May 2005

May 12, 2005

Last night I decided to watch CSI New York for the first time ever. The only reason for my sudden urge to watch Lieutenant Dan play the role of a NY Grissom was that the episode was about a Red Sox fan who gets killed at a Yankees game. Since just about every time a movie or TV show features a sports-related segment, there are glaring mistakes, I had to tune in.

Some semi-recent examples of this include:

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days:
My wife forced me to see this Oscar-worthy movie back in 2003, so please don’t lose respect for me (if you had any to begin with). In the film, the NY Knicks and Sacramento Kings are playing in the NBA Finals (not very believable considering how bad the Knicks have been this decade, but not factually incorrect).

However, Games 1, 2 and 3 are all held at Madison Square Garden – something that is impossible, yet completely overlooked by the writers, who apparently couldn’t take the extra 23 seconds to research how the NBA Finals actually work.

Monday Night Madness:
Decent TV movie from three years ago that focused on Howard Cosell and the early days of Monday Night Football on ABC. During the movie, clips are shown of a Vikings game that was supposed to be taking place sometime in the early-to-mid seventies. Yet, in the footage, you can see Randy Moss and other recent Vikings, all playing indoors on Astroturf – something the Vikings didn’t even start doing until 1982. Am I supposed to think that Moss has been on the Vikings for 30 years and that he is still active at 50-plus years of age? Just embarrassing, yet I’m sure very few people even realized this, or cared.

Back to CSI.

Now I understand quite well, especially after working for Major League Baseball for five years, that many times people don’t pay for the rights to use logos and player names. So the fact the both the Yankees and Red Sox uniforms looked nothing even remotely close to what they actually do, isn’t that a big deal.

What really irked me was that early in the show an aerial shot was shown of what is supposed to be Yankee Stadium. Unless the Yankees recently replaced all blue seats with red ones, made all the stadium walls green and removed monument park, the shot of the Stadium seemed to resemble Angels Stadium a lot more than the House that Ruth Built.

The show is obviously all filmed in LA (considering the streets of Manhattan look more like downtown Des Moines than NYC), but would it have been that hard, even if they couldn’t somehow get a helicopter to fly over Yankee Stadium, to at least computer generate some blue seats? Even a novice baseball fan would have to realize that the Yankees don’t play in a Christmas colored park.

I just don’t get these things sometimes.

On to this week’s Klayman Katastrophe Award nominees?

John Buck and Miguel Olivo

While I don’t own either one of them, there must be some people out there who have had the misfortune of employing both sub-Mendoza backstops this year.

Combined they are hitting .290. That’s if you add together Buck’s .163 average and Olivo’s .127 mark — something that’s not mathematically correct, but still fun to do considering that average is still lower than seven starting catchers — including former .218 hitter Jason Phillips.

Making matters worse for owners of the undynamic duo were both players’ recent performances in big offensive games. Buck pulled off his standard 0-for-3 (done it seven times in 26 games) in KC’s 10-8 defeat of Baltimore on Sunday, and Olivo still managed an 0-for-4 in Wednesday’s 30-hit Yankees-Mariners game in the Bronx.

Jason Lane

If you owned Lane on April 21, you were very happy with his production, especially since he was probably a late-round pick for you.

If you owned Lane this morning, you probably were pretty miserable for not trading him while his value was through the roof.

Let’s take a look at his first 62 ABs, compared to his last 62 ABs

First 62: .371 AVG, 23 hits, 4 HR, 12 RBIs, 10 Runs, 5 SB
Last 62: .097 AVG, 6 hits, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 5 Runs, 0 SB

Notice any difference?

Jose Reyes, Alex Gonzalez, Chone Figgins, Orlando Cabrera

Not a very good week for middle infielders. These four players (I’m sure someone out of the millions of fantasy owners out there, actually has all four of these guys on one team) combined to go 8-for-86 (.093) with no homers, one RBI and one steal this past week.

Just think, you could have picked up Felipe Lopez a week ago and he would have given you two more hits, one more homer and seven more RBIs than all four of those guys together.

What’s my point? There is none.

Paul Wilson

When does 5 IP, 12 H, 5 ER actually look good for a starting pitcher? If in his previous start he pitched 0.0 IP and allowed eight earned runs.

Cincinnati wound up giving up 10 first-inning runs to the Dodgers, the most it has surrendered in the opening frame since 1952, when the Reds allowed a Major League record of 15 first-inning runs to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

When was the last time a pitcher allowed that many runs without retiring a single batter? Actually, it was on July 10, 2003, and the pitcher was none other than Paul Wilson, who gave up eight runs (seven earned) before exiting without an out to his credit.

Wilson’s ERA rose from an already ugly 5.25 to a miserable 7.25 in just one game.

Tim Redding

A lot of people I know thought Redding was finally due for a big year in 2005. Doesn’t look like it’s going to happen after his first seven starts. The Padres hurler almost equaled Wilson’s first-inning magic, when he allowed eight runs and eight baserunners before being pulled with two outs in the first inning last Sunday. Redding’s ERA now stands at 8.76, the only NL pitcher with more than five starts to have an 8.00-plus ERA besides?

Oliver Perez

Will a week ever pass without his name making this column? I gave him one final chance last week to earn my trust. After all, this guy was 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 239 K in 196 IP last year, he has to come around sometime right?

After a 5.1-10-8-8-2-1 outing, I finally sent Perez to my bench, although at this point my ERA and WHIP are ruined for all eternity.

He wound up missing his only start this week due to a sore shoulder, although a bruised ego was probably the real reason.

The worst part of all of this came Monday night. I was cleaning off my desk, for the first time in months, and came across a small draft that a bunch of industry "experts" and I held over lunch back in March. We were only allowed to pick nine players, with only one starter.

I had completely forgotten this event had ever occurred, and checked to see who I had actually drafted. Sure enough, my one pitcher is Perez, meaning I have already clinched last in every pitching category.

Somehow, it just keeps getting worse.

And this week’s Klayman Katastrophe Award winner is?
Wilson. Couldn’t Dave Miley have at least left him in to get the pitcher out? Has any starting pitcher, besides Paul Wilson, ever been taken out with the opposing pitcher due up next? I can’t imagine anyone will have a worse pitching line ever again.

May 5, 2005

A common mistake fantasy owners often make is avoiding players who have failed them in the past. When you waste an early pick on a guy who ends up batting .220 with 11 home runs, it’s hard to ever say that player’s name on draft day again.

Imagine going to a top-rated restaurant for dinner, but winding up with food poisoning. While you know it was probably a random occurrence, if someone a few months later gives you the choice of two places to eat, and one of them was the poison place, odds are you’ll take the other option.

The same thing holds true in fantasy baseball. Do you think people who owned Paul Konerko in 2003 (.234-18-65) were knocking down the door to draft him in 2004? Probably not.

With that in mind, here are this week’s Klayman Katastrophe Award nominees?

Brandon Webb

Right now I like Webb about as much as the New York media likes Kevin Brown. After his superb rookie season of 2003, I picked Webb in virtually every league last year, assuming he would provide 200 Ks, a sub-3.00 ERA and 15-18 wins. Instead, Webb went 7-16, walked 119 batters on his way to a 1.50 WHIP and didn’t reach 200 Ks (164). When I finally cut him loose in mid-August, he responded with four straight quality starts and a 2-0 record.

So this year I never even considered his name. He was such a disappointment last season that the thought of another season seeing L-5-7-6-6-3-4 every night made him impossible to pick. When Webb was available in the 15th round this year, I opted for Noah Lowry instead.

Following last night’s victory, Webb’s record stood at 4-0, to go along with a 3.20 ERA. Lowry is 1-2 with a sparkling 5.60 ERA, and has since been replaced by Jon Garland (5-0, 1.38 ERA), who is sure to fall apart very soon.

Jamie Moyer

For years Moyer was a guy no one ever wanted to own because of his age and lack of a powerful strikeout pitch. Plus he wasn’t exactly the most fun guy to have to root for all season. But last year, I finally decided he was worth a fourth or fifth starter spot, especially after he went 21-7 with a 3.27 ERA in 2003.

Then in late May, as I’ve mentioned several times before, I was offered Johan Santana (2-3, 5.61 ERA) straight up for Moyer (3-2, 4.26). And after thinking about it for a few days, I turned it down. On May 31, Moyer won his fourth game, and a few days later Santana lost his fourth. I was pretty pleased with myself for my smart decision, and figured Moyer was on his way to another solid season.

From that point on, things changed just a bit. Santana finished 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 265 Ks, to go along with the 2004 AL Cy Young Award. Moyer wrapped up his 18th season with a 7-13 record, 5.21 ERA and 125 Ks.

So even though he probably only has a couple of years left in his arm, I swore off Moyer forever. Even if I was in a 20-team, AL-only league and the only two starters left on the board were Moyer and Ryan Drese, I was not picking Moyer.

And just like Webb, Moyer is 4-0 with a solid ERA (3.53) and even has 24 Ks in 35 IP, his best K rate in seven years.

Oliver Perez

After dedicating more than 3,500 words to Perez in last week’s column, you’d think he would thank me by following up his great start from April 26 with another one. Didn’t happen. Perez got creamed by the Giants on Sunday, allowing six runs and 12 baserunners in only five innings of work. His one strikeout didn’t help my preseason prediction of "Oliver Perez will strikeout 290-300 batters this year."

Six starts into the season and Perez’s ERA is a very unlucky 7.11. His WHIP is 1.86 and only Eric Milton (11) has allowed more home runs than Perez (8). The worst part is that he is still undroppable due to his potential, so this could continue the whole season. If Perez keeps this up, I will definitely put him on my banned list and then spend the entire season cursing when he wins 28 games and compiles 384 strikeouts.

Brian Roberts

I traded for Roberts last August, hoping to get 10-15 steals from the speedy second baseman. Instead, I suffered through a two-month span in which Roberts stole only one base, despite playing every day and batting around .300. When I needed a second baseman this year, and he was the top option left, I passed and instead opted for D’Angelo Jimenez, who had far more pop and RBI potential than the diminutive Roberts.

Roberts, as all of you know, has been the top hitter in all of baseball thus far, batting .372 (sixth in Majors) with a career-high eight homers (tied for third), 24 runs (first), 27 RBIs (fourth) and 12 steals (tied with Chone Figgins for first). How many times ever has a player ranked in the top six in all five fantasy hitting categories, a month into the season? Has is ever happened? Rickey Henderson? Eric Davis? Who knows?

By the way, Jimenez is batting .195 with no homers, three RBIs and two steals.

Carlos Pena

I couldn’t take his .162 average, one homer and no steals anymore, so I dropped Pena before Sunday’s games. Pena then decided to wake up and hit two homers on Monday to raise his average back to .200. I put in a claim to get him back, since I figured he was going to break out, and landed him just in time for his 0-for-4 performance on Wednesday.

Making moves like this is a good way to guarantee that you’ll never win a fantasy title.

Robinson Cano

His last name is pronounced Cuh-NO, not CANE-o like most people probably thought before he finally surfaced in the Majors this week. Now for the next 15 years, we’ll have to hear baseball announcers who have nothing better to say, make jokes such as:

"You Know, Cuh-No" and "Oh no, Cuh-No."

Trust me, this will get very annoying, very fast.

And this week’s Katastrophe winner is?

Roberts. Here’s hoping he goes 20-for-his-next-200, although he’d still be hitting higher than Jimenez since his average would only dip to .198.