Sep 4, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zach Miner (45) reacts to giving up a home run to Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) during the seventh inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals defeated the Phillies 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

TBAG #4: I Don’t Know Music So Don’t Ask


Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t more to life than sitting in my living room on a gorgeous September evening watching the Phillies play the Nationals as the team sits 22 1/2 games out of first place.

Last night, with my two young boys asleep upstairs, I sat on my couch and watched the Phillies game. I watched to see Roy Halladay continue to try and pull off a miracle. I watched to see Cody Asche continue to rake. I watched to see if Darin Ruf is worthy of being a regular every day player (so far, no), and I watched to see Zach Miner, for reasons passing understanding, continue to throw pitches in Major League baseball games.

So, I’ve decided to institute a new rule here for 2013. I may not always follow it, so perhaps it’ll just be more of a guideline.

When Zach Miner enters a game for the Phillies, I will turn the TV off and decide to something constructive with my time.

Maybe I’ll read a book, or ponder the mysteries of the universe, or sort my sock drawer. Maybe I’ll do some online shopping, clean up the kitchen, or just sit and stare out into space. All those activities are better than watching Zach Miner throw a baseball at opposing Major League hitters.

Anyway, onto the TBAG for this week.

 

I wrote about this earlier in the week, forgetting that someone asked about it for the TBAG. For a fuller answer, read the post. But in a nutshell, here’s what I’d do.

Sep 1, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

If Kendrick only gets about $5 million in arbitration, or the Phils can sign him to a one-year deal for that amount (not gonna happen), and they decide to use him as a #5 starter/long-man in the ‘pen, then I’m fine with Kendrick coming back. But if he’s going to cost $8 million and the team wants to use him as a #4 starter, then no thank you.

I think there are better options out there for #4 starters than Kendrick. They’d all cost a bit more, but if the Phillies truly want to be competitive next year, they may need to spend just a few million dollars a year more on a #4 starter. I’d target Bronson Arroyo, Josh Johnson (if he passes a physical) or Ubaldo Jimenez for a mid-rotation spot.

And given the injury concerns over Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (who from here on out will be referred to as “MAG”) and the uncertainty over whether he’ll be a bona fide #3 starter, spending a little extra cash on a mid-rotation upgrade makes the most sense.

Kendrick can be an effective pitcher. We’ve all seen it. But he is also the pitcher who, over his last 12 starts, is 3-8 with a 6.23 ERA. The Phils need someone more reliable than Kendrick.

I’m just tired of his act. Maybe that’s the long and short of it.

 

I’m no Tiger fan. At all. Never have been.

Sep 2, 2013; Norton, MA, USA; Tiger Woods on the 10th tee during the final round at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Even before he banged his car into a tree that fateful Thanksgiving night, exposing his secret life to the world, and even before the knee injuries that took away about two years of his presence on the Tour, I didn’t like him. I always thought he was arrogant, disrespectful of other players and the media and, as an extension, the fans. So I have taken a lot of pleasure at the downfall of Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods has not won a Major since his epic defeat of Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open, which is still the greatest single golfing event I have ever witnessed.

That’s five years without a Major. Tiger is now 37. And even though he’s ranked #2 in the world and won five times on the PGA Tour this year, Tiger’s career from here on out is going to be measured by Major titles. He has won 14, but still trails Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18, and has not made up any ground in those five years.

And while Woods has played well this year, his performance during the Majors has been sub-par. He’s fallen apart in the later rounds of all four Major tournaments this year, which is a clear indication that he doesn’t have the mental toughness he once did.

Tiger is also facing much tougher competition than he had to face back when he was #1 for 264 weeks from August 1999 to September 2004 and 281 weeks from June 2005 to October 2010. Phil Mickelson is still a threat at the Majors, as are Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Jason Day, and others.

Still, one has to think that Woods still has one Major victory left in his arsenal somewhere. He’s gotta win at least ONE more, right? The only question is, does it come before the Phillies win the NL East again?

Tiger Woods is still an elite golfer. The Phillies are no longer an elite baseball team. Therefore, it seems far more likely that Woods will win a Major before the Phils ascend to the top of the NL East again. The Phillies are battling a talented Atlanta team, a Washington squad that will probably come back strong next year, an improving Mets team that is desperately hoping Matt Harvey doesn’t need Tommy John surgery and a Marlins team that actually has some good young talent on it as well.

So yeah, as much as it pains me to say it, I’m going with Tiger.

Ugh.

 

These are easy GM questions.

Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Asche is a 23-year-old third baseman just starting his career. Placido Polanco is, well, he’s old. I’m not even going to bother looking it up. He’s just very old. His AARP card came in the mail yesterday. You get it? He’s really, really old. So, I’m going with Asche.

Chase Utley or Robinson Cano is a different matter. Obviously, Cano is the better hitter and player, and is four years younger than Utley. Cano has a WAR this year of 6.5, Utley’s is 3.2. So, just based on performance, you gotta go with Cano.

However, Cano could be in line for a 7-8 year deal worth more than $200 million as a free agent this off-season. Utley just re-signed with the Phils for two years at $25 million, with vesting options for three additional years after that. Utley is still a top-five second baseman and is far more affordable than Cano. Given the Phillies don’t have an unlimited payroll and how often deals like the one Cano is going to get backfires within two to three years after it’s signed, I’d take Utley over Cano.

Finally, there is never any circumstance in which #DemonYoung, a.k.a., Delmon Young, would be on my baseball team. At least Roger Bernadina provides some decent defense and can play center field. He’s not much to speak of at the plate, but he’s also not a horrific human being and complete waste of space in the clubhouse.

 

This is the toughest question I’ve received in the four mailbags I’ve done so far. The main reason for that is that I am not a music guy.

I used to be a music guy. Back when I had money and could afford to purchase music, I used to keep up on who was good, which albums were good and I enjoyed listening to music a lot. But since I got married, work got tougher and had two kids, the only music I hear is what’s on the radio as I’m driving around.

And as you all know, most radio music is crap.

So, these five albums are most likely going to be laughed at, ridiculed or paint me as an old man. So be it. Here are my five albums:

  1. Pearl Jam: Vs.
  2. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  3. Allman Brothers: Eat A Peach
  4. Maceo Parker: Life On Planet Groove
  5. Muse: The Second Law

Obviously, four of those five albums are older. Like, at least 15 years old. The only new album on there is Muse, one of the newer bands I really like.

Now, of course, there is a ton of music out there right now that is phenomenal that I have never heard. And there are other people, like @Phrontiersman and @SpikeEskin who would be far better people to ask this question. But for me, those are my five.

You may now filet me at will.

 

Yeah, I’m relying on Tony Romo in fantasy football this year. Kill me now.

I don’t know, JEFF. How did it feel when I took Tony Romo one pick before you wanted him. How did THAT feel?

Good heavens, am I really crowing about taking Tony Romo in fantasy football? That can’t be good, can it?

Ah, fantasy football has arrived just in time. As the Phillies season completes it’s slow slog down the clogged drain of this 2013 season, many of us finally have something new to help us ignore our families way too much.

Fantasy football. Oh, and if your league has a better name than The Andy Musser Memorial League, I’d sure like to hear it. Because our fantasy football league name OWNS.

This year, I’m coming off a season in which I made the semi-finals, losing a high scoring game one step short of the finals.

We’ve been doing the AMML with pretty much the same guys for the last, oh I don’t know, 12 years? And I’ve never won. Admittedly, I haven’t been a very smart owner for much of that time.

Lots of bad drafts, kids. LOTS of bad drafts.

During last season, as I tried to beef up my team, I gave up my 2013 1st and 2nd round picks. It helped get me to the playoffs, but made for a pretty boring first couple rounds in our draft for me, which we held on Tuesday night. Thankfully, we are a 12-team dynasty league, which allowed me to keep a few starting running backs from the year before. So even though I didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds this year, I’m not dead in the water.

I’m not a favorite to make the playoffs, mind you. Far from it. My draft this year was more about looking to 2014, but I think I still fielded a competitive team for this year.

Why am I telling you this? I don’t know. I know you don’t care. But like Adam Sandler said in “The Wedding Singer…”

I really wanted Christine Michael. Darn you, Rendell.

 

I like Mike Scioscia, really I do. And after the 2002 World Series, he was all the rage. He is the first manager in baseball history to reach the playoffs in six of his first 10 seasons. And even though his Angels are a huge disappointment this year, it’s hard to blame Scioscia for a lot of it.

Poor Mike is the victim of a terrible front office that is making one poor decision after another. Scioscia was handed a declining Albert Pujols, a declining Josh Hamilton, and forced to watch his ace Zack Grienke leave, replaced by Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson. They also lost Jered Weaver for two and a half months.

That’s a lot of ugly.

So while the Angels should be better than they have been, Scioscia is still seen as a quality big league manager. And he’s been taking the losing hard, too, by the sound of it.

I don’t know if he’d be the top candidate on my list, but he’d be near the top. I like him a lot and wouldn’t mind seeing him as Phillies manager.

That said, Ryne Sandberg is going to be your manager in 2014. It’s going to happen. So, just embrace the inevitability.

 

Seriously, click on the link in the tweet. You won’t be sorry.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese make a phenomenal team, and if the trailer for “The Wolf of Wall Street” is any indication, they’re going to again.

By the way, think about where Jonah Hill’s career started…

And where he is now.

That is all.

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