All Garbage Team & All Beast Team
After banging out that last article about baseball, I've got a bit of a fever going, so I'm going to run with it. There are just too many compelling stories going on out there. There are whipping boys, strippers, ejections, Tourrette's Syndrome patients running to third base, and intra-squad brawls. Sounds more like pro wrestling mixed with sado-masochistic porn to me.
Let me also bid adieu to Armando Benitez. This piece of crap individual had it coming to him. Not two days before Sabean shipped him off did I rant about him. I'd like to say I'm a bit of a prophet, but we could all see the writing on the wall. I've been a Giants fan all my life, and I can say with confidence that he is the most hated Giant in 22 years at least-- perhaps of all time. I mean, we all really disliked him, and most of us hated him with a raw passion that we haven't exhibited since the Warriors-Mavericks series. Brian Sabean referred to him as a "whipping boy." Well, maybe so.
Even Benitez himself may have been right when he said, "I did my job out there." Well no, you rarely did your job well, but he can't be to blame for all the problems the G-Men have. His overdue departure was the first step.
First step: admitting you have a problem. Second step: address the problem. Third step: figure out where to go from there and take more necessary steps.
Sabean finally did that.
And let this be a warning to other Giants players. If you are underachieving and contributing to the downfall of the season, you are fair game. Light a fire under your ass, and do what you did to the Phillies the other night. You don't need to win 13-0, but you need to hit the ball and hold leads for your amazing starting pitchers.
Also, the Yankees are stirring up more shit.
In the past few days, this is what has happened:
1) A-Rod is snapped by Paparazzi in Toronto with a blonde bimbo (not his wife) going to a steakhouse and strip joint. His picture is subsequently plastered over the sleazy, yet lovable New York Post. A-Rod is now getting more national press than those drunken drug addicts Lindsay Lohan & Paris Hilton combined.
A little side note if you will (completely unrelated)
When Adam and I stayed in Altus, Arkansas a couple years ago, we heard some wild stories. Altus is the small town where Paris and Nicole filmed the first season of "The Simple Life". We got the inside story. All the townfolk hated them with a passion, but apparently some were a little too down. There are confirmed accounts of Paris & Nicole taking methamphetamines in a trailer with some hillbilly pharmacists then running ass-naked through Altus's vineyards. Apparently, this happened a couple of times. But anywayyyyyyyy.....
2) In Toronto a couple days later, as A-Rod was rounding second and heading for third, newly called up 3B Howie Clark was attempting to catch a pop-up. Clark let the ball drop after A-Rod yelled "Hah!". What he really yelled was "MINE!". Which to a young rookie sounded like he was being called off. He dropped it, and everyone was safe.
Needless to say, the Blue Jays were pissed. It was described as "Bush League" by manager John Gibbons, and clubhouse elder Frank Thomas wondered if A-Rod would have yelled the same thing at 6'5, 240 lb. veteran Troy Glaus. Doubtful.
First Rodriguez is stealing their Canadian bimbos, and now he's yelling at their rookies on the basebaths. AJ Burnett is going to nail him in the rib cage the next time they face each other. Let the beanballs wars begin. Nothing like a little bad blood between countries and two sub .500 teams.
3) 5 hit batsmen in the Yankees-Red Sox game on Friday, and Scott Proctor is tossed for "unintentionally" throwing at Kevin Youkilis's head. Yeah Scotty. I bet the ball slipped. Well as long as Joe Torre agrees, then it's cool. Don't worry about it. Well I say that it's going to fire up the Sox even more, and they will continue to bloodfeast the competition, leaving the bloody Yanks even further in the dust than they already are.
4) Designated Nutsac Jason Giambi tore some tissue in his foot and is out 4 weeks to a season. This is in addition to his horrendous start, bloated contract, and the big no-no of admitting to USA Today that he used the 'roids in slightly ambiguous terms. What an absolute disaster he's been since day 1. Even though he had a couple decent seasons, the guy has been awful overall from a PR, baseball, and financial standpoint.
Speaking of horrendous PR, baseball, and finances. The Chicago Cubs may be worse off than the Yankees. They're 22-31 with a massive payroll, and a bunch of slumping multi-millionaires. Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Ryan Dempster seem to be the only people on that team doing their jobs. Soriano has been a bust at best, Zambrano sucks, and now they're fighting in the clubhouse.
Zambrano and catcher Michael Barrett got into a fist fight in the clubhouse after slapping each other around in the dugout. Barrett got beat up pretty bad and got his head slammed into a locker. Zambrano will lose about $25 million off his contract next year because of it. The next day, archaic manager and local boob Lou Pinella celebrated by arguing a good call and kicking dirt on the umpire.
And now, I shall diss and praise professional athletes as if I have earned the right to do so.
I've decided to pick my All-Star teams. I think fan balloting in general is a complete joke and a disgrace. I think the fans should be allowed to elect 5 starters. The top 5 vote getters will start, the rest should be chosen by the players themselves, the managers/coaches/GMs, and the sportswriters. The general public has proven itself retardedly inept time and time again when given the power. I know they pay the money for the seats, but if Jim Edmonds or Johnny Damon get 500 votes, then the power should be stripped away from the fans. I mean look at what happened in that one NBA All-Star game when Vince Carter played 12 games and was voted a starter. It's time for this shit to stop. It ruins the game and it robs deserving players of their rightful spot. Even worse is MLB's liberal "everybody gets to participate" rule of having a player from each team elected to the game. Let's be honest, this is the worst policy in all of all-star sports. No one from Kansas City or even the Rangers for that matter deserves to be on an all-star roster this year. Anyway, here's what I got, and I'm going to just do the top positions. I don't got all day you know.
C - Russell Martin, Dodgers: He's been their most consistent bat and sports an .879 OPS (best in NL among catchers) and an unreal 8 SB (one less than Torii Hunter).
1B - Prince Fielder, Brewers: I can't say enough good things about this guy. His power numbers are absurd, and he's been on a tear. He's been keeping his team afloat through an awful May. Pujols can't hold his jock this year. (19 HR, 1.012 OPS)
2B - Chase Utley, Phillies: There really isn't much more to say about him. He's flat out the best 2B in MLB. He hits for power and average, and will make a nifty play in the field from time to time. (43 RBI, .910 OPS)
3B - Chipper Jones, Braves: Sorry, no Miguel Cabrera or David Wright here. Although Cabrera has slightly better numbers, I think Chipper deserves to be here. He was part of that hot start the Braves got off to, and if it weren't for a couple injuries, he'd be among the league leaders in everything. Unfortunately David Wright will get voted in by the fans for having a sub-par season thus far. Jones is hitting .300 with 12 HR and a 1.017 OPS in only 160 at bats.
SS - JJ Hardy, Brewers: The National League is beyond loaded with shortstop talent. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. As good as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Jimmy Rollins are, Hardy has been even better. Although Reyes has 30 SB, Hardy has 15 dongs and 46 ribeye steaks while hitting .300+ for most of the season. He, with his fellow Brew City bash brother Fielder have been awesome all year. Reyes should make the team, but Hardy deserves to start.
OF - Carlos Lee, Astros: El Caballo is up to his old tricks again. He hit a skid there for a couple weeks, but he's back in stride, doing his best to jump start an eternally anemic Houston offense. It would be nice if Lance Berkman, Adam Everett, and Morgan Ensberg would pull their weight, but they haven't been. He is always among the leaders in power numbers, and this year is no exception. (49 RBI, .317 avg.)
OF - Matt Holliday, Rockies: Holliday has been a hitting machine all year long. He boasts a beastly .347 average as well as 43 RBI and a .970 OPS. The guy has really come into his own, and is a right handed Todd Helton (from 3 years ago). He really deserves the start.
OF - Jason Bay, Pirates: I would love to give this to Bonds, Griffey, or Beltran, but I just can't do it. Bay will be the Pirates' honorary all-star, and he's on one of his mean streaks as we speak. The Pirates have been hovering around .500 recently, and without Bay, they would be the laughing stock of the league-- aka the Yankees. (41 RBI, .314 avg., .923 OPS)
SP - Jake Peavy, Padres: It's amazing that this guy had a losing record last year with an ERA over 4! Peavy has been straight nasty this year-- pretty much disgusting in every way, and has been the best pitcher in the NL this year. I won't go on any longer, but just look at the stats. (7 wins, 92 K, 1.68 ERA, .98 WHIP, 10.31 K/9)
CL - Francisco Cordero, Brewers: Yet another member of the Brew Crew makes an appearance. As good as Armando Benitez has been, I just have a feeling he'll get snubbed in favor of the dominant Cordero. Old F-Cor has basically shortened the game to 8 innings. (20 saves, .40 ERA, 13.30 K/9).
C - Jorge Posada, Yankees: The old balls Puerto Rican can still do it. Victor Martinez has much better power numbers, and he's the man, but Posada is hitting .358 and he plays above average defense, while playing the field every day. Again, I love Vic, but he plays first and DHs occaisonally, and he couldn't throw out Bengie Molina trying to steal second. Martinez makes the team, but Posada starts. Him and Jeter are holding the Yankees together.
1B - Justin Morneau, Twins: He's the MVP for a reason. Yes, Jeter may have gotten robbed last year, but this anonymous slugger is proving that he wasn't a fluke. He, along with a resurgent Torii Hunter are keeping the Twins very competitive in the outstanding AL Central. His power numbers are impressive, and if he keeps this up, he may win a 2nd MVP very soon. (16 HR, 44 RBI, .951 OPS)
2B - BJ Upton, Devil Rays: Well, this certainly is a year of firsts. A Devil Ray not only deserves to make the all-star team, but he deserves to start. Every year a Ray will fill up a roster spot by default, but in '07 Upton is actually the best guy for the job. Although his defense leaves a lot to be desired, he has been acceptable with his errors (10). The main reason he gets the job over Brian Roberts is because of his power numbers. He's hit hard times recently, but he still gets the nod because of the utter lack of decent seasons by second basemen-- especially Robinson Cano. Congrats B.J. on making my team. (8 HR, 10 SB, .923 OPS)
3B - Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: Well, it's been a long, strange trip so far A-Rod. He is the face of the ongoing freak show in the Bronx. However, he's played pretty well this season, and has dealt with the bullshit pretty well too. His 19 homers are a bit misleading, considering he's hit only 4 of them since April, but he does have 48 runs scored along with a 1.022 OPS. Mike Lowell is really giving A-Rod a run for his money here, but his April tear and busty blonde in Toronto give him the nod here.
SS - Derek Jeter, Yankees: I remember when the American League was so stocked with crazy shortstops, that one or two were getting blatantly snubbed every year. Remember when Jeter, A-Rod, Tejada, and Nomar were all turning the 6-4-3 double play? Well not anymore. The only SS in the AL that's deserving is the ever-consistent Yankee leader. What's truly amazing is that there are 3 starting Yankees on this roster. If anyone should be here, it should be Jeter. He's having another solid year, but it isn't translating into W's for the pitching-devoid Yanks. (73 hits, .341 avg., .888 OPS)
OF - Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: Mags is an absolute monster this year. In my last article, I demonstrated that he's single-handedly outhitting the Giambi-Abreu-Damon disgrace, and if he keeps his pace anything close to what he's doing now, he should be the MVP of the AL for sure.
He's come a long way from being run from Chicago and being labeled injury-prone. (13 HR, 52 RBI, .362 avg., 1.118 OPS).
OF - Vladimir Guerrero, Angels: Vlad is just being Vlad. He's beasting around, which we've come to expect from him on day-to-day basis. There's not much else to say. He's a perennial all-star and has never gotten the press that he's deserved. Perhaps it's the fact that he never learned how to speak English. $100 million can buy you a lot of stuff, but it can't buy you the decency to learn the language of a country that's given you so much. He's a good baseball player though. (46 RBI, .346 avg., 1.060 OPS).
OF - Grady Sizemore, Indians: Sizemore is a damn good ballplayer for the 1st place Tribe. He edges out Torii Hunter here due to the lost art of the stolen base. Also, his defense is outstanding. Did anyone see that amazing Jim Edmonds-like catch the other day? Grady is going to be a fixture in the AL outfield for years to come. (49 Runs, 10 HR, 17 SB)
(No DH this year because it's in San Francisco, but it would be David Ortiz)
SP - Dan Haren, A's: Haren is officially the ace of the A's (is Rich Harden even on the team anymore? I've seen him once in 3 years), and is one of the best young arms in the game. There is no question that he deserves to start the all-star game over the likes of Josh Beckett and John Lackey. He has 2 less wins than the other two but is doing it with inconsistent run support and sweet breaking balls. (82 innings, 6 wins, 1.64 ERA, .89 WHIP).
CL - Francisco Rodriguez, Angels: K-Rod is having another great season. He has 2 losses, but neither were considered blown saves. He leads the AL in saves with 19 and has a typically disgusting K/9 and K:BB ratio again. He's a no-brainer here.
So those are the beasts from each league. Now there are the losers.
ALL-NUTSAC Team (lack of nutsac, overpaid, underproducing jerks)
Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs - The guy gets signed for $130 million and puts up 5 HR and 13 RBI. Completely unacceptable. He should donate his salary so far to charity.
Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, Astros - You can generally count on him beasting around for most of the year. Not thus far: 6 HR, .241 avg.
Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies - His lack of production is part of the reason the Phillies suck big time. He can't pitch, but if he did, I'm sure it would disappoint as well. The MVP has 18 runs scored and a .221 avg.
Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays - Nothing like signing a $100 million dollar contract and stinking it up the next year. Wells is a great talent and a better guy, but he needs to pick it up. The Jays should be in second place in that division with their lineup, and Wells's slow start ain't helping (5 HR, 26 RBI, .738 OPS).
Andruw Jones, OF, Braves - The only thing better than stinking it up after getting a big contract is stinking it up in a contract year. Oh, Andruw, you thought you'd get Soriano money. Good luck bub. You keep striking out and taking 0-5s and you'll be making Encarnacion money. (9 HR, .230 avg., 55 K, .215 avg. with runners on base).
Bobby Abreu, OF, Yankees - I've already documented the trio of Damon, Giambi and Abreu, but Abreu is probably the worst of the three this year. Another guy in a contract year stinking it up for a disappointing team. (2 HR, .239 avg., .632 OPS)
Garrett Atkins, 3B, Rockies - This youngster had a monster year in '06 with over 120 RBI and 30+ HR. Now he's creeping closer to the Mendoza line and sucking big time. I'm declaring it a Junior slump. (3 HR, 20 RBI, .223 avg.)
Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox - Pauly is struggling at the plate, but like the rest of these people, he's too damn good to keep it going like this. Hopefully a shift in the order will benefit him. (7 HR, 26 RBI, .223 avg.)
Dis-Honorable Mentions: Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, Michael Young, Scott Rolen, Bill Hall, Ryan Zimmerman, Eric Chavez, Felipe Lopez, Chone Figgins, Corey Patterson, JD Drew, Tadahito Iguchi...
This is getting much longer than I thought it would be, so I'm going to just list the pitchers who suck and then a few teams that suck with minimal commentary.
Carlos Zambrano (awful in every way), Felix Hernandez (4.10 ERA), BJ Ryan (Tommy John Surgery hidden from public who drafted him), Ben Sheets (still not pitching like he can), Chris Carpenter and Rich Harden (long term injuries), Dontrelle Willis (ERA near 5.00), Jason Schmidt (sucks and is injured), Mike Mussina (6.25 ERA), Ervin Santana (5.89 ERA).
All Garbage Teams
1) Chicago Cubs - $300 million in the offseason got them nothing. I feel bad for Derrek Lee.
2) NY Yankees - Their struggles have been well-documented.
3) Philly Phillies - Ugly pitching, no closer, and a struggling MVP.
4) Houston Astros - Even with Carlos Lee, their offense is terrible and they're done.
5) Texas Rangers - I didn't expect them to win the AL West, but this is pathetic!
6) SF Giants - Last place with that rotation is disgraceful.