Gary Sanchez’s sophomore campaign, the duality of Chicago and a few more reasons to get excited about baseball season.
The blog-cation has ended. Time for some scorching hot takes to welcome me back to the Chin Music Podcast. Continue reading Hump day hot takes: Gonzaga still deserves a No. 1 seed, David Price needs to pipe down & more
The following statistics are completely true pieces of information. Use them at your own risk. Results may vary. As always, follow @StatTardiff on Twitter for more insights.
This week and next, we’ll preview the 2017 MLB season, starting with the American League this week and the National League next week.
AL East – Boston’s Arms Better Than the Rest
The Boston Red Sox captured the AL East crown in 2016, and are in prime position to do the same in 2017. They added Chris Sale to a rotation including a pair of Cy Young winners (David Price and Rick Porcello), and have a lineup that will threaten to lead baseball in runs scored for the second year in a row. Keep in mind this next-level nugget we found at the time of the Sale signing; two pitchers have struck out 200+ batters and walked fewer than 50 batters in three-or-more consecutive seasons. Both of them, Sale and Price, will pitch for the Red Sox in 2017.
AL Central – Tribe Time Again in 2017
The gap between the division winner and the second-place team is widest in the Central Division in the AL, where the Indians are projected (by FanGraphs) to win by 11 games. Everyone knows how silly-good Andrew Miller was in the 2016 postseason, and the Indians added free agent Edwin Encarnacion to a lineup that was 5th in MLB in runs scored. Encarnacion has taken the most trips around the diamond in MLB since 2011 (210 home runs), and has been in the top-7 in the league each year since 2007.
AL West – What’s There to Make Sense Of?
If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past couple of seasons, it’s that the AL West is unpredictable. As much as we would love to give points to the Seattle Mariners for the nicest Spring Training hats, subjectivity has no home here. What we do know is that Robinson Cano continues to be one of the most solid players in baseball. He’s played in 156-or-more games in every season since 2006, and is one of three players with 100+ runs and 100+ RBI in three separate seasons, dating back to 2010. If Cano can come close to the 39 HR he hit in 2017, he’ll pace a Mariners team that could make some noise in the AL West.
I’m angry about the Red Sox and concerned about the Bruins. It’s an emotional time right now… Continue reading Hump day hot takes: David Price’s attitude bothers me more than his playoff failures, Tony Romo can’t start for the Cowboys & more
It’s officially the dog days of summer. It’s hot, it’s sticky, there isn’t a lot of rain but when it happens holy shit. You know, the middle of July basically. Thankfully, the sporting world still has plenty of stuff going on for me to get irrationally angry about. So without any further ado, here’s this week’s hot take parade for your Wednesday reading. Don’t forget to look at last week’s column if you haven’t already too.
1. Deflategate isn’t really over, and no, Tom Brady didn’t give up too soon
The long, national nightmare known as Deflategate came to a screeching halt last week, as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dropped his appeal after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals basically told him to fuck off. In Brady’s Facebook post (how about that, ending this entire circus via fucking Facebook) he thanked everyone and blah, blah blah. The most important thing to come out of this was that Brady wasn’t going to pursue this matter in the legal aspect any further.
Guess what? He doesn’t have to. Get ready for the dryer, because here’s some serious spinning to wrap your head around.
Sure, Brady said he’s done. He’ll take the four games (still an ABSURD amount for an equipment violation) and let Jimmy Garoppolo take over as the starting QB for the Pats in the first four games of the season. How will that go? I have no fucking clue. But, Brady dropping his appeal has bigger ramifications then his bullshit suspension.
Almost immediately after Brady announced that he was done, the NFLPA came out and said that they were going to bring the matter to the Supreme Court. Now they won’t petition the highest court in the land for a stay of Brady’s suspension, but they will continue this fight against dickhead Roger Goodell and his obscene amount of power as judge, jury and executioner in the NFL. And that’s where I’m diving right in.
You see, Brady’s name has been dragged through the mud since the Patriots demolished the Colts in the AFC title game. Whether he served the suspension or not, his name, brand and career were tarnished with this bullshit asterisk because of being generally aware of deflation. But, as the NFLPA continues to pursue the manner, and maybe even has it overturned at the Supreme Court level, Brady will be the poster boy for shining a light on Goodell’s wild abuse of power. TB12 won’t get the games back, but he will go down as the player to push back against the league, and ideally change the way player punishment is handled by a dictator-like commissioner.
Brady made the decision that works best for the Patriots, and the NFLPA is taking his case on for him. Suspension or not, this court case means much more as a manner of a player taking power as compared to the deflation of footballs.
2. David Price is the most disappointing free-agent signing in baseball this year
I went on record at my old job as saying that I hated the David Price signing. I got a lot of questions about it and a lot of shit for it, but I stand by my initial take. Price has been the biggest disappointment of the 2016 free agent class. His numbers don’t necessarily show it, but the eye test proves how he’s been just an average pitcher for the Boston Red Sox so far this season.
Price’s contract of seven years, $217 million was the biggest ever for a pitcher, and trumped the dollars given to Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto. Hell, Cueto is in contention for the NL Cy Young and he makes $10 million less a year than Price does. And Greinke has been hurt, so you have to consider that in this equation.
But back to Price. Let’s take a look at his numbers. 9-7, 4.36 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 141 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched.
Here’s the thing, I hate numbers. They can be concocted to tell you whatever story you want to hear. So, take those for what you want. They’re black and white and people love referring to them. I just don’t think they tell the whole story.
Price is supposed to be the ace. He’s supposed to be the stopper. He’s supposed to be the guy that even when your team sucks offensively or when the other team rolls out their ace, he gives you a chance to win. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Against three of the better pitchers in baseball, Madison Bumgarner, Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Tillman, Price pitched just okay. For someone making the money he does, he can’t simply pitch okay.
He strikes a lot of people out, but in the bigger games of the year against the top competition, he hasn’t been able to earn a win or fan down those arguments of Price sucking in big games. I’m not expecting a no-hitter every start, but the fact of the matter is simply that Price has been overwhelming and overall a huge disappointment in his first season in Boston.
Fans sticking to the numbers and drinking all the Kool Aid from the Red Sox defenders love to point to his numbers and how some of his losses were because of tough luck. You know what? Fuck that. Make better pitches, own up to your mistakes, and be the pitcher who called David Ortiz out for pimping a home run against him. Show some balls, and endear yourself to Red Sox fans. Don’t take to Twitter to say the sky isn’t falling.
If the playoffs started today, Boston would host Toronto in the Wild Card Game. I’m not starting Price based off his shitty season, and I’m sure as hell not starting a knuckleballer in Steven Wright. So I guess it’s Rick Porcello time? Woof.
3. Either ban Russia from the Olympics and take away their medals, or let everyone use PED’s
Oh Russia, you never cease to amaze me. Amidst all the chaos of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio (did you know they start in just over two weeks? Holy shit) the biggest story not involving dead bodies and poop in the water is from the Russians, and how basically all of their athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs in 2012 and 2014.
A country built on corruption, hosting an Olympics built with corruption in 2014, using all sorts of corrupt ways to cover up rampant drug use? Who would have thought?
But here’s the deal. I’m not all that upset about it. I said to Brendan earlier this year that I think steroids and PED’s should be legal in sports. You want to look like a “Create a player” from a video game by taking all sorts of drugs? It’s your body and your risk, so go for it. But since people will bitch and cry about how it’s not fair and not ethical to allow it, I know that belief is a pipe dream.
So, then drop down the fucking hammer and not allow Russia to participate in Rio, and strip their medals from 2012 and 2014. Want to make an example of this to have it never (ideally) happen again? Drop the sanction nuclear option, and kick out one of the biggest countries in the world from the Olympic games.
The IOC is among the most corrupt organizations on the planet, and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) isn’t that far behind. In my corrupt sport organization power rankings, I would go FIFA, IOC, WADA, NCAA and NFL just so you know.
But, what I’m saying here is this. Lower the boom, drop the hammer, kick them off the tour Doug! If you don’t want robots participating in the Olympics, cut the chord and knock this shit off. Boom problem solved.
4. I’m all for the NCAA allowing the No. 1 overall seed in the Men’s Basketball Tournament to choose their first and second round location
It’s not often that I agree with the NCAA. Hell, it’s rare. But when the fourth-most corrupt organization in sports (see above) makes a right decision, it’s a hot take to back them 100 percent.
The top seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, getting to choose their location for the first and second round is a brilliant idea. You’re the best team in the country going into the dance, so it makes sense to get rewarded for it. There’s going to be some strategy involved in this too.
Do you choose the location closest to home to bring in the home fans? Or maybe you travel further away to ease some pressure of playing in your backyard. Or maybe you look at who you could play and try to fuck over the competition. Or you consider where the next big studs are coming from and use these games as a recruiting pitch. I’m fascinated by the whole concept of this, and applaud the NCAA for finally making a smart, and pretty easy decision.
Along with this addition, the NCAA is also reviewing the selection and seeding process moving forward. Lower seeds aren’t supposed to be that good in the NCAA tournament, but that’s what makes it such a fun thing to watch every spring. So if they can figure out a way to make the seeding more accurate, and create even crazier matchups, I’m all in.
5. Tiger Woods needs a new sponsor to get his golf game back up
So Tiger announced the other day that he was going to pull out of the PGA Championship, wrapping up his major-less 2016. The best golfer in the world from my childhood is now a mere shell of himself, as the younger generation of stars take over. But I don’t think Woods’ career is over. Phil Mickelson finishing second at the British Open at age 46, and Henrik Stenson winning the Open Championship at age 40 should give Tiger hope for a resurgence down the road.
Injuries have wreaked havoc, as Woods looks like he’s rather flaccid on the course. When Tiger was at his best, he was pounding the ball off the tee and putting like nobody’s business. He was also going to pound town with pretty much everyone off the course, until that ended in pretty fabulous fashion. And that brings me to my main take.
Tiger at his best was sleeping with countless women. Most sponsors backed off because of his extramarital affairs. Now he needs a new one to reboot his drive.
Is this a match made in heaven or what? Want to turn your life around on the course and in the bedroom (which are most definitely linked with Tiger) then take this pill and get back in the game. I can’t believe it took me until today to think about this. Viagra, here’s your new spokesman. Tiger, here’s your chance to get back to chasing Jack Nicklaus. Let’s make this happen.
That’s it for Tim this week. He’ll be back next Wednesday for some more flaming hot takes. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan at @MurraySportTalk for more, or to tell me us we’re morons. Either way, have at it.