Archive for November, 2009

Naked Pictures Of Grady Sizemore Surface On The Web

November 30, 2009

There is some good news for “Grady’s Ladies.”

According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there have been at least 15 naked and partially clothed pictures of Cleveland Indians OF Grady Sizemore that have surfaced on the web.

Some pictures of Sizemore were stolen

The pictures were stolen illegally from his girlfriend’s email account. Sizemore is expected to take legal action against the person who stole the photos.

Today, the Indians released this statement. “We fully support Grady as he deals with this personal matter.  The posted photos were stolen from his girlfriend’s email account and a legal investigation is underway.”

Why wouldn’t the Indians support Sizemore? I really don’t see what he did wrong here. If seeing someone naked on the internet was a crime, then 90 percent of Americans would probably have been arrested at some point.

Without the adult entertainment industry, the internet wouldn’t be what it is today. As silly as that sounds, that is a fact.

For any of you Sizemore fans who want to see those pictures, they have been taken down from the site they were posted on. At this time, I do not know the name of the site.

Also, in case you wanted to know, Sizemore’s girlfriend is former Playboy Playmate Brittany Binger.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

 

 

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Derek Jeter Wins SI’s Sportsman Of The Year

November 30, 2009

According to SI.com (obviously), New York Yankees SS Derek Jeter has won the coveted Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award. Derek becomes the first Yankee to ever win the award and the first baseball player to win the award since the Boston Red Sox won it at as a team in 2004.

I have no problem with Jeter receiving the honor, but he should receive it for the right reasons, not one of the reasons that Sports Illustrated Group Director Terry McDonell gave.

“This verifies my idea that he is on the level of Ruth and Gehrig,” McDonell said. “He’s the greatest shortstop in the history of the game.”

What???

He sounds like a junior high school kid. You give someone this honor because they deserve it and they dominated the sports world for that particular year, not because this gives credibility to a preposterous idea you have that Jeter is just as good as Ruth and Gehrig.

I could just see this guy talking to his friends and saying you know what? I really think Jeter is as good as Ruth or Gehrig and just to verify this thought, I am going to make him Sportsman of the Year.

Now to his credit, McDonell did give one logical reason as to why they picked Jeter for 2009.

“Derek Jeter has always presented himself with class; he does numerous good works for the community with his Turn 2 Foundation, which is one of the most efficient, effective foundations of its kind; and he’s extremely generous with not just his money but with his time, which in many cases is more valuable. He also had another signature year on the field.”

Now I am not a Florida Gators fan and I don’t like or dislike Tebow, but the Gators did win a National Championship in the 2008/2009 season and when it is all said and done, he will probably go down as the most celebrated college football player of all time.
If there has been one athlete who has dominated the sports landscape for the last three years, it’s been Tebow. Whether you like him or despise him–that’s just a fact of life.
Sports Illustrated has never given the award to a college athlete, but Tebow would have been a good pick.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Alex Gonzalez, UMass Basketball, And Atlantic City

November 30, 2009

First, I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!!

Second, after three days away, I am back in the saddle. I spent the last three days in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

For those of you who have never been, it’s quite the experience.

I am going to channel my inner geekdom here and describe Atlantic City the same way Obi-Wan Kenobi describes Mos Eisley Spaceport in Star Wars (the original Stars Wars, not the crappy three movies that came out 25 years later). “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

Atlantic City or “AC” as it is so commonly referred to is filled with just the depths of humanity. It’s gritty, it’s grimy, and you might leave there with less money in your pocket, but feeling overall better about yourself.

The main reason my friends and I went was to see the UMass Basketball team play in the Legends Classic. Michigan State, Rutgers, and Florida also played in this four-team, mini tournament.

Kellogg needs to run a better offense

I knew this would be a rebuilding year for the Minuteman because they are starting two freshman, two sophomores, and a senior, but I am very concerned with what I saw over the two days.

I have no idea what on earth they are trying to accomplish on offense. I know coach Derek Kellogg is trying to run the Dribble, Drive, Motion offense, but it’s just not working right now.

Dribbling around the perimeter for 25 seconds, trying to take your defender one-on-one, and then chucking up a wild shot with two seconds on the shot clock is not an offense.

I have no idea what it is.

And here is another thing. In my 20-plus years of watching college basketball, I have never seen a team go two games in a row without setting up a play for their forwards or center.

The strength of this team is their shooting guards and if you don’t give any threat of an inside game, then your guards aren’t going to get open looks. It’s like in the NFL when a team plays eight guys in the box.

Occasionally you have to throw the ball deep to loosen up the defense. Terrell Vinson is a top-50 recruit. USE HIM!!!

Staying with the Massachusetts theme, let’s talk about SS Alex Gonzalez signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. Gonzalez signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract the night before Thanksgiving.

I would say this was a seven out of ten on the surprised scale.

When the Red Sox declined Gonzalez’s $6 million option for 2010 earlier in the month, I was almost certain the Red Sox would bring him back for 2010 on a reduced salary.

But Gonzalez signed with the Blue Jays and once again the Red Sox will be looking for a new starting shortstop in 2010. Its seems like every year the Red Sox are looking for a new shortstop.

They are like the New York Mets looking for third baseman until David Wright showed up.

The most logical choice to replace Gonzalez is Marco Scutaro, who is a free agent. I said it before and I’ll say it again–I am not sold on Scutaro. And I am really not sold on him playing in Boston.

He has Julio Lugo Part Two written all over him. My gut feeling is the Red Sox will only sign Scutaro if some trade possibilities don’t work out.

I think the Red Sox make a run at Arizona Diamondbacks’ SS Stephen Drew. They could buy low on Drew who had a down year in 2009, they have the pitching prospects Arizona wants, and it would give the younger Drew a chance to play with his older brother JD.

For those wondering about Jed Lowrie, the Red Sox plan on having him start the season in Triple-A.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

What Each MLB Team Should Be Thankful For

November 26, 2009

For me, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. It’s one of the few times of the year when all bets are off when it comes to food. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Thanksgiving is also the time of year where we give thanks to what we have in life. It’s no different for all 30 teams of Major League Baseball. Each team has something they can be thankful for.

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies should be thankful that they have one of the best GM’s in the game in Ruben Amaro Jr. A GM who doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves should be thankful the Minor League Player of the Year, Jason Heyward is on his way. The kid looks like a star.

Florida Marlins: The Marlins should be thankful they are getting a new stadium in 2012. Maybe then they can keep their young stars like Josh Johnson

New York Mets: The Mets should be thankful that 2009 is finally coming to an end. 2010 can’t be much worse.

Washington Nationals: The Nationals should be thankful that new GM Mike Rizzo has more of a clue than former GM Jim Bowden

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals should be thankful for the fact that they get to watch the best player in the game on a day in and day out basis.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs should be thankful that after so many years of being labeled “lovable losers,” they are finally dedicated to winning. Whether or not they are making the right moves to win is another story.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers should be thankful that they have an owner in Mark Attanasio, who runs a small market team, but has a big market mentality.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds should be thankful that Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, and Joey Votto are young stars, who should provide a solid foundation for the future.

Houston Astros: The Astros should be thankful that Wandy Rodriguez established himself as a solid No. 2 starter in 2009.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates should be thankful for the fact that GM Neal Huntington has the team moving in the right direction. The Pirates are making the right moves to compete in the future.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers should be thankful for Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, who appear to be the foundation of the Dodgers’ offense for years to come.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies should be thankful that they have one of the best and exciting young teams in baseball. The Rockies have finally figured out how to win in Colorado.

The Giants should be thankful for Lincecum

San Francisco Giants: The Giants should be thankful for being able to watch Tim Lincecum every five days. His unique delivery continues to amaze fans and baffle hitters.

San Diego Padres: The Padres should be thankful that it appears that they will not be trading star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks should be thankful that Brandon Webb is making progress and looks to be healthy in 2010.

AL East

New York Yankees: The Yankees should be thankful that they are the Yankees. No other team in professional sports has the advantage they have.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox should be thankful for their minor-league system, which allows them to trade for players like Victor Martinez and potentially Roy Halladay or Miguel Cabrera.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays should be thankful that they have the most athletic team in baseball and after so many years of losing, they have a winner in Tampa.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays should be thankful for the fact they got to watch Roy Halladay pitch in a Blue Jays’ uniform for the last 12 years. He will go down as the best player in franchise history.

Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles should be thankful for that after so many years of not having a clue, they are moving in the right direction. Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, and Nick Markakis provide a solid foundation for the future.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins: The Twins should be thankful for Joe Mauer. When it is all said and done, I believe he will go down as the greatest catcher of all time.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers should be thankful for Mike Ilitch. Despite a ravaged economy in Detroit, Ilitch does his best to put a winner on the field in the Motor City.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox should be thankful for employing Ozzie Guillen. His press conferences have provided baseball fans with hours of comedy. Oh yeah, the guy is a pretty good manager.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals should be thankful that there is only more year left in the Jose Guillen era in Kansas City.

Cleveland Indians: The Indians should be thankful that Grady Sizemore, Carlos Santana, Azdrubal Cabrera, Matt LaPorta, and Shin-Soo Choo provide hope for the future.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angles should be thankful for that they have one of the best run organizations in baseball. The job Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia have done in Anaheim has been impressive.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners should be thankful for the fact that if they make a couple of solid moves this offseason, they could win the AL West in 2010.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers should be thankful for GM Jon Daniels. His trades and drafting over the last four years have the Rangers poised to make a run at the AL West crown in 2010.

Oakland A’s: The A’s should be thankful for Andrew Bailey. The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year and a great year and should anchor the backend of the A’s bullpen for years to come–or at least until Billy Beane trades him.

I would like to give thanks to all my readers for taking the time out of their days to read my blog. For that, I am truly grateful.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE AND THEIR FAMILIES!!!

Andruw Jones Finds A New Home

November 25, 2009

Another day, another move for the Chicago White Sox.

On Monday, the White Sox inked SS Omar Vizquel to a one-year deal. Today, the White Sox signed another star of the late-90’s/early-2000’s.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the White Sox signed OF Andruw Jones to a one-year, $500 thousand contract. Jones has a chance to make another million in bonus incentives.

Jones, who hit .214 with 17 home runs and had a .782 OPS in 82 games last season with the Texas Rangers will serve as a backup outfielder for the White Sox in 2010.

As long as Jones isn’t playing on a regular basis for the White Sox in 2010, then this is a nothing with nothing move. Jones doesn’t have much left in the tank and his career is quickly coming to an end.

If there is a situation in 2010 where Ozzie Guillen should use Jones in, it should be as a pinch-hitter against right-handed pitching. Jones hit 13 out of his 17 home runs in 2009 against righties and his OPS was 31 points higher against righties than it was against lefties.

Jones will be 33-years-old next year.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Red Sox Trying To Land Another Ace On Thanksgiving

November 25, 2009

Back in 2003, Boston Red Sox GM Theo Eptein, along with then Assistant GM Jed Hoyer traveled to Arizona to have Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling and his wife in order to convince Schilling to come to Boston.

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Schilling to the Red Sox on Nov. 29, 2003 and the rest is history.

Six years later, the Red Sox are trying to land another ace on Thanksgiving.

According to Marc Feinsand and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, the Red Sox are “putting on a full-court press” to land Toronto Blue Jays’ ace Roy Halladay.

“They would love to get it wrapped up before the winter meetings (beginning Dec. 7),” their source said of the Red Sox.

Unlike former GM JP Ricciardi, new GM Alex Anthopoulos seems to have a pretty good grasp on how handle trading Halladay. Anthopoulos already has said he would be willing to give teams a 72-hour window to negotiate a contract extension with Halladay–something Ricciardi wasn’t willing to do.

My take on this and the Red Sox offseason in general, is that Theo and company really want to do something big. Whether it’s trading Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez, or Miguel Cabrera, the Red Sox want to make a splash.

Acquiring Halladay would give the Red Sox a formidable rotation heading into 2010. Halladay, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matsuzaka would give the Red Sox one of the best–if not the best rotation in baseball.

I wouldn’t put it past Epstein pulling off this trade before Thanksgiving. Who knows, maybe Epstein will go to the Halladay’s for some turkey dinner in order to get a deal done.

It worked once before right?

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

 

Albert Pujols Unanimously Wins NL MVP

November 24, 2009

My preseason NL MVP pick: Albert Pujols

NL MVP winner: Albert Pujols

I am shocked that St. Louis Cardinals 1B won the National League MVP award unanimously. The way the voting has been going, I am surprised James Loney didn’t get a first-place vote.

Pujols won his third MVP award today

Pujols received all 32 first-place votes to win his second consecutive NL MVP award. Pujols becomes the first player to win back-to-back MVP awards since Barry Bonds won four in a row from 2001-2004.

Hanley Ramirez finished second followed by Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder. I am a little surprised Troy Tulowitzki didn’t finish higher, but what can you do?

2009 was another banner year for Pujols. Pujols led the majors in home runs (47), runs (124), slugging percentage (.658) and intentional walks (44), and led the NL in OBP (.443).

You know, I really thought Pujols winning the MVP award unanimously would finally make Cardinal fans stop whining and crying this offseason.

But alas, I was wrong.

Here is a classic “Tweet” from a Cardinal fan that will go nameless. “What in the definition of MVP makes Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright better than Tim Lincecum, who was good enough for BBWAA to win Cy?”

Even when one of their players win an award, they still whine about something else that happened over a week ago. It’s unbelievable.

Cardinal fans should be more concerned with whether or not Pujols is going to re-sign after the 2010 season instead of being concerned with Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright winning the CY Young.

This is Pujols’ third NL MVP award and will go into 2010 as the early favorite to win the award again.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Royals Sign Former No. 1 Overall Pick, Bryan Bullington

November 24, 2009

The Kansas City Royals made a minor move today, but the player they signed will have an impact on baseball’s amateur draft for years to come.

The Royals signed RHP and the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft Bryan Bullington to a minor-league contract today. Bullington was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and has recently pitched in the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays organizations.

Bullington was the No. 1 pick in 2002

Bullington is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with baseball’s draft and why they desperately need a slotting system like the NBA.

The Pirates drafted Bullington with the No. 1 pick in 2002 for one reason and one reason only: Signability.

Bullington, who was drafted out of Ball State University, was the most signable player at that time. The Pirates took Bullington ahead of more talented players like BJ Upton, Prince Fielder, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, Khalil Greene, and Jeff Francouer.

When asked why he took Bullington with the No. 1 pick, Pirates GM Dave Littlefield said at the time “Bullington could be a good No. 3 pitcher.”

Really not something you want to hear about the No.1 overall pick in the draft.

Since Bullington was drafted, he has appeared in a grand total of 13 major league games. In those 13 games he has given up 47 hits and 22 earned runs in 39 innings.

In all fairness to Bullington, he did pitch well after being drafted by the Pirates going 34-17 with a 3.33 ERA in 69 games during his first three seasons.

Bullington hasn’t been the same since he tore his labrum in his pitching shoulder.

Picks like Bullington in 2002 and Matt Bush (San Diego Padres) in 2004 are the greatest examples of why baseball needs a slotting system for their draft. Bad teams need to be able to take the best player available, not the most signable.

Now to Bud Selig’s credit, he has recognized this as a problem in baseball and plans to implement this in the next collective bargaining agreement.

The Royals plan to use Bullington out of the bullpen in the minors. I guess he will never become the No.3 starter he was projected to be.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Chicago White Sox Sign Omar Vizquel

November 23, 2009

I love when teams make good personnel decisions. It makes me giddy.

Today, the Chicago White Sox signed SS and future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel to a one-year, $1.375 million deal. Vizquel, who is 43-years-old hit .266 with a .660 OPS in 2009 with the Texas Rangers.

Vizquel can still pick-it at SS

I really like this move for the White Sox.

Vizquel will serve as a backup infielder and as a mentor to Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham. Who better to serve as a mentor to a young middle infielder than one of–if not the best defensive (cue Cardinal fan crying Ozzie Smith here) shortstop of all time.

The Rangers used Vizquel in this role last year for Elvis Andrus and that worked out quite well.

Not only will Vizquel serve as a mentor, but he can still pick-it with anyone defensively. He is not a washed up player, who is just looking to hang on. AKA: “A veteran presence.”

Vizquel played 62 games in the field last year at short, second and third, and didn’t commit an error. His UZR at shortstop was 5.3, which is very, very respectable. He also had a 3.3 UZR at third, which was better than Michael Young and David Wright.

The 11-time Gold Glove winner will be entering his 22nd season in the major leagues.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Joe Mauer Wins AL MVP; Was There Any Doubt?

November 23, 2009

My preseason AL MVP pick: Grady Sizemore

AL MVP winner: Joe Mauer

Two nights before the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, I had the opportunity to hang out with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Joe Nathan at an pre-All-Star Game party at a bar in New York City.

It was by far and away one of the coolest nights of life. How often does someone have drinks with an MVP? Little did I know I was hanging out with two MVP’s that night.

Me and Joe Mauer at the All-Star Game party

Today, Mauer followed in Morneau’s footsteps by winning the American League MVP award.

Mauer, who led the AL in avg. (.365), OBP (.444), and slugging percentage (.587) received 27 out of 28 first-place votes to become not only the second Minnesota Twin to win the award since 2006, but he also became just the second catcher in the last 33 years (Thurman Munson) to win the award.

Ivan Rodriguez won the award with the Texas Rangers in 1999.

Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees finished second and third in the voting. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers was the only other player to receive a first-place vote.

Really?

Someone voted for Cabrera? Voting for Cabrera for the AL MVP is just as egregious as Keith Law leaving Chris Carpenter off the NL Cy Young ballot.

I am going to bet a good amount of money the idiot who voted for Cabrera was the same idiot who voted for Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young.

But back to Mauer.

When it’s all said and done, I believe Mauer will go down in baseball history as the greatest catcher of all time. I really believe he is that good.

For a catcher to win three out of the last four batting titles is truly amazing. It’s a feat that doesn’t get talked about enough. Just like with Roy Halladay having more complete games than 27 teams in baseball.

15 years from now, we are going to look back at these feats and go “Wow, he really did that?”

And for any Yankee fan who thinks that Jeter or Teixeira got robbed–just be quiet. Seriously, I don’t want to hear it.

Mauer was the best player in the American League this year.

There was no doubt about it.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg