Why Do Certain Major Leaguers Practice Bunting?

Friday, February 27, 2009

I stumbled upon this image of Adam Dunn practicing bunting during spring training and immediately thought to myself, well thats a complete waste of time. In what situation would you actually want your power hitter or one of your best hitters to sacrifice bunt? How many times has Adam Dunn actually bunted in his career? Perhaps practicing making contact and boosting his average above .240 would be of better use?

So I did a quick google search and found this. With two sacrifice bunts in his career and runners on 1st and second Dusty Baker asked Adam Dunn to bunt. He failed twice and was forced to swing away. He returned Dusty's confidence in him by.... blasting a 440+ foot walk off home run.

I'm not anti-small ball by any manner, but why have a massive power hitter that you're never going to ask to bunt even practice it. It's just a waste of time.

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Eric Mangini Does Not Support Our Troops

Trades "Soldier" Kellen Winslow from the Cleveland Browns to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [ESPN]

I was contractually obligated to make that joke.

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The Charge Foul Sucks

Between watching the Michigan Basketball game and highlights of the Cavs Rockets game last night, I've come to the conclusion that I despise the Charge. It's not that I think the rule is a bad one. I don't think an offensive player should be allowed to just plow over a defender to get to the basket. I just hate the fact that it's now a defensive tactic, instead of you know trying to play defense.

Watching last nights game it was blatantly obvious on several possessions that Michigan defenders were simply trying to get in the way of Purdon't players in order to draw a charge. They weren't actually trying to steal the ball or contest a shot, nope they were just standing there hoping that they were graced the whistle in their favor. Then when Sportscenter aired they showed the greatest Charge Jackass of them all Shane Battier. Last night he drew two separate charges on Lebron James. Each time he was a bit overzealous with the maginitude of the fall. It's lame and it pissed me off.

What would you do if someone in your pick up game tried to draw a charge? Would you hope he gets run over so you could make fun of him, call a foul on him and not help him off the floor? That's what I would do.

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PhotoHunt: Jason Giambi's New Hat

It's PhotoHunt Time. Take a look at the pictures and see if you can figure where the 5 differences are. Click on the Image to get a larger view if needed. Then when you are done check out the answers linked below.

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My Jets Wishlist: Jeremy Maclin

When I watched the Alamo Bowl (man I was bored), I immediately threw Jeremy Maclin on my Jets Wish List. Unfortunately, all the mock drafts out there and all the projections had him going well before the Jets 17th pick, so I kind of gave up hope a bit. But his stock has dropped some thanks to his combine numbers slipping lower than expected while others like Darius Heyward-Bey sped by. In fact I even can find mock drafts where Maclin slips to the Jets. And to that I say hooray.

Why do I want Maclin? Because he's exactly what the Jets need. A wide receiver with speed and size that can stretch the field vertically. A player that has the potential to score on every play. Currently, the Jets biggest play maker currently is Leon Washington and he isn't even on the field the majority of the plays considering he's a 3rd down back.

To top it off, the combination of Maclin and Leon Washington on punt returns and kick off returns would be devistating. Maclin was arguably the best kickoff returner in College last year and Washington has arguably been the best kickoff returner in the NFL the past two seasons. Opponents would either need to decide to pooch or take the massive gamble that Maclin or Washington bust the return.

Simply put, Maclin is #1 on my wish list this offseason.

Alamo Bowl Highlights


Maclin Highlight Reel

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I find this humorous... In Baltimore, Bart Scott's first choice is the Ravens. In New York, he's leaning towards the Jets.... And I guess the National Football Post says the Jets signed him.

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Numbers On Steroids: Reggie Jackson

Numbers on Steroids is a look at baseball players during the 90s to see if anything screams out at you. This week it's throwing a curve ball and looking at All Time Great Yankees. Players that we know did not take steroids to see if this gives a defense to any of the players 'convicted' by Numbers on Steroids.

Mr. October was a pure power hitter who never hit over .300. Kind of sounds like Mark McGwire, let's take a look.

Averages Say: Very Inconsistent down the stretch of his career.

At Bats Per Home Run Says: Hmm... what's with the spike at 39?

Explaining It In 90s Steroid Terms

If you took a look at Reggie's career and wanted to figure out where the oddity is, its in his improvements from age 37 to 39. At age 37 he was pretty much done and by done I mean really done. He hit below .200 and only had 14 home runs. The next two seasons he improved both his home run totals and his averages to the point at 39 when he hit .252 and 27 home runs. The issue with linking it to steroids would be that the numbers still aren't off the charts, and they are still significantly lower than during his prime.

The other oddity is the fact that his career best season happened at age 34. He hit 41 home runs, hit exactly .300 for the only time of his career and finished 2nd in the MVP voting. If that happened during a time of steroids eyeballs would be raised.

The Verdict

Reggie's numbers are very very very inconsistent over the tail end of his career so it would be tough to declare a prolonged usage. With that being said blowing up in one season at the age of 34 would definitely get people to question in todays world.

Career Year at 34? Hmm....

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Fantasy Toss Up: Cameron Maybin vs. Justin Upton

Thursday, February 26, 2009


You're tired of the boring everyday outfielders like Raul Ibanez and Pat the Bat, you want to spice it up in the later rounds with young potential. So who do you go with Justin Upton heading up his sophomore campaign or Cameron Maybin starting up his official rookie season?

The Fantasy Rankings

CBS has Upton at 223 and Maybin at 248.
Yahoo Big Board mentions neither.
ESPN has Upton at 117 and Maybin at 174.

The rankings are all in Upton's favor which is to be expected. Both are terrific prospects and both have been hyped for a long time, but Upton has always been the cream of the crop.

Projections

Justin Upton: .263, 22 HRs, 6 SBs, 79 Rs, 68 RBIs
Cameron Maybin: .276, 16 HRs, 32 SBs, 86 Rs, 58 RBIs

The major difference between the two in the projections is Maybin's assendance to the leadoff role and his spead. These set of projections are the top of the top for Maybin this season, but if he were ever to put these numbers together he would be an absolute steal. As for Upton, the projections are probably fair, but he did have 19 steals one year in the minors so there is hope that he will run more.

Surrounding Lineup

Neither player will have an abundance of studs surrounding them no matter where they hit in the lineup. The Marlins have Hanley Ramirez and then everyone else. Sure Dan Uggla has pop, but he's still not a great hitter. The Diamondbacks have Mike Cameron light in Chris B. Young, a mid-tier first baseman in Conor Jackson, high flyin Eric Byrnes, etc. Essentially they have a bunch of slop.

Question Marks

Being that these two players are both 21 years old, there's a ton of questionmarks. First are they overhyped? Second, with no MLB track record are you going to end up paying for mediocre stats. Cameron Maybin could potentially be awful in spring training and not even make the roster. Basically drafting a 21 year old is as risky as you're going to get in a draft.

The Verdict

The Verdict is highly dependent on spring training and their spot in the lineup. If you're draft is right now than you have to go with Upton on the basis that he has a secured spot in the lineup even though he is likely to bat at the tail end. Come the end of March if Maybin is slotted as the Marlins lead off go than I think you have to go with him. The Diamondbacks do not have a Hanley Ramirez on their roster, so the prospect of Maybin hitting in front of Ramirez is an option not on the table for Upton. Finally, batting leadoff would give Maybin the green light on the basepaths. If you can get double digit homers, 30+ steals and around 90 runs than you essentially have Shane Victorino from the past two years, which is a solid thing to have as your 4th or 5th outfielder as can be seen by my trophy collection.

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World Baseball Classic Player to Watch: Yu Darvish

Three years ago Daisuke Matsuzaka, the best Japanese Pitcher, helped lead their National Team to the World Baseball Classic and took home the MVP award. The following offseason he made a boat load of cash for both himself and Nippon. In 2009 Yu Darvish is now the best Japanese Pitcher, and with a similar performance as Daisuke in 2006, he just might make even more money. Why? Because he just might be better.

Darvish, a 6-5 fireballing righty, has posted a sub 1.90 ERA in each of the past two seasons. Dice-K's career best in his eight years in the Japanese League was 2.13. In addition he's younger now than Dice-K was in 2006.

If you're craving watching someone you've never seen before than Darvish is your man. He just might be the best baseball player in the world not currently playing in Major League Baseball

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Nothing Says Party Quite Like Cristiano Ronaldo's Testicle

I'm not quite sure I get the loose ball out of the shorts part of this float. [Via Deadspin]

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PhotoHunt: Griffey Is Back

It's PhotoHunt Time. Take a look at the pictures and see if you can figure where the 5 differences are. Click on the Image to get a larger view if needed. Then when you are done check out the answers linked below.

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Goodbye Mr. Coles

The collection of Eric Mangini, Chad Pennington, Ben Graham and Laveranues Coles appeared on Sesame Street in December of 2006. After yesterday when the Jets released Coles, all of them are officially out of the Big Apple.

So why the releasing of Coles? Simply put, he's not worth 6 million dollars. He's a solid #2 receiver. He's been a solid tough as nails receiver his entire career, he's just never been a gamebreaker. Right now he essentially does the same things as Jerricho Cotchery, except he's older and was getting paid more. In the right role for the right money I think he could be a very solid edition to an NFL team. The Jets just need a game breaking wideout and not a #2 getting paid #1 money. I wish him well, I enjoyed his toughness, but it's time to move on. It's time to draft Jeremy Maclin (I hope).

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Numbers on Steroids: Yogi Berra

Numbers on Steroids is a look at baseball players during the 90s to see if anything screams out at you. This week it's throwing a curve ball and looking at All Time Great Yankees. Players that we know did not take steroids to see if this gives a defense to any of the players 'convicted' by Numbers on Steroids.

It's time to take a look at the master of the English language, Yogi Berra.

Averages Say: What No Spikes?

At Bats Per Home Run Says: 1954 just a bad year for Yogi?

Explaining It In 90s Steroid Era Terms

Nothing easily screams at you when looking at Yogi's numbers. His averages throughout his career are remarkably consistent. If you took at those numbers you'd almost think he had the same exact season for his entire career. The AB/HR totals you could potentially point to the 1961 totals and throw a quick question at how it dropped so heavily but then if you look at his fielding stats you'll notice that 61 was the first year where he was mostly an outfielder and not a catcher a figure that at age 36 he had to get a boost from avoiding the daily beatings behind the plate.

The Verdict

In no era could you look at these numbers and come to any conclusion of performance enhancers. There are no spikes anywhere in averages, and the AB/HR numbers can in part be contributed to luck and a change in position. In conclusion if Yogi was playing today and he had those numbers, nobody would question him for a second.

Maybe He Takes Performance Enhancers for His Afflack Commercials

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The WBC "Huh You're From Where" Top 5

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The World Baseball Classic starts next week so I perused the rosters and stumbled across a few players who I frankly did not expect. Here's a run down of the top 5 players who caught me off guard as to whom they are playing for.

5. Russell Martin, Canada - I probably should have known he was Canadian, but he looks hispanic, doesn't he? I picture Canadians in the Jason Bay mold, ghastly white.

4. Nick Punto, Italy - I don't think I understand how people are allowed to play for Nations when they definitely have never lived there. Anyway, Punto was born in San Diego to a father who played in the minors.

3. Marco Scutaro, Venezuala - I don't know if I've ever heard Scutaro talk, I think I have after he hit a walk off against Mariano a few years back, but I always thought he was Italian or Italian American. Now he's playing for the Venezualan Team? Who knew?

2. The Hairston Brothers, Mexico - The Hairston brothers are 3rd generation Major Leaguers. Their father played for the White Sox for most of his career and their grandfather played in the Negro Leagues and for one season for the White Sox. So is their mother Mexican? Their father did play 3 years in the Mexican league, perhaps they were just born in Mexico?

1. Bruce Chen, Panama - With a name like Chen, your first guess would probably be China right? Then you'd rattle off all the remaining Asian countries and the USA. How long would it take to get to Panama? The entire list?

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Fantasy Toss Up: Johan Santana vs. Tim Lincecum


You've convinced yourself that you want to be the first guy in your league to draft a pitcher. Your options are Johan Santana or Tim Lincecum. Who do you go with?

The Fantasy Rankings

CBS has Santana at 17 and Lincecum at 18.
Yahoo Big Board has Johan at 18 and Tiny Tim at 19.
ESPN has Johan at 9 and Tim at 12.

There's little doubt that these are the best two available pitchers. Deciding on which one to go with is obviously a much more difficult choice.

Projections

Johan Santana: 3.01 ERA, 18-7, 230 IP, 234 Ks, 1.07 WHIP
Tim Lincecum: 3.02 ERA, 17-9, 240 IP, 272 Ks, 1.19 WHIP

The difference between the two is Johan's advantage in WHIP and Tim's advantage in Ks. Which one do you like better?

Surrounding Lineup

One thing you should never when drafting pitchers is make the decision solely on projected win totals. Johan pitched well enough to win 23 games last year, but he didn't. With that being said, you still have to take in consideration the surrounding lineups a little bit, and the advantage here clearly goes to Johan Santana.

The New York Mets clearyl have a more dynamic lineup with three superstars in Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes. After that there are questionmarks abound, from who will play the corner outfield to whether Carlos Delgado can replicate his 2008 campaign.

The Giants are lacking great players and will have to make due with aging Bengie Molina, Edgar Renteria, Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand supplying the punch to their lineup.

Question Marks

The questionmarks for both players is health and workload. Tiny Tim made a tremendous workload leap last season. Will his small frame hold up again this season? For Johan he seemingly has been healthy and started 33+ games in 6 straight seasons. Will the track record finally break this year?

The Verdict

For this year, I'd still go with Johan Santana and the main reason is safety. If you're drafting either of these players you're going to need to drop at minimum a 2nd round pick. You don't want your 2nd round pick underperforming and there is a legitimate chance that Lincecum can get the same run support that teammate Matt Cain received last year. I know I told you don't pick a player strictly for wins, but when these two are so close in every category something needs to tip the scale. Additionally, Johan also has proven he can start 33 games year after year, Lincecum has one year under his belt and you just don't know if he will be the durable ace quite yet.

You probably won't go wrong with either of these pitchers leading the way, but in my opinion the time to take risks is not the second round, so you have to go with Johan.

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PhotoHunt: Maryland Upset

It's PhotoHunt Time. Take a look at the pictures and see if you can figure where the 5 differences are. Click on the Image to get a larger view if needed. Then when you are done check out the answers linked below.

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The Jets Certainly Wasted That 2nd Round Draft Pick

In 2005 the New York Jets were burned by poor kicking. Doug Brien missed two potential game winning field goals against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs and they went from one game away from the Super Bowl, to a wednesday tee time at the local golf course. So the Jets did what anyone scorned would do, they dumped Brien and drafted a Mike Nugent, a 'Franchise' kicker, in the second round. Well that certainly blew up in their face.

Mike Nugent has officially parted ways with the Jets, and his career with the team was average to below average. In 4 years he made 81.5% of his kicks and was never reliable from deep as he was 3-9 in his career from 50+ yards out. Additionally, his kickoffs lacked depth and he was never really a touchback threat.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Nugent as a Jets fan is Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots drafted Gostkowski only a year later, but in 4th round, and since he's been superior in everyway. He is a constant threat for touchbacks because he has a much stronger leg, and his accuracy over his three year career is better as well (85%). Just one more of the countless things the Patriots have done better than the Jets in the Belicheat era.

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Numbers On Steroids: Mickey Mantle

Numbers on Steroids is a look at baseball players during the 90s to see if anything screams out at you. This week it's throwing a curve ball and looking at All Time Great Yankees. Players that we know did not take steroids to see if this gives a defense to any of the players 'convicted' by Numbers on Steroids.

Time to look at my dad's favorite athlete of all time, Mickey Mantle.

Averages Say: What's with the mysterious dip at 27 and then the uptick?

At Bats Per Home Run Says: That's a mighty jump from 22 to 24

Explaining As If It Was the 90s

If you take a look at the numbers there are two time frames which in the 1990s would be questioned. First would be the incredible leap he took from his first year in the big leagues to his first MVP season in 1956. His batting average jumped 50 points. His slugging percentage jumped 90 points and he hit 15 more homers than his previous high. This wouldn't merrit a conviction nowadays though because the young age he arrived in the big leagues and the entering his prime.

The biggest questionmark would be the return to a God in 1961 after his disappointing, by his standards, 1960 year. In 61 his average jumped 40 points, his slugging percentage jumped 130 points and he hit 14 more homers. Over the next three years his averages pretty much stabilized at very good but never again touched the 61 numbers.

The Verdict

I don't think the Mick would have been convicted with those numbers in the 90s. He destroyed the ball in his early prime and his biggest years came when he was in his 20s. Then in his early to mid 30s his career started to regress. The anomoly really is the dip in 59 and 60.

In reality though, with all the excessive abuse Mickey had in his life, what do you think the chances are that Mickey wouldn't have used roids if he played in the 1990s?

The Mick on Steroids Would Have Been Bonkers

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But What Will Stephon Wear?


The Knicks finally gave Stephon the mercy kill last night; thus allowing him to fly up I-95 all the way to the TD Bank North Garden and throw on Celtic Green. I'm surprised by this decision mostly because how can a man who so passionately loves a number just abandon it. The Celtics have already retired #3 and #33 in Dennis Johnson and Larry Bird, so what will Starbury wear? Hmm... I wonder what he will go with?

His Potential Value to the Celtics?

Maybe His Yearly Salary?

Perhaps The Black Bird?

What About Triple Threes?

What He Would Like to Do to Donny Walsh?

Who Needs Numbers when You Have Your Own Symbol?

And The Odds On Favorite... The Caricature



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Accenture Match Play Bracketology

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's time again to tune up for March Madness by making picks for the Accenture Match Play Tournament.

Much like March Madness you have to go with an underdog somewhere. My underdog is Luke Donald, and I have him taking out both Vajajay Singh and Mickeltits.

On the opposite side of the bracket I'm going with Ryder Cup hero Anthony Kim. Paddy Harrington and Goofy Swing Furyk are also major competitors but I liked the fire in Kim last year and think he makes a move this week.

How long does Tiger make it in his first tournament back? I'm probably an idiot for picking against him, but there has to be at least a little bit of rust right? A little bit? I've got him going down against Mike Weir. And I've got Camillo, who's pretty much fantastico, winning the region.

In the fancy pants bracket with Sergio and Ian Poulter, the winner is going to take the fashion award and the region. Sergio shall be that man and he will breeze throught the rest of the competition cause this isn't a major.

I took Sergio. Why? Because I'm a glutton for punishment.

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Fantasy Toss Up: Clayton Kershaw vs. David Price


Clayton Kershaw and David Price are two young studs expected to make an incredible impact on their respective teams roster. But which one would you rather have on your fantasy team?

The Fantasy Rankings

CBS has Price at 133 and Kershaw at 188.
Yahoo Big Board mentions neither.
ESPN has Kershaw at 198 and Price at 207.

Both pitchers are ranked similarly, a mid to late round high risk / high reward play.

Projections

David Price: 4.90 ERA, 4-5, 79 IP, 59 Ks, 1.49 WHIP
Clayton Kershaw: 4.23 ERA, 6-6, 115 IP, 102 Ks, 1.45 WHIP

The projections are pretty blah for both Kershaw and Price, but especially bleak for Price. I can't say from the stuff that I saw these two pitcher possess last year that either projection is remotely accurate.

Surrounding Lineup

David Price is on the defending AL Champs, but that might be a bit misleading. The Rays bullpen was infused with his presence last year which helped bridge the gap to the end of the game. Without him, the bullpen will be a bit more unreliable. Additionally, the Rays lineup wasn't a dominant offensive squad last year, just a quality one. Adding Pat the Bat will help, but still in the AL East there won;t be much margin for error.

The Dodgers lineup on the other hand is missing a Manny. The fortunes of many a Dodger pitcher will be tied to Scott Boras desire to take a smaller contract than he originally promised Manny. If Manny signs than the Dodgers lineup will be solid throughout. If not, than Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and James Loney better change into their massive RBI shoes.

Question Marks

The biggest questionmarks for both pitchers are workload. How many innings do their franchises plan on letting them throw? If you're drafting a pitcher chances are you want them to get a good workload. The longer they are in the game, the more chance they will have of coming away with a victory and building up strikeout totals. The difference between the two may simply come down to who throws more innings.

The Verdict

The edge for me goes to Kershaw. The reason for the edge are first and foremost workload. Kershaw threw 168+ innings last year between Triple A and the Dodgers. Meanwhile, Price's biggest workload came two years ago when he was a Senior for Vandy and totaled 133+ innings. Additionally Kershaw gets an edge in the competition he's going to face. The NL West will again be poor while the AL East consists of two powerhouses. Finally assuming the Dodgers sign Manny, their lineup will be just as dynamic as the Rays lineup.

Both pitchers could easily be lights out this year and pay off big dividends, but if I'm going to jump at just one of these left handed studs it's gonna be Kershaw.

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UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Predictions

The Champions League round of 16 starts today so let's take a look around and predict the winners.

Internazionale v Manchester United

Two teams that are absolutely dominating their domestic leagues, makes this arguably the biggest matchup of the Round of 16. Inter is 9 points clear of second Juventus while ManU is 7 points clear of second Liverpool both are poised to take their respective crowns. This matchup also pits Jose Mourinho back against Sir Alex in a rematch of the Special 1's Chelsea days when he dominated the Scotsman. I don't expect Inter to go into Old Trafford and come out with a victory so everything rides on their matchup at the San Siro today.

Prediction: Inter with the upset 2-1 on aggregate. 1-0 at San Siro, 1-1 at Old Trafford

Lyon v Barcelona

Barca takes on Lyon in another matchup of squads at the top of the table. The difference is that the French Ligue is weaker than the Spanish and Barca plays at another level which Lyon won't be able to handle.

Prediction: Barca with the easy win 3-1 on aggregate. 1-0 at Stade de Gerland, 2-1 at Camp Nou

Arsenal v AS Roma

In the opposite of the first two matchups, Arsenal and Roma are sputtering domestically and have positioned themselves outside of the mix of the 2010 Champions League. This is where all their eggs are left for their season. The Premiership has dominated this tournament in years past

Prediction: Arsenal with the win 2-1 on aggregate. 1-0 at Emirates, 1-1 at Olimpico

Atlético Madrid v FC Porto

Talk about the luck of the draw. Both of these squads do not have the look of Champions League Trophy holders. Madrid are lucky to have drawn Porto, but it still won't matter. Down go the Spaniards.

Prediction: FC Porto with the win 2-1 on aggregate. 1-0 at Vicente Calderon, 0-2 at Estadio do Dragao

Chelsea v Juventus

Only weeks after sacking their coach, Chelsea now continue the quest to get the one trophy that has slipped through their fingers. The test starts with Juventus who have bounced back from their corruption relegation to make a strong run in the Champions League Group stage. Guus Hiddink is now the man in charge and he will get it done.

Prediction: Chelsea with the win 2-1 on aggregate. 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, 0-1 at Stadio Olimpico di Torino

Villarreal v Panathinaikos

Greek teams don't make it far in the Champions League. The fact that Panathinaikos made it this far is accomplishment enough. Their time will end at the Spanish Feet.

Prediction: Villarreal with the easy win 4-1 on aggregate. 2-0 at Estadio El Madrigal, 2-1 at Athens Olympic Stadium

Real Madrid v Liverpool

Liverpool once looked like they were going to win the Premiership, now they look distantly up the table at ManU. But this is the Champions League, a place Liverpool has played above expectations for years. Real Madrid is a great squad but behind Fernando Torres, Liverpool will squeek it out.

Prediction: Liverpool with the win 3-3 on away goals. 2-2 at Bernabéu, 1-1 at Anfield

Sporting Lisbon v Bayern Munich

Don't mess with the Germans on PKs.

Prediction: Bayern Munich with the win 2-2 on PKs. 1-1 at Jose Alvalade, 1-1 at Allianz-Arena

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PhotoHunt: The Devin Harris Miracle

It's PhotoHunt Time. Take a look at the pictures and see if you can figure where the 5 differences are. Click on the Image to get a larger view if needed. Then when you are done check out the answers linked below.

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Numbers On Steroids: Babe Ruth

Numbers on Steroids is a look at baseball players during the 90s to see if anything screams out at you. This week it's throwing a curve ball and looking at All Time Great Yankees. Players that we know did not take steroids to see if this gives a defense to any of the players 'convicted' by Numbers on Steroids.

It's time to link at the Great Bambino. What would people say about his numbers if they were occurring in todays era?

Averages Say: The 1920 and 1921 seasons really seem to stick out.

At Bats Per Home Run Says: All of a Sudden He Becomes a Masher?

Explaining It In 90s Steroid Terms

Ruth certainly didn't get off to a bang at the start of his career, probably because he was pitching. If Ruth was put in today's terms and someone was trying to pinpoint when he did steroids the answer would be 1920 and 1921. After those years he was pretty consistent until he turned 36 and started the I'm fat, not and good shape, and getting really old stages of his career. In 20 and 21 however Ruth was a god. In both seasons he hit in the .370s, got on base at .500+ clip and slugged outrageously in the .840s.

The Verdict

I don't think Ruth took roids back in the 20s, and I don't think booze and cigarettes are performance enhancers, so he's probably all set. What he proves is that you can be an all time great for most of your career but morph into a god in your prime years. He was the example that drew suspicion away from ARod. What it also shows is that you're probably unlikely to have those god-like years in your late 30s cough Bonds cough.

If Beer Is a Performance Enhancer than I Should At Least Be in the Minors

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ESPN Must Think Tim Redding Has a Magic Arm


If you're a Met fan and you like projections than prepare yourself for a whole lot of Tim Redding. ESPN projects Tim Redding to win 35 games while striking out 427 batters making him the greatest fantasy pitcher of all time. Unfortunately those numbers come with a price, namely 42 losses, a WHIP of 1.91 and an ERA of 6.30.

If you Redding continues his K rate of 2008 (around 2/3 per inning) than the projections say he's going to throw somewhere around 630 innings. That's a lot of Tim Redding.

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So When Exactly Can I Buy Yankee or Mets Tickets

Monday, February 23, 2009

Today we are officially 6 weeks away from the start of the baseball season. I'm obviously geared up to start purchasing some tickets and to figure out when I will be making my first trips to the new NYC ball parks. I continually check both the Mets' and Yankees' Websites to see when I can get my thumbs worked out (aka trying to fight through ticketmaster for single game tickets), and there is no answer. Nope the Yankees and Mets are both still trying to get people to buy ticket packages, each package is a minimum of 11 games and given the fact I live 75 minutes away, I'm certainly not signing up for that.

At this point in time last season I had purchased all the games I was going to throughout the year, 5 Yankees games and 1 trip to the Shea shithole. This year, neither website has even mentioned when single game tickets go on sale and so I wait. I wait eagerly, impatiently and annoyed.

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Fantasy Toss Up: John Lackey vs. Dan Haren


This is my personal biggest toss up of the Fantasy Offseason. I have to keep three starters between Sabathia, Haren and Lackey with CC being a lock. Thus, I have a month to figure out whether I like Haren or Lackey better. You can vote on the sidebar if you want.

The Fantasy Rankings

CBS ranks Dan Haren at 46 and John Lackey at 66.
Yahoo Big Board has Haren On the Bubble and Lackey out of the tournament
ESPN has Haren at 40 and Lackey at 46.

Haren wins in every ranking but only by a little margin.

Projections

Dan Haren: 3.59 ERA, 14-10, 210 IP, 174 Ks, 1.20 WHIP
John Lackey: 3.81 ERA, 11-9, 175 IP, 141 Ks, 1.29 WHIP

The Projections are incredibly in the favor of Haren, but still a little bit blah for both. Lackey's numbers are brought down by the projection that he will only 26 starts in comparison to 32 for Haren.

Surrounding Lineup

The Diamondbacks roster is all about youth and potential. Stephen Drew, Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Conor Jackson will all be relied upon heavily and each will need to to increase their historic numbers if the Diamondbacks want to have a potent lineup.

The Angels roster is seemingly consistent, always good but never a powerhouse. The addition of Bobby Abreu should help their offense as he is an upgrade over the aging Garrett Anderson, but does that make up for Vlad's diminishing performances? Probably not.

Question Marks

Haren's #1 questionmark is his endurance throughout the entire season. Just look at his career splits, he's 100 times better before the All Star Break than after it. Can he break the trend?

Lackey made 32+ starts in five seasons and 27 between Triple A and LAA last season so I don't think his questionmark is health. The biggest issue is his diminishing K rate which is on a 4 season decline while Haren's is on a 4 year up swing.

The Verdict

Right now I'm leaning heavily towards keeping Haren. First off Haren's division and league is littered with worse opponents. His ERA will likely be lower than Lackey's as a result. Lackey's offense should be better than Haren's but picking a pitcher based on projected wins is a crap shoot. Meanwhile, Lackey's diminishing K rate is a major concern and Haren seemingly is much more like to post 200 Ks.

For all these reasons it looks like Dan Haren will be staying on my roster come April 1st.

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2009 Independents Football Schedule (Helmet Style)


I went with Vintage helmets because it added a little twist. Click on the Image for a Full Size Version. If you want the Excel File for whatever reason or have a correction to the schedule, email me at SimonOnSports at gmail dot com.

Check Out the Other Helmet Schedules.

*Update, Download the Entire Helmet Schedule Here

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It's Nice to See Bernie Back

It's been two full years since Brian Cashman did the unthinkable and kicked Bernie Williams to the curb in favor of Dougie Minkowitz. It was a dumb move both in loyalty terms and actually baseball terms. Minkowitz was terrible and useless and that was prior to getting KTFO. Meanwhile Bernie spent his time staying away from the stadium while never officially retiring and toying with his music. Finally Bernie returned last year for the stadium send off and received the loudest of cheers.

This spring the Yankees finally did something right. Bernie Williams is suiting up for team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic but didn't really have a place to train until the Puerto Rican team opens up camp. Instead of letting Bernie train somewhere on his own, Joe Girardi called him up and told him that Yankee camp was open for his usage and that he should come down and take advantage of the facilities. It's understood that the Yankees aren't going to sign him, but it was 100% the right thing to do. Bernie Williams is a class act and one of the greatest Yankees of all time, it's about time they stop treating him like a bag of meat.

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PhotHunt: Alex Ovechkin's Insane Goal

It's PhotoHunt Time. Take a look at the pictures and see if you can figure where the 5 differences are. Click on the Image to get a larger view if needed. Then when you are done check out the answers linked below.

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Numbers on Steroids: Roger Maris

Numbers on Steroids is a look at baseball players during the 90s to see if anything screams out at you. This week it's throwing a curve ball and looking at All Time Great Yankees. Players that we know did not take steroids to see if this gives a defense to any of the players 'convicted' by Numbers on Steroids.

What better Yankee to breach first than Roger Maris, the man that had a 3 year peak and came out of nowhere to knock off Ruth's record.

Averages Say: What's with the Mountain Top?

At Bats Per Home Run Says: To infinity and beyond.

Explaining It In 90s Steroid Terms

If Roger Maris played in the 1990s people would be screaming from the mountain tops accusing him of cheating. The two years of 1960 and 1961 are light years ahead of his other numbers. During his peak in 1961 his slugging percentage was .620 and his At Bats per Home Run dipped below 10.

To throw more fire on the damnation, his final five years starting in 1964, when he was just 30, started a continual downward slope. If these numbers ever aligned with the 2004 start of drug testing he would have already have been convicted by the public of using. Just see Sammy Sosa.

The Verdict

I don't think designer steroids were all the rage in the 1960s, so Maris serves as a key example of a player who can have multiple years which are way out of whack from the norm. Granted many of his seasons post 1961 were plagued by injuries, but still his stats serve as a barometer that you can't fully convict someone just because of his numbers.

Perhaps He Would Have Taken Them If They Were Available in the 60s

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Jason Giambi's New Hat is Fantastic

It fits him well.

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2009 Pac 10 Football Schedule (Helmet Style)

Friday, February 20, 2009


I went with Vintage helmets because it added a little twist. Click on the Image for a Full Size Version. If you want the Excel File for whatever reason or have a correction to the schedule, email me at SimonOnSports at gmail dot com.

Check Out the Other Helmet Schedules.

*Update, Download the Entire Helmet Schedule Here

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The Barry Bonds SAT Analogy Question

The Nuts of Barry Bonds might be subject to view in his trial. This is how I imagine they present the case afterwards.

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PhotoHunt: Shake N' Bake

It's PhotoHunt Time. Take a look at the pictures and see if you can figure where the 5 differences are. Click on the Image to get a larger view if needed. Then when you are done check out the answers linked below.

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Numbers On Steroids: Jason Giambi

Numbers on Steroids is a look at baseball players during the 90s to see if anything screams out at you.

It's Jason Giambi time. He admitted steroid use, so let's try to figure out the effect it may have had on him.

Averages Say: Look at the Balco Climb and the 'Parasite' Dip

At Bats Per Home Run Says: The steady downward slope screams juice.

Explaining It Away

If you want to explain Giambi's number away you'd have to first hit on the idea that he was entering his prime and that he was steadily improving for 4 straight seasons until he blasted off in 2000. The next three seasons he stayed consistent and just had a miserable 2004 season before he bounced back to a certain extent in 05 and 06. The past two seasons have been in decline because well he's getting old now and his body looks like it's falling apart.

The Verdict

Even if we didn't know Giambi took steroids the numbers are a bit suspicious. 6 years of continued improvement isn't really condemning, it's the massive jump in that 2000 season when he was effectively an OPS god. But alas we know that...

He is Steroid Boy

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