Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

And the Thornton Death Spiral Continues...

So I'm gamecasting today's matchup with the A's and have a few experiences...

First, Mateo gives up another home run. What is it with our pitchers and giving up gamebreaking long balls? Seriously, it's an epidemic.

Then it's 4-2 and I see this pop up on my screen:

- M Thornton relieved J Mateo.

First thought at this point... Sh*t.

Then comes the first batter, Eric Chavez.

- E Chavez walked.

Wow, what a surprise. Matt Thornton walks a batter. Now up walks Bobby Crosby.

- B Crosby homered to left center, E Chavez scored.

A home run! What? Thornton sucks without an out! No way! Two walks and two strikeouts later the inning is mercifully over. Unfortunately, so is the game. Exactly when is enough enough for Thornton? Please?

posted by Gavin @ 3:12 PM  0 comments

Do The M's = The Tin Man?

If we win today, the PI points out that the Mariners will finish the month of June with a .500 mark. That will be a moderate success, but this is still a puzzling team, notably the lack of offense. The Devil Rays are a better offensive team than us. The Devil Rays! I am ready to believe that there is something psychologically wrong with this team, the same lack of heart that I have seen from previous years. I want to see players cussing each other out, or cussing out the media. I want to see Hargrove being tossed, or relievers punching their fists in the air after a big strikeout. I can tell that Sexson is that type of person. I can tell that Guardado is that type of person. I can also tell that they are not the leaders on this team. I am the biggest Moyer fan, but his quietness is seeming to weigh on the rest of the staff. He is the leader of that rotation, and I need to see him call out Meche or Piniero. Get Boone out so that Beltre and Sexson can take charge of the hitters, calling out Olivo or Winn. I don't know whether these thoughts are reasonable. I just want to see more heart and character, the type that I see on the A's, Red Sox, or Orioles.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:53 PM  0 comments

NBA News

-- Will Conroy and Tre Simmons have found homes. The Sonics made overtures to both of them, but Conroy decided to head to the Lakers, while Simmons is heading south to Atlanta to play with Marvin Williams and fellow sharp-shooter Salim Stoudamire. We wish both of them the best of luck, though I personally hope that the Lakers drop Conroy so the Sonics can pick him up.

Gavin: These are all the items I was going to blog on, so I figure I'll just jump on this. My dream on Conroy being a Sonic is dead for now, although I at least am glad we made him an offer. The Lakers need a point guard badly to run the triangle, so Conroy will be given every chance to make the roster, which probably helped him make his decision. Simmons is a good fit for Atlanta, simply because the Hawks suck enough that he has as good a shot as anywhere to stick around as well. Teams will find that they are better than most of the second round picks (and some of the first... hello Clippers). Here's to Conroy getting cut!

-- The Sonics, finally, made offers to some of their free agents. Unfortunately, this is not all good news. Great news: Offer to Damien Wilkins. Good news: Offer to Reggie Evans (since we decided not to draft anyone to fill the void if he left). OK news: Offer to Vlade Radmanovic (hopefully just for a year or two before someone foolishly pays him an exorbitant sum). Bad news: Offer to Ronald Murray (What? Is there an individual who obviously does NOT fit into our system more than Ronald Murray? He's a poor passer, an over-dribbler, and a streaky shooter who was more often cold than hot last year). My hope? We sign Wilkins and Evans, do not sign Murray, and, quite honestly, I am perfectly ambivalent about whether Rad-Man stays.

Gavin: Have to agree with Colin there. Ronald Murray needs to go. He has to play twenty minutes every day and could have a shot at being a super-sub type player. Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury, and he is too streaky to be on our club. I still look for Damien Wilkins to be resigned, because he was way too valuable for us at the end of the year and will be our best guard defender. Radmanovic's decision is based on whatever team wants to possibly overpay him. I'm ambivalent about his return.

-- Nate McMillan is giving off red flares signalling his intent to leave Seattle to pursue, possibly, the Detroit job, if Larry Brown does resign. I don't think he will go to Milwaukee, especially after management decided that Andrew Bogut was THE answer (hint: nope). I also don't think he will go to New York, because that team is deep, deep in NBA cap hell. But if Detroit offers Nate the job, he's gone. It's as simple as that. And I would fully understand. The best owner in the league, the best President and GM in Joe Dumars, a group of individuals who want to play the rough and tough style that Nate loves, and a city that would embrace him.

Gavin: David Locke had a good article today to this effect. Essentially, Nate was left hung out to dry by the Sonics at the beginning of last year. With so much up in the air now, what is the reason not to see what else is out there? He has to. Now, I don't think that there is much out there outside of the Pistons, and now that the Cavs VP position has been filled I'm not sure what Larry Brown is going to do. We have to prove to Nate that we are committed to winning, and as the below graph indicates, even the fans aren't convinced.

-- I'm getting negative vibes about the direction of the Sonics franchise, and they doubled in intensity after the draft. That draft was not looking at next year. That draft was the type of draft that you normally see from a rebuilding team. Personally, I felt that we were done rebuilding. However, if the money is not put out by ownership, we might be back in rebuilding mode by the end of July, as McMillan and Ray Allen blow kisses as they walk out of our lives.

Gavin: This is what I wrote about yesterday. We can tender offers to our restricted free agents. We can say we are "negotiating" with Allen and McMillan. When are we going to see results? Far too much left undone. The Sonics will lose me as a fan for a while if I don't see some type of real effort this summer.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:28 PM  0 comments

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sonics Draft Thoughts

Well, one day later and I'm still not satisfied with our pick of Johan Petro, C, France with the 25th selection when both Jason Maxiell and Wayne Simien were on the board.

Chad Ford grades our draft at a B+, as he liked both Frenchies.

I do like our first second round pick, Mickael Gelabale. He does look like an improved version of Desmond Mason, with an improved outside jumper. He's an excellent defender, and could pair well with Damien Wilkins.

Lawrence Roberts saved the draft for me last night, since I thought he would be a good replacement for Reggie Evans. However, Rick Sund disagreed, since we got two second round picks for him, which is good value for a pick in the 50s.

I guess what it comes down to is simple. We were standing toe to toe with the eventual champion Spurs last year. We just needed to retool, add some size, get healthy, and who knows for this year. Instead, I feel like we drafted with an eye to the future. What about next year? Are we going to be competitive? Are we going to now resign all these players? I am concerned about the team's commitment to next season. It is almost June 30, and no one besides Sund has been resigned. Not impressive.

There are a lot of undrafted free agents out there who could have been drafted, and hopefully the Sonics can find some value, ala Wilkins. Obviously, I wish for Will Conroy.

Speaking of all those undrafted, great year for seniors and bad year for idiot underclassmen. Shavlik Randolph, Matt Walsh, Anthony Roberson, Kennedy Winston and others all made poor decisions in leaving school. All could have been leaders on top 25 teams. Hopefully Brandon Roy understands what a great decision he made.

The NBDL made a huge impact in the draft. The second round was full of players that could have been undrafted, but since they could stick them down in the developmental league it was worth the second round pick. Thanks Stern, at least they weren't first rounders.

posted by Gavin @ 2:57 PM  0 comments

The REAL running diary

If you like to laugh, every year Bill Simmons' running diary of the NBA draft is essential. Just one of the highlights of my year, every year.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:48 PM  0 comments

Top 5 Reasons The NBA Finals Sucked

No, I didn't watch a ton of this series. There were reasons. Here they are.

5. The incessant whining.
Did the refs suck? Yes, and we shall talk more about this later. But, my word, these guys rivaled French soccer players in stunned looks and, "It wasn't me" asides to the refs. Come to think about it, with Parker, Ginobli, Rasheed, and Prince, you might have the core foundation of a nice soccer team. Every single minute that I watched there seemed to be someone whining about a call or non-call. It was pathetic, and took away from the "basketball" game that was being played.

Gavin: The best comparison I can think of is in a World Series where every ball and strike call was challenged by either the catcher or the batter. Every time there were complaints it slowed the game down, it took players out of position, and frankly, whining is rarely a pretty sight. It wasn't pretty when I did it at age 5, and isn't pretty watching millionaires do it either. There are times when there are questionable calls. However, not EVERY call was questionable. Just play the game.

4. The "superstars" of Tim Duncan and Rasheed Wallace, to name a few.
The NFL and MLB markets teams above players. That is why you see the Yankees and the Red Sox carry such weight. People like Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz don't rise above the Red Sox mystique, they simply add to it. That is also why the NFL gets so upset at players like T.O. when they DO try to push themselves above the team. The reason why this works is that the players, a lot of the time, are not the greatest role models. And that is true in every league, from Randy Moss to Barry Bonds to Jason Giambi. However, the NBA markets players above teams. They market Shaq wherever Shaq is at. They market LeBron, K.G., Dirk, Yao, and Kidd. The NBA commercials focus on players yearning for the trophy. This strategy pays big dividends when Shaq is in the Finals. This strategy tanks when the superstar is Tim Duncan, who is an amazing talent but is one of the most boring individuals in the history of sports. Thus, for this series, no one cared about the teams outside of Detroit and San Antonio and no one cared about the superstars. No large popular interest = extremely low ratings. The NBA needs to pull back the shoe ads and get the team proclaimed, first and foremost, above the individual player to broaden their market appeal in the states.

Gavin: If the NBA starts caring about the teams, perhaps we wouldn't have to worry as much about the thug/gangsta posses as well. Sure would be nice. Still, was there one player I was excited about seeing? Nope. Was there one team that played exciting team ball? Nope. Hence, boring games with low ratings.

3. Terrible shooting.
For example, in Game 7, neither team broke the 60 point barrier until the 4th quarter. Shouldn't good, "fundamental" basketball involve people shooting the ball well? The game started with people trying to make more baskets than the other person. Making more baskets. Making them. What's more fundamental then that?

Gavin: I was listening to Game 7 online and the announcers actually said the following, "18-16 after one quarter. Everything we could have hoped for so far in a game seven." What? Neither team can score twenty points in the deciding game of the season and this is everything we could have hoped for? Yes, both teams played great team defense, but championship teams shouldn't miss that many open jumpers and lay-ins. In fact, both team's offense most closely represented everything I hated about the NBA before the zone defense was instituted. I felt cheated after following the Sonics and Suns for the year. That is offense, not the half-court-run-the-shot-clock-down-before-shooting-fallaway-with-hand-in-face crap. The Spurs have two plays. Give it Duncan to dribble or let Ginobili drive. Is it that hard to stop them? The Pistons had no plays beyond a lot of dribbling. From an aesthetics standpoint, the games were awful.

2. Defense + grabbing does not equal exciting, flowing basketball.
Basically, every play on the offensive or defensive side of the ball ended with the refs having to make a decision on whether or not it was a foul. There was no flow, the play was continually stopping as the whining happened, and then we got to watch Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan desperately try to make free-throws. The only exciting player in this series besides the devil Ginobli was Chauncey Billups. However, this point leads into the next one...

Gavin: I have to agree with Ray Allen, Bruce Bowen does not play basketball. Still, both teams play the entire game on the edge of what's allowable. Everyone grabs, everyone shoves. Everyone runs into one another. Everyone creates contact. It was lame. Pass the darn ball. Run the court. Play real trapping, switching defense. Too much of all these games were in the ref's hands.

1. The refs are, simply, incompetent.
Can you imagine the NFL allowing their refs to be this bad? There is absolutely no excuse. David Stern should sit the refs down for a long, long talk to work out this problem. I might not have agreed with what Jeff Van Gundy said at the beginning of the playoffs, but some of the officiating was SO bad that it conveyed the message that the NBA was trying to fix games. There's not much to say on this issue. If you watched the playoffs, you know what Gavin and I are talking about.

Gavin: The refs were awful. They cost several games. In the playoffs, the players need to decide who wins, but when half of the game is spent at the line it doesn't work. When one team (the Spurs) is on the receiving edge of EVERY favorable call it doesn't work. These refs should have been booed out of almost every building they were in. I'm still steamed as a Sonics fan and it didn't improve in the Finals. I wonder if a random panel of fans would do better. I sure think so.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:26 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

NBA Draft Thoughts

I have to say at the outset that I am one disappointed Sonics fan. I'll get into that more, but that disappointment might make this whole post slightly more bitter... my apologies.

Note: My guess in parentheses besides real pick

1. Milwaukee - Andrew Bogut, C, Utah (Marvin Wiliams)
He's... okay. He will not carry a team. He will be a decent center. An All-Star? I doubt it. Milwaukee has many more needs than this.

2. Atlanta - Marvin Williams, F, North Carolina (Chris Paul)
Atlanta doesn't need Williams, since they have three guys now playing the same position, including Josh Childress and Al Harrington. I know Williams has some skills, but he is still pretty raw. Childress and Williams have the ability to be multidimensional and hopefully can present some solid matchup problems. I thought they needed a point guard, but they solved that with taking Salim Stoudamire in the second round.

3. Utah - Deron Williams, PG, Illinois (Andrew Bogut-Portland)
Utah gets a solid point guard that Jerry Sloan will love. He plays the style of game that the Jazz employ, is an excellent defender, and has the size to post up most point guards (Luke Ridnour).

4. New Orleans - Chris Paul, PG, Wake Forest (Sean May)
I still don't like this pick. Dan Dickau was almost brilliant for them in the second half of the year and Sean May would have replaced PJ Brown. They did pick Brandon Bass in the second round, who is an undersized power forward, but I believe they needed more size. However, Chris Paul is an undeniable talent, so it's not like they lost out on this pick.

5. Charlotte - Raymond Felton, PG, North Carolina (Deron Williams)
Excellent pick. They needed a point guard and Felton fit that need. I would have taken May here, but as you will see below, Charlotte got both. Basically, Charlotte is a huge winner in this draft after being so unlucky in the lottery. Congrats to Bernie Bickerstaff. That young core will play some exciting basketball.

6. Portland - Martell Webster, G, HS (Gerald Green-Utah)
Portland could have gone either way here... Webster or Gerald Green. Both are NBA ready guards with good shooting touch. Since I'm from Seattle, I like this pick, and wish Webster the best. He obviously made the right choice to pass on UW.

7. Toronto - Charlie Villanueva, C, Connecticut (Ike Diogu)
Look at the two names above. Who would you rather have? Lazy versus fearsome. This was an insane pick. Sam Mitchell will rip Villanueva apart. If they can tap his talent, this will prove us wrong, but he hasn't yet. However, the Raptors did have a good econd pick (see below) and got a steal with PG Roko Ukic in the second round.

8. New York - Channing Frye, C, Arizona (Fran Vasquez)
I give up. The world has lost it. Since when was Frye the next coming of Tim Duncan? He wins the award for most overhyped player in this draft. I like him, but he is not THE answer in New York. Poor pick.

9. Golden State - Ike Diogu, F, Arizona St (Hakim Warrick)
I said Hakim Warrick, but no way Golden State should have passed on Diogu. Great pick, adding some size and strength to a finesse team. This will allow Troy Murphy to focus more on his offense and let Diogu clean up the paint.

10. LA Lakers - Andrew Bynum, C, HS (Raymond Felton)
Ummm... did someone not get the memo that the Lakers just hired Phil Jackson? Aren't they supposed to win now? Drafting a HS center is probably not the fastest way of getting there. A point guard would have been nicer. Who exactly is running the triangle? Kobe? Permit me to hold my sides laughing for a while.

11. Orlando - Fran Vasquez, F, Spain (Martell Webster)
Well, I suppose since I had this guy going higher I should call this a good pick. However, I don't know who the heck this guy really is and Orlando needed another guard to score. Whatever. A "C" pick.

12. LA Clippers - Yaroslov Korolev, F, Russia (Joey Graham)
Permit me to steal from my mock draft for a second... "I should state that I feel the Clippers are going to do something insanely stupid with this pick like choosing a 17 year old center from Russia. After all, they are the Clippers." Not much more to add to this. Insanely stupid.

13. Charlotte - Sean May, C, North Carolina (Andrew Bynum)
Steal of the draft so far. Like I said before, Felton, May, and Okeafor are going to play some exciting basketball. May will pair with Emeka quite nicely inside, providing some scoring that the former UConn star can't. I love the way May plays and look forward to watching it translate into a successful NBA career.

14. Minnesota - Rashad McCants, G, North Carolina (Rashad McCants)
Look! I got one right! Still find it funny to throw a guy with attitude issues onto a team with Spree and Cassell. Those are probably not the best role models. Will provide a good scoring threat and perhaps can finally be a sidekick for KG. Can't play any defense, which Dwayne Casey won't like.

15. New Jersey - Antoine Wright, G, Texas A&M (Charlie Villanueva)
Don't know this guy, but many people like him. Frankly, if you play college ball and don't stand out, I don't think you're worth a pick in the top fifteen of the draft. Antoine Wright didn't stand out, although A&M was a surprise team. Just my thoughts.

16. Toronto - Joey Graham, F, Oklahoma St (Antoine Wright)
So this is the guy that the scouts were all salivating over. He never really impressed me that much in all the games I saw him in. He seemed to disappear in many of the big NCAA games that Ok St played. Prone to foul problems and with a suspect outside shot. However, he jumped really high and NBA teams will apparently hand over millions of dollars for that.

17. Indiana - Danny Granger, F, New Mexico (Francisco Garcia)
I have a confession to make. I forgot about Granger when I did this mock draft. If I hadn't, I probably would have had Indiana make this pick. Granger has good offensive abilities, decent tools, and thankfully isn't a project for an Indiana team desperately lacking scoring punch. Still... he is another "tools" guy who managed to impress scouts with a lot of running and leaping. Did anyone happen to catch the NCAA game where New Mexico couldn't get the ball in the basket? Didn't see Granger taking names in that one. As I write this I like this pick a little less. Basically, I'm an ignorant tool.

18. Boston - Gerald Green, G, HS (Ryan Gomes)
Boston will be one of the biggest winners in this draft, especially because they snagged Ryan Gomes in the second round. Green could easily have been a top 10 pick, and is just as good as Martell Webster. He will provide Boston another NBA ready teen to play with Al Harrington. I like the way the Celtics' roster is turning out.

19. Memphis - Hakim Warrick, F, Syracuse (Julius Hodge)
Not a big fan of this pick and I really like Hakim Warrick. I just don't think he's a good fit in the Grizzlies system. They play a slow half court game predicated on passing and defense. Warrick runs the floor and finishes well. He plays only so-so defense. Just don't think he's the answer for a Grizzlies team in search of a go-to scorer.

20. Denver - Julius Hodge, G, NC State (Luther Head)
So a team with a terrible need for outside shooting picks the WORST shooter in the draft. Hodge's jump shot is not exactly a work of art. His "hustle" impressed enough people to jump him into the first round. He will be able to post up other guards, but not exactly sure how this impacts the Nuggets.

21. Phoenix - Nate Robinson, G, Washington (Johan Petro)
Well, if there's one team that Nate Robinson can fit with, it's the Phoenix Suns. He doesn't have to play defense and can run circles around other teams on offense. It's rumored that he will be going to New York, which would not be as good, since he would play behind Stefan Marbury. Not a great fit. In Phoenix, super fit.

22. Denver to Portland - Jarrett Jack, PG, Georgia Tech (Martynas Andriuskevicius)
Before Denver traded this pick to Portland I liked it, since Jack can shoot from the outside and would be a solid backup to Andre Miller. Now Jack will be a solid backup to Sebastian Telfair and is a good sign that Portland is parting ways with Damon Stoudamire. Well, less pot will be smoked around the Rose Garden.

23. Sacramento - Francisco Garcia, G, Louisville (Ronny Turiaf)
Is this really what the Kings needed? Garcia can score, is an okay defender, but will get pushed around. He can't create his own shot well. The Kings are going to lose in the playoffs again to a team like Seattle that outrebounds them and plays better defense. My earliest preseason guarantee.

24. Houston - Luther Head, G, Illinois (Jarrett Jack)
I called that Houston needed a guard! Head is an excellent fit for Houston. He is pretty unselfish, can shoot better than James, and hopefully will help Houston score over 80 points in many games. The big question still remains... can Luther Head feed Yao Ming in the post? He also didn't play point guard much at Illinois, so will have to cut down on turnovers.

25. Seattle - Johan Petro, C, France (Wayne Simien)
Just what we needed. A French center. Hopefully he doesn't surrender in the paint. Wayne Simien? Still on the board. Jason Maxiell? Still on the board. What? Rick Sund? What? Yes, we may lose both Jerome James and Vitaly Potapenko. Does that mean we shouldn't try and replace Reggie Evans? Petro will need a few years of grooming. Super.

26. Detroit - Jason Maxiell, F, Cincinatti (Nate Robinson)
This is a perfect fit for Detroit. A player who can play great defense, a good wingspan, a rebounder, and a guy who will hit from the foul line. This is one of my favorite picks of the first round.

27. Portland to Denver - Linas Kleiza, F, Missouri (Channing Frye)
And Denver gets another player who won't hit threes for them. Absolutely no idea why they traded Jarrett Jack for this guy and a HS prospect. They must decide that they don't need threes, or that once they get that one player (I totally forget his name) back from the injured list the need will be filled.

28. San Antonio - Ian Mahinmi, F, France (Jason Maxiell)
Look, I'll be honest. I have no idea who this guy is. Should I doubt the Spurs now, after Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili? Probably not.

29. Miami - Wayne Simien, F, Kansas (Salim Stoudamire)
This is a good pick if they lose Udonis Haslem in the free agent market. Still, they lack depth at the two guard and Salim would have made more sense to me. Simien is a good player and will add an inside scoring threat off the bench. He's also a really nice guy and I like to see them succeed.

30. New York - David Lee, F, Florida (Chris Taft)
David Lee is one of the players who hustled a lot in the predraft camps and made scouts like him. While I appreciate the hustle, I saw Lee play a few times last year and was thoroughly unimpressed. He gets to join the rest of the undersized power forwards who can't finish that comprise the New York Knicks roster. Congratulations.

Second Round Steals:
Atlanta - Salim Stoudamire - best shooter in the draft
LA Clippers - Daniel Ewing - solid fundamental player will be good off the bench
LA Lakers - Ronny Turiaf - Some actual defense and rebounding for the Lakers!
Toronto - Roko Ukic - most mock drafts had him in the top twenty
Orlando - Martynas Andriuskevicius - With the NBDL, this player has Nowitzki upside
Boston - Ryan Gomes - when you get a possible starter at 50, you've done well
Seattle - Lawrence Roberts - this saved the draft for me. Anyone see him dominate Stanford?

Grades to come tomorrow!

posted by Gavin @ 9:01 PM  0 comments

Round 1 - Colin's Live Blog (blatantly stealing from Bill Simmons)

Note: This live-blog started at the 12 pick, but I was watching from the 3 pick.

-- I have to agree with Stephen A. Why in the world would the Clips pick a 18 year old over Sean May or Rashad McCants? Heck, the Russian looks 15.

-- Channing Frye is not worthy of a top-10 pick. Nope. I can't see him handling the pressure in New York. He is a nice player, but I just didn't see the star potential from him, and I watched him for years in the Pac-10. The Wildcats go-to guy was Stoudamire, not Frye. But because Frye is tall, he goes early. There is some weird rule in the NBA that you need a 7-footer on your roster in order to win. Where did this come from? How many good centers are there in this league? Kareem and Shaq are the exception, not the rule. The rule is Rasho Nesterovic and Michael Olowokandi. The rule is Jerome James. The rule is Chris Mihm. Draft the best player, not the tallest player.

-- Stuart Scott tries his darndest to interview Fran Vasquez, but, no, doesn't work. It's hard when the guy doesn't speak any English, Stu.

-- I love the Ike Diogu pick, and not just because I spent the last year at Arizona State. The guy can play, and he should be a great addition, a GREAT addition to Golden State. I like that team more and more, with Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy, and now Diogu.

-- Will Martell Webster succeed in Portland? I hope so, but it's hard to see that needed leadership for the young player. Who will he learn from? Darius Miles? Ouch.

-- Dick Vitale rips on international players, which I also agree with, though he says that Yao Ming has been the only impact player drafted, somehow forgetting about Ginobli and Parker.

-- So, you are Toronto. Your best player is Chris Bosh. You have the #7 pick. What do you do? You draft... Charlie Villaneuva, who plays the same position as Chris Bosh. Steven A. sums it up, "There is a lot of turnover in this league management-wise, and I expect some more turnover after this draft." You follow that up with Joey Graham, a semi-solid pick, but I would have gone with a guard, unless you really believe that Rafer Alston is the answer.

-- Who made out like bandits? The Charlotte Bobcats, who got Raymond Felton and Sean May. Wow. That's just.... incredible. They now have a solid, solid core of players with Okafor and these two, and they should be real good, real soon.

-- Jay Bilas, wow. Incredible stuff. Almost as good as Stuart Scott's interviews, as he gives half-hearted performances with stiff youngster after stiff youngster, with the exception of Raymond Felton.

-- Speaking of Raymond Felton, I will definitely blog on this later, but the NBA needs to market guys like that. He looks like a solid, solid man as well as a solid player.

-- Great moment. David Stern is paying so much attention to the ESPN guys that he doesn't see Rashad McCants walk up on the stage for the obligatory handshake and picture. McCants has to give Stern a little tap to get his picture. Is Mike Tirico really that exciting?

-- More free advertising for Coach K. Seriously, shouldn't the NCAA step in at some point? Isn't this against recruiting rules?

-- Next situation. You are the Indiana Pacers, a great defensive team that can't score. You draft.... Danny Granger, a great defensive player who isn't a great scorer. Ummmm, hmmm, ummmm..... OK. You see, this is my problem with the NBA (or, one of my problems). The main reason I'm even watching this is that Gavin has a doctor's appointment. Do GM's pay attention to their own team? You only have 5 players on the court at a given time. You know what you have, and you should, by now, know what you need to improve those 5 players. Make the right choice! For the Pacers, you just lost your best shooter in one Reggie Miller. You have Tinsley, you have Artest, you have O'Neal. Draft the 2 guard. At least Granger can sing. And he grew up a Jehovah's Witness, which, in the fantasy world according to Stuart Scott, should make a big difference in adjusting to the NBA.

-- "We get carried away with track and field stats. This is basketball. Who cares about wingspan?" Dick Vitale, ladies and gentlemen.

-- A good pick for Boston in Gerald Greene. No, I'm not a big fan of drafting high-schoolers, but this guy is almost 20 years old and is an athletic freak. Bill Simmons should be pleased.

-- The Memphis Grizzlies just got lucky with Hakim Warrick at 19. He will be a great rebounder, an excellent energy guy who will play WELL in Fratello's system. Maybe his "upside" isn't that great (actually, I've only heard Bilas say that word a couple of times), but he can defend, and he is improving.

-- Sonics at 25. Still on the board: Jarrett Jack, Wayne Simien, Rony Turiaf, Francisco Garcia, Jason Maxiell, and Salim Stoudamire. I would be ok with any of these picks. At least one of them will be left on the board, since we are right at the 20th pick right now (Denver).

-- One thing I do like about the NBA draft is the 5 minute break between picks, which makes this round pass by a lot faster than the NFL, which took FOREVER. There was only so much Chris Berman I could take, and, here, I get less Bilas and Vitale, which I enjoy.

-- Fran Fraschilla just put Detroit in the list of teams that draft international players well. Um, remember a guy named Darko? How did THAT one turn out, Fran?

-- Phew. The Sonics won't draft Julius Hodge. The Nuggets snapped him up at 20, which makes sense. They needed a shooter, and Hodge will give you that. However, I would have went with Stoudamire, but it seems like I'm in the extreme minority on how much I like him as a potential pro.

-- Who will Phoenix draft? Obviously this pick means a little more to me and my new home. They need a runner. I'm going to guess Jack or Garcia, leaning towards Garcia. And the pick is... NATE ROBINSON!!! WOW!!! Well, I'm going to Phoenix games next season! Wow. Wow. Wow. I'm stunned. Just stunned. He will fit into Phoenix's system, will run the floor, can do the 1 or the 2, and will attack. Excellent. Wow. Wow. Geez. Wow. Can you tell I am excited? Oh shoot, Bucher is breaking my bubble and telling me that Robinson will be shipped off to the Knicks with Q Rich for Kurt Thomas. Oh well. The Knicks will enjoy him. Blah. I WAS excited.

-- And the Sonics won't draft Jarrett Jack. The Nuggets snapped him up as well at 22. OK, will Simien last? Two more picks to go, Sacramento or Houston. Good draft by Denver so far.

-- "Next up, the teams that went deep in the playoffs, deep in the 1st round." Um, Mike, Sacramento and Houston lost in the 1st round, remember? That's not, "deep in the playoffs". That's, "made an obligatory appearance in the playoffs."

-- Mindless question: If aliens did land and want to conquer us, like in "War of the Worlds", could you think of anyone as a better negotiator for humanity than David Stern?

-- OK, Francisco Garcia goes to the Kings. Good pick, he will fit well into the Kings system. He'll have to work on his whining, though, to really fit in with Bibby, Stojakovic, and Miller. Definitely need some excellent whining skills to mesh.

-- The Rockets have the last pick before Seattle, and they pick Luther Head, a solid player, but I'm not sure if he was needed for the Rockets. Bilas thinks he can play the point, but, in my opinion, he's a 2, and the Rockets have a decent 2 already in Tracy McGrady.

-- Bilas: "They are celebrating in Seattle because they can now draft Ddkaldskaflj Isdafklsajfeie (I have no idea what Euro guy he's talking about). This will be a big pick for them." What? We need some Euro guy no one's heard of? Yeah, hell, go ahead and pick him instead of Wayne Simien or Jason Maxiell. What have they ever done?

-- The Sonics draft Johan Petro, a center from France. Yippee. He's 7 ft, 240. Didn't we draft a center last year? Why, that's right, Robert Swift. We drafted HIM last year. Holy cow. Well, when I woke up today I did think to myself, "Wouldn't it be just wonderful if the Sonics drafted some guy from France?" Maybe Gavin knows more about this guy, but I sure don't.

-- Why do teams like Detroit keep on winning? They pick guys like Jason Maxiell. Bilas might not like this pick, but he should fit SEAMLESSLY with Detroit's style of basketball. Stephen A. likes it, and I trust him a ton more than Bilas. So does Greg Anthony.

-- Ichiro homers off Zito to lead off the M's game. Well, that's nice.

-- You know what, I don't care about the rest of the 1st round. Later, y'all.

posted by colin_hesse @ 7:08 PM  0 comments

SONICS WIN!!!! SONICS WIN!!!!!

During the 1st commercial break, EA Sports broke out a commercial of their new NBA game with a virtual game between the Supes and the Detroit Pistons. The Sonics were up by 2, but the Pistons hit a 3 to take the lead. Fast-forward a tad, time running out, and Radmanovic shoots a 3 that hits rim, is going out..... and Ray Allen slams it home for the win!! That's right, EA Sports let the Sonics beat the Pistons!! This is extremely sad, I know, but I was really proud of that. Too proud. Go Sonics!

More on the draft to come, but 1st thought..... Andrew Bogut? Andrew frieking Bogut? What?

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:57 PM  0 comments

Again with the Bill Simmons...

If you pay attention to the NBA draft at all, you know that Bill Simmons is the man to read about the entertainment value that lies therein. In this article, he counts down his top 60 moments, with plenty to talk about (hint: Rashard Lewis cracks the list, as does the Sonics selection of Cory Maggette).

Also, be sure to read Gavin's mock draft a little lower down, so you can help me rip on him when all his predictions go for naught. READ. READ!!!

Gavin: Yes, my predictions will mostly go for naught. Is that because an inebriated squirrel could create a mock draft? The answer... yes. Which is why Chad Ford has a job. However, my draft is a thing of immense beauty, and NBA GMs go against it at their own risk.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:42 PM  0 comments

M's Blogosphere Gripe

Why is it that most of the "main informative" M's blogs post almost nothing daily, other than opening game post links? Sports and B's and Lookout Landing have to be my favorites for actually giving me regular insight. Most other sites have consistent lags on posts. How hard is it to post on why Bret Boone blows every day? It should be easy!

Also, I can't find more Seahawks or Sonics related blogs. Where are they?

Colin: Don't mind Gavin. He's still upset that "24" is on hiatus until next January. Without his role model, Jack Bauer, his testosterone gets out of whack. It's a serious problem.

Gavin: I do miss "24". However, I do have new episodes of "Family Guy" so I'm sitting pretty. Sunday's episode with the Bachelorette rip-off was hilarious, but the Keebler Elves versus Snap, Crackle, and Pop is my favorite moment of the new season so far.

posted by Gavin @ 3:32 PM  0 comments

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Pre Draft

Just as the hope of all hopes had flashed before the M's faithful's collective eyes, the deal sending Boone to the Padres appears to be more tepid than previously written. This can be summed up in one easy word. Damn.

I was listening to David Locke yesterday try to continue and argue his point about bringing up youth. I couldn't believe my ears. At the least he should have acknowledged that Morse and Rivera had given a much needed boost of energy. Boone looks terrible all around.

The Sonics need this first round pick and shouldn't trade down. We need to upgrade our roster, even if we resigned everyone we are not a championship caliber squad. We need a man down low who can score off rebounds and hit free throws. There are many players, one rocketing up my mental board is Jason Maxiell, who I would prefer to Ronny "five fouls" Turiaf.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a scam waiting to happen. I have rented two cars from them, and twice they have tried to charge me for minor dings not my fault. Don't use them. Budget is much better.

I'm kinda excited about this draft. There is so much unknown in it. Every single mock draft is incredibly different after pick three. That's nuts. Unfortunately, I'll be at the chiropractor during much of the first round and will be unable to do my famed live blog. Don't fret, however, you will receive the bounty of my thoughts tonight(or tomorrow if I don't feel like working). My fingers are still crossed about the possibility of Will Conroy coming our way in the second round.

Worst mock draft, courtesy of CNNSI. The Sonics, enthralled with the poor jump shot, select Julius Hodge at pick 25, passing up on a slipping Ike Diogu. What? Worst move ever. Move I would be extremely upset about tonight.

I bought a car yesterday. Good times. I now join the ranks of those who obsess over every minute detail of the car's finish. Away with you, fowl!

Wiki Gonzalez up, Rene Rivera down. Pat Borders, the walking skeleton, remains. M's Baseball, What a Show! Hopefully that rocking show can actually hit some A's pitching tonight. At the least, the goal should be to avoid giving up long balls to weak hitting middle infielders.

I miss football.

posted by Gavin @ 3:10 PM  0 comments

Monday, June 27, 2005

NBA Mock Draft

Time for me to trot this out, even though I have a bunch of "don't-care's" in this. The NBA draft is mainly about "upside" which I hate, instead of players we get to actually see contribute the following season. Luckily the NBA is instituting the NBDL next year and will more closely align with baseball. We just want to see them play, not sit on the bench with a few features done on them during the year.

This is kinda a fun mock draft to do because of how balanced the draft is. Even at the top there is no consensus 10 time all star. No guarantee in the form of a Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. That makes it enjoyable... hopefully teams pick based more on need, because that's what I'm going to do. And with that, on to the picks.

1. Milwaukee - Marvin Wiliams, F, North Carolina
I'm not as big of a Marvin Williams fan as many are. He disappeared in the NCAA tournament and seemed far too willing to accept a support role. He has shown flashes of potential, especially off the offensive glass. His post skills are rudimentary, and will need to be refined, as well as his outside shot. Overall, Marvin looks like he could be solid, but could go either way. Still, Milwaukee goes with him because TJ Ford is on his way back and so they don't really need a point guard and Andrew Bogut is not worth that pick.

2. Atlanta - Chris Paul, PG, Wake Forest
Bogut will be one of the top two picks. However, Atlanta is an absolute mess at the point guard position and Chris Paul has the offensive skills that Deron Williams lacks. Paul is flashy and can carry a team, even if he disappeared at times at Wake Forest. Frankly, I feel that in ten years the team that gets Paul will be better off than the team that gets Bogut.

3. Portland - Andrew Bogut, C, Utah
This would actually be a good pick for the Trailblazers, as Theo Ratliff could coach the kid for a bit and allow him some time to grow into the center role. Bogut would fit well into Portland's personnel, although it is still up in the air who the next coach will be.

4. New Orleans - Sean May, C, North Carolina
I just do not understand how this guy does not go in the top ten. Anybody who passes on him just wasn't watching the NCAAs. Most drafts have this pick going to Paul or Deron Williams. This after Dan Dickau was the only thing worth watching about New Orleans (that and that high school guy, I think his name was JR Smith). Sean May would provide a great scoring and rebounding presence down low. His hands are so soft. I absolutely love his touch. With the way the center position is dying the Hornets will get everything they need with this guy.

5. Charlotte - Deron Williams, PG, Illinois
They wanted Chris Paul and they get Williams, who has some additional strengths. Deron is a winner, he carried the Illini several times on his back, showed a penchant for hitting big threes, played the best defense in the NCAA Tourney (shut down Salim Stoudamire), and has the type of body that can push most NBA point guards around. Charlotte will not be disappointed with him.

6. Utah - Gerald Green, G/F, HS
My first "upside" pick. However, Green dominated all the high school events this postseason, displayed an NBA body and good scoring potential. He also signed on at Oklahoma St, so if he liked Eddie Sutton I like Green. The Jazz need an all-star, and Green is pretty much the best athlete in the draft. Besides, who else are they going to pick here? Anyone who says Channing Frye is the long term solution is smoking the green stuff.

7. Toronto - Ike Diogu, F, Arizona St
Ike gets a chance to play beside Chris Bosh to create a fearsome front line for the Raptors. Bosh desperately needs help, as he will break down quickly with his slender frame. Diogu can take the beating and is better than analysts are predicting. He also is Pac-10 and we have to cheer for him.

8. New York - Fran Vasquez, F, Spain
Yes, he had a bad workout last week. He also is the best big man left in the draft (the only international player I'm going to hype here... maybe the Ukic guy also). New York needs a big man not named Chris Taft. However, I fear Isaih Thomas doing something ridiculously stupid like normal and pick Taft.

9. Golden State - Hakim Warrick, F, Syracuse
Warrick is another player that's been slept on after dominating the college game. He would fit well in the fun and gun offense that Golden State will employ this year. Baron Davis and Jason Richardson running the court feeding this athletic freak will help Golden State be the sleeper we all hope they are.

10. LA Lakers - Raymond Felton, PG, North Carolina
Some have picked Martell Webster as going here, because if there's a need the Lakers have, it's a two guard. Riiiiight. They need a smart point guard who can run the triangle offense. This is a no brainer. Felton is almost a steal at number 10.

11. Orlando - Martell Webster, G, HS
This is where he's been rumored to go for the past three months and I see no reason to change now. Dwight Howard down low and Webster/Francis at the guards will at least make Orlando watchable if not better. I also like everything I read about the kid and forgive him for bagging his opportunity with the Huskies.

12. LA Clippers - Joey Graham, F, Oklahoma St
I should state that I feel the Clippers are going to do something insanely stupid with this pick like choosing a 17 year old center from Russia. After all, they are the Clippers. However, the best pick is another small forward to package with Elton Brand. LA is pretty deep across the board and don't have glaring needs. The best small forward left is Joey Graham, who tested very well, although I don't believe the Shawn Marion references (again, anyone watch this guy in college and think "wow, he's just like The Matrix").

13. Charlotte - Andrew Bynum, C, HS
Time to get a project to eventually tag team with Emeka Okeafor. Bynum can take a year to develop in the NBDL and be up next year. This might seem like a stretch but it's better than what's left. Charlotte needed a point guard and they got it already.

14. Minnesota - Rashad McCants, G, North Carolina
Say what you want about McCants, he can score. The Timberwolves need some additional offensive effort, although sticking a guy with red flags into a team with Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell could be a bad idea. I trust Dwayne Casey though and McCants could be the final answer to the nagging question of the yin to Kevin Garnett's yang.

15. New Jersey - Charlie Villanueva, C, Connecticutt
Villanueva has come across as a lazy bum, which would mix well with Vince Carter. However, New Jersey desperately needs inside help after trading their entire Kenyon Martin-less front line for the aforementioned Carter. Villanueva has loads of talent, and if New Jersey can tap into it this would be a steal of a pick.

16. Toronto - Antoine Wright, G, Texas A&M
I have to admit, I didn't watch this guy much. He never stood out in any A&M games I saw this past year. However, he appears to be pretty good, and Toronto (especially if they trade Morris Peterson) could use another two guard, eventually to replace Jalen Rose. Wright is the best available player.

17. Indiana - Francisco Garcia, G, Louisville
Indiana is going to be the surprise team in the league next year once everyone's back and healthy. Garcia is basically a Reggie Miller prototype, from the body size to the leadership to the ability to draw cheap fouls. I love his game, and as a closet Pacers fan can't wait to see Indiana have some actual offense next year. No more of this boring 79-70 crap. Anything else is like the Cowboys drafting D-linemen after their offense is putrid. Dumb.

18. Boston - Ryan Gomes, F, Providence
Gomes was one of the top five players in the country before last season, where he didn't actually struggle, he just didn't stand out. He has great inside/out capability and the Celtics could use a small forward to pair with Al Jefferson inside. This feels like a solid match.

19. Memphis - Julius Hodge, G, North Carolina St
I'm not that big of a Hodge fan. He's skinny and has a weak jump shot. However, he does have heart, plays above himself, and would fit well into the Grizzlies scheme, beccause that's all they do. I don't see him as a point guard, but he would be able to post anyone up. Anyone.

20. Denver - Luther Head, G, Illinois
This team needs outside shooting badly. I mean badly. Head is off many people's boards, but he is the best shooter left (outside of Salim Stoudamire), and can create his own shot (unlike Salim Stoudamire). He also has good leadership and defensive abilities.

21. Phoenix - Johan Petro, C, France
All Phoenix needs is a 7 footer who can run the floor. I don't even want to think about guarding Amare Stoudamire and company with that. Simply nuts. Such a no-brainer pick for them.

22. Denver - Martynas Andriuskevicius, F, Europe
With the NBDL and a solid roster, the Nuggets can afford to draft a 7-3 forward with Dirk Nowitzki potential for the future. He looks good... and now that we can see him play instead of sit on a bench this would be an excellent pick.

23. Sacramento - Ronny Turiaf, F, Gonzaga
Sacramento needs a banger, someone who will play defense, not always shoot, grab some offensive rebounds, and help Brad Miller not look like a fairy complaining every game. Turiaf would bring all of that and more. He wouldn't be looked to as a low post scorer. He will rebound with the best of them, play tenacious defense, and just needs to stay out of foul trouble.

24. Houston - Jarrett Jack, PG, Georgia Tech
I'm going to swap Chad Ford's picks here and I do have a good reason why. Mike James is not a great point guard. Jeff Van Gundy desperately needs a good point guard to run the offense through Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. Someone has to be able to set Yao up in the post with a good pass. Jack can do this and still add good scoring.

25. Seattle - Wayne Simien, F, Kansas
What a good pick this would be for us. Simien and Collison would provide us with solid bangers down low and Simien could not only play defense and rebound but also hit foul shots (hello Reggie Evans). We need something down low and Simien would give us another guy who can lay wood on Ginobili but also add a scoring threat. I don't know why this guy's stock has fallen so far... again, just watch him dominate in college.

26. Detroit - Nate Robinson, G, Washington
Yes, I've been hard on Nate. Yes, he's not worth a first round pick. However, what does Detroit need? An exciting bench. Robinson would bring that in spades. He could be the energizer that they lack and hopefully spell the load that Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups carry each and every game.

27. Utah - Channing Frye, C, Arizona
This is where Frye should go, not in the top 10. He's got good ability, and can add some scoring and rebounding. However, don't hold your breath on his defense and body size. Still, if anyone can use him effectively, it's Jerry Sloan, and Carlos Boozer can bang with the big boys instead of Frye.

28. San Antonio - Jason Maxiell, F, Cincinatti
Maxiell dominated both predraft camps. What more does he need to do? He is a defensive minded scorer who plays within himself in team basketball. Sounds like a perfect fit for the Spurs as the rich get richer.

29. Miami - Salim Stoudamire, G, Arizona
Why has this guy's name not been mentioned in the first round? Yes, he may have trouble creating his own shot but he hits more shots with a hand in his face than I've ever seen. He is simply insane and would provide scoring off the bench for Miami and the depth if Dwayne Wade ever goes down. If Miami had Stoudamire they would not have lost to the Pistons.

30. New York - Chris Taft, C, Pittsburgh
I do this only because it makes me laugh. Although if Taft corrals his potential he can be great. However he has given no insight into his ability to do so. Isaiah Thomas will do something stupid here. That is guaranteed.

Well, there it is! Looking forward (sorta) to what all happens tomorrow!

posted by Gavin @ 2:56 PM  0 comments

Blah! Monday!

It just is one of those lazy Monday afternoons for me (I'm playing Civ III for some reason right now), but I thought I would add my two cents to an altogether craptastic Mariner week.

-- Thank you, Boone, for putting together a weekend that might make someone take a flier on you. Please keep it up, at least a little, so that we can actually get a decent pitching prospect for you from sunny San Diego.

-- On the other hand, Winn, you need to step it back up to make yourself viable trade bait. The Yanks are playing Tony Womack in center field. Make them need you so Snelling can play left field.

-- I understand how poorly our lineup has hit, but, to me, the weakest part of this team is, as predicted before the season began, our starting rotation. Gavin has basically covered this, but it is essential that we make a huge push for an A.J. Burnett-type pitcher during the offseason. We WILL NOT contend without a better staff. My dreams? Burnett, Felix, Madritsch, plus two more, perhaps a Campillo or a Livingston. Note that none of those 5 pitchers are in our current rotation.

-- Gavin gets excited about the NBA draft, but I do not. Why? Because 80% of the picks that will be made tomorrow will be atrocious. They will be high-schoolers, they will be unproven kids from Russia and Slovenia, they will be mediocre college big-men who get picked simply because they are 7 feet tall. Why do teams like Detroit and San Antonio consistently succeed? They don't waste their draft picks. If they do go outside the country, they do their homework, a la Manu Ginobli (for the sake of the argument, forget Darko). Take Seattle. During their slump stretch, who did they get in the draft that they kept? Rashard, and, towards the end, Reggie Evans. Ouch. Sure, Earl Watson was nice for a year, and so was Eric Snow, but they were gone before the Sonics knew what they had. Why did improvement come? The draft picks meant something in the form of Ridnour and Collison. Swift, in my opinion, did not deserve the pick, as skinny young centers generally are soft and get dunked on, like Bradley. The Sonics better not waste this year's pick. I would be satisfied if they go for either a backup point-guard or a solid low-post player. I say low-post, I do NOT say center.

-- Final in fantasy baseball? My Omnimedia Corp 8, Brannigan's Love 4. Manny Ramirez kicked Gavin's posterior from here to next week, while A.J. Burnett's complete-game shutout of Tampa Bay gave me victories in pitcher's wins and complete games. All in all, my best fantasy week so far, and it knocked me out of last place.... into ninth place. YES!!! Eighth place, here I come!

-- Watch. Batman. Begins. Christian Bale is, by far, the best Batman yet. He just seems scary and a bit off, which fits perfectly into the role of the Masked Avenger. There is some good acting by Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, and a women in Kate Hudson. Honestly, I have no idea what to write about her after this whole Tom Cruise deal. I have never seen as weird a public romance in my life. It reminds me of the couples who would make out in the hallway during classes in high school, basically serving to remind us losers that they had a girlfriend/boyfriend, we didn't, and thus they were superior to us in any way imaginable. But she can't make me dislike the movie. There is some wonderful cinematic scenes involving bats, plus some excellent ninja action (always a plus). See it. Trust me.

-- Book of the week? "To The Last Man", by Jeff Shaara. Shaara's father wrote "The Killer Angels", which was later turned into the movie "Gettysburg". This book recounted World War I from several perspectives, including the Red Baron, the American flying ace Raoul Lufbery, American commander Jack Pershing, and one chapter with rising star Patton. Just an excellent novel of an horrific war with real depth on both sides.

That's all for now. Gavin and I will have more NBA stuff tomorrow, for sure.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:27 PM  1 comments

M's Weekly Thoughts

Not a super week, as the sweep of the Mets pales in comparison to the absurdly poor series against the A's and Padres. The lesson? We are a mediocre team and aren't going to be in contention this year. Why aren't we as good?

1. Adrian Beltre doesn't hit home runs and starts in terrible slump.
2. Richie Sexson strikes out at awful rate, although at least with good HR and RBI production.
3. Bret Boone goes into the tank.
4. Ichiro hits under .300.
5. Jeremy Reed has rookie struggles.
6. Joel Piniero is done or injured.
7. Jamie Moyer is done and inconsistent.
8. Aaron Sele is Aaron Sele.
9. Jeff Nelson is used too often.
10. Matt Thornton.
11. Bobby Madritsch goes down in his first start.

Most other players have been at or near expected levels. Regardless, I missed a few of these, and everyone missed most of these. Anyways, on to the thoughts.

1. Jeff Nelson wants to come back next year? The article treats his performance this year as a rebirth akin to the Messiah. The author apparently doesn't actually watch any M's games. Nelson, come back next year, but on the Angels staff.

2. The M's continue giving up the long ball. This is a recurring theme to the year. Our pitchers are good enough to avoid sustained rallies, but always give up go ahead or gamebreaking home runs. I can name many games off the top of my head. It's a curse. How the heck do we allow that many home runs at Petco to the Padres?

3. Adrian Beltre is starting to look pretty good. Ever since he pulled the hammy (and really the week before that as well) he is starting to lay off that outside slider and work the count better. He always was seeing a lot of pitches, but was letting pitchers get him out. Now he is consistently getting good wood on the ball, and just missed a few bombs the past week. They'll start coming soon.

4. Rene Rivera is an exciting young player. I know we're about to bring Wiki Gonzalez back up again, which probably means that's it for Rivera, which is pathetic considering how good he's been. I'm looking forward to Rivera and Jeff Clement anchoring our pitching staff for years.

5. Mike Morse is making a believer out of me. He has an excellent idea of the strike zone and is looking more comfortable in the field, i.e. fewer boneheaded plays. It's hard to argue with a young player consistently hitting the ball to the opposite field with power.

6. Jose Lopez looks far less lost this year than last. He looks confident and even made some swell plays in the field. Between Rivera, Morse and Lopez, who says that the M's can't develop position players?

7. Please Lord, let the rumors be true about Winn and Boone. I was truly excited about the series Boone had against the Padres, because some yutz is going to give us way too much to take him off our hands. Who better than Kevin Towers, who appears to use us as a farm system and vice versa.

8. Our starting rotation is weak sauce. Weak sauce. Who do you really feel confident about? Gil Meche is the only name for me, and he's still pretty inconsistent. Franklin and Piniero need to be out.

9. Scott Spiezio is about to return. Just what we needed.

10. The young players are creating a buzz. Let's make the moves to keep them up here and keep it going.

posted by Gavin @ 1:37 PM  0 comments

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Fantasy Update - Saturday (Let the massacre continue)

Remember how Colin predicted that he was going to get rocked this week? Remember how you are always supposed to predict the opposite of whatever he does? Right...

So Colin continues to smoke me this week, up 8-3, winning in the same categories and actually lengthening his leads to absurd territories.

Yesterday also sucked as yahoo didn't make the changes I told it to make so I missed out on both Junior homers and the Ortiz bomb. Ouch.

So... highlights for Colin:
Jim Edmonds (2 HRs), 2 Runs, 4 RBI, 8 TB
Manny Ramirez continues his sick week with another 3 run home run and 5 TB
Eric Chavez goes 2-4 with a run

For me... let's see...
Bobby Crosby hit a solo shot...
Pat Burrell didn't strike out in ALL his at-bats

It is just not my week the past few days. So far today's not looking that great either. Pity me! Hope the M's take out Peavey!

posted by Gavin @ 1:51 PM  0 comments

Friday, June 24, 2005

Fantasy Baseball Update - Friday

Gavin will return from a brief hiatus tomorrow, so it's time for me to give the update of the battle between my Omnimedia Corp. and Gavin's Brannigan's Love.

Omnimedia Corp. actually lengthened their lead, now winning 8-3. Here are some of the highlights:

Colin:
Carlos Silva - 1 win, 1 complete game (yes!), 2 K's (only 2 in 9 innings?), 2.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Eric Chavez - 2/4, 3 runs, 1 K, 3 bases
Jim Edmonds - 2/3, 2 runs, 3 bases
Jim Thome - 1/4, 1 run, 1 RBI, 4 bases

Gavin (who had a terrible day, so not many highlights):
Troy Glaus - 2/4, 1 run, 2 RBI, 1 K, 6 bases
Luis Gonzalez - 2/5, 1 run, 1 RBI, 2 bases
Jay Gibbons - 1/4, 1 base

Omnimedia Corp is winning in runs (by 11), SB (by 4), total bases (by 3), OBP, CG (by 1), saves (by 2), team ERA, and team WHIP
Brannigan's Love is winning in RBI (by 1), K's by hitters (by 6), and K's by pitchers (by 9)

Things to look for today:
Only one start by either team - Colin has Jon Lieber pitching against the Red Sox (ouch)
The Red Sox will be huge - Manny Ramirez against David Ortiz. Also check out Vladimer Guerrero for Gavin and a finally healthy Jim Edmonds for Colin. Will interleague play make a difference?

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:42 PM  0 comments

M's, Gotta Love 'Em

Nice article by Art Thiel on the horrible series just put up by the M's against the A's. What is the difference between these two franchises? Here are my top two reasons:

1. Young starting pitching - Oakland has had an amazing run of drafting prodigious pitching talent, nurturing them, and getting them to succeed in the bigs. Young starting pitching can make up for a number of lineup flaws, and Oakland, with Hudson, Zito, Mulder, Haren, Blanton, and Harden, keeps them coming on a consistent basis. The Mariners have no answer for this besides Felix and possibly Bobby Livingston. It looks like this year's draft might be a starting place to improve in this area, but you don't know.

2. Going with AAA talent instead of overpriced veterans - I believe the guys at USSMariner talked about this a couple of days ago. The talent gap from AAA to the bigs is not as large as people think. Prominent example - the A's go with someone like Nick Swisher or Marco Scutaro over buying big with an Scott Spiezio or a Rich Aurilia. The young guys seem to have a lot more energy, and they get better during the season, while vets like Aurilia actually get worse and tire down as the season goes along. The answer for this problem would be to, once again, put your faith in guys like Snelling, Lopez, and Reed instead of binging on another high-priced free-agent.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:32 PM  0 comments

Your NBA Champions...

The San Antonio Spurs. I guess. Gavin and I will most definitely post something much larger on this over the weekend.

Summary: This was the single most boring NBA Finals I have ever seen. Ever.

Summary II: The sad part was that one team was going to win and be declared champions.

Summary III: Neither team had scored 40 points at the half. I repeat, neither team had scored 40 points at the half.

Summary IV: If this is good fundamental basketball, I don't like basketball.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:18 PM  0 comments

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fantasy Baseball Update - Thursday

Gavin is stuck in an all-day meeting, so I have to do the update again today. Heck, it's better than listening to the M's....

Colin (Omnimedia Corp) still has a slim 6-4 lead over Gavin (Brannigan's Love), the same difference as yesterday.

Notable Notables:

Colin:
-- Wade Miller: 0 wins, 4 K's, 1.80 ERA, 1.80 WHIP
-- Eric Chavez (oh well): 4/6, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 6 bases
-- Edgar Renteria: 2/5, 1 run, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 6 bases
-- Moises Alou: 3/3, 1 run, 1 RBI, 3 bases

Gavin:
-- Cliff Lee: 0 wins (against Wade Miller), 6 K's, 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
-- Doug Davis: 1 win, 9 K's, 4.05 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
-- David Ortiz: 2/4, 4 bases
-- Ken Griffey Jr: 1/4, 2 RBI, 2 K's, 2 bases

Omnimedia Corp is leading in: runs (by 5), SB's (by 3), total bases (by 2), OBP, saves (by 2), and team ERA.
Brannigan's Love is leading in: K's by hitters (by 10), wins (by 1), K's by pitchers (by 11), and team WHIP.

Today's highlights:
Gavin has a full lineup, 4 more hitters than Colin playing today. We'll see if that makes a difference. (Update: Bobby Crosby did not play, so Gavin has 3 more hitters)
Carlos Silva pitches for Colin against the Tigers
Gavin has multiple hitters in multiple games: Watch Palmeiro and Gibbons go against Vernon Wells, or watch Troy Glaus and Luis Gonzalez against SF. Can Gavin's backups make up the difference in several key areas?

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:55 PM  0 comments

The Joys of .500 Baseball

When you are a mediocre ballclub, even one that is improving, you will follow up an outstanding series with an absolutely craptastic series like this one against the A's. I still am having more fun with these guys than last year, but why is Boone back in the lineup? What has he given us? Let's see if we can give the Padres some trouble as we try, TRY, TRY to climb back to the .500 mark by the All-Star break (my personal goal).

Please, Bavasi, please, please, please get rid of Boone. Get rid of Nelson. Let Lopez shine. Let Sherrill become our situational lefty. Trade Winn, who is cooling off, and bring up Snelling. Please. Please. Please.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:21 PM  0 comments

AL West Sewn Up?

Lost in the gripping series between the M’s and A’s was the absolute crushing of the Texas Rangers by the LAA Angels. This was no ordinary sweep. This was the Angels asserting their dominance of the league by taking the Rangers behind the shed and laying a whupping on them the likes of which haven’t been seen since Mom heard Gavin say “sh*t” for the first time. I remember being confused at the time, since I thought Gavin had said “ship” and I didn’t know what that other word was. Here are a few thoughts on how one-sided this series was…

Monday: Angels 5, Rangers 1
Chris Young provides the only semi-respectable start for the Angels, but the bats die
Paul Byrd pitches like Bartolo Colon
Only 6 hits for the Rangers

Tuesday: Angels 8, Rangers 6 (one respectable game for them)
Angels score all 8 runs in the first two innings of Chan Ho Park
Soriano K’s 3 times

Wednesday: Angels 6, Rangers 0
Kenny Rogers gives up all 6 runs in 3 1/3 innings
Rangers scrap out just another 6 hits to go with 5 K’s

Total Score: Angels 19, Rangers 7

I know that this is jumping to conclusions (but isn’t that what blogging is all about?), but I expect that we have seen the end of the competitive edge on the Rangers. They might remain in the race for awhile, but they will not get the title or the wildcard. Their young bats completely disappeared in this series while their 3 best starters were absolutely manhandled. Seriously, it’s not like the Angels did this against Ryan Drese or Pedro Astacio, two starters who were already let go by the Rangers. Those are the 3 starters that the Rangers would want pitching. I just don’t see how anyone can catch the Angels now, even with the inconsistent pitching and the nagging injuries to Escobar and F-Rod, among others.

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:25 PM  0 comments

Game 7 - Go Time?

Yes, it has been an extremely boring series. And, yes, it is still the Spurs and the Pistons. But it is also Game 7 of a championship series, and, as a sports fan, I would be remiss in not watching and looking for several defining moments such as these:

-- Hubie Brown actually revealing his cyborg innards
-- Rasheed Wallace howling at the moon, then making a clutch 3.
-- Chauncy Billups laying waste to Tony Parker
-- Many sad faces by one Tim Duncan as he misses another free-throw
-- Manu flopping, then getting up waving his arms and looking at the refs with disbelief at the non-call
-- Fantasy-land happens, where the refs call a good game and don’t decide the champion of the NBA
-- Larry Brown leaves in the 3rd quarter to coach the Milwaukee Bucks
-- David Stern singing the national anthem, then shouting, “Suck it!” to the assembled players. “I am the TRUE champion! Bow down to me!”

Watch with me and wonder….

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:24 PM  0 comments

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Why these Finals have stunk...

I'll have a longer post on that after Game 7, but Bill Simmons has a great write-up on it today. Read it and laugh. Laugh, my pretties. Laugh!

By the way, great job ASU in winning again today. Why am I interested in the College World Series? Because at least poker's not on.

posted by Gavin @ 2:44 PM  0 comments

Fantasy Baseball Update - Wednesday

Well, another day is in the books, and my Omnimedia Corp. still has a narrow 6-4 lead over Gavin’s squad. I have no idea how that is happening, and I expect that to change. Soon. In the meantime, here were the highlights from last night. Note the awesome two-headed wonder of David Ortiz and Vladimer Guerrero on Gavin’s team.

Colin (Omnimedia Corp.):
- Oliver Perez: 1 win, 6 K’s, 5.40 ERA, 1.60 WHIP
- Trevor Hoffman: 1 save, 1 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
- Alfonso Soriano: 3 K’s (Gavin predicted 2)
- Manny Ramirez: 2/5, 1 run, 2 RBI, 1 K, 5 bases
- Brad Wilkerson: 1/3, 3 runs, 1 RBI, 1 K, 4 bases

Gavin (Brannigan’s Love):
- Ugueth Urbina: 2 K’s, 18.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP
- David Ortiz: 3/4, 3 runs, 4 RBI, 1 K, 9 bases
- Luis Gonzalez: 2/4, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 3 bases
- Vladmier Guerrero: 3/5, 1 run, 1 RBI, 3 bases

Omnimedia: winning SB (by 1), total bases (by 1), OBP, wins (by 1), saves (by 2), ERA
Brannigan’s Love: winning Runs (by 1), RBI (by 3), K’s by hitters (by a ton), and WHIP

Tonight’s highlights:

Colin’s pitcher Wade Miller will face Gavin’s pitcher Cliff Lee in Cleveland
Gavin also has Doug Davis on the mound against the Cubs
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez will try to continue their hot streak against Cliff Lee
Vladimer Guerrero continues to feast on Texas pitching

Stay tuned!

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:30 PM  0 comments

Another Win For ASU!!

ASU is now 5-0 in elimination games this postseason after a 6-1 victory today over Florida, and is one win away from moving to the best-of-three championship series against either Texas or Baylor. All that stands in their way is a rematch with Florida tomorrow.

Erik Averill was dominant for the Sun Devils, throwing a complete game and allowing only 1 run from an extremely potent Gators lineup. The offense hit on all cylinders, scoring 6 runs including Travis Buck’s blast in the 1st inning to start off the game.

I have absolutely no idea who will pitch for the Sun Devils tomorrow. It was extremely important to allow the bullpen to rest, and Averill did that, but the starters are completely wiped, while Florida had a rest period before this game and should have a decent starter on the mound. It will take another outstanding effort to get over the hump and move on, but I am not about to stop believing in these guys yet. This has been extremely fun to watch, even as a new ASU grad student. The team has heart, and keeps on winning when I absolutely expect them to lose. For those of you who actually have ESPN Classic, it will be showing the Devils outstanding win over Nebraska tonight. I don’t have Classic, and this is one of the few nights ever that I wish I did.

One Mariner note: All I can say is that we ran into a Haren-Harden buzzsaw, while the bullpen of Nelson and Villone isn’t awesome (and that is a revelation?) I expect us to pick up a win tonight, and then we might tie up the series tomorrow. No big deal. We are a .500 team, and we are acting like a .500 team.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:29 PM  0 comments

Foreign Players Have Potential

Mock Draft, Round Three... Bigger, Badder, and Still Lousy

I can't wait for the NBA draft to be over, just so I can laugh at the number of teams reaching in the first round. In my humble opinion, you could pick one of about 35 players anywhere after pick number five and get the same talent level. That's why I like where the Sonics are... cause they won't get much better.

Alright, on to the highlights...

1. Milwaukee - Andrew Bogut
Let's think about this. A large white center scores at the bottom of the charts in athleticism in Chicago and is the best player in the draft? What, Shawn Bradley isn't available in a trade? Also remember this... with Andrew Bogut comes the Bogut-stache, which reminds me of girls I knew in high school with facial hair.

3. Portland - trade to anyone
Portland obviously agrees with me, they can trade down to the 13th pick and still get someone good. Since they don't need a point guard, it makes a ton of sense. I'd say that a shooting guard would be best for the Trail Blazers, or basically anyone who doesn't abuse dogs or smoke marijuana.

6. Utah - Channing Frye
What? Loser says what? Channing Frye? Chad says to "call it a hunch." I'd say to "call him a jacket". How in blazes did this player become a top-ten pick? Who decided this? I could push him around.

9. Golden State - Ike Diogu
Here's my favorite line... "The Warriors want Frye or Granger, but if those two are off the board, they'll look for the next-best power forward". Danny Granger (tools but no skills) and Channing Frye (skills but no tools) are better than Ike Diogu? In Bizzaro World. Where is Sean May? Did anyone watch the NCAA Tournament?

11. Orlando - Sean May
Thought I'd throw this out there since I'd mentioned it below. Martell Webster is actually going one slot earlier now to the Lakers, basically to defer to Kobe and hamper his development for a few years. Good times (hint to Mitch Kupchak - get a point guard who can run the triangle). Anyways, Sean May is the best inside offensive player in this draft. He may not be an all-star, but you will not regret drafting him.

12. LA Clippers - Yaroslav Korolev
There are reasons why the Clippers are the worst run franchise in the league. One great reason is they could spend a draft pick on a 17 year old Russian. The Clippers need some more offensive help desperately to package with Shawn Livingston and Elton Brand. Someone who will help draw fans to the NBDL isn't the answer - use second round picks for that.

16 and 17 - Prospects for the Raptors and Pacers. Two of the WORST offensive teams in the league do absolutely nothing about upgrading said offense in the next three years. Nice work, Chaddy.

19. Memphis - Julius Hodge
I'm all about heart. I have it in spades. I always gave 110 percent. And that's why I started on our freshman C squad team. Hodge has talent and heart. He also would lose a game of HORSE to Charles Oakley or Dennis Rodman. His jumper is just that bad.

25. Seattle - Jarrett Jack
Alright, I still like this guy, but anyone who thinks that we need another guard before inside help deserves to be Billy Hunter's PR manager. We need Wayne Simien, going to the Rockets again one pick earlier. We need Diogu. We don't need the 8th best point guard. Note on this though... last year Jack would have been the best point guard in the draft. It's depth like this which is why we are not completely out of the pack when it comes to resigning Antonio Daniels.

28. San Antonio - Charlie Villanueva
This would be classic... the only player with a better face than the "Tim Duncan Sad Face" is Charlie Villanueva's "Jim Calhoun's About To Yell At Me About Effort Again" face. What a fun combo this would be.

All in all there are few impact players. Also, no Will Conroy in the first round. What's up with that?

posted by Gavin @ 2:25 PM  0 comments

New CBA in place

For those who like going far too in detail over minute agreements, check out the attached article from Chad "Foreign Players Have Potential" Ford that goes into every small item in the new NBA collective bargaining agreement. I would look at it thusly...

David Stern took Billy Hunter out behind the shed.

Also, one nice touch I didn't mention yesterday. The NBDL is finally going to have some legitimacy as a minor league, so even if we draft a 19 year old "potential" prospect from Europe after reading too many Chad Ford articles we can sit them down in the minors for a year and let them actually play to see that they have no upper body strength.

Note: I know there have been some foreign players that have worked out. Just very few. No real big men other than Divac and Sabonis.

The salary cap will be raised as well, which hopefully will help the Sonics sign more free agents off their own club. Maybe Antonio Daniels? Maybe not.

Speaking of signings, Portland is rumored to be interested in offering Nate McMillan 8 million dollars a year to coach their team. This is what I love about Paul Allen. He will do whatever it takes to sign the flavor of the month. Let's get this clear... Nate McMillan has had ONE good year. ONE. He is most definitely not worth that type of contract. We are about to sign Rick Sund back, which is nice, and his legacy will be ensured if/when he resigns Ray Allen.

Enough Sonics talk for now. To me, it's already the offseason, since the NBA Finals has been such a yawner.

posted by Gavin @ 2:18 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fantasy Update: Colin 6, Gavin 3

Colin (Omnimedia Corp) has an insane start to his week. Here are the highlights...

Victor Martinez - 1 HR, 6 total bases (TB), 3 RBI
Manny Ramirez - 1 HR, 7 TB, 2 runs, 4 RBI
Trevor Hoffman - 1 save
Jake Peavy - 1 win, 13 K, 8 shutout innings with a .38 WHIP

This adds up to Colin winning in the following categories:
RBI with 10, TB with a nuts 21, OBP with a nuts .412, Saves with 1, ERA at a nuts 0.00, and WHIP with a nuts .56.

Luckily for me, this shouldn't last. Here are the highlights for me (Branningan's Love - hopefully you watch Futurama to get the name)...

Vlad Guerrero - 1 HR, 6 TB, 4 RBI
Vernon Wells - 1 HR, 4 TB, 3 RBI
Chris Carpenter - 1 win, 8 K, 1.13 ERA, .75 WHIP
Andy Pettitte - 1 win, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, .86 WHIP

Unfortunately the rest of my lineup was flat out awful so I have this amazing .237 OBP for day one. Luckily Vlad and Vernon kept me afloat so I am within striking distance of RBI with 9 and tied on runs with 4. So I'm winning in the following categories:
Fewest K's for my lineup with 5, Wins with 2, and K's for my pitchers with 25.

Also yesterday against Seattle both Bobby Crosby (me) and Eric Chavez (Colin) had opportunities to do damage and both fell through. Maybe we can continue that string the rest of the series.

Highlights for today...
Oliver Perez (Colin) going up against the Nationals
David Ortiz (me) going up against Kevin Millwood, off the DL
Vlad Guerrero (me) going up against Chan Ho Park and Texas
Alfonso Soriano (Colin) against Bartolo Colon (can you say 3 K's?)

posted by Gavin @ 3:32 PM  1 comments

BIG UPSET!!!

Arizona State has just knocked out hometown favorite Nebraska and Alex Gordon to keep on trucking at the College World Series. It took 11 innings of work, including 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie it. Encroyable!

Next up.... Florida, who has been hitting the ball better than the Mariners. And, in some games, MUCH better than the Mariners, who get to face Rich Harden coming back from injury just in time to face us. Yeah!

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:31 PM  0 comments

M's Weekly Thoughts

One day late... but a lot to think about...

1. The youngsters are what is giving us a winning "attitude". Thank you David Locke for that ridiculous article last week. Our young group of Jeremy Reed, Michael Morse, Rene Rivera, and Jose Lopez have looked very good, much improved over the poor production of "winners" like Bret Boone.

2. Our bullpen is not as good as the numbers indicate. Last night's loss was simply another wart on what will be a steady issue as long as Jeff Nelson and Matt Thornton remain as members. I'm hoping they're just waiting until Rafael Soriano and George Sherril are healthy.

3. JJ Putz looks better. He's throwing with more confidence and looks less afraid of being inside. He and Mateo have the best stuff and need to be given the chance in the 8th inning instead of the aforementioned Nelson.

4. Michael Morse is starting to look comfortable in the field. He's actually made several nice plays the past few games, especially while working with Jose Lopez (who looks like he's going to fit in nicely at second).

5. Bret Boone needs to find a hole to hide in. Mike Hargrove says the job's his when he returns. To that I swear loudly and find a hole to dump Hargrove in. I can only hope they believe Boone will hit better to the point of being able to trade him at the deadline.

6. Prediction time... with the youngsters in and performing well it is time for Randy Winn to cool off. He'll be down to .265 in two weeks. That's why we should trade him now.

7. Felix Hernandez is being babied. This is not a Meche-like injury. He'll be back shortly.

8. The Mets sweep is the highlight of the season, with finally beating Pedro... because of the kids!

9. I like calling rookies "kids" even though we're the same age.

10. Ron Fairly needs to go away.

11. Rick Rizzs made a nice catch. I hope he broke his hand.

12. Reed's catch was the play of the year. That was nucking futs.

posted by Gavin @ 3:26 PM  0 comments

Doug Melvin... best GM currently?

I think Doug has my vote, because of what he's done with two different farm systems. It's been difficult to produce quality major league hitters (see Seattle Mariners). Many GMs are lauded for being able to simply spend more money than others (see Brian Cashman or Theo Epstein). Some like themselves far too much (see Billy Beane). For consistent hitting talent, Melvin has got to be it. Take a look at what he's done...

Texas (remember, he was there before Milwaukee)... Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Kevin Mench, Michael Young. Now the best young hitting lineup in the majors.

Milwaukee... Prince Fielder, JJ Hardy, Richie Weeks

Milwaukee is about to become a force in the NL Central. Mark my words. That lineup will be awesome next year. Geoff Jenkins, Lyle Overbay with that type of support? Pitching talents Doug Davis, Ben Sheets and closer Derrick Turnbow? They will be the next Texas, and are going to finally give St Louis a run. I'd be pretty darn excited if I was a Brewers fan. I'll be cheering for them to make a nice impact.

posted by Gavin @ 3:21 PM  0 comments

How a sport can save itself...

The NBA and its union FINALLY agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement today, effectively ending Billy Hunter's idiotic quest for power. Frankly, the owners were enormous winners in this, only giving up outrageous requests that were good bargaining tools. Here's a rundown...

- Age Limit to 19 years. Thank you Jesus. Players at least have to dominate college for one year before moving on. Even if its one year of Carmelo Anthony, it was one heck of a year. Fewer Robert Swifts... who would end up playing two or three years simply to add bulk. Great coup for the commish.

Colin: I second that prayer to our Lord. There is absolutely no reason for 18 year olds to dominate the draft. How many Darko's does it take? Play college ball for one year, hone your craft, and prove yourself with a level of competition better than high school. I also like how this will affect college recruiting. Coaches like John Calipari at Memphis are constantly losing their best players to the draft, and those decisions ruin team futures. Think of Martell Webster. Could Romar have gotten someone else in that class if he had known for sure that Webster was gone? Perhaps.... To me, as a fan, this is the best part of the deal.

- Max contracts down one year to six to resign and five with new team. LeBron James enthusiasts hate this, because they have to worry about resigning their star sooner, but it makes sense. Frankly, they still didn't get a good enough injury clause, but bad contracts saddle teams for years. GMs need more breathing room to get out of their own way.

Colin: I actually wanted a little more here, five to resign and four with a new team, but I will take what I can get. Seven year contracts are just ridiculous, and one bad contract can ruin a team for a good while. Hopefully the next agreement will move this down even more.

- Teams get an extra option year for rookies. This is fabulous, as it means teams can let players develop a bit more before losing them after one good year.

Colin: Think about it. 2nd round picks are unproven, and teams do not want to spend a lot of money on them from the get-go. However, if they prove themselves for a year, we now get the opportunity to have them grow another year. I like this.

Basically, I'm a big fan of this deal, and I'll be a bigger fan of the NBA once they allow the refs to call fouls on the Spurs and the Sonics to win it all.

posted by Gavin @ 3:09 PM  0 comments

Monday, June 20, 2005

Fantasy Fight Brewing

It's on this week. My last-place squad (Omnimedia Corp.) is up against Gavin's middle-of-the-road pack (Brannigan's Love). A few problems for me off the bat, as Mike Sweeney and Jim Edmonds are both hurting, Manny Ramirez will probably sit out a few games, and Odalis Perez still hasn't returned either. I also have these starters who are playing horribly...

-- Jim Thome
-- Juan Pierre
-- Edgar Renteria
-- Mike Lowell

So, basically, half my lineup needs to stop the sucking now in order for me to have a chance. As for pitching, I won last week with an ERA just under 6. So, either I need Gavin's rotation to absolutely blow, or mine will have to improve, led by the sick Jake Peavy and the inconsistance of Oliver Perez and A.J. Burnett. I do notice that the Marlins have dragged down my team. What a disappointing year for them so far besides Willis.

On Gavin's side, here's hoping that the M's hold Bobby Crosby in check, because he's Gavin's man (I have Eric Chavez). The Indians will have to stop pitching so well (Sabathia and Lee). And David Ortiz must finally suck. Just for a week. Basically, I'm screwed and I want everyone to know that off the bat. We'll keep you posted as the week progresses.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:44 PM  0 comments

Series Preview: M's vs. A's

I know, it has been a long time since I have done one of these, but with the renewed optimism and excellent play of late, it seemed time to dust off this series and get another one out.

Monday: Sele (6-5, 3.79 ERA) vs. Haren (4-7, 4.14 ERA)

Don't let Haren's record fool you. The man is pitching great baseball right now, and his confidence is growing by leaps and bounds. He might be the toughest individual the Mariner's face this series, at least on paper. The Mariner's offense might be in for a tough night after the pounding they enacted on Tom Glavine yesterday. As for Sele? Well, we might actually be seeing what we'll be getting the rest of the season. The defense needs to step up whenever he is out there, because the ball will be put into play. However, he has cut down the walks, and that has improved the number of innings that he is in danger of giving up a massive amount of runs. A winnable game, but it will take a good performance by Sele and some clutch hits by the M's. Keep the ball down, Sele. Keep the ball down. (Thank you for living, Ron Fairly)

Tuesday: Piniero (2-3, 5.69 ERA) vs. Glynn (0-3, 6.60 ERA)

I'll be honest with you. I have no idea who this Glynn kid is. I have never seen him pitch, and I have no idea how good he is. This I do know. The Mariners have the ungodly gift of making young pitchers seem like Cy Young ever time they face one. Piniero..... is done. Watching him pitch troubles me in ways that I can't explain. Let me put it this way. A kid who had a great fastball and devastating curve now has an average fastball and an average curve with poor control. Awesome.

Wednesday: Moyer (6-2, 4.42 ERA) vs Zito (3-8, 4.66 ERA)

Which Barry Zito will we see? The strike-throwing, tremendous control pitcher who leaves hitters vainly hacking at changeups in the dirt? Of the slightly off pitcher who walks people and grooves fastballs that end up in the cheap seats? Only Barry knows. I know who I hope we see, but he is coming off his best outing of the season (until the 6th inning) so, once again, who knows. Bret Boone can sit on the bench and think about that one brief shining moment this season when he hit the grand slam back in April. Which Jamie Moyer will we see? The Pat Borders creation that doesn't JUST pitch the changeup low and away? Here's hoping, because the A's LIT HIM UP last time out, costing us an easy win. Jamie, step it up, man, step it up.

Thursday: Franklin (3-8, 4.46 ERA) vs. Saarloos (3-4, 4.34 ERA)

Saarloos is a name that deserves to be on Tatooine, definitely in Mos Eisley. Can you imagine Han Solo coming over to talk to the bounty hunter Saarloos? I can, and that is why I am a nerd. Do I need to talk about this game? The Mariners will have a problem scoring runs because Franklin and his godawful beard is pitching. Franklin will get annoyed and groove a couple of balls for Chavez (guaranteed to have at least one home-run this series) and, I don't know, Bobby Kielty. Still, props for beating Pedro. Gotta give him props for that. But the magic for Franklin ends here.

And there you go. An actual preview. I have no idea how it will go. We could, and probably should, win 3 of 4. What will actually happen? Watch and see!

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:40 PM  0 comments

What a Weekend...

As Jeremy over at Sports & B's says, it's fun to be a M's fan right now. And it's about fricking time. Honestly.

-- Mariners Lineup + Jose Lopez - Bret Boone = Much Improved.

-- Matt Thornton: As if heartburn isn't already a problem for me.

-- Pedro: Who's your daddy now?

-- Morse: Will I ever figure you out? Will I ever fall for you? Not yet, but you are making it more and more difficult with every opposite-field hit.

-- Which bottom of the order sounds better: Randy Winn, Miguel Olivo, Wilson Valdez or Jeremy Reed, Michael Morse, and Rene Rivera. Answer.... you better know. And it makes a huge difference. We aren't throwing away innings without any chance of a rally.

-- Mike Hargrove: Please learn how to control a bullpen. And get rid of somebody. (Thornton)

-- That was, perhaps, on Saturday, the worst umpiring I have ever seen. That strike zone could not have been figured out by Stephen Hawking himself.

-- I like the new Pepsi with Lime.

-- Check out USSMariner, Lookout Landing, and Sports & B's for terrific posts today. Lookout Landing has one of the best posts I have ever seen on the Death Spiral of Matt Thornton.

-- Now Oakland! Bring it on! (post forthcoming)

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:20 PM  0 comments

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Clement Analysis

The guys over at Lookout Landing (link on the right) went down to Corvallis last weekend and saw Mariner 1st round draft pick Jeff Clement as the USC Trojans battled Oregan State. They have an excllent first look at what looks like an great pick by the M's.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:50 PM  0 comments

Mariners 4, Mets (and Pedro Martinez) 1

Break out the champagne. The Mariners have finally, finally, finally, finally, finally beaten Pedro Martinez. This is the new highlight of the season for me. Beltre? Nope, injured. Sexson? Nope, thrown out in the first. Boone? Nope, sucking. Ichiro? No hits. Our cleanup hitter? Willie Bloomquist. And yet....

Winning rally in the 4th: Single by Reed. Double by Lopez. Single by Morse, scoring Reed. Single (stretched into a double) by Hansen, scoring Lopez. Strikeout by Borders. Pop-out by Ichiro. Single by Winn, scoring Morse and Hansen.

What happened? The young 'uns came to play! Lopez looks SO MUCH BETTER than Boone at this point. I'm serious. He even made a terrific defensive play in the top of the 9th for the 2nd out, spearing a line drive by Piazza.

There, for sure, were no games right this last year. Man, take the travesty in Washington, and the M's would be on a roll. An actual roll.

Tomorrow: Glavine vs. Meche. I feel almost optimistic about this. Can we actually sweep a series? Stay tuned.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:40 PM  0 comments

Random Saturday Viewing Notes

Why is it that I can watch an hour of the US Open... golf... a relatively boring sport where men hit a small ball at a small hole, with five minutes in between each shot, and still can't bring myself to watch any of the NBA Finals? Perhaps it's because every game has been a blow out. Perhaps it's because in every game one team has failed to score 80. 80 points! The symbol of offensive mediocrity. At least the series itself is competitive in the games won. Perhaps people can quit talking about the Spurs as if the Lord himself put them together as a fantasy team.

I was watching the Texas/Baylor matchup and Ahman Green was in the stands, ready to cheer his Nebraska Cornhuskers on. Ahman promptly discusses how he is "Husker through and through"... this while wearing a North Carolina basketball jersey. Through and through.

Back to golf... they are finally saying the magic words "a moment ago" so that when they show the obscure 30 foot putt by the guy 9 shots back we aren't having our intelligence insulted by their insinuation that it was live. The postgame interviews on NBC have been fairly entertaining as well as golfer after golfer shows up after a disappointing round and flatly brush off every lame question thrown their general direction. I say one over par wins tomorrow.

Fantasy baseball truly warps one's perspective on games. My opponent this week has Dontrelle Willis, facing our division rival Anaheim Angels (I'm still boycotting that absurd LA Angels of Anaheim crap). So now I want the Angels to pound Willis while still losing. Of course Willis throws 7 shutout innings and is leading 1-0 when he leaves. Now I'm facing the prospect of the win and in an inning Todd Jones coming in to get the save (Jones is one of his closers). Then I have some hopes realized as Vlad Guerrero hits a home run to tie the game. I have Guerrero on my team. Now is when it really gets tricky. My opponent also has F-Rod, who is brought in to pitch the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, the Angels load up the bases with one out and Darin Erstad up. Now I'm still faced with a win going to my opponent, this time to F-Rodriguez and even worse, Guerrero's on deck and I obviously want him to succeed. So Erstad grounds into a double play and I'm spared again. However, Mike Scoscia desires my demise (probably because I thought he was wrong with the whole pine tar incident) and leaves Rodriguez in for the tenth. In the bottom of the frame, the Marlins bring in the aforementioned Todd Jones to face Guerrero, who promptly homers to end the game. So to sum up: Willis gets a no-decision, Rodriguez gets the win, Jones gets bad stats, and Guerrero gets me two home runs. Just try that type of interaction simply from watching a game.

posted by Gavin @ 5:08 PM  0 comments

Scooter?

I admit, perhaps I have been living in a cave the past year. However, as I flipped over to the Yankees/Cubs matchup on FOX, I discovered a nice little animated ball called Scooter explaining a changeup to the kiddies. How did he explain it? "When the batter is looking for something fast, the pitcher throws me really, really slow." Wow. Not only is that extremely annoying, but it has no informational value as well. A two-fer.

Can anyone tell me why FOX has Scooter around? And what in the world does Joe Buck think every time he has to take over after Scooter?

(during commercial break)

Buck: What the (bleep) was that?
McCarver: Reminds me of my third wife....
Buck: Who the (bleep) are you?

Ah well. Pedro tonight. Pedro tonight. Pedro tonight.
Fearless predictions:

1. Richie Sexson will strike out.
2. Bret Boone, if playing, will strike out.
3. Mike Morse will get a hit, but will also make a boneheaded play on defense.
4. Ryan Franklin will get limited run support, but will make up for it by giving up two home-runs, one to Beltran and one to Jose Reyes.
5. Fairly will exclaim, "GET THE BALL DOWN!!! GET IT DOWN!!! DOWN!!! BAAAAAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"

Final question: Fairly..... or Scooter?

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:18 PM  0 comments

Friday, June 17, 2005

From the "Freaking Finally" Department

Bill "call ups? we don't need no stinking call ups" Bavasi finally made the second of four necessary moves up from AAA today, sending Greg Dobbs down in favor of Jose Lopez. Perhaps he's been reading this blog for a while, because of how badly this move has needed to be made. The interesting question will be how this impacts Bret Boone's playing time. I was listening to Bill Krueger before the game, and he speculates that the M's are going to shut Boone down for a while and give him a chance to clear his head. I hope they just designate him for assignment or something similar.

Lopez has done nothing but prove our point this first game. In his second at-bat he singles and I think "Boone will weakly fly out". Done. Then the moment of truth happens. Man in scoring position with two outs and Lopez up. In my mind, "Boone would weakly fly out here". So Lopez bangs a double to the gap. Then Boone steps up with a man in scoring position and two outs and... weakly flies out. Is this what David Locke meant by an "aura of winning"? This is just a CLASSIC series of events. Classic. I'm still laughing. It's time for Boone to go.

Colin: So, I'm watching the game down in Phoenix, and Lopez hits that double. As Boone walks up to the plate, I laugh and say to my wife, "If Boone flies out, I'm immediately calling Gavin." What happens? A pop-out. Gavin and I tried to call each other at the same time and got a busy signal. Just one of those perfect moments when you realize that, for once, you were RIGHT. ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!! Don't get me wrong. I appreciate all of what Boone has done in a M's uniform. Until this year he played stellar defense, and he was the best player (arguably) on our 2001 team for the ages. I thank him for those years and for some wonderful memories. However, he is done. Same thing happened to Robby Alomar, who was one of the best second baseman I have and probably ever will see. One year he was incredible, he went to the Mets, and he was done. Done. Lopez's time, for better or worse, has come.

Update: 8th inning... Lopez makes a solid leaping catch on a ball hit by Jose Reyes. For those watching the game, Boone had a ball go off his glove on a leap earlier in the game and Ron "Boring" Fairly actually said that Boone last year would have made that play. So we have both offensive and defensive proof in one game. Of course Lopez did make that error on the ball hit by Cliff Floyd... but being at second will mitigate that problem.

posted by Gavin @ 8:36 PM  1 comments

 


Go Here Sometimes...

We Wrote These...

Blast to the Past