Friday, June 08, 2007

Baseball Quarterly Report

Ooops... it seems like we are past the ¼ mark of the season and we’re late with the baseball quarterly report… .Sorry folks.. moving has a tendency to delay blogging, and these columns don't write themseslves! We will soon have Part II of the TV Quarterly Report… plus we’re behind on the Movie Club reviews… a new one is coming soon, and next week on this very blog we will have the world premiere of “The Ballad of Melanie McGuire” c 2007.

Before we get to today's topic.. I see that there is word that Isiah Washington has been canned from "Grey's Anatomy" because of gay slurs he tossed at a castmate. Washington can thank Al Sharpton for ABC's decision, after Sharpton demanded that Imus be fired for his nappy headed ho comment during the Imus fundraiser for kids with cancer. Imagine that.. taking money from Cancer Kids.. yet another example of the evilness of Al Sharpton. How could ABC keep Washington after Imus lost his job? Actually, most normal thinking people wouldn't have an issue if both men had kept their jobs. Also, keep in mind that many gay actors stay in the closet because it adversely affects their ability to get future acting roles, so Washington's "outing" could end up costing his now former co star millions of dollars.

Its been a great week in sports.. Jets coach Eric Mangini was on "The Sopranos" when Tony Soprano ran into him at a local eatery. (Can you imagine if Tony S. was a Met fan and the bullpen was at that restaurant?) Anaheim won the Stanley Cup… although ratings show that nobody was watching it… Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea for the NHL to move their playoff games from ESPN to the hard to find Versus network. Nothing is more exciting than a playoff OT hockey game! Also, the NBA Finals are underway and in Tennis… The French Open Final features Justine Henin Hardin who has paid tribute to the late 3 named Charles Nelson Reilly, by reverting to the more traditional two names of Justine Henin.. Although rumor has it she did so because she and her husband recently split.

As for baseball,. First we’ll take a look at the local teams.. And then we’ll take a look at the national baseball picture…

I must admit I am an odd baseball fan… I have a fantasy team so I root for odd situations to occur.. Yet my team sucks so I don’t pay too much attention to it… I’m a big Met fan.. And I don’t really like the Yankees.. But I don’t hate them as much as I did after the 2000 World Series. Of all the Yankees, the one I dislike the least is probably Alex Rodriguez.. As I have said before he is one Albert Pujols Sr, broken condom away from being the best player in baseball.

I don’t particularly like Barry Bonds. He used steroids before they were banned,… but that gray area is very hard to accept as he approaches the immortal Hank Aaron record of 755 homeruns. Watching A Rod and Bonds has led me to root for an odd combination of events. Imagine if Bonds somehow loses his ability to hit.. Kind of like the washed up player who made the comeback in the movie Mr. 3000, or George Foster when he came to the Mets…… I won’t root for the guy to get injured… but what happens if his 755th homerun comes the same day that A Rod breaks Bonds’ single season record? Wouldn’t it be the perfect punishment to his years of chemical enhancements that he breaks the Aaron record the same day his own record is broken? And which record would get more media attention? A Rod is on the Yankees.. And if Bonds record comes on one of those late night West Coast games in September.. Will anybody actually be awake in the eastern time zone to witness it? And who gets the headlines the next morning if the Bonds home run happens after the newspaper publishing deadlines?

As for the Mets… the hitters are getting bitten by the injury bug.. just as Carlos Delgado starts to wake up from his lengthy slumber.. But thankfully the pitching is really coming together. Even though they lost the 2006 pennant to St. Louis, Games 6 and 7 gave us a hint of the future since the outstanding performances of starters John Maine and Oliver Perez have continued into the 2007 season. The Mets made a couple of steals in the trades to acquire those pitchers.. Perez came over for Xavier Nady after Duaner Sanchez was injured in a taxicab crash in FL. Meanwhile, it was actually the decision to trade Ty Wigginton to Pittsburgh that got the ball rolling for Maine.. The Mets got Kris Benson and his nutty wife who they then sent to Baltimore before the 2006 season for the awful Jorge Julio who has since gone to Arizona to FL and to Colorado in a year and 2 months! Maine was a throw in in the Benson deal with Baltimore, and to top it all off,. Julio started his cross country legacy by being traded to Arizona for…. Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez… And there you have 3 of the Mets five starters!

Has any other first place team ever acquired 3/5 of their rotation with such one sided heists??

Looking back at my preseason predictions, I can see that I was as wrong as usual… Of the 6 contending NL teams I picked for the ‘07 season,… 4 look pretty solid.. I had picked the Phillies to win the division, but now it looks like they might take the wild card while the Mets win the division… a flip flop of my original pick. Then again.. The Phillies really had the Mets number this past week…. The Phillies have been shaky but much improved since their awful start and the Astros have been pretty bad in a very mediocre NL Central Division… The Brewers have been doing quite well with young Prince Fielder anchoring the infield.. Luckily all the other teams in the division have just been so awful that they may have a nice little run. However, I don’t think the Brewers are going to stay on top for much longer and if any other team in the mediocre division can rise to the top.. It really should be Houston since they have the most talent..,… even though the Astros fan may want to brace themselves for Carlos Lee’s annual 2nd half swoon.

Over in the West, my predictions of a 2 team race between LA and Arizona has been somewhat accurate even though San Diego is hanging in there, despite their old rotation. However Jake Peavy has been fantastic and the ageless Greg Maddux rolls on. . They have a great young superstar in Adrian Gonzales, and Trevor Hoffman is solid in the pen as usual.. taking the spotlight from Mariano Rivera after he became the first pitcher in baseball history to nail his 500th save.. But I don’t know long they can play with the big boys in the division. LA just got Jason Schmidt back; he twirled a 6 inning 1 hit masterpiece and that is a solid boost to the rotation.

Looking back at my original playoff predictions.. I probably have 2 of the 4 playoff teams right. NY and LA… although the Phillies and Astros both have a shot. And I seem to be on the money with the St. Louis Cardinals being the disappointment of the season. Not only did they lose most of last years rotation, but their ace Chris Carpenter has been injured and having a pitcher die in a drunk driving accident just a month after their manager was arrested in a very embarrassing DWI has made life very difficult for the defending World Champs.

Over in the AL.. the Red Sox fans are watching me eat my words.. as The Yankees are starting to think about catching Detroit for the Wild Card.. you gotta wonder how far this team will go with that pitching staff. Mike Mussina is a shadow of his former self.. Roger Clemens can’t possibly anchor a staff at his advanced age… and the revolving door of AAA pitchers who have been injured or knocked out early have just worn out an already weak bullpen.. And whatever happened to Mariano Rivera? The other surprise is how the Blue Jays have been such a disappointment… Closer BJ Ryan is out for the year and Gustavo Chacin is injured yet again…. He’s out indefinitely after 5 starts.. He only made 17 last year. The D’Rays and Orioles have been their usual losing selves… although not as bad as seasons past. The March Baseball Preview pegged the O’s bandwagon jumpers as the biggest AL disappointment of ’07.

The Central is as expected the best division in baseball. I picked the Chisox to win it with Cleveland as the Wild Card. As the Twins proved last year, you can’t count any of these teams out the way they tend to run off long winning streaks and I am far from ready to concede Chicago’s chances of making the playoffs. Cleveland has been kicking butt at home.. CC Sabathia has been amazing, and even though Cliff Lee has fallen off a bit as he recovers from injury. Fausto Carmona and Paul Byrd have picked up the slack. The Twins are getting by with young Boof Bonser joining perennial Cy Young winner Johan Santana in the rotation, and the team will only get better once catcher Joe Mauer gets back from the DL where he has been for the last month suffering from bleeding quadriceps. Ooooo.. Sounds icky.

The Angels are the team to beat in the West, as we predicted… The fans in Anaheim are hoping the Angels can be champs now that The Mighty Ducks have won the Stanley Cup! And notice how the Mariners are much improved so far this season?.. They were my pick for AL Surprise Team of 2007.

My 4 AL playoff teams were NY, Chicago, Cleveland and The Angels... It looks like 2 of those are pretty solid and I wouldn't be surprised if either the Chisox or Yankees made it as Wild Cards.. so I may have 3 out of 4 right. My pre-season pick of an Indians - Mets World Series? It still looks quite realistic.. But the Mets better root for the National League to win the All Star Game so Cleveland doesn’t get home field advantage… they have been virtually unbeatable at Jacobs Field… I’d rather see Game 1 of Pedro against CC Sabathia at Shea!

Next week: The World Premiere of "The Ballad of Melanie McGuire"... Wait till you hear how it came out!

Now time for the Clip of the Week,… next Friday is the grand finale of Bob Barker’s 50 year reign on daily TV… Here is a clip from The Price is Right in the early days.. It's incredible how expensive electronics were back then in the pre Best Buy days! In this clip from Dec. 1983, this woman hadn’t grasped the concept of a vcr! And listen out for Bob's sly little 60 Minutes wisecrack.

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