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Saturday, April 10, 2004

This is going to be BIG

It is being reported that the Feds have taken last years samples of steroids, and are retesting them, in order to make a case of perjury against several big name baseball stars. Namely, Barry Bonds.

This will of course considerably hurt baseball, and taint Barry's career, because only someone with an IQ under 40 doesn't believe that Barry is on the juice. What pisses me off, is that professional football is a sport riddled with steroid users, while baseball is a sport where only a select few are users. Does anyone really think anyone on the Dodgers uses steroids? Our offense last year was terrible. Part of the homerun revolution this generation has been steroids, but a lot of it has been very thin bats and high strikeout rates. Thin bats, which break easily, are very good at increasing your bat speed, and propelling the ball farther. But they are inaccurate and lower your batting average and increase your strikeouts. Right now in baseball strikeouts are the highest THEY HAVE EVER BEEN IN THE GAME. A lot of this is the reason for the high score totals, not just steroids. It's a problem that has been overblown.

So I'm torn. On the one hand, I'm glad an asshole like Barry is shown up for being a cheater day in and day out. On the other hand, we created Barry, and want him to be a great hitter. Peruse a website like Baseball Prospectus, or Baseball Primer, two heavy stat sites, and most of the people on those sites are still in denial that Barry ever used steroids, even though they visited a company regularly that has been proven to distribute steroids. They really believe he's innocent. It's that mentality that has allowed baseball to accept and promote steroid usage.

Get ready for a huge mess in the coming weeks, and pricks like sportswriter Rick Reilly to advocate Barry's banishment from the game. It's going to be a wild ride.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Has anyone noticed?

Has anyone noticed we don't have a fifth starter? Just curious. I suppose it's like the giant elephant in the room no one is talking about, like the kid with cancer, or the girl with anorexia you had in high school, but this is quite serious. Is it Jackson? Is it Alvarez? Is it Lima? Are we going to experiment with 4 starters? Here's some stats, career ERA+:

Lima 88
Alvarez 114
Jackson 163

Ok the Jackson one is based on 3 starts and 22 innings pitched. He had a 3.7 ERA in AA last year. I recommend the safe bet, and go with Alvarez. He's a huge injury concern, but he's also a very talented starter, and has thrown a no-hitter.

In other news, the LA Times reports on Green's playing first base. Tracy in his usual swarmy bullshit to the media, fawns on Green and calls him the next Olerud. If Green wears that dorky dumbass helmet while playing the field, I'll say no thanks to that comparison. Of the two games I've viewed on television, and from what I've heard on the radio, other than a ball that bouned out of Green's glove from a slightly tricky throw from Izturis(which gave an error to Izturis), I think Green has played the position marvelously. A grounder along the first base line in one of the games, was something Fred McGriff, our previous first baseman could never have gotten too. He's a huge improvement at the position offensively over Ventura, and comparable defensively already. He could be a gold glover this year, especially if he hits well. First baseman are bulky and fat and terrible fielders.

One last word about the Lakers. Perhaps they should just rest Shaq for the rest of the regular season. I've given some thought as to why the Lakers do so well on some games, and then play absolutely like Hudson Hawk at the cinema on other games. It's because the key element of their offense, Kobe Bryant, is a spotty streaky player. When you have someone as talented as Kobe, who specializes in making the riskiest shots, you play the percentage game. Revolving your offense around three point shots, and fade away jumpers, will work sometimes for Kobe, and other times will result in bitter teammates calling him a ball hog. Revolving the offense around Shaq will result in either foul line shots, or a slam dunk. These have a much higher percentage chance of scoring. Something to think about. We need a fresh Shaq for the playoffs, so why not give the big monster a rest. Give the ball to Kobe a bit, let him fuck things up and look like a dumbass, and then rework things for Shaq again once the playoffs roll around. Goddamn, I make a better coach than Phil...
"Watching on the Radio"

Like a schmuck office peon stuck in traffic, I was forced to listen to the Dodger game, because our federal government deemed it fit for a monopoly cable system to run my town, and THEY decided not to show me the Dodger game. Instead the Angels were on, as well as the Clippers.

So I listened, and found it impossible to keep track of what was going on, but I think Jeff Weaver pitched a good game. And I know that Lo Duca had the game winning RBI.

At this early stage in the season, I'm going to continue to boldly predict the Dodgers winning the NL West. To all the nay-sayers out there, quite frankly, Fuck You. Everyone thinks the McCourts will run this enterprise into the ground, guess what, it is in the ground. No one wants to play here. Most of our players are rejects from other teams. Bradley, Encarnacion, Izturis, Ventura, Perez, Nomo, Weaver, Martin, etc. Almost every guy has been dropped before. I feel a bond with such failures. If we win it all, and I think we can this year because the NL West is so shitty, it will truly be an enormous middle finger to the LA Times, and all who believe in their sports writers. I was one of those people until DePodesta came aboard. I even called McCourt, McShit, McC*nt, McCheap, McBroke, on more than one occasion. I still think he's obnoxious, and repulsive. But he wants to win. I don't care if we have former murderers on this team, I want a win. Last place is for Iraqis. We're Americans GODDAMIT. Winning is EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Ladies and Gentleman, A win

I tried watching both the Lakers game, and the Dodgers game, at the same time. It never works. I have severe ADD, and the Lakers were playing like shit, and the result was not watching either game, and taking glances at early evening softcore on Cinemax East.

So I dropped the Laker game, and watched the Dodgers. It was a good move.

Spring Training I now know means nothing. Nomo was absolute garbage in spring, Perez was amazing. Now Nomo is just terrible, and Perez is terrible too. Thank God for the bullpen.

And what about Beltre? Please Jesus keep it up. DePodesta gave an interview before the game with Vin Scully, and was generous in not taking credit for the Encarnacion move, but took credit for his brilliant move of getting Bradley. It's a move that Evans would never had made, and instead we would have limped through 2004, with Roberts in center, and hope in the farm system. Instead, we've won a game, due in some part to Milton Bradley. If he doesn't stab an ump, or fight Lo Duca in the shower, or get thrown off the team this year, I'm going to buy his jersey.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Opening Day, and Game Over

Well we got shelled on our first day, in front of 58 thousand fans. Nice. I caught the last few innings only on the radio, and when I turned it on, hearing the crowd cheering, I thought we were winning. It turns out the crowd was cheering a massive beachball/drunken mob, and not the game at all. Nomo was destroyed in the fifth inning.

The LA Times went into full panic mode, declaring the season over.

Is it that bad? Let's wait a week and see.

And in other news, yet another Dodger hates Tracy. Beltre was ticked off that he wasn't told ahead of time of being dropped in the lineup to the seventh spot. "I did the best I could do to make him believe I can hit third. I had my best spring ever. It was my most consistent spring. Then I come in today and I'm not hitting third." While he batted 305 this spring, he actually batted 319 in 2003 spring training. I guess Beltre thought we wouldn't add a hitter, and he could again fail at being the savior of the team. That being said, this is yet another player who despises Tracy, joining Karros, and Grudzielanek. All three had one skill in common: they sucked. Tracy might just be a good judge of talent, though if we're not in first by the All-star Break I fully expect him to be fired.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Someone has done a Win Share analysis with Bradley. It's here.
Lakers Watch and More on Bradley

I missed the first half of the Laker game, I thought it was going to come on later, but I was able to hear on TV DePodesta being interviewed about position changes, and the Bradley acquisition.

First off with the Lakers: Some of the players shouldn't be allowed to shoot. Guys like Devean George, Derek Fisher, Slava, they should all have an extra stripe on their uniform to remind the team that they're not allowed to shoot. Only pass and dribble. In Slava's case only pass, so he would get two stripes on his jersey. When they go to a shitty team, they can take the stripes off.

The loss is not comforting, and quite worrying in fact. If there's any team that's going to give the Lakers a run for their money, it's going to be the Spurs.

Back to the Dodgers. Here's a list of the pros and cons I came up with off the top of my head concerning Bradley's acquisition:

Pros:
1. Shows a lot of promise. Before injuries ended his season last year, he was batting an OPS+ of 151.
2. We only gave up a low level prospect, though that prospect is rated as one of our better ones.
3. Is still rather young. This is important for two reasons. One, at the age of 26, he has yet to reach his prime. Two, for the next three years, we don't have to offer him a contract, we can go to arbitration.
4. Will be closer to home. His mother lives in Long Beach, and Bradley grew up there.

Cons:
1. He's insane and hates white people and authority.
2. He's injury prone.
3. He hates Paul Lo Duca from an incident on television last year, where hot head Lo Duca became furious that Bradley would showboat after a homerun. After the game Bradley threatened his life.
4. Will be continuing the tradition of troubled and crazy black men on the Dodgers: Strawberry, Sheffield.
5. Has a ridiculous name, and makes one wonder if his cousins, Hasbro, and Parker Brothers are major league caliber as well.

I challenge (read I'm too lazy to do it myself) someone to do a winshare analysis with Bradley's addition to the team. How many more wins will that achieve? Enough for the playoffs? I don't have a clue, leave me alone.
Just had a spontaneous Orgasm

Milton Bradley is coming to the Dodgers! McCourt kept his promise! This is just being reported on Fox Sports West as I watch the Angels play the Dodgers!! More analysis on this later!!
And then I went to Angel Stadium

Let me be the first, (or probably the thousandth) to congratulate Arte Moreno, the new Angels' owner on running a much tighter ship than the Dodgers. Angel Stadium has better parking, almost as good food, cleaner seats, more legroom, cleaner shitters, hotter female fans, better location, and a better team than the Dodgers. When I was drinking beer in the Dodgers parking lot on Friday, I was threatened twice with arrest by security. At Angel Stadium, like most of the civilized world, tailgating is legal.

And then the game. After the Angels were up to 10 runs, I bailed. The Dodgers look terrible, and Jackson is totally not ready for the majors. Dontrelle Willis has a 3.76 ERA this Spring, with probably much more pressure to perform, and Jackson has a 9.28. Goodbye kiddo, see you in May hopefully. Right now, the on field product of the Dodgers is the worst I have ever seen. If it's typical of the effort put forth in Spring Training, that's the last spring training game I go to.

DePodesta made some moves last night, trying to get a 25 man roster in before the deadline. Jolbert Cabrera is gone, and I feel a little special that I went to the last game of his in Dodger uniform. The 50 thousand dollar poster they had with his picture on it on Dodger Stadium will probably have to be destroyed at considerable cost. Rotoworld has this to say about the move:

Dodgers acquired RHP Aaron Looper and LHP Ryan Ketchner from the Mariners for 2B-OF Jolbert Cabrera.
Maybe Antonio Perez won't head to the minors after all. More likely is that Joe Thurston replaces Cabrera on the roster and Jose Hernandez becomes the second baseman against left-handers. This is the first move Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta has made that could hurt the team for this year, but considering that Cabrera was overpaid for a utilityman, we have no problem with it. Looper is a quality reliever who will be ready to contribute as soon as the Dodgers need him. Ketchner's further away, but he's an intriguing prospect. The 21-year-old, who was born partially deaf, had a 3.45 ERA and a 159/33 K/BB ratio at Single-A Inland Empire last season. Batters hit .228 against him.


The LA Times hinted that this could be a salary dump. What do I think about dumping Cabrera? While decent on defense, all of the starters he would replace on the field were better defensively than he was, with the exception of Shawn Green. But Shawn Green's bat was far superior so that point is moot. In 2001 Cabrera at 287 AB, with an 74 OPS+. That's pretty bad. Trading him for two solid players, one of whom is major league ready is fantastic. Besides, Jose Hernandez can more than fill the gaps in the middle infield spots. He won't be as good defensively as Izturis, but I saw Hernandez last night make a terrific play, stopping a groundball. It was so good, that from my far off vantage point, I actually thought Izturis had made the play, until I looked up at the scoreboard, and realized Hernandez had replaced him already.

And the other big move made Saturday night was trading Jason Romano to the Devil Rays, for Antonio Perez. Romano had 91 AB in 2002, with a 56 OPS+. He had a great Spring this year, but Antonio Perez is rumored to be major league ready right now. Couple this with the fact that the Devil Rays are utterly incompetent, I think DePodesta just made yet another crafty move.

Of course, only time will tell how good these moves really were.

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