Thursday, April 29, 2010

Go Sharks!

Quickly, Second round of the NHL Playoffs are about to get underway.  I love Randy & Drew on Comcast, but I'd dare say they will likely say the same keys as they can say to every game: "protect the back, get the puck deep, work hard along the boards, and get traffic in front."

Seriously, I hope McLellan might look for some more novel approaches to best his former team.  Maybe three defensemen against the top line of Holmstrom, Franzen, and Datsyuk... I'm thinking like Malholtra, Seto, Blake, Boyle, and Murray.  This way, you can pinch a d-man down low for the cycle, and still retain a d-man on the blue line to play solid and limit turn-overs and break away chances to the Red Wings.  Put Blake as the traffic in front of rookie Howard, and he can always cycle up to the point.  I'd love to see if this happens at all during the series.

The Red Wings don't really have breakaway speed, so you just want to hold possession and really, really limit turnovers.  And I'm sure that Detroit will work to have the Sharks facing the boards a lot in the Shark's offensive end, and we need to be aware to not allow them to pinch us up against the boards all night.  Open up the ice and keep good spacing offensively- this means moving feet and constantly skating.

The absolute measuring stick for me of this series is how soon Marleau will have a two-point game.  If it doesn't happen in one of the first two games at home, we're done.  I think he looked like he might've had a slight back issue through the 1st round series- like he was avoiding big hits, especially along the boards.  Hopefully the extra couple days have helped him.

Marleau needs to step up, his play has been very unremarkable so far.

I think Pavelski got more from the Olympic experience than almost any other player in the NHL.  His play was outstanding, and has helped him play to an extremely high level ever since- not that he lacked anything before the Olympics or last season, mind you.  Others I think really got the most from the Olympics include defensemen Shea Webber and Ryan Suter and Golie Halak.

The stars for us need to be Thornton, Heatley, Marleau, Boyle, Blake, and Nabokov.  Honestly, I wold put Pavelski at the top of this list, but out big players need to play big too.

Notables to me are Pavelski, Setoguchi, Malholtra, and Vlasic.  Sure, we need to rely on Thornton and Heatley and Boyle and Blake...  But these notables I think are performing really well.

The questionables for me at Mitchell and Murray mostly.  Mitchell needs to get himself to the right places at the right times- like a goal scorer does.  And he was able to in his first season.  Murray, needs to be solid on defense and not get out of position as he sometimes drifts.

Sure I could talk about Nabby or lots of other topics.  But I'll just leave it at this for now.

Go Sharks!

Bruce Bochy is an idiot.

Let me start by saying that second-guessing decisions AFTER the fact is useless.  The fact that sports are unpredictable and sometimes things work out in weird ways is understandable.  After we learn the outcome, anybody can jump on the bandwagon and question Bochy's decisions.  And I guess we all have- not only this time but time and time again.

Whew.  There, I said it.  But this isn't just about second-guessing.  It's about me not understanding WHY he made the decisions he did.  And how, time and time again; I think he just tears the team apart.

Let's see.  The SF Giants have a 4-1 lead going into the 9th inning.  Your two-time reigning Cy Young award-winning pitcher has pitched a brilliant 8 innings of baseball.  You'll need to face a pinch hitter in the 9th spot and the top of the Phillies lineup to close the game.  This means Dobbs, Victorino, and Polanco; respectively.  After that, you're really playing with fire.

So, Tim Licecum starts the top of the ninth against the left-handed batter Polanco and induces the first out on an infield hit towards Ishikawa with a 1-2 count.  He then walks the switch-hitting Victorino on four pitches and gets yanked by the skipper, Bochy.

Here are my issues with all this.

Don't even talk about pitch count to me.  Lincecum started the 9th inning with a 98 pitch count.  If Bochy wanted to start Affeldt, Romo, Runzler, or Wilson for the 9th, I'd have had no issue at all with that.  He could've gone to Tim and said, "You gave us more than we could've asked of you, let's have our bullpen shut it down."  I'd have not seen this as a problem- no issue at all with me.

Here's the thing.  If Licecum was on a pitch count, he wouldn't have started the 9th at all.  I can't be convinced otherwise.  And we've all seen that he's gone into towards 120 pitches in games last season.

If you're gonna trust him, and let him go out there... Well, Bruce Bochy, you've gotta wear it.  You're the skipper, you've gotta own it.  He gets one out, then walks one.  Let's take inventory... One on, with a three-run lead.  The tying run isn't even at bat.  My point?  Tim Licecum deserves the right- and the respect- to face this next right-handed batter in Polanco (who was 1 for 3 against Lincecum).  Again, it isn't even the tying run at the dish.

Does anybody remember the game last year (was it against the Rockies in about July/August, I can't remember), when Bochy pulled Zito after 4 2/3 innings with the game tied and he couldn't even have a chance for the decision?  And later in that same game, he pulled Affeldt after he walked a batter... This was when Affeldt's no-runs-scored-against streak was at a some sort of insane number like 27 innings or thereabouts.

My point here?  Wasn't Bochy a catcher in his less-than-illustrious playing career?  He certainly doesn't seem to ingratiate himself with his spectacular-best-in-baseball pitching staff.  I can't imagine what the clubhouse would feel like after one of these incidents.  His pitching staff should have a right to be upset with him- their skipper.

Okay, back to this Giants-Phillies game yesterday.  Wilson gets Polanco out on a long fly ball to center field for the second out.  Cool.  Groovy.  Next, Chase Utley singles off Wilson and the speedy Victorino moves to third base.

Two major things happened here I didn't like.

First, you decide to pitch to Howard.  If you do this, you could at least support this by not allowing Utley to move to 2nd base with defensive indifference.  I mean, you lost the potential of a force out at second.  Sure, Howard isn't the fastest runner out of the box, but I mean... You give up the ninety feet here, really?  Why not one throw over at least?  We didn't need to pitch to Manny in Los Angeles, but we did and look what that brought us.  Does Bochy even understand this concept?  Yes, I understand he represented the tying run, but you could have a force-out at every base and a potentially more favorable match-up for your righty.

Second, you let right-handed closer Wilson face left-handed batter Howard.  Hey, maybe I got used to watching real baseball managers over the years, but why not bring in a lefty from the bullpen?  Even if it's only to face one batter.  It seemed like a tailor-made situation for Affeldt who induces so many ground balls. Or hard throwing Runzler who's been nails so far all season.  Remember, you're only needing one out here.  And you're looking at two great hitters, batting and on-deck.

Third, Wilson just got hit for a single (by left-handed batter Utley) and then "semi-intentionally, intentionally walked" Howard, I guess.  But the point is, now the tying run is on-base.  If you have a short leash for Tim Lincecum walking one batter, why the double standard when Wilson comes in and gets only one (of the two needed outs) and loads the bases.  Okay, I can say this is a 'push'... Wilson could easily have gotten a third strike called on any of two or three of his pitches against Werth.  I think he alluded to this fact in his post-game interview when he said "I can only control where I pitch to..."  Being vague enough that he shouldn't be able to get fined by the League, but enough to explain his frustration at maybe not getting a call.  Fair enough.

Now, getting back to the game... Ibanez is up and you intentionally walk him to allow the force out?  But you wouldn't do this to Howard earlier?  Sure, it was clear Wilson wasn't going to come inside to Howard, but you just don't absolutely know with Wilson... My point is he gets to a full count an awful lot for a closer, and Howard could've put some hurt on IF Wilson had made any type of mistake.  He didn't there, but still... When and where Bochy will gamble is very suspect to me.

Bottom of the 9th inning, Sandoval leads off with a single.  I respect Ishikawa's defense and he's not a terrible batter, but you've gotta know if he's not a good bunter to not call for a bunt here.  I mean, you're in the National League for goodness sake, you could use any of your pitchers to do this on the first or second pitch as a pinch hitter.

Okay, but what about first base position, you've already used Huff and now Ishikawa?  No problem, Sandoval has played pretty solidly at first base in the past.  But since you've now used the pitcher (pinch bunting) you'd have all kinds of options (for later inning batter positions) based on how this inning plays out.  Instead, Ishikawa strikes out looking.  Bah.

At least DeRosa moves Sandoval over to second.  But now you've got two outs. And it just takes the bat out of Bengie Molina's hands (basically all because it is two outs now).  I don't mind the idea of Matt Downs having a chance here, he's a pretty solid player.  Oh well.

Affeldt hits Schneider right in the middle of the back to start the top of the 10th. After a sacrifice bunt by Valdez, Victorino singles to move the runner to third and only one out.  Jeez, again, is there a double standard?  Now, game is tied at 4-4 inn extra innings.  You're willing to pull your Ace of Aces after a single walk before the tying run is even at bat. Now, your lefty holder has hit a batter, been singled on, and is facing a righty.  Why not pull him right here?  If you were using the same standards as when you yanked Timmy out... I'm just sayin'.

Ooops, wild pitch plates one.  Clearly Affeldt isn't at his best today, why is he in still to face the righty Polanco for the rest of his AB?  Then he plunks Polanco's back foot.  Affeldt has hit a batter in the center of the back, been singled on, thrown a wild pitch, and hit a second batter in this extra inning.  Still, it's only one out and he's STILL in there pitching?  Again, double standard compared to Lincecum?  Duh.  Bochy is an idiot.

Okay, lefty Affeldt walks lefty Utley on four pitches to load the bases, top o' the Tenth.  Surely Bochy will pull Affledt now... He doesn't have his best stuff.  Oh, what?  He's gonna face the slugger Howard?  ha ha.  He gets him on three straight curveballs.  lol.  But really, a recipe for disaster.  And again, how was Jeremy even still in there?

Finally a move that makes sense, bring in righty Romo to face righty Werth. And he stops Werth and holds the 5-4 game into the bottom of the 10th.

Bottom of the 10th, Renteria helps tie it up again at 5-5 and now two outs.  You've got the fastest Giant (with 4.1 speed to first base) on third in Andres Torres.  The Phillies are giving a free pass to Sandoval.  A more agressive manager should try to steal home here- I would've loved to see this.  There is absolutely no downside here.  Madson is throwing the intentional balls 8-10 feet off the plate.  Schneider is soft-tossing them back.  Force them to make a play.  Steal it off the return throw from the catcher.  Madson might panic making his throw home, Schneider might not even get into position to cover the plate.  The ball could hit Torres and bounce away.

Worst case scenario?  He's tagged out and Pablo has a chance to lead off the 11th.  Seriously, that's not a bad thing.  Bochy is an idiot.

Okay, you can say it's not a bad idea to have confidence in your team.  Sure, Ishikawa could've produced a walk-off hit.  Maybe one out of six chances like this he would.

On the Phillies side, why does Manuel use his last remaining player off the bench to bunt?  Do these managers understand they are in the National freakin' League?  He could've used a pitcher.  Duh.  I will never understand this.  Ever.  Never ever.

I think Velez might've been seeing stars after that run-in with the wall in left field.  Oh yeah, and gettting bonked on the head.  Is there something weird about left field at AT&T Park?  I could've sworn I saw Fred Lewis out there yesterday.  sigh.  Sadly, Velez might've just lost the roster spot that will need to be vacated for Freddy Sanchez when he returns in a couple weeks.  I figure it is him or Matt Downs, and I've always been a fan of both these guys.  Maybe it will be Ishikawa, since Uribe maybe plays third and Sandoval maybe plays first defensively if Huff is replaced in late innings.

The only decision of Bochy's I did like was batting Uribe in favor of Bowker in the 11th, with one out.  But seriously, where did Bochy learn how to manage a baseball game?  From Bazzoka gum wrappers?

Why pinch run Whiteside for Molina at first base?  Bochy is an idiot.  Seriously, I understand you want a faster runner.  You have only Bowker and Whiteside left as batters off the bench- and clearly Whiteside is the better batter of the two right now.  You could've used any pitcher as a pinch runner, Bochy has done it before.  Cain or Zito or Sanchez quickly come to mind.  Please remember, we're down two runs, this isn't even the tying runner on first.

Bottom of the 11th, why not send Uribe home?  Bochy is an idiot.  With Schierholtz's speed on second, from his double... Why not take a chance, force a great throw to home and great play from the Phillies defense.  Worst case, you have speedy Nate on second and two outs- but a hit still scores him to tie.  Instead, you're still behind by one run and there's one out.  Plus, the throw went to second, not even to the cut-off man.  sigh.

Then you send Uribe on the next play with an infield swinging bunt by Velez?  What are you thinking? Stupid, stupid.  Poor judgement IMHO.  You won't send him when he's rounding the bag when the ball is 100 feet further in the outfield, but you'll send him  when the ball is fieldied inside the diamond?  Seriously?

Bottom line, Bochy is an idiot.  He's gonna hurt this team- this team that has a lot of great opportunities this season to be something really special.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SF Giants 2010 Season

Okay, so here's where I think the Giants should stand after the 162 game season comes to an end:
98 wins - 64 losses.

Obviously, it might be easier to handle some of my pre-season predictions now that we've already played 20 games so far, but here they are anyways.  And there are some peeps out there that heard me say these things over a month ago.  They know who they are, and I'm not just now jumping on these bandwagons.

First off, just how good is Tim Lincecum?  Well, midway through last season I did some research and put together some stats.  Then, I updated them at the end of last season.  I was interested to learn how Lincecum stacked up against some of the pitching legends in MLB baseball.  So, I went and found out for myself.

These are stats from the first three seasons of some of the very best pitchers in MLB history.  Sure, complete games and innings pitched are different today than in earlier times when there was only a four-man rotation and there wasn't really such a thing as a pitch count.  The red are "best in category" or years where they won the Cy Young Award.  Click on the image to view a larger image size.

But I think Tim's numbers speak volumes about the potential of what may still lie ahead for this right-hander.  And yes, I believe he is still getting better.  If he gets a good snap throw to first, learns to make sure to hold runners on base better.  If he starts getting great control back over the curveball he had thrown successfully through his UW college days.  And his walk total is still going down each year.

Lincecum usually works pretty fast too.  I mean, if you ever go to a game that he's pitching, you could almost double-park your car outside.  It doesn't seem unusual for his games to finish in 2:15 to 2:25.  Maybe there is room to still add some subtleties in as well, like changing his tempo to disturb the rhythm of the hitters.  Quick pitching or delaying on the mound to make the batters more anxious.  I think he's unbelievable and these little nuances aren't going unnoticed by the best this game has to offer.

So, why do I think the Giants can win 98 games this year?  Well, pitching.  Not just starting rotation- but the bullpen too.  Clearly I think the Giants made great strides in the off-season to trim their staff to be better.  Howry was likely the largest liability last year, with Miller and Valdez being less notable compared to Affeldt, Romo, and Wilson.  Now, Runzler has earned a true place, I think Mota is a fantastic addition for a low salary... And I truly believe Romo will be a premier closer in two- or less than three years' time.

I only recently learned that Romo was brought up through the minors as a closer.  But he's got the stuff to be unbelievable, and I also think he thrives on big time situations.  I am really impressed by Sergio Romo, and am curious to see what his younger brother, Andrew Romo, can bring to the Giants in the future.  It is my hope Sergio Romo can stay with the Giants for many years to come.


Okay, back to my season predictions.  I think it is pretty easy to say the Giants can win the NL West.  I don't think the Dodgers have enough pitching.  And last year Ethier had a career-type year.  Will he and Kemp be able to continue that pace?  I don't think so.  And their pitching hasn't been able to hold up anyways.  Now, with Manny in and out of the lineup and the runs against they've been posting... It might be easier to see why I don't see the Dodgers as very competitive.  Heck, I think they might be third in our division.

Sure Arizona might be putting up some big scores, but honestly... I don't see them being all that competitive by the time the season comes to a close.  I would be surprised if they win more than 75 games this season.  Yup, seriously.

So, then you might guess I have the Colorado Rockies as coming in second to the SF Giants?  Nope.  Going against all logic, I was talking about the Padres before the season even started.  I think they might be sneaky this year, I said.  No, they aren't supposed to be very good.  No, their pitching isn't really that solid.  On paper.  But I think Adrian Gonzalez is the centerpiece of a pretty solid offensive lineup.

And oh yeah, let me start with my "strength of schedule" discussion now.  I don't really hear any analysts talk about strength of schedule in baseball.  I guess with a 162 game season, it seems less relevant.  But that's just not true.  Here's how I've rated the strength of schedule in the NL West division (based solely on my fairly uninformed opinions of how 'competitive' I think teams will be for this entire season).

Arizona Diamondbacks have a +/- of ZERO games.
Colorado Rockies have a +2 game advantage in schedule.
San Francisco Giants have a +7 game advantage in schedule.
San Diego Padres have a +9 game advantage in schedule.
Los Angeles Dodgers have a -8.5 game disadvantage in schedule.

Okay, but what does this mean?  How about a "for example"?

The Giants play the Astros 9 games
the Dodgers play the Astros 6 games, the Twins 2 extra games and the Cardinals 1 extra game.
I'd say that is favorable to the Giants, right?

The Giants play the Orioles for a 3-game series
the Dodgers instead will face the Yankees for a 3-game series.

Here's the bottom line about strength of schedule.  I just don't see the Dodgers being able to survive the month of June too easily (specifically the 25 games from June 3rd onward).  Unless they have at least an 8-game lead in the West by June 2nd...  And for that to happen within the next six weeks, well simple mathmatics will explain to you how unlikely that is (from the current standings).

All in all, I think the strength of schedule is yet another contributing factor to the makings of what could be a very special season for the SF Giants.  Add in the pitching (I'll talk more about how I think Zito will have 16-18 wins this year, and the 5th starter position will likely have 10 or 11 wins).  An even stronger bullpen than last year.  Professional bats (both acquired like DeRosa and Huff, and retained like Uribe and Renteria).

After the Giants were swept by the Padres I figured I would have no hope of them holding to my early pre-season predictions (14-8 in April).  But maybe it is still within reach.  Can the Gigantes sweep the Phillies (behind Tim's pitching) and win the opener against the Rockies?  By month, here's how I see the Giants season record shaping up:

April 2010: 14 wins - 8 losses.
May 2010:  20 wins - 8 losses     (overall 34-16)
June 2010:  17 wins - 10 losses   (overall 51-26)
July 2010:   15 wins - 13 losses   (overall 66-39)
Aug 2010:   14 wins - 14 losses   (overall 80-53)
Sept/Oct:    18 wins - 11 losses   (overall 98-64)

With all the talk surrounding Posey and how many fans want him up right now, I think this is ridiculous.  Soon, I'll talk about Buster Posey and when I think he'll be brought up.  Or should be brought up and why.
(hint: Monday June 14th at home vs. Baltimore w/ Matt Cain starting).

Go Giants!

SF Gigantes!

Okay, here's the deal.  My first post specifically about the San Francisco Giants will be an overview of some of my fundamental thoughts and opinions.  I didn't start this blog before the season, so I'll recap a bit right now.


There, I've said it.  Everybody seems to want one. But I think this is the lamest argument if you truly want our Giants to succeed.  First, my biggest question during the off-season was would the front office spend the money?  I think they were 7th in payroll LAST SEASON.  And that included something like 14 players making league minimum (about $400k) and something like 17 players making about $600k or less.

I mean, Lincecum, Wilson, Romo, Schierholtz, Torres, Velez, Sandoval, Downs, Ishikawa, and other notables.  Yeah, seriously.  Sure, we knew we could prolly cut some weight without re-signing Winn.  But still, we had to pay The Man (Lincecum).  I think he could've argued for Super Two if it got to arbitration.

Look, we're not in the largest sports markets like NY or Boston.  But we had a pretty high payroll, and justificably so- excellent game attendence records and merchandise sales helped.  We still had baggage in the form of some big 2010 contracts (mostly Zito $18.5M, Rowand $13.6M, and Renteria $10M).  Add in paying the required aforementioned (Lincecum, Wilson, Romo, etc.), and what do we get?  Suddenly the 2009 payroll of about $82.6 million would easily at $90 million already.

Add Freddy Sanchez, Mota, re-signing Bengie, Uribe, Jonathan Sanchez (to avoid arbitration)... And there we are.  Hovering right around $90 million for the 2010 payroll.

Sure, I wanted to see a trade at the 2009 deadline for Ryan Braun.  We need a left fielder and a bat.  But he's more than just power.  He's a professional bat for average and power and a very good fielder defensively.  Sure, he's practically franchise in Milwaukee; but did you notice they re-signed him a day AFTER the trade deadline expired?  Hmmm, maybe the right deal would've dealt him.

Or there is Jason Bey, who I wanted to see land at SFO as a Giant during the offseason.  My 'best case scenario' would've seen Bey and Marco Scutaro come to be SF Giants (and the Giants footing a payroll of about $105 million).  But again, same thing.  Very few players "fit" the role of what I think the Giants need.  And sure, they would've needed to trade AND pay for him.  At the end of the day, it just doesn't work.  Actually, it just CAN'T work.

Where do we get leverage?  Give up Posey and Bumgardener?  Or Wheeler, Pucetas, and Sergio's little brother Andrew Romo (that we just recently signed)? And pay a $14-18 million per year contract?  I'm quite certain that us going up to a $115-125 million payroll could all but lock-up a pennant.  But I don't see Neukom and the Burns and Sabean and all leaning towards that direction.  Seriously, ticket prices and merchandise pricing is insane enough as is... What is it now for the Garlic Fries at the Park?  huh.  yeah. Go figure.


Okay, so we can't get a big bat.  We need bats for average.

Last year (2009):
the SF Giants had 10 games where they were shut out.
26 games where they scored only one run.
And 25 games where the Giants only scored 2 runs.

Yup, that was the anemic run support for our great pitching staff.  36 games of one run or less.  A total of 61 games of two runs or less.  And I feel we were lucky to have sqeaked 12 wins in that unremarkable cluster of 61 games played.  With professional bats like Huff and DeRosa and Renteria, we should be able to greatly improve.  And especially with doubles hitters like Schierholtz and Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez and Velez.

Face it, we aren't set up for a big bat.  Look at the lack of production from Matt Holiday while with the A's.  Without respect for the rest of the line-up, he can't be at his best.  We all know this formula, you need another big bat to protect the best bat. And honestly, Sandoval isn't quite that guy yet.  Plus, we play not only in AT&T Park, but in San Diego and Arizona- which can usually be described as more "pitcher-friendly" parks, right?  And then we also have Houston in the NL Central with a cavernous center field.  Anyways, I'm sure you get the idea.

Getting Huff and DeRosa were excellent moves in the offeseason IMHO.  For the price, I don't know if we could've done any better.  And I can't believe I am actually happy to see Bengie Molina back as a Giant.  During any time last season, I would've been glad if he got traded.  But during the off-season, I think the move to keep him became essential.  I'm happy as long as he doesn't bat above 6th in the lineup.  He should be a 6th or 7th every game IMHO.

So, at the end of the season, check how many 1 run games we have, how many 2 run games we have, and how many times we're shut out.  I think it will be appreciably less.  Like around 21-25 games of 1 run or less and 16-19 games of 2 runs scored.  That's why I think this is the single most telling stat of the SF Giants for the entire season.  I am optimistic that it will yield a very different stat with our current roster.

That would be between 37-44 games instead of the severe 61 games of last season. And, more importantly, those 12 wins (in 61 games) will easily be 24-28 wins, I'd suppose.

Next up, my SF Giants season prediction.


the start of something...

Hi there.

Yeah sure, I know... Everybody, and their sister, and their mother's cousin has a blog these days.  And prolly a sports blog.  So, how is mine different?  Well, in short- it isn't.  It's a blog, folks.  But hopefully I can offer some insights and opinions others might find relevant and helpful.  Otherwise, you simply walk away... yup, that's it. I won't spend a lot of time making it sexy with pictures, these are just my humble rants.

First off, I'm a huge hockey fan; and yes, that means the San Jose Sharks.  Yeah, I remember back when they started at the Cow Palace.  And yes, HP Pavillion is an amazing venue.  I'll talk more about the 2nd round of the playoffs before that series gets underway.

Second, I've really come to enjoy baseball more and more over the years and have always been a San Francisco Giants fan.  And a big fan of Kruk and Kuip especially.  Personally, I think Giants fans need to learn how to be better fans of this amazing team- and they have the potential to be something really special this season.  More about this coming up next.

Third, I was a big fan of the 49ers while growing up, moved away for quite a few years and have now been back for a while... Sadly, the Niners haven't been able to field a very competitive team, but they're really on the right track.  IMHO, they are starting to build a team that can not only compete; but one that can win.  I'll be talking more about this over time.  But Sharks and G-Men will take center stage for a while.

Fourth, Golden State Warriors basketball.  Sadly, I've never been able to fall totally in love with them.  Every time I really enjoyed the team and its potential, they'd trade all the  key components away in the off-season.  As a kid, I enjoyed watching Sleepy Floyd, Gus Williams, and Rick Barry... But I never really liked Nellie.  And after they broke up TMC, the dealings with Sprewell, Chris Webber, and all... They pretty much lost me.  More about them as my time permits, but basically...

Historically, the GSW's always trade their talent away- the talent they work so hard to get.  Don't even get me started on name dropping... Start whereever you want, trading the rights to Wilt Chamberlain, or the more recent: Tim Hardaway, Penny, C Webb, Baron Davis, Jamal Crawford, Stephen Jackson, Jason Richardson, Antawn Jamison, Derek Fisher, and so many more...  It's such a bad trend, I can't figure out how they deserve the fan loyalty they get at home games- and they get the best fans in the NBA IMHO.

If you've read this far, you've prolly noticed I haven't mentioned the Athletics or the Raiders or the San Jose Earthquakes yet.  Or the FC Gold Pride, or any college sports teams.  Sorry folks, I haven't been excited about the A's since the days of Ricky Henderson and Dave Stewart and Eckersley, but I do think they have the makings of a pretty solid team this year.  Even though Sheets got shelled today, I think he was a very good pick-up for the A's.  He'll continue to prove it over the course of the season. And Kurt Suzuki is due for a lot more national attention than he gets as a premier catcher in The Bigs.  I think he's one of the absolute best.

That's it for my first post.  Stay tuned, I'll be posting some of my thoughts about tomorrow's SF Giants match up against the Phillies to close out this series.  And in the next day or two will post some thoughts about the San Jose Sharks and what I think they need to continue to move further towards The Cup.