Friday, May 24, 2013 @ 5:45pm
By: Doug Franz
The D-backs' offense has been a hair above terrible in the last two weeks. The Padres have been playing much better ball than their talent should allow. They've also owned Arizona at Chase Field. If the offense of the D-backs is truly made of grinders, the offensive slump should end now.
I want to see Roy Hibbert declare himself king of the paint. Shane Battier showed to Hibbert that the Heat believe he can be intimidated. The first drive to the hoop by Miami should end up in a flagrant foul on Hibbert.
Zach Randolph needs to show the real Zach Randolph. He should be a force in these playoffs and this series. Against San Antonio, Randolph has been totally marginalized. This is not the Randolph from the last three regular seasons. Memphis must get that "Z."
Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 8:24am
By: Doug Franz
I'm really disappointed at how good Cahill's stuff is and how average (at worst) or inconsistent (at best) he is as a pitcher. Keep in mind though, he is pitching much better than Jarrod Parker, whom he was traded for. Cahill is 3-5 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Parker is 2-6 with a 5.76 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.
Everyone's all over you for leaving Roy Hibbert on the bench for both of LeBron's drives to the bucket. They're right. You're a great coach who just out-thought the room. I know why you did it, but you were wrong to do it. Which is worse, Hibbert caught in a mismatch because you're switching screens or the greatest player in the world in a lay-up line?
So many people think it's a no-brainer that he's a Hall of Famer. Is he a no-brainer if he spent his entire career in Jacksonville? I don't think so.
He's a great player who's had a great career. He's also getting a boost from the "Monsters of the Midway" mystique and his positional link to Butkus and Singletary. I'm not standing at attention guarding the Hall from him. It's not blasphemy if he gets in. Pete Rose once said, "If you have to think about it, they're not a Hall of Famer," and I'm thinking about it.
On the MLB standings page there's a column "POFF." It stands for "Playoff % chance." In the National League West, there's a 3-way tie for third with the Diamondbacks, Giants and Rockies all possessing a 26-21 record. Despite having the same record, the Rockies have the highest percentage chance to win the playoffs. Arizona is second and San Francisco is a distant third.
I love Sabermetrics. I find the work of Bill James fascinating and I've learned so much about baseball reading his work. Current statistics for run differential determine playoff percentage. So if the D-Backs would have just won Monday by a wider margin and lost Wednesday by a smaller margin, they would have a higher win percentage despite the same record and same win/loss result from this week's series. Any formula that counts a run in Coors Field as being equal to a run scored in another ballpark is ludicrous. I can safely say the Rockies will not win the National League West despite ESPN's calculator.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 @ 9:50am
By: Ron Wolfley
The NFL is doing it again. Roger Goodell is desperately trying to find a solution to creating more revenue and the easiest way for him to do that is to expand the regular season or the playoffs.
Forget about the integrity of the game or what's good for the game.
"I hear from fans consistently that they want to make every NFL event more valuable. They see the preseason as being less valuable to them because they don't see the best players and the games do not count," Goodell said. "We have to address that, whether we are looking at 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games] or 16-and-two and expanded playoffs."
"Valuable," it's an interesting choice of words. Regular season games are more valuable than preseason games and playoff games are even more valuable than regular season games. This truth applies to fans and we know it applies for the league.
But it doesn't create value for the game.
What value is there really when coaches start sitting players in December over the last 3 or 4-weeks of the season because they have already locked up their playoff seed? What value is there for the fans when players start missing more games due to injury because the season is too long? What value is there when half the league gets into the post-season? What value does each NFL event have when regular season games are suddenly treated like preseason games because teams are preparing for the post-season? And we're talking about December games!
Where's the drama? Where's the import of every game? Where's the weekly tension and significance as each week passes by and teams that finish 9-9 are suddenly wild card teams?
More games or more playoff teams do not make NFL events more valuable to anybody but the league. They can charge higher ticket prices, sell more merchandise and sign bigger television deals. The league benefits greatly from expanding the regular season or the playoffs. Fans will turn out and support the game they love and owners will thrive in the comforts of capitalism. And that's fine, it's the American Way and God Bless America!
But the game will suffer.
The commissioner has a responsibility to increase revenue for his league but it cannot be at the expense of the game. There was a time when commissioners respected the sanctity of the game, loved the game and made decisions based on what they believed was good for the game. The bottom line can't always be the fulcrum for every decision that is made in regard to the game.
The bottom line does not understand the concept of less is more. With each game the NFL adds or each team that is included in the playoffs or both, the product is diluted. And that's a dynamic the NFL has always had over other professional sports leagues: every game really does count. The NFL is an event-based league with a premium placed on each game. The NBA, NHL or MLB cannot make that claim.
The bottom line: be careful what you wish for, Roger.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 @ 8:11am
By: Doug Franz
You do not lose baseball games based on umpires. The D-backs lost to the Rockies because they were down 4-0 in the seventh inning. They lost because Ian Kennedy isn't pitching to his level yet. They lost because of an unearned run and Colorado going 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Now that we're clear, what is going on with umpires? How does Johnson look at his employer and justify the strikes he called on two outside pitches to end two different at-bats with the bases loaded in the seventh? Angel Hernandez (one of the worst umps in history) ruled a check swing for Miggy that was so horrendous he should be fined. Dana DeMuth wasn't going to be short-changed as he put the unearned run on first base when Paul Goldschmidt tagged out Nolan Arenado at first on Didi Gregorius' throwing error.
This is no longer a replay issue. This is a union issue. If the Major League Umpires Association wants to defend the employment of so many bad umpires, it's time to bust the union.
Because of Justin Upton's hot start, everyone wanted to talk about the Braves. In case you haven't noticed, the Pirates are just as good and Cleveland is only 1/2 game worse.
Only leagues without integrity need them.
I can see the new marketing campaign..."Please recycle, Jodi does"
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 8:15pm
By: Ron Wolfley
Watching Patrick Corbin go about his business Monday night was impressive. Although the sample size is small, Corbin continues to pitch like an ace. But pitching like an ace doesn't mean you are an ace.
There is a progression that most human beings go through while trying to compete at the highest level our species can produce.
The first-degree or growth spurt typically involves coming to the realization that you belong, that you are capable of competing against the other homo sapiens around you.
The second level of self-realization usually involves being successful against the best our species has to offer.
The third-degree of self-realization is all about dominating the best in the world in order to become one of the best in the world.
I think Patrick Corbin is between the first and second-degree of self-realization. How he deals with this metamorphosis could determine where he'll end up and how quickly he'll reach his destination.
Does he feel like he is entitled to the success he is experiencing or is he encouraged by the results he is getting but knows that success is fleeting? Does he believe he has arrived or does he see himself as deprived? Only Patrick knows what he thinks and how he feels when it's just he and the pillow.
Corbin doesn't need to answer that question now but how he answers that question now will might determine the rest of the season. Through no fault of his own, Corbin has not had a large enough sample size to say he's going to be Clayton Kershaw but based on what we've seen he could be well on his way.