The Team Previews take us down the home stretch

We survived the long, grey month of February. The pointless ad depressing heap of day that cloud your life and suck your very will to live. Have to give a small tip of the bill to the Winter Olympics for just being something to distract and divert.

But now we start to roll a little bit. The Cactus and Grapefruit league games start any day now; and March Madness and fantasy baseball drafts should carry us right on through until Opening Night.

Starting tomorrow we have a time-honored tradition, the yearly team previews. We preview every big league team, all 30 until every team has been eliminated.

That should take us into the season quoits nicely. So keep it locked on Diamod Hoggers. And cross your fingers for a warm and sunny April 5th. And if you want help us out with a team preview of a team you feel you know a lot a about, send us an email to diamondhoggers_at_gmail_dot_com.

– Posted from my iPhone

Baseball Prospectus on Jay Bruce: “He’s just a baby and he hit 22 home runs in an off year,” a scout said. “Imagine what he’s going to do when he’s healthy. This kid has tremendous power and he’s already advanced enough that he hits them out to all fields because he knows how to turn on inside pitches and he is strong enough to go the other way with balls on the outer half of the plate. What we’ve seen of him is strictly the tip of the iceberg. PECOTA also feels Bruce is ready to bust out, projecting him to hit .275/.342/.520 with 32 home runs in 620 plate appearances.” [Fantasy Alpha]

Our little boy turns three today

Three years ago today, your favorite baseball blog was born. It seems like it was so many moons ago. It’s hard to believe.

For three years, we like to think we’ve brought you some interesting material and a real passion for the sport of Major League Baseball. When thinking about what we wanted to say in this post, let’s make it clear that as long as there is baseball to write about, we’ll be around.

Some great stuff upcoming for 2010. We’ll be better then ever.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Logging on from Longhorn Country

You didn’t get your regularly scheduled posts today because we were busy flying cross-country for our real job. And as soon as we stepped off the plane in Austin, there’s what we saw. They don’t do a lot of baseball. It’s all Longhorns. If you say the use the phrase ‘Colt Mccoy’ in the wrong sentence down here, you’ll get yer damn ass kicked.

Acutally, it’s a pretty cool place in the country.

At the Earl Campbell Bar there was an old cowboy playing CCR’s ‘Lodi’. It’s a bad ass song and even better to the tune of a redneck twang.

Stay tuned. Big times lie ahead. Saturday is a hallmark day for the site and soon after that we’ll start our 2010 team previews. Had the entire flight to read about fantasy baseball. Lindy’s gave the Reds zero respect. Not happy about it.

Tommy Lasorda hawking Muscle Milk would be the end of Muscle Milk

Not that we’ll look much better when we’re 80-something, but Tommy’s seen better days. Like the time he went absolutely fucking nuts in an interview. He did not take kindly to Howard Stern Show’s teasing.

But Tommy, Muscle Milk tastes like shit and it’s not going to tighten up your old man ass. Just drink the real thing.
And yeah, that’s Mark Sweeney there with Tommy in case you were wondering.

Tommy Lasorda goes 6’s and 7’s crazy in interview. [YouTube]

A metal bat in Chris Burke's hands would still make this a mis-match

And here you go ladies and gentleman. Footage of Aroldis Chapman throwing live BP for the first time as a professional ballplayer.

Wouldn’t you know that he draws Chris Burke? Has to be in case one slips from Chapman ala Randy Johnson in the AS game a few years back (vs. John Kruk) and it ends up connecting, they want it to be someone who is expendable.

Burke would fit that mold. This guy has zero chance to make the big league club out of spring.

Hat tip: Paying homage to C Trent over at CNATI.

I pray to da fatha, da son, and da Holy Jeeta

(Clicks MLB Trade Rumors page)
(Reads Jeter’s quote on a contract extension)

“This is the only organization I’ve ever wanted to play for. I’ve never envisioned myself playing anywhere else. Hopefully I don’t have to. I’ve never been a free agent, and I’ve never wanted to be a free agent.”

(breaks into cold sweat)

Don’t worry Jeets. We’ll sign yuh. I am gonna see to it.

(Runs out to the street, waives down a cab successfully)

We betta sign Jeeta, and we better sign him right fuckin’ now if dey know what’s good fur em. Take me to duh Bronx. I wanna tell Steinbrenna right now how important it is that we protect owa most important asset.

What duh hell owa duh Yanks witout Mista Novemba? Huh?

He’s as much a part of duh Yankee mystique as dat pinstripe on duh fuckin’ hat. One of dose Jews, George or Hank; they’re offa up duh coin to keep owa star and dey’ll do it fuckin’ tuh-day. If not, I’m gonna shove my Italian Genoa salam down dey fat troats and I’ll neva go to anudder fuckin’ Yanks game fuh as long as I live.

(Lights up three cigarettes, is told that he can’t smoke in cab, lights a fourth cigarette)

Duh Sopranos. Duh Joysey Turnpike. Duh Jets, Duh Giants. Rudi Giuliani. Ground Zero. None of dat means shit tuh this city if Jeets is wearing anyting otha then Pinstripes come 2011.

Doesn’t loyalty account fuh sometin? Doesn’t all the clutch hits in Octoba mean anyting? I grew up watchin’ Jeets become duh king of dis city. I got my first head job the same day he got his first big league knock.

(Opens can of Yueng-leng)

That Cashman betta undastand simple economics. You pay Jeets, you win. It’s dat fuckin’ simple. Wit Jeeta, we could win 10 mowa titles. Witout Jeeta, those fuck-knobs like Girardi and Cashman don’t have fuckin’ jobs.

(Throws empty can of Yueng-leng at old lady)

I’mma gonna have a sit down with da boys and if dey don’t write up a contract fuh Jeets right in front-uh my very eyes, someone’s gonna get roughed around a little and made tuh understand.

(Opens can of Red bull, chugs entire Red bull)

Dis is a guy who’s still in his prime. He hit .334 last season. We need tuh being paying homage tuh King Jeeta. Instead of worryan’ about uh contract, we outta be pickin’ out jewells fuh his crown. Jeeta, do yuh like ruby’s or emerulds?

(Starts doing forearm curls with 25 pound free weights, yelling with each rep)

Dis is Jeeta’s town! He is duh king of duh concrete jungle, and he can fuck anybody he wants! Ya hear? Am I right? Am I not right? Dis is so true!

(Hops out of cab at New Yankee Stadium, puts on sunglasses in daylight, throws a quarter at the cabby)

Steinbrenna, if you don’t pay owa boy I’ll have my rich father from Queens bury you unda the new elementary school he’s building. This I mean fuh sure!


Right Field, out where the dandelions grow

Good song here that I’ll always remember from the Pizza Hut commercial (does anyone else remember what I’m talking about?) that came on before some VHS movies.

This is Peter, Paul, and Mary. They also wrote Puff the Magic Dragon. But this one is a classic. And it’s true what they say about right field. Hell, the bad kid always gets stuck in the outfield while the studs of little league play shortstop and first base.

But I assure you; by the time you get to high school and college ball, you’ll be glad you were stuck in the outfield. You can think about thirty things other then baseball each inning. You can think about your at-bats. You can zone out and see who’s in the stands. Outfield is the cadillac of baseball positions.

The Perfect Game, my ass.

I wrote about this over at 7th inning stache, but I’ll go into it again. If you’re thinking of buying MLB2k10 when it comes out on March 3rd for the XBOX 360; you’re playing with a loaded gun. If you own a Playstation 3 and you’re considering it, you need committed.

The shitheads at 2k Sports are doing everything they can to get you to buy this horse shit video game. This includes offering a million dollars (yes a real, tangible $1,000,000) to the first guy who can throw a perfect game. You know some little widget head is going to stay up all night long and beat you to the punch anyway. It’s a cool concept, it gives them the chance to call it “The Perfect Game” in advertising (even though they know it’s flawed as fuck); but it’s really not an added reason to buy the game.

I’m an avid baseball gamer. I like video games, and when it comes to baseball video games I’m especially a sucker. I’ve played them all through the years. It started with the RBI Baseball series and it led into Tony LaRussa baseball (so underrated, folks). That led into Hardball 5 for the computer which cost me countless opportunities with girls in high school because I spent skipped my freshman homecoming dances to stay home and take the Indians to the World Series.

I’m that asshole that sits and plays out the string of 162, just like in real life. I’m that loser that makes all the legit trades as they are in real life. When we call up Chris Burke midseason instead of the budding young prospect, I can’t help myself. Chris Burke’s polygonal twin on the game gets called up at that point in my season if I’m playing with the Reds. And I suffer through him hitting .128 because I like being ‘authentic’.

I want my game to be as close to the real thing as possible. I want to smell the pine tar when I fire up the game. Really, I realize that’s not possible. But is it too much to ask to get a game that plays like real baseball without all the glaring glitches?
I swore last spring at this time when I was cursing the game out loud late into the night that I’d never buy it again. I gritted my teeth as my roomate called me silly for cussing a video game. What he didn’t understand is that I was in a jam in one inning after the next, losing games 23-4 because my fucking first baseman kept pulling his foot off the bag. I adjusted the sliders, which sucked. It was either a case of blowing out the computer or getting my ass kicked every game. I’d either hit 8 homers, including one to every field with Joey Votto or I’d scratch across 3 hits on zero runs. There was no balance. It played like shit.

I thought I was crazy until I gave up on the game and had a friend over who decided to try his hand on it. Sure enough, I laid on the couch and watched his exercise in futility. He cussed the game and gritted his teeth in the same manner that I did. He called it the worst baseball game of all time. We make fun of the horse shit things that happened in it to this day. Even my friend, who owns no gaming system is warning me about making that wasted purchase again this year and throwing my money away on another broken title by 2k Sports.

And you know what, I’m fucked in the head.

I’m fucked in the head because I find myself searching for early reviews that this game won’t be bullshit again. I talk myself out of the fact that their are rumors of serious, glaring problems in this game once again before it’s even released. There’s going to be some serious glitches people. There are going to be things that happen that will make your jaw drop and make you want to kick your pets. The fly balls that your outfielder runs away from, the base-running errors that will not stop, or needing a fourth strike to record an out. There will be death, taxes, and 2K Sports fucking up royally. Mark my words, it is a given.
And somehow I know myself well enough that I realize it’s a lost cause. I’ll go out March 3rd behind everyone’s back and I’ll sell-out. I’ll stay up until the wee hours that night suffering through the painful experience of 9 innings. I’ll watch players sink into the ground in the field of play and guys disappearing off the roster once they’re forced to be moved to the DL at a mind-numbing pace.

It’s all because I love the game of baseball and I’ll always hold out hope that I can have a baseball game where I can have Brandon Phillips chase the triple crown and I can take Dusty Baker and go win the World Series, with me at the helm billing myself as the Championship GM that I know I am.

Plus when you own a 360, there are not many alternatives. In fact, there’s none for baseball. By this time of year, I’m really tired of playing Madden NFL 10 and NHL 10. I’ve won the Lombardi Trophy. I’ve won the Stanley Cup. I’m ready for a new challenge. How about the challenge of the infielder not only booting a ground ball; but subsequently chasing the fucker around like a chicken while the computer rounds the bases for an inside-the-infield home run!

I’m screwed. I already know it, and I’m screwed.

Non-Baseball OT: Jake the Bachelor is a Douche

Okay, we get it. For your five minutes you get to be America’s sweetheart. You get to fool everyone in the world and get comments from females like ‘don’t bash him! he’s sooo nice’. But you aren’t fooling me, son.
You’re just like the rest of us.

You hold your nuts, you fart in your sleep, and you watch porn. You have disgusting habits, including scratching and sniffing and talking about pussy and beef jerky. You forget to brush your teeth, you have funky toe-nails, and you lie. You’ve probably stolen before, too.

Jealousy has nothing to do with it. I see right through the sweetheart act. You do not fall in love over a period of a few nights with multiple women. That is not real love talking, it’s an erection.

So I’ve been made to suffer through your bastard-ass rose ceremonies for weeks on end now hearing about how honest and charming you are. Your time is running short, turd.

Oh and if you were actually interested in the big finish, I read the spoiler and Vienna (the one who looks like a cross-eyed horse) wins The Bachelor. And now they’re already broken up in real life. Sorry.

We should have shaken the Gomes virus while there was still a cure

We’ll tell you all right now: Jonny Gomes won’t have anywhere near the season he had in 2009. Like, ever again.
The Reds made the decision to re-sign Gomes and add him to the stable of outfielders that are vying for a spot.
This list includes Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Chris Dickerson, Laynce Nix, Wladimir Balentien, Drew M. Anderson, Drew T. Anderson, Brady Anderson, Anderson Varajeo, Uncle Jesse from Full House, Rick Dempsey, Your Aunt Michelle, Lebron James, Maria Sharapova, Ernest Hemingway, Lance Armstrong, Rick Smits, Ned Flanders, Hilary Clinton, Abraham Lincoln, Jesus Shuttlesworth, Lance Bass, Nick Nolte, Gary Busey, the guy who does the weather on the 11 o’ clock news from your parents hometown, Carrie Underwood, Dennis Haysbert, Wesley Snipes, David Justice, Robert DeNiro, Jake from The Bachelor, Jesse Palmer, Carlito Brigante, and Emilio Estevez.
I know the guy says all the right things and hit some home runs down the stretch last year. Look, he surprised me too. But I was heavily rooting against any type of return for the 29-year old; who will do his best to take away at-bats from young guys who need the experience this year when Jonny Gomes is an afterthought.
I’d like Gomes to become a guy who is the 25th man. The last guy off the bench. I like him as a lightning in the bottle type guy who can pinch hit and spot start against a left-hander. You see, that’s never the case with Dusty Baker.
Dusty is a sure bet to go and turn what could be a good thing into solid shit in the wink of an eye. He’s never seen a veteran he didn’t like over a youngster. And he’ll take away at-bats from the Stubbs, the Balentien’s, the Dickerson’s in order to get this guy at-bats.
Sure, he had a career year last year. He appeared in 98 games for the Reds last season, hit .267 with 20 dingers and 51 RBI. But two points on this: 1) I’ll bet you drinks anywhere you want in the greater Columbus area that he won’t ever do that again over a 98 game stretch, and 2) Those numbers still weren’t really warranting of adding him to the mix at any cost.
Let him go elsewhere and hit .240 with his 11 homers and 31 RBI while he struggles to find that 2009 form that will never come back. We’ll go with the youngsters. Tampa Bay isn’t in the business of giving away young and talented players but they let Gomes go pretty easily. We’ve got a lot of talent in this organization. I was ready to begin the season with the Jonny Gomes era behind us.
How many times have we seen it? Guy comes out in a contract year and sets the world afire. Good for him. Then he comes back after he gets another year (and thank God it wasn’t a multi-year deal the Reds gave him, we’re sure he tried) and you’ve got a lemon on your hands.
Good guy, good story, but the curtain had fallen I had thought on Gomes in a Reds uniform. And I’d bet that if he doesn’t get the playing time that he thinks he should get, he’ll be belly-aching about it.
I hope Todd Frazier comes out and hits .426 this spring and makes Gomes an after-thought.

"That Sumbitchin’ Dick"

Drafted out of high school in the first round in 2004, Bailey was the team’s top prospect for years, arguably one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and started the Futures Game in 2006, lighting up the radar gun with a 98 mph fastball.

Bailey’s star seemed to drop like a 12-to-6 curveball.

After a two-hit, one-run performance in seven innings against Oakland in his third big league start, he was hammered by Philadelphia and St. Louis. His sixth outing in the big leagues still sticks with him – after giving up only two hits and a run in five innings, he was told his day was done. He’d thrown 86 pitches, probably more than he should in five innings, but he had enough to go another inning, even by the most conservative standards.

“(Then-pitching coach) Dick (Pole) told me they wanted to take me out. I knew something was not right and that day I got sent down, and I didn’t know what I did,” Bailey said. “Was I supposed to win every one? Was I that bad? I didn’t understand.”

Bailey bouncing back. [ – C. Trent Rosecrans]