Friday, September 30, 2005

Request Line

As the season draws to a close, the time comes for me to think of what kinds of things I want to look at in the offseason on this space.

Thing is, I know, but I don't really know know, ya know?

So, this entry is specifically for anyone who reads this blog on a semi-regular/regular basis, and would like me to look at something, anything, more in-depth. It could be something you want a second opinion on, something you don't feel like looking into yourself, something you feel is going to be important next season -- anything, really. And you don't have to limit it to the Giants -- it can be any team in the majors.

I want to make sure I don't become more boring than normal in the offseason, and that I can always have something fresh to put up -- and yes, I'm picking your brains for that. I have no illusions that I'll be posting baseball content daily, so if I'm only going to post a couple/few times a week, it may as well be something that's worth reading (also, I am still going to try and keep up a Golden State Warriors blog, as well).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bad vibes

Around the Internet, I'm picking up a lot of anti-Brett Tomko sentiments, and I'm at a failure to understand why.

Okay, I'm not at a failure to understand why, but I am at a failure to understand why the feelings are so strong.

Let's look at facts:
  1. Tomko isn't very good.
  2. Tomko is mediocre.
  3. Tomko had been very good for a string of starts unexpectedly, allowing the Giants the opportunity to have a shot at the Padres for this four-game series.
  4. The aforementioned shot was extremely small in the first place. Did we all really expect the Giants just to go out and sweep the Padres in four in San Diego? Folks, I think the Giants are a slightly better team than the Padres at this time, but San Diego has won half of their games this year. At home, they stood a good chance at taking at least two of four.

I'm reading a lot of fans saying that last night cost Tomko a spot in next year's rotation. That could well be true, what with how much Brian Sabean loves those "clutch" performances and all, and seems to jettison all those who make big mistakes in late-season contests.

But let me tell you why that's silly.

  1. Again, Tomko's run of quality starts before last night is what allowed the Giants to have a chance in the first place. He could have simply sucked in any one of those previous games and the Giants would have been in the same position as they are today.
  2. Tomko is what he is -- an inconsistent, mediocre pitcher. He was brought in this season from last year's late season surge he put on, where he was as "clutch" as you wanted to be in September. He was given the mantle of #2 starter in a fit of stupidity (despite the surge, his stats last year were only decent, not good), and he failed that utterly...or, did he? Look at the numbers. Tomko really isn't that much different a pitcher than last year. Don't believe me?

2004: 194 innings, 196 hits, 98 runs allowed, 19 HR's allowed, 64 bb's, 108 k's, 5.01 k/9, 1.69 k/bb ratio

2005: 183 innings, 199 hits, 98 runs allowed, 20 HR's allowed, 57 bb's, 110 k's, 5.45 k/9, 1.93 k/bb ratio

Yes, folks, that's right -- he's the same damned pitcher, really. The only differences are that he's allowed more extra-base hits this year (.414 SLG against him last year, .455 this year), his ERA (4.04 last year to 4.66 this year), and his won/loss record (11-7 in 2004 to 7-15 in 2005).

So while one can make the case that Tomko was a better pitcher last year, he was only better by a little bit. But the "show me" stats of his won/loss record and ERA will have the imbeciles thinking he was much, much worse this year when that obviously wasn't the case. He's basically the same, and in fact, 2004 was a fluke. Look at his career numbers here and you'll see what I mean.

The bad move wasn't trusting Tomko with this start vs. the Padres, it was in thinking that Tomko was much good in the first place after last year, and thinking that since Tomko had strung several good starts together recently, he'd do the same yesterday.

As far as I'm concerned, with the starting pitcher free agent market being the out-of-the-Giants-price-range A.J. Burnett, and just-a-little-bit-better-than-Tomko Matt Morris and Jeff Weaver, and a bunch of miscellaneous dudes after that -- I really don't see why it'd be a surprise if Tomko would be brought back next season, but as a #4 or #5 starter instead of a much overrated #2 starter.

Except for the one more difference for Tomko between 2004 and 2005...last year, Tomko got "clutch" and stayed "clutch". This year, he got "clutch", but didn't remain "clutch". This year, he had the nerve to not be "clutch" in every, single start all the way until the end of the season, only "clutch" in four of his last five starts.

For shame, for shame. Only 80% "clutch" this year, instead of 100%? Here's the door, Mr. Tomko. You're not good enough for our team, who are composed of nothing but "clutch" players. So "clutch", in fact, that we've won 47% of our games this year.


Thought for next season...

While I'm sure we all believe that Randy Winn will come back to Earth in some fashion next season, here's a question for you -- why, when the man is pumping out extra-base hits like John Kruk pumps out nonsense, would you bat him at the top of the order? Wouldn't it be nice, Father Alou, if Winn was batting 2nd or 3rd, when those extra-baggers would be knocking in runs if anyone was on base?

At the least next season, barring some major change in the Giants personnel, I'd suggest that Omar Vizquel and Winn flop places in the order, and that Ray Durham bat 3rd instead of either Pedro Feliz or Snow. That way, the order could look like this:

Vizquel (.339 OBP this year)

For some people, I'm sure they flip-flop Feliz and Snow because of Feliz's advantage in power, but I put Snow ahead of Feliz simply because he stands less of a chance of getting out than Feliz does. Feliz (and Matheny, for that matter), are feast/famine hitters, and putting a better OBP guy in front of them means that when they do hit their extra-baggers, that there's more chance of someone being on base to drive in.

Of course, I'd rather have a new slugging 1st baseman next year instead of Snow, but that's a discussion for another time. I'm working under the assumption that Snow's "veteran leadership" and his "defensive wizardry" will be enough for Brian Sabean to re-sign him for one more year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hoo, boy

What. A. Game.

As if Brad Hennessey turning in a gutsy performance wasn't enough, having Barry Bonds send tremors throughout the Giants fanbase by tweaking his knee...

...the Giants and Randy Winn decide to pull a miracle outta their ballcap. As Duane Kuiper said, "They got the Padres thinkin'."

3-2 Giants.

More than just thinking, the Padres have to be shaken and stirred -- the Giants beat their ace Jake Peavy and got perennial door-closer Trevor Hoffman to blow a save in the 9th to take the game.

After something like this, I find that I'm losing faith in having no faith. One advantage for the Giants is that their path is clear: sweep the Padres if at all possible and tie them for the division lead. The pressure is most definitely on San Diego, with the odds in their favor and at home. They've been true to themselves for a while, going 14-14 in their 28 games before yesterday, but stumbling at this point would be a bigger choke job than the San Diego football team pulled off in 2002. You're just not supposed to lose a lead of this size with this few games to go.

But isn't that just a theme this season? Coming back to make it a race? The Indians have done it, the A's have done it, the Yankees did it (ugh), and perhaps the Giants will do it tomorrow. Because if they win, it really will be a race.

Going back a bit, I'm curious as to what everyone thinks of Bonds continued play last night. After he tweaked his knee running full-out after a fly ball in the gap (nice catch, but couldn't come to a stop like he normally would), I wouldn't have been surprised if he came right out. He didn't, and had an at-bat where he obviously was uncomfortable. I would have thought that he would've come out at that point, but he didn't, and had an uncomfortable-looking play in the outfield along with another uncomfortable-looking at-bat before finally being replaced in the field by Jason Ellison.

Question: is this season, with still another couple of miracles needed simply to have a chance at the postseason, worth Bonds continued play?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Break out the Sharpie

It's time to put Matt Cain's name into next year's starting rotation in permanent ink, not pencil. Personally, I'd still like to see him put in the some more time at Fresno in AAA, but I readily admit that:

  1. He may easily be ready right now, and the extra time in the minors might not do him a whole lot of extra good.
  2. The Giants need him in their rotation badly next year.

Let's compare Cain's debut this year with Noah Lowry's from last year (stat definitions at the end).

Lowry, 2004 (16 starts):

3.82 ERA, 92 innings, 91 hits, 1.33 WHIP, 7.04 k's/9, 2.57 k/bb, .728 OPS against

Cain, 2005 (6 starts):

2.03 ERA, 40 innings, 18 hits, 0.88 WHIP, 6.08 k's/9, 1.59 k/bb, .526 OPS against

Lowry, with a much larger sample size, had a higher strikeout rate and a lower walk rate, which are good signs. Cain is somehow doing a marvelous job of simply not allowing hits (to the tune of a .133 BABIP), but that is something which can't and won't last over the course of a full season. For perspective, the ERA leader in the NL, Roger Clemens, has a BABIP of .236.

So in reality, our young Cain is getting lucky at this point, to some degree. I'll be looking for him to raise that k rate some next year, closer to seven per nine innings, and cut that walk rate down (it's currently pretty close to four per nine innings, which is higher than you want). Once he starts regressing to the mean as far as hits allowed, those extra baserunners due to walk will eventually cost him runs. Even though there's a large difference in their ERA's and OPS against, I look at Lowry's numbers as a bit more promising than Cain's in the comparison between Lowry's 2004 and Cain's not-quite-finished 2005.

However, there is still a bunch of obvious potential in Cain, and I think he is good enough to pitch in the big leagues next season -- although I wish he could put in one more year in the minors to really nail things down.

Stat Definitions: WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched), k's/9 (strikeouts per nine innings), k/bb (strikeout to walk ratio), OPS against (on-base percentage + slugging percentage opposing hitters have earned against the pitcher), BABIP (batting average on balls in play)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dunno about you guys, but...

I still think the Giants need offense next season.

Since Bonds' return (not including today), the offense is scoring at about a 4.2 runs/game clip, which is slightly higher than their season clip of about 4.07 runs/game.

Small sample size, yes, but they only have about eight more games to evaluate this before season's end. The offense will obviously be better next season with Bonds, but:
  1. There's no guarantee he'll remain as good as he's been.
  2. There's no guarantee he won't miss significant portions of the season with injury and/or time off needed for rest.
  3. The starting rotation is competitive now, the offense is still poor now, so why assume to spend any extra money on the stronger portion of the team?

Something else to realize, too, is that 1st base isn't the only place on the team to upgrade. If the Giants realize not only the intense need to jettison Edgardo Alfonzo, but also the lack of need to keep Pedro Feliz, they can make trades to replace those two with a slugger. First base is the biggest need position to upgrade offensively, but 3rd base really isn't far behind.

UPDATE: Doesn't really prove my point, but it reinforces it a bit -- it's the 7th inning, in Coors Field, against an unremarkable pitcher in Sonny Kim, with Bonds in the lineup, and the Giants have yet to scratch the scoreboard. It happens to the best offenses, of course, but my point is that the Giants offense is not good, and isn't even adequate.

Of course, the Giants scored five runs in one inning last night, so I do suppose it's possible they could score six over two innings tonight. But let's just say I'm doubtful.

2 + 2

I listened to most of the game yesterday, and I'm watching the game today.

In both broadcasts, the Giants announcers have made comments about the speed of various pitchers' fastballs.

They said Barry Bonds was late on a 91 mph fastball as if it was 95 yesterday.

They said a Rockies reliever was normally a few mph faster than what he was pitching yesterday.

Today, Noah Lowry seems to be a few mph short of what his fastball normally is.

I'm thinking the culprit is the radar gun being used in Denver. Has anyone else noticed this?

You Gotta Believe...unless you don't feel like it

Padres magic number is 5 with nine games to go. It's pretty obvious now that the Giants will have to sweep the Padres next week to have a real shot. If the Giants were to run the table, they'd finish exactly at .500.

My prejudice is coming to the fore -- I really hope the Cleveland Indians catch the Chicago White Sox, because I hate the White Sox. I really hope the Boston Red Sox retake the division lead from the Yankees, because I really hate the Yankees. I'd be just fine if the Atlanta Braves somehow didn't make playoffs, too.

As you can see, I like wanting things I can't have.

I'm currently watching the Michigan/Wisconsin college football game. Perhaps it's just me, but was there any doubt that Notre Dame was going to win that game vs. the Wolverines a couple of weekends ago? The Irish have been hanging early-season National-Championship-hopes-crippling losses on Michigan for years, now, and it makes me wonder why Michigan doesn't try to get out of scheduling those bastards. Oh yes, I hate Notre Dame, too, along with Florida, Florida St., Miami, Ohio St., Michigan St., UCLA, USC, Washington....

...what was I talking about? Nevermind.

This is really one of the most pointless entries I've made on the blog, and I've made some pretty pointless entries before. You've completely wasted about two minutes of your time.

My bad.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The writing is on the wall...only, it's written in Arabic

And, unfortunately, I don't read Arabic.

What in the name of Supercalafragalisticexpialadocious does Brett Tomko think he's doing, gettin' all good an' stuff all of a sudden?

Now, yesterday's line wasn't exactly great, but it was solid, and has added to the...uh, Tomko mystique. For the month, he's done the following: 27 innings pitched, 22 hits allowed, 19 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a 2.33 ERA. Compare that to his September of 2004: 35.1 innings pitched, 20 hits allowed, 33 strikeouts, 11 walks, and a 1.78 ERA. Not quite as good in 2005, but close enough that I'm sure Brian Sabean is noticing.

Did anyone know that Tomko's average game score (a stat that measure the quality of a start - higher numbers are better) is 48? For comparison's sake, let's look at the game scores for Jason Schmidt, Noah Lowry, and Brad Hennessey, two of whom are locks for next year's rotation, and one who is a big-time hopeful: 52 for Schmidt, 53 for Lowry, and 45 for Hennessey (by the way, Matt Cain's is 65). Last year, Tomko's average game score was 50.

So, what I'm trying to say is, Tomko is indeed in the process of saving his job like I mused about back on September 7th. While I cannot help but have mixed emotions about this, the practical side of me says that bringing him back may just be the best move the Giants could make when we consider the value of his performance. He's basically the same pitcher as 2004.

The following is a list gleaned from, which is a funky name but a very useful site. It has a list of free agents for next season, including starting pitchers. I've truncated some of the list to exclude some of the more obvious non-options for Sabes next season, but I've left most of it intact:

Pedro Astacio
Andy Ashby
Matt Morris
Scott Elarton
Ariel Prieto
Elmer Dessens (Mutual Option)
A.J. Burnett
Jeff Weaver
Jason Schmidt (Team Option)
Jeff Suppan (Team Option)
Hideo Nomo
John Thomson (Team Option)
Steve Trachsel (Team Option)
Kevin Brown
Brian Moehler
Jason Johnson
Paul Byrd
Joe Mays (Team Option)
Aaron Myette
Jamey Wright
Jose Lima
Ismael Valdez
Kevin Millwood
James Baldwin
Rick Helling
Esteban Loaiza (Mutual Option)
Roger Clemens
Scott Erickson
Tony Armas Jr.
Omar Daal
Denny Neagle
Tom Glavine (Mutual Option)
Al Leiter
Brian Anderson
Mark Redman (Mutual Option + Player Option)
Jamie Moyer
Kenny Rogers
Ted Lilly
John Halama
Shawn Estes
Jarrod Washburn

Now, you look at those names and think about how much it would cost to bring in some of those more tantalizing names, like A.J. Burnett or Kevin Millwood. More than the Giants can afford, I think. After that, there's a 2nd tier of names, like Matt Morris or Steve Trachsel, but there's no guarantee that guys like that won't simply re-sign with their current teams.

After that, folks, it gets pretty thin. If Tomko can be brought back for around the same salary as he's making now (2.5 million), it may be the best option for the money available.

There is no escape, apparently

Everyone says they're tired of steroid-related stories, yet steroid-related stories just keep popping up -- daily.

Now Rafael Palmeiro wants to deflect about .000000078% of the blame off of him by saying Miguel Tejada gave him some B12 vitamins a while back. Raffy, buddy ol' pal, it's over. Done. Kaput. Don't bring up any other names, any other situations, because even if you're telling the truth, it won't make any difference. Pick up your last paycheck, move back to Cuba, and let your accumulated wealth buy you a nice, comfortable life after baseball.

Although, I wonder how they feel about him in Cuba? Hm.

And not to be outdone, the ever-present yet never-wanted Skip Bayless has decided, like uber-moron Dan Wetzel, that not enough has been said about steroids and Barry Bonds. He pens an article here which sounds an awful like about 40 articles he's written before about Bonds. Here's a quote from the opening paragraph:
He continues to astonish, with his bat and his mouth. At 41, Barry Bonds is again proving to be the greatest hitter and biggest jerk in baseball history.

Skip, buddy, is this really astonishing to you? You're so astonished at being astonished that you just had to write about this again? I mean, this is no revelation, no ground-breaking epiphany -- you think Barry Bonds is a jerk, and the greatest hitter you've ever seen. It's been that way for about five years, Skip. This is about the most superfluous article I've ever started to read. Admittedly, I didn't finish it. I've got better ways to spend three minutes than reading Bayless' continued love affair with stating the obvious.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Victorious Goodness

Barry Bonds.

Okay, moving onto other things...

Brad Hennessey.

Okay, moving onto other things...

Is there anyone more frustrating to the rest of the country than Bonds?

Road Crowd: Boo! Boo!

Barry: CRACK!

Road Crowd: Uh, boo...kinda...well, yay! Er, wait a minute. BOO!

Is there any more enigmatic pitcher than Hennessey? Oh, yeah, Brett Tomko. But, besides Tomko, is there any more enigmatic pitcher than Hennessey?

Putting Tomko and Hennessey on the mound every 5th day is like playing Texas Hold 'Em and going all in after the flop whenever you have the nut flush draw. If you catch your card, it's more than likely a winner, and you'll rake in mucho chips. But if you don't, you're left with absolutely nothing.

Just for grins and giggles, the San Diego Padres magic number is down, I believe, after last night's victory over the We-Used-All-Our-Runs-Up-Yesterday Colorado Rockies. There are 11 games left. The Padres will pretty much have to go about 3-8 for the Giants to have a chance, and of course the Giants will at least need to take 3 of 4 from the Padres in their series next week.

There I go, talking about the Giants playoff chances after I said that I wouldn't. I must severely punish myself with...a bottle of cream soda.

Mmmmmmm. Cream soda.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Spicing things up...

Realized I haven't been putting up too many pics lately, which is a shame -- pictures are a good way to liven up a blog. So, here:

Draw what conclusions you will -- all I will say is that given some recent incidents with the Giants and KNBR, when I saw this item I just had to share it with everyone.


The ESPN articles and such on last night's game are all Bonds/home run related, but I choose to talk about what seems to be the least-talked about phenom that major league baseball is experienced right now: Matt Cain.

There have been some rookie phenoms that have gotten some press in the last month or so, like Jeff Francouer or Zach Duke, and rightly so -- they started their major league careers off with a bang. But Francouer's cooled off and Duke was injured for a while, so perhaps it's time for Cain to shine, eh?

Duke and Cain are very, very good to compare at this point (heck, they even both have 8 letters in their first and last names combined), and to throw in a little curve into the situation, I'm going to include the numbers of Zack Grienke's 2004 season as a point of reference (definitions for the statistics will be at the end of the entry).

Zach Duke, 22 years old:
1.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 6.79 k/9, 2.67 k/bb ratio, .644 OPS against, 3.82 p/pa, 15.3 p/ip

Matt Cain, 20 years old:
2.12 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 6.09 k/9, 1.64 k/bb ratio, .534 OPS against, 4.88 p/pa, 14.9 p/ip

Zack Grienke, 21 years old (20 in 2004):
3.97 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 6.21 k/9, 3.85 k/bb ratio, .752 OPS against, 3.82 p/pa, 15.2 p/ip

Interesting, no? Imagine anchoring a rotation with those three kids. I could include somebody like Dontrelle Willis, but then, I could include a lot of other young pitchers, too. But no, I think these three will suffice.

Has anyone noticed one large piece of information out? Sample size, of course. There's a reason -- mostly because I don't want the fluidity of the numbers to get clogged up, but also because the stats I've presented on these three represent a couple of nice little checkpoints for a young pitcher's first year: the debut (Cain's five starts and 34 total innings pitched), settling in (Duke's 11 starts and 64.2 total innings pitched, and a near full season (Grienke and his 24 starts and 145 total innings pitched from 2004).

Duke and Cain are pretty damned close. I'll ignore ERA, thanks very much, but Cain's got Duke in the WHIP category, as well as OPS against. Duke's got Cain in the k/9 category, as well as a nice k/bb ratio.

I'm not going to try and go any deeper, or try and figure who has the brighter future -- I'd need some minor league data for that. However, they both obviously have bright futures...or, do they?

You see, caution comes in the form of Mr. Grienke, whose numbers weren't too shabby, either, after the longest tenure of the three youngsters. His k/bb ration showed phenomenal control in one so young, and he had a decent k rate, too.

Grienke this year? Well, he's looked much, much better in September this year, but try these numbers on for size in Zack's sophomore season:

5.81 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 5.49 k/9, 2.10 k/bb, .873 OPS against, 3.86 p/pa, 16.9 p/ip

His WHIP has soared, his strikeout rate went down, his walks rate rose, opponents started teeing off on him, and it was taking him more than a pitch and a half more per inning to get out of the inning.

Now, while some of you may scoff, saying, "Grienke's numbers didn't look quite as good as Cain's and Duke's anyway, so that doesn't mean anything. Duke and Cain are just better", let me remind you that Grienke put his numbers up over 24 starts and over twice as many innings as Duke, and over four times as many innings as Cain. If anyone would've been trusted of those three, most would go with the guy who has shown the most over the longest period of time -- which would've been Grienke.

So, while we should definitely be excited over Cain, and should rightly hope that he's able to have a chance at the starting rotation next season, we should also display a little caution before thinking he's going to do nothing but get better with experience.

But for now? Heh. Wheeeeee!

Stat Definitions: WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched), k/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings), k/bb ratio (walk to strikeout ratio), p/pa (pitches per plate appearance), p/ip (pitches per inning pitched)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

He won an award? How?

Anthony over at the most excellent Bleeding Black & Orange put me onto an article written by award-winning sports writer, Dan Wetzel.

In the article, located hee-yer, Wetzel does a beautiful job...making a complete fool of himself. Not only does he call Giants fans a bunch of imbeciles (using that exact word), but for reasons unknown he decides that not enough has been said on the subject of Barry Bonds and steroids, and that his voice and opinion is wanted and needed on the subject.

Wrong on both counts, Mr. Wetzel, and your mother wears combat boots.

As little as I like to get childish...okay, as little as I usually like to be childish, Wetzel does that exact thing in the article, sounding like a petulant, spoiled child. Apparently not hip to the ways of the world, he seems to think that Giants fans should've booed Bonds upon his return from injury. Why, you ask? Simple: because that's what they did to Rafael Palmeiro in Baltimore, and because that's what Wetzel thinks we ought to have done.

Such a waste of brain matter here on so many counts. First, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Palmeiro suspended for steroid use? Didn't Palmeiro fail a drug test, and fail this test after MLB had banned the substance?

Do any of the above things apply to Bonds? Have they ever applied to Bonds?

The situation with us fans here in the Bay Area is the same now as it was last September with Barry -- he plays for our team, and he hits better than anyone else in the game. Sure, suspicions have been heightened surrounding the man, but they have always been fairly high. Sure, evidence was leaked from a Grand Jury testimony (still astounds me as to how regularly that happens in high profile court cases) where Bonds admitted taking some at one time unknowingly, making the circumstantial evidence even stronger, but what else?

Has anything else changed? Oh, wait, a few players other than Bonds have been suspended for steroid use, including Palmeiro. Yes, yes, I see it now -- because those other players were morons and were caught messing around, we should simply apply that to Bonds, and immediately start to hate him, right?

Which passing comet did Wetzel fall off of to land on this planet? That logic is so flawed that George W. could easily spot it.

Some of us, Mr. Wetzel, wait for this little thing called proof before ensuing in mass boo-hysteria. If Bonds fails a drug test and is suspended for steroid use, or is otherwise proven to have taken the drug knowingly over a long period of time in order to get an edge to play professional baseball, then...

...well, you still won't get any boos outta me. You'll get silence, because I will truly be hurt and disappointed, but I won't boo the man after all the entertainment he's provided me. And seeing as how Jason Giambi (who Wetzel also commented on in his embittered article) seems to be smacking the ball around with great authority post-steroids, I also doubt the drug's ability to make Bonds into something he wouldn't have otherwise been.

Here's my response to Mr. Wetzel, pointing out a another flaw in his commentary:

Something you didn't seem to think of, Mr. Wetzel, and a reason why you should think before you write.

You laud Baltimore fans over San Francisco fans for the booing of Palmeiro, and say Giants fans should boo Bonds over the strong suspicion of steroid use.

Okay, but let me ask you this, Mr. Wetzel -- what do you think of Baltimore's treatment of Ray Lewis? I don't think I hear any boos when he steps onto the field, and...wasn't he a suspected MURDERER at one time?

So San Francisco Giants fans are imbeciles for cheering a suspected steroid user, but Baltimore fans are great for booing Palmeiro, and cheering a suspected murderer.
That chain of logic makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

I have an idea, Mr. Wetzel...why don't you go and take some length-enhancing drugs for your penis, and when it gets nice and long...

...go fuck yourself.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Points of Irritation

1) Bunts.

2) Pedro Feliz hitting in front of Barry Bonds.

The bunts have been problematic all season. Ray Durham bunted early in the game yesterday, and even Mike Krukow expressed displeasure with that move, although he seemed to think that Durham did it on his own and it wasn't called from the bench. Hard to tell with the way it went down whether or not Durham was bunting for a hit or sacrificing, and hard to tell, if it was a sacrifice, if it was called from the bench. Still irritating, though, and with Father Alou's propensity for sacrifices, I can't rule out the possibility he was just being silly again.

Feliz is an odd one. He doesn't have a particularly high ground ball to fly ball ratio (1.13 this year, 1.18 for his career), but it doesn't seem to stop him from hitting into a lot of double plays. Eighteen last year, and he's topped that with 19 this year. Not as much as "Double Play" A.J. Pierzynski or Marquis Grissom, but still too many to put him in front of Bonds (he's like a Baserunner Eraser). I would much, much rather have Durham in front of Bonds -- but Durham's hit into 17 dp's himself this year, and his g/f ratio has jumped up to its highest level since 2002 (1.41). Still, Durham is simply a better hitter than Feliz.

Very nice game yesterday. Splash hit by Bonds, another big home run and RBI from Mike Matheny, nice performance from the Giants pitching staff, and the Giants ended all hope for the Damned Dodgers to come back. 5-3 Giants, and they won the season series from the Dodgers, too, as the win put them at 9-8 against those SoCal jerks for the year.

I'm gonna do the Damned Dodgers Outta the Race Dance. Here I go...

(pointing at nothing)
(couple of old MC Hammer moves)
(Pulp Fiction two-fingers-in-front-of-your-eye dance thingy)

If anyone wants dancing lessons, they start at 150,275 pesos/hour.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hi, Atus, how's it going?

I apologize for my recent lack of posting, but...I was doing stuff.

Stuff, in this case, can be classified as:
  • Working
  • Sitting around, scratching my unmentionables when I wasn't working
  • Playing a new video game I bought
  • Playing poker (live and online - winning, too)
  • Talking with a beautiful young woman
  • Hanging out with the aforementioned beautiful young woman
  • Other stuff

I've been catching the Giants games when I can, and I've come to a conclusion. Brett Tomko is going to be a Giant next year, because he's pitching well when it "matters". Nevermind that it doesn't really matter, because the Giants aren't in a race for the division. They were in a race to get into a race for the division, but they never quite made it. Also nevermind that had Tomko pitched better earlier, when apparently it doesn't matter as much, the Giants might actually be in it right now.

Think about it. Had Tomko not gotten bombed in, say, three previous games back in May or June somtime, the Giants could be 2.5 games back instead of 5.5.

Anybody wanna tell me about how September "matters" more than the other months?

Nevertheless, he's doing his tease again, and the fact is that the Giants don't stand much of a better chance for getting a better pitcher for the money. Tomko should be happy to re-sign for another year for the same money, although I think it likely that another team will bite onto the Just-Maybe-Tomko-Can-Be-A-Good-3rd-Starter Bandwagon (tm) and pay him more than the 2.65 million he's making this year with the lack of sure things in the starting pitcher free agent market this upcoming offseason.

If Tomko is re-signed for, say, 3 million, would that be a bad move? I'll let that one simmer in its own juices before answering that one myself (a fancy way of saying I haven't the damndest idea at the moment).

Oh, and whatever the heck Randy Winn is eating, I want some -- just hold the steroids, please.

I jest, of course, but the saddest thing is, I bet it that thought has taken root in the fertile fields of some a few thousand dumb schmucks' minds. At least, those dumb schmucks who have taken note of Winn's well-nigh 1.000 OPS since coming over to the Giants.


Dumb Schmuck: Wow, look at Randy Winn's number since joining the Giants! He's slugging well over .600 in 173 at-bats!

Dumb Schmuck's Mind: You do realize, of course, that Barry Bonds is on the Giants, and he takes steroids every five minutes, and Benito Santiago was on the Giants, and he took steroids -- so, without a doubt, Winn must have starting taking steroids, too, as soon as he joined the team.

Dumb Schmuck: Yeah, you're right! He must've started taking steroids when he joined the team, and they had immediate effect! He wouldn't have hit for the cycle if it wasn't for those steroids!

Dumb Schmuck's Mind: Of course I'm right! How could you ever doubt me? Now quick -- go back to that porn site. I want to see that girl do that thing with the leather belt, ferret, and car battery again.


Well, yes, but Jason Ellison slugged over .600 in his first 73 at-bats of the season. He's slugged about .00000000029 since, but Winn won't be this good next year, either...right? I mean, I'd like nothing better than the Winn from 2002 to patrol CF next year for the Giants. If that turns out to be the case, Brian Sabean will end up having made a decent trade. I will remind everyone, however, that Winn has had no impact on the pennant race...excuse me, "pennant race".

  • On July 30th, the Giants were 5.5 games back of the Padres.
  • On September 17, the Giants were 5.5 games back of the Padres.

Now, to be fair, the Giants are a slightly better team. On July 30th, the Giants held a .437 winning percentage, and as of September 17th, they have a .459 winning percentage. But ask yourself, is this because of Randy Winn, or because of the near-complete turnaround in the Giants pitching staff since the end of July?

Ah, well, I've run my course for today. Enjoy thyselves today, whether you'll be watching baseball (like me), football (like me), playing in a poker tournament (like me), or cruising the Bay in a 50-foot yacht (like me).

Monday, September 12, 2005

Audition - Part 2

Next season's chances at a division title for the Giants will likely hinge on one of two things: the health of Barry Bonds, and the makeup of the club if Bonds isn't healthy.

We are going to get a glimpse of the possibilities tonight, and for some of the 20 some-odd games left in the Giants season. How is Bonds' health? How has his skill suffered for being off for more than five months? Can he stay healthy? Can he regain the monstrous form we've grown accustomed to?

Many seem to think that he's back, and thus all will be fine. The Giants should spend any extra money (if, indeed, there will be any) on starting pitching to solidify the rotation, and the offense will go back to its 2004 form which saw the team place 2nd in the NL in scoring. It is definitely a possibility, and one that I would hope for.

However, there are several realities which intrude upon this dream, and they lie in the possible answers to the questions I posed above. Can the Giants really count on Barry to be Barry and for everything to go back to the way it was? I don't think they can.

Add in some other factors, like:
  • Moises Alou, the best hitter on the club presently, will be older next year right along with Barry. Can he be counted on to put up a 900 OPS again? He ought to see better pitches with Barry in the lineup, but can he stave off skill regression due to age for another season?
  • Randy Winn, bless the guy's heart, won't hit like this next season. He's been almost single-handedly driving the Giants' current pitiful offensive output -- if he doesn't hit like this when he came over, the Giants likely sit 10 games or more out instead of just seven.
  • Ray Durham's also going to be a year older, and he, along with Winn and Alou, has been the only other guy that has truly produced this season.
  • Mike Matheny's had a career year at the plate, and has hit fairly well for a catcher. Next season, back to a sub-700 OPS you go, Mike. I'd like to put more faith in the guy, but since he's never produced near this level at any other point in his career (and he's going to be older, too), I simply can't do that.

What do these things make me believe? It isn't time to get more pitching, which currently is the Giants strength. It's time to get more offense. But where, really? Next year's team is pretty much set. There may be some positions open, to be sure, like utility infielder (it seems that if the team can't jettison Edgardo Alfonzo, this will be his role), backup catcher (can we really trust Yamid Haad?), and possibly the 4th or 5th outfielder (dunno if Brian Sabean will trust either Jason Ellison or Todd Linden), but other than that...

...except for 1st base.

There's another trust problem at this position: 1) Sabean obviously won't trust in Lance Niekro to play the position full-time next season, and 2) I think it's obvious Sabean would like nothing more than to bring J.T. Snow back for one more year, if he can.

This is a huge problem. The team didn't give Niekro enough of a chance to see if he could be trusted playing full-time, and they're giving Snow every opportunity to maybe get a little hot and secure a spot next year. It's been mishandled, and now the Giants really, to me, only have one choice -- go out and get a 1st baseman.

A 1st baseman that can hit.

This, too, is a huge problem. The free agent class for 1st basemen next year is sad, really. A listing of the potentially available players is here, so you can take a look if you'd like. But it boils down to Paul Konerko and a bunch of dudes. It isn't just a problem because of that, it's a problem because there are some older veteran players on that list that I think will tempt Sabean if he actually decides to get a free agent (John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Julio Franco, Frank Thomas, and Tino Martinez). I'm only joking a bit with those names -- they're all in their late 30's to their 40's, and as he's already picked up drug-policy violator and known problem-child Alex Sanchez, I can't eliminate Palmeiro from that list (betcha he'll be cheap - snort, laugh).

Trade is a possibility, too, but I haven't a clue as to what Sabes could accomplish there.

How much would Konerko, the only true option in the free agent market, cost? Egads, I know not. He already makes near 9 million this season, so I would have to think he'd go after Carlos Delgado-type money (around 12 mil per). The Giants couldn't afford this, I don't think, unless they are able to dump Alfonzo and his 7 mil per somehow. They'll already have salary raises with Mike Matheny (1.25 million more), Armando Benitez (1.5 mil more), Jason Schmidt (about 2 mil more), Omar Vizquel (1.5 mil more), and...Winn in CF will likely make 2 million plus more than Marquis Grissom did, LaTroy Hawkins' extra millions will be totally on the team's payroll next year, and Scott Eyre will receive a pay raise, too.


Offsetting this will be Kirk Rueter's 7 mil or so, Bonds' slight pay drop of 2 mil, and hopefully the aforementioned dump of Alfonzo, although I'd imagine the Giants would have to pick up a large chunk of his salary to seal any deal involving him.

In part 3 I'm going to take a look at the rotation, and why I think that Sabean's best bet is to gamble with what he's got now instead of going out and getting a free agent or two.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Brett Tomko's pitching well again, just to take another step towards muddying the waters concerning the Giants starting rotation next season.

He's only allowed three hits through five innings, walking one and striking out five. It's just too bad that two of the three hits have been a homer and a triple, providing the Cubs with an insurmountable lead of one run.

Seriously, does anybody ever feel that the Giants can score runs? Sure, it happens sometimes, but it's always a mild surprise to me when they do. It seems like Ray Durham, Moises Alou, and Randy Winn are the only three guys that can actually hit.

On another note, the reason why I entitled this "Nice", is not because of the Giants or Brett Tomko.

It's because of the 49ers, baby!

I briefly entertained the notion of starting a football blog, but decided I'm not certain enough that I'll be able to see enough games to do it well. But, at this extremely early juncture, I'm very pleasantly surprised.

After a slow start and some defensive stands to hold the Rams to two field goals, the team looks very exciting. Granted, I'm not sure how good the Rams really are anymore -- it seems that they're offense is due a regression to the mean (personnel changes and their always-present turnover problems), and their defense has almost always been an afterthought after Lovie Smith departed.

But nevertheless, the 9ers have pulled off a trick play pass by Arnaz Battle, a punt return for a touchdown by Otis Amey (a punt return for a touchdown! the 49ers?), actually had Battle underneath center for a play, and even got a couple of passes completed to wiley veteran Johnny Morton, who had some good years with the Detroit Lions.

And they just tacked on a touchdown pass to Battle to make it 21-6. Wow.

I've predicted the 49ers to win about five or six games this season. The way they're looking against the Rams right now, perhaps they can win seven or eight. I still have doubts about the offense, but the defense seems to be ready to step up to that next level that has eluded them for years now.

Game isn't over yet, of course, and the Rams are always a danger to just pop a five play, all-pass drive off at any time (if fact, they just completed a long bomb to Tory Holt for about 45 yards or so), but it looks pretty good at this point.

Oh, and if I haven't mentioned it, I will be starting a Golden State Warriors blog sometime in October. The template is already up over at this address. It's called Way of the Warriors...not to be confused with Way of the Warrior, which apparently is a martial arts blog. I probably should have checked out that potentially confusing similarity before naming the site, but I guess the thought just didn't occur to me that a fairly common expression like that would have already been used in some capacity.


Sidenote: The Giants went ahead and tied it up, 2-2. Although the Giants have seven hits to the Cubs three, the Cubs have that triple and home run, while the Giants have a double by extra-base-hit-machine Randy Winn, and a bunch of singles. They tied it up on a wild pitch.

My kingdom for some power! Oh,wait...power is coming tomorrow in the form of Barry Bonds, I forgot.

Update: Stupid effing Neifi, and LaTroy Hawkins still has some Cubs demons to excorsize, obviously. Cubs up 3-2, with batting beast Derrick Lee up at the plate, and Neifi gloating in glee on 2nd base. Perhaps they should've went ahead and activated Barry today...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

It is official

Barry Bonds will be activated from the 60-day DL on Monday.

Feel free to celebrate in any manner you choose. Celebrations involving nakedness, however, will be severely frowned upon, as will references to Caribbeans and any native Antarctican folk dancing.

OK, I Lied

Hi, it's me again. In my last post, I declared that I don't care much about the rest of the Giants 'season. I lied. I care. Big time. Why?

Matt Cain.

During last night's game, my low-level dejection over the absence of Barry this season popped like a balloon. I'm not enough of a numbers guy to calculate next season's prospects, but 2006 suddenly looks terribly rosy. I know that's a lot of hyperbole to pack into a single pitching performance, but you must admit, Cain was amazing. Am I wrong?

Am I the only one?

Is anyone else erasing the pencil that Matt Cain's name was written in for next season's rotation, and replacing it with Matt Cain's name in permanent marker?

If not, you ought to be thinking about it. Here's to hoping Brian Sabean's thinking about it, too. I wouldn't necessarily think it a stupid move to have Cain continue his apprenticeship in Fresno -- it's certainly the safer move -- but all Cain's done is go from pitching solidly, to very well, to absolutely great in three starts.

And far be it from me to go with a sample size of three starts and 21 innings pitched as some kind of indicator of what Cain will do in his major league career (and the .407 OPS against, and the .67 WHIP), but we're certainly seeing his potential right now. He should get four more starts to show off.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Just wait...

...until next year, Barry.

If you really want to "do what's best for the team", you'll keep rehabbing, but you won't try to play in this lost season. You're risking having one little misstep or slip cost the Giants 2006 as well as 2005.

I badly want to see you take some cuts in a live game, but it's not worth it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

When Giants Collide

I could be talking about the Cubs@Giants matchup, but I'm not, since neither team is much of a "giant."

No, I refer instead to an idea I always return to, an idea from childhood, where you spend some amount of time arguing over whether Superman or Batman would win in a fight. This always happens when one of my three favorite teams (Giants, Cubs, Nationals) come together for a series. Who do you root for? Who do you despise? How can you get upset over a play when you want the best for both? You dig Superman. You dig Batman. You want each to bring his best to the table and exchange the upper hand. In those old DC matchups, it was invariably a draw, and not a very gratifying one. Once, just once, I wanted Superman to crush Batman's skull in his hands. Or Batman to whip out the kryptonite dagger and plunge it in Superman's heart. I was always vivid that way.

I had the pleasure of watching the Nationals step all over the Giants at SBC last May. Since I was at those games and am ostensibly a hometown Giants fan, I, of course, wanted the Giants to win. But in my heart, the birth of the Nationals was far more interesting to me, so I held my traitorous fandom close lest some thug from San Leandro konk me over the head. When the Nationals took that series, I leapt for joy.

I'm traveling to D.C. later this month to watch the Giants at RFK stadium with my pop, who joined me for my spring training trip in Scottsdale. And again, I'll feel that sense of odd treachery. Root for my hometown team? Or for the team that represents the place of my birth, a place that went without baseball for nearly my entire life.

Today, the dilemma is Cubs and Giants. I lived in Chicago for enough years to qualify as a hometown boy. Admittedly, I didn't follow the Cubs while I lived there, but I've since become one of those masochistic Cubs fans, always hoping for candy in my stocking, instead getting only coal chips. If this season's Giants and Cubs were my kids, the Giants would by my little failures, on whom I'd heap all kinds of stern words, while the Cubs would be the children whose faults I never seem able to see, coddling them beyond all reason, which does neither of us any good.

Tonight, as I listen to the game, you could say I'm in a sort of reverie. I mean, it doesn't get much better than this: Favorite Team #1 versus Favorite Team #2. Every play is reason to yelp and go "Doh!" The game was tied for a little while. That was fun.

Carlos Zambrano, whom I lovingly call the Angry Baby Giant™™ over on Small Ball, pitched a bitchin' game in 7 innings with 6 angry strikeouts and only 6 hits. Unfortunately, Young Lowry didn't fare as well, and now I sit twiddling my thumbs while F. Alou does the eminently the bullpen the way Nike works underage foreign girls. Oh, wait, I think Tyler Walker was on the mound for 0.007 seconds. It's the 9th inning with lots at stake. Hell, why don't they bring out Jeremy Accardo so they can grind him even further into the ground?

Frankly, I don't care who wins, since neither team is going anywhere at this late date. It's all in fun when giants collide.

Opportunity missed - Part II

Tuesday's loss, I could understand. Yesterday's loss leaves me baffled.

This is the problem with putting too much hope into the Giants catching the Padres. The Giants can't afford to let two winnable games in a row slip away. If this happens again, the Giants are truly finished, no if, ands, or buts.

The Padres can afford to stumble and slip. They've got a large lead. Each misstep for the Giants is near fatal.

Luckily for me, I didn't see or hear the game.

Once again, I'm going to go mum on the whole postseason thing. I've said it about twice now, and keep getting brought back into the discussion either after the Giants gain a couple of games or after I have some disagreement with a miscellaneous optimist on another blog.

For good reason, I've avoided any talk about a possible Barry Bonds comeback. Many of us Giants fans have let the hype lead us on to think he could come back and make an impact this season. The reason why I haven't spoke about this is simply because I had to see it to believe it. I already have enough doubts about Barry's performance next season -- I refuse to believe he could do much at this juncture, especially with him having to play the field to get any sort of significant amount of at-bats.

The Padres magic number is now down to 19.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Opportunity missed

Stupid Dodgers.

This kind of loss was avoidable, but at the same time, inevitable. The bullpen wasn't going to come through every time, and the Dodgers do have some good pitching. However, while I might be understanding as to why they lost, it is still the case that the Giants were in position to gain another game on the Padres and failed to do it.

San Diego's magic number is 21. Although I still don't think the Giants have much of a chance, I'm going to keep track of it on that thar sidebar.

The plot keeps thickening in regards to next season -- Brett Tomko just might be trying to save his job here. I said yesterday that Tomko would have to be lights out the rest of the year to have a chance, and he took a step towards that with yesterday's performance. He'll have about four or five more starts this season...I'm sure we can all agree that while he showed promise, Kevin Correia can't have locked a spot in the rotation for 2006 by any means.

We all know how much weight Brian Sabean puts on late-season performances:
  1. Matt Herges locked himself a spot on the team for about a season and a half by pitching great after being traded to the Giants in mid-season of 2003. He pitched horribly in 2004, but was still brought back for 2005 before being let go. Can anyone think of why he might've been brought back if not for that nice run in 2003 late in the season?
  2. Jason Christiansen is Herges' godfather, in a sense -- he locked himself a spot on the team for about three and a half seasons with the team by pitching well after being traded to the Giants in mid-season of 2001. He missed almost all of 2002, pitched poorly in 2003 and 2004, but was still brought back for 2005 before being let go. Can anyone think of why he might've been brought back if not for that nice run in 2001 late in the season? Is anyone getting a bit of deja vu?
  3. Dustan Mohr was having a pretty good year last season...that is, until a base-running gaffe and fielding gaffe in late August cost the Giants a game or two, and then there was the "he should've dropped it" ball against the Padres at the end of September. Can anyone think of why he might not have been brought back if not for those incidents in 2004 late in the season?
  4. Jose Cruz, Jr. was having a decent year in 2003...that is, until slipping in the field in game two of the NLDS against the Florida Marlins, then dropping a ball in extra innings in game three of the same series. Can anyone think of why...oh, you get the picture.
  5. J.T. Snow was having a fairly poor year last year -- in fact, it was possible that it would've been his last with the Giants, were it not for a ridiculously torrid 2nd half of the season where he was actually as good of a hitter as Barry Bonds (close enough, anyway). Well, here he is again, having a poor year, but in position to put on some heroics to secure himself a job next year as well...which is fine, because I really like J.T. Snow, but isn't fine, because Snow can't hit for power and plays a position where a power hitter should reside.

It's simple. If you come through in the last two months of a season while in a pennant race, you've got a spot on next year's Giants team if you want it, and for perhaps a year or two after that even if you suck. If you make a couple of late-season and/or playoff miscues, you will not have a spot on next year's Giants team regardless of whether you want it, and regardless of how good of a season you were having beforehand.

Not the worst policy in the world, but it's a bit...rigid, I think.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Audition - Part 1

Despite this year's struggles, this September and coming offseason promise to be one of the most interesting in recent years for the Giants.

The Giants keep winning, and the Padres keep stumbling. It's not a race yet, but if the Giants can gain another game during their Dodgers series, it will be.

Auditioning for next season are a few players whose future with the club next year are questionable, and whose fates may be intertwined in an indirect way.

Let me backtrack a bit. Can we all agree that the bullpen will very likely stand pat as is, with the fate of one current bullpen member in question? There will have to be one of the current crop who is not there at the beginning of next year (I'm hoping this will be Jeff Fassero, even though I love the guy for what he's brought the team this year). But it is a largely set entity, being doubtful that Brain Sabean would choose to bring anyone in from the outside.

That leaves the starting pitching and position players as the areas left to make change. Of the rotation, the only obvious locks are Jason Schmidt and Noah Lowry, with Brad Hennessey, Matt Cain, and Kevin Correia all making auditions for a spot next season, and Brett Tomko, I suppose, still being an option (he'd better pitch lights out while Correia is hurt, though).

The position players are largely set as well. Randy Winn, Barry Bonds, and Moises Alou will start in the outfield, the positions of SS, catcher, and 2B will be filled by Omar Vizquel, Mike Matheny, and Ray Durham, and 3B will probably be Pedro Feliz, provided Sabes gets an epiphany on how to dump Edgardo Alfonzo and his Hindenburg contract. The backup catcher and utility fielder may come from outside the organization. That leaves...1st base, and the question of the J.T. Snow/Lance Niekro platoon, or a free agent?

I'll pose the question to everyone. If the Giants manage to dump Alfonzo, this would mean the two about-seven million dollar contracts of him and Kirk Rueter would be off the books. Where should any extra money go? Should it be used to get free agent starting pitching, or to acquiring an offensive 1st baseman to give the Giants more offense?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Second Place

They're trying to give me a bit of hope.

The Giants have vaulted themselves into 2nd place in the division with a 9-4 victory over the Diamondbacks yesterday. This could mean one of two things:
  1. The Giants, now in 2nd place, stand a chance to catch the San Diego Padres for 1st place.
  2. The Giants, now in 2nd place, stand as little of a chance to catch the San Diego Padres for 1st place as they did a week ago, or a month ago.

In a sense, they're both true -- the Giants have always stood a chance, but it's in the same league as people surviving direct strikes of lightning. Yes, it's happened before, but if I were a betting man...

Let's think. The Giants have 28 games left in this season, and stand 6.5 games back. In essence, they'll have to gain one game on the Padres for every four games played. It sounds very, very possible, when we see that the Giants play the Padres seven times before it's all said and done. I mean, the Giants can gain a game each time they beat the Padres, right? Well, yes.

But they'll also lose a game every time they lose to the Padres, something that isn't out of the realm of possibility.

To put it another way, on July 25th I wrote about the Giants chances over at Small Ball when they were 7.5 games back, saying that they needed to try and gain a few games before month's end before the tough August schedule got underway. Well, it's now 38 days and 36 games later, and the Giants have gained... game. One game in the standings. Uno.

You see my dilemma, no? If the Giants can only gain one game in 36 games, I'm not going to have lots of faith in their ability to gain seven games in 28 games.


But 2nd place is much, much better than 4th place, and any place ahead of the Dodgers is hallowed ground.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Rid and Release

...the Orioles have released Sydney Ponson, not just getting rid of him, but also contesting that his behavior gives them grounds to terminate his contract.


The Players Association will fight it, of course -- and the "of course" part bothers me.

The MLBPA is a problem -- nay, rather, say it is a festering wound. It sides with it's players come rain, sleet, or snow...or steroids, or idioticy.

Staying true to its players is one thing, blind faith is another...but the MLBPA isn't doing either of those things. It sides with the players because that's what they're supposed to do, regardless of the situation. Anytime anything is done to a player (fine, suspension, etc.), the entity is ready to fight -- even when the player is clearly guilty of an offense, and the fine/suspension is just.

They're like a big group of defense attorneys.

I'm sorry, I don't care what kind of role the MLBPA is supposed to fill, but when they defend players like Kenny Rodgers and Sydney Ponson, I can't find myself sympathizing with them on anything. The owners are, for the most part, a greedy lot, and aren't needing any extra support from me -- I'm sure, for many of us, the knee-jerk reaction to some kind of owners/players' association issue is usually to side with the players -- but I can't get behind the players with the MLBPA behind them. Bud Selig, I think, has done a poor job on many different things concerning Major League Baseball during his tenure, but for whatever reason, I never get truly angry with Bud -- it's more like disappointment -- but Donald Fehr?

I despise the man.

Fehr reminds me of a sports agent. Think of Fehr, for me, as a sort of amalgamation of Scott Boras, Drew Rosenhaus, with a dash of Don King, wrapped up in the body of a defense lawyer who will defend his client even when he knows he's guilty.

Now, it's not Fehr's job to be liked, per se. Regardless of who was there, it's a job that wouldn't win anyone any popularity contests. He is a tough customer, stubborn and ready to fight to the bitter end for whatever he's behind -- all admirable qualities, to be sure. But to be so willing to be tough, stubborn and ready to fight to the bitter end over a bully that doesn't feel like being filmed on a particular day, and a drunk punk that's always in trouble...

...well, let's say that takes away any of that admiration that I might have for the man, or the association he works for.

The Orioles, I'm assuming, are probably in the wrong, and don't have enough grounds to really terminate Ponson's contract. But I admire their guts in trying, because I'd do the same thing in their position. It's one thing to not have the guy produce to the level of his contract -- hey, that happens all the time -- but it's another to have him perform that poorly and make an asshole of himself and idiots of the organization that signed him.

I think the Orioles will lose here, but I'm hoping this will lead to character-driven clauses in these contracts. Make a point system, something that will punish a player financially if he steps over certain moral and/or character lines. It would make a lot of sense for the owners, but I'm sure Donald Fehr, the players association, and the sports agents would fight any wholesale changes on this level...

...which would be typical. They'd rather not hold their players accountable for anything, because that'd be too much like the real world.

Note: I've put up links on the sidebar for donations through Paypal or through the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief. These, I imagine, are going to be up for a while. It doesn't look like the situation down there is going to be fixed for several months.

Another note: Deion Sanders has put out a challenge to all professional atheletes to donate $1,000 to relief for Katrina. Sanders is arrogant, boisterous, self-serving, and a few other things that I don't really admire in people -- but this was well done. Good job, Deion.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Disaster Relief

Contribute to help relieve the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina.

There are a ton of ways to do it -- if you haven't done it already, you either are financially incapable (nothing wrong with that), aren't going to do it even though you could (inexcusable), might just need a little push.


I've done it through Paypal, throwing in 20 bucks. It takes about three clicks if you've already got a Paypal account, and if you don't, it'll take a bit longer to set up a Paypal account so that you can contribute.

Either way, it is worth it. It's more than worth it, it's necessary. This disaster has left people living on the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama without the means to help themselves -- when everything you have has been wiped out, it is no shame to have to turn to other for support.

It's not only my priviledge to help, it's my duty. After all, maybe we will need help one day. Everyone eventually does.

Update: We've got a big heart in Bigfly, who's sitting a little light right now but still found his way to giving $20. If he's sitting light and can give $20, then I can do more than that. I'm going to throw in $30 more. Thanks, Bigfly.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

An oversight

I had given some sad news about a Phillies blogger quitting the other day, but forgot to balance that with some good news.

Well, here it is -- Kevin Agee is back in full force, writing again at his old spot, Kevin's Royals Blog.

He was over at Kaufmann's Confidential for a while (it's part of, but didn't seem to click over there, so back to his original blog he goes (with an updated look).

This is one of the blogs I'd really recommend -- if any of you read Aaron Gleeman's site, then you might know what I mean. I read Aaron's site not because I have any particular liking for the Minnesota Twins, the team he writes about most of the time there, but because Aaron is simply a very good writer. My friend Mel once said she just loved well-written information, almost regardless of what it's about -- I'm pretty similar to her in that regard.

So, even if you're not a Royals fan (what? I haven't converted any of you yet?), I think many of you can and would find Kevin's site an enjoyable read. It's always my first stop when I begin to make my (almost) daily rounds of baseball blogs.