August 2006

Glorious day

It’s one of my favorite days of the year. The first rankings are out!

I’ll of course have my own rankings closer to the start of the season, and then weekly, but a few thoughts…

I understand why OSU is No. 1, with the skill position talent they’re bringing back. But I have a bad feeling about them that I can’t put my finger on. I think they’re a top-5 team, but not the best. Same goes for Texas.

As I’ve said before, SC is my No. 1. Even with a new QB, they’re just loaded all over the field.

ND is, in my opinion, overrated, but that’s sort of like the sun rising in the East.

I’m pleased to see WV not get too much credit for having an easy schedule. In a lot of the previews, they’ve been rated very close to No. 1, and the rationale seems to be that they have a favorable schedule. They’ll score a ton of points, and they could go undefeated, but they’re not one of the 3-4 best teams in the country.

FSU seems just about right. I have them as a bottom-of-the-top-10 team. I was afraid they’d be even lower.

Miami is underrated. They’re scary. Quite possibly a top-5 team.

Some interesting sleepers from 15 down. Clemson might be very good, Penn State should be tough again, and I like Alabama and Texas Tech a lot. Nebraska is one of my deep sleepers this year.

I’m on vacation for a while, not going on the road trip, but I’ll try to do some blogging while I’m gone.

-M.

Thursday's new Lucky Seven

1. What is the single biggest difference between the 2006 Cardinals on one hand, and the 2004-2005 editions on the other?

2a. How many starts will Mark Mulder make for the Cardinals between now and the end of the year? There are currently 56 games left, and he’s expected to make his first rehab start on Sunday.
2b. What will his ERA be in those games? 5.00 or higher? 4.50-5.00? 4.00-4.50? 3.50-4.00? 3.50 or lower?

3. What’s the best Cardinals blog out there?

4. Out of all the pitchers currently in the organization, which five should be in the starting rotation at this minute? Once Mulder comes back, which of those five would you bump? Any and all opinions go here — if you think John Webb and Dennis Tankersley should both be in the big league rotation, say so. If you think the current five are the best five options, say so.

5. In the American League, five teams are fighting for three playoff spots (unless you include the Blue Jays, then it’s six). Out of the Tigers, White Sox, Twins, Yankees and Red Sox, which three make it, and which two go home?

6. Do you think Floyd Landis cheated? Do you care?

7. What’s the best steak you’ve ever had in your life? Apologies to vegetarians/vegans.

One note — I want to welcome Jordan Bastian, our Blue Jays reporter, to the MLBlogging world. Check him out at Major League Bastian.

Currently playing on the computer speakers: iTunes on Party Shuffle ("What Is and What Should Never Be" by Zeppelin is the song at this very moment).

-M.

My lucky seven

Here are my choices for last week’s Lucky Seven questions…

1. For me it’s Rolen, simply because on any given night, he’s so likely to give you a ‘wow’ moment, either offensively or defensively. Best infield arm I’ve seen, so quick, dangerous hitter, terrific baserunner. Without taking anything away from Pujols, whom I’ll tell my grandkids I got to watch play every day, the guy I most enjoy watching play ball is Rolen.

2. Lot of good choices here, from Roy Oswalt to Mike Cameron to Francisco Rodriguez to Ichiro, but I think I go with Jose Reyes. I saw him go from first to third on an infield groundout in a Spring Training game once, and that was just one of the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a baseball game.

3. This year it has to be Soriano, since he leads everybody in both OBP and slugging out of the 1 spot.

4. Taking price into consideration, I’d say Suppan. I think he’s better than this year’s numbers and he’s the one guy likely to be something of a bargain. If price is not an element, then I go with Mulder, who I expect to return to being quite effective.

5. I expect them to work out some sort of deal to take him through 2008. I think at this point I’d just pick up the option, since the marginal cost is only $7MM, you’re not going to find anyone better at that cost and then you’re only on the hook for one year.

6. Chicago, followed by New Haven, Conn. Gino’s East is the best. But if you’re ever in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, check out Smiling Pizza. NY-style at its finest.

7. I’m very eager to see Clerks 2, and that’s going to happen very soon. But DYING to see, I’d have to say Talladega Nights, or Snakes On a Plane.

-M.

Here and There

A few various things. Please feel free to comment/complain/whatever…

1. I know people were disappointed with the relative lack of action by the Cards at the deadline, and I’m with many of you that the Belliard deal didn’t make a lot of sense. But I’m getting tons and tons of emails from people who are livid that the team didn’t add a power bat or top-flight starter. So I ask you — tell me a move that you would have made, that WOULD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED. Washington apparently got some huge offers, and didn’t move Soriano. Florida simply didn’t want to deal Willis. And so on. I’m just not convinced that in this particular case, the possibilities were there.

2. Brett Myers just came to bat. He wasn’t booed. I have to admit, I was disappointed by the lack of reaction. It’s hard for me to imagine why somebody would boo Jason Isringhausen and not Brett Myers.

3. I’ll be on KFNS’ Roundtable tomorrow morning, Thursday, from 10 am – 1 pm CT. Listen in if you care to.

-M.

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