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Thursday, June 28, 2007

All-Star Teams Announced (Not Really)

With All-Star voting closing at midnight tonight, here are my teams, complete with back-ups and pitchers, 32 players for each league and each team represented. Starters based on fan voting results as of June 26.

AL Starters (8):
1B David Ortiz, BOS
2B Placido Polanco, DET
SS Derek F. Jeter, NYY
3B Alex Rodriguez, NYY
C Ivan Rodriguez, DET
OF Vladimir Guerrero, LAA
OF Magglio Ordonez, DET
OF Ichiro Suzuki, SEA

For the most part, the fans get it right from what they have to choose from on the ballot. Ortiz is no more a 1B than I am, but whatever. Pudge is living on rep, Victor Martinez should be the pick there.

AL Back-ups (11):
1B Justin Morneau, MIN
2B Brian Roberts, BAL
SS Orlando Cabrera, LAA
SS Carlos Guillen, DET
3B Mike Lowell, BOS
C Victor Martinez, CLE
C Jorge Posada, NYY
OF Torii Hunter, MIN
OF Grady Sizemore, CLE
OF Alex Rios, TOR
OF Sammy Sosa, TEX

I know, I know. Sammy Sosa really isn't an All-Star any more. But someone has to represent Texas, and he does have 13 homers and 61 RBIs, despite never getting on base when he doesn't homer. Just missed: Gary Sheffield, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Michael Young, Carlos Pena

AL Pitchers (12):
ST Dan Haren, OAK
ST C.C. Sabathia, CLE
ST Josh Beckett, BOS
ST John Lackey, LAA
ST Justin Verlander, DET
ST Johan Santana, MIN
ST Roy Halladay, TOR
ST Gil Meche, KC
CL J.J. Putz, SEA
CL Francisco Rodriguez, LAA
CL Bobby Jenks, CWS
CL Al Reyes, TB

Meche is here because KC needs a rep. Reyes is here on merit.

Last Vote (1):
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kelvim Escobar, Carl Crawford, Gary Sheffield, Michael Young
NL Starters (8):
1B Prince Fielder, MIL
2B Chase Utley, PHI
SS Jose Reyes, NYM
3B David Wright, NYM
C Russell Martin, LAD
OF Carlos Beltran, NYM
OF Ken Griffey, CIN
OF Alfonso Soriano, CHC

We can pick nits on this if you want. I'm voting for Miguel Cabrera at third, but the guys leading are deserving as well.

NL Back-ups (11):
1B Albert Pujols, STL
1B Ryan Howard, PHI
1B Dmitri Young, WAS
2B Dan Uggla, FLA
SS J.J. Hardy, MIL
SS Edgar Renteria, ATL
3B Miguel Cabrera, FLA
C Benjie Molina, SF
OF Matt Holliday, COL
OF Xavier Nady, PIT
OF Barry Bonds, SF

There's NO WAY they're leaving Bonds off the this team. None. With the game in San Fran? Are you kidding me. We just need to get over it. Just missed: Derrick Lee, Brandon Phillips, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Lee

NL Pitchers (12):
ST Jake Peavy, SD
ST Brad Penny, LAD
ST Cole Hamels, PHI
ST John Smoltz, ATL
ST Ben Sheets, MIL
ST Brandon Webb, ARI
ST Chris Young, SD
ST Roy Oswalt, HOU
CL Francisco Cordero, MIL
CL Jose Valverde, ARI
CL Trevor Hoffman, SD
CL Takashi Saito, LAD

Roy Oswalt beats out Carlos Lee as the Houston rep, IMO.

Last Vote (1):
Derrick Lee, Brandon Phillips, Adam Dunn, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Lee

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Here's the Pic from Saturday

For some stupid reason it won't post in the story.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Separated at Birth?

Cheryl and I made our way to the Safeway on Alabama Avenue, SE, Saturday morning for the Dmitri Young autograph session. The event was scheduled for 11 am - noon, and we arrived around 10:30 am, the first to get there for the event. We made our way to customer service, and asked about where the signing was going to be set up, etc. I was on my cell phone talking to a fellow owner in one of my fantasy leagues, so i wasn't paying attention to the conversation. Apparently, the store manager started asking Cheryl about she thought it would be best to set up, what kind of supplies were needed, etc. The the manager asked if Cheryl had brought a tablecloth or something for the signing table. It was at that point Cheryl realized the woman thought I was Dmitri Young and Cheryl was from the Nats! You can tell from the photo that me and Dmitri are practically twins. Pretty funny stuff.

The real Dmitri showed up right at 11 am, and since we were first in line we got a couple minutes to chat with him before he signed out pictures we took at spring training. I gave him a Hank Aaron card from Hank's last season as he's a real big collector and thought he'd appreciate it, and he did. He personalized the picture of the two of us, saying "To Dave, Keep Battling the Diabetes Like Me, Peace, Dmitri Young". Very solid individual. I hope he makes the All-Star team and then gets traded to a team that makes the playoffs, cause he really deserves it after being discarded by Detroit last year. I just can't see how he could have been THAT big a distraction to the club, but i know the clubhouse is a different place.

Pre-game on Saturday, Cheryl was able to get Brandon Watson, newly recalled, to stop over and sing the pic she had of him from last year's opening day. He obliged, inscribing it "43 game minor league hit streak '07". Good stuff. She's a big fan of the slap hitting cetner fielders. I was able to get Saul Rivera over towards the Nats bullpen. Cheryl had a great pic ofwhat we call the "cingular man" pose, like a big X. He say me holding it up and after ridding his jacket and bucket of balls in the bullpen, came back out and signed for me. He said "Great picture, did you take?" and i said "no, my wife", to which he replied, "She does nice work". Nice work indeed.

After Saturday night's game, we stuck around afterwards to get a couple more autographs before joining friends at the Irish Times. Maybe I'm getting old (no maybes), but it was REALLY LOUD in there. I wonder if it was always that loud. Anyway, we met the girls from the 3 Girls With Heart blog. Really nice girls, and they really know their stuff, so their blog gets added to the list to the right. We got Austin Kearns, Jesus Colome, Nook Logan and Ryan Langerhans from the Nats, and Injuns starter Paul Byrd and OF Trot Nixon, who had a posse of easily 20 people. Cheryl told Nook he needed to get more steals for her fantasy team and he replied "I gotta play to steal". She felt bad cause she didn't mean anything by it. It's true though, you can't steal from the bench. Unless you're Ruben Rivera, but that's another story.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Where Should We Start

It's taken me a little bit to consolidate my opinions about yesterday's events surrounding the Baltimore Orioles. There was good, bad and ugly.

First, and briefly, the good. The O's took two of three from the Padres in San Diego. Interim Manager Dave Trembley said, "What I saw was guys taking a lot of pitches, working the counts, using the whole field, being patient at the plate. There was just a real good chemistry in the lineup." The key to good baseball is not making outs, and the last two games it's been like a light has gone on. Not that anyone expects this team to be competitive, but just the realization that taking a few pitches and getting on base is important is progress enough.

Now, the bad. Bedard and Tejada are hurt. It sounds like Bedard is the less injured of the two, but if a pitcher doesn't have his legs, he's got nothing. One sure way to hurt your arm is to try to pitch with a leg injury. Tejada is the troubling one, in many ways. First, if his wrist is broken, then he'll have to miss some time, and that helps no one. Doesn't help the team on the field, doesn't help the front office get fair trade value. Just bad all around.

But what's the deal with letting him extend this consecutive games streak by batting second yesterday and laying a feeble bunt, forcing Roberts at second and almost getting a DP out of it? What exactly would he have done if Roberts hadn't gotten on? And Trembley's defense of it was just as weak: "Miguel Tejada is a very special person. What he's done in this game is very special. I believe you walk a fine line between doing what's right for your team and what's right for Miguel, out of respect, because I believe he's earned that. Today, I took him out of the game for the team, but I allowed him to have that at-bat out of respect for him."

This is just further reinforcing the notion that the inmates are running the asylum. HE'S INJURED!!! You want to be the regular the manager, display the fortitude necessary in the interest of the team to stand up to your best player! What self-respecting managerial prospect would come in to a situation like this??? Truly amazing and pathetic. Guys whine in the paper about playing time, they're in the line-up the next day. Guy whines in the paper about not being consulted about a day off, he gets a public apology instead of further benching. Guy BREAKS HIS WRIST and is allowed to make a mockery of himself and the team by taking a feeble bunt attempt and pulling himself from the game for the sake of a consecutive games played streak?

What's worse, the co-GM thinks it's ok: "He said that he was sore, but he could play," Duquette said. "He thinks it is going to feel better. He seems to have a very high pain threshold, but you don't want to risk making it worse."


*Quotes lifted from linked article by Zrbiec and Kubatko in the, photo by AP.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Guthrie Channels Steve Carlton

I stayed up last night to watch the O's-Padres game. obviously Guthrie is pitching well, and he had a high strikeout total last night, but the thing that really impresses me about him is the way he pitches to both sides of the plate.

Steve Carlton is a nut-job in every sense of the word, but the guy could really pitch. anyway i heard him say one time the key to getting big league hitters out is to make them uncomfortable by moving the ball around in different areas of the plate. he said you can throw a great slider (and by all accounts his was one of the best), but if they know it's coming, and more importantly where it's coming, big league hitters are going to make you pay.

that's what Guthrie is doing right now. next time he throws, watch him. i mean really watch him. don't just look for strikes and balls. inside-outside-up-down. never in the same place twice. that's why he's allowing (much) fewer than one base runner per inning.

he simply can't continue the pace he's on, so we should be enjoying it, but this kid really has something, and shame on the Indians for jerking him around so much that they couldn't see it. he really seems like a creature of habit and he's comfortable where he is now. good for him, and good for us.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If You Still Care About the Baltimore Orioles...

you have to read this story, from Mike Burke of the Cumberland Times-News. This is great journalism, and much more revealing about how the Orioles treated and fired Sam Perlozzo, and the front office mind-set coming into the season, than anything else I've read anywhere. Bravo, Mr. Burke.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What to Take Away from Joe Girardi's Comments Today

The Post scooped the Sun on Girardi's comments today.

Here are the telling quotes from that story:

"I think the people, number one," make it an attractive position, Girardi said. "Andy and Mike, it starts there. Number two, the city and the tradition. And the challenge. That's what competition is all about, right?"

Andy referring to the still-unnamed COO Andy McPhail, who was President with the Cubs as Girardi was finishing up his playing career, and Mike being Mike Flanagan, half of the current GM tandem for the Warehouse. I guess Jim Duquette was too busy calling up veteran relievers to replace the rookies that were obviously overmatched the other day.

"Andy was the one who approached me about this," Girardi said. "I know him pretty well. I have the utmost respect for Andy MacPhail."

Again, the same guy who still doesn't officially work for the team is contacting managerial prospects and interviewing them.

Girardi said he did not know a specific timeline for Baltimore's decision, but said, "The Orioles made it sound like it'd be sooner rather than later."

This would be the first time since Peter Angelos took over the team that they made a decision sooner rather than later, if it actually happens that way.

Anyway, the comments sound like he's interested. Nothing like kicking the tires on a 53 year old once-proud baseball franchise.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A New Day? Or Status Quo?

As you no doubt know by now, Sam Perlozzo was dismissed as manager of the Baltimore Orioles today. I don't think anyone that follows the O's found it much of a surprise. Having three losing streaks of worse than five games will pretty much seal any manager's fate. The O's have alot of problems, and lots of people are talking about all of them today. What makes me wonder is if Peter Angelos really understands any of it.

By all accounts, he's a tremendously successful lawyer. And since I know a little bit about the personalities of some pretty tremendous lawyers first-hand, I'll give you a tip: good lawyers are good lawyers, and need to surround themselves with good business, management and technology people to make their law practice work. Because it takes a tremendous amount of energy to be a tremendous lawyer. There's a good reason that turnover is so high at the biggest law firms. It's freaking hard work. Not many people survive it to have long, fruitful careers. Burn-out is as common as the sun rising and it really takes a particular personality to succeed as a lawyer.

All of which brings me back to Angelos. I think what makes him a great lawyer might be the very things that keeps him from being a great owner, and in turn, keeps the Orioles from being a great baseball team. He is noted for being competitive and involved in all aspects of the team. He is accused of undermining his baseball staff in personnel matters. He keeps his personal business out of the paper, and he never shows his face in public. And recently, has become more controlling of the content being released to the media.

Now at its very core, baseball is a business that needs the public buying a product to show a profit, both monetarily and performance-wise. Teams need people to come to the games. Teams need people to watch games on tv. Teams need people to buy hats and t-shirts. Teams need people to buy popcorn and beer and hot dogs and crab cakes and whatever else artery-clogging food they sell at the ballpark. Anyway, does it seem like it makes good business sense to then limit public exposure, either to your team or, if you're the owner, to yourself? The media likes to criticize Mark Cuban for his sometimes outlandish behaviour. But you know what, every time his face pops up on tv, he's selling the Mavericks.

I guess the point I'm trying to ake is that if Peter Angelos is looking for advice on how to run his ballclub he should surround himself with better people with experience in running a ballclub. I'm sure his sons and Joe Foss were good people and had great intentions, but I hardly think being lawyers made them good candidates to run a baseball franchise. If the rumors are true that Angelos is bringing in Andy McPhail to be the COO, that is a great step. O's fans can only hope he'll have the authority needed to make the important baseball decisions and let Mr. Angelos continue to do the things he's done for so long to become a great lawyer and running his practice of law. Because he has certainly proven, without a shred of doubt, that he is incapable of running the practice of a major league baseball team.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Stupidity Knows No Bounds

A friend of mine once said, "You can only be so smart, but stupidity knows no bounds." I recall the quote often in the appreciation of sport, since it appears the very genes that makes humans good athletes also seem to rob them of common sense or good judgment. Indeed, the decision to make a career as an athlete often is the product of poor judgment. Consider the sheer numbers of high school and college athletes that decide, "hey, i don't need an education, i'm going to be a pro (fill in the blank)", only to finish their prep career, go undrafted and end up sleeping in their parents' house working at McDonalds, if that.

But that's a larger discussion for another day. Today's Stupidity involved the immensely talented, but immensely troubled, Elijah Dukes. His history of his many suspensions for poor attitude and trouble-making in the minors is well documented, and despite being rewarded for all that by making the Devil Rays this season out of spring training and enjoying some success (10 homers so far), he still doesn't know how to live and interact like a human being.

Earlier this season he made not-so-veiled threats to his estranged wife, and now today a new story comes out about how he impregnated a then 17-year-old foster child in the care of his step-grandmother.

This is, I think, the key quote in the story. It comes from his mother, since Dukes and the team refused to talk for the article.

'Dukes' mother, Phyllis Dukes, said she didn't know about the allegations. "He's doing well on the field," she said. "He's doing so good. It's just every time he turns around there's something coming at him."'

"...something coming at him". As if he isn't bringing on himself, it's being forced on him by outside agents. Incredible. I just don't understand sometimes how people's visions of right or wrong get so clouded. What's the decision making process like. "Hmm, my step-grandma's got this hotty 17 year old foster kid, why don't I just nail her on the living room couch? Yeah, that sounds sweet, man." Instead of indignation or pity, HIS OWN MOTHER brushes this off like he got a damn speeding ticket. He HAD SEX with a 17 year old IN THE CARE OF HIS GRANDMOTHER!!! Where the anger and disappointment from the mother? The only disappointment she seems to show is that her boy has things more things "coming at him".

Monday, June 11, 2007

Everyone Has a Rankings System

We're 40% into the season, time to draw some comparisons and rank the teams. I'll rank by leagues, AL today, NL tomorrow. Most of these lists rank overall, which I find to be less helpful. The numbers after each team are (Wins-Losses-Run Differential-Games Back in Division-Games Back in Wild Card), and then some pithy commentary for each.


1) Boston (40-22, 80, 0, 0) Most secure lead in baseball. Only Boston can afford to leave its best major-league ready pitching prospect (Jon Lester) in AAA.

2) Los Angeles (40-24, 56, 0, 0) The Angels have second best home record in AL. Could use some of their home-grown young talent to fetch a middle-of-the-order bat.

3) Cleveland (37-24, 47, 0, 0) We keep waiting for Sizemore to go on that really big tear. Again, it's the pitching. This year is really proving that all over.

4) Detroit (36-26, 67, 1.5, 0) The bullpen troubles so far haven't really hurt the Tigers, but it'll catch up to them. Sheffield is playing possessed right now.

5) Oakland (34-28, 45, 5, 3.5) Given up fewest runs in AL. Kendall is KILLING this team. A league average bat in the leadoff would be a 4-5 game difference.

6) Seattle (34-28, 13, 4.5, 3) Seattle is hot and really showing strides in being a good ball club. Brandon Morrow is dominant in the pen and going to be a stud for them, starting or closing.

7) New York (30-31, 50, 9.5, 5.5) Hot streak recently to coincide with Giambi's latest injury. Injury, or side-effect? Either way, seems they're better off without him.

8) Minnesota (30-31, 2, 7, 5.5) They just can't score enough runs, even with Mauer, Morneau and Hunter in the middle. If they can find someone to get on base ahead of those three, look out.

9) Toronto (30-32, -1, 10, 6) Frank Thomas hasn't hit like last year, they keep getting guys hurt, and can't find any pitching after Halladay and Burnett.

10) Baltimore (29-34, 5, 11.5, 7.5) Win three, lose four. It's the story of their season. Just when they look like they'll get on a roll, the bats disappear. Revamped bullpen not worth the money spent.

11) Chicago (27-32, -51, 9, 7.5) They're not as bad as that run differential (fewest runs scored in AL), but not far off. Podsednick and Erstad are not completely to blame, the mindset to keep sending them out there is.

12) Tampa Bay (28-33, -37, 11.5, 7.5) I'm beginning to think being named after a body of water instead of a city is the problem. Nope, it's pitching. But there's promise there with Sheilds and Sonnenstine. Not sure Kazmir "gets it".

13) Kansas City (24-40, -71, 14.5, 13) Different year, same story. Given up second most runs in AL. Gordon still a year (at least) away. Meche credible but unsupported.

14) Texas (23-40, -60, 16.5, 13.5) Biggest disappointment in baseball. The excuses for poor pitching don't hold up, they're just bad. Daniels has blown three big trades, and Washington has lost the clubhouse in 60 games. A disaster.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Couldn't Be Better For Either Team

Here's what the O's did. Good work.

The Nats took Detwiler, you can see his profile below.

Both teams get A+ for their first picks. Neither team could have planned it any better. The O's get help at a demand position that'll be ready this time next year, and the Nats get a pitcher that should really be an anchor on the staff.

MLB Amateur Draft Held Today (You didn't hear?)

Yes, today is the MLB Amateur Entry Draft, which is quite a misnomer since it does not include any imported talent not from Canada. Anyway, it starts in about an hour, the O's pick #5 and the Nats #6.

They are both looking at a group of players including high school hitters Josh Vitters, Matt Domiguez and Mike Moustakas, high school pitcher Phillippe Aumont and college pitcher Ross Detwiler.

There are two real big wild cards in this draft accoring to experts, and they are switch-hitting catcher Matt Wieters from Georgia Tech and NJ high school pitcher Rick Porcello. They are both considered to be the best prospects in their quad (HS Hitter/Pitcher, College H/P). The problem? They are both represented by Angel of Darkness Scott Boras.

The O's have a long-time hatred of Boras, stemming all the way back to the Ben McDonald draft. They are reluctant with him for two reasons: 1) Boras always gets his way, and 2) Angelos always gets his way. We all know how well that's working out for Pete in the baseball arena.

So here is's Summary of Wieters:

Summary: Outstanding offensive and defensive catcher. At the plate, he has an easy, fluid swing; sprays the field with line drives, but can really put a charge into balls, especially from the LH side. Behind the plate, he's got a laser arm, gets up out of the crouch quickly on pop-ups, looks comfortable. Biggest question is whether a guy his size (listed at 6-6) can handle catching long-term. Easily the best college bat in this draft.

Sounds like someone you'd want in your line-up, no? This might as well be the summary of this guy.

I know it's easy to spend someone elses money for unproven talent, but c'mon, HE'S A SWITCH HITTING MIDDLE OF THE ORDER CATCHER!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Emperor's New Clothes (or something...)

i just looked at the interactive 3-D thingy for the Nats' new park. our seats in RFK are in Sec 422, Row 3, right behind home in the third row of the upper deck. the comparable seats in the new place are Sec 313-314, and they stay the same price. i got those seats the first night they went on sale for 2005.

i will be very disappointed, but not surprised, if things don't work out.

bottom line, the long-time season ticket holders are the one that will end up on the short end. they HAVE us. it's the corporates and law firms they need to get in the expensive seats, and they will. those are the folks that have been staying away from crummy RFK in droves. they are the ones that were there in the first half of 2005 when the team was brand new and was winning.

this will be just like the other new parks. first couple years the attendence will spike significantly. then it's up to the talent to keep it full. Cleveland-still full; Camden Yards-not.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Brian Roberts back all the way?

The injury that Brian Roberts sustained at the end of 2005 to his elbow was grisly to watch and probably plagued him all year last year as he tried to regain his swing and power. And while the O's aren't expecting Roberts to hit homers like his double-play partner, he is exhibiting all-around strength in his hitting game and on the base paths as well.

He currently leads all qualifying AL 2Bs in OBP, runs and steals, and isn't that what you want out of your lead-off hitter? Here's his raw stats:

.327/.420/.439, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 38 R, 19 SB.

Pretty good all around. His low RBI totals are a direct result of hitting behind Corey Patterson all year long. Roberts has 73 hits, it's not his fault Patterson only has a combined 51 hits and walks. Patterson seems allergic to hitting the ball again this year, but that's a topic for another day.