Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fire Fire Joe Morgan

OK so there are these internerds who are always taking shots at my boy Joe Morgan. What's wrong with you guys? Get a life! What do you, live in your mother's basement?!?!?! (It's well known that bloggers' parents don't live in apartment buildings, or bungalows, or other single-story homes.) Get ready for a taste of your own medicine.

Joe Morgan: The Phillies starting pitching needs help, as does the Mets' pitching and they need consistent offense as well. And the Braves I just cannot read; they lose close games and are not consistent.

Ken Tremendous: It's amazing, isn't it, folks? We're like 4 years in to this grand experiment we call "JoeChats," and the issues we face are the exact same ones we faced in 2005. Consistency, indeed.

That's right, it is amazing. Since 2005, Joe has consistently been able to point out the lack of consistency in Major League Baseball today. Would you rather he be inconsistent?

Ken Tremendous: Side note: you know what's amazing? The Angels and A's, three weeks after Joe wrote this, have almost the exact same run differential, and the Angels are 12 games up. The Cubbies are +72 over the Brewcrew and they're tied. Pretty incredible.

Translation: Bla bla numbers numbers I'm a huge nerd who watches baseball with a pair of binoculars made out of, like, a calculator and another even nerdier calculator.

Joe Morgan: The Twins will need him if they are to catch the White Sox. As far as the Tigers, they are on a thin rope, because if they have another bad stretch they are finished.

Ken Tremendous: Can you be "on" a "thin rope?" You can be on a tightrope, and you can be on thin ice. I'm not sure you can be on a thin rope.

You can totally be on a thin rope. Joe is trying to explain that the Tigers are in danger of missing the postseason, and if Miguel Cabrera gains any more weight, the rope will snap and they'll fall out of contention.

Jacob (FL): Joe, you gotta feel for Dan Uggla after his performance last night. Could that affect him for the rest of the season?

Ken Tremendous: Uggla since the break: 1-25, for a tidy .332 OPS. This is almost certainly the result of making those errors (which ended up not affecting the outcome of the game in any way) and not a random 25-AB fluctuation in the middle of the season. Because MLB players are frail little babies who never recover from things like non-game-affecting errors in stupid exhibition contests.

Please, we know that Dan Uggla doesn't have any heart, and that's why he's hitting .040 since his heartless errors in the all-star game. A true professional doesn't make errors on national television. Derek Jeter has never made an error in an all-star game (didn't even have to look that one up 'cause it's gotta be true) and if he did he'd probably make up for it by going 20/25 after the break. Dan Uggla just doesn't have the calm eyes of a Derek Jeter. Next.

Chris. P (NY): What are the Chances of Bonds being a Yankee? Cashmen could of said No but he didnt. How well can Bonds do at Yankee Stadium?

Ken Tremendous: I hate to be "this guy," but it delights me how many dumbdumb errors Chris P. (NY) made. He doesn't even know how to spell the name of his own GM. Because the Yankees are about to swarm all over everyone and win the East as Manny Ramirez claims that the Red Sox have never respected him and that they should give him $40m more when he asks out of a game against the Yankees in late July with a mysterious knee ailment, I am going to exact petty revenge by reprinting Chris. P (NY)'s question with [sic]s.

Chris. [sic] P [sic] (NY): What are the Chances [sic] of Bonds being [sic] a Yankee? Cashmen [sic] could of [sic] said No [sic] but he didnt [sic]. How well can [sic] Bonds do at Yankee Stadium?

Shoutout to my cuz Chris P. in NY!

Joe Morgan: Well they can still win it but they cannot have anymore 4-5 games losing streaks. They are on a thin line right now.

Ken Tremendous: Can you be "on a thin line?" You can be on thin ice, you can be on a tightrope, there can be a thin line between love and hate, there can be a thin blue line or a thin red line, you can be on the red line, the orange line, the green line, or the blue line, but I'm not sure you can be "on a thin line."

Dude, it's just like being on a thin rope. I already explained that one! Do you have any actual gripes with Joe, or are you just gonna rag on his awesome patented Morgan Metaphors? Next you'll be telling me that Tim McCarver sucks and that Mike Celizic's hat isn't dope.

Joe Morgan: I think run differential is just a stat that does not mean a lot. Look at what the Dbacks did last year. Run differential is a deceptive stat.

Ken Tremendous: Second of all: Yes, good work, a stat that shows you how many runs you have scored versus how many runs you have allowed does not mean a lot. You know what does mean a lot? Team triples. If your team is tripling a lot, that means your guys are hustling, and you will win a lot. Just ask Arizona and San Francisco!

OK fill in the blank: Arizona is leading their _________. The correct answer is: division. Is that because of their VORP, or GLEEP, or PKPKPKPKPK? No. The correct reason is: they hustle their asses off. Stephen Drew has 7 triples. But I guess you'd rather he have walked all those times.

Ken Tremendous: Jim Edmonds just tried to bunt a guy to second, in a suddenly-tie-game in the seventh with nobody out and DeRosa and Fukudome behind him. Jim Edmonds, in his career, has 7584 total plate appearances and 10 sac bunts. And a .933 OPS in his last 50 games. Good call, Lou.

DeRosa walks, Fuku pops up. If the Cubbies don't take the lead here, you'll know why.

Duh. Because DeRosa walked. If he had gotten a hit and cashed the runner, the Cubs would have taken the lead, all thanks to the bunt moving the runner over. But I guess you'd rather he walk. You statheads and your walks.

-- Kurt Horrendous

Manny Ramirez doing something that is typical of the behaviour of Manny Ramirez

Look who's talking!
Once again, Manny Ramirez is unhappy with the Boston Red Sox.

"I'm tired of them. They're tired of me," Ramirez said, according to The Associated Press, before Sunday night's game against the New York Yankees.

In an interview with earlier Sunday, Ramirez said that he will not block a trade if the Red Sox want to go in that direction.

"If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me; I will not object," he said.

"I don't have any preferences. I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball," added Ramirez.

OK so that's it right? Say goodbye to Manny? Somehow I doubt that. We've been here before. Manny asks for a trade - actually this time he hasn't asked for a trade, just said that he won't block one - and everyone assumes they're going to trade him. Although, until now, they haven't. Why not?

Well, for one thing, he can hit. And as far as I know, these periods of discontent haven't affected his hitting, nor the team's ability to win. And they usually blow over within a few weeks. Besides, whenever he complains, you would think his trade value takes a hit. So is it worth it to take a hit in talent to improve the clubhouse chemistry, or whatever? That's not something the Sox have been willing to do before, and you can say their strategy has worked, considering the two World Series wins. If they can make a good baseball move, and improve the team, they'll do it, but I really don't think they're going to trade him just because he's unhappy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sports are about competition - right?

One of the themes that I've noticed coming up again and again this summer in the sporting world is Competition. That might seem like an inane statement. But I'm not talking about the competition between athletes, or teams. I'm talking about competition between leagues. The NHL, the NBA and even the UFC have seen competitors arise to challenge their previously undisputed place at the top of their respective sports.

The Russian Super League of hockey expanded to become the Kontinental Hockey League. It added a few new teams in former Soviet republics, and poached Jaromir Jagr, as well as a couple of other players, from the NHL. Jagr is a big name who is on the downside of his career, and certainly could have gotten a deal from an NHL team. But he was lured, presumably, by a tax-free contract, and playing closer to home. There were rumours that the KHL was after Evgeni Malkin, and the league may expand to Sweden, Finland, and/or the Czech Republic, according to the KHL Wikipedia page. As it stands now I can't imagine that Russian teams can be profitable paying NHL-style salaries. But if the league takes a stronghold in Europe, more revenue streams will come in, and it could be a more serious threat to the NHL's world dominance.

Recently, Carlos Delfino, Jorge Garbajosa, and Bostjan Nachbar, formerly role players in the NBA, all signed with European teams. Delfino and Nachbar signed in Russia, and again the lack of income tax means they will take home far more pay than they would have in the NBA.

Finally, Affliction, a new Mixed Martial Arts company, had its first event this past weekend, which saw Fedor Emelianenko face Tim Sylvia, as well as other bouts. Many people believe that Fedor is the world's best MMA fighter, and the UFC felt the need to quickly put together an event to compete with it on the same night.

It could be argued that, as in many cases, competition will prevent leagues from being complacent, and will make them strive to sell the best product. But when I watch sports, I want to watch the best athletes and the best teams. If the NHL starts to bleed players to the KHL, I'm sure I'll start to wonder if the calibre of play has declined. Also, fans like to have a definitive answer to the question, "who is the best?" MMA fans are already being deprived of this aspect of the sport, since most of the world's best have contracts with the UFC, and therefore cannot face Fedor. What if one day, the Stanley Cup was handed out, and we were left wondering, "but could they beat HC Spartak Moscow?"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Billy Beane - Quantity over quality?

In the past couple of weeks, the A's have dealt Rich Harden and Joe "Buju" Blanton for prospects. I guess you could say that it's courageous of the organization to stick to the plan of building for the future rather than the present, despite a team that finds itself surprisingly close to contention. It can't be too popular among some fans who would like to see them go for it now while they have a shot.

In all the recent trades, including the Dan Haren and Nick Swisher deals before the season, the A's have gotten a lot of prospects, though many people, including Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus, have wondered if they could have gotten better prospects. We already know that Beane is an unconventional general manager. The question is, why is he trading top players for apparently low returns?

In an age where the top draft picks require multi-million dollar signing bonuses, many of the best young players are off-limits to a frugal team like the A's. So if you eliminate the true blue-chip prospects, what if the numbers show that second-tier prospects don't pan out as often as many teams think? This is pure speculation on my part, but Beane may have decided that the best way to put together a contending team is to throw enough shit against the wall and hope that some of it sticks; acquire as many prospects as possible, and statistically you'll end up with more bonafide major leaguers, or even more stars.

He got six players for Haren and Connor Robertson, and already Dana Eveland and Greg Smith have exceeded expectations. Is it a fluke? Did he know something about these two players that no one else knew? Or was it just probable that, of the nine youngsters acquired in the offseason, two would pan out right away?