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Sports nostalgia and useless facts

Entries in this blog

 

HOF Profile: Jay Buhner

Jay Buhner - Rightfielder   New York Yankees 1987-1988 Seattle Mariners 1988-2001   Awards 1996 AL Gold Glove - OF   All-Star Selections: 1 (1996)   League Leader None of note   Career Ranks AB per HR: 31st   Hall of Fame Stats   Gray Ink: Batting - 31 (733) (Average HOFer ≈ 144) HOF Standards: Batting - 25.8 (436) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Batting - 34.5 (502) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Batters in HOF: None Top 10 Similar Batters: Hank Sauer, Jeromy Burnitz, Roger Maris, Cecil Fielder, Darryl Strawberry, Bob Allison, Danny Tartabull, Eric Davis, Dean Palmer, Jesse Barfield   Year-by-Year Win Shars & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)   1987: 0/0.0 1988: 7/3.4 1989: 8/2.0 1990: 6/1.7 1991: 13/7.0 1992: 16/6.8 1993: 22/7.7 1994: 13/7.7 1995: 16/5.0 1996: 22/6.3 1997: 19/8.0 1998: 8/2.4 1999: 8/1.8 2000: 16/4.3 2001: 0/0.3   Career Win Shares: 174 Career WARP3: 64.6   Would he get my vote?   No. Buhner's trade for Ken Phelps is a part of pop culture thanks to Seinfeld but he certainly won't be part of the HOF. Very consistent peformer when he was a line-up but he had several injuries at various parts of his career and only played more than 100 games once during the final four years of his career. Even if he had been healthy it's unlikely he would have kept up a level of performance high enough to warrant HOF consideration. His Gold Glove in 1996 was a complete joke even by the very low standards of the Gold Glove awards.

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HOF Profile: Dante Bichette

Dante Bichette - Outfielder   California Angels 1988-1990 Milwaukee Brewers 1991-1992 Colorado Rockies 1993-1999 Cincinnati Reds 2000 Boston Red Sox 2000-2001   Awards 1995 NL Silver Slugger - OF   All-Star Selections: 4 (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998)   League Leader 1994: Games, At Bats 1995: SLG%, Homeruns, Hits, Total Bases, RBI, Runs Created 1998: Hits   Career Ranks None of note   Hall of Fame Stats   Black Ink: Batting - 19 (112) (Average HOFer ≈ 27) Gray Ink: Batting - 81 (284) (Average HOFer ≈ 144) HOF Standards: Batting - 30.5 (275) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Batting - 82.0 (203) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Batters in the HOF: None Top 10 Similar Batters: Garret Anderson, Moises Alou, Shawn Green, Ted Kluszewski, Tony Oliva, Fred Lynn, George Hendrick, Tim Salmon, George Bell, Greg Luzinksi   Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacment Level (WARP3)   1988: 1/0.3 1989: 2/1.2 1990: 7/3.1 1991: 7/3.8 1992: 8/3.8 1993: 19/6.3 1994: 13/5.8 1995: 23/5.8 1996: 20/4.1 1997: 15/4.0 1998: 17/6.2 1999: 15/3.0 2000: 14/3.9 2001: 7/2.3   Career Win Shares: 168 Career WARP3: 53.7   Would he get my vote?   No. Bichette's numbers were heavily inflated by playing in Colorado and even if you took his counting stats at face value he still is no where close to a HOF. He's a good example of similarity scores not always being very reliable because they don't adjust to the era a player played in. Of his Top 10 similar batters only Garret Anderson has a lower career OPS+, who just happens to be his most similar batter, and Bichette was no where near is good as the likes of Tony Oliva and Fred Lynn.

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HOF Profile: Scott Brosius

Scott Brosius - Third Baseman   Oakland Athletics 1991-1997 New York Yankees 1998-2001   Awards 1998 World Series MVP 1999 AL Gold Glove - 3B   All-Star Selections: 1 (1998)   League Leader None   Career Ranks None of note   Hall of Fame Stats   HOF Standards: Batting - 12.6 (1349) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Batting - 19.0 (780) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Batters in HOF: None Top 10 Similar Batters: Ed Sprague, Bill Melton, Mike Pagliarulo, Scott Spiezio, Tom Tresh, Jim Presley, Steve Buechele, Dave Hollins, Aaron Boone, Jim Tabor   Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Leve (WARP3)   1991: 1/0.8 1992: 2/0.3 1993: 5/1.5 1994: 6/4.1 1995: 10/3.2 1996: 19/7.9 1997: 5/2.1 1998: 27/9.3 1999: 13/5.5 2000: 8/4.1 2001: 15/5.6   Career Win Shares: 111 Career WARP3: 44.3   Would he get my vote?   No. Like Witt there is really no point in having Brosius on the ballot. Unlike Witt though you can figure out why he got through the nomination process, likely due to his World Series MVP in 1998. He was an excellent defensive third baseman but even if you had a Hall of Fame based soley on fielding he'd have no shot due to only being an everyday player for six years of his career, playing in more than 150 games just once.

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HOF Profile: Bobby Witt

2007 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is out so as planned I'm going to do individual profiles on each player on the ballot. I'll go in the order of career Win Shares starting at the bottom. No player on this year's ballot is nearly bad as Gary DiSarcina being on last year's ballot and there are quite a few Hall of Very Good players making their first appearance on the ballot. But we start off with a very dubious addition to this year's ballot.   Bobby Witt - Starting Pitcher   Texas Rangers 1986-1992, 1995-1998 Oakland Athletics 1992-1994 Florida Marlins 1995 St. Louis Cardinals 1998 Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1999 Cleveland Indians 2000 Arizona Diamondbacks 2001   Awards None   League Leader None   Career Ranks K: 69th K/9: 64th   Hall of Fame Stats   Gray Ink: Pitching - 33 (696) (Average HOFer ≈ 185) HOF Standards: Pitching - 11.0 (696) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Pitching - 7.0 (1050) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Pitchers in HOF: None Top 10 Similar Pitchers: Kevin Gross, Mike Moore, Jim Clancy, Steve Renko, Scott Erickson, Steve Trachsel, Bump Hadley, Tim Belcher, Floyd Bannister, Tom Candiotti   Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacment Level (WARP3)   1986: 3/2.0 1987: 6/3.9 1988: 10/3.8 1989: 5/2.0 1990: 17/6.4 1991: 0/0.2 1992: 8/4.5 1993: 11/5.8 1994: 4/2.8 1995: 9/4.4 1996: 10/4.7 1997: 11/5.4 1998: 1/0.3 1999: 8/2.8 2000: 0/0.0 2001: 2/1.1   Career Win Shares: 102 Career WARP3: 49.9   Would He Get My Vote?   No, shockingly as that might seem. Only had one good year in 1990 when he went 17-10 with a 3.36 ERA which was one of only four seasons that he had an ERA+ of 100 or better. Now any player who played at least 10 years can appear on the ballot but there is still a nomination process where a handful of players don't get on the ballot but there is always a few that make no sense as to why anyone would nominate them and Witt is definately one this year. If you're going to include Bobby Witt on the ballot why even bother with a nomination process? Not that it really matters in the end.

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Award Redo Recap

This is a bit of a throw away entry but I had been wanting to rundown the 23 MVP redos I've done entries for. I have other redos that I've done (including the entire decade of the 80's) but haven't done entries for yet. What I decided to do is group the redos into categories in terms of how good or bad the choice was by the writers. Thought it would be a good time to do this after the writer's awful choice of Justin Morneau. I had Morneau 9th on my 2006 A.L. MVP mock ballot.   Writers Made the Right Choice   1980 A.L. George Brett 1989 A.L. Robin Yount 1999 N.L. Chipper Jones   Writers Choice was Pefectly Acceptable (Writer's Pick/My Pick)   1985 N.L. Willie McGee/Dwight Gooden 1986 A.L. Roger Clemens/Don Mattingly 1988 N.L. Kirk Gibson/Will Clark 1991 A.L. Cal Ripken/Frank Thomas 1995 N.L. Barry Larkin/Greg Maddux 2003 A.L. Alex Rodriguez/Carlos Delgado   Writers Made the Right & Wrong Choice (Writer's Picks/My Pick)   1979 N.L. Keith Hernandez & Willie Stargell/Keith Hernandez   Bad Choices by the Writers (Writer's Pick/My Pick)   1979 A.L. Don Baylor/Fred Lynn 1987 A.L. George Bell/Alan Trammell 1991 N.L. Terry Pendleton/Barry Bonds 1998 N.L. Sammy Sosa/Mark McGwire   The Justin Morneau Achievement Awards (Writer's Pick/My Pick)   1960 N.L. Dick Groat/Eddie Mathews 1974 N.L. Steve Garvey/Joe Morgan 1981 A.L. Rollie Fingers/Dwight Evans 1984 A.L. Willie Hernandez/Cal Ripken 1987 N.L. Andre Dawson/Tim Raines 1992 A.L. Dennis Eckersley/Frank Thomas 1995 A.L. Mo Vaughn/Edgar Martinez 1996 A.L. Juan Gonzalez/Alex Rodriguez 1999 A.L. Ivan Rodriguez/Derek Jeter

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Bowl Projections 11/25

Jumping the gun here a bit but things seem fairly clear to me. I am holding out hope the Rose Bowl has the good sense not to pick Notre Dame for a rematch against Michigan but I might be wrong on that. Obviously a lot things can change with the title games next week but at that point there will be no need for projections.   One thing I learned tonight, the rule where bowls can not take a 6-6 team over a 7-5 team to fill a conference bid also applies to at-large bids which means Washington State, Arizona, Kansas, and Pittsburgh are all likely staying home while the MAC and Sun Belt will pick up extra bids.   Poinsettia: TCU vs. Western Michigan Las Vegas: BYU vs. Oregon New Orleans: Troy vs. East Carolina PapaJohns.com Bowl: Tulsa vs. South Florida New Mexico: New Mexico vs. San Jose State Armed Forces: Utah vs. Rice Hawaii: Hawaii vs. UCLA Motor City: Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee Emerald: Arizona State vs. Florida State Independence: Kansas State vs. Alabama Texas: Rutgers vs. Oklahoma State Holiday: California vs. Texas A&M Music City: Kentucky vs. Maryland Sun: Oregon State vs. West Virginia Liberty: Houston vs. South Carolina Champs Sports: Wake Forest vs. Purdue Insight: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota Car Care: Clemson vs. Navy Alamo: Missouri vs. Iowa Chick-fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia MPC Computers: Nevada vs. Miami Gator: Boston College vs. Texas Outback: Penn State vs. Tennessee Cotton: Nebraska vs. Auburn Capital One: Wisconsin vs. Arkansas Rose: Michigan vs. LSU Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Boise State Orange: Georgia Tech vs. Louisville Sugar: Florida vs. Notre Dame International: Cincinnati vs. Northern Illinois GMAC: Southern Miss vs. Ohio BCS: Ohio State vs. USC

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Bowl Projections, for real this time

The likely outcome of who will face Ohio State in the Fiest Bowl, part II is just depressing for me. Either we'll get a traditional Rose Bowl match-up, except not in the Rose Bowl, or we'll get the always lame rematch of a game already played. But now with only two weeks left in the season I can actually make an attempt to make my own projections that go beyond guessing. When it cames to the ACC though it will still be guess work as there is still way too much unresolved business in that conference. Also projecting the non-confernece winner besides Michigan to get into the BCS is tough but I'm picking West Virginia for now. For open bids the Big Ten won't be able to fill the Motor City Bowl and the ACC might not be able to fill the MPC Computers Bowl.   One thing I should point out in regards to the Gator Bowl that I wasn't aware of. Now in my previous bowl entries I brought up how they have the option now of passing on the Big East #2 selection (sending them to the Sun Bowl) and going with a Big XII team. What was not aware of that they have the option of taking the Big XII #2 pick one time in the next four years. So because of that I, and others, are projecting Oklahoma to get snatched up by the Gator Bowl. This would cost the Sooners $500k as the Gator pays out $2.5 million compared to Cotton Bowl which pays out $3 million. Are bowl politics fun?   Also the Birmingham Bowl has been named the PapaJohns.com Bowl. Why exactly did they need the .com part?   Poinsettia: TCU vs. Washington State Las Vegas: BYU vs. Oregon New Orleans: Middle Tennessee vs. East Carolina PapaJohns.com Bowl: Tulsa vs. Pittsburgh New Mexico: New Mexico vs. San Jose State Armed Forces: Utah vs. Rice Hawaii: Hawaii vs. UCLA Motor City: Central Michigan vs. South Carolina Emerald: Arizona vs. Florida State Independence: Kansas State vs. Alabama Texas: Cincinnati vs. Oklahoma State Holiday: California vs. Texas A&M Music City: Georgia vs. Clemson Sun: Oregon State vs. Rutgers Liberty: Houston vs. Kentucky Champs Sports: Maryland vs. Purdue Insight: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota Car Care: Wake Forest vs. Navy Alamo: Missouri vs. Iowa Chick-fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee MPC Computers: Nevada vs. Kansas Gator: Boston College vs. Oklahoma Outback: Penn State vs. LSU Cotton: Nebraska vs. Auburn Capital One: Wisconsin vs. Arkansas Rose: Michigan vs. West Virginia Fiesta: Texas vs. Boise State Orange: Georgia Tech vs. Louisville Sugar: Florida vs. Notre Dame International: South Florida vs. Northern Illinois GMAC: Southern Miss vs. Ohio BCS: Ohio State vs. USC

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HOF Profile: Gary Sheffield

In my need to always find content after the 2007 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is released I plan on doing individual entries on each player on the ballot, even the ones that have no business being on it. The profiles will mainly just be useless information on each player and then a short opinion by me on whether or not I'd vote for them into the Hall of Fame. So as a test run I decided to do one on an active player and Gary Sheffield seemed like a good choice since he has recently been in the news.   Gary Sheffield - Outfielder/Third Baseman   Milwaukee Brewers 1989-1991 San Diego Padres 1992-1993 Florida Marlins 1993-1998 Los Angeles Dodgers 1998-2001 Atlanta Braves 2002-2003 New York Yankees 2004-2006 Detroit Tigers 2007-   Awards 1992 Sporting News ML Player of the Year 1992 NL Silver Slugger - 3B 1996 NL Silver Slugger - OF 2003 NL Silver Slugger - OF 2004 AL Silver Slugger - OF 2005 AL Silver Slugger - OF   All-Star Selections: 9 (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005)   League Leader 1992: Batting Average, Total Bases 1996: On Base Pct., OPS, OPS+   Career Ranks OBP: 64th SLG: 52nd OPS: 47th Runs: 70th TB: 54th HR: 31st RBI: 46th BB: 37th OPS+: 48th RC: 39th   Hall of Fame Stats   Black Ink: Batting - 4 (401) (Average HOFer ≈ 27) Gray Ink: Batting - 118 (164) (Average HOFer ≈ 144) HOF Standards: Batting - 57.7 (37) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Batting - 132.0 (98) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Batters in HOF: 5 (Willie Stargell, Billy Williams, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews) Other Similar Batters: Jeff Bagwell, Ken Griffey Jr., Fred McGriff, Frank Thomas, Jim Rice   Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacment Level (WARP3)   1988: 2/0.3 1989: 6/1.8 1990: 20/5.2 1991: 1/0.2 1992: 32/11.9 1993: 16/4.9 1994: 15/5.0 1995: 13/4.3 1996: 34/10.6 1997: 22/7.1 1998: 30/7.7 1999: 24/7.7 2000: 31/8.8 2001: 30/8.8 2002: 26/6.8 2003: 35/11.0 2004: 30/8.5 2005: 31/8.4 2006: 3/1.2   Total Wins Shares: 401 Total WARP3: 120.3   Would he get my vote?   Yes. Whether your a career voter or a peak voter Sheffield measures up. Although he never won an MVP and his black ink number is very low, the overall consistentcy of performing at a high level is deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame. On the other hand because of his personality and some steroid questions due to his brief association with BALCO he might not be a slam dunk in the view of the baseball writers. But with now over 400 career Win Shares he should be.

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Bowl Projections...sort of, Part 2

December 30th - Meineke Car Care Bowl (Big East #3/Navy vs. ACC #6) Navy vs. Clemson/Boston College/Miami   The mean 'ol Naval academy is stealing the Big East's bid here due to a conditional bid they had with this unfortunately named bowl. Clemson is likely to end up here after having what appeared to be promising Orange Bowl hopes just a couple of weeks ago.   December 30th - Alamo Bowl (Big XII #4 vs. Big Ten #4) Texas A&M/Missouri/Nebraska vs. Purdue   Purdue will end up here by default and A&M is obviously favored here, if the Holiday Bowl doesn't grab them. Nebraska would probably be passed on if their available since they played here last season.   December 30th - Chick-fil-A Bowl (ACC #2 vs. SEC #5) Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech/Maryland/Boston College vs. Georgia/Alabama/South Carolina   And just another reason why people have a hard time taking bowl game seriously. Chick-fil-A just wasn't satisfied with being the sponsor of the Peach Bowl so they bought out the name. I'd never even heard of Chick-fil-A when they first sponsored the bowl. The assumption right now by the projections is that the SEC will get two teams in the BCS thus leaving this game with a 7-5 team at best from the SEC. Although none of them picked them, when you look at the remaining schedule there is a distinct possibility Kentucky ends up here as they could go 7-5 while the other three all finish 6-6 and thus would have to be passed over. If Georgia Tech loses the ACC title game they'll end up here which obviously would eliminate Georgia from consideration.   December 31st - MPC Computers Bowl (WAC #1 vs. ACC #8) Nevada/San Jose State vs. Miami/Florida State/Wake Forest   Larry Coker's last stand will likely be freezing his ass off in Boise. Like I said in the prior entry I'd be surprised if Nevada isn't Boise State's replacement here. Of course though perennial doormat San Jose State playing perennial national power Miami on blue turf would be delicious is so many ways.   Jaunary 1st - Gator Bowl (Big East #2/Big XII #5 vs. ACC #3) West Virginia/Nebraska vs. Wake Forest/Clemson/Maryland   The Gator Bowl has become the ugly stepchild of the January 1st bowls and has been passed over the Peach and Holiday Bowl on the bowl totem poll in recent years. As mentioned before if Nebarska is available they will pass on an 11-1/10-2 Big East team to do so. A lot will depend on who ends up in the Holiday Bowl from the Pac-10 as if it's Cal is there then they will probably grab Nebraska but if it's USC they'll have to pass on them.   January 1st - Outback Bowl (Big Ten #3 vs. SEC #4) Penn State vs. Tennessee/LSU/Arkansas   Although the Gator Bowl is the ugly stepchild of January 1st, this game has always felt like an unecessary January 1st game to me. It's starts way too early for us on the West Coast (8:00 AM after New Year's Eve? Fuck that) and the 3rd or 4th best team from the Big Ten playing the 4th or 5th best team from the SEC isn't all that exciting to me especially when there is a much bigger Big Ten/SEC match-up later in the day. It will be especially unexciting this year as an unranked Penn State team will be here by default barring something bizarre happening in the Big Ten in the last couple of weeks.   January 1st - Cotton Bowl (Big XII #2 vs. SEC #3) Oklahoma vs. LSU/Arkansas/Auburn/Tennessee   I always kind of hope that the Cotton Bowl will one day regain it's status as the 2nd biggest bowl game but that will never happen. Oklahoma is almost a lock here at this point unless Texas gets upset in the Big XII title game and there is always a preference to take a team from the SEC West division so not sure what CFN is thinking with Tennessee.   January 1st - Capital One Bowl (SEC #2 vs. Big Ten #2) Wisconsin vs. Tennessee/Florida/Arkansas   There's 99.99999999% chance the Badgers end up here. As for the SEC a lot will depend on what happens in the SEC title game.   January 1st - Rose Bowl (Pac-10 #1/BCS vs. Big Ten #1/BCS) California/USC vs. Michigan   Aww the Grand Daddy of them all back where should always be played, on January 1st. Won't get the Big Ten champ but at least we will get a Pac-10/Big Ten match-up. Of course if Cal beats USC I will not be watching this game until Michigan has a substantial lead in the game. And as you can see no one is picking them to beat Ohio State.   January 1st - Fiesta Bowl (Big XII #1/BCS vs. BCS) Texas/Notre Dame vs. Boise State   This appears to be the easiest bowl to predict at this point. Texas wins the Big XII and Boise State wins out, they'll be playing each other. Now you see Notre Dame and well that's because Ivan Maisel thinks Texas will end up in the BCS Title Game which is too scary to think of right now. Although I think they'll get crushed at least Boise will get to prove themselves against an elite team unlike Utah a few years ago who were stuck playing a Pittsburgh team that had no business being there in a year that turned everyone on the Big East.   Jaunary 2nd - Orange Bowl (ACC #1/BCS vs. BCS) Georgia Tech/Wake Forest vs. Auburn/LSU/Louisville   I'm sooooooooo rooting for Wake Forest and Rutgers to win their conferences and play here as it might cause the Apocalypse. Obviously the popular choice seems to be the 2nd SEC team getting here.   January 3rd - Sugar Bowl (SEC #1/BCS vs. BCS) Florida/Arkansas/Auburn vs. Notre Dame/Louisville   Convential wisdom is the Sugar Bowl will gobble up Notre Dame as they are ahead of the Orange and Fiesta on the BCS pecking order this year.   January 6th - International Bowl (MAC #3 vs. Big East #4/#5) Ohio/Western Michigan/Kent State vs. Pittsburgh/South Florida   Exhibit A why when a bowl is played is overrated. It seems unlikely USF would be picked here to travel all the way to Toronto.   January 7th - GMAC Bowl (Conference USA #2 vs. MAC #2) East Carolina/Tulsa/Houston vs. Ohio/Western Michigan/Central Michigan/Northern Illinois   And Exhibit B as nothing bowl game GMAC decided to get cute and schedule themselves the day before the BCS title game.   January 8th - BCS Championship Game (BCS #1 vs. BCS #2) Ohio State vs. Louisville/Florida/Texas   Playing two bowl games at the same site a week apart is lame and January 8th is looooooong time to wait for the title game. Words can not describe how I don't want to see a Ohio State/Texas rematch although the elitist in me would prefer to see Florida than Louisville, not to say I don't think Louisville wouldn't be more deserving if they finish undefeated.

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Bowl Projections...sort of

As I mentioned last week in my bowls entry I wasn't going to be doing any projections as there is still way too many games left to make any solid projections that go beyond guess work. If you want to try to predict how the ACC will shake out the rest of the way, be my guest. But I need content and even though I hate the current state of the bowl system, I love looking at potential match-ups. So in this entry I'm going to do what I've done a few times in the past in the College Football threads and jumble together bowl projections from various sites to give you an idea of where your favorite or hated team might be playing a meaningless game in late December. I'll take projections from ESPN.com, CFN.com, CBS Sportsline, CollegeBCS.com, and SI.com and throw little comments that will provide little to no insight.   December 19th - Poinsettia Bowl (Mountain West #3 vs. at-large) Utah/Air Force/Wyoming vs. Kansas/Northern Illinois/UCLA/Ohio   Army had a conditional bid here but their incredibly slim bowl chances went up in smoke when they get blown by Air Force so it's anyones guess as to who gets the at-large bid but will likely go to a 6-6 BCS conference team or someone from the MAC.   December 21st - Las Vegas Bowl (Mountain West #1 vs. Pac-10 #4) BYU vs. Oregon State/Washington State/Oregon   I should have corrected bravesfan, or whatever his name is now, in the College Football thread as he was under the impression that the Hawaii is the Pac-10's #4 choice but it's actually their last one. In any event BYU will lock up the Mountain West this week with a win over Wyoming and the greatest a trip a Mormon can have, Las Vegas. I'd say most likely the loser of the Civil War ends up here as the opponent.   December 22nd - New Orleans Bowl (Sun Belt #1 vs. Conference USA #5) Middle Tennesse/Troy vs. UTEP/SMU/Rice   Obviously God caused Hurricane Katrina to prevent New Oreleans from being subjected to another Sun Belt bowl game but it's back this year. At least the Sun Belt will manage to end up with more than one winning team this year. MTSU hosts Troy on November 25th and that will decide the conference and I'm soooooo tempted to break my no Sun Belt games rule in my pick 'em contest for that game. UTEP was the popular choice here but I'm pulling for SMU as they have an outside shot at their first bowl game since the death penalty.   December 23rd - Birmingham Bowl Bowl (Conference USA #3 vs. Big East #5/6) Southern Miss vs. South Florida/Pittsburgh   Now raise your hand if you actually knew there was something called the Birmingham Bowl this year? The projections were unanimous for Southern Miss and only one picked Pittsburgh instead of USF.   December 23rd - New Mexico Bowl (WAC #3 vs. Mountain West #4) Nevada/San Jose State vs. New Mexico   Okay now raise your hand if you actually knew there was something called the New Mexico Bowl this year? See this is the problem with a lot of these little bowls as they can only hope to get a decent crowd if the home team becomes bowl eligible and then really is it even a bowl game at that point or just a glorified home game? New Mexico will have to sweat a little for a bowl eligiblity as they play BYU and TCU next but finish the season at home against awful San Diego State. Now the WAC projections are split down the middle which is odd because I'd think Nevada would definately take Boise State's spot in the MPC Computers Bowl but half of them think San Jose State will but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.   December 23rd - Armed Forces Bowl (Mountain West #2 vs. Conference USA #4) TCU vs. Tulsa/UTEP/SMU/East Carolina   This is actually not a new bowl but the bowl formerly known as the Fort Worth Bowl and I know you are all appalled that such a historic bowl would go corporate, sort of. Oddly enough Navy and Army didn't have any sort of conditional bid here. TCU is the unanimous choice since it played on their homefield and have in the past rejected other invites just to stay home although this year they get their by default. Projections have no clue who goes from Conference USA here.   December 24th - Hawaii Bowl (WAC #2 vs. Pac-10 #6) Hawaii vs. Arizona State/Washington State   Again this week's big story was the shocking news that Hawaii accepted an invite to the Hawaii Bowl. All but one of the projections had ASU going here.   December 26th - Motor City Bowl (MAC #1 vs. Big Ten #7) Central Michigan/Ohio/Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati/Iowa/Middle Tennessee   CMU has emerged as this week's favorite to win the MAC but that conference has been impossible to figure out this year. Now with it almost a lock that Ohio State and Michigan will give the Big Ten BCS bids there's a very good chance the Big Ten won't fill their last bid and Cincinnati for geographic reasons, and because the Big East is losing a bid which I'll get to, was the popular choice. CollegeBCS.com was the one who picked MTSU and I don't know what they are thinking there.   December 27th - Emerald Bowl (Pac-10 #5 vs. ACC #7) Washington State/Oregon/Arizona State vs. Florida State/Boston College/Maryland   It's still incredibly stupid to have a bowl game in an area as indifferent towards college sports as the Bay Area but at least they have the Pac-10 on board now so Stanford will have a bowl game to go to if they ever become bowl eligible again this decade. FSU is the odds on favorite to go here and watching them travel across the country for a game they won't give a shit about will be fun.   December 28th - Independence Bowl (Big XII #7 vs. SEC #8) Oklahoma State/Kansas State/Texas Tech vs. Alabama/Georgia/South Carolina/Kentucky   The Big XII bowl picture is fairly unsettled so tough to guess here. One of the dissapointing 6-6 SEC teams will end up here.   December 28th - Texas Bowl (Big East #3/#4 vs. Big XII #8) Rutgers vs. Kansas State/Oklahoma State   This is technically a new bowl game but it was the replacement for the Houston Bowl that went belly up but is being played in...Houston. Confused? Anyways that is correct what you read, Rutgers even with probably a 10-2 record will end up in a nothing bowl game against 6-6 Big XII team. Basically no bowls wanted the Big East after the purge a couple of years ago, which in hindsight hasn't hurt the conference at all, and this is the result of it.   December 28th - Holiday Bowl (Pac-10 #2 vs. Big XII #3) USC/California vs. Texas A&M/Missouri/Nebraska   Holiday Bowl has really emerged as one of the biggest non-BCS bowls in recent years and it should be no different this year. But man fuck all these projections as only one has USC getting to the Rose Bowl which means most think Cal will win their match-up. USC likely killed their BCS at-large chances with the loss to Oregon State although there is a slim chance that they could get in if a lot of things break their way, one being Boise State failing to get into the BCS. Obviously if USC ends up here, Nebraksa wouldn't be the selection from the Big XII.   December 29th - Music City Bowl (ACC #5 vs. SEC #6) Wake Forest/Virginia Tech/Boston College/Maryland/Miami vs. South Carolina/Kentucky/Alabama   Again the ACC is impossible to figure out who is going where right now as Wake Forest was the only team that showed up on two of the projections although I'd say Miami is a longshot here.   December 29th - Sun Bowl (Pac-10 #3 vs. Big XII #5/Big East #2) Oregon/Oregon State/Washington State vs. Missouri/West Virginia   Yup the complete lack of wanting the Big East strikes again. The Gator Bowl has a deal this year where they can pick a Big XII team over the second place Big East team. Big XII fans travel very well so don't be shocked if an 11-1 Big East team gets passed over and sent to El Paso, especially if the Gator Bowl has a shot at getting Nebraska who's fans can almost sell out bowl games on their own. The Civil War winner likely goes here from the Pac-10.   December 29th - Liberty Bowl (Conference USA #1 vs. SEC #7) Houston/Tulsa vs. Kentucky/Alabama   Houston's mild upset of Tulsa this week makes them the run away favorite now to win Conference USA.   December 29th - Champs Sports Bowl (ACC #4 vs. Big Ten #5) Boston College/Virginia Tech/Maryland/Florida State vs. Iowa/Minnesota   No bowl game that gets BCS conference teams every year produces more lackluster games than the Champs Sports Bowl and this year should be no different. CFN.com is the one that picked Minnesota so obviously Vern has been bribing them.   December 29th - Insight Bowl (Big XII #6 vs. Big Ten #6) Texas Tech/Oklahoma State vs. Indiana/Wyoming/Central Michigan/Utah   Again because both Ohio State and Michigan are going to be the BCS and because the Big Ten is incredibly mediocre once you get past the top three teams, this bid might not be filled by their conference. Texas Tech was the almost unanimous pick here for the Big XII. I'm still trying to figure out why the Insight parted ways with the Pac-10 when it's natural fit for the Arizona schools.   That's enough for tonight, cover the rest tommorrow.

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Award Redo: 1999 N.L. MVP

Even with the baseball season over I'm always looking for an excuse to do a redo and resident Astros fan vivalaultra gave me one while lamenting over the end of Jeff Bagwell's career in Houston: Well god dammit I have to solve this quandry!   Jeff Bagwell finished second in the 1999 N.L. MVP voting but he wasn't even close to winning it. Chipper Jones had the best year of his career hitting .319 with 45 homeruns while helping the Braves to a league best 103 wins and would receive 29 of the 32 first place votes. The tightest competition was for the second place spot as Bagwell finished with only seven points more than the 3rd place Matt Williams. Bagwell had better numbers than Williams almost across the board (including 30 stolen bases which is a ton for a first baseman) except in one category. Guess which one? If you said RBI then you know your baseball writer voting tendencies very well. Williams actually received two first place votes to Bagwell's one I suppose because he was a "gritty veteran" who was the "heart and soul" of the Diamondbacks who shocked the baseball world with a 100 win season in just their 2nd year of exsistence. After those three no other player received any real consideration for the award with Greg Vaughn leading the pack but he was a dubious choice for 4th. Of note in 1999 was also the McGwire/Sosa Homerun Chase II but like most blockbuster sequels it was just more of the same and kind of took away from the memories of the original.   Actual Results 1) Chipper Jones 2) Jeff Bagwell 3) Matt Williams 4) Greg Vaughn 5) Mark McGwire 6) Robin Ventura 7) Mike Piazza 8) Edgardo Alfonzo 9) Sammy Sosa 10) Larry Walker 11) Vladimir Guerrero 12) Craig Biggio 13) Jay Bell 14) Sean Casey 15) Randy Johnson 16) Billy Wagner 17) Carl Everett 18) Luis Gonzalez 19t) Brian Giles 19t) Brain Jordan 21) Mike Hampton 22) Barry Larkin 23) Bobby Abreu 24t) Barry Bonds 24t) Matt Mantei 26t) Jeff Kent 26t) Kevin Millwood 28) Trevor Hoffman   #10 .379/.458/.710, 140 RC, 162 OPS+, .334 EQA, 68.1 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #9 .294/.386/.457, 111 RC, 118 OPS+, .286 EQA, 48.3 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #8 .335/.446/.549, 134 RC, 149 OPS+, .326 EQA, 64.3 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #7 .301/.379/.529, 118 RC, 132 OPS+, .300 EQA, 53.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #6 150 ERA+, 1.75 K/BB, 1.29 WHIP, 76.2 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #5 .315/.418/.614, 135 RC, 157 OPS+, .328 EQA, 74.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #4 .278/.424/.697, 154 RC, 178 OPS+, .344 EQA, 81.2 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #3 178 ERA+, 5.20 K/BB, 1.02 WHIP, 99.3 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #2 .304/.454/.591, 149 RC, 169 OPS+, .341 EQA, 84.9 VORP, 37 Win Shares   #1 .319/.441/.633, 159 RC, 175 OPS+, .344 EQA, 104.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares   Bobby Abreu a gamer? HA!   So I agreed with the writers here even though Win Shares overwhelming loved Bagwell. I feel real good about the Top 5 but after that I could have gone about 20 different directions with 6 thru 10. Along those five I also could easily put Luis Gonzalez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Sammy Sosa, Andruw Jones (who didn't receive a single vote), and Vladimir Guerrero in the Top 10 as well.

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Bowwwlllsss, Part 2

MAC   Conference bids: Motor City, GMAC or MPC Computers, International   Locked up a bid: None   Near locks: Ohio   On the bubble: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan   The MAC is very hard to figure out when it comes to bowl bids because outside of the MAC title game winner, no one is guarenteed a bowl. In the past the loser of the MAC title game has often been passed up for the MAC's other bowl bid. This year they now have three bids so I would figure that both division winners will go to bowl games but I don't know that for sure. Now the reason why I picked Ohio as the one near lock is they are a good bet to run the table through the rest of the regular season with Miami U. and Eastern Michigan (2-15 combined) still on the schedule and Akron at home as being the only potential stumbling block. Considering they haven't been to a bowl game since 1968 I figure even if they lose the title game, at 9 wins they'll get one of the other two bids. If Kent State hadn't lost to Ohio at home last week they would all but locked up the East division but they probably are the next best bet to get a bowl bid. The winner of the CMU/WMU game on November 10th will likely decide the West division champ. The Garrett Wolfe factor makes NIU an attractive team but at 5-4 and still with CMU on the schedule I don't think a 7-5 record will get the job done although they could get an at large bid. Akron, Ball State, and Bowling Green are all likely done but are still mathematically alive in their division.   Mountain West   Conference bids: Las Vegas, Armed Forces, Poinsettia, New Mexico   Locked up a bid: BYU   Near locks: TCU   On the bubble: Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming   Now with non-BCS conference teams getting in with a 6-6 record will be a dicey proposition but the odds that BYU will collapse and lose four in a row is just about zilch. TCU still has five games left to get to seven wins and they very likely will get to 9 or 10 wins. Utah should get to that all important seven wins although an upset at Air Force could be possible and they'd be in trouble trying to get win #7 against BYU. For a very obvious reason New Mexico has the best shot at getting in at 6-6 if no more than three teams in the conference finish with a winning record, which is very possible. Wyoming has San Diego State and UNLV left but a trip to BYU will doom their bowl chances. Air Force has a must win this week against Army to have any hope at a bowl as they still have Notre Dame, Utah, and TCU still on the schedule. Colorado State has BYU, Utah, and TCU the next three weeks so they're toast.   Pac-10   Conference bids: Rose/BCS, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas, Emerald, Hawaii   Locked up a bid: California, Oregon, USC, Washington State   Near locks: None   On the bubble: Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington   Now how could I list Oregon State on the bubble after beating USC? It's pretty easy. For one before this past weekend they were probably considered the 8th best team in the confernece. Second because of a trip to Hawaii they have a 13 game schedule so that means still need two more wins to go bowling. They have one guarenteed win against Stanford but none besides that. Beat ASU this week and then they are a lock but have a letdown and it could get interesting but I'd say they are very good bet to pick up the two wins. If ASU wins Saturday then they lock up a bid but then they get Wazzu and UCLA at home before their rivalry game against U of A. UCLA has a very tough schedule left with road dates to Berkely and Tempe left, then of course USC. They have to beat the Beavers at home on November 11th to have a prayer. Washington has Stanford still left but appears done without Isaiah Stanback and they'll need to upset Oregon or Wazzu on the road to get in. U of A is listed simply because they are technically still alive.   SEC   Conference bids: Sugar/BCS, Capital One, Cotton, Outback, Chick-Fil-A (double ugh), Music City, Liberty, Independence   Locked up a bid: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee   Near locks: South Carolina   On the bubble: Kentucky, Vanderbilt   You know I admit the SEC in terms of overall consistency of putting a large number of teams in the Top 25 every year, they are the best conference and I admit their fans travel better than any conference. But god damn it's almost unfair how they get so many of top non-BCS bowls. Anyways the Gamecocks have Middle Tennessee left on their scheduled so they will get win #6 but that might be it for them especially if they don't beat Arkansas this week. Kentucky has a better shot than one would think but they still have UL Monroe and they get Vandy at home. Beat Vandy and they'll be bowling although might have to get an at large bid. Vanderbilt on the other hand has to beat Kentucky and then pull off an upset of Florida or Tennessee. Just a hunch the Vols will be looking to put a beating on them for last year's upset that cost them a bowl game.   Sun Belt   Conference bids: New Orleans   Locked up a bid: None   Near locks: None   On the bubble: Arkanas State, Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee, Troy, UL Lafayette   Awww my favorite conference. It's simple win the conference, you go to New Orleans. By pure luck a couple of years ago they got two teams into bowls but don't expect that to happen even with a record 62 bids now. Everyone listed is still alive in the title race but it likely will come down to the MTSU/Troy game on November 25th as to who gets the bid.   WAC   Conference bids: BCS?, MPC Computers or GMAC, Hawaii, New Mexico   Locked up a bid: Boise State   Near locks: Hawaii, Nevada   On the bubble: Idaho, San Jose State   Obviously a lot is riding on Boise State getting into the BCS as it will give the conference four bids if they do. Hawaii should lock up a bid this week against Utah State and we know what bowl they are going to. There is a scenerio where Nevada could get left out if they get upset by Idaho and somehow San Jose State upsets Boise thus killing the chance of four bids but it's a longshot. Now who would have thought San Jose State would be in a good position to get a bowl bid while Fresno State would already be dead at the end of October? It's a shame for the Spartans that the Silicon Valley Bowl doesn't still exsist. Their most important game left is a trip to Idaho on November 25th which could decide the final bid. If BSU gets upset by Nevada though then they are both screwed.   Independents   Conditional bids: BCS/Cotton/Gator/Sun/Houston/All Other Big East bids (Notre Dame), Car Care (Navy), Poinsettia (Army)   Locked up a bid: Notre Dame   Near locks: Navy   On the bubble: Army   Navy and Army are pretty much like BCS conference teams in that if they get to 6-6 they are going bowling. Navy has Duke, Eastern Michigan, and Temple before the Army game so just a hunch they'll pick up at least one more win. Now what will be interesting is their conditional bid with the Car Care Bowl because that could be where Rutgers would go and it might cause some CONTROVERSY~ if the they would pass on a 9-2 Scarlet Knights team to take Navy but that is likely what will happen. Army has to run the table which includes winning at Notre Dame so the Poinsettia Bowl will be looking elsewhere for an at large team.

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Bowwwlllsss

Let me say first off I hate the bowls. Okay scratch that I kind of like them but I hate the bastardized system we currently have that helps determine an undisputed champ about half of the time and in the process kills any tradition the bowl system still had. I'm an all or nothing guy when it comes to bowl games. Give me the Pac-10 champ against the Big Ten champ in the Rose, give me the SEC champ in the Sugar, and give me the Big XII champ in the Orange (not the fucking Fiesta) or don't give me any bowls at all, give me playoffs. Give me tradition or give me a real NCAA Division I-A College Football National Champion every year.   But we, or just me I suppose, have to deal with the cards we've been dealt so in that regard I'm going to take a look at each conference in March Madness kind of way to see who is going bowling and who is on the bubble. I'm not going to do any projections as I'm just not Bored enough to take the time to do so as there is still plenty of season left to fuck up any sort of projections. Now this year we've gone back to the 12 game schedule, which I can't stand because it guarentees teams with non-winning records will go to bowl games and thus we'll most likely end up with teams who went 6-7 but still being able to call their season a success because they went to the Birmingham Bowl. Also to make matters worse, as of last season I-AA wins now count every year rather than every four years to become bowl eligible. So if you're in a BCS conference and you are already at six wins, you're going bowling. Now to fill conference bids bowls can not take a 6-6 team over a team with a winning record so it's not impossible that a 6-6 BCS conference team could be left out but it would take an unusual set of circumstances for that to happen beyond a team just flat out rejecting an invite. There's always at least one or two conference bids that can't be filled by it's designated conference.   ACC   Conference bids: Orange/BCS, Chick-Fil-A (ugh), Gator, Champs Sports, Music City, Car Care, Emerald, MPC   Locked up a bid: Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech   Near locks: Florida State, Miami   On the Bubble: N.C. State, Virginia   Seminoles have Virginia and Western Michigan at home so they'll definately get to six wins and as bad as they've been it still would be a pretty big upset if Wake Forest won in Doak Campbell. Although if FSU does end up 6-6 and they find themselves invited to Boise I would wonder if they would choose not to go but doubtful they'd wanna piss off the ACC like that. Miami has a much tougher remaining schedule and it's also not out of the realm possibility they could also end up squeaking into a bowl at only 6-6. N.C. State closes the the season with UNC and ECU but before that they need to upset Clemson or Georgia Tech to get into a bowl and after last week's loss against Virginia that doesn't seem likely. Virginia breathed some life into their season with that win but they'll need to win at FSU or Virginia Tech including a win at home against Miami to get to a bowl.   Big XII   Conference bids: Fiesta/BCS, Cotton, Holiday, Alamo, Gator or Sun, Insight, Independence, Texas   Locked up a bid: Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M   Near locks: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech   On the Bubble: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State   This conference has been impossible to figure out once you get past Texas and there's plenty of potential jumbling of the standings left to go. I was reluctant to call anyone a near lock but both the Cowboys and Red Raiders have Baylor at home. If either drops that game though they go on the bubble. Now like those two Kansas State does only need one more win and they do get Colorado this but it's in Boulder and don't forget what they did to Texas Tech a few weeks ago. After that the Wildcats have a loss against Texas and then it's a rivalry game at Kansas where all bets are off. Along with the two road games already mentioned, Baylor closes at home against Oklahoma so barring a miracle it's likely the Bears will have to wait another year before ending their bowl drought. Kansas has an outside shot of winning at Iowa State and then winning at home against against the Wildcats. If not they will need to upset Missouri at home to close out the season, assuming they get at least a split in the first two game. Iowa State has done nothing to indicate they can run the table but they are technically still alive.   Big East   Conference bids: BCS, Gator or Sun, Car Care (Navy has a conditional bid), Texas, International, Birmingham   Locked up a bid: Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia   Near locks: South Florida   On the Bubble: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Syracuse   USF I have as a near lock simply because they still have Syracuse at home. An upset at home against Pittsburgh this week would also get the job done. Although Cincinnati is clearly the better team than USF, they are on the bubble as the have West Virginia and Rutgers next and then close out at UConn. I think they can beat UConn but the Huskies may also be playing for a bid so there's no guarentee. UConn will have to win their next three as they close at Louisville. Syracuse could run the table to get to a bowl. And I also could fuck Beyonce.   Big Ten   Conference bids: Rose/BCS, Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports, Insight, Motor City   Locked up a bid: Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin   Near locks: Purdue   On the Bubble: Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota   Purdue has been exposed in recent weeks and they have a 13 game schedule so they do need to get to seven wins but you have to figure they can win two out of three against Michigan State, Illinois, and Indiana. If they don't they are in big trouble going into Hawaii to close the season. Indiana can wrap up a bid at Minnesota this week but can you really guarentee a win for a team who already loss to I-AA team in any week? Lose to the Gophers and their chances dim in a hurry. The Spartans can help their chances big time if they win at home against Purdue this week but if the greatest comeback in college football history can't turn their season around, nothing will. Minnesota is toast.   Conference USA   Conference bids: Liberty, GMAC, Birmingham, Armed Forces, New Orleans   Locked up a bid: Tulsa, Houston   Near locks: Southern Miss   On the Bubble: East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulane, UAB, UCF, UTEP   This conference just blows this year and really doesn't deserve five bids. If Houston were to drop their last three games it's possible they could be left out but it's unlikely and they have very winnable games against SMU and Memphis left. Southern Miss may have played themselves on to the bubble with their loss at home against ECU but they've played all their tough games and I'd be very surprised if they didn't win three of their last four. As for the bubble teams there are waaaaaaaay too many scenerios to go into with ECU and UTEP being the most likely to get the last two bids.   This entry is going longer than I expected so I'll stop now and do another entry tommorrow for the rest of the conferences.

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WS DVDs: 1986, Game 6

Well it's been a while since I did one of these. Once I finished the Game 5's I wanted to sit down and watch both Game 6's for 1975 and 1986 in one sitting. With all the other games I'd watch them half hour or an hour at a time but for obvious reasons I wanted to be able to watch those two games without interruption. Problem was I never found a chance to watch either game in it's entirety and ended up forgetting about it for a while but with the 20th anniversary of the Bill Buckner play being today I figured I'd skip ahead to '86 to do an entry on the game and finally got around to watching it yesterday.   1986 World Series Game 6 - Mets 6, Red Sox 5 10 Innings (boxscore and play account)   -With Buckner up in the first we have the apperance of the parachuter with the "Go Mets" banner. If this were today there'd be phony moral outrage by Joe Buck, or any other announcer, about a fan pulling off such a stunt and they'd make sure to have the cameras shoot something else but here the announcers love it. Ron Darling even gives the guy a little dap while he's being escorted away by the cops.   -Good omens for the Red Sox as they score in the 1st and the first five games the team that scored first won. Also Roger Clemens was 9-0 on five days rest.   -The Mets on the other hand could not feel good about their chances early on as Clemens was dominating striking out six through three and didn't give up a hit in the first four. Even though effective, he was incredibly inefficient with his pitch count, throwing 73 pitches in the first four. He'd throw 137 pitches in seven innings.   -In the 5th after a Darry Strawberry walk, just the Mets second baserunner of the game at that moment, they shoot some crowd shots and to a couple of fans who at first glance of foam "#1" fingers but they are actually foam middle fingers that I think said "Boston Sucks." The announcers don't mention it of course.   -In the 6th with Wally Backman on first, Buckner attempts to deek Backman on a throw to first by pretending it got by him with an laughably bad acting job. He wouldn't have to fake it later.   -In the 8th the announcers for the first time mention the Red Sox last World Series win. As I mentioned in a prior DVD entry not in this series or the '75 series do the announcers ever bring up the "curse." Very much in stark contrast to FOX's coverage of the 2004 series.   -In the bottom of the inning we had a mini, but not really, controversy. With the Mets down by a run, with a runner on first and no out, Dykstra lays down a bunt. Calvin Schiraldi tries to get the lead runner, Lee Mazzilli, at 2nd but his throw pulls Spike Owen off the bag. Owen pitches a fit and John McNamara joins him but replays clearly show Owen's foot off the bag when Mazzilli slid in. Mazzilli would eventually score the tying run on a Gary Carter sac fly.   -In the bottom of the 9th the Mets got the first two runners on. Davey Johnson elected to pinch hit for a 22-year old Kevin Elster (who subbed for Rafael Santana after being pinch hit for earlier) with Howard Johnson. Scully and Garagiola assume he's going to have him bunt, which is silly to think because why waste a pinch hitter to bunt? Johnson strikes out and the Mets end up failing to score. Scully especially harps on this for the rest of the game until of course you know what happened. My thought is Johnson didn't trust Elster to even bunt who looked rattled in the field after misplaying two balls (just one scored an error).   -You know whenever a player who's hit a past, "clutch" homerun and he comes up again in said situation they always play the clip of the past homerun. What usually happens is the player doesn't do it again. So they play Dave Henderson's Game 5, Donnie Moore killing (awww) homerun in the ALCS as he leads off the 10th in this game. Two pitches later...gone. Really cool, completely forgotten moment (Hendu had the best homerun trot) and would have likely won the World Series MVP for Hendu.   -And of course you know what happens in the bottom of the inning to cap one of the most exciting innings in baseball history. By now everyone knows that Buckner could hardly be blamed for everything that happened. If Schiraldi just manages to get one more out it was over. If Bob Stanley doesn't throw a wild pitch to let the tying run score, the sequence of events would changed dramatically. Also even if Buckner fields the ball, there's a 50/50 chance Mookie Wilson beats a throw to first and nevermind that even if he's out the game still goes on to the 11th. But in the end it was that moment that I'm guessing that the "curse" talk picked up steam and the Red Sox fans made themselves into martyrs for the next 18 years.   -Having this game (and the others) on DVD is simply awesome and I'm sure I'll be replaying it in the future. I could listen to Scully's call of the final play forever. The great thing about Scully is that after Knight scores he just shuts up. There's dead air for three and a half minutes with just the sights and sounds of the what just happened playing out. There was no need for words, something today's announcers should learn.

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2006 Player Rankings: Starting Pitchers

And finally the starting pitchers to complete this year's rankings. The list is made up of the top 120 pitchers in games started. Francisco Liriano did not make the cut while Roger Clemens and Jered Weaver were among the last five to make it. I factor in the same stats as I did for the relievers but I also include ERA+ for the starters.   As I mentioned in my 2006 awards entry I wasn't sure if I'd end up changing my selection the 3rd best pitcher in the A.L. I picked C.C. Sabathia for 3rd when I posted the entry but as you'll see that changed here in the rankings.   2004 Top 10 1. Randy Johnson 2. Johan Santana 3. Ben Sheets 4. Curt Schilling 5. Jason Schmidt 6. Roger Clemens 7. Jake Peavy 8. Carl Pavano 9. Brad Radke 10. Oliver Perez   2005 Top 10 1. Roger Clemens 2. Johan Santana 3. Andy Pettitte 4. Pedro Martinez 5. Dontrelle Willis 6. Chris Carpenter 7. Jake Peavy 8. John Smoltz 9. Roy Oswalt 10. Mark Buehrle   2006 Starting Pitcher Rankings   1. Johan Santana, Twins 2. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks 3. Roy Oswalt, Astros 4. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals 5. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays 6. John Smoltz, Braves 7. Bronson Arroyo, Reds 8. Aaron Harang, Reds 9. John Lackey, Angels 10. Jason Schmidt, Giants 11. Mike Mussina, Yankees 12. Curt Schilling, Red Sox 13. C.C. Sabathia, Indians 14. Carlos Zambrano, Cubs 15. Jered Weaver, Angels 16. Derek Lowe, Dodgers 17. Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees 18. Dan Haren, A's 19. Chris Capuano, Brewers 20. Jason Jennings, Rockies 21. Roger Clemens, Astros 22. Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays 23. Erik Bedard, Orioles 24. Chris Young, Padres 25. Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers 26. Justin Verlander, Tigers 27. Brett Myers, Phillies 28. Barry Zito, A's 29. Josh Johnson, Marlins 30. Jake Peavy, Padres 31. Kelvim Escobar, Angels 32. Dave Bush, Brewers 33. Kenny Rogers, Tigers 34. Greg Maddux, Cubs/Dodgers 35. Matt Cain, Giants 36. Nate Robertson, Tigers 37. Kevin Millwood, Rangers 38. Tom Glavine, Mets 39. Jose Contreras, White Sox 40. Dontrelle Willis, Marlins 41. Jeff Francis, Rockies 42. Clay Hensley, Padres 43. Freddy Garcia, White Sox 44. Jon Garland, White Sox 45. Aaron Cook, Rockies 46. Ervin Santana, Angels 47. Jake Westbrook, Indians 48. Brad Penny, Dodgers 49. Andy Pettitte, Astros 50. Vincente Padilla, Rangers 51. Javier Vazquez, White Sox 52. A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays 53. Cole Hamels, Phillies 54. Jamie Moyer, Mariners/Phillies 55. Scott Olsen, Marlins 56. Felix Hernandez, Mariners 57. Woody Williams, Padres 58. Ted Lilly, Blue Jays 59. Zach Duke, Pirates 60. Jeff Suppan, Cardinals 61. Josh Beckett, Red Sox 62. Brad Radke, Twins 63. Miguel Batista, Diamondbacks 64. Pedro Martinez, Mets 65. Orlando Hernandez, Diamondbacks/Mets 66. Randy Johnson, Yankees 67. Cliff Lee, Indians 68. Mark Hendrickson, Devil Rays/Dodgers 69. Ian Snell, Pirates 70. Joe Blanton, A's 71. Doug Davis, Brewers 72. Jarrod Washburn, Mariners 73. Gil Meche, Mariners 74. Tim Hudson, Braves 75. Matt Morris, Giants 76. Livan Hernandez, Nationals/Diamondbacks 77. Jon Lieber, Phillies 78. Daniel Cabrera, Orioles 79. Noah Lowry, Giants 80. Jaret Wright, Yankees 81. Claudio Vargas, Diamondbacks 82. Cory Lidle, Phillies/Yankees 83. Tim Wakefield, Red Sox 84. Mark Buehrle, White Sox 85. Esteban Loaiza, A's 86. Kris Benson, Orioles 87. Paul Maholm, Pirates 88. James Shields, Devil Rays 89. Eric Milton, Reds 90. Rick Nolasco, Marlins 91. Chan Ho Park, Padres 92. Steve Trachsel, Mets 93. Byung-Hyun Kim, Rockies 94. Jamey Wright, Giants 95. Paul Byrd, Indians 96. Mike O'Connor, Nationals 97. Adam Loewen, Orioles 98. Josh Fogg, Rockies 99. Taylor Buchholz, Astros 100. Tony Armas Jr., Nationals 101. Elizardo Ramirez, Reds 102. John Koronka, Rangers 103. Rodrigo Lopez, Orioles 104. Mark Redman, Royals 105. Casey Fossum, Devil Rays 106. Scott Elarton, Royals 107. Jeff Weaver, Angels/Cardinals 108. Ramon Ortiz, Nationals 109. Sean Marshall, Cubs 110. Jae Seo, Dodgers/Devil Rays 111. Odalis Perez, Dodgers/Royals 112. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros 113. Carlos Silva, Twins 114. Jason Marquis, Cardinals 115. Jason Johnson, Indians/Red Sox/Reds 116. Joel Pineiro, Mariners 117. Runelvys Hernandez, Royals 118. Brian Moehler, Marlins 119. Shawn Chacon, Yankees/Pirates 120. Oliver Perez, Pirates/Mets

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2006 Player Rankings: Closers

Closer list is the Top 30 in saves, of course saves are not factored in the rankings. Same statistics taken into account as middle relievers but I also include Win Shares for closers.   2004 Top 3 1. Brad Lidge 2. Joe Nathan 3. Eric Gagne   2005 Top 3 1. Mariano Rivera 2. Billy Wagner 3. Todd Jones   2006 Closer Rankings 1. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox 2. B.J. Ryan, Blue Jays 3. Joe Nathan, Twins 4. J.J. Putz, Mariners 5. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels 6. Mariano Rivera, Yankees 7. Takashi Saito, Dodgers 8. Billy Wagner, Mets 9. Trevor Hoffman, Padres 10. Akinori Otsuka, Rangers 11. Huston Street, A's 12. Chris Ray, Orioles 13. Chad Cordero, Nationals 14. Mike Gonzalez, Pirates 15. Francisco Cordero, Rangers/Brewers 16. Brian Fuentes, Rockies 17. Bobby Jenks, White Sox 18. Tom Gordon, Phillies 19. Bob Wickman, Indians/Braves 20. Joe Borowski, Marlins 21. Todd Jones, Tigers 22. Jorge Julio, Mets/Diamondbacks 23. Jason Isringhausen, Cardinals 24. Brad Lidge, Astros 25. Ryan Dempster, Cubs 26. Armando Benitez, Giants 27. Jose Valverde, Diamondbacks 28. Eddie Guradado, Mariners/Reds 29. Ambriorix Burgos, Royals 30. Derrick Turnbow, Brewers

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2006 Player Rankings: Middle Relievers

Now moving on to pitchers, starting with the middle men. Now the previous two years I took the top 60 in relief apperances, not counting closers, to put the list together. This time around though I took the top 60 in that most meaningless of stats, Holds. But as worthless as it is at least helps identify who managers trusted to use when their team had a lead since the majority of managers have a phobia when it comes to using their best relievers when they are trailing or tied.   Now for middle relievers I will take into account these statistics: Component ERA (ERC), K/BB Ratio, WHIP, VORP, Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), and Pitching Runs Created (PRC). I don't use Win Shares when it comes to middle men because the majority of them don't get very many of them. I also don't use ERA+ for middle relievers or closers as I feel a relievers ERA can be very deceiving with the smaller sample size and the specialization of their use.   2004 Top 5 1. Tom Gordon 2. Francisco Rodriguez 3. B.J. Ryan 4. Akinori Otsuka 5. Juan Rincon   2005 Top 5 1. Justin Duchscherer 2. Scott Linebrink 3. Dan Wheeler 4. Al Reyes 5. Bob Howry   2006 Middle Reliever Rankings   1. Cla Meredith, Padres 2. Scot Shields, Angels 3. Dennys Reyes, Twins 4. Joel Zumaya, Tigers 5. Dan Wheeler, Astros 6. Rafael Soriano, Mariners 7. Scott Proctor, Yankees 8. Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers 9. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals 10. Bob Howry, Cubs 11. Justin Duchscherer, A's 12. Geoff Geary, Phillies 13. Aaron Heilman, Mets 14. Juan Rincon, Twins 15. Jon Rauch, Nationals 16. Scott Linebrink, Padres 17. Chad Qualls, Astros 18. Kiko Calero, A's 19. Trever Miller, Astros 20. Luis Vizcaino, Diamondbacks 21. Matt Capps, Pirates 22. Salomon Torres, Pirates 23. Braden Looper, Cardinals 24. Duaner Sanchez, Mets 25. Todd Coffey, Reds 26. Matt Thornton, White Sox 27. Alan Embree, Padres 28. Justin Speier, Blue Jays 29. Rheal Cormier, Phillies/Reds 30. Francisco Rodney, Tigers 31. Joel Peralta, Royals 32. Brandon Lyon, Diamondbacks 33. Scott Eyre, Cubs 34. Mike Stanton, Nationals/Giants 35. Joe Kennedy, A's 36. Kyle Farnsworth, Yankees 37. Elmer Dessens, Royals/Dodgers 38. Jose Mesa, Rockies 39. Scott Schoeneweis, Blue Jays/Reds 40. Taylor Tankersley, Marlins 41. Jose Capellan, Brewers 42. Keith Foulke, Red Sox 43. Damaso Marte, Pirates 44. George Sherrill, Mariners 45. Roberto Hernandez, Pirates/Mets 46. Danys Baez, Dodgers/Braves 47. LaTroy Hawkins, Orioles 48. Mike Timlin, Red Sox 49. Shawn Camp, Devil Rays 50. Manny Delcarmen, Red Sox 51. Mike Myers, Yankees 52. Steve Kline, Giants 53. Logan Kensing, Marlins 54. Brian Shouse, Rangers/Brewers 55. Matt Wise, Brewers 56. Arthur Rhodes, Phillies 57. Neal Cotts, White Sox 58. Randy Flores, Cardinals 59. Todd Williams, Orioles 60. Ray King, Rockies

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2006 Player Rankings: Rightfielders

2004 Top 3 1. Bobby Abreu 2. J.D. Drew 3. Lance Berkman   2005 Top 3 1. Brian Giles 2. Vladimir Guerrero 3. Gary Sheffield   2006 Rightfielder Rankings   1. Jermaine Dye, White Sox 2. Bobby Abreu, Phillies/Yankees 3. Vladimir Guerrero, Angels 4. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners 5. Michael Cuddyer, Twins 6. J.D. Drew, Dodgers 7. Alex Rios, Blue Jays 8. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers 9. Brian Giles, Padres 10. Brad Hawpe, Rockies 11. Austin Kearns, Reds/Nationals 12. Moises Alou, Giants 13. Jacque Jones, Cubs 14. Mark DeRosa, Rangers 15. Geoff Jenkins, Brewers 16. Casey Blake, Indians 17. Milton Bradley, A's 18. Juan Encarnacion, Cardinals 19. Nick Markakis, Orioles 20. Xavier Nady, Mets/Pirates 21. Jeff Francoeur, Braves 22. Randy Winn, Giants 23. Shawn Green, Diamondbacks/Mets 24. Trot Nixon, Red Sox 25. Kevin Mench, Rangers/Brewers 26. Jeremy Hermida, Marlins 27. Reggie Sanders, Royals 28. Jason Lane, Astros 29. Jeromy Burnitz, Pirates 30. Jose Guillen, Nationals

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At least it wasn't Game 7

Considering that my favorite team in sports was just eliminated on a walk off homerun, I feel pretty good. Going into today I just wanted the A's to pull out one win and then let the Tigers celebrate at home on Sunday as I didn't really want the A's to get my hopes up by winning both games this weekend. Well don't worry about having my heartbroken now. But this series was effectively over after the 4th inning in Game 2 when Esteban Loaiza failed to get a shutdown inning after a Milton Bradley homerun in the 3rd gave the A's a 3-1 lead and for the first time some momentum in the series but it was quickly dashed by four Tiger runs. It was painfully obvious at that point that the Tigers were on a roll that can't be stopped.   Tonight I'll just need to avoid the highlights and avoid reading any lame A's message boards talking about how the A's have no heart and how Billy Beane is a shitty GM. Considering everything that went wrong for the A's this year it is amazing they came this far. Really the shockingly healthy Frank Thomas was the only thing that really broke the A's way this year. They had injury plagued and/or underachieving years from key players such as Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby, Rich Harden, Huston Street, Mark Kotsay, Milton Bradley, and Mark Ellis. As you've seen by my player rankings at least so far on the offensive side this was simply on paper not a team that you'd think would have won 93 games and swept a very good Twins in the ALDS. The future doesn't look too bright with a depleted farm system and a scary amount of young talent down in Anaheim but this is the most satisfied I've been at the end of the year with an A's team since 2000.

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2006 Player Rankings: Centerfielders

2004 Top 3 1. Jim Edmonds 2. Carlos Beltran 3. Johnny Damon   2005 Top 3 1. Jim Edmonds 2. Grady Sizemore 3. Andruw Jones   2006 Centerfielder Rankings   1. Carlos Beltran, Mets 2. Grady Sizemore, Indians 3. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays 4. Andruw Jones, Braves 5. Mike Cameron, Padres 6. Johnny Damon, Yankees 7. Gary Matthews Jr., Rangers 8. Torii Hunter, Twins 9. Curtis Granderson, Tigers 10. Rocco Baldelli, Devil Rays 11. Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks 12. Kenny Lofton, Dodgers 13. Corey Patterson, Orioles 14. Chone Figgins, Angels 15. Juan Pierre, Cubs 16. Jim Edmonds, Cardinals 17. Shane Victorino, Phillies 18. Ken Griffey Jr., Reds 19. Mark Kotsay, A's 20. Willy Taveras, Astros 21. Steve Finley, Giants 22. Coco Crisp, Red Sox 23. Aaron Rowand, Phillies 24. Brady Clark, Brewers 25. Cory Sullivan, Rockies 26. Chris Duffy, Pirates 27. Joey Gathright, Devil Rays/Royals 28. Alfredo Amezaga, Marlins 29. Brian Anderson, White Sox 30. Reggie Abercrombie, Marlins

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2006 Player Rankings: Leftfielders

2004 Top 3 1. Barry Bonds 2. Manny Ramirez 3. Adam Dunn   2005 Top 3 1. Manny Ramirez 2. Jason Bay 3. Miguel Cabrera   2006 Leftfielder Rankings   1. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox 2. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals 3. Barry Bonds, Giants 4. Jason Bay, Pirates 5. Carlos Lee, Brewers/Rangers 6. Matt Holliday, Rockies 7. Raul Ibanez, Mariners 8. Carl Crawford, Devil Rays 9. Juan Rivera, Angels 10. Adam Dunn, Reds 11. Reed Johnson, Blue Jays 12. Pat Burrell, Phillies 13. Dave Roberts, Padres 14. Josh Willingham, Marlins 15. Davd DeJesus, Royals 16. Emil Brown, Royals 17. Frank Catalanotto, Blue Jays 18. Jay Payton, A's 19. Craig Monroe, Tigers 20. Matt Murton, Cubs 21. Andre Ethier, Dodgers 22. Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks 23. Garret Anderson, Angels 24. Melky Cabrera, Yankees 25. Preston Wilson, Astros/Cardinals 26. Cliff Floyd, Mets 27. Ryan Langerhans, Braves 28. Jason Michaels, Indians 29. Scott Podsednik, White Sox 30. Brad Wilkerson, Rangers

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2006 Player Rankings: Shortstops

2004 Top 3 1. Miguel Tejada 2. Carlos Guillen 3. Michael Young   2005 Top 3 1. Michael Young 2. Miguel Tejada 3. Derek Jeter   2006 Shortstop Rankings   1. Derek Jeter, Yankees 2. Jose Reyes, Mets 3. Carlos Guillen, Tigers 4. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers 5. Miguel Tejada, Orioles 6. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins 7. Michael Young, Rangers 8. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies 9. Bill Hall, Brewers 10. Orlando Cabrera, Angels 11. Edgar Renteria, Braves 12. Omar Vizquel, Giants 13. Felipe Lopez, Reds/Nationals 14. Jason Bartlett, Twins 15. Jhonny Peralta, Indians 16. Khalil Greene, Paders 17. Julio Lugo, Devil Rays/Dodgers 18. Yuniesky Betancourt, Mariners 19. David Eckstein, Cardinals 20. Jack Wilson, Pirates 21. Juan Uribe, White Sox 22. Adam Everett, Astros 23. Alex Gonzalez, Red Sox 24. Craig Counsell, Diamondbacks 25. Bobby Crosby, A's 26. Royce Clayton, Nationals/Reds 27. Clint Barmes, Rockies 28. Ronny Cedeno, Cubs 29. John McDonald, Blue Jays 30. Angel Berroa, Royals

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God bless this

I already posted in the ALCS thread about the game, where I was probably on t.v. for a split second on the Inge homerun, so I'd like to throw in something for the blog. Ever since 9/11 the New York Yankees and I'm guessing the Mets as well play "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch and in the immediate aftermatch of 9/11 this was common across baseball. As time has passed the regular tradition of the 7th inning stretch has continued in most ballparks, including in Oakland. But since we're in the playoffs now Bud Selig feels it's necessary to force everyone to play this God awful song that grinds a game to a complete halt and makes break in the middle of the 7th twice as long. If New York wants to do it that's fine but forcing all other teams remaining in the playoffs to do it is lame and really pointless. What exactly is the significance of playing "God Bless America"? Even if you're the most patriotic of Americans you have to admit it's not a good song. Tonight it didn't really matter with the general awfulness of the A's performance but the break to play "God Bless America" can completely take the air out an entire stadium after an exciting Top of the 7th.   Sorta off topic I hadn't been to a playoff game since 2002 and I forgot how long the breaks are between innings because of network commercials. Almost every inning the pitcher would finish his warm ups and have to just stand there for 30 seconds so FOX could come back from commercial.   Tommorrow, back to the player rankings moving on to shortstops. God Bless Jeter.

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2006 Player Rankings: 3rd Basemen

2004 Top 3 1. Adrian Beltre 2. Scott Rolen 3. Melvin Mora   2005 Top 3 1. Alex Rodriguez 2. Morgan Ensberg 3. David Wright   2006 3rd Basemen Rankings   1. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins 2. David Wright, Mets 3. Garett Atkins, Rockies 4. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 5. Chipper Jones, Braves 6. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs 7. Freddy Sanchez, Pirates 8. Scott Rolen, Cardinals 9. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 10. Mark Teahen, Royals 11. Joe Crede, White Sox 12. Troy Glaus, Blue Jays 13. Adrian Beltre, Mariners 14. Mike Lowell, Red Sox 15. Morgan Ensberg, Astros 16. Eric Chavez, A's 17. Brandon Inge, Tigers 18. Edwin Encarnacion, Reds 19. Melvin Mora, Orioles 20. Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks 21. Macier Izturis, Angels 22. Aubrey Huff, Devil Rays/Astros 23. Corey Koskie, Brewers 24. David Bell, Phillies/Brewers 25. Hank Blalock, Rangers 26. Nick Punto, Twins 27. Pedro Feliz, Giants 28. Aaron Boone, Indians 29. Abraham Nunez, Phillies 30. Vinny Castilla, Padres/Rockies

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2006 Player Rankings: 2nd Basemen

No College Football Wrap Up today as I was out of town yesterday and missed the majority of the games, not that any of my "insights" ever require watching the games. On to the next rankings...   2004 Top 3 1. Mark Loretta 2. Jeff Kent 3. Ray Durham   2005 Top 3 1. Brian Roberts 2. Jeff Kent 3. Chase Utley   2006 2nd Basemen Rankings   1. Chase Utley, Phillies 2. Ray Durham, Giants 3. Dan Uggla, Marlins 4. Robinson Cano, Yankees 5. Jeff Kent, Dodgers 6. Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks 7. Tadahito Iguchi, White Sox 8. Josh Barfield, Padres 9. Brian Roberts, Orioles 10. Luis Castillo, Twins 11. Jose Valentin, Mets 12. Jose Lopez, Mariners 13. Brandon Phillips, Reds 14. Marcus Giles, Braves 15. Ian Kinsler, Rangers 16. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays 17. Mark Grudzielanek, Royals 18. Jamey Carroll, Rockies 19. Rickie Weeks, Brewers 20. Mark Loretta, Red Sox 21. Adam Kennedy, Angels 22. Jose Vidro, Nationals 23. Tony Graffanino, Royals/Brewers 24. Mark Ellis, A's 25. Placido Polanco, Tigers 26. Ronnie Belliard, Indians/Cardinals 27. Craig Biggio, Astros 28. Aaron Miles, Cardinals 29. Jorge Cantu, Devil Rays 30. Jose Castillo, Pirates

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