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Thursday, March 31, 2005

ESPN: Clarett Posts Better Time Than At Combine 

Story

So, Clarett went from "Slower Than Me When I Was In High School And I Was Running In Wet Grass" to "A Little Bit Faster Than Me When I Was In High School, But I Was Running On Wet Grass, Not A Manicured Track, So It's Probably Still A 35% Chance That I Was Faster Than He Is Now."

Here's how I see the draft going down:


INT. NFL DRAFT ROOM, DAY:

Paul Tagliabue, NFL commisioner, approaches a podium
with several microphones attached. The backdrop behind
him prominently features the NFL insignia.

TAGLIABUE
With the one-hundred-fiftieth selection of the
2005 NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks select
Maurice Clarett, runningback, the Ohio State
University.

A smattering of boos from the three Seattle fans in
attendance is the only thing that breaks the stunned
silence.

Fade out.

(1) comments

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Diamond Mind Projections for 2005 

Projected Standings for the 2005 Season

Diamond Mind Baseball is a baseball simulation software that can be used to simulate entire seasons at a time. Their writers have simulated the 2005 season 100 times and reported the results. About the Mariners:
Seattle Mariners (83-79, division title 25%, wild card 2%)
Can they really improve by 20 games in one season? If the 2003-04 Tigers can go from 43 wins to 72, why can't Seattle go from 63 to 83?

The 2004 Mariners were an awful offensive team, finishing last in the league in runs, in large part because they were 13th or worse in OPS at three positions. By signing Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, they fixed their problems at first and third. The shortstop position is likely to remain at the bottom of the league offensively, but if Pokey Reese keeps that job, he'll offset some of that weakness with Gold Glove defense. The result projects to be a decent offense, albeit one that will appear to be worse than average because they play in a pitcher-friendly park.

Last year's Seattle team also had a lot of trouble preventing runs. There are no stars on this staff, except perhaps Everyday Eddie Guardado, but there are a lot of good pitchers, enough to fill out a fairly deep bullpen and a rotation without any major weaknesses. If Bobby Madritsch can build on his 2004 success, and if Gil Meche and Joel Piniero can rebound to their pre-2004 levels, the staff could be quite good. And don't overlook the improved defense. Add Beltre, Reese and Sexson to a team that already has Bret Boone, Ichiro, and Randy Winn, and this could be the league's best.

(0) comments

Mariner Lineup Similarity Scores: Yet Another Hijacked Idea 

The Los Angeles California Anaheim Angels people have been doing this on their blogs lately, and in WWWWS tradition, I will copy them to get an offseason story idea.

Baseball Reference has a feature on their player web pages that lists the ten players with the most similar careers to the player of interest, based on a formula that compares the players' career statistics. For example, the most similar player to former Mariner Carlos Guillen has been Julio Lugo.

Here's the Mariners' starting lineup (plus key pitchers and bench players) and their most similar players (at their current ages):

Mariner player: most similar player (similarity score)

STARTING LINEUP
Ichiro: Bill Everitt (914)
Randy Winn: Doug Glanville (960)
Adrian Beltre: Ron Santo (965)
Richie Sexson: Mo "Move On" Vaughn (933)
Bret Boone: Joe Gordon (918)
Raul Ibanez: Geronimo Berroa (963)
Jeremy Reed: insufficient data
Miguel Olivo: George Mitterwald (973)
Pokey Reese: Andre Rogers (943)

ROTATION
Jamie Moyer: David Wells (903)
Bobby Madritsch: insufficient data
Joel Pineiro: Jim Lonborg (982)
Gil Meche: Chris Knapp (982)
Aaron Sele: Pat Hentgen (958)
Ryan Franklin: Elmer Dessens (977)

BENCH
Willie Bloomquist: insufficient data
Scott Spiezio: Vince DiMaggio (960)
Dan Wilson: Bret Boone's father Bob Boone (947)

BULLPEN
J.J. Putz: insufficient data
Jeff Nelson: Steve Reed (943)
Eddie Guardado: Mike Stanton (932)
Shigetoshi Hasegawa: Turk Wendell (958)
Ron Villone: Rheal Cormier (926)
Julio Mateo: Red Lynn (986)

The natural follow-up question to this information is, of course, "What would our guys do in 2005 if they all exactly followed the career paths of their most similar players?"

Ichiro (Everitt): 23 G, .264/.287/.308 AVG/OBP/SLG, 67 OPS+
Winn (Glanville): 138 G, .249/.292/.344, 74 OPS+
Beltre (Santo): 155 G, .312/.412/.538, 161 OPS+
Sexson (Move On): 154 G, .337/.402/.591, 155 OPS+
Boone (Gordon): Retire
Ibanez (Berroa): 72 G, .225/.318/.298, 61 OPS+
Olivo (Mitterwald): 125 G, .250/.316/.389, 97 OPS+
Reese (Rogers): 47 G, .230/.314/.377, 97 OPS+

Moyer (Wells): However well Wells does this season (both are 42 this year)
Pineiro (Lonborg): 113 1/3 IP, 6-10, 4.29 ERA, 74 ERA+
Meche (Knapp): 117 1/3 IP, 2-11, 6.14 ERA, 64 ERA+
Sele (Hentgen): 80 1/3 IP, 2-9, 6.95 ERA, 70 ERA+
Franklin (Dessens): 175 2/3 IP, 8-8, 5.07 ERA, 92 ERA+

So, expect Ryan Franklin to be the "ace" of a sorry Mariners pitching staff in 2005. Look for great years from Beltre and Sexson and a league average performance from Olivo. Injuries will take the better part of Ichiro's, Ibanez's, and Reese's seasons, and be sure not to miss the epic collapse of Randy Winn. Oh, and if you can get any action in Vegas on Bret Boone Up And Retires Prior To Opening Day, take it.

(0) comments

The All-Name Fantasy League Team 

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my cousin, Shelley (a huge Mariner fan) and she told me about her idea for a fantasy baseball team: Choose the names that made her laugh the most. So, based on this highly scientific process, I created this team. Brought to you by Snickers: Not going anywhere for awhile? Grab a Snickers.

The Lineup
C: Jason LaRue (great pornstar nickname)
1B: Albert Pujols (Shelley's only selection)
2B: Frank "It's Raining" Menechino (Thanks, Chris)
SS: Pokey Reese
3B: Dallas MacPhearson (Co-Stars with Jason LaRue)
LF: Coco Crisp
CF: Milton Bradley (I couldn't find a player named "Parker Brothers")
RF: Wily Mo Pena

Bench
PH: Bobby Hill (Dammit, Bobby!)
3b: Kevin Youklis (The Greek God of Walks)
C: Yadier Molina
OF: Nook Logan (best name on the bench)
SS: Freddy Sanchez

Starting Pitchers
LHP: Randy "Big Unit" Johnson
RHP: Kerry Wood (Don't we all)
RHP: Rich Harden
RHP: R.A. Dickey (noticing a pattern?)
LHP: Kenny Rogers

Relievers
RHP: Jose "Harold" Valverde (Thanks again, Chris)
RHP: Tim Spooneybarger
LHP: Mike Myers
RHP: T.J. Tucker (can be nicknamed "Hooker" without taking offense)
LHP: Jung Keun Bong (Attended Evergreen CC)
RHP: Ugueth Urbina

I wanted to put Dee Brown, Jeff Bagwell, and Woody Williams on the team, but I ran out of roster spots.

(6) comments

Monday, March 28, 2005

Hacking Mass 2005 on Baseball Prospectus 

The other day Joe and I were discussing over a couple of cold PBR's starting a fantasy league where the object is to put up the worst possible team. It turns out that Baseball Prospectus has been doing this for a few years now.

HACKING MASS 2005 is now accepting rosters for the upcoming season. It's free, and the team with the worst performance gets 500 bones. You pick one player at each of the eight field positions and two pitchers (Rockies pitchers are ineligible). Scoring is as follows:

Hitters: (0.800 - On Base % - Slugging %) times Plate Appearances

Pitchers: (Earned Run Average - 4.00) times (3 times Innings Pitched)

With the playing time multipliers, is imperative to not just select lousy Major Leaguers, but lousy Major Leaguers who are going to be able to stay in the regular lineup or rotation despite their ineptitude. Here are my picks for 2005:

The Pullman Banditos Yanquis

C Mike Matheny (San Francisco)
1B Darin Erstad (The Los Angeles, California Angels of Anaheim)
2B Craig Counsell (Arizona)
3B Joe Randa (Kansas City)
SS Omar Vizquel (San Franciso)
LF Frank Catalanotto (Toronto)
CF Endy Chavez (Washington)
RF Terrence Long (Kansas City)

P Aaron Sele (Seattle)
P Mark Hendrickson (Tampa Bay)

The Pullman Banditos Yanquis value local pitching products (Sele and Hendrickson: both Cougs!) and outfielders with funny names. This team should be a powerhouse, and I look forward to collecting my $500 come October.

(5) comments

Friday, March 25, 2005

Comment Thread: Favorite Bad Mariner Player 

Ripped the idea off from Alex Ciepley.

I'll start: Luis Sojo. Little League home run vs. the Los Angeles, California Angels of Anaheim. The double that made The Double possible.

Who's yours?

(7) comments

Thursday's Sweet Sixteen Results 

(1) Illinois v. (12) Milwaukee
Illinois 77, Milwaukee 63

Correct pick. Milwaukee hung around for a while, but there was just too much Illini backcourt for Milwaukee. The Illinois-Arizona match should be an incredible game tomorrow. When the Illini finally play a close one I'll have a bit more to say about them.

Dee Brown, incidentally, is a taller, better shooting Nate Robinson.

(2) Oklahoma State v. (3) Arizona
Arizona 79, Oklahoma State 78

Correct pick. Salim Stoudamire had just about the loudest nineteen points I've ever seen. The Cowboys would go on a five- or seven-point run, and Salim would squash it with a huge play every time. I guess Stoudamire was right. No one can guard him. We have a new leader in the CMOP race.

Salim needs a good nickname. I say Silky would work. Any suggestions?


Stoudamire's game-winner. (Seattle Times)


Doesn't Salim look a little like Ricky Williams?

(1) Washington v. (4) Louisville
Louisville 93, UW 79


Incorrect pick. Desired effect achieved. When I picked UW in a 23-point blowout over the Cardinals, it wasn't because I thought that would happen. Nor did I want that to happen. The hex was placed, and it worked perfectly. They forgot how to play defense with their feet, they looked like they thought the refs were against them, and Francisco Garcia took it too them and kicked their purple asses. I don't think that even ghost assistance would have done the Huskies much good last night.

(Reason number 74 why it's better to be a Coug than a Husky: Representation in American cinema. The UW has Sixth Man, starring Marlon Wayans. WSU? John Candy in a breakthrough performance as Tom Tuttle from Tacoma in Volunteers. With apologies to Nick Bakay: Advantage, Cougars.)

Listening to Husky fans for the next year would have made my life miserable if the UW won the championship, so I did what I could to prevent that. Apologies to any Husky fan readership I may have, but I gotta look out for #1.

(6) Texas Tech v. (7) West Virginia
West Virginia 65, Texas Tech 60.

Correct pick. Even with a ho-hum night from Mike Gansey that cost him the lead in the CMOP race, the Mountaineers sent packing an inferior Red Raider squad. Three reasons this outcome makes me happy:

1) Mike Gansey is still in the tournament with a shot at the Final Four.
2) Bob Knight won't make relevant news for another several months.
3) RD Baker, a Tech fan, loses his team. Eye of the Tiger sucks.

Ronald Ross was a great story for the Tech team, and I am a little sorry to see his season end. Ross started as a walk-on, and worked his way up to being Tech's best player this season. A senior without a lot of NBA buzz, it will be interesting to see what's next.

SUMMARY
Three of four correct picks.
Four of four desired outcomes.

I wish the first two rounds went this well for me in my pool. Stupid Syracuse.

(2) comments

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Please go to I'm stuck in rehab with Pat O'Brien immediately. Hilarity will ensue.

WHAT WAS BRITNEY THINKING!?

(0) comments

Round of Sixteen Preview and Predictions 

Brought to you by Capital One. "Marco!" "Po-no!"

CHICAGO REGION

(1) Illinois v. (12) Milwaukee
Illinois 81, Milwaukee 65

Jeremy at Sports at B's got me thinking about 80s songs and their lyrics, and this ditty from Tears for Fears sums up Milwaukee's tournament run nicely:

"Hey now, hey now, the dream is over"


"Home! The Illini are too many!"

(2) Oklahoma State v. (3) Arizona
Arizona 81, Oklahoma State 78

I may have mentioned once or twice that Salim Stoudamire is a pretty good player. OSU needed a career game out of their big man, Ivan McFarlin to get by the Salukis last weekend. Enjoy the CBA, Ivan.

ALBUQUERQUE REGION

(1) Washington v. (4) Louisville
Washington 88, Louisville 65

That's right. I'm taking the Fusskies in a blowout. Believe me, this is a rare event. UW simply has too many great players and too much depth for the Cardinals to keep pace. Louisville's Francisco Garcia should have a nice little career with the Hawks, though.

(6) Texas Tech v. (7) West Virginia
West Virginia 111, Texas Tech 106 (2OT)

Mike Gansey is the Bret Favre of this tournament. Never bet against him. Texas Tech has had a nice little run here, but they still needed Gonzaga to play like frightened 8th-graders to advance this far.

SYRACUSE REGION

(1) North Carolina v. (5) Villanova
Carolina 95, 'Nova 93 (OT)

No one expects this one to be close. So naturally it will be. Starvin' Marvin Williams continues his Jordan-like freshman tourney run for UNC.


No, Starvin' Marvin! That's MY peach cobbler!

(6) Wisconsin v. (10) North Carolina State
NC State 58, Wisconsin 50

If 'Nova and 'Sconsin come out of these matchups victorious, my 16-year-old sister will have a stranglehold on this year's bracket pool. This can not happen.

AUSTIN REGION

(1) Duke v. (5) Michigan State
Duke 86, MSU 75

J.J. Redick hasn't done a whole lot so far in this tournament. This should scare the Spartans. Look for Duke's Sheldon Williams to offer State's Paul Davis driving directions to NBDL home venues and practice sites.


Williams and Davis. "Mr. Davis, perhaps you'd be more comfortable playing at one of our lower-stakes tables?"

(2) Kentucky v. (6) Utah
Utah 55, Kentucky 54

If Kentucky wins this one, I'm eliminated from my pool. Say it with me:


Bo-gut! Bo-gut! Bo-gut!

(2) comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mike Gansey, CMOP of the First Two Rounds 

Brought to you by Dissmore's IGA. For the highest beer-to-actual groceries ratio in the continental United States, come to Dissmore's IGA.

ESPN published a good article about West Virginia's Mike Gansey, who I have honored by naming him the CMOP (Caldwell's Most Outstanding Player) of the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. When I received a text message from my little brother late in the second half of West Virginia's epic upset of Wake Forest containing only the word "Gansey," I just nodded by head, knowing The Truth when I see it.

Gansey's play late in the season and into the Big East and NCAA tournaments has transformed West Virginia from a plain English muffin to eggs Benedict. Against Wake, The Truth netted 29 points on only sixteen shots and pulled down seven boards. It wasn't just the points, though. The Truth was all over the place. Wake Forest's star point Chris Paul had the most basic description of The Truth in action: "Gansey kept making play after play after play." The Mountaineers could make the Final Four if The Truth keeps making plays.

(0) comments

King Felix on Television Tonight 

Felix Hernandez is scheduled to pitch tonight against the Angels at 6:00, televised on Fox Sports. If you're like me and don't have a hot date tonight (which makes it identical to about 360 days per year) I suggest you tune in to gaze upon the future of this woebegotten franchise.

While looking for Angels blogs to see if any had anything to say about the Mariners, I discovered Chronicles of the Lads, which earned a link on the right sidebar with this segment of its 2005 Angels preview:
BARTOLO COLON: THE BIG MANGO
Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life.
Also added were 6-4-2 and Pearly Gates. For a division rival, the Angels were pretty underrepresented, links-wise. Now they have four.

(0) comments

This Made Me Spit Out Coffee It Was So Darned Funny 

Brought to you by Folgers. It's no Starbucks, but, hey, it's dirt cheap.

In Jim Baker's 2005 Wish List (subscription required), published on Baseball Prospectus this morning, Baker hopes that one of baseball's most unbreakable records gets challenged this year. The prime candidate to take down DiMaggio's 56-game hitting steak is, of course, Ichiro. After remarking on Ichiro hitting safely in 135 out of 161 games in which he played, Baker had this to say:
He even gets points for already having dealt with a media entourage larger than the all-time peak posse-size of M.C. Hammer.
Simply brilliant.

(0) comments

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ichiro Speaks!!!! 

During the Mariners' Spring Training contest yesterday against the Rockies, throughout the game Fox Sports Northwest previewed the Mariners television commercials. Overall, they were mediocre at best. Nothing along the lines of Jay Buhner doing stand-up comedy or John Olerud and Edgar Martinez discussing the merits of a laundry soap.

There was one ad, though, that stood out, and not because it was particularly amusing. Called "Batter's Box," the spot had Raul Ibanez and Ichiro on a Home Shopping Network-like program selling a carpet batter's box that you could put in your living room. Ichiro had as many lines as Ibanez, in English, and delivered them flawlessly.

While his teammates have often remarked that Ichiro speaks passable English and in fact has an excellent sense of humor, he has always spoken through an interpreter when addressing the media or public. Maybe this is the first year that we get some candid remarks out of our right fielder. It would be interesting to find out what he really has to say.

Edit, 10:35 AM:
Also during yesterday's broadcast, Rick Rizzs spent a full inning trying to figure out who was playing second base for Colorado. I understand that in the spring, there are a lot of mid-level minor league players in the game, especially early in the camp. But this guy was #20 (I think), so he was probably at least projected to have a moderate chance of breaking camp with the Rockies. Plus, when he came to bat (the producers seemed to know exactly who he was) his AAA stats were ready: .290 average, 11 home runs. Don't these guys get issued a roster before the game?

Edit, 10:45 AM:
Yesterday's box score lists two second basemen appearing in the game for the Rockies: Aaron Miles and Eddy Garabito. Neither hit 11 home runs nor hit .290 last year, although both did play at the AAA level. Maybe Rizzs was correct to dub #20 the "Mystery Man."

(0) comments

Monday, March 21, 2005

Was The Game Almost a Coug? 

I don't know about the validity of the source, but there's a rumor going around that the rapper The Game (what do his friends call him? The?) was once offered a scholarship to play basketball here at Washington State. The article also says that he was booted from school for selling drugs (which is not true; he would have had to have signed a letter of intent by that time and there is not one on record) and that he acquired the ability to rhyme after awakening from a coma, so there are some questionable aspects here. However, stories that rappers invent about themselves are often founded on some small factual base, and it is possible that an offer was indeed made to The Game, or Jayceon Taylor as his mother calls him.

Hopefully The Game and 50 Cent can let up a bit on their fake feud so that no one gets hurt and we can find out the truth about Mr. Taylor's association with the finest university in Pullman.

Edit, 3:39 PM, 3/23/05
Added a link to a story about 50 and The Game so that if my parents read this post they'll have some idea what the hell I'm talking about.

(0) comments

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Most Controversial Thing I've Ever Posted (with admittedly little competition), or Why Steroids Are Healthier Than Fast Food (an opinion piece) 

Brought to you by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative

Congress, as I don't doubt you already are well aware, has recently subjected a handfull of current and former Major League sluggers (and Curt Schilling) to a pointless hearing about steroids in baseball, claiming that the actions of famous baseball players influence the youth of our nation greatly enough to warrant federal involvement. It is my opinion, and that of many other notables in both the print and online media, that the manner in which a privately held entity such as Major League Baseball monitors its employees for drug use is completely outside the jurisdiction of American government. Sadly, it is in line with the current American political trend that the government is misusing its legislative arm by dealing with issues of morality or personal freedom and responsibility instead of (pick one) reducing foreign oil dependence/finding and arresting terrorists/fixing medicare and social security/funding arts programs/pandering for campaign donations.

The irony is that what a ballplayer like Mark McGwire might have put into his body has a much less detrimental impact on our youth than a megalithic corporation's particularly beloved brainwashing instrument: Ronald McDonald.

Children all over America and around the world are enamored with Ronald McDonald and the heart-attack-in-a-sesame-seed-bun he hawks. Our kids are probably the fattest, laziest, and generally most unhealthy of any industrialized nation, and Ronald McDonald's irresistible influence (and those of Grimace, Hamburglar, the Fry Guys, Birdie, and Mayor McCheese) plays a key role.

Steroids don't provide any benefit unless the user lifts weights relentlessly. A youngster choosing to follow in someone like Jason Giambi's footsteps would at least get off the couch and exercise regularly.

(3) comments

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Procrastinator's Preview of the Pac-10 Championship Game 

I chickened out with my semifinals picks, taking the favorites Washington and Arizona. The way the Pac-10 unfolded this season though, it was the Huskies, Wildcats, and eight also-rans, so I felt there was no way I could take OSU or Stanford.

I would have had a finals preview up yesterday, but travelling from Pullman to Snoqualmie took up most of my day. If I had written a proper preview, it would have went something like this:

Here's your preview, brought to you proudly by the Joker Pub. Husky fever got you down? Come to the west side's Cougar home, the Joker Pub in Issaquah.

(1) Arizona v. (2) Washington
Arizona 95, Washington 90

I know, I know, another favorite. Here's the thing though: Arizona has steamrolled their way through the first two rounds, putting the hurt on Cal and Oregon State on their way to the championship game. Their starters haven't been on the court for very long, and that rest should be a major advantage for CPOY (Caldwell's Player of the Year) Salim Stoudamire and crew. The Huskies, by contrast, have played two tough games, going into OT against Arizona State in the opener and just getting by Stanford's boxing team 66-63 on Friday. Despite their overall depth advantage, a lot of key Huskies have played a lot of minutes the last two days, and I expect that to be the deciding factor. Plus, Arizona simply looks too good lately.


So I was way off. In retrospect, I suppose my well-documented biases in the Pac-10 left me simply unable to pick the Huskies when it came down to it. So shoot me.

(1) comments

Friday, March 11, 2005

Rick Ankiel and Unrealistic Expectations 

It's a couple days old by now, but I can't ignore the news that Rick Ankiel is giving up pitching to try to become a big league outfielder. Ankiel was named the high school pitcher of the year and minor league pitcher of the year in the same season, and the following year, at age 20, was called up to pitch for the Cardinals. Expectations were beyond huge; Ankiel, a lefty with a blazing fastball and nasty curve, was immediately compared by just about everyone to the immortally great Sandy Koufax. When Ankiel started having his notorious control problems, so bad that he had trouble hitting the catcher let alone the strike zone, everyone seemed to have a solution except for Ankiel himself. After demotion to the minor leagues and arm surgery, Ankiel finally worked his way back to the Cardinals roster and pitched well, but this spring the wildness again reared its ugly head.

There have been many articles written about Ankiel's demise, none better than Brian Gunn's on The Hardball Times, that list and comment on the various prevailing theories about its causes. I personally buy into the Chuck Knoblauch hypothesis: thinking too much about a routine task dooms it to failure.

Rick Ankiel's attempt to convert himself into a Major League outfielder has few precedents, Babe Ruth most notably, and will undoubtedly be difficult to achieve. Unfortunately, he still can't get away from the gaudy expectations. I can't, off the top of my head, think of anyone besides Ruth that pitched in the major leagues and later became a successful position player. If he does indeed make it as an outfielder it will be a terrific story, and I wish Ankiel the best of luck.

(0) comments

Round 2 of Name That Box Score 

The four readers who stuck through the end of last season might remember the first installment of Name That Box Score. Today, with not a whole lot of Mariner material out there, I thought we could do it one more time. Last time was easy (the answer was Griffey Jr.'s debut). This one will be a little bit tougher. If you can name the date and historical significance of the box score that follows, leave a comment below and I'll be sure to give you your prize of a high-five when I get the chance. And no, the answer isn't that Hasegawa beaned A-Rod.


SEA A 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 2 0 - 9 18 1
TEX A 0 0 0 2 0 3 2 0 0 - 7 10 0

BATTING

Seattle Mariners AB R H RBI BB K PO A
Suzuki rf 6 2 2 0 0 1 2 1
Guillen ss 5 1 1 2 1 0 3 5
Boone 2b 4 1 2 2 1 0 1 5
Cameron cf 4 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Sierra lf 5 1 5 1 0 0 0 0
Relaford pr,3b 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Olerud 1b 4 1 4 2 1 0 13 2
Wright dh 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
McLemore ph,dh 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Davis c 5 0 1 1 0 1 5 0
Gipson 3b,lf 4 1 3 1 1 0 1 0
Halama p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Franklin p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hasegawa p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sasaki p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 42 9 18 9 5 5 27 15
FIELDING -
DP: 1.
E: Boone (1).
BATTING -
2B: Suzuki (3,off Rogers); Sierra (4,off Rogers); Gipson 2 (2,off Rogers,off
Woodard).
3B: Guillen (1,off Woodard).

Texas Rangers AB R H RBI BB K PO A
Young 2b 3 2 2 0 0 0 3 1
Catalanotto ph,2b 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Greer lf 5 1 2 1 0 1 2 0
A. Rodriguez ss 3 2 2 5 0 0 1 4
Palmeiro 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
I. Rodriguez dh 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Kapler cf 4 0 2 0 0 0 3 0
Mench rf 3 1 1 0 1 1 2 0
Haselman c 2 0 1 0 1 0 4 1
Everett ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lamb c 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Blalock 3b 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 5
Rogers p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4
Woodard p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Miceli p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Seanez p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rocker p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 35 7 10 6 2 5 27 15
FIELDING -
DP: 1. TP: 1.
PB: Haselman (1).
BATTING -
2B: Young (1,off Halama); Kapler (4,off Hasegawa).
HR: A. Rodriguez 2 (4,4th inning off Halama 1 on, 1 out,6th inning off Halama
2 on, 0 out).
HBP: A. Rodriguez (3,by Hasegawa).

PITCHING

Seattle Mariners IP H HR R ER BB K
Halama 6 8 2 5 5 0 2
Franklin 0 0 0 2 1 2 0
Hasegawa W(2-0) 1.2 2 0 0 0 0 2
Sasaki SV(3) 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 9.0 10 2 7 6 2 5

Texas Rangers IP H HR R ER BB K
Rogers 6 8 0 1 1 3 1
Woodard 0 3 0 3 3 0 0
Miceli 0.1 3 0 3 3 0 0
Seanez L(0-2) 1.1 3 0 2 1 1 2
Rocker 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 2
Totals 9.0 18 0 9 8 5 5

WP: Seanez 2 (2).
HBP: Hasegawa (1,A. Rodriguez).
Umpires: Derryl Cousins, Martin Foster, Andrew Fletcher, Joe Brinkman
Time of Game: 3:39 Attendance: 32866

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Pac-10 Semifinals 

Yesterday's quarterfinal action was, in case you have a job or something and weren't able to watch basketball all day, intense. With the exception of the opening Arizona-Cal game (Arizona by a lot), the games all went down to the last few possessions. Arizona State took the Huskies to overtime but eventually ran into too much Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, AKA Nate Robinson, and the UW won 95-90. I was right in thinking that UCLA was due for a let-down game, but I chickened out before going as far as picking the Beavs to win. My bad: OSU 79, UCLA 72. UCLA should still make the NCAAs, but I can't say that they're a lock any more. In the nightcap and by far the most heartbreaking game of the day, the mighty Cougs fell to Stanford 60-58. WSU's first All-Conference player since 1998, Thomas Kelati, went down swinging, dropping 20 on 7-11 shooting. Kelati's easily the best player I've seen in Pullman since I've been here, and he and fellow senior Jeff Varem leave a major hole for the team to fill next season.

Before I go on with the semifinals preview, I think it's time to tell my Jeff Varem Most Ridiculous Dunk Ever story, in honor of Dr. Dunkenstein's final college game yesterday. The Cougs were at home taking on Cal last season, and beating them handily. It was one of those games where the losing team is mailing it in for the last few minutes, and the winning team is just trying to get dunks and not piss off the coach too much by doing anything stupid. Varem received the ball on the right wing guarded by somebody that had no business doing so. One dribble later, and Varem had a full step on his man with nothing standing between him and a rim-shaking dunk. Nothing, that is, except for a 6'2", 185 pound Englishman named Richard Midgley. Limey was going to try to step in and draw the offensive foul. Varem, who at 6'6", 240, is easily a good enough athlete to play defensive end for a mid-major program, was having none of that. Varem leaped from about the hash line, knocked Midgley, who was just a split-second too late to draw the charge, underneath the basket support, and finished with a left-handed flush. Two or three minutes later, when Midgley's teammates were finally able to scrape Midgley's beaten frame off the first row of seats, the fans were still unable to speak coherently. It was just a bunch of laughter and shaking heads in disbelief.

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Midgley and Varem. Poor Brit never stood a chance.


Here's the preview, brought to you by Franzia White Zinfandel. Five Liters of Frugal Fun!


SEMIFINALS

(1) Arizona v. (5) Oregon State
Arizona 79, OSU 70

Oregon State lost every conference road game that they played this year. At home, their only loss was to the Wildcats. So what does this mean on a neutral court? Beats me. It'll be close, but Arizona has too much Salim for OSU to handle.

(2) Washington v. (3) Stanford
Washington 80, Stanford 78

This game boils down to tempo. Will it be an up-and-down, open-gym-style ratball match favoring the Huskies, or a methodical, disciplined, get away with illegal picks game favoring Stanford? I'm thinking the Huskies can keep the pace up long enough to escape with a victory. Look for a big game from Bobby Jones. Also look for Mike Jensen to at some point tell a Stanford player, "I must break you."

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Jensen and Ivan Drago. I've never seen both in the same place, most likely because Drago is a fictional character.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hey, Mix In a New Post Once In a While! 

Spring Training is finally here, and I'm finally writing about it, albeit briefly. Big stories:

Richie Sexson, in an indefensibly foolish attempt to recreate the checked swing that he hurt himself with last year, reports that the shoulder is fine and that he'll be ready to strike out 180 times again in 2005.

Adrian Beltre, the M's biggest free agent since Kevin Mitchell, is godlike in stature and will lead the Mariner faithful to the promised land.

"King" Felix Hernandez, 18-year-old pitcher, has an apparently haircut-related mechanical flaw that causes his hat to fall to the ground after every pitch.

Jamie Moyer is, like, older than my dad. Seriously, doesn't it seem like he's been with the team more than ten seasons?


Alright, now that we're all square with the stated subject of my blog, it's time to discuss what's really been on my mind in the world of sports these past six weeks. That of course being Pac-10 men's basketball. With the tournament starting Thursday (and only allowing eight teams, while all ten women's teams participate), here's my Official Game-By-Game Preview of the first round's action, brought to you by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Maruchan Instant Lunch, and Quizno's. Mmmmmm, toasty!


(1) Arizona v. (8) Cal

Arizona 93, Cal 70
Arizona puts up should-have-been Pac-10 POY Salim Stoudamire and Cal counters with, uh, Richard Midgely?

(4) UCLA v. (5) Oregon St.

UCLA 75, OSU 69
Despite all the new NCAA hype, or maybe as a result of it, this game has let-down written all over it for the Bruins. Of course, I can't pick four Pac-10 teams into the Sweet 16 without getting four in the NCAAs, so I'll give UCLA the nod this time.

(2) Washington v. (7) Arizona State

UW 85, ASU 57
I just picked this up over the Associated Press wire:
TEMPE, AZ (AP)
Ike Diogu, it turns out, is HUGELY overrated.
Back on Feb. 26, I personally observed the Cougs' Chris Schlatter single handedly throw a wrench in the offense of the entire ASU squad by simply fronting Diogu the whole game. Diogu is constantly praised by the media for being this rare great person amongst today's rambunctious youth, what with his early 1960s-style mini-Afro and lack of tattoos and all. Constant dirty looks at teammates every trip that he doesn't get the ball notwithstanding, I guess. Diogu often is contrasted with Stoudamire, who gets knocked for occasionally dogging it on the court, a charged backed mostly by Stoudamire's apparent lack of enthusiasm on his face. Have you seen Diogu play? The guy looks like he just woke up and is really unhappy about that fact. Stoudamire's also got, gasp!, shaggy hair and tattoos! What a complete punk. If there was a clean-cut white guy in the POY running this year I'd hate to read the kind of racist garbage the papers would be putting out right now. Oh, uh, the Huskies are really good, in case you hadn't noticed yet.

(3) Stanford v. (6) Washington State

Cougs 65, Stanford 50
Stanford relies on physically beating the crap out of their opponents and not making mistakes on offense. Against most teams this is a novel approach, but not the Cougs. The Cougs rely on a similar approach, but with superior athletes, and look to sweep the season series against the Cardinal. Just a hunch, but I think the Cougs' "Flyin' Hawaiian," Derrick Low, is going to blow up in this game. Something along the lines of 18 points, 11 assists, 4 steals.

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