Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Balk 5-28-08

The Counselor is IN:

Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a few really bad homerun calls. Some are called homeruns that are not and others are called foul that are home runs. Some of these calls are changing the outcome of games. These calls could cause a team to miss the playoffs. How many divisional races and wild card races have come down to the last couple of games? If you can put in a form of replay for close homerun calls, then why not do it? MLB is talking about instituting this form of replay in the fall league as a test.

Baseball has been very slow to experiment with replay. I know several hard core baseball fans that are completely opposed to replay in baseball even when the call goes against their team. These fanatics usually discuss the tradition of the game and pace of the game. They also fear MLB using replay to call balls and strikes.

Here are my points back at these loyal lovers of the game. Firstly, the pace of baseball is already slow and laid back. This is not a bad thing. It makes for a relaxing day at the ball park. Taking time for a former umpire to check the monitor and to make a call will not slow it down much at all.

Secondly, you can easily limit what you will replay. The NFL has been successful in limiting what is reviewable for a long time. Tennis is using replay in a limited fashion very effectively.

Thirdly, let us talk about tradition of the game. How traditional do you really want to go? Should we go back to the days before the wild card where the only the winners of the two divisions in each league makes the playoffs? How about going back to a 9 game World Series? How about removing the bases and putting poles in their places (poles were common instead of bases in the late 1800s). Traditionalists usually want things to remain as they were when they were kids but the 1970s have come and gone.

Fantasy Advice:
A few weeks ago, I reminded owners not to dump their studs that were off to a slow start. Now it is time to examine those big names and see what they are doing 2 months into the season. Here are a few previously productive fantasy players that are not producing. You may want to consider trading or dropping these players at this time.

Tigers- OF Gary Sheffield is batting .213 with 3 homers, 12 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases. Age may have caught up with Gary.

Cubs- OF Jim Edmonds is only batting .167 with 1 homer, 6 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases. Talking about getting old, Jim looks like he is done. He should have retired as a Cardinal at the end of last year.

Reds- OF Corey Patterson
is hitting .200 with 4 homers, 16 RBIs, and 8 stolen bases. Corey is still stealing bases so you may want to keep him but his batting average will kill you if he does not start hitting batter.

Pirates - 1B/3B Doug Mientkiewicz
is hitting .207 with 1 homer, 8 RBI's and 0 stolen bases. Doug used to bring limited power but great batting average. Now he does not even bring that.

The Counselor is OUT:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Brotherhood of the traveling golden thong

The Counselor is IN:

Baseball players are very superstitious. If they do something special and they happen get out of a slump, then they attribute the luck to what they did. Jason Giambi has attributed breaking slumps to his golden thong underwear. The New York Daily News has the story.

"The Yankee slugger revealed Friday he slips on a gold lamé thong with a flame-line waistband when he's trying to get out of a hitting slump - and he's shared it with his teammates." (Daily)

"'It works every time,' Giambi told the Daily News after his secret was outed on Portfolio.com." (Daily)

If that was not strange enough, he has talked up his thong underwear to his teammates. Some of them not only bought into it but borrowed his underwear to help them out of their own slumps. There is nothing like shared underwear to break one out of the slump.

"Derek Jeter
agreed that Giambi's thong works, although 'it's so uncomfortable running around the bases'." (Daily)

"'I had it over my shorts and stuff,' he said. 'I was 0-for-32 and I hit a homer on the first pitch. That's the only time I've ever worn it'." (Daily)

"Johnny Damon also admitted donning the golden panties 'probably three times'." (Daily)

"I may need to wear it again soon', said Damon, who is batting a mediocre .255." (Daily)

"What is the secret of Giambi's golden thong?" (Daily)

"'You're not worrying about your hands or your balance at the plate,' Damon said. You're worried about the uncomfortable feeling you're receiving'." (Daily)

The New York Daily News wanted to help out all of the Yankees. They delivered 26 pairs of golden thongs to the Yankees. This way each team member and the manager can have their own.

As my father says, "Baseball players are not the men they used to be." After this story, I am inclined to agree.

The Counselor is OUT:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Balk -5-18-08

The Counselor is IN:

Here is another issue of The Balk.

* Over a week ago, Mariner's Richie Sexson charged the mound and attacked Texas Ranger's Kason Gabbard for a pitch that was over the plate. Sexson thought was too close with other players getting hit in this game. Sexson was suspended 5 games for this incident. When I saw the highlights (or lowlights), I remembered the faithful day in 1993 when Robin Ventura charged the mound against another Texas Ranger, Nolan Ryan. The 46 year old Nolan put Ventura in a headlock, punched him in the head 6 times, and bloodied up Ventura. As a Texas Ranger Fan, that was our brightest moment (how sad is that). Nolan is now the President of the Rangers. I wonder if he will pull Gabbard aside and teach him how to use the headlock and how to bloody the nose of the next person that charges the mound.

* Players that might be available free agents in your league.

  1. OF Coco Crisp- Red Sox. He is batting .315 with 2 homers, 10 RBIs, and 6 SB in 92 at bats. He would be a source of good batting average and some cheap Stolen Bases.
  2. OF Ryan Sweeney- A's. He is batting .298 with 1 homer, 19 RBI's, and 3 Stolen Bases. 23 year old Sweeney has a lot of upside. If you are in a keeper league, he deserves a look.
  3. 3B Ramon Vazquez- Rangers. Ramon is batting .338 with 2 homers, 7 RBIs and no stolen bases. His value may really be in the multitude of positions that he may qualify at in your league. He has played 2 games at 2nd, 9 at Short Stop, and 16 at third base. Blaylock is expected to play 1st base for a while when he comes back from injury so Vazquez should continue to get a lot of playing time.
  4. Pitcher Jose Contreras- White Sox. He has an ERA of 3.35, a WHIP of 1.19, and 4 wins. Jose killed me last year in my league but he appears to be back to his former self. He is not a bad pick up for an injury and may continue to pitch like this for the rest of the year.
  5. Pitcher Tim Redding- Nationals. He has an ERA of 3.55, WHIP of 1.12, and 5 wins. I was surprised to find Redding available in my mix league.

* Interleague play has begun. Remember to update your lineup where needed to most benefit from the Interleague play. Many DHs will be sitting down. Players like Big Pappy should play enough in the NL to start qualifying for 1st base in some leagues.

* Be on the look out for minor league call ups. Some of the studs of Double and Triple A will soon be in the Majors. A few have already started showing up on the 25 man rosters. Some of these players will be high reward free agency pick ups. With the high reward possibilities, there is also high risk especially with pitchers.

The Counselor is OUT:

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Balk- (Weekly Fantasy Baseball Thoughts)

The Counselor is IN:

We are now about a month and a half into the Major League Baseball season. I will start to give my thoughts in my weekly column, Balk. I forgot to take my foot off the rubber before coming up with that name. .

* Most slow starting stars have started performing.

  1. C.C. Sabathia is starting to pitch like the A.L. stud we thought he was. He has his ERA below 6.00. 5.xx is nothing to brag about unless it was close to infinity like Sabathia’s was.
  2. David Ortiz is finally hitting the ball and hitting it well. He is now up to a .240 BA and 7 home runs. Considering that Big Pappy was below .095 batting average a few weeks ago, he is red hot.
  3. Albert Pujols is smoking hot with a .348 batting average and 8 homers and 2 stolen bases. His slow start did not last long.

My main fantasy team has moved from second to last to second place in the last month. Things can change very quickly early in the fantasy season.

* It is time to start tweaking your team. Find those weak links and check out the free agents. You can start looking at potential trades with other teams in your league.

* Paying attention to your team and their needs now can pay off at the end of the season. Many owners lose track of their team and miss injuries and key free agent pickups.

* Texas Rangers Starting Pitching has been good (except for Jennings). This was not expected with from this team (in any season). We will see how they pitch in Texas heat of July, August, and September. Their hitting has also been solid.

* The Rays are at the top of the American League East. A month and a half in and they are better than the Yankees or Red Sox. This will be the story of the year if they can maintain it through September.

* Interleague play is about to start up. I always enjoy the competition between the leagues. You do have to be careful with your DH players in the American League during the play.

* News Flash- Home runs are down this year. They were down last year from the year before and are on pace to be several hundred less this year. On a related note, the average size of baseball caps for players are also down. Hmmmn. I wonder how that happens?

The Counselor is OUT: