Friday, July 17, 2009

Bob Gibson > MSM

I've mentioned my thoughts here on the lame moralistic postition most of the mainstream sports media has taken on the steroid issue, and now I've seen that Hall of Famer Bob Gibson has put my thoughts into words better than I ever could have myself (hat tip to Shysterball):

Guys have always been cheating. Period. It just takes a little different form today. I'm just glad they didn't have steroids when I was playing. I don't know what I would have done. It's very difficult to go out and perform when you know the guy next to you is taking steroids or some kind of drug to make you perform better and not do it yourself, to let this guy get an edge on you . . .

. . . I don't know that I really criticize the guys. Whoever the first guy is that started it, that's the guy I criticize. The rest of the guys just followed suit. I don't think its OK. I'm not sanctioning it, but I understand why it happens.

Bob Gibson just became one of my favorite Hall of Famers.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Time to Get Serious on Sano

The international signing period begins today, and now we get to find out how serious the O's were about their interest in Dominican infielder Miguel Angel Sano. The teams rumored to be at the front of the line for Sano continue to be Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Baltimore, with the Pirates reportedly already making their first offer. Sano is expected to command something in the neighborhood of $3MM, which may work in the Orioles' favor as the Pirates and Twins are notoriously stingy clubs. If Pittsburgh balks at Sano's initial demands, the O's may have an opportunity to snag him. Now that the signing period has officially begun, it will be interesting to see the O's actual level of interest after publicly admitting being impressed by the prospect.

Update 7/7/09: The picture continues to get clearer on where Sano will land. MLBTR relays reports from ESPN's Jorge Arangure that the Twins have all but fallen out of contention, leaving the Pirates and Orioles as the most likely suitors. The Orioles, however, see Sano as a "late-first-round talent", making them unlikely to offer the Dominican his rumored $4MM asking price. Arangure also speculates that the defection of Cuban prospect Aroldis Chapman, who is likely to command a signing bonus over $30MM, makes any last minute offers for Sano unlikely. The thinking here is that the Pirates remain in the lead to sign him. You can bet nothing significant will happen until the investigation into Sano's age by MLB is resolved.

Update II 7/8/09: The O's are reportedly close to making an official offer to Sano. Interestingly, the offer is rumored to be for a larger bonus than they gave first round pick Matt Hobgood. If this is true, an offer more than Matt Hobgood's $2.42MM would likely challenge that of Pittsburgh, who's international signing bonus budget is just $2MM.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bergesen, Reimold, Trembley

Want to pass along this FanGraphs article on the "underrated" Brad Bergesen. Bergy has been something of a surprise because of his 89 mph fastball and lack of a swing-and-miss pitch, but his efficiency at getting ground balls has lead to a 3.76 ERA in 12 starts. The most notable part of the article:
However, the strikeout obsession has led to a lot of missed evaluations on groundball specialists, and Bergesen is proving to be exactly that. Pitch F/x shows that his fastball has similar amounts of vertical movement to some guy named Roy Halladay, so we shouldn’t be terribly surprised that Bergesen has a 54% groundball rate through his first twelve major league starts.
If Bergesen can keep piling on wins and keep that ERA under 4.00, he could be in the running for rookie of the year come September. His biggest competition may be fellow Oriole Nolan Reimold, who smashed his ninth home run last night and now sports a line of .293/.374/.553 in 123 at-bats. Reimold's success has lead to me pulling my hair out about twice a week when Dave Trembley inexplicably has him on the bench. This has been a growing concern for me throughout the season, as Trembley seems to want to get guys playing time like he's a Little League manager. The MASN talking-heads feed this stupidity by saying things like "getting guys at-bats." Well excuse me, but I couldn't care less how many at-bats Ty Wigginton or Oscar Salazar get. Put the lineup out there that gives you the best chance to win every night, with the occasional day off as needed. Rookie status shouldn't matter either, especially in Reimold's case, as he clearly doesn't need to be "eased" into MLB pitching with one of the best triple slash lines on the team. The guy is 25 years old and spent around 1200 at-bats in the minor leagues. He's either ready or he isn't. Then again, nothing Trembley does surprises me these days after he batted Ty Wigginton cleanup. That's Ty Wigginton, he of the .261/.304/.389 line. Guys slugging .389 don't belong in your lineup, much less in the 4 hole. Hopefully Dave cuts that stuff out when the cavalry from the minors comes and this team starts to be relevant again, or MacPhail should find another manager.

Update: Bergesen made those FanGraphs guys look pretty smart, as a day after their article on him he shut down the Red Sox to the tune of 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Philandering Phail

Just when you thought the blog was going exclusively to sports topics, I can't help but chuckle at this Mark Sanford business. At first I was angry at the possibility that Governor Sanford used taxpayer resources for his adulterous trip to Argentina, but the more that comes out about this story the more humorous it is to me.

I am a registered Republican, but I have no personal stake in the success of the party. I'm not getting as worked-up, therefore, as many movement conservatives. I think a lot of the outrage from the Right comes from their hope that he would challenge Obama in 2012, a hope which Sanford has now destroyed. Do I think he is an asshole for lying and deceiving his wife and children? Yes. But come down from the moral high ground for just a minute and read the facts of this story again and see if you can resist cracking a smile. Here, I'll summarize them for you:

1. Mark Sanford is (was) governor of South Carolina.
2. Mark Sanford was unavailable to the media or colleagues for five days, with an explanation from his staff that he was "writing" or "hiking on the Appalachian trail." When asked by the AP if they had had any contact whatsoever with Sanford, his staff replied "no." The media and fellow elected officials openly questioned his absence.
3. After being spotted at Atlanta airport, which is roughly 275 miles from the Appalachian Trail, Sanford was confronted by a reporter who had a hunch at his whereabouts after being sent alleged emails between Sanford and the woman from an anonymous source. Sanford claimed to the reporter that he had suddenly changed his mind about hiking and went to Argentina instead to "enjoy the coast," apparently telling no one including his staff or family where he was going.
4. After the encounter, the newspaper contacted Sanford's office about the emails, leading to a confession from Sanford...
5. Wait for it...
6. Mark Sanford, the Governor of South Carolina, secretly traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for five days where he gallivanted with an Argentinian mistress with whom he had had an extended affair. Emails between the two lovers have been made public.

I can hear Seth Meyers on SNL now: Really Mark Sanford? Really? You thought, as a governor, you could disappear to South America for five days to cheat on your wife and no one would notice? Really? In a time when many people keep the world abreast of their minute to minute activities via "tweets" and status updates you thought you could just, you know, fly down to Argentina for almost a week and get away with it? And then when you're caught red-handed at the airport your excuse is something like "well, I meant to go hiking, but I, err, decided to enjoy the Argentine coast instead." Oh, and didn't you cite "moral legitimacy" when you voted for President Clinton's impeachment as a member of the House?

Some people are calling for Sanford to step down. Uh, yeah?

Update: It turns out Sanford did visit his mistress during official state business during an economic trip to Argentina. That isn't so funny.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Brandon Marshall Redux

The Sun posted a
timeline of Brandon Marshall's off the field history. The link speaks for itself, but notice there are thirteen notable incidents for a player entering his fourth NFL season.

Read that timeline and ask yourself if you want the Ravens to trade their 2010 1st round choice (probably more) to acquire him and then commit $9 million a year to extend his contract.