Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sink the Ship Faster

Andy Pettitte is saying the New York Yankees don’t “care” enough, Kyle Farnsworth is breaking things with practice bats, Scott Proctor is swearing at the media, and murmurs in the Yankee clubhouse say that Roger Clemens is missing the strikezone due to cataracts in his eyes, and forgetting pitch signs due to general senility. To put it mildly, the Bombers are facing an outright mutiny not seen since The Bronx Was Burning. Naturally, cackles of schadenfreude are heard from the usual suspects, but the question begs-- who is the savior who can bring the Highlanders back from the brink of elimination? What paragon of virtue and ability can rally the Yankee troops, and start a wild ride that will end deep into October with a World Series victory? Why, Shea Hillenbrand, of course.

Just when you think things have absolutely hit rock-bottom, Yankees GM Brian Cashman is apparently very close to agreeing to acquire the worst DH in the American League this side of Johnny Damon. Hillenbrand is a guy who:

1. Sucks, to put it mildly
2. Got in a fist fight with his manager
3. Wrote on the white-board of the Toronto locker room “The ship is sinking, play for your contracts.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the perfect guy to bring on when a ship actually is sinking! Before you know it, the media locust swarm will be crowded around Hillenbrand’s locker like flies are to feces, and the “Shea-Hey Kid” will be saying, candidly, how doomed the team really is. That'll be great for morale I'm sure. Also, as much as I’d like to punch Joe Torre in the face (and this year, the feeling has occurred more often than not) it’s not like I would actually do it. Hillenbrand would. We haven’t seen a Yankee geriatric go down in violence since Don Zimmer in 2003, and how did that work out?

Oh yea, like that.

I’m not very persuaded by the arguments that there are some players that just know how to “win.” But there are some out there that just know how to lose. This is a guy who has only once played on a team that’s finished the season with an above .500 record, and has never sniffed playoff baseball. Is that, keeping in mind the other flaws mentioned above, really the kind of guy a team would want in a foxhole during a pennant race? I’m certainly not a baseball player, but I sure as hell wouldn’t think so.

All is not great in Yankee land. The team is on the verge of dropping three-of-four to being swept entirely by the Orioles, A-Rod opt out talk is continuing to buzz, the bullpen is surrendering wins like they’re frog-blooded Frenchmen, and meanwhile in Detroit, Gary Sheffield is slowly earning the nickname “the 12th Street Riot.” However, there is still a lot of time left in the season, and former New York teams have done pretty amazing things in the 2nd halves of some baseball years. If the team acquires Shea Hillenbrand, however, then the fall of freaking Rome will pale in comparison to the circus of suck that will plague baseball's most expensive debacle until the end of their first season without the playoffs since 1994.

While we're at it, let's bring back Showalter.

Hat-Tip: The essential MLB Trade Rumors.
Snoozing Torre courtesy of

It's Their Party and They Can Cry If They Want To

My good friends of the KSK Gay Mafia are marking their one year anniversary together! If that's not just the height of Internet fabulosity, then I don't know what is. A year ago to the day, they all packed their bags up to San Francisco, got hitched, and launched their 1st ever post. Today, they're having a "stayed-together spectacular" celebrating how funny they all are. While most websites can't pull this off without being somewhat obnoxious, campy, pretentious, and self-congratulatory, isn't that what the gay movement in America is all about? Be sure to celebrate this fantastic occasion with other distinguished guests:*

1. Peter King's Famous Daughter, Mary-Beth King! A softball playing attendee at a liberal arts college would fit right in at an all gay party, despite the elephants in the room. MBK promises not to get too drunk, as not to give the mafia more ammunition.

2. Sex Boat Captain Fred Smoot, and his 1st mate, Dinari! Name not meant to be ironic, the golden couple helped launch Vikings fan Big Daddy Drew into Internet Superstardom (which in most quarters is a lot like being a prince in Hell).

Can the jokes, I am not the Flaming Redhead

3. Dr. Z! The Doyen of the Sports Illustrated Football Corps, Z is going at the behest of the flaming redhead. While things like "Young People" and "The Internet" are strange and frightening to him, expect Z to bash Art Monk about 3,000 times while he's there. The phrase "Eight Yard Hooks" will give Unsilent Majority the same reaction as a Hezbollah guerrilla staring at a stick figure of Mohammad, and that my friends, is high comedy.

4. Slayer! Not actually a death-metal band, this particular Slayer is the world championship pit-bull owned by Atlanta's own run-first freaknik, Michael Vick. Because he's worth nearly 100 thousand dollars, Slayer will be guarded by Vick-brother Marcus, who desperately needed a job. Why would an athlete worth millions in endorsements and NFL contracts participate in an activity that could ruin him financially? Because that's how you keep it real.

Yours truly will be there all day, and you should be to. I'll take this moment to present this toast: To the KSK Gay Mafia, more talent than Dead-On, more popular than Ladies-dotx3, you'll be always be the 1st Deadspin-spinoff in our hearts. And our bookmarks. And probably, our anuses.

Will there be gay club music? Fab-solutely!

*Guest list subject to change.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Scott Boras Smokes Crack

Scott Boras, baseball super-agent for Alex Rodriguez, Barry Zito, and the soon to be free agent Carlos Zambrano, has a new idea that could have only come from the mind of someone using powerful and deadly mind expanding drugs. Some might say it’s strange for someone so rich and influential to be under the influence of such substances, but ever since Ed Muskie got all whacked out on Ibogaine in 1972, anything is possible in America if there is enough corruption involved. New York scribe Bob Klapisch describes the idea in depth: Expand the World Series to nine games, with two of the 1st nine games in presumably neutral grounds and warm-weather cities to enhance the stature of the game. This will give high-profile business types yet another glory-hole to suck-off their high level clientele.

First off, this plan is complete and total lunacy. Baseball is supposedly already planning on extending the playoff format to seven-game series in the division and championship series. Throw in an extra two games in a warm weather city will push World Series games deeper into November, which will make fantastic television when the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, (and if God is kind) the White Sox and O’s will be playing in the snow. Second thing, unless the games are played in outer-space, can there really be a neutral ground in baseball? A site like Florida has the Marlins and future powerhouse D-Rays, Texas has the Rangers, and even though no one in California takes baseball seriously, it’s still got three five teams in state. If the Braves play the Tigers in Miami, who is going to have more fans in attendance—the team that plays a few hundred miles away, or a team that plays in the city that’s the US equivalent of Port-au-Prince?

Believed to be your average Haitian.

And do you know what’s worse outside of this general insanity? It’s that the doddering old nincompoop Bud Selig is actually taking the time to humor him. In case everyone didn’t already know, the labor-vs.-management struggle that in many ways has been the history of professional baseball, makes the mass genocide between the Hutus and the Tutsis look like a skirmish between the Hatfields and the McCoys by comparison. This is the guy who has been drastically driving up the price of free agents for years, now has the ear of the principal negotiator for ownership? Bart Giamatti would be rolling in his grave.

Maybe Boras has his motives. Maybe he thinks that by expanding the stature of the Series it’ll make baseball more popular, his players higher in demand, and ere go, himself more rich. Maybe by playing a game always in Florida, teams can just transport a 600 pound (and by that time, client) Miguel Cabrera via semi-truck instead of a much more dangerous private jet. That’s an Aalyiah tragedy waiting to happen. But more realistically, Boras is smoking crack. Tina Turner said that crack was for poor people, but is there really any other explanation, here? Crack makes the mind feel crazy things—paranoia, mania, and fanatically greedy. All these were in play when he came up with this blasphemous idea. Lay off the crack Scotty, and our game will be just fine.

"Remember kids, don't smoke crack."

UPDATE: There are five California baseball teams: LA, San Fran, Anahiem, San Diego, and Oakland/Freemont. Thanks to Ben, Rob I., and the people who e-mailed.


The nostalgia will fuck your mind.

In case you didn’t know (and if you’re reading this site, it’s impossible that you do not) Deadspin, the Internet Walmart for all things involving “underground” and “sports,” has undertaken a massive, fantastic site re-design. As one of the oldest and most senior Deadspinners around, I thought I should give my expanded take. I absolutely love it! I also loved New Coke, the Sacagawea dollar, Crystal Clear Pepsi, and ESPN mobile, so maybe my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. My main qualm is not that the ‘Spin fixed something that wasn’t broke, or forced a radical change on it's viewers without a hint of what was to come, it’s that it didn’t go nearly far enough! You don’t change a Michelangelo statue with a chisel-- you break out the fucking jackhammer. Here’s some ideas that’ll be sure to make everyone's Deadspin experience much, much better. Or at least more synergistic.

1. Since synergy with the Gawker Media Empire is already an obvious priority, why not bring on Commenter Executions, gay editors, and intrusive and potentially unverifiable athlete sightings? The sightings were a staple of site back in the day, and the KSK gay mafia can be brought in for the homosexual quotient. The site Executions on Deadspin have come far and few in between, and it could be seen as a real slap in the face to a person who was loyal to your brand and product, but hey, if it gets you past the post quota for the day/week, why not do it?

Google Image Search for “Choire” gets you this. Scary!

2. Smilies, smilies, and more smilies! People who actually use descriptive words to convey emotions are, by definition, ignorant morons. Let’s bring in smiley faces!

Instead of seeing:

“ :) “

Let’s get a:

Better yet, let’s get those REALLY LOUD smilies that haunt the MySpace pages of America’s lonely. “HELLLOOOOO!” and “WHAT!” are sure to make everyone reading at work really know what site they’re viewing. Not only will it ratchet up ad revenue, it’ll bring in all those MTV-TRL viewers that might have been turned off by the commentariot’s initial salvo.

Seriously, this isn’t at all annoying.

3. And speaking of the executed, this is already the Deadspin’s Vietnam, so why not bring back all the soldiers that were mentally unstable to begin with? Let’s resurrect Pot Roast n’ Gravy, TseTseFly, and Supermikes 1, 2, and 3. Will they bring anything to the table? Of course not! Did they ever? If “Embrace the Suck” is good enough for the US Marine Corps in Iraq, then it should be darn good enough for Deadspin.

Come on people, wasn’t it obvious this entire time that wholesale changes had to have been made? You might have thought Deadspin kicked ass and was totally sweet, but you’re just an ignorant prole who has no idea about the complex research and in-depth analysis that goes into running an intergalactic Internet media empire. The changes our favorite site has made have gone far, true, but obviously not far enough. Do what I’ve written here, and the advertising dollars will flow the pooty-juice on a sex-boat. Biggie might have said “Mo Money, Mo Problems” but he’s dead. How smart can he really be?

Make the Changes, Deadspin, and let our glorious revolucion continue. Vamanos!

UPDATE: The "Viva La Leitch" T-shirt is obviously from the outstanding 289 Designs. Buy his products immediately, if possible. Especially the Masshole shirt. Bonus points if you're not being ironic.

White Sox Fans-- Your Season is Over

After getting swept by the hapless Cubs, reports are beginning to surface that a fire sale is now being planned for the Chicago White Sox that’ll make the Reds yearly reach-around look like the Mulder-Haren trade, as yet another season ends in ignominious failure. While some bastions of support still exist (generally within the prison population of Illinois) it’s understood that when your club is only a game and a half up on the Kansas City Royals, it’s time to give up the ship. This is a welcome development for most baseball fans, because despite winning a World Series in 2005, the Southsiders haven’t exactly become America’s team.

Outside of Internet phenom Jim Thome and the ever entertaining Ozzie Guillen, there isn’t a lot to like with this brand of White Sox. Ever since Jose Contreras was reunited with his family and was placed in a lower-pressure environment, the guy lost a lot of his good story and drawing power. Any team that values Scott Podsednik can’t be taken seriously, and the media blow-ups the team’s General Manager has with past players leave a bad taste in viewers’ mouths, since the world will remember Frank Thomas long after Kenny Williams is dead. Injuries abound with the 2007 club, and while almost none of it could have been planned or corrected, these kinds of things don’t happen to the Dallas Cowboys of the world. Unless of course you’re Michael Irvin.

This one goes out to Lt. Winslow.

The fact is, outside of a banner World Series victory in recent memory, the White Sox are probably one of the most wretched franchises that’s ever graced the national pastime. Before an 88 year championship drought was extinguished, they were even more pathetic than the Red Sox, but with far worse press coverage. Really, outside of providing misery for their own followers and fodder for the fans of other teams, the most notable thing about the CHW’s were those uniforms with the shorts, which were also some of the historically bad variety. Just like Rutgers football really has no place in the pantheon of great college teams, the White Sox don’t probably belong in the list of great teams and perennial contenders along with the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, A’s, and Dodgers. Ere go, this team was doomed from the start—it was written in the stars.

Now, does this mean things can’t get better? In a macro sense, yes. But good trades of essentially the entire team could put the White Sox in prime position to repeat some semblance of their 2005 success, provided the Twins, Indians, Tigers, and Royals, all get progressively worse as the years go by, and that has a pretty good chance of happening, right?


It’s time to revel in glorious schadenfreude, and outside of watching (VaJay)Jay Mariotti poking White Sox fans with a stick through his gilded cage, the greatest thing about the early demise of the White Sox are the wailings of the insidious Ken “the Hawk” Harrelson. If you are a person who believes in “goodness” and “truth” then Harrelson is almost certainly the Joesph Goebbels of a Major League Baseball organization. Not only during his announcing is he out-and-out rooting for the Southsiders, he tells outright lies to keep the fans entertained. Seeing Iraqi Information Minister Harrelson do the play-by-play for one of the league’s worst teams will bring delight to the millions of viewers who can actually see WGN.

Congratulations to the 2007 Chicago White Sox. For about the first month of the season, you guys hung in there pretty well. Unforunately, this would not be the case throughout the rest of the baseball year. The new rallying cry of your team will now be “Let’s not be worse than the Royals.” It’s an accomplishable goal, I think. Probably more so than winning another World Series this century, anyway.

“He Gone.” And by this I mean “traded.”

Monday, June 25, 2007

Your Favorite Yankee Prospect is Worthless

For those don’t already know, I am a big-time Yankee fan. Huge, even. It’s why when I see my fellow fans saying or doing things that mind-bendingly stupid, I cringe and woefully acknowledge that, yes, perhaps a large portion of Yankee fans really are the delusional imbeciles that everyone claims them to be. Therefore, when I see a idea or statement that is so righteous in its woeful stupidity, I take this task of bitch slapping all the offenders back to Africa with a distinct pleasure, similar to the way a pimp does when he slaps around his ho’. I realize that this might hurt a tad, but fear not, you’ll all be better people after this thrashing.

The number of offenses are legion, but the most glaring one is the obsession with a little-known relief specialist named Colter Bean. Bean, an Auburn Tiger and Yankees draftee, has spent almost his entire career in service to the Yankees minor league system. Poor measurables such as a having no fastball, no movement on said fastball, no secondary pitches worth mentioning, and no knowledge of how to pitch, had the organization down on him, for very good reasons. After getting annihilated while pitching in brief stints in the majors, Bean was sent back down to AAA, probably to serve out the rest of his wholly undistinguished career.

In pro-wrestling, Bean would be called a "jobber." Jobbers were paid not to be the star attraction, but generally to put work in, lose, and make everyone around them look better. The pitcher's numbers against poor competition are good, true, but to a team competing for a World Championship, Bean is a worthless commodity and should probably have been released years ago. In fact, I say that he's less than worthless, because his very presence takes a spot away from a player who might actually help the major league club somewhere along the line.

However, delusional Yankee fans still flock to this guy, and treat him like he actually might be one of the answers to Yankees myriad of bullpen woes. He's not. "Free Colter Bean!" they cry. A website was made in his honor, which answers the age-old question “Is there really anyone out there dumb enough to fall for a pyramid scheme?”

A Bean defender might say “You realize you are deeming him worthless after only seven innings in the majors, right?” No.

He's worthless because he throws 85 miles an hour.
He's worthless because he's got a career ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP that's nearly 2.500.
He's worthless because Joe Torre abuses his relievers like they are insolent wives, and even HE won't use him.
He's worthless because people who know more in their little finger than you, I, or anyone including the so-called Internet experts know about the game of base-ball say he's worthless.

He's worthless because he was put up for grabs to any major league team when he was put on waivers, and everyone passed on him. The Texas Rangers, who are scouting little-league parent-pitch baseball games for anything remotely resembling a live arm, passed on Colter Bean. Just as a special exercise, they even opened up the waiver process to Japan-- no takers. The Dominican Summer League? No takers. Remember that story about the new Israeli baseball team? That team they're building in Israel? Bean's surname was shortened from "Beanowitz" when his parents came over from Ellis Island. He's eligible to play. The Yankees offered him up on waivers… even THEY passed on him.

Did you know that they played baseball the Planet Vulcan? It's not exactly fun, because everyone can read each other's mind, so the hitter knows what's coming. Games end up being like 100-97. However, they lack the strength human beings possess to throw a baseball faster than 70 mph. Even the Vulcans passed on Colter Bean.

Google Image Search for "Vulcan Baseball."

The only thing Bean needs to be free from are his delusions that he's a major league player. Perhaps he's just trying to collect a paycheck, and his supporters are the ones that are delusional. Lucky for all of you, Mr. Slick, in all of his infinite wisdom, is relieving you all from such vision. I am hereby ending the career (if you can call it that) of Colter Bean. Yankee fans-- he is not a savior. Fans of other AL teams-- he will not come up again, so quit waiting around like little kids on Christmas morning.

Colter, if you're reading this, in that demented attempt at the intellectual pornography called Google-scanning, you are hereby anointed by the High Priest of the Church of Matsuzaka, to quit the Yankees, and go teach gym. Outside of perverse schadenfreude-ian comedic value, enjoyed only by people whose grip on sanity is tenuous at best, you will not be missed. Hallelujah, and Amen.

UPDATE: The owner of has expressed his thoughts on Bean in the comment section. Suppress your laughter accordingly.

Andruw Jones Ruined Your Fantasy Team

No U can not has cheezburger.

With once again having a game where he’s struggled with his hitting, perennial Silver Slugger and 40-homer man Andruw Jones has officially fallen below the Mendoza Line, and committed against fantasy owners what can only be called, accurately and conservatively, a holocaust. According to fantasy services, Jones is owned in 100% of all leagues, meaning that not only does every fantasy baseball owner everywhere have Jones on their team, they are also being screwed by him. As is with every year, Jones’ maddening potential is too good for a sell-low trade, or an outright drop, so fantasy teams with fewer options for power production must continue playing Jones, and basically carry out the fantasy version of a death march to Bataan.

If you’re even a modest follower of statistical analysis, you know the book on Jones: Eschew the low batting average and strikeouts, you’ll earn points through walks, home runs, and RBI’s. Throw in the fact that Jones is in a contract year, and you have a potential 1st round pick that might hit 50 homers and drive in 125 runs or more. However, even the stat monkeys have begun to rattle their cages and throw their feces at this abomination of a season:

OBP: .299
OPS: .680
WKRP: -1.0 x 10^15

"Especially when you write that strikeouts are a bad thing!"

If this were any other player in any other organization (save for maybe Seattle and Jeff Weaver) you would drop him from your lineup, and possibly investigate having him killed, depending on the laws of your state and/or country. However, this is no ordinary payer—this is Andruw Jones. Jones has “potential.”

Potential is the silver-haired siren who gurus and players chase when building a championship team. She nestles up to your side and caresses your face, whispering insights and wisdom in your listening ear: “Do you want to be known as ‘Sell-Low Slick’?” she coos. “You know he’ll hit those 40 homers sooner or later. Drop or trade him now, and he’ll start to hit for another team.” And you know what? She’s right! So you hesitate, you try to stick it out a little longer. Meanwhile Brad Hennessy, Yovanni Gallardo, and Brad Hawpe stand unclaimed on the waiver wire and mock.

If he's there, get him now.

Not to go all Bill Simmons here, but sometimes the worst thing you can have in any kind of relationship is a little bit of potential. Potential is the inspiration that lets the Yankees give Jaret Wright a three year deal. Potential is the motivation that convinced you that Peavy would finish with a winning record last year. Potential is the idea that makes you hang on to the loser girlfriend when you think she can be something. Newsflash people-- Wright sucks, Peavy was nowhere near a #1 starter last year, and the girlfriend is a screw-up. Also, seriously, no one thought she was hot.

Yoda once said that hope is the source of humanities greatest strength as well as our greatest weakness. Or it could have been one of the guys in the Matrix. Regardless, this belief in a false potential is screws all people who buying into it for too long. This includes any and all people unfortunate enough to have Andruw Jones, who has probably ruined your fantasy team. In more positive development, Jones got his 1st hit in about 25 at bats last night; does this mean he’s turning the corner? Would it change our options even if it did? It’s real doubtful. Really though, it’s just one more sign that’ll keep us all here stuck hearing the same old song, and listening to all those damn whispers in our ears..

Friday, June 22, 2007

Performance Enhancing Trees

Note: This is not about drugs. Take your polluted mind elsewhere, hippy.

A joke a friend of mine sent me made me think of something profound. It is as follows:

Two tall trees, a birch and a beech, are growing in the woods. A small tree begins to grow between them, and the beech says to the birch, "Is that a son of a beech or a son of a birch?" The birch says he cannot tell. Just then a woodpecker lands on the sapling. The birch says, "Woodpecker, you are a tree expert. Can you tell if that is a son of a beech or a son of a birch?"

The woodpecker takes a taste of the small tree. He replies, "It is neither a son of a beech nor a son of a birch. It is, however, the best piece of ash I have ever put my pecker in."

See, this is one of those kinds of jokes that your grandmother e-mails you assuming (a) She’s Alive (b) She’s lucid enough to actually use e-mail or (c) She wants to show that for an octogenarian she’s still “hip” and “with it” and send you sexy jokes. Naturally, because of the source, this make you think of “SEX” and “GRANDMA” in your mind VERY EXPLICITLY and generally makes you want to take a soldering iron to your eyes and acid to your face. Regardless, it helped me to come up with something profound.

Not even remotely sexy.

The stuff they can do with technology and genetic engineering is crazy these days, and baseball is a multi-billion dollar industry that is always seeking to increase any edge their players can use within the limits of the game. Why not have an enterprising team genetically engineer trees to make the wood that they produce, like, super wood? I’m talking wood that is so hard and light it’s like carrying a metal bat in your hand, but it’s made of wood.

So how is this done? I’m not a scientist, exactly, but I think magic might have something to do with it. Or injecting steroids into seeds and planting them with radioactive fertilizer. But come on. I think the Boston Red Sox need to do this, and if at all possible, do it immediately. Why?

Homer made Tomacco the exact same way.

1. Boston’s proximity to some of the world’s finest academic institutions can allow them put pressure on the scientists who can actually pull this off. And by “pressure” I mean, holding the geeks off a balcony like it’s Shug Knight vs. Vanilla Ice all over again.

2. Boston’s proximity to the great forests of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Southern Canada (also known in some areas as “Maine”) give it plenty of testing ground, as well as the element of secrecy. Whitey Bulger has been hiding out in these areas for years, and if they can’t find him, a few glowing trees with spring-like leaves won’t freak out any locals. At least not any who aren’t already whacked out on maple-moonshine.

3. Larry Luchino’s dollars make Boss George look like Boss Hog in comparison. This is high-end genetic engineering, here, and will be very, very expensive. Paying the scientists and buying fissile material aside, bribes will be made, and people need to be silenced. Imagine if during the test phase, one of these bats comes alive and eats Julio Lugo? Someone’s going to have to buy off his family. Then again, the way Lugo is hitting this might actually be an improvement. Don't forget they’d have to build their own lumber yard to actually make these bats as well.

And besides, is there any other team that needs to satiate such a rabid fan base? Red Sox Nation (and I use the term very lightly, if they are a nation, it’s probably one like Haiti) reminds me of an impersonal Japanese corporation. Remember back in the 80’s, and we heard all these stories about Japanese employees who were so fantastically devoted to their companies that they would run around the office, come in on weekends, and ignore their families? The only difference is the employee gets paid, while a member of Red Sox Nation actually pays the Sox to belong. This new performance enhancing wood will provide historic levels of offense, and is the one way to actually fulfill the completely unrealistic expectations of the pizza-throwing lunatics that call themselves fans. The new wood would even let the Red Sox franchise catch up to the Yankees, at least in terms of championships. Because believe me, it’s not going to happen any other way, and that is no joke.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In The Future There Will Be Robots

Is it me, or have the calls umpires have made this year been the worst baseball has seen since 1979? It seems everywhere, bad strike calls, missed judgments on balls in play, and Willie Bloomquist magnitude screw-ups have been fantastically commonplace. Every time I see these feckless, doddering, old fossils stand there around and argue a call that can be proved indisputably incorrect by three seconds of video evidence, I wonder why even have umpires in the first place. Replace them all with robots, I say!

Now, to an old-school baseball purist, what I just said would border on heresy. They would have you believe that umpires are the caretakers of the game, and the heralds of the grand national religion of ours. But at one point in time, priests were the great caretakers of Christianity, and then they started insourcing by the truckload from Africa. Outside of some enclaves in Uganda, nobody plays baseball in Africa, so how true can this all really be? My logic is unassailable.

Priest and baseball are the same thing? Brilliant!

If you believe in chaos theory then one missed strike call can inexorably change the outcome of an entire season. Think about it: one wrong third strike call, one less chance for a batter to drive in runs, one less opportunity to use more elite relievers in a superior situation, and one less win total at the beginning of October can make a big impact—just see the winners of the AL Central last year, or the AL East the year before that. Grandpa might shake his head, and would argue all folksy-like that “it all balances out in the end” but does it really? If this is all completely random, and subject to the whims of one person of a seventy person umpiring roster on one particular day, has anyone even bothered to quantify such a claim? For an industry so concerned with the latest statistical trends and scouting, it’s inexcusable that more studies haven’t been done on this.

The fact is, high speed cameras, light-weight sensors, and instant replay can do the jobs umpires do, but even better to the point of perfection. They’ve already started doing this in Japan, with generally positive results. Hirugaki Corporation president Oroku Saki is quoted as saying that the Japanese Pro Baseball League is very happy with the accuracy of the robot’s reading in the test phase rollout, and are looking forward to full robotic integration within the next few years (along with a hefty check, I suppose).*

Will the slight replay phase with the computers and the lasers and the *GLAVIN* slow the game down? Marginally, perhaps. But no more than Steve Trachel’s dithering, Lou Pinella’s arguing, or every major league hitter sniping over balls and strikes. Now, those who are unwelcoming of our new robot overlords (I deem thee “anti-integration”) might say that these little foibles make the game fun. However, the way SABRmerics are headed, a soulless, mechanical approach to the game seems all but assured, so why not get this glorious new revolution off on the right foot with the umpire version of the AWESOME-O 3000?

There are some problems to this, of course. There is an umpires union that needs to be managed, and by “managed” I mean, broke with the wrath of an early 1900’s factory owner when crushing socialist inspired rebellion. But that shouldn’t be too hard. Parks will still have grounds crews, so turning the hoses on deposed umps won’t be too tough, and umpires aren’t in exactly strong in numbers, so a massive physical intimidation campaign ain’t really all that massive. As for the actual players, who perhaps would be the umpire’s greatest ally, they would all probably rather chase women or get wasted rather than getting in a tricky labor dispute that could hurt their endorsement potential. Communism doesn’t play well in Peoria.

I don't care who you are, Karl Marx + lampshade = Funny.

At this point, the only reasonable argument against mechanical umpires would be that it is the first step towards a Terminator 2/Matrix-style robotic world takeover and enslavement by machines.** While probable, isn’t this a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from knowing the call was indisputably right? I just am sick and tired of seeing blown call after blown call affect the way the game is played. Baseball shouldn’t be soccer or the NBA where the tenor of officiating drastically affects games. When the assimilation integration begins, that's something we'll never have to worry about. The future is nigh. One day, there will be robots. Let’s let them do the umpiring. In your face, Isaac Asmov.

*Alright, outside of the 1st sentence, nothing in this paragraph is even remotely true. Oroku Saki was the name of the original Shredder in the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, and the “Hirugaki Corporation,” basically is a very Japanese sounding name for a fake company. Nor will there be a massive check for the implementation of robot umpires. But does this revelation actually take away from my original points? I don’t think so. Robots = cool, badass, death. Embrace the madness.

**If you’re ready for some good old fashioned Japanese nightmare fuel, then click here and here. Try not watching it before falling asleep.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Leo Mazzone Didn’t Help Much, Did He?

Executive Vice President Mike Flanagan terminated Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo on Monday, thus effectively ending a baseball career that has notable only by being hilariously entrenched in ignominious failure. Perlozzo, it seems, brought only two things to the table as O’s manager: Being almost entirely bereft of tactical baseball know-how, and having pitching scion Leo Mazzone be his best friend. In fact, some people with no familiarity with the situation whatsoever claim that Perlozzo was hired solely to recruit the venerable pitching coach that was thought to be the architect of the Atlanta Braves fourteen year NL East dynasty, and was perceived at one time to be the finest assistant coach in all of professional baseball.

Some of you might forget, but there was an out-and-out scrum for Mazzone’s services when he chose not to renew his contract with the Braves. Stat-geeks (and I use it as a term of endearment) wrote formulas on how the coach would help any staff he went to. Sports pundits across the nation offered their opinion on why their hometown nine should splurge on Mazzone. Brian Cashman offered to fellate him, and Theo Epstien actually did. Regardless, Mazzone, in the ultimate “I’m Keith Hernandez” moment, ended up taking the O’s job, and proceeded to accomplish nearly nothing of note, making him equal to almost every pitching coach in the major leagues.

If you were John Smoltz this would be a lot easier.

Take a look at the 2006 Orioles pitching performance. This thing is basically the statistical baseball equivalent of a triage unit in a war zone, or every other day in Detroit. From the "sundry guys" listed, I counted one ERA under five, and that’s not counting the rounded-up Kurt Birkins. The 2007 squad looks only marginally better, with general regressions from former pitching prodigies Chris Ray, Daniel Cabrera, Danys Baez. We'll have to wait until the end of the season to know for sure, but the only player who has markedly improved is staff ace Erik Bedard, who is the 2nd coming of Mike Mussina in terms of both performance and future payday with the Yankees.

Look on the bright side... they could have got Manny.

Now, it is possible that things were so bad in “Balmer” that Mazzone’s presence was the only thing from letting the entire situation turn into total chaos. But that’s the kind of flawed thinking that got generally reasonable people thanking their lucky stars for LeBron James after the NBA finals had the worst TV ratings in their history. Are we supposed to be so na├»ve to believe that after years of taking the pitching dregs of the world and turning them into effective starters and relievers, Leo-Maz lost the magic touch? Hardly. The fact is, Mazzone had the good fortune of having three 1st ballot Hall of Fame pitchers play for the Braves, and their presence just so happened to coincide directly with his own tenure as pitching coach starting in 1991. The shrewd acquisitions Jon Schuerholz made, and the wise bullpen usage from Bobby Cox resulted in pitchers having an Atlanta resurgence, not some helpful tidbits from a rocking so-called sage. Giving pitching coaches in general that kind of pull is the kind of madness that lets guys like Rick Peterson make outrageous statements like “I can fix Victor Zambrano in an hour.”

If this picture doesn’t make you smile, you don’t have a soul.

Since the only reason the vaunted coach ever came to the O’s at all was because of Perlozzo, Mazzone will probably ask to be released at the end of this year, as this current incarnation of the Orioles is almost undoubtedly his Vietnam. Then the next Brett Favre/Roger Clemens-style attention fest will begin anew, maybe with your own hometown scribe giving the coach a mulligan. It is the O's after all. Just be sure to remember that just because a team has a great rotation, it doesn't mean there was a great pitching coach behind it. As for Leo-- next time watch who your friends are, buddy. You used to have a good reputation.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Messin' with Texas

Even someone who delights in the misery of others would feel the slightest touch disheartened for Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks (pictured above). In a league where most owners run their clubs with the business acuity of a 3rd world kleptocrat, Hicks has done everything in his power to win. He’s overpaid for high-level free agents (Jose Canseco, A-Rod, Eric Gagne), he’s developed talent via the farm system (Hank Blaylock, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young), and regardless of anything he does, the team has gotten almost entirely and consistently worse. You have to chuckle to keep from hysterically laughing.

I don’t know if you guys know how completely screwed Texas is. Rookie manager Ron Washington, less than a half-season into his tenure, is on the verge of an outright player rebellion, the likes and haste of which hasn’t been seen since the days of Buck Showalter. Mark Texiera, a cost-controlled perennial all-star, and the best 1st basemen in the American League, said that he would like to leave Texas to go play in his home state of Maryland. Do you have any idea how messed up a franchise must be to have its best player rather be in Baltimore? Have you seen The Wire? I don’t have the statistics on me, but I’m pretty sure that the crime and violence there are comparable only to present day Baghdad. And don’t even get me started on their baseball team. Baltimore’s, not Baghdad’s.

Google image search of “Baghdad baseball.” Very strange.

Whatever, the fact is, poor Tom Hicks has gotten some pretty bad advice from some pretty stupid people over the past ten years, and that’s what is holding his team back from dominating one of the generally weaker divisions in baseball. So Tommy, if you can hear me*, here’s how to fix the Rangers. Consider me a consultant, minus the whole 10,000 dollar fee.

1. Rid Baseball of Jon Daniels

Currently in the Gaza Strip, internal strife between rival Islamic militants from the Fatah and Hamas political parties have taken up the practice of throwing their rivals off the roofs of buildings. Hicks might do well to follow their example with his own General Manager Jon Daniels, who in three years has had the worst GM tenure this side of Dave Littlefield, with the Carlos Lee fiasco being perhaps the final infamy. Since life is really an interactive cartoon, Daniels won’t die, but he’ll certainly be injured enough to leave the club, and won’t degrade any other clubs with his presence. Then again, if you want to be sane about the whole thing, Hicks can just fire Daniels and attempt a blackballing, but that’s boring, and is certainly more so than watching the current Rangers.

This might be a good one.

2. Firesale

This is probably happening any day now, but should be re-emphasized. Guys like Kenny Lofton and Eric Gagne can help a team win now, and can be traded to truly desperate teams for a king’s ransom. Now is your turn to find out who you can screw.

3. Draft 50 pitchers

The Rangers have zero viable starting pitchers. There are 50 rounds in the MLB draft. Ere go, Texas should draft 50 pitchers, and the 1st 20 rounds should be used on hard-to-sign prospects. Prep phenoms Rick Porcello and Matt Harvey were both available to be taken in the 1st and 2nd rounds for the Rangers, and they chose to let them slide. Keep this in mind 3-4 years from now when they’re cost-controlled and causing damage. Remember kids, the slotting system is for cowards and poor people—pay the young guys handsomely.

4. Spend, spend, spend on starters.

This is where Hicks can really shine. An old southern investment banker, this bastard has money to burn. 18 Million for Carlos Zambrano? 20 Million for CC Sabathia? 25 Million for Johan Santana? Why not all three! Starting pitching has been the Rangers’ Achillies heel for years, and along with drafting pitchers every pick for a few years which ought to wield maybe one or two viable starters, and those that don't might be pretty solid bullpen arms. That seems to me like a pretty good club.

Now, there are other sundries that could help. Bringing in Chuck Norris for promotion would make a fine one. Regardless, I hereby end the season of the 2007 Texas Rangers. They tried out some interesting ideas in the pre-season, had a nice run of it for about the first four games. Enormous size is apparently a big deal in Texas, but the size the steak of consecutive seasons with the playoffs not made is probably not seen as a positive. Make the right moves, spend those Texas dollars, and the club will be a lot less funny. It might lead to some very big things.

* From the outstanding musical “Tommy” by The Who. And if you try any of that Abbot and Costello routine on me there will be trouble.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Adam Dunn Was A Bad Choice

Newsflash, America, the Reds are once again an awful, awful baseball team. When your club is so bad they can’t even compete in the drudgery that is the NL Central, then not only is it time to abandon ship, it’s time to start selling assets like you’re Ken Lay at a pre-crash Enron. Therefore, we all once again eagerly await one of the time-honored and favorite parts of the baseball season-- figuring out which silver-tongued GM is going to screw the Reds for the best players during this year?*

You see, despite the team being so wretched, there are still solid pieces playing for Cincinnati. However, one of them is not Adam Dunn. For some reason, people tend to think positively of an ox that hits almost exclusively in the most prolific hitters park west of Fenway. Because of this, ludicrous questions still persist in my area of the world such as: “Is Dunn is the answer to the New York Yankees continual 1st base needs?” The answer? NO!!

The local Fox affiliate here in New York has a thing they do nightly that says “It’s 10 PM, do you know where your children are?” Adam Dunn is similar, except “it’s 9:00 PM, do you know that Adam Dunn just struck out again?”

Have you ever seen a mentally challenged person eat something they're not supposed to? Like a wooden dowel or some paste? No one wants to say anything to correct them, because that would be impolite, and we are a compassionate society that frowns on gestures such as that. So instead all the people just stand there and stare, mouths agape, wondering what exactly caused God to favor some and not others. The MCP (not to be confused with OPP, the OCP, or WCC**) sees this attention, and instead of wondering "why the heck are these people staring at me," his face morphs into an ecstatic grin and starts clapping his hands with delight. According him or her, attention is good, no matter where it comes from. It's a similar feeling that comes from defecating oneself, or blogging, which in some quarters is precisely the same thing.

This is what Adam Dunn looks like when he's trying to field a ground ball hit to the 1st baseman. The ball bounces, Dunn does his little jerry-clap, the ball bounces off his chest, and in an ultimately futile effort to make a routine play for nearly all 60 starting 1B's in the MLB and AAA, he kicks the ball off into the 1st base dugout. Before you know it, Dontrelle Willis is cruising his way onto 3rd base, flashing gang signs, and calling himself Daisuke Mastublacka. Jason Giambi looks like Keith freaking Hernandez compared to Adam Dunn.

Did I forget to mention that Dunn is hitting a better-than-career-average .250 right now, and that his career OPS is only marginally better than the league average at his position? New York, or any team for that matter, would have to overpay drastically for a guy who is really not all that good.

So, a Dunn fan might say, why not put him at DH? Because New York already has six, the majority of them are injured, and the team doesn't need any more. Besides, I know we've all moved on from the concept of using batting average as the metric for player evaluation. But don’t you want someone who generally hits northward of the Mendoza line? Next thing you know, you'll be advocating for Andruw Jones, and that guy has the Mendoza line installed in his house.

Seriously, this is Andruw. Look at his numbers.

Dunn reminds me a little bit of that fictional player that appeared in the commercials for MLB '06 "The Show." Remember that ad campaign? Remember those commercials? He was a black dude was playing in Osaka, Japan. Here's essentially a direct quote from memory:

"People in Osaka don't care about hits, RBI's. They care about the long ball. I'm not a ball player, I'm an entertainer!!" The guy had an absurd stat line of like .196 AVG 32 HR 39 RBI. That's basically what we'll get with Adam Dunn. I'll ask any and all baseball teams to stay as far as bloody possible away from him, and that does double for the Yankees. If NY traded for Dunn, they would be the ones who are mentally challenged.

*My money’s on Ned Colletti. He’s like Jim Bowden, only dumber, and Bowden pulled off the mother of all hose jobs last year. You can’t even rip guys off like that in fantasy baseball.
**Also known as "Harvard on the Hudson.”

UPDATE: Here' the commercial I was refering to. The video isn't working for me for some reason-- you tell me if I got his statline right.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Elijah Dukes Just Kicked Your Daddie's [Ass]

A masterful tidbit comes from the generally incorrigible Jon Heyman’s “Daily Scoop” yesterday:
And there's another more outrageous story going around about how one young Devil Ray peeked his head into the Twins' family room at the Metrodome after a recent victory at Minnesota and shouted into a room full of kids. "We just kicked your daddies' [ass]."

This is outstanding on so many levels it can hardly even be conveyed. First off, Heyman is too serious and SI a publication too venerable to ever write the word “ass” in one of their columns. Routinely posting pictures of hot women in nothing but body paint is ok, but expletives? Dr. Z would be rolling in his grave.

Regardless of anything, it is absolutely Elijah Dukes who went in and said this. Unverified, you say? Hearsay? Libel? Madness?? That’s what the Internt's for. After threatening to kill his wife and her kids, he’s probably not averse to getting in the sandbox with the tykes, and due to his immaturity and anger issues, it makes too much sense not to be true. What’s apparent is that the D-Rays are slowly but surely becoming the most hilarious team in the league.

Let us count the ways: Rocco Baldelli’s injury history is making Kerry Wood look like Nolan Ryan, Delmon Young has a budding criminal empire, the Scott Kazmir trade is still giving Mets fans nightmares, James Shields is on the verge of homicide because he’s stuck with this run support, and it’s possible they’re bringing back Jesse Orosco for some semblance of relief help. To top it all off, Elijah Dukes is the MLB’s version of Michael Vick, and this is no longer even disputable. The fact that the team as a whole is talking trash to the players children makes this even more outstanding, and is probably a page out of Mike Tyson's repartoire. I can see this spiraling out of control a la the Miami Hurricanes in the 80’s. Rampant criminality, traditionalists freaking out everywhere, elite play, a crappy stadium, and inevitably, military fatigues, rap videos, and murder. Will there be probation? Sanctions? Contraction? A banning of Rated R from the dugout? Almost certainly, and it's going to be great to watch. We are in the midst of a glorious future for MLB, and the first signs stemmed from Elijah Dukes saying “We just kicked ya daddie’s [ass]” to Torii Hunter’s kids. When this all finally happens, and at this point it must, you guys can all say Slick saw it coming from back in the day.

Not busted for dog fighting. Yet.

UPDATE: From my good friends at WithLeather comes the report that Dukes has fathered a child of a 17 year old girl. I'm guessing the Prophet might be more Marcus than Michael.