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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fog out slug West Farm Foods

AP - Magnolia, WA

The Fog out slugged West Farm Foods 1-0 to run their record to 3-1. Due to WWF only having 5 players show, they had to forfeit.

This forfeiture overshadowed the return of Joe. Sporting a deep bronze tan after spending his honeymoon in Greece, Joe was ready to return to the diamond and make his 2005 Fog debut. It will now have to wait until next game, Friday, July 8th at 7:30 vs. Average Athletes on Mag 3.

There is no truth to the rumor that Boyd is missing the game to intern at Oprah.

Congrats to the Fedderns, Cade Edward was born earlier this week.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sonics High on Petro

The rumor around Sonic Land is that Howard Shultz is a big fan of the Lord of the Rings Triology and that the selection of Johan Petro in the late first round was merely the result of howard's inspired devotion to the Twin Towers motif.

Actually, what impressed Sonic coaches most during workouts was Petro's enormous head. Born with two basketballs stuck to the sides of his head, Petro's ability to draw fouls down low by swinging his head like an angry bull was hard to pass up. Big man coach, Jack Sikma, believes his ability to get to the charity stripe will help the Sup's take that next big step. Now if they could only figure out the secret formula for flubber.

More info on Petro as it comes in. Stay tuned!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

From Portland with Love

Basking in the sunshine behind the Olympic Hotel in Centralia, my friend Peter and I were enjoying a good meal and some uncommonly fine service when the topic of Zoomstick came up.

"I'd like you to join Team Zoomstick," Peter said. "You could provide the Portland perspective that we're looking for."

I almost dropped my club sandwich into my clam chowder. Trying hard not to look like a 4 year old at Christmas, I kept my poker face and continued to listen to his proposition. "The pay is good and the benefits are even better," he continued. "Full medical, dental, vision, retirement, and a car are part of the package. And you get two weeks a year at the condo in Hawaii."

"Which island?" I inquired, eybrows raised.

"Maui. And of course we'll provide you with Blazers ticke..."

"Wait a minute," I interrupted. "Blazers? Could you hook me up with a suite at Safeco instead? Or Husky football season tickets?"

"We need you to write from a Portland perspective."

"Oh...right. Sure, I get it..."

Needless to say, the rest is history. I'll be covering the Portland beat for Zoomstick, which I imagine means, among other things, making fun of the Blazers and Ducks and stuff like that.

See you in the lineup.
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Monday, June 27, 2005

Baseball World Cup

Baseball made news this past spring when the announced tentative plans to hold a 16 team World Cup of Baseball tournament in 2006. The tournament was to take place prior to the start of the Major League Baseball season, comprised of teams from Japan, US, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, Korea and etc. Some of these teams would be stacked!

MLB has been adamant of having this tournament take place prior to the season, while Japan, would like for it to take place following the regular season. While the US is far from being the favorite, MLB is taking a my way or the highway approach. With a June 30 deadline rapidly approaching, Bobby Valentine, the manager of the Lotte Marines, is not convinced Japan should participate.

I think that a Baseball World Cup would be awesome, I think that holding it in the spring isn't a good idea, nor do I think that holding it in the late fall is grand either. I think that NPB, MLB and the rest of the world, need to take a page from FIFA and how they run the world cup. Make it special, make it unique and most importantly, make it the only show in town. Take a three week break in the middle of the season and hold the tournament. Hold it every two years and rotate the hosting country(s).

I agree with Valentine that the champion from Japan should take on the champion from the US, but that should be a separate event.
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Saturday, June 25, 2005

46 Years Ago Today

June 25, 1959, the Emperor of Japan attended a baseball game between the Tigers and Giants

It was a very different time and as you read the stories you can gain an appreciation of the nationalism of Japan, it's attitudes toward the Emperor and baseball

Story 1

Story 2

Story 3

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Nolte and the Fog were unstoppable

AP - Queen Anne, WA (Revised, information missed)

A half hour before the game, home plate and the pitching rubber were under water. Normally, these conditions warrant concern for a game to be called due to field conditions, and calling the game would have been in the best interest for Get Local Yokels. They should have known then that Nolte came to play. After getting warmed up, Nolte traded his glove for a shovel and rake and immediately took charge of the field attendants and had the field in playing condition with minutes to spare. Maybe it was the feeling of the rake or the mud under his finger nails, but Nolte approached the game as though he was 4 deep in a drive thru at Burger King for a bag of rodeo burgers - not to be denied.

Before I get to the game summary, the Fog saw the 2005 season debut of three members, Graeme Hanson, Mike Carlson and Brent Amsbary - Brent being recently added to the 40 man roster, taking the place of Mike Gerlitz.

The Fog were the visiting team in their match up with Get Local Yokels. Boyd lead of the game with a walk, Nolte tripled and it was one to nothing. Graeme singled, Carlson walked, Nate hit into a fielders choice, Dan walked, Peter walked, Brent singled, Dante flew out and Cook walked. One time through the line up, 2 outs and 5 in. Boyd hit into a fielders choice to end the inning. After retiring GLY 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 1st, the Fog played add on in the 2nd, again batting around, this time dropping a 10 spot on GLY. After another uneventful bottom half of the inning, through 2 it was Fog 15, GLY 0.

Nolte's second and third at bats, both occurring in the 2nd inning, saw him book a single and double - El Norte, as he is known to his fan club, was now missing the home run to complete his cycle.

The third saw the Fog fail to bat around, instead sending up only 9 batters, scoring another 5 and Nolte hitting another single. Failure to bat around can be laid at the feet of the 3-4-5 batters and they made consecutive outs after the team opened the inning with the first 6 reaching base safely, thanks guys.

Somewhere in the middle innings GLY got a run back, so heading into the 4th it was Fog 20, GLY 1. Oddly enough GLY never once bothered to change their pitcher, though he was working on a Ryan Franklin like performance, 24 hits and 12 walks. The 4th saw the Fog retire on 4 batters, though they made up for it in the 5th by padding their lead to 27 by scoring 7 more.

The fifth also provided Nolte with the opportunity to bat one more time, and he didn't disappoint the large Fog crowd (Jen Nolte, Heather Carlson, Sophia Carlson and Boyd's date) by sending a shot deep over the outfield. As those on the bench rose to their feet wondering if it would be his 2nd triple or could it be the missing piece for the cycle. While it seemed like a few moments for Nolte to go from first to third, when he reached third, Dante had the windmill in full force, sending him on his way. As the relay made it's way in, Nolte was on a collision course with the plate, catcher and throw. As the ball arrived at home, Nolte slide/fell forward and touched the plate just before the tag. What a capper for his day, 5 for 5 and hitting for the cycle. Immediately, Coach Watson received a call for the HOF requesting a copy of the score card signed by Norte for display next to Ichiro's 266th hit.

GLY added a couple more and the official score given to the league was Fog 27 GLY 5. (Rally Kitty - the Fog WON)

Highlights, Lowlights and otherwise:
For the second time this year, the Fog threw out a runner at home. A shot was hit to left center, the outfield executed a perfect relay to Cook, who threw a little up the first base line for FOG HOF catcher, Steve Boyd. Boyd, already playing with a lame leg, fielded the throw and lunged back to the plate just in time to apply the tag. Even after the out was called, many on the Fog assumed he had been called safe and were surprised when the 3rd out was recorded that inning, not knowing Boyd had gotten the call.

Seems the Fog have some language barriers as the outfield failed to communicate on two routine flies, both time allowing them to drop within feet of two outfielders. Coach Watson will have interpreters follow the outfielders onto the field so assist in their communications for future games.

Given the condition of the field, it is amazing that only Boyd sustained any physical damage. Boyd is day to day with a strained quad. Home plate was so muddy it was like playing in marshmallow spread.

Updated stats are attached, again if you notice an error, please email me

Next Game: Wednesday, June 29 6:15 on Mag 4 vs West Farm Foods - the return of Joe

The Fog 2005 Regular Season Stats
Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SF GIDP AVG Total Bases Slugging Percentage On-base Percentage OPS
Eric Nolte 14 7 9 1 2 1 9 1

0.643 17 1.214 0.667 1.881
Nate Watson 14 6 8 2


0.571 10 0.714 0.571 1.286
Steve Boyd 13 4 6 3

3 1 1
2 0.462 9 0.692 0.500 1.192
Dan Houser 11 5 7
7 1
0.636 9 0.818 0.615 1.434
Peter Watson 10 6 8 2 1
5 3

1 0.800 12 1.200 0.846 2.046
Dante Gouge 9 3 4


0.444 4 0.444 0.444 0.889
James Owen 8 0 2


0.250 2 0.250 0.250 0.500
Kris Browne 8 1 4 1


0.500 5 0.625 0.500 1.125
Matt Cook 8 6 4

0 4

0.500 4 0.500 0.667 1.167
Craig Weaver 7 3 3


0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857
Curtis Feddern 7 3 3


0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857
Brent Amsbary 5 1 3

0.600 5 1.000 0.600 1.600
Graeme Hanson 3 4 3
1 1 5 1

1.000 8 2.667 1.000 3.667
Mike Carlson 4 1 1

1 1

0.250 1 0.250 0.400 0.650
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Even Better Than the Real Thing

Michael Morse is making the most of his time in Seattle. Not only is his average through the roof (.379/.455/.485), but he's getting key hits and playing solid defense up the middle. What's even more impressive is that the young shortstop's play has seemingly come right out of left field, exceeding all expectations, and just plain making fans go "Wow!". Only time will tell if he's for real. But for now...

...Morse is even better than the real thing. It's time he was given a nickname, and what better place to explore potential names than on the TFF List.

Here are my top five nicknames for new Mariner shortstop Michael Morse:
  1. Morse the Horse
  2. Morsey
  3. A-PIMP (Andy Pettitte is my Papa)
  4. The Anti-Alex Rodriguez
  5. Little Dog
Think my names might be lacking in creativity? Think you could come up with something better? Chime in and add your two cents, this is your opportunity!
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FNBA Playoff Standings

After Thursday night's game, here is the final standings:
  1. Peter: 3464
  2. Shari: 3229
  3. Erik: 3177
  4. Larry: 3167
  5. Mike: 3095
  6. Max: 3082
  7. Nathan: 3046
  8. Stefan: 3025
  9. Josh: 2923
  10. Demico: 2892
  11. Minako: 2801
  12. Jack: 2650
  13. Dallas: 2498
  14. Ryan: 2436
  15. Judy: 1532

Game Over! Spurs win. I win. Shari comes in second. Larry almost catches Erik for third. Mike takes over the fifth spot and the rest is history. Thanks everybody for playing, it was fun.

If you want the spread sheet that I'm using to keep track of the points, just email me and I'll send it to you. Otherwise, you can just check back as I will be updating this page every morning.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

US vs Italy

Updated: US lost 3-1 to Italy in a match that was a tale of two halves. The US took more initiative in the first half, resulting in a PK and a 1-0 lead. The Italians were more aggressive to start the second stanza, and the US has not been able to match the effort. Italy scored two quick goes in the second half 55 and 63 before receving an own goal by the US at 76. See below for commentary

I'll make posts throughout the match or you can follow the match using the matchtracker here

9:26 GOOOOAAAALLLLL - Hunter Freeman puts the US up 1-nil on a penalty kick

9:31 End of the first half. US needs tighten its defense on Graziano Pelle who has 4 shots
Curt Onalfo commentary "Overall, I think it was a very good half for the US offensively. They created a number of scoring opportunities and obviously got the goal on the PK. Having said that, I think that Freddy Adu can be a difference in this game if he can get into situations where he is isolated against defenders. The defense was too tentative in how they dealt with Pelle. They need to come out in the second half with the right mentality. The Italians are going to send numbers forward, and the game should open up. When the US gets counterattacking opportunities, they have to get a goal and put this game out of reach"
9:38 Note this is a loser out match, so you can count on the Italians playing for their lives

9:40 Second half resumes, Italy subs defenders, Aquilanti for Battaglia

9:45 Free kick blocked by US wall!

9:50 Italy goal by Daniele Galloppa ends the US scoreless streak at 324 minutes

9:52 Yellow card on Marzoratti of Italy

9:58 Italy goal by Pelle

9:59 US now trails for the first time in the WYC, they need to mount an offensive charge

10:00 Italy has out shot the US 10-6, gotta shot to score

10:01 US subs Kljestan for Dalby

10:06 Eddie Gaven takes the first shot of the half for the US, approx 20 minues remain

10:10 Own goal on the US - Kljestan

10:12 US subs Peterson for Freeman - offense for defense as the US has dug a big hole

Curt Onalfo commentary "The Italian goalkeeper has made the type of saves that helps teams win championships. With the stop on Gaven in the first half and the save on Ochoa, he has certainly done his part"

10:17 Less than 10 minutes remain, free kick taken by Adu

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Preps with Peety

Hi folks, Peety here. Peachy is dead. I killed him...Just kidding. He is really sick though. Has a bad case of the Imsobusyicantpostanythingaboutpreps. So, in his absence I'd like to take a quick moment to update you on one particular prep that might interest Sonic fans!

In roughly 10 days commissioner David Stern will be advancing to the NBA Draft podium to announce the Seattle Superdupersonics pick. The Sonics have the 25th pick in the draft and in case your not interested because you think what good could come of such a late first round pick, pay attention.

Here is the guy that some are projecting the Sonics will take with their pick:

Monta Ellis is a big time scorer with huge upside. He averaged over 40 points last year and in one game went for 72! He's only 6'3'' but is regarded as extremely mentally tough. For more on Monta read here and here.

No doubt about the fact that he is a gamble since he's coming right out of high school and needs to put on some weight. But hey, if this guy is still around at 25 the Sonics would be fools to not take him. It's not like the Sonics need anybody right now to step in and contribute. Picking up a young player with potential is smart. GO SONICS!

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US Wins Group D

With a 1-0 victory over Egypt and Argentina defeating Germany by the same score, the US U-20 MNT clinched first place in Group D with 7 points in the FIFA 2005 World Championship in the Netherlands.

Jacob Peterson headed in Freddy Adu's deflected shot early in the second half for the only goal scored. The victory also gave the US their third straight shutout. The US will play a third place finisher from one of many groups to be determined later this weekend. The match will be June 21.

Number 13 isn't unlucky for Jacob Peterson
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A Tale of Two Pitchers

In Baseball, one of the harder positions to evaluate prior to signing is the Pitcher. The reason is that certain elements that determine whether or not a particular pitcher is effective or not are beyond the pitchers control. For instance, the RS (run support) stat. Pitchers have no control over this. And yet it has much to do with their win/loss ratio which is perceived as a heavy indicator of how valuable they are to their team. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself...

Pitcher J
Pitcher J, as we will refer to him, is 6-2 with a 4.42 ERA. Over the course of the 79 innings he has worked this year he has given up 93 hits and surrendered 39 earned runs. His numbers aren't amazing, but they are considered quite effective.

Pitcher R
Pitcher R, as we will refer to him, is 2-8 with a 4.81 ERA. Over the course of the 76 innings he has worked this year he has given up 73 hits and surrendered 41 earned runs. His numbers aren't amazing and they aren't considered effective.

Outside of their records Pitcher J and Pitcher R have very similar numbers. Both are considered ground ball pitchers relying heavily on their teams defense to back them up. Pitcher J has give up 112 GB and Pitcher R has given up 114. Pitcher R's ERA is slightly higher than Pitcher J, but hardly enough to account for the difference in their records. So what's the big difference between Pitcher J and Pitcher R? Why is one effective and the other not?

The answer: RUN SUPPORT.

With his team giving him 6.47 runs on average per nine innings worked, Pitcher J is near the top of the league (13 out of 105) in RS. Pitcher R, on the other hand, is scrapping the bottom of the league (104 out of 105) in RS. His teammates give him on average per nine innings worked 2.35 runs. The difference between Pitcher J and Pitcher R is 4.12 runs per game. That's a lot.

Here's the kicker, Pitcher J and Pitcher R play for the same team.

So who are Pitcher J and Pitcher R? The answer respectively: Jamie Moyer and Ryan Franklin.

Outside of the giving up 8 more HR's than Jamie Moyer (and the fact that Jamie is 10 years older than Ryan), Ryan Franklin is Jamie Moyer. Their ERA's are very close, they both pitch similar styles of games, they both have very similar make-ups, and they are both free agents at the end of the year. So the question becomes, if things continue as they have and in light of the above, who do the M's resign? Jamie? Ryan? Neither?
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Friday, June 17, 2005

The Beginning of the End

Today the Mariners signaled the beginning of the end for Brett Boone's career in Seattle by calling up Jose Lopez.

Lopez was hitting .280 (through 11 games with Tacoma this year) with 2 bombs and 5 runs batted in. Though his numbers aren't great, they certainly are more promising than what Greg Dobbs has given the club. Dobbs, who the M's sent down to make room for Lopez, was hitting a paltry .196 with 0 bombs and 5 runs batted in. More importantly than freeing themselves of Dobbs, bringing up the heralded second basemen of the future is a subtle way of telling Boone that his days with the M's are numbered.

Since the start of May Boone has struggled mightily. Over the last 6 weeks he's hitting .201 with 2 homers, 14 runs batted in, and 28 strike outs. Also, Boone has left more men on base over this period than I care to think about (.222 with men on base). His offensive woes wouldn't be so much to stomach if his defense were still what it was two years ago. But, alas, it's not. Boone is a good 2 steps slower than he used to be. Hits that he used to snag are getting past him allowing the opposing team more opportunities to get to our pitching.

Hopefully the presence of Lopez can infuse some life into the 2b position. Who knows, maybe he'll pull a Mike Morse on us!
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US vs Egypt (U-20 MNT)

Tomorrow morning the US will take on Egypt at 4:30AM

Quote Sheet for tomorrow's match and the match can be followed live via the internet or watched on Fox's Soccer Channel.

Adu lines up a shot against Germany
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Memo to Rizz

Despite last night's loss, the M's have been playing much better ball as of late. Yessssss. However, as good as the M's may play I still want to pull my ears off when I hear Rick Rizz announcing the game. So, I've decided that Today's TFF list will consist of what I think can be done to improve the quality of Ricky's play-by-play calling.

  1. Bring a kazoo to the broadcast booth and blow in it every time a train passes by Safeco. Afterwards tell the listening audience that you were merely attempting to communicate with your rail-road buddies.
  2. Play the "I got your nose game" with Dave Henderson during slow parts of the game.
  3. Mix it up every few days with a different toupee.
  4. Eat potato chips and slurp Mountain Dew whenever Dave Valle starts talking. When Valle questions you on this, tell him you’re a lean mean announcing machine and if he doesn't like it he can go do Tacoma Rainiers games!
  5. Keep track of unusual stats (like how many times you cut the cheese during a particular broadcast or how many times you've seen Dave Niehaus in his underwear or what percentage of the time you like to sleep on your left side as opposed to your right) and update the listening audience of your keen observations. We want to know!
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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ham Victorious in Teenager's Debut

Nippon Ham Fighter's #1 draft choice, 18 year old Yu Darvish, won his pro debut last night. Darvish went 8 inning, struck out 3, and allowed 2 runs on 9 hits for the decision in the 8-2 victory over the Carp.

Darvish, whose father is Iranian and mother Japanese, signed with the Ham last December for $145,000. Considerably less that the amount first round picks in the MLB draft will sign for. Darvish, in his last high school start, pitched a no-hitter to lead Tohoku High School to the national high school championship in March of 2004.

More recently he was in the news for his behavior off the field, when a tabloid magazine published a photo of the 18 year old smoking a cigarette in a pachinko parlor. It is illegal to smoke before the age of 20 in Japan, being in a gambling facility didn't help. The Ham responded by disciplining their number one pick by putting him under house arrest, allowing him to leave the minor league dorm only to practice.

As you can see, very different than the US and MLB. Much lower signing bonuses, and the smoking incident wouldn't have been an issue in other countries. In Japan, you represent your team and how you carry yourself is a reflection of the team.

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Fog Split Doubleheader

AP - Magnolia, WA

The Fog began defense of their 2004 championship with a double header Monday (6/13). The first game saw them pitted against the Bonghitters, while the nightcap provided an early season grudge match with long time rival Jesters.

Due to injuries, scheduling conflicts and war crimes, the Fog were only 7 strong from their regular roster. Reinforcements were obtained, including 2000 Fog member Kris Browne. Due to scheduling of the KOMO 5pm news, Steve "GLOAT" Boyd and James Owen did not arrive until the second pitch of the first inning. Fortunately, the Fog were the visitors and Nolte can make an at bat last longer than a root canal.

The Fog put a 4 spot on the board in the top of the inning, only to see the Bonghitters answer with 6. After scoring one in the second and three in the third, the Fog bats went quiet and they lost 15-8. Meanwhile they were busy brushing the dust off their gloves from a long off season of championship banquets and public speaking.

On the bright side the Fog threw out their first runner at home and would have had two in the inning had a second thrown not been bobbled by sure handed catcher Boyd. Boyd also began 2005 by setting a Fog record, hitting into double plays in his first two at bats. Being the consummate pro, Boyd shook off the events and focused on the task ahead - Jesters.

The GLOAT (Greatest Leadoff hitter Of All Time) was back in his customary role and proceeded to K in his first at bat as a leadoff hitter in 2005. Following a Nolte ground out, Nate, Dan, James and Peter got the scoring machine back in working order by pushing 2 across in the first. Followed by 5 in the second the Fog wrestled away the lead and held it at 11-5 before the Jesters answered with 4 to trail 12-10 going into the sixth. Jesters pushed across 2 in the top of the sixth to tie it up. In the bottom of the 6th, thinking the umpire had warned that this was the last inning, the Fog appeared to be playing for one run. After 2 consecutive outs, Peter doubled followed by a long single by Dante that scored Peter. Thinking only the one run was needed Dante didn't take second base though he could have made it easily. Cook followed with a single sending Dante to 3rd where he scored on Kris's single. The Fog took a 14-12 lead into the 7th and appeared to have the game one, when with 2 outs, a run in and runners on 1st and 3rd, Jesters hit a seemingly inning ending, game ending grounder to Cook, only to see the ball nutmeg him and allow the tying run to score. With the bases loaded, Nate coaxed a ground ball back to the mound, which he took unassisted to first for the inning ending out.

Knowing that this was the last 3 outs of the game on account of time/darkness, the Fog made quick work of the Jesters. Craig lead off with his 3rd hit of the game, Boyd followed with his 4th consecutive hit of the game to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Nolte then lined out to the pitcher and unleashed more colorful words in sequence that could be imagined. Nate set to redeem himself, having lined out to the pitcher with the bases loaded to end the 5th inning. Nate send the first pitch on a line, bisecting the right and right center fielder, easily scoring Craig from second with the game winning, game ending single. A walk of single if you will.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Full Court, Five on Five?

When was the last time a major sporting event produced advertising worthy of getting the viewer excited for the real product?
Bill Murray for the NBA finals in the mid-90s? Most of you probably didn't see Nike's Secret Tournament for the 2002 World Cup. It was priceless, and here it is. For more about the players involved and the infamous ref, see here.

Other Nike Productions:

Good vs Evil
Brazil Airport
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

US and Germany Draw

Today the US and Germany battled to a draw, 0-0 or nil to nil as they say in soccer speak.
US and Germany sit atop their group with 4 points. The Yanks take on Egypt on Saturday morning, 4AM Pacific, while Germany takes on Argentina. Argentina in earlier action defeated Egypt 2-0, Egypt lost by the same score to Germany.

Here is more background on the 2005 WYC and the US team.

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Just What the World Feared

To say that the world enjoyed seeing the US struggle on soccer’s global stage is an understatement. For some, it probably validates what they think of the US. For others, it is a matter of pride, for soccer is the worlds #1 sport.

So the US made a little run in the ’94 cup, including a minor upset of Columbia, but the ’98 cup restored the worlds faith. As I discussed, the ’02 cup changed the balance of power, possibly forever. We have a men’s national team crushing opponents, Costa Rica 3-0 and Panama 3-0; their ticket for Germany all but guaranteed.

Josh touched on it yesterday with mention of the Men’s victory over Argentina in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands. The rejuvenation of US soccer is being felt through all levels. Like the World Cup, the World Youth Championship pits national teams against each other, with the players having been born after January 1, 1985. These players are the future faces of World Cup teams.

The US upset heavily-favored Argentina 1-0. Today they face another tough opponent when they square off against Germany. This is just what the World Feared; the US would succeed at soccer.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

Early Draft Entrants

In taking a recent look at the MLB draft and seeing that the number 1 pick was a HS shortstop from Virginia, I got thinking about why the subject of high schoolers entering the MLB draft is never discussed but those who enter the NBA draft is such a highly debated topic. So I turned to our friend Peachy for his thought. Peachy . . .

Hello chaps, how are we doing today? It has been a bloody long time since I sat down to write - no excuses just taken me a spell to get back. Now some might say I was hiding away in a shanty, sucking down some amber nectar, listening to some old Rolling Stones records (I do love the Stones), but no I just went AWOL. So without any more wind up, lets take a look at this bloody draft idea.

I have several ideas when it comes to the subject of early entrants into drafts.

First off, why does everyone get so miffed at the idea of a young bloke getting a start on their desired profession so early. When a young chap decides not to attend university to get a job as a mechanic, no one gives a cack. In America if a man decides to serve in the military at a young age and avoid further schooling, we may not like the idea of sending a youngster into battle but we applaud him for "serving his country". So why should we care about early entrants into the draft? Who cares if a young man wants to begin the profession of his career early? I know that many MLB teams actually will put into a young players contract money that is set aside strictly for school. Almost like a GI bill or something - work for us and then when you are done we will pay for school. The reverse of this view would say though that too many young chaps entering the sports world early lessens the maturity of the league and weakens the collegiate ranks. Is this true? Can such great talent getting started early really makes things worse?

Secondly, some people are not just made out to go to school. Some people just take more time to figure out what they want to do in life. So if you have the talent to play sports early and still think about your future - why don't you do it?

Finally, some people need the money early for the sake of their own family. Some of these young men need the money to help their parents out and their extended family out.

But is going pro early really a good thing? Can it really be the best for someone as young as 17 and 18 years old? Tune in next week to find out more on my thoughts on this matter.
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Sunday, June 12, 2005

FIFA, Rankings and US Recent Cup History

FIFA is the Fédération Iternationale de Football Association which is the official French name for the International Football Federation Association. FIFA is the offical governing body for soccer (football) worldwide. FIFA maintains World Rankings of senior national teams, a tool used to compare teams based on their prior 8 year performance in various matches. Below I will quickly recap the US's performance at the last two Cups.

Leading up to the last world cup, USA entered 2002 ranked 24th in the world. Long considered an after thought on the world stage, and given their performance in the 1998 World Cup in France, their ranking was justified. In 1998 the USA failed to score a goal in all three games, finishing last out of the 32 teams.

While the 2002 team was better than the '98 squad, they still had to rally to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea. Considered a long shot to advance from their group, they Yanks shocked the world by defeating heavily favored Portugal 3-2. Following a tie to Korea and a 3-1 loss to Poland, the US were on the verge of failing to move on, until Korea defeated Portugal 1-0. Korea's victory enabled the US to move on to the round of 16 were they faced their bitter rival, Mexico. The US continued their unexpected run in the '02 cup by defeating Mexico 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals vs Germany. The US met their match against the Germans, losing 1-0. Dispite the loss, the US put the world on notice that they were going to be a force in future cups. Germany went on to reach the finals, where they lost to Brazil.

Concluding their run at the 'o2 cup, the US entered the top ten for the first time, moving into a 9th place tie with Italy. Today, the US remains tied for 10th with Italy, and they have all but already qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

John O'Brien scores the first goal in the US's 3-2 victory over Portugal
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Friday, June 10, 2005

NPB Update

Shimizu's near perfecto helped Lotte Marines dominate the Dragons 6-2, moving them a season high 26 games over .500. Shimizu took the perfect game into the 8th when he tired and allowed two runs.

The Marines's victory allowed them to maintain a 3 1/2 game lead over second place SoftBank. The Hawks defeated the Swallows 2-0 behind Julio Zuleta's two run home run in the 6th inning.

Tomoaki Kanemoto's second home run of the game, in the bottom of the 10th, gave the Tigers a "Sayonara" homerun over the Ham Fighters. Kanemoto drove the first pitch he saw in the 10th, a 140km fastball from Yukiya Yokoyama. Kanemoto's sayonara shot made a winner out of Jeff Williams.

Kanemoto says さよなら!
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Achtung Baby

The US returned the Panama Canal, but they still own Panama.

Wednesday night's 3-0 victory all but assures the US of trip to Germany and a spot in the 2006 World Cup. Match Recaps here and here.

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Looking California

Over the last two weeks the M's are 8-3! Not a tremendous stat, but perhaps the start of something good. Since they started looking California shortly after the TFF Feeling Minnesota posting, I've taken full responsibility and have deemed it necessary to continue the trend in order to help the team. I'm a martyr that way (pats himself on the back) a real unselfish sports fan. So, this week I've ranked the top five things that should make M's fans most optimistic about this season:

  1. Grover is a way better nickname than Bo-Mel.
  2. Eddie Guardado is a Saves Machine.
  3. Rafael Soriano is making great progress and should be back sometime after the All Star break.
  4. Tacoma: Snelling (I mean Doyle), Lopez, Choo, and Hernandez are all great prospects.
  5. Watching the development of Reed and Morse is just good clean fun.
M's are playing some good ball right now, could be an interesting Summer after all.
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Thursday, June 09, 2005

I'm Back!!

In liu of the recent banter that has been spilled all over our precious site the past few weeks, it is time for me to make my return!

There are times in our lives that will always be remembered. Your first day of school, your 16th birthday, your first girlfriend and your HS graduation. It is the later that brings with it the most excitement and nervousness. What will I be doing with my life is one of the questions that typically gets bantied about and some of us know and others spend their life trying to figure it out. But for many our our young graduates there is a day of potential hope and excitement. It is the baseball amateur draft. Most of the athletes drafted fall into 1 of 3 categories:
A - at least 3 years at a 4 year college
B - a junior college player
C - a HS senior
For those in category C it can be a great day of fulfilling a life long dream - professional athletics. In this years draft, we had a HS senior go #1. His name is Justin Upton and he is a SS from VA.

While Justin's draft status is never questioned or he never has to declare, it is interesting to note that if a HS athlete such as Martell Webster from Seattle Prep HS wants to declare for the NBA draft, there is a lot of hype and talk about his potential lack of development and his not going to college. Yet year after year, for 50 rounds, hundreds of HS seniors are drafted and sign to play professional baseball. Why don't we seem to have a problem with this you ask, check in with Peachy next week to find out!

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Impeach Peachy?

We've been teased and we've been deceived.

A TFF list was dedicated to his whereabouts, yet it failed illicit a response from Peachy. Following the guidelines set forth in the hand book of zoomstick, we must move forward with an impeachment of Peachy. I for one believe another chance should be offered. Please email here with your suggestions of what can be done to bring back Peachy.

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Meet Jeff Clement

Here are a few points of interest on the player the M's took 3rd overall in yesterday's draft.

Along with providing a thumbnail sketch of Jeff's strengths and weaknesses, at the USS Mariner they are predicting he will make the team as early as 2007.

Clement won't challenge Ichiro in any sprinting contests, but he could potentially hit anywhere from 30-35 home runs.

Loves Seinfeld.

He's not a prima donna.

Time will tell if this guys is the real deal, but for now his upside looks promising and the fact that we won't have to wait long to see him is appealing.
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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gone But Not Forgotten

2004 was a year when nothing went right for the M'’s and many were left questioning each move made by the M's front office. One minor deal that I liked was the acquisition of Jolbert Cabrera from the Dodgers at the very end of spring training. He proved to be very solid at the plate, and displayed great glove work at each infield position.

When the M'’s signed Pokey Reese, once again Cabrera was involved in a minor transaction. This time, it was the Mariners releasing Cabrera so that he could play in Japan. First I think the Mariners deserve credit for allowing Jolbert to play for the highest dollar while receiving nothing. With his new found freedom, Jolbert has found himself playing in Fukuoka for the Softbank Hawks.

Originally brought in to solidify the bench, his bat has forced himself into the starting lineup and while opposing pitchers can't stop him, a toothache can. Thru this past Friday, ホルベルトカブレラ was third in the Pacific League with a .322 average. Why couldn'’t the M'’s have sold Bloomquist to Japan instead of Jolbert?

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Road to Germany

Got a little easier tonight

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Chiba, Costco and a Great Story

It was Thursday, March 31st, the last day of our Japan Rail Pass. We were heading to Chiba, to meet up with our friend Dave Noe and go to Costco. Having obtained what we came for, we headed for the check out. As we waited for the customer in front of us to check out, I thought I recognized him. As I looked on, I realized I did now him and it was Bobby Valentine. I asked my wife if she recognized him and she didn't, I asked Dave and his friend and neither of them did, so I told them, that is the manager of the Lotte Marines.

Since we were next, I headed to the front of our group and made eye contact and said to him in English, congratulations on your victory over Rakuten, and that the score (26-0) was more like a softball game. Maybe it was because I spoke English, but he said it was nice to get their first victory and that Rakuten wasn't a good team - though he failed to acknowledge that the Eagles had beaten the Marines in their inaugural game, the day prior, a game played in Chiba.

Valentine then asked if I lived in Chiba and said that we should come out to the park that weekend as they were playing the Soft Bank Hawks. I told him that I didn't live in Chiba; rather my wife and I were visiting her parents and lived a ways away. Our conversation ended with me asking how often others recognize him and he said that they do, and they nod their head at which time he motioned across the store to someone doing just that, and if he stops, they might come up and ask for a photo - so much for my photo op! But I had something much more, a great story.

The irony to the story is that earlier in our trip, while visiting my wife's relatives, a cousin asked about hobbies, which lead to sports and the fact that I knew a fair amount about NBL. He then asked which was my favorite team, I replied Chiba, because Valentine was the manger.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

Remember the tantalizing promise of being enchanted by the mysteriously unknown world of Preparatory Sports? Remember the curiosity of possibly being entertained by the witty and zany character of Peachy Carenhan? Remember the vast pantheon? Remember the Hype? Remember the Momentum? Remember the Titans...

I for sure do. In fact, I feel a bit teased and testy about his long drawn silence...Like a scorned lover vundering with Mr. David Lee Roth, where have all the good times gone?

Well, In an effort to subdue my rage, Today's TFF list will be directed towards our own Peachy Carenhan and his unknown whereabouts. Here are the top five reasons Peachy is missing:
  1. Forgot who he was.
  2. Fell down a stairwell and broke his spleen.
  3. Preoccupied with watching old re-runs of Wings and Welcome Back Cotter.
  4. Moved to Ferndale, WA where they don't have the internet yet.
  5. Got tired of being Erik's alter-ego and set up shop as his dominant personality.
If you can think of any reason Peachy might be missing please don't hesitate to add your comments. I'm considering offering a small reward for any information regarding his location and status.
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It's About Time...

Check this out...
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