DIY Pumpkin Keg
Why would anyone want to make a keg out of a pumpkin you ask? Because they can, and so can you. Get to it.Tweet
NBA Stories to Watch
The NBA season is getting underway and basketball fans can obsess over various storylines. Here’re a few I’ll be keeping tabs on this season.
Can Greg Oden and Michael Beasley contribute in Miami?
The defending champs haven’t had much in the way of cap space over the past three seasons. In the offseason Miami cut the oft-injured Mike Miller and made a pair of low-risk, potential high-reward signings. Beasley is a proven scorer who has traditionally preferred weed and tattoos to playing defense. After burning out in Minnesota and Phoenix, Beasley is back with the team that made him the #2 overall pick in the 2008 draft. Beasley should give coach Erik Spoelstra another big wing on the second unit and may even allow LeBron James and Dwyane Wade the chance to hit the bench simultaneously on occasion. If Beasley can steer clear of South Beach he could offer Miami a dynamic scorer off the bench to pair with Ray Allen.Pin It Tweet
Bad Tattoo of the Week: World Series Edition
Jonny Gomes has gained cult hero status in Boston for stealing a homeless man’s beard and gluing it to his chin and exhibiting the range of a fire hydrant in left field. He also has a terrible tattoo; that’s either an underwater scene (nice seashell big guy) or an attempt to recreate Slim Goodbody.Pin It Tweet
Can Someone Please Get Mike Napoli Out?
My theme for this World Series: Can someone, anyone, get Mike Napoli out?
The Detroit Tigers were burned repeatedly by the Boston first baseman. The Cardinals’ keystone cops act in the first inning of Game One of the World Series resulted in the Red Sox loading the bases for… who else? Napoli. The former Angels and Rangers slugger quickly obliged with a three run double to left field that left Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma feeling even smaller than his .548 OPS. (He didn’t fare well in the Cards’ 4-2 win last night, but you get the drift.)
After signing what appeared to be a three-year $39 million contract in the offseason, then settling for a one-year incentive laden $5 million contract after a degenerative hip condition was discovered during a physical, Napoli has been a vital cog in a Red Sox lineup that has an unnatural ability to deliver with runners in scoring position. I’m pretty sure Daniel Nava (.356 BABIP) is a wizard and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.372 BABIP) sold his soul to Satan. Napoli has rebounded from a disastrous 2012 campaign in Texas that saw his batting average drop 93 points and his OPS sink to .812 from a career-high 1.042 in 2011.Pin It Tweet
Theo Epstein’s World Series Nightmare
The 2013 World Series matchup of the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Boston Red Sox features two of baseball’s more storied franchises and annoying fan bases. Between the Cardinals faithful droning on about being the “best fans in baseball” and their Boston counterparts serenading us with “Sweet Caroline” in the seventh inning stretch, World Series viewers will feel dirty in the morning. It beats having the insufferable Yankees in the Fall Classic but not by much. But if you think this World Series is going to annoy the holy hell out of you just imagine being in Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein’s shoes.
Cardinals vs. Red Sox is Epstein’s worst nightmare. It’s everything he wants to be versus everything he used to be. As Chicago searches for a new manager, and a winning record, Epstein’s lasting image of the 2013 season will be either the rival Cardinals or his former employers celebrating with champagne showers.Pin It Tweet
MLB’s Best Values of 2013
The debate over who should win the MVP and Cy Young awards will pick up steam as baseball’s thrilling postseason approaches its conclusion. The pro-Mike Trout crowd will drone on about Miguel Cabrera’s defensive shortcomings and the pro-Cabrera crowd will crow about the Angels’ disappointing record. The word “valuable” means different things to different people, and that’s okay. I’m less interested in the silly MVP debate and more concerned with celebrating Major League Baseball’s best values.
As for real value, no one tops Trout. The Angels paid the second-year outfielder just $510,000 in 2013. It would be a princely sum for most of us but is a pittance when compared to Trout’s on-field contributions. The 21-year-old All Star led all of MLB with a WAR of 9.2. The merits of WAR are debated ad nauseam but there is no coincidence that Trout has led all big leaguers in Wins Above Replacement in each of his two seasons. He’s a great player, and fun to watch regardless of where he finishes in the MVP balloting. The Angels have Trout under team control through the 2017 season.Pin It Tweet
Cubs’ Prospects Head to the Desert
The Joe Girardi sweepstakes figures to command the attention of the Cubs’ front office and Chicago headlines for the next few weeks. Girardi’s potential hiring could bode well for the Cubs’ future but the performance of several key prospects in the Arizona Fall League may be even more important.
The Cubs jettisoned manager Dale Sveum immediately upon the completion of the 2013 season reportedly due to Sveum’s relationship, or lack thereof, with the team’s young stars. Theo Epstein and company made the decision that Sveum wasn’t the right man to oversee the continued development of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, let alone the team’s quartet of impact prospects (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler.)Pin It Tweet
Baltimore Orioles Arizona Fall League Preview
As the MLB playoffs rage on and Baltimore sports fans turn their attentions away from the diamond and towards the gridiron a group of young Orioles will take to the desert to stake their claim to a 2014 roster spot. The Orioles have assigned eight prospects to the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League. Henry Urrutia and Jonathan Schoop headline the Orioles’ contributions to the Saguaros and both could make a statement in the AFL regarding their readiness to contribute in Baltimore next season.Pin It Tweet
Orioles Wrap Up: Glass Half Full Edition
Last week I went on a bit of a rant about the Baltimore Orioles’ continued failings with runners in scoring position and their collapse in Tampa during the season’s penultimate weekend. I suggested that the time for a more measured look back on the season lurked somewhere in the future. Today, following the Pittsburgh Pirates’ triumphant return to Postseason baseball, I’m ready to look on the bright side when it comes to the O’s.
Missing out on the playoffs stinks but it doesn’t come close to rising to the malodourous level of finishing under .500 for 14 seasons. The Orioles put together an amazing run in 2012 that will stick with me forever. Attending Game One of last season’s ALDS in Camden Yards gave my family memories that no amount of blown saves or runners left on base can erase. Watching the crowd in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night made me grateful for the Orioles’ successes of the past two seasons and hopeful for the future. I’d even consider rooting for the Pirates this month if I weren’t so sure that most of those fans who packed PNC Park have Terrible Towels in their trunks.Pin It Tweet
Cubs’ Sveum Was Hired to be Fired
The Chicago Cubs made it official on Monday when President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein announced that manager Dale Sveum was relieved of his duties. Epstein’s announcement ended weeks of speculation regarding Sveum’s status and brought a close to the latest disappointing chapter in Cubs’ history. Sveum went just 127-197 in his two seasons at the helm in Chicago and drew criticism from fans and media for the way he handled young players Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Darwin Barney.
The firing of Sveum shouldn’t come as a shock to any avid Cubs follower. The 2013 team was never expected to compete for the playoffs but the on-field regression of assumed franchise cornerstones like Castro and Rizzo ultimately led to Sveum’s demise. The Cubs don’t figure to be big players in free agency (sorry Robinson Cano) this winter meaning that the next wave of talent will be coming from the minor league system that Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer have spent the last two years stocking with quality prospects. The struggles of Castro and Rizzo, and Sveum’s responsibility for those struggles, has cost the manager the chance to manage the next generation of Cubs’ stars.Pin It Tweet