Results tagged ‘ AL Central ’
And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
“KEITH, GET A BUCKET!”
After Jeff and Allen dragged Johanna’s almost lifeless body out of the Lollapalooza bullpen, the RSBS crew sat down to smack down on all-things baseball. Joined midway by special guest, Tim Baffoe of The Heckler and AM 670 The Score, everybody gets in on the roller coaster that is Chicago baseball, Tony LaRussa versus the World, Derek Jeter’s legacy and a hypothetical question involving the conflicting theologies of Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
This is some shizz ya ain’t gonna wanna miss!
And make sure to follow Tim Baffoe (aka the Ten Foot Midget) on Twitter. Dude’s got a lock on sports satire!
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Recorded Saturday, August 6, 2011
A bunch of teams are clustered right around .500 and above and no division is even close to being set at this point. Does this mean baseball is starting to reach parity?
IT’S A TRAP!
It’s not real.
The truth is, the same old teams are still atop the same old divisions. The Yankees. The Red Sox. The Phillies. Okay, so the Mets and Dodgers may be out, but it’s not their faults! They can blame poor ownership and mishandled funds!!!
I know that a quick glance at the standings may confuse the casual onlooker, that one could be easily misguided by the way the teams stack up. But let’s face it: the NL and AL Centrals have been crapshoots for a decade, the NL West has been a contest in mediocrity for a long time. The Angels’ dominance of the AL West was only usurped last year and in 2011 they have put themselves back in contention.
This is not parity. This is, like our US American social ladder, a classic case of 99% of the wealth being in the hands of 1% of the population and everyone else is left to fend for himself. The effect resembles something like parity. But it ain’t.
I really believe that the Mitchell Report and its subsequent juicy fallout has forced teams to go back to what always works: good pitching. With good pitching, you might have a decent shot at accumulating wins. The Giants are a perfect example of a team that gets by on minimal offense and middle-of-the-pack payroll. It’s not the stuff of dynasties… but when it works, it works, and that’s what teams are doing.
The Pirates are winning because of pitching (they can’t hit). The Braves are winning because of pitching (they have a hard time scoring too). The Diamondbacks could always hit, but this year they have… PITCHING.
Great pitching is the best defense against great hitting. I didn’t write that. Baseball wrote that.
When the Orioles and Blue Jays can compete in their own division… when the Nationals have a shot at the big boys in the NL East… that’s when I’ll consider parity’s existence.
But right now that seems like something that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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I once dated a girl from Wisconsin. Well, actually, she was from Wisconsin, but she told everyone she was from Minnesota because she was embarrassed by her rural Sconnie roots. Oh what a difference a decade can make!
Now, hailing from Minnesota will get you all sorts of snickers and sneers. From the incoherent and elementary mumblings of a psychopath with presidential aspirations to a defunct state government that thinks it should get paid even though it’s not doing any work, the North Star State is looking more and more like the Land of 10,000 Gaffes.
And that’s not even including the moribund Twins!
Believe me, I’m just as shocked as you. Traditionally, the Twins do everything right. They see the ball. They catch the ball. They use two hands. From top to bottom, they are the most fundamentally sound franchise in the Big Leagues, which is why they’ve been able to find success despite having a not-so-star studded roster.
But they let their 2010 bullpen of bad@sses go. When he plays, Joe Mauer has been… er… um… not Joe Mauer. And between getting his bell rung and having an uncooperative neck, 2006 MVP Justin Morneau has been about as fearsome as a Keenan Cahill video.
Of course, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, which is why the Twins will always be happy to destroy the White Sox.
Unfortunately, that won’t be enough for the Twins to make any noise in the AL Central. I know the Mike Francescas and Harold Reynolds of the world still have faith, but those people are stupid. The Twins are done.
I can only hope the same is true for Bachmann and the tepid taxpayers of her dejected state.
Hate me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
the Yankees for the best record in baseball. Can we reasonably say at
this point that the Twins are the best run team in baseball?
All biases aside, Rob, to say the Twins “beat up” the AL Central sorta glides over the fact that, outside of the White Sox, the Twins really had no competition going into the season to begin with; that the White Sox totally derailed (twice!) only made the Twins look more dominant.
But I understand your want, your desire, your dream to cast the Twins in a plushy role like that of the highfalutin, media-darling Yankees. Well, brother, dream on… ‘cuz, reasonably speaking, the Twins ain’t the Yankees.
Nor are they the Rays.
Nor the Phils.
Hell, they’re not even close!
In my opinion (which happens to be right), those three are the best teams in baseball right now. And when you add the qualifier of “best run”, well, sorry. I really can’t look any further than the best teams. Period.
Are the Twins good? Yes. Are they capable of going all the way? Sure. Can I slot them in as the best run team in baseball? No way!
Believe me, I tip my cap to the entire Twins organization. They build from the ground up. They instill in their players the concept of playing the game the right way. They do the little things well and fundamentally, they are as sound as a team can possibly be.
But when the pressure is on, they fail. When they need to win the big game, they don’t. Not yet, at least. And going into a short series with Liriano, Pavano and Duensing isn’t quite as mortifying to the opposition as going in with Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt (lookout!).
To me, being the best run team in baseball would require, at the very least, a track record of winning when it matters the most — a trip to the World Series would be even better. But the Twins haven’t been in that situation since Danny Gladden hit leadoff and Barry Bonds had a normal sized forehead. And despite all the good things the Twins’ brass has done in recent years, can I really celebrate a front office that let Johan Santana go for Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey?!?!?!?
I love me some Joe Mauer and Delmon Young just as much as the next baseball dork, but, let’s be honest with ourselves: they ain’t scarin’ anybody.
Hate me ‘cuz I think the Twins’ are the weakest playoff link, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Chairman Mauer image courtesy of Twinkie Town)
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***Information that pins Mr. Krause as a closet Tea Bagger also welcome (he won’t stop talking about Christine O’Donnell, you know. Just sayin).
With much of the playoff picture slowly coming into focus, we shift our gaze over here at RSBS to other important races still in progress. Of course the political scene commands a fair amount of attention with the crazies trying to “take back” the government. And with Michigan 3-0 on the season and both big state schools beating Notre Dame, I’m loving the college football for the moment.
But what about the race to the bottom? You would think that KC would have the toilet bowl of the AL Central wrapped up in a death grip but Cleveland still has a very real chance at snatching it back. Even more amazingly, two other teams in the AL have less wins than the Royals or Indians.
I guess that’s another one of those great aspects of baseball. Even when it’s over, it’s not quite over. And even though it may not be pretty, it’s usually entertaining. Kind of like these guys:
Guys, the season is starting in a few days and I still haven’t seen an
honest to god prediction out of you yet. What do you think? Is there
anyone who can keep the Yankees from repeating?
We haven’t made any predictions yet? Oh yeah, I guess predicting that the Detroit Tigers will suck this year isn’t really a prediction, it’s just a known fact. Considering that it is that time of year when everyone is making some sort of bold statement as to who is gonna win and who isn’t, I think you’re right, Lee. It is time for RSBS to jump into the prognostication pool (that sounds like something one would find in Vegas) and so we do as only we at RSBS (I, Jeff, not Al ‘cuz he’s a slacker) know how.
(subliminal messages start now)
Compared to its AL counterpart, this division isn’t quite the sexy beast it used to be. The team to beat is the Phillies; and while the Mets look to give a better effort than last year if healthy while the Braves and Marlins lurk behind with plenty of potential, I still don’t see how the Phillies can lose this division. Oh wait. Yes I can; his name is Brad Lidge.
Yet I think the Phils still win it. Ya can’t get much worse than Lidge was last year and they still won the league.
Come now, is there really any competition here? Yeah, sure the Brewers can bop with the best of them but have you seen their pitching staff? Exactly. The sCrUBS? Er…. no. The Astros? Stop playin’. The Pirates? The Pirates!?!? Ha! The only team in this division who might give the Cardinals a run is the Cincinnati Reds, and for that to happen Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto have to both deliver the goods like seasoned professionals (they’re not) and Aaron Harang would have to keep his ERA under 10 (he won’t)… not to mention the fact that Dusty Baker would have to not destroy someone’s arm (he will).
Cardinals. No question.
Hmm. This is an interesting division. My heart says San Fransisco but my heart also says I should be able to drink a fifth of scotch and still be able to dance the merengue with some amount of poise. In other words, my heart is a goddamn liar. There are too many question marks in the Dodgers young pitching staff that I can’t put my money on them. So I turn towards the Rockies — a team with balance, a team with Tulo, a team with purple pinstripes.
San Francisco joins as the Wild Card.
Yankees, Red Sox, Yankees, Red Sox… bla bla bla. Not this year, folks. Yankees, Rays, Yankees, Rays… and Brian Matusz. The Yankees are the best in baseball. Hard to argue against that. The 2010 Red Sox are not the Red Sox we’re used to seeing. They made a major mistake by not bringing back Jason Bay and they’re gonna suffer for it. The Rays… this is the year for them. It’s now or never. And just for fun, let it be known that Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles is one hell of a pitching phenom and a reason to tune into their games every once in a while.
Yankees win without even trying.
Rays take the Wild Card.
With so much money going towards roster scrubs and the recently anointed singles-machine, Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers of 2010 will look more like the Tigers of 2003. Okay, maybe not that bad, but still, they ain’t goin’ anywhere. The Twins will be in the race, but I suspect they will be playing a lot of doubleheaders this year due to that new open air stadium; and their team is still built for turf. I don’t see them catching the White Sox, who in my opinion have the best starting five of any other team in the Majors. If Peavy stays healthy and Floyd and Danks kick it up a notch, I don’t see how they could be beat. Keep your eye on Gordon Beckham too. He’s gonna be a superstar.
Like its National League version, this division causes me fits. The Rangers are right on the cusp of doing something great; but then I look at their pitching staff and see a bunch of crooked numbers on the board against them. The A’s? Uh… no offense, but if you rely on Kurt Suzuki to produce all your offense, I cannot take you seriously. The Mariners look like they should be much improved; but I’m not drinking that kool-aid yet ‘cuz as of now, they haven’t done jack. And how can I possibly bet against a proven winner, a team that gets it done year after year after year?
The Angels win the West. Why? ‘Cuz they do everything right.
And they have a rally monkey.
Now when you put all these pretty teams together, choosing one over the other is no easy task. They’re all
yummy winners. They’re all well-proportioned hot. They’re all doable talented.
So what is one to do?
Personally, I like to fantasize about a world where they’re all in the same room, having fun and going at it with uncompromising competitive bite. But understanding how unrealistic that is, I guess I have no choice but to choose one.
And again, my lying, cheating, pipe-dreaming heart tells me that the Cardinals are better than the Yankees. Yet, I’m smart enough to know that saying as much is not only unrealistic, it’s just plain fantasy.
Still, one can dream, right?
Hate me ‘cuz I get ya all flustered, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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(all images scraped from the interwebs)
Before you put all your faith in that pretty little sheep who wants to walk you home, perhaps you should ask for a closer look at its teeth… ‘cuz they might just eat you… as may the fledgling accusations of my vitriolic and oft misguided colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, who yesterday painted me as the type of man who joyously spreads inaccurate information throughout the interwebs, with no regard for reason.
Well, phooey, ‘cuz that’s a load of crap and everyone knows it.
Believe me, I spent almost 15 minutes researching the many reasons why the 2010 Tigers are more than set to stink up the AL Central. If Mr. Krause cannot accept the brutal truth because he is blinded by his unmatched loyalty to the stylized “D”, then that is on him.
But I don’t think it’s fair to twist words and trick the masses as he did with this proclamation which aimed to maim my original point:
“Are the Tigers worse off than the White Sox, Indians, Royals or even the Twins? No.”
Ah ha! Did you catch that? He asked (then answered in the negative) if the Tigers were worse off than all of the other teams in the division. While in actuality, we all know it only takes one or two teams to be better than the Tigers to see their season sunk; and I assure you, dear readers, the White Sox and Twins will both rest well on top of the Tigers this season.
Come on now, Al, did you really think I’d let you get away with that?
Such lame and smile-stamped trickery is reminiscent of one Bill O’Reilly announcing to the world that he is writing a new book on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln — a fresh history book that will take the reader “into Ford’s Theater and into the mind of Lincoln’s assassin, John
Wilkes Booth, and on the manhunt to find and bring to justice the
killer of one our greatest presidents.”
Of course, in the same misleading vein as Mr. Krause above, Mr. O’Reilly fails to remind us that that book has already been written… quite well actually… by James L. Swanson.
I imagine O’Reilly could only muck it up.
Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Just because something gets printed doesn’t mean it’s true. And that’s a good thing, when you stop and think about it. Some of what you come across on the internet is just plain crazy. I’m no fan of Bush but insinuating that he was partially behind the 9/11 attacks? That’s stupid.
However, there are also less bombastic claims that are nevertheless just as ridiculous. For instance, my friend Mr. Lung has explained exactly why it is that the Tigers will fail this upcoming baseball season. And he does make some good points. But making a prediction like that at this point makes no sense. Are the Tigers worse off than the White Sox, Indians, Royals or even the Twins? No. Are they a noticeably better or worse team than the one that went to the World Series in 2006? No. So how do you make a prediction like that?
This whole prognostication business is beyond silly. Watching Mel Kiper play with his big board every year before the NFL draft really only leads to one logical conclusion. With that hair and board, he’s obviously compensating for something else. Listening to Glenn Beck talk about the failure of our monetary system and the need for his listeners and viewers to go out and buy up gold really only leads to one logical conclusion. He obviously is holding a substantial position in the gold market. And hearing Jeff lambaste the Tigers’ chances before training camp has really even started only leads to one logical conclusion. He has no idea what he’s talking about and just wants to start a fight.
So, once again, I am forced to take the high road and refuse to yield to his illogical intimations. We’ll let this play out the same way it has for more than 100 years: On the field. If the Tigers’ pitchers throw like they did in ’06 and their hitters connect like they used to, we’ll do well. If not, Jeff will claim he knew it all along. That’s the beauty of making nonsensical predictions. 50% of the time you’re right all of the time.
Like the other day when I got mixed up in a drinking contest with two Irishmen and a professional female bodybuilder from Greece when I should’ve been at home paying my bills. I paid for it. Literally and figuratively.
Or like our president, who, under pressure, danced off to Europe championing an Olympic bid that was as busted as Octo Mom’s fallopian tubes (fellow Chicagoans, we know we couldn’t have pulled it off) while he should’ve been here dealing with the health care
debate war. Chicago lost. And we US Americans are nowhere even close to having a functional proposal on the table.
And now, instead of watching a one-game playoff between the equally doomed Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins tonight at the Metrodome, we have to wait until Brett Favre makes his highly touted debut against his former team.
Well, okay, so not all interruptions are created equally (y’feel me, Kanye?).
Personally, I welcome this NFL intrusion because, let’s face it: neither the Twins nor the Tigers are going to make much of an impact in the playoffs (believe that!) anyway; and, more importantly, nothing brings me more satisfaction than knowing my misanthropic and oft blasphemous colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, has one more idle day of sweatin’ and shakin’ and spittin’ himself silly knowing that it’s win or go home for his beloved Tigers.
I’m guessing it will be ‘go home’.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m a smarmy callous of a man, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(*Image courtesy of “anonymous” on the interwebs; I just found it on a message board with no source listed though I’m sure one exists somewhere)
At this very moment, as I sit here writing this blog a long, long way from Comerica Park, the Tigers are attempting to sew up the AL Central title. But I’m worried. Very worried. I mean, there are the usual reasons as I explained the other day but this time there’s a much more relevant reason. Comerica Park is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Now, I don’t know that the SI cover jinx applies to ballparks or cities but why would SI even risk it? It’s not as though the Detroit (or the state of Michigan for that matter) has anything else going for it. Yeah, the Lions may have finally won and the University of Michigan has eked out some close victories. But that’s no reason to be going around messing with curses. That’s some potent stuff.
I’m not really a superstitious man. I mean, it’s not my fault that my teams do better when I don’t watch them. That’s just how it is. But the SI cover? That’s fact. Just like the Madden cover is fact for the NFL. I don’t buy all this “regression from the mean,” scientific mumbo-jumbo. I believe what I see and what I see is that Sports Illustrated jinxes people by placing them on the cover.
And when you take all of this to its (il)logical extreme, does this mean that all the people sitting in the stands when the picture of the park was taken are jinxed, too? Thanks a lot, Sports Illustrated. Just what Detroit needs: more bad luck.
I have an idea, though. I’m inviting you, SI, to come visit Detroit with me. I have a beautiful old building with a very special elevator shaft I’d love to show you. Make sure you dress warm.