Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Five

On a crazy, blizzardy snow day, why not do the Friday Five?


1. Hypothetical question. Would you trade, say, the Oakland Raiders to the NCAA for the Texas Longhorns in the NFL?

2. Does Albert Pujols win the NL MVP once again? If he does, is he the best St. Louis Cardinal of all time? If not, who is?


3. Mark Buehrle says he all set to retire at 32, even though he may very well be at the peak of his game. Do you agree with him or disagree with his call?

4. Bob Costas rated the top three sports calls of all times (bottom of page). Do you agree with him, or do you have a favorite of your own?

5. If you could be one athlete (from any time period) for a month, who would you be and when?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who's The Second Lefty In The Yankees Pen?

NJ.com a few days ago said that Joe Girardi would prefer to carry two lefties in the bullpen. Here’s a passage from the article:

“We’ll see if one steps up,” he said. “Somebody would have to show us.” Barring an injury, left-hander Damaso Marte would be the Yankees’ (first) lefty in the bullpen.”

That’s assuming Marte doesn’t implode in the early going. But assuming that, who steps up as the second lefty?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Burnett To Posada

The past few days, the news around the Yankee camp has been that both A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada feel that they should work together this season. A.J. Burnett spoke yesterday to the Daily News:

“A lot of stuff was blown out of proportion last year,” Burnett said. “We’ve talked a handful of times already, and we’re just real excited to put that behind us and move on and get better and learn from each other.”

Further, Burnett says he never questioned Jorge and since Jorge “has caught in this league for a long time, and I can do nothing but learn from him, so I’m looking forward to it.” So the plan this year to have Burnett pitch to Posada.

Why?

Really, if Posada is going to catch only around 110 games as Girardi says, why not have him just skip the days Burnett pitches?

Not everybody has chemistry with everybody. It shouldn’t be a big blown-out-of-proportion deal. Last year, with Francisco Cervelli catching, batters batted .204 off of Burnett, with Posada catching, they batted .270.

And this doesn’t only apply to Posada. Burnett has always had catchers he preferred. In 2004, when Burnett pitched to Paul LoDuca, batters hit .183, with Mike Redmond catching, they batted .255.

Just like some batters say they can’t hit certain pitchers for some reason (Don Mattingly once said he couldn’t see the ball well coming from Tom Gordon), or pound an otherwise fantastic pitcher (Mattingly said he felt comfortable facing Randy Johnson), some pitchers work well with some catchers. And it’s not an insult. It’s just the way it is.

In 1998, Jorge Posada was by then, the Yankee’s starting catcher. Except for David Cone. Cone had his personal catcher that season in Joe Girardi. He just felt more comfortable with Girardi. And it showed. In the 30 games Cone pitched, batters hit just .235 off of him. The one game with Posada? They hit .300 off Cone and got 6 runs in 7 innings. The Yankees lost.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Transactions....

I’ve been trying to avoid the Tiger Woods drama, mostly because .... well .... I don’t care. But I have to say the media’s acting as if this story was akin to America invading Russia, China, and Mars all at once was really pathetic. The media, mostly middle-aged, wealthy white guys—who happen to be the only people who care about golf‚—acting as if this was actually news and important and relevant to sports in any way, was pathetic.


One more thing. If they call Woods an “athlete” one more time, I’m going to put my foot in my TV. He’s not an athlete, he’s a golfer.


On to actual news. Randy Moss....if you don’t care so much about the Patriots offering to re-up you, why are you telling us about it February, a year before you become a free agent? Why are you even bringing it up?


In further football news, we’re getting the annual “The Combine doesn’t mean anything” articles, with Peter King leading the way. “...it’s way overrated in terms of deciding who should get picked where in the draft, and it always will be.” Yes, sure, King. But you know there will tons of guys there...scouts coaches etc, who will go there and fall in love with some kid. Happens every year. And if it mater so little, why do the best players never go there. Because they know that it does matter, and if they show up and stink, they can lose millions.


Regarding the Tracey McGrady to the Knicks deal....I hope my gut instinct that Sergio Rodriguez might have been a sleeper steal for the Knicks is right. The book on Sergio is that he is quick, a great passer with great court vision, a fancy dribbler, a hustler and a pass-first point guard. Sounds like something the Knicks need. And in his first game with the Knicks, his scouring report held true. Not a lot of points, but 2 behind-the-back passes to David Lee for layups and dove for the ball twice. “Spanish Chocolate” had 6 assists in 25 minutes and according to everybody watching, the offense was moving quicker and more efficiently when Rodriguez on the court. If he gets the rhythm flowing again for the Knicks, fans would owe Donnie Walsh a great deal of credit for not only cleaning up Isiah’s mess and opening up the cap in just two years, but not just getting junk back in return, but players who could actually play the game.


What happened to the Russian Winter Olympic effort? In 1980, they led the way with 23 medals in 1988, they had 28. In 1994, they had 23. However, by 2002, they were down to 13. So far in 2010, they have 8, with only 2 gold. What happened? Was it the Glasnost and Perestroika that led to the downfall of the Russian Olympics teams? If so, chalk one for Communism, because the teams were much better back then.


Khalil Greene? What happened to this guy? He won the Golden Spikes Awards as the best amateur player in 2002; was 2nd in the NL Rookie of the Year race in 2004, and was on his way to being an All-Star type player. Now he’s a journeyman, who inexplicably, doesn’t even want to play in the best hitter’s park in the nation. What the heck is going on?


Pinstripe Alley asks the (kinda silly) question: "If you're Brian Cashman, do you re-up Rivera for the same $15M he makes now, or do you try to squeeze him down a few M?" I think even Cashman knows....you pay the Man. Rivera gets whatever Rivera wants. C'mon.


According to the wires, the Patriots have franchised Vince Wilfork. Despite Wilfork saying that a franchise tag would be “a slap in the face,” its a good move for the Patriots. For a defense that is a pale shadow of its old self, keeping the big man—and one of the better NTs in the league—on the team is an absolute necessity. Especially since Ron Brace, last year’s number 2 pick, didn’t seem ready for the full-time job.


Finally, the University of Ole Miss is abandoning the Colonel. Colonel Reb, the mascot for the Unversity of Mississippi’s Rebels for 80 years is being abandonded as the University feels it is a symbol of the Confederacy and to many people, a symbol of hate.

Well first things first. In 2010, the University of Mississippi is figuring out that an old Southern gentleman from the pre-Cival War South might be construed as offensive? Really? It took them that long to figure that out?

Now, I’m not a bigtime PC guy, but I think keeping the name Rebels and refocusing the mascot from a Cival War pro-South slaveowner to something less offensive isn’t the worst idea. And as a suggestion, maybe one of these lovely rebel fighters could be the be the model for new mascot.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Five

1. Now that the Knicks can afford both of them, will the Knicks get Tracy McGrady and Dwayne Wade next season?

2. Would you trade Donovan McNabb and play Kevin Kolb if you were Andy Reid? Side question: If he's traded, where does McNabb end up?

3. Are you interested in what Tiger Woods has to say? What about his not taking questions?

4. Will Adrian Gonzalez be on the Red Sox come the 2010 trading deadline?

5. If you won an Olympic medal, then chipped your tooth biting on it in a photo op, would you ever show your face again? What if you were a curler and wore these pants?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Curtis Granderson Might Be The Most Important Yankee

Last year, Hideki Matsui batted behind Alex Rodriguez. In Joe Girardi’s left-right-left-right batting order, it just made sense for his lefty DH to bat 5th and protect the clean-up batter, Rodriguez.

And he did that well. Matsui batted .274, slugged .509 and had an OPS+ of 131. As a result pitchers couldn’t pitch around Alex Rodriguez, knowing Matsui was not much better to face.

This year, with Matsui gone, the job of number 5 hitter will most likely fall to Curtis Granderson. According to Yankees.com, the Yankees had at first speculated that Granderson would hit 2nd, but with Nick Johnson signed and boasting a considerably higher on-base percentage, Granderson might be a better fit lower in the order. So, assuming Girardi keeps his preferred left-right batting order, the 2010 lineup would look like this:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Transactions....

Pitchers/Catchers Report this week. Even with snow coming down here in New York, I just got my first sniff of spring.


This is Bobby Cox's last year in the dugout for the Braves, and already the season is starting on the wrong foot. Jurrjens is the most important pitcher for the Braves and the best pitcher no one talks much about.


People, people, everybody prognosticates who's going to win the MLB, each and every year. Point being, no matter what computer you have—even if you have HAL from 2001—or even if your' Nostradamus—you'll never get it all right. Just do it and have fun.


Normally I agree—or at least respect with the stuff printed in Pro Football Weekly—but their Audibles section had a real silly quote in it this week. Here it goes:

"Look at what Rex Ryan was able to do with the Jets with very much the same roster and a rookie quarterback. When we played them the year before, (Brett) Favre was not Favre. His arm was dead. And the defense was slow. A year later, they are a game away from the Super Bowl with basically the same talent."
Is it me, or did they just contradict themselves in that paragraph? They say, with "basically the same talent." And then they say, Favre's arm "was dead." So, what you're saying PFW, is that oh yeah, except for the quarterback position—which had a gunslinger QB who couldn't throw —it was basically the same team. And you're ignoring Bart Scott and Jim Leonard and Braylon Edwards to name just a few additions. But basically its the same team. Man, to me, that had to be the silliest analysis I've ever seen in PFW.


Hate to say this, because I love the Olympics and I'm happy Canada got to show them off, but man, those were the worst Opening Cermonies I ever saw. Boring and silly.


That said, the men's short speedskating, where Apollo got the silver, was one of the most exciting short burst of sports I've ever seen.


CFN released its way early pre-spring 2010-2011 prognostication poll. And really, Nebraska is 5th in the country. Yes they had a decent season last year and Pelini has them coming back. But 5th? And USC is 15th. I just don't see that.


Did anyone watch the NBA All-Star game. I've asked a ton of sports fans and no one watched the game. I'm just wondering, who the heck actually watches it? Especially with the Olympics on.


Tom Verducci had an interesting article about which pitchers are in jeopardy of his "Verducci Effect." Even if you don't buy into his theory, it makes for interesting reading.


Sporting News puts Carolina's John Fox as one of the coaches on the Hot Seat this upcoming year. Maybe, but there are a boatload of teams who would speed dail Fox to coach their squad as soon as he hits the streets. And Mangini, hate to say it, but I wouldn't be surprised if your seat would be filled by Fox in 2011.


And finally, just saw these images of the demolitions of Giants Stadium. And yeah, it wasn't my favorite venue of all time, but still....it is a little sad for New Yorkers. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Five

1. Will you watch the Olympic Opening Ceremonies tonite?

2. Will Gary Sheffield ever play MLB baseball again?

3. Do you watch golf? Please explain why.

4. What was the best dunk you've ever seen. If you can, put a url of it in your answer.

5. You're the GM of the St. Louis Rams. Considering Mike Vick's recent comments that he has dogged it in the past (I chose the word "Dogged" on purpose), would you try to sign him?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rotations: Which Is The Best?

Buster Olney had a blog post recently about the best 5 rotations in the league, and while he gave some love to the Mariners, his final list ranked like this:

1. Red Sox
2. Yankees
3. White Sox
4. Angels
5. Cardinals/Phillies

I'm sorry. But how can you not put the Mariners in the top 3.

I don't care what your rationale is: Starting out with King Felix (2.49 ERA, 179 ERA+, 217 SO), switching to the lefty Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee (3.22 ERA, 1.56 ERA in postseason), then—when he's healthy—Eric Bedard (2.82 ERA, 90 SO in 83 IP), who they picked up for a about $1.95 and some incentives). After that you can go with Ryan Rowland-Smith (3.74 ERA, 1.138 WHIP). For the fifth spot there are a number of contedners including Ian Snell (4.20 ERA), Doug Fister (4.13 ERA) or a host of others. Whomever impresses in camp gets the last spot on the hill.

That rotation is ridiculous. Cliff Lee is your number 2 pitcher? Unheralded Rowland-Smith had a superb .239 BAA last year, and finished strong, earning a 3.49 ERA in September and October.

I know the Yankees have Sabathia, Vasquez and Burnett and the Red Sox have Beckett, Lester and Lackey. But I'd put the Marines up against either of those teams and not feel worried. The Cardinals have a fantastic starting 2, but no depth after that. And no way do the Angels have a better rotation than the Mariners.

So, I'm asking you guys, which are the top 3 rotations in the league in 2010. Write back and argue for your top 3.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is Scott Boras Good For His Clients

Every baseball fan in the world knows the name of Scott Boras. For those not acquainted, Boras is not a flame-throwing lefty out of the pen or a baseball-demolishing power hitter. No, he’s simply an agent.

But unlike other agent, who normally ply their wares behind the scenes, get the best for their clients quietly and then move one, Boras actively pursues not only publicity—which he does to normally great effect—but seems to enjoy actively attracting confrontation with management and GMs. His modus operendi seems to be “Confrontation will bleed the bucks for my client. And therefore me.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

Transactions.....

Sitting like a zombie here at work—before we even get started—I'd like everybody to join this club: It's the "I think the Superbowl Should be played on Saturday Facebook club. Please, for god's sake, please tell the NFL we'd like to sleep late the day after the Super bowl.


OK, now to the patting myself on the back portion of this entry. And please, did I not call this game?

But if the Saints blitz Manning, it may not necessarily be to sack him—but to rush his decision-making, and allow the Saints' secondary to try to jump Manning's route....So what Gregg Williams will do, is probably, send his different blitz packages and get his secondary to study where Manning normally goes when he sees a blitz coming. And try to jump those routes. New Orleans knows it can't completely stop Peyton Manning. So, the best plan would be to try to force a couple of mistakes.
So, yay me! And great game, New Orleans. Great planning, great execution.


I know its been said before: But wow. What a great and gutsy call on that onside kick, Sean Payton. But hey man. Are you lucky the Saints go the ball back. Because if they didn't. And you put Peyton manning on your own 42 yard line to start the second half, the city of New Orleans would have crucified you.



Mariners signing Eric Bedard is a great move. With King Felix, Cliff Lee and now, a healthy Eric Bedard, Seatle now has three number 1s in their rotation, and have to be considered as the best staff in baseball.



Someone answer how vacating victories punishes a program at all? Florida State still had a beast of a recruting class. No one really cars because no one got punished. And wasn't it just a few weeks ago when the media was having its "We Love Bobby Bowden party." Wasn't this huge scandal on his watch?


Boy the Celtics sure got old fast.


Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum recently said he plans to tender Kellen Clemens this offseason when he becomes a restricted free agent. One question, Mike.....Why?


I don't know who I'd pity more if Kevin Kold gets traded to the Browns: Brady Quinn, who would have to be considered a 1st round bust, or Kevin Kolb, because he has to play in Cleveland.


I know that practically their entire team went to the NBA draft, but did you really except the Tar Heels to be 13-10 in February, and 2-6 in ACC play?




The World's most dangerous newspaper, the New York Post wrote a good article on the Mets yesterday. where they quoted one agent asking the salient question: "How can you have that payroll and still not have a starting catcher or first baseman, a second baseman you hate and no legitimate starters after Johan?”


Even though he's rumored to go everywhere, I still think Julius Peppers to the Patriots makes the most sense for both clubs. New England has an extra first round pick next year from the Richard Seymour trade, and Peppers fills a Grand Caynon sized pas-rushing hole on the Patriots defense.


And finally, for most embarrassing moment in winter sports this year....well, just watch.



Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Super Prognostication

When the AFC and NFC Championships were settled and it was clear that New Orleans and Indianapolis were going to the Super Bowl, I was sure: "No bout adoubt it. The Colts are gonna win."

To borrow a term from football, "After further review...."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Five

Sorry for the lack of updates, been really busy this week.


1. USC's Lane Kiffin just got a committment from a 13-year old QB. Is it wrong to get a committment from someone so young?

2. Where does the never-ending off-season of Johnny Damon end? Tigers? Yankees? Someone else?

3. What's the worst contract in sports right now. how about the worst contract ever?

4. Who has the better day at the Super Bowl: Drew Brees or Peyton Manning?


5. With the NFL draft coming up, we have to ask the question: What's the best name you've ever heard on the NFL draft.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Transactions....

Congrats Roger. Apparently my poll question is answered. Still the best.


Wait...what? T.O. promoting himself and ripping all his former QBs? It can't be!!!! Oh, but it is.


With the draft coming, the entire Draftnik world is projecting what teams are going to take in the draft. One question: Why does everybody seem to want to replace Todd Heap? Dude had 53 catches, which yes, isn't blowing anybody away, but that's with a young, injured and erratic QB. And 53 is more than John Carlson, whom everybody seems to be raving about, Jeremy Shockey, who, yes, played only 13 games, only caught 48 catches. And that is with Drew Brees throwing him the ball. Not saying Heap is a Hall of Famer, just saying I think the Ravens have bigger issues than a fairly decent tight end. Like maybe drafting a wide receiver. Or 3.


Was extremely surprised that the Jets only came in 11th in Bill Simmons' "Cursed Franchises." I mean, AJ Duhe anyone? 1986? Up 10-0 against the Broncos in the 1998 AFC Championship and Vinnie Interceptaverde hands them in game? 11th? Psshaw. Try 3rd.


This website ranked the top 25 college programs of the decade. And....I'm sorry, Michigan fans. Any team that loses to Appalachian State is automatically disqualified from being in the top 25.


God I would hate to see Wang in a Met uniform. It just wouldn't be right.


They are already debating the Josh Beckett free agency countdown up in Beantown. Well, if history is any judge, Beckett will have a down year this year and that will allow Boston to let him walk. Since 2005, Beckett has alternated great years (2005: 3.38 ERA, 2007: 3.27 ERA, 2009, 3.86 ERA) with down, injury-plagued ones (2006: 5.01 ERA, 2008: injury plagued 4.03 ERA, and bombed in postseason with 8.94 ERA and 7 HRs in 14 IP). If he does tank this year, expect Boston to let him go and go with Lackey and Lester as their 1-2.


Tampa Bay Buc GM Mark Dominik says of fledgling head coach Raheem Morris: "I was really impressed with how Raheem continued to grow in that role." (Translation: He was in way over his head.). "I think people did, even outside of our organization, when he got to interview with another club (the Broncos) for their head-coaching job, so it wasn't something that we just saw internally. It was something people saw externally, as well." (If he bombs out, it wouldn't be my fault. Other people though he would be a good coach as besides me.) "I felt like he really blossomed into an even better coach with even more responsibility, which says a lot about Raheem and, I think, what his future can be." (Cowher turned me down. Morris better shape up this season or else.)


Don't be surprised if North-South game MVP Brandon Graham ends up as the first round pick of the New England Patriots. Graham showed that he can rush the passer as well as anybody coming out of college, with 2 sacks, a forced fumble as he set up permanent residency in the South backfield all game. The Patriots need pass rushers desperatly, and Graham projects out to a 3-4 end. Coming from Michigan wouldn't hurt either, as the Patriots already have 2 Michigan LBs on their roster. Not to mention Tom Brady.




And finally....the first basketball game ever to be played on ice will take place in New York City's Central Park on February 9th. Wow, cool. Who's playing? Well, the hometown favorites will be the Harlem Globetrotters and they will be playing their arch-nemesis, the Washington Generals. And as we know the record between these 2 mortal enemies is something like 12,418 wins for the Globetrotters against 0 wins for the Generals. But who knows, as Krusty the Clown once siad when he bet on the Generals...."They are due!"!