Category Archives: MLB

Ducks on the Pond Looking for Writers!

 

Howdy Reader(s)!

 

We’ve been terrible about posting, we know.  L.J. Hoes is in primetime  Houston, the Celtics are now located in Brooklyn , the Sox have doubled down and cowboy’d up with Peavy, and other gnarly stuff I personally am glad we abstained from writing about.

But football is itching to come about and the playoff picture is coming in to place and we want to get serious.  So help us out!  If you like to write, or ramble, about sports, send us a sample!  We’d love to get some folks contributing on, well, whatever sports you’re into, we suppose.

If you look at the tone of the site, all we ask is you be respectful(ish) and passionate about the sports you write about!  So if you’re looking for a space to vent some thoughts on sports in your idle time, here’s Vinnie the Gooch extending a personal invitation – come join us at Ducks on the Pond, the pay is non-existent, but it feels good to vent, folks.

email anything you’d like us to read at duckscheckemails @ gmail.com or tweet us if you’re interested @duckfromthepond 

 

Here’s to you and your future & current fantasy teams readers, you’ll see no Riley Cooper dark horse candidate articles here.

 

– V 

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Filed under About the Blog, Baseball, basketball, College, Fantasy Baseball, Football, MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, offseason, Opinion, PLAYOFFS

Scouts on Scouts on Scouts

 

 

A seriously cool post: being a busy man, I apparently missed where some of these old scouting reports on recent players were coming form.  It comes from here.  This site.  Which is pretty darn neat.  With the draft around soon too, it will become all the more relevant.

 

 

That is all, check it out, and have an awesome holiday weekend.

 

-V

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Filed under Baseball, MLB

Letting Go

With Roy Halladay landing on the DL (and in general looking very un-Doc-like), I am reminded some (now many) weeks ago when Curt Schilling streamed a commentary on a very disappointing Halladay Spring Training start.  His concluding, and definitive, tweet is below:

“@gehrig38: Halladay threw 81 pitches and induced the Blue Jays to swing and miss only three of them that’s when I knew things had changed for me…..”

You can say a lot of things about Schilling, on the full spectrum of love and hate. Personally, I like the guy (his sports views, at least). One thing everyone can agree on with Lord Bloodied Sock is that he rarely pulls punches.  Schilling speaks to what he sees, and he saw Halladay’s dominance slipping away before his eyes.  As Schill points out, he would know.  So I trust his assessment completely…

…That’s a lie.  I refused to believe Curt Schilling.  I have been a Roy Halladay fan since I first really dove into baseball.  Truthfully, I’ve been a fan since I got a whollllle bunch of his rookie cards in the thousands and thousands of Topps cards I bought:

Yung Doc and the Wildlings up North (Album TBD)

What did I expect to happen?  Did I really expect Doc to throw 220 WHIP-of-one innings a year until he was 45?  Maybe a little bit.  I ignored Schilling for a while, drafting Halladay late in Mock Drafts over and over, assuming I was cleverly weeding out how long I could wait before snatching up a great fantasy value and, more importantly, a staple of my teams & fandom.

But as then the drafts approached a funny thing happened: I had a big-picture change of perspective.  This certainly had something to do with the Patriot’s handling of the beloved Wes Welker (and in a larger sense, a realization that they truly stuck to their ‘better a year too early than too late’ principles).  On top of this serendipitous timing, though, was a realization of something sort of horrible – it’s actually been quite a while since I was a kid.

I mean in no way that I am an old fogie.  While I do love shuffleboard, I will refuse to use the saying ‘in my day…’ until I have truly earned it.  What I mean is – it’s been a long time, in sports and fantasy terms, since the late 90’s/early 2000’s (my sports coming-of-age time).  My favorites are aging.  Their name often carries more weight than their bat or arm.  Such is life.

This revolutionary show came out in August of 1999. Think about how old Regis is now.

 So this raises the question – when do you give up on a proven warrior for you?  For example, just how long can Lance Berkman be your binky?  The easy answer there, for me, up until  he went to the Yankees.  

I have been pondering this all season.  Another example; It makes sense for the Rangers to move on from Mike Young, as hard as it may have been.  They have young players coming up to fill his spot in the next 2-3 years and, in the Rangers’ mind, he was no longer a cost-efficient part of their equation.    For us fantasy owners?  I sure as hell was not giving up on a 200-hit guy  – especially on the cheap.  But for every Mike Young redemption, there are two more aging favorites falling off the map.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.  Sometimes an elder statesman finds a second wind (with assistance or otherwise, Mr. Ortiz).  Sometimes, as in the case of Doc Halladay, age brings a tearing at the seams.  

I settled on this:  Loyalty in fantasy baseball is admirable.  I will hold on to an aging favorite, squeezing every last drop of productivity out of their skills until the crap out and I drop them.  Loyalty in ‘real’ baseball, and in sports-business in general, is misplaced.  Derek Jeter ought to be a Yankee for life – he means more than just his numbers to an entire city.  But for most players, in most sports, someone like Roy Halladay, the hardest part (for both us as fans, and for the declining player) is often letting go.

Now that you are sufficiently sad about your aging favorites getting worse, I recommend that Bolton jam at the top of the page and some Ben & Jerry’s.

– V

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion, pitchers

It’s Time for the Craig Sagers to Go Away

This movie is crazy sad, so it's ok how mean the implication is (...it's that Craig Sager ought to be put down, dummy)

SPOILER: The 1957 Old Yeller  movie is crazy sad.  Make your kids watch it early on to learn some valuable life lessons.

 

Meanness Alert:  Alert Level 10 (on a scale of 1 to Regina George)

Truthfully, I mean to be only partially as mean as it may appear above.  Craig Sager is merely an audaciously dressed version of a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad evolution in sports: the sideline reporter.  Craig Sager is often the most flamboyant, but they all need to be taken behind a shed and put down like Old Yeller  go away.

I mean this not as some groundbreaking revelation. Rather, I have reached my breaking point.

At some point, perhaps, sideline reporters offered a unique perspective. In days of yore (maybe not YOUR yore, but someone’s yore), indeed a sideline reporter was in fact in a unique position – on the sideline. This may have at some points offered them opportunities to find out new information, but in today’s technological, all-access world the sideline is relegated to this:

Or this.  Look Here.  Here.  Deadspin is of course all over this idea.  This thing Here.  Example also found…Here.  Aw, hell, here’s a compilation of Popovich owning sideline reporters.

Embarrassing. This grown ass man (in Sager’s case – I did my best to not provide ONLY Sager links) is made a fool of by asking an entirely irrelevant question, getting a terse if not combative answer, trying again, then grinning like an idiot.  Sideline reporting today has reached the same level as the ‘four corner ‘ offense. It must go, and it must go now, for our sanity.

Again, I do not mean to pick on Sager. It’s just easy. You can quickly find any number of examples on the Internet of sideline reporters’ failures or lack of importance, just as I did above.  It took me all of 4 minutes. I mean, sure, I don’t mind looking at Erin Andrews, but she adds literally nothing of value and should really be an embarrassment to actual, knowledgeable female fans worldwide (this issue of female reporters and commentators in Sports is a larger concern and deserves a longer, better thought out discussion in its own right).

Coaches do not want to talk to someone after a half, quarter or (the most egregious and awful idea ever) inning, and certainly not after a game, win or lose.  Players sure as hell don’t want to talk regardless of outcome partly out of convenience, partly for their own sake. Some guys know in the heat of battle they are going to say something they might have to answer for. OK, only a few of them think like that, most players are one opening of the mouth away from a necessary public apology.  Forget their concerns, I can’t imagine the public is clamoring for more of this:

This example obviously falls under the category of ‘satire,’ but it is not far from the truth.  So maybe that’s what sideline reporting has devolved into – plodding dumbassery, coachspeak and cliches, waiting for that one time where they can catch someone saying something stupid in the heat of a competitive moment. It seems likely to me. Which is very, very sad.

We as sports fans and channels as sports entertainment producers have moved past the need for sideline reporters, nay sideline REPORTING, altogether, the way it is conducted now. The practice is stale, remaining as some foolhardy tradition, an embarrassment of excess and world-class BS. With the amount of pre-game, halftime/break-time, and post-game coverage, analysis and preparation – shouldn’t the men and women covering the games already be capable of reporting the coach was really happy with his team’s choice of pre game snack of Honey Bunches of Oats?

I’m sure there is a place for reporting from the sideline, somehow. I don’t know if I have the answer. I do know that the Craig Sagers of the world need to go away.  At least get a new angle and a makeover.

Or does everyone really feel comfortable with this guy posing as a source of ‘information’?

With all due respect to Craig Sager, you and your brethren make me want to not watch sports. So I suppose if you’re in cahoots with the radio industry… then bravo, you evil geniuses.

-V

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Filed under Baseball, basketball, College, Football, March Madness, MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, Posted, Soccer

L.J. Hoes in Different Area Codes: IA

ljiowa

not heaven.

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Filed under Baseball, March Madness, MLB, outfield

L.J. Hoes in Different Area Codes: TX

LJ pensive on a TX ranch...

LJ pensive on a TX ranch…

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Filed under Baseball, MLB, outfield

L.J. Hoes in Different Area Codes: SC

Charleston, specifically.  The Notebook Edition, if you will.

a very dramatic scene.

a very dramatic scene.

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, outfield

L.J. Hoes in Different Area Codes: Badlands, SD

The hiiiiiils are aliiiiive.... with the sound of LJ

The hiiillls are aliiiiive…. with the sound of LJ

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Filed under Baseball, MLB

The WBC, a Popularity Contest

Bud Selig is not impressed.

Let me preface this by saying that baseball is the king of my brain .  Batman may be my noggin’s silent protector but Baseball reigns supreme.  It should surprise no one, then, that I really dig the World Baseball Classic.  That said, I’m no dummy.  Despite Bud “Sisterkissin'” Selig’s best efforts, using everything from Greg Maddux to Aviici’s ‘Levels’ to increase buzz, the WBC is not nearly as popular as the higher-ups had hoped (both Maddux and that song are probably past the point of ‘sexy’ relevance to most fans now, but beside the point.  Also an intriguing band name – Sexy Relevance & the Semicolons coming to a blues house near you).  The move from ESPN to the not-as-established MLB Network certainly accounts some for the average viewership dropping from 1.6 million to 252,000 per game,  but not all (thank you SB Nation).  By the same token, however, the WBC is certainly a bigger success than “This <retch> Time <urp> it Counts <vomit>.”  That’s what it sounds like when I say that phrase out loud.

The WBC situation seems perfect. As much as I love baseball, I have to be honest – unless I am there, in a stadium, I don’t last much past 2 or 3 innings of random Spring Training baseball games. If, say, there is a particular young pitcher I’ve never seen in real time, sure, I might tune in… But those games become well organized scrimmages in a hurry. And mean little to the players who are often QUITE LITERALLY going through the motions in spring. Pitchers work on repeating their deliveries or a new pitch. Batters are seeing uncharacteristic pitches and are themselves working out the kinks. Not competitive baseball.

The lack of intensity is fine. Truly, I get it. But I must say, these WBC games are a treat at the other end of the spectrum. Say what you will about who is on the teams, by golly do they play hard. Did you see Andruw Jones react after the Netherlands beat Cuba AGAIN?! He was pumped and trash talking like a champ.

Got the old man FIRED up!

There is a gleeful mix on many of these teams between grizzled vets (see Mr. Jones) and young players excited to be playing on this competitive stage – some who will no doubt be in an interesting position not knowing whether they have a spot with the Big Club, knowing their performance matters not only for their country, but immediate career as well.

I had this thought and the tone of this post was initially going to be a get-more-scrappy-scrubs tilt. But after looking at the US roster, I no longer think that is the issue.  Sure, some folks complain about the lack of superstars on the WBC roster but I’m not so sure that isn’t a strength  of the competition.  Many of the players worked their way through the USA Baseball Program, which is kind of cool if you think about it – it’s own little farm system. Furthermore, the team actually has a nice mix of recognizable stars (a tainted Braun, Wright who’s becoming a legend, Joe ‘Great Hair’ Mauer) and major leaguers you want to root for, folks only the more passionate baseball fans appreciate (I’m looking at you, Willie Bloomquist).

Currently on sale for $600,000.

I’m calling out those out there who say there are’t enough stars on the team or whatever crap like that and this lack of pull leads to the lack of popularity in the U-S-of-A.  Pitchers are creatures of habit, I understand why someone like Justin Verlander might prefer his routine.  That’s the only area I will acknowledge the US could attempt to bring in a few more names – their starters.  But seeing as the pitches are limited, why bother?  Lack of recognizable pitching names is not what is holding the WBC from really gaining traction.

So why isn’t the World Baseball Classic a National sensation?  It is our national pastime, right?  Well that last bit is wrong.  Baseball is more like soccer now, I would argue, in that there are seriously devoted pockets all around the globe.  Baseball has succeeded in their attempts to take the game global.  Back to the initial question, then: why don’t we like this tournament more, as Americans?   I mean this answer in the least cynical way possible: we need to win.

not helping.

This notion could be bastardized in a number of exaggerated anti-American ways.  I do not mean it in any of them.  I mean it very practically.  As a nation, we assume that since we have the MLB, that we should win the damn thing!  Losing is disheartening!  Despite the percieved lack of stars, we have more stars, right?  Where Italy has Lorenzo Avagnina (giggle), we have Adam Jones, heck we have Shane Victorino.  These guys are All-Stars!  How can Amurrrica lose to a bunch of Jabronies!?  Here is where those two initial questions tie together.  Baseball is played worldwide.  And guess what?  Unlike basketball, there are a BUNCH of countries that are really good at this sport!

So how can the World Baseball Classic truly catch on in America?  Simple.  As a famous American Philosopher once said, “Just win, baby.”

AL DAVIS

-V

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Filed under Baseball, Cajones, MLB, Opinion, Spring Training, World Baseball Classic

L.J. Hoes in Different Area Codes: VT

LJVT

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by | March 12, 2013 · 6:05 PM