Posted on: May 4, 2010 8:40 pm

Thank You, Ernie

Ernie Harwell passed away today after a year long battle with cancer.  Ernie was the voice of Tigers baseball.  He was the commentator to my summer and a nighttime companion to my youth.

When I was in 4th grade, I was given an AM radio.  I never listened to much music on it, but I did listen to Tigers games at night.  Huddled under the covers of my bed I would tune the radio to ear the familiar twang of Harwell's voice.

Ernie got as excited for a good play as the fans did. Conversely, don't recall him ever saying anything bad about the home team.  In life, he was the same way.  Always a kind word; never speaking ill of anyone.

Ernie was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor early last summer.  He made a point of attending a Tigers game and speaking to the fans while he was still able.  Ernie thanked the fans for the kindness they had showed him over the years.  The ovation that Harwell received was long and genuine.  I think it even made him a bit uncomfortable.

I was lucky enough to meet Ernie in the 90s.  I babbled something incoherently about my AM radio and listening to him.  I'm certain it was story told by hundreds of other kids, now grown men, over a lifetime.

Thank you, Ernie.  Thank you for a childhood of memories.  Rest in peace.
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 2, 2010 1:06 pm

I'll Take Kardashian and the Points

I love the insanity that is America’s unofficial holiday – Super Bowl Sunday.   The parties, the ads, the hype, and even the game all add up to a great day celebrating a uniquely American tradition.

America has co-opted a fabulous tradition from the British.  The proposition bet.  For those not familiar with the idea of a prop bet, it’s a bet that falls outside the standard confines of winner and/or score.  A prop bet can be on most anything.  In the UK, their bookies are famous for taking bets on nearly anything.

For the Super Bowl, Las Vegas gets in on the act to try and lure more of your dollars.  I love the weirdness and odd social commentary that they generate.  Here are just a few for Super Bowl XLIV.

Will Drew Brees throw for more yards than John Elway did in Super Bowl XXI (304 yards)? Yes or No is even money.
Reggie Bush:  Rushing Yards: Over/Under = 30.  This one might seem straight forward, but it has Admiral Akhbar written all over it.
Largest lead of game? Over/Under = 16.5
Who will score more points: Saints and Colts combined or Lebron and Kobe combined (on Sunday)
How long will it take Carrie Underwood to sing the National Anthem? Over/Under is 1 minute and 42 seconds.
What color will the Gatorade dumped on the winning head coach be? 


Yellow: even money
Clear or water: +150
Green: +250
Orange: +500
Red: +1500
Blue: +1200


How many times will Archie Manning be shown on TV: over/under = 4.5
How many times will Kim Kardasian be shown on TV: over/under = 2.5
How many times will Hurricane Katrina be mentioned: over/under = 3
Will The Who smash a guitar on stage during the halftime show? No = -180 (meaning the chance is 35%)
How many times will Pete Townshend do his famous windmill move? Over/Under = 6

My money is on the Kardashian and yellow Gatorade.  Good luck on all your bets this weekend!

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 1, 2010 4:36 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2010 4:37 pm

Three Strikes and a Ball for a Tuesday

Ball One:  Pitchers and catchers report in 17 days.  Hot damn!

Strike One:  It was announced that Jon Miller of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN and voice of the San Francisco Giants would be inducted into Cooperstown today.  I hear a lot of people on sports talk radio and these interblags rail on Miller.  Those in the Bay area seem to have a different take.  Most people I know there seem to like and admire Miller.  I count myself in the latter category as well.  I think he's an outstanding baseball voice with a wealth of stories.  I think it's a well-deserved selection to the Hall.

Strike Two:  Good god, Dave Dombrowski, PUT DOWN THE CRACKPIPE!  I know things are bad in Detroit, but there is no reason to sign Johnny Damon.  You obstensibly got rid of a first-class outfielder to the Yankees for the purposes of trimming payroll.  Now you're going to overpay someone who the Yankees didn't want?  Save the money.  Build from within or sign a kid who can run in the wide open spaces of Comerica Park's centerfield.  A 37 year old Damon is not your answer.

Strike Three:  Joe Mauer just signed a gizillion dollar, 10 year contract with his hometown Twins.  I never thought Mauer would leave Minnesota.  Born and raised there, he's a homegrown boy done good.  In staying put, he's made himself a legend.  I'm happy for the kid.  He deserves it.
Posted on: December 9, 2009 10:49 am
Edited on: December 9, 2009 10:57 am

Thanks, Curtis.

The Detroit Tigers traded the face of their organization to the New York Yankees yesterday. In doing so, they shed the payroll they needed to lose, but lost one of the great men of baseball.

Curtis Granderson was more than a rising star in centerfield.  Granderson was one of the good guys.  Major League Baseball recognized him as the Man of the Year for his work with the GrandKids Foundation.  The foundation’s mission is “to enforce educational initiatives to youth and to help bring the sport of baseball back to the nation's inner cities.”  

In a year where his batting average dropped 20 points, his power increased dramatically.  In the process, Granderson went from being a lead off threat to a solid hitter in the 3rd spot.  Granderson was not without his faults. His strikeouts increased and he flailed against left-handed pitching.

Still, he provided Detroit fans with a stunning glove and command of the spacious Comerica Park center field.  

Detroit did not have much choice but to deal Granderson.  Granderson was scheduled to make over $5 million this year and over $8 million the next. Attendance in a season where the Tigers were contenders until the very end was down significantly.  No one blames the fans.  Unemployment in the state of Michigan exceeds 15%.  Household discretionary spending was at a premium so spending a couple hundred dollars on a trip to Comerica Park was not realistic for many families.

As a Tigers fan, I’m hopeful about the trade.  There seems to be equal amounts of outrage on all sides of this three-way swap.  Yankee fan and D-back fan are thinking they got screwed out of prospects as much as the average Tiger fan is thinking they lost the two of the best players in the franchise.

I have to give Tigers Head Honcho Dave Dombrowski some credit.  He traded for Edwin Jackson who had a career year in Detroit. Dombrowski has had the magic touch most of the time.  This fan will give him the benefit of the doubt while I hope these prospects pan out sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I’ll be rooting for Curtis Granderson’s continued success on and off the field.  Thanks for six great years in MoTown, Curits.

Posted on: April 29, 2009 2:45 pm

Swinging Monkies

Funniest comment from an in-game chat.  Courtesy of my friend, Klatz...

"I would just like the White Sox to swing like blind monkeys with Parkinsons."
Category: Fantasy Baseball
Tags: smack talk
Posted on: April 21, 2009 6:40 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2009 11:49 am

Notes for Games Played 04/20/09

A light Monday to begin Week 3.  I guess the rain didn't help much either.  Here's hoping things look up for the rest of the week.

"Braves C Brian McCann was out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game because of blurred vision. He is to meet with an eye doctor Tuesday." Lasik surgery isn't everything its cracked up to be.  Sometimes it doesn't work well for folks.  The good news for McCann and his owners is that the meeting with the doctor went well.  He was given a contact lens for the eye.  He expects to be in the Braves lineup for Tuesday's game.

In other catcher news, "Pirates C Ryan Doumit (sore right wrist) may miss the series" against the Marlins. DOH!  A CT scan showed a fracture in Doumit's wrist.  Doctors will perform surgery on Thursday to insert pins to accelerate healing.  Doumit will miss 8 to 10 weeks.  Jason Jaramillo is expected to assume catching duties for the Bucs.

"Red OF Jay Bruce missed his third consecutive game with a bruise on his right hand, although he did pinch run in Sunday's game."  Rotowire reports thate Bruce will return on Tuesday.  I am beginning to wonder how the hurt hand will affect his hitting.  For now, I would keep the kid in reserve.




Category: Fantasy Baseball
Tags: game notes
Posted on: April 21, 2009 9:36 am

Notes for Games Played 04/19/09

As Week 2 draws to a close, you should be getting an idea of your team’s strengths and weaknesses.  Before you trade Jimmy Rollins or Tim Lincecum, remember there is a reason you took these guys early.  Keep your studs.  Play them.

“Detroit had 12 hits Sunday and has at least eight hits in all 12 games this season.”   The Tigers are swinging the bat like analysts had expected them to do last year.  When role players like Ramon Santiago are hitting .500, you know you’re going good.

“Dr. Lewis Yocum will review the results of the tests on RF Xavier Nady's injured right elbow Monday before deciding what to do. Yocum performed reconstructive surgery on Nady's elbow in September 2001.”  Nady has had two MRIs on this elbow since the injury.  Now he’s seeing his equivalent of Dr. James Andrews. This doesn’t look good for Nady.  If providence should shine upon Nady’s elbow, his hitting will likely be affected.  Time to look for another alternative.

Statistical Porn: “Red Sox SP Jon Lester is 7-0 lifetime against Baltimore.”

“Texas slugger Josh Hamilton struck out seven times in the three-game series.”  Changes made to CBS’s fantasy scoring made me pass on Hamilton.  Hamilton lost a full third of his value in the week due to the Ks.

Streakers! “Tampa Bay 1B Carlos Pena singled in the seventh and has a 12-game hitting streak.”


Category: Fantasy Baseball
Tags: game notes
Posted on: April 19, 2009 3:40 pm

Notes for Games Played the Week of April 19

I thought this unemployment thing would allow me more time to blog.  Actually, I find myself busier with things that need to be done than I did when I had a job.  None of this makes any sense to me either. I do the game notes for me more than anyone else (as is evident by the staggering number of hits this blog gets. Wink ).  Here's what I found most important from the last week.

April 12
"Tigers RHP Joel Zumaya (shoulder) threw one inning in a rehab appearance for Class A Lakeland. He walked the first two batters he faced and allowed two runs -- one earned -- but Leyland said he was happy with the reports of Zumaya's velocity." 16% of owners have this clown on their team.  As someone who watches the Tigers closely, I can tell you that Zoom Zoom won't be back.  At best, he will be set up man.

"Indians SP David Purcey became the first Toronto pitcher to strike out 10 in a game since Cory Lidle did it on Sept. 26, 2003."   So this guy had as many runs and walks as Ks, but if you need Ks in your deep roto league.  Purcey might be an option...that is if you can stomach the blown up ERA.

"Rays SP James Shields is 5-1 with a 2.77 ERA lifetime against Baltimore."   Shields may not be the sexiest of picthers.  He is a part of a very solid rotation who will get you innings.

"Tampa Bay optioned outfielder Matt Joyce to Triple-A Durham to make room for CF B.J. Upton, who will come off the disabled list Monday." That sleeper Joyce that everyone was coveting?  He's not in the majors anymore.  The only way I think you can have him on your roster is if your rules allow for keeping a minor leaguer.

"Pittsburgh 3B Andy LaRoche is hitless in his first 14 at-bats of the season. He and his brother, Adam, are a combined 3-for-36." 13% of owners have a 3B on their team who can't even get his BA HALF WAY to the Mendoza line.

"Twins 3B Crede will get a rest or serve as DH soon, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. Crede missed most of the second half last season with back problems."   I get the benefit of writing this nearly a week after the note.  I still would have said the same thing:  Avoid Crede. Hurt backs are chronic conditions.  Crede will show flashes, but any consistency in his performance ended in 2007.

"Cardinals starters have a 14-inning scoreless streak."   This didn't last long.  It does speak, however, to the hot start the Cardinals are off to.

"A's DH Jack Cust is the only A's player to reach base safely in the first six games." Cust is a K machine.  If your league does not penalize for Ks, he would make a good addition.  He's hitting .333 with an OBP of .488.

April 13
"Former Detroit pitcher Mark "the Bird" Fidrych was found dead Monday in an apparent accident at his Northborough, Mass., farm. He was 54. The colorful right-hander was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1976 when he went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA. He spent all five of his major league seasons with the Tigers, compiling a 29-19 record and a 3.10 ERA."   As a kid in the 70s, I idolized the Bird.  He was goofy and fun for baseball.  One of my favorite memories from childhood is watching Fidrych pitch on an old black and white TV set with my great-grandfather.  RIP

"Houston's 1B Lance Berkman is off to a 4-for-24 start (.167)." At the time, Berkman was in a horrific slump.  Since then, he's put together a couple good games.  A jittery owner would likely be happy to get Berkman off his hands for the right price.

"Nats SS Cristian Guzman went 5-for-5 -- all singles -- with two RBI and a steal. But he departed for a pinch runner in the ninth because he felt "a little pop" in his left hamstring coming out of the batter's box and again as he reached first base. Asked how much time he'd miss, Guzman said: "Maybe not a lot, because it's not too bad."   Actually Cris, it is.  Guzman is now on the 15 day DL.  Too bad.  He was one of the few good things about this HORRIBLE Nationals team.

"A's 3B Eric Chavez missed the game with a sore shoulder and will likely sit out Tuesday, too."   I nominate Chavez for King of the DL.

"Red Sox INF Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15-day DL with a sore left wrist. INF Gil Velazquez was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place."   I love the believers of Red Sox Nation.  Sorry folks, Lowrie is done.  This is the second injury to the wrist.  Without it, he has no power at the plate.  Drop him and move on.

"Macha said he'll speak Tuesday with Brewers SP Jeff Suppan, who is 0-2 with a 12.91 ERA to start this season while making a team-high $12.5 million this season. "I'm happy for him. He's making $12.5 million," Macha said. "Instead of looking at how much money he's making, we've got to look at how we're going to get this guy pitching like he has in the past."

April 14
"Reds OF Willy Taveras stole a pair of bases for Cincinnati."  Taveras won't provide you much power.  His speed is amazing.  For a roto owner, he can almost single-handedly win you the steals category.

"Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols has four homers in St. Louis' first nine games. A year ago, he homered four times in the first seven games on his way to a club-record 14 homers in April."
  Pujols is a monster.  He tops among 1B is RBI and BB too.

"Jays 2B Aaron Hill went hitless for the first time this season."   There's positive information in that.  Hill has been mashing this year.  He's healthy.  He's 27.  And the Jays are playing well.  4 HR, 14 RBI, and .389 BA!  Owners are catching on.  In the last week, his ownership has increased from 50% to 71%.

April 15
"Everyone on both teams wore No. 42 to mark the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson's major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and former teammate Don Newcombe threw out the first pitch."   Nice touch by MLB to honor Robinson - confusing as can be for the casual fan, but a nice touch.

"Cubs C Geovany Soto made his first start since the second game of the season. He had been out with shoulder soreness."   I included this tid bit because I had written so much about him earlier.

Filed under the heading:  If You Own Him, You Get What You Deserve "Farnsworth's ERA in 3 1/3 innings is 16.20. Both of the bullpen's losses belong to him..." and more from the LaRouche brothers "Pittsburgh 3B Andy LaRoche went 0-for-2 and now is hitless in 16 at-bats this season."

"Pirates OF Nate McLouth had two hits and reached base three times for the Pirates."   Great news for McLouth owners.  Mac is beginning to come out of his early slump.  Keep him active!

"Braves 3B Chipper Jones was held out after aggravating his bruised left thumb in his last at-bat on Tuesday night.  He said he doesn't expect to play on Thursday." ...and so the annual Chipper Jones DL watch began.  As of Sunday morning, Jones had not played since Tuesday.  I understand that he is a greatr player when he's in the lineup.  What drives me nuts - and the reason I won't have him on my team - is you KNOW this guy will get injured and miss appreciable time.  I'd rather have SOME points from a Emilio Bonifacio than none from a Chipper Jones.

"Brewers SS J.J. Hardy was a late scratch from Milwaukee's lineup because of mid-back stiffness but said he expected to be OK for a game Friday in New York."   Another back issue for the Brew Crew.  Hardy is having a brutal start to the '09 season hitting .125.  If you have another option at SS, I'd take it.

"Mariners C Kenji Johjima left the game with a tight right hamstring. He will be evaluated by doctors Thursday." Johjima was placed on the 15 day DL.  Since signing that contract last season with the M's, Johjima hasn't done much at the plate.  Catcher is a pretty deep position this year.  Look for other options.

April 16
"An MRI Thursday confirmed that Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter has a tear of the left oblique muscle. He received an injection and his condition will be re-evaluated next week. The Cardinals still expect him to miss four to eight weeks." There goes another sleeper to the DL.

"Indians OF Grady Sizemore hit his third career slam."   Grady's slam was a portent of things to come.  I think there's a jet stream heading over the right field fence at the new Yankee Stadium. 

"Rookie CF Jordan Schafer was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, leaving him 1-for-11 in the series."   So you blew that waiver wire position on the rookie after Opening Night's performance.  How do you feel about that decision now?  As a rule, rookies - even the most highly touted rookies - are best left for others.  I would much rather have a journeyman who's playing every day.

"Rays 1B Carlos Pena has four homers and nine RBIs in his last five games."   Pena is an all or nothing slugger prone to Ks.  With 6 RBI, 15 RBI, and a .283 BA, you have to keep him active while he's hot.

"Pirates LF Nyjer Morgan was 3-for-5 and reached base four times."   Calling all roto owners in deep leagues!  Morgan screams for a pick up.  He's not going to hit for power, but his OPS and steal potential might warrant a spot on your roster. (Hey YC!  Thanks for getting him before I could.  You're a peach.)

"Minnesota's crowded outfield conundrum has become a timeshare between Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young, with Denard Span playing CF while Young's in the lineup and playing LF next to Gomez."   I'm one of those owners who caught up in this platoon.  For Gomez, I think its affected his fielding and his hitting.  For now, I'm avoiding Twins OFs.

"Jay SS Marco Scutaro, batting .310 with 13 runs, nine RBI and three home runs, has reached base in all 11 games. The Jays lead the majors with a .317 average." Not only a great baseball chant (MARCO!  SCUTARO!), he's having a great spring.  Maybe the Canadian air is good for him.  He's hitting for average and power.  He's eligible at SS and 2B.  What's not to like?

"Dodgers OF Matt Kemp has at least one hit in each of the Dodgers' first 10 games."   Nice start and a great compliment to Manny.

April 17
"Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera had three more hits and is batting .513. "There's just no telling what he can do," manager Jim Leyland said."   Leading the bigs, he is.  Some have predicted Triple Crown for Miggy this year.  So far, he's proving them right.

"For a second consecutive day, Milton Bradley refused to talk about the third-strike argument that resulted in his ejection from Thursday's game. Piniella backed his player, saying: "It didn't look like a good pitch to me." Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's take: "I don't know how the Cubs get away with making the comments they make about umpires." Aside from that lone pinch-hitting appearance, Bradley hasn't played since Sunday due to a groin injury."   I'm sick of Bradley.  IMHO, his '08 performance was a fluke.  He's an often-injured whining clubhouse distraction.  I would not want him on my fantasy team much less my big league team.  I think Pinella and the Cubs reached too far when going after Bradley.

"New York's previous five-homer game was Aug. 1, 2007, against the Chicago White Sox." Two words:  Jet stream.

"The jerseys worn in the first three innings by OF Adam Dunn and 3B Ryan Zimmerman had the team's name misspelled as "Natinals." They later donned tops with the team name spelled correctly."   The Nats really can't do anything right.

"Blue Jays OF Alex Rios finished 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 14 at-bats."   This is the Rios I owned last year.  I understand he has good numbers at times, but I've never been a Rios fan.  My advice:  Trade him.

"Boston 1B Kevin Youkilis and OF Jason Bay have both reached safely in all 10 of Boston's games."   Boston might be losing games, but Youk and Bay have been solid fantasy starts.

"Braves OF Jeff Francoeur had three hits for Atlanta and is batting .526 (10-for-19) over his past five games." Frenchy's new swing is paying off for owners who took a chance on him.  He's not hitting for power, but a .326 BA cannot be denied.  He's available in 20% of leagues.

"Mets OF Gary Sheffield's first pinch-hit homer came on July 20, 1994, for Florida."   The homer just happened to be the 500th of his career.  I'm still convinced that Sheff is not worth owning.  With enough trips to the plate, he would have hit this 500th.  I've argued before that the only reason he is playing this season is to hit number 500.  Let some other chump in your league let this has been occupy a space on their roster.

April 18
"Oakland's Nomar Garciaparra was held out of the lineup with a tight right calf, the same injury that forced him out of Tuesday's win over Boston. Garciaparra did not play Wednesday."   Is this guy still playing baseball? 7% of owners seem to think so.

"Pirates OF Craig Monroe's six RBI are the most by a Pirates player since Jose Castillo had six against Milwaukee on May 30, 2006."  I've always been a Monroe fan.  He left Detroit and went to Minnesota where he struggled in limited time.  He's stuck in a Catch 22 where he needs more appearances to bat better and needs to bat better to get more playing time.  When C-Mo is hot, he can carry a team.  Unfortunately, he's not hot frequently enough to warrant a roster spot on your fantasy team.

"Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning single."  Evan's back and still mashing.  Owners are certainly happy to see him back.  I bet his teammates are too.

"Red Sox INF Jed Lowrie, on the 15-day DL with a sprained left wrist, may need surgery and is heading to Arizona for a second opinion."  I was right when I said he was done.  Put a fork in him.

"The Dodgers have scored 59 runs over their last eight games." The Dodgers are playing against their competition in the NL West.  Obviously, they are head and shoulders better than them.  To me, this bodes very well for your Dodger players.  Get 'em in your lineup.

"Giants SP Tim Lincecum has now struck out at least 10 batters 12 times during his career."  Don't give up on Lincecum.  As long as he's striking out the opposition, the wins and a lower ERA will come.

"Reds OF Laynce Nix was a late replacement for OF Jay Bruce, who sat out with a sore right hand. Bruce, who hurt the hand Monday at Milwaukee when he was hit by a pitch, is day-to-day. X rays and MRIs on Bruce's hands were negative."  Its been nearly a week since Bruce was hit.  He should be good to go for Week 3. Double check his status on Monday morning before setting your lineup. 


Category: Fantasy Baseball
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or