Der Kommissar


Ginger here.

We have the opportunity to switch from the usual free fantasy league to a CBS Commissioner League at no cost to any of you fine fantasy losers (and Dan). The main differences with the premium league are that every detail (roster requirements, point values, transaction rules…) can be customized and everyone gets free access to MLB Gameday Audio (home and away radio feeds for every regular season game). If we use the Commissioner league in future seasons (no promises), we’ll also have league history details maintained on the CBS site, which will be sad, because it won’t include my championships.

It is not our intention to change any of the scoring, roster, or transaction rules. If anyone thinks any of these details should change, let’s chat about it in the comments and see what everyone else thinks.

All this customization would allow us to add an 11th team for our pal Dave (brother of October Boys’ Dennis). Obviously, changing the league to 11 teams is no small thing, so please share your thoughts about it. We think he would be an enthusiastic and attentive team owner who would fit in well with our group. On the other hand, we discussed a 12-team league a few weeks ago, and there were concerns about spreading the talent too thin. Personally, I don’t buy this argument. Sure, you’ll have fewer studs on your team, but so will everyone else. I like the challenge of having to dig deeper to fill out your team. But if you’re scared…

I’ve set up the new league, but everyone will need to join again. If anyone has any concerns or doesn’t want to make the change, let us know. Otherwise, you’ll find the new league at thefoulline.baseball.cbssports.com. Please go sign up! Nothing will change as far as rules or league size without plenty of discussion here. For now, you’re just signing up for our usual game with the Gameday Audio perk.

If you run into any trouble signing up, send me your email address and I’ll send you an invite with the direct signup link.

Good Riddance


In the nine years that Carl Crawford played for the Tampa Bay Rays, I never heard him say a word. He always portrayed himself as a gamer who kept his mouth shut and played the game the right way. He put up great stats and rarely missed a game. I’ve obviously misjudged his character.

Carl Crawford is a little baby. Since leaving the Red Sox organization, in what is going to go down as the greatest trade in Red Sox history, Crawford has been running his mouth on the pressure that he had to face in Boston. Today, Crawford came up with this gem:
“I think they want to see that in Boston. They love it when you’re miserable,” he said. “Burying people in the media, they think that makes a person play better. That media was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
Boo…Hoo!

Crawford is also claiming that the media led him to hit .255, and that a Boston reporter snuck into his hotel room and severed a ligament in his elbow.

The guy is delusional.

Of course there is going to be pressure, Carl… you’re getting paid $142 million! Do you know how many neck tattoos you can buy with that kind of money?
Since signing his monster contract with the Boston Red Sox, all Carl Crawford has done is disappoint Sox fans.

This is what $20 million a year gets you when you sign Crawford.
2011: 130 games play, .255 batting average, 18 stolen bases.
2012: 31 games played … Enough said.

You’re to blame for this mess Carl. You’re a delicate flower that wilted under the pressure of playing in a big city.

We won’t miss you.

Don’t Come Around Here No More


The following is a guest post by long-lost and much-beloved thefoulline.com contributor, Dylan.

The 2013 fan experience for any sport is like no other that we have seen before. 20 years ago, and even 10 years ago, the act of going to a game beat out the experience of watching it on TV at home any day of the week. Nowadays, I can’t help but wonder why someone would want to leave their house to attend a sporting event. (Unless, of course, that game is a windy spring training game with thefoulline.com crew.)

At home, I can keep up with my fantasy roster, stream the game to my iPhone if I need to take a nature break, and pay less than $10 for a beer. Gone are the days of kids begging Dad to drive an hour into the city so that they can get a glimpse of the players they read about or heard radio announcers applaud. This is the 21st Century!!! No longer is a guys’ night out held at the game, but rather a local sports bar that has a TV the size of a wall. Ownerships need to ask themselves what would draw someone back in for the fan experience.

Two teams that equally need new stadiums are the Tampa Bay Rays (obvious) and the Boston Red Sox (gasp!).

The Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium more than any team in any sport at any point in history. This is a team that, love ‘em or hate ‘em, has performed very well the past five years and has a marketable cast of players and a unique and popular manager, along with a seemingly intelligent ownership group. So why can’t this team break out of the bottom third of MLB fan popularity and stop having attendance in the gutter year after year?

The stadium.

An absurd contract with the City of St. Pete has the Rays staying in the Trop until what I believe is the year 2095, but I’m not too good at contractual facts. The City of St. Petersburg commissioners are making every attempt to hold the Rays hostage to their contract, and by doing so are slowly eroding away at any chance the Rays have at climbing out of the attendance cellar. Last time I checked, the dukes and duchesses of St. Pete will not let the Rays ownership speak with Hillsborough County officials. If the Tampa Bay region wants to be part of the baseball world, then talks need to open up across the bay in Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Rays need to be in Downtown Tampa. Tampa has seen a revitalization of sorts, with the Seminole Heights District attracting the middle-aged hipster crowd to its 1920s houses, and Cigar City Brewing helping build a Portland-esque artisan crowd. The Rays ownership could capitalize on the renaissance that Tampa is experiencing by placing the team smack in the city, along the water and near the business of downtown that so desperately needs an attraction within reach. A downtown stadium with a view of the bay would celebrate the waterfront that Florida is known for, could spark a new crop of bars and restaurants in a downtown that is a ghost town after 5pm, and could once and for all start a freshening up of inner-city Tampa that has been forgotten to the ugly urban sprawl outward.

Now, to the more controversial topic. The Red Sox need to get out of Fenway!!! In 1998, I too got caught in the hype of Saving Fenway Park when talks first began about tearing it down and building a new stadium. I hated the idea and I couldn’t stand to see Fenway go. Memories were there for me and always will be. The first time someone walks up the ramp and sees the bright green grass and dark green walls, and feels the intimacy of Fenway, it gives goose bumps. The amazing thing about that feeling is it never goes away. No matter the amount of times someone walks into that stadium, the feeling is there. But what I think tied so many to that stadium was the shared feelings of hurt and letdown that bonded all of New England together. Blame it on the blue-collar spirit of Boston, but pre-2007 (no, not 2004), Red Sox fans knew there was unfinished business and couldn’t let the stadium go away until the job was done.

The Red Sox HAD to win the World Series while playing out of Fenway. It wouldn’t have been right if done otherwise, and they had to do it twice. 2004 may have broke the curse, but 2007 cemented the Red Sox atop the heap in baseball. ’07 proved that ’04 wasn’t a fluke and the Red Sox were to be taken seriously. I wrote a piece about how after 2007 I felt different as a Red Sox fan. At the time I thought the piece was a little ridiculous, but looking back I think I was spot on. The Red Sox did change after 2007. No longer was this “the idiots” or the days of reverse the curse. Boston was all of the sudden a town of winners, that for decades had been lovable losers. The persona that so many Red Sox fans, and to some extent, I think, the players took on was over. Things really did change in 2007.

Now, in 2013, the team is coming off a terrible year and the image of the Sox has gone from the lovable idiots that wouldn’t give up in 2004 to spoiled grown men that eat chicken and drink beer. This is why Fenway needs to go. The era of the Curse is over. The story of 2004 will live on forever but it’s time for the Red Sox to build a new image, a cleaner image, one that celebrates what Boston is now and embraces a new era. A move out of Fenway could mean a new stadium on the waterfront by either Pier 4 or Long Wharf. A new stadium that could incorporate the North End, Fanueil Hall, the waterfront, and the growing pop-culture popularity of South Boston. Red Sox fans don’t need to look toward a past filled with curses and a broke-down stadium anymore, it’s time to celebrate the team, and to a greater extent, the City of Boston.

Blowin’ In the Wind


My good friend Dylan – original thefoulline.com fantasy league member and Foul Line contributor – and I have a tradition where we go to at least one spring training game a year. This has been going on for several years, and it’s always a great time. The thing about going to a game with Dylan is that something crazy/fun/outlandish happens every time. That, and I’m pretty certain that we’ve never witnessed a Red Sox victory. During the years of going to games with Dylan, some of the highlights have been seeing the two Red Sox World Series trophies and getting great pictures with them, getting interviewed by MLB.tv, the Jed Lowrie foul ball game, meeting Nick from the Penalty Box bar in Rhode Island, the Great Ellsbury Birthplace Debate, and meeting Dewayne Staats. But today’s game may have been the craziest. Today’s game will be known as “the one where we almost watched someone die.”

The best thing about going to a game with Dylan is the constant banter. All the topics are covered: baseball, personal lives, politics, travel, The Foul Line. It’s always witty, and I’m constantly laughing. It makes for a great baseball viewing experience. A few weeks back, Dylan texted me and asked if I wanted to go see the Sox and Cardinals play on February 26th at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers. He was going to get standing-room-only Green Monster tickets. Of course I was in.

I picked him up at his house for the five-minute drive to the park. Upon getting to the stadium an hour and a half early, we noticed a strong 30-mph wind blowing straight out to center field. It was going to be a bad day to be a pitcher. Dylan grabbed a sausage & pepper sandwich with a Sam Adams. I opted for the Fenway Frank and a 312 wheat beer, and we made our way to the top of the Green Monster. The thing about jetBlue Park is that that everyone working there is a prick. I didn’t see one person smile the entire day. They’re working at a beautiful stadium, watching the most beloved team in all of sports, and they treat everyone like they’re wearing an “I love George Steinbrenner” shirt. It’s bizarre.

Anyhow, Dylan and I grabbed a spot on the wall and started watching the Cardinals take batting practice. Balls just started launching out of the park. Texas-Leaguers were carrying in the monsoon-like winds. At this point, more and more people were making their way to the top of the Monster with hopes of catching a BP ball.

It was the typical crowd: the 45-year-old dude who brought his mitt and was chasing down every ball with Jim Edmonds-like enthusiasm; the dad with his kids trying to score two souvenirs for his baseball-loving boys; the middle-aged woman who flinches and ducks at any ball that hints at hitting the wall; and Dylan and me, eating our food, sipping our beer, and watching ball after ball fly over our heads.

As the Cardinals were wrapping up their batting practice, some unknown player started crushing balls over the wall, one after another. The souvenir-baseball feeding frenzy was in full effect. People were chasing down balls like they were the Wonka Bar golden tickets. Dylan and I continued to watch and take it all in.

As Mr. Unknown was winding down his impressive power display, he launched one more ball high over the wall. As the ball carried, it appeared to be hit so well that it was going to leave the entire stadium. At the last minute, an overaggressive ball-hound jumped up for the ball and began to tumble over the rail to a 25-foot fall. When he was half way over the wall and on his way down to certain peril, the 45-year-old, with his mitt still on, dove and grabbed the guy’s legs, saving him from having a really bad day. It was the best and most important catch of the day.

This led to me saying to Dylan, “Damn, that guy almost died!”

To which he replied, “And that’s why I don’t chase after BP balls.”

And here are your Dylan-centric Quick Hits

  • Due to predicted lousy weather, both teams put all their scrubs in the starting lineups. When Daniel Nava is the big name, you might be in for a snoozer.
  • The experience of watching a game from the vantage point of the top of the Green Monster is unparalleled to any seat at any sporting event I have ever had. I highly recommend it.
  • Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster was on the mound today. With the scrubs backing him up in the field, Dylan commented that he hoped Dempster had his Eh game. You know, because he’s Canadian. It’s funny, eh?
  • There are fewer things I enjoy more than a Fenway frank, a cold beer, and watching baseball.
  • Dylan was able to turn two standing-room-only tickets into two prime seats on the monster, just by being in the right place at the right time.
  • (For the confused Rays fans, “Standing Room Only” seats are when your team sells all the seats at your park, and your only option is to stand.)
  • 312 beer is poured using an old telephone receiver tap. I’m not sure why, but it was awesome.
  • We’re still waiting for the final three spots to get filled on thefoulline.com fantasy league. Clock’s ticking.
  • I’m returning to the Yankeehaters team name. It was fun being the Boston badboys for a season, but the Yankeehaters just feels right.

Thanks to all for reading! The baseball draft is ONLY 4 weeks away! Start prepping now.

Follow @thefoulline on Twitter.

You Complete Me


I don’t consider myself a writer. I’m a guy that enjoys talking about baseball and sharing my opinions with a group of educated baseball fans. During the baseball season, I read every article I can get my hands on, and I follow a bunch of baseball writers on Twitter. Of all the writers I follow, there are a handful that are a must-read every day. Pete Abraham & Nick Cafardo with the Boston Globe, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, and Jayson Stark and Tim Kurkjian with ESPN. But my favorite of all is Buster Olney.

Buster Olney is everywhere… Baseball Tonight, Twitter, Podcasts, SportsCenter, and ESPN’s baseball telecasts. He also writes a daily article on ESPN.com in which he links all the baseball news for all the MLB teams. It’s always a good read. He really is the hardest working guy in baseball.

I had planned on going to the Rays practice today with my buddy Trent (RedRays) and a couple of friends from work. While making our plans, I noticed on Twitter that ESPN and Buster Olney were going to be in Port Charlotte. I relayed this to Trent, who replied, “We gotta get a pic with him for thefoulline.com!” This became our mission.

We arrived at the stadium at 9:30 to a capacity crowd of twenty other fans. The gates opened and we made our way to the closest field to watch the Rays stretch, run 20-yard dashes, and play catch. We were able to score a prime fence-line position in front of the immortal Shelley Duncan (who promptly shouted “Nobody likes you!” to an annoyingly obnoxious fan that has some sort of personal vendetta against Jose Molina) and the enigmatic Yunel Escobar, who for some odd reason got along great with the loud obnoxious jackass. He even tossed the loudmouth a ball. That sounds about right.

We worked our way around the park checking out the different fields. No sign of Buster.

We watched Matt Moore throw batting practice. I know it’s early, but he was all over the place. I only saw him throw a handful of strikes the entire session. We witnessed James Loney making a SportsCenter top-10 catch during fielding drills, and a bewildered Jeff Niemann having trouble keeping the ball down in PFP.

Practice was winding down, and still no Buster. I was receiving texts from thefoulline.com headquarters inquiring on the status of the Buster meet & greet. I had nothing to report.

But as the clock struck 11 am, who do I see walking down the center sidewalk, notepad in hand? It’s Buster Olney!

I walked up to him and told him I was a big fan and enjoyed his writing. He seemed taken aback by this and maybe a little embarrassed. Maybe he doesn’t have many lunatic blog writers bum-rush him at spring training practices? I asked for a quick picture with him. Redrays was Johnny-on-the-spot and snapped a keeper. I thanked Buster for his time and said it was nice to meet him. He replied, “Any idea which field Wil Myers is on?” I just happened to know exactly where he was. “Sure, I’ll show you.” As we walked to the field, we had a quick Q&A:

Buster: so are you a Rays fan?
Me: Nope… I like the Red Sox. This park is just so convenient to watch practice.
Buster: How do you think they’re going to do this year?
Me: They have to be better than last season, right?
Buster: It’s hard to say… They all really hated each other last year. The guys they brought in may make a difference.
Me: They were hard to watch. Hopefully their mojo is better at least.
Buster: Well, gotta go… Good luck with your Sox this year!
Me: You complete me!
Ok, that last part didn’t happen, but this encounter with Buster Olney confirmed my thoughts about him. He’s engaging, friendly, and professional. It was worth the trip to Charlotte County Stadium.

Rays-centric Quick Hits:

  • How does Dave Martinez not have a managing job? When he was asked this today by a fan, he replied, “I want to win one in Tampa before going anywhere else.” He’s a class act.
  • Luke Scott is crazy. He hung the boar’s head that he killed with a spear in the Rays clubhouse. He talks to everyone – players, coaches, fans, security guards. Is he the new Jonny Gomes in Tampa?
  • I watched Chris Archer throw some serious cheese. He has an easy, effortless delivery that pops the catcher’s mitt on every throw.
  • Speaking of impressive performances… Juan Sandoval had quite a crowd around him during his pitching session. He looked good, throwing strike after strike. What made this even more impressive? He’s blind in his right eye.
  • I saw Super-GM Andrew Friedman walk into a port-a-potty while chatting on his cellphone, then walk out while still talking. I’m guessing he didn’t wash his hands.
  • Watched super prospect Wil Myers take BP today. He didn’t rake like I had hoped, but RedRays and I both noticed he doesn’t wear batting gloves. This led to RedRays asking, “Do you think he pees on his hands like Moises Alou?”
  • It blows my mind that the Rays don’t have more fans. They have a quality organization, great spring training facility, and legitimate superstars in Price and Longoria, and they compete every year. They deserve better.

We finished the day at The October Boys’s restaurant, Bocca Lupo in Port Charlotte. It’s the best pizza around. It was a perfect ending to a fun day. Check it out when you’re down here for spring training!

Spring Love


The Major League Baseball season is a 162-game grind. Thirty teams come in with a clean slate and a fresh start, and excitement for making the coveted playoffs is high. Well, maybe not in Houston, Minnesota, or San Diego, but you catch my drift. Everyone is going to predict the Tigers, Nationals, Braves, and Giants as potential World Series contenders. And they should – those teams are loaded. Tension will build. Expectations will be high. Questions will be asked. Who’s going to be this year’s surprise team? Who are this year’s Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles?

Right now, who cares? It’s Spring Training!

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian sums up Spring Training up perfectly: “It is a time for optimism, a fresh start and hope.”

So for now, let’s enjoy six weeks of good weather. Let’s watch the bright-eyed prospects fight for a spot on a Major League roster, and the aging veterans trying to delay the inevitable. Let’s watch teams that we typically don’t get a chance to see. Let’s enjoy the cheaper ticket prices and the intimate stadiums.

It’s spring. It’s baseball. Everyone is 0-0. It’s anyone’s ballgame!

Not Ready to Make Nice


After a disastrous 2012 season, the Red Sox owners added some character guys on the tail end of their careers. In an effort to make the team more likable, Sox owners signed Ryan Dempster – great Harry Caray impersonator, got shelled in Texas last year; Shane Victorino and his .255 batting average; Mike Napoli and his two necrotic hips.

But the the most egregious signing of all was Johnny freakin’ Gomes! What the hell was that all about? How can Gomes ever get cheered at Fenway after his sucker punching and hair pulling of Coco Crisp in the bottom of the “fight” pile? I can understand defending your teammates, but what I can’t comprehend is having this orangutan patrol left field in Fenway Park. I’ve disliked a lot of players in my time, but it’d be hard to find anyone I dislike more than Gomes. But what the hell… It’s only $10 million, and he’s all ours for two seasons.

Quick hits:

  • Speaking of that fight… Does anyone wonder if Coco and James Shields have ever thrown a punch in their collective lives? Whiff… whiff!
  • I still hate the Rays, but I’m interested to see Wil Myers play.
  • I’m making a return to the Rays Opening Day game. Last year’s Rays vs. Yanks game was one of the best I have ever seen live.
  • I’ll be not-so-secretly hoping that the Cleveland Indians do well this season. I’m still a huge Francona fan.
  • I’ll be not-so-secretly hoping that Bobby Valentine contracts syphilis. I still can’t stand that guy.
  • Am I the only one that feels sorry for Houston Astro Carlos Pena? They are by far the worst team in MLB. Moving to the American League is not going to help.
  • It’s my tradition to buy a new Red Sox hat before the start of every season. I might skip it this year. I’m really starting to dislike the Sox ownership.
  • The word around Red Sox camp is that John Lackey is in great shape. They’re also reporting that he’s still a mouth breather.
  • I made the decision a few weeks ago that I was going to cut back on Spring Training games this year. Next thing I know, Dylan hooks us up with Sox vs. Cardinals. Followed by my brother scoring Sox vs. Rays. Then the October Boy asks me to go to the Rays vs. Phillies. Followed by my buddy Nate getting Tigers vs. Mets tix. Suddenly, my spring is looking up!
  • I really, really hope Ryan Braun isn’t a juicer. But I think he is.
  • AL East final 2013 standings: 1. Blue Jays, 2. Rays, 3. Yankees, 4. Red Sox, 5. Orioles
  • What are your thoughts on a 12-team league? Does that interest anyone?

Well, that’s two posts in two days… Is it baseball season yet?

Here I go again


Hey gang! It’s so nice to hear from you all again. I’m amazed at the loyalty and dedication you have shown this this little blog of ours. I haven’t wrote a thing in a year, and you guys keep hanging around. I appreciate it. Thanks!

I’ve read your recent comments. I’ve met with my Quality Assurance Committee. And in a continued effort to give you what you want, here’s what we’re planning on doing.

>More posts… Short and sweet. More Quick Hits, less War & Peace.

> In the past, I would write something, send it to my editor. She’d clean it up and post it. Now, I’m just going to write and post. Please forgive me in advance for the occasional misspelled word or dangling participle. I think it will increase the amount of posts.

> I will definitely write the Draft day diary. That will be a long one.

> Dan will get his 2012 Champion post.

Keep the ideas coming. If you guys are taking the time to read this stuff, I want to make it worth your while.

Quick Hits:

  • I  planned on going to the Rays Spring Training practice. Due to lousy weather, I’m at thefoulline.com’s headquarters planning for our Fantasy draft.
  • All ten owners have committed to being back for 2013. Amazing!
  • Some Fantasy leagues award trophies or money for winning the championship. At thefoulline.com, you get a couple of poorly worded paragraphs acknowledging your victory.
  • The first three picks in the draft in no particular order will be: Braun, Trout & Miggy. This is is the first time I’ve ever wanted to be in the top 3. I’d  gladly take any of those 3.
  • Is it too early to start with the mock drafts?
  • Will Bossman Junior and Justin get along in Atlanta? I know they get along great, but I worry that if one gets pissed off, it will affect the other. The Upton’s have had attitude issues in the past.
  • Has anyone ever noticed that all thefoulline.com posts the last couple of years have been song titles?
  • I think the AL East is overrated.
  • It’s going to be a Nationals & Tigers World Series. Call Vegas!
  • Spoiler alert: 5 stud players  I will not draft regardless:. Buster Posey, Adrian Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Felix Hernandez, Curtis Granderson.
  • Congratulations Sportsman Mike on graduating from the police academy and getting hired with Pinellas Park PD. Be safe out there.
  • Follow us on Twitter @thefoulline

 

 

The Pick of Destiny


I feel like I should start this post, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Everyone prepares for a fantasy baseball draft differently. For me, as soon as January rolls around, I start checking out player rankings, do a few mock drafts, and read everything that Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Scott White, Ray Flowers and the rest of the so-called fantasy experts put out. In mid-February, I ramp up the mock drafts, listen to ESPN Baseball Fantasy Focus daily podcasts and begin creating my position tiers. I spend way too much time reading articles, comparing tiers and evaluating ADP’s. Does it help? I’m not sure. But it’s fun to read, and I enjoy preparing for the draft.

Ginger, on the other hand, waits to find out her draft position before the draft, does a few mocks, and subsequently wins the league every year.

This year’s preparation was no different. Doing my research, I made the determination that first base was really thin. I wanted Cabrera, Pujols, Votto, Gonazalez, or Fielder. I wasn’t interested in anyone else, so my first-round pick was going to be one of those five, even if I had to reach a little. I also thought that there were only a handful of truly “elite” outfielders: Kemp, Braun, Ellsbury, J. Upton, Carlos Gonzalez, Granderson, and Bautista. I wanted to grab at least one of those guys, with my strong preference being Justin Upton or Carlos Gonzalez (hopefully both). Those were the two positions I was going to fill first. There was no way in hell that I was going to take a pitcher in the first two rounds. Doing my mock drafts, I was always able to land a first baseman in the first and Justin Upton in the second. I did 10 mocks the week of the draft, and this was always the way it played out.

But something funny happened on my final practice draft, three hours before the live draft. I changed my game plan. Was it going to have a negative effect on how my draft was going to turn out?

Let’s check out the running diary from draft night.

You are… on the clock!

Prior to the draft, rumors circulated that Mike and The Hammer might not make it for the beginning of the draft. The other eight owners waited patiently in the draft room with some idle chitchat. But as the countdown clock finally hit 00:00, we had nine owners present as well as Mike ready to draft away via the iPhone.

It’s finally time to see who the new guy decided to go with at #1.

Miggy Cabrera with his soon-to-be third-base eligibility goes #1!

I know for a fact that Dennis mulled this decision all day long. He initially thought that he should grab an elite arm and shore up his rotation. Then he considered taking the best shortstop on the planet, Troy Tulowitzki. After conducting several mocks, taking Verlander or Cabrera first, Dennis goes for the bat. Great pick. Solid start for the October Boys.

  • Second pick was the easiest decision in the world for Mike – Albert Pujols
  • Pick three sucks. I really think it’s the absolute worst one to have. With that being said, I chuckled a little to myself when I saw that Ginger had drawn the short straw and got the third pick. With this pick, you hope someone takes a pitcher and leaves Cabrera or Pujols to fall to you. With the rumor of Mike making picks from his iPhone, this was a possibility.
     

    Unfortunately for the LBC’s, the two big guns went with the first two picks. So what’s the game plan? Ginger hates taking pitchers early, doesn’t care for Jose Bautista or Matt Kemp, and knows Tulo gets hurt every year, which means one thing… Joey Effing Votto, LBC mainstay and alleged voodoo leader of the three-time champ.

    As we approached the weeks before the draft, threats of taking Votto before Ginger could grab him were echoed by WillisBeTheYear, RedRays and myself. Our hopes were that without Joey V., the LBC’s would be sunk. No such luck.

    And I guess we’re all playing for second place again.

  • believe the hype (sundae-free) takes Jose Bautista (whose production, I predict, falls way off this year).
  • Boston bad boys picks Adrian Gonzalez with the fifth pick. That’s four of the top-five first basemen off the board, and my plan is working.
  • Rays Those Cowbells grabs Tulo
  • Halladay goes to WillisBeTheYear
  • Verlander goes to RedRays
  • chefdick again reaches a little on Longoria
  • The Hammer nabs 2011 NL Cy Young-winner Clayton Kershaw

So far a solid start for everyone.

Round Two

I have a well publicized man-crush on Dustin Pedoria. Dan loves Longoria, Dennis idolizes Jeter, and the RedRays always grabs Martin Prado. But there’s no bigger love affair in the league than the one between The Hammer and Cliff Lee. Last year he took him with the 5th pick, and this year he snags him with the 11th. Lee is a great pitcher, but it may be time for an intervention for Sam.

This is another top notch round for The Foul Line league. Chefdick grabs another elite bat in Matt Kemp. RedRays takes Prince Fielder, the last of the great first baseman. He had planned on the elite arm/elite bat for the first two rounds. So far so good. WillisBeTheYear lands Ryan Braun with the 14th pick, which is downright robbery. Rays Those Cowbells takes my advice and snags Robinson Cano. And here is where I change my strategy.

Maybe I should have gone with the game plan and picked Justin Upton. It served me well in a lot of my mock drafts, so why mess with it? OF is shallow, so take one of the five remaining sure things, right? Nah, I’m taking Hanley Ramirez. RedRays gave me a WTF? on the chat. He later told me that he would have bet his house that I was going to take Pedroia. Nope, I take Hanley, the same guy that I picked two season ago at #2. The same guy that quit on his teammates last year. The same guy that had shoulder and back injuries in 2011. This might come back to haunt me… or I’m the smartest guy in the league. We shall see!

Believethehype picks Jose Reyes, the last of the upper-tier shortstops and guaranteed to miss 30 games at some point this season. LBC’s wanted Ellsbury with this pick, and of course she got him. Mike reached a little on Adrian Beltre, but I love this pick. Beltre is a monster, and I believe he is the safest 3B option. October Boys follows his first round gem by grabbing CC Sabathia. We may need to keep an eye on the rookie.

3rd Round, and the gloves are off!

Dustin Pedroia is a very good player, but he is definitely not worthy of a 2nd round pick. 3rd round is perfect.

I hate Felix Hernandez. Mike can have him. He plays on an awful team with no run support, and he misses out on a ton of wins every season.

LBC’s scoops up another of the great OF’s in Granderson.

I knew if anyone was going to pick Justin Upton is was going to be Allan. He traded him to me last season, and I knew he regretted it. Of course, Allan gives me an eff-you and takes the 2012 NL MVP. Nice pick! I’m left with the consolation prize, Carlos Gonzalez, and the outfield has just got incredibly thin.

Dan vowed to follow the LBC’s lead and wait on pitching. It lasted all of three rounds, and Jered Weaver is a RTC. Dan loves pitchers. It’s a fact!

Hamels, McCutchen, and Lincecum all get snagged. This draft is going as planned. It appears that everyone has been doing their homework.

Round three ends with The Hammer picking relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel. I’m not one to tell someone who to pick for their team… but this one was CRAZY.

Round 4… My plan is working!

I am definitely taking a pitcher this round. I really wanted Dan Haren, David Price, or Zack Grienke with this pick. Of the four, Grienke was my top choice. Of course, Chefdick starts off the round from hell by snagging Price. Willis sticks it in my ear and takes Haren. At this point the only thing in the way of Grienke becoming a Boston Bad boy is Dan’s pick. Having played with Dan for a few seasons, I know that he hates Zack Grienke. There’s no way that he takes him here. No freakin’ way!

And suddenly Dan is out of the draft room. I’m not a religious man, but I’m praying that Dan has loaded up his draft queue with non-Greinke players.

Tick… tick… tick…

Allan gets on the chat and says that he talked to Dan and that his computer died. How does this happen?!? At the end of last season, we all had to hear Dan complain that he would have taken down the LBC’s in the playoffs if only Troy Tulowitzki had played mediocre… blah, blah, blah. He vowed that 2012 was gonna be his year! He was dominating his mocks and ready to wreak havoc on the league. Dan talked all kinds of smack on how this was his year, and he didn’t take the time to make sure his computer was working?

Tick… tick… tick…

In the minutes leading up to the draft I made sure my computer was plugged in securely. I had my iPad on standby, iPhone loaded up to the CBS site. All contingencies were in place. So how does Dan forget to defrag his hard drive, or whatever crappy excuse he has? Now, if he winds up with a lousy, computer-generated team, we’re all gonna hear about it for the rest of the season. This is bad.

Tick… tick… tick…

And as the clock hits zero, Dan’s broken computer picks Grienke, and my perfectly constructed plan has its first problem. Thanks, Dan! A wise person once told me, “The thing about the fantasy draft is that you hope to get the player you want, but you should expect that he won’t be there.” Ok, that person was the Love Boat Captains, but she’s right. You need contingency after contingency. It can wear you down. So, I miss out on my top four pitchers and take C.J. Wilson. I’m ok with the pick. Wilson is not pitching in the Texas bandbox anymore and has had a 2.56 ERA on the road over the past two seasons. Is he an ace? Close…

Allan follows this pick by doing Dan a favor and taking Josh Hamilton. It’s well documented that I absolutely would never take this guy in a draft. He will break down at some point in the season. LBC’s, Mike, and October Boys finish the round taking great value picks Hudson, Shields, and Teixeira.

Four rounds completed, 1600 words and counting. This recap may never end!

Is it just me, or does it seem like this year there are 25 great players, followed by 25 really good players, a handful of decent guys and then garbage the rest of the way?

Rounds 5-10 – Things are getting interesting now

  • The October Boys: Matt Cain, Michael Pineda, Jay Bruce, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jayson Werth and Big Sexy Alexei Ramirez. I love the Cain pick. He’s a sure thing and a great #2 on Dennis’s staff. Pineda is going to get crushed under the pressure of playing in NY. His second-half stats last year were pretty mediocre. The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium is going to turn last year’s lazy fly balls at Safeco into home runs. Bruce is a solid pick. As for Ubaldo and Werth? Good players coming off bad years. Dennis is counting on a bounce-back.
  • sportsmanMike: Yovani Gallardo, Rickie Weeks, Hunter Pence, Alex Gordon, Ervin Santana, and Asdrubal Cabrera. I’m trying to find something that I don’t like about these picks..but it seems like Mike did his homework, executed his plan and landed the players that he was targeting. Ok, Weeks was a little early, and Asdrubal will not be putting up the same numbers as his fluky 2011 season. I feel better now.
  • Love Boat Captains: Carlos Santana, Mat Latos, Starlin Castro, Emilio Bonifacio, Dustin Ackley, and Justin Masterson. This is typical LBC draft. Fills two holes with elite players, then grabs a couple of sleeper picks. Bonifacio may steal 200 bases this year. It makes it even more enjoyable of a pick when Dan types “Bonifacio is it. That nobody player that damn near wins the MVP for the Love Boat Captains every year? That’s it right there!” Coupled with Dennis saying “Shit, I really wanted him too!” I look across the table to see Ginger do her little “I know more about fantasy baseball then you do” smirk, and I realize that we’re all screwed, again! It’s also fun when I tell her that I think Ackley isn’t going to be any good, and he starts off the season with a home run and the game-winning RBI. I don’t particularly like the Latos and Masterson picks, but these are the kind of pitchers Ginger rides to a championship.
  • believe the hype: Giancarlo “Don’t Call Me Mike” Stanton, Tommy Hanson, David Ortiz, Michael Young, Yu Darvish, and Johnny Cueto. I really like Stanton a lot! He adds to a really impressive OF for Allan. Yu Darvish has looked good in the spring, but I’m still leery of a pitcher from Japan making the transition to American baseball. Hanson may be a steal… or a giant bust. I’m hoping for the latter.
  • Boston bad boys: Dan Uggla, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Moore, Shin-Soo Choo, and Max Scherzer. I’m all in on Uggla. He had a great second half last season and is mashing the ball in spring training. He was a guy I targeted in every mock. I followed by making a very un-Dave-like run on young arms. Bumgarner will break out this year, Strasburg has lived up to the hype, and Moore has three great pitches and may be the best of the three. I was absolutely shocked that he fell to me. Thanks, Rays fans. I had to take an ourfielder at this point, since I only had one. I am counting on Choo to return to form after a horrendous 2011. In the 9th round, I figured he was worth the chance. I ended with my good friend Max Scherzer. Not entirely sure why I like him – I just do. Here’s hoping for a another 15-win season.
  • Rays Those Cowbells: Jon Lester, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Wainwright, Lance Berman, Andre Ethier, and Josh Beckett. Dan confirmed what I already knew: he loves pitchers. He grabbed three really good ones here. This was a good run for Dan… or was it Allan at this point? It’s hard to tell. These are pretty good picks, so I’m leaning towards Allan on his Nook. If Zimmerman can stay healthy, he’s as solid as they come. Not an Ethier or Berkman fan, but at this point of the draft it’s getting to be slim pickings.
  • WillisBeTheYear: Matt Holliday, Josh Johnson, Ricky Romero, Shane Victorino, Eric Hosmer, and Alex Rodriguez. Prior to the draft starting, I made the statement that Willis was the one player that scared me this season. These six picks are the reason why. With the exception of the adulterous steroid user, Willis got great value with every one of these picks. At this point of the draft, Willis has Halladay, Hamels, Haren, Johnson and Romero. To mess with his mojo, I like to remind Willis that he traded me Josh Johnson two seasons ago for Mark Reynolds. Johnson pitched lights out the rest of the season, while Mark Reynolds was, well, Mark Reynolds.
  • RedRays: Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings, Pablo Sandoval, Chris Young, Anibal Sanchez, and John Axford. Solid run by the RedRays. It’s hard to argue with any of these picks, so it’s time for a little game I like to call “Guess the Player Stats.”
    • Player A: .333, 23 runs, 8 HRs, 20 RBIs, 14 SB
    • Player B: .160, 21 runs, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 6 SB.

    Player A is Desmond Jennings over his first 141 at-bats last season. Player B is Jennings over the next, and final, 106 at-bats. It poses the question, is Desmond Jennings a flash in the pan? (4/1/12 update: Jennings hit 3 bombs in one game.)

  • Chefdick again: Brandon Phillips, Michael Morse, Matt Garza, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, and Mike Napoli. Chefdick is clearly sick and tired of finishing in second place. He grabbed the best remaining players at their positions with each of these picks, and I think he nailed every one! (Except Garza. He sucks.) The Texas triumvirate 8-9-10 was money. Chefdick, without a doubt, had the best draft.
  • the Hammer: Kevin Youkilis, Alex Avila, Jimmy Rollins, Paul Konerko, Gio Gonzalez, and Drew Storen. The Hammer has assembled a pretty good team, but with the exception of perennial 30-HR, 100-RBI guy Konerko, I think he reached on every one of these picks. With that being said, these rounds were tough, and he did add some solid players.

10 rounds in, it’s time to stock up on the mediocre pitchers!

Picks I Love, Rounds 11-22

  • Round 11: Brett Lawrie by LBC. David Wright by BBB.
  • Round 12: Jonathan Papelbon by RTC. Pap is going to dominate in the NL. Carl Crawford by Willis. This guy does not suck, this guy does not suck (repeat 100 times).
  • Round 13: Matt Wieters by TOB. This is the season that Wieters lives up to the hype.
  • Round 14: Brandon McCarthy by LBC. Breakout candidate. Pitched great on opening day in Japan.
  • Round 15: Francisco Liriano by BBB. I picked Liriano based on one stat: He has a 26/4 K/BB rate in the spring. His control is there. I look forward to a huge bounce-back season. Jesus Montero by Willis. I like a guy that’s eligible at catcher but is playing primarily DH. He’ll get a lot of AB’s. This kid is something special.
  • Round 16: Howie Kendrick by RR. Hitting in front of Pujols is going to lead to great numbers. Add 2B/OF eligibility, and this guy is a bargain. I was going to take him with this pick, and the RedRays stick it to me for the 3rd time in the draft.
  • Round 17: Kendrys Morales by Chefdick. Another guy I was targeting, before Chefdick swooped in and grabbed him. After missing the last season and a half, this guy was totally worth the gamble. Another good pick by Chef.
  • Round 18: Not Applicable. We all picked garbage.
  • Round 19: Brennan Boesch by RR. Solid player having a good spring. Hitting in front of Cabrera and Fielder is only going to help this year.
  • Round 20: Erick Aybar by The October Boys. If you’re going to wait on shortstop, you can do a lot worse than Aybar.
  • Round 21: Ryan Roberts by The October Boys. A versatile player who’ll steal some bases and hit some home runs. The rest of this round was pretty ugly.

Picks I Hate, Rounds 11-22

  • Round 11: BJ Upton by Chefdick. The outfield position got thin early, but I think this is a gamble that he could have waited a few rounds for.
  • Round 12: Chris Carpenter by Chefdick. If he were healthy, I wouldn’t have taken him this high. He had a mediocre 2011 with a great run in the playoffs. He’s not a guy you can count on, especially when he’s all banged up.
  • Round 13: Andrew Bailey by Chefdick. Round 13 is early for a middle-of-the-road reliever. Add the nagging injuries, strained lat, and hurt thumb, and this could be total waste of a pick. That’s three turds in a row for Chefdick. Didn’t I say he had the best draft? I may need to reevaluate.
  • Round 14: Joe Nathan by RedRays. Big name, bad arm. 10.79 ERA in the spring.
  • Round 15: Jair Jurrjens by Chefdick. Not a fan.
  • Round 16: Mike Leake by The October Boys. This t-shirt shoplifter is un-draftable. The fact is that he’s just not very good.
  • Round 17: Matt Joyce by unsportsmanMike. This guy is good for one month a season. Which month? That’s a good question. PASS!
  • Round 18: Adam Lind by BBB. This guy and his damn back issues. I picked him and dropped him. Believe the hype can have him! He’ll drive you crazy this year. I traded Ian Kennedy for this bum last season. I am a moron.
  • Round 19: Alfredo Aceves by The October Boys. Long relievers hold absolutely no value in fantasy baseball.
  • Round 20: David Freese by RTC. World Series MVP does not translate to good fantasy player. Stats are mediocre.
  • Round 21: Chase Utley by the Hammer. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Utley went from top-5 pick to Mr. Irrelevant.

If anyone is still with me, I really appreciate you reading this monster of a post. I hope you remember that this is just one guy’s opinion. Drafting a team is a fickle business. Do you draft a team of players that you enjoy watching, or the players that put up big numbers but play for a team you hate? After all, we are only playing for bragging rights, so we should just try and have fun.

In closing, I want to thank everyone for supporting the site and playing in OUR league again. I really do look forward to it every year. Let’s all try to remember that this is just a game. and that the important thing is to enjoy each other’s company, appreciate the baseball being played, have some friendly discussions, and keep the focus on the friendly competition. There’s a reason that this is the best fantasy baseball league around. We have ten owners that know their baseball and are savvy with their teams. Let’s make this the best year yet!

Playoff Predictions

Chefdick again
Boston bad boys
RedRays
WillisBeTheYear

Thanks for reading… PLAY BALL!

Everyone’s Gone to the Movies


Since we can’t watch real baseball for several more weeks, I thought I would write a post on the next best thing – baseball movies! The funny thing is, there really aren’t a lot of quality baseball movies that have been made. For a sport that is America’s game and has been around for 100 years, I expected to be able to easily name ten great baseball movies. I couldn’t.

So here for the first time is TheFoulLine.com’s Top Five Baseball Movies of All Time!!

(Before I start, it should be noted that Field of Dreams will not be making my list. I hated this entire movie. I hate the “If you build it, they will come” ghost story. I hate Iowa. I hate the stupid Field of Dreams Pepsi commercials that they played 9 billion times last season. Now, I’m sure that I’ll be accused of not being a baseball fan for having these comments, but I urge you to rewatch this movie and try and tell me that it’s not a piece of crap.)

Top Five Baseball Movies of All Time

  1. Bull Durham
    Hands down, the best of all time. This movie has it all: baseball, witty banter, sex… The re-watchability of this movie is off the charts. When flipping through the channels, if I come across this flick, I have never not watched it. True story.

  2. Major League
    Who would have thought that they could make a movie about the Cleveland Indians, and it would actually be really good? I’ve watched this movie at least 30 times and I’ve always enjoyed it. How can you not like Wild Thing, Willy Mays Hayes and Pedro Cerrano? And they beat the Yankees to make it to the World Series! (We will not be mentioning the abominations known as Major League 2 and Major League: Back to the Minors.)

  3. The Sandlot
    This is the funniest movie on the list. The scene where the sandlot kids go face-to-face with their arch rivals is classic. Moron, scab eater, butt sniffer, pus licker, fart smeller, and the ultimate insult… You play ball like a girl! This movie brings me back to when I was kid playing baseball and talking smack.

  4. Moneyball
    For a movie that’s about on-base percentage, drawing walks and Scott Hatteberg, it was really good! I saw this in the theater with the RedRay, and we both really enjoyed it. This is a smart movie that had me laughing. I’m not sure why they made Art Howe such a prick, but even so, this is a top-fiver.

  5. The Natural
    I saw this movie in the theater, the night before my first game as a member of the Salem Little League Traveling All-Star Team. After watching Roy Hobbs knock the cover off the ball with “Wonderboy,” I was amped up and ready to play. I proceeded to go 2-3 with three RBIs, as we beat Litchfield 8-3. I’m not saying this movie was the determining factor in me having a good game, but I’m sure it helped. It’s a classic.

Honorable Mentions:

What’s your all-time favorite baseball movie?