Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday 06/07 A.M. Quickie:
LeBron, Ducks, MLB Draft, Donovan, Van Gundy, More!

NBA Finals begin tonight: Spurs vs. Cavs. Steak vs. sizzle. Duncan vs. LeBron. Dynasty vs. Witness.

If nothing else, pitting the Team of the Decade against the Player of the Present adds much-needed drama to an otherwise flat NBA season.

That is, right up until the Spurs wipe the floor with the Cavs.

(Wait: Is THAT my prediction? You're going to have to wait. I have put together a stand-alone post/confessional dedicated to the NBA Finals, going up later this morning.)

Meanwhile, as always, I strongly recommend you check out the Basketball Jones' NBA Finals preview podcast. Tas and Skeets raised their game.

Stanley Cup: Quack! The Ducks didn't just win, but they won the best trophy in sports, a claim that – despite any other flaws in the NHL – the league can still point to with pride as an advantage they have over any other sport.

Anyway, I saw the stat that they are the first West Coast team to win a Stanley Cup since the mid-1920s. That's crazy, but I suppose it makes sense.

Hockey took a lot of lumps this season -- when it wasn't being mocked, it was being ignored (which is much worse).

But for Ducks fans, there can't be anything sweeter than that first Cup title. Enjoy it, and... Quack! (Wait: Do fans still do that?)

MLB Draft: I am excited about the MLB Draft for the first time ever, entirely because of the novel twist of the draft being held on ESPN for the first time ever. Who is MLB's Mel Kiper? How interesting can a draft be when you have no idea who the players are -- or when they might be improving their team at the MLB level?

THE player to watch: David Price, the Vanderbilt superstar starting pitcher, who will likely be the No. 1 overall pick, going to the Devil Rays, who are desperate for a face for the franchise (beyond Delmon Young and the fact they play some games at DisneyWorld). Price is that guy. I think he could be the next Dontrelle Willis – and I don't say that because they're both black starting pitchers; I say he's the next Dontrelle Willis because he has Willis-like potential to be a "Face of Baseball"-level talent, combining performance with likeability.

Given the novelty of the TV broadcast, I have high hopes for quality live-blogging. Here's one I've been told about from Rumors and Rants.

More likely, given the high volume of team-specific MLB blogs, the draft will be live-blogged best on a team-by-team basis. (For example: Travis Liles on the Red Sox draft.) Let me know if you'll be live-blogging your team's choices, and I'll try to update the link list. (Rockies.)

Billy Donovan back to Florida: FINALLY, he has been let out of contract, and he'll be returning to Florida today. What does Donovan return to? A slightly tarnished reputation, but ultimately a happier and more comfortable fit than in the NBA.

Now Billy D. can get down to the business of rebuilding his two-time champion team with the top-ranked incoming recruiting class (loaded with perimeter players) and one of the best young centers in college basketball (Marreese Speights). For Florida fans: All's well that ends well.

Magic hire Stan Van Gundy: The Magic moved (relatively) decisively to find Donovan's replacement, the hard-luck Stan Van Gundy, who was so unceremoniously dumped by mentor Pat Riley when Riley figured out he could feed his ego with an NBA Finals run last season. Van Gundy enjoys the same advantages that Billy Donovan would have: Namely, Dwight Howard, the best young post player in the East. Not a bad foundation to build a winner.

MLB Steroids and Jason Giambi: This has taken a wild turn. Giambi's choice (or Selig's threat): Cooperate with George Mitchell's "investigation" and get less of a punishment.

The other interpretation, of course, is: Talk with Mitchell or get MORE of a punishment.

The point is: Giambi's participation (or not) sounds directly tied to how MLB will punish him. (Coercive? Um... yes.)

So Giambi is put in the awkward position of either saving himself or ratting out his peers. It's not an easy choice: What would you do in Giambi's position?

(Here's a funny related link, about the ironic message on the back of an old Giambi baseball card.)

Wie Watch: Did Michelle have a meltdown earlier this week while playing in a pro-am? I refuse to criticize her for withdrawing from that tournament last week, even if she lied about injury, to avoid being banned from future LPGA events this year. But all signs point to her being the next Jennifer Capriati. That's too bad.

Daunte Culpepper says he's on the way out: I'd want to be traded, too. If he's healthy, he would be an amazing addition for half the teams in the NFL. Of course, that's the biggest "if" in the world.

More MLB Steroids: Ozzie Guillen says MLB is targeting Latino players in its steroid investigation. Is MLB just following the trail or intentionally picking on specific minority targets? I suspect a little of both, actually.

Vick Watch: Witnesses apparently say Vick attended the dog-fights. The mountain of evidence (admittedly circumstantial) continues to grow.

NBA Moves: As expected, the Sonics hired Spurs wunderkind Sam Presti to be their new GM. Presti was assistant GM of the Spurs – and is only 30. I said this earlier this week: Great development for the NBA to find younger execs (like MLB has). And I'm SO jealous of him.

Another thing about Presti: He's in an amazing position, because with the No. 2 pick in the draft, he takes whoever the Blazers DON'T take. It's a no-lose position.

Advertising: Have you seen the new LeBron TV ad? I like the simplicity, because that dunk against the Pistons during his 48-point outburst was the signature moment of LeBron's career.

Hot Blogger Bracket update: Thanks to those who have voted already. Have you? This thing has vaulted the Ladies... into rockstar status. (Update: My competition, the 22-seed Five Tool Tool, has gone negative. I appreciate that kind of effort.)

WCWS: Arizona wins! Wilcats hottie pitcher's sister reveals herself as not the best sport, when talking about Tennessee.

Media: The Big Picture continues his string of amazing interviews with sports bloggers with NBA-blogging standard-bearer Bethlehem Shoals.

United Football League: I'm a few days late to point this brilliant post out, but KSK put together a list of possible UFL franchise names – and it reads like John Hodgman's utterly amazing list of Hobo Names. (What: You haven't read "Areas of My Expertise?" For shame.)

Sports-blog navel-gazing: The most fascinating rankings of the year are Ballhype's constantly updating, quantitatively-driven, obsessively checked Blog Rankings, the Technorati of sports-blogging.

The fastest riser? The Ladies... who, in a half-day, jumped from No. 22 to No. 7 on the strength of their Hot Blogger Bracket initiative, perhaps the greatest marketing play in the short history of the sports blogosphere.

(Fanhouse impresario Jamie "Mr. Irrelevant" Mottram came out with his own Top 10, more qualitative than Ballhype's rankings. I didn't make it, but in a friendly inquiry to Mottram, he indulged me by telling me I just missed the cut. We previously produced a Top 20 list together.)

-- D.S.


Matt T said...

Tampa Bay's got a lot of young talent that could be 'a face' of the team.

Too bad right now its either Delmon "boom bitch" Young or Elijah "I ain't bullshittin dawg" Dukes"

Michael said...

Did Van Gundy sign with the Magic? I heard on ESPN radio yesterday (I think fro Doug Gottlieb) that he was going to be in Sacto next year.

CMFost said...

Spurs in 4 and they win every game by 8+.

Unknown said...

CM...that's just ridiculous.

I love that LeBron commercial just for watching Prince run away from Bron.

Spurs in 6. Games will be won in pairs. 2,2,2

Matt said...

wipe the floor with the cavs dan?

just like how the cavaliers wouldn't be able to keep up with Detroit and we will be overpowered.

prepare to become a witness....
cavs in 6

Michael said...

I bet Dan picks the Cavs. Youv'e got to remember that the guy is obsessed with underdogs because apparently sports aren't good unless the dog wins.

Anonymous said...

I think this is all a big set-up. Everybody is expecting the Spurs to destroy the Cavs (which they should) but the league is all about superstars and what better way to create (in this case further his case) a legend (LeBron) than to have him and his squad (aka scrubs) beat a team that nobody thinks they can beat.

Then it cements LeBron as this generation's Jordan and at such a young age, the NBA tries to capitalize on this for the next 15 years.

Cavs win because the NBA has never met a series they can't fix.

ToddTheJackass said...

Carl Crawford is the face of Tampa.

And Jim Callis of Baseball America should be the Mel Kiper of the baseball draft.

Some of the interesting people to watch in the MLB draft are Andrew Brackman of NC State, who plays for the basketball team, is 6'10, and last year threw 99mph, but is injured this year and is likely to slide pretty far. Other names to watch are Matt Wieters, the switch-hitting catcher out of Georgia Tech, who is represented by Boras and is supposedly asking for a $10 million signing bonus, Josh Vitters, an awesome hitting HS 3B from CA, and Rick Porcello, a phenom pitcher out of Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey, who is top-3 talent, but also wants to get paid.

Dan, for you there's Matt LaPorta, the Florida 1B who had an awesome year after being drafted (but not signed) by the Red Sox last year. I'm pretty sure the 'Danwagon' should already be campaigning for him to be in Cooperstown.

But yeah, the story of the MLB draft will be how far some of the Boras clients fall due to signability concerns.

Chewy said...

I love the format and style that you write in, which is why I regularly check the site. It's great. The shameless self promotion is just over the top though. Sure, a little is fine, in my opinion though it is just too much. That's all, I would love to hear your take on it.

PatriotsNation said...

Cavs in 6!!!

Noah to the Celts??

Ed Lamb said...

Read that Florida was taking Donovan back at the previous contract terms (two years left) and resuming the final negotiation of a three-year extension. That just strikes me as bad business. Did it even occur to UF to lowbal Donovan?

Michael said...

Donovan is still family at UF and there is probably no reason to upset the man as it is bad business to have an unhappy coach. I understang that Foley and the University are in a much stronger position but it would only create more bad publicity for everyone involved if this thing gets dragged out into a money battle. Donovan should get less but unless he is immediately willing to sign a contract for less it will look bad for him and probably the university

thistlewarrior said...

NHL: The Stanley Cup is by far the coolest sports trophy. And is it just me, or does Scott Niedermayer look like a young Red Green?

MLB Dud: Tony "Whiny Ass" LaRussa. He wants Aaron Harang suspended for hitting one of his players in the head Tues. He needs to just shut up, man up and do what every other manager would do--throw at the Reds.

WCWS: Arizona wins the Nat'l Championship. Or should I say Tenn. lost the Nat'l Champ.? They left 12 runners on base last night and 14 in game 2. Mowatt though did pitch a good game while Abbott seemed pretty hittable. Just goes to show that pitchers who can mix it up are ultimately better than those who simply overpower (for example Greg Maddux vs. Randy Johnson).

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link to the Giambi baseball card. Too funny.

The Latino players are being targeted the same as the US players. Last I checked, Palmero, Giambi and Bonds were no Latino. I hate all this defensive racism by Guillen. All players dope so why shouldn't they screen the Latino players as well?

Speaking of racism, Sheffield and his "MLB thinks it is easier to control Latino players than African American players" is one of the most moronic things I have ever heard. Baseball is as popular as it has every been in the white suburbs. Friends my age who are black still follow baseball. However none of their younger friends and family do according to them. In the High School where Darryl Strawberry and Chile Davis played, the coach said the whole baseball team is Hispanic while the hoops team and football team is all American Black. There are a myriad of socio-economic forces at play here but Sheffield's statement is beyond stupid.

thistlewarrior said...

Oh yeah, and Mowatt's sister is a bitch.

Although I have to admit when my husband and I were watching game 1, he said that Abbott was like Randy Johnson (tall, overpowering fastball, etc.) and I responded "She looks like him too!"

CMFost said...

Raf - it is not the Ridiculous. Cleveland is going to be that happy to be there team that expects Lebron to do everything. The Spurs are going to find a way to slow down Lebron and say to Cleveland if you want to beat us your going to have to do it with everyone else other then Lebron and Lebron does not have the supporting cast to have that happen. So i will stick by my prediction. Spurs in a sweep with blowouts in every game.

My other predicition ABC is going to be very disappointed by the Ratings. Not NHL low but not as high as they are probably thinking.

Unknown said...

I think we can all agree, the Stanley Cup is by far the coolest trophy in sports. What is next?

I gave this some thought last night after watching all the players holding back tears as they lifted THE Cup over their heads.

2. Heisman - what other trophy inspires on field poses?
3. MLB, NBA and Baseball trophies are kind of meaningless really. Is a Superbowl Ring a trophy? If it is that is my #3. An former D-back on the 69 Jets was fitting us for cleats in high school and we were all amazed by his ring. (Even if he was fitting us for cleats - he still had the ring.)

CMFost said...

The Stanley Cup by far is the best championship trophy in Sports no other has the History and tradition that it has. And the greatest thing is there is only one and when you win you get to see your name on it along with all the other great players in the game that have won it. So it is the same trophy that keeps getting passed to the next champion. Unlike the other sports who have a new trophy made for each championship.

Mikepcfl said...

Last night I saw one of those communal pain momments watching the O's game. In the 9th inning a foul tip bounced up and hit Ramon Hernandez underneath his cup. All of us at the bar simultaneously doubled over and groaned. Now I see he didnt travel back with the team and is having an MRI on his groin. Ouch!

CMFost said...

The Stanley Cup is #1
#2 - The Lombardi Trophy
#3 - The World Series trophy
#4 - The UEFA Champions Cup
#5 - The World Cup
#6 - The NBA Trophy

Unknown said...

DS - I understand that you don't care about Tampa Bay or the D Rays but to say that they need a face to the franchise other then Delmon Young.

Probably you haven't heard of - Carl Crawford or Scott Kazmir.

The Rays need to get out of the AL East - not a face to the franchise.

CMFost said...

MLB Stud - Trevor Hoffman - With his Save last night became the first Pitcher to record 500 Saves.

Geoff said...

Nice performance by Verlander last night. Really needed that as the Tigers bullpin has been getting hammered lately. Tigers offense continues to be amazing. Once the pitching gets healthy the rest of the AL is going to be in trouble.

Michelle Wie should just go the Happy Gilmore route "Step right up, folks. See if you can out-drive the Amazing, uhhh, Golf Ball, uhhhhhhhh, Wacker Girl!"

I'll do some NBA discussion when Dan does the stand-alone NBA post.

PatriotsNation said...

Not all the names are on the Stanley Cup!! They retire the bands to the Hall of Fame!!

"The modern one-piece Cup design was introduced in 1958 with the replacement of the old barrel with a five-band barrel (each of which could contain 13 winning teams). Although the bands were originally designed to fill up during the Cup's centennial year, the names of the 1965 Montreal Canadiens were engraved over a larger area than allotted (and thus there are 12 teams on that band instead of 13). The bands were finally all filled in 1991, and a decision was made to preserve the top band of the large barrel in the Hockey Hall of Fame and introduce a new blank band at the bottom so the size of the Stanley Cup would not grow further.

Another new band was scheduled to be added to the bottom of the cup following the 2004-05 season. However, the season was cancelled because of a labour dispute. After the 2005-06 champion Carolina Hurricanes were crowned, and the new bottom ring was finally added, it was decided to also acknowledge the cancelled 2004-05 season with the words "2004-05 Season Not Played".

ToddTheJackass said...

MLB Studs and Duds yesterday:

1. Chien Ming Wang - W, 9.0IP, ER, 5H, BB, 4Ks
2. Gary Sheffield - 3/4, 2HR, 5RBI
3. Justin Verlander - W, 7.0IP, 0ER, 5H, 2BB, 7Ks
4. Brandon Webb - W, 7.0IP, 0ER, 6H, 4BB, 7Ks
5. Carlos Zambrano - W,6.2IP, 2ER, 5H, 3BB, 9Ks

1. Kevin Millwood - L, 3.2IP, 7ER
2. Aaron Heilman - L, 1.0IP, 3ER
3. Woody Williams - L, 6.0IP, 6ER, 10H, 2BB
4. Bronson Arroyo - L, 6.2IP, 6ER, 9H, 2HR
5. Salomon Torres - L, 0.2IP, ER, walk-off WP

Honorary Stud: Trevor Hoffman, on recording his 500th Save. Should be his ticket into Cooperstown, but we'll see if the voters think so too.

verbal97 said...

Yes, but is Trevor Hoffman a HOFer?

Wait, a girl called a softball player a (the derogatory term for) lesbian?!?! My fiancee's junior year roommate was on the softball team and she used that word to describe the coach and a couple players she didn't like.

The Champions' League trophy I would put as number 2 behind the Stanley Cup. Only in extraordinary circumstances can a team keep it for good, otherwise it gets passed down.

Unknown said...

Um...cycledan..I'm pretty sure that Rafael Palmeiro is Latino.

However, Bonds and Giambi are not, you're right. But those are just names. Almost all the players that have been suspended have been Latinos, both in the MLB and in the minors.
If there is targeting, it is because where there is smoke..there's fire. Since it was mostly Latino players caught at first, the MLB will pay more attention to them and test them more, hence catching more Latinos. Just a cycle.

Unknown said...

@ CM:
OK, I'll give you the Stanley cup over the World Cup ...
But the world cup as #5 on the list?!

I'd set it as a close second.

If I remember correctly, they don't make a new one every 4 years - a country only gets to keep the cup after they've won 3 World Cups. At that point, they get to retire the cup and a new one is made.

Unknown said...

World Cup trophy information:

ToddTheJackass said...

I'd rank the top 5 trophies as such:

1. Stanley Cup
2. Heisman Trophy
3. World Cup
4. Wimbledon Plate thingy
5. Olympic Gold Medal

[I have no idea what the UEFA trophy looks like, so I couldn't include it]

And somewhere down the list is the MLB trophy, which is only cool because of the Seinfeld episode where George tows it to his car in the parking lot... otherwise known as the 'true' end to the Yankees dynasty (actually I have no idea when that episode was)

jhawkjjm said...

Others beat me to it already but Carl Crawford is the face of the Devil Rays.

Stanley Cup is the best trophy.

I don't think there's a whole lot of profiling going on against latin players. I thought I heard that players from the Dominican and Venezuela have had the most positive tests. And David Ortiz came out and said who knows what they put in their supplement drinks.

I agree with what was already mentioned above by plexxxx... I don't put anything past the NBA when it comes to fixing games. I look for LeBron to get an awful lot of calls much like Wade got last year. Unless the league wants to hype LeBron coming close and chasing the title all next year.

verbal97 said...

The World Cup is much uglier than the European Cup (UEFA Champions League).

Indyfan said...

I know that his is a homer pick, but I think the Borg-Warner Trophy for winning the Indianapolis 500 at least deserves an honorable mention.

It has the history, has been around since 1936. It has the size, over 5 feet tall and over 150 lbs. It is also unique in that all of the winners get their faces put on the trophy.

They don't get to take the trophy home, but they do get a smaller replica of the trophy.

Allen Wedge said...

Don't forget another trophy with as much history and tradition as the Stanley Cup: the Borg Warner Trophy (Indy 500) when you win your name AND your face gets added to the trophy.

I'd say a Gold Medal is easy top 5 and one of the coolest (not a specific one since some in the past few Olympics have looked stupid), but all those athletes are giving everything to get one.

Unknown said...

So, Sheffeild laments Latinos are easier to control, which is why there are more of them in the league, then Guillen goes on a rant about them being targeted for steroid testing. Which idiot do we listen to? I vote neither. I liked Guillen when he stuck to ranting and raving about baseball, but his act is getting old fast. Once he started losing, you knew he would blow up.

PatriotsNation said...

"Jericho" fans who slammed CBS with protests over the drama's cancellation have won the battle: It will return next season, the network said Wednesday.

It was an unusual display of viewer might since networks usually put ratings ahead of even the most passionate, well-organized fan base. But CBS said the show deserved another chance, while cautioning that it must prove it has wider appeal.

"Wow! Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series," CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said in a letter to "Jericho" boosters.

TBender said...

One problem Thistlewarrior with retaliation is MLB now works to prevent it, giving the instigating side a free pass.

Suspend any pitcher who beans a batter for 1 game (or start) OR quit trying to regulate what was already regulated -- you hit one of ours, one of yours is getting plunked too.

TBender said...

One thing about Latino players that hasn't been mentioned much is the fact that they aren't subject to the draft. So when the teams setup their academies they have total control of those players. Setting up similar academies here preps the kids for everyone because they have to go into the draft.

If you were an MLB team, which would you rather do?

Thus, the draft needs revamped to include all players worldwide.

CMFost said...

Todd - Not sure if the Heisman can be included in this debate. It is not a Championship Trophy.

ToddTheJackass said...

Tbender, I think there are a ton of logistical reasons that you can't internationalize the draft as much, part of which is that international players are signed as early as age 16 I believe. But I'm also sure there's a union issue as well that prevents this from happening.

CM, that's fair, I just made a list of trophies in general, but for championship trophies, yes, the Heisman would definitely not be applicable. I also had a tough time deciding if the Green Jacket was a 'trophy' per se. Also, as per the people suggesting the Indy 500 trophy, I generally associate the drinking of milk as being more associated with winning Indy than the trophy, which is really cool though.

ToddTheJackass said...

As per the argument that Latino players are being unfairly targeted in steroid investigations/punishments, I don't think it's an intentional racism issue so much as an institutional racism issue, in that I'm guessing US/Canadian players are able to get non-banned supplements easier than Latin American players. Like Ortiz said, in the DR and other players, you're not as sure what it is that you're taking. Not to mention that it's pretty likely IMO that a lot of the academies themselves encouraged young 16-17 year olds to take steroids, to help their bodies fill out sooner.

Also, a few years ago I know there were a lot of complaints by some of the Latin American players that the new PED rules weren't being properly translated/communicated to the players in the academies, etc. I would hope that's been remedied slightly, but still it does represent that there is a bit of a history there.

thistlewarrior said...

TBender, as a former pitcher (albeit softball) I think that an automatic 1 gm suspension is a bit harsh. Even professionals can accendentally bean hitters and such a rule could have some unintended consequences. It could give batters, particularly those who like to crowd the plate, an unfair advantage since pitchers would be less likely to pitch inside. The intent/situation needs to be considered, although I know making it subjective opens a whole new can of worms.

ToddTheJackass said...

Lost in the Ozzie Guillen and Sheffield comments was what Carlos Guillen said, in that he thought there was some truth in what Sheffield said.

In other words, Carlos Guillen agreed that the kids in the Academies in Latin America do for the most part do what they're told, for fear that they could be sent back home. That actually seems pretty logical to me.

So, to me at least, there doesn't seem to be that far of a jump to make that the 16-17 year old kids in these academies could be more likely to take steroids, since they would be less likely to object against trainers, and will do anything to stay, (assuming what Carlos Guillen says is correct).

Obviously, the danger of what Sheffield said was making too gross of a stereotype, including all players. And I haven't read all of Ozzie's comments, so I'm not sure if he explained it more in depth, or just made sweeping generalizations, so I won't chastize him yet...

WuzUpG said...

Not only is the Stanley Cup the best trophy, each of the players get to have it for a day. Some drink out of it. I think I heard someone make jello in it. To me, that no only makes the Stanley Cup the best trophy, but the most special, as well.

I'm disappointed that my Sharks weren't the first California team to win the Cup. But, I'm happy for Teemu Selanne, an ex-Shark, for waiting for 15 years to win the Cup.

Unknown said...

I'm pretty sure that the player to warch in the MLB draft is Pat Venditte. You know...


If you haven't heard the story just google him. I can't believe that he's legitimate from both arms. That's the coolest thing ever. I hope the O's draft him.

I think that he might turn into a circus attraction though.

Unknown said...

Rafael, Sorry, you're right. I guess I don't concentrate on knowing who is what nationality too much. I am not sure what I thought Palmeiro was - maybe Italian.

Still my point is that I find it hard to believe that MLB is intentionally trying to test and suspend Latino players for drug use over other players.

I think the best explanation for more Latinos getting busted is that they are not doing as good a job at cheating. There are all sorts of ways of beating tests. There are masking agents, timetables and specific dosages allowing drugs to be taken while avoiding positive tests. The American players probably know the better doctors.

As for Sheffield's comment, if I was Hispanic, I would find it insulting. Actually I find it insulting and I am not even Hispanic.

Unknown said...

Thanks guyinthecorner. I have discussed with friends over the years, why hasn't there ever been a switch pitcher. Obviously it is not as easy as being a switch hitter but in all the years ...

What happens when a switch pitcher faces a switch hitter? Who gets the advantage. The pitcher puts on his righty glove and the batter jumps over to the other batter's box and the pitcher changes gloves again? I am serious. This issue is bothering me. Who gets to decide, the pitcher or the batter?

Brian in Oxford said...

shades of Greg Harris, pitching with a 6-finger glove?

I see nobody's voting for that hideous BCS cubic-zirconia atrocity.

Sharapova got her butt kicked this morning.

Without Joey Crawford, how can the Cavs win a game? :)

ToddTheJackass said...

I thought I read something by Neyer or Keith Law awhile back that said the switch pitcher really wasn't very good, that he was mediocre on both sides, and the splits on him weren't as good as they should've been or something like that.

What I'm more surprised at is that there are no tennis players that use two forehands (left and right). I know you'd have to shift your hands at the set position, but there would be definite reach and power advantages seemingly too, right?

TBender said...

I don't disagree. I pitched up through HS and hit a few guys myself (only 1 intentionally :) ).
When MLB gave the umps the ability to warn both dugouts and give automatic ejections for retaliatory acts (in the judgement of the ump), the whole system failed. They wanted to stop the brawls, IIR. They should have moved to a "3rd man in" rule if they were serious, but in typical MLB fashion they botched it.

Plus there are other places to get your point across. Knees, Back, Ribs. Bob Gibson once said the knees were the best place to hit because they don't move (and lack the padding).

I just think that a ball up around the ears is asking for trouble -- of course, I'm biased a little by the crap Zambrano pulled on Edmonds a couple of years ago (hit him once, and then threw at his head after Jimmy homered).

I know. There is a lot of rules that would need to be changed, but until they are the Latin countries are always going to be the bigger focus.

A scary thought about the academy thing: Those academies are run by the teams. If the kids are getting access to steroids and PEDs, then aren't the teams partially responsible?

Brian in Oxford said...


If the pitcher comes to his set position, couldn't the batter could jump across the plate. I sorta remember a rule that once the batter gets 2 strikes, he's not allowed to switch from hitting lefty to righty or vice-versa.

Anyone know if that's really on the books like that?

ToddTheJackass said...


I'm cynical enough that I'm not so sure that MLB trainers aren't/haven't given PEDs to players, so I could easily see some doctors/trainers in places less regulated/policed distributing PEDs, or at the very least using illegal supplements.

As per the international draftees, I don't think it'd be legal for the 16/17 year olds that signed to get drafted in the US, due to age/school restrictions, right?

I'm sure though that players Union would argue against it though, since it divides the money. In other words, with draftees getting a ton of money, AND international signings getting a good amount, the amount of money on contracts would/could drop, especially if MLB stuck to its current recommended slotting costs.

verbal97 said...

Billy Wagner could have been a great switch pitcher.

Unknown said...

I think that a batter is required to stay within the batter's box so that he can't jump across. Besides, even if he did, he wouldn't have enough time to get set.

I never heard that a hitter couldn't switch sides once he had 2 strikes. What if a team changes pitchers when a batter has 2 strikes?

I think baseball handled it correctly regarding pitchers throwing at batters. It should be the ump's discretion. Sometimes it is really obvious it was an accident and there shouldn't be an automatic rule. Also, batters are required to try to get out of the way. Batters with plastic armor on their amrs leaning into pitches shouldn't be awarded first base but they are way too often.

ToddTheJackass said...

Here's a baseball question I was posed today, and would love peoples' input on:

How many A-list free agents signed to multi-year deals (3 years or more, and that have switched teams) have been really good signings over the past few years?

In other words, free agent signings of high caliber players who've signed contracts to 3 or more years that have panned out well in MLB.

Here's my list:

Manny, Vlad, Beltran, Pudge, Tejada (arguable), Bonds, Dye, Mussina, Glavine (arguable).

Ones that look good but too early to tell: Ramon Hernandez, Carlos Lee, Billy Wagner

A-Rod has been a hell of a player, but I just have a hard time justifying him as a "good" signing, since Texas dumped him to the Yankees.

Was Jim Edmonds a free agent when he signed with the Cards?

Brian in Oxford said...

guess I have my answer on the switching batter's box:

Read these....

TBender said...

Edmonds was acquired in a trade...for Bottenfield, Kennedy, and someone else I think.

It's wayyyy too early on Carlos Lee...that was a 6 year deal that I fully believe will become a new "Bagwell" albatross for the Astros in years 4-6. I agree with the others though.

Todd, if I recall correctly, the union really doesn't care about draftees and the non-MLB ready international FAs because they aren't MLB level players. Most of the Latinos don't sign MLB-level contracts. They are signed to draftee type deals which puts them at the MLB minimum when they get called up -- and then the union cares about them.

Cycledan, the problem is too many times the umps have stepped in when it is clear that there was no situation or a team has instigating something knowing that they're getting a free shot.

chipp said...

Gil Meche has done a great job so far. 3 of his 13 outings he's deserved the loss, but otherwise, he's kept KC in the games. He's had 5 starts of 6 or more IP with 1 or less ER and either had a ND or a L.

Why didn't the M's keep him and leave Weaver for the termites?

TBender said...

Edmonds for Bottenfield and Kennedy.

Wow. That was more lopsided than I thought.

ToddTheJackass said...

Tbender, That's a good point about the union not really showing much loyalty to draftees. Even taking that away, it's probably just too difficult logistically (scouting costs, etc) to incorporate international kids into the draft.

International players are like draftees though in that the prominent ones get pretty decent signing bonuses.

As for Edmonds for Kennedy and Bottenfield, at least Kennedy helped them win a WS, so he wasn't a complete waste.

Jen said...