So, Have They Changed The Name of the City to Los Puig-geles Yet?

11 06 2013

yasiel puig

So, in the last week, I’ve been forced to come to the realization that Roy Hobbs from The Natural is actually a 22-year old Cuban guy who is built like a Mack Truck and runs like a Ferrari.

America, meet Yasiel Puig, your next next honest-to-oh-my-fucking-goodness baseball phenom. The guy has been in the major leagues for one week, and so far he’s only managed to belt 4 home runs, drive in 10 runs, make two monstrous outfield assists, dive into first base to beat out an infield hit, and drew an intentional walk in his 4th game in the bigs.

It isn’t so much that he did these things, it’s how he did them. The home runs were such rockets that not only did they shatter the usually impenetrable night air of that fly-ball mausoleum known as Dodger Stadium, they got Puig a free pass to first base one day after he had his first 0-for-4 day at the plate.  He got his first intentional walk before he ever got hit by a pitch; before he got a regular walk. Think about that; they didn’t bother to hit this guy, they didn’t bother to pitch around him…they just put up four fingers and sent Puig down the first base line for free in his 18th major league at-bat. There’s guys who don’t even get hits in their first 18 at-bats.

It’s not just this kid’s bat. This guy hosed out two runners on throws that mean every third-base coach in the National League could now literally be replaced with a stop sign.

I’ve been watching baseball for forty years, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen plenty of phenoms; I’ve seen them with varying outcomes. I’ve seen a guy nobody ever heard of become a guy named Albert Pujols. I’ve watched guys that were nothing but a non-stop hype show got from Rookie of the Year to out of the league two years later. Raise your hand if you remember Joe Charbonneau…

But I’m not the only old guy who can’t believe what he is seeing.

vin scully puig meme

Vin Scully has been the voice of the Dodgers since 1951 and hes’ never seen anything like it. The Dodger offense was all but dead last Thursday against the Braves when Puig slammed a “grannie” to win the ball game in the eighth inning. Sunday, Scully went on an extended dialog about Puig as a five-tool player, and how he has never seen a player show off all five tools in one game. Scully has said just about all he can; I’m literally waiting for him to just throw his hands up in the air and exclaim “What the Fuck?!”

Right now, there’s a lot of people who want to put a Superman “S” on Puig’s chest. There are others who want replace Chuck Norris’ name in all those jokes with Puig’s. But Puig shares even more with the “Man of Steel” and “Walker, Texas Ass-Kicker.” None of them have yet to rescue the Dodgers from the NL West cellar.

As much as a phenom as Puig has been, Dodgers fans still get to live through eight other under-performing bats surrounding him.  If you are a Dodger fan, tell me how may times you’ve watched the likes of Mark Ellis strike out flailing at a pitch at his eyes with Puig on deck with runners on base in the late innings.

So, while Puig has given Dodger fans something to watch for rather than counting the days until Matt Kemp gets off the disabled list, there’s still a big question nobody in Dodgerland is ready to ask yet.

Just which way is this kid headed?

For all the signs of super-stardom he’s shown in the last week, he’s also show signs for concern in the past. This is a guy who bats .500 in the minors, and gets benched for not running out ground balls.  This is a guy who has been known to act out on the field when he disagrees with a sign. Ultimately, the Dodgers dispatched Manny Mota, who has long served as a mentor for the Dodgers’ young Latin American players, to meet with Puig.

Right now, what it all comes down to is Yasiel Puig is one hell of a story. Right now, whichever way this story goes only the future knows. Right now, what is for certain is that as dismal as the Dodgers’ season has been up this point , at least Yasiel Puig is a ray of hope to cut through what has been a season of Dodger blues.





The Dubsism Top Fifteen Sports Stories of 2012

31 12 2012

Being that we are at the end of what has proven to be a tumultuous twelve months, why not take a look back at the biggest sports stories of such a year? After all, I’m pretty sure nobody else does these sort of retrospectives…

15) The Los Angeles Kings Win The Stanley Cup

These are NOT your father's Kings.

These are NOT your father’s Kings.

For purposes of full disclosure, I have a bias on this one; I’ve been a Kings’ fan since I had to hold a puck with two hands. But there’s a couple of reasons why this win by the sole surviving original California hockey team (raise your hand if you remember the California Golden Seals) is a big story.

  • The Kings are the first native Los Angeles  team (not relocated from another city) to win a championship (Anaheim is NOT Los Angeles).
  • The Kings became the first NHL team to enter the playoffs as the 8th seed and eliminate the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in their conference.
  • The Kings became the first team to win the Stanley Cup entering the playoffs as a #8 seed.
  • The Los Angeles Kings ended one of the longest championship droughts (45 years) when they hoisted the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

The moral of the story: Don’t look now, but the Golden State is slowly becoming hockey territory. In the last twenty years, California has won more Stanley Cups than Canada has.

14) Johnny Football Becomes Johnny Heisman

johnny manziel heisman winner

The rise of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had all the media hype of other stories you will see on this list, but it had one crucial difference. Johnny Football became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, thus breaking one of the last barriers in the history of the 50-pound trophy awarded by the Downtown Athletic Club.  Manziel literally came from nowhere to the pinnacle of college football in a vote that was never really close.

The moral of the story: Until further notice, the Heisman is an award for quarterbacks and running backs only. If I had a vote, by sticking with the strict definition of the “best player in college football,” my ballot would have been as follows:

  1. Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
  2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  3. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

13) The Indianapolis Colts Cut Peyton Manning

manning irsay press conference

The Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis came to a rather inglorious, if not completely anti-climactic end on March 7, when team owner Jim Irsay announced at a press conference that the team would release the man who had become the face of the Colts’ franchise.  A 2-14 season during which Manning never saw the field due to a neck injury illustrated the need for a consideration for the future in Indianapolis. Couple that with the economic reality; cutting Manning meant the Colts would save a $28 million roster bonus due on March 8, plus be free-and-clear of the remainder of his contract.  Add it all up, and it means this move surprised nobody, because it allowed the Colts to have money for the next franchise quarterback, #1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck.

The moral of the story: Even 4-time MVPs are no longer immune to the economic realities of sports.

12) Augusta National Adds Its First Female Members

darla morre and condoleeza rice

To be honest, I’m an old-school guy who believes that private clubs should be able to pick and choose who they want  as members. That’s why when I first found out that Augusta had caved to a bunch of ball-busting feminists with chin-whiskers and married to sociology professors, my neanderthal heart sank a bit. But when I found out that the women Augusta picked would completely piss-off the “drives a Subaru with a rainbow bumper sticker” crowd, I had renewed faith in all that is right. Who better to do that that the hated George Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, a woman who had the audacity to make a bazillion dollars in the world of corporate finance?

The moral of the story: Social activists, you too need to be careful of what you wish for.

11) The Resurgence of Notre Dame Football

notre dame mascot flag

Notre Dame last saw the top of the college football mountain in 1988. In the quarter-century since, the Irish have remained a media darling while simultaneously spending more time as a doormat than a contender. Since that last title, Notre Dame has appeared in exactly five BCS bowls, and has lost every single one of them by at least 14 points. They are 6-11 in bowl games overall in that time. There was a fifteen-year span between 1993 and 2008 where the Irish lacked a single post-season win.

But now they’ve managed to finish the regular season undefeated and ranked number #1, thanks largely to a  key goal-line stand in overtime against Stanford, Pittsburgh’s inability to make a clutch kick, and a complete meltdown by Oklahoma. After all that, the Irish are set to face defending BCS champ Alabama for the title.

The moral of the story: Despite all the media attention the Irish are gathering, you would be hard-pressed to hear Notre Dame is a ten-point underdog.

10) The Beginning of the End of the National Hockey League

gary bettman does not care about lockout

If you needed a perfect model for how not to run a professional sports league, you need look no further than the NHL.  The latest example of their stupidity came with the latest failure to come to a collective bargaining agreement after two months of talks between team owners and the NHL Player’s Association broke down and the league entered its fourth work stoppage since 1992. I’ve never been the commissioner of anything bigger than a fantasy sports league, but even I know that in order to keep people interested in your sport, you need actually to play some games.  As of now, that hasn’t happened, and with every passing day, it looks more likely that hockey fans will be deprived of an entire season for the third time since 1994.

It’s time to understand that even die-hard hockey fans like myself are ready to wash their hands of this shit.  Idiotus Supremus Gary Bettman and the owners don’t get that they are killing a league over their insistence in making the players’ union pay for their complete lack of business sense. Fellow Sports Blog Movement member Ryan Meehan and I hit on this a while ago, but the keys remain in place.  The owners locked the doors because the players wouldn’t accept a new collective bargaining agreement that requires players to accept salary cuts and limits on free agency, despite the fact the owners were more than happy to give those provisions without any threat. The union wants a better revenue sharing plan that help the league’s struggling franchises.  Face it, the NHL needs to survive in the Winnipegs and the Buffalos of the world, because in North America, hockey is a regional sport with a limited appeal outside of that region.

The moral of the story: If Meehan, the players, and I can figure that out, what does it say for the future of this league that the owners can’t?

9) Lin-sanity

jeremy linside me sign

For 25 days last winter, an Asian Harvard graduate was the biggest story in all of sports. Think about that for a minute…Jeremy Lin had been sleeping on his brother’s couch, had been cut by two NBA teams, and was put into a game on February 4th by Mike D’Antoni, whose New York Knicks were so injury-depleted Lin was the only alternative left on the bench besides the towel guy.  Lin went on to score 25 points and seven assists leading a comeback over the then-New Jersey Nets.  Lin then lead the Knicks to seven straight wins, including one in which he hung 38 on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.  What began with a bang (perhaps literally, judging by the photo above) ended with a knee-injury and a quiet relocation to the Houston Rockets.

The moral of the story: All glory is fleeting.

8 ) Michael Phelps Becomes History’s Most Decorated Olympian 

Michael Phelps

As far as I’m concerned, any guy who won 19 gold medals can do all the bong hits he wants.  While most stoners can’t get past micro-waving a burrito and watching Scooby-Doo at the same time, this guy joined a frightfully short list of elite athletes while giggling stupidly at his own own reflection in a sheet of aluminum foil.

Phelps made the cover a Wheaties box in 2008 after he won eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing. but then came history’s most publicized bong toke. Phelps received a three-month suspension from USA Swimming and Kellogg’s said they would not renew their endorsement of the Olympian. which goes to show what dumb-asses they both are. USA Swimming finally re-instated Phelps and he went on to win nine more medals in London this past summer, his 19 medals surpassing the 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.

The moral of the story: Somebody ought to start a cereal called Weed-ies.

7) The NFL’s Replacement Referee Debacle 

replacement refs

We all know what a debacle the NFL’s use of replacement referees was.  The biggest indicator of what dipshits sports commissioners in this country are is that they make me sympathetic to scumbag unions.

The moral of the story: This is just one reason people will look back at 2012 as the beginning of the downfall of the Kommissar Goodell regime.

6) Lance Armstrong Stripped of  Cycling Titles

lance armstrong hero cheater

While it isn’t an excuse, there is a shitload of truth in that quote in the above graphic.  There’s a huge double-standard about cheating in this country; it is OK when your guy does it. And nobody was more of “America’s Guy” then Lance Armstrong was when was routinely humiliating the French in the Tour de France. That’s really the only reason anybody in America gave a damn about cycling; it was an exercise in hating the perfectly hateable French.

Back in August, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced that it was stripping Lance Armstrong of his record-seven Tour de France titles and barred him for life from the sport after concluding he used banned substances.  On October 22, the International Cycling Union (UCI), cycling’s governing body, said that it had officially stripped Armstrong of his seven titles and banned him from cycling for life.

But then comes the part where the hypocrisy comes in again.

“He deserves to be forgotten,” UCI President Pat McQuaid said of Armstrong.

Give me a fucking break. Cycling is the dirtiest of the “dirty” sports when it comes to performance enhancing drugs; what’s going on in baseball might as well be the drug problem in pee-wee T-ball compared to cycling.  All the UCI and USADA did was to catch the best cheater in sport filled with cheaters whose lifeblood literally is cheating.

The moral of the story: There’s nothing wrong with anything that sticks it to the French.

5) Speaking of Hypocrisy, Let’s Talk About The NCAA

sandusky lanza

Question: Do you know what the Jerry Sandusky and Sandy Hook Elementary School situations have in common, besides the fact they both involve monsters whose own self-absorbed impulses were brought to bear on many innocent people? They are both examples of how we in America love to pontificate about horrible things, yet do nothing about them.

In the wake of both of these terrible stories, you didn’t hear one credible person come out and say stupid shit like “I’m glad this happened. We need more events like this to learn our lessons.” Anybody who would have said anything like this would have been stamped USDA Prime Whacko and their words would have been filed in the appropriate plastic-bag lined receptacle. But no matter how many times you let a train run over a coin, it still has two sides, and there were far too many people ready to get on the other side of the bombastic coin  from the stamped Whackos.

These were the people who took such a brave stand by table-pounding the obvious “we need to protect our children” reaction. There are lessons to be learned, and there are things as a society we need to do; the trouble is that we as society have completely missed the point.

The NCAA serves as the perfect microcosm of American society, and the ridiculous, pointless, and self-serving crap the NCAA does is a perfect reflection of the society in which it exists.  It’s numb-handed response to the Sandusky scandal at Penn State proves that.

After former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his report , the NCAA got into the fashionable “shitting on Penn State” and did it in a completely meaningless way. While Penn State may have received some of the harshest penalties in NCAA history, they were ultimately without real teeth. If you doubt that, let’s break them down:

  • A 4-year bowl ban: Normally that would hurt, but at the end of the 2011 season, this team could only qualify for a low-rent bowl where they got smoked by a Houston team whose coach was on his way to making Texas A&M the Belle of the SEC Newbies ball.  Nobody saw the miracle incoming head coach Bill O’Brien pulled off; he literally made a team intended to be kicked off the B1G island and made it the second-best team in the conference.
  • Loss of 20 scholarships: This does kill bench depth, but lets be honest…you can still win with only three punters on the depth chart. 65 scholarships is still plenty to field a winning team; NFL teams only have 53 roster spots. The only part that could sting is that Penn State can only sign 15 recruits per year rather than the usual 25.
  • $60 Million Fine: Penn State has an endowment of nearly $2 billion and has an athletic department that generates cash in gorgon-like quantities. $60 million to them is the change you keep in your car’s cup holder for toll booths.
  • Loss of shared conference bowl revenue for four years: This is estimated to be around $13 million per year. See above.
Faber College's Dean Wormer: The perfect successor to NCAA President Mark Emmert

Faber College’s Dean Wormer: The perfect successor to NCAA President Mark Emmert

  • Five years probation: That might as well be  Dean Wormer’s “double secret probation” from “Animal House” since the NCAA really has no interest in handing out real punishments.
  • Players were allowed to transfer without penalty: The team still won eight games.
  • Vacating of all wins from 1998-2011: Record book hocus-pocus. This was only done to screw Joe Paterno, who was already dead by the time this move was made. Utterly pointless.

In other words, the NCAA didn’t do anything substantive after the Sandusky situation just like we won’t solve the problem after Sandy Hook.

The moral of the story: I can’t wait for NCAA President Mark Emmert to weigh in on gun control.

4) The Ongoing Tim Tebow Saga

tim tebow practice

Where do I start start with this? Here’s a guy who sold more jerseys than anybody before he even took a single NFL snap.  Here’s a guy who stays in the headlines despite the fact he’s only taken 50 snaps this season as a New York Jet. Here’s a guy who everybody keeps saying isn’t an NFL quarterback, and yet right now we are talking about where is the next place he “isn’t” going to be an NFL quarterback.

The moral of the story: I’ll buy lunch for the first person who can explain Tebow-mania to me in 50 words or less.

3) The “Bounty-Gate” Debacle

saints bounty

Too bad NFL Commissioner Kommissar Goodell doesn’t have a paper towel good enough to clean up the mess he made.

Think about it for a moment. How many times have you seen a guy over-estimate his power, do something completely stupid because of that over-estimation, then need somebody to come in and clean up the mess. I guess former commissioner Paul Tagliabue is the one who had the big roll of paper towels.

To make a long story short, “Bountygate” blew up in Goodell’s face when he mistakenly assumed the players he suspended would simply roll over and take his brand of “justice.” But when Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita were reinstated by a three-members appeals panel. which included former NFL head Paul Tagliabue. The panel overturned a ruling that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was within his powers to suspend the players for their alleged roles in a pay-to-injure agreement.

What it all boils down to is that in the end, Goodell managed to emasculate himself, and required Tagliabue to get him out of the mess he made for himself. In other words, the commissioner did not have the final say; the former commissioner did.  I don’t know of too many executive-level managers who stay employed after they need to be bailed out, especially when Tagliabue was only intended to review Goodell’s decision to impose suspensions on four New Orleans Saints players and instead found the action so flawed he had to vacate those suspensions.

The moral of the story: This is another reason people will look back at 2012 as the beginning of the downfall of the Kommissar Goodell regime.

2) Miguel Cabrera Becomes Baseball’s First Triple Crown Winner in 45 Years

miguel cabrera triple crown

Miguel Cabrera became the first player to win baseball’s Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and just the 15th player ever. This puts Cabrera on a list with baseball royalty which includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. Cabrera led  the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs.

The moral of the story: Dude can hit.

1) The Los Angeles Dodgers Are The First Sports Franchise to Sell For $2 Billion

DN03-DODGERS-5AH

The Los Angeles Dodgers were sold to a group that includes NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson for a final sale price of just over $2 billion. That represents the highest price any sports team has ever sold for — by a wide margin.

Television money for live sports is skyrocketing, and it’s driving up the values of sports teams not just in the United States, but around the world as well.  People keep trying to tell me baseball is dead, and a baseball team just sold for a staggering amount of money. If one were to pay that $2 billion in cash, you would need sixteen standard shipping pallets stacked four feet square with $100 dollar bills. And the prices are only going up.

Want to buy a European soccer team? Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, so you’d better bring your wallet. Manchester United was the first team to break the the billion-dollar barrier, and that was a decade ago. Now, buying a top team in the English Premier League will easily cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion.  If you still want a big-time European soccer club, but want to save your pennies, you might be able to get Real Madrid for just under $2 billion.  Even the Jacksonville Jaguars, arguably the least-valuable franchise in the NFL, just sold recently for $770 million.

The moral of the story: Television money is exploding sports as we know it.





Leave it to Tommy Lasorda To Have A Heart Attack on the Day I Usually Attack Him Yet Again

6 06 2012

A few days ago marked a High Holy Day in the religion of Tommy Lasorda Hating. June 4th marks the anniversary of the  “the Kingman tirade,” which is fabled in song and story (rated R for language, definitely not safe for work).  It all gets started by some dumb-ass reporter asking a typical dumb-ass question, which inevitably propels Lasorda into channeling Joe Pesci.

Lasorda: Dropping more F-bombs than the 8th Air Force

Normally, this would be the lead-in to 500 heated anti-Lasorda words, but the rules of common decency prevent that this year. Seems the son of a bitch went and had himself a heart attack. According to the celebrity website TMZ, the 84-year-old Lasorda — who ended his managerial career after a prior heart attack in 1996 — was in New York representing the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Major League Baseball Draft. Sadly, their sources say the attack was “mild” and baseball’s Anti-Christ Tommy is expected to be just fine. In fact, he may have already been released from the hospital as of this writing.

Looks like the bottle of champagne I’ve saving to celebrate the death of this Dodger Blue Dickbreath lives to see another day….goddamnit.

So, now the plan becomes looking at some other great managerial episodes.

An obscure, yet personal favorite of mine comes from Kash Beauchamp of the minor league Wichita Wingnuts. First of all, the dude totally looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin. Second of all, it’s really hard to take a guy seriously when he is resplendent in bright red socks.

Then, there’s the general buffoonery of Bobby Cox, the manager who got punted from more major league games than any other.

Keeping this in the Braves’ family means going to the classic meltdown by Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman. How do you not love a guy who uses the rosin bag as an ersatz hand grenade?

No matter what you do, there comes a time to get away from the usual on-field tirades. This can only means a revisit of the Hal McRae episode in Kansas City.

Then there is the classic example of frustration meeting a ill-timed radio interview.  That honor is reserved for a 1983 tirade from then-Chicago Cubs’ manager Lee Elia, musing on the lack of fan support from the “Bleacher Bums” of Wrigley Field.

In any event, it just shows baseball managers can be tempermental. Who knew?





Hockey Fever Grips Los Angeles, Part I: Stan Kasten Has Lost His Mind

1 06 2012

Although you would be hard-pressed to prove this by me, the following sentence does illustrate that hockey fever may indeed be gripping Los Angeles.  Dodgers President Stan Kasten said he would like the Los Angeles  Kings to host an NHL Winter Classic game at Dodger Stadium. It’s not like Kasten has no idea of the dynamics of hockey, after all he is the former president of the NHL Atlanta Thrashers.  But in this case, he’s clearly gone batshit crazy.

I’ll cut to the chase. This is a terrible idea for three reasons.

1) The Weather

The NHL has yet to award its New Year’s Day showcase to a warm-weather city. Kasten believes Dodger Stadium can handle the event from a facility stand-point, and in terms of the temperatures, he could very well be right.  Twenty years ago, the Kings played an outdoor exhibition game in Las Vegas., and with some technological hocus-pocus, the ice remained playable despite a game-time temperature of 85 degrees.

It’s rain that is the problem. Look at the problems they had with the Winter Classic last year in Philadelphia. It was the rain that delayed the game, medded up the ice and generally played hell with the game.  It just so happens that January is the rainy season in southern California.

2) The Stadium

While it is true Dodger Stadium is the largest in baseball, that is also the problem. Previously, this has been done in small ball parks, such as Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia or Fenway Park in Boston. Depending on where they put a rink in Dodger Stadium, there won’t be very many seats closer than 40 yards to the ice.

3) Nobody Cares About Hockey in Los Angeles

Even with the current band-wagon being towed by the Kings run to the Stanley Cup Finals, even though Southern California boasts two NHL franchises, niether of them are in the top half of the league in terms of attendance.  To be even more honest, hockey isn’t a terribly popular sport in the majority of America anyway.  To be brutally honest, the Winter Classic has outlived it’s novelty factor.

Last year, the Winter Classic posted a paltry 2.4 TV rating, and that was with the fact the usual glut of college football on New Year’s Day had been moved back a day to let the NFL have that Sunday for its  final regular season games. However, the Winter Classic was also moved back so as not to compete with the NFL.  The NHL was smart enough to not go head-to-head with the NFL, but they can’t even beat college football in the ratings.

The following bowls had higher ratings than the NHL’s event — the ones in bold would’ve been played on New Year’s Day in any other year:

  • BCS Championship, LSU vs. Alabama: 14.01
  • Rose, Wisconsin vs. Oregon: 10.17
  • Fiesta, Stanford vs. Oklahoma State: 9.6
  • Sugar, Michigan vs. Virginia Tech: 6.07
  • Outback, Georgia vs. Michigan State: 5.14
  • Cotton, Arkansas vs. Kansas State: 4.95
  • Orange, Clemson vs. West Virginia: 4.56
  • Alamo, Washington vs. Baylor: 4.41
  • Chick-fil-A, Auburn vs. Virginia: 3.6
  • Champs Sports, Notre Dame vs. Florida State: 3.28
  • Insight, Iowa vs. Oklahoma: 3.0
  • Capital One, Nebraska vs. South Carolina: 2.86
  • Sun, Georgia Tech vs. Utah: 2.71
  • Holiday, Texas vs. Cal: 2.69
  • Meineke Car Care, Texas A&M vs. Northwestern: 2.69
  • Music City, Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest, 2.66

Nobody watches the Music City Bowl, and statistically, even less are watching the Winter Classic.  Nobody cares about hockey in Los Angeles.  Nobody cares about outdoor hockey, and the fact that Stan Karsten can’t wait to get on an empty band-wagon suggests he’s lost his mind.





What We’ve Learned: The Dubsism Memorial Day Baseball Power Rankings

27 05 2012

1) Los Angeles Dodgers ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young last year and is a contender for the award again. He is signed with the Dodgers through 2013.  Matt Kemp was the runner-up for the NL MVP Award, and was a single dinger away from joining the 40HR/40 stolen base club.  The Dodgers have him locked up through 2019.

Downside: They still have yet to rid themselves of Frank McCourt.

What Actually Happened:

This team has Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and neither of those two are the reason headline reason right now this team is the currently best in the National League.  Matt Kemp is hurt,  Kershaw is doing what Kershaw does, but check out these pitching facts:

  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had two starters with at least 50 strikeouts
  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had two starters with at least 5 wins (and one of those is Ted Lilly)
  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had three starters with Batting Averages Against under .210 (and one of those is Ted Lilly)
  • After 44 team games, the only member of the Dodgers’ rotation without at least 40 strikeouts is Ted Lilly

Ted Lilly…really?

2) Tampa Bay Rays ↑ 5

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Their pitching staff will carry them in 2012.  David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Matt Moore form a six-man rotation that just might let the Rays continue their average 92 wins over the last four seasons. Only three teams in the majors had a higher average with one of the lowest four-year payroll totals in baseball at $222 million.

Downside: The Rays need a new fanbase and stadium.

What Actually Happened:

The Rays have 4 grand slams this season, which leads the major leagues.  They also have the best home record in all of baseball.

3) Washington Nationals ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Nationals have one of the best young rotations in baseball.  Strasburg appears ready to return to his pre- Tommy John surgery condition, and the acquisitions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson were huge.  If Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Chien-Ming Wang can stay away from the injury problems that have bugged them, the Nationals should be able to stay in most games based on their pitching alone.  But the Nats should be stronger in the middle of the order since Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, and Danny Espinosa all could be 25 HR, 90 RBI guys.

Downside: The Nats have three question marks. The first is at first base; Adam LaRoche played only 43 games last year before season-ending surgery and hit just .172. Can he return to the form of his previous years? However, Michael Morse blossomed at first base once LaRoche went down.  Secondly, the Nats have an issue in the lead-off spot. Ian  Desmond is going to start the season there, but he’ll have to learn to be more patient.  He’s drawn only 63 walks in 308 games during 2010 and 2011. Lastly there’s the matter of timing. This needs to be the year the Nats take a step toward the future because this is the last year before the expectations are going to go up. They can still be mediocre this year, but if they finish third or worse in 2013, they may just become a red version of the Cubs.

What Actually Happened:

The pitching has been tremendous, with the exception of the recent flame-out of Ross Detweiler, and this team is getting healthy. Chien-Ming Wang is slated to take Detweiler’s rotation spot, Ryan Zimmerman is back and starting to take on his $100 million form,  and Michael Morse is on a rehab assignment at Class-A Potomac.

4) Texas Rangers ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The only team in the A.L. West they have to worry about is the Angels. The Rangers have a line-up tailor-made to their hitter-friendly park, so there is no reason they can’t lead the league in team batting average again. Not to mention, they placed top five in runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Downside: The Rangers are gambling in the wake of losing C.J. Wilson to division-rival Los Angeles with their $103 million investment in Yu Darvish and moving  Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation for the first time in his major league career. Then there’s the Josh Hamilton situation…we all know about the off-the-field issues, but don’t forget the former AL MVP has been hampered by injuries lately as well.  Now contract talks are stalled, and who knows what impact that will have.

What Actually Happened:

Prototypical Texas Ranger baseball…massive lumber and quasi-shaky pitching.  Josh Hamilton continues to torch American League pitchers, and Nelson Cruz is also on a hot streak. But the pitching is showing some cracks with the injuries to Neftali Feliz, the aging Roy Oswalt is supposedly the savior coming from the minors, and it’s never a good sign for the bullpen when a reliever is second on the team with five wins.

5) Baltimore Orioles ↑ 11

What We Originally Said:

Upside: As bad as there were in 2011, their offense wasn’t all that bad and they’ve kept the core of it.  If Mark Reynolds can produce another 30-plus home run season, and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continue their consistent hitting, the Orioles could end up being a mediocre team.

Downside:  The Orioles had the worst off-season of any Major League team.  If you don’t agree, here are their off-season acquisitions: pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jason Hammel, and Matt Lindstrom; and position players Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez and Taylor Teagarden.

What Actually Happened:

I still don’t buy this team long-term; I just don’t think they have the pitching to stay in a race.  However, right now they have the best road record in baseball, and they have five hitters with at least 20 RBI in 40 games played.

6) Chicago White Sox ↑ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside: General Manager Ken Williams also showed a desire to rebuild his club by getting rid of longtime White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and letting go of Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos, and Omar Vizquel.

Downside: General Manager Ken Williams has no idea how to rebuild a club. He replaced staff ace Mark Buerhle by over-paying for the ever-fraudulent John Danks.  The rest of the starting rotation will depend on the fragile Jake Peavy and the unproven Chris Sale.

What Actually Happened:

Earlier, I said this team was a “smoke and mirror” job. Then, the Mighty Whiteys were riding a perfect game tossed by a nobody and an 340 performance by Alex Rios, both of which I knew wouldn’t last. What I didn’t see coming was the resurgence of Adam Dunn and an MVP-esque performance from Paul Konerko. which won’t last.

7) New York Yankees ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Yankees upgraded their pitching staff by adding Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, and by subtracting A.J. Burnett.  Prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will soon find their way to the major league rotation as well. If the pitching staff gels and Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira perform as expected, this team will prove formidable.

Downside:  Don’t look now, but this team isn’t getting any younger.

What Actually Happened:

This team gives me more reason to rate them lower than higher, yet somehow they are winning with mediocre pitching and a lot of bats who are not performing up to the usual standards.

8 ) New York Mets ↑ 12

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Whether its up or down, the theme once again for the Mets is hope. Hopefully, all the distractions that surrounded last season are gone with the departure of Jose Reyes. Hopefully, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana are healthy, will stay that way, and will perform up to expectations. Hopefully, there will be a resurgence of third baseman David Wright and Jason Bay now that the outfield wall has been moved in.

Downside:  Hopefully, all those things I just mentioned will happen.  Right after they all do happen, we can all join hands and visit the fairy princess together. Not only that, but this team goes nowhere as long as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz own the team.  Let’s face it, meltdown, dumpster fire, train wreck…they all are synonymous with “Mets.”

What Actually Happened:

It must be a New York thing. Just like the Yankees, I have more reasons to downgrade this team. Like the Yankees, the Mets pitching is weak. Just like the Yankees, this team keeps winning and I don’t really understand why.

9)  Los Angeles Angels ↔ 

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: This team has ownership that isn’t afraid to make a move. Due to the free-agent signing of first baseman Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels committed $331.5 million, which left little room for the team to add anyone else significant during the offseason. New GM Jerry DiPoto did, however, get his hands on a decent bat bat behind the plate in Chris Iannetta, and reliable veteran relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins becomes the latest on the list of guys who have played for both of my two favorite teams (Angels and Twins).

Pujols adds to a lineup which featured six players with double-digit home runs, and six with over 59 RBI. Top prospects in catcher Hank Conger and outfielder Mike Trout will also be in the running for a full season with the club.

C.J. Wilson adds to a rotation which already featured 2011 A.L. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana.

Downside: Which Vernon Wells do the Angels get in 2012?

What Actually Happened:

Since the last time I did this ranking, the Angels plummeted and have re-risen. Albert Pujols is clearly back to his expected form, and he looks to be leading a general resurgence of the Angels offense.  But it is the pitching that has carried this team so far; two starters have a batting average against under .200, and three have at least 54 strikeouts.

10) Miami Marlins ↑ 13

What We Originally Said:

Upside: I don’t think there could be a more interesting team to watch in 2012. Miami is one of three teams in the Dubsism Top Ten from the N.L. East Division and got there through having by far the most active off-season. Tey’ve got a new name, new uniforms, new logos, a new stadium, a new manager,  and of course, new players. The new Marlins Park will play host to the new-look squad under new manager and old loud mouth Ozzie Guillen, who will be leading new shortstop and reigning N.L. batting champ Jose Reyes, new closer Heath Bell, and new starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. Added to existing Marlins Hanley Ramirezx and ace Josh Johnson, there’s no way this team won’t be entertaining at least.

Downside: This also just could be the loading of a gigantic powder-keg. Zambrano and Guillen in the same dug-out? The Marlins may want to keep the bomb squad handy at all times, not just for the volatility I just mentioned, but for the fact if this team doesn’t win right away, look for it to get blown up quick.

What Actually Happened:

The Marlins could be a Florida version of the Angels in the sense they came into the season with big expectations, then struggled early, and are now starting to look like the team we thought they might be.

11) Cleveland Indians ↑ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Shin-Soo Choo seems to be healthy. Vinne Pestano and Nick Hagadone could be the foundations of a solid, young bullpen.  Carlos Santana is a potential All-Star.

Downside: Fausto Carmona (or whoever he really is) may never get back into the country and Grady Sizemore is probably finished as an effective major league player. The heyday for this team was fifteen years ago, and unless you can find a way to add Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Jake Taylor to the roster, there will be more than one long summer in Cleveland’s near future.

What Actually Happened:

Please refer to my comments on this team from the previous rankings.

Don’t even tell me about this team being in first place.  I bit on the Indians last year, and I’m not about to do it again.  This team in many ways could be a mirror image of the Orioles, and they will be a memory by July…

Here’s why they are where they are. They have suprisingly not-shitty pitching, but they can’t hit.

12)  Cincinnati Reds ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  General Manager Walt Jocketty managed to improve the starting rotation by adding former Padres ace Mat Latos, the bullpen by bringing in Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall, and added some needed depth by acquiring Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, and Ryan Ludwick. With these additions to the existing weapons like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and the fact the N.L. Central no longer has the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the Reds have the potential once again to seize the top spot in the division.

Downside: That pitching staff is managed by Dusty “The Ligament Shredder” Baker, the same Dusty Bake who think base-runners “just clog up the basepaths.”

What Actually Happened:

The Cincinnati Reds formula: Johnny Cueto + passable decent starting pitching + a solid bullpen + Jay Bruce and JoeyVotto – reasonable divisional competition =  barely above .500. Luckily, this happens to be good enough for first place in the NL Central.

13) Atlanta Braves ↓ 9

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last year, I said the Braves were a collection of “what-ifs” built around a solid core of just enough hitting and just enough pitching. Now, enough of those questions became facts so that barring injuries, the Braves can contend in the NL East.

Downside: The Braves finished 13 games back of the Phillies last season, and they way the season ended for them still has to sting. The question is did they improve enough to fix those issues?

What Actually Happened:

This team looked so solid a month ago, then the problems hit.  Chipper Jones is going to the DL, which will cripple this offense because they can’t hit without him.  Brian McCann seems to have the western hemispheres first case of the bubonic plague in decades, David Ross strained his groin on a checked swing, Freddie Freeman needs to find a an optometrist better than the one at Wal-Mart, and they’ve yet to realize Tyler Pastornicky sucks.

14)  San Francisco Giants ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner form one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in the game.

Downside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the worst offenses in baseball. With the losses of Cody Ross and Carlos Beltran, this team may find itself relying on a 3-4-5 heart of the order consisting of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt.

What Actually Happened:

In a Bizarro World twist, the Giants who are known for thier pitching are oddly enough staying afloat on hitting. As for the pitching, the usual recipe for success ({insert starter here} for six innings, then some combination of Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, and/or Sergio Romo, then Brian Wilson in the 9th) hasn’t been in place all season. But that not the weird part. That is reserved for this little fact…Since 1960, the Giants have only had two seasons in which a player collected 200 hits (Bobby Bonds in 1970 and Rich Aurilia in 2001).  With 64 hits in 44 games played, Melky Cabrera is (wait ofr it…one of my favorite phrases ever…) is on a pace for 225 hits (assuming he plays 155 games).

15) Philadelphia Phillies ↓ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The starting rotation is as good as it gets with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley. New closer Jonathan Papelbon should help shore up the bullpen.

Downside:  If the Yankees and the Phillies make the World Series, they may want to get the games done before 4 p.m., so they can all hit the early-bird specials at Denny’s. This is another team that is aging before our eyes. Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins are 33, Chase Utley is 32, and Placido Polanco tops the list at 36. Not to mention, the Phillies have lost have lost four of their last five postseason series.

What Actually Happened:

At one point, I said this team was a wild-card because you really couldn’t tell which way they were going. Now you can, and it isn’t the good way.  Forget the injuries, forget the pitching, and forget everything else. This is a team that can’t even get a Roy Halladay bobblehead correct.

16) Toronto Blue Jays ↓ 6

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: Jose Bautista.  In 2010, he hit .260 with 35 doubles, 54 home runs and 124 RBI. In 2011, he hit .302 with 24 doubles, 43 home runs, and 103 RBI. He has to figure in the MVP race.

Downside: The Blue Jays could have a bright future, but the future isn’t today.  Ricky Romero has also been nothing short of excellent for the club. Last season, the 27-year-old went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts. It’s time to see if youngsters Brett Lawrie,  Anthony Gose, and catcher Travis D’Arnaud can live up to expectations.

What Actually Happened:

This isn’t so much a descent as it is a return to earth. This team has a future, but that future isn’t necessarily today.

17) Detroit Tigers ↓ 11

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last season, the Motor City Kitties finished in the top four in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage. The numbers can only get better with the offseason acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder, who just happens to be a career .282 hitter averaging over 32 home runs and 93 RBI per season over the last six years.

Downside: How does the move of Cabrera back to third base work out? What will be the impact of losing DH Victor Martinez? And I’m not sold on the rotation beyond Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.

What Actually Happened:

This team has Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder, yet still sucks. You explain it to me so we’ll both know.

18 ) St. Louis Cardinals ↓ 10

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Despite losing Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, the Cardinals still have enough weapons to be a factor in the N.L. Central. Starter Adam Wainwright comes back from Tommy John surgery, and he leads a rotation featuring Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. Also, could this be the breakout year for World Series MVP David Freese? His 21 RBI over 18 postseason games last October could signal the start of something big.

Downside: Let’s face it…losing Albert Pujols would hurt any line-up. This means Lance Berkman has to at least come close to the .301/31 HR/94 RBI campaign he put up in 2011, and Matt Holliday has to be a .300/25 HR/RBI guy as well.

What Actually Happened:

Remember when I said for the Cardinals to have any hope, Lance Berkman needed to get healthy and Matt Holliday had  to bat better than .215? Well, one of those things happened, but the loss of Berkman likely dooms this team.

19) Boston Red Sox ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The Boston Red Sox are taking on an entirely new look in 2012.  For the first time in recent memory, Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek will not be on the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. And it’s about time, especially after what happened last September.  Despite this new look, New GM Ben Cherington will be faced with the challenge of keeping the Sox a contender.

Downside: I don’t give a damn what anybody says, I don’t buy this pitching staff.  Jon Lester has always been over-rated in my book. The loss of John Lackey is a case of “addition by subtraction.”  Clay Buchholz walks too many guys. Who knows what Daniel Bard and Vincente Padilla really are?

Then, there’s the whole issue of that idiot Bobby Valentine. I can’t wait for the Terry Francona “Miss Me Yet?” billboards to break out all over New England.

What Actually Happened:

Yet another case where there is precious little change from what I originally thought. Bobby Valentine took a soap opera and made it into one those really cheesy drama you see on Telemundo. Plus, this may be the worst .500 team I’ve ever seen.

20) Houston Astros ↑ 8

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  They have some nice young talent on the team like Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Fernando Martinez, and they still have Carlos Lee as the lone power source on the roster.

Downside: Last year, the pitching staff was bottom five in league rankings with a 4.51 cumulative ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .266 opponents batting average en route to a league worst 56-106 record. That staff didn’t get any better.

What Actually Happened:

The Astros are the .500 photo negative of the Red Sox…they prove you don’t need big contracts, drama queens, and a dipshit manager to be mediocre at best. At least for Houston, this is a dramatic improvement.

21) Pittsburgh Pirates ↑ 4

What We Said Originally:

Upside:  The Bucs are quietly cobbling together a respectable offense.  Outfielders Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, and All-Star Andrew McCutchen are likely to be the the 1-2-3  hitters; all of them hit over .275 last year, and all of them swiped over 20 sacks. Neil Walker looks like a #4 hitter after hitting 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 460 at-bats.  Plus, the Pirates may have emerging power at the corner infield spots; Garrett Jones showed some pop with 17 homers last year, and Pedro Alvarez is due for his breakout year any time now.

Downside: Last year, the Pirates gave up the third-worst opponents batting average (.270) and received the fifth-fewest quality starts from their starting five.  A.J. Burnett is supposed to be the cure for that?

What Actually Happened:

See the Houston Astros, except the Pirates actually have a few honest-to-goodness major leaguers. This, of course, does not include A. J. Burnett.

22) Arizona Diamondbacks ↓ 5

What We Originally Said:

Upside: In a division heavy in pitching, the D-backs chose bulk by getting potential question mark Trevor Cahill from Oakland and re-signing their own free agent, Joe Saunders, after non-tendering him at the December deadline for arbitration-eligibles. Kennedy, Hudson and Saunders logged career highs in innings last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that…see below…

Downside:  Even though the Arizona Diamondbacks finished first place in the NL West Division at 94-68, their starting rotation was filled with career-best seasons:

  • Ian Kennedy went 21-4 with a 2.88 earned run average and 198 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Daniel Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 earned run average and 169 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Joe Saunders went 12-13 with 3.69 earned run average and 108 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched.
  • Josh Collmenter went 10-10 with a 3.38 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 154.1 innings pitched.

The D-backs line-up can be inconsistent as well – they struggled to hit over .250 as team despite everyday players Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero hitting .292, .289 and .282 respectively.

What Actually Happened:

The offense went south; Justin Upton might well be on a milk carton and this team sorely misses Stephen Drew. Plus, the pitching clearly is not going to repeat last year’s performance.

23) Oakland Athletics ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  America’s favorite breakfast cereal, Coco Crisp,  will still man the Oakland outfield after signing a $14 million, two-year contract with a club option for 2014 after hitting .264 with eight home runs, 54 RBI and 49 stolen bases last season. Then there the Cuban grab-bag known as Yoenis Cespedes. This kid could be the real deal.

Downside: The A’s are without many of their pitchers who brought success to the team in recent years. Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Josh Outman are out of the starting rotation, while Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey are no longer in the bullpen. The one proven offensive power bat in the lineup has also departed; Josh Willingham hit 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 2011, but is now part of the Minnesota Twins.

What Actually Happened:

How the A’s have won 9 games all while being last in the league in average, slugging percentage, and hitting with runners in scoring position is a minor miracle.

24)  Seattle Mariners ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Felix Hernandez.

Downside: This is the last year of Ichiro Suzuki’s contract with the club. The 38-year-old has seen his batting average drop 80 points over the last two seasons, so you can only expect that this will be his final season with the club unless he’s back to being the old Ichiro. In addition to Ichiro’s decline, the Mariners finished dead last in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage last year.

What Actually Happened:

To quote Dennis Green…They are who we thought they were. Jason Vargas and King Felix to give the Mariners a solid 1-2 combination, but to say this team has little else is like saying Oprah Winfrey has a “little bit” of a weight problem.

25) Milwaukee Brewers  14

What We  Originally Said:

Upside:  Even though Miller Park is known for being tough on right-handed sluggers, the Brewers brought in third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He will need to have a Beltre-like season (.300/25 HR/90 RBIs) to help off-set the loss of Prince Fielder.

Downside: The big questions: Can Mat Gamel prove he is ready to be a major league first-baseman, including posting some power numbers at the plate? Can Wily Peralta develop into a credible big-league starter? Then there’s the elephant in the room…the Ryan Braun situation and what impact it may have…

What Actually Happened:

So much for Wily Peralta…he got shipped back to the minors. So much for Mat Gamel…he tore an ACL and is done for the season. Maybe Ryan Braun can get this sample of a season tossed.

26)  Colorado Rockies ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Troy Tulowitzki hit .302 with 36 doubles, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI in 2011. Carlos Gonzalez hit .295 with 27 doubles, 26 home runs, and 92 RBI in only 127 games. Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez, and Michael Cuddyer will all be joining the Colorado this season, which can only provide more cushion in a lineup that already features some of baseball’s best hitters. The crisp air in Colorado with these players and Todd Helton at the forefront can only mean runs, runs, and more runs.

Downside: The starting rotation will consist of Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, and then any three out of about six possibles, including the 49-year old Jamie Moyer.

What Actually Happened:

There’s only three reasons to pay any attention to this team: Carlos Gonzlaez, Troy Tulowitzki, and the on-going Jamie Moyer saga.

27) Kansas City Royals ↑ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The club is loaded with young talent like Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar.  Alex Gordon turned a corner in 2011. Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Kendall provide veteran leadership, and there are more top prospects on the way like Wil Myers and Bubba Starling. The Royals also added pitching with starter Jonathan Sanchez and closer Jonathan Broxton.

Downside: General Manager Dayton Moore is a bit of an unproven commodity, so there’s no guarantee that he isn’t going to mortgage the future if the fans expectations suddenly outstrip the team’s talent.

What Actually Happened:

Image from Royales With Cheese

This is clearly not a case of this team improving; this team couldn’t suck more if you gave them a fully-automated, electrically-powered, full-on sucking machine.  Rather, it is a case of the three teams below the Royals got worse.

28)  San Diego Padres ↓ 1

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Again, you really can’t beat the weather in San Diego…and the Padres, despite the loss of Mat Latos, Aaron Harang, and Heath Bell still have a serviceable  (not great, serviceable) pitching staff currently slated to feature Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, and Cory Luebke.  Heath Bell’s closer role has been replaced by Huston Street.

Downside:  The Padres offense last year was in the bottom three in runs scored (593), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.305) and slugging percentage (.349). The only improvements to that came in the form of Carlos Quentin, Yonder Alonso, and current AARP member Mark Kotsay.

What Actually Happened:

It’s not really that hard to meet expectations when nobody expects anything from you.

29) Minnesota Twins ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: It is possible they get production from the faces of the franchise, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Last year thanks to injuries, Mauer hit .287 with three home runs and 30 RBI, while Morneau hit a horrid .227 with four home runs and 30 RBI.

Downside: Only three players on the Twins saw more than 100 games of action last year. There’s Michael Cuddyer, who is now getting his mail in Colorado, outfielder Ben Revere, and third baseman Danny Valencia. These might be the only Twins who matter in 2012.

What Actually Happened:

When does Ron Gardenhire become Ron Garden-fired? Forget it, it won’t matter because firing Gardy to improve the Twins is like curing a bad case of syphilis by chopping off your junk.

30) Chicago Cubs ↓ 4

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Its spring, when Cubs fans everywhere have hope that at long last, this will finally be the year the winning drought in Wrigley Field ends. Plus, they off-loaded head-case first class Carlos Zambrano on the Marlins. Starlin Castro might be the bona fide star in Wrigley.

Downside: It’s not going to happen. Getting rid of Zambrano now means a pitching staff comprised of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood; along with threat of Jeff Samardzija getting work as a starter in spring training. The Cubs have an average-at-best rotation and no replacement for Aramis Ramirez on offense. Snicker if you must, but A-Ram stacks up favorably against some historic third-basemen. He’s complied the second-most 25-home run seasons (9) for a third baseman, behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews who each had 12. Not to mention, only Chipper Jones has more seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and 90 RBI at the hot corner. Once again, spring becomes summer; the Cubs’drought continues.

What Actually Happened:

The Cubs are usually finished once the ivy blooms. Thanks to an unusually warm spring in Chicago, that happened early this year. While this may not be the worst team the Cubs have put on the field in my lifetime, they are certainly trying to get there.






The All-Time “Played for Both the Dodgers and Yankees” Team – The New Angeles Dodgekees

23 03 2012

If you are an old geezer like me, you know that during World War II, the NFL ran so short of players because of the war that for three years between 1942 and 1945, the league merged the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles into one team, the Phil-Pitt Steagles. With baseball season fast approaching, I though to myself, why not take a similar approach with my most hated baseball teams,  the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees.

The idea was to build an all-time team out of players who played for both teams, just like I’ve already done with my two favorite teams.  I thought since I’d created a team from my favorites, why not create a natural rival for them from the two team I dislike the most?

With that, allow me to introduce the New Angeles Dodgekees:

Manager:

  • Joe Torre

Catchers:

  • Russell Martin
  • Dioner Navarro

Infielders:

  • 1B Doug Mientkiewicz
  • 2B Steve Sax
  • 2B Willie Randolph
  • SS Angel Berroa
  • SS-3B Wilson Betemit
  • 1b-3B  Robin Ventura

Outfielders:

Don't forget, both Darryl Strawberry and Steve Sax were also ringers on the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Team.

  • Darryl Strawberry
  • Andruw Jones
  • Kenny Lofton
  • Raul Mondesi
  • Ricky Ledee

Utility:

  • Mariano Duncan
  • Jose Vizcaino
  • Marcus Thames

Pitchers:

  • SP Kevin Brown
  • SP Tommy John
  • SP David Wells
  • SP Rick Honeycutt
  • SP Hiroki Kuroda
  • RP Esteban Loaiza
  • RP Mike Morgan
  • RP Tanyon Sturtze
  • RP Steve Howe
  • RP John Wetteland
  • RP Octavio Dotel

-Dubsism is a proud member of Sports Blog Movement





The Minnesota Vikings Are So Lousy Jarrad Page Would Rather Play For The Bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers

13 03 2012

Well, to be honest, that headline is a tad bit deceiving, but given the fact we are talking about two of the most dysfunctional franchises currently in the sports world, this story begged for a joke.

After all, it is true the Vikings are terrible, and the Dodgers are broke, but it’s not like Page is full of options. To be honest, the NFL thing isn’t exactly working out for Page.  He was a seventh-round pick in the 2006 NFL draft, since which time he has seen roster time with the Chiefs, Patriots and Eagles, and Vikings.  Page was the starting strong safety in Philadelphia this past season, but he was benched in Week Five and released in November.  The Vikings had a depleted defensive backfield, so they signed Page.  He played five games for Minnesota and it doesn’t look like he’s going to see six. His contract with the Vikings expires today, and he will likely be thumbing the classifieds by this time tomorrow anyway.

So, what makes Page think he can follow in the footsteps of other two-sport athletes Deion Sanders, Brian Jordan, or even the last Viking to try this, D.J. Dozier?

Page played college baseball at UCLA and was drafted three times;  he was selected as a center fielder in the fifth round of the 2002 draft by the Brewers, the Rockies drafted him in the 32nd round of the 2005 draft, and Angels called his name in the seventh round in 2006. Despite the fact he is switch-hitter who started 57 games in center field in 2004 and 2005 for the Bruins, Page stayed in football after all those drafts, and now he’s going the other way.

While Page may be a bit long in the tooth to be starting a professional baseball career at 27, the six foot, 225 pound safety/outfielder participated in an open tryout at Camelback Ranch-Glendale a week and apparently played well enough to interest the Los Angeles Dodgers; so much so the Dodgers signed Page to a minor-league deal as an outfielder.

What are Page’s odds to make the bigs as a ball player? Who knows, but I will bet they are better than Michael Jordan’s ever were;  he’s not just some guy who thinks he can play baseball; Page homered in his first collegiate at-bat in 2004, a season in which he batted .233 with 19 RBI and three home runs as a 19-year old.  But now he’s 27, and hasn’t played baseball in six years.  To me, Page look like a longshot to see the Majors, but at least he’s not a Viking anymore, and that’s a win no matter how you slice it.





The Dubsism Top Fifteen Sports Stories of 2011

31 12 2011

Being that we are at the end of what has proven to be a tumultuous twelve months, why not take a look back at the biggest sports stories of such a year? After all, I’m pretty sure nobody else does these sort of retrospectives…

15) The Establishment of Two All-Time Winningest College Coaches: Paterno and Krzyzewski

Will there again ever be a year in which we see the crowning of two all-time winningest coaches? We may not see either of those records (Paterno, 409 wins; Krzyzewski, 903 and counting) fall in the next half-century, let alone having them both occur in the same year.

14) Kevin Love’s Double-Double Streak

For nearly 30 years, Moses Malone’s record stood at 51 consecutive games, until Kevin Love scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against the Indiana Pacers for his 52nd straight double-double. Love’s streak ended at 53 three days later at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

13) Two More Yankees Make The Record Books

Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter…Get ready for two more monuments behind the center field fence in Yankee Stadium.  Rivera notched his  record-setting 602nd career save, eclipsing Trevor Hoffman’s previous mark. And in the same season,  Yank captain Derek Jeter smoked a long ball to reach the 3,000-hit milestone, becoming only the the 28th member of the exclusive club and the first 3K Yankee.

12) The End of The Peyton Manning Era

The Colts spent two decades as an NFL afterthought before the arrival of the wunderkind Manning in 1998, and now neck surgery may spell the end of the Manning era in Indianapolis. Manning’s surgically rebuilt neck, his back-loaded contract, and the Colts prime real-estate in the upcoming NFL Draft form a perfect storm scenario in which if Manning does ever take an NFL snap again, it may be in a uniform not of Colt blue.

11) The Improbable Run to the Championship

When is the next time you will see such a harmonic convergence of “underdog” champions?

  • NFL: The Green Bay Packers make the playoffs as the bottom 6th Seed.
  • MLB: The St. Louis Cardinals literally make the playoffs as a wild-card on the last night of the season, then they win what may be the greatest baseball game in a generation, Game 6 of the World Series.
  • NHL: Granted, The Boston Bruins were a #3 seed in the East, which isn’t a prohibitive underdog, but nobody gave them a chance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks
  • NBA: Like the Bruins, the Dallas Mavericks entered the playoff tournament as #3 seed, but it was their complete domination of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers which set the tone for the next two series, both of which saw Dallas facing teams which seemingly should easily over-match them in terms of talent on the floor. That was until Dirk Nowitzki decided to become unstoppable.
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: Again, the #3 seed proved magical, as the Connecticut Huskies rode that to the top of the field of 64. The fact they played their way to that seed was only slightly short of a miracle, considering they entered their conference tournament as a #9 and had to play AND win four games in four days to ensure getting into the NCAA tournament. Honestly, the ten-game streak in the Big East and NCAA tournaments pulled off by the Huskies may be one of the great playoff runs of all time.
  • NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey: Another #3 seed…are you sensing a theme here? The University of Minnesota-Duluth (which is really the UCLA of hockey) had an improbable run to the championship of the Frozen Four.
  • NCAA Women’s Basketball: I know that it is hard to call a #2 seed an underdog, but let’s not forget the womens’ basketball world was dominated by a single goliath at Baylor which Texas A&M  had to slay, but there was the ever-present team dragons in Tennessee, Stanford, and Connecticut.

10) The NBA Lockout

In what may prove to be a Quixotic exercise in abject futility, the NBA owners locked out the  players on July 1st  for reasons I still really can’t understand given what has happened since the lockout ended.  Star players getting big money has been the rule in professional sports for decades; Babe Ruth was the first jock to pocket more than the President of the United States. But when the Samuel Dalemberts of the world world are getting $13 million a year in a league that can’t pull in big-time national TV money, the problem is much larger than a simple collective bargaining agreement.

9) The Death of the Man Who Made the NFL What It Is Today

There’s a certain amount of irony in the fact the world lost Al Davis and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il in the same year.  Much like the regime of Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, the end of the Al Davis Era marks both the end of an era that once made the Raiders a serious factor in the world of the NFL, but now leaves them as an isolated dictatorship viewed as a pariah in contemporary circles.

Kim Il-Sung shaped at least a half-century of world history when he ordered the North Korean army into South Korea in 1950, starting a war that is still technically unresolved to this day. Al Davis forever changed the face of the NFL when he sued the league for the right to move his franchise as he pleased.

Much like Kim Il-Sung left his eternal mark on North Korea beyond the war, the legendary Raiders owner had six decades’ worth of unique impact on pro football. I would be lying if I said that I never criticized Davis.  Just a few months ago, I included him on my list of the 15 Worst Owners in Sports.  However, as I said in that piece, that criticism was reserved for the Al Davis of the past 20 years or so.

For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL. In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.

That paragraph only scratches the surface as to what Al Davis meant to the world of professional football.  Davis literally climbed the football ladder, going from college assistant coach to an NFL assistant coach, to head coach,  to owner to AFL commissioner, to Super Bowl champion,  and ultimately to the Hall of Fame.

Perhaps his single greatest honor is having made a record nine presentations of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Al Davis made presentation speeches for  Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, and John Madden. Davis himself was enshrined in Canton in 1992.

Davis changed the game of football through sheer personality; a personality which was a collection of contradictions. At once, he was was loyal and rebellious;  cantankerous and vindictive,  yet sentimental.  Yet through all that, Davis’ name must be included amongst the founding fathers of the NFL; a name that must be mentioned with same reverence in NFL circles as that of George Halas.

His contributions to the league as a whole notwithstanding, there the matter of his success with the Raiders. His trademark slogans weren’t just some words on a banner, it was a philosophy that propelled the three-time World Champion Raiders to the very top of the professional sports world. In the 48 year marriage between Davis and the Raiders, they had 28 winning seasons, including 16 in a row from 1965 through the 1980 World Championship season.

Davis died earlier this year died at age 82 and it’s hard to dispute the Hall of Famer’s place among the most influential of the sport’s history-makers. Davis was controversial. He was a contrarian. But he was also a gift to the game.

8 ) The Ever-Deepening Cesspool That Is The NCAA

This is only layer one of what is wrong with the NCAA. The truly disgusting stuff comes later down this list. This entry is all about the corruption and the hypocrisy of the organization which is supposed to keep these factors out of college sports.

It all starts back in January when the NCAA first found violations at Ohio State, but let the players who committed the violations play in their bowl game.  The theme here is the NCAA clearly values money over integrity. Keep this in mind as you read.

In August, the Miami situation broke,  when it was reported that Nevin Shapiro was pumping thousands of dollars in illegal benefits to past and present Hurricanes players over the past decade.  The tale told by Shapiro from his prison cell (he’s currently parking his ass in a federal cell for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme) includes prostitutes, cars, cash,  and paid vacations, much of which he alleges were known of by Miami staff and coaches.  Shaprio dimed out the names of  73 current and former players.

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

Go back to the Ohio State situation. At first, this was just about tattoos. Then it mushroomed into costing head football coach Jim Tressel and starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor their jobs. In this case, it wasn’t so much the crime, but it was the cover-up which killed everybody. But the fact the NCAA dicked around for months only underscores the fact they are not really than interested in enforcement.

Then there’s the completely laughable finding that Auburn “committed no infractions” in the Cam Newton affair when there were admissions about cash payments totaling $180,000.

The best part is this isn’t just teams who are mired in unethical activity. The Fiesta Bowl committee was exposed in a 276-page report which detailed allegations of Fiesta Bowl employees being reimbursed for donations to state and local politicians (which happens to be a felony), $1,241 spent at a Phoenix strip club was illegally charged to an expense account, and the misappropriation of $33,188 bill for Fiesta Bowl’s president and CEO Junker’s 50th birthday party.  Junker has since been fired, but more stories like this will emerge until the swamp that is the NCAA is drained.

7) The Conviction of Barry Bonds

Another story indicative of what a depressing year in sports this really has been. Again, instead of talking about accomplishments on the field, we are dealing with matters decided in a courtroom.

In April, Bonds became the first player from a “major” sport to be convicted for an issue stemming from the latest round of scandal about performance-enhancing drugs. While he was acquitted of the more serious charges, just this past Friday U.S. District Judge Susan Illston issued a 20-page order refusing to overturn the obstruction of justice conviction handed down by the the jury in her courtroom  nearly eight months ago.

6) The Continuing Tectonic Shift in College football

Texas A&M is headed to the SEC. So is Missouri.  Syracuse and Pittsburgh are bolting from the Big East to join the ACC. West Virginia is trying to ditch the Big East for the supposedly greener pastures of the Big 12; the same greener pastures TCU left the Big East at the altar for.  In return, the Big East extended invitations to at least six teams, and the madness isn’t over yet.

5) The Phenomenon Known as Tim Tebow

I’ve been watching football for nearly 40 years, and I’ve never…repeat NEVER…seen anything like the Tim Tebow story. He’s either loved or hated; he’s either the future of the Denver Broncos or an impostor. Everybody has a strong opinion, and everybody is convinced they are right.

Frankly, I have no idea what to make of the guy, so I’m going to stick with the facts.

  • Whether or not the Broncos complete this miraculous run to the playoffs, there is no denying this team was on life-support when they handed Tebow the keys, and that team responded to him.
  • The Tebow story is one of the few uplifting stories in a year in sports filled with so many negatives.
  • Like it or not, Tebow is the biggest star in the NFL right now. Doubt that? Tell me another NFL player that had an hour-long special dedicated to him exclusively.

4) The Night of the Dueling Collapses

In the last story, I said I have been watching football for nearly 40 years. I can say the same for baseball, and again, I can say I never saw anything like the last night of the regular season.  In what was inarguably the wildest night in baseball I’ve ever seen, the Red Sox and the Rays,  and the Braves and the Cardinals entered the last game competing for the American League and National League wild-card berths respectively.

This set the stage for six hours of baseball that will be talked about for at least as many decades.

In the National League, the Braves blew a ninth inning lead, eventually losing in the 13th inning 4-3 to the Phillies.  This loss opened the door for the Cardinals to capture the wild card by cruising past the Astros 8-0 to complete their amazing late season run; one that found them trailing Atlanta by 10.5 games on August 25th but prevaiiling in the end by winning 23 of their final 31 games.

Believe it or not, the collapse in the American League was even more epic.  The Boston Red Sox  led Tampa Bay Rays by nine games on September 4th, which seemed to be an insurmountable lead. It wasn’t, as the Sox found themselves in need of a win on the last night of the season to keep their playoff hopes alive. The stars seems to be aligning Boston’s way; they seemed on the verge of staving off a historic choke-job, taking an early 3-2 lead over the Orioles while the Rays fell behind the Yankees 7-0.  But then somebody messed with the lenses of the Sox telescope; Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon surrendered consecutive hits to Chris Davis, Nolan Reimold, and Robert Andino to earn a season-ending 4-3 loss.  Meanwhile, the Rays regrouped and mounted a comeback on the shoulders of a pair of dramatic homers from Evan Longoria, including a 12th-inning walkoff game winner.

3) The Fiasco of the Los Angeles Dodgers

We may never know how sordid the details of Frank McCourt’s mismanagement of the Los Angeles Dodgers really are; what we do know is that after the Dodgers began showing signs of financial trouble in 2010, Commissioner Bud Selig made the decision to give the league control over the club’s day-to-day operations starting in April 2011.

Since then, we’ve been treated to McCourt attempting to overturn Selig’s take-over via the courts, then threatening to engage in more legal maneuvering over a proposed television deal with Fox Sports was rejected by Selig. Then since the Dodgers struggled to meet payroll deadlines, the club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, all during which McCourt was embroiled in what may have been the nastiest divorce in the history of the state of California.

Thankfully, Major League Baseball and McCourt reached an agreement in October under which he will sell the team and the media rights by April 30, 2012.

2) The NFL Lockout

Really, all this lockout proved is that the NFL owners and players really don’t understand the problems they have. They think this new collective bargaining agreement solves all the acrimony we all lived through, but that’s an illusion made of money. Realistically, the NFL and the NBA share some common problems, namely that they have franchises in places they shouldn’t, and those franchises are draining the league’s resources. The difference is the NFL is the country’s most popular sports league, it is literally floating on money, so it can pave over it’s issues with revenue-sharing. When the NFL finally hits the point where it has priced itself out of the market (wait until you see what the new TV deal is going to do to your cable bill), all of a sudden the illusion made of money will disappear. Mark my words, the next NFL lockout (and there will be one) will look and sound just like the NBA lockout we just lived through.

1) The Penn State and Syracuse Sex Abuse Scandals

This is the one story here that transcends sports. We have all heard the allegations, we have all read ad nauseum about all the sickening details; there’s really no need to rehash them here. What matters most is that these stories should serve as a wake-up call to all of us. We all must take a stand in stopping this sort of abuse of our children, and we must do it now. There is no excuse for any other course of action.

To that end, this should serve as the moment of truth for the NCAA. It’s time to find out how many more Jerry Sanduskys and Bernie Fines there are out there, and it’s time to ensure they are stopped. If the NCAA can’t do that, then the NCAA needs to be dismantled.





Frank McCourt: The Final Days of the Regime Are Finally Here

2 11 2011

It’s no secret that this blog has not been friendly to Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt. We’ve been the home to the Frank McCourt Death Watch, during which we have compared him to a parasite, insinuated that he may be one of the worst human beings in history, and had noted sports manager Joe McGrath author a definitive take on the sliminess he personifies.  Now that McCourt has announced he is putting the Dodgers up for sale, it is time for us to take what may be a final look at the final days of the McCourt regime.

1) Remember When You Could Shoot Looters?

Here’s the story from last week that had absolutely no “shock” value, other than the use of the word “loot.” That’s a pretty strong verb considering how lawyered-up this whole mess has been. “Looters” conjures images of people scavenging the bones of disaster victims; people who get shot by the National Guard.  But the real hilarity comes when you break the story down.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt looted nearly $190 million from the Los Angeles team, using the money for non-baseball use in violation of Major League Baseball rules, according to Delaware bankruptcy court documents filed on Monday.

It’s the first time the league has specified an amount, according to a report in a Los Angeles newspaper.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig wants to oust McCourt.

First of all, no kidding Selig wants McCourt out. That sentence qualifies this story for the “Thank you, Captain Obvious” award.  But the key is that verb “looted.” Just look at the thesaurus entries for “loot” as a verb.

  • Main Entry: despoil
  • Part of Speech: verb
  • Definition: ravage, destroy
  • Synonyms: denude, depopulate, depredate, deprive, desecrate, desolate, devastate, devour, dispossess, divest, loot, maraud, pillage, plunder, raid, rifle, rob, sack, spoil, spoliate, strip, vandalize, waste, wreak havoc, wreck
  • Main Entry: embezzle
  • Part of Speech: verb
  • Definition: steal money, often from employer
  • Synonyms: abstract, appropriate, defalcate, filch, forge, loot, misapply, misappropriate, misuse, peculate, pilfer, purloin, put hand in cookie jar, put hand in till, skim, thieve
  • Main Entry: gut
  • Part of Speech: verb
  • Definition: clean out, strip
  • Synonyms: bowel, decimate, despoil, dilapidate, disembowel, draw, dress, empty, eviscerate, exenterate, loot, pillage, plunder, ransack, ravage, rifle, sack
  • Main Entry: knock off
  • Part of Speech: verb
  • Definition: steal
  • Synonyms: filch, knock over, loot, pilfer, pinch, plunder, purloin, ransack, relieve, rifle, rip off, rob, thieve
  • Main Entry: maraud
  • Part of Speech: verb
  • Definition: pillage and plunder
  • Synonyms: despoil, forage, foray, harass, harry, loot, raid, ransack, ravage, sack

So, let’s look at what brought such a strongly loaded term. Major League Baseball asserts that McCourt broke at least one of the baseball “Ten Commandments” when he diverted team revenue to a non-baseball use.

Allegedly, McCourt misappropriated the following figures:

  • $73 million in parking revenue through Blue Land Co., a non-team related entity
  • $61 million in team revenue to pay off personal debts
  • $55 million from team revenue for personal use

“The Dodgers are in bankruptcy because McCourt has taken almost $190 million out of the club and has completely alienated the Dodgers’ fan base,” the league said.

Major League Baseball asserts this violation is grounds for termination of McCourt’s franchise. Do you think it is a coincidence this story broke last week and a scant few business days later the Dodgers are literally on the auction block?

2) The Last Great Act of Douche-Baggery

Anybody who has been following the McCourt saga knows there have been several layers of lawyers involved in this mess. One of those layers revolves around the Bryan Stow situation.

In case you’ve forgotten,  Stow is a San Francisco Giants fan who, for the cardinal sin of having a few beers during a Dodgers-Giants game on opening day in March, was beaten nearly to death in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. Stow hasn’t seen the outside of a hospital or rehabilitation center, which obviously has run up some seriously hefty medical bills.

In order to pay these medical bills (which Stow’s lawyer Thomas Girardi has said could head north of $50 million), a civil suit was filed against McCourt; the contention being  “security at the stadium was inadequate and lighting in the parking lot was insufficient, and that the organization did not promote responsible alcohol consumption.”

Naturally, that sort of liability has to factor into any sort of bankruptcy proceeding, which of course McCourt is embroiled in.  This means Stow’s representatives are on the official committee of creditors, which means you can tack on Stow’s medical bills and various damages to McCourt’s, which makes Stow a “wild card” in McCourt’s upcoming critical bankruptcy court hearing.

So what does McCourt do in advance of this hearing? Blame the guy who got his brain spilled all over the Dodgers’ parking lot.

Another controversy around beleaguered Dodgers owner Frank McCourt erupted last week when an attorney defending him against a lawsuit brought by the family of Bryan Stow raised the possibility that Stow might be held partly responsible for the beating that left him brain damaged.

“In 23 years, I have yet to see anything at Dodger Stadium involving any form of altercation that didn’t involve at least two willing combatants,” Jerome Jackson, the attorney, said on an ESPN radio talk show. He cited a report in Sports Illustrated that Stow’s blood alcohol level when he arrived at the hospital was 0.176%, more than twice the legal limit in California for driving. (Not that Stow was driving when he was attacked.)

This is exactly why people hate lawyers. Jackson’s logic is akin to a drunk driver saying to the mother of child he just ran over “You should have kept your damn kid off the road in the first place.” But the douche-baggery gets even worse.

“I find it flabbergasting,” Jackson said, “that there’s this groundswell of animosity if not hatred toward McCourt and the Dodgers, but there doesn’t seem to be any public anger against the guys who did the beating.”  To the contrary, what is flabbergasting is that Jackson doesn’t understand the depth of fan anger at McCourt in general. As Jackson points out, the McCourts did not beat up Bryan Stow. But certainly Dodgers fans feel bruised by McCourt’s woeful stewardship of the ballclub.

That’s a pretty big slice of sophistry if ever I saw one. Not only is that argument intended to make you believe none of this was McCourt’s responsibility, but it is also setting up the ugly, yet all too real legal strategy behind this obfuscation of the facts.

It’s hard to believe Jackson wasn’t posturing when he said he doesn’t understand why the alleged assailants have not been named in the civil suit. The Stow family attorney, Thomas Girardi, says naming them would only delay the suit because their testimony would probably not be available until after their criminal trial. Meanwhile, a civil jury can assign a percentage of responsibility to the assailants, even if they are not named in the suit.

McCourt’s lawyers will surely come out swinging at trial, but they should respect the injured plaintiff. One of McCourt’s problems has been his consistent cluelessness about the public relations effects of his decisions. Neither he nor Dodgers fans need to see his lawyers making a similar blunder.

It’s that last sentence that holds the key. McCourt simply doesn’t get that he continues to make himself look like a complete asshole, and that the court of public opinion has a lot of power.

But, the real question is exactly what kind of douche is Frank McCourt?

3) Finally, A Sale

At long last, baseball’s long national nightmare is over.

Embattled Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball reached an agreement late Tuesday to sell one of the sport’s most storied franchises, ending a seven-year run that included four trips to the postseason before recently becoming mired in legal troubles capped by a filing for bankruptcy protection.

A joint statement said there will be a “court-supervised process” to sell the team and its media rights to maximize value for the Dodgers and McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale, which could include Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots.

The announcement came as the Dodgers and MLB were headed toward a showdown in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware at the end of the month as mediation between both sides was ongoing.

No matter what happens, there’s two things that need to come from this sale.

First, I want to never hear the name “McCourt” ever again.  If there were a way to have both Frank and that rat-faced ex-wife of his deported to some sort of leper colony, we need to get that done. Throw in anybody named “Kardashian” on that list as well (but that’s another story.)

Second, and most important, we must never let Bud Selig off the hook for this fiasco. We must never forget it was Selig who created this mess, and we must ensure he is held accountable for that; a trip to that same leper colony would work for me.





Frank McCourt Death Watch: One Legal Ball-Kick Down, Several More To Go

24 10 2011

It’s been a busy week here at the Dubsism offices. without going into great detail, the bottom line is we are a couple days behind a story we’ve been following all summer.  In other words, America’s long national nightmare is over: The McCourt’s have finally reached a settlement in their divorce which kept the Los Angeles Dodgers in ownership limbo.

You read that correctly. The divorce which was baseball’s equivalent of Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren now seems to have finally ended in a settlement last week. So, now we can get back the regular-scheduled business of heaping scorn and derision on the Dodgers…just as soon as we figure out who is going end up owning this team. Initial reports state Jamie McCourt as part of the deal relinquished any claim to the team.

Frank and Jamie McCourt have reached a divorce settlement under which she would get about $130 million and relinquish any claim to a share of the Dodgers, multiple people familiar with the agreement told The Times.

The settlement would remove Jamie McCourt as an obstacle to Frank McCourt’s plan to retain ownership of the team by selling the Dodgers’ television rights in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The agreement also would appear to set up a winner-take-all court showdown for the Dodgers between Frank McCourt and Commissioner Bud Selig.

The key phrase in all of that is “winner-take-all court showdown.” While McCourt succeeds in wrestling claim to the Dodgers out of his ex-wife’s rat-like claws, he really is just setting himself up for more legal testicle-kicks.

Here’s the beauty of this…McCourt, having run the Dodgers into the financial crapper, manages to escape from what may very well be the costliest divorce in the history of the state of  California history only to run right back into Osama Bud Selig’s buzz-saw.

Look at Frank McCourt’s situation now. Being rid of the ex-wife and any of her claims to the team is rumored to cost him about $130 milllion.  The divorce itself racked up an additional $20.6 million in legal bills, and the pissing contest over whether the Dodgers were community property chalked up at least another $14 million.

By my finger-and-toe math, that is at a minimum additional $164.6 million down the drain. Why is that important? Because it adds to the total tab it is going to take to excise the butt-nugget known as Frank McCourt from baseball.

Here’s how this works…McCourt’s entire purpose for entering bankruptcy with the Dodgers into bankruptcy was to keep the team…he stated and acted like from Day One that he will give up the Dodgers when his cold, dead fingers are pried from the team. Part of that bankruptcy deal was the court ordered major league baseball to provide a $150 million loans for operating capital.

Now, two things have happened that will kill the viability of that arrangement. First, there is the aformentioned divorce settlement. Not only does it bring up the additional liabilities, it adds the complication that nobody seems to know if the Bankruptcy Court would allow McCourt to use money from any television deal to satisfy a divorce settlement.  Bud Selig wouldn’t allow that, which is one of the main reasons he killed McCourt’s multi-billion deal television with Fox.

The McCourts had reached a tentative divorce settlement in  June 17, but that agreement was contingent upon the approval of the proposed television contract between the Dodgers and Fox.  Selig would not allow the use of funds from a Dodger telelvision to fund McCourt’s divorce; almost half of an immediate $385-million payment from Fox would have been diverted from the Dodgers to satisfying the divorce settlement.

That’s nut-kick number one.

If only McCourt knew how to shut up.

Then there is the issue of the Dodgers’ debt load and tax liability having increased to the point where repaying the $150 million loan assumed as part of the bankruptcy funding and meeting those liabilities could wipe out much — if not all — of whatever profit he would make if he is ordered to sell the team.

That’s nut-kick number two.

While it has been McCourts intention to keep the Dodgers, Bud Selig has asked the Bankruptcy Court to order the Dodgers sold.  Now with his ex-wife out of the picture, there is really only one way McCourt can avoid being forced into a sale. First, he needs the Bankruptcy Court to deny Selig’s request. Then, he needs the same court to grant an auction of the Dodgers’ television rights, a move that would be legally opposed by both  Selig and Fox Sports. After all that, he still needs to come up with $130 million free and clear of any Dodger money to keep the ex-wife from returning to the picture.

That’s nut-kick number three.

Even you have to know the rules, Frank…three nut-kicks and you’re out.








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