What’s that, espn? Aces are important?

ESPN’s position as vanguard of in-depth baseball analysis continues with their latest gem: a top-10 list of players who are important in this upcoming World Series.

Baseball’s tea leaves being more subtle and multilayered than other professional sports, ESPN did not leave this important piece of prophecy to one writer. No, this gem of a post was composed by “many of ESPN’s baseball writers, analysts and contributors.”  Some of the key points:

  • Important player #1: Cliff Lee.  Reason: “Lee is the Phillies’ Game 1 starter; he would also likely start Game 5.”
  • Important player #2: CC Sabathia.  Reason: “Sabathia will start Game 1 for the Yankees and could start Games 4 and 7 if Joe Girardi chooses to [start him].”

Other important players ESPN wants the world to keep an eye on: Alex Rodriguez!  Ryan Howard!  And wait, Mariano Rivera!?!?

Thank you, ESPN, for reminding us that the most important players in this World Series are the best players on each team, particularly the ones who will play the most.  We had not considered this.

Perhaps ESPN is trying to educate those people who will confused the World Series with the World Series of Poker, and want to know who the Phil Iveys and Phil Hellmuths are.  Covering the top end so thoroughly, I thought I’d identify the bottom 5 least-important players to this World Series.   Note that the World Series rosters have not been released yet, but ESPN didn’t wait for them, so neither are we.

All Swings Considered asked many of its baseball writers, analysts and contributors who were on gchat at the moment to rank the players. Here are the results:

  1. Jerry Hairston Jr, bench, Yankees.  Why is he not important? He probably won’t play, unless Girardi decides to play him (<– analysis!).
  2. Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees.  Why is he not important? He’s the third catcher on the roster, probably.  And Girardi wouldn’t even use #2 catcher Jose Molina if Burnett wasn’t such a head case and baseball didn’t have its One Catching Molina Per Postseason Series rule.
  3. Mike Harkey, bullpen coach, Yankees.  Why is he not important? If at all possible, the Yankees will use only Mariano Rivera out of the bullpen.  Rivera does not need a bullpen coach.  If the Yankees are forced to use other relievers, Mike Harkey is not going to help.  Which brings us to:
  4. The Rest of the Yankees bullpen.  Why are they not important? The Yankees spent $1.073 billion dollars on 9 players, and none of them pitch in the bullpen.
  5. The Easter Bunny.  Why is he not important? Baseball prostituting itself to television contracts, combined with bad weather, mean there is only a 15% chance that the World Series lasts until next Easter.

Honorable mention: Kenji Johjima, Lynn Cheney, Roosevelt’s Face On Mount Rushmore.

Don’t Tread on Philly

Don't Tread on Philly

A common flag in colonial America. Go Phillief! (image by Eric Nielsen)

A Philadelphia Phillies versus New York Yankees World Series creates a lot of rivalry hype. We’ve heard talk about “Cheese-cake vs. Cheese-steak”, a “statue of liberty vs. the liberty bell,” “Wall St. vs. Broad St.” etc. Implicit in all of this naming is a class-war between New York and Philadelphia, where the Yankees represent money and glitz, while Philadelphia represents stagnation and grit. Obviously, this can’t only be about baseball – it’s a war between cities whose fans border each other (see this particularly dichotomous article from the Associated Press: Cheesecake versus Cheesesteak). The author, the famous Jim Litke, goes as far to make this about New Jersey:

“To most of the nation, this year’s World Series sounds like a lot of work just to find out where New Jersey’s loyalty really lies.”

As an avid New Jersey partionist, I find this level of rhetoric a bit myopic.

This is about more than the current Philadelphia versus the present New York. No, it’s much deeper than that.

This is about the roots of AMERICA.

On July 1st, 1776, as the Continental Congress sat in PHILADELPHIA, they pondered if they should declare independence, forever severing themselves from the crusty teat of jolly ol’ England. By the next day, most states had been won over, all except NEW YORK, which postponed their vote while the other twelve voted for the United States of America, and thus, freedom.

But NOT voting for the Declaration of Independence wasn’t enough for NEW YORK. During the Revolutionary War, Washington found himself withdrawing from the island, while the British forces took over their Tory stronghold.

My selectively edited paragraph from a Wikipedia article proves the treachery of New York, a harbinger of the baseball team to come: “New York City and Long Island (the British military and political base of operations in North America from 1776 to 1783) had a large concentration of Loyalists…” “Loyalists tended to be older, more likely merchants and wealthier” “Loyalist civilians… harassed… the Patriots.” And finally, perhaps a last straw in this historic rivalry: “Two Philadelphia residents were executed…”

You’d think that once the war was over, New York would recognize its historic blunder and support the fledgling democracy. Again, like a high school student at midnight, I will allow Wikipedia to do my talking for me:

After the evacuation of the British, New York, then the nation’s second largest city, was briefly the capital of the United States of America, with Congress meeting in Federal Hall starting in 1785. However, the city’s and state’s status within the new union under the United States Constitution written in 1787 was under question when the Governor George Clinton proved reluctant to submit state power to a strong national government, and was opposed to ratification. Some New York City businessmen proposed New York City secession as an alternative to join the union separately, but Alexander Hamilton and others argued persuasively in the Federalist Papers published in city newspapers for state ratification, which after much dispute finally passed in 1788.

As if it wasn’t enough to oppose the Declaration of Independence, New York also had to try to sink the Constitution. In 1790, one year into Washington’s presidency, and perhaps the nation’s first off-season free agency signing, the first president left “The Big Apple” by carriage in the middle of the night.

Philadelphia was again the nation’s capital.

So, when you think of Wednesday’s World Series rivalry, think not of “NJ turnpike’s” and “Amtrak” series. Think of the birth of this great country, and how New York did all it could to stifle it.

This is the series of Ben Franklin (and Ryan Howard) vs. Nobody.

ryan howard ben franklin edit

Ryan Howard (2006 Most Valuable Player) and Ben Franklin (1776 Most Valuable Patriot) - (image by Eric Nielsen)

ESPN analysts take the coward’s way out

espn predictions

The only guy taking the Phillies is the fantasy guy from Philly? if this were the Spanish Civil War, Stark and Crasnick would be lined up against a wall and shot.

In any event, I’m looking forward to comparing this screenshot to the end result. These predictions have a convenient habit of disappearing from the homepage when things don’t work out according to plan.

ozziecanseco says: Phillies in 7.

Jayson Werth is not receiving constructive criticism

As my inaugural post to All Swings Considered, I’d like to mention my least favorite swing in baseball: Jayson Werth. It comes in two varieties.

  1. The Modified Crescent Position. In this one, he bends his back knee down to the dirt, approximating a yoga position I’ve seen my friends do.
  2. The Confident Stride (pictured). For higher pitches; the dramatic lean forward, pushing off his back foot and swinging the bat around like a shopkeeper cleaning his store while singing.

Note: it is important, in both swings, to puff your cheeks out like Louie Armstrong.

Dads (or moms!), don’t teach your son to hit like this man. If you see your son pantomiming Werth’s swing, take away his dessert and make him watch Albert Pujols in slow motion until he understands.

No!   Yes!

No! ----- Yes!

If Werth homers to right-center off Sabathia this World Series, I’ll throw my lager in excitement and frustration.

The Ultimate Showdown

Tons of things can be said about this upcoming world series.  Good versus Evil.  Righteous versus the wicked.  Upper middle class versus fiendishly wealthy.

Let’s face it…this is shaping up to be an all-time series.  The most explosive AL team vs the most explosive NL team.  The defending WFC vs the team with the highest payroll, most expensive new home, and biggest bandwagon fans on the planet (sorry Red Sox Nation, you just squeezed in 2nd).  The home grown boys against the best team money can buy.  LET’S GO TO THE TALE OF THE TAPE!

Offenses:

These are two full blown nuclear superpowers. 1-6 these two lineups are retardedly potent.  Jeter-Damon-Teixera-Arod-Godzilla-Posada.  Rollins-Victorino-Utley-Howard-Werth-Ibanez.  Those literally are all-star lineups.  However, I firmly believe the battle for offensive superiority in this series will not come from these hitters….but from the bottom three’s.  Lets look at who we got shakin’.
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Derek Jeter & Herpes: The Truth…ish

An old favorite, the article that catapulted All Swings Considered to No. 4 on Google Searches when one types in “Derek Jeter + Herpes.” In honor of the Yankees making it back to the World Series, we are reposting the article. Enjoy. – All Swings Considered

Originally published Feb 22, 2008

In my never-ending attempt to have ASC win the Google search for ‘Derek Jeter Herpes,’ I will now make an entire post about…this. Actually the real reasoning is that I’ve been flooded by questions over the validity of said rumors. And by flooded I mean asked by one friend, who goes by the initials LG. Let’s call him Liquid Gold. Well, he is a Yankees fan, so let’s call him Luminescent Greed.

Liquid Gold/Luminescent Greed: does jeter actually have herpes?

that was the question…flooding.

Anyway, I do not know for sure if he does or does not actually have herpes. There are certainly rumors, and many of them, and there is even a Derek Jeter Herpes Tree. This sadly has him herpifying many of our beloved celebs (Jessicas Alba and Biel and Scarlett Johanssen to start) and then indirectly contaminating the rest of the world’s population. Continue reading