Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday Wrap: Voting for the All Star Game sucks, Jeter's road to recovery and Matt Harvey's a badass

Quote of the Day:
"I’m always open for business, if it feels like they’re incremental upgrades or significant ones."
-- Yankees GM, Brian Cashman on the trading deadline.  A few players I would recommend the Yankees target this season: Jose Valverde, Albert Pujols/Josh Hamilton, and Manny Ramirez.  

It's been a busy week but I've finally found a few hours in my busy work day free time to get everyone update on last weeks MLB action.  Today we've got reasons not to vote for the All-Star game, Justin Verlander's bad luck, MLB suspensions that don't make sense and Jay-Z is officially an MLB agent.  Let the Illuminati theories begin! 

First up on deck though, our Thursday "Hot n' Cold" segment....


Carlos Gonzalez: 
How this guy only sits in fifth place in the NL All-Star outfield is confounding and one of the reasons All-Star voting is a crapshoot (more on this later).  CarGo smashed another home run last night, his 21st of the year, trailing only Chris Davis.  

Add in his usual above-average defense and 13 stolen bases to go with a .312 batting average and you've got a strong case for NL MVP as long as he's healthy and the Rockies stay competitive.  


Vernon Wells

Since playing a key role in the Yankees makeshift roster staying afloat in the AL East, Wells has sank like a ton of trash in the Hudson River.  His line for the month of June is a paltry .109/.128/.109 and he's only scored three runs and has three RBI in 57 at-bats for the month.  

While his highlight throw against the A's was pretty cool (check it out here), but Yankees fans have to be counting down the days until Curtis Granderson gets back from the DL. 

More MLB stuff....

Starting pitcher Jeff Francis was designated for assignment after his horrific start on Tuesday inflated his ERA to 6.58 -- a career high.  Francis re-signed after being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds last summer but getting shelled every start isn't a good way to keep a spot on a MLB pitching rotation.  Don't worry Jeff, there are other options away from the thin airs of Denver to look.  Somewhere Mike Hampton is nodding in agreement.  

Taking his spot will be Roy Oswalt.  Yes, that Roy Oswalt.  The former All-Star has a 2.16 ERA in Double-A Tulsa and will face off against Jordan Zimmermann in Nationals Park as the Rockies look for their first win of a nine game road trip after getting swept by the Blue Jays.  I'm happy for Roy and all that shit but if you're a Rockies fan, I don't think this move is a vote of confidence in your rotation.  

The story goes like this: Matt Harvey was really tired and tried to take a nap in the clubhouse during his rookie year in 2012.  For whatever reason, veteran pitcher Jon Rauch decided that this was unacceptable and decided to dump a bucket of ice water on the napping Harvey.  This didn't sit well with Matt who leaped up and challenged the 6'11 and tattooed Rauch.  

Despite having a good 7 inches and 75 pounds on the rookie, Rauch backed down

The legend of Matt Harvey grows more everyday and this story proves his badassery even though Harvey was probably more pissed at having his phone ruined by the ice water (especially when he's using his phone to date girls like this).  With him and Zack Wheeler, who threw six scoreless innings against the Braves last week), the Mets future looks bright.  Now we wait and see how that manage to screw things up.  

The embattled outfielder hasn't played since 2011 and has faced everything from steroid allegations to other issues in the name of "Manny being Manny."  But could Ramirez make a return to the major leagues?  Probably not, but it's a thought.  Ramirez was just released from his contract with a Taiwanese team and was credited with booming attendance and helping fix a corrupt league.  He hit eight home runs in a half season with the EDA Rhinos and would seek any role with a major league team according to his agent who like, has to be the worst sports agent of all time, right?  Maybe we'll see more fading big league stars head over to Taiwan, who's enthusiasm for baseball only rivals Japan in the Pacific rim.  Paging Alex Rodriguez?  

The 2011 Cy Young award winner and probably-should-have-been Cy Young award winner in 2012 gave up five runs in five innings against the Orioles on Monday to watch his ERA crawl up to 3.72 on the season.  What's happening?  Well, his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) has gone up an astounding 90 points.  

What that points to is a lack of luck and while there are still concerns about Verlander's drop in velocity, when the BABIP start to average out, JV should still be fine and so should the Tigers.  If they can get that 9th inning situation worked out, that is.  

He's still got a long way to go but Derek Jeter is finally taking batting practice in his first steps to a return to the Yankees lineup.  It's a big step since the future Hall of Fame shortstop injured his ankle in last year's ALCS and expect the New York training staff to use caution with the aging Jeter to avoid another setback.  It looks like it will be more rehab and nailing pretty girls until he's back into groove.  

In your obligatory Biogenesis news of the day, MLB is beginning to interview players suspected in connection with the Miami-based clinic.  The most prominent names, Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez are not expected to interview but the article warns, "suspensions are likely," which should probably be followed by, "appeals are even more likely."  

I recommend all players just do this:

Jay-Z: MLB agent and Illuminati Mastermind

The MLBPA has granted rapper Jay-Z agent certification so that means that he now has 98 problems left to deal with.  Jay-Z made noise when Robinson Cano left Scott Boras to sign with Jay-Z's agency.  The agency will be called Roc-Nation-Sports and will consist of Jay-Z meeting with Arte Moreno saying, "Yo, ya'll pay my boy," waving his hand, and pimps smacks Moreno and drops mike and exits stage left.  

1. Expect his clients to get paid.   
2. Get back and dirt off their shoulders, Jay-Z

And finally today, we have a special section called:

Voting for the MLB All-Star Game Sucks and No One Should Do It

Unless you live in Houston like myself, where the product on the field is so bad that people would rather fill out a paper All-Star ballot, most fans will forego the paper ballots passed out at games and vote instead online.  

The MLB All-Star game is still the best all-star game unlike their counterparts in the NBA, which is a glorified dunk contest from the And1 Mixtape tour or the NFL Pro Bowl which is a two-hand touch game sandwiched around a Hawaii vacation.  The NHL All-Star is actually pretty awesome but no one watches it, and the MLS All-Star Game probably wouldn't any attention whatsoever if they weren't playing a Premier League team.?  

Of course, you want to see your favorite stars play.  But is voting really worth the time and effort it takes to participate?  I took the time to do a play-by-play review of the voting process.  

The first step is to go online.  I check out pretty much daily so it wasn't hard to find the place to go from there: 

You'll notice that almost instantly, you're exposed to a ad.  Keep that thought in mind, because it won't be the last you'll see of FreeCreditScore.  

Next you'll notice the actual ballot:

Not one, not two, but three more Free Credit Score advertisements.  I really could care less about Free Credit Score.  I'm already more inclined to use free credit report due to their hilarious commercials that have Dikembe Mutumbo and the band that looks like the Kings of Leon if they never hit it big.  

Anyways, you enter your ballot picking players from both leagues (I wrote in Nick Punto because he seems like a nice guy).  This is the easy part, now you have to submit:

Now you'll notice that you have to submit a mound a personal data just to submit your vote.  I'm sure that Major League Baseball will claim to do this to avoid voter fraud but I secretly think the NSA has something to do with it.  

Next you run into two little boxes.  First, you can opt-in to receive spam commercial emails from (that's exposure number five if you are counting). I still don't why anyone would do this on purpose.  If I was truly interested in checking my crappy credit score, I'd probably just Google it or wait for a collections agency to call.  

But remember, if you fail to uncheck the second box, you are going to get spam commercial emails from the Detroit Tigers and the MLB.  I should mention that you also have to get to do this 25 times, remembering to NOT check the first box and ALWAYS UNCHECK the second box. 

How many people do you think eventually made a mistake?  Lots.  Probably all Yankee and White Sox fans too.  

But wait, there is more.  If you create a user account, you get ten more bonus votes! Cool!  But keep in mind, doing that will open up another realm of spam targeted commercial emails. 

I used to have a fake email account just for stuff like this, but unfortunately I forgot it. That would have been the smart step, but remember the time it takes you to set it up and you still have to make up some bullshit birthday and zip code (I imagine a disproportionate number of fans are from the New York zip code or 90210).

Take note of the last note below the "Submit Your Vote" button

I acknowledge that I have read, understand, and agree to be bound by the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and have read About the ballot.

You now have two decisions. You can... 

A. Do the only sensible option, which is to completely ignore the three documents and lie about having read them.  Or you can....

B.  You can spend 25 minutes of your finite life studying them, only to still be left with no choice but to accept if you want to vote.

Even after you are ready submit your vote and send it, you aren't quite done.

Feel free to now piss off all of your social media networks by spreading this virus all across the internet.  Or, if you forgot the first fucking five times, why don't you go ahead and check your credit score.  

So I've checked out the "cost" side of voting, so there has to be a benefit side, right?  Despite taking an hour out of my work free time, there's always something democratic and American about voting and each vote counts towards Nick Punto making the team. 

But also consider this:

If you are only voting once, that one vote is likely to be offset by this guy:

This guy is a typical Yankees/Indians/White Sox/Mets/Dodgers (pick one) fan, who combined with baseball passion, an awkwardly uncomfortable crush on Nick Swisher, and unlimited free time can vote 35 times and spend a week creating fake e-mails and identities, completely steamrolling your single, measly vote.

It's these people who are the reason that as of June 8 Derek Jeter has 529,234 All-Star game votes. Come on, people.  Carlos Gonzalez is 5th (!!!!!!!) in NL outfield.  What the hell?  

It's also good to  remember is that you not actually voting for players to make the All-Star team. You are voting for position players to start in the All-Star game.  Fans can only choose ten players per league out of a roster of 36 players, which is probably a good thing.  But guess what?  If your favorite player is really good at baseball, he's going to make the team anyway!

Finally, I just have to ask. Why do we care? I mean, if you favorite player is Starlin Castro and he is a borderline All-Star, he might get one at-bat in the game.  Why bother?   If I was a Cubs fan I'd rather have Castro spendingt three days at home and away from the game resting and practicing his fielding and hitting.

So don't do it.  If you haven't already, you should now know why voting for the All-Star game is a colossal waste of time.  If you really want to be MERICAN and vote, do it in the general election for something important like president, where nothing ever goes wrong and is never a waste of time.  

And one last tip: If you have to use a free credit service to check your credit score, your credit is probably already pretty shitty.  

I'm out baseball freaks.  Have a splendid weekend.