Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday 07/02 A.M. Quickie:
Bonds, More All-Stars, NBA/NHL Free Agency, More!

Barry Bonds will be an All-Star: And impressively, too. He came back from a 119,000-vote deficit in the vote's final days to finish 123,000 votes ahead of Alfonso Soriano for the NL's third outfield spot. Who says the fans can't get it right? This was the ONLY choice to make.

The upshot: Bonds isn't hated NEARLY as much as the media will have you believe, AND fans – even if they hate Bonds – still want to see him in the All-Star Game in San Francisco in this year, of any year.

His selection -- and his appearance, particularly among his adoring, see-no-evil home fans of San Francisco and particularly given that he is ready to set the all-time career home-run record any day now -- is by far the biggest storyline of this year's All-Star Game.

Comments question: Which player(s) got screwed worst by the All-Star selection? And which All-Star was least deserving?

In the AL, there are few novel names among the starters beyond the usual suspects you could have predicted before the season started. (Frankly, among reserves, there are very few you wouldn't have predicted before the season there, either.)

Nice to see: Gil Meche, particularly after all the grief he and the Royals took in the offseason for signing him to such a big-ass deal.

In the NL, Prince Fielder and Russ Martin crash what is otherwise the usual suspects among the starters. For the reserves, it's hard to believe that the left side of the infield, league-wide, is so thin that they can only support ONE reserve SS and ONE reserve 3B. (C'mon: Where's Ryan Braun?)

Nice to see: Dmitri Young, whose career seemed irrevocably imploded as recently as last season -- now resurrected as the leader of the Nats.

ASG starting pitchers: I think Peavy is a no-brainer in the NL. In the AL, I could see Jim Leyland using his boy Justin Verlander, but the real starter should be Dan Haren.

"Final Vote" Mania! My favorite MLB marketing gimmick of the last I-don't-know-how-long:

In the AL, it's Bonderman, Halladay, Escobar, Neshek and Okajima. (They're all lucky there are no White Sox involved.) Halladay is the biggest name, but I'm betting on Okajima to upend traditional xenophobia/racism (Oh, fine. I hear you, Commenters.) The biggest thing going against him is that he's on the Red Sox.

In the NL, I think it will be Carlos Zambrano, over Gorzelanny, Oswalt, reigning NL Cy Young Brandon Webb and Chris Young the pitcher. If Hanley Ramirez was on this ballot, I think he'd win (and would deserve to win).

Comments: Who are your picks for the "Final Vote" in each league?

MLB Stud: Tim Lincecum, the Giants rookie SP who struck out 12 batters -- a career-high in his admittedly short career.

MLB Dud: Mike Hargrove, who resigned as Mariners manager because he couldn't hack it anymore. Let's hope another team does NOT give him another chance as part of the MLB Manager Recycling Program. (For example, the Reds, after they fired Jerry Narron.)

NBA Free Agency: Nets re-sign Vince Carter. I don't care how much money it was for -- it was a bad move. I understand the guy is popular (Wait: to whom, exactly? His popularity is a mystery to me.), but is it worth mortgaging the future of the franchise for it?

Rashard Lewis Watch: The Rockets want him. The Magic want him. The Knicks want him. Let's eliminate the Knicks right now, right?

I think the NBA Free Agent to Watch is Gerald Wallace, who is arguably not just a better value than the rest of the top-tier, but a better player, period, given his age, versatility and recent production.

NBA Relocation: Jason Kapono is taking his conscience-free 3-point shooting from Miami to Toronto, presumably where their international-friendly style probably fits his one-dimensional strengths best.

NHL Free Agency: Crazy start. See what a little extra cap room can do for player movement? In another era, Chris Drury's move to New York to play for the Rangers would have made him a national sports star. As it stands, he's still best-known for the Little League thing. The Rangers picked up the Devils' Scott Gomez from across the river, too.

Chris Benoit Murders: In a horrifying new development, it looks like Benoit may have used his "signature finishing move" to kill his own son. This is sick beyond words.

New Varsity Dad post up this morning: A parody off the story of 14-year-old Ryan Boatright committing to play hoops for USC. Here's the link.

-- D.S.

52 comments:

Jason said...

It would have been nice to see Curtis Granderson eligible for the "Final Vote" considering he wasn't even on the ballot and he's leading the league with 15 triples. They probably didn't want both Bondo and Granderson on their though. Here's hoping for manny to get an "injury" next week and force him to sit out!

SF said...

why id peavy a no-brainer? what abour brad penny? better numbers. go look.

Matt T said...

Glad to see Smoltz make it.

Edgar Renteria would have been a good choice for a reserve slot at SS.

jhawkjjm said...

How about Hanley Ramirez at SS? He's got better numbers than Jose Reyes does, but doesn't play in New York. Although its hard to argue against J.J. Hardy.

rafael said...

No complaints here. Griffey made it in easy.

Re: Benoit
I'd avoid the sensationalism on that one Dan. Or just the topic at all. It isn't sports related, and even though I don't have a child, it is extremely disturbing. Leave it for CNN or something, would ya?

CMFost said...

Jason, Have you noticed one thing about all the people on the Final Vote list? THEY ARE ALL PITCHERS!!! So it looks like they are trying to fill the final pitching spot on the roster thus ganderson had no chance

jhawkjjm said...

And in response to yesterday's quickie about Durant. Why doesn't Kobe lead his team out of the first round each year? You need talent around you to help carry the load. Did you even see that game? The people around him did nothing in that game and couldn't make a shot to save their lives. In a one and done situation one bad night and its over. Remember that Ohio State (with the #1 and #3) was down 20 at halftime to Tennessee in the tourney. Had they lost that game would Oden be a "championship player".

CMFost said...

Not sure about Lowell and Manny, more Manny then anything since he is not have a great season. You have to add Youkillis to the people who where snubbed.

I am going - Okajima and Webb for the final vote.

Jason said...

Quick note about the Benoit finishing move thing -- based on what I've read and heard, he definitely choked his son out and didn't use his hands to do it, but it should be noted that his famous move, the Cripper Crossface, isn't a chokehold. Nice sensationalism, though, Dan.

Sarge said...

Haren over Sabathia? Peavy over Penny? C'mon Dan.

Also, leaving H Ramirez and Rollins off of the roster so Dirty Sanchez could play is rediculous. Also, despite the ERA, Jo-Bo deserves it more than Jenks, but that whole "representation" thing...

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ndyanksfan05 said...

Rangers land drury and gomez...HUGE day for the Atlantic division - right on the heals of the flyers stealing Briere...

Sabres fans must be feeling like Marlins fans after 96...minus the championship

marcomarco said...

This may not be a reputable source, but here's some backup for Dan's 'speculation' quote about Benoit:

Police in Georgia are speculating that Benoit ended Daniel's life with the Crippler Crossface

Todd said...

Back from a short sabbatical... Yesterday's MLB Studs and Duds:

Studs:
1. Tim Lincecum - W, 7.0IP, 0ER, 3H, 12Ks
2. Chad Billingsley - W, 7.0IP, 0ER, 3H, 9Ks
3. Jeremy Bonderman - W, 8.0IP, 0ER, 6H, 7Ks, BB
4. Cliff Lee - W, 8.0IP, ER, 4H, 9Ks, BB
5. Josh Willingham, 5/5, 2RBI, Walk-off single

Duds:
1. Andy Pettite - L, 1.2IP, 7ER, 8R, 9H, 2HR
2. Homer Bailey - L, 3.2IP, 7ER, 7H, 5BBs, 2Ks
3. Micah Owings - L, 4.0IP, 7ER, 8H, 2Ks, 3BBs
4. Robinson Cano - 0/5, 2Ks, 5LOB
5. David Ortiz - 0/4, K, 5LOB

chipp said...

MLB Stud: Jeff Weaver - 8 IP, 1 ER in ND M's win!

MLB Team Stud: M's - 8 W's in-a-row with sweeps of BOS and TOR.

Hargrove: tough to call him a dud. He decided that he wasn't able to give as much to the team as he was asking of everyone else. The Mariners are winning for the first time in his tenure; if he had bolted during a low point, that would have been a different story.

chipp said...

How is Ortiz the starting 1B for the AL? He's batting .208 as a 1B-man. He's the worst 1B-man on his team: Youks is killing him!

If the ASG is in an NL stadium, players that DH shouldn't be considered. If he makes an error in a close game, shouldn't the eventual AL rep in the WS be REALLY pissed off?

Todd said...

Looking at the All-Star roster, the only glaring thing I'd change is to have Matt Holliday starting over Beltran, and to have Hanley Ramirez on the team over Brian Fuentes... but other than that, it's a pretty tolerable roster considering, considering the player from every team rule.

Also, I voted for Bonds, and think he deserves it, especially with the game in SF.

As far as starters, Haren or Sabathia, I'd go with Haren who has been unbelievable (until yesterday). Wasn't yesterday his first non-quality start? I love CC though. And on the NL, I'd go Peavy or Penny, but Penny is having a monstrous season. Peavy has the K/9 edge pretty considerably though, right?

verbal97 said...

Hanley Ramirez and Chin Pube from the red sox got screwed.

I, for one, don't think the fans got it right with Bonds...I wished Selig got around to suspending him before now.

I'd say Okajima will get in as well as Zambrano. I also disagree with your racism comment. Look at the vote totals Ichiro has garnered since moving to MLB. Voters from Japan don't hurt, but I'm guessing people are NOT as racist as you think.

theoriginaljd said...

I realize nobody likes the Red Sox but if you want to read about their flaws (http://sixpacksportsreport.blogspot.com/)

BIGGEST ALL STAR SNUB: Kevin Youkilis

WORST ALL STAR: Manny Ramirez

The fact that Youk didn't make the All Star team while Manny did shows that the players dont care when they vote - they just vote for the name they recognize. Youk has been the best part of the Red Sox season thus far and the fact that someone who has underperformed as brutally as Manny did (read my piece from today) in the first half made an All Star team is a joke.

thistlewarrior said...

Reds finally fire Narron! About damn time!

Brian in Oxford said...

I got the giggles hearing about the Nets resigning Carter, too. Wasn't he just about to opt out? I thought, wow, the Nets are getting out from under him the easy way! Guess not...

I'm curious who the last pitcher to get a hit in the all-star game was. Anyone?

How about if Youk just shows up wearing #24, and wearing fake dreds....

Of course, we realize that the overexpansion has led to too many not-really-allstars because of the stupid "every team needs one" rule.

Here's a potentially good idea. Have 3 all-star games, east versus east, central versus central, west versus west. Then you can play them all the same day, in different time zones (7 pm east, 7 pm central, 7 pm west)....whichever league wins at least 2 out of 3 gets the home field.....
rosters aren't stretched as thin, while the fans get to see more of their own favorite players. Sox/Yanks team up to battle Mets/Phils....it at least seems interesting.

Natsfan74 said...

Xenophobia/ racism? That might be about the dumbest thing you have ever said. And that's quite an accomplishment. 7 of the 8 AL starters were born/ raised outside of the US. Ichiro has been an all-star all 7 of his MLB seasons, and has lead in overall votes before. This year's overall vote leader was not born in the US. How is there any xenophobia/ racism in baseball right now? That's absured!

Todd said...

I don't mind the "every team gets a player" rule, but if said rule is in effect, they need to get rid of the whole determining World Series home field advantage thing. Michael Young and Freddy Sanchez are the two obviously undeserving people who made it by the every team rule, right? Dmitri Young and arguably Gil Meche deserved I think.

I like Neyer's idea of having the All-Star game count for 1/3 of the determining factor, along with the league with the better interleague record, and the tiebreaker being the team with the better record during the year.

rafael said...

Sanchez has rebounded well after an awful start to the season. So he's not THAT bad of a choice.

rafael said...

and jhawk..OSU was down 20 to Tennessee...but, um..they won that game right?

Texas sucking out in the Tourney wasn't Durant's fault though, that was mostly on Barnes.

Matt said...

@ NdYanksFan:

No, we don't feel like the '96 Marlins post-championship. As a matter of fact, that's completely ridiculous.

While the Sabres have a self-imposed cap that isn't the league's salary cap, the Sabres did not TRADE players with the expressed intent of cutting salary. They let players go who were UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS who they felt they couldn't sign/didn't want to be there/didn't want on their team anymore.

If you want an example of firesaleing, take a look in Nashville.

Richard K. said...

What's maddening about the whole Bonds thing is how completely clueless the media is about what the fans think.

To all media: We know he's on the roids and we dont give a shit. He's no different than anyone else who uses strength to make money. And rememeber, he never cheated. He used steroids before they were illegal.

jhawkjjm said...

raf- yes they did win and went on to the national championship game where Oden had an awesome game. Now had Tennessee won that game or had lost in the elite 8 when they were down 9 near the end of the game, would people be guaranteeing that Oden will win NBA championships? Probably not. So the whole arguement about Durant not being able to even lead his team to the sweet sixteen is dumb. If a team with 3 first rounders, including the 1 and 3 picks needs to get lucky as a #1 seed to get there, using it as the basis of an arguement is just plain retarded.

He also uses Melo as an example, but as others mentioned its convenient to forget the players around him and KU shooting 35% from the free throw line. And they needed an Okie St implosion in the 2nd round as well.

jhawkjjm said...

Steriods always have been illegal. There was just no testing and punishment system in place for them.

CMFost said...

MLB is just plain dumb for having an all star game determine the home advantage for the World Series, why don't they do it like every other sport except for the NFL and give home field advantage to the team with the best record.

mirthywvu said...

Even though I'm thrilled that Freddy Sanchez made the allstar team since he's my favorite player (I'm a sad Pirates fan), he shouldn't have made it this year...it should have been a pitcher, my choice Ian Snell, or Gorzelany, Snell has an ERA under 3.00 on another crappy Pirates team. Gorzo has also won 8 on a crappy Pirates team.

The heroin sheik said...

Brian in oxford- I like your idea of 3 games except for one thing. The AL east will be a team of just red sox and yankees with one guy each from the rays, orioles and blow jays. Of course I don't have a better idea. I finally figured out why my fantasy bb team sucks so bad. I have like ten allstars on it.

It was so funny on the train the other day hearing how much people in chicago dislike Noah. I was just smiling wearing my back to back to back bball football bball shirt with pride. I just hope that when he changes peoples opinions of him here that they don't jump on the UF bandwagon since all college teams in this state suck ass. I have yet to meet one person who likes college football.

ndyanksfan05 said...

matt - you guys still have to be pretty pissed you lost your two best players (miller could be in the top two i guess though)...

i'd agree it certainly not on the same level of the marlins - i was being a little dramatic - but it is still a shocker to get hit that hard in terms of losing some of the teams leadership/top talent.

Do you honestly expect the sabres to push for the cup again next year given those losses? Are you guys picking anyone else up to fill the void?

Todd said...

The other thing about the All-Star game is that it's lost one of its most important factors in that the All-Star game used to be the only way outside of the World Series that you'd get to see the best AL players against the best NL players. But with interleague, you already get to see it.

I'm with Mirthy that I'd have rather seen Gorzelanny than Freddy. Then get rid of Brian Fuentes for Hanley Ramirez, and I think that's pretty solid.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

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Caption contest.

Brian in Oxford said...

Best record should NOT determine the world series home field. The teams will have played AT LEAST 90% different schedules. 103 wins against mostly the NL central is not the same as 98 wins in the AL west. If interleague results, plus the all-star game, verify that the AL is the better league one particular year, that's far more decisive than how many games you won in what may have been the inferior league. I will never stop arguing this :)

Todd said...

I agree Brian, I'm saying that if Bud Selig is determined to keep having the All-Star Game "count", then I think they should have it be 1/3 of the determining factor, along with interleague play, with the better regular season results as the tiebreaker. If the AL won both the All-Star and Interleague play, then the regular season results would be a moot point.

Todd said...

Also, I'd argue that even with an unbalanced schedule, if a team has a better record (even in a weaker league), it's still a better indication of who is better than the All-Star game, right? I mean, that's a freakin' exhibition game.

verbal97 said...

Interleague results only should determine home field advantage. Unbalanced schedules or exhibition games are a ridiculous measure.

Also, Richard, nobody cares about Bonds?!?! Have you seen Giants away games this year? Bonds is consistently booed. I don't think Bonds deserves to play in the All-Star game and there's nothing anyone will say that will convince me otherwise.

Big D said...

Re: All-Stars

Kevin Youkilis is on pace for a 100-Run, 20HR, 90+RBI season with Avg/OBP/SLG numbers of .329/.419/.505

Manny Ramirez is on pace for a 80-run, 25HR, 90-RBI season with AVG/OBP/SLG numbers of .285/.383/.468

This is one that the players/managers who vote just completely missed. Fans can always be expected to vote for the most popular guys (remember Nomar leading the NL in votes two weeks before voting ended a couple years back despite only playing in about 20 games?), but the players/managers should at least feign interest in the game.

Not to mention, there's always the money factor - Youk is probably missing out on a decent All-Star selection bonus. Manny will most likely skip the game anyway - can't see him volunteering to fly all the way to San Francisco when NYC is a much shorter plane ride from Boston.


As for the "Extra-Man" voting... Okajima will probably get it (and deservedly so) just with the Boston push, but Chris Young will most likely get hurt by the overwhelming Chicago numbers that will put Zambrano into the lineup.


I'm still waiting for my Home-Run Derby scenario to play out...

Andy R said...

Am I the only one who smells a rat regarding Bonds? A 230,000-some vote swing in less than 12 hours with the most polarizing player in baseball benefitting? And he just HAPPENS to be playing the ASG in his home park?

Something's fishy.

Andy R said...

And as for the final vote - Bonderman and Webb. I would've voted Chris Young, but he's a prick. Zambrano being on that ballot is an absolute joke - Rich Hill, Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis on his own freaking staff have all been better than Z this year.

Travis said...

Dan How can you say being a Red Sox could work against Okajima? That could be a big advantage. Sox Nation around the globe will be casting ballots for him, not to mention the entire country of Japan.

Oh and as for the White Sox thing, before they won the vote in back to back years, Red Sox players Johnny Damon and Jason VAritek won it back to back in its first two years.

Jingoist said...

Interesting how the ASG pitching rosters are now distinctly starters and closers- a far cry from a decade ago and even tweaked from using middle men in recent years. I think it's wrong to leave out the middle men in such an important (read: WS HFA) game.

jhawkjjm said...

andy- that thought also crossed my mind as well, but then I remembered I don't really care about the all star game.

However, they both were home all week to "stuff" the ballot boxes, so who knows.

Todd said...

I'm a Red Sox fan and am voting for Kelvim Escobar. Escobar has been great, but more importantly, I'd rather not see Okajima throw an inning in an exhibition game.

I don't see how you couldn't vote for Chris Young for the NL. 2.14 ERA? Even in a pitcher's park, it's still impressive.

Kevin said...

...but I'm betting on Okajima to upend traditional xenophobia/racism. The biggest thing going against him is that he's on the Red Sox.

Are you kidding me? The Japanese players get a huge boost, because of all the online votes coming in from Japan...you think it's a coincidence Ichiro's started every all-star game for the last seven years? And the fact that he's on the Red Sox gives him even more of an advantage.

SS in the NL is possibly the deepest position around...why the hell did only two of them make the team? There are five deserving shortstops in the NL - Reyes, Rollins, H.Ramirez, Renteria, and Hardy. They should have made room for three, or maybe even four (play one at 2B).

cclair said...

Has anyone seen the image of Mrs. Rodriguez without the blurred F#@$ You? If so, I’d like to see what it really says. As many people know, there’s a clothing company from the UK called French Connection. Many, actually most, of their shirts have the words “FCUK YOU” on them, with the former word standing for French Connection United Kingdom. When I saw the picture on the front of the Post today, I had no doubt in my mind that this was a French Connection shirt and the NY Post was trying to just start some unnecessary BS as usual.



If possible, please look into the origin of this image and find out if it really says what people think it does

danthemanwise said...

So does the Vince Carter resigning with New Jersey mean that LeBron will not be going to Brooklyn (as Dan seems to mention every week)?

Juan said...

I like the Ryan Braun mention. That kid is definitely playing like an all star right. Too bad he got the jump a little late for most people to notice him and be on the ballot. Look out for him to be a key piece of the Brewers puzzle come October.

Jingoist said...

LeBron's contract does not allow him to opt out until after (I think) next season, making him an FA in 2009. So, by then the Nets will have realized their mistake and either traded or release Carter. Worst case they keep him and bring in LeBron as the "2" (or move Carter there). Problem is, they'll be hard against the cap from only 2 players and LeBron would be stuck in a similar situation to what he is now (i.e., no help), but for a different reason (no cap in NJ versus weak player management/drafting in Cleveland).

Joey said...

LeBron isn't going anywhere. All of you that say he's going to the Nets are as clueless as Dan is.