Postgame Spread
You guys hangin' out? I'll hang out.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Why I don't post about football    

There are a number of reasons I have been silent on the subject of football so far this fall, apart from my recent obsessing about baseball. The first is probably obvious. The Colts have gotten burned so bad in the past few years despite looking so good that I've been left with very little to say. What do I have to offer? "Oh yeah, well, this year they have homefield advantage, so the cold won't be an issue?" Or maybe, "For once they might just have the edge on defense as well, so watch out?" Those things are true but it's inevitably exposed as posturing. Whether I like it or not, I've been effectively shut up by the Patriots and by repeated, and high-profile, failure.

The other thing is that writing about the Colts is kind of confusing for me because it all gets wound up in this sort of autochthonous (bonnnnng), circular kind of anxiety about sports loyalty without any connection to place. I had a whole post this earlier this fall about all these issues and what it all means and all that, but I decided it was too much to ask anyone to read. Maybe after this season is played out I'll revisit it. Suffice to say for now that in the fall of 2000, when the Colts somehow solidified themselves as my team (mostly through a series of improbable comebacks, a last minute playoff berth, and a whole lot of playing Andrew at Madden '99), this was already worrisome. I was already getting sensible lectures about why I should be a Seahawks fan. Now, with all the fuss about Manning and greatness and choking and the Patriots and everything (not to mention the Seahawks recent success), it's turned into a complete obsession. And yet, it still feels very out of my control, as being a fan always is. If they win the Superbowl this year, or if they don't, it's going to get worse, because the situation is inherently unstable.

Lehr doesn't have to worry about this because as a fan he has no soul, a direct result of being a Yankees fan, that has either comically or tragically (I can't tell which) driven him to root for Duke as well. This obviously makes the whole enterprise of his loyalties already a caricature of itself that is unaffected by the Bronco love. I suspect this phenomenon is probably the worst single thing that happens to people born in New York (with certain exceptions) simply
because they are born in New York, this total distortion of all things right and normal about sport loyalty. That Lehr of all people is rooting for a team that demands everyone get the same awful Republican haircut depresses me to no end, but that's sports for you. We can't control these things. Obviously, the Yankees distortion works just as powerfully in the opposite direction, as I constantly worry about the ways in some team I am rooting for might resemble the Yankees in some capacity. This is almost certainly a part of my Colts obsessing and probably more ridiculous than anything Lehr does as a fan. Oh well.

But I think the biggest reason that I'm uncomfortable saying much of anything about the Colts this season is that it's gotten to the point for me that one Superbowl victory will only partially erase the humilliation of the past number of years of sports for me. Winning this year, if it happens, might make up for choking last year, but I'm still burning about the year before and the
year before that and the year before that. Now that the 16-0 season is out of the picture, it will definitely take at least two Superbowl wins. And maybe it will take an AFC championship game victory in Foxboro in the snow against a Patriots team that looks at least as good as the team that beat them the last two years. I still have trouble accepting that last year's team wasn't historically great and so, until they have proven themselves as historically great, I won't be satisfied.

I think this springs directly from my psychology as a Seattle sports fan. That's partially about the collapse of the mid-90s Sonics without a ring, but it has a lot more to do with the Mariners. I feel
humiliation that we were unable to build a championship in 1997 around arguably the best center fielder, short stop, and starting pitcher in baseball at the time, none of whom had prohibitive contracts. I feel humiliation that 2001's 116 win season was reduced to a historical footnote by losing to the Yankees. And I feel potential humiliation that it looks to be a challenge to build a World Series team around Ichiro to silence his critics. However foolishly, I have believed in the possibility of historical greatness in each of these things and, unsurprisingly, found it elusive.

So, Jeff, I obviously have no ground, even this year, to contest your assessment of the Patriots ability to beat the Colts this year. But you can bet that I will be both incredibly surprised and further humiliated if it happens. Because I believe this team, as I did last year, might be historically great. That's probably stupid, but there it is. And that, Kelvin, is why I'm not writing about football.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Jeremy Reed    

I just read today's USS Mariner post on the M's asking for Papelbon or Lester in exchange for Reed.  While I agree that Reed should not be traded (from the M's standpoint) I strongly disagree with Dave's "so what" assessment of Paps/Lester.  I'll grant that they aren't King Felix-grade prospects, but lumping them in with the likes of Jesse Foppert is a little much.

Paps showed no sign of growing pains at any point last season, not even in his spot starts.  He's got three power pitches, and an improving changeup.  Give his opponents some film to study and maybe they'll come around, but he's also got the offseason to work on the change.

The jury's obviously out on Lester, and the assessment that he gets by on his fastball is probably true, but lefties with 93 mph heat are not to be pooh-poohed.  And his curveball is still inconsistent... which proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is, indeed, a young left-handed pitcher.

Criticizing them for not having offspeed stuff at this point is just stupid.  It's like complaining that a rookie quarterback can't read defenses yet.  Oh, you think so, doctor?  Of course they have no offspeed pitches, they're prospects.  What do you expect?

Dave's argument seems to be along the lines of "everyone has prospects like Papelbon and Lester."  The implication is that anyone less than a phenom would die on the vine, as Gil Meche and Joel Piniero have.  Well, whose fault is that?  Is that because Meche and Piniero didn't have "It," or is it because the Mariners haven't developed a consistent starting pitcher of their own since... I dunno, Mark Langston?

But it's moot anyway.  If they won't go back to talking Reed for Clement + cash, or for Arroyo, the deal is dead.  In terms of prospect status it might be fair, but the fact that Reed struggled last year changes his value significantly in my mind.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Ask And Ye Shall Receive    

Sandeep Poonan said:
...remarkably it is still football season and every single one of you assclowns has a team that will likely make the playoffs..... so why the lack of chatter? And why are Kelvin Schleif's testicles so small? They look like cranberries.

Excellent questions, Sandeep. But the second rule of Postgame Spread is to only answer one question at a time. So without further adoo-doo, I will explain why Indianapolis will lose to the Pats in the second round.

The Pats may not be as good as they've played against the likes of the Jets, Bills and outdoor Bucs. They've yet to beat an elite team this season. They're 3-5 against current playoff contenders. They've beaten Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Tampa, but lost to San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina, Denver and Indy. It doesn't prove they can't win, but it sure gives credence to the idea that they're getting well on bad teams and good matchups. (Tampa Bay in 30-degree weather? Brrr!)

But they sure look like they're back to me, and I have no choice but to give them the benefit of the doubt. They've looked good enough in their short-handed losses that I'm not worried. And they're peaking late, which is a great sign (pending possible letdown games against the Jets and Dolphins). Now that people are healthy again, Rodney Harrison's absence is the only key difference between the Pats of 2005 and the Pats of 2004. They're without their top two offensive linemen (Matt Light and Dan Koppen) but they're doing fine without them. So we're basically looking at the defending champs again... solid running game, excellent passing game, solid offensive line, best front seven in the AFC, and a weak-ass secondary. Could last year's Pats have beaten last year's Colts at home, without Rodney Harrison? I'd say yes.

Are the Colts better? Absolutely. Their secondary was already good, and now it's another year better. The defense is much improved, though not really dominant. Their offensive line is a juggernaut. Edgerrin is having his best season. They're not gonna get any better than this. And they beat New England in Foxboro last month, so they know they can win.

If the Pats beat them now, it would be the biggest of their victories over Indianapolis. But I do think they have the edge. Since the Week 9 loss, Corey Dillon has gotten healthy, Rosie Colvin and Tedy Bruschi have played possessed, and Richard Seymour is now healthy and wreaking havoc. Totally different defense. As masterful as the Colts' O-line has been thus far, I don't see how they can shut down Rosie Colvin, and Ty Warren, and Vince Wilfork, and Dick Seymour, and Willie McGinest, and Tedy Bruschi, and Mike Vrabel. It will take one of the best O-line performances in modern history to protect Peyton from all those guys for three and a half hours. Consider also that Seymour and Wilfork are drawing double-teams on a regular basis now. How's Peyton gonna have enough time for a seven-step drop against a rush like that? Now look at who's writing up the game plan, and ask yourself if you think a Bill Belichick team will come out flat against the Colts.

The difference will come down to improvisation, luck, and the mental edge. The Colts need to jump out to a big lead early, and force the Pats out of their game plan. I don't think they can mount a complete comeback against a good team.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Et Tu, Johnny?    

Well, I don't know who to feel sorrier for, Red Sox fans or Yankee fans. OK, who am I kidding? I've never felt sorry for Yankee fans in my life. What I mean is, who do I think made out worse in this situation? This is one of those weird situations where it's probably good for Boston that they didn't sign Damon for a similar contract, but it creates major problems in the short run. And to compound the situation, it might not be bad for the Yankees that they signed him, because some of their other collossal financial mistakes will be off the books by the time Damon is likely to be a problem and they can deal with them then. And of course anything good for the Yankees is bad for Boston and (to a lesser extent) vice-versa.

I guess the real tragedy here is for Johnny Damon fans. It baffles me that major league baseball players still don't understand what primadonnas they sound like when they say things like:

"You know, I'm with mixed emotions. I'm very happy starting a new career. I'm sad to say goodbye to some of the greatest fans in the world. Unfortunately they had to see this day, but it's time for me to move forward...'I talked to Tito and I told him they had to really get going, . . . [I] had other plans. I'm not sure if they knew I meant it, but I'm a Yankee. Hopefully now they'll go off and get one of the center fielders they've been courting for the last month or so."

Earth to Damon: they weren't courting other center fielders, they were courting back up plans in case you were serious about your ridiculous contract demands. Contrast briefly with this statement:

"There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they're going to come after me hard," he said on May 3. "It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need."

And yet you hire Scott Boras, demand a ridiculous 7-year deal and then skip town on the Sox, your loveable band of idiots because a) they got rid of Kevin Millar, who was *obviously* holding the team back and b) you had your little feelings hurt when they tried to figure out what to do if someone really offered you all that money. I'm not saying that if any of us were offered $52 million at the beginning of our decline phase, we wouldn't up and take all the money, but what's with all the posturing? And he's not even good at it, band of idiots indeed. No doubt the girls will go even crazier for him with all that ridiculous facial hair shaved off, but it's still sad to see people do this to themselves.

Speaking of girls going crazy, will Jeter and Damon hitting the clubs together have girls screaming and fainting like at Beattles concerts? Is Damon married? If not, or either way really, how long before the two of them have a threesome with the same girl? I've been thinking lately, and maybe A-Rod's just not actually cool enough to be that kinky. I could see Jeter intimating that it could be a good team building move, and A-Rod reflexively just saying, "that is disgusting." Damon the other hand...he'll party. Related question, how long before Damon and Jeter have an awkward kiss while some girl is sucking them both off and then they never speak to each other again a la Y Tu Mama Tambien?

If the Sox can pry Reed away from Seattle without giving up a premium prospect, that could be a good deal for them that helps their financial flexibility over the next few years enormously. If they make the trade for Reed, and brought in a platoon partner for Nixon (can Eric Byrnes play RF?), that leaves them the money to keep Manny without worrying about it too much and keep their rotation intact, which is a terrifying one as presently constituted. Too bad this didn't all play out before Furcal signed, or this could have been a really, really interesting offseason in Boston. Then, next year or something, they can sign some other huge bat in right, and the dynasty lives on.

I like what Jeff has to say about the Sox options, but it's scary to think what they might have to give up to get Lugo. I might go with the stopgap until Pedroia's ready, if he can really play SS like they say. As Jeff points out, that leaves them without a reliable leadoff option. It's tricky, and since I have no real insight, I won't add any more to that particular conversation. What a shake up though. In conclusion, the Yankees find new ways to ruin baseball every year. Congratulations, assholes.

State of the rivalry    

My very preliminary stats analysis of the state of the Yankees/Sox.
I assumed Jeff's best-case scenario lineup, and assumed that Youk would play 3B (cause I don't want to project Marte's stats), and that Ortiz would DH, and Lowell would play 1B.
Not perfect, I know, and makes some assumptions (I expect slightly better #s from Giambi and Manny next year, as they both basically took the first month of the season off last year).
So without further ado, here it is:

Team Average0.2900.3730.4770.850

Tricky Trot0.2780.3570.4460.803
Coco Crisp0.3000.3450.4650.810
God-You-Suck (Lowell)0.2360.2980.3600.658
Team Average0.2820.3640.4570.821

God-You-Suck (Lowell)0.2360.2980.3600.658
HUGE Advantage: Yankees


Advantage: Yankees


Advantage: Yankees


Big Advantage: Yankees


Advantage: Sox


Coco Crisp0.3000.3450.4650.810
Advantage:Draw/maybe sox, which is surprising


Tricky Trot0.2780.3570.4460.803
Advantage: Yankees


Advantage: Sox


HUGE Advantage: Sox

My primary reactions are as follows:

1) The Yankees need a DH, and I'd be shocked if they didn't pick one up by July.

2) If Posada's decline continues apace, catcher will be a problem position for them this year.

3) Coco Crisp is pretty durn good. His #s match Damon's, and at a slightly discounted rate. Dunno about his defensive rep. or how he'd handle the transition to center field. If he's ready to make the move, I'm pretty shocked that the Yankees weren't all over his johnson in the first place.

4) (channelling the song from the Waterboy) Lo-well Sucks! He really really sucks! Lo-well sucks!

Overall, I still think the Yankees have the edge offensively, but it's a much slimmer one than i thought. And if Boston doesn't land Lugo and a center-ready Coco, the gap will get wider.

Pitching analysis anyone? I like the Dotel signing, by the way, even if he ends up not contributing until 2007.

The Most Expensive Shave In History    

Damon's departure really screws the Red Sox, especially over what seems like an easily surmountable dollar gap... the difference was $13 over 4 years, which I think could've been split down the middle.  I don't think it would've been a smart signing for Boston, but it would've kept him away from the Yankees and it would've kept a local hero in town.  So this wasn't played particularly well by the Sox, though it isn't nearly the disaster that Manny's departure would be.  It's like Pedro's departure, where he left for ridiculous money and the Sox said "nice knowing you," realizing that they'd gotten the guy's best years.  It's like that, but with less money involved.

Anyway, I prefer to look towards the future... frankly, things got way more interesting now that Damon's gone.  Now the nightmare scenario comes up... we need to acquire Julio Lugo.  Barf.  But he can lead off and steal bases.  And if they do that, they can pull the trigger on that David Wells/Dave Roberts deal.  Or maybe this Bronson Arroyo/Jeremy Reed deal that's starting to simmer... though if I were Seattle, I'd hold onto Reed.  I like the idea of picking up Lugo, trading for Reed or Roberts, and batting Reed/Roberts 9th as the alternate leadoff guy.  But if we don't get Lugo, I think I'd prefer Reed to Roberts, since Reed seems like a more traditional leadoff bat.

There's also been talk, now dead, of picking up Coco Crisp to play center, in exchange for uberprospect Andy Marte and uberheadcase Guillermo Mota.  That seems pricey to me, but the lineup would be pretty ridiculous if we went with him over Reed and Roberts.  Consider the following lineup presumptions:

Reed/Roberts w/o Lugo
Lugo w/o Reed/Roberts Lugo plus Reed/Roberts
Lugo plus Crisp
Reed / Roberts
Ortiz Ortiz Ortiz
Ramirez Ramirez Ramirez
Nixon Nixon Nixon
Varitek Crisp
Andy Marte / Kevin Youkilis
Marte / Youk
Marte / Youk Lowell
Alex Gonzalez
scrap-heap CF
Reed / Roberts
Marte / Youk

Look at that last lineup for a minute.  Holy mother of pearl!  Mike Lowell's the worst bat on the list!

Considering that the team is flying apart, I like all the wheeling and dealing I see.  They've got commodities with weaknesses, and they're offering them up for talented players.  Edgar Renteria was their least movable commodity, and they moved him for a #1 corner infield prospect (albeit an injured one).  Fatty Wells... Saturn Balls... Trot Nixon... they're all on the block.  I'm even liking the Graffanino signing, unbelievably... I like him a lot more as the utility guy than as the starting second baseman.

And on top of all that, they've loaded their bullpen to the gills with talent.  They have Foulke, Timlin, Hansen, Delcarmen, Mota, Seanez, and Bradford... pretty cool that Bradford goes from a trusted setup arm to the bottom of the depth chart.  They haven't got an official long man/spot starter, but Lenny DiNardo seemed awfully well-suited to that role last season.  Worst-case scenario (Foulke sucks, Timlin's cooked, Mota chokes, Delcarmen and Hansen struggle) is still grim, but geez that's a lot of simultaneous suckage.  It won't all happen, and as long as it doesn't, I like how they look on paper.

Then there's the rotation.  The rotation is going to F people's S up.

As long as they don't trade Manny, this has been a good offseason.  I'm still penciling them in for first place, but I'll wait to see what happens with the CF/SS situations before I put a number on how many GBs the Yankees will amass with their mass of ass.

Duck Season    

As Rick James would say, SLAP!

Welcome, Captain Caveman. Of course, given the Boss' irrational fear of hair, Damon's likely to follow in the steps of Giambi (to the barber, not BALCO) lest he suffer the Mattingly treatment.

The important thing in this deal is that it's a direct bitch slap to Boston. Remember when Boston tried to lure Bernie Baseball, only to have the Yankees come back at the 11th hour and sign him? This is the inverse of that.

And I have to say this- they picked their battle, and won.

"It was like we were hunting duck," said a New York official Tuesday night.

They wanted four years, they got four years. Anything more would be patently ridiculous, given that it's pretty apparent that Damon's begun the backslide of his career. But he should be able to give us two very good years (.290 BA, 15 HR, 70 RBI, .800 OPS, and 115 Runs Scored), plus at least passable defense in center field. Which should be enough to deliver another championship, if the pitching holds together.

That's a pretty big if, and one that they will probably need to address eventually. But if their alternate option was giving $9,000,000 a year for this overrated chump. $9,000,000 a year for Adam Freaking Eaton? What's Zito going to cost then? Unreal.

In other news, reports out of St. Louis are saying that panic is beginning to set in. The Governor has declared a state of emergency, and ordered a general evacuation. Food stores are becoming scarce as mass hording spreads. All because of a previously unidentified large object hurtling towards the city at high speed. A large, drunken object.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

From the Hamper    

A quick check of the news this morning reveals the following:

1) The U.S. gets WAY too bent out of shape over wide receiver celebrations. What Would Joe Buck Do? In other news, did you catch Chad Johnson's non-celebration dance celebration? If he'd start doing that for real, he'd pretty instantly become my favorite player in the NFL.

2) Jeremy Roenick is an old, worn out, asshat. In case you hadn't noticed, and, to quote the best announcer of all-time, "judging by the attendance, you haven't," U.S. hockey announced its lineup for the Olympics, which, coincidentally, will be held in that bastion of progressive freedom, Italy (see #1). Roenick was left off. Good riddance.

3) Brett Favre is legally blind. Either that or he is actively recruiting Ed Reed and Samari Rolle as wideouts for the Packers next year. They'd make pretty good receivers, I bet. Hell, even Neon Deion caught a pass.

Brett- seriously... think about it. What worked for the Wild Thing can work for you.

Monday, December 19, 2005


1) AFC... the time has come for you to shit your pants.  They're healthy, and they're ready to rock.

2) Peyton Manning!  Your suspension... continues!  OK, so it's one game.  But let's not split hairs... they almost came back, but blew it.  An 83 yard play to ice the game?  As Ron Burgundy would say, that's bush.  And a Manning interception on their final drive?  Same old Colts: can't come back.  Let the Peyton jokes resume!  Hahahahahahahaha

3) The Redskins are back from the grave.  Beat... That... Ass.  Way to go.  Please save us from the friggin Vikings, Falcons, and Cowboys.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Well Played, Sir.    

In retrospect, doesn't this whole Dominican Republic or USA controversy seem a little contrived?  "I decided I will not dishonor either"?  Can this guy be any more of a pussy?

There are so many possible rationales at play, and none of them are particularly likable:

1. He never wanted to play in the first place, but didn't want to be treated like the average NBA superstar, get called unpatriotic and stuff, so he thought of the wussiest excuse possible
2. Torn between what are probably the two best teams in the world, he will wait to see who wins, and then pick a side for the next time around.  Watch it be whoever wins.
3. He is being totally honest.  He can't decide, and thinks this is the best way out.  What a truly modern, corporate, politically-correct decision.  For God's sake, don't commit to something!!!  I'd almost rather he had one of those other motives!

Let's assume he's telling the truth.  Rather than say "I'm playing for X, not Y, but it's no slight against Y, that's part of being American" or something, he decides to do nothing.  There's no way to please everyone, so he chooses to please noone... which, coincidentally, is what is going on with his pro career as well.  This is further proof that A-Rod is the ultimate modern baseball player.  He's politically savvy, he says all the right things, he's not white, and he's completely incapable of making a decision for fear that something might happen.  In fact, he might think a loss would end up pinned on him, and thus believes abstention will protect his image.  Wouldn't that be clever?  He is truly a product of his generation, isn't he?

Monday, December 12, 2005


1.  US soccer got screwed.  Ghana, Czechs and Italy.  Pool of Death!!!  Hey-oooooooo!  The US are the third-best team in the pool, despite being "ranked" #9 in the World Cup and ranked (no quotes) #8 worldwide by FIFA.  And in case you were wondering, the Italians have already accused former German star Lothar Matthaus of tampering with the draw in order to screw Italy over.  So it's a bad draw.  I could see any outcome at all for any team.  I could even see a four-way tie for first/second/third/last that's broken by goal differential.  I think that's more likely than seeing any team in the pool go undefeated.

2.  Colts can go 19-0 without playing certain starters.  They're deep enough to win their last three w/o Edge and with Manning/Harrison for the first half only.  Maybe give Freeney and the secondary the second half off also.  Who knows.  If the game's in hand, give the keys to the backups, otherwise keep going.

3.  I officially root against the Heat again.  Pat Riley... you have no shame.  It helps that the old crew that I hated so much (Riley, Alonzo Mourning) are back, joined some truly despicable basketball players (Antoine Walker, Jason "White Chocolate" Williams).  Sure, I like Shaq and Dwywyywyn Wade, but not that much.

4.  Astronomers discovered a new planet recently... and it has work visa issues.  Hardy har har.

5.  Bananaman is thriving in San Jose.  I'm trying not to freak out about it.  He would never have done this for us, that's for sure, but I said the same about Roger Clemens' rediscovery after leaving Boston... if he'd stuck around, he would've struggled through fat-related injuries for the length of his career.  Rocket didn't "get it" until he left.  Just like Dumbo hasn't "gotten it" until now.  But it was easy to loathe the Rocket for leaving the Sox... what's to hate about Joe?  You can't blame him for being abused by the entire Bruins organization his whole career.  Hatred isn't really an option.  So that complicates things... he is a walking, talking, skating symbol of the Bruins' utter laughability, but I like the player while hating the symbol.  Hopefully he'll pull his disappearing act in the playoffs again, cementing his Bledsoe/Nomar status and relieving the pressure on me.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


God of wonder, God of might, God with royal beauty bright... please make this go away.  The Back Bay is already weighing too heavily on the swampfill beneath it; if that fat bastard comes back to the Red Sox, half the city will sink under the Charles.  Boston would look like New Orleans by the first Yankee series.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter Meetings Postmortem    

From Jayson Stark, old faithful.  Predictably, my favorite part was his jab at the Yankees: "Brian Cashman's biggest acquisition at these meetings was a cranberry muffin. No truth to the rumor he balked at adding a croissant..."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Here's An Idea    

The Red Sox' huge-money, right-handed, flaky, MVP-caliber left fielder has demanded a trade out of the limelight. Then this morning, the Sox traded away their not-so-huge-money shortstop. Now comes word that the Orioles' right-handed, not-so-huge-money, not flaky, MVP-winner shortstop has demanded a trade, citing a lack of commitment to winning.

Veeeery eenteresteeng. There's finally someone on the market that I'd actually accept as Manny bait! Not that it'd be a fair trade, but the Sox would save money and get a franchise player in return, which is all you can really ask if you insist on trading the most reliable hitter in baseball. I'd definitely prefer a Miggie dual-dump over, ohhhh, Troy Fucking Glaus! Who would be dumb enough to do that????

Goodbye, YPOS    

So I'll admit, the Yankees getting out dealt so far by the unseen force driving the Red Sox has been a bit disturbing. But I just gotta say...
Ahhh.... this one feels good.
The bit I like is, "It was not immediately known what the Yankees were getting in return."
Guesses anyone?
The high-low is a bag of baseballs.
I'm going to go with 1/3 of the McDonalds Monopoly trio that would net them a portable mp3 player made by a second-rate Taiwanese outfit. Batteries not included. I think it was St. James Place.
So, for the last time,
Womack! You Piece of Shit!

Woot!!! (pending further trading)    

Edgar Renteria is a Brave! The best part is that the Sox actually traded a veteran for a prospect, and a good one at that (3B Andy Marte). So the Red Sox now have the same situation at both 2B and 3B... veterans for the short-term, with top prospects (Dustin Pedroia and Marte, respectively) chomping at the bit to replace them. Having decided over the summer that the Sox should be all about prospects, this deal makes me happy...

...for now. The link says we might turn around and ship Marte to Tampa for Julio Lugo. Buzzkill!!! Lugo's a good offensive player and all, but you're not improving on Renteria's defense at all, and furthermore you're losing not just a top prospect, but the #1 prospect in an outstanding farm system. You trade a guy like that for Julio F. Lugo? And watch the guy grow up in your own division to boot??? I'd rather keep Marte and search the scrap heap for a SS with some defense. It kills the 1-9 concept on offense, but the idea of grooming a bedrock prospect at third is more attractive to me.

So what would I do about that gaping hole at short? Hmm, is there anyone available in free agency who plays shortstop? That link (as of 12/8) says he's been talking to the Yankees about playing center field. I'll let St. Jon, patron saint of tiny JPGs, cover that one. Though it would be fascinating to see him, Jeter and A-Rod all on the same team... with the worst shortstop of the trio actually playing short. Ha.

This has been a really fun offseason so far. Not as much fun as last year, but still good. Of course, they can ruin it by shipping out the sign-holder in that picture. I cannot say enough how retarded they'd have to be to trade Manny.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mark Loretta and Other Hot Stove Topics    

Sox trade backup catcher extraordinaire Doug Mirabelli to San Diego for second baseman Mark Loretta.  Good deal... the Sox have Kelly Shoppach ready to take over for Mirabelli, and Loretta will be a one-year stopgap until Dustin Pedroia arrives.  If Loretta plays solid defense, he'll earn his salary; if he hits, he'll return the Sox to its previous status of dangerous hitters from 1 to 9.  (That is, unless they trade Manny.  Which would be ABSOLUTELY FUCKING UNFORGIVEABLY RETARDED!!!  Thank you.)

Other recent rumors, largely from Gordon Edes, with my reaction:

* David Wells for Justin Duchscherer: B+
The thing is, I'd been hearing a rumor of David Wells for Dave Roberts.  That would be an A.  But could we really complain about adding another young setup guy with ridiculous stats?  Can we ever have enough?

* Edgar Renteria to Atlanta; Julio Lugo to Boston; prospects to Tampa Bay: B
Ehh.  This will matter if Johnny Damon bolts.  Lugo's a good table-setter, but kind of a mess at short.  Then again, we're currently stuck with a mess at short.

* Manny Ramirez for Alfonso Soriano and Hank Blalock: C-
Um, why?  You trade an irreplacable outfielder for two infielders whose positions are already filled?  In the words of St. Lil' Jon the Baptist... HHHHHWHAT???  If the plan is to move Soriano into left field, then it makes more sense... not "sense," but more sense.  Still doesn't replace Manny.  Soriano, for all his ability and statistics, is a joke.  Blalock, for all his effort and accomplishments, has a ceiling.  Neither can approach Manny, and neither likely will.  If we actually needed the depth (or the money, honestly) it might make sense.  But it doesn't.

* Trot Nixon to Seattle for, really, anyone at all: A+
Don't let it hit'cha where the good Lord split'cha.

Why Atlanta And Denver Run The Ball    

Good piece here on the Alex Gibbs approach to the running game.  Attner conveniently leaves out the part where they go after opponents' knees,  claims that Jake Plummer's bootlegs help the offense (how helpful were they the last two years?), and suggests that wearing down the opposition is some kind of revolutionary idea (hello, that's what running the football is supposed to do)... but as far as discussing the system itself, I found it to be an excellent, informative piece.  Anything that explains why a) Ron Dayne is contributing and b) Warrick Dunn is effective has to be useful.  And anything that places Terrell Davis' success in the same bucket as the success stories of Tatum Bell and T.J. Duckett is fine with me.

Man, I haven't thought about Terrell Davis in quite some time.  I wouldn't detest him so much if his reputation, his career, and his accomplishments weren't so transparently attributable to his offensive line.  History gives the line more credit with each passing 1,000 runner, and people do seem to have forgotten about him, but I'd like to see someone look back and question why a running back with no moves had so much stardom.  I mean, I used to question Emmitt Smith's ability, given that Dallas' O-line was so dominant, but over time you could't argue that Emmitt didn't have skills.  TD, on the other hand, just hit the hole.  Congratulations: you're clearly talented enough to run high school track!  We should treat TD's 2,008-yard season with the same validity as, ohhh, Aaron Small's 10-0 stretch this year for the Yankees.

The Word    

A few quick thoughts on stuff:

1) The Hot Stove:
When did Chien Long Wang and Robinson Crusoe Cano become elite prospects? All the chatter over finding a center fielder to replace the late Bernie Williams have centered around these two guys for a Juan Pierre or Torii Hunter... with Yankee fans screaming shenanigans on the very thought of giving up Big Poppa Wang or Cano-takeapitch. Now, I happen to really really like Wang, and think they should keep him around if at all possible. But Cano? He's a paper tiger. I say give Bubba half a season starting every day to prove he sucks as much as we all think he does, then package him and Cano for someone mediocre around late June. We all know that they should be buying their time and saving their pennies for the 2007 Andruw Jones Powerball Sweepstakes!

And speaking of the 2007 AJPS, rumor has it that the Yankees are losing money hand over fist. I'm calling shenanigans right now. I know nothing about finance or business, but I'm still 100% confident that they make more money than the next two most profitable franchises put together. And retaining Go-Jira will only help matters, even if they didn't sign Johjima.

2) What I'm watching tonight- UPenn V. Duke, baby! All ACC all the time! You wanna talk about a PTPer, how about Ibrahim "Shut Your Jibber" Jaaber. Along with being the newest recruit on Team DerkaDerka, the 6'2" Junior is averaging over 20 points a game for the Fightin' Quakers, and he's from Elizabeth, NJ to boot! Ibrahim Jaaber... He'll Win You Over!

Shut Your Jibber Jaaber!

Moving Back To Brooklyn: Phase One    

It was as if a million voices all cried out at once...


For some reason, that picture says it all to me. Anonymous GM with mustache gives the reins of his underachieving, unimpressive team to a laughingstock manager. The only thing Ned Colletti could have done worse would be to wear a t-shirt that said, "I went to the winter meetings in Dallas, and all I got was an overpaid shortstop and this piece of shit." T-minus-21 months to Grady's firing.

Funny. I was a big Grady defender in the aftermath of his infamous Game 7 blunder. Boy, was I wrong. Now I laugh in his face while spit-shining my World Series ring. But what's funny to me is that the World Series was a big forgiveness party for all the other goats, like Bob Stanley, Bill Buckner, even Roger Clemens. For Grady, though, the World Series was the worst thing that could happen. Instead of "we forgive you," as with the older chokers, the first reaction towards Grady has to be "Told you so! You SUCK." I mean, why forgive him? He's basically the man who stood between us and the World Series, and 2004 was the proof in the pudding. (Did I mention the World Series enough? No, probably didn't. Mention the World Series enough.)

So, Dodgers fans... don't hold your breath...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Super Balls    

This has been a long time coming, although it will be longer before it actually comes... microchips in a soccer ball to decide goal-line plays. Good to hear this is coming; not so good to hear how elementary the implementation is. One microchip in a ball that size?!? Whose brilliant idea was that? Gotta have at least six (two per dimension) or the problem of "does it actually cross w/o the chip crossing" becomes amplified unnecessarily.

But seriously, hockey had this figured out like 10 years ago. Tennis is using buzzers to decide line calls. Soccer, meanwhile, is the most contentiously-refereed sport on the planet, with the simplest number of actual rules to detect electronically. We're really more than a few years away from having this technology???

Hardy Har Harbinger    

That recent trend... the one where they didn't get every single call like usual, and thus lost the games they were supposed to lose... I think it might be over.  Sigh.

The good news is that they almost lost to Virginia Tech, but I choose to believe the first harbinger; it's easier to believe that Duke just wasn't ready for them.

From the Hamper    

Early nominee for the 2005 Najeh Davenport Award.

oh, and did you see that shot by Sean Dockery last night?
know where I can get a video clip? (I already know where I can stick it).

I Think This Qualifies As Sports    

Anything "turducken"-related counts, right?  I'm counting it.

Klicken sie!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Can A Team Win Without A GM?    

The last word from me until something a) stupid happens or b) a halfway-intelligent GM takes the job:


If this trade happens, it will be a black day in Boston sports.  Not just because Manny would be gone, but also because Dan "My Face Has Labia" Shaughnessy would be happy.  Neither of those things are good.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Are You Ready for Some Hey-Hey?    

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Bananaman Stuff    

The local reaction.  First, hockey guru Kevin Paul Dupont.  Sounds like KPD has been bunking with Shaughnessy.  You can feel the breeze of the hatchet flying downwards as you read.  "Is that what we call Bruins?"  Come on, that crap reads like Yankee media.  I've compared Bananaman to Drew Bledsoe more than once, but why harp on it like this?  What good comes from attacking the guy on his way out?  Sure, the excess of criticism reminds the fans that the guy had serious problems, but it can be done a little more diplomatically, especially when the guy is, from all indications, a decent guy off the ice.  Unnecessary, says I.  (Also of note: at the time of Bledsoe's departure, he was Brady's equal, whereas there is no suitable replacement in place for Thornton.  Alex Zhamnov has none of Thornton's presence, and Patrice Bergeron is best served as a complement while he gets used to the top two lines.)

Then there's my preferred point of view, from the always-excellent Jackie MacMullan.  She says pretty much what I thought the deal was... nice guy, but something was missing, and the B's decided he wasn't worth the cash... without turning it into an attack.  See how easy that is?  And you'll still sell papers.

After a day to ponder, I would really rather not take sides.  I could see the trade working out, and I could also see it collapsing on itself.  One thing I'm sure of is that I was a little rash in calling Jeremy Jacobs a douche bag for creating cap room when he had absolutely zero previously.  Maybe the plan is to spend the rest of 2005-06 creating cap room so that they can replace Bananaman in free agency.  Then again, El Douchobaggo would sooner guzzle two vats of Mooninite urine than buy a major free agent.  YOU DOUCHE BAG!

On a more serious note, look what I discovered during a stroll through the Postgame Spread Nostalgia File:

The best news here is that the contract is short, so he's tradeable.  This ain't over... but in the meantime, it's good news.

Yes, that's right... I predicted this trade!  Holla.  That doesn't mean I'm happy, necessarily.  The bottom line, for now, is that if you give up a franchise scorer you gotta get one back.  I'm really high on Brad Stuart; he's instantly their best defender.  But they didn't need a defenseman more than they needed the best player on the team, did they?  Between David Tanabe and Stuart, the defense is definitely shored up, but they're left with only one 30-goal threat (Glen Murray, who's more of a finisher than a creator).  So they've robbed Peter (Thornton) to pay Paul (Stuart).

They have lots of work to do.

On A Lighter Note...    

Look who just signed with the Yankees!

tick... tick... tick...

This is Brian Cashman's counterpunch? Kyle Farnsworth? He's not even the best Farnsworth in the city! And he's a certified choke artist to boot! At least he'll fit right in. So, through the first few weeks of the offseason, Big Cash is being out-GMed by... nobody. Since I'm in the mood for visual aids, here's another one: