Opening Day Notes

* The following is a post taken from the new site, “The Angry Bench Coach” at theangrybenchcoach.com. This current address is no longer kept current and is only updated periodically with the most recent post. *

It feels GREAT to be watching baseball games, absolutely outstanding. Here are a few thoughts:

Yankees v. Orioles:

  • Has anyone noticed that the outfield at Comerica Park is a spot-on impression of Camden Yards? Anyone?
  • Text Message from Kevin (Mobile): “OMG CC makin’ his Yankee debut is on! Boner!”
  • Speaking
    of Yankee debuts, Teixeira goes 0-4 with a BB, including a 2-out,
    runners-on-the-corners rally killer. Meanwhile, Sabathia gives up six
    runs in 4.1 IP, allowing 8 hits, walking 5, and striking out 0. And
    these guys are earning a paycheck the size of Bolivia’s GDP over the
    next several years.
  • When you’re up by one run in the 7th,
    one out, man on first, why do you bring in Jamie Walker’s 6.87 ERA?
    Right, because you’re the Orioles, and you just figure that the lefty
    will match up better against the left-handed Cano. Check your stats.
    Cano hit .292 v. lefties and .263 v. righties last year, and is now
    hitting 1.000 against Jamie Walker this year. Well done.
  • Joe
    Buck: “You look at how great the new Met’s ballpark is, and you say,
    it’s time for the Cubs to build a new ballpark! Thing is, I don’t know
    if actual Cubs fans would agree with that statement.” So…?
  • Instant
    Message from Kevin: “Tigers are comin’ on but the Yankee game is
    intense right now too. It’s like choosing who do you love more, Mom or
    Dad?”

Nationals v. Marlins

  • The Nationals are going to need some help this year. In a prelude to the remainder of their season, they were demolished by Hanley Ramirez the Marlins, 12-6. New acquisition Adam Dunn knocked in four of the National’s runs.
  • The
    Marlin’s interesting 1-4 hitters – Emilio Bonifacio, Jeff Baker, Hanley
    Ramirez, and Jorge Cantu – combined to knock in 11 runs and went 9-16,
    (.563). Everyone else? 3-19, (.158).
  • That included an
    inside-the-park HR from Bonifacio. The first opening day,
    inside-the-park HR since Carl Yastrzemski. When asked how he felt about
    that, Emilio’s response? “Who is Carl Yastrzemski?” Uh, beg your pardon?
  • Someone has to ask the question – does Adam Dunn just like playing
    for bad teams? After eight seasons with the Reds, he is traded to the
    Diamondbacks, and then becomes a free agent. Does he resign with the
    Diamondbacks? How about one of the 29 teams that won more than 60 games
    last year? No thanks. Hello Nationals.

Tigers v. Blue Jays

  • Instant
    Message from Kevin: “Verlander v. Halladay tonight, that’s all I gotta
    say. One of my roommates said we should bong a beer for every
    strikeout, I was like, ‘you’re joking I hope,’ and he goes, ‘yeah but
    not really.'”
  • Justin Verlander is freaking out up there.
    Justin – slow down. Take a breath. Get the sign. Breathe again. Throw
    the ball. In that order. Is this the year Verlander returns to form?
    3.2IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 4K. You make the call.
  • Verlander throws 34 pitches in the first inning. You know what that means; we’re going to the bullpen early. And you know what that means. (What it meant was that when Eddie Bonine came in in the 4th, he promptly gave up a 2-run HR to Adam Lind).
  • Roy Halladay will win the Cy Young this year.
  • Rod
    Allen: “Laird is not really your typical catcher in the terms of the
    way he can run.” Oh, you must be referring to his 11 career stolen
    bases. In 19 attempts.
  • Mario Impemba: “Curtis Granderson,
    and this one has a chance to go, and it’s outta here!” … As the ball
    lands in the upper deck of the Rogers Centre. Mario Impemba was the
    only person fooled about the trajectory of that baseball. And is that
    why no one in Michigan watches a Tigers game on FSN without firing up a drinking game with the announcers? You bet.
  • Adam Lind, DH, Toronto Blue Jays. 6 RBI’s. Why yes, you are correct, that is nearly 1/6th of his total from last year.
  • Enough.
    Did the Tigers even bother to play spring training games this year? Or
    did they just figure they’d show up on April 6th and wing it?

Can you throw a baseball? The Tigers need you – March 30, 2009
The Rod Allen drinking game (The Wayne Fontes Experience) – August 3, 2006

Again, please check out the new, current site at http://www.theangrybenchcoach.com.

The Yanks are coming… Maybe…

*The following is a post taken from The Angry Bench Coach, my new blog. Please visit the site there at www.theangrybenchcoach.com.*


The following piece is a column from one of our guest writers, Geoff, who runs the Bleeding Pinstripes. Visit his site and give him the TABC bump.

geoff
I’ve been promising my boy Reid a piece for a while now on the Yankees’
chances this year, and since I’m waiting for my iPhone to back up
anyway, here goes.

First let’s get up to speed on where we are.
My thought going into the recent brutal road trip, and even the few
series’ before (Boston, Minnesota, Anaheim, Baltimore) was that the
Yankees season would take shape by the time they got back.

Not good news.

And last week I was screaming
for the Yankees to send Melky down to triple A, as I saw his usefulness
solely as an outfielder and a pinch runner; two roles I felt Brett
Gardiner was better suited for. And I was railing against starting
Richie Sexson against lefties, preferring to see him strictly used as a
pinch hitter. So what happens next? Melky gets demoted, Gardiner is
recalled, and Sexson is waived.

Worse news.

I know.
Sounds a bit off. I’m contradicting myself. But the truth is – what do
I know? Nothing. I was the guy screaming for Tony Womack to get more
playing time in ’05; that Robinson Cano was a useless rookie. I was the
guy saying that Posada was going to fade last year and end up at .270.
That David Archuleta was going to get voted off the second week of
American Idol because he was such a drippy little wuss. I shouldn’t be
right. This can’t be good…

So what are the Yanks’ chances? If
you ask me, it always comes down to one key thing. Schedule. It’s huge
before the season even starts. Look at the Yankees. Every year they
play the Angels ten times. And always predominantly on the road. Like
clockwork. It’s a marquee match-up, and the Angels are the one and only
team that have had the Yankees’ number. You think MLB is going to pass
that up? Since the days of the unbalanced schedule, there is only one
team outside of their division that the Yankees have played ten times.
Yup. And it happens almost every year. And it’s not just the Yankees.
The schedule tells a lot of tales before the first pitch on the first
Sunday night. Look at the Mets. Every year they play six brutal games
against the Yankees. They lost the NL East to the Phillies on the last
day of the season last year. Do you think the Phillies still would have
pulled that off if they were forced to play the Yankees six times while
the Mets got to kick around Baltimore and whoever else? How about the
Blue Jays? They were way better than the Cardinals when the final out
was called on the 2006 regular season. Better record, better team, you
name it. They just had the misfortune of being fed to the Yankees and
Red Sox 38 times. So the Jays don’t even approach the playoffs, and the
Cardinals get a shot at upset glory. While we’re at it, the Red Sox
might be the best example. Good enough to win two World Championships
in four years, good enough to elicit whispers of “dynasty?” around the
sports world. Imagine. They’ve only won their own division once in the
last thirteen years. And even that was on the strength of exactly one
swing game with the mighty Yankees. Point is, the schedule is huge. And
it gets more huge as the games get ticked off and teams make moves to
shore themselves up for the stretch run as we hit the last weeks of
August.

So with that said, the theme for the last twenty-three
Yankee games was to simply hang on. This looked to be their most
difficult stretch of the season. Three at Boston, three against
Minnesota, four against LA, three against Baltimore, four at Texas,
three more at LA, and three in Minnesota to close it. Twenty-three
brutal games. And as I said, it didn’t exactly go swimmingly. They were
10-7 in the first 17. Then they needed to grasp and clutch for some
wins while Boston and Tampa played the Royals and Seattle, over and
over. They didn’t. They lost 5 of 6, with the lone win coming in 12
innings. So now they’re a big pile of games behind Boston and a big
pile of games behind Tampa.

So what’s next. Tampa is going to
lose. Probably a lot. Tampa is not a good road team. They’ve been good
lately, but that’s mostly because they’ve played the Royals, the
Mariners, and the recently castrated A’s. They did a great job of
seizing on a bizarre schedule that featured a lopsided number of early
games at home. When they get back East they’re going to lose. They’re
going to lose to the Yankees and they’re going to lose to the Red Sox.
Especially since they’ve been riddled with injuries that aren’t going
to get better. The problem is they’re so far out in front it might not
matter. To the Yankees, anyway. I think the Red Sox are going to catch
them. The Red Sox aren’t going to lose any ground. They don’t play well
on the road either, but they’re a veteran team that has incredible
resilience and knows how to win. They’re loaded with tough outs and
they’re never out of a ballgame. But they’ve also been bitten by
injuries, which is going to keep them from the World Series, but I
think they win the East.

So can the Yankees catch the Rays and
everyone else in front of them for the Wildcard? They could. But it’s
going to be so difficult to make up all that ground. On paper they are
more talented than anybody outside of the Red Sox and the Angels. And
they, too, are a proud veteran team that always seems to find a gear to
get there. I think they need to get Hughes back healthy (I’m not even
going to mention Pavano, because that truly would be hilarious), and
they need to get Joba back healthy. And if they get the Ferocious Lion,
Hideki Matsui, back in any meaningful way, they could make a run. The
schedule includes lots of Boston (always difficult but never scary for
the Yankees this time of year), and three more against the Angels
(0-3). Other than that there are a lot of winnable games against
beatable teams.

Bottom line: unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely.

We’re
probably looking at the Angels feeding on the hapless National League
to give Mike Scoscia his second piece of Orange County hardware.
Probably. But probably isn’t definitely. That’s why they play the
games, as the old saying goes. What I can say definitely, is that my
boys and I will be waving the flag in section 24 at the Stadium until
the last pitch is thrown. Right until the end.

And we’ll be rooting like hell for the Yankees to win the World Series.

Thanks to Geoff. Again, visit his blog, the Bleeding Pinstripes.

Rocky Road (Bleeding Pinstripes) – August 12th, 2008

Is Rich Harden Pitching in God Mode?

*The following is a post taken from The Angry Bench Coach, my new blog. Please visit the site there at http://www.ballhouse.blogspot.com.*

For those of you who haven’t been following Rich Harden lately, be prepared to
be amazed. Harden, who busted onto the scene with the A’s in 2004 — which was
also the last time he started more than 20 games — has returned, and is
pitching in rare form, (which means he is pitching in real major league games,
as opposed to those mysterious simulated games.) He spent five weeks on the
sidelines this year with a strained right shoulder earlier in the season.
Shortly after his return, he was traded to the Cubs. And Harden has managed to
remain healthy for a solid three months now, and things seem to be back on
track.

Most importantly, Harden is owning the National League. Now, we know
that the when a pitcher and batter face each other for the first time, the
advantage generally lies with the pitcher. And this is why pitchers, when
changing leagues, tend to perform better, (see Bronson Arroyo.) In four
starts with the Cubs, Harden’s stats are as follows:

  DEC IP HA ER BBA SO
SF - 5.1 5 0 3 10
ARI L 7.0 1 1 2 10
FLA - 5.0 2 1 3 10
MIL W 7.0 6 1 0 9
TOTAL 1-1 24.1 14 3 8 39

Those are pretty impressive numbers. Simply put, since joining the
National League, Harden has gone off on NL batters. Especially with the
14.43K/9IP. The 1.11 ERA and the 0.91
WHIP
? These are God numbers. Overall, Harden’s season numbers
aren’t that far off the mark either. Despite having pitched 61 fewer innings
than strikeout leader CC Sabathia, (101 v. 162), Harden has just 26 fewer
strikeouts, (131 v. 157). Harden’s season ERA is 2.04, and his WHIP is 1.09. And
of course, that 11.64K/9IP. (Scott Kazmir is in 2nd place among full time
starters, with 9.95K/9IP.) Opponents are batting .196 against him. Let me repeat
that — when you go up against Rich Harden, you are essentially a Mendoza Line
Hitter.

Quite frankly, Mr. Harden is spewing fire out of his right arm. And if that
shoulder stays intact, the Cubs would do well to sign this man for a very, very
long time, (he is only 26). Now that Dusty Baker is out, they can count on
actually being able to use the arms that they sign in the future. As far as I am
aware, Lou Pinella doesn’t have a strange habit of throwing his young pitchers
out there for 130 pitches each start until their arm flies towards home plate,
(see Kerry Wood; Mark Prior.)

Remember Mark Prior? – April 8th, 2007

UPDATES

Now, obviously I haven’t posted in some time. I made a post on the new site circa opening night, but since MLBlogs was down, I didn’t get to make that post here until now.

Or so I thought.

I am not very fond of the new site redesign at MLBlogs. I understand that with migration come various technical issues. In any case, I simply don’t have the time to mess around with visuals and stuff here right now, so just go to the new site to stay current. As one of the original bloggers who joined in the first week of MLBlogs launch back in like 1998, (but seriously, 2005), I do have a sense of loyalty and will get all this sorted out eventually – especially now that it is free. Hopefully, the long term plan is to keep posting going simultaneously at both sites, something that wasn’t planned when I had to pay to keep this one up.

Check out the new site here:
http://ballhouse.blogspot.com/

Right now it is called the Ballhouse. I don’t care for that title, but I had to call it something. So I will continue taking suggestions for new ones. But seriously – check it out, bookmark it, make comments, do what you need to do.

First half AL MVP: Magglio Ordonez

Sure, we’re not to the All Star Break quite yet, but we’re halfway through. Over the next couple of days, we’re going to take a look at the best
players in each league thus far.

Magglio Ordonez: 13 HR, 68 RBI, .377 BA, .452 OBP

This was a tough pick. In the end, it came down to Magglio Ordonez
and Alex Rodriguez. And here’s where we start splitting hairs a bit. First off,
it is the Most Valuable Player award. So you have to ask yourself, who
does more for their team, Ordonez or Rodriguez? Rodriguez had more than twice as
many HR (28 to 13,) but Ordonez has 34 doubles to Alex’s 18. In the end, they
have about the same extra base hits, and Alex has 77 RBI’s to Ordonez’s 68. The
main difference, and what gave Ordonez the prize, was the average and OBP.
Ordonez has struck out 33 times to Alex’s 60. His batting average is 46 points
higher, and his OBP is plus 23 points. There isn’t a lot of difference there,
but it’s all we have to go on. Ordonez puts the ball in play more often, and he
rarely strikes out.

In general, Alex is probably the better hitter, and the stats are barely in
Magglio’s favor. Both of them are above-average fielders at their position.
However, Alex is not considered the leader of his team, and when his team is
slumping, there’s talk that he’s going to leave next year. It will always be
Jeter’s team, and if Babe Ruth started tomorrow’s game, it would still be
Jeter’s team. So we can’t hold that against him. But you get the feeling that
he’s just not the most important player on the team. He’ll never make a Jeterian
dive into the stands. I’m not going to hold the muscled-up ladies against Alex,
but it is a slight off-field distraction. And you get the feeling that Magglio
seems to have more of a team motivation in him. Of course, that could all be
****. I live in Michigan, not New York, so there might be some favoritism. But
the bottom line is that, when Magglio comes up to the plate, he’s more likely to
get on base or move the runners along than Alex is.

BHGM has officially moved to http://ballhouse.blogspot.com. You can also go to www.bihgm.com and be redirected to the site.

First half NL Cy Young Winner: Jake Peavy

Sure, we’re not to the All Star Break quite yet, but we’re halfway through. Over the next couple of days, we’re going to take a look at the best
players in each league thus far.

Jake Peavy (9-2): 105 IP, 113 K’s, 2.14 ERA.

Padres_175ed
Jake Peavy has been a great pitcher for quite some time now. As a matter of
fact, if it weren’t for his 2006 hiccup, many would probably regard him as the
greatest pitcher in the game. After all, Peavy finished 2004 with a 2.27 ERA,
and ’05 with a 2.88 ERA and 216 K’s in 203 IP. However, pitching for a
less-than-stellar Padres team, he went just 28-13 combined. In 2006, he had an
‘off’ year. Most of his stats were identical, except that he gave up
significantly more hits, resulting in a 4.09 ERA.

In 16 games so far, Peavy has gone 9-2. He leads the NL in strikeouts with
113 – that’s 9.69K/9IP, and batters are hitting a meager .216 off him. However,
his most remarkable statistical improvement – and there have been many – has been his ability to keep those balls that are
put in play on the ground. Previously, Peavy had been a slight fly-out pitcher,
hovering around a G/F of 1.20. This year, his G/F ratio is at 1.49. The result
is 1 HR allowed and 10 double plays. In comparison, he forced 10 and 13 DP’s in
all of 2005 and 2006, while allowing 18 and 23 HR, respectively. While 1.49 is
generally the line between a ground ball and fly out pitcher, it is an
‘increase’ over his career average and shows that Peavy has changed something on
his pitches, resulting in fewer HR and more DP’s. That provides evidence that
his performance this year has not been due to mere chance, but rather to a
marked change. Of course, the debate of a pitcher’s control over a batted ball
is one for another blog entirely.

The reality is that Peavy is having a season nearly identical to that of his
2005 campaign, but while giving up fewer walks. This, along with the G/F ratio,
again shows that he is not having a string of lucky starts. As such, Peavy wins
out and takes away the Ballhouse’s first half NL Cy Young Award.

The competition wasn’t easy, and Peavy wasn’t the original choice here. But
after some discussion, Kevin and I decided that he deserved it. The two other
finalists were teammate Chris Young and LA Dodger Brad Penny. However, the fine
folks at ESPN, in all their wisdom, provided us with some pretty compelling
stats that shifted the voting in Peavy’s favor. One of them is a Bill James
innovation called the "Game Score." Peavy’s AGS, (Average Game Score,) was 63.1,
while Young’s was 60.7, and Penny’s was 59.9. Interestingly enough, this showed
that the Ballhouse’s initial picks of the top three NL pitchers were correct.
The next highest regular NL starter was Cub Rich Hill, with 58.6.   

We’ll be continuing our first half awards with our AL/NL MVP and AL/NL Rookie
of the Year later this week.

First half AL Cy Young Winner: Dan Haren

Sure, we’re not to the All Star Break quite yet, but we’re halfway through. Over the next couple of days, we’re going to take a look at the best
players in each league thus far.

Danheadshot
Dan Haren has quietly become one of the most outstanding pitchers in the
game. He had a good year in 2005, his first with Oakland. He finished with an
ERA of 3.73 in his first full year as a starter. He followed up in 2006 with
similar numbers, albeit a slightly higher (4.12) ERA. He did, however, increase
his strikeouts from 163 to 176, and knocked his walks down from 53 to 45. Home
Runs remained a problem, as Haren gave up 31 shots in 34 starts.

But this year, Haren is really doing special things, and he’s been the model
of consistency. He leads the majors with a 1.78 ERA, and at no point has his ERA
been higher than 2.00. He is 9-2; however, his two loses came in the first two
games of the year, where he gave up a combined 1 ER in 13 innings, (in an interesting
turn of events
, Haren managed to give up a 3-run HR which was wholly
‘unearned.’) Haren has not lost since April 7th, and has gone 6+ innings in all
but one of his starts. He has only allowed 3 ER twice, and never more. His
‘worst start’ was his 3rd start of the year against the Yankees, where he gave
up 3 ER on 4 hits and 4 BB over 5 innings. He is 7th in the AL with 89 K’s
and 2nd with a WHIP of 0.90. And the best part is that he’s only 26 years old.

Haren, unlike some pitchers, has been remarkably consistent this year as we
saw above. He keeps his team in the game every time he starts, and that’s what
you need from your ace. Haren, as you may recall, was acquired in a trade
with the Cardinals in which the A’s shipped of Mark Mulder. And, of course, we
haven’t seen much of him lately. For those who are curious, Mulder is currently
rehabbing after rotator cuff surgery and has almost no timetable for return.
Barry Zito has gone arsonist after landing the richest free agent
pitching contract ever with San Francisco, and Tim Hudson has been a strange guy
for the Braves as well. Has anyone ever considered the possibility that the A’s
burn through young arms, as they have no hope of resigning them? Note that Haren
averaged 220 IP in’05 and ’06 and is on pace for 243 this year.

Haren, who supposedly pitches for a ‘small market team’ – and by that, we
mean a team that plays on the West Coast and rarely meets expectations come
October – has not gotten a lot of credit for his outstanding play. So here you
are Dan. And I would suggest a haircut, but apparently the birds nest is working
out well, so just leave it alone.

Also – thanks go out to Deadspin for the link to this weekend’s "Milton Bradley – Looking for work" post. Brought the site a couple thousand extra hits. Regarding those comments, you guys are going to have to take up those issues with the Royals; they’re the ones that traded for the guy. So, you’re kind of arguing with facts by stating they don’t need him. Additionally, if their prospects are so talented, why are they in last place?

Also, another note. Our new site, Ballhouse, is pretty much up and running. We don’t have the tools all in order, and the formating isn’t nailed down yet. Heck, we’re not even sure we’re sticking with the name. However, you can start reading the stuff over there and changing your bookmarks. If you’re using any RSS Feeds, those are all set up as well. Furthermore, the domain name BIHGM is back online. So if you go there, it will automatically direct you to whichever site we find ourselves then.

Watch out for the White Sox meteorite

The White Sox are really bad now. They aren’t just crashing back down to earth. They’re streaking through the atmosphere, the heat shield isn’t holding up, and it looks like the ‘chutes aren’t going to work either. They’re going to make a giant-sized crater in the ground. But again, we’re not just going to say things and not provide evidence to support our claims. As usual, we’re going to use numbers.

The White Sox are in a 2-way tie for the fewest wins in Major League Baseball. They’re 29-42.

That about says it all. Teams with better winning percentages than the White Sox include the Pirates, Orioles, Nationals, and Devil Rays. Teams with lower winning percentages consist of the Rangers, Royals, and Reds. In 2005 they won the World Series. In 2007 they’re hanging out with the cellar-dwelling Royals. And GM Ken Williams is saying things like, "Something’s got to happen. I’m tired of watching this."

As a result, White Sox management has begun to make some rather peculiar choices regarding player personnel. Especially when it comes to Mark Buehrle. By all accounts, he’s a good guy, a clubhouse guy. Fan favorite. He did finish last year with an ERA circa 5. My opinion is that his arm is tired, as Buehrle has pitched more than 220 innings a year since 2001. He’s probably lost some life on his moving fastball. He’s a free agent after this year, but he was on record last year as saying he wanted to stay in Chicago. Sort of, we think. No one really knows what was being said. In any case, he is apparently trade bait. Why would you trade away a guy who you can really build something around? You know they’re not going to get anything in return. But they’re betting that they’ll get more prospects that, five years down the line, will be worth more than Buehrle to them. I think they’re underestimating Buehrle’s staying power in this league, and that he will remain a great pitcher for another 10 years. The trick is signing the guy, and that’s where they might be better off trading him away. Otherwise, they get nothing for him.

This string of loses was kind of predictable. Last year, Carl Everett accused GM Ken Williams of breaking up the team chemistry after he was traded away post-championship. Now, I’m certain that Carl didn’t factor into the teams’ chemistry as positively as he thinks. In fact, he thought the White Sox lacked leadership with him gone. Which is an interesting observation, as Carl Everett is currently a DH for the Free Agent squad, so he is now leading nobody. Everett also believes that we should implode Wrigley Field, and that even if we put every American child on ‘roids, we would still lose more kids in war then to steroids. I’m not sure whether to call that Malthusian wisdom or just idiocy.

But Everett does have a point. A lot of important guys were shipped off, and nothing was really gained in return. Aaron Rowand was shipped off for Thome, who, as predicted, has been like a walking test ground for physical therapist students. And the Sox get Luis Terrero patrolling Center. McCarthy is gone, as is Cotts, as is Garcia, as is Frank Thomas. And not one single decent player has been acquired in any of these deals outside Thome. So you took a championship team, and in order to improve it, you traded away two starters, a reliever, a stand up centerfielder, a loud-mouthed DH, and an aging and oft-injured slugger for an aging and oft-injured slugger*. Probably not the best example of "if its not broke, don’t fix it."

* – Jim Thome and Frank Thomas are also considered ‘similar batters’ according to baseball-reference.com, not just me.

Milton Bradley – Looking for Work

A_bradley_viKansas City, as we know, is not the epicenter of baseball activity. Let’s cut out the superlatives, they’re just really awful.

So, say you’re the general manager of the disaster that is the Royals organization. You’ve got no talent, you’ve got no money, and you’ve got no fans. Then, some guy offers you a veteran outfielder with a career average of .270 for the ridiculously low price of Leo Nunez, him of the 6.99 ERA and 67 career MLB innings. You’re going to want to take that deal no matter what, right? I mean, you can’t even rip someone off like that in fantasy baseball.

And this is exactly what happened when the A’s tried to ship off the ticking firebomb that is Milton Bradley to the Royals. Milton was perfect for this deal. He’s just the fire that KC needs. And we’ll get to that in second. The point is, Kansas City canceled the trade when they discovered Bradley had suffered an oblique injury. This is just nonsense. I don’t care if Milton comes to you with a fractured leg and he’s bleeding from his ears. You take the guy! He’s talent! He’s got to be better than 7 of the guys you’re starting now, easy. And what is your argument for this? That you need a player now, so you’re holding on to Nunez? Nunez isn’t even in the majors. He hasn’t pitched in MLB all year. So even if you have to wait 6 weeks on Bradley, which is generous, he’s still going to give you more than Nunez.

And now Milton is out of luck. No one else is going to take him because he’s about as volatile as jet fuel over an open flame. Only the Royals need talent that bad, and Kansas City is about as small a market you can get, where you can just reasonably hope that when he screws up, no one will notice care. So this was a great deal. But hey, Milton is a full 29 years old, and you never know when he might be a worse bet in the outfield then Emil Brown or David DeJesus. Or any of the 9 guys on your DL. Mark Teahen (RF) can actually hit, but you can always send him back to 3B and kick out Alex Gordon. But now, for fun, let’s explore the dangerous world of Milton Bradley:

  • April 2004: Indians trade Milton Bradley to make room for Coco Crisp.
  • June 2004: Ejected by Terry Craft, Bradley leaves his equipment in the box and returns to chuck a bag of balls on the field. Suspended 4 games.
  • September 2004: Fan throws plastic bottle on field. Bradley responds by throwing plastic bottle violently at man nowhere near original launch site. Suspended 5 games.
  • November 2004: Police pull over Bradley’s "friend." Bradley stops alongside his friend on the highway, and approaches police yelling, "why did you stop my friend." Officer: "Return to your vehicle." Milton: [Hands behind back] "Arrest me." Officer: "Alright, let’s go to jail." Served 3 days in the slammer.
  • August 2005: Calls Jeff Kent a racist.

So, yeah. There’s really no telling when Milton is going to strike next. Or where, for that matter. And the Royals canceled on their chance to get a hold of this gem of a guy? Why?

You know, you guys should go visit Ballhype

Fine folks over at Ballhype, really. And I’ll tell you why. Not only have they developed this way for everyone to get advertising for free, but now I can bet on sports games at the same time, but with not real money. Let me explain how it works. It’s a points system. You simply select the winner of the game, and then if your pick loses, you lose 1 point. All those points are then added together, one point is added, and the result is distributed to those who picked the winning team. Nine people pick the Braves to win. Five pick the Tigers. The Tigers win. So everyone who picked the Tigers gets 2 points. Most points at the end of the week wins a t-shirt and feature spot.

Maybe this is just the kind of thing Pete Rose needs, since he clearly cannot help himself.

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