Tag:Cubs
Posted on: May 20, 2008 8:49 am
Edited on: May 20, 2008 8:57 am
 

Purple Haze All in My Brain

While you're feasting on smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagels for breakfast, we're still under a smoke advisory from over 80 active fires in the state of Florida. Dear Florid-Dummies, Quit throwing out your lit cigarettes -- it hasn't rained since 1975. Here's what you need to know about Monday's events:
  1. Jon Lester survives cancer and wins World Series clincher last year, no-hits the Royals Monday, plans to invent diet donuts that taste good next year: Clay Buchholz did it last season and Lester follows suit. Nearly as impressive, Jason Varitek has been behind the plate for a record four no-hitters. And these aren't even yesteryear's Royals -- they rank in the middle in team batting average this year. Who are the last two teammates to throw no-hitters in back-to-back seasons? (I'll have to research it to answer, maybe someone out there already knows.) Lester's no-hitter was worth 39 points in the BIGS league H2H scoring, and 41 pts in the FLEX league.
  2. The Spurs move on to face the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals: Lakers, Spurs, Pistons and Celtics -- your Final Four. Multiple championships necessary for entry. This is a battle of teams I hate (other than the Spurs, but sheesh, they've won enough.) I guess I'll root for Boston, since a couple buddies of mine stand to win a chunk, which means free beer in my future.
  3. Ryan Ludwick homers for the fourth time in three days: He also has seven RBI, five walks, five runs scored and his ownership has climbed 11 percent in one scoring period. Emack and I were recently asked about a Roto trade of Ludwick/Edinson Volquez for Brandon Webb in an NL-only league. As much as I love Volquez, both of those players are playing well above their heads and will be regressing soon. Emack and I agreed, the Webb team is the winner (just like the D-Backs!)
  4. Chicago gets hot in the summer: The Cubs are 8-2 in their past 10 games, which makes them the hottest team in the NL, and the White Sox's five-game winning streak is the longest in the majors. When told about the White Sox winning streak, Cubs fans reportedly said, "Who?" Good to know for Fantasy purposes: Sean Gallagher could be set for two-starts at Wrigley Field in Week 9 (vs. LAD, vs. COL). He's only owned in four percent of leagues right now.
  5. Jacoby Ellsbury steals his 17th and 18th bases of the season: Only Ichiro Suzuki (20) and Michael Bourn (19) have more stolen bases than Ellsbury right now, and the center fielder has nearly half of his team's total (40). They are tied for fifth in the majors right now, compared to 16th last season, 30th in 2006 and 28th in 2005.
  6. The Red Wings beat Dallas Monday to move on to face Sidney Crosby's Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals: If you've ever been to Detroit -- and lived to talk about it -- you'll know that it truly is "HockeyTown, USA." Fans in that area react to hockey the same way football fans react in football cities. I've never been to Green Bay, but I imagine their obsession is like the Wings' fans fervor. I was there in 1998 and just walking around the town, you'd see no fewer than five old ladies wearing Steve Yzerman jerseys. You have to respect that -- but you HAVE to root for Sid the Kid and company.
  7. After getting the weekend off, Big Hurt returns in a Big Way: Frank Thomas blasts a pair of homers (his first for the A's) Monday after sitting out the interleague weekend for the A's. Since rejoining the A's (22 games now), Thomas is batting .297 with 13 RBI and nine runs scored. He's my Fantasy PoD.
  8. Geovany Soto forced into fast home run trot: The rookie catcher blasted a shot to left-center field that hit next to the yellow fence line, and the umpires forced him to run it out. He still got the homer, but it was of the inside-the-park variety. He has nine homers on the season now, second only to Mike Napoli's inexplicable 10 homers in 89 at-bats. Both are on pace for over 30 homers, which hasn't been done by a catcher since Mike Piazza hit 33 in 2002. (Is that right?)
  9. Evan Longoria and Randy Winn join the Fantasy Five club Monday: Both players added to each of the five Rotisserie categories on Monday. Winn went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base against the Rockies. And Longoria went 3-for-6 with three RBI, one run scored, one steal and a 13th-inning homer to put Tampa Bay ahead to stay in Oakland.
  10. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" opens this week: And co-worker Fazal Imam, who has been stuck in the 80s for nearly three decades, is wearing a fedora and brandishing a whip this week in honor of it. Well, he wanted to do that, but he was too lazy to get it together in time. I'm sure we can be expecting him to be saying, "I HATE snakes!" all week though.
Category: MLB
Posted on: May 6, 2008 9:42 am
Edited on: May 6, 2008 3:18 pm
 

Things I Think About on the Can ...

Surreal moment of the week
A few minutes ago, I heard Dave Richard and Emack talking to a few people at the end of our row. And it sounded like they were being introduced. Well, over the past two weeks, we've had at least six people come through the area (new employees, potential employees, new columnists) and get introduced to us. So I'm knee-deep looking at stats, getting ready to write my column and shaking hands and yutzing around for five minutes tends to break my concentration, so I was kinda hoping they'd just move along. (I'm a jerk like that.) Then I heard Richard introduce Sergio, who sits across from me, and I realized I'm going to have to turn around or I'll look like the jerk I am.

I get up and look -- and it's Lawrence Taylor. THE Lawrence Taylor. So he's looking at Emack's desk and checking out his own Topps football card from the early 80s, and we're all just kinda staring at him like kids. It's weird. I've seen many -- MANY -- athletes in person through the years, whether it's from spring training or even just out to dinner in Tampa/Orlando or South Florida. Heck, I even ran into L.T. in 1995 in New York and said Hi. I don't really get starstruck often. But when you see him in your work environment -- it's very weird. (Sergio and Emack are die-hard Giants fans.) Sergio was just standing there in shock -- Emack I think asked him to sign his boob. It was strange. Finally, his handler moved him on down the hallway before I asked him on a date.

After he walked by, we were all just kinda looking at each other in shock. Then Emack said he should ask him to join our flag football team.


Email I received from JOE at 4pm Monday: Johnny Cueto -- What do I do with this bum? Do I drop him or keep him? Dear JOE, I assume you have changed your tune after Cueto's quality start last night (eight strikeouts) against the Cubs. Should I expect an email today asking if you should decline a trade of Jake Peavy for Cueto straight up? Johnny Rocket is a rookie pitcher. He's 22 years old. He's pitching in the best hitter's park in the league, yet he has a sub-4.00 ERA there. Give the kid some credit, but realize -- he's still young. Inconsistent starts should be expected -- especially in the next few months when teams start seeing him for the second and third time. He's striking out a batter per inning, and his 41 Ks tie him for eight in the majors -- and his control has been outstanding.

Do they call it "American Cheese" in France? Or is it just, "Le Crappy Fromage"? And do the Swiss just call their cheese, "Cheese" or do they refer to it like how we still say "American Cheese," despite the fact we live in America?

Why do they even make flat-head screwdrivers and screws anymore? Didn't we solve that issue? You don't still see companies making 8-track tapes, TRS-80s and Pong games.

How impressive is Geovany Soto's rookie season so far? Most of you know about my man-crush on catchers in baseball, not-so-much Fantasy Baseball, but I do appreciate what a catcher goes through in every inning of every game. He's asked to do more than any other player on the field -- and he has to wear a mask that keeps people from even knowing what he looks like. Soto is currently leading all Head-to-Head hitters over the past seven days with a .462 batting average, three homers, 10 RBI and seven runs scored. This seven-day span started one day after his eight-strikeout pair of games at Washington. He is now leading all catchers for the season in Head-to-Head points, with a .352 average, six homers, 24 RBI and 16 runs scored. His 13 doubles are three more than any other catcher, and he leads his position in batting average, homers, RBI and total hits ... This guy's good.
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 3, 2008 10:40 am
 

www.Thursday'sblogaboutrandomstuffbyGonos.com

Emack had a Good Idea
On Tuesday, Emack came up with a good idea: Put up one of those signs that say, "CBSSports.com has not had an accident in ___ days in a row!" Except instead of that, we'd make it, "Dave Richard has been funny ___ days in a row!" So we started it Tuesday -- and I haven't had to change the one yet because he wasn't funny Wednesday. I'll keep you posted if he ever reaches double-digits -- or 3.

Ross Devonport Movin' On Up
Also on Tuesday, Ross moved from his old cube (two rows down) to right next to my cube (Dobish's old cube). That's a great thing because he often has funny stuff to contribute -- but no one hears him (or understands him -- he's British). So now that he's closer, we have lots of laughs ... and he brought donuts this morning.

Odd Pitching Lines
Due to rain, the Dodgers started Kuo against the Giants Wednesday, rather than Chad Billingsley. But they did bring Billingsley in for relief. So you'll see Kuo with a GS next to his name (he went three innings), and Billingsley and Esteban Loaiza came in and pitched poorly enough to blow the game.

Cubs/Brewers Game
I glogged this yesterday afternoon (I'm off on Wednesdays and Sundays now), and I was very impressed with how scrappy these Brewers were. They stole three bases on Geovany Soto (and Ted Lilly and co.) and they were always looking for that extra base. Rickie Weeks finally came through with a solo homer, but it was the very first pitch of the game -- and he did little after that. But Corey Hart, all 6-foot-6 of him, stole two bases! I'm still trying to figure out how someone that big can be that fast. He could be in for his second-straight big year.

And Jason Kendall had to love to see all of those steals -- considering that he was blamed for many stolen bases last season at Wrigley. He reached base five times Wednesday against his old club, with two doubles and a stolen base of his own! Kendall worked with his father, Fred Kendall, who was an excellent defensive catcher in his day with the Padres and Jason also had Lasik surgery. It's obvious he has worked hard to get back to productive, it'll be interesting to see if he keeps it up.
Posted on: March 31, 2008 7:58 am
Edited on: April 1, 2008 5:43 pm
 

The REAL Opening Day! (Part I)

Crap. I accidentally bolded in the source code and there ain't no way I'm going back and unbolding each little thing. So, I'm unbolding everything. I'm starting a whole new blog.

3:06 p.m.
Here's our PR guy Alex Riethmiller's take on the upcoming season for the hated POOR-ioles (they're playing my Rays!): "After trading away Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard, it's unlikely Orioles fans had any doubts the club was serious about rebuilding. If there were any skeptics left, they were likely converted yesterday when the team cut Jay Gibbons eating $11.9 million in salary in the process. And surely the tinkering is not over as one would have to think Brian Roberts will be next to go assuming Orioles brass can get what they feel is a fair return for the second baseman. It's certainly going to be a long year for the boys in orange and black -- maybe a long couple years -- and the basement of the AL East is all but inevitable at this point. However, the upside is that a restocked farm system and young superstars like Nick Markakis give the team a solid base to build on." 2008 record: 62-100

3:01 p.m.
Emack is fond of saying (in a whiny voice), "Catchers hit like pitchers." And that appears to be the case in Milwaukee, as for the first time in Brewers history, Jason Kendall will hit behind Ben Sheets in the ninth spot. Manager Ned Yost wants more batters to get a chance to get on base in front of Braun and Fielder.

2:58 p.m.
You excited yet? It's only seven minutes away from first pitch at Camden Yards against the Rays!!! Here's the lineups:

Baltimore
  1. Brian Roberts - 2B
  2. Melvin Mora - 3B
  3. Nick Markakis - RF
  4. Kevin Millar - 1B
  5. Aubrey Huff - DH
  6. Ramon Hernandez - C
  7. Luke Scott - LF
  8. Adam Jones - CF
  9. Luis Hernandez - SS

Tampa Bay
  1. Akinori Iwamura - 2B
  2. Carl Crawford - LF
  3. Carlos Pena - 1B
  4. B.J. Upton - CF
  5. Cliff Floyd - DH
  6. Willy Aybar - 3B
  7. Eric Hinske - RF
  8. Dioner Navarro - C
  9. Jason Bartlett - SS
2:52 p.m.
Alex Gordon got rung up in the first inning with the bat on his shoulder -- not this time. The former top prospect homered on a 3-1 90 mph fastball at the belt into the right field stands -- and the fans throw the ball back on the field. (By the way, let's not get crazy about giving Cubs fans credit for that -- that's a White Sox deal from way back.) Looking back to last season, when Gordon struggled mightily through the first few months, he didn't hit his first homer until the seventh game -- which was also just his second basehit of the season. He hit just .173 with two homers and five RBI in April last year, so this is nice to see -- especially against a pitcher the caliber of Verlander.

2:39 p.m.
Miguel Cabrera -- Welcome to the pitching in the AL Central. Super-slim Miggy pounced on 2-1 hanging curve and deposited it into the left-center field stands for his first homer in Detroit. He was my pick for AL MVP heading into the season and he's off to a great start. The Royals, White Sox and Twins should offer up plenty of homer-able pitches. All three of those teams ranked among the bottom-14 in homers allowed last season.

2:27 p.m.
Our great big Opening Day extravaganza is in danger of becoming a soggy, wet turd in a punchbowl if these rain delays start becoming rainouts. I'll not have it!

2:37 p.m.
The Yankees have postponed their Opening Day officially. That stinks. They'll play this game against the Blue Jays Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.

In keeping with the Yankees as a theme, my former co-worker, Brian Flood, tells us what he thinks his Yankees will do this season: "The Yankees will respond very well to Joe Girardi's aggressive style and he gets a lot out of the younger players. Robinson Cano is in the batting-title hunt until the final week of the season, Phil Hughes wins 16-plus games and the Yankees finish first in the AL East with 96 wins. New York defeats Philly in six games to win its 27th World Series ... I would also like to go on record that Cincinnati makes the playoffs.
Flood now works with the NFL as the Assistant to the Director of Officiating, although he likes to introduce himself like Dwight Schrute, losing the "to the" part of the title.

2:25 p.m.
The Brewers and Cubs are also in a rain delay, but they are expecting to get going around 3:00 p.m. EST according to ESPN.

DeJesus sprained his ankle, that's why Gathright came in to play center field for the Royals, by the way.

2:03 p.m.
Carlos Guillen hit a single into right field, but Jose Guillen came up gunning and the new Royals right fielder gets Magglio Ordonez who unwisely tried to score from second base. Still 1-0 Detroit, thanks to the perfect throw from Jose Guillen.

By the way, that's the answer to the Aaron Harang trivia question earlier -- Jose Guillen came to Oakland in exchange for Harang in 2003. He has played on nine different teams in the past 10 seasons!

1:59 p.m.
Joey Gathright took over in center field for David DeJesus in the third inning. I'll keep you posted as to what the injury -- if there was one -- might be. On Guillen's drive over his head, DeJesus did seem to run back slow to the ball.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Brewers will bat Prince Fielder third and Ryan Braun fourth in the lineup -- the reverse of what they did for much of last season. "Braunie has done a nice job of making it work," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "If Braunie can take the same steps that Prince took in his second year, in terms of plate discipline, that's a big key to our offense. He's one of those special hitters, he's very smart and has great hitting instincts. I don't think he'll have any trouble with the adjustment. They're going to pitch around Prince at times and when they do, I want Braunie to make them come right after him. If they don't throw him strikes, he's going to have to take his walks and let Billy Hall and Corey Hart back him up."

Here are Fielder's numbers hitting third and fourth in the Brewers' lineup:
  • Hitting 3rd in 104 games -- .242 BA, 22 HR, 23 doubles, 64 RBI, 57 runs scored
  • Hitting 4th in 116 games -- .302 BA, 40 HR, 25 doubles, 85 RBI, 85 runs scored
Then again, Fielder did most of that work in cleanup with Braun in front of him. There shouldn't be much of a drop with Braun behind him.
1:43 p.m.
Renteria picks up his first RBI in a Tigers' uniform, as he pokes a shot up the middle to score Guillen. Looking at the time difference between my last post and this one reminds me of a pet peeve. I love sports movies -- and I hate sports movies. For instance, The Fan, with Robert De Niro playing a psycho fan of Giants' hitter Wesley Bonds (I mean Snipes). And De Niro is supposed to go pick up his kid or something important, yadayada, but he wants to wait through Snipes' at-bat. So of course, he keeps looking at his watch after every pitch, and apparently Snipes is the Nomar of the Silver Screen because several minutes would go by between every pitch. And of course, it's like a 10-pitch at-bat that takes 20 minutes according to Hollywood. Crap like that drives me nuts.

Although I did love "White Chicks."

1:34 p.m.
Carlos Guillen laced a drive well over DeJesus' head in right-center field, and he held up at second base following one of baseball's golden rules -- never make the first or third out at third base. He even broke his bat on that shot, so it's a wonder it had that much power to reach that deep.

1:31 p.m.
Miguel Cabrera hit a pop fly to center field that sounded good off the bat, but landed about 35 feet from the warning track. The announcers, crowd and myself were initially fooled. Emack would have made fun of me for going, "Uh oh!" -- then I would have asked him if he recently ate a dirty diaper.

Here's the Denver Post's breakdown of today's lineup between the Rockies and Cardinals, along with last season's statistics.

COLORADO ROCKIES
  1. CF Willy Taveras .320 2 24 .367
  2. SS Troy Tulowitzki .291 24 99 .359
  3. 1B Todd Helton .320 17 91 .434
  4. LF Matt Holliday .340 36 137 .405
  5. 3B Garrett Atkins .301 25 111 .367
  6. RF Brad Hawpe .291 29 116 .387
  7. C Yorvit Torrealba .255 8 47 .323
  8. 2B Jayson Nix* .292 11 58 .342
  9. LHP Jeff Francis W-L: 17-9, 4.22 ERA

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

  1. LF Skip Schumaker .333 2 19 .358
  2. RF Ryan Ludwick .267 14 52 .339
  3. 1B Albert Pujols .327 32 103 .429
  4. 3B Troy Glaus .262 20 62 .366
  5. CF Rick Ankiel .285 11 39 .328
  6. C Yadier Molina .275 6 40 .340
  7. SS Cesar Izturis .258 0 16 .302
  8. RHP Adam Wainwright W-L: 14-12, 3.70 ERA
  9. 2B Aaron Miles .290 2 32 .328 -- You gotta love being the guy that hits BEHIND the pitcher.

*Nix's statistics are from Triple-A Colorado Springs

1:20 p.m.
Guerrera notes that Gil Meche is now on pace for 1,400 Ks after taking out Edgar Renteria. Come on, let's not get crazy -- it's Gil Meche! ... He'll get 950 Ks max.

1:15 p.m.

It's raining in Cincinnati, but it's supposed to clear up, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. So their game has been pushed back to 2:10 in Cincinnati, which means 3:10 for us East Coasters.

David DeJesus grounds out to start the Royals/Tigers game. This is a guy that really hasn't developed the all-around game many had hoped. Considering the guy he replaced in center field at Kauffman Stadium, Carlos Beltran, said DeJesus reminded him a lot of himself -- he's not quite there.

You can check out this game in our live GameCenter here.

Mark Grudzielanek hit a slow chopper to Miguel Cabrera, and Carlos Guillen played the throw from third horribly. With his right foot on the bag and his left foot on the first base line, Grudzielanek had to jump over Guillen -- who dropped the ball anyway. That could have been a BIG collision at first, as Guillen played first base like a shortstop. Somehow, Cabrera gets tagged with the throwing error, but I'd blame Guillen for that play more than anything. (Grudz then went on to steal second base, NICE! The five percent of CBSSports.com leagues are happy about that one! Although only two percent are starting him.)

Verlander gets Alex Gordon looking on an outside circle-change. The ball really was outside, but Ivan Rodriguez framed it well and Verlander has his first strikeout of the season! ... And so does Gordon!

1:02 p.m.
Time to turn the channel to Fox Sports-Detroit to catch the Royals game at Comerica Park. Is today the first game in Justin Verlander's march toward his first Cy Young award? Emack and I both predicted he'd take that hardware home. Against the Royals in eight starts in his career, Verlander is 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA and 42 strikeouts in over 52 innings. Sounds like a good starting place to begin a Cy Young hunt.

12:54 p.m.
According to Newsday, it's still raining at Yankee Stadium, so teams were unable to take batting practice and the start of the game has been delayed -- not cancelled.

I am reporting that Ross Devonport, my British co-worker, has reported that CBSNews reports that this game will start at 2 p.m.

12:47 p.m.
OK, I've had my first hot dog of Opening Day officially. At Publix, our local grocery store, I saw Jake, Bisbee, Madden and one of the guys from customer service. It appears EVERYONE at CBSSports.com is gearing up for a big day! Btw, I finally went with a loaf of five-grain Italian Bread, some deli Chicken Salad, Cape Cod Potato chips (regular) and a rail of small Snickers bars.

It's absolutely gorgeous outside also (sorry snowbirds that already went back up north!)

12:09 p.m.
Sounds like the Blue Jays/Yankees game is in jeopardy because of weather also, according to Baseball Tonight. And here's the Opening Fay lineup for these two squads, according to the N.Y. Daily News.

Blue Jays

  1. David Eckstein, SS
  2. Shannon Stewart, LF
  3. Alex Rios, RF
  4. Vernon Wells, CF
  5. Frank Thomas, DH
  6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  7. Aaron Hill, 2B
  8. Marco Scutaro, 3B
  9. Gregg Zaun, C

Yankees

  1. Johnny Damon, LF
  2. Derek Jeter, SS
  3. Bobby Abreu, RF
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Jason Giambi, 1B
  6. Robinson Cano, 2B
  7. Jorge Posada, C
  8. Hideki Matsui, DH
  9. Melky Cabrera, CF
11:56 a.m.
Just got out of video finally. Emack's breath was in rare form. I think he gargled with vomit this morning. I got into the studio before he did, which meant I was smart enough to grab the good chair (which is tricky because the good chair looks like it would be the bad char, but it's not), so Emack had to sit forward the whole time. And we both wore dark blue shirts, so Weisberg mentioned we looked like brothers. Big, ugly brothers.

Mets/Marlins weather update -- it's sunny out now! Apparently, as soon as I wrote that it was rainy, it stopped.

Once Eisenberg is done shooting his video, we're headed to Publix for lunch. I'm thinking of just getting a big loaf of awesome bread and a thing of chicken salad. I'm going to be here late tonight. Oooooh, maybe some Jalapeno Pringles!

11:08 a.m.
For those dying to know what the Reds/D-Backs lineup will be today, here it is courtesy of the Arizona Republic:
Diamondbacks
  1. Young, CF
  2. Hudson, 2B
  3. Byrnes, LF
  4. Jackson, 1B
  5. Snyder, C
  6. Reynolds, 3B
  7. Drew, SS
  8. Upton, RF
  9. Webb, P
Reds
  1. Patterson, CF
  2. Keppinger, SS
  3. Griffey, RF
  4. Phillips, 2B
  5. Dunn, LF
  6. Encarnacion, 3B
  7. Hatteberg, 1B
  8. Valentin, C
  9. Harang, P

10:49 a.m.
Still waiting to go into video. Apparently a light is out -- or they haven't put the ugly filters on the cameras yet. They never work anyway.

Mets/Marlins update -- It's raaaaaaining pretty steady in Fort Lauderdale right now. I'd have to say this afternoon's game is in question because it's been raining off and on all morning.

10:17 a.m.
Reds trivia time courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer: Aaron Harang is making his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Reds. That's the longest streak for the Reds since whom?

I talked about Foghorn Harang (I'm going to make that nickname stick!) on Saturday. Here's a few more remarks for one of the most unknown Cy Young candidates in the game: Since the All-Star break of 2005, he ranks third in the NL in wins, second in strikeouts, innings and starts, first in complete games and seventh in ERA. And he has lowered his ERA in each of his five seasons with the Reds. In last year's Opening Day, he allowed one unearned run on six hits and two walks in seven innings against the Cubs. He also struck out five batters.

Trivia question Part II: Which current major leaguer was also part of the trade that brought Harang to Cincinnati?

OK, we're doing video at 10:30, so I have to go take a PVP (pre-video poop).

9:57 a.m.
Roch Kubatko, of the Baltimore Sun, blogged that the conditions are cold and drizzly this morning, which is a bad omen for the Rays/O's game this afternoon. Hamstring gremlins looooooooove cold and rainy conditions.

Here's an interesting story in today's Chicago Sun-Times loosely comparing Kosuke Fukudome's underwhelming spring with Ichiro's first spring training in 2001. Apparently, Ichiro had almost nothing but infield hits that March, causing many scouts to laugh at Seattle's signing of the Japanese import.

9:45 a.m.
Emack just informed me that he's heading over to the Mets/Marlins game around lunchtime. Looks like it's just me and the football guys (Richard and Eisenberg) for Opening Day festivities. They'll probably yell stuff like, "Hey, a triple is almost like a field goal!"

Food options are quickly dwindling. I think I'm just going to the grocery store and buying hot dogs from the stand outside. Maybe I'll roll them around in gravel so they'll be like the ones at Dolphin Stadium.

9:29 a.m.
Here's the MLB Opening Day schedule:
Kansas City Royals @ Detroit Tigers 1:05 PM
Toronto Blue Jays @ New York Yankees 1:05 PM
Arizona D-Backs @ Cincinnati Reds 2:10 PM
Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs 2:20 PM
Chicago White Sox @ Cleveland Indians 3:05 PM
Tampa Bay Rays @ Baltimore Orioles 3:05 PM
Washington Nationals @ Philadelphia Phillies 3:05 PM
New York Mets @ Florida Marlins 4:10 PM
San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers 4:10 PM
Colorado Rockies @ St. Louis Cardinals 4:15 PM
Texas Rangers @ Seattle Mariners 6:40 PM
LA Angels @ Minnesota Twins 7:05 PM
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Atlanta Braves 7:10 PM
Houston Astros @ San Diego Padres 10:05 PM

My viewing schedule for today (expect to read snippets on these games):

Kansas City Royals @ Detroit Tigers 1:05 PM -- The Yankees are old news, let's see a slimmed down Miggy in Motown.
Arizona D-Backs @ Cincinnati Reds 2:10 PM -- Opening Day used to ALWAYS start in Cincinnati, so I have to pay respects.
Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs 2:20 PM -- The Cubbies get 40 minutes of my attention on a busy day.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Baltimore Orioles 3:05 PM -- I've been sooooo pumped to check out Willy Aybar at third base finally.
Texas Rangers @ Seattle Mariners 6:40 PM -- Get 20 minutes in of this game.
LA Angels @ Minnesota Twins 7:05 PM -- I'm glogging this game tonight. Rex Hudler is one of my all-time fave broadcasters.
Houston Astros @ San Diego Padres 10:05 PM -- Finishing up the night with a 120-minute Oswalt/Peavy at Petco glog!

9:20 a.m.
Was it just me or was the new Nationals Park -- kinda boring? Why not have something unique, especially in D.C., like a mock Washington Monument in dead center? Or a smaller Lincoln Memorial sitting behind the left-field seats? ... Or how about some Mayor Marion Berry snow-cone machines? Maybe a guy dressed up as Nixon that slides down a big slide every time a steroids cheater comes up to bat? It's a work in progress.

9:03 a.m.
Dave Richard, our Fantasy Football writer, just mentioned that he just watched "The Departed" this weekend. Yeah, he's a little behind (actually, that's the ONLY time "little behind" and Dave Richard are used in the same sentence.) He still hasn't seen "Goodfellas" either. I'm not joking. And -- get this -- he was a film major in college. Irony, thy name is Dave Richard.

Corey Guerrera just mentioned he's going to the Mets/Marlins game this afternoon. He'll get to see Johan Santana in his Mets' debut. As a Mets fan, that's gotta have you pretty pumped. Remember Corey from our All-Time Mets Fantasy Team?

8:55 a.m.
We have Justin Upton projected for just 14 homers and 14 stolen bases this summer. Looking back now, I think we're shorting him a handful at least on both ends. He has been working on his base-stealing all winter, and as this young offense matures, he'll get more chances to steal a base successfully. Baseball Prospectus, one of the industry's best at forecasting numbers, has Upton hitting 37 doubles and 20 homers. They also have Conor Jackson slugging .493 (we have him at .447), with Mark Reynolds pounding out 28 homers (21 for us), and finally, Chris B. Young, according to BP, will rip 27 homers (30 for us). So you can take this from our projection comparisons -- the Baby D-Backs are going to be a much better offense this season.

Emack and I are doing video this morning for the first time in a couple years. We were so bad the first time, they run to find Amber Wilson, who's nearly as pretty as womanly as Emack. Don't worry, Amber's not gone! Get off the ledge! We're trying a point/counterpoint thing with Emack and I. Like, I'll say he looks silly with BBQ sauce on his face and he'll disagree. It should be entertaining. We've gotten a little better in our podcasts I think, so hopefully that will translate over to our on-camera presence.

At one point last night, Tim Hudson retired 19 straight batters. What their sexual preference has to do with anything, I don't know.

Like I said, Emack and I have done three other Opening Days together, and each time, we've tried to make it a little more special than on the other days. For the first couple days of March Madness, CBSSports.com provides subs and pizza for everyone, with cookies and ... I think there was even a pinata!!! For the first Sunday of the NFL season, the staff in the building is treated to barbecue and even more treats -- even pony rides! But for Opening Day in baseball, the only way CBSSports.com celebrates is that our bosses don't fart when they walk by our cubes.

So in the past, Emack and I have taken things into our own hands. We've grilled hot dogs, Italian sausages and brats out in the parking lot and offered them to our workmates in our own little Opening Day celebration. Most of the people though, would just ask, "You spit in this?" And they'd eventually say something like, "Opening Day for what?" I'm not sure what we're doing for lunch today though. I'm thinking microwaved hot dogs!!!

8:28 a.m.
Observations on some of last night's game --
  • Who's this Jones character with Atlanta? When was the last time we saw a Braves jersey with just "Jones" on the back? For those curious, Larry Jones' career season with the Braves was in 1999 when he hit .319 with 45 homers, 110 RBI, 116 runs scored, 41 doubles and even 25 stolen bases!
  • This time last year, Elijah Dukes was getting ready to hit two solo homers in his first two games for the (then-Devil) Rays, sending Fantasy owners into a tizzy trying to pick him up off waivers. Multiple threats to his baby mama and a trade to D.C. for an old Sega Genesis game (with NHL '95 and Bill Walsh College Football) later, and Dukes is on the DL with a tight hammy. So between Dukes and Wily Mo Pena (strained oblique), the Nationals have the hardest hitting LF triage in the majors.
  • Jon Rauch should now be in line for some saves with Chad Cordero coming up lame with a sore shoulder and a horribly unbent baseball cap. Former co-worker Brian Flood told me he spent several hours one day in 2002 waiting on Rauch, then a big-time starting pitching prospect with the White Sox, to show up on MLB's transaction call-ups, so he could pick him up before his opponents. Finally, in one of his first two outings, Rauch gave up eight runs on two homers in four innings against the Tigers. And so began Flood's drinking problem.
7:59 a.m.
Gooooooood morning to you, on Opening Day!
It makes me feel happy, it makes me feel gay!
Of course, I mean in a heterosexual way,
"Not that there's anything wrong with that," Seinfeld would say.


That's right, today's the day many will call in sick, coming up with a rare form of Opening-Day-itis (other forms include March-Madness Disorder and Got-Too-Drunk-After-First-MNF-Game). Emack and I will be sharing our fourth Opening Day together, which is pretty amazing considering I vowed to kill him years ago.

All day, I plan on blogging about games, life, baseball and our Fantasy staff. I already have my big coffee and blueberry bagel with cream cheese and I'm ready to rock. So keep coming back because I have a lot of people to make fun of.
Posted on: March 19, 2008 10:16 am
Edited on: March 19, 2008 4:56 pm
 

Things That Start With the letter 'B'

Beginning: I'm feeling a little hyper right now. Not sure why (two cups o' coffee so far, on my way for a third), but my readers should be the beneficiaries of my spazziness.


Baseball Boogie: Oh my dear sweet lord ... Have you seen the 1986 Dodgers doing the "Baseball Boogie"? If you have, and I'm late to the party, my apologies. But a writer for the Orange County Register discovered this YouTube gem, and he's been trying to get it shown to the current team, since some current Dodgers coaches were involved in the making of this video. Apparently, it was made on the heels of the Bears' Super Bowl Shuffle. Unfortunately, Orel Hershiser's efforts at rapping earned the '86 Dodgers just a fifth (out of six) place finish in the NL West. I had to put this piece at the top and separate it from the rest of these items. It was just too good (or bad).


Books: First -- I bought Sun Tzu's The Art of War, at Barnes and Noble last night. I've always wanted to read it, and I've often seen business writers reference it, as well as Fantasy writers. Pretty much, anything you can compete in, Sun Tzu's got your back. He's like the Bill James of killing other armies. Expect random references over the next week -- especially with Tout Wars looming just a couple days away. Secondly, I also purchased The Essential Stephen King, which ranks one of the greatest American writer's works 1-100. (I took a quick peek and he has It above The Stand at No. 1, which is pretty tough for me to swallow. This was also written in 2003, before King's greatest work, The Dark Tower series, was completed. It's No. 1 without question.

Brett Myers: The Phillies' ace from a couple seasons ago went seven innings on Sunday -- the longest outing of any pitcher this spring. Talk about stretching him out. We're talking about a guy that probably threw in more games, with fewer innings, than almost any starting pitcher last season. His return to the rotation is interesting. Charlie Manuel is, without question, one of the more "baseball-knowledgeable" managers in baseball. In other words, I don't think he's someone that goes off of numbers, but instead decades of experience and thousands of innings. But moving Myers from the rotation (spring of '07) into the bullpen (April of '07) and now back to the rotation (spring of '08) is scary for both his arm, his psyche and his Fantasy owners.

Brian Barton: The demotion of Colby Rasmus appears to have opened up a spot in the Cardinals' outfield for either Barton or Skip Schumaker. Barton is batting .349 with a .674 slugging percentage (second on the team behind Albert Pujols) and eight RBI. He's a Rule V pick, so he has a great chance of making the team. Power isn't his game, despite what his numbers suggest, but he has plus-speed (41 steals in the minors in '06) and NL-only owners should take notice.

Boogers: Should never be referred to as a good source of protein.

Bad March: Ichiro Suzuki now has just four hits in 38 at-bats (.105) and his OBP is just .146. I still say he's going to be fine for the season and unless he's hurt and not telling anyone, you're going to get him at a discounted price. Let's put this spring in perspective with a deeper look into the Japanese superstar's 2007 season:
  • He had at least four hits in five different games.
  • He had four hits total in his first three games.
  • He did not go hitless in any four-game stretch.
  • He had 76 games with two or more hits.
  • He had only 28 games with no hits.
  • In May and June combined, he had at least one basehit in 49 of 57 ballgames.
Big Red Machine: Two young Reds pitchers, strangely enough not named Homer Bailey, are tearing through opponents this spring. Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, aptly nicknamed the Dominican Dandies by the Cincinnati Enquirer, have a combined pitching line that looks like this: 26 IP, 8 ER, 2.77 ERA, 31 Ks, 7 BB, 0 HRA. Note that last statistic, since that could be one of the most important numbers for them pitching in tiny Great American Ball Park.

Batting leaders: Anyone notice that the batting leaders in the AL and the NL this spring both happen to be former Tampa Bay Rays? Josh Hamilton (.556) has been a beast for the Rangers so far, and Jorge Cantu (.457) appears to have locked down the third base job in Florida.

Bill James: It's spring training! It's baseball being reborn! It's time to hear from Bill James, one of the best baseball minds in recent history! Coincidentally, it's also time for Bill James to fill out his NCAA March Madness bracket. So as you watch your brackets get ready to bust, here's a good way for you to determine if a lead is safe during a basketball game.
  • Take the number of points one team is ahead.
  • Subtract three.
  • Add a half-point if the team that is ahead has the ball, and subtract a half-point if the other team has the ball. (Numbers less than zero become zero.)
  • Square that.
  • If the result is greater than the number of seconds left in the game, the lead is safe.
  • My Thoughts: Now, once you took the time to do all those calculations, look up. The game is probably over and your March Madness hopes are likely obliterated.
Beaten to the punch: I'm very upset with Scott White. He's become a LOST freak over the past year or so, watching past seasons over and over, trying to buy flights on Oceanic Airline's website, digging a hole in his cube and hiding contraband while calling himself Sawyer. He's pretty good with the theories and such, but he never made this connection: The Yankees and LOST. Before reading this, I want to mention that Scotty Blanco could do a MUCH better job than this schlub. Hopefully he'll regale us with his LOST theories soon.

Big bats force tough decisions: The Dodgers currently have a glut of talented outfielders, with Andruw Jones cemented in center field, the corner spots could be up for grabs, despite Juan Pierre's hefty contract. Matt Kemp (.310, 12 RBI) and Andre Ethier (.340, 5 HR, 13 RBI) are exploding this spring, and their bats could become more valuable to manager Joe Torre than Pierre's speed (plus he's hitting just .204 with a sad .271 OBP). Ethier has decent wheels as well, whereas Kemp can flat out crush it. All four of these outfielders are interesting Fantasy picks. I think Torre inquired about what it would take to get the NL to add a DH this season. Even Jason Repko is batting .343.

Bleeding ears of listeners: Here's a link to our podcast from Tuesday. Things you will hear: People named after cold weather clothing, Cueto/Volquez and Scott Kazmir.

Big-time help for readers: In the next few days, we are about to unveil a pet project of mine, along with superstar Dilbert look-a-like programmer Jason Fox, a weekly planner tool that you will come to rely on every week. I don't want to say too much about it, other than it will be the greatest thing since the invention of Chili-Cheese Fritos.

Being the guy that doesn't give up: Joe Nelson is still battling for a roster spot on the Marlins' 18th rebuilding effort. He's a 33-year-old reliever that has bounced around the country, mostly in the minors, for the past 12 seasons. He has missed all or parts of the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007 seasons with a couple shoulder surgeries and Tommy John surgery (which helped him meet his wife, a radiologist). The South Florida Sun-Sentinel did a piece on him today. "Rehabs aren't easy, but my friends are on me, telling me I don't really want to get a real job," Nelson said. "One day they are going to take the uniform away from me and you can't have regrets." He kinda makes me feel bad for asking for a pinch hitter last week in softball because "I was winded" after walking to the on-deck circle. Oh yeah, don't draft Joe Nelson. He stinks for Fantasy.

Best Fish on the mound this spring?: Chris Volstad is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA this spring for the Marlins. Last season, I listened to Marlins GM Larry Beinfast talk excitedly about the future of Volstad. The 21-year-old is a former first-round pick from South Florida, and the right-hander is having one of the best springs of any Marlins player, much less pitcher. An interesting quote in the Sun-Sentinel from manager Fredi Gonzalez about this Volstad and this rotation: "His age and inexperience does not enter into any of the discussions. He's showing good signs." I expect to see him return to Double-A to start the season, but the way this staff is set up, you can bet you'll see him on this side of June, so pick him as a reserve in NL-only Rotisserie league drafts.

Being B.J. Ryan's backup: Manager John Gibbons told the Toronto Star that Accardo will be called upon early in the season for saves until B.J. Ryan, who reported soreness after Monday's outing, is completely ready. "I told (Accardo), 'If B.J.'s here (on the active roster), he's not going back-to-back days. If he's not, then you're going to be the guy." We have Accardo projected at 15 saves, and we're taking into account some early chances, as well as some chances midseason if Ryan goes back on the DL. Accardo proved last season he can get the job done. He is one of just three pitchers to save 30 games that were not among the top 300 players drafted in mixed leagues last season. David Weathers and Kevin Gregg were the other two. Folks, you can pick up saves late. I promise. Remember, about a third of all saves recorded each season are from players that aren't drafted in a normal 23-round Rotisserie draft.

Bad practical jokers: Some of the Cubs' pitchers pulled a spring training prank on their strength and conditioning coach, Tim Buss. They demolished his car ... Ha.

Seriously, the windows were smashed in, the sides were all dented up and some bats and balls were shoved through the front windshield to indicate this wasn't just some random crime. Buss was quietly fuming and trying to figure out what he was going to tell his wife, who owned the '95 Nissan, while Jon Lieber came up and said, "It's a shame. What kind of person would do something like that? It really just shocks me. I'm sure she'll understand." Finally, after the guy's blood pressure hit red on the gauge, the pitchers took him to see his brand new '08 Nissan Xterra ... For the record, wouldn' t the story have been much better if he just went postal and took a bat to Lieber?

Birth, Separated at?: A reader, Ed Swierbinski, emailed me just now, to ask me if anyone has ever told me that I look like the detective on "Dexter." I have NOT heard that, although I have heard the following: Kevin James, James Gandolfini, and finally, "the fat guy from MAD TV" (Will Sasso). I'm thinking he didn't mean Erik King, but possibly -- David Zayas? He has a cool first name, that's fo sho! Outside of the fact that he looks cool, and I look like the guy that always asks for extra cheese -- I AGREE COMPLETELY! (And no, no one has ever told me that, but thanks!)

Back spasms and baseball: NOT SO FAST, MR. WOOD! The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Kerry Wood was scratched from Wednesday's spring training game because of lower back spasms. Manager Lou Piniella immediately went into defense mode, since he Wood was going to be their closer to start the season. "Look, we do have one setback with Kerry (Wednesday) -- his back is really, really stiff and he's not going to be able to pitch Wednesday," Piniella said. "It has nothing to do with his shoulder, or elbow, it's just with his back. He went to see a doctor, and hopefully we'll get him out there (Thursday) or the next day. It's just a little bit of a setback, but nothing, nothing serious. Just a minor thing that he goes through every spring." Isn't that the point though, that Wood has broken down over the past few seasons and injuries pile up? Won't a bad back affect his mechanics? "We have three people here that in my mind that can close and I'm very comfortable with," the manager said. Speaking of which, move Marmol up a couple spots on your closer rankings.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com