Bowling for Fielder

Before Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers or the Milwaukee Brewers, there was his father, Cecil Fielder.

There was also a vacation to Cape Cod I took with my family in, I believe, 1990. While my dad had to return to work early, my mother, brother, and I watched the All-Star Game on good old-fashioned over-the-air television.

I say this was “probably” 1990 because while the exact year has long since left my memory to make room for meaningless statistics and trivia on all manner of subjects, this particular All-Star Game had a first: it featured the first All-Star appearance of Cecil Fielder. Of course, he made two other appearances as an All-Star in 1991 and 1993, so this memory could be from one of those years as well.

To cut to the chase, the pitcher (whom I have no memory of whatsoever) was doing his job against the Detroit slugger and the announcer made a comment that has amused me for years. It went something like this:

It’s like he [the pitcher] is bowling as he faces Cecil Fielder.

and his partner responded:

Yes, but Fielder is larger than the average pin.

Copy That Right

Over the last two months more people have heard or had discussions about copyright, the Internet, and piracy than ever before.

Former Senator Chris Dodd, who used to be known as the good senator from Connecticut because he was not Joe Liberman, has broken his promise not to become a lobbyist, becoming enemy of the Internet #1 as chairman for the MPAA.

Should the bad guys win, it’s possible that the music industry will be able to extend their YouTube takedowns to include gems like this, because, hey, without the Beastie Boys the parody never could have been inspired in the first place.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJa5X3L5Cr4]

This is what is at risk: the complete subjugation of the Internet to protect legacy industries which are run by people who are not willing to adapt to the modern world.

People have pointed to the success of Louis C.K. and Paulo Coelho as just the first of many content creators to use the Internet to bypass the traditional distribution models and more are on the way. If we keep up the pressure and don’t let Congress turn America into China and the Internet into a shadow of itself.

Yankees Rebuild Rotation with Pineda, Kuroda Yankees Rebuild Rotation with Pineda, Kuroda

Last night the New York Yankees, quiet players in the offseason to this point, made two moves to improve their chances in the AL East.. GM Brian Cashman shipped top prospect, Jesus Montero, possible catcher and probable DH, to the Seattle Mariners for breakout star Michael Pineda. Later that night he let the second shoe drop – signing free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda.

The past few seasons have not been kind to baseball’s perennial powerhouses. Both New York and Boston have found that their ability to roll over most of the league in the regular season is not necessarily a precursor to playoff success or, in the Red Sox case, even  guaranteed entry to the post season. Through the mid-2000s, sought after players were often fought over in bidding wars between these titans, and the American League Wild Card was the consolation prize that allowed both teams to play into October. After the emergence of the Tamp Bay Rays, however, the road to the World Series became more complicated. Major League Baseball has seen the Rays, Blue Jays, Rangers, and even the lowly Kansas City Royals build strong organizations despite less financial might than Boston and New York. As much as Yankees GM Brian Cashman is a product of having the largest wallet in sports history, his work yesterday created a truly horrific Friday the 13th for Red Sox Nation.

In Michael Pineda the Yankees have acquired one of the most prized commodities in baseball: young pitching. At just 22 years old (he turns 23 on January 18th) Pineda dominated the AL as a rookie while winning nine games for the offensively inept Mariners. His first season in the big leagues also brought his first appearance in the All Star Game and earned him fifth place in Rookie of the Year voting. Standing at 6’7” and capable of bringing upper 90s heat, the righthander is likely a star in the making. His rookie success wasn’t just small sample sizes either as Pineda tossed 171 innings while racking up just over a strikeout per frame. Combined with a walk rate of just 2.9 per nine innings, he brought swing and miss stuff as well as command. As a bit of extra sweetener in the deal, Pineda came bundled with five full years of team control.

At 36 years old Hiroki Kuroda is no spring chicken, but he remains a fierce competitor. The Japanese righty arrived relatively unheralded from Japan and has quietly put together a nice major league resume. In three of his four years in America, Kuroda has tossed between 183 and 202 innings, only in his injury-shortened 2009 did he not start at least 31 games per season. Unlike some older pitchers who enter MLB to succeed their first year because teams have not yet built up a scouting profile of their arsenal, Kuroda has actually improved as he becomes more familiar with American baseball. His strikeout rate has inceased from 5.7 per 9 in 2008 to 7.2 per 9 in 2011 and his strikeout to walk ratio was at least 3.29 since 2009. A one-year deal for just $10 or $11 million dollars is a bargain for the veteran. The Yankees are able to limit their risk on an older pitcher moving to the toughest division in the harder league. With research showing that strikeout rates for pitchers peaks at age 25, acquiring both a young up and comer and a veteran who has so far bucked this trend, the Yankees have had a very good twenty-four hours of preparing their team for the 2012 season. A rotation lead by C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda, and Hiroki Kuroda takes pressure off of the unpredictable A.J. Burnett and the still developing Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova.

These acquisition have made the Red Sox rotation, their major strength over the Yankees, weaker in comparison. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz are a good match for the Yankees top three and with Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard transitioning to the rotation, the back end of the Boston rotation has quite a bit of upside. With the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays in the division as well, the Red Sox have almost 60 games against tough division rivals.