Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pick me - Week 3

We all did pretty well in our picks last week. Let's see what happens this week:

Knot You're Type(6-0)

Titans +1 vs. Jets
You take "an" away and you'd pick them, too.

Colts +2.5 vs. Cardinals
Is there something I'm missing here? No, really.

Panther +9 vs. Cowboys
Two straight weeks in Prime Time, two straight weeks of crying time for "America's Team".


known associate:

Bengals +3.5 vs. Steelers

Cincy wins straight up.
(CIN 23-PIT 20) W

Lions +6.5 vs. Redskins
Get the riot gear ready Detriot PD, this could be the day.
(DET 19-WAS 14) W

Giants/Bucs Over 45.5
NYG defense is hurtin, literally. TB defense is hurtin, figuratively.
(NYG 24- TB 0) L

(week 2-1, overall 4-5)

I dropped the ball this weekend...maybe I can return kicks for the Niners. Anyway, I'll take some afternoon games and see what happens.

Seahawks +1 vs. Bears
Bears' defense is overrated, Seneca Wallace is underrated.
(CHI 25-SEA 19) L

Saints @ Bills over 51
Seems like a sucker's bet, and I'm a sucker for it.
(NO 27-BUF 7) L

Colts +2.5 @ Cardinals
In the words of Slick Rick, "And Y, why not?"
(IND 31-ARI 10) W

(week [and weak] 1-2, overall 6-3)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Remember back when the Giants had a first baseman who hit over 30 home runs? If you were born after 1987 then the answer is no. That's how long it's been - 22 years!

I was talking about this fact with a friend this morning and it got me to wondering how the Giants power at first base, or lack thereof, compares with the rest of the league. In order to do that I decided to compile home run figures for starting first baseman for each MLB team since 1958 (the birthdate of the San Francisco iteration of the Giants). I relied on the starting first basemen for each year as indicated by I believe baseball-reference determines starters based on either games played, at-bats or innings played at a given position, but I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, there is definitely some room for error as platoons are not accurately reflected in my methodology, nor are injury replacements or situations where a trade occurred. Nonetheless, I think the methodology employed herein paints a pretty useful picture of the power production of first basemen over the past half century.

The following chart shows the Giants' first basemen's home run production by year versus the MLB average.

As indicated in the chart, the Giants enjoyed above average production during the 1960s, which is due to Hall-of-Fame-type power from Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda. Then beginning in 1971 the Giants' production dipped below the MLB average and was relatively volatile for the next couple of decades. Highlights included: McCovey's 1973 and 1977 seasons (29 & 28 HRs, respectively), Darrell Evans' 1983 season (30 HRs), Clark's '87, '88 and '91 season (35, 29 & 29 HRs), and, most recently, JT Snow's 1997 season (28 HRs). Lowlights included: Willia Montanez' 8 HRs in 1975, Mike Ivie's 4 HRs in 1980, Enos Cabell's 2 HRs in 1981, Al Oliver's ZERO HOME RUNS in 1984, David Green's 5 HRs in 1985, Snow's 6-, 8- and 4-HR seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2005, respectively, and Ryan Klesko's stellar (and lone as a Giant) 2007 season (6 HRs).

While most of the Giants' data does not indicate a clear trend, it is worth noting that since 1998 the Giants have consistently been well below the MLB average, with the lone exception of 1999 when Snow hit 24 HRs, compared to the MLB average of 22.5. Coincidentally, or not, Brian Sabean took the reigns of the Giants in 1997. During his tenure, Sabean has routinely fielded a team featuring a 1B with well below average power. For the majority of Sabean's run as GM, that first baseman was JT Snow, who is one of, if not the best fielding first baseman at least of my lifetime and maybe ever. So his outstanding defense probably made up for some of his lack of power. However, Snow hasn't been the Giants' "starting" first baseman (by baseball-reference's standards) since 2005 and since then the Giants' homerun production at first base has not improved materially.

In a previous post I noted how the Giants' poor offense will likely cause them to fall just short of making the playoffs this year. Perhaps if they had just league average power at first this would not be the case. Perhaps if they had a remotely competent GM they could find a first baseman with league average (or better!) power. Perhaps I am among the lunatic fringe.

Consideration should be given to how the Giants' power at other positions compares to the league average. If first basemen have been lacking in power, maybe Sabean's made up for it elsewhere (Jeff Kent at 2B comes to mind, and Aurilia at SS to a lesser extent). Charts for other positions will be added to this post as time permits.

Special thanks to a certain displaced Giants fan in Los Angeles for help with formatting the above chart.

Image courtesy of

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pick the teams to win - Week 2

Hi everybody. Welcome to the second installment of choo-choo-choose the winners. Billy Rubin went an impressive 3-0 on the first Sunday of the young 2009 season. Known Associate went 0-3, but it's way too early to count him out. I, Not Your Type, also went 3-0, but I didn't post my games up on time like the other two guys, so I guess I kinda cheated.

How are we gonna do this week?

Here are the picks:


Raiders +3 vs. Chiefs
The Raide-The Raiders will win.

Saints -1 vs. Eagles
Bobby Herbert will have a big game.

Ravens +3 vs. Chargers
Raven Simone can definitely beat a car.

( 3-0 [6-0 overall]; I like to choose the pretty helmets.)


Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy Rubin!

Jaguars -3 vs. Cardinals
Me no likey Kurt Warner.

Vikings - 10 @ Detroit
AP and the Vikings D are too good, and I'm already calling Stafford a bust.

Saints @ Eagles over 45.5
Philly's D cleaned up last week, but Drew Brees ain't no Jake Delhomme...Kevin Kolb be damned.

(2-1, 5-1 on the season. Damn you Kurt Warner, damn you straight to hell!)


known associate:

Vikings -10 @ Detroit
Stafford doesnt stand a chance.

Bills -4 vs Buccaneers

Sabby Piscatelli is not good.

Steelers @ Bears over 38
it'll be over in the 3rd quarter.

(2-1, overall still a shitty 2-4)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Favorite Canadian Twin Sister Lesbians

This blog isn't just about sports. Or talking shit. Or talking shit about sports. As evidence I offer this post.

A few days ago, known associate forwarded me an email from Tegan and Sara's fanclub/website indicating that their new album, Sainthood, is scheduled to be released on October 27. Tegan and Sara are one of my favorite musical groups, ranking right up there with artists as varied, and decidedly unlike Tegan and Sara, as Van Halen, New Edition, the Ramones, Public Enemy and, of course, San Quinn

I am definitely looking forward to Tegan and Sara's new album, more so, probably, than any other album in recent memory. As for their existing discography, my favorite album remains If It Was You, which probably puts me in the minority, and my favorite song might be "Monday Monday Monday", although that's likely to change at a high frequency depending on which of their songs I'm listening to at any given time.

Anyway, October 27 can't come soon enough for me.

Image via

Brian Sabean - Executive of the Millenium

The Niners just beat the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals (due pretty much to Arizona repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot, but that's not what I want to talk about rightnow), and the nation is abuzz with NFL opening day, at least according to my facebook news feed; so what better time to talk about the San Francisco baseball Giants' amazing season, which, despite a nice win against the hated Dodgers today, is all but over. (It's also a great time to write what may or may not be a grammatically correct sentence with more clauses than the North Pole, ba-dum-bum!)

After today's win, the Giants are 7.5 games behind the division-leading Dodgers, and 4.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies in the Wild Card chase. The Giants have three more games each against Colorado and Los Angeles, so they certainly can cut into those leads. They've also got six more games against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks (.431 winning percentage, 1-9 over their last 10 games) and the Padres (.451, 7-3 over their last 10), as well as a four-game series at home against the middling Cubs. So the Giants definitely are not out of it, but the way they've been playing lately (4-6 over their last 10, including some crucial losses to the Dodgers), it's unlikely they'll be making a serious move up in the standings. Regardless, the fact that the Giants are in the playoff discussion in mid-September is truly amazing. This has been a miraculous season for a team built around a pitching staff from heaven, and held back by an offense from hell, which is what bothers me the most.

Certainly, somebody, likely several people, deserves a lot of credit for piecing together a really good pitching staff around Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain; however, somebody also deserves to be beheaded, or at least fired for putting together what is truly an anemic offense. Sure, the Giants are a playoff-contender, but with a real offense they could be in the driver's seat and not staring up at the Dodgers and Rockies. It is for this reason, that I really really really hope that Brian Sabean, whose contract as general manager expires this season, joins the growing ranks of the unemployed sometime very soon.

Just how bad are the Giants? Well, I went through the NL West and compared the Giants to the other teams in the division position by position. As I didn't want to waste too much of my time, I didn't go through box scores or search for a site that shows offensive stats accrued while playing a specific position; instead, I just multiplied each players' stats by the percentage of innings played at each position for the season, which isn't exactly accurate, but paints a relatively reliable picture of a team's performance at each position. I ranked every position by OPS (On Base Percentage plus Slugging Percentage), which indicates a player's ability to get on base and hit for power, both of which tend to lead to runs being scored.

Not surprisingly, the Giants rank 4th or 5th (second to last and last in the five-team division) in five of the eight positions (pitchers were excluded). In particular, they rank 4th or 5th at first base and both corner outfield positions, traditionally three of the positions were a team's more capable batters play. The only positions where they aren't truly horrible are third base (Rank - 2nd), thanks to Pablo Sandoval's contributions; centerfield and catcher, where they rank 3rd, which isn't exactly anything to write home about. San Diego is worse than the Giants at both positions, while Arizona is worse at centerfield and Los Angeles is worse at catcher. Centerfield and catcher are two of the few positions in which the Giants actually have "established" starters entrenched, in Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina, respectively. Whereas, the Padres ineptitude at these positions is largely due to their lack of a real full-time starter, rather employing platoons of mediocre (at best) players. The Diamondbacks' poor play in centerfield is primarily the result of a continued decline by former top prospect Chris Young, while the Dodgers' low ranking at catcher is due to a down season from Russell Martin, a former all-star. The Giants would probably rank 4th in catcher if Martin was having a more typical season by his standards.

Overall, the Giants' average ranking is 4.125, tied for worst in the division with San Diego. Of course some consideration should be given to the fact that the Diamondbacks and Rockies play half their games in ballparks that tend to inflate offensive numbers, notably extra base hits. On the other hand, the Padres and Dodgers, and to a lesser degree the Giants, have home ballparks that favor pitchers. Nonetheless, Brian Sabean, in his infinite wisdom, has managed to assemble a team whose offensive capabilities are comparable to a rebuilding Padres team that is also hampered by playing in one of the most notorious pitchers parks in MLB; and far inferior to the other three teams in the division. Good job, buddy!

I hope Giants management can recognize Sabean's, and the team's (as currently configured), shortcomings and make the appropriate decision for the 2010 season. It's almost impossible to believe that just about any random person couldn't manage to put together a better offensive team than Sabean has assembled. Granted, some help may come from the farm system; however, the Giants top position-player prospect is Buster Posey, a catcher. So even if he lives up to the hype, he's helping at a position where the Giants aren't necessarily in need performance-wise, although Molina is a free agent after this season. Sandoval has recently been playing more firstbase, but if that is what the future holds, then the Giants will soon have a gaping offensive hole at thirdbase. Worse yet, Edgar Renteria, the Giants' starting shortstop who is largely responsible for the Giants' 4th place ranking in OPS at that position, has one more year left on his two-year $18 million contract, and he's not getting any younger...or better.

This post could be a whole lot longer, but I'm sure I've written way too much already. In summary, the Giants offense truly sucks. Brian Sabean has built that offense. Many things need to change if the Giants are really going to compete for titles in the near-future, why not start with the doofus who has put together the offense that is holding back our tremendous pitching staff?

Image via

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pick Dem: Week 1

This is the best time of year for degenerate gamblers - football season has started. With that, the contributors to this blog will slug it out for pick'em supremacy. We each pick three games per week using the Friday lines from the Sportacular iPhone app so that we have uniform spreads. The winner gets 2 of something TBD!!!!

Tune in tomorrow for our picks.

I don't know about these other fools, but here are Billy Rubin's picks:

Vikings -4 @ Browns
Cowboys - 5.5 @ Buccaneers
Packers -4 vs. Bears

I haven't really had much time to research, so my picks are kinda seat of the pants. The Vikings have the Williamses though and the Browns are terrible. Ditto for the Bucs, whose best quarterback is named Josh and he isn't starting, nor was he drafted this year. I've been impressed with the Packers' defense this preseason and equally unimpressed with the Bears receiving corps.

(3-0, suckas!)


known associate is picking:

Panthers +1 vs. Eagles
Seahawks/Rams Over 41
Bengals -4.5 vs. Broncos

the eagles' revamped line is gonna need time to gel. plus, mcnabb says he's "excited".. which really means his bitch ass is nervous. the seahawks and rams were decimated by injuries on offense last season. both are relatively healthy and should be improved. and yes, i did pick the bengals.



I'm late to the party and there are only two games left.

Bills +10.5 vs. Patriots
Raiders +10 vs. Chargers
over 42 1/2 Raiders vs. Chargers

No research done here.