Monday, January 31, 2005

MLB Preview 1: NL West

Welcome back to the MLB previews. The order as of right now is NL West, AL West, NL East, AL East, NL Central, AL Central - one a week. Remember that the lineups are in the order that I'd put them as manager, not necessarily what they'll be on opening day.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Cesar Izturis SS
Jose Valentin 3B
Milton Bradley LF
Jeff Kent 2B
JD Drew RF
Jayson Werth/Ricky Ledee CF
Hee-Seop Choi/Olmedo Saenz 1B
Dioner Navarro/Paul Bako C

Jeff Weaver
Odalis Perez
Derek Lowe
Kaz Ishii
Brad Penny
Wilson Alvarez
Edwin Jackson

Gone are Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre. In are Kent and Drew. Green may not be headed for a great year - he's been in a steady decline, his health hasn't been the best, and he's playing for a team that may make not get him very motivated this year. Beltre, he of huge expectations, took seemingly forever to live up to them. So, there's no guarantee this year will match his last. Kent is still a performer, even if he's not a long-term keeper. If Green and Beltre perform poorly, and Drew stays healthy, the Drew pickup looks like a good one. Meanwhile, Valentin will have to keep drinking from the Julio Franco foutain of youth, Bradley will have to stop making Mark Shapiro look like a genius (in other words, stop doing stupid stuff), and the 6-7-8 spots will have to get some decent production. Werth, Ledee, Choi, and Saenz can all do it in short stints, and Navarro is supposed to be full of talent. The rotation, meanwhile, will have to stay healthy and productive, and not burn out the bullpen before it's Game Over.

San Francisco Giants

Ray Durham 2B
Omar Vizquel SS
Barry Bonds LF
Moises Alou RF
Edgardo Alfonzo 3B
Marquis Grissom CF
JT Snow 1B
Mike Matheny/Yorvit Torrealba C

Jason Schmidt
Kirk Rueter
Brett Tomko
Jerome Williams
Noah Lowry
Brad Hennessey
Wayne Franklin

If Alfonzo can produce, and if Grissom can hit with the pop he has been, this isn't a bad lineup. I'd definitely take Bonds/Alou 3-4 over Grissom/Bonds. Vizquel can still get the job done, but he doesn't take crap from people. Let's see how his relationship with Bonds turns out. Meanwhile, the rotation looks decent but not deep. I'd say this team is a hitter, a starter, and a reliever away from a very good team.

San Diego Padres

Sean Burroughs 3B
Mark Loretta 2B
Brian Giles RF
Phil Nevin 1B
Ryan Klesko LF
Dave Roberts/Jay Payton CF
Ramon Hernandez C
Khalil Greene SS

Jake Peavy
Adam Eaton
Woody Williams
Brian Lawrence
Miguel Asencio
Justin Germano

Top to bottom, that's not a bad lineup for an NL. Of course, I'd probably put Roberts at leadoff and move Burroughs to 7 when Roberts plays. And, personally, I'd play Roberts often. If Roberts can teach Greene how to run, and if Loretta joins in on the act both with the base stealers and the big boppers, this is a good team once again. Of course, as always, health will be a huge factor in this team's success. Peavy, Eaton, and Lawrence are great young pitchers, but they needed help. Williams, while not a dominant pitcher, has done well in the middle of the rotation - just the kind of guy this team needs. And Asencio, while he wasn't great for Kansas City, should do better at PetCo and in the NL, and gives the rotation needed depth.

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Miles 2B
Luis A. Gonzalez/Desi Relaford SS
Todd Helton 1B
Preston Wilson CF
Jeromy Burnitz RF
Matt Holliday/Dustan Mohr LF
Alfredo Amezaga 3B
Charles Johnson C

Jason Jennings
Joe Kennedy
Aaron Cook
Jamey Wright
Jeff Francis
Jason Young

This lineup has three very good no-name second basemen. Miles broke out last year, although quietly as far as the media's concerned. Gonzalez was a great Rule 5 pickup from Cleveland. Helton is just going to get it done. Holliday/Mohr is a good enough combination in left, but the big questions will be Wilson's health and whether Amezaga - last year Anaheim's "other" utility guy - can play everyday third base.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Scott Hairston/Matt Kata 2B
Craig Counsell/Alex Cintron/Royce Clayton SS
Luis Gonzalez LF
Troy Glaus 3B/1B
Shawn Green RF
Shea Hillenbrand 1B/3B
Reggie Abercrombie/Josh Kroeger/LuisTerrero CF
Chris Snyder/Koyie Hill C

Russ Ortiz
Brandon Webb
Casey Fossum
Shawn Estes
Edgar Gonzalez
Lance Cormier
Mike Gosling

There's so many random middle infielders on this team, I'm starting to wonder if I sleep-GM this team. Maybe I should start looking in the mail for a check from ND alum Joe Garagiola, Jr. (or, as Sally Brown would call him, "Joe Garagiagiagiagiola). Neither Glaus nor Hillenbrand can handle a full season at third - Glaus due to health, and Hillenbrand due to skill. That's why the resigning of Counsell was a good move. But, who can play left when Luis Gonzalez gets hurt again? And who can play center period? Kata's an underrated bat - maybe he can play some outfield. Russ Ortiz is a good pickup. Brandon Webb will have to bounce back from a sophomore slump, and Casey Fossum will have to find a way to shake the "never lived up to expectations" billing. If you're out in Arizona this summer, at least you have the sun, the pool, and the random TV shots of Jenny Finch once husband Casey Daigle gets called up.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

ND Basketball: Where are they now?

Austin Carr: TV color commentator, Cleveland Cavaliers

Adrian Dantley: Assistant coach, Denver Nuggets, and a motivational speaker

Laphonso Ellis: Retired from the Miami Heat after the '02-'03 season

Pat Garrity: Orlando Magic

Ryan Hoover: Upea Capo D'Orlando (Italian league)

Matt Gotsch: Computer teacher and basketball coach at St. Thomas High in Houston

Doug Gottlieb: Transferred to OK St, now a college basketball writer and radio personality for ESPN

Phil Hickey: Last seen mentioned on a Tom Timmermans poster

Friel, Keith: Transferred to Virginia, last played for Boston Frenzy of the ABA

Troy Murphy: Golden State Warriors

David Graves: Gary Steelheads (CBA)

Martin Ingelsby: ND Coordinator of Basketball Operations

Harold Swanagan: ND Strength & Conditioning coach

Javin Hunter: Switched to DB, released by Baltimore Ravens prior to the '04 season

Matt Carroll: Roanoke Dazzle, NBDL

Ivan Kartelo: KK Split (Croatian league)

Jere Macura: Zagorje Tehnobeton (Croatian league)

Mike Monserez: Transferred to Butler after he didn't think Matt Daugherty gave him enough PT, graduated in '04

Ryan Humphrey: Memphis Grizzlies

Torrian Jones: After playing for Boston of the ABA, drafted by Gary of the CBA last September, released last November

Tom Timmermans: MPC Capitals (Dutch league)

Danny White: Ohio U grad school - sports management

Katryna Gaither: Tarbes GB (French league)

Ruth Riley: Detroit Shock, Colorado Chill (NWBL), Team USA

Sheila McMillen: Became an assistant coach for Northwestern in 2001; no longer with the team

Danielle Green: A war hero, she lost part of her left arm in combat in Iraq

Niele Ivey: Indiana Fever, Mann-Filter (Spanish league)

Kelley Siemon: Now Kelley Deyo, assistant coach for Liberty College women's team

Diana Braendly: now active in the ND club of Philadelphia

Meaghan Leahy: With the Springfield (MA) Spirit (NWBL) until they folded in September '04

Imani Dunbar: San Francisco Bay Are ProCity (Pro-Am travelling team)

Alicia Ratay: Saarlouis Royals (German league)

Amanda Barksdale: Homesickness told her to transfer to Houston and play basketball there. Now, she's a grad student at Houston and part time schoolteacher.

Katy Flecky: Still enrolled at ND, she quit the team to focus on academics and graduate in May of '05

Kelsey Wicks: Quit the team for unspecified reasons, appears to have graduated in '04

Allison Bustamante: transferred to Florida International, where she played basketball and apparently graduated in '04

Jill Krause: Still enrolled at ND, she quit the team to enjoy basketball as a fan

Finally, I'll leave you with an interesting article/video clip from BBC Nortern Ireland. "Hat tip" to Classic ND.

Monday, January 24, 2005

NFL Playoffs Update

You know how the games turned out. Let's bring back our look at ND alumni in the playoffs.


Jerome Bettis, RB - Pittsburgh: This Week: 17 rush for 64 yd and 1 TD, 1 fumble lost. Total: 44 rush for 165 yards and 2 TDs, and 1 lost fumble. 1 rec for 21 yd.

Brennan Curtin, OT, Green Bay: Team total: 105 rushing yards, 2 sacks given up.

Vontez Duff, CB, Pittsburgh:

Tony Fisher, RB - Green Bay: Total: 1 rush for 4 yards, 2 receptions for 1 yard, and 1 drop.

David Givens, WR - New England: This week: 5 receptions for 59 yards and 1 TD (all clutch). 1 rush for -2 yards. Total: 9 receptions for 85 yards and 2 TD. 1 rush for -1 yards.

Joey Goodspeed, FB - St. Louis: Total: Thrown at once (screen pass), 0 receptions.

Paul Grasmanis, DT - Philadelphia:

Jim Jones, OG - Pittsburgh: Team this week: 163 rushing yards, 1 sack given up. Team total: 356 rushing yards, 2 sacks given up.

Mike Rosenthal, OL, Minnesota: Team total: 98 rushing yards 2 sacks given up.

Allen Rossum, PR - Atlanta: This week: 4 kickoff returns for 102 yards, 2 punt returns for 20 yards. Total: 8 kickoff returns for 182 yards, 5 punt returns for 172 yards and 1 TD.

Gerome Sapp, S - Indianapolis: Total: 2 special teams tackles.

Hunter Smith, P - Indianapolis: Total: 8 punts, 40 yard average, 5 inside 20, long of 54 yards.

Bobby Taylor, CB - Seattle:


(Former ND assistants or ND alumni)

Pete Bercich, Linebackers Assistant, Minnesota: Linebackers total: 26 tackles, 1 forced fumble.

Kirk Doll, Special Teams, Denver: Team total: 23.5 kick return average, -1.0 punt return average. 18.0 kick return average and 9.0 punt return average given up.

Bishop Harris, Running Backs, New York Jets: Team total: 226 rushing yards.

Jim Johnson, Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia: Team this week: 10points, 136 passing yards, 99 rushing yards given up. Team total: 24 points, 452 passing yards, 196 rushing yards given up. 3 interceptions.

Dean Pees, Linebackers, New England: Linebackers this week: 18 tackles. Linebackers total: 35 tackles, 1 sack.

Johnny Roland, Running Backs, Green Bay: Team total: 105 rushing yards, 1 TD.

Kurt Schottenheimer, Defensive Backs, Green Bay: Team total: 284 passing yards, 4 TD given up.

George Stewart, Receivers, Atlanta: Team this week: 136 receiving yards. Team total: 220 receiving yards, 2 TD.

Mike Stock, Special Teams, St. Louis: Team this week: 17.4 kick return average, no punt returns. 20.0 kick return average and 50.7 punt return average given up (including 1 punt return TD). Team total: 20.3 kick return average, 4.7 punt return average. 18.9 kick return average and 40.3 punt return average given up, with 1 punt return TD.

Trent Walters, Secondary, Philadelphia: Team this week: 136 passing yards, 1 INT. Team total: 452 passing yards and 1 TD given up. 3 interceptions

Charlie Weis, Offensive Coordinator, New England: Team this week: 41 points, 207 passing yards, and 126 rushing yards. Team total: 61 points, 361 passing yards, 336 rushing yards (so close to 337 but not quite - kind of like me most of the time).

What you can look forward to over the next few weeks (maybe): an ND basketball "where are they now?", the return of the MLB division previews, a Super Bowl preview akin to the ND football previews, and not Senior Bowl coverage (as no ND players were selected - good, good).

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Transaction Wire

  • Mets trade Vance Wilson to Detroit for SS prospect Anderson Hernandez.

  • Blue Jays sign Billy Koch. True, once the league figured him out, he fell off rapidly. Fortunately, the Jays already have a closer, so maybe this erratic fireballer can settle into a setup role.

  • Blue Jays also sign Scott Schoeneweis. He's an innings eater, but only because he's a decent reliever and a mediocre starter. Unfortunately, he's under the impression that he's a good starter, and should only be a starter.

  • Blue Jays (have I mentioned them yet?) trade a pitching prospect for Shea Hillenbrand. Well, Carlos Delgado is officially out the door. His numbers are good year-in-year-out, unless you're a die-hard Moneyballer.

  • Marlins resign Paul Lo Duca. The man his manager still calls "De Luca" will put up decent numbers when he's healthy. For a team without a huge budget in a league without many good-hitting catchers, Lo Duca will do.

  • Braves sign Raul Mondesi. So much potential, so much talent, but... he doesn't live up to expectations and he doesn't always show up (mentally and physically). It's a risk, but it has potential to pay off. Maybe.

  • Devil Rays sign Roberto Alomar. Another guy with a tendency to not show up when he's not too happy. There's some good young talent on that team, but they're not there yet. And, how will an apathetic Robbie and Lou Pinella live together?

  • Mets sign Roberto Hernandez and Cubs sign Scott Williamson to minor league deals. Didn't Hernandez retire about 17 years ago? A minor league deal for Williamson, meanwhile, is a decent investment if he has a huge spring, or if the Cubs pen (or rotation for that matter) runs into injury problems.

  • Indians sign Alex Cora. The Tribe infield is already crowded, but if you look closely, you see this is a two-year deal. Jose Hernandez probably won't last two years, if he even last one. If Ronnie Belliard has another huge year, he may jump into the free agent pool for more money. Plus, if either Brandon Phillips or Jhonny Peralta don't work out, or are still coming along slowly, there's some insurance.

  • Even more Gammons-esque signings:
    Devil Rays: Danny Bautista
    Pirates: Kip Wells
    Dodgers: Paul Bako
    Astros: Dave Burba
    Indians: Warren Morris
    A's: Erubiel Durazo
    Phillies: Jose Offerman (minor league)
    Braves: Brian Jordan
    Diamondbacks: Jose Jimenez

  • 49ers name Ravens DC Mike Nolan head coach. Cue Dave's dad and mine, as Mike's father Dick was San Francisco's head coach in the '60s and '70s.

  • Now that the Niners have a coach, it appears that Romeo Crennel is inching ever closer to being named the Browns' head coach. Jim Bates still has an outside shot, but again hiring another former interim coach would only anger the fans who have grown to like Terry Robiskie.

  • Ravens promote Jim Fassel to offensive coordinator and name Rick Neuheisel QB coach.

  • Jets OC Paul Hackett resigns.

  • Rockets release guard Brandin Knight. I was wondering what happened to him.

  • UConn signs Gino Auriemma to a five-year contract extension. If you ever want to put yourself in a great deal of pain, try listening to the Huskie women's radio feed. They kiss up to Auriemma almost as much as ESPN.

  • Seven Notre Dame coaches show up at the house of DE recruit Lawrence Wilson. Wilson attends St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School, the alma mater of LeBron James. Wilson decommitted when Ty Willingham was fired, so Charlie Weis took the maximum number of coaches he can have on the road at one time (7) and sent them all to Wilson's house.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Weekend in Review

"Kanka << Martin Luther King, Jr." Edition

NFL Playoffs

You know how the games turned out. Let's bring back our look at ND alumni in the playoffs.


Jerome Bettis, RB - Pittsburgh: This Week: 27 rush for 101 yd, 1 TD, and 1 lost fumble. 1 rec for 21 yd.

Brennan Curtin, OT, Green Bay: Team total: 105 rushing yards, 2 sacks given up.

Vontez Duff, CB, Pittsburgh:

Tony Fisher, RB - Green Bay: Total: 1 rush for 4 yards, 2 receptions for 1 yard, and 1 drop.

David Givens, WR - New England: This week: 4 receptions for 26 yards and 1 TD.

Joey Goodspeed, FB - St. Louis: This week: One special teams tackle, possibly preventing an Allen Rossum TD. Total: Thrown at once (screen pass), 0 receptions.

Paul Grasmanis, DT - Philadelphia:

Jim Jones, OG - Pittsburgh: Team this week: 193 rushing yards, 1 sack given up.

Allen Rossum, PR - Atlanta: This week: 2 kickoff returns for 80 yards, 3 punt returns for 152 yards and 1 TD (of 68 yards). He also was very close to going 3 for three on punt returns. Is Rossum the most underrated ND alum currently in the NFL?

Gerome Sapp, S - Indianapolis: Total: 2 special teams tackles.

Hunter Smith, P - Indianapolis: This week: 6 punts, 40.7 yard average, 3 inside the 20, long of 54 yards. Total: 8 punts, 40 yard average, 5 inside 20, long of 54 yards.

Bobby Taylor, CB - Seattle:


(Former ND assistants or ND alumni)

Pete Bercich, Linebackers Assistant, Minnesota: Linebackers this week: 10 tackles. Linebackers total: 26 tackles, 1 forced fumble.

Kirk Doll, Special Teams, Denver: Team total: 23.5 kick return average, -1.0 punt return average. 18.0 kick return average and 9.0 punt return average given up.

Bishop Harris, Running Backs, New York Jets: Team this week: 110 rushing yards. Team total: 226 rushing yards.

Jim Johnson, Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia: Team this week: 14 points, 316 passing yards, 97 rushing yards given up. 2 interceptions.

Dean Pees, Linebackers, New England: Linebackers this week: 17 tackles, 1 sack.

Johnny Roland, Running Backs, Green Bay: Team total: 105 rushing yards, 1 TD.

Kurt Schottenheimer, Defensive Backs, Green Bay: Team total: 284 passing yards, 4 TD given up.

George Stewart, Receivers, Atlanta: Team this week: 84 receiving yards, 2 TD.

Mike Stock, Special Teams, St. Louis: Team this week: 17.4 kick return average, no punt returns. 20.0 kick return average and 50.7 punt return average given up (including 1 punt return TD). Team total: 20.3 kick return average, 4.7 punt return average. 18.9 kick return average and 40.3 punt return average given up, with 1 punt return TD.

Trent Walters, Secondary, Philadelphia: Team this week: 316 passing yards and 1 TD given up. 2 interceptions

Charlie Weis, Offensive Coordinator, New England: Team this week: 20 points, 144 passing yards, 210 rushing yards.

ND Football News

  • Justin Tuck is on pace to graduate (as he is a fourth year senior), and he will enter the 2005 NFL draft. He is projected to be a day 1 pick, perhaps going as high as the late first round.

  • The East-West Shrine Game was held last Saturday, with Ryan Grant as ND's lone representative. Grant rushed 7 times for 24 yards, and caught 2 passes for 19 yards.

  • The Gridiron Village Classic was also played last Saturday (why don't people tell me these things?!). Greg Pauly was ND's lone representative, and had 3 tackles, including 1 sack.

  • The Senior Bowl will be played January 29, with rosters announced January 23.

  • If anyone has any news on other senior bowl games being played, please let me know. I haven't seen anything about these anywhere. Also, if anyone caught any ND recruits in the Army All-American Game (advertise, for the love of God!) the other day, talk to me about a guest column.

Notre Dame Sports Update

For those who haven't heard yet, ND still leads in the director's cup with 337 points after the final fall update.

Baseball: Ranked #20 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. Closer Ryan Doherty and outfielder Craig Cooper are preseason All-Americans.

Men's Basketball: It hasn't been pretty, but a close win over St. John's gives ND their second best start under Mike Brey at 11-3. Chris Thomas, ND's all time leader in free throw percentage, was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, among the likes of Travis Deiner, Jerritt Jack, Aaron Miles, and Chris Paul.

Cross Country: The men finished as high as 5th and the women as high as 6th in postseason polls.

Men's Soccer: The US U20 team, featuring ND sophomore Greg Dalby, won the CONCACAF Group A Title, and is now en route to the World Youth Championship. (Who's up for KANKAKAF Fantasy Soccer?) The team, by the way, finished as high as 9th in final regular season polls.

Women's Basketball: After falling to Villanova and UConn, #7 ND routed Purdue 86-69. This one wasn't even close, but it was the first time ND Beat Purdue since the 2001 finals. This team looks good, and this only begs the question: who's a better coach, Mike Brey or Muffet McGraw?

Women's Soccer: Still National Champions. Is that good enough for you?

Softball: In preseason voting, Big East coaches unanimously predicted ND to win the Big East title.

Men's Lacrosse: Ranked as high as #10 in preseason polls.

Swimming and Diving: The men and women are both ranked #21 as of January 13.

Tennis: The men are ranked #34 and women ranked #21 as of January 11.

Fencing: I couldn't find a ranking, but I'm sure they're doing well. Oh, and Nick Schumacher is cool, but not as cool as Mariel Zagunis.

Join us later this week for a Transaction Wire, and (maybe) a KankaMatic Baseball update.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Class of 2005

The stakes were higher this year, requiring 5 votes. Out of 7 ballots and 1 carryover vote from last year, these three pulled through with exactly 5 votes:

Darrell Campbell: In the words of KankaManiac Andy Wolkiewicz, "best neighbor and snacky cake eater ever." Good luck with the Bears next year, Super Saian.

Fr. John I. Jenkins, CSC: The only person to qualify without a carryover vote from last year. Jenkins is best known for the controversial firing of Ty Willingham and subsequent hiring of Charlie Weis. To paraphrase Jenkins, a Notre Dame football coach has three responsibilities: to raise players with good character, to make sure those players perform academically, and to win football games.

Kanka: Hey, that's me (next to 2004 KankaNation Hall of Famer Coach Joe Yonto). Thanks guys.

The also rans. Look for all of them, especially Dick Lynch, to make a run next year.
Dick Lynch4
Bob Golic2
Cooper Manning2
Notre Dame women's sports2
Ruth Riley2
loyal KankaManiacs2
Cronk's Sister1
Dave Poulin1
Eli Manning's girlfriend1
Ellen's face1
Jerome Bettis1
Julius Jones1
Luke Petitgout1
Peter Gammons1

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Weekend in Review

"Half of this won't make sense since I'm watching the Syracuse game right now" Edition

NFL Playoffs

You know how the games turned out. Let's bring back our look at ND alumni in the playoffs.

Bertrand Berry, DE - Arizona: Not in the playoffs, but he will be starting in the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

Jerome Bettis, RB - Pittsburgh: Bye.

Tony Fisher, RB - Green Bay: 1 rush for 4 yards, 2 receptions for 1 yard, and 1 drop.

David Givens, WR - New England: Bye.

Joey Goodspeed, FB - St. Louis: Thrown at once (screen pass), 0 receptions.

Paul Grasmanis, DT - Philadelphia: Bye.

Jim Jones, OG - Pittsburgh: Bye.

Allen Rossum, PR - Atlanta: Bye.

Gerome Sapp, S - Indianapolis: 2 special teams tackles.

Hunter Smith, P - Indianapolis: 2 punts (37 & 39 yds), both inside the 20.

Bobby Taylor, CB - Seattle: A sore knee led to 0 tackles.

Cavaliers Update

I realize that I haven't said anything on the Central leading Cavs yet this season, so here you go.

LeBron James: Coming into last year's draft, I wondered if Lebron was overrated. There was just way too much hype with this kid. Well, at 24 PPG, 7 APG, and nearly 7 RPG, I'd say he's perfectly "rated." This town hasn't seen basketball excitement like this since its new color commentator (Mark Price) played. Heck, it probably haven't seen this much excitement since its returning color commentator (one Austin Carr) played.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas: He's one of the best centers in the East, and he's a free agent after this year. He's solid offensively - his mid-range jumper puts Tom Timmermans to shame. But, before this year, he never hustled or played defense. Thanks to the increased energy of the team, his hustle and willingness to play defense has vastly improve. There's no longer a hole down low.

Jeff McInnis: This team has done nothing but win since this "problem child" joined the team. Problem child? When the coaches asked LeBron to stay after every practice to shoot threes for an hour, McInnis said "me too." The result? "J-Mac" is shooting a Ratay-esque 42% from 3 point land, and it seems like every single one is in a clutch situation.

Drew Gooden: I was worried when this black-socked, droopy headbanded fool joined the team. Thank goodness I was wrong again. The Cavs replaced a double-double power forward with another double-double power forward. Gooden is averaging 13.8 PPG and 10.2 RPG, and it's not out of the ordinary for him to get 20 in either category on any given night.

Ira Newble: The Cavs' whodat? starter at SF is played for his defense. 14 point nights like the one against the Knicks the other day are always a bonus, though.

Lucious Harris: Cleveland needed outside shooters this year. Unfortunately, Harris got off to a terrible start this year and lost his spot in the starting lineup. Fortunately, he's now picking up steam, and had 16 against New York last weekend.

Robert Traylor: Tractor's second go-round with the Cavs has been much better than his first so far. Since when was a physical presence inside a bad thing?

Anderson Varejao: The Sideshow Bob look-alike is quickly become a fan favorite. Varejao is a member of the Brazilian national team, and he's one of those players that hasn't been told yet that no one in the NBA expends any energy. Anderson is one of thos "infectuous hustle" guys. He's a power forward and can guard you down low, but he's always active and always going after the ball. Already people are predicting a long career in Cleveland for the Brazilian.

Dajuan Wagner: A pure slasher, Wagner may be the only odd-man out on this team. He's perfected the running floater, but he's not a good enough ballhandler to be a point guard. Again having a need for an outside shooter, the Cavs have tried to turn Wagner into one. Unfortunately, he hasn't been successful so far (19.2% for 3). Perhaps he should have spent more than one year at Memphis.

Aleksandar Pavlovic: In his second year, Sasha was picked up as a free agent from Utah. He was meant to be another piece of distant future puzzle for Cleveland, but he's proved that he can flat out shoot the rock this season. A mind-boggling 54.5% on threes has caused coach Paul Silas to start looking for more playing time for the young man from Serbia-Montenegro.

Eric Snow: Snow had started beside Allen Iverson for years, and he was brought in to possibly start this year. But, McInnis has proven to be the man at point, and Snow has graciously accepted his backup/veteran teacher role. I guess playing point guard for AI teaches you something about unselfishness.

Luke Jackson: If you want to talk fan favorites, Jackson is the Jill Krause to Varejao's Karen Swanson (I'll have to ask Mothball how Sasha Pavlovic fits into this analogy). Unfortunately, back problems have limited Jackson to 10 games.

Scott Williams: Hey, a veteran big man who can play defense. Brilliant!

DeSagana Diop: Diop was a first round pick once upon a time, and nowadays everyone considers him a bust. I honestly don't think the 7-footer is as bad as everyone thinks. Why get rid of him? The Eastern Conference championship now goes through Shaq and Miami, so why not stock up on as many big bodies as possible?

  • Women's Basketball: Notre Dame got out to a great start, rising to #3, before falling to Villanova on Sunday. Next up? An underdog UConn team (the underdog part scares me), and down the road - Rutgers. UConn and Tennessee are both out of the top 10 for the first time in about 275 years. Meanwhile, Rutgers has knocked off the #8, 4, and 1 teams, and still aren't in the top 10. Rutgers gives ND fits when the Scarlet Knights aren't playing well, so that'll be one to watch.

  • Men's Basketball: The window of opportunity may be closing for an Irish team that coach Mike Brey says is only "middle of the pack" this year in the Big East. Still, a 10-2 start is a 10-2 start.

  • Devil Rays sign Alex S. Gonzalez. I don't even remember which one he is any more.

  • Yankees trade Javier Vazquez and two decent prospects (C and P) for Randy Johnson. I believe it was SportsPickle who mentioned that Bud Selig was enacting the "best interest of the Yankees" clause in this one. What scares me though, is that for the last 4 years sportswriters have been handing the Yanks the championship in February. This year, we're getting "the Yankees still aren't a threat."

  • Indians sign Kevin Millwood. The deal is $3mil guaranteed for 1 year, with a conditional $4mil signing bonus. That condition? Millwood can't spend more than 20 days on the disabled list... but, that's only if it's a pitching related injury. If he hurts himself batting or fielding, those days on the DL don't count against the 20 count. Right. The Indians are also working on a minor league deal with Juan Gonzalez. Both deals are being lauded for their length and dollar value, especially in this offseason of 3 year, $36mil deals.

  • Mets sign Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, and are rumored to be going after Carlos Delgado. Now, what was that about John Franco having mob ties?

  • Browns name Phil Savage GM. Savage, the former Ravens Director of Player Personnel, was with the Browns organization in the early '90s. Savage wants to put together a team that the "lost generation" of Browns fans - those who haven't seen a winner since the late '80s - can be proud of. He said he want 10 or 12 guys that fans would be proud to own a jersey of. What's up first for Savage? The coaching search. One source has Patriots Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel as the favorite, another says Miami interim coach Jim Bates is Savage's choice. Bates was a Bill Belichick assistant during Savage's first Cleveland stint. The fan favorite, however, is Browns interim coach Terry Robiskie.

  • Meanwhile, Browns O-Line coach Larry Zierlein has come out and said that Melvin Fowler is a better center than Jeff Faine. First of all, if you're the offensive line coach, shouldn't you have noticed that and made the change sooner? Second of all, it appears that maybe Faine has gotten worse since joining the team. But isn't that your fault? (I'm no line coach, but it appears that Faine's problem is that he always feels the need to help a guard double someone (the guards are considered the weak link of the Cleveland line), allowing a linebacker to come up the middle untouched.)

  • Dan Gilbert buys the Cavaliers, pending league approval. Gilbert was arrested in college for being a campus bookie, but that isn't expected to prevent him from getting the required approval votes from the other NBA clubs. Rumor had it that Gilbert would bring Bill Laimbeer to the Cleveland front office, but both have said that isn't the case.

  • Laimbeer, meanwhile, has named former teammate Rick Mahorn as an assistant coach. Let's make Ruth all the more dominant.

A reminder that we're still short on KankaNation HOF ballots. We could also use a few more players for KankaMatic baseball - don't worry if you didn't play last year. Returning KankaMatic baseballers - here's the first of a few new rules this year. Everyone can keep 10 players and will release the rest. Then, we'll have another draft in late February to fill out the rest of our rosters. Why? The draft is the most fun part of fantasy sports, isn't it?

Monday, January 03, 2005

Baseball Hall of Fame 2005

Just in time for the announcement of the election results today (Jan. 4), here are the eligible candidates in each category this year. The way I see it, there are several categories of players: those who would make it into an exclusive Hall of Fame (like baseball's), those would make it into an inclusive Hall of Fame (like football's), innovators (like Roger Bresnahan, inventor of shin guards), sentimental favorites, and those who are nothing but a tribute to longevity (as everyone who plays 10+ years makes the ballot).

Regular Ballot

Jim Abbott, P: A record of 87-108 and an ERA of 4.25 doesn't look impressive, until you remember that Abbott was born without a full right arm. Yet, he still managed to throw a no-hitter in 1993. Abbott has little chance of making the hall, but the fact he could play baseball at a high level for 10+ is indeed something to be commended.

Bert Blyleven, P: When you pitch for 23 years, you're going to put up some big numbers. Blyleven ranks 5th all-time in strikeouts. His 287 wins in a time when 300 seems nearly unattainable is certainly something of note. I wouldn't be all that surprised if he was on more than a few ballots, especially in his 8th year of eligibility. On a generous day, I may put him on my ballot.

Wade Boggs, 3B: Boggs came into the league at a time when hitting .287 was a good year. So, what did he do? Hit .328 for his career. When I discovered that I was more of a singles hitter than a power guy, there were two people I looked to: Tony Gwynn and Boggs. He's in. Tangent: Boggs lived in the Cleveland area for a while, and he and a teammate once out a friend's mom and her friend on a date - even when he knew the mom and the friend were married. Apparently, this wasn't out of the ordinary for Boggs (wife swap, anyone?). See below.

Tom Candiotti, P: I used to love Candiotti when he was on the Indians. In fact, I can still remember trying to throw knuckleball after knuckleball in my back yard. That being said, though, Candiotti wasn't even the most dominating pitcher on this staff (and this on the Indians of the late '80s), so he's not quite HOF material.

Dave Concepcion, SS: Played 19 years, won championships, had five gold gloves. Looking at his average offensive numbers, though (even for a shortstop), he'd only be a good HOF candidate had he won 15 gold gloves. In other words, I don't remember seeing him play, but he doesn't appear to be in Ozzie Smith territory defensively, so he's a no-go.

Chili Davis, OF: Davis had 350 HR, 1372 RBI, and 1240 runs scored in his career. In an inclusive HOF, I'd give him an outside shot. In reality, he maybe has a chance on the Veterans Committee.

Andre Dawson, OF: 438 HR, 28th all time in RBI with 1591. A shoe-in in an inclusive HOF. His 8 Gold Gloves and 4 top-10 MVP finishes should easily put him in with the Veterans Committee.

Steve Garvey, 1B: Boggs, Garvey, and Pete Rose are in a bar. Boggs points out a girl and says, "I'm going to get that girl to sleep with me." Garvey says, "she's already carrying my baby." Rose replies, "wanna bet?" Garvey has OK numbers; his 1308 RBI and .294 average make him an outside shot on the Veterans Committee. He's the all-time leader for fielding percentage by a first baseman (.9959), but as active leader David Segui will tell you, that really just means his range wasn't that great.

Goose Gossage, P: Supposedly a good shot to make it in this, his 6th year of eligibility. Gossage has 310 career saves, 124 careers starts, and finished in the top 6 in Cy Young voting 5 times.

Tommy John, P: Yeah, "the surgery guy." He also managed to post 288 wins in a 27-year career. He hasn't made it yet, so I'm guessing the Veterans Committe will come calling one day.

Mark Langston, P: Once again, a tribute to longevity. Langston was usually the #2 starter on a staff led by Chuck Finley. Finley may have been underrated playing on the west coast, but not underrated enough to have his #2 starter make the hall.

Don Mattingly, 1B: Maybe a little better than Dave would like to admit. Mattingly had a career average of .307 and won 9 gold gloves. Of course, if he didn't play for the Yankees, he probably would have just been the Doug Mientkiewicz of the '80s.

Jack McDowell, P: He had some solid years, but only finished with 127 career victories. I'd say he has a slightly better chance of making the baseball hall than Stick Figure (McDowell's band) has of making the Rock Hall.

Willie McGee, OF: Has it been 5 years already? McGee was always a fan favorite, and he is a tribute to longevity, but on paper (where it counts), he comes up a little short.

Jeff Montgomery, P: Wow, I very very vaguely remember this guy. He did have 304 saves with the Kansas City Royals over 13 seasons. I suppose you could argue that you have to consider this guy if you're conisdering Bruce Sutter.

Jack Morris, P: A definite favorite of those who have seen him play, he was statistically the best pitcher of the 1980s. Morris may be a catch-22. The older writers and voters prefer heart while the younger guys prefer numbers. However, it's the younger generation that is familiar with Morris, while he may need a few heart-based votes to get in.

Dale Murphy, 1B: Underrated? Perhaps a bit. Then again, to get into the baseball hall, you need to be a big name. Murphy's 398 HR and 1266 RBI gives him an OK chance (but not a great one) on the Veterans Committee someday.

Otis Nixon, OF: If I went the Ellen route and voted for people I LOOVED, Otis Nixon would defintely make my ballot. He stole 620 bases in 17 years, but his 878 runs scored are very low for a leadoff guy without much pop (and apparently without any Gold Gloves, either).

Dave Parker, OF: Decent numbers in average (.290) and RBI (1493), had 3 Gold Gloves, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 6 times. But, I don't remember him ever being a household name (of course, he did retire in '91). Parker may be hearing "thanks for playing, but no thanks" from the hall for the 10th straight year.

Tony Phillips, UT: Again, a tribute to longevity (especially considering his crack addiction). His 1300 runs are the only stat of note, and even that doesn't put him in the top 100.

Jim Rice, OF: A fan favorite in the Boston area, Rice had a career average of .298 and 1451 RBI. If I was on the Veterans Committee, I may vote for him one day just for the "feel good story"-ness of it.

Ryne Sandberg, 2B: Dave says he was the most dominant 2B of his time. I looked at his numbers and wasn't sure. But, then I read the fine print. Sandberg hit .285 in an "era" when that was great for anyone. Plus, this was still a time when second basemen were still expected to be "good glove, no hit" guys. Sandberg has the highest career fielding percentage for a second baseman, and won 9 straight Gold Gloves to prove his field prowress. The defensive pluses go on and on, too. Ryno also held the record for HR by a second baseman (277) until Jeff Kent passed him. Looking at the facts, I'd have to vote him in.

Lee Smith, P: Again, if you want to take Sutter and Gossage, you have to take Lee Smith. Smith is the all-time leader in saves with 478, and almost averaged 1 strikeout per inning pitched (1251/1290). There's a great chance you would find Smith on my ballot.

Terry Steinbach, C: A great player, and you have to tip your cap to anyone who can wear the tools of ignorance for 14 years. But not everyone is hall of fame material in this league, Terry.

Darryl Strawberry, OF: If you stretch his 1983 potential over 17 seasons, you have an easy hall of famer. But, life isn't that simple, and Darryl Strawberry again comes up a little short.

Bruce Sutter, P: Well, this is his 12th chance. He had 300 saves in 661 games played. A good sentimental pick, but he may not even be the 3rd best reliever on this ballot.

Alan Trammell: Tough call. His offensive numbers aren't too far off of Sandberg's, but Trammell played at a time when Ozzie Smith was ruling the shortstop position. Trammell's a good guy, but he's probably not hall material this year.

Veterans Committee

Dick (Richie) Allen, 1B: Decent career numbers, nothing oustanding. But his Baseball Reference player page HOF indicators (Black Ink, Gray Ink, HOF Standards, HOF Monitor) tab him a hall of famer.

Bobby Bonds, OF: Again, decent numbers, but the HOF indicators aren't there. Bobby is mostly known for the career strikeout record and for being Barry's dad.

Ken Boyer, 3B: HOF standards give a resounding no to yet another guy with OK but not great numbers.

Rocky Colavito, OF: His 374 HR stand out, and his defense appears to have been decent. As a Cleveland guy, I'd consider voting for him, but I don't know if he's quite HOF material.

Wes Ferrell, P: 193-128 and a 4.04 record looks OK for a current pitcher, but it's not that impressive for a guy who played from 1927-41. Ferrell is considered the best hitting pitcher not named Ruth. He hit .280 on his career, and his 37 HR are the most ever by a pitcher.

Curt Flood, OF: Flood's numbers aren't that spectacular, but he can be considered an innovator. Flood's rejection of a trade and associated events led to the creation of free agency.

Joe Gordon, 2B: Great range, decent pop (32 HR by a 2B was a record until 2001). But his career numbers aren't that spectacular. I'd have to see what Veterans Committe voter and respected Cleveland writer Hal Lebovitz's opinion is on this guy.

Gil Hodges, 1B: 370 career HR, 3 Gold Gloves, 8 All-Star selections. Plus, he was the manager of the '69 Mets. As a sentimental type, I'd probably include him on my ballot if I had an extra spot.

Elston Howard, C: First African American to win AL MVP, he also invented the batting "donut." If that doesn't impress you, the numbers won't either.

Jim Kaat, P: 283 wins in a time (1959-83)when the great ones won 300.

Mickey Lolich, P: 2832 strikeouts remains an AL record for lefties. the HOF Standards are indecisive on Lolich.

Sparky Lyle, P: 238 saves over 16 seasons. OK, but not HOF material.

Marty Marion, SS: A great defensive player, but not much with the bat, Marion played 13 season before bowing out with back injuries. (Well, if he had back injuries, maybe he didn't "bow" out.)

Roger Maris, OF: Considered underrated by those who watched him play, Maris had 61 of his 275 career HR in 1961.

Carl Mays, P: 207 wins in a time (1915-29) when that wasn't much at all. If you love submariners, though, this was your guy.

Minnie Minoso, OF: Mr. Longevity, or was he Mr. Gimmick? Minoso holds a record for playing in 5 differed decades. He mainly played from 1949-64, but had token comebacks during the 1976 and 1980 seasons (he also played a few games for independent minor league teams in the '90s and early '00s). In an inclusive HOF, Minoso gets in on that record alone.

Thurmon Munson, C: His career and life were cut short by a plane crash. But, he still played 11 seasons and posted 1558 hits and 701 RBI at catcher.

Don Newcombe, P: A 10 year career that sandwiched a stint in Korea (I'd assume; he didn't play in '52 or '53), Newcombe is the only player to win the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP. Newcombe finished his career with 149 wins and 1129 K.

Tony Oliva, OF: Playing 15 years for the Twins, Oliva hit .304 for his career, but only had 1917 career hits. The HOF Standards are actually decent for Oliva.

Vada Pinson, OF: Pinson put up great offensive numbers in an era mostly known for pitching (1958-75). Most notable are his 2757 hits and 1366 runs.

Ron Santo, 3B: A sentimental favorite for Cubs fans. Santo holds many records for third basemen and has 2254 hits, 342 HR, and 1331 RBI. HOF Standards are questionable, but what do those unathletic nerds know?

Luis Tiant, P: 229 wins, 2416 strikeouts, and decent HOF Standards.

Joe Torre, C: Ooh, look at me, I'm a genius because I can win with a payroll that's twice as much as everyone else. Oh wait, no I can't.

Maury Wills, SS: 586 stolen bases are nothing to sneeze at. I'd definitely vote for him.

Smoky Joe Wood, P/OF: Walter Johnson said Wood threw harder than anybody, and Johnson definitely knew what he was talking about. After winning 116 games, an arm injury moved him to the outfield, where he hit .283. I would think that those who know (if there are any old enough to remember) would want to see Wood in the hall.

Ford C. Frick Broadcaster's Award

Tom Cheek: Expos, Blue Jays

Jerry Coleman: Padres, Yankees, Angels

Ken Coleman: ndians, Reds, Red Sox

Dizzy Dean: Cardinals

Gene Elston: ubs, Astros, national coverage

Tony Kubek: Blue Jays, Yankees

France Laux: St. Louis Browns, Cardinals, national coverage

Graham McNamee: national coverage

Dave Niehaus: Mariners

Ron Santo: Cubs

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • Again, see Baseball Reference for more information on these players.

  • With one update to go, Notre Dame leads the Fall Sears Directors' Cup Standings with 337 points. Hoo hoo.

  • Looking for more information on Charlie Weis's new assistants? Blue-Gray Sky has a great article on them.