It’s no secret that, even as far as baseball analysts are concerned, Steve Phillips is not the brightest of the bunch. I’m not exactly sure how he ended up with ESPN. He served as the Met’s GM from 1997 to 2003. He is ‘credited’ with bringing in David Wright and Jose Reyes. But it’s not like he went out and scouted the guys. After he was fired in 2003, it doesn’t seem like he was gainfully employed until ESPN came knocking. And yes, I’m going to assume that ESPN came to Phillips and offered him a job before the 2005 season, not the other way around. What do you think Phillips’ response was to that inquiry? "Why in the world do they want me working for them?" Back to the issue. We know have something to add to Phillips’ crazy predictions:
- 2006: Jose Reyes will have a coming out year, hitting 30 triples, and steal 35 bases.
- 2006: Corey Patterson will hit 40 HR and get 140 RBIs. From the leadoff spot.
- June 19th, 2007: Alex Rodriguez will have the greatest season of any Yankee right-hander, and will negotiate a new 10-year contract for about $35 million a year.
Alright… where to start… so Reyes would be fast enough to bust Chief Wilson’s 1912 record of 28 triples, but not fast enough to get anything more than a mediocre number of steals. Actually, Reyes had 17 triples and 60 steals. Both league-leading numbers. And Corey Patterson got sent to AAA-ball. Whoops.
But this morning was something totally different. It’s interesting that Phillips’ actually tried to stay within his field of ‘expertise’ with this Alex prediction. But Alex is about to turn 32 in July. What kind of idiot is going to give this guy $35 million to play as a 42-year old? Ignore, for a second, the fact that a 10-year contract to anyone over 30 is a bad decision. You’re going to take the most well-paid athlete in the world and give him a 40% raise, just as he reaches his pinnacle of performance? The fact is, no team is going to give Alex that kind of money, except, maybe, the Yankees. This is how that negotiation will go.
Scott Boras: Alex wants $35 million a year. 10 years. He’s that good.
Cashman: Um, no. We’ll give him $20 million. 4 years. Club option for x.
Boras: That’s not good enough. He deserves more.
Cashman: Dude, only one other guy in MLB is making more than $20 million a year.
Boras: I have no leverage. No other team can afford to give me more than $15 million a year.
Stop it, Steve. Do you even listen to yourself?
"Are Steve Phillips and John Kruk stupid?" – April 11th, 2006
Red Sox and Yankees are fun, there’s no denying that. But is it really as big a deal as ESPN would have you believe? After watching the first 10 minutes of the 6p edition of Sportscenter I had had just about enough. I mean… is there really a bigger non-issue than A-Rod’s slide? First off, look at the play carefully. The dude was way, way, way off-balance. And maybe he intentionally threw himself off. But, the way I see it, he was trying to break up the double play, and somehow or another managed to get his body confused between a pop-up and a take-out slide. That’s why, if you keep watching after he "throws the elbow," as John Kruk so lovingly put it, you’ll see Alex stumble to the ground and fall flat on his backside. Kruk is, not surprisingly, still an idiot. No, the play was not dirty. Alex was not going into 2nd with the intention of giving Dustin an ugly bruise in the crotch.
And, you may say to yourself, "Dustin who? Who is this guy? How dare he talk smack about A-Rod!" Listen. If you actually heard what the little guy said in his post-game, he was not putting anybody down. He said just enough to keep from looking like a coward, but he also went out of his way to say that he was only doing what he had to for the team, etc, etc, etc. Dustin doesn’t care. Alex doesn’t care. Does Curt care? I guess we’ll see tonight. To my knowledge, he hasn’t yet commented on the issue on his personal soap box, the Don Patrick show. But I have this to say – if Curt does drill A-Rod tonight, which he won’t, I will view it as one of the lamest moves in baseball. If you hit the guy, you’re only playing into this whole ESPN-propagated rivalry hype. ESPN loves to make something out of nothing. But there are always a couple guys on every team that like it even more. A-Rod and Varitek fighting down the baseline? That was a heat of the moment, legit fight. Curt drilling A-Rod would just be stupid and childish. Hopefully he has enough sense to know that.
Lets see some comments boys…
As we all know, Dusty Baker is no longer at the helm of the Chicago Cubs. He left, and Lou Pinella took his place. That’s a pretty big adjustment for D. Lee, Dempster, and A Ramirez to make. But I’m sure they’ll make it work, right? After all, they always find a way. It’ll be interesting to see if this team implodes in on itself again, if it actually performs to expectations, or if they resort to beaning opposing batters to "defend themselves," as Lou’s previous team did. In the end, I’m disappointed, because I will no longer be able to poke fun at Baker’s crazy antics, or the fact that he is flat out the worst in-game manager in the sport. Especially since Alan Trammel took himself out of the running last year. Bummer, I’ll miss Baker.
Or so I thought.
See, I turned on ESPN yesterday to catch some opening day ball. And then I heard one of the announcers mention something about how to catch a pop-up, concluding what I’m sure was a flash of brilliance with, "isn’t that right, Dusty?" I’ve got rabbit ears for the guy, and if I wasn’t 100% focused before, which I wasn’t, I was now. Sure enough, Dusty Baker was in the booth, "commentating." I did some digging and found out that Baker is not only going to appear on the regular season telecasts, but he is a full-fledged analysis on Baseball Tonight as well. I missed that, because Baseball Tonight isn’t my favorite show. The point is, that’s great. Now, I didn’t hear any interesting Baker-isms, but I’m sure he’s just starting off a little shy. He’ll warm up. By the All-Star break, we’ll start hearing about how all the walks the A’s are getting are just clogging up the bases for the guys that can run. Just wait for it.
Ben Sheets is back. Apparently, he finally remembered who he is, and what people used to think he was. People used to expect great things from the guy. Especially after he shut down the world in the 2000 Olympics, allowing just 1 run in 22 innings. But lately he hasn’t been so hot. I’ve always had faith in the guy. But nothing adds to faith like a 9-inning, 2 hit, 1 run opening day start.
So, I’m back, obviously. I’m going to try to keep this thing going for now on a semi regular basis. I know I said that a lot in the off-season, but it was just really hard to find something to write about. That won’t be as much of a problem now… and I’ll try to hit on the usual interesting, obscure stuff. Not the boring stuff we talked about today. Shoot. See you in a few.
Four great things about this pathetic Padres v. Marlins game:
1) Marlin’s LF Josh Willingham punted a ball into the corner instead of picking it up and chucking it to 2nd base, which would have held Brian Giles at 3rd and Mike Piazza at 2nd or 1st. Instead, Giles scored, Piazza was awarded a single, and Willingham got the error. This is exactly the kind of thing that will plague the Marlins all year.
2) The broadcasters were talking about The Brothers Marcus and Brian. Now would be a good time to mention that I have Brian’s autograph. Yes, I attended a Padres game last year when they visited Detroit in Interleague play. They were talking about interesting arguments the Brothers would’ve had as children, and one of them goes, ‘there’s one argument that Brian would win – I’m tanner than you.’ Ya think? Recall that Brian once said,
I feel like when I have a tan, my bat speed increases, you know?
I talked about superstitions a little while ago. At first, this doesn’t seem like one, but it is. Think about it. Do you think Giles’ tan makes him a better hitter? No way. But he thinks it does, and so it does. Same thing as the Finley-Erstad Magic Bag, (see above link.)
3) I cannot believe how bad the Marlins are. The Padres won 9-3. The "up and coming" (bad) Marlins managed 6 hits and 2 walks against outstanding Padres pitching studs like Woody Williams, Alan Embree, Clay Hensley, and Scott Cassidy. They struck out seven times. By contrast, the deplorable Padres offense, (and don’t tell me it’s because they play 50% of their games in a park that has a 700ft outfield fence,) managed 10 hits and 7 walks against the Marlins. That means more than twice as many Padres reached base than Marlins. Again, expect more of the same for the next few years if you’re a Marlins fan. Then again, judging by the empty stadium, (I lied earlier when I said it was half full – it was more like a quarter full,) there aren’t many of you out there.
4) The average Giants outfielder, (age 40,) could father the average Marlins infielder, (age 24.) Sure, it’d be a stretch, but 16 isn’t that young.
That’s all for now. I might make another post later tonight – now that I have my MLB.TV back, it’s like a second opening day! Oh and, thanks to Jason, Tiffany, John, and Kevin for the comments. Keep it up guys.
First things first. I was watching the clowns on Baseball Tonight again and John Kruk said, "let’s face it, we all know baseball isn’t a hard game athletically." Really? I’m smart. Are you saying I could go out and hit 50 bombs at the Major League level? Just because you’re big, and you made it to the bigs, doesn’t mean baseball isn’t a sport. I might be taking him a bit too literally, but I’m sick of Kruk, and I’m sick of Steve Phillips’ funky math numbers. He’s even worse. Let’s do some Steve Phillips’ Fun with Numbers: last year, he predicted that Jose Reyes would have a coming-out year – which I believed would happen, and did – and that he would hit 30 triples and steal 35 bases. What the eff is he talking about? When was the last time someone hit 30 triples? Never, I don’t think. As it turned out, Reyes hit 17 triples and stole 60 bases – leading the league in both categories, and off nearly 100% – in both directions! – from Phillips’ predictions. For the record, Ty Cobb – 2nd on the all-time list of triples leaders – hit 24 triples in his best two seasons, in 1911 and 1917. Just in case you weren’t ready to go out and kick him already, Phillips then went on to predict that Corey Patterson would hit 40HR and get 140RBI’s from the leadoff spot. Of course, Patterson got sent down to AAA last year, but he did manage to hit for 13HR and 34RBI’s while at the MLB level. And the 140RBI’s were just about as ridiculous as the ’30 triples’ shot he launched – only three guys had more than 140RBI’s last year; Ortiz, Manny, and Teixeira. Corey Patterson is never going to be the Dark Horse that sneaks in and wins that race. You’re an idiot, Steve. And so are you, John.
That said, I still don’t have my MLB.TV fixed, which is why I have to watch BT. I’m calling support tomorrow. However, I found myself sitting through some incredibly boring Biology research presentations yesterday for a few hours – as it happened, during Tigers gametime. My presentation was on the relation of soil pH to the size of trees within an abandoned quarry. Like I said – really boring. I checked the score of the Tigers v. Sox game, and that’s when I got pissed. We dropped one today, 5-3. You know what that means, right? Tiger’s are gonna drop the next 5, or at least 5 of 7. That’s what happens in Detroit, I can’t explain it.
Anyone see Mulder’s bomb? I love watching pitchers jerk it out of the yard. Equally amazing was Jim Edmond’s catch. It looked like a sliding backhand between the knees or something. Can’t find the video anywhere. I’m calling MLB at 11.30a tomorrow morning to fix this up, because I can’t handle it anymore. I’m dying here – MLB.TV is killing me. That’s sad. PS – I also got an email from them yesterday, not in response to my numerous email support requests, but giving me the weekly MLB.TV lineup. In other words, they had the courtesy to e-mail me so they could tell me, ‘yeah, we know you’ve subscribed and you’re paying, but we’re still screwing you. Here’s what you could be watching if we were fixing your problem instead of goofing off! Bend over.’ Meanwhile I’m stuck listening to Baseball Tonight and their silly ‘analysis.’ Harold something or other tried to explain to me how Eric Chavez is on fire now because he got his ‘timing kick’ down earlier in Spring Training. Huh? He’s a good hitter, and he’s just hot now, ok?
I’m going nuts here. Let me say something. Baseball is a sport. Golf, however, is not. Golf requires skill. Golf is tough. I can probably throw a baseball farther than I can ‘drive’ one. You can’t walk onto a golf course, pick up a club, and rake. I know that. But when guys are firing shots at each other because one of them takes a cart to the next hole – saying it’s not fair that he’s missing a prime source of physical exertion in the game – that’s no good. So imagine my disgust when I’m sitting here doing – what else – work, and I turn on ESPN to listen to Baseball Tonight. Instead, I’m listening to ‘Lefty’ blab about how it’s Tiger’s world and he’s just living in it. I don’t even follow golf, and I still know you’re lying. And, I still can’t watch my MLB.TV. Can someone at MLB.com just fix that for me without me having to call you and explain? That would be a fantastic gift.
Baseball Tonight finally started, and I just saw Chipper Jones pull a Willis McGahee on his right ankle. And now BT is talking about Detroit. They’re obsessed with this team. We get no run for 13 years, then we win the first 5 games of the season and people take notice. They even had the nerve to ask, "if they keep it up, who knows what could happen in the AL Central?" If they ‘keep it up,’ they finish the year with a .833 winning percentage, and MLB will just cancel the post-season. "But didn’t we see these guys coming?" People, wake up… duh. And they tell me how the Brewers and Tigers winning 5 games makes them feel like they belong. We’re not talking about the new kid in middle school, we’re talking about mature adults. And I know they’re gonna talk about the Yankees being cellar dwellers. Again, wake up. If the season ends with the Yanks at the bottom of the AL East, I will never watch baseball again. Stop talking about things that don’t matter. I’m pissed, so I’m going back to work.
Some thoughts on The Game: I was gonna wait till the end to post them and see what else came along, but I think this game is pretty much over. I’ve been to enough rain-outs to know when the umps stop hoping and start drawing out the game to keep concession sales up.
1) "Bonds on Bonds": Are you freaking kidding me? You know why he wants to do this, right? He wants everyone to know that he’s just a regular guy, like you and me. He’s got a family, etc. He might cheat on his wife. He might cheat on his taxes. He might cheat in the game. He might parade his little kid in front of reporters so they won’t ask him any tough questions. Now he’s parading the whole family on National TV so we’ll feel sorry for him. I have to admit, I never saw this one coming.
2) So, one good reason why we’re talking about steroids during this
Baseball Game? Without a doubt the most tasteless thing I have ever
seen on my life. No need for it whatsoever. Besides, everything they
said was incorrect. Everyone wants to know what was going on? Uh, I
don’t think so. Personally, I don’t care. If some guy hit 12 HR instead
of 10 because he roided up in 1999, I couldn’t care less. I’m not
trying to stick my head in the sand here, I’m just saying – there’s no
need to exhume this body right now, or ever again. And certainly not in
the middle of a baseball game.
3) Peter Gammon’s In-Game Report: Peter Gammons and The Wizard of Oz were separated at birth. Did you see him sitting behind that cage when he gave his first in-game report? Nuts. It gets better. Peter Gammons looks like Frank Morgan, who played The Wizard of Oz. Frank Morgan looks a lot like Mickey Rooney. And Mickey Rooney looks a lot like – you guessed it – Peter Gammons.
4) Danny Graves: He looked more lost than a child out there. And then, of course you had his throw ‘to’ 2nd base. Let me tell you what happened there. Graves panicked, and he was so nervous about picking off that runner that he didn’t give himself enough time to look at his target and, more importantly, plant his feet. He tried to compensate by using his arm to direct the throw and bring it more across his body, but it failed, like that move always does. If you’re a shortstop, you can pull that off sometimes, if you really know what you’re doing and it isn’t too long of a throw.
5) C.C. Sabathia: Doesn’t look too serious. Weird? Sure. But season-threatening? Doesn’t look like it. Then again, it’s all speculation until they can examine him tomorrow.
6) Mark Buehrle: You won’t see him get jacked around like that for the rest of the season, I can pretty much promise you that. And if he does, it won’t be more than 4 runs.