Thursday, June 29, 2006

For You Orioles Stat Geeks

With the Orioles having some marginal success (15-14 from May 28 to June 28), I decided to look at some numbers. With everyone focusing on the improved pitching, I noticed that a lot of the hitters have stepped it up in June as well.

As I jinx everyone on the Orioles...
Jeff Conine .254.333.424 59.305.379.492
Brandon Fahey .264.315.347 46.261.333.413
Jay Gibbons .274.312.495 7.429.429.429
Razor Ramon .287.351.524 93.290.356.613
Javy Lopez .276.323.429 90.289.319.467
Nick Markakis .250.326.337 59.322.385.390
Luis Matos .205.282.339 47.255.352.383
Kevin Millar .242.349.376 71.254.357.408
Melvin Mora .290.355.427 93.247.311.301
Scorey Patterson .282.324.429 100.270.305.330
Brian Roberts .314.383.415 109.303.374.394
Ed Rogers .211.200.211
Miguel Tejada .314.367.517 99.293.343.404

An interesting thing that this table displays is that the guys who are having better-than-their-season OPS months (with more than 10 ABs... sorry Gibby... and Kris Benson) are Conine, Fahey, Hernandez, Javy, Markakis, Matos and Millar. Surprisingly absent from that list are Mora, Tejada and Roberts.

So ranking OPS for June, you get:

1) Ramon Hernandez .969 (and that was including an 0-for-23 skid)
2) Jeff Conine .870
3) Miguel Tejada .802 (even on a "down" month, Tejada's one of our best players)
4) Javy Lopez .786
5) Nick Markakis .774
6) Brian Roberts .768
7) Kevin Millar .766
8) Brandon Fahey .746
9) Luis Matos .735
10) Corey Patterson .635
11) Melvin Mora .612 (Melvin what are you doing down here?)

Granted, from June 1 to June 28 the team is two games under .500, and that's when these stats were accrued, but with Tejada and Roberts not on their normal pace and Mora scuffling, it's good that the O's have some other guys stepping it up, because every team is going to have stretches when their top guys aren't red hot and typically over the last 8 or 9 years the Orioles have been the kind of team to let those stretches crush them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Quick Hits: Segui bulks up, Bowden schemes, hockey (finally) ends

AN UPDATE ON THE SEGUI STORY can be found at Roch's blog on the Baltimore Sun. Segui apparently had an insulin-like growth factor of 114, which Roch said is "fine if you're 120 years old." He also noted that Segui didn't get that prescription until he was 37. He was pretty jacked before he was 37... I can't say whether he was clean or not otherwise, but his HGH use appears to be on the level.

Your early-week quick hits...

The Orioles HGH name you've been dreading: David Segui.

I don't believe it. Noooooo way. David Segui was on performance enhancing drugs? Get right outta town! Let's do a side-by-side comparison, shall we?

1st time with O's:2nd time with O's:
Yeah... he got big.

He told ESPN it wasn't dirty, though, because he was found to have a hormone deficiency in some bloodwork and he was prescribed HGH by a doctor. Then when Jason Grimsley asked him about it he told Grim, "If you're going to do it, do it the right way."

I don't know about you, but I think it's kind of shady to tell someone who DOESN'T have a hormone deficiency to go get a prescription for it. Just how did you get that prescription, David?

Oh well. It doesn't exactly crush the baseball world that David Segui's reputation is forever tarnished.

Jim Bowden you dirty scheming bastard.

The Washington Times is saying that Nats GM Jim Bowden tied himself to the Lerner group long ago and that when they take over the team, he's much more likely to stick around than Frank Robinson.

Say what you want about Frank Robinson's sometimes maddening in-game management, but anyone who could get last year's Nats to .500 deserves a job. Please realize that any success the Nats have on the field is completely in spite of Jimbo drunk-driving them into the ground. (Cheap shot. Couldn't resist.)

On a funny side note, Cincinnati Reds TV broadcaster Chris Welsh said in an interview with Redleg Nation that the Reds used to make fun of Jimbo when he was their GM. " For the most part, the players saw the phoniness of Jim Bowden," he said.

Lerner Group priority list:
1) Hot dogs.
2) Fire Jimbo. FRANK.

Not good.

A team from North Carolina beats a team from Canada to take the Stanley Cup.

The Carolina Hurricanes hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup last night, so for the second straight season (not year), a team from the Southeast Division wins it all.

That's right, Caps fans. Here's what you have to look forward to if this trend continues:

2006-2007: Lockout year.
2007-2008: Atlanta Thrashers win Stanley Cup.
2008-2009: Lockout year.
2009-2010: Florida Panthers win Stanley Cup.
2010-2011: Lockout year.
2011-2012: Indianapolis Capitals win Stanley Cup.

So there you have it. Your wait is almost over ... kind of.

I have to admit that, as exciting as this season was, I only watched about half of the third period of game seven, and that's all I saw of the finals. Sorry. It was June 19. Hockey can have my attention until about June 1, then it's too late. It's a WINTER sport. There's no excuse for it to take nine months, and there's no excuse for the playoffs to be two-and-a-half of those. I'm not suggesting changing the format, but why do they have to take one or two days off between games? Those guys are big athletes. They can play back-to-back nights.

I guess the beards wouldn't grow as long, though.

Friday, June 16, 2006


So apparently the big news from the Nationals is that bullpen coach John Wetteland got the axe because he was all about the pranks and kickin' it like he was one of the boys instead of being a coach. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, "John Wetteland was the Nats' bullpen coach?"

The one memory I have of Wetteland was when he was with the Rangers, in a game against the Yankees he had to bat in the 10th inning because the Rangers had moved their DH to the field. He proceeded to hit a game-winning RBI double, which also made him the winning pitcher. It was cool.

Basil over at Federal Baseball wins the award for funniest response, but that's not really a "quote," per se. Chris Needham of Capitol Punishment had this to say:
"The bullpen coach doesn't make a damn bit of difference. They're all perfectly capable of answering phones and waving towels when the reliever's fully warm."
Right now, Elrod Hendricks is spinning in his grave.

So that leads us into the first ever Beltway Sports Beat BLOG QUOTES OF THE WEEK feature. (Or BQotW for short, hence the little logo on the left.) This is an idea I had a while ago and have been kicking around in my head, including a couple of failed attempts to start it up in the past few weeks. I just figured with all the people out there writing blogs about our area's teams and attempting to be funny on a daily basis (and sometimes succeeding), it would be cool to collect the funniest quotes from blog posts and comments at the end of each week for your enjoyment. Plus maybe it'll motivate some of you slackers to be funnier.

On the Jason Grimsley situation:

Roch Around the Clock (The Baltimore Sun)
Roch Kubatko: "I've had numerous people ask me about my past relationship with former Orioles reliever Jason Grimsley, and not because he's been receiving my mail and deliveries the past few years."
-- June 12

On Jose Guillen's return to the Nats lineup:

Federal Baseball (SportsBlogs Nation)
Basil: "Soriano's rousing success at the home ballpark made [Jose] Guillen seem quite the fool, and Guillen went ahead and got hurt. And keep in that mind that, for Guillen, admitting he is hurt is a colossal admission, insofar as he apparently equates 'games appeared' with 'size of wang.'"
-- June 11

On Adam Loewen facing stiff opposition:

Roch Around the Clock (The Baltimore Sun)
Roch Kubatko: "Adam Loewen has faced Randy Johnson once and Roy Halladay twice in three major league starts. If given another chance, he's lined up to oppose Tom Glavine on Sunday. Just when I thought he might catch a break after that, I hear he's scheduled to pitch against Whitey Ford later next week."
-- June 14

Camden Chat (SportsBlogs Nation)
2632: "Looking ahead... After his outing against Glavine, Loewen's next matchup will be against the ghost of Cy Young himself."
dayzd toe: "Actually, I believe that's in two appearances after Glavine... First he must get through Sandy Koufax. It's like 'Mike Tyson's Punchout' for NES... He has one more level to go to get to Cy."
-- June 13

On a Nationals draftee's namesake:

Capitol Punishment (independent)
Chris Needham: "Nationals draftee, Stephen King, took a Stand, watching the Misery of last night's game, and receiving batting tips from Frank Robinson. The Nats better be Pennywise and sign the guy, but Everything's Eventual, I guess. He, too, seems like he has 'It.'"
-- June 15

That's it. That's all I got. So here's where you come in... I obviously don't have time to pore through every blog post about every local team (well, maybe I do have time, but I would rather do other things), so there's going to be stuff I miss. If you've seen something on a local sports blog in the past week that was hilarious, post a quote and a link.

Also, I implore you -- I BEG you even -- to keep your eyes open. When you read something funny from a blog, shoot me an e-mail or post a comment about it on the most recent "BQotW" thread. Feel free to self-nominate, too. I won't judge you for it, you shameless, chest-beating attention whore.

If all goes well, the list of quotes will get longer every week and you'll have a good chuckle or two waiting for you every Friday.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quick Hits: McNair's in, Soriano's on the way out, and Grimsley should be running for cover

The less you wear, the more you need McNair.

After much speculation -- and a couple court dates to force Tennessee's hand -- the Ravens finally acquired Steve McNair last week. I would have posted about it sooner but management locked me out of my blogging facility for fear I'd injure myself.

The Ravens apparently think they've found their top tier quarterback, as McNair is a three-time Pro Bowler who co-won an MVP Award just three seasons ago, but excuse me if I'm not jumping for joy at the news. Remember Elvis Grbac? Yeah. I've stopped being optimistic about "savior" quarterbacks for the Ravens.

The one thing that surprised me about McNair when looking at his stats, though, is that for as much as you hear about him being injured, he's played at least 14 games every year except one since the 2000 season.

When he plays, he should at the very least be a vast improvement over the tandem of Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright, who found themselves side-by-side for 29th and 30th in the league in passer rating last year.

Meanwhile, Boller just asks that Brian Billick not declare the starting job McNair's immediately. Ha!

Nats have pick of Soriano suitors.

With more than a month and a half before the MLB trade deadline, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Alfonso Soriano won't be wearing a curly W come August.

In an article, reporter Enrique Rojas says Soriano doesn't see himself sticking around in D.C.

"I'll be a free agent by the end of the year," he told Rojas. "The Nationals will receive good trade offers, and I will have the opportunity to look at the best deal for me."

That doesn't sound like a guy who's getting ready to put a down payment on a house in Potomac.

But all that begs the question: Why even trade for him in the first place?

Why trade for Soriano if you aren't going to pay to keep him? Sure, they'll get a better package of prospects for him than they would for Wilky, but that's meaningless because they wouldn't have had to dump Wilkerson at the deadline!

Wilkerson's making less than 40 percent of what Soriano is taking in this season, and Wilkerson wouldn't have been impossible to re-sign. You can't tell me that a bunch of high-risk minor leaguers are better than a proven Major Leaguer who's good for an .800+ OPS when he's healthy and who should be coming into his prime. It makes no sense.

Why hasn't incoming president Stan Kasten fired Jim Bowden yet?

Fine, I guess we can wait for Kasten to officially become president. Oh, and for the new ownership group to get their first priority out of the way: hot dogs. Nice to see they've got a grasp on the pressing issues.

If Major League Baseball was like The Sopranos, Jason Grimsley would be whacked.

Instead, the journeyman reliever has been suspended for 50 games by MLB and released from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

When federal authorities nailed Grimsley receiving a shipment of Human Growth Hormone, he started ratting people out. After admitting that he used steroids and switched to HGH when MLB started urine testing, Grimsley listed other guys who he knew were doping, including former teammates.

So let the speculation begin. Grimsley played for the Phillies from 1989 to '91, the Indians from '93 to '95, the Angels in '96, the Yankees in '99 and 2000 (no way ... I'm simply shocked ... those guys never get caught up in steroid scandals), the Royals from '01 to '04, the Orioles from '04 to '05, and the Diamondbacks in '06.

That's a lot of teammates, but luckily for every team except the O's and D'Backs, it'll be hard to pin the older players to anything since MLB and congress didn't start paying attention to all this stuff until the last couple years.

So O's fans, are you prepared for another bombshell like last season? I, for one, am living in fear.

I liked Palmeiro and thought there was NO WAY he was on 'roids, but now I feel like it could be anyone. Which of my favorite players will it be this time? The suspense is going to torture me.

Everything else has come out -- "secret" grand jury testimony has been everywhere -- so why wouldn't this? It's not "if" it's going to be leaked, it's "when."

I'll put my money on names coming out before the All-Star break, but they've got to wait for the Orioles to start playing well again. Anything less wouldn't be the proper soul-crushing that O's fans have come to expect.

I think if we get this kind of bomb dropped on us mid-season for the second year in a row, it may be time for me to start shopping for Nats gear. I hear there could be good clearance prices on Alfonso Soriano shirts and jerseys in a couple months...

Friday, June 02, 2006

In the 50th round, the Baltimore Orioles select Jeffrey F#@!IN' Maier, Wesleyan University!?

This article from The Washington Post is causing some groans in the Orioles community (link and link).

That's right, Jeffrey Maier is getting some (and by some I mean very few) looks from Major League teams as a potential draft choice in next week's First-Year Player Draft.

Maier, best known in these parts as the 12-year-old demon child from Old Tappan, N.J., who tipped fate in the Yankees favor on a now-infamous October night in 1996, is now a 22-year-old Division III college baseball player who just recently broke the all-time hits record at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. But to put that in perspective, Division I baseball is pretty talentless outside of the top few teams in the Pac-10, ACC and SEC, and Wesleyan hasn't had a player drafted since 1965 and hasn't produced a Major Leaguer in almost 90 years.

(Interesting side note: Jeffrey now asks to go by "Jeff." Sorry, kid. You're already too famous. There's no way any baseball player, fan or sportscaster will ever refer to you as "Jeff Maier" in any way other than to say "And here comes Jeffrey Maier to the plate, who has asked to go by Jeff now.")

Apparently Maier has about a 50 percent chance of being drafted, and Orioles owner Peter Angelos (who should be thanking little Jeffrey every day for taking some of the blame for the Orioles nine years of futility that otherwise would fall on Angelos) is intrigued:
"I wouldn't be at all opposed to [drafting Maier]. In fact, I'd say it's a very interesting development ... You can say the Orioles are very seriously considering him. I know this much: I was at that game, and he certainly did seem to be a heck of an outfielder. Sure, we'd take him. In fact, I like the idea more and more, the more I think about it."
Uhh... what? He dropped the ball in that game! I hate to break it to you, Peter, but you've already got one Jay Gibbons.

All that being said, though, I'm with Angelos on this one. The O's should draft him. I know a lot of Baltimore fans out there are probably ready to stab someone just at the thought of this debacle, but hear me out.

The draft goes 50 rounds. FIFTY. That's, for lack of a better word, a buttload of future busts. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman apparently has said he doesn't want to waste a pick on a novelty, but Brian's fooling himself if he honestly doesn't believe that 95 percent of all draft picks are wasted. Every year teams draft players who don't even sign with them and just re-enter the draft the next year. That's wasting your pick. And do you really mean to tell me that some high school kid you draft in the 48th round who batted .400 in some podunk town in South Dakota is a legitimate prospect?

Bear with me here. It's not like Maier stepping into the Orioles clubhouse would cause some sort of tension. Not one player from that 1996 team is still on the club. That team had Bobby Bonilla, Pete Incaviglia, Todd Zeile, Chris Hoiles, Mike Devereaux, Rocky Coppinger and, yes, Tony Tarasco. None of those guys are around anymore, and if they were the O's would have bigger problems than Jeffrey Maier.

What's the worst that could happen if the O's take him in the draft? Well, I guess the WORST that could happen is that he makes it to the big club, the team makes it all the way to the ALCS where they face the Yankees, and he purposely tanks a can-of-corn pop out that would have finished game seven and instead the tying and winning runs score, then after the game he tells reporters that he did it on purpose because of the years of crap he took from Orioles fans, and he removes his uniform to reveal the same Yankees jersey he wore to the game when he was 12 years old. But I'd say that's maybe a 3-to-1 longshot at best...

In all likelihood he'd get drafted, slum it around the minors for a bit, and maybe get brought up at some point five years down the road as an injury replacement or a September call-up to a frenzy of media attention and a chorus of boos at Camden Yards only to fade back into obscurity to live the rest of his life as the answer to a trivia question that every Orioles fan hopes never gets asked.

But just imagine if all the planets aligned, he worked his tail off, scraped his way up to the Major Leagues and became one of those scrappy players that every team needs. And imagine if, somehow, the Orioles made it to the World Series with him on the team, and he played the role of the hero in winning the Orioles their first World Series since 1983, leaving Orioles fans across the land to bask in the irony. That's the kind of stuff sports legends are made of.

And it's also about as likely as your 50th round pick panning out.