Friday, October 24, 2014

Cubs Must Hire Maddon

Joe Maddon.
Former Rays manager Joe Maddon. (Joy R. Absalon, USA Today Sports)

That was fast. Tell me they didn't have advance knowledge of Maddon leaving Tampa Bay.

from Bleacher Report:
Cubs Must Hire Maddon:
Rays manager Joe Maddon opted out of his contract, effective immediately.
The Cubs need to hire Maddon, effective immediately.
He’s the right guy. The best manager in the game. The best manager for what the Cubs are building because that’s what Maddon masterfully managed in Tampa.
The Rays were a drafting and development machine the way Theo Epstein said the Cubs would become. The Rays were smart, flexible and good the way Epstein is fashioning the Cubs. The Rays competed almost every season the way Epstein intends. Maddon embraces metrics the way Epstein insists.
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US Misery Index - Index by President

If this metric demonstrates anything, it shows how much things changed economically during each Presidents term, given that in some cases Presidents are limited by what they are able to change. It seems unfair in the instances of Eisenhower, who had nowhere to go but down and Ford, who had almost nowhere to go but up, given the mess he inherited. Ford is a small sample size casualty as well.

We do seem to be more miserable as a nation lately, that's for sure.

US Misery Index - Index by President:
Misery Index (7.8) equals Unemployment rate (6.1) plus Inflation rate (1.7)
PresidentTime PeriodStartEndChangeAverage
Richard M Nixon1969-01 - 1974-077.8017.019.2110.57
James E Carter, Jr.1977-01 - 1980-1212.7219.727.0016.26
Dwight D Eisenhower1953-01 - 1960-123.287.964.686.26
Lyndon B Johnson1963-11 - 1968-
George H.W. Bush1989-01 - 1992-1210.0710.300.2310.68
Barack H Obama2009-01 - 2014-087.837.80-0.0310.01
George W Bush2001-01 - 2008-127.937.39-0.548.11
John F Kennedy1961-01 - 1963-108.316.82-1.497.14
William J Clinton1993-01 - 2000-1210.567.29-3.277.80
Gerald R Ford1974-08 - 1976-1216.3612.66-3.7016.00
Ronald W Reagan1981-01 - 1988-1219.339.72-9.6112.19
Harry S Truman1948-01 - 1952-1213.633.45-10.187.88
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Joe Maddon Leaving Tampa Bay Rays | Bleacher Report

Joe Maddon Leaving Tampa Bay Rays: Latest Details, Reaction and Analysis

It will be different to watch the Rays and not see Maddon in the dugout, almost an iconic figure in the franchise's history. I hope he does not end up a Dodger since I like him too much, but it makes the most sense. This can't be good news for Mattingly.

from Bleacher Report:
Joe Maddon Leaving Tampa Bay Rays: Latest Details, Reaction and Analysis | Bleacher Report:
Although it remains to be seen if Maddon intends to go elsewhere, there is bound to be talk regarding the Los Angeles Dodgers due to the fact that former Rays vice president Andrew Friedman was recently hired by L.A. 
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P.S. - The grapevine ( and Ken Rosenthal ) says that the Cubs are a leading contender for Maddon. They have a Moneyball guy here as the GM, check and a big  budget that Maddon wouldn't mind underwirting his contract and that of his players, check. Put me down as preferring Wrigley as Maddon's destination. Right in time for bushel basket full of Cubs premium prospects to come to fruition. Plus, the Cubs need some good PR for next season. Maddon has them looking like contenders in no time, he's very good with young players.

Giants cover themselves if (when?) Panda flies the coop

Pablo Sandoval could be a hot commodity after helping the Giants return to the World Series. (USATSI)
Pablo Sandoval could be a hot commodity after helping the Giants return to the World Series. (USATSI)

This covers the team by potentially bringing in a high draft pick as compensation and minimizes a potential backlash from fans of The Panda. However, it likely marks the end of the Panda's walk with the Giants unless he sprouts wings and lifts the Giants to victory as a World Series MVP. It would be hard to let him slip by SF after that.

No talks since spring but Giants will extend qualifying offer to Sandoval -
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Giants and third baseman Pablo Sandoval haven't had contract talks since spring training and that won't change until after the World Series ends, but the Giants will extend the $15.3 million qualifying offer to Sandoval, according to people familair with their thinking.

The Giants and Sandoval weren't on the same page in spring, with the team said to be most interested in a three-year deal at the time, and Sandoval looking for something in the nine-figure range, as was reported here early in the season.

While the Giants have been too busy to rekindle the talks, some people with the team weren't necessarily thrilled to see reports of interest from the Red Sox leak into the Boston papers at this juncture. Teams technically aren't supposed to discuss players on other teams who interest them, but it is common practice, and not enforceable in cases where no attribution is cited.

Several other teams are expected to be interested, not just Boston, following Sandoval's fine finish and third productive postseason appaerance (he is a .333 career hitter in the postseason, with a .932 OPS). The Marlins have been rumored as a possible suitor and it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do at third base with Alex Rodriguez likely to be more of a DH type. Other teams could try for Sandoval after he finished at .279 with 16 home runs following an awful start. He was hitting .171 as late as May 9.
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No, Ned Yost didn’t “out-manage” Bruce Bochy. His players played better | HardballTalk

Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost

So now we're grading these guys game to game. Maybe I should be the first to toss my "Ned Yost Hall of Fame Manager" nomination into the ring. Good Grief, this is what happens with the 24/7, all news, all the time media circus that rules these events.

Lets' employ the KISS principle and Keep It Simple Stupid, OK? One game is the ultimate small sample size from which you cannot draw any real meaningful conclusions. And yet that's what we do. We've been around the block a couple of times with this in regards to Bochy out-managing (??) Mike Matheny and Matt Williams. I guess it can't just come down to the fact that his guys just made plays and the other team's manager's guys didn't make plays. Even though Matt Holliday broke down the Cards - Giants series in just this manner on the Doug Gottlieb Show.

from Hardball Talk:
No, Ned Yost didn’t “out-manage” Bruce Bochy. His players played better | HardballTalk:
It seems to me that, rather than focus on the managers like everyone seems so intent on doing, maybe we can just say that the Giants’ pitchers didn’t make good pitches when they needed to and the Royals handled everything that came their way in that sixth inning. I suppose it’s harder to get 800-1,000 words out of “the Royals hit the ball well and the Giants didn’t pitch too good” than it is to go on about managerial genius or the lack thereof, but the fact is that most games are decided by the players playing, not the chess moves the managers make. Last night was one of those games.
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This gets you to the Hall of Fame as a manager. Make a 26 game difference over the course of about 20 years. That is an almost imperceptible difference over a LONG period of time. But that doesn't fit well into the current news cycle nor the average baseball fans attention span. But that's baseball.

Is Bruce Bochy One of the Best Managers in Baseball History? (Yes. Here’s Why.) «:

Beating the Odds

Another way to measure a manager’s effectiveness is to compare his team’s win-loss record with its expected win-loss record. In Bochy’s case, we can see a clear pattern of his teams outperforming what you’d expect based on those run totals.
Bochy with the Padres
YearWin-LossExpected Win-LossDifference
Bochy With the Giants
YearWin-LossExpected Win-LossDifference
That’s a total of 26 extra wins over the course of his career.
Of course, one of the surest ways to outperform your expected record is to have a stacked bullpen. The closer for Bochy’s entire stay in San Diego was Trevor Hoffman, one of the best ever, so that certainly helped. In his eight years with the Giants, though, Bochy has cycled through multiple closers and many bullpen configurations, handing ninth-inning duties to everyone from Casilla and Sergio Romo to Wilson, and the immortal one-two punch of Old Armando Benitez and someone named Brad Hennessey. At a certain point, after 20 years of managing, with two teams and all kinds of rosters, you have to acknowledge the common denominator.
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This is why I cannot get on the "trash Mike Matheny" bandwagon. He went with the formula that got his team to the post-season, which BTW was further down the road than most of the so-called experts and prognosticators saw his team advancing to. So he should at least get some credit after the fact for getting there.

Mike Matheny: One-plan man - Viva El Birdos:
In Will Leitch's column over at Sports on Earth yesterday, he dissected Matheny's postseason managing prowess ad nauseum but this chunk really hit home:
Matheny formulated a plan --Gonzales throws two innings -- and maneuvered everything to rigidly follow that plan. When the plan fell into trouble, he had no backup plan, and he was doomed. The regular season requires only one plan; the postseason requires many. Matheny is a one-plan man.
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The fact that in putting all his decisions under the microscope after the fact may demonstrate some that were questionable is, as always just plain silly. I'm sure Mike Matheny and Matt Williams are smart enough to make intelligent decision with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. They don't have that luxury however. That's why they get the big bucks.

These same guys who criticize Matheny for being a one-plan man likely also had an article written for the "Matheny screwed up by panicking and deviating from the formula that got his team to the dance" if that scenario had played out.

It's brings to mind the classic Teddy Roosevelt quote about the critic:

THE MAN IN THE ARENA                                          Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"                                          delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tampa Bay Rays: Overall Run Production

Tampa Bay Rays: Overall Run Production

I don't really see the Rays dipping into their wallets as much as into their farm system to cure what ails their aching offense, but at least I'll see Morse almost as much as I do now.

I would rate the Giants as more likely to re-sign Morse than for him to end up in St. Pete. But time will tell.

from Bleacher Report:
Tampa Bay Rays: Overall Run Production:
Top Target

Michael Morse

Other Potential Targets

Evan Gattis (trade), Mark Reynolds, Kendrys Morales


Even with ace David Price shipped to the Detroit Tigers at the deadline, the Tampa Bay Rays still had one of the best pitching staffs in baseball down the stretch last year, and their 3.15 ERA was good for fifth in the majors in the second half.

On the other hand, the offense ranked 27th in the league at just 3.78 runs per game, and if the Rays hope to rebound from a disappointing season, they will need to add some punch.
The DH spot in particular was a black hole in terms of production, as a handful of players combined to hit .229/.315/.389 with 16 home runs and 66 RBI in 576 at-bats at the position.
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Delay the Giants coronations - What a difference a day makes

Giants' bullpen melts down in 7-2 loss to Royals
San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland watches as Kansas City Royals Omar Infante runs around the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of Game 2 of baseball's World Series Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Back on the roller coaster, I guess. What a difference a day makes. This is your 2014 Giants season.

Not second guessing one little bit, I had mentioned previously that Bochy was over-exposing Strickland based on some faded memory of him coming in and blowing three fastballs by notoriously big fastball hitting Ian Desmond, while simultaneously ignoring the subsequent BIG BOMBS he has given up?

Phew!! That was  a mouthful.

from Yahoo Sports:
Hunter Strickland's meltdown, on the mound and off, has Giants looking for help - Yahoo Sports:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Hunter Strickland, the 26-year-old right-hander from Georgia who could throw a fastball through a barn door, found himself in his catcher's arms, in the World Series, which, by itself, sounds pretty good. But, and, well, here's the thing, the folks around him were not jubilant, unless you count the crowd at Kauffman Stadium, which by then technically was a mix of thrilled to be pounding the heck out of Strickland and ticked that their guy was being yelled at by Strickland. Who stared at whom first, and who said what, and why any of that really mattered would be detailed (and shaded blue or orange) later.
'via Blog this'

So can we PLEASE put a hold on marching Bochy into the Hall of Fame for just a moment and concentrate on winning a Series please?

Strickland's fastball is plenty fast. That passes the eyeball test and the radar gun test. However, it is plenty straight and generally poorly located. He hasn't been able to establish his breaking ball as a second pitch worthy of respect, so guys are just sitting on the A-Train and pounding it. It's that simple. I don't think he's tipping anything except that he can't throw anything for strikes except the fastball and he can't paint with that pitch. So sit back, wait for him to put 97 or 98 on a tee and let it rip!!!

In the minors, as Strickland's strikeout rates ballooned (post TJ-surgery BTW), his walk rates also seemed to drop. This is where scouts come in handy. The stats alone would woo you into thinking, "WOW!! The light-bulb has turned on for this guy!!!" The scouts and development guys should have been able to step in and say "Not so fast boys!! He's throwing stuff right down Broadway against guys ill-equipped to handle it. When he gets to The Show, guys are able to turn that stuff around."

Where were those guys back then in this organization and where are they now? Maybe the future closer title for Strickland needs to be dialed back a little bit.

So let's review:
  • Delay Bochy's HOF coronation
  • Delay Strickland's role as closer of the future
  • Delay order on the even-year Giants 2014 World Championship rings, pennants and other assorted paraphernalia

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kansas City Royals: Resourceful or reckless? | Beyond the Box Score

I would come down on the resourceful side. The recklessness is a perceptual matter, a side effect of employing game strategy that underdogs need to employ to beat favorites. As Malcolm Gladwell illustrates in his article referenced below, it's how David beats Goliath, which is with unconventional strategies or surprise. If you play a so-called "superior" opponent, one that on paper is better than you, you don't play them straight up, you gamble, you change tempo or pace, you take them off their game.

from Beyond the Box Score:
Entering the bottom of the eighth inning in the Wild Card game, the Royals had about a three percent chance of winning. Clearly, they defied the odds in that game, and chances are the Royals will win the ALDS -- it will be very difficult for the Angels to overcome a 0-2 deficit, especially with the next two games in Kansas City. Ned Yost is effectively playing with house money, as just about every steal and sac bunt the Royals have attempted turned out their way.
Historical percentages suggest this level of success can't be maintained, but if the Royals continue to have success with these plays, the odds won't matter -- success or failure dictates the odds and not the other way around. The Royals are winning with their brand of baseball, and if that success can be sustained, they can go a long way. The odds suggest the success can't be sustained -- so don't tell them the odds.

Some of this is simply the nature of how the SABR-rattlers, that currently control the narrative as far as "How the Game is Supposed to be Played", view the game. This domain used to be the stomping grounds of grizzled, old "baseball men". Now it's the domain of math geeks with pocket protectors. When the game doesn't go quite the way that their spreadsheets tell them it should they go "TILT" and scream "That does not compute, that does not compute". 

To them, luck is not the residue of design, it is the differential between the "expected result" and the "actual result". They don't understand and cannot compute that illusive quality called "chemistry" which is simply that, on some teams, talent is greater than the sum of the parts. There is a residual benefit to having a team where each player is put in roles that they can execute and allow other players to fulfill their roles without having to extend or do too much. They dismiss chemistry by saying "winning breeds chemistry". That's not true at all.

They make the mistake of viewing chemistry of guys all getting along and singing Kum Ba Yah by the campfire. That's not it at all. The Oakland A's had chemistry in the Charlie Finley days and they didn't all just get along. But they had chemistry. The Bronx Zoo Yankees had chemistry, but they didn't all get along to well. Guys played complimentary roles which allowed the stars to shine without having to do too much. It's an elusive quality and you can have it on teams as diverse as the "We are Family" Pirates as well as the Bronx Zoo Yankees.

This year, it explains why the two wild-card teams are still playing while the teams that are better on paper ( and better looking on spreadsheets ) are sitting at home watching. It's not luck. It's chemistry. Maybe the math geeks need to widen their horizons and take a science course.


How David Beats Goliath:
A great Malcolm Gladwell article titled How David Beats Goliath references a study done by political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft. Toft studied 200 years of “asymmetric conflicts” on the battlefield. As a lifelong fan of the underdog, I was curious about the numbers behind the “itʼs why they play the game” adage. It turned out David may just be the new Goliath. Three things jumped out:
Power is good, but itʼs no guarantee. Davidʼs odds werenʼt as bad as youʼd think. Of the 200 conflicts studied between 1800-2003, David won 28.5% of the time.
The times (and odds) are changing. Between 1800-49, the stronger side won 88% of the conflicts studied. That number dropped to 80% between 1850-99 and dropped (again) to 65% between 1900-49. Between 1950-99, it dropped, wait for it, to only 49%. Now, on average, the strong side possessed ten times the power – where “power” is measured in terms of armed forces and population – than their adversaries. And between the years 1950-99, they lost more than they won.
Itʼs about making your own rules. Why would you play by the rules that Goliath has already won on (see: Google)? When a David wins, it tends to do so by changing the rules. In his study, Toft found that by choosing an unconventional strategy, the underdogʼs winning percentage went from 28.5% to 63.6%.

The "Big Game" title goes to Madison Bumgarner for now

View image on Twitter

This is what Giants fans have been seeing for years - "Big Game" Bumgarner. The question for Bochy, Righetti and the Giants becomes, do you schedule Bummer for Games 4 and 7 and say to the Royals, in effect, "If you want to win this thing. you're going to have to go through Madison Bumgarner". I'm sure Bumgarner would sign up for the assignment. I'm not sure if Bochy will do it, out of deference to the other starting pitchers and the perception that it would feel like a bit of a panic move. But with the travel day, it almost has to be at least a consideration for the Giants staff.

from Giants Extra:
“There is no bigger stage. But he’s just Madison Bumgarner.” And he's the last ace standing. - Giants Extra:
He is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in three World Series starts and 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA this October while starting five of the Giants’ 11 games and throwing at least seven innings each time. This postseason has humbled one big name after the next, but Bumgarner is better than he has ever been. 
"There is no bigger stage,” right fielder Hunter Pence said. “But he’s just Madison Bumgarner.” 
Right now, he’s not just Madison Bumgarner. He’s the best big-game pitcher in a sport that wears you down over 162 games and then forms your legacy with snapshots taken as the weather cools. The Giants didn’t particularly need Bumgarner to be brilliant Tuesday, not with the lineup jumping on Shields, the Royals’ ace curiously nicknamed Big Game James."
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cord cutters: Is a la carte streaming a better deal than cable? | Tampa Bay Times

A silhouetted coaxial cable. Cord cutters rejoiced last week after HBO and CBS announced plans to sell stand-alone streaming services, a move that cable and satellite television providers have resisted for years. But cutting the cord won’t mean cutting out your cable provider, and some would-be customers may balk when they see just how much paying a la carte actually costs. [Associated Press]
A silhouetted coaxial cable. Cord cutters rejoiced last week after HBO and CBS announced plans to sell stand-alone streaming services, a move that cable and satellite television providers have resisted for years. But cutting the cord won’t mean cutting out your cable provider, and some would-be customers may balk when they see just how much paying a la carte actually costs. [Associated Press]

Remember, you heard it here first. Cut the Cord!!! You won't look back. Aside from the freedom of choice as to what enters your home, you won't miss the "crass commercialism" ie: the commercials of the current system they jam down your throat. Your the consumer, you've always had the power of choice right at your fingertips.
~;::::::;( )">  ¯\_( )_/¯

from Tampa Bay Times:
Cord cutters: Is a la carte streaming a better deal than cable? | Tampa Bay Times:

Cord cutters rejoiced last week after HBO and CBS announced plans to sell stand-alone streaming services, a move that cable and satellite television providers have resisted for years. Customers tired of paying big fees for hundreds of channels they never watch just to have access to a few favorite shows might be expected to start cancelling cable service in droves. Get Netflix, throw in HBO, add a network here and there — why would anyone sign up now for cable? Is a la carte streaming a better deal?

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Orwell was only wrong about the date

Proving once again that you can be right on your thesis and off a bit on the timing. - CS

Coaching Association of Canada publishes Long-Term Athlete Development for Parents document |

Coaching Association of Canada publishes Long-Term Athlete Development for Parents document | News |
Coaching Association of Canada publishes Long-Term Athlete Development for Parents document
Tuesday, 7 February, 2012
Many parents are looking for answers to explain what is right for their child when it comes to athletic development.  As a coach, you need something that will help explain the facts in an easy, accurate, and user-friendly manner.  The Coaching Association of Canada, in coordination with Canadian Sport for Life, has created the following document: “Long-Term Athlete Development Information for Parents” to help coaches educate the parents of the children in their programs.
This document provides an overview of the LTAD model, describing each of the seven stages in easy-to-understand language.  It gives solid and concrete advice on what parents can do to encourage their child’s current physical, and athletic development and suggests tips to help them assist their child as they move into the later stages of development. This handy tool is something coaches will want to have readily available at all times to share with parents.  We encourage all CAC Partners to share the following link with their Learning Facilitators, member clubs, coaches and parents.
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2014 Arizona League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports -

Michael Santos (Photo by Bill Mitchell).

At 19 years old, he's a few years away at best, but 93 MPH at this age will open up some eyes.

from Baseball America:
2014 Arizona League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports -

10. Michael Santos, rhp, Giants

Michael Santos (Photo by Bill Mitchell).
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht: 6-4. Wt: 170. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2012.

 One of the biggest surprises of the AZL season was the performance of Santos, who came into the league with four professional starts under his belt but came a late collapse away from winning the league ERA title. The Giants signed him for $250,000 in 2012 and held him out of action for most of two seasons so that he could build strength on his lanky but loose-armed, athletic body.

The Giants turned Santos loose this season, and he turned out to be one of the most impressive pitchers in the league. His 93 mph fastball already has plenty of life and he stands to add velocity as he fills out.

“If that fastball gets a couple of miles (per hour) on it, it’s going to be harder to be touched,” Giants manager Nestor Rojas said.

Santos can spin a curveball from 68-74 mph and consistently throw it for strikes. It’s an advanced pitch considering his experience level, and he will only add power. His changeup shows potential for being a third quality pitch. Like Keury Mella from last year’s AZL Giants team, Santos may be ready to move up to full-season ball for an encore.

'via Blog this'

SF Giants prospect Michael Santos | AZL Giants 2014

GIANT Potential 

Arizona Fall League Update

Before we get too deep in World Series minutiae.

Arizona Fall League Update 10/20 « Inside the San Jose Giants:
An update on former San Jose Giants currently playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League:

Daniel Carbonell: .200 AVG (5-25), HR, 4 RBI
Blake Miller: .235 AVG (4-17), 2B, 3 RBI
Kelby Tomlinson: .043 AVG (1-23), RBI, 4 SB

Clayton Blackburn: 2 games, 0-0, 4.50 ERA (1 ER/2.0 IP), 0 BB, 1 SO
Tyler Mizenko: 1 game, 0-0, 13.50 ERA (1 ER/0.2 IP), 2 BB, 0 SO
Steven Okert: 4 games, 0-0, 1.50 ERA (1 ER/6.0 IP), 1 BB, 9 SO, 1 SV
Tyler Rogers: 3 games, 0-0, 0.00 ERA (0 ER/4.0 IP), 0 BB, 3 SO

'via Blog this'

Monday, October 20, 2014

Is Buster Posey the face of MLB? He's already "The Logo"

I thought he was well before these other "Johnny Come Lately's". Put me down for YES!!

from ESPN:

""Yeah," said Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans, flashing that very look. "I mean, when you talk about Derek Jeter, I don't know how Buster's story will be written or how history will play out in terms of his career, but he's certainly got a foundation for that.

When you think about what Jeter has stood for -- respect for the game, and playing the game the right way, and providing quiet leadership -- at some level, Buster has all those qualities."

Then, as this concept began to swirl around Evans' brain, he found himself checking one "Jeter-esque" box after another.

"You can't be a catcher on three postseason teams, like Buster has been, and not provide leadership," Evans said. "He's obviously a leader on the field and in the clubhouse, but the way he carries himself in the public is exemplary. Very dignified. Very strong family man. Well respected. Very professional with the media."

Right. Right. Right. Right. And right.

But hang on. There's more. Bobby Evans was just getting rolling.

"He loves the game," Evans went on. "He plays it hard. He's had MVP seasons. Won two World Series in a three-year span, with a chance to win a third. He was the rookie of the year. Won a batting title the year he won the MVP. Coming out of college, he won the Johnny Bench award and the Golden Spikes award. An All-Star, multiple times. And in terms of jersey sales, he and Jeter are one-two, I believe. So in terms of national popularity, he's got that national visibility. That's a lot of similarities."

Yeah, you might say that. In fact, he just did say that.

Posey was once the fifth pick in the first round of the amateur draft. Jeter was the sixth. Posey had an .866 OPS in his first five full seasons. Jeter had an .865 OPS in his."

Buster Posey Swing Analysis

Notre Dame is confused - FSU didn't get rewarded, Notre Dame got punished

“Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to be your ruin” – Aesop

Seems like there is a whole lot of confusion going on at Notre Dame lately. This is what happens when you sell your soul to the devil. You should know better and lead better. Shame on Notre Dame!!!

DUDE!!! I saw the play live and I said to myself, "Dang, TWO guys blocking / setting picks down field. Easy call." and I don't even officiate football. Kelly is freaking delusional. But he fits in well with the current culture down there at South Bend. 

from Bleacher Report:
Kelly: FSU's Blown Coverage 'Rewarded'
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was livid after a controversial offensive pass interference call wiped out the Irish's potential game-winning touchdown i...
Preview by Yahoo

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was livid after a controversial offensive pass interference call wiped out the Irish's potential game-winning touchdown in their 31-27 loss Saturday to Florida State. With a day to ruminate and further clarification provided by the officiating crew, reporters asked if he better understood the call Sunday.
Per Matt Fortuna of, Kelly said:
Actually I have less clarity. I guess it was actually called on Will Fuller, not C.J. (Prosise). So [it] just adds more uncertainty as to the final play. But again, the play itself, in terms of what we ask our kids to do, it was pretty clear what happened on the play: Florida State blew the coverage and they got rewarded for it. It's unfortunate.
However, ACC coordinator of football officials Doug Rhoads defended the crew's call Sunday. Rhoads specifically cites the wide receivers blocking downfield on a forward pass as a violation, noting that neither player attempted to run a route.
"Offensive players on passing plays are restricted from going downfield and blocking anytime from the snap," Rhoads said, per Zach Barnett of College Football Talk. "If the ball is first touched behind the line of scrimmage then that would be legal and it's okay, but if it's touched beyond the line then it's offensive pass interference."
But this is an institution that has been selling out for quit a while now, so why should anybody be surprised. I liked them better when they at least gave the impressions that they stood for something. They have not just lowered their standards lately as many in the "win at all costs crowd" clamored for, they have pile driven their standards into the ground. Shame on Notre Dame!!!

Notre Dame is confused
The University of Notre Dame has decided "to extend benefits to all legally married persons, including same-sex spouses…." Renowned Notre Dame law pro...
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Renowned Notre Dame law professor Gerry Bradley has set out the civil law options Notre Dame could have pursued and Bp. Kevin Rhoades has put the university on notice that their decision does not seem commensurate with the duties Catholic institutions owe to Catholic (not to mention natural law) truths.

Honor Thy Opponent

"I have tried to teach them to show class, to have pride, and to display character. I think football, winning games, takes care of itself if you do that." -Paul Bear Bryant

Some good news...

Athletic Management : Momentum Media:

Honor Thy Opponent

In the Bakersfield, Calif., area, the issue of proper etiquette for when a player lays injured on the field took center stage recently. The discussion was spurred by fans of Liberty High School freshman team who became incensed when players from the Frontier High School team did not take a knee after a Liberty player lay on the turf and appeared to be unconscious.

Instead of dropping to a knee in solidarity with the Liberty players, the Frontier team was called to the sidelines--despite chants coming from the Liberty stands calling for the players to take a knee. But according to Frontier administrators, the team was behaving according to protocol.

"The protocol at Frontier High School is to stand respectfully and quietly on the sidelines while the injured opposing player is being attended to," Kern High School District spokeswoman Lisa Krch said in the email to the Bakersfield Californian. "No one is allowed to talk and there is no coaching at that time, either. During this particular incident, the Frontier coach saw an injured player and sent his student athletes to the sideline."

Adding to the discussion was Christopher Meyers, Director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics and a philosophy professor at Cal State Bakersfield, who called the tradition of taking a knee "a terrific expression of sportsmanship and respect."

"I am thrilled to see it moving out of youth sports into high school and collegiate athletics," Meyers said in an email to the Bakersfield Californian. "One of the key values of sports activity is the development and enhancement of character, as revealed in the virtues of honesty, honor and fair play.

"So long as 'taking a knee' is meant sincerely--and by every account, it appears to be--it is a wonderful example of exactly those virtues," Meyers continued. "Student-players should thus be encouraged, but not required, to participate and I would hope coaches would embrace the character-building opportunity it affords."

On a positive sportsmanship note, after losing to Copperas Cove (Tex.) High School, Ellison (Tex.) High School Head Coach Trent Gregory quickly gathered his emotions and called the opposing players over and asked them to huddle around them. The reason?
"I just wanted to thank them," Gregory told, "for showing respect to our team and our program and our school."
Gregory also shared words of encouragement as Copperas Cove prepared for a potential District 12-6A championship-deciding game in the coming week. The move caught the Bulldawgs off guard.
"That has never happened to me before," Copperas Cove senior linebacker Michael Sumrall said. "That is good sportsmanship. It shows that he doesn't just care about himself and his team but that he cares about others, including his opponents."
"It is not always about wins and losses," Gregory said. "We always want to win, but it is about growing young men with character to have respect for each other."
'via Blog this'

Giants receive residual dividend from Zito signing

I didn't always feel this way, but he was worth every penny and then some. Great story.

from MLB Trade Rumors:
Quick Hits: Ramirez, Hitting Coaches, Hudson, Zito – MLB Trade Rumors:
Barry Zito‘s seven-year contract with the Giants didn’t turn out so well, but he did help them land Tim Hudson, Ryan Hood of writes. When both pitchers were free agents last winter, Hudson called his former Athletics teammate to see what he thought of playing in San Francisco. “I said it’s a first-rate organization, from the top down,” says Zito, who assured Hudson that Giants fans had changed since the two pitchers had played together in Oakland. “Giants fans had a little more of a rep of just coming out for baseball games and not really having a die-hard presence and creating an intimidating atmosphere. It was very light. I told him 2010 changed everything.” Hudson posted a 3.57 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 189 1/3 innings for the Giants this season. Zito, meanwhile, says he determined in August 2013 that he would “take some time away from the game and focus on family.” He did not pitch this season.
'via Blog this'

I suppose the issue of whether Zito's contract turned out well or not depends on your perspective and on what it is specifically that you value in life. If you're purely measuring W-L's versus dollars and cents, then you know what, maybe you're right, it a was a horse-shit signing. The ESPN tag line used to be be "The games aren't played on the field, they're played inside a little TV box". Well, dad-gum it, you can't measure everything in life inside an excel spreadsheet.

Moneyball be damned!!!

Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Kyle Crick 6-4,220 RHP Power pitcher in the Matt Cain mold. High K-rate comes with High BB-rate. Low 90's FB with sink. Can be a top of the rotation starter once command/control issues ironed out. Mechanics are sound.
  • 2. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter
  • 3. Clayton Blackburn 6-3, 220 RHP Good low 90's FB with sink, excellent command of stuff, good secondary pitches. His 8.64 K/BB ratio is off the charts efficient.
  • 4. Ty Blach 6-1, 210 LHP Glavine comps will give him a chance to rise fast.
  • 5. Daniel Carbonell 6-2, 215 Cuban signee, speedy, switch-hitting CF with power potential. Could be a five-tool player if he hits.
  • 6. Chris Stratton 6-3, 185 RHP Mississippi State Decent four-pitch mix, solid pitching frame. Can run FB to 94 MPH with movement. Throws SL/CB, with the slider the better of the two.
  • 7. Mac Williamson 6-4, 240 OF Wake Forest grad with five-tool potential if he hits advanced pitching.
  • 8. Derek Law 6-2, 210 RHP power arm with some deceptiveness in his delivery, copuld be a dark horse to contribute in 2014
  • 9. Adalberto Mejia 6-3,195 LHP Throws strikes and mixes pitches well. Good secondary stuff, projects as middle rotation guy. Keeps ball down and gets outs.
  • _10. Kendry Flores 6-2, 175 RHP very efficient pitcher, could also move fast
  • _11. Matt Duffy 6-2, 170 SS from Long Beach State is turning heads with quick bat, good command of strike zone, gap power hitter at best, good base runner with average speed.
  • _12. Steven Okert 6-3, 210 LHP Oklahoma product, another power lefty prospect.
  • _13. Keury Mella 6-2, 200 RHP Dominican signee is really opening eyes with a nice power arm
  • _14. Joan Gregorio 6-7, 180 RHP potential closer material
  • _15. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
  • _16. Luis Ysla 6-1, 185 LHP from Venezeula cruises at 92-94MPH snd touches 97 on occasion, max effort delivery concerns, iffy slider, projects as reliever.
  • _17. Gustavo Cabrera 6-0, 190 OF INTL signee, 16 year-old compared to Justin Upton. Injuries slowed his progress in 2014
  • _18. Martin Agosta 6-1, 180 RHP FB up to 94 mph with some sink. Plus secondary stuff, shows ability to mix pitches.
  • _19. Christian Arroyo 6-1, 180 SS very efficient with the bat, good hitting approach, test will be how he handles advanced pitching
  • _20 Ryder Jones 6-2, 200 3B polished bat with some pop. Good athleticism for the corner IF

2014 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Michael Matuella 6-6, 225 RHP Duke Nice four pitch mix, mid 90's FB and 12-6 CB. Potential top of first rounder.
  • 2. Nathan Kirby 6-2, 185 LHP Virginia Dominant starter, 92-93 MPH FB and power curve ball. Added an effective change-up.
  • 3. Carson Fullmer 6-0 RHP Vanderbilt Mid 90's FB compliments effective breaking ball and change-up for effective three pitch mix.
  • 4. Riley Ferrell 6-1, 200 RHP TCU closer for TCU upper 90's FB touches 98-99. Nasty high 80's slider makes him virtually unhittable as closer, can transition to starter
  • 5. Alex Bregman 5-11, 180 2B/SS LSU BS Freshman of Year in 2013 has all the tools, instinctive player.
  • 6. Kyle Funkhouser 6-3, 205 RHP Louisville FB cruises at 92-94 and touches 97.
  • 7. Walker Buehler 6-1, 170 RHP Vanderbilt Low 90's FB and competitive streak, will compliment Fullmer at top of rotation for defending champs.
  • 8. Kyle Cody 6-7, 245 RHP Kentucky Fastball sits at 93-96, 3:1 K/BB ratio in Cape Cod League, secondary stuff needs work
  • 9. Cody Pence 6-6, 240 RHP Cal Poly Pomona Nice four pitch mix, 95-96 MPH FB, plus cutter and curve
  • _10. Ian Happ 5-11, 190 OF Cincinnati Switch hitter with compact, line drive stroke, hard-nosed, high energy player
  • _11. Gio Brusa 6-3, 190 OF Pacific Switch hitter with above average power
  • _12. Phil Bickford 6-4, 200 RHP Cal State Fullerton (??) Good FB, power curve ball mix.
  • _13. Marc Brakeman 6-1 180 RHP Stanford 90-95 MPH FBm 47:7 K/BB ration in Cape Cod League, good swing and miss change and slider
  • _14. Richie Martin 5-10, 170 SS Florida Athletic ING with good speed and arm strength
  • _15. C.J. Hinojosa 5-11, 180 SS Texas Good instincts, confident player. Good arm, fringy power bat
  • _16. Kevin Newman 6-1, 180 SS Arizona Back to back Cape batting titles. Average arm, speed, controls strike zone well
  • _17. Alex Young 6-3, 200 LHP TCU Low 90's FB and slider, two pitch mix, projects as a starter
  • _18. Steven Duggar 6-2, 190 OF Clemson Good speed 6.3 60yd, good bat speed from left side. Potential five-tool guy
  • _19. Kyle Twoney 6-3, 170 LHP USC Easy delivery, good FB command 94 MPH FB
  • _20. Kevin Duchene 6-2, 205 LHP Illinois High 80's FB with nice change, strike thrower, repeatable delivery, good mound presence

2014 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Justin Hooper 6-7, 230 LHP De La Salle HS (CA) 6-6 athletic lefty with mid-90's FB.
  • 2. Kolby Allard 6-2, 175 LHP San Clements HS (CA) easy mid 90's FB tops at 95MPH, good command with plus breaking ball and change
  • 3. Mike Nikoriak 6-4, 205 RHP Stroudsburg HS (PA) FB sits at 94-96 with sionk. CB is inconsistent. QB prospect with Alabama commit.
  • 4. Ashe Russell 6-4, 200 RHP Cathedral Catholis HS (IN) FB that sits at 92-94 and tops at 95 with average potential breaking ball. Could rise fast.
  • 5. Beau Burrows 6-1, 200 Weatherford HS (TX) RHP FB workable breaking ball and change. FB sits at 94, tops at 96 with tilt. Texas A&M commit.
  • 6. Brendan Rogers 6-0, 195 SS Lake Mary HS (FL) Good spped and power, amooth, athletic IF. Florida State commit.
  • 7. Daz Cameron 6-1, 185 OF Eagles Landing HS (GA) Athletic and toolsy player with power and speed. Son of Mike Cameron.
  • 8. Kyle Tucker 6-3,190 OF Plant HS (FL) Solid CF who can hit. Florida commit.
  • 9. Nick Plummer 5-10, 200 OF Bloomington Brother Rice (MI) Physical, athletic lefty hitter with good bat speed.
  • Austin Riley 6-3, 220 RHP/INF DeSoto Central HS (MS) Two-way player and FB prospect as QB, FB touches 92-94 has power potential with bat from right side.
  • Chandler Day 6-4, 162 RHP Watkins Memorial HS (OH) solid 93 MPH FB
  • Chris Betts 6-2, 220 C Wilson HS (CA) Plus pure arm strength, arm stroke gets long for a catcher. needs work receiving, above average raw power from left side. Tennessee commit.
  • Cole McKay 6-5, 215 RHP Smithson Valley HS (TX) Strong frame, power pitcher with some feel for pitching. 92-94 FB with late stuff. Curve and change are both above-average with sink to the change. Louisiana State commit.
  • Corey Zangari 6-4, 230 RHP Carl Albert HS (OK) Also a catcher, his FB cruise at mid 90's and tops at 97. Breaking ball has potential but lacks consistency. Oklahoma State commit.
  • Devin Davis 6-2, 210 1B/OF Valencia HS (CA) Two-way player who leads with the power bat. Hitting ability is advanced with natural power leverage in his stroke. Loyola Marymount commit.
  • Hunter Bowling 6-7, 215 LHP American Heritage HS (FL) Great pitcher's build, projectible body. FB touches 93 MPH wit downward tilt. Slider is average, Florida commit.
  • Luken Baker 6-4, 245 RHP/OF Oak Ridge HS (TX) Big, strong, physical two-way player. 94 MPH FB with extreme power bat. TCU commit.
  • Ryan Johnson 6-3, 200 OF College Station HS (TX) Good bat speed and power bat. TCU commit.
  • Sati Santa Cruz 6-3, 230 RHP Sahaurita HS (AZ) Physical, power pitcher challenges hitters with a heavy FB that sits low 90's and touches 95. Secondary stuff needs work. Arizona commit.
  • Thomas Szapucki 6-2,185 LHP Dwyer HS (FL) Three pitch arsenal with deceptive delivery. FB is low 90's with 93 top. Slider can show above average, with a workable change.
  • Wyatt Cross 6-3, 190 C Legacy HS (CO) One of the stronger arms behind the plate, plus pop time. Good strength and athleticism. North Carolina commit.
  • _10. Donny Everett 6-2, 220 RHP Clarksville HS (TN) Power pitcher tops at 96 MH FB

2015 Top Tampa Bay Area High School Baseball Players

  • Jake Woodford RHP Plant HS Florida commit.
  • Kyke Tucker 6-3, 175 OF Plant HS Good pure hitter and defensive OF. Solid skills across the board. Florida commit.

2015 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects (NW Suburban Chicago Area)

  • Bradley Parchute RHP Marengo HS
  • Brandon Krennrich C Johnsburg HS Kentucky commit.
  • Jake Esp RHP Marmion Academy