Dishin’ DiRT

This game was bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!  If you turned this game off when the Warriors were down 20 in the 4th, then shame on you – because we might be watching a season of legendary proportions with this smiling assassin, Steph Curry.  He salsas, he drains threes and each week does something that has us forgetting that basketball was ever played before him – it has, I’m just slathering hyperbole like extra-mayonnaise on a sandwich.  Just think about what we watched for a second last night, with under 6 minutes left, the Pelicans had a 99.8% probability of winning by INPREDICTABLE.

The Pelicans dominated the #1 seed, as if they had switched places for the first 42 minutes.  In the first three quarters, Anthony Davis was 10-17 with 13 rebounds and all night the wings for the Pelicans lived in the paint or had wide open shots – New Orleans made Norris Cole look like an all star last night – it was that kind of domination, for 42 minutes.  This is why the Warriors likely will win the West, there is no substitute for this kind of offensive explosion at any time and cold-blooded-ness.

You must consider the Warriors motivation; instead of giving the game away down 17 early in the 4th – as most coaches would have done – Steve Kerr put Steph Curry back into the game.  Probably because Ryan Anderson hit a few shots and talked trash to the bench.  From then on Draymond Green and the rest of the Warriors grabbed 10 offensive rebounds – Green 4 of them – repeatedly beat the Pelicans to the glass – making up for their poor shooting.  The biggest of the 10 was the last one.  But before that, look at the 3 Steph made to give the Warriors a shot at OT:

In every other instance with how games are ref’d in the NBA, how is that not a foul on Curry?!  That and-1, could have sealed it for the Warriors and no overtime – Curry gets crushed after the shot.  But to back up a bit – how do the Pelicans not foul before Curry shoots the ball – either the one that got them to within two – or the last one BEFORE he gets the ball?  Of course Monty Williams, the Pelicans HC, said he told his players to foul, they just didn’t execute his plan – but let’s be serious – Monty Williams has trouble telling anyone anything – anyone hear if he had a problem with the crowd tonight be too loud and illegal?

What should concern Monty more is, where was Davis in the 4th and especially in OT?  A talented kid like that, has to stop starting strong and tiring late.  If he ever wants to be a serious contender, he’s got to something other than what he has been doing.  Someone like Davis and that skill-set should dominate for all four quarters, not just 3 – remember he had 13 rebounds in 3 qtrs, only got two more the rest of the night.

So what did we learn?  We learned that coming back from 20 is a dubious distinction – no other team can give you that kind of magic, and yet it leaves you wondering how the best team puts itself in that position.  The Warriors have yet to play a full 48 minutes and as the playoffs go on, other teams will not make the same noob mistakes as the Pelicans have.  As a fan though, do we care?


 

On April 12th, this was Yordano Ventura having some words with the Millville Meteor after a line drive single, that Trout later scored on.  Yordano never thanked Catcher Salvador Perez for saving his life, thus keeping his Napoleon complex in tact – because on his next start he started another brawl with the Athletics for throwing at Brett Lawrie.  Ventura was not suspended, only fined, and so was available for his third start last night against the White Sox when he ignited this melee:

Five players were ejected: Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Lorenzo Cain, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija.  I love the spunk Yordano has, but when your first three starts empty the benches, you have to wonder if it’s you – it is.  For the Royals, we get it – no one took you seriously and you’re out to prove last year was no fluke – April hasn’t finished yet and you guys are acting like a bunch of Jersey Shore goomba’s who feel slighted because someone is making fun of your uneven-spray-tan and height – like: what did more damage, SuperStorm Sandy or your fake tan and chlamydia, what, are you still upset your mom had to buy two car seats when she drove you to the store?  If we are going to assign blame, than it goes all the way back to 1973, and the Designated Hitter.  Ventura would have less Macho-Man if he had to swing a bat.  Or maybe it’s revenge for this in 2002, after-all it is the Chicago way.


 

Some strange facts for the 2015 season:

  • It is the first time ever that a team that won the World Series (SF Giants) had a 7 game losing streak in April and the team that lost the World Series (KC Royals) had a 7 game winning streak in April.
  • When the RedSox and the Yankees played a 19 inning game, it was the longest ever for the RedSox – but it was also the first time that a team had won (Yankees) after blowing multiple leads after the 15th inning.
  • Bernie Williams retires today after not playing since 2006 – he never filed the paperwork.  After hearing about that Paul O’Neil also announced his retirement, after not playing since 2001 – same reason.
  • Trevor Bauer (Indians) is the only man in a 100 years to start a season of 9 innings of hitless baseball and not throw a no hitter.
  • Every game Tampa Bay has played this year, the team that scored first, won the game.
  • Last Tuesday the A’s became the first team to win shutouts in 4 of their first 9 games since 1910!  Then on Wednesday, the Tigers became the first team to do it since Tuesday.

 

April 26th, 1995 – was the first official game at Coors Field (’94 strike being the reason for the late start) and was a 14 inning gem that saw the Rockies beat the Mets, 11-9, on Dante Bichette’s game winning HR – starting the magic that would continue that season, earning the first wild-card, post-season berth.  The Rockies would lose to the Braves 3-1 in their first playoff appearance.  But that Opening Day was a long cold one that was phenomenal to witness.  Besides my memories of that game and of that moment, I still have the ticket from that day, signed by Pete Coors – how cool is that.  It is also the moment I asked the man upstairs to make sure that every Opening Day from then on is at least 60 degrees and partly sunny.  That ’95 team was something special – Walker, Gallaraga, Burks, Castilla, Bichette, Leskanic, etc…and that Home Run was the beginning of the Blake Street Bombers – we’ve had other memories since – but this was the beginning of the love affair.  Here’s a look back…

Rub some DiRT on it!

Getting DiRTy

Congratulations to the newest inductees of Major League Baseball’s HOF, ((as diagnosed by the patronizing Baseball Writers of America (BBWA – isn’t baseball just one word – thus making it BWA – Ballers with Attitude)), Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio.  A worthy class and the largest inducted since 1955 and only for the 3rd time ever; and there is no denying the first two on this list, you could argue for many more on the ballot – you have to congratulate them all and say what an accomplishment that the peccary of the BWA got it right two years in a row.

But let us further examine the inequities and the gyrating pantomime of voters – no debate about the Big Unit or Pedro – John Smoltz?  Deserving in my mind and was better than Glavine; you could also say that he was the anchor of that Braves pitching staff – Maddux the surgeon, Smoltzie the General, Glavine the…uh…nice leftie.  He’s in, so congratulations to a staff with more failures than rings – looking at you Wohlers.

The beauty of deliberation is the topic and beef you might have and I do have a slight beef regarding Biggio.  Craig Biggio; a good player, played a long time, but tell me that singular moment that stands out – you have several with Randy, including killing a bird in mid pitch – you have several with Pedro – You have a several with Smoltz – but Bigg’s?  Sure he’s got 3,000+ hits, but it took him 20yrs to get it.  Sure he started off as a catcher and played center-field and played mostly at second, but was he the Astro you feared? – “Hey Bagwell, widen you’re stance!” – Good, but to me, not great.

As an example, let’s look at Bigg’s versus Kent, (all stats from those on the ballot here).  One is being recognized for his longevity, while another is being shunned for his asshole-y-ness.  Bigg’s played 3 more years than Kent, got 2,000 more AB’s and liked the leather more (4 gold gloves).  But Kent was a MVP, has a higher batting average, more HR’s, more RBI, higher slugging%, higher OPS and OPS+ and the same JAWS by position, (combination of career and 7yr peak WAR by position) as Bigg’s, but got 377 fewer votes – (huh?).  Jeff Kent was a better 2nd baseman power-wise and could be one of the better hitting 2nd baseman to ever play – and we are talking about 2nd baseman, the TE of baseball – nice if you got one, great if you got one that scores touchdowns (HR).   In addition, how the hell do 400 “writers” not vote for Trammell, but one dope votes for Darin Erstad – are you kidding me?!!  Is Trammell caught in the Coors Field effect for his era?  Alan Trammell did not play much in the live ball era that Biggio played in; but his WAR is better, his batting average is better, he played the same amount of years, won a title, better defensively, but did play in 500+ fewer games – so again it seems we are rewarding a good player for playing a long time and being reliable.

Is this what we are looking for, reliability?

If you saw any of the ballot-eers play, you come back to who made you cheer and who you saw that was great and when does Biggio ever come to mind.  More fond-examples are; Mike Piazza the greatest hitting catcher ever, Larry Walker was amazing, (when he played, of which was not much)he avg’d 117 games a year Fred McGriff, Carlos Delgado, Gary Sheffield all stand out – (not Darin Erstad, CRIPES), Craig Biggio does not.  Consider that Don Mattingly is no longer on the ballot and neither is two-time MVP Dale Murphy – and both are no longer in the conversation for the Hall?!!  Craig has the numbers, has the longevity and was a good ball-player, I am not taking anything away from him – I would have loved for him to be on my team too – This entire rant is directed at the voters.  Those editors, general assignments writers, and the plethora of people that no longer cover the sport actively are my targets.  Those that have spent DECADES not covering the sport and yet are still card-carrying members, are my targets.

So many other smart, insightful people are not participating in the process, people like; Vin Scully, Jon Miller, or Joe Buck, and that’s only because they aren’t in the twit-fraternity of writers.  Mirthfully, in 1998 there were 473 voters and just last year there was 573 – did we fashion another 100 more writers from Uranus that conveniently spent 10(consecutive)yrs covering baseball – to only have 549 scribes this year take part, and who are the 24 schmo’s that did not vote? – but beyond the idiot-ocracy of the writers – I want to point out their hypocrisy!

They choose numbers as a criteria when it suits them, then they choose subjective criteria to devalue a player whenever it fits-like-a-glove.  Take Pedro Gomez who tweeted that his vote is not journalism, it’s a vote and the reason he left off Piazza and Bagwell is because of the decisions they made – what decisions? What journalism have you done to uncover those decisions? Are you journalistically implying the possible connection to steroids?  Today is not the forum to blather about the role steroids may or may not have played and how we judge it – Today we deliberate about these dramatists who failed in their contributory duties and now elect morality.

I don’t know how steroids or other muscle enhancing drugs help you hit a baseball – you are either born with the hand-eye coordination to hit a round ball with a round bat, or you are not – nor have I seen science validate the corollary on steroids doing just that.  I have read that amphetamines – like speed, or greenies as they were known in the biz – do help and have been a longer, much larger problem in baseball history (Ball Four anyone?)

maybe this is the scariest thing on a diamond; a ‘roided-out-speed-freak who benches 400lbs and runs to first in 3sec?

PED’s are also not singular to baseball.  All major sports have and will continue to have issues, (will it be reported?).  Examine the changes and the challenges sports will have with the growing evolution of human improvement.

However, what is singular to baseball is the size of the brush used by these arrogant pundits, (who never got to sip enough jockstrap tea apparently) to encompass an entire era; too then supplement the “decisions” some of these players made with their own silence, neglecting substantial-journalistic proof.  So, instead justice hides under the umbrella of the fourth-estate to assert cheating, yet have no remorse about voting in a promoted con-artist of the game – his own auto-biography was titled, Me and the Spitter – Does Gaylord Perry (265 losses, 3rd ballot HOFer, seen here getting caught at the 1:05 mark) deserve to be in the HOF more than the scarlet-lettered-greatest-hitting-catcher-of-all-time?  Lord-willing, but maybe I’ll act like a baseball iconoclast and just suspect those numbers were doctored.