Monday, February 19, 2018

BASEBALL! IT'S FINALLY HERE!

It's Spring Training, the time when every team is a potential champion - at least according to the media. Even the players are strutting about, proclaiming the virtues of their team. As usual, there will be the contenders and the pretenders.
There will be the five elite teams and the one sleeper. Houston, Dodgers, Cleveland, Washington and Yankees.will contend. The Angels, Boston, Cubs and Arizona will put up a fight but probably won't make the World Series. The Brewers and Twins were last years sleepers. This year, I think it will be the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yanks will be a lot of  fun to watch with all the big bats in the lineup. And I mean BIG. Mike Lupica, NY Daily News, describes them this way. "They're not built to break records. They're built to break windows."  This should be fun.

Money, money, money
I don't believe it. I thought that this year, Scott Boras would finally learn that he's NOT the smartest man in baseball. Teams would no longer be willing to pay out big bucks and long term contracts to players just to get the one or two good years out of them. We made it all the way to spring training before Boras found that "one dumb owner." It was San Diego. They just signed Eric Hosmer to a deal that qualifies them as this year's "ODO."  5 years @ $20 million per year plus 3 more years @ $13 million per year.This for a guy 28 years old. He  has averaged 20 homers a year with a  batting average of .284 over seven years. Good numbers but is that really worth $139 million? Of course, we're talking about a team who traded for Chase Headly without a gun to their heads. There are still a lot of decent ballplayers still unsigned and some of them will remain that way. Even Scott Boras has to be scratching his head.

Let's use our heads (What am I saying?)
Can we please bring some sense of reason to baseball's suggestions on how to shorten the games?  They have suggested putting a man on second to start every inning after the 10th. Start every inning after 12 with the bases loaded and no outs.
They want a pitch clock and a batting clock. These are too hard to control. There are so many parameters that it will take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out when to start them and when someone has violated the rule. You want to speed up the game without corrupting the basic sport? Two simple rules:
1) Limit trips to the mound to one per inning, whether it's the coach, manager, catcher or infielder. Unless there's and injury, a second visit means the pitcher is out of the game. Fake the injury and manager is also ejected.
2) Keep the damn hitter in the box. I don't care about swings and misses, foul balls or looking for signs. Keep him in the box.
While we're at it, eliminate Instant Replay and Challenges. There's 15 minutes a game right. there. Even with the arguments. Besides, I like arguments.  
As Groucho Marx said, “Outside of the improvement, no one should notice a thing.”

Another suggestion
I am not a fan of play-by-play broadcasters and analysts in the booth. They all need to fill every minute with words which end up being just blather. Please shut up. We can see the same thing you see. We don't need you to explain it. And stop with the "cute" terms. The player did not "go vertical." for cripes sake. He JUMPED. Why do we need so many people to announce the game? That's easy to fix. Just make the booths smaller.  A lot smaller.
Your screaming does not make the play more exciting.  Listen to Bode Miller analyze skiing. Very calm and informative. Please tell us the truth. Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are not afraid to say that some skating judging is absolutely insane. We know it, we saw it, too. It's not blasphemy to voice that opinion. I like their outfits, too, but Johnny is going to have to explain his hair. How can it grow three inches overnight?

***THEY SAID IT***
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, was asked by reporters what the difference between this Super Bowl and his previous seven: “This one is in Minnesota.”
"Fontbonne of St. Louis beat Greenville (Ill.) 164-154 in overtime Wednesday night, breaking the NCAA Division III record for combined points.In other words, they scheduled a D-III men’s basketball game, and the NBA All-Star Game broke out."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Canadian women’s hockey team defeated the United States at the Winter Olympics. These Canadians were mostly late bloomers. Some of them didn’t pick up a hockey stick until they were 9 months old."  -- Brad Dickson
" So this is how you judge Slope-Style Skateboarding: The winner was determined by who came as close as possible to killing himself while remaining standing on his board."  - Phil Mushnick
"Team Norway at the Olympics got 15,000 eggs instead of the 1,500 they ordered. So far the Norwegians are clean of PEDs, but their cholesterol is off the charts."  -- RJ Currie
"One problem with Winter Olympics is just when we begin to figure out what, for example, a good slalom run looks like, the events are over."  -- Janice Hough

"Serena Williams won the Australian Open a year ago while eight weeks pregnant. I think we’ve finally found something that Roger Federer can't do on a tennis court."  -- Bob Molinaro
"The Yankees have acquired the baseball rights to the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson. Imagine how the Jets and Giants feel, knowing that the Yankees have the best QB in New York."  -- Brett Miller
"Striking strippers in New York canceled plans to perform in Philadelphia this past week after they were told the poles there were coated with Crisco and hydraulic fluid."  -- Tony Chong
" Ex-Nebraskan Molly Schuyler won the Wing Bowl by downing 501 chicken wings, an average of 16.7 wings per minute — breaking the old record held by a garbage disposal."  -- Brad Dickson
"Among Oregon’s football recruits this year: Habakkuk Baldonado, a defensive end from Clearwater, Fla. Talk about mixed reviews: He’s rated a three-star recruit by 247 Sports but only one star by the National Association of Copy Editors."  -- Dwight Perry
"Wait a minute, how did  Shaun White get to be 31 years old? I didn’t know they allowed snowboarders to be over 30."  -- Janice Hough
"A brawl broke out in a professional rugby game in the country of Georgia, complete with punching, kicking and bloodshed. Then things got really violent: they played rugby."  -- RJ Currie 

CP-











Thursday, January 18, 2018

26 DAYS TO GO

Pitchers and catchers report in less than 4 weeks (Feb 13th) with position players due 5 days later. This promises to be one of the most interesting Yankee seasons in a long time. To paraphrase Chris Berman: "They...could...go...all...the...way!" 
In the meantime --
WHO
It's Hall of Fame time again, a very frustrating time for me, since voters have turned it into the Hall of the Very Good. There are 33 names on this year's ballot and I see five that should be elected, in my humble opinion.That's a lot for the harsh taskmaster that I am. The five:
Trevor Hoffman
Mike Mussina
Jim Thome
Gary Sheffield
Curt Schilling
I know that flies in the face of many writers who say that because they can only vote for ten players, a lot of worthy candidates will be left out. There are a few that are close, but not quite.
Wait-till-next-year would include the 2 Jones boys, Chipper and Andruw,Vlad Guerrero, Jeff Kent and Edgar Martinez. And of course, the steroid boys, Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa.
Interesting note about Sammy Sosa. The owner of the Chicago Cubs, Tom Ricketts, says that Sosa isn't welcome back to Wrigley Field until he owns up to his steroid use. Of course, since Sammy "doesn't speak or understand English," he probably doesn't know what's going on.
WHAT
Poor sportswriters, they don't have anything to report. There are lots of rumors but no free agent signings or trades of any significance since the Yanks nailed Stanton. Yu Darvish, the biggest name still out there, has named the only six teams he will sign with and still no movement. This is the Scott Boras Philosophy at it's finest. Who will blink first? Will the free agents lower their asking price significantly or will some team finally panic and offer a ridiculous contract? We will see.
I DON'T KNOW
There is a lot of talk lately about the New England Patriots being the beneficiary of a number of penalty calls that have helped them win games all year. Are they in fact getting all the breaks? It's possible but then others say, good teams make their own breaks.  No one knows for sure and the officials on the field certainly aren't going to say.
What's happening in the NBA? The teams are complaining that there are a lot of Technical Fouls being called and that most of them are uncalled for. The players claim  that the officials hare exercising a vendetta against the players. Again, you'll never get the officials to admit that or even explain what they think is happening. Supposedly, the two sides will sit down at the All-Star break and iron things out.
I DON'T CARE
The networks are afraid that will be the attitude of the viewers if the Super Bowl ends up being a Minnesota - Jacksonville game. No major market team can mean low viewership and worse yet, lower commercial income. Now we can't have THAT, can we? Well, I don't care,

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
The Good: Utah Jazz Rodney Hood was fined $35,000 by the league after slapping the cell phone out of the hand of a fan as he left the arena after being ejected from the game. Would have been better if it was $50,000. When are these prima donnas going to realize that those fans are the life blood of the sport and should be treated with respect?
The Bad: We have lost Keith Jackson, one of the best sports announcers ever. He understood all the sports he covered and did not try to impose his personality over the actual game. I will miss his pet phrase - "Whoa Nellie!" Goodbye, Keith.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Boston recorded a temperature of minus-30 degrees. And that was just between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady."  -- Brad Dickson 
"Word is Maria Sharapova has unleashed a record-level shriek of 119 decibels. It happened when Australian Open officials announced the withdrawal of Serena Williams."  -- RJ Currie
"The Cleveland Browns just threw in the towel on the 2017 season. To no one’s surprise, it was intercepted and returned for a touchdown."  -- Dwight Perry
"What's it like living in New York City in the 1970s.  I used to jog 5 miles a day — 2 for my health, 3 for my life."  -- Marc Sheffler
"LaVar Ball told USA Today his son Lonzo is a better player than Steph Curry. If there was a concussion tent in basketball, they’d never let LaVar out of it"  -- RJ Currie

"NBC announced that it will air over 2,400 hours of Winter Olympics coverage. Well, 2,402 hours counting the men’s events."  -- Brad Dickson
"The expansion Las Vegas Knights’  have a 17-2-1 home record. Does the policy of having the visiting team partake in the ‘two-drink minimum’ have anything to do with this?"  -- TC Chong
" Since we are now looking at a possible Minnesota-Jacksonville Super Bowl, neither with a quarterback most Americans have heard of,  I guess this might be a game where people really do watch for the commercials."  -- Janice Hough
"Jennifer Lopez publicly suggested Alex Rodriguez should be the next Yankees manager. Really? Last anyone heard, A-Rod had his hands full managing himself."  -- RJ Currie
"There’s nothing so wrong with the NFL that it couldn’t be fixed by a reasonably well-aimed nuclear warhead."  -- Phil Mushnick

CP-

Thursday, December 14, 2017

THE NEVER-ENDING BOWL GAMES

It used to be a really big deal to get into a bowl game. There were about 10 of them when I was a betting...er, a young man, and you had to have a great record to get into one.  They had names like The Gator Bowl, or The Sun Bowl. Of course, there were the big four played on New Years day: Sugar, Cotton, Orange and the Rose Bowl, daddy of them all. Notice too, there were no sponsor's names cluttering up the titles. And forget your record. any excuse a bowl could come up with got you in.
Now, there are some 40 games and they ALL have sponsors. There are so many now that soon the bowls will have to come up with gimmicks to attract fans and teams. Here's what I can see coming up in the near future:

(These are the actual names of bowls)
The Military Bowl
Both teams must remain at attention the whole game 
The Camping World Bowl
No hotels for the teams and no locker rooms. You can shower down by the crick. 
The Play Station Fiesta Bowl
The teams sit in the stands and play Maddon Football on their gameboys.
The Walk-on Independence Bowl 
This one's hard to promote because the game will be played by whoever shows up. 
The AFR Celebration Bowl
There's no game, just a beer party 
The Dollar General Bowl
It won't be much of a game, but hell, it's only a buck. 
The Franklin American Mortgage Bowl
You get in free if you bring a foreclosure notice on your house.

The Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Next year, you'll be eligible for the Franklin Amer. Mort. Bowl
The CheriBundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl 
After dinner, you come here for dessert. (Record holder for the longest name) 
The Bahama's Bowl
Make sure you see the guy in the parking lot. "I've got the best stuff, Mon."

The oddest sponsor pairing belongs to The Bad Boys Mower Gasparilla Bowl. Lawn care and a pirate. You figure it out.

Enjoy whatever games you prefer. Remember, it's all about supporting colleges and the sport. Or as My Uncle Al used to say., "I'm taking Notre Dame and the points." 

***THEY SAID IT***
"I just saw the video of Edmonton coach Todd McLellan reaming out the Oilers during a recent practice. Profanity? It reminded me of the last call from my ex-wife."  -- RJ Currie
"Reportedly Astros saw that Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches in World Series. Question of the day – why couldn’t the Dodgers see it?"   -- Janice Hough
" On “Monday Night Countdown,” Steve Young bit the head off a raw fish. If this doesn’t restore ESPN to ratings prominence, I don’t know what will."  -- Brad Dickson
"After explosives failed to raze the Silverdome on the first try, they had to rename it Cleveland Browns Stadium to get it to collapse."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"The IOC is considering pole dancing, poker and foosball for the Olympic Games. At the current rate, soon we’ll have Olympic Hangman and beer pong."   -- Brad Dickson
"LiAngelo Ball just got a tweet of sympathy from Bluto Blutarsky: “Three months of college down the drain!”  -- Dwight Perry
"A Florida couple hoping to sue their landlord for not fixing a door faked a break-in by shooting themselves in the leg. Who gave them legal advice? Plaxico Burress?"  -- RJ Currie

CP-





Sunday, December 10, 2017

THE EVIL EMPIRE RETURNS

..and so have I. There have been a lot of mildly (to me) interesting things happening lately, but we finally have a blockbuster. And baseball's winter meetings won't start for a couple more days.

Last year, when the Red Sox landed Chris Sale, it looked like lights out for the AL East. Instead, the Yankees gave Boston all it could handle before the Sox finally won the division only to fall in the first round. Which proves the adage: You can load your roster with big names, but you still have to play the games, The Yankee fans should keep that in mind, because...

The Yanks have added THE big name this year, one Giancarlo Stanton. This gives the Yankees  potentially four 40+ home run hitters. Of course, scoring is only half the battle. You also have to keep the other team from scoring. Cashman will probably try to nab a frontline pitcher. There are a couple of potential land mines with the addition of Stanton:
Can he accept being just one of the stars on a team loaded with them?
How will he react to the overwhelming media coverage?
Can he fit into the clubhouse dynamic?

The Yanks also have a new manager, one with no experience. It will be up to him to get this machine running on all cylinders. Aaron Boone may be a great guy, and a win was expected of him, but now...it's going to be demanded.

The New York media has already come up with one interesting marketing ploy. Aaron Judge may have the "Judges Chambers," but Giancarlo will  have "Stanton's Island." (Between the NY Daily News and the Post, this could be a long summer)

Will we see the birth of a new episode of Murder's Row? The Yanks have had some powerful tandems of sluggers in their past. Ruth and Gehrig, DiMaggio and Berra, and. of course, Mantle Maris. Even if Stanton & Judge match last years home run totals, they still fall 4 short of the M Boys 115 in 1961. It will be fun to see them try.

The Army-Navy game was played in the snow down in Philly yesterday, with Army winning 14-13.
There were 6 punts, 95 runs and only 3 passes. Somewhere, Woody Hayes - author of the "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense, was smiling, having a beer and saying, "Now that's the way we do it."

Syracuse beat Colgate (the college, not the toothpaste) for the 52nd straight time (maybe it was the toothpaste) and they did it with only three players. At least, that's what it seemed like. Howard had 18 points, Brissett had 20 and Tyrus Battle threw in 24. That's 62 points. The whole Colgate team only scored 58. I don't think the Orange played a very aggressive defense: they only had 5 personal  fouls the whole game.

A girls basketball game in Montana ended with the score 102-0. Come on, what reasonable coach would let his team run up a score like that?  Apparently, the losing squad only had five players. I give them credit for staying to the end.


***THEY SAID IT***

" If Yankees win 2018 World Series will they vote Jeter a playoff share?"  -- Janice Hough
" If you already rooted against @Yankees then it’s not sour grapes if you start rooting against Stanton right?"  -- Janice Hough  [Janice is a die-hard SF Giants fan, so expect more of these. - CP]
"Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon said he used drugs or alcohol before every game. “They also help after games,” said Browns fans."  -- RJ Currie
"The IOC said it might consider including pole-dancing, poker and foosball in the next Games. They also said it’s the first Olympics that will be held in a frathouse basement.”  -- Conan O'Brien
"“Giants players beg Al Michaels not to use their real names during starting-lineup introduction.”  -- The Onion.com
" A meteorite may have flown past the U.S. last week. Then again, it may have been a wayward shot from Lonzo Ball."  -- Brad Dickson
"Per presidential custom, Donald Trump pardoned two turkeys last week. He should’ve pardoned the Giants-Washington game."  -- Dwight Perry
"The attempted implosion of The Detroit Pontiac Silverdome was a complete fail. Meanwhile The Detroit Lions continue to implode."  -- TC Chong
"Arizona is considering a bill to outlaw wearing a mask to a public event, which could make it very rough on the catchers during home games for the Diamondbacks."  -- Jim Barach
"Bruins RW David Backes scored two goals in his fourth game back from having surgery to remove part of his colon. That’s right; he punctuated his return with a semicolon"  -- RJ Currie
"I had a nightmare that New York Giants officials were in charge of the North Pole and sat Santa on Christmas Eve to go with his backup."  -- Brad Dickson
"And you wonder why NFL ratings are down! Putting the Dolphins offense on ‘Monday Night Football’ is like putting Aunt Phyllis’ minivan in the Daytona 500."  -- Mike Bianchi
'Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife are expecting their first child. There’s no excuse for not getting Mom to the hospital on time.”  -- Brad Dickson

Just so you know it's really a Yankee Christmas at our house this year.
CP-









 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?

The New York Yankees are looking for a new manager, the only managing job open at this time. It's a very, very attractive job. The new skipper will be taking over a team with a number of young , extremely talented players, with a farm system on the verge of spitting out some more. They have a front office that will spare no expense to provide whatever is needed. You will also become more famous than you ever imagined and in some ways you will not appreciate.

That is the bad news. You will be dealing with a news media that is not constrained by a lot of facts, and they will report every rumor and criticism that they overhear, factual or not. And there are a lot them out there. This leads to the fans also being super-critical. They will  jump on every single move you make and you better have good answers ready. You will start to believe that every manager's press conference should be accompanied with a bottle of Maalox...and you're probably right.

There are already a lot of hats in the ring. So far, GM Brian Cashman has interviewed former manager Eric Wedge (very experienced) and Yankee bench coach Rob Thompson (in the Yankee system for many years). A few of the people who have openly declared an interest are Aaron Boone, David Cone and John Flaherty. There is also a rumor that Alex Rodriquez thinks the chance to manage that team is "intriguing." I would like to declare for the job myself. I've been watching Yankee games since 1955, so what more experience do I need?

I offer a note of condolence to my west-coast sister-in-law, the lovely Pauline, over the World Series defeat of her beloved  LA Dodgers by the Houston Astros. If it's any consolation, Pauline, the Dodgers finished second while the Astros finished next to last.

There is a real question mark over who will be the American League  MVP between Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve. Altuve will probably win because his previous seasons were also pretty good. There is no question about Rookie of the Year, however, Judge has that locked down completely. The AL Cy Young award seems fairly clear cut to me: Corey Kluber has a little better year than Chris Sale, who faded at the end of the season.

In the NL, Cody Bellinger appears to be a shoo-in for Rookie of the year and Giancarlo Stanton will most likely be the NL MVP, even though the Marlins didn't make the playoffs. Being on a winning team has always carried a lot of weight with me when it comes to a Most Valuable player, but Stanton's numbers are not to be ignored. Clayton Kershaw gets my vote for NL Cy Young, Kenley Jansen's 40 saves notwithstanding.
[A side note: now Bill James (with help) has come up with another stat, the CYP - Cy Young Points.
This is an elaborate formula which assigns a value to various stats which will help you determine who has the best year.  Two points here: the values assigned to each stat are arbitrary and they also include a "bonus" of 12 points if your team made the playoffs. What does that have to do with who the best pitcher is? This is not the most valuable pitcher, just which pitcher had the best year. I suppose Bill James has to earn his money somehow.]

The Silly Season (trade rumors) is about to begin and this time, the rumors aren't limited to this season. There are rumors about next season's free agents and trade possibilities. The Biggest question concerns one of next year's free agent - Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. The press is already projecting him as a $40 million a year man with at least a 10-year contract. There are a few teams you could buy for that kind of money.

***THEY SAID IT***
" A tailgating Bills fan is OK after leaping onto a burning table and catching on fire. I’m going to guess the fire was put out with beer."  -- Brad Dickson
"Did someone tell Michigan State players they had a bye week this week.  (Ohio State 48, MSU 3.)"  -- Janice Hough
" Dodgers Cody Bellinger set a Series record by striking out 17 times.  “Hold my beer”, said Yankees Aaron Judge."  -- Tony Chong
"A gambler won $14 million on World Series game seven.  Here’s what’s suspicious — turns out it was some guy named Yu Darvish."  -- Conan O'Brien
"Cleveland wideout Josh Gordon saying he used drugs or alcohol before every game: “To which diehard Browns fans are saying, ‘Welcome to our world.’ ”  -- Jim Barach
"A "Tom Brady Signature Edition" Aston Martin is for sale for $360,000. Because it’s a Brady edition, all the air has been let out of the tires."  -- Brad Dickson
"NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was among the first passengers to ride a new driverless bus in Las Vegas. To make her feel comfortable, they had it follow 33 cars."  -- RJ Currie
"Jerry Jones has apparently declared war on Roger Goodell. Pass the popcorn, this could be more fun than most NFL games."  -- Janice Hough
"Think this guy just might have an ink-cartridge endorsement in his future? Introducing Stanford placekicker Jet Toner."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night to win their first World Series title in team history. Sad news for Dodgers fans, some of whom have been following the team since as far back as Game 3."  -- Seth Meyers
"On a Florida highway, a potato chip truck collided with a beer truck, scattering the contents of both all over the road. This sounds like every other Super Bowl commercial I’ve ever seen."  -- Brad Dickson
"Three UCLA Bruin basketballers questioned for shoplifting in Shanghai. The college basketball season hasn’t even started, and already UCLA leads the nation in steals."  -- Jerry Perisho
"The 2016 Milwaukee marathon's course was 3/10 of a mile too long, and last year it was 6/10 of a mile too short. "Next year it will be just right," said Goldilocks."  -- RJ Currie
"Kate Upton, who is marrying Justin Verlander this weekend, says Astros pitcher fully supports her modeling career. So do I, Kate. So do I."  -- Randy Beard

CP-


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

THE WORLD SERIOUS?

Having rooted passionately for the Yankees since I was 7 years old (Mickey Mantle's rookie year...and, strangely enough, his uniform number), I never have a lot of interest in the Series when the Yanks aren't in it, but I do pay some attention. I don't understand the hullabaloo over this years games. They've played six games and two of them have been hailed as great games, and game five as "the greatest World Series game ever."
Two words: Bull and Roar.We're talking about a game where pitchers couldn't get anyone out. Why does that make it great? My definition for a great game is one that includes no errors, terrific fielding, dominating pitching  and a couple of timely hits. There have been many, many exciting games like game five, but the greatest ever? Afraid not.
Try game six of the 1975 Series between Boston and Cincinnati. That game contained some very timely and exciting plays, culminating with Carlton Fisk's body-english aided home run in the 12th inning. The greatest, however, has to be the 1956 game five - the Perfect Game. Let's have no more talk of the "greatest game."

Let's go to the real question. How come all these Cy Young quality pitchers are failing in the playoffs? Are they overworked? Are the managers panicking and pulling them from the game too early? Are they facing really good hitting all of a sudden? Are they not used to the pressure of a national stage?  It's probably a little of all the above.
I think a major factor is cybermetrics. There, I said it. The Book says that so and so loses it after 80 pitches. History says he has trouble the third time through the lineup. These facts are all averages, you understand. If a pitcher fails after six innings once, but pitches well after six twice, it's self-defeating to automatically pull him after six because you are simply perpetuating the myth, that he's no good after six innings.

Add to that the fact that all the playoff teams have what is considered very good bullpens. Managers feel, "What good is having the guns if I don't use them?"  All year, Keuchel, Kluber and Kershaw and the like have pitched into the 7th inning and gotten into and out of trouble along the way. Here we go into the playoffs and the managers have shown NO patience. Three hits and two runs, well you're all done. Bull pens aren't infallible. You bring in three relievers in a game and bound to run into someone who's having a bad day. Go to four relievers and that's almost assured. Give these guys a chance to solve their own problems. They're the ones that got you there.
In short, these managers are not managing to win, they're managing so as to be able to justify their decisions with front office and the press after the game. Especially the press. The teams that  don't deviate from their normal game have the best chance of winning. This year, it seems to be the team that screws up the least has the best chance. Throw the book away and watch the game.

To paraphrase Charley Brown - "Tell your cybermetrics to shut up!"

Talk about a night game
Could someone have Commish Rob Manfred call me tomorrow morning and tell me what happened during the last two innings of Game seven. I tend to fall asleep in my chair after midnight. I know start times are determined by the advertising dollar, but how much influence does a commercial have on a guy sound asleep in front of the TV?
That'll teach him
I'm glad to see MLB moved quickly to punish Yuli Gurriel for his insensitive mocking of Yu Darvish with his insulting gesture. He's been suspended for five games. Wait, it doesn't take place till nest season? As long as you're being irrelevant you might as well schedule it for spring training games.


***THEY SAID IT***
"Can we make it a felony offense for 1st person who says “Game 7, win or go home.”  -- Janice Hough
"Saturday night, Nebraska played the Purdue Boilermakers. After facing Ohio State last time, the Huskers said it was just nice to be back playing a college team."  -- Brad Dickson
"A kitten wandered onto the field during the Ravens 40-0 thrashing of Dolphins. It looked just as weak as — well, you know — the Dolphins offence"  -- RJ Currie
"A feral cat ran across the field at the tail end of the Ravens’ 40-0 pasting of Miami on Thursday night. Adding further insult, the cat finished the night as the Dolphins’ leading rusher."  -- Dwight Perry
"Miami traded Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia for a fourth round draft pick. A fourth-rounder! Miami may as well have given Ajayi to Philly for a stationary bike and box of kicking tees."  -- Greg Cote

"So Dave Roberts actually had the audacity to challenge a call based on a rule his own 2nd baseman (Chase Utley) caused with a dirty slide?"  -- Janice Hough
"UNC b-baller Joel Berry broke his right hand hitting a door in anger over losing a video game. What's position does the guy play? Pointless guard?"  -- RJ Currie
"Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw only seven passes in a victory over Carolina. There’s a lot to be said for bringing a rookie along slowly, but Trubisky is playing with the world’s largest set of training wheels."  -- Bob Molinaro
"An Italian soccer player was suspended five games for urinating on fans. This raises a frightening question: what do you have to do to be suspended for 10 games?"  -- Brad Dickson
"Game 4 could have started at 7:05 EDT, but TV money commanded that it begin at 8:21 — on a Saturday! And Manfred has the colossal gall to claim that MLB’s top priority is kids — kids who work the night shift."  -- Phil Mushnick

CP-














Sunday, October 29, 2017

2017 RECAP...AND A RANT, OF COURSE

There were good things and bad things in the course of the season, as they are in most years. The good things bolstered the confidence of all the Baby Bombers and helped them realize the great potential they have. Even the bad things were great learning experiences. A 29-game stretch in August when they 15-14, taught them that baseball is indeed cyclical, and that losses came become epidemic. But they also learned that perseverance pays off in the long run and it will help them stave off extended slumps in the future.
To accomplish this, however, they need that veteran clubhouse presence, the team leaders and the Yanks have a few: Bret Gardner, for sure, perhaps David Robertson.  CC Sabathia and Todd Frasier could both fill that role IF they remain on the team next year.
There is always some house-cleaning to be done at the end of the year and hear are my suggestions
Players to dump:
Jaime Garcia - He was only procured as a safeguard anyway and never showed any ability to be anything other than that.
Jacoby Ellsbury - His talents have deteriorated and he's good only as a part-time (very part-time) backup outfielder. The Yanks would have to swallow a decent - actually indecent  - amount of salary but I can't see that as being much of a deterrent.
Michael Pineda - He's a free agent so let him go. He's way too inconsistent.
Chase Headley - Can still hit but prone to extended slumps And his fielding at 3rd base has become a liability. Trade him even if you have to eat some salary.
CC Sabathia - sign him to a one year deal. His knee and shoulder make his continued health a mystery.
Todd Frazier - Re-sign him. He's a terrific fielder and a power hitter and could average 25-30 home runs a year. He's 31, so I wouldn't go more than a 2 or 3-year deal.
Starlin Castro - He can sure hit, but he's absolutely wild at the plate so when he slumps, I doubt anyone can help him. He's a definite liability in the field. I think they should make him part of a package with some 2ny level minor leaguer and get a decent pitching prospect. This will make room for Glyber Torres next year.

I think the rest of the team is fine.

Now the big question - who will replace Girardi?  I can't say I'm sorry to see him go because I was tired of him 3 years ago, and in fact, Annie-O is also glad because she's tired of hearing me scream about his decisions. 
A lot of names are being suggested by the Yankee beat writers, such as bench coach Rob Thompson and a couple of minor league managers from the Yanks farm system. My thinking has led me to one surprising name:
David Cone
He a natural leader, very personable and very smart. As we all know, he is a big, big proponent of cyber metrics. I think he'll work very well with the young pitching staff, and he's very familiar with the Yankee farm system. He would be my choice.  I asked Annie-O if she agreed and she said, "Without a doubt."

And now a word from my cohort in crime:

"The Chad and C. Vod Picasner Dictionary of Contemporary Sports Words and Phrases" Word of the Day!
SCUMBAGGERY - n. : any utterance by a billionaire NFL franchise owner when he thinks he is not being recorded.
Example: Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans said "We can't have the inmates running the prison" during last week's owners meeting, in reference to ongoing player demonstrations.
Perhaps Bob should be taken into the little blue tent and put receive the concussion protocol. Or, better yet, perhaps Bob should be taken into the little blue tent and receive a concussion."

***THEY SAID IT***
"Asking prices for Packers tickets have dropped 50 percent and Green Bay-area businesses expect a 15-20 percent drop in revenue since QB Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone last Sunday. And State Farm is down to just a Discount Single-Check.                '  -- Dwight Perry

"Tiger Woods has pleaded guilty to reckless driving. His short game hasn't been much either."  -- RJ Currie  

" The Chicago Cubs just dismissed their pitching, hitting & third base coaches after losing in NCLS. Wow, one win after a century and talk about greedy."  -- Janice Hough
"During the Astros' 11-inning World Series Game 2 win over the Dodgers, a fan jumped into the Astros' bullpen. If the game had gone another inning the Astros planned to use the guy on the mound."  -- Brad Dickson
"Odds-on favorite to win this year’s “Pot, Meet Kettle” Award: Kentucky’s John Calipari — the only coach to lead multiple schools to vacated Final Four appearances — saying the FBI’s probe of college basketball is giving his sport a “black eye.” -- Dwight Perry
"Apparently the cow that recently wandered onto a Brooklyn soccer field had momentarily escaped being slaughtered. It was like halftime for a Cleveland Brown"  -- RJ Currie 
"Ex-heavweight champ George Foreman, 68, challenged tough-guy actor Steven Seagal, 65, to a fight in Las Vegas after Seagal went off on NFL anthem protesters. They’re calling it ‘The Geezers at Caesars.’"  -- Alex Kaseberg
"For the first time, several dogs at the Iditarod tested positive for a banned substance. People got suspicious when one of the huskies led Stage 3 of the Tour de France."  -- Brad Dickson
"Joe Girardi fired as manager of the New York Yankees because he couldn’t get them far enough in playoffs. San Diego Padre fans are thinking ‘What are playoffs?"  -- Janice Hough 

CP -