Friday, June 29, 2007


When Fantasy Meets Reality

When things aren't going right for the Giants (think the past three years), the one thing that I have to fall back on and keep me checking box scores every day is fantasy baseball. You see, I play in this keeper league (or a "dynasty" league), and keeper leagues, as opposed to regular one-season leagues, turn the obsession dial up a few notches. Just think of your typical, run-of-the-mill roto league, only with the insanity increased like a thousandfold.

You see when managers get to keep every one of their players from year to year, some of them turn into rabid, player-hording bastards, and their definition of the words "player value" gets all thrown out of whack. Managers try make moves that will build up their team for the future, while at the same time keeping it competitive for the present. Naturally, anybody under age 25 becomes a hot prospect, while anybody over 35 becomes trade poison.

This of course means that trying to make trades turns into a kind of retarded chess match, where you're trying to negotiate a fair deal with a lunatic who is ridiculously overvaluing his players. It's the kind of thing that leads to inevitable demands of Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield for Elijah Dukes.

Anyway, my team is in a sort of Sabean-esque bind of pseudo-contention. I'm sort of at the point where at any moment I could either make a heroic charge toward the top, or fall completely on my ass and start the rebuilding process. Much in the vein of our fearless leader, Mr. Sabes, I'm trying to ignore the writing on the wall as long as possible.

I recently acquired Matt Morris to help bolster my pitching (as part of a larger deal; he was actually pretty much a throw in), and this of course gives me another incentive to watch Giants games, as I was discussing the other day.

The thing is, I don't really think Morris is any great shakes (and who does?), and I don't think he will continue to perform as well as he has, but all I ask for are some reasonably good innings. You see, innings pitched is one of our categories, and if you can just find guys who can toss up about 160-200 innings a year without completely messing themselves, you've got value (I have Kyle Lohse on my team for this reason, for God's sake).

Well, as it so happens, there's a chance for sick irony tonight's game, as Morris makes first start as a member of my team. You see, two of the guys I traded in that deal are Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin, two young guys with some potential. I like both guys a lot, but I felt that Jackson won't amount to much more than a better version of Doug Mientkiewicz, and I'm just too impatient to sit and wait for Quentin to turn his season around.

Wouldn't it be horrible then, if Morris got beat around tonight and it was those two guys doing the beating? Given my luck in trades over the years, it'll probably go down that way. Jackson will suddenly learn to pull the ball and smash two homers, touching off a tear where he rips 25 more bombs. Quentin finally discovers himself with the help of a hanging Morris curveball and turns into an All-Star. Meanwhile, Morris turns into the 2006 version of himself, kills all his trade value, real- and fantasy-wise, my team sinks to the bottom of the league, and various profanities emanate non-stop from my mouth for the next five years.

Ok, it probably won't happen like that, but really, if it did, I wouldn't be surprised in the least. You're looking at a guy who traded Mark Teixeira for Jose Hernandez and Raul Ibanez in 2003. So let's go Matty Mo, for the Giants and my fantasy team!

-Speaking of Quentin, I don't think he'll be any kind of threat this series. Why? Check out these splits. In Arizona, maybe the NL's leading bandbox now that Coors Field has been reborn under the humidor, Quentin has been one of the best hitters in the league, at .284/.372/.529.

On the road? Eegads. .131/.229/.167. That's a line that shouldn't keep you in the major leagues. Hopefully he doesn't suddenly learn how to hit away from the desert this weekend.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Swytek and...

Barry Zito got Matt Cained today, pitching a beauty but ending up with nothing to show for it. Zito's control was terrific and, except for the two home run balls hit by Mike Cameron and Khalil Greene, he surrendered nary a well-struck baseball. The offense let him down (as Cain sits back and chortles, "Now you know how it feels."), but tonight Zito pitched like a man who deserves the most lucrative contract ever given to a pitcher.

So where is this in every start? If we don't get Good Zito we get Bad Zito, and lately the latter has been showing up more frequently. Check out these splits, courtesy of Lefty Malo, showing the Jekyll/Hyde act by Zito so far. When he's good he's been Bob Gibson circa 1968. When he's bad he's Jeff Weaver circa now.

Here, this is my little tribute for when we see Good Zito. I'll break out the other, less flattering photo when Bad Zito rears his ugly head again.

The game ended tonight on a caught stealing, which you never, ever like to see, but Dave Roberts getting nabbed by Michael Barrett was an upset of monstrous proportions. One of the best percentage basestealers in the league versus one of the worst defensive catchers? Go figure. I bet nine times out of ten Barrett throws a two-hopper and Roberts steals the bag with his eyes closed, but this time Barrett threw a seed and it unfortunately came at the most crucial point of the game.

Maybe it's just one of those years. If the Giants really do want to get back in the race somehow, they're going to have to win pretty much every series from here on out. Beating Greg Maddux tomorrow, and getting Cain some @!#$% run support, would be a good start.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Return To Stankeye

Hey, everybody, it's me, Paul Rice, or the Artist Formerly Known as John Ryder. Anyway, after a brief stint writing over at Giants Cove, I decided I just couldn't part with my old, beloved Stankeye blog, so I've come back to bring you regular insight and opinion from this very spot. Of course, anybody who has read my blog before knows to take the word "insight" with a grain of salt.

It'll probably take me a few weeks to reestablish my old links and get whatever readership I had coming back on a regular basis. A few things before we kick off a new era:

-Those who visited my site before know full well that consistency in posting is not my strong suit. I have a bit of a busy schedule and I'm prone to bouts of laziness and burnout. There have more than a few long stretches of nothingness on this blog. I can't promise it won't happen again, but I'll try my damndest to get stuff on here just about every day for those of you who do enjoy reading what I write.

-We're going to scrap the whole "John Ryder" pseudonym that lorded over "Stankeye" in its first two years. When I started this blog I was shy about using my real name, (and I liked using the name of a movie psycho) but now I guess it doesn't really matter. The name is Paul Rice, nice to meet ya.

-I've become way more proficient in the use of html since we last spoke, and Blogger's merger with Google has made it way easier to edit blogs, so we should be seeing some neat things along the way, including more pics and fun stuff in general.

Anyways, thanks for your continued reading and support. While I do want to encourage some debate and argument over the Giants and where the team is going, this is basically just a fun thing for me and shouldn't be taken seriously. I'm here to root on the Giants, make some jokes, get mad at Pedro Feliz, and link to the occasional pic of an insanely hot woman. Your input is always welcome so don't hesitate to throw me a comment or two.

So on that, let's have some fun, and don't forget to read my "comeback" post below about my trip to Socal.

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A Reason To Cheer

As is painfully clear by this point, the Giants don't have a very good team. Unfortunately, the easiest thing to do during a miserable, go-nowhere season is to just turn the station and focus on your fantasy team. Perhaps if the Giants had a lot of young guys with some potential taking the field, the losing would be tolerable. For example, if the Giants and Devil Rays switched rosters right now you can bet that I wouldn't miss a game.

Sadly, this team is old, hurt, crabby, sucky, and just loathsome to watch or even listen to on the radio. Even the normally exuberant Jon Miller sounds like he's preparing a noose for himself on the KNBR broadcasts. Except for the days when Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum pitch, this team is the most gawdawful boring bunch of Giants that I've ever seen, and yes, I was a fan during the Desi Wilson/Dax Jones period.

So as we Giants fans join hands and wallow in our Sabean-made misery (it loves company, you know), we have to scrounge for our bright spots and take them wherever we can get them. Luckily, this weekend, I found one, with a fun story from a place where Giants fans are normally not welcome.

I was in enemy territory this weekend, as I took a trip to LA and San Diego with some friends to catch the Angels and Padres. The Angels game was your typical nondescript, "who cares?" interleague matchup, as the Halos beat the Pirates in extra innings. I must say though, that the energy level at Angel Stadium is impressive, much more electric than anything I've seen at Mays Field in a long while. Maybe that's a product of the Giants losing so much, or maybe it's that damned Rally Monkey, but the atmosphere at that ballpark is just so much more fan friendly. It's quite a contrast.

Anyway, the Boston-Padre game, well, it was quite an experience. As per usual, drunk, obnoxious Red Sox fans descended upon downtown San Diego in droves, filling up the bars, starting their chants, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. The typical routine for a group of Red Sox fans was this: walk into a bar, talk loud shit, order shots, talk shit to the stewing bartender, pound shots, talk more shit, then walk out and look for another bar. Rinse, lather, repeat. And they wonder why we west coasters love them so much.

A few hours before the game began, my friends and I were down in the hotel bar, er, "warming up" for that night's contest. The Giants-Yankees game was on the television (luckily the sound was down so we couldn't hear the latest moronic Thom Brennaman sermon), and I had more interest invested than usual because I hate the Yankees (and don't we all?). Likewise, all of the Red Sox fans in the bar (and there were plenty) were rooting for the Yanks to lose.

Naturally, when Nate Schierholtz's blooper fell in to plate the winning run, the place went wild. I cheered, my friends cheered, I slapped hands with the Red Sox fans. It was quite a moment. For that little speck in time, we, the smart, articulate, well-read Giants fans could see eye-to-eye with the drunken, hairy, brain cell-deprived Sox fans. Giants fans and Red Sox fans living in harmony? Has this world gone mad?

Of course, all of that goodwill was wiped clean when the game started, and despite their division rival status I rooted hard for the Padres, because our section in the nosebleeds was filled to the brim with more of those loud morons cheering on the Sox (I hope I'm not denigrating an entire fan base here, but from what I understand this is sort of the norm). It took only ten minutes, I kid you not, for a Padre fan to challenge a Sox fan to a fight. And don't even get me started on my seventh inning trip to the Sox fan-infested restroom.

The Sox ended up getting their asses handed to them, and two pivotal calls by the third base umpire were overturned to go against Boston, which, to my never-ending glee, sent the drunken bastards in our section into a frothy, alcoholic rage. So by the end of the night I was exchanging emphatic high-fives with Padre fans. I was having a very diplomatic (or traitorous, you choose) day at Petco.

Anyway, going back to the Giants-Yankees, it goes to show that even in the worst, most depressing seasons, there's always something to cheer about. There's never any excuse to just stop watching. If you stick with it through the bad, the good is just that much better. That's what I learned during the amazing 1997 season. And the best way to make it through the bad stuff is to find stuff to cheer for, even if it means you have to share a tender moment with a boorish Red Sox fan.

-Anyways, just because, here is a picture I took of Petco Park from our seats (waaaaaay up there). Downtown San Diego is in the background. It's just a lovely sight, and a wonderful experience. Also notice the smattering of red shirts in the seats. It makes me cringe every time.

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