As the seminal prog band Emerson, Lake and Laura Palmer once sang: “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside.” (The song went on for 45 minutes before ‘Yes’ came out and kicked their ass.) Opening day is here and the Razzball Lounge is open for bid’ness. Have a seat, grab a cold one and a pickled egg, and don’t get hypnotized by my bedazzled turban my fantasy freaks. Here in the lounge we dedicated, often celebrated, and usually acquitted (we have a great legal team) Razzballin’ scribes gather every opening day to bicker and banter, indulge and imbibe and moan and marvel at our fantasy teams and Grey’s magnificent ‘stache. On this last lazy Sunday (before things get serious) we find Sky in a dark corner slowing rocking back and forth muttering his mantra of “Tulo, Tanaka, Trumbo” over and over. Bellying up to the bar is podcasting paladin Nick Capozzi, clad only in his Expos throwback demanding another Labatts, showing off pics of his rolling Razzball ride and asking no one in particular, “Get your 32in32in32 tickets yet, eh?” Dropping quarters in the jukebox we find Jay Wrong demonstrating his “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” interpretative dance – “Will you love me forever?”  *bottle smashes above head* Stumbling out of the ladies room is the one and only Tehol Beddict casually zipping up his skinny jeans and introducing his new lady friend, “Guys, I’d like to introduce you to my cousin. Ain’t she pretty?” And here at the pool table is your humble-but-nonetheless handsome Guru putting the finishing touches on my 27 rosters. *closes eye, takes aim, sinks eight ball off two rails, drops shot glass into pint, downs boilermaker, lights cigar, sets turban on fireWith the drinks starting to flow let’s run though the jams and crams at each position for Week 1 of the 2014 fantasy baseball season. We’re not talking Miggy, Trout or Goldy here, we’re looking at players owned in less than 50% of most leagues that could help grab you an early lead on your way to fantasy glory. Good luck this season, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

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As of right now, is anything in this endless universe more scorching hot that Matthew McConaughey? When you take into account his performance in the criminally underrated film, Mud, his epic scene stealing performance in, The Wolf of Wall Street, which was possibly the greatest part of the movie which one would think impossible considering the countless classic scenes that Wall Street has within, and his Oscar winning performance in the true story of, The Dallas Buyers Club, the answer is a resounding, NO! There is none hotter.  Oh yea, I almost forgot to mention, Matty Ice, tag teaming viewers into submission along with partner, and legend in his own right, Woody Harrelson, in the undeniable classic series, True Detective. If his Oscar speech didn’t prove to you that this man cannot be touched right now, then you may want to go see a doctor, for you are clinically insane.

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I love the Aussie people; they have goofy words for a barbecue and even goofier animals — koalas and kangaroos? Is Australia animated? Those things are goofy! Why not just get a duck-billed platypus and anteater and call it a day, you wacky-animal-having country! How about baseball there? Did all the fans in attendance win a Bowie knife if a player hit a home run into the big marsupial pouch? Did Crocodile Dundee throw out the first pitch? Did the batters hit with a fraternity hazing paddle? I don’t know, because it was at four in the morning! Selig really needs to stop doing this to Opening Day. The players will be exhausted from traveling and won’t be able to get their usual reps in during the spring. The first pitch of the season should be at a time when 7-year-old North American boys and girls can watch it. Not at 4 AM EST. What if the first game went extra innings or someone got hurt? Can they just call up someone from the minors for the next game? No, so then you’ll have a team playing short. Do these stunts in December as a goodwill trip. Don’t make major league baseball teams into the Harlem Globetrotters for a regular season game. Eh, whatevs, baseball is back, who cares if it comes with a big helping of Vegemite. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

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In the top 40 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball, Patrick Corbin headlined the tier named, “Taking a number three doesn’t mean a pee and poop combo.” Corbin now has UCL damage, so he actually is a pee and poop combo. Now, as Alfred Einstein once said, “For every negative reaction, there’s a not-negative reaction to it. I’m hungry, anyone have any snacks?” Alfred Einstein also took three years to pass 4th grade, until his teacher finally passed him saying, “I think all the chromosomes went to his brother Albert.” I’m here to defend Alfred; he did have a point. Corbin’s out, but that means Randall Delgado‘s back in. I’ve re-added him to my top 60 starters, top 400, the War Room and have adjusted my pitchers’ pairings. Where Corbin was a solid, if slightly yawnstipating number 3, Delgado is an exciting upside number five or six. You say tomato, I say that’s a one spicy meatball! What does this mean for Archie Bradley? He doesn’t get wet willied by Didi Gregorius anymore? Kirk Gibson stops calling his name like he’s Edith from All in the Family? Bradley starts the year in the rotation? No on all three. Bradley shouldn’t be affected by this Corbin injury. At least not at first. Since Delgado is now in the rotation, Bradley might be one more injury away from joining the Diamondbacks rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Like the 2nd basemen to target post, this is necessary. You want to take flyers on late middle infielders. I like a few top shortstops this year: Segura, Desmond and Andrus, but if you don’t get them, don’t sweat it and definitely don’t ‘panic reach’ for another shortstop just because you feel like you need one. This is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Lichtenstein) supplement to the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball. The players listed have a draft rank after 200 on other sites. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2014 projections. Anyway, here’s some shortstops to target for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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As a former radio geek that tired of the shallow money trench and the playing of “Free Bird” for the 7,432 time, I’m a fan of taking those radio hits and mashing them up beyond recognition. Take a couple of things that don’t belong together like Metallica and Stevie Wonder, throw them in the blender and you get something sad but superstitious.

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Psst! This post is gonna list 2nd basemen that you should target in your 2014 fantasy baseball drafts. I’m whispering because you don’t want everyone to see this post. No, I can’t whisper louder. Then it WOULDN’T BE WHISPERING! Okay, gig’s up (or maybe that’s jig’s up), the love I’m about to reiterately (Made Up Word of the Day!) confirm are guys I love later in drafts. Am I drafting any of these guys in the first 12 rounds? Probably not (except for Brad Miller — hello, beautiful! Come here, let Grey massage your balls…The balls of your feet, silly! Oh, that feels good on my hands. Can I tickle your toes with my mustache? Weird?). These are players that you’re looking at later and all of them have ADPs after 200. Some could be the 2nd baseman on your team, they are more than likely MIs. This is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Spanish-speaking-ones) supplement to the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2014 projections. Anyway, here’s some 2nd basemen to target for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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First off, I would like to say Eric Sogard should be the Face of the MLB; that vote was rigged in David Wright’s favor.  Baseball needs more nerdy-looking, glasses-touting, Bernie-leanin’, jive-walking players.  But without further ado, here is the AL West Spring Training Showdown. (You can check out the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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“Get in a line, and limp.” That’s the master of ceremonies at the latest calfalcade. Chase Headley has a Grade 1 strain of his calf. Grade 2 or higher would be a cow. Semantics, perhaps. He’s supposed to be out for two to (stutterer!) three weeks. I’ve dropped him a couple of spots in my top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball and my top 400 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Probably if he was in Coors for his home games, coming off a 30-homer season and/or whispered in my ear sweet nothings about Giancarlo, I wouldn’t have moved him in my rankings at all. However, he’s in Petco, coming off a 13 homer season and any reason to not mess with a Padre is good enough for me. You say confirmation bias, I say keep your Psych 101 terms and Headley. To give you a present day example of another player with a calf strain who I’m not currently moving in my rankings: Josh Hamilton. If this were the 2nd week of March, I’d re-rank him, but he’s got time to heal or get injured worse. I’ll be monitoring Hamilton like a cyclops with a monocle. Anyway, here’s what else has been going down in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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In past years, I’ve said the following analogy. There’s years of looking up to your father, whether you agree all the time or not. Then, one day, he takes a poop on your couch. You take him to the hospital; he’s in need of some sort of psychology examination. If the tests come back conclusive that he pooped the couch simply out of laziness, then that’s ESPN. If tests come back that he’s gone crazy, well, over at Yahoo The Noise ranked Matt Carpenter 37th overall. A recipe for success at Yahoo involves Kosher salt because you need to take Yahoo’s rankings with a bigger grain of salt. Now, with that said, I think this year Yahoo’s flipped the script on ESPN. Yahoo’s rankings are better this year, i.e., they’re closer to mine than ESPN. At least that’s the vibe I get from looking at them, I didn’t actually stop and weigh the differences and divide that weight by pi to the seventh integer and multiply by X. I simply looked at what they had vs. me and think Yahoo did a better job this year. They have also changed their rankings dramatically in the last week. See, I originally had The Noise down as ranking Carpenter 30th overall. Just about every guy in the chart at the end of this post has moved closer to my rankings in the last week. I’m not saying they’re copying (or they’re not copying fast enough), because, well, they’re still off and now it’s time to spit fire:

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