Friday September 17, 2004
Twins Sweep/Crush White Sox
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
Happy Friday everyone! Finally, huh?
Today, I am just going to make some random thoughts on a few issues, from the Twins to some comments on my NHL Lockout thoughts from yesterday. From baseball topics to the NBA. Oh, and of course, our NFL "Expert" Pick-makers are back again to tell you who you should pick in this week's NFL games. So enjoy, and as always, be sure to e-mail me with any questions, comments, concerns or ideas. And, have a great weekend!
Twins Sweep Sox!
That was fun, huh? As our friend Mark Buehrle and other members of the White Sox roster have to admit finally now, it is over. The AL Central is all but rapped up. But as least the South Siders came in and gave our beloved Twins a solid effort. Uh, yeah right! Final Combined score of the Twins three-game sweep? 26-5. Nice work!
THE FINAL NAIL
You know it's over and the White Sox had given up by one thing from last night's game. Kyle Lohse was able to hold them to just one run on four hits in his seven innings of work last night. Ouch! That has to hurt the morale of the White Sox (that is, if they had any left). Lohse has been terrible, and even he was able to make the Sox hitters look bad!
I frequently talk about how the top five hitters in the Twins lineup are strong, but after that, it can be weak. Having Michael Cuddyer in the lineup daily certainly helps, no doubt. But last night, the bottom four in the Twins lineup (Guzman, Cuddyer, Ojeda and Borders) combined to go 9-14 with 6 runs and 6 RBI. That's some pretty good production!
CUDDYER - Michael Cuddyer has given the Minnesota Twins far more than they could have ever asked for this year. They said he was going to be a super utility player and play some in left field, right field, 3B, 2B, 1B and DH. Well, when people were healthy, Cuddyer would play once or twice a week. However, there have been a number of injuries in the Twins infield that have really given Cuddyer a lot of playing time. I think he has been the starting third baseman three times when Corey Koskie was sidelined. Luis Rivas has missed a lot of time, moving Cuddyer to 2B. I really don't think that an average baseball fan really understands just how difficult it is to do what he has done. Do you know how differently the ball comes to you at 3B from 2B, or from LF to RF? It is like night and day. So, no, Michael Cuddyer should not be considered the Twins Most Valuable Player this year. However, he provides a LOT of value to the team. And the fact that in his last five games he is hitting .500 and has raised his batting average from .246 to .258 helps too. And the fact that despite a similar batting average to Luis Rivas, Michael Cuddyer has greater on-base percentage and Slugging percentages. Yes, I am still saying he should be the Twins every day second baseman next year (OK, this year too!).
The Twins are now going to host the Baltimore Orioles for three games at Metrodome. Here are the pitching matchups for the series:
Friday - 7:10 - Terry Mulholland (5-8, 5.04, 1.60, .328) vs Sidney Ponson (10-14, 5.31, 1.54, .304)
Saturday - 1:05 - Brad Radke (11-7, 3.43, 1.14, .268) vs Daniel Cabrera (11-7, 4.58, 1.55, .254)
Sunday - 1:10 - Johan Santana (18-6, 2.76, 0.92, .193) vs Bruce Chen (1-0, 1.73, 1.15, .204)
The O's get Radke and Santana. Lucky them! The Twins get Sidney Ponson, who is not good, but has at least been decent of late. Should be a fun series and, who knows, the team may be able to clinch at home this weekend, so be sure to head to the games if you can!
THE STANDINGS (as if they're even relevant at this point!)
Here are the current AL Central standings though last night's games:
Minnesota Twins 85-60
Chicago White Sox 72-73 13.5
Cleveland Indians 71-75 15.0
Detroit Tigers 66-79 19.0
Kansas City Royals 52-93 33.0
Any thoughts on the Twins? E-mail me.
BONDS, BARRY BONDS
Barry Bonds went to Miller Park in Milwaukee the last three days sitting on 699 career home runs. Yesterday, he was 3-3 with a double and a walk, but no home run. By not hitting a home run, he will now head back to San Francisco to face the San Diego Padres with an opportunity to hit #700 in front of the home crowd, which is obviously a good thing too. Is it just me, or is Bonds quest toward 700 home runs getting the attention it deserves? BALCO, steroids, whatever, the sheer number is no less remarkable! Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) are the only other players with 700 home runs in their careers. That should be the talk of the baseball world.
But no, Ichiro's quest to break George Sisler's single-season hits record is getting just as much ink. The Yankees/Red Sox series is getting all the press. I think it's about time Mr. Bonds starts getting some of the credit he deserves.
ANOTHER WOLVES RUMOR
If you're a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, you have to be growing tired of a couple of things. First, how many Wally Szczerbiak trade rumors can we take!? He's been rumored to be heading so many places, he's had to hire his own travel agent (note - not really). Also, Jason Kidd might become a Timberwolf. In the most recent trade rumors that are coming from the New York/New Jersey area, the Minnesota Timberwolves would trade Sam Cassell and Ervin Johnson to the Nets and Wally Szczerbiak to the Knicks. The Wolves would receive Kidd from the Nets and Kurt Thomas from the Knicks.
On the surface, this proposal could go either way, could favor either team. My opinion is this: Sam Cassell could never play as well as he did last year for the Wolves. Trade him now when his value is this high! Ervin Johnson came up huge in the playoffs for the Wolves and by all accounts is an incredible human being, but if he can be traded for some talent, by all means, you do it. Wally Szczerbiak is one of very few NBA players who can actually shoot, so he is a very valuable commodity. Kurt Thomas provides a team with a very physical presence inside. Undersized, he just knows how to get the job done underneath. And finally, when Jason Kidd is healthy, he is the best point guard in basketball. However, he is coming off of knee surgery and probably would not be able to play for 4-6 weeks into the regular season. But, the Wolves did resign point guard Troy Hudson. And, assuming he's healthy, the Wolves would still have a very solid point guard to lead the team. Imagine Jason Kidd bringing the ball down court on a fast break. He's got Latrell Sprewell running one lane and Kevin Garnett running the other. That could be fun, and for a lot of years. Defensively, this trade is a vast improvement for the Wolves. Cassell actually did try on defense some last season, but he's just not good. Jason Kidd is a first team All-Defense Team guy (as is Kevin Garnett). Trading Wally opens up the 2-guard spot for Trenton Hassell and I think we all learned last year that he should be considered one of the best defensive players in basketball. I guess if the Wolves training staff and doctors feel that Kidd's knee will be back to 100% following surgery, I would absolutely OK the deal.
NHL LOCKOUT THOUGHTS
Yesterday, I wrote an article on the NHL Owners locking out the players. I received a few really great responses that I would like to share.
From Kirk Beller
here's one reason i side with the owners a bit:
there is no way for a group of good owners that believe in following budgets (the natural salary cap the players talk about) to keep rogue owners from driving up the salaries of the players by handing out ridiculously out-of-scale with the rest of the league contracts. if they form an owners' union to discuss how they're going to limit player salaries, then they're guilty of collusion. it puts the budget conscious owner at a disadvantage, and that's how we get to the spot we're at now.
my biggest complaint with the players is that just like in every other league, they're not protecting the average guy or the role player out there. they're concerned about protecting the right of the superstar player to make a ridiculous amount of money, rather than about making sure that the regular guy in the league makes a nice living because he's one of the 600 most elite players in the world. i think the union is letting those guys down.
you know what really pisses me off about the whole thing? the fact that both sides have been saving up money for the past 5 years for this big fight. i mean, you couldn't have taken that time to solve the problem, right? it's disgusting.
your league sounds awesome. i'm going to hit at least two games in both Winnipeg and St. Paul. Seth for commissioner.
From Neil Hoefs
Good discussion on the NHL today. In reading that, it made me realize something. Why would Bochenski and Parise enter the NHL this past year knowing all this? How do you feel about that and the many others who leave their college educations behind? Bochenski has/had only his senior year left. Parise has two years left but the money makes sense as well.
If there is no NHL season…do they (and others) go back to their schooling? What about their signing bonuses, contracts, etc. Does the teams involved still honor the contracts at all?
Is it even possible to go back to playing amateur hockey after making the leap to being professional? (even if they haven’t played at that level yet).
I wondered the same thing. Why would Brandon Bochenskie and Zach Parise leave UND. Why would Keith Ballard and Thomas Vanek leave the Gophers? Knowing there would probably not be an NHL season, why would they do that?
But then it hit me and it totally makes sense. Think about it; when this “work stoppage” ends, it is very likely that the economic situation in the NHL will be completely different. Those guys were all able to get signing bonuses of $1 million or more. They get that money just for signing their names. That is owed to them. No, they don’t get paid their contracts at all during a lockout, but I think they can live off of their signing bonus.
Had they waited until next year to sign, 1.) there still may not be hockey one year from now or 2.) the economics could be so different that the league may cap the amount signing bonuses can be, so they wouldn’t be able to sign for as much. Look at the NBA. When they came back from their work stoppage, there was a salary cap and also a cap on rookie contracts.
As far as what they’ll do now? I’m not really sure. I don’t know if there will be minor league seasons. If there are, they would be playing in that. If not, they can go to classes if they want. They can work out and skate.
But let’s be honest, these guys are D1 hockey players. What are the odds they were going to class real frequently anyway? And even if they were, they wouldn’t graduate in four years anyway. That’s what people don’t understand. You can buy a lot of education for a million dollars! They can finish their classes whenever they want. So, education is no reason to turn down a million dollar signing bonus.
Hockey eligibility rules are obviously different than the other sports when it comes to the NCAA. However, once a player accepts money from an agent, much less signs a professional contract, they are no longer eligible to participate in college athletics. For the perfect example of that, look at USC’s WR Mike Williams.
From John Hull
unfair, value is what the market will bear. In this case the owners have
decided that they don't want to pay the players as much money the
players want to be paid. Since the owners must either deal with the
players union (or break it) they want to set rules for an entire group
of employees (we tend to forget that the players are employees) not just
a hand full of players. At some point the players and owners will come
up with a formula of some that will at least get the business going
As for the economics of professional sports in general it sucks. I have never paid to watch a Vikings game because it is simply to much money to pay for the enjoyment received. I might be out the loop but I expect my family of 3 would have to shell out between 3 to 400 dollars for decent seats, 4 or 5 beers, or couple of pops (can't forget the boy), a few hotdogs, and so on. Even when given Wild tickets we have never managed to drop less than $75. My wife and I were lucky enough to be invited to a few Timberwolf games. We got to sit in a company paid for suite and didn't have to pay for anything but parking. We had a great time but I wouldn't pay more than $75 for the experience. The family can attend a Twins game on a package that includes pop and a hotdog for about $45. I usually have a couple beers and we drop another $15 or so on other concessions but we can do it for less than $75 including parking. On the other hand it cost us about $60 to go to a movie.
I realize that fielding a professional sports team is a very expensive proposition and my family really enjoys our local teams but to actually attend any of the games on a regular basis is simply out of the question for us. We are very fortunate to be able to attend as many as we do.
That said I don't understand why people begrudge the owners of these teams any kind of profit. They don't seem to get upset when players sign 3 year contracts for more money than an average fan will earn in an entire lifetime. Any company needs to bring in more than it spends or it goes belly up. Bankruptcies do occur. USAir just last week, a hand full of Pro hockey teams, lots of small businesses, and don't forget all the personal filings each day.
Every team has a limited amount of money it can produce. This pot must be split up between the owner, the front office, the on field support personnel, player development, and the players. The pie is only so big. The players always want more because they are the game. The problem is that without all the other people the players wouldn't have a place to play.
Bottom line is that the hockey situation will at some point something get figured out. That will get the games going again without everybody going broke. If they lose their fans in the meantime the NHL will no longer exist as we know it.
The only reason I started attending Twins games again was because my son really wanted to go when he was 6.
OK, Joey was absolutely hilarious again! I really am enjoying it through two episodes. I think they are doing a good job of keeping the Joey character like Joey. But I think they are adding character and new and fun plot lines. It is also interesting to see where there might be new stories coming. Will & Grace was alright. I just haven't enjoyed that show the last few years. Last night's episode was almost too serious for me. I taped Survivor and The Apprentice 2, so I will have to watch them over the weekend. Any other new shows I should be watching? Maybe shows that I should steer clear of? E-mail me.
The Vikings actually don't play until Monday night in Philadelphia against the Eagles. So, I'll withhold my predictions until then.
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
Last week, Jeremy Kovash led the way with a 13-3 record. Missy and I were not so impressive but hope to make positive strides this week (and we need some help from the Vikings, as we were the only ones who chose our home town team). Here are our picks.
|Seth Stohs||Melissa Olson||Ben Jacobs||Aaron Gleeman||John Bonnes||Ryan Maus|
|SethSpeaks.net||SethSpeaks.net||Hardball Times||Aaron's BB Blog||Twins Geek||Twins Chatter|
|San Francisco @ New Orleans||Saints||49ers||Saints||Saints||49ers||Saints|
|Washington @ NY Giants||Redskins||Giants||Redskins||Redskins||Redskins||Giants|
|Denver @ Jacksonville||Broncos||Broncos||Broncos||Broncos||Broncos||Jaguars|
|Pittsburgh @ Baltimore||Ravens||Steelers||Ravens||Ravens||Steelers||Ravens|
|St. Louis @ Atlanta||Rams||Falcons||Rams||Falcons||Rams||Rams|
|Houston @ Detroit||Lions||Lions||Texans||Lions||Lions||Texans|
|Chicago @ Green Bay||Packers||Packers||Packers||Packers||Packers||Packers|
|Indianapolis @ Tennessee||Colts||Colts||Titans||Colts||Titans||Colts|
|Carolina @ Kansas City||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Panthers|
|Seattle @ Tampa Bay||Seahawks||Seahawks||Seahawks||Buccs||Seahawks||Seahawks|
|Cleveland @ Dallas||Cowboys||Browns||Browns||Cowboys||Cowboys||Cowboys|
|Buffalo @ Oakland||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders||Bills|
|New England @ Arizona||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots|
|NY Jets @ San Diego||Jets||Jets||Jets||Jets||Chargers||Chargers|
|Miami @ Cincinnati||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals|
|Minnesota @ Eagles||Vikings||Vikings||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles|
|Michael Labuda||David Bergner||David Bloom||Vic Quick||Mike Brasel||Jeremy Kovash|
|ChiSox Daily||Baseball Savant||Ya Gotta Believe||KDUH-Sports||Fantasy FB Guru||Wolf Lake Mgr|
|San Francisco @ New Orleans||Saints||Saints||Saints||Saints||Saints||Saints|
|Washington @ NY Giants||Redskins||Redskins||Redskins||Redskins||Redskins||Redskins|
|Denver @ Jacksonville||Jaguars||Broncos||Broncos||Broncos||Jaguars||Broncos|
|Pittsburgh @ Baltimore||Ravens||Ravens||Steelers||Ravens||Ravens||Ravens|
|St. Louis @ Atlanta||Falcons||Rams||Rams||Falcons||Falcons||Rams|
|Houston @ Detroit||Texans||Lions||Lions||Lions||Lions||Texans|
|Chicago @ Green Bay||Packers||Packers||Packers||Packers||Packers||Packers|
|Indianapolis @ Tennessee||Colts||Colts||Colts||Titans||Colts||Colts|
|Carolina @ Kansas City||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs|
|Seattle @ Tampa Bay||Buccs||Seahawks||Seahawks||Buccs||Seahawks||Seahawks|
|Cleveland @ Dallas||Cowboys||Cowboys||Browns||Cowboys||Cowboys||Browns|
|Buffalo @ Oakland||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders|
|New England @ Arizona||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots||Patriots|
|NY Jets @ San Diego||Jets||Jets||Jets||Jets||Jets||Chargers|
|Miami @ Cincinnati||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals||Bengals||Dolphins|
|Minnesota @ Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles||Eagles|
San Francisco @ New Orleans – Saints 10-2
Washington @ NY Giants – Redskins 10-2
Denver @ Jacksonville – Broncos 9-3
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore – Ravens 9-3
St. Louis @ Atlanta – Rams 7-5
Houston @ Detroit – Lions 8-4
Chicago @ Green Bay – Packers 12-0
Indianapolis @ Tennessee – Colts 9-3
Carolina @ Kansas City – Chiefs 11-1
Seattle @ Tampa Bay – Seahawks 9-3
Cleveland @ Dallas – Cowboys 8-4
Buffalo @ Oakland – Raiders 11-1
New England @ Arizona – Patriots 12-0
NY Jets @ San Diego – Jets 9-3
Miami @ Cincinnati – Bengals 11-1
Minnesota @ Philadelphia – Eagles 10-2
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