National Talk Like A Pirate Day …

Arrrgh! Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day – no, not like a Pittsburgh Pirate – and I feel compelled to join in the festivities. Maybe having been threatened with a keelhauling if I neglected to do so has a bit to do with that compulsion…

Shiver me timbers, but do you realize that after two games this season Ladanian Tomlinson is averaging less than 2 yards per carry? Ouch. That’s not a way to continue to construct a Hall of Fame career that cannot be overlooked even one time by the voters. I know the Chargers have faced two “much better than average defenses” in their first two games and that easier times will be coming. But LT is the best all around back in the NFL at the moment and he acquired an “offensive guru” as the head coach this year instead of having to play for a guy whose offensive game plans had dinosaur tracks on them.

There are some NFL GMs out there who don’t seem to understand the concept of “opportunity”. It’s abut damned time that Byron Leftwich found a team willing to give him a regular paycheck for the rest of the season. Now that the Falcons have signed him, they immediately have significantly more depth at QB and they have someone who can legitimately aspire to be the starting QB sometime in mid-October of this season. Why the Chiefs and the Dolphins hesitated here is something I don’t understand. Even if you think Byron Leftwich is a stumblebum who is merely 9-5 to find his ass with either hand, he’s as good if not better than what has started at QB in the first two weeks of the season in KC and Miami and Minnesota – - and maybe even Chicago. Perhaps the GMs on some of those other teams should be made to walk the plank…

According to a story in the LA Times, a financial analyst has suggested to the Tribune Company that they might maximize their revenue from assets that are on the market if they unbundled them and sold them separately. OK, that works some of the time; but, in this case, the assets are the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, Wrigley Field, some land holdings around and proximal to Wrigley Field and the Tribune Company’s minority stake in Comcast SportsNet. I might be convinced that separating the minority stake in Comcast SportsNet from the Cubbies could make financial sense. But I’m not smart enough to understand how any special premium that Wrigley Field and some proximal land holdings might command might offset the loss of dollars that would have to result in trying to sell a baseball team that would not have a place to play unless the new owner of the team reached an accommodation with the new owner of the stadium. And I can’t for the life of me see how MLB could allow that to happen. It would be like the Cubs using a pinch runner with a wooden leg or a shortstop with a hook for one hand. Arrrgh!

I’ll spend a kind and gentle moment here, matey, handicapping for you the season award winners in MLB as if they were horse races:

    AL MVP: A-Rod wins this comfortably; he is over 50 HRs and could drive in 160 runs by the time the season is over. Magglio Ordonez finishes this exacta even though he may hit .360 for the year.

    NL MVP: Box David Wright and Chase Utley in the first two slots and put Prince Fielder in for the third slot. That’s the trifecta. However, if the Brewers rally to win the NL Central and Fielder is the batting hero of the final two weeks of the season…

    AL Cy Young: Johan Santana (he might lead the league in strikeouts and in ERA this year) and CC Sabathia ought to be the top two vote getters but do not forget Josh Beckett who might close with a rush here. Box these therein your trifectas.

    NL Cy Young: Jake Peavy gets my vote and I don’t even ponder anyone else. Wheel the rest of the league in second to finish the exacta.

Now let me return to my more normal ruthless/slashing behavior. I want to present to you my nominees for this year’s biggest wastes of money in MLB. These are folks who took down more than an average salary and who just plain didn’t deliver the goods. What they’re doing is highway robbery – - or maybe piracy on the high seas. Ahoy there…

    AL Nominees:

        Mike Mussina, NY Yankees. His ERA is over 5 and he has a losing record.

        JD Drew, Boston Red Sox. He has all of 8 homeruns this year as a $70M man. The good news in Boston is he hasn’t been hurt most of the season. Meanwhile, the bad news in Boston is that he has not been hurt most of the season.

    NL Nominees:

        Marcus Giles, San Diego Padres. His batting average is in the neighborhood of .230 and his slugging average is around .310.

        Andruw Jones, Atlanta Braves. This is his contract year and he is batting .220. His agent is Scott Boras. Imagine the joy of dealing with Boras to try to sign a 30-year-old outfielder who stunk out the joint this year.

Mike Maroth is 0-4 with the Cards this year and his ERA is right around 11. That’s bad no matter how you look at it but here’s what’s even worse. Opposing hitters are batting .405 against him. That’s amazing because it really isn’t very easy to hit those moving bats with pitched balls so often…

Finally, here are two perspectives on two slumping baseball teams:

“The Mariners, 20 games over .500 and three games up in the AL wild card race on Aug 24 then plummeted down a 2-15 mineshaft of historic proportions.

“Who said you’d never see the Mariners in a fall classic?”

[Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times]

“Over the past few days, the Marlins tied Tampa Bay for the worst record in the majors, were officially eliminated from the wild card chase and played before a home crowd estimated at 400. Otherwise, good season, good times.”

[Greg Cote in the Miami Herald]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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