It’s been well documented that both Tim Lincecum and the city he plays in, San Francisco, take a pretty liberal stance on marijuana. Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton reported smelling marijuana in the stands during Game 1 of last year’s World Series and Lincecum, himself, has been busted for possession. Big Time Timmy-Jim even hoped for smoke in the air in San Fran during his post game interview following the Giants’ World Series win. Check out this video via Deadspin, in which a guy who claims not to be Lincecum, but undeniably looks like him, offers the ride of your life:
I don’t know whether or not this is Lincecum. Just looking at the face and hair it seems like it has to be him, but the joint in his right hand makes me skeptical. I don’t doubt Lincecum is still smoking — I’d bet he is — but I find it hard to believe he would make this video with the joint being so obvious. Of course, the people of San Francisco proudly sport their “Let Jimmy Smoke” T-shirts and light-up in the outfield, so maybe The Freaky Franchise is following suit. In any case, if this is a look-a-like, he looks much closer to the real thing than the guy impersonating Pau Gasol.
It’s not easy being a New York Mets fan. In fact it’s really, really tough. Between the season-ending collapses of historic proportions, the terrible contracts given to players like Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, the arrest of our $37 million closer and the recent ownership issues, it has been a rough few years — four years to be exact. The team hasn’t been the same since Carlos Beltran struck out looking at a nasty curve from Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
Basically since the team’s inception in 1962, it’s been the M.O. of Mets fans to expect the worst and wear the team’s failures as a sort of badge of courage. In that spirit, The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Manhattan Mini Storage has produced this subway ad poking fun at the Mets organization:
Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central and NL East and this week we’re analyzing the AL East teams not based in New York or Boston. We looked at the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday and the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. Today we’ll wrap up the division with the Baltimore Orioles.
The Afterthoughts: Baltimore Orioles
Off-Season Moves: The Orioles had a relatively quiet off-season as compared to the rest of the AL East. They brought in third baseman Mark Reynolds — he of the major league-leading 211 strikeouts in 2010 — from Arizona in exchange for two right-handed pitchers. They also traded for shortstop J.J. Hardy and acquired first baseman Derrek Lee, designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, and right-hander Justin Duchscherer via free agency. Baltimore lost second baseman Julio Lugo, left fielder Corey Patterson, first baseman Ty Wigginton and rightie Kevin Millwood to free agency. Finally, the team re-signed reliever Koji Uehara and signed reliever Kevin Gregg.
Strengths: Three of the team’s four 2010 leaders in home runs and RBI — plus the top three batting averages — make up this year’s starting outfield; left fielder Luke Scott (.284, 27, 72), center fielder Adam Jones (.284, 19, 69, pictured above) and right fielder Nick Markakis (.297, 12, 60). The fourth member of that group is the departed Wigginton (.248, 22, 76).
Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central and NL East and this week we will analyze the AL East teams not based in New York or Boston. On Monday we looked at the Tampa Bay Rays and today we’ll cover the Toronto Blue Jays; Wednesday: Baltimore Orioles.
The Unknown: Toronto Blue Jays
Off-Season Moves: Toronto had about as busy an off-season as any team in baseball, most notably trading away center fielder Vernon Wells — and all but $5 million of the $86 million he’s owed over the next four years — to the Angels for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera. Napoli was almost immediately sent to Texas in exchange for right-handed reliever Frank Francisco. Along with Wells, the Jays lost last year’s primary left fielder, first baseman and catcher in Fred Lewis, Lyle Overbay and John Buck, respectively.
Outfielder Rajai Davis (pictured below) was acquired from Oakland for two minor leaguers as an economical replacement for Wells. They also traded rightie Shawn Marcum to the Brewers in exchange for highly-touted second base prospect Brett Lawrie. Finally, Toronto appeared to do as much as possible to bolster the bullpen, signing righties Chad Cordero, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch.
Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central and NL East and this week we will analyze the AL East teams not based in New York or Boston, starting with the Tampa Bay Rays; Tuesday: Toronto Blue Jays.
The Rebuilders: Tampa Bay Rays
Off-Season Moves: This off-season was one that dramatically changed the makeup of this team. The Rays lost left fielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Carlos Pena, and closer Rafael Soriano to free agency. Those three were “replaced” by outfielders Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez (both pictured at left), first baseman Casey Kotchman and rightie Kyle Farnsworth, none of whom represents anything other than a downgrade. The Rays also traded away shortstop Jason Bartlett and right-hander Matt Garza, each for a number of players who likely won’t factor much into this season.
Strengths: Despite losing Garza (15-10, 3.91), the rotation looks to be the strongest aspect of this year’s Rays. Leftie David Price (19-6, 2.72, pictured below) is the staff ace and a bona fide superstar. Price will likely be followed by righties James Shields (13-15, 5.18), Jeff Niemann (12-8, 4.39), Wade Davis (12-10, 4.07) and Jeremy Hellickson (4-0, 3.47). That rotation doesn’t have a single player over the age of 30 and an average age of 25.6. Those five had a combined 3.96 ERA last season, which would have been good for 12th in the majors and first in the division.
In keeping with the recent flood of trick shot videos we’ve given you here at LBS, I give you this video courtesy of a couple of players from General Tso’s Basketball Association:
GTBA is a rec. league in Indianapolis made up of teams such as Panda X, the Ninja Stars, the Kamikazees and, my personal favorite, Hadouken. Some of the shots look fairly pedestrian as far as trick shots go — more standard H.O.R.S.E than real trick shot — but the last two are pretty impressive. At least it’s not another football video.
Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central, and this week we’re looking at the NL East. We’ve already covered the Phillies, Braves, Marlins, and Mets. Today we’ll wrap up the division with the Washington Nationals.
The Bottom: Washington Nationals
Off-Season Moves: Obviously, the Nationals’ biggest off-season move was signing right fielder Jayson Werth (pictured at left) to a seven year, $126 million deal. Washington picked up outfielder Rick Ankiel as a possible replacement for last year’s primary left-fielder Josh Willingham, whom they traded away. Other notable additions include first baseman Adam LaRoche, utility man Alex Cora and left-hander Tom Gorzelanny. Other noteworthy departures include first baseman Adam Dunn and utility man Adam Kennedy.
Strengths: This is a tough one. The Nationals did rank ninth in the majors in stolen bases last season with 110. The issue there is 34 of those belonged to center fielder Nyjer Morgan, no other player had more than 17, and only two other current players hit double-digits. Pitching-wise, last year’s Nationals finished ninth in hits allowed and 10th in runs allowed. If default ace Livan Hernandez can do what he did last year and Jason Marquis and Tom Gorzelanny can improve, they should be able to remain in the top third of the majors in those categories again.
Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Soxthe top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central, and this week we’re looking at the NL East. We’ve already covered the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins. Today we’ll look at the New York Mets; Thursday: Washington Nationals.
The Tweener: New York Mets
Off-Season Moves: The Mets lost lefty-specialist, and workhorse, Pedro Feliciano, who finished the last three seasons as the major league leader in appearances, to free agency. They also lost left-hander Hisanori Takahashi, who went 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA and eight saves combined over 12 starts and 41 relief appearances. New York also acquired two bottom of the rotation-type guys with a lot to prove in righty Chris Young and lefty Chris Capuano. The biggest Met-killer in recent history, outfielder Willie Harris, was also brought in.
Strengths: The Mets led the NL (fifth in the majors) in steals, with 130 in 2010. Newly-named center fielder Angel Pagan led the team with 37 steals, and though he missed some time, shortstop Jose Reyes stole 30. Third baseman David Wright (pictured above) added 19 bags. That team speed — along with some help from the spacious Citi Field — allowed the Mets to hit 40 triples, good for third in baseball.