Friday, January 25, 2008

Sunday mornin' comin' down

Disorganized thoughts while waiting for the game to hurry up and get here . . .

One of the mini-perks of this bloggin' gig is the occasional advertising-generated gift certificates from Amazon that show up in my inbox. They've never for much money, $13.14 here, $8.92 there, but I always feel like I'm getting free books when I cash them in, one of the little rewards that make this all the more worthwhile. Lately, I've been using them to fill in the gaps in my collection of old Bill James books. I added all three editions (1990-'92) of the addictive, sprawling "The Baseball Book" for about 10 bucks total, and the UPS truck yesterday delivered James's 1995 Player Ratings Guide, the final year it was issued. You might recall that I used player capsules from his two previous Player Ratings Guides as sort of a quirky quiz in my Fox column last summer, and while the column will likely return in some form in a couple of months, I'll probably discontinue that feature. But for your viewing pleasure - or because you're a certified James dork too - I figured I'd share five of the more notable caps here from the '95 book. All you need to know is that these players are currently active and remain relatively prominent. As always, clicking the link within the clue will reveal the player's identity. I'm betting you go at least three for five:

"I wonder how many pitchers in baseball history have gone 48-16 over three seasons? [He] is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but his years of effectiveness are probably limited. He's 26, but pitches more like he's 33. He'll run out gas within four years, when guys like Cone and Randy Johnson, who are older than him, are still going strong."

"History shows us that there is at least one and normally are two rookies in every crop who will wind up in Cooperstown, My best from the 1994 rookies: [This player] and Ryan Klesko. [This player] had a terrible slump last May, hitting .132, but hit .300 or better in every other month, hit .361 against lefthanders, and played surprisingly well in right field."

"There is every reason to believe that [he] will be one of the best pitchers in baseball over the next few years. His future is unlimited. Many of you will note that when his brother was the same age, we would have said the same thing about him, but that didn't happen, in part, because [his manager] pushed him too hard when he was young."

"Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and [this hitter] . . . maybe the three best hitters God ever made. Gets on base half the time, has tremendous power, hits .350 . . . what more could you want? He works hard, stays healthy, never slumps. Only weaknesses are his glove and speed. When [he was picked] seventh overall in the the 1989 draft, [his team was] widely ridiculed by the scouting community."

Lastly, this was filed under the back page category of "Long Shots":

Back in the minors, getting his knuckles beat in.

So . . . know them? C'mon, I know you do.

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Six other slightly more timely thoughts:

1. Nice to see Gerald Green is still the same clueless waste of physical talent that he was in Boston. A Friend of TATB who was around the team on a regular basis the past few seasons says he has the maturity and attention span of a 9-year-old, which is why he was talking trash to the Celtics bench after hitting a couple of shots tonight, as if somehow he was avenging some wrong done to him by Doc Rivers. It's also why he'll be fading into obscurity with the likes of Butte Daredevils when the T-Wolves dump him after the season. The kid just doesn't get it, and though he's still young (21), he probably never will.

2. Put it this way: If Tom Brady's ankle injury was at all serious, would Bill Belichick be taking such a light (for him) tone with the media the past few days?

3. I'm officially concerned about Ray Allen. It's gotten to the point that when he squared up for a shot, I'm expecting his to miss, and I never, ever thought that would be the case when he came here. It's probably just a slump, but if he's hurt more than we know, Doc Rivers needs to get him out of there and give him the proper rest, immediately.

4. I like the idea of Klesko as the lefthanded stick off the Sox bench, though I think Brad Wilkerson would be my first choice. As for Trot Nixon? No thanks, Nick.

5. File it under "Blind Squirrel, Nut" if you must, and definitely don't tell Peter King, but I absolutely nailed Brett Favre's postseason gack-job, just as I pegged Roidin' Roger's pathetic postseason farewell. Don't say I can't spot a phony.

6. Finally, we give you the early frontrunner for sports quote of the year, this comes from a former associated of Jose Canseco's, via Jon Heyman's column on the former slugger/man of letters:

"[Jose] is a moron of the highest order. If he could have majored in moronics, he would have gone to college."

Moronics. Hmmm, I'm pretty sure I got a C+ in that at UMaine back in the day.

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As for today's Completely Random Football Card:

Not the rapper. Just the inspiration for the name.

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