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Much like Ron Howard’s movies, Ryan Howard’s swings are hit or miss. Lately, he’s been more A Beautiful Mind than The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. If he can just get the average up, he’ll reach the pinnacle of Night Shift. However, the chances of that are the same as Chase Utley marrying a mermaid. But Philly fans are smart enough to not look at just average.  They check slugging percentages before they start chucking batteries.  Who can forget the sabermetric death threats at Mitch Williams – a BABIP of .100 couldn’t compensate for your K/BB and HR/FB ratio! What is Ryan Howard averaging more than one a game since May 1? If you guessed cheese steaks and hot dogs, you may be right. But if you guessed RBIs, you’re definitely right. As far back as mid-April, I told you he will hit 40 home runs, go out and get him no matter what his early season looks like. I told you in May, when Howard was in the midst of a terrible slump, he would go into the All-Star Break with the most home runs. Since May 1st, he’s hit 46/22/71/.258 and 68 Pork Roll sandwiches. Yum! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Vernon Wells – Hits the DL with a Grade 2 strain. Or as we called it in Grade 2, a boo-boo. He’ll be out 4-6 weeks; I’d drop him. Send your Get Well Soon cards to Toronto c/o Nobody Cares.

Richie Sexson – Was released by the Mariners. I was trying to come up with the perfect Sexson blurb, but all I kept thinking of was “Blechhhh!” So Sexson doesn’t get a blurb, he gets a burp. (BTW, I almost made him the lead, but I realized he’s been a non-story for two years. If he was the lead, his title would’ve been, “My Girl Doesn’t Like Sexson The Bumhole.”)

John Maine – He should’ve dusted the Giants like Mrs. Garrett did the Drummond household. (BTW, “Mrs.” my ass. Unless she was hitched in Hawaii to Paula Poundstone.) I can only assume the forearm cramps are bothering Maine still. Hopefully the All-Star Break gives them time to heal.

Erik Bedard – Hits the DL. But he was more or less on the DL anyway. Eff why eye, I wouldn’t be looking to grab Seattle Mariners for their 2nd half race to a 100 losses.

Moises Alou – Revealed he has a torn left hamstring. I guess peeing on his leg only made it worse. I think this might be the last we see of an Alou until his son, Shlomo, makes it to the majors in 2012.

Justin Upton – Oblique strain, but I think they’ve narrowed it down to somewhere in his abdominal.

Dustin McGowan – Tear in his rotator cuff. Punt.

Kevin Slowey – 6 ER in less than 4 IP. I said I liked him, I never said I loooooved him. For those Twins fetishists out there, I’d prefer Baker in a ball gag.

Justin Morneau – 5-for-5, someone asked in the comments if I liked him better than Atkins. I do. What else do you want me to say?! (I’ll talk more about this in Friday’s afternoon Buy/Sell. Or not! Wait and see! Or not! Actually, these “Or not”s could go on forever. Or not!)

Todd Jones – Blew a save yesterday. Guess how many that is. Go ahead. I’ll wait. *taps foot, picks nose and checks watch* Time’s up! Only his second blown save. Zumaya will see some chances soon, but I don’t know if Jones goes the way of Borowski just yet.

Aaron Harang – Placed on the 15-day DL. Strained forearm. Funny, cause he strained my patience. Supposedly he’ll be back right when his two week DL-stint is over.

Homer Bailey- Being called up to start on Saturday in place of Harang against Brewers. I’m sure the Brewers won’t mind either way.

Steven Pearce – And back down to the minors. When a team makes move as cunning as the Pirates, it’s baffling why they’ve had a losing record since 1992. It’s the Curse of Bream! Why don’t the Pirates invite Bream to Opening Day 2009 and surprise him with a clubbing? Hey, Sid, your fly’s down. Get em, boys! I’m sure Randall Simon’s available to do the clubbing.

Brandon MorrowKurt Suzuki took him deep to blow his save. When Suzuki circled the bases, from the way he was smiling, you would’ve thought he just won the World Series, except for the tumbleweeds blowing through the stands.

Dave Bush – 8 IP, 13 Ks, 0 ER, 3 H and one of the best starts of the year. His home/road splits are big enough to take a flier on him when he’s at home, right? I can’t make a ball gag joke and tell you to stay away from Bush in the same post, can I? Am I secure enough in my testes? As Lupe Fiasco might say, “Kick, Bush.”

Zach Greinke/Mark Buehrle/Jeremy Guthrie – Guys I have on quite a few teams. One team, all three — 21 1/3 IP, 19 Ks, 2 ER, .85 WHIP, Zero Wins. I think I’ve been Greinke’d!

Howie Kendrick – I went to a concert last night, so I missed some stuff, but when I came home and saw Kendrick hit two home runs, a few things that passed through my mind, 1. Why did the Rangers bring the outfield in in the 2nd and 5th innings? 2. Did they let Kendrick bat from 2nd base? 3. Why was Corey Feldman pitching for the Rangers? 4. Could I hit a home run in Arlington?  5. Have the Rangers considered a humidor? 6. I went to high school with a kid by the name of Howie. He has more Myspace friends than me. 7. Did they let Kendrick use an aluminum bat? 8. Howie Kendrick is like a poor man’s Polanco. So if Keppinger is Blanco Polanco, what does that make Kendrick? 9. Could ten things actually pass through my mind about Kendrick hitting 2 HRs? 10. Yup.

From Around The Web

  1. wakeNbake says:
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    which side of this trade do ya like Grey?…. Tulo, Scott Baker, Lilly for Chris Davis, Oswalt and SP Chris Young.

    Also how do you feel about Tulo once he comes back? Think hell produce?

  2. wakeNbake says:
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    never mind that last trade. He re-offered me Baker,Lilly,Tulo for Jered Weaver, Chris Davis and Nolasco. Id be receiving the Baker side.

    Same question about Tulo tho.

  3. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    Attention JJ Hardy owners: I finally pulled the trigger on the logical but unpalatable Torres-for-Hardy swap. Now that I own Hardy he will go stone cold. I apologize in advance.

    But I traded Torres for Hardy. Then I dropped Aviles and picked up Zumaya. You see what I did there? Let me show you again, slowly. Trade Junky Closer ™ of today. Pick up Junky Closer ™ of tomorrow. It’s like buying some cheap sunglasses for $5, then looking down on the ground and seeing $5 lying there.

  4. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: P. to the S.: All of this was made possible because I picked up Marte*. Eyes to the ground, people! There’s money everywhere!

    *Which was made possible by reading Razzball. Another satisfied customer!

    P. to the P. to the S.: Grey, it may be time to start a “Denard Span Nickname Contest,” given he went 4/4 with 2 R, 1 RBI and a swipe last night. Opening entries:

    “Wing”
    “Attention”
    “C-“

  5. BSA says:
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    Pitchers in free agency – Dave Bush, Clay Buchholz, and FUHarang – will the top pitching free agent pickup please step forward?

  6. Denys says:
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    Why is Paul Maholm teasing me lately? That prick! I know the moment I pick him up for a spot start he gets shelled for 7+ runs… this sucks, I’m tempted with Bedard on the DL.

  7. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @wakeNbake: There may be dissenters but I like that trade for you. I think picking up Tulo now on the cheap is smart. Baker is a very good pitcher this year (maybe my favorite in this trade), and Lilly is usable despite the occasional spankings. The Cubs are winning and a rising tide lifts all ships, so Lilly stands to sail toward 15 wins.* This may be a lost season for Oswalt and Chris Davis is a big unknown. It’s pretty even on both sides but I like your side the best.

    @BSA: Hate to say it, but Harang. Bush is the biggest tock-cease in baseball. He’s been doing this act for three years. If you want to pick him up and start him only at home, be my guest. Bucky has lots of promise but he hasn’t done anything this year. You have time to watch and wait and see how he does tonight against Baltimore. But even if he dominates, be warned that he’ll be up and down. Next year is the year for Sir Buckminster Clayfeet**.

    @Denys: Paul Maholm? Really? Why are you thinking of spot-starting any Pirates pitcher? Are we living in Krazy World? The minute you pick him up he’ll get shelled for 7+ runs. Oh, wait — you knew that already.

    @ Slowey v. Baker, aka Smarts v. Stuff.

    This is what happens when Smarts gets in a jam: “Hmmm. Okay. Maybe if I throw the off-speed on the outside corner, then come back with the same, then bust him inside with a slider, he’ll think I’m going to go up with the fastball, all right, here goes — oops. Well, that didn’t work.”

    This is what happens when Stuff gets in a jam: “Tailing fastball. Again. Again. Again. Again. Now throw hammer. Hey, he grounded out. Yay!”

    And that’s one to grow on.

    *Metaphor ahoy!
    **what?

  8. wakeNbake says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Check my second post , he re-offered me a trade. Waht you think of that one

  9. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @wakeNbake: I like that one even better for you. I’m not a big Weaver-believer. Or Nolasco. I’d rather have both Baker and Lilly over Weaver and Nolasco, and I think Tulo for Davis is a good swap for you.

  10. wakeNbake says:
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    nice thats what I was thinkin… thanks

  11. BSA says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins:
    I’m going to risk Harang going through waivers since my competition all picks after me and as the season goes on I like that positioning over Harang because you never know. I’ll be moving Shef for either Harang or Konerko. I have enough rookie ups and downs in Cueto.

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @wakeNbake: I’d want your side of that Baker/Lilly trade, but not by much. Tulo looked like he was about to come around right when he chipper’d his hand. I think he’ll be worth having in the Colorado summer.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Great trade. I did a similar thing in my ‘pert league. I just traded Fuentes/F-Cord for Ellsbury. I had recently picked up Marte and in that league I’ve snagged Wheeler, Rauch, Fuentes, etc. making the trade possible.

    Can’t emphasis it enough, trade your closers. They’re a dime a dozen.

    re: Denard — C-?

    @BSA: Harang. We hate because we love. He shouldn’t be dropped.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: You’re right on the money about smarts v. stuff.

  13. wakeNbake says:
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    @Grey: who do you think will have a better second half Lilly or Oswalt?

  14. scott says:
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    Buccholz’s home splits are sick…even while he was suckin’ early in the season. I’m gonna give him the kiss of death and start’em tonite. Hey, why not, the kid’s got a new arm slot!
    Query: would you guys drop Slowey for Wolf’s home start? It’s likely someone will pick up slowey and he will become dead to me.

  15. BSA says:
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    @Grey: He was dropped once and picked off waivers. Now that person dropped him for Pelfry. What’s waiver wire philosophy? Is he worth dropping to the bottom of waiver picks?

  16. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: Yeah, I should have pulled the trigger earlier, I would have got the Hardy homer last night. Though Aviles hit one in there somewhere too, and has actually been pretty good. But an upgrade’s an upgrade.

    Denard “C” Span! What, you never watch live coverage of democracy in action?

    @scott: I’m not a big fan of dropping a useful pitcher for a spot start. Slowey is better than Wolf going forward. That said, I’m not a big Slowey fan either.

    I’m surprised there’s not more talk about Hiroki Karaoke on here. Is he generally owned in most leagues? He sat and sat in our league until someone finally buckled. He’s not glamorous, but I think he’s a better choice than a lot of the pitchers who get named here, e.g. Slowey, Wolf, Ma-freaking-holm.

    @wakeNbake: I’m just going to butt in here and say Lilly. I see an injury shutdown on the horizon for Oswalt. Pitchers have Lost Seasons. This could be one of them. Lilly’s underrated. He’ll get Ws, and he’ll get Ks. In the words of Grey, What, you don’t like Ks?

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @wakeNbake: I don’t go out of my way to acquire pitchers that have injuries. I don’t want Oswalt this year. Usually it’s a no-brainer in the inverse. Now put down the pipe and go look up what I mean.

    @scott: I’d go with Wolf.

    @BSA: Well, obviously I don’t know how deep your league is, but Harang should be held or picked up. I tend to talk about ten team leagues, but I guess I could see him dropped in an 8 team league. Ten or higher? Nah, I’m picking Harang up.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Still don’t get the C-Span reference.

    re: Karaoke — I mentioned him four days ago. I drafted him in a ten team league. He should be owned in leagues. If for no other reason, he’s a Dodgers pitcher. Are you scared of the Giants matchup or the Padres? Maybe it’s the Rox in Dodgers stadium.

  18. scott says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Yeah, I know I’ve already had Wolf and dropped him earler. He had some very good home starts for me but I think he’s likely to be traded and then his one redeeming quality will vanish (unless he gets traded to Oak-town, which is not likely). The bottom line is, I think I’m falling out of love with Slowey and I’m looking for an excuse to drop’em. I just picked up J. Johnson based upon his performance last night. Maybe I drop Slowey, pick up Wolf for the spot start and then drop him for the position player I need to back up Uncle Miltie. Right now I have Hawpe backing up Uncle Milties in my utility position and he’s not doing it for me. Thome is still out there….maybe he is the answer.

  19. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: No, I like Karaoke. I’m just surprised he doesn’t get more play on the board here, especially post-near-perfecto.

    I didn’t pick him up because he doesn’t K enough hitters, and I like my current 5 Pack — Hamels, Lackey, Cain, Baker and Cueto — and I’m all about the high K pitchers. (Even if someone gets spanked, they still tend to rack up a few Ks, so they’re not killing you in every category. Plus, every IP that goes by without a K is a lost opportunity if you have an IP max.)

    C-Span: You know, that free channel that shows the government.

    http://www.c-span.org/

    You should check it out, it’s exactly as totally boring as you think it will be.

    @scott: The Wolf-spot-start strategy seems solid enough. Like I said, I say no-eey to Slowey. Also, I can confidently say that Thome is not the answer to any question worth asking, unless your league is Jules Verne-deep.

  20. Hank

    Hank says:
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    @Grey: C-Span, commercial free entertainment!

  21. scott says:
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    @ Baron — Agreed about Thome…maybe LaRoche….BTW, I vote for “short-attention” Span cause he’s not long for that lineup….

  22. Hank

    Hank says:
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    @scott: “Buccholz’s home splits are sick” This comment is disturbing, maybe it’s b/c Clay is a only an aki short of being Clay BukakiHolz.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Hank: Then it would be his home spits are sick.

  24. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: This explains why you don’t participate in any Fantasy Congress Leagues.

    @scott: Definitely LaRoche over Thome. I’ve been trying to find an excuse to pick up LaRoche myself, but right now I’m not going to play him ahead of Morneau or my Rotating Util Squad: Davis, Swisher, Frenchy, etc. I may live to regret that though.

    I just wonder which LaRoche we’ll get this year: 30+ HR ’06 version, or 21 HR last year version. For all his vaunted splits, he still only hit 8 donks post-All Star last year, which is the definition of yawnstipating.*

    *Yes, I realize I am talking you/me out of LaRoche. I think he’s worth a flyer, though, over Thome. With Thome, you know what you get: Occasional HRs. Long stretches of Mendoze quality average. Hamstring pulls.

  25. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: Correct. C-Span.

    This joke gets funnier and funnier the more I explain it.

  26. scott says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: My guess is the latter with LaRoche…PNC is probably not as hitter friendly as Turner Field and he’s hitting sixth in a weaker lineup.
    @ Grey — a “Man With A ‘Stache” doesn’t give a fark what Congress is doing…

  27. Nick says:
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    Based on your last post regarding closers I’m under the impression you would drop Torres for either Gonzalez or Marte…?

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: As we’re aware, it becomes funny again. It just takes a while.

    @Nick: I don’t drop closers. Anyone getting saves I’ll have on my team. I would try and trade Torres.

  29. Zebo says:
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    @Grey: so, you know on a night I decide to play Laroche instead of Chris Davis, what do they do? Laroche goes 0fer, Davis is 4 for 6 with 2 doubles. I hate fantasy baseball.

  30. wakeNbake says:
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    How do you feel about Jered Weaver Grey? Im thinking of trading him because he has horrible matchups after the break. He gets the Yanks and Redsox alot. Do you like him or say Vazquez for the second half?

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Zebo: That’s why I try and trade excess hitters.

    @wakeNbake: Not a fan of Weaver, prefer Javy to him, yup.

  32. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: I agree about the excess hitters. I keep a few interesting options on the bench, but I won’t rotate on a regular basis. It will drive you insane.

    Fortunately, I had Davis in my lineup last night! Unfortunately, he was beating up on my man Lackey. Fortunately, Lackey left with a 4-run lead! Unfortunately, the Angels blew the lead. Glurk.

    Cain @ Cubs today… Baker @ Detroit tomorrow…

    Start one? Both? I’m still slightly over in IP. The Wind in Wrigley’s making me nervous, after what it did to Lilly yesterday. And Detroit seems to be swinging the bats well.

  33. doooochs for dye straight up…whaddya think?

  34. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @danimal35: Fair trade that is a needs thing. If you need an OF, it works and if you need a SP, it works. Personally, I want Dye.

  35. Denys says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Dude has 4 quality starts in a row… Yanks, Brewers, Reds, and Jays… to go along with 2 wins.

    I went ahead and grabbed him. Probably won’t start him unless he’s playing the Reds so I can get at least 4 Ks out of Bruce.

  36. BKK says:
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    I can’t believe this. I traded A-Gonz and The Riot for Renteria and Fielder, I traded Bruce to get O-Hud. And for fun I offered a guy Renteria, Hudson and Helton for Reyes and A-Soriano. He accepted! My league doesn’t veto, but I’m thinking they might on this one.

  37. @Grey: thanks grey…i’m on the dye side…seriously this site rocks…more baseball knowledge here then on all the major sports sites combined

  38. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @BKK: Uh, I’m no veto fan, but they should veto that trade. Or you should look for a different league. Winning a league against guys who make trades like that is like Kramer beating up the 12-year-olds in karate class.

    @Denys: Good luck, friend! I hope Maholm serves you well.

    @Grey: D’oh! Just got back to my computer and the Cain game is already underway. So…. go Cain! He did two-hit the cubbies last time out. In SF.

  39. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BKK: I agree with Baron. It’s fun to win, but it also should involve a challenge.

  40. BKK says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: @Grey: I was expecting to get a counter-offer. I had tired to join the RCL but I was considered a lurker at that point and pork punted my entry. No harm, no foul. This is actually my first year playing fantasy baseball, this league is a bunch of guys in office. Hockey is more our style, living in the Great White North, but I really like how fantasy baseball works, it has so many stats, factors, and players. I finished 7th in the hockey pool but I am kicking their ____ in baseball. There is no money involved in this pool unlike our hockey pools. I’d like to join a baseball roto league next year.

    I almost didn’t make the post because, I am almost ashamed of the deal.

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BKK: Now that I know it’s a friends league, I say great for you. Bragging rights excuse everything. Except if you’re bragging about sleeping with a guy’s sister. There’s no excuse for that.

  42. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @BKK: Great White North, BKK? Whereabouts? I hail originally from Toronto. In a related story, hail hails originally from the sky.

    Don’t mean to be harsh on the league thing. You can only play as well as you can; you can’t protect other people from dumb mistakes. You offer, they accept; that’s how it goes.

    I imagine next season there will be a few Razz-branded leagues to take all comers.

    The RCL right now is pretty interesting, ’cause you’ve got a mish-mash of people who are accustomed to H2H, shallow leagues, keeper leagues, etc. I like to imagine it’s some sort of Kumate blood-circle where all the masters of different disciplines clash, though I think in reality it’s more like a bunch of people who don’t speak the same language competing in some crazy road rally, a la Cannonball Run.

  43. Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: Struck out the side in the first. That’s a good sign.

  44. cruisinkc says:
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    Who will be better in the 2nd half… Liriano or Baker?

  45. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Baron

    You’ve also got teams in the RCL who’s hitters don’t know the meaning of the word.*

    i.e. Me

    * The word “hit” that is, not the Bible.

  46. BKK says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Grew up south of Hamilton near Lake Erie. Currently reside in Winterpeg, aka Winnipeg. I’ve never seen hail like we get here. Weather on the prairies is wild.

    I’m sure I’ll take a crack at one the RCL leagues next year. I was really looking forward to being in a deep league, it makes you have to work harder, if Furcal goes down and you can go to the WW to pick up JJ Hardy, what skill is there in that. Finding those stopgap gems like Aviles or Hairston or forcing you to figure out a trade to get you through DL stint.

    I didn’t say anything at the time but when Grey commented on the teams I liked your team and CrusinKC’s personally. Seems like your both doing well. The reason I liked KC’s is because he had many of the same players I have.

    @Grey: Ya, there is lots of banter in the office. It’s pretty fun. But because we wanted to keep it simple, we didn’t play roto thinking some of the dumba* wouldn’t get it. So we have this crazy points league, we get points for everything. Its fun having the big scores, I’m averaging about 80 pts a night.

    * See Urban Dictionary.

  47. BSA says:
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    @Grey: Comment #12 – Let me tell you the story of “Right Hand, Left Hand.” It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate: It was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love: These five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: Static. One hand is always fighting the other hand; and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But, hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right. Ooh, it’s the devastating right and Hate is hurt, he’s down. Left-Hand Hate K.O.ed by Love.
    –couldn’t let that one slip by.

  48. john says:
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    @Grey: Yea or Nea on Parra tonight against the Reds?…His streak lately makes me think he’s about to blow up and the amount of walks he’s been giving up tells me its bound to happen soon.

  49. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BSA: That’s hilarious.

    @john: I’d have more doubts if they were in Cincy, I’m starting Parra tonight.

    *******Take follow ups to the newest post. Thanks.

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