Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Lowe

Instead of doing what he expects and picking apart his statistical arguements, I'm blogging to further support Nick's idea that Lowe's salary demands are not the best option for the Red Sox. This is actually something Derek and I were discussing this morning, after seeing this quote pasted from a Globe article.

"From a positive side, they've made it easy. They offered me less than what they did last year, so it wasn't a hard decision to make. It's frustrating, but then again I'm over it because they made it so easy. It wasn't like it was a decision where you had to sit down and think about it for more than a second. Now you just go out and play the game because I think if somebody wants you, they're going to put out an effort, an honest effort."

That's what they call whining folks. Is it warranted? It's hard to take a firm position without knowing how much money is being discussed, but let's try and figure out his value in today's market. As Nick pointed out, he was amazing in 2002 and pretty decent in 2001 and 2003 (strangely, these years seem to coincide with the amount of money the Sox are offering him... go figure). I like to use VORP because even though the calculation is complex, the values are simple to understand and realtively context (run support, park effects, etc) neutral. His VORP was 19, 73, and 22 in 2001, 2002, and 2003, respectively. Which one of these is not like the others? Regardless of his great performance and Tampa Bay dominance in 2002, the Red Sox will be paying his 2005+ salary for what he brings to the table in 2005+. This isn't the Diamondbacks and I don't think the Sox are really interested in further compensating him for past glories. So the question I'm trying to answer is: how much is he likely to be worth over the life of the potential contract?

PECOTA attempts to answer that question, but first I need to bust out another stat. Wins added is a measure of how many wins a player adds over a hypothetical replacement player (which, for comparison, is somewhere in the neighborhood of VORP/10). By that measure, Lowe's 2002 season was worth 7.2 wins. PECOTA produces a 5 year win forecast for all players. His 2004 contract is guaranteed, so we'll skip that one. Lowe's forecast for 2005-2008 is 1.5, 1.6, 1.0, 0.6 with ERA's fluctating around a (roughly) 4.50 average. Looking at comparable players, there's the usual bunch of nondescript guys I barely remember (Mike Lacost, Jack Billingham, Dennis Lamp) and a mixed bag of veteran pitchers who tend to rely on their defense a lot (Nagy, Hershiser, Kevin Brown 1996 vintage, Tommy John, Aaron Sele 2001). I don't see that as especially encouraging but there are some guys who aged well. All in all, this is not looking like the profile of a player you want to break the bank for. Let's compare that forecast with some other recent signings. (My appologies for the formatting. Html is a bitch):

player avg wins avg sal
Colon 2.6 12.75
Millwood 2.8 11.00
Wood 4.2 10.80
Pettitte 2.7 10.50
Halladay 4.3 10.50
Maddux 3.1 7.50
Escobar 1.9 6.25
Thompson 2.0 3.00
Suppan 1.5 3.00

Lowe 1.4 ???

That shows the average wins per season over the life of the contract next to the average salary. When I got to Suppan and got bigger number than Lowe I stopped there. No, I don't think Lowe is as mediocre as his forecast says, but topping out at about $6 million per year seems about right to me. 4+ years at 8 figures per would be a big mistake, one that some team will undoubtedly make. I'm betting Theo will take that money elsewhere.

Hush.

The most tired, threadbare story (already) of the 2004 season: may I present to you the Derek Lowe contract situation. Why am a forced to listen to this everyday? Derek's "insulted" by the Sox offer and he's going to explore the free agent market (not because his agent is Scott Boras mind you) but because the Sox drove him to it.

The big stat I keep hearing is that Lowe is second only to Roy Halladay for the most wins over a two year period; (38 to 41). I think that is a bit disingenous. Granted, Lowe's 2002 was a great season by any measure. My apologies to Colin if he thinks I'm using 'pre-school stats', but 21-8, and a 2.58 ERA with the cherry on top in the form of a no-hitter (which yours truly got to see in person at Fenway. The birth of the Red Sox little league lucky shirt.) is pretty fucking good. Last year's regular season numbers, however, are a bit deceiving.

Overall, Lowe was 17-7 with a 4.47 ERA. While his win/loss record was very good, it's not a very telling sign of how Lowe actually pitched last year. Consider this: Lowe has benefited from the second highest and the highest run support (respectively) in the AL for the past two years (2002: 6.84, 2003: 7.26). So basically, with team influences staying about the same, Lowe's ERA jumped almost 2 full runs last year. Also worth noting, Derek was horrendous on the road. In 16 Road starts, he was 6-5 with a 6.11 ERA. The summation: Derek obviously had an off year. Hell, he had the skin cancer concerns as well as Todd Walker trying to catch the ball with an iron.

I think this year he's going to be nasty (mark my words Francesca league; taking Lowe win round 9 will be the steal of the season), but from a contract perspective, I understand the Sox hesitation. Which Derek Lowe will show up? Will we get 2000/2002 Derek Lowe? Or will we see the not so triumphant return of the Derek Lowe face? To put things in perspective, the Sox have a Hall of Fame pitcher who's making $17 mil and a possible Hall of Famer making $12 mil. These are guys who have had pretty stellar careers. Has Lowe truly earned the right on this team to make as much as these two? (Note: this is obviously a completely rhetorical question, given baseball's salaries. Hi Matt Morris! I see you making 12.5 this season!) Lowe has had two great seasons surrounded by a horrendous one and a medicore one. I would understand the Sox hesitation to sign him long term, coming off the year he's had and given past performance trends.

In my perfect world: Lowe sacks up and signs a two year deal with the Sox for less than he craves (say $9-10 mil., a fucking $6 million pay raise). He goes out and puts together the 2 solid seasons I think he's capable of and proves his worth. He's 32 at that point, Schilling will more than likely be retired at that point and Derek gets the pay day he feels he deserves. The Sox keep a solid pitcher in their rotation to complement Pedro's twilight years, and I can stop hearing about how under appreciated Derek Lowe feels.

In the real world: Some team lacking pitching (or the Yankees) will give Derek $14-17 mil or whatever he wants next year and he'll be gone.

Derek, I'm sorry that you don't feel appreciated. All of us are really sorry that we gave you shit for sucking so badly in 2001,(it obviously hurt you deep inside) but dude, you were fucking horrible. I mean cover-your-eyes bad. Still, I felt really bad after your no-hitter that you felt the need to rub it in our faces. You showed us the real Derek Lowe that day. The raw, insecure Derek that has turned to money as his only fans.

If it helps, you were my fucking hero in the A's series.

By the way, the Sox totally ripped the Mariners off to get you. I just like to point that out whenever possible.

AL East

Ladies and gentlemen, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are in first place.

They also gave Chuck Lamar an extension through 2006, effectively guaranteeing that they will not be in first again for a long, long time.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Trade? White Socks?

FYI, that trade was one of the worst trades, ever. Pump and dump, eh Billy Beane? I could have used that information before I dealt Koch for Edgar "Give me a new hip and hammy while you're in there" Martinez. Terrible.

PS...my pale hose is currently up about 3.75, but I'm not bringing in Koch.

old school? new school? shit, I didn't go to school

I'd volunteer to do Guillen, but with 4 fantasy teams to manage I just don't know where I'd find the time to report on the massive amounts of stupid things he says and/or does.

For example, let's take a quick look at how Ozzie has dealt with Billy Koch. Having had him on a fantasy team in 2002, I know first hand how kick-ass Billy was on a conventional stat basis -- racking up saves and wins at a killer pace. (side note: how did that trade work out for you Derek?) By all accounts, Koch's fastball is straight as a convention on banning gay marriage, but when he can throw it in the high 90's and maintain some semblence of control he can get good results. When he throws low 90's like he did last year and so far in ST, he's about as effective as my recent attempts to pass actuarial exams. He may be better than Matt Anderson, but not by a lot. Meanwhile Damaso Marte has racked up the strikeouts, kept his ERA way below league average, and even shown the "closer magic," logging a few saves. So of course, Ozzie names Koch his closer out of the gate.

Now here comes the really stupid part. Ozzie refuses to use Koch in any non-save situation ...in spring training. Joe Sheehan's already written some criticism about this, but it's retarded enough to go over again. As Derek so nicely pointed out, the late innings of a ST game usually produce such luminary hitters as Felix Escalona and Erick Almonte. Facing these gems in the rough, Koch has racked up a grand total of 6 IP under Ozzie's brilliant strategy. Amazingly, he hasn't given up any runs yet. So to clarify, you hold a guy back when the regulars are still in the game, or on a day where the game is a blow out, and save him to face the Brewers' B squad with the Pale Hose up by 3, in front of 1200 people who care more about hot dog toppings than the score. Then when he pitches well in a small number of games against total scrubs, you are convinced that he's the man for the job.

As bad as Gardy and Melvin are, (by the way, check out the USS Mariner link for some good Melvin quotes and subsequent bashing) I think Ozzie's gonna take the cake.

Inanity

Random thoughts...

Ah...spring. Theres nothing quite like dropping a bunch of cash to head to Utah for a week of skiing in powder, only to arrive and find high pressure squatting over the entire western US. No pow pow for me....sigh. Well, at least baseball is right around the corner. I have to admit I think spring training is useless - its hard to read anything about the year a player is going to have when hes playing half-games against the Bickford's B-squad, and I can't stand wading through the thousands of "Player X has overcome so much crap in the offseason, but hes regained his stroke and is optimistic about his chances" fluff articles that the media love to run in March. Does anyone really give a shit about McCarty's two-way aspirations, or Damon's newfound love of playing Unfrozen Caveman Jesus Car Chaser But I Don't Drink on Game Nights, Honest...?

I had a hard time being even slightly interested in last nights Sox/Yankees "game". Does anyone really give a shit about the outcome of a Donovan Osborne - David McCarty matchup? I mean, other than Donovan Osborne or David McCarty? At one point I think the Yankees had Felix Escolona, Erick Almonte, and Darren Bragg on the field at the same time. Sorry, not even a chance of me popping baseball wood there. Nothing doing.

I'm gonna have a good time watching Tom Gardenhire, Bob Melvin, and Ozzie Guillen compete for the title of most stubborn old school (ie, worst) manager in the bigs. My preseason for the prediction: Melvin, by a nose. The guy wants to bat Boone 6TH in the lineup. Thats right, 6th. Gardenhire, meanwhile, always seems to do his best to misuse his best pitchers, and ensure that promising young bats who mash spend time on the bench while Mientkewicz spits out his usual above-average glove / below replacement level with the bat production. Ozzie....well, this is a guy who has already stated that Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez need to be ready to bunt and play small ball.

I propose the following to the authors of this blog: we each pick a manager from this trifecta, follow their progress throughout the season, and blog up anything we find particularly funny, retarded, whatever. At the end of the season, we can review all the items, and pick a winner for worst manager. I wish there was a quantitative way to do this, I'll work on that. Yeah.....

Its gonna be a fun season, folks.

Monday, March 22, 2004

AL East

Team Record Runs Allowed
Yankees 109-53 969 668
Red Sox 107-55 934 662
Blue Jays 85-77 875 834
Orioles 83-79 811 790
Devil Rays 59-103 682 907

This one has already gotten kind of old, with all the exaggerations surrounding the A-Rod trade and what it meant to competitive balance, and the subsequent backlash/denial from the Nation. In the end, it's nice to see an impartial computer do the job and tell us 2 things that we already know: 1) both teams are fucking stacked, and 2) the division title is up for grabs. In any event, the system see virtually no competition for the wild card, which brings the division title payoff down to bragging rights and first round playoff opponents.

These crazy good records are of course contingent on reasonably good health for both teams. The system assumes Giambi plays in 90% of games, A-Rod in 97%, Jeter in 95%, Posada in 90%, Manny for 90%, Nomar for 88%, as well as Pedro and Kevin Brown for 185 IP, Mariano Rivera for 75. No regulars are expected to be hurt/benched more than 30% of the time. That wont happen, but it's also next to impossible to predict who will hit the wall. Odds are better that it will be a Yankee, based on age and history. Other things to consider are trades. The most obvious situation that could be improved by trade is 2B for both teams, but especially the Yankees. Anything could happen. Enter the cliche: that's why they play the games.

Moving on, it's time to pity the Blue Jays and the Orioles. The projections give them both a record that would win the Central, made more impressive by the fact that each of them plays 38 games against the Yank Sox. Park-effects be damned, I wouldn't be surprised if the Jays gave up fewer runs than the Orioles and beat that projection. PECOTA isn't overly kind to Halladay (230 IP, 3.91) and I think Ted Lilly can beat his projection (150 IP, 5.07), whereas Rodrigo Lopez would shock me if he hit his (140 IP, 4.63). In the end, it wont matter more than reminding a few more Canadians that they have a pretty good baseball team.

This just in, the Devil Rays still suck. Their projections are just ugly all around, with only 2 players (Huff and Jeremi Gonzalez) breaking a 20 VORP. Ouchies. Some interesting sizemic activity is being reported at Mt. Pinella. Perpare to evacuate.

Projected standings

It's painfully obvious at this point that I'm not going to make it through my team-by-team analysis. However, BP has released some sweet new depth charts, each with an accompanying team forecast based on the PECOTA weighted means and their best guess at playing time. They factor in just about everything that you can at this point in the season, including injury risks, manager preferences, defensive subs, etc., which makes them really cool to browse around. The stuff they don't figure in are things that can't be predicted, like catastrophic injury, huge performance shifts (like half the Sox regulars last year), etc. Anyway, I pulled out that info into standings. I'll go through one division at a time and comment. Enjoy.

We rewrote the standards.

Ok, so Trot is out until May and Nomar's got a walking cast on his heel. Here's hoping he didn't skimp and borrow John Valentin's just to save a few bucks. I don't need to see Nomar on NECN with frosted hair, ending his career up like Johnny V. "Hey, I hit for the cycle and had an unassisted triple play! I also hit the eventually winning home run against the Yankees a few years back in a game that Nick and his friends were at (it was the same day the Patriots were playing the Broncos on MNF) and when that home run hit the bleachers Mr. Washburn jumped up and put both middle fingers up in this Yankee fan heckler's face and screamed, 'FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!'." I think I pretty much summed up John Valentin right there. As far as scrappy mid-90's Red Sox third baseman go, I'll take Tim Naehring any day of the week and twice on Sundays. To get slightly back on track, missing Trot and Nomar for an extended period of time is definitely a blow, but I think that their pitching can do the job and compensate for the offense that will be missing. The flip side of that; I'm pretty sure the Sox are already going to experience a noticable drop-off in offense from last year. We'll have to see how this plays out.

I saw a bit of the Vet stadium implosion. It's good to have video tape proof of your revenge, especially when it's legally sanctioned by the laws of our Government. It's almost like Philly wanted me to come back and it was their gesture of goodwill. Now if they could implode the guy who called me and my friends "Fags" because we were all wearing spring jackets, maybe I'll think about it.

I'm concerned about Jayson Stark. Let's look at his last few articles: John Smoltz softball article about Smoltz being the last link to the 90's Braves. His "invited to Spring Training" article which details former big names who are now just trying to win a contract in major league camps. Skip the Sheffield article and you have one about Dave McCarty, which is one of the most patently rediculous articles I have read recently. My point? Jayson is crying for help. Who can blame him? I log in to ESPN and see his mug tacked on the end of a lineup with such luminaries as Gammons and Neyer. Here's the way I read it; The Smoltz article referrences Jayson's old tie to respectability. I know it's a stretch, but you have to figure he's done something decent to warrant getting this job. The "invited.." article is telling because again, he's referencing his lost glory days (and again, I guess he had them) and how now he's merely fighting for a spot in the bigs. The McCarty article is the most important, however, because it shows us that Jayson Stark has completely lost his mind/thinks that by having Major League wittists write dumbass 'slice of life' articles for him now makes him a "dual-threat". Jayson, buddy, grow the mustache back and be comfortable with your status in life. We all need a least favorite ESPN baseball analyst, and unfortunately Jeff Brantley has more baseball stats than you.

I think the resigning of Chavez is a pretty good deal, more so because I hope it is a sign that the A's are going to try and keep some of their talent in-house when fically possible. I'm also glad they kept Chavez instead of Tejada because Eric doesn't seem to have too much trouble with obscenity and I don't think we'll have to worry about Miggy's children in the playoffs this season.

I hate J.D. Lindros so much. It's almost irrational how much I dislike him. Attention Georgia: J.D. is no offensive savior. In the span of a season you have gone from offensive career years to career mediocrity. I feel bad for you, but unfortunately you've had a lot of chances to win more World Series. You got one, and probably should have had more, but hey, try harder next time. Anyways, get used to the feeling, because I don't think a roster that contains the name J.D. Lindros is ever going to be engraved on a trophy, unless of course there is some Worst Possible Moves (WPM) trophy that I don't know about and the Seattle Mariners suddenly fold, thereby freeing up the trophy for someone else to win. Bright Spot: I bet Johnny Estrada will do really well because I have him in two of my fantasy leagues. Then again I had Vlad last year and also made Kurt Warner my number one pick overall two years ago. Why yes, that was the year he returned to his Arena Football League form. Thanks for remembering!

So is my place on this board to write articles that ramble on about dumb crap and have very little basis in fact? Ok, that's cool with me.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Pappas

After blogging this morning I decided to send an email to Doug Pappas to see if I was on track with things. He wrote me back.

If the Red Sox ever decide to build a new stadium, they'd just about
have to use seat licenses, since everyone agrees that the state and city
government wouldn't pay any of the construction costs.

On the other hand, a New Fenway probably would NOT seat 15,000 more
fans. The trend has been toward parks in the 40,000-45,000-seat range, as
teams conclude they're better off with smaller parks that are more
easily filled, encouraging fans to buy tickets sooner and putting upward
pressure on ticket prices.

Doug

Let's get financial

In my daily BP reading, I came across a link to this article about how the Diamondbacks are creatively generating operating revenue while they are not eligible to increase debt (e.g. long-term contracts). It's a pretty interesting move and a commendable example of applying good business principles to the world of baseball. The other reason I'm bring it up here is this:

The team is seeking to sell 33 ownership units at $3 million a piece and about 4,000 personal seat licenses at Bank One Ballpark that are expected to cost in the range of $7,500 to $12,000, Colangelo said Thursday.

"It's the difference between renting and ownership," Colangelo said. "You'll own your seats forever. We're taking our best beach-front property and making the most of it."


Although I'm still a little confused about how this will work, it seems like an interesting concept and one whose merits should be considered in the context of Fenway Park. Since the Sox ownership has clearly demonstrated the willingness and ability to wring extra dollars out of Fenway, the question I have is would the AZ plan work for us?

Let's first compare the current season ticket structure of the two teams. After a bit of research on their website, I've discovered that the Diamondbacks have a very aggressively managed pricing system. The BOB is heavily divided into sections of varying price, as well as varying the price of weekday, weekend, and "premium" games. Their season ticket plan is simpler, and they provide a nice little chart to help potential season ticket holders understand the savings. Fenway's plan is much simpler.

So let's say you bought outfield grandstand season tickets this year at Fenway (who, me?) for $2,025. Despite the lack of large view-obstructing pillars and a presumably more comfortable experience, the comparable section at the BOB would be the bullpen section based on distance from home plate and relative location in right field. Those seats run $16 each at season ticket pricing, or $1,296 over 81 games. I'm not sure what the actual seat licensing purchase price would be, or if these seats would even be eligible, but let's just say $10,000 for this purpose. At a 6.0% discount rate, that $10,000 cash up front is roughly the equivalent of 10 years of $1,296 season ticket sales, assuming no inflation in the ticket prices. Now, that's about as likely to happen as Shea Hillenbrand breaking the single season walk record, but bear with me. This scheme seems to make a lot of sense for the Snakes in their current debt-equity situation. It should also be appealing to long-term fans who are interested in cost certainty and tangible value. Who might be interested in that? Perhaps some of Arizona's huge retiree population living off non-increasing annuity pensions (or better yet, a lump-sum 401(k) balance that they have to budget themselves) and settled in the area long-term.

Coming back to my original question - does it make sense in Boston? Probably not. The demand for tickets is so huge right now that even with 56% higher ticket costs (from the above example) than the D-Backs, Fenway is sold out for the season... in March. The coffers are already bursting with revenue from products that in some cases wont be used for 6 months. They don't need the cash and as long as they can stay competitive - and with this management that should be true - their income from these sales is virtually guaranteed into the foreseeable future. The inflation of the ticket prices over the next 10 years will probably outpace any other investment they made with the up front cash. The only thing that might make sense about it would be capitalizing on the extremely high demand right now and setting a huge purchase price. I doubt that would be worth it.

Here's another related thought. What if they used a scheme like this to provide financing for a new stadium? There may be something to that. If implemented correctly it would go a long way towards bridging the huge financing gap in any of the proposals that Harrington was working on. If Arizona can bring in $30 million off their deal, imagine what the Sox franchise could command. Ticket prices alone inflate that up to almost $50 million. Factor in demand and you could really have something. I'm sure I'm missing some complicated business issues, but the possibilities are fascinating. Well, maybe that's not quite the word most people would use...

more on the Bertuzzi hit

As a follow-up to the other hockey article I pasted, I think this one by Barry Melrose, master of mullets, is also well said.

The suspension the NHL handed Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi for his attack on Colorado's Steve Moore -- the remainder of the regular season, all of this year's playoffs and an application for reinstatement -- is the heaviest ever handed out as far as I'm concerned. Not only will it cost Bertuzzi at least 17 games, but it basically cost the Vancouver Canucks a chance at the Stanley Cup.

The physical play of Todd Bertuzzi (top) crossed the line in the Steve Moore incident.
But while removing Bertuzzi from the lineup changes everything about the Canucks, the league did the right thing in sitting him down until at least the beginning of next season. Colin Campbell and the rest of the NHL brass acted swiftly and decisively to send a message. This sets a precedent by telling players that crossing the line with their on-ice behavior is unacceptable, and it should be a good lesson for everyone.

As for what this means on the ice in Vancouver, there is no doubt the Canucks are a much different team today than yesterday. Bertuzzi is one of the 10 best players in the world, with his combination of offensive skills and physical style of play, and taking him away is taking away maybe their biggest impact player.

He plays a ton of minutes and commands attention from the opposition's No. 1 defense pairing, so without Bertuzzi on the ice that top pair can focus all of it's attention on Vancouver captain Markus Naslund and, to a lesser extent, his linemate Brendan Morrison. Both are very good players, but neither is as physical as Bertuzzi and neither has his ability to camp in front of the net and create havoc. And the loss of his scoring ability also puts more pressure on the defense and goaltender, so this is a huge loss in every way for the Canucks.

If he's smart, Vancouver coach Marc Crawford will play the "us vs. the world" card in the dressing room. He has to get his players fired up to prove something and make everyone who is saying Vancouver is finished this year eat their words. Crawford has to unite his team, and if he's smart he'll get a lot of mileage out of that card.

This situation isn't necessarily a black eye for hockey, though, because anyone who doesn't like the physical nature of the sport is going to bash it anyway. It's amazing that Major League Baseball cannot get its players to submit to drug testing and has pitchers who throw at guy's heads, yet people zero in on one unfortunate incident in hockey and point to it as an example of what's wrong with the game.

Those who know hockey understand that a line was crossed and that what Bertuzzi did is should never be part of the game. They are likely the same group that will use this as another argument for abolishing the instigator rule -- which gives an extra minor penalty to the player who starts a fight -- and letting the players police themselves by exacting retribution before situations like this arise.

Others will be calling for an end to fighting and a move to European rules, but they likely don't watch a lot of overseas hockey. If they did, they'd see that the European game is the dirtiest in the world. Players over there engage in all kinds of stickwork -- slashing, spearing, high-sticking -- and the physical play involves kicking and the like. There is no accountability or retribution, so a dirty player can run rampant all game long without having to face justice.

And the faction that says the NHL should adopt international rules forgets that the Olympics feature the eight best teams in the world, each featuring the 20 best players from their countries. The skill level across the board is totally different and the product will be better no matter what rules they play under.

Many people who don't truly understand the game are talking right now, but they are exactly the group who should not be saying anything. The NHL is dealing with one terrible incident and will survive. Let's just hope Steve Moore's career survives.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I will never talk about hockey again. I will never talk about hockey again. I will never talk about hockey again. I will never talk about hockey ag

I will never talk about hockey again. I was the focus of Colin's wrath regarding the actions of that guy on the Canucks there. I fought back and forth with him a little bit then I remembered: I don't care about hockey. Not even kind of. The other day the Bruins and Predators game was just starting (Nashville having a hockey team is a whole other rant, by the way, hating hockey or not.) and I just kept right on going. I watched a special about the birth of the machine gun on the History channel instead. That’s how much I am disinterested in hockey. Colin, I may not say this often, so pay attention: You were right. I had no prior knowledge to build off of regarding hockey, it's violence, or the number of occurrences of cheap shots. (Note: that reference at the beginning of that sentence cost me over $9000. Yeah Nick, you totally want to get your Masters in elementary education. Idiot.) Which leads me to my next thing: the reason why people who don't care about hockey talk so strongly about this is because we're all tired of raving about how Pokey is hitting so well in Spring Training. I thought Mark Bellhorn was the Stick and Pokey was the Glove? How about the Northeastern kids who hit off of Schilling, and simply based on that, have achieved more in their lives than I have? See, this is why we flip out about sucker punches. Nothing. Else. Is. Happening.

EXCEPT FOR JOHNNY DAMON GETTING WASTED THAT IS! Good lord people are bugging about this. Johnny is an alcoholic! He alludes to not drinking as much as Mickey Mantle, so it's cool! Scandal! Also this is based on something he wanted to clear up regarding Grady Little and his playing time last year, i.e. Grady thought Johnny partied too much, so he benched him. Grady Little, father figure. If you had a sip of Boone's farm and looked at a Sears panty and bra circular you'd probably get benched by Grady. *making a square with my fingers* Gimme a break. He's got the whole metrosexual caveman messiah thing going. He's not supposed to go out and party? He's 30, divorced and making millions. He'd be silly *not* to go out and party. The article mentions a joke he made on Jimmy Kimmel Live about drowning a tough loss to the Angels in Jack. It's not like he said this to Tim Russett on "Meet the Press" or anything. This is a show that on one episode had Jimmy visibly wasted dumping things in to a deep fat fryer (including some guy's watch). Once again, non-story. So to summarize this year so far: Johnny is an alcoholic, Pedro was late because to be a dick, not to care for his sick kid (because we didn't know he had a kid dammit, and he would obviously tell us dammit!), Nomar's SI cover was "suspicious", a sports writer suggested that Shea Hillenbrand may have taken steroids (which honestly I wouldn't care about because he's a homophobic retard) and Schilling's teammates hate him/he threw at Kevin Millar's head in anger. God bless the Boston media/fans.

Also side note to Red Sox fans: Cut the shit with this "IT'S SO ON!" thing. It's not "ON!" by any stretch of the imagination. When Adam Hyzdu gets more starts in the outfield than Nomar gets at SS, it's not even kind of "ON"! a little bit. Oh, and do me a favor: When it actually is "ON!", I'm positive that I'll be well aware that it's "ON!" so there's really no need to tell me exactly how "
ON!" it is.

ESPN article

I thought this was pretty well said:

Here come all the hockey "experts" | From David Schoenfield

I was watching SportsCenter on Tuesday night with my wife, who is a big hockey fan, when the Bertuzzi hit was shown again.

Her comment was especially revealing: "Now columnists everywhere who haven't seen a hockey game all year will be writing on this."

Hockey is a tough game. Sometimes it is a violent game. It is nowhere near as violent as boxing or football. A hard check along the boards or even a sucker punch to the back of the neck don't normally have the same potential for injury -- or death -- as a pitcher deliberately throwing a 95-mph fastball at a batter's head or race-car drivers screaming at 230 mph down the backstretch at Daytona.

Nobody gets outraged when a defensive lineman delivers a crushing to a quarterback two seconds after he has thrown the ball or when a wide receiver gets clotheslined in the head.


Marty McSorley looks down at Donald Brashear after slashing him in the face with his stick.
Yet ... columnists everywhere will be ranting and raving about this play, pounding their fists on their imaginary typewriters and acting -- like they do once a year -- that they actually know something about hockey.

As Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said when asked about Bertuzzi's hit, "Payback has been part of the game for 100 years." It is what it is. Steve Moore knew the game when he delivered a cheap shot to Canucks captain Markus Naslund last month. Avalanche coach Tony Granato knows the game -- he was once suspended 15 games for a stick to the face.

I'm not defending Bertuzzi's hit. It obviously crossed the line of fair play or even "payback" play and is unacceptable. If he receives a long suspension and misses the playoffs, it's a costly blow to a team with Stanley Cup hopes, and even Bertuzzi's teammates would admit that no attempt at payback makes that defensible.

But if you don't know the game, keep your ranting to something else.

Friday, March 05, 2004

I think I blogged on my shirt

Here's a stateriffic equation for you:

f(Colin's pain quotient | March 5, 2004) = SqRoot(days since last time drinking) * [(total beers consumed last night)^3 + (# of Michelob Ultras at the Fleet Center) - 2*(pizza slices eaten)] * exp{1000*(number of client presentations given at 9am + boolean variable for having to wear a suit and tie)} / (total hours slept)

Oof.

Continue the love fest.

Last night I went home, fully expecting to watch some Red Sox preseason baseball, i.e. check out all the players who'll be thrilling the shit out of Pawtucket in a couple of weeks. I checked NESN but it was nothing but the Mad Fisherman. By the way, if the Sox aren't on, do they just show the Mad Fisherman? This show is on *all* the time, and everytime I catch even a second of it, I want to murder. He's so annoying. He's like the guy from your office that as soon as you get in a social scene he becomes "the funniest guy ever". Fuck that guy. Besides, this guy makes Massachusetts stereotypes look like the proper english gents from Little Women. (I'm just guessing because I've never read that book because it's for chicks and I don't read books for chicks except for watching "Briget Jones Diary" once, but that doesn't count because it was a movie.) So naturally I'm an idiot and even though I have the digital cable guide I say "Well the Sox aren't on NESN so they must not be on period. I'll play Socom instead." So that's what I did. A couple of hours later I actually checked the guide and saw that the game was on 38 and it was in the 8th. Note: Earlier this week, much to my boss' dismay, I though it was perfectly sane that a plane ticket from London to Germany would cost $10,000. More on this as the post goes on.

Highlights: The Adam Hyzdu to Dave McCarty (I always want to say Walter, by the way) relay throw to get Lew "Diamond Phillips" Ford at the plate. It was a perfect relay that came straight from the "Textbook for the Totally Awesome". I actually laughed out loud when they said Hyzdu's name because a. I used him to make fun of Pittsburgh fans a couple of weeks ago, not realizing he's not on the Pirates anymore. b. He's on the Sox, which I forgot about for about 3 month, hence the faux pas. c. Everyone talked about him the year before last like he was going to break out. I figured for the longest time that he was a minor league prospect who actually had a shot to make it out of the dump that is the Pirates farm system. He's 32. Breakout? Not so much. Sit down Luis Gonzalez.

The jacked home run by Andy Dominique, which was followed by me saying "Who the hell is Andy Dominque?" I'm not up on the minor leaguers so much because I have real life things to do. Like be completely oblivious to my surroundings. So he's a catcher or something, but he's got the body type of Mo Vaughn, so I don't think we'll be seeing a SHOP-ek/Dominque tandem in the future. Whatever, he jacked the hell out of that Joe Roa offering. Speaking of Roa, he played for so many teams last year I lost track when they were announcing them. "He spent most of his time with the Padres last year.", says Sean. Stat screen: 16 games with San Diego. That's how many team Joey Roa played with last year. Somehow I don't think he's going to make the trip to Minneapolis.

Ceaser Crespo was up and I was sitting there thinking, "So that's what Ceasar Crespo looks like. Weird, I had no idea. Wow, he has no chance of making the Twins line-up this season. Their infield is pretty set. *Ceasar looking terrible at-bat* He's not going to make the team for his hitting either. *Ceasar strikes out and walks to the dugout, which is a sea of red* Oh. Ceasar plays for the Sox. Um, yeah he's got even less of a chance of making the majors now." I'm at the point right now where I'm seriously considering hiring a nurse to come take care of me and explain my surroundings to me so I don't continue this spiral of idiocy. My once cute "cloud of indifference" has turned into "flat out retardation". Seriously, it's not like the Sox were wearing their white uniforms or anything. Bright fucking red!! I suck.

The crowd shot of a guy and his wife sitting and waving to the crowd. He was wearing a Pats visor and they were waving like fools, until the gentleman had a stroke of inspiration. He jerked his thumb towards his wife, then made the throat slash motion across his throat, all the while she's waving away like a beauty queen. Best crowd shot of the year, trust me.

I really love when Sean and Jerry call games. Reminds me of my childhood.

Hebson, buddy, get some movement on those pitches. Half of those came in like they were on train track. Not good. Also, how tall are you? You look tall on tv.

Baseball is great!

Thursday, March 04, 2004

good times

I'm in a good mood right now and it's time to share the love. Things I'm currently happy about:

1. The Bruins management is acting like they actually want to win a cup. I'm probably feeling more shocked than happy about this right now. As a show of support I decided to purchase a ticket to tonight's game (along with fellow blogger Derek). As soon as I'm done here I'm going ot have a beer (or several) and watch the re-tooled Bruins stick it to the joke of a franchise known as the NY Rangers.

2. I listened to baseball on internet radio today. Sure it's mostly scrub players and no one's really giving 100% effort, but it's still baseball.

3. Fantasy draft prep is in full swing, thanks to the release of BP dollar values, mock drafts, draft guides, trade talks for keepers, and other stuff that I really enjoy.

4. The BP book is finally out. Peace to the Metro crossword cause my T ride entertainment just took a quantum leap forward.

Go B's!

Random Thoughts

Well done, Colin, on the A's and Twins writeups. I agree with your take on both of them. I don't believe that the A's loss of Tejada will be significant at all, supposing that Dye returns to even 50% of what he used to do, and Bobby Crosby has a decent rookie year. And I think both of those things have a very good chance of happening. To me, the Twins are a huge question mark. I look at them and see a team that lost its most valuable assets (Guardado and Hawkins), and have done nothing to address the losses. I don't believe that JC Romero will be able to step up and close games, and its not clear to me that Ron Gardenhire has the intelligence to give someone like Jesse Crain the opportunity to pitch in high leverage situations. I think the way the AL Central shakes out will be a very interesting story.

So, I guess steroids are the big story these days. To be honest, I'm trying to avoid most of the stories regarding the issue. Without testimony or direct evidence that players like Giambi or Sheffield or Bonds actually CONSUMED the illegal substances, I expect to see nothing but a littany of he said/she said and legalese mumbo jumbo. I'll pass on that. The issue of steroids actually seems to be overshadowing the beginning of the spring training game schedule, and that is kind of a bummer.

The USS Mariner (click link on the right) has had some great posts lately discussing new GM Bill Bavasi.

Hockey has been big in the news lately - the Bruins made a huge splash by trading Shaon Morrisson plus first and second round picks to the Capitals for Sergei Gonchar. They then dealt a 2006 second round pick for Michael Nylander. I typically have alot of bad things to say about Boston GM Mike OConnell and the Bruins ownership, but kudos to them for making these deals. Both addressed gaping holes in the B's roster - Gonchar is a premier defenseman who can control the tempo of a game and generate scoring chances both even strength and on the power play, and Nylander is a nice playmaking, second-line center who should mesh well with Samsonov and Bergeron when both return from their injuries. The B's are a real contender now.