Brian, Debate, Feature, Outfield, Player Profile, Prospects, reality blog

The Tragedy of Potential


Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!

-Anne Frank

Mike Darr was an above average fielder.

Mike Darr was an above average fielder.

The Phoenix night grew older as Mike Darr, Duane Johnson, and Ben Howard sped down Interstate-10. The friends had been out drinking, celebrating Darr and Howard’s final night of the off-season before spring training started later that morning. Darr was slated to be the San Diego Padres’ Opening Day center fielder. It was February 16, 2002.

When Oscar Taveras got in his red Chevy Camaro in Sosua, Dominican Republic, on October 25, 2014, he’d had over 15 alcoholic drinks in about two hours. His girlfriend was in the passenger seat. Taveras started the car and began driving to Puerto Plata, his birthplace. Taveras was one of the top prospects in baseball and was all but guaranteed to be the starting right fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015.

At the time of their deaths, Darr was 25 and Taveras was 22.

When I was 22 years old, I had just graduated college and set out to live in Los Angeles to be the “next great writer.” I had it all planned out, too. Step 1: Find an apartment. Step 2: Attend UCLA. Step 3: Flat out strike it rich. It was as stupid as it was simple.

But I was young and brash and really had no fear of anything. It’s truly a beautiful age to be. The world has no expectations of you. Even though the deck is stacked against you (because, really, chances are you’re going to be a nobody-can’t-hack-it…chances are), you have no inkling of that being true. How naïve and brazen you are when you’re young. There you go, hightailing it, living your life to the fullest, flipping the bird to everyone, even Death, because there’s nothing in the world that can stop you.

I made it to L.A., the City of Angels; found myself a dingy apartment in the neighborhood of Palms; even got accepted into the UCLA Screenwriting Program. I used to get martinis after class with a friend of mine, who later went on to write for People and Spin and AP, and we would talk about screenplays, movies and the craft of writing. We were the best writers at UCLA, soon to be the best writers in the industry.

Unfortunately, when you’re young, you can’t tell if you’re talented at something or not. It’s true, either you are or you aren’t, but it’s tough to tell. I lasted a year in L.A. Clearly, I was not.

Whenever a talented person passes away young (a la James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Cliff Burton, etc.), my brain always takes me back to the time when I was hightailing it. When I was grooving through life without any breaks.

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Brian, Feature, Head-To-Head, Poll, Roto

Rotisserie versus Head-to-Head (2013 version)


baseball-003Every year, fantasy baseball grows in size, exposing more of the population to the sad, masochistic, stat-filled addiction that the strange few of us already know like the back of our hands. Usually, the first decision new managers have to face is which format they want to play under: rotisserie (roto) or head-to-head. My recommendation to new owners: join one of each because even though both are amazingly addicting, they’re remarkably different. I enjoy head-to-head formats better than rotisserie because I like the thrill of week-to-week drama. The rivalry aspect is also unique to head-to-head formats. But let’s not put the cart before the horse.

Before we delve into the differences, let’s make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned and quickly discuss the history of the “sport.”

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Awards, Debate, Feature, Hall of Fame, Questions, Rotoballs, Rumblings, Wooden

The Reality Blog: The Hall of Most Shame (Rose vs. ‘Roids)


We live in the age of instant quotes and misquotes thanks to social media sites. I came across this heavy hitter in a recent online rant against alleged PED-user Lance Armstrong:

"I never used steroids, but I have inspired thousands of Catholic priests."

“I never used steroids, but I have inspired thousands of Catholic priests.”

“I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.” – Sophocles

Cute, but I’ve got news for this good-intentioned quote fiend; Sophocles never lived in the era of the $100 million dollar contract. He also never lived in the era of the front page fandom that comes with hitting home runs that switch zip codes in air, collecting Cy Young awards like Adele collects Grammys, or winning games more consistently than Wilt Chamberlain won with the ladies (sorry Quentin Tarantino).

The Baseball Writers Association of America must be suckers for Sophocles’ work, as they famously took a hard stance a few weeks back when they voted nobody into the Hall of Fame for just the eighth time in the Hall’s history. It certainly wasn’t for lack of viable candidates that nobody was enshrined as this year’s ballot boasted MLB’s all-time home run king, and the man with more Cy Young awards than anyone else, among other notable players. No, the BBWAA pitched a shutout because they wanted to send a message to these players, most of whom had more than casual ties to PEDs- there’s no place for cheaters.

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Brian, Feature, First Base

The Problem with Adam Dunn


"I crush..."

I was tinkering around with one of my head-to-head teams the other day, trying to improve my lackluster production, and I started to look at the career of one of my bench players: Adam Dunn. I got so sidetracked that I didn’t even end up making any changes to my team, but I did discover something fairly interesting. Dunn, who used to be thought of as a top tier player, in both fantasy and reality, has never been to the playoffs in his 11-year career. This isn’t some enormously enormous finding, but it is when you couple it with these two facts: 1) Dunn has only once been on a .500 or better team and 2) each organization that Dunn left, via trade or free agency, either made the playoffs or went .500 or better (the 2011 Washington Nationals went 80-81 without Dunn)—or both—within two years of being Dunn-less.

What makes it even worse is the Cincinnati Reds were 85-77 in 2000, the year before he broke into the Bigs. The Arizona Diamondbacks, the team Dunn was traded to mid-2008 to help them make the playoffs, ended up stumbling down the stretch (22-22 with Dunn) and missed the playoffs by two games to the dreaded Dodgers. In 2010, the Chicago White Sox were 88-74 (you guessed it!) without Dunn. Last year, in his first year with the club, the ChiSox went 79-83 and he hit a paltry .159, gathering only 66 hits, while striking out 177 times.

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Brian, Feature, Head-To-Head, Poll, Roto

Rotisserie versus Head-to-Head (2012 version)


Every year, fantasy baseball grows in size, exposing more of the population to the sad, masochistic, stat-filled addiction that the strange few of us already know like the back of our hands. Usually, the first decision new managers have to face is which format they want to play under: rotisserie (roto) or head-to-head. My recommendation to new owners: join one of each because even though both are amazingly addicting, they’re remarkably different. I enjoy head-to-head formats better than rotisserie because I like the thrill of week-to-week drama. The rivalry aspect is also unique to head-to-head formats. But let’s not put the cart before the horse.

Before we delve into the differences, let’s make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned and quickly discuss the history of the “sport.”

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Brian, Feature, keeper

Going Out of Business! Sale! Everything Must Go!


I went to Borders today to see what kind of loot I could gather up before their big ship quickly went under. I found a few good finds: The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 edited by Dave Eggers. But the real reason I went was to see what it looks like when a big-time corporation dies. That’s really why anybody was in the store. Sure, you could say they were there for cheap books and half priced calendars, but that’s just a front to watch a bit of America burn away. Any store could have a sale, 50% off everything, and people would undoubtedly show up, but not like this. There were droves of people. People who didn’t even buy anything. Just standing around, looking at the carnage. Us Americans, we’re tickled by failure. We love to watch a high profile celebrity crash and burn. We’re thrilled when a hated sports rival loses. It’s no different when a company fails.

This dude doesn't even work at Borders, yet he's toting a sign.

Going out of business!

Everything MUST go!

Boom. People. By the soccer mom van-fuls. Snapping pictures of the barren rafters. Flinging books all over the place. Smiles on all their faces.

What’s funny about this? I can relate it to fantasy baseball. Trust me, everything can be related back to fantasy sports.

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Brian, Feature, Rumblings

Words from the Editor: Late Night Drinking


Maybe I’ve been drinking too much sherry on a school night, but I have a desire to ramble, and maybe some of this will have something to do with baseball. No promises, folks.

  • Generally unknown Jim Ward is my latest musical musing. Check him out here at Tembloroso.
  • Looking forward to the end of September.

    One of the biggest surprise players this year is easily Melky Cabrera. His name is funny because my girlfriend says I pronounce “milk” as “melk”. Anyway, Cabrera was ranked 369 by Yahoo! in the preseason. Before the start of Sunday’s games, he was ranked 17th on the season! He’s got a 15/16 season going so far, while hitting .312. Bet the Braves wish they had this production from him last season. One of the reasons I wanted to talk about the Melk Man was because I’ve recently tried trading him in my keeper league, and NOBODY wants him, not as a keeper, not even as a solid option for the playoff push. I guess it’s fine, I’ll ride him out the rest of the season. He’s not going to stop hitting. And he’s going to help me win a championship.

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