Archive for May, 2008

BRUUUUUUUUUUCE!

May 31, 2008

5 games. 11 hits in 19 at bats.
5 BB.
2 SB.
4 RBI.
8 runs.
.680 OB%.
.947 Slugging %.

He scored the game winning run last night, leading off the 11th with a hit.

Today, he lead off the 10th with his first big league home run to beat the Braves 8-7.

WOW.

Junior

May 30, 2008

It’s an appropriate name for today’s list of links since they all involve him.

CBSsportsline profiles the chase for 600

And the attention Young Master Bruce (eh…I’m just trying it out) is getting. The fans in Cincinnati are having a hard time getting behind Jr this season because they know as soon as he hits 600, the club will deal him. There is a club option on Jr. for next year, but the Reds aren’t likely to exercise it. I think he’d stay, but it’s not up to him. It’s probably better for the club long term if he moves on…but it still saddens me.

There was a time I would have committed murder to get my hands on one of these. It was a bygone day called…last week. Some people in Reds country have never been happy with Jr. because he wasn’t what they wanted. Me? I’m just happy that in a day where it seems like every guy I drove hours to watch play has let me down, that Jr is still out there trying. He’s not the demi-god he was at 25, but I don’t care. Every time I watch him play, it’s like I’m 16 again and wishing to God in heaven that I could do what he could.

Barry Larkin and Reggie Miller were the first athletes to retire that I watched their whole careers. Ken Griffey Jr is the first one to really make me feel old.

Sal Paolantonio isn’t real popular with me these days due to his hackery over the Harrison incident (He shouldn’t even live in a neighborhood like that!). Today he picks under and overrated coaches. He’s dead on about Tom Moore of course, but his attacks on Jeff Fischer are ridiculous. Want to know why Fischer fails in the playoffs? His teams have been lead by Steve McNair and Vince Young…and they weren’t that good. Playoff record alone is a really poor standard of judgment of a coach. The best way to judge a coach is over the course of several seasons. Do his teams under or overperform their talent? Does the coach consistently put his team in a position to win? The playoffs are a crapshoot. Jeff Fischer is one of the best around, and Salpal can’t convince me otherwise just by listing a couple of individual games where his team was clearly not as talented as the opponent. He kills Fischer for losing on the road at New England by a field goal? Seriously? He kills Fischer for losing the Super Bowl by a yard to one of the greatest offenses of all time? Really?

I’d like to do my own overrated column about writers. Salpal would be on top of the list today.

Dark days a’comin?

May 29, 2008

Nope. I think they already left. ESPN.com profiles Tom Crean’s efforts to save the Hoosier program today. Let’s be clear, the worst is already past. Next season may be a tad rough, but it will be a whole lot better than the dawning realization that the coach everyone was a little scared of just went out and turned your basketball program into a ethical toilet. Some of the hand wringing is a tad overblown. The turnaround time for a major college basketball program is 2 years, three tops. Next year might be rough, but by 2010, the Hoosiers should be well stocked.

What could I possibly complain about now?

May 28, 2008

Corey Patterson has been sent to AAA.

How does that make me feel? Sorta like this…

My favorite line from the article is: “His on-base percentage was .240, extremely poor for a leadoff hitter.”

Um, no guys. That’s extremely poor for ANY hitter.

Someone explain to me…

May 28, 2008

How is this is a foul…

and this isn’t

And people wonder why I hate the NBA. I’m fine with the refs swallowing the whistle for off the ball stuff in the final couple of seconds. I’m fine with the ref not calling a foul in favor of an offensive player careening out of control in the lane desperately hoping to draw contact. But how can you not whistle contact against a guy with ball in his hands trying to hit the game winning shot from a relatively set, stable position?

You know why no one cared about Donaghy throwing games? Because at least that made sense. At least we could all say, “Oh no wonder he sucked. He was on the take”. What logic or reason is there behind this no call? We are left to posit and speculate as to why the NBA might possibly want the Lakers in the finals and not the Spurs. I hate the conspiracy theory stuff, but geeze, sometimes it almost is the simplest explanation. Without it, I’m forced to assume that a multi-billion dollar corporation with global reach merely hires incompetent boobs to fill one of the most important roles in its operations (and no that’s not a Violet Palmer joke-though it could be).

The kicker is…I don’t even care about these teams. It just pisses me off on principle.

Links:
CHFF contributes a couple of fun links. The first is utterly juvenile (but freaking hilarious).
The second reviews the worst franchises in NFL history. There are lots of Colts ties to be found (check out New Orleans, Houston, and Tampa Bay)
John Clayton thinks the Colts are prepared for an uncapped 2010.

Corey Patterson just got worse without even entering a game

May 28, 2008

Jay Bruce’s first game: 3 for 3, 2 RBI, 2 Runs, 2 BB.

How bad is Corey Patterson? Not only has he not had a HR since April 9, not only is his OB% .242 (yeah, I’m not making that up), not only has he been caught stealing 4 times in 12 attempts, not only is he making an inexplicable $3.5 million….

but he’s been keeping this kid off the field.

I defy anyone to show me a position player who has hurt his team more than this guy.

Let’s Play Two (all at the same time)

May 27, 2008

Sunday’s 18 inning nightmare may well prove to be the watershed moment of the 2008 season for the Reds. After winning 6 in a row, then losing four in a row, the Reds needed a win on Sunday to finish their west coast trip a respectable 3-4. A win would have sent them home closer to the Cubs than when they left town. Obviously, losing the game in 18 innings isn’t what anyone had in mind, but there were several issues in this game that made the result particularly frustrating.

The first occurred in the 4th inning. The Reds were down 3-1 with the pitcher’s spot up and two outs with the bases loaded. Matt Belisle, who is not really a major league quality starter, had already pitched poorly. The Reds had an off day scheduled for Monday. Instead of pulling him for a pinch hitter and using a long reliever, Dusty decided that he didn’t really need runs to win and let the pitcher hit. Now, I realize that pinch hitting in the 4th inning is unorthodox, but considering who was on the mound, the subsequent off day, and the relative importance of the game, Baker should never have let Belisle head to the plate. Belisle obviously made the third out of the inning and went on to pitch 1.3 more innings, giving up two more runs before leaving with runners at 2nd and 3rd and 1 out in the 5th. By not lifting Belisle, Dusty not only crapped all over a prime scoring chance, but left in an awful pitcher who was throwing poorly. Granted the Reds had three other chances to win that were squandered by various bullpen pitchers, but this exchange in the 4th doomed the club that day.

Dusty also pulled Dunn in a double switch in the 9th inning. I suppose it was for defensive reasons, but with a one run lead and a closer working his third game in a row, it didn’t make a ton of sense. Dunn’s spot would come up 3 more times that game. Sure would have been nice to get the team’s hottest hitter up.

The only bright spot for the Reds was that Corey Patterson went 0-8. Why might this turn out to be the game that saved the season? Because Corey (I’m the worst player in baseball) Patterson is almost sure to get cut before tonight’s game, making way for Jay “They traded Josh “Hambone” Hamilton over me” Bruce to get his call up as an everyday outfielder. Granted, I have a feeling that Sunday’s game was the end of the 08 Reds, but if Bruce is what they say he is, it might prove to be a blessing in disguise. Personally, I see no way that in 10 years trading Hamilton instead of Bruce and/or Votto will be viewed positively, but I have no recourse but to hope.

UPDATE: So the Reds designate Hatteberg and NOT Patterson? What does a guy have to do to get cut on this team?

Links:
Jr. wants to go to Indy. They need to make him Grand Marshal.

Prisco gets it right for the Colts at least. Nobody is saying AV is bad, but he’s not elite anymore.

If you like soccer at all, this is a fun but time consuming list. Thanks to Tim Who Doesn’t Read Blogs for the link.

The Winner

May 26, 2008

Congratulations to Scott Dixon for winning the greatest race in the world. This was no shocker. Dixon was picked by nearly everyone to win the race. He took full advantage of a relatively inexperienced field and wet May conditions that left little time for the other teams to close the gap. To put it simply: Best driver + best car = victory. Dixon was money all last season finishing second in the 500 and in the IRL points championship to Dario Franchitti. It was his time.

Sure, we are disappointed that Marco Andretti could not seal the deal. We also wouldn’t have minded seeing a bigger name like Helio or Danica take the prize. Only two of the past ten winners have been American, which like it or not, hurts the sport’s domestic popularity. But when you look past the minor negatives there was a lot to like:

1.) Dixon isn’t going anywhere. This is good because developing and retaining talent is open-wheel’s first big challenge after unification.

2.) A (young and talented) Andretti led 15 laps. He can win this race. I’ll be watching year after year just to see the look on Mario’s face when he does.

3.) The Tony Kanaan curse has become a genuine phenomenon. Talk about snake-bit. He has led each of the past seven 500s only to come up empty each time. Classy guy with a winning personality. His interview after his crash was solid drama. His anger at Andretti and concern for Sarah Fisher was the moment of the race for me, on or off the track.

4.) The unification rookies have officially been seasoned. They’ll come to Indy next year with a greater respect for what it takes to complete 200 laps, let alone win the thing. Hopefully they’ll avoid stupid little mistakes like slowing down way too early heading into pit lane.

5.) Who said there was no attrition and no passing? Well, my dad for one. Buddy Lazier improved 15 spots to finish 17th. Ryan Hunter-Reay earned top-rookie status by impressively moving up 14 spots to finish sixth. As for attrition, only the top 18 cars were still running at the end of the race. A nice number of crashes, but still plenty of green-flag racing.

6.) Danica offered a little trumped-up drama by storming down pit lane. Very nice.

7.) Vitor Meira continued his amazing stretch of 80 races without a victory. He has been runner-up at Indy twice in that span. Talk about painful.

8.) Milka Duno didn’t get anyone killed. In fact, she finished 19th despite her embarrasing spin at the end. In other news, AJ Foyt IV didn’t get anyone killed.

9.) Roger Penske didn’t get his vile Daytona/Indy back-to-back.

10.) No need to tell Mr. F1 himself, Graham Rahal that Indy ain’t as easy as it looks. He fell deep into the pack before crashing out and finishing dead last.

The Winner

May 26, 2008

Congratulations to Scott Dixon for winning the greatest race in the world. This was no shocker. Dixon was picked by nearly everyone to win the race. He took full advantage of a relatively inexperienced field and wet May conditions that left little time for the other teams to close the gap. To put it simply: Best driver + best car = victory. Dixon was money all last season finishing second in the 500 and in the IRL points championship to Dario Franchitti. It was his time.

Sure, we are disappointed that Marco Andretti could not seal the deal. We also wouldn’t have minded seeing a bigger name like Helio or Danica take the prize. Only two of the past ten winners have been American, which like it or not, hurts the sport’s domestic popularity. But when you look past the minor negatives there was a lot to like:

1.) Dixon isn’t going anywhere. This is good because developing and retaining talent is open-wheel’s first big challenge after unification.

2.) A (young and talented) Andretti led 15 laps. He can win this race. I’ll be watching year after year just to see the look on Mario’s face when he does.

3.) The Tony Kanaan curse has become a genuine phenomenon. Talk about snake-bit. He has led each of the past seven 500s only to come up empty each time. Classy guy with a winning personality. His interview after his crash was solid drama. His anger at Andretti and concern for Sarah Fisher was the moment of the race for me, on or off the track.

4.) The unification rookies have officially been seasoned. They’ll come to Indy next year with a greater respect for what it takes to complete 200 laps, let alone win the thing. Hopefully they’ll avoid stupid little mistakes like slowing down way too early heading into pit lane.

5.) Who said there was no attrition and no passing? Well, my dad for one. Buddy Lazier improved 15 spots to finish 17th. Ryan Hunter-Reay earned top-rookie status by impressively moving up 14 spots to finish sixth. As for attrition, only the top 18 cars were still running at the end of the race. A nice number of crashes, but still plenty of green-flag racing.

6.) Danica offered a little trumped-up drama by storming down pit lane. Very nice.

7.) Vitor Meira continued his amazing stretch of 80 races without a victory. He has been runner-up at Indy twice in that span. Talk about painful.

8.) Milka Duno didn’t get anyone killed. In fact, she finished 19th despite her embarrasing spin at the end. In other news, AJ Foyt IV didn’t get anyone killed.

9.) Roger Penske didn’t get his vile Daytona/Indy back-to-back.

10.) No need to tell Mr. F1 himself, Graham Rahal that Indy ain’t as easy as it looks. He fell deep into the pack before crashing out and finishing dead last.

Dungy says Philly PD not likely to implicate Harrison

May 23, 2008

On Mike and Mike in the Morning today, Tony Dungy said that they’ve talked to the Philly PD, and while the investigation is ongoing, it now seems very unlikely that Marvin Harrison will be directly implicated or affected by the situation that was reported a few weeks ago.

Score one for the brick and mortar media. Way to really get the story right. Why does everyone hate bloggers again? What honestly is the difference between Deadspin and ESPN when they report unsubstantiated rumors and sensationalistic reports?

Dungy also said it was unfortunate that the Patriots accomplishments were tarnished. I’m sure this will get inflamed and sound-bitten to death, but if you hear the context in which he was speaking, he talked at length about what a great team they have and that it was a shame they’ve been tarnished and that people now won’t remember them for how great they really are.

Listen, they HAVE been tarnished. No one looks at them the same way anymore. If someone wants to say they SHOULDN’T be tarnished, that’s fine, but it doesn’t change the reality that they are. The comments were pretty innocuous, but I’m sure the Pats crazies will make too big a deal out of it.

Links:
Chad sends us this about Jr. If he gets to 599, and I can be in Cincy, I’m going at least once.

I missed this a couple of days ago. TMQ argues for a Belichick suspension. It’s interesting and almost persuasive. Personally, I think it’s worse for him that there be no closure. As long as the public feels like he’s gotten away with cheating, they’ll hate him more for it. I’m good with people hating him as long as they want. I think the public contempt does more to control cheating than a suspension would. Shame is a powerful tool that our society has forgotten.