It’s Not News, It’s Barry Bonds’ Son

For those of you who don’t frequent Fark, the title of this article is a play on the site’s tagline “It’s not news, it’s…Fark.com.” Recently, Fark founder, Drew Curtis, published a book, It’s Not News, It’s Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap As News, observing, sampling, and investigating the reasons mainstream media outlets such as CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, etc. try to pass off ridiculous stories as major news. I had thought sporting news was safe from such cheap attempts at journalism, but I was wrong.

This story, concerning an injury to Nikolai Bonds, son of Barry, appeared in the top headlines across many of the major sports websites, granted it was an AP written story, but it hardly seems worth writing.

In the article we learn such shocking and useful information as this:
That means he might not be in a Giants uniform working as a bat boy when his father breaks Hank Aaron’s home run record, as the younger Bonds has been for many of his dad’s other milestones in recent years.
OH, NO! EVERYBODY PANIC!
“He’ll still be there,” Barry Bonds said. “It’s not serious. I don’t think anything’s that serious at 17. Who says he won’t be down there. Who knows? We’re not there yet.”
OH…ok, not so bad. Wait, why am I reading and/or caring about this?

How many bat-boys get articles written about them? None. Or an extremely minute percentage at the most. How many baseball articles are written about Barry Bonds? Approximately one out of every two is about him. This is a cheap attempt at humanizing Bonds as we discover what home runs lil’ Nikolai was around for and what he and the rest of the fam’ are going to do when daddy hits 756. The article goes into little detail of Barry and focuses mainly on Nikolai, someone who has NO SWAY ON THE BASEBALL WORLD WHATSOEVER.

There are two reasons why Barry Bonds’ head became so huge: Slightly more than hypothetical steroids and the nonstop obsession of the media with him. We do not need to over inflate his son’s ego with widespread national attention. Nor should we care about his son. We peruse sporting news to learn of sports, not teenagers on the sidelines.

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Contenders and Pretenders

So I didn’t put up an all-lazy team…it wasn’t as fun as the all-hustle team. Oh well. We’re roughly 70 games into the season and can pretty much tell how alot of things are going to shake down. Let’s take a look at teams we think are either kidding themselves into thinking they could do some damage in late September/October or the ones that legitimately could win the whole sha-bang. Because the AL will bevdecided between the Tigers and Red Sox, lets forego the entire AL.

Arizona Diamondbacks: PRETENDERS

Pretenders? Yes. But only for this year. This team has a vicous young core in O. Hudson, Jackson, Young, Byrnes, and Tracy. Valverde has been arguably the best closer this entire year. Their top 3 of Randy’s Johnson, Brandon Webb and Livan Hernandez is not exactly chopped liver. However I don’t think this team has the experience to keep it going to the post season. Big Unit’s health is too much of a question mark, the young guns will rise and swoon, and Webb continues to develop. However, with a couple correct free agent signings in the offseason this team could legitimately take the pennant next year.

New York Mets: CONTENDERS

As much as I hate to admit it, the New York Metropolitans are for real; again. Don’t be fooled by this latest dump in the road–this team goes as Carlos Beltran goes. As soon as his quad gets healthy it’ll spring to life the entire lineup and go on a tear. I predict a monster August once Beltran and Alou get back and become fully healthy. Once they acquire Mark Buehrle it will shore up a shaky starting rotation. But don’t get your hopes up for anything from Pedro–stick a fork in him. If Heilman and Schoenweis can be the bullpen arms everybody thinks they can be, look for big things from Mets in the postseason. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to vomit on myself.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: PRETENDERS

Ugh. Just ugh. The deepest rotation in the National League is now in shambles. Myers, Gordon, Lieber, Garcia, and Madson have all spent significant time on the DL this year (with Lieber completely finished, Garcia MAY get a few games in at the end for free agency’s sake). Pitching can’t make up its mind–either the starters suck and the bullpen is strong, or the bullpen sucks while the starter sucks. They can score runs but they also play the worst fundamental baseball I’ve ever seen. Not this year Phils fans.

Los Angeles Dodgers: CONTENDERS

Ya know, I had PRENDERS up there before I started to really think hard about this team. It’s really a shame that Jason Schmidt went down for the remainder of the season. To be able to throw a rotation of Penny-Lowe-Wolf-Schmidt at somebody in the playoffs would make for some mighty low scoring games. However, Schmidt wasn’t even pitching all that well. This squad could very easily sneak into the wild-card spot; not only that but they appear to heavily be in the hunt for Ken Griffey Jr. Another stout bat in this lineup and this team becomes a squad nobody wants to play in the post season. We’ll see how this plays out but I have a good feeling about the Dodgers.

San Deigo Padres: CONTENDERS

The best pitching in the National League bar none. Their starting rotation is just running a gauntlet of pitching destruction. Jake Peavy is leading the way for a Cy Young; Greg Maddux will always give you at least a solid 6 and invaluable tutelege for the younger pitchers; Chris Young is filthy and only getting better; David Wells will give you 7 strong innings then eat the entire spread in the clubhouse; Justin Germano is a freakin rookie who’s 5-1. You have the All-time saves leader in Hoffman as the closer. They have the best bullpen in all of baseball. However…yowch, that offense. No starter hitting over .300 (or coming all that close). If they add another bat they’re the front runner in my mind.

Milwaukee Brewers/anybody from the NL Central: PRETENDERS

It’s a damn shame somebody from this division will make the playoffs, because they all suck. I only put the Brewers because they’re going to win the division. If they make it past the first round I’ll be shocked; the only prayer they have is Princess Fielder hits 114 HR’s and finishes with 220RBI.

Tigers Trade Maroth to Cardinals; Rotation Fixed!

This really isn’t that huge of a story except for a small quote from Jim Leyland on the positives for Mike Maroth.

“It’s the perfect scenario for Mike,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s going into the rotation for the world champions.”

I can only imagine the caustic tone in which Leyland uttered this sentence as there are quite a few reasons why things are so much different now.

1) Last season Maroth was injured for much of Detroit’s AL Championship Season and didn’t appear in the postseason. Detroit was arguably the better team offensively and pitching-wise last season. Things haven’t changed this season as the divide between the two teams has actually increased.

2) In 2006 Detroit was 95-67, while St. Louis was a moribund (for a champion) 83-78. Their Pythagorean W-L was pretty much spot on. So far this season Detroit is 44-29 (45-28, PythW-L) and the Cards are 33-38 (29-42, PythW-L). In other words, Detroit is looking to return to the World Series, while the Cardinals are looking to come within sight of .500.

3) Obviously Maroth will be getting a better chance to start as he was the weakest link in an excessively talented rotation with Kenny Rogers’ return bumping him out of favor. Who knows, Dave Duncan may be able to work some of his magic on Maroth in the same manner he did with Jeff Weaver. But the truth remains that Maroth is joining a rotation that has been absolutely awful with a side of misfortune. Chris Carpenter was injured in his first start (which wasn’t even good) and is on the DL with starters Mark Mulder and Braden Looper. Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan left in free agency and StL could only replace them with Kip Wells and relief pitchers from within the organization. Five of their starters have been converted relievers (as in converted this season) and all have pitched better than the three actual starters (Kip Wells, Al Reyes, Chris Carpenter).

Good luck helping St. Louis defend their championship, Mike Maroth.

John Donovan: “My brain is a Hot Pocket”

My first thought when I saw this titled link – Which AL pitcher should be the All-Star starter? Here is my early front-runner – on CNNSI was “Wow, what a totally useless article, everyone knows it’s Dan Haren, it isn’t even close.”

I was wrong…and right.

John Donovan, while presenting a multitude of evidence saying otherwise, believes C.C. Sabathia should be this year’s All-Star starter. If anyone believes at this point in the season that the two starters for this year’s All-Star game should be anyone other than Dan Haren and Jake Peavy then they are legally retarded.

He gives us a little table that shows some of the top AL pitchers with their ranking in the shown stat categories in parenthesis. I will regurgitate some of those players in the order of value according to me:

Pitcher W-L ERA K/9 WHIP
Haren 7-2 1.58 (1) 7.05 (16) 0.86 (1)
Beckett 9-0 2.88 (6) 8.38 (7) 1.00 (4)
Verlander 7-2 2.79 (5) 7.29 (13) 1.13 (10)
Lackey 9-4 2.60 (3) 6.96 (18) 1.19 (14)
Sabathia 9-1 3.09 (9) 8.09 (8) 1.12 (9)

Don’t get me wrong, Sabathia is having a great season and deserves to be on the All-Star team, but so do those other guys. Now let us delve into Donovan’s misguided reasoning.

Oakland’s Dan Haren has been fantastic and then some, a winning pitcher for a team that barely can hit. His numbers, other than his strikeout numbers, are unassailable. Better, for the most part, than Sabathia’s.
Haren is the best pitcher in the entire fricking world right now, he leads the universe in ERA and WHIP, his ERA is almost half of Sabathia’s for crying out loud. Whoops, Haren doesn’t strike out as many batters and his winning percentage is worse (he only controls one of those stats). In his two losses he gave up 1 ER (5 unearned). In Sabathia’s one loss he let up 6 ER. Here’s something interesting if you’re concerned about Ks and Winning percentage, Josh Beckett is better than Sabathia in those categories and ERA and WHIP. Donovan has seen the stats yet he continues to be ignorantly halfwitted.

Ten of [Sabathia’s] 14 starts have been quality starts, one of the best percentages in the league. Haren has made 13 quality starts in 14 tries, but Sabathia has left a game with his team trailing only once, which is something even Haren can’t claim. (Admittedly more of a statement about Oakland’s offense, but still worth noting.)
I sincerely believe that Donovan wasn’t thinking or reading or even coherent as he wrote this article. Had he been reading what he was writing he would have convinced himself that this is possibly the worst article written in the past couple weeks (I don’t understand how some of these ‘writers’ get employment).

In his past 25 starts, going back to the All-Star break in ’06, Sabathia has a 3.03 ERA. Only one AL pitcher has a better ERA in that span. That’s Minnesota’s Santana, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, at 2.99 since last year’s break. Yet Santana, as good as many of his peripheral numbers are, is only a .500 pitcher at this point this season.
Including stats from last year is also a mistake, being that there is an entire offseason and pitchers are able to experiment and add new pitches in spring training and it can leave out pitchers who missed a season due to surgery. Also, Santana has one less start, has a higher K/9 rate and a lower WHIP, his ERA is is only slightly higher. Donovan likes to belittle pitchers who receive low or inconsistent run support. Sabathia has allowed 3 ER or more in 7 of 14 starts and is 5-1 in those starts. Santana has done that in 6 of 13 and is 2-3. Haren’s highest ER in a game was 3 and he did that once, receiving a no decision. Santana has allowed a high of 4 ER in 4 games and is 2-2 in them. Sabathia has allowed a high of 6 ER once and 5 ER twice and is 1-1 in them.

The Indians are 12-2 in Sabathia’s starts this year, a number undoubtedly aided by a Tribe lineup that backs the 26-year-old Californian with a gaudy 6.3 runs of support each outing.
Wait, you do care about run support? Why don’t you mention Beckett, you ungrateful moron? The Red Sox are 10-1 in games started by Beckett and give him 6.36 runs of support per outing.

John Donovan, you are a lobotomized Hoary Marmot.

Jeff Passan Doesn’t Know Things

Jeff Passan, a man who normally writes somewhat decent baseball articles, just decided to tell us who is being over and underpaid (based on negotiated contracts) this season…or for the past few seasons, he seems to change his mind on that for some players. Needless to say he has made some idiotic choices.

all numbers are through May 29th, when article was written

Passan lists Carlos Delgado as the overpaid 1B before saying that Richie Sexson with a higher salary and worse numbers could have taken this spot. Thanks, Jeff, you’re an idiot.

Delgado: 7HR 32RBI 26R 2SB .239BA .319OBP .394SLG $14.5
Sexson: 7HR 30RBI 20R 0SB .195BA .298OBP .390SLG $15.5

Passan on desserts: “Apple Pie is my favorite dessert, but cheesecake is better.”

Oh yeah, Passan likes to mention injured players in this list, although he misses quite a few such as Nick Johnson. $3.2 million for sitting on the DL? You suck, Nick Johnson.

At SS Passan lists Julio Lugo, who despite less than appealing numbers is still making his time on base count (15 for 15 in steal attempts). The names Cristian Guzman and Adam Everett come to mind in this spot.

Lugo: 3HR 30RBI 27R 15SB .230BA .292OBP .342SLG $8.25
Guzman: 1HR 6RBI 12R 1SB .256BA .311OBP .378SLG $4.2
Everett: 1HR 9RBI 11R 3SB .206BA .266OBP .288SLG $2.8

Passan gives this gem on underachieving 3B Scott Rolen: “Take away Rolen’s 5-for-6 game April 22 and he’s hitting .207 with one home run and 16 RBIs.” Of course, what he really meant to say was: “Take away all of Rolen’s limbs and he’s completely fucked.” Rolen is the clear choice here though, but an honorable mention goes out to Eric Chavez who, at $9 million, has better power numbers than Rolen, but is hitting 29 points lower at .233BA and getting on base 47 points lower at .294OBP.

In his list of OFs Passan manages to leave out Jim Edmonds who, with 14R, has scored less than Garret Anderson while having played in twice as many games and has a significantly lower OBP than Bobby Abreu and J.D. Drew. Of course he makes a chunk less and plays for the Cardinals in the worst division in anything.

Two of the pitchers Passan lists haven’t even pitched this season (Matt Clement, Mike Hampton) and two others only pitched a couple or a few games before landing on the DL for the season (Carl Pavano, BJ Ryan). He left off some HUGE names here:

Kris Benson $7.5 Out for Season
Jaret Wright $7 In 3 starts 0-3, 10.1IP, 6.97ERA, 2.03WHIP, 7K, 9BB
Carlos Zambrano: $12.4 5-5 5.24 ERA
Eric Milton: $9 In 6 starts 0-4, 5.17ERA, 1.53 WHIP
Jake Westbrook: $8.1 In 6 starts 1-2, 7.90ERA, 1.68WHIP
Kenny Rogers: $8 Has yet to start
Jason Schmidt: $12.5 In 3 starts 1-2, 11.0IP, 7.36ERA, 2.00WHIP
Pedro Martinez: $14 Has yet to start
Esteban Loiza: $6 Has yet to start
Chris Carpenter: $8.5 In 1 start 0-1, 7.50ERA, 1.67WHIP
Mark Mulder: $5 Has yet to start
Kevin Millwood: $7.5 2-4, 6.62ERA, 1.81WHIP
Vincente Padilla: $9 2-7, 5.77ERA, 1.55WHIP
Kip Wells: $4 2-9, 6.20ERA, 1.48WHIP
Mike Mussina: $11 2-3, 5.86ERA, 1.36WHIP
Mariano Rivera: $10.5 1-3, 5.94ERA, 1.32WHIP
Kyle Farnsworth: $5.25 0-1, 4.87ERA, 1.57WHIP
Kei Igawa: $4 2-1, 7.63ERA, 1.60WHIP
Woody Williams: $6 1-7, 5.65ERA, 1.52WHIP
Jose Mesa: $2.5 1-1, 10.13ERA, 1.87WHIP
And finally, the most overpaid player so far:
Roger Clemens: $28 bajillion for pitching in the minors.

On the underpaid side, once again he goofs at 1B. Carlos Pena is certainly a steal at 800K, but depending on what site you look at Adrian Gonzalez is making somewhere between 500K and 1 million while putting up slightly better numbers. Pena can also boost his earnings up by 400K based on performance.

Before I correct Passan on his mistake at 2B I should explain that he lists Jose Reyes and David Wright as the underpaids at SS and 3B, largely due to their backloaded contracts (much like Adrian Gonzalez’s). Take a look at this horrendous error:

Placido Polanco: 1HR 27RBI 27R 1SB .332BA .378OBP .420SLG $4.6
Chase Utley: 9HR 43RBI 37R 3SB .304BA .388OBP .551SLG $4.5
Brian Roberts: 2HR 16RBI 34R 19SB .312BA .406OBP .421SLG $4.2

He picks Polanco over both Utley (who would be my choice) and Roberts (who would still be a better choice than Polanco). The reason he does this? Read the title of the article.

Tim Hudson and John Smoltz, while having great seasons, not only get paid more than Brad Penny and Josh Beckett, but have worse stats than they do.

Hudson: $8.5 5-3, 2.79ERA, 1.09WHIP
Smoltz: $8 7-2, 2.82ERA, 1.27WHIP
Penny: $7.5 7-1, 2.06ERA, 1.19WHIP
Beckett: $6 8-0, 2.65ERA, 0.97WHIP

Additionally, on the relief front:

Scott Linebrink: $1.75 1-1, 2.28ERA, 0.89WHIP
Doug Brocail: $500K 2-0, 2.08ERA, 0.97WHIP
Aaron Fultz: $1.5 3-0, 1.93ERA, 0.93WHIP
Hideki Okajima: $1.2 1-0, 1.05ERA, 0.82WHIP
Pedro Feliciano: $602K 1-0, 0.96ERA, 1.18WHIP

So there you have it. Jeff Passan, an award winning journalist with a degree from Syracuse University, has been accused and proven of writing an only partially researched article. I will accept all payment he received for said article at the following address:

Dr. Thaddeus Ballpheasant
1 David Wright Drive
It’s Going, Gone 00500(ft)