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Charging the Mound: Vegas Version

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

-----Original Message-----
From: "Christopher Liss"
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 1:53pm
To: "Jeff Erickson"
Subject: Charging - half-assed Vegas edition

It's not easy getting work done in Vegas, especially when one starts drinking in the late afternoon and stops sometime in the middle of the night. One thing that's going to change next year - no more doing the 8 am radio show while we're here. I nearly yakked on the air, and then had to sleep for four hours in the middle of the day while everyone else was playing poker at the poolside cabana.

Of course, the reason we're able to get away as a company over the All-Star break is there's very little going on in the sports world over that span. Adrian Peterson and Dion Lewis were arrested, which was cool, but otherwise, there wasn't much to report. On the one hand, that's great - we get some rare down time. On the other, it sucks as there's not much on which to bet while we're here. It turns out the home run derby is painfully boring even when you're drunk, watching it on a giant screen at the sportsbook while drinking bloody marys with your buddies. That's a pretty good case for MLB scrapping it.

I did bet on the All-Star game itself. Under eight and a half runs was a lock, and I can't see how anyone could think otherwise. The NL was up 8-0 in the third inning and Joel Hanrahan threw a wild pitch with a man on third in the ninth (that miraculously bounced back to the catcher) - but that just made it more enjoyable. The only thing besides the show that nearly ruined my trip was donkeying away $300 in poker at 2 am while drunk by calling an all-in with A-7. Of course, the guy had A-K, and that's why you don't get seriously involved with that hand. I did the same in blackjack on Tuesday night - doubling own on 13 against a 2, getting a 7, and then the dealer pulled a long 21. (Yes, I know you're not supposed to double down on 13, but I was going to hit anyway. Of course, some guy at the table complained about that move, and I told him - much to the discomfort of the rest of the table - that "it had the same result for him either way, and to stop running his mouth." In my defense I had just eaten about 40 ounces of steak and eight glasses of cheap red wine and was having digestive discomfort.

Next year, I think we should go to Lotus of Siam, the best Thai restaurant in the US, rather than the steakhouse. That or something else interesting. I know a few meat and potatoes guys from Wisconsin might balk at it, but some of them at least seemed open to the idea.

What's going on this week in MLB? First off, every team has just three games, so don't bother with starting pitchers at the back end of the rotation this week. That means no Ryan Vogelsong, no Gavin Floyd, no Phil Hughes, Matt Moore or Edwin Jackson. A few injured guys are coming off the DL. That includes Matt Kemp, Jacoby Ellsbury, Lorenzo Cain and maybe Matt Capps. Carl Crawford, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Clay Buchholz, Lance Berkman, Drew Storen and Frank Francisco might not be far behind.

It's easy to forget but we're only a little more than half way through the year, so it's likely a few of these players will have substantial impacts, and even longer-term injured ones like Giancarlo Stanton, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria and Dustin Pedroia could be factors, too.

Are you targeting any of the recent returnees, or long-term injured guys? How many cents on the dollar do you offer for Stanton or Longoria? And what did you think of the new handicapping section in our NFL magazine which just came out?

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2:37pm
To: "Christopher Liss"
Subject: RE: Charging - half-assed Vegas edition

We basically had a company-wide outing to Lotus of Siam anyhow - over 20 people - so you know I'm onboard. The only critique would be that I wouldn't want to have the limited group menu like we did last night at Smith & Wolensky. There are a ridiculous number of good options there, and I wouldn't want to be limited in my choices.

The lack of news from this week is magnified, with every single team now getting Thursday off, too. Like you said, it's a blessing and a curse. The Wednesday after the break is the time when that lack of news really kicks in. You flip on Sportscenter in the morning, and there's just utterly nothing to talk about, so you get coverage of Larry Fitzgerald's tweets about his workouts and his teammate Michael Floyd's participation in said workouts. Scintillating stuff.

I'm a little surprised that there haven't been any trades so far over the break - in fact, I still expect that we'll get one today or Thursday. How badly do the Blue Jays need a starting pitcher, for instance? I thought that they had a legitimate chance at the extra wild card. Now they're at the point where losing Luis Perez really hurts them. But I have to imagine that front offices might even be a little itchy to pull the trigger on a deal over these next couple of days too, with just so little going on. Last year, immediately after the All-Star game, the Brewers traded for K-Rod - someone at the steak dinner last year posted the update, if I recall correctly.

I'm a little nervous - I've got a 10-day trip with the family coming up later this month, and while it should be great to get back to the Midwest, it's going to be tough to stay on top of my teams. It's not too hard to envision missing out on the implications on a trade while on the road. I'll have access online of course here and there, but it's tough to keep an eye on the ball.

I don't know what to do about Longoria, because of the nature of his injury and because he already had that setback. We know about hamstring injuries and their likelihood of recurrence, with the example of Longoria and Matt Kemp both. The latest on him is that he'll come back "sometime" in August, but when exactly? We're at the point where the difference in two extra weeks matters a whole lot more, doubly so if you're in a head-to-head league where there's a playoff system. I won't actively seek out Longoria. I'm more likely to target Stanton, even though he's the one that just had surgery. You're going to get roughly 50 percent of the second half with him, plus presumably you'll get to replace him with someone else while he's sitting out. So I'd pay 70-75 cents on the dollar for him.

The other tricky situation is the Red Sox outfield. Ellsbury is coming back Friday, and theoretically Carl Crawford will come back at some point too. How will the playing time situation between all of their outfielders work out? What do you expect from Crawford when he does come back? You've been hanging on to Crawford all year in F&F - have you gotten any traction in trying to trade him? Has his latest setback changed your plans with him?

Anyhow, time to hit the road. We'll have to see if we can have any other topics pop up on the drive through Baker and Barstow and points between.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Christopher Liss"
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:25pm
Subject: Re: Charging - half-assed Vegas edition

The limited menu is what keeps it at $72 per person plus $20 for beverages plus tax and tip. If we let everyone go nuts a la carte, it would be $120 - $150 per person once the drinks started flowing. Multiply that by 34, and you can see why I call in the limited menu, which still included, shrimp cocktail or crab cakes, choice of salad, unlimited green beans, creamed spinach and mac and cheese, and you choices of NY strip, filet, chicken or salmon. Plus dessert and unlimited booze. I agree, I'd rather have more options, but why not just scrap the whole thing and go to Lotus which would be half the cost, has a renowned wine list and is totally unique unlike a generic steak chain.

At least for us, we have the luxury of being honest that there's nothing to report. The 24-hour news networks have to fake it which has to suck.

Just worry about your NFBC team which is top-10 overall for the big prize, and of which everyone at RotoWire owns a piece. Your YF&F team is a fraud and will soon fade into irrelevance. Focus on the big one, and let the others slide.

I think I'd pay 80-85 cents on the dollar with Kemp, meaning I'd give up a Matt Holliday type for him no problem. I don't expect Kemp to run much, but he's still going to have major value even if he doesn't.

No one wants to trade for Crawford, and I don't know what he'll do if he makes it back. Maybe his elbow will pop the first throw he makes, or maybe he'll wilt under the Boston boos. But he's a top-10 fantasy player when he's right, and steals are awfully tight in that league right now. If you're in seventh place, he's exactly the type of player for whom you should trade.

Okay, let's get some breakfast and hit the road. I'm not sure I'm ready for bacon eggs after that steak orgy (seriously, I ate a 22 ounce piece and probably 15 ounces of other peoples' leftovers) but we'll see. I don't want to have to stop at some filthy gas station in the desert for anything more than numero uno.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:25pm
To: "Christopher Liss"
Subject: Re: Charging - half-assed Vegas edition

I'm just saying I don't want to be limited specifically at Lotus of Siam. Generally I don't have a problem with fixed menus, that's what you have to do with a big group. Otherwise you get goofballs like yourself ordering entrees for dessert, other idiots like Thorn ordering two desserts, etc ...

My F&F team has, as Hubie Brown might say, major upside. I have tons of innings to make up over the second half, so I'm going to gain a bunch of points in strikeouts. I'll be there at the end. Don't get too cocky.

I'd pay that much for Kemp, too. I wonder what Dodgers fans thought, though, seeing him at the Home Run Derby? I'd be ticked off that the team thought the Derby was worth risking him but the games on the weekend before weren't.

That breakfast was not so great. Between that and the gas fumes we huffed in the car on the way home, I'm just slightly amazed that we didn't need more stops on the way home. And on that note, Friday can't get here fast enough. Let's gets some baseball going again!