Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

MLB GM 101

I don't pretend to think it's easy, but there are certain mistakes an MLB GM makes time and time again, and it's not hard to avoid them.

First of all a disclaimer. You cannot count the Cashman, Epstein, and Hendry's in this. It's like sending my wife off on a shopping contest against Paris Hilton, Kelly Osborne, and J-Lo. Given all their means to come up with an outfit, perhaps one piece my wife might find at Kohls can resemble what they can find on Rodeo, but day after day, outfit after outfit, she will be outmatched.

But, she also doesn't need to just wander into Niemann Marcus and pay whatever to compete. Some tips (back to baseball).

1) Never ever overpay for a one to two year successful pitcher, particularly over the age of 28.

Examples: Randy Wolf (MIL), Woody Williams (HOU), Jeff Suppan (MIL), Chan Ho Park (TEX), Vincente Padilla (TEX), Carl Pavano (NYY). That just off the top of my head. How it worked out:

Wolf: Two seasons of 10+ wins in six years (only one of those over .500). Brewers sign him 3 years, $27.8M, another $1.5M to buyout 2013 at 33 or pay $10M.
Williams: At least 3 of last 4 years he had 10+ wins and winning record. But at 39, Astros give him $6M to go 8-15 with a 5.27.
Suppan: Only once in his career had an under 4.00 ERA, never gave up fewer hits than innings. Brewers at 32 pay him $40M over 4 years, shockingly ERA never goes under 4.00 and still never gives up fewer hits than IP.
Park: Okay 5 straight years of 13 or more wins, 11 or fewer losses, 4 with an ERA under 4.00. But it's in LA, not Arlington. Rangers pay $48M over 3 years at 29 to win 14 games and an ERA healthily over 5.00 all years.
Padilla: Two decent years over .500 with an ERA under 4.00 but it had been over 2 years when he won 16 games for Texas (ERA a pedestrian 4.50) and the Rangers re-sign him to $32M over 3 years at 29 (he did win 43 games)
Pavano: Two winning seasons ever (2000, 2004) most ERA's north of 5.00. Yanks sign him 4 years, $38M at 28.

2) The Japan market is tapped. Fukodome, Matsui (Hideki and Kazuo), Okajima, etc. all are never going to be Hideo Nomo nor Ichiro Suzuki. Yet we get year after year some GM (okay, mostly the above 3 free spenders) bring one in and spend a ton of money and get nothing. I'm not even bringing in Irabu.

3) Pay any player more than $15M per year at your own risk. Here's a hint, the chance for him to perform at a level to earn that is slim. In my estimation, there are about 4 players that will give you returns on that, their names are Pujols, Howard, A-Rod (slipping), and Morneau. Maybe Votto the way he's playing. Yet, you see a lot of Carlos Lee's, Jason Bay's, Carlos Beltran's, JD Drew's, Alfonso Soriano's, Derrek Lee's, and Kosuke Fukodome's. making that (ganging up on the Cubs there). Take the $18M, and get about 8 decent players (2 starters, 2 relievers, 4 end of bench guys) and see how it works out.

4) Draft well. I mean smartly. Balance college kids (fully developed physically) with high school kids (more of a wild card). It's not like Strasburg was a huge HS prospect, he developed, so don't tell me you can't find talent in college. Then there's the Purke (TCU) and Stubbs (Texas) who get drafted high out of HS but don't sign. Mix in some good HS talent and you'll do well.

5) Don't let signability sway your draft. I'm not saying pay what they want, but talent is talent and what's a few million dollars between friends. Don't sign the above pitchers and you can afford it.

6) Scout Latin America like crazy. Spend the money, find talent there, you don't have to draft it, and you can hit on about 10% and find a gold nugget.

7) Sign free agents that are <$5M and have an upside. Example Brett Myers this year. $3.1M this year, only 29. Never won fewer than 10 games with 30 starts. Same with position players. Find someone who can play 100 games and pitch hit for $3M.

8) Never overpay a closer. The other 24 guys have to get you in position to close and it's still random. Just rotate through guys who have good stuff, and when they demand more than $3M, make do with someone else. Someone like Rivera is an exception, again, with an unlimited budget you'd be stupid not to sign him. But the Angels and Rays and Braves have to find someone new every year.

9) Never be fooled by a postseason. Beltran 2004, Upton 2008, Mazeroski 1960, Hatcher 1990, prove that one postseason doth not make a star. It's as if one player had a hot 2 weeks (we've seen it from guys like Ty Wigginton and Juan Uribe midseason) and all of the sudden someone wants to throw $10M per at them.

10) Never overpay market value to re-sign resident talent. You have to let the Delmon Young, Adam Dunn, and Francisco Rodriguez's go. Trust me, you'll find yourself succeeding without them.

Follow those examples and I'm not promising post-season every year, but you'll put together a decent team every 3 or 4 years, then lose all your free agent talent to the Yankees and start over. But the White Sox and Cardinals have won as many World Series since 2000 as the Yankees and they just about never go out and just buy talent. Not to mention the Astros and Rockies and Rays have made World Series with minimal FA contribution.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So what changed?

Before I delve into the mid-summer classic, I thought I'd give credit where credit is due. Fox Sports seems to have taken the cue that sports fans like sports and not distractions. I decided to take notes on how often Fox broke away from game coverage to cover:
1) Free Agent chat
2) Interviews with players who were replaced
3) Manager/coach interviews
4) Stars of TV shows on Fox
5) Analysis of LeBron

And frankly, I didn't fill up a page:
7:48p CDT First Pitch
8:23p - A brief and misplaced discussion of Andy Pettitte's children was commenced at which point there was a groundout to SS (with the go ahead run on base) to end an inning but they couldn't call it b/c of the non-play discussion. Just seemed pointless.
8:27p - A brief player microphone feature of Pettitte and Mauer getting together on pitches. Seriously, every catcher and pitcher in the All Star game do this.
8:35p - Interview with Girardi. Here we go, cue the parade of dugout interviews instead of the action. If my notes are to be believed it was during an Ichiro AB. Was pleased that it was brief, touched on Steinbrenner, and wasn't the usual "Pitcher needs to throw more strikes, batter needs to pick out his pitches, we need to shut down their running game" coach speak.

I showed no more meaningless chatter until Adrian Gonzalez batted at 9:22, but they sprinkled in positive praise of the Padres w/o missing the action and I thought it was well done.

9:43p - Jeter dugout interview (with non-coincidental Gatorade towel prominently displayed), were bailed out by Rolen having a long AB. It was this AB that I believe started the rally. Good thing they didn't drone on too long.

I'll let alone that every single one of the distractions involved Yankees and call that coincidence. Nobody asked about Josh Johnson's kids, nobody showed the footage of Molina talking over pitches with Jimenez, nobody asked Hanley Ramirez his thoughts on the game when he was removed.

But on to the main course. For some reason, everyone with a platform is declaring "shenanigans" that the All Star game as mismanaged. As if this hasn't happened in every game since 1985. Did something change? Is it b/c the AL lost and Ortiz was embarrassed on the basepaths? Funny, when the AL won they were praised for their intensity level at which they played. When the NL wins, the coach gets blamed. Little credit to Byrd for the throw, little discussion of Rolen's 1st to 3rd on Hunter. Little discussion of the litany of gold gloves in the field in the 9th for the NL (Bourn, AdGon, Rolen). It was these same things that won the game for the AL year after year. That and Rivera (while the NL tried to roll out soft throwers like Hoffman and Beck and Doug Jones).

But tons of articles decrying the travesty that was the coaching (even though it has been the coaching for 25 years):
Jim Caple - ESPN
Blair Johnson/Steve Henson - Yahoo
Joe Sheehan - CNNSI
Joe Paul Morosi - Fox Sports

I can't say I disagree. I also have in my notes that Albert Pujols left the game at 8:40p, and by 9:02p, the first half inning occurred where Buck had to spend 3 or more pitches reviewing all the changes. So our fan voted All Stars got all of about 74 minutes of action, the other 100+ were players like John Buck, Michael Bourn, Chris Young, Matt Capps, Nick Swisher, Phil Hughes, Matt Thornton, Marlon Byrd. You know, all those players that every kid wants their jersey. Meanwhile, Pujols, Jeter, Mauer, Ichiro, Vlad, Longoria, Howard were all sipping their postgame ice tea taking in the action.

If you want to fix the game, go back to 30 player rosters, every starter goes the distance unless situation calls for a switch. You're talking lefty/righty, pinch runner, use Bourn for defense, double switch in a key hitter in an inning you need runs. Baseball. I would actually say that the NL should have taken 3 catchers. Right the fans wrong of voting in Molina by replacing him in the 2nd inning with McCann and still have Olivo to play.

As for those gameday injuries that seem to have kept A-Rod out, how about having an actual All Star Roster of 34 players, but declaring 4 as inactive right before gametime. They are still on the team, but the dinged up Beltre's and A-Rods and pitchers who aren't going to go can be designated unavailable.

One final note, it's near impossible to find a roster of the final all stars. All are some sort of interim version, and even the final there are so many symbols next to them, I don't know who played and who didn't? This guy was hurt and replaced, this guy was a replacement, this guy was picked but is now a starter, this guy started on Sunday and can't pitch, this guy replaced a guy who started on Sunday and can't pitch, etc.

Pick 34, replace the known injured players (Tulo, Pedroia, etc.) then come gameday, activate 30.

And play the best players. If everyone agrees, then nobody gets their feelings hurt that they didn't play. It's not that I didn't get to play, it's that my name is Marlon Byrd and I play on a team with Ethier, Braun, and Hart in the OF and they're just better. Well, except for Hart.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The way the 2010 All Star game SHOULD be

As promised in an earlier blog, I will now offer how I would set up the all star teams if:

1) Fan voting only got you a roster spot, not a starting spot
2) Rosters are set to be competitive first, reward good 1st half play second
3) All teams must still be represented

As we all know, the voting for each league went like:

NL: Molina, Pujols, Utley, Ramirez, Wright, Braun, Ethier, Heyward
AL: Mauer, Morneau, Cano, Jeter, Longoria, Hamilton, Ichiro, Crawford, Vlad

Utley is most definitely out of the game, maybe Morneau. Heyward appears to be in, so we'll play it like he and Justin are in.

I'm going to cap the rosters at 30 instead of 34. I'm going to play it like a real game, so I don't need the four extras. So that's 21 more AL and 22 more NL after the starters. This allows 2-deep at the 9 positions (including DH) and 12 pitchers.

I would add the following to the AL roster (bold means they are on actual team)
C: Victor Martinez (.289/9/38) to be replaced by John Buck (.273/13/31)
1B: Miguel Cabrera (.346/21/74)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (.292/12/41) to be replaced by Ian Kinsler (.312/3/29)
SS: Elvis Andrus (.284/23SB)
3B: Adrian Beltre (.332/13/55)
OF: Nick Markakis (.308/5/30)
OF: Alex Rios (.306/14/47)
OF: Torii Hunter (.301/15/62)
DH: Kevin Youkilis (.294/18/57)

And for the NL:
C: Miguel Olivo (.317/11/41)
1B: Joey Votto (.315/22/60)
2B: Martin Prado (.332/10/39) (replaces Chase Utley)
2B: Kelly Johnson (.273/14/43)
SS: Rafael Furcal (.335/48R/15SB)
3B: Scott Rolen (.292/17/57)
OF: Carlos Gonzalez (.312/16/57)
OF: Matt Kemp (.264/16/50)
OF: Corey Hart (.280/20/63)
DH: Ryan Howard (.299/17/65)
DH: Adam Dunn (.285/22/58)

As for pitchers, 12 each team
AL:
SP: John Lester (2.78, 11W, 124K)
SP: David Price (2.42, 12W)
SP: Cliff Lee (2.34, 8W, 5CG, 6BB)
SP: Jered Weaver (2.97, 8W, 130K)
SP: Andy Pettitte (2.70, 11W)
SP: CC Sabathia (3.19, 11W)
SP: Fausto Carmona (3.64, 8W)
RP: Mariano Rivera (1.05, 20Sv) replaced by JJ Putz (1.64 ERA)
RP: Rafael Soriano (1.65, 23Sv)
RP: Jose Valverde (0.95, 18Sv)
RP: Joakim Soria (2.34, 25Sv)
RP: Andrew Bailey (1.75, 17Sv)

NL:
SP: Adam Wainwright (2.11, 13W, 127K)
SP: Josh Johnson (1.70 ERA, 9W, 123K)
SP: Ubaldo Jimenez (2.20, 15W, 113K)
SP: Roy Halladay (2.33, 10W, 119K)
SP: Mat Latos (2.45, 10W)
SP: Roy Oswalt (3.08, 112K)
RP: Jonathan Broxton (2.11, 19Sv)
RP: Billy Wagner (1.24, 20Sv)
RP: Heath Bell (1.72, 23Sv)
RP: Carlos Marmol (1.99, 16Sv)
RP: Brian Wilson (1.98, 22Sv)
RP: Evan Meek (1.11)

Italics is someone who only made it to get to one representative (I had to remove someone more qualified).

For each league, here's who I left off who was in, and who I included but was left off. In some cases, I just wouldn't go 3 deep at a position or the shorter rosters was a factor.

AL:
Players I added:
Markakis (better Oriole than Wigginton, Brett Gardner would have been there)
Rios (Better stats than some of the removed below)
Weaver (better stats than some of the removed below)
Bailey (better Athletic than Cahill)
Putz (Top 6 AL RP)

Players I excluded:
Ty Wigginton (.253 avg)
Alex Rodriguez (3rd best 3B)
Jose Bautista (.240 avg)
Nick Swisher (not top 6 AL OF)
Vernon Wells (not top 6 AL OF)
David Ortiz (not top 3 DH)
Clay Buchholz (not Top 6 SP)
Trevor Cahill (token Athletic, see Bailey above)
Neftali Feliz (not top 5 RP)
Phil Hughes (not a Top 6 SP)
Matt Thornton (not even best set up guy on his team)

NL:
Players I added:
Olivo: (better stats than McCann)
Johnson (needed a D-back)
Furcal (nobody seems to realize what a great year he's having)
Gonzalez (stats are unbelievable)
Kemp (good stats)
Latos (Top 6 starter)
Oswalt (needed an Astro, replaced Kershaw)
Wagner (best closer in the NL, his exclusion is a joke)
Marmol (Stats are worthy and fills the Cubs spot)

Players I excluded:
Matt Capps (I got my National from Dunn)
Chris Carpenter (Not a Top 6 NL SP)
Yovani Gallardo (Not a Top 6 NL SP)
Tim Hudson (Not a Top 6 NL SP)
Tim Lincecum (Not a Top 6 NL SP)
Arthur Rhodes (Not a Top 6 NL RP)
Brian McCann (Olivo better)
Adrian Gonzalez (5th best 1B)
Brandon Phillips (had to take Kelly Johnson)
Jose Reyes (3rd best SS)
Troy Tulowitzki (3rd best SS)
Omar Infante (doesn't even start for his team)
Michael Bourn (I got my Astro from Oswalt)
Marlon Byrd (7th best OF)
Matt Holliday (7th best OF)
Chris Young (I got my Diamondback from Johnson)

An ERA over 3.00 is garbage in the NL, Oswalt only in b/c he's the closest Astro.

So for the AL, I got 5 added, 11 removed. For the NL 10 added 17 removed. I actually think half of the NL 34 man roster shouldn't make a 30 man roster.

It's not quite even on numbers b/c of injuries, there are actually more than 34 in each league.

But now for the fun part, taking a 30 man roster, crafting a lineup and pitching plans. Remember, I'm not bound to fan votes for starters.

AL:
Suzuki RF
Crawford LF
Cabrera 1B
Hamilton CF
Guerrero DH
Cano 2B
Beltre 3B
Mauer C
Jeter SS

Top 4 off the bench: Morneau, Youkilis, Hunter, Longoria

Pitching:
1st Inn: Lee
3rd Inn: Price
5th Inn: Sabathia
7th Inn: Soria
8th Inn: Soriano
9th Inn: Valverde

Misc: Bailey, Putz, Weaver to put out fires if someone struggles

NL:
Ramirez SS
Wright 3B
Votto DH
Pujols 1B
Ethier RF
Gonzalez CF
Braun LF
Prado 2B
Olivo C

Top 4 off the bench: Dunn, Furcal, Rolen, Kemp

Pitching
1st Inn: Jimenez
3rd Inn: Johnson
5th Inn: Halladay
7th Inn: Marmol
8th Inn: Broxton
9th Inn: Wagner

Misc: Wainwright, Wilson, Bell to put out fires if someone struggles

The above disregards who doesn't have rest. Each SP goes two innings. I only use the bench when it makes sense, pinch run with Furcal, go righty/lefty later in the game. Dunn for power if needed, Youkilis for a gritty AB, etc. Lots of singlet players don't play (Oswalt, Meek, Bailey, Latos, Carmona) because they're not one of the best players in their league. But they're at the disposal of the manager if needed.

Unfortunately we'll see what I dislike...fan vote for starters, firewagon changes to make sure everyone plays and at the end there will be the worst players on the rosters facing the best closers.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Franchise Performance Pt. 3 (#61 - #90)

Recapping the groundrules of the study, we are ranking all sports city-team combinations for playoff performance since 1974 using a poker like system:
1) All teams chip in $10 at the beginning of the year
2) Winner takes 50%, Runner up 25%, Semifinalists 10%, remaining playoff teams split the last 5%
3) City/Team combinations are separate, the Charlotte Hornets are not associated with the New Orleans Hornets, etc.

Totals through the 2010 NBA/NHL Finals are included.

Number 121-147 were revealed in part 1
Number 91-120 were revealed in part 2

The third batch (the most average teams in terms of success). In this batch, we tend to see franchises who have been around for 5-10 years with no titles, or teams that were around for all the years with one title or a handful of strong runs. Not team in this group has turned a profit, so >60% of teams in this format are in the red. Not surprising since it seems like a handful of teams get more than their share of titles.













Rank

90
89
88
87
86
85
84
83
82
81
80
79
77
77
76
75
74
73
72
70
70
69
68
66
66
65
64
63
62
61

Winnings
-$86.29
-$85.29
-$81.25
-$80.00
-$77.75
-$75.08
-$74.31
-$69.00
-$68.15
-$66.52
-$62.69
-$62.50
-$60.00
-$60.00
-$58.88
-$58.75
-$57.50
-$53.04
-$52.50
-$50.00
-$50.00
-$47.02
-$45.71
-$45.00
-$45.00
-$44.88
-$44.19
-$40.38
-$37.06
-$31.88

Team
Grizzlies
Rangers
Jaguars
Texans
Rockies
Hornets
Bears
Orioles
Eagles
Packers
Flames
Pirates
Grizzlies
Clippers
Rockies
Bobcats
Wild
Senators
Mets
Nationals
Jazz
Suns
NorthStars
Rays
Twins
Braves
Bills
Flames
Raiders II
Jazz

City
MEM
NYC
JAX
HOU
DEN
NO
CHI
BAL
PHI
MIL
ATL
PIT
VAN
SD
DEN
CHA
MSP
OTT
NYC
WAS
NO
PHO
MSP
TAM
MSP
BUF
BUF
CGY
OAK
SLC

League
NBA
NHL
NFL
NFL
MLB
NBA
NFL
MLB
NFL
NFL
NHL
MLB
NBA
NBA
NHL
NBA
NHL
NHL
MLB
MLB
NBA
NBA
NHL
MLB
MLB
NBA
NFL
NHL
NFL
NBA

Titles
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
1
0
0

Finals
0
2
0
0
1
0
2
2
2
2
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
2
0
0
2
2
1
2
0
4
3
1
2

Semis
0
6
2
0
1
0
4
5
6
4
0
6
0
0
0
0
1
2
5
0
0
9
4
1
3
0
5
3
2
6

Playoffs
3
24
6
0
3
4
13
5
18
13
6
6
0
0
1
1
3
12
5
0
0
28
12
1
7
3
13
20
3
24

Seasons
9
36
15
8
16
8
37
35
37
37
7
35
6
6
6
6
9
17
35
5
5
37
20
12
35
5
37
29
15
31
Discussion: Blackhawks nudged their way out of this group with the Stanley Cup this year. An odd assortment of teams in this group. Both Grizzlies, both Jazz, both Flames, Buffalo Braves and Buffalo Bills side by side. Two different Colorado Rockies. Lots of teams from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Then some stalwart franchises like the Eagles, Bears, Packers, Twins, and Mets. Twins are the worst team with two titles (again, since 1974).

The break down of this set by league as:
NBA: 9
NFL: 7
MLB: 7
NHL: 7

City with at least two teams and still with no appearances (all teams in the top 40%) are Boston.

Each team is summarized below. A reminder, the years below are the year of the playoffs, so for NFL, 2010 is associated with the 2009 regular season. For best season, playoff performance is given precedence over regular season record.

Number: 90
Team: Grizzlies
City: Memphis
League: NBA
Years: 2002 – 2010 (9)
Playoffs: 3
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2004 (50-32, lost in first round of playoffs)
Worst years: 2007,2008 (22-60)
Winnings: -$86.29

Number: 89
Team: Rangers
City: New York City
League: NHL
Years: 1974 – 2010 (36)
Playoffs: 24
Semifinals: 6
Finals: 2
Championships: 1
Best year: 1994 (52-24-8-0, won Stanley Cup)
Worst year: 1985 (26-44-10-0)
Winnings: -$85.29

Number: 88
Team: Jaguars
City: Jacksonville
League: NFL
Years: 1996 – 2010 (15)
Playoffs: 6
Semifinals: 2
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2000 (14-2, lost in AFC Championship game)
Worst year: 1996 (4-12)
Winnings: -$81.25

Number: 87
Team: Texans
City: Houston
League: NFL
Years: 2003 – 2010 (8)
Playoffs: 0
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2010 (9-7, no playoffs)
Worst year: 2006 (2-14)
Winnings: -$80.00

Number: 86
Team: Rockies
City: Denver
League: MLB
Years: 1993 – 2009 (16)
Playoffs: 3
Semifinals: 1
Finals: 1
Championships: 0
Best year: 2007 (90-73, lost in World Series)
Worst years: 1993, 2005 (67-95)
Winnings: -$77.75

Number: 85
Team: Hornets
City: New Orleans
League: NBA
Years: 2003 – 2010 (8)
Playoffs: 4
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2008 (56-26, lost in 2nd round of playoffs)
Worst year: 2005 (18-64)
Winnings: -$75.08

Number: 84
Team: Bears
City: Chicago
League: NFL
Years: 1974 – 2010 (37)
Playoffs: 13
Semifinals: 4
Finals: 2
Championships: 1
Best year: 1986 (15-1, won Super Bowl)
Worst year: 1974 (3-11)
Winnings: -$74.31

Number: 83
Team: Orioles
City: Baltimore
League: MLB
Years: 1974 – 2009 (35)
Playoffs: 5
Semifinals: 5
Finals: 2
Championships: 1
Best year: 1983 (98-64, won World Series)
Worst year: 1988 (54-107)
Winnings: -$69.00

Number: 82
Team: Eagles
City: Philadelphia
League: NFL
Years: 1974 – 2010 (37)
Playoffs: 18
Semifinals: 6
Finals: 2
Championships: 0
Best year: 2005 (13-3, lost in Super Bowl)
Worst year: 1999 (3-13)
Winnings: -$68.15

Number: 81
Team: Packers
City: Milwaukee
League: NFL
Years: 1974 – 2010 (37)
Playoffs: 13
Semifinals: 4
Finals: 2
Championships: 1
Best year: 1997 (13-3, won Super Bowl)
Worst years: 1987, 1989, 1992 (4-12)
Winnings: -$66.52

Number: 80
Team: Flames
City: Atlanta
League: NHL
Years: 1974 – 1980 (7)
Playoffs: 6
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 1979 (41-31-8-0, lost in first round of playoffs)
Worst year: 1974 (30-34-14-0)
Winnings: -$62.69

Number: 79
Team: Pirates
City: Pittsburgh
League: MLB
Years: 1974 – 2009 (35)
Playoffs: 6
Semifinals: 6
Finals: 1
Championships: 1
Best year: 1979 (98-64-1, won World Series)
Worst year: 1985 (57-104)
Winnings: -$62.50

Number: 77 (tied)
Team: Grizzlies
City: Vancouver
League: NBA
Years: 1996 – 2001 (6)
Playoffs: 0
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2001 (23-59, no playoffs)
Worst year: 1999 (8-42)
Winnings: -$60.00

Number: 77 (tied)
Team: Clippers
City: San Diego
League: NBA
Years: 1979 – 1984 (6)
Playoffs: 0
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 1979 (43-39, no playoffs)
Worst year: 1982 (17-65)
Winnings: -$60.00

Number: 76
Team: Rockies
City: Denver
League: NHL
Years: 1977 – 1982 (6)
Playoffs: 1
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 1978 (19-40-21-0, lost in first round of playoffs)
Worst year: 1979 (15-53-12-0)
Winnings: -$58.88

Number: 75
Team: Bobcats
City: Charlotte
League: NBA
Years: 2005 – 2010 (6)
Playoffs: 1
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2010 (44-38, lost in first round of playoffs)
Worst year: 2005 (18-64)
Winnings: -$58.75

Number: 74
Team: Wild
City: Minneapolis-St. Paul
League: NHL
Years: 2001 – 2010 (9)
Playoffs: 3
Semifinals: 1
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2003 (42-29-10-1, lost in Conference finals)
Worst year: 2001 (25-39-13-5)
Winnings: -$57.50

Number: 73
Team: Senators
City: Ottawa
League: NHL
Years: 1993 – 2010 (17)
Playoffs: 12
Semifinals: 2
Finals: 1
Championships: 0
Best year: 2007 (48-25-0-9, lost in Stanley Cup Finals)
Worst year: 1993 (10-70-4-0)
Winnings: -$53.04

Number: 72
Team: Mets
City: New York City
League: MLB
Years: 1974 – 2009 (35)
Playoffs: 5
Semifinals: 5
Finals: 2
Championships: 1
Best year: 1986 (108-54, won World Series)
Worst year: 1993 (59-103)
Winnings: -$52.50

Number: 70 (tied)
Team: Nationals
City: Washington
League: MLB
Years: 2005 – 2009 (5)
Playoffs: 0
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 2005 (81-81, no playoffs)
Worst year: 2009 (59-103)
Winnings: -$50.00

Number: 70 (tied)
Team: Jazz
City: New Orleans
League: NBA
Years: 1975 – 1979 (5)
Playoffs: 0
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 1978 (39-43, no playoffs)
Worst year: 1975 (23-59)
Winnings: -$8.48

Number: 69
Team: Suns
City: Phoenix
League: NBA
Years: 1974 – 2010 (37)
Playoffs: 28
Semifinals: 9
Finals: 2
Championships: 0
Best year: 1993 (62-20, lost in NBA Finals)
Worst year: 1988 (28-54)
Winnings: -$47.02

Number: 68
Team: North Stars
City: Minneapolis-St. Paul
League: NHL
Years: 1974 – 1993 (20)
Playoffs: 12
Semifinals: 4
Finals: 2
Championships: 0
Best year: 1981(35-28-17-0, lost in Stanley Cup Finals)
Worst year: 1978 (18-53-9-0)
Winnings: -$45.71

Number: 66 (tie)
Team: Rays
City: Tampa Bay
League: MLB
Years: 1998 – 2009 (12)
Playoffs: 1
Semifinals: 1
Finals: 1
Championships: 0
Best year: 2008 (97-65, lost in World Series)
Worst year: 2002 (55-106)
Winnings: -$45.00

Number: 66 (tie)
Team: Twins
City: Minneapolis-St. Paul
League: MLB
Years: 1974 – 2009 (35)
Playoffs: 7
Semifinals: 3
Finals: 2
Championships: 2
Best year: 1991 (95-67, won World Series)
Worst year: 1982 (60-102)
Winnings: -$45.00

Number: 65
Team: Braves
City: Buffalo
League: NBA
Years: 1974 – 1978 (5)
Playoffs: 3
Semifinals: 0
Finals: 0
Championships: 0
Best year: 1975 (45-33, lost in first round of playoffs)
Worst year: 1978 (27-55)
Winnings: -$44.88

Number: 64
Team: Bills
City: Buffalo
League: NFL
Years: 1974 – 2010 (37)
Playoffs: 13
Semifinals: 5
Finals: 4
Championships: 0
Best years: 1991, 1992 (13-3, lost in Super Bowl)
Worst years: 1985, 1986 (2-14)
Winnings: -$44.19

Number: 63
Team: Flames
City: Calgary
League: NHL
Years: 1981 – 2010 (29)
Playoffs: 20
Semifinals: 3
Finals: 3
Championships: 1
Best year: 1989 (54-17-9-0, won Stanley Cup)
Worst year: 1998 (26-41-15-0)
Winnings: -$40.38

Number: 62
Team: Raiders II
City: Oakland
League: NFL
Years: 1996 – 2010 (15)
Playoffs: 3
Semifinals: 2
Finals: 1
Championships: 0
Best year: 2003 (11-5, lost in Super Bowl)
Worst year: 2007 (2-14)
Winnings: -$37.06

Number: 61
Team: Jazz
City: Salt Lake City
League: NBA
Years: 1980 – 2010 (31)
Playoffs: 24
Semifinals: 6
Finals: 2
Championships: 0
Best year: 1997 (64-18, lost in NBA Finals)
Worst year: 1980 (24-58)
Winnings: -$31.88

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Conference Balance

After a tumultuous May and June in the college conference landscape, things seem to have settled into a "we can deal with this for a few more years" but all is not really settled on the conference realignment front. Someone might think that the fuse is shorter than a "few years" but remember that we will be but a few months away from the 2012 Presidential Primaries before Nebraska plays a down as a member of the Big 10. Are more teams going to shift in the next 6-9 months? Doubt it. Maybe this time next year, which again means 2+ years before the next wave of teams plays a down in a new conference.

So as someone who values preservation of history, I was more than distraught at thinking the future of college football was going to be huge conferences that seldom played other teams in it, etc. To me it was ironic that 16 team Pac 10 or Big 10 were the same size as two already existing conferences. The AFC and NFC. Let me tell you, do you think the Miami Dolphins feel like they are in the same "conference" as the Houston Texans? Or the 49ers and Buccaneers? I mean they're loosely affiliated, may play every 4 years, etc. But not really like college football conferences. Purdue and Minnesota. UCLA and Washington. Ole Miss and South Carolina. I purposely picked non-rivals, but I love games like those where there are familiarity regionally and historically. People have been surmising...how about the Texas Tech vs. Iowa Rose Bowl? Nebraska vs. Utah? No, we think of USC/Ohio State, Washington/Michigan. It's like people want a large conference, so long as these foreigners don't win anything. Really, if things had gone another way, I could have seen Texas or OU playing Nebraska in the Rose about 5 years out of every 10.

What's interesting in this is that the ten team Big 12 thinks they may be onto something. I'm not fooling myself for a minute that their arrangement is permanent, but worth exploring. With headliners like Texas and OU making up 20% of the conference with fewer mouths to feed, I don't know. If you think about it, how would a two team conference with just Texas and OU do? They played 8 games against each other, every one worthy of TV, etc. Obviously being facetious, but quality over quantity needs to be discussed. The SEC has that in spades, there's 8 teams that have a heavy national influence (sorry Vandy, UK, Ole Miss, MSU). If they rid themselves of those teams, what would they lose? Any TV appeal? No. The other 8 would play each other every year (hello UF/Ala, UT/LSU, UGA/Ark, SCar/Aub) that seldom happen anymore. Room for 5 OOC games, fewer UK/Ala, Vandy/UF, MSU/UGA games that seldom work out interesting.

The 12 team barrier is a tough one to break, because you enter the realm of playing teams from the other division less than 50%. Meaning once a graduating class. If the Big 10 gets their wet dream and takes Notre Dame, Texas, Pitt, and Rutgers, you get 16 teams. Now if you play 8 conference games a year, you only get one out of division. Two if you play 9 teams. So suddenly old Big 10 rivals play no more (not the big ones, but the Purdue/Iowa, Penn State/Wisconsin, etc.). Or play once every 8 years. At best once ever four. Instead you get Nebraska vs. Indiana, Texas vs. Minnesota, Ohio State vs. Pitt and suddenly it doesn't feel like the Big 10 anymore.

Is that what's best, or is TV revenue best? I just ask the questions.