Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Few Questions for the Afternoon

I have a few questions for the afternoon, based around today's news. Feel free to throw in your opinion via the Comments section, and don't feel pressure to answer all of them.

1. Does it matter if the Tigers, specifically, make the playoffs as a division winner or Wild Card? I know it affects their ALDS pairing, but at this point, isn't just making the postseason huge for Detroit? Or did a season as successful as this one raise expectations beyond "just making the playoffs?"

(My take: Given the Tigers' recent history, to demand anything more than the postseason -- even with the success they've had this year -- is ridiculous.)

2. If Trevor Hoffman isn't the NL Cy Young, then who is?

(My take: No, seriously -- who else is struggling to come up with an answer here?)

3. If Justin Morneau isn't the AL MVP, then who is?

(My take: I could say who I think SHOULD win -- Frank Thomas -- but also who I think WILL win -- Derek Jeter.)

4. If you could have your pick of any backup NFL QB to be your *starting* QB right now, who would it be?

(My take: I said "right now" precisely so you really couldn't take Vince Young, unless you REALLY want VY starting in Week 3. I'd have to go with Matt Schaub.)

5. Who would you nominate as your most amazing over-40 pro athlete? Let's stick with players from the ESPN Era (so no Blandas!)

(My take: This one is easy -- Julio Franco. Roger Clemens is an easy answer, but come on: Franco is 48! Or older!)

6. Would Emmitt Smith winning "Dancing with the Stars" be more impressive than winning Super Bowl 28 MVP?

(My take: Winning DWTS would be more impressive. Consider that in SB28, Emmitt was the best player on the field, while in DWTS, he's the classic fish-out-of-water. "Impressive" is all about expectations.)

-- D.S.


Trent said...

The player I would most want is Schaub.

Another interesting question is which backup QB SHOULD be starting right now...VY, Cutler, Walter, etc. It isn't like Collins, Plummer, and Brooks are setting the world on fire.

Christian Thoma said...

1. It depends on whether the Tigers believe they can sustain this level. If they return to 90 losses in two years, just making the playoffs ends up becoming a waste. However, if Detroit believes they can continue to improve and be a credible contender for the next several years, then yes, they should be happy making the playoffs.

2. No opinion.

3. I too support the Frank Thomas campaign.

4. Joey Harrington. He's game-tested, and I believe he's talented enough to start at the Pro level. I just can't shake the feeling that Detroit handled him poorly.

5. Julio Franco by a mile.

6. No. DWTS will end up having 1/10th the viewership as the Super Bowl did. And, of course, once the concept has been ground to a nub and cast aside, no one will remember it two years later.

Christian Thoma said...

@mark (austin, tx)
RE: Clemens at 42 (last season) quite possibly had one of his best and Most.Dominating.Seasons.Ever.

If you ignore the steroids allegations, yes. However, as I find it extremely odd that Clemens waited Exactly. 50. Games. before signing with the Astros ...

Big D said...

1) The Tigers need to win the Central. Anything less would be an historic collapse, and lead to a postseason filled with too many questions from too many reporters about their inexperience.

2) Ugh. It's the NL - Who cares? Glavine? Penny? Arroyo? How about a "Pass", and pick 2 next year.

3) Jermaine Dye could make just as much of a case as Jeter or Morneau, but Dye & Jeter have too much talent around them to justify the whole "carrying the team" thing. Papi ain't making the playoffs (sadly), so he ain't making the discussion. Right now, it's Morneau's to lose (though Jeter will still win).

4) Why not someone like Josh McCown? He's not flashy, but he's put but big, big days in the past, and he's got plenty of experience.

5) Yeah, it's Franco. To still be playing (and stealing bases, no less) is ridiculous. He's twice my age, and I can't do either.

6) Not watching the show, can't comment effectively. Sorry, just not interested in ballroom dancing.

LoganAvatar said...

#4 Tony Romo, he is ready to go right now, and would do just as good as bledsoe

Big D said...

How about the news that the Lions inquired about trading for Jerry Porter?

If Detroit wanted an overrated, underproducing head case at Wide Receiver, then why'd they ever cut Charles Rogers?

Jeff said...

5. This barely makes it into the ESPN era by a year; Gordie Howe played 80 games in the NHL at age 51!

TBender said...

1. Detroit needs to get in. Their youth and lack of recent success forgives, IMO, the slide, but they need to seal their berth to OctoberBaseball Land.

2. Are you looking at W-L and drawing your decision from there?
Carp - 2.79 ERA (1), WHIP 1.04 (1)
Webb - 2.92 ERA (2), WHIP 1.14 (2)
It is a bare cabinet for candidates and Hoffman will get votes, but I don't like giving a pitching award to someone who pitches 60 innings.

3. Pass. Jeter's going to win. It doesn't matter about Thomas, Morneau or Dye putting up numbers. Jeter is the Chosen One.

scott (austin, tx) said...

4. ok, so i'm obviously basing this on his fiesta bowl run and the fact that i went to the univeristy of oregon, but i still think joey harrington deserves another shot. he looked ok this pre-season and i dare any rookie QB to win with that lions team. he can't be any worse than aaron brooks, seriously.

5. even if i think that franco started his professional career when i was three years old, and i'm now thirty, it still doesn't beat clemens being able to dominate at his age.

julio franco at 42: .300 3HR 90ABs
julio franco at 43: .284 6HR 338ABS

impressive, but no clemens...
at 42: 1.87 ERA 185K 62BB
at 43: 2.52 ERA 83K 25BB

Christian Thoma said...

@isiah thomas:

That is indeed a rule. But May 1st is about 20-odd games into the season.

Here's the damning thing: first, it was leaked that Clemens would be signing with the Astros. All of a sudden, there was a flurry of denials from every side: the Astros, his agent, etc. The next morning, less than 18 hours later, it's officially announced that Clemens is signing with the Astros.

What could've happened within those 18 hours for such an about-face? How about this: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Marlins all completed their 50th game of the season, the last three teams to do so.

Things that make you go ... hmmm

Sheldiz said...

i have to respecfully disagree with... well, everyone.

intellectually, yes the Tigers should be happy just to make the playoffs.

but when is ever it REALLY an "honor just to be nominated?"

i'm an idealist, i will freely admit that. that being said,

i don't care whether you play pee wee hockey or are the highest paid professional athelete in the world, there is one goal and one goal only: to be the best. to win the championship. other accomplishments are nice but never "enough". to settle for anything less -- as a player or a fan -- is unacceptable.

ToddTheJackass said...

1. If you told a Tigers fan before the season that they would make the postseason, they would have been ecstatic. Having led their division most of the year, it has to be somewhat of a downer if they don't win it.

2. Chris Carpenter I think has to win it, but not for any good reason. Can we give Johan the Cy Young for the NL too, since he's that good (he won a couple games against the NL, didn't he? Similarly, can we give Ryan Howard the AL MVP?

3. I still think Johan is the MVP. Watch as he'll dominate [what's left of] my Red Sox...

4. If I were a Broncos fan, Jay Cutler would probably be my answer. Otherwise Schaub is the obvious choice.

5. Since you took away Satchel Paige as an option, I'll go with Nolan Ryan, who pitched a no-hitter in his 40s, and gave Robin Ventura a noogie. Bonus points for unintentional comedy.

6. Sadly, I didn't even remember Emmitt was MVP of the Super Bowl that year, so I can't pick that one. I would argue, however, that winning the Super Bowl is "more" impressive than DWTS.

-Todd (Boston)

Kleinyy said...

How can you not say Ryan Howard as NL MVP!!!!!

Brian in Oxford said...

I wonder if this SI story, of how Jeter did NOT back A-Rod during his slump, will influence even one voter to draw back from him as a possible MVP. That's not exactly strong clubhouse leadership, if Mr. "Sorry for ......, you please fill in the blank for me" has to be the one to go tell Torre to whip his butt around in that locker room.

Heck, it's Papi's clubhouse leadership that had him getting MVP support in light of his DH position. (I think any player that allows the starting pitchers NOT to have to hit, or worried about being pinch-hit for, seems pretty valuable to me, though!)

Blockage said...

1. Playoffs is enough.
2. My vote goes to Brandon Webb for the NL Cy.
3. Interesting on the AL MVP. While Papi was the front runner until the Sox checked out of the playoff hunt, you would lean towards Dye, Morneau, Jeter, and the darkhorse of Thomas. Jeter ends up winning because of east-coast bias. (Anyone else think its interesting that we talk about how being in the playoffs makes a difference as to whether you are considered a candidate, yet not one member of the Tigers team is in that category?)
4. Jay Cutler would be my take for back-up QB to start (as he should be already).
5. Clemens. If Franco played every day he'd be my vote.
6. No chance. I'll take a Super Bowl ring and MVP trophy anyday, you'd have to shoot me to make me be on DWTS.

TBender said...

Off-topic, but NL MVP thoughts (from an admitted Cardinals fan)

Take Pujols stats and add in the 3 weeks he missed. Look at RISP stats (remember those killed Andruw Jones last year). Pujols has 4 more RBI than Howard in RISP situations. I'll see if I can find Bernie Miklasz's breakdown of this.

Pujols carried the Cards in April and May. Say what you want about early season games, but the more you win early, the fewer you need to win late.

All that said, the city of St. Louis wins either way. Howard is a native.

TBender said...

From Bernie M - 9/19/06
RE: Pujols / Howard RISP

The gap between them in this area continues to expand...

If Howard gets the MVP, going to be interesting to see how the voters talk their way around this one...

Pujols RISP: .398
Howard RISP: 240

Pujols RISP 2 out: .439
Howard RISP 2 out: .227

Also, Pujols has driven in 78 runs when he's had those runners in scoring position. And Howard has driven in 74.

But what makes that interesting is, Pujols has driven in FOUR MORE runs than Howard with RISP even though Howards HAS HAD 40 MORE AT-BATS in those situations.

And with RISP and two outs, Howard has driven in 30 runs in 75 at-bats; Pujols has driven in 30 on only 41 at-bats.

This is why, under the Hardball Times "clutch" ratings system, Pujols ranks No. 3 in the NL with a rating of plus 11.7. And Howard ranks 75th in the NL with a rating of minus 9.5.

Badass Of The Year said...

Winning a dance competition doesn't even come close to getting Super Bowl hardware!

Unknown said...

As a Tigers fan, yes it is awesome we have a very good chance to make the playoffs but I have to tell you that as a fan when my team is doing well I get greedy, especially here in Detroit. We expect so much of our sports franchises (except the Lions.) The Red Wings and Pistons were disappointing and I think the expectations are just as high for the Tigers now that they have shown us some flashes of brilliance.

Jake C said...

I'll answer a few of these very easily.

1. Yes, it will be disappointing for the Tigers to make it as merely the wild card winner. They had the best record in baseball by quite a few games (at the break). The have a near .500 record since. If they still have the best record and then the Twins passed them with the best record (making the Tigers 2nd best) fine. But, it's not a good feeling with how far they've dropped off. If you look at last season (or seasons) it a success, but not compared to where they were THIS season.

Cy Young...EASY...Carlos Zambrano. Top 10 in ERA, top 5 in wins and strikeouts. AND, those wins are on the Cubs (one of the worst teams in baseball). He hasn't had any major slumps, and had a couple near no-hitters.

As for backup...Jared Lorenzen. The backup beast. Schaub may have the most talent, by for my money, I would love to see D-linemen try to take down this 300 pound "stud." Plus, he's got a cannon...guess he's a battleship (cannon and a huge slow object).

Unknown said...

Just a quick note on Hoffman - people seem to be hanging on the huge flameout in that game against the Dodgers but guess what? - if the Dodgers don't win the division and the Padres do - nobody will care.

It's not the NFL MVP or Heisman Trophy - you get to have a bad game here and there in baseball and still win the awards.

Yeah because it happened just the other day - and it was so rare, everyone remembers Hoffman flaming out in that Dodger game - but talk to me in two weeks when the season is over and see if that is even on your radar.

Mikepcfl said...

If anyone wants some cheap laughs, just go to a DWTS comment blog like the one on and post comments that Emmitt Smith is the greatest RB ever and you are going to vote for him no matter what since he was a great football player.

I did that when Jerry Rice was competing and you should have seen all the responses I got. People acted like I was fixing the Presidential election or something and I never even watched the show or actually voted! Some of them take the show way too seriously.

Bear said...

1. On paper, it doesn’t matter any which way. But the title “AL Central Divisional Champion Detroit Tigers” sounds ten times better than “AL Wild Card Champion Detroit Tigers”. It should make the city stick out its chest a little more. Besides, it wants the best record in baseball. My friend, who grew up in Detroit and still follows all of its sports, says that if the Tigers end up with the best record in baseball at the end of the season, then the city would boast of MLB, NBA, NHL, and WNBA teams that all ended up with the best record in their leagues. The Lions, on the other hand….

However, it might want the WC more. Just look at the previous teams to won the WS by making the playoffs via the wild card.

2. I like Carpenter for two reasons: His team, and his stats. He is the best pitcher on the best team in his division, who is actually going to the playoffs, unlike Zambrano or Webb, who would come in 2nd and 3rd.

Carpenter’s stats: 15/173/2.79. Best combo in the NL.

If Pedro had stayed healthy, he would have gotten it, and if Tommy G had been a little more reliable, then it would have been his.

3. It should be either Morneau or Dye, whichever team makes the playoffs. If both (unlikely), then Morneau.

If DJ gets it, then I won’t cry. He has held the Yanks together, and if he wasn’t there, then they might still be fighting the Sox for the AL East.

4. Schaub. I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head.

5. Julio Franco, by a long shot. Have you seen him without his shirt off? He is the most ripped player on the Mets, or most teams, for that matter. He also owns so many “Oldest player to…” records that you can’t help by laugh when you see him play.

On a side note, there is a man that I play with in my church league softball team that plays first base. He’s in his late 70s. Like 78. Watching him play really inspires me to do so much more at my young age. He still goes full speed in whatever he’s doing on the field.

6. You would put a dance contest over winning Super Bowls, and even being the best player in one said contest? No way, gimme the rings.

D. Ling said...

1. The Tigers getting in the playoffs with The Roaster and a rookie as their dangerous 1-2 and Todd Jones as their closer should make the Detroit fans happy because next year the horseshoe will be gone.

2. Chris Carpenter for the NL Cy.

3. As a Canadian I would love for Morneau to win the MVP, but I believe they have already given the award to Jeter and they'll tell the world later.

4. Schaub is good but unproven, give me Trent Dilfer (60% completions in 2005 and a Superbowl ring)... I am sorry those words just came out of my mouth.

5. Over 40, no doubt it's Roger Clemens.

6. Stop watching DWTS.

Perks said...

I'll answer two of these:

1.) I firmly believe that all that matters in MLB now is getting to the playoffs. With that being said, however, certain teams go on streaks, and those usually matter most.

I mean, the Mets look good, but without Pedro, oh boy. Or even the Twins. Man, without Liriano or Radke, I'm not placing any money on them.

But I really do think it'd hurt the Tigers should they not win the Central. It would be a huge blown lead, and would certainly play into account when considering what they're coming back from in years past.

Now do I think that Leyland will be an effective manager and tell them it won't matter (and ultimately, if they just make it to the playoffs, that would be good enough for them)-- yeah. So bottom line, as long as they make it, they have a shot. But if I were to put money on them, they'd have to win the Central.

#6)The MVP means so much more. But I'll take the devil's advocate stance.

If Emmitt wins DWTS, think about his book deal! It would also solidfy him for at least another couple million in endorsements. Granted, he probably doesn't need the money. But c'mon! This guy is about WINNING- and if he can't outlast Jerry Rice, you KNOW it'll bug him.

Unknown said...

Poppa brings up an interesting point. I know they joked about it on Sportscenter but I think if Emmitt doesn't win or at least come in 3rd in DWTS it will bug him.

It's like they say about Jordan when he plays golf - or anything really - to be an elite athlete like these guys are you have to want to win at EVERYTHING YOU DO. No matter what it is.

In this case even though it's a joke and really not anything - Emmitt will want to win DWTS as much as he wanted to win the Super Bowl otherwise it wouldnt be worth doing.

Sheldiz said...

To Manada:

I don't disagree that *some* or even *many* atheletes' number one priority/goal is getting paid. I do however, hold onto hope that that is not possibly true across the board.

That being said, it stands to reason that the surest way to a big bonus is to perform. And the strongest measure of a successful performance is a championship.

i appreciate cynicism as much as the next person, but i flat out refuse to believe that every professional athlete is solely motivated by money. i can't raise my (as of yet non-existant) kids in a sports world where that's true.

SF said...

1. Playoffs is fine, especially considering the success wild cards have had in recent years (e.g. Marlins, D-Backs, etc.)

2. I'd love to say Brad Penny, but the award should go to Carp -- that squad has had some serious starting pitching woes, and Carp has rally held it together


4. Matt Schaub -- Should be starting right now, will get a big payday soon

5. Biggio...I am watching the Astros game on ESPNHD and he just hit a monster homer.

6. No Comment -- need to start TIVOing that show.

Brian in Oxford said...

As for over-40 athletes, I've got the Astros game on the package here, and they asked who the starting pitcher against Clemens in his first start in 1984 was. I cheated on to find out it was Neal Heaton, but more impressive was that Cleveland's starting shortstop was none other than old man Julio Franco!

Kevin said...

1. Very important that the Tigers win the division. Right now, they have no shot to beat the Yankees, but they'd be favored against the A's. It would still be a good season if they went three-and-out in the playoffs, but it would be better if they could make the ALCS.

2. uhh...Chris Carpenter? Carlos Zambrano? Brandon Webb? I have no idea.

3. I wouldn't mind if Morneau won it, but the MVP really is Johan Santana.

Chaddogg said...

#5. All of you seem to be on the baseball train here, but how about Jack Nicklaus? Man had a great career after 40, capped off by that triumphant Masters win that might be the biggest sports accomplishment by an athlete over 40....