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

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Drunken Sailors: New England Edition    

Looks the Red Sox are about to sign Nancy Drew to an approximately 4-year, $48M deal in the next few days.  This is not a joke, and in my opinion it's not that funny.  There's nothing funny about the biggest douchebag in baseball getting Manny Ramirez traded.  (I, for one, welcome our new battery-attracting clubhouse-polarizing overlords.  Oh, wait, no I don't.)

Anyway, I see three ways to look at this deal:

By itself, this is yet another of Lehr's "Drunken Sailor" deals.  Theo Epstein's still getting a free pass, but he has an insufferable propensity for high-risk, mediocre-return gambles.  He's about to pay $48 million to gamble that we could acquire... a decent outfielder who has some gap power.  Wow.

I see this as another Edgar Renteria/Matt Clement genre of bad deals... the Sox flexing their wallets for no reason other than because they can, and fixating on the David Ortiz-level outcome... "what if he breaks through?"  You can't look at all your deals that way.  In the best possible scenario, J.D. Drew is an ideal #5 hitter to complement Manny and Papi, he's a good OPS guy, and he's someone who would probably post some silly numbers by knocking line drives off the Moanstah.  The more likely scenario, however, is a Chris Webber-ish outcome, where he's okay for four years, but not enough to justify the salary.

Also, let's not forget that the Drew money would be much better spent on a certain starting pitcher two winters ago, or a certain center fielder and leadoff hitter last winter.

In short, the thought of Drew patrolling our disabled list for the next four years, with his various and sundry injuries (chipped molar, strained earlobe, paper cut, HPV), makes me want to cut out my eyes and my balls, and put my eyes in my nutsack and my balls in my eye-holes.

However, I have reason to believe there's more going on than just a hideously awful signing.  Something just doesn't jive here.  The Sox have lusted after Drew for quite a while now, but the deal is blatantly counter to what the Sox' game plan has been of late... don't offer long-term deals to veterans... when there's a history/risk of injury... period.  Renteria and Clement met those criteria; Drew meets neither.  So why him?

My pet theory right now is that the proposed Drew contract is a side effect of the Matsuzaka negotiations.  Something tells me that Scott Boras has informally packaged the two of them together.  Pass on one, and you get neither.  It's not so outlandish; remember, as any Phillie fan will tell you, both Boras and Drew are Hall-of-Fame hardballers.  If anyone's capable of pulling off a "gentlemen's agreement" of this kind, it's Boras.  I'd much rather believe the "package deal" story than believe the Sox are legitimately interested in having J.D. Drew on the roster at that price.

Unfortunately, I'd much rather believe that than the obvious...

Great.  Cheap replacement, eh?  Kinda like how Coco Crisp was gonna be a cheap replacement for Johnny Damon?  Yeah, I was just thinking about how nothing about that decision backfired at all.  Ugh.  In fact, how many of their personnel moves since the Series have worked out?  I can count them on one hand... breaking the bank for Matsuzaka-san and not trading Manny.  They're about to undo one of those two, and the other isn't exactly a lock to happen.  In short, I have zero faith in this front office right now to do the right thing.

I guess my personal philosophy is just so different from theirs.  I say that if you're gonna pay big bucks for something, do it right... shell out for the absolute best.  Don't settle.  The Red Sox, however, appear to have an organizational mandate to do the exact opposite: overpaying for mediocrity, on the grounds that a) it's cheaper than paying for the real thing, and b) there's a chance that maybe, possibly, in theory, one of their expensive pieces of shit will become another David Ortiz... in which case it's not overpaying anymore.  Bra-vo!  They're now taking cues on how to run the franchise from the losers who dump their paychecks into the slot machines at Foxwoods!  Hey, if they got lucky once, it could happen again!  Take a chance, make it hap-pen...

I really have to stop getting pissed off about stuff that I don't have control over...

HOF discussion thread    

So..... here's this year's Hall of Fame ballot.

• Harold Baines
• Albert Belle
• Dante Bichette
• Bert Blyleven
• Bobby Bonilla
• Scott Brosius
• Jay Buhner
• Ken Caminiti
• Jose Canseco
• Dave Concepcion
• Eric Davis
• Andre Dawson
• Tony Fernandez
• Steve Garvey
• Rich Gossage
• Tony Gwynn
• Orel Hershiser
• Tommy John
• Wally Joyner
• Don Mattingly
• Mark McGwire
• Jack Morris
• Dale Murphy
• Paul O'Neill
• Dave Parker
• Jim Rice
• Cal Ripken Jr.
• Bret Saberhagen
• Lee Smith
• Alan Trammell
• Devon White
• Bobby Witt

Getting my non-existent votes are:

Hall of Very Good:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Justin Morneau, he of the .235 batting average as late as June 8th, had the best season in the American League this year. This is undeniable proof that the actual season a player posts has no bearing whatsoever on MVP voting. It's an evaluation of who was the best positional player (not counting DH of course) on the trendiest team.

There's really no way to justify this choice. Once numbers get involved, there's no getting past Ortiz. If you go on specious things like heart, guts, and all that stupid horseshit, Jeter wins. If you try to take MVP literally, you probably have to take Johan Santana. If you ignore pitchers, you probably have to think long and hard about whether Morneau is even the best positional player on his team (Joe Mauer?) never mind the whole league. Morneau fails each rational test of a most valuable player, and still won... not coincidentally in an extremely close race.

What does this mean for me? It means I feel entirely safe laughing in the face of this judgment, knowing full well that David Ortiz had a significantly better season, and significantly more valuable season, than the alleged MVP. Even with A-Scrod, there was a whisker of doubt and a dominance of opinion; this time, there's no argument whatsoever. With Jeter, the same doubt could have lingered. This, however, is absolutely indefensible. I'm overjoyed.

So, Justin Morneau... I laugh in your face.

Overheard at 612 Wharf Avenue, Monday, 3AM    

Drunken sailor 1: Ya know who I hate? Marines. They think they're all tough. I'd like to see them try to swab a deck.

Drunken sailor 2: Aye, matey... now take ye a swig of this mighty swill, and let us toast the briny deep.

Drunken sailor 1: mmmm.... tasty...

Drunken sailor 2: YAAR! Tis a fine swill! It warms me cockles.

MC Pee Pants: Whassup my shniggies?

Drunken sailor 1: I think I'm drunk.

Drunken sailor 2: Aye, aye... But wait--- Whores ho! There be two fine strumpets. Let us board them!

MC Pee Pants: Avast, bitches!

Drunken sailor 1: I'll catch up... I have to give $45 million to Juan Pierre first.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Drunken Sailors, II    

Ok, the Soriano trade is so absurd, I nearly missed the news of the Big Hurt...

2 years, $18M.

Now I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
For the record, Thomas made $500,000K this past year. Toronto multiplied his salary by 18. If that happened to me tomorrow, even I'd be making some pretty durn respectable sprill.
While he's obviously worth more than 500K, have you SEEN him try to run lately? It's pathetic. He's due for a massive physical collapse, and there's a 99.5% chance it'll happen next season. Even if he stays healthy, he's not only blocking the bases, he's blocking Adam Lind. I'm not saying that shelling out some $ for the Hurt is idiotic.. I'm saying two things:
1) I am pretty sure that the Jays overpaid massively here, and that market value was probably about either $5M per for 2 years, or $8M for 1 year.
2) The Jays overpaying for Hurt is made truly insane based on the fact that they have Adam Lind earning peanuts and stuck in the minors now.

The only angle to this signing that makes sense for the Jays is that Hurt will probably hit his 500th HR next year. Which will get them a lead story on sportscenter. Congratulations, Blue Jays. Enjoy your $18M 15 seconds of fame.

Drunken Sailor Update    


The big winners here are the Phillies, who avoided a cripplingly disastrous potential mistake here, courtesy of the the Cubbies. God bless the Cubbies.

$17 million/year x 8 years???!!!

That's completely and utterly insane.

More insane than giving Utilityman Mark DeRosa $13M? Maybe not, but the Mark DeBacle will only be haunting them for the rest of the decade, not into the 2010's.

In fact, I pretty much hate every one of their moves this offseason.

Aramis is ok I guess, but $15M/year seems a little high for my tastes. But hey, he's your best player... pay him like it and market your whole team around him, right? Or, turn around and bring in a clubhouse poison guy who only gives 100% during a contract year, for 8 years. Yeah, that'll work.

The Kerry Wood signing is fine, low-risk, big (if long-shot) upside. The Neal Cotts trade licks balls, beacause Cotts, in fact, licks balls.

In short, BOOOOOO Jim Henry.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What Now?    

Well, the Mariners’ offseason isn’t even really underway yet, and it’s already hit a few snags. The surest way to upgrade our rotation—the team’s most glaring weakness—belongs to the Boston Red Sox (or possibly still to the Seibu Lions, but I’m not buyin’ it). The easiest way to upgrade both our offense and defense—J.D. Drew—may also belong to the Red Sox, and will probably be too expensive anyway. The most talked about trade target—Jim Edmonds—improbably won the World Series and looks to stay put (having signed an extension). Surprise!

So where to go now? The team needs to acquire three starters—or more realistically two, leaving the 5th starter spot to within the organization and hoping for the best. And it has two left handed bats that really should be platooned—Raul Ibañez and Ben Broussard—plus one guy (Chris Snelling) who actually will be platooned by our dumbass manager, if he is allowed to start at all, despite being a much better bet to hit lefties (if a much bigger injury risk). So we need pitchers and a position player. While the team is likely to use the free-agent market to pursue this strategy, it looks clearer and clearer that this could be a colossal mistake. If Schmidt is willing to take a discount to come back to his home state, great, but it does not appear that likely he’ll end up being worth the salary he receives. The rest…yikes. The trade market then?

Recommendations here are dicey for me because I am no kind of expert about what players are likely to cost, especially in trade—and I certainly don’t want to throw around cockamamie trade ideas that would never work, that’s horrible. But I can outline some broad directions I would be looking in if I had the chance. First of all, while nobody in the organization should be completely untouchable, a lot of the future could depend on Felix, Adam Jones, and Jeff Clement. Each could still flame out, of course, but for my purposes I’m considering them untouchable, because there’s no one out there now (no one like Miguel Cabrera, say) who I perceive as both maybe available and worth the cost.

So, the only elite player I see as potentially available without giving those guys up is Manny, if the Mariners take on the whole salary. You have to DH him, but I think he’d get over it, and we could live with Ibañez’s defense a while longer. Whether or not the Mariners really have what the Red Sox need is another question, but he’s the only elite player that I feel very inclined to pursue. Dave over at USS Mariner thought Rafael Soriano, Jeremy Reed, and Francisco Cruceta might do the job (Soriano being the key piece). I can’t evaluate that claim, but we don’t have Cruceta anymore anyway, so the package will have to be different regardless. I’ve heard that Boston has thought about moving Youkilis back to third and grabbing a first baseman, maybe Broussard would help them there. I’m not as sold as Jeff that the Red Sox wouldn’t want anything to do with Reed, but swapping Manny for Reed leaves an offensive need so cavernous it’s hard to describe, even as it nets a legit center fielder (which would help them a lot). What do you guys think it would take to nab Manny?

After that, you’re really talking about dumpster diving. If Broussard goes in the Manny trade, you could still salary-dump Sexson on SF or Baltimore, move Ibañez to 1B, and either give Reed another try in left or pick up someone like Emil Brown on the cheap. Pavano could be had for very little, and probably Mulder as well. One of them might be good (though neither is a particularly good bet to). USSM also suggested Rogrigo Lopez and Angel Guzman as two guys who could be had for very cheap that could do for a change of scenery and/or a better defense. I don’t know. The Mariners rotation is likely to be better next year just by the permanent subtraction of Piñeiro, but while Meche is a dumb bet to re-sign and Moyer wouldn’t really help much either, both performed well enough (at least last year) that they’ll be hard to replace. It’s scary.

More likely, the Mariners sign Schmidt and start looking for a way to dump Sexson so they can also sign a second pitcher and dumpster-dive for some offense to replace Chris Snelling. I actually kind of like the idea of Snelling as a guy who is spelling LF, RF, and DH often enough that he’s playing three days a week, and being the first pinch hitter off the bench, but with this many needs I don’t see that being the smartest thing. But if we end up with Schmidt, I’ll survive. If we offer $8 million/year to Adam Eaton and Ted Lilly, I will be very, very scared for the future health of this franchise.

So, what would you guys do? Are the Mariners better off doing absolutely nothing than messing around in this market? If so, how do they manage to fill out their rotation?

Take Warning    

Wow. The Terps might be pretty good this year. I watched the first half, and Straw and Ibekwe looked unstoppable. Ibekwe hit a couple 15-18 footers, and if he can keep that up.... of course he can't keep that up, but still.

Yet again, the ACC looks to be pretty fantastic. And my team will yet again be led by a twink at point guard. Hooray!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How much to offer Matsuzaka?    

Given the outlay, how much would you be willing to pay for Matsuzaka at this point? Boras of course has said that he wants Roy Oswalt money (5 years, $73 million), but everyone is saying that it's the Red Sox who will want the longer deal and Boras who will be pushing for the shorter deal. So how many years do you try for? How much are you willing to pay per year?

Of course, we don't know how much Matsuzaka will take, so this is pretty academic, but I think it's kind of fun. So, assuming that Oswalt is the bench mark and that Boras/Matsuzaka actually want less years, not more, can you sell 4 years and $52 million? Or do they mean they want the full $14.6 mil but fewer years?

I think that maximizing the number of years you get for your new outlay is all well and good, but do you really want a guy like Matsuzaka, with all the pitches he's pitched, on your payroll for a guaranteed 5th year? I don't think you do, but then you know Boras will take him to free agency at the end of his contract, so 3 years is a little scary. I think 4 is the magic number there, and the Red Sox should stick to their guns.

I say 4 years and $52 is the absolute most I would offer. If he goes back to Japan, you just have to live with that. I think there's too much risk to invest too much more. Of course, then you have to ask yourself, "What's an extra million dollars per year to a team like the Red Sox?" On the other hand, who really turns down $13 mil a year to play for a potential World Series team though, when their other option is to return to a team they don't want to play for for less money? I think the Red Sox have more leverage in this than people are currently giving them credit for, so I wouldn't be that surprised for him to end up with less. But it's a scary proposition any way you slice it. Days like this I'm glad I'm not a baseball manager.

How would you guys proceed if you were in charge of these negotiations from here on out?

Our first Total Blockbuster Trade    

Major story just out.

The skinny:
TheWhite Sox receive a guy who was pretty clearly on steroids in 2005, in exchange for sending the Cubs a guy who's pretty clearly on crank right now (note picture).

Between teams swapping junkie relievers, and the clear return of the drunken sailor era of GM spending (EatonEatonEatonEaton), I couldn't be more excited for the train wreck that this offseason is sure to be.

Let's quickly catalogue some possible upcoming moves/signings, ranked by a complicated algorithm based upon quality of the player(s) involved and the stupidity of the GMs involved.

#1 with a bullet: Phillies sign Alfonso Soriano to a 7 year, $105,000,000 contract, to replace the way way WAY WAY WAY better player they ran out of town a couple months ago.

A close #2: Yankees sign Meche to a 4 year, $33,000,000 contract.

#3: Red Sox lowball Matsuzaka enormously, sending him back to Japan as a ploy to keep him out of New York - this scenario has been muttered about by a lot of total morons lately - it would KILL them for the future in Asia. It'd be the equivalent of the Yankees agreeing to meet El Duce's raft, then dragging that shit to Gitmo.

#4: TBD by whoever overpays for Zito. I love Zito, but sorry, he's just a homeless man's Tom Glavine.

#5: The Baltimore Orioles sign Vicente Padilla to a 5 year, $56,000,000 contract. As a stipulation of the deal, the Orioles also deal three draft picks to the Phillies for Ugueth Urbina. Once in Baltimore, the pair team up with Ray Lewis to spark a murder wave the likes of which even The Wire itself has not seen. Padilla's the getaway driver, of course.

This award will go to whatever inspired GM signs Sal Fasano.

Monday, November 13, 2006

$51M, Daisuke-Sucky, Me Love You Too Much    

Friday, November 10, 2006

Next time come strapped with a motherfucking pamper    

Hm... apparently pretty much everyone in the NBA and NFL are packing heat. (free registration required).

Oh, and so is Carl PavaNOOOOO!!!! For Carl, it's definitely a good idea. Another scary thought is that 1 in 23 people in Massachusetts are licensed to carry a firearm. That's pretty frightening. Also frightening is to imagine inhabiting Javon Kearse's head for a day:
"Jevon Kearse of the Eagles, whose brother, father, grandfather, uncle, and cousin all died in separate incidents of gunshot wounds"


In light of this report, how long before athletes start showing off their pieces on "Cribs"? And anyone care to bet that Clinton Portis rolls with a pearl-handled derringer or or some shit?

In fact, this'll be fun. Let's guess the gun each athlete might own:

Clinton Portis: Pearl-handled derringer
doRA: Desert Eagle .50 (to make up for emotional deficiencies elsewhere)
Gilbert Arenas: CA. 1800 single-shot dueling pistol
Charles Oakley: Just the two guns God gave him, sonny
Sal Fasano: .38 special w/ duct tape handle
Peyton Manning: His laser, rocket arm

God Bless the Internets    

without which, marketing a product like this would probably be impossible.
This is the greatest anything ever.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pats/Colts: A Loser's Perspective    

The Game
Good game.  Indy played better, and they won, but fairly well-played by both sides.  (With one exception, which we'll get to later.)  On the whole, it was exactly how you expect a pair of juggernauts to go at each other.

For Indy, the story is the defense forcing turnovers and covering the pass.  The rush wasn't all that great, and the Patriot offense wasn't exactly ineffective, but the coverage in the secondary was awfully good all night.  And big, timely plays were made, which cannot be said for the Patriot secondary.

For New England, the story is Tom Brady hacking up a lung in another big game.  FOUR interceptions?!?  Two were tipped, but the last one to Faulk was a bad throw... he missed towards the coverage.  Normally, one could chalk up bad games to bad luck.  But his two worst games came against the only tough games they've played all season: the Broncos and the Colts.  That's not a coincidence.  If Tom's gonna keep barfing up games like this, the defense needs to remember the part about taking the ball away and making big plays on defense.  Third and long should mean a punt.  The lost art of jumping in front of receivers, and so forth.  Can someone remind the cornerbacks they're allowed to do that?

Anyway, not a huge deal.  It's just the regular season, and the Pats have pretty much locked up the division.  But this is two straight years that the Pats have lost at home to their purported punching-bags.  It's not what you'd call an encouraging loss.

Pats Fans
Folks have been hating on Pats fans ever since the first Super Bowl.  And you know what?  They're right.  Pats fans SUCK.  Based solely on tonight's game, I find the defendants guilty on two counts of first-degree idiocy, and a misdemeanor count of aggravated obnoxiousness.  The evidence:

1) Booing Vinatieri.  Shame on them for doing that.  They know better.  It goes without saying that the bad karma affected the game's outcome.

2) The "BULL-SHIT" cheer that went up after Asante Samuel was called for defensive holding... which was actually a good call for the Pats, compared to what it should have been (full-blown pass interference, ball on the 1 yard line).  The right thing to do would have been to boo the shit out of Samuel, who I believe made the cover of the NFL rulebook this season, with a four-page spread plus centerfold in the section covering defensive PI.  But no, they decided to be jackasses.  Hey, I wonder what flavors of Kool-Aid are served at Gillette Stadium.

3) And on the other end of the stick, it seems like on every big play that went against the Pats, the place went dead-silent.  Like someone had just died on the field.  Come on, people.  A 30-yard pass play to Dallas Clark gets the whole crowd pouting?  In the middle of the second quarter???  Absolutely pathetic.  Real fans will rally the defense back onto its feet.  If the fans act like the worst is about to happen, the defense will believe it too.  Good fans can avoid that.

Apparently they are capable of only two states of mind: cheering for good things and booing for bad things.  These are the same people who, when watching baseball at Fenway, have myriad varieties of cheers and jeers at their disposal, use them at precisely the right moments of a baseball game, and generally play the stadium vibe like they're the first violin in the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  (Although nobody's perfect.)  Yet when you put these same people in a football stadium, it's like an Arena League game broke out, and everyone's lost without a Jumbotron telling them what to do.  Like they're Orlando Magic fans or something.  Barf.

So here's to everyone who hates Pats fans.  You were right.  You were right.  Tell your sister... you were riiiiight...

Miscellaneous Stuff
* Vinatieri MISSED.  I called it, too, though I have no evidence.  I heard Al Michaels start talking about the Pats needing two scores, and I thought "you know, 45 yards isn't a gimme.  I bet he misses."  Then he did.  I made that happen with my mind.

* Speaking of Vinatieri, I hear that the Kraft family viewed tonight's game from atop the large pile of money they saved by letting Vinatieri leave town.  I wonder how soft and cushy the money-mound was during Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard miss.  I hope they got a good view of it, because they got what they paid for.  I hope Gostkowski and Reche Caldwell walk by Scott Pioli's office every day to say hi, just so Pioli has to confront his disastrous offseason fuck-ups every single day of the season.

(No, I have no plans to forgive them.  Especially when you look at Troy Brown struggling like a senior citizen to get open.  Gotta hold them accountable for this mess.  And not because of the losing.  I freely forgive them for that.  I've had my share of winning.  They don't owe me anything in terms of championships.  But they do owe me their best effort.  Skimming cash off the player payroll is about as explicit as "not their best effort" can get.  They at least have to try.  You don't try, you don't get slack.)

* On a tangentially-related topic, I wonder what Ty Law's up to.  You know, if he's enjoying his new contract and stuff in light of his abysmal INT numbers thus far.  I wonder if he'd have fared better in New England, where he is so sorely needed, than in Kansas City.

* Not impressed with the officiating.  From the Samuel "defensive holding" call (please, it was PI) to the Brady 4th down sneak (no way did he make it) to the Dillon fumble (in Dillon's words, as seen on national television, "that's fuckin' bullshit, man").  The Harrison TD was an exception.  GREAT call.  As great a call as it was a catch.  The rest was lousy.

* In the first quarter, John Madden claimed that Dungy's Colts defenses haven't had the same potency as his Tampa Bay units did because he does not, at the moment, have any dominant defensive linemen.  It's bad enough that the national media forgets about Dwight Freeney, but does the guy doing the game have to forget about him?  Would it be so hard to qualify the statement?  "Freeney's a heckuva player, but he's not in the same class as a Warren Sapp or a Simeon Rice."  Not hard.  Don't leave it hanging out there like Freeney's chopped liver, because he's not.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fetish-Inspired Horse Name Of The Week    

Just now, flipping over to ESPN in search of college football, I found horse racing.  They were discussing a horse named Scat Daddy.  That, dear friends, is the first time that horse racing has ever appealed to me, even if only for a few seconds.  So thank you, Todd Pletcher, for using fetish vocabulary when naming your thoroughbreds.  I look forward to the exploits of your next big-money studs, "Dirty Juan's Revenge" and "Strap-On Bandito."

Speaking of horses, has Barbaro started turning up in Big Macs yet?  Or is he still alive?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ageing Minor Leaguers    

Baseball Analysts just posted two pieces about the older minor league players who keep on playing despite probably never getting another chance in the majors (parts one and two). There's some pretty great reading in there, so I recommend them if you're bored or whatever. This, for example, is awesome:

Former big league pitcher Angel Moreno may have finally reached the end of the line, as he went 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA during brief stints with Veracruz and the Angeopolis Tigres (Tigers) of the Mexican League. Moreno has a legitimate excuse for his subpar performance, as he turned 51 during the season. The Mexican-born lefty pitched for the Angels in 1981 and 1982 before returning to a nearly quarter century run in his native country. Moreno wasn't kept on the Veracruz Aguilas (Eagles) roster out of pity, as he went 8-4 with a 2.27 ERA as a 48-year old in 2003. He followed that performance with winning records in 2004 and 2005.

51! That's so awesome. And who knew that Juan Gonzalez was still playing? My favorite little tidbit came from the comments though:

I never played in the major leagues but spent nine years in the minors and independents. I was never on scholarship but graduated from a great liberal arts school in the south and have a pretty decent job now. Not great, but manageable and the money is good. And every single day when I get up in the morning to go for a run or jog I wish I was getting on a bus for a nine hour ride to play in Nashua or Huntsville or Jackson or Peoria. Sad but true.

God bless.

Mariners Not to Bid on Matsuzaka    

Well, it looks official. I guess it could still be misdirection, but Bavasi has never been on the record like this as some kind of ploy. I can hope I guess, but...I don't think so. In another year, maybe that wouldn't be so bad, but Matsuzaka is the only impact starter who really has a chance to be worth his contract this offseason, and the Mariners are in desperate need of pitching. This hurts.

Being bummed about this the last couple of days, I read this this morning. The crux, amongst a variety of other things, is that the Mariners' obsession with making Jose Lopez hit the other way has turned him into a singles hitting machine (who as we all know never takes a walk). What's more, he appears happy with the situation. Maybe he can get his power back, but ugh. Oh, and if you hadn't heard, Rafael Soriano will not be given a shot at the starting rotation this year, in no small part because Mark Lowe's injury is a lot worse than originally reported.

So what is this team up to? Where is it headed? Why is it going there? Why am I along for this particular ride? I really find myself asking this. I mean, basically, you have a franchise that has survived up to this point only because they lucked into Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez. Career years by people like Bret Boone, Freddy Garcia, and Joel Piñeiro were necessary to sustain the image of it being a succesfully run franchise, and its only real strength organizationally at this point appears to be its international scouting. And they're passing on Matsuzaka! I argued myself he might not really be worth the money, but if we offer 4 years and $56 million + to Jason know where this is headed.

Everyone says Bob Fontaine is an excellent scout and one of the guys you want in charge of your draft. That's a damn good thing because while I like some things about Bavasi (and the two are forever linked apparently), the Washburn signing doesn't inspire confidence, although it was the only bad signing that was actually his idea (Hargrove apparently demanded Everett and the Spiezio and Aurillia debacles were mostly still Gillick), and he's gotten pretty good value people he's traded, even if they didn't necessarily pan out (Reed, Foppert, etc.). I'll save any more damning remarks for the end of the offseason, when we've seen what they're really up to, but it looks to me clearer than ever that this is a franchise that has no real commitment to winning, only to putting a reasonably competitive product out there.

What's worse, for me, is that the organization explicitly values all kinds of things that drive me crazy about baseball, and any Mariners World Series victory will reinforce all kinds of bad behavior. It's a total good-old-boys BS do-things-the-right-way organization. It cares more about image than talent. It values local, whiteboy hustle to the extent that it will sacrifice wins to get Willie Bloomquist at-bats, and it's managed by the king of all that nonsense, Mike Hargrove, who seems to have actually convinced himself that the team is better when Bloomquist gets his spot starts. For his bat, no less! I'm rooting for a team that promotes everything I dislike about baseball, refuses to think creatively, and is so risk-averse that it signs Washburn to a 4-year deal because a 5-year deal for a pitcher is just too risky.

I still love a lot of players on the Mariners, and if Adam Jones and Chris Snelling become legit regulars that will reach new heights. I'm thrilled to see Ichiro in center all year, and I love rooting for Beltre, even if '04 was mostly a fluke. But if Soriano gets dealt this offseason and Mark Lowe never comes back to real form, and Felix keeps getting fatter and more arrogant...I don't know. I could become a pretty ambivalent (in the true love and hate sense) baseball fan. I hope they pull off something ingenious this offseason, or Schmidt decides he wants to pitch for the Mariners so bad we get him for 3/$30 mil (fat chance), or something. Because otherwise, this could get real ugly.

Thursday Afternoon Bible Study    

Checking in quick today to direct your attention to this site, which is an onion of hilarity.

For bragging purposes, I'd choose to sport the Moses Malone jersey, which besides being a sweet allusion, cites Exodus chapter 20:
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me."

Peyton Manning's jersey, which cites Matthew, Chapter 18, is pretty interesting:
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

But by far and away the best is Atlanta #7, Ron Mexico himself, whose jersey cites Mark, Chapter 7:
"Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' "


So endeth the lesson, bitches.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Clearly I'm Thinking NBA Today    

The Celtics' 06-07 season is pivotal for many reasons.  Fortunately, the recently-extended Paul Pierce's situation is not one of them.  But there are plenty of reasons why the Celts' season could go in either direction:

* Doc needs to resist his inner retard, NOW, and stop hiding behind his players' inexperience
* The Celtics, to a man, need to rebound and D up way, way better
* Danny Ainge needs to make a run at Kevin Garnett.  Time to cash in some prospects.
* Ryan Gomes and Delonte West need to justify their playing time
* A downright emaciated Al Jefferson needs to either grow up or show some signs of "getting it"
* Sebastian Telfair and Rajon Rondo need to play up to expectations
* Who's the #2 option on this team?  Szczczczerbiak?  Delonte off the bench?  Jefferson?  Gomes?!?
* If this team stumbles out of the gate, will DA do the right thing and revoke Doc's license?

Doc's fate will dictate the outcome of a lot of those issues.  Look at the list.  Rebounding and defense.  Organization on offense.  Smart decisions.  Reliable roles.  Players reaching their potential.  Youngsters' respective trade value.  The coach affects each of them.  Doc is a brutal game manager, and an even worse talent evaluator.  If this bunch doesn't get its shit together this season, in some tangible way, I see no way that Doc can justify his performance.  None.

Since Doc is as unpredictable as a mental defective running wild through an asylum, I have no idea what to predict for this team.  I tend to lean towards just-below-.500 as a prediction, but I could see anywhere from 48 to 28 wins out of this team.  I do, however, like them for a de facto second-place finish.  They could finish second with 30 wins, but hey, second place is second place, right?

NBA Preview Links    

CelticsBlog posted a compilation of blogger previews for each NBA team.  Interesting stuff.