Saturday, April 30, 2011

BEN ZOBRIST -- My Player of the Week

Yes, it's Zorilla, Ben Zobrist, for finding himself, his swing, his place (anyplace & everyplace) on the field, for giving all the credit to #TheLegendofSamFuld, and for single-handedly yanking my three fantasy teams out of their respective dumpsters and winning their match-ups this week. Well, I don't exactly know yet, but at least one -- RAYRAYS -- will snap a bad 0-4 start streak, which is long overdue. Speaking of Long Overdue, the guy who wouldn't trade me Evan Longoria dumped him the other day & I'm hoping to get him off waivers so he'll be all mine when he gets back in the rotation, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Then I'll be long Longoria.

Manny might return to play winter ball

Wonder if Alex's cousin runs the testing lab? Ouch! Zing! Just go away already.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great Big Games, James!

Complete games. Complete control. Under 100 pitches. Over the top!  And AL Player of the Week. Ray ON!

It's official: MLB & SI know the Legend of Sam Fuld

Short'n'sweet: Fulds'n'Shields

Lovely story here and here about the guy... just slightly overshadowing James Shields' 2 complete games in a week and the team getting to .500 after that abysmal start. Ray ON!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mo Physics

The Baseball Tonight gang on the ESPN pre-game did a break-down with 8 by 10 full color glossies and video of Mariano Rivera's pitches and arm angles and how the spin affects the air pressure, which determines where and when it breaks. Also that it's hard to tell which pitch he's throwing because his arm angle has less than a 3-degree variation and it's too late to swing by the time the batter figures it out. I can't find the presentation online, but this Yankee blog-meister has most of it right here. Fascinating to see where the magic lies. (The commentators said they showed the piece to Mariano before the game and he thought it was pretty much gibberish. Said he just picks up the ball and throws it. Hahahahahahaha!)

cut fastball

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rays beat TC at the Trop on Damon's 2-run walk-off HR

Damon gets pie-d. Shields solid. Joyce hits. Fuld rules. Morneau returns. Mauer goes on DL.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Twitter Groundswell

The Legend of Sam Fuld lives on!

What? Just because the guy hit for the megacycle, made some more of those killer catches, in his old stomping grounds (Fenway) in front of gathered friends and family, now gathering steam as the Manny replacement?

Stanford, married, diabetic, cute, blue-eyed, New Englander, statistician, dad, and very cool baseball player.

(Because Superman sleeps in Sam Fuld t-shirts.)
So, not really missing Manny anymore, who cares, got me a new LF, who's keener than you.

Won again tonight, only by one, but Farnsie & Peralta held it together for DavidPrice. Loved Damon's smile to the cameras as he trotted around the bases at Fenway, 1st pitch HR off Dice-Man (now he's on ice, man.)

Yanks rained out.  Feels great to be out of the basement.

Monday, April 11, 2011

16 - 4 and a star is born

Rays needed this win bad:

             1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9     R  H E
Rays (2-8)   1 6 0 1 1 3 0 0 4    16 20 1

RSox (2-8)   0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1     5 10 1

In my fantasy teams, most of which contain Sam Fuld, he himself scored 34.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spectacular Sam Fuld catch Saturday

Play of the year, web gem, saved an inside the park HR.  Actually, Dewayne said it would have been an inside the park grand slam. Whoa. Amazing. Video at this link.
This guy's terrific, came over for Garza, who was beaten badly today. Nice Jewish boy, cute, smart, blue-eyed. Putting him on all my fantasy teams.

Here's the thing... then this other thing

UpdateMarc Topkin in Tampa reports: "Because Ramirez retired, the Rays paid only $87,912 of his $2 million salary."  Not a bad gig.

I am resisting this reality so much, even though several unnamed sources said it was definitely a PED. Even with all his past hijinks & personality quirks, I did not think he was so stupid or arrogant. That's why I kept thinking it was a different type of drug. I'm letting go of the viagra explanation too.   Probably because I was looking forward to him helping my team. If he had no more pop, then that's one thing. To show yourself to be a stupid idiot is another. And I hate being duped by someone I "trusted."  If I'm so messed up about it, the guys in the locker room must really be off-balance (which shows in their hitting).
It didn't have to be roids. It could have been pot, or heroin, or simple possession or failure to show up. Or Sudafed or an anonymous tip from someone in the AL East who might not want the Rays to win this year.

Here's the MLB drug policy, according to Wikipedia.
Under the policy, all players are prohibited from using, possessing, selling, facilitating the sale of, distributing, or facilitating the distribution of any Drug of Abuse and/or Steroid. Any and all drugs or substances listed under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act are considered drugs of abuse covered by the Program.
So basically, you're toast if you do anything with anything, even if your legit doctor prescribes it legitimately for you (cf. Pettitte's elbow healing shot). I notice really a lot of anti-diarrheals on the list. Something seems weird here... Manny is not really that stupid a guy.

One story I read said that Manny came to camp really buff. He had to have had a physical by the Rays and a drug test before they contracted to pay him $2M.  He could not have completely revamped his body between 1/22/11, when the deal was announced and 2/14/11 (or so) when Spring Training started. So he was rebuilding at the end of 2010, hoping to get a job, then got one; Rays would have tested him for the contract. Then everyone gets tested once during Spring Training, especially people who have been in The Program. So either someone wanted him out, or the THC didn't clear his pee in time.

I could easily see it not being a PED (he was already having an abysmal season, so no enhancement there), but being something else, and his not wanting to deal with any of it anymore.  Oh, wait, look what I just found at ESPN Desportes:
By Enrique Rojas  ESPNdeportes.comBOSTON -- Los medicamentos que consumió para mejorar el rendimiento sexual después de someterse a una vasectomía en noviembre pudieron tener un rol en el positivo a sustancias que condujo al sorpresivo retiro del béisbol de Manny Ramírez, dijo a una fuente relacionada al pelotero.
"Manny se sometió a una vasectomía para no tener más hijos. El procedimiento ocurrió en noviembre", dijo la fuente.
"El inconveniente fue que la operación afectó en parte su capacidad para tener relaciones sexuales adecuadas y entonces se sometió a un tratamiento con medicamentos que contienen sustancias que están prohibidas por el béisbol", agregó la fuente. 
(Translation by Google:)  BOSTON - The drugs consumed to enhance sexual performance after a vasectomy in November could have a positive role in the substance that led to the surprise retirement Baseball Manny Ramirez told a source connected to player. "Manny underwent a vasectomy to avoid having more children. The procedure took place in November," said the source."The downside was that the operation affected in part their ability to have good sex and then underwent treatment with medicines that contain substances that are prohibited by baseball," the source added.
Can't really blame the guy for not wanting to parade this in public. And he's choosing sex over beisbol ... and the Hall of Fame. I can dig it. I'm going with this explanation.  

(Ok, I posted on the Baseball Nerd's blog. Why should I be the only one to know this?)

Friday, April 8, 2011

You never forget your first...

Rays 9, White Sox 7

Happier w/o MR?

Manny Whammy

Manny out, Kotchman in. This is so weird.  I want details. Pot, HGH, Sudafed? What was the drug issue? It sure wasn't anything that was helping him in the 2011 season.  Or was it guilt that spooked his swing? WTF is going on here?  After his initial humiliation -- and I do believe he was humiliated -- I was sure he wouldn't stray again. He's too talented a batter. Ortiz ever been tested?

The Times says he was positive during spring training, says they have two sources sourcing this.

Ramirez retires.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Advice for Carl

Beware of what you want,
For you shall have it,
And it will fhuck you up.

Carl, take the money, see the shrink. You were a big fish in a small pond, empty Trop, now you're a small fry with a big pot in screaming Fenway, where the fans are the worst. You're trying to earn your pay, but you already did. You're worth it, it's okay to be paid what you're worth. No need to punish yourself for selling the f*ck out, though I personally think you would have fit better with the Angels. Got that Eastern Division jones goin' on, though. It happens. And your catch in the All-Star game will always be there.

"Batting Averages"

Carl Crawford = .133
Derek Jeter = .167
Manny Ramirez = .063
Johnny Damon = .071
!! BJ Upton = .313 !!

Didja need some more spring training?

Soriano's in for it...

Left without taking his lumps last night. His English isn't that great, nor is his personality. Hey, NYC, he ain't no Mo!  (Probably why Cashman didn't want him.)

Sabathia Gem Wasted by Soriano, bullpen.

Update: Cashman said of Soriano. “We’ve got to bang out some kinks. That was one.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I cannot wait to read this book!

I sold it to a customer last night and hadn't even heard about it. He said he read a review in the Wall Street Journal. I've always been interested in this subject, so I downloaded a copy to my nook asap. Only one problem: it was written without the participation of Rays management. So their real secrets remain intact.

From the Publisher

What happens when three financial industry whiz kids and certified baseball nuts take over an ailing major league franchise and implement the same strategies that fueled their success on Wall Street? In the case of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, an American League championship happens—the culmination of one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history.
In The Extra 2%, financial journalist and sportswriter Jonah Keri chronicles the remarkable story of one team’s Cinderella journey from divisional doormat to World Series contender. When former Goldman Sachs colleagues Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman assumed control of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2005, it looked as if they were buying the baseball equivalent of a penny stock. But the incoming regime came armed with a master plan: to leverage their skill at trading, valuation, and management to build a model twenty-first-century franchise that could compete with their bigger, stronger, richer rivals—and prevail.
Together with “boy genius” general manager Andrew Friedman, the new Rays owners jettisoned the old ways of doing things, substituting their own innovative ideas about employee development, marketing and public relations, and personnel management. They exorcized the “devil” from the team’s nickname, developed metrics that let them take advantage of undervalued aspects of the game, like defense, and hired a forward-thinking field manager as dedicated to unconventional strategy as they were. By quantifying the game’s intangibles—that extra 2% that separates a winning organization from a losing one—they were able to deliver to Tampa Bay something that Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” had never brought to Oakland: an American League pennant.
A book about what happens when you apply your business skills to your life’s passion, The Extra 2% is an informative and entertaining case study for any organization that wants to go from worst to first.

Here's an excerpt.

Stat Gives Keith the Creeps

Keith Olbermann, over at Baseball Nerd, is kinda, sorta, hinting that Derek Jeter's declining stats are kinda, sorta, maybe connected to his being introduced by the great -- and yet, late -- Bob Sheppard.  BB voo doo?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Unbreak my heart...

Oy, this game, 2nd of the season, 1st on my tv, all set for Zobie's walk-off homer and that creepy Markakis grabs it out of the air and makes it go away. An unusual moment where one act, after 3 hours, determines the outcome. Great theater, sad season start.