Sunday, May 30, 2010

The City that Couldn't Shoot Straight

New York City has long been heralded as a point guard mecca, where the best street moves are developed and the best players can break down anyone, anytime, anywhere. At least that's how it used to be. There hasn't been a kid from the five boroughs to make an impact on the hardwood since Stephon Marbury, and that was...well, a long time ago. Starbury's rookie season was in 1996. At least he is making an impact in China, where this spring he won the All-Star Game MVP wearing a 24 carat jersey.

Marbury is not looking to pass here.

The city with the biggest rep for point guards is not representing in an era where the point guard has more freedom than ever in the NBA. Ever since the hand-checking rules were put in place, the NBA game has changed from a post-up, half-court isolation-play dominated style to one that favors the fast break and even more, point guards who can break defenders down off the bounce, penetrate and score or dish. Extra points go to those point guards who can shoot it from deep because they force defenders further from the basket, giving they and their teammates more space in which to operate. See Deron Williams, Steven Nash, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul and Steph Curry. We are in an era of shooting, scoring point guards. With a few exceptions (Rajon Rondo, Jason Kidd, Andre Miller) the best point guards shoot to set up the drive and dish. The typical point guard these days brings the ball up, but more often than not hangs around the three-point line to stretch the defense. His role is to knock down jumpers on ball rotations more than to drive and set up teammates. Think Mo Williams, Jameer Nelson, Derek Fisher, Mike Bibby, Beno Udrih.

And maybe that's the rub with New York City point guards and their abdication of the throne: They can't shoot a lick and, for the most part, never have. NBA teams prefer points who pose at least a modicum of a threat from outside.

NYC's NBA point guards (and their career field goal percentage):

Mount Rushmore
Bob Cousy (.375 --It was all about the pass for the Houdini of the Hardwood)
Lenny Wilkens (.432 --Had they invented the jumper when Wilkens played?)
Tiny Archibald (.467 --Tiny was ahead of his time: a scoring point guard and could shoot from anywhere)
Mark Jackson (.447 --Jackson's percentage is only this high because he feasted on smaller point guards in the low post. He was an ugly outside shooter.)

Cousy set the mold of the pass-first, shoot-worst NYC point guard.

Other Past PGs of Note
Rod Strickland (.454 --Like Jackson, Strick scored far more in the post than from deep. He was a terrible 3-point shooter)
Kenny Anderson (.421 --Couldn't shoot but had crazy quicks)
Pearl Washington (.452 --Great point guard for 'Cuse but lasted just three years in the NBA)
Kenny Smith (.480 --An exception to the rule. The Jet was the opposite of most NYC point guards: great shooter, average handles and passing)

The Not So Current Crop
Stephon Marbury (.433 --Marbury's cringe-worthy jumper never impeded his willingness to chuck it)
Rafer Alston (.383 --Fans have turned to stone watching his jumper)
Jamaal Tinsley (.395 --Classic NYC PG: Sick handles, tough as hell,  poisonous jumper and a complete knucklehead)
Sebastian Telfair (.390 --Ugh.)
Erick Barkley (.356 in just 27 NBA games)
Omar Cook (.333 in 22 NBA games. St. Johns doesn't make em like they used to)

So what's the deal? Why are New York City point guards traditionally such poor jumpshooters? Thanks to this article in today's New York Times, we have an answer. It's the blacksmith's fault! The schoolyard and playground rims are made by John Fitzgerald, city welder, and his crew. While the rims are strong enough to last through the Apocalypse, if you grow up shooting on them, your jumper won't survive high school. If you are short and want to score on courts with these rims, you had better figure out how to get close in because that jumper has to be dead solid perfect to drop through. It is hardly surprising, then,  to find that New York City point guards are especially adept at driving their way to those dolomite rims. Conversely, if jumpshots are a bad offensive option, it is easy to understand why these same point guards don't develop this skill and are, as a rule, crappy shooters.

Fitzie thinks jumpshots (and breakaway rims) are for pussies. Wanna fight about it?

Now, these days the top NYC preps are playing indoors on AAU teams and never deal with John Fitzgerald's rims. So, why would they continue to be poor jump-shooters? More than that, why would their shooting get even worse? The last group of point guards listed above are the most recent NYC points to play in the Association and they are by far the worst shooters. Why? Perhaps because after years of stylistic evolution, what defines an elite point guard in New York has crystallized into great ball-handling and heroic lay-ups in traffic. The local hero point guards you aspire to be as a young player in New York are great dribblers, finishers and passers; not great shooters. In short, though Fitzgerald's rims aren't used at the most elite levels of prep basketball, their cultural legacy is very much in play.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Diff'rent Strokes: Sports Edition

Gary Coleman died today of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 42. The rumors that the Gooch finally got to him are completely unfounded, so stop saying that shit! Coleman was a huge part of the childhood of my generation. And if Twitter is any indication of my generation's tastes (and it is), Coleman's death is rocking a lot of people's worlds. Current trending topics on Twitter as of 1:30 pm PT, May 28 : #garyColeman, Gary Coleman Died, #oilspill, #wheniwasafreshman, Coleman passed away, Todd Bridges, About Gary, fanime, Whachu talkin.

Of the top ten, six are Gary-related topics and it is telling that Todd Bridges, not Dana Plato, is the co-star who's trending with Gary Coleman. Maybe it's because he's still alive. Wait, one second...I was just notified that Conrad Bain is still alive. WTF? He outlived Plato and Coleman? I did not have that in my deadpool.

Aside from goldfish tragedies, the artful dodging of child molesters, the spin-off of Facts of Life, the unfortunately ironic drugs and drinking Willis episodes, one hallmark of Diff'rent Strokes were the number of athletes who guest starred. None appeared in season one, but by season two, when it was obvious NBC had a hit on their hands, the star athletes started appearing regularly on the show. Here is the complete list of athletes who appeared on Diff'rent Strokes (in order of appearance). Hat tip to
  1. Muhammad Ali (Season 2, Episode 1 as himself)
  2. Reggie Jackson (Season 2, Episode 10 as himself)
  3. Ed "Too Tall" Jones (Season 3, Episode 1 as himself)
  4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Season 5, Episode 5 as the teacher, Mr. Wilkes)
  5. Dorothy Hamill (Season 5, Episode 18 as herself)
  6. The 1984 Gold-Medal-winning U.S. Men's  Gymnastics team (Season 7, Episode 14 as themselves)
  7. Lance Parrish (Season 7, Episode 16 as himself)
  8. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Season 8, Episode 7 again as Mr. Wilkes)

 Ali with Arnold and Willis

 Only Kareem appeared twice on the show and he was the only athlete not to appear as himself, instead portraying the tough but thoughtful teacher, Mr. Wilkes. Really though, the writers couldn't come up with another name for this character? Wilkes? As in Kareem's Laker teammate Jamaal Wilkes? Was this to remind viewers that Kareem was a basketball player? Shit, this probably confused some people into thinking it was Jamaal Wilkes portraying himself as a teacher. If you think about Kareem's turn as "Roger Murdock" in Airplane just a few years earlier, this isn't really much of  a stretch.

The athletes were used almost purely along racial lines. Clearly, Ali, Reggie Jackson, Too Tall and Jabbar were there for Willis and Arnold. Black kids just love black athletes!  Dorothy Hamill, while Willis may have wanted to tag some of that, was Dana Plato's vehicle. Plato was a near Olympic-level skater before joining the cast of Diff'rent Strokes and it is clear she made the correct career choice, what with all the success she enjoyed after the show. Lance Parrish was there for annoying white little brother, Sam. You forgot about him didn't you? Well, he pretty much killed the show. He was a real life Scrappy Doo who introduced a doofish cuteness to a show that felt it could no longer lean on a perennially short but now not-quite-so-cute Gary Coleman. Parrish played himself serving as the bench coach on Sam's crappy little league team. The writing was a little soft toward the end of the show's run.

Let's not go out like the show did with Sam polluting the waters. Let's remember the show at it's peak. Like here:

With the Hasselhoff
and here:

Arnold's Got Five on It.

By the way, the show was shot entirely in color. I am not sure why all the good photos of the cast members are in back and white. Oh wait, I just figured it out. Very, very clever 1980s NBC marketing team.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bubble Guts

They say Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry ate some bad deep-fried avocado before tonight's Lakers-Suns game in Los Angeles. The results were not pleasant.

This begs a few questions:

Q: Is there such a thing as good deep-fried avocado?
A: Unknown at this time.

Q: Even if there is, is Alvin Gentry the slimmest person ever to have eaten it?
A: Without a doubt in the fucking world.

Q: Is the man with the bow tie sitting behind Gentry somehow responsible for Gentry's sudden case of bubble guts?
A: I'd like to think so. The problems of the world are so much easier to deal with when they can be blamed on something obvious, like men in bow ties or liberals or Al Davis.

Q: What exactly are bubble guts?
A: How should I know? I'm white. White people who are asking this question should go to Urban Dictionary then drop their newfound knowledge at the next party. Yeah, I give great advice.

Q: Is "ate some bad deep-fried avocado" code for "my team is getting its ass kicked and I have this motivational technique I've been waiting to use all season long."
A: Yes, and that is why Alvin Gentry is a genius and you are not.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Raise Money For Your Son's Little League

The Little Lefty at first base.

My son is in Little League. It has been a good season so far, though I am a little disappointed in the lack of douchery among the parents. Every game sees the parents clapping for both teams and rarely is a non-organic snack provided for the Lil' Lincecums after the game. This is not the Little League I have been reading about for years. I mean nothing like what happened last weekend just a few miles away in Vallejo. Or recently in Michigan. Man, I wish my dad had stuck up for me like James Ian Sherrill did for his kid.

Now it is fundraising time for NOLL/SOLL (North Oakland/South Oakland Little League). The parents have been getting a lot of heat about getting their donations in so I sent the following email to my family. If it inspires you, feel free to throw my son, and his Little League, a bone.


It is fund-raising time for Berch's Little League team, the White Sox. In the old days, Little Leaguers would dress in their game uniforms and shake a slotted can in front of, say, Friendly's Ice Cream, soliciting silver from the locals. Not anymore. Now, Little League does something called a Bat-a-Thon. The kids hit three balls and the coaches tape measure the hits and tally the distance. The kids--cough, parents--then send emails out and ask friends and relatives to donate a number of cents per foot. Amounts may range from 1 cent to 25 cents or higher. Sorry, no Eton emergency radios or canvas tote bags are given out for participating in the pledge drive, er, Bat-a-Thon.

If Berch were to hit a total of 100 feet with his three hits (which would indicate he is a weakling and not my son) and you pledged 15 cents per foot, you would pay...come on now...It's just a little math...Sean, I am waiting for you...Jesus Christ, $15. Stick with round numbers when you pledge, Sean.

The goal/requirement of the Bat-a-Thon is for each kid to raise a minimum of $160, which is, yes, the same cost as the league fee. Apparently, Little League is like the nightclub that charges you to leave after you paid to get in.

Let me know if you can make a pledge and how much. I will reveal Berch's hitting distance once I have the pledges secure. If you could get back to me by Friday, that would be great.

Oh, did I mention the pledge is tax-deductible? The league's Federal Tax ID is 94-2951651. Uncle Sam loves him some baseball.

Thanks in advance, and the next time you see a little kid decked out in uniform shaking a can, tell him to get an email address.


P.S. The Little League Bat-a-Thon trumped the fund-raising drive for his elementary school's quilt. Yes, I said quilt. It seems people still make quilts. Next thing you'll tell me people still crochet. China is there for a reason, people!

My brother Sean's reply:


1 cent per foot, Guy, but I've got $ .50 per foot for anyone else on his team, just to teach dad a lesson and enjoy a nice tax break. Too bad I can't write off my betting losses. Oh well.


The lesson here is that the kids win and now that I have this committed to html, my brother is bound to his pledge. By my calculations, the total number of feet hit by all the other kids on the White Sox comes to 2,414, so that's $1,207.00 my brother will be donating. Sweet. Kids who raise over $500 get a T-shirt, logo'd ski cap, water bottle, baseball bag, logo'd blanket and 4 outfield Plaza seats to the A's.

Wait, the A's?

Rather than end on that sad note, here's another picture of my son manning first base:

 Grabbing his grapes just like a big leaguer.

Jerry and I Are Back Together!

It worked! My complaining about the Rem-Dawg dumping me on Twitter won him back. If you look at my Twitter account--click on the black box over there on the right--and view my followers, you will see one Jerry_Remy. He may have been a kind of average journeyman second baseman when I was a kid but he is one hell of a man now. Yup, it's TLF. I am officially a resident of his virtual Barnstable.

Don't believe the rumor that the only reason Jerry unfollowed me was an automated script utilized by his Twitter account. That is I was dumped because I didn't follow him within the prescribed time after he followed me. I didn't mention that I didn't follow Jerry on Twitter? Oh. Well, a girl loves to be chased. And I'm no slut. Anyhow, so it has nothing to do with the fact that I followed Jerry yesterday and he auto-reciprocated. Love doesn't work like that!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jerry Remy Dumped Me

For a single, glorious day (May 24, 2010) Jerry Remy (@Jerry_Remy) followed me on Twitter. I wish I could claim this was a special privilege, shared only by the elect, but a quick inspection of the RemDawg's Twitter page reveals that as of 4:39 pm PT on May 25, 2010, he follows 46,167 Tweeps. That's about the same as the entire city of Barnstable. Have you been to Barnstable? Beautiful. Biggest city on Cape Cod. Nice shops. God's people live there. Great place to score drugs before you head off to the Vinyard. Bars are easy on the fake IDs. And yet, I am not good enough to be a member of Jerry Remy's virtual Barnstable.

Upon reflection, I think the reason I was "unfollowed" was this innocent tweet posted on, yes, May 24:

"The 4th place Sox are up 6-1 over the Rays and have won 4 of 5. Sox fans can soon return to being the cocky, entitled bunch everyone loves."

It was a bit of a jab at the sea of Sullies who invade every park the Red Sox visit. I know this bunch. I am one. However, I like to think I don't cross the line enough to end up like this guy:

"I still say Philly sucks."

By the way, I found Lippy on first page of Google Images when I entered "drunk Red Sox fan." Yeah, his family is proud. Regardless of how much this bespectacled douche with his too-hot-for-him girlfriend deserved it--and, man, just wearing a tweed jacket over a sweatshirt is pretty damned deserving--I will stand by my fellow Sox fans. Yes, we are loud. Yes, we are entitled. Yes, you want to punch us. But we aren't going anywhere. Unless the Sox start losing every year, then the bandwagon, Fitzie-come-latelys will jump all over the Bruins or Patriots not understanding that suffering is essential to the art of being a Red Sox fan. To them, being a Sox fan consists of pounding Sam Adams, screaming "Jetah's a fuckin' fag," and trying to hump the local water buffalo found at the Cask n' Flagon.

After grazing on marsh grass, the buffalo enjoy a good drink.
Wait, Jerry, this was supposed to be an apology. Really. I love the Sox...and most of their fans. Just follow me on Twitter.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Land of the Lost: My Fantasy Team Sucks (Part 3: Outfield Edition)

Last Monday I listed the infielders on my fantasy team in an attempt to better understand the exact degree of suck my team has reached. While we have not completed our analysis, the early indications are it sucks more than Courtney Love, who at least admits why she works so hard. My team must adopt a similar work ethic if it has any hope of finishing in the running.

This post we will look at the outfielders and utility men on my team. The outfield, at least, is a bright spot. My hopes are pinned on them to revive the fortunes of the Sleestak.

The Outfield

Josh Hamilton: I was on board for his redemptive season in 2008 and was so won over by the overcoming of adversity story run out there by every journalist with a little Rick Reilly (or a lot of Jesus Christ) in them, that I made him a two-year keeper. This means I was on board for last season, when he fell off the wagon (albeit briefly), got injured and contributed next to nothing to my team. In case you missed it, in January of 2009 Josh Hamilton, married, Christian and formerly and quite publicly drug addicted, met some girls in an Arizona bar who just out to have some fun that night. They said hello to this young Christian soldier and in no time at all, shots were consumed, nipples exposed and the whipping cream came out. Sadly, I am not describing what happened to the girls. See the photo below:

How come I get the whipping cream and they get their eyes blacked out?

Hamilton made an apology to his wife, his fans and his team for the incident. However, he never has apologized for the .268/.741/10 HR/54 RBI season he hung on his fantasy owners in the summer that followed him getting triple-creamed. And let's just thank the collective Internet for having the decency to obscure the identities of these three innocent young country girls overcome by the charms of this raffish big leaguer.

This season, Hamilton looks like he is on his way sobriety. He is driving the ball (seven homers in 36 games versus ten in 89 games last year) and has talented bats all around him. Josh will deliver 3rd or 4th round value this season and most importantly when whipping cream is spread on his chest it is always done so in the shape of the cross.

Matt Kemp: Now Matt Kemp knows how to spend his off-season and who to spend it with. Instead of getting worked all across the Internet by three nameless (and eyeless) princesses of the desert, Kemp made news by shacking up with and getting engaged to Rihanna. Sure, there are countless sites with the picture him sinking all ten fingers into her hams, but this is clearly a classy situation and one at which no blogger would look askance. For this newly engaged couple is truly, madly, deeply in love. Or, as Bossip puts it, "Matt must be knocking the Goat Curry out of her hips." Matt has also been knocking the Goat Curry out of National League pitching, and (he said licking his fingers) that shit tastes good. I may just need to change my team name to Goat Curry.

Rihanna's second favorite Goat Curry recipe.

This also demonstrates the cultural divide between Los Angeles and Tempe, where the photo of Josh Hamilton was taken. In Tempe, the sexual cuisine is clicheed. Whipping cream? Come on. What was next, the Josher sticking his dick in a tub of chocolate syrup while the three harpies fought to prove who had the biggest sweet tooth? My money is on the blonde. In Los Angeles, they have more refined tastes. While Kemp is knocking her curry out, you can be sure Rihanna will be drawing vodka-marinated lychee nuts from his ass. Mmmmm. Haute Cuisine.

Nelson Cruz: The guy who batted seventh for much of last season hit seven home runs in the first 11 games of the season, perhaps making his own modest argument for a more prominent spot in the lineup. Nelson Cruz is a man-beast and who doesn't love man-beasts? Lambs? OK, the lambs who are rent limb from limb by marauding man-beasts don't like them but, shit, lambs don't play fantasy baseball. By the way, is Ron Washington a lamb? He must hate Cruz because he has him batting in the sixth spot every chance he gets. I get that the Rangers' lineup is stacked but Cruz is the most talented bat they have. He should  be hitting fifth at least. Of course, by hitting him down in the order, Washington gives Rangers bloggers a season's worth of articles, all asking why in God's name won't Washington hit Cruz higher in the order and can you just imagine what Cruz's numbers would be batting clean-up? And somewhere soon after these questions are asked, the coke jokes will come rolling out. I mean what other explanation could there be? If bloggers sitting in their bong-reeking basements know Cruz should be batting fifth, the only reason the well-paid Washington could have him hitting sixth is cocaine. Case closed. Christ, I should've been a prosecutor.

Carlos Gonzalez: You may have noticed a pattern with my outfielders. All are power-speed guys. I am a sucker for the power speed combo and no position fields more guys who can knock 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season than outfield. CarGo, as Gonzalez is affectionately known on the message boards, is just the next edition of this Sleestak special. He, like Cruz and Kemp is a free swinger (4 BBs to 26 Ks this season), yet Gonzalez's stroke is so good he maintains a decent average (.328 thus far). He is in the first year of a three-year keeper contract and is the heir to Matt Kemp's throne. If he continues to develop as he has, he will be a first round talent within a few seasons. He was the best acquisition I made last year--he costs just a 27th round pick--and almost makes up for the fact that Chris Davis will be on my team next season.

Curtis Granderson: Let me get this out there right now: I love Curtis Granderson the baseball player; I hate him on my fantasy team. He plays hard. He plays excellent defense. He runs the bases well. He has good power. He is one of the class acts of major league baseball. He also strikes out a ton and kills your batting average in his down years--like last season when he hit .251 in 630 at-bats. So, why did I select him in the fourth round of our draft? Because my brain froze after Sunny took Jose Reyes ahead of him. I was fully expecting to land Reyes and when he was gone, I had no contingency plan. Gentleman, if there is anything life or Maniac Cop has taught us, you must have a contingency plan. Now Granderson is sitting on my DL with a shredded groin and remains weeks away from coming back to my team and punishing its already craptastic batting average. Maniac Cop, on the other hand, sits unrented in your local video store and is just waiting for you.

Julio Borbon: Surely you remember this guy. The darling of March message boards and the apple of every fantasy blogger's eye? You know, based on his .300 minor league average and the 19 bases he stole in 46 games after being called up last season. He was going to lead off for the mighty Rangers offense, show off his winged heels on the basepaths and score runs by the bushelful. What, you don't measure by the bushel? Well, as some old bastard once said--probably right he after said get off his lawn--you can't steal first. Borbon is hitting .230 on the season and this is actually good news considering how poorly he started the year. The bigger problem is that even on those occasions when his shadow does fall across the foul line at first base, he is content to let it stay there. One of the fastest men in baseball has just six stolen base attempts on the season. What can possibly be the reason for this insanity? Clearly, Ron Washington is chasing after the rails of the crazy train.


Travis Hafner: They say Travis got his nickname "Pronk" by crossing "project" with "donkey." Why project? Because he was seen as one as a baseball player. Why donkey? Well, let's just say the desert princesses who waylayed the Josher sure wish Hafner had been there that night. For all those good chuckles, Hafner sucks. He's hitting .252 with 4 dongs and 10 RBI. Did I mention he's hitting clean-up? So, there you have it: hung like a donkey; hits like a donkey.

Juan Uribe: Not to be confused with Ugueth Urbina, famous for torturing laborers with paint thinner and a machete on his ranch in Venezuela. Note to self: If ever you find yourself working as a ranch-hand in Venezuela, do not steal from the Urbinas. I mention this only because Mark O'Brien, known as Duff in She's a Keeper, confused the two at a recent Giants game we attended (more on that soon). Juan is nothing like the somewhat temperamental Uggie. He is your classic utility infielder (2B/SS/3B) with a penchant for the RBI. He currently leads the Giants with 23. Once Granderson is back, Uribe is likely to be my go-to guy off the bench for my infielders when one of them slumps. I'll never get good trade value for him as he has no name recognition, but it's all good. Uribe will remain an unsung asset on a crappy fantasy team. Urbina will remain in jail.

Aubrey Huff: If "solid but unspectacular" had a picture under it's definition in the most unlikely dictionary ever printed, it might have one of Aubrey Huff there. Or Rutherford B. Hayes. Sadly, with my team's woeful offensive output, solid but unspectacular is just what the doctor ordered. I mean, sure, everyone loves spectacular. But what does spectacular get you in the end? Whipping Cream, girls and Goat Curry? Millions of dollars? The championship of the She's a Keeper fantasy league?

I feel sorry for me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Land of the Lost: My Fantasy Team Sucks (Part 2: Infield Edition)

So, my team, the Sleestak, is in tenth place and hitting .227 tonight as of this posting. At the end of April I was in eighth place and getting close to panic mode. Now I am in tenth place and am pretty much panicking. I won this league last season. What does it mean now? About as much as Michael Imperioli's acting credits on The Sopranos mean as you watch him do this:

When I wrote for, and espn I always preached patience. I also preached name-dropping.  Now, I am not so sure. How did I end up tenth of twelve teams six weeks into the season? Let's do a roster rundown to find out.

The Infield

C: Chris Iannetta: He started out in a platoon with Miguel Olivo, swung the bad miserably (.133/.568 through eight games) and was hastily demoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs to get him consistent at-bats and help him find his stroke. This left the Rockies with Olivo as their everyday catcher and me in search of a replacement. Olivo forced the issue by starting out the season very hot. This was not the real Miguel Olivo. Olivo's career batting average? .242. His current batting average? .228. Iannetta's numbers at Triple-A? .303/1.045 through eight games. I love knowing this and that he could be recalled at any time (Olivo is hitting .090 in May) and that anyone else in my league could grab him.

C: Ramon Hernandez: The once and former cousin of the former king of the catcher position. True story. He is Ivan Rodriguez's cousin. OK, that's not true. He does, on the other hand, suck. Enough so that a random Irishman, Ryan Hanigan, has worked his way into stealing his at-bats. And by worked I mean hit the ball better and throw out more baserunners. Don't take my word for it, listen to this guy, who is actually a living, breathing Reds fan. It's true. They didn't all die after Pete Rose retired. Anyhow, I dropped Ramon Hern. I call him Ramon Hern. If he can't finish the season with my team, I don't have to finish his name.

C: Nick Hundley: Meet my replacement for Chris Iaintinthemajors. He is your poor man's A.J. Pierzynski, who is himself a very poor man's Joe Mauer. So, by the transitive property...actually, let's just stop. Hundley sucks. But at least he's hitting over .200. Yes, that is all it takes to stick as a catcher on the mighty Sleestak. He will be dropped as soon as Iannetta is called back unless one of the son-of-a-bitch owners in my league get him first. I am looking at you, Duff.

C: John Buck: The catcher with a porn star's name and Ramon Hernandez's worthy replacement. I mean, what's not to like? Chicks dig the long ball. And when Greg Maddux said chicks, what he meant was fantasy owners. If you look closely at the video below, you will detect an adam's apple where one should not be. The secret to Buck's success? He has always been streaky but has always been in a platoon--with the aforeslandered Miguel Olivo in fact--now he has the ABs to himself in Toronto and is primed for a career year. Which for John Buck means .250/20 HRs/80 RBI/70 Runs.

1B: Mark Teixeira: This guy took the month off, vacationing with the Joshes: Beckett and Hamilton (more on them later). I hear he got lots of tail and brief case of the crabs. Credit the Yankees' medical staff for having a supply of lindane and lye on hand to help him through his affliction. Of course, with ARod on the squad, the team's physicians were well prepared. Now that April is over, Tex has decided to get back to earning his $22.5 M. Not bad for five months work. Teixeira spooked me bad enough I considered moving him, despite my awareness that he never hits in April. He could still end up a trade chip, if I can land a top pitcher in return. As bad as my hitting is, my pitching is probably worse.

2B: Aaron Hill: Loved Hill last year. He hit 36 home runs to lead all second basemen and cost me a 23rd round pick. Yes, I was a genius. Last season. I made Hill a 1-year keeper (costing only a 20th round pick) and he has rewarded me with an early season hamstring injury and a .190 average through May 10. Basically, the choice for my final keeper spot came dowm to him or Ubaldo Jimenez (48.1 IP, 6-1, 49 Ks, 0.93 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) Did I mention I was a genius last season?

2B/OF: Eric Young Jr.: The first player I have owned on a fantasy whose father I also owned. Fuck, I am old. Eric the Younger is supposed to be a radical speedster with 267 steals over the past four-plus minor league seasons. He has received spotty playing time since being called up to the bigs and is being blocked at second base by Clint Barmes, who is hitting .226 and, really, why would anyone question that decision. Young could be sent packing to Colorado Springs as soon as this week. I hate the Rockies.

2B/3B: Ian Stewart: He has been one of the few bright spots in my infield, hitting .290/.930/6 HRs. I especially like his eligibility at second base. Should Aaron Hill remain in the shitter, at least I have some power I can wield at second. Sadly, I my overall crap performance has forced me to throw Stewart out there in a few trade offers. There have been no takers. Despite the fact he is putting up numbers, he is a relative unknown. A limited track record and a poor batting average last season have contributed to depress his value. I figure by August he will have proven himself enough for me to work him in a deal. I also figure by August my team will be hopelessly out of contention. I love fantasy baseball.

1B/3B: Chris Davis (N/A): Nicknamed Crash, Davis is now plying his trade in the minor leagues. Hitting .188 with a stud prospect (Justin Smoak) waiting in the wings will do that to you, especially if your manager is as erratic as Ron Washington. Davis is still on my team despite the demotion. Yup, he is in the second year of a three-year keeper contract. So, not only is he taking a roster spot and contributing no stats this season, there is a good chance he will do the same next year. Maybe I wasn't a genius last season.  I did try to wiggle out of this keeper obligation with an appeal to the league that I would drop Davis until he was rostered by a major league team, at which point I would have to pick him back up. Seemed reasonable to me. The guys didn't go for it. Pricks.

SS/3B: Miguel Tejada: I wanted Troy Tulowitzki here; I have a weakness for Rockies (despite hating them). After losing him to Sunny in the first round of the draft, I targeted Jose Reyes in the fourth round. Naturally, Sunny took Reyes as well. This caused me to lose concentration--and by lose concentration I mean scream, "You fucking cocksucker, Sunny! He was mine! I hope you freeze your balls off in New Hampshire with all the other libertarian pricks in the granite state!" I took Curtis Granderson, who I hate, in the fourth. And for shortstop I settled for former great, former roid user, Miguel Tejada. At least he'll hit .300 I figured. He's hitting .284.

CI (1B): Ryan Howard: A lock for 40+ home runs and 120+ RBI with a potentially crappy batting average. So far, he has been pedestrian but then Howard always starts slow. His career pre-All-Star OPS is .871. Post-All-Star is 1.041. I am not worried about Ryan Howard. When he and Tex hit their stride, I should jump in batting average, OPS, homers, runs and RBI. Please make it soon.

MI (2B/SS): Asdrubal Cabrera: The fantasy experts seem to like this guy. He is regularly ranked in the top 10 at shortstop but I haven't seen it this year. Ass-Dribble has been carrying a hollow .292 batting average with no power and no speed. The fact that he doesn't walk (seven walks and .339 OBP) and no one is hitting well behind him in Cleveland has limited his runs. So long as this remains the same, I far prefer Tejada at short.

MI (2B/SS): Ian Desmond: A rookie I really liked for his speed/power potential. He didn't hit well on my team and I dropped him to add Ted Lilly from the disabled list at the end of April. Since then he was added by Straight No Chaser and has hit .318 with two home runs in May. I just punched myself in the groin.

I am depressed. I will run through the outfielders and utility players next.

Land of the Lost: My Fantasy Team Sucks

My fantasy team sucks. I don't like admitting it, there is professional and personal pride at stake here, but it remains true. My. Team. Sucks.

I play in a league with a bunch of guys from back east. It's a clutch of Sox, Yankees and Rays fans. Yes, I said Rays fans. And one of them even attends games at the Trop. Right now every one of them save two are ahead of me in the standings.  [sarcasm]Luckily for me, no one posts on the message boards and each fellow in the league is highly sympathetic to my plight[/sarcasm].

Just last year I won this league. I used to write fantasy columns for God's sake. What is wrong with my team? First, let's look at the standings at the end of April. I have always wanted to have a monthly record of standings in my leagues and this blog gives me a great platform.

Click for a larger image.

My team? That would be the eighth-place Sleestak. This has been my team name from the very beginning of the league in 2004. Yes, the Sleestak. What? You're not intimidated? These seven-foot tall lizard men created by Sid and Marty Krofft once inspired fear and dread in little kids every Saturday morning. Now, after Will Ferrell's campy rendering, they are joke. Just like my team. Maybe I can blame Mr. Ferrell for my woes.

Sleestak. You Scared Yet?

Good God! Look at them. Seven feet tall. Armed with crossbows...and very small sticks. If that doesn't terrify you, how about this: Bill Lambeer is one the Sleestak pictured above! Really! Bill Lambeer was a Sleestak. Interesting that the monsters that scared me and absolutely terrified my little brother (more on this in a second) were portrayed by a dirty, seven-foot-tall sharpshooter who would terrorize me as a teenager when he played for the Detroit Pistons. Most monsters get one great turn even if that turn is serialized like Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers; Lambeer had two. OK, three if you count his stint as coach of the Detroit Shock. But since no one watches the WNBA, I am pretty sure he didn't actually scare anyone. Certainly, not the Philadelphia 76ers, who interviewed him for their head coaching position.

My brother, Sean, was very, very scared of the Sleestak. I could make him cry just by imitating the hissing sound they made. To be fair, the unmistakable hiss of the Sleestak was creepy as hell. To be unfair, I could also make Sean cry by humming the theme to Jaws when he was in a swimming pool...or the bathtub.  Or by talking about Sasquatch and wondering if any lived in the woods behind our house. Or by going "bzzzzzzzzzz." He never should have stayed up late that night to watch The Swarm. Sure, my brother can kick my ass now but he was a Grade A pussy back in the day.

Note: I have no idea how the Sleestak shot their crossbows with just two fingers. But Land of the Lost was all about suspension of disbelief. I mean, essentially it was a plastic dinosaur kit come to Sleestak...and Chaka. Chaka is my only real problem with Land of the Lost. Chaka was the Jar Jar Binks of the show: annoying and in the way. In the way of what? In the way of fucking dinosaurs, man! If only Grumpy or Alice had been able to chomp his hairy little ass. Just like rastaman Binks in the Phantom Menace, I needed Chaka to die and stop ruining my show.

This picture almost makes Chaka look cool. He wasn't.

So, before I was distracted by a pop culture, nostalgia-tinged time warp, I was supposed to tell you about how my fantasy team blows brontosaurus balls--and for the paleontologically correct out there,  no, I will not be referring to them as Apatosaurus balls. Did Fred Flintstone eat Apatosaurus burgers? He did not.  OK, next post, we talk about Sleestak, the incredibly bad fantasy team, not the incredibly cool TV monsters.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

After a Long Absence...

I am back on the blog. I had some distractions and, while those aren't all gone, I am going to make a game attempt to get back into the writing spirit.

A lot has happened in the world of sports since last I posted. The Duke Blue Devils won the NCAA championship over the now beloved Butler. The only good that came of this is we are ensured that a new generation of fans will revile Duke for the rest of their lives. Not every generation gets a Christian Laettner on which they can hang their hate, so this was needed.

Ben Roethlisberger was not charged yet was suspended from the NFL for sexual assault, or as the NFL likes to call it, conduct unbecoming... I am sure that during his six games off Ben will think very deeply about how to better get away with forcing sex on drunk girls. He is a class act and yet you can be sure the Steelers will not be leaning heavily on Ben for their marketing materials next season.

Tiger Woods came back and not soon after the golf world and its attendant media were actively seeking out his replacement. They went young--very young--and are hoping that one of Rory McIlroy, Ryo Ishikawa or Anthony Kim takes off and relieves the PGA of it's utter dependence on Tiger.  Reasons for the McIlroy methadone treatment? See Roethlisberger, Ben.

The Kentucky Derby was run, [some horse] won and now until May 15,  when the Preakness is held, we will read about [some horse]'s chances at the Triple Crown. This line of coverage will continue until the Belmont Stakes when, if [some horse] hasn't lost in Maryland, he will lose in Long Island. And with that,  horse racing season will come to a close and  no one except idle millionaires and Charles Bukowski fans will pay any attention to the horses on the track or even remember [some horse]'s name the following year. In case you were curious, you can tell the Bukowski fans by the bad smell, the half-empty flask sticking provocatively out of their back pocket and their penchant for swearing at God and hitting on anything with two tits.

 Would you have known the difference if I had picked a photo of some random racehorse?

Most importantly, baseball season has started and the fans of Philadelphia are already way out in front for vomiting, getting tased, and trying to get tased the very next night. Honestly, I don't see another fan base even coming close. Certainly, not in Oakland where they don't seem to have any fans at all. It is clear to me that if Charles Bukowski were a baseball fan, he would've been a Phillies fan.

In other baseball news, David Ortiz really doesn't seem like the same player since he went of the steroids, the Tampa Bay Rays are the best team in baseball (really) yet no one is coming to their games (really) and, most importantly, my main fantasy team is languishing in 8th place. More on the last item soon.