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The baseball regular season ends today and as Senator Clay Davis would say, “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!” I already feel myself falling into a deep, dark depression where the only cure is recapping the preseason top twenty lists and being hand fed Doritos. First up, Cool Ranch and our Preseason Top 20 Catchers for 2008. Of course with catchers (or any position really), you didn’t need to be tied to these guys just because you drafted them, but I think it’s important to look back to ’08 before we look ahead to 2009. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been? Thank you, B-Real. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2008 and how they compared to where we originally ranked them:

1. Joe Mauer – Flipping through the book, “Paint Drying: A Photo Collection,” is less yawnstipating than Mauer’s year. I’d argue you’re better off drafting Brad Ausmus, punting him before the season begins, then going with the hot hand from week to week, or at least that’s what I did. We’ll cover more about catcher strategy in the offseason. For right now, let’s say I expected less of Mauer number-wise and he didn’t disappoint, but he actually ranked higher because of how poor the catching position is. Preseason Rank #4, Preseason Predictions:  85/15/70/.310/10, Final Numbers:  97/9/83/.330/1

2. Brian McCann – Here’s the one top catcher I actually have on a team and this was the team that struggled the most offensively. Buh-but, Grey… Wha happened? Because I paid for a high-priced catcher, I had to skimp on positions that could actually make a difference. Well, ain’t that something? No, not really. Preseason Rank #3, Preseason Predictions: 75/25/105/.285, Final Numbers:  68/23/87/.301/5

3. Russell Martin – If Vin Scully had said, “Martin reminds me of Benito Santiago and we know what happened to him,” then Scully would’ve been half right. No one has any idea what happened to Santiago. (Renting out scuba gear to tourists on the beach in Barbados is my guess.) All right, pop quiz, random Razzball reader, would you prefer Theriot at 2nd and Shoppach at catcher? Or Martin and Robinson Cano? Catchers that make you go Hmm… Preseason Rank #2, Preseason Predictions:  85/20/90/.290/15, Final Numbers:  87/13/69/.279/18

4. Ryan Doumit – First out of nowhere, “How’s Your Father?” As mentioned in Mauer’s entry, you could’ve drafted some other schmohawk then grabbed Doumit sometime in April, just as I did in a few leagues. BTW, Rudy and I were talking about how important it is to grab hot-starters in April and he’s thinking about writing a feature on it. We shall see… What, how come I’m not talking more about Doumit? Because he’s a catcher and a Pirate, I’m not trying to purposely drive people away from reading the blog.  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  71/15/69/.319/2

5. Geovany Soto – I’d love to see the Cubs win the World Series on the strength of Soto’s three home run clinching game. Not because I particularly like the Cubs or Soto, but I want him to be ridiculously overrated going into 2009. Muahahahaha… (Note: I didn’t rank most rookies in preseason top 20s, but I did make some preseason predictions for rookies. Unranked in Preseason, Preseason Predictions:  17/65/.270, Final Numbers:  66/23/86/.285

6. Bengie Molina – I’d go as far to say he’s actually less valuable than Shoppach at #8, but the most productive of The Flying Molina Bros. is more valuable than every other catcher below Shoppach so that should tell you all you need to know about the catching position. Pee-ewe-en-tee. Punt! Punt! Punt! Preseason Rank #10, Preseason Predictions:  45/20/80/.270 Final Numbers: 46/16/95/.292

7. A.J. Pierzynski – Shoppach is the number one reason why you don’t draft catchers. (Actually, Doumit is the number one reason and Shoppach’s number two, but don’t nitpick. People don’t like that.) Let’s say you drafted Victor Martinez and he was crap. Well, you’re stuck holding Victor Martinez for longer than you want because you drafted him early, while your opponent drafted Ausmus, punted that schmohawk and grabbed Shoppach. Wait, why am I talking about Shoppach? Let’s put it this way, do you have something to say about Pierzynski? Yeah, me neither. Preseason Rank #16, Preseason Predictions:  60/15/50/.260, Final Numbers:  66/13/60/.282/1

8. Kelly Shoppach – His numbers are far less exciting than the fantasy baseball media made them out ot be. (Ha! Sorry, I couldn’t write that without laughing at it. The “Fantasy baseball media” is to real reporters as To Catch a Predator is to law enforcement.) Still, for what you paid for Shoppach, you take your medicine and you like it! Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  67/21/55/.261

9. Chris Iannetta – Well, I put Yorvit Torrealba down as 55/12/55/.265/3 so I wasn’t that far off, except for the name. Here’s a guy that I told you to pickup in the first week of May so you were, ya know, warned. Recognize!  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  50/18/65/.267

10. Mike Napoli – Here’s a good example of why it doesn’t matter if a guy starts every day. Preseason Rank #18, Preseason Predictions:  45/13/50/.260/7 Final Numbers:  39/20/49/.273/7

11. Yadir Molina – Here’s a guy that wasn’t even owned in some leagues at the end of the year. I don’t necessarily disagree with that.  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  37/7/56/.305

12. Dioner Navarro – Tale of two seasons with this schmohawk. I was touting him in April and May until I was blue in the face. He got selected to the All-Star game and left his game there, so then I started deriding him. At the end of the year, his numbers make yawnstipating numbers yawn. He’s just boring. (But he’s still young and I may not be done with Dioner just yet.) Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 43/7/54/.295

13. Ivan Rodriguez – And you thought the first twelve names were boring. Zoinks! Preseason Rank #13, Preseason Predictions:  55/10/65/.285/5, Final Numbers:  44/7/35/.276/10

14. Ramon Hernandez – Kinda like his end of the year numbers more than Dioner’s. ¿Porque, Grey? Well, a .292 average from a catcher doesn’t do much, but 15 home runs and 65 RBIs is preferable to Dioner’s girly numbers.  Preseason Rank #9, Preseason Predictions:  60/20/85/.275, Final Numbers:  49/15/65/.258

15. Kurt SuzukiKurt Suzuki? Fantasy baseball junkies, your 2008 catchers!  Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 54/7/42/.280/2

16. Gerald Laird – Considering where he played his home games and Teagarden had 300 less at-bats and exactly the same number of home runs, Laird’s only listed here because he had more Runs and RBIs than some below. You would’ve been much better off streaming catchers that are not listed here instead of owning Laird. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  54/6/41/.278/2

17. Chris Snyder – The last full-time catcher that had any sort of value. For those in 18 team deep leagues, here’s hoping you drew a seventeen or higher in the draft. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers:  47/16/64/.237

18. Miguel Olivo – There were moments when Olivo was actually valuable to have, unlike Laird. Yes, I’m still looking at Laird! I thought Olivo would miss Miguel Cabrera’s hugs down in Florida, but obviously he didn’t. No matter the climate, Olivo remained marginally usable. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 29/12/41/.255/7

19. Jesus Flores – Paul LoDuca was supposed to start for the Nots, but Flores took the job and never relinquished it. This is not endorsement of Flores as much as an indictment of LoDuca. Unranked in Preseason, Final Numbers: 23/8/59/.256

20. Rod Barajas – What better way to end the catchers’ recap than by mentioning the first catcher on the list that wasn’t mentioned once by me on this blog. He was mentioned during a Comment O’ The Week, from commenter Knighttown explaining how he managed 0 HRs all year from his catcher spot.

“-I wasted a second round pick on V-Mart.
-Now he’s taking up a DL spot for me which leaves me with 3 for 2 (Putz just sitting idle)
-Picked up Rod Barajas
-Sobered up and dropped Rod Barajas
-Picked up the “red-hot” Miguel Olivo
-He retired or something and got 10 AB’s in the 2 weeks I had him
-Picked up Jarred Salta-something-or-other
-Started him yesterday, went o-fer.
-Dropped him and picked up Ramon Hernandez…honestly, only because he was mentioned in today’s blog.”

Barajas’s Preseason Rank: Ha!, Preseason Predictions: Look Elsewhere, Final Numbers: Crap/Crap/Yuck/Serious Crap

  1. p0rk burn says:
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    My name is p0rk burn and I second this message.

    For those of you that skip straight to the comments instead of reading the article (I know, its actually “read the article and ignore the comments”) the bottom line is you can eat from the productive-catcher buffet all season long without using a draft pick. If someone really is inclined to draft a catcher or two I’d suggest p0rk’s course of action: the hype had me thinking Soto would be a worthwhile pickup so I drafted him in his average spot of 17 or whatever round it is we people take him in. The key was flipping him in July after the cool-off, but before he was correctly valued. Its the story of Fantasy baseball, people, you read the “Fantasy Baseball Media’s” headlines, sell those players for positional needs, and pick up the guys that are just as good but don’t get the media love.

    I think I’m spilling the beans on my champeen-ship post. Buy p0rk, sell high!

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @p0rk burn: Good to see you’re as modest as ever.

  3. John says:
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    I would like to dedicate my money league championship win to Grey and Rudy. Despite my drafting McCann, holding onto Pronk until the playoffs started, predicting Francouer would come on and be a fantasy stud during the latter half of the season, fielding Guzman and Hardy at shortstop most of the year due to turd-nugget Furcal, and despite my long comment absence due to you know, stuff..I still dominated my league and I owe it all to my awesomeness as well as the shenanigans of this website. Thanks fellas! Your checks are in the mail!

    P.S. In response to a previous post, Grey..I won with CoJack playing regularly since the beginning of the season and I love that I can say that.

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @John: Wow, that’s impressive you were able to pull off that win. Well played and congrats!

  5. justin says:
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    hey gray,

    what do you think of trading crawford/a. gordon for Hanley in a keeper league. I would be getting hanley and i have a solid OF even after CC. I still have Quentin/McLouth/Victorino/J. Upton

    What do you think?

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @justin: I think it’s a great trade for you. Get Hanley, asap.

  7. cubbies299 says:
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    @John: At which point did drafting the 2nd best catcher in baseball at a discount draft value hurt your fantasy season? That and Cojack was a relatively undrafted 1B that put up solid, startable numbers. I don’t think it’s any pain to see how you won your league (I, on the other hand, drafted Cojack and sold him along with Reyes for Capps, Hamels, Adrian when Brad “I call myself the noise because it helps me forget that my wife wears the pants in the relationship” Evans touted him in some self-masturbatory article about his tears curing cancer and what-not). That’s just good scouting (Bee-tee-dubs, this is fast turning into my own self-masturbatory article)

  8. knighttown says:
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    “Go Knighttown, it’s your birthday.”

    I can’t believe my catching rant got another bit of facetime. This thing is becoming an internet phenomenon like that kid with the “robot-disease” which makes his dancing really cool/creepy.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1786121/so_you_think_you_can_dance_amazing_robot_man/

    Do you know that if you type “Barajas sobered up” in Google you’ll be brought to that post? Who else can say they’re on Google?

    Oh really? That many of you? That place must be huge!

    Anyway, your comment about V-Mart really hit hard because it’s true. Because I drafted him so early, I kept him on my roster all season and until the injury I had a huge void there. The DL stint actually saved my season allowing me to break free of the catching chains and eventually use the more usable Ianetta for awhile. I’ll never draft a catcher again. (Yesterday, I said I’d never draft a closer again but I hafta draft someone don’t I?)

  9. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @cubbies299: I go over top 20 1st basemen tomorrow, but CoJack is barely a positive and, at his position, he can hurt your team more than help it. His numbers look like an un-‘roided, limping Brian Roberts.

  10. cubbies299 says:
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    @Grey: again with the hating on Bri Rob? I think I’m gonna have to keep him in my yahoo league just as a point of contention. Fair nuff on Cojack tho. You should switch his and Loney’s stats in your rankings and see if anyone notices.

  11. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @cubbies299: What’s the problem? Roberts’s not a Cubbie yet. When Loney gets 2nd base eligibility, he’ll be so valuable.

    EDIT: Clarification.

  12. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Right on about catchers, they’re the Ringo’s of FBB.

    I rolled the following C in my money league and won by 13.5 pts:

    Pudge
    JR Trolls
    Salty
    Bengie (dropped him in April, why?)
    Inge(dropped him BEFORE he became catcher eligible)
    …..deep breath……..
    Salty (again)
    Navarro
    Flores
    Yadi
    Iannetta
    and finally……..Pablo Sanchosomethingor other

    In other words, don’t draft catchers.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Ding, ding, ding! Exactly! Mauer would be nice to have, but he is in no way a necessity. There’s just too many catchers in the 5 to 20 range that are more or less equal. Mauer for the whole season or Inge, Flores, Dioner, Innetta and Sandoval on and off for the season? The 2nd one is doable and more beneficial. When you need home runs, you can go for Inge. When you need average, you can go for Dioner, etc.

  14. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: I love watching guys bidding up catchers evey year in the draft, I usually bid till about $10 on the top guys just to act like I’m interested and drive the price up.

    Surely they’ll catch on one of these years.

    Can’t wait to see what you have to say about closers. Already know but you’ll make it humorous.

    BTW, when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor got my vote.

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: I felt McCann was going to low in one league, so I got “stuck” with him for $12. He was worth it, but the $12 could’ve been spent elsewhere.

    Ah, yes, closers. Like Jon Rauch… Oh wait, everyone drafted Chad Cordero.

    I’m more of a Carl Everett is loco type of guy.

  16. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    As the Grey says from time to time: “…and that’s me quoting me.”

    On January 11, 2008 IowaCubs wrote:

    “ZiPS projection for Soto:
    284/44R/20HR/73RBI in 458AB.
    That sort of production is hard to come by from a catcher. I’ve watched him for three years at AAA Iowa, and the guy’s changed from a scrub project to a MLB ready starter. He lost all sorts of weight and started hitting to all parts of the park.

    I’ll eat my words if he sucks.”

    I’m eating them right now, wait, what was the deal? Eat them if he sucks? What if he’s really good? Then what am I supposed to do?

    Signed,
    Michael Barrett and Johnny Estrada

  17. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @IowaCubs: OH NO YOU DIDN’T!

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: Oh, yes, you did! Wow, you were with us on January 11th. That’s awesome. Someone should buy you a Pina Colada.

    So this further illustrates the problem with catchers, I said he’d go 17/65 . I didn’t have much faith and he went 6 HRs and 21 RBIs over my predictions. Who’s that? Sandoval? Eh.

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @knighttown: 1) Just think when Rod Barajas’s wife Googles “when Barajas sobers up, should I untie him?” + “yahoo answers” and gets no results, you might be the next person she turns to.

    2) Never draft an outfielder either. Only middle infielders.

    3) Sorry your comment went into my spam folder for a little while because you put a link in it.

    EDIT: Typo, boyz!

  20. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Is this like a cart before the horse post?

    Anybody excited about the playoff game tonight?

  21. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: I’ll be watching the game tonight. You?

  22. BigFatHippo says:
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    Nick Blackburn goes tonight, is he related to p0rkburn?

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Maybe, but he has no numbers in his name.

  24. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: I’ll be watching, good thing it’s on early. I have to leave for Lake of the Ozarks at 4am. Free golf and booze on the company.

  25. Freak says:
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    Brad Lidge is a terrible choice for comeback player of the year.

  26. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: On a random Wednesday? For no reason? Or the company trying to get everyone to work as a team and this is a building trust exercise and everyone’s going to be golfing blindfolded?

  27. Freak says:
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    He never left!

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Freak: Yeah, what’s he coming back from? A very decent year? Why not just give it to Mike Mussina?

  29. Doug Ault says:
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    I scooped Blackburn for tonite,and anyone else who may get an at bat or pitch.This playoff stuff can be dicey and unpredictable,last year I had Peavy starting but needed one hr to push me over the top into first place,Torrealba got me the hr,but Peavy proceeded to remove that gain by pitching a stinker

  30. Steve says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Golf on the company might just be the four most beautiful words in the Enlish language.

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doug Ault: You in an ESPN league then, huh? Yeah, everyone should have one game tonight, but it seems most do not. Last year, I had every pitcher on the Rockies (except Ortiz, who got the win), including Matt Herges and he pitched three scoreless. It helped me win one league.

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: You speak English in New Zealand?

  33. Steve says:
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    Ha! They’re beautiful in the Engliash language too!

  34. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Sorry, I see you put Enlish. My bad.

  35. Steve says:
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    Jesus, I’m typing like a drunk. We actually speak English here now. Enlish and Engliash have fallen out of use.

    @Grey: Don’t start that again. How you guys doing with getting that little financial matter sorted out? ;-)

  36. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Little financial matter? Huh?

  37. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Steve: Hey, not all us drunks type bad.

    Just soem ofs uss.

  38. Steve says:
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    @Grey: The collapse of the global economy. Rescue package, Congress…

  39. BigFatHippo says:
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    No worries mate, we’re putting it on a high interest credit card.

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Oh… That financial matter. I hear we’re selling Hawaii on eBay.

  41. Doug Ault says:
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    @Grey: It’s a Sporting News league,I have one inning left,but that allows me unlimited innings tonite.If I can squeeze 5+ k’s and 2 homers I may still salvage the season,let’s hope Thome has it in him to help my cause

  42. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Just looked at your “preseason predictions for rookies” and you were right on the money. Nailed Votto and Barton was exactly right.

    I drafted Barton but dropped him in the 1st week for CoJack. Wish I’d have read you in Feb, I’d have Votto as a keeper.

    Wait, I won wire to wire. So I didn’t even need you. Kidding, your advice and my pitching staff will win it again next year.

  43. BigFatHippo says:
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    I remember Barton from the Cards farm system, two time Cards minor league player of the year as a catcher.

    Course I also remember Stan Royer, two time Cards minor league player of the year.

    Ask the kids now and they’ll say, “Stan who?”

  44. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Yeah, I did all right on the preseason predictions.

    Stan Royer? Did they draft him cause they thought he was related to Ken Boyer?

  45. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Good minor league hitter, couldn’t hit a major league breaker. Just goes to show you can’t always count on minor league stats.

    No they drafted him cause I told them too. His Grandma Mildred was a customer of mine.

    Seriously, on the Grandma part, not the drafted him cause I told them too part. That was a lie.

  46. BigFatHippo says:
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    Sorry, this game is yawnstipating me enough I should be able to get to bed early enough to leave at 4.

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Mildred Royer shouldn’t have been on the road. How dare you!

    This game is painfully yawnstipating. They need Steve ‘Psycho’ Lyons, Keith Hernandez and Jerry Remy in the booth.

    Danks is mixing in an overhand fastball and a cutter! Woo-hoo!

  48. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Psycho’s awesome. Wasn’t he on The Baseball Bunch while Keith was snorting the first base line.

    Every time I hear Harold Baines I think it’s Joe Morgan until realizing that he’s not talking about Joe Morgan enough to be Joe Morgan. Ask Joe Morgan, he’ll tell you.

  49. BigFatHippo says:
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    Reynolds I mean, see, don’t even know his name, he doesn’t say it enough.

  50. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Just don’t bring up The Baseball Bunch around Piniella:

    “Yankees outfielder Lou Piniella’s career was ended in 1984 when he injured his rotator cuff on the show while being pitched to by the San Diego Chicken.”

    Cuddyer tries to score. The Nation shrugs.

  51. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Ha, forgot about that.

    Must be why his teams beat the snot out of San Diego every time they play.

    Still talking about Griffey’s throw, shit he threw it from 2nd base!

    I got more enjoyment out of Carlos Santana’s guitar solo from Black Magic Woman in the commercial afterward.

  52. Shogun says:
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    Eckersley! Boom! His crazy eyes, ‘stache, and mullet have him looking like Chuck Norris gettin’ his crack on.

    Go Twins!

  53. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Seriously, Mildred Royer could’ve made that throw.

    @Shogun: Ha!

  54. BigFatHippo says:
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    @White Sox

    Bout time.

    @Twins

    Get somebody on base fer chrissakes.

  55. Steve says:
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    Who do you guys want to win? I’m kinda pulling for the Twins. Their ability to produce good teams from seemingly not much is pretty impressive.

  56. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Twins would be nice, but they’re barely a good team. Sox lost the Central more than they won.

  57. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Yeah, and she died last year. Cuddyer’s still out by a mile.

    @Shogun: Are you the guy from Minn that went to the game the other day? If so, ever been to Leech Lake?

  58. SoS says:
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    Hey Grey, I had replied in the previous post about the Wandy stat correction and its effect on my league 3rd place game. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Can you explain to me how they credited him with 2 ER when Hotlanta only scored one the whole game? I followed your link but not sure if that question was answered there.

  59. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Steve: Twins front office impresses me every year. Ron Gardenhire does a great job with what he’s dealt. Go Twins.

  60. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SoS: It’s from his next to last start. Not the last start. After the game, the scorer must have decided Wigginton’s first inning error wasn’t an error. It was, for, ya know, actually keeping score.

  61. Steve says:
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    Pretty big game for that Mijares fella to come in to. Only had nine appearances this year – all in September. Only one earned run in that time, though.

  62. SoS says:
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    @Grey: Wow, that’s an even bigger travesty for that guy than I thought. Lost it by .03 in the ERA category. Thanks for the info. Also, I may have some sexy alexei issues next year. I like him. I like him alot. How high can I draft him?

  63. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Great TV footage of his grand slam yesterday. Huge smile on his face **the instant** he hit it.

  64. Steve says:
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    Oops. That last @ was also @SoS.

  65. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SoS: You can draft first overall. Might not be the best move though. Over the top of my head (in the same way you want to be held by Alexei, don’t hold me to this), I’d say it’s reasonable to draft him in the 5th round.

    @Steve: Yeah, he even smiles like Soriano. It’s unreal. He’s listed as a Latin 27 years old and just like Sorinao he’s probably around 35 years old.

  66. SoS says:
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    @Grey: I can’t draft him above my first and foremost mancrush, Chase “the base?” Utley. Alexei is a nice player though. I hope he doesn’t do too well in the playoffs, thus overrating him for next year. Isn’t that a miserable thing to wish on someone. It’s kind of a relief that fantasy baseball is over in that I can now watch baseball and just enjoy it rather than dialing up my espn mvp thing on my phone every ten seconds to see if adam dunn struck out again.

  67. Shogun says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Yeah, I’m from MN (but now live in Cali) and went to the Twins game last week in Minneapolis when Blackburn beat the White Sox (unlike tonight, as we know). I’ve been to Leech Lake – nice place, good fishing, lots of beer being drunk by everyone. What’s not to like?

  68. Shogun says:
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    Clay fuckin’ Davis, my favorite character on The Wire. Thanks for working that in, Grey. I want a “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit” ringtone.

  69. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SoS: Ha, I know what you mean. It’s weird watching baseball with no strings attached.

    @Shogun: He is the man. Have you see the Verizon commercial he’s in? It’s awesome, of course.

    *****TAKE FOLLOWUPS TO THE NEWEST POST.

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