Charging The Mound: Moyer’s Complaints

Steve Cishek

Chris (Saturday, June 6, 8 PM PT):

What’s the protocol here? We just keep complaining about stuff indefinitely? When does it end? I think I’ll add one last closer comment (in closing) and publish it on the site.

You probably don’t know this Steve, but I have Tolleson in a bunch of important leagues including the NFBC Main in part because I thought Neftali Feliz might lose the job, but also due to an encounter with my next door neighbor.

I’ve told this story a couple times on the radio show, but don’t know if I mentioned it here. Essentially, my three-year old daughter, Sasha, often goes to our neighbor’s house to play with their twin four-year-old girls. I knew their father’s name was Gregory and their mother’s was Shawn (I didn’t know how it was spelled – whether Sean, Seane, Shaun or Shawn, like the pitcher.)

A couple weeks ago, right before Tolleson got the job and when Feliz wasn’t yet on the DL, I walked Sasha over there and knocked on their door. I happened to notice their mailbox – apparently Shawn kept her maiden name (Tolleson) – and when I saw it, I did a double take. “Was that the name of the pitcher on whom I was planning to bid in NFBC?” It couldn’t be. So when I got back in the house I checked, and sure enough, it was spelled exactly the same way.

A few days later, I initially put in a $30 bid for Tolleson in the NFBC Main. (I was working in my office, which is a converted garage, about 30 feet away from the main house.) When I came back into the house, who was sitting on my sofa, talking to Heather, but Shawn Tolleson herself! It was about an hour before the bids locked, and I took that as a sign I should go a few extra bucks on the prospective closer, so I upped the bid to $40.

As it turns out, I got him, and the next highest bid was $37, by RotoWire’s Scott Jenstad.

Now I’m not a conventionally religious person – I’m not partial to any particular tradition’s way of explaining the significance and purpose of existence. But I refuse to live in a universe where something like this has no meaning.

Next week we’ll take on DFS. In the meantime you should still trade me Bauer for Hamilton and a throw-in. He’s only out four weeks.

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Steve (Thursday, June 4, Noonish):

Boy, it’s so much less fun when we agree. I’m here to fight! (In memory of good ol’ Mikey Salfino.)

Closers truly suck. We’re clear on that. It never ceases to amaze me how many preseason words are wasted on closer-in-waiting speculation to wind up with out-of-nowhere’s like Shawn Tolleson (anyone remember that Tolleson guy from some insurance commercial that XM would run constantly a few years ago?) and no-way-he’ll-ever-close-effectively-again’s like John Axford.

And we firmly agree that MLB humor is horrible, Chris says partially by design, which makes sense to me. Although somebody’s laughing at these schmucks. I know some unnamed industry friends who really do think some of these guys are funny. And I’ll never forget our colleague I’ll also not name who lamented the days of MLB – Mark, Larry and Buck – on XM in the presence of all of us a few years ago at TOUT. Those guys made me wanna drive off a cliff.

We need to do an entire column devoted to Daily, so I’m not gonna waste a lot of my thoughts here. It’s funny that we all fantasize about that big tournament payday though. Sometimes I think we’ve now been ground to the level of the powerball queue at the convenience store.

Two final thoughts:

1) It took me two weeks to realize Todd Cunningham wasn’t Aaron Cunningham.

2) I was actually regretting not trading Trevor Bauer to Chris for Josh Hamilton (offered in early April) for a couple days there.

Jeff (Wednesday, June 3, 8:45 a.m.):

I watch a lot of MLB Network, not necessarily because I’m loyal to any show, but because baseball talk is better than talk about … well, anything else. I’m generally looking for information that I haven’t heard yet, see highlights of games I hadn’t seen earlier, or look-ins of games I can’t watch (i.e., Dodgers games). Almost universally, when it’s geared towards entertainment, it’s pretty bad. I don’t look for stand-up comedians to provide analysis, and I don’t want baseball analysts to try their stand-up routine.

But we’re not their target audience anyhow. They know they have us because there’s no alternative 22 hours a day, if I’m in the mood to see baseball. Even if I really disagree with the host or ex-player, it’s usually not enough to shut it off. The exception is Mad Dog – I still can’t understand why he’s popular. But the average viewer isn’t constantly plugged into the game, hasn’t gone beyond knowing what BABIP is let alone to find good arguments against using it (or any other metric).

I like Brian Kenny – you guys already know that. Sometimes I don’t like the format he’s shoehorned in – “Brian Kenny vs. The World,” as he’s painted as the crazy sabermetrist vs. the conventional wisdom, and they look at him as if he’s wearing a propeller hat.

Closer Bitches – that’s easy. Find the closers I was fading, and go draft them or trade for them. Find the guys that I was targeting and sell, sell, sell! Not only did I avoid Glen Perkins and Trevor Rosenthal, but I preached to others in February and March for others to not take them. So of course they’re leading the free world in saves, and I’m stuck with Cody Allen (admittedly getting better), Steve Cishek and Greg Holland.

My lament now though is that I’m in a huge DFS slump. After doing well in April, quintupling my bankroll and winning a seat in the Tout Wars Championship with a top-3 finish, I’ve given back virtually all of those gains. Part of my problem is I’ve been greedy – playing more tournaments, more stacks and fewer cash games that were building my bankroll to begin with. As Chris has alluded to in his blogs, I know the heads-up and 50-50’s are the smart way to build the bankroll, but the tourneys are fun and have the chance to provide the big score. The problem is it’s hard enough to get any cash out of them, let alone a significant one. I suppose it’s a great demonstration of odds, but damn it would sure be nice to hit a big score just once.

Chris (Saturday, May 30th, 5:06 pm):

I don’t watch any baseball shows. Sometimes I have the MLB channel on, and it’s cool how they flip from game to game, but like you, I get annoyed at the idiotic banter after a while and have to stop.

No one’s allowed to make a real joke anymore anyway. The rule is if it’s funny, it probably offends someone with the power to get you fired. So they keep it safe and dumbed-down with what they think passes for quirkiness and personality. But what can you expect? When a major network hires an iconoclast like Bill Simmons, they muzzle the guy and eventually get rid of him. Simmons only lasted this long because he had such a huge following, and he was fairly mild – at least by my standards. In fact, I’d be perfectly fine with this type of casual banter (NSFW) on a nightly basis.

As for closers, that’s easy. Addison Reed is a dog. He got so few save chances, blew the ones he did get, then the first day all year he was on my bench he gets a cheap win. Of course, I dropped him in three leagues, and now it looks like he might get the job back. I never even wanted to draft the guy in the first place, but Tim Schuler got him cheap while filling in for me during the auction for our Staff Keeper League team in mid March, and once we had him, I talked myself into him in two other leagues including the high-stakes NFBC. Now I have to bid on him again tomorrow. I hope someone breaks the bank for him.

I’m not especially pleased with the $8 I spent on Joe Nathan in AL LABR, but at least he had the decency to get me one save and go down for the year without destroying my ERA or WHIP. Not all injured pitchers do.

Speaking of that LABR team, a lot of people loved my auction – how I was so patient, held onto my money, waited for the bargains to come to me. But that team sucks. In fact, it’s really my only bad team this year. All my other ones, where I bought or drafted players I liked, are doing fine. I know you basically draft for value every time, but having a bad team full of players I never especially liked is worse than doing badly because I was wrong about everything. At least in the latter case, I’m able to test my beliefs and get an answer. But if you lose with “value,” the season is completely wasted.

 Steve (Thursday, 9:00 a.m.):

Did you guys know there’s a pubic grooming column for senior citizens on Health.com called “Charging The Mound”?

Speaking of lame humor, what baseball shows do you guys find good enough to watch? Any? I hate all of them and stay completely away from everything. Perhaps what I hate most is the canned stereotypes that comprise every show:

The Ex-Jock

The Eye-Candy Bimbo

The Wacky Morning DJ Host

The Sabermetric Poindexter

The only other category is Straight-Man Host (straight in a non-sexual sense – not that there’s anything wrong with a gay host – as long as he’s not a wacky morning DJ-type) and I guess I’m OK with only those guys.

And the humor. Oy vey. There’s probably nothing worse than MLB humor, whether it’s these awful shows or TV and radio announcers. Well, maybe MLB musical taste is worse.

And next I’ll ask you guys for your favorite team closer bitch from 2015 so far. I have two:

Rockies – Everyone knew LaTroy Hawkins wouldn’t last this year (just like they knew he wouldn’t last last year). Everyone knew Adam Ottavino was the guy to get. I rarely play the hyped, overvalued closer-in-waiting game, so I observed old man Rafael Betancourt and his 74 career saves pitching well in Spring and making the final cut. Snagged him in LABR NL for $1 in Week 1 FAAB.

So Hawkins predictably falters and who saves the day when Walt Weiss can take it no longer? Betancourt! Then the next day Weiss announces that Adam Ottavino is the new closer. Huh? Then Ottavino goes down with Tommy John disease. And Weiss announces that John Axford is the closer.

Don’t know that I ever remember a guy getting a closing shot, acing it and then being removed – and passed over again later down the line. Liss told me on the radio show to drop Betancourt so he can be anointed closer and prove my point, but I won’t do it.

Dodgers – If there’s one thing I need in XFL it’s a second closer. So, in our first FAAB period, May 3rd, I take closer-of-the-moment Chris Hatcher (RotoWire says on May 4th – “Hatcher still appears to be the favorite for saves. . .” after he blows his first save). From then on, Hatcher gets no more 9th-inning save opps and the Dodgers turn things over to Yimi Garcia, who is horrible, but they never turn back to Hatcher.

Then Juan Nicasio gets a save before Kenley Jansen returns. I feel better, because at least I have Jansen in NL LABR. Jansen gets a save last Sunday (the day before I can activate him) and hasn’t had an opp since.

We won’t discuss my other LABR closer, Steve Cishek. Closers suck.