Kris Liakos: January 2009 Archives

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

This afternoon, in no particular order, we look at players born before 1970. It's the final edition of BONILLA for the year:

Age 40

Ken Griffey, OF: One of all the all time greats, with one of the all time nice Moms. Lives in Orlando so he can ride Splash Mountain "whenever he damn well pleases."

Troy Percival, RP: Has started a single game in 14 year career. Someone must have had terrible diarrhea that day... but Troy will never say who.

Mariano Rivera, RP: The most feared relief pitcher of all time famously throws only one pitch. So why's he so scary? Prior to each game he dunks his uniform in a washtub of pitbull pheremones. From fresh squeezed pitbulls. I'm just glad he's old.

So Taguchi, OF: Born during Woodstock to two idealistic 17 year olds from Western CT. Herb Centers and Marion Thomas thought it was just the acid that made their child look Japanese. But it wasn't. So they named him So Taguchi and just played along. They married 8 weeks later.

Age 41

Rudy Seanez, RP: Foreman of the United Journeyman's Society. Has pitched for so many teams that he gets to list his Agent as a pimp. For tax purposes.

Gary Sheffield, DH: Hornery. That second "r" is soooooo important.

Matt Stairs, OF: Last postseason's "Workingman Human Interest Piece Of Choice." Debuted in 1992, the same year as John Sencio.

Age 42

Luis Gonzalez, OF: Like most of these old dudes, currently a free agent. Father of triplets. Clearly the steroid allegations were misguided and he should have been tested for fertility drugs. Hates Norwegians.

Tom Gordon, RP: Likes to drive entire family to Six Flags, drive into the parking lot then turn around and drive out saying "Ha! I was never going to take you there." Then continues laughing.

Trevor Hoffman, RP: Thinks hooded sweatshirts are just that. For hoods.

John Smoltz, SP: Was made for loving you. Wants to give it all to you. In the darkness.

Omar Vizquel, SS:

Wants to see it in your eyes. Feel the magic. Girl you were made for him.

Age 43

Moises Alou, OF: You know someone's gonna sign this guy and we're all gonna get to use those handpissing jokes for another year. You just know it. Thank god, that's a huge part of our material. BECAUSE WE'RE HACKS.

Tom Glavine, SP: Played with a quiet intensity by Ron Howard since 1988.

Curt Schilling, SP: Pretty much the human embodiment of talk radio. I love him because I have to. May pitch this year if REAL AMERICANS have anything to say about it.

Mike Timlin, RP: See above. Except for the talk radio thing. Timlin's kind of a mute.

Tim Wakefield, SP: Played with a quiet intensity by Clint Howard since 1991.

Even Older Than Those Guys

Orlando Hernandez, SP: Most say his career is over but he already has a rubber arm. So what if he needs a year to rehab? He'll be back. Called me at 2AM to say "If you see one film this year, make it HOTEL FOR DOGS."

Barry Bonds, OF: Should play. I wrote it like 8 times on two different websites last year. Can't jump ship now.

Randy Johnson, SP: Signed by the Giants. Should have no trouble finding a good hairstylist this time around.

Jamie Moyer, SP: On a mountain of skulls, in a castle of pain, he sat on a throne of blood. Not exactly a man of the people, the evil tyrant gave himself such nicknames as the Scourge of Carpathia and the Sorrow of Moldavia, and was also known to his people as Jamie the Cruel, Jamie the Torturer, Jamie the Despised, and Jamie the Unholy (and, according to Peter Venkman, he was also Jamie the Butch). In 1610 his people rebelled against him, and decided that his death should equal his cruelty. Jamie was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, and finally drawn and quartered. Before he finally died, his severed head uttered his last words: "Death is a but a door, time is but a window. I'll be back!"

And in 1989, he did come back. His spirit possessed a portrait he had painted of himself which was on display at the Manhattan Museum of Art. His plan was to draw strength from an underground river of slime generated by the negative emotions of the people living in New York, then possess the body of a child on New Year's Eve so that he could live again. Using his dark magic, he brainwashed the museum's curator, Janosz Poha, instructing him to find an infant. Janosz picked Oscar, the baby of his employee Dana Barrett, and eventually kidnapped him. Jamie would eventually be thwarted by the Ghostbusters, who researched his background and deduced his connection to the river of slime.

On New Year's Eve, Jamie had gathered enough strength to actually exit the painting and attempt to take over Oscar's body, but the evil spirit was weakened by the singing of crowds outside the museum who were celebrating the birth of the new year. Jamie retreated back into the painting, transforming into a hideous monster, and briefly took over the body of Ray Stantz. The other Ghostbusters then covered Ray with positively-charged slime, blasting Jamie back into the painting again. Jamie's ghost was then dispelled forever when the painting itself was doused in the slime.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I'm a runaway.

  • LOOKING for some good George Mitchell jokes? Well I can't help you, but here are some terrible ones.

  • WILL Jerry Manuel's naked pleading for Manny do any good?

  • HAVE you always wished that your video games had more David Lee Roth in them? I never have because I can't stand the bastard, but this VH version of Asteroids is still pretty nice.

  • WHAT does the acquisition of Aaron Heilman mean to the Cubs? I don't mean on a baseball level, I mean on a profoundly spiritual one.

  • WHAT'S next for snow artist Cards fans? Maybe an ice sculpture of Aaron Heilman giving up a go ahead tater tot.

  • DO you think this All Free Agent Team could make a run at the playoffs? I say we give em a chance. Their home park can be Scott Boras' front yard.

  • IF Joe Torre claims his new book isn't "a tell all" then we should believe him, right? Even if he squawks like a canary about Johnny Damon's teammates hating him.

Tomorrow you get your largest, and second to last BONILLA of 2009 so stretch. You're gonna need to be limber to read the whole thing. See you then. Same WoW channel.

(Cincinnati Red Stockings photo circa 1868 courtesy of Yesterprints)

Video Interview: Diamondbacks GM, Josh Byrnes

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I got on my Skype this morning for an exclusive sitdown with Diamondbacks GM, Josh Byrnes. We discussed the club's relatively quiet offseason, and whether or not he has any regrets after his first trip around the Hot Stove. It's revealing, candid stuff, and you'll only find it on Walkoff Walk.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I'm goin down to Rosemarie's. She never does me wrong.

  • CAN Jason Varitek possibly be happy with the way this contract stuff is going down. There's a deadline set for Saturday, but man this has been one ugly draw out.

  • IS there a swear jar in the Dodgers' front office? Well they better put one in, Lee Elia just got hired!

  • WHEN someone offers you a joke do you just say 'No thanks?'

  • WANNA go to the new Negro League Museum with me?

  • WHY are Royals fans so so excited about the Zack Greinke signing? Well because everything's relative, and they just made their best deal in a long time. Investing in their best young talent for 4 years at market rate is a big step for that club.

Thanks for shopping with us. We're open tomorrow too. Same WoW channel.

(Photo stolen from the Austin Area School District.)

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 31

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1978:

Angel Berroa, SS: Played 81 games for the Dodgers last year. Inspired our only LOLcat ripoff. Is currently Yankees' Plan B if aging Derek Jeter gets injured this season. Oops!

Milton Bradley, OF: Entering 10th season, finally earning some of the respect his numbers have deserved in recent years. Credits newfound inner peace to ignoring everyone else on earth except for Dr. Wayne Dyer. No wait, that's me.

Endy Chavez, OF: In the hall of the Mountain King there can only be one Endy. And when Endy Chavez retires from baseball, he will enter the hall of the Mountain King and challenge the Endy that is already living there. Even with the thin air at that altitude he will still never hit home runs.

Joe Crede, 3B: Has a child named King Fazio Lazarus Odie Edith Crede*. Not currently employed but will be a good fit on a team that needs a player who is alive.

Marcus Giles, 2B: In the minors for the Phillies. Just bought a new drafting table so he can draw his own comic books to save money during the recession.

Cristian Guzman, 2B: Even after 3 years with Washington, Guzman still thinks he plays for the Twins and "has never been happier to be part of this Minnesota organization." Racked up almost 200 hits last year for first time in career.

Willie Harris, UTIL: Can play almost any position on a diamond. Notable for having a monkier so anachronistic he may as well be named Cap Anson or Mordecai Brown.

Jason Jennings, SP: Pitched in 6 games last season for Rangers. Gave up 26 runs. Then his legs fell off or something. I don't care how good the minor league system is, no MLB team should ever have a legacy of pitching as terrible as Texas.

Nick Johnson, 1B: Has spent far too much of his career laid up with real injuries, like broken legs. Mentioned in trade rumors with the A's recently. Warmer weather is good for brittle bones. Afraid of Koala Bears and words that start with P.

Kyle Lohse, SP: For just $18.95 Kyle Lohse will clean and detail your entire vehicle. But if you want him to be a mediocre pitcher for your baseball team it's gonna be a couple million.

Jason Marquis, P: Turned 17 and swore to never speak a word again but then someone came along and ruined everything. It was a strange time in his life. Listens to a lot of Jens Lekman. Pitches in Colorado now. Developing a taste for microbrews, brah.

Gil Meche, SP: Makes a whole crapload of money to pitch ok. Man... that seems to be a recurring theme on this list. Dreams in French.

Xavier Nady, OF: If you believe the rumors, Nady may not make it through the season a Yankee. After coming over at last season's deadline, he'll be a short tenured Yankee. Which is different from a short Yankee, like Chuck Knoblauch, Phil Rizzuto or Thomas Paine. Loves telling people "I spent 2 years in Pittsburgh one year."

Carlos Pena, DH: The former Northeastern Huskie looked to be finished as a full-time Major Leaguer after the 2004 season, but had a miraculous comeback with the Rays in 07, turning himself one of the home run hittingest players in the AL. This is not the only thing he has in common with Meat Loaf circa Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell.

Brad Penny, SP: Listed as 6'4, 200 Lbs, it's fair to say that Brad has put on some weight in the past couple of seasons. Trying to have a bounce back year with the Red Sox. Hoping Dibs don't become a banned substance.

Joel Pineiro, SP: Holy crap it's true. Almost every pitcher I ever make fun of is going to be 31 this year. Is Westbrook on this list? Joel Pineiro thinks that dress makes you look fat. Drives a Canyonero.

Aramis Ramirez, 3B: Signed with the Pirates when he was 16, blossomed in Chicago. By that I mean he became a woman. Has hit 25+ HR every season since 2003. BONILLA projects him to be a little scared of Milton Bradley for the entire 2009 season.

Tim Redding, SP: Thinks ghosts are made out of hummus.

Juan Rivera, UTIL: Played 6 positions in 2009, making him as versatile as his name. Seriously, name one profession you couldn't see a guy named Juan Rivera being successful in? Pediatrician, dump truck driver, Archeriest (aka: arrow shooter). A Juan Rivera can do anything.

Jimmy Rollins, SS: Had a mercurial 2009 season. Spent much of first half being booed, I guess as a reward for his 2007 MVP award. Spent some time hurt, then returned as smiling face of a World Series Champion team. This year plans not having "Such a weird goddamned year." Favorite film: Back To The Future 3.

Ben Sheets, SP: Still a free agent. Teams may be suspicious of a throwing arm that has burst into flames 6 times in the past 4 years. Favorite word: "fjord."

Vernon Wells, CF: If Vernon Wells' past two seasons were a school lunch they'd be "crayons". When cornered, will levitate.

Dewayne Wise, OF: Remember that time when you were little and you were driving down the highway with your parents and that guy was in the car next to you and he looked like he was yelling even though he was in the car alone and then he started crying and then he started laughing with tears streaming down his face and you were trying to figure out what the hell was going on in that car, searching the backseat to see if someone was in the backseat or something and you were gonna tell your dad and then the guy just floored it, and pulled away? Remember that? That was Dewayne Wise.

Barry Zito, SP: Had a career low ERA+ of 85 last season. Has come to the point where I feel bad making fun of him. That puts him in very rare company on this website. Just to get some attention, BONILLA is predicting him to have a return to form and contend for the Cy Young in 2009.

Miguel Olivo, C:: Went to court to force Lee Iacocca to add the extra "i" in Olivio. Is as baffled as the rest of us as to why Lee Iacocca invented a butter substitute.

Victor Martinez, DH: Moving to first base for 2009. Is constantly misusing the word "ostensibly."

Cliff Lee, SP: Middle name: Phifer. So he's not just a member of the Tribe but also Tribe Called Quest. Has biggest act to follow of any player in 2009.

John Lackey, SP: Wimp.

Aaron Harang, SP: Underrated K pitcher, who should have taken out an insurance policy on his arm the day the Reds hired Dusty Baker. Drives a 1996 Aquamarine Ford Escort Wagon.

Chone Figgins, 3B: Seems to have settled on a position at roughly the same time all his tendons are beginning to snap and pop. Favorite part of being a baseball player: Clean hotel sheets every night!

Ryan Ludwick, OF: Hit 37 HR last year in just his second full season. Projected to hit 109 this year. Uncle, Boobie Ludwick, owned first microwave in Fresno, CA.

Kevin Gregg, RP: Thinks that song "Get Down On It" is about proper fielding technique.

Eric Bruntlett, UTIL: Gruff exterior, nougat center. Socially conservative, fiscally liberal.

Aaron Heilman, RP: Rock solid anchor of historically great Mets bullpen. Hides behind Gatorade cooler at the top of every 6th inning.

Chase Utley, 2B: Plunkable and breakable. Best all around middle infielder in baseball. Holds 16 patents. Gonna take April off. Afraid of no ghost. 10 feet tall. Below average dancer.

Jason Bay, LF: BRING BACK THE SONG.

Greg Dobbs, UTIL: Derives magical baseball powers from Little Debbie's Star Crunch.

Ryan Church, OF: Had so many concussions last season he can smell colors. When healthy he has much pop in bat. Had so many concussions last season he can smell colors.

Jorge Campillo, SP: Still isn't sure if he's supposed to eat the chicken inside of the waffle like a taco, or if the waffle is simply a side dish.

*Please refrain from making unconstructive edits to Wikipedia, as you did to Joe Crede. Your edits appear to constitute vandalism and have been reverted. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. Thank you. JustSomeRandomGuy32 (talk) 20:01, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, tick tick tick tick. Ok, give me your answer.


That's all for today. Tomorrow there's more. Same WoW channel. You too, Lobster Baby.
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Hey, Champ. Miss out on the BBWAA's annual Big Apple shindig last night? Cool it, see. Your man on the scene was a fly on the wall* for the whole thing. Here's just a taste of what you missed:

  • The night doubled as David Wright's coming out party as Yuk Master.

    Approaching the podium to accept an award honoring his commitment to charity work, first took a moment to shoot a glance in either direction. On his right sat Cole Hamels, and on his left sat Brad Lidge, two of the greatest reasons why the Phillies are the reigning World Series champions.

    "I'd like to personally welcome Cole and Brad to New York," Wright said, drawing a roar from both the crowd and the Phillies. "It's always nice to see you guys."

    Pow right to the kisser, you sons of bitches! Look out Jackie Mason, there's a new funny guy in Gotham and he's hot on your trail.


  • All major awards were handed out (MVPs, ROYs, Cy Youngs and MOYs) and the only one of the 8 winners not to show up was King Hepcat himself, Joe Maddon. On a night where the Campari was flowing like water, The Main Ray was a glaring omission indeed. He did some sort of video transmission from a papazan chair in his bungalow. That's what I call the OFFseason! My brand is Lucky Strike!

  • But he wasn't the only star missing from this veritable Milky Way of machismo and frivolity. Johnny Damon wasn't there to win his "Good Guy Award" and Lefty Lothario Johan Santana missed out on his "Toast Of The Town Award." That's what they get giving it to a foreigner anyway. Probably visa issues. To the moon, Alice!

  • Mike Mussina received the Casey Stengel "You Could Look It Up" Award, and the crowd chanted "One more year!" Yes, I did say that this was a crowd full of sportswriters, but don't fret. We all need to let loose once in awhile. If we didn't we'd all go a little fruity and start punching kids in the face like Bing Crosby. Yeah right, like my voice is anywhere near as good as Bing's! Goodnight, Gracie!

  • "Wright's new buddies Lidge and Hamels presented awards to each other -- Lidge gave Hamels the Babe Ruth Award for World Series MVP, and Hamels gave Lidge the Sid Mercer-Dick Young "Player of the Year" Award. And both Bernie Williams and Ed Kranepool won the "Willie, Mickey and the Duke" Award for playing the most games at the refurbished Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, respectively."

    Speaking of foreigners, what the hell does any of that mean? If Sid Mercer really thinks Brad Lidge was the Player of the Year, he's been spending too much time on The Cavalcade of Stars! I feel like I'm back in Iwo Jima. Habla English please! And is this "Willie, Mickey and the Duke" award given out every year? To the same two guys? Color me confused.


I'm gonna need to dictate the rest of this column sitting down! Lydia, bring me a tonic water!

*read about it.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, head down keep moving.

  • WHO you got in Cubs vs. Under Armour? The Cubs claim they had a deal set in stone to whore out their outfield walls to UA but they backed out.

  • HAVE you guys seen the exclusive new neighborhood that your mother moved into?

  • HOW much would you pay to have your kids learn pitching from Tim Spooneybarger?

  • WHAT do Mets fans think of the Alex Cora signing? That's a rhetorical weekend question. Mets fans aren't allowed to register for commenting priveleges.

  • COULDN'T make the Mariners' GM luncheon? No worries, Geoff Baker has an extremely thorough rundown.

  • WHAT do you think of new Fashion Plate Rinku & Dinesh? First it was Hewlett Packard sponsorships, next it's gonna be Brooks Brothers. They grow up so fast.

  • ARE any of your younger siblings on Keith Law's Top 100 Prospect List? No? Then maybe you should be spending more time doing work instead of reading sports blogs. The economy's tough, y'all.

  • DID you know that tomorrow is our very own Rob Iracane's birthday? I hope you'll all join me in wishing him a good one.

Have a good weekend everybody. BONILLA ends next week (mercifully for us) and will you look at that, it's not that far from the start of camp. WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See you Monday. Same WoW channel.

Babe Ruth In "Fancy Curves" - 1932

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Today's Classic TV Friday brings you some sexy Babe on Babes on action. Not really, but it is a movie about an all girls team that needs help preparing for the big game, so natch, they hire Babe Ruth to coach them.

I think it's actually pretty great to see such an egalitarian attitude afforded to women back in that era. Also the pitcher at 2:40 is a stone cold fox. Rawr.

Cubs Get Ricketts: Strike That, Reverse It

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In what feels like the longest and most drawn out ownership story in baseball history, though I have almost no frame of reference, the Tribune Company finally picked a buyer for the Chicago Cubs. Tom Ricketts and family made their fortune by starting TD Ameritrade, the online brokerage firm. The bid clocked in at around $900 Million. Sounds straight enough.

But of course, the Cubs are one of those teams that are "steeped in tradition" so the new guys have to concoct some sort of sappy story to get all the North Side yahoos to get behind them as some sort of Ownership Of The People. With Ricketts it's that he lived in a Wrigleyville apartment right next to the park while attending the University of Chica.... zzzzzz.

The very worst part about Ricketts' trip down memory lane? It made me actually agree with Jay Mariotti for the first time in my life. Do you know how hard that is to say? I'm so ashamed.

I don't care that the new owner of the Cubs, Tom Ricketts, met his wife somewhere in the Wrigley Field bleachers. Nor do I care that he lived every guy's Wrigleyville dream, slumming in an apartment above a bar by the ballpark. This is just more of the same gooey romanticism that Cubdom eats from the first victory in April to the last inevitable loss of autumn -- and never amounts to anything but the same "OHHHHH, NOOOOO!!!" from Ron Santo in the radio booth, echoing 101 years of agony.

Can these people win the friggin' World Series already? With no experience in pro sports ownership, what do they know about running a baseball franchise? In particular, what do they know about running a franchise supported by a fanatical cult of loons, who ignore tidal waves of hopeless futility and, somehow, come back for more punishment after every October choke job?

Ok , so maybe I don't agree with him totally. I just like that he called Cubs fans a fanatical cult of loons. Most sports owners don't know what they're doing when they make their initial foray into the business. The successful ones usually hire the right people, and give them the reins. That's a pretty simple business strategy.

In the bidding for the Cubs there was one major exception to this rule in Mark Cuban. Mariotti brings him up, but I never bought into him as a legitimate contender. His bid was hopeless beyond financial reasons, but according to the Wall Street journal, it's for purely financial reasons that Ricketts was chosen. He was the one most likely to close the deal the soonest. The Tribune needed that money and they needed it fast. I guess it's preferable to selling your headquarters or taking out a giant loan form some Mexican guy that you can never pay back. My friend Shawn did that once and now he only has two fingers.

What the hell was I talking about again? Oh yeah. The Cubs got sold. Good luck with all that.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, fax back.

  • IS your favorite college baseball team ranked in the Baseball America Pre-Season Top 25?

  • DO you think Brett Favre and Curt Schilling are kindred spirits or do they think of one another as copycat hacks? Although I do give credit to Schill for saying he doesn't think he should be in the HoF. Kind of refreshing.

  • WHAT will Jason Varitek use to kill Scott Boras: A gun, a knife, or a snow globe.

  • WHAT is the point of this new front office management video game I keep seeing advertised? It's been a little while since I've played, but dont all the new generation baseball games let you run the front office anyway? Someone oughta mail one of these to Jim Bowden*.

  • ARE you familiar with the Akron Family? Well, they're yet another one of my favorite bands skipping Boston on their upcoming tour. Fine, guys. I get it.

And another successful B-K-F-S-T becomes one for the record books. Join us back here tomorrow as we put the week to bed. Same WoW channel.

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 29

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bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections. Today we'll be looking at players born in 1980.

Josh Beckett, SP: Angrier then a one legged buck, fiercer than a prairie dog with an extra tooth, more competitive than an armadillo in a grocery bag, and steady as an oil rig. Born in Texas.

Cesar Izturis, SS: Mostly healthy for the first time since 2004, Izturis still didn't live up to the expectations set for him by Moses in the Old Testament. Which reminds me, doesn't anyone else think it was weird that Moses talked about Cesar Izturis in the Old Testament?

Shane Victorino, CF: Had a bigger breakthrough with the average fan than probably any other player in baseball, including both ROYs. Chuckie Carr did that once, too.

Jonny Gomes, OF: Roided out unemployed thug. Had one good year and is still trying to make a living off of it. This is the only thing he has in common with Scarlett Johanssen.

Bobby Crosby, SS: Former ROY has more back problems than Superstar Billy Graham. Has struggled for the type of consistency that I have. The kind that allows me to make a classic wrestling reference in every BONILLA.

Noah Lowry, SP: Busted in his early teens for an elaborate ruby heist, he was shuffled off to Chino to spend the rest of his life in jail. After breaking out of the pen using fishing line and a diaper pin, he hopped a northern freighter out of Chula Vista. This is how he ended up in the Giants rotation. Has a TV character name.

Dan Haren, SP: Coming off of the best season of his career, Daniel John Haren would appreciate it if you'd stop calling him "Wee Danny." Has folk duo with Bram from The Elephant Show.

Kevin Correia, SP: Now a full time starter after several years in the pen. Collects truck stop lighters. Not as a hobby but in case the impending robot invasion involves some sort of sun blocking tactic.

Ryan Madson, RP: Fireballer had a coming out party in last year's playoffs. Nicknamed "Mad Dog." Presumably by a 3 year old.

Jose Bautista, UTIL: YOU SET OFF THE BAUTISTALARM! RING RING RING RING RING!!!11!

Joe Blanton, SP: Country Joe seemed a most underwhelming deadline deal for the Phillies last summer. Proved to be kinda whelming as the season progressed. Just reupped for $5.5M. Using it on hoes and rakes.

Nick Swisher, 1B: Won't be a true Yankee until he lowers batting average under .200 but hits some meaningless ground rule double in a playoff game or something. Kind of looks like a Yankee fan anyway.

Brad Hennessey, RP: Former blue chip prospect pitched just 17 games for Giants last year and struggled. Blames difficulties on sleep deprivation from playing too much Schmetris.

Brendan Harris, IF: Slap hitting infielder best known for roles in School Ties and Airheads. Acquired from Rays in Matt Garza deal, was annoyed by Garza just passing him in midair on a plane.

Matt Holliday, OF: Drafted in '98, but didn't make the pros until 2004. New member of the Oakland A's. Should resurrect forearm bash with Jason Giambi. Hopefully this remake will be more entertaining than Blues Brothers 2000.

Chris Shelton, 1B: Had a couple good years with the Tigers. Middle name is "Bob." That's easy to remember.

Scott Hairston, OF: Member of the Fabulous Flying Hairstons, Scott has more pop in his bat then any other Hairston. I think it's RC Cola, but I could be wrong.

John Buck, C: Part time catcher with the Royals. I think I'd rather tell people I was a blogger.

Cha Seung Baek, RP: Last season, he went from the Mariners to the Padres, flew over all of the good teams on the West Coast. Cried.

Jonathan Papelbon, RP: A powder keg with a flat top and an arm that could burst into flames at any second. Signed a one year deal with the Red Sox for the 2009 season. BOLD PREDICTION: It will be his last season with the club. Along with Martin Scorcese helped to bring the Dropkick Murphys into the public's consciousness... ten years too late.

Mike Jacobs, 1B: Part of that historic tater totting Marlins infield. Was a 38th round draft pick. Not the same Mike Jacobs that played from 1902-1902. Strikes out a lot. Old school.

Rich Hill, SP: Pitched 5 games last year. Smells like a Thai hooker.

Skip Schumacher, OF: Racked up 163 hits last year in his first full season. Has the good sense to go with Skip over his real name, Jared. Skips are more likable while Jareds are more likely to hit you with their surfboard and grope your girlfriend.

Kelly Shoppach, C: One of the brightest spots of the Indians' disappointing 2008. Slugged .517 but had more Ks than hits and walks combined.

Mike Fontenot, 2B: Fell out of the sky. Lives in an igloo.

Chien-Ming Wang, SP: Taiwan's favorite son and one time Yankee ace. Spent most of last season injured. Figures to spend most of this season being overlooked. Unil AJ Burnett spends most of this season injured.

Jose Veras, RP: Appeared in 60 games last season.Averaged more than a K per inning, making him a valuable stopper. Calls everyone "Jeff." Everyone.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP: The Human Heart attack. Barring injury he figures to continue getting better, and make a serious run at being the Sox' #1. Favorite Marvin Gaye Record? "Here, My Dear." Good choice.

Dan Uggla, 2B: One of the best hitting middle infielders in baseball. Strikes out more than you at Pizzeria Uno happy hour. Middle name, Cooley. That's rad.

Fred Lewis, LF: Over 200 TB and 21 SB last season. Most underrated Fred in California.

J.P. Ricciardi Thinks You're All Terrible Parents

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Whilst Americans were busy watching yesterday's Macy's Inaugural Thanksgiving Parade and wondering why no one had told them about this "voting" thing before last year, it was business as usual in Canada. Dudes up there have like twenty parties and I think they can recall their PM anytime they think he's doing lousy. Don't hold me to that though. Ask Lloyd.

The Toronto Blue Jays chose last evening to have their State Of The Union address for season ticket holders. If this was akin to any of the soirees held in DC last night, then Blue Jays brass walked right in and peed in the punchbowl. Listen, you ingrates. It's a rebuilding year.

"I have a feeling that we are heading in the right direction," said (Jays CEO Paul) Beeston, who oversaw a drop in payroll from just under $100 million US last year to about $85 million this year.

"If we're not going to be at $120 million, we might as well be at $85 million."

Jays executives faced their season-ticket holders having lost Burnett to the New York Yankees as a free agent. The club will also enter 2009 without starter Shaun Marcum, who will miss the season because of elbow surgery. The economic downturn meant the team could not compete for free agents to replace them and prompted the club to begin promoting 2009 as a means to an end.

Just doesn't seem fair that the dadgum Economic Downturn gets to pick and choose who it affects. It leaves some teams alone so they can go out and scoop up all the free agents they want, and picks on unfortunates like the Blue Jays so they can't replace guys that leave. And everyone knows it's the same free spending teams that win year after year. Aw, shucks.

There's nothing inherently wrong with taking your team through a rebuilding year. It happens to the best clubs in all sports. As long as your team's leadership has a vision and unwavering commitment to see it through, your patience can be rewarded. Oops!

On the question of Ricciardi's contract, which ends in 2010, Beeston said he believes in the GM's plans and hoped that he would be part of the team for a long time.

Ricciardi, though, indicated he might not want to remain because of his family.

"My two boys are growing up and it's tough when you leave the house and your boys cry," said Ricciardi, whose sons are 12 and 10. "My No. 1 priority is to be a father, it's not to be a GM."

Hey, I understand that deep down a person's commitment to their family is supposed to trump their commitment to their job. But unless JP is talking about potty training Vernon Wells and Jesse Litsch, this probably isn't something he wants to say to a group of season ticket holders. Could be a contract ploy, could be a (well deserved) dig at ownership, but in any case I'm thinking once most Jays fans read this in the paper this morning, they wondered just who is steering this ship. If it really is a dig at management, things could get mighty contentious this season in the Toronto front office. Look for more borderline petulance from JP if things fall apart.

I anxiously await Richard Griffin's bombed retort.

(We owe an Evan Williams and Coke to Drunk Jays Fans.)

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpg Hey kids, the Southern Girls with the way talk.


Alright, friends. Enjoy your evening. If you have time tonight check out commenter Chief Wahoo's Tumblr. Good stuff.

We'll see you tomorrow. Same WoW channel. You too, Lobster Baby.

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 24

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The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections. Today we'll be looking at players born in 1985.

Andrew Miller, SP: Born in Gainesville, FL which means he probably can't spell. Talented Marlins lefty that has yet to fulfill his potential. Will look great pitching for another team once he finally does. Nickname "Insane Taquito."

Eric O'Flaherty, RP: Leader of bagpipe crustpunk outfit, "Menstruating On The Blarney Stone," O'Flaherty only appeared in 7 games last year for the Mariners, somehwow making them even worse.

Adam Jones, CF: With more tools than Bob Vila's whoreish ex-wife (she got half of everything in the divorce) Jones has a bright future ahead of him and was a sweet pickup for the Orioles in the Bedard trade. Much like you, he needs to improve his abilty to get to get on base to be the real deal.

Lastings Milledge, CF: Lastings Milledge is only 24? And he wasn't entirely crappy last year so maybe we should lay off him a little bit. Eh, it's ok. He plays for the Nationals so no one will see him anyway. Favorite Brady Bunch kid: Onion. When told there was no "Onion Brady" he stabbed me.

Ryan Sweeney, OF: Made the move from Chicago to Oakland in a covered wagon. Called it a tribute to Michael Landon.

Ryan Feierabend RP: Started 8 games, threw 38 innings, gave up 7 ding dongs. Should probably retire and buy an ice cream truck. Hates ladybugs.

Delmon Young, LF: Moved to Minnesota from Tampa Bay, which I think is a plot point in Benjamin Button. Is absolutely the meanest man in the Twin Cities since Lou Grant.

John Danks, SP: Gives up lots of hits. Strikes out plenty of guys. Thinks this guy on CNN wearing ear muffs under a fedora looks like a complete tool. I feel you, John Danks. I feel you.

Rick Vandenhurk, SP: Has averaged in 9.5 K/9IP in short career. Back home he is celebrated for this, and also for not being an immigrant. People from the Netherlands are wicked xenophobic.

Felix Pie, CF: Newly minted Orioles will add even more speed to a speedy team, as long as his sack holds up.

Brandon Wood, IF: Know why he goes by Brandon? Because his real first name is Richard!. Click the b-r link, I'm not kidding! Dick Wood! Lollerskates. Walkoff Walk: Your Source For Trenchant Analysis.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C: The longest name in baseball history has been on the trading block since he arrived in Arlington. Will probably never be traded, and will spend his twilight years guarding the Rangers gift shop.

Carlos Gomez, CF: The Minnesota CF of the future needs to stop striking out so much. He should also stop telling everyone within earshot that he can only climax sexually if he's crying. Both of these things will come with maturity.

Jesse Litsch, SP: Has clause in his contract from Rogers that says if he makes 30 starts in 2009 he gets 6 months of free Starz.

Tyler Clippard, P: Appeared in two games for Washington Nationals last year, the same as comedienne Paula Poundstone.

Sean Gallagher, SP: Will try and bridge the value gap from last year's Rich Harden trade. Plans on using ProSeal.

Joba Chamberlain, SP/RP/OMG: Forget the relief/starter debate. Make him the third base coach, and you've got yourself a recipe for winning. New beard makes him look exactly like the Big Boss Man.

Asdrubal Cabrera, IF: "Asdrubal" is Inca for Luis Rivera.

Ian Stewart, IF: Crashed Starship Enterprise into Coors Field. Smells like my uncle's finger. Slugged .455 last year in limited time.

Daric Barton, 1B:: Barton has spent the holidays bandied about in trade rumors. Was quoted as saying "Stop bandying me, you insensitive assholes." Hit 9 HR last year, will probably hit more this year.

Blake DeWitt, IF: First round draft pick shows that no matter how much your name sounds like a Soap Opera character you can still hit .167 in the playoffs. No relation to Joyce.

Brian Bocock, SS: You may have forgotten about him, But he's a hero of Walkoff Walk early days. Buy him a round. Then get him a Major League roster spot.

Evan Longoria, 3B: Your reigning ROY. But NOT your Roy of the Year. Rumored to be dating an Fax Machine. Can hit ball good and play baseball good and can hit.

Sean Rodriguez, IF: Ranks 74th out of 987 possible infielders for The Angels in 2009. Hates the Dutch.

Emmanuel Burriss, IF: Lives with foster parents, George and Maam.

Justin Masterson, RP: Sinkerballer. Born in Kingston, Jamaica. Twin brother is that guy in the Red Stripe commercial.

Carlos Gonzalez, OF: Anticipating a big sophomore season. When drunk will argue the merits of the "criminally underrated, dude" second Better Than Ezra record, "Friction, Baby." Sees a correlation between these two things.

Jeff Samardzija, RP: Did something else before playing in the majors... I think it was vacuum sales. After Blagojevich impeachment, has least tarnished most complicated name in Illinois.

Gio Gonzalez, RP: Gave up 34 runs in 32 innings. Hails from Hialeah, FL which was recently named one of America's Most Boring Cities. Maybe he should move back and start serving up a shit ton of runs to the townsfolk.

Daniel Murphy, LF: Killed a panda bear with a Trampoline. Thinks everything is my fault. Had 62 TB in 49 games.

David Price, SP: This year David Price will win 3 MVP awards and 4 Cy Youngs. He will also capture the devil and keep him in a mayonnaise jar.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, East coast girls are hip.

  • SINCE CNN is asking Kenyans how excited they are that Obama is going to be president, does that mean MASN is going to ask me how I feel about the Nick Markakis signing?

  • WILL you tune into MLB Network tonight to get the first news of the WBC rosters? I bet you are then you're going to hold it over everyone's head like you're sooooo special. Well you're not.

  • DO you feel bad for Leo Mazzone? He's just had too many woulda coulda shouldas, you know? He's sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  • ARE you picking up Merriwether Post Pavillion tomorrow, or am I the only person in America that was interested in this record and hasn't already DL'd the leak?

  • ARE you ready for your annual, "Where is Bo Jackson now?" newspaper piece? I don't think America's ever really come to terms with how much we miss this guy and how much of his greatness injury robbed us of. That has to be the explanation for each metro paper in the country to run one of these every year. And why I still read each one.

  • WILL you join us in sending Don Zimmer well wishes on a speedy recovery?

I know many of you are excited for tomorrow's inaugural festivities. I am too, but not as much for who's coming in, but for who's leaving. You did one heck of a job, Bushie. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Is it still freezing everywhere? If so, stay warm and we'll see you all back here tomorrow. Same WoW channel.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, our producer is Doug The Subway Fugitive Bongo Boy Berman.

That's all for us this week. Tune in next week for some more of that good ol' fashioned BONILLA flavor.

Vintage Jim Rice photo from Spring Training in 1986 taken by Flickr user Apollo13MA.

Surrealistic Big Red Machine Photo Of The Day

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George Clooney, Ellen, Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench. Did this really happen or have I been huffing Krylon again?

I'M CLOONEY.

JFK Throws Out First Pitch - 1961

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How about a Classic TV Friday? And a timely one at that. Tuesday is inauguration day, and while there figure to be decidedly fewer eggs thrown this time around it should still be pretty interesting. Below is a clip of a newly minted President Kennedy throwing out the first pitch for the Washington Senators' first game of 1961. And the Senators lose! History, in both sports and politics, often repeats itself . Please to enjoy.

bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Click here to check out all the BONILLA age projections. Today we'll be looking at players born in 1970, 1971. and 1972.

Age 37

Garret Anderson, OF: Currently unemplyed, but rumors have him staying in California, up by the bay with either Oakland or SF. Weird fact: Has never scored more than 100 runs in a season because it's against his religion. Anderson is a Wiccan.

Paul Bako, C: Real name: Gabor Paul II Bako. Said to be rejoining Cubs for Spring Training. My friend Raquel says she would not sleep with him.

Tony Clark, 1B: Staying in Arizona. Sleeps standing up on an eliptical machine. Career OPS+ of 112, higher than Garret Anderson, with 247 career HR.

Carlos Delgado, 1B: Smiley pulled a Lazarus act last year, and made a run for MVP. Still important to Mets title hopes. Oops. Once beat Rock Hudson in a game of Connect Four.

Cliff Floyd, DH: Click that link to remember some of his great season that you have undoubtedly forgot about. Most potential lost to injury since that guy that Leif Garrett paralyzed. Obama's stimulus package said to include special paragraph just for Cliff.

Mike Hampton, P: Has made more money per pitch that Ron Popeil. Is scared of the dark because he can't see what it is that's going to injure him. Somehow employed by Astros.

Raul Ibanez, LF: With Ibanez replacing Pat Burrell for way more money, the Phillies are projected to repeat as champs and also win the Super Bowl and UEFA Cup.

Chipper Jones, 3B: One of Walkoff Walk's most prolific commenters. Unhappy with the Braves all of a sudden. Could be in a different uniform by midseason once the Braves inevitably fall way out of contention. Redneck.

Melvin Mora, 3B: Had a sneaky good 2008. Is just kind of sneaky in general and is currently hiding behind your shower curtain. Don't scare him, he spits ink.

Andy Pettite, SP: IS TAKING ALL GODDAMNED DAY TO PICK A TEAM. CHRISTMAS IS COMING, ANDY.

Manny Ramirez, LF: Little discussed outfielder. Toiled in obscurity for years in Boston. BONILLA predicts 2009 will be the year he finally breaks into the national spotlight.

Jason Varitek, C: At this point probably regretting Scott Boras' advice to decline arbitration. Was famous around Boston for sitting on front lawn and handing out candy on Halloween. May become famous for doing that 365 days a year.

Age 38

Jason Giambi, 1B: After our sandwich career discussion the other day, I'm putting Giambi's new WoW nickname up to a vote. Is it "Hoagie" or "Reuben." After 7 years away he returns and is immediately reinstalled as Oakland's most dangerous hitter. That's probably not good.

Brian Giles, OF: Tan jackass. May be best player in California Penal since Ricky Vaughn.

Pedro Martinez, SP: Still a free agent. Has said he wants to play this year. Shoe-In for the HoF because of the sheer amount of stories he's told involving mango trees.

Kevin Millar, 1B:: Ostensibly looking to return with Orioles but would drop playing in a second if NESN offered him a 2AM time slot for weekly Sox highlight show "Cowboy Wrap-Up."

Jorge Posada, C: In second year of 4 year, $52M contract. Still getting phantom pains in amputated throwing arm. First name not pronounced "Whore-Hey" but "Kenny."

Ivan Rodriguez, C No contract, still has both arms. Had good fortune of never being caught with steroids, probably another HoF shoe-in. Keeps crinkle cut fries in his ass.

Billy Wagner, P: Since Billy Wagner isn't playing baseball this year here's a Billy Preston video.

Gregg Zaun, C: Free agent, movie critic, nephew of Rick Dempsey, former host of Amazing Discoveries.

Jose Contreras, P: Since Jose Contreras may not be playing baseball this year here's the Shelley West Song, Jose Cuervo.

Age 39

Paul Byrd, SP: Apparently taking some time off to coach his kids but not retiring. Wrote a book about how he doesn't jerk off on the road. Grossest thing I've ever been forced to visualize.

Mark Grudzielanek, 2B: Once wrestled an alligator and lost after the alligator delivered a flying elbow from the top rope.

Eddie Guardado, RP: Returned to Minnesota last season as the Prodigal Son. Of Fernando Valenzuela.

Darren Oliver, RP: Last active player from the Negro Leagues.

Jim Thome, DH: A paraplegic in remission, Mr. Thome speaks 8 languages and smells of sandalwood. He hits lots of home runs and even though he played in the same infeld as Joe Crede no has ever seen them both in their line of sight. Coincidence?

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, BACK OFF.

  • REMEMBER when I linked that burger from Eagle's Deli a couple weeks back? Well here's a video featuring Kevin Youkilis and some guy eating that thing.

  • IF Cuba has such an awesome baseball program and the embargo is lifted soon, could an MLB team in Havana be that far off? Man that's a good idea. I should write a whole post about that.

  • IS this Cubs sale ever going to be finished?

  • SINCE we've already discussed roasting a chicken, does anyone know how to cook a duck? I want to give it a shot.

That's all for today. Come back tomorrow for Fridayness. See you then. Same WoW channel.

(Picture of Tom & Son stolen from the brilliant Sexy People.)

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I think he's still in Barcelona.


Goodnight, Gracie. I'm gonna go lay face first in an empty lot. Same WoW channel.
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Camden Yards is of course the godfather of the modern ballpark. It's retro style and top of the line concessions set the standard for nearly every single park built since. Whether publicly or privately financed, franchises across not just baseball, but all sports, have pitched the idea that you're nothing without a shiny new venue.

Implicit in this idea is that no matter what team is playing in it, people will come to the game to see the new digs. In that respect, I don't think Camden that set that standard, but in fact it was Cleveland's Jacobs Field. Casual baseball fans and fans not tied to the Indians in any way still knew about the Indians' home sellout streak. It became a part of the team's identity throughout the 90s and early part of this decade as much as any player did.

The New Park Bubble was stretched to it's breaking point last year when the Nationals were just too lousy to justify any huge new stadium attendance. And now after last season's disappointing finish, and the frightening lack of disposable income hitting baseball fans, attendance is even lacking at The Jake.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer comes word that the Indians are so worried about renewing season ticket holders that they're (gasp) reaching out to them on a more than purely superficial level.

They've divided up a call list of season-ticket holders who haven't yet renewed for 2009. If you're one, the voice on the other line may be team President Paul Dolan, General Manager Mark Shapiro, executive vice president for business Dennis Lehman or maybe even radio play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton.

On a few frigid weeknights in January, the Indians front office is also reaching out to fans where they live.

On Monday, Dolan, Shapiro and Lehman fielded questions from about 80 fans at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School auditorium in the first of three "Indians Town Hall" meetings with current and former season-ticket holders.

Questions on Monday ranged from why, at $4 for bottled water, fans can't at least bring one in if it's still factory-sealed (Lehman promised he'd look into it) to whether the team had a contingency plan to add power to the lineup if injured designated hitter Travis Hafner doesn't return to form.

Sure, desperate times call for desperate measures and at the end of the day this is still about trying to get that money back, but it's a genuine exchange. Many sports fans are fiercely loyal anyway, but who wouldn't feel better if the organization just took an hour to listen before taking your money? In an era where press releases speak just as loudly as actions in the eyes of a complicit media, tangible contact and real answers to real questions go a long way.

We cover this stuff every day. As cynical as I am about the entire business of sports, this is refreshing. You've heard a lot of talk about "corrections" during this recession. It's a nice way of saying that the greed and mismanagement of the last 15 years were unsustainable. If that trickles down to a rethinking of monolithic, mechanical sports organizations than that's a correction that will be better for all fans.

Tonight's Questions

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Hiram Bocachica Fan Club
Hey kids, I did not know her name.

  • DO you think you have what it takes to be a racing hot dog in Cleveland? I believe in you.

  • DID you know that some people don't like my man, Richard Griffin? That's because they're making the cardinal mistake of looking to him for baseball insight instead of insane drunken ramblings. That's a good picture of him though.

  • HOW badly has Michael Young messed up with his actions of the past couple days. His pouting has only focused a harsher light on the fact that his skills are in decline and he's going to be making waaaay too much money for the next 4 years. How much longer does Jon Daniels have in Arlington anyway? That organization is a mess.

  • ARE you familiar with the time Jim Rice saved someone's life? If not, here's the story. Let's see Andre Dawson do that.

  • WHO will be the first Tigers fan with an authentic Fu-Te Ni jersey?
That's it from the Goodship Walkoff for today. Join us back here tomorrow for BONILLA and much more. Same WoW Channel.
stretcher.JPGHey, it's been awhile since I made fun of pansy ballplayers and the weak excuses they use to sit at home and collect paychecks while watching Gossip Girl. But fear not painfans, Creampuff is back and today we'll be taking a look at guys that are absoultely, positively not going to be ready for opening day. Whether it's because of offseason surgery, famine, pestilence or general laziness you won't see the following Marys on the field for your favorite squadron come Spring.

  • Tim Hudson, Braves: Hudson is said to be "pushing himself" to return from offseason Tommy John surgery, but the Braves are mostly planning to be without him for all of 2009. Tomahawk fever. Catch it.

  • John Smoltz, Red Sox: Smoltzy was introduced with his Sox jersey and whatnot. According to that story the team has actually slowed down his rehab schedule. This will ensure he's in peak form when he gets back. If the Sox make the playoffs, be ready to talk about John Smoltz. If they don't, be ready to listen to my Dad say that there needs to be a second wild card in each league.

  • Jose Contreras, White Sox: After Contreras hurt his achilles last season, many speculated that could be a career ender for the 68 year old hurler. This offseason, doctors opened the leg to operate and a bat flew out. The company line is that he's still trying to return for the summer.

  • Jake Westbrook, Indians: Looks to be out until mid-July after Tommy John. So terrible at playing baseball that Indians fans are optimistic at having Carl Pavano filling in during his absence.

  • Kelvim Escobar, Angels: After turning in one great year, Kelvim Escobar had a shoulder injury that looked to derail his whole career. Word right now is that he's optimistic about a July return. Did you know someone sued him for giving her roofies once? I hope he still has a good pill connection. Surgery can be painful.

  • Pat Neshek, Twins: Out for entire 2009 season with torn ligament in elbow. Will have plenty of time to write for his blog. Maybe enough time to write for ours too. I'm busier than I was last year.

  • Billy Wagner, Mets: Also missing the entire 2009 season with an elbow problem. Preemptively made it so I couldn't make fun of him in Creampuff when he had that sobby press conference with his son.

  • Chase Utley, Phillies: Utley fell at a canasta tournament being held at his grandaughters Debutante Ball and required hip surgery. They grow up so fast. He'll be out through April. This has fueled rumors the Phils may sign Nomar. Neat.

  • Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays: Out for 2009. Never underestimate The Curse of CTC.

Sinkerballer Signs in South: Supposedly Savior? Scary.

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It's official. Frank Wren continues his now 5 day long streak of actually doing stuff. After signing Kenshin Kawakami, they've now finalized a 4 year, $60M deal with Derek Lowe. I think any NL team would have done well to sign Lowe this offseason, but Dave O'Brien's assertion that Atlanta now has "their ace," should be a little troubling to fans that are looking to actually compete in the NL East this year.

In fact, this would probably just be a link in TQ under normal circumstances but we owe Matt T for being a good commenter.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I am insulated.

  • DID you know that nearly 8% of MLB players have been diagnoses with ADHD? It's a convenient way to exempt a player from the greenie ban and the Philly City Paper blog has a great post about it.

  • HAS anything really changed in KC since they put a bunch of statheads on the front office payroll? Geoff Baker debates it in the wake of the Willie Bloomquist signing.

  • WHAT are the chances that this heinous attack was perpetrated by Bob, Bret and Aaron Boone?

  • ARE these guys insulting baseball? I tried to read the article but it's in Australian. If they are, I plan on firing back with: "Are Deer The New Kangaroos? Oh, snap!"

  • HAVE you figured out what you're getting Gramma for her birthday next month? Ahem, ahem.

Walkoff Walk Presents the BONILLA Projection System: Age 35

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bonilla2009.jpg

The last thing the baseballblogosphere needs is another cleverly-named projection system for players. And that's exactly why we at Walkoff Walk decided to add our collective voice to the statistical noise: we're just a bunch of jerks. Introducing the first-ever player projection forecasting system that dispenses with the OBPs and the FIPs, instead deciding to group every single player by age and write something mildly interesting about them. We call it BONILLA, or Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look At Age.

Inspired partly by the Nate Silver's PECOTA projection system, Sean Smith's CHONE, Tango Tiger's Marcel, and of course Free Darko's Every Player Preview from 2007, we won't necessarily try to predict how your favorite player will perform, nor will we give you any sort of fantasy baseball insight. Think of these short previews, spread out over the next three weeks, as more of a reflection on the past and a hopeful look towards the future; we're all baseball fans at Walkoff Walk and we want to see everyone shine, baby.

Today, in no particular order, we look at players born in 1974:

Bobby Abreu, RF: As of press time, still teamless and still kind of annoyed that unemployment insurance maxes out at $405 in New York State.

Chad Bradford, RP: When asked whether his knuckles ever get dirty due to his submarine style of pitching Bradford replied, "No, that's just poop." Has pitched for 6 teams in 11 years.

Emil Brown, OF: Negated a strong 2008 start after realization that he was Emil Brown. Trying to forget again.

Orlando Cabrera, SS: Will probably collect 240+ TB again, along with 29 more enemies.

Miguel Cairo, IF: Slick fielder, slap hitter, can hear a pin drop from 30 miles away. Middle name, Jesus.

Sean Casey, 1B: Often noted as the nicest guy in the game. So nice he refuses to make pitchers feel bad by hitting home runs. Hasn't hit more than 9 in a season since 2004. Unemployed at press time.

Matt Clement, SP: A walking harbinger of calamity, has not thrown a pitch since 2006. Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays for upcoming season. Could be first ever human to turn into a brushfire or mudslide.

R.A. Dickey, SP: Robert Allen Dickey throws a knuckleball. This year he'll try to do it in Minnesota. Joe Mauer currently training with flies and chopsticks.

Jermaine Dye, RF: Has received MVP votes in two of last seasons. Has received hideous ties from mother every Christmas since puberty.

Darin Erstad, OF: Played 140 games for Houston Astros but still somehow most popular Anaheim Angel. Sleeps with a chunk of surfwax by his head.

Geoff Jenkins, RF: Career .490 SLG. B-R lists new teammate Raul Ibanez as a similar hitter. Kind of looks like Brett Favre.

Derek Jeter, SS: Hasn't won a title in 8 years. Posted 3rd lowest OPS of career last season. Rear end smells like Rob Iracane's face anyway.

Jason Kendall, C: Seems way way older than this. Dad Fred had a sandwich career. Has some how miraculously stopped hitting into a million double plays.

Braden Looper, SP: Gave up 216 hits in 199 innings last year. If he retired right now he'd have a sandwich career too! The Cardinals rotation stinks.

Mike Lowell, 3B: Lots of people are wondering if he'll recover from hip surgery well enough to be effective for the Red Sox in 2009. Um... he had cancer once. Wife is named Bertica, which I have never heard anyone else be named in human history.

Gary Matthews Jr., OF, DH: Makes crapload of money to not do very much with the Angels. Last year OPSd at .676 in 426 ABs. Hit 8 HRs. Still clubhouse champ at that touchscreen game where you have to find the differences between two naked pictures, so we'll see how that effects his playing time in '09.

Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B: Defensive specialist, Florida State Seminole,Narcoleptic.

Kevin Millwood, SP: I will suspend BONILLA here and instead use JUMPSUIT (Jiegel's Unbeatable Millwood Prediction Supported Undoubtedly In Truth): He's probably going to stink.

Bengie Molina, C Favorite Clash album? Sandanista! Favorite Molina brother? Himself!

Joe Nathan, RP: We wear our Joe Nathan love on our sleeve around here. Here's my take on the Twins' closer. Here's Rob's.

Magglio Ordonez, RF: Some people like his hair. Some people like his hitting. I like that after all of these years he's still friends with Rich Garces. And that Rich Garces is the president of Venezuela. THE TIGERS ARE GONNA SCORE 3000 RUNS THIS YEAR.

Richie Sexson, 1B: Sexson has hit 30 or more HR in six seasons and 40 or more twice. My college girlfriend used to be attracted to him. He has a car that runs on shed pet hair. He is unemployed. The only thing he and I have in common is that last point.

Miguel Tejada, SS: ERROR MESSAGE.

Jose Vidro, DH: Have you ever seen Jose Vidro and The Loch Ness Monster in the same place? No because The Loch Ness Monster isn't real, AND because Jose Vidro only played in like 80 games last year. Lightest hitting DH in baseball. I'm talking about Vidro, not the monster.

Luis Vizcaino, RP: There is nothing wrong with Luis Vizcaino that can't be solved with what is right about Luis Vizcaino. Except his pitching.

Jarrod Washburn, SP Is Jarrod Washburn the best pitcher to ever come out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh? Probably. But he's not the best State Treasurer to come out of UWO. That's Jack Voight.

Randy Winn, RF Well rounded ballplayer, raconteur, and all around green thumb, Randy Winn is the Buick Skyhawk of outfielders.

Mark Hendrickson, RP: The Orioles brought Hendrickson on board presumably cause he throws hard and he likes Utz Crab Chips. That or they think he's the guy that invented Hendrickson's Disposable Time Machines. HE ISN'T.

Hideki Matsui, LF: Since he arrived in 2003 Hideki Matsui has always scared me the most coming up in big situations. Everything he hits seems like a line drive and he does a really creepy Dracula impression.

Tad Iguchi, 2B : Iguchi's first couple of years in the league were very productive. He hit a rough patch in SD last year, and was traded to the Phils. He won a World Series there. So did a bunch of other players because baseball is a team sport.

Thanks also to Sean Lahman for his invaluable database.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, that's no way to say goodbye.


That's it for us this week. But rest assured we're working all weekend. Walkoff Walk's in-depth 2009 preview starts Monday, and the first leg of it is pretty special if I do say so myself.

Stand up, New York. Same WoW channel.

Photo Of The Day

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Rocco Baldelli is welcomed to the Red Sox by an airport Hare Krishna.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, don't look so bored when you're talking to me.

  • HOW stoked are you about the new installment of Ken Burns' Baseball? Not as stoked as me. Watch it with your dad or cellmate.

  • NEED some movie advice? Ask Rinku and Dinesh. I agree about The Darjeeling Limited. I thought it was the perfect exercise of Wes Anderson's style and anyone expecting more should go out and make their own film. I also suspect the need to attack it was "intellectual anti-intellectual what was hip is unhip backlash" by the urban media elite. Which is pretty much what they think. Same thing with I'm Not There. I want to get their take on that one too.

  • HOW do I feel about the Baldelli and Smoltz signings going official? Glad you asked. If Rocco is really on the health upswing he has the potential to be the best fourth outfielder in baseball. That's a huge asset to a team that employs awesome, but injury prone Florida State Seminole JD Drew. And regarding Smoltz, his signing just creates another question.

  • WHAT are they gonna do with some of these stockpiled arms? Arlington thinks they're in Boston's crosshairs.

  • EVER heard of "Prince" Joe Henry? Known as the great entertainer of the negro leagues he passed away Friday. Keep em smiling, Prince.

  • DOES anyone know the words to the Oklahoma fight song? I would never root for them under normal circumstances but a title game against those filthy worthless Gators is no normal circumstance. So Boomer Sooner, and stuff.

Today is also Elvis' birthday and it's a minor holiday of sorts for me. Happy Birthday, King.

We'll see you all back here tomorrow. Same WoW Channel.

Now Batting Third For The Dodgers, A House

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Remember a couple months back when the Dodgers still had exclusive rights to resign Manny Ramirez and Jamie McCourt posed the eternal, but nonsensical question: "Would you rather have us build 50 youth baseball fields, or resign Manny?" That was a doozy. I expected her to follow up with, "Sure we COULD sign CC Sabathia, but then I'll have to light this kid with MS on fire."

Well, that morality porn either/or looks even more ridiculous this week. It's been revealed that Frank and Jamie (<3 4eva) just bought TWO homes in Malibu for $46 Million.

In case you're wondering, $46 mil qualifies as one of the higher-end home purchases in all of California.

Look it up, the median home price in Malibu today is $1.15 million. You want ostentatiousness? Jamie's new digs cost 40 times more than that.

Maybe I'm a home buy or two behind, but don't the McCourts already own some giant mansion in Holmby Hills? Like some $20 million dollar palace?

Sure, people can do whatever they want with their money. McCourt made all his bucks in the real estate game anyway. But let's look back at the exact quote that Mommy Warbucks dropped last November.

"If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you?" Jamie McCourt asked in an interview at the Evergreen Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. "That's what we're trying to figure out. We're really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We're really trying to understand, would they rather have the 50 fields?"

So pose the question again, but this time phrase it, "Pick two: The fields, Manny or two new mansions worth $46 Million for me, Frank and the servants. It has a waterfall!"

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(Ice cold Cokes to 6-4-2 and Baseball Musings.)

Tonight's Questions

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odiebaby.jpgHey kids, you have to grow up.

  • HAS Jason Giambi had the best sandwich career of all time? It's gotta be better than Jared Fogel's because Subway sucks.

  • DO any of our Chicago readers read Steve Rosenbloom? If so, do you do it on purpose? I've bashed the moron before but he outdid himself today in a column about my boy Milton. I didn't write about it, and I'm glad because Ben Schwartz at CSTB did a comprehensive takedown of Rosenbloom and some other hacks.

  • UNSETTLING or whimsical?

  • WHAT in the hell is this TJ Simers column about? I'm not trying to be a wiseass. Someone please explain to me what he is trying to say. I'm totally lost. My hope is that it's intentionally murky so that you can put your own meaning on it like a Kaufman film.

  • WHY did my great-great-great-great-grandmother have to throw out my great-great-great-grandfather's baseball cards went he went to college? I could have been rich!

  • COULD Rinku and Dinesh be the greatest pitchmen in America? I say yes, sir.

That's all for the first Wednesday of the year. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Same WoW channel. You too, Odie Baby.

Teach An Old Fish New Tricks: Carl Pavano vs. Brad Penny

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The plot of the 2009 offseason is starting to resolve. If it was a movie and you wanted to put a short summary in your local alt-weekly it would probably read like this:

"The Yankees make a bunch of huge signings, the rest ink sluggers to lower than expected deals and hope for the best from a series of reclamation projects. Elizabeth Banks stars, because she is in every single movie that comes out."

In the pitching market, two of the most intriguing fixer uppers are Carl Pavano and Brad Penny. The former Marlins teammates aren't exactly in the same boat. Brad Penny was a Cy Young candidate a couple seasons ago, while Carl Pavano's heyday feels longer ago than Carl Perkins'. But still neither guy was a real factor last season. So signing is better?

The Indians front office seems to have fully talked themselves into Pavano. The contract, as has been the case with most this winter is backloaded with incentives. Justifiably so, for a guy that pitched like 2/3 of an inning in 4 years with the Yankees. But Indians GM Mark Shapiro sounds like he thinks the past 4 seasons were a total fluke and there's no reason to think that Pavano won't be a solid starter. And so this becomes my favorite underrated subplot of the whole Indians offseason:

The acquisition of Pavano means the Indians have committed $73.6 million to 14 players. Jake Westbrook, not expected to pitch until after the All-Star break because of right elbow surgery, will earn $10 million of that.

Shapiro said that unless he's able to move payroll by trade or other means, he's probably done making meaningful additions. He also added reliever Joe Smith and infielder Luis Valbuena in one trade.

Jake Westbrook drives my LOLercoaster. He's part of the resason I'm no fan of Shapiro and I think it's fitting that now he is basically staking his job to Kerry Wood and Carl Pavano. Look at those two names again. Look back at every joke you posted on WoW 3 seasons ago*.

It's not even that the Pavano contract is a deal breaker for Shapiro, the money is fine, it's just the way he's talking about it. It's hard to call this a bad deal, but it's also hard to understand why he seems so stoked about it.

On the surface, the Brad Penny signing makes more sense just because of Penny's proximity to being good. But there was also a point in Carl Pavano's career where he was only coming off one injured season, and sore shoulders can be hard to shake. Penny's $5M base salary is higher than Pavano's but can at least be based off some sort of marginally quantifiable statistics. What numbers were there to base Pavano's salary number off of besides 9 starts? As with the Rays and the Yankees, the Red Sox rotation is loaded at the front and a $5M back of the rotation gamble is a pretty small one relative to payroll.

I guess what I'm saying here is that neither one of these contracts can be considered "better" at this point and won't be until we see which guy pitches better. So why did I write this column? Because it's January and yesterday's big news involved JC Romero and a GNC store. And to make fun of Jake Westbrook.

*pretend we were around 3 seasons ago

Bury Me Behind The Baggie Wall: Carl Pohlad Dies

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Big news out of Minnesota last night. The courts announced the results of their recount and apparently they declared that Carl Pohlad died. Wait I'm mixing up my news from the Gopher State. Carl Pohlad died of natural causes, not popular vote, but you'd never know it by the way some Twins fans talked about him over the years. A friend of mine that who roots for the Twinkies, and shall remain nameless, sent me news of his demise last night via text. With a smiley.

This AP Article spends a good chunk insinuating (in that way only the AP can) that he was despised by fans. Indeed, if the owner of my favorite team volunteered them for contraction in exchange for a buyout, I'd hold a little bit of a grudge too. Also, if some shady dealings and ransoms got him a new stadium financed mostly by the public, there may be a part of me that thinks it's payback that he doesn't get to see it open.

But those parts of me would only be the human animal part and not the logical part. We're not talking Vince Naimoli here. The Twins won 2 World Series while Pohlad owned them. Even after the contraction snafu they won 3 straight AL Central titles. Last year, in a free agent market that was nowhere near as crazy as this winter, they signed 3 players to $155 Million in extensions. If Pohlad wasn't a freespender he clearly knew who to hire to get the most out of every penny. Bill Smith was GM for 13 years, and in Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire, they've had 2 managers in 22 years. He clearly was a guy you could work for.

So listen, Twins fans. say see ya to an owner that made a bunch moves that ticked you off. But also say goodbye to an owner that oversaw the most successful era of any pro team in the history of the Twin Cities.

The Dutch Oven: Set It And Forget It

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dutchoven.jpgWhy the dutch oven? Because the term 'hot stove' needs to be retired. This feature will attempt to give you a listicle-driven source for all sorts of off-season baseball rumors. If you have any suggestions, rumors, or recipes that I can cook in my dutch oven, email us.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I don't wanna stay at your party.

  • IS 2009 the year of the woman in baseball? Probably not, but I'm glad they're letting Logan Young tryout for her high school baseball team. If she's good enough she'll make it. She can't be any smaller than Dustin Pedroia.

  • WHO will be first pick in your fantasy gardening league? I already have a name for my team. The Lyle Azaleas.

  • HAVE you seen any of the MLB Network? I've heard good things from Donkey Time, UU and Rob, but haven't yet caught a glimpse. Other people seem excited too.

  • HOW long do you say "Happy New Year" to people? I usually give it about 3 weeks if I'm talking to people for the first time. Lobster Baby takes the sash off around the same time.

  • SHOULD there really still be a debate about Joba's role on the Yankees? No. Kepner has it right.

It's good to be back. We'll see you all back here tomorrow. Same WoW channel.

Rays Spring Training Tickets By Rube Goldberg

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It may seem far from opening day where you are, but I'm in Florida right now and the high today is going to be in the low 80s. I'm not having a hard time envisioning pitchers and catchers reporting any day now. So whether or not you need a break from the cold, or you just wanna see some baseball, Spring Training is always a good time.

Not only that, but the smaller parks, cheaper concessions and the relative ease of getting a ticket is a throwback to baseball's simpler past. Unless you're trying to get a ticket to see the Rays in Port Charlotte this year. The team's press release reads like Japanese stereo instructions or Joe Maddon's recipe for fennel braised duck leg with hoisin sauce.

Single-game tickets will go on-sale next week, in the following procedure:

January 6: Rays Spring Training season ticket holders will be able to purchase up to four tickets for each game online beginning at 9 a.m. Rays regular season ticket holders and the Florida State League Charlotte Stone Crabs season ticket holders will have that same opportunity beginning at noon. Passwords will be sent to the season ticket holders' email addresses on Monday, January 5th.

Well that part isn't too complicated. Giving some perks to the season ticket holders and throwing a bone to the minor league fans in Port Charlotte sounds fine to me. And also, stone crabs are delicious. Joe Maddon has a wine, basil and clarified butter sauce for them that is divine. Let's move on to the next part of the "procedure."

January 7, 9 a.m.: Special Password Card Pre-sale. Special password cards are available at the Charlotte Stone Crabs offices at Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, FL 33948. Fans interested in obtaining the password cards will need to pick up a password card, based on availability, on January 6th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The password card gives users the opportunity to purchase up to four tickets for each Spring Training game, during the January 7th online presale, beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, please visit raysbaseball.com/springtraining.

January 8, 9 a.m.: Rays Insider subscribers will have the opportunity to purchase up to 4 tickets for each Spring Training game at raysbaseball.com. Passwords will be supplied to the registered users by email on Wednesday, January 7th. The deadline to become a Rays Insider subscriber, and receive this opportunity is Monday, January 5th, at raysbaseball.com.

Jesus, are Phish playing for the Rays now? The last time the residents of Port Charlotte did something this complicated they escaped from their nursing home using a bedsheet rope.

I understand that demand will be higher for tickets this year after the Rays successful 2008, but let's get some perspective here. We're talking about a multi-tiered series of presales for SPRING TRAINING for the once perennial attendance laughingstock of pro sports. It's good to have high expectations for fan turnout, but don't get cocky. This shit is strictly Calvinball.

OMGLOL NUDIE HANNAH MONTANA LOLCATZ OBAMA