Triple Crown Trash Talk

An outstanding weekend of sports is on tap. And, believe it or not, we are going to lead off with baseball. The end of the regular season was as compelling as has been seen in a very long time. While most of the attention was focused on the battle between the Yankees and Orioles, Miguel Cabrera pulled off a Triple Crown and the amazing Oakland Athletics caught up, and on the last day of the season in a head to head matchup, passed the powerful Texas Rangers to win the AL West. In the National League, the Natinals, despite parking their ace, Stephen Strasburg, for the season won the East going away and the defending champion Cardinals sneaked into the playoffs with the second wildcard.

Whew, that is a lot of hardball goodness, and then came…..the one and done wildcard night. And what a night it was. Buck Showalter and the O’s went down to Texas and took it to the Rangers. So, the Rangers are done just that fast, and the O’s move on to meet the Yanks. But all hell broke loose in Atlanta as, apparently Roger Goodell’s replacement refs have moved on to MLB. The umps blew a call on the terminally quirky “infield fly” rule and arguably cost the Braves, and the retiring Chipper Jones, the game. A riot nearly ensued and, as ugly as it was, you have to sympathize some with the fans in Atlanta, they got hosed. Nevertheless, the Cardinals will move on and the Braves are done.

And then there is the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, who has, in a quiet workmanlike fashion, won the hallowed Triple Crown. Rookie Mike Trout of the Angels was phenomenal, but my vote is that Cabrera is the MVP. You win the first Triple Crown in 45 years and, in the process, power your team into a division championship and the postseason, that is the definition of a MVP. I was alive and kicking when the last Triple Crown was won by Carl Yastremski in 1967. When you consider that the two best hitters in the intervening 45 years the game has seen, Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols, couldn’t do it, it is all the more remarkable that Cabrera has. Hat’s off to Miggy. Detroit pride isn’t just cars now. Simply great stuff.

The class of the college games this week are all in the SEC. Most weeks a matchup of unbeatens such as #4 LSU at #10 Florida would be the top game on the slate. But I think both those teams are a little overrated this year and the game is a tossup. If the Gators can hang tough on defense, they might pull off the upset. But the real game of the week is #5 Georgia at #6 South Carolina. The days of Fun & Gun are over for the ‘Ole Ball coach Steve Spurrier, he now runs a fairly conservative game management offense that relies of super back Marcus Lattimore coupled with a very aggressive and good defense. This is going to be a great game, and I look for the Cocks to come out on top.

West Virginia at the Longwhorens should be pretty interesting too. Will be exciting to see if the new version of RGIII, Geno Smith of WVU, can get untracked for another big day. Don’t think he will have another 8 touchdown day like last week against Baylor, but here’s hoping he lights up Texas. Honorable mention to Northwestern at Penn State. The Fighting Journalists – er, Wildcats – are a shocking 5-0 and leading the Big 10.X. But the game is in Happy Valley and the Nittany Lions are starting to gel after all the turmoil. With a couple of breaks, PSU could be 5-0 too, and I think they are going to take this one in a small upset.

For the pros, well what could be better than Peyton versus Brady? Nothing. That is the marquis matchup for the week. Denver has a far better defense, the Pats still have a better offense. Which is going to give? I have no idea, but it will be fun to see. By the way, you think we talk trash here? Holy smoke, get a load of the Twitter Fight that Brady and Manning got in yesterday. It was so fun that half of the QBs in the league piled on by the time it was over. Seriously, you HAVE to check this out, it is hilarious.

The other compelling game is Iggles at Stillers. As badly as Philly and Vick have sucked, they are still 3-1 and Big Ben and the boys loping along at a disappointing 1-2. I think that changes this weekend and Pittsburgh wins the battle of Pennsylvania. The Steelers get a big shot in the arm with the return Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall to the lineup. Look for the surprising Vikings to run their record to 4-1 with a win over the seemingly woeful Titans, although with Matt Hasselbeck taking over for the injured Jake Locker, Tennessee has a shot. The Sunday Night game is the Bolts at Aints. Nawlins has to snap out of their slide, right? Maybe, but the Bolts won’t make it easy.

Lastly, the F1 Circus is in Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. Built in the early 60s as a Honda test facility, Suzuka is a beautiful circuit by any measure, and certainly the best of the Asian circuits by far. The Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber have the front row. Jenson Button was third fastest in qualifying, but is assessed a five place grid penalty for swapping gearboxes, so will start in P8. Kamui Kobayashi put on a show for his home country, put in the fourth fastest time and will start from P3 due to Button’s penalty. Points leader Alonso will start from the third row, which puts him at a disadvantage in his battle with the surging Vettel. Coverage starts on Speed at 1:30am Sunday EST and 10:30pm Saturday night PST. It is always a good race at Suzuka, tune in.

As a parting shot, who knew Michael Phelps could golf? Dude drained a 159 foot putt. Wow.

108 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    I think you will suffer a small disappointment once the Fighting Journalists have written their story in Happpy Valley.

    Meanwhile, in KC, the Royals have announced a truly Romneyian set of season ticket price changes. For the most expensive seats — home to the 1% of Royals fans — ticket prices will go down $5 per seat per game. For everyone else — the 99%* — they go up by $1-$3 per ticket per game.

    Mitt would be so pleased.

    And this for a team that finished 72-90, with an average attendance around 50% of the stadium capacity.

    Mitt would be even more pleased. And no, he doesn’t own the Royals. That would be David Glass of the Wal-Mart family, whose name is increasingly becoming mud in KC among baseball fans.

    * Yes, the article at the link says that these “others” are about 85% of the season ticket holders. The seats themselves, however, are 99% of the stadium.

  2. phred says:

    Love the fake QB Twitter exchange : )

    As a BoSox fan, I’ve gotta pull for the O’s against the Damn Yankees. And speaking of same, I also feel compelled to pull for the Nationals. I’ve got heart ya know ; )

    And while I’m on the subject of baseball… Anyone got a spare manager laying around? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Not that I’m suggesting that anyone would be better than our jilted Valentine, but well, actually yeah, I am suggesting exactly that. I miss Tito.

  3. Bob Schacht says:

    While you are right to question the infamous “infield fly” umpire call in the Cards-Braves game, the truth is that the Braves threw the game away with an uncharacteristic number of infield throwing errors. Also newsworthy is that the Cards have got this far with a new manager, and also that this Pujols-less Cardinals (wasn’t that supposed to be catastrophic?) are back in the playoffs. Score a few points for the Cardinal’s management team.

    The Card’s Wildcard victory adds excitement to the series: Can the Cards duplicate last year’s race from Wildcard to World Champion again? Excites me, anyway.

    Bob in AZ
    The home of the OTHER Cardinals

  4. Peterr says:

    @Bob Schacht: “The home of the OTHER Cardinals”

    That’s the sentiment that Bill Bidwell cited as the reason he moved the team out of St. Louis. “We don’t want to take a back seat to the baseball team, even if we share the same name.”

    But even though the team moved, it appears the sentiment still exists, even in Arizona.


    I’m sure the football fans in St. Louis who despise Bill Bidwell, like my late grandmother, appreciate your kind remarks.

  5. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Bill Bidwell hasn’t been heard from in a long time, don’t think he is well. The team is firmly under the control of son Michael, who is a former AUSA, and not a bad guy really and GM Rod Graves. They are a different Cardinals in many respects. But they still suck.

  6. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Of course they are different. They’ve won in the post-season (five times!) — something that consistently eluded them in St. Louis.

  7. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Where did the Cardinals get those offenseive lineman? Are there injury problems? Poor Kolb was getting pounded.

  8. Peterr says:

    For the pros, well what could be better than Peyton versus Brady? Nothing. That is the marquis matchup for the week.

    Is “marquis” snark, for this meeting of NFL royalty, or a tyop for “marquee”?

    If it’s the former, well done, though it will irritate the Tebowlers and the courtiers of the House of Manning who believe they are the only royalty that matter.

    If it’s the latter, it’s a most fortunate mistake.

  9. What Constitution says:

    Oh, oh, oh. Cabrera had one hell of a season and led a decent team to the top of a mediocre division while doing it. He batted a lot of other people in, as well, hitting with one of the most feared sluggers in the game. He was great, he captured the Triple Crown — unheard of these days — and it won’t be a travesty to give him the MVP.

    But Trout just redefined the game. Those who would justify giving the MVP to Cabrera because the Tigers made the playoff are missing a rather significant fact: the Angels actually finished the season with a better record than Detroit did — there can be no denying that the Tigers played a weaker schedule against a weaker division. There are always “what ifs” — here, “what if” Trout had played the whole season instead of being brought up at the end of April (yes, the numbers he put up, leading the league outright in categories like total runs scored, were produced in a partial season)and what if Cabrera had been put up against the Rangers’, Angels’ and A’s pitching staffs more — and weighing of the “what ifs” is always a part of baseball. But Trout just redefined the game.

    The “WAR” stat — wins against replacement — is wonky and weird, but it actually does seem to approximate an accurate assessment of an individual player’s overall value to a club. If so, this isn’t a close call, right? If batting average, home runs and RBI together give a fair assessment of a player’s overall value, then OK — but does anybody think those three individual stats measure defensive contribution at all? And can anyone honestly defend omitting consideration of defensive factors in assessing MVP?

    Batting leadoff, Trout redefined the game. A walk was a double — including a string of 41 consecutive steals without being caught. First to third on absolutely any ball hit out of the infield. Bunt singles at will. Oh, lead-off home runs as needed, too. It was the scene from The Natural — Max Mercy in the booth saying “I’ve never seen anything like it … anything he wants to do, he does!”

    And in center field — Center Field, for goodness sake — nothing like him. Four different over-the-fence robs in less than a single season, along with regular diving catches. Not a lot of balls bounced out there. Couple that with, oh, leading off a game against Detroit with a home run and, nine innings later, going over the wall to rob Fielder to end the game. “WAR” is looking pretty prescient about now.

    With Mike Trout in the game, perenniel star Tory Hunter just had his best offensive season and may play forever just to say he played with Mike Trout. Pujols had a dreadful start; after Trout arrived he rallied to a 30 HR/100 RBI/50 double “just another Pujols season” precisely coextensive with Trout’s leadership and example. Which flags another thing — leadership and example. Unbelievable poise out there. Humility that would have been almost detrimental if it hadn’t been leavened with sheer, obvious and completely “non-bragging” confidence. And he looked at all times like he was in fact having fun doing this. Intangible, but valuable.

    Miguel Cabrera just had a great season and won the Triple Crown. The Most Valuable Player in the league was Mike Trout. If Miguel Cabrera wins the MVP award, congratulations to him. But giving that award out based on winning the Triple Crown and winning a weak division might not be the best precedent.

  10. phred says:

    @Peterr: Your grandmother reminds me of my sister-in-law, although regarding a different team… the Colts, late of Baltimore. I cheer unabashedly for the Orioles on her behalf, but never ever for the former-Peytons nor the Ravens. Although, you gotta love a city that picks a team mascot based on poetry ; )

  11. bmaz says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: Cards O-line has sucked for a very long time. Kurt Warner was quick enough on the release and unconscious enough to just throw the damn ball that it masked the issues. Without that quick release and mentality, the QBs are getting killed. And Kolb is no quick trigger guy, he lumbers around.

  12. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: That was actually intentional; because in their QB Twitter fight, which Phred scandalously asserts is “fake”, they act like kings.

  13. Peterr says:


    Strickly going by the nickname, Baltimore has one of the best fits between city and team name in professional sports. It rivals the St. Louis Blues, and the (former) New Orleans Jazz.

    The worst match between nickname and city in professional sports, as Bob Costas pointed out long ago, is the Utah Jazz.

  14. bmaz says:

    @What Constitution: “Redefined the game”?

    Please. Trout had a truly great rookie season. But “redefined the game”? You have to completely forget about Junior Griffey and Barry Bonds to say something so absurd. Oh, and like the Angels don’t have other bats in their lineup to protect Trout? Fantastic season, but Cabrera is the MVP.

  15. phred says:

    @What Constitution: I loved your eloquent argument for selecting Trout for MVP, but I am curious about one phrase you used… that he “redefined the game”. This is not snark, I am genuinely curious what you mean.

    From your description, Trout is great at playing baseball. But how did he redefine it? Is there something he does that will cause others to change how they play or is he just way better than everyone else?

    In football, I understand how one might redefine the game… the west coast offense is a perfect example turning football into more of passing game than a running game. One team developed it, others changed the way they played. That seems like a redefinition to me.

    In baseball, I don’t know how one could redefine the sport… A new pitch? Faster pitching? Different alignments in the field? I really don’t know. So just curious how you think about it, as you clearly follow baseball more closely than I do…

  16. phred says:

    @Peterr: Choke : ) Seriously, took a bite of food (it’s lunchtime for me, so I’m being chatty), just as I hit refresh…

    You got me there. That definitely redefined the game ; )

  17. rosalind says:

    congrats to h.s. classmate Bob Melvin (my vote for manager of-the-year) and his under-rated, under-the-radar A’s forced to play in those butt-ugly unis!!!

  18. Peterr says:


    I learned long ago not to have anything near my mouth when I am reading a Trash Talk thread. The consumption of hot liquids is especially contraindicated.

  19. JTMinIA says:

    A decent finish in France would wrap up a ninth – yes, ninth – consecutive WRC championship for Loeb. After Day 1, he leads by a half-minute.

  20. What Constitution? says:

    @bmaz and @phred: So maybe some may quibble over my choice of phrasing in saying Trout “redefined the game”. Perhaps a tad over-exuberant? Moi???

    From where I sit, the “MVP” discussion this year has the chance to focus the selection of MVP on the game as a whole, even moreso than in years when a pitcher may be so dominant that the Cy Young doesn’t seem to be enough. When Verlander won the MVP, it had to be acknowledged that home runs, RBI and batting average were simply not the prerequisite for MVP. And not since ’67 have we had a Triple Crown winner in the mix (perhaps attributable more to the rise of middle relief and closer in the game than anything else). Yet based on the “Cabrera” arguments I most am seeing, there seems to be almost a “conventional wisdom” presumption that he’s “entitled” to MVP because he won the Triple Crown.

    If Trout is awarded the MVP, it will be because his “whole game” was the best in the game for its impact on his team and the game. It will validate the importance of doing everything extraordinarily well. That’s the only justification for giving the MVP award to a pitcher — that the pitcher’s pitching performance was so exceptional it brought the whole team to a new level. Winning the Triple Crown, in and of itself, is not that — or at least should not be presumed to be that when assessed against the performances of other players.

    There is only one aspect of Cabrera’s season that I would compare favorably to Trout’s season: down the stretch, Cabrera was just phenomenal while Trout was just really, really good. And I end up lining those two things up against W-L, and the Angels still had the better W-L, albeit only by one win. The Tigers win their division with a record that wouldn’t place in the wildcard standings, the Angels stay home.

    I think Trout “redefined the game” because the overall degree of excellence he brought to the game, if considered, may come to mean more than the sum total of offensive stats mythologized in the Triple Crown award. I’m not denigrating anything Cabrera has done. Trout, in my view, has done more to help his team win more baseball games. And, of course, we’re all absolutely right in the subjective world that is baseball.

    It’s certainly probable that Trout isn’t the single finest athlete to play the game, and it remains to be seen whether there will be a defensive strategy built around him. It won’t be “walk him”, that seems for sure. But for me, watching this young man do what he does even while he may not be the best single athlete is all the more reason to be impressed by the skill he displays in doing it.

    And if Cabrera becomes available, I hope Arte Moreno gets him. Good luck Tigers in the playoffs!

  21. bmaz says:

    @What Constitution?: Both are worthy, and it is a reasonable debate.

    I note you didn’t address Trout’s “redefinition” as to all around play compared to Bonds and Griffey though. Because they certainly had, when they were in their early years, every bit the all around game Trout does. People forget just how good, fast, fluid and incredible of a fielder Barry Bonds was in his early years with the Pirates. Same for Junior with the Mariners. They did it all too.

  22. phred says:

    @What Constitution?: LOL, never let me dampen your exuberance! : )

    I meant it, it was a sincere question and I appreciate your answer. Fair enough. Although Peterr’s made me laugh harder ; )

    I don’t watch enough baseball to have an opinion on MVP, so it will be interesting to see how things turn out and what rationale is given for the choice…

  23. What Constitution? says:

    @bmaz: I actually started to do that. I agree with you. Both phenomenal. It is completely appropriate that Junior’s head above the center field fence is the cover photo on the last instalment of Ken Burns’ “Baseball” series; my son grew up with a poster in his room of Griffey swinging with the caption “Excellence”, and the story about the Pirates’ owner suggesting his new player, Barry Bonds, was “probably only a pull hitter” — followed by Barry’s first five homers hit to the opposite field — is appropriately legendary. May Trout turn out that good. I truly hope that Mike Trout doesn’t go the Bonds route or even suffer the indignity of being caught asleep in the clubhouse during a game in his later years.

  24. rosalind says:

    OK, your Roving Reporter roamed up the 101 to watch one of the America’s Cup sponsored Match Races live and in person. SF in the midst of several days of hella hot and no wind, as my 85-year young Aunt and I made our way along Marina Green Wed. afternoon we got a sudden blast of a cold Westerly with a fog bank lurking over the horizon. within 1/2 hour temps dropped 20 degrees and we were completely fogged in, barely able to make out the race course markers from our bleacher seats.

    races still on, our seats gave us a front row view of the start and first turn, and the final sprint for the finish line. with a 20 knot steady Westerly wind (heading inshore) slamming into a 4 knot ebb current (water is heading back out to sea) creating very choppy conditions, the crews’ main goal was to not capsize during tacks and jibes.

    great races, great fun. the organizers are doing a fantastic job. and yes, that beautiful blue-hulled Ketch lurking along the race line does indeed belong to Larry Ellison, the godfather of this America’s Cup.

    today’s races begin at 4pm, broadcast live on the America’s Cup youtube channel, with NBC broadcasting Sunday from 1:30pm – 3pm PST.

  25. JohnT says:

    @What Constitution?:

    Oddly enough, Bonds told Junior he was going to start using while at dinner one night at Junior’s house during one offseason. He talked about McGuire and Canseco getting roided up and nobody giving a rats [email protected]@.

    On an otherwise ordinary night, over an otherwise ordinary meal, Griffey, Bonds, a rep from an athletic apparel company and two other associates chatted informally about the upcoming season. With Griffey’s framed memorabilia as a backdrop, and Mark McGwire’s obliteration of the single-season home run record a fresh memory, Bonds spoke up as he never had before. He sounded neither angry nor agitated, simply frustrated. “You know what,” he said. “I had a helluva season last year, and nobody gave a crap. Nobody. As much as I’ve complained about McGwire and Canseco and all of the bull with steroids, I’m tired of fighting it. I turn 35 this year. I’ve got three or four good seasons left, and I wanna get paid. I’m just gonna start using some hard-core stuff, and hopefully it won’t hurt my body. Then I’ll get out of the game and be done with it.”


  26. JohnLopresti says:

    @rosalind: I can recommend an excellent place Not To Jibe while sailing east close to Alcatraz Island, fortunately with just enough distance from shore, in a small, extraordinarly well balanced sailing boat, with similar prevailing wind, maybe >20 knots, and coursing ebb tide that plays funny angles around the islands seeking the ‘Gate.

  27. jo6pac says:

    @JTMinIA: Thanks I was wondering what the DVR was recording, go Loeb. I wish F-1 would have given him a lic. so he could a least test an F-1 car. Go 9ers

  28. Peterr says:

    @rosalind: Any sign of humpback whales?

    From SFGate yesterday:

    Humpback Whales Frolicking Amid Fleet Week, America’s Cup

    The boaters and seamen converging on San Francisco Bay this weekend for Fleet Week and the America’s Cup could very well come up against large obstacles — humpback whales.

    The whales have been spotted over the past two weeks gallivanting just outside the Golden Gate and, in several cases, venturing inside the bay, raising concerns that there could be a collision.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a warning to all boaters, ship’s captains, para-sailors, paddlers and other water recreationists to watch out for whales and other large marine mammals this weekend.

    I could only imagine what would happen if one or two of these whales surfaced in the midst of one of the races. “Cap’n Ahab, thar’s a whale a-port!”

  29. Peterr says:

    0:45 left between Arizona and The Tree, all tied at 48.

    I hardly know who to root against. (Happens to me a lot when I think of the Pac however-many-there-are-this-week.)

  30. Bob Schacht says:

    @bmaz: I’ve heard it said that, for a right-handed quarterback, the left tackle is the most important member of the offense. I wonder what a survey of the salaries of starting left tackles, compared with other linemen in the NFL, would show?

    The Cards lost one of their tackles a few weeks ago, and IIRC now have a rookie at right tackle and a lineman moved from another position at left tackle. With that kind of set-up, every pass needs to have a quick-dump option, and a quarterback with enough sense to use it when appropriate.

    Bob in AZ

  31. Peterr says:

    Well now this is odd . . . I thought I corrected “rosalind” to “phred” before hitting “post comment” but apparently both got posted.

    Very odd indeed.

  32. Jim White says:

    In a euphoric state of shock over that amazing Gator win. I never would have thought before the season started that this team would make it into the top 5. Don’t see how they won’t be when the polls come out tomorrow.

  33. scribe says:

    Trout did not redefine the game.

    Babe Ruth redefined the game by making the home run something more than an occasional event. He put a hurt on little ball, where the bunt was the primary offensive weapon, that still bleeds today.

    Tony LaRussa and Dennis Eckersley redefined the game. They introduced the concept of the single-inning closer with their great A’s teams of the 80s. Remember, Eck was a mediocre starter on his way to oblivion when LaRussa’s lawyer mind took the quantum leap to the single-inning closer and sent Eck to Cooperstown. Looking across his career, LaRussa is one of the great baseball minds of all time.

    For that matter Mariano Rivera was also a so-so starter in the Yankees organization, saddled with having one good pitch and not two or three, until he showed the world what he had in relief in the 95 division series with the Mariners. I remember watching him in those games and thinking “if the organization doesn’t mess him up, he’ll be great – he’s utterly unflappable”. He’s going to Cooperstown on the strength of a cut fastball and ice-water in his veins.

    Mike Trout had a very good rookie year. Over the years, a lot of guys have. We’ll see how he does after the league has a winter of studying his video. See if they can find the holes in his swing (ask Ryan Howard and Jason Giambi about that). Some of those guys with great rookie years have gone on to greatness. Some of them never did as well again.

    Cabrera has pulled off one of the great feats of the game and deserves to be celebrated for it. He is the MVP.

    As an aside – the Indians have hired Tito Francona to manage next year.

  34. scribe says:

    NB: I thought Carl Yaztremski showed an extraordinary amount of class when asked for comment on Cabrera’s Triple Crown. All the attention had been showered on Yaz as having been the last one to achieve it. Yaz noted that he was sure Frank Robinson would join him in congratulating Cabrera.

    For those who forgot or never knew, Frank Robinson won the Triple Crown in 1966, the year before Yaz.

  35. bmaz says:

    @scribe: Right. I used Bonds and Griffey of fairly recent all tool players. But they were certainly around before. See: Mays, Willie. In my mind still arguably the best all around player ever and, if not, certainly in that rarified discussion.

  36. bmaz says:

    And the Tigers win behind the shutdown pitching of Justin Verlander. Still, look out for the As if they happen to steal game 2 in Detroit, because then they would have three home games in what would be a best 2 out of 3 series. Conversely, if Detroit holds again in game 2, they are sitting pretty.

  37. bmaz says:

    This Texass-West virginia game is killer. And Geno Smith is really quite the awesome young man. Eddie George did a halftime interview with Smithy. Extremely bright talks about chess theory, is a poet, painter and classics reader. Wow.

  38. Bob Schacht says:

    Wha…? Miami runs to the ND 2 yard line, and I thought to be a sure TD in a play or two. But I was distracted, and next thing I know, Notre Dame has the football and the score is still 20-3 or so. Miami didn’t even get a field goal. What happened to that sure TD? Fumble? Interception?

    Bob in AZ

  39. masaccio says:

    @Bob Schacht: ND stopped Miami on four plays. ND scored on the next series. And kept it up. 379 yards rushing. Good game for the Irish, leaving our host sputtering something about the low-ranked PAC whatever it is this year all over the twitter.

  40. quebecois says:

    I love that track. Half race, Alonso out, Vettel in the lead. Perez lost it at the hairpin. Very cool. Schu has no telemetry, means they won’t know it when he crashes in some poor unsuspecting chap.

  41. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @Bob Schacht: I don’t have the figures in front of me but left tackles are the highest paid offensive lineman. If you watch the draft every year good left tackles always go high and are a prized commodity.

  42. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: Yea, that was an entertainng game. Love Dana. Which we still had him. Quite a few other good games also. Florida State goes down, LSU goes down, Georgia got smacked. Sets up some interesting division races over the rest of the year.

  43. scribe says:

    @bmaz: Concur. Sadly, I didn’t see enough of Mays early in his career and consequently can’t really put him in the perspective he deserves. I don’t remember ever seeing anyone with as sweet a swing as Junior and, if he hadn’t been injured as much as he was later in his career, he’d be on everyone’s list of greatest ever.

    But, a five-tool rookie comes along just about every year. Remember Ruben Rivera? He was the hot prospect the Yankees had – his cousin Mariano was a throw-in to get Ruben to sign. Last I heard of Ruben was he was run out of baseball by the Yankee clubhouse after he stole Derek Jeter’s glove and bat from his locker to sell to a memorabilia dealer. Something about getting Jeter’s mojo. That, after one of the worst baserunning debacles in video history while he was a journeyman with the Giants.

  44. phred says:

    @scribe: Thanks scribe. I appreciate your examples of how the game of baseball has been redefined. Thanks also for the scoop on Francona. The day he left Boston, everyone figured he would take a year off then go to another team. The Indians are fortunate.

  45. What Constitution says:

    Certainly if the question is “who is the best baseball player of all time”, it’s way way too early to mention Mike Trout’s name, for all the reasons laid out in this interesting discussion. Mr. Willie Mays. If the question is which player just finished the 2012 season most deserving of the title Most Valuable Player, that’s of course a different question.

    But looking to the undeniable greats, it’s notable that Willie Mays in his first year hit .274 in 121 games, with 68 RBI and 20 HR; Trout just hit .326 in 139 games with 83 RBI, 30 HR, and league-leading 45 SB and 129 runs scored. If he keeps that up, well… and it’s right and important not to presume he can, but it was still an amazing season.

    Cabrera has put together a season in which he won the Triple Crown with three “really good not spectacular” league high figures, with players nipping at each of those numbers (one of those players being Trout on batting average). It’s the Triple Crown, for sure, and that’s great — but players who won the Triple Crown but not the league MVP include Ted Williams (’42 and ’47); Lou Gehrig (’34): Ty Cobb (’09) and Nap Lajoie (1901)[“you can look it up”]. I’m not convinced that the MVP is an entitlement of the Triple Crown when giants like those didn’t get it when they did what Cabrera just did. That doesn’t diminish the Triple Crown, but it does counsel against making the Triple Crown something it is not.

    I’m not urging Mike Trout into the pantheon of greatest players after this season. But he did just have one of the greatest seasons and not just for a rookie. Cabrera did, too. Heck, so did Beltre. If the voters (whoever they are) consider them each for their respective impact I’ll gladly accept that verdict.

    This has been a fun read. Great job Tigers and Verlander (and Domers) last night!

  46. bmaz says:

    @What Constitution: This kind of discussion is what is timeless about baseball. Although it is not perfectly consistent, the ability to compare and discuss players from different eras is so much better than football, basketball and most other sports. It is part of the beauty of the game.

  47. Bay State Librul says:


    I’m pulling for Joe Torre to lead the Red Hose.
    My neighbor was a scout for the LA Angels. I asked him who should I draft in my fantasy league. He said “Jack, draft Trout a future hall of famer (barring injuries and pitchers figuring him out). I didn’t listen to him and selected another player. What a fucking asshole, I turned out to be. I finished 8th out of 14 in our league…
    I’ve got wicked Trout regret.

  48. JohnLopresti says:

    I was the guy that wanted basketball rules changed after the pros started hiring players 7′ tall. The way the game was meant to be played was with the basket out of reach. In fact, it was against the rules to touch the net, as well.

    And football, what in the encyclopedia of fairness is offensive pass interference in the pros?

    Baseball has too many dimensional statistics.

    And, poor quarterbacks! By halftime some wag already has computed a mathematical rating!

    Then the rulemakers began allowing fiberglas poles in the pole vault.

    And the tallest people playing volleyball began to be allowed to spike the ball. Unsporting conduct!

    I rest my case, Your Honors.

    Meet you at Sproul Plaza.

  49. Bay State Librul says:


    Yes I’m for Cabrera.

    The James/Sabermetrics crew would probably give the nod to
    the WAR (Wins above Replacement) value, in which Trout excels.
    I’m in the traditionalist camp, I think.

  50. bmaz says:

    @Bay State Librul: I am old, and pretty much love the traditional part of baseball. Even the “unwritten rules”. It is what it is, that such is the real character and continuity of baseball.

    In this vein, a shoutout should go to Buck Showalter and the Orioles who, by all the “Sabermetrics” of baseball ought to be long out of the discussion. This is fun stuff!

  51. Bay State Librul says:

    It’s 55 degrees in Foxborough with a 40 percent chance of rain by game time.
    The Pats are not hip
    “The Patriots come in to today’s contest with probably the team’s first serious absence on defense, having to go without safety Steve Gregory who is sidelined with a hip injury. The Patriots are also officially going without wide receiver Julian Edelman (hand), who was ruled out Friday with Gregory, and have 12 players who are listed as questionable, including Rob Gronkowski (hip), Aaron Hernandez (hip), Dont’a Hightower (hamstring), and Logan Mankins (calf)”

  52. Bay State Librul says:


    You would have loved Johnny Pesky, who greeted players with “How’s it going, peckerheads”
    I even have to give Roger Clemens a big hug. He showed up for the Johnny Pesky tribute…. I was wet in the eyes when all the players trotted out to shortshop, and then proceeded to the Pesky Pole where they signed their names and wrote their final goodbyes.

    He was an Ambassador for Baseball

  53. scribe says:

    @What Constitution: I’m not sure, but I’d bet at least LaJoie and Cobb could not have won the MVP because it didn’t exist when they played. (A quick look at wikipedia shows Cobb and LaJoie tied for the Chalmers award, a predecessor to the MVP, in 1910. Cobb won the second Chalmers award in 1911.) As to Gehrig, he won in 1936, arguably a better season for him and the start of a Yankee run of 4 straight World Series championships. There was a lot of debate over whether the 36-39 Yankees (4 straight WS), the 49-53 Yankees (5 straight WS) or the 96-2000 Yankees (4 WS in 5 years, 4-2 if one counts 2001) were the best “runs” by a team. IIRC, when Gehrig won the Triple Crown in 34, MVP Mickey Cochrane’s Tigers won the Series.

    OTOH, Frank Robinson (66) and Yaz (67) both won the MVP when they won the Triple Crown.

    As to Mays’ rookie season, remember, he was only a few years into the post-integration era, and had to play alongside the likes of Alvin Dark (one of the more egregious racists this side of Cobb). It would be interesting to see how many of his game appearances were late-inning substitutions and pinch hitting…. Moreover, his HR numbers likely would have suffered (it would be interesting to look at the very granular view) because of the configuration of the Polo Grounds. He wasn’t the kind of pull hitter who could have benefitted from the porches even shorter (250 to left, IIRC) then those at the Real Yankee Stadium. OTOH, center at the Polo Grounds was well over 500 feet away, giving him ample opportunity to play stellar defense but also making sure a lot of his long drives went to waste in that cavernous outfield. Mays also didn’t have the opportunity to train in the off-season, unless you consider being drafted and going to basic training in the middle of the Korean War an opportunity to train.

    I’ll cut Say Hey Willie some slack in the rookie comparison to Trout. Not that he needs any, of course.

  54. emptywheel says:

    @rosalind: I was in Muskegon during this game, walking up and down dunes in Irish-like weather. Got done w/the hike and checked the score and tried to find the game–you usually get Milwaukee radio stations up and down the Lakeshore and Muskegon itself has the ferry that is the shortest distance to Green Bay, so there are lots of Packer fans there. And I couldn’t get the game at all! Got home just in time to see Rodgers fuck up that :08 play.

    Pretty impressive second half for the Colts, tho.

  55. What Constitution? says:

    @scribe: You’re not suggesting asterisk territory, are you? Each and every situation has unique characteristics, that’s a real part of baseball. Dead balls, live balls, racists and “pitchers’ parks”(Angels Stadium is one of those iirc). They say Ted Williams didn’t get along with sportswriters, ask Barry Bonds about that. Ty Cobb was, by all accounts, a rotten human being but a hell of a ballplayer. I’m not dissing Willie Mays, I’m — as they say — “just sayin'”. I’m delighted to learn Mickey Cochrane was MVP when Gehrig won the Triple Crown in 1934! This game has marked the time; people will come. I couldn’t tell you if the MVP award existed in Cobb and Lajoie’s day, I just read a list from the web so it must be true….

  56. rosalind says:

    @emptywheel: i was stuck with pitt/phi. after it ended got switched over to colts/gb and got to watch up until the 2 min warning, with Colts heading for the endzone and then – it cuts to Terry Bradshaw and the post-game report. arrgh.

    went over to ESPN conversation and tried to follow along there.

  57. scribe says:

    @What Constitution?: Who needs asterisks?

    I return to my original comment – Trout is a player who had a very good rookie year. There are a lot of those, but only time will tell whether he is great. Cabrera has made one of the great achievements his own. Cabrera is the MVP.

  58. phred says:

    @rosalind: Having watched the whole thing, you would have thought the first half Packers and the second half Packers were two entirely different teams. Don’t know what is up with them this year, but they are definitely not firing on all cylinders on either side of the ball.

    The announcers made a big deal about Pagano (understandably so), but it didn’t look like the Colts were on a mission or especially sharp. They were shut down in the first half and the Pack didn’t show up for the second half. Weird.

  59. P J Evans says:

    He didn’t get called up to the majors until nearly the end of May. So hitting >274 for less than a season – and he had a stretch of 0-for-September in there, for the first month or so – is pretty good.

  60. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: What’s wrong with that? The more Manning lemon-sucking face, the better, IMO.

    Also expecting a Brandon Lloyd break out.

  61. Peterr says:

    Meanwhile, the Chiefs continue having trouble buying a TD.

    Ryan Succop, OTOH, is having a good year as a placekicker. Of course, him kicking five FGs vs the Aints does not speak well of the rest of the offense, and him putting all the points on the board today only drives the point home even harder.

    You’d kind of like to see the offense put the ball into the endzone, rather than kick the ball past it.

  62. bmaz says:

    @scribe: Polo Grounds??? You ever been to Candlestick Park?

    Never been a more wind unfriendly joint than the Stick for a right hand hitter.

    Not to mention, of course, that Mays missed pretty much all of 52-53 to the Army.

  63. bmaz says:

    So, who called the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals having the second best record in the league after five weeks?

    No, John in Sacramento (or T) I do not believe you!

  64. bmaz says:

    I am a gonna say…….

    I LOVE all those who stand in and be counted in Trash Talk.

    It doesn’t matter what you yammer about. Even if it is not sports. This is a community and Trash is a free for all; let rip. Always.

    Thank You.

  65. bmaz says:

    Where are all you Triple Crown royalty?? Hmmmmm??

    Cause the tigers just went up 2-0 on the As.

    And the Natinals WIN!

  66. scribe says:

    @bmaz: Heh. Yankees win, 7-2.

    A good day all around for scribe as my picks – Stillers, Yankees, Tigers and Nats – win.

  67. JohnT says:


    Knew it all the time! I’m shocked, shocked that anyone dares deny the power of the Sons of Thor. As we march onward on the fields of battle, we shall lay waste to those warriors who deny us our proper place, on our way to the ultimate battle * hyperbole/

    Honestly, I’d thought they’d be around .500 hoping for 9-7. And they really weren’t as bad as they looked last year. The big reason for that, was Donavan McNabb completely falling apart

    McNabb also played a big role in the team setting an NFL record by blowing double-digit leads in their first three ball games of the year. How? Well, McNabb was unable to keep the team on the field in the second half. Five minutes into the third quarter of the season opener, McNabb converted a third down with his legs. Following that. . .

    -The Vikings didn’t convert a third down in the rest of the second half against San Diego, and lost 24-17.
    -The Vikings didn’t convert a third down in the second half in the game against Tampa Bay, and lost 24-20.
    -The Vikings didn’t convert a third down in the second half in the game against Detroit, and lost 26-23 in overtime.
    -The Vikings didn’t convert a third down in the second half in the game against Kansas City, and lost 19-14. (Yes, there was a fourth down conversion in the fourth quarter. . .but you don’t get to fourth down without failing on third down.)

    * Another sign of the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse? ;-)

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