Saturday, May 30, 2009
Hitless in four at-bats? I guess even Baseball Jesus has his off days.
But before everyone hops on the "Trade ZAUN, and then trade Wieters for ZAUN" bandwagon, being built by inbred retards in a galaxy far far away, put his debut in perspective:
If your off day consisted of getting a standing ovation before your first at-bat, calling a great game on your own because the manager doesn't call pitches from the dugout, single-handedly attracting 15,000 extra fans to watch your team's baseball game, winning said baseball game, all the while looking like a serious stud, would you (or your fans for that matter) have anything to complain about?
I think not.
Although it'd be nice if he hit for at least one cycle tonight.
[Image via the Baltimore Sun]
Friday, May 29, 2009
That headline comes straight from the reputable pages of ESPN.com, not MattWietersFacts.com or Baltimore's very own Druid Hill Housing Project.
On a serious note, aside from Kurt Warner (who talks to) and God Shamgod (who's named after), has there ever been a professional athlete compared to Jesus?!?!
Thanks to God and RichardDawkins.net for the image
Jansen was an absolute rock who stepped right in as a 2nd-round pick in 1999 and proceeded to start the first 82 games of his career, including two playoff games. Then that cruel football mistress, Ms. Excruciatingly Painful Injuries, popped his achilles before the '04 season and broke his leg during game 1 of the '07 campaign and ol' Jonny Boy was never the same.
On a team characterized by its high player turnover, Jansen lasted 10 seasons (minus the two on the IR), which is pretty remarkable. Plus, he was man enough to admit that Casey Rabach has a way bigger nutsack, rent and park an RV during training camp, win a national championship at Michigan in '97 and the Little Brown Jug, which titillates me as I will become a Wolverine myself this fall.
So while downing a Friday beer, toast one to #76. Stephon Heyer might be the better player now, but he'll unlikely become the Pro Bowl rock who was always at least a 92 in Madden when that game was still playable.
[Pic via Washingtonpost.com]
Philly Resident #1: Hey cocksucker, I need this (legal brief, appetizer, finger painting) by yesterday....I have heard a version of this forced exchange repeated ad naseam at my office in the District:
Philly Resident #2: Thanks boss, don't think just because you're the (partner, owner, principal) I won't fucking strangle you and think nothing of it, even though I am a mere (secretary, bus-boy, first grader).
DC Resident #1: Yeah Jim, Saturday I can't wait to watch my seven-year-old play girls soccer all day in the sun!In the interests of DCLS followers everywhere, all four of you, I present the first edition of Friday Furburgers: Shit Talking Round-Up, where we can collectively manifest our frustration knowing the Eagles have never won, nor will ever win, a Super Bowl Championship (and related braggadocio).
DC Resident #2: Boy that sounds fantastic, here's to hoping traffic from 495 to the Bay Bridge to the Shore won't be too heavy when I get on the roads at 4:30 today!
Top 10 Dallas Cowboys Arrests of All Time
DC Ranks Third on Best Cities List
Donovan McNabb Still QB, Eagles Fans Confident In Team's Offseason 'Upgrades'
Oil Firm Owned By Shawne Merriman (UMD) Sues Laettner (Dook) and Davis (Dook)
DC To Host Next Real-World
DC Named America's Fittest City, Philly #27, Dallas #35
[title image via IMDB]
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Over the past week the Orioles have gone 6-1, outscoring their opponents 39-25 in the process. This after being outscored 49-26 in the prior seven games (2-5). Orioles' hitters certainly stepped it up these last seven games. However, the pitching staff was able to cut their ERA nearly in half, with two rookies making their Major League debuts no less.
The Orioles are only four games under .500 for the first time since April 29, and while this wouldn't be a notable feat for any competitive franchise that hasn't undergone 11 years of miserable ball-pinching suckdom since the Antichrist, for us it is. So we note it.
The O's finished 13th out of 14 teams in the AL in team ERA in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Can you guess where they stand so far this year?
But if they can get pitching like they did this past week consistently from both their starters and bullpen, which was almost inconceivable a few weeks ago, they might be able to hover around .500 all year. I know - I'm so greedy.
Apparently Crosby came in second in the show's "speed-dressing," contest, though he cleaned up in "sack-whacking."
Speaking of Crosby being second, you think he could ever pull tail like this? Or how about this? Maybe this? I mean he lives in Lemieux's basement for goodness sake. Enjoy losing to the Wings in 6 again. Ovie wins at life.
[Pic via DC Sports Bog]
"Fantasy league washouts like Jay Gibbons and Shawn Chacon round out the roster. The Bears are drawing nearly 2,000 fans a game on average -and according to the team, a fair number of scouts. Perhaps the road to baseball salvation begins in Newark?"
2,000 fans, eh? Things must be REALLY bad in Newark for 2,000 people to pay to see Gibbons on ANY squad. I don't care if the outfield consists of Mickey Mantle, DiMaggio, and Gibbons. Under NO circumstance should it be permitted for Gibbons to be within 200 feet of a baseball diamond, not baseball, not softball, not cricket, not stick-ball played by Puerto Rican youngsters in the Bronx. Yes, yes, a moronic blog post won't convince baseball's version of Ricky Bobby to give up the dream, and unfortunately many fans will encounter Gibbons when their hometown team hosts the Bears. My favorite independent Atlantic league team, ummmm, the Atlantic City Surf, actually has a fledgling rivalry with the Bears. Few things in life will give me greater satisfaction than heckling Gibbons until I am forcibly removed not only from the Sandcastle, but from the city-limits of Atlantic City due to excessive vulgarity.
Fellow rookie and baseball volunteer (really, ESPN? $0 salaries?) David Hernandez is set to make his pitching debut tomorrow against Detroit, marking the 47th time this year an O's pitching prospect has debuted thanks to their historically shitty starting rotation. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and the O's are currently inventing a dynasty built on a rich prospect pool and Baseball Jesus. You listening Lerner?
Oh and for the heathens out there, Baseball Jesus = Matt Wieters, and if you haven't yet found a branch at which to worship yet consider the Landing Strip your newest freshest connection to Him. Did we mention we're excited for Friday?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Over a week has passed since the catastrophe known as the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery. You know, the NBA pre-draft event known for awkward dialogue between team representatives and broadcasters that is given way too much television coverage and even has an hour-long pregame show (!) that probably attracts more viewers than an actual NBA playoff game where powerful overpaid NBA executives get together to pick out three ping pong balls with four-digit combinations corresponding to one of 14 teams participating all with raging semi-boners for guys like Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio? Yeah, that lottery.
Or, as you may more vividly remember it, the night where "Wizards Tank Job 2008-2009" was effectively made moot with the worst-case scenario 5th overall selection. Excuse me while I remove the tacks from my eyeballs.
Nevertheless, we must move on. And truth be told, the 5th pick ain't so bad. But before we dissect all the potential picks, we must identify the Wizards most pressing needs. This team has plenty of holes with and without all parts healthy. The big three of Arenas, Butler, and Jamison are all locks to start next year assuming they are healthy and wearing the Blue, Black, Gold, and White! (Seriously? Bring back the Bullets, or shoot me now.)
I'm no fan of Michael Wilbon, but he brought up a good point in his article following the lottery last week:
"Okay, I get it. Arenas, which I've been saying for some time now, shouldn't be the starting point guard. It's one thing for me to say it; it's another thing for Magic Johnson to say it. If Magic says the Wizards should have a pure, set-up-his-teammates point guard to run the offense, I'm listening. "
For the first time in my life I couldn't agree more with Michael Wilbon (and Magic Johnson, I guess). Gilbert Arenas is a combo guard. Yes, he is great with the ball in his hands, and he will undoubtedly "Hibachi!" in crunch time. But drafting a classic pass-first point guard and playing Arenas off the ball can be effective for two reasons:
1. The most obvious reason, a pass-first point guard will create open shots for his teammates. Arenas, Jamison, Butler, Young, and Songaila (ugh) can all hit open jumpers consistently.
2. Arenas will be fresh at the defensive end, at the end of games, and at the end of the season. Not to say that he won't run off the ball; but without the responsibility of running the offense, Arenas can conserve some energy and concentration on an area that he has excelled at over the years (fitness) and an area of concern throughout his career (defense).
Defense and 3-point shooting must not be overlooked as vital team qualities. Cleveland finished 1st in scoring defense during the regular season and 2nd in 3-point shooting percentage. Orlando finished 6th in scoring defense and 7th in 3-point shooting. The fact that both are in the conference finals is no coincidence. This season's Wizards? 24th and 29th, respectively.
While they have needs elsewhere, specifically up front, drafting a point guard should help the team defensively and lead to a significant improvement in 3-point shooting. It will also stabilize the future of the backcourt and should immediately return the team to the playoffs, which according to my sources is the only way to avoid the emotional brutality of the NBA Draft Lottery. So, yea, I guess I could fox with that.
But Ernie will probably fox it up.
Allow me to pause to share, quite possibly, the world’s greatest cartoon known to mankind.
But the Redskins had better dig their star-horny claws into Michael Vick and never let go. And not just because the jersey sales will correlate to an illogical 45% rise in FedEx concession prices. It will work for the Redskins on the field and if you remember, that's the fucking point. Several reasons:
1.) The Redskins' Offense needs an ATHLETE. 'Skins fans lament the lack of a #1 receiver and it's hard to disagree. And some think JC17 isn't the answer behind center. But what's really lacking is a guy who can simply make tacklers miss. Vick's presence alone means the other team has to account for him, game plan for him, think about him before the game. If you've made D-Coordinators think that much harder, you've improved your offense that much...harder. What position exactly? We'll get to that....
2.) We've yet to see the Zorn Star work magic with a Shiny New Wand. In 2008, Zorn adjusted his westcoast pass-happy offense to suit his personnel, which is the mark of an intelligent coach. The result was a bland running based game, due to bland running based personnel. Enter insane athlete. Now, Zorn has studied the Wildcat diligently this offseason and admitted the 'Skins don't have the personnel to make it happen. Yet. Why? "Cleveland, with [Josh] Cribbs....probably did the best, but he's got a real acceleration." So we need someone with real acceleration, preferably with QB experience? Hmmm....
I'm not saying Vick should become the new 'Skins QB. Far from it; I think his unique skills are best utilized in various roles at various times. Sometimes that might mean some QB snaps. Mostly though, he needs plays designed for him specifically in some quasi-hybrid tailback role, a la 1920s football. There has never been an athlete like Vick in the NFL - why not make up a position that's never existed?
3.) Vick will be cheap. I know I know, the Redskins are salary cap wizards and yes, there might not be a cap after this year...but the 'Skins are still paying Mark Carrier like $4.3 million per and contract terms will be critical. Vick's market value is going to be around Bear Sterns' right about now - which for those of you who don't read the Wall Avenue Journal means Vick will be getting dick for salary, and for one or two years tops. Low risk (cap room wise)/high reward is the idea here.
4.) Vick will be motivated. There are just plain ruthless murderous sociopaths, and there are ruthless murderous sociopaths with 10-figure debt and the whole world watching their every move. True: you have to be collossally stupid to squander what Vick had circa 2006, and I wouldn't be surprised if he, Portis, Haynesworth and Smoot were caught financing an underground squirrel-fighting ring or something. But he has to have learned from this. Maybe not in that moral, soul-saving way...but in a superficial my-job-and-life-is-on-the-line way, which is good enough for me. Maybe he'll still have the urge to strangle a labradoodle at first sight - but I get the feeling he'll resist this time. He's in survival mode at this point.
5.) Despite pleas from fans, the 'Skins are determined to win now and delay a rebuild. To most logical fans, 14 years of consistent mediocrity with an aging roster is a sure sign that the talent has been maxed out. To Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder, it's a never-ending indication that the 'Skins are one player away from winning it all. I'm not saying Vick is that guy. I'm saying given the right circumstances, a healthy year on the offensive line, and basic progress from JC17, a well-utilized Vick could help put up enough points to make the offense respectable again. The 'Skins D and running game remain their strong points, and if healthy could do some postseason damage. It's getting there that's the issue. So as long as we're stuck with a front office and owner playing this game, Vick is worth a look.
6.) The offense needs hope. If there was one thing that defined the Redskins offense in the second half of 2008 - other than three-and-outs - it was the look and feeling of hopelessness. Early in the year the group was unstoppable, and they had the swag. As passes starting slipping through hands, Jansen opened the Sack Gates, and Portis' injuries caught up to him finally, they lost it. And what have they done since the disastrous 2008 finale? Precisely dick. Unless you believe in UFOs, you realize that Devin Thomas is a joke and Malcolm Kelly's knees are made of peanut brittle and there's no such thing as an NFL offense with two tight end weapons. The cavalry isn't coming from those three.
But inject Vick into a locker room with stable vets and leaders and it's an instant spark. Suddenly you have a guy turning heads in practice, adding that 'wow' factor, that extra ingredient that Randel El was supposed to provide but can't, since he is 5' 2" in real life and was never that good. Sometimes that's all it takes for a football team to make it over the hump.
Now Vinny, get on the phone with the Falcons and send next year's 1st, 3rd, and 5th into oblivion and make this happen. Even if Gooddell doesn't reinstate, what do we have to lose? They're just draft picks.
Late last night, Tampa police busted above d-bag steroids distributor/user named Richard Thomas and his complicit wife, Sandra, seizing nearly a quarter-million worth of juice. While the Thomases were getting their faces kicked in by some bad-ass SWAT team dudes, Richard managed to blurt out something about selling 'roids to the Capitals and Nationals, clearly the two biggest threats to his beloved Tampa Bay Lightning and Rays. You bitter sonofabitch. If the Nats are on 'roids, they're obviously doing it wrong. And if the Caps are on 'roids, how do you explain the twig that is Sasha Semin?
I don't really know what to make of this yet. Thomas also reportedly said during the arrest: "You name the sport, and I've sold steroids to athletes who play it." Some cop blurted out "curling," and then another blurted out "darts," and then the most bad-ass cop in the bunch pistol-whipped the little steroids guy unconscious before he could verify. So sadly, we'll have to wait to learn whether these two studly dart champs are guilty. Though based on their build, I'm going with definitely. Expect 24/7 ESPN coverage on this.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Perhaps the headline should read "ZAUN to Lose Job to Unproven Prospect Friday vs. Tigers", but that would be rude to the savior of Orioles baseball. And I don't mean ZAUN.
Wieters' call-up has been one of the more anticipated in recent memory. The most common phrase used to describe him is "Joe Mauer with power". Joe Mauer has 11 HRs in 24 games this year. So, yeah.
Normally, the expectations would be unfair and nearly impossible to live up to. But there's a silver lining to playing for a team with a small fan-base and zero playoff aspirations. This season is Wieters' chance to acclimate himself to big league pitching - both his own and that of his opponents. While it would encouraging to see him tear it up this year - and lord knows he has the talent to do so - it is not the end of the world if he doesn't. The Orioles are still a ways away from making noise, but the Balticore is in place.
During tonight's broadcast against the Jays, Gary Thorne had this to say:
"The way the Orioles are playing right now offensively, a couple more pieces in the puzzle, especially on the mound, and all of a sudden its a different ball club that's been seen here in more than a decade, and you've really got a chance to be very competitive."
That's it. Hope.
We at the DC Landing Strip would like to thank Kozlov for completing one lethal fucking first line for two years, for a wicked beautiful wrister and for a timely goal here or there. But it's time to make way for some cheap youngsters who don't absolutely shit the bed come playoff time.
Meanwhile Sergei Fedorov is flirting with KHL team Metallurg Magnitogorsk like they were a pre-teen tennis star - though he might just be leveraging this offer to get an extension with the Caps. For two years at $3.8 million per. Uh-huh.
Listen buddy, I tried this last weekend and the hot chick dancing on the bar just doesn't care that the fat troll in the corner wants you. If you or I were the Artist formerly Known as Sergei Fedorov, maybe that would work. Alas, I am not. And neither is 2009 Sergei. If the Caps actually match the offer, I will light my nuts on fire in a public square. Take it to the bank.
If I had a dime for every Lance Stephenson article that mentioned either “highly touted,” “tons of potential,” “troubled,” “endless recruiting drama,” “campus can’t contain this kids ego,” or “the coach is prepared to give up his left testicle,” I would DEFINITELY cover lunch today at Subway. And not just a bullshit $5 dollar foot-long, I’m talking big, like foot-long turkey. How Subway rationalizes charging more for meatballs than they do for turkey is absolutely ludicrous. You get a turkey sub, guaranteed, you’re not getting more than six slices. They never, ever, ever, give you any more than the standard six (without forking over a fucking $2 extra meat charge). It’s like written in the company’s mission statement. You gotta compensate by LOADING up on veggies and such, and, guess what fuck-stick, you’re going home hungry and we’re STILL not gonna let you in on the 5 dollar foot-long deal. You go meatballs, well then, it’s like a Jewish mother’s dream-come-true: more food, lower price, greater satisfaction knowing you’ve completely fucked Subway’s bullshit pricing system. Need proof? Go to a Subway and order their meatball 12-incher. They don’t give you AT LEAST six meatballs and I’ll personally reimburse you. I’d say the average ratio is around 6.8 mps (meatballs per sub), but I’ve been to many a Subway where it can reach in excess of 8 mps. So say you’re ambivalent between the two, maybe you like meatballs just as much as you like turkey. That’s fine, that’s how I usually go about the mental ordering hassle, except no shmuck I know is gonna look at a Subway turkey slice and a meatball and think the turkey’s more filling. It’s a fucking no-brainer.
Which leads me to the Stephenson kid.
He’s supposedly ‘narrowed’ his final choices down to Maryland and Arizona, this after playing “just the tip” with Maryland, Kansas, and St. John’s. (Yes, I realize he’s flirted with other schools, but I’m including only the schools known to be factually linked to the SG from Lincoln HS, because clearly every school that wants a solid and still-available #2 wants their fans to think they’re still in the hunt). I’ve followed the whole Stephenson recruiting relatively closely and I think it should be stressed that landing this kid doesn’t make the Terps a title or even ACC title contender. Sure, I’ve seen his youtube videos, know all about his impressive stats, and read the hype. BELIEVE ME, a Vasquez/Stephenson backcourt is an immense improvement from Vasquez/Mosely or, god-forbid, Vasquez/Hayes. (Whether Vasquez even returns to CP is a question onto itself). Landing Stephenson accomplishes three MAJOR things for the Terps, not necessarily important to most top programs but seem to plague the Terps year-in and year-out.
First, it gets a lot of unnecessary flack off Gary Williams’ shoulders. You land the #11 ranked player in the Class of 2009, you get three years (knowing the Post they’ll give him half-a-year) from public crucifixion, and should silence any criticism from Debbie Yow and her minions.
Second, you give Terps fans a reason to believe the team can succeed in the ACC, fills some embarrassing empty seats at Comcast, and shines a spotlight on a team that a decade ago was deservedly considered ‘elite.’
Third, and MOST important, adding Stephenson should (but not necessarily) keep the Terps from completely fucking-up their pre-ACC schedule. I’m not going to argue the also-rans in this region don’t have the heart to compete with the Terps, because losses to VCU, American, and Morgan State validate how rich our region is with overlooked basketball talent. There’s a reason why those squads finish where they do in-conference but beat the Terps, because everyone wants to knock-off the top dog in a game those players had circled way before the season started-up. But you land Stephenson, along with two other highly regarded recruits, and STILL have losses like that next season, well my friend, that has to be on Lance. No one, I mean no one, not a single person that follows college basketball, is going to believe Stephenson is worth shit if his squad losses to a team that finished first in the MEAC.
I’ve touched on only the cosmetic reasons why Stephenson should spend what will probably become a single-year education in College Park, and look, it’s FAR from a guarantee that this kid comes to Maryland, but I have to like our chances going up-against Arizona, if only because GW seems to have developed a close relationship with the kid and he’s never really been able to shake off the overtures from Terps Nation.
Monday, May 25, 2009
In legendary fashion, Gregg ZAUN hit a tie-breaking game-winning RBI single in the 4th inning on Sunday, sending 800 Orioles' fans home happy on a rainy Memorial Day.
ZAUN reached base 3 times in all against his former team, inducing a walk and getting hit by a pitch to go along with his clutch 4th-ininning single. In the process, he managed to raise his BA from .210 to .215, putting what some might call a stranglehold on the starting catcher position. Sorry, Chad Moeller.
ZAUN declined to comment for this post, but made me promise to plug his website. Reminder to pump up the volume.
Additional thoughts on the game:
- The Jeremy Guthrie we've embraced as our "ace by default" for the last couple years finally showed up. It was only his 3rd Quality Start of the year. He had 19 last year. It'd be nice if he put together a few more of those, no?
- George Sherrill hasn't let up a run in 9 consecutive appearances. Don't worry, though - the trade deadline is two months away. Ample time for him to tank and decrease his value.
- Melvin Mora is a very mediocre defensive third baseman. He is also a very mediocre offensive third baseman. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Baltimore Orioles!
- You get the feeling Markakis and Jones are cooling off a little. If I were Dave Trembley I'd swap their places in the lineup and see what it does for them. Markakis was great in the 2 spot last year, and Jones' gap power could pay huge dividends hitting behind him and Roberts.
Next up: Toronto (Romero) @ Baltimore (Undecided), 5/26, 7:05 PM
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Capitals? Hell yes.
Terps? Of course.
Orioles? Why not?!
Mystics? Freedom? Umm, no thanks.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the summer, where only blind hope distracts us from the utter ineptitude of area baseball teams. And take solace in the fact that the Eagles have never won, and will never win, a Super Bowl championship.