Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Public Service Announcement

No, not that the Yankees are 9 1/2 games out in June--but rather, out of the goodness of my heart, I have taken a bullet for all four regular readers. Yes, I waded through the abyss and morass known as the (Formerly Boston) Hollywood Sports Guy Chat. Out with all the Sopranos blather, the non-Celtics NBA stuff (Cleveland, San Antonio...It's Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantastic!), and the other junk that no one cares about. The full chat (only for the brave or constipated) is here: http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=16169.

Important Junk:

Paul (Auburn NY): What are your thoughts on the trade rumors involing Shawn Marion to the Celtics for the fifth pick, theo ratliff and one of the guards?

Bill Simmons: I don't think it makes any sense for Phoenix. if they trade Marion or Stoudemire, the goal would be to get under the tax. Well, how does Ratliff's contract help? Yeah, it expires next summer, but it still counts on the cap this year... and he's adamant that he's not retiring. So that trade makes no sense. If they deal Marion, it has to be to a team under the cap that can absorb most/all of his contract, like Atlanta or Charlotte. For instance, if Atlanta offered the No. 11 pick, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams, that could work.

The answer should have been: Everyone pretend you are a Phoenix fan and email overload the front office and beg them to make this trade for the sake of the suffering Celtics fans.

Robert (Kilmichael, MS.): Bill, who do you want the Celtics to take with the 5th pick? Bill Simmons: Corey Brewer.
The answer should have been: NO ONE!!! THEY TRADE IT!

Beth (San Jose, CA): So I was looking through some of your old "Ramblings" columns the other night and I ran across this little tidbit from July 19, 2003: "I wish I could buy stock in things like 'Roger Clemens will make an ill-fated comeback at age 44.'" I know he looked good the other night, but I still have reason to believe (hope?) this could have been one of your greatest predictions ever. What do you think the over/under is for implosion date?

Bill Simmons: That wasn't a hard one to predict - the guy would cross a
busy highway to pick up 50 bucks.

That was CLASSIC sports guy! Magnificent! I can't make that any better.

* * * * *Not to interject, but I am watching the Sox play the Rockies as I write (BREAKING NEWS: The Bruins sign Andrew Alberts! Stop the presses! ), and the sixth inning was the June Red Sox in a nutshell: Papi single; Manny walk; Drew double-play; Lowell whiffs. Arrrghhhh!!!* * * * *

No, I am not even going to comment on the Sports Guy and his obsession with the crotch of Julio Lugo.

OK, this goes against my stated "other junk" comment, but I cannot let this pass:
matt (omaha): You got it all wrong. Best series finale ever is "Boy Meets World". You never thought he was going to end up with Topanga, but he did.
Bill Simmons: And gave hope to fat women everywhere! You're right, that may have been top-3.
The answer should have been: Ben Savage kicks Fred's ass all night long. Seriously, though. Topanga was fat? What? Huh? OK, I need an answer on this. Jenn, Shannon, you two watched every freaking episode of this show (do not even try to deny it--I was there): was Topanga fat?
Paul (dublin): Does the Julio Lugo era make you feel any differently about the Theo Epstein era in Boston? Is there anything more inexplicable than Epstein's ability to strike gold with minor signings AND screw up every major singing over the last few years?
Bill Simmons: Since 2004, Theo has made some good moves and some bad moves... considering he's operating a team with a top-3 payroll, I don't see how he can be ranked higher than a B-minus. The best move he made other than Big Papi and the Nomar trade was probably NOT panic-trading Papelbon in 2005. other than that, very up and down. The one good thing about this year's team is that they have the best team chemistry they've ever had, even better than 2004. The team reaction after Romero got out of "bases loaded no outs" in Oakland was my favorite moment of the season so far.
The answer should have been: Two months does not make a Julio Lugo suddenly turn into Jose Offerman.

Matt (Medford, MA): All laughing and pointing aside, does the prospect of "2007 AL Wild Card: The New York Yankees" scare you in a playoff situation? The Yanks appear to be the only team right now that can smack around Beckett and Schilling, and have had at least 1 comeback against the Okajima/Pap combo.
Bill Simmons: I'm worried about the double whammy of Hughes and Clemens. I watched the game when Hughes got hurt, he had a no-hitter going and looked
dominant. he's a huge X-factor down the stretch.
The answer should have been: Hey, Matt Clement may be back by then. How is that for a gxx-dxxxed X-Factor, you gxx-dxxxed, whiney-xxxed WEEIdiot! Go away and have some faith in the Red Sox!

David (Milwaukee): Any thoughts on the Brewers this year? You've been to this city and we are ready for a playoff appearance. I think downtown may be unbelieveable come fall if the Crew is making their first playoff appearance in 25 years. Plus, Prince Fielder has to be the front-runner for NL MVP at this point.
Bill Simmons: They're not roping me in until Bernie Brewer starts jumping into the beer mug again.
The answer should have been: Am I on board? I picked the Brewers LAST YEAR! Watch them play Boston in October. Brewers belong in the AL Central

* * * * *Not to interject, but I am watching the Sox play the Rockies as I write this, and the Rockies have intentionally walked Manny to load the bases with one out in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game. Drew with a big sac fly to put the Sox up 2-1.* * * * *

* * * * *Not to interject again, but Justin Verlander just pitched a no-hitter against the Brewers. That is what I get for talking them up.* * * * *

One classic Sports Guy comment. A few interesting comments. Yup, that was it for relevant and interesting. Do not thank me, just send money.

Yo-Yoing the Rotation

As the Sox straggle back from a 3-4 trip out West after losing two of a three game set against the dreaded Pinstriped-ones, despite a large lead in the standings, doom hovers over Boston. To tell the truth, it has been so long since the Celtics glory days that the fandom of New England is just so hesitant and unable to comprehend the role of favorite. Even the model franchise, the Patriots, are constantly playing the underdog. Even winning 20 in a row, the team and fans had a chip on their collective shoulder due to the Colts whiz-bang offense serving as media darlings while the defense-heavy/short passing Patriots got props but always were treated as a second-act to the Peyton Manning Show.

What the heck does this have to do with Julian Yo-Yo Tavarez? Well, just about everything. In a matter of days, the Red Sox NEED to bring Jon Lester back to the major leagues. (Collective snort upcoming from Yankeedom) Jon Lester is the Red Sox what Roger Clemens is to the Yankees (Let it out, Bronxites. Get it out of your systems). Lester is the shot-in-the-arm, the feel-good-story, the talented half-season wonder. New York has gotten their Rocket Boost (as Matt Damon said to David Letterman: ten more of those and you will be in second place): Lester can be that boost to Boston with his nasty repertoire of pitches, veteran demeanor on the mound, bulldog mentality, and overcoming cancer and spreading joy and fastballs boost to team morale. Remember ye of little faith and memory: Lester was the number one prospect, not Papelbon. The kid so not just some Craig Breslow, he is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation stud.

Finally, I get to the good soldier, Yo-Yo Tavarez. Tavarez is a mediocre number five starter, but he has a rubber arm, will not complain about going to the pen, and is well-liked by all accounts. Therefore, his trade value will never be higher. Yo-Yo is in no way a long-term solution for the Sox pitching staff. In fact, I continue to question the particulars about the fact that he is in the rotation and Kyle Snyder is in the bullpen. So we need to send Yo-Yo somewhere desperate for pitching (OK, that is every team except Oakland and Anaheim), somewhere they know what they are getting (ahh, do you know where I am going with this?), and somewhere they are capital D DESPERATE for any pitcher capable of bouncing the ball to the plate: the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Yes, Yo-Yo is the perfect fit in the baseball paradise under the arch. The Cardinals are so desperate for pitching that they will want to deal sooner rather than later. Yo-Yo is cheap, and is well known in St. Louis. Heck, it is one of the few locations they may even welcome him back. Tavarez is a known quantity to GM Walt Jocketty and Manager Tony LaRussa. OK, now the bad news. The Cardinals have few prospects under their crimson wings.

Of course, I have taken the liberty of perusing the barren farm system of the Cardinals and have a few names to toss into the mix if the Sox can wrangle a deal (mucho shout-outs to baseball prospectus for their wonderful features on all MLB farm systems):

Bryan Anderson: Single A catching prospect. Hey, we need ANY catching prospect. Varitek is not getting any younger.

Chris Perez: Fast-track bullpen boy from the U (Miami of Florida) who has potential closer written all over him.

Mark McCormick: Single-A PROSPECT. Needs a lot of work but has a triple-digit fastball.

Any of the three work for me. Heck, throw in some middling prospect and finagle another of them. Yo-Yo, thanks for the effort, now get the hell out of the rotation!!!

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