The Blame Game? Really?

Does anyone want to share with me
a possible legitimate reason for former MLB trainers coming out and slandering
a former player’s name? Maybe I’m a little out of touch sitting at a computer
desk in the snowy, snowy northeast, but I don’t see what anyone could possibly gain
from publicly “blowing the whistle.”

 

McNamee_Radomski.jpg

Let’s be honest here. Brian McNamee and Kirk
Radomski
are nobodys.

 

Maybe they face a little trouble
with the law for possession of steroids and they want to take someone down with
them. Maybe they are taking all the blame for a steroids ring and they want to
point the finger in another direction. Or maybe they have realized that they
are culturally irrelevant to baseball and they want to make a name – albeit a
bad one – for themselves. Either way you slice it, they’re both cowards and
they don’t deserve to be written about.

 

selig.jpg

It’s no secret that I could care
less about baseball players taking steroids, let alone former players. My question to you, though, is this: If Bud Selig is so dead-set on removing steroids from
baseball, why is all the media attention revolving around former players?

 

Whatever happened with David Justice, Dwight Gooden,
Mark McGwire, Roger
Clemens
and Barry Bonds happened a long
time ago in baseball years. All Selig can do now is humiliate them and take
away a possible Hall-of-Fame enshrinement, which is not really that big of a
punishment. Selig can’t remove the games that they played from history.

 

If Bud really wants to punish
someone and make a difference, he would focus on players who are still on a
Major League roster and take games away from their career. Denying a potential
Hall-of-Famer absolution really makes no impact on the game itself and it
upsets more fans than it does players.

 

So why do trainers who aren’t so
much as a blip on the baseball radar feel the need to do this? Why any of us
ever feel the need to do this?

 

If you’re that miserable with
your own life it’s just plain cowardice to blame other people. We are all
responsible for our own lives and our own mistakes and we need to accept that
responsibility.

Where’s The Brotherly Love??

p1_mark_mcgwire_ap-1.jpg

I fully
understand that I am an idealist and as such I can sometimes be accused of
being a bit naive. I may look at situations and see the issues that most of us
miss, but I assure you, I ignore nothing.

Last week I made the best case I possibly could for Mark McGwire’s Hall-of-Fame
vote. It’s not easy with all of the speculation surrounding him, but instead of
denying that he took steroids (because I have no idea if he did or didn’t) I
tried to analyze what is and is not a legitimate reason for voting someone into
the Hall-of-Fame. I pointed out that we are not criminal investigators and even
though we think we may know everything about a steroid user, I don’t think we’ve
even scratched the surface.

As much as I
love baseball, I am willing to let a one or two time steroid user off the hook;
even if that steroid user is a legend or a potential “Hall-of-Famer.” Most of
us writing about sports will never understand what it’s like to compete at that
level and I don’t think anyone who doesn’t has the right to call any of them
cheaters. Sometimes professional athletes resort to drastic measures and make
mistakes. They’re not perfect just like we aren’t perfect, and I don’t think its
right to hold them to such impossible standards.

That aside, I think I did a pretty good job. I may not have changed anyone’s
minds about the slugger but at least I made my case and I got my point across.

What more could a writer ask for?

This
morning, however, I wake up at a crisp 7:45AM to a SportsCenter report that
Mark McGwire’s brother, Jay, is trying to publish a book about Mark’s alleged
steroid/HGH use. Needless to say, the brothers are not on speaking terms.

It’s times
like this, I am glad I do not have a brother. Sisters are better anyway. (She’s mine!)

tracy.jpg

My family
comes from a town which has been aptly named “The City of Brotherly Love.”
Growing up, I was always taught it was unforgivable to do something negative to
your family. We fight just like every family fights but it has never resulted
in anything beyond a week or two of the cold shoulder.

Jay McGwire
should be absolutely ashamed of himself for so many reasons right now, I don’t
think there is enough room on the MLBlogosphere for me to write it all.

First of
all, he is following in Jose Canseco’s footsteps as a whistle-blower (they’re
not worthy of being called ‘authors’) who just wants some money. So they
publish a collection of pages bound together (they’re not worthy of being
called ‘books’ either) that basically point fingers in every direction until
someone end up getting a phone call from congress.

Second of
all, the fingers are all pointed directly at his brother Mark.

brothers_fighting_LARGE.jpg

I understand, Jay, that you might be a little
bit jealous of your bigger bro. After all, he
had a career and no one even heard of you until this morning. I know I didn’t.
But that’s no reason to play the blame game and basically destroy what was left
of your brother’s image.

I don’t know
the degree of validity Jay McGwire’s accusations have and I don’t care. If they
are proven true, I don’t really have a leg to stand on when I argue for his
Hall-of-Fame vote other than ’1998 saved baseball,’ but that isn’t much. If
they are proven false then it confirms that people will do absolutely anything
for a quick buck, even if it means tarnishing the reputation of your own
brother,

Either way,
Jay McGwire committed a crime that even some of the worst serial killers wouldn’t
do.

Grey’s Anatomy

I’m an avid follower of the three big medical dramas on TV. ER, House and Grey’s Anatomy.Earlier this evening on the latter of the three, an interesting concept arose about the “grey” areas of life. Fitting for the show to have a subject line that connects to the title, it also fits well into our every day lives.

greys_anatomy_ver4.jpg

Growing up, we are all familiarized with the essential ‘black and white’ concepts; right or wrong, true or false, good touch/bad touch, and fair or foul. As we grow older, however, we begin to realize that not everything is as transparent. This is a part of life and a part of growing up that everyone goes through at different rates. To me, though, I find that far too much emphasis is placed on the ‘what’ in this world and not enough is placed on the ‘why.’ 

“WHY” is the greatest question mankind has the difficult opportunity to answer. In most cases, the question of ‘why’ simply cannot be answered, but is still the only question worth tackling.

Our world is based heavily on black and white and we have become a society that depends on the answer being decided for us. Baseball, for instance, is a system that clearly defines the black and white concepts such as fair/foul and out/safe, but also provides some of the gray areas such as the moving strike zone. No two strike zones are the same, even though they are supposed to be. Some umpires call ‘em low, some call ‘em high. Take also, for example, the different strategies of base running. A lone runner on second can advance at his own will and has to make a judgment of whether or not to stay at third on a base hit or try to beat the throw home. It’s a grey area.

LoDucaIsAnAngryLittleDoofus.jpg

In baseball, as in life, there is no escaping the grey. A batter can’t demand a different umpire for a different strike zone, just like we can’t demand a different system to suit our needs. A good hitter has to adapt to the umpire they are given and use that knowledge to their advantage.

My advice to you all is to try and become comfortable with the grey’s on our lives. Clinging to the black and white is a safe bet, but we really don’t learn anything about ourselves or each other. If we all learn to accept the grey areas, maybe we can find some peace.

Why not?

Letter to the Editor

I had a comment on my last post and my response to it became so long that I figured I may as well make it another post.

The comment came from Julia over at Julia’s Rants. Here’s the comment:

Scott – I
don’t think you can compare the possible use of PEDs (a CHOICE someone
makes) with someone who struggles with alcohol abuse (NOT a choice). I
have to agree with those who feel that McGwire, Clemens, Bond and
others don’t deserve to be in the HOF because of use of PEDs. I also
agree that Pete Rose doesn’t belong in the HOF because of gambling.
When a player makes the decision to do something that violates the
rules of Baseball then they have to live with the consequences. There
is a difference between behavior that we might not approve of – but
doesn’t violate MLB policy – and behavior that does.

~Julia

Here’s my response:

DISCLAIMER!: Julia, this is not an attack on you and please don’t take it that way. My response was just so long I wanted to make it a post. I respect you and your opinions, this is just my response.

Jules,

I can certainly see why the majority of people don’t believe accused steroid users belong in the hall of fame, and their argument is certainly legitimate, as is yours.

But I have to disagree with you when you say we can’t compare steroid use with something like alcohol abuse. First of all, everything is a choice. Addiction – whether it is alcohol, gambling or tobacco – is no exception. We make our choices in life and when those choices become too overwhelming, we are quick to write it off as “not our choice” so we feel like it’s not our fault. It was always our choice, just like using steroids is a choice.

I never liked the term “Performance Enhancing Drugs” because it doesn’t tell the whole story. A lot of things can be considered “performance enhancing” – coffee, red bull, cigarettes, even Gatorade – but steroids has medical risks if not used properly, which is why everyone is in such an uproar. But somehow, we label anabolic steroids as “Performance Enhancing” and they sound like a forbidden fruit instead of a medical necessity, as it sometimes is. There are plenty of major leaguers playing today only because they were prescribed steroids to help them return to play. Everyone who ever had Tommy John’s surgery has steroids to thank for the rest of their career. Should we consider all of the stats they accumulated afterward as “cheating.” No, because they have a doctor’s note, McGwire, Bonds and Clemens don’t.

There’s still way too much smoke around steroid use in baseball to let it effect Hall-of-Fame voting just yet. Some say that steroids enhanced Mark McGwire’s performance “significantly,” yet there are no positive tests, no court ruling, nothing, just a suspicious statement at a congressional hearing five years ago and the word of Jose Canseco. Damning as it was, I don’t think it’s right to keep Mark McGwire out of the hall because we suspect he used steroids.

My point is, Hall-of-Fame voting should be based upon on-field performance and nothing else. There are a thousand different things athletes use to enhance their performance, anabolic steroids is just one of them. Mark McGwire supposedly used steroids when there was no steroid policy, so he broke no rules. Yet, we continue to act as a society who judges people on standards we ourselves can never meet. At our jobs, we use all kinds of things to “enhance” our performance. But should a business person be denied a raise because he used a caffeine pill to stay up all night and finish the presentation? Should my writing be considered “phony” because I use spellcheck?

Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely against steroid use in baseball, but not because I’m afraid of someone hitting more homeruns than someone else. I’m concerned because of the danger of their use. Plain and simple. Without doctor supervision, steroids can be dangerous or even kill you, and that’s why I want to keep them out of sports. 

The crusade against steroids is something I support but not if it is going to be a witch hunt against former players. We aren’t going to remove the numbers from the record books so we can’t take them away from the player either. Major League Baseball is going to keep McGwire out of the hall but they have no qualms about celebrating the magic of the summer of 1998 at the same time.

I support the cause, but I won’t support hipocracy.

~Scott

P.S. Pete Rose gambled when he was a manager, not a player. He broke the rules after he put up the numbers and played the game. Ban him from managing, ban him from commentating, that’s all fine, but you can’t keep the all-time hits leader out of the Hall-of-Fame because of something he did as a skipper.

What’s a Guy To Do?

Milwaukee+Brewers+v+Los+Angeles+Dodgers+UjVmevbDfNLl.jpg

I don’t know how a guy’s supposed to write about baseball at a time like this. Since the Mark Teixeira signing, little has happened. At least, little has happened that I’m interested in. The Marlins may or may not sign Pedro, Michael Young wants to be traded rather than play third base and Manny still has no place to hang his size 42 extra husky pants.

My Penn State Nittany Lions lost the Rose Bowl (to no one’s surprise) and the Philadelphia Eagles may just be following in the Phillies footsteps on the way to an unprecedented second major sports championship for Philadelphia in as many tries.

Some may find all of this incredible but I choose to envoke my signature catch phrase:

“Meh.”

The catch phrase is not as cool if you can’t see me shrug my shoulders as I say it, but this isn’t the ML-VIDEO-Blogosphere. 

In all, I am very bored right now and I must apologize to all of the dedicated fans of my blogs.

Sorry, Elizabeth and Kaybee! May your tears be dried by the man of your dreams!

The Hall-Of-Fame vote did take place earlier today and the hallowed hall will now open its doors to Ricky Henderson and Jim Rice. Congratulations to the both of you. What an incredible honor.

GotJuice.jpeg

Now, I don’t have a Hall-Of-Fame vote officially. Not yet, anyway. But if I did, I would still haveto write the name “Mark McGwire” on my ballot. Agrue as much as you want, but somehow we keep holding things against guys like him in the court of public opinion.

Maybe he took steroids, maybe he didn’t, I don’t know, I’m not a criminal investigator just like every other sports writer who won’t vote for Mark McGwire. But we’re still going to treat him like he did, aren’t we? We’re still going to act like it because we don’t dare risk the “integrity” of the hall-of-fame.

It’s the hall-of-fame, not necessarily the hall-of-model citizens. Many will say McGwire and Bonds cheated but all they really did was cheat better than most others. We’ll easily deem the mid 90′s to 2005 as the “steroids era” which implies that most everyone was using steroids at that time, yet we still hold it against the guys who were still the best.

If a lot of guys were on steroids when Mark McGwire was chasing Roger Maris, how come he was the only guy hitting all the home runs? Is it possible that despite the roids he may or may not have taken, Mark McGwire was still a strong and talented slugger?

Babe Ruth had his demons (most of which ran $45 an hour or came from cuba) and Mickey Mantle struggled with an alcohol abuse problem. As much as we want, expect and demand ball players to be perfect, sometimes they aren’t. Why do some make the hall-of-fame but not others?

All else aside, Mark McGwire had 583 home runs, good enough for 8th all time, better than Mantle, Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. By that case alone, how can you not vote for Mark McGwire?

Maybe no one’s going to give me a hall-of-fame vote anytime soon, but as long as I have my opinion and as long as I still remember the summer of 1998, I will vote for Mark McGwire.


I Shall Not Be Overcome

In case you were wondering why I haven’t been blogging lately (thanks for the concern, I’m fine, by the way), it is because I am in the midst of an epic battle. A futile combat that could put Lou Kang and Johnny Cage to shame. A fierce melee that’s bigger than the World Cup, World Series and World War II combined.

The enemy?

MLB 08: THE SHOW

Yes, I said it, a video game. A baseball video game.

No, I’m not a dork, geek, or a loser (although some may disagree). I am simply a baseball addict jonesing for a fix amidst the boredom and frustration that is the MLB off-season.

Undoubtedly, I would be much more interested if I was on the inside. Instead, I am on the outside looking in. Better yet, I am in the nose bleeds of left field and a fat guy with personal hygiene issues just sat down in front of me with a six pack of hot dogs (oh, how I can’t wait for them to digest!).

Point is, I’m bored.

For Christmas, my father gave me this video game which was once a curiosity (I’m normally a 2K kinda guy), and has now become the bain of my existence. To anyone who owns this game: HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?!?!?

I have played this game day and night, dawn ’til dusk since Christmas morning. I have delved into the “Road To The Show” mode which lets you take control of a player and lead him from the minors up through to “The Show.”

Problem is, you start out as, well, as the french might say “le sucktastic.” A .250 average is awesome considering your skills and homeruns are completely out of the question. I began the 2008 season as an 18 year old third baseman in the Phillies organization and after completing the 2010 season, I still suck and I’m still in the minors.

65 gaming hours have been spent and I haven’t enjoyed one second. I play video games for fun, not a challenge. I have plenty of real life challenges, I want my video games to be easy and egotistically rewarding. This one is neither and I’m beginning to lose my hair.

I will not quit! I will not be defeated! I shall not be overcome!

Let The Revolution Begin!

First of all… MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!

Second… I’m trying
really, really, really, really, really, really hard to avoid my natural habit
of commenting on the Yankees latest monstrosity signing. I shall resist. (See… I’m growing)

 

I’ve thought
a lot about the system I introduced in my last blog and I’d like to take it a
step further. I think the time has come where bantering on MLBlogs.com about
the need for a salary cap is over and someone needs to come up with an idea.

 

Is my idea
the right answer? I don’t know. I’m not arrogant enough to believe I have all
the answers, but I do believe that coming up with an idea is, at the very least,
as step toward a solution.

 

I have only
worked the system to figure out the market value of position players so far
(pitchers will be coming soon). Basically, I divide 9 positive stats and 2
negative stats into 3 tiers. The top two tiers are given a value based on
rarity and percentile, the bottom tier receives no value because it is not
considered rare.

 

The
percentile is then taken from the league minimum salary which is $390,000. The
higher the percentile, the more money the player gets. For instance: Players
who hit between 35 and 50 homeruns in 2008 makes up the top tier which is the
top 1.3% in the league. That rarity is valued at $384,800. Therefore, the 10
players that fit into that tier earn that $384,800. Make sense?

 

There are
also “Non-Performance-Based Bonuses” that can help a veteran or former
superstar whose performance may not be what it used to be.

                MVP Award:                                      $1,000,000

                CY-YOUNG AWARD:                      $1,000,000

                ALL-STAR APPEARANCE:           $364,000

                GOLD-GLOVE:                                  $380,640

                SILVER-SLUGGER:                          $380,640

                WORLD SERIES MVP:                   $2,000,000

                ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:                $250,000

                CHAMPIONSHIP RING:                 $750,000

 

                5-YEAR VETERAN                          $500,000

                10-YEAR VETERAN                       $1,000,000

                15-YEAR VETERAN                       $1,500,000

                20-YEAR VETERAN                       $2,000,000

 

Mark
Teixeira just signed an 8-year/$180million contract which makes his annual
salary somewhere around $22.5 million per year (and that’s all I’m going say
about that). Teixeira is a great player, but is anyone worth $20 million a
year?

 

According to
this system, no.

 

Mark
Teixeira would have a market value of $5,214,840. Now, this doesn’t mean the
Yankees are necessarily overpaying, all it does is give an idea as to how Mark
Teixeira compares to the rest of the league. As a matter of fact, here are a
few of the remaining free-agents on the market and how their 2008 market values
compare to their 2008 salaries.

 

Player                                                 2008
Market Value                    2008
Salary

Bobby Abreu                                     $4,248,160                                         ($16,000,000)

Manny Ramirez                               $12,982,520
                                      ($20,000,000)

Garrett Anderson                            $4,585,040                                         ($12,600,000)

Richie Sexson                                    $2,161,680
                                        ($15,500,000)

Nomar Garciaparra                        $4,167,720                                         ($9,516,697)

Ivan Rodriguez                                 $14,722,760                                      ($12,379,883)

Adam Dunn                                        $2,880,560
                                        ($13,000,000)

Ken Griffey Jr.                                   $13,925,480                                      ($8,282,695)

Pat Burrell                                         $3,156,840
                                        ($14,250,000)

Jason Giambi                                     $5,785,600
                                        ($23,428,571)

 

As you can
see, there are some players whose contracts far exceed their value and other
who are worth more. These numbers aren’t exactly going to spark inspiration
from the MLB Players Association (or Adam Dunn’s agent), but it will stabilize the
market. If this system had been in place for the last 10 years, the Yankees
wouldn’t have paid Jason Giambi $23 million a year to under-perform, nor would
the Braves have paid Mike Hampton $15 million each year to sit on the disabled
list.

 

Given this
system, would the Yankees have still paid almost half a billion this
off-season? Probably. But combine this value with a solid salary-cap, and maybe
prices won’t inflate every year and I won’t have to sit at home all summer
watching an alarming number of players earn more money in one game than I will
in the next 4-years.

 

Okay, maybe I still will (I’m still a writer), but
less people will.

 

So let this
post be the start of an official movement. The idea’s not perfect (YET!) but if
you like it, pass it on, tell anyone you feel like telling. It’s a long shot
but maybe, just maybe, someone will hear it who can actually make something
happen. We’ve always heard that the league wants to put us, “the fans,” first.
Now it’s time to see if they’ll listen to us.

 

                                               

Solutions Oriented

There’s
nothing I hate more than hearing someone rant and rave about a problem they are
having yet they are unwilling to do anything to fix it. I have a simple life
philosophy: “If you have a problem,
either do something about it or shut up.”
Sounds harsh and cynical but it’s
kept me sane.

Looking back
on my last few entries I realize that I’m beginning to rant. My collective
opinions are warranted but not much more than a big “shame on you” to much of
the baseball world. So by my own principles, I must come up with a solution or
shut up until I have something else to talk about; which brings me to another
good life philosophy: “Judge me not by
your standards, judge me by my own.”

I should
write a book.

So the big
problem I see right now in Major League Baseball is how out of control players
salaries have been. The Yanks spent a quarter-billion on two pitchers, Raul
Ibanez is getting $10mil a year and the Boston Red Sox are calling Scott Boras’
bluff on a phantom $195 million offer.

I have
always defended higher salaries in all of pro sports. On average, a
professional athlete makes $200,000 or so a year (check me on that, I’m almost
definitely wrong). So while it seems every athlete is making millions, that
figure is only reserved for the elite. Besides, an athlete only plays 10, 15
maybe 20 years if he stays healthy. 8-12 years, I think, can be considered a
good career. That’s a lot shorter than the careers you and I will have, and we’ll
be paying far less in medical expenses. Finally, as far as superstars are
concerned, organizations are making millions be marketing their names, so why
shouldn’t they get a good chunk of that revenue?

My solution
however, would avoid a good amount of inflation that has driven up prices. It
would be a system much like that of golf and Hollywood, where you earn your
paycheck more than you do in baseball. It seems that every winter the top free
agent wants more than the top free agent got the year before, even if last year’s
top gun was much better.

Sound
familiar Matt Ryan?

A Hollywood
actor’s salary is mostly determined by how long he has been in the biz and how
well his movies have done. Newcomers like Shia LeBouf and that kid from Juno are
making a few hundred thousand to maybe a couple million which Brad Pitt and
Johnny Depp are making 25 to 30 million per movie. Sounds semi-elitist but no
one has complained so far. (except maybe Tom Cruise, but he only has himself to
blame)

So let’s say
that the free agent signing period looks a little different from now on.
Players will still only be allowed to negotiate with their current team first
before testing the market, but their worth will be determined a little
differently.

I call it the “Free
Agent Value System.”

Hit 30 homeruns in a season? That’s $250,000!

Have an ERA under 3.00? Nice! $500,000!

Been with one franchise for 10 years! Kudos! $1,000,000!

MVP? WOW! $5,000,000!

The league
will have a set of accomplishments that determines a player’s “value.”
Essentially, the market will be turned into a giant EBAY website: the value
system determines its worth (not what the agent says it is) and negotiations begin there.

Of course,
the highest bidder won’t be guaranteed a victory, but it would allow more teams
to be in the running. Look at it this way: Have you heard the names Tampa Bay
Rays, Cincinnati Reds or Kansas City Royals very much this off-season? Didn’t
think so.

Is the
system perfect? No, but it’s interesting to think about. It spreads opportunity
around without spreading money around, and it levels the playing field without
simply instituting a salary-cap. It also works both sides of the plate,
so-to-speak. It will bring down salaries for some but raise salaries for
others, so it may be easier to get the players union on board. It does,
however, change the playing field for agents (awwww, poor babies) who now have
to get a little more creative.

What do you
think?

Hometown Heroes

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Growing up, my goal in life was
to be a major league baseball player. Apparently, though, there’s this rule
that says you have to be good to make it to the majors. Rats… Missed it by THAT
much.

 

As I grew older, however, and the
dream of being a big-league ball player became more and more real (in my mind,
at least), I could only think of a handful of teams I wanted to play for. The
motivation behind this list had nothing to do with money, either.

 

I am no professional athlete and,
barring some kind of miracle, I will never know what it’s like to earn $1
million dollars in one year. But this is the time of year where the guys who did make it to the big leagues are
trying to figure out just how many millions of dollars they want to earn for
the next few years at least.

 

This phenomenon will always blow
my mind.

 

What goes through a man like Mark
Teixeira’s mind when deciding between a handful of teams, all of which are
offering millions upon millions? What is his motivation? How do you decide?

 

tex.jpg

When I look at free agency, I try
to figure out who will go where. Sometimes, you hear the term “hometown club”
thrown around as if it is some kind of X-Factor in a deal. It happens all the
time. I remember hearing reports about CC Sabathia possibly being lured by the
Dodgers and Angels. The reason? He is from southern California. Where did he end
up? New York who offered the big contract.

 

Now I’m hearing that Tex is
receiving an offer from the Baltimore Orioles who play not so far from Severna
Park, Maryland where he grew up. Is this something that will motivate him to
sign with the O’s? Or will he ultimately end up in Boston where he is offered
something ridiculous like $200 million?

 

If I was a ball player, and I was
offered two contracts: (6yrs/$60million from Philadelphia and 8yrs/$150million
from New York) I would pick the Phillies, hands-down, no hesitation. To me, it’s
a no brainer. I would take less money to play for the team I grew up loving
over a truck-load of money and a pool full of green jell-o from either New York
team.

 

moyer.JPG

I don’t understand how more
players are not motivated by this same sense of hometown pride. During the
world series, it was well documented that Jamie Moyer grew up a Phillies fan
and was overjoyed by the opportunity to pitch for them in the world series, to
the extent that he started game 3 despite suffering from the stomach flu the
day before.

 

Am I the only crazy one here? Or
has free agency become about nothing but dollars and cents?

If I Were A Rich Man

Finals are over at last and my
head is killing me. My last final was in STAT 200, the bain of my existence.

 

QUICK QUESTION:

At a ski area in Vermont, the daytime high temperature is normally
distributed during January, with a mean of 22 degrees F and a standard
deviation of 10 degrees F. You are planning a trip to Vermont this January.
What is the probability that you will encounter daytime high of 15 degrees F of
lower?

stressed out.jpgGive up?

Welcome to
my world.

So now I
have nothing left to do so I need to start seriously blogging again. My idea
now, since the rest of the baseball world is playing GM, is to put together a
championship caliber team. The rules? All players stats and salaries are based
on 2008 alone, and you can’t spend more than $100 million. Try it sometime, it’s
actually kind of fun.

I’ve spent a
few hours on this little project and I think I’ve come up with a team that
could legitimately compete in any division in baseball, if not dominate some of
them. So here goes.

 

Starting Lineup:

1.    
Rick Ankiel                       L         RF

2.    
Chase Utley                       L         2B

3.    
Albert
Pujols                    R         3B

4.    
Travis
Hafner                  L         1B

5.    
Josh
Hamilton                 L         LF

6.    
Russell
Martin                R         C

7.    
Reed Johnson                  R         CF

8.    
Bobby Crosby                  R         SS

9.    
Pitcher’s
Spot (because pitchers are players too!)

 

Roster:

Martin.jpg

Russell
Martin – C (Los Angeles Dodgers – $500,000)

Russell Martin is everything you
want in a catcher. He defends the plate, he has a good relationship with
starting pitchers and he swings a big stick too. On the plus side, he’s an
everyday catcher too, which is huge for a starting rotation to have that kind
of consistency. He may not win games all by himself, but he puts the rest of
the team in position to do just that.

 








hafner.jpg

Travis
Hafner – 1B (Cleveland Indians – $8.05million)

I feel bad for Travis Hafner
because he never got a chance to really come about. He is a big, strong power
hitter who can send a ball into orbit at will. Problem was, he only needed one
good season to make pitchers afraid. So they stopped pitching to him. With a
lineup as shaky as Cleveland’s, pitchers could get away with it too. Give him a
little protection in the lineup and the league will have to invest in a few
more baseballs each season.

 

utley.jpg

Chase Utley -
2B (Philadelphia Phillies – $7.8 million)

Chase is a rock star. Some may
give him a bad rap because he likes to throw out a few too many f-bombs in
public, but that’s exactly why I love him. He shys away from nothing. On the
field, he’s every little league coach’s dream. He plays like it’s his last game
ever and he wants to go out with style. He plays a great second base and won’t
hesitate to dive for that line drive. At the plate, he’s clutch and can go yard
at the drop of a hat.

 


pujols.jpg


Albert
Pujols – 3B (St. Louis Cardinals – $13.9 million)

Some forget that Pujols
originally came up as a Third Baseman. I had trouble deciding between him and
Chipper Jones for this spot but eventually decided to go with Pujols because of
his upside. Chipper is on the latter end of his career, and while he’s capable
of putting on a hitting clinic on any given night, he has trouble staying on
the field. Pujols is all upside and I don’t need any justification here.

 









crosby.jpg


Bobby Crosby
- SS (Oakland Athletics – $3.5 million)

Bobby Crosby’s not flashy, he’s
not in your face and he’s not going to hit many walk-off home runs. What he
will do is step on the field between third base and second base and play solid,
fundamental baseball. He gets on base, which is important to any lineup. He’s a
catalyst to any offense and a rock to any defense.

 

hamilton1.jpg


Josh
Hamilton – LF (Texas Rangers – $396,830)

Josh is more than just a great story; he’s a top-tier ball player
too. The homerun derby was no fluke; this kid hits the ball hard every time.
Someone who can hit the ball hard will get hits more often than not.

 

johnson.jpg




Reed Johnson
- CF (Chicago Cubs – $1.3 million)

Reed Johnson flies under the
radar for the most part but he’s a good old-fashioned ball player. He puts me
in mind of Lenny Dykstra from the 1993 Phillies NL Championship team. He’s not
the biggest or the strongest but he plays like he’s the biggest dog in the
pack. Don’t tell him he’s not the cleanup hitter because he knows how to get
the barrel of the bat on the ball every time he makes contact.

 

ankiel.jpg

Rick Ankiel -
RF (St. Louis Cardinals – $900,000)

I’m becoming a really big fan of
Rick Ankiel, fast. He’s the most naturally gifted athlete in baseball. Who else
could come up through the system as a pitcher (a good pitcher), lose his stuff,
get sent back to the minors, change positions to the outfield and make it back
to the majors? No one. He’s a guy I want on my team and I’ll find a place for
him.

 











Bench:

IF         Ryan Theriot - R
(Chicago Cubs – $428,000)

OF       Fred Lewis – L (San Francisco Giants – $392,000)

OF       Shane Victorino – S (Philadelphia Phillies – $480,000)

IF         Josh Willingham – R (Florida Marlins – $405,000)

 

 Starting
Pitchers:

hamels1.jpg

  1.    
Cole Hamels
- LHP (Philadelphia Phillies – $500,000)

What can you
say about Cole Hamels that hasn’t already been said? He’s a stud. He stares
down opposing batters and throws ridiculous stuff at them. He proved his worth
in the playoffs where it really counts. Now if only I could get him to cut his
hair a little bit. Those wavy locks have got to go.

 




roy-halladay.jpg

2.    
Roy Halladay
- RHP (Toronto BlueJays – $10 million)

Halladay is
a work horse. He will make 30 starts a season and pitch at least 6 innings each
outing. You can’t put a price on that. It shortens each game to three innings
long and makes the bullpen’s life easier. He works the count well with a good
fastball/changeup combination and pulls the string when you least expect it.

 




buehrle.jpg

      3.    
Mark Buehrle
- LHP (Chicago White Sox – $14 million)

Buehrle
flies under the radar a bit on the south side of Chicago but his repertoire speaks
for itself. He’s a low-ball pitcher who induces a lot of ground balls and
pop-ups and virtually takes the bat away from lefties. Not only that, but he gets
better as the season goes along and pitches well in the post-season.

 




peavy.jpg

4.    
 Jake Peavy – RHP (San Diego Padres – $6.5 million)

The reason
behind this pick is simple. Jake Peavy will step out on the mound on any given
day and absolutely hurl the ball at the plate. He’s a hurler; plain and simple.

 






b_backe.jpg

   5.    
Brandon
Backe – RHP (Houston Astros – $800,000)

I like
Brandon Backe because he has good stuff but he can also swing the bat. I like a
pitcher who will at least try to act like a batter and make an effort to get on
base.

 






                                               The greatest picture ever taken!

lidge.jpg

Closer – Brad Lidge – RHP (Philadelphia
Phillies – $6.35 million)

Two years
ago, Lidge would have been toward the bottom of my list for closers. In fact, I
would probably have said the same in April. But it’s hard to argue with
perfection, which is exactly what Brad “Lights Out” Lidge was this past season
from April all the way through to the last out of the World Series. What else
can you ask for?

 

Other Relief
Pitchers:

J.C. Romero – LHP (Philadelphia Phillies – $3.25 million)

Ryan Madson – RHP (Philadelphia Phillies – $1.4 million)

Ryan Rowland-Smith – LHP (Seattle Mariners – $395,000)

Carlos Marmol – RHP (Chicago Cubs – $430,000)

David Aardsma – RHP (Boston Red Sox – $403,250)

Boone Logan – LHP (Chicago White Sox – $405,000)

Ambiorix Burgos – RHP (New York Mets – $415,000)

 

Total
Team Salary:       $ 82,900,020.00

 

The team’s salary is good enough
to put the team in 15th place in Major League Baseball just ahead of
the Milwaukee Brewers. The one glaring hole I can see in the lineup is the lack
of a little balance. I have two players accustomed to being the #3 batter
hitting in different spots (Chase Utley and Josh Hamilton). I picked them
because I thought they are the types of players who can adapt to a new spot in
the lineup and hit different types of pitchers.

 

The next step in my plan is to
put this team in action on MLB 2K8 and see how they turn out. Yes, it’s just a
video game, but I can’t play GM in real life (not yet, anyway), so I have to
play GM virtually.

 

(SIDE NOTE – Coming in January
will be a PS3 game called ‘MLB Front Office Manager.’ A game that’s right up my
ally and good for anyone else who has aspirations of running a MLB team. I’ll
have a synopsis once I get a chance to play.)

 

Would this team win? I think so.
There is a lot of talent in the lineup from top to bottom so if one player
struggles, someone else can fill the void. Yes, there are more Phillies than
any other team but consider the source. This is based on 2008. If this was
based on 2007, you probably would see a few more Red Sox. If this was based on
1998, you’d see a bunch more Yankees. There are about a dozen and a half more
players I can think of that I could put in there and not lose any sleep., so
please, don’t think I’m snubbing anyone who isn’t deserving.

 

Any disputes? Please comment. I’d
love to hear your opinions.

P.S. The answer is 24.2%, in case you were wondering. Don’t ask me how I got the answer, because I really don’t know.

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