Friday, March 31, 2006

Its a Beautiful Day

Its finally springtime in New England - 72 degrees here in the Granite State today. The baseball preview magazines and newspaper articles are in full swing. Its the last full day of work before the season starts. What could make this Friday any more enjoyable?

One word. Carets. Yep, I picked up a new player this morning, went to edit my lineup for Monday, and there they were. Two wonderful carets staring me in the face. Sure, one of them was attached to Oliver Perez, one of many awful early draft picks last season, but even that couldn't put a damper on the excitement. Huddy's getting two starts too, at Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park (I had to look that one up) - two great pitchers parks.

More could follow tomorrow, when Tuesday's starters are usually given The Mark. Those of us who keep track of the wire to make sure our pitching staff is maxed out on games are most definitely smiling this morning, knowing that our season officially begins today.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm Cheating On You!

That's right KFS-aholics, there's a new fantasy game in town. She's young, beautiful, and does all the things for me that you refuse to do. Finally, those of us who wanted to take the next step with fantasy sports are going to be able to do so... but honestly, it's a little scary.

Yes, we have tossed around ideas about doing an auction, keeping more players, and adding money to the mix. Over the course of the past couple of days, all of that came to fruition and them some in the form of When looking at the trial section of the website, it looks awesome. It's got a great layout, a ton of features, and takes care of the keeper issue by itself. But after reviewing the biblical players' guide, it's a little scary. Like enrolling in a class that is a little over your head, it's hard to keep straight how the league actually works and what it's going to take to be successful. Maybe that's why we're having a hard time filling the league, because it's scaring people away.

In any case, I'm excited to see how it all plays out. I think the extra features, like being able to customize a stadium (distances, wall heights, elevation, etc.) that directly affects how your team performs, add a layer of fun and strategy to the game that will outweigh the initial frustration of not knowing what the hell is going on. So, at least for right now, the Denver Bighorns have taken the spotlight from the Mile High Mackerel.

Monday, March 27, 2006

And the Rocket's Red Where?

Dear Peter Gammons,

While I appreciate your notes from yesterday on Craig Hansen...
"He did not allow a run this spring with the Red Sox, but when he gets sent out, the overall feeling is that he needs to either start or pitch in three-inning stints to develop both his fastballs, slider and changeup. In Hansen's case, saves for Pawtucket or Portland are irrelevant. He needs to prepare to pitch in the major leagues, and closing in his case isn't development."
...and the shout-out to my current place of residence...
"If Armando Benitez does break down, don't be surprised if the Giants turn to Merkin Valdez -- who's had a great spring -- and Brian Wilson, who shot through the organization last season with his power stuff. Brian Sabean has to like Wilson, as the fireballer is a fellow New Hampshire native out of Londonderry."
...I could most likely go on with my day without reading this...
"All the Team USA pitchers -- and pitching coach Marcel Lachemann -- were in awe of Roger Clemens. But one thing they weren't ready for was Clemens taking that Icy Hot that pitchers rub on their shoulders and arms and spreading it over his upper thighs and private parts. "He doesn't want to get comfortable on the mound," says Jake Peavy, who tried the same trick Friday night in Phoenix."
If that the kind of substance abuse we're going to be hearing about in this post-steroid era, I'd rather go back to the Bash Brothers. Anyway, if anyone else knows of a pitcher who starts rubbing cream on his ballsack, please let Adler know so he can add him to the stable.

Have You Seen My Baseball (Teams)?

Here is my ultimate 2006 baseball team; players at every position that I own to start the year on all of my teams. Aside from the KFS league, I went with a Colorado steroid theme for all my team names: Mile High Mackerel (MHI), Colorado Clear (COL), Rocky Mountain Roids (ROC), Aurora Andro (AUR). All four leagues have different scoring formats. Here are the highlights:

Kenji Johjima (MHI)
Javy Lopez (COL)
Jorge Posada (ROC)
Josh Willingham (MHI)

First Basemen
Derrek Lee (MHI, AUR)
Richie Sexson (ROC)
Mark Teixeira (COL)

Second Basemen
Jeff Kent (ROC)
Mark Loretta (MHI)
Brian Roberts (MHI)
Rickie Weeks (COL, AUR)

Third Basemen
Garrett Atkins (MHI, COL, ROC)
Hank Blalock (MHI)
Troy Glaus (ROC)

Clint Barmes (COL)
Orlando Cabrera (AUR)
Khalil Greene (AUR)
Miguel Tejada (MHI, AUR)
Omar Vizquel (AUR)

Bobby Abreu (MHI)
Lance Berkman (COL)
Brian Giles (AUR)
Luis Gonzalez (MHI, AUR)
Vladimir Guerrero (MHI)
Ichiro (COL)
Manny Ramirez (ROC)
Gary Sheffield (AUR)

Starting Pitchers
Mark Buehrle (COL)
A.J. Burnett (ROC)
Daniel Cabrera (MHI, COL)
Roger Clemens (COL)
Bartolo Colon (MHI)
Felix Hernandez (COL)
Tim Hudson (ROC)
Pedro Martinez (ROC)
Matt Morris (MHI, AUR)
John Patterson (COL)
Mark Prior (AUR)
John Smoltz (MHI, AUR)
Carlos Zambrano (COL)

Relief Pitchers
Brad Lidge (MHI, AUR)
Joe Nathan (MHI, AUR)
Mariano Rivera (MHI)

Obviously I love Garrett Atkins. In the Aurora league put-outs count for points, which is why I have so many seemingly shitty shortstops.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Everyone's Team Sucks

With a bottle of Grey Goose at my side, I sat down for another fantasy baseball draft, fully prepared to let my drafting policies follow my sobriety. The 2006 version of the annual meeting of NECBL2 owners had all the major surprises one would expect from an honest to god competitive fantasy league, not the least of which was that there were n'an surprises in the first five rounds. Still, I went to sleep last night, woke up this morning, and Adler still drafted Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. I'll break the draft down in the following sections...

Rounds 1-5: Keepers Kept

For once, the keeper rounds went smoothly. It turns out that Stanley wasn't kidding when he said he was keeping Chone Figgins and I was kidding when I said I was keeping Jonny Gomes. I love how the draft starts and it's hard to keep up with the chat line, then as the final round of the re-draft starts people start to disappear a little bit. I'll admit I was scrambling up until the first pick... but we're not there yet.

Worst Keeper: Chone Figgins (New Haven Traffic Cones)
Riskiest Keeper: Ryan Howard (Baltimore Devil Jays)

Rounds 6-10: Hello... Again...

The rounds following the keeper rounds saw many familiar faces walk across the stage. Some players shook hands with familiar owners, while others are going to try on new team colors in 2006. Carlos Beltran openly wept as he was drafted #1 overall by Steve Adler's Tiger Army, officially ending his chances of ever making the playoffs. Yahoo!'s rankings and draft guesstimates were completely thrown out the window by NECBL2 owners, which I love. Here are some examples of why our league is awesome: Bonds and Sizemore going in Round 6, Jeff Kent going to New Haven, and Watts essentially drafting the same guy twice (Brian Giles & J.D. Drew). Funston be damned, I say!

Weirdest-Looking New Uniform: Hank Blalock (Mile High Mackerel)
Most Obvious Pick: Jeff Kent (New Haven)

Rounds 11-15: Adolescence

Is it just me, or are rounds 11 through 15 a pretty good representation of years 13 through 18 in life? It seems like some of us don't know what we're doing, we wind up making bad decisions, and we try to hang-out with "the cool kids" even though they'll be working at K-Mart in 5 years. What the hell was up with these picks? Round 11, Livan Herandez. Round 12, Cliff Floyd. Round 13, Jeremy Hermida, Jason Giambi, and Randy Winn. Round 14, Trevor Hoffman and Julio Lugo. Round 15, Placido Polanco and Eddie Guardado. And I've already stated that I'm refusing to believe that Adler took Andy Pettitte even though he tried to hide it by taking Jason Varitek 2 seconds later. I'm not saying those were all bad picks, mind you, but I know I hate looking at my cheat sheet and saying to myself "damn, I have to draft Livan Hernandez, don't I? This sucks."

Most Likely To Be Done By May: Tie. Josh Beckett (Chavez Ravine Squatters), Cliff Floyd (New Haven), & Ken Griffey, Jr. (Woosta Pimp Roostas)
Quietest Pick: Mark Prior (Woosta)

Rounds 16-20: The Plot Thickens

Like Adler at a bar at 2am, most owners seem to loosen their standards as to who they are willing to take chances on as the evening progresses. Rookies and old-timers alike were given chances to play in the big show and owners around the league thanked Stanley for only pre-ranking 125 players. There was a good mix of age in almost every round of this group, and I commend owners around the league for making some shrewd picks. There was a rookie or a second-year player drafted in every round as well as veterans with upside such as Roger Clemens, Jim Thome, Armando Benitez, Javy Lopez (who was later cut, for some reason), Torii Hunter, and Pudge Rodriguez.

Pick That Signaled Stanley Was Done: Scott Podsednik (New Haven)
Man-Crush Of The Year: Steve Adler on Lyle Overbay (Chicago Tiger Army Of New York)

Rounds 21-25: I Don't Care Anymore

Rounds 21 through 25 are a lot like rounds 16 through 20, except they're not as good and the last one doesn't count. Frieds drafted a guy who in currently in AAA, Rich drafted Rocco Baldelli, and I hit that Bong... hahahahahahahahahahahah!

Best Chance To Not Get Cut: Freddy Garcia (Marshall St. Menace)
2006 Best Name Pick: Yorman Bazardo, who will probably win the Cy Young this year (Woosta)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Gammons Corner

Is non-KFS blogging allowed here? Don't make me start my own.

So I heard the new Pearl Jam single on the radio this morning for the first time. Why is it that I can listen fairly mindlessly to 100 songs in the background at work, but when the Pearl Jam song came on, I actually paid attention? Oh wait, I know. Because it's what us old timers like to call "GOOD MUSIC".

In a totally blatant effort to get Chabot and Watts to start contributing,what are your top 5 PJ ditties of all time? And Rich, "That one that goes 'I kicked a baby seal'" is an acceptable choice

1. Low Light
2. Corduroy
3. Nothingman
4. Red Mosquito
5. Porch

I've been out of the music scene for quite a while, but that song this morning got me going. Other band discussion is encouraged. Except for Tool.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Never Take Sides Against My Family

One of the aspects about fantasy sports that adds to its addictive nature is the sense of ownership that is developed by having the same group of players on a team for several consecutive years. For me, players like Bobby Abreu, Miguel Tejada, Brett Favre, and Tony Gonzalez have shaped the personalities of my fantasy baseball and football teams for several years. Much like a hometown bias towards one's favorite franchise, I seem to have developed an extreme sensitivity towards negative remarks made towards these players.

Case in point, the article written today by two RotoWire columnists in which one of the contributors tells us how much he has devalued Abreu and Tejada. They proceed to go back and forth via e-mail seemingly for days.

First of all, I think almost everyone in the Keene Fantasy Sports family is just as qualified as those tea bags to write for a fantasy sports rag like RotoWire or even Yahoo!, so I usually take what these guys say with a grain of salt. Just a few weeks ago another writer from another website wrote an article in which he valued Abreu higher than Jason Bay.

Still, for some players that I've owned for a long period of time, when amateur writers dig on them, I feel like I have to defend their honor as if I was their agent or publicist. Is this normal behavior around the league? In my opinion, the biggest conflict of interest in KFS leagues is in Woosta where Red Sox-friendly owner Colonel Rice relies heavily on Alex Rodriguez to continue his dominance of fantasy sports. Does the Colonel feel like he needs to defend A-Rod when he is repeatedly called a choke artist or Slappy McBlue-Lips? Or is ignorance bliss?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Eyes on the Prize

So the little number at right came in the mail the other day. It's really nice quality, the logo is printed right on the fabric, and white dog hair doesn't show up on it. I've worn it every damn day. Dara only laughed once.

So I got to thinking, once again, that this league needs prizes. This sweatshirt cost 24 bucks, including shipping and the discount coupon that you seem to get every time someone else refers you. If we made that the prize, it would cost everyone 3 bucks and change each. And this is pretty much the most expensive item you could order from the site. If the winner wanted a bumper sticker, I'd pay for it myself.

I'm completely willing to make new graphics for people who win. "I Beat the Squatch" for example, or "Pimpin' Is Easy". I don't know how I'd get everyone's money to order the item, but if you want to put 3 dollars in an envelope and send it to me, that's all it would take.

Anyway, just a very cheap way to potentially add a little fun to the league. Thoughts?

You're A Tea Bag: Erik Kuselias

Congratulations to Erik Kuselias for being the inaugural Tea Bag. For those who don't know, Mr. Kuselias is a radio host for ESPN. Sometimes he fills in for Mike Greenberg on Mike & Mike In The Morning, but for his normal gig he hosts a show called The SportsBash, which on from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ET. That time slot just so happens to fall directly during my ride home (in Mountain Time) . Therefore, I am blessed with the honor of listening to him since my car's CD player is broken. Apparently the guy grew up in Connecticut, but for the longest time I mistook him for arrogant Long Island trash similar to the dumbass I found myself rooming with during my first semester in college (no offense, Cohen, you don't fall into that category, but I'm sure you know the trash of which I speak). I understand that it's the job of a radio host to incite conversation and convince listeners to stay tuned through the commercial breaks, but this guy does it in the most infuriating and obnoxious ways. He is also never wrong, unlike his callers and e-mailers who are almost always wrong unless they contact him with the sole intention of stroking his oversized ego.
Recently, he has sided with pro-sports villains the likes of Terrell Owens and Alfonso Soriano and has openly criticized those who disagree (including ESPN reporter Ed Werder, who covers the Cowboys for a living). I'm no fan of the Cowboys, but when several of his e-mailers suggested that they were not going to renew their season tickets because of the Cowboys' signing of T.O., Kuselias pretty much called them liars in so many words. He also told listeners that the only thing that matters in sports is winning and money, and if you think there's anything more than that, you couldn't be more wrong.
After reading his bio (in which they misspell his last name), it's plain to see that there's not much at all to like about this gentleman... but what do I know? I don't host a radio show.
Erik Kuselias: ESPN personality, lawyer, PhD , Mensa member... Tea Bag.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

2006 Bizarro Baseball Draft – Mock 1st Round

  1. Chicago: Barry Bonds – Bizarro Adler can’t help but jump when presented with the opportunity to draft this steroid infused baseball demolition machine. This slugger has no keeper potential and does not play left field for the Red Sox. Alternate: Jorge Posada.
  2. Speedway: Pedro Martinez – In true bizarro fashion, Speedway drafts Pedro Martinez; electing to make this the year that they don’t throw their best player from the previous year over to the Woosta squad. Alternates: A-rod, David Ortiz.
  3. New Haven: Roy Oswalt – In order to gear up for their usual two-start pitcher approach, New Haven starts off their draft with Pedro Martinez light. Alternate: Dontrelle Willis.
  4. Chavez Ravine: Hideki Matsui – Bizarro Chavez is all about the reliable veterans, and for them it doesn’t get any better than this war tested Native American chief / Japanese Yakyu MVP. Alternate: Jim Edmonds.
  5. Marshall St.: Jhonny Peralta – Marshall St. goes out on a limb and drafts this generally likeable human spelling error to fill their MI position. With only one season under his belt and his non-pitcher status, he’s just what the doctor ordered. How Bizarre. Alternate: Climt Barnes.
  6. Baltimore: Ichiro Suzuki – Bizarro Baltimore knows to steer clear of the trash left over from last year’s MHI squad. This year they get the party started with the master of batting average and steals (they are, after all, the 2 most important categories in BNECBL2). Alternate: Juan Pierre (the NL version of Ichiro).
  7. Mile High: Eric Chavez – Look up the definition of bizarro in the dictionary and it says: “ bizzaro (b -zär o) adj: Eric Chavez not on Woosta. (Syn: Speedway making good trades, NECBL2 draft going smoothly) (Ant: normal, regular)." Alternate: None.
  8. Woosta: Jeff Bagwell – Cementing their position on the bottom of the NECBL2 ladder, Woosta drafts this 1B who can’t throw overhand. Their reasoning? Bizzaro Rich’s Rawlings baseball glove from little league (the last time Rich actually payed attention to MLB) was the Jeff Bagwell model. Alternate: Jon Dowd.


I'm totally going to win this league this year. My little countdown clock just read "5 days, 5 hours, and 55 minutes until draft time"

Of course, that alone doesn't mean anything. What it does mean is that I got to make a wish, and in that wish, I asked for a championship season. And like that? You're all losing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Offseason

Or, as the rest of you probably call it, NECBL2. Sure, my first season went great. The Porn Bats (there JB, I just quadrupled this blog's hits) rolled to the regular season's best record. I don't even remember who was on my team. For some reason, I want to say I had Nomar and Miguel Tejada. That was a lot a better in '01 than it sounds now. Nevertheless, I was feared. Plus, I was the only one who understood our scoring system, so I could just add points to my team whenever I felt like it. Please. Like you had Excel back then.

Then, the team with a frigging tire tread for a logo crushed me in the inaugural Package Series (hey, that name stuck!). Robb Nen single-handedly beat me that week. The extra B is for bring your own ligaments. So then I panicked. I moved the team to a racetrack next to a nudist camp (true story) and ever since, I've been mired in mediocrity. Completely due to bad luck of course, and not horrifically poor trades and otherwise shoddy decision-making. Just look at the hitters I used to have:
  • Paul Konerko
  • Adam Dunn
  • David Ortiz
  • Mark Teixeira
  • Lance Berkman
  • Alex Rodriguez
Ouch. Hey at least there's 6 names there, so I would have had to let go of one of them every year anyway. Probably Ortiz. F me.

So while you guys get juiced up for fantasy baseball season, I'll be going for the second leg of the Gallup Slam over in Hoopsville. And remember to draft Barry Bonds in the first round. He's good for .410/47/95. And don't get me started on his VORP...

Adler Goggles: Wily Mo

What we see:

Pena batted .254 with 19 homers and 51 RBIs last season and struck out 116 times with 20 walks. A 24-year-old right-handed hitter, he could play right
field instead of lefty Trot Nixon when left-handers pitch against Boston.

What Adler sees:

Pena batted .254 with 19 homers and 51 RBIs last season and struck out 116 times with 20 walks. A 24-year-old right-handed hitter, he could play right field instead of lefty Trot Nixon Steve Adler when left-handers pitch against Boston.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Madness Is Goodness

Okay, so when I posted last week and said that last week was the most wonderful time of the year, maybe I jumped the gun a little bit. The first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament officially ushers us into Spring. By the time a champion is crowned, baseball season will be upon us and fully challenging me to get outside and do anything constructive. For many years I was nuts about the tournament, here are some quick memories:

  • Getting "sick" in high school for the first couple of days of the tournament.
  • Spending all of the days leading up to that in school pining over brackets at the expense of my education. As fate would have it, I was actually preparing for life in the working world.
  • Watching March Madness at Midnight Madness at the Keene YMCA. It was madness, for lack of a better word.
  • Burning a UConn pennant after their victory over Duke. It was given to me as a present by a friend of mine who went to UConn.
  • Rigging an entire box of aluminum foil to my TV antenna in college so I could more clearly see though the haze of static that blanketed Miami's local CBS affiliate.
  • Three words: "One shining momennnnnt..."

I'll admit, I've become less of a basketball fan in general than I was a few years ago. I blame the NBA and it's lenient draft entry policies which I believe thins out talent at the pro and college levels. Still, we all know that there are few things in sports that are as universally addictive as filling out an NCAA bracket and following your picks through at least the first two rounds (depending on how you do). Today, I proud to say that this year, finally, I have become one of the millions of employees across the nation who is blowing my company's money by watching the tournament at work. Ahhh, America.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

2006 Baseball Draft - Mock 1st Round

  1. Chicago: Pedro Martinez – Do we honestly think Adler can resist seeing Pedro staring him in the face and pointing to his own head at the top slot? The answer is yes. But not with alcohol in his system coupled with the fact that Adler will have been swimming in a sea of blue and orange for the weeks leading up to the draft. Alternate: Carlos Beltran
  2. Speedway: Joe Nathan – Nathan lit it up for Adler last year, and is the best available closer who is not a Yankee. At 32, Nathan might be 15 years too old to don the ‘Wipes uniform. Is this the year Frieds fights the urge to rob the cradle? Alternate: Dontrelle Willis
  3. New Haven: Mariano Rivera – No doubt. Alternate: None
  4. Chavez Ravine: Dontrelle Willis – It just fits. Bob went with the youth movement last year and adding Willis would give the Squats a scary one-two punch for years if/when they finally part ways with Alfonso Soriano. Alternate: Carlos Zambrano
  5. Marshall Street: Roy Oswalt – With no Clemens early in the year, Watts needs another big time pitcher, and J-Dub has never been afraid of drafting nasty, nasty pitchers. Also, Oswalt can not be given the chance to go back to Woosta. This must happen. Alternate: Ichiro
  6. Baltimore: Carlos Zambrano – Even though Zambrano didn’t play for Mile High at any point last year, Baltimore may be throwing everyone for a loop here. Zambrano, along with Oswalt, was a cornerstone of the Pimp Roostas championship squad. DosBot was not afraid to raid the champs last year, and that won’t change in 2006. Alternate: Roy Oswalt
  7. Mile High: Bartolo Colon – For the second time in two years, I will likely have to “settle” for Bart and trade him two weeks into the season before his stock really begins to rise. Alternate: Carlos Lee
  8. Woosta: Carlos Lee – He’s a good hitter, on an up and coming team, and was on Rich’s squad last year. Those are three things in El Caballo’s favor. Alternate: Eric Chavez

Note: I think these are all still accurate. If people didn't go changing their keepers every week...

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett died today.

I was never much of a Twins fan, in fact I'm not even sure if I watched any of the 1991 World Series against the Braves. However, Puckett was one of baseball's most personable and likeable players at a time when I was learning a lot about the game from its ambassadors. Players like Puckett, Will Clark, and Ken Griffey, Jr. were, if not role models, men I emulated on my a daily basis on homemade Whiffle Ball fields against the likes of my friends' and cousins' favorites, Gary Sheffield, Wade Boggs, Dan Pasqua, and Kenny Lofton. At 45, Puckett was taken too early, but I feel privleged to have been able to see a player with his enthusiasm and talent play the game. He had his problems off the field after he retired, as I'm sure many players do, and not much can excuse chasing your wife around the house with a circular saw. The last few years of his life were undoubtedly tragic ones, but I will remember him as I knew him: on the field playing hard and getting teammates to follow. If I ever have little ones who are aspiring outfielders, I will most certainly tell them stories about Kirby Puckett.