Thursday, April 23, 2009


D'oh! Not just the worse team in Baseball, but they can't even spell their own names!

Washington Nationals Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman wore jerseys reading "Natinals" during a game last week.

Dunn and Zimmerman donned the shirts that were missing an "O" for the first three innings of Washington's 3-2 loss to the Florida Marlins on Friday night. They eventually changed into jerseys with the team nickname spelled correctly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Are Those Marlins Smoking?

With last night's victory in 11, the Marlins jumped to a ridiculous 10-1 record as they threaten to run away with NL East before the race properly begins. The team they beat last night, the Nats, are already out of it with their 1-9 record, as ridiculously bad as the Marlins' is ridiculously good.

It's all in the Beinfest

The primary reason Loria has been able to continually field competitive low cost teams is because, in GM Larry Beinfest, he's had one of the most savvy player evaluators in the business. This year's Marlins team, off to their best start since their 1997 world championship season, is just the latest testiment to Beinfest's baseball acumen.

It begins with the strength of the team, the young, power-armed starting rotation of Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad and Anabel Sanchez. Nolasco was acquired in a 2005 trade with the Cubs for Juan Pierre; Sanchez in the 2005 Josh Beckett deal with the Red Sox that also netted shortstop Hanley Ramirez - one of the five best players in baseball - while Volstad was a No. 1 draft pick in 2005. All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla, the Marlins' RBI leader going into the weekend, was a Rule 5 Draft pickup in '95; outfielder Cody Ross, a 22-homer, 77-RBI man last year, was acquired from the Reds for a non-prospect minor leaguer in '06, and first baseman Jorge Cantu, who had 29 homers and 95 RBI last year, was a released free agent. Beinfest's latest trade gem, speed merchant third baseman Emilio Bonaficio, obtained last winter from the Washington Nationals for extra outfielder Josh Willingham, has been their early season MVP with a .400 on-base percentage and a team-leading 12 runs and four stolen bases. You'd think by now rival GMs would be going out of their way to avoid Beinfest.

And for those of you fascinated by minutae, this gets personal with Cody Ross

Here's a bit of inside information, and do we mean inside. Cody Ross is wearing a round badge on his left rump, courtesy of a Peter Moylan pitch that struck him there last night.

But here's the catch: the circular welt isn't the imprint left by the baseball, but an empty can of Skoal put in his back pocket just before the at bat. According to Ross, Hanley Ramirez handed him the empty can just before his seventh-inning at bat and told him to put it in his back pocket for good luck.

The reason: Ramirez thought it would help cure Ross of his hitting slump.

"You know how baseball is," Ross said. "You'll do anything to get going."

Ross doesn't dip. But he's happy the can was in the right place at the right time.

"It kind of pinched when the ball hit," Ross said. "When I got to first, I thought to myself, 'This doesn't hurt as much as it should.'"


Fans too stunned to speak, whooop! Go Yankees!

After losing 22-4 in humiliating fashion at home, the Yankees have allowed 70 runs in their six losses, an average of 11.7 per game.

In six innings, he has allowed 23 earned runs. His earned run average is 34.50. To reach his career E.R.A. coming into the season (3.79), Wang would have to roll off 48 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.


Of course the biggest news items of the week were reserved for the death of Fidrych and retirement of Madden.

The Bird's wondrous season, 19-9 as a rookie in 1976, leading the American League in earned run average (2.34) and complete games (24), was memorable. He was the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game and won the Rookie of the Year Award. Fidrych, along with Catfish Hunter and Frank Tanana were blasted by the National League that year, all giving up at least two runs in two innings work. Only Luis Tiant shone.


1. Florida Marlins (10-1)
2. Cubs (7-4)
3. Toronto (9-4)
4. San Diego (9-3)
5. KC Royals (7-4)
6. Seattle (8-4)
7. LA Dodgers (9-3)

last week:

1. Chicago Cubs (4-2 on the road to start)
2. Phillies (two pretty impressive comeback victories this week)
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Toronto Blue Jays

You will note only the Jays, Cubs and Mariners have remained steady after the first week. Of them, will any make the post season? Well surely the Cubs are solid candidates and perhaps even Seattle, but the Jays? Anyone think the Yankees/Red Sox and Rays are not going to overtake once the season kicks in?


Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers .538-2-7 and go on then, 6 for 6 hitting for the cycle?
Ryan Ludwick, St Louis .407-3-11
Jason Kubel, Minnesota ,435-2-10

Zack Greinke, KC 2-0 0.00 19 Ks
Mark Buehrle, Chisox, 2-0 2.77 10 Ks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Baseball: Week One

No doubt, the death of Nick Adenhart was the biggest news of the first week of baseball.

One might consider the emotional debris of that tragedy will resonate with the Angels all season but yesterday's brawl against the Red Sox was probably more a result of Josh Beckett's inexcusable and confounding attempt to hit Bobby Abreu in the head than any emotional baggage.

Sports Videos, News, Blogs


After a full week, the Braves and Marlins are the surprise co-leaders of the NL East with 5-1 records and indeed, the best records in all of baseball at this point but this is merely a mirage which will quickly fade as they face each other next for top billing. Meanwhile the Mets and Phillies, the logical favourites, will face dogs in the Padres and Nats respectively, so expect the NL East race to tighten immediately.

In the American League, Seattle, Toronto and Baltimore are the surprise leaders. Again, consider this a temporary mirage. The Jays travel to Minnesota, Seattle face the Angels and the Orioles begin a series at Texas.


1. Chicago Cubs (4-2 on the road to start)
2. Phillies (two pretty impressive comeback victories this week)
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Toronto Blue Jays

This is bound to change once the heavyweights take over but early days, Seattle might surprise.


Miguel Cabrera, Detroit .520-3-10
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay .481-5-10

Jay Johnson, Florida, 2-0 0.57 15 strikeouts
Chris Young, San Diego, 2-0 1.38 12 strikeouts

Thursday, April 02, 2009

(Editor's note: this is a roughrough draft because I didn't have time to finish before opening day, just getting the all-important predictions down for the minute and will build on this tonight...)

But the Reds win out because of their surplus of arms. Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings. Joey Votto is a star waiting to happen at 1B. However, Willy Taveras is the leadoff man in Cincy.

The Minnesota Twins have placed catcher Joe Mauer, as well as pitchers Scott Baker and Boof Bonser, on the 15-day disabled list.

The White Sox name Dewayne Wise their starting CF and their LEADOFF HITTER. Wise, 31, with a .254 OBP. Top of the order, dead already.

The Cubs' Kevin Gregg/Carlos Marmol closer situation/distraction. Whilst Lou Piniella has always been a darkhorse candidate for Mets manager every time he and the manager's position were both available, I'm beginning to think he's lost some of that magic. Not just the lousy post season record historically but also stuff like this, weird pitching decisions, confusion, controversy. It gives on the sense that the Cubs will continue to disappoint this season like they've been doing for 100 years already. Add all of the above to the fact they have Mets favourite punching bag, Aaron Heilman in their bullpen. Oh yeah, the inevitable breakdown of Milton Bradley. Or that Derrick Lee is washed up at 1B.

The Cardinals Jason Motte might make it as an important cog in the bullpen eventually this season.

The Indians can be content with the left side of their infield. Mark DeRosa and Jhonny Peralta set at first and short respectively. Peralta also leads all AL shortstops in homers the past three seasons with 57. Shin-Soo Choo in right field, with a chance at a full season, might be a darkhorse MVP candidate. Kerry Wood closer,

Cancel any hope for the Tigers, who were no-hit in a Spring Training game against the Marlins. Yes, getting rid of Sheffield is a plus but it still doesn't solve the issue of who replaces the production Sheffield never produced and the Tigers are still missing? D-Train Debacle, blood tests for anxiety disorders? This franchise is confused from top to bottom.

The Pirates are still probably too short of talent to make a move yet but Pedro Alvarez

One of the reasons the Angels won the last few years has been the strength of their pitching staff. Now that they're down a few starters and lost their closer. Time to relinquish their choke hold on King of the Mediocres?

First team to 100 losses? Baltimore
The Hunt for Roy Halladay: Winner of these probable sweepstakes will likely have a big push into the post-season.


AL East

Boston: post steroids, keep an eye a potential remarkable drop off from Big Papi
NY Yankees

AL Central

Chicago White Sox
Kansas City

AL West

Angels (by default)

NL East

NY Mets
Florida: Marlins' bullpen, the catching and the team defense

NL Central

St Louis

NL West

Los Angeles
San Francisco
San Diego


Boston over Cleveland
Tampa over Anaheim

Boston over Tampa

Mets over Cubs
Cards over Dodgers

Mets over Cards

Mets over Red Sox

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


It isn't exactly shocking news or at least, the frequency of managerial changes has inured me to allowing increased heart palpitations every time Newcastle change managers.

Yes, bravo. Alan Shearer, Geordie Golden Boy, is coming to manage Newcastle for the last 8 games of the season and try to save them from imminent relegation to anonymity and disaster.

My first reaction is: if he were joining Newcastle to play striker, great. Manager? He's not even professional qualified.

Ok, he says he thinks he can bring some "confidence" back to the squad.

Great, they need it yes, but how a trainer? How about bringing a few players with him who don't spend the majority of every season out injured?

the most recent failed project

Yes, this latest greatest crisis in my favourite side's season makes for remarkable press - Geordie supporters have been begging for Alan Shearer ever since Kevin Keegan took his toys and went home.

The team has been one long joke. First, over a year ago, Sam Allardyce was sacked, the dumbest move in a series of idiotic moves that have ruined the franchise.

Then he's replaced by Keegan, which, since I was against sacking Allardyce to begin with, only seemed like adding one dumb move atop another. But even when Keegan was managing to look like he might be capable of doing something, the fat pig, beer-swilling owner who shall remain nameless, undercut Keegan to the point that Keegan felt like quitting so restricted was he by the owner's moves.

So off go two good managers and in comes Joe Kinnear who frankly, was doing quite a decent little job despite his lack of star status and then goes off and gets a fucked heart needing triple bypass surgery to end his managerial career with Newcastle. How's that for bad luck? The Curse of Sam, methinks.

And since then, Newcastle have sort of sputtered along, spinning down the drain of mediocrity.

The only real good news was getting rid of this useless cunt.

So now, here we are, 8 games from season's end, 8 games from relegation.

Can Shearer and England reject Michael Owen, who is allegedly fully fit again (injury countdown, 1 week?)

Given their schedule, if Shearer can keep Newcastle from relegation he's a bloody genius and doesn't need a coaching badge.