Major League Four

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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Monday, March 28, 2005

2005 Season Preview - Team #17 - Seattle Mariners

The 2005 Mariners are tough to read. They made some good additions, and if everyone's healthy they could actually give the Angels a run for their money, but right now there are a lot of question marks...

Was Adrian Beltre's 2004 a fluke?
Is Richie Sexson fully healed?
Are the 'roids completely gone from Bret Boone's system?
Are Pokey Reese and Miguel Olivo everyday players?
Is Joel Piniero healthy?
Is Gil Meche healthy?
Is Eddie Guardado healthy?
Is Jamie Moyer still any good?

See, that's eight questions right there and I only spent about 5 minutes on this.

2005 Season Preview - Team #18 - Texas Rangers

Aside from a few years when they weren't very good at all, I feel like the Rangers have had the same story since I started following baseball in the early 80's. Above average hitting + below average pitching = a team possibly good enough to make the playoffs but not even close to making a dent against a balanced team. So why should this year be any different?

2005 Season Preview - Team #19 - Los Angeles Dodgers

(Ok, enough of adding pictures to this blog. I have a "real" job.)

Anyway, the Dodgers. No sir, I don't like it. First off, Adrian Beltre absolutely carried the offense last year - and when he didn't, Shawn Green was there to pick things up. Now they're both gone. So, let's take a look at some of the names the Dodgers will be putting on the field this season...

* Jeff Kent (Tough to get along with, not getting any younger)
* J.D Drew (Tough to get along with, ridiculous Jesus freak, has had ONE healthy season, looks surprisingly skinny this year)
* Milton Bradley (Complete psycho, can't go 10 minutes without being suspended, is possibly being moved to RF to accomodate Drew)
* Jose Valentin (Can't field, might not be able to hit in Dodger Stadium)
* Derek Lowe (Great when on, but has the demeanor of a little leaguer when he gets rattled)
* Hee Seop Choi (Hit .160 with 0 HR after coming to LA at last year's trading deadline)
* Brad Penny (Barely pitched after coming to LA at last year's trading deadline)
* Jeff Weaver (Streaky stoner)
* Jason Phillips (Sucked for the Mets last year)
* Eric Gagne (Best closer in baseball...but messed up his knee in spring training and looked HORRIBLE last week)

So you still think they'll be any good this year?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

2005 Season Preview - Team #20 - Oakland A's


If they’re any good this year, then Billy Beane belongs in the Hall of Fame immediately.

Monday, March 14, 2005

(Somewhat) Baseball-free Movie Review: Mr. 3000


I like baseball movies and I like Bernie Mac, but man, did I dislike Mr. 3000. It's a comedy that's not funny. It's a baseball movie with lame baseball. It's a movie with a script that plays out like a page-by-page example of how to write a Hollywood movie. I'd keep going, but it's not worth my time. Stay away, stay very far away.

* and 1/2

2005 Season Preview - Team #21 - Houston Astros


Until Lance Berkman gets back from injury – and possibly after he gets back – the Astros will most likely have the worst offense in baseball. Maybe Kansas City or Pittsburgh can hang with them, but I’m not so sure. The team that came within a few outs of the World Series last year is gone. And by team I mean “Carlos Beltran.” Seriously, is anyone in this lineup going to scare people? Bagwell and Biggio are finished, and everyone else ranges from those too old to be considered prospects (Ensberg, Lane) to those who were never good to begin with (Ausmus, Vizcaino, Orlando Palmeiro). As for the pitching, Oswalt is still the cat’s nutsac, but Pettitte is damaged goods, Brandon Backe reeks of Jaret Wright/John Lackey-itis, and Roger Clemens will be on the Yankees by mid-July. Can you say rebuilding?

2005 Season Preview - Team #22 - Arizona Diamondbacks


The good news: Adding Troy Glaus, Javier Vazquez, Russ Ortiz and Shawn Green could be huge. If they all return to form, that’s four (one-time) all-stars they didn’t have last year. The bad news: Their three best hitters (Glaus, Green and Luis Gonzalez – “The Killer G’s” anyone?) are all coming off injury. The worse news: The rest of the team is pretty crappy.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

2005 Season Preview - Team #23 - Detroit Tigers


Remember the days when free agents would happily sign with teams all over the United States and not just coastal teams with large cable TV deals? The days of Cy Young winners like Mark Davis signing with Kansas City are long over. (Though maybe Davis knew he’d be injured and horrible and therefore chose to pitch away from the spotlight.) Anyway, it sucks for the Tigers to know that the only way they’ll sign a marquee name is by overpaying them AFTER they can’t find a job anywhere else. And early signee Troy Percival hardly counts because he’s just not that good anymore.

That said, the tigers could surprise some people this year, since the AL Central should be a pretty easy division to hang around in. If their young pitching staff turns it up a bit, and reluctant/question marked Tigers Magglio Ordonez (messed up knee) and Pudge Rodriguez (lost 20 pounds of "muscle") play up to their usual level, then the Tigers might finally be as good as their new stadium.

Baseball-free Album Review: Doves - Some Cities


It seems that English trio Doves (Dude, where’s the “The”?) got the memo that the best bits of their last album – the most excellent “The Last Broadcast” – were epic buildup monsters like “Satellites,” “There Goes the Fear,” and the blood rushing, stadium-ready soccer anthem “Pounding.” Therefore, nearly every song on “Some Cities” features the same formula, which makes for a catchy, fun and ultimately repetitive affair. Yes, we all love the “Be My Baby” drumbeat and perfectly chiming guitars, but what happened to the diversity that made “Broadcast” and their spectacularly moody debut “Lost Souls” so enjoyable?

When “Some Cities” is on – like in the sublime title track, and the way “Sky Starts Falling” spins a typically-Dovesish track into a surprisingly noisy direction – you feel the magic that more often than not makes this band soar. But too much of the same, as well as a few missteps (“The Storm” sounds exactly like Portishead, and I doubt even Portishead wants to sound like Portishead anymore), makes it a slight letdown.

***

2005 Season Preview - Team #24 - Milwaukee Brewers


Poor Milwaukee. Unlike the Devil Rays, the Brewers actually do have fans. But like the Devil Rays, the Brewers play in a tough division and don’t stand much of a chance at making the playoffs. The only difference is that if they keep some of these guys around for a few years – and if uber-kids Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder are as good as advertised – they could leap frog up to the top. But if Ben Sheets bolts for the Yankees, Red Sox or other marquee team, then it’s back to square one.

As for 2005, I really like the moves they made – sending a journeyman “all-star” closer and poor hitting speedster Scott Posedsksinkcicnnnkick for a studly pitching prospect and Carlos Lee. If Miller Park makes Richie Sexson look like Pedro Cerrano, then Lee’s got a good shot at a pretty sick season.

2005 Season Preview - Team #25 - Tampa Bay Devil Rays


If MLB decided to get rid of the Devil Rays, would anyone care? More importantly, how many people would even notice? The Rays might actually not be so terrible this year, but so what? They have 38 fans and they play in a division with three teams that spend money and another with a talented G.M. So basically they have no chance. Not this year, not next year, not ever. Get rid of them. Nobody will know.

2005 Season Preview - Team #26 - Toronto Blue Jays


Last year I wrote my usual MLB season preview for Flipped Online (www.flippedonline.com), only for whatever reason I never sent it to my “editors.” I think it was because I was away for the week leading up to the season and didn’t write it until the middle of the first week – and didn’t feel right about “cheating” like that. After all, even a few days worth of watching games gives you a sense of who’s good and who’s not. Then again maybe I didn’t send it because I picked the Red Sox to finish in third place and didn’t want to be right about that – or seem wrong if they ended up being good. But why did I pick the Sox to finish third? Because I thought the Blue Jays were going to the World Series. Yup. I thought they’d surprise everyone and lose to the Cubs in the fall classic. And never was I more happy to be wrong – for the sake of the Sox, not the Blue Jays. After all, it would be nice if the Sky Dome was actually full of people again. But no. Halladay got hurt, Delgado slumped, Hinske vanished, and the rest of the pitching staff – which I thought would be great since in 2003, Lilly, Hentgen and Towers all KILLED the Red Sox – really just fell flat. The Jays finished in last and until now my boldly stupid prediction was in hiding. This year I’m not falling for it again – though since they actually look bad on paper this time around, maybe they’ll actually be good this year.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Hooray for America!


No it's not Oscar Gamble's children, it's the Mars Volta! These guys (and their afros) currently have the #4 album in America. It has five songs. It also happens to be 78 minutes long. It's also most excellent...assuming you're into 34 minute songs that go pretty much way beyond all over the place before coming back for a bit and then running off again.

Look kids, it's Big Mac slammin' Sammy!


2005 Season Preview - Team #27 - Pittsburgh Pirates


Doesn’t this say everything about the Pirates? Now hopefully Jason Bay’s wrist – that thing that’s causing him to scream in pain – isn’t too damaged, and they’ll have their Rookie of the Year back on the field soon. But this combined with the bad press about low-balling the salaries of Bay and almost-star pitcher Oliver Perez (both acquired in the Brian Giles deal) just sums up all you need to know about this once great franchise. Oh, that and if they’re leading a game in the 9th inning, then Jose Mesa will be pitching to Benito Santiago. Yup, the should-be-forward-thinking Pirates are gonna party like it’s 1989.

2005 Season Preview - Team #28 - Washington Nationals


So finally. After years and years of rumors, last place finishes and an average crowd of 346 people, the Montreal Puerto Rixpos have finally moved to “the District.” If Baron Davis said his years with the New Orleans Hornets were “like prison,” then playing for the Expos must have been like an extended stay at Abu Ghraib. And that’s the good news. The bad news is that the roster stayed pretty much intact from those last few years in Montreal. Newcomer Jose Guillen might add some pop (though he’ll probably get suspended for something or other) but Vinny Castilla? Esteban Loaiza? Oh, dios mio.

Actually the “Nats” don’t have such a horrible team, it’s just that they’re light-years behind their four division rivals. Though if they somehow made a run and forced the Braves, Marlins, Phillies or Mets to finish in the basement, well, then that would make for a pretty interesting season.

2005 Season Preview - Team #29 - Colorado Rockies


The Rockies are like the anti-A’s. Whereas Oakland develops players only to see them (and/or help them) reluctantly bolt town when it’s time for a raise, the Rockies do the opposite. The Rockies take mediocre players, watch their stats balloon thanks to 82 games in Coors Field, and then are perfectly happy when they find someone else to pay an inflated contract. Take Vinny Castilla. The guy can’t hit outside of Colorado and gets $6 Million over two years with Washington. Jeromy Burnitz? $5 Million over one year from the Cubs. Do GMs from these teams not know how to use the “split stats” feature on ESPN.com?

Meanwhile, more than 50% of the Rockies’ 2005 starting lineup, at least 40% of their rotation – and even their closer have a year or less of major league experience. Oh well, at least all those homers make their games fun to watch on TV.

2005 Season Preview - Team #30 - Kansas City Royals


When the Royals got off to a hot start back in 2003, nobody was happier than me. Well, I guess actual Royals fans were happier than me, but that’s not the point. The point is that the Royals haven’t been to the playoffs since 1985, when they last won the World Series. Since then they’ve won more than 84 games only once. Yuck. Granted they’ve had some decent players pass through town on their way to brighter pastures, but Royals fans haven’t had the opportunity to be excited about an upcoming season since the 1980’s. This isn’t good.

And 2005 doesn’t look to be any different. The bright spots are two second year players everyone seems to be talking about – pitcher Zack Grienke and outfielder David “don’t mess with” DeJesus. Chances are the few baseball fans left in Kansas City will get a chance to watch them struggle and then become star worthy just in time to bolt to a coast team with a payroll and a realistic shot at the playoffs.

Sure, Mike Sweeney still has the Lord on his side, but he’s gonna need more than that for the Royals to be any better than one of the worst teams in baseball (once again).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hooray for Advertising part I


Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper is apparently a "Soda Fountain Classic." Just like Mom and Dad used to drink...in the secret labratory.

The Royal Flush: 2005 Edition


Royals catcher Albert Castillo thinks long and hard about which team I'll soon write about as the #30 team (out of 30 teams) in my 2005 baseball preview.


This is me...then Posted by Hello

Take Two

So last year I started a blog. It was (mostly) about Baseball. It lasted for five posts and then I got bored.

This year I'm trying harder...I swear. More talk about baseball mixed with some other funny nonsense. Like I said last year (to the six to eight people who read the thing), this was to make reading about baseball fun again. There will be no mentions of useless statistics that only people who've never left their Mom's basement have ever heard of. Just fun, enjoyable talk about baseball and whatever else crosses my mind.

And for the record, I prefer last year's title "The Baseball Diaries" to this year's, only www.thebaseballdiaries.blogspot.com sends you to some hot 20 year old college student who talks about her grades. Like gee, thanks, lady.