Archive for March, 2011

Hey America, remember me?

I know, it’s been a while. I can pretend that I’ve been too busy living off the euphoria of correctly predicting the Super Bowl result, but that would be lying. I just having been motivated. But enough about my horrific case of writer’s block. There may or may not be a baseball season on the horizon!!! Of course, MLB is throwing us a curve ball by starting the season on a Thursday (who cares that a more traditional start would be the following Monday—eff yo tradition!). Because of this, I need to run out a preview that doesn’t look like I just read a bunch of stuff in ESPN the Magazine (which I did anyway, but you did too). I asked my readers what they’d like to see in this preview, and I also came up with a few questions myself. So, here goes…something, I suppose. Your All Fat 2011 MLB Preview starts right now!!!

1. Is this the Year of the Pitcher Again?
I think you can consider 2010 a successful year for pitchers in general–especially when Ubaldo Jiminez (he who started the season 16 and 1(!!)) is the 11th ranked pitcher in ESPN’s Fantasy Baseball projections. The San Francisco Giants rode their great young pitching (when a guy with the name Madison Bumgarner is winning World Series games for your team, you’re getting some sweet blessings from the Baseball Gods). The CY Young winners for the respective leagues (Roy Halladay in the NL; Felix Please Don’t Call Him King (if you want to be my friend) Hernandez in the AL) don’t seem to be slowing down. There were also notable moves (Cliff Lee to the Phillies, Zack Grienke and

If I named my child Ubaldo, would he turn into a great pitcher. If you're female and reading this, don't answer that.

Shawn Marcum to the Brewers) and guys expected to make The Leap (which really doesn’t matter, since Major League Baseball is shockingly bad at marketing its stars, but anyway—Clayton Kershaw and Tommy Hanson to name a few). Of course, it will probably be the Era of the Pitcher because of one thing…

Don’t act like you’re not thinking what I’m thinking…

PLAYERS CAN’T JUICE UP ANYMORE!!! Because of this, the high home run seasons (I’m looking at you, Jose Bautista) will be more the exception than the norm. And with teams treating young pitchers like babies with care, there will be more pitchers ready to make a splash as the years go by. And I lose more hair.

2. Is it time for instant replay in baseball?
I really consider myself rather old-fashioned. I’m not necessarily resistant to change, but I do have a little bit of trouble with having to change things just because people are complaining about it. Case in point: replay in baseball! Do you know how long this league has been in existence? (Yes, there are varying opinions of when the league started, but whatever) If you guessed “142 years,” you would be correct. So, a league that’s been in existence for that long needs replay now? My God, can we keep the human element in something?!!? Now, being the wannabe historian that I am, I can think of three times in my lifetime where having replay (beyond the current setup of determining whether or not someone hit/didn’t hit a home

OK, so this was a bit controversial.

run) could have mattered:
1. The 1985 World Series, Game 6
2. The 1996 ALCS, Game 1. Perhaps you know of one Jeffrey Maier?
3. Tigers-Indians, last year. Or, when Jim Joyce “kicked the shit” at the end of the game.
That’s it! Braves fans, please don’t talk to me about last year’s NLDS. The ability to instantly flip out about something and broadcast it to everyone has really made this more of an issue than it needs to be. That doesn’t mean that we need to adopt a system where plays can be challenged (similar to football). These poor umpires are already under enough pressure as it is. Let’s keep the human element in something, please?

3. How much is Albert Pujols worth?
You may have heard about a guy named Albert Pujols being a free agent after the season ends. You may have also heard that he’s pretty good. Both of these are true. His first ten years in the league have been more prolific than just about anyone else.

Now, the money part. According to sources, (easily my second least favorite thing about news behind unfortunate fashion from sports broadcasters on TV) Albert wants a ten-year, 300 million dollar contract. Yes, you read that correctly. 300 million dollars. And oh, by the way, he’s 31 years old. You’ll never hear me actually use “in this economy” and mean it. I’m sure that the Cardinals actually have the money. But. Do you want a quarter of your salary tied up in an aging slugger (when recent history shows that these guys don’t age well)? On the flip side, can you really let the greatest current hitter in the league just get away? While

The current highest paid player in baseball. Pucker up!

the Pirates may have never recovered from letting Barry Bonds go, (way back in 1993) the Cardinals actually have other good players throughout the roster. It’s hard for me to justify making someone the highest paid player in baseball “just because he deserves it.” But hey, I’m not a decision maker for the Cardinals (that’s probably a good idea, obviously). Will Albert end up getting what he “wants”? Or will he be in another uniform next year? (I gotta say, if he does an MLB version of The Decision, I’d probably be OK with that)

4. Do the Braves qualify for the Ewing Theory now that Bobby Cox is no longer the manager?
You may or may not have heard of the Patrick Ewing Theory in sports. Of course, it’s never really been applied to a coach or manager. But, Bobby Cox coached the Braves for 25 years! And yes, as great as those teams were, you’d be kidding yourself if you didn’t have reservations about Cox’s “strategy” in the playoffs. I’m not saying that you should be winning the championship every year, but let’s do a quick run through of the MLB champions in the years that the Braves made the playoffs (*denotes a year where the Braves made the World Series):
1991-Twins*
1992-Blue Jays*
1993-Blue Jays
1994-Guess. And yes, that’s a trick question
1995-Braves (which people will dispute since only 144 games were played–those people can suck it)
1996-Yankees*
1997-Marlins. Yes THE FLORIDA MARLINS
1998-Yankees
1999-Yankees*
2000-Yankees
2001-Diamondbacks
2002-Angels
2003-Marlins
2004-Red Sox
2005-White Sox
2010-Giants
So, out of 16 seasons in the playoffs, Atlanta has one really ugly trophy title to show for it. Really? Once again, your team’s not the best team every year. But this list just feels so empty. I really think that this change will be for the better—when it comes to winning titles. Because I’m not winning a “my team’s better than yours!” argument when I’m bragging about a bunch of division titles. Unless I’m debating with a Pirates fan.

5. So, humor us. Any predictions for the year?
I looked back at my predictions for the NBA season, and let’s just say that I probably got ahead of myself in saying that the Wizards, Pistons and Clippers would make the playoffs. But then again, who’s to say that I actually have to be RIGHT?!!? So, some random predictions:
-The Nationals will have a better record than the Orioles. Love Buck Showalter without wondering why he was fired from three different teams if you dare.
-NL Rookie of the Year: Brad Emaus. I dunno, I just like that name.
-AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona. Because the fact that Boston spent 200+ million on marquee free

I did an image search for "LA Dodgers," and this came up. Whatever. Go with it.

agents couldn’t in any way help them get back to the playoffs, right?
-AL surprise team: Baltimore Orioles. Because they will be surprisingly awful.
-NL surprise team: Los Angeles Dodgers. Because I said so!
-Champion: Braves over Yankees in six. Because we owe them.
(Please, do not hold me to these predictions. But if I’m right, then, well, I told you so!!!)

Author’s note: I do want to thank those of you who take the time to read my posts. They’re a bit disjointed, and they’re always about sports. Hopefully I’ll get more active with posts down the road, including a view live blogs here and there. Anyway, thanks again for reading, I hope it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

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