Thursday, April 27, 2006

What Are They Thinking

  • Now Keith Foulke thinks the Red Sox 2004 final out ball belongs on HIS mantle. Who's next?

  • Skinny girl, 4 big guys, one regulation sized basketball hoop. Oh the possibilities.

  • Now A-rod has his own at bat ritual.

  • The state of the Kansas City Royals is no laughing matter. Apparently, nobody told minor league outfielder Kerry Robinson.

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    Poor Poor Pawtucket

    What is it about Rhode Island that brings the anger out of minor league ballplayers in the form of violent actions? First it was Israel Alcantara's drop kick (video) back in 2001 and now, 5 years later, its Delmon Young getting in on the action. Young got thrown out of the Durham Bulls/Pawtucket Red Sox yesterday for arguing balls and strikes. He then decided it would be a good idea to flip his bat back toward home plate. If comes flying throw the air and whacks the umpire in the chest. Now, in his defense, if Young actually deserves any, it looks as though from the video that he wasn't looking at the umpire when he flipped it so it could be argued that it wasn't his intent to hit the umpire, but he couldn't be thinking to himself that the bat would mystically end up in the batboys hands after he let it go right?

    Perhaps he figured he was already thrown out of the game so nothing worse would happen. Well, something worse did happen. Young has been "suspended indefinitely" according to Their audio and video of the incident here.

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    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    Pay Up New England

    It may be a bit outdated, but this bit is hilarious.

    If you're a Red Sox fan, can you remember exactly you what you said you'd give to see the Red Sox win the World Series in your lifetime? I don't know what that first guy's pissed off about. $5,000? He got off easy compared to Denis Leary.

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    If You Can't Join 'Em, Beat 'Em

    I know professional athletes like to make money. Sometimes their multi-million dollar contracts aren't enough and they find themselves signing contracts with major companies to help consumers associate their favorite all-stars with those products. Venus Williams, Alex Rodriguez, and Tiger Woods make millions upon millions of dollars from endorsing American Express, General Motors, and Nike respectively. I guess when you're a professional athlete and you want to endorse something, but no existing company wants your face, you just have to take matters into your own hands.

    Travis Hafner has his own candy bar. The Pronk Bars were created by Malley's Chocolates of Cleveland and include Hafner's face right on the wrapper. If the bar is as good as Hafner was the day the candy bar came out (4-4 with 2 HR's) then I'll take two dozen.

    Don't like candy? Well, perhaps Chacin Cologne is for you. The Blue Jays' starter has recently created his own fragrance. The Blue Jays' homepage has a photo gallery showing all the steps necessary to creating the fragrance. Let's hope it smells a little bit better than Chacin does after coming off the mound.

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    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    Why Am I Buying This Ticket Again?

    In Major League Baseball, what do fans care more about: the team or the players? Do they show more loyalty to a good team or to a good player? Fans line up for tickets to watch their team play live on their home turf (or grass) to root them on to victory, and it's no doubt that the vast majority of the fans in attendance at every home game are rooting for their team to come out with the "W.” But what brings those fans to the stadium in the first place?

    Well, the obvious answer is that they know that in professional baseball, no matter what their team’s record, what kind of slump they're in, or how poorly they've been in the past, their team has a chance to win on any given night. This is generally true day in and night out. Also though, fans aren't stupid (well, most of them aren’t). They know that some teams have the capability of kicking the crap out of other teams pretty easily. Vegas doesn't come up with their odds on a hunch. What fills a stadium's seats is the fans' belief that their team will end up with more runs than the visitors at the end of the game. But the question is, what helps more to raise the percentage of fans who feel like their team has the better chance to come out victorious: good players or a recent proven track record of winning? Let's examine the past 6 years in MLB to determine, at least in the recent past, what brings more fans into the ballpark. The 2001, 2002, and 2003 World Series winners (Diamondbacks, Angels, and Marlins respectively) all experienced attendance rates 75% or below the year they won the championship. The following year the Diamondbacks raised their attendance by 12.7%, the Angels by 20.7%, and the Marlins by 15.4%. None of these teams made huge acquisitions or lost considerable talent the year following their World Series victory. The 2004 champion Red Sox however experienced a decrease in fan attendance from 100.7% (looks like someone was selling a few too many standing room tickets) in 2004 to 97.2% in 2005, where they were without Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Nomar Garciaparra, and new fan favorite Orlando Cabrera. Instead they were stuck with Matt Clement, David Wells (the man who offered to blow up Fenway Park), and the guy who made the final out in the 2004 World Series, Edgar Renteria. They were also without their ace and playoff hero Curt Schilling for most of the year with the whole ankle thing.

    In 2003 the Astros won 87 games and missed out on the playoffs. They recorded a 74% attendance rate that year. So what would make that change in 2004? The team hadn't shown that they could win. They hadn't even made it to the playoffs, never mind won a game in the postseason. Nonetheless, the Houston franchise recording a whopping 93.1% attendance rate in 2004. Perhaps the additions of former Yankees Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte to their starting rotation during the off-season helped spark fans' interest. If that wasn't it, it very well could have been the mid-season acquisition of Carlos Beltran from the puzzled Kansas City Royals, who had started the season well (17-7) but were quickly turned around. After the Astros won the NL Wild Card, winning 92 games along the way, and followed that up by making it to the National League Championship Series where they lost in 7 games to the Cardinals, onlookers would expect to see a significant rise in attendance the following year. They'd proven they could win, after all. Not only had they made the postseason, but they came within one game of playing for baseball’s biggest prize. However, in actuality the Astros' attendance rate dropped to 84.3% in 2005, almost a full 10% less than the previous season. It’s hard to determine exactly what could lead to such a precipitous drop in attendance. Perhaps it was the defection of star outfielder and offensive catalyst Carlos Beltran to the New York Mets, or perhaps it was Roger Clemens’ waffling on returning to the club that season. Either way, it’s hard to imagine that the loss of one or even two players could make such a significant difference to the fans. Isn’t it?

    The case of Carlos Beltran is an interesting one in regards to the relationship between star players, team performance, and attendance rates. In 2003 the Kansas City Royals won 83 games and finished 3rd in the AL Central (no, really!). They experienced a 56.2% attendance rate that year, higher than either of their previous two seasons by a rate of almost 10%. The fans were shown, somehow, that the team could win. The following year, en route to winning only 69 games, the Royals shipped Carlos Beltran from Kansas City to the Lonestar State in a three team trade that netted KC 3 prospects (none of whom has done much at the major league level). With Beltran went the Royals’ fanbase, apparently, because even though the Kansas City home team gave their fans their first winning record since the strike shorted 1994 season, when they went 64-51, their attendance rate dropped to 51.6% in 2004 and then 42.5% in 2005, their first full season without the centerfielder they had been cheering on since 1998.

    The New York Mets, on the other hand, experienced a much appreciated increase in fan attendance from 2004, when they lost 91 games and only filled half of Shea Stadium’s seats, to 2005, when they were barely over .500 with 83 wins and enjoyed a 61.3% attendance rate. Two of their biggest acquisitions that off-season included none other than Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran. Both Martinez's and Beltran's 2004 clubs experienced decreases in attendance rates from 2004 to 2005. While we're on the subject of losing teams, let's also explore the case of the Baltimore Orioles. Since their AL East divisional win in 1997 the Orioles have placed 4th in the division every year, with the exception of 2004, when a miserable Blue Jays' team ranked 5th, bumping up the Orioles and Devil Rays to 3rd and 4th, respectively. In the past 8 seasons, the franchise just has not been able to find ways to win, recording a losing record in each season since winning the division. So, by 2003, when they recorded 91 losses to go along with a 62.9% attendance rate, one shouldn't expect the additions of Javy Lopez and Miguel Tejada to change the fans' perspective on the floundering team right? Well, in 2004 the Orioles, despite finishing under .500 for the seventh straight season, reported an increase in their attendance rate of 7.4% from the previous season. Even with a new team to compete within neighboring Washington, DC, the Baltimore franchise brought in attendance at a rate of 67.2%, a relatively small 3.1% decrease from the following season when they had a monopoly on the area, but still an increase from pre-Tejada/Lopez years.

    After winning the World Series in 2002, the Angels went on to having a losing record in 2003. They experienced an increase in attendance rate by 20.7% following the World Series victory. It’s hard to expect the team to top that type of increase in attendance, especially considering the team posted a sub-.500 record the following season. That is, of course, unless you bring in two new superstars to the team. The Angels quickly went out and acquired starting pitcher Bartolo Colon and outfielder Vladimir Guerrero (who ended up winning the AL MVP in 2004). They were rewarded with another increase in attendance, despite a losing record the previous year. In 2004 the Angels recorded a 92.5% attendance rate, eclipsing the previous two years.

    Let's take a team in a small market that always seems to win: the Braves. The Braves, as everyone is well aware, have won the NL East title every year since 1995. They know how to win year in and year out. Their fans know that by now. It's nothing new. Although they've only recorded one World Series victory in that time frame, it’s still a very impressive run of excellence. One would think that by time 2003 rolls around any knowledgeable fan should know how the Brave’s regular season will end: with an NL East title. So if winning was all that was important to them their attendance rates should stay pretty consistent year in and year out. However, in 2003, when the Braves recorded over 100 wins on the season, Turner Field reported a 60.7% attendance rate. During the off-season following the 2003 season, the Braves failed to resign All-Star outfielder Gary Sheffield (Yankees), catcher Javy Lopez (Orioles), who was coming off a career year, and starting pitcher Greg Maddux (Cubs). The attendance rate of 2004 reported by the Brave's organization dropped to 58.7%, a slight drop off of an already surprisingly low rate, and a drop nonetheless. After the 2004 season ended the Braves acquired pitcher Tim Hudson from the Oakland Athletics. Their attendance rose by 4.2% in 2005. It's worth noting that the Cubs, Yankees, and Orioles all experienced a boost in attendances from 2003 to 2004*, while the Oakland franchise, who had not only traded Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder after the 2004 season but also failed to re-sign former MVP Miguel Tejada following the 2003 season, found their attendance rate slowly dropping from 2003 to 2005. (*It is also worth noting that both the Yankees and Cubs made it deep into the 2003 playoffs.)

    In recent past, losing teams have proven they can bring in the attendance with big names on the field. Fans appreciate it when they feel their home team is trying to make the team better, or at least giving that appearance to the average fan. After bringing in superstars, the Orioles, Mets, Angels, and Astros all experienced an increase in attendance. On the opposite end of the spectrum, winning teams have shown that losing big name players from their roster can hurt attendance even if the team has a proven track record of winning. After losing superstars the Red Sox, Braves, Royals, and Astros reported decreases in attendance the following year, regardless of their winning percentage. While winning a World Series title helps prove to the fans that the team can win, adding a superstar or two to your roster sure does add a quick boost to the confidence level of the fan base. At least recently, it sure does seem that adding a well-known name to the roster is a much easier way to fill seats than actually going thorough an entire season of trying to win over the crowd with the roster you already have. And, as the 2004/2005 Red Sox and Astros have shown, just because you win doesn't mean your fans will show up to the ballpark if you don't keep the players they come to see. There's a big reason why players get paid the enormous salaries that they do: where the stars go, so do the fans.

    Fans come to the ballpark to see the players they love to watch. Baseball is an entertaining sport to watch and the players are the entertainers. Fans can follow their team's winning or losing percentage through newspapers, Sportscenter, online, or through various other mediums. They come to the ballpark to watch their team make miraculous catches, masterful double plays, and towering home runs. The players that are able to do these things are what brings fans into the seats. Sure, the ballpark atmosphere and prices help and hurt as well, but when it comes down to it fans are willing to sit in the uncomfortable seats of Fenway Park to see Big Papi hit another game winning shot over the bullpen. Take away the special players fans love to watch and there's less of a reason to come. Fans know what they like and they aren't going to pay money to see an entertainer who they don't think is going to entertain them.

    Note: All attendance statistics were from's MLB Attendance Reports from 2001-2006.

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    When Did The Red Sox Sign Rick Vaughn?

    When Kevin Youkilis hit his first ever home run all his teammates completely ignored him rather than congratulating him. He never had it this bad:

    Apparently, sometime before the Red Sox/Blue Jays game on Sunday the new Sox closer lost a bet with a certain teammate. I thought betting wasn't allowed in baseball. I guess Youkilis is taking his past rookie haziness out on the newest phenom on the Sox staff, but luckily Papelbon wears it well.

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    Who Says Hockey Isn't Entertaining?

    Well, we haven't made an article dedicated to hockey yet so might as well start now with the start of the NHL Playoffs. Hockey is like art: I don't know who's good but I do know what I like. And I liked this clip from the Flyers-Sabres overtime game:

    And the best part is that it was a completely clean hit and no penalty was awarded. Good, clean fun.

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    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Sports Decay

    Thousands of people rose to their feet as one of the greatest pitchers of a generation won his 200th game. Thousands of Mets fans joined their “long-time” hero (a season and a few games) in celebrating the great milestone. This celebration seemed something like celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of your widowed wife a few years after you tie the knot. Noticeably absent in the celebration were baseball fans in Boston and Montreal, the cities that played host to 172 of the pitchers' 200 victories. How sad it is to see a great achievement glorified in such a fashion, as thousands of Mets fans stood on their feet cheering a milestone of which less than 3% was achieved while playing for their team, while the fans of the teams who enjoyed the bulk of his success could only sit and watch from their couches hundreds of miles away. Sad, yes, but this is only one of countless disappointments inflicted on sports fans each year.

    In just the last few months I have been beaten numb by my sports heroes. Johnny Damon, Adam Vinatieri, Willie McGinest, Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov are all gone. Four players who helped make up the identity of their respective teams, and one who became a superstar, in large part because of the ravenous attention and support given to him by fans at the ballpark. I am a young man who is watching his first set of heroes disappear in a system that seems to be working to make such losses more common.

    "Most fans today don't really remember the time that when you were a Dodger you were a Dodger forever," said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a company that measures brand loyalty for companies and sports teams. "You're dealing with the bionic consumer of the 21st century. These guys realize that it is a business. They may not like it, but they understand that this is how the game is now played."

    Oh, we understand it. Eighth-graders understand it. It is not too hard to notice professional sports is a business when players you have given your heart and soul to are replaced every off-season. Surveys like the ones Passikoff conducts show the shortfalls of the sports business. Loyalty is a package. Like any relationship, people flock to the ballpark for many varied reasons, yet teams' management seem to think their support comes only from proximity. Their vision is clouded by the money that continues to pour in, unable to see the slow and deliberate decay of fanbases across the country.

    The truth is that fans are suffering. It is a cop-out to use business as an excuse for the inadequacies of professional sports today. We are in an era of greed so blatant it is devouring the business from the inside out. Fans ask for very little in return for the hundreds and thousands of dollars they spend on tickets and team merchandise and apparel, yet even that small return asked for - loyalty from players mirroring that of the fans - is rejected in place of greed.

    The bottom line is that professional sports teams once had a monopoly on peoples' hearts. Just by playing within towns and cities meant that they received unending support from the residents. But the sport leagues have taken advantage of it. They are taking fan support for granted. Between disproportionate stadium deals, free agency, and policies of profit over pride, teams are chewing away at the foundations of once great traditions.

    The Florida Marlins organization is the poster child for all that is wrong with baseball and professional sports in general. In 12 seasons they have won two championships, yet continue to have some of the worst attendance in the league. They failed to fill more than 63% of their available seating in 2005, their highest attendance in 6 years. On pace at a 40% attendance rate, 2006 looks to be their worst attendance rate since 2002 when they filled only 24% of their seats. Their crime was masterfully playing in the absurd realities of Major League Baseball.

    The team has no real history. They have no tradition nor generations of support to fall back on. All they have had is astounding success, followed by gut-wrenching declines created by roster decimation. They repeatedly destroyed the fledgling bonds between the fans and the team, and the results have been clear. Even in championship years, fans didn't start coming to the ballpark until August and September. It is the culmination of every MLB owner and player's wishes, laid up unabashedly by Marlin ownership.

    Only a handful of teams are remembered for their many championships. The rest are remembered only for their great players. Who are the Marlins great heroes? Who will a young Florida boy emulate when he steps up to bat?

    In 50 years, this chapter of pro sports will be highlighted by baseless players like Roger Clemens, Terrell Owens, Shaquille O’Neal and Jaromir Jagr, with 13 teams between them. A bunch of hired goons called upon when it came time to win.

    The players and owners have tried to brainwash people into believing it is only a business and success is all that matters. If that were truly the case, teams would go bankrupt at a far higher rate. Leagues aren’t successful because of the winning teams. They are successful because of the losing teams that still fill up half a stadium every year.

    Success is a rarity with 30-team leagues, regardless of how diluted the playoffs are. There has to be something else that keeps the fans coming to the ballpark or purchasing the jerseys and hats. That someting is loyalty, however undeserved it is. Unfortunately, pro sports are chipping away, fan by fan. With each hero they trade and every athlete who must leave to capitalize on a flawed economic model, professional sports are turning another fan off to not just the team, but the game itself.

    It may be a business, but its profits are based solely on the perception that it is not a business. The hope that there is a deeper meaning when the Bears and the Packers square off at Lambeau Field or when the Celtics take the floor at the Garden to face the Lakers. This is what drives this country, and it is what should drive these sports. I just hope someone realizes before my children are old enough to love.

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    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    Interview: Tim Dierkes

    Some of the smartest and most dedicated people in baseball, specifically fantasy baseball, grew up and went through their schooling not ever thinking about "breaking into the big leagues." Just two examples include Trace Wood of The Long Gandhi who was a professional trumpet player and Ron Shandler of Baseball Forcaster fame who used to sell jingles for birthday and barmitzvahs.

    Tim Dierkes, another example of someone who has made a name for himself in the world of fantasy baseball who didn't (and still doesn't) have a plan to "break into the bigs." You may remember him from such baseball blogs as RotoAuthority or MLB Trade Rumors. If you're not familiar with either site you should become a frequent visitor, as they're both excellent and are read by hoardes of fantasy baseball players looking for help in their Roto leagues and also by those interested in whether or not their MLB team is going to get the new second basemen the hometown team so desperately needs.

    As a 23 year old living in the suburbs of Chicago, Tim has put forth great effort putting together a viable source for many fantasy baseball geeks since June 2005. Tim says he basically started the sites because he needed a more productive hobby than online poker. He takes his time and presents information that not only makes sense, but also has reliable sources backing it up. He uses his business administration/marketing degree to help promote his annual projections, and it helped get him his 9-5 job: search engine marketing. He's a bit involved at the moment and doesn't feel his blog writing could be his livelihood, however, especially with a new mortgage and a wedding to plan. (Sorry to break the news to all those female fantasy geeks, Tim's taken.) As of now, he plans on keeping the sites up as best he can while also devoting himself to his 9-5, new condo, and bride-to-be.

    "The writing is just a hobby, though it'd be awesome if they were my livelihood one day. With a new mortgage and a wedding in November, though, that definitely seems like a pipe dream. I needed a more productive hobby, I was into online poker for a few months and it was killing me," Tim told Game Four.

    His projections, which he puts out annually from his fantasy related website and updates almost weekly throughout the year, aren't just based on his gut feelings. As most projections are, his are based on mathematical formulas, inside knowledge, and past trends.

    "A lot goes into the projections. I'm looking at the last three years for trends as well as the player's second half. I'm looking carefully at the player's health issues. I'm using every indicator I can find to influence my thinking. Contact rate, BABIP for pitchers, anything. I'm a huge fan of Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Forecaster and I'm definitely influenced by both. I think it's really important to note the player's injury likelihood and build that in or at least mention it in the comments. Rankings are influenced heavily by playing time, as a 5% reduction in someone's playing time can make a huge difference. I keep it updated throughout the season to account for playing time as best I can," Tim says of his own projections.

    The best thing about his projections is that he's not afraid to change his mind as things develop into the season. If someone subscribes to his projections, which come in the form of an easy to use excel file spreadsheet, they'll get updates on new players entering the league, adjustments based on playing time, injury, trades, or any other changes he may notice throughout the course of the year. What annually published magazine or book can give you that?

    Tim has made such a name for himself that he has recently been asked to write columns for RotoWorld on top of his own sites, which he still keeps updated daily.

    Of course Tim doesn't just create all this fantasy advice and player projections for everyone else to utilize. He's involved in multiple fantasy league (4 this year), including a few so-called "expert leagues" on top of his annual keeper league. They probably aren't as highly regarded as Tour Wars, but they are nonetheless filled with knowledgeable players, most of whom have their own blogs attributed to baseball in some shape or form. Oh, and for the record, in one of them the Game Four team is currently in first place with Tim nipping at our heals, but if Fantasyland has taught us anything about expert leagues is that it's a long season and there's a lot of things that change over the course of 182 games. (Tim had the pleasure of reviewing Fantasyland by Sam Walker on his site.)

    If you ever have the pleasure of competing against Tim in a fantasy league watch for him to draft Mark Ellis as his starting second baseman. He's been pretty high on him for a while.

    "Ellis is one of my favorite underrated guys for '06. He's shown he has the skills to hit .300, and he had two 5 HR months to finish last season. Plus he hits at the top of the order. How is this not a top 5 2B on everyone's list? He's got 25 weeks to prove me right, wrong, or something in-between," Tim explained.

    Tim's alter ego blog,, is as much a news site as it is just his own ramblings. When he has a personal hunch he'll make sure people reading know it's exactly that, but normally the rumors he publishes have a link to reliable sources in and around baseball. He doesn't just publish every crazy rumor he hears either; he takes the time to verify information in order to keep his site credible.

    "Sometimes people just email me with rumors and I have to try to verify [it]. I have a ton of stuff I'm not able to print on the site because I can't determine whether the person is legit. I've developed a pretty good BS detector for it by now though - fakes are fairly obvious. A few random people who have interesting affiliations with teams or players are found this way, and I try to speak to them regularly. I don't have time to troll message boards looking for rumors, but I can rest assured that if a decent one pops up someone will email me with it. I'll always credit the source and let the reader decide for him/herself about the rumor," Tim says of his trade rumor collection.

    He's not a baseball exec or a beat writer. Tim's simply a fan of the game, the numbers, and writing. Put those three things together and combine it with enough knowledge and credibility and you're going to get a good product. His sites are frequented by a number of people and for good reason. If you haven't had the time to check out the sites they are highly recommended by the Game Four team. Plus, if you're ever in the same fantasy league as Tim it's good to know what he's thinking come draft time.

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    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Not Just A Manic Monday

    For those of you from Massachusetts, April 17th is more than just another Monday; it's an extension of the weekend. The date should be starred on your sports calendar. It should be celebrated like the New England version of Mardi Gras. Those outside of the Commonwealth may be confused. That is quite alright. To shed some light on all this I'll let you in on a little secret that most natives of the Bay State are already well aware of: April 17th is officially Patriot's Day in the state of Massachusetts, and as many Bostonians call it: Marathon Monday.

    Patriot's Day starts at the crack of dawn on a green in the middle of Concord, MA . It celebrates the various events that helped shape the nation we know today including, but of course not limited to, a simple horse ride from Paul Revere, the shot heard round the world, and the beginning of the British marching to their graves. That's right, the start of the Revolutionary War. Continue east several miles and you get to the city of Boston. Kenmore Square is alive with 35,000+ Red Sox fans who called in sick to work to see the first pitch at 11AM. Going back West 26.2 miles and you have the start of the Boston Marathon at about 11:30.

    After much deliberation, I've realized that even though it's a celebration that is saved for the few hundred thousand individuals who either reside in or decide to make the trip from the neighboring New England States, this has got to be one of my favorite holidays. On what other day do you get such an array of American spirit? The beginning of our free country, America's pastime and the most popular marathon in the world happens right here in my backyard! I suggest to any other Bostonians or those who wish they too could partake in such a festive event, that you take full advantage of those sickdays you accumulate at work and join your fellow Americans on the greatest Monday of the year. This is a time when it's quite alright to "have a case of the Mondays."

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    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    One Less Thing To Talk About In Baseball

    Alright, I want to get this out of the way. Jimmy Rollins seems like a nice guy. Maybe a little to confident in himself, but you know what, after last year he's earned it. He's not a prick to the media and even has his own radio show. He's nice enough to the fans. And he's a pretty good ball player. I'd like to have him on my fantasy team and I'd gladly root for him if he was on my team. Here's the thing though, I feel as though I'm in the minority when it comes to my feelings of Rollins in the past 3 days. I was not looking forward to seeing him breaking the hit-streak record. He's been looking quite good at the end of last year and to start this season, as it's been pointed out in way more depth than I will ever be ready to go into. Luckily for me after today's game against St. Louis, Jimmy has to start over at 0 tomorrow.

    The hit-streak is one of the hardest, and most sacred records not only in baseball but in sports. With all the single-season records getting broken every year over the past 7-10 years (HR, rushing TD, passing TD, etc) it's nice to see a record stand for so long. There's other records that probably won't be broken, at least not anytime soon. The single season stolen base record is a great example. But consecutive hit streak is just incredible and shouldn't be broken, by anyone, ever.

    And now, at least we can all place our complete and undivided attention on what's really important.

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    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Kings of Prognostication

    We here at Game Four have been anticipating the start of the MLB season for months now, so naturally, we felt the need to share our end of the year predictions...


    AL East: Red Sox
    AL Central: Indians
    AL West: Athletics
    AL Wild Card: Yankees
    NL East: Braves
    NL Central: Cardinals
    NL West: Giants
    NL Wild Card: Cubs
    World Series: Cubs over Athletics
    AL MVP: Manny Ramirez, Bos
    NL MVP: Albert Pujols, StL
    AL Cy Young: Rich Harden, Oak
    NL Cy Young: Jake Peavy, SD
    AL RoTY: Kenji Johjima, Sea
    NL RoTY: Prince Fielder, Mil

    Pawtucket Pat

    AL East: Red Sox
    AL Central: Indians
    AL West: Angels
    AL Wild Card: Yankees
    NL East: Braves
    NL Central: Cardinals
    NL West: Dodgers
    NL Wild Card: Mets
    World Series: Indians over Cardinals
    AL MVP: Mark Teixeira, Tex
    NL MVP: Albert Pujols, StL
    AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Sea
    NL Cy Young: Roy Oswalt, Hou
    AL RoTY: Francisco Liriano, Min
    NL RoTY: Jeremy Hermida, Fla


    AL East: Red Sox
    AL Central: White Sox
    AL West: Athletics
    AL Wild Card: Indians
    NL East: Mets
    NL Central: Cardinals
    NL West: Giants
    NL Wild Card: Cubs
    World Series: Cardinals over Athletics
    AL MVP: David Ortiz, Bos
    NL MVP: Albert Pujols, StL
    AL Cy Young: Rich Harden, Oak
    NL Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano, ChC
    AL RoTY: Ian Kinsler, Tex
    NL RoTY: Matt Murton, ChC


    AL East: Yankees
    AL Central: Indians
    AL West: Athletics
    AL Wild Card: Red Sox
    NL East: Braves
    NL Central: Cardinals
    NL West: Dodgers
    NL Wild Card: Mets
    World Series: Cardinals over Indians
    AL MVP: Grady Sizemore, Cle
    NL MVP: David Wright, NYM
    AL Cy Young: Johan Santana, Min
    NL Cy Young: Roy Oswalt, Hou
    AL RoTY: Kenji Johjima, Sea
    NL RoTY: Prince Fielder, Mil

    Feel free to share your opinions on any selections made, or tell us your own predictions.

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    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Women's Final Four? In Boston? Really?

    Okay, now, call me sexist, call me ignorant, hell, call me Bill Simmons . The fact is, I can’t stand idly by and pretend it’s okay anymore. Events recently took place this past weekend that made me question the validity of women’s basketball as a genuine sport, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Let me explain.

    Now, you have to understand, I am a pretty big sports fan. I am a Celtics Season-ticket holder. I was at Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS for Dave Roberts stolen base. I was at Game 2 of the 2004 World Series for Schilling’s bloody sock. I write for a sports blog. I have 6 fantasy baseball teams. I participated in 3 NCAA Men’s Tournament pools this year (all with the same bracket, because as we know, only indecisive losers fill out multiple brackets), and I even won one of them. I run the football pool at work. I play on a rec league basketball team. I read,, Rotoauthority, and all the other links to your right with great regularity (my girlfriend would tell you too much regularity). The point is, I’m a big fan of all sports, especially basketball, and I consider myself very plugged in to the sports world, especially the Boston sports world. So what does this have to do with women’s basketball?

    I had absolutely no idea this was taking place 3 blocks from my apartment. Literally, only a few blocks away the major sporting event in women’s college basketball was taking place, and I was completely unaware. How does that happen? Can you imagine living next to Ford Field and not knowing the Super Bowl was taking place? How about living next to Fenway Park and being unaware that a World Series game was taking place? It’s impossible. You’d know something was going on, or far more likely, would have heard something about it in advance. These are major events, right?

    So how is it that we are expected to take women’s basketball seriously when a major sports fan (not to mention his friends, neighbors, and acquaintances) have no clue that the pinnacle of the sport is taking place in their backyard? Admittedly, this is anecdotal evidence, but it was pretty astonishing even to me that I was unaware of this happening. My only conclusion? It’s just not a big deal. At all. People don’t care.

    Now, please, don’t let me be misunderstood. I know that these women work very hard and are great athletes. I know that, to them, it is a big deal. But by that same token, my rec league championship game is a big deal to me and the other people in my league, but I guarantee you won’t see a write up on it in Sports Illustrated or on (although you might in this blog). My point is just that if someone like me, an admitted sports-aholic, can have a “major” sporting event take place in not just my hometown, but only a few blocks from my home, can it really be considered a major sporting event? Or even a minor one? Isn’t it on the same level as, say, lacrosse? Or maybe skeet shooting? I’d venture that its popularity among most sports fans probably falls somewhere between the two.

    So all I’m asking (and I’m talking to you ESPN) is that you don’t devote an entire web page worth of material to such an “event” and don’t waste my prime time viewing on it. After all, there’s finally baseball to be played!

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