You Got Greinked!

This morning I hopped on Twitter just to see what was trending and what was going on. As I was observing the list of topics a name appeared to me on the list that I was very familiar with. Greinke. I don’t know why but I’ve never liked this kid as a ball player. In fantasy seasons past he’s burned me. I think Los Angeles paid way too much for him (He is going to make over 130 million dollars for six years as a Dodger). I think his performance as a ball player isn’t worth anywhere near that. The list of similar pitchers to him on baseball-reference.com has him with the likes of Rick Reed (who?), Juan Guzman (he was a Hall-of-Famer, right?), and Ben Sheets (darling career as a big-leaguer). That list doesn’t compare personalities, or skill, or love for the game. It just compares the numbers. Which is to say that there is an objective data-sheet on what a player has really done. It cuts through the fog of agent boasts, players egos and a public relations team that makes a player better than he real is. Greinke had all the spin going for him in the right direction. But the numbers don’t lie. He’s not that great of a player.

Now what does this have to do with me and why am I writing a piece about a guy in LA who plays baseball for a team I don’t even care for. It’s because Greinke and I have a long history in fantasy baseball. I have done everything I could to keep from having him on my teams, and year after year I get snake-bit. As this season approached I realized I wasn’t going to be able to make my league draft. So I asked a friend to substitute for me so I wouldn’t be stuck with the ESPN autobots drafting ten catchers for me. I even gave clear direction to my friend, “have nothing to do with Zack Greinke, I don’t want him on my team.”

But then I got involved. As the draft was happening I had a few minutes to hop online and check the progress of my replacement drafter. He was doing very well for me. As our pick neared in the sixth round (pick number 52 but it was my 8th player) Greinke was still available. He had dropped from his projections quite a bit and was ripe for the picking. So I thought about it, the clock ticked down, my friend asked the question, and I pressed the button to put the one player I didn’t want on my team. I take full responsibility for my actions.

And then I got burned. Like I expected (but didn’t hope), Greinke got a hot-head last night against the Padres, said something stupid to a player he just beaned, and then ignited a bench-clearing brawl in which he broke his collar-bone and is out with injury for probably two or three months, maybe more. This makes him worthless to my team. And it’s all my fault. Please help me remember next year to have nothing to do with Zack Greinke.

The Midcontinential Wichitawesomes Weekly Box Score:

In better news the MCWAS (Midcontinential Wichitawesomes) improved their ranking over last week. Here’s my stat line and ranking through Thursday, April 11th.

Batters Pitchers
Stat R RBI HR SB AVE K W SV ERA WHIP
Line 72 20 66 8 .2757 79 6 4 4.111 1.284
Points 8 8 7.5 6 5 6.5 7 1.5 6 6

I picked up a few spots this week and moved from 8th place up to 3rd.

Down the Left Field Line: Opening Week of Baseball Season

There are a couple of congruent sporting events happening in my world this week that is a bit unusual. For one the city I live in is in an uproar about their college basketball team, namely because they’ve made it to the Final Four. Good deal for a Missouri Valley Conference team. We’re going to watch Wichita St. on Saturday night with some friends and neighbors and see if they can’t make it to the championship game. That’d be fun. The second, and more near to my heart, event of the week was of course Opening Day and the opening series for all of Major League Baseball. Some will call me a traitor and a bandwagoner for abandoning the Cubs to trade in the for the Giants but I want to at least justify myself here. First, I haven’t sold out the Cubs completely (and this will label me a “fair-weather fan”), however, I like to enjoy baseball season past the month of April into the summer and frankly, I’m not sure the Cubs have the horsepower this year to be anywhere else but in the basement. I’m keeping my eye on the team as usual but I’m not investing my heart in them like I usually do. The ghost of Bartman still haunts me in my sleep at nights.

My rising affections for the Giants is more an affection for NorCal and my friends there. Yes, I would heckle and criticize them during the Bonds era, but the recent World Champion iterations of the Giants are plain fun to watch. They play the game well from pitching to hitting to defense, and they are a cast of characters worth watching. Add to it that both the radio and television broadcasters are the best in the business right now makes it a completely enjoyable experience. Except there is one problem…

The games on the West coast start at 9pm here. What that means is that I have a hard time making it through the full game to the end. By the fourth or fifth inning my eyes are heavy and I am about to fall asleep. John Miller’s radio voice is very soothing and I don’t think he helps my cause. Nevertheless it’s baseball season and while it’s only the first week, I’m glad for the ride that’s ahead.

Baseball books I’ve read this winter:

  • The Natural, Bernard Malmud - forget most everything you know about the Robert Redford film. The story of this book is much more complex, much more interesting, much darker than the Roy Hobbs story of Hollywood. That also makes it much better.
  • The Bullpen Gospels, Dirk Hayhurst - This book was fun to read, purely from the baseball-jock stories of minor leaguers that ran through it. But don’t let the baseball front page be the only thing you see here, there was a strong message of where identity is found. I’m going to have to read Hayhurst’s other books to see where this journey takes him, but the minor-league bounce-around was good reading.
  • Baseball Prospectus - this is an annual guide to the season ahead with projections on all the players and teams. I read it just to envision the season ahead. It has some really witty lines. Baseball geeks eat this stuff up, and now you know where I fall.

The Midcontinential Wichitawesomes Weekly Boxscore:

I play rotisserie (fantasy) baseball and we’ve had almost a full weeks worth of baseball: here’s my stat line and ranking through Thursday, April 4th.

Batters Pitchers
Category R RBI HR SB AVE K W SV ERA WHIP
Stats 19 5 17 0 .2242 34 3 2 2.204 1.10
Rank 5 5.5 4 1.5 3 5 7.5 4.5 7 7

Overall I’m 8th in the league of ten with a total score of 50 points.

A Personal (Baseball) Rant

Media_httpjohnmarkhic_gqilm

Game 5 of the NLCS was last night.  For those who live around here it was a big deal.  But I have to confess, I'm tired of the moping, agonizing, whining Giants fans that act like their grandmother just died.  Let's rehearse the facts here.  Not less than two years ago these same fans were complaining "Lincecum, Cain and pray for rain" as the team motto.  The Giants were not great, and the fans knew it.  Last year was a bit of a resurgence for them but again they knew they were still a few pieces short.  Now this year they are one game within going to their third World Series in the last 20 years and they still mope and whine.  The Giants lost last night.  Big deal.  They are still up 3-2 in the series and they have won in Philly before.  In fact they won't even face Philly's best pitcher in game six. 

However here is where I take sides against the Giants.  Until you have suffered through 102 years without a championship and 65 years without even a trip to the World Series you cannot complain.  You can gripe if the Giants lose game seven against Philly.  But until a black cat crosses the path of your All-Star, (should be) Hall of Fame third baseman and entire dugout and then the series goes to crap right after that you cannot complain. Until the best team in baseball blows the NCLS against the lowly Padres in '84 you cannot mope.  Until you are 4 outs away from your first World Series in over 50 years and a strangely dressed man named Bartman reaches out and grabs all your hope away from you while your All-Star left fielder goes to make a play, you cannot gripe.

If I remember the statements of most of you at the beginning of the season you didn't even think you belonged in the post season this year.  Your GM didn't make the right moves, didn't spend the money, didn't get the big bat... The Cubs however were supposed to be in your shoes right now.  Cubs fans suffered. 

Giants fans are turning out to be big babies... not die hard, rugged, long-suffering, always-hopeful-yet-realistic-fans that the Cubs are.  Let me remind you.  You've been to the World Series in 1989 (when I was 11), 2002 (when I was 24) and probably again in 2010 (32 now)... Do the math.  That's at least two times in the last 15 years, probably 3.  Again, I've never seen the Cubs in the Series. 

So I will not be turn-coating any more to cheer for the Giants.  As fans you have had your shot to inspire me.  I have enough whinning of my own to do with the Cubs, I don't need your pathetic excuses for more. 

A Resolved, Frustrated, Resilient Cubs Fan Forever.

Odd Things in Baseball

Media_httpdyimgcomaps_nwics

Mat Latos, pitcher from the San Diego Padres, ended up on the 15 day disabled list for an interesting injury. 

 
MLB.com reports that Latos suffered a strain on his left side.  The strain came when Latos tried to hold back a sneeze.  
 
Note to self: No holding back sneezes.  They will end up with you being injured, or possibly worse!