My girlfriend’s brother invited me to his expensive, 14 man fantasy football league this year. It’s called “A League of Fire and Ice.”
Naturally, I am managing the “Cleveland Bronns.” If only our Browns were so crafty and tough.
I can only upload a logo to ESPN from a URL, which means everyone gets to enjoy my new, poorly photoshopped logo.
Reading your thoughts on my Cleveland observation was heartening. It’s something I’ll continue to think about. Perhaps it’s an overreaction to say that it’s not a sports city because the Tribe isn’t drawing lately. I will note, however, that your claim that “40 percent of your conversations [in Cleveland] will drift back to the sports teams here” is interesting, given that the percentage wasn’t even close to that when we lived in Cleveland from 2012 – 2014… You yourself have noted that we watch more, and talk about sports more, now that we are in Houston…
As for Greinke. Statistically he is close to pace for the hall of fame if you track average WAR by age. By 30 a future hall of fame starter could be expected to have 38.3 WAR. Greinke has 39.4. Cole Hamels actually fits the bill too, with 40.4. I don’t think either will make the hall of fame… Grinke’s 1 Cy Young, 3.48 career ERA, and 128 wins just aren’t awe inspiring enough. Worse, people will remember that after his 2.16 ERA in his Cy Young year, he racked up a 4.17 ERA the next year. While Cole Hamels has been more steady, he is screwed too. He has fewer wins, a slightly better ERA, but no Cy Youngs. Both of these guys are very, very good pitchers. But they aren’t “great.” For one thing, both have pitched for teams and NOT been the ace while still in their prime. Greinke with Kershaw and Hamels with Lee.
The Hall of Fame is also much tougher for starters than other positions…
We went from the 1999 election all the way to the 2011 election [Blyleven] with no starters being inducted… Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine  represent the first pitchers to make the Hall of Fame while debuting after 1970.
60 players have been inducted to the Hall primarily as starters. Half of them debuted in the dead ball era... That means about five decades of dead ball (the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, 1900s, and ‘10s).
That means the subsequent six-and-a-half decades, during which time there were multiple expansions (heck, the American League didn’t exist until 1901) as well as growth in the base from which the MLB draws it players (remember, there were no non-white players in the Deadball era, and almost no non-Americans), there have been just as many pitchers inducted. That’s just a little absurd. Compare this with the hitters: 147 of them have made the Hall, but only 30 of them debuted pre-1920.
Why is this the case? Here are some thoughts…
Well, the obvious reason would be that voters don’t understand pitchers. I mean, think about it; up until maybe a decade and a half ago, the premiere way to evaluate pitchers was still the win. And remember, this was within the front offices themselves, pre-Moneyball. It’s fair to say that sportswriters haven’t been as quick to adopt new thinking.
So, writers have still by and large stuck to the win as the currency of the pitcher, a relic from the days of when pitchers threw every second or third game, usually a full 9 innings, wrapping up a win or loss that was largely influenced by themselves.
Another issue, I think, is a failure to understand and adjust for context. Consider this: in 1901, there were sixteen teams. There were eight future Hall of Fame starters playing that year; every other team had a future Hall of Fame starter. That’s, like, our definition of an ace today.* And this wasn’t even one of those crazy eras, packed with Frankie-Frisch-led Veterans Committee picks (like 1928, with eleven starters making the Hall).
2015 did see three more pitchers inducted: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz. But Smoltz was also bolstered by his years as a closer. But you’ll notice that the lest 5 pitchers were obvious choices. You’re listing the best pitchers from 1995-2005ish minus Roger Clemens, who is tainted by drugs. Pettite might also already be in if not for drugs. But the point is, there are no “really good” guys of the Greinke/Hamels level. I’m thinking of like a Kevin Appier… Maybe a Mike Mussina?
Who are we watching now that I think has a good shot at the Hall? First thought is Clayton Kershaw. He has 3 Cy Youngs, and MVP, a Cy Young runner up, 39.7 WAR (the expected WAR is 18.15 for a 26 year old), a 2.52 ERA and 103 wins… Up next would be King Felix Hernandez. His 45.4 WAR smashes the 27.5 WAR benchmark for 28 year olds. He also has a Cy Young and 2 runners up, more wins than Greinke (134) and a 3.09 ERA. The way too young guess would be Chris Sale, but you can’t even make a case at this point, and the most likely for a late surge would be Max Scherzer.
In terms of the next year or two, Schilling is the guy I would bet makes it in, and likely Clemens when the drug stuff calms down some.
Anyway, speaking of Max Scherzer… He was out of control last night. 9 innings, 1 hit, 1 BB, 16 Ks. The no hitter was lost on a broken bat, bloop single by Carlos Gomez. Scherzer also hit a single in the fourth. Going into the seventh, he had reached base more than the Brewers. Obviously not much else to report in the box score here. Anthony Rendon was 1/3 and Bryce Harper didn’t play.
The Tribe got clobbered by Detroit, losing 8 – 1. Jason Kipnis was 2/4, as was Brandon Moss who homered. But Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana were 0/8, stranding 7 runners. Corey Kluber wasn’t his usual self, striking out only 2, but he only surrendered 2 runs and 5 baserunners in 5 innings. Scott Atchison and Ryan Webb each got tagged for 3 out of the bullpen. Miggy was 3/4 with a homer. He is now hitting .341. Your boy JD Martinez also homered again, going 2/4.
The sole bright side for the Tribe was Francisco Lindor‘s first major league hit. The rope looked like an easy double until the rookie face planted rounding first.
Houston SMOKED Seattle, 13 – 0. Rookie Lance McCullers had a very nice start for my fantasy squad, throwing 5 inning of no hit ball. He did was as many (4) as he struck out. Still. Everyone hit for the Astros. Evan GAAAATTTTIIIIS was 4/5, and Luis Valbuena recorded his 14th home run. The only person to hit for Houston last night and not get a hit was first baseman Chris Carter. Obviously no one hit for Seattle…
My third starter pitching last night was Chris Sale, who was also lights out, yet somehow still wound up with the loss. Sale struck out 12 in 6 2/3rd innings. His only mistake was a 2 run shot to Asdrubal Carbrera.It was Cabrera’s third homer this season, and first since May 19. He has just two extra-base hits over his last 19 games. Sale became the first pitcher since Boston’s Pedro Martinez in 2001 to strikeout 12 or more in four straight starts.
Some more info on Sale courtesy of Si.com:
Sale is just the third pitcher since records were first available in 1914 to have four straight 12 or more strikeout starts. Martinez did it three times and Randy Johnson once. The duo will enter the Hall of Fame together this summer. … He has a franchise career-best 24 double-digit strikeout games. … It was the first time that a White Sox pitcher had 12 or more strikeouts, allowed three hits or fewer, and lost. … Sale was two short of his career-high pitch total of 127.
Some moustachery? Rollie Fingers would have pitched one more season in the majors. Except the Reds wouldn’t let him keep his mustache. This and much more is detailed in C. Trent Rosecrans’ story about Greg Vaughn and the demise of the organization’s longstanding policy.
The Blue Jays scored a whopping 13 more runs in their victory over the Red Sox last night. It’s their 11th straight win, which ties a team record. What’s crazy though? The Blue Jays have scored 88 runs in their streak, including 31 this weekend in Boston. Remember how you were anointing the the Eduardo Rodriguez trade a crazy “steal” a week ago? Rodriguez gave up nine runs on eight hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings. To be fair, Andrew Miller got himself landed on the DL in the meantime, so…
Anyway, most of the offense for the Blue Jays came from the bottom of the order last night. Russell Martin was 3/4 with 2RBI, Danny Valencia went 2/4 with 2 RBI, Kevin Pillar was 2/5 with an RBI, and Ryan Goins, from the 9 hole, went 2/5 driving in 5 RBIs.
Pablo Sandoval went 2/4 for the sox. That doesn’t change the fact that he should probably stop switch hitting...
The chart porn is even nastier than that GIF…
Ugly year for the Panda so far… Especially from the right side, but it doesn’t look like it’s an anomaly…
Hoping to turn on a an equally Game of Thrones finally here in just a minute. Before I do, I’ll answer your questions: totally OK of Brienne of Tarth is killed off (would probably celebrate). If you need me to go more high profile, I could survive Cerci going down with relative ease. Would most hate to see Arya killed off after having invested so much time into that story line. Show might be ruined for me if D goes down though, only because… well what the hell had we been doing for the last 3 seasons if she’s gone. I guess that’s along the same thought process as Arya. Honorable mention goes to Tyrion who is tasked with saving D, and for me, the show (not that I hate the show. Just that we are 5 seasons in now, this is when a show has logically run its course in my head, so to keep me as geeked on a week to week basis next year, I suspect I need a strong showing from the little man). I think he is the the MVP potential vet that could take next season to great heights.
I love you’re celebrity softball concept. Here’s the thing, your proposal isn’t all that crazy or novel. We are down for celebrity softball, but it IS softball, so you can’t just trot out Lady Gaga. Bring in celebrity athletes – so obvious! My evidence that people will love it? I went to the JJ Watt Charity Softball Game with Catie this summer and loved it. Was mesmerized. So we already know your “let’s watch athletes play a different sport” concept is a winner. Why was it good?
1) The guys that are good at baseball destroy the guys that aren’t. I watched Brian Hoyer snag like 6 ropes to the gap that kept the defense off the base paths.
2) Watching a guy with as much raw power as JJ Watt hit a baseball is awesome. Russell Wilson put on a show at his own Charity game a couple years ago…
3) The guys that are pure athletes are hilarious fielding. These guys that are so fluid when we normally see them on baseball are pure agony making plays. From what I saw, they will make them, but you can SEE the concentration on their faces and the unfamiliarity in their movements, which is so cool! They become human. Which almost makes their physical abilities jump off the page even more – here is a guy that doesn’t have much experience catching baseballs making a running grab in left field. Awesome.
4) They were having fun, and it’s fun to watch these guys that are always so intense have fun. BUT…
5) They clearly wanted to win! No one was going to throw a tantrum if their team lost, and no one was going to blow out a knee for the win, but they were trying! Much more than can be said of Drew Carey when I saw him in 1997…
Who should manage those teams? I don’t think it matters, but shit. Get Phil and Pop for grins and see if they can somehow turn it into a chess match. Any iterated game for those two likely would, so bring them back every year! And keep a winning percentage to motivate em…
And as for you actors team? I’m down to try. As long as they do…
We will talk movies on another strand. Needless to say, your inclusion of Kurt Russell on the celebrity team made me super happy. Like I said, he has been all over my screen recently. More on that later…
Finally… I can’t address the Cavs right now. But, of course I was looking at recaps and highlights this morning. I came across this picture:
Allegedly that’s Klay during the national anthem last night. I’m 90% POSITIVE that its a screen shot from NBA2K15. Am I crazy? The jumbotron in the upper right suggests it’s real, but… Regardless, the fact that I can even reasonably suspect that is such a testament to how insane that game (and specifically its graphics and player construction) is. This picture was the moment I understood why Catie would come in while we were playing that game and be surprised to find out it wasn’t on TNT…
Also, this is SO SWAGTASTIC:
That face he makes! Of course, it has nothing on…
This may be the longest stretch I’ve gone without hearing from the boy in like 3 years… Hope that Cavs game didn’t send him over the edge.
Really excited for the Thrones season finale tonight, but there is still baseball to discuss.
Let’s start with two more big prospect call-ups. The AL Central just got a bit more exciting with the announcements that Byron Buxton will join the Twins and Francisco Lindor is headed to Cleveland. Buxton was pretty much the consensus #1 prospect in America, and after a tough season last year that included a variety of injuries, he has been hitting. The Twins have had nothing going on in centerfield, so even if he doesn’t turn into Mike Trout by Wednesday, he should help. Lindor is in the same boat. The Tribe has gotten so little hitting out of the SS position, that Lindor’s mediocrity at the plate shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Plus, he has been better over the last month. Regardless, he has gold glove capability and that should help the Tribe pitching staff. Even with the call-up though, I’m not suddenly bullish on the Tribe. I love the staff but I’m not convinced they are about to start scoring more runs… A good start would be Carlos Santana providing some production.
He got a start on that yesterday, welcoming Justin Verlander back with a home run that helped propel the Tribe over the Tigers 5 – 4. He now has 7. Your boy JD Martinez hit his 11th home run. Kip was 1/4 with an RBI and Carlos Carrasco pitched well, though not spectacularly. in 5 2/3rds he allowed 8 baserunners, struck out 8, and gave up 3. Yoenis Cespedes was 3/5 and Miggy 2/4. Verlander did hit 97mph on the gun, but only notched 2 strikeouts.
Brandon Moss has also been underwhelming for the Tribe offense this year. He didn’t register a hit Saturday. I don’t expect much more than a .250 avg and his 10 home runs isn’t that far short of what the Tribe could hope for, but his OBP has declined for the 4th straight year.
The Nationals beat the Brewers 7 – 2. Bryce Harper was 3/3 with 2 RBIs but exited in the 9th after taking a fastball to the knee. Hopefully it’s just a bump that will be fine in a couple of days.
It took 11 innings, but the Braves beat the Mets 5 – 3. Cameron Maybin was the story of the game. An error in center allowed the Mets to go ahead, and getting thrown out at home couldn’t secure a lead, but an RBI in the 9th helped send the game to extras and he delivered the game winning 2 run single in the 11th. He will be getting his first start for my fantasy squad on Monday after an extremely hot month. Jeurys Familia wasn’t available for the Mets last night due to the birth of his son on Friday. The bullpen was unable to close it out without him. Andrelton Simmons managed to notch 4 hits. The game featured two big arms. Shelby Miller allowed a season-high eight hits and three runs, which boosted his ERA from 1.84 to 2.02. Jacob DeGrom pitched seven dominant innings, striking out nine. He allowed five hits and one run.
The Blue Jays won their 10th straight, beating the Boston Red Sox 5 – 4 in the 11th. The run came in the 11th off of a lead off home run from Russell Martin. Martin had a rough day behind the plate, allowing three past balls. Really that’s more of a reflection of RA Dickey’s knuckleball last night. Dickey retired 10 of his last 11 batters and allowed three earned runs or fewer for his third straight start. In six innings, he gave up three earned runs, six hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
The Astros fell to the Mariners, 8 – 1. All 8 runs were scored in the first 3 innings. Logan Morrison, “friend of the podcast,” had two home runs. Gosh how I miss the fantasy baseball podcast… It was a rough night for Collin McHugh who allowed nine hits and eight runs in a season-low three innings. Fausto did the long relief for the Astros. He struck out five in four scoreless innings. Your boy Altuve had the night off to rest his bum leg. George Springer was 2/4 while Carlos Correa was unable to register a hit.
I’ll end with the Marlins. They won 4 – 1 over the Rockies. Matt Latos returned from the disabled list for the fish, stricking out a season-high 11 batters in seven innings. He gave up 1 run and 4 hits. Giancarlo Stanton registered all 4 RBIs for the fish, hitting a 2 run double and a 2 run homer. He now has 23 homers, leading the league, and has driven in 12 runs over the last 6 games. It’s been tough to face him in fantasy this week…
AJ Pollock is slowly starting to get noticed in Arizona… Soon the general public will be able to name 2 of their starting 9!
There’s a lot of talk right now about how excited Cleveland is about the Cavs and how great a sports city we are, but I’m beginning to be embarrassed by it all. Between Lebron’s exit and Lebron’s return, the only Cavs hype happened when LeBron was in town. In less that a year, the city went from embracing Jonny Football to ripping him hard than everyone else (and jeering him about rehab, and throwing bottles…), and the Tribe has been pretty interesting for the last three years, and yet…
On the season, the Indians have drawn an average of 16,836, with only the cloudy-future Rays spinning fewer turnstiles. Cleveland was also second from the bottom last year, and in 2013 they ranked just one spot higher despite 92 wins and a Wild Card berth.
People simply aren’t coming out to see a competitive team that plays in a gorgeous ballpark and has affordable ticket prices. The worst part? CLEVELANDERS kind of really know this… I’m not the only one, listen to a stadium security guard:
“This place will fill up if we make the playoffs… Outside of that, and I hate to say this, I’m not sure this is a big baseball town. Not like it used to be, anyway.”
Last time I was at a Cavs game, it was just as much about getting a Michael Simon “B Spot” burger, catching a glimpse of Machine Gun Kelly, and watching the overload of stoppage time entertainment as it was about watching Kyrie and the Cavs. It was so much I got a headache and we had to look for seats that would provide respite from the piped in crowd noise. Has Cleveland somehow gotten so entitled about its misery and losing history that we can’t even muster some earnestness and excitement and root for our teams without it being “easy” because the King is back or because we made the playoffs? I don’t even know how to explain the phenomenon. I guess we got too tired of waiting and rooting? We just got tired and sad and cynical? The other explanations are scarier: that we actually enjoy the notoriety we get for our losing and revel in it? That we were never much a baseball town? That the 90s were a phenomenon spurred on by the fact that the Browns left? That really we aren’t a Browns town anymore? That “the return” has lost its luster, and with nothing but losing, we are just average football fans now? Maybe we were never much of a basketball town? I don’t know. I don’t like it. It’s insanely expensive to go see the Cavs or the Browns. But there are so many damn promotions at Progressive Field that you can get in and out for 15$ a person including a drink and parking or public transpo… With that on the table, what’s the problem?
Meanwhile, many props to Wayne Kirby, who now coaches in Baltimore. If you think back to that 90s run for the Tribe…
Kirby was a reserve on a talent-laden club that featured a starting outfield of Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton. Ramirez was 23 years old at the time, and in his first season as an every-day player. He was already something special.
“Manny was gifted,” Kirby told me earlier this season. “His hand-eye coordination was unbelievable. He was studious, but at the same time, everything came natural to him. I once saw Manny hit three home runs in a game with three different bats. It happened in spring training. He just picked up bats and hit home runs.”
As for having been a fourth outfielder behind a trio of All-Stars, the former Indian wasn’t complaining. He knew talent when he saw it.
“In baseball, you have to accept your role,” said Kirby. “I was a starting right fielder but then Manny came along. I always tell people that I hit .293 and lost a job. You open your eyes and see what’s happening, and I saw how good that kid was. I tip my hat to him.”
We never discussed the Cleveland Bullpen ransom note sent to Brandon Moss. After Brandon Moss hit his 100th career home run earlier this month, it was held ransom by the members of the Indians’ bullpen. The shenanigans made for a good story, and the dinger itself was meaningful, as the Tribe went on to beat the Royals by a count of 2-1. Fantastic practical joke and so much healthier for the team than drinking beer, eating fried chicken, and playing video games when not on the mound (looking at you Boston)…
Maybe you will cover the Tampa game. The interesting takeaway? Yesterday, Tampa Bays Chris Archer walked a batter for the first time since May 22. Over his last four games, the emerging ace has issued one free pass and fanned 43 over 30 innings.
I wrote about the joke voting for the AL all-star team this year. Dave Cameron proposes an overhaul. It involves a 4 team tournament with teams compiled by age. His suggested teams?
This seems right up your alley, Mose. What do you think of his idea? His teams?
Good writeup today. For those of you dying for lengthy Moser writings about random bullshit, be advised that IM BAAAACCCCKKKK!!!
To begin, Royals drop one 3-2 to the Cards. Jason Heyward makes a lucky catch off a Mark Reynolds hit in the 8th that saved the game. Heyward described being unable to see the ball and just sort of feeling where he should be. Royals manager Ned Yost was much more blunt, simply saying, “That was a lucky catch.” The aforementioned Reynolds jogged it out, saying, “I figured it was either out of here or it was a can a of corn.” I immediately fell in love with this phrase, thought I think I’ve heard it before. What does it mean you might be asking?
can of corn
- A high, easy-to-catch, fly ball hit to the outfield. The phrase is said to have originated in the nineteenth-century and relates to an old-time grocer’s method of getting canned goods down from a high shelf. Using a stick with a hook on the end, a grocer could tip a can so that it would fall for an easy catch into his apron. One theory for use of corn as the canned good in the phrase is that a can of corn was considered the easiest “catch” as corn was the best selling vegetable in the store and so was heavily stocked on the lowest shelves. Another theory is that the corn refers to the practice in the very early days of baseball of calling the outfield the “corn field,” especially in early amateur baseball where the outfield may have been a farm field. Frequently used by Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson. Bob Prince, Pittsburgh Pirates’ announcer, used a variation, ‘A #8 CAN OF GOLDEN BANTAM’. Also, a phrase used to refer to something that is not challenging. Informally, can of corn may be used as a phrase to describe mild excitement, personal acknowledgement or recognition of significance.
- Not shockingly, the above is from wikipedia.
The Cards are now 41-21, and on pace for 107 wins. Every freaking year. It’s impressive. They must be the best run organization in sports, perhaps of the last 50 years. Especially playing in a small market. I mean, it’s wild, and almost can’t be touched on enough. They make it all look easy, make smart trades, grow from within, it’s like the ABC’s for them…Also, I’ve gotta remember to keep checking in on Heyward. Jonner called him a bust and gave up much earlier this season, but only time will tell. I’m inclined to think he’ll work out, mainly because it’s the Cardinals. He’s currently hitting .257 with 5 HR, so not great but not awful.
Rays took down the Sox 5-4. They’ve now won 10 of 14. Souza Jr. had two RBI’s to ice the game for them. Win went to Rays reliever Boxberger. I simply love that name. It’s in the top 10 this year for sure. Rays are quietly at 34-29 and looking pretty good. What do you make of their prospects the rest of the way? How many guys on the Rays you think the average sports fan could name? One? Longoria? I almost think a lot of fans would talk themselves out of Evan..No way he still plays there. They broke up that team…My guess would be 1 on average at most from that lineup.
O’s take down the Yankees 9-4 behind a Machado 4 RBI day. This kid is good. And everyone forgets how young he is. Still only 22 despite a season lost to injury and 350 GP already in his career. A-Rod went over the 2,000 RBI club, and I continue to weirdly root for him. Just because of how much people hate him, and how funny it would be if he crushes these records. Orioles are over .500 for the first time since early May, on the backs of a 6 game winning streak.
In that Rangers game, Gallo had his first no strikeout game. Pretty remarkable. And the Prince went 2-5. He’s still leading the American League in batting average. We gotta be going hard at daily updates on these two guys. Can Prince really lead the league in batting average? Would he be the fattest guy to ever do so?
Greinke takes the loss 2-1 against the Padres. Upton hit the big RBI. What’s your take on Greinke…Specifically, is he a future hall of famer? What would he have to do to put himself into that conversation? It seems like every year he puts up numbers, and his secondary numbers are always even better than his counting stats. Another Cy or two necessary?
Leaving some other games on the table, but I’ve got to get to your Cleveland stuff. This city is electric right now. They are surrounding the Cavs with crazy support; just look at the pictures outside the stadium and of downtown. The streets are literally packed with people, making it difficult to walk through. I know they’ve cooled on the Indians lately, tough with Cavs fever, and difficult because, first and foremost, this is a football town.
They turned on Johnny, but that it a Cleveland thing. We want to love our athletes, we want to feel we can go to battle with them, and we want to feel they are a part of our blue collar culture somehow. Johnny sort of shit in the face of all of that. He went out parting with his crew, didn’t show up on Sundays, and lacked the charisma to make this sort of stuff okay. It doesn’t help that, with the Indians and Browns, we have two extremely poorly run franchises. The Dolans simply won’t open up the checkbook and make it happen. That’s depressing and disheartening. The Browns have a criminal owner who can’t find a coach he likes, and doesn’t seem to have the organization on the right track. That said, people STILL sell out every Browns game, even in the cold weather.
When you are in Cleveland, 40 percent of your conversations will drift back to the sports teams here. This is a wonderful comforting and cool thing. It’s a knock I have on Houston. People don’t care at all. The fans might not be flocking to the Tribe games the way they once were, but it’s early, and they’re currently the third horse in town. Give us time to enjoy the LeBron experience.
As to your, ‘we like being cursed’ dynamic…that I can buy into. Especially old-timers. I worry what life will be like for 50 year olds that have been, both jokingly and seriously, using the ‘wait till next year,’ mantra. What happens when all your life you’ve been waiting for next year, and then you win it all? What portion of your life’s purpose was tied up in this negative optimism (is that a thing?). For more, check out To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. This book covers many topics, one of the main ones is a middle aged Red Sox fan, and what he does when the Sox finally win the Series. I believe I’ve been hounding you to read this book for the last year or so, so get your shit together and do it.
Love the idea of the age bracket tournament. My money would be on the 25-30 crowd. Filthy lineup. Great bull pen, and some power. Would be really interesting. Meanwhile, my man really put down the celebrity softball game, so I’ll rework that. How about a legit celebrity baseball game for professional athletes that have at least dabbled in baseball. We would have one footballers team, since football players that also played baseball is a stacked list, and one other sports/famous people.
Dwight Freeney, LF, Bro lettered in baseball 5 times and was apparently a monster in high school
Daunte Culpepper, RF, Couldn’t find any cool stats about his baseball career but there was this….Near the end of his high school team’s state basketball championship game, the referee called traveling on Culpepper when he was driving for the game-winning lay-up. Since then, Culpepper has celebrated his football touchdowns by moving his hands in the motion that a basketball referee makes when calling traveling, also known as “the roll”.
Golden Tate, CF
Chris Weinke, 3B
Johnny Manziel, SS
Russel Wilson, 2B
Jack Del Rio, 1B
Tom Brady, C
Colin Kaepernick, SP, In his senior year of high school Kaepernick had an ERA of 1.265 with 13 starts and 10 complete games. He finished the year with an 11-2 record with 97 strikeouts and 39 walks. This includes 2 no-hitter
Deon Sanders, DH
Other bench guys: Akili Smith, OF…HIS REAL FIRST NAME IS KABISA! That’s awesome….Sheldon Brown, Cedric Benson, Ricky Williams (former minor league teammate Jimmy Rollins said, “he’s the fastest guy I’ve ever laid eyes on”), Javon Walker, Pat White, and Michael Vick…He got drafted after never playing baseball beyond the 8th grade mainly because he could run a 4.25 40 and might be the freakiest athlete we’ve ever seen….
Bullpen: Jameis Winston, Brandon Weeden, and John Lynch who threw the first pitch for Erie Seawolves and could throw 95 mph heat.
Other athletes and celebrities team:
Michael Jordan, OF
Jarome Iginla, OF
MC Hammer, OF
Eric Lindros, 3B
Kurt Russell, 2B
Charlie Sheen, SS
SP- Scott Burrell
Bullpen: Charlie Ward
This would be a blast to watch. Imagine Johnny Lynch throwing a 95 mph fastball up and inside to Charlie Sheen. Charlie potentially pitching just to relive his Major League days. Michael Jordan potentially not facing curve balls could mean… a Michael Jordan that could be great at baseball. Also, 2 hockey players mean that if a fight breaks out, the non-football team kicks ass, I would think… Though the presence of Dwight Freeney may swing the odds. What do you think about this for the ‘celebrity’ aspect of all star weekend? Don’t you think people would watch the shit out of it? Because it has a full football team involved, would it potentially beat the ratings of any baseball game the whole year, as some people may be tricked into thinking it’s OTA’s…And finally, TOM BRADY! He would never, ever, ever, ever do this, but it’s worth a try. Who do you pick as managers for these teams?
I will be having some thoughts this week on the Thrones finale, but I’ll leave you with one last question…who is the character you would most be okay getting killed off? Least okay? Is there a character that would ruin the show if murdered? We will also have some Jurassic World thoughts, via the Bogey and I. Spoiler alert: pretty entertaining, not very good.
I had a brief hiatus yesterday. I was busy mourning the Cavaliers’ Game 4 meltdown, putting to bed my brief love of deli, and playing music with bogey. I also saw Jurassic World, but more on that later. Let’s hit some baseball to get back in a groove.
Reds pull of the 5-4 victory in extra innings over the Cubs. Frazier hit his 18th homer, Cueto pitched well, and a throwing error by young gun Kris Bryant put Frazier on in the 10th, where he would score the winning run two batters later. The Reds have now won 5 of 6. Question for you, do you think the mental side of the game leads to pitchers giving up runs to ‘unearned’ baserunners more often? Don’t know how to go about finding this stat, but it’s intriguing to me.
Indians got shutout 4-0. Salazar pitched well before giving up a 450 foot jack to Miguel Cabrera. We continue to waste good pitching from this team, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s just not in the cards. Could this be the best pitching staff ever to finish below .500? Can you think of any other candidates off the top of your head? The Tribe hit into 4 double plays, which is 2 shy of the AL record. On Saturday, Carlos Carrasco will be taking the mound for Cleveland against aging star (former?) Justin Verlander, who will be making his first start of the season. The guy handed off the dominance of his own team and league to former teammate Scherzer, but this will start the season of questions…Can he still be the guy? What does he have left in the tank? Could the time off, and by extension shorter season, end up being a blessing in disguise for Detroit and Justin?
Red Sox lose a heartbreaker 13-10 to the Blue Jays. The teams that I was, apparently wrongly, surprised was leading the league in runs, put it all together at once. They had a 9 run inning, to come all the way back from 8-1. This is impressive, and gotta be dishearting for the Sox. There manager described the inning simply as, “Long. It felt long.” My main man Kung-Fu Panda had a costly error, and the pudgy lovable third baseman is continuing to disappoint. I’m actively looking for potential replacements at 3rd base in fantasy, FYI.
YIKES! Gotta hit the road to Pittsburgh, but will likely check in a gain later after you get some stuff up.
I have two third basemen and would potentially be happy to part with one… Look into it.
I have some non-baseball things to throw in.
Tashaun Gipson signed his RFA tender for the Browns and will be at camp this week. After seeing that he is physically OK, I hope they offer him the contract extension he deserves… They have been talking up Jordan Poyer, but Gip might just be the best FS in the game right now…
Also, apparently Cameron Erving is just being a G. I don’t even need the playoffs this year, but if the Browns could play ball that isn’t excruciating to watch. I’ll be a happy man. An improved O-Line with Cam and the “return of the Mack” is a good step in that direction.
Can’t wait to discuss some movies and TV this week. I went on a Kurt Russell binge, started rewatching “Lost” in French, somehow stomached “Sense8,” and watched “Black Hat” recently. Lots of thoughts.
As for the Cavs, I’m worried this season is going to mirror the Memphis series. Sure hope not. Been listening to the “Lowe Post” podcast all week and basically Kerr did what Zach recommended. He has to be the best young analyst right now, eh?
Our Astros won 10 – o against the Mariners. They scored 8 runs before King Felix could record a second out… Whoa. Obviously that’s the worst start of his career. You’re going to love the following bit of history… He isn’t the first Mariner to have such a start!
My new SS Carlos Correa hit the second home run of his career, Louis Valbuena hit a 3 run bomb, and both Chris Carter and Jason Castron also homered. Brett Oberholtzer didn’t let the run support get to his head. He shut down the Mariners for 8 innings, surrendering no runs, allowing 5 baserunners, and striking out 5.
Erik Bedard retired on Thursday, inspiring Cliff Corcoran to round up the most lopsided trades of the 21st century. Atop the list is the one I expected:
Pat Venditte already landed on the DL. I know he likes to use both hands for peak performance, but you would think the ambidexterity would also help prevent things like this. If one arm is sore, use the other…
The fact that this Tribe staff is below .500 is crazy. Also crazy? That both the MVP and Cy Young could be Indians… Kipnis and Kluber would not be crazy! Turns out this year it seems particularly likely that we might see this… Harper and Scherzer would be the best bet, but it’s not inconceivable that a David Price and Miggy could pull it off, or a Kershaw and Gonzalez… We shall see. Here are all the times it has happened before:
As for your question about the psychology of pitchers potentially leading to unearned runners scoring at a higher rate than earned, that would be a really tough thing to sift through (but could definitely be done…). A corollary phenomenon would be to look at the rate at which inherited runners score. That seems to be a very similar situation…
I know this is going to get Cavs hijacked, so I am going to throw a couple things out there before tonight’s game that we can chew on at some point.
I got to say I love what the Tribe did in the draft. I wrote earlier that Aiken scared me, but that I thought it was a great first day, and day two intrigued me even more. Obviously I know near to nothing about these prospects, but that doesn’t stop me from having thoughts…
First of all, they went hard drafting “bloodlines,” which this blog is all about (that NFL Defensive Draft Manifesto is still forthcoming…). It’s not just that we like the Netflix show, it just makes sense: the kid has a support structure that knows the biz, they have great genes, and they grew up with the game. Beyond drafting “Flash” Gordon’s ward day 1, the Tribe picked up 3 prospects with big league pops:
1. Luke Wakamatsu
2. A.J. Graffanino
3. Cade Tremie
Graffanino’s father played 9 games with the Tribe in 2009, Tremie’s father currently manages the Tribe’s AAA squad, and Wakamatsu’s dad is currently the Royals’ bench coach.
In addition, amidst the Venditte craze, the Tribe took an ambidextrous pitcher! Ryan Perez pitched at Judson University. He has started a game with one arm and then come back later that week to relieve with the other. He also started going full Venditte and switching off mid at bat:
He is capable of throwing a 94 MPH fastball left-handed, and a 92 MPH fastball right-handed. He did both at the Cape Cod League All-Star game in his 18-pitch outing on his way to becoming the game’s MVP.
The Tribe beat the Mariners yesterday 6 – 0 and the Urshella call-up looks good early. Giovanny his his first big league homer in the 5th. He finished the game 2/4 with 2 RBIs. The other call-up, Zach Walters, was 1/4 with an RBI of his own. Jason Kipnis took the day off. Surprisingly, the week of junk ball brilliance continues. After Young and Heston had great outings Wednesday, Shaun Marcum took a no hitter into the 5th. He went 7 innings, allowing 2 hits, and striking out 5.
Check this out, Lebron is playing for the Browns this fall!
OK, just kidding. That’s rookie wide receiver Vince Mayle. He did get Lebron’s autograph at the ESPYs when he was a kid and has been a big fan ever since though. Apparently people called him “Little Lebron.”
Finally, in anticipation for tonight, apparently Delli is breaking the internet! I got to be honest, I think we are getting liberal with our use of “breaking the internet.” It’s not like twitter went down. Dude is just getting a lot of love.
• The Onion explained Delly’s popularity in a hilarious graphic.
• Buzzfeed posted a story with the headline “Everyone Has Gone Bat**** Insane Over Matthew Dellavedova”
• USA Today.com featured four stories about him on its sports page, including a video entitled “Matthew Dellavedova: Where did this guy come from?”
• ESPN’s Sage Steele went on Good Morning America to tease her exclusive, one-on-one interview with Delly. That’s a Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric move.
• Dellavedova was a punchline to a joke in Jimmy Fallon’s opening monologue on “The Tonight Show.”
• The Borowitz Report satirically wrote about him in The New Yorker.
• His hometown of Maryborough in Australia is renaming its sports arena to “The Dellavedova Dome.”
• Of course, there are the memes. Lots of them.
So as Game 4 approaches tonight, the question becomes, “What will Dellavedova do for an encore?”
The @tencentbeers twitter handle has had plenty of Delli meems as well because… well, Sam is the King of Memes.
OK, I’ll kick this off today with actual baseball!
Those Astros we got so excited about? They have now lost 7 in a row… Since I’m pulling for the Astros, here is the bright side: rookie George Springer had 5 hits and the recently promoted Vincent Velazquez pitched well. Obviously I want to see the Astros succeed this year, but I can stomach some losing as long as the future core develops for the future. Velazques pitched 5 scoreless innings of three hit ball, but did walk 4, striking out 5.
The offensively woeful Mariners somehow scored 9 runs in a game Nelson Cruz didn’t even play in. My dude Kyle Seager batted cleanup in his place and belted a grand salami, boosting my fantasy performance, and killing my Tribe. He finished 2/4, adding an RBI double. The Grand Slam came off of Jedi, Trevor Bauer. Jedi walked the three preceding batters to set him up… That includes Mike Zunio (batting .166) and the not-so-terrifying Robinson Cano (who has all of 2 home runs this year, which is fewer than the number of “what happened to Cano” articles that appeared just today…). Bauer gave up six runs, walked five and struck out five in 3 2-3 innings.
Cleveland is now 11 – 18 at home this year. So much for home field advantage. Moser, have you ever come across a look at how home field advantage has played out over the course of history? What’s the improvement? Are some stadiums seemingly better than others? Which teams, like squads, not franchises, were particularly good at home? Are there pitchers or batters who have absurd home – road splits?
Robinson Cano’s year has to be tough to swallow in Seattle. Guy inked a 240 million dollar deal over 10 years. Contracts like that scare me…
What are some of the best longterm contracts in baseball right now, you might ask?
1. Andrew McCutchen‘s 6 years for 51.5 mill has, and continues, to look great.
2. Anthony Rizzo‘s 7 for 41 million may look even better.
3. Obviously Paul Goldschmidt is on this list with 5 years for 32 million.
4. Chris Sale 5 years for 32.5 million looks great as he continues to be unhittable more often than not.
And, before I get to #5, let me say that I think Giancarlo Stanton’s deal might be worth it. Again, dude is leading the majors in homers right now and is having his worst year in the bigs. I suppose he could regress like Robinson Cano, except there is no Bronx – Safeco switch in his future. Which is why you shouldn’t be too surprised that #5 is a contract that the team should love, but still isn’t “cheap.”
5. Mike Trout at 6 years for 144.5 million. Best in the game right now, nuff said.
I’m really worried about Matt Harvey right now. I see a trip to the DL looming in Batman’s future… His last two starts were better than the 4 inning bust he had against Pittsburgh on May 23rd, but i don’t know how great his arm is feeling. He have given up 8 home runs over the last 4 starts and he struck out only 2 last night. He has allowed 18 earned runs over his last 18 innings.
Nori Aoki and Joe Panik combined to go 7 for 10 with a homer, four runs and two RBIs as the Giants roughed up Harvey and defeated the New York Mets 8-5. Panik now has a 14 game hitting streak intact. Brandon Belt hit one of San Francisco’s three homers off a struggling Harvey, and the Giants scored five times in the sixth – the most runs Harvey has allowed in one inning.
The Royals completed the sweep of the Twins, winning 7 – 2. Edinson Volquez went 7, striking out 6, Alex Gordon hit a home run, and Torii Hunter did a strip tease after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes. My boy Kyle Gibson didn’t pitch too poorly. He finished six innings with six strikeouts while allowing five hits and two walks.
Those Blue Jays you didn’t expect much offense from beat the Marlins 7 – 2. It’s their 8th straight win. I’m terrified of what that lineup is going to do to Matt Harvey during his next start, if he continues to throw BP. Rookie Scott Copeland pitched for Toronto. Copeland allowed one run and six hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked none. Justin Smoak, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, and Jose Reyes all homered for the Jays. The homers came in two pairs of back to back dingers.
Ichiro had an RBI triple in the game!
Giancarlo Stanton batted cleanup for the first time this season in a bid to spark Miami’s offense.
Ben Lindbergh notes that there has been a serious injection of young, high profile players this year in the MLB. Check out the table of call ups with their rookie ranking shown:
15 high profile call ups is the 6th most since 1990. The average number of high profile call-ups in a year is about 12. More prospects are likely on the way. His suggestion is that its because this year seems so wide open and there for the taking that GMs are going for it. I think I buy that. Thoughts?
I’ll hit one entertainment note before I go for a run. Last time I was studying in Europe was 2007 and I was in Madrid. Like now, it seemed like the worst time to be out of Cleveland. In 2007 the Tribe was surging towards its obvious World Series title and I spent every morning, from 4 – 8 am glued to the computer watching games (we had a SlingBox). I’m not quite so crazy these days and haven’t managed it for the Cavs. But, in Madrid that fall I read a 900 page tome called “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Suzanne Clarke. It’s fantastic and I have been waiting for the sequel that would surely come since. Not so lucky. BUT, on Saturday, BBC America is premiering a 7 part mini-series inspired by the book. When I heard this, I assumed it would be fantastic (just like the book). I’m happy to report that Grantland is calling it “Your Ready-Made Thrones Replacement,” which is a BIG BIG recommendation. Since you’re about to head for New Haven – the land that lost TV – and I think it would be hard for me to stream a BBC America show online, I propose to you that we will have something truly “magical” waiting for our fall return to Houston.
Well, you lured me into the wormhole. What the hell is happening to the Tribe? They are currently 11-18 at home, and 16-13 on the road. This seems bad, and seems kind of rare. So I took a look in depth for the past 5 years, and briefly for every season since 2000. This is what I found…
On average, about 4 teams per year finish with a worse home record than road record, so this by itself is not that noteworthy. Let’s delve a little deeper, looking at all teams that finished with a worse home record each year from 2010 thru 2014, and sometimes one or two other notable home losers.
2010: Cubs -5
2011: FLA -10, NYM -9
2012: MIN -4, NYM -2
2013: NYM -8. MIN -2
2014: SEA, TB, KC -5, MIN 0
Couple things we notice…The Mets have really had some stretches of being awful at home. As have the Twins. Drew claims that the fans in Minnesota are great, is the evidence otherwise? The Indians are on pace to have 31 home wins and 45 road wins. This -14 differential would be more than any season since at least 2000. Weirdly, they aren’t on pace for the worst differential this season. The Rangers are on pace for 34 home wins and 49 road wins. Seems like one of these two teams could make history.
Some trends and patterns definitely emerged, that at least make intuitive sense. The teams that were consistently at the top of the leaderboard: STL had seasons of +12, 12, 11, and 8 during that five year run. Colorado had seasons of +24, 16, 21, and 3 over the same 5 year stretch. SD had a 19, 14 and 8. These all make a lot of sense, and likely represent some of the best homefield advantages in the sport. Colorado is playing at the Mile High altitude, STL has some of the best fans in the game, and SD is a notorious ‘pitcher’s park.’ The Astros also had pretty good splits during this time. It makes me wonder why more teams don’t get really weird with their ballparks. Though I didn’t break the numbers down enough to know whether the win differentials are because they are playing better at home because of the unique situation, or worse on the road. One is awesome for your team, one is actively harming your team. Perhaps this can be my Master’s thesis when I decide to pursue graduate Mathematics. In fact, this blog can be my launching point to have my entire degree focused on math in baseball.
Other interesting notes, over the past 5 years the Indians splits have been: +11,+10,+8,+7,+6….So before this year the Indians have consistently been better at home. What happened? I think we should blame it on LeBron James. The city is so wrapped up in basketball that we no longer care about baseball! The King returns, and the poor pitching staff can’t get any run support, and the team doesn’t get the love they usually have in the stands. While this is unlikely, it is plausible. The more likely reason is the team can’t play any defense at all. What else did I notice: teams with less wins at home typically have shit records for the season. Many teams are sub .500 on the road, but a stellar home record keeps them in contention. If you have no home wins, it’s tough to buffer the typical difficulties on the road. I think that this is primed for regression, the question becomes in which direction. I suspect, sadly, that they will start piling up road losses. The hope would be the opposite happens and they start putting together home victories. Cleveland is hopping, and if we throw our support behind the Tribe after Lebron and the Lebronettes finish up, perhaps we can push them into contention…(While I know the ‘home support’ likely makes little to no difference, this is the kind of fun sports storyline I’m willing to suspend disbelief for).
When we talk about sustainability, I have to mention this article from fangraphs. It points to some of those teams we continue to ask about. The Twins, Astros, etc. Couple interesting things: wild that the standings correlate so much more closely with the preseason predictions, than from the first 1/3 of the season. Also, we talk about regression to the mean. This shows that very well. Even the 25 biggest overachievers, using 58 games played, would have averaged 35 wins through that points. They would average, at a .493 winning percentage, 51 wins the rest of the way. This means they would still finish with 86 wins. While not likely playoff bound, this is a solid team. And, that is just the average. Only slightly overperforming that average the rest of the way, likely gives a team a playoff spot. This is what I always harp on with regression. You don’t expect the team to regress all the way back to the expectation, you expect them to perform at that average the rest of the way….For instance, a career .300 BABIP guy…If he bats .500 on balls in play the first half of the season, it would be a great bet he finishes well above .300 for the season. Likely right around .400 assuming he hits .300 the rest of the way. Meaning, as we go further and further into the season, we expect a team or player’s overperformance to have a greater effect on the season as a whole, and the ‘regression to the mean’ to have less and less effect. Definitely worth pondering when picking playoff teams, etc.
You mentioned that the Twins saw their manager ejected..The most ejected managers list is actually pretty impressive.
Starting from number 10…Torre, Maddon, Scioscia, Guillen, Francona, Bochy, Wedge, Manuel, Gardenhire, Cox.
Lots of World Series Titles there. Again, this is statistically unfair. Obviously guys that win titles have long careers. And guys with long careers have plenty of opportunities to get thrown out. Still kind of fun list though.
Last thought from me…Gallo struck out only once again last night, so he now has 15 through 8 games. Still on pace for 208, but no longer on pace to break the record. The career record is Mark Reynolds, striking out once ever 2.6 at bats. At that pace Gallo would only have 12 strikeouts. Gallo is striking out once every 2.1 at bats, which would shatter basically every single season strikeout record, Reynolds included. We could be watching history.
Responded to a couple of your thoughts, can’t get to the games. I’ll do more around the leaguing tomorrow, assuming I don’t get swept up in Cavalier Mania again. Keep up the French.
Been getting lots of comments and questions via email. Love it. The last two Roundups have been largely inspired by the resulting dialogue… If you have thoughts, speak up!
Without much further ado: basketball, baseball, and bad puns…
Just got off night shift here in Danbury, Connecticut and decided to shoot you guys an email. Literally have spent an hour and a half watching replays of the CAVS. Absolutely speechless. In what universe does Delladevova score 20 points, hits that insane circus plus one bank and send Lebron that awesome alley-oop. You got Mike Miller laying out to save a ball back to Delle. A hell of a last two games.
I got to thinking though. Has there ever been a better time to be a fan from Ohio. Think of the top sports that Ohioans care about, Browns, Indians, Cavs and Buckeyes. You can argue Reds and Bengals but I feel that is a very small minority. Out of those four teams you have the Buckeyes who won the National Championship with their third string quarterback, and possibly the making of an on paper mediocre Cavs team, with Love and Kyrie out, beating possibly a NBA team who you could argue is in the top five for greatest team ever. Can you think of two incredible sports stories happening so close in time and geographic location?
The only ones I can think of that are close in terms of magnitude is the Miracle on Ice and the 2004 Red Sox coming back from down three games to beat the Yankees. Obviously those two events were played decades apart.
Are we not witnessing two incredible sports stories unfolding within six months that should only come around maybe every few decades?
Maybe I am just sleep deprived.
First, I love your use of “Delladevova.” Rich.
I don’t think the Buckeye national championship is on the level of the Miracle on Ice (you could argue it was more incredible because they won the tourney, Team USA didn’t; but, I’m inclined to say that the Miracle was a bigger upset. The Buckeyes win was more a testament to Urban Meyer and how little national rankings mean than it was an incredibly improbable upset). For one thing, the Bucks were only +170 in Vegas before that game…
I’m also not willing to call this GS team a top 5 all time. I know they are tied for the 6th best record ever, but by that metric, they aren’t top 5 (they are tied for 6th), and even if you restrict you pool of contenders to teams that match or beat that record, they are not top 5.
The 1996 Bulls were better, so were the 1997 Bulls (does that count as a second or do we call that the same “team?”), the 72 Lakers had Jerry West and Wilt and dominated, the 2000 LA Lakers were prime Shaq-Kobe (I’d like to see Draymond defend prime Shaq), the 1992 Bulls (that can’t be grouped, lot of personal turnover between then and 1996), and the 1986 Celtics.
If you admit that this is a bad way to limit the pool because it includes the 2007 Mavs who didn’t make it out of the first round and because winning regular season games means little (see: 2009 Cavs), you have the 2013 Heat, which I would pick over the Warriors because Lebron (and Wade and Bosh…), the 2009 Lakers with prime Kobe-Pau, and every Pop coached Spurs team… Also the 1998 Bulls (that count with 96 and 97?). I haven’t even touched the 1989 Pistons.
I’m sure by some algorithm they are better, probably their Elo rating is through the roof, but I sure don’t care in basketball. Stats don’t rule this game – it’s too small and personal. People rule it: Bird, Pop, Jordan, LBJ, Magic, etc.
What I think we are seeing is a) Lebron is a Jordan level force, b) we forgot the regular season means zilch, c) the MVP is a really hilarious award. And yes, 4) that even at the pro-level sometimes a team can will itself to victory and take down Goliath (again… hasn’t happened yet…).
I will also dispute your Ohio major teams. I’m pretty sure the Bengals are bigger than the Browns statewide. Same goes for the Reds. Tribe and Browns are north/northeast teams. Cavs are likely statewide though. And we know the state loves the Bucks.
Still, the point remains, and I think it’s a good one. It is great to be a Cleveland fan right now: the Urban Dynasty is in motion, Lebron is making this dream real (maybe… let’s not jinx? What if David Lee emerged to take this back for GS…), the Tribe pitching staff is sick and locked up through 2020, and the Browns are at least not the worst team in the NFL.
I will point out, however, be have had awesome runs like this before. See: 2007… Cavs were in the finals with Lebron (against the Spurs), the Ohio State basketball team made it to the NCAA championship, the football team made it to the BCS championship, the Tribe should have won the AL Championship with a 3 – 1 lead going into game 5. Of course NONE of those worked out. And, the Cavs are still favorite to lose this series, in which case only 1 team will have won anything…
I guess I’m saying “don’t count your chickens” and also, yes, sometimes geographical areas go on runs (2007 northeast Ohio). One of the best examples would be Boston/Mass in the 2000s – the Red Sox have won several, the Pats are the team of the millennium, the Celtics had a run with the big 3 (that team was prolly better than GS…), and the Bruins won the NHL title… Oh yeah, and their MLS team was in the finals 4 times… Crazy.
Finally, I will say YES! to your last line. We are witnessing 2 incredible sports stories. The Buckeyes run was incredible and will/should have a 30 for 30 someday. And Bron coming back to Cleveland to win a ship, whether it is this year, or next is the best sports story of all time. Period. It’s biblical – a mix of the Prodigal Son returned and Jesus Christ. So in that sense, you are SPOT on.
Really sad I’m missing this stuff live. As LCD Soundstyem might say, “Paris, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.”
Since we are talking about the Cavs… One of the most interesting thing about the finals to me (since I can’t watch the games), is thinking about the Kevin Love soap opera. It’s interesting that both teams in the finals were suitors for his service. I don’t think anyone would have expected that the team leading in the finals would be the team that landed him, except that they would be doing it without him…
Zach Lowe addressed just this topic on Grantland this week. It’s an excellent article.
Some interesting questions/what-ifs. Saunders made it clear that the Warriors would have to send Klay for KLove, but a possible alternative package would have included David Lee, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green. Even without Love’s injury, it sure seems like that trade would have stopped the Warriors from having the year they did. So, what if #1 is, would they be in the finals with Love and without Draymond and Harrison? What if #2 is, would you even trade Draymond Green for Kevin Love right now, straight up? Andrew Bogut says “no,” in a hilarious comment that really knocks the Cavs:
“Thankfully, we didn’t pull the trigger… I don’t know if that trade would have gotten us to this point. I didn’t think it would be a huge upgrade. David Lee provides the same output, besides the 3-point shooting. I thought we could have just found a stretch 4 at the veteran’s minimum — someone like James Jones.”
Zach Lowe goes as far as to ask a bigger question re: Green – Love:
Is Draymond Green just flat-out better than Kevin Love? Ask a dozen team officials today and you’ll get a dozen answers: yes, no, maybe, perhaps if he improves his jumper (his biggest offseason project), and a lot of stammering about roster context. But no one thinks that question is nuts, and that alone is kind of nuts.
His conclusion is spot on, and a little sad for Cavs fans:
Green might be able to approximate Love’s value, but only if he’s on a team with at least one ball-dominant star. Green could never serve as the fulcrum of an above-average NBA offense, the way Love did tap-dancing around the elbow for Rick Adelman’s limited and injury-riddled Minnesota teams. But slot Green on a team with one or two stars who create shots, and the things he does become more valuable.
Love’s value slides along the opposite trajectory. Cleveland has LeBron and Kyrie Irving to create shots, and Love can’t recalibrate by ramping up his defense and enabling the Cavaliers to switch across the board. Love talked big about improving his defense this season, but all the bad habits were still there — the lazy slouches into transition, the ground-bound indifference at the rim. The Cavaliers didn’t need him to make the Finals, and they have defended better without him.
That’s not to say I wish they never would have pulled the trade. Tough to play that kind of what if game. Because of their performance with the Big 3, the Cavs went out and got Moz, JR, and Shump and I think that’s really fueled this push, plus KLove coming was part of the whole Bron return, so I don’t want to rethink any of that. But, IF Tristan is going to demand a big payday, and IF he is more valuable to the Cavs than Love (I suspect he is), then this gets tricky… Do you think Gilbert is willing to pay all the taxes and penalties to pay a Big 4? I suspect he will and David Griffin’s desire to keep Love is well reasoned: “we were the best team in the league with the Big Three healthy. We want to be that juggernaut again. We want to be a more talented version of this group of gritty overachievers.” Cleveland walloped opponents by 15 points per 100 possessions when Love, LeBron, and Thompson shared the floor.
The “grit” plan is likely not sustainable for an entire season. Kyrie is a fragile flower, Bron is getting old, Thibbs and the Bulls are a warning against “gritting” it out all season, and Matty Dellavedova had to be hospitalized with cramps he played so hard to guard Steph. We need to save the nights he has to do that…
Another topic before I discuss America’s National Pastime…
Ask the Maester, on Grantland, supplies some answers to two things we were discussing about Thrones:
1) Drogon was at risk, but won’t always be: “As dragons age, their scales become thicker and stronger, growing more resistant to damage and flame.”
2) Jorah was, in fact, touching Daenerys:
But, “it’s fair to assume that it takes at least direct contact with a sufferer’s scaly region to cause transmission, not contact with an unaffected limb or body part. Jorah is careful to offer Dany the hand that’s attached to the non-fucked-up arm and his rash is covered by his leather bracers. Is that enough? Probably. In the books, a character by the name of Jon Connington fraternizes with lots of people in close quarters while wearing gloves that hide a growing gray patch. None of his compatriots have, as of yet, come down with the disease.”
I don’t know if this totally satisfies me since Shireen (RIP) got hers from putting her cheek to a Dornish doll… My suggestion to Jorah would be, “my dude, you’re willing to go all Maximus to show D how much you love her and be in her life. IF that’s your level or dedication, maybe keep your hands off altogether.”
On to baseball.
The Reds beat the Phillies 11 – 2 thanks to Joey Votto’s 3 home runs. Votto now has 13 home runs on the season and is hitting .300 with 35 RBIs. 2 of Joey’s last 3 years have been marred by injury, but boy can this guy hit:
Look at those on base percentages!
Chicago beat the Astros 4 – 2 but Carlos Correa hit his first career home run off of Zach Duke in the losing effort. He also had a stolen base. Dude is man of the hour right now, stealing all the headlines from Bryce Harper this month. I’m a little shocked people are surprised he was “rushed” to the bigs, he is certainly better than the alternative (Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Villar), even if he continues the recent trend and doesn’t deliver much power from the short stop position (though I get the feeling he will).
Luis Valbuena was 0/4 and is now hitting .180… That’s so low I’m worried he won’t make it past the all-star break to challenge Kris Bryant for our board bet about homers. Astros are not shy about calling up talent if they think it will outperform what they have. Not hard to outperform .180. Dallas Keuchal got his second loss of the season, allowing 9 base runners in 7 innings, and striking out 5. Rookie Carlos Rendon pitched 6 innings of shutout ball for the White Sox, allowing only 6 base runners. Last year’s 3rd overall pick has now strung together 4 nice starts. Sox certainly don’t worry about hurrying them up to the leagues. They are like the anti-Indians.
A closer look at Dallas Keuchal is up on fangraphs. Things to note: dude is a legitimate gold-glover, he is the anti-Lester (runners are just 3/6 on stolen base attempts over the last 300ish innings), and he induced super weak contact. I bring this up because a) look at all the places a pitcher can save runs, and b) this is another suggestion that we take the ability to induce week contact (ahem… the Twins) seriously.
As for the White Sox ace, he is bucking the two-pitch trend, delivering death by diversity. Only he, Kluber, and Harvey have 3 pitches that they have thrown over 100 times this year and who strikeout at least 15% of their batters faced. You can read the details about how he can vary his kill pitch. It’s gory and great. Here are some visuals:
Sale using a fastball for a strikeout on Monday:
Sale using a slider for a strikeout on Monday:
Sale using a changeup for a strikeout on Monday:
Speaking of the Tribe and Kluber Lang, they lost to the Mariners last night, 2 – 3. Yan Gomes was the bright spot for the Tribe. He went 2/4 with 2 home runs. It’s the first power he has displayed since the knee injury. Kluber was pretty darn good again for the Tribe, allowing only 2 runs in 7 innings. He had an unusually low number of strikeouts (only 4), so clearly he didn’t have his best stuff. Maybe he forgot to bring his wiffle ball to work?
How crazy is it that Kluber has a 3 – 7 record. COME ON TRIBE. What a waste.
On Saturday the Indians will face Justin Verlander in his first start of the season. This year’s stint on the DL was the first Verlander has ever experienced in the MLB. Talk about durability. Verlander struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings on Saturday in a 93-pitch minor league rehabilitation start with the Toledo Mud Hens. Will be interested to see if he can come back and be dominant, or if the 2014 Verlander is now what we can expect. 11 seasons is a lot of pitching, especially when he threw over 200 innings in the last 8.
Continuing with the AL Central… The Royals beat the Twins 2 – 0. Freaking Chris Young took a no hitter into the 7th. When Young gave up a triple to Plouffe, Yost immediately pulled him because he has a cheat-code-bullpen to play with. Can’t blame him.
The Royals are 33 – 23 on the season and the Twins are 33 – 25. How high is that on the list of “headlines you would never expect to see in 2015” just 2 or 3 years ago… I’ll be following game three of the series to see if Moser’s BOY Edinson Volquez can beat my guy, Kyle Gibson to complete the sweep.
By the way, if this year’s All-Star voting had ended on Monday, seven of the nine members of the American League’s starting lineup would be Royals. WHAT!? This is CLEARLY the result of ballot stuffing! THE VOTING IS CORRUPT! I know it’s just the All-Star game, but how hard is it to look into this? Meanwhile, if you want to let an already disappointing event get worse, this is the way to do it… LOOK WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN:
Kansas City players occupy two of the three starting spots in the outfield voting, with Alex Rios, who has spent most of the first half on the disabled list, in fourth. Mike Trout, the one current starter who unquestionably deserves to be there, isn’t even the top vote getter among outfielders, trailing the Royals’ Lorenzo Cain by more than a half-million votes. WHAT!? LOL. Have Lorenzo on the squad, so not to caste shade, but… IT’S MIKE TROUT!
This would also mean that guys like Nelson Cruz (who also trails Kendrys Morales in DH voting), Adam Jones, and Yoenis Cespedes won’t get voted in. I can kind of live with this, because the AL OF is producing weak sauce this year, but elsewhere it’s a crime!
Kipnis not getting in over Omar Infante!? (Though, note, Jose Altuve is currently leading, thank God…)
Omar Infante, Royals (2,650,416)
Season Stats: .216/.225/.301, 0 HR, 17 RBIs, 0 SB, 45 OPS+, 0.0 bWAR
Jason Kipnis, Indians (1,104,667)
Season Stats: .338/.414/.518, 5 HR, 27 RBIs, 8 SB, 160 OPS+, 3.7 bWAR
Josh Donaldson, the potential MVP favorite, being stuck behind Moustakas?
Mike Moustakas, Royals (4,046,726)
Season Stats: .322/.373/.465, 5 HR, 18 RBIs, 134 OPS+, 2.5 bWAR
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays (2,329,742)
Season Stats: .310/.367/.582, 16 HR, 43 RBIs, 163 OPS+, 3.5 bWAR
Miggy behind Hosmer?
Eric Hosmer, Royals (3,551,005)
Season Stats: .306/.378/.490, 7 HR, 35 RBIs, 142 OPS+, 1.7 bWAR
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (2,933,108)
Season Stats: .320/.427/.558, 12 HR, 38 RBIs, 173 OPS+, 2.4 bWAR
That’s too much.
Anyway… Chris Young was not the pitcher of the night. That honor goes to rookie Chris Heston who led the Giants to victory by no-hitting the Mets. It was 2015’s first no-hitter, but frankly I think it was overshadowed… by Heston’s hitting! Guy had 2 RBIs AND THAT’S NOT ALL! He didn’t walk a Met, but he hit 3 of them! That’s more hit batters in a no-hitter than anyone else since 1914. This was also only the 3rd no-hit, no-walk game since 1914. If you aren’t going to throw a perfect game, hitting guys is the way to avoid it. What a G.
Via the PITCHf/x data at Brooks Baseball, Heston threw 68 sinkers with an average velocity of 90.6 mph and a high of 92.4, plus 36 curves and eight changeups. Seven of his 11 swings and misses came via the curve, five of them for strike three. Of his six strikeouts looking, five came via the sinker.
This was the 17th no-hitter in Giants history, and the fourth in as many seasons. Matt Cain threw a perfect game against the Astros in 2012, while Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres in both 2013 and ’14.
Rob Neyer points out just how lucky it seems the Giants get. Heston, allegedly, doesn’t have one “plus” pitch and was placed on waivers by the G-Men just two years ago! Luck is right.
Another rookie pitcher, Taylor Jungmann also pitched well, leading the Brewers past the Pirates 4 – 1. Jungmann gave up one run on three hits, striking out five against just one walk. Starling Marte’s 12th home run in the second was the only mistake by Jungmann. Marte, who had a slow start, is looking like all the 5 tool player we expected.
Jungmann has one odd delivery:
Think that will lead to some early success as batters have to adjust.
The Angels beat the Reds 8 – 2. Pujols hit a dinger, tying Mickey Mantle on the all time list. Pujols also broke a tie for 15th place with George Brett by getting his 1,120th extra-base hit, a leadoff double in the third.
The Blue Jays beat the Marlins 4 – 3. Edwin Encarnacion hit a game winning homer in the 9th. Giancarlo Stanton hit two solo home runs for the Marlins, who lost for the third time in four games. Stanton leads the majors with 21 homers and 51 RBIs. Wait, WHAT!? We were too busy talking about Bryce Harper for the last month, I forgot to notice. How about this….
Stanton is having the WORST SEASON OF HIS CAREER... dun dun dun…. Kid is such a freak. He seems to really get overshadowed by Bryce and Mike, but dude is up there…
Some great videos capturing Stanton at Coors, Venditte, and the resurgent Rangers.
I hope you get to the Cards. My boy Mike Wacha had a disappointing loss. I’ll end with my other boy, Scherzer. Max didn’t get any help from Ian Desmond, whose error in the 7th ended Scherzer’s night, but he wasn’t his usually unhittable self. He gave up 4 in 6 2/3 innings, allowing 9 baserunners while striking out only 7. Bryce Harper hit his 20th home run for the Nationals, who have lost nine of 11. That’s a rough streak for the pre-season World Series favorites. The Yankees’ won their 7th straight, their longest winning streak since 2012. Anthony Rendon was 0/4. I hurt.
Beyond Bryce and Giancarlo, we seem to talk about pitching a lot, even noting that the strike zone has widened, and that offensive baseball may continue to recede for a bit as these young studs dominate even more. Tom Verducci is not so ready to proclaim offense is dead, in fact he foresees the “return to offense”:
On the same day last week that Joey Gallo, 21, hit a home run in his major league debut, Giancarlo Stanton (25), Mike Trout (23) and Joc Pederson (23) also homered. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper, 22, continued to lead the majors in home runs, and people still were talking about the 477-foot homer Kris Bryant, 22, smashed off the newly-installed Jumbotron at Wrigley Field on May 26.
Say hello—and thank goodness they’re finally here—to what just might be the greatest group of young sluggers in almost 60 years. I don’t know about you, but I’m fine if they re-write the All-Star Home Run Derby rules this year and make it a 25-and-under event. Nolan Arenado (24), Mookie Betts (22), Wilmer Flores (23),Maikel Franco (22) and Manny Machado (22) can fill out the field.
Trout is so good Socia bats him 2nd. Haha, didn’t expect that, eh? Read the article and tell me what you think. Where would you bat trout? Tradition is endangered again!
I’ll end with a quick tip of the cap to Manny-be-Manny Ramirez:
“Yo, dap me up before I double up this runner, bro.”
Titled: Dr. Finals- Or How I learned to stop worrying and love the Deli
I can’t fully describe how ecstatic I am to be back in Cleveland. As a recent Ohio transplant to Texas, I loved the weather, loved the city of Houston, loved the music. But being back in Cleveland for the NBA finals with the Cavs having a chance to win the title has been magical. I told my friend Tom repeatedly last night that this felt like I was experiencing a sports movie. A cheesy, unbelievable, good versus evil, edge of your seats, cliched sports movie. And the real life sports movie experience is better thus far than any film I’ve seen.
I’ve seen you guys can shoot but there’s more to the game than shooting. There’s fundamentals and defense.
Coach Norman Dale, Hoosiers
These were the words he gave to his players at an early season practice. He reminded them that defense wins ball games. Shooters gonna shoot, and offense is beautiful, but when a team can grind it out, they can do miraculous things. The team that Hoosiers was originally based off played abhorrent basketball. They took advantage of the lack of a shot clock, held on to the ball for minutes at a time, and won games in the single digits. This is the Cavaliers strategy. They have employed a muck it up offense, driven almost solely by isolation plays, and LeBron James. Defensively, Dellavedova continues to be a pest. Sidenotes on Deli..
I have always hated Matthew Dellavedova. For a number of different reasons. I’m always quite inclined to hate any white basketball players. They drive the level of doosh through the roof. They are all about ‘hustle, grit, grind, thinking a step ahead.’ None of those are fun to watch, and typically they’re only used as adjectives because the player sucks, and it’s pointless to continue to point out someone is a step to slow and can’t hit the ocean from a boat. I’ve hated the way Deli defends full court while seemingly doing jumping jacks. I hate the way Deli dives around. I hate that he looks like a 15 year old. I hate that he plays the way that guy you hate in pickup basketball plays. You know the guy…the guy that calls next solo, then picks up 4 studs to play with him on Saturday at the gym. He continues to rule the court for the next 8 hours off of the skill of his more talented teammates, and his ‘gutsiness, grit, grind, enthusiasm, and hustle.’ He’s the guy diving for loose balls, recklessly hitting people’s limbs. He’s the guy that always hustles on the opposing team’s fastbreaks to get the sneaky foul or swipe the ball out of bounds, because they assumed the layup was uncontested. He’s the guy that randomly plays full court press, and gets a couple steals that way. He always crashes the board, and throws his body around willy nilly. He is important to his team, but nowhere near ‘the guy’ and everyone hates him. He’s constantly encouraging teammates that look down on him, but, in the end, he’s tremendously valuable. After some soul searching and texting with Drew, I’ve come to realize that I hate Matthew Delevova because…I AM MATT DELEVDOVA! I’m the dooshy guy that does all those things in a pickup game. I’m the guy that is sneaky athletic but really gets by on hustle. And I’m the guy that presents value to my pickup team by surrounding myself with better players and making effort plays. This is kind of depressing. It also means I’ve gotta start rooting for the guy. As much of a knob as he is, as lame, cheap, dirty etc. He is a brother in arms! I must appreciate the beauty in the muck he raise, and I am now on board the Deli Train.
The alternate title for this little writeup was going to be: Stephen Curry should literally commit Harra-Kiri for being outplayed by a second year player from St. Mary’s with no discernible skills. I realized it was too long, and that some get offended by the implication of honor killings, but my general sentiment still stands. How does he play the way did? THE MVP OF THE LEAGUE CANNOT DO THAT! Great example, Schumpert forgets what he’s doing, and throws the inbound to Curry the last 2 minutes of the 4th. Curry misses a wide open three. THE MVP HITS THAT SHOT. His body language was also total shit. He looked dejected, confused, and generally perplexed. Does he bring Riley to the pressers after losses? Isn’t this where we would be able to see how cute her little shenanigans are, and how patient Steph is? Wouldn’t her pulling on the table and screen, knocking stuff over act, just piss off Curry after a loss? I feel we’d eventually get a, “GODDAMN IT RILEY THIS ISN’T THE FU@$ING TIME!!! QUIT PLAYING GHOST AND GO SIT WITH GRANDPA FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” I’m actually strongly rooting for a Riley-Steph pairing after every heartbreaking loss for the rest of the finals. On other Curry notes, if the ESPN kitchen cooks up Chicken Curry after great performances, what do they make after bad ones?
CURRYWURST! What many describe as the least tasty curry concoction ever. We should be rating Steph on a sliding scale of Curry awesomeness, and his play so far earns this cut up hot dog with ketchup and curry powder known simply as the Currywurst.
You mentioned the Love-Green comparison. I can say that this series intrigues me because of the amount of ‘systems’ guys there are. These rosters are filled with players that would likely not flourish anywhere else. Examples: Deli, Tristan (valuable, but few teams can have their PF provide absolutely no scoring), JR Smith (completely unhinged and likes to party, unlikely to settle down for anybody but Bron), Green (see Lowe article), Barnes (being a 4th option is a whole different world), and Bogut (being surrounded by some of the best shooters in the league really diminishes what’s expected of you and hides your 7 foot faults). That’s what’s so intriguing in this series. So much of each of these teams is about the way the guys play as a team for Golden State, and how Lebron James is so good at basketball he turns a 7th grade AAU team into a 2-1 Finals lead in the NBA. You can see why people just keep saying his name…
You began to touch on the Cavs cap situation. I’m going to break it down further, with a player’s millions per year approximated in parentheses.
LBJ (23), Love (17), Andy (10), Kyrie (15) JR Smith (6), Joe Harris (1), Mosgov (5), Miller (3)
The above assumes Love,JR, and Mike Miller opt in. Now some trickier ones: assuming the Cavs resign Deli, Tristan, and Schump their salaries could look something like this..
Tristan (15), Schump (5), Deli (3)
This gives the Cavs 11 players, 103 million in salary. If Love opts out and resigns at a max deal it’s another 2-3 million. If Gilbert chose to be really aggressive and trade Haywood for another serviceable player making about the same amount of money, that would vault them to 113, and then with a couple rookies and/or vets to round out the roster, you’re looking at 115. Let’s use that for now.
Cavs could be roughly 50 million dollars over the cap…What does this mean?
|Team salary above tax level||Non-repeater||Repeater|
|Lower||Upper||Tax rate||Incremental maximum||Tax rate||Incremental maximum|
|$0||$4,999,999||$1.50||$7.5 million||$2.50||$12.5 million|
|$5,000,000||$9,999,999||$1.75||$8.75 million||$2.75||$13.75 million|
|$10,000,000||$14,999,999||$2.50||$12.5 million||$3.50||$17.5 million|
|$15,000,000||$19,999,999||$3.25||$16.25 million||$4.25||$21.25 million|
|$20,000,000||N/A||$3.75, and increasing $.50 for
each additional $5 million.
|N/A||$4.75, and increasing $.50 for
each additional $5 million.
Running some preliminary numbers, based on being 50 million over the cap, the Cavs would pay 195 MILLION DOLLARS IN TAX MONEY! Gilbert is loaded, and seems to be willing to pay whatever, but that’s some crazy dead money.
So in response to your salary questions, I think Gilbert will pay to keep the big 4. He has to. Lebron loves TT, and they don’t want to admit they lost in the Wiggins trade. Gilbert is a proud man. The most likely scenario is they let a Schumpert walk, and simply cut Haywood’s unguaranteed contract, hoping to run with the Big 3.5 next year, and change their identity back to the defenseless, fun to watch, 115 ppg behemoths.
Some last thoughts on this game: Jeff Van Gundy is the worst, but he’s actually done a better job calling these games than any of the regular season games I listened to of his. It’s also hilarious hearing Clevelanders talk about these role players…Even the national media is convincing themselves that maybe Deli is a great player, maybe Mosgov is a dominant rim protector, Tristan is worth a max deal, and Mike Miller is a savvy vet (that one might be true, and apparently he’s literally the greatest teammate of all time). Let’s not forget what’s driving this machine, King James.
The man is averaging 40 points, 12 boards, 8 assists. He is controlling the game and being the alpha dog in a way I’ve never witnessed. He’s Kobe Bryant tenacity mixed with Steve Nash bullet passing. He’s Jordan’s defense mixed with Ben Wallace’s rebounding. He’s Joakim Noah’s whining combined with Robert DeNiro’s acting..Just kidding on the last one. Though he sure does love playing up his injuries, showing us how engaged in the game he is, and pretending to come out of games, only to make himself fight through it. Wish he didn’t do that shit. In closing, let’s not forget, despite these secondary pieces moving around the board, and trying to be, “some really bad ass pawns,’ in the end, ‘the king stay the king. That’s the way the game is played.’
Sorry no baseball, I’m too obsessed with the Cavs right now, and loving every second.