Monday, July 30, 2007

Trade Deadline Equals Lame Deadline

posted by BiCoastal Bias

So in case you haven't heard, tomorrow is Major League Baseball's annual trade deadline. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most annoying time of the baseball year. During yesterday's Sunday Night Baseball game, we had to be interrupted at least once an hour to have Peter Gammons tell us that he thinks the Braves will trade for Mark Teixeira . . . or it might be the Angels . . . or maybe some team we've never even seen before. Who knows?

It's no secret that the trade deadline is getting less and less interesting, I wrote about a similar phenomenon last year. I think it's time that the sports news agencies caught up with the times. Tomorrow night, the local Red Sox station is airing a "Trade Deadline Special." Doesn't that seem a bit unnecessary? There are less than ten players on the trading block that I would call "interesting." What's especially depressing is that the players making the most headlines are only on the block because they are having especially down years, (see Jermaine Dye and Mark Teixeira).

This year, the sellers appear to consist of the Texas Rangers, the Chicago White Sox, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; and possibly including the Cincinnati Reds and the Oakland A's. Tampa has already made all of the moves we would expect them to make. Texas is expected to send Teixeira to the Braves soon, and is reportedly asking too much for Gagne or Sosa for any other teams to bite. It's still not clear whether or not Oakland and Cincy are willing to deal Dunn, Griffey, Piazza, or Johnson.

When I stop and think logically about some of the rumors flying around during the trade deadline, some of them make no sense at all. For instance, allegedly my Angels were offering Casey Kotchman and Joe Saunders for Teixeira. Now, a Kotchman for Teixeira trade would make some sense, straight up. Both players have had seasons hampered by injuries, but the short term upside to Teixeira is greater, while the Rangers wouldn't lose Kotchman to free agency as soon as they would with Teixeira. Let's compare their current season numbers:

291 39 9 48 .302 .861 Kotchman
286 48 13 49 .297 .921 Teixeira

Obviously Teixeira would be an upgrade, but would it be worth kicking in Joe Saunders? This guy is a rookie starting pitcher, who the Angels have already shown they are going to need down the stretch, with Santana pitching terribly and Colon on the DL. If it's true that Texas turned down this offer, it must be only because they love the package the Braves are sending over.

Let's look at another one. Allegedly, the Boston Red Sox are closing in on a deal for Jermaine Dye, in exchange for Wily Mo Pena and a pitcher. The hold up here is that Dye will only waive his no-trade clause for a guarantee concerning playing time. Since Wily Mo is not currently a starter, we're left to assume that Dye's playing time would come at the expense of Coco Crisp and J.D. Drew; since the Sox probably aren't going to be benching David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, or Mike Lowell. Let's compare these numbers:

332 47 19 52 .235 .762 Dye
307 56 6 40 .248 .728 Drew
359 57 5 42 .279 .738 Crisp

Obviously Dye provides a power-boost, but do you really want to guarantee a guy with a .235 average a starting spot? Also, keep in mind that the Red Sox owe J.D. Drew A LOT of money over the next five years; while Crisp appears to be having the most consistent year out of the three.

I'd like to write these rumors off because they sound so idiotic; however, just yesterday the Astros traded Dan Wheeler to the D-Rays for Ty Wigginton. Why either of these two teams would make such a deal is beyond anyone else in the baseball world. I guess some trades don't necessarily have to make sense.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be.....Commissioners

posted by IntrinsicBent

You work hard and long to make sure you get a good education, work yourself into the top of your game and become the Commissioner of one of the top three major U.S. sports.

Big money, fame, power, and notoriety.

Being notorious is what weighs heavy on all the minds of each Commish of the Big 3 sports at the moment. But it's more in the vein of O.J. notoriety. And who wants that in your league?

In case you've been living under a rock, here's the sad horizon view of each Commissioner:

MLB Baseball - Bud Selig - Performance enhancing drugs have run rampant in this sport. Selig has been weathering this hurricane for years now. Now the modern day face of steroids, Barry Bonds (allegedly), is a few homers short of breaking what many believe to be the most hallowed baseball record there is. The career homerun record. Selig has had a tough time deciding if he even wants, or should attend Bonds' games in anticipation of the breaking of the record. That's a photo op he doesn't want.

NFL Football - Roger Goodell - This dude rode onto town wearing a white hat and went about cleaning house and busting caps into anyone conducting themselves in a way that gets them on the wrong side of the law. Then Michael Vick is revealed as an alleged dog killer on a worse and more horrific scale than Clark Griswold. Jeffrey Dahmer thinks Vick is way out of line. I think Vick should have to serve his time in this Phillipines prison. His name is Michael. Maybe he can tryout for the lead role.

NBA Basketball - David Stern - This is the man that took a drug addled sports league, converted it's image, and made it into an international powerhouse brand. It's the storyline that you should be viewing on the big screen with $20 worth of popcorn and soda in your lap. Instead sports news outlets everywhere are discussing the possibility of the NBA having at least one referee affecting the outcome of past games. And the mob's Gambino family may be involved.

Be careful what you wish for. It can be very lonely at the top. No one knows that better than the writers here at The Sports Frappe.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Standing Bonds Next to Aaron

posted by BiCoastal Bias

For the entire season, and especially this last week, sports media has inundated us with memories of Hank Aaron, usually with the goal to prove Aaron's dominance over the soon to be homerun champ, Barry Bonds.

Really, what we often end up with, is a comparison of the two men's eras. What Bonds and Aaron have in common is that their chase of the record was met with mixed reactions from the fans and media. They both somehow represent the major issues of their eras. Aaron came up in a league still struggling to desegregate; at the time of his retirement twenty years later, desegregation was still a major issue, with school busing the controversial topic of the day. Bonds, on the other hand, plays when the major issue in baseball is steroids, and the league's silence about it as it ran rampant for the bulk of Bonds' career.

What causes the image of Bonds to pale in comparison to the image of Aaron is their reactions/parts in their respective controversies. Aaron had to fight adversity from the beginning, simply because of the color of his skin. In the minor leagues, he had to be escorted through the parking lot after every game with a teammate carrying a bat. How many times this week have we seen the clip of Aaron hitting number 715, and heard Vin Scully marveling about a black man getting a standing ovation in the Deep South?

While Aaron is seen as a figure of resilience and steadfast dedication against attitudes of hatred; Bonds is a figure much more pitiable. Many make Bonds out to be the leader of the steroids scandal, which is an unfair portrait. That title is probably more deservedly placed on Canseco, maybe even McGwire. Some insiders have said that Bonds didn't start using until after McGwire and Sosa went on their famous homerun chase of 1998. The story goes that watching those two get all the glory, and knowing that they weren't clean, pushed Bonds over the threshold. After all, what good is being the best clean hitter in baseball if no one else recognizes it?

So perhaps we ought to be painting Bonds as a victim of his time. Everyone else was using, and so he did too. And while some of you may accuse me of being too sympathetic toward Bonds; I disagree. Because Bonds still allowed himself to become that victim; something that Hammerin' Hank Aaron never did.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Middle of the Week Sports Rant

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I'm curious if the rest of the sports world feels the way I do when it comes to the Michael Vick scandal. Personally, I think it compares pretty well to the way I felt during the Clinton administration's "Monica-gate." I'd rather just not hear about it.

On the one hand, dog-fighting is disgusting; at least I assume, I've never actually witnessed it in real life. And in my book, something being morally disgusting is more important than the fact that it's illegal.

Now I'm not a Falcons fan. But nonetheless, I like watching Vick play football, and I think the NFL is better off with him than without him. Moreover, every time I see the Vick-scandal update on Sportscenter, I find myself dreading what Roger Goodell's eventual response will be. We're at the point now where we can almost guarantee that Goodell will suspend Vick, that is if Falcons' owner Arthur Blank doesn't take action first. I'm really tired of Goodell walking around like the new sheriff in town; and I'd hate to see this Vick situation become another notch in his belt.

In the end, if Vick is guilty of this offense, I hope he receives whatever punishment
the law deems worthy. However, I don't see any reason for the NFL to pile on.


Barry Bonds hit two homeruns today, and only needs two more to catch Hank Aaron for the all-time mark. What makes this incredibly interesting is that Bonds' Giants go to Milwaukee next, home of baseball commissioner Bud Selig. So is Selig going to intentionally NOT show up for these potentially historic games?

Isn't part of the commissioner's job to be at these important moments? If Selig ditches out, I will lose any respect for him that I might have had left. I recall Selig being at McGwire's 61st homerun in 1998; and I don't think we have any more doubt regarding his guilt than we do about Bonds'.

All that aside, this current turn seem especially poetic. If Bonds hits two homers this weekend, he will have hit number 755 in the same city that Hank Aaron did; and then he'll return home to San Francisco to set the record in front of the only town that doesn't boo him. It is almost enough to make you think he planned the terrible slump he's endured the last two weeks, just to set up this weekend.


Is anyone else fascinated by ESPN's "Bronx is Burning" mini-series? I just love the serial killer subplot, but I've got a hunch as to how it's going to end. You didn't hear it from me, but I think in the end, the detectives find out Billy Martin is the Son-of-Sam, but can't stop him before he takes out Steinbrenner and Jackson in a murder-suicide.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Money For Nothing

posted by IntrinsicBent

This article reports on a sanction that came down from the NCAA against the Oklahoma University football program.

I'll break it down for you into little digestable chunks that are easy to understand.

First let me say that as time goes by, I find myself in the "pay college athletes" camp. Isn't it time to revamp this weak system of literal enslavement? I know, they're getting an education for free. That's fine for the athletes that are receiving and taking advantage of that opportunity.

But statistics also will strongly support the other side. But that's a debate for the Frappe geniuses to have some other time. We could have it now but our intern Knowledge Droppings literally does nothing around here. (Where's that weekly Sports Douche and Hero feature?)

Back to the article:

Some numbnut OU players decided to take money for doing nothing thanks to the help of some willing booster. I'm thinking that the fact that the dealership is named Big Red Sports and Imports might have been a hint that the booster was way too dedicated to be trusted.

Does this whole scene remind anyone else of the job Robby Benson had in the movie One on One, where as a scholarshipped athlete, his job was to go water a field that was automatically sprinklered?

What took the NCAA so long? This infraction was discovered and guilty players were removed from the OU football program in preseason of 2005.

Why are players, coaches, and school officials allowed to break rules and then just leave the schools they victimize behind to deal with the consequences while they skip off unscathed? If they added teeth by barring athletes or coaches or other officials from participating further in NCAA sports, maybe the temptational pull would not be as strong to make a quick and illegal buck at the expense of the school. Boosters that break rules should also be cut off from the access they crave as well.

It's stupid to expect a school to babysit adult players and hold them responsible for all their actions. It's not possible. "Failure to monitor"? Please.

Losing 4 players (2 scholarships over 2 seasons) is a big hit for any program to bear.

The school having to erase the wins from their record while retaining the losses is no thang. But it's weak to do that to the Head Coach, in this case, Bob Stoops.

This part floored me: "Paul Dee, the athletic director at Miami and the interim chairman of NCAA I Division committee on infractions said". It's not what he said. It's the fact that an AD is the chairman, interim or not, of the infractions committee. That's like putting Tony Soprano in charge of the ATF (alcohol, tobacco, and firearms).

These instances will never end until they revamp the system. But then again, the NCAA is a bit like the mob, aren't they?

What's There Not To Love?

posted by IntrinsicBent

The MLB All-Star game is simply the best professional sports all star celebration in existence.

I love the NBA All Star Weekend and will generally watch every glitzy and ditzy competition and event based around the weekend.

But that's because I'm a baller, and of course a shot caller.

But baseball weaves it's celebration of the top performers/most popular players in such a way that you celebrate the present while bathing in the deep traditions it represents.

Baseball's appeal is because it's a game of our youth that magically binds us forever to our childhood.

That is.....if you are not of the soccer generation. And the soccer analogy is an important one.

Those of us that spent springs wringing out every minute before dusk trying to gel with our newly formed youth baseball team realize that with baseball, the game came to you. You waited and had time to think through the scenarios that could happen with the next pitch whether you were in the field, or at the plate.

With many youth sports (soccer) today, the pace is much faster and patience and strategies are not a commodity that is available. In these sports, you go to the game, often rushing and substituting activity for strategy. We live in an ADD age where we fiend for stimulation.

The MLB's All Star Game is a celebration of heroic feats, awesome plays, come from behind threats, camraderie, and matters.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Just Another Halo Victory (in the Homerun Derby)

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Tonight, Vlad Guerrero followed in the footsteps of the great Angels who have gone before him by winning the homerun derby; namely Garrett Anderson. This year's derby was a real pleasure to watch, although there were far fewer splash shots than Kenny Mayne and ESPN would have liked.

In most years, all of the action takes place in the first round. Usually, by the second round, the players are tired and the guy who hit ten in the first can't get any in the second. But this year, Vlad, Rios, and Holliday tied for first exiting the first round with five; Pujols also advanced with four. In the second round, all four of them hit over 8, with Rios knocking 12. But Rios came up lame in the final, hitting only two and allowing a Guerrero a pressure free round to beat him.

The highlight of the evening was Vlad's first round. He had no homers after 3 or 4 swings, when David Ortiz stopped him, grabbed his bat, and flipped it back toward the dugout. Then Ortiz brought out a large wooden rectangular case, which he unlocked to reveal a bat honed from the most sacred Dominican tree. (I just made that story up, but it could be true.) The bat hit a total of 17 bombs for Vlad, one that carried 503 feet, and the rest is history.

During the pregame, ESPN ran a segment showcasing the best homeruns of the last 100 years. As an Angel fan, I couldn't help but notice that no Angels were included, and worse, three of the homers were against the Halos, (Dave Henderson, Cal Ripken, and David Ortiz). This made Vlad's victory all the more sweet.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Joey Chestnut: American Hero?

posted by MoneyMouth

Today is the 4th of July which means fireworks, baseball, and hot dogs. But not just any kind of hot dogs. I'm talking about the annual Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest held on Coney Island every 4th of July. Ever since I started following the competitive eating circuit, there has been one name that has dominated the hot dog eating contest: Takeru Kobayashi. For the past 6 years, Kobayashi has dominated the competition averaging somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 hot dogs over 12 minutes. His only competition has come in the last two years as Joey Chestnut has managed to come within only a few hot dogs of Kobayashi.

But this year is different. After 6 years of the Japanese phenom dominating on our soil and our Independence Day, Joey Chestnut has rescued us. In "the fastest 12 minutes in sports," Chestnut not only brought back the title to the U.S. of A., he also smashed the world record for hot dogs and buns eaten by inhaling 66 of those bad boys in what's generously being labeled "the greatest moment in American sports history." Kobayashi made the competition interesting all the way to the end, keeping within a dog of Chestnut for the final minutes of the event. Unfortunately for Kobayashi, he suffered a reversal in the last seconds and was docked by the judges for the foul.

I of course woke up at 9 this morning so I could watch the event, as I do every 4th, and was shocked to see such an amazing display of gluttony. Who knew that it was possible to eat 66 hot dogs in a matter of 12 minutes? Even more amazing, who knew you could actually televise such a disgusting event and even have it announced by two color commentators? I wish I had TiVo'd the event so I could list a few of the outrageous moments of their broadcast (including the bizarre comparisons to players in other sports). Instead, I will leave you with one in particular:

"If you look up American Hero in the dictionary tomorrow, you will probably see a picture of Abraham Lincoln, maybe Neil Armstrong, and this man: Joey Chestnut."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mike Hargrove Is Selfish

posted by MoneyMouth

The big story besides the crappy All-Star picks is the fact that Mike Hargrove, the manager of the Seattle Mariners, has decided to retire today. According to Hargrove, he just can’t give his team what they deserve and has decided it would be better if he just walked away. While that sounds very noble and all, what’s more surprising is no other team has been as successful since May 22 and the Mariner’s are currently on a 7 game winning streak (and 8 after today).

So while every commentator and talking head is giving Hargrove the free pass and the benefit of the doubt, I’m here to call it as it is: selfish. Look, it might seem like it would be a good thing to resign from a team that you can’t control or is failing under your coaching. In such a situation, it might be better for the team if you call it a day. But when it comes to a team that is four games back from the best team in the AL while riding an 8 game winning streak, why would you think that you were not doing enough for your team? Why would you presume that you just aren’t giving your team everything that they deserve?

Look, Hargrove might have a very legitimate reason for leaving his position at the Mariners. All I am saying is don’t give us some B.S. about your team deserving more. Instead, just tell us its personal and leave it at that. Otherwise, you are no better than a guy I know by the name of Ricky Williams, and his reasons didn't turn out to be all that great.