Will Dave Krynzel be any good?
There is no question about his defensive ability...He's all ready there as far as Major League center fielder's go defensively...But what about his ability to hit?
Personally I am worried about him. He strikes out a ton, hasn't really drawn any big walk totals, has no power and isn't all that great of a base stealer (at least percentage wise he is not).
His career minor league totals...
1879 At Bats
489 Strike outs
149 Stolen Bases
77 Caught Stealing
.350 OBP (Approximately)
(I added up all these statistics myself and since the numbers I used weren't complete with HBP and all sacrifices, the OBP is approximate)
With such high strike out totals and low walk totals, I am very concerned that Krynzel will not pan out in the big leagues. I understand that he is only 23 years old, but even if he's a Gold Glove caliber CF, what good is it if he's hitting .250 with an OPS of 740?
I'm very skeptical of Krynzel becoming a quality everyday starting CF, and believe me, I hope that I am wrong. But due to his lack of power, average SB ability and poor K/BB ratio in the minors, I have a feeling that Krynzel is destined to a career as a forth or fifth outfielder in the big leagues. What does everybody else think about Krynzel? Will he be a good leadoff hitter for the Brewers, or just another backup quality OF? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!!
Brewers and Bucks notes, etc...
With spring training underway, it'll take a lot for me to write about the NBA now...But how Bucks' GM Larry Harris got rid of Keith Van Horn's contract I'll never know, but he pulled a number on Dallas. The Bucks got Alan Henderson (who is a free agent after this season) and Calvin Booth.
The Bucks also traded Mike James, who had been playing well as of late, for Reece Gaines and two future second round draft picks.
What does it mean? The Bucks have cleared out a lot of cap space. They only have 8 players signed going into the off season. They have a lot of flexibility.
The Journal Sentinel has a look at the Brewers situation at shortstop. I'll just say that if JJ Hardy doesn't win the winning job, you know that he has really disappointed the Brewers' brass. I like Bill Hall off the bench, but he has yet to show that he is worthy of everyday Major League duty.
Deion Sanders is endorsing a new hot dog maker. I'm glad this invention was made, because making a hot dog is so difficult as it is. Finally Prime Time has showed us the way. And the thing is $50!
Eric Gagne hurt his knee playing pepper and is expected to miss six weeks. Now I guess we know why all the professional parks have "no pepper" signs everywhere. The Dodgers are saying that Gagne should miss about six weeks. These are the same people that told us Brad Penny was going to miss one start, so if you do the math that means Gagne's "six weeks" should equate to about missing four years.
Everybody have a great weekend. Send in your thoughts to Against the Grain at FatBryan10@yahoo.com or post them on the comments section of the website. Thanks for checking it in. Out.
Barry Bonds Press Conference
Good Thursday to all of you and thanks for checking Against the Grain. Since I didn't give you my thoughts on Barry Bonds' "State of the Union" address from Tuesday afternoon, I'll do that now.
If there was any doubt in anybody's mind about whether or not Bonds took steroids or some other performance enhancing drug, I think that simply his demeanor during the press conference showed you that this guy has something to hide.
Bonds kept saying "I want to move forward, baseball should move forward". Well of course Bonds wants things to move forward, he cheated and doesn't want anybody to talk about it anymore.
Bonds also accused the media of being a "rerun" and compared talking to the media to watching an episode of Sanford and Son, because "there's nothing new". Now I didn't watch Sanford and Son very often, so maybe I missed it...But I don't remember the "steroid" episode of Sanford and Son. I don't remember Officer Smitty accusing Lamont of taking Human Growth Hormones.
Bonds also went on a few rants about alcoholics and those who die of lung cancer. There were a few times when he got off on tangents that made ABSOLUTELY no sense. Is dementia a side-affect of steroid abuse? Oh okay Barry, since people are dying because of abusing alcohol and nicotine, then I guess it is okay for you and others to take steroids and cheat in baseball...Thanks for clarifying that.
Bonds also said that taking steroids can't help you hit a baseball, claiming that it can't give you hand-eye coordination. Well yeah, you can't take some 'roid monster out of Gold's Gym and give him a bat and expect him to hit forty homeruns a year in the Big Leagues...But, if you take somebody that has the hand-eye coordination, say Jason Giambi, and put on about thirty-five pounds of muscle, then all those hard hit doubles in the gap start flying out of the yard. It isn't by coincidence that all the power hitters today look like middle linebackers, and all the ones of twenty or more years ago look like basketball players. Barry, tell us again how being bigger and stronger won't help you hit a baseball. Tell us how swinging with more bat speed and quicker reactions won't help you hit a baseball...
I love how Bonds kept accusing the media of being in the wrong. "Come talk to me when all of your closets are clean". Well Barry, nobody cares about people in the media. None of them are about to pass up Babe Ruth in the all-time homerun race. Not one member in the media holds the single-season record for homeruns in Major League Baseball. Not one of them is less than 60 homeruns away from setting the all-time homerun record.
Bonds also played the race card, claiming that the reason for this scrutiny is because he is black. Okayyyyyyyy Barry. No your color has nothing to do with it. The media is coming down on you is because you took steroids and set the single-season homerun record. The media is coming down on you because you lied to all of us. The media is coming down on you because you're a jerk. Nobody cares what color you are. If Jason Giambi was approaching the same hallowed records that you are he'd be getting just as much heat. Bonds grew up with a priviledged life too, so how can he honestly compare his situation to the plight of others in his race who grow up under much harsher conditions? Barry you're not a victim, so stop spinning it that way.
What does everybody else think? Did Bonds' act during the press conference make you respect him more or less? Did it make him appear more or less guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs?
A good Tuesday to you, I hope that you had a great President's Day. I'm not sure how that holiday is supposed to be celebrated, but whatever you did I hope it was in honor of past American Presidents. Now let's get to today's news.
Barry Bonds Will Report to Spring Training
Barry Bonds, who is recovering from surgery on both knees, will arrive at Giants' camp today. Typically Bonds speaks much more with reporters during Spring Training than he does during the regular season. Bonds is going to be bombarded with steroid questions, and frankly I can't wait to see him snap. How long will Bonds go before he starts getting an attitude with all of the reporters? Well, I'm sure he'll show up with an attitude, but how long before it gets bad even for Balco Bonds? I'm betting that you can just throw out the idea that he's going to have a Jason Giambi-esque press conference where he apologizes fourteen-thousand times.
Jason Giambi At Yankees Camp
Speaking of Giambi, he arrived at Yankees camp yesterday and was greeted by tons of cheers from the fans as he walked onto the field. This proves Jerry Seinfeld's claim that "all we are really doing is cheering for clothes" to be true. I remember this happened when Sammy Sosa was caught corking his bat...Cubs fans cheered louder when Sosa came up to the plate after the corked bat incident than they cheered when he used to hit a shallow fly balls to center.
Oregon State Players Try to Pay Cabbie With Weed
Switching gears for a moment, Oregon State football players Jimtavis Walker and Star Paddock didn't have enough money to pay a cab driver, so they tried to pay the cabbie with marijuana. The two football players were charged with assault, robbery, theft of services, harassment and attempted delivery of a controlled substance.
Paying a cab driver with weed? What, no good? Weed isn't a form of currency? Well, it might be on some college campuses, so I can see how Walker and Paddock were confused, but they have to realize that the entire world doesn't function like a college environment.
This is a funny story. It reminds me of hearing stories about pizza delivery people being tipped with hits from a bong. Unfortunately, I'm guessing a cab driver is a little older and probably isn't down with getting paid in weed. He'd probably rather just have his $14. Plus, since he's a cab driver, he probably all ready has weed on him. Either that or meth.
Brewers Notes: Doug Davis
While Ben Sheets is getting all the headlines--and deservedly so--the Brewers are hoping that Doug Davis starts to get some run nationally. Davis had as many quality starts as Sheets had in 2004 (24). I'm not going to try to tell anybody that Doug Davis is better than Ben Sheets, but I think it is fair to say that the gap isn't as far as previously believed.
The fact that Davis and Sheets both can have success as pitchers in the Major Leagues proves just how many ways that a guy can get people out. Sheets is a power-pitcher. He has a 93+ mph fastball and a devastating power curveball. Davis throws mid-to-high 80s and features a cutter as his money pitch. Both guys are built differently, one is lefty and the other righty. Just completely different make up but both are successful.
Ned Yost explains in the Journal that he felt some reservations about Davis at first because his stuff isn't overpowering and because he had been a castoff from a few different organizations.
"You hear that all the time in our game: Somebody gave up on this guy, so there must be something wrong," [Brewers GM Doug] Melvin said. "I hate to hear that, because guys do change. Guys do get better."
First of all, it is human nature to think "well if this guy is so good, why does everybody keep getting rid of him". It's good to know that Doug Melvin sees though that and understands players can change. This is a cause for another "scouting vs. SABR" debate, because now and then a team will sign a player or trade for a player that has poor statistics. Sometimes a player's swing has been worked out or a pitchers' mechanics...Utilizing scouting in these areas can help you find a player on the verge of a breakout season, but when it fails leaves you open to a lot of second guessing.
Thanks for checking in to Against the Grain today. Have a good day, and we'll see you back here tomorrow. Out.
In case you didn't notice (and if you didn't you probably need some sort of help) I've been audio blogging lately. I received emails and there have been a few posts on the comments section telling me that posting it in audio doesn't work for some of you--either because you're at work or whatever. Thank you for letting me know that, I definitely don't want to alienate any of you. What I'm planning on doing from now on is posting in both audio and text formats. Some days it might just be audio or just text, but I'll try to provide both. The fact that some of you look to Against the Grain for a break while you're at work or while you're anywhere looking for a distraction. Thanks, it means a lot.
Mike Greenwell Wants Canseco's '88 MVP Award
Where's my MVP?" former Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell told the Fort Myers, Florida, News-Press. "(Canseco's) an admitted steroid user. I was clean."
Canseco was a cheater, and I understand where Greenwell is coming from, but what difference would it make now?
How proud would Greenwell be now to get that award retroactively? If somehow Canseco was stripped of his MVP award, would Greenwell really feel that great about winning the MVP now?
Does anybody else feel like this whole steroid mess is just one bad dream? Maybe one day we'll wake up and Mark McGwire didn't weigh 270 lbs when he hit 70 homeruns and Barry Bonds' head wasn't two sizes larger at the age of 35 as it was at the age of 32.
NHL Season Cancelled
The NHL was rising in popularity throughout most of the 1990s, but now the sport just committed suicide. Hockey does not have the passion following in America like baseball, basketball or football. America isn't a hockey-driven country. The southern markets like Florida, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Nashville and others are going to have a very difficult time recovering from this.
How do you lose an entire season? They couldn't strike a deal with a gun essentially to their head, how will the NHL fix everything in the summer?
I like watching playoff hockey a lot, but it's not like my quality of life is going to be dramatically reduced without the NHL. I think a lot of people are like me. Playoff hockey is good, but without it I'm sure we'll all be fine.
Sheffield Blows Up Jason Giambi
As McCarthyism spreads throughout Major League Baseball, New York Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield slammed Jason Giambi in the media.
"People are going to put a spin on whatever they're going to put a spin on. ... I'm not like Jason Giambi. ...I'm not going to sit here and cry about things being unfair or attacks are unfair."
Unfortunately, Sheffield's lack of grammar skills may have shed light into his subconscious.
"I never admitted to nothing, I get tired of people twisting my words."
So Sheff said he "never admitted to nothing". Okay, I believe you Gary, you never admitted to no nothing, so is it safe to assume that you're telling us you did take steroids? How can people be accused of twisting Sheffield's words? What he says doesn't make any freaking sense. What the hell am I supposed to think when I read "I never admitted to nothing"? I don't know if he's telling me that he admitted to using steroids or not.
Later Sheffield added...
"I said I didn't know I took steroids, the bottom line was I thought it was rubbing cream on my legs.
"When people sit here and say I didn't know I took steroids -- I didn't take steroids ... and if somebody says that's steroids, that's a bunch of hogwash."
Wait a minute, Sheffield has me confused again. He said he was rubbing cream on his legs, which was a steroid cream. Whether he was doing it wittingly or not is irrelevant, but can somebody explain to me how his intention in doing so changes the chemical composition of the cream? Whether or not he knew what he was doing doesn't change the fact that he was 'roiding up.
Cubs Fans to Eat Bartman Ball
This is smart. Blowing up the Steve Bartman baseball obviously didn't help the Cubs last year, so the next best solution is to mix up the remnants of the infamous baseball in spaghetti sauce and eat it.
Yeah, I don't know what could be more thrilling than digesting a dirty disgusting baseball. Who would possibly eat this? If you eat the Steve Bartman baseball spaghetti sauce, you're a freak. No questions asked.
How the hell did anybody even think this idea up?
"Wow, we blew up the baseball last year and STILL didn't win the World Series. What now?"
"Do you think trading Sammy Sosa for Jerry Hariston Jr. is enough to end the curse?"
"I don't know. We need to do something more. I'm just not sure what..."
"How about we write a letter to Cubs GM Jim Hendry and tell him that Jeromy Burnitz and a platoon of Todd Hollandsworth with Hairston Jr. Isn't enough to replace the offense of Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa?"
"No. I have a better idea. Let's grind up the remnants of the Steve Bartman baseball, soak it in Budweiser and then mix it in spaghetti".
...Now, I'm not an expert on curses, nor do I pretend to be. But I'm pretty sure that "serving parts of a baseball to customers and having them eat it" isn't in any witchcraft book. Cubs' fans are hilarious. I can't wait to watch them cry into their Old Style as they watch the Cubs miss the playoffs again.
NFL Pro Bowl or Chris Penn Movie Marathon?
Last night I was posed with a very difficult question: do I watch the NFL Pro Bowl or do I watch Footloose on AMC and then All The Right Moves on ESPN Classic?
I think the choice was obvious.
Footloose might be the greatest movie of all time. I mean, think about it...A movie that is about a rural town that bans dancing, and things only change when a rebel from the big city changes the minds of the locals. How amazing of a plot is that? AND it stars Kevin Bacon, Chris Penn and Jonathan Lithgow? Yes, I am aware the Sarah Jessica Parker was in this movie, and no in Footloose she doesn't look like Twisted Sister's Dee Snider. Also, I don't know why her character's name is "Rusty", and I'd appreciate it if everybody saved me the emails or posts on the site explaining why.
All The Right Moves is a high school football movie from the 1980's starring Tom Cruise as a stud defensive back in a small Pennsylvanian mining town. Craig T. Nelson plays the evil "win at all costs" coach, which has been a staple in EVERY football movie since (with the exception of Remember the Titans). Why hasn't Craig T. Nelson had an offer as an NFL coach yet? He plays a coach so well in All The Right Moves as well as in the TV Show Coach. I mean, isn't he more than qualified? Are you telling me after being in those two roles he couldn't manage the clock better than Andy Reid in Super Bowl XXIX or Herm Edwards in any regular season game? I just can't believe that Craig T. Nelson would compile a worse record in the NFL than Dennis Erickson. Somebody needs to hire this man. The way the Green Bay Packers' season went this year, I'd be willing to bet an awful lot of Packers fans would be down with hiring Craig T. Nelson to replace the "pair shaped loser" Mike Sherman.
Really though, why isn't Chris Penn in any movies anymore? He steals the show as Willard in Footloose, and he delivers a stunning performance in All The Right Moves. Maybe instead of Ben Stiller starring in every comedy dating back to 1999, we should throw some of those roles to Chris Penn. Just a thought.
As for the Pro Bowl, now that hockey doesn't exist, it has become the least watchable All-Star Game out there. 50% of the players that are selected to play in it don't even want to suit up. Although I did see that Peyton Manning won the Pro Bowl MVP. Well, at least that answers the questions about whether or not he can deliver in the big game...Oh wait, no it doesn't.
Mary Kay Letourneau to Wed Former Student that Knocked Her Up
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a true love story. This is as close to a fairy tale as their is in real life. This is the story of Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau. It has been reported that these two will finally get married--Letourneau is now 43 and Fualaau is 22. But remember kids, age is just a number.
The true test of love is not how people react to things going good, but how people react to things going wrong. That is when the true character of a person comes out, and when the true strength of a relationship is demonstrated.
Letourneau went to jail for 7 1/2 years back in 1997 for raping the then 12-year-old Fualaau when she was 34. Their love is so strong that they were able to pick up right where they left off once she was released from the slammer.
At the time they met, Letourneau was married and had four children. But love knows no bounds. I think that is an important message that we all should be aware of today.
Letourneau and Fualaau have two girls, one six and one seven, and I could go on about how messed up those kids are going to be, but I won't because it is Valentine's Day and we should all focus on the great love story that this is.
Future NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone decided to retire after 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz and 1 with the Los Angeles Lakers. Malone will end his career without the NBA Championship he had been hoping for. He will also retire as the league's second leading scorer of all-time. During the press conference yesterday he wore a cowboy hat and t-shirt--no word on whether or not anybody asked him "whatchya huntin' cowboy" during the press conference. Memo to "little Mexican girls"...With all this free time Karl Malone now has be careful, because the Mailman is looking for you.
While I'm on the subject of Karl Malone, how badly have things gone for one of his former teams, the Los Angeles Lakers. They're hovering around .500, in danger of not making the playoffs, their coach resigned, and Kobe Bryant hasn't played like the MVP he did while Shaq O'Neal was there taking the pressure off of him the past few years.
The T'Wolves axed Flip Saunders. They replaced him with Kevin McHale, who has no head coaching experience. I loved Sam Cassell when he was with the Milwaukee Bucks, but I think he and Latrell Spreewell are just bringing the T'Wolves down. You think that Cassell and Spreewell, who have been pouting all year because they didn't get the extentions they wanted, are now going to listen to the guy with no head-coaching who wouldn't give them the extentions they wanted?
Brewers Preview on Brewers.com
There is a rather indepth preview of the 2005 Milwaukee Brewers on Brewers.com. Adam McCalvy poses a few questions that will surround the club during spring training and throughout the regular season (article here).
The biggest thing offensively will be if Brady Clark can come close to repeating his success at the plate. Just as a personal observation, it seemed like a lot of Clark's hits were jam shots that fell in over the infield or perfectly placed groundballs through the infield. Some of that is the result of being a contact hitter, as the study done by Vorous McCracken have taught us, a ball put in play has a rather large amount of randomness involved when determining whether it is a hit or not. The bottom line is that the Brewers offense cannot handle another .314 OBP on the top of the lineup.
Personally, I'm a little nervous about Victor Santos being in the starting rotation. He was 3-9 with a 5.97 ERA in the second half of 2004 after an incredible first half. He hasn't really had much success in the Big Leagues, sporting a career ERA of 5.20.
Heading into 2005 the Brewers do have a few options with the starting rotation. Ben Sheets and Doug Davis are a legitimate 1-2 punch at the front of the rotation. To fill out the final spots of the rotation the Crew will have their choice of Santos, Chris Capuano, Ben Hendrickson, Jose Capellan, Jorge de la Rosa and Wes Obermueller, who threw the ball really well in September. Obermueller is an interesting pitcher. He has great stuff, mixing in a high 80s sinker and devastating change up with an adequate curveball. He just needs to throw strikes and he needs to stay mentally tough. I'm sure most Brewers fans out there remember him cruising for five innings, walking the leadoff batter after going 0-2 and then completely melting down.
Now with the NFL season over, baseball is on the horizon. Pitchers and catchers are reporting in about a week, and before long we'll have highlights on Sportscenter from the Devil Rays split squad versus the University of Florida.
Ryan Leaf Enrolls in a Media Relations Class
Former NFL bust and media darling (high level of sarcasm used there) Ryan Leaf has enrolled in a media relations class at Washington State University.
According to Rod Commons, the Sports Information Director at Washington State University, Leaf will learn that "There are things you do and don't do [in an interview]," Commons said.
"You want to develop a reputation of being dependable and setting aside time for the media. We want to teach people how to make themselves look good, and how to get maximum positive exposure."
Why does Ryan Leaf need this class? What other professional athlete in the past few years has demonstrated that he will set "aside time for the media". Who else was a master of how to "get maximum positive exposure" other than Ryan Leaf?
"Knock it off all right! Leave me the **** alone!" - Ryan Leaf to a reporter in San Diego
WDJT-TV (CBS-58) Will Air 5-Part Brewers Series
MLB Productions has been following around members of the Milwaukee Brewers organization for the past few months, and are currently putting together a five-part series of behind the scenes action that will be aired on WDJT-TV (CBS 58) in Milwaukee and re-aired on Fox Sports Net North. Carlos Lee, Damian Miller, new owner Mark Attanasio as well as Ben Sheets, Geoff Jenkins and Lyle Overbay will be profiled.(Brewers.com article here).
I think this is a great idea. Frankly, the Brewers need to generate as much interest as possible, and this will be a way to let fans feel like they are a part of the organization by seeing what happens behind the scenes. More than any other sport, Major League Baseball is the most secretive about what happens behind the scenes, so in that respect it'll be interesting to see what is shown and what is not shown.
With reality TV sweeping the nation, maybe this will be the start of a new trend in MLB. Here are five MLB related reality TV shows I'd like to see...
Temptation Hotel Room
Cameras follow Mets pitcher Kris Benson around on road trips as his teammates keep buying him drinks and sending women up to his room every night hoping that Benson slips up so they all get a chance with Kris' wife Anna Benson. Don't be surprised if there isn't a cameo or two from Pedro Martinez' lil' friend Nelson de la Rosa.
Celebrity Fit Club: Baseball Edition
Join Major League stars Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and any other of MLB's "incredible shrinking men" as they continue to shed pounds from their pre-2004 body mass. Tensions heat up on the show when the residual 'roid rage still hasn't left Barry Bonds as he confronts Sosa and Giambi about who stole his arthritic balm.
Real Life: I'm a Baseball Player on Community Service
MTV follows Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe as he serves his community service sentence for shoplifting a $30 belt and also follows Denny Neagle around after he was caught trying to get a $40 hummer from a prostitute in Colorado.
The Apprentice: Steinbrenner Edition
Could you imagine a reality TV show that follows George Steinbrenner around? Wouldn't you love to hear what he yells at Brian Cashman this year whenever the Yankees struggle? I say throw a bunch of college kids trying to get ahead in the corporate world into the Yankees' offices and have them deal with the mercurial Steinbrenner. We could also get to know the softer side of big Stein, maybe by following him around to Sak's Fifth Avenue as he purchases his many turtlenecks. Seriously, I bet dude has a warchest of turtlenecks in Yankee Stadium. How has this show not been made yet?
The Real World
I'm not sure where the house would be located, but who wouldn't want to see Carl Everett, John Rocker, Jeff Kent, John Kruk, Doug Glanville, Barry Bonds, and Albert Belle thrown together in a house? Imagine all the friction between Everett (crazy), Rocker (racist/crazy), Kent (jackass/liar), Kruk (big fat party animal), Glanville (jackass), Bonds and Belle (pick one). See how the house reacts to MLB giving all-access passes to a camera crew in the house.
Those are a few of my ideas, what do the rest of you think? Is anybody reading this a TV executive?
2007 MLB All-Star Game in San Francisco
Major League Baseball will announce that the All-Star Game will be in San Francisco in 2007. MLB will ditch their alternative leagues policy that has been decorum for quite some time in favor of rewarding many of the new stadiums with the Mid-Summer Classic. While MLB has seen a new stadium explosion since the mid 1990s, the National League has opened most of the new yards.
The obvious response to this announcement is that it will skew the advantage of the high stakes exhibition known as the All-Star Game. While homefield doesn't mean quite as much as it does in football or basketball, there still is an advantage. I'm guessing that MLB will make the American League the "home" team, similar to when Florida played as the "home" team in Comiskey Park errrrr U.S. Cellular Field last year.
The MLB All-Star game is the most presentable of all the major sports, but the more they keep messing with it the more of a farce it is becoming. I'm still waiting for the "North America vs. The World" scenario that was all the rage in the late 90's. That's what America needs...More situations where we are attempting to asses our dominance over the rest of the world.
Rafer Alston Leaves Team Before the End of a Game
Former Milwaukee Bucks guard and current Toronto Raptors problem-child Rafer Alston walked out on his team last night. You may remember Alston walked out of a practice earlier this month. If he doesn't check himself he might have to go back to being "Skip to my lou" instead of Rafer Alston.
Do you think Toronto regrets signing Alston to a six-year $30 million dollar deal right about now?
"It's like one big soap opera," said forward Morris Peterson.
Yeah, I think Mo Pete hit that one on the head. Nothing is more professional than leaving your team before a game is over. Classy move by Rafer.
Some reports said Alston was ushered out of the building with a half-dozen guards, with police keeping the Media from the locker-room for almost a half-hour after the game.
Could things be going any worse for Sam Mitchell in his first season as coach of the Raptors? Hopefully the Milwaukee Bucks make his life a little worse tonight by bringing some of the offensive prowess they displayed against Boston last night at the Bradley Center.
Brewers Sign Spivey and Cirillo
This story broke on Friday, but for a variety of reasons I didn't present it until today (article here).
The team took a dive after Junior Spivey Jr. was injured last year. That dive was more attributed to the pitching coming back to Earth and the hitting diving down to hell, but still Spivey has a lot of talent and could be an important part of the Brewers in 2005. He can make up to the $2.6 Mil he requested in arbitration through incentives. His base salary for 2005 will be $2.125 million.
Jeff Cirillo pretty much begged for an opportunity, and I'm glad the Brewers were willing to take a flyer on him. I don't think anybody thinks he has a remote chance of returning to the .300 hitter he was a few years ago, but he could be a valuable asset off the bench, since he is able to play all of the infield adequately with the exception of shortstop. Back in the mid-to-late 90's many people referred to Jeff Cirillo as the "toughest out in the American League". Maybe MLB's initiative to speed up games has gotten in Cirillo's dome. He was notorious for taking his practice swings about thirty feet from home plate. Perhaps that's why he had a huge dive in production...
I like the idea of picking up old Brewers off the scrap heap. I think this is a trend that should be continued in the future. I for one, am all for bringing back Greg Vaughn, Pat Listach, Chuckie Carr, and any other former Brewers at bargain basement prices. Do you think Tom Treblehorn would want to return as co-manager with Ned Yost?
Patriots Win Third Title in Four Years
Well, really to nobody's surprise, the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles to solidify their spot in history as a dynasty in the NFL. I have a ton of comments on this game, so let's get right to it.
First of all for the pregame...I loved how they brought out Bill Clinton and George Bush (41). How great of a life must an ex-President be? All you do is make appearances and get huge ovations, write a book and make millions (although Bush 41 hasn't done that yet, I'm not sure why) and give speeches for roughly $100K. What a life.
How terrified was that kid who flipped the coin? He didn't even flip the coin, he just kinda tossed it up in the air. The coin didn't even rotate once.
How great was Freddie Mitchell not showing up on Sunday? Did he even play? He had one catch for eleven yards. Rodney Harrison had more grabs than Mitchell yesterday. Mitchell is a total chump. Who the hell is this guy? He's the number four receiver on a below average receiving squad. Dude had three controversial comments during the week and one catch in the game. Mike Vrabel caught as many passes as Mitchell. I know I've been piling on him, but I don't care. Mitchell can thank his hands all he wants, he can call out Rodney Harrison all he wants, but if he doesn't perform people should lay into him and he absolutely deserves it. If you run your mouth, that's the risk you run. Terrell Owens talks, but he backs it up...Speaking of Owens
How about Terrell Owens? Say what you want about how cocky he his, but nobody can question his work ethic, nobody can question his desire, and nobody can question his heart. He broke his leg and shredded his ankle up, and should not have been out on the field at all, let alone having 9 catches for 122 yards in the Super Bowl. Owens made a comment after the game that if it were Brett Favre who came back from that injury, nobody would question his intentions and nobody would question his heart. Owens is absolutely right. Some people feel that it's a racial thing, but I'm not sure if that's it. I'm not denying that it is part of it, but I think the reaction would've been similar if a guy like Jeremy Shockey made the same comeback. As I was saying though, Owens is a man. He made an incredible comeback and made a huge impact on the game, something that nobody except for himself thought he could do. Terrell Owens game would've went up there with Willis Reed's performance had the Eagles won. Odds are his incredible performance will be forgotten within ten years.
How about the New England defensive backs? Ashante Samuel and Randall Gay held their own against the Eagles receivers. Even after Eugene Wilson went out with an injury, the rookie dbacks for the Patriots still performed well.
What about the Eagles clock management? Did Andy Reid attend the Herm Edwards/Paul Hackett School of Clock Management? What the hell were they doing? They were down 10 points with 3:30 minutes to go and they were huddling up and walking to the line of scrimmage. Even Mike Martz was at home screaming at his television. No reason to show a sense of urgency Philly, it's only the Super Bowl.
Although I predicted a mediocre to poor performance by Donovan McNabb, I was disappointed to see it happen. McNabb is still one of the best QBs in the NFL, it's a shame that he didn't perform on the biggest stage in the world. He made a lot of bad throws, even some that were completed, and also made some bad decisions.
Does anybody else think halftime is just ridiculously long? Especially when we didn't have an exposed nipple or anything worth while. It was hilarious to see how plain the halftime show was, as an obvious overreaction to the Janet Jackson incident last year. It even spilled over to the commercials, where there was nothing even close to edgy. The worst part of all was that we only had one Cialis commercial, but luckily they did remind us to immediately seek a doctor's counsel if we have an erection for four hours.
Why on Earth are fans allowed to vote for the Super Bowl MVP at all? Hasn't it been proven time and again that the fans do not know how to vote for anything? How many times can Ken Griffey Jr. start in the All-Star Game when on the DL or how many times can Vince Carter start in the NBA All-Star Game despite being five years past his prime before somebody says "hey, maybe the fans are idiots"?
Was anybody else surprised that almost everybody in America was cheering for the favored? As my friend Joe said, "The Eagles are underdogs against a dynasty and nobody roots for them". Really though, America is a nation that loves the underdog. So why on Earth was everybody on the Patriots bandwagon? I think the Patriots are the closest thing to "America's Team" in any professional sport right now. They epitomize teamwork, hard work, and respect. I think that struck a chord with America.
All and all, it was a good game. It wasn't a great game, but it was a good one. The NFL season is over (don't even try to tell me "don't forget about the Pro Bowl"), and now I turn my focus to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training on the 15th.
SUPER BOWL XXIX IS HERE
With the hype kicking into full throttle, the Super Bowl is just a few hours away from kickoff. After two weeks of "Terrell Owens: Will he play or won't he?" and "Freddie Mitchell said _____", as well as talk about "is New England a dynasty if they win?" and "Is Bill Belichick the greatest coach of all time?"
Once the ball is kicked off you're going to get to hear these same stories over and over, but in a little different form. This is what I'm looking forward too...
Whenever a New England d-back makes a play and Freddie Mitchell is nearby, you know Chris Collinsworth will throw out a "you think Freddie Mitchell knows his name now?" I guarantee this happens at least five times today.
Along the lines of Mitchell, and I know I mentioned this before, but he's not funny or amusing at all. During the game though the announcers won't let you forget that he is "colorful". I bet they throw it down to a sideline reporter to give a first hand account of how "wacky" he really is. Somebody like Tony Saragusa (cue Saragusa graphic in the bottom left of the screen) will say "yeah Freddie Mitchell is really loose. He's ready to play today. It's so loud down here I can't hear myself". "It's so loud down here I can't hear myself" is how Saragusa ends 90% of his statements.
Will Fox plant their sit-com stars in the stands at the Super Bowl like they do during the Major League Baseball playoffs? Is the homoeroticism between Ryan and Seth on The OC something that carries over to real life? Will the guy that plays Ryan have his grandkids at the game? Tune into Fox tonight to find out.
We can all only hope for something close to Janet Jackson and TLake's "nipplegate" from last year's halftime show. I wish somebody funny was performing like Ashlee Simpson or Carrot Top. Why not bring out William Hung? Are his fifteen minutes of fame up yet? I want to see somebody get booed off the stage.
I know a lot of people enjoy watching the commercials, but I can only take so many commercials about four-hour erections before I lose interest. I'm sorry, commercials don't really entertain me that much. Plus the Fox telecast of the game will be one gigantic advertisement for Fox programming, so essentially we'll all be watching about six hours of commercials tonight.
Also, I can't wait to see Terrell Owens running routes in pre-game. I wonder if they'll give him the Deion Sanders treatment. One of the years when Deion was in the Super Bowl with Dallas they kept a camera on him the entire game. As soon as Owens steps on the field you know we're going to see tons of replays, coupled with announcer commentary on whether or not Owens looks healthy or not. Does it bother anybody else that EVERYBODY refers to Owens as "T.O"? There's something about John Clayton calling Owens "T.O" that just doesn't sit well with me.
...Okay, now to what I think will happen in the game.
Pretty much everybody and their cousin is picking New England to win outright, some people are picking Philly to cover, and very few think that the Eagles will win. Is this a case of "everybody is going east so you should go west?" I don't think so. I think New England will win and they will cover. This is why...
Tom Brady vs. Donovan F. McNabb
Brady has proven that he is a big game QB. He has better weapons. McNabb in general has struggled in big games. He will be without a healthy Terrell Owens. I know he didn't have a healthy Owens against Minnesota or Atlanta...But that was Minnesota and Atlanta, this is New England.
New England's WR vs. Philly's WR
The Patriots don't really have any star wide receivers, but they have more talent and more depth than the Eagles with Owens being injured. Who would you rather throw the ball to in crunch time: Freddie Mitchell or Deion Branch/David Patten/Troy Brown/Bethel Johnson/Hart Lee Dykes?
Adam Vinatieri vs. David Akers
Akers is a solid kicker, but Vinatieri has made so many huge kicks. Of course two of them were to win a Super Bowl, which nobody who isn't named Jim O'Brien can say.
Bill Belichick vs. Andy Reid
Andy Reid is a fantastic coach. He is one of the best in the NFL. But he isn't Bill Belichick, and he doesn't have Romeo Crenell and Charlie Weis on his side. Andy Reid does have Jimmie Johnson running his defense, and I'm sure the Eagles will come up with some intense blitz packages to try to mess with Tom Brady. Still, you have to go with Belichick.
The "Happy to be there" Factor
I think the Eagles are the only people happy to be in Jacksonville this year. It took so much for the Eagles to get to the Super Bowl, it's hard to believe that they aren't just happy to have not lost four straight NFC Championship games. You KNOW the Patriots aren't just content with being there. Maybe I'm wrong about the Eagles, but I know I'm right about the Patriots.
Those are all my reasons for selecting New England to win and cover. The only way I can see Philly pulling this off is if they get a few big turnovers early, maybe get a big kick or punt return, and quick jump out to a 14-0 lead over a stunned Patriots team. The problem is, the Patriots aren't a team that are going to make a lot of mistakes (except when they play Miami on Monday Night).
McNabb will throw a two INTs, and the Patriots will shut down the ground game. Brady will throw go 17-24 for 250 yards and three touchdowns, Corey Dillon will rush for 120 yards and a touchdown and the Patriots will beat the Eagles.
Patriots 34, Eagles 20
Dodgers Sign Nakamura
Brewers fans might remember Takahito Nomura, a puss-throwing lefty that lasted all of about two months with the big-club before being sent down. I'm not sure if Taka Naka is related to new Dodgers third baseman Norihiro Nakamura.
Nakamura had some monster years in Japan from 2000-2002. He is 31-years-old now and his numbers have been dropping quite a bit as of late. Fighting through injuries in 2004, he posted a line of .274/.390/.468 in 387 at-bats. In 2004 the average third baseman in MLB had an OPS of .797, which Nakamura edged in Japan with an OPS of .858. Still, his numbers have been on a steady decline, plus jumping from Japan to the Major Leagues will cause a further drop in his production.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but I would imagine that the Dodgers didn't spend much more than 1.5 million a year for Nakamura. Some people think that this might be the replacement for Adrian Beltre, but that will probably be settled in Spring Training.
UPDATE: Takahito Nomura
State of the Union Address...Pure Comedy
I'm not going to talk about politics at all because frankly it's a boring conversation in this environment. I did however, catch President George W. Bush and his State of the Union Address last night. I watched it at first because I thought it was my duty as a responsible citizen, but by the time it was all done, I wanted there to be one every week. Pure comedy.
Isn't it hilarious how people in congress act during the speech? You have supposedly the most intelligent, ambitious, responsible people we can find to represent us and make our laws, yet they act like freaking children during the speech. No matter what Bush would say the Republicans would stand up and cheer while the Democrats would sit down and show no emotion at all. A few times during the speech I wondered if the "applause" sign only worked on the Republican side of the place.
Some highlights from last night...
...I can't remember the issue that was being discussed, but all the Republicans stood up and applauded (big surprise) and one Democrat stood up. It was from a wide-angle so I couldn't tell who it was, but all his fellow Dems stared at him like he was the bearded lady or something.
...Dick Cheney in the background while the President was speaking. At first he was trying his best to force a smile, or at least the appearance that he wasn't the most disgruntled human being alive. Later on in the speech he was eating something. What the hell was he eating? Sunflower seeds? Starburst? Pretzels?
...Speaking of Cheney, was anybody else a little worried every time he had to stand up and sit down again? I know the man has heart problems. I thought maybe the TV networks should put a "Cheney-O-Meter" in the bottom right corner of the screen tracking his blood-pressure and heart-rate.
...The rebuttal to the SOTU address is always funny. You go from the SOTU, infront of all of congress, all the pageantry (I sound like Lee Corso talking about college football now), to two people in some random hotel room or whatever it is infront of a camera.
After watching the way politicians behave last night, it's amazing that anything gets done. They act like children (immature ones at best). I was still hoping for Bush to go onto a completely off-topic rant about performance enhancing drugs, but no such luck last night.
Baseball America's Top 10 Brewers Prospects
Journal/Sentinel writer Tom Haudricourt wrote an article about the Top 10 Brewers prospects. The list is most likely formulated by the many employees of BA, and not just Haudricourt. I would hope not, since he is a beat writer for the Brewers and probably doesn't see the minor leaguers much at all. Anyway, here is the article.
It's interesting to look at the columns on the right of the page and see who the top prospect in the Brewers organization has been by year, and also the top draft picks for the Brewers over the past ten years.
Out of the top prospects in the organization over the past ten years, what can you say about these guys?
1995 - Antone Williamson - Possibly the worst first round draft pick in the history of Major League Baseball, the fact that AW was the number one pick speaks to how pathetic the Brewers farm system was. Williamson made it to the Show, only so that the Brewers could pat themselves on the back and say "wow what a draft pick, he got to the big leagues". One of Sal Bando's many terrible, terrible moves. He had 54 at bats in 1997, with a very productive .204/.254/.259 line. The Brewers took Williamson fourth overall, ahead of other first rounders like Todd Walker (Twins, 7th Pick), Jaret Wright (Indians, 10th pick), Nomar Garciaparra (Red Sox, 12th pick), Paul Konerko (Dodgers, 13th pick), Jason Varitek (Mariners, 14th pick).
1996 - Jeff D'Amico - The beginning of a Brewers theme. "Big righty out of high school, injury troubles limited his career". This is exactly what the Moneyball types are talking about. Still, "Big Daddy" had an incredible 2000 and is still in the Majors.
1997 - Todd Dunn - A great five-o'clock hitter. He had a solid two weeks in the Major Leagues before getting sent down. My dad takes most of the blame for this because he once told him that he was "tearing the cover off the ball" and also instructed Dunn to "keep it up". Soon afterward Dunn faded into obscurity.
1998 - Valerio de los Santos - The lefty came to the big leagues with a lot of promise but couldn't even last as a middle reliever for more than a few years. By the end of his tenure in Milwaukee many referred to him as Valerio de los Suckos.
1999 - Ronnie Belliard - I guess the fact that "he made it to the Major Leagues" is a great accomplishment for any of the Brewers top prospects over the past ten years speaks volumes. Belliard had an amazing first half of the season in 2004 and made the All-Star Game for Cleveland. He looked more like the lost and confused Belliard I remember in the second half of the season when he struggled to a .254 batting average.
2000 - Nick Neugebauer - "Big righty out of high school, injury troubles limited his career" part II.
2001 - Ben Sheets - Thank you, Dean Taylor.
2002 - Nick Neugebauer - See above.
2003 - Brad Nelson - Big power-hitting OF/1B. Still putting up good numbers in the minors. I look forward to him being in the Show in a year or two.
2004 - Rickie Weeks - A player with star potential. Let's all hope that potential is realized.
So out of the last ten top prospects in the Brewers organization you have...
1 - star (Ben Sheets)
2 - decent Major Leaguers (Jeff D'Amico, Ron Belliard)
2 - still legitimate prospects (Rickie Weeks, Brad Nelson)
1 - border line reliever (Valerio de los Santos)
3 - complete disasters (Antone Williamson, Todd Dunn, Nick Neugebauer)
Really, if you take the years before Dean Taylor, they have no star players, one decent Major Leaguer, no legitimate prospects, two complete disasters.
The Baseball America Top 10 Prospects List is a better example of what the top scouting service in the world thinks about the Brewers organization, not necessarily what the Brewers think of their players. Tomorrow I'll look at the Brewers last ten first round draft picks and how they have faired.
No more Flat Screen TVs, Cell Phones, and Visits from Lovers in Mexico Prison
"Deprived of their flat-screen TVs, mobile phones, pizza deliveries and long visits from lovers, inmates at Mexico's top security prison complained on Monday they are being treated "like dogs"" (article here).
So prisoners in Mexico are watching flat-screen TVs, getting pizza deliveries and "long visits" from lovers...Now I've only been to Tijuana, but I'm guessing these prisoners are living better than 99% of the population in Mexico. Hell, they're living better than 80% of Americans.
"Powerful prisoners in Mexican jails have long enjoyed privileges, whereas rank and file criminals are often abused by jailers."
Privileges? These guys are living better than I am, and I'm a non-jailed citizen in the United States. I don't have a flat-screen TV. I think that "Land of Opportunity" no longer fits America, the term is better reserved for Mexico's top security prison in La Palma.
From an advertisement posted in a newspaper in Mexico City, an unnamed prisoner was quoted as saying "We only ask to be treated like the humans we are ... The fact that we have been deprived of our freedom in no way means that our most basic rights have stopped as Mexican citizens. Therefore we ask for clemency so that justice be done and our human rights respected"
See, I know that in the Constitution of the United States there are certain "unalienable rights"..."life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Now I have never read the Mexican Constitution...I don't even know if they have a constitution, but if anywhere on that document it says "We, the Citizens of Mexico, have certain unalienable rights, such as life, watching flat-screen TVs, having pizza delivered to you in jail, and long visits from lovers while in the slammer."
If that line is anywhere in an official Mexican document...I'm in. Count me in. Viva la Mexico!
Brooks Kieschnick Interview
Joseph Aiello from a Cubs blog called The View From the Bleachers (which is linked on the right of this site) has an interview with Brewers jack-of-all trades Brooks Kieschnick. Brooks gives some pretty safe answers, but still it's worth a quick read. The fact that Kiesch did this interview is a testament to what a cool guy he is. I've met him on several occasions because of my work with the Milwaukee Brewers, and he has been one of the nicest players I have come across (coincidentally, Wes Obermueller is in that group as well, who Kieschnick mentions later in the interview).
Personally, I have always wondered what Kieschnick would have done had he received 400 at-bats in a Major League Season. His numbers at the plate are respectable (.244/.315/.444) given the fact that the past two years all he has done in 90% of his plate appearances was pinch-hit. He has never received more than 90 at-bats in a season. For his career he has 16 homeruns in 306 at-bats, roughly one HR every 20 at-bats. Translated over a 400 at-bat season that's about 20 homeruns. The problem is that Kiesch is a liability in the field (either corner OF or 1B) and probably doesn't have the stick to make up for it.
The fact that Brooks really never had a chance in the Major Leagues is interesting. Kiesch makes a reference to the fact that there was a regime change the year after he was drafted. Still, he put up monster numbers in the minor leagues and was one of the most prestigious college baseball players of all time. It's really too bad he never had more of a shot to show what he could do.
Kieschnick has found a great role with the Brewers. I don't think people fully appreciate how rare what he is doing is in the Major Leagues. Dave McCarty tried to be Boston's version of Kieschnick, but was unable to hack it. If Kiesch was playing the role of pitcher/pinch-hitter/DH/occasional OF in a bigger market you know all the wannabe comedians on Sportscenter would be cracking jokes about his skills and they probably would even throw some unnecessary and overproduced graphics onto the screen breaking down Kieschnick's contributions to the team.
The highlight of Super Bowl week in the eyes of the media. It embodies everything the media stands for, blowing up unimportant events and turning anything they can into front page news. Of course, today is the 1st of February, which also means rent day for many others like myself. As the days move on I'm starting to operate on a Frank McCourt like budget.
The two biggest stories of Media Day will be Terrell Owens and "will he play or won't he?" (which I warned everybody about after the Conference Championship games) and of course Freddie Mitchell's comments about the New England secondary.
I just think Freddie Mitchell is so unamusing. He's like the kid in class that all the teachers and students think is so funny, but whenever he says something you just think to yourself "that's not funny". How many times do you think you'll hear "Oh wow, that wacky Freddie Mitchell" during Fox's broadcast of the Super Bowl? Freddie Mitchell is so crazy, yeah he wears a fro-hawk and says stupid things at press conferences. Never mind the fact that he caught 29 passes this year. He sucks. I don't care if he had a few good games in the playoffs, Freddie Mitchell isn't good. He can wear his hair in a fro-hawk, he can wear a giant bow-tie in the post game presser, but if he doesn't start catching more than two passes, he is completely irrelevant in the NFL.