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!

Friday, July 29, 2005

5 Burning Questions

The Seahawks start training camp today WITH WALTER JONES, another key sign of the approaching apocalypse. Since the staff at Crushed Optimists are sick and tired of waiting for the Mariners to DO SOMETHING as the trade deadline approaches, it feels great to be able to talk about something else. In that vein, here are my (Colin) top 5 questions awaiting the Seahawks as they prepare for the 2005-06 season.

1. What will the special teams look like?

We were flat-out terrible with special teams last year, with kicker Josh Brown being the one solid shining star. However, his kickoffs were atrocious, and the opposition routinely began possessions around the 35 yard line. This started from the very first game of the season, when Michael Boulware saved the game by pushing the New Orleans returned out of bounds, saving a touchdown. The punt coverage was also astoundingly bad, especially when Alex Bannister was injured. Donnie Jones is out, so we have to choose a punter with the three we have invited to camp. Basically, there is a TON of work to be done in this department.

2. Can our receivers hold onto the ball?

The last two seasons have ended with a wrong route and a dropped ball. That hurts, and it needs to be addressed in training camp. Koren Robinson is gone, dragging his 5 tons of baggage with him. DJack, instead of complaining about a contract, needs to resume the sure-and-steady approach of his first two years in the league. Bobby Engram needs to put The Drop behind him and become our clutch performer once again. Pathon and Joe J. need to spend time playing catch with Hasselbeck in order to become used to his delivery. And, finally, Jeremy Stevens needs to take about 7 steps forward or else Itula Mili needs to become the #1 tight-end from Game 1 onward. No one will take our team seriously until this problem is corraled. We have a possession offense built on short, easy passes, and numerous possessions have been cut short due to inconsistency.

3. Will Marcus Tubbs be able to become the plugger at DT?

The middle of our line became a sieve last year, stopping absolutely no one, being pushed back at every turn. Rocky Bernard is a nice player, but he is NOT a starter, and should not receive a huge amount of playing time. Now is the year for Marcus Tubbs to begin coming into his own. He has the physical tools to become a strong force for our defense. If he can realize that potential, a lot of pressure will be taken off our middle linebackers, and the zone schemes loved by Ray Rhodes should work a tad more then they have in the past. Seahawks fans should watch his camp and preseason with great interest.

4. How will the linebacking corp. be structured?

This isn't a doom and gloom question like John Clayton would have you believe, but a real one with the many changes during the offseason. Obviously Sharper is a lock at one of the OLB positions, but after that the picture becomes hazy. I would love to see Tatupu and Koutoviedes battle it out for the MLB position, as hopefully they push each other to improve. Tatupu seems to have the instincts to become a great coverage guy, while Koutoviedes is tough and large enough to enjoy playing in the trenches. Maybe they can rub off a little on each other. The other OLB position will be decided between players like Tracy White and Dee Dee Lewis, who have both flashed some promise, but would need to step up their games to cause me to be confident in them entering the season. The wildcard in this mix is Peter Boulware, who still remains unsigned, and the Hawks still have professed interest in him as a 3rd down back. Him in this mix would add a great deal of excitement as well as some veteran leadership from an individual that knows what it takes to have a fantastic overall defense.

5. Is Ray Rhodes the answer as the defensive coordinator?

It has been two years. In both years the defense has started out strong and faded down the stretch, kowtowing in the playoff game. I am torn as to whether to blame personnel or the coordinator for the travesty that was the Rams game, in which we stopped them a grand total of 0 times in the 2nd half. For this, his third year, the grace period should be over. He has a pass-rusher. He has better, healthier linebackers. He has the makings of a terrific secondary. Can he provide the defensive schemes that make the most out of what he has, like someone like a Clancy Pendergraft at Arizona? So far I have been underwhelmed, as he seems to overly rely on zones that have gaping holes that teams such as the Rams easily exploit.

That's it for me. Whatever the question marks, I am excited that training camp is here, and am already looking forward to the season with great interest. We will blog a LOT more on the NFC West, but suffice it to say that I continue to laugh at the media's love affair with the Cardinals and their dismissal of the Hawks. We will see who has the last laugh.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:10 PM  1 comments

And We're Back

So for the next week there will be a general meeting of the editorial staff of Crushed Optimists. Therefore... not so much blogging. Since you're mostly used to just us as your full source for news and opinion on Seattle sports, I apologize. On to the news...

1. SEAHAWKS TRAINING CAMP IS OPEN!!!
I am, as has been talked about many a time, incredibly excited about this season. I think we are going to kick some booty. Tatupu and Spencer aren't yet signed, but that will happen in the next day or so. I especially want Tatupu in so he can win that starting middle linebacker job. Spencer can hold out a bit since he'll be a backup anyways to Tobeck. I think this is a great year for the Hawks to prove all those naysayers wrong and get back to the playoffs (over the Arizona Cardinals).

2. Sonics still haven't signed anyone...
So Juan Dixon (who was the 12th man for the Washington Wizards) signed with the Portland TrailBlazers, giving them their 20th shooting guard. In other news, Damien Wilkins turned down a reported 16 million dollar deal from the same T-Blazers. Who in their mind gives out 16 million dollars and four years to a player that only got significant playing time at the end of the year? Also, the rumors of us going after Gary Payton are still around. If he would accept the Antonio Daniels role, that would be a major coup for us. Unfortunately, that's a major "if". Tyson Chandler is still available as well... this offseason can be salvaged.

3. Larry Brown becomes the coach of the Knicks for 13 million a year. 13 million a year for a coach who has won ONE NBA title in his career. One. To take over a team with a bunch of overpaid underacheivers. Perfect, Isaiah. Larry Brown + Jerome James = oodles of belly laughs for Gavin.

4. The M's send down Jose Lopez and call up that Betancourt guy. Now, I am excited to see what Betancourt can do, especially defensively. Still, the explanation was pretty darn weak. "Work on his hitting?" Hello? Miguel Olivo? Hello?

5. No trades yet. I can't even fathom how upset I'm going to be if nothing happens. I will drink myself into a stupor. Bavasi, do something. The Yankees traded for Shawn Chacon. SHAWN CHACON!! Can't you unload Winn on someone?

posted by Gavin @ 12:19 PM  0 comments

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

And... SOMETHING

Well, as dead as yesterday was at first, there was a flurry of excellent stuff to write about today.

1. The signing of Shaun Alexander is huge for this club next year, basically because we had no backup plan. None. I am not a big Shaun Alexander fan and hope he leaves. I'm going to have to watch his lazy a$$ not pick up third and one again this year. Still, this gives both sides what they want. If Shaun proves that he can block and pick up hard yards the Hawks sign him to a deal during the season. If Shaun doesn't, then Holmgren and Ruskell get a whole offseason/draft to replace him. In the meantime we will still have one of the biggest touchdown machines in football running for his contract. Not a bad situation all around.

2. Jeff Clement sounds more and more like a major stallion. I am going to be following his career closely. Definitely an upgrade on Miguel "Breaking Ball" Olivo. Hopefully he can dominate Everett (speaking of which, that Prettyman guy on the Aquasox looks like a stud too).

3. Bobby Madritsch is going to start throwing again! My favorite pitcher pre-2005 isn't dead! Note the blurb here again regarding Rafael Soriano... is he injured again or not? Sounds more promising today than yesterday...

4. Read this article by Art Thiel. I would write the same article verbatim, but he gets paid more than me (and is a slightly better writer as well)...

5. I'm a big fan of the yearly report of the ten most overpaid players in the league. I'd still put Alex Rodriguez on this because no one is worth 25 million, same with Manny at 20 million. Other notable omissions... Carlos Beltran, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr... but at least Bret Boone is number two!

6. Finally, David Locke does what he does best... write articles about the Sonics. I agree with his premise: good NBA teams are built on a core, and we have a core. However, I disagree with Vladimir Radmanovic being a part of that core. Not the Radmanovic I've seen for forever and a day. I'd rather have Damien Wilkins, who would be the only member of our current core outside of Collison who can defend off the dribble. When Vlade shows that he's putting it all together I'll be a believer. He has one more year... ala Shaun. I'm not panicking about the Sonics. I do think they need to do a better job adding some size and some role players to their club. However, we will be competitive with what we have (and way better than the Trail Blazers) and that's what I ask for. As much as I wish, we were not going to win an NBA title with our group last year, that was a one time deal. If everyone had returned they would have done worse... obviously don't know that as a fact, but it's the way I feel.

posted by Gavin @ 3:00 PM  0 comments

An offseason completed?

Shaun Alexander is now officially a Seattle Seahawk for next season. Now, I have my beefs with Alexander, but I want him more than Maurice Morris to carry the load. Plus, this is still Hasselbeck's team. For the morons that still will pick Arizona to win, I give you this:

Quarterback:

Arizona - Kurt Warner: He has done nothing but get older in the past four years. He fumbles more than Dave Krieg. His arm strength is not what it was. He holds onto the ball too long. But he's a leader!

Seattle - Matt Hasselbeck: He keeps on improving, and the pressure of the contract year is off. He has continually performed in the playoffs, as it is completely no fault of his that we lost those two games. If he continues to improve, he can carry this team (if the WR's catch the ball).

Major Edge: Seattle

Running Back:

Arizona - J.J. Arrington: An unproven, undersized rookie that had a few good years in college but most teams had as a 4-5 rounder and Arizona took him in the 2nd (I believe).

Seattle - Shaun Alexander: Gets into the end zone. 1 yard away from getting the rushing title.

Major Edge: Seattle

Offensive Line:

Arizona: Terrible, and got worse over the offseason. Worst part of their team by FAR.

Seattle: Walter Jones. Hutch. Tobeck. No Chris Terry. Womack. Might be stronger this year.

Major Edge: Seattle

Wide Receivers:

Arizona: Larry Fitzgerald is a stud, and Boldin is not far behind. However, none of them are true deep threats. Best part of their team. Can Warner get the protection in order to get the ball to them? Remains to be seen.

Seattle: DJack has to step up, as does Engram now as the true #2 option. I love the signings of Pathon and Jurevicius, as our drops should, well, drop.

Small Edge: Arizona

Tell me why again that Arizona might be the favorite? I haven't even talked about how their secondary has gotten worse, plus the fact that the Hawks defense should be much improved. I am a huge believer in Ruskell and Reinfeldt.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:32 PM  1 comments

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

And... nothing...

Look, it's two days until the start of training camp for the Hawks. It's one day until the next gathering of the editorial staff of Crushed Optimists. It's ???f*cking??? days until NBA teams can sign free agents. Nobody's been traded yet.

This is what is defined as a "slow" news day.

Unless you consider an article wondering what's wrong with Joel Piniero "news".

Unless you consider another idiotic effort by Bob Finnigan "news"... Piniero and Winn for Carl Pavano. If we get that I'll be laughing for a really long time.

Maybe something will happen tonight. Probably not. I just will say that if Randy Winn is still a Mariner after Sunday I'm not going to another M's game this year.

posted by Gavin @ 2:47 PM  0 comments

Brief Notes:

-- All our prayers are with Ronny Turiaf, who underwent open heart surgery today down in Los Angeles. We hope that the surgery was successful and that, if possible, Turiaf can still fulfill his dream of playing in the NBA.

-- Clement has, finally, signed with the Mariners, which is great news. He should report to the minors later this week. I, for one, will be extremely interested in how he does.

-- The Seahawks have signed their 6th round pick, leaving all their picks from rounds 1-4 unsigned. Now that Alex Smith has finally signed with the 49ers, expect the other picks to fall rapidly, hopefully allowing at least Tatupu in by training camp.

-- Winn (and maybe Pineiro) for Pavano? That's the rumour. I'll have to think about that one for about, well, two seconds. I'd do that trade. We're not going to get a top-tier prospect for Winn, and Pavano seems like he would do better in a Mariner uniform. As for Pineiro, it took until late July, but the fricking GO TO GUY, for heavens sakes, is the first Seattle sports writer to spend an entire article on the mysterious performance of the would-be ace. You listen to some of the people Moore interviewed and you are stunned.

Rick Rizzs: "Missing all that time (from the elbow injury) took a toll on him."

Bill Krueger: "He needs to look deep and find more passion and a better commitment to the game. ... I don't see him improving. I see someone who needs to be pushed."

Bill Bavasi: "He can't overpower people like he once did, but he's got plenty of stuff to win. It might take learning a new way to pitch."

Bryan Price: "That's beyond unusual (referring to the huge drop in velocity). That's why we had concerns." However, Price follows that up with.... "At the beginning of the season, we hoped that by the end of the year, Joel would be a top of the rotation starter. There's enough time left for him to reclaim that position."

Listen, I'm not a baseball expert. I'm not a pitching coach. I didn't even play baseball past Little League. However, there is something wrong with Pineiro beyond rehabbing a shoulder, or developing more passion, or learning how to pitch again. He can't throw harder than the mid-80s, which has turned him into Aaron Sele with a worse curveball and (gasp) worse control. He has been, quite frankly, absolutely terrible with a capital T. And, if the Mariners decide to move him along with Winn to get Pineiro, I will laugh at the Yankees for wanting him.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:15 PM  0 comments

Monday, July 25, 2005

Let the Trading Frenzy Commence!

This should be one of the most exciting weeks for us as Mariner fans this whole year. Can we get rid of some dead weight? Can we get some hot prospects? Bavasi has to do something, as we should be in full "sellers" mode. Here are my (albeit incredibly optimistic) goals for the week.

1. Trade Randy Winn
Of course this has to happen, as Colin detailed below. We have no outfield power. None. We have an outfield full of shortstops. Colin and I actually mentioned this at the beginning of the year, and if we had gotten rid of Winn earlier perhaps we would have had some punch, but no... anyways, where does Winn go? Anywhere there is a need for outfield help (New York Yankees, Atlanta, San Diego) are all options. We should get at least one "B" prospect for Randy. Carl Pavano is a pipe dream.

2. Trade Eddie Guardado
This just has to happen. He's having a career year with a torn rotator cuff. How long is that shoulder going to remain attached? Anyone's guess. We need a closer, but with all those potentials waiting in the wings (Soriano, Sherrill, Nageotte) why hold on to Guardado? We could definitely get one "A" prospect for him from desperate clubs (Baltimore, Boston, New York (either), Atlanta, Florida).

3. Trade Jamie Moyer
For any team willing to trade for Sidney Ponson, let's give you a slightly better option for the end of the rotation. A veteran pitcher perfect for a pennant run. Moyer may not be an ace anymore, but he'll give you six solid innings and solidify anyone's rotation. With the trade market for pitchers so poor, teams (New Yorks, San Diego, Arizona, Philly) should be falling over themselves for Jamie.

4. Trade any combination of Jeff Nelson, Ron Villone and Shiggy Hasegawa
None of these men contribute as well as their ERAs suggest. Villone especially should be a welcome member of a top staff. They are all solid veterans who are way too expensive for us at this point. Again, with these solid bullpen kids waiting, it's time to let them take control.

5. Hold on to Raul Ibanez
Quick, how many left handed power bats do we have? Answer: one. Quick, how many left handed power bats do we need? Answer: as many as possible because of Safeco Field.

6. Package Scott Speizio in a trade
This might actually be doable. He is a serviceable bat who has gotten zero opportunities to prove himself this year. It would be a tremendous coup to get him off our books and I'd bet money he would actually be a spark to whatever team he went to.

7. Feel free to trade Piniero or Sele
But really, what team wants a piece of them? I'd still like us to keep Franklin, but in a bullpen role. Really, if he'd just accept that he'd have a job for life.

8. Get two quality starting prospects for next year
We need help in our rotation. For next year we have Madritsch, Felix, and Campillo. Calling all starters, calling all starters...

Remember, we have Bucky waiting in the wings, so a power bat might not be incredibly necessary. Move Raul into the outfield to platoon with Snelling and stick Bucky at the DH(platoon with Raul as well). We have good options. Let's have fun! Just please, please don't do nothing.

posted by Gavin @ 3:24 PM  0 comments

I'm Back (is that a good thing?)

Well, I missed the Cleveland series this weekend, so I bet I am a happier person overall than most Mariner fans at this point. At this point of the season, the Mariners have officially entered "laughable" status, helped along by the inability of the Mariner front office to make a move. I count 6 days till the ol' trade deadline, while folks such as Winn, Guardado, and Villone still wear the Mariner blue.

Why does this team suck? Both offensively and pitching-wise? Why is the Oakland lineup so much better than ours? Here are a few of my answers.....

1. The lack of power from the outfield.

(Ichiro, Reed, Winn): 14 total

Seven of those come from Ichiro, which is a shocker. Reed, while impressing with his outfield defense, has underperformed at the plate, with only 2 HR in 307 AB's. Compare to other teams:

A's (Kielty, Kotsay, Swisher): 29
White Sox (Podsednik, Rowand, Dye): 26
Royals (Brown, DeJesus, Long): 19
Red Sox (Ramirez, Damon, Nixon): 44
Angels (Guerrero, Finley, Anderson): 37

Notice the difference? This is just another reason why Winn needs to go. We need a power outfielder, someone who can hit 15-20 bombs a year.

2. Adrian Beltre

This is a "superstar" that has a .298 OBP, 11 HR, 37 RBI, and has a .404 SLG. Again, compare to other team's superstars....

Eric Chavez: .329 OBP, 15 HR, 56 RBI, .440 SLG
Miguel Tejada: .368 OBP, 21 HR, 66 RBI, .592 SLG

Low production from someone who was supposed to carry our offense at times. Unacceptable.

3. Starting pitching ERA

I'll let the numbers speak for themselves - 4.75, 4.59, 4.47, 5.72, 5.14. Pathetic. You simply can not have a quality team with those types of numbers. We have a pseudo-Pineiro, an inconsistent Meche, an old Moyer, a junker in Franklin, and Sele. Out of these pitchers, only Moyer and Meche seem to bring it most often. Unfortunately, Meche is the MOST talented of these pitchers, but he seems to be a complete head-case. Are any of these guys valuable? Should any of them be in the rotation next year?

It seems like our lineup is continually pressing because they are continually behind. I have no idea of the merit of this idea, but I would love to see how our lineup would produce if they had consistently good starting pitching. Not excellent even, but just good, quality starts.

4. Starting pitching K's

Not only do these guys suck, but they can't strike anyone out to get out of a jam. Meche leads the rotation with 68, and Moyer (MOYER) is second with 64. We might not have a single starter with more than 100 K's by the end of the year. That is just silly, but understandable. Pineiro used to be able to strike people out when he had better velocity and the ability to spot his fastball. His current style depends too much on the curve to get hitters out, and you can tell that teams are preparing to face that curve on a 2-strike count.

This also means that no teams are afraid to get to a 2-strike count on our starters, so they can swing away earlier in the count, or even let a better pitch go by so they can wait for their pitch.

5. The bench absolutely sucks.

Scott (f***-ing) Spiezio. That is all.

-- Well, this is depressing me, so I'm going to stop. Here's what I think needs to happen to this team in the years ahead.

1. Build an effective rotation. Obviously King Felix will be a start, and Madritsch, if healthy, can be effective. That leaves 3 spots open. And no, we will not get Pavano for Randy Winn. Good try, Finnigan.

2. Get some pop in the outfield. Is Reed the answer? I say, maybe, not if he can't grow into at least a 10-15 HR guy. This is especially true as long as we have Ichiro. We simply can't have all three of our outfield only hitting singles. Please don't hate me for this, I like Reed, but he has underperformed offensively this year. Same goes for Choo. He is not showing any power in AAA this year, and would need to show me something before I would want him to have a significant role on the team.

3. Get a bench. Now. That is all.

4. By the way, we need a better catcher, Lopez to get comfortable, Soriano to get healthy, Putz to remember how not to suck, etc., etc., etc......

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:46 PM  0 comments

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Trade Talk

Two trades discussed today involving the San Diego Padres.

1. Two minor league San Diego pitchers to the Reds for 3B Joe Randa
The Reds can't have enough minor league pitching and have a prospect waiting in the wings. Randa has parlayed a decent offensive season in a pitcher's park into this deal, which frankly is a big win for the Reds in my books. While this is an upgrade for San Diego over the struggling Sean Burroughs, it is not in my opinion an "impact" move.

2. Orioles trade P Sidney Ponson to the Padres for 1B/3B Phil Nevin (per approval)
This trade makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me. I know it's a salary dump, but who on earth would want to trot Ponson out there every five days in a playoff race? Seriously... who? Frankly, this irritates me as well from an M's fans perspective. Where is the deal for Jamie Moyer if someone wants Ponson? Absurd. So basically I feel that the Padres did poorly in two deals.

posted by Gavin @ 2:22 PM  0 comments

Friday, July 22, 2005

Colin's Notes:

-- I lived in Spokane, WA for 5 years before moving down to Phoenix. As such, I watched a ton of Gonzaga games, and got to love the game of Ronny Turiaf, a big man who loved to rebound, scrap, and could actually hit free throws. It is a big shock to me to find out that Turiaf has an enlarged heart which will require open-heart surgery to fix in the next few weeks. My prayers will be with Turiaf, as hopefully everything goes smoothly and he can get back on the basketball court for the Lakers. I was actually looking forward to watching a member of the Lakers play!

-- Mike Hargrove after yesterday's game, in which our starting pitching sucked..... again. "

"I'm real pleased with what Joel did today," Hargrove said. "He really battled his way through out there. I'm not sure I'd seen it from him the last couple of times out. But today, I saw him get upset, which is good to see.

"And I saw that he kept his composure. Hopefully this will be a good confidence boost."
Um, Mike? Pineiro sucked out there. He sucked. This was not something to be pleased with.

Pineiro's line: 6.0 7H 5R 5ER 2BB 4K 2HR

That is NOT a promising line for the future. Star Trek (rest in peace, James Doohan) is a promising line for the future. Spock and Kirk talking to the Mafia world after learning that they became that way because of a book is a promising line for the future. The whole idea of a Federation of Planets is a promising line for the future. The knowledge that, finally, Riker and Troi have found happiness together is a promising line for the future. Spock seeking to find peace with the Romuluns is a promising line for the future. Pineiro? That is a load of garbage.

-- Art Thiel has a VERY interesting article on one Shaun Alexander. Read it, and ponder the claims within.....

-- I will be visiting the grandparents over the weekend, so blogging capabilities will be nil. Have fun watching the M's play a team that is struggling even more than they are in the form of the Cleveland Indians.

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:19 PM  0 comments

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Random Thoughts on a Slow News Day

- Larry Brown is now interviewing with the Knicks. Is there anything Isaiah Thomas can't do? Larry Brown + Jerome James = massive entertainment for Sonics fans.

- The Seattle PI has a very small and very stupid NFC preview with us as the favorites. Congratulations. A seven year old could have written something better.

- The M's fail to win one game from the Blue Jays, getting swept behind the force which is Joel Piniero. Quick, M's fans, name our worst pitcher, Sele, Franklin, or Piniero? I know, it's a tough one, but I think I'll actually go with Piniero. The guy is lost.

- What's up with JJ Putz? If he doesn't start keeping the ball in the park, I say send him down to AAA and call up Clint Nageotte. It's getting pretty darn old.

- Gavin fantasy update... the insertion of Vernon Wells, CF, Toronto into my lineup when taking on the Blue Jays. Result: 11 TB, 4 runs, 5 RBI, and a .500 OBP. Pretty poor effort by our pitching staff (the abovementioned losers).

- Bill Simmons writes about the Red Sox... AGAIN. I'm not even going to link to it. Give it a rest, man!

- Eddie Guardado wants to stay and not be traded because he thinks the M's will be pretty competitive next year. That is awful sweet of him, but if we can get an actual prospect, we need to do it now. In the meantime, why the heck is Randy Winn still on our ballclub?

- Scott Spiezio hit a home run last night... when it didn't matter. Hard to get excited about it. He will continue to suck anytime he's up in the ninth inning with a man on.

Hopefully Friday has some actual stories worth writing about.

posted by Gavin @ 5:27 PM  0 comments

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Just Get Rid Of Sele

Please?

I don't care who they stick in. Probably Campillo.

I just can't watch many more pitching performances like that.

Just horrible. Horrible.

Please?

Gavin: Knowing Sele, he'll go out and throw three fairly decent performances after this just to put the seed of doubt in everyone's mind. Still, we'll probably release him and some idiot team like the Yankees will pick him up just to see how awesome he is in clutch situations. Basically, the guy can't locate a pitch... and Colin called the Hinske home run, which is pretty par for the course for him. I think it's sad when I put a player in my fantasy lineup specifically because he's facing the M's (Vernon Wells) and he responds with oodles of runs, rbis, and total bases. Hooray! We're mediocre! Still, kinda cool seeing Snelling get that double, huh?

Anyone read the paper and see how Speizio requested a trade? Exactly who will give us anything for someone earning 3 million a year to produce absolutely nothing? Isaiah Thomas is in the NBA, not MLB. I don't think there's a contender that needs significant help at first or third.

Losing tonight as well... GO M'S!!!

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:30 PM  0 comments

Antonio: Gone

The Sonics have just lost another piece from their team last year, as Antonio Daniels has signed with the Washington Bullets (er.... Wizards) for 5 years (what!) and 30 million (what!).

Let's take a little look-see at the Sonics offseason so far:

Signed:
Ray Allen - He was THE catch, the guy we had to have back in order to be considered any kind of a playoff team this year. He is the leader of the team, the guy that take the pressure off of Rashard Lewis and helps create some wonderful pick-and-rolls with the big men. Biggest move of the offseason.

Rick Sund - Call me in a year and we'll talk about whether this was a good move.

Lost:
Nate McMillan - He did not pull an A-Rod. He was sending HUGE warning signals that he didn't want to come back for at least a year. Was I still surprised? Absolutely, and a little upset to boot. Did the Blazers overpay for him? I think so, but we won't really know until a few years down the road, when Nate has the opportunity to mold this group of guys into his kind of team.

Jerome James - Whenever you want a team to take some stupid individual off your hands, just call up Isaiah Thomas. Wow. Anyone who actually agrees to 5 years of James' career has a few screws loose. This move, in my opinion, actually improves our team, and definitely improves my feelings towards our team as a whole. I just did not like this guy.

Antonio Daniels - He wanted to start. Now he can, plus get paid $6 a year 3-4 years from now when his body has broken down. There is a reason that some teams get stuck in salary cap hell. It is because of these type of decisions. There is NO WAY that any team should have gone more than 3 years, $18-20 mill for Daniels' services. The Sonics made him a reasonable 3 year, $15 mill offer, and that is good enough for me.

So... we have lost a few people already, with more to follow. Am I worried? A little. However, I thought that teams overpaid for all three of the "lost" individuals above. The Sonics have a solid core, and I am praying for one nice free-agent of above-average skill to off-set some of the losses.

Of course, all this might be moot, since the players haven't yet signed the collective bargaining agreement, halting all free-agent movement.

Gavin: I have to chime in briefly on this signing, because this is absurd. There is absolutely no way that Antonio Daniels is worth that type of money, especially with the kind of abuse he puts his body through on a consistent basis. He has no big man to run screen and rolls with. Washington is going to be disappointed for that kind of money. Seriously, is there any sense left in the NBA? I'd be more upset about the Sonics losing him except I know there was no way we should give him that much money in the first place. 3 years 15 million was even probably too much, considering the emphasis we want to place on Ridnour (who is going to push for an All-Star berth, mark my words).

Also, the more I think about this Bob Weiss hire, the more I like it. Take that, naysayers. A lot of idiots over talk radio are very upset over this, but these are the same idiots who forgot that Nate McMillan was a mediocre coach before his players started showing their talent. Like Colin says, it's the players, stupid. Phil Jackson is going to miss the playoffs this year. Why the hell would we place that kind of pressure on Weiss? If we gloriously bomb, then yes, he gets to be the scapegoat. Until then, let's play entertaining basketball, keep confusing teams with different rotations, and let Ray Allen go for the MVP.

Vlade's agent wants him to sign the one-year tender. This would be freaking awesome for the Sonics. We get one more year for Radmanovic to prove that he's worth big money (since he's still all potential), so we have a player playing with a purpose. Always a good thing. If he succeeds, we will be able to offer him more money than any other team and know he's worth it. If he doesn't, we can offer him a similar deal to this past one (still overpaying him right now as far as I'm concerned... 6 years, 39 million) and wipe our hands clean if an idiot team (ala Washington Wizards, New York Knicks) offers him too much money.

The lesson is pretty simple... we had a bunch of good role players. Teams now feel those role players can be star starters. Those teams must not watch sports. The Daniels signing is like if Robert Horry got a ten million/yr contract to start because he's been such a great bench asset. Not smart...

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:16 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Another Super Link

Thanks to the guys over at Lookout Landing for this one, which is HILARIOUS!!

http://firejoemorgan.blogspot.com/

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:18 PM  0 comments

NFC West Preview - Take 1

ESPN's Scouts have done a first look at the teams in the NFC West, and I am both pleased and frustrated with their performance. They make some excellent points, including:

1. Arizona has no offensive line.
2. Arizona has no offensive line.
3. Arizona has no offensive line.

I highlight this point, as I will again many times (as will Colin), because to all those who believe that the Cardinals are going to sweep the division aside, Kurt Warner leaving us all in his wake, should remember that Kurt Warner fumbles more than Dave Krieg, falls down if someone breathes on him too hard, and will be injured soon. This is not rocket science.

The Scouts also point out that the Rams will throw the ball a lot (wow, they get paid money for that?) and that the 49ers will be conservative offensively (even more impressive).

Then they make this statement about Seattle: "a secondary that doesn't match up very well in coverage situations."

What? Andre Dyson, Marcus Trufant, Ken Hamlin, and Michael Boulware would be what I would call a STRENGTH, not a main weakness. They don't write anything about our linebacking core. That could be a weakness. Man, they actually pay people to write this crap?

So anyways, overall a weak effort, except that finally a national article points out the main flaw in the "Cardinals shall rule the universe" mentality sweeping the nation.

Speaking of idiotic mentalities sweeping the nation, Mike Golic joins the throng praising the offseason of the Dallas Cowboys because they upgraded their defense. Well, yippie-ki-yay. Apparently they just needed Drew Bledsoe to improve their absurdly bad offense. Instead, they needed to dramatically change a defense that two years ago was the best in the league. I still think the Cowboys miss the playoffs. At least Golic had the Broncos as one of the teams with the worst offseason. THANK YOU.

posted by Gavin @ 2:15 PM  0 comments

First Look....

at Bob Weiss by none other than Crushed Optimists favorite (scoff) Steve Kelley, who gives us a brief glimpse at the 2005-06 Sonics.

-- Run even more, meaning that the controlled offense of last year will be kicked up a notch. Expect more pressure on Ridnour.

-- More zone defenses, meaning that Weiss might go with the Suns' style of basketball. Bet you can't make more jump shots than we can....

-- Be Nate-lite, whatever that means

Simply put, this season will test my theory that NBA coaches, outside of the greats like Larry Brown, do not make a huge amount of difference in how a team will perform.

Gavin: Bob Weiss appears to be a safe choice who deserves a shot at coaching a team that's not in a rebuilding mode (although with the way our offseason is going, perhaps we are). I do like perhaps a greater emphasis on zone, since most teams can't buy a bucket from beyond the arc... it worked well for Phoenix, until San Antonio got crazy hot from there. However, Luke Ridnour really stepped it up defensively last year and we don't want to go away from his full court pressure. We do want to run, and can more without Jerome "Big Snax" James around. By the way, "Big Snax" will have oodles of fun running with Nate Robinson. That will be enjoyable. Frankly, we had a system that worked last year. We can tweak it and adjust it, and that's it. That's what I want to see, and that's what Weiss will bring. Now let's bring back some dang free agents. Oh yeah, and I agree with Colin that AD needs to shut up (see below). Have you ever noticed how pro atheletes ALWAYS say they were disrespected in leaving their previous situation if it involved loads of money? If Daniels does join Portland, it would be an odd move, especially for his asking time of three years. What part does he play on a team that wants to give major minutes to four other guards, Telfair, Webster, Anderson and Jack? Something doesn't make sense!

Other bad news: Stromile Swift will likely sign with Houston. Hopefully the Sonics now go full-bore after Tyson Chandler.

Antonio Daniels needs to shut up. Seriously. Does he actually believe the words that are coming out of his mouth? He wants to start, and has been clear about that for the past year and a half. He wants more money. The Sonics can give him neither of those wishes, thanks to Luke Ridnour and Ray Allen. You are not being disrespected, Daniels. Shut up.

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:14 PM  0 comments

Keep or Trade?

There is a very interesting article (for once) by Larry Stone today in the Times where he gives his two cents on whether to trade or keep certain Mariners. Here is my two cents on the same players.

Gavin: Colin beat me to this one, my inputs are also below.

Eddie Guardado: (Stone - keep) I am firm in my stance that Guardado is the most valuable trading commodity the Mariners have, while an ace closer is a luxury a middling team can not afford. Guardado had not pitched in a week before coming into the game on Sunday. We should be able to get an excellent pitching prospect from one of several teams, including the Red Sox, the Yankees, the White Sox, and the Braves.

Gavin: I agree. Guardado is pitching through a torn rotator cuff and is getting up there in years. With potential closers Soriano, Sherril, Nageotte, and Putz around we need to get something for Guardado. No way the White Sox want Dustin Hermanson as their closer. No way the Red Sox are going to stick with Schilling as long as he has NO drive from his ankle. Someone is going to get desperate and we should get a decent prospect because of it.

Jamie Moyer: (Stone - trade) Behind Guardado, Moyer might be right there in fulfilling a team's need, especially the Yankees. However, he does have the 10/5 clause, so it will be extremely hard to trade him. Bavasi, only do it if the prospects are above average.

Gavin: Definitely trade Moyer. For starters, Moyer wouldn't get mad at the M's and we could actually resign him if we wanted to, because he totally understands the business aspect of this. Also, everyone needs starting pitching. If the Yankees were desperate enough to claim Al Leiter, someone is going to pony up something to grab Jamie.

Gil Meche: (Stone - keep) Why do the Marlins and the White Sox covet this guy? I don't know, but if we can sucker them into taking him for an A.J. Burnett or a top-tier prospect, we have to make that deal. Yes, he might become an ace, but I have serious doubts about that. Again, I wouldn't make a trade simply to make a trade with him.

Gavin: This is such a tough one. I have a tendency to agree with Stone, however. I want one more year of Meche (age 27, prime point to see what he's got). Case in point: Chris Carpenter. Years of maddenning mediocrity turning into a Cy Young candidate (and my best fantasy pitcher). Meche has the best stuff on our staff, he does have 10 wins for all his warts, and if he learned how to put batters away he would be one of the top ten pitchers in the AL. The proposed trade with the White Sox would have been for Jose Contreras, which would have been an absurd trade from our perspective. I say keep him.

Joel Pineiro: (Stone - trade) For me, the proper treatment of Joel is to stop him pitching right now and put him under the knife to fix whatever is wrong with him. He is not the same pitcher that he was when he came up, and I wonder why Seattle sports writers do not try to answer that question.

Gavin: Whatever gets this man out of our current rotation is okay with me. This is a complete "buyer beware" scenario.

Raul Ibanez: (Stone - keep) Definitely keep. He has been our most consistent hitter, and his swing is tailor-made for Safeco Field.

Gavin: What do we need? Left-handed power. What is Raul Ibanez? Our only current source. He's also been our best hitter, as Colin said, he's starting to take to the DH role, and we need him in this rebuilding process.

Randy Winn: (Stone - trade) This is the one person I definitely want traded, and for exactly the same reason as Stone stated. We need to address the GLARING problem of having NO outfield power. Bring up Snelling, and let's see what he can do in a regular role.

Gavin: I'd trade him for a stick of gum and a diet soda, just to see Snelling play every day.

Ron Villone: (Stone - keep) If some team is sucker enough to give us a valuable prospect for Villone, we should grudgingly accept while snickering under our breath.

Gavin: But Villone's a bulldog! Doesn't anyone read the paper? We have to keep him. Note: the preceding words were brought to you in the spirit of sarcasm. Sarcasm, an M's fan's best friend.

Shiggy Hasegawa: (Stone - trade) See Villone, Ron

Gavin: We are spending way too much money for mediocrity. Shiggy, meet your new friends, the Boston Red Sox.

Alright, my two cents thrown in there....

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:11 PM  0 comments

Monday, July 18, 2005

ESPN Washington Vote

SportsCenter is doing some neat-o 50 states in 50 days road-trip this summer, and is ripping into Washington State July 29, just in time to see some Frisbee tournament which, I am sure, will be a blast.

In the meantime, we can use this site to vote on Washington sports for ESPN.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:56 PM  0 comments

M's Thoughts

So I was at the game yesterday and came to this realization... I apparently am a major good luck charm for Miguel Olivo, because I've been at his two best games of the season. Yesterday and April 24th against the Cleveland Indians. Maybe when he looks into the mirror, as Steve Kelley (in yet another idiotic lull) writes today, he just needs to see my bored face starting right back.

We sent down Snelling. Yippee. More Winn.

Why can Florida get so much (possibly) for AJ Burnett and yet nobody wants Jamie Moyer? Oh right... the strikeouts...

Yesterday was a microcosm of our entire season. The first five innings we make Sidney Ponson, one of the weakest pitchers in the entire league, look like a Cy Young candidate. Then we bat around for five runs in the sixth, including several two-out hits by our youngsters Morse and Lopez, and started by our youngster Olivo. Then we played add-on, where our lineup was looking pretty fearsome against Baltimore's albeit weak bullpen. Our starting pitching was mediocre, with no strikeouts. Our bullpen (pre Eddie) managed to not give up runs, but not for trying. We played fantastic defense. The only wierd cog was Eddie Guardado giving up an earned run. We just screamed "we're mediocre" the entire game.

I like Matt Morse. Can we please continue playing him instead of Bloomquist. He has a fantastic approach right now at the plate and he's only 22. Can we quit thinking about his minor league stats yet? I repeat... he's only 22.

Is Adrian Beltre back to "Hack a Beltre"? He looked lost.

Is it bad that the most exciting thing about this team right now is watching the trade wire?

posted by Gavin @ 2:53 PM  0 comments

Stupid ESPN article

I read articles like this and understand when people like at that Braves site Colin linked to below throw out terms like "racist". This is an indefensible article apparently written by a prepubescent moron.

Alright, that's harsh. It's not that bad. However, it's not that good either. Praising A-Rod and Ron Artest for that many words is generally not a great idea. We all know Alex isn't a bad person. We just know he's a poser. Trying to draw a correlation between him and Barry Bonds is dumb.

Praising Artest for growing up in the "ghetto" is also dumb.

Read it or don't. You'll be dumber for it.

posted by Gavin @ 2:50 PM  0 comments

A White Sox fan says it all...

Great article today by Scoop Jackson, a White Sox fan who isn't completely sold on his own team. Good reasoning within as to why. Also solid reference to the 2001 Mariners. I would say that the 2001 M's had a better offense, but worse starting pitching than these White Sox. Our bullpen was three times as good as well.

Interesting that the White Sox haven't yet played either the Red Sox or the Yankees.

Look, they're going to make the playoffs, I just think they're going to crash and burn. You don't play that many one-run games without it getting to you after a while.

posted by Gavin @ 2:48 PM  0 comments

NBA Notes - Monday Edition

- Larry Brown is supposedly on his way out of Detroit. This is probably for the best. It was pretty darn irritating to have him play coy all freaking year with his players. This opens the door for Flip Saunders to win an NBA title, which is pretty cool. Also, is Nate McMillan now a little angry he took a crappy situation in Portland? He would have been a better fit than Saunders with his style of game.

- Bob Weiss is the new coach of the SuperSonics. This is definitely a "stay the course" type decision, except that we have no assistant coaches, losing many of our players, and don't know where we're going from here. Not exactly sure how Weiss wins in that situation. Not exciting, but probably won't suck.

- Speaking of free agents, I took a look through Chad Ford's latest top 25 free agents and have my own little wish list... here it is:

1. Tyson Chandler, C, Bulls - he's probably too expensive, and he has no offensive game, but man can he rebound and play defense. He would be the perfect replacement for Reggie Evans. The Sonics have shown interest.

2. Stromile Swift, F, Grizzlies - he's a big man who can score. What more do I have to write? Again, the Sonics have shown interest, but need to beat out the Nets.

3. Gary Payton, PG, Boston - could Payton be the counterpoint to Ridnour this year? It could be a nice fit...

4. Dan Dickau, PG, New Orleans - we need another PG, Dickau looked very solid last year.

posted by Gavin @ 2:41 PM  0 comments

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Visit This Site. Now.

Have you ever wanted to slam Stu Scott up against the wall and tell him to shut up? Do you ever wonder why Woody Paige, who has an immense problem with the English language, has two shows on ESPN? Does the extremely, EXTREMELY loud Stephen A. grate on your ears like the sound of a thousand nails on a thousand chalkboards?

Well, there is a site you absolutely HAVE to vist.

Some Braves fans have come up with a site devoted to a tournament deciding, once and for all, who is the absolute WORST ESPN PERSONALITY.

There are 4 regions, including the Duke region, the Yankees/Red Sox region, and the Los Angeles Lakers regional. There are 16 seeds in every region. #1 seeds are Stuart Scott, Stephen A. Smith, Chris Berman, and Dick Vitale. There will be different subregionals going at any particular time. All you need to do is add your comment on each matchup, the votes will be tallied, and the worst anchor will advance.

Go. Vote. Often.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:25 PM  0 comments

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Late-Night Saturday

-- We scored 1o runs TWICE against the Angels. We have scored 8 runs in three games so far against the Orioles, and are decidedly lucky to have won one of them.

-- What's wrong with the lineup? Ichiro is still not firing on all cylinders, Winn is in a slump, Ibanez is in a mini-slump, Sexson is fine (though he still strikes out too much), Beltre is back to hitting a few singles and striking out, Reed is not improving at the plate and has not shown any power, Bloomquist is doing alright (strangely enough), Morse is fine, Lopez is struggling (looks like he is trying to cope with the whole every-day thing), and our catchers just can not hit the baseball. Seriously, watching Borders and Olivo hit.... a little piece of me dies every time. When you think about the other team's #9 hitters having over a .300 average against us, that is a huge minus for our team.

-- So, in conclusion, our lineup.... blah. So, Hargrove, care to rethink your previous statement that no one performed "out of the ordinary" in Anaheim?

-- I heartily agree with Jeremy over at Sports & B's. You DO NOT boo your team, even if you are looking for Palmeiro to hit #3000. We need to grow up a little as a fan base. Baseball is not just a sideshow where you take the little kiddies and have a hot dog. Baseball is also about your team beating the other team more times than they beat you. That is what is MOST important.

-- However, Piniero definitely should shut up until he remembers how to throw in the 94-95 mph range. Until he does, he will not improve, because hitters are waiting on that curveball and can easily foul off his excuse for a fastball.

-- One reporter is already calling Lawrence Roberts a steal in the NBA draft. Well, that is yet another Sonics draftee that they traded for absolutely nothing. Good job, Sund. Of course, I can't get too upset until Roberts proves it by performing in the Big Show, not the summer league. I finally see that the Sonics are putting out feelers for Stromile Swift. That is a move I can appreciate.

-- What is with Vlade trying to get starter's money? What position would he play? Power forward? Don't make me laugh. The Sonics tried that already, but Vlade has a strong aversion to fighting for the ball down low and going after rebounds. There is no reason to give him a huge amount of dollars, and if his attitude resurfaces as a problem, I would honestly prefer to see him in an Atlanta Hawks uniform, and laugh all the while.

-- Boone is something like 1/13 for the Twins. Ouch.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:09 PM  0 comments

Friday, July 15, 2005

Thoughts For Friday

Antonio Daniels is upset with the Sonics not making a big enough effort to bring him back. Look, I love Antonio Daniels. Yes, the Sonics have not been making as big of a splash as they should in the free agent market. But does Daniels honestly believe that we are going to offer him beaucoup dollars when Luke Ridnour is going to play 30 minutes a night next year? There's a reason why he probably isn't coming back. It would be great if he did, but we shouldn't overpay.

The Seahawks still haven't signed Peter Boulware. Hello? Anyone you can sign that means Isaiah Kacyv(whatever, I can't spell the damn name) doesn't play is exactly what we need.

Alex Rodriguez can't play for the Dominican Republic. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Now the question is... do we want him to play for the US?

I'm tired.

posted by Gavin @ 1:02 PM  0 comments

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thank The Merciful Lord I Waited Four Days....

.... to watch the M's manage 2 hits against Daniel Cabrera, who should remind NO ONE of Pedro Martinez anytime soon.

.... to watch Aaron Sele serve up golfballs to Jay Gibbons and Sal Fasano (who should NOT be allowed to beat you)

.... to watch Tejada get out with Palmeiro on deck in the top of the 9th

.... to watch Sexson strike out multiple times.... again

.... to remember, once again, why we are NOT a competitive team this year

.... to watch the bottom of the Orioles' lineup destroy us, just like EVERY team's bottom of the order

.... to watch JJ Putz self-destruct AGAIN, thankfully only resulting in one run

.... to thankfully change the channel to watch the Family Guy episode where Peter discovers that he is mentally handicapped

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Here's to the 2nd half of the season. May we, somehow, win 70 games.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:22 PM  0 comments

What Is The Proper Reaction To This?


I was listening to ESPN radio today, and the host spent a segment discussing whether Jason Giambi's resurgence was good or bad for the game. After a horrific beginning to the 2005 season, Giambi is now hitting .278 with a .426 OBP and a .889 OPS. He has 10 HR and 32 RBI's. In short, he is having a semi-productive season so far, which is WAY better than I thought he would do after the first month. He was THIS close to being sent to AAA, and has fought back to become the hottest hitter not named A-Rod on the Yankees over the past month.

So... here's the thing. This is an admitted (basically) steroids user, who, somewhat through his use of steroids, got the Yankees to pay him $120 mill over 7 years.

Should I feel happy for him, that he has worked past the horrible health problems that plagued him last year and got to the point where the NY fans are cheering him? Is this an underdog story?

Or should I be disgusted that Giambi is basically getting away with cheating for several years? That he helped tarnish a sports reputation for a decade?

I'm honestly torn. I don't wish ill on the man, and he definitely apologized more than most, some against the will of his lawyers (supposedly).

I just don't know. Anyone who has thoughts on this, please comment....

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:16 PM  1 comments

Sonics News

As the Sonics continue to stand pat on all that cap money (will you just SIGN SOME PEOPLE PLEASE!!!) other news is continuing to happen...

The Lakers trade their only legitimate point guard (Chucky Atkins) to the Wizards for the most underacheiving first round pick of the last five years, Kwame Brown. This probably is good news for Will Conroy, but who exactly is going to run the triangle? Anyone who picks the Lakers to make the playoffs next year is sick in the head.

The Sonics are going to decide shortly if Bob Weiss is their next coach. I'm surprisingly apathetic about this decision. If it happens, okay. If it doesn't happen, whatever. I'd rather the team sign some freaking free agents instead.

Speaking of free agent defections, the New York Knicks became the next idiotic team to take a chance on Jerome James, 5 years at 30 million. This is fantastic news for us and terrible news for Knicks' fans. I feel terrible that they have to put up with his crap for that long. Thankfully we don't have to. Amazing how four good games against a crappy defensive team (Sacramento) can make someone worth that type of money. So now a man who says he's had problems with partying is in New York. Yeah, that's not going to be an issue.

posted by Gavin @ 1:07 PM  1 comments

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

MLB Midseason Awards

Time for some good times! Midseason Awards! Utterly meaningless!

American League: MVP: Manny Ramirez, Boston Look, the guy just hits and hits and hits and drives the juggernaut which is the Red Sox offense. David Ortiz might have some better stats, but Manny leads in RBI and honestly, who do you want up in a clutch situation?

Colin: Manny Ramirez? Look, I know he has 80 RBI, but, to me, the story of the AL has been the Chicago White Sox, and the MVP of the Chicago White Sox is Mark Buehrle. I am one of those few that believe that a pitcher can and should win the MVP award sometimes. The starting rotation of the White Sox has been remarkable, and Buehrle has led the way with a 10-3 mark, a 2.58 ERA, 136 innings pitched.... wow.

Cy Young: Mark Buehrle, Chicago Every time I watch him I can't believe he gets people out that consistently. I've decided that he is a left-handed Greg Maddux. He doesn't have great stuff, but places it amazingly well. He is the drive behind the White Sox's amazing start. Hopefully he even gets some MVP votes.

Colin: Because I have Buehrle as my MVP, I have to pick someone else for my Cy Young. That person is.... Kenny Rogers (duck). He pitches half his games at Arlington, he's over 40, and he is 10-4 with a 2.54 ERA and 113.1 innings pitched. What he has done is, frankly, remarkable, and deserves some credit beyond his boneheaded incident with the cameraman.

LVP: Adrian Beltre, Seattle We were supposed to be quite a bit better this year, based on the 100 plus million we shelled out for Beltre. He has been far less than advertised.

Colin: If this was a half-season award, then I would be fine awarding this to Beltre. But, looking at the possibilities for the year as a whole, my LVP has to be Steve Finley. Beltre was not supposed to catapult us to a top-tier team, but Finley was supposed to be the final piece to help the Angels reach the World Series. Instead, he has battled injuries and currently sports a .225 BA with 8 HR and 39 RBI. He has forced the Angels to start looking for another bat to get out of the divisional series in the postseason.

LVP (pitcher): Randy Johnson, NYY This should actually also include Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. These three were supposed to give the Yankees a feared rotation. Instead they are weak as anything and the Yankees are locked into extensions for all of them.

Colin: This is one conclusion I have to agree with. The Yankees massively overpayed for these guys, and the one pitcher for the Yankees that has pitched well is a rookie named Wang. Absolutely horrible.

Story of the Second Half: Watch the White Sox struggle as statistical anamolies push their insane record in one run games back where it should be. Dustin Hermanson is your closer. Let's repeat that. Dustin Hermanson is your closer.

Colin: The Yankees fall out of contention by September, Joe Torre is fired, and Lou Piniella prepares to head up north. Is there any bigger story in baseball than that?

Playoff Picks: Boston, Chicago, Anaheim, Oakland (they're baaaaack)

Colin: Boston, Chicago, Anaheim, Minnesota

National League: MVP: Derek Lee, Chicago Who else could it be? The guy might be a Triple Crown winner. Can he keep it up? He's hitting in Wrigley, so anything's possible.

Colin: No disagreement here. I hope he continues this, because it is seriously fun to watch.

Cy Young: Roger Clemens, Houston Until his ERA shoots above 2.00 this award is his, no matter what his won-loss record is. That is insane. I thought he was done two years ago. He looks like he could go another five.

Colin: I'll go out on a semi-limb and say that Dontrelle Willis finally has a good 2nd half and wins it in an extremely close vote to Roger.

LVP: Mike Lowell, Florida No one epitomizes the problems this team has had more than Lowell. The Marlins are the most underacheiving club in the majors, and the inconsistency out of their stars has to end to get them in the race.

Colin: Even though Lowell is on my fantasy team and I am really tempted to agree, I have to go with Cristian Guzman, he of the .201 BA and sub-par defense to boot. He might cost the Nationals a shot at unseating the Braves atop the NL East.

LVP (pitcher): Eric Milton, Reds Although it was unfair to stick a flyball pitcher into that ballpark, the Reds were supposed to be a competitive team, Milton as its leader. Instead they have struggled yet again and Milton looks lost.

Colin: I'm going with the Kerry Wood/Mark Prior tandem, for the same reason as the Yankees staff. So much was expected of these guys, and their continued problems with injuries has cost a devoted fan base ANOTHER year of no World Series, WASTING this year by Lee.

Story of the Second Half: Milwaukee's youth comes up, dominates everyone with power and average.

Colin: The fact that, outside of St. Louis, the AL has superior players and teams overall. Seriously, there is a reason that the AL has dominated the All-Star game.

Playoff Picks: Atlanta, St Louis, San Francisco, Florida

Colin: Washington, St. Louis, San Diego, Houston

posted by Gavin @ 4:14 PM  0 comments

A-Rod pisses off everyone else...

Well, it was only a matter of time before Alex Rodriguez managed to irritate the rest of America. This time it's his declaration that he will play for the Dominican Republic next year in the new World Classic. That is utterly ridiculous. Alex was a) born in the US, b) raised in the US, c) lives in the US. There is NO tie to the DR outside of his parents. To say he'll be a proud flag-waving supporter of the DR feels like yet another cheap A-Rod ploy.

At least I'll cheer more for the US.

posted by Gavin @ 3:14 PM  3 comments

NHL: Any Future?

The inevitable has finally happened as the NHL lockout came to an end with an agreement between the owners and the player's union.

The player's got worked, with a salary cap set at $39 mill that supposedly was the sticking point this entire time.

Now the question is.... will anyone care when the NHL season starts up this fall?

I admit that I have not been an avid NHL fan growing up. A good friend of mine (you know who you are, Jay) finally got me interested in the Colorado Avalanche, and I enjoyed watching some playoff hockey during my college years. One reason I was excited to move down to Phoenix was the opportunity to see some NHL hockey, and Brett Hull had even joined the Coyotes.

Here's my thinking. The NHL didn't lose me, because I wasn't a big fan to begin with. If this deal does what the owners thought it would, including helping small-market teams compete with the big boys, help keep salaries down, and improve on-ice play allowing more scoring and less zone defenses, then, long-term, this might actually help a fan like me become more interested.

I'm not one to be vindictive about this sort of thing. The players were stupid, thinking that they could get more then what reality said they could. The sport was dying, revenue streams drying up. They deserved to be waxed, and they deserve any backlash that is received. But the truth is that this was business. I don't quit riding on airplanes when Boeing workers go on strike. I don't quit going to school when teachers come back from going on strike. Why in the world would I discontinue watching NHL games?

The product better be good, though. The product better be good.

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:43 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Am I Too Optimistic, Or Is John Clayton High?

John Clayton, the preeminant football analyst for ESPN, claimed on SportsCenter today that the three teams with the worst offseasons were the Packers, the Titans, and.... the Seahawks. He justified that decision by saying that we lost Okeafor, Simmons, and Chad Brown, hindering our pass rush and weakening our linebacker corp.

WHAT!!!!!! THE!!!!!!! HELL!!!!!!!

Let's see what the Seahawks accomplished this offseason after enduring a horrific defensive year where we could not stop anyone in the 4th quarter, and couldn't stop the Rams during the entire 2nd half of the playoffs.

-- Got a much better team president in Tim Ruskell (yes, I am now a believer)
-- Signed Andre Dyson, a great corner from the Titans
-- Signed Jamie Sharper, a great linebacker from the Texans
-- Signed Bryce Fisher, who had as many sacks last year as Okeafor
-- Got rid of various malcontents, including Koren Robinson, Okeafor, Simmons, and Chris Terry.
-- Signed Hasselback and basically gave the team over to him
-- Got several nice-looking young linebackers, including Tatupu
-- Allowed Marcus Tubbs another year to develop and basically told him the starting job is his to lose
-- Got pro's to man the wide-outs, including clutch performer Jurevicious (probably misspelled that one)

GAAAAAHHH! Maybe that wasn't the best offseason, but it surely wasn't one of the three worst! We still might pick up Boulware, and then obviously need to work out what is going on with Alexander, but I am pretty satisfied with the offseason so far. Am I insane?

Gavin: Colin didn't even mention Kelly Herndon, the other excellent corner we signed, the fact that Michael Boulware has another year of experience at safety, same with Ken Hamlin and Marcus Trufant. Clayton, Clayton, Clayton...

Worse offseasons than ours... SF 49ers (exactly what did they do?), St. Louis Rams (drafted malcontents and has a worse offensive line than before), Dallas Cowboys (Drew Bledsoe?), Denver Broncos (Jerry Rice and the Cleveland Browns defensive line?)... this is off the top of my head. Pretty pathetic effort by Clayton, who normally is a solid analyst.

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:26 PM  0 comments

My ultimate lineup

Jerry Crasnick at ESPN.com has his ultimate starting nine. I thought this sounded like fun... here's mine! I picked these based on the lineup I would want, combined with defense, youth (how long this lineup would be consistent), and box office draw.

1. Bobby Abreu, RF, Phillies
Abreu is a 3 hole hitter, and his stats agree. However, he has a great OBP and can run when on the basepaths. He's one of the few legitimate 40-40 players in the league, with some serious sock to his bat (as he displayed last night). Since he's batting lead-off in the All-Star game, obviously Tony LaRussa agrees with my assessment. All that, and Abreu is solid in the field as well.

2. Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles
An exciting young player who is having his breakout season. Can't really think of a better second baseman at this time. Excellent defensive range to be coupled with those 15 home runs. Roberts would be a perfect two-hole hitter, someone who makes contact, can lay down a bunt, and stay out of a double play.

3. Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
This is such a difficult decision to make. Who is the best hitter in the game? Even though Derek Lee is having an insane year so far, Pujols still gets my vote. What is insane to me is how infrequently the man strikes out for the type of swings he takes. All that and he still hasn't hit his prime yet. What has impressed me is his defense at first, where in another year he will challenge for a Gold Glove.

4. Manny Ramirez, DH, Boston
I'm just filling the DH spot with the best available hitter where I don't have to care about defense. I'd rather have Ramirez than David Ortiz. All that, and you don't have to watch his nightly adventure in left field!

5. Eric Chavez, 3B, Oakland
I have Chavez at fifth simply to break up the string of righties (don't want three in a row). Luckily Chavez can more than hold his own here and bring a Gold Glove to boot. He's heating up this year after his normal slow start. I still believe he's the premier third baseman in the game. Look, I know Alex Rodriguez plays this position, but I want Chavez, both for his left handed bat and surer glove.

6. Vlad Guerrero, RF, Anaheim
It's insane to have a guy this good bat sixth, I know, but I do think it's important to have Chavez break up the string of righties to force opposing managers to use the bullpen. Guerrero is a beast with the widest strike zone I've ever seen. The home runs he hits against the M's are simply nuts. Guerrero can even steal a couple of bases now and then.

7. Miguel Tejada, SS, Orioles
Tejada, in the past two years, has blown past any challengers to the crown of best shortstop. Not only does he make highlight reel plays (even for someone his size) but he is getting better and better offensively. He is one of the best teammates I've ever seen, and hopefully will win a World Series at some point.

8. Victor Martinez, C, Cleveland
This was the toughest call, because there aren't really that many good catchers. Some might say to go with Joe Mauer, but he hasn't fulfilled his promise yet and is still injury prone. Martinez has slumped this year, but still has numbers that compare favorably with everyone else. He's still young, is a lefty, and isn't a slouch calling a game. Pencil him in as an all-star five of the next seven years.

9. Ichiro, CF, Seattle
Yep, I'm sticking Ichiro in centerfield, since I know he can play it extremely well, even if he doesn't like it. I like Abreu's on-base percentage better, which is why Ichiro is batting ninth, but the nine-spot is supposed to be your second lead-off hitter. Ichiro will do that.

I noticed as I picked these that most of these players are from the American League. There are a few players I didn't pick from the NL, like Andruw Jones or Miguel Cabrera, but I just don't see them as better than the players I chose. Feel free to complain.

posted by Gavin @ 3:28 PM  0 comments

Gavin's Thoughts o' the Day

It's midseason report card time for the M's, as the Seattle PI throws out these articles, here, here, and here. If you actually have paid attention to the team (or our blog), you'll already be well aware of the obvious ebbs and flows to this season.

Colin mentioned this already, but John Levesque's idiotic attempt at an article praising Willie Bloomquist as the spark to our four-game sweep is just that... idiotic. Look, Willie is proving that he could possibly be a decent utility player. Until then, why don't we wait and see if he can continue this current hot streak. Bloomquist has had MANY opportunities to prove if he's an everyday player and he has utterly failed each time. I would rather his at-bats go to Mike Morse and Jeremy Reed. Anyways, to say that he is the reason for our sweep of the Angels is ridiculous. The guy didn't have a home run, didn't drive in many runs... he was valuable, but not invaluable. This is the same loser effect to those idiots who go insane over David Eckstein. Eckstein plays with passion and doesn't give away many at-bats. Still, there are many shortstops I would rather have and not pay millions to. Jay Bilas would say he was "long" and had "upside potential", but that doesn't translate into superstardom. Essentially, good players are not MVPs. Let's never forget that.

Finally, kudos go out to Lance Armstrong for annihilating his competition today during the first mountain climb. He almost just won the Tour de France again today. That's just insane.

On to the All-Star game... still don't care about it!

posted by Gavin @ 2:32 PM  0 comments

Two More Days To Go....

I need real baseball back. Not the All-Star game. Real baseball. It doesn't help that the Mariners had their best series of the season right before the break, or that John Levesque (not going to link to it) wrote ANOTHER idiotic article, this one about how Wee Willy is the greatest Mariner of all time. I might be slightly exaggerating there, but.... come on, John!

If Bob Weiss is a serious candidate for the Sonics job, I am alright with that. He definitely knows the system, knows the players, and there should be a seamless transition. I would still prefer Flip or Iavaroni, however.

King Felix is back after a short bout with bursitis. At least, it better remain a short bout, because my heart could probably not take another pitching injury.

Pitchers I am interested in seeing during the second half of the season: King Felix (of course), Campillo (junkballer, I know), Sherrill (WAY better than Thornton), Soriano (if he's healthy), and Nageotte (could be one heck of a reliever).

Hitters I am interested in seeing during the second half of the season: Snelling (not on the bench, in the lineup), Christianson (can't be any worse than Olivo), and Jacobson (if healthy).

Well....... have fun watching the All-Star game. I will either watch IT or watch "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" which I have rented and have yet to watch.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:29 PM  1 comments

It Has Been A Slow Process....

Of building a links list for people to go and read some excellent Mariner fan base analyses. I am pleased to report that I got off my fanny and added two new ones that come from true blue Mariner fans. Go and visit! Once again, a lot of times Gavin and I suck. No doubt.

Hope Springs Eternal
Marty's Mariners

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:08 AM  1 comments

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Bobby Abreu Show - Live Blog


1st round of the Home-Run Derby:

-- Before any swings took place, Damon and Piazza joined some rock band to "kinda" sing along. I have never seen Piazza look more like an absolute moron then trying to hit the cymbal with one drum stick while the drummer is still playing the song. Damon actually looked like he belonged with the band. His long hair and doped-up look fit in perfectly.

-- What in the world is with those orange National League uniforms? Those are the ugliest uniform I have seen with anything from the University of Oregon.

-- Chris Berman is announcing, as he does EVERYTHING now. I think he has a contract with all major sports to make an appearance at all events. Personally, I think he should stick to football. His "back, back, back" grates on me after a while. My announcer of choice? Kenny Mayne, who is hilarious. Does anyone remember his home-run SportsCenter commercials a few years back? Gold, especially the Griffey references. Can anyone remember the catch-phrases, because they escape me for some reason.

-- Again, not a fan of the "world" format. Who would I rather see, Jason Bay.... or Miguel Tejada? Choi or Ramirez? This ain't rocket science.

-- 1st up, Bobby Abreu, who promptly hits 24 home-runs in a round, breaking the old mark of 15 by Tejada last year. This was unbelievable. He was lights-out, hitting one ball 517 feet! He is a brilliant player, and it showed. Berman ran out of inane comments to say, and we were only at the first player.

-- Jason Bay represented Canada by hitting 0 home-runs. Poor Canada. Still no hockey, and their representative sucked. Don't get me wrong, I like Jason Bay, but he pulled a Bret Boone in the derby.

-- Carlos Lee, a real home-run hitter, made his own case to win this sucker by plating 11, which should be enough to move him to the next round. I remember him KILLING the Mariners year after year, especially at Safeco Field.

-- Choi = should not be here. 5. All the space I will waste on him, even if he does end up making the 2nd round.

-- Is it essential for Reggie Jackson to be interviewed every Home-Run Derby? I swear he gets a special interview every single time. Guess what, ESPN? He has nothing new to say. Nothing. He was a Yankee and an Angel, hit a few home-runs, yadda, yadda, yadda. Don't care, get out of my sight. Berman, "It can't be a Home-Run Derby without Mr. October." Um, why? Is it October and I didn't notice?

-- The home town favorite Pudge Rodriguez puts on a little show. Again, better then the 0 Boone gave the Safeco crowd in 2001. I'm still a little steamed about that, as the fireworks there were left to Jason Giambi and Luis Gonzalez. I'm cheering for him to be in the top 4, and it looks like he obliges with 7, including one that traveled 442 ft, not a chip shot (not that any home-run is a chip shot in Comerica).

-- By the way, I won't have a separate blog entry about this, but congrats to Bavasi for getting anything for the Boone. Sure, it will probably be a lackluster prospect, but that is one prospect better than I thought we would get. I hope that Boone does ok, but I expect him to hit about the same as Seattle.

-- Teixeira, representing the U.S.A. I am so proud. My heart is in my throat. Obviously I was not the only one, because he only hit 2. Gooooooooo AMERICA!!! Tell me again why Vlad Guerrero couldn't have been in this?

-- David Ortiz better get into the 2nd round. He needs 6 in order to pass Choi and stop the nightmare that would be Choi getting another chance in the semifinals. Part of me really wants him to lumber around the bases with every home-run, especially if he does some of that awkward pointing to the sky and the team with a few chest-thumps thrown in for good measure. Unintentional comedy: players like Melvin Mora gasping over fellow countryman Bobby Abreu while Miguel Tejada begins to massage David Ortiz's huge thighs. Drink in that picture in your mind. Drink it in. By the way, Ortiz hits 17 and advances in what would have been the round of the Derby if Abreu hadn't already hit 24. It is still good enough to be the 2nd best ever single-round total in Derby history. Excellent.

-- The best kid catcher in the outfield is some small dumpy fat white kid who is getting to every fly ball. What is up with that? This kid is a better athlete then me or something.

-- Andruw Jones is last to go. He has quietly put together one heck of a season so far. If the Braves win the NL East this year, I will be the most impressed with them I have ever been. However, he misses the cut with 5 long-balls.

On to the 2nd round.... (Abreu, Lee, Pudge, Ortiz)

-- Abreu just looks a little tired after his onslaught in the first round, and he manages only 6 this time around. It remains to be seen if that will do it, but there is nothing for him to be ashamed of. Meanwhile we get the enjoyment of watching a hard-hitting interview (not) of Bud Selig by the Swami and Joe Morgan. A lot of arse-kissing goes around, and I tune them out, instead trying to watch the Derby.

-- Lee doesn't seem as tired, as he hits a few blasts to deep center field, which is no small potatoes at this ballpark. Somehow he only gets 4, though, and it is almost certain that his day is done.

-- The Detroit Tiger will go to the finals! Rodriguez hits 8 to advance. And these weren't chip-shots by Pudge, they were monster blasts. Carlos Lee is eliminated. Great job by the home-town hero, though he says, "This is all for Puerto Rico". Ummmm, what about a shout-out to the fans of Detroit, there, Pudge? Remember them? Reason #467 why this format sucks like the Rally Monkey.

-- Some guy won a new car because Andruw Jones hit it on the tarp. Whoohoo. Meanwhile I'll continue driving an 11 year-old minivan.

-- Ortiz seems to be another victim of fatigue as he is continually late on the pitches, hitting them to center field instead of pulling them down the right-field line. He gets 3, and I get more and more tired of Chris Berman.

Finals (Abreu, Rodriguez)

-- If you can't tell by now, the excitement has dimmed after the first round. Everyone is tired, and there has been a little too much Berman. But, hey, we got Venezuala against Puerto Rico, so, well, great, right? Venezuala? Puerto Rico? Huh? Loud Hispanic broadcasters pretending this is soccer? Huh?

-- Berman can say homerun in French. I suddenly remember that I will never live tonight again. A tear runs down my cheek.

-- Abreu is first up to the plate. He starts with 2 quick outs, but then gets on the board. He doesn't get another until the 5 out mark. This is when he starts to heat up, and besides a check swing, he gets up to 8 with 6 outs. This should be enough to beat Pudge, but Abreu gets a few more and ends with 11. He hit 41 in the derby. That is unbelievable. This is his night.

-- There is no way Pudge can match that. And he doesn't, hitting 5. Abreu deserved this one. Massive props to him. I'm done with this. I'm especially done with Berman trying to speak Spanish. Good night, everyone!

posted by colin_hesse @ 8:24 PM  0 comments

Diamond in the rough...

Last year we discovered Damien Wilkins. This year we are in need of some cheap help. The Sonics summer league is full of some exciting prospects that could help us out. I reviewed the roster and am really interested in how a few play out...

1. Aaron Miles, PG, Kansas
I've been a big Will Conroy fan, but in the back of my mind this was always my number two option. I've been a big Miles fan for a while. He was a winner in Kansas, a solid passer and defender, and could be a great replacement for Antonio Daniels.

2. Larry O'Bannon, G, Louisville
Anyone who followed college basketball last year knows how important O'Bannon was to Louisville's success. Frankly, he may have been more important than Francisco Garcia. His outside shooting touch is tremendous and he can play defense. He does have some size issues, but I think he'd be a lot better than Ronald Murray.

3. Matt Walsh, G, Florida
This idiot should have gone back to school, and he has a lot of talent, but poor size and quickness. I don't think he'll do much at all, but some scouts had him as a first round pick. Let's see if he proves doubters wrong. At the very least he'll have plenty of motivation.

4. Rick Rickert, F, Minnesota
Rick left school too early as well and was cut last year as a second round pick. He has size and offensive touch, but is afflicted with "white man's" disease (poor lateral movement). We need another forward, can Rick show up?

5. Richard Fox, C, Gonzaga
Have to give the 'Zag some props. A 7 footer from a Washington school will more than likely end up on our NBDL team unless he blows people away.

Of course Johan Petro and Robert Swift will be around as well, and we'll see how they do. Still, for as poor as the draft was, this is a fairly exciting squad to see how they perform. I think I can guarantee that two of the above five players will make our team and at least one will be a very nice surprise.

posted by Gavin @ 3:49 PM  1 comments

Hawks seek Alexander replacement?

I thought this was a fairly interesting article by ESPN's Len Pasquarelli, which insinuates that Seattle has reopened discussions with Buffalo about running back Travis Henry. Buffalo has been requesting a third-round pick for their back, which seems like a small price for a tough 1000 yard rusher.

I don't know if Henry is better at what we're looking for (short yardage, pass blocking) but if he is I would recommend pulling the trigger and then making Shaun a free agent.

When it comes to Shaun Alexander and his "principles", note that we cannot sign him to a long-term deal until after he signs the franchise tender. Yes, it's unfair to him, but it's also the rules.

posted by Gavin @ 3:45 PM  0 comments

Sunday, July 10, 2005

4 for 4!!


Why does the All-Star break have to come now?

New high point of the season.... until we dump Thornton.

The Rally Monkey SSSUUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKKSSS!!!

posted by colin_hesse @ 7:10 PM  0 comments

Saturday, July 09, 2005

3 For 3


-- I figured I would celebrate this monumental achievement by posting the first ever picture onto Crushed Optimists. Who would have thunk that the first picture would be of Willie Bloomquist? He did, once again, have a solid night.

-- Vlad Guerrero is 1-12 so far this series. That might mean some hurt is coming tomorrow afternoon, when the ball flies out of this stadium.

-- An Olivo hit? Bunting over Esteban Yan. Well, I guess he will take it.

-- Still don't like the Angels broadcasting team. Sorry, chaps.

-- Has our offense taken Viagra or something? Honestly, they now stand erect and at attention. Unfortunately, I hear that lasts 36 hours, so it might have worn off by tomorrow.

-- The Mariners have not had a 4 game winning streak this year yet. We can do it tomorrow, as Gil Meche (who recently, according to Bryan Price, just learned to pitch) goes against another Santana, this one a rookie for the Angels.

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:06 PM  0 comments

A Few Weekend Notes:

-- We, as well as a few other places, made fun of Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton after he was found by police, disheveled, and claiming to be God. Well, Sexton has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, and faces a difficult year ahead. Allow us the opportunity to eat our words. Sexton was and is sick, and we apologize for making light of his condition. We wish you a quick recovery, Sexton.

-- A skateboarder cleared the Great Wall of China, which is absolutely incredible. Even more incredible is the fact that the Chinese minister of extreme sports was there. Wait a second. You are telling me that China has a minister of extreme sports? Is HE sponsored by Mountain Dew? What next, a minister of the outdoor games? A minister of Pokemon? A minister of all things Hollywood? You have got to be kidding me.

-- Not mentioned yet on this blog: the terrible bombings in London. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims as well as the wounded. Of course, it didn't stop the English from playing their good ol' game of cricket.

-- This is the only word on the All-Star teams that I will say. Cesar Izturis was not worthy of an All-Star berth, but his injury kept him off the team. How in the world, with his injury, could Jimmy Rollins be given the spot ahead of Houston slugger Morgan Ensberg? Ensberg has revived an absolutely horrific Astros lineup and, along with Clemens and Oswalt, has Houston back at the .500 mark. Rollins is a light-hitting shortstop with an oversized contract and a too low OBP for a leadoff hitter. Wow.

-- I'm enjoying watching the Giants take on the Cardinals on FOX. If the Giants can find some consistent starting pitching, they could make a run in the weak NL West. Since I have a soft spot for the Giants (not Bonds), I hope that occurs.

-- Time to head to the mall for some book shopping. Might go ahead and preorder the new Harry Potter book (yes, I'm a nerd) though there are a few other books on my shopping list.

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:48 PM  2 comments

LeBron gets a sidekick

Big story yesterday: Larry Hughes is joining Cleveland. Many writers have been quick to point out that Hughes has a suspect outside jumpshot, which was a huge need for the Cavs. This is true, and is why Ray Allen or Michael Redd would have been a better fit. Still, Larry (outside of getting absolutely dominated by Dwayne Wade in the playoffs) was one of the top five guards in the league this past season, and brings some defensive intensity as well. In fact, LeBron and Larry Hughes might be one of the best defensive pair of guards in the league, and could easily become THE best pair overall in the league.

The fact was... Cleveland is desperate to put together a winner to convince LeBron to sign an extension. They couldn't just sit on all the cap room they have. They need to make the playoffs next year, prove to James that they are moving forward. LeBron had NO sidekick. If he had a bad game, the Cavs lost. End of story. They had no talent (although Drew Gooden had a bit of a resurgence and Ilgauskas wasn't awful). Now a starting lineup that includes Larry Hughes, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (if they resign him) and filler can easily compete in the weak Eastern Conference. I believe this signing will elevate them to the upper echelon of teams, as now Cleveland will be able to score with anyone.

Congrats Cleveland... I'm rooting for you to retain your star.

posted by Gavin @ 1:41 PM  0 comments

Schilling as closer?

The Red Sox players are pissed. Skip Bayless is pissed at the Red Sox. What do I think of Curt Schilling's new possible role as a closer? Well, I drafted Curt Schilling into my fantasy team hoping he would lock down my rotation with wins and strikeouts. He will do neither in the bullpen. This is a guy who takes a while to warm up with a set ritual, and the Red Sox believe that he can warm up quickly to enter high pressure situations? Seems pretty ridiculous to me.

Exactly what stupidity has to take over your mind to even consider not having Schilling in your lineup? They say it's to get him ready for game shape. How does pitching one inning every once in a while get you stretched out for starting?

I just don't see this ending well for the Red Sox. If they want to win another World Series, they need Curt Schilling anchoring their rotation, and if they want to hold off Baltimore and New York in the second half of the year they don't want their best pitcher only closing games.

posted by Gavin @ 1:35 PM  0 comments

Baseball and Softball out?

I can't believe this decision by the International Olympic Committee to eliminate baseball and softball from the 2012 Olympics in London. What an utterly asinine decision. When people can get gold medals in ballroom dancing, I think one of the most popular sports in the world (baseball) deserves a spot at the table. It is not an American sport, as evidenced by our team not even getting a medal last year. Yes, we don't have major leaguers participate. That's something to negotiate, not get rid of it all. It's also sad to get rid of women's softball when it's only been around for a few years. It takes a while for the world to catch up in women's athletics, as evidenced by women's soccer.

Frankly, it's almost as bad a decision to not add golf to the mix. Why in the name of all that's holy is golf not an Olympic event? Wouldn't it be amazing to see Tiger go for a gold medal? That would be a huge moneymaker for the Olympics.

These people are morons. Real sports need to be in the Olympics, not the wuss no-name sports that are shoved down our throats.

posted by Gavin @ 1:27 PM  0 comments

My New Hero, Part II

My hero today? Ted Miller in the PI, who, once again, writes what we here at Crushed Optimists have been writing.

1. McMillan wanted to leave
2. We don't know yet if McMillan is worth that kind of money
3. The Sonics will be just fine
4. Yes, it was partly about the money
5. Yes, it was partly about the resentment
6. The media love McMillan, and hesitate to write anything wrong about him

Sorry about writing yet another one of these, I know this is getting pretty repetitive. I guess I just enjoy a writer agreeing with me.

Gavin: Colin beat me to the punch on this one. This, more than anything, was the article I have been waiting for out of a Seattle columnist. It's not bitter. It's not judgmental. It's realistic. This huge pity party that John Levesque and Steve Kelley have been enjoying is pretty darn ridiculous. Just because McMillan is a likeable guy doesn't mean you shouldn't ask the obvious questions about his capabilities as a coach. Let cooler heads prevail before searching for the tar and feathers for Wally Walker.

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:31 PM  0 comments

Friday, July 08, 2005

And the weirdness continues...

We have now scored 20 runs in 2 games against starters Bartolo Colon and Jarod Washburn. OK, pinch me, someone....

Obvious studs:
The Ichiro: 3/5, 2 R, 2 RBI
The Winn: 1/6 (ouch), 1 HR, 4 RBI (good)
The Ibanez: 2/5, 2 RBI
The Morse: 3/5, 1 R, 1 RBI

Moyer picked up his 200th win. Excellent work, Moyer. If he had found his groove earlier in his career, he could be gunning for 300. Now, that is a pipe dream, because this season might be it for Moyer, though I could see him going one more year, just not with the Mariners.

You see, this game was classic 2005 Moyer. A few extremely easy innings of 1-2-3 ball, where Moyer was hitting his corners, getting ahead of the hitters, and inducing weak pop-ups and ground balls. And there were the pitches grooved down the middle that were immediately removed to the seats by Jeff DaVanon and Benji Molina, resulting in 4 runs. Yep. Seen those games a LOT during the past few years.

Once again, I am a certified Winn-ripper. I know, it's a serious condition, I'm dealing with it. And my Winn-tred was in full gear after the double-play ball in the 1st and the error on Vlad's ball in the 6th. But I have to commend him for the grand slam that should have put this game out of reach. A great clutch hit. Sure, he didn't get another hit, but he was still pretty darn productive.

How do we have a good bullpen? I mean, I know the stats, and according to them we have an excellent bullpen. However, our bullpen made a 7-4 game extremely interesting at times, whether it was Ron "angry-man" Villone, Jeff "strike-zone" Nelson, or even JJ "why don't they pitch me more?" Putz. At least Hargrove didn't put Thornton in. I prefer only to see Thornton when we are either winning or losing by double digits. I guess I'm just not sure how the stats match up.

I have now listened to the Angels broadcasters 2 games in a row. Unbelievable. They actually make me long for Ron Fairly and Dave Valle. Rex Hudler is, quite simply, the most annoying broadcaster I have ever listened to. Shouldn't Moreno have the money to spend on some actually interesting commentators? Of course, this is the franchise that entrusts their late-inning rallies to a feces-throwing monkey and decides that they, not the Dodgers, are the true Los Angeles team. Yowzah.

Tomorrow: Fearless Prediction: We will not score 10 runs with Ryan Franklin on the mound. Franklin will get 1 or 2 runs, as John Lackey somehow stalls our offense. It's Franklin's curse. Then, Sunday, Gil Meche takes the mound. The Mariners team web site had a hilarious story about Meche "finally" learning how to pitch. Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it. His game against the Royals was simply atrocious.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:23 PM  2 comments

Seattle Soccer Fans?

I was one of only 15,000 people (generous total to be sure) on hand to watch the opening match for the US in the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Cuba. For starters, that's a ridiculous total. You all should be over this team, watching Landon Donovan, DeMarcus Beasley, Frankie Hejduk (spelling probably wrong) and friends play ball. This was a tremendous amount of fun.

The first half was fairly mediocre. The US squad was far too tentative, and didn't let Beasley run. We would send some probing shots in but were unable to generate real chances. In the meantime the defense, especially Tony Sanneh (my favorite player from the World Cup) looked awful, allowing several good chances and the first goal. We were all shocked at that point. How could we be losing to Cuba?

Ben Olson and Frankie Hejduk then took over the match from an energy standpoint and rallied the team to greater chances, finally ending in the first goal near the end of the half, which was a BLATANT offsides. In other words, we got lucky. Real lucky. Man, were the Cubans pissed to. But that's what happens when you take on the bourgeois, my friends. They always win.

The red card at the beginning of the second half was the end of any chance the Cubans had at winning, because there was no way they were going to generate scoring opportunities a man down.

At that point it was still tied 1-1 and we were waiting for Landon Donovan. When he took off his warmups the crowd started sounding like 40,000. The energy he brought to the club was ridiculous. We had scoring chance after scoring chance, but the field was obviously slippery and forwards had difficulty pivoting on crosses. Then one of the best free kicks I've seen by Donovan tied it and we were in heaven. Beasley and Donovan work so well together. They are going to give any defense fits. They simply know where each other are at all times. After we went up one, Cuba's resolve faltered and it was go time. Bam.

To all you Seattle sports fans out there... next time you call yourself a fan, try actually supporting a team with a legitimate chance of success in next year's World Cup. It is a once every other year opportunity. To not take advantage of it is criminal.

Vive la revolucion!

posted by Gavin @ 3:19 PM  0 comments

My New Hero

Frank Hughes, FINALLY, writes the article that I have been waiting for.

1. Nate McMillan was disgusted about management
2. Nate was gone
3. Nate had one great coaching season
4. Who would you rather have back, Ray Allen or Nate McMillan?
5. There are several nice coaching candidates out there
6. Sonics fans, not the end of the world

Thank you, Frank Hughes. Thank you. Now, Wally Walker, once again, go get a good coach and a good post player (in the line of a Chandler or Swift). McMillan is a loss, but, if done properly, it should not be a huge loss.

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:40 AM  0 comments

 


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