Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cashman... you better hope Pineda's injury isn't serious

First of all, let's not get crazy about Michael Pineda's injury.
It is shoulder tendinitis. It's not like he has a torn rotator cuff or needs Tommy John surgery or his season is in danger.

And there is no way to judge the Pineda for Montero trade even at the end of this year. It will take 2 or 3 years before we know who got the best of the deal.

That being said, if I were Brian Cashman I'd be smacking my head thinking "Are you f---ing kidding me?"

His grand plan to have the Yankees become a team of good solid young pitchers has been going on since 2007. Remember when the pitching staff was going to be built on the backs Hughes, Kennedy and Joba?

That was 5 years ago.
Hughes is still around. He wasn't much use last year but evidently looked good this spring.
Kennedy is a Cy Young contender... for Arizona.
And Joba Chamberlain's career has been derailed by the team's indecisions, Tommy John surgery and his addiction to jumping on trampolines.

So now it is Hughes, Nova and Michael Pineda.
Nova has looked like crap this spring. And now Pineda is starting the season on the D.L.

A lot is riding on this for Cashman.
He sent off the player who was being built up as the next Yankee star for Pineda to kickstart his 6th annual "No, THIS time we are building a young rotation" crusade.

And here it is starting with more uncertainty.
What's the Yankees infusion of Youth?
Andy Pettitte?

All the while the Rays are overflowing with young pitching.

You had better help Pineda heals fast, Cashman.
The best trade chip has already been used.

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Yeah, I'm picking the Dodgers

One week ago, I wrote an article for The Hardball Times where I claimed the Dodgers 2012 season was impossible to predict. With no knowledge of ownership, how could anyone say for certain how anything was going to unfold.

Here we are a week later and I picked the Dodgers to win the NL West title.
So what changed?

Everything... and nothing.

I don't think you can underestimate the effect of having the ownership situation resolved in Chavez Ravine. For those of you outside of our fair Los Angeles county, you might not understand. But the ugliness of the McCourts hung over everything in Dodgerland. Not just with the embarrassing headlines and uncertainty. There were some weeks it looked like they weren't going to make payroll. They didn't know what an MLB takeover would mean.

And all this taking place in a half empty Dodger Stadium scattered with bitter fans.

Now there is going to be at least relief. The embarrassment is over.

So are the tight purse string days. The Dodgers desperately needed an ace pitcher when they were on the verge of putting together a real World Series contender.  CC Sabathia changed unifoms twice since the start of the 2008 season. Cliff Lee has switched teams 4 times. Roy Halladay and Danny Haren went to different clubs. And none of them were rumored to be Dodger bound.

The Dodgers made one blockbuster move in the last few years: Bringing in Manny Ramirez. And that trade included the Red Sox paying nearly all of Manny's salary.

New management knows that there is a lot of bad feeling in Los Angeles regarding the Dodgers. It is a safe bet to assume the team will try to fill in holes and make a blockbuster move.

And, despite all the turmoil, there was a lot right with the 2011 Dodgers that will return in 2012.
The NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw is still there. Newly signed Matt Kemp will bring his MVP worthy butt to center field. And perhaps a sensible conclusion can be found for the Andre Ethier contract.

Either way, logistically and emotionally these could be good times now in Los Angeles. And the pieces were in place for a team that finished with a winning record despite the turmoil.

The team won 82 games. Peace of mind is probably worth 2 or 3 wins.
A happy and relaxed Andre Ethier protecting Matt Kemp in the like up is probably worth a win or 2.

Mix that with the Giants injuries and weak linup and the Diamondbacks counting on a lot of young players to replicate their 2011 Division title.

And voila!
I'm picking the Dodgers! It makes sense to me.
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Why I am picking the Pirates to win the Central

In my 2012 official picks, I said the Pittsburgh Pirates were going to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their last winning season with a Division Title.

It is an unorthodox pick, I will grant you. It is the kind of thing that could make me look very stupid at the end of the year. (Remember I picked the Oakland A's to win the 2009 World Series?)

But I am serious with my pick. And let me explain why:

Yes, last year the NLCS was a battle between two NL Central teams, the Division Champion Brewers and the eventual World Champion Cardinals. But both teams had key subtractions.

The Brewers lost Prince Fielder and any goodwill surrounding Ryan Braun. Yeah, he beat the suspension, but there will remain unpleasant scrutiny. They have a good pitching staff, but they might take a step back.

The Cardinals didn't lose anyone big. Just Tony LaRussa, Albert Pujols and Dave Duncan. With Chris Carpenter hurt (and no Dave Duncan to work miracles), a repeat title is not likely.

The Reds seem to be the consensus pick. But they are already hurting in the bullpen with Ryan Madson out. And Mat Latos is moving from pitcher friendly San Diego to hitter friendly and is a mystery.

The Cubs and Astros stink and won't be a factor.

If any division is ripe for a surprise winner, it is the NL Central. It probably won't take much more than 90 wins to take it. Plus more games against the Cubs and Astros means a bigger number in the win column.

The Pirates were tied for first place on July 25th last year. They went 19-43 the rest of the way.

But maybe that mid season success mixed with late season failure will be good for Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Jose Tabata et al. They got a taste of something good and saw it slip away. That has to be more productive than just stinking from opening day to elimination.

Plus with the extension to McCutchen, the Pirates are showing a commitment that they are trying to build something rather then just be a AAAA team.

Just about every year there is a team whose season just makes no sense to the pre season predictors. Oh, I'm sure YOU had the Diamondbacks winning the west last year and Ian Kennedy becoming a 20 game winner.

Naturally you predicted 90 wins for the 2010 Padres... or the 2006 pennant for the Tigers, 2007 pennant for the Rockies or the Rays getting to the 2008 World Series.

Those Rockies were managed by current Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle, who basically rode a hot September all the way to the World Series.

I don't think the Pirates will get THAT far. But it isn't outrageous to think a young team filled with players who caught a glimpse of contention last year could build on that and take advantage of a weakened division.

Of course they could also lose 110 games. James McDonald, one of their hopefuls in the rotation, got completely shelled today. Who knows? This could wind up being my worst prediction yet.

But if I picked the Reds and they won, who would remember?

Go Bucs.
It's been long enough.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012


OK, first of all I realize that Magic Johnson is not going to be running the Dodgers. I understand that he is part of the team that is buying the Dodgers. Stan Kasten is the main baseball mind in this group. Peter Guber brings the show business know how. Magic very well might simply be the public face and symbol of the new ownership.

Well as symbols go, Magic is a pretty good one.
After the humiliation of the Frank McCourt, Los Angeles needs to have some positivity in terms of the Dodgers.

What sports figure in Los Angeles is bigger and more loved than Magic Johnson?
He was the brightest star in the greatest era in L.A. sports history.

Think about Los Angeles sports in the 1980s. What city had a better decade?
The Dodgers had Fernando mania, Hershiser's streak, the Gibson homer and were the only team in the decade to win multiple World Series.

The Angels had Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Fred Lynn, two trips to the ALCS (and nearly won both) and were featured in The Naked Gun.

The Raiders were in town and won Super Bowl XVIII.

The 1984 Olympics showcased the city and America (and helped reelect Reagan.)
Even the Kings became glamorous when Wayne Gretzky arrived.

But no team was bigger than the Lakers, who won titles in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.
And who personified the Showtime Lakers? That would be Magic.

It's interesting that the brightest era L.A. sports ever saw ended abruptly when Magic retired after testing positive for HIV.

Los Angeles fell into a dark period in the 1990s. The Lakers didn't make the Finals for 8 years. The Darryl Strawberry years for the Dodgers were a bust. The Angels had their massive collapse in 1995. The Dodgers were swept in their only two post season appearances. Tom Lasorda had to retire. Wayne Gretzky was traded away. The Rams and Raiders left town.

Practically the only bright spot was Magic's triumphant performance in the 1992 Olympics. But it says a lot that the best thing to happen in Los Angeles sports for a decade took place in Spain!

The Lakers, Angels (and Ducks) won titles in the 2000s but it is time for the Dodgers to have that sense of glamor and excitement.

Why not have the face of the brightest moments in Los Angeles sports represent a renaissance for the Dodgers?

It's a more pleasant image than McCourt, isn't it?

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Magic Johnson? What does HE know about winning in LA?

Oh yeah.
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Yoenis Cespedes is officially a major leaguer!

Cuban superstar Yoenis Cespedes is a big leaguer.
He has an entry in the Baseball Encyclopedia.

And he has a double.

Did you see it?

Because a Cuban star made his debut for a California team in Japan.
Makes sense to me.

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Shhh... the season started. Don't wake up.

While you were sleeping, the baseball season started.
Like Christmas morning, Mariner fans woke up and to their delight saw their team won a game. What a terrific present.

What a stupid way to start the season.
I'm not saying have a huge spectacular like football. But what kind of marketing mind thinks like this:

Hey! Here's how we start the season. We take two teams who have virtually no shot of winning, fly them to Asia and have them play a game at 3AM West Coast time to make sure any people who actually follow those teams will be sound asleep.

Is this to get attention in Japan? I've seen the reporters swarm around Ichiro, Matsui and now Yu Darvish. They notice!

Last year I suggested they start the season with the All Star Game.
How is that worse that sneaking off and starting the regular season in the middle of the night?

This game looked pretty exciting. It was an extra inning affair that the Mariners won.
I hope the few people who actually SAW it didn't wake anyone.

You'd hate to make too much noise on opening day.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The official (and kind of crazy) Sully Baseball Predictions for 2012

With the season beginning in less than 12 hours, it is time to make some bold predictions for 2012.

And yeah, some of them might be out there.

But let me ask you this:
Last year before the season what if I said “I don’t think the Red Sox, Braves nor Giants are making the playoffs but I think the Diamondbacks did”?

You’d think I’d be bonkers.
And I’d be right. So remember that before you comment.

AL East Champion 
Too much good pitching and lots of 2 wins out of 3 against bad teams. 

AL Central Champion 
Too much fire power and too much pitching to not repeat. 

AL West Champion 
Pujols gives the lineup a kick. They already have 2 aces. 

AL Wild Cards 
The Yankees are no longer great but they are at least good enough to win 93. The 2 time defending AL Champs will fall just short of the Division title but sneak in with the new format. 

NL East Champion 
The Phillies health becomes an issue and the Marlins get a huge boost from the new pick ups and the return of ace Josh Johnson. 

NL Central Champion 
You read that right. The Reds are overrated. The Cardinals are in a dark new territory. The Brewers take a step back. The Cubs and Astros stink. The Pirates win the Division with 83 wins. 

NL West Champion 
You read that right too. The NL Cy Young winner and a potential MVP are the building blocks on a team that no longer has the McCourt cloud hanging over their heads. They had a winning season last year. This year they’ll win 90 and the West. 

NL Wild Cards 
The Giants rebound and battle the Dodgers down the stretch. The Phillies fade in the East but hang on for a Wild Card invite. A potential Lincecum vs. Halladay one game show down? 

Post Season Predictions:

Wild Card Games 

Division Series 

League Championship Series 

World Series 

That’s right, I’m predicting the Marlins will win their third World Series in as many decades.

 Let’s go for some individual awards:


AL Cy Young: CC SABATHIA, Yankees
NL Cy Young: TIM LINCECUM, Giants

AL Rookie of the Year: JESUS MONTERO, Mariners
NL Rookie of the Year: DREW POMERANZ, Rockies

AL Manager of the Year: RON WASHINGTON, Rangers
NL Manager of the Year: DON MATTINGLY, Dodgers

First AL Manager Fired: JOHN FARRELL, Blue Jays
 First NL Manager Fired: BRAD MILLS, Astros

So there you have it. A Dodgers Division? The Pirates making the playoffs on the 20th anniversary of their last post season spot? No Red Sox?


Those are my picks… and I’m sticking with them.

Call me crazy.

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It's good to be Frank McCourt

He comes to Los Angeles, bankrupted one of the great franchises in sports and made the Dodgers the disgrace of all American sports.

His punishment? He gets to sell it for $2 billion!

Shouldn't he give at least $100 million of that to Los Angeles schools or something?

Ah well. May I recommend going to Angels games from now on?

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Adam Wade returns to The Sully Baseball Show

Monday Night Around the Majors/The Sully Baseball Show 03/26 by Seamheads | Blog Talk Radio

Adam Wade, great comedic story teller and friend of Sully Baseball, joins The Sully Baseball Podcast tonight.

And let me just say there are many baseball podcasts out there, but few will hit on David Hasselhoff's performance in the Broadway musical "Jekyll and Hyde."

It's a fun conversation.

It is on the second hour of the Seamheads Tuesday night block.

Listen to internet radio with Seamheads on Blog Talk Radio

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The 15 Greatest Moments for Losing World Series Teams - My new piece for Bleacher Report

My first contribution to Bleacher Report is a compilation of the best moments in World Series history by the losing team.

Cookie Lavagetto breaking up a no hitter... Bob Gibson's domination of the Tigers... Fisk's homer... the post 9/11 World Series and the heroic Yankees... All amazing moments. And NONE were World Champs that year.

Read the whole article here.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wasn't "Don't Jump on a Trampoline" a Joba Rule?

Joba Chamberlain's career has been derailed and sidelined by so much stupidity that it is almost fitting that one final dumb act could have put a fork in it.

Has a more apt metaphor ever sent a once great player crashing quite like this?
Joba's career was up and down and up and down... all the while he has been a big kid if sometimes a little jittery and has a loving (if somewhat complex) family.

And what does he do?
He jumps up and down, acting like a kid, while with his own kid and busts his ankle.

Optimistically he will be back in July.
This might not be a Kendrys Morales situation interms of severity of his injury but it could be as stupid as the Angels first baseman derailing his career jumping on home plate.

Seriously, how could this have happened?

What else was on that to do list?
Bungee jumping?
Torch juggling?
Crocodile wrestling?

Don't give me the crap of "He was being a good father."
He could be just as good a father staying on the sidelines watching his kid jump on a trampoline!
Or reading a book to his kids.

Do you know what a REALLY good father would do?
Not put at risk a career that could not only take care of his kids financially but their grandkids as well.

When your career is on the line and you are already coming back from surgery and a career that is no longer as promising as it once was, why would you do ANYTHING risky?

Remember when he was being called a future ace? Mariano's heir? A potential #1 starter?
He was going into 2012 as "potential 4th option out of the bullpen."
You know, the role they give AAA players and veterans playing for one year contracts.

As the great Lisa Swan wrote "this isn't bad luck. Getting covered by midges is bad luck."
(By the way, she wrote a great piece about Joba on Subway Squawkers.)

I'll take it a step further. I'll quote John Belushi and say "That's not bad luck. That's DUMB luck."

Joba has made good money so far. (May we all make a couple of million dollars before age 26.)
But he hasn't hit the megabucks yet.
He hasn't made the stupid money.
He hasn't made the tens of millions of dollars owed to good, let alone great, pitchers... especially those who play in a big market.

Think $2 million will last a lifetime?
Ask Antoine Walker how long $110 million will last if you don't manage it well.

I can imagine Joba's son years from now asking him "Daddy. Why aren't we rich like all your other Yankee friends?"

"Well you see when you were five years old, I decided to take my 250 pound frame and jump it up and down when I was coming back from a career threatening injury."

"Gee dad. I hope you had fun."

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mets... get out of that New York state of mind

After the Mets lackluster 2009 season, I wrote a blog post that said they should dismantle the team.

I urged them to trade away veterans and play young kids. Yeah they would stink for a few years. But I argued that they were going to stink anyway. Why not stink with young kids for a few years and put together a new young Met team that fans could embrace?

I made the point that the Yankees hit bottom in 1990 and by 1994 were pennant contenders and 1996 put together the greatest sports dynasty since the Big Red Machine.

I made the case that it was time to discover their Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.

And I came across resistance.
And I heard a familiar refrain. "You can't rebuild in this market."
"You'll lose the fan base."
"Fans won't accept a loser."

So here we are two years later.

Two more losing seasons. And they are the WORST kind of losing seasons. The kind where the team is old hurt and boring. The kind where they are irrelevant and going into this season (which would have been the third year of a rebuilding process) they are banged up and can't realistically aim any higher than fourth place.

And oh yeah, their ownership has entangled the team in an embarrassing financial scandal.

So I have having a conversation with Jason Keidel of WFAN in New York.

He lives breathes and defecates New York sports and knows it better than I'll ever know it. We were talking about the Mets attendance woes and wondering about their prospects of drawing as many as 2 million fans without Reyes and with Wright hurt.

I said "The Mets HAVE to rebuild."
And he pulled the same line. You can't rebuild in New York. You'll alienate the fans. The fans won't come back. You can't act like a rebuilding team with the Yankees in the same market... etc etc etc.

So more of the same?

For a New Yorker to say "I won't accept a loser" is as much to the point as someone laid off from a job saying "I won't accept being unemployed."

It doesn't matter what you accept. The reality shows something very clear. The Mets have had three straight 4th place finishes and three straight losing seasons since moving into CitiField.

Does ANYONE see them having a winning season this year? Finishing ahead of Philadelphia, Miami or Atlanta?

The fan base is already alienated. They are already disillusioned.
And the Yankees ARE better.

No amount of putting your hands over your ears and screaming LA LA LA LA LA will suddenly turn the Mets into contenders, make the fan base thrilled and over take the Yankees.

There's a reason why Jose Reyes skipped town and it wasn't all because of the dough. If YOU wanted to win, where would you rather go? A team loaded with young talent and excitement for the new season?

Or a bloated old team with no hope for contention?

The Marlins know a thing or two about rebuilding. Yeah they do firesales and put a team on the field that probably has a lower payroll than the Yankees AAA team from time to time. Then they emerge with an exciting team filled with stars.

And they have matched the Mets in World Series titles.

And when the time comes, they rebuild.

Ahhh... but there is the rub! That's Miami. In New York you have to feed a beast of tons of money and unreasonable expectations on return. No wonder the Wilpons fell for the Madoff scheme.

I may have left Manhattan 7 years ago, but I witnessed first hand New York sports for a decade and a half and saw a disturbing trend with two and now three once proud teams.

I saw the euphoria of the Rangers Stanley Cup and the Knicks Finals run of 1994.

Madison Square Garden was a magical place filled with amazing memories and teams that even this Native New Englander couldn't help but root for.

The Knicks were THE unifying team of the Tri State area and Rangers fans rejoiced in a way that I never saw again until the Red Sox won in 2004.

Then those teams got old.

So what did the franchises do? They didn't rebuild. Why? Because New York DEMANDS a winner. So they made cosmetic changes bit by bit trying to keep the team at championship caliber.

And what happened when the Rangers picked up Fleury, Lindros, Bure, Kovalev, Jagr and Holik? They missed the playoffs EVERY SEASON between 1998 and 2005. Often times they were the most expensive team in the league, but by the spring, they were playing golf.

The Knicks in the post Ewing years have had one disgrace after another. The likes of Antonio McDyess, Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry, Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony have all shown up. The result? 2 playoff appearances since 2001, both first round sweeps.

The spring of 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2010 saw zero playoff games in Madison Square Garden.
It doesn't matter if New York fans would accept a losing team. They had two.

Would the Rangers and Knicks have been better off playing young kids those years and building up a winner from within instead of constantly pushing their chips in the center of the table?

The results of that mindset has been a grand total of two post September 11 playoff series wins in Madison Square Garden. (The Rangers won first round series in 2007 and 2008 before being dispatched.)

The New York mentality is an addiction. MUST WIN NOW!
What good does that do if you aren't winning now?

A little cosmetic change here and there can lead to an ugly result. Do you think Jocelyn Wildenstein said "I'd like to look like a freaky cat lady?"

No she made little change after little change.

The Knicks and the Rangers avoided rebuilding and tanked an entire decade!

The Rangers finally are climbing back to elite status but the Knicks are still barely a playoff team.

Guess what?

The Mets are doing THE SAME DAMN THING!
They are taking the Knicks and Rangers model from the 2000s and said "I'll have what they are having."

Why? Because they are New York!

The ironic thing is New Yorkers seem to embrace hometown players above imported stars. New Yorkers seem to love players who play hard (like Jeremy Lin, Victor Cruz and Nick Swisher) above famous guys cashing big checks.

If the Mets were loaded with young kids who might not be contenders but offering hope for the future, I think that team would capture more fans attention than the current ER unit wearing blue and orange in Queens.

It has taken the Rangers nearly 2 decades to put together another team that will make a run at a title. The Knicks are nowhere near it.

Don't let New York pride get in the way of what you need to do, Mets.
New Yorkers are tough and resilient and have a good B.S. detector.

New Yorkers will only accept a champion?
Build one.

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A Million Dollars A Game For The Mets

How crappy are things for the Mets?
The Mets and their fans are looking at a $162 million settlement as a POSITIVE development.

Hey! It wasn't a billion dollars that the Wilpons et al have to pay regarding the Madoff scandal!
It isn't $393 million.

It's just one million dollars for every single game played this year.
I don't care if they don't have to pay anything for a few years or what further settlements can be reached in those four years to lower their payments. Or if the Wilpons themselves will get any money back that they were swindled from.

There still is no hope in Metsville.
Because the turkeys who put them in this position ARE STILL THERE!

Remember how people were upset how some of the same people who tanked the economy were put in charge in trying to fix it?

How is that different than the Mets?
The same people who took every single outrageous example and ran the team into the ground are still here.

Why would anyone have anything resembling trust or faith that the Wilpons will do the right thing going forward?

The Wilpons have been involved with the Mets since 1980 but Fred has been the chairman of the board since 2003 and been in charge since then.

The Brewers have made more playoff appearances than the Mets since then.
They've gone through managers, general managers, made horrific signings, lousy trades, had two monumental faceplants, one disgraceful managerial firing and have destroyed all the good will among a fanbase despite a new stadium and TV Network.

They have taken every advantage of playing in New York and made it a disadvantage.
On the other side of town the Yankees are spending more than a million dollars a game on players. Yeah it is decadent and has led the Yankees to only one trip to the World Series in the past 8 seasons, but there is no wondering what the priority of the team is there.

Exactly what is it going to take to have Selig intervene and force the Mets to sell?
Say what you want about the Dodgers fiasco. At least they have a winning product on the field and will have a new owner before long.

I have no doubt that in the next 2 or 3 seasons, the Dodgers will win the National League West and be a pennant contender.

Can ANYONE say that about the Mets? Can anyone look at the Mets in this Division with this much young talent and say they are better than a 4th place team?

And what exactly about the Mets under the Wilpons recently make you think things will turn around?

They are slashing payroll, which might actually be a smart thing to do. I mean why RAISE the payroll when you have no chance.

But someone else needs to drive the car.
Just remember, Met fans. The Wilpons will shell out a million dollars a game to make up for their screw up.

Would YOU still have your job if you did that?
Would your boss still have theirs?

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Five questions: Los Angeles Dodgers - My latest for The Hardball Times

I participated in The Hardball Times spring training project: writing the five pressing questions for each team heading towards opening day.

I wrote the questions for the Dodgers, a strange exercise. The team has so many questions and so few answers that I'm not sure if I answered anything. But I hope it is a good read.

Click here to read the article.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mike Brandyberry and Greg Simons join The Sully Baseball Podcast

The Evil Empire and The Nation/Sully Baseball Show 03/20 by Seamheads | Blog Talk Radio

Two guests join me on the podcast this week.
Mike Brandyberry, co creator of Did the Tribe Win Last Night, talks about Cleveland baseball and some tough memories.

Help vote for them to win Cleveland Magazine's best blog.

Then Greg Simons stopped by to talk about his 5 Questions on The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals from The Hardball Times.

It is on the second hour of the Seamheads Tuesday night block.

Listen to internet radio with Seamheads on Blog Talk Radio

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Can a DC playoff run put Davey Johnson in the Hall of Fame?

There's some real excitement about the youth in Washington.
Bryce Harper is super cocky and talking like he belongs in the same conversation with Albert Pujols (even though he is currently tied with ME in all MLB statistical categories.)
Stephen Strasburg could be heading a rotation with Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.

Ryan Zimmerman is the veteran leader of the team and he's only 27.

If the Phillies age catches up with them, the Braves don't improve, the Marlins implode and the Mets continue being the Mets... the Nationals could become winners sooner rather than later.

And who can benefit the most with this wave of youth and hope?
69 year old Davey Johnson.

If he leads the Nationals to the playoffs, he might have a decent argument for the Hall of Fame.

As of this writing, he is 38th all time in wins for a manager. A .500 season would put him ahead of Billy Martin and just behind Whitey Herzog.

He took over the Mets in 1984 and led them to their first winning season since 1976. Yeah he benefited from the arrival of Dwight Gooden. But it was JOHNSON'S idea to bring him right up from A Ball before he turned 20.

He was the first National League manager to win 90 games in his first five seasons.

OK, he only won World Series title with all of that talent. But Johnson's mentor, Earl Weaver, only won one World Series with all of HIS talent! And he's in the Hall of Fame.

Whitey Herzog only has one World Series title.
Same with Leo Durocher.

He turned the Reds around and brought them to the 1995 NLCS. (The Reds were in first place when the strike ended the 1994 season.)

He was dumped by Marge Schott because he wasn't married and living with his girlfriend. (Interesting morality, Marge. Living unmarried? Bad. Hoarding Nazi memorabilia and defending Hitler? Not so bad.)

He went to Baltimore and led them to their only playoff appearances in Camden Yards.

He had three straight seasons in the League Championship Series.

He butted heads with Schott and Peter Angelos who let Johnson walk even after winning the 1997 manager of the year. (The Orioles haven't contended since.)

His two seasons in Los Angeles were not memorable, but he was stragely out of managing in the bigs for a decade.

And here he is now, being handed a potential franchise pitcher and player like he had with Gooden and Strawberry with the Mets.

And only 9 managers with 10 or more seasons have a better winning percentage than Johnson.
He already turned 3 franchises around from losers to playoff teams.
And he has a ring.

If he brings October baseball to the Nation's capitol for first time since 1933, then a Cooperstown berth should at least be discussed.

I suggested that Terry Francona should manage the team. But Davey Johnson is in town and has his eyes focused on the playoffs.

Who knows?
It could be his ticket to immortality.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hey Yankees! Why not bring back Ron Guidry?

Seriously! Why not?
He's left handed.
He's a great Yankee.
He's won big games.

And like Andy Pettitte, he didn't pitch a single inning in 2011.
If the Yankees are bringing back players for purely sentimental reasons, why not Louisiana Lightning?

Cashman needed to make the rotation younger, and what better sign of that than a pitcher who will turn 40 this season and the team already gave a big send off?

I have already written about this subject this year
. The Yankees and their fans can't say good bye to their team. That's why players return to the Yankees over and over again.

But if you are going to let sentimentality rule, why not let Guidry have a shot?

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, mom

My mom reads every word I write on this blog.
I know, because when I make a grammatical mistake, I hear about it in the morning.

I guess when you are the son of the editor in chief of Neuropsychology Review, you've got to be on your toes.

I'd like to get Sully Baseball peer reviewed one of these days.
But for now all I can do it wish my mom a Happy Birthday.

I wrote before about how my mom and her childhood books helped turn me into a baseball historian.

You created a monster, ma.
Happy Birthday, I love you and I am sure I made a tense mistake somewhere in this post.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rays pitchers who clinched a post season Series: From Balfour to Price

As a franchise, the Rays seem to love giving a middle finger.

The play in a dump of a stadium that is empty most of the time. They play in the same Division as the Red Sox and Yankees, ergo can't contend. And they lose their best players by way of free agency and salary dumps.

And here we are going into 2012 and chances are they are going to make the playoffs for the fourth time in five years and are LOADED with solid if not spectacular pitching depth.

The team has yet to win it all, but since changing their name 4 years ago, they have gone from laughing stock of baseball to playoff regulars.

A pair of pitchers have clinched a post season series for the Rays.
No doubt soon, a new pitcher will be added to this list.

2008 American League Division Series - Game 4
Rays 6, White Sox 2

October 6, 2008
At U. S. Cellular Field, Chicago

2 innings of relief for starter Andy Sonnanstine and reliever J. P Howell.

LAST OUT: Ken Griffey Jr. strikes out

2008 American League Championship Series - Game 7
Rays 3, Red Sox 1

October 19, 2008
At Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

1 1/3 innings of relief to save the game for Matt Garza.

LAST OUT: Pinch hitter Jed Lowrie grounds out to second baseman Akinori Iwamura who stepped on second for the out.

As a Red Sox fan, that last one still stings.

Expect to see the Rays in the playoffs in 2012... and the franchise will continue to flip off the experts and all logic.

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