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Posts belonging to Category Griffin Phelps

Bud Selig Is Blowing It

When I first heard the news that MLB was sending two teams to Japan to kick-off the 2012 season I didn’t think much of it.  Now that I am stuck in a classroom full of 6th graders taking state mandated tests, I have some time on my hands.  Major League Baseball is a monster-sized, multi-national, money making operation.  This is fine.  As a matter of fact, this is great.  I have no problems with this whatsoever.  But hosting Opening Day in a different country…that’s some bull!

You can talk all you want about how Japan is a great consumer of all things MLB.  You can praise them over and over for what they have done for the game.  And don’t get me wrong; they have done positive things for the game of baseball.  But they are still number 2 when it comes to fans.  I know how much it sucks to be an Astros fan right now.  Bud Selig publicly humiliated us.  Try being an A’s fan today, though.  They couldn’t even watch their team play on opening day.  Seriously.  Imagine how it must feel to know that you woke up to catch the 3 AM start time, only to see that the Oakland regional network was not carrying the game, the MLB channel would be playing it on tape delay 3 hours later, and then trying to see that the game has been blacked out despite any amount of money you have already paid.  This is where the beef lies with Opening Day held across the world.

Bud Selig and Major League Baseball will try to tell you different.  They will try to explain to you that once every 4 years (Baseball has opened up the season in Japan in the years 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.) baseball needs to make its way over to Japan to help expand the game.  They will try to tell you that we still have Opening Night this season- April 4- and Opening Day- April 5.  Malarky, I say.  That rhetoric is purely diarrhea of the mouth.

If it is so damned important to make sure games get played in different countries, does it really have to be the first game of the season?  Certainly not.  Bud, you do know it is called America’s Pastime, right?

Give the people what they want.  All we want here is this American sport of baseball to hold its Opening Day in America.  This is hardly asking too much.  Expansion of the game is great.  I really do believe that, and so do most of you readers out there.  Keeping American fans from not being able to go to the park to watch their team’s opening game is horse manure.  Making it so that fans of a team playing their Opening Day game in a different country can’t watch said game is down right blasphemous.  And hosting the very first baseball game of the season in a different country is just the worst idea ever.  Figure it out, Bud Selig.  You’re really starting to wear out the knees in those pants…if you know what I mean.


There’s Always Magic Happening

Dear Astros Fans,

I know it has been a while since we have heard any promising news for the upcoming season.   I know it has probably been as hard for you, as it has been for me.  With stories like this, this, or even this, it’s always a blessing to come across something, anything that can provide a glimmer of hope for the immediate future.  And because I know this feeling, because every day this spring has been filled with someone telling me to be miserable for the next five years, or someone reminding me about how great it used to be, I became an enlightened individual who realized something; THAT’S SOME BULLSHIT!  As devoted of a fan as I am, I have a hard time accepting that stigma.  And so should you, Astros Fans.  Enough is enough.  We don’t have to put up with believing that 2012 is not going to be an exciting, passion-filled, memorable season.  Due to disgust I have decided to do something about it.  I have decided to provide the light on the immediate future, and deliver some generally goodness in the process.  I know it has been a while since we have heard any promising news for the 2012 season.  So, this one, this one here is for ya’ll.  I present to you, at least five reasons (who knows, ya’ll might figure out even more) why it’s better to be an Astros Fan, than any other MLB fan this summer.

With love,



 At Least 5 Reasons Why It’s Better To Be An Astros Fan in 2012.

 5.       A chance at history

Let’s face it…there is no getting around the fact that 2012 might be rough.  If there were ever a silver lining, it would be this- getting in the record books.  Some might choose not to see it this way, but this really would be a great opportunity for the Houston Astros.  The record book is made to hold the names of people who were the best of the best.  No matter the craft, there is no room for second best.  Even if what you might have been best at is losing.  If you are going to be bad, then you might as well go out in record-setting fashion.  No matter what, if the 2012 Houston Astros were to set the all time single season loss record, this team could never die.  It will withstand the test of time for future generations to enjoy; albeit in a different way.  And that is all we truly want as a sports fan.   That one magical season where the stars align just right, and magic is made.  Who cares what kind of magic it is.

4. Sig Mejdal

Taking on the role of Director of Decision Sciences can’t help but to get us started.  He comes from the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals.  With Minute Maid Park as his new office, expect him to bring a fresh take on evaluating, and changing habits in, evaluating the decisions being made.  The draft this summer won’t be his first rodeo either.  He has been a key contributor on Cardinals draft day since 2005.  To help aide him in his efforst, Mejdal hired an assistant- Mike Fast of Baseball Prospectus.  Another fantastic direction it appears the Astros are heading down.

3. Jeff Luhnow

Thank you, Mr. Crane.  What a spectacular hire.  Not only did we steal him away from our (soon to be no more) division rival Cardinals, we scored big time.  With a history of strong drafts and embracing the numbers along with the talent to use as one universal scouting system, I’m really happy about the front office of the Astros.   From what I have read and heard, so are a lot of other people.  Bringing in this next man just adds to my giddiness.

2. Jim Crane

When we talk about a rebuilding process in Houston we ain’t messing around.  We start at the top.  New ownership truly does clear the slate.  No better time than the present.  Jim Crane brings with him an eye for the future- both as far as the team on the field, and the butts in the seats.  Slashing prices and allowing you to bring in your own food is a great start.  Plus, he understands that an analytic/scientific approach to the numbers of the game can help a franchise out.  That explains the Jeff Luhnow hiring.  And to top it off, he resisted the tyranny that is Bud Selig and got our guns back!  (If that ain’t some Texas shit ya’ll, I don’t know what is.)

1. First overall pick in the draft

We could not ask for much more.  Let’s be real with ourselves, Houston.  This is as good as it gets for right now.  We are allowed first dibs on a crop of great young talent.  Remember, this is a long-term plan we are dealing with here.  Everyone knows that to rebuild, you do it from with-in.  With any luck, we might even most certainly will have the same pick for the next two years.  This pick, followed by possibly a second number one pick and about five top five picks over the next  five seasons is a foundation to get you out of the cellar and heading in the right direction.  Aboard this gravy train of draft picks, along with the healthy market size of Houston, this franchise will be back at the top before you realize it.  But until then, it’s all about the draft picks.  So read up on prospects, and watch as they transform before our eyes, and remember- each pick is another potential for magic to happen.

Planting My Flag

Fantasy analysts are always talking about players that they are “planting their flags in” (Am I supposed to feel dirty when I type that?) each year.  I used to think this was a bad idea, as it might lead to poor draft day decisions.  Now that I am more seasoned I realize that we all develop an affinity for certain players each year.  I’m not talking your studs though.  Anybody can tell you to draft Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, or Roy Halladay.  For me, planting your flag requires you to step out on a limb of sorts.  These are the players that you feel, for whatever reason, are going to be big hits for the upcoming season.  For this article, I want to take a look at three players in which my flag has been metaphorically planted.

Mike Morse:

Last week in my live-blogged mock draft I explained how excited I was about getting Morse on my squad.  I referenced this video clip, and talked about how much I liked his swing.  Well I decided to take it a step further and look to see what his numbers said.  The numbers that caught my eye were his increased line drive rate, coupled with his decreasing ground ball rate.  Match those with an 85% contact rate and I see no reason why he can’t sustain a BABIP similar to his 2011 average of .344.  I predict a .290 average, 30 jacks, 90 RBI, and 70 runs scored.

Bud Norris:

Yes, he pitches for the lowly Astros.  Yes, he probably won’t accumulate many wins.  But if you’re chasing wins as a fantasy strategy, this might not be the website for you.  Not only can you snag Bud late in drafts, you will be getting an amazing bargain when you do.  He lowered his walk total last year, while actually increasing his innings pitched by 33. His 2011 ERA of 3.77 matched perfectly with his xFIP of 3.73.  His k/9 rate sits right at 8.5, and with a swing and miss rate right around 30% I see potential for a true breakout year.  I think Bud finishes the year with 197 IP, 205 K’s, and an ERA of 3.78.

Yoenis Cespedes:

I know, I know, we haven’t even seen him face big league pitching yet.  And to be honest I have no statistical evidence to support this pick.  Sometimes though, you just have to go with your gut.  Blind faith is counter-intuitive to almost everything I believe, but I am also a fan of legalized gaming.  Thus, I have no problem taking a gamble on Cespedes.  I might even reach a few rounds early just to get him.  To win your fantasy league you have to hit at least one grand slam on an unknown player.  For me, this is the guy.  No prediction here.  Just going with my gut that he completely outperforms the value of the draft pick I get him for.

You can follow Griffin on Twitter- his handle is @sp_flips.  Feel free to support, harass, or share any thoughts you have and he will be sure to reply.

Liveblogging My 1st Mock Draft of 2012

All fantasy baseball players begin jonesing for a fix after the New Year kicks off.  I cannot be excluded from this group. I always try to wait and indulge in my first mock draft once all the big names and major moves off the off-season have finished panning out.  With the announcement of Ryan Braun’s victorious appeal coming yesterday, Friday night seems like the perfect time to kick things off. I thought this year it might be fun to live blog my first draft of the 2012 mock draft season.  The Denslow Cup, my only fantasy baseball league, is a 12 team, 7×7 roto league that includes OBP and K/BB.

RD 1 (3) I took Jose Bautista here.  Pujols and Cabrera were first off the board, so you may wonder why not take Tulo here.  Well, I am 99% sure that in my league, the Denslow Cup, Tulo is going to be the 2nd overall pick.  I have the 3rd pick so I am pretty sure this will be my first pick in my real draft this spring.  Not like there is anything to complain about here either.

RD 2 (22) Here I took Mike Stanton.  I was hoping to have a shot at a middle of the infield guy such as HanRam, Reyes, Kinsler, or Pedroia…but that didn’t work out.  So, I went with a big ass bopper.  New stadium with a new shiny home run thingy.  Great guys in front of him.  HUGE power.  No reason to believe in a sophomore slump.  I am happy with this pick.

RD 3 (27) I decided on my main man, Tim Lincecum.  Last year I took him in round 2.  That was also the 1st year I ever drafted a starter before round 6.  I like having an ace.  As a pitching coach I love Lincecum’s mechanics and what it does for him in terms of IP and K’s.  I see his increased walk rate as no big deal, and returning closer to what it was his first 2 years in the league.  Now I can focus on hitting for a while.


Baseball is Neet: Peach’s Neet Feet

Griff’s neet feet

Here at the Golden Sombrero I would like to take advantage of our viewership to spread the word about a charitable organization that is near and dear to me.  Peach’s Neet Feet is a not-for-profit organization that provides custom shoes for children with cancer and other long-term disabilities.  It was started by my friend Madison Steiner less than a year ago. Her idea was to change not just the world, but the world of each individual who was not fortunate enough to enjoy it as we do. Truly inspiring stuff. The video does more for it than my words, so I will just leave it at that.

Be sure to “Like” Peach’s Neet Feet on Facebook

Author’s Note: She is also developing the design for a Golden Sombrero t-shirt as you read this.