We have established that the Padres are the front runners for the worst team in the NL West, but I could be wrong. I have been
before, just ask my girlfriend. However, assuming I am right we must look into where the other teams in the division fall into place…
With the Dodgers ability to potentially re-sign Manny and their impressive post-season play last year, I cannot fathom power ranking them 4th. Many would naturally expect the San Francisco Giants to assume this poll position, however I am optimistic for this ball club to make improvements from 2008. I believe the team that deserves to occupy the 4th place power rank in the West is a team that will not be celebrating Holidays this year…wait, I mean Holliday.
Lets take a team that finished at .500 from last year and see what happened to them in the off-season. They lost blue-chip sensation, Matt Holliday in a trade to give them financial wiggle room as well as speedster Willy Tavaras and closer Brian Fuentes to free agency. Bummer. What did the Rockies recover from these losses? Some money and Huston Street, the young closer from Oakland. I like Street’s potential, however, the Rockies already have a useable closer in Manny Corpas so I can’t help but feel that they put their eggs in the wrong basket when trading away Holliday. Why didn’t they go for a marquis pitcher to aide their stomach churning rotation? Speaking of which…
The Rockies arms have to be amongst the bottom 7 in the MLB. I suppose they consider their ace Aaron Cook who had a good first half of last year, but proceeded to play like a skunk for the rest of the season. The rotation is followed by Jeff Francis and Franklin Morales who both battle injuries of sorts and neither may play this season. Ubaldo Jimenez could help the team out if he strays from his 100+ walks from last year and newcomer Jason Marquis may become something good, but has a lot to prove getting his first chance as a starting pitcher. For a team that plays 80-some-odd games in a stadium notorious for it’s home run hitting ease, this rotation has to be scaring the pants off everyone in Colorado.
Aside from Garret Atkins being a totally overrated bust, the Rockies don’t look too shabby in the field. There is power behind (SS) Troy Tulowitzki and (RF) Brad Hawpe and breakout potential behind (C) Chris Iannetta. The rest of the filed doesn’t necessarily dazzle or disappoint. If and when Todd Helton realizes that he is going to be 36 years old this season Colorado may start to dip in offensive production.
Plain and simply, you can get away with crappy pitching if you have a line-up like the Yankees but you can’t if you’re the Rockies. They have lost speed and power and are getting older at the corners. They will put up a fight within the middle of the pack of the NL West, but when the season is over you will see them in the 75 wins range…and occupying 4th place in their division.
And THAT’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
The magic number is 41.
And I’m not referring to Hall of Famer Tom Seaver who sported the number on his jersey. This is how many days are left until the first pitch will be thrown out across America and every baseball fan across our great nation will rejoice in the commencement of a new season.
For me, a new season is synonymous with a new year. A time for new goals and resolutions. A time in which anything is defined as ‘possible.’ Even the most lackluster teams from the previous year stand a chance as different acquisitions throughout the off-season have been made, injuries have been treated and the proverbial ‘slate’ has been wiped clean. On the contrary, the biggest threats from previous seasons have to enter on a new stage in an effort to remain the force that they have been in seasons past and reprove themselves again.
Although the race is addictive to watch in all divisions I am particularly interested to see what will transpire in the NL West this season. The West presents a more opened door for the division than it has in years past and there is clearly no forerunner or favorite as there are in other divisions.
The universal fight over Manny Ramirez is incessant and driving me crazy. I go to bed every night praying that someone will offer him the 3rd year he desires in his contract so I can wake up the next morning a NEVER hear about it again. If he finds a home in the NL West, with the Dodgers for another year OR in rumored San Francisco, the division will become slightly weighted. Nonetheless, the division presents to the league an interesting race to follow.
Check in during the following weeks as I dissect the NL West and allow you to take a scientific look into the division’s teams. We will look at strengths, weaknesses and other variables that might allow us to answer the question, “Who looks to be the favorite in the NL West?”
Holler Back. StatDragon.
According to Big Papi, the lefty says he’s far from sloppy. He had a few choice words to say about steroids and those people who think he’s old at the age of 33. Oh Papi, I’m with you my man, let’s get the bat going, see some sun and maybe bring back an old friend.
When asked about steroids Ortiz spoke out and said; “I would suggest everybody get tested, not random, everybody,” “You go team by team. You test everybody three, four times a year and that’s about it.”
If the tests proves positive Ortiz said,”Ban ’em for the whole year.”
It makes sense in my eyes. Rid the game of the continued users and only allow the clean players a chance to play. The 50 game bans didn’t send a powerful enough message. They allowed the player to rejoin the team after the games were played and remain a name in the game. It’s just a logical, forceful approach to clean up the tarnished image and right the wrong. I know we’ve had plenty of steroid talks but it’s time you face the issue and clean it up. As Jonny Dakota was supposed to say on Saved by the Bell, “There’s no hope with dope.” Jonny (TV star)was actually doing the drugs in the episode, you could say acting like an A-Rod for Bayside students. Endorsing the game and pretending to be an activist in the fight. Let’s hope with his message, Papi has steered away from the dope. In a Bayside world Papi would say, “In one word, would I do dope? Nope.” Yes, I compared steroids in baseball to a Saved by the Bell episode, but don’t worry he’s Big Papi not Wicked Big Papi.
I’m just hoping he comes up wicked big this season. After a sub par 2008 season, Papi’s got his confidence and swagger back this according to him. He’s lost 15 pounds going into Spring Training and looks noticeably fit. People have been saying he’s too old and he’s on the downfall of his career, well don’t tell him that. “Sometimes I listen to comments and it just does nothing but make me stronger,” don’t mess with the bull, here come the horns. He needs to produce in order to get these Sox deep in the pennant run. Papi spoke out about getting another power hitter to help in the middle of the lineup. When the name Manny popped up, of course he said “Why not?”
Let’s hope what Papi’s preaching all comes true. From 1-year bans for steroid use, no pains in the wrist and a power hitting display fueled by media hatred in 2009. According to Papi we’re in for some changes in the game but hopefully a rebirth of his ongoing legend.
Hey National fans, Christmas has come early this year because you just signed Adam Dunn!
Before being traded to Arizona last season, the 29-year-old left-handed free agent outfielder (1B?) had played every game of his career with Cincinnati, after having been drafted by Reds (led by then Cincy GM Jim Bowden) with the 50th overall pick in the 2nd Round on the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft. Dunn debuted with Cincy three years later on July 20, 2001, and over 8 seasons has averaged 29 doubles, 42 HR’s, 96 RBI’s, 114 walks and 118 K’s per 162 games played. Not shabby. I’m not a huge fan of the whiffing statistic, but the rest I’ll take…. however, some feel differently about Dunn’s arrival. The Washington Times’ Thom Loverro referred to National’s GM Jim Bowden’s policy as “…running a welfare hotel for Cincinnati rejects and refugees.”
Due to a poor track record of signing players for too much/too long, Washington didn’t offer Dunn the BIG the big dollars he was seeking for in the open market. This is proven in the way that he “sat” on the Nationals’ offer for a longer than appropriate period. During this time the Natty’s front office held their ground and remained steadfast. Now Washington has found their seat-seller in Dunn, and you have to give it them for signing him for 2 years at $20 M. The Nationals got the offensive power they were looking for, without breaking the bank. Now they are in a position to deal for whatever else it is they think they need heading into the ’09 season, which many expect will be in the starting rotation or bullpen.
Here’s the kicker, the Nationals don’t lose a draft pick since Arizona traded for Dunn late last season and didn’t offer him arbitration. The signing doesn’t hinder the DC system’s development. The price tag of 2-years and $20 million dollars doesn’t seem outrageous. Even though he has been dubbed a “strikeout machine” you must acknowledge that he knocks himself in for 40 of every 100 RBI’s. He’s an offensive weapon that DC has been missing since Alfonso Soriano left the capital.
Does the recent news in Washington enable the Nationals to become a legit threat in the NL East, or potentially in the Wild Card race? What moves will have to be made with money left in the bank? Will Dunn play first or left? Well…seems we already have the answer to that. Undoubtedly answers will be revealed to us in the upcoming months.
“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Peter Gammons in an exclusive interview held today.
“Back then, [baseball] was a different culture,” claims A-Rod. “It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”
Alex Rodriguez’s admission is politically well-timed, as it comes 48 hours after Sports Illustrated confirmed A-Rod was apart of the 100 plus MLB players who tested positive for illegal substances in 2003.
In true fashion of professional athletes who are found guilty of such treachery, Rodriquez claimed that he did NOT know what exactly he was taking at the time. I find this bypassing comment to resemble former President Clinton’s “I never inhaled,” excuse. Look Alex, whether or not you knew the exact NAME of the drugs you were consuming, you still knew you were doing something wrong.
In a world where the economy is faltering, people are losing their jobs and familes are being put on the streets, Alex Rodriguez has enjoyed the fruits of the largest contract in MLB history ( $252 M ). He was able to attain this astronomical salary through the aide of illegal drugs and for that he should feel regretful.
A-Rod alleges that he only took anabolic steroids during a few years with the Texas Rangers and that he has remained clean for his career in New York. I suppose that it’s just a matter time until this lie is revealed to us as well.
To view the exclusive interview click here to watch it at sportsfly.com the emerging leader in sports games and news.
And THAT’S what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!
The steroid ship sailed for me about four years ago. At that point, I dropped my Bob Costas “For the Love of the Game” naivete and began thinking anyone in the game could have been a user. No discrimination, no hesitation. I viewed steroids and PED’s in baseball in the same way I viewed cocaine use in the mid-1970s. Everyone was doing it, so don’t judge individuals. Instead judge the era. The latest A-Rod information isn’t such a big deal except for people who still thought of A-Rod as the savior who was going to erase the villainous Barry Bonds from the National Pastime’s ledger. Well, too bad, and you folks who villify Bonds had better start spreading the hate around.
From day one, Barry Bonds has been the prime target. Even Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro, and Sosa have gotten treated with kid gloves compared to Barry Lamar. Now Barry’s buddy A-Rod should share some heat. But, instead of spreading the heat I suggest going to the source. The source, you ask? The source is one George Walker Bush. Liberal cynicism? Nope. Kicking the cowboy while he’s down? Nope. Think about it. Who stood up in front of the nation and gave Major League Baseball the come to Jesus talk as a part of the State of the Union address? It was one, George Walker Bush. Yet, which organization was at the forefront of steroid use when the era began in the mid-1990s? The Texas Rangers. Who was running the Texas Rangers at the time Canseco, Juan Gone, and Raffy Palmeiro were sticking each other in the booty? That’s right, George Walker Bush. Bush’s political legacy will take generations and gallons of “white out” to fix. His social legacy needs to suffer as well. How is the guy who “cowboyed” up to hunt down drugs in baseball going to be the actual source of the problem? That shows how ridiculous this issue is. The steroid ship has sailed. Let’s sink it at sea and just admit that baseball has been screwed up for a long time. Stop this damn posturing about who gets into the Hall of Fame. If cats from this tainted era have the numbers, put them in the Hall. Don’t sit there and not vote for McGwire because he didn’t say anything. Do you want a Hall of Fame filled with Melky Cabrera’s and Steve Finley’s? Vote for McGwire. Vote for Bonds. Vote for A-Rod. But first vote for Pete Rose. If not, the Hall will end up looking lamer than it already does.
FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!
Roger Clemens’ legacy sports more tarnish than a Rodin sculpture left out in the Paris weather for 150 years, but the latest revelations from Tom Verducci and Joe Torre’s book “The Yankee Years” are just way too much information. For years Clemens’ workout regimen was put on the pantheon of athletic asceticism alongside Jerry Rice and Walter Payton. “The Yankee Years” may have just revealed how weird a guy Roger Clemens is and odd effects steroids can contribute to deranging an already slightly deranged mind. In the book, Clemens pregame ritual on pitch days was revealed. Steve Donahue, Yankees trainer, claimed that on pitch days Clemens would start by taking a whirlpool bath in scalding hot water. Donahue said that Clemens would emerge “looking like a lobster.” Okay, that’s not too weird. Slightly masochistic, yes, but not altogether weird. Clemens would then have Donahue take the hottest liniment and rub it into his testicles. You read it right. Rub it into his testicles. Donahue continued to say that Clemens would “snort like a bull” and that was the sign he was ready to pitch. Weird.
Clemens’ fall from grace doesn’t need anymore coverage, and getting liniment rubbed into his nuts may just be par for the course. Instead, let’s think about poor Steve Donahue. How many kids dream about wearing the famed pinstripes when they grow up? How many of those kids actually realize that dream? Steve Donahue realized the dream, donned the pinstripes, and once he made the big leagues he ends up rubbing Tiger Balm on the Rocket’s testes. At that price, you can keep the pinstripes. He might as well be in prison and Clemens was his “big brother.”
Imagine going home at night, washing your hands for 2 hours only to have your wife or girlfriend say “how was work…what did you do today?”
“Oh, same ol’ same ol’. I did some therapy on Giambi’s mustache, did rehab work with Hideki, and then rubbed some liniment on Clemens’ genitalia.”
“Isn’t that a little gay?”
“Yeah, a little bit, but he’s the Rocket.”
“Did you touch his rocket?”
“No, baby that’s just gross…strictly the nuts.”
That conversation can’t ever go well. Sorry, Steve Donahue did you not ever see that Beverly Hills 90210 episode where they teach about “No Means No”? Rub your own testes. That should be a rule across society. Rub your own testes.
FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!
Mark McGwire did steroids. We know this. This isn’t a big deal anymore. Silence is admission of guilt, and when was the last time you heard Mark McGwire speak? That’s right, it was when he pleaded the fifth like a Chappelle’s show skit. Well, in a story that’s about as tired and used up as a hooker at a 1994 house party at Michael Irvin’s house, Mark McGwire’s younger brother Jay is making headlines (more like footnotes) with a proposed book that details brother Mark’s steroid use. Big whoopty-do. It should be noted that Jay and Mark are estranged and Jay claims that he introduced Mark to ‘roids after Mark saw Jay win a bodybuilding contest. Jay’s looking for a payday and that’s where the FlyMaster’s ire gets raised.
Assaults on filial piety, the sanctity of the family, and sibling bonds are the lowest of the low. Rats are dealt with pretty severely in prison, and thus they should be karmically retributed against with the utmost impunity when they betray their family. All families bicker, fight, become estranged, burn each other’s houses, beat each other’s puppies, but that all stays in the family. That’s rule number one. Jay McGwire broke the golden rules of being a family member and in his meager attempts to capitalize on his brother’s demons only make him a demon of higher caliber. What’s next, Jay? Are you going to rat out your other brother Dan, one of the worst NFL QB busts in the last 30 years, for being a hideously bad gunslinger who was a product of the San Diego State offense of the late 1980s? You jerk!
Please allow the FlyMaster to make an open statement to the FlySister. FlySister, if you ever rat me out on all the ridiculously dumb, dimwitted, nefarious stuff the FlyMaster is responsible for the FlyMaster will find you. Find you he will. However, if you choose to write some memoir of FlyMaster’s foibles please ask for more than $100K, although I doubt you’d receive more than $4 bucks, a six pack of Pabst, and some gummy bears. But, on the real side, the FlySister understands this agreement as an unsaid code of siblings. That’s what makes Jay McGwire even more of a douchetard. He didn’t even realize the idiocy and ignorance of his actions. Remember people, nothing is more important than maintaining belief in your family members even if they’re a walking petri dish of HGH, horse testosterone, and cow urine. Back acne and rages aside, he’s still your brother.
FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!
The 2009 MLB Hall of Fame class will be announced later today and one thing is for certain; Mr. Rickey Henderson’s name will be announced. Thank the heavens. The numbers don’t lie. First in all-time runs. First in all-time steals. First in leadoff homers. First in third person references. Before Rickey, the word “I” was the most common word used by athletes. Now the time has come to salute Rickey.
Without Rickey’s groundbreaking reconstruction of the English language by means of shunning the first person where would the sports world be? Bo Jackson would have just been a stuttering bull from the Deep South had Rickey not paved the way. Manny Being Manny? Rickey Being Rickey is the only “being” that matters. Put all of the on-the-field excellence Rickey exuded aside and ponder how it really feels when someone you’re speaking to refers to themself in the third person. It’s quite odd, and furthermore, it’s a little intimidating. When a person answers a question in the third person it completely removes the question asker from the conversation. Thus, it is no longer a conversation, but instead a monologue of the most disassociated sense. Example: “How’ve you been?” “FlyMaster’s been working on his type speed and FlyMaster’s font choices are improving.” See, that just sounds cool, yet removed.
Rickey’s gifts to our cultural lexicon do not end with his mastery of the third. No, he also made the non sequitor, the double entendre, malapropisms, and syllogistic arguments forms of art. From standing in his New York condo and saying he could see the “Entire State Building,” to telling the A’s “if you want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I’ll play like Mike Gallego,” Rickey channeled the best of Ty Cobb and Jean-Paul Satre. A philospher capable of creating poignancy from simplicity. Who can’t appreciate a man who would stand in front of the mirror, nude and repeating “Rickey’s the best” for several minutes with the asceticism of St. Augustine before games. That, my friends is a higher calling. Rickey’s philosophical genius bears itself in his reaction to becoming Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout victim. After fanning Rickey said “Ryan just blew it by me, but it’s an honor….Rickey will have another paragraph in the baseball books….Rickey already is in there three or four times.” Genius, plain and simple.
Here’s to the greatest leadoff player in history, the first left fielder to be inducted since Yaz, the man who could not recognize John Olerud after playing with him on two teams, and the “symbol of great base stealing.” All hail Rickey. Rickey hail Rickey. FlyMaster can’t wait for the Hall of Fame speech.
FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!
OK. 2008 didnt see the Football Huskies tally another National Championship, nor did it showcase the Mariners coming back from 2 games to none to send the Yankees home from the playoffs, or did the Seahawks go undefeated at home en route to another Super Bowl shot….but, what it did provide was a miserable, cellar-dweller, across the board, display of mediocrity from the entire line of Seattle based sports teams. But! I have also spent the last 8 years watching a certain President drive our economy into the ground, pick fights with every country but Canada, and pile-drive the morale of American citizens. And what happened next? HOPE. Yes, hope…as in Barack Obama…as in no more Bush….as in better and more opportunity.
The pieces are in place for the city of Seattle to rise up and bring respectability back to a city of higher standards. Like the Huskies football team, the Seattle Supersonics (remember them), and the Seattle Storm* of the WNBA, we will look at how and why each franchise/college team has a shot at bringing home the gold.
(* means “nobody cares”)
Let’s not forget that the Mariners were fighting for the AL West title just 2 years ago. The only true losses from that team are Raul Ibanez and Jose Guillen, but the youth and the addition of Erik Bedard make this team as talented if not more than ’07. Seattle has the best leadoff man in baseball, has the $$$ to sign Griffey as the DH, an onslaught of talented young catchers and pitchers, highly touted infielders Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez, a charismatic young GM and a new Manager that brings winning experience by way of Oakland and Anaheim (I refuse to play the “Los Angeles of “game). Prediction: 84-78 record, Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow and Felix Hernandez become All-Stars and the AL West was in reach until Bedard got hurt.
In 3 seasons with Atlanta, Jim Mora Jr. was 26-22 building around the anti-christ to animal rights activists, Vick, and establishing a top running game. Why is this relevant? Mora not only has Hasselback at QB, but has the speedy and creative Seneca Wallace to work with. Seattle also has an army of “C” class RB’s to work, similar to what Mora had in Atlanta, but made successful. The defense boasts Pro Bowlers Patrick Kerney, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu, and Julian Peterson and have all intentions to add a high-profile free agent, probably a safety (Jermaine Phillips, Kerry Rhodes) or DT (Albert haynesworth, Tommie Harris)…, OR, how about bolstering the offense (Fred Jackson, Derrick Ward or maybe T.J Houshmandzadeh)???
The Seahawks boast arguably the best OT in the history of football (Walter Jones) and have a decent rest of O-line, when healthy. The receiving corps clearly needs an upgrade, even without the injuries, fortunately, Seattle has the 5th overall pick…Michael Crabtree! If we cant sign Jackson or Ward as free-agent RB’s, I have no problem with taking Chris Brown of Oklahoma with the 5th pick in the 2nd round. The talent is there, Paul Allen has the money, and the Seattle fans believe…it is all up to Mora to put it all together. Projection: 12-4, loss in the NFC Championship. Seriously.
Washington Huskies – football:
Jake Locker has the running ability, energy and potential leadership ability of Tim Tebow…unfortunately has the passing ability mostly likened to Garo Yepremian. But wait, in comes Steve Sarkisian, the former offensive coordinator and QB coach at USC, having developed Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert, Matt Cassel, John David Booty and Mark Sanchez. Couple this dynamic with WR D’Andre Goodwin, OLB Donald Butler, DT Alameda Ta’amu and a solid Offensive Line, and the Huskies could turn in and 5 to 6 win season.
Washington Huskies – basketball:
As of this moment, the Huskies are 12-3, 2-0 in the Pac-10 and undefeated in 2009. Jon Brockman is a beast down low, and the trio of Isiah Thomas, Justin Dentmon, and Quincy Poindexter get shots up. There is no reason that the Huskies cant make a serious run at the Tournament this year. Projection: 22-9 in regular season (12-6 vs Pac-10), should win 2 games in the Pac-10 tournament (24-10), that is worthy of a 8-11 seed in the NCAA 64. I’ll take it!
All in all, this is a good year. Each team has a reasonable shot to bring home a crown, although my personal projections dont allow any of them to deliver this year…but in 2010, it will happen!