The Reds Are a Trainwreck

cincinnati_redsI’m a little confused about something here.

How does a team with one of the best starting pitchers and arguably the best closer in baseball suck?  Said team should be in contention for a wild card at the very least.

Say hello to the 2015 Cincinnati Reds.

The same Reds once employed one of the best starting pitchers in the league in Johnny Cueto (who has been since traded to the Kansas City Royals), as well as in my mind the best relief pitchers in Aroldis Chapman is sitting in 4th place in the National League Central Division with a 43-53 record.

How did the Reds become so bad the last couple of seasons?  It’s easy: bad management.

The organization, namely general manager Walt Jocketty, invested in the wrong players.  He gave starting pitcher Homer Bailey – who is injured and only played in two games this season – a 6 year, $105,000,000 contract.  This is also the same pitcher who is sporting a 58-51 record and a 4.19 ERA for his career.

I’m sorry, but no GM with half a brain would give a dude with pedestrian career numbers a $100 million contract.  If that weren’t bad enough, Bailey’s contract expires in 2021.

Unfortunately for Reds fans, that’s not the only sin that Jocketty had committed.  He also signed first baseman Joey Votto to an absurd 10-year, $225 million contract extension that expires in 2024!

And before you Reds fans out there lecture me on how big of a stud Votto is (and that is true, by the way), no one in his right mind should give a player in his 30s a big contract extension that will expire when he turns 40!  Period.

I understand that the Reds wanted to invest in their franchise player and not risk losing Votto to the New York Yankees or other big market, big spending teams.  And he has decent stats to boot.  But it’s just not smart for a team to invest SO MUCH MONEY into ONE PLAYER when it have other studs on your squad, especially if that team is not a big market club with a suspect minor league system.

There is no way in hell that a team would trade for Votto’s contract, not with nine more years left on it.

Thanks to bad contracts like those, the Reds were not able to give Cueto the contract extension he deserves.  They may not be able to pay Chapman after this season as well.

And if the Bailey and Votto contracts weren’t bad enough, Jocketty hired Bryan Price to replace the fired Dusty Baker after the 2013 season.  It’s pretty safe to say that Price has proven to be not only a lousy manager (98-113 record during his Reds tenure), he is also a bonafide clown.

Nice hire there, Jocketty.

And I wish that I could tell Reds fans that things will get better soon, but they won’t.  In fact, it will take at least two or three more seasons before things will get better.  The Votto and Bailey contracts will handcuff the Reds for at least the next six seasons.  And even if Price were to be canned after this season, who in the hell could manage this bunch?

Seems like Jocketty had lost his magic from his days with the rival St. Louis Cardinals.  Maybe he wants to get himself fired with those dumbass moves so he could go back?

 

2015 MLB Season: the Mid-Point Addition

mlbThe All-Star break means one thing: we’re at the midway-ish point of the 2015 Major League Baseball season.  This is also the time to see either how well I’m doing in my preseason prediction or how much I sucked at doing so – and it’s usually the latter.

Anyhoo, without further ado…

American League

AL East

Predicted

  1. Baltimore
  2. Boston
  3. Toronto
  4. New York Yankees
  5. Tampa Bay

Actual

  1. NY Yankees
  2. Tampa
  3. Baltimore
  4. Toronto
  5. Boston

Analysis: Well whaddaya know, my Yankees are in first place at this juncture of the season.  And it’s all thanks to that fraud Alex Rodriguez.  Part of me wants to throw up in my mouth after uttering that last sentence.  

This division is pretty balanced – and weak as hell.  The winner of this division may not win more than 85 games.

AL Central

Predicted

  1. Detroit
  2. Cleveland
  3. Kansas City
  4. Chicago White Sox
  5. Minnesota

Actual

  1. Kansas City
  2. Minnesota
  3. Detroit
  4. Cleveland
  5. Chicago White Sox

Analysis:  I guess I should’ve known to pick against the Royals.  Those guys are young, good, and like to fight.  Meanwhile, no one, and I mean NO ONE, saw the Twins coming.  They might be the story of the year.  

AL West

Predicted

  1. Seattle
  2. LA Angels of Anaheim near El Segundo
  3. Oakland
  4. Texas
  5. Houston

Actual

  1. LA Angels
  2. Houston
  3. Texas
  4. Seattle
  5. Oakland

Analysis:  The Angels are on a bit of a roll lately, overtaking the surprising Astros for first place.  I figured the Astros would be a little bit better, but damn was I wrong.  And speaking of being wrong, I nailed that “Seattle in first” pick huh?

National League

NL East

Predicted

  1. Washington
  2. Miami
  3. Atlanta
  4. New York Mets
  5. Philadelphia

Actual

  1. Washington
  2. NY Mets
  3. Atlanta
  4. Miami
  5. Philadelphia

Analysis:  Much of the division aligns with my prediction after you swap Miami with the Mets.  The Mets have been surprisingly good, and the scariest part is they are young and will only get better.

As for Miami, talk about a disappointment.  If only there was a way to fire an owner…

NL Central

Predicted

  1. St. Louis
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Chicago Cubs
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Milwaukee

Actual

  1. St. Louis
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Chicago Cubs
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Milwaukee

Analysis:  I pretty much nailed this division.  I’ve actually got something right for a change.  Nothing to see here…

NL West

Predicted

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. San Francisco
  3. San Diego
  4. Arizona
  5. Colorado

Actual

  1. LA Dodgers
  2. San Francisco
  3. Arizona
  4. San Diego
  5. Colorado

Analysis:  Damn, I pretty much nailed the National League – save a swap here and there.  I guess that means I need to pay closer attention to the American League…

Soccer Making Inroads in USA

2015_FIFA_Women's_World_Cup_logo.svgWhile my family and I were vacationing in Toronto, Canada during the 4th of July weekend, we noticed scores of people at various restaurants and bars watching the Women’s World Cup final.  Not only were those Canadians watching the US women whoop Japan’s ass, most were cheering for the Americans.

That’s right, Canadians showed us Americans lots of love for our women’s soccer team.  This was a little odd considering that both countries’ women’s squads are blood rivals.

And while I marveled at the love shown by the Canadians, I was happier at the growing love that our country has shown to the women’s team – and soccer in general.

Before I proceed, let me say that I was not always a fan of soccer.  In fact, I hated it.

Lately I have found myself slowly but surely catching on to the sport, and it extends well beyond the men’s and women’s World Cups.  And if soccer is catching on with me, it’s only a matter of time before the sport captivates most of America.

The question now is how can “the world’s sport” do just that.

Before going any further, I have to acknowledge that we do have Major League Soccer.  The problem is that it lags behind European leagues such as the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Serie A.  It is considered soccer’s version of AA-ball at best.

So let’s go back to the question: how can soccer grow in popularity in the US?

First, we have to develop and nurture home-grown talent.  On the surface, it’s easier said than done because football, basketball, baseball – and to some extent hockey – are much higher on the sports totem pole in this country.  That’s the mountain MLS has to climb.

A way to solve this is simple: have the MLS clubs sponsor camps and academies on high school and college campuses.  That way, MLS clubs could easily identify and nurture talent in the US.  Hell if it wanted the MLS could also sponsor summer camps and academies for kids in grades K-8.

One more thing, those academies would be for both boys and girls.

I refuse to believe that there are not enough movers and shakers in the sports world to pull this off.  Jerry Jones, Bob Kraft, soon-to-be owner David Beckham, Warren Buffet and others could help the MLS make those soccer academies a reality.

I mean, what’s not to love about soccer on TV?  A typical soccer match consists of 45 minute halves, no commercials, one halftime, under two hours.  Talk about an awesome TV-viewing experience.

(And now that the US Men’s National Team are doing well in the CONCACAF Gold Cup [we won our group before the weekend], more momentum is heading towards soccer’s way in this country.)

I believe that soccer will eventually catch on well in the US.  In fact, I expect it to surpass baseball in a few more years.  Baseball is an old man’s game played in front of a newer generation.

I just think with more time and more open minds laced with a bit of common sense will get soccer there.  I really do.

Happy 4th of July!

We at “The Klown Times” want to wish you all a Happy and safe Fourth of July.

Remember to fire up those grills, BBQ that ass off and more importantly DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.  Oh, and be sure NOT to tune in to Joey Chestnut and those “extreme eating” freaks on Coney Island later this afternoon.  Why ESPN chooses to televise that crap is beyond me…

The Knicks’ Draft Sucked

ny-knicks-logoAt the risk of putting my health in harm’s way, I’m going to discuss my beloved New York Knicks’ draft.

My Knicks selected Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.  This was when Duke’s Justise Winslow, China’s Emmanuel Mudiay, Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein and Croatia’s Mario Hezonja were still on the board.

You read that right.  We drafted some stiff out of a remote European country when more talented prospects were available.

I wish I could say how surprised and appalled I was at the draft pick.  I wish I could be shocked at how basketball president Phil Jackson could have gotten that pick wrong.  However, that would mean I would have to forget decades of futility in the draft.

Here’s a bit of trivia for y’all.  Who was the last Knicks first-round pick that has been selected for at least one All-Star Game and All-NBA Team?  You guessed it: Patrick Ewing, class of 1985.

1985!

I was in middle school in 1985.  My Knicks had not had a meaningful player on that level in 30 friggin years!  UGH!

Yet in spite of the horrendous drafting of years’ past (Frederic Weis, anyone?), I had a modicum of hope.  Sure, we had the fourth pick in the draft, but at least there was a bevy of players that could have helped us in the draft.

Those damn Lakers drafting D’Angelo Russell?  Sure that hurt, but at least there were Winslow, Mudiay and Hezonja’s swag around that would have salvaged our draft.

Until I heard the following announcement…

“With the fourth pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select Kristaps Porzingis from Latavia.”

Oh hell no.  HELL NO.

My head fell straight to my desk.  Lots of yelled obscenities followed.  My beloved Knicks have fucked me yet again.

And yes, I know that Jackson and Co. managed to trade for Notre Dame baller Jerian Grant after said debacle.  That still didn’t make up for that horrific draft pick.

Sure, that Porzingis could turn out to be a good player.  Hell, based on his potential he could become a star in this league.

I doubt it, simply because he has the look of yet another European stiff that even my five-year-old son could post up and snag rebounds against.

As you can see, life is hard as a Knicks fan.  Why I allow those clowns to torment me and shave years off of my already short life expectancy is anyone’s guess.

Pray for me y’all…

Happy Father’s Day!

We at The Klown Times want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.  Shouts out go to the men who bust their asses in taking care of, disciplining and raising their kids – whether it be husbands, divorcees or baby daddies.  

Much respect…

Yankees Need to Honor A-Rod’s Achievements

YankeesBefore I embark on this rant, let me state the following.

While I am a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees, I am not a fan of Alex Rodriguez.  In fact, I cannot stand the man.

I do not like the fact that A-Rod had been so disingenuous with the way he conducted himself on and off the field over the last few seasons, he had become more of an “A-Fraud”.  And with the cat out of the bag on his apparent use of steroids, he has become “A-Roid” to me, not to mention a liar for denying such charges for such a long period of time.

I’ll also go a step further and express how incensed I was that the Yankees allowed A-Rod back.  Why my Yankees didn’t buy his roided ass out and move on was a mystery to me, even more so when they bid against themselves in re-signing A-Rod to that albatross of a deal.

Having said all of that, the Yankees should do the right thing and honor A-Rod’s achievements.  The team wrote clauses in his contract calling for such milestones to be rewarded by handsome bonuses.

And being a disgraced steroid cheat aside, performance enhancers does not help a player put a bat on the ball at a high level.

After all, 668 home runs is… well, 668 home runs.  And only 29 players in Major League Baseball history has at least 3,000 hits.  Those are achievements the Yankees have to honor since A-Rod’s milestones were met while wearing a Yankee uniform.

I know New York loathes A-Rod and would really prefer that he would go the hell away, but this was what the Yankees signed up for when they signed A-Rod to that ridiculous contract extension in the first place.

As for me, I feel like such a profound hypocrite while pulling for this man to help my Yankees stay in the AL East pennant chase with the Tampa Bay Rays.  What’s even worse for me to stomach is that he is the main reason why my Yankees have been doing surprisingly well this season.

God, I feel so dirty…

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