MLB concludes a very uneventful collective bargaining negotiation and comes out looking like the poster child for labor peace. What kind of parallel universe is this?
The hot stove is pouring smoke: Jayson Stark’s got an interesting breakdown of the new Phillies starting rotation after Cliff Lee signed late last night. On paper, this looks to be as dominant of a rotation as we’ll probably see this decade. I enjoyed Leo Mazzone’s take on how this rotation might fare in comparison to the 1993 Braves rotation of Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, and Avery. Only a couple more months before pitchers and catchers report…
Congratulations to the South Carolina Gamecocks’ men’s baseball team on their national championship, clinched in thrilling fashion (12 innings) over UCLA, 2-1. This marks the first national championship for any program at USC, and South Carolina’s first positive exposure on the national stage since Bushido Japanese Restaurant in West Ashley was on Man vs. Food.
I’m glad baseball’s back — it’s always a welcome distraction from the rigors of day-to-day life and lets me use my brain in different ways. One thing I’m particularly excited about using more this year are the PitchFX graphs at Brooks Baseball, which will blow your mind if you like statistics — graphical plots of a pitcher’s release point, balls and strikes, vertical and horizontal movement, and velocity are all included. (For example, here’s a breakdown of Carlos Zambrano’s awful Opening Day against the Braves.) If you’re a baseball fan who likes the intricacies of the game, spend a few hours with the PitchFX graphs — they’re fun!
This is depressing. The Padres have withdrawn their contract offer to Trevor Hoffman, effectively ending his time in San Diego and apparently on very lousy terms.
This isn’t the way it was supposed to happen, not in the slightest — Hoffy was supposed to end his career as a Padre, in triumph, with the blare of Angus Young and Brian Johnson mixing into the soundscape — but sadly, owner John Moores’ divorce proceedings and a breakdown in the front office has trumped all that.
So, in 2009, there won’t be any more Hells Bells. No more opposing batters flailing at Hoffman’s bedazzling changeup. No more Trevor Time.
With the likely trade of Jake Peavy and probably several other players in what is shaping up to be Fire Sale II, 2009 promises to be a very lousy year for San Diego baseball. It will be especially hard without Hoffman, especially knowing the circumstances of his departure.
Will the 41-year-old Hoffman play again? Probably. His agent will shop him around, and there’s no shortage of teams that need a proven closer. He would have to be a closer, too — statistically, he’s proven to not be as effective in middle relief or non-save situations. Also, at 41, his stuff isn’t what it used to be. The few times I’ve seen him, I’ve seen that his fastball is low even for Hoffman’s standards; he’s only throwing 84, 85 now. The changeup helps offset for that, but he’s simply being figured out more. I’m sure a team in desperate need will pick him up for a year, but you know, there’s something really disheartening about Hoffman being a stopgap solution for another team in what will likely be his final season.
After a few false starts, I’m going to be finally taking a breather and heading up to Atlanta tomorrow with some friends. We’re going to catch the bloodied and bruised Braves (who just can’t catch a break) as they host the Milwaukee Brewers. The Braves found Chuck James to make the start against Jeff Suppan. (No, I will not live-tweet the game. :)) It’ll be my first trip to The Ted, so I’m really excited about that. Our seats are reasonably decent and I’m anticipating several fly balls in my direction. I think I’m going to buy a new Atlanta cap while I’m there; likely one of the super-comfortable 39-30 models used in spring training and batting practice. We’re also slated to head to Six Flags. It’s been, what, 10 years since I went to an amusement park? Crazy. Should be fun, though I have issues with rollercoasters that I’m not going to get into right now. I’m hoping to run into some friends who will also be in Atlanta along the way.
The trip’s going to be a good way to ring in August after a really wild July. I’m probably crazy to say this, but I’m ready to get summer over with so I can attack this last semester with as much as I can give.
I’m on the fence about Serious Business on Sunday. I’ll probably be back early in the day (provided we don’t lollygag in Atlanta, which is always possible and easy to do), but who knows after six hours of driving whether I’ll be in any shape to do Serious Business. That will probably be a game-time decision, so stay tuned. :)
As promised, here’s my guest post on YanksBlog.com about Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano’s rehab appearances for the RiverDogs Tuesday night. The rain really kept a lot of folks away, so I had a little more freedom of movement than I was anticipating. I was frightened the game wouldn’t even happen! I’ll write more about the experience later on, as this is a first for me, but for now, it’s time for bed!
Folks in Charleston will get to see a rare sight later tonight, as Carl Pavano and Phil Hughes of the New York Yankees will embark on rehabilitation assignments with our Single-A RiverDogs against Asheville at 7:05. I’ll be covering the game for YanksBlog.com. Major leaguers don’t stop by often; the last one that I know of was Jon Lester last year at the RiverDogs’ opening game as he began to rehab his way back from his chemotherapy treatments to beat away lymphoma. Carl Pavano pitching is a rare sight in and of itself, too. There are some tickets left but count on them to go quickly!
Lots of tangents on tonight’s Serious Business; just the way I like it. We talked more Apple Store, bashed Windows a little bit, and got into a decent baseball discussion with lots of little tangents to connect it all together, including my odd Saturday night!
In case you missed it, here’s the show:
Serious Business is tentatively on for next Sunday at 8:30. I’m headed to Atlanta for the weekend, but I should be back by Sunday evening. I’m still working up the agenda for next week’s show and expect to have it up sometime this week. Thanks to everyone who fought through the technical troubles and stopped in!
Tonight’s Serious Business was a resounding success. Thanks to everybody who stopped in and really made it something great. Here’s hoping next week is just as good.
Here’s the recorded show, in case you missed it — and it was a good one. We went in-depth on PR practices with bloggers, new vs. old media, and you’ll even find out what my baseball bandwagon is this year…
Remember that, for now at least, we’re doing this every Sunday at 8:30 over on Ustream.tv. Check out the show’s website for links to the show as well as a link to the Facebook page. Fan the show if you deem it worthy. :) I’ll have more at the show website soon; it needs a WordPress install, I just need time.