, why not blow up Alex Gonzalez's glove or Dusty Baker's wrist bands?
Thanks to JD Arney for linking Against the Grain to his Reds Blog. JD has a cool post about TV crushes (including a nice picture of Gillian Anderson). Make sure to keep going back to his blog during the season as the Brewers are looking down on the Reds from their lofty perch in fourth place in the NL Central.
"MR. 3000" AND HANGING WITH BERNIE MAC
The release date for the Bernie Mac film "Mr. 3000" has been set for September 24, 2004. Click here to see the movie poster (thanks to Joe Duellman for scouring the internet for this).
As a brief synopsis, Bernie Mac plays a Milwaukee Brewer who comes out of retirement at the age of about 45 or something to get three more hits (that for some reason were taken away) for 3,000.
I actually had the privilege of working on the set of this movie when it was filmed last summer in Miller Park. I haven't seen the actual movie or anything, but from the scenes I saw that were filmed at the stadium it looks like it could be okay. It was originally supposed to be a drama, but in post-production there were new scenes added to steer it more towards a comedy.
It was fun watching the actors try to play baseball. I don't want to be rude because I know they're paid to act, not play ball. But BMac took some ugly hacks in the scenes that required him to actually hit. I think the most pathetic display was by Chris Noth (Law and Order, Sex and the City) who is the GM of the Brewers in the movie I believe. Anyway, while they were filming Stan Ross' (Bernie Mac's character) retirement ceremony on the field, between scenes Noth was playing catch (and you can guess what kind of arm strength he had). Think of your grandmother using her opposite arm. Why was he even playing catch? He's the GM.
The best part about working on the set was being able to attend the wrap-party when shooting closed. There I was, with my friend Joe (who had his hair cut into a mullet the night before, which is an entirely different story) and was sporting this like wanna-be movie star/David Bowie look...Red suit, sunglasses inside. "There are only two kinds of people who wear sunglasses inside: blind people and a**holes"-Larry David.
Anyway, so we got there at about 8:30pm and didn't really recognize anybody (meaning no celebs). Angela Bassett, who plays Stan Ross' love interest in the movie had all ready escaped Milwaukee. At about 9:30 BMac's posse rolls up which included his assistant and a few other people. Bernie Mac was wearing this North Carolina Blue sweatsuit and carrying around a bottle of water and two cigars. Bernie Mac's wardrobe was interesting. Every time I saw him around the set and at the wrap-party he was wearing something with his name on it. "Who you wit? Bernie Mac" was on the back of everything. I'd like to get to the status in life where I have my name on my clothes (and no, bowling shirts don't count).
The highlight of the night was definitely when BMac walked by me and Joe (we had staked out a spot by the door that connected the lobby of the venue to the main room. Anyway, Bernie Mac walked by me and I gave him one of those cool-guy head nods and said "what's up" and Bernie just kinda nodded. I'm not sure if he nodded at me or at the crowd in general but it was pretty cool.
One of the other "stars" in this movie, Dondre Whitfield (most of you probably remember him from The Cosby Show) sat down at a table where Joe and I were at and talked with me and the people I was with for a good five minutes. Two thoughts came to my mind:
1) Wow, this was nice of him
2) This guy really should have something better to do
My explanation for the second thought was that the wrap-party was in Milwaukee and that there really weren't any real celebrities there in the first place.
I'm sure you're all wondering what work I did on the movie. Other then bring my lap-top and play NBA Live 2003 while the movie was being shot, I did a lot of the work that is supposed to be on the scoreboard in the background. Stuff like balls and strikes, runs scoring and putting up the animations when Bernie Mac's character gets a hit. There were so many continuity errors in the film. For example: there is a shot of the scoreboard. The Brewers have 0 hits, 0 runs and the opponent has 0 errors, yet the #3 hitter is leading off the bottom of the second. I said something but nobody seemed to care. Another ridiculous mistake is when Pennybaker has something like 47 HR and 64 runs scored (while maintaining an AVG over .300). If you look closely at the scoreboard shots I think you'll be able to catch them if you have even a little baseball knowledge. The thing that amazes me is that the movie producers paid a "baseball guy" to create these stats.
Overall it was a really cool experience. To see the stagnant nature of movie production was something I'll never forget. Most importantly, I ate tons of free food and got to mingle with one celebrity and a bunch of B-list ones.
According to an article on Brewers.mlb.com, Doug Melvin has said that Matt Kinney, Doug Davis and Ben Sheets are "the top three guys at this point." That leaves Ben Ford, Adrian Hernandez, Wayne Franklin, Chris Capuano and Wes Obermueller fighting for the final two spots.
My gut feeling is that Obermueller will fill one of the two final spots in the rotation, leaving Ben Ford, A Hernandez, Franklin and Capuano fighting for that last spot.
Time to fill people (or just myself) with optimism...
Sheets had an ERA of 4.45 last season, but an ERA Component (thanks to the Bill James 2004 Handbook) of 3.83. Meaning that bad luck may have contributed to his ERA being higher than it should have been.
Davis, despite being an incredibly soft-tossing lefty, dazzled teams once he came to Milwaukee and has had a tremendous spring. Usually soft-tossing lefties get hammered in the big leagues, but there are exceptions (Jamie Moyer, for one).
Kinney pitched pretty well last season, although struggled with control at times. His September was awful, and that ended up making his season look worse than it was.
Obermueller's last start of the season vs. Houston (when Houston still had hopes of making the playoffs) was his best of 2003. Again, his season stats were skewed by a few bad starts.
DUDE GOES LORENA BOBBITT ON HIMSELF
I got a few emails telling me to comment on this. I would prefer not to, but I know that people like Kevin in Santa Barbara won't stop sending me emails about this until I say something.
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A Cambodian man cut off his penis when he said he was visited by four hungry spirits in a dream and he had no chicken or duck to offer them.
According to police, 33-year-old Soun Ney told the spirits to go away when they first appeared to ask for food, and waved his penis at them in defiance.
"Devils, I don't have any chicken or duck for you," he was quoted as saying by local police chief Phoeung Vat. "If you want to eat anything, you can eat my penis."
Now I've never been confronted by hungry spirits in the middle of the night. I'd like to think that I'd explore other options of food before severing an appendage. I don't understand how this thought process works. "Chicken? no. Duck? no. Penis? yes!".
Soun Ney said the spirits agreed to eat his penis. He was rushed to a hospital near the capital Phnom Penh after he castrated himself with a butcher's knife.
The spirits "agreed" to eat his penis. I wonder how much convincing it took.
"He is lucky to be alive," Phoeung Vat told Reuters.
I'm not sure I'd want to be alive after this.
Villagers in the deeply impoverished southeast Asian traditionally offer chicken, duck or cake to the spirits of the dead to ward off bad luck.
I noticed that it doesn't mention whether or not villagers traditionally offer spirits their severed genitals.
Okay I talked about it. Now can we go back to sports?
FRANCO: 5 MORE YEARS!, PITCHERS 'ROIDING UP, AND MORE REALITY TV
Peter Gammons' latest article can be found here.
I've decided to copy some of the content from the article along with my analysis.
"From Julio Franco, now 45 and still a terrific hitter: "My plan is to play five more years, retire, then go the low minors and work my way back to the majors as a manager, When I retire, I want to manage in the majors, but I want to do it the right way, starting at the bottom and earning my way to the big leagues.""
A few comments...
...First of all, nobody really believes Franco is "only" 45, do they?.
...By the time Franco goes to the minors and works his way back to the bigs as a manager the position will be taken over by super-intelligent robots.
...This guy must really hate his family. Dude, take a year off and spend some time with the kids and the Mrs.
"...one veteran pitcher says, "there was a lot more steroid use with pitchers than people think. That's why you'd see such a wide range in velocity during the season. You'd see a guy throwing 95, then 88-90 a month later. It all runs according to cycling. Be careful with guys in spring training who suddenly are throwing much harder than they had in the past.""
...Talking to a former minor league pitcher in the Cleveland and Los Angeles organizations, he told me that he felt that "very few, if any" pitchers juiced (slang term for steroids for those of you not in the know). I tend to agree with this assertion, because overpowering strength doesn't really factor into power as a pitcher like it does for a hitter. With that said, however, I think it's safe to assume that a few pitchers have at the very least experimented with it.
...If steroids helped pitchers, don't you think more of them would have the freakishly large heads and gynormous upper-bodies that most of the homerun hitters in the game today have?
...Pitchers velocity goes up and down all the time during the course of a season. It isn't uncommon for a guy to have a "dead" or "tired" arm. Also mechanics play a large part in velocity. Something simple like a pitcher over-striding or having his front-shoulder "fly" open could decrease his velocity significantly, not to mention what an injury of some type could do to velocity as well.
...As a general comment, all baseball needs now is pitchers to be accused of steroid use. "Did you see Randy Johnson hit 100mph? That guy has to juice! Or how about Pedro Martinez, you know he's 'roided up!"
"Which will be the first team to announce a Dream Job promotion for next spring? Pay $500, go to a tryout camp at the spring training facility for four days -- cutdowns each day -- and the best player in the end gets a non-roster invitation for the first two weeks of spring training. Look for about a dozen teams to try it..."
Please let this be a joke...Please...I can't take more reality TV. I just can't (see "REALITY TV" from earlier in the day). If this does happen though, I have a few suggestions:
...The contestants have to see Rod Beck naked in the shower (and not vomit)
...Participants have to try out for Tampa Bay and deal with Sweet Lou Pinella.
...Each participant can't laugh when Pinella guarantees that they won't lose 100 games.
...When a player is cut they must go on all kinds of morning talk-shows and discuss their experience (in case people didn't understand what happened as they watched them on the show the first time).
...The contestants take part in a real-life spring training brawl in which no punches are thrown, only two or three people exchange words, and the rest of the people go out and stand around and pretend like they're concerned.
...Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco have to be invited.
On second thought, this idea is so unfair. You know that the Yankees, Braves, Red Sox and other big-market teams are going to steal all the reality TV pros like Coolio, Stephen Baldwin and Screetch leaving teams like Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Montreal fighting over people like Jon (the 28 year-old virgin cowboy from the first Real World), the guy that played Eddie on Family Matters, and one of the other Baldwin brothers.
I was just looking through the headlines under the "entertainment" section of Yahoo! news and there were at least four references to reality TV. Why won't this go away? Evidently, I'm in the minority. I'm not down with reality TV. No matter how many people are shown eating pig intestines, or how many people are finding their future spouse, I just won't cross over to the darkside, I'm sorry.
Perhaps this Seinfeld conversation can better articulate how I feel...
"What is going on? I feel like I'm in that one Twighlight Zone episode where the guy wakes up and he's the same and everybody else is different"-Jerry
"Which one was that"-George
"Ahh they were all like that"-Jerry
When will reality TV find its necessary place on the scrap heap of discarded American pop-culture phenomena such as ska music, the phrase "don't go there" and anything involving the original cast of Saved By the Bell.
I'd like to send a special thanks to David Pinto from BaseballMusings.com for giving me a mention on his website. For those of you who have checked out Against the Grain through the honorable Mr. Pinto's website (or those of you who have found out about it by other means) feel free to send me an email asking any question or just to say 'hi'. If you want a more detailed description of what this website is about and who I am scroll down to 'What Makes You So Special?' from yesterday.
Thanks a lot and keep on keepin' on,
MVP BASEBALL 2004
I bought EA Sports' new game MVP Baseball 2004. I actually like the gameplay a lot. I have been a loyal customer of Acclaim's All Star Baseball the past few years, but thought I'd give MVP a shot. I think the game play is better in MVP but the front-office features from last years All Star Baseball game have MVP beat.
Positives of MVP Baseball
Real minor league affiliates for AAA and AA
Lots of old stadiums and throwback uniforms
Game play is probably the best I've seen for PS2
Setting line-ups and rotations for minor league affiliates
No 40 man roster (so you can send players up and down without having to clear waivers)
The game misleads you into thinking they have all the real minor leaguers when in fact they don't.
Computer will make dumb trades.
In general I'd say buy MVP Baseball 2004 if you're looking more for a game to only play (as opposed to simulate). The simulation mode is enough to get you by, but not as good as ASB 2004 (and I'd like to see ASB 2005 before I make my final decision on which game is better).
MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE
In case you noticed (or even if you didn't) I haven't made a post here since early this morning. That is because I was at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles today. Despite the somewhat odd name, it actually was an interesting experience.
"Isn't tolerance just another word for leftist propaganda?"-Michael Savage (from a commercial they run on AM 1340 The Game in Santa Barbara, CA).
While I was going through the exhibits on hatred towards homosexuals, African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, and a few other groups, I couldn't help but think about different professional athletes that should've been going on the tour with me, and which exhibits they would've enjoyed the most...
Todd Jones (the part about irrational hatred towards homosexuals)
Reggie White (see Todd Jones)
Fuzzy Zoeller (the Civil Rights portion of the tour)
John Rocker (pick an exhibit)
On a more serious note, it's interesting for me to think what the country was like as little as forty years ago. To see how far the United States and world has come since then is quite remarkable, although it still can be better. Whenever we are all confronted with difficult tasks where no solution seems to be in sight, I think it is inspiring to look back at how relations between blacks and whites in America was and where it is today.
BREWERS FIGURE TO HIT FEWER HOMERUNS IN 2004
From the Journal Sentinel...
With Richie Sexson (45 homers in 2003), Eric Young (15), John Vander Wal (14) and Royce Clayton (11) gone, the Brewers figure to hit considerably fewer home runs this season.
Now my purpose is not to rag on the Brewers like so many people love to do. But I just have to say, how pathetic was your offense when Eric Young and Royce Clayton are mentioned as players with homerun power?
I don't even know if I agree with this statement. Richie Sexson is the real homerun power they'll miss. Keith Ginter should hit 15+, Junior Spivey, Jr should hit more than 10. Grieve should cover Vander Wal's 14.
The Brewers led NL teams in doubles in spring training. I think this is a good thing because:
1) A lot of doubles turn into homeruns in Miller Park
2) Doubles for younger players have a tendency to turn into homeruns as they get older
Although it is a positive, I think Ned Yost took it a bit too far.
"This is the kind of team we've been saying we're going to have," Yost said. "Home runs are great but doubles almost are better. You get a lot of guys in scoring position."
I think Ned Yost is the right type of personality for this job. He is a positive person, which is exactly what a young team that has been nothing short of awful for the past decade needs. But come on Ned, "Home runs are great but doubles are almost better". You're better than that.
RICKY GUTIERREZ TRADED TO THE METS
The Cleveland Indians sent Gutierrez to the New York Mets along with cash for a player to be named later. If you remember, Gutierrez signed that relatively big contract (3 years, 11.5 Mil) with Cleveland. He had a decent 2001 (.290/.345/.402) the year before Cleveland signed him but many people were still shocked at the deal. I find it kind of funny, although Cleveland is reportedly paying the bulk of his salary, that yet another player with a ridiculous contract is wearing a Mets uniform.
WHAT MAKES ME SO SPECIAL?
Somebody asked me what is going to set my weblog apart from the others. I'm not really entirely sure how to answer that but I'll attempt anyway. I think the difference between mine and others is that I am currently employed by a Major League organization (the Milwaukee Brewers) and although not anywhere near the top of the food chain, I'm in enough to know a lot of the inner workings of what goes on within the club.
Also, I am currently playing baseball at a higher level (California JuCo) which for those of you who don't know, is estimated to rank somewhere between Division II and low-end Division I college baseball (at least in the conference that I am playing in). Also, I used to be hardcore "old school". For an example, I walked twice my Junior year of high school (in about 35 games) because I wanted to be "aggressive" and because "you don't walk your way out of the sticks into the big time" (similar to not being able to walk your way off the island). I discovered Rob Neyer, Bill James, and others early in my senior year in high school and parlayed my new-found knowledge into leading my conference in walks the next season.
So what will set apart my weblog from others is that I am currently playing baseball, so I am confronted with the dogmatic teachings from within the game, but I am armed with the knowledge to challenge and defeat some of those teachings. I have an edge over the traditional baseball guys because I understand SABRmetric teachings like the importance of OBP and SLG over AVG and all of that. I feel I have an advantage over the SABRmetricians because I actually played baseball, and still play it to this day. All of this while being connected to a Major League organization and having relationships with players and management within the game and being able to put my own unique spin on news inside and outside of the game. Plus my Grandma always told me I was special, and she wouldn't lie, would she?
HOW FAR HAS JR. FALLEN?
When I first started to take a serious interest in baseball, Ken Griffey Jr. was baseball. He was a tremendous defensive CF and continued to put up big numbers at the plate. This was the player that was going to break Hank Aaron's homerun record. Then he got traded to Cincinnati. He might as well have been traded off the face of the Earth (because that's basically where he has been since 2001). This spring there have been rumors that "Griffey is back!" but I think I've grown skeptical of those rumors after hearing them for the fourth straight year. Griffey is 6 for 31 this spring (.194) and according to a scout quoted in Jayson Stark's latest column "has absolutely no balance at the plate right now" and was also described by one scout as "playing with disinterest". This reminded me of an interview I saw with him on ESPN not to long ago. To describe Jr as "jaded" would be an understatement. I can make the observation from the outside looking in that Jr doesn't seem to be having any fun anymore, but I don't really know for sure. Others have made similar claims, but it's difficult to get inside of somebody's head and know what they are really thinking. Imagine being anointed the one to break the most prestigious record in all of sports one day, and to be an over-the-hill bust seemingly in a blink of an eye. It isn't very difficult to understand why Griffey might not be having as much fun as he once did. One thing is for sure: the Ken Griffey Jr. I grew up watching in the 1990's doesn't exist anymore. He's no longer hitting .300 with 40+ homeruns and winning gold gloves, all with a smile on his face. Now he's playing less than 100 games a year, hitting about .260 and falling victim to some sort of freakish injury like clockwork.
RICHARD SIMMONS PUNKS SOME DUDE IN AIRPORT
Richard Simmons allegedly struck a man in a Phoenix airport when upon spotting the fitness guru he said, "everybody, it's Richard Simmons, let's drop our bags and rock to the '50s". Dude, its sweatin' to the oldies, not "rock to the 50's". Come on. I see you working though. Maybe that's what upset Simmons so much. If you're going to be an obnoxious jackass in an airport, at least be a factually correct obnoxious jackass. That's just my feeling on the subject.
Simmons has got to get some thicker skin. The man didn't make fun of him for his perm, his dolphin shorts or even his tank-tops.
Assuming the man files a lawsuit, is it really worth the 10G's to be known as "the guy that got bitch slapped by Richard Simmons?" You know if this ever went to trial it would be an assault on the alleged victim's manhood. The scenario is so funny I'm just going to stop typing and let everybody think of that.
AVRIL DISSES LIZZIE MCGUIRE
I thought I'd take a break away from the crazy world of sports and delve into the crazier world of entertainment. Props to Joe Duellman for breaking this huge story.
"Canadian pop rebel Avril Lavigne has launched another scathing attack on teen rival Hilary Duff - just weeks after describing the adolescent actress as a "mommy's girl". The hitmaker, 19, criticized the 16-year-old Lizzie McGuire star after Duff said Lavigne needs to be more appreciative of her fans. When questioned about her feud with Duff, Lavigne slammed the blonde beauty for a second time on a Boston radio station last week. Lavigne scathed, "I'm like, 'Who are you to talk about me? You should know better.' Don't talk trash with me. You can go screw yourself." After fuming about Duff, Lavigne ripped a photo of herself down off the station wall, screaming, "I hate that f***ing photo." "
...I like how the article described Avril Lavigne as "the hitmaker".
...Wow, Avril is such a badass. How can she be a "pop rebel" when she sings pop songs?
...I wonder if Avril writes her own insults, seeing as she doesn't write her own songs.
BONG, PROSPECT TO CINCY, RIETSMA TO THE ATL
Every reader between the ages of 14-24 I'm sure has been waiting for me to talk about newly acquired Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jung Bong. Bong was acquired along with a top Atlanta pitching prospect in Bubba Nelson for Chris Rietsma. This is a good deal both ways I think. Atlanta is still holding on to hopes that they can win the NL East for the 30th year in a row, and Cincinnati is rebuilding. Atlanta's bullpen is very questionable. Unfortunately, with Bong being dealt to Cincinnati that means no more Skip Caray announcing "and that's another hit off of Bong, the third in the inning". Okay, I covered it, everybody can grow up now.
SPIVEY SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Junior Spivey, Jr (yes that is his full name. I couldn't make this stuff up) says he meant no disrespect to the city of Milwaukee when he said he was "devastated" to have been traded. I wonder if he was as surprised to have been traded to Milwaukee as he is that he is still in Milwaukee. Supposedly Junior Jr is heathly and if so that means he might return to form. I don't expect him to have a .301/.389/.476 year like he did in '02, but I don't think something like .280/.350/.450 (with say 15 homeruns) is out of the question. Especially at Miller Park a.k.a. Coors Field Midwest, Spivey could have a 20 homerun year.
WHY IS JENKINS STILL IN LEFT?
It really is an interesting question. Especially when considering the following:
1) Jenkins is a very good outfielder.
2) Ben Grieve (likely RF for MIL) is a very bad outfielder
3) The Brewers plan on giving Brady Clark and Keith Ginter innings in RF
Notice I didn't mention Jenkins' arm strength in this. While it is certainly an advantage for a RF to have a strong arm, I think its a misconception to believe that is why a player is put in RF. The reason you put a talented defensive outfielder (or the better defensive OF of the two corner positions) in RF is to prevent singles from becoming doubles and doubles from becoming triples. There are very few triples hit to LF. It is true that a strong arm can prevent bases from being advanced, but in general an OF's ability to cut a ball off in the gap or make a good read on a ball will have a greater influence on how many bases are advanced as opposed to just pure arm strength.
I can address the statement that "RFs have strong arms" by explaining it this way: RFs are good defensively, so that is usually why they have good arms. It just goes with the package. Rarely will you see a player who is a mess in the outfield but has a cannon (although there are exceptions)...Typically you will see players like that in LF. Shannon Stewart is a guy that has an incredibly weak arm but plays RF because he is solid with the glove. With the Mets, Cliff Floyd had a better arm then Cedeno, but they kept Floyd in LF and Cedeno in RF.
I'm guessing that since Jenkins came up a LF and has established himself as one of the best defensive LFs in the game they don't want to mess with him now. Burnitz blocked him in RF when he came up, but Burnitz left after 2001 and since then the Brewers were filling RF with guys like Jeffrey Hammonds, John Vander Wal, Matt Stairs, Brady Clark, Izzy Alcantara, Jim Rushford, Jason Conti, and whoever else has played RF for the Brewers. Why not move him to RF before the 2002 season? In baseball, just like in life, people get labeled all the time. Maybe the Brewers just "think" Jenkins is a LF...Just like the White Sox labeled Chad Bradford as a "successful minor leaguer" that couldn't get hitters out in the big leagues for example.
URBINA CLOSE TO SIGNING WITH DETROIT
ESPN.com is reporting that Urbina is close to signing with the Tigers. Everybody knows what this means right? Now once a week or so we'll get to see Urbina and IRod go Magic and Isiah and kiss after each of Urbina's 24 saves this year.
EUSTACHY HIRED AT SOUTHERN MISS
Its nice to see a guy get a second chance. He had a successful career at Iowa State. The Cyclones won the Big 12 in 2000 and 2001. I just hope that there are certain provisions written into his contract, because an alcoholic is never "cured", they are always "recovering". Maybe provisions like "no sending your team back after a 20 point road loss while the head coach stays back and attends parties in the dorms" or "the coach can't kiss chunky 20 year-old college girls while getting drunk on Naty Lights". I'm just looking out for the best interests of everybody involved here.
This brings me to another point. Everybody has been to a college party, and usually you don't know everybody there. But there always seems to be the "old guy". "Dude, who's the old guy? He's got to be like 26". I mean I've been to parties where there have been guys probably in their late twenties, but never in their late 40's. I was at the University of New Mexico over Thanksgiving break, and there was this approximately 27 year-old guy who kept asking me if he could "bum a cig" about every 15 minutes. Usually when there is a really old guy at a party we all just kind of point and laugh to ourselves. What if that "old guy" was about fifty and the head basketball coach of the school that just lost to your school by 20? I guess the best solution would be to buy him a Naty light and give him a chunky co-eds face to lick.
The moral of this story is that there are certain people that shouldn't be rolling up to college parties. So if you're 25, or if you're the head coach of a Division 1 college basketball team, you probably should just stay away.
MEL GIBSON'S "THE PASSION" INFLUENCES MAN TO CONFESS TO MURDER
I read about this here. The only real question I have is: if this can make some guy confess to a murder, is there anyway we can get OJ to watch this movie?
JUAN CRUZ TRADED TO ATLANTA
I guess this shouldn't be all that big of a surprise. Cruz has been a bit of a disappointment in Chicago. He had an opportunity to become a starter when it was announced that Mark Prior would be on the DL to start the season but got knocked around in his three starts in spring training so the Cubs decided to deal him. Chicago has a few good pitching prospects, so they had flexibility. I'm a little surprised that they didn't deal Cruz for a player that could fill a void on the roster at the big league level, as opposed to dealing Cruz and Steve Smyth for two other prospects. Jim Callis of Baseball America has an analysis of this trade and a few others on ESPN.com.
American League predictions...
BOS 93-69 ---
NYY 89-73 4.0
TOR 78-84 15.0
BAL 76-86 17.0
TB 62-100 31.0
KC 88-74 ---
MIN 81-81 7.0
CLE 77-85 11.0
CWS 76-86 12.0
DET 65-97 23.0
OAK 96-66 ---
ANA 92-70 4.0 (WC)
SEA 84-78 12.0
TEX 70-92 26.0
...New York will not make the playoffs in 2004. At least not with the team they have now. Of course if after they hit their first three-game losing streak of the year I'm sure Big Stein will go crazy and somehow acquire Bonds, Man-Ram and Tim Hudson.
...I think Boston is slightly worse than last season. They had so many career years out of guys (Millar, Walker, Nixon, Ortiz for example) that I don't see them all repeating that type of success. A rotation of PMart, Schilling, Lowe, Kim and Wakefield (if thats what they decide to do) will be nasty.
...Kansas City will win the Central. Again, a combination of the division being especially weak and Kansas City having a solid club.
...Oakland is good.
...Anaheim will win the wild-card. They're offense will be very good. The rotation will be solid, and the bullpen they have is one of the best in baseball with Weber, Donnelly, Francisco Rodriguez and Percy slamming the door in the ninth.
Here are my predictions for the National League...
PHI 95-67 ---
ATL 85-77 10.0
FLA 83-79 12.0
MON 73-89 22.0
NYM 68-94 27.0
CHC 98-64 ---
HOU 93-69 5.0 (WC)
STL 81-81 17.0
MIL 73-89 25.0
PIT 72-90 26.0
CIN 67-95 31.0
LA 86-76 ----
SD 84-78 2.0
SF 82-80 4.0
ARZ 74-88 12.0
COL 70-92 16.0
...I didn't bother to predict the playoffs because, as we have all come to realize, the playoffs in baseball are pretty much a roll of the dice anyway (just ask Billy Beane).
...As much as it pains me to say this, I think the Chicago Cubs are the best team in the National League. With that said, that doesn't mean that they can't completely collapse in the playoffs like they did in Game 6 (props to my man Bartman, and to Alex Gonzalez, Kyle Farnsworth, Dusty Baker and everybody else that contributed to one of the happiest moments of my life).
...I know people have been predicting the demise of Atlanta for at least 5 years now, but I think this is finally the year that it happens.
...Milwaukee finishing fourth in the Central?!?!?! It may look like a home-town pick, but my prediction is based partially on them being better than last season and Cincinnati and Pittsburgh being pretty weak.
...I hate to doubt the Marlins because I jumped on their bandwagon in about mid-June last season, but I just see no way for them to win that division. They'll benefit from having stronger starting pitching (assuming they stay relatively healthy) over the course of the season, but they lost a lot of offense (and defense) with I-Rod and Derek Lee being gone.
...Does anybody really have any idea how the NL West is going to shake out? LA, SD, SF and maybe even ARZ seem like they all have a shot. Each team is solid, but has a glaring weakness (LA's offense, SD's young rotation, SF's back of the rotation and positions like right field and the middle infield).
With the start of baseball season approaching I thought it would be a good idea to start a weblog. There are a lot of these out there now, since websites like Blogspot have made it possible for any jackass with a computer and a little free time to post his thoughts on the internet. On that note, let the blogging begin.