Monday, May 31, 2010

In Which Span & O-Dog Get To Know Each Other Better

I'm starting to believe that Memorial Day weekend is probably the most underrated of all the extended American weekends.  Even to the level of being in the top five holidays in my book.  Quick update of the standings as of waking up this morning wondering what happened all weekend:

1. St. Patty's Day
2. Thanksgiving
3. New Year's
4. Fourth of July
5. Memorial Day

There you go, Memorial Day, congrats on cracking the top five.  You're combination of good times with the official start of summer charmed me through and through.

Not to mention yesterday was just an all out blast that included beer and bacon, feeling like a pimp walking around to Bawitdaba, and meeting fans.  Shocking - as I was sure that Zach and I were the only ones who read this site, as its just another medium for our overly nerdy observations and thoughts.  But thank you all out there who support us, we love you.  And let's party some time again.

Anyways, time to get to the point of the post.  (Although giving you a link to Bawitdaba to watch is a pretty legit reason for a post)

Summer, summer, summer.  I welcome you with open arms.  Things will get ramped up again around here as work dies down (or doesn't exist in Zach's case).  And we've missed so much good stuff already this year (no post regarding Eric Byrnes... egad!), which means we will have to post like mad men in order to catch up down the stretch.  And by the looks of things right now, I already have a gut feeling that the All Star game will be quite a treat.  Hope everyone is as pumped as I am for the greatness of a Jamie Garcia/Jose Bautista face-off.  I am already looking forward to telling my children about it.

Oh yeah, and please enjoy watching Denard Span get smoked in the testicles.

To close, the official song of the summer, which I called months ago.  What an awesomely bad guilty pleasure.

Friday, May 28, 2010

ANOTHER way I know the Cubs suck.

So. I'm watching the Cubs-Cardinals game. The first inning, if you missed it, had one of the best pitching performances of all time by Mr. Wells of the Cubs, resulting in a 5-0 lead for the Cards. Anywho, right behind home plate at Wrigley is a rotating advertisement sign. Every five minutes or so, it's something new. But at one point in time, there was a big white BP sign. See? THE CUBS CAUSED THE OIL SPILL. Say what you want about BP advertisements being in lots of major parks, but you KNOW the truth, and fooling yourself otherwise will only lead to extensive denial. Oh, and watching...or rather listening...to Bears wannabe-WR-but-is-a-TE Greg Olsen butcher the second half of the national anthem has me considering busting my own eardrums.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Favoritest Twitterer

When Al Gore invented the Internet long ago, twitter must have been somewhere in his top five things that he wanted to see happen, slightly behind Redtube (that's a proper noun, right?).  There is no better idea than allowing celebrities and normal people to have platform to express themselves in 140 characters.  The simplicity is genius and allows over-analytical types with too much time on their hands like me to read into tweets like "out partyin yo" for the greater meaning behind a celeb's life.

I know that a few of you are already thinking, "What the hell, you don't even have a twitter account."  Yes, I know.  See, I just don't think that my daily thoughts and actions are actually twitter-worthy when compared to the likes of the Sklar Brothers or Shaq.  My tweets would read things like, "Lost balance on El, fell into middle-aged balding dude... embarrassing" or "Forgot to buy TP yesterday, using paper towels to wipe my ass... embarrassing" or "Monday night = Bachelorette night, totally picking Cape Cod Chris as my fave... embarrassing."  I get made fun of enough for my chubby complexion, no need to add fuel to the fire, right?

But thankfully I have the Startwedman twitter account to track my hands down, all-time favorite twitter account, that of our hero, Jose Canseco.

No matter what Jose seems to be up to, I always find it interesting and entertaining even though his tweets are seemingly sporadic and pointless.  Some of my all time favorites include when he updates me on what's happening in his daily life like "Time to work out" or "Out to dinner with [his girlfriend]."  He will even let me know that his girlfriend enjoys making him food in the morning (others will then add their terrible opinions on the matter, although I guess I am too, damn it).  These are things that normal people do as well, hence why I call them "normal guy" tweets, but only Jose makes them seem so so much more fascinating.  I account most of this to the fact that I can hear him actually saying these things to me in my head, much like his books.  The "Jose Canseco Voice" when reading is in my top five favorites along with Bill Simmons, Chuck Klosterman, Lil Wayne, and Ernest Hemingway.

But in addition to the "normal guy" tweets previously mentioned, there are two other types of Jose tweets I have categorized.  The first is the "silencing the haters" tweets that he often has to shoot out.  These are highly entertaining tweets, but also highly predictable in their tone and nature.  The entertainment factor comes into play because Jose will usually have a string of "normal guy" tweets with a few "silencing the haters" tweets mixed in to respond to all the followers spitting venom at him.  When this happens, I refer to the situation as "Jose Cookie Dough Ice Cream" since the hater tweets are little sweet nuggets of fun amongst the bland, vanilla every day happenings.  I'm patenting that phrase by the way.

However, the last category of Jose tweets are the best.  These are the "WTF" tweets when Canseco will inform me of things that completely baffle me.  A good example of one happened two weeks ago when Jose let the world know that he would be kicking it with Drew Carey via this tweet.  (You will find my response to his tweet here)  Originally, I would have categorized this tweet in the "normal guy" folder since I would attend every taping of The Price Is Right possible if I lived in LA.  But that was the only tweet relating to his attendance of the taping mentioned on twitter.  Even my prompting couldn't get a rise out of Jose as he was back to "silencing the haters" in his next shout out to the twitter world.  Another day of solid "WTF" tweets takes place on May 20th, when Jose subtly asks why no one has asked him to manage an MLB club, then blows off his anger by purchasing a car in thirty minutes.  Honestly, thirty minutes to buy a car?  I can't even decide which case of $15 beer I want to purchase for the weekend in thirty minutes, let alone purchase an entire vehicle.  I wish I could know what I want just like Jose.

Even though the tweets from Jose Canseco alone provide me with plenty of enjoyment, the truest reason I love his tweets is because of what I mentioned early... the deeper level behind all of his twitter activity.  I know, I know, you probably think that I'm crazy to think that Jose is trying to say something bigger with this simple tweets regarding lifting weights.  But I really do believe he is a genius, maybe unintentionally, for all his career moves after retiring from baseball.  His twitter account is no exception.

Maybe you think that his absurd dealings in minor league baseball as a pitcher, appearance on The Surreal Life, or career in boxing/MMA are all desperate attempts to relive the glory days and inflate his already large ego, but I think otherwise.  I actually feel bad for the guy that he has had to do all of these things.  Without these moves, do you think he gets the book deal in order to break the steroids news to the world?  No.  Without the amount of PR that came from these maneuvers, no one is going to give him a shot at writing the book.  But thankfully he took the shots he needed in order to throw a mirror at baseball.  It's sad but true.  And when I read Jose's tweets, I'm reminded of this fact in the back of my head.  Maybe that's why I enjoy them so much.

I think I just spent almost a thousand words defending Jose Canseco.  Woah.

Although, a 3.9 forty time?  Okay, that's a little crazy.  I can't even come close to touching a defense for that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's Lima Time

I was greeted this morning with a shocking and horrifying text. StartWedman reader Bob was the first to tip me off of the tragedy that occurred in Los Angeles this morning. As you may have heard the one and only Jose Lima died of a heart attack. I know what most of you are thinking: that's hilarious, or who cares his career kind of sucked. You know who cares, these guys! And me!

Some of you may remember Jose Lima's baseball career. Most of you probably remember his fantastic All Star/Celebrity softball game career, in which his intensity never wavered from absolutely pissed off. A few people may even remember the herpes that Jose gave them. Surely this occurred in a flurry of sexual rage, as that is the only way Jose Lima rolls.

Lima had an up and down career, so lets get to the small number of downs before I expound on the Col Willie Sharp like career path that Jose tore.

Jose did set some milestone marks. Lima once lost 16 games in a season, giving up a sterling 48 home runs (second most all time for a single season). Lima currently owns the record for highest ERA in a season for any pitcher who had more than 30 starts (6.99). Lima once said of himself: "If I can't pitch on this team--the worst or second-worst team in baseball--where am I going to pitch? If I can't start on this ballclub, I must be the worst pitcher on Earth." In reference to the Tigers. Later in his career, Jose was sent down to the minors... of the Korean Baseball League. He did all of this while unquestionably being more roided up than anyone on the cast of the Jersey Shore.

Let's not focus on the craptitude that Jose Lima displayed on an every other year basis.

1) I was unable to find his actual stats during his many appearances in the Celebrity Softball Game during each All Star break, but I know he had to be at least 6-0. He absolutely dominated Trevor Hoffman's teams year in and year out.

2) Lima has a hot wife.

3) Lima was a fantastic singer (see picture of singing above, you don't need to hear a clip to know that he rocks the mic)

4) Lima has mind blowing hair.

5) I repeat mind blowing hair.

6) The man changed the way fantasy baseball is played. The LIMA Plan is so utterly genius. Jose was the quintessential example of the LIMA Pitcher. Would anyone ever spend more than $1 for Lima, absolutely not. Was there a chance of greatness every time you got Lima? Yes.

7) Lima was easily the most fun fantasy baseball player to ever own. You tore your hair out every time he stepped on a mound. The way Lima pitched, and the way he reacted to pitching poorly, I'm amazed that he made it to 37.

8) Jose Lima made it possible for every average to below average high school pitcher to dream of the big leagues (this includes myself). He showed that it was possible to be a big leaguer hanging weak ass curves and piping 78 mph fastballs through the middle of the plate.

You will always be my hero, and inspiration every time I step on a Celebrity Softball field.

Oh, and this clip is awesome.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Would You Like to Hear About Doug Glanville's Career?

Stop. Collaborate and Listen. Glanville's back with another piece of shitty writing. Good looking out to reader Chris who sent in this peach of a column by long time terrible outfielder Doug Glanville.

Why players own one-on-one matchups


Baseball loves the story of the matchup. The day in, day out, one-on-one battles give a different twist to what we think of as a team sport. It is pitcher CC Sabathia versus hitter Evan Longoria

Ok, that is a pretty fun match up to watch...

or catcher Ivan Rodriguez versus speed demon Michael Bourn,

Less fun to watch, especially since they played on the same team, and their teams have faced each other exactly 3 times (June 15-17, 2007) in their careers. (The new version of StartWedman does limited research to prove points).

...or manager Tony La Russa versus manager Dusty Baker.

Seriously Doug!!!!! You should be murdered... Hopefully by some coked out pissed off strippers. Don't get me wrong, I do not agree with all of La Russa's philosophies, but comparing his to Baker??? That is the equivalent of comparing The Beatles to Three 6 Mafia.

With all of these events, it makes sense that along the way, someone is prevailing at a much higher rate than what a coin toss would dictate.

Please let me get all Math-ed up on Dougy. Odds on a coin flip: 50-50, great success rate for batters: 30% of the time getting a hit, not exactly a coin flip is it?

This makes us feel there are other powers at work -- it could be the lucky socks, it could be the lighting, it could be that Sabathia likes Tampa's fishing spots.

AAAWHHHATTTTT???? Yes, I do believe the reason that CC Sabathia has owned the Rays in his career is because of fishing spots, or lighting, not because the Devil Rays sucked major penis in CC's first 7 seasons in the majors. I do think lucky socks has a lot to do with it. I also think Joe Morgan makes insightful comments during broadcasts. Wait a second, I'm not a complete dumb fuck, so I don't think any of those things.

Some matchups are more like full smackdown. Joe Mauer dominates Joel Pineiro. Ichiro wears out Vicente Padilla.

Simple explanation: Mauer is good, Pineiro sucks. Ichiro is really good, Padilla really sucks.

As my career went on, I came to understand what seemed to be at work in these matchups.

This is a good time to point out Glanville's career numbers: 1,115 G over 9 seasons, .277 AVG, 59 HR, 553 R (about 61 runs a season), 333 RBI, 168 SB. Decent numbers, but here is where it gets good, remember Doug was a lead off/speedy guy: 0.44 BB/K, 0.315 OBP!!, 0.695 OPS. Doug I wouldn't have mentioned your lack luster numbers if you didn't mention your career. I absolutely hate how average players always use their careers to boast their reputation in their writing and on TV. Its not necessary. We know you know baseball, no need to mention your garbage career.

Also, this is a good time to mention Doug's middle name:
Metunwa.

I will only be calling him Metunwa the rest of this article.

Baseball already has situational obsessions. If my team is heading to San Diego for a three-game series, the bench coach isn't doing his job if he doesn't know how well I hit against the Padres' left-handed pitchers. Even if I am in a 1-for-22 slump, if I am a .400 hitter at Petco Park and Mat Latos can't get me out, those things should play a role in making out the lineup that day.

After playing long enough, I began to have a sense of whom I would fare well against. It wasn't from a lack of confidence or overconfidence; it just became part of my understanding of my own hitting style and swing. Sinkerball pitchers drove me up the wall. One of two things happened when I faced a pitcher like Derek Lowe or Brandon Webb: I swung and missed, or I fouled a pitch off my shin.

Amount of times Metunwa faced Brandon Webb: 0

But in time, I devised a plan. I knew I could not hit the sinker effectively, so I heeded the advice of my hitting coach in Philadelphia, Hal McRae: "Just eliminate that pitch." Translation: You can't hit it, so don't worry about it unless you have absolutely no choice but to swing at it. As a result, my approach against Lowe and Webb was to sit on the slider.

As stated before a simple 2 minute search on Baseball Reference yielded 0 At Bats between Brandon Webb and Metunwa.

I believe that is the reason why Metunwa fared so well against Webb's sinker.

If Lowe thought he was on easy street when he was facing me, Andy Benes saw me as the dark alley. It seemed that whenever I walked into the batter's box against Benes, I got a hit (.452 career batting average). Everything he threw hit the barrel of my bat. It is no secret that Troy Glaus, who had the only two hits the Braves could muster off Jamie Moyer in nine innings on May 7, has hit the Phillies' lefty well during his career (.350). Although a pitcher might have dominated on a given day, it might not tell you how you will hit him the next time.

Not only is the writing leaving something to be desired, but does anyone care about any of the players he is listing? And why does Metunwa feel he has to harp on his own career. I don't really care about your career, Metunwa!

Domination isn't always in the hands of the guy on the mound or the guy with the bat; it can be environmental.

I love semicolons!

The Braves had a ridiculously good pitching staff year in and year out during their long run of NL East titles, but I fared well enough against them on my home turf, be it Philly or Chicago. Turner Field, however, was another story. Even if I came into the series on a 15-for-28 tear, I usually would leave Atlanta with one or at most two hits in a three-game series.

If you need an example of Metunwa's writing style please see this paragraph. Run on sentence, check. Improper use of commas, check. Incomplete sentences, check. Talking about himself, check mate.

Allow me to introduce the part of the piece where Metunwa no longer tries to write, and decides name dropping is the way to go...

When you look at the big picture, as I can now do with a career in the books, the patterns jump out more clearly. It wasn't really about Benes; it was about any power pitcher who had a four-seamer that he'd elevate in the zone. So I also felt comfortable and hit well against Curt Schilling, Kevin Brown and Woody Williams. (It's too late for them to try to brush me back.) On the flip side, Tom Glavine, Kirk Rueter, Sterling Hitchcock, Webb and Lowe lowered my batting average time and time again. Even when I was riding high on confidence, I felt off balance against those guys (and the numbers back it up).

I don't even care to look up how you did against these pitchers. I'm sure you were not even close to exemplary. You've broken my will to be a smart ass.

Instead of putting you through more misery reading Metunwa's terrible writing, I will give you a quick synopsis of the rest of the article.

Teams did not play me when I sucked ass, even when I was hitting 2-5 in my career against a pitcher.
The organization did not care.
Intangible Gorilla. (He really said this. I have no clue what it means)
I did things. Somehow I was still an average baseball player. My overall averageness has put me in a position in which I can ramble about my averageness for 2,000 words.
Chris Carpenter pitches well against the Pirates.
More name dropping without actually giving any information.
Metunwa.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Baseball Stumble: LSD and the No Hitter

Here at the revival of StartWedman are always looking for new ways to entertain the masses. Our newest running article comes from a spark creativity that stemmed from you, our readers. Frequent commenter/ infrequent poster Mr. Anonymous enlightened us with incoherent babble on a recent post. This illuminated magical idea coming from my very own think tank.

I will be bringing you several posts on a bi weekly basis. Here are the rules: 1) The post topic will be based on random events known as Stumbleupon. I will click Stumble, and the first site that comes up, I will write about it. 2) I've narrowed down my selections to baseball only topics, as I know virtually nothing about every other subject anyone can name. 3) I have 20 minutes to write a post, which keeps my activity low, and your reading levels lower. And now for our first post:

Dock Ellis Says He Pitched 1970 No-Hitter Under The Influence of LSD

Start time: 7:33pm

I absolutely could not have planned this better. This is seriously the headline of my first ever Stumble click. It was fate that I chose this. That is the only way of describing it.

My initial reactions: Intrigue. Fascination. Jelly Doughnuts (I tried to get in the drug induced spirit of the article). Envy.

While reading this gem of a piece I cannot help but point out some absolutely astounding tidbits

"I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego , but I didn't know it.
You did not know your team was playing, or they were playing in San Diego? How does one not only, not know his team is playing, but have no idea what city his team was playing in?

I took the LSD at noon. At 1pm, his girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, "Dock, you're pitching today!"

Thanks, bitch! You couldn't have told me this at say, 11 am before I was tripping shit???

Also, I've always wanted to have my girlfriend be my "slash" trip partner. I'm going to work on this.

Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder.

Best possible scenario for my new idea... This article happening. I'm not lying, this is the first one I came upon. I don't even need to write thoughts, the article is fantastic by itself.

...and arguably,one of the greatest achievements in the history of sports.

This is one of the greatest things to happen to blogging in the history of sports. I'm honored to know the courage and discipline that a young Dock Ellis showed in 1970.

If you want to chuckle a little more, please read this account of the same story, told using the same quotes, but never mentioning LSD.

Let's tie this together neatly with a spin for today's pitchers, with a list of pitchers that would most benefit from LSD:

Dallas Braden (don't tell me he wasn't high on something)
Jason Marquis
Doug Davis
Jenny Finch
Last but not least, my favorite stoner pitcher of all time...
Jon Garland. (Time is not permitting me to find a classic Garland stoned on the bench photo. I will find one)

Live Blog

An attempt at a live chat hosted by Tristan our newest contributor.

http://bit.ly/bHTzr4

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Want My Baby D-backs Back


An attempt to join our super-cool blog from frequent commenter and sometimes friend, Tristan:
Before the start of this year’s baseball season I could not have been happier. I bought multiple t shirts, a new baseball hat, and the premium version of MLB.tv. With the additions of Kelly Johnson, Adam LaRoche, Ian Kennedy, and Edwin Jackson, this was the year that the Arizona Diamondbacks would blow away the NL West and contend for the National League title.
And then Brandon Webb went down... again. And then I realized that the D-backs added Bob Howry to their bullpen. And then I found out that Billy Buckner sucked so much d, that Rodrigo Lopez would jump to the 4th starter. Now 34 games in, the D-backs are already 7 games out and many have already talked about them becoming sellers at the deadline.
So like many other baseball fans, I am scrambling to place the blame on how this season has started off so poorly. So through the many tears I have shed at night, I have come up with four (first I had 10, then 5, then settled on 4) reasons that the Diamondbacks are struggling.
4. The Eric Byrnes Effect - The Arizona payroll was hit with a $10 million blast when executives ate a big one and released the troubled, and often broken outfielder. How can you sign big name players when you sign awful players to worse contracts. Thanks Josh Byrnes for paying Eric to play old man softball.
3. Old People – In 2009, the D-backs averaged 26,286 people at their home games. While that number sounds great if you are the Marlins or Athletics, Bank One Ballpark can actually hold 44,000+. Yes, the ballpark has really loud music and also a sweet pool in the outfield, but Phoenix is really just one big retirement community. Old people hate the team and further deter people from going to games. D-backs fans would rather knit or play shuffle board than attend a home game
2. Mark Grace – Great announcer, funny guy, but always associated with losers. Yes, I know that for the last 3 years of his career he was a D-back, but seriously, for 13 years he was a Chicago Cub For 13 years of his life, he knew nothing but how to lose. Now he has taken all of that information and passed it on to everyone in the Arizona organization. Fire him, and then we’ll see how it goes.
1. Global Warming – Last season saw the Diamondbacks lose Brandon Webb to an elbow injury, Bob Melvin to peer pressure, Scott Schoeneweis’s mental state (that was low, sorry), both of Eric Byrnes’s quads, Connor Jackson to Valley Fever, and finally their dignity. There is no other way to explain this terrible string of incidents other than global warming. It affects us all in many ways, including the stars of the MLB.
So yes, I realize that 34 games is merely a fifth of the season and there is a lot of time to turn it around, but I still have cause to worry. As a strong Phoenix fan (Coyotes and Suns too), there are many examples from my lifetime where an Arizona team has let me down.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Obvious Steroids User 5/4/10

Almost one month to the date of my last post, and I can say that I finally see the light of summer and freedom to blog.  Although it is not quite Memorial Day, the schedule of busy-time work and review classes has lightened enough for me to think a little.

Alright, alright, I'm fucking lying.  The truth of the matter is that I'm supposed to be studying for my first CPA exam right now and need a break.  I figure that since this is my second profession, what better way to feel like I'm not wasting time than bringing back everyone's favorite endeavor of this blog... the Obvious Steroids User.

And this week's (or year's) honoree is not much of a stretch, but I figured he's also a timely choice, given his timely DL stint.  So, BRIAN ROBERTS, let's take a look at your shady career happenings.

Umm... holy shit.

Of course, there is not much speculation that I have to put into this one since Roberts outright said that he injected himself with roids like just one or two times.  You know, just a couple times.  Just the way that Charlie Sheen tried nose candy a few times.  No big deal... just a few times.  (Shit, I just made a Charlie Sheen joke... I'm rusty)

Supposedly, B-Robs used to recreationally explore the metal-bending possibilities of steroids with none other than one of our faves, Larry Bigbie.   And supposedly, these so called completely hetero, naked needle pokings happened in 2003.  

And guess whose numbers jumped in 2003 for a break out year?  That's right, Roberts, a career .244 hitter known for his speed and glove, not his .327 SLG%, managed a very modest uptick to a SLG% of .367 as he tied down the O's starting second base position. 

But things didn't stop there whatsoever.  In 2003, Roberts managed to hit five home runs.  In 2005, he managed eighteen and has maintained levels in that ballpark ever since then.

Now, yes, I know that I'm sort of jumping to conclusions here.  But does it not seem that he's always injured all the time, too?  Right now, he's struggling with a herniated disc and before that, I swear he always has something nagging him.  But maybe I have just invented that notion in my head after all these years.

See, the reason that I always stay away from Brian Roberts in fantasy is because I consider him such an injury risk.  And now that I have looked over his stats over these past few years that I swear he only played half of, I can see why my typical and very lowly Adam Kennedy/Felipe Lopez combo at second base is consistently getting spanked.

And you know what, Brian Roberts, maybe I never should have doubted you because in 2005 when you went nuts, I took you in the later rounds and lead me to a first place finish (that I eventually blew in the first round of the playoffs, of course).  I should have been on your side because of this, in addition to your spectacular manly handsomeness.

But after pondering this post all day, I have realized why I actually scorn you, Brian Roberts.  You, in fact, suck in MVP 2005.  You always look to have so much promise as a 26 year-old in that game, but you always go and bat .260 your first season, which also happens to be your peak.  By the age of 29, you are typically starting in AA and still earning $3M since I always buy into your promise.  Well, here's payback for that.  Welcome to the OSU club, thank you very much.

God, I'm petty.





Also, when I finally secure the funds to build an actual Hall of OSUs (the designs are in the works), I will have two distinct wings to commemorate two of the greatest things to happen to the world of steroids - the Texas Rangers Hall & the Baltimore Orioles Hall.  Sorry, Jose, I know you wanted your own wing, but maybe you can have the naming rights to the atrium if you pay me enough?