Saturday, March 27, 2004

Everyone Is Doing It: So Shall I

Since tis the season, etc., predictions, baseball in the air (well, not here, on the Channel coast) but in other places, surely, here are the Official 2004 Sports Amnesia Baseball Predictions and the Governing Logic behind them:

AL East: Boston, NYY, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Baltimore:

Yes, the Red Sox-Yankee hatred is incubating nicely. But I agree with the lads at East Coast Agony. This shouldn't be of concern to the casual Tiger or the wallowing Royal. This rivalry is about two primary East Coast cities. As usual, in situations where the outcome is uncertain or too close to gauge, I rely upon the arbitrary logic to see me through. I can't just pick the Sox because I hate the Yankees. Well, I could, but what wouldn't be entirely accurate any more. Over the last season, I've developed a pleasant disgust for Red Sox fans as well. Too many of them appear to be right wing zealots mouthing Irish Catholic Conservative vitriol in addition to their anti-Yankee bonbons. Pedro spends more time whining than pitching and fails every time in the clutch against the Yankees. Manny Ramirez is a punk. The only thing I like about the Red Sox is Curt Schilling. The Sox lost the battle for A-Rod, but all hitting aside, the Yankees rotation and the Yankees bullpen and the Yankees age will prove to be their Achilles Heels. I'd take Toronto for second but for the fact that they haven't got a Steinbrenner and a trillion dollar cable tv rights contract that will allow them to buy up the remaining All Stars left standing once the Yankees are done pissing and spitting, is a severe disadvantage. Plus Toronto sucks as a city and frankly, only one Canadian team a year deserves the post season. Sox get the nod even though they didn't get the Rod.

AL Central: Chicago WhiteSox, Kansas City, Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit

You can listen all you want to the tales of Minnesota's farm system, the one that churns out clutch postseason players like Celine Dion churns out stomach-turning songs, but their losses were too heavy this offseason to just grin and bear and yank another young lad up to the stage by the earlobe. Besides, haven't you heard? The White Sox are warning of a mystery man and have already traded for Timo Perez. Fat Frank Thomas, underachieving Paul Konerko and dissatisfied Magglio Ordonez make up quite a team of malcontents. But look, KC can't surprise anyone this season and I-Rod is dumb enough to leave a World Champion for the dustbin. There's no one left. White Sox by default.

AL West: Oakland A's, Anaheim Angels, Seattle Mariners, Texas

Let's get this straight. Seattle will never win anything because they chokechokechoke. Every year. You can look it up. Secondly, the Angels with their hiphop hispanic makeover and the Latino Quarter in the ownership bin are not going anywhere but into the aisles of disappointment. No team spends trillions on free agency and wins. Apparently, the new ownership missed that fact. Oakland has the pitching and we all know how much Sports Amnesia loves the pitching. Oh, and you can be sure that Texas isn't going anywhere until Buck Showalter is fired because no team that Buck Showalter manages ever wins a championship until after he leaves the building.

WC: NY Yankees

Law of averages. You can't spend a trillion dollars and not win something.

NL East: Montreal, Atlanta, NY Mets, Philadelphia, Florida

Montreal are my 2004 Team From Nowhere. Last year it was Florida, the year before, it was Anaheim. This year it will be the Expos. Why? Because the NL East is the weakest division in MLB and is totally up for grabs. Momentum will build up and who knows, if we're all lucky, there will be another Selig-manufactured debacle of catostrophic importance, like the World Series being played in Hiram Boca Stadium, or whatever the fuck that minor league stadium in Puerto Rico where a team from Canada plays most of their home games is called. If a French Canadian team playing in a Spanish-speaking islet isn't the recipe for success in MLB's idiotic hierarchy these days, than I don't know what is. Phuck Philly. They aren't going anywhere with a rabid rodent like Larry Bowa at the helm. Millwood will suck this year. The bullpen will suck and no one will be around to back up Jim Thome. Atlanta? A distant memory. Florida? They've got Armandogeddon closing, enough said. My Mets? A whiplash accident waiting to happen. The Expos are my Shadow Team of 2004.

NL Central: Chicago, Houston, St Louis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh

Yeah, this is real hard. A team with one of the best managers in baseball, best pitching staff and a long legacy of losing against a team from Texas which has tried to buy its way into competition by hiring half the Yankees starting rotation. Roger Clemens sucks and I look forward to seeing him gathering dust on the DL alongside his shipmate and possible between the lines lover, Andy Pettitte. The only team with an outside shot of topping the Cubs are the Reds and that's only if Junior hits 75 homeruns because I'm so tired of hearing how Junior is back juxtaposed with all the Junior for Who trade speculation. Any division with Milwaukee and Pittsburgh deserves their obscurity.

NL West: Arizona, San Fran, SD, LA

Wow, a tossup, isn't it, between a bunch of teams that suck. Sounds disturbingly similar to the NL East without Bonds and without Randy Johnson. That is what this season comes down to: Who has a better season, Randy Johnson, or Barry Bonds. The Dodgers have no hitting and their pitching is rapidly waning. SD is well, SD. No amount of splashy free agent retread signings are going to change that. Without steroids, Bonds is going to get hurt more often meaning the Giants will have to win without him, which they can't. Advantage, Arizona.

WC: Atlanta: The logic behind this is that now that they have no one, they might actually overachieve instead of underachieve when the games actually mean something.

ALCS: White Sox over Oakland: I've just got a feeling about the White Sox. Nausea. But, frankly, the Red Sox can't stop second guessing themselves and the Yankees aren't going anywhere without a shopping cart. I give the nod to the White Sox because the Yankees will still be jet-lagged by Japan. Pobre Oakland. All those arms and no titles. Beaneball, Scummyball, fuck em all.

NLCS: Montreal over Chicago Cubs: How about a redux of last year's last minute collapse? Even though it is the year of the Cubs, the truth of the matter is, the Expos will be playing without a curse hovering over them.

AL MVP: Eric Chavez, Oakland
NL MVP: Randy Johnson, Arizona
AL Cy Young: Curt Schilling, Boston
NL Cy Young: Randy Johnson, Chicago Cubs


Montreal Expos over Chicago White Sox: Just another Seligful moment in a brief hysterectomy of time.

Adu to Make Debut next Saturday, perhaps opening American eyes to football.
I'm Tired and I Need Some Sushi

Hula Howe removed Kaz Matsui after four innings and will give his shortstop a day off Saturday. "He's worked so hard that he's physically tired," Howe said. Matsui will not travel with the team to Orlando.

Matsui, who played 1,143 straight games in Japan, said he is "very grateful" for the day off. He went 0-for-2 Friday and is 10-for-53 (.189) in spring training. "A little fatigue has built up," he said. "I'm a little tired, yes."

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick! He's tired after a few weeks of Spring Training?!? Half of which was spent on the DL??? What's he going to be like in June, retired? Bad Omen Number 200.

At least someone still appreciates Bobby V. The folks in Japan have even built a shrine for him.

Most Optimistic of Opening Day Lineups:

Cameron CF .366-3-8 with 3 SBs
Matsui SS .196-1-5 with 1 SB
Reyes 2B .320-0-3 with 1 SB
Piazza C .364-4-16
Floyd LF .333-1-6
Wiggy 3B .306-2-6 with 3 SBs
Phillips 1B .260-3-6
R Gonzo RF .292-5-8


Glavine 0-2 1.50
Leiter 1-0 5.00
Trachsel 1-0 2.00
Seo 0-1 6.75
Yates 3-0 0.64


O Moreno 15 inn 0.60 2 bb 12 k
Wheeler 11.2 0.77 1 bb 12 k
Weathers 11 2.45 3 bb 12 k
Bottalico 9.1 0.96 1 bb 4 k
Franco 9.1 1.93 2 bb 14 k
Stanton 8.0 7.88 3 bb 4 k

Looper 8.0 7.88 0 bb 6 k


Analysis: Injuries are the biggest factor on a team with two players with bone spurs, one perennially hamstrung superstar, a "tired" Japanese import and an aging catcher coming off a major injury. This does not address the upper 30's starting rotation which will break down repeatedly, the lack of real depth beyond them and a possibly horrific closer.


NL East Predictions:


Thursday, March 25, 2004

Whipping Boys

For those of you who think the RF slot in Shea is cemented, you might be curious to note that Sports Amnesia's 2004 whipping boy, Roger Cedeno Is Up For Grabs.

"He's played left, center and right fields, and all of them equally horrendously," the ad reads. ". . . He used to be quite fast, but as he's gotten older and somewhat fatter on his contract, even that last vestige of value has left him. He cannot run the bases, he cannot play defense, he cannot hit for average."

And yes, on the second day in a row that Wonderkind Reyes was able to take batting practice without hurting himself or his delicately girlish gams, hundred year old hurler, Al Leiter discovered a cranky shoulder.

I see a consistent theme developing for the season and it spells out M-E-T-S I-N L-A-S-T P-L-A-C-E.

The one redeeming factor of yet another disppointing Mets season of losses and excuses is that it will hopefully result in the dismissal of Hula Howe. I've done some research on the matter and there does not appear to be a Fire Art Howe website yet. Sounds like a need crying out. Sports Amnesia will work on this and give a solution tomorrow.

Speaking of whipping boys, Sports Amnesia's Whipping Boy of 2003, Armandogeddon, for no apparent reason, was booed by his own fans when he entered for the ninth inning Thursday. "He got the same reception as last year," Mets general manager Jim Duquette said. "Too bad for him." Boo Hoo Benitez, who entered with the score tied at 1, got Danny Garcia on a pop-up to preserve the tie (the game was stopped after 11 innings with the score still tied at 1). It was the first time Benitez faced his former club since he was traded to the Yankees last season. "It's in the past, man," Benitez said. "I've got a new team, a new life. I'll be fine." . . . . Unless the Marlins have to play in any meaningful games this season they aren't already winning by twenty runs, that is.


We are getting perilously close to the start of the season. The Yankees have already left for the confounding cultural differences of Japan. Even though he heartily endorsed the trip, King George is not following his minions to Japan. Of course, that could be for his fear of a terrorist attack on the Yankees. Police escorts will usher the Yankees everywhere. Black Hawk helicopters will wing the team to Camp Zoma, for a meet-and-greet with American soldiers.

Meanwhile, can anyone resist the poetic (in)justice of A-Rod Getting Hurt Against the Red Sox?


Wouldn't this make for a great Game Seven of the 2004 World Series?

Cubs 2, A's 1 with Sammy Sosa getting three hits and driving in the go-ahead run and Kerry Wood allowing a run in 6 1-3 innings? In the real world, the Cubs confirmed that P Mark Prior will start the season on the DL. He is expected to be able to return during the team's first homestand, which is from April 12-19.


A few days ago I mocked the Padres' chances this season because they noted that this season's likely number one draft pick was better than anyone they currently had in their rotation. Long Beach State's Jered Weaver, the man they were on about, was at it again last night, striking out 16 in six innings.


Food for Thought: The Mets aren't willing to give up a pitcher who may or may not be good in a few years for what could be the Superstar of their lineup, Alfonso Soriano. Yesterday, Soriano homered to beat the Royals and has already had a 12 game hitting streak in Spring Training. He is currently hitting .347 with 4 stolen bases and a homer in 15 games.


Bookmarks Revealed: Yeah, it might be a little late in the game but there once was a nice petition for Mets owner Freddy BoomBoom Wilpon to sign Vlad courtesy of East Coast Agony.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Where the Fuck Are You Now, Bruce Chen, Bruce Chen?

I know it's probably not important but I couldn't help but a small brain stutter when I read that he Blue Jays sent P Bruce Chen to the minors and wonder when and how he ever got Toronto-way to begin with. Then I started wondering how many teams he's been on lately, where has he wandered?

Panama City Bruce Chen has been with Atlanta, Philly, the Mets, Philly, Cincinnati, Montreal, Mets again, Boston, Houston, and now Toronto and now the minor leagues -- all in a mere five years of playing!!!

Settle down, Bruce. For crissakes. Your parents are looking for you.


Next time I think I've found a cool baseball name, I'm going to remember that the Padres just sent down Tagg Bozied and I'm going to wait for him to make it back up to San Diego so he can be my favourite player after Florida's Hee Seop Choi, who we all hope has recovered from the nasty head injury he suffered at the hands of Kerry Wood against the Yankees last season after a particularly nasty and exciting collision.


Bookmarks revealed: The Brushback, tops in absurdist sports news.


Mets Update: The Mets' spring training complex was deserted yesterday except for a handful of minor-leaguers, a few front- office members and No. 1 starter Tom Glavine. An off day is not an off day if it happens to be your turn in the rotation, and Glavine suited up for an impromptu simulated game on the facility's only artificial turf field. He pitched six innings without incident and then could enjoy the rest of the afternoon, comfortable in the knowledge that he remains on track for Opening Day.

Lovely. How many runs will he surrender this opening day? A dozen? Half dozen?

Oh yeah, and whilst we're on about the crap rotation of the Mets, wunderkind Grant Roberts was rocked like a baby's cradle against the bloody Expos, my odds-on favourite to win the NL East this season.

And hey, if you like your Spring to be eternally hopeful, you can read about how the Human Hammy, Jose Reyes just might be back in time to injure himself again for Opening Day. Oh joy.

"But once he passes that exam, Reyes should be able to get back into the lineup, where he hopes to play his first game with shortstop Kazuo Matsui, unless the string of bad luck continues and Matsui reinjures his right middle finger."

Right. Unless Unless Unless.

Unless UnMets.

Aren't they supposed to wait until April before Futility Rears Its Ugly Head?

Monday, March 22, 2004

Training My Spring

Couldn't resist a little Peter Gammons reviewing the AL West since I've not read anything else and have fallen behind all of Spring Training save for knowing the Red Sox and Yankees both have injury troubles that could tip them over the edge before the season even starts. So Gammons says, AL West could be the site of the Wildcard. Intriguing except you know the Mariners are never going to amount to anything when they can't stop choking down the stretch and frankly, there's something ridiculous about the Angels making it again.

I'd go with the A's because of pitching. I wouldn't go with the Angels for even the Wildcard. Frankly, I'd like to see the Wildcard come out of the AL Central. White Sox and Royals? White Sox and Cubs World Series.


Here's how you know the Padres won't make it anywhere this year:

If the draft were held tomorrow, Jared Weaver would be the Padres' pick at No. 1. "He's as good as what we have," says one San Diego official. -- if he's as good as what they have and he's never pitched in the Major Leagues before, well, you do the math. PADRES ELIMINATED ALREADY.

Also notable: Gammons points out: "Just for some perspective on the meaning of won-loss records in spring training, the Marlins were 14-16 last spring, and the last five world champions were a combined 77-84 in the springs they won. Of course over the last five years the Yankees have two world championships, four pennants and five divisional titles, and have a combined spring training record of 71-86."

But AHA! How many teams with winning records in Spring Training went on to win the world series? Well, I had a quick search and found that there was a column on ESPN last March about this:

To get a sense of how well spring training records predict regular season success, we'll look at all spring training records back to 1996 (stopping there before we got to the severely abbreviated spring training of 1995). Let's look first at the very best spring teams.

Does a great spring mean a great regular season? Here are the 15 top spring records since 1996, along with records in the subsequent regular season:

Spring Training Reg Season
Team Year W L Pct W L Pct
Florida 1997 26 5 .839 92 70 .568
Boston 1998 20 8 .714 92 70 .568
Kansas City 1999 22 9 .710 64 97 .398
Los Angeles 1999 21 9 .700 77 85 .475
Baltimore 2002 20 9 .690 67 95 .414
Oakland 2001 22 10 .688 102 60 .630
Arizona 1999 22 10 .688 100 62 .617
Houston 2002 19 9 .679 84 78 .519
Texas 1998 21 10 .677 88 74 .543
California 1996 21 10 .677 70 91 .435
Baltimore 1998 18 9 .667 79 83 .488
Detroit 1996 20 10 .667 53 109 .327
Arizona 2002 23 12 .657 98 64 .605
St. Louis 1997 21 11 .656 73 89 .451
San Diego 1998 19 10 .655 98 64 .605
TOTALS 315 141 .691 1237 1191 .509

There isn't much reason to believe in spring training records here. Seven of these 15 March Monsters finished below .500 in the regular season. There are some outstanding teams on this list, but there are some truly awful teams too. In particular, notice the great spring put together by the 1996 Detroit Tigers. After they left Florida, they turned out to be the very worst major league team since the '60s.


A look back at the Spring Training Yankees in 1951

Thanks Babe details Ruthian Spring Trainings:

"He was known as a tireless sexual athlete. One night, according to an often-told story that may not be true, but probably should be, Ruth brought a woman into the hotel suite he shared with the outfielder Bob Meusel. Meusel, half-asleep in his own room, tried to ignore the great commotion coming from Babe's room. Finally it stopped. Then Meusel smelled cigar smoke. Minutes later, the yells and cries returned, followed minutes later by more cigar smoke. Between noise and cigar smoke, Meusel slept badly that night.

In the morning, Meusel asked his roommate how many times he had been romantic.

"Count the cigars," Ruth said.

Seven butts lay in the ash tray."


Bookmarks Revealed: a great new baseball site: The Hardball Times

Hey, what about ESPN's Ten Players Most Likely To Be Moved piece?

The Rangers reportedly would trade Alfonso Soriano to the Mets for Scott Kazmir, but New York is reluctant to part with its prized pitching prospect. No secret there. But at least they're down from asking for Reyes. Frankly, Soriano is a proven commodity. Kazmir, to date, isn't. I'm not so enamoured with prospects, these can't miss numbers, especially when they're pitchers. I remember when the Mets traded (careful, this is a PDF link) Octavio Dotel, etc for what in essence amounted to Mike Hampton -- and at the time everyone was whining and worrying because Dotel had so much potential. He was going to be a starter, an ace, better than Hampton's wet dreams. Sure, he's a good pitcher but let's say the Mets had been able to resign Hampton -- it'd have been a better deal overall. Dotel has been with the Astros since 2000 as a nice set-up guy and now he's an unproven closer, FOUR YEARS LATER.

For my money, I'd trade Kazmir, take the chance and add Soriano. Not that it matters anyway with Reyes always out hurt, two thirds of the outfield nursing bone spurs in their lower extremities which could sideline for the season at any minute and Piazza remaining a liability at the plate.

I'd package Piazza off to the AL whilst he still has some potential. Mariners? Red Sox? Yankees? He'd make a lovely DH for the right team and maybe the Mets could get another arm to fill in their LOSER ROTATION for this up and coming season.

And finally, more good news: Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson has revealed he may remain at St James' Park after his current contract finishes at the end of next season.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

What A Shocker! Reyes Has A Bitchy Hammy!

In what should come as a suprise to no one who has followed his brief career to date, superstar in the making (if he ever strings together a complete month of play without injury) Jose Reyes has hurt his hamstring yet again.

This makes about the fifth time in a year that Reyes has been injured and each of those injuries have been either leg or foot related. Get some new wheels, dude!

On the other hand, the typically slothful and slow to the take idiots running the Mets are only now muttering about specialising Reyes' training to cater to his fragile little legs and feet. Like a bird, he is, this Reyes.

Yet another sign of the season to come -- Cameron and Floyd already whinging about bone spurs, Piazza clueless at first and enemic behind the plate, no pitching staff to speak of, and well, Art Howe remains as manager. "I don't want to lose sleep on this just yet" Howe says. Good for Howe. Don't lose sleep. It's only your fucking job at stake!


In case you were wondering, my final four picks for the NCAA tourney, of three separate sheets:

My first bracket has: Michigan St, Wisconsin, Duke and Syracuse, with Duke winning it all.
Bracket two has: Kentucky, Pitt, Duke and UConn with Kentucky winning it all.
My Absurdist Bracket three has: Gonzaga, St Joes, Mississippi St and UConn with Miss St. winning it all.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Met Mutterings
"If he was anybody else, like Port St. Lucie people, they just talk out the mouth and they go."
Eric Vidal, 20, pizza deliverer, disrespected and pummeled by Met players.

If you search the Keep Port St. Lucie Beautiful Guiding Principles outline you will be disappointed to find how little talking out the mouth and going is mentioned. However, if you were to momentarily believe the stories of parking lot urination and pissaboy delivery beatings, you might, as Port St. Lucie detective in charge of the investigation, Mike Beath, did, find the pissaboy's story "vague and somewhat improbable." Don King ridiculous, I might have added. But good enough to find himself awarded the Sports Amnesia's Idiot of the Week.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Johnny Damon and the Doors

Sorry, couldn't help but take notice of Gammons' article containing the photo of Johnny Damon and his new Christ look and compare it with Val Kilmer's version of Jim Morrison or perhaps further still, Jim Morrison taking acting lessons from Oliver Stone.

Doesn't bode well for the Sox.
Radical Realignment
"Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim." Bertrand Russell

Instead of thinking about contracting the financially weakest teams in baseball like Montreal, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay from the Major Leagues, why not relegate them to AAA?