Snappers copy and paste thread
April 1, 2011 3:52 pm
Snappers copy and paste thread
April 1, 2011 3:53 pm
Who is ready
Snappers copy and paste thread
April 1, 2011 3:55 pm
only a couple more months till college football
Snappers copy and paste thread
April 1, 2011 3:56 pm
who wants to join me in a GREAT thread on football?
Snappers copy and paste thread
April 1, 2011 4:00 pm
who wants to help copy and paste all of the teams in MLB?
Snappers copy and paste thread
April 1, 2011 4:01 pm
Let's kick off another season of MLB Power Rankings by congratulating 16 or so out of the league's 30 teams on their undefeated spring-training campaigns. Loria hissy fits notwithstanding, spring games don't matter. If your team broke camp with its most essential players physically intact, you finished 28-0, no matter what the standings say.
Unfortunately for the super-hale Pirates and Royals, these warm and fuzzy feelings will turn cold, prickly and Francoeurian by the end of the weekend. So let's get a jump on the sadness with a reality-bites edition of the rankings. For each team, we'll present a question, a reason for optimism, a reason for pessimism and an overall outlook.
For newcomers, here's how the Power Rankings work. Each week, the teams are ranked from 1 to 30 by an individual -- that'd be me -- who doesn't watch late games and hates your favorite team with a searing passion usually reserved for white-supremacist organizations or Rebecca Black. The Power Rankings are fact, not opinion. They are designed to enlighten, not entertain. They are truth and they are beauty. If you disagree with any of the assertions herein, you are wrong and stupid, and your inability to grasp basic basebally concepts reflects poorly on your upbringing.
There is baseball on Thursday. That's 48 hours from now. Awesome.Power RankingsCurrentTeamPrevious 1 · Trends 1Question: Did you know that '04 plus '07 equals '11? Because Red Sox fans do. They're as good at math as they are at bandwagoneering.
Reason for optimism: Something like 14 legit in-their-prime stars under the guiding smirk of the game's best manager.
Reason for pessimism: If you want to split hairs, the No. 2 (Josh Beckett ) is throwing like a No. 5 and the No. 5 (Daisuke Matsuzaka ) is throwing like a No. 1. On the other hand, the Yankees just signed Kevin Millwood .
Outlook: The best team in baseball by a Broxton-wide margin. 2 Yankees · Trends 3Question: This whole Yankees-as-underdogs thing is just a motivational ploy, right? Just something to see if we're paying attention?
Reason for optimism: Look over there, emerging from the CLS550 Coupe amid a rush of subway-grate steam and a beam of heavenly light -- it's FOCUSED A-ROD!!!
Reason for pessimism: Yes, they'll trade for the best available starter come July, but the prospect of entering the season with a Hot Tub Time Machine rotation (Garcia/Colon/Millwood) has made Brian Cashman's left eye twitch involuntarily.
Outlook: They're the Yankees, and you're not. 3 · Trends 12Question: Why can't they?
Reason for optimism: Lotsa depth and balance, especially in the rotation, plus the sense of Zen tranquility that comes with knowing you're well-armed for battle.
Reason for pessimism: The young-turk 'pen. Dan Uggla 's inability to dig up all the grounders hit his way on the days Derek Lowe or Tim Hudson pitch. The structural integrity of Chipper's knee, back, elbow, hand, neck and right pinky toe.
Outlook: Yes indeedy. 4 · Trends 6Question: Has the greater San Francisco medical community weighed in on Brian Wilson 's injury-recovery regimen of crossword puzzles and Guitar Hero III
Reason for optimism: They're fun! They totally get along with each other and pull all sorts of wacky clubhouse pranks, like replacing Pablo Sandoval 's lo-cal Greek yogurt with congealed butter.
Reason for pessimism: If the Giants get as much offense from Huff, Torres, Burrell and Ross as they did last season, I'll give up this column, relocate to a kibbutz and donate a kidney to a needy Giants fan. No, make that two kidneys. Really, I will. Totally.
Outlook: It's easy to over-think the NL West and come up with somebody else as the division winner. Don't. 5 · Trends 2Question: Is it acceptable to describe the Phillies' rotation as merely excellent, or do we have to traffic in adjectives like "historic," "astral" and "messianic"?
Reason for optimism: Finally, Joe Blanton doesn't have to carry the weight of an entire major-league rotation on his shoulders.
Reason for pessimism: Chase Utley can't walk without a cane. Take him and his OBP out of this lineup, and it's sub-mediocre.
Outlook: Better equipped for the postseason than a 162-game grind. 6 · Trends 7Question: Can Ozzie resist the impulse to tweet-provoke Jerry R., Ken W., Carlos Q., A.J. P., Edwin J., John D., and [insert your name here]?
Reason for optimism: A versatile rotation top four. The Thornton/Sale/Santos/Crain/Ohman pen. And a designated hitter! A living, breathing designated hitter! O happy day!
Reason for pessimism: There's little OBP in the batting order in front of the mashers, and that's before you factor in Juan Pierre 's reckless basepath tomfoolery. Whenever Pierre and Gordon Beckham get on in front of Adam Dunn et al, somebody oughta staple their feet to the bag.
Outlook: It's time. 7 · Trends 8Question: Does it make me naïve that I've ceased to worry about Dusty Baker's historically toxic effect on otherwise robust major-league rosters?
Reason for optimism: The position players are poised to peak and perpetuate their primes promptly.
Reason for pessimism: Pitching depth is as ephemeral as an ocean breeze. The Reds probably aren't feeling all that poetic after the Cueto/Bailey/Arroyo mini-injury triple shot.
Outlook: The class of a car-crash division. 8 · Trends 10Question: Just how contagious, exactly, is Johnny Damon 's smile? Is it the Ebola virus of smiles, or more a garden-variety superflu?
Reason for optimism: Jeremy Hellickson > Matt Garza . Juan Cruz = Joaquin Benoit . Dan Johnson < Carlos Pena (but it's much, much closer than their name-recognition scores would have you believe).
Reason for pessimism: Carl Crawford is irreplaceable and, on the way out, he refused to give a DNA sample for use in cloning him. Bummer.
Outlook: They're -- here we go now -- an extra 2% better than you think. 9 · Trends 15Question: If the fussin' and feudin' McCourts had any say on in-game decisions, how many billable hours worth of depositions would go into a simple hit-and-run?
Reason for optimism: Kershaw/Billingsley/Lilly/Kuroda obviously isn't as strong as the San Fran or Philly rotation quartets, but it's not too far off.
Reason for pessimism: If the Dodgers are lucky, the left field defense will resemble something from The Benny Hill Show . If they're not, prepare to see the MLB record for inside-the-park-homers-surrendered shattered by June.
Outlook: Besides Giants fans, there isn't a single individual on the planet not rooting for Don Mattingly to blossom into a Stengelian skipper. This Dodgers team will surprise and get him off on a good note ... and then we'll read about how the Mattingly-fueled personality transplant, rather than bounce-back seasons from Kemp and the rest, is responsible for the fine play, and gag just a little. 10 · Trends 9Question: Who will play Coco Crisp in the inevitable Lifetime telemovie A Team Without a Stadium: The Eviction of Billy B. ? Maybe Jaden Smith?
Reason for optimism: There's no better 1-through-11 staff in the majors, plus the defense is airtight. Wait a second ... this looks suspiciously like a pitching-and-defense operation. Check their papers.
Reason for pessimism: The DeJesus/Willingham/Matsui middle-of-the-order core won't exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing hurlers.
Outlook: Moneyball lives, in spirit if not its original conceptual purity. Joe Morgan is gonna be pissed. 11 · Trends 4Question: What is standard operating procedure for breaking up with a team? Does a notary public have to stamp and affirm the paperwork?
Reason for optimism: The 'pen and the spare parts, especially Seth Smith . Also, all of Troy Tulowitzki 's bones, tendons and ligaments are present and accounted for.
Reason for pessimism: Sizable potential notwithstanding, the non-Ubaldo starters are question marks. And let's not forget that Jim Tracy remains the manager. Somehow, he'll find a way to get Eric Young Jr. 175 at-bats in the leadoff spot.
Outlook: My belated new year's resolution is to stop overrating the Rockies. The first step is admitting I have a problem. 12 · Trends 14Question: Will they wear a black armband all season long to honor the memory of Nick Punto , or will a solemn opening day ceremony in which they retire his uniform number and give his widow a Camaro have to suffice?
Reason for optimism: The Twins way: It just works, no matter how much it seems like it shouldn't.
Reason for pessimism: Blackburn and Duensing over Slowey in the rotation? That's our Gardy, ever the iconoclast!
Outlook: More or less everyone who matters is healthy. That's a start. 13 · Trends 5Question: Will the indifferent fundamentals and wrong-way instincts of Yuniesky Betancourt , Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan sap Brewer fans of their collective love for the game, if not their will to live?
Reason for optimism: It finally dawned on GM Doug Melvin that a starting rotation is an important component of a winning baseball team.
Reason for pessimism: The two A-list pitchers Melvin went out and got were promptly felled by some kind of ancient voodoo injury hex, along with half the rest of the team.
Outlook: I'm not feeling it. Sorry. 14 · Trends 11Question: Is there any more imposing AARP constituent on the planet than Nolan Ryan? Maybe Harry Carson?
Reason for optimism: Bats up and down the lineup. Righty bats. Lefty bats. Bats.
Reason for pessimism: The team's powers-that-be believe 65 innings of Neftali Feliz is better than 180 innings of him. Good thing the Rangers were able to re-sign Cliff Lee and that there are no injury or regression risks in the rotation. What? Oh.
Outlook: How quickly summer turns to autumn. 15 · Trends 13Question: Is Adam Wainwright more or less replaceable than a family heirloom smuggled over from the old country? How about a second-tier pet (think goldfish/hamster)?
Reason for optimism: The good players are really really really really good.
Reason for pessimism: The defense at second, short and third and in center and right field evokes images of fraying hammocks and uncovered manholes.
Outlook: When you're relying on Kyle Lohse for anything more crucial than holding the elevator door, you have problems. 16 · Trends 22Question: Can a team will center field talent into an athlete who hasn't played there before -- in essence, by saying, "Yo, Coghlan, you and your 1.25 knees are a center fielder now"?
Reason for optimism: Lots of good players. Good players make good teams play good. It's true. Ask anyone.
Reason for pessimism: Consolation-prize skipper Edwin Rodriguez has to go pedal-to-the-metal from game one, lest he follow his forbears onto the Marlin managerial scrapheap.
Outlook: They'll continue to embarrass the Loria family by outplaying the sum of their payroll. 17 · Trends 16Question: Can a supposed pitching-and-defense team thrive with leaky gloves up the middle, stationary objects in the outfield corners and a bulbous continent of humanity at first?
Reason for optimism: Verlander and Scherzer atop the rotation and a street gang of live arms behind them, plus Jimmy Leyland pulling the strings.
Reason for pessimism: When Austin Jackson 's BABIP returns to reality, even his biggest boosters -- mom, the boyz from back home, Marisa from Bloomfield Hills -- will be forced to admit that he is a limited offensive player.
Outlook: There are no world-beaters in this division. 18 · Trends 20Question: Will the Showalter magic of 2010's second half -- when he whipped the O's into shape by mandating that uniform trousers hang equidistant between the knee and ankle -- carry over into 2011?
Reason for optimism: The feisty young pitchers will ply their craft in front of functional players at all eight positions. Yay, functionality!.
Reason for pessimism: Brian Roberts ' papier-mâché spine. Boo, papier-mâché!
Outlook: They'd be competitive in the AL Central or West. Geography is a cruel mistress. 19 · Trends 17Question: Is the NL Central enough of an injury disaster zone for the Cubs to slip into the title conversation?
Reason for optimism: Mike Quade is emphasizing the basics ("No, Alfonso, you can't steal sixth base with four outs") and quoting Rush lyrics during media klatches. I am smitten.
Reason for pessimism: Starlin Castro and Andrew Cashner likely won't realize their sizable potential for another year or two, while Tyler Colvin and the second-base platoonatics shouldn't be labeled as anything other than role players.
Outlook: It wouldn't be a surprise if they surprised. 20 · Trends 24Question: Does "momentum" exist outside the sphere of physics? If so, can it be carried over from one season to the next?
Reason for optimism: The talent fits the home park. There are lotsa pitchers who generate flies and rangy outfielders to run them down -- the flies, not the pitchers. Why would you run down a teammate, you big silly? Fine, maybe Jose Canseco.
Reason for pessimism: All the Bartletts and Hawpes and O-Dawgs in the world don't equal one Adrian Gonzalez .
Outlook: It's always sunny in San Diego. Literally. 21 · Trends 21Question: Can the games just start already? Please?
Reason for optimism: If Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran stay healthy -- granted, in the pantheon of conditional phrases, that's right up there with "if the July snowfall exceeds 26 inches..." -- the offense should prove far gnattier than projected.
Reason for pessimism: The team's scapegoating took a big hit with the release of Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo . Somebody is really gonna have to step up on the abuse-absorption front.
Outlook: [Puts hands into pants pockets, pulls them inside-out, sees they're empty, makes sad-clown face, awaits wah-wah cry of sad trombone.] 22 · Trends 19Question: Can we put Alex Anthopoulos to work solving the other intractable, impossible problems of our time, like climate change and youth obesity?
Reason for optimism: Lotsa power in this lineup.
Reason for pessimism: No OBP + callow rotation + drool-bib bullpen = regression city.
Outlook: Who cares about 2011? There are prospects in the pipeline and someone else is paying Vernon Wells for his particular brand of off-field decency and on-field adequacy. This season is already a win. 23 · Trends 18Question: How's that whole make-solid-ferocious-contact-with-e
very-pitched-ball thing working out about now?
Reason for optimism: Jered Weaver /Dan Haren/Ervin Santana up front, Jordan Walden /Scott Downs/Kevin "The Jepper" Jepsen in the back.
Reason for pessimism: The weak-sister infield. Scott Kazmir 's scary-good Oliver Perez impression. Kendrys Morales ' continued injury and spelling issues. Downs breaking a toe while playing with his kids (one assumes this is a euphemism for "missed tricky first step in sunken living room").
Outlook: Anemic. 24 · Trends 27Question: Is Stephen Strasburg long-tossing yet? Can he pull a shirt over his head without nursemaid assistance?
Reason for optimism: They're gonna bat Jayson Werth ahead of Ryan Zimmerman and they sent outsized nuisance Nyjer Morgan on his sulky way. Baby steps, man, baby steps.
Reason for pessimism: The infield alignment would make more sense if Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa affected a positional do-si-do.
Outlook: Eh. They're just kind of there. 25 · Trends 26Question: We know that chicks dig the long ball, but what do they think about crisply turned double plays and laserbullets from the right field corner that hold the runner to a single?
Reason for optimism: As of 5:52 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 27, Erik Bedard 's arm remains attached to his torso. Further updates as events warrant.
Reason for pessimism: This year's offense might suck even worse than last year's, which would be quite the achievement.
Outlook: Why fight the easy, trite analogy? Seattle baseball = Seattle weather. 26 · Trends 28Question: Why does this front office continue to receive such glowing notices for its work? Have beat writers and national scribes been swayed by the team's succulent press-box delicacies? Hypnotized under the spell of Chris Antonetti's cold, inviting hazel eyes?
Reason for optimism: If you tilt your head a certain way, you can see a decent offensive core forming (Santana/Choo/Cabrera/Brantley/Sizem
Reason for pessimism: The pitching, which is as flaky as it is low-ceiling'd. As for Matt "The Door" LaPorta, he has joined Jeremy Reed , Andy Marte and Dallas McPherson as part of the "Why Prospect Rankings Can Only Be Taken So Seriously" traveling exhibit of ebullience gone astray. Coincidentally enough, the sideshow has a stop scheduled in Justin Smoak 's home town.
Outlook: Someday, son. Someday. 27 · Trends 23Question: How many fires can chaw-gnashing cheerleader Kirk Gibson light beneath his players before they need skin grafts on their butts? Has the team set aside budgetary resources for industrial-grade aloe?
Reason for optimism: Two dammit-they're-better-than-they've-shown-so-far-they-have-to-be leap-forward candidates in Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero .
Reason for pessimism: Garbage at first and third, in left and in spots 3-through-5 of the rotation.
Outlook: There's not a lot to work with here. 28Pirates · Trends 30Question: How many season tickets did the Pirates sell on the day they announced the acquisition of Kevin Correia ? I'll guess three.
Reason for optimism: At least fans can dream a little on Tabata/Walker/McCutchen/Alvarez, unlike the lineup top quadrants of recent years past. Morgan/Sanchez/McLouth/Doumit (2009), anybody?
Reason for pessimism: Calling the rotation a toxic-waste dump is an affront to the TCB-clogged marsh down the street.
Outlook: Many rivers to cross. 29 · Trends 25Question: Is there such a thing as an organizational enema kit? If so, where might the Astros purchase one?
Reason for optimism: Brad Mills is a progressive-minded dude. He'll even out his win-loss record at his next managerial stop.
Reason for pessimism: The lineup leans heavily to the right side and is populated by guys who can't get on base and lack power. At least two of them (Michael Bourn and the injured Clint Barmes ) can field their position half-capably.
Outlook: Turbo-bad. 30Royals · Trends 29Question: How soon is 2013?
Reason for optimism: Fifty out of 50 minor-league prospecteers agree: They have never seen a farm system teeming with this much talent. It's as rich as a linzer torte, as productive as a content farm, as fecund as Octomom. Its branches shall bear more fruit than all the world's apricot groves combined.
Reason for pessimism: If you happen upon the Royals rotation, refrain from sudden movements. Back away slowly. Do not make eye contact.
Outlook: Biding their time.