Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Welcome to the Majors

posted by MoneyMouth

Devil Ray fans all over (yes, all 487 of them) are buzzing today after top prospect Delmon Young’s MLB debut last night.  The man whose career was put on hold when he decided to throw a bat at an umpire after being tossed in a minor league game finally got to show what all the hype has been about.  In his 2nd plate appearance, he killed a ball for a homerun.  

But what I think was most impressive about this single homerun was the fact that he was plunked on his first at bat.  The rude welcome that came at the hand of Freddy Garcia was no doubt a message from Ozzie Guillen.  Even though every single person on the field knew this, Young took his lumps and showed these guys what was up with his next at bat.  If Delmon Young can continue to keep his cool, the Devil Rays certainly have something to look forward tot: a 71 win season.  

Since the Devil Rays future isn’t all that exciting, lets go back to the fact that Guillen thinks he is the commissioner of baseball.  All season this guy has been yelling at pitchers publicly and privately for not hitting batters when he tells them to.  Now he’s trying to fix all problems with baseball using bean-ball justice, including when someone like Young has disrespected the game.

It’s about time we gave Guillen a different venue to show his hardnosed tactics.   I’m of course talking about a good old fashioned cage match with any manager who dares step in with him.  One thing is for certain, while Guillen would most definitely fight dirty, he at least he might think twice about openly throwing at batters when Joe Maddon interferes with a steal chair during his ladder match with Mike Scioscia.  Look for that this winter on Pay-Per-View.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

BiCoastal Maps the Race for AL MVP

posted by BiCoastal Bias

For the last two months, it’s been a certainty that David Ortiz would win his first American League MVP award outright this season. Suddenly, that’s gone from a sure thing to just one possible scenario. What’s happened in between? The Boston Red Sox are falling quickly from the playoff race, and Big Papi is in the hospital with an “irregular heartbeat.”

That makes this a fascinating time to try to prognosticate on the most valuable player of the American League. As far as the BiCoastal Bias is concerned, the MVP should come from a ball club that won more than they lost. I also think the MVP discussion should start with run production. So here’s a list of my MVP candidates, based on their total of runs scored plus RBIs at the time of writing; (yes this equation gives an advantage to homerun hitters, but that’s typically what MVP candidates are, so I feel good about this).

David Ortiz, Boston – 220
Troy Glaus, Toronto – 188
Jason Giambi, NYY – 187
Jim Thome, CWS – 185
Jermaine Dye, CWS – 185
Justin Morneau, Minnesota – 184
Vladimir Guerrero, LAA – 182
Manny Ramirez, Boston – 177
Paul Konerko, CWS – 174
Derek Jeter, NYY – 173

Travis Hafner is really the only statistical omission from this list, with a number of 209; but he’s disqualified by Cleveland’s record. Regardless, he should end up in the top 5 when the votes come in. As you can see, I’ve also omitted all pitching candidates for the MVP, even though I actually do believe pitchers deserve consideration; I can’t statistically compare them, making this discussion moot.

Obviously, if the season ended today, Ortiz would win the award. But some time off will give the rest of the field some room to catch him, and the colder the Red Sox season gets, the less friendly the voters will be. So, let’s turn to the other candidates. The Blue Jays have ended disappointingly, nixing Glaus; and unless the Angels have a September streak on the back of Big Daddy Vladdy like they did in 2004, he’s also out of the running. That pretty much leaves us looking at Giambi, Thome, Dye, and Morneau.

I just don’t think that the voters will go for a known ex-juicer like Giambi; plus the fact that some writers are honestly trying to prop up his teammate Jeter as a serious candidate will diminish his perceived impact. Now we’re down to two White Sox and a Twin. (Doesn’t that sentence sound weird when you ignore the fact that those are baseball teams?) This combination makes perfect sense. The AL central is where it’s at this year, and the battle for the wild card between those two teams is going to be legendary, with the final three games of the season pitting them head to head. The rest of Dye’s numbers give him the edge over teammate Thome, so maybe it comes down to Dye vs. Morneau for the American League MVP?

I realize these aren’t two names that have come up in the discussion previous to now, but that’s why I think this is such a fascinating time to look at the race. If one of these two really pushes his team over the hump to take the last playoff spot, he gets my vote for the MVP trophy.

There are three pitchers whose names should be thrown into this discussion, Johan Santana, Justin Verlander, and Jonathon Papelbon. In fact, Verlander or Papelbon could become the first player(s) ever to finish top 5 in the voting for MVP, ROY, and Cy Young. (I didn’t actually do the research to see if anyone’s done that before, but if someone could for me, that’d help a lot.)

So finally, let me give you my top 10. In the hopes that Ortiz comes back safely and quickly, I’m going to leave him at the top, but keep in mind what I said about that AL central.

1. David Ortiz
2a. Jermaine Dye
2b. Justin Morneau
4. Travis Hafner
5. Justin Verlander
6. Jason Giambi
7. Jim Thome
8. Jonathon Papelbon
9. Johan Santana
10. Vladimir Guerrero

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Angels 12 Yankees 7

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Today was a nice reminder of one of my favorite things to do: watch my pops exchange barbs with Yankee fans at an Angel game.  Seriously, considering most of the sporting world hates the Yankees, I’m surprised they still have a ton of fans, something I’m reminded of every time they come to Anaheim.

This afternoon’s game had a little of everything one would want: playoff implications, hostility in the stands, hostility on the field, and A-Rod striking out 3 times in an 0 for 5 effort.  Watching Frankie Rodriguez (a.k.a. K-Rod) set down A-Rod swinging led us to come up with the following new nickname for Alex; “Reverse K-Rod.”  The ironical implications are so abundant I’d have to dissect them in a different blog.

Some thoughts about today’s game.  First of all, did anyone watch it on television?  Because from the ballpark, it looked like Mike Napoli’s double was definitely a homerun, but ESPN didn’t include the play in their highlight reel.  I’d like to get a slow motion perspective on this.

Angel fans, I think we’ve seen the future, and it looks a lot like Howie Kendrick.  I’m not counting us out of the playoffs yet, but the big plus of this season is that we’ve actually discovered which prospects are going to lead us in the future.  Kendrick and Izturis have shown that they are our middle infielders of the future.  Next year should feature Kendrick at second, Cabrera at short, and Izturis at third.  Personally, I think Izturis should be batting lead-off, but Scioscia’s stubbornly tied to Figgins, it appears.

As for first base, I vote that we let Dallas McPherson, Casey Kotchman, and Kendry Morales fight it out for this corner spot.  At one point, all three of these men were considered can’t miss prospects, so one of them has got to have a future somewhere inside of him.  The catcher position looks pretty set, with Jose Molina and Mike Napoli splitting time.  

The three outfield spots and designated hitter are much easier, with Vlad, Juan Rivera, Garret Anderson, and Chone Figgins the regulars.  Though I personally would rather see us look to replace Figgins in the lineup, it doesn’t look very likely.

Of course, this means saying good bye to a few more staples of the 2002 team, namely Kennedy and Erstad.  Unfortunately, it’s time.  I’d love to see these two and Salmon retire as Angels, and maybe there will still be a spot on the roster for one or two of them . . . but the organization has got to move forward, which means some age is going to be replaced by some youth.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Red Sox 2 Angels 1

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This was the night that the streak would end; Jered Weaver’s streak that is.  He lost his first game ever, on a 1-2 pitch that David Ortiz took out to right field.  That was all it took.  He left the game behind 1-0; Donnelly gave up another run; and Howie Kendrick tried to tie it up for him on a shot to left with two runners on, but Wily Mo Pena let loose a perfect throw to Doug Mirabellia at home, who slyly faked Rivera into sliding late.  

I guess that was all it took.  The Red Sox played better defense than the Angels and it made the difference.  Although, Kennedy and Cabrera continue to turn the eye-popping double plays; in the ninth, a grounder essentially bounced off of Kennedy’s glove right to Cabrera, who turned two easily.  

The game had some extra intensity, probably because both of these teams are five games back of their respective division leaders, leaving a hint of desperation.  Which leads me to check back in on some predictions I made a few months ago, April 8th to be exact.  

I’m sticking with the White Sox for the American League.  Their pitching staff isn’t nearly what it was last year, but with Garland’s return to form, they’re postseason experience should carry them over the Tigers, (I’m not even going to mention the Yankees in this blog).  

In the National League, I’m taking back my St. Louis choice.  At this point, it’s questionable whether or not the Cardinals will even make the playoffs.  I think they will, but the only way the Mets lose in the NLCS is if the Dodgers go on a tear twice as hot as their post All Star break one.

As for my prediction that the Wild Card would come from the AL west, clearly wrong.  As for Barry Bonds?  The jury’s still out: right now we have 24 games sat out, 17 homers.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Unorthodox Coaching

posted by MoneyMouth

There seems to be many ingredients that go into the art of managing a professional sports team.  Besides a 6th sense concerning the inner workings of the game you must also know how to handle your players.  Although I have never managed a baseball team, I would imagine my duty as a manager would not only be to motivate my team to play well but to help bring them together to function as a unit.

But it never occurred to me that one method to keep my players inline would be to use brute force and intimidation like the playground bully who needs a little extra lunch money.  Yet that’s the exact method that John Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays has chosen to implement for the control of his squad.  Not only has he challenged Shea Hillenbrand to a fist fight in a team meeting this season, he displayed his unorthodox managing skills the other day with his pitcher Ted Lilly after his poor performance.  

Even though both sides are simply saying the situation got out of control and that they said things they shouldn’t have, I have a feeling I know exactly what happened here.  You see, after Lilly blew the lead in the game, Gibbons came out and said, “Lilly, to reward your poor performance here today I’m going to give you from the moment you step off this mound till your replacement comes in before I come chasing after you.  I’m going to come after you like a spider monkey, so I suggest you start running.”  While I haven’t confirmed this, I have a team of lip reading experts working on this translation right now.  

In the mean time, I will make this prediction: Ted Lilly comes back next start and throws 7 innings of shutout baseball.  Why?  Because there is nothing more motivating than fear, and Gibbons has figured this out.  With this act of brilliance, I think I hear Manager of the Year considerations coming his way.  

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy Frappday!

posted by IntrinsicBent

Hello Frappe Fans!

Knowledge Droppings back again to let you in on a special day around here. Today is the one year anniversary of the introduction of a special sports editorial site that changed the face of online sports journalism.

It introduced a new sports blog flavor that was unique in every way to all those cookie cutter sites with cutting insights like “Fill In The Blank Sucks!” Those sentiments were very fresh. In 10th grade.

It ended the reign of parroting portals whose sole intent seemed to be to propagate the idea of the sports fan as a simpleton who wanted to check out sports “babes” on so called sports sites and click with interest on the links of those sites that offered everything from those beer drinking helmets to the fountain of youth in the form of little blue pills. Or yellow……..or whatever color they come in.

They weren’t so much sport sites as they were sporn sites.

Anyway, you get the idea.

One year ago today was like lighting a match in a deep dark cave……………filled with methane gas.

Sports, and the web in general will never be the same. Now you have to engage in thought, and have a well reasoned opinion to be considered a sports junkie.

I am honored to ask Mr. BiCoastal Bias, Mr. MoneyMouth, and Mr. IntrinsicBent to share their thoughts and memories of this first year. Take it away your highnesses. (I have no way to contact SubversiveTheory, he’s very skittish about that)

I know………I’ll get back to my blender.

BiCoastal Bias: My most significant memory from our first year at the Frappe would have to be the opportunity to sit down in a room with Nelson Mandela. Unfortunately, he’s not much of a sports fan, so I couldn’t really use anything from the interview in a blog.

But nonetheless, it just goes to show how working at the Frappe has put me in situations I wouldn’t find myself in otherwise. I went behind the lines, sporting an Angels jersey at Fenway Park, I scoped out all of the denominations of church basketball, and worst of all, I put up with Intrinsic Bent’s talk about the “Golden Era” of sports, whenever that was.

Why? It’s all for you, reader; so keep reading.

MoneyMouth: My experiences here at the Frappe have been a little different than my fellow coworkers in that I have reached an incredible height of fame in Japan. It’s true. I can’t set foot in Tokyo without having to run from the media and adoring fans begging to hear my thoughts on the new season of the Viking. As long as I stay on this side of the Pacific, I can live my life. If only Beckham would take note he might be able to live his life in peace as well.

I’ve enjoyed my time here at the Frappe immensely and I pledge to you that I will continue to dive headfirst into those lesser known sporting events called “soccer” and “darts.” But don’t worry. I’ll continue to call it like it is whether it’s about Bonds or Floyd Landis.

To celebrate this Frappe Day, I’m starting the tradition of throwing confetti on my bushes and eating ravioli. I know, it’s weird, but that’s just how I roll. Join me if you care, otherwise, get off my lawn.

IntrinsicBent: I remember the foundation of the Sports Frappe as if it were just a year ago. I remember brainstorming with BiCoastal under the stars and pines of a California State Forest sky.

And no Frappers, no one was Jake, or Heath or any other “hilarious” concepts you sick puds can conjure up.

I remember breaking down that he could be the smart one, and I could be the good looking one. He argued that he had to be both or he’d take his laptop and go home.

Then I told him he could be the East Coast dude, and I could be the West Coast genius. He then refused to ever be East Coast. I pointed out that he lived there, but he would not budge.

Finally we agreed he’d be the young one and I’d be the old one (begrudgingly on my part).

I told BB I got to name our endeavor since I was the old dude. He asked me what I wanted to name it and I went into this long descriptive tale before I stated “Sports Frappucino®”.

He rolled his eyes like only he does, looked disgusted, and said, “Great, and maybe we can get sued by Starbucks® by week two.”

Oops, hadn’t thought about that one. Great, now my new business partner was thinking like a lawyer before we were really even business partners. Not a good sign. It’s like they say……….What do you call a 1000 lawyers in the bottom of the ocean?.............a good start.

But I didn’t even flinch. Steely eyed and square jawed I looked at him and simply said………………”arm wrestle ya for it.”

He laughed (more like giggled) but started rolling up his sleeve. I knew I had him now, because I could call upon my old skool treachery and weight.

Long story short, he kept beating me and I did the nerd, “how about two out of three” routine until finally somehow he had me on the ground with my arm behind my back, while he gave me noogies and made me say a bunch of demeaning stuff about my Mom.

Then he uttered the magic words that forever changed what it meant to be a sports fan. IT SHALL HENCE FORTH (yeah, he really said that) BE CALLED “THE SPORTS FRAPPE”.

Wow. I told him it was brilliant, and even though I was under the duress of being pinned to the ground, I really meant it.

So it’s been a quick year of solid and salient sports insight. We added an intern that we have never been able to get rid of (more on him later) in Knowledge Droppings, recruited fresh young talent that is bilingual and loves minor sports and new trends in MoneyMouth, and then somehow got hacked by some paranoid, Oliver Stone wannabe calling himself some ridiculous name.

Read again the gem that kicked off this sports horn of plenty.


Now for the bone to pick with Knowledge Droppings. Why are you posting this two days after our actual birthday of August 19th?

You're hopeless dude.

Thanks Frappers. We look forward to bringing you the bigger and better in the next year.

Nightmare at Fenway

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Since Red Sox Nation loves naming their debacles so much, (Bucky “Bleeping” Dent, The Curse of the Babe, Bill Buckner, etc.) I propose this weekend ought to go down in history as the Nightmare at Fenway. In the first four games of a five game series, the Yankees won two blowouts, and staged two late come from behind victories; with the fifth game getting underway in a couple hours.

This weekend marks a serious turning point. First off, it signifies the huge turnaround in the Yankees season. A month and a half ago, it looked like we’d probably see a Yankee-less playoff tree for the first time since nineteen ninety-something. Now any playoff scenario must include the team from the Bronx . . . and the rest of the nation groans. It turns out that Bobby Abreu was just what the doctor ordered, and each player that comes off the DL is like a New York Christmas in the summer.

But more importantly, this weekend represented . . . dare I say it . . . that 2004 was a fluke. I had been wooed into thinking that something cataclysmic had erupted that fateful year, and perhaps the Sox and Yankees would go into the next century as near equals. It was quite short-lived. In 2005, the Yankees won the division, but with an equal record to Boston, they had only won one more head to head match up to win the tiebreaker. When both teams got knocked out of their respective divisional series, the season went down as a legitimate tie.

But the dismal beating that occurred here at Fenway this weekend gives us a clear picture as to which direction the tide is turning. Don’t get me wrong, these teams will continue to be bitter rivals, but New York is clearly back on top. Only if something else cataclysmic happens this afternoon do the Sox have a chance at redeeming their season, like if Johnny Damon spontaneously combusts during the seventh inning stretch.

Speaking of Damon, he is an absolute dagger in the collective heart of Red Sox Nation. It wasn’t such a big deal when he left and Boston was still winning; but now that he leads this Boston demise while forming what appears to be a Don Mattingly Mustache Club for Men in the Yankee clubhouse, Red Sox fans have got to be wailing. Whereas the 2004 “Idiots” were the anti-Yankees led by J.D. himself, suddenly he’s brought Boston’s winning formula to the enemy: the growth of abnormal hair.

I hear fans nationwide criticizing the Fenway faithful for booing Johnny Damon while cheering Pedro Martinez. As the BiCoastal Bias, it’s my job to explain this odd mindset to the rest of you. It’s as simple as this: Player A swears he’d never play for the Yankees, and then signs with them; Player B claims he wouldn’t mind playing for the Yankees, and then doesn’t. Who has more integrity in your eyes?

Knowledge Droppings is begging me to tell him who A and B are. I’ll let you figure it out.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Controlled Anger and the Dream Blog

posted by BiCoastal Bias

As I was drifting in and out of sleep last night, (watching Sports Center of course) I happened to catch a random tennis highlight. The loser of whatever match this was threw her tennis racket to the ground in that careful way that insures her racket will bounce back unharmed.

You know what I mean – if a tennis player does the tomahawk chop on the racket, that thing is going to come up useless. But when you throw the racket down face first, so that the impact of the ground is evenly distributed across the entire frame, that thing bounces up as good as new.

Whoever discovered this method of throwing the racket should go down in tennis history right next to Walter Clopton Wingfield. How many broken rackets have been saved? Its genius comes in the form of “controlled anger.”

Controlled anger is a virtue that can be used in all the major sports. It takes some control to know which four-letter combinations can be yelled at an umpire without getting thrown out; and I think if Ricky Bobby had used some controlled anger in “Talladega Nights,” he may have actually beaten Jean Girard.

Okay, I’ll admit, those comparisons suck. But that’s because as I drifted back to sleep last night, I dreamt the most amazing blog in which I mathematically concluded that each dynasty in history used controlled anger to rise to the top. Unfortunately, when I awoke, the only thing I could remember from this dream-blog was the last line. So here it is, from the blog you’ll never read:

Controllled Anger: The difference between winners and losers . . . or just the difference between broken rackets?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More Falcon Love

posted by IntrinsicBent

You have to give it up again for Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank.

Last week he was a little too close to the summer practice action, and got nailed by a fullback, slightly tearing his rotator cuff.

Now that’s hands on ownership right there.

Question: If a team has their boss on the OR (owner reserve), can they still get their checks signed?

If I’m not careful, Arthur Blank is going to make me an ATL fan.

Sign Of The Times

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’ve broken down before how important it is to adapt and flex as you mature.  It’s a simple illustration:  If you have the choice between being a virus or a dinosaur, you pick the virus.  The dinosaur didn’t adapt and died, while the virus mutates to fit it’s surroundings and flourishes.  Yeah, it’s an old sales motivation spiel.

I’m actually a ‘tweener who has solid memories of growing up in a golden era of sports, respects those that built the sports before that, but still embraces many newer trends.

That’s what makes this viewpoint strange for me.

The San Diego Chargers gave cornerback Quentin Jammer a 5 year  extension, that with the remaining 2 years of his existing contract, makes him a Charger through 2012.

Having superstar players play their careers out for one franchise is one of my favorite things in sports.  Having a player want to do that and not play the “I’m going to explore my market value” card is even stronger.

Here’s where the new skool coldness factor comes in for me though.  

This admirable and wise decision is precisely the wrong kind of decision for this day and age of pro sports.

If Jammer’s star diminishes unexpectedly, or is hampered by nagging injuries down the road, the Chargers will be saddled with a player that can’t be moved.

The source did not say whether or not the extension was guaranteed, but the NFL still writes very few guaranteed contracts.

San Diego just climbed out of the Ryan Leaf era money and draft picks pit that they dug for themselves awhile back.

Trying to win in pro sports can seem like a no win situation.  

Monday, August 07, 2006

An Unnoticed August

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s that time of the summer, after the baseball trade deadline, and at the start of the NFL’s preseason, that the stretch run is often overlooked. I know I’ve mentioned it in posts before, but I just don’t think enough can be said about how many teams are still in the playoff race.

It’s much quicker for me to list off the handful of teams who are NOT in the playoff picture. For the American League, it’s Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Kansas City. In the Senior Circuit, we’ve got Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington.

That’s it. Every other Major League Baseball team is within 7 games of a playoff spot at the time of this writing. The only sad thing is that a lot of these teams aren’t taking advantage of this August position. I guess it’s not that surprising. It’s not like the Seattle Mariners went into this season looking much better than they did last year, and yet here they are, a homestand winning streak’s distance from a division championship. They probably don’t know what to do with themselves.

I think if I was at the head of one of these August surprise franchises, I’d be making a very public push at the playoffs. The Milwaukee Brewers have been a doormat for a couple decades now, and even though they traded away their offensive stud, they could still win a National League wild card race in which the entire field is fading. I’d use this opportunity to put some fans in the seats, highlighting every win against a wild card opponent.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems a bit more noteworthy than preseason football games that nobody takes seriously.

Kudos To The Atlanta Falcons

posted by IntrinsicBent

I watched my beloved Angels romp the Texas Rangers (not to be confused with Ricky Bobby’s son) yesterday and then caught some of CMI (Chris Matthews Interview) on the local FSN affiliate.

Terrell Owens was on this episode selling books,……………er being interviewed.

After some hilarity in T.O.’s comments due to his version of Philadelphia History, my massive mind wandered as it usually does. It’s a genius type of A.D.D.

I thought of a few articles I'd read this summer with the same theme.

Both involved the Atlanta Falcons not being interested the services of self proclaimed NFL “Superstars”.

I don’t recall (it’s a genius type of amnesia) whether the credit belongs to Falcons owner Arthur Blank, or their President and General Manager Rich McKay. If the organization is solid, it probably was an amalgamation of both.

I read articles on Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, where both of them stated that when they made their last team change they both wanted to play for the Atlanta Falcons. Both seemed geeked at the possibility of lining up with Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

Both were basically told thanks but no thanks. That’s manly.

Both of these uber skilled Wide Receivers are like crack to underperforming NFL organizations. They (the organizations) delude themselves with visions (hallucinations) that a change of scenery, strong coach or quarterback, the legacy of the team’s logo, or the new uniform colors will change poisonous and divisive superstar behavior.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck,……………………….you get the idea.

I’m not vouching for the Falcons organization on the whole, but I just think they are wise to use common sense in these player personnel decisions. If you recognize cancer, why would you purposely put him in your body?

Smokers, if that last statement convicts you, do the right thing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

X-Games Are Back

posted by MoneyMouth

It’s August which means my favorite celebration of extreme sports is here. I’ve looked forward to X-Games ever since its creation 12 years ago and every year I’m captivated by every single event they throw at us. The best part is the boys behind the X-Games have kept on stepping it up with new events and new variations.

It used to be the main events were Vert and Street for skateboarding, biking, and in-line and then they threw in Street Luge and Sky Surfing to make things interesting. Now we have events like Moto X freestyle, rally car racing, and big air competition for both the bikers and the boarders (pictured). Now that’s a rad lineup.

For you squares out there, there are few big things to look forward to. Number one is Travis Pastrana in Moto X. Moto X best trick airs Friday night at 7. The young gun is looking to pull off the first ever double back-flip in competition. The other is Sean White (you may have seen him during the Winter Olympics tearing up snowboard half pipe) who is going to try to land the first ever 1080. That should go down following Moto X. Trust me: if either one of these is landed, then this X-Games will certainly be worth while.

On another note, I want to give a shout out to my favorite BMX rider Dave Mirra who will be missing his first ever X-Games. The BMX phenom and number one on the all-time X-Game medal list went down in practice suffering a 2nd degree laceration to his liver. I don’t even know how that’s possible aside from impalement with the handle bars. Rest up, buddy. I’ll be seeing you next year.

That Nag Got Zidaned

posted by IntrinsicBent

I stand corrected.

I am a big enough man to admit when I am wrong.

I’ve spent a fair amount of my time on the Sports Frappe explaining why I believe soccer is the vampire sport that is sucking the lifeblood out of American sports.

Then MoneyMouth went to South America and covered the mania that was World Cup, BiCoastalBias caught the fever and we found our blog being viewed by readers of the Guardian in the U.K.

I guess soccer (sorry………football) may very well be the world’s sport after all.

It is amazing how the World Cup continues to influence society.

Take for example, an incident that recently occurred during a horse race in London, England.

At first I thought a New York Yankees’ retired outfielder was involved.  Then I found out the Paul O’Neill in question was actually a jockey (little person).

City Affair (victim) threw the jockey (perpetrator) that was riding him in a race.  Paul O’Neill then got up, walked up to City Affair and head butted the horse while still wearing his jockey helmet.

As of this writing there was no report as to whether the horse asked for it by badmouthing O’Neill’s mother and/or sister.

When it came to light that the incident was caught on tape, an uproar ensued.  At that point, Paul tried to conduct damage control by saying things in part, like ''I would just like to say to the public that I'm very sorry they had to see such a thing.''

Here’s a translation: “I did not realize that this might be caught on tape, and now that it has, I’d like to save my butt by seeming repentive.”

I always wondered why jockeys needed those little bicycle helmets.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Don't Look for Justice in Cooperstown

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This past weekend was the annual Hall of Fame induction weekend at Cooperstown.  As usual, it sparked a discussion as to who might or might not make it in from next year’s ballot.  The sentiment appears to be that Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. are in for sure, and the big question mark hangs over Mark McGwire.  

Apparently, some people think that McGwire was using steroids to enhance his homerun hitting performance . . .  By “some people,” I mean everyone, and by “think,” I mean there’s not much of a doubt in any of our minds.

The game we’re playing here is pretty delicate.  It’s the decision we’ll have to make for any player who put up the bulk of his numbers (and muscles) in the 1990’s.  Luckily, guys like Canseco and Palmeiro have made it easy on us; by admitting to juicing, or just getting caught with juiced urine.  But as for the rest of them, we don’t have any (and won’t get any) definitive proof that someone did or did not use steroids.

But if what we’ve recently come to believe is true, over half of the players from that decade were cheating.  So we’ve got to expect that at least half of those guys on next year’s ballot were cheating.  Some are obvious, (McGwire and Canseco), but there’s got to be a few juicers that aren’t so obvious.  

I hate calling him out like this, but the guy who never missed a game for over fifteen years has got to be on my list of potential juicers.  It’s clear now that big sluggers were not the only perpetrators.  Many players of all positions and sizes used illegal drugs to increase their recovery time from the wear and tear of a long season.  Doesn’t Ripken seem a likely candidate to have taken advantage of these benefits?  It’s all hypothetical, but that’s what we’re left wondering while deciding to include these men with the all time greats of America’s game.

I’m not saying that Ripken shouldn’t get voted in, and I’m also not saying McGwire should be voted in.  What I am saying is that we can’t be satisfied that “justice has been served” if we induct Cal and Tony, but exclude Mark.  Those whose job it is to sell this game to us will do whatever they can to appease us, and if that means throwing a few obvious cheaters under the bus while celebrating discreet cheaters, they’ll have no qualms about it.

It’s quite strange, really.  There’s a short list of baseball legends whose names are synonymous with monumental statistical achievements and are also not in the Hall: Roger Maris and 61, Pete Rose and 4,256 to name a couple.  Will McGwire’s 70 and Bonds’ 73 follow suit?  Maybe they will; but should they be made martyrs for the sins of the sport?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Abreu to the Yankees and Other Trade Deadline Opinions

posted by BiCoastal Bias

The Yankees get Abreu: Doesn’t this move just reek of a typical Yankee trade at deadline time? New York gives themselves a fourth All Star outfielder, who’ll be on the payroll through 2008, just because two happen to be on the disabled list for part of the season. It's just so like the pinstripes' front office to pile on players who they'll have to throw money at for years down the road because of a short term need. On the other hand for all of us Yankee haters out there, you have to love the way this team stabs their own players in the back. Word on the street is that Sheffield is none too happy about this one, there's no way they'll exercise his 13 million dollar option for 2007 now.

So yes, the big winners this year were the Yankees and Dodgers, but I still stick by my previous statement that I'd rather my team do nothing at all than pull a "Paul Lo Duca for who?" type trade. Some people are adding the Texas Rangers to that list of winners, which is silly. They added Carlos Lee, and they'll have a better offense because of it. But that won't account for the woes of this team. This is a franchise that has won their division three times . . . and has paved the way for a Yankee championship all three times. Derek Jeter ought to send one of his four world series rings to be put on display over at Arlington with a note that says, "Thanks for making it easier."

At the risk of sounding a little looney, I'd say the Kansas City Royals are the third winner out of this year's trade season. The Royals took advantage of a dead market, and picked up prospects for players like Matt Stairs and Denny Bautista. Most teams probably had some tough decisions to make about trading away their present for the future. I'm sure the opposite was true for the Royals. Maybe their bargaining phone calls went something like this: "You'll give me a player with potential for one of my proven losers? I guess we could work something out."