Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ramadan Mubarak

Just wanted to say Ramadan Mubarak to all. I'll also use this space to link to a great blog entry from my cousin Saad wrote over at "Chill Yo Islam Yo" last year on charity. Non-Muslims should read it as well.

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Justin Verlander has ANOTHER no hitter going through 7

Is it just me or does it seem like Justin Verlander flirts with a no-hitter every other start? He has one going against my Los Angeles Angels through 7 today. Keep in mind that he already has two career no-hitters. Anyone know what the shortest time frame is between a team getting a no-hitter and then being no-hit themselves? Ervin Santana of the Angels just got one last Wednesday. will have live coverage of the 8th and the 9th (if it gets that far). You can watch the video below.

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Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers Name and Number T-Shirt (Small)McFarlane Toys MLB Sports Picks Series 18 Action Figure Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Debt Ceiling and the West Wing

As the Debt Ceiling drama plays out I thought now would be a good moment to share a scene from the West Wing.

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The West Wing: The Complete Series Collection

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ervin Santana gets a no-hitter

Congratulations to Ervin Santana on picking up a no-hitter today against the Cleveland Indians.

This was the first official no-hitter for the Angels since 1990 although they did pitch 8 no-hit innings against the Dodgers in 2008 in a 1-0 loss at Dodger Stadium.
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MLB Men's Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim Ervin Santana White Home Short Sleeve 6 Button Synthetic Replica Baseball Jersey Spring 2012 (White, X-Large)Los Angeles Angels Official Wordmark Short Sleeve T-Shirt, Red (X-Large)

Yet another blown call in baseball

It has happened again.

Once again a terrible call from an umpire is taking the spotlight away from what was otherwise a very good game. The Atlanta Braves defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in 19 innings when home plate umpire Jerry Meals blew a call. It appeared as though the tag from Pirates catcher Michael McKenry got Julio Lugo out by 6 feet but for some reason or another Meals called him same. Watch the video and the photo for yourself and decide.

After the game Meals explained his call to reporters.
"I saw the tag, but he looked like he oled him and I called him safe for that, I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I'm guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened I didn't see a tag.I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn't see the glove hit his leg."
I still don't understand the people who oppose instant replay because they like the "human element." Just get the call right. That is all it should be about. It is a shame that a game where the two bullpens combined for 26 shutout innings will be remembered for the blown call.
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MLB Andrew Mccutchen Pittsburgh Pirates Adult Short Sleeve Basic Tee (Black, X-Large)Brian Mccann Atlanta Braves Name and Number T-Shirt (Medium)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

MSNBC is not calling Norway massacre terrorism

I've been out of the house for a few hours and just got online to catch up on the news.

I was just reading this story on about the Oslo attacks and shockingly (or is it?) not once do they use the terms terror,terrorist or terrorism. What's up with that? Can someone explain that to these people that it is possible for terrorists to be Caucasian and Christian.  I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the American "news" channels have moved on to other stories tomorrow since they can't tie this to Al-Qaeda like they tried for most of today.

This is hardly the first time MSNBC has done something like this. I mentioned the same thing last year when they didn't label the suicide bomber who struck the IRS building in Austin, Texas a terrorist.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Terror in Oslo and the American Media

As this story in Oslo, Norway develops the American media is getting exposed again.

Instead of covering the bombings and shooting non-stop we are instead getting coverage of Lindsey Lohan. Pathetic. All day long all American media outlets have been reporting that today is a National Holiday in Norway. That part is not true according to my cousin from Norway. Most people there just happen to have large parts of July off.

Is it too much to ask to have a little fact checking.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

NASA lands final Shuttle

Earlier this morning the Space Shuttle Program came to an end.

Atlantis landed around 6 AM Eastern this morning. If you missed the landing here are a couple of videos courtesy of NASA.

A great question was just asked at the NASA press conference. Do you think we will appreciate what the Space Shuttle did or it will go the way of Mercury and Gemini which have been somewhat forgotten as Apollo gets the recognition. Will the Shuttle get overshadowed by whatever comes next? As amazing a vehicle as the Space Shuttle is I have a feeling we will look back and respect it more looking back at it. It certainly was way ahead of its time. I honestly don't believe we will see a spacecraft with its capabilities in my lifetime or that of my kids.

When do you think NASA will send astronauts into space again? Will we ever go back to the moon? When will we get to Mars?

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NASA: The Complete Illustrated HistoryLEGO Space Shuttle 3367

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The V Foundation for Cancer Research

Tonight ESPN presents the ESPY's.

Of course the ESPY's are always the perfect time to share one of the greatest speeches ever made. There aren't many that have been that powerful and still draw tears each and every time you watch it like the one from North Carolina State Head Basketball Coach Jim Valvano at the 1993 ESPYs. If for some reason you haven't yet seen it, you should stop what you are doing and go watch it now. Even if you have watched it in the past it really is one of those moments that will never get old.

A transcript of the speech is available here.

ESPN does a great job promoting the work of "The V Foundation for Cancer Research" and has been a huge part in helping raise $100 million for Cancer research. You can donate online through their website.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MLB "All-Star" Game farce

We are about an hour away from the MLB All-Star and one big story surrounding this game is just how many "All-Stars" there are.

By now the list is up to 84 players. At any given point in the season there are only 750 active players. This means that this year one out of every nine player is an all-star. I understand the need for the expanded rosters and have no complaints about it. What I do find stupid is how replacements for injured or ineligible players are named. Jon Lester was named as an injury replacement just because MLB rules for the next highest vote recipient to be named as the replacement. The problem there is that Lester is on the DL and obviously not able to pitch but since he got named as a replacement he gets his all-star bonus. Ricky Romero got selected as a replacement for him but couldn't they just have selected him the first time around? Of course not. There is way too much money involved. What an absolute joke.

Speaking of jokes, lets get to C.C Sabathia and Derek Jeter. We've spent the last two weeks listening to stories about Jeter being a class act and and ambassador for baseball. You guys already know where I stand on that. Derek Jeter should never have been voted into the game in the first place. His batting average was below .270 when the teams were announced yet Yankees fans had stuffed the ballots for him. Him getting named as an all-star starter was a joke. Him skipping the game is a bigger one. Jeter is skipping the all-star game because he is tired. Ok, I have no problem with him deciding against playing (since his season is hardly all-star worthy) but he should be in Phoenix as the ambassador for the game that he supposedly is. That is not happening. Jeter is staying at home and still collecting a $500,000 bonus. Disgraceful. I'll throw Sabathia into the same boat. He was named an all-star but is not showing up but took a trip to the Bahamas instead. Yup, he will be getting any all-star bonus in his contract as well.

But Selig said today that if he was Jeter he would have done the same thing. This guy isn't serious right? This is the commissioner of baseball? Why are we still sucking up to Derek Jeter? Instead of calling out the players   Bud Selig is actually condoning this? How does he justify this when MLB wants the All-Star to matter?

How do you resolve this? Any player named to the team and skipping the festivities has to skip the first series back from the break. Even pitchers who aren't eligible to pitch in the game because they pitched on Sunday must still show up.

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National League 2011 All-Star Game T-Shirt: Any Player Black Name and Number MLB T-ShirtAmerican League 2011 All-Star Game T-Shirt: Any Player Bright Cardinal Name and Number MLB T-Shirt

Near disaster at the Home Run Derby

It is almost hard to believe that on the day Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone was being buried after having fallen to his death at the Ballpark in Arlington, tragedy almost struck again last night.

There was an idiot (I don't think there is a better way to describe this fool) named Keith Carmickle who almost fell over a railing trying to get a ball at the Home Run Derby last night.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Credit to @chinny on twitter for the screen grab.

The AP photo is even better.

You can find more photos here.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The case AGAINST Derek Jeter

Would Derek Jeter seriously get so overrated if he didn't play in New York?

I highly doubt it. Don't get me wrong, he has had a good career but to call him an all time great is a joke. The guy hasn't even been the best player on his own team throughout the career. A year by year breakdown shows one maybe two years where he was the best player on his own team. I have felt for a long time that there are three primary reasons why Jeter gets so overrated. 1) New York City 2) Rich Garcia making a horrible call in RF 3) Jeremy Giambi not knowing how to slide (he should have still been called safe because the play was a tie at worse).

In casual conversation yesterday I was coming up with a list of position players in the American League alone who I would take ahead ahead of Jeter from the past 15 years. I came up with the following list that included the likes of Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. Going a bit down to the next level and guys like Jim Thome, Ivan Rodriguez, David Ortiz make real strong cases. I'm sure if I put more thought to I'd come up with a longer list. All this is even before we start to get into pitchers like Roy Halladay and Pedro Martinez. Again, this is before going into a list of guys in the National League.

Please don't give me any b.s about "playing the game the right way". Jeter's not the only guy who goes into stands to make catches or back up throws from the outfield. Don't give me the garbage about him being a loyal guy either. Just because he's played his entire career with the Yankees doesn't make him a loyal guy. If he had this loyalty to the Yankees and New York he wouldn't have held them hostage for every last penny last off season after the Yankees had overpaid him the last time around. Don't give me any crap about him being a leader or making others better. Just where has he shown any of those characteristics? The guy made A-Rod's life miserable when he first arrived in New York. Heck, if Jeter was this big team guy wouldn't the best shortstop on the team (A-Rod) be playing shortstop?

I went year by year from 1996 to 2010 to look at guys on the New York Yankees who outplayed Jeter in that particular year. Here is what I came up with.

Derek Jeter

1996 - O'Neil, Tino, Bernie, Pettitte, Wetteland and Rivera
1997 - O'Neil, Tino, Bernie, Pettite, Cone and Rivera
1998 - Bernie and Rivera
1999 - Rivera
2000 - See Below
2001 - Mussina, Clemens, Rivera
2002 - Giambi, Soriano, Bernie,
2003 - Rivera, Giambi, Posada, Soriano
2004 - A-Rod, Matsui, Sheffield,Rivera
2005 - A-Rod, Sheffield, Rivera
2006 - See Below
2007 - A-Rod, Posada
2008 - A-Rod, Abreu, Mussina and Rivera
2009 - Sabathia, Rivera and Teixeira
2010 - A-Rod, Teixeira, Cano, Swisher, Sabathia,

In 1997 I left David Wells off the list despite him winning 16 games because his ERA was high. Heck, Chad Curtis in 334 less ABs hit for the same average, more HRs, just 20 less RBIs and significantly higher OPS. No, I'm not saying I'd take Chad Curtis over Jeter but just put #s into perspective.

In 1998 I left off Tino off the list despite him driving in 123 runs and O'Neil despite him driving in 116. I'll leave Cone off despite him winning 20 games. I left Wells off despite him going 18-4 with a 3.49 ERA. I left off Orlando Hernandez and his 3.13 ERA because he only started 21 games. I'm being pretty generous with 1998.

In 1999 I say he's a push with Bernie and you could make a strong case that Jeter's .349 with 24 HRs and 102 RBIs deserves top spot but Rivera had 45 saves with a 1.83 ERA and a WHIP of .883 I probably won't complain if someone wants to give Jeter 1999 but Rivera was definitely better.

In 2000 yes Jeter his .339 and you could make a case for him but a case for Bernie can easily be made. He hit 30 HRs with 121 RBIs despite only playing in 141 games.

In 2001 I left Tino off the list despite him getting 34 HRs and driving in 113.

In 2002 I left Pettitte and his 3.27 ERA off because he only pitched in 22 games.

In 2003 I left off I left Mussina and his 17-8 record with a 3.40 ERA off the list.

In 2004 I left Posada off the list despite him having a significantly higher OPS and more RBIs in 200 less ABs just because he hit only .272. I also left off Orlando Hernandez who went 8-2 3.30 ERA because he only started 15 games.

In 2005 I left off Giambi and his 32 HRs because he drove in just 87 and hit for a low average. I even left off Matsui's 116 RBIs because he "only" hit .305 and had only 23 HRs. Matsui still had a better OPS and more extra base hits. Again, I'm being fairly generous here.

In 2006 there is a strong case for Jeter again. He hit .343 and drove in 97. Arguments against Jeter? Cano hit .342 and drove in 78 despite having 140 fewer ABs. A-Rod also hit 35 HRs and drove in 121. Giambi ht 37 HRs and drove in 113. Rivera, Mussina and Wang also had great years. I'd give Jeter a push with Cano but people can make a case for A-Rod being right there too.

In 2007 you could make a case for Cano as well. I'm leaving 100+ RBIs from Matsui and Abreu off the list.

In 2008 I am leaving off a 32 HR season from Giambi.

In 2009 Jeter hit .334 and you can make a case for him but 5 other guys in the starting lineup alone matched his OPS. How can argue against Teixeira hitting 39 HRs and driving in 122? I'll leave A-Rod off the list because he only hit .286 to go along with 30 HRs and 100 RBIs. Every other player in the starting lineup drove in more runs then Jeter despite having fewer Plate Appearances (Cano was only one with more ABs and he had just 3 more ABs). Everyone but Melky Cabrera had more HRs. Everyone but Cabrera had more extra base hits as well. How can you hit .334 in over 600 ABs and only drive in 66?

In 2010 I am leaving off Pettitte's 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA because he only started 21 games. Heck, someone could make a case that Gardner and/or Posada (edit: also editing in Granderson here) had years that were just as good if not better.

Biggest reason I couldn't care less about Jeter is because how ridiculously over the top Yankees fan get with him. Jeter was almost never the best player on the team. He spent few years being at best the 3rd or even 4th best SS in the American League alone (no matter how much Yankees fans want to claim that he was better then Nomar those years). Yesterday Yankees beat writers were posting quotes placing Jeter in the top tier of Yankees historically. Have these people heard of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle? At best he is on the 3rd tier of Yankees.

Being a good player is not a knock on a guy. Yesterday YES Network guys were already taking about him getting to 4,000. Can we settle down please?

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MLB Men's New York Yankees Derek Jeter 3K Milestone Big & Tall Tee (Navy, 5X-Large)Derek Jeter New York Yankees Name and Number T-Shirt, Athletic Navy

Friday, July 08, 2011

Fan dies at Rangers game

By now you've probably heard about the Texas Rangers fan who dies last night at the Ballpark in Arlington. I won't embed the video here because not everyone wants to see it but it is available here.

Shannon Stone was reaching out to catch a ball tossed his way by Josh Hamilton when he reached out just a bit too far and fell about 20 feet onto concrete. He died on the way to the hospital according to reports. He was alive and aware on the ground asking the paramedics to check on his six year old son (there is a video of the fall in this link) who had come to the game with him.

It is a really unfortunate incident but what can really be done to avoid it? People do go crazy reaching for foul balls pushing everyone and everything in sight but this was just a freak accident.

There is a transcript available of what Josh Hamilton had to say about the incident.

Shannon Stone was a firefighter in Brownwood, Texas. There has been a fund established for the family by the city of Brownwood. You can find more information here. The Texas Rangers have also created a fund. There is more information available on their website.

Kudos to MLB and ESPN for respecting the wishes of the family in not airing footage of the fall.

Major League Baseball released this statement last night.
"All of us at Major League Baseball are shocked and saddened over the tragic death of Mr. Stone last evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with his son and his entire family. Major League Baseball has the utmost sensitivity to the safety of all the fans that come to our ballparks. Our players are encouraged to be fan-friendly and we will carefully review this incident with our clubs to continue to ensure a safe environment for our fans."
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Angels call up top prospect

The Angels have called up 19 year old Mike Trout to the majors and put him in the starting lineup tonight.

Earlier this year Mike Trout was named the #1 prospect in baseball by ahead of Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. It will likely be a short stay for him in the majors with the year Peter Bourjos is having but you never know.

The organization needs the energy in the worst way right now. It has been a while since a high profile prospect has come on and made a big impact on a regular basis. As an Angels fan I hope his career is more like Jered Weaver and less like Dallas McPherson and Brandon Wood.

I will neither confirm nor deny that I wrote this just so I could mention that Mike Trout will be roaming the same outfield that Tim Salmon did not so long ago.
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Always an Angel: Playing the Game With Fire and FaithLos Angeles Angels Official Wordmark Short Sleeve T-Shirt, Red (X-Large)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Obama is taking questions via twitter right now

You can watch the event live on White House's website. You can send questions via to @townhall using the hashtag #askObama.

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Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My DaughtersThe Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Vintage)
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