Archive for the ‘TPA Dispatches’ Category

I have a confession.  I used to watch Monday Night Raw.  I used to watch it a lot.  Like every week.  Like, I’d sit around a tiny TV in college with a bunch of other dudes and drink bad beer and yell at the screen.  We paid for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view that The Rock won (in controversial fashion) by clinging to the top rope and pulling The Big Show out while seeming to put his foot on the ground.  It was traumatic.

Anyway, with Raw’s 1000th episode last night (which I didn’t watch; sorry), I figured it was time to dust off our old metaphor bit and feature some of the greatest sports entertainers in WWF/WWE history:

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As you’ve probably heard by now, yesterday was a big day for Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera. He hit two solo homers in his first two plate appearances against the White Sox’ Phil Humber, leading Detroit to a 6-4 win. The second homer, coming in the third inning, was the 300th of Cabrera’s still-fairly-young career.

Here’s a list showing the players with the most homers through their age-29 seasons; Cabrera is the 13th to get to 300 before the end of that year. Among the other 12, seven are Hall of Famers (Foxx, Mantle, Mathews, Aaron, Ott, and Robinson), and three more are certain to eventually be Hall of Famers (A-Rod, Griffey and Pujols). One other is Andruw Jones, who arguably deserves Hall consideration, but won’t get it; one is Juan Gonzalez, who looked like a Hall of Famer once; and one is, well, Adam Dunn. As of yesterday, Cabrera’s rest-of-season ZIPS projection had him hitting 13 more HR over the remainder of the year, which would keep him in 13th place on that list, three behind Dunn.

300 homers well before the end of one’s age-29 season is an impressive accomplishment to be sure, but considering that within all of our lifetimes, Pujols had 366, Griffey 398 and A-Rod 429 (!), it’s not the kind of thing likely to make you want to scrapbook or order a set of commemorative plates.

What I think is noteworthy about Cabrera, though, is that he’s not just — or even primarily — a home run hitter. Read the rest of this entry »

Read in the normal Western way of reading things, the above logo says “2012 Royals All-Star Game.” Yet, while it’ll be held at Kauffman Stadium, and while I’m sure we’ll have plenty of shots of George Brett in the crowd, the actual game and surrounding festivities seem likely to have as little to do with the 2012 Royals as the rules make it possible to.

Every team is required to be represented by at least one player in the game, and the Royals will be represented by exactly one, Billy Butler. Butler isn’t starting the game or contending in the Home Run Derby (and he’s not much of a HR hitter, frankly, but Larry Granillo doesn’t think it should matter). He’s listed as a DH, so it’s far from a guarantee that when he does play, you’ll see him in the field (though Konerko is the only reserve 1B, so it’s certainly possible), and Adam Dunn is also on the reserve roster as a DH, both backing up David Ortiz, so it’s not a guarantee that he’ll get more than one plate appearance (or even that, technically, except it seems safe to assume that Ron Washington will find a way to get the one hometown guy in there). There are close to seventy-five All-Stars; only one of them plays for the Royals. In fact, only one other of them used to play in Kansas City: Carlos Beltran, who was last a Royal in mid-2004 and had his two best seasons (by rWAR) in a Mets uniform.

It’s a great city with what I’m told is a great, recently-remade stadium, and it should be a terrific showcase for the city and the organization. But if you’re a lifelong Kansas Citian and Royals fan who has the opportunity to head down the street and check out the game, there’s not much to keep you interested. Part of every All-Star Game in living memory (and probably not an essential or even necessarily a good part, but unmistakably a part of the experience) is the mostly-hometown crowd going nuts over their own hometown players, and there will be very little opportunity for that tomorrow night.

Does this actually have a chance to be the least involved a host team has ever been in an All-Star Game? Here are what I see as the fifteen current contenders: Read the rest of this entry »

Last night, as you no doubt saw on your television machines, Henderson Alvarez left the game against the Red Sox with elbow soreness.  Now, it sounds as though this was something of a precautionary move and no big deal in the long run.  But since we’re talking about the Blue Jays starting rotation, you can be forgiven for assuming his arm needed to be amputated.

Help could be on the way, though, in the form of Jamie Moyer, who signed a Minor League contract last night and could be inserted into the Jays starting rotation, making himself more indispensible than any 9th starter in baseball history before him.  At least until he has a stroke or gets hit by a meteor.  Ricky Romero, lest he be felled in a hail of bullets or something, is only going to be allowed to leave his bubblewrap-casing to use the men’s room, and even then he has to use the buddy system.

You might wonder (I know I did) where the job of Blue Jays starting pitcher ranks on a list of the most dangerous jobs in North America.  Obviously pretty high.  The list looks something like this:

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Catchers, as a group, are not good hitters. We all know this. And I don’t have the research to back this up, but it seems to me that the way in which they’re not good is that they tend to be poor at getting on base; it’s not that hard to find a catcher that has a little home run power, but they run slow and hit a lot of fly balls and/or strike out a ton, so they hit for poor averages, and they don’t draw walks. As a group. You Toronto folks have kind of an extreme example of the type of player profile I’ve got in mind.

A lot was made of the fact that Joe Mauer became the first (then the second and the third) catcher to lead the American League in batting average, but between the two leagues, that’s been done eight total times now; only three catchers have ever led their league in OBP, and only one of those (Mauer, in 2009) came in 1934 or later.

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First Brandon Morrow strained his oblique.  Then Kyle Drabek felt an ominous pop that’s being called a sprained UCL.  Finally, Drew Hutchinson heard a pop of his own and developed elbow soreness.  You know, at the rate you guys are losing starting pitchers, you’re going to have to resort to sticking Brett Cecil back in the rotation one of these…oh, wait.  And I don’t know anything about this TBD guy you have starting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It’s clear that, if they’re going to stay competitive in the AL Wild Card hunt (they’re currently three games back of the second wildcard), the Jays are going to have to find some help over the next couple weeks.  Things are so desperate that the Jays have already been linked to Jeremy Guthrie, who the Rockies just put on the market yesterday.  That’s the same Jeremy Guthrie who has a 7.02 ERA this year, with 30 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched.   Any port in a storm, I guess.

But here’s the problem for the Blue Jays:  Everybody else in contention seems to need arms this year, and the Jays will seemingly have to outbid every one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Despite writing here for just over a full year now, there are a lot of things, as a U.S. American, I still don’t understand about you people.  I don’t understand what made you think putting gravy on french fries was a good idea (which, for the record, it totally was).  I don’t know why you don’t throw off the oppressive queen that reigns over you.  And I don’t know why you continue to send us your pop stars, as if we don’t have enough mildly talented young white kids to fawn over down here.

My confusion extends to your baseball team, which I think I have more trouble figuring out than any other team in baseball.  Maybe you can help me.  Here’s a list of stuff that I don’t really understand about Blue Jays baseball:

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