Thursday, May 31, 2007

Annual American League All-Star Voting Rant/Gripe

The AL All-Star voting is in (the fan voting, at least. Jim Leyland has yet to make his final picks.) As is customary with the All-Star voting, all bloggers have to highlight why the game itself is just a glass menagerie of over-hyped fan favorites and better known names.

1. Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers (.276 AVG)
2. Joe Mauer, Twins (Disabled List)
3. Jason Varitek, Red Sox (.277 AVG)
4. Jorge Posada, Yankees (.357 AVG)
5. Victor Martinez, Indians (.308 AVG)
Gripe: Jorge Posada came in fourth, and he leads the AL in batting. Joe Maurer has barely played this year due to injury, and Kenji Johjima of Seattle is batting .309, second among catchers, and didn't even place.

First Base:
1. David Ortiz, Red Sox (.315 AVG)
2. Jason Giambi, Yankees (.262 AVG)
3. Justin Morneau, Twins (.294 AVG)
4. Travis Hafner, Indians (.270 AVG)
5. Sean Casey, Tigers (.269 AVG)
Gripe: Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) is the single most deserving first baseman in the game to be an All-Star (.354, 70 hits, 30 RBIs and 40 runs), but since Big Papi puts up huge numbers at the DH, the guy who actually plays the field day in and day out has to bow out. It's a shame. Not to mention Cleveland's Ryan Garko (.333 AVG) and Anaheim's Casey Kotchman (.309 AVG) are batting far better than anyone who placed except Ortiz.

Second Base
1. Robinson Cano, Yankees (.264 AVG)
2. Placido Polanco, Tigers (.328 AVG)
3. Ian Kinsler, Rangers (.237 AVG)
4. B.J. Upton, Devil Rays (.325 AVG)
5. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (.308 AVG)
Gripe: Dustin Pedroia - All Star?! How about Luis Castillo (.335 AVG) who leads all second basemen in batting? Ian Kinsler had a great start to the season, but dropped off after April. Brian Roberts (.310 AVG) of Baltimore also failed to place, but has emerged as one of the best leadoff men in the league.

Third Base
1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (.292 AVG)
2. Mike Lowell, Red Sox (.330 AVG)
3. Brandon Inge, Tigers (.219 AVG)
4. Eric Chavez, Athletics (.228 AVG)
5. Joe Crede, White Sox (.237 AVG)
Gripe: ARod and Lowell are both deserving of the third base spot, ARod's historic April and Lowell's (if not for Kevin Youkilis) team MVP year, but after that it gets dicey. Like Johjima at catcher, Seattle's Adrian Beltre (.292 AVG) is far and above more deserving of a slot at third than Chavez, Crede, and certainly Inge.

1. Derek Jeter, Yankees (.343 AVG)
2. Miguel Tejada, Orioles (.317 AVG)
3. Carlos Guillen, Tigers (.317 AVG)
4. Julio Lugo, Red Sox (.230 AVG)
5. Michael Young, Rangers (.252 AVG)
Gripe: I should preface this by saying I'm in the "if Derek Jeter played for a weaker team he'd never have been better than average" camp. Having said that, Jeter has been the tops at shortstop this year. Tejada and Guillen are both deserving, but Lugo and Young have been mediocre at best. While Lugo is one of, if not the, best defensive short stops in baseball, Orlando Cabrera (.322 AVG) of Anaheim is more deserving than than those two.

1. Vladimir Guerrero, Angels (.350 AVG)
2. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox (.269 AVG)
3. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners (.330 AVG)
4. Torii Hunter, Twins (.318 AVG)
5. Bobby Abreu, Yankees (.228 AVG)
6. Johnny Damon, Yankees (.264 AVG)
7. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers (.352 AVG)
8. J.D. Drew, Red Sox (.223 AVG)
9. Grady Sizemore, Indians (.269 AVG)
10. Hideki Matsui, Yankees (.282 AVG)
11. Sammy Sosa, Rangers (.251 AVG)
12. Coco Crisp, Red Sox (.229 AVG)
13. Gary Sheffield, Tigers (.267 AVG)
14. Carl Crawford, Devil Rays (.302 AVG)
15. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays (.262 AVG)
Gripe: Magglio Ordonez has been the most dangerous slugger in the league this season, and deserves to be at the head of this class. Manny Ramirez has been in a season-long slump, and if not for his name shouldn't even be in the top ten. Alex Rios (.304 AVG) of Toronto didn't even place, but has been one of the best outfielders in the AL East. Michael Cuddyer (.302 AVG) of Minnesota is also in the top six for outfielders this season, but doesn't even show up in the voting, where as J.D. Drew (33rd among outfielders) and Bobby Abreu (31st among outfielders) shouldn't even be mentioned, but still rank in the top due to name recognition and big market team status.

Major League Baseball appoints the starting pitchers for the game. Looking forward, here's who I think deserves the nod the most, wether or not they get that nod still waits to be seen:
1. Josh Beckett, Boston (8-0, 2.65 ERA)
2. Dan Haren, Oakland (6-2, 1.64 ERA)
3. Chad Gaudin, Oakland (5-1, 2.32 ERA)
4. John Lackey, Anaheim (8-3, 2.36 ERA)
5. Kelvim Escobar, Anaheim (6-2, 2.51 ERA)
6. Justin Verlander, Detroit (5-1, 2.71 ERA)
7. Fausto Carmona, Cleveland (6-1, 2.89 ERA)
8. C.C. Sabathia, Cleveland (7-1, 3.54 ERA)
9. Johan Santana, Minnesota (6-4, 3.21 ERA)
10. Andy Petitie, New York (3-4, 2.51 ERA)
Potential Gripe: If Curt Schilling (5-2, 3.68 ERA) or Johan Santana end up topping this list, it'll be a crime. They're both amazing strikeout pitchers and future Hall of Famers, but they haven't flashed their best stuff this year. Daisuke (7-3, 4.83 ERA) has had an amazing year, considering he's a rookie, and he's pitching in the AL East, but he shouldn't be in the top ten. Next season he'll probably be in the top five easy.

What would baseball be without bloggers, stat heads, and ESPN talking heads to let everyone know who got shafted this year. Fan voting for All Stars is great for big market teams (like my Red Sox, and yes, I did vote for Dustin Pedroia) but it's a bummer for smaller teams with killer players. Hopefully they'll balance that out someday, but since it's a system that's been in place for the better part of a century, that's not very likely. Go Dustin.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Beyond the Pale

Today is the two year anniversary of Dick Cheney asserting that the insurgency in Iraq was in its "last throes." In honor of the two year anniversary, here's a flashback to some inane rambling from the one year anniversary:

Since Cheney asserted the insurgency was in its "last throes" 1,799 U.S. soldiers have been killed, roughly half of all (3,468) U.S. fatalities. At least 12,378 U.S. soldiers have been wounded.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Charles Nelson Reilly Passed Away Today

I, like most Americans, was shocked to learn today that Charles Nelson Reilly was still alive.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Special Comment:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Foreign Debt: Redux

I came across this table today which lays out foreign ownership of United States Treasury Securities -- essentially how much of the United States is owned, via debt, to outside interests:

Japan 612.3 billion
China, Mainland 420.2 billion
United Kingdom 145.1 billion
Oil Exporters 113.0 billion
Carib Bnkng Ctrs 84.4 billion
Brazil 70.6 billion
Luxembourg 61.6 billion
Hong Kong 58.7 billion
Korea 58.1 billion
Taiwan 57.9 billion
Germany 47.7 billion
Mexico 35.3 billion
Switzerland 32.9 billion
Singapore 29.7 billion
Canada 29.7 billion
Turkey 27.6 billion
Netherlands 21.0 billion
France 20.4 billion
India 20.1 billion
Thailand 17.9 billion
Sweden 15.0 billion
Israel 14.1 billion
Italy 14.0 billion
Poland 12.2 billion
Belgium 12.2 billion
Ireland 11.7 billion
All Other 153.2 billion

The average American, myself included, may be a little unsettled that so much of our country is owned by China and Japan...the average American may also find it a little fishy, myself included, that so much of our country is literally owned by private oil interests and Cayman Island banking centers. These stats were as of March of this year, and considering that the occupation of Iraq has cost us $426 Billion already, paid for mostly with deficit spending, we can only see this debt ceiling increasing. Coupling this with out trade deficit to practically every other country on Earth, it's something to think about, espcially for my young generation, as we move into the future.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

This makes me happy: