Friday, June 08, 2007

A well needed win...

I stand by my earlier statements regarding Curt Schilling and the degradation of skills. That said, it was a hell of a showing yesterday when the Sox needed it. While the story the press is reflecting on is the no hitter that got away in the ninth inning, it really should be wrapped around the fact that Schilling only threw 100 pitches to come away with the complete game one-hit win.

Schilling, who has historically gone deep in counts, walked no one and faced 29 total batters.

Why is all this so important? Because over the last couple of years when Schilling has been allowed to throw more pitches in a game, his following start to two starts have suffered. It was particularly noticeable last year after a 130+ pitch outing against Cleveland and Schilling just looked old for his next two starts.

One other observation: Is it just me, or have Schilling's trouble spots come up whenever he has shaken Varitek off?

Good job let's get number nine for Beckett. Number nine, number nine, number nine...

From bad to worse...
I'm trying to figure out if the Feds getting involved in the Vick dogfighting case bodes worse for Vick or Gerald Poindexter, the Surry County prosecutor who appeared to be dragging his feet on this case.

Poindexter upon being ousted by the Feds, made the following statement as part of the AP article:

"There's a larger thing here, and it has nothing to do with any breach of protocol," Poindexter said, still trying to rationalize where the federal government fits in. "There's something awful going on here. I don't know if it's racial. I don't know what it is."

Vick and Poindexter are black.

Of course, here are some of the issues that have taken place under Poindexter's watch:
  1. Shortly after the May 25th raid, the state animal control rep who was with the police on the raid noted that there was enough evidence to begin issuing indictments/warrants for arrests, particularly in light of the fact that neighbors could place Vick at the house in spite of his assertions that he was never there. Those warrants still have not arrived.
  2. Multiple witnesses have come forward over the last two weeks connecting Vick with dogfighting. Still no warrant.
  3. During Poindexter's watch, the Vick home where this all took place was broken into. Publicly Poindexter seemed unconcerned, stating that he believed that whoever broke into the home was probably just after furnishings...never mind the fact that it was a crime scene, and it could easily have been someone going there to destroy evidence.
  4. At least one witness noted that a number of dead dogs are buried on the property. Somehow Poindexter's office screwed up that warrant, and had to wait for that one to expire while a new warrant was in the works.
  5. As a breeder of these dogs, and an allegedly individual involved in fighting the dogs in both North Carolina and Virginia, the crime crosses state boundaries and becomes a federal offense.
All of this doesn't even account for the fact that the Vick family appears to get special treatment on the Virginia peninsula due to their celebrity status as athletes. Really, would Marcus Vick have gotten the slap on the wrist he had if he wasn't either of the following; A) The starting QB at Virginia Tech B) Michael Vick's little brother C) A black sports star in a predominantly black area?

Do I think there might be some racism at play? Maybe, maybe not. If there is, I don't think it's on the part of the Feds. Have the Feds lost confidence in Poindexter's ability to prosecute this case because of other issues? I'm guessing that's a yes.

Shoring up the minors...
According to the Herald, this is our newest first draft pick...
The Sox took University of Washington left-hander Nick Hagadone with their first selection, the 55th overall pick and the 25th pick of the compensation round. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings while posting a 6-1 record, 11 saves and a 2.77 ERA in 25 games this season.
All in all, that doesn't look too bad for a team whose first pick didn't come until the second round. Especially considering the kid is a lefty.

Coming Soon...Post 200!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Samuel and a lack of class

I've been debating whether or not to address this for some time...until I read the following by Don Banks at Sports Illustrated, "Moss last week traveled with his new teammates to New Orleans for the wake of Patriots defensive lineman Marquise Hill -- who drowned May 27 after his jet ski flipped in Lake Pontchartrain -- a player he had barely met."

Reports in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald noted Samuel's absence from the funeral. I wasn't thrilled about it at the time, as Samuel had been Hill's teammate on the defensive side of the ball for Hill's entire professional career.

Samuel has repeatedly claimed to understand that the NFL is a business, but it seems to me, when a person spurns a teammate's funeral during a contract dispute, then the dispute is moved into the personal. Maybe he had a family emergency...maybe. Or maybe he wanted to avoid having to face the Patriot front office which attended.

Either way, I think he needs to explain his absence. That event wasn't about team. It was about our connection to each other as individuals - and right now I'm seeing someone for whom money is king over all else. I don't know if that's a teammate I would want back.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quick Shots...

It's about time that CNN and the AP picked this story up. Genarlow Wilson is back in the news on the day when his lawyer BJ Bernstein is in court for a Habeus hearing on his behalf. Good luck kid.

Trading one broken player for another...
So the trigger finally got pulled on the deal sending Trent Green to the Miami Dolphins as the solution to Miami's quarterbacking woes. Last year the 'Phins entered the season with high hopes that the rehabbing Duante Culpepper was healthy enough to lead them to the promised land in the AFC East, only to find that they had overpaid for an injured quarterback who pretty much looked done.

After only a handful of starts, Culpepper finished the season on injured reserve.

Now, the 'Phins completed a trade and new contract for Green, last year's starting quarterback for the Chiefs until he was knocked out of a game with a concussion. Upon returning to the line-up, Green never looked quite the same, struggling mightily to get the offense going.

Is Green going to continue to be gun-shy in Miami? My guess is yes. Four times in the coming season he will be facing the defenses of the Jets and Patriots, neither of which will be the balm for his pains.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Michelle Wie...Nuke Laloosh's long lost love child?

Let me preface my next rant by pointing out that I don't think of golf as a sport. Does it require athletic ability? Yes. Is it a sport? No. Who really believes that John Daly runs to get in shape in order to walk the links?

I have a hard time thinking of anything as a sport in which the caddies do all the heavy lifting.

Now...onto the rant proper...

What has Michelle Wie done to merit the amount of coverage or the sheer dollar value of her endorsements? How long before the six foot 17-year old goes from "phenom" to bust?

Evidently Wie, who has been going backwards in her development because of her and her handler's insistence that she qualify for the men's tour, was in danger of being disqualified from the LPGA Tour for the remainder of this season due to her poor play.

Let's compare Wie to Anna Kournikova, a favorite for being referred to as a bust.

Kournikova only played until 21 when injuries had finally taken their toll and she made the business decision to make money on her face. At the time she had accomplished the followng; 209-129 overall in singles play, achieved a ranking as high as 8th, won two Australian Open Doubles titles, was bounced in the semi's at Wimbledon, had 16 WTA (doubles) titles, and was ranked number one in doubles in 1999. Not bad for a bust.

Wie - was briefly ranked second amongst women golfers in 2006, has finished third in major championships three times and second once, and has no professional wins. Wie has been wildly erratic, losing amateur championships as recently as 2004 to less highly touted golfers.

Let's face it, right now this is Happy Gilmore before Chubbs' tutelage...only in tall, female form.

She might have an immense amount of talent, but until she and her handlers worry more about developing the talent than they do about the next sponsor's exemption (anyone else notice that this is how she always seems to get into an event...not because she has qualified for it?), then all she will ever be is an attractive young lady with a freakish swing from the tee.

At least Kournikova won in doubles. Nobody ever seems to mention that.

Pats back in the news

With training camp upon us, the Patriots are back in the news. There have been multiple articles and what a good citizen Randy Moss has been thus far (come back to me when he's been with the team for significantly more than six weeks), how versatile Adalius Thomas is, and of course, the Patriots' very own "Where's Waldo" situation...delusional cornerback Asante Samuel.

In April, around draft time, Samuel told the NFL Network “We have a difference of opinion in my value. They think I’m worth one price and the other teams think I’m worth a lot more. If a long-term deal can’t be done at fair numbers for me and New England, then I want to be traded.”

I'd like to know what NFL team gave Samuel any sort of numbers to go by as to what his worth is. It's my understanding that no team has talked to Samuel or his agent. And while I acknowledge that I don't know if the agent has talked to anyone or not, I do know that these things tend to get out, and there hasn't been a sniff of a rumor.

I will say this one more time - Samuel had one great year. One. He has not been as consistent as Clemens, or had as good a career as Bly. At least twice during the season, if the opposing QB had pump faked and gone to Samuel's man, the passes would have gone for touchdowns.

Samuel wants to get paid, by all reports, as the best corner in the game. As much as I like him, I don't think he's in the top five (for last season, yes, he was one of the five best...but I need to see more than one great season to call him elite. There have been a lot of one season wonders in the NFL).

A shout out to Joe Andruzzi
I have been remiss in addressing this. Get well soon big guy. May the docs at Dana Farber get you through the lymphoma quickly.

Just a quick note about Andruzzi. The former Patriots guard, to some extent, became the face of the 2001 Patriots after 9/11. With Bledsoe injured, and a then little known Tom Brady at the helm, the most memorable images from that regular season, outside of Bledsoe being put in the hospital by Mo Lewis, were of the Andruzzi brothers clad in Pats jerseys and firefighting gear at the center of the field tipping their helmets to the crows, and of Joe Andruzzi, the first Patriot to take the field after 9/11, charging out of the tunnel, American flags in hand.

The man is a lunch pail, blue collar type player who, in his prime, set the tone for the Patriots line.

May you be beating on a defensive lineman somewhere soon, big guy. The NFL needs guys like you.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Money spent

As always, going into the season, the Yankees had the highest payroll in baseball. If and when Roger Clemens joins the team, the Bronx Bombers will have a payroll in excess of $200 million dollars.

While the Yankees have shown some life of late, the 2007 edition has to be considered one of the biggest busts in the majors to date this season. With only 24 wins, so far the Boss has payed about $8 million per victory this season. If the Yankees stay on their current pace, they will win 72 games at an approximate cost of $2.78 million per victory.

The arch-rival Red Sox, on the other hand, are on a pace to win 109 games with a $143 million payroll, or a cost of $1.31 million.

Do I think either team will finish the season with those records? No. I believe the Sox won't be quite that good in the end, and I doubt the Yankees will be that bad. However, that is the current pace of each team, so that is what I am going to work with.

Interesting coincidence - only three division leaders are the highest paid team in their respective divisions. Only the Mets, Angels, and Dodgers lead theirs.

Currently, the respective places of the other highest paid per division - Yankees (4th, 24-30), Chicago White Sox (4th, 24-27), Chicago Cubs (4th, 23-31).

I guess it goes to show that it's not how much is spent rather than how it's spent. For a breakdown of this season's team salaries, take a gander below.

The following numbers, ganked from represent salaries heading into the year -

1. NY Yankees 195,229,045
2. Boston 143,123,714
3. NY Mets 116,115,819
4. Chicago Sox 109,290,167
5. LA Angels 109,251,333
6. LA Dodgers 108,704,524
7. Seattle 106,516,833
8. Chicago Cubs 99,936,999
9. Detroit 95,180,369
10. Baltimore 95,107,808
11. San Francisco 90,469,056
12. St. Louis 90,286,823
13. Atlanta 89,492,685
14. Philadelphia 89,368,213
15. Houston 87,759,500
16. Oakland 79,938,369
17. Toronto 79,925,600
18. Milwaukee 71,986,500
19. Minnesota 71,439,500
20. Cincinnati 69,654,980
21. Texas 68,818,675
22. Kansas City 67,366,500
23. Cleveland 61,289,667
24. San Diego 58,235,567
25. Colorado 54,424,000
26. Arizona 52,067,546
27. Pittsburgh 38,604,500
28. Washington 37,347,500
29. Florida 30,507,000
30. Tampa Bay 24,124,200
Team salaries do not represent full team payroll. Number listed includes current salary for all players currently on the roster.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Headhunters, A-Rods, and Yanks....oh my

A few quick observations...

Interesting that even Joe Torre is throwing A-Rod under the bus for that yell rounding third during the game in Toronto. Then he's calling Mike Lowell's plastering of Robinson Cano clean...which it was. If a player wanders into the base path to make a play, the do so at their own peril.

Schilling is beginning to look like he could still be an effective pitcher for someone, just not as the ace...maybe as the number three or four guy. The one thing that bothered me about yesterday's game was that when he got in trouble, it was whenever he shook off Varitek and he looked tentative or uncertain about what he wanted to do.

After a slow start, Dustin Pedroia has raised his batting average to .333. As of April 20th, he was hitting .158, now he's likely to be named rookie of the month for May and (if he keeps this up) put his name into the hat along with fellow Sox rookie Hideki Okajima as a candidate for rookie of the year.

More bad for the Yanks - Doug Mientkiewicz starts to show signs of coming around at the plate, then almost has his head taken off because Derek Jeter feels he has to make a highlight reel pirouette to get the out at first with Mike Lowell coming down the baseline. The errant throw caused the Yankee first baseman to make a lunge at the ball that took him into the basepath and, in turn, put his head at ground zero for a collision with Lowell's thigh.

It was a scary couple of minutes as Mientkiewicz lay limp on the ground. As I watched, and the Yankees trainers sat him upright to treat him, I couldn't believe the butt-headed incompetence of the training staff.

The Yank's first basemen was obviously dazed (and his answers therefore shouldn't have been trusted), and there is no way that on the field that the trainer or doctor would be able to determine the extent of possible whiplash, neck, and or upper spinal trauma. Realistically, if for no other reason than precaution, Mientkiewicz's neck should have been immobilized before he was moved, and he should not have been allowed to sit up.

I sincerely hope that you have no serious injuries and that you get well soon, Doug. May the people at Mass General be taking good care of you.

And finally, looks like the Rocket is grounded for at least one more start and will not be available to the Yankees until next weekend's interleague play against the Pirates. The reason cited? A fatigued groin. Can anyone out there tell me if they have ever heard of this problem before, porn star Ron Jeremy not withstanding.