Posts Tagged ‘Zack Greinke’

There’s So Much Wrong with the MLB All-Star Game

July 1, 2012

20120702-121714.jpgI hate the All-Star Game. I really do. It’s stupid and contradictory and responsible for one of the worst moments in recent baseball history. The new format demands that the best respective rosters from each league be assembled, so as to assure a fair fight in the battle for home field advantage in the World Series.

Yet, as if these grown men need coddling that a Little League parent would be proud of, each team better have one representative, or the Padres might cry! Puh-lease.

Further, let’s make this game about the fans and allow them to vote in the starters even though a large majority of fans doesn’t actually know anything about the sport and spend hours voting for each player at each position on their favorite team (I’m looking at you, Giants fans…this is how Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford end up in the top five at their positions).

I have no beef with putting home field advantage on the line. It gives exponentially more meaning and intensity to the contest. And it keeps the baseball version of All-Star festivities much more entertaining than the NFL’s Pro Bowl, albeit more boring than the NBA’s.

But you damn well better let the players and coaches, who actually know what they are doing, determine the All-Star rosters in this case. And require that players who were voted in by trigger happy, stat-ignorant fans who probably won’t even WATCH the game, yet enjoy being part of the process…actually play. No “fatigue,” Derek Jeter. Come on.

Now I make very public my devotion to the Dodgers. So 99 percent of people who read this will probably brush off the rest of this blog as a biased, spiteful rant. But just because the Giants will be the subject of my fury for the next few paragraphs, I promise it has nothing to do with rivalry.

How can I prove it? Simple. When it comes to the All-Star Game, now that home field advantage IS on the line, the National League needs to act as one cohesive unit. Trust me, I love nothing more than to hate the Giants. But I will root for any players in a Giants hat in Kansas City, as long as he helps get my LEAGUE a win.

And it baffles me that Giants fans don’t feel the same way – well, no it doesn’t. I know a lot of awesome, smart Giants fans. But the ridiculous voting campaign I saw put on at AT&T Park last week was overstepping the boundaries. And now that the results are in, I’m convinced that if the PR Department for the Giants told its fans to swim to Alcatraz and back naked, they would oblige.

There is no other reasonable explanation for Freddy Sanchez (he of ZERO games played this season) earning 2.2 million votes. No other fan bases voted for him. That shows me that Giants fans were instructed to find anyone with “San Francisco Giants” under their names on the ballot at each position, and vote for them no matter what.

20120702-122325.jpg
People. We were 300,000 votes away from Brandon Crawford starting for the National League at shortstop. And if you don’t understand why that’s a big deal, my point has been proven. Because nobody cares to know who Crawford, the .220-hitting, probably-worst-player-on-the-team even is.

It’s all fine and good to vote for your players. Do it 25 times. That’s the maximum. But when I go to a game in the city, and I see a reporter on the Jumbotron in front of a room in some top-secret part of the ball park where fans are being given free food to sit in there and vote for Giants players all day…I’m going to be upset about it.

This has nothing to do with fairness and equality. There were three Dodgers worthy of All-Star consideration. Two of them made it, one won’t play because he’s injured. That’s great. I don’t mind. There were six Giants who deserved to make it. Four did, including Pablo Sandoval.

Kung-Fu Panda earned a spot, despite being injured for part of the season. But getting over 1 million votes the day before the results are announced to unseat David Wright, far and away the best third baseman in baseball, as the starter? That’s not even annoying, it’s just irresponsible.

And Giants fans, you have to not be sheep just following what the voice on the screen says. If you truly love baseball – hell, if you truly love your TEAM, you’d vote for the guys that deserve it. We know you love your team. Passion is excellent. But you’ll be kicking yourselves if Sandoval goes 0-2 in the All-Star Game and fails to get runners in a scoring situation. That could have been David Wright, a much better hitter, up in that spot.

And what if the National League goes on to lose? What if that happens and then the Giants make a run to the World Series? Are you going to enjoy playing IN Arlington? IN Los Angeles? IN New York? When all that needed to happen is filling in a little circle next to your guys the allotted 25 times: Sandoval, 3B. Posey, C. Cabrera, OF.

Obviously that’s an extreme situation, but part of me wishes Crawford had been voted in. Because I really think that would have made for an all-out remodeling of the process.

Anyway, let me re-state again. I’m not picking on Giants fans because I hate their team. I’m picking on Giants fans because they were the worst (by a mile) offenders of borderline illegal ballot stuffing for this thing. You can argue with me and say the Rangers have too many players in, and I’d probably agree. But Rangers fans didn’t get anyone who didn’t deserve consideration within striking distance of a starting spot. Just remember that.

Brandon Belt may some day be an All-Star. Freddy Sanchez will return to stardom if he gets healthy. And even Crawford may visit the Midsummer Classic some year. You never know.

But no matter how much you love them and the jerseys on their back, there is much more at stake than bragging rights for which team sends the most All-Stars to K.C.

There is the matter of the National League having to join forces, fans and all, to put the best possible team out on the field. Then once home field advantage has been earned, you can go back to quarreling intra-division and fighting for the right to actually use that home field advantage in October.

Obviously, many changes need to be made to the All-Star Game. Fans can’t be voting with so much at stake, and the stakes shouldn’t even be so high. I can understand where MLB is coming from, but when your slogan is “This One Counts,” fans have to be encouraged to remember that.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game…but if Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval are responsible for a National League loss in the All-Star Game, feel free to tell your nearest Giants fan to change his or her evil ways.

Whew. Okay. I feel better. Now don’t even get me started on snubs like Josh Reddick…

20120702-122010.jpg

Football in Arlington

May 31, 2012

Well, this is my last daily Jam Shots. After this, I’ll be moving to a weekly format. I know what you’re thinking (I will give you 50 bucks if you watch this whole thing).

And I apologize. But because I’ll have six extra days to think about each entry, you will get a super big, nutritious helping of Jam Shots each week.

There’s not a lot of baseball going on today – just three games. CarGo hit a homer in his fourth straight at-bat earlier today against the Astros, but that’s cliche at this point.

So let’s talk baseball from yesterday. My buddy Paddy suggested I write something honoring the 21-8 blowout in Arlington, TX yesterday. So here goes!

I, for one, had no idea that the Cowboys and Seahawks were playing a very, pre, pre-season game. Shut up, that joke is always funny.

But seriously, the Mariners absolutely obliterated the Rangers in Texas by the count of three touchdowns to one. And the Cowboys tried to make a furious come back, tacking on a two-point conversion, but it was far too late.

What does this mean? I’ll tell ya:

1) Texas pitching is (still) overrated. Mark my words – the Rangers will make the playoffs again, and the pitching will ruin them again. They need to upgrade the rotation before they can win it all.

2) The Seattle Mariners of Pullman (Go Cougs!) are actually going to be pretty solid soon. The offense is young and raw, but chocked full of talent. If the M’s go out and get a big bat this off season (don’t count them out of the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes) and one more solid arm (how does Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels sound?), they are legit contenders in the American League.

Ironically enough, Tony Romo threw out the first pitch at the Rangers game yesterday. Surprisingly, he didn’t fumble the snap like last time he was in a pressure situation against a Seattle team.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Thanks for reading the daily version of Jam Shots. It’s been a great run. Starting this coming Sunday, I’ll be putting out one per week. Keep an eye out, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

Hating on Haters, Statistical Style

April 22, 2012

Through 16 games, my Dodgers are looking pretty sexy. A mark of 12-4 is very impressive, and it is tied for the second best record in the Majors, behind the two-time defending A.L. champion Texas Rangers and their terrifying offensive juggernaut.

Even better, is sole possession of first place in the N.L. West and a 3.5 game lead this early in the season. However, haters gonna hate, so I’m here to dispel a couple of rumors. Namely, the argument against their success regarding strength of schedule.

So the sixteen opponents have lined up as follows:

– Seven against the San Diego Padres (last place in the N.L. West; Dodgers are 6-1)

– Three against the Pittsburgh Pirates (6-9 record; Dodgers are 3-0)

– Three against the Houston Astros (somewhere in the clusterfreak of N.L. Central teams; Dodgers are 2-1)

– Three against the Milwaukee Brewers (defending N.L. Central champions; Dodgers are 1-2)

Obviously, the Padres, Pirates and Astros aren’t necessarily tearing it up this year. I do fully expect the Pirates to challenge for their first winning season in a million years, but right now their offense couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn…or anything within a mile of said barn.

And the Brew Crew, though still a playoff-caliber team in the N.L., lost the heart and soul to free agency when Prince Fielder signed a mega-deal with Detroit this offseason. Does anything still think Ryan Braun was as good as advertised now that Fielder isn’t protecting him? Or deserving of an MVP award last year? Please refrain from steroid jokes. Just kidding, go right ahead.

So, granted, in the long haul these are four teams that are either at or below .500 probably. And in Milwaukee’s case, maybe an 85-win season is in order, but that’s not exceptional. You could say the Dodgers won’t have a true test until Atlanta and Washington, the next two series on their radar.

I’m not going to speculate, but the offense and the pitching the Dodgers have presented thus far in 2012 should stand up to both those teams – they will be fantastic contests.

What I CAN do, is talk about what’s already happened. People will look at the schedule so far and say two things: One, you haven’t played anyone. To that, I wonder about their sanity. Clearly we’ve played someone. If we had played nobody, the record would be 0-0. Okay, annoying logic aside, good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat. You think the Yankees got to where they are by just beating up on the bad teams a lot and then coasting into the playoffs? No. They took care of business no matter the opponent.

Secondly, haters gonna hate by saying the only good team we’ve played so far (Milwaukee), beat us two out of three. Wall hateraders, you obviously didn’t watch that series. Clayton Kershaw didn’t pitch, yet Milwaukee had two of their aces (Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke) pitch games one and two. We lost those two. On walk-offs. By one run.

We were up in both games, but James Loney ran into a couple rally-killing outs on the base paths in the first game, and errors and walks on defense ruined game two. We beat ourselves. The record indicates a 2-1 series loss. If you ask me, the Dodgers won 25 of the 27 innings in that series. I’ll count that as a win, and expect the bullpen to shore up for next time we play.

So. Your team isn’t 12-4. I get it. You’re jealous. If the Dodgers get spanked in the next two series, I’ll give what the haters are saying a second thought. But for now, I’m not going to apologize for a team that is beating the shit out of the lesser teams, and looking damn good doing it.

Until tomorrow, enjoy last place, go Dodgers, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman! Thanks for reading.

Aces Wild

April 12, 2012

Let’s match the ERA’s to the aces through the first week of the 2012 season:

Matt Cain – 7.50

Tim Lincecum – 12.91

C.C. Sabathia – 6.75

Yovani Gallardo – 5.91

Zack Greinke – 6.75

Josh Johnson – 8.38

Dan Haren – 6.97

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???

I know it’s early, but my goodness those are some crooked numbers. My fantasy team got hit especially hard yesterday, when Sabathia, Lincecum and Johnson all got absolutely rocked in their respective starts.

Well, who’s for real? Who is going to bounce back and who is in trouble? I’ll tell you…NOW!

First of all, let’s be realistic. These guys are aces for a reason – there are four Cy Young awards spread throughout that group and a whole bunch of pretty stats. So they will all bounce back. But only to a degree. Here goes nothin’:

1. Matt Cain, Giants

The Giants made Cain a very, very rich man recently. How does he go out and reward them? By posting a hefty 7.50 ERA in his first start. Well, let me point a couple things out. Cain was throwing on the road against a red-hot Diamondbacks offense. Not to mention, I watched that game and it was really just a couple bad innings. He looked pretty solid for most of the game, but the hits kept piling up when he was missing location in a couple innings. Cain will be just fine.Panic Level 1-10 (10 is high):3

2. Tim Lincecum, Giants

The Freak is a huge reason why the Giants are floundering in last place early in the season. When Barry Zito (CG, 0 R, 4 H vs. Rockies) is your most reliable pitcher, things need to change. And quickly. Lincecum’s double-digit ERA is especially frightening, because he’s looked awful in his two starts. He’s lost velocity on his fastball, the breaking balls aren’t biting, and he can’t hit the broad side of a barn consistently. This is the second year in a row Lincecum’s velocity has dropped. Panic Level: 7

3. C.C. Sabathia, Yankees

I picked C.C. as my pre-season Cy Young favorite in the American League, so the big boy has a lot more than just his stats to worry about. I mean, would you want this human bicep coming at you?! Stop laughing…anyway, Sabathia’s 6.75 ERA is frightening. He’s getting on in age, and his last start was against the Baltimore Orioles. Sure, they have a penchant for big offensive outputs, but it’s still a last-place team that was ripping C.C. apart. Panic Level: 5

4. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

Gallardo got absolutely torched by the Pujols-less Cardinals at the Milwaukee home opener last week. He allowed four home runs. In one inning. It was just stupid. Gallardo has a tendency to be very inconsistent. His stuff is some of the dirtiest in the game if he can get it over the plate. But when he starts hanging breaking balls like he was against St. Louis, the Brewers are in for a world of hurt. I’m calling this early-season struggles, rather than a decline in talent. Panic Level: 4

5. Zack Greinke, Brewers

Has the rest of baseball figured Greinke out? Aside from his Cy Young year in Kansas City, Greinke hasn’t been THAT good. He’s similar to Gallardo, where his stuff is dirty, but he needs to consistently get it over the plate. If both these guys struggle in 2012, the Brewers are in for a very long season. I think Greinke will bounce back to have respectable numbers, but he’s never going to return to the award-winning form we’re accustomed to. Panic Level: 5

6. Josh Johnson, Marlins

Okay, Johnson worries me. He got shelled by the oft-injured Phillies lineup yesterday, and got touched up for a few runs by the Cardinals on Opening Day. It’s not his abilities that have me wary – it’s the fact that he’s coming off an arm injury. Is he fully healthy? I hate to speculate, but this is so out of character for the young righty, that I think something must still be bothering him. Panic Level: 8

7. Dan Haren, Angels

The Angels have been struggling big time, despite their big free-agent transactions this winter. It’s partly due to an offense that is still struggling to find its identity. But Haren isn’t helping matters either. He only allowed three runs to the Twins in his last start, but got hit hard against the Royals in his first. I’m not worried about Haren yet. He’s still got a 12:2 K-to-BB ratio, and is always solid. Give him another start or two before the panic meter rises. Panic Level: 2

There you have it! Comment below and let me know who I missed or who has a level that’s terribly skewed. Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!


%d bloggers like this: