Monday, September 28, 2009

Obvious Steroids User 9/28/09

Last Thursday, I was getting bored with the usual feeds I read on my Google Reader and decided to find myself a few new ones. One of the first suggestions that popped up was Straight Cash Homey.

In the spring, when I was boring and lived alone in my tiny studio apartment, I would often read Straight Cash for a good chuckle. I forgot about the site for a while and spent my afternoon looking at all the ridiculous jerseys I have missed over the past few months. My favorite one was this classic Larry Bigbie Cardinals jersey.

It also reminded me of my favorite Larry Bigbie story of all time. Because everyone has one of those, right?

One Sunday a couple years ago, I was at the Valpo Buffalo Wild Wings enjoying my terrible food and watching football on multiple TV screens. Someone at our table started making small talk with our waitress, it may have been Zach but definitely wasn't Hudson.

Then, our waitress began talking about how her cousin was married to Larry Bigbie. She had recently attended the wedding and was informing us of its glitz and glamor.

However, I ruined the conversation when I said, "Oh yeah, Larry Bigbie... how does he feel about being in the Mitchell Report?"

She immediately left.

You can find a pic of Bigbie's wife/waitress' cousin here about half way down the page.

Anyways, here's to you, Prince of Hobart, Larry Bigbie for your induction to the OSUC and all of the great stories you induce.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baseball Tonight's Failure

Has Baseball Tonight said anything intelligent in the past 3 years????

John Kruk gave us this little gem (mind you, I only turned on Baseball Tonight for 3 seconds to see if they were showing Vikings highlights):

"Nick Swisher does not get enough credit for this Yankees division championship"

OK, granted, Nick Swisher is really gritty, and has the heart of a lion (it was a surgical procedure done in early 2003). I know Swisher shaves his facial hair really stupid, and sometimes dyes his hair bad. These things do not make him good at baseball.

Nick Swisher has a WAR of 2.6 as of September 1st (UmpBump). That makes him good for 9th best on the team. He really stepped up in the absence of Xavier Nady whose WAR last year was 4.0. Clearly by being a worse player and more of a goofball, excelling greatly in hi jinx, Swisher has made the Yankees a far better team than last year.

Seriously, I turned on Baseball Tonight for 1 minute (no exaggeration) and they said something stupid. Using that logic, in a 60 minute show they would say 60 stupid things. I honestly think that may be an underestimate.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Obvious Steroids User 9/21/09

In a first for our weekly post, the suggestion for this week's OSU comes from a regular reader of our blog, Bob.

However, the newest member of the club is not the first from the early-2000's Giants squad. In fact, I think I will slowly but surely have every member of that team inducted into the OSUC by the end of this blog's lifetime.

RICH AURILIA has the distinction of being this week's Obvious Steroids User.

Although I certainly can't dog Rich for being a fan of Jewish rap groups, his ridiculous 2001 season raises some eyebrows about steroid use. On his way to winning the Silver Slugger Award, Aurilia put up this line:

206 H/ 114 R/ 37 HR/ 97 RBI/ .324 AVG/ .369 OBP/ .572 SLG%

Up until that season, he put up a line of 61 HR/ 257 RBI/ .270 AVG/ .327 OBP/ .419 SLG% in 575 games. So he did certainly have a little pop compared to an average shortstop going into the season. But 37 homers and .572 SLG% of pop naturally... probably not.

By the end of 2001, Aurilia ended up leading the NL in hits and put up A-Rod-like numbers at shortstop for a Giants team that finished second in the NL West to the Byung-Hyun Kim-lead Diamondbacks. So many parts of that sentence sound so wrong to all that is right in the baseball world.

After that season, he has put up a line of 88 HR/ 401 RBI/ .270 AVG/ .332 OBP/ .415 SLG% in 917 games. Jesus, looks kind of familiar, right? Oh yeah, outside of the homers and RBI, IT IS EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME AS BEFORE 2001!

I mean, I can understand, with famously steroids-connected players like Barry Bonds, Marvin Bernard, and Benito Santiago around the clubhouse, getting jealous of their performances can be quite a motivation for the juice. Or they could also be just easy access.

All I know is that for your ridiculous 2001 season, you are now in the OSUC, Rich Aurilia.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What Else You Got?

I was sitting at my computer watching the Bears and reading the most recent Club Trillion post (yes, I know, I'm a great multi-tasker) when to my delight an ESPN Baseball alert sounds from my phone. Now, I have been having an internal debate lately if I need to turn off my baseball alerts from ESPN because the White Sox are completely out of it, and because my girlfriend won't stop bitching when my phone goes off at 11:30 at night when she has to wake up at 5 am. Fucking girls.

Sorry about that run on sentence, and the lack of a point to the last sentence. But I really need to know if I should keep the ESPN Alerts or not.

This is one of the many reasons I feel ESPN Alerts are absolutely necessary:

"ESPN MLB-Cubs suspend OF Milton Bradley for rest of season; GM cited 'issues he could no longer tolerate'"

I love Milton Bradley and his never ending supply of insanity. I love every interview he has made for the past 2 months. I love that the GM feels that he can no longer put up with Milton's shit 5 months into a 3 year deal.

But, I really love it when the Cubs suck.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What Else You Got? Oh Milton Bradley

This is probably the greatest post-game interview I have ever heard. Also I think this should confirm the rumors that Bradley will not be a Cub next year. And what are the odds that he went and found a hooker to beat the shit out of after this? Well here is Milton Bradley's post game interview yesterday after basically taking himself out of the game.......

Asked about a problem with his legs, he said: ''I'm not talking about that. What else you got?''

Reporter: Why did you come out of the game?
Bradley: ''I got knee inflammation. I got two knee surgeries, and that happens when you got knee surgery, in case you don't know. What else you got?''

Reporter: It flared up?
Bradley: ''What else you got?''

Reporter: How long will you be out?
Bradley: ''What else you got? You got anything significant?''

Reporter: An injury is significant.
Bradley: ''What else you got? What else you got?''

Reporter: Was there a problem after you came out?
Bradley: ''What else you got? I mean, you got any real questions?''

Reporter: Lou wouldn't do a postgame; that's pretty rare for him.
Bradley: ''If I had a choice, I wouldn't do it, either. What else you got?''

Reporter: Trying to find out what happened.
Bradley: ''You got some baseball questions, I can answer them. But [if not] I ain't got nothing for you.''

Reporter: So you came out because of the knee?
Bradley: ''You got anything else? I mean, broken record.''

Reporter: That was a strange scene.
Bradley: ''It's strange? It's strange when a guy hurt comes off [the field]?''

Reporter: Yeah, I didn't see a trainer, didn't see the pinch-runner go out there first.
Bradley: ''OK, it's strange.''

Reporter: The scene was?
Bradley: ''I'm out.''

Lou says this was no big deal, but after all this drama that has been building up he then decides to skip his post-game interview, which Lou will rarely do because he loves to yell at the media. Either way Bradley: HE GONE!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ode to the WNBA Playoffs

What's that you say? You didn't realize the playoffs were here. I know you had it marked on your calender, but I am here to remind you anyways. Because YSSW isn't just about making fun of baseball and baseball players/management. What it is really about is the national pastime. If someone would like to doubt the simple fact that the WNBA is clearly a national pastime, they are kidding themselves. The WNBA is just as American as V Neck T-shirts, maple syrup, pizza, La Cucaracha, and pandas. Wait a second, those things aren't very American. O, well.

In honor of the WNBA I present to you, the Top Ten Players I Would Like to Punch in the Face...

10. Torii Hunter. Seriously, how many I's does he need in his name. Its ridiculous. And he always fucking robs the White Sox of home runs. (Quick, someone start a count of how many times I use "fuck" in this post)

9. Yuniesky Betancourt. Fuck you Betancourt family, pick an easier to spell first name. Also, he may be the single worst everyday position player. Somehow he has 5 home runs this year. Roughly 7 of them have been hit against the White Sox.

8. Dustin Pedroia. He is damn lucky he had that semi-funny commercial earlier this year, or else he would have been way higher/lower (whatever means I would hate him more) on this list.

7. The Marlins Organization. There is no player that I would like to see succeed more than Cameron Maybin. Fucking assholes that they are refuse to call him up until there is 1 month left in the season. (They did not give him a chance at the beginning of the year). He will be amazing, and he will steal 950 bases in one season. Trust me.

6. David Eckstein. Defines Grit. It is also very easy to kick his shoulders. (He is approximately 5'1")

5. Alexei Ramirez. Learn how to throw the damn ball to first base. Also, settle on a pronunciation of your first name, because hearing Hawk butcher it 7,000 times this year made me violently ill. Alexei, please have worse UZR/150 numbers in 2008, -10.6 at 2B, -12.5 at SS, and -49.0 in CF (11 games, but still)!!!!

4. Barry Bonds. He doesn't play anymore, but I still don't like him. Plus, Jeff Kent hates him, and I always side with Jeff Kent.

3. Josh Hamilton. I hate his preaching ass. And I'm glad those pictures of him and a bunch of skanks came out. He is definitely a stripper murderer. Hey Josh, Jesus hates you.

2. Ted Lilly. Never has Ted Lilly been good. Do not tell me any number from his years from the Cubs (I have written about his real stats in earlier posts). Those are fake. Ted Lilly sucks. Mr. Anonymous loves him. That makes him worse. I have a lifetime bet, in which I will chop off a hand, or something like that, if Ted Lilly throws a no hitter. If this actually happens, I will never watch another baseball game.

1. Nick Punto. Everything about him sucks, including: his face, his 2007 batting average (.210), his 2007 SLUG (.271, good enough for worst of any player with 200+ AB since 1992), the fact that he played in 150 games that season, his shit eating grin, his power numbers (12 career HR), and this picture. I hate him more than any player ever. I'm 100% sure that I could beat him up and hit major league pitching better than he does. What makes him worse is that the only 6 games he has played decent in his career have came against the White Sox.

Let Me Run The Nationals Part I

If you didn't guess already from the title of the post, I am going to start up a little running series on what I would do if I ran the Washington Nationals. After finding some inspiration on UmpBump, I began thinking of what a great opportunity is actually sitting in DC for a competent person to run. I will not only be looking at the franchise from a player personnel aspect, but also a business one in which I come up with ideas that I believe will end up making money for this sorry-ass franchise. So I will essentially be looking at the situation from the eyes of the GM/President/Manager/Anyone else who is around to criticize.

The first topic to tackle is none other than the new face of the franchise, Stephen Strasburg.

As we all know, the entire process of signing Strasburg was a complete fucking mess (just go to MLBTraderumors and search 'Strasburg' to see what I'm talking about if you have been stuck in a cave throughout the summer).

Honestly, I'm not sure what the Nationals front office was doing. They had no upper hand in the negotiation process and ending up lucking out when they managed to ink him for four years at just over $15M.

Bringing in Strasburg is akin to signing a fairly big name free agent pitcher, in my mind, because his skill set is so far superior to prospects before him. And honestly, would any free agent pitcher of Strasburg's caliber sign a deal with the god-awful Natinals for the amount of money he did? The answer is a big fucking NO.

The nice thing about drafting Strasburg is that they didn't have to worry about other teams entering the negotiation process and offering their greater likelihood of winning. If I were the GM of the Nationals, I certainly would not have let the negotiations with Strasburg drag on the way they did. I think I would have ended up settling around $25M at a much earlier point in time.

And then I would have stuck him right on the mound the next day.

Right now, Strasburg is spending his time with the instructional leagues down in Florida. But my question is why? Don't you want to know what you are working with for next year? Don't you want to make use of one of your highest paid players? This is like signing Tom Hanks for a movie and then killing him off immediately like Steven Seagal in Executive Decision. It's senseless.

Here are the reasons why I would have had Strasburg on the mound if I had the choice back on September 1st:

1. Like I already mentioned, you are paying this guy out the wazoo for what the franchise is accustomed to. How on earth are you going to get return on that money without putting him in games?
2. I want to see what he can do against Major League hitters. Sure, he has made many a college douchebag look silly, but who knows if that translates. You put him in for the last month, then he will know what works and what doesn't against big league talent. Over the winter, you have actual MLB gameplay to go over with between him and the pitching coach.
3. Think of the buzz that Strasburg brings to the team. Without the hoodest man ever, Nyjer Morgan, reeling in web gems every night, there is no reason to watch the Nationals for this last month of baseball. I guarantee that every Strasburg start leads off Baseball Tonight whenever the Yankees/Red Sox aren't playing.
4. Merchandise sales. Enough said.
5. You make Boras put his money where is mouth is. However much people hate Boras, he always seems to be right. He gets his money for his clients because he gets them what front offices should be actually paying them, plain and simple. If Boras really thinks that Strasburg was worth $50M, then I put him out there and make him pitch to prove it to me. I don't understand why more front offices don't take a harder stance like this against Boras. If his players weren't worth their pay, then he wouldn't be able to demand what he does.

However, most importantly, I paid $20 on the FAAB wire for Strasburg. I really need him to pay off for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obvious Steroids User 9/14/09

Football has been consuming far too much of my time over the past two days (good work, Fins). So you know what time it is... that's right... fuckin' lazy post time.

When I sat back and thought long and hard about this past weekend, two events stood out the most to me. The Serena "I'm finna shove this racket up your ass" moment and the Kanye-too-loaded-with-Hennessey butt-in. That got me to thinking of one of my favorite outbursters of all time, who happens to also be an admitted steroid user.

That person is none other than the irreverent JOHN ROCKER.

So at this point, I'm going to open this puppy up as a forum for everyone to post his (or possibly, but unlikely, her) favorite Rocker moment(s) of all time.

My personal favorite is his classic quote when Rocker was asked in SI whether or not he would play in New York:

"I'd retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"

The last sentence is certainly the cream of the crop when he mentions "Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians." Apparently, John was not too savvy on his 6th grade world geography.

Welcome to the only club that will accept you other than the mental institution, John.

PS - How did it take almost three months for this blog to necessitate a John Rocker tag? I'm ashamed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hitting Coaches

The White Sox went through another season long hitting slump, and radio talk has been swarming around the possible firing of hitting coach Greg Walker. With many callers noting certain players slumps such as Jermaine Dye, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin and recently Gordon Beckham. Callers are demanding the firing of hitting coach Greg Walker because of these slumps. However, radio personalities, such as Boers and Bernstein, are arguing that the callers are idiots for insisting that Greg Walker is the problem. They like to state that it is not the hitting coach's fault that the players are in a slump, and that Greg Walker is doing the best he can to pull them out of the slump.

First off, I would like to state that I do believe that Greg Walker should be fired, but it is not just because his players are in slumps. I feel for the past few years that White Sox hitters have not had a proper mind set when facing elite pitchers and pitchers they have not seen. Their philosophy on this matter seems to be, do what you normally do, and be comfortable at the plate. I, however, think that their mindset should be more toward working the count, and extending these pitchers. I would be preaching patience at the plate, instead of aggression. In a game a few weeks ago, the Sox were facing CC Sabathia. This should have been a great situation to milk counts, and attempt to elevate his pitch count and force an early exit. What was CC's pitch count: 65 through 5 innings. (He ended the game with 113 after pitching into the 8th). The only real way to beat these pitchers is to see a lot of pitches, and work his pitch count, same goes for when the Sox face a pitcher they are seeing for the first time (which they have been woeful at). Milk counts, foul off pitches, and take walks.

However, I think there is a larger problem as a whole with hitting coaches. I truly believe that a hitting coach should be replaced every 2-3 years. You may be saying, that is crazy hitters need to feel comfortable with their hitting coach. That is exactly the problem. Typically, hitters go through a few slumps every season. During these slumps is when the hitting coach is invaluable. The hitting coach is supposed to see the little hiccup in the batters swing and adjust it slightly, then boom goes the dynamite hits start falling.

But what happens when a coach has been with a team/player for several years? The player keeps getting the same, or similar, advice. No matter how good someone is at their job, the tendency is to always go back to the advice that works. I think the only way to shake up a hitter is to have new ideas thrown at them. I think having new eyes watching a hitters swing and analyzing it can only benefit the player and the team.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Debate: Worst Offseason

What good would a blog be without getting to criticize all the shitty decisions GMs make, but only after the fact? Ah, the position of the Monday Morning QB is always a fun one.

Thankfully MLBTraderumors exists to more easily sum things up for me. These were posted at the beginning of the season, but now serve the purpose of allowing me to go through and nitpick every ML organization. When looking at what everyone did this past offseason in order to boost their rosters, I was able to narrow the personal list of candidates for the worst to only two - the Cubs and the Indians.

The biggest problem I have with the Cleveland Indians is that their offseason completely lacked a sense of direction. Going into the season, they had a young team anchored around Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, and Cliff Lee that could be aided by youngsters like Matt LaPorta and Anthony Reyes possibly later for some development. In reality going into the offseason, the Indians should have to been building their roster to compete in 2010 because the loss of CC left such a big hole in the team.

Here are the reasons I would have looked to 2010 for a huge championship run:
1. By '10, Sizemore and Martinez are still in their primes. I take the gamble on them staying healthy and coordinate an offense based around them.
2. The Indians held options on Lee and Martinez for 2010, after which they are free agents. What better way to get production out of two of your best players than having them in their contract years down the stretch?
3. The team is formidable enough for 2009, that with the addition of a few cheap vets, the team can at least shoot for the .500 mark. This means that you don't scare away fans by maintaining a semi-competitive team that is set for the next year. Also, if you are close at the trade deadline, maybe you do make a run for it by bringing in a player or two while not mortgaging your '10 season.

And it looked like Mark Shapiro was thinking along these lines. He signed Tomo Ohka to eat up innings on the back of the rotation. He gave Carl Pavano and incentive-laiden deal to do the same; if he pans out well, he can come back for the 2010 run. He brought in Jamey Carroll as a cheap, veteran utility man. He didn't trade Cy Young winner, Lee.

Then he brought in Mark DeRosa. Not a terrible idea since he is like a better Carroll, and Shapiro ultimately paid two cents on the dollar for him. Also, he is a free agent after the season, which frees up room for 2010. Or if DeRosa performs well enough and enjoys the Mistake by the Lake, he stays for the 2010 run. But the move is still a little strange since it is a little unnecessary, in my opinion.

Rewind to two weeks previously, and Shapiro makes the mistake that causes the entire ship to fall apart. For some reason or another, he hands a two year contract worth $20.5M to Kerry Wood that also vests for a third year at $11M if he finishes only 55 games over two years.

This move makes no sense for a young team looking to develop for a year. This is more of a win-now move, which Shapiro had seemed to be avoiding. Instead, he should have been looking to promote Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez, or recently-acquired Joe Smith to the closer role to see if any of them work. If so, awesome, the '10 closer is ready to go. If not, no big deal, sign or deal for someone next offseason.

Of course, from there on, the Indians 2009 campaign melted down. Now, they are stuck with Kerry Wood for (most likely) another two years and get to watch him age like a mother fucker. They were also forced by the market to take the deals on the table and trade DeRosa, Martinez, Lee, Pavano, Ryan Garko, and Betancourt - all possibly big pieces of a 2010 run - and completely devastate the relations with their fanbase. All of this happened while keeping Kerry Wood, who should have been dumped to any team willing to take him.

Now, the Indians are loaded with young talent that isn't all major-league ready. They really stand no chance at a playoff run next year since Sizemore and the ever popular Shin Soo Choo will be the only two still left (I barely count Travis Hafner as a player anymore) for what should have been set up as a pretty formidable playoff team. Instead, the Indians now have to set their sights beyond 2010, most likely. By that time... will Sizemore still be in his prime? And what kind of toll will that Wood deal have taken on the payroll for two years?

Talk about a disaster.

But I think it is still nothing in comparison to the mess created by Jim Hendry on the north side of Chicago.

Just look at this offseason for the Cubs, and you can see where all the pieces were set up for an inevitable implosion.

Here are the keys mis-steps Hendry made last offseason:

1. Bringing in Kevin Gregg at closer. Okay, yes, he was able to put up good numbers with the Marlins and seemed less prone to blowing crucial saves. But that was for the Marlins in front of a gentle fanbase that barely tops 5,000. Plus, there was a red flag in his numbers last year, as his K/9 rate dropped while his BB/9 went up at the same time. Not good for a closer. Plus, I never trust any relief pitcher with gimmicky goggle-glasses.
2. Letting Henry Blanco walk. In watching the Cubs over the past few years, it has been interesting watch Hank White work with the staff in Chicago. He has always been a very good game-calling catcher. There is no surprise that Greg Maddux kept him as his personal catcher. Plus, he was a good mentor for Soto. Sure, claw-handed Koyie Hill is super badass, but one can never underestimate the language connection that Blanco and Soto were able to share.
3. Letting young talent walk away for (pretty much) nothing. Fuck it, let's just gut all of our cheap young players this offseason. See ya, Rich Hill, Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, and Casey McGehee. This makes total sense after gutting more during the 2008 season when they got rid of Sean Gallagher, Eric Patterson, and Matt Murton. Because you know, overpaying veteran players and not using young talent is the smart thing to do in today's baseball world.
4. Bringing in Aaron Miles. I don't know if the Cubs ever watched the Cardinals, but in this case, it felt like they didn't even know that St. Louis existed. Over the years, it was obvious that Miles cannot do shit unless he plays at least five days a week. He is just one of those players that needs constant playing in order to stay on top of his game. This is why he worked so well in the La Russ system, where everyone is going in and out and staying fresh. Miles is simply a waste of $5M and a bench spot for the Cubs.
5. Dumping innings eaters. Jason Marquis and Chad Gaudin were great end-of-the-rotation guys who could simply keep the bullpen fresh. The salary dump in Marquis did make sense, but the Cubs simply ended up cutting Luis Vizcaino and ate the $3+ they owed him. The point of a salary dump is not to be spending money. This season, Marquis lead the NL in wins for a long time en route to an All Star nod. Gaudin has been solid for the Padres and Yankees as a spot starter and long reliever. The Cubs, on the other hand, have used a variety of pitchers in this role, most recently and notably, El Amigo lover, Jeff Samardzija. Good thing that he was unprepared for the role and may now be uncorrectably damaged as a prospect.

These are all genius aspects of the Cubs' offseason, but the worst by far is the whole Milton Bradley situation.

Going into the offseason, Chicago needed a left-handed corner outfielder. The list of names that Hendry truly narrowed it down to, so it seemed, was Bobby Abreu, Raul Ibanez, and Milton Bradley. I'm also going to throw Adam Dunn into that mix because I'm still not sure why the Cubs didn't consider him. Here is what those four players have done this year and the contracts they ended up signing:

- Abreu (one year, $5M plus incentives): 21 HR/ 91 RBI/ .297 AVG/ .396 OBP/ .434 SLG%
- Ibanez (three years, $31 M backloaded with $6.5M this year, then $11.5M in 2011-12): 30 HR/ 83 RBI/ .278 AVG/ .346 OBP/ .567 SLG% with an All Star selection
- Dunn (two years, $20M with $8M this year and $12M next year): 36 HR/ 96 RBI/ .281 AVG/ .410 OBP/ .560 SLG%
- Bradley (three years, $30M backloaded with $5M this year, $9M in '10, and $12M in '11): 12 HR/ 39 RBI/ .266 AVG/ .388 OBP/ .414 SLG%

When you look at the numbers and then consider all of the clubhouse problems Bradley has caused, his signing becomes the biggest mistake of the offseason by any team, in my book.

Sure, Abreu and Ibanez were old, but this year's Cubs team was built to win now. THIS year was supposed to be theirs. So signing an old fart like either Abreu or Ibanez should have been a non-factor. When you consider Bradley's extensive injury history, I think the age factor becomes even less of a con. The choice of either Abreu or Ibanez would have probably been cheaper and offered better production.

However, I still have no idea why Jim Hendry did not bring in Adam Dunn. He is only one year older than Bradley and would have provided the power bat in the middle of the lineup the Cubs so sorely lacked this year. Plus, think of the marketing possibilities with the Big Donkey and his eventual chase for 500 HR if they had locked him up long-term. The counter argument would be defense, but would you really consider Bradley's flounderings in the outfield to be better than what Dunn could have done? I think not.

I honestly think that Bradley took a surefire division winner and turned them into a $135M disaster. This is why I believe the Cubs wound up having the worse offseason.

What are your thoughts? Do you think any other teams did worse than the Indians and Cubs?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Obvious Steroids User 9/7/09

I've decided to change it up a little this week and do something slightly different for the weekly OSU post.

I wanted to open up a discussion about which Hall of Famer Jose Canseco says used steroids back when he first announced his proclamation... but eventually forgot. However, this weekend's big fight brings Jose back to the media forefront and back into our collective mind here at Start Wedman. This now gives me the perfect opportunity to look at who Jose says used 'roids.

I honestly do believe Canseco on this announcement too. So far, he has not failed to be wrong about any steroids user he has accused. When I look at it, I think he has everything to lose if he is wrong. By saying things that are right, he automatically pulls in readers for his next tell all books because of his credibility. I can guarantee you that no one read his other two books expecting to be wowed by his great literary work. Everyone read it for a laugh (at his fourth-grade-level writing ability) and to learn names of users.

If he's wrong, his credibility's shot. If that's gone, there is no point to read his books. (Unless you are like Zach or I and will still read for the gut busting sentence constructions) It's that simple.

I suspect that Jose was able to make this accusation based off the fact that he saw the player actually using (as he has with many of his others). When looking over Canseco's career, he has played with four Hall of Famers over the years - Nolan Ryan, Dennis Eckersley, Wade Boggs, and Rickey Henderson.

Right away, I am going to rule out Eckersley. The dude was too fucking scrawny and had too fucking awesome of a mustache to be on steroids. Plus, when you look at his stats, nothing really pops out. Sure, the K/9 ratio went up later in his career, but that was due to his conversion to a closer, not the juice, I suspect.

I will also take Boggs out of further discussion at this point because his overall consistency never indicates any use. Except for that fluke-ish season of 24 dingers, he aged naturally throughout his career. He was always a slap hitter with another sweet 'stache and constantly receding hairline.

That leaves just Nolan Ryan and Rickey Henderson, and honestly, an argument can be made for either.

Ryan threw freakishly hard until his mid-40's. Although his numbers really never shot up, did he have an amazing, one-of-a-kind rubber arm or was there something fishy going on? Other things that work against Ryan - similarity to Roger Clemens, ties to the Texas Rangers, and the fact that he was able to throw a ball 100 fucking MPH at the age of 45!

However, I personally don't think that Nolan Ryan did steroids. I will use the patented Three Strike Theory to rule him out.

1. He was out of the game by the time the steroids era really took off. He retired after the '93 season and put up more mediocre numbers in his time in Texas.
2. Do you really think that Nolan Ryan would allow a dumbass like Jose Canseco to talk him into steroids?
3. Nolan Ryan is the ultimate baseball hard ass. Whenever he was in pain, I bet he knocked back some Advil with a full case of Busch heavy. Plus, if anyone ever accused Ryan of steroid use, I imagine he would end up a lot like Robin Ventura.

That leaves me with Rickey Henderson. Much to Zach's dismay, Rickey would be my pick for the Hall of Famer that has used steroids if I had to bet my life on the choice. Think about it, he did play freakishly long considering the wear and tear he put on his body sliding into bases all the time. When you look at his numbers, he did have a little more pop than the rest of the lead-off hitters of his day (those 28 dingers in '90 do not bode well when you considered his locker neighbors). Also, up until Soriano came around only hitting first pitch fastballs, he did hold the record for most lead-off homers.

And yes, I know that home run numbers do not tell the whole story or automatically turn someone into a steroid user. However, his thunderous thighs and glorious guns don't necessarily make him the most innocent of the bunch listed in his post. Sorry, Zach.

Who do you think is the Hall of Famer Jose referred to? Give your thoughts and opinons in the comments and the first ever Start Wedman poll below!

Also, good luck against Rodney this weekend, Jose.

In "A League of Their Own"

I DON'T HAVE BALLPLAYERS, I'VE GOT GIRLS! I wonder how willing Lou and Ozzie would be to agree with this statement? I'm going to try to establish a new segment today on YSSW and do an introduction to something I'd like to call "Chicago Baseball Movie Comparison." To start with today's article, why not compare the Cubs or Sox to what they really are, nothing but a bunch of money hoarding whores and prima donnas. So, lets compare the Chicago Cubs to "A League of Their Own." For those of you that have never heard of the movie or seen it, I suggest that you do that ASAP.

MANAGER: Jimmy Dugan vs. Lou Piniella

While I don't believe Lou would show up hammered to a game like Jimmy did, the similarities are eerie. At one point in the movie, while drunk, Jimmy mutters under his breath after arguing with an umpire "Did anyone ever tell you that you, look like a penis with that little hat on?" I'm pretty sure Lou has come up with a few comments like that before. Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, also is well known for "Are you crying? Are you crying? There's no crying! There's no crying in baseball!!!" How many times do you think Lou has had to say that to Soriano, Bradley and Big Z this year?

CATCHER: Dottie Hinson vs. Geo Soto

One only cares about starting a family and plays the game to make time pass by before her husband comes home from the war. The other doesn't really care about baseball. He just needs the funds from the Tribune Company, and soon to be Ricketts family, to support a healthy hobby of weed smoking. Dottie didn't return to the Girl's Professional Baseball League (GPBL) after her first season, and Soto hasn't showed up all year during this terrible sophomore slump.

PITCHER: Kit Keller vs. Carlos Zambrano
Kit Keller is the no-talent ass-clown of a sister to star catcher Dottie Hinson. She receives a tryout for the league because her sister wouldn't go unless they would let allow both to tryout. She then makes the same team as her sister and has ups and downs through the entire year. At one point Kit and Dottie get in an argument and management sends Kit out of town to a different team. Enter Big Z. No talent, can't throw strikes, fights with his catcher too(but the catcher gets shipped out in that story). Kit has something that Zambrano will never get, a World Series Championship, the winning pitcher, and scoring the winning run by plowing over the catcher in the bottom of the ninth, which is all stuff that Z would live for.

FIRST BASE: Helen Haley vs. Derek Lee

Helen Haley plays a quiet role on the Rockford Peaches. She shows up to play everyday, has big hits when needed, and has been a very successful player previously before joining the GPBL. Derek Lee fits the bill as the quiet player for the Cubs. He is a team leader but soft spoken, having yet another great year with 30+ HR's and 100+RBI's. And like Helen, Lee was successful in winning a championship with a previous team before joining the Cubs. Fuck the 2003 Marlins!

SECOND BASE: Marla Hooch vs. Mike Fontenot

Well not too much to say here. Though I do think it is possible that Marla Hooch would be a better 2nd baseman for the Cubs than any reject that they have had filling the position this year. Marla and Mike are both lookers too! Man I'd love to get me some Marla Hooch.

SHORTSTOP: Ellen Sue Gotlander vs. Ryan Theriot

Ellen Sue was the beauty queen of the bunch. She was a Miss Geogia winner and backup pitcher for the team as well. Ryan Theriot was an LSU product and seems to always have a dirty stash that just doesn't quite grow. Ellen Sue steps it up at the end of the season once Kit gets trade, Theriot steps up after Cedeno couldn't do shit.

THIRD BASE: Doris Murphy vs. Aramis Ramirez

Doris Murphy is the loud, annoying fat one of the team, which is why Rosie O'Donnell was chosen to play her. At one point during a game Rosie dives into the stands and makes a catch, and then takes a bite out of a hot dog. Aramis Ramirez would dive into the stands, miss the ball, get hurt, and then have a beer to ease the pain. Both players can hit, but at least Doris wasn't injury prone during the movie.

LEFT FIELD: Shirley Baker vs. Alfonso Soriano

Shirley Baker is a quiet, small town girl that can't read but is eventually tutored to learn the essentials of the English language. She comes off the bench to contribute towards the end of the season as a starter. Soriano knows little English, and can't play defense or hit worth shit. He deserves to be moved to the bench and stay there, where he could also work on his English.

CENTER FIELD: Mae Mordabito vs. Kosuke Fukudome

This couple here is hard to compare. Mae is a whore and is played by Madonna. She drinks, she smokes, she's a bitch. Fukudome swings, he misses, he spins. The only thing both of them have going for them is their speed and athletic ability to make things happen. They both have a hell of an arm though.

RIGHT FIELD: Evelyn Gardner vs. Milton Bradley

Both these players must overcome adversity during the season. Evelyn must find a way to control her obnoxious son, Stillwell. Her defense is questionable at best, just like Bradley's. During the movie Evelyn is the one Jimmy approaches and yells at for not hitting the cutoff man. After being yelled at Evelyn starts to cry and Jimmy goes into his rant. Bradley is the most ungraceful outfielder. He hasn't played terribly for the Cubs, but I'm sure Lou has got in his face a few times which may have created some tears in the eyes of Milton Bradley.

The 2009 Chicago Cubs have been full of disappointment. Sadly enough, they are also very similar to a fictional movie about girls playing baseball during the World War II time period. Either way, I guess I'll just wait til next year?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Introducing Mr. Anonymous with a Running Diary

Since Mr. Anonymous didn't feel like giving a brief bio, I (Zach) will be giving a brief bio. I also have no clue who Mr. Anonymous is (wink), so I will be giving his bio on what I think he may be like. Most likely he is also a recent graduate from our great Alma Mater, Valparaiso University. I also see Mr. Anonymous as a young gentleman, most likely in excess of 250 lbs, unemployed and living in his mother's house. Way to completely live up to the stereotype, jackass. Mr. Anonymous' hobbies most likely include a nocturnal lifestyle, running in the park (only when a young easily stalked co-ed is nearby), and posing in chat rooms as a 14 year old girl. (All things Anonymous people do) As always, we here at StartWedman encourage our readers to send in submissions, and here is Mr. Anonymous':

Semi running journal of the Cubs vs. Sox make-up game---WGN broadcast (Cubs)

First Inning

1. Top 1

a. Thank you, ivy, for claiming another baseball. It is kind of like hitting it over the fence in The Sandlot.

b. Maybe El Chupacabra lives in the ivy…

c. 1-5-3-4 double play after two run downs in the first inning of the Cubs vs. Sox game

d. Bob takes a shot at Ozzie by saying the Sox are bad at base running because the visitor’s clubhouse is too small

e. Derek Lee is a father.

f. Pierzynski is batting 3rd, wow

2. Bottom 1

a. Nothing eventful happened. Mainly spent it watching clips about The Sandlot

3. Top 2

a. 3 pitches 2 outs

b. I know Ryan Dempster. My fiancĂ©’s aunt was one of the nurses that treated Dempster’s baby in Arizona after it was born and had birth problems. The baby is now ok, and she got free tickets to the Cubs vs. D-backs game in AZ. So therefore I know Ryan Dempster.

c. Pick-off attempt, man that was bad-E3.

d. Is Alexi Ramirez the love child of Sammy Sosa and Alfonso Soriano? Yes he is. Terrible base running-caught stealing

4. Bottom 2

a. Milton is batting cleanup…the Cubs suck. Also Milton is single handily responsible for deforestation with all of his broken bats.

b. I follow Len and Bob on twitter

c. Bob is with me on Alexi being related to Soriano

d. The rival to the Rockies are the Mariners-hmm

5. Top 3

a. Re-showing of Dwayne Wise’s amazing catch to save Buehrle’s perfect game. My mom picked Gabe Kapler that day for Beat The Streak, boom roasted.

b. Pods you are not as good as you have played this year, major overachieving.

6. Bottom 3

a. I missed the first couple pitches due to watching Bring it On: All or Nothing. Rihanna is in it (insert joke here, depending on your Hudson Douche Factor)

b. Do you get more hardass then Koyie Hill? He basically cut his hand off and is playing again.

c. Dempster sporting the new batting helmet style, it makes your head look huge.

i. I was going to write an article for YSSW about base coaches, but kind of ran out of steam on it (Zach was crying about a lack of contribution from supporters). So this is a mini tangent in reference to that. Will Glenallen Hill wear a next generation helmet soon? He did hit a homerun onto a rooftop outside Wrigley so I guess he can do what he wants. (Man, steroids were cool) Marquis Grissom is the first base coach for the Nationals, his nickname is Grip. Did the Nats bring him on to give sweet nicknames to their slightly ghetto outfielders? Or just to hang out with Dmitri Young aka Da Meat Hook. How often does Larry Bowa give signs that were not sent from the dugout? My guess is 10%.

d. Bob referred to a human head as “your dome,” he is hood.

7. Top 4

a. Quentin gets hit by many pitches. Bob and Len just showed why they are the best, by delivering stats about his pro streaks of getting hit and minor league HBP information on him.

b. Who is the baseball equivalent of Marissa Cooper? I think Brett Favre is the football version.

8. Bottom 4

a. Better throwing arm: Pods or Juan Pierre?

b. Soriano=terrible

c. Cubs blow scoring opportunity

9. Top 5

a. Speaking of great nicknames Ryan “The Riot” Theriot

b. Ramirez should have been caught stealing twice-I don’t like him

c. Only bad part of playing at Wrigley today, no “The Outfield” for when Beckham comes to bat.

10. Bottom 5

a. During the commercial break got a brownie and a beer

b. Are you kidding me Wise?

c. Bob loves music and talking about music

11. Top 6

a. During that commercial went to get the mail, dropped it all down the stairs…

b. Oh man Bob said it. Carolos Quinton is like Jose Conseco, nice (that should be a future article topic).

c. Another HBP, time to back up your word Ozzie. I want a rumble.

12. Bottom 6

a. Scott the Pirate is in the new Valpo brochure thing I got. “Who is Scott the Pirate?” “The guy who looks like a pirate.” “Oh ya, Evan’s friend who looks like a Pirate.”

b. Bob’s name for Lee’s new son=Bren. Not to be out down Len comes back with Brad…Brad Lee. Great TV. So funny to me!

13. Top 7

a. That was un-eventful.

b. Ron Santo gets to sing the Seventh Inning Stretch again? He does it like 20 times a season.

14. Bottom 7

a. Jake Fox…will you be a good major leaguer? I predict Garret Atkins like.

b. Soriano=terrible, again

c. I hate you Wise.

d. I only refer to Jeff Baker as Rube Baker.

15. Top 8

a. Are you kidding me Soriano? How does that happen?

b. Bob wants him benched because he is a non-factor, I concur.

c. Very disappointed in this game so far…

d. Cubs and Sox: two of the top three teams in getting shut out this year

16. Bottom 8

a. Aaron Miles=worst player in baseball

b. This is not good at all, not happy and getting disinterested

17. Top 9

a. Len said the Cubs don’t have any good young prospects. I believe the last one was Felix Pie, that turned out well.

b. Screw you Pods

c. The wheels are falling off

d. They came off

18. Bottom 9

a. Bradley you suck too

b. Soriano=so terrible

c. Cubs played like crap, I have nothing else. Sitting and drinking more in disgust.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Point Of No Return

No, this is not a post reviewing a shitty 1993 movie with the ever popular Michael Rappaport. Nor is it coverage of a super gay song. (5,000,000 points to whomever can sit through that entire clip)

Instead, this post will be a culmination of my thoughts regarding the episode of Shaq Vs. featuring a home run derby versus Albert Pujols.

Now, I was going to originally do a live blog of this show back on Tuesday, however I was not in the mindset that could even possibly make logical assumptions about the show. Actually, I probably should have. Damn it.

But anyways, I wanted to watch it over again and make a few quick observations before you leave yours in the comments:

- How does Shaq fit into a seat at the game? I can barely fit into one. Then again, I am super fat.
- JOHN MABRY!!!!! Need I say more?
- As a kid, could there be anything cooler than having Shaq buy ice cream for you? I think not. Even at the age of 22, this is still probably the coolest thing that could ever happen to me.
- How awkward is Ryan Ludwick throughout this show? When he first appears, he doesn't even get mentioned. He just awkwardly gawks at Shaq for a little bit. Then during the home run derby, he acts like that creepy dude in the corner at parties. Actually... why am I surprised that Ryan Ludwick is awkward?
- Really Shaq? ... Little League standards? You really should have more respect for yourself.

But here is my bigger, overall feeling after seeing the show... Albert cannot be on steroids now. For the sake of humanity, baseball fans, and himself... if he is or ever was on steroids, it is going to be bad, real bad, Michael Jackson.

It was so easy for everyone to hate Bonds and A-Rod. Both were complete pricks who were full of themselves. Every sportswriter and fan ever has hated Bonds (maybe I stretched that a little bit). And there is no way you can argue that A-Rod isn't a douche after this.

Pujols, on the other hand, has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to the Disney corporation (ESPN and now this show). He has been shown to be humble and compassionate. I mean, with all that Down Syndrome stuff, it is really hard to hate the guy unless you are Hudson. When you factor this fact in with the possibility of Pujols going down as the greatest right-handed hitter of all time if he keeps his current pace, there is a lot riding on his shoulders.

So please Albert, just don't be on the juice. I don't think you understand how much of my own sanity rests on this.

Morrissey, As Always, Is An Idiot

I'm sorry to have to break this to our many loyal readers, but I may have to scale back my posting a little, because I basically found myself employed this past week. I now feel like a hack. What kind of blogger has a job? Anyways, we will be looking more toward you, our beloved readers, for guests posts. Its real simple, write up your post, send it to any of the email links on the upper right portion of the page, and wait for us to post your far inferior thoughts.

On another note, it seems Rick Morrissey has some stupid comments he would like to share with the public.

Is there no more room for imagination in numbers-obsessed baseball?

Clearly, there isn't. Imagination faded with the popularity of Gak!

I'm not talking about creativity. I'm talking about making room in your imagination for the possibility of something special happening, regardless of what the numbers might suggest.

This blog does not condone creativity, imagination, or fresh ideas. So, you are already off to a bad start. Especially when it comes to blogging. What are these numbers? The only stats I care about are the important ones like batting average, pitchers Wins, errors, and saves.

The White Sox are seven games out of first place with a month left in the season, and their general manager has let everyone know the team is finished.

I think their play actually forced the General Managers hand here. The White Sox have been playing awfully since the All-Star break. If anything, the GM Kenny Williams has done everything in his power to light a fire under this club. He has acquired a former Cy Young winner and an up and coming young outfielder. How have the players rewarded his shrewd-ness? By going 2-9 against the Orioles, Yankees, and Red Sox.

Did the Rockies think the same thing in 2007, when they were six games behind in the wild-card race on Sept. 1? They won 14 of their last 15 regular-season games and made it to the World Series. Or how about the 1969 Mets, who trailed the Cubs by 8 1/2 games in mid-August and, well, you know what happened? Or the 1935 Cubs, who went 23-1 after Aug. 31 to win the National League pennant? Or any of the other teams that have done the unthinkable by going on a September run to the playoffs?

The White Sox finish the season up with these series: MIN, DET, CLE, DET. 12 games against division rivals, 9 games against other teams battling for the same division crown. If the White Sox were to win 12 out of 12 of those games, they would be a very compelling playoff team, however, that seems unlikely. Also, out of 100 some odd years of baseball Morrissey can think of 3 teams that pulled a miraculous end of the year winning streak out of their asses. Seems like it was pretty logical for the White Sox to focus up on next year, and shed Thome and Contreras.

But GM Ken Williams has looked at his team and started passing out toe tags. After sending a memo to the other teams listing the players he was willing to trade, he sent Jim Thome to the Dodgers for a 26-year-old Class A infielder. Can you imagine that? A guy with 23 home runs and 74 runs batted in, and you get next to nothing in return.

Jim Thome was not going to be on the White Sox next year. To obtain a compensatory draft pick, the Sox would have had to offer a contract to Thome. Williams could not gamble that Thome may accept the contract. So, why not trade him for a guy who's ceiling is utility player? That is all they were going to get for his services. And why be sad for Thome? He goes to a team with a damn good shot at the World Series, and he is in the twilight of a great career. Why not let him cap off that career with a ring?

The Sox have six games remaining against Detroit, which is in first place in the American League Central. Trading Thome, as well as dangling Jermaine Dye and Scott Linebrink, is capitulation. It's surrender. It's telling everyone -- players, fans, innocent bystanders -- that it's over.

That is because it IS over.

Maybe it is.

Uh thank you.

But we never will know if it truly was, because the season didn't have a chance to play itself out.

There are something around 30 games left in the season. The Sox played slightly above average for half of it, they played below average for the second half. Why not adjust the focus to next year, and worry about player development for the final month of the season?

Is there a stats-freak formula that suggests when to shut down a season?

Why, yes! The Sox have a 10% chance of making the playoffs. Slim, but not 0. Still, I would rather focus on next years team.

Is a six-game deficit on Aug. 31 similar to a bad OPS, OBP or Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da?

He seriously wrote that. I'm not sure if I even have a comment. I implore our readers to think of negative reactions to this comment.

If I have this straight, the Sox acquired Jake Peavy and Alex Rios for a playoff run, and then when things didn't go well, the club ran with its tail between its legs.

Does that about sum it up?

Not quite. Those guys are also signed for future years, and with an incredibly weak 2010 Free Agent class, the Sox aren't poised to make many off season moves.

And while we're asking questions, since when did Trader Kenny become Traitor Kenny?

Shocked! Awed! Embarrassed!

The Sox Summer Clearance Sale is reminiscent of the White Flag trade of 1997.

Nope. Not even slightly. I'm so angry about this comment. What did the Sox give up!!!!!! An old DH that wasn't producing? A player that wasn't coming near the 2010 team? And the trade in 1997 brought the White Sox tons of prospects that built the foundation of several good Sox teams of the 2000s. In the long run, that was not a bad trade at all, bringing in Keith Foulke, Bobby Howry, Mike Caruso, and Ken Vining for Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin, and Roberto Hernandez.

That team was 3 1/2 games out of first place on July 31 when Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf decided to trade Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez and Danny Darwin for six minor-leaguers.

This team is seven games behind the Tigers -- a good, not great club -- and despite the Sox's recent difficulties, there is a month left to play. Hope for a late-season charge exists when you have decent veterans.

3.5 games out with 2 months left= 7 games out with 1 month, when you are a complete dumbass.

Williams wants to go younger. Understandable. But with a month left in the season, he sees no way the Sox are going to make a run for a division title? What an awful reflection on the organization.

He traded away 1 mediocre DH. He did not trade away the future of the team, or the heart of the team. He traded away a player with a 1.6 WAR. That is good, but far from great, and even farther from untouchable.

You can look at Monday's maneuverings as an indication that Peavy's arm problems are a lot worse than the Sox are letting on. Or you can look at it that the Sox are wringing their hands over how much they will be paying Rios and Peavy.

Or they simply didn't want to pay 2.5 million to an aging veteran who was not going to help this years, or any future, White Sox teams.

Or you can just roll your eyes and shake your head.

Only at your opinions.

...If it were just Thome being dealt and if Williams had gotten something, anything for him, this might not be such a big deal. But the idea that Williams was ready to trade other veterans is. Taken as a whole, it's a dark day.

Hundreds of players get put on waivers. It is not a big deal that a few high salary veterans like Dye and Linebrink got placed there. Seriously, way to make a story out of a complete non-issue. On a side note, has there ever been more of a hullabaloo about players placed on the waivers? Every sports writer in America shit their pants every time another name came out. Big fucking deal. The Angels placed Vlad on waivers only to take him back off 12.5 minutes later. I'm so fucking jazzed. Thanks for reporting that.

You can blame it on the Metrodome if you want.

What?!?!?! Why the fuck would I blame it on the Metrodome? What sense would that make? Why would one blame the Jim Thome trade on the Metrodome? Why is this even in here? If anyone can give me a fucking hunch as to why this was put in here, I will give them a sexual surprise. I understand that the Sox don't win at the Humphrey Dome. I understand that the Sox probably played there around the same time of this article, but why put it in here? Simply for the shock of the statement?

**Editors Note** After reading this paragraph, Zach murdered 7 strippers. Being that he was in Burton, he had to drive 50 minutes to the nearest strip club, and still enraged murdered 7 strippers in cold blood.

In any case, Sox fans now have something in common with Cubs fans: next year.

This writing is why I am greying at age 22.