Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Most Valuable Position Player?

September 28, 2011

There has been a rather exciting MVP race through the second half of the season in the American League.  It has been a race that has been fun to watch, interesting to debate, and all around good for baseball. At the forefront have been the dueling center fielders of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.  Jacoby Ellsbury and Curtis Granderson have both put together stellar seasons to place them at the top of the list.

Curtis Granderson has been the best player on the AL East Champion New York Yankees all season.  He’s hit 41 home runs and knocked in 119 RBI’s to this point all while holding up a .270 batting average and scoring 134 runs himself.   He’s been spectacular batting #2 for that team all season, and is a big reason why the Yankees won the east.

On the flip side of the rivalry, Jacoby Ellsbury has also been stellar.  Ellsbury has hit 32 Home runs and 103 RBI’s.  He has 38 stolen bases and an average of .319 with 119 runs scored and 105 RBI’s. Ellsbury is the 11th leadoff hitter in history to hit 30 homers in a season (Ian Kinsler is the 10th, accomplishing that earlier this season).  He is also the first Red Sox player ever to hit at least 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases in a single season. Even though the Red Sox have been struggling at the end of the season, Ellsbury has stayed hot and has kept the Red Sox in the wild card race almost single handed.

Just with these two players this has been one of the best MVP races in recent memory.  It’s been the best one since the steroid era at the very least.  You have 2 speedsters playing center field who’s games revolve around stolen bases and defense, and all we can talk about is how many home runs they are hitting.  2 guys who have found their power stroke while still keeping up their average, stolen bases, and runs scored.  It’s been an impressive season out of both of them and they are both getting a lot of consideration due to the markets they play in, but there has been another player who has quietly inserted his name into the discussion.

Justin Verlander has had the best season of any player in the league this year; not only does he deserve the Cy Young Award but also serious MVP consideration.

There is an argument that pitchers can’t win the MVP award because they have their own award, but this argument cannot hold true anymore.  Since 1999 the Hank Aaron Award has been given to the best hitter in each league.  This award is the equivalent to the Cy Young for a hitter and if it is treated that way then it opens the MVP conversation to the player that actually is the most valuable to his team.

Justin Verlander won his team 24 games lost 5 and didn’t factor into the decision in 5.  So out of the 34 games he started only 5 of them were losses directly attributed to him.  Looking at his wins and no decisions he has won or given his team a chance to win in 29 games this season.  In a league where there is so much emphasis on the bullpen having a starting pitcher being a part of 29 decisions and winning 24 of them is a big deal.  Can we say that a position player has that kind of affect on that many games in a season?

For those still leaning toward position players because they play everyday I offer this argument.  Curtis Granderson has had 688 at bats this season and Jacoby Ellsbury has had 655 to this point.  So they have had a chance to affect the game that many times. Justin Verlander has pitched 251 innings, which means if he faced the least amount of batters in those innings  (which he did a few times) he would have affected 753 at bats directly.  That is quite a bit more that the 2 leading position players contending for the award.  Saying that pitchers don’t have the same affect on games just doesn’t hold up.  Sure Verlander only played in 34 games, but he affected more at bats than any hitter in the MLB.

For historical significance, the last person to win 24 games was Randy Johnson in 2002 and the last person to win more than that was Bob Welch in 1990 with 27.  Also, the last pitcher to win the MVP was Dennis Eckersley as a closer in 1992.

Wins being only one pitching statistic; Verlander also has the best ERA in the American League, the most innings pitched and strike outs in both leagues, and tossed a no hitter this season. If there has been anyone more dominant in the league this season I haven’t seen him.

Now that we are past The Steroid Era it’s time to start looking at the Most Valuable Player as just that and not a trophy for a guy who hits the ball the farthest the most often.

Oprah’s Santa Special

December 25, 2010

Oprah: We have a VERY special guest for you today. Some of you may have even fed him. A man that shares my love of milk and cookies, the one, the only, Santa Claus!
<crowd erupts into cheers. Women yell. Children faint. It’s like the Beatles but better. Santa, looking svelte, jogs out onto the stage.>
Santa: Thanks everyone! <bows> <claps back at the audience> <hugs Oprah> <sits>
O: Thanks for coming, Santa! And on Christmas, no less. I’d’ve thought you’d be tired.
S: Well, you know, I mean, we obviously do all of our work Christmas Eve, but, Oprah, there are upwards of two billion Christians out there! We mastered the whole “magical manipulation of time” thing decades ago, so it really isn’t so bad. And the sleigh is quite comfortable.
O: Santa, I have to say, you’re looking pretty good despite all that milk and all those cookies. I think people were expecting to see, you know…
S: A fat man?
O: I was going to say large and jovial man, but fat works.
S: Okay. One time. ONE TIME a guy gets stuck in a chimney and he’s stuck with the “fat and jolly” label for eternity. <stands up and lifts his shirt, pointing to, against all odds, Santa’s Six Pack Abs> I worked my ass off for these, literally!
O: <blushes> Why, Santa <fans herself> I bet the Mrs. quite likes the slimmer you!
<audience hoots and hollers>
S: And there’s another thing that really gets me going. Mrs. Claus is NOT fat. You know that girl Giselle (Naughty List) that’s married to that handsome quarterback Tom somethingorother (Good List)? Mrs. Claus maker HER look ugly.
O: Now, Cubby Claus, let’s not get worked up here. I didn’t mean to offend. How about it audience? Do we like the new look on Mr. Claus?
<wild cheering>
<a thrown bra lands on Santa’s head. He removes it. >
S: haha, thanks, Ladies, but I’m a married man.
O: Okay audience, we have another surprise! If you look under your seats you’ll find….
<santa interrupts>
S: <visibly angry> You would, wouldn’t you. Right in front of me. You know, Oprah, the whole “giving things away” shtick that you do? That’s MY thing! You’ve been using my material for years, and not once have I heard a “thanks for the idea, Santa.” You didn’t even write a letter.
O: Wel,, agai…
<Santa angrily stands up>
S: No. No. I’m done with this. I’m out.
<starts to leave. stops>
S: And you know that show that you do where you give away all of YOUR favorite crap? I invented that, too. Except I give kids THEIR favorite things! Suck on that!
<storms out>
O: I guess that’s our show for today. Merry Christmas, everyone.

 

Mustache Season!

November 18, 2010

It’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s also when radio stations start playing Christmas songs WAY too early (and my mom listens to them anyway) and I’m assaulted by tv ads for Christmas deals and decorations before I’ve even thrown away my terrifyingly awesome jack-o-lanterns.

But it’s also the opening of mustache season!

What’s mustache season, you ask? Good question. My teacher friend Brad stumbled onto this charity called Mustaches for Kids NY, to which I took an immediate liking because the whole idea of growing mustaches for kids is simultaneously hilarious and creepy. Mustaches for Kids is hooked up with this great charity website called Donors Choose that allows people to donate directly to underfunded classroom projects based around location or subject. It’s great because you know exactly where your donation is going.

Now, I think that most of the readers of this very not-kept-up blog (I promise I’ll be fixing that) already know what I look like, but for the 2 of you out there that don’t, I am shockingly Caucasian: blonde hair, blue eyes. Some of you blondes out there are lucky enough to be able to grow excellent mustaches. I am not one of those fortunate few (a fact I find ridiculous because my dad has a mustache worthy of being on the 1974 Pirates regardless of his baseball talent). My mustache is weak and rather funny looking – it doesn’t really grow in the middle, but the ends are pretty rockin’ – that you can only really see if the light strikes it just so

But I grow it every year for charity. This year my mustache is named Agnes and I have high hopes that she’ll be my best mustache yet.

If you’re feeling generous and want to help some underfunded public school kids, please check out my giving page.

Growing Strong,
NY,NY

 

Runaway Train

July 20, 2010

Last Friday I worked late. Well, I guess not late, but later than I wanted to work. Let’s just say it was sometime well after five. Anyway, I caught an express train back to the city. It was crowded. Inexplicably, my train car smelled like urine. I mean, this isn’t the subway, where I would expect this sort of stench. This was the Metro North, the subway’s cleaner, nicer suburban counterpart. Normally, these trains are relatively clean and nice.

On this day, though: urine.

But that would really be okay. I mean, the express train from Stamford to Harlem is only 38 minutes. This day, though, the travel gods were against me.

Not ten minutes after we departed the station, heading back to glorious Manhattan, the train stopped. Not at a station.

Fine. Okay. That’ll happen. Train traffic. Probably an Amtrak messed up somewhere. Whatever.

So there I am waiting for the announcement from the conductor telling me that we’re delayed due to train traffic and will be moving shortly. Then, before any kind of information is pumped through the PA, the train starts moving.

Backwards.

Okay, maybe we’re backing up to a switch to get ourselves around a stopped train in front of us. That makes sense. After a few minutes of waiting, still no announcement, we start rolling forward again. It had been probably 20 minutes since we originally stopped, and while I was annoyed, we were moving in the right direction and it was the weeken… and then we stopped. Again. For another half hour.

There was never any announcement.

I guess that’s what it must be like to ride the Amtrak all the time.

Stamford/NY

What the F*CK, BP?

June 1, 2010

I mean, come on! The explosion happened on April 20. There’s still 12,000 – 20,000 barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf every day. How were you not more prepared for this?! Isn’t it your JOB to be prepared?

Aside from the outrageous damages done to the environment, it makes more sense from a business standpoint to spend a bit more money to ensure effective prevention measures than to putz around with half-witted solutions to a problem that’s (likely) going to cost well over a billion dollars.

The top-kill method didn’t work, oil is still spewing unabated, and your next best solution is to RE-TRY SOMETHING THAT DIDN’T WORK THE FIRST TIME!? When reading about the new method to put a cap on the leak, the press release sounds like they don’t think it’s going to work. Apparently the only real solution will be to drill a relief well … but that won’t be completed until August at the earliest.

I just don’t understand how this scenario wasn’t predicted and prepared for. Perhaps I just have too much faith in the private sector. Or maybe BP just needs to stop the oil leaking into the Gulf. Before August.

NY,NY

It’s Like Ice Soccer, With Sticks!

April 19, 2010

The lockout of the ’04-’05 season was a long time ago and had a lasting impression on the game of hockey in this country. However, it looks like they are finally playing professional Hockey again!

I guess the NHL noticed that we watched hockey during the Olympics and decided to start playing again.  It’s nice to see them playing again.  They have had that one game every year on New Years Day that they play outside, but that was probably just to keep the players in shape until they could start playing regularly again.

I find it awkward that they started with the playoffs, but it’s been pretty exciting so far.  The first weekend has been really exciting! I assume they just drew numbers out of hat to determine seeding, because the teams seem pretty even; otherwise I’m not sure how else they would do it.

I don’t care, I think it’s great.  Might as well start with the playoffs.  Hockey always has some of the most exciting playoffs and it’s great to see these players from the Olympics again.  Hopefully next year we’ll be able have a whole season and finally get past the legacy of the lockout.

The Hammer in Curling on the Last End with a 1 point lead

February 18, 2010

What a great position to be in.  This scenario seemingly ensures victory.  Even if somehow your opponent throws a great round, you will have the position to steal the end and win the game or give up 1 point and go into an extra end with the hammer again.  That’s two opportunities to get shot rock on the last throw.  This is a great position to put up a victory, especially in Olympic competition.

Another situation that is one of my favorite scenarios in Curling.  Two teams are tied going into the last end and the thrower has a clear shot at the button with the hammer.  The thrower just has to make his shot and drop the rock closer to the button than the closest opposing rock.  You make your shot and you win.

I know these are pressure situations, but they are situations that you are in control of the game.  These are situations competitors live for. These are the situations that get people remembered.  These are the situations that, in the Olympics, make people legends. These are situations when champions rise to the occasion, and everyone else falls…

Look, what I’m trying to say here is that if you’re in this position, especially  in the Olympics then you shouldn’t lose EITHER game let alone BOTH.

Come on Shuster! Get your ass in gear! You guys are blowing it on national television!

UPDATE: This was written before the loss to Denmark.  It should now read “…you shouldn’t lose ANY of those games let alone ALL THREE!” because it happened AGAIN!