Baseball is Back

April 15, 2008

It’s been two weeks since Opening Day and it’s a little too early to make any prediction, but here are my initial thoughts and concerns for some teams:

  • My first concern is for the Detroit Tigers. 3-10?!? They would be 2-11 if the offense didn’t wake up late in the game last night against the Twins. Is that a sign to come? Well, if they want to sniff .500, they need the offense to carry them because their pitching stinks. Verlander looks awful, Willis is on the DL, Bonderman looks bad, the bullpen is HORRENDOUS. Where is Miguel Cabrera?! The Tigers will turn it around, but it will not be easy making the playoffs in the AL.
  • My second biggest concern is for Los Mets. Johan keeps giving up bombs, their hitting is extremely overrated and I don’t trust their bullpen in a big spot. Pedro is also hurt and their rotation is extremely overrated. John Maine hasn’t put together a full, solid season and Oliver Perez will either be phenomenal or he will get shelled. This team also has no leader in the clubhouse. Jose Reyes, Beltran, Delgado? No. David Wright? No… he can’t represent that large Hispanic contingent. Also, the Mets are in a very precarious position because one key injury to a big player and they will be in a lot of trouble.
  • David Ortiz has been awful for Boston, Josh Beckett has been sub-par, but this team still finds ways to win. That is why they are the defending champs and why they should still be favored this season.
  • Other than Baltimore, who is somehow in first place right now, the AL East is more competitive than ever. Tampa Bay can really hit the ball, Toronto has been a very competitive team for years and then you of course have the Yankees and the Red Sox. The most competitive division in baseball.
  • Joe Bloworski stinks. Thank god he’s on the DL because that Betancourt will do something Joe Blow couldn’t do… save some wins.

Here is why you can’t get all caught up in the first two weeks. Take a look at the six division leaders so far: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Florida, St. Louis and Arizona. Yea, it’s a joke so far.

Aneesh


Yankee Spring Training Thoughts…..

February 20, 2008

joba1.jpgHowdy y’all… Unlike Kyle Kendrick I did not get traded to Japan… It has just been a while for a blog post… But I’m back baby…

Since Spring Training has finally kicked off with enough of the Andy Pettitte circus its time for some real baseball issues… Who would’ve thunk A-Rod would come to camp after signing a record contract and even Mr. Publicity is on the backburner….

Never the less here are 5 Pressing Story-Lines to keep an eye for the Yankees in the Grapefruit League…

1. To start or not to start… That is thy question… Everyone around Yankee camp is wondering… How exactly is the Joba Chamberlain plan for 2008 going to pan out. Even though the Yankees claim they will be starting him in the bullpen for 2008, I wouldn’t say that is a forgone conclusion, especially if a starter goes down early in Spring Training. If all pans out with the Yankees starters, the Yanks would be wise to keep the phenomenal kid in the bullpen to set up Mariano Rivera. What the Yankees will do… Only time will tell.

2. Who’s on 1st…. With the Yankees committed to keeping Melky Cabrera in Centerfield. Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi will compete for the LF and DH positions in the lineup. However Giambi will be seeing some time at first, but due to his putrid defense the question remains who will be seeing that playing time. The Yankees have Shelly Duncan who did a stupendous job coming up in July… However is he the answer every day as the first basemen. The Yankees also have brought veterans Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane to camp. My hunch Duncan will be the Yankees every day first basemen with Giambi playing part time as well.philandian.jpg

3. The Kids are all right…. The Yankees in a very un-Yankee like fashion passed up on the Johan Santana deal and decided to stick with Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy for 2008 and beyond. The Yankees are counting on these two starters to do a stand up job for them. The question is… Will they? They are highly touted and showed flashes of brilliance last season. However can they handle it for a full season. Look to see if they struggle early on in camp if the Yankees push Joba Chamberlain faster in the rotation plan.

4. Hit me baby one more time… For veterans Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina anmoose.jpgd Andy Pettitte this could be their final go around in pinstripes. Do Giambi and Mussina have enough left in the tank to give solid respectable seasons. Mussina will be counted on to improve upon a 5 era, and Giambi will counted on to hit 20-25 homeruns if he can manage to stay healthy. And now onto Pettitte, I would not throw him into the mix. However, due to the HGH saga, the question remains is Andy mentally ready for 2008. Don’t be surprised if this is Andy’s Final go around just due to all of the stress this season may bring.

5. New Cup joeyg.jpgof Joe… For the first time since the 1995 season… Joe Torre is not the Skipper at Legends Field in Tampa Florida. Girardi the vibrant, new manager will bring a different style and intensity to Spring Training as opposed to the laid back Torre. After all Mike Mussina said, “this is more running then all of last season” when referring to a tough opening workout under Girardi. Although Girardi will look to push buttons differently then Mr. Torre, as a new manager following a legend, Joey G will make sure he earns the respect of his veterans early in camp…

Well Folks… The Countdown is now at… 41 Days till Opening Day 2008…

Be good everybody…. Stay Tuned for my MLB Spring Training Burning Issues…

JJ


He Said…. He said….

February 14, 2008

After the non stop television coverage of the hearings between Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee, my question to you folks is this. How many more days till opening day? Before I give my take on the whole proceedings that occurred this afternoon let me say this. Aren’t you sick of all the coverage. The hearings… The lying… It might as well be out of the Young and the Restless. Sooner or later the truth all of it will come to the floor. When it does… Call me…

However….

cheaters.jpgLet me say this… Anyone and I mean anyone who believes Roger Clemens did not use performance enhancing drugs is sipping the Clemens Kool Aid… The telling tale here folks was the testimony of my boy… Andy Pettitte… is what did Mr Clemens in… When its a he said-he said battle, and then you have a third party come in. You listen. Especially when the third party is an honest, religious man that is going to tell the truth. Congressmen Cummings asked Clemens about this and he said… Andy must have “misremembered” about the conversation Pettitte claims Roger and he had about HGH. Thats all you need to know folks… Clemens is trying to save a hall of fame bid that is now forever tarnshised due to performance enhancing drugs… Now I admire Roger Clemens for some of the things he said today… Such as he cares about his reputation. He cares about educating people of the dangers of steroids… But Roger… Actions speak louder then words… And guess what you lose…

Thats All Folks….

PS… 45 Days till Opening Day….

Be Good

JJ


Another Ace on the Move

February 8, 2008

bedard.jpgI know he’s not Johan Santana, but the Erik Bedard move to Seattle is also a big deal. It won’t get the media attention that the Johan trade got and rightfully so, but this trade is as important for Seattle as the Santana trade was for the Mets. Why you ask? Well, I wrote about this in a post about a week and a half ago.

It’s about time this trade got done. We heard about it day after day, but nothing got done. This trade was great for both teams. The Orioles were not winning with Bedard, it’s simple. So why not get prospects for him that can help the team win in the future. The Bedard trade in my mind puts Seattle as the top team in the AL West. They now have the pitching to be a threat in not only the AL West, but in the whole AL. Having two aces at the top of the rotation in Bedard and King Felix will give them a deadly 1-2 punch. Now, I know that those two have proven nothing in a big spot and neither has put together a stellar full season. But to have a 28 year-old lefty ace heading into his prime with a 21 year-old flame throwing right hander is a very nice combination for years to come. Also, the 3, 4, 5 pitchers in Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista and Carlos Silva give the Mariners an opportunity to win every night. This acquisition just gives Seattle that top of the line Ace every playoff team needs.

As for my Orioles. Thank god. Get rid of Brian Roberts too. They’re not winning this year or next year. Heck, they might not make the playoffs in my lifetime. But at least they have some young talent that will give their fans some hope and reason to watch. That’s all I’m asking for… some hope and potential. Why? I don’t know… I should have given up on this organization a long time ago. I’ve watched Bedard grow into the pitcher he is and I love him. Maybe I can now watch some of the young prospect the Orioles have acquired come into their own as a group and love them too. Hopefully they can give the Yankees and Red Sox a run for their money someday in my lifetime. It’ll make baseball season worth looking forward to. Hopeful, I know.

Aneesh


If you know best, Get it done

January 31, 2008
Two ace pitchers potentially on the move. Potentially is the key word here. If you didn’t know the two pitchers I’m talking about, they are Johan Alexander Santana and Erik Joseph Bedard. The Mets and Mariners, respectively, desperately need these two pitchers. Let me breakdown the two potential moves.

orioles_logo01.gif SP-Erik Bedard

bedard.jpg

To mariners-web-logo.jpg For

OF Adam Jones, RP George Sherrill

adam-jones.jpg george-sherrill.jpg

P Chris Tillman, P Tony Butler, and a player to be named later

First off, this sense makes too much sense for both teams. Apparently, Baltimore is now trying to see if they can sign Bedard to a contract extension to stay in Baltimore. If this happens, Seattle did a very poor job. Let’s take a look at Bedard’s 2007 season.

  • Bedard missed the last month of the season, but still finished in the AL ranked 2nd in the WHIP (1.09), 3rd in SO (221) and 4th in ERA (3.16).
  • Against the Yankees Bedard was 2-0 in 21 innings pitched, 11 hits, 3 ER, and 21 strikeouts. And let’s not forget that the Yankees were the most potent offense in baseball. And he would have been 3-0 if not for three-run homer by Shelley Duncan off Jamie Walker in the ninth inning.
  • Bedard started off slow, but in his last 14 starts of the season he was 9-1 with a 2.65 ERA. He gave up only 5.7 hits per nine innings and struck out 11.2 batters per nine innings.

By no means am I saying that Erik Bedard is a better pitcher than Joe-han Santana. Santana has performed at a higher level for a longer period of time. But what I know is that Bedard will demand a lot less money than Joe-han. Santana will demand around $150-$160 million and will ask for a lot of money up front. Bedard’s contract will be in the ballpark of 6 years, $120 million a year. That’s a potentially $40 million difference for a pitcher that might be one of the best pitchers in the game. That is why this trade is a no-brainer for Seattle and a “must complete” one. If Seattle can land Bedard they will easily be the favorite in the AL West and a serious contender in the AL. Bedard should flourish in Seattle’s pitcher friendly ballpark, Safeco Field compared a hitters ballpark in Camden Yards. The Mariners will have two of the most promising young pitchers in the league, King Felix Hernandez and Bedard. Also, what would make the duo tougher is that Hernandez is right-handed and Bedard is a lefty. A lot of matchup problems for opposing teams.

Now, let’s go to the Orioles side of things. This team has no hope for the next couple years. NONE. ZERO. Heck, they might not even have hope for the next 50 years with Boston and New York in the division. But nonetheless, this team needs to pull off this trade. This team is not winning with Bedard so he’s not worth paying the money. If they land Adam Jones, they could have two absolute studs in the outfield in Jones and Nick Markakis. They do still have Brian Roberts who they should trade as well for some starting pitchers and they got 5 prospects from Houston for the roided up Tejada. They will strengthen their horrendous bullpen with Sherrill. This team will be VERY young, but they will easily have more promise than they’ve had in the last 10 years. But still, they won’t sniff the playoffs in our lifetimes.

Bottom line is… this deal NEEDS to be done for both teams. No question about it. You play to get better and both teams would with this trade.

twins.gif SP Johan Santana

johan.jpg

To ny-mets-3d-logo.jpg For

OF Carlos Gomez, P Phil Humber, P Kevin Mulvey and P Deolis Guerra

First off, I don’t have pictures for these bums that Minnesota got in the trade because they are exactly what I said, BUMS! I was watching Peter Gammons on Sportscenter and he said that if these four prospects were in the Yankees or Boston’s farm system, then they wouldn’t rank in the top 10! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!??!? This was a flat out steal, no doubt about it. Minnesota made an idiotic trade to say the least. This year, they replaced Torii Hunter with Carlos Gomez and JOHAN SANTANA, the best pitcher in the baseball, with Phil Humber!! Wow… upgrade. They also lost Carlos Silva by the way. This was a terrible trade on the Twins’ part. But we all know this, you don’t need me to tell you that. But here is what I am going to tell you… If the Mets do not get a contract extension with Santana done NOW, it would be a very very bad things for the Mets. This guy has one year left on his contract. He’s 28. Has won two Cy Young Awards. You can’t say enough about how good this guy is and he very well could be that “addition” the Mets need to win the NL. But please lock him up for 5-6 years. You already dealt for the guy, you might as well pay him. He’s worth every penny. Unlike Bedard, he is proven.

I want to reinforce the fact that the Mets are now the clear favorites in the NL. Philadelphia doesn’t have the pitching staff the Mets do. The Phillies have the hitting, but let’s not forget that Utley and Howard are left-handed and Santana is extremely tough against left-handers, so he neutralizes Utley and Howard. The Mets have the best pitcher in the baseball and a powerful offense. Their bullpen is suspect, but I don’t see that really being a problem until the playoffs. The NL Central is a joke and the West is always up for grabs, so right now, the Mets have to be the favorite in the NL. So can the Mets contend for the World Series title? That question can only be answered if the Mets don’t collapse..

Speaking of the collapse. Here is another reason why this trade was so critical for New York. After last years collapse, I’m not too sure how much Met fans were looking forward to this season. It was kind of like yea Philadelphia is better, I hate my team for collapsing, we’ll see after the Giants play in the Super Bowl. But now, there is no doubt that Mets fans are back behind their team and are extremely excited for another year. And trust me, there will be no collapse with Santana pitching every 5th day…

Aneesh


J-O-H-A-N!

January 30, 2008

ynnbe4mq.jpgSo this week is in the making of one of the best sports week I have had in a LONG time. First off, the most obvious being we are now five days away from Super Bowl Sunday and my favorite team, the New York Football Giants, are preparing to attempt to put an exclamation mark on the end of their fairy tale finish. Then comes the interesting part…I walk back into my room after a full, long, tiring day of classes only to see a rather unusual look on JJ’s face. He seemed rather upset so I asked him why. That is when and how I found out that the New York Mets had acquired JOHAN SANTANA!

The first thing I obviously did was celebrate. The Mets finally made the move and landed the best pitcher in Major League Baseball. Even better, I don’t have to watch him go to the Red Sox (which wouldn’t have bothered me too much) but thankfully, I didn’t have to watch him go to the Bronx…thank God.

Omar MinayaNow to the actual baseball aspect of the deal. Congratulations Omar Minaya, you finally made a move after an unusually quiet winter and got a big name (and no, signing Ryan Church and Brian Schneider are not big offseason moves). Not only that, but Omar and the Mets solidified and filled a huge void in the Met clubhouse, a true ace. I know how great Pedro looked at the end of the season last year, but I am in no means ready to call Pedro our ace until he starts pitching every fifth day on a consistent basis. Now the Mets rotation, at this time, looks like this…

64412.jpg 1. Johan Santana

4875.jpg 2. Pedro Martinez

7386.jpg 3. John Maine

6945.jpg 4. Oliver Perez

6019.jpg 5. Orlando Hernandez

I know Pedro and El Duque raise some health and age concerns, but I feel VERY comfortable with that rotation to start the season. You also get some great youth with that in John Maine and Oliver Perez, who both showed tremendous strides forward last year. Then, of course, that foursome now gets led by Johan, the best pitcher in baseball.

Now to perhaps the best part of the trade – the Mets gave up virtually nothing to get the best pitcher in baseball. In return, the Twins get OF Carlos Gomez, P Phil Humber, P Kevin Mulvey, P Deolis Guerra. I liked what I saw in Carlos Gomez last year, but I’m not an idiot…I LOVE Johan Santana. Humber has always been said to have great potential but the fact of the matter is that he is 25 years old with a losing record in the minor leagues. Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra are also good prospects, but as a Met fan you have to love what you get for what you gave up. In December it sounded like the Mets would’ve had to sacrifice Jose Reyes in order to get Santana…don’t tell me you would feel better having those four guys and Santana sans Reyes. I have been critical of some of the past deals the Mets have made with their prospects (Kazmir for Victor Zambrano) but Johan and Zambrano don’t even belong on the same planet in terms of pitching. Bottom line, I love the deal and Minaya has finally done something to get me especially interested in the new and upcoming season. Before this deal, I did not see a spark that got me really excited about a potential run at the World Series, but now I see it. Congratulations Omar and the New York Mets organization and well done!

Oh yeah and for what it’s worth, Syracuse bball beat Providence on Sunday (part of my good week even though their season isn’t going much of anywhere). That’s all for now and let’s go Mets and Giants!

Erik “The Happy Sports Fan”


Some thoughts on the Clemens 60 Minutes Interview….

January 7, 2008

clemensmcnamee.jpeg

Hello everyone… Hope your 2008 is going great… I cant believe in this new year I once again need to address the steroid problem in Major League Baseball and the whole Clemens fiasco which seems to be unable to go away.

After watching Clemens interview with Mike Wallace last night after all of the football…

Here are a few quick hits from me…

– One, Mike Wallace did a fantastic job despite the fact hes been around for a while. He asked the tough questions… whether why trainer Brian McNamee would lie about Clemens but not about teammate Andy Pettitte who admitted to using HGH in 2002. Very suspect and Mr Clemens answer was well very suspect.

– Secondly, Wallace asked how Clemens performance in 1998 and 2001 resulted in Cy Young’s ironically enough the same years he “allegedly used” steroids. Clemens being the tough Texan he is just kept firing back denials. And I mean if you expected anything else your crazy. This guy is battling these charges the same way hes battled hitters for the last 20 years or so… Consistent hard work and persistence. He has nothing to lose because everyone in America including yours truly believes he did some sort of steroids… So he needs to do this

– Third point… I found it interesting whether he would consider taking a lie detector test. Bottom line here… Roger if you didn’t take steroids go before Congress and take the lie detector test and pass it… If you do you will gain a lot in the court of public opinion and thats the battle your facing right here. If I’m Clemens and I’m innocent, you bet I am taking that lie detector test and testifying before Congress…

Thats all on the Clemens issue… hit me up with your thoughts and comments I’d love to banter with some of you on this… Bottom line I cannot wait till all this nonsense is over with and as most baseball fans bring on the real stuff…. How many more days till pitchers and catchers?

Stay tuned for my Playoff Picks For the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs… Possibly the four best divisional games I can remember in a long long time… All marquee matchups no doubt about it. Another thing football fans be very upset because after this week the football season really starts to wind down. This is the last Sunday you will have games at 1:00 so for you usual diehard’s like myself who have been there since September 9th this year… It’s time to count the days till pitchers and catchers because the month of February is the worst sports month of the year…

And before I go a pick on the National Championship game

LSU 20 Ohio State 10

Take LSU and the points….

Be good….

JJ