I absolutely love this: CBS Sports.Com’s list of the 200 most frequently used team names in its 100,000 fantasy baseball leagues.
1 Evil Empire
5 Bronx Bombers
6 Yankees/New York Yankees
20 Murderer’s Row
86 Yankees Suck
131 Damn Yankees
169 Beantown Bombers
I’m beginning to sense a little theme there. Obviously “Evil Empire” probably vaulted to the top with the help of more than a couple of Star Wars/Not Yankees fans, but still, that’s a lot of Yank reverence (honestly, how many “Beantown Bombers” could there be? No hard numbers are offered here – by 169th place three of one team might be sufficient).
2 Springfield Isotopes/Isotopes
9 Red Sox/Boston Red Sox
10 Cubs/Chicago Cubs
13 Mets/New York Mets
16 Tigers/Detroit Tigers
19 Brew Crew
23 Braves/Atlanta Braves
29 Indians/Cleveland Indians
32 Big Red Machine
39 Dodgers/LA Dodgers
49 Cardinals/St. Louis Cardinals
80 Splendid Splinters
81 Red Sox Nation
87 Durham Bulls
115 Tampa Bay Rays
118 Gas House Gang
122 Minnesota Twins
123 Louisville Sluggers
129 Kansas City Royals
162 Dodger Blue
165 San Diego Padres
166 Florida Marlins
172 San Francisco Giants
178 Toronto Blue Jays
184 Chicago White Sox
188 Homestead Grays
190 Washington Nationals
Your fantasy team is named The Chicago White Sox? I mean I get “Washington Nationals” if you live in the state, or in Washington, PA. If you’re Jay, “Toronto Blue Jays” sounds pretty cool. But where are the Ed Sox, Dead Sox, Fred Sox, Ned Sox, Ted Sox,
and ‘Nuf Ced Sox?
14 Roid Rage
57 Balco Bombers
127 Roid Ragers
170 Balco Boys
All right, enough ripping. Five of these I really liked, the first because as cliched as it might be, it represents an epic failure to come up with a fake name in a different context and might thus be described as “meta”:
43 Kenny Powers
51 Honey Nut Ichiros
128 Little Lebowski Urban Achievers
139 Jeters Never Prosper
I would definitely be proud to call a team of mine “Jeters Never Prosper,” or, especially, “Honey Nut Ichiros,” which is inspired – as long as you’re not in an NL-only league.
Lastly, when Tito Francona pinch-hit Mike Lowell for David Ortiz with the lead run on in the 8th and righty Kevin Gregg coming in at Toronto in the 8th, I thought, gee I like my AL predictions four weeks after I posted them here:
Here is the unasked question in BOSTON: would the Red Sox rather have David Ortiz at DH this year… or Luke Scott? Where, production-wise, will Not-So-Big-Papi fall in 2010? I think he’s behind Guerrero, Kubel, Lind, Matsui, Scott, and maybe others. If the demise of the beast continues, the Red Sox are suddenly presenting a very pedestrian line-up…keep the Ortiz thought in the back of your mind. What if the second half of ’09 was the aberration, not the first half? Will the Sox have to bench him? And if so, could the twists and turns of fate find them suddenly grateful that they had been unable to trade Mike Lowell?…As I have written here before, I am not buying the premise that what in essence was a trade of Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, for a full-time Brett Gardner plus Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson was necessarily an upgrade – even if Javier Vazquez (9 career post-season innings; 11 career post-season earned runs) was thrown in, in the bargain…
Managers promoted from own AAA team 0
Managers promoted from coaches 6
Managers already working in organization 5
Hires directly from other organizations 19
As Joe Girardi and President Obama held the World Series Trophy, the verbal jousting at the White House between The White-Sox-Fan-In-Chief and an “unidentified” member of the party of New York Yankees has already been wildly misquoted to include words like “hate.” It actually went thusly, according to a careful review of the audio on the videotape:
Yankee: Wanna hold it? You may not get the chance to again!
President: And you wonder why the other teams don’t root for them.
The “unidentified” speaker is Jean Afterman, Vice President and Assistant General Manager, and the executive in charge of the Yanks’ international player procurement.
I have to agree with Dallas Braden – it was a sign of disrespect, or an attempt at gamesmanship, for Alex Rodriguez to cut back to first across the mound in the afternoon in Oakland. And I have to agree with Rodriguez that Braden’s temper tantrum in the dugout was bush league. And I have to agree with whoever investigates Braden’s comments that they probably already constitute a threat, or certainly something to watch in future meetings.
I know this is getting close to maudlin or even macabre – and I’m going to try to fulfill this latest promise to stop after this – but my friend Rick Cerrone, long-time Media Relations Director of the Yankees, emailed these to me today to commemorate the 87th and final birthday of The House That Ruth Built. They are beautiful in there own way – and striking.
Ike Davis, savaged by Jeff Francoeur during Kevin Burkhardt’s interview (shaving cream hits about 0:45 in SNY.TV post-game report) on SNY after his 2-for-4, 1 RBI debut tonight:
On Saturday, July 29, 1978, with Bob Lemon having gotten six unexpectedly good innings out of Ken Clay and the Yankees leading the Twins 7-1 at Yankee Stadium, Lemon thought it was a good time to break the new kid in.
He had been obtained from the Cubs a month before in the repatriation of Ken Holtzman to Wrigley Field, and had dazzled in AA at West Haven. He was greeted by Minnesota catcher Butch Wynegar, who walked. Hosken Powell followed with a single. Roy Smalley then walked. I was there, but my scorecard is stored somewhere, so I don’t know if he actually threw any strikes before Lemon came and got him, and – in a move that would presage 1979, 1980, and 1981 – Rich Gossage was summoned to clean up the mess.
The next day, in my capacity as part-time free-lance semi-pro not-real-good photographer, I posed the kid on the field in the Bronx. “I guess you better get the picture before they get rid of me,” he said with a laugh that didn’t disguise his discouragement. I told him that he was 22 and I was 19 and even if neither of us was still in the majors the next day, he’d be back – and I’d never get there. That cheered him up.
I think they did send him back the next day, or soon thereafter. His next appearance in the majors was in September. The next year, amid an otherwise horrible season in New York, he’d go 14-2 (all in relief) with nine saves, and he’d stay in the majors through 1988.
His name was Ron Davis, and hours from when I write this his son Ike will debut, also in New York, also (almost) directly from AA. Wish I could be there.
THE METS AND NO-HITTERS:
Got asked a great question on twitter about any kind of theory that could even partially explain why, after Ubaldo Jimenez’s gem, the Mets could remain one of the franchises that has no no-hitters to its credit. Suddenly the light bulb turned on.
Years ago, one of the Stats Inc guys did a wonderful analysis of the amount of fair and foul territory in current and historical parks – I’ll have to find the book. But the gist was, the amount of fair territory in which hits could drop in the Mets’ first home (The Polo Grounds) was enormous (centerfield was nearly 500 feet away from the plate). In Shea it was still pretty damn big, and in Citifield, it is, especially when measured against other new parks, proportionately just as bad as at Shea.
That might be one explanation. Interestingly, if my list is complete, there were only five no-hitters ever thrown at the “last” Polo Grounds (Rube Marquard, Earl Caldwell, Jess Barnes, Carl Hubbell, and Rex Barney) over 69 seasons (57 by the Giants, 2 by the Mets, 10 by the Yankees) and only two (Jim Bunning, Bob Moose) in the 45 at Shea.
UPDATE, 5:30 EDT: Just to clarify, obviously this would only explain half of the Mets’ no-hit drought. One might wonder if years of pitching inside a big-fair-territory-area might influence how the same pitchers would throw in road parks, but lord knows there isn’t any stat to measure that.
Good call here by me about the Mets not calling up Ike Davis soon.
The superb symmetry did not end with two homers by Robinson Cano – named, of course, for Jackie Robinson. The Yankees were forced to get the last out in a 6-2 win over the Angels from the last man grandfathered in to wear Robinson’s uniform number 42, Mariano Rivera.