The Who Albums Ranked

Posted April 27, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

For my money, The Who are the greatest band to ever live. They may have been overshadowed by The Beatles (and Rolling Stones and Kinks and Hendrix) in the 60’s, but they were just as influential (feedback, album construction, power chords, lyrical content, stage craft, and more) and the best live band, probably ever.

In honor of their 50th anniversary tour, which I will be attending this upcoming Saturday, I wanted to publish a few Who related articles over the next few days. Here I will give my opinion of their albums, from “worst” to first.

11) Endless Wire

This album was released a full 24 years after The Who “broke up”. As such, you shouldn’t expect much and you don’t get much. But after listening to this again recently, it is better than you think The Who minus Keith Moon and John Entwistle could give you. But it’s still a far cry from their hey-day.

10) Face Dances

This was the first non-Moon album put out by the band and there is an obvious decline of quality. You can tell that by this point Townshend wasn’t giving The Who 100% and the songs lacked any real type of meaning. However, the first side of the album does have some catchy tunes, especially “The Quiet One” which may be the best song Entwistle ever penned for the group.

9) It’s Hard

Both Face Dances and It’s Hard show the band at their worst with Townshend’s disinterest in doing anything Who related reaching a new high. This was the last album released before their breakup and it’s probably a good thing considering their downward trend at this point in time. However, this album does feature “Eminence Front”, a song showing Pete could still write if he wanted to and a song that became an instant Who classic.

8) Who Are You

Many people think the death of Keith Moon signaled the end of the band, but this album is the first album that really wasn’t that good, even though it featured Moon. Then again, his disease with alcohol was at an all-time high and he could barely play the drums on several tracks off the record. But even a “bad” Who album is better than most other albums and there are great tunes in “New Song” and “Trick of the Light”. Moreover, the title track “Who Are You” is arguably a top three of top five song that Townshend ever wrote.

7) A Quick One

I have a tough time putting this at number 7 because it is so good…but that goes to show just how good of a band they were! A Quick One is famous for the ahead of it’s time mini-opera, “A Quick One While He’s Away”. Pete was tiring of the two minute single and wanted to expand his song writing. Thus the 10 minute opera, which while light and funny on the outside, is a dark song about abuse on the inside. As such, it shows the potential Townshend had as a song writer and why his songs were so ahead of his time and influential for other artists. Of the remaining albums, this is the weakest mainly because it had the most collaborative effort within the group. But awesome songs include “Run, Run, Run”, “Heatwave”, “Boris the Spider”, “So Sad About Us” and “Man with Money”. This album could easily be ranked #4.

6) The Who By Numbers

Following a dynamic run of Tommy, Who’s Next, and Quadrophenia, many thought this effort paled in comparison, which it did. But those three albums are three of the best albums ever made! Of course it paled in comparison! But on its own, The Who By Numbers is a great album that you can listen to from start to finish. “Squeeze Box” and “Slip Kid” are the famous songs from the album, but other classics are “However Much I Booze” and “How Many Friends”.

5) My Generation

At the time of its release date, My Generation may have been the most progressive album to be released into the pop-rock industry. While The Who were using feedback and writing about their generation, insecurity, and inward personal problems The Beatles were still a relatively poppy band who hadn’t begun their Rubber Soul/Revolver revolution. In fact the title-track may have been the most influential song released at that point of time with its content, bass solo, and crashing feedback at the end. Other great tracks include “The Kids Are Alright”, “A Legal Matter”, and “The Ox”.

4) The Who Sell Out

This album is the transition album between “pop-art rock” Who and The Who that transformed the industry with “Tommy”. Some tracks sound like their old self with some songs giving you a preview of what was to come on their next album. The theme of the album was very unique, with the songs segued together with ads to make it sound like you were listening to a pirate radio station. The album features another mini-opera with “Rael” and the song that Townshend claims is the best song he ever wrote, “I Can See for Miles”. When the song didn’t become number one, Townshend officially gave up on the single and put all his work into the album. While it may not be the best song ever written like he claims, it’s still a top ten Who track that sounds so far ahead of anything from 1967- which is even more amazing when you release he wrote the song a couple years earlier and was holding it in his back pocket. Outside of this song there no song any casual fan would recognize, but to me, almost every song is a classic- from “Our Love Was” to “Relax” (which has a great middle section) to “Glow Girl”.

3) Tommy

Tommy is the bands most influential work- bar none. It was the first true concept album and full length “rock opera”. When played lived, The Who instantly became the best band in the world. For proof, one needs to look no further than Live at Leeds or Live at Isle of Wight. “Listening To You” is the most hypnotic song of all-time. You can go into the song thinking The Who are the worst, but by the end of that you subconsciously are nodding along to the music. Other great songs on the album include “Overture”, “Amazing Journey/Sparks”, and “Acid Queen”. My only qualm is that it sounds quiet, especially compared to how loud The Who are on stage. But in retrospect, that aspect has actually grown on me.

2) Quadrophenia

At the time Quadrophenia was a bit of a bust, but looking back on it, it is arguably the bands most impressive work. When compared to Tommy, the story is more sensible and concrete, it involved the personalities of each band member, and was their most well produced album. “The Real Me” is Entwistle at his best and a phenomenal way to start an album. “I’m One” is a great song, lyrically, and “The Rock” is the most complex thing Townshend has ever done in studio, with two different tempos playing at once as the four themes of the albums are played on top of each other. Moon’s drumming at the end of “Love Reign O’er Me” is the ultimate.

1) Who’s Next (1971)

It is no surprise this album is #1. It’s their first album to incorporate their stage sound and persona in a studio environment and it was based off Pete’s most challenging project, Lifehouse. While that concept failed, most of the songs he created for it made its way to this album. Unlike Quadrophenia, this album produced a bevy of singles for the radio and concerts. While people love to look at “Baba O’Reily” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” I love to look at “Going Mobile” and “The Song is Over”. Overall though, this is The Who at their best. Fast, loud, and profound with deep lyrics, complex arrangements, and bursts of energy.

Ballpark Review: Citizens Bank Park

Posted April 23, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

Living close to Philadelphia, I have been to my fair share of Phillies games- both at The Vet and The Bank. To me Citizens Bank Park will always be in the top half of Major League ballparks. It doesn’t do anything great, but it doesn’t do anything bad either.

Aesthetics- 7

The Bank is a very cool place to watch a ballgame. There is the gigantic scoreboard in left, the funky wall in center with Ashburn’s Alley, and the Liberty Bell that lights up in right. The one minus is a lack of the city’s skyline as a backdrop, but the stadium is a bit too far away and it’s angled just off from giving you a good view of it unless you are in the upper deck.

2) Seats/View- 7

Citizens Bank Park offers some really cool seats. The field level gives you a great view, however the further along you are towards the foul pole the more you will have to crane your neck. But being that close to the field is worth it. The outfield seats are prime home run territory and the vantage point from Ashburn Alley is one of the more unique center field/outfield views. In the upper deck, you have a bird’s nest view of the stadium and it is one of the better upper decks I have sat in. What is really cool to me is that the top of the upper deck has a chain-link fence all around, so you can look at the surrounding neighborhoods; it’s not much of a sight but something I’ve always found cool.

Best seat- Upper Deck anywhere from 412-419.

3) Cleanliness- 7

It’s been over a decade now since The Bank opened so there is something withering, but overall it feels and looks like a clean ballpark. The seats are clean, the concourse is holding up, and I can’t remember having any issues with the bathrooms.

4) Food/Drink- 9

Citizens Bank Park has the best hot dog in baseball- bar none. There is nothing like a Phillie frank and Dollar Dog Night is a Citizens Bank Park staple that every Phillies fan must attend. Their dogs are short and plump- the best type of hot dog.

As for other food, don’t worry, it’s Philadelphia so there will always be good food. There is cheese steak and pizza and other ballpark fare that is high quality for a ballpark. The beer prices and diversity is not great, but you can get a 25oz’er for an average ballpark price.

5) Stores/Team Museum/Attractions- 3

There are plenty of stores, but most of them are small and without great variety. The one exception is a store on the third base concourse. They have merchandise from all different players throughout the league. I almost bought a Roberto Clemente jersey once. As for a team museum- there is none. And aside from statues and retired numbers there is nothing too special honoring their past.

6) Game Entertainment/Presentation- 9

Two words- Phillie Phanatic. The Phillie Phanatic is legit and for those “purists” out there- you can have fun at a ballgame. The Phanatic does a great job making both kids and adults laugh without taking away from the product on the field. Compliment this with their great use of the video board and you get top notch game entertainment. Also, the PA guy has a great voice.

7) Atmosphere- 8

Philly fans have a reputation for being loud and obnoxious- which makes watching a game here so great. When the team is good, this place is packed every night. Even now when the team stinks and the place is half full, those there are passionate and into the game. Unless you have a jersey of the opposing team on, you’ll fit right in. And I’ve been to several Mets/Phillies games here- it makes for a fun night.

8) Local Scene- 4

The good: The Bank is located next to all the other sport stadia (Lincoln Financial, Wells Fargo Center) and the Xfinity Live bar is supposedly a baller place to go, especially after a game.

The bad: Outside of the sports complex, there is nothing to do. You are in South Philly and if you want to enjoy some cheese steaks or go to a bar, you will have to drive elsewhere in the city.

Cost- 5

The lower level seats will still cost an arm and a leg, even if the team is bad. Expect to pay at least $100 for good field level seats. However, you can find steals in the upper deck for $10-$20 and as I’ve mentioned, the upper deck is a great spot in this joint. As for food and drinks, the prices are run of the mill for a Major League park.

10) Misc/Opinion- 8

As I mentioned, there is nothing bad I can say about Citizens Bank Park. I’ve been several times and have always had a great experience. It might not be scenic as PNC, as cheap as Coors, or have a local scene like other parks but it is a clean, beautiful stadium with good food and good fans.

Overall Score: 67/100

A Ballpark Review: Yankee Stadium

Posted April 5, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Baseball general

Tags: ,

Being a baseball fan, it’s pretty much a life goal of mine to visit every ML stadium. At the time being, I haven’t even hit double digits. But hopefully I’ve got quite a few mores years to make the rounds.

To accomplish this goal, I’ve decided to visit a new stadium each summer to cross a park off the list, and take in the culture of that city on a weekend getaway. Last year was glitzy LA. This year is dreary Cleveland, Ohio!

However, when choosing parks to visit, I haven’t come across many reliable sites for information on the experience of each park. Some are outdated. Others have terrible opinions (so you’re telling me Minute Maid Park is the 24th best stadium, behind the likes of Globe Life and US Cellular?). So I figured I’d share my current experiences and future experiences so that more people like me have a good idea of what they’re getting themselves into with each destination.

For my criteria, I’ve chosen ten categories, and rated each park on a 1-10 scale for each category. These standards are:

1) Aesthetics
2) Seats/seat views
3) Cleanliness
4) Food/Drink
5) Stores/Team Museums/Attractions
6) Game Entertainment/Presentation
7) Atmosphere
8) Local Scene
9) Cost
10) Misc/Personal Opinion

So…here is the review for Yankee Stadium, a stadium I’ve been to about about 10 or so times now.

Aesthetics- 7

The new Yankee Stadium is a beautiful ballpark and I say so because I love how they pay tribute to the original, pre-1970’s Yankee Stadium. They did so with the outer facing of the park as you walk in and the facade relocated back to the grandstand. The Grand Hall is a wonderful addition, with banners of past players hanging up and allowing for an open walkway before you get to the main concourse. I also really like the video board and advertisement structure in center field. Some people aren’t a fan of the big ads in stadiums, but it’s a part of the industry and the Yankees did as good a job as they can do making the advertisements fit into the feel and look of the stadium. The only negative points here is the lack of backdrop- but what do you expect when you build a park in the Bronx? Another mistake was hiding Monument Park in center. That should have been apart of the stadium dynamic, much like it was in the old stadium.

Seats/View-  8

Yankee Stadium has some of the best seats and sight lines of any park I’ve been to. I’ve sat in the upper deck several times and it still feels like you’re right on top of the action. Moreover, there is an open concourse so you can still catch the action going to grab a bite or use the restroom. The second and third levels are also great spots that give you a fantastic vantage point of the park while still feeling really close to the field. The bleachers, however, are the one downside. The closer you get to the Mohegan Sun Bar in center, the worse your view is. On the right field side, you can’t left field and vice a versa. The upshot is that these are cheap seats and you’ll get to mingle with the most passionate, die-hard fans at the park so you will still have a fun time while saving some money.

Recommended seats:

Section 428/414: Sit in the first few rows and this is the biggest bang for you buck. Cheap(er) seats and it feels like you are right on top of the action, with a view of the whole field.

Bleachers 203: Home of the Bleacher Creatures

Section 206: Catch a home run in the overhang on the second level in right field.

Sec. 414

Sec. 414

Cleanliness- 10

This should get a high rating because the park is still pretty new, but this might be the cleanest stadium I have ever been to. It might be the one thing that stands out the most to me. The concourse is clean, the seats are clean, and everything is still in mint condition. The old stadium was gross, cramped, and foul smelling. The new stadium is much, much improved and makes for a better game experience.

Food/Drink- 3

The food and drink might be the worst part about Yankee Stadium. While the food itself isn’t bad, it’s not great either- simply “meh”. A Yankee dog (Hebrew National) is one of my least favorite in baseball- I’d give it a 5/10 rating. The chicken fingers are simply okay and everything else is out of budget. As for the drink selection- it’s Bud or Michelob Ultra for way too much water and it tastes like water. The only redeeming quality is that there are a lot of different food choices- it’s just expensive and not worth the money.

Stores/Team Museums/Attractions- 10

With the rich history of the Yankees, it’s no surprise that the Yankees do it big when it comes to honoring the team. Monument Park is the coolest tribute a team’s past in all of baseball. However, if you want to visit you need to get there right when gates open otherwise you won’t get in because of the long line. In addition to Monument Park, the Yankees also have a team museum for people to get their Yankee history fix. Another cool thing the Yankees do is hang posters and quotes of famous players throughout the park. To a non-Yankees fan this may seem excessive, but to me it’s awesome. My favorite concourse item the Yankees have is the retired numbers fixed to the wall behind the bleachers. As for team stores, with the Yankees being the big money franchise they are, have numerous store locations throughout the ballpark.

Retired numbers on the bleachers concourse

Retired numbers on the bleachers concourse

Game Presentation/Entertainment- 7

The Yankees have a reputation for being a no-thrills organization, but they still have a solid game entertainment package. Before the game, their video board shows highlights of famous players and famous moments in Yankees history. During the game they will still do the same “find the ball in the cap” and “pick the winner of the race” videos which fans of all ages always enjoy. In addition, the Yankees still employ an organist which is really cool for something as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and regularly play “God Bless America” in the 7th. And of course- win or lose they still play Sinatra’s “New York, New York”, something Yankee and non-Yankee fans alike can take comfort in after a fun day at the park.

Atmosphere- 9

It should come as no surprise that the Yankee Stadium atmosphere is one of the top few in baseball. The fans care and know a lot about the game. The Bleacher Creatures are the most famous fan section in MLB, but the majority of people in attendance are just as devout. The only knock comes from the fact it’s not the old stadium. That stadium would rock it was so loud. Now with all the corporate suites and luxury boxes, the field level is quieter with suits occupying those sections (if they even show up) and many of the passionate fans have been priced out of attending games. But on weekends and against good teams the place will still sell out and remind you why attending baseball in the Bronx is a pilgrimage all fans need to make.

Local Scene- 4

At the old stadium, this might have gotten a 1. But where the old stadium once stood is now a beautiful athletic park with ball fields for the local community. However, the stadium is still in the Bronx so outside some local pizza joints and unofficial team stores there isn’t anything to do other than hop on a D or 4 train back to Manhattan.

Cost- 2

As we all know, Yankee Stadium is the most expensive ticket in baseball. It also has the most expensive food and it costs money to get to the stadium (train or exorbitant parking fees). However, there are ways to enjoy Yankee Stadium without draining your bank account. Find an upper deck or bleacher seat and come stuffed so you don’t find yourself needing to eat at the game.

Misc/Personal Opinion- 8

I love Yankee Stadium. I also hate it. But the good outweighs the bad by a mile. This stadium is cleaner, nicer, has better seats, and looks beautiful. Yet it’s not as loud and more corporate. Despite that, it can still be a rocking stadium and the beauty of it has sold me enough to enjoy it more than the old stadium.

Final Score: 68/100

A must see stadium for any baseball fan.

Hasty 2015 MLB Predictions

Posted April 4, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Baseball general

Tags: ,

Between work and life the beginning of the 2015 MLB season has snuck up on me. So here are my (not entirely thought out) predictions for the upcoming season!

AL East

1) Boston Red Sox (92-70)- Despite what could be a poor rotation, I am all in on Boston their offense/defense.

2) Toronto Blue Jays (88-74)- Finally start to win some games with all their acquisitions. Donaldson is a big grab.

3) New York Yankees (84-78)- I had them in last place all season. But with their defense and pitching, they could pull a 2014 Royals. Although they are an injury away from a 70-75 win season.

4) Baltimore Orioles (82-80)- I just don’t see the overall offense/pitching/defense needed to win. Going to be a very average year in Baltimore.

4) Tampa Bay Rays (77-85)- I really wanted to pick them as a sleeper team and I love their outfield potential, but they are the weakest team in the division.

AL Central

1) Cleveland Indians (91-71)- I am jumping on the bandwagon.

2) Detroit Tigers (89-73)- On paper you can make argument for them beating out the Indians.

3) Kansas City Royals (84-78)- Still love the bullpen and defense, but rotation doesn’t have depth and offensive is mediocre.

4) Chicago White Sox (81-81)- Jose Abreu is an MVP candidate and their pitching is underrated, but elsewhere is lacking.

5) Minnesota Twins (70-92)- Will fight for the first pick in the draft.

AL West

1) Seattle Mariners (90-72)- Going into this I thought they would be really overrated this season. But rotation has the potential to the best in the AL.

2) Los Angeles Angels (88-74)- Mike Trout is their hope of winning the division.

3) Oakland Athletics (85-77)- Will be better than expected.

4) Texas Rangers (80-82)- Might surprise people. But probably not.

5) Houston Astros (74-88)- That defense looks…non-existent.

NL East

1) Washington Nationals (93-69)- Offense might but weak but every SP could be an All-Star this season.

2 New York Mets (84-78)- Harvey could be make or break piece for them.

3) Miami Marlins (83-79)- I could see them being pretty good. But odds are they’ll just be okay.

4) Atlanta Braves (72-90)- This is going to be ugly.

5) Philadelphia Phillies (60-102)- I think giving them 60 wins is generous. Utley and Hamels are still there (for now) but if either is traded we can be looking at 110+ losses.

NL Central

1) St. Louis Cardinals (91-71)- Year in and year out you can pencil them at the Central favorites

2) Pittsburgh Pirates (88-74)- I love their depth, they have an MVP candidate in McCutchen, a potential star in Blanco, and an ace in Cole. But I think the rest of their rotation is too unreliable to help pull off a 90 win season. As a baseball fan, I hope I’m wrong and the Bucs can finally raise a division flag.

3) Chicago Cubs (85-77)- Really wanted to pick Cincinnati above Chicago, but Chicago has more upside.

4) Cincinnati Reds (82-80)- I expect a big year from Votto.

5) Milwaukee Brewers (80-82)- Could be a sleeper team but probably not.

NL West

1) Los Angeles Dodgers (100-62)- They are the best team in baseball. They have a superstars, every bench player is a legitimate backup, and the rotation goes five deep.

2) San Diego Padres (86-76)- I am not on the bandwagon whatsoever and was expecting to place San Fran ahead of the Padres, but the Padres just pack a little more punch on paper as I expect a big year from Myers.

3) San Francisco Giants (85-77)- It’s going to be their pitching that carries them.

4) Colorado Rockies (73-89)- The offense and defense isn’t bad. But their pitching (in Coors) might be the worst in baseball.

5) Arizona Diamondbacks (69-93)- They have Paul Goldschmidt and little of much else.

AL Playoffs

Wild Card Tie-Breaker: Toronto Blue Jays over Los Angeles Angeles

Wild Card Game: Detroit Tigers over Toronto Blue Jays

ALDS: Boston Red Sox over Detroit Tigers (3-2); Seattle Mariners over Cleveland Indians (3-2)

ALCS: Boston Red Sox over Seattle Mariners (4-2)

NL Playoffs

Wild Card Game: Pittsburgh Pirates over San Diego Padres

NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers over Pittsburgh Pirates (3-0); Washington Nationals over St. Louis Cardinals (3-1)

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers over Washington Nationals (4-2)

World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers over Boston Red Sox (4-3)

AL MVP: Mike Trout

NL MVP: Yasiel Puig

AL Cy Young: Sonny Gray

NL Cy Young: Steven Strasburg

AL ROY: Francisco Lindor

NL ROY: Jorge Soler

AL Comeback Player: Chin-s00 Choo

NL Comeback Player: Joey Votto

AL Hank Aaron: Mike Trout

NL Hank Aaron: Paul Goldschmidt

AL Platinum Glove: Josh Donaldson

NL Platinum Glove: Juan Lagares

A Non-Baseball Post

Posted April 3, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

Okay, so I am a very opinionated person. Despite that, I try to keep this blog baseball/sports related at almost all times. However, I just read an article about Ann Coulter, who said something that finally pushed me over the ledge.

Before I begin, I want to say I don’t care about religion. I don’t mean that in a negative or apathetic way. I just don’t care if one practices or not. I don’t, but others do and all the power to those that do. The idea of religion promotes good morals. The problem is that so many people are ignorant of these morals and terrifyingly misinterpret a lot of what they read, hear, and are taught.

One such person is Ann Coulter. Apparently, on The O’Reily Factor she said:

“It’s Christianity that the left hates most of all because that is the foundation of our country and all of our freedoms come from that. The rest of the world is a cesspool of violence and atrocities. This is the most consequential nation on Earth and the fact that these Christians would rather get praise from the New York Times and Nicholas Kristof by changing bedpans of Ebola patients in Nigeria, rather than stand up to the New York Times and fight against abortion and fight against these bullies, and I don’t think it’s gay bullies, I think it’s as you call them, secular progressives or liberals. The media, they’re the ones who are trying to tear down this country by going directly at the heart of America which is Christianity.”

WOW. Where to begin?

First, let’s tackle the gay issue. Why do Christians (at least those in the media and congress) seem to dislike gay people so much? The biggest excuse I’ve heard is a religious one. They say they have gay friends, but due to religion can’t accept their lifestyle. Bullshit. If god was the all-loving creature Christians say he is, why would he have it out against gay people. So instead of progressing with the times and realizing gay people, are yes, people too, they are turning it around so the gay community and their allies are bullies, not ignorant Christians. Which is ridiculous because 1) there is no war on Christians. Christianity still makes up the overwhelming majority of America and 2) turning this around and portraying the gay community as bullies is the same as southerners in 1960 turning around and proclaiming Civil Rights protestors as bullies against “Ole Dixie”. As we all know, being gay is not a choice, much like it’s not a choice to pick your skin color or gender. So why are gay issues not being treated the same as color and gender issues? The misunderstanding of religious doctrine.

Going in hand with the above point, Coulter says it is ridiculous that people are fighting ebola opposed to fighting the gay community. Is she drunk? High? Insane? Fighting ebola, a deadly disease, is a very noble and worthy cause. Fighting the gay community is evil- something I would associate more with satan’s work than god’s work. Was it not Jesus who cured the Leper’s? Was it not Jesus who said not to judge others unless you want to be judged? Coulter’s “Christian” opinion goes directly against the teachings of her prophet. I put Christian in quotations because Coulter and those like her are not real Christians (just as terrorists are not Muslims- and I say that with no intent of comparing Coulter to a terrorist. As bad as she is- she’s not that bad). If Jesus were alive today, he’d be one of the first person volunteering to cure ebola and he’d be one of the many people championing gay rights.

Finally, she contends we’re a Christian nation and that’s why we rule and the rest of the earth drools. Again- wow. So essentially non-Christian nations are savages who turmoil in war while America is the best. Where to start? Well, while the Founder’s were Christian, we weren’t necessarily founded on Christianity, otherwise there would be no First Amendment and Christianity would be a government sanctioned religion we had to practice. But if she wants to say we are Christian nation because the Founder’s practiced it, then I guess we’re also a slave-owning, racist nation (which, sadly, has been true throughout our history up until the present day) because that’s what the Founder’s were as well. Despite her remark, the true fact is we are a nation founded upon the principle of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and that is a principle that should extend to all people- including the gay community. So yes, it’s not okay for a business to not serve a gay couple. Unless you think it’s okay for blacks or females to not be served as well. And to suggest the non-Christian is a bunch of war-hungry savages is beyond human reason I can’t even begin to process what was going through her head and how she got this f—-d up in the first place.

The takeaway is this. Religion can be great. It’s ideal goals are to make us better people. However, some people misinterpret religion and use it for evil. One such example is denying gay people equal rights. No god that I can imagine would ever be that cruel. It’s time for these “Christians” to progress and realize that if they want to live in a truly free America and abide by their religious convictions, it’s time to accept the gay community.

Amen.

PS- I am not attacking all Christians. Most people I know that practice the faith are very level-headed and would agree with the message of the post. This is mainly directed towards the religious media, congress, and the couple nut jobs that everyone knows.

Bryce Harper Underrated

Posted March 20, 2015 by Disco
Categories: Uncategorized

According to an ESPN MLB player poll, Bryce Harper was voted the most overrated player in baseball at 41%- an honor he is receiving for the second season in a row. Many fans and columnists also seem to agree with the players, most likely because 1) He was on the Sports Illustrated cover as a 16 year old 2) He speaks his mind and is confident which scares people and 3) He is not Mike Trout. So what does all this backlash make Bryce Harper? One of the most, if not the most, underrated player in baseball.

When Bryce Harper made his Major League debut, he was 19(!) years old. He played 139 games putting up a slash line of .270/.340/.477/.352/121+ with 22 HR and a 4.4 fWAR (4.8 fWAR/650PA). Where was Mike Trout at 19? A ball. At age 20 Harper performed even better with a line of .274/.368/.486/.371/137+ with 20 HR and a 3.8 fWAR (5.0 fWAR/650PA). Mike Trout was still in the minors for most of his age 20 season. The year Bryce Harper was legally allowed to drink, he took a step back, but not a major one. He hit .273/.344/.423/.338/115+ with 13 HR and a 1.3 fWAR (2.1 fWAR/650PA). Mike Trout should have won the MVP when he was 21.

As a whole, Bryce Harper has played in 357 games with 1489 PA and a line of .272/.351/.465/.355/125+ with a fWAR/650PA of 4.1 (which is considered great, and All-Star caliber). So Bryce Harper has been an All-Star caliber player for his age 19-21 seasons and people still expect more from him. I don’t think people realize how amazing that is for a person that age. Everyone is gushing over the current #1 prospect in MLB, Kris Bryant, who is older than Harper and hasn’t even had a single ML at-bat yet! So put that into perspective the next time you want to say Bryce Harper is overrated. Yes, he has been hurt a lot. But if anything, that goes to show just great he has been- that his numbers still look this good despite nagging injuries and some more serious injuries that sidelined him for weeks at a time. It’s not fair to compare him to Mike Trout for his success at a young age and it’s not fair to expect a Mike Trout level of production simply because he was on the SI cover as a teenager. Bryce Harper is a once-in-a-lifetime talent and it would be a shame if baseball players, writers, and fans were to hold that against.

2015 Hall of Fame Voting

Posted January 5, 2015 by Disco
Categories: All Posts, Hall of Fame

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My 2015 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot. Sorry for the typos and poor grammar- I’m writing this with my downtime at work.

1) Pedro Martinez

2827.1 IP, 10.04 K/9, 2.42 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9, 2.91 FIP, 87.1 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 11.9, 9.9, 8.6, 7.8, 7.8, 6.4, 5.8

6+ fWAR total: 16.4; fWAR/200IP: 6.16

His average season was MVP quality. 1999 may have been the best pitching season ever. In the AL East. During the highest run scoring era in baseball history. Yeah, this is a no-doubter.

2) Randy Johnson

4135.1 IP, 10.61 K/9, 3.26 BB/9, 0.89 HR/9, 3.19 FIP, 111.7 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 10.4, 9.6, 9.5, 9.5, 9.5, 8, 7.7

6+ fWAR total: 22.2; fWAR/200IP: 5.40

I think his seven best fWAR seasons speak for his dominance. Another no-doubter.

3) Curt Schilling

3261 IP, 8.60 K/9, 1.96 BB/9, 0.96 HR/9, 3.23 FIP, 83.2 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 9.3, 8.4, 8.3, 7.4, 7.3, 5.7, 5.4

6+ fWAR total: 10.7; fWAR/200IP: 5.10

If his regular season numbers aren’t impressive enough, then his postseason stats give him bonus points that make him a HOF pitcher.

4) Mike Mussina

3562.2 IP, 7.11 K/9, 1.98 BB/9, 0.95 HR/9, 3.57 FIP, 82.5 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 6.9, 6.2, 6.2, 5.8, 5.4, 5.3, 5.3

6+ fWAR total: 1.3; fWAR/200IP: 4.63

His peak seasons weren’t on the same level of RJ or Pedro, but he was consistently an MVP level pitcher with 10 seasons of 5+ fWAR. That’s good enough for me, especially for another SP who had to deal with the AL East during the game’s biggest offensive era.

5) John Smoltz

3473 IP, 7.99 K/9, 2.62 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9, 3.24 FIP, 78.7 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 8.2, 6.7, 5.4, 5.2, 5.2, 5.1, 5.1

6+ fWAR total: 2.9; fWAR/200IP: 4.53

Starting Pitcher fWAR/200IP: 4.41; Relief Pitcher fWAR/200IP: 5.94

Pitched at an All-Star/MVP level as both a starter and reliever. He is close to borderline for me, but was good enough that I feel comfortable voting him in.

6) Mike Piazza

7745 PA, 427 HR, .308/.377/.545/.390/140+, 20.7 defensive runs, 63.5 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 9.1, 7.4, 6.6, 6.6, 6, 5.8, 4.6

6+ fWAR total: 5.7; fWAR/650PA: 5.33

Best hitter all-time at a position? Hall of Famer for sure.

7) Jeff Bagwell

9431 PA, 449 HR, .297/.394/.588/.415/157+, -138.5 defensive runs, 80.2 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 8, 7.8, 7.8, 7.7, 6.7, 5.9, 5.5

6+ fWAR total: 8.9; fWAR/650PA: 5.53

Another player whose average season was MVP quality. No doubter for a guy with similar career to Frank Thomas, a first ballot Hall of Famer.

8) Edgar Martinez

8672 PA, 309 HR, .312/.418/.515/.405/149+, -87.1 defensive runs, 65.6 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 7, 6.1, 6, 5.9, 5.7, 5.5, 5.5

6+ fWAR total: 1.1; fWAR/650PA: 4.92

Much like Piazza is the best offensive catcher ever, Martinez has been the best DH ever. Now, he didn’t play defense and that hurts him. But he was so good offensively, it doesn’t matter. Retiring with a .300+/.400+/.500+ line, even in the context of his era, is incredible. He is like the Mussina of hitters in this class. Consistently great even if he doesn’t have one “all-time” type of season.

9) Tim Raines

10359 PA, 170 HR, 808 SB (85%), .294/.385/.425/.361/125+, -109.6 defensive runs, 66.4 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 7.2, 6.7, 6.7, 6, 6, 5.5, 3.9

6+ fWAR total: 2.6; fWAR/650PA: 4.17

Raines is the SABR darling of this HOF class (along with Alan Trammell). Upon further review, he is closer to the outside looking in than I originally thought. However, a lot of lower fWAR/650PA is due to the fact he probably did stick around too long. But Raines is the best base stealer/runner of all-time. Rickey Henderson stole more bases, but at lower clip (80% compared to Raines’ 85%). Stealing bases at an 85% clip for a whole career, and to steal that many is amazing. Raines is 5th all-time among SB leaders, and has the highest of SB% of the top five. And base stealing is just one aspect of his game- he was also an OBP machine!

10) Larry Walker

8030 PA, 383 HR, 230 SB, .313/.400/.565/.412/140+, 3.5 defensive runs, 68.9 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 9.1, 7.6, 5.3, 5.3, 5, 4.7, 4.7

6+ fWAR seasons: 4.7; fWAR/650PA: 5.58

Larry Walker is has knock against him and it’s not Coors Field. It’s his injury history. Yes, he played in the best hitters park in the best hitters era. But his numbers were still far and away better than most of his peers. His home/road splits are drastic- but only because while he was amazing the road he was god-like at home. His per season fWAR totals might seem low but again, that’s due to injury-plagued seasons and this is supported by his MVP level career fWAR/650PA of 5.58. Dude is a Hall of Famer.

Now, I think there are more deserving players. However, a ballot only allows for ten votes. Therefore, I withheld all players who definitely used PED’s and were not just suspected of PED’s. Unlike most people, I don’t care about PED’s when it comes to the HOF. However, on a crowded ballot I won’t put them ahead of other deserving players. Therefore, the rest of eligible players I think are Hall worthy are…

Roger Clemens

4916.2 IP, 8.55 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 0.66 HR/9, 3.09 FIP, 139.5 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 10.8, 9.7, 9.1, 9, 8.5, 8.5, 8.1

6+ fWAR total: 21.7; fWAR/200IP: 5.68

Most evidence points toward his first PED use being in 1997 with Toronto. If you look at his fWAR before that during his Boston tenure, he had 83 fWAR or 5.71 fWAR per season in nearly 3000 total innings. Hall of Famer.

Barry Bonds

12606 PA, 762 HR, 514 SB, .298/.444/.607/.435/173+, 67.6 defensive runs, 164 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 12.5, 12.4, 11.6, 10.5, 10.1, 9.9, 9.6

6+ fWAR total: 34.6; fWAR/650PA: 8.46

Best player of all-time not named Ruth- and that’s only because Ruth was also a good pitcher. HOF’er before he started using in 1999.

Mark McGwire

7660 PA, 583 HR, .263/.394/.588/.415/157+, -138.5, 66.3 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 8.5, 7.3, 6.3, 6, 5.7, 5.4, 5.1

6+ fWAR total: 4.1; fWAR/650PA: 5.63

I feel the worst about voting for McGwire because he used almost his entire career, if not his whole career, while Bonds and Clemens had HOF careers before their steroid use. But boy, could he hit.

And the following are guys that I am indecisive on- one minute I think they’re in and the next I don’t.

Craig Biggio

12503 PA, 291 HR, 414 SB, .281/.363/.433/.352/115+, -23 defensive runs, 65.1 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 9.3, 6.5, 6.2, 4.9, 4.8, 4.7, 4.5

6+ fWAR total: 4; fWAR/650PA: 3.38

Biggio is tough. He does have 3000 hits. He does have some superb seasons. But the more I think about him the more I think he was simply a good, All-Star caliber player who had a long career that allowed him to get his 3000 hits. A 3.38 fWAR/650PA is not HOF worthy. But if he retired before he wasn’t good anymore, that number would be better. So for now, I will keep him off the ballot until I can make my mind up either way.

Alan Trammell

9375 PA, 185 HR, 236 SB, .285/.352/.415/.343/111+, 184.4 defensive runs, 63.7 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 7.7, 6.9, 6.2, 5.7, 5.6, 5.3, 4.3

6+ fWAR total: 2.8′ fWAR/650PA: 4.42

Trammell is one of the game’s great fielding shortstops. He is a HOF worthy defender. Offensively, his numbers don’t look great. But in context of the era, he has really good numbers for a SS and was one of the game’s first great two-way players at that position. A 4.42 fWAR/650PA isn’t ideal for the HOF, but if you take away his first couple seasons and last couple seasons to focus truly on his prime playing days, and that number looks a whole lot better. If it wasn’t a crowded ballot I would vote for him, but that’s not the case. And a result, he only has a couple years left on the ballot and I fear the worst for him.

Nomar Garciaparra

6116 PA, 229 HR, .313/.361/.521/.376/124+, 18.8 defensive runs, 41.5 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 7.6, 7.3, 6.4, 6.3, 5.7, 4.8, 2.2

6+ fWAR total: 3.6; fWAR/650PA: 4.41

During his peak, Nomar was arguably the best shortstop in baseball- ahead of A-Rod and Jeter. But how much does a peak count. Clearly, he had HOF talent. The only reason he isn’t a legitimate candidate is because he often hurt and it ruined his ability perform well, and put up good full season numbers when he was at his best. I don’t think I’d ever vote for him, but I want his career to recognition.

Gary Sheffield

10947 PA, 509 HR, 253 SB, .292/.393/.514/.391/141+, -300.9 defensive runs, 62.4 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 7.5, 6.6, 6.5, 6.5, 4.9, 4.6, 3.8

6+ fWAR total: 3.1; fWAR/650PA: 3.71

Again, the average fWAR is low- but he played for a really long time. Plus, Sheffield could hit. Like really hit. He lost 30 wins(!) due to crappy defense and still had 62.4 career fWAR. So that begs the question- should I punish him for being so bad on defense? Or should I recognize him as a phenomenal hitter?

Brian Giles

7836 PA, 287 HR, .291/.400/.502/.388/136+, -80.8 defensive runs, 54.5 fWAR

7 Best fWAR seasons: 6.7, 6.7, 6.3, 5.7, 5.5, 4.8, 4.3

6+ fWAR total: 1.7; fWAR/650PA: 4.52

Giles was a consistent offensive force if he never did have that one above and beyond season like a Larry Walker. But he finished with a career OBP of .400 and SLG over .500. That’s really good. His average fWAR season is also borderline for me. The one thing keeping me from voting for him is a short peak. If he had sustained his prime longer and not simply had a bunch of All-Star level seasons instead of MVP seasons, he would have got my vote.

Lee Smith

1289.1 IP, 8.73 K/9, 3.39 BB/9, 0.62 HR/9, 2.93 FIP, 27.3 fWAR, fWAR/200IP: 4.24

I don’t think Lee Smith is quite a HOF’er. He’s better than I thought, but I wouldn’t put him in. However, if you compare him to other RP in the Hall, he is better. He is better than both Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter and on par with Trevor Hoffman, who most likely will be in the Hall of Fame. However, I don’t think the above should be in the Hall which makes this a tough vote. Put him in because inferior pitchers are in, or vote him out because he should be out.

 

This is just all my opinion folks (which is generally right) and if there’s one takeaway it’s this: what a class this is!


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