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Tag:Rangers
Posted on: May 26, 2008 10:29 am
Edited on: May 26, 2008 3:32 pm
 

Top 20 War Movies

After you stuff down an apple fritter and coffee while getting ready to barbecue up a storm on Memorial Day, here's my top 20 war movies to consider during Memorial Day (my rules are that they have to be about a modern day war, World War I to the present):
  1. The Great Escape -- Without question, greatest war movie ever made (and a true story). Great cast, excellent story.
  2. Saving Private Ryan -- Best battle scene ever in first 20 minutes.
  3. The Dirty Dozen -- We need more ensemble cast-epic movies like this one.
  4. M*A*S*H
  5. The Longest Day
  6. Kelly's Heroes -- Clint Eastwood, Don Rickles, Donald Sutherland -- you can't go wrong.
  7. Stalag 17 -- Precursor to "Hogan's Heroes."
  8. Schindler's List -- Just when you think you hate Nazis all you can, you watch this movie and hate them more.
  9. Full Metal Jacket -- Much like other war movies, it gets uninteresting once they leave boot camp.
  10. The Deer Hunter -- "You're just too good to be true ... Can't take my eyes off of you ... "
  11. The Big Red One -- Luke Skywalker and Lee Marvin? You can't miss.
  12. Von Ryan's Express -- Frank Sinatra's best movie everrrr.
  13. U-571 -- Watched it again a few weeks ago, it's still keeps you on the edge of your seat nonstop.
  14. Good Morning, Vietnam
  15. The Bridge on the River Kwai -- Best whistling movie everrrr.
  16. Platoon
  17. Apocalypse Now -- Not as big a fan of this as other people, to be honest.
  18. Heartbreak Ridge -- Clint Eastwood + Chet from Weird Science = Good times military movie.
  19. The Train -- Very underrated Burt Lancaster pic about the Nazis trying to steal French art on a train.
  20. Battle of the Bulge



Best nickname so far this season: Monster Max -- That's the tag given to Rangers' catching prospect Max Ramirez. He's tearing apart Double-A pitching with Frisco this season. He's batting .388 with 12 homers and 37 RBI in 46 games so far. He only went 1-for-7 with an RBI over the weekend, but he had a four-game home run streak active before Saturday's game at NW Arkansas. In his past 10 games, he's batting .424 with 11 RBI. He has a few players ahead of him in the organization (Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden), but his presence could help force a trade, whether it's himself or Teagarden. Something tells me the Rangers wish they got something else from Atlanta in exchange for Mark Teixeira. Salty could be good, but they look stocked behind the plate for a few seasons now.



In a sad note, Geremi Gonzalez was struck and killed by Lightning on Sunday in his native Venezuela. With Cory Lidle dying in a plane crash in October of 2006, and Joe Kennedy dying last November of natural causes, Gonzalez makes the third ex-Rays pitcher to die in the past 19 months. Gonzalez threw the pitch that broke Sammy Sosa's corked bat a few seasons ago.
Category: General
Posted on: May 22, 2008 10:12 am
Edited on: May 22, 2008 10:14 am
 

There Are No Songs About Thursdays

I'm guessing you were lazy and just drive through Burger King this morning, picking up a sausage/egg/cheese croissanwich, with hash rounds, coffee -- and an order of the Cinni-minis because you couldn't resist. Here's Your Morning Constitutional:
  1. A-Rod homers twice, gets credit for just one: Despite hitting two balls out of the park, Alex Rodriguez was rewarded with just one homer and a double (the ball bounced off some outfield steps before returning the field and unjustly credited as a double by the umps). My Tout Wars team was quite upset over the ruling. But he has four hits, two homers, four RBI and three runs scored in his two games since returning from his quad injury.
  2. Joba Chamberlain begins to get stretched out for the rotation: The big Nebraskan threw two innings Wednesday and the Yankees will try to give him more innings in each outing, but you have to expect he'll take a trip to the minors for a couple of starts. His ownership has gone up from 79 to 84 percent in CBSSports.com leagues.
  3. Jason Taylor's career in Miami is likely over: J.T. won't be attending team activities, which signals the end of his Dolphins career. I can hear the phone calls now from Bill Parcells to other teams: "Hey, remember when I laughed at you for that trade offer you made on Draft Day for Taylor? ... Well, I'll take it! And I'll get Tony Sparano to get an autographed pic of Sylvio for you as well." Way to get less for a commodity, Fins.
  4. The Falcons acquire Tony Gonzalez and Jamal Lewis in monumental day: This wide receiver and safety won't have the same effect as the more famous Tony Gonzalez and Jamal Lewis, but still! Someone wanted to play for Atlanta!?! That's a coup in itself.
  5. The Rays look good on the new cover of Sports Illustrated: Our media relations guy, Alex Riethmiller, texted me yesterday to tell me about the new cover of SI. It's in comic-book style, with a Rays player holding Derek Jeter over his head, with the headline, "Bizarro Baseball!" Then I went to SI.com to look at it yesterday -- and I couldn't find it on their site. Nice marketing, boys. It might be up there by now.
  6. One player hit by pitch, one pitcher hit by batted pitch: Chipper had to leave Wednesday's game after getting plunked in the right ankle, but he hopes to be able to play on Thursday in the series finale against the Mets. Chris R. Young took an Albert Pujols' line drive in the face and had to leave his start in the third inning. He's questionable for his next start Tuesday, so whoever might replace him could see a two-start week.
  7. Bartolo Colon takes a break from the buffet, pitches five innings vs. Royals for a win: After a long wait, we finally got to see Colon make his Red Sox debut -- allowing six hits, two runs and two walks in five innings against Kansas City Wednesday. His ownership has climbed up 19 percent in the past week to 67 percent. He'll be a two-start pitcher in Week 9 (at Seattle, vs. Baltimore).
  8. The 2008 American Idol winner is David ... : That's how many people's Tivo's cut off the end of last night's finale. Cook is the winner, while Archuleta goes back to being an expensive underperforming safety in my dynasty IDP league for the last season of my stupid four-year contract with him.
  9. Speaking of David's you care about: I'm doing well. The other David you care about, David Price, is set to make his pro debut Thursday night for Class A Vero Beach. He has battled shoulder issues and an elbow strain in recent weeks. He struck out 10 batters in five innings in an extended spring training game Sunday. He even struck out A-Rod -- and served up a homer to him. The Rays' pitching staff is currently deep, so they can afford to remain cautious with the No. 1 overall pick from 2007.
  10. Thomas Diamond pitches in a game for the first time in 14 months: The last remaining DVD prospect left in the Rangers' organization pitched 4 2/3 innings for Double-A Frisco Wednesday night. Diamond underwent Tommy John surgery early last season. He allowed six runs on four hits and four walks, to go with five strikeouts. He was hit hard in the first inning, which can be written off for nerves. He's a 25-year-old prospect that was a first-round pick in 2004. The Rangers named him their Minor League Player of the Year in 2005.
Posted on: March 17, 2008 10:07 am
Edited on: March 17, 2008 9:12 pm
 

It's 'MOCK' Madness ... not March.

Basketball!?! College Basketball!?! ... Never heard of it.

Today is our fourth or 12th installment of "Mock Draft MONDAYYYyyyyyy..." (you have to read it like a TV announcer falling down a well).

Emack and I took part in two mock drafts once again this afternoon, at 2pm ET., so come check out the new Mock Draft product.



Tout Wars: Battle of the Experts! I found out this past weekend that CBSSports.com will officially be hosting the Tout Wars experts leagues this season. This is my fourth season in the mixed league group. The AL league was detailed in Sam Walker's FantasyLand book. (If you still haven't read this, you're dead to me.)

Here's my review of FantasyLand from 2006:

When you think about it, what is Fantasy Baseball? Isn't it just the chance for an Average Joe to manage baseball players from a statistical standpoint, in hopes of proving their knowledge of the game by dominating other Average Joes?

What if that Average Joe had a chance to give his slumping players a pep talk? What if he had the opportunity to scout free agents in person or talk to the managers of opponents' players for possible trades?

Sam Walker did just that -- and then some. Fantasyland: A Sportswriter's Obsessive Bid to Win the World's Most Ruthless Fantasy Baseball League chronicles one man's hilarious quest for Fantasy Baseball dominance by using every available outlet at his disposal. That includes talking to players, scouts, managers and general managers as he attempts to win the Tout Wars, possibly the greatest of all Fantasy Baseball expert leagues.

This book is a wonderful read for any Fantasy enthusiast. Walker finally does what all of us wish we could. He takes you from spring training, to the auction, to the trade deadline, all the way through the final month of Fantasy play in a raucous ride that only Fantasy players would truly understand.

Walker, a sportswriter by trade with the Wall Street Journal, assembled a three-man team to attack the Tout Wars auction. He hired a grizzled Fantasy freak that went by the name Nando, along with a NASA biomathematician named Sig to crunch the numbers. Each member of this Fantasy triad brought special things to the table. Sig had the ability to run anything and everything through the computer for statistical analysis. Nando had the Fantasy experience to assist any new owner to a championship. And Sam had the connections with players, managers and scouts to help get the extra edge on the competition.

Sam, Sig and Nando -- that sounds like a fourth edition to The Lord of the Rings.

Walker also did his best to finally figure out which is more important: a scout's eye or a statistician's algorithms? Can a scout see something that the numbers don't already tell us and vice versa?

Do major leaguers care, or even know, about Fantasy Baseball? Walker talks to a number of players including Jacque Jones and the always entertaining David Ortiz. Big Papi even gives Walker Fantasy trade advice about one of his players -- him!

Not only is this book an incredibly entertaining read, but I guarantee it will actually help your own Fantasy game as you learn what some of the top Fantasy minds in the industry are thinking. He speaks candidly to a number of touts, including Ron Shandler, Jason Grey and Lawr Michaels, three names that have permeated the industry for several years.


Mark Reynolds has given up trying to become something he's not -- a patient hitter. In today's Arizona Republic, he talks how all spring he has been trying to cut down on his strikeouts, while working counts deeper. "I realized that's not me," he said. "I'm swinging at the first strike I see. Hanging curveball, hanging slider, fastball, whatever. That's what got me here, so I don't think I need to change it. I just realized, 'Why am I trying to change something that got me to the major leagues?' Strikeouts are going to be there. I've accepted it. I don't care what anybody writes about it or anybody says. It's just me." He poked 20 doubles, four triples and 17 homers in 366 at-bats (along with 129 strikeouts), and he proved early on that he has the power to help mixed league teams in all formats. Those strikeouts can hurt H2H players, but the extra-base ability should offset it in a full season.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes another '07 rookie that's ready for a huge sophomore season. Yunel Escobar hit his second homer of the spring on Sunday, and he's batting .473 with 12 RBI in the exhibition season so far. Hitting coach Terry Pendleton watched Escobar crush batting practice pitches out of the playing field before the game and commented, "He's strong as an ox." You like to hear similes like that for a player you can start at shortstop, second base and third base this year. I've mentioned in the past how the Braves are in love with this kid and that stud-SS prospect Brent Lillibridge has been forced to find a different path to the majors. If you miss out on the top shortstops, don't feel bad if you have to wait until the later innings and pick up someone as promising as Escobar.


Mark it down -- 12:25pm, Emack has already spilled a taco down the front of his shirt.


Roch Kubatko, one of the easiest names to slip off the tongue, is the Orioles beat writer for the Baltimore Sun. In today's blog, he noted that he thinks the Brian Roberts deal will still go down with the Cubs. He thinks Jay Payton comes along with Roberts, and that five players come back in return.

We know that some of the players mentioned on the way back to Baltimore include: RHPs Sean Gallagher and Jason Marquis, LHPs Sean Marshall and Donald Veal, and SS Ronny Cedeno. Emack and I were both surprised that Corey Patterson's younger brother, Eric Patterson, wasn't mentioned in the deal. He's a solid 2B prospect that would make sense in Baltimore's plans. But their intent on fortifying their pitching staffs in the majors as well as Triple-A mandates them seeking more arms. Don't expect ALL of those pitchers to go to Baltimore, but a combo of Gallagher/Marshall/Veal with Marquis, Cedeno and a throw-in makes sense. Remember that Marquis has been anything but graceful in his complaints about not being guaranteed a Cubs starting rotation spot. He is finally helping his case though, with a 2.00 ERA in nine spring innings (three appearances).



The Boston Globe put this schedule up Monday. It's possible that, depending on how your league is set up for the first week, that brand new daddy Daisuke Matsuzaka will get a super-rare three-start Fantasy scoring period in Week 1. Asterisks indicate the Globe's educated guess at the starting pitcher.
  • March 21: Red Sox vs. Hanshin Tigers (Japan) -- Clay Buchholz
  • March 23: Red Sox vs. Yomiuri Giants (Japan) -- Tim Wakefield
  • March 25: Red Sox vs. Athletics (Opener in Japan) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka
  • March 26: Red Sox vs. Athletics (Japan) -- Jon Lester
  • March 28: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition) -- TBA
  • March 29: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition @ LA Coliseum) -- TBA
  • March 30: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition) -- TBA
  • April 1: Red Sox at Athletics (Regular season) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka *
  • April 2: Red Sox at Athletics (Regular season) -- Jon Lester *
  • April 4: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- Clay Buchholz *
  • April 5: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- Tim Wakefield *
  • April 6: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- TBA (possibly Dice-K again)
  • April 8: Red Sox vs. Tigers (Home opener) -- TBA
I said it before, and I'll say it again -- this little trip is going to slow the BoSox down in April, so hit your fellow owners up for some trades for them in the last week of April.


Let's talk Reds pitching. You know you want to.

The Cincinnati Enquirer notes that manager Dusty Baker has all but engraved it in stone that youngsters Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez will be in the Reds' rotation out of camp. That means they'll likely join Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Josh Fogg in the starting five. Notice anyone absent from that group?

Last year's rookie sensation Homer Bailey has an ERA north of 8.00 after four spring appearances (10 2/3 IP). He has nine strikeouts, but eight walks as well. He could be looking at a Triple-A Louisville start to the season again, but don't dismiss him just yet. He could be their first call-up if an injury hits their staff. If you have any reserve space, he's worth a look.

Cueto has been great this spring, turning many heads with an aggressive approach on the rubber, but he got dinged up a bit Monday. More on that later.

It's Volquez, 24, that I want to discuss this afternoon. He came over from the Rangers, who had broken up their vaunted "DVD" prospect group last season when John Danks joined the White Sox (Thomas Diamond is still with Texas, but he's working his way back from Tommy John surgery).

Volquez was inconsistent in both '05 and '06 when he was called up, but he actually pitched well for the Rangers last season, allowing more than three earned runs in only two of eight starts. But this spring, he has been a man possessed.
Volquez has a 3.46 spring ERA after Sunday's five shutout innings against the Phillies' A squad. He threw 69 pitches, 46 of which were for strikes.

When looking at spring stats, one of the first things you take note of on a pitcher -- especially a young one -- is his walks compared to his strikeouts. With just three walks -- and 19 strikeouts -- in 13 innings, Volquez has kept critics at bay. The Reds traded Josh Hamilton for him (with super-OF prospect Jay Bruce waiting in the wings), and it's known that a hitter's ballpark like Cincinnati's can wreak havoc with a young pitcher's confidence. But since Volquez is used to bandbox-itis, coming over from Rangers Park in Arlington, he should be a little more ready than a younger pitcher coming from a different team.

"They're (Volquez and Cueto) pitching like they belong alongside Harang and Arroyo in the rotation," Baker said. "They're dealing. They came in ready to pitch. They played Winter Ball, so they're ahead -- not so much with velocity but with command. That's what you need. They're pounding the strike zone. If you walk people, you have no chance. If you get behind people, you have a little chance."

But there's a reason the Rangers gave him up for an outfielder (and it's not like the Rangers have great pitchers coming out of their ears). Opposing hitters were batting .329 against Volquez, so let's not make him a 15th-round draft pick in mixed leagues just yet. He's someone to think about in keeper leagues though because when he's on, he can rack up Ks, and the Reds' lineup should get him some wins.

For the Rangers, they hope Josh Hamilton's troubles are behind him, of course, but also that he can fit in with the Rangers and not necessarily have the same problems he had in Cincinnati, where rumors circulated that his special treatment and brash attitude were resented by the veterans.

Considering that Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Ian Kinsler attended a news conference in which Hamilton discussed his trials and tribulations with drug abuse, and that Kinsler later asked him to join him for dinner, things seem to be going well. Hamilton said that's the first time a professional teammate has ever extended that courtesy. Now, he's playing video games with Kinsler and Jason Botts.

How's he doing this spring? Well, he's hitting .600 in 12 games, with two homers and 12 RBI. Remember that this is the first spring training he has ever been to in which he already has a job secured. His spring OPS? 1.747. "I don't feel like I have to make the team," Hamilton told the Dallas Morning News. "And when you feel more relaxed, it leads to more confidence and a better approach."

Hamilton enters spring like a lion (he hit .407 in Reds' camp last season) and he could be a solid No. 4 outfielder in mixed leagues this spring.

The Morning News' Evan Grant, another one of my favorite beat writers, notes that Hamilton's batting practice rounds have become legendary already. "From batting practice to the field, it's just amazing," backup CF Marlon Byrd said. "I've never seen a spring like this. You always wonder about players like Vladimir Guerrero and Alex Rodriguez and what it was like seeing them as young players in the spring, and then seeing what they became. If Josh stays on the field 150 to 155 games, there is no reason he shouldn't put up MVP type of numbers."

"It's an absolute joke," Rangers starter Kevin Millwood said about Hamilton's ability. "He doesn't swing at a single bad pitch, and he doesn't miss anything he swings at."

 

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