Monday, July 21, 2008

A Dozen Thoughts...

1) Well for the 15th or whatever straight year, I have not heard one person drop a, "So, did you see the ESPYs Sunday night?!" on me. Time to give them up ESPN. Nobody cares.

2) Even with much of Bob Lobel's now infamous WEEI rant being discredited I still stand by my belief that Manny will get traded and his destination will be Arizona. Let's not forget that Arizona's GM, Josh Byrnes is the former RHM (right-hand-man) of Theo either.

3) Can't really say I'm a big fan of the Red Sox turning into the Celtics of the first month of the playoffs. This lose every game on the road/win every game at home business gets tiring.

4) The Sox will take two of three in Seattle and then come home and sweep the Yankees with a major assist from the Return of Big Papi.

5) The Celtics resigned Tony Allen. Awesome. I guess they kind of had to with the departure of James Posey, but still....

6) At least Eddie House is coming back though!

7) If you were to ask me on a scale of 1-10 how much I think the Pats will miss Asante Samuel this year with 1 being not at all and 10 being their defense will self-destruct without him I think I'd put the number at a solid 6. I think he'll be missed but not to a huge extent and I do NOT think he would have been worth the money to re-sign.

8) Put me in the "no thanks" on Huston Street club. He's a relatively big name because he was hyped coming out of college, has a great name, and won a Rookie of the Year award, but I just don't trust him. I understand his numbers across the board are pretty good for his career - strikes out about a batter an inning, ERA under 3, WHIP a touch over 1 - but I am still not sold. I had him on one of my fantasy teams a few years back and he was a shaky saves machine. I'm not sure how that would transfer to the setup role. Furthermore, while I think he would be an upgrade over the Delcarmen/Hansen two-headed monster, I do not think it would be a demonstrative step up and how he would handle moving from closer to setup man heading into arbitration next year is another valid question. The guy would be giving up some serious cash in making that move and while he does not have a no-trade clause, you certainly don't want a potentially unhappy reliever pitching important innings.

9) If you want a rundown of the sports stories in DC these days, I can give it to you pretty easily; the Redskins. Oh, and now with Jason Taylor on board they will of course go 16-0, set a few defensive records, and handily win the Super Bowl. That is what people around here think at least. Redskins fans are INSANE. There is really nobody like them.

Nobody cares about the Nationals.

The Wizards extended to Gilbert Arenas for HUGE money which should have been a big story in DC if people liked/cared as much about Arenas as the media and others say DC folks like/care for him but I don't think that is the case. His signing was not treated as huge news and every Wizards fan I talked to, had the same reaction as I did when I saw that, which was, "that's too bad, they probably shouldn't have". Arenas is one of these guys who loves to get on Sportscenter and talk to the media and score a lot of points. And that is it. He really does not help the team win in any way other than scoring which is well and good except for the fact that he will look for his shot at the expense of every other player on the team. When he went down early in the season last year I predicted that they would thrive without him which of course they did. Why would a team do better without their apparent superstar and best player on board? Because they are actually forced to play like a team instead of being a de facto one-man gunning show. That and Caron Butler is really, really good and Antawn Jamison had a career year. Maybe a few years ago people around these parts would have been a bit more excited about him sticking around here for the long haul - he is for the record the only big time sports star the DC area has had excluding Freddy Adu in my six years here which does count for something - but now I think folks have tired of him and his injuries a bit which is too bad seeing as he next year he gets to start a six year, $111M contract. Yikes.

10) At first I think to myself, "You know what, this Red Sox team is better than last year's team and last year's team won the World Series". And then I actually think on that and realize that despite getting better or similar production from last year to this at every position except catcher and DH - and DH is a problem soon to be fixed we hope - the Sox really aren't better than last year. Why? Easy, Beckett has not been the certifiable Ace he was last year, they have an awful setup crew in the bullpen, and Papelbon has been subtly shaky. Once again there are no great teams out there so these guys certainly can pull things together like they did last year - especially with the emergence of Jon Lester being a huge factor - so I guess anything is possible. That is of course except winning a World Series with an awful bullpen. When was the last time that happened?

11) Do you realize that if Dustin Pedroia wins the batting title this year (right now he is third) he'll be the fourth different Red Sox player to win it this decade and represent a fourth different position. Right now they have had their SS win it 2000 (Nomar), their LF win it 2002 (Manny), and their 3B win it 2003 (Bill Mueller). I'd even say that Pedroia is a nice mix of two of those guys in early Nomar and Bill Mueller. His primary early Nomar trait is the ability to hit and hit hard almost any pitch thrown at him from any pitcher. From Bill Mueller he gets his flare for the dramatic (who hit that walkoff HR off of Mo in the Fight Game of '04 and who drove in Dave Roberts....exactly) and his ability to be a really good baseball player without exactly looking the part. While Pedroia probably won't keep on hitting .450 for the rest of the season, I could definitely seeing him hitting .350 and that should put him in a good spot to make a run for his first batting title. Not a bad encore to a Rookie of the Year season.

12) From the "For What It's Worth" department, the Sox currently have far and away the best run differential in the AL at +91 or 18 more than the White Sox who sit in second at +73, the next closest team to them. It's no substitute for wins and losses but a number like that does portend for greater things to come. The Rays and Yankees by the way are at +48 and +40 respectively.

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