Monday, January 31, 2011

New Sully Baseball Video - "Defensive Indifference"

In the latest Sully Baseball video, I point out that the very concept of defensive indifference is nuts and should be taken out of baseball.

And as always, I'm right.

The video is shot and co produced by my amazing wife, Lisa.


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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Madoff and the Mets

How appropriate is it that Bernie Madoff ripped off the Mets? There is something sadly appropriate about his mid 2000s hustling of the other team in New York with the Mets fortunes (or lack thereof.)

Lots of big promises were made by Madoff and the Mets.
Lots of money changed hands.
Lots of people had images of glory dancing in their heads.
And lots of people felt ripped off when it was all done.

Whether it was an elaborate Ponzi scheme or the brutal contracts and the false promise of the 2006 season, both Ponzi and the Mets squandered lots of money and the ripple effects of it will be felt for a long time.

I thought it was funny how the Wilpons kept insisting that the Madoff scandal didn’t affect their bottom line. But now they are starting to sell off parts of the team… a team filled with expensive yet worthless contracts.

I think the time is perfect for someone out there with a nice pile of money to become a new famous big shot in New York. Think about it. A billionaire who wants fame and adoration can come in, take the Mets way from the Wilpons and before long could be the person to turn the team around.

Then again maybe adding ANOTHER billionaire with big promises to New York isn’t the way to go right now.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Milton Bradley and mistakes

So the Mariners are going to keep Milton Bradley. Despite a lousy year where he had to leave to take care of personal matters, and an off season arrest that shows those matters aren’t really resolved, he’s coming back.

People make mistakes,” new Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.

Yeah they do Eric. Like giving Milton Bradley chance after chance.
At what point does this become enabling?
At what point do you say “Hmmm, I see a pattern here.”

When a guy this talented plays for 8 teams in 11 seasons (including 5 in the last 4 years) and each time he goes there is much rejoicing, isn’t that the point where you say “Yeah, let’s move on.”

Wedge managed Bradley with the Indians and it was a confrontation between the two that forced his first of many trades.

In the 7 seasons since, he hasn’t really improved, has he?

And when you look at his career, is it even worth it on the field?
He had a great half season in 2007 with the Padres (until he injured himself arguing and ended his season… a season where the Padres missed the playoffs by a single game.)

He had a terrific season in Texas in 2008, his walk year.
Now he has had two straight miserable seasons, is in his mid 30s and frankly has had only had 2 and a half seasons of note.

The Mariners need to rebuild. How exactly is Bradley a piece to any rebuilding project?
If he is no longer a usable player (which he isn’t) and he’s no longer a person you want in the clubhouse (even he doesn’t want to be there) then why bring him back?

People make mistakes.
Eric Wedge and the Mariners are making one now.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

John Lowenstein and the need for baseball on YouTube

Today is John Lowenstein's birthday and I was going to do a little tribute to a classic late 1970s player with great hair and ubiquitous in my packs of Topps cards.

He had the classic 1970s stache, the hair that poured out of his head and wore not only the bright orange Orioles uniforms from the great 1979 World Series but the ugly red unis worn by the mid 1970s Indians.

He was a colorful character who didn't want a fan club but an apathy club while with Cleveland. A write up of that club (and a lot of elements of Lowenstein's cool career) can be read at Urban Shocker's blog.

He was a fan favorite in Baltimore where he was a part time player but managed to come up big in two different post seasons.

One of his most beloved moments as an Oriole was in 1980 when he was hit in the neck by a ball thrown by an infielder. The deflection allowed the winning run the score but Lowenstein was on the ground. As he was being carried out on a stretcher, he sat up abruptly and pumped his fists to the screaming fans.

But his single greatest moment happened in Game 1 of the 1979 ALCS. The game was a tense battle between the favored Orioles and the upstart Angels. Both teams threw a future Hall of Famer (Jim Palmer for the Birds, Nolan Ryan for the Halos) and it became an extra innings battle of the bullpens.

In the 10th with a runner on and two outs, Angels reliever John Montague walked Al Bumbry to face Lowenstein. Lowenstein then hit an 0-2 pitch over the wall for a walk off homer. Memorial Stadium went bananas. So did Lowenstein as the Orioles were on their way to winning the pennant.

Seeing it is Lowenstein's birthday, I thought it would be cool to post that clip on a blog page.

You know, embed it here on the blog, have a few hundred people see it and maybe have Oriole fans pass it around.

Guess what?
I can't find the clip on line. And I LOOKED!

Why is that the case?
There are so many wonderful clips and memories about baseball that are sitting gathering dust in a vault. And they should be passed around and made available for fans to share their memories and have new fans get caught up in their teams history.

Imagine a young Oriole fan who has never seen a good team in Camden Yards watching a clip of the Orioles jumping up and down after a walk off homer by a guy with Juan Epstein's hair and a porn stache!

I made a joke on MY YouTube video about the Giants about how baseball needs to be on the Internets. And in a previous post I brought up how Susan Boyle, the Chocolate Rain guy and all of the other internet sensations have probably been seen by more people than most of the best plays in baseball.

Baseball should be the pioneers of making their clips available to be seen by new generations. And shared by fans who want to celebrate not only the major events, but fan favorite moments.

Why isn't the Lowenstein home run available for fans to see?
What good does it do sitting in a vault? What does it cost to upload a video?
My video cost exactly $0.00 to put on line. And a few thousand people saw it so far.

I think a lot more people who love the Orioles would be thrilled watching a Lowenstein homer this morning.

Maybe some people haven't seen it for a while and it gets them (and brace yourself for impact) thinking positive thoughts about baseball in the off season!!!

I shouldn't be the one saying this out loud!
Get on it, baseball! Start posting those clips.

And as I said before, you can stick an ad for Tide or Holiday Inn Express in front of it to make a few bucks.

Lowenstein has a birthday next year.
I want to post that clip.

And since baseball doesn't have a YouTube page, I'll just post MY video again and get a few extra hits.

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The Yankees are turning back the clock to 2005

Seriously, is it 2005 again?
Is Brokeback Mountain playing in the theaters?
Is Hollaback Girl popular again?
Is Lost a new show?

Because if you looked at the moves the Yankees have been making, you’d think the clock was turned back 6 years.

I know losing the 2005 Division Series to the Angels must have been painful, but the Yankees look like they haven't gotten over it!

The Yankees need pitching depth and maybe some outfield help.

So bring in Mark Prior… who actually pitched 166 2/3 innings in 2005 and was still an ace.

Bring in Justin Duchscherer… who made the 2005 All Star team

Bring in Andruw Jones…who hit 51 homers, won a Gold Glove and was the MVP runner up in 2005.

And, most impressively, bring in Bartolo Colon… who won the AL Cy Young in 2005.

Seriously, 6 years ago these moves would have made people scream “It isn’t fair! The Yankees get ALL the superstars.”

In 2011, these moves look like what the Pirates would do followed by the phrase “They are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.”

Let’s review how they’ve looked since 2005.

Prior threw just 43 2/3 innings for the Cubs in 2006. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in a Major League game since. The Yankees are hoping the last 4 years of not pitching will make him stronger.

Duchscherer made the All Star team again in 2008, but has appeared in only 5 games in the last two seasons.

Jones has seen his stats deteriorate since 2005, hitting the low of his dreadful ’08 season with the Dodgers where he was cut after being a sub .160 hitter. The Yankees will be his fifth team in the last 5 seasons.

Colon hasn’t thrown 100 innings in a season since the 2005 campaign. He left the 2008 Red Sox somewhat unexpectedly to handle “personal matters.” He resurfaced in 2009 with the White Sox but missed the entire 2010 season. Fat, broken down and having personal matters is a great combination for New York.

Also turning back to 2005 is Brian Cashman not having control of the team. The bizarre public contract negotiations with Derek Jeter. The conflicting stories about the Cliff Lee pursuit. (Did he meet with him or what?) His not wanting Soriano and publicly trashing the signing in the press conference.

It all seems like the Yankee brass is making moves over Cashman’s head. And what other kind of move seems more Steinbrenner like than bringing in big names people have heard of, even if the move doesn’t really make sense of help the team.

The team is old and has injury issues. Better bring in a bunch of guys who have combined to miss 6 entire seasons recently!

Ironically do you know who was ALSO good in 2005?
Cliff Lee.

I’m just saying.

Cue up Hollaback Girl!

(I still don’t know what a Hollaback Girl is.)

Justin Duchscherer has been courted by the Yankees but not signed yet.
The point still stands

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My video has passed Tris Speaker on the hit list

Thanks to a bunch of very cool links (including this one from Off the Bench at my video The Giant Alternative now has 3,574 hits.

That's more hits than Tris Speaker.
Next on the list?

Stan Musial with 3,630.

I wonder if it will pass Stan the Man!

Either way, here's the video in case you haven't seen it.
And if you liked it, pass it around.

I am making a new one tomorrow.

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The telegram to Pie Traynor and the lost Pirates pennant of 1938 - My latest for the Hardball Times

The Pirates had the opportunity to insert five Hall of Famers into their roster before the start of the 1938 season. They didn't and blew a 7 game lead in September.

It is a story involving what could have been the greatest battery in history, a starting line up that would have featured six future Hall of Famers and a superstar turned manager who was ahead of his time in terms of racial tolerance.

Read my whole article at The Hardball Times HERE.

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Let’s see how I did on my Oscar predictions…

Watching the Oscar nominations this morning, I saw that some of my predictions were spot on. Others… not so much.

Let’s check my work.

BEST PICTURE – 10 for 10. Not bad. Now I have to rent Winter’s Bone.

BEST DIRECTOR – 4 out of 5. I thought Christopher Nolan would be nominated for director after being snubbed for The Dark Knight. They went with Lily Tomlin’s best friend, David O. Russell and The Fighter.

BEST ACTOR – 4 out of 5. Javier Bardem was nominated for Biutiful (sic) instead of Mark Wahlberg. Don’t dispair Mark, you got nominated as a producer for The Fighter.
BEST ACTRESS – 5 for 5. YES! Granted, I’ve only seen Black Swan of the group, but I predicted it alright.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 4 out of 5. John Hawkes from Winter’s Bone gets to put “Oscar Nominee” on his resume. I thought Andrew Garfield would ride a Social Network wave. I was wrong.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 4 out of 5. I am stunned Mila Kunis wasn’t nominated for Black Swan. Jacki Weaver got it for Animal Kingdon. For the record I think it is moronic that Hailee Steinfeld is in the “supporting” category. She was the main character of the movie! But I am glad she was nominated. She deserves it.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – 4 out of 5 – No Black Swan! Interesting. Someone explain to me how Mike Leigh, a guy who prides himself on NOT writing a screenplay, just got his FIFTH "Best Screenplay" nomination. I should go to every coffee shop in Los Angeles where writers are slaving over a script and nudge them and say “Just have the actors make up the words.”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – 4 out of 5. I am super glad Toy Story 3 got the love it deserves. No love for Ben Affleck and the screenplay for The Town? It had the hilarious line about Jack Clark ripping off the Red Sox, which made it Oscar worthy in MY book.

So of the so called “Major nominations” I got 87% correct.

My other predictions…
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – Well, I got all 3 right… except I thought there were going to be 5 nominees. So too bad Despicable Me and Tangled. DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – 1 for 5. WHOOPS! (No Waiting for Superman?) ART DIRECTION – 4 out of 5 CINEMATOGRAPHY – 4 out of 5 COSTUME DESIGN – 3 out of 5 EDITING – 4 out of 5 SOUND – 3 out of 5 SOUND EDITING – 2 out of 3 (Actually 5 nominations. I thought there were 3) VISUAL EFFECTS – 3 out of 5 MUSIC SCORE – 3 out of 5 ORIGINAL SONG – 3 out of 5

So overall my nomination predictions were 75% accurate.
Not bad.

OK, I have a month to see these nominations. I’ve seen 6 of the Best Picture nominations and I have two that I haven’t seen gathering dust as DVDs. There’s no baseball game on tonight, so better get watching them!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Hey Astros… don’t wait too long. Retire J. R. Richard’s number!

The Houston Astros should avoid a mistake that the Detroit Tigers made in terms of honoring one of their greats.

The Tigers are retiring the number 11 in honor of Sparky Anderson. It is a wonderful tribute by the team to immortalize the Hall of Fame manager along with the other Detroit legends.

No doubt his entire family will be there, as will members of his colossal World Champion squad of 1984. And certainly there will be stirring highlights on the video board of the many wonderful moments involving Sparky in Motown.

Do you know who will be missing?
Sparky Anderson, who passed away this November.

It was hardly a sudden death. And he didn’t die as the current manager of the Tigers. Sparky retired after the 1995 season.

Opening Day 1996 could have been a nice time to honor him.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 and gave a memorable speech.

Maybe that year, the Tigers could have put #11 on the wall.

In 2005, the Cincinnati Reds retired Sparky’s number to honor his days at the helm of the Big Red Machine.

Detroit? Bueller?

With a decade and a half to pull off the honor, they are doing it now? I don’t care how rocky things ended after the 1995 season. There is a lot of water under that bridge.

Posthumous honors are nice but in this case unnecessary.

Which brings us back to the Astros.

James Rodney Richard, better known as J. R. Richard, was on his way to being a Hall of Fame pitcher. I have absolutely no qualms making that claim.

He became a 20 game winner and a Cy Young contender by age 26 in 1976. From that season through 1979, he developed into a 300 strikeout artist, averaging more than 9 per 9 innings. He was an ERA leader, piled up complete games in the teens and had the most devastating fastball in the National League.

And along the way he helped forge the Astros identity as a pitching powerhouse. In 1980 he was well on his way to having his best season of his career when he suffered the stroke that ended his career at age 30.

That 1980 team, which paired Richard with another fireballer named Nolan Ryan, lost the National League pennant to the Phillies in the tightest best of 5 series of all time. The 1981 team lost the Divisional Playoff to the Dodgers by the slimmest of margins.

It is not outrageous to think that with J. R. Richard healthy, they would have advanced both seasons. (And both teams that eliminated Houston went on to win the World Series.) Perhaps he would have been around for the 1986 NLCS, another razor thin affair, this time against the eventual World Champion Mets.

Richard never returned despite a valiant attempt to come back in 1981.
He lost his money and was living under a bridge in 1994. He has recovered his life to a degree and is now a minister.

He is alive.
And he represents a devastating “What If” in baseball history. Could those Astros with Ryan, Joe Niekro, Ken Forsch, Joaquin Andujar and J. R. Richard have compiled one of the greatest pitching staffs of all time?

How many pennants would be won in bright orange?
Would the Astros have the World Series title that still eludes them?

Richard was a large man physically, but the shadow his stroke left on the team looms even larger. And he is a man who has shown an amazing ability to rebound in his life.

And his #50 isn’t retired.
The ownership has changed since 1980. Whatever bad blood had existed between Richard and the team should be tossed aside.

And for a team with a grand total of one pennant, they already have their share of retired numbers. Legends Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are honored. So is Richard’s teammate Nolan Ryan. Fan favorites Jimmy Wynn and Jose Cruz have their numbers retired. So does Larry Dierker, who had success as a player and manager, and Mike Scott who nearly pitched the Astros to the 1986 World Series.

Also Don Wilson and Jim Umbricht have their numbers retired, both posthumously. Wilson died in a strange accident involving his car in his own garage. Umbricht died of a malignant melanoma. Both of their death’s were sudden and caught the Astros by surprise.

No doubt if Richard’s stroke caused his death, then #50 would have been retired in Houston as well. There is no need to wait for tragedy.

He is alive.
He should be celebrated.

Don’t wait too long, Houston. Don’t do what the Tigers did.

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It is time for my OTHER obsession… the Oscars.

Yup, I need to take a quick pause from talking baseball to feed my other beast: I am an Oscars addict. Now I promise I won’t turn this blog into Sully: Oscars, but each year I need to make my predictions for the big show.

So here are my picks for the nominations that will be announced tomorrow morning.
Note that these AREN’T the films that I think should necessarily win.
These are the films that I think WILL be nominated.

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are Alright
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
Joel and Ethan Coen – True Grit
David Fincher - The Social Network
Tom Hooper - The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan – Inception

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges – True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
James Franco – 127 Hours
Mark Wahlberg – The Fighter

Best Actress
Annette Bening – The Kids are Alright
Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale – The Fighter
Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
Jeremy Renner – The Town
Mark Ruffalo – The Kids are Alright
Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis – Black Swan
Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit

Best Original Screenplay
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are Alright
The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay
127 Hours
The Social Network
The Town
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Best Documentary Feature
Client 9
Inside Job
The Tillman Story
Waiting for Superman
Who is Harry Nilsson?

Best Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Best Cinematography
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
True Grit

Best Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Best Editing
Black Swan
The Fighter
127 Hours
The King’s Speech

Best Sound
Black Swan
127 Hours
The Social Network
True Grit

Best Sound Effects Editing
127 Hours
TRON: Legacy

Best Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Social Network
TRON: Legacy

Best Music Score
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Best Original Song
“I See the Light” – Tangled
“If I Rise” – 127 Hours
“Shine” – Waiting for Superman
“We Belong Together” – Toy Story 3
“You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me Yet” - Burlesque

I am predicting that the Academy will not nominate David O. Russell… perhaps the clash with Lily Tomlin on Youtube would still be on their minds. And I think that the DVD release of Winter’s Bone will make it the surprise Best Picture nomination.

And while The Town will get shutout of the big prize, Ben Affleck will get another writing nomination.

And I am also predicting some serious distribution of wealth amongst the nominations.
I see both The King’s Speech and True Grit getting double digit nominations with 10.

Black Swan, Inception and The Social Network should all get 9 nominations.

That’s 5 films with a pile of nominations.
And with 8 nominations for 127 Hours and 7 for The Fighter the possibility of another upset is strong. (Remember how The Hurt Locker upset the blockbuster Avatar last year?)

Alrighty. Get some sleep. Tomorrow is nomination day and always a big day in my insane calendar.

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Hey Packer fans... let Brett Favre off the hook

Green Bay Packers Quarterback Brett Favre Superbowl.jpg

I can not pretend to be a football expert. And I know I am dipping my toe into a very dangerous territory when I start to tell Packer fans what to do... but here I go.

In the euphoria of yesterday's thrilling win against the Bears no less, and in light of the fact that the Packers are Super Bowl bound and in some people's eyes will be favored, I think the goodwill being felt in the Badger state should be extended to one more person: Brett Favre.

Oh I know he is a pinata these days.
I know his retiring and unretiring has been nothing short of comical.
I know he left the Packers and ended up with the rival Vikings where he almost led them to the Super Bowl.
I know he sent text messages that had pictures of his junk.

I know all of that.
And all of that must have hurt as fans.

And I know the first impulse after yesterday's win was... OK it was to rub it in the face of your friend who is a Bears fan.

And the second impulse was probably to drink a LOT of beer.

But at some point I am sure you wanted to yell "Brett Who?" and think this game was a huge middle finger to ole number 4.

Get that out of your system. And today, welcome him back into the fold of Packer love.
That's right. For those of you who didn't burn his jersey, feel good about busting it out again and wearing it with pride.

The time has come to embrace everything positive he did for the Packers in his career. Favre not only had his great years in Green Bay but he made the Packers relevant and a national team.

The Packers had not been to the post season in back to back seasons since the days of Vince Lombardi. That changed with Brett Favre at the helm. Yes Mike Holmgren, Sterling Sharpe and Reggie White had a lot to do with it too, but I don't recall Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw nor Tom Brady playing by himself either.

Not only were they a playoff team but they a Super Bowl team. Yeah Green Bay was Title Town... but that was kind of a sad moniker for nearly three decades of zero titles. Then the Packers won... and guess who was the MVP of the Game? OK, it was Desmond Howard, but that's not the point.

Favre delivered the title that Green Bay was starved for since the departure of Vince Lombardi.

Remember Vince? Another guy who left Green Bay to try and win a Super Bowl elsewhere! Oh I am sure there is love for Vince in Green Bay.

Even in Favre's last game as a Packer, he got your team to within a score of the Superbowl.

Think of the three MVP seasons.
Think of the crazy style of play that resulted in either a spectacular touchdown or an interception.
Think of the There's Something About Mary Cameo.

You can't find any good will?

As a Red Sox fan, I have my "I can't boo a member of the 2004 or 2007 World Champions" and that extends to boo bird targets Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon.

We Sox fans wanted a World Series so badly and Ramirez and Damon delivered it to us. Think of all of those years of mediocre football and what Favre delivered.

And guess what?
To quote Khan's right hand man in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, you have defeated him. You don't need to defeat him again.

Favre left in search of another Superbowl appearance.
He didn't get it and the Packers did!

Don't be like Tom Hagen with Tessio. Let him off the hook... for old time's sake.

The old times were great.
And the new times look pretty great too.

Show some dignity and tip that wedge of cheese on your head to Brett Favre.

Click Here For Celebrity Pictures &
Green Bay Packers Pictures
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

I am an addict

The AFC Championship game is on and I have the MLB Network on, watching Al Leiter and Hardold Reynolds in suits showing how shortstops should field.

I need help.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Bill Mazeroski Baseball Annual for 1987 - A treasure found at my parents house

Whenever I go back to my parents home, which was also my home during my high school days, I love going through the closets and seeing what artifact from my childhood I can unearth.

This past Christmas I stumbled across this gem: Bill Mazeroski's Baseball Annual for 1987.

For those of you who don't remember or are too young to even know, the release of the Bill Mazeroski Annual was one of the highlights off the off season. It had all of the stats, all of the predictions, all of the analysis of off season moves and breakdowns of prospects.

Now I am not sure how much of the book was actually the responsibility of the Hall of Fame second baseman. He was credited as "Associate Editor." I imagine he endorsed it and gave it some baseball credibility the same way Alfred Hitchcock gave his name to the Three Investigator series. (God bless you if you understood THAT reference!)

The 1987 edition was personally very important for me. It was the preview that took place right after the 1986 World Series and helped heal those wounds. But that was also the year my family was getting ready to move from Massachusetts to California and I needed to read up on the National League and the West coast teams. This book got worn out!

Let's take a closer look at this pre-internet artifact.


I know the covers were different from region to region. The Boston one had the brutal reminder of what had just happened the previous October.

And it wasn't a picture of Bill Buckner or maybe Wade Boggs crying. It was Dwight Evans... the longest tenured Red Sox... looking pissed.

Brutal and cruel.


The Mazeroski Annual used a team evaluation system called Total Quotient (or T.Q.) system that looked damn impressive to a 14 year old Sully.

They broke down the team piece by piece with a rating system, combined those pieces and were able to see which teams were the strongest and which teams were hopeless.

It took the guessing out of picking a team and made it scientific.

Here's the problem. They didn't predict a single Division Winner correctly.

The NL East Champion Cardinals and NL West Champion Giants were picked third. The AL East Champion Tigers were picked second and the eventual World Champion Twins were picked second to last. So much for T.Q.s.


I can't stress enough what a gold mine this was for a baseball starved fan making it through the winter.

In the days before the internet, THIS was our Imagine everything you would ever look up on the internet squashed together into one gigantic search. That was the Bill Mazeroski Annual.

Often times I wouldn't remember how a player did in the season or which farm system had the most future stars or what each teams holes are. Today you go to Google.

You went to Bill Mazeroski.

On this page, the outrageously talented Blue Jays team was dissected, injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected more intensely than Arlo Guthrie in Alice's Restaurant.


Nobody, and I mean nobody, picked the Twins to win the 1987 World Series.

The T.Q. system didn't have the Twins ranked highly and their season's preview is quite sarcastic.

They make a few "Prarie Dome Companion" jokes and wonder what happened to a team that had so much promise that the beginning of the decade.

At one point in the preview, the writer talks about how young manager Tom Kelly might be in over his head and "he'll probably have to show quick progress to keep from being the fifth Twin manager fired this decade."

I would venture to guess that winning the World Series qualifies as quick progress.

He would manage the Twins from 1986 to 2001, also managing the 1991 World Series winner and the 2001 team that signaled the rebound of the franchise.

Not bad for a manager that Twins owner Carl Pohlad "isn't exactly wild about."


Of the many sections of the Mazeroski guide, the Future Stars was one that got me giddy for the next season.

This was the John the Baptist "Prepare ye the way" moment of the Hot Stove months. After breaking down what teams need and what their holes are, the Future Stars give me a nice healthy guide of can't miss players who will dominate the next season.

Guys like Mike Grant and Mickey Brantley.

And Cubs prospect Rafael Palmeiro is described as a good hitter without home run power. Interesting that he found a home run swing after joining Jose Canseco in Texas.


The Future Stars section may have been exciting, but the Farm Report would get worn out over the course of the year.

Whenever a player got recalled from the minor leagues, I would see if the Mazeroski guide included him in their amazingly in depth look at each farm system's top players.

They also listed each team's farm clubs. Milwaukee's AAA team was in Denver. The Rockies debut wasn't until 1993.

I trusted the guide without question. If they told me that the Milwaukee Brewers had a Grade A quality farm system, then I believed it.

And if they listed a prospect, I just assumed they would be a solid major leaguer.

The Brewers highly rated farm produced from this crop Gary Sheffield, Chris Bosio, B. J. Surhoff and Darryl Hamilton.

They also highly rated Edgar Diaz, Mike Birkbeck, Vincente Palacios, Dan Murphy and Mark Ambrose. So it wasn't an exact science.


Take a close look at the Braves farm system report.

It is super snarky, basically saying that the cupboard is bare after some ill advised free agent signings. The Farm System gets a C- report and it is safe to say after reading their analysis that their minor leagues needed an overhaul.

But look at some of the players listed in the report as long range prospects:

Jeff Blauser, who became a staple on many Braves teams including the 1995 World Champions.

Tom Glavine, the future Hall of Famer and multiple Cy Young winner who would go on to capture the 1995 World Series MVP.

David Justice (then called Dave) who became the offensive star of those teams and whose homer put the Braves up for good in the 1995 World Series.

The “Keep Your Eye On” section included Kent Mercker, another contributor to the 1995 World Championship and who threw a no hitter in 1994. Ron Gant became a key slugger for the 1991 and 1992 National League Champions and Pete Smith played on the 1992 NL pennant winners.

Not a bad haul for a C- farm system.


As I said before, I got this particular issue when my family moved from New England to California. And I found myself in Palo Alto just as the Stanford Cardinal was a College World Series winner, exposing me to quality college baseball for the first time in my life.

So naturally as a frequent spectator at Sunken Diamond, I felt like checking up on the big college stars was the next cool thing to do.

They pictured Jack McDowell, whom I saw pitch at Stanford and was indeed a bad ass. They also listed Georgia’s Cris Carpenter who eventually went to the Cardinals.

That isn’t a typo. He didn’t spell it with an “h”.
The Chris Carpenter who spelled it correctly won a Cy Young Award with the Cardinals.


The college section included this little blurb that argued for Phoenix being a logical place to put a big league franchise. The crux of their argument was the number of terrific college players that came through Arizona.

That’s true, but by that logic, should there have been a team in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. Back then putting teams in Arizona and Florida seemed so logical. Yet in reality they play to too many empty seats!


How long ago was 1987? Back then scouts were actually respected!

A whole section was devoted to "Time-Honored Tenets" and evaluating talent by watching players and coming up with a personal opinion.

Reading this section almost felt like looking at a map of the world before Columbus set sail.

You can hear the Sabermetrics people rolling their eyes when you glance at it.


Watch this ad for Intellivision. That used to be the super high tech videogame system. At the time it blew our minds.

It looks kind of lame, right? That mind bogglingly cool baseball game from the late 1970s would be a crappy app on your phone.

That is what this article about hi tech baseball read like now.

Wow! Managers are using computers to keep track of scouting reports? They include information like batting averages and match ups? That's AMAZING!

I bet those computers held up to 10 pages worth of information!

If you punched in WAR or VORP or OPS+ into that computer, it would crash.

10 - Go to batting Average.
20 - Go to gut instinct.
30 - RUN.

As awesome as it was going through the old articles, it was almost more interesting to check out the classic ads.


For those of you too young to remember, before everyone was doing Fantasy Baseball, Strat o Matic was the best way to simulate a baseball game.

You had stats!
You had strategy!

It was like playing Fantasy Baseball... except it took hours and hours and hours.

We had more time back then.

I am tempted to call the toll free number and mail in the form from the bottom of this ad.

I assume they are still accepting orders.


This one also has an order form. I might have to start dropping these in the mail to see what happens.

This ad was for the souvenir store that was one time located next to Yankee Stadium. In fact it says right there in the ad "Formerly opposite Yankee Stadium."

Remember in the 1980s the Bronx sucked.
I mean REALLY sucked.

I am saying that compared to the 1980s, the current Bronx is Monte Carlo.

So maybe that is why Manny's left for New Jersey.

For those of you who can't understand how we could have bought things like caps, jersey's and jackets through the mail without even seeing what the product looked like, rest assured, I don't remember how we did it either.


There was a time before ebay and Amazon that THIS was how you bought things like baseball cards.

This particular page is a slice of 1980s Sully nerd heaven.

Not only is it covered with offers for entire sets of baseball cards, but on the lower right hand corner: Star Wars cards!

Throw in some Batman comics and we'll be complete!

Those ads we fun and kind of wholesome (although the trading card world certainly had their share of unsavory people.)

But there were some other ads that made me scratch my head to "who exactly were they selling this magazine to?"


Yup. Cigarette ads.

I guess this magazine wasn't designed with kids in mind, but man smoking looked appealing for THIS 14 year old reading the magazine.

I'll look like that guy and get the blonde to hang out with me?

Light them up!

It was different back then. I remember in a little league tournament I played in 1981 there was a giant Marlboro banner along the first base line.

I was nine then. No harm in making a nine year old think smoking is cool.


Speaking of looking cool... 14 year old Sully stopped at this ad. A lot!

I got the message loud and clear:
Drink Seagram's Gin and a woman that outrageously sexy will want you.

It is 2011 and this ad is still pretty hot.

Needless to say there were a lot of strange messages being sent to a kid going through puberty reading this magazine.

Then again, the mantra "just think about baseball" wasn't that hard to carry out.


A Fuzz Buster!

A device that let's detect where police cars are so you can BREAK THE LAW BY SPEEDING!

Are these even legal anymore?

Who exactly was this magazine being marketed towards?

A bunch of gin drinking, chain smoking memorbilia collectors driving too fast trying to avoid the cops?

Them, and your friend Sully.

I wonder whatever time capsules exist in my old closet....

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My my my... the AL East just got a bit more fun

manny ramirez johnny damon Pictures, Images and Photos

Manny and Damon reunited?
Someone cue up Maroon 5. It is 2004 all over again.

Hey, Gabe Kapler was on the Rays last year. If they bring HIM back they will have all three outfielders who were on the field when the Sox won the World Series in St. Louis.

This off season has gotten so strange that the Rays have added more famous players than the Yankees.

Actually, even before the Rays decided to bring aboard two of the three biggest idiots, I hadn’t written off Tampa Bay.

Yeah losing Carl Crawford was bad… as was Rafael Soriano… and Carlos Pena….and Matt Garza…and Jason Bartlett…and Dan Wheeler…… and Joaquin Benoit…and Grant Balfour

But there is so much talent on that team that I can’t help but think that they might actually (dare I say it?) be better?

They still have a starting rotation of David Price, Wade Davis, James Shields and Wade Davis.

They still have Evan Longoria in the middle of their lineup and B. J. Upton who could still put it all together.

Reid Brignac could play short in Barlett’s place.
Jeremy Hellickson can start in Garza’s place.
Jake McGee is ready to take a role in the bullpen.
Desmond Jennings should be ready to play the outfield.

Some combination of Willy Aybar, Ben Zobrist and maybe even Damon could play first.

Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos both have some big league experience out of the bullpen with San Diego and will be in Tampa next year after the Bartlett trade.

Hak Ju Lee could give the Rays depth in the infield after the deal with Chicago.

Now you add a sparkplug like Johnny Damon to the top of the lineup.
And yeah, Manny is no longer Manny. But he still gets on base, has some pop and always has a little peak when he arrives with a new team.

Folks, the A.L. East is going to be fun again. People who hate to see either the Red Sox or the Yankees in the playoffs may get their wish for the fourth time in six seasons to see one of them play golf this October.

There will be LOTS of reasons to circle the Rays arrival in Fenway AND Yankee Stadium in red.

Remember Red Sox fans… it’s OK to cheer Manny and Johnny when they play the Yankees. In fact, I think it will be a nice nostalgic feeling.

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