Do you believe in the A’s?
Do I believe in the A’s? Do I believe that a team called the A’s plays in Oakland, CA? Yes, I believe that. Do I believe that despite a limited budget and a small market, a team called the A’s not only contended in the early 2000’s but also outperformed most of the American League? Yes, I believe that, too. Do I believe that the 2012 Oakland Athletics, a team currently in 3rd place in its division behind a much improved Angels franchise and a Rangers club that when hitting on all cylinders can torch the rest of baseball, will make the playoffs? Unfortunately I’m going to have go another direction with that one, Rick.
No, in that case I don’t believe in the A’s.
Let’s look at the facts. The A’s pitching staff is 4th overall in ERA, 5th in WHIP and 5th in opponent batting average. Those are all pretty good. But, to win baseball games, you also have to score runs. On that side, the A’s are 28th in runs, 27th in on-base percentage and 25th in slugging. Pitching may win you championships but if you can’t back up that pitching, you’re never going to make it to the championship. Add in that half of the rest of the A’s schedule is made up of the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Angels, the Rangers and the Tigers, well, that doesn’t bode so well. Even the easier part of the schedule involves the Rays, the Orioles and the White Sox. About the only break the A’s get are series against the Mariners, Twins and Royals. That’s not exactly promising.
I like the A’s. I always have. One of the fondest memories of my childhood was seeing the Tony LaRussa managed A’s at Tiger stadium. But this team is light years away from being at the same level as the team that featured Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco and Dennis Eckersley.
So, do I believe in the A’s? I guess on that one, you’d have to consider me an atheist. If they keep winning games, though, check back in and maybe I’ll have gone agnostic.
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Sports Illustrated‘s annual Fortune 50 list of the 50 highest-earning American athletes list is out and Major League Baseball is heavily represented. In fact, 36% of the athletes are baseballers — some better than others (looking at you, Barry Zito). And while I’m sad to see an star like Floyd Mayweather, Jr at the top, one who eschews real glory at the highest level for a comfortable place atop boxing mediocrity, I am glad that baseball players are makin’ that pay-puh. It makes me feel less suicidal when I pay $8 for a 16 oz beer.
Here’s a quick rundown of the highest paid American baseball players and their overall ranking among American athletes in parenthesis.
1. Alex Rodriguez (6)
Too bad for the Yankees A-Rod can’t be young and steroided like the good old days. His health is just going downhill from here.
2. Derek Jeter (9)
He can do no wrong. I would pay this man a bazillion dollars a year if I could. And since Albert left me, I have no problems admitting my 17-year Jeet man-crush.
3. Joe Mauer (12)
Really? 12th highest paid American athlete overall and third highest Major Leaguer? I would feel better about this if he could hit it over the Target Field fence once in a while.
4. Vernon Wells (17)
PSSSHH!!!! I just ruined my keyboard with a mouthful of coffee.
5. C.C. Sabathia (20)
Mo’ money, mo’ foooooooooooooooooood!
6. Mark Teixeira (21)
Nothing says $23 million a year like a YEEE-HAW JAW!
7. Prince Fielder (22)
I have a feeling if I make one more Prince Fielder fat joke then I’m going to be… eaten…
8. Adrian Gonzalez (25)
He may have lost his power stroke, but with $21 million a year I’m sure he’s strokin’ plenty of power.
9. Justin Verlander (28)
A man’s man, I would prefer to see Verlander at the very top of this list, or at the very least, have the opportunity to rifle a fastball at Mayweather’s head.
10. Cliff Lee (29)
Way to go, Phillies. You’re making Clifton Phifer look bad.
11. Ryan Howard (32)
While many of my Cardinal fan brethren choose to hate on Albert, I prefer to hate on Howard, the man who made signing Albert impossible.
12. Roy Halladay (35)
Way to go, Phillies. You bring in the best pitcher in baseball to get you over the hump then s*** the bed three years in a row.
13, 14, 15. Barry Zito, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols (Tied for 36 overall)
One of these things is not like the other…
16. Josh Beckett (44)
Is it me or has he gained like 40 pounds since he was traded to the Red Sox?
17. Jake Peavy (45)
Up until this year, I thought dude was done. Yes, the crow I’ve been eating tastes bad.
18. A.J. Burnett (49)
Huh? How did A.J. get on this list? I’d like to know the same. He should’ve signed two contracts, one for each of his personalities. At least he’s been living up to it ever since his worst day ever.
Hate me ‘cuz I didn’t make the list, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
I want to hate Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Maybe if they played for the Tigers I’d love them but two guys that young, that talented and that successful who aren’t on my team? Honestly, I really want to dislike them.
With Trout it’s a little harder because somehow he comes across as a good guy and great teammate despite only being 20 years old. Harper, it’s a little easier because he’s even younger, bro’ed out and he knows he’s good. That kind of self-assuredness often comes off as cockiness and that makes it easier to hate someone.
Yeah, I really want to hate these guys, especially Harper, and I feel like I made an honest effort at it. Sadly, it kind of went like this:[youtube http://youtu.be/NY4xE9rAY8k]
I can’t help it. I’m hooked.
Any predictions for the All-Star Game?
That’s right. Davey Johnson speaks for me.
In this case, we (Davey and I) are talkin’ about my surly and oft dour colleague, Mr. Allen Krause. Surely these words sting, almost as much as watching Mr. Krause’s beloved Tigers defeat my WORLD CHAMPION ST. LOUIS CARDINALS in their recent 3-game series.
Indeed, Verlander is a beast. But the following inequality is true:
Westbrook + Lohse > Verlander
Unfortunately, the following is also true:
Santiago + Peralta + Jackson + Berry > Marte
I’m sending my representation to handle the press conference:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Apparently, we’ve been going at the problem all wrong. No, I’m not talking about the Tigers’ inability to hit baseballs to the spaces where opposing teams’ fielders are not. I’m talking about the quag… quagmi…. quagmi…. really bad situation that is Afghanistan.
See, while we’ve been pushing education for women, community policing and other counter-insurgency tactics, the guys we’re trying to turn them against do stuff like this. Sure, we do attack with drones and stuff like that but we don’t poison little girls…which would make you think that the rest of the people would run straight into the wide-open arms of Uncle Sam. But, not so much.
However, there may be another option. It turns out that maybe we just need to offer more reward money. I just wish we would have known earlier. We could have stopped up bin Laden’s finances and then just waited until he turned himself in to collect the award.
A few weeks ago, umpire Greg Gibson found himself on the wrong end of the following headline:
Which obviously begs the question, should Gibson now change his name, perhaps considering the following as an option?:
All kidding aside, umpires have a crappy job. Pretty much the only time anyone notices you is when you blow a perfect game or get nailed in the ‘nads by a Strasburg steamer. With the advent of the home run review system, the job got even crappier. As radar guns and pitch monitors get ever better, it’s probably only a matter of time before people start making noise about taking that responsibility away from the umps as well.
Today, though, on the day after Memorial Day, I just want to take a minute to salute the men in blue who put life, limb and the ability to procreate out there on the line everyday. Now, get yourself a pair of glasses, get back out there and try not to give this game away, too.