Friday, January 7, 2005
NINE INNINGS WITH SETH
Happy Friday morning! We are almost done with yet another work week! I don't know about you, but I think that is a good thing. Today, I am going to steal an idea from The Baseball Savant. Recently, he wrote a posting with 9 topics that he creatively broke into "innings", so I am going to plug his site here and take his great idea. I know I have mentioned his site frequently, but there is a good reason for that... it is one of the best baseball blogs out there! Read it! Bookmark it!
I will keep it pretty simple and link you to a number of interesting articles and sites that I would encourage you to read today or over the weekend. Most of them will be baseball related, but I do touch on a couple of other things that I think are interesting. However, since I already have used up my 9 innings and an extra inning, I didn't leave room for my Wild Card Weekend football game predictions, so here they are quickly:
(all times Central)
AFC Games -
Saturday at 7:00 - NY Jets 17, San Diego Chargers 34
Sunday at 12:00 - Denver Broncos 6, Indianapolis Colts 48
NFC Games -
Saturday at 3:30 - St. Louis Rams 30, Seattle Seahawks 17
Sunday at 3:30 - Minnesota 31, Green Bay Packers 35
But, you know what has to come first today. You've got it, the Demographic Survey that I have been trying to get people to participate in for me all week. I have had some great e-conversations with a lot of people from Minnesota but some others from around the country and even a couple from other countries. If you haven't yet e-mailed me, please do so now. I would really appreciate it.
A year ago, I asked readers here to send me a quick e-mail. I want to find out a little bit about who is reading this site. I would like to update that information as I know the readership has nearly tripled in the last year. So, please send me a quick e-mail and answer just a couple of questions for me. Please just tell me where you are from and your age. Feel free to tell me any more about yourself that you think I would be interested in. I will keep this question on the site this week and post results next week. So, please help me out. Obviously I won't share any of your information with others, so please e-mail me.
Now, let the Game Begin:
1st Inning - A couple of weeks ago, long-time Twins 3B Corey Koskie agreed to a 3 year contract to play in his native Canada as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. That signing caused me to rant a bunch about my being upset at the Twins management for not making him a priority. Koskie has certainly taken the high road in this situation. Yesterday, he took out a half-page ad in each of the Twin Cities sports pages where he took time to thank so many people including the management and especially the fans. Corey Koskie is a good guy who will be missed by the Twins and their fans. Here is what he wrote:
Thank You, Minnesota!!
I would like to take this time to thank all the Minnesota Twins fans for their cheers and support for myself and my family over the past six years. The decision to leave the comfort of a community that we love and cherish so much and an organization that we have been a part of for 11 years was the hardest decision our family has ever had to make. Sometimes God closes windows to open doors. I am excited about the opportunity to play for a team I grew up watching.
I would also like to thank Carl Pohlad, the Pohlad family, Terry Ryan, and the whole Twins organization for giving me the opportunity to play the game that I love and to be part of something very special.
To all the Minnesota Twins employees (full-time and part-time), I have seen the long hours you put in day in and day out during the seasons and off-seasons. Your tireless effort has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for all the help you have given me.
And finally I would like to say thank you to my managers (TK and Gardy), coaches, medical staff, training staff and teammates. You have been very helpful and supportive of me throughout my career in Minnesota and for that I am forever grateful.
Remember Twins fans, you put the Minnesota Twins back on the baseball map! This is a great organization so keep cheering and waving that homer hanky.
I hope you have a blessed and prosperous New Year. Iím going to miss you all.
2nd Inning - I have written here a number of times about how ridiculous it is that Bert Blyleven has not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Earlier this week, he collected 41% of the vote, far short of the 75% necessary to be elected. I guess I will simply never understand an argument against voting for Blyleven, and I do not believe it has anything to do with the fact that I am a Twins fan. Jim Caple is a baseball writer for ESPN.com and does have a Hall of Fame vote. He wrote a great article called Koufax or Blyleven? that is a great read! In it, he asks the question, "Who would you rather have, Sandy Koufax or Bert Blyleven?" The article goes on to further explain the question:
Say you are a general manager in an alternate universe and you can choose a clone of either the 19-year-old Koufax or the 19-year-old Blyleven, knowing ahead of time that both will perform exactly as they did in our major leagues. Wins, losses, ERA, innings -- all those stats on the backs of their Topps baseball cards will be exactly duplicated. The key aspect to keep in mind, however, is that free agency is still banned in this alternate universe. In other words, you'll not only get the pitcher for the start of his career, you will have lifetime rights to him (just as the Dodgers did with Koufax). He's your indentured servant for as long as his arm can still pitch.
And later he asks:
So, again: Would you rather have a pitcher who might put your team over the top for a couple seasons, or someone who will help keep your team competitive for many years?
So there is a great question for Hall of Fame voters, and one more great point in favor of Bert Blyleven's inclusion in the Hall of Fame!
I can't imagine there is anyone that reads my site that doesn't already read everything by Aaron Gleeman, but he wrote some great thoughts on Blyleven's candidacy by ripping the a Jimmy Kimmel article on his Hall of Fame picks.
FoxSports.com's Dayn Perry wrote another article titled No Doubt, Blyleven Should Be in Hall.
3rd Inning - I have said a few times that I don't care if the Yankees acquire Randy Johnson, signed Carlos Beltran and have a payroll over $200 million. The last time they won the World Series they had a payroll of under $100 million. Since then, teams with far lower budgets have won the title. So, let them spend whatever they want. Johnson's old, and Beltran isn't as good as everyone wants to think he is. The pitching staff is full of question marks and the lineup is getting older all the time. Think I'm the only one who thinks that? FoxSports.com's Stan McNeal gives us 17 reasons that the Yankees won't win the World Series in an article called Take it to the Bank, The Yanks could Tank.
4th Inning - AJ Pierzynski signed a one year contract with the Chicago White Sox for $2.25 million. Is that really funny to anyone else? You would like to think that there would be enough pride left in major league baseball that because of how much drama there was between the White Sox and Twins in recent years, that players from either side would have no interest in playing for the other team. Well, first, Billy Koch is no longer in Chicago, so that's good. And money talks. Lets be honest, AJ needed a job after being released after one season in San Francisco and the White Sox need a catcher. This is a move that does make sense. And hey, I didn't really like AJ anyway, and I don't think many of his teammates really did either, so he should really fit in with the White Sox.
Speaking of malcontent former Twins players, Dougie Baseball is in the news again. He never does seem happy, does he? Apparently, he is keeping the ball that he caught from Keith Foulke for the last out of the Red Sox World Series win. The team wants to put it in a museum, but Mientkiewicz won't give it up. I can understand its sentimental value. Doug understands its fiscal, economic value! Kinda sad!
5th Inning - Getting back to the Hall of Fame, MLB.com's Tom Singer wrote an interesting article in which he named 12 current players who, if they retired today, would be Hall of Famers. I agree with the 12 that he mentions, but I would also add Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Bernie Williams and Barry Larkin to the list.
The reason I mention this article though is because near the end, Singer writes:
If we were to compile a similar list in the wake of the Hall of Fame elections of the above, the names might include Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Carlos Beltran and Tim Hudson.
OK, lets all admit it, we all watched Sesame Street and remember the song that went, "One of this things is not like the others. One of these things just isn't the same..." Well, I am as big a Torii Hunter fan, but I just don't think I would put him in the same class as certainly A-Rod, Pujols or Hudson! Ozzie Smith and Bill Mazeroski are in the Hall of Fame primarily for their defense. Torii Hunter is as good a defensive centerfielder as I have ever seen. If only he could put together a semblance of plate discipline for the next six to eight years, maybe I would change my mind.
6th Inning - Check out Blog Maverick, Mark Cuban's web blog, if you're interested in some advanced statistical metrics put to basketball. I am not even going to try to explain the statistic, "Plus Minus and Impact analysis'. It involves a lot of numbers so it is a very interesting stat. However, I really don't like it because it puts Stephon Marbury as #1 in the NBA, followed by Dirk Nowitzki before Kevin Garnett shows up as #3. So, it's a great stat, but I won't buy any number that says that KG is ranked any lower than #1!
7th Inning - Since the book Moneyball came out a couple of years ago, there has been a huge debate in the baseball community between statistics and scouting. I find it very interesting because I think that both can be used together to get the best players signed. Baseball America has played a big role for both sides of this topic. Today, Alan Schwarz has a great article/conversation between four people, two on each side of the situation. It is fascinating! They are:
Gary Hughes, the Cubsí assistant general manager and a scout for more than 30 years with many clubs; Eddie Bane, the Angelsí scouting director and a former top pitching prospect himself; Gary Huckabay, one of the lead analysts for Baseball Prospectus and a statistical consultant for the Athletics; and Voros McCracken, another top numbers man who also consults for the Red Sox.
8th Inning - A number of NBA Players are helping out the tsunami victims and their families by donating $1,000 per point that they score in a single game. They are hoping to generate $250,000. Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal and Pao Gasol are among the players participating. Their agent, Arn Tellum, has said he will match the highest contributors funds.
I think it's great when people help people, but I can't help but agree with something Brent wrote over at BrentNet today:
I'm getting so sick of seeing celebrities donate money to the tsunami relief. Keep it to yourself! It means nothing to me that Sandra Bullock gave one million dollars. All that tells me is that Sandra Bullock has entirely too much money considering she's one of the world's worst actresses. It does kind of make America look embarrassing, though, when we first said we'd give a whopping $15 million in relief. Wow...
9th Inning - Do you find it funny sometimes when products have to have warning labels so that stupid people can't sue the company for doing stupid things. I didn't realize there were awards given for such things.
I'm going to start with the third place winner who won $100 for sending in a warning label that read, "Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally." Good call!
The second prize winner got $250. It was for a label on a children's scooter that read, "This product moves when used." I would hope so!
And finally, the winner of the contest, and $500, went to a person who sent in a label on a toilet brush that read, "Do not use for personal hygiene."
So as you can see, this is what we have to keep sue-happy people from winning insane amounts of money for being stupid!
People have wished me a Happy New Year, and I certainly hope that you all have had a successful start to yours as well. I hope you have kept your resolutions for the first week of 2005! Some have asked what I did on New Years Eve. I figured I would mention it here and give some recognition to a great band that I heard that night that primarily plays in Northern Minnesota. They are called Straight Up and the lead singer is Kelly Waselovich who I have just recently become acquainted with. I like to consider myself a knowledgeable evaluator of music and music talent, and this is certainly one of the best bands I have ever heard. In about four hours of performing, Kelly did not miss a note the entire time. Here are a couple of pictures from that night. If you are looking to book them, you'll just have to e-mail me, and I will have to get you in contact with the band.
And on that note, I am going to call it a day and a week. I hope you have a pleasant, enjoyable and relaxing weekend! If you have any questions or comments about anything you've read, please e-mail me.
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