Sunday, July 29, 2018

Final Update (It's been such a long time). Floods, fires, and other disasters.

Although I still follow baseball, obviously I stopped updating this a while ago. A lot has happened in the last 5 years.
5 years + 1 month ago my best buddy Fratton the Shar-Pei passed away suddenly.
I semi adopted one of his neighborhood dog friends, Nuka the Great Pyrenees, and I got to walk him and look after him for 2 years until his arthritis got so bad that he had to be put to sleep.
They were both wonderful dogs, 15/10, would do it all over again even with the pain of the losses.
About a month after Nuka passed my apartment of almost 8 years flooded. Main pipe coming into the house broke off in the concrete wall and spent 45 minutes filling my place with water. Fortunately I lost very little of value, and had insurance. Because it was an older 60+ years old house I took advantage of my insurance and had them move everything out and into storage, and 2 months later into my new rental, a really nice top floor (4th) condo. Modern and all that.
Loved the new place, adopted another rescue Shar-Pei, and things were going great for about 14 months until Dec 11 2016. That was the day of the fire. 4 storey wood condos didn't require sprinklers on the balconies or in the attic spaces. So when an improperly disposed of cigarette (supposedly) started a fire on a 4th floor balcony, it quickly got up into the attic space. And because there's no way for the fire department to put a fire like that out, mainly due to the fact that the roofs are built with low quality materials that can only withstand 5 minutes of fire, this fire didn't stop until most of the roof had collapsed.
The key is that no one got hurt. It was 10am on a Sunday morning when the alarms went off.
Unfortunately myself and the other units on the 4th floor lost about everything. I was lucky enough that the fire department were able to go into my unit the day after the fire and retrieve all my hard drives, my PC tower, and a couple of pairs of shoes. 3 weeks later when I finally got into the unit it was surreal. No roof. 3 weeks of rain and snow aside from the fire hose had done a number on all my possessions. Not much actually burned but not much was salvageable either. I rescued a few CDs, a couple of sentimental things, and not much else. Every single card or collectible I ever blogged about was lost. And the 17000+ CDs and DVDs that made up my inventory for selling online were all gone as well.
But, I still had insurance and even though it took 6 months I got a max payout.
And I met a woman who lived in the building and we decided to try a fresh start and rented a place together. Unfortunately I didn't realize that she was an alcoholic compulsive liar narcissist gaslighter.
So after 5 months I high tailed it back to my Mom's condo, where I'd spent 2 months after both the flood and the fire. This was a more permanent move. Oh, and my poor girl Cinnamon got glaucoma and had to have both her eyes removed.
But, better days had to be ahead, right?
And for almost a year things were good. I liked being at my Mom's because she's 81 and I could do stuff around the house and shopping and stuff to make things easier for her. Cinnamon loves sleeping in front of the fire place, and my Mom had missed her during the 5 months. I rebuilt some inventory and was having good sales numbers online.
And then at the beginning of June I had a really bad upset stomach. I'd also been constipated for a month or so. Or so I thought. One Sunday I got some really bad stomach pain, then I started shaking uncontrollably, and that only stopped when I started throwing up. So the paramedics were called, but I decided not to go into the hospital because I was sure I'd get better. By the next morning that clearly wasn't happening, so 911 was called again and the came and took me in. I was admitted that night with a diagnosis of diverticulitis.
To make a really long story a bit shorter, after 2 hospital stays taking up 16 days, one colon surgery, and countless tests and specialists, I've been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon and liver cancer. I don't know if they got all the colon cancer when they removed the tumor. And I don't yet know if the cancer has spread beyond the liver. If it has my prognosis is really bad. Even if it hasn't without treatment I'd have 6-12 months. And the numbers aren't great even with treatment. So I'm waiting on another CT scan and an Oncologist appointment to find out where I stand.
So it's been a tough time. And with not having updated this for 5 years anyways, it's unlikely I'll find or have the time to do so after this. I hope this site will stick around for a long time though, as I enjoyed the posts I made and the other blogs I found. Even made some good trades as well.
All the best to everyone!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eagles, eagles, and more eagles.

I was going to write about the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen, but I got bored. The Jays are so over. Fire AA.

On a different bird note, I'm a scoreboard watcher on A nice way to pass a few minutes, seeing who's hot and who's not. I especially like that they've added a color for triples. Brown. Shit brown.

Anyways, I noticed some serious eagles happening at the Albertsons Boise Open Presented by Kraft.

In the 2nd round, 2 guys made 3 eagles apiece. Both made them at the same holes. 3, 15, and 16. 15's a par 4, the other 2 are par 5's.

Chris Smith (tied for 31st at -15)

Brad Elder (Elder missed the cut by 2 shots despite the 3 eagles and his 2nd round 64)

Then along comes Hunter Haas. He eagles the par 5 16th in the 3rd round. Then in the 4th round he again eagles 16, and throws in an ace at 17 for good measure. Haas finished T6 at -20.

See the ace here:

And another guy, Jason Allred, makes eagles in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th rounds. He also makes 24 birdies. Unfortunately he also made 8 bogeys and one double bogey, so he finished 3 back. And since I haven't bothered looking at all the cards, for all I know there could be more guys who made 3.

17 guys finished the tournament at -18 or lower. That's -1 for every 4 holes played. That's birdiemania. Oh yeah, Kevin Tway won for the 1st time. Bob's kid. Another 2nd generation future superstar? Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays Part 2

Pitching. The Jays and their pitchers. Truly a tale of 2 extremes. Let's look at the first extreme, the starters.

So far the Jays have used 13 starting pitchers this season. My analysis will start from the "top", with the pitcher with the most starts. Stats as of 10:27 AM PST, July 9 2013.

1. R.A. Dickey. 19 starts. ERA+ 89.

AA gave up the farm for this guy, not only trading some great prospects but signing him to a massive extension. Yes, he's a great feel good story. But oh my goodness, what a terrible decision to bring this guy to Toronto.  Seriously, what could possibly go wrong in bringing in a 38 year old knuckleballer from a pitcher's league and a pitcher's park and dumping him into a hitter's league and hitter's park? I'm not an "I told you so" guy, but when this deal was going down I knew it was going to suck. All the arguments from the mostly clueless Jays fans about how knuckleballers pitch forever (except they really don't). He's slightly better on 5 days rest than on 4 days rest, so if the Jays could put together a 6 man rotation.....ah, forget about it. If he has any value at all, he should be traded immediately. Who would want the 2 guaranteed years at 12 million per I don't know. Especially for a pitcher who absolutely SUCKS this year. Sorry R.A., the story is great, the book was a good read, but you need to get back to the NL ASAP.

2. Mark Buehrle. 18 starts. ERA+ 95.

I kind of feel bad for Mark. He made an intelligent decision to move to Miami and pitch in the NL. He realized that as he got older he needed to be in a more pitcher friendly league. Unfortunately he chose to believe the supposed promises that he wouldn't get traded, and now here he is in Toronto, in the AL, and without his family and dogs. Now, before you go warming up the violin, keep in mind that so far in his career he's been paid over 100 million dollars to pitch, and will receive another 37 million dollars in 2014-2015. So my sympathy is limited.
Pitching wise he's been below average, but with age and the move back to the AL, he's right about where I expected him to be. And how long can he keep throwing 200+ innings a year? If he makes it to 200 this year, it'll be 13 straight seasons. The absolute definition of a workhorse. And more than a little lucky to not have had a major injury.
Buehrle would be a solid 3 or 4 guy in a good rotation. Statistically he's #1 in the Jays rotation, but that isn't saying much. I'm sure he'd love to get back to the NL and a pitbull friendly city just as soon as possible.

3. Brandon Morrow. 10 starts. ERA+ 76.

This is how bad the Jays rotation is that this injury prone terrible pitcher has the 3rd most starts. Morrow was decent in 2012, but in 2013 he's back to his terrible self. He has bad mechanics that cause injuries, and he's incredibly inconsistent. The occasional flash of brilliance will never make up for the end product. And he's getting 8 million dollars this year to suck!

4. Josh Johnson. 10 starts. ERA+ 87.

Another part of the deal with the Marlins that supposedly guaranteed the Jays a World Series title. Another abject failure. Another injury prone guy who will never be as good as he could have been. And another shocking failure by AA. He's making 13.75 million this year to suck. Fortunately he'll be a free agent next season. I hope the Jays can move him and get something in return before his arm finally falls off.

5. J.A. Happ. 7 starts. ERA+ 88.

Happ was lucky to survive the liner to the head that sent him to hospital. I hope he gets better. I also hope he ends up pitching for a different team, because he's simply not a very good pitcher. Fortunately for him, his continued ability to be left handed will almost certainly guarantee him a major league roster spot for another 10 years or so.

6. Esmil Rogers. 7 starts. ERA+ 111.

Not even truly a starter, although he did make some starts for Colorado in the past. And was terrible. He pitched decently for Cleveland last year in relief, and was doing an ok job for the Jays when he was forced into the rotation due to injuries. After being useful in his first 6 starts, he got bombed by Detroit in his last one. I still think the Jays would have been better off keeping Aviles and Gomes, as both those guys would be more useful to the team. This guy has a very brief history of being a good pitcher, and quite frankly I don't expect it to last. I also fully expect him to be the next injured Jays pitcher.

The other 17 starts have been made by retreads and suspect prospects. No team can expect to contend with this horror show of a rotation. Nice work, GM!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays

It's been a long time between posts, but for some reason I feel the need to write about the Jays. Living in Canada I find that the Jays get a lot of coverage, so naturally they're one team that I still keep an eye on. And with Alex Anthropolous being GM, I sometimes wonder if he thinks he's playing in a fantasy league.

So, I'm going to look at the hitters first, in order of plate appearances (as of 2:03pm PST on July 8, 2013).
                                         AVG   OBP    SLG    OPS     OPS+
1. Edwin Encarnacion.  .268     .357     .532     .889     138   

EE is having an excellent follow up to his break out season of 2012. He's also less worse than usual in the field, and as long as he mostly plays 1B or DH's he's obviously an integral part of the lineup.

2. Jose Bautista. .265     .364     .513     .877     135

Still solid with the bat. I think he's settled in to a level of hitting that won't improve much over time. The .302 season in 2011 was an outlier. Fielding is average, and as a 32 year old his returns will begin to diminish. As much as I think it's time to get some huge value for him now, the Jays can't possibly afford to lose his bat from the lineup. His batting second is intriguing, clearly not the best place for a slugger to bat, but he gets on base a lot and the Jays really don't have a classic 2 hitter.

3. Melky Cabrera. .278     .321     .362     .684     86

I hated this signing when it happened, I had no faith that Melky could hit anywhere near his PED levels, and he's actually been even worse than I expected. A terrible, terrible signing. Truly one of the worst signings by AA in his time with the Jays.

4. Colby Rasmus. .250     .324     .476     .800     114

It's a shame he wasn't a fireballing pitcher, because then one could say "And Colby brings the cheese". He's been better than I expected with the bat. The power being the redeeming factor, but also a few walks thrown in to boost his OBP. With his decent glove in CF he's an important member of the team. However, I can't see him ever being as good as he was in his 2nd season with the Cards. Still way too many K's.

5. J.P. Arencibia. .219     .252     .418     .669     78

Just freaking terrible. A terrible hitter, and a terrible catcher. With his complete lack of sense of the strike zone while batting, I think it would be impossible for him to be a good catcher. If he can't figure out what the opposition is doing to get him out, how can he ever figure out what to call for from his pitcher? However, with a complete black hole for backups, the Jays are stuck with him. There's basically NOTHING in the system for catchers that would be considered a prospect, aside from maybe this Derrick Chung who is playing in A+ at Dunedin. However he's 25 years old and has no power, so he's not much of a prospect. There are no catchers in the system, other than ancient Ramon Hernandez at AAA, who could play in the majors. What the hell is AA doing?

6. Maicer Izturis. .243     .280     .341     .622     68

Another useless signing. Maicer's OPS+ of 68 is abysmal. Even his career mark of 91 isn't so hot. And where did his speed go? He had 17 SB last year, 0 this year.  He's not a good fielder, and not a major league hitter. What a waste of money.

7. Adam Lind. .309     .368     .519     .886     138

A true surprise. He's hitting at almost the same level as his 2009 season. He's not a total klutz at 1B either. He's even hitting lefties decently, in the few AB's he's had against them. The big question though is will it last? Is the Adam Lind of 2009 back to stay, or will the Adam Lind of 2010-2012 rear his ugly head again?  At his current level of hitting, he's a useful piece. If he drops back to previous levels, he's a useless piece.

8. Emilio Bonifacio.  .209     .242     .312     .554     49

Possibly the worst hitter around. How this guy can keep getting AB's is beyond reason. The Jays have Jim Negrych in AAA. He's a .300 hitter in his minor league career, and he's having an excellent season (.319 .384 .452 .836). He can't possibly be worse than Emilio. Sure, he's 28 and never played a game in the majors, but I personally guarantee that he can't be worse than Emilio. Heck, I might be better than Emilio.  Emilio's current level of expertise is running. He can stick around to pinch run and be a late inning defensive replacement if he has to be on the roster. But keep this guy away from the plate, please.

9. Munenori Kawasaki. .212     .315     .300     .615     69

He can draw the occasional walk, and steal an occasional base, and play an ok SS, and be all fun and a crowd favorite, but he is in no way at all an everyday player. More proof of the incredible short sightedness of AA. Sure, you can't know that Jose Reyes was going to get hurt, but you've got to have something better available as a middle infield replacement when needed.

10. Rajai Davis. .296     .341     .395     .736     100

He's a player that must hit around .300 to be worth putting out there at all. Currently he's doing so. It won't continue. His only true benefit to the team is his speed. His fielding isn't great, and he's lacking in power. If Rajai Davis is your best replacement outfielder, you're simply not going to have a winning team.

So, clearly the fact that Jose Reyes isn't in the top 10 of Jays plate appearances is one major reason that the Jays have a middle of the pack offense. But it's clearly not the only one. Gaping holes at C, 2B, SS, and 3B contribute greatly to a weak lineup. A telling stat is that the Jays have only drawn 4 IBB, last in the league.  It shows that no one on the Jays isn't pitchable, especially if you consider that Jose Bautista led the league in IBB with 24 in 2011.

I'll try and take a look at the pitching tomorrow, and add in some final thoughts.

All stats from