I'm down in Philadelphia in preparation for the Red Sox/Phillies series and of course I'm sporting my Red Sox hat as I'm jaunting around the city. People here are excited and eagerly anticipating the match-up, which is to say I was spit on, honked at, screamed at, and almost run down by a police officer on a horse. Ah, Philadelphia, your PR campaigns write themselves.
It's power ranking time. Of course for those of us old timers, these are the only rankings that matter, but it is just late June so why not listen to the blather of others? That's Craig Calcaterra's word, not mine, by the way, and while I'm talking about him, here are his power rankings, fresh from the virtual pages of Hardball Talk.
The Red Sox fell from first to third place since last week, which makes sense considering what a crappy week they had. Still, third overall in all of baseball after losing two series to San Diego and Pittsburgh ain't a bad spot to be in. Boston was replaced atop the rankings by Philadelphia, a result that can be remedied starting today.
The fine folks of Fan Graphs also put forth a new edition of their weekly power rankings. This one has lots of numbers, a few dots, some slashes, an embedded virtual monkey with a graphing calculator and most importantly, your Red Sox in first despite the crappy week that was. Any time an embedded virtual monkey tells me I have a good baseball team, I give the thing a e-banana and believe him.
The Victory Formation looks at Johnny Damon's Hall of Fame case. It's really an interesting case only if you believe in the magic of round numbers. Damon's case is founded almost entirely on the idea that a player with 3,000 hits gets in, but ultimately, if you really think about it hard for an eighth of a second, there's very little difference between a player with 2,950 hits and one with 3,000. Doesn't matter though, as writers love that kinda crap (the word of the day!), so players play for it. That's not to say it's all Damon is aiming for. He's been an excellent player for a long time, just not a Hall of Famer by any objective measurement. As long as he can keep raking in $5 million per year he'll probably keep suiting up, and Hell, I sure would. But there's much more to a Hall of Fame case than one round number, or at least, there should be.
One of the positive aspects of Frank McCourt's continuing attempt to deep-six the entire Dodgers franchise, is the great writing it's engendering on the topic. Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball has all your Crazy McCourt needs covered here, here and here. That's Selig's statement on McCourt's bankruptcy, the Chapter 11 filing itself, and the almost immediate resignation of the Dodgers Vice-Chairman who was on the job slightly under two months and, as I understand it, was not given fruit cup. Craig Calcaterra has a Q 'n A on McCourt's borrowing $150 million to cover payroll and operating expenses, because what's a guy gotta do to make ends meet in this vicious economy, right? Our own Marc Normandin looks at the Dodgers creditors and realizes they could form a pretty solid starting nine. My only quarrel is you gotta put Vin Scully at shortstop. There's no way Rafael Furcal has the range anymore.
The New Yorker has a nice article out about Rays outfielder Sam Fuld. As you may know, Fuld is from New Hampshire and, as you may not know, an anagram of his name is Mad Flus, which is pretty awesome. Dude makes people sick. Can ya dig it? I knew that you could.
Finally, if you've got back hair, this Is a great idea that will save you money on your favorite team's jersey. Probably won't help you with the ladies though.