Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekly Picks

Another solid week with a 4. Hitting 80% of best bets but only 35% of other picks.

san diego -8 1/2 ST. LOUIS
I'm not giving up on the Chargers yet. Two of their losses (Raiders and Chiefs) were kind of fluky in that big plays against them came on special teams. Their offense is still great, defense is bad, but this spread seems to big, so I like it.

new orleans -4 TAMPA BAY
Desperate team versus overachieving team.

indianapolis -3 WASHINGTON
Bill Simmons says never bet against Peyton Manning in a night game. I think that actually holds true.

PITTSBURGH -13 1/2 cleveland
The spread should actually be around 17 if Ben Roethlisberger's performance weren't such a question mark. This flies in the face of backup QB theory, but I'll make an exception for Colt McCoy/Josh Cribbs against the best defense in the league.


There is nothing in my backup QB theory about what happens the second week. I think the Falcons are pretty good and I think Kolb is going to make this decision very easy for Reid.

Last week: 3-2 (4 points)
Season: 11-14 (14 points)
Best Bets: 1-0 (4-1)
Home Favorites: 1-1 (2-5)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (1-0)
Road Favorites: 1-1 (4-7)
Road Underdogs: 1-0 (4-2)

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Wish We Could Fire Jeff Wilpon

The Mets fired Jerry Manuel. That's good. The Mets fired Omar Minaya. That will help. But perhaps the biggest problem with this team is a problem we may never be able to excise, Jeff Wilpon.

sniveling little whiner Jeff Wilpon has ruined my favorite team

I have said over the past four years while overreacting fans begged the Mets to spend more money that their spending was fine, perhaps too much. The Mets have consistently been in the top 5 in payroll. But they have not been in the top 5 or top 10, or top 20 the past two seasons in results. That means the amount of money being spent isn't the problem. The problem is how it's being spent.
I normally blamed Omar Minaya for the misspending but it is not clear Jeff Wilpon deserves a sizable share of the blame as well.
A scathing New York Post column by Joel Sherman delved into the problems with Wilpon.

Let’s give Jeff Wilpon the benefit of the doubt here for a moment.

Let’s say he is not short-tempered. Tone deaf. A credit seeker. An accountability deflector. A micro-manager. A second-guesser. A less-than-deep thinker. And bad at self-awareness.

Fine, he’s none of these things. But here is the problem: This is his perception in the industry as the Mets try yet again to fix their baseball operations department.

That's a poorly worded way of saying he is all those things, without actually saying it. It goes on:

"A baseball executive in regular contact with the Mets: 'Jeff is the problem with the organization, and he is never going to realize that. He cannot help himself. He has to be involved. He will never hire anyone who will not let him have major input. He will not hire anyone who does not run every personnel decision through him.'"

Jeff is the problem with the Mets. But we can't get rid of him because he happened to be born to the owner of the team. And Mets fans suffer as a result.

For years I have railed against the Mets making reactionary free agent signings that never seem to work (starting with Pedro Martinez) just to get the papers and the talk radio hosts (Mike and the Mad Dog spent years ruining the Mets) to say nice things about them. It seems that was all coming from Jeff Wilpon. He's the one who couldn't stand to listen to Fat Francesa say the Mets needed to do something to win back their fans.

We enter another offseason at a crossroads. We have no manager, no top baseball executive and two sub-.500 seasons in a row. Will the Mets attempt to make a big splash by signing Cliff Lee? I hope not. But the even less desirable alternative is the one most likely to happen, the Mets miss on Lee, the papers and talk radio hosts go nuts, Wilpon orders an overreaction and the Mets spend $75 million on an average pitcher.

What the Mets need to do is go into the season with an infield of Davis, Reyes, Wright and a new second baseman (Future Hall of Famer Dan Uggla?), and outfield of Bay, Beltran and Duda and a rotation of Santana, Pelfrey, Dickey, Niese and Mejia. They need to trade Beltran in July and consider dumping Santana as well. The Mets need to rebuild, not add one mediocre overpaid piece.

But that will never happen because an insecure, spoiled little rich boy would rather spend daddy's money.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hope For the Future

I have long complained about the Mets barren farm system and its inability to produce a single solid offensive prospect since David Wright and Jose Reyes hit the scene 6 years ago. I like Ike Davis but feel his maximum potential would make him no better than an average first baseman, which is fine. Josh Thole also has potential to be an above-average catcher, especially if he can start to hit with a little more power.

But I am most hopeful about Lucas Duda. Duda had modest stats in his first three minor league seasons but he followed a natural progression from Brooklyn (low A) to St. Lucie (high A) to Binghamton (AA). It wasn’t until he went to triple A Buffalo that he really broke out. He hit 17 homers in 298 plate appearances, with an OPS of .999.

Lucas Duda provides hope for angry Mets fans

That earned him a promotion to the big club. I speculated that even with an expected drop-off in performance because of the tougher competition, if Duda could have an .825 OPS, he could be a very effective outfielder for the Mets for a very long time.

Note: only 22 outfielders in the majors, fewer than one per team had an OPS above .800 in 2010.

Things started off very badly for Duda. In his first 33 at bats he had only 1 hit (a double) and 4 walks, for an OPS of .196.

But check out what Duda did in his next 51 at bats: 16 hits 5 doubles 4 homers 13 RBI and 2 walks. That works out to .314/.340/.647. That’s an OPS of .987, against major league pitching. Yes it’s only 51 at bats, at the end of the season, all low leverage situations, but it’s something.

Especially when compared to Beltran (.768), Pagan (.765) and Bay (.749). And considering the team OPS was only .697, anything above .800 would be great, would have been good enough for second on the team behind Wright this season.

So if there’s any hope for the future it’s that Wright and Reyes will stay healthy and perform, Bay and Beltran will get healthy and perform, and the young guys like Davis, Thole and Duda will continue to grow. That would be a pretty good top 7, with a lot of ifs, but finally, a little bit of hope.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Song of the Week

"Da Rockwilder" - Redman and Method Man
About the only good thing Antonio Rogierio did in his fight against Ryan "Darth" Bader was walk out to this song.

Burning Down the House

Here's the story that's igniting a fierce debate around the nation right now.
Firefighters in Tennessee stood by while the home of Gene Cranick burned to the ground, killing his 3 dogs and 1 cat.
The firefighters from South Fulton responded to the fire but didn't put it out because Cranick hadn't paid his fire fee. He lives outside the city of South Fulton and therefore doesn't pay taxes to support the firefighters. Instead, those residents were told, for an annual fee of $75, the South Fulton Fire Department would respond if the need ever arose.
His neighbor paid the fee, so when the fire spread to his home, firefighters quickly extinguished it.
At first Cranick said he simply forgot to pay the fee, but now it comes out that they sent him a letter and called him.
It's clear Cranick felt that he would never need firemen so he didn't pay the fee. And he clearly thought if there ever was a fire, they'd put it out anyway.

And there's where the debate comes in. Democrats are calling this extreme capitalism where life-saving and property-saving services are only provided to those who can and will pay.
Most people say humanity should have prevailed (and it would have if a person had been trapped) and they should have put of the fire and maybe charged him an exorbitant fee afterwards.

I say it's all Cranick's fault. I bring up personal responsibility again. Cranick was given a choice, pay for a service, or don't get the service. He chose to gamble, he lost. He needs to live with the consequences. If the SFFD bailed out Cranick it would send a message that no one ever need pay the fire fee. An optional fee wouldn't work and the Fire Department would incur huge losses and not be able to help the people who actually pay to support it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The NFL is Poop - Week 5

It was the Best of Favre, It Was the Worst of Favre
This was the week when you really found out why Brett Favre is such a compelling figure. Like him or hate him (most everyone hates at this point) you just had to watch. Yes, he cheated on his wife, and tried to bang Jenn Sterger and is pretty much the same piece of shit scumbag we expect every athlete to be. But, you still wanted to see how he would perform.
In a rain-soaked first half the Vikings had about 50 yards of offense while punting 5 times and fumbling once. The trailed 12-0 when Favre turned it on. Then on three out of 4 possessions he hit Randy Moss for a 37-yard touchdown, then Harvin for 34 and 11-yard touchdowns, bringing the Vikings to within 22-20.
And just when you thought Favre was going to do it again, another amazing performance, on a Monday Night no less, he throws another interception, it's returned for a touchdown and good night Vikings.

Who Needs Quarterbacks Anyway?
No bigger mistake is made by gamblers than picking against NFL teams who lose their quarterbacks. This week three teams were starting backups, different starters than last week, all three were underdogs and all 3 won. Max Hall for the Cardinals was the biggest story since he was an undrafted free agent in April, and in October he's beating the Super Bowl champs. Kevin Kolb played well enough to beat the 49ers, but probably not well enough to keep his old job when Michael Vick comes back.
And then there's Todd Collins. Perhaps an asterisk is needed here. He was 6 for 16 with 32 yards and 4 interceptions. And he was the winning QB. Thankfully for him Matt Forte ran for two touchdowns and Carolina's Jimmy Clausen was almost as bad.

SUH-per Play
An amazing tip and interception (and underwhelming dance) by the next great defensive player in the NFL, Ndamukong Suh.

I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good
The Redskins got back the win they blew in week 2 against the Texans. The Packers butchered this one almost as bad, and the Skins took a 16-13 overtime win. The Redskins did almost nothing until Donovan McNabb hit his new favorite deep threat, Anthony Armstrong for a 48-yard touchdown. Then it seemed neither team wanted to win as the kickers missed three field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime before Graham Gano finally nailed one after Laron Landry's interception set the Redskins up in great field position. Another mediocre/bad performance by Donovan McNabb except this time instead of getting out early and blowing the lead, McNabb made plays to lead his team back.

Ok, Maybe This is a Rule That Needs to be Changed
Normally I am of the attitude that if a rule is on the books, you have to abide by it. And in most cases those rules are on the books for a good reason, and shouldn't be changed. But the one that hurt the Dallas Cowboys in their loss to the Titans maybe is a little too strict. The rule forbids touchdown celebrations from ending with a player on the ground. So when Jason Witten scored to tie the game at 27, he gave the ball to Mark Columbo to spike. Then they did a flying chest bump, which ended with Columbo on the ground, and the refs penalizing the Cowboys 15 yards. The ensuing kickoff was fielded at the 16 (maybe would have come up just short of end zone) and take all the way to the Dallas 5, setting up Chris Johnson for the easy game-winning score.

Mark Columbo's spike was part of the celebration that cost the Cowboys 15 yards

Pictures of the Week
It sure was raining hard during that Vikings-Jets game.

she gets so wet

Baseball is Poop - Postseason Awards

Here are my picks for baseball's major awards:

NL MVP: Joey Votto
I can't believe I am saying this but it seems like when you have a guy as good as the Magnificent Pooh Holes you could make a reasonable case for him every year. So when someone new is almost as good, that player gets the nod. This happened several years with Michael Jordan. But in this case Votto and Pooh Holes are so similar (Votto by .014 in OPS, Pooh Holes by 3.7 in VORP, Votto by .3 in WAR) it's basically a toss-up. So I will go with Votto because his team is better. I know that's an old school writers' way of deciding MVP but in this case I think Votto did provide more value to his team in intangible ways as well. Carlos Gonzalez had a great season and is an obvious third choice but doesn't really warrant being in this discussion.

you know you're good if I pick you over Pooh Holes.  This division title celebration has a lot to do with it

AL MVP: Josh Hamilton
Another close two person race. I really wanted give this to Jose Bautista, but clubbing a lot of home runs is not enough. If you are only judging by old school stats, you'd see Cabrera with 6 more homers and 26 more RBI than Hamilton. And even an extra 46 walks. But Hamilton still has the better OPS (1.044, best in the majors this year) because of 30 fewer ABs. Hamilton has the superior VORP, and the better WAR by a lot. Hamilton's 8.0 is best in the majors, while Cabrera's 6.2, is not even in the top 10. And when you go back to wins and losses, and the intangibles, I think you'd have to go with Hamilton once again for making his contributions to a winning team.

NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
I think it would be hard to dispute this one. At one point we thought it would be Ubaldo Jimenez, but he fell so hard his ERA is worse than R.A. Dickey's. Josh Johnson has a better ERA than Halladay, but he did it in 70 fewer innings, which certainly means a lot. And the fact Halladay has 10 more wins is not merely the product of playing on a much better offensive team. Adam Wainwright also had a spectacular year but he doesn't have one thing as good as Halladay's. It's almost like John Tudor in 1985. He had one of the best seasons of the past 30 years, but he finished second in pretty much every category to Gooden.

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
This is the one you can argue about. And I know he is not going to win it with only 13 wins, but he's like Good Will Hunting. It's not your fault, Felix, it's not your fault. Here's his key stats: 2.27 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 6 CGs, 249 2/3 innings, 232 Ks and a 6.2 WAR. Those are amazing stats but one thing jumps out at me, his FIP is much higher than his ERA. That normally happens with low ERAs, but it brings me to something. If Felix is given a pass for his low win total because his team never scored any runs for him, then should we look at his ERA differently because his team made a concerted effort to focus on run prevention? If it doesn't go to Felix (which it won't) you could give it to David Price (probably will). Price was 19-6, exactly 6 games better than F-Her, his WAR is similar, 6.0, but his ERA (2.72) and FIP (3.42) are significantly worse. So if you give it to price the only stat it's based on is more wins, a stat that everyone knows is the worst judge of a pitcher's performance. The other option is Clay Buchholz whose ERA (2.33) is close to Felix's but check out his FIP (3.61), meaning he also benefitted from a team focused on run prevention. Buchholz went 17-7, but he had six fewer starts and 76 fewer innings than Felix. Any voter not picking Felix first is doing so based on wins and wins alone, and showing himself unworthy of the vote.

Felix Hernandez is going to get robbed
NL Rookie of the Year: Jaime Garcia
One of the best rooke crops in years. Jason Heyward (.849 OPS, 18 HRs, 72 RBI), Ike Davis (.791, 19, 71) and Gabby Sanchez (.788, 19, 85) all could have won the award in other years with a weaker class. I'm even impressed with Atlanta relief pitcher Jonny Venters who had a 1.95 ERA in 83 innings. But Jaime Garcia finished 4th in the NL with a 2.70 ERA and his 13-8 record making his pitching performance more remarkable than any of the above mentioned hitters.

Jaimie Garcia tops a great rookie class in the NL

AL Rookie of the Year: Austin Jackson
The pickings are slimmer in the American League so I am going with Jackson over his teammate Brennan Boesch and Rays pitcher Wade Davis. His .745 OPS doesn't impress me (10 3Bs but only 4 homers) but his 27 steals in only 33 attempts certainly adds to his resume. Jackson's 3.6 WAR is also much better than Boesch and Davis, showing his contributions in other areas.

Austin Jackson tops a weal AL rookie class

Manager of the Decade: Buck Showalter
The Orioles were 34-23 with Showalter as the manager and 32-73 with other guys. Enough said.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Funniest Moment of Chase's Life

Chase was given, by Step on Me, cars from "Cars" that change color when really cold, and change back when really hot. And they don't change at room temperature so if you put McQueen, Doc Hudson and Ramone in the freezer, they stay that color until they get hit with hot water.
Mrs. Poop was lent, by her friend, a baby scale to track Julian's weight, especially important during the first few weeks when he was not gaining enough.
Mem was visiting, and she loves to take pictures.
Ok, now the stage is set for the funniest moment of Chase's life.
Mrs. Poop weighed Julian, then fed him, then weighed him again to show her parents the difference, you can literally see that he ate 2 or 3 ounces.
While Julian was naked on the scale, Mem thought it a great opportunity for a picture.
Julian thought it a great opportunity to urinate all over.

Now that's pretty funny. Funnier still, Chase's color change cars were in the line of fire, and when doused with Julian's hot pee they changed color.
Now I wasn't there for this, but I am told Chase laughed long and hard about this. When I got home, and during subsequent retellings of the story, this is Chase's version:

"Julian was on the scale, and they were scaling him and he peed. And we laughed. Like this 'ha ha ha ha ha ha'".

Brett Favre Sends Pictures of His Dick to Jenn Sterger

We all love Jenn Sterger. We did the moment we laid eyes on her gigantic boobs when she was just a college student at Florida State letting her boobs hang out for the cameras to try to get noticed.

Well, it worked, she turned that 5 second shot during an FSU game into a career. That career led her to work as a sideline reporter (sort of) for the New York Jets.
It was during that time that Brett Favre noticed what all of had seen for years.
He asked the Jets PR guy to get him her number. He did. Favre then called and invited Sterger to his hotel room. He left her MySpace messages. And he sent her pictures of his cock.

Brett Favre did not score with Jenn Sterger

If you want to see the entire story in 2 minutes check out the video made by Deadspin, which broke this story. I stress 2 minutes, because if you watch for more than 2 minutes you will see Brett Favre's cock. Or at least it somebody's cock. We think it's Brett Favre's because we're pretty sure it is his voice on the voice messages. And we're pretty sure the watch he's wearing in one of the pictures is the same watch he wore during one of his retirement press conferences.

So I guess the point is Brett Favre is a scumbag. Jenn Sterger is good for not taking him up on his offer but bad for sharing the story and the pictures and voicemails with Deadspin. I believe every word and I am not the least bit surprised.