Monday, May 31, 2010

The price of being free

My family has had a long history of being military brats. I'd like to give thanks to all that has served, serving, or considering serving to keep us free.

There is always a price sacrificed for our freedom.

My grandfather served in WWW II and the Korean war.

My grandfather was one of the few survivors on the U.S. Indianapolis on 30 July 1945.

The Worst Naval Disaster in US History

At 12:14 a.m. on 30 July 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 men on board, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remainder, about 900 men, were left floating in shark-infested waters with no lifeboats and most with no food or water. The ship was never missed, and by the time the survivors were spotted by accident four days later only 316 men were still alive.
The ship's captain, the late Charles Butler McVay III, survived and was court-martialed and convicted of "hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag" despite overwhelming evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm's way, despite testimony from the Japanese submarine commander that zigzagging would have made no difference, and despite that fact that, although over 350 navy ships were lost in combat in WWII, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialed. Materials declassified years later add to the evidence that McVay was a scapegoat for the mistakes of others.
In October of 2000, following years of effort by the survivors and their supporters, legislation was passed in Washington and signed by President Clinton expressing the sense of Congress, among other things, that Captain McVay's record should now reflect that he is exonerated for the loss of the Indianapolis and for the death of her crew who were lost.
In July of 2001 the Navy Department announced that Captain McVay's record has been amended to exonerate him for the loss of the Indianapolis and the lives of those who perished as a result of her sinking. The action was taken by Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England who was persuaded to do so by New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, a strong advocate of McVay's innocence. The survivors are deeply grateful to Secretary England and Senator Smith and also to young Hunter Scott of Pensacola, Florida, without whom the injustice to Captain McVay would never have been brought to the attention of the media and the Congress.
Unfortunately, the conviction for hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag remains on Captain McVay's record. Never in the history of the U.S. military has the verdict of a court-martial been overturned, and there is no known process for doing so.
It can be stated unequivocally, however, that, if the Indianapolis had arrived safely at Leyte without incident, Captain McVay would never have been court-martialed. Thus, by exonerating him for the loss of the ship and the death of 880 of her crew members, the Navy Department has at last conceded that he was innocent of any wrong-doing. His exoneration is tantamount to an admission that he should never have been court-martialed in the first place.
The survivors are thankful that after 66 years the good name of their captain has been cleared.

My grandfather passed in January 1986 and never got to see the Captain cleared.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star.

One of the story's that my grandfather told me was this:

He had just come from the galley/mess hall/cafeteria and was heading to go up on deck to clean the deck with his crew. When out of no were a huge explosion hit the bow it threw him about 50 feet. As he was trying to get his senses back he stumbled about to the side of the ship. Within in minutes the ship began sinking. He had a split decision to dive off before the undertoe effect would take him under the water.
He jumped and was in shark infested water for 4 days. He saw a piece of wood floating in the water and held on for dear life. After about day 2 he was hungry and thirsty and was,well as the saying goes, cussing like a sailor. Then it doned on him that he had grabbed a few packets of crackers and had tucked them in his trousers. He was elated but also didnt know too when he would be rescued, if, that would happen. So he reached in his pocket and grabbed one of them.
Boy was he pissed he started cursing anything and everything that could hear or see him. As grandpa put it, I'll be a S.O.B. THE CRACKERS WAS SOAKED AND TASTED LIKE SHIT. But he did manage to nibble on the mush that was left. He was eventually rescued 4 days later.

Once agian thanks to all that keeps our freedom free!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dealers Preview

In season 12, the Dealers lost their second World Series Game 7. They're back in season 13 looking to avenge that defeat. The team returns largely intact, and everyone on the opening day roseter saw at least one Major League game last year.

Contract Extensions: Max White and Lance Ward, the two home-grown lynchpins of the Dealers rotation, were each signed to five year extensions, in lieu of going to arbitration for a second year. Dealers opponents will be seeing both of these boys until at least season 17. White will make $6.8M a year and Ward $7.0M. The Dealers outstanding 27-year old 2B, Angel Galvez also signed a lucrative 5-year deal for $8M per. Galvez, with a good glove, great speed and 20 HR power, is known to be on the trade market though, so he might not stick as long as Ward & White. The large contract extensions have jacked up the Dealers salary budget, and after years in the $70M range, salary budget went to $84M this year.

Trade: In an unexpected blockbuster, the Dealers shipped out stud RF Harry Suarez for prospects. Suarez is a rare player, with splits and power in the 80s along with good contact, speed, baserunning, and batting eye as well as solid durability and health and he has a career 884 OPS. So why trade him now when the team is bucking for another playoff run? Shayne Browne, that's why. Browne has been an all-star at each minor league level, patiently working his way through the system, and after a short cup-of-coffee call up last year, he's more than ready for full-time duty this year. With 100 power and coming from the left side of the plate, he'll replace Suarez at a much lower price. Coming back in the deal were pitchers Neftali Alvarez and Tyrone Sauer. Some fans criticized the return for the popular Suarez, but the Dealers were thrilled to move some corner outfield salary.

The Big Question: Which Quilvio Castro shows up this year? In his rookie season LF Castro was amazing, slugging 60 HRs and put up 147 RBI and a 1026 OPS, with 27 SBs to boot. He took home the MVP, ROY, and Silver Slugger awards, was the Home Run Derby champ, and was named to the all-star team. Last year Castro hit just 33 HRs and his OPS dropped 267 points, and he laid an egg in the playoffs. What do Dealers fans get this time? Some fans question if the beefy Castro, at 5'9" and 223 pounds (70 speed, LOL!) has spent too much time in the casino buffet lines to be effective.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lucky Season 13 AL East Preview

As I enter my sixth season in the Jersey League World, I take a look back and realize a couple of things. First, where has the time gone? When I first started here, I was not even expecting to be a father yet. Now I have twin boys over a year old. Good times. Second, my team has floundered in mediocrity for too long. Things have to change. With that said, I present to you the Season 13 AL East Preview. I will break down each team and attempt (again) to amuse you with my prognostication skills. I will preview each team in the reverse order of their Season 12 finish in standings. Hope you enjoy.

Philadelphia Phillies

Owner: bball10 (4th Season, 176-310, 0 Playoff Appearances)

Franchise History: (815-1,129, 1 Playoff Appearance, 0 Division Titles)

Season 12 Recap:

Record: 54-108 (4th Place, 32 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .272 / .335 / .411

R / HR / RBI / SB: 779 / 172 / 753 / 184

ERA / WHIP / SO: 6.34 / 1.68 / 953

Fld % / CS %: .975 / .232

Bartolo Maradona, RP (Free Agency from Norfolk)
Taylor Everett, RP (Free Agency from Norfolk)
Tomas Tavarez, SP (Free Agency from Syracuse)
Banana Munoz, RP (Free Agency from Trenton)

Nash Ponson, RP (Free Agency)
Junior Lee, SP (Free Agency)
Norm Mantei, RP (Free Agency)
Donatello Barker, OF (Free Agency)
Al Clifton, SS (Released)

After a promising sophomore campaign, bball10 took a stumble backwards in his third year, finishing last in the division and ending tied for worst overall record in team history. You don't have to look hard (mainly because I did the work for you) to see that pitching was what did this team in last season. Bball10 focused on that in the offseason, picking up 4 pitchers via Free Agency. That, along with an improvement in defense, needs to come through for this team to have any chance at 81 wins, let alone a shot at the division crown.

Pittsburgh sluggers

Owner: larr100 (6th Season, 368-442, 1 Playoff Appearance, 1 Division Title)

Franchise History: 971-973, 4 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Season 12 Recap:

Record: 65-97 (3rd Place, 21 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .253 / .324 / .441

R / HR / RBI / SB: 801 / 259 / 785 / 121

ERA / WHIP / SO: 5.48 / 1.59 / 923

Fld % / CS %: .974 / .249

Bob Bonilla, RP (Promoted)
Dude Lloyd, SP (Promoted)
Max Rios, SS (Free Agent from Colorado)
Junior Ortiz, SS (Free Agent from Florida)
Jayson Caufield, 3B (Promoted)
Patrick Peavy, RP (Free Agent from Colorado Springs)
Buddy Johnson, RP (Free Agent from Seattle)
Brian Morgan, RP (Free Agent from Atlanta)
Oswaldo Alvarez, SS (Free Agent from Norfolk)
Bernie Izquierdo, LF (Free Agent from Salem)

Gerald Grissom, RP (Free Agency)
Red DiSarcina, SS (Free Agency)

Pittsburgh is a team that has me baffled. GM larr100 came into this league the same time as me and immediately brought this franchise a division title. Since then, they slowly deteriorated down the standings (2nd in Season 9, 3rd in Season 10, 4th in Season 11) before finally rebounding last season and finishing 3rd, improving their win total from 63 to 65 wins. If the trend holds true, we should expect a 2nd place finish this year. The young talent is starting to break through this season. SP Dude Lloyd has earned the final rotation spot, RP Bob Bonilla has made the club as a long relief pitcher, and 3B Jayson Caufield has broken camp with the club to backup Rodney Mulder. Larr100 was also busy on the free agency wire, shoring up relief pitching and improved defense.

Norfolk Phanatics

Owner: ratatat72 (6th Season, 380-430, 3 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Franchise History: (876-1,068, 5 Playoff Appearances, 4 Division Titles)

Season 12 Recap:

Record: 66-96 (2nd Place, 20 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .272 / .341 / .426

R / HR / RBI / SB: 857 / 189 / 833 / 194

ERA / WHIP / SO: 5.82 / 1.65 / 937

Fld % / CS %: .983 / .246

Dion Hundley, LF (Promoted)
Hector Trevino, SP (Free Agent from Tampa Bay)
Tony Alonso, SS (Free Agent from Las Vegas)

Allen Chapman, RP (Free Agency)
Alex Dunham, RP (Free Agency)
Jake Webb, RF (Free Agency)
Taylor Everett, RP (Team Declined Mutual Option)
Brian Sanders, RP (Team Declined Mutual Option)
Bartolo Maradona, RP (Released)
Oswaldo Alvarez, SS (Released)

GM ratatat72 had his share of antacids last season. Who could blame him. After 4 solid seasons, the Phanatics took a HUGE step backwards. Lack of pitching depth at beginning of season plus DL stints by 5 pitchers during the season equals bad season. Chalk it up as a formula for disaster. They did get younger in the pitching, but may still be lacking depth to compete with the big boys in the AL. Offensively, they are led by SS Mateo Flores, 2B Bucky Gates, and AL Rookie of the Year winner Darrell Rossy. If the pitching rebounds from last year's disaster, they might give New York some much needed competition.

New York Mutuals

Owner: piratestros (5th Season, 301-347, 2 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Franchise History: (991-953, 6 Playoff Appearances, 6 Division Titles, 1 American League Championship)

Season 12 Recap:

Record: 86-76 (1st Place, Lost to Rochester in Division Play-in Series 3-0)

BA / OBP / SLG: .268 / .338 / .429

R / HR / RBI / SB: 892 / 197 / 870 / 323

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.78 / 1.49 / 1,019

Fld % / CS %: .981 / .253

Brian Sanders, RP (Free Agent from Norfolk)
Alex Dunham, RP (Free Agent from Norfolk)
Louis Collier, C (Free Agent from Las Vegas)
Luther Crosby, RP (Rule V from Rochester)
Terrence Sheehan, RP (Rule V from Charlotte)

Eric Morris, RP (Free Agency)
Steve Singleton, C (Free Agency)
Larry Simon, RP (Free Agency)
Tony Blank, RP (Free Agency)
Donaldo Hernandez, SP (Free Agency)
Johnnie Key, RP (Free Agency)
Brian Vander Wal, C (Free Agency)
Cliff Parrish, SP (Free Agency)
Matty Ozuna, RP (Free Agency)
Jerry Halama, RP (Free Agency)
Gabe Eaton, RP (Free Agency)
Tim Buehrle, RP (Free Agency)
T.J. Richardson, LF (Player Declined Mutual Option, Released)
Albert Espinoza, 1B (Released)
Edgar Abreu, RF (Released)

Whew!!!! New York, the City that Never Sleeps. That is exactly true for piratestros, as the revolving door needed some serious oil after he was through with the offseason moves. The 2nd Division title in as many seasons did little to satisfy piratestros. Most of the players that left were September callups that had no options left, so there isn't too much damage. This team is led offensively by speedy Calvin Lee, who at only age 25 is approaching elite status in Stolen Bases, and Gerald Pratt. They also have speedy youngsters Dan Blank and Osvaldo Montero joining the carousel that is the basepaths of the American League. It won't be a stretch to predict that the Mutuals will steal the SB category for a fifth straight season. Their biggest concern will be how the Pitching holds up. They already lost Rule V pick Sheehan for the season due to a nerve irritation in the forearm.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring Training for Newbies

Spring training is a time to try out some new players, get used to the game, and give your prospects some work. It seems like every experienced owner handles this a bit different, but here is what I do:

Spring Training Roster: Go to Manager's Office: Player Settings: Spring Training Squads. You will automatically have your entire major league roster already. I suggest adding your best prospects (about 15-20 total though can vary) from AAA and AA, and maybe even a top-notch prospect from HiA. I don't tend to use my youngest prospects in ST, but that's just me.

Veteran Players: Apparently there is a penalty of some sort if veterans don't get used enough during spring training, so you want them to get some work. However, there is no benefit to working them full time, as they will tire needlessly and be exposed to injury risk. I usually put my veterans on rest after about 25-30 ABs or 3-5 pitching appearances.

Prospects: Give them as much work as you can, especially the ones with a lot of upside in projections.

Lineup Strategies: There are multiple ways to do this: One is to start with your veterans then put them on rest when they get enough work. Another is to edit manager settings so that it rests starters after 5 or 6 innings. Be sure to set pinch-hitters, defensive replacements, and player rest or it won't work correctly.

Pitching Strategies: Again, there are options. A lot of owners use tandem starters, which allows certainty that those two pitchers get in the game. Another option is to use a standard rotation but put the veterans on rest after they get work in and start prospects later on. In any case, after setting the pitching staff, adjust the player settings for pitch counts.

A Note on Rest: Pitchers get fatigued with every appearance, then gradually work back up to 100%. If your pitch count is above recommended levels they may not be back to 100% for their next start. Batters fatigue cumulatively over the season. If not rested they may stay at 100% for half a season and then start to gradually drop right when the penant race is hot. For that reason, try to give batters ocassional rest all through the season. For batters, the durability rating is the driver. If its in the 90s, a player will need very little rest. If its in the 80s, the player may need to rest once a week to stay at 100%. If its in the 70s, even more rest is needed, and a platoon may even be best. Below 70 is certainly a platoon player.