Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bravo for Bowls!

Finally there's a college football column I can agree with. He's too professional to say that Wetzel's an idiot (but I know he's thinking it). His bigger point is maybe the best argument of all for the bowls:

Bowls are fun.

It's not complicated. They're fun. A bowl game is fun to go, fun to be a fan at the game, fun to watch on TV. I can't wait tomorrow to roll out of bed and catch Michigan in th--wha? Wait, you're joking, right? Seriously? No, that's can't be correct. Really? Whew. That blows.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Big Unit

The Giants signed Randy Johnson to a one year deal for $8 million (plus incentives).

I like it. When he's healthy, Johnson can still a pretty good pitcher. Last year he made 30 starts and had a 3.91 ERA. Obviously, the key part of that sentence is "when he's healthy". Johnson's actually been fairly durable--just two years with fewer than 30 starts since 1999. Of course, he'll turn 46 this fall. (At the same time, it's worth noting that occasionally a power pitcher ages well.) If he does stay healthy, Johnson should get to 300 wins, which would be cool.

I think the Giants have a legitimate shot at the playoffs next year, with The Franchise (who I still worry about), Matt Cain, Johnson, and Zito in the rotation. They're lucky to play in a crummy division.
Last year, though, their problem, was hitting. Their batting average was actually in the middle of the pack, but they were next to last in runs, and you gotta score runs to win.

Hitting is still the big problem. I sure hope the organization is now going to try to get some, or else it'll be another long year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yankees, Pitching

Last year, in the face of a weak staff, the Yankees did nothing. The result was pretty predictable, even if the details (Mussina was terrific, the rookies, not so much) were not.

Unfortunately, they did not make the same mistake this year. Like everyone else, I think Sabathia's great. Burnett is good when healthy, although it's worth noting that he has a five year deal and has reached 200 innings twice in the last five years, somewhat like some of their previous signings. (Sorry, Schlamp.)

But all in all a huge step up for them. They went from a rotation of Mussina, Pettitte, Wang, and then assorted rookies and castoffs to Sabathia (a clear #1), Burnett (#2, potentially a #1 when healthy), Wang (a #3), maybe Pettitte (?), then the rookies. I think it's fair to say that Sidney Ponson won't get another 15 starts next year.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's that time of the year again

Earlier I criticized Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel for blasting the BCS without proposing an alternative.

In fairness, he's now proposed something. Unfortunately, his proposed playoff is flat out impossible. It has zero possibility of being implemented.

Sixteen teams, four rounds of games. No chance. Why? Let us count the ways:

-The last two teams would play 17 games. There's no way college teams could play that many games.

-When would they schedule the games? College students have exams in December, to which he says: "college athletics has never allowed academics to stand in its way before." Actually, yes it has. That's one reason teams don't play in December.

-College presidents don't want a playoff. To which he says "Presidents are notoriously weak-spined and revenue desperate. Pressure and cash can change opinions in a hurry. They follow the herd." Really? If they're weak spined, why haven't they caved and had a playoff already?

A sixteen team playoff might be possible if we could redo everything about college football, i.e. create a different sport. I consider that unlikely, though, and there's absolutely no chance that this idea has any possibility of ever happening.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


With Maddux retiring, we can look at the final comparison of his wins with Clemens.

After last year I thought that Maddux would pas Clemens this year and have a shot at getting to 361 wins and #6 all time. That won't happen, but I doubt anyone will pass him again.

And get ready for a slew of articles saying how great he was. Too many times, these articles are written about undeserving players. Not this time.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Maddux Retires

Apparently Greg Maddux is calling it quits. I do think someone else will eventually get to 300 wins, but I'm not so sure anyone will ever get to 350. I suspect he will always be the greatest player ever whose last name ends with the letter x.

It goes without saying that he will get into the Hall on the first ballot. It does mean there's no chance that Mussina gets in on the first ballot.

And, as a public service, I would like to remind you that chicks dig the longball:

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rickey Henderson

Some Hall of Fame decisions are easy. Rickey Henderson is on the ballot this year.

If he is not voted in on the first ballot, the Hall should disband immediately. Normally one might argue about, say, the best centerfielder or first baseman in history. But one could also consider position in the lineup, instead of position in the field. Does anyone doubt that Rickey Henderson is the best leadoff hitter in history?

It's unfair to focus on just one year, but in 1990 his OPS was 1.016, he stole 65 bases and was caught just ten times. He was an outrageously good base-stealer: in 1998, when he was 39 years old, he had 66 steals and was caught 13 times.

In fact, given his quotability, I'm already giddy at the thought of his acceptance speech....