“And it’s a long, chai ball…”

This summer, you most likely didn’t expect to be wearing a Bet Shemesh Blue Sox hat while you bought tickets for a game between the Tel Aviv Lightning and Netanya Tigers. You most likely weren’t expecting to see a backdrop of Jerusalem as you saw a double play (turned by Japanese, Americans, and Ukrainians who dropped out of their semi-pro leagues). Yeah, Haifa doesn’t seem like a baseball town. But, though peace is elusive, baseball is not. Continue reading

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Some Thoughts Thus Far

1) First and foremost, injustice on the homefront. Chris Coste, of whom I take my namesake, the same person who in his first year in the bigs at age 33 hit .328 (led the phillies) and .356 with RISP (also leading), while hitting on a pace for 90+ RBI’s and 20+ homers has been delegated to the minors since the beginning of the season. Why? So we can watch Rod Barajas go 0-for the century and Carlos Ruiz can prove to us he should still be in AAA. Did I mention Coste plays 3b and 1b as well? The Phillies organization is showing how abso-fucking-lutely retarded they are this season, and its hurting my head. A good young core with a bench of nobody’s is a good way to have high expectations and low results. Last year during the late season push one constant was the Phils bench–Jeff Conine was obtained from the Marlins, and Chris Coste was providing a stellar bat in the bottom of the order.  This year?  Greg Dobbs, Jayson Werth, and Michael Bourne.  Ugh.

2) Dice-K falling on hard luck. After my mini-slam of Dice-K in the last entry, allow me to say this guy is a VERY capable pitcher and will be successful. In his second outing he ran into arguably the nastiest pitcher in the league (Felix) and last night ran into a very underrated and very talented young arm (Chacin). Dice went 7 strong allowing only two runs but again got credited with the L. Tough times, but if you don’t think this guy is going to win at least 15 games this year you’re out of your mind.

3) The Yankees lineup top to bottom is disgusting. I mean filthy disgusting. I absolutely hate the Yankees fanbase, but since I live in north jersey, and they’re on, I can’t help but watch. With A-Rod playing the way everybody expects him to, and Abreu added to the lineup, this team is an offensive nuclear holocaust just waiting to lay waste to pitchers. If this teams pitching EVER gets healthy and adds one more veteran starter (c’mon, I feel the Jon Lieber talk in my bones!!), they have to be considered the front runners to win it all. And K-Rod? You’re 13 million a year is waiting for you after the season is over in the Big Apple.

4) Jose Reyes is good. REALLY good. Once he learns how to read pitchers properly (haven’t seen him get a good jump yet) this guy will be unstoppable on the basepaths. Maybe not Ichiro good (45 stolen bases in 47 attempts last year), but damn close.

5) Slow starts by the big guys. Until the past two games Papi has been in a bear-like coma, Manny’s hair is in his face, Teixera forgot he’s an elite firstbasemen (YOU’RE KILLING MY FANTASY TEAM ASSHOLE!!!), Howard looks out of sorts at the plate (he’s gained weight too, NOT a good sign), Berkman is 15 points under the Mendoza Line, and Albert Pujols is sitting at 25 points below Berkman. Yikes.

6) The Nats suck (but will still take 1 of 2 games from the Phillies)

7) We should call the Mets announcers “Tom Glavine’s on-air felatio service” (Yes, I’m bitter. Leave me alone)

This Just In: The AL Cy Young Race is Over

To all the AL pitchers out there hoping for the Cy Young award I have some words for you: Give up now. In case you missed it last night or this morning on SportsCenter or Baseball tonight (if you watched either one of those there is NO WAY you missed it) Dice-K went 6 DOMINANT innings yesterday, allowing only ONE (!!!!!!!!!) run, 6 hits, and 10k’s (ZOMG h0ly sh1ts!!!). Not only that, he did it against perrenial powerhouse Kansas City Royals whom are no doubt in my mind a major league baseball team.

While the collective Boston metropolitan area woke up this morning like it was the day after Game 4 in 2004, I could only agree with them. Dice-K is no doubt the most dominant pitcher in the bigs. Santana? Carpenter? Oswalt? Are you kidding? Ninja please…they don’t throw 7 unhittable pitches or have anything in their arsenal close to anything resembling a gyroball. Who cares Ben Sheets went 9 innings and gave up one run? Or that Cole Hamels (age 23, salary 400k) threw 7 scoreless innings, with 4 hits and 8k’s? HE’S NOT THE DICE MAN BABY! OHHHH!!!

Post Script:

Excuse me if I’m not blowing my load over Dice-K just yet. Let him face the Yankees and their lineup; if he puts up the same numbers against them I’ll happily pat him on the back. Till then, IT WAS THE GOD DAMN ROYALS!!!

Post Post Script:

Mariners…ya see?

Quotes You Will Not Be Seeing Anywhere Else

“Now the fans will love me…I’m a true Yankee!”-A-Rod

“I thought like, the National League was supposed to be like, totally easy?”-Barry Zito

“I’m so excited for this season; I think we’ve got alot of potential to turn some heads and I’m happy to be a part of it.”-Chad Cordero

“Can we just look past that little HGH thing?”-Gary Matthews

“I think I’ve got a shot at the Cy Young this year.  Seriously.”-Curt Schilling

“Is an ERA of 72.00 a bad thing?”-Jose Contreras

“Although mailing it in the past 5 years has been fun, I’m gonna really commit myself this year.”-Junior Griffey

“I’m truly a fucking asshole.”-Barry Bonds

“We’re going to support our team this year.”-Florida Marlins fanbase

“Peeing on rookies? Thats disgusting.”-Greg Maddux

“I think we’ve got a good young core to help this squad.”-Bill Bavasi

Moonlight’s Opening Day Notes : Hooray!

Imagine that you ate real bad Thai food last night. It tasted good, but well, it was Thai food. You spent most of the day in bed, watching Crash. Imagine that it’s 8:15 and you told your girlfriend that you’d be over. You have food on the stovetop. Imagine that you just saw that everyone else posted about opening day. You felt pressured to do something. The clock is ticking. Continue reading

Ozzie’s Opening Day Notes (Also Hooray!)

It’s official: the 2007 baseball season is underway. Since I spent all of yesterday at my desk in work three miles from the nearest major league park, I really didn’t get to experience it as fully as I would’ve liked. Did catch the Mets-Cards the night before though, as well as bits and pieces of other games thanks to my mlb.com radio account. A few thoughts to kick off the season:

As it stands, do no trust the Phillies bullpen to hold a close lead or tie for its starters.

Phillies reliever Ryan Madson dropped his curveball this spring in favor of a slider, which he claims to be much more comfortable with. Unfortunately for Madson and Phillies fans (myself included), Edgar Renteria appeared comfortable with it too – the Braves shortstop took a 2-2 hanging slider from Madson and dropped it over the right field wall of Citizens Bank Park in the tenth inning of yesterday’s game, sending the Braves ahead 5 to 3. The Phillies, in case you missed it, did not come back.

Somehow, some way, I convinced myself going into the season that Madson, Geary, Gordon, and a handful of other unproven, less-than-dominating arms in the pen would suffice, at least until the trade deadline when quality relief will start to be shopped. Now, I know that part of me was just living in denial of just how thin the Phillies bullpen actually is. But another part genuinely believed that seven to eight innings of well-pitched ball from the front end of Philly’s rotation would cancel out the bullpen’s question marks over the course of the season, despite what the critics said. Yesterday’s game has me thinking otherwise. The Phillies simply cannot count on the bullpen, as it is, to nail down tight games. At all. Ever. And if Gordon is lost to the DL, which, given his age and soreness issues this offseason, is a real possibility, the Phils might again find themselves in a hole they can’t dig themselves out of early on. Following from that…

Quality relief is rarer than sabermetrics makes it out to be.

Can you imagine plugging Ryan Madson and his slider into the closer’s role in Philadelphia, or anywhere for that matter? He’s not going to spit out 40 saves. Closers don’t grow on trees. They just don’t.

Dear God, if you’re reading this, please don’t let Tom Gordon’s arm fall off.

Tom Glavine will be effective this year, as always.

Glavine did not dominate the Cardinals’ lineup Sunday night, but he pitched well. Very well, in fact. Watching Glavine go 3-0 on Pujols only to work back to 3-2 with two low-and-outside-changeups, then getting Pujols to fly out on a third low-and-away changeup was, in a word, satisfying. It was a High Fidelity outing – “It wasn’t boring. But it wasn’t spectacular either. It was just… Good. Very good.” – the kind Glavine has been turning in routinely now for the past few years. Glavine has his game-plan and sticks to it, which, even as a Phillies fan, I admire. The process is never electric and the results tend not to be spectacular, but the statistics, especially that 291 Wins, speak for themselves. He’ll be on the cusp of 300 by the All-Star break.

Joe Morgan will provide banal and incoherent commentary, as always.

I forgot how mind-numbingly incoherent Joe Morgan’s ramblings are, especially about statistics in baseball. Then Sunday night happened.

Don’t draft players from your real-life favorite team’s division rivals for your fantasy league roster.

I’m a Phillies fan that drafted Bob Wickman, Tim Hudson, Jose Reyes, and, as you might have guessed, Glavine. What am I thinking? Wickman didn’t close yesterday afternoon, but he did pitch, and fairly well. How am I supposed to feel about that? How should I feel if he comes in to close tomorrow night? This is my first season doing fantasy. How do other people handle these conflicts of interest? Please, counsel me. The schedule tells me I have 25 to 30 games just like this ahead of me. My heart may very well explode.

Know how the scoring system for your fantasy league works before the season starts.

It doesn’t do much good to have Todd Helton and J.D. Drew in your lineup if you’re not scoring points for walks or OBP. Thanks a lot, Bob. You turd.

I live in the worst market in all of major league baseball.

Washington, DC, ladies and gentleman! We’re looking at a possible 200 losses between the Nats and Orioles. The sad part is I’m only half-joking.

Note(s) on Opening Day(s): Hooray!

NYM-STL: Well played by the Mets, a big smack in the face for the Cards. What is La Russa thinking by batting Preston Wilson 2nd and Yadier Molina 5th? Wilson averages a strikeout every 3.7 AB, which is bad because that means he doesn’t put a ball in play (of course he did ground into a double play his first AB) and Molina is a career .238 hitter with a total of 16 HR in 937 AB, which are stellar numbers for the guy protecting your clean-up man. Then again, the Cards don’t have many options offensively; they have to rely on Pujols and their pitching for wins. Am I still bitter? Maybe.

FLA-WAS: Yes, I am. Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera combined to kill Patterson in this blowout, no statement has been made by his family as of yet. Washington should be glad they have a bright spot in Zimmerman and that Cristian Guzman is injured again thereby allowing them to play someone decent at SS.

TOR-DET: The Jays started walking away with this early before Detroit started stringing together hits and then gave up after tying the game (0 hits, 2 walks in 5 innings). Placido Polanco, besides having a great name, is a contact machine, that is a #2 hitter right there.

ATL-PHI: Atlanta’s rejuvenated bullpen bared its teeth in this one. Oddly enough Chad Paronto had the best outing…and he is heavier than Bob Wickman. Phillies fans have to be hating Edgar Renteria, who loves Citizens Bank Park (.300 BA, 5 HR, last 10 G).

TB-NYY: For a while the Rays were playing quite well. Then their bullpen came in and their runs dried up. The Great Yankee Hit Parade made up for Pavano’s separation anxiety from the whirlpool tub. A-Rod, D-Jet, and J-Phe(lps) all made errors, which is unacceptable, they should all be cut from the team. Ok, maybe not Phelps, he’s new (and his OBP is 1.000, how do you walk the shitty guy twice?). Elijah ‘Put-up-your’ Dukes hit his first HR in his second AB, well on his way to 162 HR for the season.

CLE-CWS: Cleveland has a beast of an offense and Contreras gave up 8 runs in 1 inning of work. Andy Marte had to have been feeling left out as he was the only starter who didn’t have a hit. Darin Erstad hit a two-run shot in the second, well on his way to 7 HR for the season.

LAD-MIL: Ben ‘I-Wet-The’ Sheets pitched a two-hitter (no walks). Derek Lowe was working on an eighteen-hitter before being taken out in the 4th inning (5 walks). Milwaukee is working on cloning Sheets for when he gets injured and to replace their other 4 starters. Sheets showed his humanistic side by kindly striking out 3 times at the plate.

CIN-CHC: Carlos ‘I’m-Not-Victor’ Zambrano is well on his way to getting his huge extension (haha) with this performance. Adam Dunn homered in his first two AB, walked, and flied out before allowing himself to be rung up on strikes. The man is cutting down on his Ks. Alfonso Soriano is no leadoff hitter. Josh Hamilton began his EPIC comeback from 1st overall pick in 1999 to years of cocaine addiction and obscurity to today being an obscure Reds player.

ARI-COL: Both starters failed miserably and Kazuo Matsui resumed pissing off Mets fans by continuing to play well. Unlike his 3 Met openers he failed to homer in his first AB of the season. Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, Chris ‘I’m-Not-Chris’ Young, Troy Tulowitzki, and Chris Iannetta all began their push for NL ‘Rob’ ROY honors.

BOS-KC: Gil ‘Crips-And-Bloods-Don’t’ Meche gave a good reason for his supposedly undeserved contract. Curt Schilling didn’t. Boston seems to have given up on Coco Crisp being their leadoff hitter as he went 0-3 as the #8. Julio Lugo is a definite improvement at the top, but not quite in this game (1-4, 3K). Both of Tony Pena Jr.’s hits were triples; he is well on his way to 324 triples on the season.

OAK-SEA: King Felix and a Putz combined to shut out the Athletics and all 4 of Seattle’s runs were unearned despite a Richie Sexson HR. Bobby Crosby continued his fall from grace by going 0-3 with 2K and 2 errors. Team Moneyball managed just two BB.

BAL-MIN: Johan Santana got some nice run support in his less than spectacular outing. Baltimore has to be somewhat happy with their hitting after what they did to MLB’s best pitcher, but Leo Mazzone has his work cut out for him with the pitching staff. Minnesota’s bullpen seems to be the same dominating unit it’s always been.

PIT-HOU: Brad Lidge’s misfortune or mispitching continues as he blew another save with one out remaining allowing the Pirates to win in extra innings. All the runs were scored on HR. Adam LaRoche went 0-5 with 4K in demonstrating how he shouldn’t prove his worth. I miss having Roy Oswalt on my fantasy teams.

TEX-LAA: As I was wondering why Casey Kotchman was batting ahead of Howie Kendrick, Kotchman (2-3) hit a HR and Kendrick (0-4) struck out. Take that, me. There might not be a more underrated one-two punch than Lofton and Catalanotto heading up Texas’ batting order; of course that wasn’t the case in this game (1-6, 2 BB).

SD-SF: As this game has not been played yet I feel I should request that San Diego take it easy on the oldest team the average payroll can buy. Seriously, Barry Zito will be the youngest starter on this team at 29; everyone else is between 32 and 43.
Update @ 7.23pm, Apr 3: My friend is sorely missing Jake Peavy from his fantasy team, he has some odd obsession with Jake (which is nothing like my obsession with Chutley). SanFran got a big embarressment, Zito had three perfect 1-2-3 innings, two innings weren’t so perfect. SanFran also learned that its bullpen might be lacking to some degree. SanDie discovered that, ye gods, they can create offense.