One of our favorite sites is changing

We’ve done a lot of referencing the best baseball reference site on the net, Baseball-Reference. They house all stats, and all box scores of modern day baseball. We hate change, so when we found out they were moving their site over to a new beta site, it threw us into a tailspin.

When you can’t sleep at night, if you’re a baseball geek like we are; check out Baseball-Reference. We’re warning you though: you’ll spend way too much time looking up what Dale Murphy hit in 1987 and finding out what Hall of Famers Ray Lankford played with in his career. We do.

Also, check out the Stat of the Day blog, they come up with some very interesting finds of odd things that have occurred in the game of baseball. Today for instance, was most plate appearances for a pitcher in the DH era.


[Baseball-Reference Stat of the Day Blog]

Jeff Keppinger traded to Houston for PTBNL

We always liked scrappy Jeff Keppinger. Guy was never highly hyped or touted, but he hit at every level he’d ever played at including the Major Leagues. Keppinger was traded to the Houston Astros today as a result of a clog of Reds middle infielders.

“I’m just glad they didn’t release me,” Keppinger said. “I was going to ask if they were going to release me just because of my spring numbers.”

“It’s good,” Keppinger said. “Maybe the opportunity’s better for me over there. I might get a chance to play. Looking around here, it didn’t look like I would play too much. That’s kind of how my career has been. I always get roadblocked somewhere, and I go to a team that kind of needs something. Before you know it, they give me my shot to play.”

So we’ll miss those high socks and that closed stance. We’re fairly certain the guy will hit .350 against the Reds for the next 5 years in Houston. They’re getting a nice player.

Update: The Reds have until May 1 to select a Minor Leaguer to complete the deal.

Throwing it around

Opening day plans are being made. We’re going to have a hell of an extravaganza of posts here on the site starting sunday and into this time next week. We’ve completed the month of March. It’s hard to believe another year of baseball is on the horizon. We’re down to the 5 day mark, and they’ll we will actually have real conversation pieces to talk about in these very spaces.

-A preview of the Boston Red Sox Opening Day lineup. [Extra Bases]
-Chipper Jones is about to sign a contract extension. [Shysterball]
-The MLB Network ignores fantasy baseball no more. [Baseball Prospectus]
-Q & A about the Mets upcoming season with Bloggers. [NY Times Bats Blog]
-Preseason predictions are never easy. [Ump Bump]
-Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning got pinched. [Crosley Field Terrace]
-Bronson Arroyo is battling carpal tunnel syndrome. [The Real Mccoy]
-Citi Field is open for business folks. A full review. [Bugs & Cranks]

Tigers release Gary Sheffield

The Detroit Tigers recently made a trade for speedy outfielder Drew Anderson. The trickle down move from that move is for the Tigers to release outfielder Gary Sheffield, who said he was in his final season anyways.

This comes on the heels of the news for the Tigers that Dontrelle Willis is doing his best Mark Fidrych impression.

Look for teams like the Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants, and yes possibly even the Yankees to at least sniff around Sheffield. Anyone looking to add some right handed power who has cash to spend. This is a bit bittersweet for Sheffield who was trying to wrap things up quietly (for once) in Detroit and now he’ll most likely spend his final season a free agent or in a weird looking uniform.

We wouldn’t be shocked to see Sheffield hang them up entirely. Then again, although he was hitting only .178 this spring, he is only 1 homer shy of 500 for his career. He’s going to do it somewhere.

Update: Tim Kurkjian just said on Sportscenter that Gary Sheffield would get his Hall of Fame vote if it came to that. Kurkjian listed Sheffield along with Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr. as the most productive offensive players of the last 20 years.

New York Yankees 2009 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the New York Yankees. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.

The mighty Yankees enter the season with few concerns and a loaded ballclub. The one question that is being whispered about this ballclub is about their aging lineup. They have a lot of old stars. But they’re fielding great players at virtually every position and one thing about the Yankees is that they’ll go and get what they need, even if it is only for a month that they’ll need that player; they will not stand pat and allow other teams to exploit a weakness. It’s what makes them the team you love to hate.

The newest news is that Derek Jeter will hit shortstop. We have few doubts that he’ll succeed in this role. Jeter gets on base at a frenzied pace. He’ll do that again and probably score a boatload of runs. Johnny Damon will start on most nights in left field and hit second. They have Hideki Matsui to play a little left field and DH as well. Mark Teixeira is the newly acquired stud of the lineup. The first baseman will hit anywhere from 28 to 40 homers and drive in 100 plus. Jorge Posada is the catcher and will hit 5th or 6th. Jorge has become a model of consistency, and a symbol of the Yankees along with Jeter. Xavier Nady was acquired last year and played some of the best baseball of his career in New York. Robinson Cano needs to earn back the Yankee fans’ trust. His .300 average from May onwards last season wasn’t enough. Seems like forever ago that he hit .340 in 2006. Cody Ransom will fill in for Alex Rodriguez until late May, possibly early June. Yankee fans don’t expect much from Ransom, but they didn’t from Cano either. The guy might end up being a pretty good player just from coming up through an organization with great players. A ‘Youkilis effect’ if you will. Brett Gardner has beaten out Melky Cabrera for the starting centerfield job.

The starting rotation is once again loaded. They’ve got a lot of starting pitching. We actually expect A.J. Burnett to out perform C.C. Sabathia, which is saying something because we think Sabathia will be good. Burnett is going to have one of those years where it all comes together for him. He’s got the stuff, he’ll stay healthy finally and be on a good team for the first time in his career.

From there you have Chien-Ming Wang who is an ace on a lot of teams. Andy Pettite returns for what could be one of his final seasons. Joba Chamberlain is one of the headliners for this team. He puts butts in the seats and figures to be a special player for this franchise for a long time. He could be like a Roger Clemens type in terms of stuff. His velocity was down at press time but he’ll find it. Beyond that, he may end up closing some ballgames if something happens to closer Mariano Rivera.

Damaso Marte is a good lefty specialist. Brian Bruney, Edwar Ramirez, and Dan Giese will get some extended innings out of the pen. Righties Jose Veras (who we like a lot) and Jonathan Albaladejo will also be contributors.

Joe Girardi is blessed with a loaded squad. We don’t buy that their lineup is old. We’ve seen older lineups do damage. The smart money is on this team to win it all. If you know baseball, there is no way you can bet against this roster. You just can’t. They have too much in every category to go along with veteran leadership and experience. They’ll be in the playoffs and their pitching in a short series will probably prevail more often then not. Now, if A-Rod can’t return to form all year, that might throw some snags in the line. But then we know they’ll just go and get someone to fill that void.

The Yankees will have a shot at hanging a special banner in that brand new palace they’re set to open. Love them or hate them, they’ll be there like they usually are.

Toronto Blue Jays 2009 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Toronto Blue Jays. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.

Blue Jays fans can finally have something to look forward to this season. They’ve got some really good young prospects like left handed pitcher Ricky Romero and possible American League Rookie of the Year Travis Snider ready to break into the big leagues and make an impact. They also have a nice mix of old stars as well.

The lineup starts off with shortstop Marco Scutaro. Scrappy little ballplayer. Aaron Hill is the second baseman. Alex Rios is the right fielder and will hit in the middle of the order. Vernon Wells is still the headliner but he must stay healthy and have one of those seasons that restores faith and shows people that all of the sustained injuries in past years have not permanently damaged him. A few years ago, Wells was that guy who signed a mega contract that every team in baseball would have scrambled to build around.

Adam Lind revived his career, and this year he could approach 30 home runs as a DH/OF. Scott Rolen is closing out a long career quietly but still has pop. Lyle Overbay will be the first baseman and hit 7th. Travis Snider, as we mentioned before; will possibly be the headliner on this team by next season. The guy is a bulky, muscular kid. Rod Barajas will hit enough to hold down the catching job. Kevin Millar is also available off the bench.

Roy Halladay is the ace of this staff and the franchise’s most recognizable player. There are already rumblings that if this team isn’t a contender in 2009, that he’ll be dangled at the trade deadline. And that’s a damn shame. Guys like Roy Halladay should remain in the same big league city until their arm falls off. Halladay will give the Blue Jays a chance to win every night that he is on the hill and will serve as the rotation’s streak stopper. Jesse Litsch is the #2 starter heading into the season. David Purcey and Casey Janssen follow him. They’re relative unknowns aren’t they? Dustin Mcgowan will be in there somewhere, and he’s been very impressive when he’s been out there for the Jays.

There’s another superstar in the bullpen. Closer BJ Ryan. If he can stay healthy he’ll do his thing and be this era’s Billy Wagner. Brandon League is a good set-up guy. Jesse Carlson, Scott Downs, and Jason Frasor also log innings in this pen.

The manager is Cito Gaston. Cito Gaston! This is good for the nostalgic baseball fan, but Cito’s last tour of duty isn’t with as much talent. He could lose his job pretty easily. They Jays are in a tough division and while they won’t God awful, but they won’t be able to contend for a top spot in this stacked AL East either.

Keep your eye on this Dontrelle Willis story

The latest struggle for Dontrelle Willis is a peculiar one. Willis has been placed on the Disabled List with an “anxiety disorder”. Now here is what makes things interesting:

“This is not depression,” Willis said. “This is something totally different. This is something where they saw something in my blood that they didn’t like. “I’m not crazy, though my teammates might think that I’m crazy.”


Now, you don’t diagnose anxiety through blood tests. There is something going on there that causes anxiety, but it isn’t in the blood. There could be something seriously physically wrong with Willis that we haven’t learned about yet. Perhaps doctors don’t even know what is causing the condition. But when we read that, it just seemed ‘off’ to us.

Pay attention to this story in the coming months and weeks. If Willis is suffering from anxiety, it should have nothing to do with bloodwork. Remember we said it, although we don’t know exactly what to make of it.

Throwing it around

Couple more days until Opening Day. We’re almost at the one week mark. As you see who makes the Final Four, we’ll throw it around and pass the time on the last few days of Spring Training.

-Joba Chamberlain’s fastball is losing some MPH on it. [SI Truth & Rumors]
-Bernie Williams has that itch to play again. [Generation Third]
-Ronny Paulino for Jack Taschner. [The Good Phight]
-The Reds’ young pitching gains them a Sports Illustrated article. [Sports Illustrated]
-Some more Twins history, a 1991 game chronicled. [Coffeyville Whirlwind]
-The Brewers are red hot yo. [Milwaukee JS]
-The 4 pound, 4800 calorie burger that we be sold in a minor league park. [New York Daily News]

Kansas City Royals 2009 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Kansas City Royals. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.

It’s like this. This is a baseball blog and as long as we’re writing about baseball we’re happy. But there are those teams that just aren’t worthy of us talking about. At all. That team or two who you just put off writing the season preview about or really giving any mention to whatsoever.

I mean, their headliner is supposed to be Alex Gordon, the top pick from a few years ago. He’s contracted Austin Kearns syndrome. He’s just not that good, yet. This is probably the last year where we can say there’s high expectations from the kid’s talents. If he doesn’t deliver he is going to be known as one of those guys who just isn’t cut out to be a big league star. He also could out of nowhere hit 30 bombs.

Mike Aviles is the three hole hitter. Other noteworthy names include Coco Crisp and David Dejesus. Noteworthy in Kansas Shitty City that is. Mike Jacobs came over from the Marlins. He can hit a little bit. They’ve got Billy Butler and Miguel Olivo. Eh, big deal right? Their lineup is just full of turds.

The pitching staff has a few bright spots. People are calling Zach Greinke and Kyle Davies major sleepers heading into this year. The Royals can perform above expectations if these guys break out. Greinke was good last season but if he continues to develop, they’ll have a valuable commodity. Gil Meche and Brian Bannister are pretty solid starters who know how to pitch without having lights out stuff. Luke Hochevar is a question mark but he was a number one overall draft pick. Royals fans are starting to get nervous if the Royals missed on what should have been a sure fire star, but he’s still young.

The best player on the team might be their closer, Joakim Soria. Kyle Farnsworth, Ron Mahay, Robinson Tejada and Doug Waechter will all see solid innings, probably more then a lot of teams penners do.

We won’t sugarcoat it. The Royals have earned the reputation of being awful for a reason. They’re going to be predicted to be awful until they do something about it on the field like the Rays did last year. Thats just the way it goes. They’ve had some sprinkles of bad luck or no luck at all, that is what seperates them from the Rays (in terms of missing on high draft picks year after year). Thing is, they’re in a division that gives them more of a chance to compete than the AL East at least.

Count us in: Colin Cowherd is a fuckshot

So in case you haven’t heard, Colin Cowherd went batshit about bloggers today on his ESPN radio show. So if you have a blog, he was to a degree making fun of you. Cowherd’s war with bloggers is old news. We’ve stayed out of it. Until today.

We wanna join the list of people out there who’d like to kick Colin Cowherd in the nuts. Let’s see what he had to say about ‘all of us’ today on his show. Talk about a slow friday in ESPN radio world:

“Blogs used to feel so edgy. I’ve never seen anything lose their relevance faster than blogs. You can make fun of newspapers, but they lost their relevance over like 150 years. Blogs lost their relevance in an hour and a half. When they first came out they seemed edgy and exclusive. Now Fidel Castro has one, my mom has one, everybody’s got one … the problem with blogs is that they’re too easy to create. And when anyone can create one, it dilutes it.”

And…

“This whole anti-establishment blog thing was always funny to me. You know, these guys ‘I’m against the man, I’m anti establishment. Well, now they’re all owned by the establishment. Gawker media bought most of them.”

And…

“The bottom line with hating the man – it gives you street cred, but you end up hanging out with people who can’t pay the bills. Let me tell you something, bloggers, 400 thread-count sheets are better than a sleeping bag. Trust me on that. You want to be part of the establishment. Anti-establishment is overrated.”

He continued….

“These blogs … they’re like the high school goth chick who hates the high school QB because he’s the high school QB. The second he would ask her out (voice gets very high) ‘Oh my god! Why am I wearing black nail polish! I gotta shower this month! Oh my god!’ That’s blog guy.”

And…

[Pretends like he’s on a phone call] ‘Hi, this is New Yorker magazine, would you like a job with actual benefits?’ [Pretending to be a blogger] ‘ABSOLUTELY! I’ll pay for my own cab!’ What’s the name of the guy from the big one … Will Leitch at Deadspin – ‘Hi, this is the New York Times, our magazine would like you to be an editor … ‘I’ll take the job!’ … ‘Uh, we haven’t finished our sales pitch …’ ‘I’ll take the job!’

And…

“In any business, if you’re any good, you’ll be embraced by the establishment, and they’ll drop money on you. This anti-establishment blog mantra is lame. You’re all bought by the establishment now. I’m all for emerging media, and i think that one that we knocked off, they they do a good job, The Big Lead.com – it’s lively, they do funny stories, it’s kind of sexy …”

And finally he STFU…

“They all want to tell you they have a unique angle and approach. Do you know 99% of all bloggers are white, 18-34, from the northeast, liberal … they’re all the same guy! They’re all the same voice! Middle class or above, prep school, overwhelmingly white. You’re the same guy! If i put you in a room i couldn’t tell you apart. They just link back and forth to each other. To me it’s funny. They’re the goth chick. Trust me, when the QB asks you out, it will make your year.”

I don’t even know where to start dissecting this guy. He’s obviously got a complex of some kind that makes him bitter against bloggers, right? At the same time, he is pretty in touch with the blog world. He knows the household names. He knows about Deadspin and Will Leitch. He knows about The Big Lead. He knows how the blogger business and hobby works.

Or is it just that he’s trying to use a little backwards ass psychology in a controversy creates cash sort of way? I mean like he said, we bloggers all talk to eachother. If we all start writing about Colin Cowherd, maybe just maybe he’ll gain a few listeners. God knows no one listens to ESPN radio anymore. I always tell my friends that if you’re in the car find the Fox Sports Radio affiliate and leave it there. Cowherd might know what 400 thread count sheets feel like (my mom bought me some of those off Ebay for cheap as shit) but the fact of the matter is he couldn’t hold JT the Brick’s jockstrap, or Andrew Siciliano. Hell if you held a gun to my head I’d even listen to Jim Rome over Cowherd. Cowherd has a radio show that drags on. It was probably dragging today, which is why he went on a blogger tangent.

It’s good to know that you’re accepted as part of the ‘establishment’, Colin. We’re glad that your producers and ESPN bigwigs put up with you in a manner that your own ex-wife could not. Truth is we’ve listened into Cowherd’s show many times because there was nothing else on and the worst part about it is the guy doesn’t seem to know a lot about sports. He hits on hot button issues, but doesn’t know the details. He’s always short on facts. That’s why bloggers (many of them anyways, like us) are better then Colin Cowherd, because they know who played right guard for the Atlanta Falcons in 2006 or who was the number one guy off the Dodgers bench in 1995.

Reasoning that there are a ton of blogs doesn’t make the luster wear off of the good ones. Re-read the quotes. Cowherd said it himself. The cream rises to the top. The best bloggers are being plucked to be part of the ‘establishment’ and go write for the big boys. Also, shithead forgets that not all bloggers slam ESPN (who we assume he meant as the ‘establishment’). We like ESPN, fuck it’s all we have. There are parts of it that suck and you’re going to hear about it when it surfaces in conversation; like your show for example. ESPN could always improve. But really we just blog because we love sports. Where else can you talk about the SI Swimsuit edition, Marlboro Chew, or video games in one area? It’s a one stop shop for great things! One blogger said it best: blogs are a blank canvas for you to do what you want with. It’s one of the only places in life where you can have that.

There are some people who just like to blog, Colin. They aren’t all liberal. Believe us. What’s wrong with wanting to have an online and infinite notebook of cool stuff you’ve written your thoughts about? It’s good for the mind, Colin. Ask your psychologist.

Best guess. Colin is bitter and harboring an insane amount of resentment about the attention blogs are receiving and depleting his newspaper journalist buddies of. He then spun in his mind that he could possibly gain some listeners out of it. The bottom line is The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio is just not that great of a show. He’s living on a reputation that was once stronger; and time that is probably borrowed. If he doesn’t start coming up with better material, maybe he’ll no longer be one of the establishment that he speaks of. But you can’t force a girl to love you who doesn’t. A leopard can’t change its spots. Colin Cowherd will not be able to stop sucking because that is who he is. What goes around, comes around dude. We’re now gonna be part of the crowd who is laughing and throwing tomatoes when your run at the top comes to an end and you are the one in the sleeping bag.

This new Clemens book is going to be a good one. “Clemens isn’t weird or quirky, but he spent most of his career creating his own narrative, which makes him very mysterious. I mean, we all knew he’s a guy from Texas—not so. He’s from Butler Township, Ohio. We all knew he’s always been a great athlete—not so. He was a fat, soft-tossing nobody through much of his childhood. His father left when he was 2, his step father died of a heart attack before his eyes when he was 9, his brother/hero battled drug addiction and his sister in law was murdered by drug dealers. He’s had, in many ways, a very sad, tragic life. But also a fascinating one.” [Hugging Harold Reynolds]

Detroit Tigers 2009 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Detroit Tigers. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.

We’re high on the Tigers of 2009. Jimmy Leyland is a great manager, and all great managers have one final run to glory, whether it be a run that ends in a World Series or a playoff run. We aren’t sure how far this run will go, but we are certain it is going to happen in some capacity this upcoming season.

If you are a fan of an American League team, you are damn lucky that these guys don’t play in an offensive park, or they’d cause nightmares over and over for your pitching staff. Curtis Granderson could be the finest leadoff hitter in all of baseball. He’s a threat for insane numbers that not many players in this game can reach. He’s got the pop for 20 homers and the speed for 20 triples. He will score runs at a crazy pace. Placido Polanco doesn’t get enough credit, the guy can bunt and hit .300 and might be the finest 2 hole hitter in baseball. Then comes the pain. Miguel Cabrera is a perrenial MVP candidate this season, and he’s had a year to adjust to AL pitching. Did anyone notice what he did in the second half last season? He raked like he always has. Magglio Ordonez is healthy and ready to be a consistent run producer. Then you’ve still got Gary Sheffield and Carlos Guillen as guys who can both hit. Sheffield has said this will be his final year, so we’ll get 162 games maximum of watching Sheffield whip that bat. If he can stay healthy. Brandon Inge slides over to third full time, he’s another guy who can hit but doesn’t get a lot of hype in a lineup full of studs. Gerald Laird is the catcher, another pretty good hitter from that position. The bottom of the lineup is filled out with shortstop Adam Everett.

The rotation is a real wildcard, but if they can get enough pitching they’re going to be a real force. There’s reason to believe that they might get enough pitching when you look at their personnel. Justin Verlander is the ace, and he’s been getting hit hard for a while now. He must return to be the dominant arm of the staff or at least give them a chance to win on most nights for the Tigers to be a real threat. Jeremy Bonderman is the number two. Bonderman’s time is running out to prove that he’s a top arm. He once had a very high ceiling but now he’s just a guy with a good fastball and they don’t last forever in this game. Young Edwin Jackson was acquired in the offseason from Tampa Bay, he’ll be the three starter. Armando Galaragga will be impressive if he can progress and make a full season of starts. Dontrelle Willis is either going to prove he can still pitch in this league and be a huge shot in the arm and pitch above what a five starter should provide a team or his career could be over. The closer is Brandon Lyon. Could be one of those special years for him, you watch.

And so this is what Jim Leyland is aligned with to do battle with the AL in 2009. The ageless wonder, that Marlboro cowboy. Detroit is a hell of a town when their sports teams are winning. Could this be one of those magical summers? We figure these guys will do battle with the Indians for the division crown. At the very least they will score a lot of runs and be in the thick of things for the wildcard.

Throwing it around

We’ve almost made it dudes. We’re down to 10 days until Opening night. Business is really going to pick up here leading up to Opening Day and the few days to follow it. So here’s some links. It won’t be long now.

-Darren Rovell tackles the Fifth Third burger. Gonna get one of those if we go there. [Y! Sports Big League Stew]
-George Steinbrenner will be at the New Yankee Stadium Opener. [On the Yankees beat]
-What the new Marlins stadium will mean for the Tampa Bay Rays. [Rays Index]
-Have you read about the Pirates prospect Jose Tabata, whose wife is a baby theif? [Deadspin]
-Strong outing by our breakout candidate Johnny Cueto yesterday against the Red Sox. [The Real Mccoy]
-Why the Rays demoted David Price. [SI Truth & Rumors]
-MLB.com, who we don’t link; is sending mixed signals about their projections. [Wrigleyville 23]
-Why the Rays are better then the Yankees in the mind of one blogger. [Bugs & Cranks]
-The baseball blog world loses a blogger. [Baseball Prospectus]