White Hat Sports Headlines

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Random thoughts from Houston

This was a very interesting series for the Red Sox, they started well and had a definitive moment where they kind of fell apart and lost momentum for the series. Here are some of my random thoughts from the weekend:

~How do you drop 2 of 3 if you're the Red Sox to the Houston Astros when you have guys like Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis all having a 4 hit game somewhere in the series, and Ramirez and Drew also hitting home runs. That's a tough thing to do but I guess it happens when your bullpen is forced to work 4 innings per game the first two.

~Cecil Cooper did a really nice job managing his team in this series and in my opinion out managed Terry Francona. Francona in my opinion took out Dice-K way too early in the first game, yet they won so I'm not going to criticize and yes his pitch count was in the 80's. But that set the team back, but nobody saw Lester's game 2 happening the way it did. (More on that below). Then today, it looked like he wanted to pull Beckett again after 5 innings today for a pinch hitter to try and break the game open, before he realized that he had taxed his bullpen for 8 innings over the last two days and got bad results from it last night.

~Lester in game 2 was flukish and just plain weird. I mean he was all but out of the inning, he had battled to get out Pence and Berkman before giving up a two on, two out, two strike hit to Carlos Lee (I'd call him by his nickname because it's pretty bad ass here, but I can't spell it.) scoring two runs and cutting the lead down to two. Then a liner off his ankle, puts two aboard and with the very next pitch, Mark Loretta who is definitely a good hitter, but has little in the way of pop drills a 3 run homer to take Boston's newly found 4-0 lead and turn it into a 5-4 deficit. This was the turning point in this series. Yes the Sox could and did battle back, but it was an up hill climb and just felt like one of those games where you thought the team that bats last is always going to win. They didn't need the last at-bat, but had Manny gotten on, they would have.

~How awkward is Hunter Pence? I mean really now. By the way, Delcarmen's walk to Pence in the 8th inning of game 2 is what lost the game in my opinion, not so much the hit to Berkman. Berkman hit a good pitch, a pitch that only the best hitters can make contact and get to drop in for a hit. Pence wouldn't haven't done it, but he forced himself to have to face Berkman in that situation because he couldn't put away Pence first after getting ahead of him.

~David Aardsma is a Brain-Dead Heaver if ever I have seen one. No, I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean that as an out and out compliment. The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen on their 1988 World Series Championship team called themselves the Brain Dead Heavers. They had very few rules and the ones they had were simple. The following is an exerpt from Jerry Crasnick's column about two years ago for ESPN.com about radar guns and speed.

In 1988, Dodgers pitcher Jay Howell formed a club called the Brain-Dead Heavers, with six conditions for membership: (1) no changeups, (2) throw as hard as you can, (3) change speeds by throwing harder, (4) absolutely no location, (5) little attention paid to mechanics, (6) never read the scouting reports. A young pitcher named John Wetteland was part of the fraternity until he violated policy by working on a curveball.

Aardsma just rears back and throws for all he's worth, he doesn't get taken yard, I like it. Keep it up David, I love flame throwers coming into the game.

Sterling Pingree

Friday, June 27, 2008

Let's Welcome Shawn Chacon to the Urbina Club

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for leaving your children of all ages at home. This is a special night, tonight we induct Shawn Chacon into the Ugueth Urtain Urbina Gold Club of Pitchers Who Are Nuts, But Who's Story We Giggle at Everytime We Read It. Shawn had a mediocre going, playing for the Rockies, Yankees and Pirates before it all got to him and he took is his career down a path that few have traveled in Baseball, but I traveled it in the NBA. I have to say it is a tough road, I did it to a coach, he did it to the General Manager. This guy has vision, he has taken it to another level of idiocy. His account of the story is what has blown the nation away and made him a mandatory selection for the UUUGCOPWANBWSWGAEWRI:

Speaking about his confrontation with GM Ed Wade, Chacon said, "He started yelling and cussing. I'm sitting there, and I said to him very calmly, 'Ed, you need to stop yelling at me. Then I stood up and said, 'You better stop yelling at me.' I stood up. He continued and was basically yelling and stuff and was like, 'You need to (expletive) look in the mirror.' So at that point I lost my cool, and I grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground. I jumped on top of him." (Jun 26)

Now Shawn couldn't be with us tonight, so I, Latrell Spreewell will accept this award on his behalf.

Writer's notes:

This story was just too good not to write about. The fact that Chacon says that he stays calm the entire time and then suddenly out of no where he decided he had to choke the General Manager. The dumbest part about this and what separates this from Latrell Spreewell, is that it was the GM, the guy who determines not so much if he plays, but if he has a job. You choke your coach, he benches you, he asks for you to be traded. Spreewell, had a career after he blew up in Golden State. Shawn Chacon is done, no GM will take a chance with him now, not after this.

One thought to leave you with, what the hell WAS Cecil Cooper doing while this was going on?

Sterling Pingree

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The "Diaper Draft" Jogging Diary

Alright, here we go, this is the First Annual Jogging Draft Diary. I have been waiting for this for about three weeks, and I am ecstatic the time is now here. Before the start of the draft, here is a quick recap of what has happened so far.

The Charlotte Bobcats trade a future first round protected pick to the Denver Nuggets for the 20th pick in this year’s draft. Clearly the Nuggets didn’t see anyone in this years draft at the 20 slot that could help them win now, which is what they need. My guess is Charlotte’s top within the next few years may hold more value in a trade than the Nugget’s pick they had this season.

The Portland Trail Blazers trade cash to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for the 27th pick. You would have to assume the Hornets may use that cash for a veteran, and the Blazers are more than happy to give it up because, well, there owner is Paul Allen.

The Toronto Raptors trade T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, and the 17th pick to the Indiana Pacers for Jermaine O’Neal. I like that the Raptors are trying to improve, but I’m not sure O’Neal has much left in the tank. If he can return to form it’s a great deal for them, if not then they gave up T.J. Ford and the 17th pick for a player with one knee.

The New Jersey Net’s trade Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. What the F$*#? What are the Nets thinking? I’m sorry, but Richard Jefferson has to have more value than Yi and Bobby Simmons. He just has too. The only way this trade makes sense is if Chad Ford is right and the Nets are already setting their roster up to get LeBron. Otherwise the Nets are idiots, because I don’t see Yi being as good as Richard Jefferson.

It’s 7:02 PM, do you know where you’re kid’s are? I don’t have any kids, but if I did I wouldn’t care where they were because this draft starts in under 30 minutes. Right now it’s the pre-draft show featuring Jeff Van Gundy, Jay Bilas, Mark Jackson and Stuart Scott. Jay Bilas just referred to this draft as the “diaper draft”. If that’s his catch-phrase for this year I can’t wait to see how he uses it. Last years upside potential was too easy, good to see him stepping it up a notch with “diaper draft.”

7:09 PM: Marc Stein just reported that the Bulls will take Derrick Rose because they think he fits their team better. How? They have so many guards already, they have no low-post scoring and he would provide some. None. If they wanted to say they thought Rose was a better player, they could’ve said they think he’s going to be a superstar, they could’ve said he’s from Chicago or they could have said it’s his love of gummy bears and long walks on the beach. I would have accepted any of those reasons. I can’t accept them thinking he fits their team better right now, because he absolutely does not.

7:13 PM: Jay Bilas has Brook Lopez as his third best player. I thought that was absurd till I realized that he is a Duke product, and now it all makes sense.

7:33 PM: Alright, Bulls are on the clock. I hate this new wave of teams that announce their picks early. It ruins the drama of the first pick. Not only that, but the Bulls still felt the need to wait till the very last second. At least if you’re going to announce your pick early do us a favor and not wait out the entire five allotted minutes. By the way Jay Marriotti loves Derrick Rose now because he saw “quiet confidence” in him when Rose announced that he wanted to be the MVP of the league in his first year. How is that “quiet confidence”?

7:38 PM: His nickname is Pooh? We already had a Pooh Richardson in the NBA, we need to nickname the top draft pick something better. The Bulls better make some other moves now, otherwise they made the wrong choice. While I agree that Rose is the best player, and wrote so while Beasley was still considered the best player, that doesn’t mean he’s the best fit. Right now for the Bulls he is not.

7:43 PM: ESPN has been hyping up the second pick because everyone believed Rose would go number one, but did anyone really doubt he wouldn’t go second? They just needed some type of drama, and they got it for awhile. Beasley goes 2. Should be interesting to see how the Heat do, they should be at least a playoff team.

7:49 PM: O.J. Mayo goes third. They have Rashad McCants, Randy Foye, Corey Brewer and Sebastian Telfair, now they have Mayo. I definitely think he’s the third best player talent wise, I just hope he lives up to the potential. Otherwise they have a lot of decent guards but no great ones.

7:55 PM: Russell Westbrook goes #4 to the Sonics. He didn’t even start on his high school team according to Stu Scott, now he’s fourth pick in the draft. That gives me confidence. He also averaged 12 points and 4 assists a game last year. Outstanding. I’m sorry, but this is a terrible pick by the Sonics. They just took a guy that was a back up in high school and college with the fourth pick. They should have taken Eric Gordon here. By the way, I’m currently one for four, although my projections are what I thought they should do along with what I think they will do, while most projections are what people think the teams will do only.

8:02 PM: Shades of Bryant Reeves…just kidding. Grizzlies take Kevin Love 5th. This is the first pick I like for a team completely. I had them taking Brook Lopez, and my analysis was “Lopez will be a huge bust, and the Grizzlies are a terrible organization. Perfect match.” They finally made the right choice I think. I saw Kevin Love on Pardon the Interruption earlier this week and he said he’s lost 15 pounds, and he looks like he has. He also is a really intelligent kid, he impressed me during the PTI interview then and I’m impressed how well he dealt with Screamin A. Smith now. During the PTI interview he showed he knew a lot about the past of the NBA, and he really seems like he wants it.

8:06 PM: Bilas just rambled for about four minutes, then at the end said “and Brook Lopez is available.” When this is said and done I think they should get an apartment together. Meanwhile, I get the Knicks pick right when they take Dainilo Gallinari. I told you the rumors about D’Antoni not liking him were false. He is just too perfect for their system. Meanwhile the ignorant Knicks fans boo because he isn’t a 5’10” point guard from the Bronx that Scoop Jackson wrote about. By the way, I used to love Scoop’s writing, but ever since he has gone to ESPN he has been pretty bad. So disappointing. The online poll on the right side of the screen ranks the pick an F. I wish people would inform themselves before taking polls and booing, because at least then they wouldn’t be ignorant if they still chose to boo.

8:12 PM: The Clippers take Eric Gordon with the 7th overall pick. Great pick by them, he may be one of my sleeper picks when it comes time to fill out the notebook. He is that good. Meanwhile, Brook Lopez is still on the board. If I would have gone only on what I think teams should do I would have had him dropping into the teens, but unfortunately I factored in team stupidity and had the Grizzlies taking him.

8:18 PM: Stuart Scott just looked at the wrong camera. Or at least I think he did, tough to tell with those eyes. I’m guessing someone didn’t cue him correctly, because in general when anchors look at the wrong camera it’s not their fault. Anyway, the Bucks take Joe Alexander here. Definitely a good pick, he should be a good player in the league, and now that they traded away some of their depth at the small forwards position they have more room for him. Screamin A. just repeated himself 3 times in a row, and it sounded worse the last time as it did the first. I didn’t know he could sound worse.

8:24 PM: Jay Bilas announces that Brook Lopez is a steal at number nine. Seriously, Lopez must be paying Bilas money for the publicity. The Bobcats then take D.J. Augustin, a guy I absolutely love. Bilas’s take on the pick: “well that just means the Nets get a steal in Lopez at number 10. I do like Augustin, I think he could be better than T.J. Ford.” Is it possible for Bilas to just draft Lopez to live with him? I don’t understand the man love here. Also, what kind of analysis is “he could be better than T.J. Ford”? Hey, you know what, I bet he’ll be better than Earl Boykins, and I bet Kevin Love will be better than Chris “Birdman” Anderson.

8:29 PM: With the 10th pick in the NBA draft the New Jersey Nets select a large pile of money and LeBron’s posse. Just kidding, they actually took Brook Lopez. Jay Bilas’s take “I really like Brook Lopez. I really, really like Brook Lopez. I think the Nets should wear a mask because they got a steal here.” I think you should stick to the term “diaper draft” Jay. Brook says that he tries to emulate his brothers game. His brother that barely averaged 7 points and 5 boards a game as a 7 footer in college. Good to see he even strives to underachieve already.

8:35 PM: The Pacers select Jerryd Bayless. Stuart Scott says that there were people who said the Pac 10 wasn’t even a basketball conference. Who said that Stu? I would love to know, because I think you just made that up. Good choice by Indiana though, I had him going earlier because of other projections, but I said I didn’t like him here. This is a much better spot for him, a little higher than I would have taken him but certainly better than the 4th pick some people had him going on. I’m working on 2,000 words here, I need to slow down I think.

8:41 PM: Sacramento Kings take Jason Thompson with the 12th pick. He soared up my draft board after watching him some and looking at his numbers, but I still only had him at 16 because I didn’t think teams knew him enough. He put up huge numbers. Mark Jackson says that Spencer Hawes is just like Jason Thompson. No, not even close. I wish these guys would actually take the time to think before they speak. Hawes is extremely unathletic, Thompson is an athlete.

8:49 PM: Brandon Rush goes 13 to the Blazers. Love the pick, although they already have two of him in Brandon Roy and Travis Outlaw. He is a really talented guy though, and should definitely fit in well on a team that is on the come up. Darrell Arthur still hasn’t been picked, and I would be amazed if the Warriors don’t take him here.

8:51 PM: And they take Anthony Randolph. I guess they are building for the future, because he is a young immature version of Darrell Arthur. I’m watching his highlights and I didn’t realize he was so skinny. He looks like any type of collision would break 10 bones.

8:57 PM: Phoenix Suns take Robin Lopez 15th. Terrible, terrible pick. People talk about how he is a defensive player, and he is. But it’s not because he’s a really good defensive player. It’s because he is that terrible on offense. You can’t be a really good defensive player at 7 feet tall and average 5 boards in college.

9:06 PM: 76ers take Mareese Speights. I would’ve thought they would take someone more NBA ready like Arthur, but maybe these teams know something I don’t. It just seems like Arthur could help a playoff team take the next step now, but I would agree with anyone saying Speights has more potential. He could be similar to Elton Brand if he works hard enough at it.

9:08 PM: Roy Hibbert goes to the Raptors, although the Pacers will get the pick. Good value pick at this point. Hibbert should be a better player right away then the three guys drafted ahead of him, and will probably be an average starting center in the league.

9:14 PM: JaVale McGee goes 18th to the Wizards. I don’t understand why Arthur isn’t going over all these guys. Just doesn’t really make sense. Indiana has made another deal, sending Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless to the Blazers for Jarret Jack and Brandon Rush. Bayless makes more sense with the Blazers, he is more of a point guard than Rush so he fits the team better. Plus, Ike Diogu could be a steal if he gets more playing time and matures, while Jarret Jack hasn’t really done all that much.

9:20 PM: Cav’s take J.J. Hickson. I guess big guys who will more than likely be stiffs are the flavor of the moment right now. That is six picks in a row if you include Hibbert that are based almost solely on their potential rather than what they’ve done. I include Hibbert in that because, well, he underperformed in college.

9:27 PM: Bobcats take Alexis Ajinca from France. Eh, another big guy that will probably be a stiff. It’s like Groundhog Day: NBA Draft Edition.

9:36 PM: Ryan Anderson of Cal goes 21. At least he had good numbers at Cal. Still going with unproven big guys though.

9:42 PM: Magic take Courtney Lee. He fits their needs perfectly, definitely the smartest pick in awhile.

9:43 PM: The Jazz take Kosta Koufos. He is like a taller Mehmet Okur with less range. Should do well in the pick and roll system though. I now feel bad for Darrell Arthur, although I would be amazed if he isn’t taken by the Sonics here. Then again, they took Russell Westrbook with the fourth pick. That so far has been the worst pick in the draft hands down. He just is not fourth pick material.

9:50 PM: Serge Ibaka is taken by the Sonics. He will now go away for four years or so, and we’ll probably never hear from him again. By the way, how great is Fran Fraschilla’s job? He travels to scout these players around the world. Well, at least I hope he does the way they talk about his knowledge. If so, it’s a pretty kick ass job. Rockets are up next, and they need a player to back up T-Mac and Battier, and replace both when A. They need offense over defense with Battier, and B. When T-Mac gets injured, which he will.

9:55 PM: Van Gundy and Jackson steal my thoughts right there. The Rockets go on to take Nicolas Batum. Not a bad pick, probably the most ready foreign player of the group. A better pick probably would have been Bill Walker from Kansas State.

10:02 PM: George Hill goes to the Spurs. Surprising they didn’t take some front court depth here, they could really use it. Probably the remaining guys had too much of an ego. God I hate the Spurs. They make me want to punch things constantly.

10:08 PM: Finally Darrell Arthur is taken, by the Hornets which will be transferred to the Blazers. Man, the Blazers continue to impress me with their drafts. Well, despite there pick of Greg Oden last year. Still say they should have taken Durant. But they have definitely turned their team around in a hurry.

10:15 PM: Donte Green goes to the Grizzlies. Really good shooter despite his numbers last year. Reminds me of James Jones, but with more potential.

10:23 PM: Pistons select D.J. White 29th. Good choice late in the draft. Should provide decent depth in the frontcourt.

10:32 PM: Boston Celtics take J.R. Giddens with the final pick of the first round. He will provide versatile guard depth, although I’m not sure he’s any better than Tony Allen or Gabe Pruitt.

Alright, I planned on sticking around for the second round, but I’ve got a story assignment fairly early tomorrow, so I’m going to hit the sack. I’ll be sure to get out the draft notebook and make the notebook picks soon, and will also get out some draft grades. Till then, stay classy White Hat Sports readers.

~Aaron Jackson

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not to say I told you so, but.......

You had to see it right?

What I was talking about two days ago when the Diamondbacks beat the Red Sox in game one of this three game series and I predicted that this would be the match up featured in the World Series. Some people called me crazy, saying things like "This is the Cubs year" or "Nobody in the NL can stop the Phillies offense, not even Webb and Haren."

I'm here to tell you that after tonight's game I'm convinced of it, and you know what? Even more than being right about predicting this to be the Fall Classic, I want to be right because these last three days have been playoff caliber baseball in June. I know that might be a stretch at this point in the season where there are some pretenders still in contention (I'm staring a whole through Tropicana Field, Tampa!) but the thing I'm looking at with both of these teams are, neither one of them as at full strength or where I think they will be in October.

Through 81 games (yes that is officially half the major league season) the Red Sox aren't nearly as good as they will be because of injuries. David Ortiz has missed a lot of time and will miss 2-3 more weeks and will likely return after the All-Star game. He comes back and the team gets exponentially better and deeper. Right now, two of the starting pitchers that broke camp in the rotation have been on the disabled list (Buchholz and Dice-K) and have been sufficiently replaced because of the depth within the organization. The law of averages has to be in Boston's favor that they won't have the problems with injuries in the second half of the season, as long as the players that got hurt in the first half don't have lingering problems in the second half. This is a first place team that hasn't peaked yet. Comparing it to last year's team, they are two games off of last year's pace and at the 81 game mark of 2007 the Red Sox led the second place Yankees by 10.5 games in the AL East.

The Diamondbacks haven't had the same type of problem as Boston. Arizona's has been the young players that emerged for them last season haven't shown up this year. Eric Byrnes had the best surprising season I can remember, Chris B. Young ended up with a very nice year after I gave up on him in my fantasy team at the All-Star break last season. Conor Jackson has stepped up this season, but he is about the only one. Chris Snyder has been solid behind the plate, which was looked at as a weakness for this team. Their bullpen is very good, Chad Qualls has nasty stuff and Tony Pena has been lights out setting up. The problem with the bullpen for this team is the end of the game. I just don't trust Brandon Lyon. As a Red Sox fan and follower, I hear the name and the only good thing that comes to mind is trading him for Curt Schilling. When getting traded is the best memory of somebody, it's either 1. not a good thing or 2. your name is Heathcliff Slocumb.

But the main part of this team is the starting pitching which even in this series where they lost two out of three games, they got good starting pitching in all three games. Dan Haren was lights out in game one, Doug Davis threw 7+ innings of 4 hit ball in game two, and Randy Johnson showed that if healthy he can carry the load as the number three of the staff. This is one of those teams that if they make the playoffs is the biggest question about them. If they do, nobody wants to face them.

Now a day off, I will be watching the NBA Draft in the white chair at my buddy Zach's. I'll be in contact with Jackson during his Jogging Diary of the NBA Draft as well, so be sure to check that out on Friday. I can't wait for that, and Bill Simmons Running Diary. Friday's a big day.

Sterling Pingree

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The First Red Sox Jogging Diary

Coming live from the home of Sterling, we bring you my interpretation of, the Ultimate Red Sox Show? Oh that’s right, because every Red Sox game here in the last week has to have at the very least a 15 minute rain delay before it, because we are in the midst of the longest storm of the century this decade. And what a shame it is, it’s raining on Jerry Remy Day? Are you kidding me? Is there no God?
While I hear the same stats from Hazel Maye about the great Bob Kurtz, let me get you up to speed on what we’ve seen in the pre-game show tonight.
They had short clips of celebrities telling Remy how much they admire him and congratulating him 20 years with NESN. Oh yeah, Ben Affleck was on there too.
(Did you see what I did there, that was a joke about Ben Affleck).

This jogging diary almost didn’t happen for tonight, my heart just wasn’t in it, but it was either do tonight’s game, or do tomorrow night’s game which matches up Randy Johnson (44) and Tim Wakefield (41). I would do tomorrow night’s game, but there is a Perry Mason special on I just can’t miss.

7:20pm Don O. is on the field introducing a group of people who have worked for NESN while Remy has been there. What? They didn’t bring back the illustrious Bob Rodgers? Very good to see Sean McDonough back at the Fens.

7:23pm A nice grouping of former players on hand, Rick Burleson, Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Dennis Eckersley and HOLY SHIT. One of Remy’s sons looks like a guy from My New Haircut video, but a bit more over the top if you can imagine that.

7:26pm Jerry Remy just invented the word histerious.

7:27pm I miss Bob Kurtz and Sean McDonough.

7:29pm Apparently Remy calling Carl Crawford’s steal of home is the NESN equivalent of Babe Ruth calling his shot. Things you don’t know until they honor somebody on the field.

7:32pm Remy thanks his wife for her support of 30 years, her reaction is to flirt with Carlton Fisk some more. This is a special night.
Masterson vs. Davis, NEXT
For the sake of myself, I’m going to jog by half inning instead of the time, that will only happen if somebody takes a ball off the eye during mid-inning warm ups. That never happens, wink wink Youk.

Top of the 1st, Masterson sits the Snakes down in order. By the way, why is nobody talking about how good Justin Masterson is? I just feel like nobody outside of NESN and the Nation are talking about how good this kid is. He is 4-1 with an ERA right on 3.00. If this was Joba Chamberlain’s line, Job would be engraved on the Cy Young award already.

Bottom of the 1st In honor of Jerry Remy Day, current Red Sox second basemen, The American Dream Dustin Pedroia slams one into the monster seats. The parallel is lost on both Don and Jerry as neither of them recognizes that Remy played 2nd base. The immortally hot JD Drew grounds out, followed by back to back singles from Manny and Lowell leaving it up to the struggling Captain. Tek drills the ball off Doug Davis and of course with his luck the ricochet goes directly to Stephen Drew at short and Tek is gunned out at first.
In the words of the immortal Jerry Reed, “When you’re hot you hot, when you’re not you not.”

8:00pm Just saw Conan O’Brien say congratulations to Remy, one question. What the hell is up with his hair? Joining Remy and Don in the both is Walt Hriniak. Good guy, definitely not long winded though.

Top of the 2nd. Masterson yields a lead off single to Conor Jackson which leads to shot of Lee Tinsley just looking irritated at having to wear a helmet. Hriniak just told Don that Jerry is a tap dancer. Jerry quickly changes the subject. Jackson steals second on the bobble at the bag by Julio Lugo. How rough a season is Julio Lugo having right now? He boxed a routine line drive up the middle last night, tonight he can’t take the throw from the catcher. I defiantely don’t see him back next season.
Chad Tracy strikes out, but then gets new life when a foul tip is called, replay shows no foul tip. Of course this is followed up by Tracy ripping a single to right center tying the game up. This just has to happen, it’s a rule in the American League.
Masterson having a bit of wildness, walks Ojeda, then falls behind Salazar before he drives on to the bullpen wall that Drew is able to keep in the yard. The Diary almost went up in flames right there, thank god for JD Drew.
(That last phrase has never been said more than it has in Boston the last 2 weeks). Masterson strikes out Chris Snyder and the threat is over. Tied up 1-1.

Bottom of the 2nd. Youkilis is out tonight because his eye is very watery. Not because it swollen or anything but because it’s really watery. I’m avoiding the joke right now about someone being on the disabled list because they couldn’t stop crying. Mainly because Youkilis would snap if he read it, so we’ll just move on.
SHHH. Jacoby Ellsbury’s up, I’ve got to focus in on what’s going on. You never know what could happen when this guy’s up. He could hit an inside the park home run, he could steal two bases on one throw or he could break land speed records you just never know. This time however he strands Coco at second by grounding out to end the inning.

Top of the 3rd
Ground out, strike out……Bob Kurtz has his finger stuck in his eye? Then a single for O-Dawg, Orlando Hudson and Remy seems upset that somebody else has a name with Dawg in it. Let’s keep him away from Snoop.
Masterson walks Conor Jackson, starting to worry about this one. The hitters look a little over matched right now. Until Chad Tracy takes the next pitch out of the ballpark for a three run homer. 4-1 Snakes.
Bottom of the 3rd.
Mayor Menino now goes up to the booth and right away goes into doing material. I swear all Mayor Menino does is go to Fenway and ride in parades, the guy has the life I’m telling you. I’m going to run for Mayor of someplace someday. Some place with good sports teams. Any ideas leave them as comments under this column. Other than this, a quiet inning, Sox go down in order.

Top of the 4th.
A shot of the Remy family up in a Suite, shows the muscled up and that’s being nice, son. Jerry tells Don he can rent him out as a body guard if he wants to. I think he’s serious. Tom Werner and John Henry come up to the booth now, and both are ragging on Remy for wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt. Side note, John Henry is dressed to the 9’s, it’s like a suite but more fancy some how.
My dad says, “He’s dressed up”.
I say, “He’s a billionaire, he can afford it.” I sound like Morty Seinfeld over here.
Inning over, wait, Werner and Henry are gonna roast Remy. Pretty good top 10 list of reasons they had Jerry Remy day.
The numbers 5 reason, “We didn’t give one to Hazel Mae and look how that turned out”

Bottom of the 4th
Lowell walked, Tek hit into a DP. Great inning, I’m starting to rethink doing this tomorrow night would be better. At this point I’m just praying for Lenny Clarke to show up. He can’t save this Jogging Diary, but he could save this game.

Top of the 5th,
Rick Burleson is back! One of my favorite sox players is at the ballpark for the first time since about 2002. Masterson intentionally walks Chad Tracy, leading to an inning ending double play. Well thought out, Tito. That’s how it works in the movies.

Bottom of the 5th.
Renee Russo is now calling the booth. Don Orsillo is noticeably blushing on the booth. Don even waves when she says that she loves him. Most notable thing that happens this inning as the bottom of the Sox line up continues to provide no punch. Ellsbury grounds out, even he is looking lackluster, these short rain delays to start the games I think are really wearing the team down. They aren’t dealing with these well, think of it this way, going into tonight they have only won one of these last 4 games that had rain delay’s.

Top of the 6th.
Masterson cruises to two outs before yielding a hit to number 9 hitter Chris Snyder. Things like this are what kill pitch counts for young guys like this, closing out innings are tough. Now Masterson is getting a little wild to Eric Byrnes, falling behind 3-0. Masterson works very well from the full wind up, has a little trouble from the stretch. This is a problem that I feel that a lot of the Sox pitching prospects have had. Lester, Buchholz have both worked better from the full wind up instead of from the stretch. With their success throughout their entire life, I would be willing to bet none of them have had to throw a lot from the stretch. I think I’m onto something, Byrnes grounds out to end the inning. Now the Sox need to start to make a move and chip into this lead if they are going to do it tonight.

Bottom of the 6th.
Bob Kurtz comes up to the booth and he and Jerry proceed to tell inside jokes and stories for the full half inning while Don stands there and has the smile of the guy who doesn’t know what’s going on. Manny hits a two out single and the inning ends two pitches later when Lowell grounds out to short. Don rushes Kurtz out of the booth.

Top of the 7th.
Chris Smith has now come into the game, don’t ask him what he throws though, because he won’t tell you. If Cal Naughton Jr, is the Magic Man, then Chris Smith is the Mystery Man. LENNY CLARKE IS IN THE BOOTH.
Mystery Man gets out of the inning, I’m now drying my eyes, because Lenny Clarke just had me crying. That guy needs to come on once a game at least, who wouldn’t love that? I’m gonna put this on my idea for the HBO Game of the Week.

Bottom of the 7th.

Top of the 8th.

Bottom of the 8th.
Lugo hits a lead off single, 3rd hit I believe since Pedroia’s home run in the first inning.
Single now for Jacoby Ellsbury. In the words of Harry Doyle, “And the Sox have something going”.
Davis is gone, Snakes go to the pen for the first time tonight.
The American Dream is battling Chad Qualls right now, who’s slider Jerry just compared to Craig Hansen. You know he’s made it when Jerry says something like that. I’m just so proud of one of my Acolytes of Hope has made the big time.
Single by the Dream scores Lugo, 4-2, and still two on and nobody out with JD Drew coming to the plate. Drew is starting to show signs of slowing down. Drew goes down swinging setting up an inevitable Manny double play.
I predicted that before his at-bat, but thank goodness Augie Ojeda didn’t get the memo and bobbled the ball and could only get Manny going to first. I would intentionally walk Lowell here and pitch to Moss with first base open. Lowell last season had more singles with men in scoring position than anybody in Baseball.
Lowell delivers by doubling off the monster, game is tied 4-4.
Tek drills a hanging slider into right field to plate the go ahead run. Orsillo knows how big Jerry Remy Night is, you can hear it in his voice.
Cinco Ocho is warming up in the pen, Youkilis is begging to get into the game as a defensive replacement, Moss drills a single into right field and Francona celebrates by blowing a snot rocket into his hand.
Tony Pena enters; Coco Crisp pops out to end the inning. Side note that I heard earlier today, the Red Sox have already had more DL moves this year than they had all of last season. I guess I have to feel good about the fact that they are in first place with that statistic. Because law of averages shows that they shouldn’t have that many down the stretch in the second half. As you can tell I’m just praying Papelbon can nail this one down.
Youkilis is now into the game as a defensive replacement at first base. Guy’s just tough!

Top of the 9th.
9. Chris Snyder
Foul ball (1-2)
Strike 3 swinging, 1 out
1.Eric Byrnes
Foul Ball (0-2)
Ball (Slider)
Foul Ball (sitting dead red on a fastball and was way in front of 96mph head)
Foul Ball (1-2)
Ball (Outside with a fastball, 2-2)
Ball (Splitter in the dirt count runs full. When people have long at bats against Paps it makes me nervous.
Foul ball, (Byrnes way out in front of it again. He is way out on the fastball, go off speed.)
Ball four. Byrnes walks, tying run on base.
It seems like the approach to Papelbon is to sit on the fastball now. We are seeing it with more and more teams, sit on the fastball and look for offspeed once the count evens up.
2. Drew
Strike (Drew behind the fastball high and away. Paps is having a better time with lefties this season.)
Close pick off throw at first, Paps has an underrated move, ask Matt Holliday.
Foul Ball (0-2, Drew is at Papelbon’s mercy now, if he has any.)
Swing and a miss strike 3, 2 outs.
3. Orlando Hudson
Another pick off throw by Papelbon, not something we see a lot of out of the big guy. Obviously this is something they have been talking about between appearances, because the Snakes don’t run much though they do have speed in the lineup
Foul Ball, down the left field line. (0-1)
Ball, misses high with a fastball.
Don Orsillo is now bringing up painful memories of Papelbon’s blown save on Sunday, Thanks Don.
Ground ball to third, Lowell throws onto Youkilis and the Sox take game 2 of the World Series Preview, Series.

A real nice win for the Sox and on Jerry Remy Night nonetheless. Time for me to hit the showers, put on some Icy Hot and get ready for tomorrow game. Get ready for Jackson’s Jogging Diary of the NBA Draft on Thursday.

Sterling Pingree

Updated Draft Preview...

Alright, I already have done a huge 4 part NBA Draft preview, and have plans on doing a MASSIVE jogging diary on Thursday. But, my draft preview is no longer accurate, as player workouts have gone by and players have officially declared or undeclared for the draft. So I need to update my draft, but I'm not going to get into specifics like last time as that would take forever. What I will do is give quick reasons for any changes I've made, and give you my original posts: 1-10, 11-20, 21-30.
Here we go...

#1. Michael Beasley-Chicago Bulls: Just for the record, I love Derrick Rose and think he is going to be one of the best, and I'm not sold on Beasley being a star and team leader. That being said, Beasley fits the Bulls need SO much better than Rose does that I just can't see them passing on him. It just doesn't make sense to do that without a major roster adjustment.

#2. Derrick Rose-Miami Heat: Rose and Wade playing alongside each other equals nightmares for opposing teams for years.

#3. O.J. Mayo-Minnesota Timberwolves: I'm not sold on Mayo, but he is the best available player. The Wolves have a player just like him in Rashad McCants, but they don't have a very good front office and will likely just take the easy route in taking Mayo. The smart thing for them to do is trade the pick.

#4. Eric Gordon-Seattle Supersonics: Most draft projections don't have Gordon this high, but I love his shot and he is exactly what the Sonics need. Well, besides a big guy, but after Beasley there isn't a potential Hall of Fame big guy. I do think Gordon has that potential.

#5. Brook Lopez-Memphis Grizzlies: Lopez will be a huge bust, and the Grizzlies are a terrible organization. Perfect match.

#6. Danillo Gallinari- New York Knicks: The talk is D'Antoni doesn't like Gallinari. I doubt that is true. Gallinari is exactly what D'Antoni's system is all about, and they would be idiots not to take him.

#7. Jerryd Bayless-Los Angeles Clippers: Still not sold on this guy for the same reason as before...he couldn't lead his team anywhere at all at Arizona. He seems like the flavor of the month, and although he has the talent to back up the pick here, I don't see him panning out.

#8. Darrell Arthur-Milwaukee Bucks: They could take Joe Alexander here, but they have so many swingmen it just doesn't make sense. Arthur could be a very good player in the league at some point, and while he is also a swingman, he can play more down low which is what most of their current swingmen don't do.

#9. Kevin Love-Charlotte Bobcats: Here is my second change. I had DeAndre Jordan going here, but it seems the Bobcats like Love. Personally, I don't think he's the right choice because they have Sean May, and a frontcourt of May and Love is extremely unathletic. But as long as Okafor stays healthy and they don't have to play those two guys consistently together they may make it work.

#10. Kosta Koufos-New Jersey Nets: At this point the Nets don't need guards, which severly limits their options. Koufos is a big guy that doesn't play like it, but he has decent basketball skills and could develop into a decent pro.

#11. Russell Westbrook-Indiana Pacers: He goes here because the Pacers need a guard and Westbrook has been hyped big time recently. Personally, I love D.J. Augustin much, much, much more, but I'm not sure the Pacers feel the same way.

#12. D.J. Augustin-Sacramento Kings: If he falls this far, he will be one of my picks to go into my notebook, which essentially means instant success. I love his style of play, and his offensive game is amazing. If he can work on his defense he could be one of the top players in the league, even without that he will be a very good player.

#13. Joe Alexander-Portland Trail Blazers: I think this guy could be very good, and this is the perfect team for him to go to. This team is stacked for the future, and I really think he could be a main piece in that.

#14. Mario Chalmers-Golden State Warriors: I still love Ty Lawson here, but he dropped out, so the Warriors go with the next best thing in Chalmers.

#15. Brandon Rush-Phoenix Suns: If this Suns sell this pick like they have the last few I will be ripping into them hardcore. Rush is a very good player, and is ready to play now.

#16. Jason Thompson-Philadelphia 76ers: I don't know much about this guy, and he didn't even make the top 30 in my first previews, but I have since looked at his college numbers: 2o and 12 on 56% shooting.

#17. Roy Hibbert-Toronto Raptors: The Raptors need size, and while Hibbert doesn't really fit their style of play, he will go here because he's the best available true center.

#18. Anthony Randolph-Washington Wizards: Lots of talent, lots of questions. At this point, the Wizards are ok with taking the chance.

#19. Donte Green-Cleveland Cavaliers: This guy also has lots of talent, and should be able to provide a decent backup to Lebron and put in some good minutes at shooting guard. The Cavs need someone that can contribute now, and really there isn't anyone that is a guarantee, so they take the guy with the best talent that fits somewhat of a need.

#20. Robin Lopez-Denver Nuggets: As an Allen Iverson fan I really hope they don't take Lopez, but he fits a need. He will at least provide defense and intensity, even if it is coming from a very untalented player.

#21. J.J. Hickson-New Jersey Nets: Good down low player, and the Nets need guys just like that.

#22. Chris Douglas-Roberts-Orlando Magic: The Magic need guards, both at the point and at the two guard. They can deal however with Jameer Nelson, and getting Roberts here will help fill the void at the two, especially considering the team and J.J. Redick aren't on the best of terms.

#23. JaVale McGee-Utah Jazz: This is a toss up between McGee and Mareese Speights, but McGee seems to fit better in the pick and roll, which is essential for the Jazz.

#24. Mareese Speights-Seattle Supersonics: This is a very big man, and he could be Elton Brand like if he can just develop a better work ethic. Brand's work ethic is unbelievable though, so more than likely Speights never lives up to his potential.

#25. Bill Walker-Houston Rockets: Walker is a hell of a player, and to get him this late is a good steal. He can provide more offense than Battier at the three, and can also supplant T-Mac to keep him fresh and to take his place during his inevitable injury.

#26. Ante Tomic-San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs always take players without egos, and normally international ones at that. While their system worked in the past, I think it ended over the last few years. I don't think Tomic ever amounts to much, but the Spurs take him because he doesn't disrupt their system.

#27. DeAndre Jordan-New Orleans Hornets: This guy has plenty of upside, and will at least provide a decent big man off the bench to help keep David West healthy.

#28. Alexis Ajinca-Memphis Grizzlies: This guy could be really good down the road, and the Grizzlies are in no hurry. He'll stay overseas and develop for the future.

#29. DeVon Hardin-Detroit Pistons: I sincerely doubt the Pistons keep this pick, so there isn't really a need to analyze it.

#30. Nicolas Batum-Boston Celtics: I don't think they see anyone available that they are willing to open a roster spot for, so they take a supremely talented player for the future and let him stay overseas.

If you want better, more in depth analysis go to the links I posted at the beginning, this just provides a more accurate blue print of how I think the draft should and will go. Stay tuned for Thursday, not only will I do a jogging diary but I'll also be fielding questions in the White Hat Chat at the bottom of the page.

~Aaron Jackson

In the midst of the World Series Preview

Last night I felt it.

It's the same feeling I had about the Red Sox and Rockies regular season series last year, well when they were playing in the World Series this is how I felt about their regular season series. But last night was something that I really haven't seen a lot of this season with any teams. And that's a good old fashioned pitchers duel. A lot of aces this year have had rocky starts and down years to begin with. I mean Justin Verlander is 3-9 for crying out loud and C.C. Sabathia has almost as many home runs this season as he did wins in the entire month of April. Even the combatants last night have had their struggles this year. Josh Beckett since coming off the disabled list to start the season has had a couple shakey starts and his only start where he looked to have dominant stuff was his start in Cincinnati last Sunday. Dan Haren (he's going by Dan now, Danny's a kid's name. Dan sounds more grown up. And no, I haven't just watched Little Big League).

Last night's game though had the feel, of two teams that have good pitching, timly hitting and good defense played all around, (aside from Brandon Moss's bobble allowing Arizona's second run). It makes sense though that these two teams could play each other in the Fall Classic. Arizona has to be the favorite to win the NL west and in the playoffs, what always wins? That's right good pitching and would anybody want to face Brandon Webb and Dan Haren twice each in a best of 7 series, and could the Cubs, Phillies or (for arguments sake) Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks in a 5 game series? I mean really, you would be looking at Webb in game one, Haren in game 2, potentially Randy Johnson or Doug Davis or (my favorite of the three) Micah Owings for games three and four. Then coming right back with Brandon Webb for a potential game 5.

Tonight could be the night for the Inaugural Jogging Diary Red Sox edition. It could happen, it is Jerry Remy Night at Fenway, who knows what this could entail, though I guarantee we see more highlights of him falling off desks than diving after balls in the hole at 2ND.

To recap, Jogging Diary a possibility for tonight and these next two games are a World Series Preview, I'm calling it right here right now. Sox and Snakes in the Fall Classic.

Sterling Pingree

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Tale Of A Hypocrite

Jemele Hill. She is an ESPN Page 2 columnist, and I use the term columnist in the broadest sense of the term. Frankly, she is terrible. If anyone has ever read her garbage you would understand, and if you haven't here is a link to read her writing. I know you'll agree. Now I'm not normally the guy to criticize someone, I have many flaws of my own. But at some point people have to be responsible for their actions. Heres what went down...

In a recent article about the Boston Celtics she says, and I quote, cheering "for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim." I mean, I'm pretty sure that isn't any better than what Don Imus said. Frankly, I think that should be the end for her, but not just because of that comment. Here is why...

Jemele Hill is constantly writing about race. In fact, it is very rare that she writes about anything else. Any time there is an issue about race she manages to beat it to death. She was one of the people calling for Don Imus to be fired after his "nappy headed hoes" comment, and she manages to insert race into issues that have nothing to do with the matter. In fact, a direct quote from her is "now, the killer for me is that I'm a double-minority. On any given day, I either don't know anything because I'm a woman or I'm a affirmative action hire because I'm black." She also admits to constantly writing about race, stating "Just because I've written extensively about race doesn't render me incapable of making the same mistakes as the people I've written about." She was one of the first ones jumping on golf announcer Kelly Tilghman after her remarks about Tiger. So clearly I think I've established the fact that she puts race in just about everything, including describing herself.

She also is just a terrible columnist. After reading her articles for ESPN's Page 2 I wonder if maybe she blackmailed them into hiring her somehow, because there are so many better writers out there. And I'm not the only one who believes this. If you look at the comments readers put at the end of her drivel you'll see that maybe one out of every fifteen is actually a positive comment, the other fourteen are calling for her to just stop writing altogether. She often defends people she considers "friends" while hating on people that she doesn't. In comparing A-Rod to Kobe Bryant recently she said "say what you will about Kobe Bryant, but at least he's not a mercenary who wants all of the money, but none of the pressure, and doesn't perform in the playoffs. In other words, at least he's not Alex Rodriguez." Now, I don't enjoy defending A-Rod here, but Kobe threatened to go to the Clippers, the team playing in the same building as his own, until they upped their ante. He also ripped into his teammate Andrew Bynum during the off-season, and repeatedly stated he wanted out of L.A. By the way, he makes over 33 mil. after endorsements and salary. A-Rod makes 28 mil. He also resigned with the Yankees for what many people considered a "good deal" at the time. Never mind the fact that teams could pay A-Rod as much as they want, while teams have strict salary limits in the NBA.

Heres the last part of my rant. Her apology was terrible and hypocritical. She couldn't even go one article without contradicting herself.
" Real apologies don't mix with rationalizations, so I won't insult your intelligence by offering you any." Later in the same article; "it doesn't matter that my intent was to use hyperbole to bolster the humor." Sounds exactly like a rationalization to me. Then she actually takes another shot at the same people she is supposed to be apologizing to when she says "I learned some good and some not-so-good things about people during the week of my suspension. I've learned who my friends are. I've learned Boston Celtics fans sure do know how to make the most out of e-mail." By saying that right there, in her apology article no less, she shows she is not apologetic at all. She then goes on to say that "when it comes to race, uncomfortable is best." No Jemele, it's the opposite. The world will be the place we want it to be when we are all comfortable with each and every race, with each and every person. People being uncomfortable with race is exactly what is wrong with our society. But, I guess if we were all comfortable with each other you would have nothing to write about would you Jemele. Your writing oftentimes isn't even good enough to get into my local newspaper in Maine, let alone be posted on "the worldwide leader in sports." If ESPN was smart, they would cut ties with you here and now. And not because of your comment. No, because, even if you were a good writer at one point, you are not anymore. The comment you made may be racist, it may not be, it doesn't matter. I guess it's all in your perspective. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter. You don't deserve the position you are in, never have, and if this is what it takes to justify your release then so be it.

So there it is. Count me among the "haters" if you want Jemele, but the only thing you ever had going for you is playing the race card, and now that the race card is coming right back at you you don't know how to deal. You aren't a good writer, very few people read your articles and the ones who do mostly hate them. Furthermore, you have just proven yourself to be a hypocrite multiple times in one article.

I'll leave you with this from Ms. Hill; "
I'm not going to stop writing about race. It's just that the next time I do, I'll be carrying an enhanced perspective." And the one trick pony trots on...

~Aaron Jackson

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Star Watch or Whatever Jackson Named it; AL Edition

Aaron Jackson has come up with some good idea's in his time, none of which involve Las Vegas. His best to this point though is his preview of who should make the MLB all-star game. Now I have written on this very site about my disdain for the All-Star games, but with the Red Sox as good as they are now, this is about the only time since 1993 or so in which it means a lot because the winner gets home field in the World Series.
This All-Star game could be legendary, for a few reasons:
1. It's at Yankee Stadium, in the Stadium's final year as it's "Jerry Jones" original version. (I like that term, I may start using that more and more. Like that woman looked like hell, but she pulled a Jerry Jones and now she ain't bad."
B. The Red Sox could have about 5 starters on the team as well as about 3 players making the bench of Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Take that Hank!
3. The David Ortiz Call Your Shot promotion. A lucky fan will get to pick a spot for David Ortiz to hit a home run in the park right before the final round of the Home Run Derby. Recreating perhaps the greatest moment in Yankee history with a Red Sox player in the House that Ruth Built. Priceless.

Without further ado, to the picks.

Catcher. The leader right now is Jason Varitek, and it's hard for me to go against the captain. It's kind of a toss up at this point, but actually I think I am going to go with Joe Mauer at starting catcher. Whenever is a catcher is hitting .335 in late June, I have a rule that they need to be on the All-Star team. Granted he only has two home runs to this point, but that is becoming his game, he is a high average guy and has been handling a really young pitching staff pretty well, keeping the Twins in contention in the Bizzaro American League Central.

The Pick: Joe Mauer

1st Base. Ahh the position that is as near and dear to my heart as my unborn children. The position that I played from Little League to legion Ball, (I was even All-Conference 1st team). This one to me was a no brainer up to about 2 weeks ago when the race completely changed. Two weeks ago I said that it was without question Kevin Youkilis. He hadn't committed an error since Mike Hargrove was the manager of the Seattle Mariners and was in the top 4 in batting average. In the time since then, Youkilis has gone into a little slump (two home runs today, including a game winner, he's trying to influence the judges in this column. Walk off dongs is how you do that too.) The other thing that happened in this time is that Justin Morneau started hitting for power again. He has 14 home runs at this point and has even jumped ahead of Youkilis by a percentage point in batting average. This one is very close, the case for Morneau would never happen because of the fan vote, so Youkilis will get the nod, but to me it's a toss up.

The Pick: Kevin Youkilis

2ND Base. The leader is Dustin Pedroia, and I suspect that he will end up the starter. His BA has gone into a nose dive after getting into an uncharacteristically fast start this season after his Rookie of the Year campaign last year. I feel like Pedroia will get the nod pretty much by default because there aren't any other second basemen that has gotten off to a good start this season. The guy I think that would have given him the greatest push (I feel like Joe Morgan talking about 2ND basemen like this, bare with me), would be Howie Kendrick of the Angels. So far in his career he has been sort of injury riddled and hasn't been able to show what he's been able to do for the entire season. BJ Upton though is the only real viable candidate to oppose the "American Dream" Dustin Pedroia. If there has been a bigger surprise of a bigger feel good story this year it's the Tampa Bay Rays. Upton could make a run at it, but those Rabid Ray fans are pretty much 10 guys from Del Boca Vista and Knobbs from the former WWE Tag Team Champions the Nasty Boys.

The Pick: The American Dream Dustin Pedroia.

Shortstop. This one seems pretty cut and dry that Derek Jeter will be the guy out there. And why wouldn't he be, it's at Yankee Stadium, there aren't that many very good shortstops in the American League now that Miguel Tejada has left for Houston and an E:60 set. Though he is a Yankee, so I cannot give him my full vote of confidence, I must find something that will vanquish the demon. Michael Young! YES! Young has one more home run than Jeter, is hitting two points better than him, does have one less stolen base, but besides Jacoby Ellsbury I don't really care about stolen bases. Young tops him by one percentage point in on base, but the real way to separate these two is slugging percentage. Jeter is resting at a paltry .379 SLG, where as Michael Young is raking at a Ruthian .404 SLG clip. Case closed!

The Pick: Michael Young

3rd Basemen A-Rod. I wish I could argue Mike Lowell, I guess I'll have to do that for Gold Glove when he gets screwed out of that again this year. (By the way he should have won the last two in the American League, I'm just saying.)

The Pick: Alex Rodriguez

Outfield. The leaders right now are Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro. I have no problem with the first two. Manny is having another Manny season, Josh Hamilton might the biggest surprise of the season if the Rays aren't. But Ichiro? Really Asia? Ichiro isn't even hitting .300! That's all he does is leg out hits, get his 200 hits and make All-Star teams. He has played great defense in center field, but he is playing on the team with the worst record in Baseball, his manager just got fired. How does it happen that someone starts the All-Star team when his team is the worst in Baseball record wise at the All-Star break? That doesn't fly with me. So who do I pick here? I saved up my "Homer Points" by not taking Varitek for catcher so I could take it here. I know I am going to hear about this one from everyone but die hard Sox fans. My pick for the third starting outfielder is.................JD DREW!!!!!!!! The guy has own the month of June, David Ortiz went down and the guy became the Mickey Mantle clone that many thought he was going to be when he came out of Florida State. Forget the 14 million dollar grand slam, this 2 week period he has had in the last 2 weeks has been about the most incredible stretch I have seen from a hitter. There is hot and then there is JD Drew in June of 2008 hot.

The Picks: Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton and JD Drew!!!
(That's right, JD Drew!!! gets exclamation points!!!)

Short tangent, is there a better baseball announcer than Jon Miller? I mean really? I have been watching this guy on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN for as long as I can remember and it has always been something I have enjoyed. I am watching the battle of Chi-town right now, it's 5-0 Cubbies and a Nick Swisher (why must you play for the wrong Sox my wayward son) ground out to second gets a "Stab by DeRosa, he throws, OUT" from Miller. Great times, Berman and Miller. Now that is a show my friends. Let's work on making this happen.

Designated Hitter. I'm wearing down, you're wearing down. I'll just say David Ortiz and be done with it.

The Pick: David Ortiz

Some saucy pitching match ups this week as the D-Backs come into Fenway Park this week. What if I told you the first MLB Jogging Diary was going to take place this week, is that something you might be interested in?

Sterling Pingree

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Look At The Stars...NL Edition

Alright, while I'm waiting on your input about the hottest sportscasters contest, I decided to do a run down of who's most deserving of your votes for the upcoming MLB All Star Game. I'll start with the NL, then go to the AL later.

Catcher-Ryan Doumit, Pittsburgh Pirates: You can make a case for Brian McCann of Atlanta, Geovany Soto of Cubs, Russell Martin from the Dodgers and Bengie Molina from the Giants, but they just don't compare to Doumit. Heres why: Doumit has 9 home runs even though he spent a decent amount of time on the DL. He also is slugging .609 and is hitting .341 with a .387 on base percentage. All three of those percentages are higher than any other guy on that list. If he hadn't been injured he would be a shoe in, but the injury caused his non-percentage numbers to suffer some.

1st Base-Lance Berkman, Houston Astros: This guy is clearly the pick for the first base slot, especially after Albert Pujols injury. He is the best hitter in the NL hands down right now at first, and is headed towards an amazing statistical season. If he isn't the starting first baseman on this team it's a travesty.

2nd Base-Chase Utley, Philadephia Phillies
: Despite his recent struggles, the nod still has to go to Utley. He is on the verge of giving his team their third straight MVP, an unbelievable feat. For him to be hitting the ball as hard as he has from the second base position is a huge boost for the Phillies.

3rd Base-Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves: Yes, his average has dropped below .400 now to .390. He is still the all star at third base by a long shot. The last three guys have been absolute shoe-ins, with Dan Uggla at second base being the only player even approaching similar production to the player I've listed.

Shortstop-Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins: Everyone talks about the trade this year that gave the Rangers Josh Hamilton and the Reds Edison Volquez, but how about the Sox-Marlins deal a few years ago that got the Marlins Ramirez and gave the Sox Beckett and Mike Lowell. That was a deal that was great for both teams. Hanley has been everything the Sox expected when he was in the minors and more, and is becoming one of the great young players in the game.

Outfielders-Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers; Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies; Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals: Braun is the class of this group. Watching him live I can tell you he is one of the best hitters in the game, and hits the ball extremely hard. Holliday should be a perennial All Star at this point, his numbers are always great and he is continuing that this year despite his injury. Ludwick could be around to stay, or he could be a guy that doesn't have staying power, but right now he is the reason the Cardinals are still in the playoff race. He has been great this year, and that is what the All Star game is all about.

I'll get to the NL pitchers later in the week, then do the AL in the same format. Also, you better believe I'll be doing a running diary of the NBA draft comparing my selections to what teams actually did. That is, as long as I don't have to work late that day...I may actually just DVR it in case I am working late. Also, I'll be giving you my picks that I put in my draft notebook as the best players relative to their draft position in the draft. In case you wanted to see the past years success I've had, you can go right here.

~Aaron Jackson

And She's Hott Too....

Alright, here it is, the first annual hottest sportscaster awards from White Hat Sports. Heres the catch; the girl must actually know her sports. She can't just be extremely hott and know nothing. Therefore, girls like Jillian Barberie do not count. I only will choose girls that would still have their jobs if they were extremely ugly bald men, because they also have knowledge of sports and/or reporting skills. I'll start with number 5 and work my way towards number 1.

#5.Stacey Dales, ESPN: This girl goes on the list because not only does she know sports, she played sports. Formerly Stacey Dales-Schuman, the now divorced Dales was a very talented WNBA player (not that anyone would know that, who watches the WNBA). Now she does some sideline reporting for college football, and is also a college basketball analyst for ESPN. She goes on this list because, at six feet tall, she must have some really long legs, and you know she's in shape because she was a former athlete. She also seems to know her stuff, so that means she certainly qualifies for this list. She very slightly beat out Summer Sanders for the #5 slot, and really only beat her because I haven't seen Summer do anything for a long time now.

#4. Melissa Stark, (formerly) ESPN: The now NBC sideline reporter is definitely up there on my list. She used to do sideline reporting for Monday Night Football, and, at last check, was doing reporting for NBC for skating. I do believe we will be seeing her during the Olympics coverage on NBC, so that is at least one reason to watch the Olympics this years. Well, that and the fact that there won't be any other sports on for the most part.

There's number 5 and number 4 in my opinion. I already have a top 3 lined up, but I'm sure there are girls I am missing. Please send me e-mails, leave comments, do whatever you need to do to let me know of the girls you think are the hottest knowledgeable sportscasters. Something like this is always up for debate, and you guys can absolutely change the list.

~Aaron Jackson

Friday, June 20, 2008

Schilling's Career Over?

Curt Schilling announced today that he will undergo season ending surgery, and that it may spell the end of his career. This comes as a very, very, very sad moment for me. I still remember Theo wining and dining Curt, and it was a defining moment in Red Sox history. Noone can convince me otherwise. The guy was a proven winner, someone that everyone knew was clutch. What we didn't know is, as Colin Cowherd likes to put it, that he had IT. IT is something that is very hard to find. Players with IT take teams to another level, something that only the greatest of the great can ever do. Now, Schillings numbers may not back up my assertion that he has IT, but his other credentials do. Schill changed the atmosphere of the Sox. He was part of that group that took the team from good, but rarely great, and turned them into great when they needed it most. The entire attitude of the team changed because Schill helped change it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He deserves to go into the hall of fame regardless of what his numbers say. And normally if my favorite team wasted a big chunk of change on a guy who never pitched in the season I would be upset, but with Schilling I'm not.

I'll leave you with this note. When Schilling was brought into the Sox organization, I went out and immediately bought his jersey, something I had never done before. When my favorite team acquires a new player I will not buy their merchandise, because you never know how it's going to turn out. I bought his jersey because I new, before he arrived, that he would only leave a positive legacy with the team. I had no idea they would win two World Series in his very short time with the team, but I could just tell he was going to take the team to another level, not just with his play on the field but also with his attitude off it.

~Aaron Jackson

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sweeping up the confetti

It's official, it's in the books. 

The Celtics are the NBA Champions and I made the trip down today for the parade. Here are a few notes from the day. 

*The best shirts of the day all involved Jack Nicholson, this was a pleasant surprise. (The top seller from what I could see was the very simple "Jack Sucks" T-shirt.) I got the one with a picture of Jack as the Joker in Batman, that says "Hey Jack, the jokes on you!" There was also an A Few Good Men Themed shirts out there too. 

*During the parade Greg Dickerson was one of the 3 most excited people to be there today behind Paul Pierce and Big Baby Davis. Dickerson was glowing being on a float with Mike Gorman, Tom Heinson and John Havlicek. He was doing the Manny Point, smiling big, to a point that a female that made the trip with me and my buddy Olderman, actually thought that he was flirting with her from the float. Now that is parade dominance. 

*Two greatest moments of the parade that i'm going to stretch to 4 is this. 
Seeing John Havlicek there and being genuinely excited, Paul Pierce with the cigar and the mvp trophy, KG screaming on the back of his float while PJ Brown clutched the trophy to his chest like Paul Bearer used to do with his urn. Perhaps the greatest moment goes to Glen "Big Baby" Davis. He was standing on the end of the Duck Boat and for some reason he wasn't wearing a shirt. This got a huge reaction from the crowd. If anything personified the day this was it. 

*The whole North End was alive, it was unreal, there were executives coming out of their offices for the parade, buying knock off championship T's and just having a good time. It might have helped that many of them were sitting at outdoor seating at a few of the bars just off Causeway Street. It was one of those days. 

*There was something "in the air" today. The smell of cigar smoke was incredible today, at no other celebration would it be like this, with many people obviously thinking about Red Auerbach today, which they rightfully should be. 
(Side note), we felt the need to go to Fanuiel Hall and pay our respects to the Auerbach statue and get a picture with it. I had it taken once there, but someone jumped behind me and ruined the shot, to this day it has bothered me. So we go to the statue and someone had put a 2008 championship shirt on him. It just seemed fitting on this day. 

*Random moment that capped the day off. 
While things were starting to wind down outside of Quincy Market, we say a guy selling knock off stuff get busted. They took his 2 remaining t-shirts and two police men and a suspicious looking tall guy with a NBA back pack put them into a big black trash bag. Well when we were leaving the parking garage, we saw the same guy there selling t-shirts. He asked us if we needed any, we said for free we would. We talked him down to 5 bucks, needless to say we got the deal done. 

Days like this, you have to love Boston. BTW, it didn't rain a drop down there and I was borderline sweating all day. Maybe that had something to do with it, either that or you can believe like I believe and that's that Red wouldn't let it rain on this parade. 

Sterling Pingree

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tiger Woods to have season ending surgery?

The Golf Channel has just announced that Tiger will have season ending knee surgery. The Golf Channel is currently the only station reporting it, but this is big time breaking news if it's true. I'm sure Tiger will come out at some point and say something, but this is a huge hit to him. This will be I believe the fourth knee surgery Tiger will undergo, and it seems like this could be something that is a recurring theme for him. Knees injuries aren't something to be taken lightly, and Tigers US Open victory may have just cost him more than it was worth. I have to go to work, but I hope you all enjoy this piece of breaking news even before ESPN had it. I'll try to come in and give you an update if I get some free time from reporting at the Eastern Maine Baseball Finals (which you can watch on WVII and WFVX).

~Aaron Jackson

The TRUTH has arrived.

This post to me has two different meanings. I'm a Celtics fan, don't get me wrong, but my true allegiances are with Allen Iverson. Love me for it, hate me for it, either way is fine with me. That's just the guy I grew up watching after Jordan retired, and I'm not the type of fan to just give up on a guy when he goes through struggles. When Iverson retires I will probably start following Chris Paul even more than I do now. So I am not able to get extremely excited about this Celtics win. That being said, part one of this is about the Celtics, and specifically Paul Pierce, the 2008 NBA Finals MVP. He has always been a star, but this year showed he could potentially go down as one of the best. To come back from being stabbed in the back 11 times in a night club to what he has become is unbelievable. It wasn't Pierce's scoring that impressed me, I knew about that from my many trips to the Garden. It was his defense, and more importantly, his leadership. He put aside his ego and took his team to the top. There is no other way to look at it. He did what very few players, especially in the game of basketball, do. He still knew when to take over, and knew when to let his teammates do it and stand aside. That is something that Kobe didn't do, and as far as I'm concerned he will never do. That brings me to part two...

Kobe Bryant is not, nor will he ever be, Michael Jeffrey Jordan. If there was any doubt about it up until this point there cannot be any doubt now. MJ doesn't allow his team to lose a 24 point lead at home. MJ doesn't allow his team to get blown out by 39 points in the most important game of the season. MJ knew when to take over, and when to let someone else shoot. And perhaps the most important thing; MJ would NEVER allow Phil Jackson to put him on Rajon Rondo for the entire series. He just wouldn't. He would guard Pierce, and that would be the end of the discussion. That's what wins championships. The desire, the need, to be the best, even if it means potentially getting embarrassed. Kobe doesn't have it, Pierce did. Kobe took the easy road and guarded the Celtics worst shooter, Pierce and MJ get up for the challenge and don't take the easy road. And don't tell me that Scottie Pippen was the guy playing the best offensive player for the other team. Sure, sometimes he did, but when it came down to it, you could expect MJ right there.

One of my buddy's last night went as far as to say Kobe would be better than MJ if they were both playing now, because it's a different game. I cannot begin to tell you how wrong he is. Sometimes there are just players that transcend the sport, transcend the time they are in, and can dominate anyone. Wilt Chamberlain was one of those players. Magic Johnson was one of those players. And Michael Jordan was the best of those players. Never mind the fact that the rules in the NBA now favor offensive guards, so Jordan would be having a field day just about every game.

So congrats to the Celtics. They were the better team, they deserved it more, and they accomplished something collectively that the individual parts never thought would happen until they came together. And for Kobe, well, if you haven't learned what it takes to be great by now you never will. The talent is there, but to be at the top you need to be there mentally. And when you get there, as Kevin Garnett put it last night, anything is possible... ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

~Aaron Jackson