I think that this move may come back and bite the Dbacks in the ass. They are giving up way too much talent in Justin Upton. I realize that he is not the emotional fireball that Kirk Gibson is looking for. Upton will be playing at a high level for the Braves much longer than Kirk Gibson will be the Manager of the Diamondbacks. And that’s when GM Kevin Towers will see that he made yet another bad move!!
No easy answers for Hall of Fame debate
Barry Bonds stopped playing baseball five years ago, but we can still keep screaming about him. Bonds is on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, which means he is guaranteed to tick off millions of people no matter what happens. This may be the most Barry Bonds moment of Bonds’ life.
I love a good Hall of Fame debate, and Bonds is one of many on this year’s ballot. From 1986 to 1998 he was a Hall of Fame player — he hit .290 with 411 home runs, a .411 on-base percentage and .556 slugging percentage, and this was largely before baseball’s homersplosive scoringpalooza. He was also a phenomenal defensive leftfielder.
Then Bonds’ whole body got a lot bigger, including his head, and he famously attributed it under oath to flaxseed oil. Dude, if flaxseed oil did that, millions of men would apply it instead of taking Viagra. Bonds, of course, was using performance-enhancers. We all know that now. His numbers went from Hall of Fame to Hall of Ridiculous — from 1999 to 2007, he had an OPS of 1.217, or 20 percent higher than a typical MVP season.
So how should sportswriters vote for Bonds on their ballot?
A. Yes, vote him in. He was a Hall of Famer before he juiced, and anyway, a lot of guys juiced.
B. No, keep him out. He sullied the game, he destroyed its soul, he brought shame to our nation and probably brought the Great Recession upon us all.
I bet most people can pick either A or B. And I bet most people can reach a conclusion on Roger Clemens, who basically has the same resume of achievements and accusations: Clemens was an all-time great, then he started using performance-enhancers late in his career, then he put up numbers that were obscenely great for an elderly fellow. Clemens has denied juicing, and of the billions of people in the world, at least six believe him. But Clemens should get almost the exact percentage of the vote that Bonds gets. They are two versions of the same case.
While you think about those two, consider the candidacy of Sammy Sosa. From 1989 to 1997 he didn’t get on base that much, and didn’t even hit the ball that much, but when he did, he hit it really far, often out of the ballpark. His nickname was Sammy So-so, which was a cheap shot, but it had the ring of accuracy.
Then came 1998, baseball’s Summer of Love, which was like music’s Summer of Love, in that drugs where everywhere but hey, the world is so pretty! Sosa hit 66 home runs. Yes! In one year! Can you believe it? The next year he hit 63. Over a five-year stretch, he averaged 58 home runs and 141 RBIs. He was Roger Maris on auto-repeat.
How did he possibly do this? Well, in 2003, Major League Baseball started testing its players, as a trial, and promised the results would remain “anonymous.” In 2009 the New York Times reported that Sosa had failed his “anonymous” test. He has not confirmed that, and MLB cannot confirm that, because the result was “anonymous,” after all. But in 2004, when drug testing became real instead of “anonymous,” Sosa’s numbers dropped dramatically.
How should sportswriters vote for Sosa on their ballot?
A. Yes. He hit 609 home runs, and even if he did fail his “anonymous” test, it was supposed to be anonymous, it doesn’t prove he was juicing in his best years. Besides, PEDs were part of the era, and he was a Hall of Famer in that era.
B. No. He was a professional fraud.
While you ponder that one, turn to former Dodgers and Mets catcher Mike Piazza. Many people view Piazza as the best hitting catcher ever, but this opinion is disputed by people who actually saw him catch. They say Piazza was not a catcher at all, but a natural first baseman who happened to crouch behind the plate. I bet more people said “That guy should not be a catcher!” about Piazza than about any catcher in major-league history. I don’t think it’s close, actually
Anyway, Piazza had Hall of Fame hitting numbers by almost any measure, for almost any position: .307 batting average, .377 on-base percentage, .545 slugging percentage, 427 home runs, 1,335 RBIs. And if anything, those numbers don’t show you how good he was, because he played most of his career in Dodger Stadium, which is a haven for pitchers, and Shea Stadium, which was not a haven for any living creatures, but favored pitchers more than hitters.
Piazza’s career OPS at home was .880. On the road it was .960. He may have been a lousy catcher — he WAS a lousy catcher — but he was still a catcher, and a man putting up those kinds of offensive numbers while playing catcher is extremely valuable.
Did Piazza use performance-enhancing drugs? Well, he never tested positive, as far as I can tell. He was not named in the Mitchell Report. He did not spend offseasons at Jose Canseco’s house on Mars.
But he is a suspect. Why? A few reasons. He was never supposed to be a major leaguer, let alone a star — the Dodgers drafted him in the 62nd round as a favor to their manager, Tommy Lasorda, who knew Piazza’s father for many years. In his first minor-league season, Piazza hit .268. The next year he hit .250 in Single-A ball without much power. He was one of the worst everyday players on his own team.
Three years later, Piazza hit .318 with 35 home runs in the National League.
As others have noted, he apparently had visible acne on his back, often a sign of steroid use. And once baseball started preliminary drug testing in 2003 and real drug-testing in 2004, Piazza’s power dropped. His slugging percentage went from .544 to .483 to .444. Of course, he was older then, and he did have a bounce-back year with the Padres in 2006, though nobody remembers this. (Nobody = me.)
How should sportswriters vote for Piazza on their ballot?
I think the answer to the Piazza question — and ultimately, to all these questions — is pretty clear:
C. None of the above.
* * *
As I have written before, I do not think sports journalists should be deciding who gets into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
I think our participation is great for the Hall of Fame — we have our flaws, but we are the only people who are paid to study baseball up-close, objectively. We talk to players, coaches and executives, we study old and new statistics (or should) and we are often more aware of differing views on a player than people inside the game are. We get to look inside and outside the bubble. I can’t say we are all completely unbiased, but certainly our biases are not as strong as they would be if, say, we played second base for the Atlanta Braves.
Plus, we provide endless publicity for the Hall of Fame simply by writing and talking about our votes. I’m not even eligible for a vote yet, and I’m writing that sportswriters shouldn’t be voting … and even I am providing publicity for the Hall of Fame right now.
But this is simply not our job. The Baseball Hall of Fame is a promotional arm of the game we cover. It is widely viewed as a verdict on a player’s career: A player who makes the Hall of Fame is an all-time great, and a player who falls short is … just short of being an all-time great.
I don’t think we should be the ones to render that verdict. But I have many friends who disagree with me, and I suppose you could argue that these players are all retired, we’re not covering them anymore, and I’m making too big a deal of this, and it is in fact our journalistic OBLIGATION to tell the world who belongs in the Hall of Fame and who does not.
I think the real reason writers think we should vote for the Hall of Fame is that … it’s really cool to vote for the Hall of Fame.
But put that aside for a second.
How can we possibly make these decisions now? How can we decide if Mike Piazza is Hall of Fame-worthy? How can we make that decision about Jeff Bagwell, who is a suspect but hasn’t really been accused by anybody credible?
What do we make of Gary Sheffield, who acknowledged accidentally using performance-enhancers when he worked out with Bonds, but who probably hit most of his 509 home runs without them? (Sheffield in 1992, long before anybody thinks he used PEDs: .330 batting average, 33 home runs, .580 slugging percentage, 168 OPS+. Sheffield in 2004, the first year of drug testing that counted: .290 batting average, 36 home runs, .534 slugging percentage, 141 OPS+.)
We’re drawing lines in the dark.
We don’t have nearly enough evidence to reach these kinds of conclusions. People have such a hard time admitting that. In my days of listening to sports talk-radio, two things I never heard were “I don’t know” and “Neither do I.” We’re all supposed to have opinions and express them as loudly as we can.
Throwing your hands up and walking away is not easy. But it’s the right thing to do.
There is simply no way to keep Piazza or Bagwell out of the Hall of Fame based on what we know. And that is not a defense of either — for all I know, they hid needles inside their bats. I’m just saying we don’t have enough evidence. In the case of Piazza, we don’t have any evidence at all. We’re just guessing, and even if it turns out to be an accurate guess, then it was still a guess.
Voters can try to make the guesses seem more educated than they are. They can examine this thoroughly and come up with a series of guidelines. But that is harder than it sounds.
Voters can say, “I refuse to vote for anybody directly connected to PEDs.” But then they will say no to Bonds and Clemens and yes to guys who were not as good as Bonds or Clemens in Bonds’ and Clemens’ pre-PED days.
Voters can say, “I refuse to vote for anybody I suspect.” But again, how is that fair? What if Piazza or Bagwell never used PEDs? Why should they be punished?
Voters can say, “I won’t let suspicions cloud my vote. If there is no evidence, then I ignore the PED issue and vote based on performance.” But once a player is in the Hall, he can’t be removed. Or at least, there is no precedent for it. And not all “evidence” is the same. We have evidence that Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sosa and Sheffield used PEDs. But the quality and quantity of that evidence varies greatly.
I suspect that, over time, voters will realize the folly of all this, and more and more of them will vote for players solely on performance, even if they have clear proof that the player used PEDs. That’s one solution. A better one is to admit that some questions have no answer. Who deserves to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame? I don’t know. And neither do you.
Dodgers’ new owners made big splash in 2012
LOS ANGELES — It says a lot about the Dodgers’ 2012 season of transition that the top five moments took place off the field and not on it.
On the field was a disappointment, the result of too many injuries and not enough production. For the third consecutive season, the Dodgers failed to make the playoffs, even with a midseason influx of established stars.
Oddly, the bargain roster played better in the first half than the upgraded version in the second half. The club spent all but nine days in first place before the All-Star break and only nine days in first place after the break. It wasn’t until a late September 7-1 run that the new-look roster showed what it was capable of, but that was too late to catch St. Louis for the last Wild Card spot.
In fairness, 2011 MVP runner-up Matt Kemp was never the same after suffering a May hamstring injury, and neither were the Dodgers. Kemp was injured again running into the fence at Coors Field on Aug. 28, ultimately needing shoulder surgery.
Kemp was one of 21 players that spent 29 stints on the disabled list, undergoing 12 surgical procedures. Ouch.
Chad Billingsley missed six weeks with an elbow injury and is hopeful of avoiding Tommy John surgery. Ted Lilly got off to the best start of his career, only to miss four months with a shoulder injury and ultimately need surgery. Reliever Matt Guerrier missed four months with a sore elbow, Javy Guerra had knee and shoulder surgery, Mark Ellis nearly lost his leg in a freak injury that required surgery, Kenley Jansen had heart surgery and on and on it went.
There were bright spots. Clayton Kershaw nearly duplicated his Cy Young season and overcame a right hip scare, leading a pitching staff that more than did its part.
Catcher A.J. Ellis proved wrong the doubters in his first full season, handling the club’s excellent pitching staff while providing more offense than even the club expected. Luis Cruz, previously a career Minor Leaguer, took over third base and delivered two solid months to earn a chance for 2013. Brandon League worked out a mechanical flaw after his acquisition and emerged as the closer, while Ronald Belisario rebounded from a year off and drug issues to reclaim his role as setup man.
5. The goliath: While the transformed roster never jelled and failed to secure a postseason berth, management dominated the free-agent market in December by signing Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million contract, a record for a right-hander, and making an international splash by committing $62 million to secure Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.
4. At the mikes: The new owners also understood the value of the franchise’s treasured voices, announcing in late August that Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin would return for 2013, in Jarrin’s case extending his contract through 2015.
3. The money: The Dodgers dealt away prospects in a bold, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to win a title immediately, picking up more than $300 million in future payroll obligations. Having earlier signed Cuban free agent Yasiel Puig for $42 million and tacking an additional $85 million to Andre Ethier’s contract, the jaw-dropping trades to reshape the roster with marquee names showed that new ownership would walk the walk.
2. The trades: The most expensive purchase in American sports history led to a pair of transformational player transactions, the July 25 trade with Miami for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate, then the Aug. 25 trade with Boston for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto. The club also added League, outfielder Shane Victorino and pitcher Joe Blanton.
1. The sale: Each moment was defined by a transaction, triggered by the mother of all baseball transactions, the $2.15 billion bankruptcy sale of the franchise from Frank McCourt to Guggenheim Baseball Management that was announced March 27 and closed May 1. The new owners brought the deep pockets of Guggenheim chairman Mark Walter, Todd Boehly and Bobby Patton; the sports management expertise of CEO Stan Kasten; the iconic popularity of Magic Johnson; and the entertainment acumen of Peter Guber.
This is a re-post of an article I found. Click Here to see the original article By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
As a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers Fan, I am so excited for the upcoming 2013 MLB Season. For the first time in many, many years, I feel that we have a legitimate shot at a World Series Title. Here’s what I’m talking about.
We have Adrian Gonzalez, former Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner at first.
Mark Ellis, a solid player, at 2nd base.
Hanley Ramirez, power hitting former Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger Award winner, at Shortstop.
New comer Luis Cruz, Dodgers infielder hit .297 with six homers, 40 RBIs, two steals and 26 runs in 2012 playing 3rd base.
Carl Crawford, former Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner, at Left Field.
Matt Kemp, Beast Mode-Healthy-Enough said!!
Andre Ethier, former Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner, at right field.
AJ Ellis, solid Catcher, behind the plate.
I’m also very excited about our starting rotation. Starting Pitchers Kershaw, Greinke, Billingsley, Beckett and Ryu will be one of the top rotations in baseball. The only other National League team that I can think of that may have just as strong of a rotation is the Washington Nationals.
I can remember way back when I was young enough to not get hangovers. I couldn’t understand what people were talking about. Then one night I was out with some family shooting some pool, drinking some beer and just having a good time. Next thing I know I’m waking up on my sisters couch with a small trash can next to me. And I was so glad it was there. The miserable pain I felt that day I will never forget, and either will my sister! I’ve come a long way since then, just ask my Austin buddies about all those nights out on 6th street. I always thought the best way to cure a hangover was to just tough it out. How I wish that I knew then what I know now.
I’ve compiled a list of proven hangover cures that are certain to help you through those “Dreaded Hangovers”. I’m going to share a few then let you know where you can find the rest.
First I’ll start out with prevention. Simply avoid alcohol (yeah right). Drink in moderation. This will get easier as you get older. Make sure you eat. This reduces the concentration of alcohol in your stomach.
Ok, on with the cures.
- Try a good old fashion bloody mary. It works, because while your bloods dealing with the new intake of alcohol, it’s ignoring the old stuff. And in the meantime, the tomato juice and celery are full of vitamins and they help you gain energy.
- Exercise! A little workout can help flush out the toxins. It also gets you to drink more liquids and distracts you from the pounding in your head. Any type of cardio that gets your heart beading and blood flowing is going to help you recover faster.
- High Quality H2O. Drink lots and lots of water. Dehydration is a major side effect of alcohol intake. This is what causes the headaches and dizziness. If you don’t feel like water, Gatorade will also work. Tip: Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink to dilute the alcohol that goes into your bloodstream.
- Painkillers! Aspirin or ibuprofen may reduce headache and muscular pain, but they shouldn’t be used if your experiencing stomach pain or nausea. Tylenol should not be used because alcohols metabolism only enhances the acetaminophen’s toxicity. Tip: Take the pills on the morning after and not before going to bed when alcohol is still in high volume in your system.
- Got Eggs? Eggs are a good source of protein and energy, so if you’re suffering from a hangover- eggs. Eggs can help the symptoms of a hangover by removing alcohol metabolite toxin from the body.
- Go Bananas! Alcohol is diuretic and depletes the body of potassium. So eating bananas or any other fruit high in potassium can replenish the body of its potassium and electrolytes. I have a great recipe for a banana smoothie, hit me up if your interested.
- Honey! Honey is widely believed to cure hangover symptoms. Try a couple of teaspoons every couple of hours of plain honey. If you don’t like it straight, then mix it in with some water or tea.
That is just a few hangover remedies that you can try. For the complete list go to
Do you have any hangover cures?
Welcome to my blog. Now that I am working from home, I have a lot more time on my hands. And since my wife and all of my friends are still doing the 9 to 5 thing, I have lots of extra time to share my thoughts. So join me in some healthy discussions. No subject is off limits. I will be blogging Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. So come by and read big will’s thoughts!