Some Random Baseball Thoughts about the Contenders

I know you all missed the weekly MLB Round-Up posts and they may return in the future. Until that time, here’s a little bone to chew on. I don’t intend to jump into some deep thoughts, but rather a quick look at each team with questions before the post-season.

American League

New York Yankees – The offense is dynamic, even without A-Rod, but do they have enough pitching outside of C.C. Sabathia to repeat?

Tampa Bay Rays – Great young nucleus, but rumor has it they may be looking to add Manny Ramirez through the waiver wire if he becomes available. Why mess up their team chemistry with a nutcase?

Boston Red Sox – Injuries, injuries, and a former idiot says no to a return. It’s a season of What-Ifs for Red Sox nation. What if they make a miracle run despite the injuries?

Minnesota Twins – Always a good ball team, the Twins find themselves at the top of the division once again. Can they beat they Yanks or Rays in a series?

Chicago White Sox – After falling to second place in the AL Central, the Chi Sox have some work to do since the Wild Card seems about unreachable. Can Ozzie Guillen rally the troops for a playoff push?

Texas Rangers – A runaway with the division crown, Texas can look forward to its first post-season appearance in a long time barring a New York Mets-esque collapse. The key in October though is will Cliff Lee be enough to beat the Yankees or Rays?

National League

Atlanta Braves – The Braves could still use some help on offense, but the veteran Derek Lee could provide that spark down the stretch. Can they hold off the Phillies for the division?

Philadelphia Phillies – One week, the Phils look like their World Series self. The next, they’re losing two straight games to the Astros at home. Will the Phillies pull it all together for a fourth straight division crown?

Cincinnati Reds – As long as they’re not playing the Cardinals, the Reds look like serious contenders. How will their young pitching hold up down the stretch and into a possible post-season birth?

St. Louis Cardinals – A team with Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter ought to be leading its division, right? Wrong. The Cards just can’t put everything together it seems.

San Diego Padres – The NL’s best team continues its great play. Does anybody believe in them outside the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park?

San Francisco Giants – Same story, different season: great pitching, but a lackluster offense. Can the Giants overcome their offensive shortcomings to grab the Wild Card or even the division?

MLB Round-Up Dog Days Edition

The only thing hotter than the temperature is… screw it, there’s nothing hotter than the August sun right now. As the remaining games dwindle, the races get tighter.

Team of the Week

American League – Toronto Blue Jays. I thought the great birds of the North would slowly fall southward in the standings as the season progressed, and they have to a degree. However, they’re still managing to stay in a thick AL East race. Sure, they’re 8 games behind the first place Yankees, but they are 59-52 to date and just completed a 3 game smack-down of the Rays.

National League – Cincinnati Reds. The first place Reds continue to stay ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals with the third best record in the Senior Circuit. They’ve also won 4 straight games and have posted an 8-2 record in the last 10 games. They start a crucial series with the Cards tonight in Cincy.

Position Player of the Week

American League – Chone Figgins (Seattle). The free agent signing has been a big disappointment this season after leaving the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This past 7 days he looked liked the player of old. He batted .522 and scored 3 runs with 3 stolen bases.

National League – Ryan Braun (Milwaukee). The Brewers continue to be an intriguing team looking like a contender one week while looking horrible the next. Braun posted an MLB-best .538 average.

Player of the Week

American League – Trevor Cahill (Oakland). 17 innings pitched, 0 earned runs, 2 wins, 1 complete game, and 1 shutout in 2 games for the young Oakland pitcher.

National League – Tim Hudson (Atlanta). The Braves ace pitched in 2 games the past 7 days. He recorded 2 wins with a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings with 9 strikeouts.

RIP Basil Marceaux

Yesterday, the great state of Tennessee held primaries for various nominations. One of those was the Republican nominee for governor. And Internet sensation Basil Marceaux was a part of that race.

Unfortunately for Mr. Marceaux, he was eliminated last night. Of the five Republican nominees, Marceaux finished fifth with 3,497 votes at approximately 0.5% of the total. He finished behind the leader by just over 40%.

Basil Marceaux Rest In Peace.

All aboard the FAIL van

I’m not sure how any of the people involved thought this stunt would be a good idea, but the fact that they attempted it has provided me a few minutes of laughter.

Stunts like this are the roots of late night, campfire drunken stories that end with, “Bullshit, you didn’t do that.” Which is, of course, followed by, “Fuck you, I ain’t lying.”

Thanks to the technology of today, YouTube makes it possible to prove (or disprove) the most unlikely stories. And this redneck somewhere in the world (Las Vegas odds-makers give the origin of this video in Mississippi as 3-1, Arkansas is second at 5-1) is finding YouTube at an alarmingly slow pace just to prove his tale.

Enjoy the FAIL van:

Soccer Players Do It Dumber

My title may not make the most sense, but after yesterday’s “salmon celebration,” it’s time to watch when celebrating goes wrong.

This little gem is older, but it’s just as good. Also, I’m not exactly sure where it originated from. I think the players may be in their late teens considering how there is only one grandstand. Or maybe it’s just a really small professional team that sucks and has no fans. You can decide if you like.

So yeah, the entire team minus a defender or two breaks out into a choreographed dance on the sideline while the other team retrieves the ball and returns it to midfield. The ref blows the whistle for play to resume, and it becomes 11 v 2.

And if you didn’t notice, the guy on the left end of the line wearing orange is the goal keeper. If you follow him on his way back, he gives the customary, “Eff this, it’s too late,” and stops less than halfway back.

Soccer players do it dumber (sometimes)!

Soccer Players Do It Better

You think T.O. and Chad Ochocinco know how to celebrate a touchdown? Well, no one celebrates better than a soccer player after a goal.

And this video, as also seen on SportsCenter’s Top 10, features Stjarnan and Fylkir, members of Iceland’s top soccer league. Halldor Orri of Stjarnan scores the winning goal in extra time and then reels in his teammate, Johann Laxdal, as he imitates a salmon on the end of the imaginary fishing line.

Seriously, soccer players just do it better (TWSS)!

MLB Round-Up Post Trade Deadline and a Day Late Edition

MLB Round-Up’s reserved Monday posting was delayed by an 8 hour car ride. It’s amazing how much energy that can take out of a person. Anyway, we’re back and ready to give out awards.

Team of the Week

American League – Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay hit a minor speed-bump in an otherwise healthy season around mid-June which allowed the Yankees to control the AL East for about a month. However, the Rays continued playing, made a few moves at the deadline, and now find themselves tied with the Yankees. Can you see exciting race to the end?

National League – San Francisco Giants. I admit it. I thought this team did not have enough offense to win the division. And they may not as there is plenty of time left for them to fade away like the last few seasons. Regardless, the Giants are winning now. They’re keeping withing striking distance of first place San Diego.

Position Player of the Week

American League – Jose Bautista (Toronto). Bautista leads MLB in home runs and he’s never hit more than 16 in a season until now. And this past week, he batted .500 and smashed 4 more homers with 12 RBIs. It’s also easy to see that Bautista leaves Toronto at the end of the season as a free agent, some mid-level team gives him a bunch of money ($60-80 million), and he returns to normal next season. Happens all the time.

National League – Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado). The Rockie outfielder batted .520 with a slugging percentage 1.160. Gonzalez also scored 9 runs and collected 29 total bases. Can the Rockies ever mount a serious push though?

Pitcher of the Week

American League – Trevor Cahill (Oakland). 2 starts, 2 wins, 17 (out of 18 possible) innings pitched, a complete game shutout, and no runs (earned or otherwise) allowed. Ladies and gentleman, Trevor Cahill.

National League – Tim Hudson (Atlanta). The Braves needed a stopper during their recent road struggles, and ace Tim Hudson did just that. In 2 starts, he won twice, gave up 2 earned runs, posted a 1.32 ERA, and pitched 13.2 innings.