Saturday, March 30, 2013

5 overachievers/ underachievers for your fantasy league

5 Overachievers:

1. Chisenhall-  Have you ever read the works of the psychotic dictator, Shan Yu?  Now we meet the real Lonnie Chisenhall.

2. Brantley- Bigger and better.  A high contact rate meets a bigger build on frictionless plain, that equals breakout season.

3. Stubbs-  Karma!  Brandon Phillips lite.  Power, speed, and a comeback. 

4. Santana- Meet your most talented hitter. The contact rate ain't great.  But it's hard contact. 

5. Masterson- Holy hell people, you're picking Bud Norris and Ricky Nolasco ahead of Masterson (Average Draft Position).  No, no, no, no. 

5 Overachievers

1.  Swisher has put up nearly identical numbers the last 3 years.  Believe the average not the breakout. 

2. Cabrera- The power will not repeat. 

3. Michael Bourn.  Won't walk and less stolen bases.

4.  Chris Perez.  Eventually.

5.  Ryan Raburn. Spring numbers are meaningless.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

How I won fantasy league last year.

My youngest brother has fallen on tough times.  He lives in a Crown Vic and can be found on Euclid between I-90  and MLK.  Joe's a hand lotion salesmen with harry knuckles.  It's a hard life, but he loves his work. 

Last year, he picked up a roommate (or carmate (?)).  Joe gets the front seat and AJ the back.  It is hard for me to imagine.  I have a hard time sharing my row at a ballgame.  Seriously, you are going to the bathroom with a full count?   

But despite his obscene fingers, Joe has always had a kind soul.  And Joe's friendship with AJ won me my fantasy league last year.  What AJ lacks in personal hygiene he makes up tenfold in fantasy baseball advice. 

AJ's advice from last year:

"Get Ortiz and Jeter late.  Ride their mad points until they get hurt.  Then cut bait."
"Trout.  Trout.  Good fishy.  Good fishy."
"Kimbrel is an elite closer.  Treat him as such."
"I see a ten thousand demons dancing in your eyes."

Not all of AJ's advice is useful.  But much is fantasy gold.  Here's AJ's advice for the coming year.

"Utley is last year's Ortiz."
"Trout leftovers aren't as good, but still pretty damn good."
"We have never seen a confident Lonnie Chisenhall.  Look for him late."
"Matt Holliday is available at your cut rate travel agent."
"Ain't no one that can bring middle round value like me, way over yonder in the Mike Minor key."
"Ants are crawling beneath my skin."

Now, AJ is literally barking at me.  If it turns out to have fantasy baseball value, I will report back. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It is I, the great and powerful ttfc

The ttfc (thatteamfromcleveland) has always been a man behind the curtain.  Ignore the illogical rationalizing!  Obey the provocative opinions! 

I love thinking and writing about the Tribe, but I shy from an internet presence.  I don't want to go down a series of tubes.  That just doesn't sound pleasant. 

Plus, it is all so confusing.  What is the difference between Twitter, a RSS feed, and a blog?  Let's just say that things were simpler in my times.  Tell the town gossip.  Word will get around. 

However, this year, I have decided to make some of my work available at The Tribe Daily.  I've read Nino's blog for years, and when he made the opportunity available, I jumped, tubes be damned.

However, the chance to write for The Tribe Daily requires that I step from behind the facade that I erected to protect my privacy.  It is I, Bryan Belknap, the man behind the curtain.  I am ttfc. Ignore all my post about Matt LaPorta!  Read my keen insight into Michael Brantley!

There is a daily deluge e-mails asking "who is ttfc?", "what is ttfc's back story?," and "why does every idiot think he/she can write about baseball?"

Well, here is a bit of my back story.  I wasn't born in Cleveland.  I was born in Iowa, childhood home of Superman and birth place of Bob Feller. 

In fact, I grew up with Bob Feller.  He lived catty corner to my childhood home. 

That is right, I grew up with Mr. Cleveland Indian, "Rapid Robert".  Bob Feller is deservedly the most beloved Cleveland Indian.  He was a war hero, a key force in Cleveland's last World Series win, winner of awards innumerable, and Tribe ambassador for over half a century.  If you want to name your child, "Feller," I understand.

But as a kid, I hated him.

Oh yeah, screw your scorn!  You weren't there.  You don't know.  Who wants to play ball with a seven year old that throws in the mid-90s?  We would play catch, and I come home crying with blisters on left hand.  I can still hear my mom saying, "I don't want you playing catch with the Feller boy, anymore." 

You want to know when I first contemplated my own mortality?  The first time we drew straws to be Bob's catcher.  Yeah, we drew straws to be Bob's catcher.  If my personality seems a bit off-kilter, know that I played kiddie Russian Roulette during the summers of my childhood. 

And do you know what it is like trying to learn how to hit a baseball, when you can't even see the pitch?  To this day, I can' hit a softball.  I am still trying to work out the funk Bob put into my swing.  For me, the pitcher winds up and then the catcher cries.  There is no crying in baseball?  You didn't grow up playing with Bob.

As an adult, I can appreciate what a great human being Bob Feller was.  Please, don't take this as a slam on Bob Feller.  I'll never be half the human Bob Feller was.  But he terrorize my childhood.  Doctors say that I may never regain full feeling in my left hand. 

You wanted to know about me.  Well, here I am.  Me and my weak handshake.  I am the great and powerful ttfc. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

WBC: old vs new

WBC as a study in change.

Old school unwritten rules vs. New obscure rules.
Old international powers (Japan, Cuba, US, Korea) vs. New upstarts (Italy, Brazil, China, the Netherlands)
Old baseball organ vs. new vuvuzelas and cow bells.
Old complaints interleague play vs. new complaints international play.
Old "this interferes with the MLB season" vs. new "this will grow the sport globally."
Old change is bad vs new change is inevitable.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Terry Francona

I'm going to gush a little.

But cut me some slack, I'm a die hard Cleveland sports fan.  And let's face it we have been left at the alter more than a few times.  Not to bring up bad memories, but we have been there.  All dressed in white with a nervous smile and he says that he is taking his talents to south beach.  And Thome professed his love and then left........(sure, we later hooked up thanks to facebook)...but that was a hard moment.  Manny left us, but he was always a cad.  Let' face it.  We have had a checkered love life.  

But with Francona, I feel like Sally Fields.  This is a Kosar moment.  The nation doesn't get the whole Lebron backlash.  But we put a higher premium on loyalty around here.  Was Kosar the best QB ever?  Damn right, he was.  Don't give me your fancy numbers.  He chose us.  End of story.

The Francona signing feels that way.  Sure, he is here cause he wants to work with his friends, Shapiro and Atonetti (which is cool on its own).   But it feels like he is here, because he loves Cleveland.  He chose us.  National pundits found it puzzling.  What no one would want to marry me?  Screw you, guys!  Meet our new manager. 

I'm no Shawn Spencer.  I don't know what the future will bring.  I don't expect Cleveland to make the playoffs this year.  But come hell or high water, I am a Terry Francona fan.   

Checkout the new digs on that site

The Tribe Daily is launching it new fancy format.  I am jealous.  It looks great.

My intro is appearing there.  I think it kinda funny and worthy of the internet.  But don't let Nino lie to you.  He did save my life.  I do have an extremely thin skull.  I am in danger of cracking my skull at any moment.  I can crack my skull just by pushing my finger like this.  Oh crap, better call Dr. Wundernickel.  Anyway go check it out.  I am off to the urgent care.