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…

Balls in the DiRT

No. 715

Hank Aaron

April 8th, 1974

The Hammer! A few times and far less often than we hope, do our heroes maintain themselves thru the stains of time.  Too often, they seem to creatively find ways to shatter those illusions, like a soft-grip of a favorite snow-globe of our youth.  Those delusions are ours and not theirs.  Rare is a hero that sets off on a knight’s quest towards one of baseball’s Holy Grail’s, only to carry with him a quiet dignity of fotitude and stoicism that relies more on substance than of flash – and for that we must always give thanks to Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron.  Give him the unconditional love he deserves.  Remember 715.  Remember a man that did not masquerade or exploit his talents to gain his seat at the table, he earned his place in the Pantheon.  Celebrate The Hammer!

He is a Saint and an example of all that is good within us and what we can achieve by just putting our head down and getting to work – regardless of outside distractions.  It is a shame, that on that night, in the 4th innning, what he felt after hitting Al Downing’s pitch over the left field wall, was not joy at the accomplishment, but relief.  Babe Ruth was larger than life, with larger appetites, and while he was gregarious and still maintains a popular place in the church of baseball – The Hammer was a contrast of muted poise.  Babe Ruth would have embraced it all, the energy, the party; where as Hank – under constant harassment by the media and fans, appeared as concerned with it all as a man does with a child asking for a new balloon.  There were more flamboyant superstars during Aaron’s 21 year career that shined brighter and preferred to hover in the spotlight –  while Hank comfortably went to work in the shadows that they’d cast.  He was just a man, doing his job and wanting to live a normal life, like anyone else.

Here it is, in his own words, from Hank Aaron’s autobiography, “I Had a Hammer” about that night:

When I was alone and the door was shut, I got down on my knees and closed my eyes and thanked God for pulling me through.  At that moment, I knew what the past twenty-five years of my life had been about.  I had done something that nobody else in the world had done, and with it came a feeling that nobody else has ever had – not exactly, anyway.  I didn’t feel a wild sense of joy.  I didn’t feel like celebrating.  But I probably felt closer to God at that moment than at any other in my life.  I felt a deep sense of gratitude and a wonderful surge of liberation all at the same time.  I also felt a stream of tears running down my face.

Aaron retired after the 1976 season with the Brewers and ended with 755 Home-Runs.  He is a sports hero we deserve, and we should remind him how much we appreciate all that he exemplifies, what is good within us.  It isn’t about shouting, asking where your 15 seconds of fame and notoriety are, despite being attached to the digital freeway, looking for instant gratification, and validation.  It’s about grace, quiet dignity, hard work and perseverance – that in time, we too have a shot at being exceptional – it may not mean we will be an all-timer – but it does mean we can walk with our head held high, knowing we gave it all we had – just like the Hammer!



 

Go Home Hostess, you’re drunk!

Baseball is back and this seamhead is pumped – at least for a while.  Meaning the Rockies, of course they are 2-0 and in first place, all by themselves – regardless if we have seen how this story usually ends in June.  It’s just 83 more W’s for my prediction to come true, as I wrote here back in February.  Just remember, Crazy is a term of Art – Insanity is term of Law, and I am still not insane – I have a sticker to prove it.

But what we have decided to do, is provide some help with your Daily Fantasy Baseball needs:  It will not be as full-blown as our NBA coverage until next year, but it will help you get an idea of who to consider – so without further ado….

Consider that 4 players for the Colorado Rockies have a batting average of .500 or better against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta and that Tulo, in 14 plate appearances against Peralta has 3 singles and 4 walks.  The other 4 are Nolan Arenado, Nick Hundley, Justin Morneau and Corey Dickerson.  The issue being for some is the possibility of rest.  No Rest for these guys? Then we could look at a road sweep to start the year before welcoming the National League Champion Cubs (sarcasm) for the Home Opener Friday.

Consider staying away from Pujols and Trout against Iwakura of the Mariners.  In 26 and 27 at-bats, both Trout and Pujols hit below .200.  However, if they can get to him, it is usually for xtra-base-hits.  In Trout’s 5 hits he has 4 singles and 1 HR and Pujols’ 5 hits are for 2 singles and 3 doubles.  What you have to consider, is the price worth the performance?

Consider neither pitcher for the Orioles or the Rays are gonna stop anyone from htting the ball around the yard and consider that Oakland could shell Texas Rangers’ pitcher Ross Detwiler.

Consider Daniel Murphy and his excellent matchup against Jordan Zimmerman.  Murphy is 16 for 50 against Zimmerman with 5 doubles, 3 HR’s and only 2 strikeouts.  Others that have good matchups are both Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton and Christian Yellich against Shelby Miller – both are a combined 6-11 with 2 HR’s, 2 singles and a double.

Consider these guys by position, for your lineup today that have the best matchup and best potential:

1B

Daniel Murphy

Steve Pearce

Jose Abreu

Justin Morneau (if he plays, took a throw to the neck last night)

2B

Robinson Cano

Ian Kinsler

Adam Rosales

3B

Josh Harrison

Chris Johnson

Mike Moustakas

Nolan Arenado (if he plays)

SS

Hanley Ramirez

Juan Uribe

Tulo (if he plays)

C

Salvador Perez

Welington Castillo

Nick Hundley (if he plays)

OF

Lorenzo Cain

Andrew McCutchen

Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton

Desmond Jennings (4HR’s against M.Gonzales but strikes out 19.4% against him)

Shin-soo-choo

Ben Revere

Corey Dickerson

P

Carlos Carrasco

Anibal Sanchez

Brandon McCarthy