Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Miscellaneous great quote du jour.

"I didn't go to school just to eat my lunch." --Jim Leyland

GAME TWO: And now back to...spring training. Right.

And he's healthy. (In March, anyway.)

Rich Harden was very hard to hit, no one has ever swept one of these two-game series in Japan (in three tries), Manny Ramirez still has his hitting shoes on, J.D. Drew did too but apparently came to Japan to play the two games that didn't count instead of the two that did, and we're a long way from Boston. (Three that don't count in the Colosseum with the Dodgers, three that do at Oakland, and then April 8th comes at last.)

Anyway, that was a diversion, if not a real opening. Konichiwa, bitches.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

GAME ONE: Baseball, or Bizarroball?

Baseball is played in the afternoon or evening no matter where you live. It is played within the continuous 51 states, including the province of Ontario. It is played from April to October, and very rarely, November.

Bizarroball is played at 6 in the fucking morning EST, an hour only masochists will suffer to wake, and ends while you're sitting in front of your office desk really having to get your ass to work. It is played in March in a land destroyed by monsters between exhibition series, yet Bizarroball games count in the standings.

Baseball pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is sometimes brilliant, with control problems.

Bizarroball pitcher Ekusiad Akazustam walked 5, struck out 6, gave up 2 hits and 2 runs. But he had a pitch count put on him! In a supposedly regular season game! Of 90! Bizarro!!!!

Baseball pitcher Kyle Snyder sucks.

Bizarroball pitcher Elyk Redyns (not to be confused with that comedic and often naked actor) sucks. But he's put in close games instead of mop-up situations, to give up leads! Bizarro!!!!

Baseballer Jonathan Papelbon can be nearly unhittable.

Bizarroballer Nahtanoj Noblepap looked like shit and did everything he could to give up a hard-earned lead in the 10th before holding on. (Noble though his pap might be.)

But ultimately, a very non-bizarro event (J.D. Drew is a late scratch due to a back ailment, apparently having played out his early power for the year with his 2 grand slams in the Japanese League exhibitions...the bastard) put a double bizarroed Brandon Moss into the lineup, one suddenly able to hit major league home runs (his first, off Huston Street, to tie it in the 9th) . And the rest was Manny being Ynnam. A sweet victory snatched from

One strange event we can be certain won't happen tomorrow, again: me waking up early to watch the first half of these games. I needs me my ten hours of beauty sleep, baby, so I looks like this:

instead of my normal self:

Monday, March 24, 2008

PREDICTIONS: Boston versus New York once-a-*&%#ing-gain

Unbelievable that the MLB schedule has pushed me to have to make my season predictions with a week to go in March (and that the Red Sox are playing a two-game series that counts in the standings between two exhibition series, placing them in a weird preseason/season middle zone), but with less than a full feel for the league, here we go all the same.

Then again, I didn't feel that confident when I made disturbingly good picks last year. Let's give it a whirl, again, in reverse divisional order of importance.

AAAA Central

1. ChiCubs (proving money can win you a pennant...a mediocre division pennant)

2. Milwaukee (third place if this happens)

3. Reds

4. Cardinals

5. Colt .45s (Miguel Tejada's looked awful in the field...think he can learn LF by year's end?)

6. Pirates (now under GMership that seems to have a clue, but in the short term, no number of fish can save Pittsburgh)


1. Diamonded Backs (last year, they did it with smoke and mirrors; this year, they do it with Haren, the reanimated corpse of Randy Johnson, and just enough of an improved offense)

2. Rocktober Blood (Wild Card. Who cries for you, Kaz Matsui?)

3. Padres (Friends of mine have bet the under in a hypothetical bet on Mark Prior getting 25 starts. I'd bet the under on 20. The ghosts of Prior and Kerry Wood's arms haunt Dusty Baker's dreams.)

4. Dodgers (My guess is that Joe Torre took the Dodger job explicitly to get the chance to start running Scott "Gasoline" Proctor's arm into the ground. Over/under on Proctor appearances: somewhere in the mid-80s.)

5. The Now Barry Bonds/"Steroids"-Free San Francisco Giants! (With 70% more Who Gives A Shit About This Team!)

AL West

1. L.A. California Anaheim Angels (Dave Chappelle doppleganger Torii Hunter isn't going to be a difference maker, but you'll think this team is headed for the World Series at some point during the year, and you will be wrong.)

2. Ancient Mariners

3. Walker, Texas Rangers

4. Oakland A's (It's not the end of Moneyball. It's rebuilding. Now let Jeremy Brown grow fat(ter) and happy in peace.)


1. CitiCorp Metropolitans of Greater New York City (Pedro has looked really good at moments in Spring Training and is throwing up to 95 mph. John Maine and Oliver Perez are inconsistent, but put together are 1.25 consistent good pitchers. And, um, pitches will occasionally get in the way of Carlos Delgado's incredibly slow bat.)

2. Philadelphia Philadelphians

3. Atlanta Chief Nokahomas (The remains of Tom Glavine are back. Swell. [Could no one find Steve Avery?])

4. Florida Fish

5. Washington Nationales (The Meat Hook and Elijah Dukes on the same team? There will be blood. [But if there isn't, good pickup. I'm serious.])

AL Central

1. Cleveland Injuns (C.C.'s last season; better make it count this time)

2. Detroit Tigres (Wild Card here, but a popular pick for the division. I'm not quite feeling it; Renteria's numbers will dovetail a bit in his return to the AL, where he wasn't so good for a season the readers of this blog might remember too well, and Miguel Cabrera has some pitchers to learn himself; Sheffield will miss at least 20 games with various injuries, likely more, and probably won't hit as much for power as his swing slows; the back of the rotation sure could use an Andrew Miller; and most frightening of all, the bullpen is presently Todd Jones, and pray for an official game rainout, the sort of bullpen that may require them to score 1000 runs this year. This is a potentially very good team. It's also something of a, y'know, paper tiger.)

3. ChiSox (Not because they're good or anything, but because the rest of this division ChiSux.)

4. Minnie Twinnies (Over/Under on Francisco Liriano starts: 25. I'm going under.)

5. Kansas City Royals (Now in powder blue. And they signed Jose Guillen. Whoop-dee-damn-doo.)

AL East

1. Boston Medias Rojas (Everything you loved last year, plus the hope of a regular season performance from J.D. Drew resembling his postseason, a regular season performance resembling anything from Julio Lugo, a slight jump from Jacoby Ellsbury over my still-beloved Coco Crisp [Red Sox career R.I.P....I hear Tampa Bay's on line 2 making an offer], and the thrill of what Daisuke can deliver after a year making the big adjustments. Losing Schilling for at least half a year isn't too concerning with a team this pitching-deep. Justin Masterson will boost the bullpen by July as well.)

2. New York Highlanders (It's great that Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu showed up to camp in good shape. Too bad they also showed up a year older. Rebuilding in the Bronx has a hideous, stitched together look, like something out of Re-Animator, where a live limb (Phillip Hughes' right arm), a half-dead limb (Ian Kennedy's #4 starter stuff right arm) and rotting flesh (Mike Mussina) combine to form a monstrous back of the rotation. Or is that middle of the rotation? Joba or not, it's the same old story albeit in a positive direction: this team can slug, this team can't pitch. Not yet, anyway.

3. Tampa Bay De-Deviled Rays (Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA has them for 86 wins. I don't go that far, but this is actually a damn good team. Now.)

4. Toronto B'Jays

5. B. O's


Red Sox beat Tigers
Angels beat Indians

Mets beat Rockies
D'Backs beat Cubs

Red Sox beat Angels (badly, as usual.)
Mets beat D'Backs

And in yet another New York v. Boston sports event, as the rest of the nation moans, the Red Sox repeat in six games over the Mets.

I'm not picking awards this year. Except AL MVP. Grady Sizemore. I've picked him every year of the last three, and I refuse to not pick him the year it finally happens, damnit.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Post-Flight: Wait, where's Dave Magadan's fucking money?

Lightning struck? Fuck you, pay them. Slow business? Fuck you, pay them. Telling your rival not to play so hard because you pay revenue sharing? Fuck you, Hank, play ball.

Boston is playing ball, having won a short, stupid standoff after a unique threat to stay home and let two losses drop into their record (and millions of dollars in lost revenue and publicity in the Japanese market drop from MLB's coffers). Strange episode, that one, but Bud Selig isn't exactly Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, so the conclusion was predictable. Onto the show.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

13 DAYS TO OPENING DAY: Things could be better.

With just a week to go of a Japan-trip truncated spring training, the #1 and #2 starters from last year's playoff rotation for the Sox are down, Schill with a shoulder that mysteriously lacked shoulder contents (team physical be damned), Beckett with a balky back.

Nothing else really stands out that strongly from spring training for the Sox so far, unless you were a Kolbamaniac or magically expected Daisuke not to be throwing 17 pitches an inning. Ellsbury has struggled some, but Coco has barely played. Craig Hansen has kinda sucked, but Papelbon has been sharp and Delcarmen has been sharper. The offense has kinda sucked at scoring runs, but split-split-squad lineup numbers shouldn't be taken seriously.

Not at seriously as I've ended up letting myself take them in these times I didn't bury my head in the sand to hide from spring box scores, anyway.

I hate spring training, truth be told, and am happy the Sox are having a short one this year. The bad news that comes from it is deceptive, the good news is deceptive, and only the injuries can matter. Josh Beckett's back is balky, ergo, I'm not fully happy with the spring results so far.

At least the grill's back on and the taps are working again. Free Pennant Ale for everyone.

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