Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Randomness

by SonDog

-- Raja Bell's impact on the Phoenix Suns this postseason reminds me to a degree of the impact Doug Christie had on the Kings when Sacramento had its two/three year run in the Western Conference. Bell doesn't necessarily do anything great, but he does a lot of things well, and his ability to fit in with his team's style while providing tough defense is something that Christie did to perfection. Also, Bell has a tendency to get under the proverbial skin of other players, which Rick Fox would say Christie did very well.

-- Matt Morris better start pitching like a $27 million man. To this point, he's been a fourth starter at best. Here's a scary thought though: Since the All-Star break last year, Morris has the following numbers: 5.35ERA, 7-14, 26 starts, 153 innings (5.2 innings/start), 180 hits, 45 BB, 23 HR, 75 K, 1.47 WHIP.

To put it another way, there was another Giant last year who had similar numbers, and he's now pitching for the Dodgers. His name is Brett Tomko.

-- Are the Kings seriously going to hire John Whisentantneltlels? Did the Maloofs get together and say to each other, "You know, experience as either a player or a coach in the NBA is highly overrated. No, what we need is a guy who's primary experience is winning the championship with our WNBA, we mean gals." Has Geoff Petrie just been castrated in this entire process or something? Where's his input? Has he taken a moment to say to the Maloofs, "Wait... You want to do WHAT?!"

On a side note, I'm picturing a tractor-trailer with Harley Davidson tail flaps and the license plate TruWarrior running over an innocent jack rabbit by the name of John Whisenant on Interstate 5.

-- Roger Clemens has agreed to return to the Astros, which brings up an interesting question: Does anybody outside of Houston care?

-- How has Miami made Detroit look so terrible in the Eastern Conference Finals? If I'm Joe Dumars, I call Minnesota this off-season and offer Rasheed Wallace, Teyshaun Prince and a first-round pick for KG. Probably wouldn't work, but Detroit needs a superstar in order to get some calls. I'm not saying the officials have leaned towards Miami in this series, but I think they called a foul on Chauncey Billups a couple of nights ago for failing to indicate with his turn signal while turning onto 7th Ave. in South Beach.

-- Noah Lowry, Matt Cain, Brad Hennessey, Kevin Correia, Jeremy Accardo, Brian Wilson, Johnathan Sanchez = The face of the Giants' franchise in the post-Bonds era.

In related news, Jack Taschner is pitching well in Fresno (2 BB, 19K's, 15.2 innings) while Merkin Valdez is struggling again (5.50+ ERA).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What I'm Thinking

by SonDog

-- Apparantly, Giants' first baseman Lance Niekro bought his shoulder from the Cupertino Thrift Store. As I mentinoed earlier this year, Niekro is one of my favorite players, but the dude just can't stay healthy. Between the Mother of All Shin Splint episodes in Spring Training and the Mother of All Shoulder Bursitis episodes this week, Niekro is one sprained pinky away from the Holy Trinity of Injuries-That-Should-Not-Sideline-a-Player-For-More-Than-Two-Days. He's turning into the Peja Stojakovic of the Giants.

-- Ahhh, Detroit. Founded by the Germans, Detroit Tigers Pitching Staff literally translates to, "What the F***?" Nine shutouts through the first quarter of the season? According to my buddy, Chip (Detroit native), rookie Justin Verlander was hitting 99 with his fastball in the ninth inning of his 5-hit shutout of the Royals yesterday. Granted, the Royals offense couldn't beat the Vail Marriott/Lodge at Vail Drunken Monkeys softball team ('cause we're pretty freakin' good). Nevertheless, Verlander's arm is pretty special and (along with Jeremy Bondermon and Mike Maroth) gives the Tigers hope for not just this season, but the future as well.

-- Speaking of dominating performances, Matt Cain's 1-hitter against Oakland on Sunday was pretty special. There's no doubt he can be a stud for a long time, but it might be a while until he shows it consistently.

-- I have to admit that I've thoroughly enjoyed watching the Rockies this year. I've been to seven games at Coors Field and I enjoy it more and more each time. The fans are starting to come back to Coors with each win. I genuinely hope they stay in the NL West race through the entire season.

On that note, Aaron Cook is probably their best starter at the moment. What's interesting with Cook is that he throws two-seam fastballs almost exclusively. In 106 pitches in Friday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Cook threw something like 97 fastballs. I am not making this up. In his previous outing, 95 of his 98 pitches were two-seam fastballs. His sink is so good that hitters can't do much with it even when they know it's coming (which is pretty much every pitch).

-- I love interleague play. Giants/A's, Yankees/Mets, Angels/Dodgers, Astros/Rangers, and, of course, the best rivalry of them all... Colorado Rockies vs. Toronto Blue Jays.

First of all, who's the numbnuts in the commissioner's office that decided that Toronto and Denver were "natural" rivals? Did they figure that since the South Park guys created a song about "Blame Canada," that they were destined to become a baseball rivalry? Stupid. Just stupid.

-- Like I've been saying for years... Jamey Wright, Rotation Cornerstone.

-- I'm sorry if I just can't let this go... But I just can't let this go. It's kind of what makes it great to be a Giants' fan. But I promise I won't mention it again for at least another week. Boof Bonser made his MLB debut for Minnessota last weekend. In six innings, he gave up one run and struck out 8. The combined 2006 stats for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Bonser are: 3W - 0L, 2.73 ERA, 46.1 innings, 42 hits, 12 BB, 62 K's, 14 runs, 1.17 WHIP, 6 SV, only 2 HR allowed. The stats for the guy the Giants received in return for this trinity of studs is, .000, 0HR, 0RBI, 1 Right Cross, compliments of Michael Barrett. I loath A.J. Pierzynski.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

2-0 Giants Fans

posted by BH

Edgardo Alfonzo was released by the Interstate 5 Angels today
. He's going to end up in New York, standing on top of taxis, thanking fans for letting him stand on top of taxis. Thank you Steve Finley for hitting above .212.

Michael Barrett kicked the shit out of A.J. Pierzynski today. Had it been a boxing match, A.J. would have been given a standing eight-count the way he reeled after the right cross from Barrett. Barrett has been remorseful, and Pierzynski has played the, "What did I do?" role. To Mr. Barrett I would like to say: I will carry your child. Thank you. I love you.

For the Brainless

posted by BH

As you read this, millions of people are flocking to movie theaters across the country to see the adaptation of The DaVinci Code. Some are going because they loved the book. Some are going because they hated the book. Some are there because they want to see what all the hubub is about, while some just want to see a good mystery. Religious groups have lined up outside theaters in protest, afraid that their 2000 year-old faith based on the teachings of the Son of God cannot withstand a historical fiction written by a guy who's barely 50. It always seems that the best way to encourage self-exploration and spirituality is to ask people to ensure their ignorance.

While the occasional review has been positive, the bulk of them have been decidedly negative, calling the movie boring and long. Here's the thing. The book was boring. It wasn't that good. For being such a short book, it was kind of a long read. There is no literary reason this book was any more accomplished than anything else on the bookshelf. What stirred this book's sales was controversy. An author doesn't sell forty million copies unless there's a little help from outside forces. How many Christians, after hearing the pastor denounce the book as gnostic lies, bought it out of curiosity? How many people sat around their work lounges on lunch breaks talking about their newfound knowledge of the lineage of Jesus, and how, oh my God, it could be true because there are all these gospels out there that didn't make it into the Bible because the early church didn't think they belonged.... A book doesn't generally lead to scholar after doctor after professor writing books about...the book. Really, it isn' Dan Brown's best book. Angels and Demons was way, way, way better. It was like The DaVinci Code, in that it revolved around corruption within the church, specifically, The Vatican, but it wasn't about Jesus. Therin lies the gold. Write a controversial book with any sort of mention of Jesus being something other than our Renneisance Italian white guy, and Christians around the world act like Satan has a firm grip on America.

Even though I thought the book was kind of bluh, I'm going to see The DaVinci Code. I like Tom Hanks. I like that he's from Red Bluff. I like that Brown wrote a book about Jesus, no matter what he wrote about Jesus. To the people who take offense to the book and subsequent movie based solely on the idea that it strays significantly from The Bible, I feel bad. You have faith, but you really don't have any faith. You know the Bible. Maybe you have faith in The Bible. But you know little about faith.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


by SonDog

For those of you who know OZ (Aaron) personally, you should be happy to learn that he officially became a father last night at appx. 7:30. Owen Gray weighed in at 7lbs, 3 oz and we should receive a picture soon. The li'l guy came out about a week earlier than expected, but both Owen and Kelley are reported to be in good health. Congrats to the Gray family are very much in order.

Balls and Strikes

posted by BH

Anyone who watched last night's game between the Giants and Astros know three things:
1)Russ Springer is full of shit and can't hit a stationary target.
2)Every fan who gave Springer a standing ovation after he was ejected for plunking Bonds in the 5th, is a douchy douche of the douchiest order.
3)Pedro Feliz is a stud.

After barely missing Bonds four times, once with a slider, once with what looked like a cutter, and twice with fastballs, he finally nailed Bonds in the shoulder. As his manager, Phil Garner was arguing with the home plate umpire who had just thrown him out of the game, Springer motioned that it had been a slider that hit Bonds. Um, Russ my boy, that was the fastest slider in the history of baseball. First, you couldn't hit the guy. Then you pretend you threw a different pitch? You're weak. There's been some talk today about a Bonds/Springer feud, but nothing real substantive. Evidently, Bonds hit one out off Springer in 2001, and Springer's hit Bonds both times he's faced him since then. Hmm. Whatever. If there wasn't really any Springer bad blood involved and he was really just trying to be the leader of a staff that had been knocked around worse than (insert funny, somewhat distasteful metaphor), I don't know why you'd pick the worst Giants hitter at the moment, this side of Omar Vizquel, to drill in that situation. Yeah, Bonds had two hits earlier in the game, but that made him 3 for two weeks.

Jamey Wright found himself in a tough position. After scoring, Bonds said something along the lines of, "Don't worry about it," to Wright, which had to have helped the San Fran starter. Had Wright hit a batter in the fifth, he would have been tossed, wouldn't have been given credit for the win, and his ERA would have taken a beating. It was also Wright who hit Brian Giles following a Giants hit batter a few weeks ago that started a seven-run inning, and cooincidentally sent the Giants to the land of sub-.500 baseball.

In the end, nothing is going to come of this. Bonds won't be in the lineup today. Springer won't be suspended, though he should be. If a Giant pitcher hits the first batter, he'll get a warning and that will be the end of it. Houston fans who cheered Springer should get forks shoved up their asses. Columnists will continue to pretend no one else has made an allusion to the Jerry Springer show. Fans across the country will continue feeling that their piety knows no bounds, continually doing their best Curt Schilling impressions.

Oh yeah. When did Feliz decide he could hit?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Next Big Thing

by SonDog

Can you imagine a San Francisco starting rotation that includes Noah Lowry, Matt Can, Brad Hennessey AND Francisco Liriano? It could have happened. Why Liriano was a "throw in" in the abomination that was the A.J. Peirzynski trade, we may never know. However, according to Peter Gammons's blog today on, Liriano may soon become the best lefty in baseball:

"Which has given Francisco Liriano, who has 32 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings, a shot at the rotation. Gardenhire has thus far been hesitant to rush Liriano -- first, because his five established starters deserved every opportunity to find themselves; and second, because while Liriano throws 97-98 mph with a 91 mph slider and 82 mph change, he has yet to demonstrate consistent command of the fastball. He's had some outings where he's been at 60 pitches in his third inning. The slider he can throw anytime, anywhere for strikes.

Twice on Saturday night, Liriano threw 3-1 sliders for strikes in blowing away the White Sox. Then, when he threw a fastball for a strike, Jim Thome looked at the Minnesota dugout and mouthed, "Wow."

"That is as good a stuff from a left-hander as I've ever faced," Thome said. "The only comparable stuff I can think of is Randy [Johnson] when he was young. That kid is unbelievable."

I'm looking forward to watching Liriano's next start. I watched him pitch a couple of times last year and was pretty amazed at his stuff. On a side note, Boof Bonser, the third pitcher included in the Pierzynski trade (Joe Nathan, Bonser and Liriano) has an ERA of 2.01 with a WHIP of 1.07 for AAA Rochester.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Random Thoughts

by SonDog

-- With the prospect of Larry Brown's contract being bought out by the joke that is the New York Knicks ownership group (seriously, you're picking Isiah Thomas OVER Larry Brown? And you're not playing some kind of practical joke or something?), one has to be a bit curious as to how hard the brothers Maloof will pursue Brown.

You know they want to make a splashy move (and sorry, but Monarchs coach, John WeisenwhothehellamI doesn't count). You know they want a defensive-minded coach with championship experience. You know they want a coach who is personable with the media and in the community. You know they will spend whatever it takes to get a coach with all three qualifications. Basically, it makes too much sense. Kind of like the Peja-for-Artest trade that should have happened two years before it actually happened.

I'm not saying I'm a Larry Brown fan. In fact, I think his mind games with Ron Artest and Bonzi Wells would be the stuff of psychiatric legend. However, if Brown does become a free agent again, you can fully expect the Maloofs to be the first owners to call (if they haven't already).

-- The Giants bullpen right now is about as effective as as using napalm to put out a forest fire. You get the feeling that none of the guys in the pen trust what they're throwing. Four of the seven first batters faced by the bullpen over the weekend walked. That's unacceptable. Scott Munter needs to go back to the minors to try to re-locate his sinker which hasn't been seen since last August. Steve Kline is... well... Steve Kline. Tim Worrell is done (Speaking of which, BH brought up a great point that Worrell's two-year contract was a kin to the two-year deal GM Brian Sabean gave Neifi Perez a few years back. Honestly, was Sabean afraid Worrell wasn't going to be available next year? Christ. I dont' know who would want him THIS year.). Jeremy Accardo seems to have a panic attack when he's asked to pitch the ninth with his team up by 5. Kevin Correia is used about as often as Jose Vizcaino. Armondo Benitez is the antithisis of reliable.

My feelings about the bullpen can best be summed up by the conversation LeseDog and I had yesterday when Steve Kline entered the game in the top of the eighth after seven effective innings from Jason Schmidt and the score tied 2-2:

LeseDog: "Where did Schmidty go? He was pitching good."

SonDog: "He threw 100 pitches so Felipe pulled him."

LeseDog: "That seems pretty stupid. Those guys (bullpen) can't ever get anybody out."

SonDog: "Yup. Game's over now."

Naturally, Kline effectively lost the game three batters later after giving up a walk, single, and a two-base error after throwing the ball to the cotton candy vendor above the Giants dugout.

Yup, that's Kline losing the game

-- On the baby front, for those of you who aren't aware, I'm having a son... at least the sonogram says so. LeseDog is about 2 1/2 months away from popping the little guy out. In addition, it should be noted that OZ's son will enter the world next Monday. Also, I was informed last week that BH's son, Leyton (now 2-years-old), pooped under his swingset. Basically, if all three boys perfect the art of crapping their pants, they will fit right in to the Giants bullpen.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Q&A With World's Best Ski Patroller

by SonDog

Many of you may remember me mentioning the name "NaceDog" early in this past ski season. In fact, I believe I spoke of him on opening day and how you would all hear "plenty more about this guy through this ski season." Well, the ski season is over, and I've finally had a chance to sit down with my good buddy, NaceDog, for a little Q&A session.

First off, understand that NaceDog skied over 140 days this season. That's right. 140 days +. Fucking insane. Second, understand that I was on this hill this year about as often as a blind racoon with a bad case of vertigo.

Anyways, as I sit here tonight, I am blessed by the presence of Vail Mountain's sickist telly skier (telemark skiing for those of you unfamilar with ski resort jargon). So, I thought I would introduce you to the man, the myth, the legend:

Q: So, dude, do you remember that time in high school when you, BH and I did this Q&A for the Bluffer (High school newspaper)?

A: Dude, I think I still have that in a box back home. I'll dig it up next week when I'm at home for my brother's baby's birth. (Editor's note: For those of you that aren't aware, NaceDog is the older brother of contributor, OZ.)

Q: Is it just me, or did we already totally lose interest in this Q & A?

A: It's not just you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to NaceDog.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cream of Wheat

by SonDog

I'm a little brain-dead today from a late night at my buddy Reed's house. In fact, my brain feels like it's turned into Cream of Wheat (Thank you, Larry Krueger).

My wife, Lisa, has always had a keen sense of smell and is particularly disgusted by the smell of morning-after booze and smoke. For those of you who know me well, you already see how this presents a problem on somewhat of a daily basis. With this in mind, my lovely wife recommended some time ago (Note to reader: replace "recommended" with "demanded") that I sleep in the guest room during nights in which I come home too tanked to participate in the exhausting exercise that is known as "taking a shower." With Lisa's olfactory sensor neurons reaching super-human capability during pregnancy, you surely need no further explanation as to why I awoke this morning in the guest bedroom (See: Tanked, Me).

I was stirred from my comatose state at 6 am to the sound of Rocky licking my bald head. Yes, my dog was trying to do his part to make me presentable before we interacted with my wife. You see, since he was with me last night, he would probably be in trouble too. In fact, I believe I heard him whisper, "She's not going to be happy, boozehound. Clean yourself up. And thanks for ensuring that I'm not going to get a treat in my kong this morning, dick. Appreciate that." But maybe I was just hallucinating.

Even Rocky couldn't stand the smell this morning
At any rate, as I looked around the room, I saw the remnants of what was a Cheeze-It war between my mouth and my hands (there were plenty of casualties), an empty bottle of POWERade, every article of clothing that I was wearing, three jelly beans, an empty bucket, a crescent wrench, my iPod, and the keyboard to my computer. It's worth mentioning that a toothbrush, mouthwash, soap, and clean clothes were nowhere to be found. Strangely enough, my memory seemed to be misplaced as well.

As Rocky and I stumbled into the master bedroom to say good morning to Lese (both of us had our tail between our legs), we were immediately welcomed with the loving sound of what could have only been unborn son saying, "You f****** stink." I quickly realized that my whiskey-soaked charisma would be of no use in the ensuing discussion. Rocky tried to bring a smile to Lese's face by jumping on the bed to give her kisses, but he was turned away as well to the words, "You smell like booze and smoke too, little man." Rocky then stared at me with a tilted-head look of confusion as if to say, "Why? Why would you do this to me?"

While Lisa showered, I pounded enough Alka-Seltzer and POWERade to kill a small elephant. I also gargled an entire bottle of citrus-flavored Listerine (Of note, I think I swallowed some because I've basically cleansed the urinal with what smells like pine-sol on three occasions this morning.) At this point, while I still had not showered, my breath no longer smelled like a turd covered in burnt hair. By the time Lese finished her shower, my sense of balance was beginning to come back. Thus, with renewed confidence, I gave my wife a loving hug, told her how much I loved her, talked to her belly to tell my son that his father is an idiot, and threw the Frisbee across the bedroom for Rocky as an apology. By this time it was 6:20, and while it would have been appropriate to make some coffee or at least get something to eat before heading to work, I felt an overwhelming urge to go back to bed.

It turns out that Listerine is also a powerful cleansing product for urinals

On a related topic, I will be cooking dinner for my wife tonight.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This Week's Sign That People Are Stupid

posted by BH

This comes from an article in which Babe Ruth's granddaughter, Linda Tosetti, says she isn't going to be a part of any Barry Bonds celebration. Talking about Ruth and his indiscretions, she says,

"Look, he did his carousing. But liquor didn't touch his lips when he was with children. That's how his image is for the youth," Tosetti said.

Okay, I'm not saying I think the "Babe Ruth did bad stuff too," holds any water when trying to defend Bonds. In fact, I think it's mostly a made up argument used by Bonds haters as some sort of faux argument they use for Bonds supporters. But come on. He didn't drink in front of kids? I knew Bonds was a bad guy, but now we find out that the difference between Bonds and Ruth is that Barry needled himself in the ass in front of little leaguers?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

32 Games In: What's Going On?

posted by BH

I don't think, at this point, any Giants fan will tell you this is where they thought the Giants would be thirty-something games into the season. 15-17, 4.5 back of the "What-the-hell?" Rockies in the NL West. I thought that by this time, San Francisco would be more likely sporting something around a 20-12, a few games up on the rest of the division. As it turns out though, there's a reason no other team wants to compose itself entirely of 84 year-olds. I kid, but Brian Sabean's reliance on the veteran has become absurd. That Lance Niekro, Kevin Frandsen and Matt Cain have gotten significant playing time this season demonstrates that at least management understands the importance of developing home grown talent, in the infield anyway.

CF- Randy Winn: The Winn that came over from Seattle in a trade last summer was not actually Randy Winn. The guy the Giants have playing center this season is the Randy Winn we all expected. .276 BA, 2 HR, .346 OBP, .416 SLG is more reasonable. In reality, the Giants needed him to be the player that made fans say "Barry who?" at the end of last season. That Winn would have better hidden the warts on this team. He's a solid player and has quickly become a fan favorite. He just needs to be solid with a .385 BA and 8 HR.

2B- Ray Durham/Kevin Frandsen: I was sad to see Durham head to the DL. Okay, that's a lie. I have grown rather indifferent to the annual Durham DL extravaganza, yet this time I was happy about it since it seemed likely that the team would call on Frandsen rather than plug the hole at second with Jose Vizcaino. It apears that Durham is playing out the last year of a contract that has seen him go from reliable, everyday, leadoff hitting second baseman with power, to...something else. Frandsen got off to a hot start, but has tailed off a bit. That's to be expected, but one has to like what this kid is doing at the plate and in the field. His approach in the batter's box seems to consistently be trying to hit the ball back up the middle. He doesn't try to play outside himself, instead staying true to his up-the-middle approach. He has been compared favorably to Robby Thompson. Um, I'll take that. What will happen when Durham comes back? Either Frandsen goes back to Fresno or Vizcaino goes the way of Jeff Fassero. I see Frandsen in a Grizzlies uni by the end of the month.

3B- Pedro Feliz: After a horrid start, Feliz seems to be rediscovering the stroke that has made him a mediocre corner infielder at the plate. Really, with Feliz, the Giants have to be happy with him hovering around .250, hitting a home run once every fifth or sixth game. His defense has been amazing, having benefitted from being the everyday third baseman this season. If he played in New York, he'd be getting some Gold Glove love.

LF- Barry Bonds: A slow start had every douchebag in the country saying "I wonder." Now that the weather is heating up, Bonds has been looking a little closer to the Bonds of old. He's not as good as he used to be. He's not going to hit 40 jacks. He's an adventure in the outfield. But dude. Watching him hit abaseball 7,000 feet the other night in Philly was amazing. People can say what they want about the guy, but he still changes the game and is still fun to watch. Yeah the Philly fans booed, but that stadium was buzzing after Bonds' shot. They also waited around for his last at-bat of the night before heading for the exits.

RF- Moises Alou: Thank God his ankle's not broken. All I could think of listening to the radio when Alou went down was that we were going to be seeing a lot more Mark Sweeney in the outfield. The season flashed before my eyes and it went something like this: 62-100. Alou had been the Giants hottest hitter, and the only real consistent spark each night. His numbers are a Bondsian .376, 7, 25. Seriously. I thank God he's not out for the year.

1b- Lance Niekro: I want this guy to do well. He's the most promising power-hitting farm-hand the Giants have produced in a long time. I worry that Felipe and Sabean are going to have a quick hook with Niekro, giving his AB's to Sweeny and Finley on a consistent basis. His numbers have been disappointing, but he's one guy I feel they should be sticking with. He's got a lot of upside. If someone would just point out that he's dropping his back shoulder like it's twenty pounds heavier than the other one, he might make some progress.

SS- Omar Vizquel: As I wrote a few weeks ago, Vizquel is the best player I've ever seen. His offensive numbers have been a bonus this season, but will almost certainly end up around the .290 level. Defensively, he's a freak. His arm's not what it used to be. He doesn't have the range he once did. None of that matters. He's still the best defensive shortstop in the NL by a mile. When a ball is hit to short, you know something good is going to happen.

C- Mike Matheny: Offensively? Pluh. Defensively? Solid, but something hasn't been feeling right about him behind the plate this year. I don't really know what it is. Maybe it's that I haven't seen him throw a guy out in a while. I could be totally off on this. He still seems to call a great game, but how much worse off would the staff be without Matheny behind the plate? I guess, having written that, I would rather see him behind the dish than almost any other player in the majors. He's steady. You know you're going to get maximum effort with little to no mental fubars (I'm looking at you Benito).

SP- Let's just do a catch-all here. Schmidt has been looking like a stud, Lowry's back a looks like the pitcher we saw last August, Morris looks like Bret Tomko, Cain looks like he's learning, and Wright looks like a fifth starter. Hennessey has kind of comtinued his trend of looking like Cy Young for two starts, then Anthony Young for another. Correia looks promising and deserves a shot in the rotation. He has been as effective as anyone else.

Bullpen- Crap. I don't want to write about this. Armando Benitez has the scariest 0.00 ERA in the history of baseball. The team has already unloaded two dead arms in Tyler Walker and Jeff Fassero. Scott Munter's sinker is staying up. Jeremy Accardo is iffy at best, though with his stuff, I can't see how he ever gives up a hit. Tim Worrell is a can of gasoline.

This team looked good for 24 games. It all started to hit the fan the exact moment Jamie Wright hit Brian Giles in San Diego. The Pads put up a huge inning, and the Giants never recovered. Maybe last night's win is a sign that they are starting to straighten things out. We'll see. It's one win, and it's hard to get all gung-ho about it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Holy Trinity Part III -- What We've Learned

by SonDog

After the admirable yet futile effort against San Antonio in the first round ouster, the Sacramento Kings head into an off-season filled with uncertainty in the front office, uncertainty on the roster, and uneasiness in the fan base. Basically, there are three subplots to this off-season:

-- (Player Personnel) With the Maloofs seemingly making the personnel decisions for the franchise (see: Artest, Ron), there is little doubt that Bonzi Wells will be offered a massive contract to stick around in Sacramento. Wells has said all the right things this year, his play in the San Antonio series was remarkable, and his desire (at least publicly) to stay in Sacramento has resonated with the fans.

I'm not as sold on Bonzi for the long term. His performance this year early and in the playoffs seemed to be a classic contract drive. Where was this player through the first six years of his career? Can, or better yet, will Wells bring this type of intensity and passion game in and game out with a new contract? I'm doubting it.

At this point, the only way Wells doesn't come back to Sacramento is if Isiah Thomas offers him a max contract with the Knicks, which could easily happen. In fact, I'm going to predict that Isiah makes a run at Wells. I know it's not too long of a limb to venture out on.

At least nobody has ever questioned Bonzi Wells's character or will to give his all every game. Wait...

-- (Coaching Situation) Hey, have you heard that coach Rick Adelman doesn't have a contract extension yet? Have you seen this? Have you heard this? I have no idea what to make of this other than to say it seemed inevitable all year that Adelman was on his way out after the season. Suddenly, after two wins against the Spurs in the first-round of the playoffs, all those writers and fans that had abandoned the Adleman bandwagon in the middle of the desert seem intent on jumping back on for another ride. As with Wells, I'm not sold on Adelman.

-- (Vegas Situation) If you TiVo'd or recorded game 6 against San Antonio, check out the ESPN interview Marc Jones had with Gavin Maloof early in the third quarter. Here's a synopsis: 1) Jones referred to Maloof as the owner of the "Sacramento Spurs," which could have been the stupidest moment in the history of sports journalism. (The incredulous look on Maloof's face was priceless. If I were running ESPN, I would have fired Jones on the spot, especially after he didn't even think to correct himself.) 2) Asked about a Sacramento Bee poll that reported only 27 percent of Sacramento residents think Arco Arena needs to be replaced, Maloof was visibly angry and issued a response of (to paraphrase), "If we don't get a new arena, we're out of Sacramento faster than Kobe fleeing a hotel room in Vail." Okay, so I made that up. Regardless, Maloof didn't hide his displeasure with the unending stupidity of the Sacramento residents and town council. Seriously, do the people of Sacramento think they can strong-arm the Maloofs into keeping the team in town simply by not helping to replace Arco? Really? They believe this? It's been discussed here several times, but the Kings' move to Vegas becomes much more of a reality by the minute.

So, you people do know that we own the hottest casino in Vegas, right? And you know we're sexy bitches that do whatever we want to do, right? That's it, we're building a new arena in Vegas.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

This is What I'm Talking About

posted by BH

This comes Mike Celizic's latest bit from MSNBC. Mike kind of doesn't know what he's talking about. Ever. He's like the old white guy version of the girl in high school who was popular, but no one could figure out why. Everything he writes is, without fail, this ginorous dramatic overreaction. Guh.

Last year, the Yankees and Red Sox opened the season against one another, and, though it was exciting in Yankee Stadium, it was too early for so much emotion.

Mr. Celizic prefers to decompress between April 1st and May 1st. After the beginning of May, it's on.

This time, the schedule makers got it just right. On the first day of May, with all players — resident aliens and native-born citizens alike — ready to work, the two biggest rivals in the game took the field in Fenway Park in a virtual tie for first place.

Awesome knock on immigrants. Once you've read Celizic a few times, you'll notice this formulaic form of writing in which he throws in these semi-current, borderline controversial, full-on stupid observations from popular culture. I'm envisioning this checklist next to him when he sits down to write a column.

Ortiz’ eighth-inning hit may have effectively ended the game, but it also symbolically opened the 2006 baseball season. I know the games have been going on for nearly a month, but just as the golf season doesn’t really begin until the Masters, the baseball season doesn’t really begin until the Yankees and Red Sox get together.

There's a lot of nothing going on here. Something symbolically and effectively happened at the same time? And the whole idea that a Yankees/Red Sox series is more significant than anything else in the baseball and national landscape is ridiculous horseshit. Just as golf season does start long before the Masters, with lots of guys making lots of real, spendable currency, so too does the baseball season. Real stats and records have been compiled over the first month of the season. This idea that New York and Boston playing any series bears some immense significance is the kind of narcissistic garbage that makes the national sports media unbearable.

There’s no need to hype the rivalry. The history stretches back through the decades, and a string of playoff meetings in recent years has cemented its standing as much more than just a regional rivalry like so many others in the game. Yankees-Sox is now a national event, like Colts-Patriots in football, Tiger-Phil in golf, Kobe-LeBron in the NBA.

You're right. There's no need to hype the rivalry. But you do it anyway. We know about the history. But you keep telling us about it. It is a regional rivalry, but it happens in the region in which the majority of the national media makes its home. I've also got some issues with your other national rivalries. Colts-Pats: for the most part, one sided in favor of the Pats. Tiger-Phil: hasn't really materialized on Sunday the way a legitimate golf rivalry should. Kobe-LeBron: seriously? Haven't they played each other a total of like five times? We're not talking Magic/Bird or Jordan/Pistons.

There had been a somewhat manufactured storyline about the return of Johnny Damon to the city where he had become the beloved leader of the team that finally brought a world championship back to Boston.

Allright. You just wrote about why it's not manufactured. Maybe the word you're looking for is "overanalyzed," or "overplayed." Anything containing "over."

Even afterwards, the media kept asking Yankees whether they were surprised and/or offended that Damon was thus hailed and abused by fans of the team he served so well for four years. Derek Jeter fairly snorted at the question, asking the reporters how else they’d expect a Yankee to be greeted in Boston.

What the fuck do the Yankees care about how fans feel about anything? Are you stupid? What the hell do you think the fans owe Damon? Jesus. Why did anyone think the fans in Boston would do anything other than boo the guy? Yankee broadcasters were heard to tell listeners that if Sox fans had any class, they'd cheer Damon upon his first introduction. What? Remember when Deion Sanders went from the Niners to Dallas after helping San Fran to the Super Bowl? Were Niner fans classless for booing Deion when he came to Candlestick? Jeff Kent plays for the Dodgers after winning an MVP in San Fran and playing a huge role in getting the Giants to the Series. What do fans owe him? Shut up, shut up, shut up. Don't act like the passion fans feel is reserved for this rivalry alone. Don't act like hate is reserved for Yankees alone, to be dispensed only upon New Yorkers visiting Fenway. Shut up.

Jeter was right, as were the fans. Nothing could be worse for the rivalry than for fans of either team to cheer a former hero who’s changed uniforms.

Shut up!

Wade Boggs was booed when he moved south on I-95, as was Roger Clemens. To treat Damon differently would have been to ignore everything that made the series such great theater. The players can respect each other if they so choose, but the fans are under no such obligation.

Yeah, no shit. And everyone with half a brain knows you're not supposed to root for a guy who left for a rival, or any team really. You root for or against the uniform. No one in San Francisco cheered for Deion or Kent. Shut. up. stup. Mike. Celizic.

Anyway, once the game began, Damon was barely a subplot.

Uh, that's kind of the way everything works. Most of the crap that hacks at the worldwide leader talk about is over before the game begins. Or at least after a guy's first at-bat.

The two teams had begun the night in a virtual tie for first place, with the Yankees holding an edge in winning percentage by virtue of having played fewer games. This early in the season, first place was already at stake.

Yeah. Actually, first place was at stake on the first day of the season. You're actually forgetting to mention that these two teams are kind of having a hard time staying above .500. You know what people would be writing if anyone paid attention to a first-place matchup in the NL West? OH MY GOD! WHAT A PUTRID DIVISION!

It was the first of 19 regular-season games between the two rivals this year. It could also be imagined as a delicious taste of what might come in October, where so much of the recent history of the rivalry has been forged.

A lot of teams play each other 19 times. I swear I've heard that these teams will play 19 games at least 753 times.

If so, what a terrific postseason it will be.

Yes, it will be. Regardless of whether the Yankees and Red Sox are involved. Is it some sort of foregone conclusion that these teams are going to meet in October. Did they play in the postseason last year, Mike? Did they make it to the ALCS. What's that Shakespeareian thing I've heard? Full of sound and fury signifying bullshit? Something like that.

It wasn’t the Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling on the mound, but Chien-Ming Wang and knuckleball artist Tim Wakefield. Wang struggled early, giving up a run in the first. Wakefield, who gave up only four hits, surrendered three runs in the fourth, an inning full of the sort of slop and walks that knuckleballers are heir to.

Calling a knuckleballer an artist is kind of like calling my dog a person, a point evidenced by you writing, "the sort of slop and walks that knuckleballers are heir to." God you are terrible.

The night was cold and the wind was blowing in with enough determination to have kept a half dozen other fiercely-struck balls in the park, but nothing could hold Ortiz’s in. It landed in the bullpen in right, ignited an eruption of joy in the stands and made the first statement in the first real game of the rest of the season.

"Nothing, nothing aside from the hand of God could corral the mighty blast from the lightning bolt in the hands of Ortiz. With one swift flick of the bat, the mighty Sox slugger fired a shot heard 'round the world. At that exact moment, an orphan in China began to cry. When asked why, the child merely whispered, 'David Ortiz.'" Seriously. This is slightly dramatic. Worse yet, it sounds like the start of a cliche murder mystery. "The night was cold and the wind blowing..." Celizic is writing this like it's supposed to be some corrected version of "Casey at the Bat." Ortiz yoked a ball, as he's done many, many times.

Again, this idea that the season has now started because the Yankees and Red Sox have played is the very essence of narcissism. Really, every fan that has seen a game in Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix, Oakland, Minneapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, and Cleveland have been watching glorified exhibitions. They weren't real games, with real stats, with real players hitting real balls. You saw nothing. You thought you saw a baseball game, but you really saw what those in the know call "PreYanksSoxyourube." Sorry. Sucker.

It took a month of baseball to get to that moment. It was worth the wait.

Mike, you've missed a lot of good baseball sitting in your basement waiting for the Sox and Yankees. The only redeeming quality I find in your work is that you gave me something to do for half an hour.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Genius Undone

posted by BH

Last night I sat down and ranted in the the true spirit of milehighramblings about the Yankees/Red Sox series. Before I had a chance to post it, my computer froze and I lost it. Mostly, the rant was about ESPN's coverage of the series and the implication that the rest of the world has stopped to watch this clash of supposed titans. It was good. Actually, it was great. Literary genius. I thought about trying to rewrite it, but it was such a spontaneous, well-built rant, that any effort to try to recapture the moment would just feel contrived and desperate. Unfortunately, it has been lost to the ages and the deep recesses of my mind. Basically, screw ESPN for thinking we give a shit. Screw them for thinking and telling us that every series in baseball pales in comparison to this one.