Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All Star Picks (AL today, NL coming tomorrow)

Inspired by my buddy Jordo (pictured above in his Under Armor gear) over at Rangers and Seinfeld, I decided to give my picks for the 2009 All Star Game.

American League

C, Joe Mauer: Unquestionably the best catcher in baseball, Mr. Sideburns missed the first month of the season but leads all backstops in virtually every major category, highlighted by his .459 OBP. Although it pains me to say, that's early 2000s Bonds-ian.
1B, Mark Teixeira: Probably the most difficult position in which to pick a starter, first base is stacked with talent this season. Of the 35 players in the AL with 40+ RBIs, 10 are first basemen. Although the power numbers are bunched at the top with Tex, Carlos Pena and Victor Martinez all having similar numbers, I give the nod to the better defensemen (it doesn't hurt the situation that he's a Yankee).
2B, Aaron Hill: Not a common name among the likes of Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler, but he's earned it in 2009. Leading all second sackers in the triple crown categories and jump-starting the Toronto offense (5th in the bigs) will get you noticed.
SS, Derek Jeter: Obviously I'm going with my boy - I used to have a blog named after him for Pete's sake. This season he has quieted doubters who said he was getting old by pacing AL shortstops in average, OBP and jump-throws. With 17 steals through the first three months of the season, he's on pace for a career high of 38.
3B, Evan Longoria: Did you know Scott Rolen is batting .332? Me neither, but he still can't shake a stick at Longoria who is batting over .300 with 16 HR and 63 RBI. The Tampa Bay third baseman has cooled off considerably after batting .322 with 13 long-balls and 55 RBI through May, he had just three HR and eight RBI in June while batting a weak .236. It didn't effect the play of the Rays, though, as they went 18-7 to get back in contention for the AL (B)East.
OF, Ichiro: He's batting .372 - that's 40 POINTS higher than second place, the aforementioned Scott Rolen. Too bad that his team is second from the bottom of the bigs in the runs scored, so he has only touched home 37 times so far. Regardless of his tough other stats, his hits, average and outfield gun, he gets my nod.
OF, Jason Bay: He's making the Sawx tick. With 69 RBIs, he has 13 more than any other OF and leads the AL. The quiet Canadian has gone yard more than any of his cohorts and has an OBP almost 100 points higher than his average.
OF, Torii Hunter: It was a toughie leaving off Carl Crawford, who with 40 steals already, is on pace to swipe 83 bags in 2009. It's been over two decades since anyone stole that many bases (1988, Vince Coleman and Rickey Henderson). Enough about him, this is about the resurgent Hunter, who is well on his way to a vintage season, the kind he used to put up consistently in Minny. Good for him.
SP, Zach Greinke: Had him on my fantasy team last year, should have kept him. The 25-year-old ace has come a long way from leading the AL in losses in 2005. Greinke didn't give up an earned run until his fifth start and his ERA didn't go over 1.00 until his 11th start. He is on his way to a Cy Young in 2009 and a closet full of them over the next decade.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Random Thoughts - 6/25

For those of you who have seen The Hangover - You will probably laugh listening to this song again and for those who haven't - shame on you, go see it. I saw it by myself for pete sake.

I don't have a pic, but a lot of us on here are yankees fans and may know what I'm talking about - Brian Bruney hasn't worn a Major League Baseball licensed hat for his last 2 appearences. Does Bud Selig watch baseball? Shouldn't he have been fined by now?
--meatball editor's note: Here is a photo that we submitted to Uni Watch (scrolll down to see us get a shoutout!)

I really don't know what to say to this, but this may be the funniest article you read all year long.

Ex-Cons are offering advice to Bernie Madoff when he enters prison. My advice would be to purchase a butt-plug, if there is such a thing.

July 11 at 3 PM caps off Nude Recreation Week. Participating beaches across America will have thousands of people skinny-dipping. Here is the official web-site. The weirdest thing about this is there is a picture of a girl who can't be more than 13 years old on the front page. Does this fall into the category of child pornography even though they don't show anything in particular?

I'm a huge fan of HBO series and they are starting to come back after the long lay off. Entourage starts on July 12 and Curb Your Enthusiasm hits in the Fall. Also, HUNG - A new series starts this Sunday @ 10 PM. I have to admit, the guy/gal who wrote this is a brilliant person, what a great idea for a show.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sneak Peek: Jesse's Toast at his Best Friend's Wedding

I thought I would treat the people to a preview of the speech I plan to give at my boy Jones' wedding. Here it goes:

Thank you for everyone who helped put this very special day together. I know Stephen and Annia had a big part in planning this incredible evening, but they could not have done it without the help and gudance of Joan and Dennis Jones and Annia's parents, Terry, Bernado and Joe. I realize I'm not the only one who traveled a distance to be here tonight, I know there are others, including Annia's brother, David, who came in from Florida. To everyone who traveled, both near and far, thank you all for coming and making this a special night for these two.

I haven't got to spend much time with Annia, because, as most of you know, I don't live in NY anymore. One thing I do know is that family is very important to her. This was made clear to me when I met her, along with Terry and Joe at Friday's when I was home for the holidays in 2007. Family tells you a great deal about a person and it's wonderful to see someone value their family as much as Annia does. Family is important to Stephen as well, obviously, since he still lives in his parents' basement.

On a serious note, I don't need to interact with Annia that much to know what kind of person she is. As I was reading about love to prepare for what I wanted to say tonight, I found this: “Tell me who you love and I will tell you who you are.” I know Annia loves Stephen very much, and that tells me everything I will ever need to know about her.

I've known Stephen for half my life and growing up together, we both made our share of mistakes. But moving forward, Annia will always be by his side, regardless of his missteps because as it says in Proverbs, “love covers over all wrongs.”

To close, I want to say, I couldn't be happier for you, Jones, I love you. Welcome to the family Mrs. Jones.

Please stand, put your glasses in the air and join me in wishing these two the best of luck and happiness for the future.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer's here

Emmanuelle Chriqui tossing out the
first pitch at a Dodgers game last week.

Summer is right around the corner and to celebrate it's arrival, I figure I should come up with a list of things to do, beats to listen to and sites to see during the warmer part of 2009.

While there are thousands of things you should do every summer, I don't feel like getting carpal tunnel, so I'll limit to a half dozen or so:

1.Get to the beach: preferably the ocean, but if not, get to a big lake
2.See a baseball game: a major league one if you can, but minor league will do, but little league will not
3.Go to multiple barbecues: because a hot dog cooked over charcoal doesn't get old
4.See a movie: summer blockbusters are named so for a reason
5.Be outside as often as you can: it might be hot if you live in the South, but you'll wish you were outside more when it's January and freezing out
6.Get a tan:
7.Mix up your menu: summer calls for some lighter drinks and meals for two reasons; you don't always want to eat heavy, rib sticking meals when it's hot out and you probably want to lose a few to look decent in a bathing suit.

Summer jams are an integral part of kicking it in through the dog days. Whether you are in the whip with your boys or posted up by the pool/lake with a stereo, or even doing some work outside, you need to have the beats to properly enjoy the weather. Here are some of my favorite cuts for the season:

Ruff Ryders Anthem (remix)- DMX and the Ruff Ryders
Beautiful- Snoop Dogg
Guantanamera- Wyclef Jean and Lauren Hill
How we Roll- Big Pun ft. Ashanti
Summertime- DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Rumpshaker- Wreckx n Effect
Wipeout- The Surfaris
Good Times- Ludacris and DTP
XXplosive- Dr. Dre
Today Was a Good Day- Ice Cube
Pump it Up- Joe Budden
Uh Oh- Lumidee ft. Busta Rhymes and Fabolous
Island in the Sun- Weezer
Runnin' Down a Dream- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
You're Best Friend- Queen

This guy built a sweet monster out of construction barrels and it's hilarious looking.

Life Advice of the Week: This comes from AMC's Mad Men, "This is America, pick a job and then become the person that does it."
Word of the Week: Cupidity, extreme desire for material wealth
TFLN of the Week: "Malkin and Crosby: 2 girls, 1 cup"
Video of the Week: Every Week on Entourage
Great News Item of the Week: MEGAN FOX IS SINGLE (I love that she spells her name that way, not wasting time with the silent H that most Meg(h)an's have in it. Much less confusing.)

Last but not least, your Baby Game of the Week: Emmanuelle Chriqui, featured up top and here again:


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Annoying Red Sox Stats

Yankees  vs. everyone else in the league not including the Red Sox:  34-18, .653 w%
Red Sox vs. everyone else in the league not including the Yankees: 28-24, .538 w/%

But since they have played each other they sit at a dead even 34-24, .586 w% with the tiebreaker to the Sawx on the strength of six head to head wins.

I guess I feel good about this since the Yankees play 144 games vs. everyone else and just 18 vs. the Red Sox every year.  They have to start turning it around, the law of averages demands so.  

Big Papi vs. the Yankees (up to the HR he hit in his fist AB vs. the pinstripes tonight):
In 20 at-bats, .350, 5 XBH, HR, 7 RBI

Big Papi vs. everyone else:
in 178 at-bats, .185, 13 XBH, 2 HR, 17 RBI

BGotW: Mary Louise Parker, because I just found out she isn't Sarah Jessica Parker's sister.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Random Thoughts - 6/3

Talk about getting knocked out cold - or dead. Best part to see the action is at about the 1:40 mark of the video.

For all you hard workers out there that are constantly looking for a way out of the grind - this is your cue to start looking through all of your old football cards

Stop working out and just sit on your couch all day, its better for you - trust me.

I guess if you can't stop it, why not try to promote it?

T.O is a manic-depressive, all he wants to do is be in the news - he needs people to talk about him. This is ridiculous.

Shorty went to highschool with me and is on the cover of Playboy College.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

For the People - random thoughts

While watching the NBA Finals I thought it would be funny to compare Stan Van Gundy and Bill Belichick. The only thing they have in common other than winning is they can't dress themselves.

When am I going to catch a break?
Bear Grylls may be a phony, but this is going to be a lot of fun to watch
If you're having a bad day and need a laugh, this never gets old

Lineup for T.V tonight
7:00 - Yanks/Rangers
8:00 - Pens/Wings
10:00 - Men vs. Wild


Monday, June 1, 2009

Stats Galore

For some reason or another, stolen bases do not count as total bases in the game of baseball.  How many times have announcer said something to the effect of: "Don't let (Figgins, Crawford, Ichiro, Rickey, Soriano, etc.) get on base, he can turn a (single, walk) into a double without a problem,"?  If you watch baseball as much as I do, or even one third as much as I do, you've heard it a thousand times.  To me, it's always been logical that a stolen base should count as a TOTAL BASE.  I understand you use total bases to calculate the ever-important slugging percentage, but that figure should be called something else.  

My argument is that total bases should count as every base you get, on your own accord.  Base knocks, two baggers, triples and dingers already count in the TB column, but so should steals and if we want to define total in its truest form, so should walks, fielder's choices, bases reached on error and even the freak occurrences when a guy strikes out on a dropped third strike and gets to first.  Faster guys are hurt in the traditional definition of this stat because their speed does not factor in.  As the saying we started off with goes, the right guy can, "turn a single into a double."  Shouldn't he be credited for one?  Rickey Henderson, the greatest of all time -at least according to Rickey - is 35th all time in TB with 4,588 (and will be 37th soon as A-Rod is tied with him and Manny's just 13 back) but if we add in his 1,406 steals, we get a new total of 5,994 which puts him 4th.  NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!  If I'm giving an extra base for stealing one, you're gosh darn right I'm taking one away for getting thrown out, so before we add up Rickey's new total base number, let's remove 335 from that number for a final of 5,659/8th place.  Still very impressive and earned in my book.

The point of the inclusion of steals in the TB count is to measure a player's offensive effectiveness, not to diminish more powerful, slower players.  I feel it's only fair to give love to the speedsters who are making up for their puny, girly muscles with good first steps and fast feet.

Here are two other stats, while not as groundbreaking as defensive range or OPS, I'd still like to see mentioned every so often (Glossary: Runs, AppearancesRuns Batted In, Home Runs):

RPA (runs per appearance): R/A = RPA
Along with ERA, I few this as another effective way to judge a pitchers effectiveness.  While ERA is still probably a better gauge for starters, this gives the fan a better idea of a relief pitchers merit (especially a specialist).  One bad outing by a guy who only pitches an inning or so each game will ruin his ERA for the year.
Myers has an awful appearance early in the season giving up six runs while just getting two outs in a game his Tigers ended up losing by 14.  His ERA balloons to the Wang-ish 32.40 and will never get down to a respectable level again.  Average fans take a look at his ERA, which at the All-Star Break is still over 6.00 and think he's a scrub.  At the end of the year, Myers has pitched in 71 games and has an ERA of 5.23.  Because of his third game of the season his numbers look terrible, when in actuality, he had a good year.  Remove that appearance and his ERA drops practically one and a half runs.  To give fans the best look at his season, we insert this stat into the mix and see that his RPA is just .34, a respectable number, considering 2009 Mariano Rivera's RPA is just a shade under .30 and his ERA is 2.61, practically perfectly half 1999 Myers'.

RC (runs created): R + RBI - HR = RC
Also known as Runs Responsible For
Obviously it was time to make an argument for a Yank. In 2006, Justin Morneau edged out Derek Jeter for the AL MVP by 14 votes.  As it often does, the MVP that year went to the guy with the bigger power numbers as Morneau had 34 HRs and 130 RBI to Jeter's 14/97.  Before a pitch was thrown that season, any pundit could have predicted the Twins first baseman would have outslugged Jeter because for the bulk of the year, Morneau batted 5th, a classic RBI slot.  Jeter, on the otherhand as he has for his entire career (excluding 2009), batted 2nd where his job was to get on base and score, so of course he won't have the pop in his classic production stats as Morneau did.  Using this statistic, let's take a look at how many runs each player brought to their team (I don't have the data or time to factor in runners advanced, extra bases taken on throws, etc.).  Jeter had 97 RBI and 118 runs with just 14 homers resulting in an RC of 201.  Morneau was good for the aforementioned 130 RBI to go with 97 runs and 34 dingers for an RC of 193.  Suddenly, Jeter's numbers are slightly more impressive when you don't factor in the longball.  A leadoff or #2 hitter will rarely get big power numbers (except when you take steroids like Brady Anderson) because it just isn't their job, but that does not mean they are any less effective or vital to a club's success.  
*(note: HRs are subtracted in this stat because they count for an RBI and a run in the player's stats, but only one run on the field)

The other Meatball promised me this week he shall make a triumphant return, so keep your eyes peeled ladies and gents.