Friday, October 02, 2009


And in the American League?

Still Greinke. Obviously. The only pitcher within half a run of his ERA is King Felix; the only other pitcher to consider is Roy Halladay.

Halladay is my #2 and Hernandez is #3. Halladay's thrown nine (!) complete games this year; Hernandez has 2. I think complete games matter. These days, it's rare to give the entire bullpen a day off. Halladay also leads all baseball in shutouts (4) and innings. He's your Cy Young award winner, if Greinke didn't come out of nowhere this year to dominate like he did.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Chris Carpenter

Carpenter should win the Cy Young. He won his 17th game today (and hit a grand slam!) with five shutout innings in his last tuneup before the playoffs.

His only real competion is The Franchise, who also won his final start today.

But Carpenter had a better year. Lincecum had a bad start to raise his ERA (2.48) above Carpenter's (2.24). ERA is more important than wins, but Carpenter also has a couple of more wins. Lincecum has an edge in complete games (4 to 3) and shutouts (2 to 1), but that's not enough.

Wainwright had more wins than both Carpenter and Lincecum, and he may get to 20 for the season, but his ERA will be high enough that he should be the third choice.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Warm up the Fat Lady

I think the Giants are done. Last night was crushing. Losing the game is bad enough, but to lose in the 9th inning with a homer off your closer? Ouch.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Viva Gigantes!

Well, maybe. Zito was notsogood yesterday, but they still won. A win is a win is a win.

Four games back with 12 to play. Not great odds, but at least they pitch Matt Cain tonight. If they're going to make the postseason, they have to win pretty much every game from here on out.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Can they get to the playoffs? Not looking good. Lincecum is allowed one bad start, after all he's done this year. With Lincecum and Cain, they would be a very difficult team to play in a short series, but they have to get there first.

The Rockies magic number is 9, as of today. Not much wiggle room left. Starting tonight? Zito. Ahem. He's actually been generally decent lately, but he's not exactly the guy you want out there.

On the bright side, look at the remaining schedule: 6 against the Snakes (65-85, this is not a good team), 3 against the Cubbies (who seem to be aggressively crumbling), and 3 against the Padres (68-82; they aren't good either). It's an easy schedule, so we can still hope.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Orrin Hatch

I'm looking forward to the followup article on the Senator's thoughts on whether BYU deserves to go to play for the national championship after Saturday's game.

There's a general ridiculousness with this kind of article. After three weeks of games, there are lots and lots of undefeated teams. Plenty of teams *could* run the table, but not many of them will, and not many will be close.

I was also entertained by the last bit, about a possible matchup of two undefeated teams (BYU-Utah) at the end of the season. That sure would be exciting. But BYU wasn't the only Mountain West team to sink it's national championship chances last week.

Right, Senator?

Friday, September 18, 2009


Normally I wish the best for former Michigan football coaches. Lloyd Carr is a quality guy, and I want to see his coaching tree prosper.

But not tomorrow. I hope Ron English has a bad day at his new gig. (Actually, I read somewhere that it was Lloyd Carr, acting as an unpaid consultant to Eastern's Athletic Director, who recommended Ron English for the job. Good for him, and it's good to give Ron English a chance. If he can have a .500 record at Eastern, he will deserve to be hired at a school where he has a real chance of success. Eastern is a tough place to win. It's hard enough to be a small D-1 school in a state with two dominant D-1 programs; it's even harder when you're only the second best program in your own county.)

I also wish the best for former Michigan football players. Those best wishes will also be placed on selective hold tomorrow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Greinke

There seems to be a meme going around, at least in some circles, that Greinke should in the Cy Young. Yes! (Note: another win today.)

Granted I thought his main competition wit the voters would be Sabathia, but King Felix (ERA: 2.52) is more deserving as Sabathia (ERA: 3.42) anyway. Greinke's now 14-8. Maybe one more victory will give him a round enough number to get the voters....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cy Young

The American Cy Young is Zack Greinke's to lose. Or it should be, if the voters will vote for a brilliant pitcher on a crappy team.

Yes, Sabathia has more wins, but Greinke's ERA is MORE than a run better, 2.19 vs 3.42. Greinke also has significantly more complete games (6 vs 2), shutouts (3 vs 1), and strikeouts (216 vs 178). He's also a great story. I suppose Roy Halladay could make a late run, but Greinke's ERA is so much better (2.19 vs 3.03), that unless Greinke crumbles, he should win.

In the National League, it's between Lincecum, Carpenter, and Wainwright. They have three best ERAs (in order, 2.34, 2.45, and 2.59). Wainwright's the only one with a chance to get to 20 wins (he's at 18 now), and although wins aren't the best measure, 20 is such a significant milestone that if he gets there, I think he'll win. At this point, though, it's too close to call...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Are We Back?

Michigan had a huge win against Notre Dame and for the first time in almost two years, I'm excited about the team.

Jimmy Clausen has been given a hard time in the past by Michigan fans. But in fairness, wow was he good yesterday. Give him a decent offensive line and he becomes Tom Brady, just sits back and picks you apart. Thankfully, Charlie "Schematic Advantage" Weis decided to stop throwing to his outstanding wide receivers in the 3rd quarter and run the ball instead. Good move Charlie--they were dominating Michigan's defense and thanks for shaking things up!

Michigan is not yet a national power, of course, but we're ranked this week for the first time in a loooooong time. That feels pretty good.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

College Football, 1999-2008

As I did the last two years, it's easy to look at the most dominant teams of the last ten years as well. It's the same scoring as yesterday's post, but no seasons before 1999 count:

Surprising no one, USC is the top program of the last ten years. Because recent results matter more, Florida State is hit a lot harder by this measure than by yesterday's rankings over the last 25 years. Michigan is hanging on at #10, but we'll drop further before we start improving again.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

College Football

Actual college football is starting. Before the season starts, I should update my own rankings of teams over the last 25 years, as I did after the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

To review, last year's #1 team, Florida, gets 25 points and so on down to last year's #25 team, BYU, which gets one point. Every year you lose one point, so the #1 team in 2007 gets 24 points, the #1 team in 2006 gets 23, etc. This chart takes the 2008 season into account:

East Carolina and Fresno State are eliminated from last year; it looks like Minnesota and Pitt (who may be decent) will be next. Oklahoma State is new this year.

In terms of patterns, Michigan continues its fall. Sigh. We were in the top 5 just two years ago, this year we should be passed by Georgia and LSU. USC continues to move up. The big fall is Florida State, which was #1 the first two years and surely would also have been #1 had I done this earlier, but that program has been fading for years as Bobby Bowden refuses to give up. USC and Oklahoma will probably pass them this year. Miami is matching Florida State in terms of the rate of its decay. I don't know that either one of them will turn it around anytime soon.

Nebraska and Colorado have also dropped, which is reflected both in their reduced score and the inclusion of Kansas and Missouri chasing after them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Little League World Series

Am I the only person who doesn't give a damn about the Little League World Series? Seriously, I don't care. At all. I have a strong bias against any "sport" where the contestants are 12 years old. Olympic gymnastics, Little League, figure skating, etc., etc.

I suspect that it's because I have doubts about the athletes. Are they really competing for themselves? Can someone who's 12 really make a decision to train, to devote his or her life to working so hard at anything? Or is it because their parents put them up to it? (For competitors from the former Warsaw Pact and present day China, is it because the government is holding their parents hostage? Ahem.) It just seems weird and unimportant to me.

I mean, they're just kids. When I see the Little League World Series I see a bunch of little kids. Who cares what they do?

Thursday, July 02, 2009


I find it interesting that Jason Bay, from Canada "becomes" a US citizen the same day that Aroldis Chapman, from Cuba, "defects".

Is Jason Bay sort of defecting too?

Also, reading the article: Aroldis Chapman...Rotterdam...Jose Contreras...yeah yeah...raw prospect...100 mph fastball, wait, hang on, 100 mph fastball? He's been clocked at 102? Seriously? Ok, now I'm paying attention. Yes. Welcome to America, Senor Chapman. Happy to have you here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Mariano

Great story in the New York Times (although it's curious they don't mention Alexander Karelin...they must not be up on this blog).

I don't see any mention of his most devastating outing. Three (!) innings. I distinctly remember that he was the last guy in the Yankee pen, and if Aaron Boone doesn't hit that homer, the Sox were going to win that game. Or maybe he would have pitched forever that night, because he's Mariano Rivera.

As a sidenote, Tim Salmon. Haven't thought of him for a while.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Spain. We beat Spain 2-0. Seriously. Spain.

Spain is the best soccer team in the world right now. Without a doubt. It's such a stunning outcome, I don't even know how to react. Exactly two of our players play regularly in a top European (England, Spain, Italy) league, Clint Dempsey at Fulham and our keeper, Tim Howard, at Everton. Every single player on the Spanish team plays regularly in Spain or England. The only guy on our roster who might--might!-- make the Spanish squad is Howard.

Although I bet Oguchi Onyewu and Jay Demerit will get some serious consideration by teams looking for central defenders after this game. Spain spent much of the game unsuccessfully trying to cross the ball in past these two. The last half hour of the game consisted largely of Spain crossing the ball across our goal and one of those two heading it away. It's a nervy strategy, and it only works if one has complete confidence in one's central defense, it worked today.
And I bet Jozy Altidore will get a lot more playing time next season. He's looking good.

Peter Vecsey points out that the real benefit should come in the draw for the 2010 World Cup, where we should (finally!) be seeded ahead of Mexico.

Where would I put this on the list of US Soccer victories? #5. It's not higher because it didn't happen in the World Cup.

#1 USA 2-Mexico 0 in the 2002 World Cup: (a) we made the quarterfinals, and (b) we knocked Mexico out of the World Cup. It doesn't get any better.

#2 USA 3-Portugal 2 2002 World Cup group stage: Portugal was seen as a serious contender for the title. This game was personally outstanding because Schlamp was so tired he lay his head down on the bar of the Chieftain at halftime and napped. For me, this was funny. For Schlamp's immune system, this was a test. You don't want to put your head on the bar of the Chieftain.

#3 USA 2-Columbia 1, 1994 World Cup group stage: supposedly Columbia was going to challenge for the title.

#4 USA 1-England 0, 1950 World Cup: it happened a long time ago.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sammy Sosa

Sadly, is anyone surprised? I didn't think so.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Experiment

Someone (Schlamp?) brought up the possibility of Alexander Karelin as a candidate for athletic dominance. Yes.

Karelin went undefeated from 1987-2000. I'll give him 13 consecutive years of dominance, which puts him one above Mariano Rivera. As The Experiment, Karelin may also have the best nickname. We'll see how long Rivera is on top, it seems to me he's slipping a little. Just a little. He can't pitch forever (right?), and Papelbon or K-Rod may become the guy baseball people most trust to get out of an inning if their lives depended on it. But my sense is that Rivera is still the man, until further notice.

I also thought of Steve Redgrave. Who? Just a guy who won gold medals in rowing at (ahem) five different Olympics. But he wasn't always the best. He came in third in 1990 in a race. Plus, crew is such a team sport. Except for singles, you're always part of a team, and everyone is doing the same work. It's tough to say that anyone is the "best". Redgrave may be the greatest rower in history, but it's difficult to prove that he was the best rower in the world at any one point.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mariano Rivera

How many people are the best in the world at what they do? Usually, it's hard to even know who's the best in the world at anything, much less find the person who's the best at it.

Now consider, how many people have been the best in the world at their chosen profession for twelve consecutive years? Mariano Rivera's had some competition lately: Papelbon's been great the last couple of years, and plenty of other closers have had individually better years. But since he became a closer in 1997, pretty much everyone in baseball would choose him to pitch the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead.

Has any athlete in history ever been the best at what he did for twelve consecutive years?

My first thought was Edwin Moses. Undefeated from 1977-1987, he won Olympic Gold in 1976. He was at the top from 1976-1987, but by 1988, he "only" got the bronze in Seoul. He didn't last 12 years.

You could make a case for Rickey Henderson. He was the best leadoff hitter in baseball starting about 1980, but I don't think he was necessarily the best for 12 years. Henderson was hurt in 1987, and Vince Coleman was probably better. Tim Raines was undoubtedly better in 1986. Henderson was the best for a long time, but not consecutively.

What about Bill Russell? If one assumes he was the best center in basketball starting in the 1957-58 season, when he was the league MVP, I'm not sure he lasts 12 years. I don't follow basketball closely enough to know, but according to wikipedia, Russell was falling off by the 67-68 season. Maybe Russell gets ten or eleven years, but that's not as impressive as Rivera

Am I missing any other plausible candidates?

(As a sidenote, Edwin Moses was a double major in college in physics and industrial engineering? So he's like Ed Cho, but faster and with an additional physics major.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor

I'm making a rare reversion back into politics, because the Supreme Court is important.

Obviously, Sonia Sotomayor's ethnicity and her gender are hot topics. The way I see it, there are somewhere around 100 people in this country who are qualified for the Supreme Court at any given time. We may not agree with their decisions, but they have the training, background, and experience to be qualified. (I think that both of W's appointees, Roberts and Alito, fall into the 'qualified' category, although his first choice, Harriet Miers, definitely does not.)

So the President has to choose someone from a pool of people, all of whom have roughly the same set of qualifications. I think that it's worthwhile if the Supreme Court resembles the people of this country, and since Sotomayor comes from the set of people who are eligible due to their experience, she's a good choice.

Sonia Sotomayor is unquestionably qualified. None of the present justices ever worked as a state prosecutor, and only Alito, who worked as a federal prosecutor, has ANY criminal law experience. Hard to believe, but true. NONE of the present justices ever served as a trial judge (Souter did, but he's the one who's retiring). Since the justices regularly have to decide questions that are a trial judge's bread and butter (evidence, procedure, jury instructions, etc.), it would be worthwhile to have someone in the room who's actually had to make those kind of decisions.

So what kind of justice will she be? I don't have any idea. No one does. Souter was supposed to be a pocket conservative, and Scalia was seen as a moderate consensus builder. Who knows how someone will be in ten or twenty years? Not me.

One can demand that the President chooses someone who falls in the 'qualified' group, but outside that, you pretty much just have to hope they rule the way you want when the time comes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zach Greinke is ridiculous. It's one thing to pitch well at the start of the season, but we're two months in and his ERA after two months is 0.84.

In this start he went from 72 to 96 on consecutive pitches. That's just wrong. He's also a great (from 2007) story (2009). I have no particular insignt into his psychology, but I hope he stays healthy. The Royals are at .500, and it's surely been a while since that happened two months into the season....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Randy Johnson

I've long been a fan of the guy.

I'm also a fan of Bill James, of course, although I find this Joe Posnanski fellow rather annoying. But here Posnanski is right on. Maybe the lesson is that he should always use Bill James as a resource. Bill James cannot help but be interesting.

I especially love this point, about Johnson's peak to Sandy Koufax's peak:

Koufax from 1963 to 1966 famously went 97-27 (.782 winning percentage) with a 1.86 ERA (a 172 ERA+ -- meaning his ERA was 72 percent better than the average pitcher of his time) and he averaged 307 strikeouts per year.

Johnson from 1995 to 2002 went 143-44 (.765 winning percentage) with a 2.61 ERA (a 177 ERA+ -- meaning his ERA was 77 percent better than the average pitcher of his time) and he averaged 302 strikeouts per year (despite missing most of the 1996 season).

In an otherwise great column, though, it's a shame that the leave out one of Randy Johnson's absolute career highlights.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Man, Zito just can't buy a break.

He's actually pitching very well this year, with a 3.62 ERA. Which? Gives him a record of 1-4.

The Giants are playing pretty well. I didn't think they'd be a .500 team. The problem is scoring. They're third from the bottom of the National League in runs.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Randy Johnson

I am looking forward to Randy Johnson getting win 300. He's now at 298.

Two years ago, I doubted he'd get to 300.

Barring injury, the Very Large Unit will get win 300 in the next few weeks. Very cool. Then there will be another slew of articles about how we'll never see another 300 game winner, just like there were when Glavine got to 300. In 2007. (Note the Sports Illustrated article I linked to, which has a quote from Bobby Cox about Tom Glavine: "Tommy will be the last 300-game winner ever." Thanks, Bobby.)

Friday, May 08, 2009


This is exciting news. Rickey Henderson, wearing an outstanding shirt, toured the Hall of Fame prior to his induction.

As I've mentioned before, Rickey Henderson is as obvious a Hall of Famer as we will ever see in our lifetimes. My only surprise is that some voters didn't vote for the greatest leadoff hitter in history.

But that's not why I'm giddy. Obviously, it's for Rickey's speech. I've never looked forward to a Hall of Fame induction speech as much as I have to this one. Expectations are sky high.

Am I asking too much? Perhaps. But we should not temper our high hopes, not when we're talking about him. After all, Rickey is the greatest:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Giants Offense

It's nice to see the Big Giant pitch a great game and get win 296.

It's worth noting that the score was 2-0. This year started well, with a three game series against Milwaukee where the Giants scored 19 runs or 6.3 per game. So far so good. But since then, they've scored 18 runs in the last nine games, just two per game. All told, it's 37 runs in 12 games, 3.1 per game. They are next to last in the National League in scoring.

This is not a new problem. I think it will be a long season for the Giants. Again. It's tough to win games when you can't score, and it's even tougher when your staff ERA is thirteenth in the National League.

Actually I think the pitching will come around. I'll be pretty surprised if the offense shows much improvement, though.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Carpenter Hurt

Well that didn't take long. After one great start, prematurely celebrated by some as indicative of a long term trend, Carpenter's hurt. Maybe for a month, maybe two.

I hereby revert to my previous doubts about the Cardinals chances this season.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Franchise

Two bad starts in a row for the Franchise. This is not good.

Last year I was worried about how many innings he was throwing. I hope I was wrong. It doesn't sound like he's hurt this year, but I sure hope he's healthy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I think Chris Carpenter is the most pivotal player for the Cardinals. My earlier doubts about them were really about how he would pitch.

At least for one start, he's back, healthy, and dominant.

Joel Piñeiro won yesterday. Based on past history, I'm not confident that 6 2/3 innings of two run ball will be his standard outing, but a rotation of Carpenter, Wainwright, Lohse, Wellemeyer, and Piñeiro ain't bad. We just have to keep Carpenter healthy.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mmmmm, baseball

I ran around Pac Bell Park SBC Park AT&T Park (aka The Phonebooth) yesterday. It looks good. One can look through the right field fence to the playing field, and they were cutting the grass in the outfield. The cleaning crews were at work on the outside of the stadium, and those red, white, and blue buntings are up above the entrance. I'm ready.

Incidentally, baseball is sometimes charmingly bizarre. Opening Day in Boston is Monday. At that game, Seal, an Englishman of Nigerian ancestry married to a German supermodel, will sing The Star Spangled Banner. And why not?

Friday, April 03, 2009


Rats. It seems that CC Sabathia is a terrific human being. It's much easier to hate the Yankees when they're jerks.

Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 Baseball Predictions

I went for a short run this morning around the Phonebooth. It was swarming with cleaning crews and there were two mowers in the outfield and life is good. My predictions for this year1:

AL East

I think 95 wins will be enough to win this division. Due to the unbalanced schedule, the three good teams are going to beat each other up a lot.

1. Tampa Bay (Tampa? whatever)-Last year they were all around good. Add in David Price (yes, he'll be back in the Show soon, and another year, and I think they're as good as last year. Really, I'm picking them beacuse the Sox and Yankees have too many weaknesses to be dominant.

2. Sox-I think the pitching will be pretty good. Assuming Matsuzaka isn't burned out from the World Baseball Classic, a rotation of Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and then some of Clay Buchholz, Smoltz (not impossible), or Brad Penny (why not?) looks pretty good. That looks like two #1 starters, a solid #2, a #4 and plenty of potential.

I worry about the offense. Papi had a down year last year. True, he doesn't have Manny in the lineup, but he's also 33 and a big dude. I like Mike Lowell, and he's supposedly healthy this year, but his offense is also slipping. Varitek is great with the staff, but can't hit anything anymore. Jason Bay is good, but he's no Manny.

The Sox scored a lot of runs last year. I think that number goes down a bit in 2009.

3. Yankees-Sort of like the Sox, but they look a little weaker across the board. Good, but not great pitching, and too many holes on offense, from a team that was average last year.

Their pitching is improved. Offense? Teixeira, unfortunately, is terrific. But Jeter seems to be (quickly!) trending down, Matsui's coming off an injury, Jorge Posada hits like Varitek (horrible to say about anyone, but it's true).

And who's going to play center field? Melky Cabrera? He hit .249 last year.
For that matter, is Xavier Nady really the rightfielder?

4. Toronto-I still believe that if you have to pick one pitcher for the upcoming season, you still have to go with Roy Halliday. I would not be surprised if he again leads the league in complete games and innings. But he can't pitch everyday, nor can he play other positions.

5. Baltimore-The Orioles are going to lose a lot of games. Again.

AL Central

I dunno. I figure the Twins are always good, and maybe the Tribe too.

AL West

Probably the Angels, again. I mean, Texas and the Mariners are both bad, so the only question is if the A's can make a run at them.

NL East

You gotta love Jamie Moyer. This will be his 23rd year in the bigs. His ERA last year was 3.71. The list of active pitchers with more wins the Moyer is (1) Randy Johnson and (2) Tom Glavine. Because of him, I'm rooting for the Phillies.

NL Central

Sigh. I don't know. The Cardinals aren't going to win many games if everyone's hurt. Chris Carpenter may be healthy, but he's started four games since the 2006 season. Adam Wainwright had a pretty good year last year, as did Kyle Lohse. Todd Wellemeyer wasn't bad either. To me, they're three solid #3 starters. As with years past, I think Carpenter's health is the key o the staff.

Obviously, Pujols is the #1 pick if you're choosing someone in the field, but other than him? I don't know.

NL West

1. Dodgers-It's all about Manny, obviously. When he plays hard, he's just dominant.

Then there are the Giants. It's deja vu. Last year their offense was awful. It's still going to be awful.

With the Franchise, the Old Creaky Unit, Matt Cain, Noah Lowry, and Zito, they may have the best rotation in baseball. (Quick, how good was Randy Johnson last year? His ERA was 3.91) I don't think you want to be going into the season hoping to win every game 1-0, espcially when your closer's ERA was 4.62 last year.

1-For teams and divisions I pay attention to

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Curt Schilling retired. Or rather, he announced he was finished, surprises no one.

I've wondered for a while now about whether his numbers are Hall of Fame worthy. I was on the fence, but now I'm thinking that he makes it.

216 wins isn't a lot of wins, but he did get them in the Steroid Era.

What pushes him over the top is the postseason. Everyone knows that he thrived (throve?) on pressure. But this ESPN article points out that he was 11-2 in the postseason, the best playoff winning percentage ever for guys with ten decisions. His postseason ERA is even more remarkable1. These games are (obviously) games against the best teams, to have a 2.23 postseason ERA is amazing.

Does that matter for the Hall of Fame? I think it does. Postseason success matters.

The Hall of Fame is also comparative. If Mussina gets in, I think Schilling has to get in.

Since Schilling hasn't pitched since 2007, I believe he'll be eligible in 2012, a year earlier than Maddux. I don't think Schilling is a first ballot hall of famer, and it wouldn't surprise me if voters want to give Maddux the honor of going in alone, so it wouldn't surprise me if he has to wait a couple of years. But I think he gets in.

Tangentially, Schilling had an extremely unusual career, in that he was a late-bloomer. As Rob Neyer points out, Schilling's record at age 30 was 52-52. The only present player I can think of who's remotely similar is Jamie Moyer. Why Moyer? Astonishingly, Jamie Moyer's record at age 30 was far worse: 34-50.

1-It's worth noting that these statistics necessarily eliminate great money pitchers of the past like Bob Gibson, because they pitched in so many fewer playoff games.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Michigan Basketball

This is what I was talking about yesterday. We have a good team, a good coach, and (finally!) hope for the future of the program.

We even have a great blog (who knew?). I didn't start reading until the NCAA tournament started, but I'll remember it next year.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It's disappointing Michigan lost in the second round, but all in all I'm pretty pleased. This was the best team in more than ten years, and all of the significant players come back for next year. We lose our starting point guard, a walkon who's a legitimate student athlete getting a master's degree in public policy, but that's about it. He's replaceable.

Now I can go back to ignoring college basketball, although I expect I'll be paying attention next season.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Go Blue!

I remember the last time Michigan was in the NCAA tournament. It was my final spring of law school, 1998. Robert Traylor, Lou Bullock, Maurice Taylor. I remember being late for some portrait (for the law school maybe?) because I was watching that team being upset in the tournament. I never would have imagined it would be 11 (!) years until I again got to watch Michigan in the NCAA tournament.

But we're back and we won. Whoo-hoo! Sweet victory!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've bashed Dan Wetzel before, but now I think he has his place in the sportswriting firmament. He should be an old time investigative reporter.

I felt slimy just for reading this. It's all the worst parts of big time college sports.

I have no idea if Kevin Love is any good (and I can't make myself care), but he comes across as a decent guy trying to navigate a crowd of complete blood-suckers and bottom-feeders.

(Dan, seriously, stick with reporting. This is great stuff. Shine some sunlight into this dark corner. You are a terrible columnist, but a great reporter.)

Thursday, March 05, 2009


So A-Rod needs hip surgery and will be out ten weeks? And from the sound of things, he didn't tell Girardi beforehand?

If this sad, sad development is true, on behalf of everyone here at drakethoughts, I wish him a healthy recovery. A long, healthy recovery. In fact, I would recommend he wait a bit to even have the surgery. There's no need to rush things.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bonds Appeal

Prosecutors have appealed the judge's earlier ruling on perjury. Basically, it looks to me like the Feds don't have a case without this evidence. Anderson isn't going to testify, and if they can't introduce this evidence of Bonds' steroid use, prosecutors won't have anything to go on.

Legal Note: Normally you have to wait for a trial to be over to appeal. The idea is that if you appeal every ruling, you'd never finish the trial. Sometimes, though, you can file an interlocutory appeal, which is what this is. It's essentially a timeout in the trial.

However, this will irritate the judge, as noted in the Chronicle article. Trial was to start this week and the judge probably wants to (finally!) get rid of this case.

I predict that if the Ninth Circuit (the court that hears appeals from courts in California and other western states) doesn't allow this evidence, prosecutors will drop the case and Bonds will walk.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Steal

The Franchise signed a one year contract for $650,000.

Considering the Giants are paying Randy Johnson $8 million, and Zito (ahem) $18 million, Lincecum's a steal.

More broadly, it's a small demonstration of how much sense it makes to go with young players. It's rather doubtful that the Big Creaky Unit will give the Giants 15 times the value they get from Lincecum.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Rob Neyer at ESPN pointed out this article in Sports Illustrated about the popularity of steroids. It includes the following quote:

Are anabolic steroids widely used by Olympic weight men? Let me put it this way. If they had come into the village the day before competition and said we have just found a new test that will catch anyone who has used steroids, you would have had an awful lot of people dropping out of events because of instant muscle pulls."

This article was published in 1969.

Yes. 1969.

Something to consider next time Bud Selig refuses to take any responsibility for steroids or (seemingly) anything else.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


The benefits and the costs of the TARP is a very complicated topic, with all sorts of nuance.

However, the New York Times linked to presentation that seems to be as helpful as anything else in explaining what it's all about:

The TARP, in Pictures

(It's available here.)

Friday, February 20, 2009


The judge just tossed a lot of the evidence against Bonds for being inadmissible hearsay. For prosecutors, the problem is that Greg Anderson still isn't talking. He's the guy who could tell the story, and he's not going to say anything. (Why? Beats me.)

Is that all bad? Perjury is bad, of course, but does Bonds really deserve to go to jail? I dunno. If he does, it won't be for long. As I've said before, don't lie to the Feds.

Quick Hearsay Review: Inadmissible hearsay is evidence that exists (in this case the test results) but can't be used in court. I still remember my Evidence professor saying that hearsay is 'an out of court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted.' Here, all those test results are statements that were made outside the court, and the prosecutors are trying to use them as evidence. Hearsay actually has lots of exceptions, but apparently the judge didn't think that this evidence fell within any of them. The reason the rule exists is that we would prefer that evidence be offered by a live witness. In this case that witness would be Bonds (who can't be forced to say anything due to the Fifth Amendment) or Anderson (who won't testify).

Friday, February 13, 2009

USA-Mexico: 2-0

Note the red card on Rafael Marquez (at 5:10). Why does this look familiar? Oh yeah....

(at 2:15) Marquez may be a solid defender at Barcelona, but still. That's his second straight red card when he plays against us. It seems he may be kept out of Mexico's next two games. Good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

103 To Go

It's also worth noting that A-Rod was one of (supposedly) 104 positive tests. That's a lot of players--four complete teams worth. Who are the others? I figure the names will all come out sooner or later.

Monday, February 09, 2009


So A-Rod juiced too. Huh. I didn't expect that.

I don't think we can necessarily get inside his head to say why he did it, but we can wonder whether they helped him. I don't know. If you look at his career stats, it's murky. He averaged almost 42 homers from 1998-2000, then jumped to averaging 52 a year from 2001-2003. He played every game with the Rangers, so it's not surprising he would hit more homers, but then with an unquestioned workout routine, maybe the drugs helps his durability. His slugging percentage was marginally higher in 2001-2003 than it had been from 1998-2000, but not by much.

So I'm not sure anyone can say whether he improved. Of course, this all supposes he's telling the truth when he says that he only juiced from 2001-2003.

It will make for an interesting season this year in the Bronx....

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Finally, he's gone. I cannot let him go without commenting.

I wish Bush a long and healthy life. I hope he and members of his administration have the opportunity to witness the complete destruction of their legacy. I hope they spend decades defending the decision to go to war in Iraq, their conduct during Katrina, their monstrous deficit spending, their intransigence on global warming, their embrace of torture, etc. Public opinion has long turned against Bush; I bet most Republicans will follow quickly. This administration's incompetence cost numerous Republicans in Congress their jobs, I expect them to turn on him to survive.

My country is a better place than it was a week ago.

And now back to regularly scheduled blogging....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We. Are. So. Screwed.

Michigan's defense last year was awful.

And we've just hired a man named Gerg. Gerg? Yes, Gerg. Gerg was just fired after going 10-37 at Syracuse, a worse winning percentage than even Michigan last year.

The reviews? Notsogood. Yes, now is the time to commence panic. When the Syracuse football blog's title is He's Your Problem Now, Michigan, it looks like we've chosen poorly:

Wha, was there something else important going on today?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

College Football Playoffs, Again

As with previous years, I still say that if you support a playoff in college football, you need to decide how many teams to invite. 4? 6? 8? 12? 16?

The problem is that every year the "right" number of teams is different. So in keeping with previous years, lets look at how many teams you would put in a playoff this year (for instance, last year, Ohio State deserved to play the final game against one of 8 other teams that had a case).

This year, how many teams? Eight teams indisputably deserve to be in a playoff, which is to say there's no way to choose between them. Boise State, which went undefeated, would at least have an argument. Here's the updated chart:

This year doesn't help those who advocate for a playoff. If you're going to have a playoff to be "fair", you must invite at least eight teams. The whole idea just doesn't work.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Michigan football is in terrible shape, but things may be looking up.

This is perhaps the only bit of good news in the last couple of years.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The 40-40 Club

At dinner a couple of weeks ago a few of us started talking baseball and the 40-40 Club came up. After much discussion, we finally agreed on the membership in this group. Without cheating, can you name them? We will pause for a moment....



Members: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano

If you must cheat, they're listed after the word members above in white text, highlight to see them.

As we talked about this, though I realized another thing that some members of this club have in common, which may serve as an additional hint about its membership. If my calculations are correct, half of the member of this already exclusive club have had "special" relationships with Madonna. Suffice to say, though, that membership in the Madonna Club is considerably less unusual than the 40-40 Club.