Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Random Post-Lunch Thoughts

1. There will be no Duel of the Jews this week because Mandel agrees that Mike Vick is a black eye for the Virginia Tech program. Oh, and he also answered the questions that were asked this week, so there's really nothing to mock. I'm sure he's tremendously relieved.

2. There's little worse that staying up way your bedtime to watch a Braves game on the West Coast and the last thing you see before turning off the lights in disgust is Bob Wickman blowing a beautifully pitched game by Tim Hudson. The game really illustrated the silliness of the traditional pitching stats. Hudson was outstanding for eight innings before leaving in the 9th with a 4-1 lead and runners on first and second following a bloop single. Wickman promptly allows a double and a single to tie the game, so Huddy doesn't get a win despite pitching really well and his final line is three runs in eight and two-thirds, a line that does not reflect the quality of the performance. The good news is that the Braves ended up winning the game, but Wickman's crap pitching not only cost Hudson a win, it also taxed four innings on the bullpen, including two innings for Peter Moylan, who is right now the Braves' only reliable reliever. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the team needs to bolster the bullpen before the stretch run. It will be much easier to find a quality reliever than it will to find someone to pitch significantly better than Jo Jo Reyes.

3. I watched the two-disc highlight video of Barca's victorious Champions League campaign and the prevailing notion I took away from it is that Samuel Eto'o is not a clinical finisher. I thought at the end of the season when he was failing to put away chances (like the one that would have knocked Espanyol out and effectively won the Primera, or the one that would have put Barca ahead in the first half at Villareal) that he was rusty, but I'm beginning to get the sense that he just isn't a good shooter. There are a ton of sequences on disk one where Eto'o is sent clear and then shoots at the keeper. His movement is great and he does a lot to free himself, but he doesn't finish as many of his one-on-one chances as a great striker should.

Oh, and I also had a good chuckle at the Special One whining about Messi getting Del Horno sent off when Barca were denied two clear penalties in the match, including the memorable instance when John Terry ran over Leo Messi in the box, then proceeded to land on the ball with his hands. Keep talking, Jose.


LD said...

As to the "Duel of the Jews", I thought this week's set included very interesting things:

1) His revelation that he selects all of the questions he answers. ME, I know in our correspondence, this has been something I've always wondered about. If nothing else, the fact that he chooses the questions and then refuses to answer or doesn't have the ability to answer them makes the column even worse. If Mandel can't come up with a good answer, or if you have to admit that you don't know the answer, why doesn't he just, y'know, not print the question and answer something he might provide insight to the readers on.

2) The fact that he displayed the power he wields in selecting questions by choosing a (admittedly foolish) question for the purpose of making a reader look dumb and making himself seem smart is just so small of him. The letter was stupid - like, poor, message board stupid - and I'd guess he receives dozens of similar ones every week. That said, the response of a confident and capable writer would be to take that very small step of deleting such an email, and instead use the precious coumn space on covering interesting questions and enlightening readers. Instead, he took the low road (like Dennis Dodd, Matt Hayes, etc...). That is, to me, very telling.

Ed said...

WTF has happened to Wickman anyways? When we got him, he was a dominant closer. Now he is as shaky as we have ever had.

Michael said...

I don't think Wickman was ever dominant. He's a closer who doesn't strike out many people, which means that he is going to have bad stretches. He was excellent when we acquired him last year, but we were hoping against hope that the last three months of last year were the real Bob Wickman as opposed to his years of work that revealed a good, but not dominating pitcher.

Grandy said...

LD, I'm with you here. It's absurd that he would select the questions and then not answer them. It's worse than Joe Morgan's chants. At least Joe has to deal with stuff off the cuff, which he's not good at. Mandel should be able to sift through mail bags to get a decent, answerable, slate of questions.

(Appologies to FJM, I don't mean to impugn the duke of dissembling, who is ultimately Mandel's superior I think.)

It begs other questions - what if Mandel just isn't getting all that much mail, and most of what he gets is dreck? I'd totally LOL at that.
Mocking the questioner when that is the format is low. Really low. How Colin Cowherd of him.

Also, Wickman was always about guile. His entire career, he was about guile and happened to get loads of opportunities. He's now old, and what little stuff he's always had is failing.

Ryno said...

"You can't leave first until you chug a beer. Any man scoring has to chug a beer. You have to chug a beer at the top of all odd-numbered innings. Oh, and the fourth inning is the beer inning"

Ike said...

i like your blog. any thoughts on possible Tex-Salty/Andrus shindig