Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Morning Quarteryack

Another Nats/Orioles series, another avatar change for yours truly. Myself and Jabby Burns (@Jabbyburns)  ran back our friendly avatar bet (for all of you non-douches out there, that's where the loser has to change their twitter avatar for the week, to whatever the winner chooses), and thanks to Matt Wieners' (did I spell that right, O's fans?) 8th inning, 2 run bomb, I'm sporting everyone's favorite butterfly stroking pot head (and Baltimore's own), Michael Phelps.

Yay, me!

Its all good, though. And props to the Orioles who are playing well above where anyone thought they would, 10 games above .500 as  we approach the halfway point. In fact, if the season were to end today (most annoying talking point ever), both the Orioles and the Nats would be playing post season baseball.

Congrats to Jabby, and it was nice meeting you and your Charm City brethren on Saturday night. Here is to a 3rd avatar bet in early October.

           Many Nats fans represented Sat. night at Camden Yards 

Now that I have my sour grapes out of the way, lets continue with my sour grapes. The Nats may have lost their second straight series to the Charm City Crowes, but lets look at the big picture. The Nats pitching is still their rock, and its why they'll be playing post season baseball this year. Strasburg or no Strasburg, by the way.

The Nats still continue to boat race the rest of MLB in team pitching statistics. Their team ERA is still under 3 (2.95)- the only MLB team who can say that, and per Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman- try this one on for size: there are 15 MLB teams who don't have a single pitcher with a sub 3 ERA; the Nats have 4 of them.

So don't hit the panic button, Nats Town. 12 games over .500 at the 70 game mark is pretty damn good. And I wouldn't jettison guys like Michael Morse just yet (kind of like I did a month ago with  Danny Espinosa, who by the way, has added 14 points to his BA since I suggested he be benched). I expect Morse to pick up the pace as we enter July, and with Jayson Werth's time table for return moved up to 'end of July, early August', the offense will get better.

The Miami Heat won the NBA Championship last week...And the NBA draft is Thursday night......#WhogivesashitWhogivesafuck?

Tiger Woods returns to our nation's capital this week, as his ATT National Tournament tees off at Congressional Country Club starting Thursday. Some of the players joining Woods this week are Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Jim  Furyk, and KJ Choi.

Also in the field is Loudoun County native, and one time High School opponent of Beaver in Sterling, Billy Hurley. The Naval Academy Graduate has only made about $85,000 his first full year on tour, and will most likely be back in Q-School or on the Nationwide Tour, or whatever it is they do now to qualify new players for 'The Bigs'.

And finally, Jerry Sandusky's child molestation case wrapped up on Planet Inbred this past week. 12  jurors, who apparently avoided drinking the water up there in State College, found that piece of shit guilty on 45 of the 48 charges, dismissing the other three. Joe-Pa (PA stands for pedophile's assistant, by the way) is already pushing up daisies, and hopefully the 68 year old Sandusky will be doing the same shortly.

However, I'm not sure what good 447 years of jail time is going to do for society. Listen, you can't rehabilitate this cocksucker. He's been molesting children (that we know of) since the 70s. Save the Pennsylvania tax payers the (on average) $35k to $40k/year to house this loser, and be done with him. Personally, I've always thought that violent and sexual crimes against children and women are society's worst, and the punishment for committing them should be death. Seriously, I'm not sure how anyone walks away from this case, after hearing the horrid details about it for the last few weeks and months, and doesn't feel the same way. May he have the same fate in prison as Jeffrey Dahmer did.

And Penn State fans, fuck you too and your "We Are Penn State" horseshit. Quit acting like this is your Va Tech massacre moment, and like anyone has any sympathy for you dickheads. Because we don't.

Bottom line- the majority of you window lickers turned a blind eye to this shit for the sake of not wanting to interrupt your football program. You people disgust me, and I hope the NCAA comes to their collective right minds and shuts down your program indefinitely. May the lot of you who did in fact turn that blind eye or suspect something all those years and not say anything, rot in hell along with your beloved coaches.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

A Beatdown in Boston, and A Promising Trend for Making the Post Season

The Nats put on a clinic this weekend, beating down Red Sox Nation in their own backyard. They were led by timely hitting, game changer Bryce Harper disrupting the Sox psyche, and a pitching staff that continues to roll.

Friday night's one two punch of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper was simply a joy to watch, unless of course you're from Beantown, or a 6'6" radio host from Ashburn, via Lanham. Strasburg's 13 K performance was simply dominating, improving his season record to 7-1, and Harper was a triple away from hitting for the cycle, in just his 35th game in the bigs.

Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and even the very unlucky Jordan Zimmerman, all had solid performances this weekend in the starting roll, and the Nats bullpen continues to be stellar. Tyler Clippard closed and saved all three games at Fenway, and is a flawless 8 for 8 since "the old guy" Davey Johnson made him the Nats closer.

Through 58 games (35-23), the Nats are on a 98 win pace. So impressive are they through just over a third of the season, that they could play .500 ball the rest of the way, and still win 87 games. Its truly amazing, in light of the fact that they're playing without their starting catcher and right fielder. It goes to show the importance of solid arms on a Major League club.

The Nats pitchers continue to have the lowest ERA in all of the majors (2.98), and if recent history is a tell-tale, the Nats and their fans can feel pretty good about making October plans that don't involve tee times.

Over the last 6 years, the teams whose pitching staffs finished tops in the Majors, have a pretty good track record when it comes to making the post season. Those teams beginning with 2011's and working back, were the Phillies, Giants, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Padres, and Tigers.

Of those 6 teams, only one of them did not make the post season, the Blue Jays. The Padres did make a one game playoff, but lost. So that makes 5 of those 6 teams, whose pitching staffs finished numero uno in all  of MLB,  qualifying to play more than 162 games in that respective year. Of those 5, two of them made the World Series- the Giants and the Tigers, and one of them- the Giants, won it all.

Pic via twitter/recordsANDradio and @BryanHarper45

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Who is in Center? What is in Right???

MASN color guy F.P. Santangelo, when laying out the Nats defense Saturday afternoon for the viewers, made an interesting quip while talking about the Nats starting outfield. He was referencing the fact that all three outfielders came up or at least had played other positions throughout their career.

"With Lombardozzi in left, Ankiel in Center, and Harper in Right, the Nats outfield is a 2nd baseman, a pitcher, and a catcher."

 I'll admit, thats kind of funny.

Now I eagerly await the moment, when F.P. informs me that the no hitter is gone.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Upon Further Review of Phil Mickelson's WD Last Week.....

Following Phil Mickelson's withdraw from last week's Memorial Tournament, the report first came out that he was suffering from "mental fatigue". Then it came to light, courtesy of post round interviews with his playing partners Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, that Phil was distracted by camera phone pictures being taken.

Then just yesterday, it was reported that Mickelson was so irritated with the use of cell phone cameras, that he was text messaging PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem from the golf course, during his round.

Now the question here isn't whether or not Phil's irritation was warranted or not. Personally, I think it was. I've played plenty of golf with donks who have left their phones on ringer, rather than turning them off or putting them on silent, and it is extremely bothersome when you're standing over a shot, and one of their goddamn cell phones goes off.

And donks like me and Beaver from Sterling are playing $5 nassaus, not the millions of dollars guys like Phil and Rickie Fowler compete for, so I get where he's coming from.

But the way he handled himself during and after the round leaves much to be desired. And it poses some interesting questions and talking points- most of which seem to have been ignored by the mainstream sports media.

First and foremost, if the report of Phil's on course texting to the commissioner was true, that is where the absurdity starts.

Mickelson or Bones- his caddy, could have more easily nipped this in the bud by simply saying something to the multiple tour officials who walk around with them, and who are present on the grounds. Not only is it ironic that Lefty was using his own phone during a round to bitch about the fans using their phones, but it seems like it was the most inefficient way to resolve the problem.

Secondly, once it became common knowledge that Phil was irritated with the gallery phones, you can officially call bullshit on his "mental fatigue" excuse. You actually shouldn't have to look any further than at the fact that Mickelson was coming off a 2 week break, after finishing an impressive T-7 at the Byron Nelson, to know that he probably wasn't tired.

And if we're calling bullshit on Phil's reason for withdraw, I'd like to take a closer look at Phil's round, specifically his final 6 holes.

Phil finished his "mentally fatiguing" round last Thursday with 6 straight 5s on his card. Now I'm not sure if non-golf geeks will be able to put this into perspective, but for lack of better terms, 6 straight 5s for a pro- let alone a player of Mickelson's caliber, is f**king awful.

In fact, prior to Phil's run of 6 straight Joe DiMaggios, he bogeyed the Par 3 12th. So in summary, Lefty played the final 7 holes (+7), en route to his weekend hacker-like 79.

That is so bad- specifically his final 6 holes, that one might think Mickelson wasn't trying. However, nobody even thought to question it, and it seemed to fall by the wayside as soon as Mickelson jokingly told reporters that he hadn't had that many 5s on his scorecard, "since I was 5 (years old)."

Now here at Yack Central, we don't have Phil's career numbers relative to consecutive 5s on his scorecard. But I did look at Mickelson's 2012 season numbers, and in light of the cell phone frustration, and subsequent rage texting? to Commissioner Finchem, its our opinion that a frustrated Mickelson more or less said, "Fuck It, I'm out", by the time him and Bones rolled up to the 13th tee box.

Prior to last week's round, Mickelson had played 46 rounds, or 828 holes of golf. He was and still is 7th on the money list, he had already won at Pebble Beach, and had only missed one cut. During that span, the most consecutive 5's that he ever took during a single round was 4 (Round 1 of the Farmers Insurance at Torrey Pines, Mickelson's only MC all year), and that just happened once.

In fact, going into last Thursday's WD round at the Memorial, Mickelson had made three consecutive 5s or more just three times. That makes last week's 6 hole debacle by him seem even more unusual. Could Mickelson have had a 6 hole stretch of golf that was that bad? No.

And since I'm not buying the mentally fatigued excuse, I started wondering why more people in the media didn't buy it either, and why they weren't pointing out the obvious, which is that it appeared Phil quit.

Can you imagine if Tiger had gotten so bent out of shape about gallery cell phones, that he had pulled his own cell phone out during the middle of the round, and like a little baby (which is how the media would've described him), started text messaging the Commissioner of the sport?

And then what if Tiger would've finished that same round 5-5-5-5-5-5, to post a 79, and then following the round, he told reporters he was mentally fatigued, even after two weeks of rest, and that he was now withdrawing from the only tournament on the calender that has the greatest living golfer's name attached to it?

Tiger would've been crucified, thats what would've happened.

But there was no one waiting to nail Mickelson to the cross. In fact, and ironically enough, by Tiger winning his 73rd tournament- tying the host Nicklaus for 2nd in most tournament wins, Tiger overshadowed Mickelson's bout with mental fatigue, and in a way, Tiger bailed Lefty out. And by the time they hit the media center next week at the Olympic Club, you can rest assured that Mickelson's hexagon of 5s and his subsequent WD from The Golden Bear's tournament, will be long forgotten.

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