Saturday, October 08, 2005

Random Speak
By Ben Valentine

Over the last couple of days, I had a lot on my mind. So, I today, I've decided to condense them all into one nice, disorderly post. Feel free to sort through and complain or compliment as need be.

-I was looking at the Yankees/Angels box score and noticed Randy Johnson's "personal catcher" John Flaherty started at catcher tonight for the Yankees. When Johnson was removed after three miserable innings, Jorge Posada pitch hit for Flaherty. I really hope this shows what a waste of time the personal catcher is. I mean honestly, this is the playoffs. You need to win games here, not placate to players. Who gives you a better chance at that; Flaherty or Posada? And for all the comfort Mr. Flaherty provided Johnson, he still lasted just three innings. If the Yankees move on, one would expect to see Posada behind the plate for Johnson’s next start. If not, Joe Torre needs his head examined.

-The QB shuffle continues around the league as J.P Losman and Tim Rattay join Patrick Ramsey on the “unceremoniously replaced” list. The situation seems especially desperate in Buffalo, as their high playoff hopes seem on the verge of collapsing. To paraphrase this article; the Bills are apparently very supportive of Losman, but want him out. I really hate when “veteran” players resort to scapegoating a kid. Newsflash to Mr. Moulds or any of those other veterans; you’re 1-3. Losman may be part of the problem, but he certainly isn’t all of it. By the way, how supportive of him can you be when you’re essentially saying: “Kid, we think a thirty something journeyman backup gives us a better chance to win than you do. Hit the pine.” Yeah, real supportive.

-Speaking of unceremonious, that’s how the Red Sox were booted from the postseason Friday. Quite a few thoughts ran through my head:

A. The Red Sox really weren’t that good.

B. The White Sox aren’t as bad as I thought.

C. How long will it be before the formerly lovable, now horribly annoying Boston fans start complaining about curses again?

D. Speaking of curses, the White Sox hadn’t won a postseason series since 1917! Now that’s a drought!

E. Manny’s played his last game for the Sox. Not so bold prediction: He’ll be a Met next year.

F. The Red Sox and Yankees are both on the skids. With their aging pitching staffs and two men offenses, they’re headed for some down years. This will be Tampa Bay’s division in a few years. Laugh now, but with that moron Chuck LaMarr out of there and a bevy of young talent, the D-Rays are going to be a dynamic offensive team that just might be able to scrape enough pitching to become a force.

-For as mediocre as they played this year, why do I feel as if the Mets could and probably would beat any of these American League teams in a short series? As long as Braden Looper wasn’t closing of course.

-Shock of the week for me; the New York Rangers. Opening night, seeing they were down 3-1, I naturally assumed they were dead against a supposed top team in Philadelphia. Well surprise, surprise, the Blueshirts score three times in the third to win. Then they come back the next night and lose a tough one in OT to a better Canadiens team. Hey, maybe, just maybe, the Rangers aren’t as bad as I thought. (Of course, that wouldn’t be too hard)

-Robinson Cano of the Yankees had a hot first two games in Anaheim. Suddenly Yankee fans were calling up WFAN saying how “clutch” he is, while also complaining how “unclutch” A-Rod is. Why do I get the impression many Yankee fans would rather Cano up in a big spot than A-Rod?

-I’m seriously surprised by how much love Vinny Testaverde is getting from the fans, local media and national media. Am I the only guy who remembers who Vinny is? The guy who was cut in favor of Drew Bledsoe as recently as this off season. The same Drew Bledsoe who was cut in favor of the afformetioned J.P. Losman in that same off season. America, Vinny was mediocre 10 years ago. What makes you think he’s ANY good now?

-Not to rain in on Giants’ fans parade, or to sound like a bitter Jets fan, but you’ve beaten the Cardinals, Saints and Rams at home. Those teams might combine to win FIVE games on the road all year. Calm down. You might make the playoffs, but let’s not anoint this offense the 2005 version of the Colts, okay?

-Chad Pennington underwent “successful” surgery on his rotator cuff yesterday. How can a surgery be deemed successful at this time anyway? I’m sure his last one was supposedly a success too. Anyway, it was revealed today after a bunch of smoke and mirrors from the Jets about him just going down just to get it examined again. Of course, the Jets say they’ll expect him back for 2006. But then Gang Green is doing more double speak than most politicians lately. SOS to Southern Cal- Matt Leinart! You are needed urgently in the New York/New Jersey area!

-A new Red Sox thought comes to mind. With them eliminated, I don’t have to get fifty shots of “# 1 Red Sox fan” Ben Affleck during the ALCS. Seriously, you could have an un-pregnant Jennifer Garner next to him at all times, wearing next to nothing, and I’d still feel grimace every time the camera panned to him. Maybe those White Sox announcers are right and ChiSox really are the good guys…

-Why does everyone think Larry Brown can turn your average Joe into a great defensive player? Where did this reputation come from? Last time I checked, the Pistons were one of the league’s top defenses before Brown ever got there. Shouldn’t that mean Rick Carlisle gets the credit? With Knick fans and the NY media, Larry Brown is like this infatuation with a new toy that can suddenly cure all life’s ills. Then after a few weeks of playing with it, you realize it gives you about as much satisfaction as all your other toys and the void you had is still horribly unfilled.

-To be totally morbid and inappropriate for a second, ever wonder if Vegas has some dark bets? When I mean dark, I mean horribly wrong, morally corrupt, politically incorrect gambles. For example, what are the odds Eddie Curry actually dies on an NBA court this season? Or what about the numbers of players busted for steroid use or the first coach fired in the NFL this year? You know, things we all joke about but only the really reprehensible actually put money on?

-Why was Jason Giambi named comeback player of the year? He’s rewarded for succeeding after he broke the rules. It’s like saying; “Yes, he stole from six people and got caught. But he apologized, sort of, and returned a third of their possessions! Give him a medal!” That’s why you can’t take MLB awards seriously.

-But that being said, and to end on a nice note, congrats to one Ken Griffey Jr., the one and only favorite player of the Sportszilla. The NL Comeback player of the year actually battled back from real, non self inflicted issues, to become one of baseball’s best players this year. Don’t believe me? He went .301/.369/.576/.945 this season with 35 Hrs, 92 RBI and 85 runs scored, in centerfield, making him tremendously valuable. I don’t know if he’ll do it again next year, but seriously, it’s nice to see the first ballot hall of famer have at least one more great season.


Blogger Zachary Geballe said...

Ben, a few thoughts...Losman had to go...that team is both too good on defense and in too weak a division not to try and win now. And it's the same thing with the Jets. They have to go to Vinny, if only because that's the only way Herm will let them actually throw the ball on first or second down.

The Mets would not beat the Angels. Sorry bud.

I agree completely about Brown (which is no surprise, considering I said the same damn thing on my radio show earlier today). The Knicks won't be a better defensive team because of their coach. But it is fun to see Isiah get player after player who Larry Brown will hate in two weeks.

I still can't find a line on Curry...but I'll keep looking.

The better analogy was if I cheated on all my tests in high school, convinced everyone I was really smart, got into NYU, kept cheating, then finally got caught. I got scared straight for a while and did really poorly. Suddenly, my grades jump and everyone starts talking about how bing of a rebound I made. In that situation, how could anyone believe I wasn't cheating again? And yet everyone thinks Giambi deserves credit for figuring out how to avoid testing positive? Nuts.

Lastly, I was indeed very glad to see Kenny get the Comeback Player of the Year. Anyone who pays attention knows how I feel about him, but I think I'm correct in saying that will all the bad stuff in baseball (see above), it's truly great for the sport to have him back to a good fascimile of his old self.

1:28 AM  
Blogger David Arnott said...

Personal catcher -- I had the exact same thoughts. For all of Bobby Cox's brilliance, his acceptance of Eddie Perez as Maddux's personal catcher and his subsequent insistence on carrying three catchers in the playoffs may have cost them some games over the years.

QBs -- Could it be any stupider to throw Alex Smith to the wolves starting with Dwight Freeney against a rookie tackle?

A -- Pitching.
B -- Same thoughts here. Upon further review, it appears Ozzie Guillen has been a fantastic manager of the pitching staff. He's unafraid to go with youth. He's got the trust of the staff to use them properly. And not only that, but did anyone realize that they finished fourth in the AL in HRs? Not me. Now it all makes sense.
C -- I thought this before, but after finishing Simmons's book, I completely buy the notion that the fans don't talk about the curse. Nobody talks about curses except the extreme crazies who are unstable anyway, and people who wanna make a buck off outsiders' fascination with the curse. I'm glad we don't get any more "we're the plucky underdog" bullshit from Boston this year. Give Brian Sabean the same payroll and the Giants are in the playoffs with an 85-77 record. No, I'm not bitter.
E -- That would be an AWFUL move for the Mets. Say what you want about how much cachet they gain and how much on-field value Manny adds, it will never be worth the money. Not only that, but the time to get him was this season's trade deadline because now he's a 5/10 guy. That means the Yankees and Mets are the only two teams that he could go to, and if the Yankees had trouble justifying extra expenditures for Beltran, then what makes you think they'll be able to take on Manny's contract? All that is to say the Mets are the only possible trade route, which is bad for the Orange and Blue. If the contract is remotely worth it, why would the Red Sox trade him? It's a horrible deal, and they'd trade him in order to free up the cash necessary to sign two TOP TIER starting pitchers, but now that there's really only one place for him to go, they won't get a decent enough return on the trade to bother. They may as well bite the bullet on the rest of his contract and hope he produces until he becomes a free agent.
F -- Chuck LaMarr is far from genius, but Naimoli is to blame. They have a solid young offensive nucleus (don't forget that Baldelli's back next year, too), and they just weren't able to find any decent pitchers outside of the ones the Mets gift-wrapped and the Indians gave up on.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Zach- With Herm, I'll see it when I believe it. The only time he ever let it fly was back in 2002 when Pennington stepped in. Since then it's been conservative play. Vinny was in there to start 2003 and Herm was afraid he'd start chucking picks. Justifiably of course.

David- The Niners aren't being smart about this, especially with them having lost Jennings for the year. Freeney might as well line up in the backfield. But then this goes along with my prediction Alex Smith won't survive the year.

Jet fans believe in curses.

I'm not a fan of Guillen for assorted reasons and I would disagree with the idea he's handled that staff very well. I mean shouldn't Brandon McCarthy have been on the ALDS roster?

I go back and forth on Manny. If they could deal him for Beltran I would because I don't think Carlos will ever be more than a .270 20 hr guy at Shea and his contract is even more bloated than Manny's. If they had to give up good prospects, I'd be less willing to do it. However in the Red Sox case, if they believe Beltran could be his Kansas City self in a good hitter's park like Fenway and they could get someone like Benson along with Jae Seo/Trachsel/Zambrano I think they might do it. A lot of ifs. We'll see what happens there.

But then I also believe the Yankees and Sox are both on the downside. I'm sure both Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman realize it. I'm curious to see if the teams go in drastically different directions next year personel wise. Of course I'd think the Sox would have more flexability to do that. Their players are a lot more tradable.

1:47 AM  
Blogger RotoAuthority said...

I hate the way TV announcers keep saying that although a normal person would think Ozzie should've taken McCarthy, he knows his pitching staff better than anyone so he took El Duque. Even in hindsight, I think the decision was a mistake.

12:00 PM  

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