Welcome to another installment of Monday Moaning...You will read nothing about Soccer here...Sorry folks, but I can admit what so few people seem to be able to lately...I'm American...I don't give a fuck about soccer...Don't watch it, don't act like I have a clue about it...don't waste my time, money or energy bothering to pretend to give a shit...It's soccer...Let's be honest, in a couple weeks 90% of you will be back to not giving a shit...
So what should be the big topic this week...Is it the rumors that LeBron James kids have been enrolled in a Northeast Ohio school...No...DON'T FUCKING CARE!
How about this...Friday night I attended what will be my last Major League Baseball game...Unless by some freak way I become rich....My wife's company got tickets for the staff and their families for the Indians and Tigers game...And good seats...The Club seats...You know a "higher class of fans" until they put us there! Supposedly the food is better...There's a full blown bar and dinning room...With the seats food and soda (pop for Ohioans) were free...Well thank you, because if I paid for that crap, I would have puked it back up into their faces...
Yes, I cook for a living, and I know quality food...But I love a good burger...I like greasy fries, and all kinds of unhealthy regular Joe shit...That's what I eat, because cooking in a fine dinning restaurant doesn't make you rich!
Seriously, I had a burger and fries that were nauseating...Then some one pointed out a buffet line with "the good food"..."pesto alfredo with fettuccini"...except there was no pesto in it...Hell, there was no alfredo in it...It was buttered noodles with a splash of cream and parsley...Au Gratin potatoes, that were disgusting...One bite and you could taste the powdered cheese and milk mixture on the under cooked potatoes..."Braised Beef"....NOPE...barely boiled meat is what it was...I bet I've taken shits that would taste better!
I was physically ill...And I hardly ate...Later my wife got an old school pretzel...Best thing she ate all night...And beers...Beers at a ballgame are as American as a teenage loser fucking an apple pie...Ummm, or something like that....Beer prices ranged from $7.50 to $9.00... I stuck to free Dr. Pepper...Hell, this was the wife's outing, I was driving, she handled the drinking duties...She had a couple beers then her and her friend went to the bar for cocktails...Which were around $10...So we dropped about $50 on just getting her primed up for postgame fun...
Oh, I mentioned I was driving...We live 10 minutes from downtown Cleveland...We left a hour before the game...We sat in traffic for at least 40 minutes because there's so much road construction not getting done, that half the city is shutdown...BLOW ME!
Then after parking, which I went budget and found a $10 lot, which means a little more walking, but fuck paying $35 to park...We get to the Stadium...The game has started, and we stand in line for 10 minutes, waiting to get through the metal detectors...I remember a time when this didn't happen at stadiums...And yes, we are a more scared, and frightened nation these days, mainly because there are just so many worthless, fucking, nut-case assholes out there...
So here is the choice...Should I be inconvenienced by waiting in a long ass line and missing an inning or two because there is a chance some fuck-tard wants to shoot up a stadium? Or should save the $67 per ticket, stay in the safety of my own home, watch the game on my HD-TV, drink my 6-pack that cost as much as one beer at the stadium, and eat fucking awesome food that I made myself?
I think that's an easy question...MLB, and the Cleveland Indians, you won't be getting anymore of my money...
As for the game...The Tribe lost 6-4, but my fantasy team scored HR's from Victor Martinez, JD Martinez, Carlos Santana, and Asdrubal Cabrera, plus hits from Kinsler and Brantley, so I felt like a winner...
Busy one for me today...on the road for training at work so a couple quick hits. Besides, for someone who can accused of being emotionally distant, I sure dug deep the past two weeks for my Don Zimmer tribute and my Father’s Day and sports. Heck, I’m spent.
My (Twitter) buddy Steve Palazzolo at ProFootballFocus.com (OK, I doubt he knows who I am, but I enjoy his analytical articles) but he had a great piece this week examining where quarterbacks in the NFL throw the ball as far as distribution to receivers, backs, and tight ends (Link is here: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/06/18/qbs-in-focus-pass-distribution/ - not sure if it is free content or subscription only).
Anyway, a couple of key points:
First while discussing throwing the ball to wide receivers:
“Tom Brady led the league with 473 passes to receivers detached from the formation”
“Ryan Tannehill with the highest percentage of his attempts in this area at 81.9%”.
Surprising considering how maligned the New England wide receivers were last season. That said, with tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiving running back Shane Vereen injured the ball had to go somewhere.
Also, is this an indication of how underrated Tannehill is leading the Dolphins attack or an indictment of Tannehill in recognition he throws short passes and has no help out of the backfield and at tight end?
When throwing to outside the numbers/sideline wide receivers:
“Tannehill led the way with 274 attempts to outside receivers.”
“Peyton Manning’s...29 touchdowns to outside receivers led the league.”
With age increasing and no Eric Decker in Denver, is Manning going to replicate those numbers? I doubt it, but Denver does need to save some money for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Remember, it was former head coach Josh McDaniels who wisely picked Thomas over Dez Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft. Denver is still reaping the rewards of that decision.
When it came to throwing to slot receivers, Palazzolo wrote:
“Most would probably expect Brady to lead the way in attempts to the slot, but it was Drew Brees’ 214 attempts that paced the league while Sam Bradford and Andrew Luck led with 37.3% of their passes targeting the slot (includes all players lined up in slot).”
I think this is more about having limited production out of Danny Amendola and having to move wide receiver Julian Edelman all over the field to get favorable match-ups with such limited options after injuries wracked the squad in the second half of the season. Ditto for Andrew Luck in Indianapolis with Reggie Wayne injured and T.Y. Hilton moved all over the formation.
With throwing passes to running backs, obviously having Darren Sproles helped this and the Saints will have a hard time replacing Sproles this season:
“Brees leads this group as well with a league-high 197 attempts and 1243 yards on throws to running backs.”
“16 of Matthew Stafford’s league-leading 58 drops came from running backs.”
“Cam Newton benefitted from a league-high 11.3 YAC per completion on passes to running backs out of the backfield.”
“Tannehill threw to running backs out of the backfield on only 10.4% of his passes, the lowest percentage in the league.”
For Tannehill, the running backs were terrible runners and worse receivers, so he cannot be blamed there. For Stafford, Reggie Bush was supposed to be the remedy to the passing game, so seeing the backs averaging a drop per game is hideous. Cam Newton had better find his running backs in 2014 in the passing game, because he has no receivers to throw the ball to in the passing game.
Is there a more fun team to watch in 2014 than the Kansas City Royals? (OK, not for the gabbers with much love for the Detroit ballclub). Kansas City has streaked to first place on a winning streak and seem balanced and consistent on offense and in the rotation.
Kansas City took two games against the Yankees, two more against Terry Francona and the Indians, and then three more against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. For a team that was four games below .500 (26-30) on June 1, the Royals are are hot while the Tigers got cold. Detroit enjoyed a season-high seven-game lead on May 18, then dropped seven of eight to allow its American League Central challengers—the Royals included—to tread water or catch up.
A huge key to the Royals’ rise has been the apparent return of Eric Hosmer’s power. Hosmer slugged 17 homers in 159 games last year, pretty bad for a “power-hitting” first baseman. At the end of the day on June 6, Hosmer was hitting .260 BA/.300 OBP/.352 SLUGGING. Hosmer began to turn his season around on June 7, when he slugged a homer in an 8-4 win over the Yankees. He went deep again two days later and again on Sunday.
The Royals won the first two games of their four-game tilt with the Tigers by shelling Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. On Wednesday, left-hander Drew Smyly limited the visitors to two runs in seven innings of work. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Jeremy Guthrie outpitched him.
Kansas City gave its starter a quick 1-0 edge in the top of the first, when Eric Hosmer continued his hot hitting and picked up a one-out single, stole second, and scored on an infield hit from second base on an errant throw.
Smyly settled in after that, but Guthrie was in a groove. By the time the Tigers figured Guthrie out in the seventh, the Royals were up by two. The win was the Royals’ 10th in a row. That’s a sentence no one’s been able to type in two decades!
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When play began on Wednesday, the Dodgers—thanks to Red Sox Beer and Chicken washout Josh Beckett—were the only major-league team that could boast about a no-hitter this year. That’s still true. Only now they have two of them, after the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, ripped through the Rockies in L.A..
The left-hander was perfect through the first six innings, retiring all 18 batters he faced. Ten of those 18 went down via the strikeout. And Kershaw had accomplished all of that on less than 80 pitches. With the Dodgers ahead 8-0 Kershaw took the mound in the seventh poised to keep on rolling. Moments later, two ground balls to the left side of the infield would define the game’s place in baseball history.
Corey Dickerson led off the top of the seventh with a slow chopper to short, soft enough that Hanley Ramirez needed to hurry, but hard enough to give him ample time to make the play. Ramirez fielded the ball cleanly, but his off-balance throw bounced wide of first base, beyond the reach of Adrian Gonzalez. The game was no longer perfect, but the no-hitter remained intact.
Two batters later, Troy Tulowitzki put it in jeopardy. Tulo hit a rocket down the third-base line where rookie Miguel Rojas was up to the task. Rojas preserved the no-no, and Kershaw took it the rest of the way. He struck out the next three batters he faced and did the same to Dickerson with two away in the last of the ninth. His final strikeout out was Kershaw’s 15th of the evening—a new career high—and it came on his 107th pitch.
Per BaseballProspectus.com, the slider that ended the game striking out Dickerson was the 31st throw by Kershaw, the 27th that went for a strike, and the 12th at which the Rockies swung and missed. Yes, the curve is his best pitch and his fastball is nasty. When he has all three working, Kershaw is...well, unhittable!
Most important from that win is that the Dodgers, now just four games behind the scuffling Giants, may still have ample time to repeat as National League West champs.
* * *
I will have “my” Father’s Day this weekend after a busy weekend last week that saw us visiting the parental units and my wife busy, busy with work. I figured I already had my Father’s Day with our trip to Pawtucket, RI for the PawSox on Sunday June 8th when we got to see Joey Votto on rehab, former Yankees starter Chien Ming Wang, and former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for the Louisville Bats (Reds minor league team). Great game. Saw prospect Mookie Betts, ate a hot dog (reasonably priced), had a few beers, and four box seats behind first base cost less than $50. God bless minor league baseball!
Carlos Marmol, wild as ever!:
Mookie Betts, soon to be starting in centerfield in Boston:
Justin Henry, 2007 9th round pick by the Tigers now at Pawtucket. At 29 years old, the second baseman/outfielder/utility fielder is not likely to see the show, but these are the kind of players I root for the most: he is playing on pure love of the game at this point and a dream to one day make it--even for a cup of coffee--in the show. Not much power, some speed, versatility, and over 800 minor league games and counting without an MLB at bat...but I'm rooting hard for him. Good luck, Justin.
OK, that’s all I have this week so thanks as always for stopping by to read--yes, I still miss DVT over here too on Fridays -------> but glad for his update last month and hope he stops by again soon. Glad he’s doing well. Stormin’Norman and Sully have been killing it next door at 2.0 so be sure to swing over and visit them as well today.
Happy Father's Day to everyone, as we near our so-called holiday. I apologize for the lateness of this blog, but I wasn't sure if Sully was doing the blog for this spot this week. or if it was myself.
With the exception of the 3 game hiccup that has been rather disturbing, the Tigers are being their normal selves, allowing the others within their division to remain in the race and give me and IHM something to bitch about all summer outside of the ignorance of our Lions.....
Speaking of the Lions, one of my favorite moments outside of bat day in Detroit with my dad, was watching the Lions splatter Brett Favre all over the Silverdome, along with Barry (I blew out more ACL's with my Moves) Sanders in 1996. Sure we have had some great sports moments together, but that was the best. We loaded up the motor home, drank some beer and tailgated with some Packer fans outside the Silverdome.
Another of my favorite dad moments was 1970, my first Tiger game, Mickey Lolich was the pitcher and Al Kaline was there. We were sitting along the first base line in the upper deck, and watched Mr. Kaline hit his home run to right. Can you imagine getting to watch greats like Kaline, Killebrew, Horton, Carew and Oliva? That day we went home happy, as Mickey pitched a shutout.
Is it me or should Max Scherzer face Chris Sale at least once a week? This matchup seemed to bring out the best in Max last night as he battled Sale pitch for pitch, until Victor hit his 15th home run of the season to break the scoreless tie. By the way, Max's first complete game. Max was Max last night.Which made that night special because he finally step up like aces should and earn his paycheck..
I believe it was Sully who called this run by the Kings, what the hell happened to the Rangers? I believe it was round 1 against the Sharks, that Sully said to look out for the Kings and he was right, as they near their second Cup in 3 years.
My dad as seen above, his health not as great (soon to be 73) his back went bad enough last year to where he had to have surgery just before Christmas, doesn't slow him down to much, mostly because mom won't allow him to. He just does his chores which keeps mom happy, I always wondered, but I am not quite ready for life without dad, because he is what keeps our family sane.Probably through his wisdom, kept my marriage going during the rough times. Happy Father's Day dad.
To answer the question of the day, I believed from the beginning that the Spurs were going to end Miami's run, and now with a 3-1 lead, maybe the series will be over this weekend when they head to San Antonio for game 5.
Racing heads to Michigan, as the Sprint Cup heads to the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, known as one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR>
That's all I got, I apologize for the shortness of the blog and please stop by and visiti Hal.
Been a while since the last time we have chatted. since then I have finished my Winter Term at Rasmussen pulling all A's. The weird part of the grades, as they were so similar percentage wise, that it actually scared me a bit. As you all know Wednesday was Sully's birthday (53), didn't think for whatever reason he was this old. But anyway it's only a fitting present, if I give him a little tribute to his favorite player Zdeno Chara. Enjoy Sully, from my family to you have a great year, and I hope that you had a great day!
It's a little large, but after all if it wasn't for you we wouldn't have this site to blog on.
Kind of figured you like this one Sully, so I picked it as another one of your gifts....
Here's the last one, would have added some Patriot highlights if they had won. But now on to other things that I want to talk about. I wouldn't go make any plans on the Red Sox repeating as WS Champs in 2014, here are my predictions for the upcoming baseball season.......
American League East Champs - Tampa Bay Rays (sorry Red Sox nation, not this year)
American League Central Champs - Detroit Tigers (even though the Royals, Indians are starting to become worthy contenders)
American League West Champs - Nobody will guess this one, the Seattle Mariners, thought I would be different than AFD
American League Wild Card - Kansas City and those Swinging A's
American League Champs - you guessed it I'm a homer, the Detroit Tigers
Now on to the National League......
National League East - Sorry Atlanta fans, but I am going with the Nationals to win the East.
National League Central - Sorry Cub's fans you are going to have to wait at least another year, I am leaning towards the Pittsburgh Pirates...
National League West - Sorry B.O.B. and you Dodger fans, but if life is right, Kirk Gibson's Arizona Diamondbacks will win the West.
National League Wildcard - Braves and Cardinals (The George Steinbrenner theory Magic, you can't buy championships, you have to earn them)
National League Champs - Washington Nationals (will this be their year?).
World Series - yes I am a homer again, the championship finally returns to Detroit after 2 years of near misses and failures, the Tigers win the World Series in 7 games, and the struggling city regains some stature.....Why because there is no Jim Leyland this year to screw it up, like he did the last two years......
Now that I am finished with that bit of tomfoolery, I would also like to mention that I still have 3 of my final 4 in tact on ESPN. How many of you can say that? Wouldn't it be something if the Dayton Flyers continued their dramatic March Madness run, and took down another pair of giants this weekend? Even though I like Michigan and Michigan St's chances of meeting for a fourth time this year, I am not going to bet my life savings on it occurring. The Dayton Flyers and Stanford Cardinal is what March Madness is all about, knocking down the "Giants," and doing the unexpected............Oh yeah, before I leave I have one more gift for Sully.........
Here's a little news flash Scott, Max ain't getting the money from the Tigers, Miggy Got it! Guess you kind of out thought yourself this time, when you thought by waiting until the end of the year was a better move. The Tigers gave Miggy a 10-year contract extension today, worth $292 million which will make him a Tiger until 2023. What a way to pay him back for everything he has accomplished in a Tiger uniform, since his acquisition from the Marlins....Great Move Mr. I., Scotty you should have taken the $24 million a year and done this...
Until the next time, please feel free to leave your comments, and have a great week!
Happy Friday, Gabbers. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I don’t indulge much in mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pies, bread, etc. usually for health reasons, but on Thanksgiving I say “To Hal with it” and indulge for my annual orgy of hideous parades on television, vast quantities of food, and of course football. This week, since I plan to be in a food coma most of the afternoon, I figured I’d get started a little early with the Sports Spectacular this week and have a plan and all that crap. Since I wasted my Thanksgiving rant LAST week, this week I’d switch gears and focus on some free agency and hot stove baseball.
First off, the Dodgers did not take long to get involved. They signed former Oakland/Arizona starting pitcher Dan Haren to a one-year $10 million deal. A lot of cash, but a decent move. No longer a Cy Young pitcher, he is solid (when healthy) and is a good back end of rotation veteran. Courtesy of Jonah Keri of Grantland.com:
In Haren's final 15 starts of 2013 (plus a one-inning save), he threw 87⅔ innings, amassing a tidy 3.29 ERA with 84 strikeouts, 18 walks, nine homers allowed, and an opponent's’ line of just .228/.271/.355.
Of course, that deal looks great when you see the Royals throwing money at back end of the rotation starter Jason Vargas from the Los Angeles/Anaheim/California Angels. Four years and $32 million is a lot of money for a franchise in Kansas City with a lot of holes to fill. Yes, Kansas City got over .500, but Vargas does not buy a championship.
The Royals already made one questionable pitching decision last year when they dealt prospect outfielder Wil Myers to the Tampa Rays for pitcher James Shields. I am usually the first to shout out that stockpiling pitching is a must decision, but not at the expense of young power hitters. In less than a year, Myers has established himself as one of the most exciting young prospects and jumped right into the middle of the Tampa lineup. Shields is a decent third starter.
If the Royals were a contender loaded with young power hitters locked up long term and a starting pitcher away from contending and Myers was in single-A, then maybe (MAYBE!) you make that deal. But that was just an effort to be relevant by the Royals that will hurt for years and years to come as Myers becomes a perennial all-star and Shields remains...Shields….turning 32 years old this season. .
Speaking of the Rays, they kicked off the catching signings with re-signing 39 year old Jose Molina to a two year contract. It amazes me that the catching situation in MLB is so weak that an almost 40 year old catcher with little hitting ability, any inability to actually run the bases (he’d drop dead of a heart attack if he ever hit a triple), but can still call a game gets a multi-year deal. That said, I was hoping Boston would sign him.
Last year in the playoffs, the Red Sox made it clear that the catching position was to be emphasized for defense, receiving skills, and handling the pitching staff. Catching has become such a complex and specialized part of the pitching process, that teams really do not need to chase offense at the position. For Boston, the pitching staff enjoyed having the veteran behind the dish and it showed with great performance after great performance. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had some decent power numbers for a catcher, but Boston did not tender him an offer and made him a free agent in the prime of his career. The only guess there is that the Sox want to find a complementary veteran to split duties with Ross, or believe Salty will be available cheaper later in the winter.
Speaking of catchers, the big move was the Yankees jumping in with big money for Braves catcher Brian McCann. McCann gets what will likely be six years for $100 million. For the Yankees, they filled a black hole they created last year (for no logical reason) with arguably one of the best free agent on the market. Think of it this way: if Joe Mauer or Buster Posey were free agents, what would their market look like? Then look at McCann’s numbers next to theirs...suddenly, McCann looks like a bargain.
McCann’s lefty power makes him a threat at Yankee Stadium (see Curtis Granderson’s inflated home run totals at home) and although he is 30 years old--which is kind of old for a catcher with wear and tear and all--he’s the youngest starter on the roster right now. McCann would be a terrible fit in a market like Boston which is tough on lefties (unless they have David’s Ortiz’s power) with Fenway Park’s 380 ft power alley in right, but no other stadium inflates his power numbers like it will in New York.
Of course, for all the Yankees do in free agency, all eyes are on Robinson Cano and how much he can get out of the Yankees Steinbrenner family vault. One infielder on the move was Jhonny Peralta who went to St. Louis for four years and $52 million. Seeing Peralta in the postseason following his suspension showcased his value, while the Cardinals had a black hole there with Pete Kozma and his automatic out.
To make room, the Cardinals traded David Freese away to the Angels and got back an intriguing center fielder in Peter Bourjos. Bourjos is a great defensive player who has been hampered by injuries. He’s just 27 years old and is still three years from free agency. His bat is the issue (besides those injury issues) but can be dynamic on the basepaths if he finds his way on base.
For the Angels, Bourjos was excess in their high price outfield. David Freese is a good fit for them as a great fit for third base (speaking of black holes!) and since there are no good third basemen available in free agency, this move makes sense for them. Of course, they need pitching first and foremost in Los Angeles/Anaheim/California and with Vargas already lost in free agency they need some help. So the first (of likely many more) is grabbing relief pitcher Joe Smith to help the bullpen (which needs lots of love). Expect the Angels to make some noise in the pitching market throughout the winter.
The big trade of the offseason, of course, was the Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder megadeal. I love those straight-up all-star for all-star trades. The Detroit contingent at the Gab has covered the trade already so I won’t belabor it much, but I like these win-win trades when both teams fill a need and get rid of a player they don’t want. The Tigers dump a player they did not want back and had a huge investment in to a Rangers team desperate to replace some missing power. With that power back, the Rangers also get to play both Elvis Andrus and prospect Jurickson Profar everyday in the middle of the infield.
For the Tigers, it is almost $140 freed up long term getting rid of Fielder after his putrid post-season. Miggy Cabrera moves back to first base (that cheering sound is the Tigers pitchers who do not have to deal with his glove at third base). With Omar Infante a free agent, Kinsler slides into a position where at his worst he is an upgrade over Infante. Now with some extra cash, the Tigers can look to grab an outfielder as well.
That about sums it up for now in free agency. Sorry about the no football this week, but anyone interested in my mad NFL ramblings online this week can check me out here:
You can laugh at me talking the NFL each week now on the (Internet) Radio show “NFL Shotgun” Find it every Monday night at 9PM eastern time with the NFL guys from H4TV and feel free to call in and add your thoughts and opinions to the show. Find it here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sportsbar1/2013/11/26/nfl-shotgun
Cover32.com with a Patriots recap and Patriots Thanksgiving:
Thank you as always for indulging me and allowing me to share my thoughts and opinions here with such a great group of sports fans at the Gab. I am certainly thankful for that. Have a great holiday weekend and hope we call get time off to relax and eat vast quantities of leftovers and watch sports all weekend long! Have a great weekend, all.