Saturday, March 26, 2005

McGwire Update

Earlier this week I made an argument against Mark McGwire's inclusion to the Baseball Hall of Fame in my Big Head Barry and the Monsters blog. Apparently most of the Hall of Fame voters agree with according to this article on ESPN, Some Hall voters in a foul mood over fair play. It goes on to say the Bonds is currently in, but I wonder if it slipped after his recent, "Woe is me" routine which I believe came after the survey was taken. I have a feeling the more Barry talks, the lower his Hall of Fame stock goes down. And eventually he will be out of it like McGwire. Or the next commissioner will settle the debate himself and ban all proven steroid, or other illegal performance enhancer, user.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

OK so my NCAA bracket rules didn't work very well this year, but I'm back again to try to help out you fantasy baseball draft. Keep in mind these rules in mind when ranking the available players.

Rule #1 - The Hellboy Rule - Or the avoid people with big heads rule. With the new steroid testing put into affect, it would not be wise to draft anyone, who in previous season, were drafted based on their power. Their numbers will decrease (or will be suspended). Look what happened to Giambi when he went of the Clear. So I would avoid every one caught up in the recent scandal. The only exception to this rule would be Pudge Rodriquez. All catchers put up low numbers anyways so it’s a coin flip on them anyways.

Rule #2 - The Ron Artest Rule - Do not draft anyone who could possibly be suspended for the entire season. Unfortunately I did not abide by this rule during my fantasy baseball draft. That was waste of a third round pick. The baseball equivalent of Artest would be Milton Bradley. Granted Bud Selig doesn't have the grapefruits of David Stern so killing a fan might only some one only a half season suspension, but that is still a lot of games to be missing.

Rule #3 - Don't Follow Trends - It happens every year, some one takes a catcher early, then the next ten picks end up being catchers. There are only three quality catchers (Lopez, Posada, and Varitek), so if you don't get one of them, wait until the later round and pick whatever is left. No catcher can make much of an impact plus they take a lot of days off. On the opposite side of the spectrum, make sure you get a good closer before they run out. Last year I had to trade some offence to get a closer because I waited too long to draft a quality reliever.

Rule #4 - The Ken Griffey Jr. Rule - Do not draft a player who is injury prone. Yet every year some one inevitably drafts Griffey saying he will be healthy and return to his Seattle day type dominance. Sometimes it goes well, but the May, Griffey will come up limp running down to first, and the team who picked him will be unmercifully mocked for the rest of the season.

Rule #5 - Draft Multi-Position Players - This will give you more options if you experience injuries or you can plug more players that are on your bench when some of your other players have off-days. This is especially handy if they are eligible at catcher but is an everyday player somewhere else. Unfortunatly the games best multi-position players, Beltran, Pujols, and A-Rod have lost eligbility and are down to one position each.

Her is my list of the top 25 players:

1. A. Pujols (StL - 1B)
2. C. Beltrán (NYM - OF)
3. V. Guerrero (LAA - OF)
4. Á. Rodríguez (NYY - 3B)
5. J. Santana (Min - SP)
6. A. Soriano (Tex - 2B)
7. I. Suzuki (Sea - OF)
8. J. Schmidt (SF - SP)
9. C. Crawford (TB - OF)
10. M. Tejada (Bal - SS)
11. E. Gagne (LAD - RP)
12. B. Abreu (Phi - OF)
13. A. Béltre (Sea - 3B)
14. D. Ortiz (Bos - 1B)
15. R. Oswalt (Hou - SP)
16. T. Helton (Col - 1B)
17. R. Johnson (NYY - SP)
18. B. Lidge (Hou - RP)
19. A. Ramírez (ChC - 3B)
20. J. Pierre (Fla - OF)
21. S. Rolen (StL - 3B)
22. C. Schilling (Bos - SP)
23. M. Cabrera (Fla - OF)
24. B. Sheets (Mil - SP)
25. P. Martínez (NYM - SP)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Please Don't Make Me Cry

For those interested, Eisley, who new album I recently reviewed, is currently the single of the week on iTunes. If you already have iTunes you can check out Telecope Eyes here. If you don't have iTunes, check out the link on the left. Might as well check it out, it's free. iTunes has had a pretty good track record with their singles of the week, I have about 15-20 song that are on heavy rotation on my iPod.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Big Head Barry and the Monsters

It seems that after his knee surgery that Barry Bonds may miss half the season if not all. Here's an idea Barry, retire. The only person I'd like to see out of baseball quicker that Barry Bonds is Bud Selig. But apparently Bonds is currently stressed. Stressed about what? He gets paid millions to play a kids game. He has financial security for the rest of his life and probably for the rest of his kid's life. A brain surgeon has stress over his job. A policeman has stress over his job. The coal miner who has to drop a month's salary to see Barry play has stress. And who does Barry say is the cause of his stress? The media is. I'm sorry, did the media put a syringe in his butt (allegedly)? Did the media set up a date with a woman who wasn't his wife (allegedly)? Did the media help set up a tax shelter (allegedly)? So he cheats on baseball, his wife, and his taxes (allegedly). I would hate to play cards with this guy. As a wise man once said Barry, "Girl don't go away mad. Girl just go away."

On another baseball story, I received my copy of Newsweek today and on the cover it poised the question, "No 'Hall' for McGwire?" I haven't had a chance to read the article yet, but the quick answer is no. "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is still kept out of the Hall for cheating for one game. With steroids or other growth hormones in his system, how many games did he cheat? It might be easier to count the seasons cheated. And don't want to hear the, "But steroids were not a banned by the MLB back then" excuse. Steroids were illegal substance according to the U.S. government and anyone who used them back them should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Not too mention McGwire best asset was his power. He rarely hit for average nor did he make a regular appearance on Web Gems. So when your only asset is proven to be aided by a chemical substance then no Hall for you. With any luck, whoever replaces Bud (hopefully sooner rather later) will do the right thing and ban everyone who is a proven steroid or human growth hormone user and strike (no asterisks) any necessary record or MVP award.

Moving on to basketball, Paul Silas recently got the axe by Cleveland. The Cavs' may have pulled the trigger a little early on this one. He should be praise for having this team in playoff contention. After LeBron, the Cavs don't have much to talk about. They even have some dude named
Ira Newble starting. Read that last sentence again and tell me that Silas is to fault. Seriously, Ira Newble. What I don't understand about Silas is how everyone brought up how much a stand up guy he is. Yet this season alone he has blow up with Eric Snow (a stand up guy in his own right) and recently Silas called Carlos Boozer a four letter word that starts with C (Umm, cute? Coco maybe? Chap? Mmm, I give up). Come to think about it, I can think of some one the Cavs can talk about not named LeBron, Usher. I have been racking my brains for a month trying to figure out how this guy can buy a basketball team. This is a guy who floated around in relative obscurity putting out albums that only morbidly obese chicks listen to. (Usher’s fans are like the anti-Dave Matthews Band fan. Seriously has anyone seen an unattractive girl who listens to DMB?) Then last year when he inexplicitly sold one million copies in one week. Then all the sudden he has enough money to buy a basket ball team? At least Jay-Z has a string of hit albums and a successful record label before he bought a piece of the Nets. Only in Cleveland can we go from a blind owner to a pop star. Here's to another 50 years without a major championship. [In a Lil' Jon growl] Yeah!

Monday, March 21, 2005

You Humor Me Today

Room Noises - Eisley

A couple months ago I came across a new band by the name of Eisley. They are an eclectic band that I can best describe as if Hanson had a bunch of younger sisters who listen to a lot of Radiohead and Pink Floyd. And so I was hooked from the start. I gathered up a couple of EP's that they had already released, all of which were great, so when they recent release their first full length album, Room Noises, I had to pick it up. One aspect of note is that is that a fourth of the songs on the new album are on previous EP's.

The standout tracks on the new album are two older songs, Marvelous Things (a top ten entry on my
Best of 2004 list) and Telescope Eyes (the new single). Telescope Eyes is the song that lured me into the band. There is something endearing about hearing a girl sing, "Please don't make me cry" over and over again. Marvelous Things on the other hand is a slow moving epic that highlights the drummer and the group's major strength, the harmonies between the two lead singers.

Of for the newer songs, the closer, Trolley Wood, is the best. Granted I've been a big fan of songs with hand claps ever since Jack and Diane. But Trolley Wood is the type of song that is so good you can envision a video while listening to it. For me, it's the band strolling along in a park while they pass by various people having a picnic, sitting on a park bench, and flying a kite. Another new song of note is Golly Sandra which has a psychedelic country feel to it and would sound too out of place in a country-western bar.

If I were to have one complaint of Room Noises is the sequencing. I'm not a big fan of albums that start out right away with singing. I think it's better to start things off with something soft and build up anticipation for the lyrics. Brightly Wound or One Day I Slowly Floated Away would have been better choices to start the album off. Another thing about Eisley is that you have to commit to the lyric that can be borderline pretentious sometimes. And the lyrics can be lightweight at times. Instead of seeing a "
bullet with butterfly wings," they see a "bat with butterfly wings." With that said, I expect big things from Eisley in the future.

Room Noises gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my
Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

It's Still Rock & Roll to Me

As a music aficionado, there are two major events on the calendar, the Grammys and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which recently happened. Here is my blow by blow account of this year's festivities.

First up is the
O'Jays being inducted by Justin Timberlake. This year is a prime example of the pecking order to the members of the Hall. The top tier get inducted by other all time greats, most prominent being Bono (Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, among other). This year it was Springsteen repaying U2 with their own spot in the hall. The second tier is either inducted by other Hall of Famers or today’s brightest stars. Neil Young inducting The Pretenders shows this. And when you barely get in (no disrespect to the O'Jays) you get inducted by a flash in the pan that will only get into the Hall if they buy a ticket. On their behalf, the O'Jays could get in on creating one of the greatest grooves ever, For the Love of Money, which, sadly, got co-opted by some lame reality show.

The Pretenders are up next featuring one of the all time great rock chick, Chrissie Hynde. For those keeping track at home, that two acts from Northeast Ohio, home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, yet the ceremony was taking place in New York.

Next up is
Percy Sledge who get the honorary "The song is so good, he gets in no matter what" induction for When a Man Loves a Woman. Look for future such inductions for Oasis (Wonderwall) and The Verve (Bittersweet Symphony).

The biggest surprise of the night was the induction of
Buddy Guy whom I couldn't believe was not already in the Hall. It was worth the wait as we were then treated to collaboration between Guy, B.B. King and Eric Clapton.

The best was saved for last with the induction of
U2 by Bruce Springsteen. Bruce gives the best introduction of the night highlighted by a math lesson and his views on selling out. U2 takes the stage to give electrifying performances of the poignant Until the End of the World (off my favorite U2 album, Achtung Baby), Pride (In the Name of Love) (the song that turned me on to U2 not to mention Martin Luther King Jr.), I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For with Bruce, and Vertigo (inspired the pre-for mentioned math lesson). It was interesting that they hyped U2 and Bruce Springteen as the first time they have performed together considering I have an mp3 of them singing Stand By Me together. Hopefully with a place in the Hall, U2 can rightfully be in the discussion of best ever (a blog entry onto itself).

With the conclusion of this year's ceremony starts what could be a major lull for nominees when you take the 25 year waiting period into effect. So for the year of 1981 to 1991 (or From U2 until Nirvana) look for some less than impressive ceremonies. Between these years, there are very few first ballot candidates. After a quick brainstorming session, I came up with R.E.M., Run-DMC, and Public Enemy with Madonna, Metalica and Don Henley having outside shots.