Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Retirement

Hey guys,

I am sad to say I have to announce my retirement. I just can't keep up with the blog as much as I would like. I I liked doing this blog and was proud of what I thought was, decent analysis and writing. I am unable to continue to do it however.

I'd like to this of this as a leave of absence—I may have more retirements than Lord Favre and Sugar Ray Leonard put together. So keep tabs on AndAPlayerToBeNamedLater.com. If I can, I'd love to come back. And, as always, thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Paul L. Catalano

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vacation

Taking a little vacation....as always, thanks so much to the people who read and comment. Couldn't do it without you.

Be back soon.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Transactions....

Great to see that the second I start writing about how Mark Teixiera can't hit righties, he starts clubbing them. Tex has got his average up to .248 batting as a lefty against righties—still pretty bad, but a damn sight better than .222 which is where it was 2 weeks ago.

For my money, I really don't think there is much in the way of sports out there that I enjoy watching as much as a Nadal-Federer match. The competitiveness, the amazing athleticism and awesomely sick tennis...it's one of the true joys in sports right now.

That said, watching Federer blow a 5-2 1st set lead was painful. From the second Nadal caught him in that 1st set, Federer was never the same. He opened the game agressive and confident. Afterwards, he appeared more tentative and made silly, unRoger-like mistakes. It was a shame for that to happen to such a true great and class act.

It really is amazing to see LeBron come up so small in the final quarter of the first 3 games of the championships. Not that he can't drop 22 in the next 4th quarter...its just that he hasn't so far—just 9 points in three 4th quarters. And deferring to teammates isn't when LeBron is at his best. Miami might go ahead and win the whole thing, but going forward, it would behoove LeBron to learn how to keep his teammates involved, but still be aggressive.

Nice to see Jeter making a little bit of better contact lately. He got his average up to .260....that said..he still is at a 79 OPS+. And a 327 OBP is probably not what the Steinbrenner family had in mind when they signing him to a 3-year 51 million dollar contract.

10 bucks says that Matt Roth ends up a Jet. They just need a guy like him too much to not get him.

Paul Konerko's impressive season wont save Ozzie's job—especially now with Peavy going down again with a groin injury. My guess, Ozzie gets fired sooner rather than later.

Kinda of a ridiculous interview by Bobby Bowden the other day. Essentially, while commenting on Jim Tressel, Bobby said it was impossible to run a clean program because there are too many rules....Scuze me? Too many rules? The NCAA has too many rules? Please. Bowden has had more than his fair share of problems running his program at Florida State....blaming the NCAA or "one bad kid" for a program's problems seems dishonest to me and as if Bowden is shirking his responsibility for his program. Bowden, we're not saying that running a spotless program is the only possibility—things do happen. But hey, you get a lot of money. The responsibility of the program is yours. Talk to Bobby Knight. It's not impossible to run a clean program.

I don't really get the Bill Madden idea of "owing it" to trade a player who clearly doesn't want to be traded. If David Wright loves it here, why would trading him to Cincinnati or Seattle be "for his own good." Not following that Bill.

Love this article by Jayson Stark, about one GM's ideas about shorting the season. My favorite. the twice a year National Doubleheader Day. Heart that idea. Another interesting one: Our GM also would add breathing room to the schedule by starting the season earlier -- with a week in March he'd call International Week. Take six or eight teams and send them off in late March to Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Venezuela or some other foreign destination. That would leave plenty of flexibility to have all the other teams play their opening-week March games in warm-weather sites or domes. Interesting ideas.....too bad they will never happen.

I think the Nationals like to spend their money as if they were an alcoholic on a bender.

And finally, the oddest sports story in a while. I mean, what the hell was Bono doing walking? And really, the guy is richer than Croesus, and he can't afford an umbrella?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kincks Nix Their Own Team

This is the stupidity that has plague the Knicks for the past decade or so.

Donnie Walsh, who gutted the compost Heap that Isiah Thomas had turned the Knick Franchise into, and got eh team into the playoffs for the first time in 7 years, has been sacked becuse owner Jim Dolan wouldn't give him full authority.

Walsh, the guy who led the Pacers to 16 playoffs in 17 years, who built the team, then rebuilt the team—but never entered a full rebuilding mode—always kept the pacers rebuilding; this is the guy—a life basketball guy, that Dolan thinks should be jettisoned.

From the 2001-02 season till last season, the Knicks never got above 39 wins—and that one season was the year they fired Lenny Wilkens got fired—the guy most responsible for getting them that far. Last season, they had 42 wins and for the first time in a decade, they averaged more points than they gave up.

Here they have a reputable basketball guy—a proved winner—and they are setting the table for the return of one of the most justly vilified guys in the history of the game—at least GM-wise.

If Isiah Thomas comes back, the Knicks as a franchise are done. They are a joke. A ridiculous specimen of nepotism and the willful uncaring of the product a franchise puts on the floor. No one should attend a game.

Of course, people will attend. It's New York and people always will go.

But they shouldn't. A product ( the Knicks) that show a willful disdain for their consumer (fans), who accept that their product Isiah will make money whether they win or lose, and actively ignore the impetus to win, should be ignored. It is a crap franchise, on that doesn't care, and should be ignored.

This move typifies anything everything the Kicks have been for a decade—managed without any semblance of knowledgeable guidance. To let go a guy who...and let me be clear; I'm not saying that Walsh is the be-all end-all guy of basketball GM-ing; he is very good (didn't like the Carmelo move)but if Dolan had someone better, then fine...but this is a guy who had a proven track record of success—who got the Knicks this far, and headed in the right direction—to have no one better waiting.... Who are they going to replace him with. Someone unproved?? Isiah? To go into this, ready to let him go, and hav no one prepared, except, of course, Thomas, is a sure sign of stupidity. There is no other word.

The one hope is that the Knicks have a plan; that Thomas isn't the next GM (even if they hire a patsy and have Thomas running things from behind the scenes). That they actually are serious about moving the franchise forward., All there is is hope. lThe Knicks haven't earned any hop in a long time. let's just hope...that they are headed in a smart direction now.

Friday Five—The no rings edition

Which of these championship-lessathletes was the best?

1. Charles Barkley (.540 fg %,12546 rebounds)

2. Dan Marino (Lifetime 253.6 ypg, 420 TD passes)

3. Ted Williams (.344 lifetime BA, 2-time MVP)

4. Patrick Ewing (2894 blocks, 21ppg)

5. Dick Butkus (5-time All-Pro,22 INTs, 27 FRs)

6. Tony Gwynn (.338 lifetime BA. 15-time All-Star)

7. Someone else

Vote and tell us why.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Did the Yankees Dodge a Bullet By Not Signing Cliff Lee?

Check this out: Cliff Lee's ERA is 3.94, higher than Freddy Garcia's and Bartolo Colon's..

This season—in the year of the steroid-free batter pitcher, that 3.94 actually makes Cliff Lee a below average pitcher. (Albeit not by much, but still....)

And this is in the NL East, which, yes is a competitive division, is in no way, the AL East; the Jose Baustista, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Joyce, David Ortiz division.

Still, pitching in the National League, Lee's WHIP is way up and his BB rate has doubled to 2.14/per 9IP from 0.76/IP. But possibly the most telling stat is Lee's BABIP—specifically against righties. Last year, righties' BABIP was .276. That number is now .356. Righties overall are batting .270 against Lee this season, up from .224 last season. And amazingly, all batters are batting a grotesquely huge .337 against Lee with runners in scoring position, up from .259 last season.

What the heck happened? Well, one theory, courtesy of fangraphs.com is Lee's cutter. All of Lee's pitches are down value-wise this year, but his cutter has become downright bad. Last year, it was a 2.7 value pitch, this year it's a -3.7 pitch. And if you compare the 2 charts (the top is Lee's 2011 cutter heat map, the bottom is the 2010 version), it shows that Lee's cutter isn't as consistently avoiding the meat of the plate. Last year's cutter—as the hot spots show—was either way up in the strike zone, just along the upper part of the box, or lower down in the zone—avoiding the wheelhouse part of the plate. Lee's 2011 hot spot is just a touch higher in the zone, or exactly where the batter would like it. It's not a huge difference, but it's enough to make the batter happy.

The same is even more true for Lee's fastball—a huge value pitch last year at 26.4; this year's it's down to a 7.6 value. And again, comparing the heat charts against righties, you can see that the bright spot last season is down in the zone; this year, most of the bright spots for Lee's fastball are up in the higher half of the zone.

Lee hasn't lost any velocity. His pitches are almost exactly the mph they were last year. it's just that he's not placing them as well as he used to. Strangely, Lee's Ks are way up, but as stated before, so are his BB/9 and BABIP and his FB/HR rate. All of this points to location. Lee still has the stuff—see his velocity, movement and his K/9 rate. However, this year's his location is off. This very well could be a temporary thing—a correctable thing—and something that Lee probably will correct. Lee really only has had 3 truly bad games this season—there's not a lot of hard evidence that this isn't a blip on the 2011 season's radar.

The Yankees have had some incredibly good fortune with their pitching this season—and as Mike Silva wrote this morning—Brian Cashman deserves much of the credit for finding Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, who have answered the bell mightily. And let's not forget Lance Pendleton and Luis Alaya who so far have pitched 25.1 innings of relief and have given up a total of 3 runs. On the whole, it's been a remarkable 2 months of pitching for the Yankees. But can we honestly say we wouldn't want Cliff Lee on our roster right now, even with him pitching sub-par (for him)? No we can't. Right here, right now, the Yankees would love to have him on their team, no doubt. As would any other ball club.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Transactions....

Up next at Ohio State...I don't know. But I don't think it will be Urban Meyer. And I really don't think it will be Gruden. Why would he want to go to college, when he's in a position to grab almost any open NFL spot?

Now, Mark Dantonio at Ohio State makes sense. I can totally see a sweater vest on this guy.

And just a minute. Let me get this right.....college football players traded memorabilia for.....tattoos. Tattoos? Really?

Wow, Bartolo. I know the A's can't hit a volleyball, much less a baseball, but a complete game shutout is still pretty awesome.

Actually kind of impressive that Maria Sharapova won yesterday considering how many mistakes she made. She could look brilliant and like an amatuer, often in the same set. but hey, she's in the quaters.

Nice to see Mark Teixeira up his batting average from the left side 20 points in the past week. Still only at .248, but he looks a little cleaner batting as a lefty than he has for a while.

Who does these rankings? This kind of stuff is ESPN The Mag kind of stupid.

Eric Weddle would fit in perfectly in Jacksonville. He would be a real nice quiet pick-up.

I think Prince Fielder is a really good player. A really good one. but he won't be worth the sick money someone is going to pay for him this offseason. He is only 27, yes, and 35 HRs and a .535 slugging percentage is nothing to sneeze at. But at the kind of money you're going to have to pay to get him. Not sure i would do that.

Everybody who had Lance Berkman as leading the NL in slugging and OBP raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?

And Matt Joyce leading the AL with a .368 average....anyone?

Good point by Peter King: I think when Plaxico Burress gets out of jail a week from today, and when the NFL resumes, he'll have two or three teams very interested. My guess is the Jets, Eagles and Raiders will be involved (the Jets if they don't sign Randy Moss), and I'll tell you a team that should be interested: Cleveland. A reborn Burress would do a good job giving Colt McCoy a threat he doesn't have right now-if Burress is in shape and as interested in resuming his career as I've heard.  

If its true, Buress could help out McCoy immensely.

If Zach Grienke can get right...the Brewers win the NL Central.

Never. Ever. Thought I would agree with Stephen A. Smith. But wow, he's kinda right.....(I didn't just say that, did I?)

This is just brilliant. Really, really brilliant.