Saturday, December 29, 2007

Vote Rice for '08

Would you vote for Barry Bonds/Roger Clemens/any of the players named in the Mitchell Report if you had a Hall of Fame vote? That’s a pretty tough question and one that will definitely be a hot topic when they both become eligible. I’ve got a question with an easier answer though. Should Jim Rice finally get into the Hall this year?

The answer, in short is hell yes. This year might even be a better year than any other. I’m not just griping because he isn’t in and he’s only got one more chance after this year – or because I am greedy for more Boston sport success. I truly believe that he should have been named to the Hall long ago but this year should be the year.

Consider the fact that baseball is on the verge of troubled times with the steroid skeletons being let out of the closet so why not vote in Rice. He was a dominant power hitter before the steroid era, the more drug cheats that are named make his stats look even better and his they are certainly worthy as it is.

Look at it this way Rice finished in the top five in MVP voting six times in his 16 year career, including his rookie season when he finished third in MVP voting and second in Rookie of the Year voting to his teammate Fred Lynn.

He also won an MVP, in 1978 of all years, and was an eight time all star. In ’78, one of the most important Red Sox seasons ever, he played in 163 games had 213 hits, 25 doubles, 15 triples, 46 home runs, 139 RBI and hit .315 with a .370 on base percentage. Thus the MVP award but over the course of his career Rice put up Hall worthy numbers.

Take into consideration the fact that from 1975 to 1986 he was in the top ten in virtually every category in the American League. He led the league in slugging twice, OPS once games once, at bats twice, hits once, total bases four times, triples once, home runs three times, RBI twice and extra base hits once.

All of those numbers are courtesy of baseball-reference by the way. Since stats have become so incredibly complex nowadays and are so prevalent in Hall of Fame talk consider this…Six times Rice was in the top six in runs created and ‘batting wins’ he led the league in both in ’78.

Anytime Rice and the Hall of Fame come up you hear about his relationship with the media and how he wasn’t the most cordial guy. I can understand a writer not liking a player or vice versa

I know we sometimes expect athletes to always cater to the every need of the media and fans but imagine if a crowd of reporters (by no fault of their own) jamming their tape recorders, cameras and microphones in your face every morning after you got out of the shower.

It’s definitely all part of the game but there are some people that relish that and other guys that just want to be left alone. You would certainly rather have guys be good to the media so that you as a fan can know what is going on but you just aren’t going to get that from everyone.

I only can speak from what I have read about his playing days but I have met Jim Rice on a couple of occasions and he’s a really nice guy. Not to mention the fact that he can drive a golf ball wicked fah kid.

My point is that as far as the Hall of Fame goes it really doesn’t matter if you were a super nice guy that granted every interview request and signed an autograph for every one that asked or if you were a total jerk that scowled at the mere sight of a newspaper or autograph seeker.

That stuff doesn’t matter when it comes to the Hall of Fame. There are obviously certain red flags – like gambling (see Pete Rose and the 1919 Black Sox) or steroids – time will tell on that one – just like which movie will be bigger E.T. or Krush Groove – With those exceptions aside the only thing that should really matter in Hall voting for a player is what they did between the lines. It’s not a popularity contest like All-Star Games have become.

Keeping a guy out of the Hall of Fame because he wasn’t nice to you is like being a bouncer at any bar sitting in your tower holding dominion over all the poor suckers waiting outside in the cold so they can get in on nine dollar beer night. That is getting a little too drunk with power, if he doesn’t deserve to get in then he shouldn’t get in but if he deserves it then he should be enshrined.

The bottom line when it comes to the Hall of Fame is numbers and Rice’s numbers are up to snuff. He has very similar stats as Orlando Cepeda, Duke Snider, Billy Williams (not to be confused with Billy D. Williams) and Willie Stargell – all Hall of Famers. In short the guy was a dominant player during his time and should be in the Hall of Fame.

Let’s hope that the Baseball Writers of America agree and finally give him his due before he gets left up to the veterans committee.

A couple of random thoughts…

Why is everyone hating on Tony Romo for Jessica Simpson? Seriously I’ve seen stories about why he needs to chill out with the ladies. Ah…no Holden McNeil…clearly these guys have never heard of rule number one.

Good for Tony Romo, his performance against the Eagles was miz but do you really think it has anything to do with Jessica Simpson or Carrie Underwood. Maybe the Cowboys should bring Carrie Underwood in to sing the national anthem then Romo can try and pull a Beckett.

I was a little harsh on the dolphins the other day. That was meant to be tongue and cheek and I thought it would be funny to find some similarities between the movie and the team. You could do the same with any athlete or team and any movie. You have to admit it kind of makes sense with the fins thought doesn’t it?

Fred Taylor should have made the Pro Bowl, trust me. I made the mistake of under valuing him on my fantasy team and instead of playing in the championship I was relegated to the consolation bracket…what an idiot…I will never underestimate a guy that grew up chasing rabbits in burning sugar cane fields.

I miss a lot of things from college, as I’m sure everyone does, but I have to thank xbox live because I think it is going to allow one of the greatest Keene State Cross Country traditions to carry on. The Ivy Bowl – where we used to all take an Ivy League (because they were ranked so low D’s mostly) team and play a tournament on NCAA Football. Got us through some seriously rough winter training camp days.

What is the deal with the Winter X Games Rumor Alerts on ESPN? I was so confused until I went to the website and saw that it is some kind of weird ass marketing plan – And frankly, I’m still pretty confused. Regardless of whether or not Buttermilk Mountain is a geothermal zone and potential volcano (like Yellowstone in that Discovery Channel movie) I’m still going to watch the X Games.

I went over this last year when I first started the site but I love the X Games – a pair of guys to watch out for – Mason Aguirre (Snowboard Superpipe & slopestyle) and Simon Dumont (Skiing Superpipe). I have no idea if they are competing but if they are you should tune in. Dumont got robbed of the goal last year and absolutely hucks himself out of pipe, expect the 1260 – Aguirre could be the guy that unseats Shaun White in the pipe.

After talking to Riggity Reynolds the other day about modern music played on the radio and how bands like The Receiving End of Sirens don’t get radio play I’ve been rehashing their first CD (Between the Heart and the Synapse) and I can’t get enough of it. If you’re looking for a pump up song try “the War of All Against All”.

Monday, December 17, 2007

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears

Reynolds has inspired me the last couple of days so I thought I’d throw this up under the old “you know what really grinds my gears” tag. It’s an email that I sent to Joe about a story he had to write for the mag he writes for. If you know Joe then I’d just like to say that he had free reign to bogart any ideas mentioned below. He beat me 93-19 in a game of piddle once so I owe him.

Here is the premise - Pop music today is complete garbage –

Pop music has become driven by the tabloids like US Weekly. I’m not saying everyone has to be an indie music junkie you know how I feel about people who say shit like “oh I used to like so-so before they became popular”. There is something to be said for the entertainment value of popular music today.

No one can look me in the eye and tell me Soulja Boy’s ‘Crank Dat’ is a good song. It’s entertaining to see Vince Wilfork do the dance after he sacks Ben Roethlisberger and Travis Barkers drum remix on YouTube is pretty gnarly, but it’s absolutely not a good song. Unfortunately people like Soulja Boy are getting attention instead of bands like TREOS or Wolfmother or As Tall as Lions. Hopefully at some point the climate will shift and we’ll return to some sort of middle ground that is agreeable like in the mid-to-late 90’s.

The music business should run similar to the NFL where the average career is something like 3-4 years, for musicians, especially pop musicians it should be 3-4 albums then you’re whisked away to reality TV. I’m cereal, Britney Spears was totally a top draft choice when she first came out, she was a freaking dime and she had those typical pop songs, now she needs to go away. The only reason she’s selling any albums right now is because our culture is obsessed with celebrities and we feed on US Weekly and People like the homeless on change.

Britney’s new song is awful, at least her old songs were her singing, now its so over-produced that with the right equipment I could pull any girl or even high voiced guy off the street and make the same song. And yes I will offend the shit out of that stupid leave Britney alone kid from YouTube what an idiot I hope you miss everything cool and die angry.

Speaking of over-produced when did making music stop requiring the ability to sing? Ok we’ll make an exception for Tom Delonge (Tonoite!) – but really Heidi Montag…she’s the queen of the no talent ass clowns…just because you were friends with my future wife Lauren Conrad doesn’t mean you can sing. At some point producers have to realize that they are destroying the world by allowing music like that to be created.

At some point don’t you say ‘I can’t believe I’m putting my name on this piece of shit”. Enjoy the ride of the Hills but you’re not a triple threat ok…calm down this isn’t Vaudeville it’s MTV. I swear to God if anyone would actually buy her upcoming CD I will challenge you to a duel…10 paces turn and fire.

There are a few musicians, like athletes who are able to re-invent themselves but they are usually good musicians or singers…i.e. Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Slash…and some that just have Brett Favre like longevity – The Red Hot Chili Peppers - the same can’t be said for many “popular musicians” like Britney Spears or even Fall Out Boy…that some of these people think they are going to be making viable music in 5-10 years is dumb - most likely they’ll be Vanilla Ice on the Surreal Life…I get the feeling we will soon see Pete Wentz, Lil John or Chamillonarie (really? next to the playstation controlla – that’s not a real rhyme!!!) on behind the music sounding like uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.

Yeah we get it Lil John you used to get krunk (which is a word now ps) but pop rap is probably the most fickle music genre and compared to Talib, Common or Mos Def you were always bush league…so maybe the iced out krunk juice cup was a poor use of your short lived millions but that ’93 Huffy White Heat is almost as nice as the Ferrari you flanted on Cribs. I swear since MTV stopped playing videos they have begun destroying society, it’s the fall of the Roman Empire Sucka Free style.

If you think I’m wrong watch one episode of Cribs then Google search what some rappers said about Hurricane Katrina – act like it doesn’t make you cringe to see the shit they spend money on. Not to say I wouldn’t have the clue house with the piano from Batman Begins that opened a secret passage but still.

The short-term doesn’t look good either – there are very few outlets for good bands to be showcased, everything on MTV is either tabloid or reality TV driven and even networks like fuse are too high school centric – there are some radio stations out there but it’s like Patton Oswald says you have to get out on your own and find out what’s cool for yourself.

The worst part of the whole situation is that people are way too close-minded when it comes to music. You don’t have to like every kind of music but you have to at least understand why someone might. If you don’t like pop music you can’t be an indie douche and say anything on hit list radio crap even if you used to listen to it. That’s only going to lead to less people having any interest in the music you clam is good. Basically people should listen to “Admit it!” by Say Anything.

Luckily music is, like I said, a fickle thing. It is always changing; especially pop music and we could just as soon see metal as the new fad as we could with boy bands. Take a look at things right now, emo is hugely popular among high school kids, 5-8 years ago it was boy bands or rappers like Ja Rule.

Popular Music today is awful, but things are only made worse by smug indie douches, liking music that isn’t on hit list radio is great I fully support that and think it’s better than being a slave to what Ryan Seacreast says every week but don’t be a douche about it…didn’t you see the ‘Smug Alert’ South Park episode? I don’t want to have to go into San Francisco in a hazmat suit tethered to Butters to save you.

Tomorrow - more Reynolds inspired writing - Why the Dolphins are the 40-year-old virgins of the NFL.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What Would Judge Mountain Landis Do with the Mitchell Report

Can someone call REM and have them add - Roger Clemens, Andy Petitte, Mitchell Report Drug Cheats - too the lyrics of "it's the end of the world"

I had a couple of pretty interesting conversations with Reynolds and Hegarty the other day while I was batting the six plus hours of traffic caused by that snow storm. The conversations obviously were regarding the Mitchell Report and what our feelings on it were.

First off I am really, really, really glad that the official list didn’t have Jason Varitek and/or El Guapo on in. I don’t know if I could have handled Rich Garces being a drug cheat, there is only so much I can take as a fan.

Speaking of the list, incase you haven’t seen it here it is courtesy of

"All the players listed in the section VIII. B.: "Information Regarding Purchases or Use of Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball" (section 3 is "Radomski¹s Distribution of Performance Enhancing Substances to Major League Baseball Players")

Lenny Dykstra
David Segui
Larry Bigbie
Brian Roberts
Jack Cust
Tim Laker
Josias Manzanillo
Todd Hundley
Mark Carreon
Hal Morris
Matt Franco
Rondell White
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Chuck Knoblauch
Jason Grimsley
Gregg Zaun
David Justice
F.P. Santangelo
Glenallen Hill
Mo Vaughn
Denny Neagle
Ron Villone
Ryan Franklin
Chris Donnels
Todd Williams
Phil Hiatt
Todd Pratt
Kevin Young
Mike Lansing
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Adam Piatt
Miguel Tejada
Jason Christiansen
Mike Stanton
Stephen Randolph
Jerry Hairston
Paul Lo Duca
Adam Riggs
Bart Miadich
Fernando Vina
Kevin Brown
Eric Gagne
Mike Bell
Matt Herges
Gary Bennett, Jr.
Jim Parque
Brendan Donnelly
Chad Allen
Jeff Williams
Howie Clark
Nook Logan

Section IX. B."Alleged Internet Purchases of Performance Enhancing Substances By Players in Major League Baseball"

Rick Ankiel, Paul Byrd, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus, Jose Guillen, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Gary Matthews, Jr., and Scott Schoeneweis, and former players David Bell, Jose Canseco, Jason Grimsley, Darren Holmes, John Rocker, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams, and Steve Woodard."


Marvin Benard
Barry Bonds
Bobby Estalella
Jason Giambi
Jeremy Giambi
Benito Santiago
Gary Sheffield
Randy Velarde"

I can’t say I’m surprised about Clemens but I am pretty stoked that 95% of the country is going to hate him now whether he actually did it or not. It’s been a great year in sports so far here in Boston and it just got better now that Clemens reputation has been pretty much destroyed.

The thing that Reynolds said that really got me thinking was, is this going to ruin baseball? At first glance, no I don’t think it will. Even in the long run I don’t think the game will end up like hockey because of it but it’s going to take a major hit. It’s probably going to be similar to the strike in 1994, I was took young to really be effected by that but I think there are a lot of people that are going to say ‘I’ve had enough with these prima Dona athletes and their bloated contracts and their cheating’.

Unfortunately for baseball, depending on how the report is handled there is a chance it could cause an issue between the players union and the league which could lead to a strike and that would probably be the beginning of the end for America’s Past-time.

Personally I don’t think the Mitchell Report was a good idea. It doesn’t make sense, all it really is, is officially licensed speculation. Why air out the leagues dirty laundry? I think it would have made more sense to say ‘we made mistakes, there was this era of rampant use but hindsight won’t change that so this is what we will do moving forward’. If you really want to stop use then you have to implement Olympic style testing where positive tests come with serious consequences, not slaps on the wrist.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the media, the MLB and the fans handle this thing. Personally I’m sick of hearing about speculation that I’d rather have it go away. The guys that were named in the report probably shouldn’t receive retroactive punishment but that doesn’t mean that people should ignore it. Mention in the Mitchell report should carry a bit of a scarlet letter, especially when it comes to Hall of Fame votes.

I’m not saying that these guys should be banned but voters should make some kind of stand like boycotting the first ballot for guys like Clemens, Pettite and even Bonds. When you think about it you can’t really ban them for using. They were dominant players in the steroid era and while it’s not the best way to look at it they did the same thing a lot of other players did.

Hopefully MLB will find a way to make sure that the steroid era is over, HGH is going to be a larger problem but we can still hope. The sad thing is that this will probably take a Judge Landis type figure to put and end to it. Like Landis did after 1919 to rid baseball of gambling I think we could use a figure like him to end the steroid issue in baseball almost 90-years later.

The positive thing is that baseball has persevered in the face of other issues the problem is that today there is a lot more litigation and it’s not as easy to squash issues today. Would Judge Landis have been able to get away with what he did to solve the gambling problems if it happened today? We are about to find out; only this time it’s steroids not gambling.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jacoby or Johan?

gnarlyThe winter meetings might be over now but it’s still fantasy baseball for real people time in baseball. With that mind I am imploring the Red Sox not to trade for Johan Santana. A year ago I’d be calling myself an idiot but not so much right now. It’s taken me sometime to come to this decision but I feel it’s the right one.

Santana is probably the best lefty starter in the game right now and has been for the last few years. If the trade was the Lester and Coco package I’d be all for it but I’m ok with dealing Jacoby Ellsbury. If Manny didn’t get hurt and we didn’t see much of Ellsbury I’d be saying the same thing I said when the Sox dealt one of my favorite up-and-comer Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins for Beckett (oh and Mike Lowell). My argument at the time was why wouldn’t you trade an unknown up-and-comer for a proven frontline ace that had already won a World Series MVP.
This time I don’t feel the same way. Granted in Santana you’d be getting a top-tier starter, no doubt, but instead of giving up an unknown you’d be giving up a guy who has shown that he can be a franchise centerfielder for the next decade not to mention he helped spark your offense to a World Series Championship.

You can never have enough pitching, I whole-heartedly agree with that statement but with Lester able to pitch an entire season in 2008 you’ll have an opening day rotation looking something like – Beckett, Schilling, Dice-K, Lester, Wake/Tavarez/FA/Buchholz – The fifth starter looks a little iffy right now and Santana would definitely make the Sox rotation unbelievable but there is still the possibility of a trade involving Crisp for another starter.

Coco would not be a bad addition to a lot of teams, he plays great defense and has good speed unfortunately he’s bat never really recovered after his injury in 2006, I do think that a change of scenery could help him and I’d certainly like to see him succeed. Again unfortunately for him he couldn’t quite come around and Jacoby took advantage of his opportunity.

I’d love to have Santana, I think the Sox would have the best rotation in baseball and it easily gives the team another year to work with Buchholz, he can be a second half call up and have another year getting his innings up slowly before he is made a full time starter. However Ellsbury is such a dynamic player and having him and Pedrioa at the top of the order is only going to give Big Papi and Manny more RBI chances. Maybe one of them will finally pull down an MVP Award, which they more than deserve in my mind.

The best-case scenario would have been the Twins agreeing to the Coco-Lester package but now I think it’s Santana going to an NL team so we don’t have to worry about facing him. I don’t want to see Jacoby go and become a perennial All-Star in Minnesota but I have a great deal of faith in Boston general managers recently.

Pioli and Belichick don’t even need a mention but they get it done, Theo has delivered two World Series titles and even though I said Danny Ainge was probably on his last legs with the Celtics a couple months ago he made the monster move the team needed and now it’s looking good for the C’s. Whatever Theo decides to do will most likely be for the best. He’s had a couple of gaffes but for the most part has been spot on.

Finally, I don’t see them making a deal for Santana that involves Jacoby Ellsbury, he isn’t untouchable but I would be surprised if they dealt him.