Sunday, July 31, 2011

Key Trades at the Trade Deadline

Grading Key Trades at the Deadline

Blue Jays sent Edwin Jackson (who they got from the White Sox, more on that below), Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, and Corey Patterson (and three players to be named later or cash)
for Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and PJ Walters.

Who won: With so many players and so many moving parts, its hard to declare a victor, at least right now. A lot will hinge on what those three players to be named later turn out to be. The Cardinals approach the trade deadline a little differently than most teams. Instead of being the traditional buyers or sellers, they are not afraid to trade players from their major league rosters, even if they are in contention. Rasmus and Miller were playing roles on the team before being traded. The Blue Jays were in sell mode, they are a mediocre team stuck in the toughest division of the American League. The Cardinals get two solid veteran relievers to shore up a struggling bullpen, and a starting pitcher in Edwin Jackson. I don't like Corey Patterson anymore, 5 years ago, that would have been a great get, but not anymore in my opinion, that may have been a mistake, other than they don't really need the
hitting. Colby Rasmus could turn out to be a great, even a 5-tool guy according to some scouts, player for the Jays, and he was a good acquisition. However, I don't understand what Trever Miller does for you. He is an alright guy to use only on lefties, but he is certainly not a guy for the future. I am not sure what the Jays were thinking there.

Jays get Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen from the White Sox for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart.

Who won: This trade tells me that the White Sox, despite being right in the thick of the divisional race, have given up. Who gets rid of a starter and a infielder on the major league roster for a reliever and a prospect? Certainly not a team that thinks its going to win. This was a really bizarre trade. At the time, it made no sense for the Jays either, but Jackson proved to be a key piece for the Cardinal deal. Plus, if the White Sox are sellers, why are they getting a veteran reliever? Just a bizarre move by the White Sox.

Orioles get Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter from the Rangers for Koji Uehara

Who won: This trade made sense for both teams. The AL-West leading Rangers needed some relief help, so they went and got one of the top 5 non-closer bullpen pitchers. They gave up Chris Davis, who has a lot of potential and destroys AAA, but can't figure out at the big league level, and Tommy Hunter, a young pitcher with a kind of low ceiling (and injury problems) that the Rangers didn't have a place for. If those two figure it out (Hunter had 12 wins last year), then the Orioles just made a brilliant trade.

Diamondbacks receive Jason Marquis from Nationals for prospect Zach Walters.

Who won: Obviously the Diamondbacks. They got a decent starter for only one prospect. The Nationals aren't in the race, but they really better hope this prospect turns out, or this was a big waste.

Diamondbacks receive Brad Ziegler from Athletics for Brandon Allen and Jordan Norberto

Who won: The Diamondbacks, who need some pitching, get a solid fun reliever for a couple of prospects. Its hard to know how these deals will turn out, one figures Ziegler will pitch 20 innings for the Diamondbacks, and no matter how well he does, I doubt the 'Backs are catching the Giants anyway. That said, they have a chance for the first time in a while, and its good to see they are going after it. The Athletics are in obvious rebuilding mode, and get a couple of guys that could be part of their future. You have to like this deal if your an A's fan.

Giants receive Carlos Beltran and money from the Mets for Zach Wheeler.

Who won: You get a star outfielder for a pitching prospect? You take that in a heartbeat. The way Beltran is hitting, if he can stay healthy, can put the Giants right back in the world series. The Mets had to get rid of Beltran, and you might as well get something for him, but you would think they should have got more.

Giants get Jeff Keppinger from Astros for Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel.

Who won: Astros are obviously sellers, being the worst team in baseball, and getting rid of Keppinger, despite being a good player that I like, was a smart move. They get two more prospects to use to help build their team. The Giants needed the lineup help, especially up the middle. This trade made sense for both teams.

Rangers receive Mike Adams for Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin from Padres.

Who won: The Rangers get another top bullpen pitcher, this one is one that is under contract for quite sometime (unlike Heath Bell). The Padres get two solid prospects as they try to rebuild their team, I am not sure they should have let Adams go however.

Rockies get Joe Gardner, Alex White, Matt Mcbride, and a player to be named from the Indians for Ubaldo Jimenez.

Who won: The Indians just got a pitcher who can be their ace for quite a long time. Ubaldo struggled at the beginning of the year, but has gotten hot, and with Cleveland right in the race, they needed an ace. The Rockies, who are having a mediocre season, decide to build for the future. They must have been overwhelmed with the trade offer, because they had no real reason to move Ubaldo.

Astros get Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, and Juan Abreu from Braves for Michael Bourn and cash

Who won: This smells fishy on both sides. While the Astros are in obvious rebuilding mode, Bourn is not old or expensive. He could have been part of the Astros future. However, I really like Jordan Schafer, and getting 3 more pitching prospects on top may have made it too much to resist for the Astros. On the Braves side, one wonders if they just repeated the Mark Texiera trade for a guy who doesn't hit homers. I love Michael Bourn, and I love those Juan Pierre type players, and the Braves needed one desperately, but one wonders if they gave up too much. If Bourn is the missing piece for a World Series win, than the answer is no.

Astros get Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid and a player to be named later from the Phillies for Hunter Pence.

Who won: The Astros continue to dump their veterans players for prospects. But again, one wonders, why get rid of Pence? He is under 30 and under contract past this season. But again, they got a lot for him. They receive some of the Phillies' top prospects to help build that team. This is a no brainer for the Phils. They are poised to not only win a pennant, but the World Series as well, but they did need a bat. Boy, they got one. Pence is an awesome player and will be very helpful down the stretch.

Cubs got Abner Abreu and Carlton Smith from Indians for Kosuke Fukudome.

Who won: No brainer deal for both sides. The Cubs are way out of it, and had much more that they should have dumped than they did. The Indians get a very good outfielder in Fukudome (I call him little Ichiro, because he plays just like him). This is a classic buyer/seller deal.

Friday, July 29, 2011

College Football Predictions: Part 2, The WAC

The WAC has been called a dead conference. There has been significant movement in the structuring of the league, such as Boise State leaving. There are a lot of bad teams in this conference, but also some exciting ones, and rabid fans of college football will find plenty of interesting matchups in this conference. However, casual fans or ESPN drones will probably not realize there is a conference named after an overused 90's adjective.


Chris Ault has proven to be an incredible coach for Nevada, and they always stand a chance with him. They had a great season last year and were the only ones to knock off Boise State. They went to Hawaii and lost a strange one (which happens) and that was their only loss. But it seems to be a rebuilding year, as they lost key players like Colin Kaepernick, Vai Taua and other hard to spell players. They also no longer really have any pass rushers, reports show.

Fun pointless tidpit: Nevada started the pistol, which is shorter version of the shotgun that swept the NCAA last season.

Final Prediction: Tough schedule start with Oregon, Texas Tech, and Boise State all before Oct. 2nd. 8-4 seems to be the standard pick. I think that is a good number, and I think the race for the WAC will be a great (although silent) race, but I have Nevada coming on top.

Fresno State

Under Pat Hill, Fresno State has competed every year. Last year they went 8-5 but were destroyed by Northern Illinois in the Humanitarian Bowl. This year, David Carr's little brother will take over at quarterback, and even though Carr's NFL career has been derailed by playing for bad teams (Houston Texans *cough cough*), his career in Fresno was incredible. If Derek is half as good as David was, then they are in some very good shape. They also had a great running game last year, as they do almost every year. The majority of their starters are coming back, but that may not necessarily be as good as it
sounds since their defense was not very good last year.

Fun pointless tidbit: David Carr won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 2001

Final Prediction: Starting off tough with Cal (certainly not unbeatable) and then Nebraska, they also play Boise State and Ole Miss (which they could and probably will win), but the rest of the schedule is pretty pedestrian. They could win 9 games and will definitely go to a bowl game, but some are picking only 6 or 7 wins.


Hawaii is another one of those teams (like I mentioned with Navy) that have a system in place that transcends players and even coaches. No matter who they put in there, they will throw for thousands and thousands of yards. Lots of sacks on both side of the field last year, and we will see if they happens
again. Last year they racked up 2,000 more yards than they gave up, and if their defense is any good, then they should be a really nice team even if they looked pretty bad in their bowl game.

Fun pointless tidbit: They have a hybrid defense with a position called "the Elephant".

Final Prediction: They start the season with Colorado and Washington as their big name non conference teams. They could definitely win those games win. Their is not an unbeatable team on their schedule. There are whispers of a 10 win season, and a possible conference victory for the Rainbow Warriors. I have them going third in the conference, but the top three teams in the conference are going to battle this out to the end.

Louisiana Tech

This team won 5 games last year despite allowing 6 yards a play on defense (and being 117th in passing defense), and used 3 different quarterbacks. If they can figure out how to pass the ball a little bit (and stop the pass) they may actually be a decent team. Dykes is going into his second year as a head coach and he may actually have this team on the right track.

Fun pointless tidbit: WAC stands for Western Atlantic Conference and when I think Western, I think Louisiana.

Final Prediction: The toughest teams they will play are Houston, Fresno State, Ole Miss and Nevada. There is certainly some reason for hope with this team. I will give them a 6 win season and a chance to get a bowl game.


This team had a losing record in the WAC last year. Robb Akey is 17-33 in his tenure there. I don't blame Akey, this team was bad before. But there aren't many signs that this team is getting any better. They also somehow lost their quarterback to the NFL and his top two receivers graduated as well.

Fun pointless tidbit: There are actual potato studies done at this university.

Final Prediction: They start with a couple of easy games and then play Texas A&M and Fresno State which will be two losses. Virginia will be too much for the Vandals as well. Bizarrely, the National Football Authority predicts an 8 win season. I am not near as hopeful, and think they will probably win about half of that.

Utah State

They were 4-8 last year (as well as the year before) and now the head coach is making himself defensive coordinator and bringing in a 3-4 scheme. Moves like this are always last ditch efforts to save the coach's job, and they usually don't work. They are given 20-1 odds of winning the WAC by betting
agencies, and that probably tells the story. They lost both their solid quarterback, their best corner, and their key running back and will have to replace them this year.

Fun pointless tidbit: Some player names include:Funaki Asisi, Bojay Filimoeatu, Taani Fisilau, ans Elvis Kamana-Matagi

Final Prediction: They start the season with Auburn but get Weber State the next week for a 1-1 start. Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State highlight the conference schedule and Utah State would be lucky to take one of those games. Its the third year for Coach Anderson, and so he is probably starting to get players he likes in the program. This season could go either way, they could be decent, or flop. I am leaning towards flop.

New Mexico State

This is just an awful football team year in and year out. They were 2-10 last year, only winning one game in the Mountain West (this is their first year in the WAC). Coach Walker is entering his third year of the club, which is usually the key year, and has a record of 5-20. Don't expect things to get better. The offense stinks, the defense stinks, and the special teams isn't all that great either. These are one of
those teams that are never televised and the NCAA denies their existence. They haven't even had a winning season since 2002 and haven't won 5 games since 04.

Fun pointless tidbit: In the state of New Mexico, the world's largest enchilada is made every year in October.

Final Prediction: Georgia is the toughest one on the schedule, and they play no FCS teams. This gives them no automatic wins, and they may only win one or two.

San Jose State

This team was 1-12 last year and went winless in conference. They are returning 18 starters but those guys obviously weren't good. To add on, the program may go away altogether because of money problems. They averaged a grand total of 16 points a game and gave up 35 a game last year. They averaged getting blown out. Miami (OH) did the unthinkable last year by going from 3-10 to 10-3. No such comeback will happen with this team.

Fun pointless tidbit: San Jose isn't even a state

Final Prediction: Stanford, UCLA, and Nevada in the first 3 weeks, and the last 2 games are Navy and Fresno State, with BYU and Hawaii make up the meat of the schedule. They can't run the ball, they can't stop the run, and do nothing special on the passing side of things, this is going to be another terrible year and their program may be in serious jeopardy. I would be surprised if they won a single game.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

College Football Predictions: Part 1

College Football starts September 1st, and even though thats over a month away, I am going to slowly start making my picks for each Division 1 conference. There are 11 different conferences (and 4 independent teams) so I am going to do this a conference at a time and then at the end, put them all
together for easier access and go ahead and take a shot in the dark at a national championship team.

1A Independents
There are many reasons to be independent and not be part of a conference. Those reasons are the reasons college football (and just about everything else in the capitalistic west) exists, money, money, money, and money. Basically the independents don't have to share any of their cake like teams
in conferences do. This is perhaps ironic (or maybe not so ironic) because the 4 independent teams are military schools and religious schools. None of these teams are going to contend for a national title, but they should all be formidable teams.

Notre Dame

Tim Hyland writes "(Brian) Kelly's first season in South Bend was, in a word, difficult". It is going to take a few years for Kelly to straighten the team out like he wants it. Notre Dame fans have to be patient, which is hard to tell them, since they have been so mediocre for so long. They went 8-5 last year which is obviously not good enough for fans expecting a football powerhouse, but the reason I think fans should be patient with Kelly is what happened in Cincinnati. That program was a nothing program and he turned them around and experienced an undefeated regular season a couple of years ago. With all that said, there are serious expectations for the Fighting Irish this year from sports writers and fans alike. They are still looking for a quarterback, but Kelly had success in Cincinnati with a multi-headed QB attack. The defense wasn't that good last year and by all accounts won't be much better (and wasn't that good in Cincinnati honestly). Returning starters are always an important thing to look at while trying to size up a team, and Notre Dame has 8 on both sides, which is a very good amount. Let's face it though, they aren't going to beat Stanford, and will probably lose to USC and Michigan State. For a team that gets to pick their entire schedule, they didn't give themselves a lot of favors.

Fun pointless tidbit: One of Notre Dame's starting corners is name Gary Gray. Someone should inform his parents that there are more than 4 letters in the alphabet.

Final Prediction: Lots of smart people are picking the Irish to win 10 games, and one would expect an improvement over last year. However, I am not entirely buying it. They will be a decent team and will win at least 7 and probably closer to 8 or 9, but I doubt they will win 10.

They lost some key defensive players, especially in their secondary. They also lost their quarterback Ricky Dobbs, who was incredible at running that triple option. However, when you have a good system in place, like Navy does, personnel changes matter little. The defense appears to be the biggest worry, as I don't think there is much concern at all on offense. I think we will talk about Navy in the same way we talked about Mike Leach's Texas Tech. In Lubbock, it didn't seem to matter who the quarterback was (none of them had any NFL success), they seemed to break records every year. With
Navy, no matter who is running the offense, they will be in the top 5 in rushing and competing every year.

Fun pointless tidbit: Navy has played more than 1,200 games in its history.

Final Prediction: They start the year off with two easy wins against Delaware and Western Kentucky. But South Carolina will probably knock them over quite easily. However, the rest of the schedule looks pretty winnable. Their offense will carry them and they will easily win 7 games, and perhaps 8.


At the beginning of the year, this was one of the worst football teams in the nation (they jumped out to a 1-4 start), but they improved in the second half and got in the coveted New Mexico bowl. Their gambling odds to win the BCS are +10000, and that seems about appropriate. Even if they went undefeated, which won't happen this year, the BCS wouldn't let them win anyway. The quarterback Heaps is young and struggled last season, but the offense is good and talented, while the defense was not good last year at all, and no one expects that to improve.

Fun pointless tidbit: J.J. Di Luigi is their star running back. B.B. Mario is their fullback (okay that last part is a lie).

Final prediction: Their schedule includes Texas, TCU, Hawaii, Oregon State, and Utah. That schedule is by no means easy. Some writers are predicting a 9 win season, but I don't see how they win any of
those 5 above games. This is another team that is expected to improve, but it is hard to see by how much.

For the first time in over a decade, Army had a winning season last year. However, they lost half of their starters from that team, and it looks to be another rebuilding year. Just like the rest of the military schools (and Georgia Tech), they run the triple option, which will give them a chance against just
about anyone if they can play defense and avoid turnovers. The problem with military schools is that, for obvious reasons, they will never be as big as the major colleges, but they have a QB that is familiar with the system and knows how to run the option which could offset size differences.

Fun pointless tidbit: While in the FCS in 08, Rich Ellerson's (the head coach of Army) team was 2nd in passing.

Final Prediction: They have a pretty easy schedule, as they play no real big market team. In fact Rutgers (or Navy or Air force, its a toss up) may be the best opponent they have on their schedule. However, this is a tougher schedule than last year and they barely qualified for a bowl game last season. Writers don't seem to like this team very much, and I am not sure I am a big fan either. I figure their weak schedule will make them a bubble team for a qualifying bid, and they will win anywhere from 5-7 games. I doubt they will break the streak of 9 straight losses against Navy this season however.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Second Half MLB Predictions

AL West

Texas Rangers
This team has had its share of struggles, injuries, and disappointment in the first half, but still lead the division. Their bullpen has been the biggest problem, but appears to be on the upswing. They will probably make a move to strengthen the pitching staff, and with Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre, and Young in the lineup, the rest of the division will not be able to keep up. They will be fine, not great, but fine.

LA Angels
Great pitching staff headed by Haren and Weaver, but no bats. Wells and Hunter have been massive failures, and Brandon Wood was a dud prospect. They will make some kind of run, and its hard to count them out, but I just don't see them keeping up with the Rangers.

Seattle Mariners
Same story, great pitching, Bedard, Vargas, Pineda, and Fister, but no hitting. Ichiro is having a down year, even though they have managed to stay competitive. Milton Bradley was a big disappointment, as his big head outweighed his once solid bat. They had a nice first half, but that will be their only nice half.

Oakland Athletics
When your manager gets fired in the first half of the season, things aren't going well. End of story.

AL Central

Detroit Tigers
This pitching staff is too good not to win a division title. The hitting is solid with Cabrera and Ordonez anchoring the lineup, this should be a close and fun race to watch, but the Tigers are just a little bit better than the other teams in the division.

Chicago White Sox
They have a decent pitching staff, but too many holes in their lineup. Adam Dunn has been bad in the first half, I expect to see him pick it up some in the later half, but he may just be done. He has had a great career, but that may be coming to a close, and the Nationals made a good choice to not resign him. The bullpen may cost them the division as they have had tons of problems closing out games.

Cleveland Indians
Asdrubal Cabrera has had an amazing first half, dominating highlight reels and swinging the bat quite well. Cleveland has been a nice first half story, as not many people had them competing like they have. I expect them to stay in the race, but I think the youth will catch up to them and they won't be able to win the division. Expect them to be favorites next year though.

Minnesota Twins
The Twins have been on a great run in recent years, but it appears to be over. Mauer and Morneau can't stay healthy, and the pitching staff is disappointing. They had an awful start, and have surged recently, and won't be able to keep up with the three solid teams above them.

Kansas City Royals
They have the best minor league system in baseball, but the worst team in the American League. Give them time, it will take a couple of years.

AL East

Boston Red Sox
This isn't an easy pick. This is a really tough division, and the Sox are going through injuries and holes in the rotation. However, they have a great lineup with Ortiz, Youkulis, Gonzalez, Crawford, and Pedroia (the last two have been under preforming and will pick it up soon). This will be another fun race, but I see the Red Sox coming out on top.

Tampa Bay Rays (wild-card)
With 1/3 of the payroll of the Yankees and Redsox, Tampa has been a great story for just keeping up. Even with losing Matt Garza in the offseason, their pitching staff has still been great, especially with Price and Shields. I think this and veteran leadership from Johnny Damon will lead them over the Yankees and into a playoff spot.

New York Yankees
Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but the Yankees have problems. They are relying on Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to anchor their pitching staff. Can we really trust these guys to have a great second half? They will break down with age, and the law of averages say AJ Burnett will pitch terribly in the second half. Phil Hughes is not what he was last year, leaving serious questions about their pitching staff. Rivera is battling injury, as is A-Rod, who will miss 6 weeks, and lets face it, Derek Jeter is an average player now. They will compete to the end, but one of the three have to be left out, and I think it will be the Yankees.

Toronto Blue Jays
Its a tough world out there. Not a bad team, and they have the best slugger in the league. They lost some of their better pitchers in the offseason, such as Marcum and Downs, and its showing. Morrow hasn't repeated the magic he showed last year, but they still aren't bad, just not good enough.

Baltimore Orioles
I don't see why Buck Showalter is so respected. He loses everywhere he goes. Some see hope in the Orioles future, I don't. They should dump veterans like Vlad and Kevin Gregg for prospects at the deadline.

NL West

San Francisco Giants
The defending champs have went through some major injuries to key players like Buster Posey, and haven't been great, but they have had some surprises in their pitching staff. Not to mention they also have Cain and Lincecum as keys in their rotation. They are winning their division right now, and I don't see any reason for them not to hang on.

Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks have been a nice surprise. Legend Kurt Gibson has done a great managing job their, and if more teams made the playoffs in baseball (like it will be in the future), I would have them going. However, they won't be able to keep up with the Giants and the wild-card is coming out of the East, so they will be a sexy pick next year.

Colorado Rockies
Widely considered a disappointing team, the Rockies haven't quite put it together. Ubaldo Jimenez has not only not repeated his great previous season, but has been downright terrible. I have watched the Rockies less than any other team in baseball, and I struggle to name more than 4 or 5 players on their roster. That makes it hard for me to expect them to pick it up in the second half.

San Diego Padres
These guys can't score any runs. Heath Bell will be traded to the Yankees most likely, as the Yankees need the relief help, and they should also consider trading veterans like Orlando Hudson (who had a great year last year for the Twins). They just had a three game series where they scored a grand total of 1 run.

LA Dodgers
A lot of talent, some great pitching in Billingsly and Kershaw, and nice bats in Either and Kemp, but they have been bad. Joe Torre couldn't help this team, and now Don Mattingly can't either. Too many executive problems, and bizarre situations will continue to plague this team down the stretch.

NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers
They had the lineup last year with Weeks, Braun, Fielder, and Mcghee (who is having a down year this year), but this year they have the pitching (with Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum). The race will come down to the Cardinals and the Brewers in this division, but I just think the Brewers are too powerful for the Cardinals.

St. Louis Cardinals
Nice team, but they won't make the playoffs for the second straight year. Don't knock LaRussa though as he is a great manager, and they have a great lineup and a nice pitching staff, but again, the Brewers are too much.

Cincinnati Reds
They won this division last year, but have been crazily inconsistent this year. They just don't have a good pitching staff. When your opening day starter gets sent down to the minors during the season, your in trouble. A nice lineup, but not good enough for to them to have such a terrible pitching staff.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Nice story, Clint Hurdle has done a great job there so far, and they are much better than they have been in a long time. However, I am still not totally sold on their pitching staff, I don't see them staying in the race down the stretch, but they may be heading in the right direction.

Chicago Cubs
Cubs lose! Cubs lose! One of the bigger disappointments of the season, as additions like Carlos Pena and Matt Garza still have not allowed them to compete. They usually mail it in at this time of the season anyway, so they would be last if it wasn't for the Astros.

Houston Astros
This team is the worst in baseball, and their minor league system is bad. That is not a good spot to be in for the new ownership. However, they showed flashes last year with the same team basically. Their bullpen has cost them a mind-numbing amount of games this season, they don't walk or hit for extra-bases. They have some serious holes to fill, and it may be time to move on from manager Brad Mills.

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies
Even with little to no Oswalt, this pitching staff is incredible. They don't always hit, but they may not need to, they are the best team in baseball right now, and I don't see that changing.

Atlanta Braves (wild-card)
This team could probably win any other division in the league, but they are looking up at the Phillies and they won't catch them. Hanson, Jurrgens, Lowe, and Hudson is an amazing rotation, and will carry them to easily win the wild-card. They can't hit very well (Haywood, Uggla, and Jones aren't hitting well) and thats why they aren't the best team in baseball.

Florida Marlins
What a terrible June! The Braves are probably the happiest about their collapse, as it appeared the Marlins would make a serious run at the wild-card. An 80 year old manager and finally a good hitting Hanley Ramirez will help them down the stretch, but they aren't making the playoffs.

Washington Nationals
It has been a nice year for the Nationals, even with Jason Werth and Ivan Rodriquez struggling. The strange resigning of their manger didn't help though, and the division is way too tough for the Nationals, but they may be in the running in the next couple of years.

New York Mets
Beltran will be gone, Santana is not pitching an inning this season, Reyes will be gone or on the DL for most of the year, Wright has been on the DL most of the year, so has Ike Davis, and K-Rod will be gone. Money problems (including the strange story with Bernie Madoff) won't help things, get used to this word Mets fan: rebuilding (its only taken the Pirates 19 years to build a decent team).

Call me in 3 months.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The NBA, NFL Lockout and Government Shutdowns

The NBA owners have joined the NFL by locking out the players. This one is actually considered worse than the NFL lockout, as NBA owners are trying to destroy the players' union and cut their pay. The owners refuse to share the money between the teams as well, as some teams are losing money, while others are raking it in. This gives some teams like the Mavericks and Heat huge competitive advantages over teams like the Clippers and Bucks. Since owners like Mark Cuban are unwilling to share with other owners or players, they are shutting the league down, which would not only hurt the players and jilt fans, but will hurt stadium workers and other small workers we usually don't think about when we think of sports. The NFL lockout may be close to being resolved, but it is still going on and now because of the possibilities of training camp cancellations, many cities may lose money. When cities lose money, they are forced to either raise taxes or cut services. This is all because millionaires and billionaires can't agree on how to split up $9 billion dollars of NFL revenue.
The Minnesota State Government has entered a shut down, largely over a refusal to raise taxes. Things like battered women shelters and food shelters are now being at least temporarily closed. 2/3rds of State employees are now basically out of a job. Protesters in the capital have been chanting “Tax the Rich”, something the government is refusing to do. The GOP in the state is actually using the government shutdown to fundraise.
At the Federal level, the debt ceiling debate threatens to destroy America's credit rating and devastate the American economy. Again, this is mainly because of a refusal to raise taxes on the very wealthy, especially on the part of Republicans. The United States Congress is made up of 245 millionaires. Millionaire Senator Jeff Sessions called the idea that millionaires need to share the budget pain “pathetic”. When rich people make decisions, it tends to benefit rich people, and when they disagree, they always seem to hurt us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dodging Creative Headlines

The LA Dodgers, one of the great historical franchises in baseball and sports in general, filed for bankruptcy last week. This seems to be a last ditch effort by owner Frank McCourt (of which some have suggested didn't have enough money to run the team anyway) to avoid takeover by the MLB. McCourt was really inept at running the team, which shows by his finances. The team owes over 20 million dollar to retired steroid-loving Manny Ramirez (who had short stints with 2 other teams after he left the Dodgers). McCourt is currently going through a long messy divorce, where finances will be split up, leaving McCourt definitely unable to run the team.

Commissioner Bud Selig insisted that a TV deal worth $3 billion would be bad for the team and disallowed it, making it almost impossible for the Dodgers to even meet payroll. How a multi-billion dollar deal is bad for the team is beyond me. Selig insists that McCourt would just use the money for himself, and this is probably true. However, this is obviously a power grab by Selig and the MLB as they have already taken over operations of the team. MLB could still have approved the deal and monitored the situation. Baseball is at an interesting time where historic clubs like the Cubs and Dodgers have not only had money problems in recent years, but have been downright awful. However, it allows teams like the Rangers and Brewers, who have not been historically good, to compete.