We’ve reached it folks, the All-Star break. Though not really the halfway point of the season, it’s a good time to assess our teams and start thinking about how to make the final push for championship glory. Use this in tandem with Grey’s list of top-100 for the second half. I’m writing this assuming Grey is writing his. While Grey is quite the dependable guy, I don’t fully trust that mustache. Shhh. Wait, is it staring at me? Quick, hide! Does it see me? I think it hears us. I’m getting the ef out of here bro. You go left, I’ll go right. If I don’t ever see you again, let Grey know that Braun has a great line of shavers and trimmers, as stated here.

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Maybe you’re with me, maybe you’re against me on this one, but the MLB All-Star game is an idea that should be buried alongside B.J. Upton, New Coke, Bic Disposable Underwear, and the XFL. He hate me because I hate the All-Star game. Home field in the World Series, whether it comes down to the Tigers and Cardinals or the Red Sox and the Braves, should not be determined by a matchup between Steve Delabar and Marco Scutaro. Also, it’s fans like this voting guys in, so the teams are not really the “best of the best” to begin with. Yet they are allowed to affect actual teams in real games? Only Bob Costas loves to hear, “Ladies and gentlemen, warming up in the American League bullpen, Brett Cecil!” I look forward to the day when my son tugs on my shirtsleeve and says, “Daddy, tell me the story again how Jason Castro popped up to second in the All-Star game.” And I will turn to him and say, “I have a son? Did your mother work at Applebee’s in 2008?” It’s time we just bury Bud Selig and his “it counts” t-shirt alongside Chris Berman and his Hair in a Can. The All-Star game doesn’t count, it sucks. Bud and Boomer, the people don’t care. Television ratings for the game have been down every year and last year’s game had the worst ever with a 6.8 rating. Know what pulls in those kind of numbers? Sharknado. There must be a way to work that into the Razzball glossary. Erasmo Ramirez sharknado’d my ERA this week!” Not sure, but that phrase may have already jumped the… *now back to our regularly scheduled rant* The first televised All-Star game in 1967 pulled in a 25.6 rating. Keep in mind that in 1967 there was one nationally televised baseball game a week, smoking was good for you and a kid’s favorite toy was Hasbro’s Stick with a Nail in it. Times, they are changin’. Sing it Zimmy.

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By now you’ve probably seen Giancarlo Stanton in ESPN’s magazine completely naked. Coincidentally, I looked at the pictures completely naked. Did I say looked? I meant took with a telephoto lens. In all seriousness, I know ESPN loves to copy other people’s successes, but if they’re going to blatantly try to do an equivalent of SI’s swimsuit issue, can they at least do a bikini issue or a thong issue or a Brazilian wax issue? Does the majority of their audience have any interest in seeing guys naked, showing their muscles? If I did, I’d subscribe to Men’s Fitness or Playgirl. I mean, for serious, who do they think is buying their magazine? Wait, a bigger question, who even buys magazines? Any the hoo! So far Giancarlo hasn’t been the hot butter slicing through a fat man’s veins that we’ve come to expect. He had a near-pulling a Kotchman hamstring injury where he went from fundamental crawling to fundamental running to fundamental running away from me as he exited the shower. It was all very tedious, but he’s healthy now and simply slumping. If he can get over the hump with my help, there’s very few players that could have the type of 2nd half Giancarlo is capable of. You can count on one hand the guys capable of a 25+ homer 2nd half. Giancarlo would be the player sitting on my thumb. At this point, a down season seems impossible to avoid, but 30 homers overall wouldn’t surprise me. That means 22 more. 35 homers would surprise me, but it wouldn’t be out of the question. I’d absolutely buy him, and I hear you can get him cheap. What? I’ve been inquiring. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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If you were to tell me that you knew the type of year Chris Davis was going to have, I would have laughed at your face and then, immediately after, with a stern demeanor, called shenanigans sir. As of this writing, he has hit 33 homeruns, tying his previous career high. To put that into context, this is second week of July ladies and gentlemen. Probably more gentlemen in this case, much to my chagrin. We always knew the power was there, no question. In fact, that was the only skill we thought he possessed, and more specifically, that is the only skill that we continued to dream upon drafting him all these years, always wishing, hoping for more. You see, the story of Chris Davis was quite different, just as recent as last season, and even as far back as 2009. I’m not going to bore you with this story, because we all know it. He was a highly touted prospect in the Rangers system, with that one skill everyone loves — raw power. He didn’t quite live up to expectations, but still offered 20 homeruns with lousy rate stats. That was who he was. That was who he was going to be. So say you. So say me. So say the stat page. So say we all.

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Over the past few months we have jammed and crammed our way through players that have added some pop (Adam Lind, Raul Ibanez), some saves (Koji Uehara, Jose Veras) and some steals (Juan Pierre, Peter Bourjos) to our fake baseball rosters. Let’s forget my mention of Jackie Bradley Jr in week one okay? Thanks. But I have not always been a Razzballin’ Guru. In a former life I spent my working hours spinning the radio hits. Think Backstreet Boys and other boy band classics. *BBLLAARRGGHH!!* Just threw up in my mouth a little. The music may have sucked, but the payola was great! i.e. See The Guru’s swimming pool/pool table courtesy of Tower Records. However, most of my time on the dial revolved around rock radio. Think AC/DC, Metallica, Guns ‘n Roses and some occasional Motorhead. The problem was my share of program directors never appreciated my love for Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking, live sheep in the studio, the lesbian dating game or UFO guitar solos. All things I was fired for doing. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, “radio is a shallow money trench where good men die like dogs.” But I’d still argue morning drinking builds character and one of the greatest guitar solos of all-time has to be the plank spanking in UFO’s “Rock Bottom” (check it out around the 3:30 mark). I’m sure Eddie Trunk would agree. This week let’s look at some jammer/crammers stuck to the underside of your waiver wire Chuck Taylor’s. They are the barely owned cast-offs, the red-headed step children, the “Lobster Boy-Alive” fantasy freaks of our baseball world. They will fit perfectly on my team. *cracks another Pabst* We have officially hit rock bottom. Time to jam it or cram it.

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Let’s start with an SAT question as old as this world that we call Planet Earth, assuming the SATs were around thousands of years ago when man was staying warm by humping a Buysellatops until they were feeling bi and sore. Which number doesn’t belong: A) 21.4% B) 21.7% C) There’s no C. D) 5.7%. If you answered C, I hope your folks are rich so you can get into an accredited college. Just think, after you graduate you can put Harvard on your resume just like everyone else new to the workforce. If you answered A because it’s the only even number, you’re overthinking; odds and evens is something you can forget after elementary school unless you plan on working the roulette table. If you answered B, because it’s the only B, at least you can get your pants on in the morning. They are on backwards though. If you answered D, you’re right. Those are Matt Kemp‘s last three years of homers per fly ball. 5.7% is silly bad. Last year that would’ve put him in the company of Alexei Ramirez and Michael Young. If there was no offseason shoulder surgery for Matt Kemp, that number alone would mean Kemp is a huge buy low. Of course, there was the surgery and his home run distance is down. He’s not driving the ball as far as he has in previous years. So, as I said in this week’s fantasy baseball podcast, I’m buying Kemp for the first time in about two years. I’m only buying him because his value is so low. I’m not buying him for 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th, 5th round talent. I’d want a discount, but I’d still buy. Look at a guy like Justin Upton last year. He was nursing an injury, then hit 9 homers in the last six weeks of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kemp do something similar. He could easily regain some strength as the season progresses and hit 17-20 homers in the final two months with 15 steals. He’s still a risky play because of the injuries, but for the right price, I’m buying. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Jump in the Guru’s Hot Tub Time Machine and join me as we take a short spin through the space-time continuum back to the year 2000. *wavy lines wavy lines* Hey, what the hell’s going on? What’s that big balloon thingy? Ooohhhh, its 1937, my bad. Everyone back in the hot tub. Oh, the humanity. *more wavy lines* I want to welcome you all to the year 2000. They promised us Jetson cars and replicant strippers, but all we got was Creed and Battlefield Earth. No wonder crystal meth became so popular. Another popular pharmaceutical was anabolic steroids. And baseball was up to its shrunken testicles in it. At the end of the 2000 season, 46 MLB players had belted 30 or more home runs. 15 players hit 40 or more. And Sammy Sosa hit 50. Lo siento Sammy, pero tienen pechos! Now everyone back in the El Camino hot tub before we hear “Smooth” again. Wait! Year 2000 JayWrong, bet a bundle on the Yankees in 5. Your future self will thank me. *yet more wavy lines* Probably would have been easier to just search all this online, but I was afraid Y2K might mess up all this important data. Taking a look at last year’s numbers only 26 players hit 30 or more home runs and only six hit 40 or more. Miguel Cabrera led the league with 44. Sammy Sosa hit 0. But he did win 205 pesos at a Dominican cock fight. ¡Viva! In 2013, according to ZiPS projections for the rest of the year, only 20 players will hit 30 or more home runs. Two players, Cabrera and Chris Davis, may reach 40. Commissioner Bud has officially pulled the plug on all the long ball fun. We got an official power shortage y’all. So, with homers in short supply, let’s head to the waiver wire and take a look at some potential power hitters. Either that or we can take the hot tub again and kidnap George Foster. Time to jam it or cram it.

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Okay, sue me for Safecoexual Erasment, but I need some Erasmo Ramirez right now. Who is stopping him? Joe Saunders, The Harangutan or is it Jeremy Bonderman? Whips and chains excite me, but Bonderman does absolutely nothing for me. The tantric Mariners will eventually succumb to an Erasm. They have to. They are pleasure seekers like all of us fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!). Ewww, just got the shudders talking about my mom with all of these double entendres. “Grey, your moostasha is full, but I don’t like this dirty word talk!” That’s my mom fresh off the boat from Sicily. Ramirez has an under 2 BB/9 and over 9 K/9 in Triple-A this year, and he’s not an out of the blue pitcher or without major league seasoning. Last year with the M’s, he threw 59 IP with a 3.36 ERA and an even 1.00 WHIP. There was even talk he’d start the year in the Mariners rotation, until he got injured. He’s fully healthy right now and blowing people away, biding his time for entry into the M’s rotation. Looking for that pitcher that could be this year’s Kris Medlen? Look no further! Unless, of course, you’re looking about 3 inches short of your computer screen, then look a little further. What does the Buysellatops think? It doesn’t think; it’s a dinosaur! I realize Erasmo pronounced backwards is, “I’m sorry,” but he won’t disappoint. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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This is me jumping on the Yasiel Puig bandwagon. Well, technically, I don’t jump. I float. Why? Wait, are you asking why I float or why I’m getting on the bandwagon? It’s pretty obvious why I float, so I’m going to assume you want to know why I’m on that there wagon. For the free web hits of course. There is a certain amount of Puigmania going on pretty much everywhere in the known universe, and especially on Uranus. Every time he comes up to bat, a samurai rescues seven kittens from that one ninja dude who cuts off their heads when someone masturbates. But this former Cuban outfielder represents an important case study in both his perceived value and his actual value. As always, we’ll be exploring these concepts. That is, after all, the normal Bear/Bull treatment. And based on the Puigmania, I sense that everyone is chomping at the bits about what to do with this guy, if anything. I promise the fact he’s already referred to as ManBearPuig will have no bearing on my decision. Maybe.

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We are halfway through the fantasy season and it’s another week, another closepocalypse. Didn’t Smokey predict this back in March?! Andrew Bailey’s job was outsourced, Jose Valverde was sent packing, Heath Bell is absolutely stuffed and the Mariners closer by committee is as uncertain as a child’s bottom. That’s a straight up Ulysses quote my literate homies. SAGNOF! While in the real baseball world it has become quite obvious that saves are overrated, in our fake baseball world closers are one of those necessary evils. Kind of like root canals and prostate exams. Fortunately, I get both taken care of at the same place. One-stop shopping. Thanks ObamaCare! While closers can be a pain in the fanny perpendicular, I’m not one to punt a category. Even one as frustrating as the save. Who invented this dastardly stat? Apparently the dean of baseball beat writer’s, Jerome Holtzman is to blame. He invented the save in 1959. There wasn’t much to do in the late 50’s except “like Ike” and cower in the bomb shelter with a tin of beans and a deck of nudie cards. According to Razzball historian Paulie Allnuts, the very next year the term “Sagnoff” was first uttered by one Winston Greystone Albright II after drafting Moe Drabowsky with his first pick in the inaugural drunken fantasy draft at The White Horse Tavern in New York’s West Village. An ‘ol fashioned donnybrook soon ensued, but not a mustache was harmed according to reports. Thanks Paulie. This week let’s run down some candidates for saves that just could mean the difference between fantasy glory and fantasy defeat. Time to jam it or cram it. Dr. Pfister, I’m ready for my… Do you really need to wear the dive watch?

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