Sunday, February 27, 2011

My AL and NL MVP are.......

I decided to submit my name into the MLB Dreamjob contest that Bob posted, and it asks you to do an essay for either AL/NL MVP or biggest story line of the year. Well I did the MVP essay and this is what I wrote.......feel free to bash and disagree as much as possible

AL/NL MVP

The 2011 National League MVP is going to be Joey Votto. Votto won the MVP award in 2010 and he will continue to tear up NL pitching, especially playing in the NL Central. I am a firm believer of players entering their prime around the age of 27 give or take a year, and Votto is right around that time frame as well.

Joey put up career numbers last year in nearly every category and will continue to become more productive. I like the protection that Votto will get in the line-up as well. He doesn't have that star power hitting behind him like he could have on other teams, but he has hitters that put the ball in play and can make you second guess trying to pitch around Votto. Just having the reigning MVP award will also give him an immediate leg up if he puts up traditional Votto numbers.

Playing on a winning team also gives a player a better chance at winning the MVP. The Reds have a great staff and will play in division that features a team that just lost their ace, a Brewers team that continues not to live up to expectations, and a Cubs team that continues to break the hearts of many around the nation. I won't even talk about the Pirates or Astros here. The Reds are a clear favorite to win the Central with Wainwright going down which only helps Votto's case over perennial MVP candidate and contract seeking Albert Pujols.

The AL MVP is a little tougher to predict, but I like Adrian Gonzalez. He is going to get a ton of protection in the Red Sox line-up, but very friendly right field dimensions at Fenway will also help inflate his numbers.

Gonzo put up good numbers after playing in a not so friendly Petco Park, so moving to Fenway and a better Red Sox team is going to help out his MVP case for 2011. I look for Adrian to hit 30 homers and knock in around 110 guys this year. Playing on a team that will compete in the AL East all year helps as well. He's going to be in the spot light all year moving from the West Coast to the East Coast.

Moving to the East coast he will get more national attention between different papers and national media. ESPN loves to favor the Red Sox and cover them extensively throughout the year. Gonzalez will easily put up the numbers to be considered a legit MVP candidate, and playing on a winning team that is highly recognizable will help propel him to the 2011 AL MVP.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Life and Times of Stump Wiedman

In an effort to make our site look respectable by actually posting (since we are not going to gain respectability with the content and journalistic integrity of our posts), I'm bringing you lucky few readers another post! Considering February is the Cooly of months (February is to short as Cooly's Penis Size is to short), 3 posts out of me is astounding. Anyways, while I was over at Fangraphs this weekend I stumbled upon their Worst Hitter Ever article, which is a fantastic read. In a throw away line, the author of the post mentions the name Stump Wiedman. Seeing that our website is called Start Wedman, and these 2 names are quite similar, I thought I should be the person in charge of revitalizing Stump's career, Old Hoss Radbourn style. What you will find below is a list of factual and completely made up information on Stump. My only resources here are Fangraphs, Wikipedia, and the lack of creativity that my mind displays.

George Edward "Stump" Wiedman played major league baseball from 1880-1888, giving most of his service time to the Detroit Wolverines. He was the Brooks Kieshchnick of his time, splitting his time as a pitcher and as an outfielder. While his prowess at the plate left much to be desired (I only heard of him because he was mentioned in an article titled The Worst Hitter in Baseball History), he preformed admirably on the mound compiling a 101-156 career record.

Stump Wiedman's career was not always peaches and gravy, in his freshman season with the Buffalo Bison Stump went on to post an 0-9 record in a whopping 13 starts. Historians say that Stump pitched so poorly due to a lack of confidence and that the overall grind of playing outfield and pitching was too much for the Grandfather of Grind. However, they are overlooking one important fact. Stump was drunk off his ass for most of that year. See Stump was devastated over the loss of his one true love, Clara Barton. Earlier that year that swarthy bitch Clara up and started the Red Cross leaving Stump to create his own pleasure. Not being much of a switch hitter, and having little to no control over his left arm meant Stump's only pleasure came from old righty. His arm was simply overworked from the stress.

Have no fear chillens, Stump came back with a surge to lead the National League with a 1.80 ERA in 1881. Thanks in large part to the polio vaccine he got earlier in the year, another sign that anal injections lead to better baseball performance.

Wiedman struggled plenty with his control over the next few years, never gaining the success of his 1881 campaign. Then again, who else could have pitched so gloriously with a height of 0'0". Eddie Gaedel can kiss Stump's ass! Stump was really a thing of beauty at the plate, collecting a record 2 home runs and 112 RBI's in his 9 short seasons. Surely we can never forget the mammoth that was Stump Wiedman, and his remarkable -6.7 career WAR.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Russell Branyan 101: A Poor Man's Mark Reynolds


You know, I really am excited about the upcoming MLB season. While the Diamondbacks won't contend for a title, there is a small sense of hope within that caused me to already buy the 2011 MLB.tv package. While it stung that they traded away one of the most exciting and scrappy Diamondbacks this off-season in Mark Reynolds, I understood the move since Kevin Towers was wanting to cut down on the strikeouts. I understood and even bought into the concept until I saw this headline yesterday:

D'Backs sign first baseman Russell Branyan

As a fan of baseball and fantasy baseball team manager, Russell Branyan is always a sleeper. Even though he is an injury risk, he has the potential to put up 30 home runs. Not to mention, in the extremely hitter friendly Arizona ballpark, he could have a big rebound year. Branyan also provides a veteran, father-like presence to a still relatively young ball club.

As a fan of the Diamondbacks, I'm really not OK with this baseball move. Not only did they sign a 35 year old, injury prone first baseman, they take the bat out of Brandon-I-will-never-play-in-the-big-leagues-Allen's hands completely and are now thinking about trading him. This also goes away from exactly what Towers was trying to establish. He wanted less strike-outs, so he trades away Mark Reynolds and lets Adam LaRoche walk. However, if you compare Reynolds with Branyan and look at strikeout rates, Reynolds struck out in 33.6% of his career plate appearances with Branyan coming in at a close 33.1%.

While I understand that they would be paying Reynolds a lot more to produce eerily similar numbers, they wouldn't be taking the bat out of a top prospect's hands. Kevin Towers, you suck. Please stop tweaking this team and go trade for Michael Young already. Also, I wouldn't mind cutting half of the pitching staff and signing someone from Japan. Fun fact, the Diamondbacks are 1 of 3 clubs left in the majors to never employ a Japanese baseball player. Can you guess the other 2?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FJM: Something About Athletes Destroying Robots

Consider this a 2 day posting streak which can only equal the Cavs 1 game winning streak for major accomplishments of 2011. I actually wanted to do this post a few days ago, and since it has been picked up and bashed by several better outlets, but since I am not a real journalist and have very little integrity, here we goooooo:

Telander: Brain against the machines

Is there any chance that this article could be good? None, OK, well let's rip it apart.

Blows to the head are nothing new in sport, or life.

That little 'or life' is the first sign that Rick Telander should be committed.

I am reminded of the time I asked Mike Tyson at a news conference before a fight if he was concerned about the possible negative effects from some of the blows to the head he had received in his career.

You are reminded of this how? By the topic that you formulated and chose to write about? Or, was there a tiny green man perched on your shoulder waxing melodically about the rise of the machines?

He looked at me as if I were insane, giggled and said, ‘‘I think some of the blows to the head I’ve received have been good for me.’’

Einstein likely felt that way. Edison, for sure. Moses, too.

Einstein. Edison. Moses? Other candidates Telander was thinking of using: Boyle, Joule, Fran Drescher. Hawking, Hubble, L. Ron Hubbard. Ford, Gates, Chris Kattan.

But theirs were blows of enlightenment, ‘‘Eureka!’’ flashes of perspective and creativity dropped on them by God or the electric company.

Little known fact, electric companies existed before electricity.

Physical punches or whacks that rock the jelly-like human brain inside its skull casing cause no enhancement other than bruising, bleeding and temporary or possibly permanent damage down the road.

Why is this formula so important now...

The main reason you want to avoid getting hit in the head so many times is to avoid the future embarrassment that comes with writing an article comparable to what Telander is about to give us.

...particularly as it relates to popular sports like tackle football?

Two reasons.

First, only recently have scientists and journalists been able to put together the research and information that show conclusively the dangers of single or repeated blows, even minor ones, to the heads of athletes in training and competition. Before, it was mostly anecdote, low humor, obfuscation.

Wait, this sounds almost logical.

Just wait...

Consider it wasn’t until last year that the devious and know-nothing NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee was restructured with seemingly authentic and un-buyable neurologists at the helm, and the word ‘‘Mild’’ was dropped altogether.

Mild. Brain injury. Ha.

I am reminded here of ‘‘minor’’ surgery, which, of course, is surgery on somebody else.

Could there be a less direct way of saying the NFL didn't give a shit about concussions before this year?

We’d better change . . . or else

Once the new knowledge gets out there, it is wrong to continue on with certain rituals, even joyous ones, that we previously thought were morally fine. At least we shouldn’t continue them in the same way as before.

What? Is this in the same article as your first few paragraphs, or was there some sort of editing mistake that meshed your column with someone from the Tempo section?

You can ask me here why hockey fighting goes on, and I’ll say I have no idea. We banned bare-knuckle fighting decades ago, but .  .  . I surrender.

Second, we live in a world that is progressing into a vast arena in which mankind has never lived, never even comprehended, the stadium of human-enhanced computer dominance.

BOOM Goes the Dynamite! There you have it. The thesis to Telander's article a mere 13 paragraphs into the piece.

It is a place where intelligence, real or artificial, will be all. Scientists say that by as early as 2045 there may well be a computer that dwarfs mankind. By then, according to the current cover story in Time, a computer might exist that will surpass ‘‘the brainpower equivalent to that of all human brains combined.’’

Don't be fooled, this entire piece is just a mask. The only reason for this entire article is so Telander can let the reader know he read TIME Magazine. Now he can lord it over all his peasant followers heads. Hoity toity prick!

That’s smart. Unless we’re really dumb.

Well, we know that you are really dumb.

And we’re not,

If by we you mean everyone in the world except for you, I could see your point.

except when we do dumb things, like let our heads get damaged continually and call it something like ringing a bell.

Or write mindless drivel and call it a Sun Times column. "Call it something like ringing a bell" is one of the worst lines I have ever read. Rick Telander, you are not funny.

In our new environment, how can anyone allow his or her IQ, or their children’s, to be lowered?

In our old environment on the planet Xiquo the goal was to lower your IQ as much as possible then ring as many bells as possible, all while murdering as many strippers as time would allow. Alas, here on Earth we must use our combined brain power to team up and battle the rising of the MACHINES.

A new way of thinking

Physical labor is already disappearing in developed countries. Robots can do that.

This line cracks me up.

And the impoverished.

That is not even close to a complete sentence. It is also mystifying to think that a career journalist is writing this.

Physical labor is already disappearing in developed countries. Robots can do that. And the impoverished. Sports are for fun at low levels. Then they’re about something else — entertainment, escapism, wealth, voyeurism even.

That was the entire paragraph. Sports are about entertainment and voyerism, and somehow wealth, but robots are taking over for poor people in the work force. DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE????

If you think the talk of silicon joining and even replacing the organic mind is nonsense, remember that your own laptop does the work a global library once did.

Telander must have had this on his mind for a long time. This is the only logical explanation for the writing of his article. That or he is super freaked out that Watson just beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy!

Consider, as Time points out,

We get it, you read TIME, we don't. You are much better than us. Also, are there any other resources that you used to compile this piece, or was that one story in TIME all you needed to confirm Robots will kill us all one day?

...that ‘‘your average cell phone is about a millionth the size of, a millionth the price of and a thousand times more powerful than’’ the best computer at MIT 40 years ago.

When I think of Muhammad Ali, I always think of a proud, charismatic man who had to surrender his brain to get the attention he craved. And it always makes me sad, even angry.

Weren't we just talking about the rise of computers? Stick to one illogical subject please.

t’s ironic, and perfectly illustrative of our schizoid times, that two movies nominated for Best Picture in this year’s Oscar race are ‘‘The Fighter,’’ and ‘‘The Social Network.’’ In the former, brawler ‘‘Irish’’ Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, uses his brain cells as pawns as he fights his bloody way to the championship. In the latter, Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, uses his brain cells to invent the thing called Facebook, which connects 600 million people to one another, no end in sight.

Umpbump often does a version of these FJMings where they go through an article in bullet form. If anyone could tell me where in the fuck this paragraph fits into the rest of this writing I will personally murder the stripper of their choosing.

We’ve seen each journey before — indeed, they’re the same journey, the triumph-over-obstacle journey that humans are hard-wired to love.

Ward/Wahlberg is far more dynamic as a person, a recognizable hero, however. But Zuckerberg/Eisenberg is the one who resonates, who blows your mind — a bland, friendless, blank-faced, hyperactive tech weenie as genius winner. I have never seen anything like his onscreen character before. In olden days he would have been the nerd, lost in the rat lab.

But the olden days are gone. And you can be assured that if the battle between machines and humans ever becomes confrontational, it won’t be won by fists and forearms, helmets and sticks to our delicate heads.

I can't even comment on the rest of this. This escapes so far from anything in the previous paragraphs. I am utterly shocked that an editor let this piece of garbage into their newspaper. Rick Telander, you should be ashamed of yourself.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

MLB's Shortstop Deficiency

While watching MLB Network's Top 10 Right Now programme for the top shortstops in the game, I came to the revelation that there are very few good shortstops in the Majors. I'll give you the list, as I remember it:

10. Starlin Castro
9. Marco Scutaro
8. Stephen Drew
7. Alexei Ramirez
6. Jimmy Rollins
5. Elvis Andrus
4. Jose Reyes
3. Derek Jeter
2. Troy Tulowitski
1. Hanley Ramirez

These are the Top 10 baseball players at arguably the most important defensive position on the field. This is a shit sandwich (with exception to the top 2 players). Let's go through this starting with the guy they said "just missed the list".

Yunie Betancourt and Miguel Tejada. yes, that is right, the players with the best chance to make this list were a has been and a never was. Yunie Betancourt wouldn't start on most AAA teams, how is he one of the best shortstops in the game???? In 2009, he actually compiled a -1.7 WAR. Simply by being on the field, he cost his team 1.7 Wins over a bum they could have called up from AAA. This is incredible.

When I saw Miggy's name on the list, I was shocked. I didn't even think he played shortstop anymore, so I had to look it up. Turns out, he barely does. Tejada had 58 games played at shortstop last year. How is this one of the top shortstops in the game????

10. Starlin Castro. Sure he has a lot of upside (some would say Tremendous Upside Potential). He has had one pretty good year. If I had a draft of all major league players, I would probably take Starlin pretty high solely based on his youth and projecting his growth. But, putting him in the Top 10 of all shortstops as of this moment is jumping the gun a little.

9. Marco Scutaro. Really? Didn't he almost lose his job to a guy named Jed last year? (I imagine this is what everyone named Jed looks like)

8. Stephen Drew. I like Stephen Drew, and i fell in love with him as a fantasy player early on. However, he still hasn't quite blossomed into the player I hoped he would become. Hopefully, it is because he hates playing baseball like his brother does. With all that being said, he is still ranked way too low on this list, wait for the crap sandwich that is coming up.

7. Alexei Ramirex. Had the highest UZR of any shortstop last year and hit 18 homers. I still can't understand why he is so underrated. And then Al Leiter confirmed my worst fears, "The thing that is holding Alexei back from making the jump into the great shortstops list is all the errors he makes" (paraphrased). Really, the errors? Jeter made approximately 6 defensive plays last year, but since he did not make an error, he is a God. Ramirez lead the league in Total Zone, meaning he got to far more balls than Jeter, but still gets no respect.

6. Jimmy Rollins. I thought he was injured. Oh, it's a contract year, then I'll change my mind and pencil Rollins in for a career year.

5. Elvis Andrus. He is a great fielder. Probably the best fielding shortstop in the game. Can't hit for shit. I guess this is about where he should end up on the list, but where would Elvis Andrus been on this list had he played in 2002?

4. Jose Reyes. See Jimmy Rollins.

3. Derek Jeter. True Yankee. -14 errors all year. Bitches want to fuck him. Not even remotely good at playing shortstop.

Again, #1 and #2 are very good players, so I won't get into them. Check out the rest of that list. Put any of these guys in any other decade of baseball and they might not make the Top 10. Sure most decades the SS position consisted of scrappy fielders, but even on that level only 1 or 2 of these guys could compete. Forget about comparing them to the SS in the Steroid Era a juiced up Nomar spits on Stephen Drew. I just wish the most publicized position in baseball would get a little better at, you know, playing baseball.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On a Carzy Train with Chipper Jones



If you came looking for unbiased opinions and third party objectivity you came to the wrong place. Chipper Jones is gracing the baseball world with his presence for another season with the Atlanta Braves! If you were unaware Chipper is amazing. I have many reasons as to why I think that; some have to do with baseball, some (most) are solely based on a man crush since I was a little guy.

Through the Fence Baseball wrote this gem on my boy "Chipper Jones: Better than Cal Ripken Jr and Derek Jeter?" Home-dog is right on this one and I even like Cal, and respect Jeter. This is a pretty good article, but what really won me over was the excellent use of a spreadsheet. If you read this article good for you, if not I'll sum it up: Chipper is awesome and should get into the Hall of Fame on the first year eligible.

Chipper is clearly coming back because of the sweet farewell tour Bobby Cox had last year, Chipper wants his own this year. Why not? He has earned it. In addition to the stats and crazy things like that he also (if you were waiting for bullet points you are in luck here they come, a Mr. Anonymous staple):

• Has a great walk-up song that in Atlanta personifies greatness is entering the box.
• He has a song written about him.
• He was an influence in me choosing the number 10 when I played baseball.
• He is the second best switch hitter of ALL TIME only to Mickey Mantle.
• Chipper undoubtedly loves the USA
• He was in a TV commercial with Dave Thomas and one with Ludacris.

Thank you Chipper for one more season, as the "Voice of the People," we all thank you.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Greatest Centerfielder of All Time


Jim Edmonds has returned to finish his first-ballot Hall of Fame career with the Cardinals. And yes, I am celebrating too much. And yes, I pray that he starts over Berkman. YES.

(Extreme side note - when typing Jim Edmonds into Google, the first result of the instant search after the obvious 'Jim Edmonds' is 'Jim Edmonds gay.' What haters.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Free Agent Fall Out


Earlier in the off-season, the Start Wedman staff each predicted where the top free agents would sign. You can find that article here. So while the free agent signing period hasn't ended yet, ours has and here are the results.

Tied for 1st Place: Mr. Anonymous

Mr. Anonymous has the slight edge in the tie breaker (since Zach's random pick could be construed as laziness) and ended up picking 5 of the 16 free agents correctly. Mr. Anonymous' acceptance speech will probably include Derek Jeter, Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, Rafael Soriano, and Aubrey Huff. It is unfortunate that Bruce Chen signed with the Royals instead of finishing his career with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Tied for 1st Place: Zach

Zach's hail mary of "Nick Punto will sign with anyone but the White Sox" panned out as Punto inked a deal with the Cardinals. His list also included Jeter, V-Mart, Dunn, and Rafael. I can't see him celebrating this too much. Feels a lot like taking steroids.

Tied for 2nd Place: Cooly

A lot of safe picks for Cooly had him sharing second place with me. Jeter, V-Mart, Konerko, and Huff bring him home four correct predictions. Had the Cesar Salad taken his talents to St. Louis, we would have had a threesome for top dog.

Tied for 2nd Place: Tristan

I was rather upset with myself after the final standings came out. Mostly because I picked the Diamondbacks for four of these free agents and none of them chose Arizona. I would like to post a shout out to Jeter, V-Mart, Konerko, and Carl Pavano for their help in bringing home second place. In your face Garcia. Had Jermaine Dye signed with the Gary Railcats, I would have been singing a different tune.

Last Place: Matty G

Not much to say here. Only three picks correct out of 16. Pavano, Soriano, and Jeter were his lone picks. If Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones would have resigned with the White Sox, he still would have been tied for last.