Off Cubs Topic- Sports in the Media

Well this is my first blog in a little over a week. I do apologize for the delay of posting but I got back from Chicago last Friday at 3pm and had to go straight to work pretty much. Then work on Saturday, then work Sunday, then first day of class on Monday and then work, and then work Tuesday. I haven’t even unpacked my bags yet. Anyways…on to my blogging.

I’ve been listening to quite a few podcast recently. Including the Dan Patrick Show, The Thundering Herd with Colin Cowherd, ESPN Football Today, Mike and Mike in the Morning, and others. With the the past week not having any major games, they pretty much broke down both the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburg Steelers teams. Not to steal a line from good old Family Guy, but what really grinds my gears is the reaction to Larry Fitzgerald’s great stat lines this postseason.

I’ve heard Fitz is the best reciever in football about 20+ times so far in the past like 4 days. My question is: Where have these “experts” been?

Why does it take a small market team three playoff games to get national attention for Larry Fitzgerald?

Lets break it down….
Fitzy came out of the University of Pittsburg and was drafted 3rd overall by the Cardinals. His rookie year he caught 58 passes for 780 yards and 8 td’s. His sophmore year was his first pro bowl year. He caught over 100 passes for 1,400 yards and 10 td’s. 06′ he missed 3 games and only caught 69 passes and only missed 1,000 yards by 50 yards. 2007 he came back and caught 100 passes for 1,400 yards once again and 10 td’s. And 2008, 96 receptions for 1,400 yards (AGAIN) and 12 touchdowns. Hes only 25 and already has 426 career receptions and nearly 6,000 receiving yards. 

Pretty much, Fitzy is a stud. Was in college and hasn’t stopped. But why does it take 3 playoff games for people to figure it out? The 76 games before that you couldn’t tell? I’m hearing all these talks of Hall of Fame. Hes 25. He still has probably 10 more years to play and improve or get hurt and his career be over. But in 3 games, your talking best wide reciever in the game and already Hall of Fame. I saw no difference in Larry’s game the past 3 games than I have his previous seasons. But the media catches hold of one thing someone does and BAM….they are the biggest thing since sliced bread.

This isn’t just Fitzgerald it happens to. And it’s definatly not just in football. Wait for the San Francisco Giants to get good and make the playoffs. If they ever. But if it’s anytime soon, Tim Lincecum will be like 27 and they will be talking about if hes the greatest pitcher of all time.

Same goes for David Price. Hes was a top prospect and if you were a big fantasy baseball player or just a baseball nerd, you knew who he was. But if you were just the average fan of a team like the Twins or Mets, you probably had no idea who he was until the Rays decided to add him the playoff roster after his September callup. Then you hear Steve Phillips on Baseball Tonight just go off about how good he is going to be and the next thing you know, he has his own segment in E:60, interviews on PTI and Mike and Mike. The list goes on. 

Andre Johnson is another great example. Great player. Amazing player. Pro Bowl numbers. Top wide out numbers. Yet, fans of NFC North teams know nothing of the guy because he plays for the 8-8 Texans who never have a shot at making the playoffs (but I do tihnk they have a shot in 09′) and never get the national attention.   

I just find it very sad and very annoying, that great players on small market teams sometimes don’t get reconized until later in their careers. Sure, Andre and Fitz are still young but they deserve more air time than TO and his off the field shenanigans.

Word to the media. Stop giving the crybabies and the attention gettings like Chad Johnson (Ocho Cinco on his jersey and trash talking about Carson Palmer) and Steve Smith (Punching his teammate and TD celebrations) all the facetime. Don’t forget the other guys who keep their mouths shut and don’t downtalk their teammates, coaches, media, and the fans and play the game. Maybe if they reported on the good guys, the guys who people respect in the locker rooms, and stick up for their teammates, it wouldn’t take the media 79 games to figure out Larry Fitzgerald is one of the games best players.

Until then, can’t wait for the update on on Sportscenter about Terrell Owens’ new VH1 show or Joe Torre’s new book….

Goodbye Mr. Pie

Just this past weekend, the Cubs traded away once top prospects Felix Pie to the Baltimore Orioles. I won’t lie…I’m happy. With Pie out of options, and obviously not ready for being a everyday player, Jim Hendry and Lou Pinella both agreed it was time to cut ties with the youngster. Having Reed Johnson and Fukudome as the starting centerfielders are not the biggest upgrades, but they bring more to the lineup than Pie was able to provide at this time.

With the Cubs dealing Pie, they received from the Orioles 25 year old Garrett Olson. Olson’s name was brought up in December as apart of the possible 3-way deal with the Padres to accquire Jake Peavy. Now a little about this unknown name from the East Coast. Hes started 33 games in his two year major league career. Hes gone 10 and 13 with a 6.87 ERA and his K to walk ratio is horrible (111/90). If he stays with the Cubs, he will need to become a Greg Maddux like pitcher to perform well at Wrigley as his fastball doesn’t even hit 90 mph. But that might not be the real reason hes now a Cub. Two words: Jake Peavy.

Yup, thats what I think. Pie has the tools to become an everyday player and is definatly worth more than Olson who will most likely start the season in the minors if kepted. But the Padres did want Olson, and the Cubs have no use for him. The Cubs better ante up now and pull the trigger on Peavy. I wouldn’t go as far to give last years top pick Josh Vitters. But if the Padres want Sean Marshall along with Olson and another low end prospect, I can’t complain. It’s Jake Peavy people. He makes about 13 million (which is just 3 milliong more a year than Lilly) a year and is under contract until 2013. In the past 5 years, hes had an ERA above 3.00 once and that was in 2006 in his “off year” when he still K’d over 200 batters in 200 innings. Hes a bonafide stud and doesn’t even get paid to be one. Time for the Cubs to step up, with permission from the 3 groups who are on the verge of buying the Cubs, and make the deal.

Opening Day Rotation (Pending Rich Harden not pulling a Mark Prior): Carlos Zambrano, Jake Peavy, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly. Of course, Lou will show respect to Dempter and Lilly and probably more them up in the rotation, but Peavy and Harden are much better. With that being said, it would be the best rotation in baseball hands down.    

On a personally note, I want the Cubs to get Peavy. No question. But if the Padres were to hold on to Peavy, I wouldn’t complain. I live in San Diego and definatly would love to be able to watch a decent pitcher every fifth day instead of Cha Seung Baek and Josh Geer.  

2009 Predictions (Cont.)

Ok I’m back to make my claim for the National League divison winners. By the way, if your trying to figure out how to make comments on my blogs, here is how. At the bottom of every blog, it says comment. Just click and comment away. Now on to my picks!

NL West- The NL West reminds me of the AFC West in football. Bunch of decent to crappy teams, and whoever finishes around .500 will get the playoff nod. I mean, look at it. The Marlins finished 3rd in the East and they would of won the West had they been in there. To make an even better case, the Cardinals finished 4th in the Central and they too would of finished first in the West. As of right now, Manny Ramirez has yet to sign with a team but all signs point to him resigning with the Dodgers as soon as him and Boras come to their senses. Even without Manny, the Dodgers still do pose a great offensive lineups with a bunch of young studs like James Loney (.289, 13 HR, 90  RBI’s,), Matt Kemp (.290, 18 HR, 76 RBI’s and his 35 SB’s), and Andre Ethier (.305, 20 HR, 77 RBI’s). Their offense is set with or without Manny, but the bigger question will remain with their pitching. Outside of Chad Billingsley, they have no great option to go with. Hiroki Kuroda will most likely fill the 2nd spot in the rotation followed by top prospect Clayton Kershaw, who might have a breakout season this year, and injury prone Jason Schmidt. Schmidt by the way has only made 6 starts in his two years as a Dodger. Don’t be fooled, the Diamondbacks are definatly the better team in the divison though. They may not have the pop like the Dodgers, but up and coming young guys like Stephen Drew and Justin Upton only make this team look like they really have this divison held down. Brandon Webb and Dan Haren are one of the best 1 2 pitchers in the league. Along with great starting pitching, their bullpen, which has Chad Qualls slated to be the closer. Tony Pena and Jon Raunch will be in charge of the set up roles and should be tough to get at the Dbacks after the 7th inning. It will definatly be a two team race most of the year while the Padres continue to rebuild and cut back on salary. The Giants on the other hand claim they are trying to get younger, but seem to sign two to three 36+ year old veterans a year to one year contracts. And the Rockies definatly took a hit in their offense with the loss of Matt Holliday. They haven’t done quite enough to prove they are ready to contend again.
Winner: Diamondbacks

NL Central- Lets start with the bad. As in the Pirates and the Reds. The Pirates as usual didn’t add anything to write home about this offseasn. They continue to try to build within their farm. The Reds do look to still be a few years away but have big time young guys who could turn into all stars in the upcoming years. Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, and former top prospect Homer Bailey. The rotation really needs work, and quite honestly….Dusty Baker isn’t the guy for the job. The big moves for the Cards this winter was the trade for Khalil Greene and the rehab of former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter. Word so far is that Carpenter is rehabing to take over the closers role this season. Albert Pujols is still hitting in a lineup that really has no one protecting him in the lineup. Ryan Ludwick will have to fill the stat sheet again this year if he plans to repeat last years numbers. Good luck to him. The Astros have made no big moves to name. None what so ever. Same team will take the field come opening day. And the Brewers only signed former Padre Trevor Hoffman to close for them. But lost Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia. After Gallardo, theres nothing there. Which comes down to my Cubbies. The only additions were Milton Bradley, Joey Gathright, Aaron Miles and Kevin Gregg. No $136 million dollar players there. You really can’t complain if your a Cub fan as no one else in the Central made any strides to make their team better. The Cubs will start opening day favorites to win the NL Central. A full year with Rich Harden a Cub and Carlos Marmol as the closer. Jake Peavy is still available for the Cubs, pending the sale of the Cubs and the Padres. With Z, Dempster, Harden, Lilly and pending a trade Sean Marshall, the Cubs will have one of the best rotations in the Central and arguably the league.
Winner: Cubs

NL East- So I’m going out on a limb here. Most “experts” will probably pick the Mets or the Phillies to win the East. With the way the Mets play in September, they are starting to look like great choke artist. And the Phillies, well they did nothing to impress me. They let go of Pat Burrell and sign Raul Ibanez. WHY? Who knows. But my “wild card” of the East, is going to be the…Atlanta Braves. Yes, they did finish 20 games out of 1st place last season. Yes, they did finish 18 games under .500. Yes, they had one of the worse records on the road last season. But throw all that crap out the window. They will most likely be without ace Tim Hudson for most of the season, but they did try and help the situation by dealing for Javier Vazquez from the White Sox. Jurrjens made great strides in his first full season in the pros. Jo-Jo Reyes will definatly need to improve greatly or his spot in the rotation won’t be there for long. Offensively, they still have one of the best offensive catchers in Brian McCann. Not to mention Chipper Jones who seems to produce every season. Well at least when hes actually on the field. Mike Gonzalez should be the man getting the ball in the 9th for the Braves. He actually had a streak going last season of 183 appearances without blowing a lead both as a setup man and a closer and thats dating back to June of 2004. That’s pretty damn impressive.
Winner: Braves

NL Wild Card- And my wild card winner? Well it should be tight race between the Dodgers, Mets and the Cardinals.s All three could win it. My pick though? The Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes the Mets will once again choke and make the signings of JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez look like a waste. The Dodgers youth already do have the playoff apperance and know what it takes to actually get there. Like I said before, their pitching is still questionable. So Kershaw will need to keep the walks and hits down. He gave up 50 walks and over 100 hits in 100 innings pitched. Scott Elbert will get a shot as well to make it into the rotation. The loss of soon to be HOF Greg Maddux will hurt, but the Dodgers will fight it out and come out as the winner in the end. Better luck next year Mets!
Winner- Dodgers

As for my award winners. I’ll do a few and name the winner from both leagues.

MVP
AL-
Miguel Cabrera- Cabrera’s average, OBP, SLG, and OPS all took a hit when he came over to the AL. But you can’t deny that Miggy is a stud. 5 seasons in a row with 100+ rbi’s and at least 25 HR’s each year. Cabrera should top off at 40 HR this season and around 140 RBI’s. His average should definatly improve after a full season seeing the AL pitchers.
Runner Up: Evan Longoria, Grady Sizemore 
NL- Hanley Ramirez- Ok, he won’t actually win it. But he should and most likely will deserve it. But the voters usually pick players on winning teams. Unless your name is Albert Pujols…your not getting it. His stolen bases did take a dip in 08′ but he should be back on the basepaths this season. He did hit 33 homeruns last year he could possibly reach that 40/40 mark this season. If so, he deserves the award, hands down.
Runner Up: Albert Pujols, David Wright

Cy Young
AL-
CC? No. Lee? No. The 2009 winner……Justin Verlander. Yes I said it. Mr. 17 losses, 4.84 ERA, and 87 walks. I think Verlander can turn it around in 09′ and become, what we all thought he was going to be, one of the best pitchers in the AL. And just for fun, I predict Verlander will be starting for the AL in the ASG.
Runner Up: Scott Kazmir, Francisco Liriano 
NL- Tim Lincecum. Really, what is there to say about this guy? His numbers all say it for themselves. This guy is not going to stop anytime soon. Unless Tommy John comes a calling.
Runner Up: Rich Harden, Jake Peavy

Rookie of the Year
AL
- David Price- Yup. Price should get a spot soon in the rotation and will only prove why he was taken first overall in the draft a few years ago. He has progressed quickly throughout the Rays farm system and was a huge part of the Rays playoff run last season. He will get a full year in 09′ in the majors and will definatly take advantage of it.
Runner Up: Matt Wieters, Travis Snider
NL- Carlos Carrasco- He has an outstanding change to go with decent heat so he could be something as he progreses A live fastball and a change if you can throw them for strikes is a great combination to get you there so you have to keep an eye on him. Should make a splash this season in a very weak Phillies rotation.
Runner Up: Andrew McCutchen, Colby Rasmus

Thats all I got for now. My next blog will be a little something like…”What the F$%K were the Braves thinking signing Lowe to $60 million?” Until next time… 

2009 MLB Predictions

Spring Training isn’t even here. Pitchers and catchers haven’t reported yet. And there are still top named free agents who still haven’t signed. And yet, I’m ready to name my divison winners and award winners. So bare with me as I make a few mid-January predictions that won’t be answered until October. Here we go….

AL West- The West never amazes me. But then again, who does it amaze? Like how to Ranger fans make it through a 162 game season without a breakdown? The Angels are the favorite every season to win the divison. And you really can’t argue it. Best pitching in the divison but they did take a hit losing K-Rod, and without there being another big name bat in the divison (other than newly acquired Matt Holliday) its hard to say another team has a better lineup 1 through 9. Yes the Halos did lose Tex to free agency this offseason, but that lineup was already set before Tex made his way to LA. Brian Fuentes won’t be K-Rod but he definatly will fill the role fine enough. As long as Ervin Santana can keep up the winning on the road, and Escobar can come back in 09′ with a healthy body and keeps the talk of retiring shh, then the Angels will once again clinch the AL West by mid-August.
Winner: Angels

 

AL Central- How do you go from a 95 win team in 06′ to a 88 win team in 07′ and then trade for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis and go on to finish dead last in the divison behind the Royals? Well, the Tigers sure did it. The ChiSox won the divison last season by only one game to the Twins. But I don’t look too much into that. Had the Twins had Francisco Liriano the entire year, you could argue the Twins would of edged out the Sox. I don’t see either team winning the divison this year. While I would love to say the Tigers are going to bounce back out of their funk, I just don’t believe it. My surprise pick: Cleveland Indians. With the addition of Mark DeRosa as their super utility player, and a full season with a healthy Victor Martinez, why couldn’t the Indians surprise us all? Cliff Lee will definatly need to pitch somewhere close to last years Cy Young season. Carmona did come back to earth last year after his great 07′ campaign. It might be close, but I think the Indians will pull it out
Winner: Indians

AL East- Well if you know me, you know who I’m going to pick. It should be an exciting year with the Yankees probably starting the year out slow, maybe losing 15 of their first 25 games. I wouldn’t count it out. I think the Rays and Red Sox will be fighting for the divison crowd for most of the season and then one of them will die out around July-August. I refuse to pick the Yankees to win the divison. I just refuse. Everyone predicts them as World Series winners after huge signings of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeria, and AJ Burnett. Age doesn’t always win it. The Rays have the least of that. With David Price and Wade Davis waiting to get their shot in the rotation, they will have one of the best rotations in the league for years to come. Joe Maddon and company didn’t make many changes to the club in the offseason. They did make one addition for DH as they signed Pat Burrell for 2 years. Evan Longoria should break out this year and might become bigger than his AL East counterpart, Alex Rodriguez. It’s going to happen one of these years. Why not this year? Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, David Price and Wade Davis are the future for the rotation and is better than any rotation the Yankees or Red Sox could buy. Rays will win the divison, but the WC should definatly come out of this divison as well.
Winner: Rays

AL Wild Card- Ok so we have our 3 divison winners. But who will be that lucky 4th team to make it? Plently of teams should have a shot. Red Sox, Yankees being the favorites. But ChiSox, Twins and Tigers all could make some noise for that final spot. Who’s my pick? The Yankees of course. While I’m not overly impressed with their outfield, their infield’s offense is going to be great. Arod and Tex together can only generate good things. And as I said, their pitching was upgraded with CC and Burnett. But you can’t forget Wang and Phil Hughes were injured most of 2008 a Joba Chamerlain will be fighting for a spot this spring. If he does get it, the Yankees will definatly win the WC and without any major injuries, should make some noise in the playoffs.
Winners: Yankees

I’ll post the National League and Award winners in a few days in seperate post. Until then, lets hope Derek Lowe finally realizes that hes not worth 16 million dollars a year. That *******.

First Entry of Hopefully Many

Hey people. I have no idea how long or how often I will actually write in this. But its 2:30 in the morning and I just got off of work and I was in the mood to rant about baseball. It seems I’m more and more in the mood to talk baseball with the current NFL season winding down.

Speaking of football…I’m hapy so far with the remaining teams left. The Cardinals will go next week to Carolina to take on the Panthers. I’m predicting this will be the one and only upset of the week. Kurt Warner is ridiculous and not to mention Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are freakin insane when both healthy and playing. (Boldin is already questionable for the divisonal round game) Either way, I think it will be a high scoring game but the Cards can do it! Cards win 37-31

Other NFC game will be the Giants vs Eagles as the two rivals meet up once again. Ever since the Giants winning it all last year, I’ve jumped off their bandwagon and began to root against them. Eli is an over-confident SOB. He will always be a cry-baby in my eyes from the day he was drafted and had to make sure he got his way and got out of San Diego. Man up Eli. With that being said, the Giants have an amazing backfield with plently of depth. Starting with Brandon Jacobs pounding men down, to Derrick Ward running around players to Ahman Bradshaw small size topped off with great speed. NY obviously has the upperhand and will most likely win with the crowd on their side.

Ravens vs Titans will be on my list of games NOT to watch next week. Pretty much any game with the Ravens or Titans playing in I tend to not watch. Now both teams in the same game….kill me now. I could honestly not care who wins. Either way, neither team is going to the Superbowl. Should be interesting to see how Chris Johnson does far vs the Ravens defense. Joe Flacco….nice job for a rookie….but hes still a rookie. Kerry Collins should keep Ray Lewis and company on their heels for most of the game. Titans win 15-7

Steelers and Chargers. No LT? No problem for the Steelers and their terrible towel waving fans. Darren Sproles is great and all. But he does most of his damage out of the flats on screen passes. And the only reason he gets those is because of what LT brings to the other teams gameplan. Sproles will get no running room vs the best run defense in the league. Which means the game should be put into Philip Rivers hand. If the Super Chargers had a better defense. I’d definatly give them more credit and say it’d atleast be a decent game. But we all remember what an LT-less playoff team is like from last year. Steelers win 27-13

With my football predictions out of the way, on to my baseball thoughts. Which obviously will begin and probably end with the Cubs.

With the new year starting, I was hoping to have heard some more good news out of the Cubs front office with maybe some hintings of finally signing a new right fielder. Wrong. They have pretty quite since Jim Hendry has decided it was best to deal Mark DeRosa for some **** and get rid of some **** (aka Jason Marquis) to make salary room. Now when I heard both of these things happened, I was like…Hey, those two moves really are gunna save us some money. Which they are. Now the Cubs decided to sign Aaron Miles to take over Derosa’s spot as a bench utility player. Unless the Cubs deal for the Padres Jake Peavy, or we sign Adam Dunn, I will see that Derosa deal as a failure.

Currently, Milton Bradley is the favorite to be the Cubs new rightfielder. I will not accept that. The Cubs should use some of those prospects from the Indians to try and grab Peavy from SD. What are the Padres asking for that is so ridiculous for Hendry? Sean Marshall? Felix Pie? Tyler Colvin? Give them away! Pie is out of options and we all know hes not ready to make some sort of positive impact. Marshall is the only player I could see Sweet Lou kinda not want to give away. But its JAKE PEAVY! Hes signed for like 3 more years and is only being paid 13 million dollars. Thats a steal right now in todays market. And thinking of a possible rotation being: Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly….wheres the weakness? Sure its a 5 right handed man rotation, buts the Cubs have never been known to have a good left handed pitcher. Nothing new there.

Lets hope we hear better news in the upcoming days…

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