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Saturday, July 31, 2004

The Great Debate 

The following question is based on a recent discussion with my brother Matt:

Which is the better film:

Dude, Where's My Car?


The Last Starfighter


Please leave comments below.

(4) comments

Holy F'ing Crap! 


The above title paraphrases, in a family-friendly way, my reaction to ESPN.com's main-page headline story on the four-team trade.

(0) comments

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Those Crazy Europeans 

I'm watching the Tour de France coverage this morning on CBS with my sister Erin, and we just saw a shot of a guy wearing just a Speedo chasing one of the riders down the raceway. Just thought I'd let you know what you're missing.

(1) comments

Saturday, July 24, 2004

More Outsiders Talking M's 

From B+ FOR BASEBALL: THE MLB MIDSEASON REPORT CARD by Will Leitch (thanks to Redbird Nation for originally linking the article):
Seattle Mariners

Speaking of which, this is a team that was just waiting to be ground into dog food. Old, without passion and with about as much offense as a Tim Allen sitcom, the Mariners were a nursing home accident waiting to happen. Seattle is about to vanish of the baseball map for a few years, particularly if it succeeds in finding foolhardly sorts to trade for decrepit bit parts like Bret Boone, John Olerud and Jamie Moyer. My family dog is named Daisy, and she is a proud dog, a Golden Retriever who is more beloved by the Leitches than I am. She is also 15 and can't make it up the stairs without vibrating violently and peeing on herself. Your Seattle Mariners. Grade: D.

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What They're saying About Us In Oakland 

From Athletics Nation on July 21:
Wow, how the mighty have fallen. Seattle, once a team that I loathed with every ounce of my being and the AL West team rival over the past four seasons, is now the cellar-dwelling team from the North. I still don't like the Mariners and their announcers. But time finally caught up to them and now it's a team that just ran out of gas.
Excellent points, and all true, mostly. However, one line in particular bears repeating:
I still don't like the Mariners and their announcers.
I really hope he's talking about Dave Henderson, Jay Buhner, and Ron Fairly here, because we'd both be in agreement (about their abilities as announcers; my respect for Jay Buhner as a player knows no bounds). And he'd be entitled to his perfectly reasonable opinion by disliking Dave Valle and Rick Rizzs. As for me, I like Valle for reasons I can't explain, since he certainly says some questionable things during a broadcast. Rizzs, meanwhile, hangs out at the Joker Pub in Issaquah, and anyone that spends time at a Coug bar is OK in my book.

But if the author of Athletics Nation has the audacity to criticize Dave Niehaus, the Voice of the Seattle Mariners since their 1977 inception, well... let's just say that I wouldn't respond too kindly to a statement like that.

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The Madritch Love Continues 

Bobby Madritch, on yesterday's Vladimir Guerrero Incident:
He was standing on top of the plate. I barely missed the spot. I was surprised.
A very Pedro-like explanation, Bobby. I like it. Madritch may just fill the void left by the departure of beanballer reliever Frankie Rodriguez after the 2000 season.

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A Haiku Tribute To Bobby Madritch 

Apologies to Peter White.

Just called up Madritch
He's our only pitcher with
Visible tattoos

(0) comments

Thursday, July 22, 2004

It's Far, Far From Over for the Cubbies 

Things haven't gone exactly as I'd hoped they would for the Cubs this year. They are now effectively out of the race for the division title, and they're two games behind the Giants and Padres in what promises to be an extra-wild Wild-Card race. In a lot of ways, this was predictable. In fact, it's damn near miraculous that a team ranking 24th in the major leagues in OBP has hung in there this well, considering they've also been missing their two best starting pitchers for most of the year.

We all know the bad news, so let's think a little bit about the good things we've learned about the Cubs this year:
  1. Carlos Zambrano is, unquestionably, the scariest and most impressive starting pitcher this side of Randy Johnson. Watching a Zambrano game is like watching a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. It's over the top, it's absurd, and it's even stupid--but it's undeniably dazzling.
  2. Aramis Ramirez really is an All Star caliber third baseman, and it really was stupid not to sign him to an extension before the season. He'll get $8-10 Mil a year if he keeps this up.
  3. Corey Patterson really deserves one more year to prove he might be a poor-man's Clemente. If you scoffed at that, you should check out their stats. Surprisingly similar at this young age. Corey strikes out a lot more, but he's got more power...
  4. Farnsworth really did just need to become a born again christian! He's been wonderful.
  5. We got lucky with Michael Barrett. Even if he regresses toward his career averages the rest of the season, he's a bargain at the position.

In fact, I think the team's biggest problem is that they are overly adequate at every position. Aside from Shortstop, they don't have a glaring weakness. This makes improving the team very difficult.

The overall problem is that the offense, as a whole, doesn't get on base quite enough (.326 as a team, compared to St. Louis's .341), but how are we supposed to change that? Is there anyone out there we can trade for who will make a significant difference?

The answer is no, not really. We could do a Moises (career .365) for Larry Walker (career .401*) deal, straight up. But that's stupid. Maybe we could convince Kenny Williams to send up Magglio a little early, for Moises and some prospects. That's the sort of thing Kenny Williams would do. But no, he won't. I don't think Boston will trade Nomar, and even if they did, he's a freer swinger than anybody the Cubs have now. All of a sudden, guys would be throwing 85-pitch complete games against us--and occasionally losing.

My point is that there are no good answers for the Cubs right now. If they could actually get Nomar, that'd be great. Otherwise, they're basically paralyzed by their pretty-goodness, and we just have to hope they start winning like they should.

(2) comments

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Madritch For Hire 

The M's are bringing Bobby Madritch to the Big Show, and designating Hiram Bocachica for assignment.  Madritch has been deserving of a call-up for a couple of years now, and he's finally getting his shot.  One has to think that Jeremy Reed and Jamal Strong can't be far behind.

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Monday, July 19, 2004

A Brief Word Of Caution Regarding Bucky Jacobsen and Justin Leone 

Before we get too caught up with Bucky and Leone fever, I'd like to point out one potential danger of their early success.  For the casual Mariner fans (which includes the local sports media not named Larry Stone), Jacobsen's and Leone's hot starts are likely to create inflated perceptions of their actual abilities, thus making them overrated as players well after they predictably cool off.  Hopefully M's GM Bill "Goat Boy" Bavasi (or better yet, his upcoming replacement) will recognize this and not over-pay for two rookies older than me.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Why Not Ichiro? 

Yesterday, Rafael Palmeiro participated in the home run hitting contest. Palmeiro is currently 22nd in the American League with 13 home runs and was not selected to the All-Star team. Major League Baseball is, apparently, selecting home run contest participants based on fan appeal and anticipated competitiveness rather than the home run leaders in each league. If that's the case, who would create more fan appeal, and at the same time pose an excellent chance of winning the home run event, than our very own Ichiro? We've all seen what he can do when he's trying to hit home runs, especially against a batting practice pitcher. Would it not be incredible television to watch the 165-pound Ichiro square off against a 250-pound steroid freak in the finals? This would have ESPN Instant Classic potential. Make this happen, Air Bud Selig.

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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Defender of Paul Bako 

Pete, this one's for you:

Rooftop Report is calling on all Cubs fans to stop "hating on" Paul Bako.

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Beer Helmet! 

Jim Thome has accomplished, to my knowledge, the first Beer Helmet (five-strikeout offensive performance) of 2004. According to my pre-season Beer Helmet odds:
Pullman odds for the first Beer Helmet of the 2004 season:

Jim Thome, 2:1
Pat Burrell, 3.5:1
Richie Sexson, 6:1
Jason Giambi, 6.5:1
Jose Hernandez, 7.5:1
Carlos Pena, 10:1
Jeromy Burnitz, 10:1
Sammy Sosa, 15:1
Rest of Field, 3.5:1
Thome was the favorite to have the first Helmet of the year, and he came through. I should handicap these kinds of things for a living.

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The 10 Worst First Basemen of 2004 

Inspired by a conversation with my dad about John Olerud, I've compiled a list of the ten worst first basemen so far this season. To qualify, a first baseman must lead his team is games played at the position (exception: David McCarty leads the Red Sox in games at first over David Ortiz, 43 to 30, but McCarty only has 90 at-bats on the season, so he was disqualified). There are a lot of ways to rate players, taking in all kinds of considerations like power, defensive ability, on-base average, and many others. Since a first baseman's value is largely at the plate as a hitter, I've ignored defense altogether (all apologies to the defensive wizardry of Johnny-O) and ranked all eligible players by on base plus slugging. Here's the list:

10 (tie). Julio Franco, Atlanta; Shea Hillenbrand, Arizona; .784 OPS
9. Carlos Pena, Detroit; .773
8. Rafael Palmeiro, Baltimore; .771
7. Carlos Delgado, Toronto; .753
6. Shawn Green, Los Angeles; .751
5. John Olerud, Seattle; .743
4. Ben Broussard, Cleveland; .734
3. Darin Erstad, Anaheim; .684
2. J.T. Snow, San Francisco; .677

...and the "winner" is:

1. Doug Mientkiewicz, Minnesota, .669

So, much to my surprise as I started this project, Olerud is only the fifth-worst first baseman in baseball. To be fair, it should be said that Oledud, Erstad, Snow, and Mientkiewicz are all excellent defensive players, so their value has been under-rated for this list.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

I Hate You, Paul Bako 

Unbelievable. Kerry Wood was throwing a simulated game yesterday, Bako was pretending to be the hitter, and he hit Kerry Wood in the face with a line drive!

Apparently, he's okay, but for the love of God, Bako! Could you possibly do the team any more harm?

(1) comments

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Backley In Blackley 

The Mariners just called up Travis Blackley from the Rainiers, and he will start today's game against Texas. Back in March, I advocated a spot on the opening day Mariner roster for Blackley, and it has finally come to fruition. Good luck today, Travis Blackley, and may the Schwartz be with you.

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