Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The DSRL Must Die

I hate advertising. I watch everything on TV with my DVR trailing behind so I can fast forward through commercials. If I catch up, I'll pause or mute it. I think I'm allergic to ads. Stick around here long enough and I might even tell you how to pause two channels at once on your DVR and watch two NFL games airing concurrently on different channels.

As you may or may not have noticed, there are no ads on this blog. That is partially because we would literally make no money off them, and partially because online advertising is an exercise in futility. Think of how much time you spend online, and then think about how many things you've purchased via an online advertisement. You've probably bought plenty of stuff on the interwebs, but chances are you knew where you were going, or got there through Google.

Anyway, when I see terrible advertising, it bothers me even more than most people. The online stream of ESPN radio has some epically awful ads, probably because the companies who can afford legitimate ads buy spots on traditional radio. Also ESPN probably sees the internet feed as a potential second revenue stream and isn't about to give that away for free to the companies paying for regular radio spots. I usually take my earphones out when the commercials come on, but sometimes I get focused on what I'm doing, and one of the awful ads sneaks into my brain. If you listen to ESPN radio online, you'll probably recognize some of the following gems:
  • Matthew McConaughey talking about the "Land Of Lean Beef"

  • A spot that asks "Do you know what the difference between all the millionaires out there and YOU is?" [Hmmm... Hundreds of thousands of dollars?] "They decided they WANTED to become millionaires"

  • "Do you were a career correction, or just some direction?" (in reference to working for the New York City department of corrections). [Just a thought, but if an employer has to advertise their openings in this economy, you probably don't want that job.]

  • Mike Golic talking about Dial for Men ("Maintenance For Your Mansuit") and calling "odor causing bacteria" the "most dangerous player on the field". [Just because you are advertising on sports talk radio doesn't mean everything has to be a fucking sports related analogy]

Now, I don't really like doing this all that much, because it is also related to a certain championship winning New York City athlete, but it is my duty as a the proprietor of a semi-obscenely named sports blog. The Double Stuf [sic] Racing League (NSFW: Obnoxious Music) must be prodded to death with a fireplace stoker in the hottest portion of hell.

I have no problem with Mike & Mike. If you like a show that will put you back to sleep in the morning, give you only the mainstream opinion, and tell you absolutely nothing of import, I highly recommend theirs. But hearing Greeny and Golic talk about having a "lick race" makes Two Girls One Cup seem palatable.

See for yourself.

The worst part is that during the commercial, Greeny says he can beat Golic at a sport. Golic then asks if he's talking about chess or tennis, to which Greeny responds, "No, Golic, a REAL sport".

Yes, these two asshats, who make their living talking about actual fucking sports like football, baseball and basketball sold out so badly, that they are calling two people licking the filling off of a sandwich style chocolate cookie "a REAL sport". Nice work, I hope it wa$ worth it.

What's the fucking end game, guys? Is anyone on earth going to buy a package of Oreos and actually have a race to see who can lick the filling off faster? Oreos are kind of gross to begin with, even when you aren't watching adults eat them like they are six year-olds.

This one is on you, Nabisco. Decisions like these are the reasons our economy is in the shitter. Some retard actually came up with this idea, pitched to some pretty high level executives, and didn't get laughed out of the room? I will never understand this world.

Should Jeter Bat Leadoff?

Who should bat leadoff for the New York Yankees, Johnny Damon or Derek Jeter? Damon has occupied that position most of his Yankee career, while Jeter held the post earlier in his.

His relatively low OBP(.363) notwithstanding last year, Jeter has a higher career OBP than Damon. Wouldn’t it be wise to have the first batter with the higher OBP? You could give the extra AB to the player with the higher chance of extending a late inning rally.

Jeter grounded into 24 double plays last year (and 21 in 2007). Damon, a lefty who gets out of the box quicker, grounded into 4 (and has a career high of 13). Thus, more people will be on base for when the “meat” of the order comes up.

I think the best hitter on the team should bat 3rd. The best hitter on the Yankees is A-Rod. This would leave the lineup as Jeter/Damon/A-Rod/Teixeira. By virtue of this right/left/right/switch staggering, the Yankees are better protected from strategic bullpen management by opposing managers than they would if Jeter batted 2nd.

Below are Jeter’s career stats.

Batting leadoff -- .315/.389/.471 in over 2,100 at bats
Batting 2nd -- .316/.386/.459 in over 5,700 at bats

Per ESPN's splits for last three years (06-08):

Damon leading off an inning .290/.370/.442/.812 in 652 AB
Jeter leading off an inning .352/.402/.515/.920 in 344 AB

Based on these aspects, I think Jeter should lead off. To hell with tradition.

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Whitey Ford (#16)

Whitey Ford grew up in Astoria, Queens and went on to spend his entire 18 year career in Pinstripes. Ford compiled a career record of 236-106 with a ERA of 2.75. Ford's 236 wins for the Bombers ranks as the most ever and his .690 winning percentage is the highest among all pitchers with at least 300 decisions. Ford was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1974 with his friend and teammate, Mickey Mantle.

The “Chairman of the Board” made his major league debut on July 1, 1950 and went on to win his first nine decisions en route to being named the Sporting News Rookie of the Year. In 1951 and 1952, Whitey left the team to serve in the Army during the Korean War and when he returned in 1953 joined a staff of Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, and Eddie Lopat.

Ford became the ace of the staff and in 1955 Ford went on to an 18-7 record while pitching 18 complete games with a 2.63 ERA. However, 1956 was an even better year – he was 19-6 with a 2.01 ERA. Whitey pitched well over 200 innings almost every season and never had an ERA over 3.24. He made the All-Star team eight times and was a six-time World Series Champion.

The Yankees won the pennant 11 times over his career and Ford won a record ten World Series games in addition to holding almost every other World Series pitching record. In Ford’s eight World Series losses, the offense provided an average of just 2.25 runs and were shut out twice.

Whitey was a small guy and didn’t throw the hardest but he controlled games with pin-point accuracy and earned his nickname for his ability to stay calm under pressure. Ford was one of many pitchers of his time to doctor baseballs and, according to Wikipedia, doctored a ball in the 1962 All-Star game to strike out Willie Mays. Ford and Mantle had amassed $800 in greens fees which the owner agreed to cancel if Ford could strike out Mays.

The same year Whitey was inducted into the Hall of Fame, the Yankees retired the number 16, and later dedicated a plaque in Monument Park to him which states Ford was “one of the greatest pitchers ever to step on a mound”.

In addition to being one of the greatest Yankees pitchers ever, he was also one of my father’s favorite Yankees (along with Mantle) and my first baseball glove was a Whitey Ford model given to me by my dad.

One of the highlights of the final game at The Stadium was seeing Ford and Larsen scooping up dirt from the mound.

It would be tough to argue the Yankees ever had a starting pitcher as dominant, especially over such a long career. Though different in every aspect, let’s hope our new, larger lefty can approximate his regular season production, and maybe even win a few World Series games, like Whitey did.

Antonio Margarito: Humble Artisan

Would everyone leave Antonio Margarito alone? The guy had to rush from his second job as a craftsman, putting some finishing touches on a bathroom in Santa Monica, just to get to the Staples Center on Saturday night, which is why he looked so flat. He didn't have time to wash off his hands, which explains the "plaster like substance" found in his wraps.

The substance was found before the fight, so he was re-taped under the supervision of a boxing official. Then, coincidentally, the Tijuana Tornado got his ass handed to him by a 37 year old "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Boxing gloves weigh about 12 oz, and I'm guessing a handful of plaster is going to increase that pretty significantly.

The real loser of that fight was Miguel Cotto, who beat Mosely in November 2007, but lost his WBO Welterweight title to Margarito in July.

That was Cotto's first career loss, and it looks a whole lot different after the revelation that Margarito was cheating. You might doubt whether Margarito used the plaster in his 11th round defeat of Cotto, but ask yourself this: Why would you win the Welterweight title and THEN start cheating?

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Dwight Gooden (#16)

When Doc Gooden played for the Yankees, he wore #11 in 1996 & 1997, and #17 when he returned in 2000. Obviously, he would have liked to wear #16, which he adorned while with the Mets, but it had already been retired in honor of Whitey Ford, who Cliff will pay tribute to later today.

Gooden burst on to the scene as a 19 year old in 1984, after destroying the Carolina League and leading the 1983 Lynchburg Mets to a 96-43 record, 10.5 games ahead of their next closest competitor. After jumping all the way from from High A-ball to the Big Show, he won the Rookie of the Year, finished second in the Cy Young voting, became the youngest All-Star in the history of the MLB, and struck out all three hitters he faced in the game.

His '85 season made his rookie campaign look pedestrian. Dr. K tossed 276 2/3 innings and the only time he had an ERA of over 2.00 was after his first start of the season. He won pitching's Triple Crown, leading the league in ERA (1.53), wins (24) and strikeouts (268). He threw 16 complete games, including two back to back CG shutouts in September in both of which, he got a no decision. That year the Mets won 98 games, but missed the playoffs.

When the Mets won the World Series in 1986, Gooden threw 250 regular season innings at a 2.84 ERA, won 17 games and made it back to his third All-Star game in three years as a pro. He didn't get the decision in any of the games he started that postseason, but in the NLCS against Houston, Doc went 10 innings and only gave up one run.

In December of that year, Gooden's legal troubles began, when he was arrested after being involved in a "full scale brawl" that took 20 police officers to contain. In Spring Training in 1987, Gooden tested positive for cocaine, agreed to enter a rehab center, and as a result didn't make his first start until June 5th. That didn't stop him from winning 15 games and finishing 5th in the Cy Young Voting.

Still only 23 years old in 1988, Gooden threw 248 more innings of a 3.19 ERA, picked up 18 wins and made another All-Star team. Unfortunately, his 1988 season might best be remembered by the game tying home run he gave up to Mike Scioscia in a game they eventually lost, leveling the NLCS at 2-2, instead of giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.

After missing more than half of the '89 season (but still pitching effectively in his appearances), Gooden had another very solid season in 1990. He struck out 223 in 232 2/3 innings, finished 4th in the Cy Young voting, and even got some acknowledgment in the MVP race. On two terrible Mets teams in 1992 & 1993, Gooden threw over 200 innings to about a 3.50ERA twice, but picked up 10 & 12 wins respectively.

Perhaps it was his problems with substance abuse or the 1172 2/3 innings he threw from the ages of 19-23, but Gooden never regained his dominant form.

After signing with the Yankees in 1996, he threw a no-hitter on May 14th against the Mariners, which was unfortunately the equivalent of sinking a hole-in-one on the way to shooting an 85, and was left off the postseason roster.

He returned to the Yanks in 1997, threw only 108 1/3 innings, but managed to make the postseason roster, where he started Game 4 of the ALDS. Gooden left after 5 2/3 leading 2-1, but Mariano Rivera blew the save in the 8th inning. Despite appearing in 12, Doc never got the decision in a postseason game.

At George Steinbrenner's insistence, Gooden was added to the Yankees in the middle of the 2000 season, but didn't pitch against the Mets in the World Series, thereby summing up the anticlimactic nature of his career. Although he won 91 games by the age of 24, he ended his career with only 194.

Since he retired in 2001, Gooden has had more than his fair share of legal troubles, spending time in jail and rehab for DWI, cocaine use and violating probation. In 2006, he chose to do time as opposed to extending his probation in hopes that being in prison would finally help rid himself of the addictions that dragged down his career.

Gooden's story is simultaneously incredible and terrible. He had an ephemeral, meteoric rise at an impossibly young age. He also had an inescapable and tragic decline far too soon.

We all know people who have tussled with the demons of addiction and substance abuse. Here's to hoping Dr. K can summon "Lord Charles" and strike them out for good.