Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Playoff Predictions

I just got an email from Ken Roberts, who pointed me to his own playoff odds site - Sports Club Stats. Ken provides verydetailed predictions, recaps, and "what ifs." For example, here is the Indians team page. Sports Club Stats covers every major American sport and then some.

I've only known about this site for a few days, but it's already one of my favorites. Be sure to check it out to see how your team is doing in the playoff hunt!

Weekly Indians Lineup Analysis

I've decided to start a new weekly column for the rest of the year. Every Sunday (I hope), I'll take the top 9 Indians in terms of OPS and feed them into Dave Pinto's Lineup Analysis Tool to determine the theoretical ideal batting lineup. In an attempt to be realistic, I'll only include players on the active roster (not injured or in the minors), and only those with 10+ plate appearances (sorry, CC and Sal Fasano).

This Week's Results
Click here for full results.

This Week's Ideal Lineup
Choo
Sizemore
Garko
Francisco
Blake
Peralta
Shoppach
Dellucci
Carroll

Theoretical Runs Per Game
5.163

Theoretical Improvement
The Indians are currently scoring 4.395 runs per game, meaning this would be an improvement of 0.768 runs per game. That in turn translates to 124 additional runs in a year, or 12.4 wins.

Defensive Plausibility
You can't just march out the top 9 hitters on your team every day; someone has to man each defensive position. For instance, earlier in the year, the Indians ideal lineup would have included Victor Martinez, Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Garko, and Travis Hafner, meaning one of those guys would have had to have played third base or right field.
However, this week's lineup is entirely plausible. All four infield positions plus catcher are covered, plus the remaining four outfielders can split time in the field or DH. In fact, this is the exact same starting 9 Eric Wedge has sent out for the last few games.

Fan Believability
If Eric Wedge put together this batting order, would the fans call for his head? For example, earlier in the year, Travis Hafner had a high on base percentage but a low slugging percentage, and the ideal lineup had him hitting leadoff. No one would have gone for that realistically.
However, this week's lineup has a very high believability/acceptability factor. Fans would have no trouble seeing Ben Francisco hit cleanup, and Garko, Blake, and Peralta area already hitting in the middle of the order. Some fans may not like Grady Sizemore dropping out of the leadoff spot, but there are just as many people who want to see him dropped down in the order so he can drive in runs.

My Take
I really like this lineup. Sabermetrically, the #2 guy is supposed to be your best all-around hitter. That's what Grady is. Shin-Soo Choo may not be a speed demon, but he has been getting on base. As has Jamie Carroll, which is what you want out of the #9 spot. Francisco may not have big power, but he's passable. The #5 spot is supposed to be your second best all-around hitter. You may not think of Casey Blake as that guy, but the way he's been hitting - and the way everyone else has been hitting - he fits the bill.

Random Indians Thought of the Week
Is it by design or bad coincidence that Aaron Laffey keeps pitching day games and other games where most of the regulars are resting. The young pitcher needs run support, and he's not going to get it with the bench players in. That can't be good on his confidence, and that's a shame because he's pitched relatively well to date.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Editor's Note: Yeah, I know this is the second Sports Minute dump this week. But I wasn't going to post at all tonight until my softball games got rained out. So live with it.

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker became the second woman to dunk in a WNBA game in a win over the Indiana Fever. What a great moment for all three fans in attendance.

The NBA is asking disgraced referee Tim Donaghy to reimburse the league for the cost of his basketball shoes. Donaghy would just return the shoes, but he lost them in a poker game.

Charles Barkley is headed back to Las Vegas to play in a charity poker tournament a month after pledging not to gamble. It's not as bad as it sounds, though. Barkley will be donating all of his winnings to Hypocrites Anonymous.

Curt Schilling will undergo season-ending surgery next week to repair a tendon in his shoulder. Unfortunately for Major League Baseball, the surgery isn't expected to interfere with his blogging.

And C.C. Sabathia is reportedly on the Chicago Cubs' radar. But given his size, he's on everyone's radar.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Pacman Jones has informed the media that he no longer wants to be referred to by his nickname. Instead, he will answer to "Adam," "Mr. Jones," or "Prisoner No. 345279."

Radio host Don Imus is in trouble again after making controversial racial remarks about Pacman Jones. In Imus' defense, many of his favorite slaves are black.

Kobe Bryant will head the 12-man U.S. squad in the Olympics this year. Wow, that's a lot of Olympians to not pass to.

Shaquille O'Neal insinuated that Kobe Bryant couldn't win a championship without him in an impromptu internet rap. It's hard to say what's more disturbing, the fact that the two men are still feuding or that Shaq is rapping again.

And New Orleans Hornets guard Rasual Butler has been charged with flashing a loaded gun near a South Florida nightclub. Luckily no one was in danger due to Butler's complete inability to shoot.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

49-year-old former boxing champions Jeff Fenech and Azumah Nelson came out of retirement to fight a 3rd match. The fight was marred by both men repeatedly telling the crowd to keep all the noise down.

A horse has tested positive for twice the allowable level of Clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that helps burn fat and promote muscle growth. John Daly is looking into the story.

The Green Bay Packers are crying poor after clearing just $21 million last season. Things are so dire, they might begin eating those giant cheese heads.

The Atlanta Dream are off to an 0-13 start during their first year in the WNBA. Owners are worried that attendance might drop from five to three.

And Shaquille O'Neal will lose his special deputy's badge in Maricopa County because of language he used in a rap video that mocks former teammate Kobe Bryant. The rap was so bad that Shaquille also lost his license to ill.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The Toronto Raptors have agreed to trade T.J. Ford to the Indiana Pacers. With gas prices as high as they are, it's nice to know you can still unload a broken down old Ford.

PETA is upset at Wimbledon officials for using marksmen to shoot some pesky pigeons. Dave Winfield was upset they didn’t call him first.

John Daly and Kid Rock teamed up yesterday at the Buick Open pro-am, but not before locking up the trailer park.

Several teams around the NBA have expressed interest in Dallas Mavericks wingman Josh Howard. The All-Star forward could be dealt as early as 4:20.

And Fox broadcaster Terry Bradshaw said that he used steroids while with the Steelers. Which finally explains the mystery of his forehead.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cleveland Indians: Not Quite Dead Yet

I was all set to write a post mortem for the Indians. A second straight home lost to the Giants dropped them into last place. Baseball Prospectus gives them a 2% chance of making the playoffs; PlayoffStatus.com, 1%. THe entire team seemingly is injured or underperforming. Mitchell at Juiced Sports Blog says that CC Sabathia is all but traded.

Then I read this Baseball Prospectus article. As MLB.com's standings page shows, the Indians are vastly underperforming their pythagorean (expected) win-loss total. Sure, that is due to a few 12-0 wins followed by stretches of 3-2 losses (either from nine innings of inept offense or one inning of inept relief pitching), but still that's a sign for hope. As the BP article points out, Ryan Garko and Jhonny Peralta are currently underperforming, and should bounce back to their career averages at least to some extent.

The good news is that we're still over a month away from the trade deadline, so the Tribe can delay their buy/sell decision a little longer. The bad news is that of the host of injured players, only Fausto Carmona is due back before the deadline. That would give the Indians a great top 3/5 of the rotation and a capable fourth starter in Aaron Laffey. Paul Byrd's ERA is around 5, but that isn't horrendous for a fifth starter these days.

What about the lineup? The outfield has now settled down, with Grady Sizemore, Ben Francisco, and Shin-Soo Choo all hitting well. Dave Dellucci and Franklin Gutierrez are capable backups, especially Gutierrez as a defensive replacement for Francisco and Choo. As mentioned above, Garko and Peralta are underperforming, but Jamey Carroll and Casey Blake are actually playing respectably. Blake has an OPS+ of 105, which sadly is the fourth best on this team (after the three starting outfielders). Carroll's OPS+ is in the 90s, as is Kelly Shoppach's.

That leaves the bullpen. GM Mark Shapiro willingly admits that bullpens are a crapshot, and the fact that this year's bullpen is that much worse than last year's despite few major personnel moves is proof. The next two players expected to get a show in the Indians pen are former Twins reliever Juan Rincon and prospect Jeff Stevens.

So should the Indians buy, sell, or hold? No matter how optimistic you are, the odds of making the playoffs this year are slim. If the Indians do buy, they should do so with 2009 and 2010 in mind. If they happen to luck out and make the playoffs this year in the process, great.

On the same token, the Indians do not need to sell and start rebuilding again. With a limited budget, Cleveland has to operate within certain "windows of opportunity" of competitiveness. Does the current window of opportunity close if CC Sabathia leaves? Not in the slightest. If Sabathia leaves, Grady Sizemore becomes the new face of the franchise, and he's signed through 2012. Most of the other current core players will be around until then as well. So the Indians need to work to stay competitive over these next five seasons, including this year. And remember, CC Sabathia isn't gone yet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cleveland Cavaliers Last-Minute Draft Links

The NBA Draft starts Thursday night. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the 19th pick in the first round, and that's it. Here are some links that can serve as a last-minute cram session for Cavs fans.

First, the official sites:
NBA.com's draft coverage
Cavs.com's Draft Central

If you prefer national coverage that's not controlled by David Stern, there's NBAdraft.net

I'll admit I don't follow Cavs blogs as much as I'd like to, but here are some of note:
And One, from Cleveland.com
Brian Windhorst, Ohio.com sportswriter
The Cleveland Fan's Cavs page (the site itself is affiliated with Sports Time Ohio)
CavsNews.com
Waiting for Next Year

And of course, there's the Cleveland Cavaliers section on Bleacher Report.

Finally, if you live in the Cleveland area, the Cavs are having an official draft party at the Winking Lizard in Lakewood. The Lakewood Lizard is a great old (1915) building that used to be an Elks Lodge. The Winking Lizard as a franchise is famous for its Beer Tour, burgers, and BBQ sauce. The draft party should be a good time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The trainers of Kentucky and Preakness winner Big Brown offered no explanation for his poor performance at Belmont, saying only that "he didn't have it." Which is the exact same thing Big Brown's owner said about their check.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to pay a local radio station $2,000 per broadcast next season. No word yet on how much the team will have to pay fans to actually listen.

Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley has said he suspects his team did not get fair value for center Pau Gasol. Gasol was traded for a few fur coats and $26 in beads.

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a friendly wager on the NBA finals. If the Celtics win, Schwarzenegger will donate Californian food and beverages to a charity of Patrick's choice. And if the Lakers win, Patrick must sit through Jingle All the Way.

And the Tampa Bay Rays selected teenage shortstop Tim Beckham with the first pick in the draft. They had trouble cruising high schools looking for talent, but eventually got some help from Roger Clemens.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Country singer Mindy McCready recently took part in the World Series of Poker. It's the first time in weeks we've been able to say the words "McCready" and "poker" without mentioning Roger Clemens.

Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Garza and catcher Dioner Navarro had to be separated during a game on Sunday. The battery had so many problems, they were hired to work in a Sprint phone.

Chicago's Cedric Benson was arrested for the second time in a month. One more and the NFL will force the Bears to trade him to Cincinnati.

Red Wings forward John Franzen has a bruise on his brain. Must be from all the Tigers games he's been watching.

And Kasey Kahne has won three of the last four NASCAR races. He's so popular amongst racing fans, it's almost as if his initials had a third K.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Ken Griffey, Jr. finally belted his six hundredth home run. The shot was so high, it nearly hit the bottom of the cellar door. Griffey hopes to play for another two seasons in order to hit his 601st.

The Chicago Bears waived Cedric Benson. In order to make mini-camp, all athletes must touch their finger to their nose and say the alphabet backwards.

Michael Strahan has announced he is retiring after 15 seasons in the NFL. The seven-time Pro Bowler is expected to leave behind a void second only to the gap in his teeth.

And Gilbert Arenas has opted out of the final year of his contract with the Washington Wizards. The three-time All-Star is an ideal pick up for any team in need of a good blogger.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Big Brown's trainer is now blaming his Belmont defeat on the horse's jockey. The jockey is blaming Steve Bartman.

Former Knicks star Allan Houston has said he is still interested in playing next season. In related news, so am I. At first we thought this was ridiculous, but then we looked at the Knicks' roster.

A Yankees clubhouse attendant has revealed that Roger Clemens was in the habit of taking Viagra. Because his fastball wasn't the only thing he couldn't keep up and away.

And the Pacers hired Sam Perkins to mentor their players. And they hired Roy Jones Jr. to train them for games in Detroit.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The U.S. Open has a new policy prohibiting food, beverages, containers, coolers and animals. If they didn't want John Daly attending, they could have just said so.

Roger Federer won his 56th consecutive match on grass. If he runs through any more grass, he'll break Ricky Williams' record.

The good news is the Bills running back Marshawn Lynch had Lasik surgery to correct his vision. The bad news is Lynch can now see just how bad the Bills are.

And turns out New York Giants Super Bowl rings were among the $2 million worth of items stolen from a Massachusetts jewelry company. Luckily the rings should be easy to retrieve since they're so gaudy that they’re visible from space. Authorities have already narrowed down their list of suspects to Dan Marino, Earl Campbell and Warren Moon.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The Sharks hired Todd McClellan as head coach. They were immediately drawn to him because he was bleeding and looked like an injured seal.

Brad Penny extended his winless streak to eight starts. The dollar might not buy much these days, but looks like a Penny is completely worthless.

The New York Mets acquired Trot Nixon. With the way the team's been playing, he'll have to change his name to Limp Nixon.

And a person associated with the Cowboys was electrocuted over the weekend when they touched a high voltage line at the team's new stadium. And here's the really bad news for Dallas fans: it wasn't Jessica Simpson. Simpson is launching her own line of sexy lingerie. It won't sell well. As any Dallas fan can tell you, getting into Jessica Simpson's underwear is bad luck.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Major League Baseball is considering using instant replay for home run calls this season. Not to correct anything, but because it would be hilarious to watch Prince Fielder run in slow motion.

Evander Holyfield's sprawling Georgia estate is under foreclosure. Take heart, Evander. We hear that Latrell Sprewell is looking for a roommate.

Quarterback Joey Harrington recorded a hole-in-one at Druid Hills Golf Club twice in two weeks. We'd call him lucky were it not for the fact that he plays for the Falcons.

Danny Bonaduce, Dennis Rodman and Screech have signed on to participate in Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling. We are rooting for a fight to the death.

And the New Jersey Nets plan to give away more than $250,000 worth of free gas. Or as most people call it, a full tank.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Yankee pitcher Chien Ming Wang is going on the disabled list for a while. It's the first time shelving a Wang has caused this much commotion in New York since it happened to Eliot Spitzer.

TV news journalist and lifelong Bills fans Tim Russert has died at the age of 58. It's so unfortunate that Russert passed before he could see Buffalo lose another four Super Bowls.

And Mets GM Omar Minaya finally fired manager Willie Randolph. If Minaya weathered the storm much longer, he'd have had to call FEMA. Yes, FEMA – the one organization more inept than the New York Mets. Mets ownership said that if they wanted to expect greatness only to get disappointment, they'd have hired M. Night Shyamalan.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Roger Clemens is allegedly selling many of his personal affects to pay his legal fees. On the positive side, Boof Bonser may finally be able to get a Cy Young award.

North Carolina underclassmen Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green will withdraw their names from the NBA draft and return to Chapel Hill next season. The announcement means the Tar Heels should be the best team in the state ahead of Duke, Davidson and the Charlotte Bobcats.

Barack Obama has said that if he wins this fall, he will install a basketball court at the White House. And if John McCain wins, he'll install a shuffleboard deck.

Chris Simms didn't show up to Tampa's minicamp. Now that he's ignoring the team and doing other things, he’s officially a Bucs' fan.

And NBC Sports and World Championship Sports Network are forming a partnership to create an all-Olympic channel. That way sports fans can have access to all the Olympics they want to ignore.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

American strongman Derek Poundstone was in New York pulling a 50,000-pound, double-decker bus. Because gas prices are just that high.

Oscar de la Hoya says he will retire after one more fight, saying "I have been preparing for this my entire life." Understandable, since every man's 15th lackluster 12-round decision is a major milestone.

Miami was eliminated from the College World Series. It was a shock to the city, because a sports team from Miami was actually playing in the post season.

Prince Fielder allegedly owes more than $400,000 in unpaid taxes. Although that may sound like a lot, it's still considerably less than his weekly grocery bill.

And Cincinnati star Chad Johnson recently underwent minor ankle surgery. Unfortunately the Bengals receiver came to before doctors had the chance to wire his mouth shut.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

A California woman completed a marathon less than a year after giving birth to sextuplets. The woman didn't mean to run the marathon, she was just running away.

Overweight pitcher C.C. Sabathia hit a tape-measure home run in a game against the Dodgers. Sadly, Sabathia suffered three heart attacks while rounding the bases.

A Sports Illustrated poll has named Derek Jeter the most overrated player in baseball. Votes were cast by almost 500 major league baseball players, and then replaced by Alex Rodriguez' opinion. A-Rod ranked third in the survey, because even he thinks he's overrated.

And an angry Mets fan shipped five chickens to the team's owners to protest the cowardly way in which they fired manager Willie Randolph. The Mets are hoping to use the chickens to replace Carlos Delgado.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Baseball Updates

Some updates on my recent Notre Dame Baseball Alumni article, plus some other baseball odds and ends.

  • Matt Macri wins the next-alum-to-be-called-up contest. He's a part-time starter at second and third, and has definitely held his own with the bat so far. In fact, he hit his first Major League home run against the Indians minutes before I typed this.

  • Brian Stavisky didn't stay in the independent leagues for very long. Stavo was signed by the Angels at the end of May and was assigned to the AA Arkansas Travelers. There he is playing every day at the corner outfield spots, first base, and DH.

  • Javy Sanchez (not Javy Lopez) was accepted to LSU's grad school and is also part of Paul Mainieri's coaching staff. Sanchez is Mainieri's third base coach. Mainieri was his own third base coach at Notre Dame, so putting Sanchez there tells me that the coach has a lot of faith in his former player.
    Mainieri is featured prominently in this clip of the hidden ball trick play pulled by UC Irvine. If you pay attention to the announcers, you'll also hear that Sanchez was ejected from the game for arguing the call.

  • MLB Trade Rumors has a good roundup of various MLB draft reactions. For a complete list of Notre Dame players taken in the draft, your best source is Jake's Field at ND Nation.

  • Finally, congrats to some local small colleges for successful baseball seasons. Ashland (Master's alma mater of Fired Up Friend Todd and one-year school of my sister) made the Division II College World Series. Adrian (alma mater of Infamous Cousin) had a Cinderella run to get into the Division III CWS. And Joliet Community (famous for a throwaway line in Rudy won the Junior College DIII championship.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Needs By Position

The fine people over at Bleacher Report have asked for my input on Cleveland's needs in the upcoming NBA draft. I have to admit that I'm stepping a little out of my comfort zone, as I didn't get much of a chance to follow college basketball or even the NBA much this year. I'd also love to have access to a basketball version of Cot's Baseball Contracts, but to my knowledge none exists. I do know the current Cavs roster however, and I do know Cleveland has only one pick: the 19th selection in the first round. With that said, here is my take on the Cavs' needs by position, in increasing order of need.

Small Forward: LeBron James has the position locked up, obviously. There's also Sasha Pavolvic and Wally Szczerbiak, borderline starters who are more than capable as backups.

Point Guard: Would it be great to add Gilbert Arenas, as rumors suggest? Of course. But at the same time, point guard is not a draft need. Delonte West is an adequate starter. Plus, the team already has two undersized shooting guards with borderline ball-handling skills in Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones. Undersized shooting guards are not in high demand in the NBA, so the last thing the Cavs need is to draft another short man only to find out he can't handle the point in the pros.

Center/Power Forward: Many analysts are looking towards the Cavs taking a center in the draft. But Cleveland already carries six post players on their roster. Yes, three of them (Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace, and Joe Smith) are in their mid-30s. Anderson Varejao's contract won't last forever. And Dwayne Jones and Lance Allred probably won't be stars. Sure, the Cavs need another scoring option in the post. But they only have one pick. If they had multiple picks, I'd be all for using one on depth and potential. The Cavs don't really have that luxury this year, though.

Shooting Guard: Cleveland has good talent. They made the NBA Finals last year, and were close to the conference finals this year. So an NBA Championship is a reasonable outcome. But history suggests that teams need at least two stars to make them a sure thing in the playoffs. Even team-first champions like Detroit and San Antonio had multiple stars. LeBron needs his second star, and the most reasonable place seems to be at shooting guard. The Cavs originally tried to make Larry Hughes that star, but it didn't work out. Is that start in the draft this year, and will he still be available at number 19? Or should the Cavs go in another direction with their pick?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ken Griffey, Jr.: What Might Have Been?

Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 600th career home run the other night. As a kid in Seattle, he looked destined to flirt with Hank Aaron's home run record. But as we all know, The Kid* was hit often by the injury bug.

*Joe Posnanski-style tangent: As you may know, if a player signs a bat deal with Louisville Slugger, the company will put the player's signature on their bats. As part of this process, LS gives the player a piece of paper with spaces to try out 10 different variations of their signature, and pick which one they like best. Griffey's signature sheet is one of the "artifacts" on the LS factory tour. In addition to his name, a few of the spaces are just signed "The Kid."

The chase to 600 put Griffey back in the spotlight, and many baseball purists have pined for an alternate reality where a healthy and clean Junior was able to out-slug not only The Hammer, but Barry Bonds as well. But how realistic is this alternate universe?

Bonds has hit 762 home runs in 22 seasons. Griffey, as we established, has hit 600 and is currently in his 20th season. He (Griffey) is currently averaging 125 games per season, and has homered in approximately 1/4 of his career games. (He averages 0.246 home runs per game, to be exact.) How healthy would Griffey had to have been to hit 762 in 22 seasons? That is, at his current pace, how many games would he have had to have played per season to remain on track to top Bonds in 2010?

As I mentioned, Griffey has averaged 0.246 HR/game.

22 seasons * 0.246 HR/game * X games/season = 762 HR

X = 141 (approximately)

So if Griffey had only played (and continued to play) 16 more games per season, he would have been on pace for 762. But as Griffey has quite adequately demonstrated, center field is a demanding position. Here's how that compares to a completely random (aka off the top of my head) list of recent center fielders (plus Bonds):

Barry Bonds: 136 games/season
Johnny Damon: 142
Jim Edmonds: 121
Torii Hunter: 112
Andruw Jones: 147
Kenny Lofton: 124
Grady Sizemore: 131
Vernon Wells: 108
Bernie Williams: 130

Hunter, Sizemore, and Wells' numbers are partially skewed by early-career September callups. But still, I'd give the average starting center fielder a decent chance to average 141 games over the course of his career. All the more reason to think about what might have been.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Mike Williams has lost 30 pounds. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Andruw Jones seems to have found them. Jones will likely miss the next four to six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee. The Dodgers hope that his rehab center isn't next to a Dunkin Donuts.

A Japanese sumo wrestler attacked his junior apprentice with a ladle. The sumo apparently mistook his apprentice for an oversized cartoon ham.

And Roger Clemens has requested that his defamation trial be moved to his native Texas. Since everything is bigger in Texas, maybe his head will be smaller in comparison. The next step is to assemble a jury of his peers, but no telling where they'll find twelve lying, cheating, statutory rapists. Sorry – lying, cheating, alleged statutory rapists.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

James Blake was ousted in the second round of the French Open by 19-year-old Latvian phenom Ernests Gulbis. An athlete hasn't had this much trouble with a teenager since Roger Clemens.

After Usain Bolt broke the world record in the 100 meters, fans compared him to lightning by calling him "The Bolt." Which is better than being compared to thunder and called "The Clap."

Women's softball giant UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA tournament. But they still got good news when California legalized gay marriage.

Rasheed Wallace was fined $25,000 for criticizing officials. But the real loser was Charles Barkley, who picked the over at $30,000.

And 13-year-old Indiana native Sameer Mishra won the National Spelling Bee. Now it's back to tutoring the Hoosier basketball team.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The New York Knicks are leaning towards trading the sixth pick in the upcoming NBA draft. If history is any indication, they'll trade it for the seventh pick.

Mike Vanderjagt signed with the CFL. Which, appropriately enough, is just wide right of the NFL.

Pacman Jones was arrested at a Dallas night club. I'm sorry, that's next week's Sports Minute.

More Detroit residents watched hockey than basketball this year. Followed by the spelling bee, news about a Ford Motors strike, Lake Michigan sunsets, and the Lions.

And Sammy Sosa says he may retire after next year's World Baseball Classic. It's nice to hear he's finally going to put a cork in it.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Members of the New York Giants have finally received their $25,000 Super Bowl rings from Tiffany. The rings are so stunning that Kobe Bryant is considering buying three of them, just in case.

The Broncos waived Travis Henry. Henry intends to stay in the NFL by fathering his own team.

The Cincinnati Reds Ken Griffey Jr. is about to join the 600 home run club. Which is sad, since he'd have 700 by now if he ever played against the Reds.

Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been chosen as the American League player of the month. We expect him to win comeback player of the year, too รข€“ finishing just ahead of Lazarus.

And David Ortiz is headed to the 15-day disabled list. His new nickname will be Snap, Crackle, and Big Papi.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

Randy Johnson passed Roger Clemens on the career strikeout list by notching his 4,673rd K. It's quite an accomplishment for a man who looks like he should be operating carnival rides in Oklahoma.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly told a ten-year-old boy to "beat it" when the young fan approached him for an autograph at a Baltimore Hooters. Ironically, that's why most people go to Hooters in the first place.

Joba Chamberlain's first start in pinstripes was brief and unsuccessful. Joba was so upset afterwards, he froze Han Solo in a vat of carbonite.

If Big Brown wins the Belmont, he will fetch $60 million in stud fees. That's good news, since Big Brown's jockey is only expected to fetch a dollar twenty-five.

And Flip Saunders was let go as coach of the Pistons. He'll be replaced by his more progressive and forward-moving brother Cartwheel Saunders.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

The Red Wings are hockey champs. The trophy is the biggest cup the city has seen since the one in Cecil Fielder's locker.

Bill Parcells now says that he wants Jason Taylor to come back. Good thing Parcells spoke up, because he was so silent he sounded Dolphin Stadium on game day.

Swimsuit-model and alleged actress Nikki Ziering will participate in Hulk Hogan's new reality show, Celebrity Championship Wrestling. She'll be a natural, due to all of her experience spending time on her back with her legs in the air.

The NBA has confirmed that Michael Beasley is 6-8 and not 6-10 as he previously claimed. The Kansas State forward has blamed his loss of two inches on a recent circumcision.

And the IOC has suspended Iraq's national Olympic committee, thus making them the first organization in Iraq with an exit strategy.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit minuteorso.com

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Happy Draft Day!

Well, sort of. The MLB draft stretches from June 5-6, so if you're reading this within 28 hours of posting, it technically still is draft day. Be sure to check out these fine websites for draft coverage:



Notre Dame junior closer Kyle Weiland was taken with the last pick of the third round by the Red Sox. MLB.com prospect guru Jonathan Mayo wrote a quick capsule on Weiland the other day. If you go to the MLB.com draft tracker and scroll down to the bottom of the third round, you can also see a "scouting video" of Weiland. Best of luck to Kyle, and to the other Notre Dame players taken this year. I haven't followed the team as much as I would have liked to, but my wild guess is that senior SP Wade Korpi will be next.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ten Potential Uses For Short People In The Game Of Baseball, In Ascending Order Of Utility

#1: Bases
You wouldn't step on them, of course. (They bite.) But maybe you could give them a high-five as you run the bases. Don't worry, baseball players; High-fiving a short person isn't any more strenuous than your average butt-pat.

#2: Spittoon Carriers
A small squad of short people carrying large brass spittoons could be employed to help keep the area clean. Different spittoon stations would include both dugouts, the bullpen, directly behind the umpire, and two "rovers". When somebody needs to approach the pitcher's mound for a strategy/spitting session, they would always make sure to bring along a spittooner.

#3: Proxy Base Runners
If a batter has a twisted ankle or a bum knee, that shouldn't stop him from participating. Just have a short person run the bases for him. Short people might take longer to cover the distance, but they're much harder to tag. Also, it would be easier for them to high-five the bases as they ran past.

#4: Proxy Batters
Yeah, Mr. Hot-Shot Pitcher Man, you just try to hit that strike zone.

#5: Proxy Pitchers
What the pitches would lack in overall speed would be more than made up for in pure anger.

#6: Messengers
Instead of learning countless hard-to-memorize gestures that can easily be thwarted by an errant bee or severe gastrointestinal problems, just use short people. Give a couple of short people little tablets and little pencils, and have them run your missives back and forth as fast as their wee little legs can carry them. "Messenger from the other dugout, coach. Apparently you're ugly."

#7: Good/Evil Consciences
You could dress them up as angels and devils, respectively. Each coach would have a pair, as well as the umpire and probably the pitcher.
Pitcher: "What do you think? Fastball?"
Short Person Dressed Like An Angel: "Yes, but not too fast. Give the man a fair chance."
Short Person Dressed Like A Devil: "I think you should bean him."

#8: Cheerleaders
Wait, what? No. I mean . . . What? No!

#9: Proxy Fielders
Of course, you'd probably need about two dozen short people to cover the average baseball field. A whole new set of field positions would have to be created, such as left-of-center field, second-first baseman, and shorter-stop.

#10: Tackling People Who Rush The Field
The innate ferociousness of a short person could be leveraged to its fullest advantage. It would take an awesome level of inebriation to steel a potential field rusher to brave the lawn-piranha that was the Ten-Man Rush Squad, and they stop serving drinks after the seventh-inning stretch. (Note that "Ten-Man" translates into roughly fourteen short people, plenty enough to cover the field if positioned strategically.)