So my pops and I attended the Dodger game tonight, and in the course of conversation, the Hall of Fame arose. . .we thought about which modern-day (post-roid) ballplayers are locks for the Hall. This Excludes young dynamos such as Kemp, Cain, Trout (!), etc, that are sub-30 years old. . .accordingly, we came up with a grand total of. . .
four of whom play for the Yankees:
the non-Yankees include:
Notable ‘perhaps soon’ names included:
But that’s IT. Two points here: 1) any omissions? 2) this list is conspicuously light on players that started their career between ’95-’04, eg Roid Era players. I mean has there been a ten year span with only SEVEN players that started their careers entering the Hall? Hmmm . . .
I tried not to include the corny or cliche, but this IS baseball so it is inherent. That said, here’s a quick ‘guided’ tour to our pictures from our visit to Cooperstown, NY, Baseball Hall of Fame, November 4 – 5, 2010:
Yes this really is a “VILLAGE” – population 2,032
1950 or 2010?
Our wonderful domicile, the Tunnicliff Inn- Established 1802. Seriously
We walk in – first exhibit, “House of David” a band of roving Jewish ballplayers. Sweet.
The Hall suggests you begin the visit with a trip to the Grandstand Theater.
The original rules of the game, as established in 1845 by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.
Yes, they played versions of baseball in medieval Spain.
Come see the Babe in Fresno, CA (1934)
. . .or just check out Babe Ruth‘s actual Yankee locker.
I was underwhelmed by the Negro Leagues exhibit, but we asked one of the museum docents why there wasn’t much in the way of memorabilia – “the players were underpaid and oftentimes sold equipment, jerseys. . .the demand is extremely high because there really aren’t too many artifacts remaining.”
Did NOT realize that the Yankees were one of the last teams to integrate. . .
Brooklyn Dodgers, baby! Note the sad clown icon. I had a pennant handed down to me as a child from my Dad’s brother that featured that ‘logo.’
Stan the (literal) MAN’s locker. Check out his numbers – easily one of the top five players ever and seriously underrated nonetheless.
Uniforms from the women’s game. . .
A copy of the New York Times from when lefty female Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe & Lou at Yankee Stadium.
This was sweet – Ted WIlliams hitting zone based on his timeless The Science of Hittting.
Really unexpected, deserved and spectacular – Viva Baseball, celebrating baseball in Latin America throughout the history of the game. Really nice exhibits on Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, etc. Also, did you know Ted Williams was Mexican?
This was the one controversial exhibit in my eyes; baseball lore says that Fidel Castro had a tryout with the Pirates sometime around 1947, yet the placard at the HoF states that “research now confirms that he was never a pro prospect.” Interesting. . .except reading the bilingual Spanish translation, the placard says “Las investigaciones confirman ahora que Castro nunca fue un asipirante a profesional.” Translation: “The investigations confirm that Castro never aspired to be a professional.” Semantic, yes – but a HUGE differentiation. Which is it, Hall of Fame?!?!? We want answers!!!
Viva al beisbol de Mexico!
Yes, that is an Anaheim Angels (California Angels?) sombrero. Think it’d look mighty nice on Mike Scioscia. . .
Jamie Jarrin gives both the Spanish and English ‘tour’ at the Hall.
You remember Fernandomania, right? Did you remember that there were hit records dedicated to the hearthrob?!?!
Stuff like this is what gives me chills. The original scouting card for Roberto Clemente. Filled out by Al Campanis, nonetheless – “a real good looking prospect!”
The Count in front of the Dodgers display.
Yes that IS Sandy Koufax‘s glove and jersey.
I believe Pete Rose was the only player – ironically – that had two jerseys represented in the Hall.
Rickey Henderson‘s cleats.
Yep, rocking the Puckett shirt in the Hall.
Baseball cards. . .wow, wow, wow. The Hall has quite a collection, as you can imagine. Enough so that I was inspired enough to pick up Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson – check it out if you like cards, baseball, nostalgia or all of the above. ps – if you’re not a card nerd, you might want to scroll a bit – this is where I get nuts-o about the game. Baseball cards really sucked me in during the 1980′s.
This sign was noted in at least three places in the Hall. Very interesting and well-intentioned approach to the PED controversy.
This is the closest you’re going to get to seeing The Count worshipping.
The Mariners locker featured Ichiro, who’s going to be in here personally in about 12 years. . .
The Aaron Boone bat.
The base from Armando Galarraga‘s not-so-perfect game.
The bat/guitar & lyrics from John Fogerty‘s Centerfield.
The Mangus and designstILes gave a great effort, but after a couple hours, they had to head back to the Village.
A really great wing of the Hall was dedicated to Henry “Hank” Aaron. Some really good detail from his childhood and early struggles in the Negro Leagues, on through the racial attacks he experienced while chasing down the Babe. Class act, and truly deserving of his own Ruthian section.
Honestly, did you know Jamie Moyer is the active leader in strikeouts?!?!?
The hats from each of Nolan Ryan‘s seven no-hitters.
Again, I’m a sucker for these things – a scouting report on Nolan from High School. Wow.
The Dodgers 1988 World Series Ring, along with the Pennant Pendants.
Orel Hershiser‘s World Series clinching jersey.
The hilarious and classic Abbott & Costello routine is on constant rotation in the HoF.
The members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. . .
. . .and those that served their country.
And now a look at a few of the Plaques:
(above: Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams, Josh Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Tommy Lasorda, Kirby Puckett)
“The First Class” in the Hall.
The announcer/writer’s wing was a bit smallish for my taste, but certainly represented the legends well, as Vin Scully was part of the six-announcer rotation of all-time greats.
Best. Movie. Ever.
And a trip to Cooperstown could not be complete without a visit to Doubleday Field, the first ‘official’ ballfield of the Game of Baseball. Talk about evoking the ghosts. . .
Forget Elvis Andrus‘s spark, forget Cliff Lee and his mastery, forget Josh Hamilton and his MVP pursuit, forget Ian Kinsler’s cockiness, Michael Young’s sticktuitiveness, Ron Washington’s redemption, C.J. Wilson’s return, Neftali Feliz’s dominance. . .even (for now), forget Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels and the amazing resurrection of this band of Castaways posing as dominant, exciting MLB franchise. Even try to forget this organizational breakthrough that had football-sick Dallas even forgetting about the Cowboys and their slow start. . .
The Rangers absolutely exciting win last night was best exhibited by the legendary, ageless Vladimir Guerrero – his mad dash home from second base on the would-be double play, coupled with his gazelle-like yet gawky slide into home, just barely beating the tag was something to behold. . something that baseball fans nation/worldwide should remember as an indelible image not just for the team, the city and the man – but the Sport in general.
What a thing of beauty – check it out in frame-by-frame from the moment he slides in to home through the dramatic safe call by umpire Jeff Kellogg.
That is baseball, folks. And that, in a nutshell, is the man they call Vlad.
Bytheway, Angels fans – how do you feel about that decision last year to let the man leave?
The focus this past week has been on the AL West, as two of the three contenders acquired Ace-caliber pitchers; the Texas Rangers giving up uberprospect Justin Smoak to acquire Cliff Lee, and the Angels abandoning Joe Saunders and prospects in favor of Dan Haren.
Both acquisitions provide front-end stability, consistency and legitimacy. Though Lee, the former Cy Young award winner, is the superior pitcher of the duo, Haren has pitched successfully in the AL West (A’s, 2005 – 2007) and will help offset the Angels’ recent offensive issues. . .in this new era, pitching & defense win ballgames – so additional pitching, specifically ace Ace, will help during the proverbial dog days of summer. . .which brings me to the upstart Rangers.
Though most experts thought the Angels would run away with the division,a few saw the glimmer of breakthrough potential with the addition of Vladimir Guerrero and the maturation of Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter & Elvis Andrus. The question was the pitching, however, and with Scott Feldman, CJ Wilson & Colby Lewis (as well as Hunter) anchoring the staff. . .there were indeed many questions. Lewis just returned from Japan, Feldman and Wilson had bounced between the bigs & the minors throughout their careers, and Hunter is a rookie.
At this point, the Rangers have the third best ERA in the American League, and the addition of Lee only bolsters that staff. But a larger, and deeper question arises – the climate. Texas Rangers pitchers have a history of wilting in the subtropical humidity and litany of 100+ degree days in August. Experienced pitchers are conditioned to conserve, pitch to contact and withstand the atrocious conditions, but can these youngsters keep up the solid performances? Or will they melt down quicker than the sweat glands on Vicente Padilla, former Texas Ranger ace, who was known to sweat through “three or four” jerseys per game on days he’d pitch.
Time will tell – and so will Haren & Lee. Should be a great – and scorching – summer out West.
Anaheim Angels: Arte Moreno is the best owner in baseball. Ever since he came into town and lowered beer prices, he’s stolen the a major piece heart of a city away from a fiercely loyal Dodger fan base. He stole the Los Angeles city name, he infiltrated traditional media as far North as The Valley and as far East as Rancho Cucamonga with diabolic red Angels billboards and bus stop posters. . .and he kept winning. He built a west-coast empire out of pretentious, vapid Suburbopolis. They’ve won five of the last division titles with nary an iota of nostalgia – John Lackey, Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus? Gone. Adam Kennedy, Vlad Guererro, Darrin Erstad? See ya. Jarrod Washburn? Troy Percival? Buh-bye.
Guess what, though? They keep right on winning. That’s what they do, and that’s Mike Scioscia. Mike Napoli behind the plate, Brandon Wood at 3B, Erick Aybar at SS? That’s fine with Mike, we’ll just keep steamrollering teams, thank you very much. Howie Kendrick and Kendry Morales are both All-Stars, and Torii Hunter & Bobby Abreu provide the same cachet in the outfield. With a full season, Juan Rivera will hit 30 bombs and the fans in Orange County can continue going home happy with just another Halo Victory. The dynamite rotation begins with Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders, and goes through Scott Kazmir and Joel Pineiro, both of whom appear poised for improved years under the tutelage of underrated pitching coach Mike Butcher. Brian Fuentes is a huge question mark in the bullpen, but Scot Shields, Kevin Jepsen, Rafael Rodriguez and power arm Fransisco Rodney can hold that down for Manager Mike, at least until playoffs. . .
Prediction: 96 wins, 66 losses.
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners intrigued me in the offseason with a litany of shrewd acquisitions. This, in turn, led to many media outlets predicting big things for the team from the Northwest. While I do agree that Cliff Lee (assuming he gets healthy, and soon), Chone Figgins (a bit overrated but still a fun, scrappy player that helps the club win) and Milton Bradley (can he ever go a season just playing ball? He’s so dang talented, and his heart is in the right place) were deft pickups, the Mariners have the unfortunate role of being in the same division as a MIke Scioscia-led ballclub. As much as Don Wakamatsu was a good choice as manager for the M’s, the rotation after Lee and King Felix Hernandez is a bit short, and Jack Wilson and Javy Lopez scare nobody on the left side of the infield. Uberballplayer Ichiro is back in right, yet with declining speed numbers, essentially rendering him a faster Tony Gwynn (though still the most exciting and unique player in the game). David Aardsma starts the season as flocser, which means they don’t have a closer, and in the American League that spells doom. I do love the fact that Griffey is back and in fact with Griffey, Ichiro and King Felix they might have the three most recognizable names in the sport. Too bad that’s not enough for a division title.
Prediction: 88 wins, 74 losses.
Texas Rangers: Not buying the rotation. The hot Arlington summers are going to be hell on these fellas come August. Galloway & Company are going to be chicken frying these guys giving up gopher ball after gopher ball, making Vicente Padilla look dry in comparison. Scott Feldman can pitch, so can Rich Harden. . .and aww,, hell – so can Colby Lewis and CJ Wilson. But alas, there’s only so much workload Neftali Perez, Darren Oliver and finally Frank Francisco can handle, and they’ll be wilting out there at that beautiful Ballpark as well. Offensively, some people are expecting big things, but as much as I love Nolan Ryan – and I do love me some Nolan – the offense just isn’t enough to bail out that pitching, no matter how many pitches they throw (and believe me, I love limitless pitch counts – the oxymoronic belief that somehow ‘protecting’ the investment of a young fireballer that’s thrown countless innings and pitches from little league through high school through American Legion and cutting his workload down to the 60-80 pitch range is beneficial is amazing to me. Think about it – you don’t workout with less weight to get stronger – cmon). As I was saying, Ian Kinsler & Michael Young are outstanding bats, Elvis Andrus is a bit overrated, Vlad Guererro is a nice pickup but old (keep swingin’ Vladi – you still can’t walk off the island), Jared Saltalamacchia’s swing is longer than his name, and Josh Hamilton must be the most fragile conqueror I’ve ever seen. Nelson Cruz is good and Chris Davis may break out, but this team is destined to mire through the sweltering heat.
Prediction: 81 wins, 81 losses
Oakland A’s: To be Lew Wolff, on the precipice of bringing a forlorn franchise back to respectability, yet so far from acceptable on the field. Actually, though Moneyball’s charm has worn off long ago, the A’s remain a franchise in a ‘small market’ that still competes and puts a good product on the field. Becoming maestro’s of scrapping, KEvin Kouzmanoff, Kurt Suzuki, Jack Cust, Mark Ellis, Coco Crisp and Ben Sheets are all byproducts of somebody’s waste. Accordingly and defying other, more resource-laden franchises, the A’s consistently find these guys while they can still play. Point is, the A’s are going to turn some heads. Rajai Davis isn’t an All-Star, but he complements Coco Crisp and the young, talented Ryan Sweeney in a solid outfield. Andrew Bailey, the smartest man in baseball Craig Breslow and freewheeling Brad Ziegler join the castaways to form a reliable bullpen. That said, there just really isn’t enough op here to support the pitching. They’ll be respectable, but in a competitive division they will be the odd team out.
Prediction: 76 wins, 86 losses
In what is now the 14th year of Lovett/Saario/Russo/Mitchell/Choe Fantasy Baseball, the tradition continues with unbiased, objective analysis from YKI. A great draft and a hearty thank you to Juan for providing a perfect environment for a treacherous six-hour draft. All Rosters Appear HERE.
Keep in mind that Choe Fantasy Baseball (as it is formally referred to for 2010) has a very unique – and in my opinion, more accurate – scoring system than most rotisserie leagues; you start a real ‘lineup,’ meaning eight position players and one DH, as well as four starting pitchers and one closer. The points system is ‘aggregate’ and is awarded on a straight-forward basis (one point for a hit, one for a walk, four for a homerun, etc) and allows for some pretty high scores on a weekly basis. Though the numbers can get unwieldy, I’ve always felt that fantasy league should reflect aggregate greatness rather than category consistency, as there’s no way you can convince me that stolen bases is as valuable as homeruns – and thusly, we simply ignore that system and utilize this, more accurate method.
Without further adieu, the Predictions/Analysis.
*for these purposes, all “Keepers” will be treated as draftees and written about accordingly*
Elson: The lineup is solid and the rotation is deep. . .so why isn’t YKI excited about “El-Boogie‘s” chances? The middle infield, while large in cachet & name brand appeal, were largely expensive and both players (Ian Kinsler, Jimmy Rollins) are struggling with average, and hitting in general – at least for those prices. Mark Reynolds & Aramis Ramirez form a dynamite duo at 3B, while Grady Sizemore and Carlos Lee anchor the outfield. Weiters is destined for greatness, but is it too soon to anoint him as your go-to Fantasy catcher? We’ll find out. The rotation, with Brad Penny, Aaron Harang and Derek Lowe at the bottom, definitely has depth, but Tim Lincecum is the only true Ace of the staff.
Overpaid pickups: Ian Kinsler, $44; Jimmy Rollins, $50
Best pickups: Michael Cuddyer, $1; Juan Rivera, $1; Mark Reynolds, $2
Predicted Finish: 6thPlace
Henry: “The Book” continued right on rolling, as some highly advised pickups were consulted & confirmed. Zack Greinke, Yovanni Gallardo, Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett form a very stout rotation, while A-Rod carries the offense. Aside from that, though, are question marks – YKI is not a firm believer in Matt Kemp and his “promise/upside” of 40/40 seasons; Jayson Werth had a career year while Carlos Beltran is questionable; that said, Alfonso Soriano & Vernon Wells are two good – if not guaranteed – backups.
Overpaid pickups: Matt Kemp, $39; Alfonso Soriano, $15
Best pickups: Kendry Morales, $2; Yovanni Gallardo, $8
Predicted Finish: 8thPlace
EvaDen: YKI’s doppleganger scored nicely with a few bargain pickups in the late rounds after surviving an early scare with lack of cap space. The rotation is full of question marks – with upside – as Chris Carpenter and Cole Hamels will look to continue/rebound despite histories of injury/detachment. The offense is tremendous, however, with Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez & Ryan Braun in the middle of the order, and an underrated Michael Young and soon-to-be-great Rickie Weeks filling the middle. Catcher is an issue with Mike Napoli and Yadier Molina sharing duty.
Overpaid pickups: Nick Markakis, $24; Matt Garza, $17
Best pickups: Mariano Rivera, $1; Brad Hawpe, $1, Billy Butler, $7
Predicted Finish: 4thPlace
Paul: It took him a while to fill out a roster, and “Peezaleo” ended up with a resoundingly mediocre squad. Nothing bad, nothing good – just a middle of the pack feel. Josh Johnson, Dan Haren, Max Scherzer are high-upside pitchers, but can anybody step up right now and be the Ace? Mark Teixiera & Brandon Phillips are a phenomenal right side infield couplet, but Rafael Furcal & Adrian Beltre need to revert back to ‘early career with Dodgers’ days in order to keep Paul’s offense rolling; the outfield of Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence & Alex Rios doesn’t provide much of a threat either. The ‘backup’ first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, will do damage. As with most clubs, catcher is an issue here as well.Overpaid pickups: Dan Haren, $48; Best pickups: Chris Young (Dbacks), $1; Adrian Gonzalez, $36
Predicted Finish: 10thPlace
Mitch: More than anything else, “MitchDiggy” provided what every draft needs – a resident drunkard. The alcohol didn’t seem to affect his drafting as mitch came out of the evening with a very potent club; Justin Verlander and Matt Cain form an excellent 1-2 punch, and Brett Anderson and James Shields are reliable filling out the rotation. Though lacking depth in the infield, Ryan Howard, Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria & Brian McCann form one of the best-hitting cores in the league. The outfield is solid if not spectacular – JD Drew, Carlos Quentin & Andre Ethier may not have the superstar recognition, but are consistent fantasy ballplayers.
Overpaid pickups: Ben Zobrist, $24; Carlos Quentin, $26, Josh Hamilton, $15
Best pickups: Nolan Reimold, $5; Brett Anderson, $8, Evan Longoria, $8
Predicted Finish: 3rdPlace
Brandon: Ahh. . .the Wonderful World of “BDogthaHog” – hone up on the talent, get some popcorn, sit back and horde caps until everybody is out of money, then rip guys off the deck at pennies on the dollar. . .but alas, folks, just like Moneyball was exploited, so was the patented BDog Strategy. Overpaying for a couple of pitchers – Javier Vazquez, Chad Billingsley – put him in the hole early, leaving him with only four outfielders, and not a spectacular bunch at that. In all fairness, though, the trio of Jason Bay, Curtis Granderson & Carl Crawford is definitely solid. Between Adam Dunn, Derrek Lee & Chris Davis, he’ll have no issues at 1B, and he showed his skill for grabbing talent with some youth & depth at the other infield slots (Gordon Beckham, Pablo Sandoval, Elvis Andrus, Andrew McCutchen). Will this draft be strong enough for BDog to put ‘er on auto pilot and let it play out, or will he actually have to GM this year? YKI thinks the latter. . .
Overpaid pickups: Javier Vazquez, $26; Chad Billingsley, $25; Derek Jeter, $16, Dan Uggla, $12
Best pickups: Clayton Kershaw, $9; Jorge de la Rosa, $7; Chris Davis, $2
Predicted Finish: 9thPlace
JC/Juan: An outstanding squad. “Jig” had perhaps the best draft of the night (home-field advantage?), spending big early in the right spots and holding on to pick up bargains in middle and late rounds. Johan Santana, Scott Kazmir, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, JA Happ & Edwin Jackson combine with Stephen Strasburg to form the best rotation in the league. Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano, Troy Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer, Adam Jones, Torii Hunter. . .you get the point – the offense is studly as well. Great draft.
Overpaid pickups: Johan Santana, $49; Jake Peavy, $30 (injury risks)
Best pickups: Edwin Jackson, $8; Tim Hudson, $8; Buster Posey, $1; Torii Hunter, $8; Adam Jones, $15; Magglio Ordonez, $5; Joe Mauer, $17; Vlad Guerrero, $1, Tommy Hanson, $5
Predicted Finish: 1st Place
Rene: “Big Ne” is always difficult to peg just because he views talent much differently than YKI. His squads never look good on paper on draft day but always fair well; this year should be no different. Solid, solid team with Chase Utley, Victor Martinez, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, Manny Ramirez, Joey Votto and Stephen Drew leading the offense, and Jon Lester, Carlos Zambrano, John Lackey, Jair Jurrjens & Gavin Floyd anchoring the rotation. Will be interesting to see how he fares, but the team looks good and should finish in the money.Overpaid pickups: Victor Martinez, $43; Jon Lester, $46; Manny Ramirez, $27 Best pickups: Brandon Wood, $1; John Lackey, $18; Carlos Zambrano, $14; Gavin Floyd, $5; Anibal Sanchez, $1, Rick Porcello, $1
Predicted Finish: 2ndPlace
Tony: One of my absolute favorite GMs year-to-year, as “TMex” always has a game plan, and executes. He paid big bucks for a few studs, but in this scoring system that’s how we get ‘er done. Aces galore on the pitching staff – Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, even former aces Roy Oswalt, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf, Mark Buerhle & Brandon Webb can contribute. Adam Lind is solid at bat, and a great complement to Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia & Jose Reyes. My major concerns are in the outfield, where Jacoby Ellsbury, Nate McClouth, Johnny Damon & Michael Bourn are the only options in a scoring system that heavily favors power.
Overpaid pickups: Jose Reyes, $35
Best pickups: Madison Bumgarner, $1; Mat Gamel, $1; Johnny Damon, $1; Howie Kendrick, $2; Kurt Suzuki, $4; Randy Wolf, $1
Predicted Finish: 5thPlace
Lance: The master of patience, diligence and a strong work ethic throughout the season, “Leezy Mo Bee” tends to overhaul his roster little-by-little as the season progresses, and actually GMming his way into the money. He recognizes talent but doesn’t really like to spend, and accordingly his draft day rosters tend to be merely ‘good.’ This year he continued the philosophy- at least for Draft Day – as the staff of Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Beckett & Wandy Rodriguez provides him a plethora of Aces. The outfield is a bit weak with Nelson Cruz, Shin Soo Choo, Jason Heyward & Carlos Gonzalez; though each player has the potential to be a mega-star. The rest of the offense is good – Kevin Youkilis, Carlos Pena, Aaron Hill, Alexei Ramirez, David Wright, Geovanny Soto – but really lacks a definitive power punch at its core.
Overpaid pickups: Josh Beckett, $45; David Wright, $41
Best pickups: Ubaldo Jimenez, $2; Geovanny Soto, $20; Carlos Gonzalez, $7; Wandy Rodriguez, $16; Jason Kubel, $3
Predicted Finish: 7thPlace
Dylan Hernandez sat down with a surly and attitudinal Andre Ethier, apparently doing his best Jeff Kent impression. Hernandez started with a simple & routine question, as in how he projects to build upon last year’s breakthrough season: “How do you expect me to answer a question that I don’t have the answer to?” Ethier said without a trace of a smile.
On a more positive note, workhorse Hernandez explounds upon Hong-Chih Kuo‘s continuous rebounds from surgery after surgery. Kuo is a dynamite pitcher – a flame-throwing lefty that can strike batters out, but every pitch could be his last. He’s a joy to watch out of the bullpen and the Dodgers season will be much less Rockie (haaa) if Kuo can provide that stability out of the bullpen.
On the South – way, way south – side of Los Angeles, the Angels’ Jeff Mathis justifies his doubled salary was a result of his airtight defense, as opposed to the .583 he hit in the Division Series last year. . .
Kudos to Ramona Shelbourne on her new gig for EspnLosAngles.com, espousing on the inconsisent, difficult-to-read play of both the USC and UCLA hoops squads.
That said, folks back in the Tri-Valley of Eastern Washington are disappointed reading about the upstart Bruins defeating the Cougars, 74-62. Again, the continued scrappy play of Mustafa Abdul-Hamid provided a constant spark. The Bruins are now one game out of first place – and two games out of last – in the Pac-10 conference standings. The conference Champion will get a bid, but will that champ be the only team from the Pac-10 to make the tourney?
I’m telling you, how can you not harken back to this guy during times such as these:
Oh yeah, that’s right.
I will tell you this, however, Kevin O’Neill is doing a helluva job in obscurity (and sanctionville) after the implosion of last year’s Trojan squad. I’ll bet even this guy is proud:
Bytheway Dodger fans – have you checked out Dylan Hernandez’s Twitter yet?
As far as the Angels are concerned, an unemotional goodbye is in order for strangely estranged Native Son Gary Matthews Jr., traded unceremoniously for Brian Stokes, another California kid. Matthews never really fit under Arte’s regime; always the fourth outfielder, sort of in a Juan Pierre-esque fashion – Matthews definitely is good enough to play centerfield wherever he wants, but his hitting just hasn’t been the same since the suspiciously successful 2006 year he had with the Rangers. The HGH accusations didn’t sit too well at home, nor with the Angels’ brass.
Also I keep saying it – don’t sleep on the Kings this year. NHL pundit Jason Sapir says they still may be too young, but with inspirational wins such as the 3-2 comeback over the Red Wings becoming commonplace, don’t be surprised if they ride young goalie Jonathan Quick to a deep run in the Playoffs. With five Olympians, the squad is immensely talented. And well coached. Even with the rift between negative18er Jack Johnson and stud GM Dean Lombardi, the Kings are playing well, and holding on to the seventh seed in the West.
Despite the spate of trouble recently, Tiger Woods celebrated (we assume) being named the AP’s Athlete of the Decade. 64 tournament wins (12 majors) will do that for a man. Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Tom Brady round out the Top Six.
UCLA Hoops is back. . .kind of: Rips New Mexico 100-68. Sylmar High grad Tyler Honeycutt has a breakout game with 14 points in his first extended minutes.
Bill Shaikin comes through again with a promise of “bombshells” in the May 24th trial date between the McCourts. Hopefully the Dodgers can acquire a player or two prior to that date. . .Jamie’s lawyer Dennis Wasser may have crossed a line or two by accusing Frank of having RAIDS: “recently acquired income deficiency syndrome.”
Kobe – broken finger and all – leads the Lakers to another win, this time vs. the Bulls, by scoring 42 points. Pau has only 7 shots, though, and is getting more discouraged by the DAY as he becomes a smaller part of the Lakers offense.
L.A. Kings are on TOP of the Western Conference – 2nd overall in the NHL – after another win yesterday, this time against the Oilers. With Quick in goal, they’re phenomenal.
UCLA football netted more All-Americans (3: Kai Forbath, Brian Price, Rahim Moore) than USC did (2: Taylor Mays, Jeff Byers). . .another sign that the momentum in the crosstown rivalry really is changing?
A little inside source report for ya:
John Lackey is going to the Red Sox tomorrow (will be made official).
Great pitcher, will be awesome for the BoSox.