Thursday, March 12, 2009

Papelbon: Manny is a Cancer

Be prepared for a bunch of cliches as Boston Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon describes Manny Ramirez and the addition of Jason Bay.

From the article:

"It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that's exactly what was happening," Papelbon said, according to the magazine. "Once we saw that, we weren't afraid to get rid of him. It's like cancer. That's what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It [stunk], but that was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us."

I'm not sure if cancer is the right word considering what his teammates John Lester and Mike Lowell have gone through, but he decided to use the word cancer. Unlike basketball, baseball is really an individual sport. Sure, you need your teammates to help you out on unimportant stats like RBIs and Runs, but each player goes one-on-one per at bat. Each player controls his area on defense. You control your own greatness. Even if he was moody, there are lots of moody people. Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds were described as moody, and they led the Giants to the World Series. Manny B. Manny was crucial to both Red Sox World Series runs. He must be benign.

On the acquisition of Jason Bay, he says:

"And after, you could feel it in the air in the clubhouse," he said, according to the magazine. "We got Jason Bay -- Johnny Ballgame, plays the game right, plays through broken knees, runs out every ground ball -- and it was like a breath of fresh air, man! Awesome! No question."

Jason Bay does play the game the right way. Look at that career 131 OPS+ or that .375 career OBP. He even posted a 128 OPS+ in a very small sample size with the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez plays the game the righter way. In his half season with the Red Sox he had a 136 OPS+ and has a career OPS+ of 155 and a career .411 OBP.

I'm sure Jason Bay would not play the game with broken knees, but through the silly hyperbole, I get what Papelbon is saying. Jason Bay probably runs out most ground balls. Manny B. Manny probably does not run out most ground balls. I would say most baseball players don't run hard when they know they will be out. Is it wrong? Maybe a little bit because there's always a chance for an error. But if you were to watch the highlights of that dead story from Boston media and picked up by ESPN, you would see a highlight of Manny taking over five seconds to run to first. And then you would see a package of clips where he didn't run that hard. If you were to believe that, then you would think that this dude doesn't try. Looking at that career .411 OBP, I'm thinking the guy knows what he is doing and does it very well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Barry Bonds Still a Free Agent

Last week, the second best offensive free agent in baseball signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The best offensive free agent is without a team for the second consecutive year.

Say what you will about his character--which I believe is insanely overblown--but the guy can hit. But let's say this guy is a grumpy man who doesn't sign autographs for the kids. I don't go to baseball games to watch guys with great character who donate blood to the Red Cross and tells jokes at the neighborhood bar. I watch players who are skilled. Look at what this guy did for the Seattle Mariners last season. For a guy who is only supposed to play offense and not defense, he managed to get on base 27% of the time in half the season. Great. And they couldn't offer Barry Bonds a couple million? By the way, Jose Vidro made $8.5 million to not be a good player.

Okay, so it looks like the guy took steroids. But this guy was listed on the Mitchell Report for steroids. Gregg Zaun recently signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles. Steroids, grumpyness, whatever your excuse, let's just be real for once: Barry Bonds has been blackballed by baseball.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Evolution of Jeans

Have you seen the price of jeans lately? Look, I'm all for men's fashion and looking great, but part of men's fashion is pulling it off. Not everyone can pull it off. So what do you have when you have a bunch of guys wearing True Religion Jeans at a Scottsdale club? You have a guy who just spent at least $200 and looking like everyone else. And look, just because you spent $200 on jeans, doesn't mean you are a fashion icon. It means you have no idea what you are doing.

Any guy in their mid 20s will recall Jnco's Jeans. You don't? Does this help? The baggy jeans with pockets that go from the waist to the heel. Every junior high kid had these jeans. Do you remember how foolish you looked when you spent $100 for these ridiculous jeans? Well, project that same thought on True Religion Jeans ten years from now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Pog Post

I still have my Pogs; really, it's just part of my childhood museum. It's a reminder of how junior high promotes following trends rather than being your own person. I was in 6th grade when Pogs became hip. When I first saw them, I said to my friends, "I'll never get into that." Two weeks later, I was buying 60 Pogs for a dollar at the flea market. But here's the thing: those Pogs weren't good enough. You had to have the official Pogs with the official Pog markings on the back. They came in packs of four for about $3 or $4. Being the smart, young business man, I loaded up on those 60 for a dollar unofficial Pogs, invested in a heavy slammer and played rich kids for their official Pogs. I had the makings of a C.E.O. But instead, I decided to be a writer and satirize my experience. It's that whole two roads diverged in a yellow wood thing.

Manny Ramirez Signs with the Dodgers

After a winter-long negotiation with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and really only the Dodgers, Manny Ramirez is officially back with the Dodgers.

This move makes the Dodgers a legit contender in the NL West. This sums up my take on the Dodger's improvement with Manny B. Manny in the lineup. Before the signing, the Dodgers and D-backs had a similar lineup. All pretty good to good hitters but neither team having the superstar slugger. Both teams had comparable pitching staffs with Webb and Haren slightly edging Billingsley and the projected numbers of Kershaw. Unless Justin Upton makes the big leap this year, which is a strong possibility but next year is more probably, the Dodgers now have the slight advantage. Regardless, this is going to be a good race and the loser has a shot at the Wild Card. Also, Ned Colletti needs to look at that lineup and see the lack of Juan Pierre. Congratulations Colletti, you have a $44 million pinch runner sitting on the bench.

The other part of the discussion is Manny's greed. I'm not sure why athletes are held to this standard where they should sign for less money and play for the love of the game. I'm sure most athletes love the game, but they also want to get paid tons of money. I love writing and I write for here for free, but I also look to get paid for my writing through magazines. As far as Manny signing for less money, look, the Dodgers aren't lowering ticket prices, concessions and parking. So if you're going to pay that much money, don't you want to see a good team?