Al's Ramblings



Saturday, February 28, 2009

(2/28/2009 10:23:00 PM) - Al

A brilliant look at how the cell phone has destroyed the sitcom.

Hat tip to Dave Pinto.


2/28/2009 10:23:00 PM



(2/28/2009 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Richard C. Davis, who heads Team Trademark, intends to document the lodge’s rehabilitation as part of the real estate company’s reality series, due to air on TLC in April. The show had an 18 month hiatus.--Charleston newspaper

I've long been a fan of Flip this House and other titles this show has gone by. Back on the air in April on TLC, hopefully.


2/28/2009 08:54:00 PM



(2/28/2009 08:46:00 PM) - Al

In the mail today, As They See 'Em by Bruce Weber, a look at the secret world of umpires in the minors and majors.


2/28/2009 08:46:00 PM



(2/28/2009 08:09:00 PM) - Al

The first paragraph of this talks about the incredible run on guns and ammo since the election. Shoppers report empty shelves at Cabela's and Gander Mountain.

They had a guy who was hosting a gun show in Marshfield this weekend on the radio Friday, and needless to say, he sounded giddy. He was as happy as the guy who owns the pie concession at fat camp.


2/28/2009 08:09:00 PM



(2/28/2009 07:51:00 PM) - Al

How badly run is New Orleans? The National Guard is finally leaving, 3.5 years after Katrina. There are poorly run cities, but that's just off-the-charts.


2/28/2009 07:51:00 PM



(2/28/2009 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Paul Harvey's official site is announcing he has passed away.

I enjoyed Harvey growing up, and was happy to find that the Wausau news station carried him, both the news and the "rest of the story". Paul himself was barely on anymore, but his son and others brought with them the same style, often a bit sarcastic, with some irony, and often an optimistic view on the world.

He'll be missed.


2/28/2009 07:37:00 PM



(2/28/2009 07:13:00 PM) - Al

Mike Brantley is profiled over at the Indians' team site...and yet another mention that he may end up being better than Laporta, an idea some scouts and myself have thrown out there.

I promise you, those with short memories about CC's spectacular performance will wonder why we let Brantley go...he's going to very good for a long time.


2/28/2009 07:13:00 PM



(2/28/2009 07:02:00 PM) - Al

In addition to April 10 against the Cubs, the games for which the allotment of individual tickets was exhausted include April 11 and May 8-10 against the Cubs and June 13 against the White Sox. According to a Brewers news release, it's the first time in team history that a regular-season game other than Opening Day has sold out on the first day of availability.

In addition, "very limited inventory" remains for May 2-3 against the Diamondbacks, May 30 against the Reds, July 11 against the Dodgers and July 25 against the Braves.--Adam, MLB.com


104K tickets sold today, an all-time record. 6 games all are but sold out, and 5 more are apparently pretty close. I did not think they'd sell that many today because of the increase in partial season tickets sales, but I guess I underestimated the demand.


2/28/2009 07:02:00 PM



(2/28/2009 06:22:00 PM) - Al

Royals designated infielder-outfielder Esteban German for assignment.

Just another piece of evidence that there isn't any real plan in Kansas City. The Royals could have non-tendered German in December, but instead they signed him to a $1.2 million deal. Like most arbitration contracts, it wasn't guaranteed, so they'll probably only be on the hook for one-sixth of what he was set to make. Still, that's $200,000 completely wasted, and there is the possibility that German will file a grievance, as the Royals aren't allowed to cut him solely for financial reasons.--Rotoworld


It's tough not to see a lack of long-term planning with the Royals, with little doubt. If Hall was to be out into the regular season, I'd love to see German brought in, but his inability to play SS limits him.


2/28/2009 06:22:00 PM



(2/28/2009 06:14:00 PM) - Al

Looks like my thought that I could take an afternoon nap and not have the Royals make another "oof" worthy decision was sadly mistaken.

I like Juan Cruz, I really do. But for a team like KC to give up a building block to go from 78 to 79 wins to sign him is ridiculous.


2/28/2009 06:14:00 PM



(2/28/2009 05:06:00 PM) - Al

If history is any guide, I would think the Brewers would announce tickets sold soon. We will soon see. As usual, a lot of complaining and the like from people who do not understand supply and demand, but it sounds like you could get online easily all afternoon.


2/28/2009 05:06:00 PM



(2/28/2009 11:32:00 AM) - Al

Last night, thanks to friend of Ramblings Bert, who taped and mailed it to me, I watched Taking Chance, a wonderful, simple film about a Marine escorting a fallen comrade home. I won't bother reviewing it, as there are many good ones online, including this one.

I will say that with the oodles of crap being broadcast, it is refreshing to see a movie that takes a simple story and just runs with it...reading the IMBD comments, they even removed some "hard to believe" stuff that actually happened, as Chance's sister is also in the military, and was accompanied home by one of her senior officers, who spoke at the funeral.

This should be required viewing in high school history classes, as there is no politics or "messages" being sent here. It simply speaks of a tradition that has gone on quietly and continues to do so. It would be dandy if one of the networks (I'm sure one is affiliated with the HBO family) would play this tale every Memorial Day (I'd say Veteran's Day, but November is a sweeps month, and I know better), as a friendly reminder of what Memorial Day is, rather than a long weekend and a kickoff to summer.


2/28/2009 11:32:00 AM



(2/28/2009 09:58:00 AM) - Al

We haven't made any plans as far as what games to attend, but I clicked on the Brewers' site and took a look at availability...no tickets at all left for Opening Day (though you can get them if you buy a full season ticket package, and there's a few being sold right now at MP), and there was a list of 4 other games that were single seats only...I think it's safe to say that's never happened before single game seats went on sale.

If you plan on going to a game this year on a weekend in June, July, or August; I would say you should be getting your dates together this weekend...especially if you want certain seats or like going to bobblehead games, or so on.

EDIT: I have a couple e-mails that inform me many folks have been unable to even get into the "virtual waiting room" as of yet, 15 minutes in. I had no trouble, but I suppose I cluttered it up for others.

UPDATE: I got right into the waiting room again, at 9:45, and now 5 other games are listed, all Cubs or White Sox affairs, in addition to the opener, as single seats and standing room only are all that remain.


2/28/2009 09:58:00 AM



(2/28/2009 09:44:00 AM) - Al

I just took a look at the free agent pitchers still on the market, and in addition to many quality LH set-up men, I noticed Matt Wise's name. I hearken back to a year ago, when talk radio/message board casuals insisted Wise would have a better year than Mota.

Not only was Mota very good except for a 2-3 week stretch, Wise barely pitched. Even this offseason, Mota signed a nice deal with LA, and Wise is unemployed.

One, in Doug we trust. Two, you can't teach velocity.


2/28/2009 09:44:00 AM



(2/28/2009 09:31:00 AM) - Al

Brad Hawpe bowed out of the World Baseball Classic Friday after slicing open his finger on an opponent's cleat during a spring game.

"He will miss WBC, but will be fine for opening day," Hawpe's agent Dan Horwits said Friday night. He could be out for up to a week. Shane Victorino is likely to see more playing time now for Team USA.--Rotoworld


Considering Victorino was just added yesterday when Grady Sizemore bowed out, I'd say that an argument could be made for Cameron or Hart being among the next few considered for the US OF.


2/28/2009 09:31:00 AM



(2/28/2009 08:29:00 AM) - Al

As I sit in my warm home, hundreds of folks are standing in the cold outside Miller Park, waiting to buy a few tickets, including rumors of a few Opening Day tiks that have been held back.

I wish them nothing but the best, but admittedly, do not get it. I'm not sure I'd have any desire to do that in June, never mind when it is below zero.


2/28/2009 08:29:00 AM


Friday, February 27, 2009

(2/27/2009 09:34:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings Tessa sends this from India (they still have "the plague" there you know)

[it is rather sad that my entire knowledge of Indian facts comes from that backwards Seinfeld episode, which sadly, may not be factually accurate]

and it's 100% true...everything is amazing, and nobody is happy.

Somehow, this fits right in with the fact that "the poor" in the USA have cable, AC, and a dishwasher; yet the country's apparently not on the right track, and we need to have the government fix everything to make us comparable to the great countries of the universe, like, you know, France and Cuba.

Note what Louis CK says about plane travel, by the way. Nothing I despise more than someone who pays $118 to travel 1500 miles in 2.5 hours and then complains about a slight delay, most often caused by weather or too many planes trying to take off. If you don't like it, stay home and shut up.


2/27/2009 09:34:00 PM



(2/27/2009 08:26:00 PM) - Al

Larry Kudlow unleashes.

I was talking today about a pair of things as the news played in the background to the gent I was working with. One, isn't the Iraq withdrawal timetable the exact same that Petraeus suggested to President Bush? While I suppose it is plenty allowable to make an announcement with a new commander-in-chief in office, it seems strange to me to pretend it is a new plan. Two, why is there no discussion about the plan to remove itemized deductions...an idea that will surely decimate the middle class homeowner and small business owner? To be blunt, that's an idea so stupid I can't believe Ted Kennedy isn't the one pushing for it.

The fella I was with said there's no way the itemized deduction thing has a glimmer of hope to pass, because it is vital to so many people. I think he said it best when he questioned how in the world such a thing could be proposed. Honestly, I don't either.


2/27/2009 08:26:00 PM



(2/27/2009 08:18:00 PM) - Al

I think a new bottom has been reached...no pun intended.


2/27/2009 08:18:00 PM



(2/27/2009 07:56:00 PM) - Al

I'm by no means a believer that the Constitution is a document that should never be adjusted, but even I'm shocked at the blatant vote grab described here.

Last time I checked, DC was not a state. Until it is, this is a moot point...or at least, it should be.


2/27/2009 07:56:00 PM


Thursday, February 26, 2009

(2/26/2009 09:22:00 PM) - Al

ABC looks at the proposed tax increases, totaling $1T.

What is meant by eliminating itemized deductions? That's all that keeps owning a house affordable to many.

I sure see an awful lot of the exact things many of us were worried about. It's extremely early, but thus far, it's a tax and spend, trickle up economy...the exact bizarro world of what worked so well for Reagan in the early 80's, and what economists have feared, as tax hikes will slow any kind of return to the norm.

EDIT: More on this, written better than I could.


2/26/2009 09:22:00 PM



(2/26/2009 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Macha said he wasn't sure whether he would keep one or two extra outfielders when the team starts the regular season. If he keeps two, the odd man out will be Nixon, Duffy or Gwynn, who is out of minor-league options.--JS

Still a chance only a single backup OF will be kept, as obviously Hall has played out there (Kendall has also) as well. That would seemingly open the door a bit for McGehee.

Very nice things said about Duffy's defense, Sveum says he never missed a cut-off man when Dale coached in PIT...don't forget, Duffy played CF ahead of Nate McLouth, who actually took some time off when he was sent to the minors because they went with Duffy instead.


2/26/2009 08:46:00 PM



(2/26/2009 08:28:00 PM) - Al

Performing like this results in a reward of free money from taxpayers:

Excluding special items, GM’s fourth-quarter adjusted loss was $5.9 billion, or $9.65 per share. That was worse than Wall Street expected. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a quarterly loss of $7.40 per share on sales of $35.1 billion. For the full year, GM’s net loss was $53.32 per share, the second-worst annual result in the company’s history. The worst loss occurred in 2007, when the Detroit-based company lost $38.7 billion, or $68.45 per share, in 2007, due largely to charges for unused tax credits.

While turning in huge profits (not profit margins mind you), but being an involved in the oil industry results in people wanting to penalize a company and take away their money because they are doing too good.

I must have missed the logic of penalizing good performance and rewarding the absolute worst somewhere along the way. Losing $120+/share in 2 years is beyond value evaporation, but everyone wants to throw more at it to see if they can make some more magic and make that disappear.

Philip


I will not disagree. The thing is, GM would be helped immensely by filing Chapter 11 and restructuring its debts, including horrible union contracts and pension plans, but no one wants to allow that to happen...so the money drag continues, with no end in sight.

It's almost as silly as raising taxes when the economy is struggling...


2/26/2009 08:28:00 PM



(2/26/2009 08:16:00 PM) - Al

Bob is bankrupt, and is blogging about it.

Almost all bankruptcies are because of either health problems, a small business gone bad, unemployment, or a combo platter of these.

Obviously, you do what you can to avoid it, but as Suze Orman has said from time to time, some people should run to it without hesitation...especially if your credit score is already shot.

I learned something about bankruptcy a few weeks ago that I was shocked at. However, since the potential for abuse is there, I'll keep it to myself. That said, if you are facing bankruptcy, shoot me an e-mail.


2/26/2009 08:16:00 PM



(2/26/2009 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Seinfeld will produce a marriage reality show.


2/26/2009 07:17:00 PM



(2/26/2009 05:48:00 PM) - Al

I just saw this ad on the sidebar of a link. I love John Stossel and Drew Carey's stuff, for those who have not seen their work, both tend to lean libertarian, Stossel often comes off as pro-common sense and anti-government (which tends to be the same thing:). Mark your calendars for 3/13.


2/26/2009 05:48:00 PM



(2/26/2009 05:44:00 PM) - Al

Ignoring your own oil reserves so you can buy from others?

Somehow, I don't see this working out well.


2/26/2009 05:44:00 PM



(2/26/2009 02:58:00 PM) - Al

I just saw Katie Couric on a news break, and she looked like a man. Her face looked odd, and she seemed unable to smile...is she back from getting work done? I'm not sure if I would have recognized her if they would not have said her name.


2/26/2009 02:58:00 PM



(2/26/2009 12:30:00 PM) - Al



With a zillion inches of snow predicted for tomorrow, I canceled my appointments and decided to catch up on my office work. I'll be taking an hour or so to do a chat. I'll open up the floor for questions about 11:30 or so.


2/26/2009 12:30:00 PM



(2/26/2009 10:38:00 AM) - Al

Peter asks me to link up this "home grown versus acquired" fictional Brewers' matchup.

I'd take the fellas who came up through the system.


2/26/2009 10:38:00 AM


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

(2/25/2009 05:52:00 PM) - Al

Biden is just one long 4 year gaffe, isn't he?


2/25/2009 05:52:00 PM



(2/25/2009 05:17:00 PM) - Al

I got an e-mail the other day asking me about batting order, and I replied I'll leave that kind of talk for those bored enough to discuss such intricate things...if you bat the pitcher lead off, your best hitter 9th, and so on, it only makes about a 5% difference in runs scored...so you can imagine how low having a batter or two flipped is all but meaningless.

That said, Macha looks like he's going with the same order.


2/25/2009 05:17:00 PM



(2/25/2009 05:12:00 PM) - Al

Andy sends along this Snopes link to say Obama's birth certificate is authentic, though I'm not sure why the insistence is still out there it has been altered in some way. Personally, I would say the birth notice in the paper is by far the most damning, as if that is real, it would have had to be a conspiracy 40something years in the making.


2/25/2009 05:12:00 PM



(2/25/2009 10:30:00 AM) - Al

The JS piece on Cameron says the trade was done, but the Yankees never bothered to call back, so eventually, Doug canceled it.


2/25/2009 10:30:00 AM



(2/25/2009 10:14:00 AM) - Al

Heh, if only someone would say this.


2/25/2009 10:14:00 AM


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

(2/24/2009 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Discussion of Target Field and the surroundings.


2/24/2009 09:27:00 PM



(2/24/2009 09:19:00 PM) - Al

I would say Granderson is likely to replace Hawpe on defense in any close game, as I believe Brad was listed as twice as bad as any other OF in the majors, 35-40 runs below average if memory serves.


2/24/2009 09:19:00 PM



(2/24/2009 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Care to comment on this?

Peter


I'm 99.9% sure Obama is plenty eligible to be president, and this is a silly conspiracy theory, although two questions persist:

1. Why not just release this and be done with it? The delay implies guilt, and makes me wonder how stupid his advisers are.

2. Can you imagine the media never bothering to check this out? Too busy making up stuff about Katrina, I guess.


2/24/2009 08:17:00 PM



(2/24/2009 08:05:00 PM) - Al

Wonder why it doesn't seem like your area is in a housing crisis? Because for the most part, 5 states have issues, and the rest do not. Click on the chart to make it bigger.

I wonder how much of the "stimulus" is going to the states who deserve it least?

Obama's approval ratings went down, but looking at Reagan's and Carter's, that may be the best sign of his presidency.


2/24/2009 08:05:00 PM



(2/24/2009 07:39:00 PM) - Al

No surprises among early moves to minor league camp, though Bourgeois would probably be a dark horse if he was healthy, as a RH bench bat who can play almost anywhere on the diamond.


2/24/2009 07:39:00 PM



(2/24/2009 07:35:00 PM) - Al

He always has, even though it might not look that way if you've ever seen the pancake of a glove he uses in games, the one that looks like he's used it since his high school days.--Witrado, JS

The Rambling sister is a high school English teacher, and I promise you she's shaking her head that a professional old media writer put that on an old media website.

Oof.


2/24/2009 07:35:00 PM



(2/24/2009 07:29:00 PM) - Al

First round pick Brett Lawrie requested a change to 2B last year, and is now considered a 2B in the system.

Given what a good hitter he is said to be, how confident he is, and how it is easier to skip a level now that he is not a backstop, his ETA to the bigs is probably pushed up to mid-2011 or so.


2/24/2009 07:29:00 PM



(2/24/2009 07:10:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Tom H. filed a blog report today concerning the Brewers intra-squad game. Mike Lamb played well at first base, and talked about it:

Even though Lamb is generally listed as a third baseman he said he probably has played more at first base in the majors. Of that versatility, Lamb said, "It's probably why I'm still here."

A quick check shows that Lamb has 446 career games at 3B and 225 career games at 1B. What is the saying about not letting the truth get in the way…?

Joel


So, does someone think Lamb is going to play 1B instead of Prince? In case of injury, I would think Gamel would be the obvious choice as well.

Lamb certainly does not hit enough to be anything but a stopgap at 1B.


2/24/2009 07:10:00 PM


Monday, February 23, 2009

(2/23/2009 08:06:00 PM) - Al

An e-mailer sends me this link with a subject line of Witrado=moron.

He sure seem to try painfully hard to appear young and hip. Love the baseball cap off to the side, it's so frat boy in the late 90's...that's certainly a look I'd be going for.


2/23/2009 08:06:00 PM



(2/23/2009 07:26:00 PM) - Al

Nationals released LHP Odalis Perez.

Signed to a minor league contract two weeks ago, Perez decided he was upset about not getting a major league deal and has been holding out ever since. He didn't show up to Nationals camp by the mandatory reporting date and refused to return the team's calls, so they understandably decided to cut bait and move on. Look for Perez to wind up with another minor league deal, probably from a team less likely to hand him a rotation spot.--Rotoworld


Oof. On the bright side, he'll find a minor league deal somewhere else, so he did not have much to lose. But, many teams will not touch him now, and not to mention, won't trade for him or sign him next year either.


2/23/2009 07:26:00 PM



(2/23/2009 07:08:00 PM) - Al

I often discuss my unabashed fandom for the show Little People, Big World; a show about 2 little people who have kids and their "reality", adjusted for TV, of course. However, on the same network, the show Jon and Kate Plus 8 is also on, a show about a couple who plays the genetic roulette wheel and ended up with twins and then a birth of 6, which is so odd I do not even know what it's called.

Not only is that freaky enough, even the promos for the show have become unbearable, talking about their new TLC purchased house or their new TLC purchased laundry room. The Rambling wife sometimes watches the show, and told me how one episode had the mom cleaning the fridge in the new house for hours, as she said it was "disgusting", when in reality, it could easily be described as "used".

Somewhere, there's a list of things a reality show should not be, and J&K+8 is every single one of them, right down to the bratty kids doing an intro every episode. What's astounding is, the Duggars, who now have 18 kids, seem downright normal when compared to the high stress, fast paced for no reason group.


2/23/2009 07:08:00 PM



(2/23/2009 07:03:00 PM) - Al

Chris Matthews' tingle running up his leg has gone away, replaced by him talking about how Jim Cramer and others feels the "stimulus" bill is lacking infrastructure and full of pork.

These are both solid Dems, by the way.


2/23/2009 07:03:00 PM



(2/23/2009 06:34:00 PM) - Al

Cory Provus, the new radio guy, has arrived in camp and is studying up.


2/23/2009 06:34:00 PM



(2/23/2009 06:19:00 PM) - Al

Brandon says to remember this article for the '12 elections.

The ironic statement to me is the President challenging department heads to "study every line" in the budget in an effort to cut costs...while in the "stimulus", no one had time to even read the thing. If CNN wasn't busy making up news and using outdated file footage to report news, they might have time to bring up such things, but never mind.


2/23/2009 06:19:00 PM



(2/23/2009 06:08:00 PM) - Al

Joe Girardi canceled the Yankees' workout today in lieu of a team lunch and pool tournament. Ken Macha had a brief workout before kicking the players out of the complex before noon.

Remember how I said spring training is far, far too long? Even the managers agree with me now. They should just make 3/1 the day it begins. It lasts several weeks too long.


2/23/2009 06:08:00 PM



(2/23/2009 05:53:00 PM) - Al

The A's are now drafting high school pitchers, because so many other teams are focusing on the college arms.

Also, with the free agent market down, the A's have made a run at several guys, including relievers, a place where they have went cheap in the past.

Billy Beane, baseball contrarian.


2/23/2009 05:53:00 PM



(2/23/2009 04:19:00 PM) - Al

Macha sounds very easy on the starting pitcher's arms, much like Yost.

If anyone gets overworked, Macha seems to be saying it will be the relievers. One of the many things Yost never got much credit for was in all his years, I can only recall a couple of 125+ pitch counts, and then never by a youngster. Compare that to what goes on all around MLB.


2/23/2009 04:19:00 PM



(2/23/2009 12:32:00 PM) - Al

Al,

What's your feeling on Escobar? I didn't see him on your posting of the possible roster spots.

Brandon


Alcides has no chance to make the roster unless JJ (or possibly Rickie) goes down and is DL'd. Otherwise, Escobar will go down to Nashville and prepare for 2010, or at the very least, late 2009.


2/23/2009 12:32:00 PM



(2/23/2009 10:24:00 AM) - Al

Steven sends along this link, a host of MST3K is only eating bacon this month.

My only question is, why is this newsworthy. After all, it is bacon.


2/23/2009 10:24:00 AM


Sunday, February 22, 2009

(2/22/2009 10:34:00 PM) - Al

Hall is seeing the ball better and has lost some weight.

One, I wish I was overweight like Hall was, and two, he sure covered a lot of ground on defense for a guy who was heavy.


2/22/2009 10:34:00 PM



(2/22/2009 08:21:00 PM) - Al

LOCKS (18)

Gallardo
Parra
Suppan
Bush
Looper
McClung
Hoffman
Villanueva
Riske

Kendall

Fielder
Weeks
Hardy
Hall
Counsell

Hart
Braun
Cameron

NEAR LOCKS (3)

Stetter

Rivera

Lamb

FAVORITES (3)

Gagne

Nixon

Gwynn

TOSS UPS

Coffey

Julio

Morlan


UNDERDOGS

DiFelice
Dillard
Swindle
Wright

Rottino

Gamel

Duffy
Nelson
Iribarren


I only listed those I see with a realistic chance of making the team, as I did not list Salome, whose only chance would probably be if Kendall went down. The top 24 are the favorites and above, and I really do not know which other reliever would be favored...I would guess Coffey, based on his September. Of course, injuries will also create another roster spot or two. Will be updated once a week or so.


2/22/2009 08:21:00 PM



(2/22/2009 07:27:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks won a coin flip today, beating Denver at home. I saw the Bulls lost, which means they are at least a game ahead for the 8th spot.

It ain't much, but we'll take those tiny victories when we can get 'em.


2/22/2009 07:27:00 PM



(2/22/2009 07:02:00 PM) - Al

Adam talks about the bullpen. What's funny is how last year, the bullpen had the 4th best ERA in the NL, and many would say it was a weakness. The irony of being a casual fan.


2/22/2009 07:02:00 PM



(2/22/2009 06:51:00 PM) - Al

Fans have already lined up for single game tickets.

Of course, considering they will be paying more and a 20 game pack can be adjusted for 4 tiks to Game A, 2 tickets to Game B, and so on; they are either ignorant or attention hogs...or both.


2/22/2009 06:51:00 PM



(2/22/2009 04:15:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling brother checks in and borrows the virtual podium for a few moments:

I thought it would be a good idea to tell people about the book written about our uncle, Darwin Foard, and how he was killed in World War II. It will probably mean much more to us than to people that didn't know the family, but I think others will find it quite interesting too. I learned a lot from the era from this book. It was a very unstable time for everyone. It could be just the ticket to get many people through until the baseball season starts. The book is called A Street Called Darwin, and it was written by Kent Freeland.

If you do not see it at your local bookstore, they can easily order it for you.


Also, I've found e-books as low as $5 if you do a search.

I have not read the book yet, as I'm waiting for a free copy.:) The author is my cousin-in-law, and he wrote the book based on letters written between Darwin and his family, that sat in a foot locker for decades. Both of my siblings say it is a wonderful book, obviously both very biased because of the family connection, but both say it have been a good read regardless.

On a related note, if anyone saw Taking Chance last night on HBO, shoot me a review of it. Friend of Ramblings Bert taped it for me and is sending me a copy, so I'll be watching sometime this week.


2/22/2009 04:15:00 PM



(2/22/2009 03:52:00 PM) - Al

I just keep saying it, but you just get the feeling of a vast "revolt" among the 95% or so that have a healthy mortgage. It's very difficult for folks to hear Obama say "We'll lower your rates and monthly payments...but only if you're behind", and not see that as unfair.

I hazard back to that phone call I made to my mortgage company about 3-4 years ago to see if they'd drop our PMI...while I was on, I asked them what kind of upper limit we'd have if we would buy another home (the Rambling wife and I were weighing a possible relocation to the Madison area at the time), and the guy told me $275K...and probably $300K.

The problem with that is we were pretty much stretched to the limit paying our mortgage for less than half that. We knew we could never afford that much house. Many, however, heard $300K and bought $335K.

UPDATE: Rick Santelli is a hero to many now because of his popular rant.


2/22/2009 03:52:00 PM



(2/22/2009 12:19:00 PM) - Al

I recall complaining last year about how the Oscars now give their awards to films with no mass appeal at all, and many tried to shout me down, saying I just didn't understand quality films (based on the fact I watched Delta Farce, I am not in a position to argue).

However, the viewers seem to agree, what used to be "can't miss" has become "can't watch" for many of us.


2/22/2009 12:19:00 PM



(2/22/2009 11:27:00 AM) - Al

I have talked about the greatness of Netflix often before, and last evening was a perfect example. One of my discs in house was Delta Farce, a Larry the Cable Guy vehicle that has he and a couple buddies being dropped in Mexico rather than Iraq...sadly, that little "oops" was resolved about 45 minutes in, and the rest of the movie dragged (as if the first half did not).

I did enjoy Larry muttering, "I'd hate to get killed tomorrow and not get a good night's sleep tonight", which pretty much sums up my beliefs as well (honestly, last night in bed, I told the Rambling wife I did not know if I'd be able to nap today, as the Badgers play at 2...priorities). Even worse, I guess I had a bad DVD, as it froze up in the middle and I went scene to scene, finally having it begin working again about 20 minutes further into the film (of course, if I'd have been able to see the complex plot points and intricate detail in that score of 60 seconds, I might be comparing it to Blazing Saddles or Airplane...but I doubt it).

So, after that, I debated a couple choices, and decided to watch Paper Clips on my computer, a feature Netflix added a long time ago which I've never done before. I had to download a newer version of XP, but afterwards was rewarded with a delightful little documentary about a little town in TN that decided to collect 6M paper clips to represent the 6M Jews that were killed during the Holocaust. I heartily recommend it to anyone, and if you have Netflix, you can watch it for free right now!


2/22/2009 11:27:00 AM



(2/22/2009 11:21:00 AM) - Al

Corey Koskie will play in the WBC and hoped to return at some point to the bigs.

The Crew has the poor man's version of Koskie with Mike Lamb, and also the younger, higher ceiling version in Mat Gamel; but I'd love to see him return somehow, either to the Brewers or Twins. Maybe he can fit in as a part-time DH, PH, and 3B replacement for the inevitable Joe Crede injury in MIN.


2/22/2009 11:21:00 AM



(2/22/2009 11:10:00 AM) - Al

I used the snowblower for the first time in a long time this AM. It snowed a while back, but one of our neighbors cleared everything before we even got up. The Rambling son "helped", and he's now out playing on the neighborhood snow pile. As much as I despise snow, he seems to enjoy it.


2/22/2009 11:10:00 AM


Saturday, February 21, 2009

(2/21/2009 11:52:00 AM) - Al

Hope, change, and more of the same.

It is astounding, the only difference is a "stimulus" package many people hate, and most are indifferent about. Gitmo, Iraq, Afghanistan...identical.


2/21/2009 11:52:00 AM



(2/21/2009 10:50:00 AM) - Al

Gallardo will not pitch in the WBC. It's hard to pretend he would not be at a higher risk of getting injured there than in camp, so that's a good thing.


2/21/2009 10:50:00 AM



(2/21/2009 10:03:00 AM) - Al

Keith Law (and many others), apparently do not look at home/road splits. Hudson hasn't hit away from ARI in years, and I don't think he'll start in the pitching friendly Chavez Ravine.

I'm surprised the Twins signed Joe Crede as well, as I thought their proposed platoon was just as good and far cheaper (though Crede's terms have not leaked out yet). While Crede is a good defender, that will be minimized on the turf of the Dome for 81 games. They may be trying to do a sign and trade for Juan Cruz now. I like that a lot more than the Hudson/Crede inkings.


2/21/2009 10:03:00 AM


Friday, February 20, 2009

(2/20/2009 11:40:00 PM) - Al

It's not often Ramblings extends sympathy to anyone except someone who has died while serving their country, but allow me to mention how much I hated to hear Larry Miller, owner of the Jazz, has passed away.

I'm pretty sure he coined the phrase "I'd rather lose without him than win with him", which I have unabashedly stolen over the years. The Jazz have been a perfect example of how a franchise should be run, and most of that credit should go to Miller.

We'll miss him.


2/20/2009 11:40:00 PM



(2/20/2009 11:22:00 PM) - Al

Here in Morris County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, the Interfaith food pantry opened for an extra night last week to accommodate the growing crowds. Among the first-time visitors were Cindy Dreeszen and her husband, who both have steady jobs — his at a movie theater and hers at a government office — with a combined annual income of about $55,000.

But with a 17-month-old son, another baby on the way, and, as Ms. Dreeszen put it, “the cost of everything going up and up,” the couple showed up in search of free groceries.


My wife and I often donate to food drives, be it Boy Scouts, postal carriers, and so on. I would not hesitate to use a food bank if we needed to, nor would I hesitate to instruct my clients where to pick up food if needed. In fact, I give out information on Medicaid and QMB/SLMB regularly, and share this info even though it does not help me out at all.

That said, I assume their house payment is probably $2000+ a month, but let's be realistic here...no one making $4500 a month should be on the taking side of a food bank. I don't think the Rambling wife and I have ever made that much, though we may have been close back before she had the Rambling son.


2/20/2009 11:22:00 PM



(2/20/2009 10:18:00 PM) - Al

The thing that irritates me about the Bucks' game is Charlie V gets called for a flagrant foul for touching the face of an opponent, and earlier in the game, when Francisco Elson got hit hard in the face in the 1st quarter, much harder than CV hit the shooter mind you...there wasn't even a foul called.

And golly, when Lebron James gets hot, that basket must look like an ocean to him.


2/20/2009 10:18:00 PM



(2/20/2009 10:00:00 PM) - Al

As I said the other day, you can kind of sense the anger level going up to heights I do not recall witnessing.

I heard the other day that the "stimulus" package is more than the 1982 federal budget...apparently, Reagan was some sort of mathematical wizard.:)


2/20/2009 10:00:00 PM



(2/20/2009 08:04:00 PM) - Al

Any kind of meat loaf is fine with me, but this looks especially good (everything is better with bacon!), and I love the name of the website.

Hat tip to BCB.


2/20/2009 08:04:00 PM



(2/20/2009 07:37:00 PM) - Al

It never fails to amaze me how impressed people are with "early birds"...if Hoffman slept in and showed up at 10...but stayed 3 hours later, you wouldn't hear nearly as much praise of him.

That said, is it really any surprise the Crew ends up with a guy like that? Doug is famous for bringing in high character guys, and for shunning those with "issues".


2/20/2009 07:37:00 PM



(2/20/2009 07:24:00 PM) - Al

I got home too late tonight for my regularly scheduled play date with the Rambling son, and hell hath no fury like a 6 year-old with big blue eyes.


2/20/2009 07:24:00 PM



(2/20/2009 08:40:00 AM) - Al

Doesn't matter if you're talking Afghanistan or Somalian pirates, the rest of the world sits back and lets the US deal with it.

One thing I have noted already is that by increasing the level, Obama has assured there will be troops in harm's way for all of his term. I do hope there was an exit strategy mapped out, as while it took longer than hoped, at this second, Iraq's objectives have been reached. However, as the USSR proved, it is mighty tough to defeat anyone in amongst the caves and mountains.


2/20/2009 08:40:00 AM


Thursday, February 19, 2009

(2/19/2009 11:28:00 PM) - Al

The Red Sox have tickets left for 9 games early in the season. Can you imagine someone even trying to be negative about a team having sold out 72 games thus far?

They'll sell them out, by the way. Fenway barely holds 35K.


2/19/2009 11:28:00 PM



(2/19/2009 10:39:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun, entrepreneur.

Scroll down for a look at these $78 T-shirts.

Note to Ryan, save your money, it's gonna be a short ride.


2/19/2009 10:39:00 PM



(2/19/2009 09:32:00 PM) - Al

Indiana won't be at the bottom of the Big Ten for long. If they could somehow start the conference season now, they probably wouldn't even finish 10th or 11th, despite having a team of youngsters.


2/19/2009 09:32:00 PM



(2/19/2009 09:21:00 PM) - Al

Scott Skiles spent part of the morning and early afternoon on the court at practice and the other part in the team’s offices upstairs taking part in the trade discussions.--JS

Very few deals in the NBA today, but I'm really surprised the Bucks stood pat, basically saying they have no issue losing Charlie V and/or Sessions for nothing this summer. We'll never know what offers were there, or if it was possible to clear cap room and contend for the playoffs this year, but to be clear, it does not appear long-term planning is a forte of the braintrust...that said, considering how many coaches have been fired (I think Skiles is in the top 50% in seniority with 10 months) of late, maybe that breeds short-term thinking.


2/19/2009 09:21:00 PM



(2/19/2009 09:09:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al...

In case you missed it in Adam McCalvy's "emptying the notebook" post today:

A downright skinny Ray King dropped by Maryvale Baseball Park and said he's looking for a job. King, a left-handed reliever who pitched for the Brewers from 2000-2002 and again at the end of 2007, appeared in only 12 games last season for Washington but posted a 2.25 ERA in 32 games for the Astros' Triple-A club and then pitched well in the Dominican Republic over the winter. He said he has been throwing at his nearby home in Litchfield park, Ariz. and is open to even a Triple-A job. The offseason market has not been kind to the 35-year-old.

"Crickets," King said. "I've never seen anything like it."

I would collect all the veteran LH relievers I could...

Robert


I have no issue signing any player who has had major league success to a minor league contract, but guys like Ray are available for a song should the need arise during the season, as no GM wants to keep a 35 year-old in AAA if a job is available in the bigs.


2/19/2009 09:09:00 PM



(2/19/2009 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Hope, change, and a lot of people that seem really angry.

I smell discontent, and it's mostly among the middle class. I asked the Rambling wife if we'd qualify, or if we'd have to not pay our mortgage for a while to qualify...just the fact I'm asking that question pretty much says it all.


2/19/2009 07:30:00 PM



(2/19/2009 07:17:00 PM) - Al

99% of the Katrina "outrage" was based on false info from horrendous news channels.

As for "fixing" the leftover damage, if the free market has not done that yet, I think that pretty much tells you it's a waste of time. That said, I'm surprised it's not in the package for purely political reasons.


2/19/2009 07:17:00 PM



(2/19/2009 07:07:00 PM) - Al

Indians designated third baseman Andy Marte for assignment.

A change of scenery might do Marte some good. Once pegged as the team's future third baseman, he could never get it going at the major league level. The Indians have 10 days to trade, release or outright him.--Rotoworld


No change of scenery is going to help what is possibly the longest swing I've ever seen. I'll have to see when I first commented on him, but the mere fact he was once a top prospect makes me wonder what the scouts that saw him were thinking.


2/19/2009 07:07:00 PM


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

(2/18/2009 09:55:00 PM) - Al

I used to love Miracle Whip, but I discovered I liked a creamy mayo much more, so I have not had it for a decade or more. It always surprises me when a company the size of Kraft makes a decision based on what is likely a penny or two a jar.

Hat tip to Glenn.


2/18/2009 09:55:00 PM



(2/18/2009 08:51:00 PM) - Al

Adam's blog says there are some lingering questions about Gamel's injury and minor concern about his reporting on time but not early.


2/18/2009 08:51:00 PM



(2/18/2009 07:41:00 PM) - Al

If you take a stroll around the web, there sure are a lot of Richard Jefferson for an expiring contract rumors out there.

I will say this...if the Bucks do not make any move at all by the 2PM deadline, I will seriously question any kind of long-term plan by the braintrust. There's no way the Bucks can afford to go into the offseason standing a good chance of losing both CV and Sessions for nothing. If they cannot find a suitor the talented, yet overpaid RJ, they pretty much have to get some kind of return for one of the two above players who are restricted FA's after this year.


2/18/2009 07:41:00 PM



(2/18/2009 07:05:00 PM) - Al

An e-mailer sends this along...note the 2nd most popular Brewers' player is almost the field.

Hard to believe that Braun gets 2/3rd's of the total, on a team with very good young talent.


2/18/2009 07:05:00 PM



(2/18/2009 06:52:00 PM) - Al

I've never heard of this charity, but it's impressive it was started by a 6th grader, who now plays basketball at Clemson.

Also, a story of a high school basketball game where the teams did the right thing, even though the officials couldn't see the forest for the trees.


2/18/2009 06:52:00 PM



(2/18/2009 05:47:00 PM) - Al

I can understand the reluctance to come out against abortion, as I straddle the fence about as gracefully as anyone I know, but to pretend to be a practicing Catholic and also be pro-choice seems a stretch that a yoga master would be unable to pull off.

There's a lot of "Catholic In Name Only" folks, as there has been for ages (an old roommate of mine once honestly wondered why it as so important for someone to not eat red meat on Friday if they are living with their girlfriend, a query I have yet to have answered, by the way). A couple decades ago, I would have said that the religion's stance on things will change markedly in the next century, maybe even allowing priests to marry, and such. However, since no one really seems to be bothered by the obvious hypocrisy, by both sides, today, I doubt it.

I'd say it's pretty likely most Catholics will continue to quietly disagree with the official Catholic view...it's almost becoming a tradition, at this point.


2/18/2009 05:47:00 PM



(2/18/2009 05:41:00 PM) - Al

Vince sends along this link of Chicago justice...a convicted arsonist is suing because the city doesn't want to pay him his fire department pension.

No, really.

One has to wonder if there's an honest politico in the entire city...


2/18/2009 05:41:00 PM



(2/18/2009 05:35:00 PM) - Al

I think it's great they are making it harder and harder to sneak weapons onto planes.

If you don't like it, don't fly.


2/18/2009 05:35:00 PM



(2/18/2009 04:44:00 PM) - Al

Gagne joins a crowded bullpen. Trevor Hoffman is the closer and Carlos Villanueva, David Riske and Seth McClung and at least one left-hander from Mitch Stetter or R.J. Swindle are ticketed for what will probably be a seven-man relief corps. Assuming only one lefty makes the cut, it would leave only two more spots for a field of competitors led by 40-man roster members Todd Coffey, Jorge Julio, Mark DiFelice and Rule 5 pick Eduardo Morlan.--MLB.com

Adam correctly handicaps the field, though I feel he's just being polite to Dillard and DiFelice, as both have options and seem to have little chance of "beating out" the others in a handful of March frames. That leaves Coffey, Julio, Gagne, and Morlan fighting for a pair of jobs, unless injuries happen, which could easily make room for all 4 of the above.

One thing I thought of today is that Hoffman is probably a one inning guy at this stage of his career, and Gagne pretty much is as well. If Carlos V takes over as the main set-up guy, he's not likely to be available for multiple frames often either. Stetter/Swindle are not going to be used for more than 3 outs either, so that leaves Riske, McClung, and one other fella (if Gagne makes the team) to be used for 1.1 or more.

As I often say, depth is needed for injuries, and the idea of a team having "too much pitching" is a problem I enjoy seeing.


2/18/2009 04:44:00 PM



(2/18/2009 04:39:00 PM) - Al

If Gamel's shoulder is bothering him, it will only increase the "move him to 1B" talk.

In a utopian state, he fits in so nicely at 3B, I'm all for giving him every chance to stick there. If not, I'd be discussing 3B with Hardy, and if he'll play there if the team gives him a long-term deal.


2/18/2009 04:39:00 PM



(2/18/2009 04:37:00 PM) - Al

I was unaware Freakonomics had a blog, never mind one with a huge readership.


2/18/2009 04:37:00 PM



(2/18/2009 03:33:00 PM) - Al

What's that old saying that you don't need much of a memory if you just tell the truth?

Yep.


2/18/2009 03:33:00 PM



(2/18/2009 03:26:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs discusses some of the minor leaguers the Brewers have in the system.


2/18/2009 03:26:00 PM



(2/18/2009 03:19:00 PM) - Al

I've enjoyed watching the Orioles build it back up this winter, but signing Brian Roberts to a 4y/$44M deal? Can't say I'm a fan. Roberts compares to Rickie Weeks, and is on the wrong side of 30, which usually suggests a production slide is soon to occur...not to mention a position change is not unlikely for a middle IF at that age.


2/18/2009 03:19:00 PM



(2/18/2009 03:14:00 PM) - Al

A Brewers' license plate? I live near Wausau, where several people have or share Packers' season tickets, and I barely knew there was a Packers' plate available.


2/18/2009 03:14:00 PM



(2/18/2009 08:45:00 AM) - Al

Fangraphs loves the Gagne signing. I can't imagine anyone not, for that matter.


2/18/2009 08:45:00 AM


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

(2/17/2009 10:51:00 PM) - Al

Adam with a newsy notes column from yesterday.


2/17/2009 10:51:00 PM



(2/17/2009 10:43:00 PM) - Al

I think it's just great that the CIA is still able to surprise people by doing sneaky things.

Of course, I couldn't care less about various things many find bothersome, though I am rather bothered by extremely evil people trying to do bad things to our citizens and our allies. While I do wish the Times would not have found this out, as it can't be a good thing, I am astounded by how much better the press outside the US seems to be.


2/17/2009 10:43:00 PM



(2/17/2009 10:38:00 PM) - Al

I think we've gone over a month without an inch or more of snow...though we are in the midst of a 4-8 inch snowfall as I type. At least it's a light snow, it'll be easier for the Rambling wife to shovel/snowblow tomorrow.


2/17/2009 10:38:00 PM



(2/17/2009 10:34:00 PM) - Al

.246...that was Kendall's batting average last season, his first as the Milwaukee Brewers' catcher. Ignore his stats from 2007, when he batted .242 while splitting the season between the Oakland A's and the Chicago Cubs, and it was the worst average of Kendall's 13-year career.--Witrado, JS

Heh. This is a professional writer, mind you, how clumsy can you say this...if you leave out a lower BA, it was his lowest?

If you take out all of his higher BA's, it was also the highest BA of his career, Tony. Oof.


2/17/2009 10:34:00 PM



(2/17/2009 10:21:00 PM) - Al

Some people don't like the fact the Brewers' new radio guy, gasp, grew up in IL, and has worked for the Cubs.

I don't like the fact some people are blithering idiots either. Where I come from, you pick the best person. All the rest is for the lawyers.


2/17/2009 10:21:00 PM



(2/17/2009 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Gagne will get $1.5M if he makes the team, with plenty of incentive possibilities.

Remember when Doug said he would wait and find some bargains on relievers late in the game? He has, and there's still plenty more unsigned.


2/17/2009 09:27:00 PM



(2/17/2009 08:02:00 PM) - Al

Macha looks to protect the psyche of his young hurlers, and all but announces his batting order.


2/17/2009 08:02:00 PM



(2/17/2009 06:44:00 PM) - Al

It seems hard to believe that after weeks of knowing each other's submitted figure, Hart and the Crew decide on the midpoint a day before the hearing.


2/17/2009 06:44:00 PM



(2/17/2009 06:40:00 PM) - Al

The tale of how government "helps" the automakers. Heh.


2/17/2009 06:40:00 PM



(2/17/2009 05:44:00 PM) - Al

Gagne returns, on a minor league contract.

Either he really liked it in MIL, or you question why he and Boras turned down a 40 man spot and guaranteed money with the Twins. Given Boras' track record of late, he might have forgot to return a call.

This sure isn't the year to be a mediocre veteran. It could well be an ongoing thing, a change in thinking from decades past.


2/17/2009 05:44:00 PM



(2/17/2009 09:51:00 AM) - Al

They hide the good news like retail sales being up because it makes that $1T plan seem a bit over the top.


2/17/2009 09:51:00 AM


Monday, February 16, 2009

(2/16/2009 07:43:00 PM) - Al

Word on the street is a pair of games versus the Cubs have already sold out (possibly some singles available), in addition to Opening Day. I don't think I'm exaggerating things a bit to say that I do not think they've ever had sellouts in the past before single game tickets have gone on sale.


2/16/2009 07:43:00 PM



(2/16/2009 06:53:00 PM) - Al

Ann is getting about half the mileage with the 10% ethanol as she gets with the old fashioned, all from way beneath the dirt gasoline.

Depending on how much city/highway driving I do, mine varies from 27-36, though I've never even tried 100% gas, as there's only a couple stations left, and I have no recollection of which ones they are.

Of course, I'm sure my Saturn is well below her Audi on most things. If you ever notice, the fancier stuff is, often the less flexible it is.

I know I had a friend whose mechanic told him to quit using the 10% ethanol because "engines are not made for that", and he did notice a marked improvement in the power and such his car had. That was 15+ years ago though. I assume they make engines differently now.


2/16/2009 06:53:00 PM



(2/16/2009 06:44:00 PM) - Al

Chad Cordero continues to be watched by the Crew as he tries to make a comeback.


2/16/2009 06:44:00 PM



(2/16/2009 06:34:00 PM) - Al

Macha plans to have Kendall catch a bit less...of course, he hasn't seen Rivera catch yet either.


2/16/2009 06:34:00 PM



(2/16/2009 06:09:00 PM) - Al

The Crew will have 157 games televised...that's a lot.

They do not mention that WMLW games will be televised on FSN outside the Milwaukee area, but I assume they will be. If so, there will be a couple games that conflict with the Bucks, and a few weekday contests unavailable.

For those of us that recall a day when only 25-30 games were broadcast, it's an embarrassment of riches.

EDIT: Adam of MLB.com reports Tyler Barnes of the Brewers says FSN will broadcast the WMLW contests outside Milwaukee.


2/16/2009 06:09:00 PM



(2/16/2009 05:59:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to say I am in full agreement with President Obama on the need to increase troops in Afghanistan. Looks like the troops already there are taking care of business, though progress will come slowly in that mountainous region.


2/16/2009 05:59:00 PM



(2/16/2009 04:36:00 PM) - Al

I would assume McClung, Wright, and Green will all be worked as SP's during March, as no one will be worked an inning or two and then stretched out again.

McClung is likely to start at least 20 games, if healthy and effective.


2/16/2009 04:36:00 PM



(2/16/2009 04:29:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers have interest in bringing Jason Isringhausen aboard on a minor league contract.


2/16/2009 04:29:00 PM



(2/16/2009 04:19:00 PM) - Al

As always, the Brewers have almost everyone there days ahead of time.

I've long wondered why players would show up early 6-7 weeks ahead of Opening Day...especially when it only takes position players 2-3 weeks to prep, but I guess it's better they want to be there than not.

I was looking at the Orioles team site for something yesterday, and they apparently do not have to report until Saturday, but were quick to point out they had 3-5 position players there a week early.

I know the player's union says mandatory reporting is always about March 1st, and Rickey Henderson never showed up more than a day or two before that. Suffice it to say, I'd be happy to have 25 Rickeys on my team, even if the beat writers had no one to talk about yet.:)


2/16/2009 04:19:00 PM



(2/16/2009 09:32:00 AM) - Al

I'm not a big fan of changing the rules halfway through something. That goes for middling free agents as well.


2/16/2009 09:32:00 AM



(2/16/2009 08:36:00 AM) - Al

As expected, Cory Provus is Ueck's new partner.


2/16/2009 08:36:00 AM


Sunday, February 15, 2009

(2/15/2009 03:36:00 PM) - Al

Jack Z claims Pena, obviously going by the old saying that you can't teach velocity.

As Doug points out, it was almost like a trade, and the Crew got younger, but you hate giving up on a guy that throws 95+, even if he sucks doing it.

Vinny Rottino did clear waivers, and remains in camp as a non-roster player. I'd just as soon see Vinny instead of Rivera, as VR can play other positions and has put up some decent OBP numbers in the minors, while Mike...had one nice game last year.:)


2/15/2009 03:36:00 PM



(2/15/2009 11:31:00 AM) - Al

I can only imagine the amount of people that watched the game that went to bed thinking Bohanon played poorly because of his shooting percentage, then waking up this morning to have him compared to Mike Flowers and Clayton Hanson defensively, and have him called the unsung hero.


2/15/2009 11:31:00 AM


Saturday, February 14, 2009

(2/14/2009 11:35:00 PM) - Al

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...how lucky are we that Bo Ryan was still available for a major job when Dick Bennett retired?

Joe Krabbenhoft had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 6 steals. Because they had 9 fewer turnovers and 12 more offensive rebounds, the Badgers took 17 more shots from the field, and still were fortunate to escape with a win. One of those classic games where it's a pretty comfy win if Jason or anyone hits a couple more 3's...but as you know, some nights, the shots just don't fall.


2/14/2009 11:35:00 PM



(2/14/2009 09:29:00 PM) - Al

Tonight, the Rambling wife asked when the slam dunk contest was. I tried to find a schedule on ESPN.com, and came across this long, but interesting article on how Shane Battier is very good despite not having stats. Actually, he does, but +/- has never caught on like it should...game-to-game, it's not real important, but by he time half a season rolls around, the cream has separated.


2/14/2009 09:29:00 PM



(2/14/2009 07:08:00 PM) - Al

First of a number of cookie cutter articles we'll see from the JS.

Surprisingly, the Brewers will focus on fundamentals this year in Arizona.


2/14/2009 07:08:00 PM



(2/14/2009 11:13:00 AM) - Al

Sure he's a hypocrite, but I do think it's nice that Prince Charles takes his mom when he goes places...oh.

Never mind.


2/14/2009 11:13:00 AM



(2/14/2009 10:16:00 AM) - Al

I've heard several rumors floated in the last 24 hours, including someone who speculated that the Blazers might talk with the Milwaukee Bucks about a deal that would send the Raef LaFrentz contract, Sergio Rodriguez, Travis Outlaw, and a draft pick to the Bucks for Richard Jefferson and Luke Ridnour.--Oregonian

As with most NBA deals, this would be about the contracts involved as much as the players...LaFrentz has a $13M deal that ends after this season, so he has been much sought after...even though he's injured. There's little doubt the Bucks would be receiving less talent in return, just like when they traded Mo Williams in the offseason. However, cap room is vital...the main reason for this proposed deal is to find a contending team willing to pick up Jefferson's contract, which may well allow the Bucks to keep Charlie V and Sessions without going over the luxury tax level next year.

I would say the fact that no denial has been issued as of yet means Hammond is busily at work exploring the waters.


2/14/2009 10:16:00 AM



(2/14/2009 10:07:00 AM) - Al

We spoke too soon last night, but we think we may have destroyed the mighty virus. The computer was working, but did not do certain things, including automatically checking for viruses, and no matter what the Rambling wife did, could not get the correct box to "check". This morning, she tried to load a variety of anti-virus stuff, but the computer kept redirecting her to a site which was not the same, but similar.

She eventually had to load the anti-virus stuff from another computer and rename it for my laptop to run it...it found and destroyed 30 problems.

That is one tough bug. Oh what those people could do if only they were to concentrate on good.


2/14/2009 10:07:00 AM


Friday, February 13, 2009

(2/13/2009 10:43:00 PM) - Al

I'm back on the laptop, the better half unloaded Windows and reinstalled...seems to have taken care of the bug, at least for now. I now have nothing on my desktop except Firefox, Internet Explorer, a virus protection program, and 2 poker sites...it looks really empty.

Here's another question for ya...she put in Firefox 3 for me...I had Firefox 2 before. Now, I cannot search, I get an error and makes me restart Firefox every time.


2/13/2009 10:43:00 PM



(2/13/2009 08:25:00 PM) - Al

The Crank sums it up perfectly, though I'm not sure he mentions the nugget of info that not a single person had time to read the actual bill, as it was up only 10 hours before the vote.

One need not wonder how, only why. The mere fact less than 10% of the money will be spent in 2009 tells me this was just a spending bill dressed up for Halloween as something more.

I've thought Halloween was stupid since I was 12, and a monumental waste of money. The irony is, that's exactly how I feel about the bill.

There were some tax cuts added, but one need not look back more than the Reagan economy he inherited and the 25 year long bull market recovery to see that allowing people to keep more of their own money works wonders, especially when the comparison was a weak leader whose idea of energy policy was to wear a sweater. It's a shame no one has even put forth the idea, choosing instead to spend money on roads and rails that are so unimportant, they have not been budgeted for yet, despite a bijillion dollar program designed to do just that.


2/13/2009 08:25:00 PM



(2/13/2009 08:13:00 PM) - Al

Hall out 4-6 weeks with a calf muscle tear. Casey McGehee is thrilled, I'm sure, but pretty much everyone else is depressed.


2/13/2009 08:13:00 PM



(2/13/2009 05:38:00 PM) - Al

Thanks for the many responses to my virus issue. I had to run a quote for a client today and I had to click "x" on so many pop-ups I could have cried, but it did work.

The Rambling wife plans on uninstalling some stuff this weekend and starting over. That's a good place to start, it sounds like.


2/13/2009 05:38:00 PM


Thursday, February 12, 2009

(2/12/2009 09:04:00 PM) - Al

I am posting from my office computer, as it seems my laptop has been reduced to a large paperweight by some sort of virus/trojan horse thing that I have no idea what caused. I was online tonight, and boom, some warning popped up, which the Rambling wife says is the actual virus pretending to be a protection feature.

Anyone with ideas or a solution, send along an e-mail. The irony here is it freezes up almost instantly when on the internet, and the only way we can find to rid your computer of it is by downloading stuff...off the internet.


2/12/2009 09:04:00 PM



(2/12/2009 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Rays signed LHP Brian Shouse, who had been with the Brewers, to a one-year, $1.55 million contract with an option for 2010.

Shouse will get $1.35 million this year and either $1.9 million or a $200,000 buyout in 2010. He's a modest upgrade over the departed Trever Miller in a specialist's role, but it's not one that's going to make a difference in the standings.--Rotoworld


Heh. Shouse signed this about 24 hours after his agent told anyone that would listen he would get a 2 year guaranteed contract. Instead, he signs a one year deal for an embarrassingly low amount for a quality loogy.

It's getting to the point where it's difficult to understand why players are paying agents 5% for dishonest tales to the press and excuses when they cost their clients millions. It's hard to believe Shouse would have got less than $1.75M in arby, and probably $2M.


2/12/2009 07:40:00 PM



(2/12/2009 07:16:00 PM) - Al

I see both Chase Wright and Nick Green have options left, so they can easily go down to AAA to provide depth. I always think about such things when I see and hear casuals say they want Seth McClung and Todd Coffey in Nashville...as the reason both ended up in MIL is due to the fact they have no options.

And while Green had a 5.32 ERA last year, it was only his year of 23, young for AAA. At 22 in AA, he had a 3.68 ERA, which is very impressive. Green has a 3-1 K/BB ratio in his career, and also looks to have held his own in AA at 21 for half-a-season. His weakness seems to be the HR ball.

Wright and Green may not be the top two pitchers available on waivers this spring, but they may well be the best two available that still had options left.

In Doug we trust.

EDIT: Salt Lake City is about 6-8% to the offensive side, so that makes his ERA a bit easier to fathom...especially that the Angels liked him enough to have him in AAA at 23.


2/12/2009 07:16:00 PM



(2/12/2009 05:50:00 PM) - Al

Looper passes physical and is official, Vinny Rottino taken off 40 man.


2/12/2009 05:50:00 PM



(2/12/2009 05:03:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers claim one RHP, and DFA another.

I did not predict Pena would be the one taken off the 40...but in my mind, he was 23 or so, not 26. Basically, they got two years younger, and have a guy who projects as a SP, not a reliever. That's a good thing.

And, while his 5+ ERA at AAA looks terrible, don't forget that the Pacific Coast League, especially the western teams, play in made for offense parks. His BB/K ratio looks very good, right about 2.5-1, and his AA numbers the year before are excellent.


2/12/2009 05:03:00 PM


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

(2/11/2009 10:23:00 PM) - Al

I called the Rambling wife today while she was at school volunteering with the Rambling son's class, as she does every week, to inform her that the Rambling dog had wandered up to the house with only about 12 inches of his tie out connected to his neck. On her subsequent trip to Target, in which she bought a tie-out that was 10 feet longer than our previous version, which led to him wandering around under the neighbor's deck, she saw an entire endcap devoted to a single product...$45 converter boxes.

For those who have put off the inevitable, they are in stock!

I had to wrap the incredibly long cable around our railing...twice...so our cocker spaniel would remain on our property while out doing God's work. The little fella turned 13 a week ago, estimated of course, as all shelter dogs are. He has now been with us for 9 years, and despite the fact he's gotten more needy over the years (whines more, barks more), at the end of the day, he is as devoted a friend as one could ever imagine having.

Probably because I usually feed him, but he spends most of time lying on a blanket somewhere in my vicinity. This morning, I did not have an early appointment, so I slept in after the others had left for school and work. When I awoke, Ronnie was lying where the wife normally would be, in the middle of the soft down comforter. I tossed the blanket aside, and got in the shower. When I got out, I walked back in the bedroom...there was the exhausted little guy still half-covered with the blanket I had thrown off...barely able to keep his eyes open.


2/11/2009 10:23:00 PM



(2/11/2009 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Great night of basketball, as the Badgers win relatively easily, and the bucks match last year's total with a W as well.

Is it just me, or do the Bucks remind anyone else of the Terry Stotts version...try and outscore the opponent, and of late, they've been able to outrun and outgun some second division clubs.


2/11/2009 10:15:00 PM



(2/11/2009 09:17:00 PM) - Al

Joe Krabbenhoft will be playing in his 127th game, which moves him into a tie for eighth with Kirk Penney on UW's all-time list. Krabbenoft is on pace to be No. 1 on that list by the time the season ends.--JS

A reminder of quite likely my favorite Badgers' player. I would have never grown tired of watching Kelley play defense.


2/11/2009 09:17:00 PM



(2/11/2009 04:59:00 PM) - Al

The government has always been painfully slow to pass a stimulus bill. Very funny chart, per Glenn.


2/11/2009 04:59:00 PM



(2/11/2009 04:34:00 PM) - Al

BCB discusses the 25 man roster, though they seem to forget injuries will occur, likely meaning 27-28 guys will begin the year on the 25 man or the DL.

I'd say Coffey and Julio have a huge advantage over the others, and Morlan is probably the first guy on if someone falters or is DL'd.

As for the position guys, I see Nixon and Gwynn as heavy faves for the backup OF spots, with maybe Jason B and Vinny R being my "sleepers"...JB would add a versatile RH bat to the bench, but I don't see Gwynn clearing waivers.


2/11/2009 04:34:00 PM



(2/11/2009 04:04:00 PM) - Al

Dunn signs for 2y/$20M with DC...he'll play 1B badly now, though it can't be much worse than he was in LF.

It also leaves the Nationals with a half-dozen OF's of various skill levels. That'll be a couple too many, it would seem.


2/11/2009 04:04:00 PM



(2/11/2009 02:17:00 PM) - Al

For those of you closer to Milwaukee than me, the Bucks just e-mailed me a spectacular ticket deal for tonight...$51 tickets for $20, and $21 seats for $6. Just go to Bucks.com and enter "allstar" in the password box, minus the quotation marks.


2/11/2009 02:17:00 PM



(2/11/2009 02:01:00 PM) - Al

Al,

You have mentioned a couple times that you hope for a 32 team MLB, with 4 four team divisions in each league. How would that set up schedule wise and how many teams would you see in the playoffs?

Pete


One idea a few years ago was to have each team play each division rival 24 times, which would be 3x24=72. They'd play all other league teams a 3 game series both home and away, which is 12x6=72. That's leave 18 interleague games, of which I would say 3 or 4 versus your "rival" in each ballpark (the Brewers play the Twins annually), and the rest alternating every year like they do now. I wish they'd do a day/night doubleheader on Saturday and make it a 4 game series...for many, Cubs/Sox, Yankees/Mets, and so on, it's be yet another sellout. There are a few teams without a "rival", but if they'd play every year, who knows, they might create one.

I don't think there's ever been any official MLB plan, but I would guess the 4 division winners and 2 wildcard teams from each league would make the playoffs.

I like the above idea because of the intense rivalries that would build up, playing your division that often, and how nice it would be to have symmetry, 4 teams, 4 divisions, both leagues.


2/11/2009 02:01:00 PM



(2/11/2009 11:56:00 AM) - Al

I have pity for the Jets, having lost their 1st round pick for a single year of an old QB, but to think we won't hear rumors and the like in the coming months is foolish.

UPDATE: I guess Favre's performance only got the Pack a 3rd rounder.


2/11/2009 11:56:00 AM



(2/11/2009 11:48:00 AM) - Al

Adam says probably no official announcement on Looper today, but he is taking his physical.


2/11/2009 11:48:00 AM



(2/11/2009 09:56:00 AM) - Al

One of my favorite moments of any televised roast is when Jeff Ross takes the stage, and launches a profane, vulgar, but hilarious ripping of the roastee or the guests.

At Pam Anderson's roast, Ross chided an obviously inebriated Courtney Love by saying, "How can Courtney Love look worse than Kurt Cobain"?

{For those of you that missed that decade, Cobain was in a band and died of a drug overdose, as rock stars are supposed to do.}

I'm the first to say it was kind of mean, but take a glance at these pics of Love, and admit it, a decaying, drug riddled corpse would not look a bit worse.

UPDATE: My e-mail reminds me Cobain committed suicide, though a large amount of heroin was found in his body. I think in my mind, I was thinking the drugs killed him, though obviously, the bullet hurried things along. Or, maybe I'm just getting old.

Thanks for the reminder, and Ramblings regrets the error.


2/11/2009 09:56:00 AM


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

(2/10/2009 10:31:00 PM) - Al

Nathan adds his thoughts about health care in the "stimulus plan", which not only does not look to stimulate a thing, but also seems to bring up some ethical issues and big brotherish government snooping.


2/10/2009 10:31:00 PM



(2/10/2009 09:45:00 PM) - Al

The military says they're getting fatter.

As I have talked about before, I wonder how the two problems we hear about all the time are:

1. We're too fat.

2. Hunger is a severe problem.

That seems like a strange twosome.


2/10/2009 09:45:00 PM



(2/10/2009 09:28:00 PM) - Al

Tonight, I saw an ad for KFC's new "value menu" for the first time. They did not list the items, but if you click here, you can gaze at the unhealthy but delicious poultry goodness. Note how out of place the salad looks.

Now if you'll excuse me, I just gained a pound.


2/10/2009 09:28:00 PM



(2/10/2009 09:24:00 PM) - Al

Is it wrong I've never heard of this Chris Brown fella, who apparently thinks nothing of beating up women?

If it's all the same, I don't think I'm going to become a fan of the scumbag now...hopefully, I did not offend any bags of scum with that previous statement.


2/10/2009 09:24:00 PM



(2/10/2009 09:09:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling household is happy much of the snow has been melting, as last year, the entire winter's worth melted and my sump pump ran all the time for weeks. I'd say about half the snow has disappeared over the last week, and has had time to work its way into the soil, which is the way these things are s'posed to happen.

We do wish the city would come through with a plow and remove the slush build-up...they took a drain out from the end of our driveway (it was slowly caving in, or would have over time) last summer, but the snow and such prevent the water from flowing to the next one, about 50-60 feet away. So, the end of our driveway has been a giant puddle since it got above 32.


2/10/2009 09:09:00 PM



(2/10/2009 08:53:00 PM) - Al

I reordered and added/removed some links to the sidebar, which admittedly, was long overdue. Among other things, Adam McCalvy's MLB blog, Brew Beat, is now on there.

I get asked nearly every day if I will add a link, and long ago, I decided the only ones I would have were the ones I actually read, though I often do link to new blogs in posts, as I remember those days when an audience of a dozen or so was "a good day".

Any suggestions are appreciated.


2/10/2009 08:53:00 PM



(2/10/2009 08:35:00 PM) - Al

Sources told ESPN.com that the Angels and Bobby Abreu are seriously discussing a one-year deal.

The Angels need to get this done. There's no reason to enter another season with Gary Matthews Jr. in left field when Abreu would likely come at a bargain rate.--Rotoworld


Well, considering Matthews makes $10M, and that Abreu graded out as the worst RF in MLB defensively, I think I'd just go with Gary Jr, and maybe try and pick up someone at the deadline. I doubt if there's much of an improvement overall once D is figured in.


2/10/2009 08:35:00 PM



(2/10/2009 08:20:00 PM) - Al

The JS reports Looper's deal has a mutual option for 2010, and that his salary for '09 is only $4.75M..."only" being a relative term, of course.


2/10/2009 08:20:00 PM



(2/10/2009 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Vince sends in this Pecota link predicting how many wins each team will have...I think they run the season 10K times, or something like that. Actually, 83 seems about right...especially if the Looper signing is not figured in. I'd say the additional 1.5-2 wins having Braden (and having Seth as the #6 SP, to take the place of someone when the inevitable injury occurs) puts them right about 85, which is what I'd guess, barring long-term injury to Braun or Fielder, the two guys that are all but irreplaceable.

Note how good they have the AL East and how bad they have the rest of the AL...I talked about this same thing a while back. It is possible we see 5 AL East teams over .500, and maybe only the division winners of the Central and West over the breakeven mark...though that seems unlikely, as the division rivals play each other 18 times, if memory serves.

UPDATE: BP agrees.


2/10/2009 07:20:00 PM



(2/10/2009 07:11:00 PM) - Al

BCB notices how similar Bush and Looper are. I think I took a look at this once as well, but spent about 1% of the time on it as they did.


2/10/2009 07:11:00 PM



(2/10/2009 07:03:00 PM) - Al

Royals signed RHP Jamey Wright to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Wright rejoins the team he pitched for briefly in 2003. The 34-year-old had a 5.12 ERA in 84 1/3 innings out of the pen for the Rangers last season. That's right at his career mark, so while it will help that he's getting out of Arlington, there's little reason to think he'll be of much help to the Royals.--Rotoworld


I have hated almost everything KC has done, but a minor league deal for a guy who can counted on to not embarrass himself is a nice signing.


2/10/2009 07:03:00 PM



(2/10/2009 06:40:00 PM) - Al

I admit, if I'd have been in the audience, I'd be compelled to say, "Tim, all you know about money is how to get caught not paying your taxes".

It is sad when they announce they're spending billions to help the banks and several respected investors say it might hurt, rather than help.


2/10/2009 06:40:00 PM


Monday, February 09, 2009

(2/09/2009 08:35:00 PM) - Al

Dare I say, AP may not be called upon at the next presser. That's a mighty blunt assessment of what he said versus what's in the package.


2/09/2009 08:35:00 PM



(2/09/2009 08:00:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure if I even get the "scandal" part of it...everyone knew that in 2003, enough players tested positive to make the testing and penalties to kick in for 2004. Plenty of quality players have tested positive in the meantime, as well as many utility types.

Of course, there was no penalty for such actions back then, so this is really much ado about nothing. ARod will suffer some catcalls and a reduced reputation by a few. At the end of the day, however, while an even playing field is much preferred, any advantage gained is minimal...and for some reason, when positive test results come to light in the NFL (where it is an actual plus to be more muscular), as they still do every single year, it is barely newsworthy.

Earlier today, ESPN had 70% of the public either uncaring or "mildly" upset about the revelation...somehow, the sport will survive.


2/09/2009 08:00:00 PM



(2/09/2009 07:54:00 PM) - Al

The i's are dotted and the t's crossed, all that's left is for Braden to cough and to get violated by a licensed medical provider.


2/09/2009 07:54:00 PM



(2/09/2009 07:41:00 PM) - Al

The Cardinals have opted to release second baseman Adam Kennedy, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

At Tony La Russa's urging, says the report. This is definitely a case of bizarre timing, and it's a pretty cruel way for the Cardinals to treat a player. If they didn't want to go forward with the veteran, they should have released him months ago and given him a chance to find a job elsewhere. Kennedy hasn't hit much two years running, but he still plays excellent defense and there was the chance he'd bounce back to be adequate against right-handers. He seems like a better choice than any of the internal candidates to replace him.--Rotoworld


I'm not too worried about Kennedy, who'll be paid regardless. However, this says all you need to know about the Cards' roster management skills...using a 40 man spot all offseason on a gujy you waive before spring camp? That's about as bad as it gets. Also, how many players will LaRussa have to run out of town because the drunken skipper doesn't get along with them? Other than running out of relievers in the 9th inning and acting shocked, LaRussa stopped being relevant a decade ago.

Kennedy now becomes a minimum salary pickup, and a darn nice $400K option, especially if you have a young player who may not quite be ready yet.


2/09/2009 07:41:00 PM



(2/09/2009 07:12:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers announce their promotional schedule for '09.

I love the special Braun bobblehead idea, as well as the Doug Melvin bobble...I wonder how big they'll make his mustache?


2/09/2009 07:12:00 PM



(2/09/2009 07:07:00 PM) - Al

Less spending? More tax cuts?

Damn capitalists answering surveys...


2/09/2009 07:07:00 PM



(2/09/2009 04:06:00 PM) - Al

Scott Van Pelt wants to look at a one-year salary and compare it to a lifetime list of accomplishments.

Baseball made $6 billion in 2007, and Selig got $18 million, correct? That's a CEO getting paid three one-thousandths of his organization's annual revenue, right? That's the equivalent of a CEO making $3,000/year for a small business that grosses $1 million that year, right?

What an outrageously large sum of money.

While the detractors keep whining about the 2002 All-Star Game and the 1994 strike, Selig just keeps making everyone in the game wealthier.

-Adam


Selig may well go down as the man who saved baseball. At the very least, as Adam points out, he'll go down as the guy who was in charge of the game during the greatest growth and labor peace since the union has existed.

Why is $18M considered a high salary? As pointed out, MLB deals with big numbers. Add up all the teams value, I would estimate you are talking about $12-15B. You can't have some yoo-hoo like you or me running a business that large. Have you noticed how poorly the NHL is run? The NBA is getting close as well. Back when Bud took over the game, one team (believed to be the Tigers) had to take out a loan to meet payroll, and several teams were playing in stadiums that could best be described as "lackluster". Now, we're almost at the point where every team has a 21st century ballpark (the A's are still progressing, I hear), and the next step will be renewed talk about expansion, as soon as a realistic option or two comes to the forefront.


2/09/2009 04:06:00 PM



(2/09/2009 03:51:00 PM) - Al

I asked Melvin what made the Brewers stray from their previous statements that they didn't plan to sign a pitcher on this market because they'd lose financial flexibility down the road to add a better pitcher. He said they did a study of the pitchers who might become available and decided their contracts were too rich and it would involve trading players they'd want to keep.

"We do lose flexibility by making this decision now," said Melvin.--JS


That's one thing I actually was thinking the other day...many times, if teams move a SP during the season, it is because they expensive...and teams rarely want to pick up salary, they want a straight payroll dump and to pick up prospects.

And, this is in effect the "big move"...it does not sound like there is much left for a midseason pickup, unless the other team is willing to pick up salary in order to get a prospect or two.


2/09/2009 03:51:00 PM



(2/09/2009 01:18:00 PM) - Al

A player will have to be dropped from the 40 man eventually, when Braden passes his physical. As I have said before, I would say Hernan Iribarren should rent, not buy. Other names I assume would be in the bottom five would be Vinny Rottino, Brad Nelson, and Casey McGahee, as both are older and have limited ceilings.

I think any pitcher would be claimed on waivers, so I doubt if any of them will be removed from the 40.

My first thought is very few teams have a 6th starter nearly as good as McClung, and DiFelice and Wright are solid 7th/8th options, to say the least. It also adds depth to the bullpen, I would argue makes it very, very deep and solid.


2/09/2009 01:18:00 PM



(2/09/2009 01:14:00 PM) - Al

FYI, Adam McCalvy now has a blog up and running, which I'm sure he'll keep filled with good stuff regularly. I'll add it to the sidebar when I get home later.


2/09/2009 01:14:00 PM



(2/09/2009 12:51:00 PM) - Al

Brewers are about to sign Braden Looper.

I almost predicted this the other day, when I was writing about Sheets and "still like to add one more SP", but I could not put the likelihood of it over 25-33%, so I decided against it.

I wrote about Looper here...every Brewers fan will be happy about this move except Seth McClung.

EDIT: I have to wonder if the Brewers losing the two draft picks for Sheets may have "cleared" about $2-3M from the draft budget, and if that money, in addition to the contracts Rickie and Prince signed, is paying the '09 salary of Looper...or the vast majority of it. Prince is getting $1M less than he asked for, Weeks about $350K...add all that up, and it's in the range of $3.5-4.5M (depending on where the team that signed Sheets was drafting in the 1st round)...and Looper is probably going to get about $6M.


2/09/2009 12:51:00 PM



(2/09/2009 12:40:00 PM) - Al

Gleeman points out that the solid, if unspectacular signing of Ayala by the Twins may make Phil Humber available at the end of March...and maybe Boof Bonser.

Those and several others will be on the waiver wire.


2/09/2009 12:40:00 PM



(2/09/2009 11:27:00 AM) - Al

Does Obama remind you of others who promised to "redistribute"?

The thing is, other than his poorly thought out "spread the wealth" statement to Joe the plumber, he hasn't never given any specifics to how he intends to accomplish anything. Hence, no one knows what his ideals actually are.


2/09/2009 11:27:00 AM


Sunday, February 08, 2009

(2/08/2009 06:56:00 PM) - Al

The last time the Badgers were 3-6 in the conference, they went to the Final Four.

So said the color man on today's broadcast. I was not expecting a win today, but was hopeful. I have noticed the past couple games that a lot of open shots for the opponent just have not gone in...today, Penn State missed all 14 3's they took...if they just go 3-14, they might well have had the lead much of the 2nd half, and it's a different game.


2/08/2009 06:56:00 PM



(2/08/2009 01:58:00 PM) - Al

A couiple weeks ago, my GPS got stuck in my car charger. After pulling as hard as I could, I turned it and it slipped right out. However, since then, both my car charger and my GPS charger have not worked, even in other vehicles or with other equipment, like my cell phone. We hoped one or both were just a blown fuse, but we were unable to find the car manual to find out where the fuses even were in my car. So, I've been forced to use Mapquest and on cold days, actually turn off my phone so it maintained a charge if needed toward the end of the day.

This morning, the Rambling wife came across the manual, so we glanced at it to see where the fuse box was...turns out it's by the passenger seat, and it even has a little notch cut out of the plastic to make a little door to pull it open (as well as a "fuse access" outline, which cannot be seen unless you are on your knees, already pulling open the door). So, after a delicious, PETA angering KFC lunch, the Rambling son and I went out to the car.

We had read that their would be two yellow, 20 amp fuses, one for the power locks and one for the charger. Sure enough, they were side-by-side, though the manual did not specify which was which. I pulled one out and glanced at it...the metal was split right in two...I don't know much about fuses, but I know that is not correct. I put the other yellow one in and plugged in my phone charger...the light came on. Thus far, I was 1-1. I turned to the Rambling son and said, "We fixed it!", to which he got this strange grin on his face, and said, "Really?", as if he figured I must be joking if I was suggesting success. After assuring him, he went in the house and said, "Daddy fixed it!", in the exact tone of voice as if he was saying, "A dog just flew past the window".

After a trip to Ace Hardware, I now have a working charger and a GPS, as that too proved to be just a fuse. And everyone is surprised, including myself.


2/08/2009 01:58:00 PM



(2/08/2009 12:16:00 PM) - Al

HOU pursuing Dunn?

No offense to the Astros, but a Lee/Pence/Dunn OF would be among the worst defensive OF's of our time. Lee is not bad, but is probably -10 runs. Pence is probably a bit below average, and Dunn is terrible in LF, so he'd be worse in RF...if you kindly say he's -25 runs, that would seemingly make that alignment giving up a quarter run every game...that's a lot to make up with the bats, and a lot more work for the pitching staff.

When I figured out a Dunn/Cameron swap, Adam's offense still didn't make up for his shortcomings in the field...there's a message to be learned there.


2/08/2009 12:16:00 PM



(2/08/2009 11:16:00 AM) - Al

Sessions and Charlie V both scored 30+ and played 40+ minutes, but the Bucks lose in OT to the Pistons. Of course, both those players will be lost over the offseason if they are not dealt, as both will be restricted free agents, and supposedly, the Bucks have stated they are unwilling to go over the luxury tax threshold...meaning they are very unlikely to be able to match any reasonable offer. Thus, most folks feel one or both will be traded.

I'm the first to admit the NBA is a bit confusing to understand as far as trades go...contracts have to match within 10%, so this leads to many deals looking very lopsided, as often times, injured or even retired players whose contracts expire after the current season are as sought after as, you know, actual talented players.

Of course, I've read on message boards they may as well hang onto them and try and make the playoffs, as no one will want them because they may only be around a couple months...while in reality, that actually puts their value at a premium, good players, no long-term commitment, and after this season, the lusted after "salary cap room", in which teams go after free agents that in a year or two they will be desperately trying to unload for an expiring contract...because they want cap room to go after a free agent.

Personally, if it's possible, I'd try to keep Sessions, as I don't think his trade value is as high as his potential. However, Charlie V is possibly the best offensive player that will be on the market at the deadline...there are only about 10-15 bonafide 20 point scorers in the league, and while CV is far from that level, he has shown he can consistently score 15-20 in the last couple months. You can talk about rebounding and defense all you want, unless you plan on winning 81-78, you need some scorers...and he can also play the 3, 4, and 5 spots (with varying levels of defensive efficiency), so he'll fit into almost any team needing offense.

I don't know if it's possible for the Bucks to keep CV and not lose him for nothing in the offseason. At best, it seems like the chances are slim and none. John Hammond is not a stupid man, I can't see CV with the team on 2/20.


2/08/2009 11:16:00 AM



(2/08/2009 08:55:00 AM) - Al

More of the same, European nations don't want to help out in Afghanistan...even though W is not the president anymore.

Last night on the evening news, one of the stories they teased at the beginning was the US Navy on patrol, looking for Somali pirates...because no one else is.

I realize some of this is just because some little nations are not especially responsible, and because some are embarrassingly inept militarily. As far as I know, no one disputes Taliban presence and that they are evil, evil men.

Already, it seems that doing the right thing is far from a concern, regardless of whether Bush or Obama is in the Oval Office. Now that the excuse is gone, we'll have to see what reasons they come up with...except the obvious ones I mentioned in the above paragraph.


2/08/2009 08:55:00 AM


Saturday, February 07, 2009

(2/07/2009 07:57:00 PM) - Al

Tom H tries to downplay the Brewers' SP depth, but actually, the more I look at it, DeFelice and Wright were two of the best AAA SP's in the game last year (Chase split his '08 between AA and AAA). Granted, I'd love to see them 7 deep like they were last year, but they have a very solid front 5, two guys who were good in the minors, and then a plethora of options who will have to clear waivers at the end of March.

Could be a lot worse, that's for sure.


2/07/2009 07:57:00 PM



(2/07/2009 04:14:00 PM) - Al

It's astounding how much better Indiana is now than they were a couple months ago. That group of kids is going to be solid if they stay together.


2/07/2009 04:14:00 PM



(2/07/2009 04:10:00 PM) - Al

I checked 3 mock drafts today, and every one of them has McNeal being a mid-late 2nd round pick. If he can play point guard, it seems possible he'll stick as a 5th guard, but it also would seem Europe is more likely. Not sure why anyone would think he's a certain NBA player.

He seems like a better player than Kam Taylor, but Taylor had to beg and plead to find a summer league roster spot.


2/07/2009 04:10:00 PM



(2/07/2009 02:04:00 PM) - Al

Al,

It's telling that the MLB Network is devoting more airtime to the A-Rod story than ESPN. CNN has an obvious incentive since SI is the same company (I think).

But ESPN's relatively light treatment of this story reminds me of their handling of the Favre/Millen story.

MLBN, on the other hand, would seem to have the strongest incentive to bury this and run replays of the 2004 World Series all day. But they've cut in live with Costas and the whole studio crew. If you ask me, they already look more balanced than their colleagues at NFLN.

Just thought you might be interested in the MLBN coverage today, if you haven't caught any.

-Adam


I have said before, I only get the MLB Network on one TV in our abode (need a digital box), and haven't felt the urge to change that. I'm shocked that MLBN is covering this as Adam says, as it is just hearsay, rumor, and such, and seems unlikely to ever be more than that. And to be blunt, a positive steroid test from '03...when it was not a banned substance in the CBA, is underwhelming at best.


2/07/2009 02:04:00 PM



(2/07/2009 11:44:00 AM) - Al

I have no interest in buying them, but I did take a glance at the Brewers' page to buy group tickets, and it seems a bit clumsy to me. I would have thought an option would exist to simply "buy" 25 or more tickets at the group price, but I did not see one, instead, only deposits are being taken. I'm sure this is done so folks don't have to come up with $500-1500 all at once, but it seems kind of old fashioned and labor intensive to me.


2/07/2009 11:44:00 AM



(2/07/2009 11:17:00 AM) - Al

Imhofe often brings a common sense approach to the national scene, and he pretty much sums up my viewpoint. I'm all for lowering taxes to spark spending, and for a limited spending, if indeed it happens within 90-180 days. Hearing about obvious pork and construction projects with 2010/2011 time lines makes me doubt we're talking about a stimulus bill, but rather a spending bill which favors pet projects and blue state bridges to somewhere...that no one really needs, but someone wants.

Today on his investment show, Steve Forbes said just what I have been...the economy Reagan inherited was oodles worse, and no one even mentioned a 1T stimulus plan...he cut taxes and used deficit spending, which led to a 25 year bullish economy with two tiny recessions. JFK did the same thing and the economy also prospered. However, no one seems to even consider such a "maverick" plan as letting people keep more of their own money and spending less than the GNP of many decent sized nations.

He did not say it, but all I could think of is Reagan's never ending optimism and patriotism to the current "we may never come out of this" message.

Apparently, hope and change has swapped spots with "fear".


2/07/2009 11:17:00 AM



(2/07/2009 11:08:00 AM) - Al

Ray Durham has not had a single offer. It's tough for teams to carry a guy like Durham, who can only play 2B, unless he's going to start. If he's a reserve, that means the other reserve INF has to be able to backup both SS and 3B, and preferably 1B as well. The only player I can think of like that in the past few years was Keith Lockhart, who played for the Braves for a few seasons.

He'd make a fine PH/DH/backup 2B for an AL team with a young 2B they wanted to "protect" by letting him sit versus some tough starters, but as you can imagine, that's a unique situation, and quite possibly, not one any team is experiencing in 2009. His lack of range is a concern as well, I'm sure, especially with a ground ball pitcher on the mound.


2/07/2009 11:08:00 AM



(2/07/2009 10:22:00 AM) - Al

In an interview with Roch Kubatko of MASN, Rich Hill related his '08 control issues to a lower-back injury that he suffered in the middle of spring training.

"I tried to compensate so I could compete," Hill said. The left-hander claims to feel much stronger since undertaking a weight-lifting program and changing his diet. "I eat a lot more...correctly," he said. If he can figure out his control, Hill has the skill set to be a solid starter in the American League.--Rotoworld


Of course, no one ever says they sucked the year before "just because" and they don't know if they'll ever be able to play in the big leagues again. That said, it is interesting that both Hill and Turnbow, both of who "just lost it", were less than 100%, or are claiming they were, in Hill's case.

If Hill is a fraction of what he was before '08, he'll go down as an absolute steal for the Orioles.

On a related note, while I was flipping last night, I saw a few minutes of Hot Stove on ESPN2. Many of the analysts were saying that 3 AL East teams might win 90 games, and finally Gammons also pointed out that TOR has averaged 86 victories the last 3 years, and that BAL is much improved and has oodles of young talent.

If someone told me TOR would win 88 and BAL 75, that would not surprise me at all, so I have a difficult time imagining three 90 win teams in that division, as there are no weak links. However, I think TB will be as good or better, as many of their young players have not peaked yet, and BOS looks incredibly deep and talented, even if just a couple of their "projects" like Brad Penny pan out. Also, no one likes to mention it, as the "whoa is me" feelings seem to sell, but if you actually look at what Mussina did in '08, Sabathia will be hard pressed to match it, and some of us

*cough*
me
*cough*

are rather unimpressed with AJ Burnett, both his career numbers and his ability to stay healthy. He's similar to John Lackey and Ben Sheets, two good pitchers, but you'd think AJ was a first ballot hall-of-famer by his contract. Add that to how old they are and the horrible defense they play (and no seemingly are worse in the OF, with Damon moving to CF; though Teixeira will improve 1B), I see NY as a notch below the other two, and honestly, not a small notch.


2/07/2009 10:22:00 AM


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