Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tainted Titles

I was wondering how ESPN would fill 45 minutes of sportscenter now that Brett Favre, at the moment, is not coming back.

Well, that didn't take long.

And honestly, was anyone really surprised? David Ortiz was nothing in Minnesota and then became Big Papi overnight in Boston. And the last couple of seasons his numbers had significantly dropped.

As a Yankees' fan, I'm very much relieved. Finally the Red Sox have been spotted under the steroid cloud. And it's hard to find two bigger stars.

When the Yankees blew the 3-0 2004 ALCS, I felt like my dog had got hit by a car. Now, it's like I woke up from a horrible dream.

Manny and Papi were the faces of the Red Sox resurgence. They were the cornerstones of the franchise. They were the biggest names in Boston this past decade. 100 years from now, when someone looks back at how the Red Sox reversed the cursed, the first two people they'll see are Manny and Papi.

So are Boston's 2 World Series' tainted? Yeah, they are.

This was the best 1-2 punch in all of sports. They were lethal together. With Bonds and A-Rod, it was about homerun records, neither of them had won a World Series. With Roger Clemens, it was a pitcher, someone who only played every 5th day. And Clemens was juicing at the end of his career. Manny and Ortiz were in their prime.

Ortiz single handily brought Boston back from the dead in the '04 ALCS. Remember those walk off homeruns? Well now we know he had a lot of help, and so did the guy batting in front of him.

Why am I so relieved? Because as a Yankees' fan I've been tormented the last couple of years about my team-"Jeter and the cheaters." The Red Sox had flown under the roid radar and were presumably clean. But come on! Remember this team was a bunch of self proclaimed idiots. Well now they're really looking like idiots. If Manny and Ortiz were juicing, what's not to make you think that whole team wasn't. Their entire lineup was having career years-Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek. And now don't you think Varitek had a roid rage moment back in '04 when he attacked A-Rod, ala Clemens/Piazza?

Are the Yankees' titles tainted? Well first we have to determine exactly when the steroid era began. It could have been back in the late '80's with the "Bash Bothers" winning with Oakland. Roger Clemens won two rings with the Yankees, in '99 and 2000. You can very much argue that Clemens was nearly as instrumental in those Yankees' titles as Manny and Ortiz were to Boston's.

When asked about Ortiz testing positive, Alex Rodriguez said,

"He's my friend and I care for David.

I have nothing else to say about it."

When A-Rod was busted last spring, well, we've heard what Ortiz had to say about baseball and steroids.

From 1997-2002 with the Twins, Ortiz hit 58 homeruns in 1477 at bats. A homerun every 25 at bats.

From 2003-2007 with the Red Sox, he hit 208 homeruns in 2738. A homerun every 13 at bats.

We've all heard the phrase, "Cheaters never win." Well, these two guys cheated and they won. They carried that team to their titles. And they were cheating.

There's still nearly 100 more names on the infamous list, but really, how much bigger names can come out. If Albert Pujols or Derek Jeter are named, I might just give up on baseball and feel like a huge part of my life has been stolen from me. That would probably be my worst nightmare.

How do you say Big cheatin liar in spanish?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Best Player of This Decade

As we head toward the All Star break, I got to thinking about some of the greatest players this last decade. Sure, that thought matters about as much as what Ocho Cinco is tweeting right now-who cares. But you have to give some players the benefit of doubt. Right now, Albert Pujols is probably the best hitter not linked to steroids, but to some, even he remains questionable.

Other than Derek Jeter, the best overall player in this last decade who you just cannot imagine being linked to PED's-Ichiro Suzuki.

One note, I am not from Seattle. I am not a Mariners' fan. And I am not Asian.

This past decade, Ichiro's play on the field has been about as consistent as a Cincinnati Bengals' player ending up behind bars.

On and off the field, Ichiro is all business. It's rare to see a player so focused 100% of the time. At the plate, he has incredible bat speed and one of the best eyes in the batter's box. Other than Vladimir Guerrero, he's perhaps the only current player who can hit any ball thrown his way. When he swings at the ball, he's nearly halfway down the first base line, making any ground ball a close play at first, or no play at all.

In the outfield, Ichiro is just as lethal. His career (9+ seasons) fielding percentage is .993. He has 79 assists while committing a total of 18 errors!

Let's compare that to Torii Hunter.
In 13 season's, Hunter has 78 assists, a .992 fielding percentage and 28 errors.
Hunter has also won a Gold Glove ever year since 2001.

Ichiro's nearly impossible to strikeout. In 5,801 career at bats, he has only struck out 555 times. That's less than 10% of the time. Almost equal to the country's unemployment rate.

Since 2001, Ichiro's inaugural season with MLB, he has 1,928 hits. In that time frame, Derek Jeter is next with 1,629.

The stats speak for themselves:

Ichiro is a career .332 hitter.

Not only is the guy reliable, he's also durable, playing in at least 157 games every year.

He's been selected to the All Star Game every year. He was the MVP of the All Star Game in 2007.

He's won a Gold Glove every year.

In 2001, his first season in MLB, are you ready for this?-
Of course he was an All Star and won a Gold Glove
Rookie of the Year
Silver Slugger-Led the AL in batting average at .350
Led the league in stolen bases with 56
Led the league in hits with 242
And was the also the MVP

In 2004, he led the AL in batting average at .372! Nomar Garciaparra also hit .372 in 2000. Other than that, the last player to hit above .372 in the American
League was George Brett hitting .390 in 1980.

In the National League:
2000-Todd Helton-.372
1999-Larry Walker-.379
1997-Tony Gwynn-.372
1994-Tony Gwynn-.394

Yeah, Tony Gwynn was that great!

In 8 full seasons, Ichiro's led the AL in hits 5 times. In 2004, Ichiro broke the all time single season record with 262 hits!, breaking Greorge Sisler's mark of 257 set in 1920.
The most hits Pete Rose had in a single season was 230 in 1973.
Pete Rose played 24 seasons in finished with the all time hit record of 4,256.

After 8 complete seasons in MLB, Ichiro had 1,805 hits. Rose played for 24 seasons. So lets times Ichiro's hits after 8 years by 3 (which would be 24 seasons, I know you see where I'm coming, but I'm just trying to make this as blunt as possible) Ichiro would have 5,415 career hits!

As a lead off hitter!, Ichiro has been intentionally walked 138 times He led the AL in intentional walks with 27 in 2002 and 19 in 2004. His 162 game average for intentional walks is 16. To put that in perspective, Albert Pujols's 162 game average for intentional passes is 23.

He has 333 career stolen bases, been caught stealing 75 times.

2001, his only postseason appearance, all Ichiro did was bat .421.

How has this guy stayed in Seattle this long?! Could you imagine the hype for this guy if he ever went to Boston or New York?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Whoa Now! Let's Not Overdue It.

Boy, a lot of people are really getting caught up on the whole Michael Jackson death.

Even one of the best NBA players of all time.

The greatest moment of Earvin "Magic" Johnson's life was Michael Jackson ordering Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Really Magic?!

It wasn't the birth of one of your children? It wasn't the day you met or married your wife? It wasn't winning a NCAA Championship? It wasn't winning one of your five NBA Titles? It wasn't winning an Olympic Gold Medal? And really, it wasn't Michael giving you the privilege to dress up like a fool in one of his videos.

Honestly Magic, you have a lot to live so many ways.

Hell, I guess some people really are hard to please.

Let's all go out and get some Kentucky Fried Chicken.