Monday, November 30, 2009

Grady Sizemore-Cleveland Pinup (Viewer Discretion Advised)

For legal reasons, this is probably not safe for work, so please wait until you're on lunch or off for the day before you read today's post.

In a story that broke on Deadspin, semi-nude pictures of Cleveland centerfielder Grady Sizemore have been stolen from his computer and posted on the internet. Allegedly, they were meant for one of his many (ex) girlfriends, but now they are up on the internet for all to see. Some of the pictures show Grady in his Steve-from-Blues-Clues-skivvies, some crotch grabs that would make Michael Jackson jealous, and some other pix that look good enough to be Facebook photos, such as this one:

But there is one incriminating photo, and that is the moneyshot.

There is also a second incriminating photo where Grady has one of his exes' Playboy spread's propped up on the mirror and he looks like he might be jerking off to it, but that image is most unsuitable for a PG-13 site like this and would for sure get you guys fired.

In light of this rather embarrassing moment where Grady was caught with his pants down (pun semi-intended, though he is not to be outdone by Pittsburgh Steelers WR Santonio Holmes and dickhead kicker Jeff Reed, both of whom took moneyshots for ladies), my favorite spoof site "The Dugout" took the opportunity to poke fun of Grady for his incredible physique, misfortune to be stuck with a crappy team, and lack of foresight.

The Dugout: Sizemore Matters



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Create the Caption

"Balki never did quite understand the nuances of American sports."

Read 'em & Weep:
*Rumors & Rants tells of Notre Dame's woes.

*Thunder Treats has story on Shaq doing his best Santa Claus impersonation.

*Bootlegger Sports suggests Arizona fans may be gay.

*No Guts, No Glory has a queer-eye inspired picture of college QB Jimmy Clausen.

*We Should Be GMs does not like the signing of utility infielder Juan Castro.

Glee- Don't Stop Believing

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Dugout Gives Thanks

Since I've been out all day, I thought I'd bring back another episode of "The Dugout" for my weekly post. Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and didn't get into too many fights at the stores on Black Friday.

The Dugout Gives Thanks


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a day of gluttony, and for that I am thankful. Go stuff yourself on turkey, candied yams, and pumpkin pie. And if you're vegetarian, enjoy your tofu turkey you commie bastard! Take the day to spend time with family and friends, while catching that much needed afternoon siesta you've been meaning to take. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

*Charlie Manuel turkey photoshop courtesy of WSBGMs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New/Old Mets Jerseys

The New York Mets announced they'll be putting a new spin on a retro jersey (circa 1969) for the 2010 season.
“The design combines new and old elements of Mets uniforms. The Mets created the retro uniform following research and positive responses to the jerseys the 1969 World Champion Mets wore during their 40th anniversary celebration in August. The natural color and pinstripes were staples of the original Mets uniform when the team debuted in 1962. The Mets will also continue to wear their white uniform at home with the black jerseys as an alternate.”

Yeah, a new jersey is going to save this team...sure. Muck the Fets!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Writer's Take Note Again...AL MVP

After reading my post on why Zack Greinke should win the AL Cy Young Award, the baseball writers association responded Zack Greinke the 2009 AL Cy Young Award Winner. It is for this reason that I have to wholeheartedly believe that once again the writer's referred to my post on September 22 before they cast their votes for AL MVP. After reading, they promptly voted the Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer American League MVP for 2009, and they did so by awarding him 27 of 28 first place votes.

Do I honestly think my previous posts had anything to do with the voting? No. Do I think Mauer was the most deserving MVP of the American League in 2009...absolutely. A case could be made for several players including those who received votes (Cabrerra, Teixeira, Jeter, etc) but in my eyes, Mauer was the Most Valuable to his team. Any doubt about that statement was erased as we watched Mauer hit .378 from September 13 through the end of the season and carry the Twins to the postseason, after they lost Justin Morneau to injury in the middle of the pennant race with only a few weeks to play.

Its easy to see that Mauer had a historic season, but just how historic was it? Think about this, in the history of the game, there have only been 4 players who have produced a stat line like Mauer did in 2009. Mauer joined former Yankees Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, and Mickey Mantle as the only players have seasons where they hit .365 or better, hit 25 or more home runs, and drove in 90+ runs. What do those four have in common other than they were all Yankees? They are all also enshrined in Cooperstown in the Baseball Hall of Fame. That speaks volumes for the talent that the Twins catcher possesses.

Mauer's 2009 resume included a league leading .365 batting average (his third batting title in 4 years), a league leading OBP of .444, and a league leading Slugging % of .587, becoming the last player to lead his league in all three categories since George Brett of the Kansas City Royals in 1980, along with 28 homers and 96 RBIs. He was also voted to his third All-Star game and won his second straight Gold Glove Award. Mauer becomes just the 10th catcher in the history of the award (1931) to take home the MVP and at 26 he just may actually get better. That's Scary!

Sometimes the writer's look too much at a teams post season success when they place their votes and often World Series rings equal MVP votes, this time however, the writers got it Right.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baseball's Most Bad Ass (and Sadly Obscure) Names

Baseball is dominated by players whose names will forever conjure images of dynamism and might. The players are iconic, so much so that there is no question who is meant by Mantle, DiMaggio, Ruth, Aaron, Ryan, and Berra. However, there is a class of men who posses names that simply sound cool. Had these players been the masters of the game, they would be the ones whose names would be so masculine and awesome, that even uttering the name would impregnate women.

10. Vic Powers - He comes closest to the idea of a bad ass name for an excellent athlete. A 7-time Gold Glove recipient and 6-time All Star, Powers closed his 12 season career with 1716 hits, 658 rbi, 126 home runs, and a batting average of .284. Five of those 12 seasons saw a batting average exceeding .300. There is no way to make this name sound any more virile.
9. Charley Radbourn - The only reason he makes the list is because he played so long ago, no one remembers him. Radbourn played at the close of the 19th century for the Providence Grays, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Reds, and the Cincinnati Reds. A Hall of Famer, this old school bad ass earned a career ERA of 2.67, 1830 strikeouts, 1.149 WHIP in 4535.1 innings pitched. What would have made his name even more awesome would be if he had chosen to go by Chuck.
8. Randy Wolf - You cannot go wrong with the last name of Wolf. Feral, musky, and brutish are adjectives that come to mind with the very mention of the word. The player himself is no slouch, Randy Wolf has played 11 seasons, most recently with the Dodgers. He earned an All Star designation in the 2003 season, a feat he has yet to repeat. At 32, he still has time to bring some glory to the name he bears.
7. Scipio Spinks - For those who do not know, the name Scipio is an ancient and prominent name made famous by a Roman general who crushed the barbarian Hannibal and his army so soundly that the Romans gave him the title 'Africanus' - as in "Congratulations, Scipio, you conquered the largest military force in Africa." Unfortunately, for the player, Spinks dominated nothing. A pitcher for Houston and St. Louis in the late '60s and early '70s, he only saw action in 201 innings.
6. Thorny Hawkes - This name has everything, a 'don't-mess-with-me' first name, and a ferocious bird of prey as a surname. Despite formidable nomenclature, Hawkes only spent two years in the majors 1879 and 1884. It is a shame he didn't make it; like Mantle and Ruth his last name is unique in the majors.
5. Dick Braggins - Richard Realfe Braggins played four games in the spring of 1901. No reason to gloat there Dick, your name could have been among the Pantheon of greats such as Dick Pound, or Dick Army (neither one ball players, but they make effective use of the name Dick). Part porn star with a dash of athletic swagger, what a huge missed opportunity there.
4. Bill Steele - Heavy metal is one way to go when creating the toughest sounding names. The rhyming factor is a risk, but it works in this case. His name could be a command, or a state of mind. It is enigmatic. Unfortunately Steele was a mediocre pitcher for the Cardinals back in the 1910s, and this fierce denomination has slipped into unfortunate obscurity.
3. Jack Daniels - Need I say more? Daniels played one season for the Boston Braves in 1952.
2. Razor Shines - Indeed it does, sir, and with fatal precision. This name has everything. The threat of violence, a sharp and deadly weapon, and a boast on its reflective capabilities. One imagines the blade coming down in quick succession over the lifeless corpse of an unfortunate pitcher. The only thing that would have made this name any cooler would be if his last name was Blade. Razor is his given name, not a name given to him by his teammates. Shines hit a dismal .185 in four seasons with the Expos.

And the Number One Most Bad Ass Baseball Name of All Time?

1. Urban Shocker - This mother makes residents of entire cities douse their drawers in abject terror. He sounds like he should be one of those assault vehicles used for knocking down pesky buildings. Shocker played 13 seasons from 1916 to 1928. Twice considered for MVP status, he had a decent career with a 3.17 era, 983 strikeouts, and a 1.255 whip. Still, had he been Hall of Fame worthy, surely everyone would know and acknowledge the ultimate manliness of the great Urban Shocker.

Alas, with each of these great names, they will continue to exist in a state of indistinctness, to be pulled out and examined on the rarest of occasions instead of being revered for the eminence and acclaim they deserve.

Kid Rock ripping off Metallica in American Bad Ass

Saturday, November 21, 2009

That's Strange

Doug and Pat Strange, not brothers, obviously from different mothers. Doug played for many teams over the course of his 9 seasons in the majors (Tigers, Rangers, Mariners, Cubs, Pirates, and Expos). He was a switch hitting utility infielder that played all over the diamond except for pitcher and catcher. He had a career .233 batting average in 707 games. Pat was at one time a hyped prospect in the Mets organization, but his career never materialized in the majors, as he only spent a small portion of time in the bigs during the 2002 and 2003 seasons compiling a 6.35 ERA in 11 games.

National Pastime:
*Bootlegger Sports thinks anti-feminism is always to blame.

*We Should Be GMs wonders if Barack Obama is a Phillies fan.

*Rumors & Rants has story on New Jersey Nets get all historical.

*No Guts, No Glory previews your NFL game of the week- Chargers vs. Broncos.

*Kranepool Society welcomes back Wally.

*Unathletic wonders why the hell do so many 3-point shooters in the NBA have difficulty making free throws.

H2O- Just Like A Prayer
*I dare you to listen to this song and not go ape shit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Burn After Watching

Every now and then, we as writers come across something that nothing quite prepares us for. Take this nausea-inducing kiddie baseball video

The fine folks at Deadspin where I found this video suggest checking your water supply for drugs after watching. I would also add that perhaps burning your hard drive to completely cleanse it from this monstrosity wouldn't be a bad idea as well.

Speaking of drugs and burning things, our favorite stoner, Timmy Lincecum has won his second straight Cy Young.

In spite of his rather mediocre numbers (Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals had more wins and a lower ERA than this hobo lookalike ), Marilyn Manson-lookalike fans, the CEO of Dinty Moore, as well as all the bugs living in his hair, rejoiced at the news. You can read all about it here.
Somewhere, Cheech and Chong are burning with jealousy.

Yeah, even young'uns like me know who those two stoners are. You'd have to be a cave-dweller in, like, Tajikistan not to know who Cheech and Chong are.
Speaking of notorious stoners, anyone seen Ricky Williams lately? Marijuana gives you WIIIIIINNGS!!
Have a nice weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Top 5 baseball video games of all time

Everyone remembers sitting at home around the 20" boob tube and playing their favorite video games on a Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, NES, XBOX or whatever. Throughout the years the video production teams have come up with some amazing and classic video games depicting baseball at its best. Here is a top 5 countdown of best baseball video games of all time:

#5 Baseball Stars (1989)

Baseball Stars was one of the first sports games to have data memory, therefore players could create a team, configure baseball league & play a season, and the game's memory chip stored cumulative statistics. Baseball Stars was also the first sports game for the NES to have a create a player feature; giving gamers the power to name their players, as well as their teams.Although the game does not use any real Major League Baseball teams, one of the default teams, the American Dreams, included players with names that are based on real (former) baseball players such as "Pete" (Pete Rose), "Hank" (Hank Aaron), "Babe" (Babe Ruth), "Sandie" (Sandy Koufax), "Cy" (Cy Young), "Denny" (Denny McLain), and "Willie" (Willie Mays). In addition, the Japan Robins included a player named "Oh," presumably after Sadaharu Oh of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.The game has a 10-run mercy rule. Thus, if at the end of any inning, one team is up by a total of 10 runs, the game is called in favor of the leading team. In addition to the 10-run mercy rule, there is also a 100-run mercy rule. If at any point in the game one team attains a lead of 100 or more, play is immediately stopped and a winner is declared, even though the inning is not over. For example, if the visiting team scores 100 runs in the top of the first inning, the visiting team will be declared the winner and the home team will not even have the chance to bat. If the game remains tied after 18 innings, the game is over and no winner is declared; all hits and other stats are not saved - as if the game never happened.
Baseball Stars big trump card that sets itself apart from other baseball games is its League Play. In League Play you can be pitted against a set of teams that can be created from scratch or a pre-set number of teams already included in the game. In fact, you can even have friends have their own teams created within the same league and go head-to-head with your own players. Put your girlfriend's name on your best female pitcher and strikeout your friend's ex-roommate.

#4 Backyard Baseball (Gamecube 2003)

The trademark of the Backyard series has always been the cute, cartoony kids with their individual personalities and the accessible gameplay for all ages. Basic rules of the game are present, but are usually modified into a simplistic approach for kids, even with the many options and different difficulty levels available. The same approach has been applied here, with baseball rules based on MLB rules, but modified for easier play. The graphics have been changed to 3D, though, which changes the appearance of the characters slightly upon beginning, kids can choose to play either a pickup game, season play or the home run derby. Pickup games consist of single games that can either be started immediately, or allows players to choose team lineups, team names, difficulty levels, batting order, etc. Pickup games allow one- or two-player modes. Season play basically takes the team through an entire season, keeping up with scores and stats. The home run derby is all about seeing who is the best power hitter around. Who doesnt love the times when you can go into the backyard and play baseball with your friends for hours.

#3 Bases Loaded II: Second Season (Nintendo 1990)

Like its predecessor, Bases Loaded II offers both a single-game mode and a single- player "pennant race" mode. In the "pennant race", a player must first achieve at least a 75-55 record during the regular season, then win a best-of-7 "World Series" against L.A. or N.Y. depending whether you have chosen a team from the Eastern or Western league respectively.

Though some characteristics remained the same between Bases Loaded and Bases Loaded II (e.g. the same fictitious 12-team league returns in this game, with new players. It is worth noting that all of the players on the Washington, D.C. team are named after famous politicians, while all of Los Angeles's players take their names from Hollywood luminaries. In addition, one of Hawaii's pitchers is named Ho.), there are several noteworthy changes. One new feature was the "biorhythm" concept; players in the game had "biorhythms" that could be monitored to ensure optimal performance. Bases Loaded II had a little faster play action then the original game, and the point of view once a ball was hit into play was also different. In Bases Loaded the view was from behind home plate, whereas in Bases Loaded II the view was either from the first-base line if the home team was at bat, or from the third-base line if the visiting team was at bat.

#2 Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (Super Nintendo 1994)

The game has a Major League Baseball license but not a Major League Baseball Players Association license, meaning that the game has real stadiums and real teams, but not real players. The imaginary players have the same statistics as their real-world counterparts, and the game comes with a name-changing feature that allows players to change the athletes' names."Imaginary" players in the game are themed with their teammates. Some of the themes include:

-The Philadelphia Phillies feature a Rocky homage in R. Balboa (Darren Daulton) and A. Creed (Dave Hollins). They also have a Philadelphia landmark (L. Bell) and some of the musicians produced by Phil Spector (D. Love, B. Medley), as well as Spector, himself (John Kruk).
-The Los Angeles Dodgers are based on punk rock pioneers from Los Angeles and other areas around California including (Exene Cervenka, John Doe and DJ Bonebrake of X, Poison Ivy and Lux Interior of The Cramps, Jello Biafra and Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedys, and Lee Ving of Fear).
-The Boston Red Sox contain members from the show Cheers. Cliff Claven, Norm Peterson, and Sam Malone are all present. Also included are Boston landmarks (B. Common, M. Harvard) and figures from early American history (J. Adams, J. Hancock, A. Hamilton).
The only actual baseball player is (obviously) Ken Griffey, Jr., although the New York Yankees have several player names that are references to past Yankee superstars. Griffey's name is hardwired into the programming and is the only one that cannot be changed.

#1 RBI Baseball (Nintendo 1988)

The game contained 8 teams listed only by city name: Boston, California, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota, New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco; their real-life, MLB counterparts were the playoff teams in the 1986 (Boston, California, Houston, New York) and 1987 (Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis, San Francisco) MLB seasons. The game also boasted two All-Star teams, American League and National League; the two featured established veterans such as George Brett, Dale Murphy and Andre Dawson—none of whom appeared on the other eight teams—and up-and-coming players like Mark McGwire, Andrés Galarraga and José Canseco.Each player has different capabilities in the game; hitters vary in ability to make solid contact, to hit the ball with power, and their base running speed. Vince Coleman is the fastest player in the game; it is very difficult to catch him stealing second base. Pitchers vary in pitching speed, and the amount by which the player can steer the ball left and right during its flight. Pitchers also have varying stamina; as a pitcher gets tired, the ball slows down and is harder to steer. Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens are by far two of the best pitchers in the game. There is no evidence that fielding abilities correspond to individual players.

Baseball By The Book

Tales of intrigue, subterfuge, and outright corruption are not readily associated with baseball. However, in detailing three critical years in baseball's history, Michael Shapiro deftly illustrates the undermining of baseball's future by a handful of greedy and short-sighted individuals. In his book, Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball From Itself, Shapiro describes how two iconic individuals took completely different paths in an attempt to preserve baseball's status of America's Pastime.

The book focuses specifically on the years 1958 through 1960, when several key events had rocked the baseball world from its complacency: the movement of the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers to the West Coast (which, was prompted by the Boston Braves' successful move to Milwaukee), rapidly growing cities began calling for major league teams, and Congress was threatening to pull baseball's coveted antitrust exemption in order to force baseball to expand. At the same time, in the well established baseball city of New York, attendance and excitement for the sport was flagging as the Yankees continued their dominance of the American League.

In steps two iconic figures, both with fundamentally different views on how the game could be changed to inspire Americans to return once again to the stands: the legendary Branch Rickey, and the fiery and feisty Casey Stengel. Rickey believes that the creation of a third major league is the remedy to baseball's many ills, and thus begins his quest to create the Continental League. Stengel, on the other hand woos the press for better or worse by keeping the fans and the players guessing at the starting lineup and pitching rotation.

This is a highly informative book that covers much of baseball's history within the context of these three years, touching, for example, on Ban Johnson's creation of the first 'outlaw' American League, and the brief existence of the Federal League. Shapiro cleverly inserts the creation of the American Football League who took a page from Rickey's playbook and created for football the very success and changes that Rickey had hoped would come to baseball. Some may criticize the book for not going into enough detail about these topics, but as they are peripheral to the story, Shapiro's coverage is more than adequate.

Another strength of this book is the colorful portrayals of the men involved in the many stories that unfold throughout the book. Shapiro's extensive research (including many one-on-one interviews with surviving participants), allows the reader insight into men such as Walter O'Malley, Dan Topping, Del Webb, "Big Ed" Johnson, Bob Howsam, and Bill Shea. Also captured is the excitement and tension of the three World Series contests that occurred during this time period. I am impressed with all the fascinating information and anecdotes woven within this immensely enjoyable read.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bottom of the Ninth. It will be a book I will return to many times and find something different each time. My only criticism is that there are places where the flow of the narrative is disjointed. Otherwise, it is a well crafted chapter of baseball's history that reads more like a mystery novel. I highly recommend this book for those short, gloomy off season days when you need a baseball fix.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Greinke Tops the List

MLB just announced its winner for the 2009 A.L. Cy Young Award given to the league's best pitcher, and the winner is...Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals.

The 26 year old right-hander became the third Royal Pitcher to take home the honor. The others were Bret Saberhagen in '85 and '89 and David Cone in '94. The most amazing statistic might not be Greinke's outstanding, MLB leading 2.16 ERA, his 242 strikeouts, his 29 consecutive innings pitched without an earned run to start the season, or his 6-1 record with a 1.75 ERA over is last 11 starts. The most amazing statistic of Zack Greinke's season is the fact that he certainly pitched well enough to win more than the 16 W's that he recorded.

Had Greinke pitched for almost any other team in the majors, he probably would have won at least 20 games. Think about this...his bullpen blew four leads after he left games in line for the win. In the 17 starts in which he either took the loss or received a no-decision, the Royals scored a total of 37 runs. This includes only 15 runs TOTAL in his 8 losses.

Greinke was so dominant that although he only won 16 games (he is only the second starter in AL history to win the Cy Young Award with only 16 victories, David Cone won his in '94 with 16 wins and that was the strike year), he received 25 or 28 possible first place votes and finished with 134 points.

Others receiving votes were Seattle's Felix Hernandez (2 first place votes 80 points), Justin Verlander, Detroit, (1 first place vote, 14 points), CC Sabathia, New York Yankees (13 points), Roy Halladay, Toronto (11 points). Hernandez and Verlander both won 19 games, and Verlander led the Major League with 269 strikeouts. Sabathia won a world series and Halladay was arguably more dominating throughout the first half of the season than any other pitcher in the game. In the end there was one factor that made Zack Greinke the 2009 AL Cy Young Award recipient. This separated Greinke from the rest of the field.

Countdown to Christmas: #37 Casey Stengel

As Christmas grows near I decided to do a countdown to Christmas with great baseball players of present and past coinciding with the days left til Christmas.

He led the New York Yankees to ten American League pennants and seven World Series championships between 1949 and 1960, working with such superstars as Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Roger Maris. Stengel started the Yankees' "instructional school," a training camp that soon came to be emulated by other major league teams. At age 72, two years after the Yankees let him go, he took on the management of the newly created New York Mets. Although the team won only 194 games and lost 452 during Stengel's four years as manager. He retired at age 75 after he suffered a broken hip. The Baseball Writers Association of America voted to waive the five-year waiting period and named Stengel to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Some famous quotes from Stengel include:
"Most games are lost, not won."
"It's wonderful to meet so many friends that I didn't used to like."
"Without losers, where would the winners be?"
"Most ball games are lost, not won."
"Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story."
"There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them."
"All right everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height."

Monday, November 16, 2009

You look like an ***

While much in the baseball world is not going on until around 1:30 I decided to post look-a-likes. Many people in baseball look like other sports people or other celebrities, or animals (in A-Rod's case). Take a look below and feel free to mention other look-a-likes.

Sammy Sosa and dude from white chicks

Geoff Jenkins and Brett Favre

Jim Tracy and David Letterman

John Kruk and Chris Farley

Frank Thomas and Gary Coleman

Keith Hernandez and Rafael Palmeiro

Peter Gammons and Andrew Jackson

Greg Maddox and Matthew Broderick

Alex Rodriguez and A Donkey