GREG GAMBLE’S 2008-09 HARDWOOD Picks: 69-57 ats…54%
NBA 49-42 - NCAA 14-13 - Teasers 6-2 - Church League 69-0
Since my hoops picks last week sucked worse than Lane Kiffin's inagural performance in Nashville (BTW, talk about a trophy Cougar...u seen Mrs. Kiffin?), I thought it was a Halle Berry-perfect time to introduce the new member of the IP.com team...my Homeboy Otis Van Style! A former Sports Writer that's written the gamut on all professional & college surfaces, Otis opens his tenure breaking down the diamond with a fantasy/A-Roid twist. So without further ado, say hello to a cat with plenty more journalist skills than my sorry-azz.
BASEBALL PROSPECTUS WITH SOME FLAXSEED FLAIR
By: Otis Van Style...aka ur Fantasy Cuz
Prepping for my '09 fantasy draft, & possibly a home run pool, requires the annual reading of Baseball Prospectus & a skimming of the Bill James Handbook. And while I already knew this, I have to say it still sucks knowing the standards for stats have changed so drastically since I was a youngster. Guys that were studs when I collected cards wouldn’t crack most lineups these days w/ their 1980 & early 90's figures. I remember thinking a guy who hit 20 pumps a year was a feared power hitter. Now, Jorge Cantu pops 29 like it‘s nothing.
Clearing the record books of accomplishments from 1994 and beyond or placing asterisks all over the place is ridiculous. We don’t know who’s clean. It is important, though, for us as fans to recognize what era guys were playing in when they tallied their numbers. Take a look at Jim Rice. The guy finally made the HOF this year. Why did it take so long? Well, probably because, overall, based on our current standards, his career numbers of 382 home runs and .298/.352/.502 over a 16-year career didn't look overly impressive.
After all, the dude is tied with Cubs legend Jim Edmonds for 55th on the all-time home run list. But more than 20 guys on the list above him played in the 90’s or 00’s, including many PED users, such as Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro--all members of the Texas Rangers Steroid Club, along with Ivan Rodriguez (27 home runs in 91 games in 2000 and a total of 45 bombs in his last 520 games or so--you figure it out).
From 1975-1986, Rice finished in the top five in MVP voting six times. Among the 54 guys above Rice on the career bombs list, only a handful did most of their damage during the 70’s and 80’s--Reggie, Stargell, Schmidt, Winfield, Dawson, and Dale Murphy. The former four are in the Hall, Dawson will get there, and Murphy won two MVPs before washing up early. Rice had a higher career slugging percentage than all of them besides Schmidt and Stargell, although the .502 career mark of Rice is lower than that of 90’s-00’s legends like Brian Giles and Richie Sexson. Yes, Brian Giles has a higher career slugging percentage than the Straw that Stirs the Drink.
Who didn't luv slugger Dave Kingman even if he struck out like the modern day Adam Dunn...he's still a pimp!
There are currently 43 players who have hit 400 career home runs. Dave Kingman used to stand alone as the only player with 400+ who wasn’t in the Hall. Times have changed. In 1977, Rice led the AL with 39 home runs. In 1978, when Rice led the AL with 46 bombs, Nobody else even hit 35. Between 1971-1986, the American League leader in home runs didn’t hit more than 40 on 12 occasions. In the 13 seasons from 1995-'07 the AL leader hit at least 50 pumps eight times.
Luis Gonzalez- 57 in 2001
Brady Anderson- 50 in 1996
Shawn Green- 49 in 2001
Adrian Beltre- 48 in 2004
Vinny Castilla- 46 in 1998
Carlos Pena- 46 in 2007
Richard Hidalgo-44 in 2000
Javier Lopez-43 in 2003
Matt Williams-43 in 1994
* and the season ended in early August because of the strike)
Tony Batista-41 in 2000 (yes, I said Tony "MFin" Batista)
Talk about sleeper picks, who took Batista in their 2000 HR pool?
With Otis Van Stizzle out of the way, time for some ATS Luv!
TOUCH ME HERE FOR ATS LUV FELLAS, TOUCH ME HERE!
VILLANOVA CATS (+3) @ NOTRE DAME kinda FIGHTING IRISH
Nova is deep, athletic, & sportin' one of the best coaches in the land. As for the Golden Domers, they're not very deep, kinda white at the skill positions, and sportin' a coach that's kinda good...but not that good...TAKE THE POINTS