On Gear Live: Geared Up: Why is the Google Pixel 4 So…Weird?

Cole Hamels in spring training
The 2009 NL East will be the most exciting division in Major League Baseball, bar none. Last season the world watched as the Philadelphia Phillies, a team thought to be competing for a wild card spot at best, went on to win the division and eventually defeat the Tampa Bay Rays to bring a World Championship to the city of brotherly love. Despite their recent success, this off-season’s transactions have guaranteed one thing: a division title is anything but a guarantee for this 2009 Phillies team. New York Mets GM Omar Minaya went out and imported two flame throwing relievers, J.J Putz and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren signed veteran sinkerballer Derek Lowe to anchor their rotation, and the Washington Nationals signed slugging first baseman/outfielder/Sabermetrics golden standard Adam Dunn to a two year deal. What does this mean? This means that the NL East will have 5 teams with a legitimate shot of finishing the year with a record over .500. If everything falls into place, 2009 should provide some intriguing late season baseball.

Click to continue reading 2009 Season Preview - National League East


Advertisement

Is C.C. Sabathia the New York Yankees' savior?

This American League East season preview will be full of surprises… NOT!  Guess what kids, the New York Yankees spent a ton of money during the offseason, primarily on free agent pitchers C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and hitter of the winter that had every team salivating, Mark Teixeira.  Also, Alex Rodriguez was in the news again for his off-field shenanigans, including kissing himself in the mirror, which I find nothing wrong in doing, but hey, we all can’t be egoists.  In any case, despite spending a boatload of bucks again, the Yankees were actually getting a lot of money off the books and were simply replacing those dollars in other players.  Hopefully, these players pay off as the Yankees have not won a World Series since 2000 and the recent track record of throwing money towards “superstar” players have not gotten the Yanks any rings.  Will it pay off this season?  It better.

Click to continue reading 2009 Season Preview - American League East 2009 Season Preview


Our ProFlowers gift certificates giveaway has come to a close, and we wanted to quickly announce the winners. If you recall, all you had to do to enter was leave your best or worst Valentine’s Day memory on our forum, and we chose five winners randomly:

mynenni talked about her blind date disaster:

My worst was a blind date that a friend set me up on.  It was horrible; well not to start with.  He came to door with a big bouqet of flowers.  We then spent the day at Magic Mountian where we quickly ran out of things to talk about and I learned he was a major wimp when it came to rides (really?  then why did you bring me here?)

Afterward, we stopped at a classy resteraunt for dinner.  I took my napkin and layed it across my lap…he took his napkin and layed it across the table.  It was torture sitting across from him trying to come up with conversation as he ate with his mouth open.  I have to figure that by this point he was trying to just be over the top horrible (I think we both knew it was not going past the first date); then at the end of the meal he put his face on the table (okay it was on the napkin he layed out earlier) and moved his head across to wipe his mouth.  NO HANDS!!!

At least he didn’t make me pay…

adamb0mb posted this memory:

All she wanted was to go see the UW vs WSU basketball game on Feb 14th.  I picked her up from work, went to a bar to meet up with some friends for drinks and shots.  Then she snuck in 6 airplane bottles of booze… and we drank at the game.  I don’t even remember who won, but we had a hell of a time!

auntiethesis recalled a dinner date:

My best memory is last year’s Valentine’s Day. My husband took me to a great restaurant and I totally blew my diet eating steak and mashed potatoes. It was the first time I’d ever had Creme Brulee, too. While we were eating, he surprised me with a tennis bracelet that I’d wanted forever.  It was a far cry from his usual Applebee’s dinner and a box of Stover chocolates.

Long-time reader gohan_bcc1 brought it back to high school:

My one and only valentine memory was getting to school in grade 12 and finding a really awesome gift in my locker. In my locker was a car model of my dream car (Audi R8) with a customized license plate to match my current license plate. It identical to my license including the plate # and the province and design. It was also an inside joke that the one we saw in the parking lot two months back was mine. It was really cool to see. Not only that but there was a note for me to go to the library and look on page 82 of the book of the last movie we saw. Which was actually Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix. Inside this book was a note saying this entitles me to receive a package being held at the office. I go to the office and get this package. Inside was a bunch of hockey cards each with a letter written on it. All of these cards were of my favourite team the Calgary Flames of course. There was a hint written on the inside of the package that said to spell out a date. So after hours of figuring this out it spelt out Tuesday March 6th 8:00pm. After seeing the date i realized it was the date of a hockey game for the Calgary Flames. I then got a text saying to go back to my locker. And sitting in my locker were two tickets to the game on that date at that time. Best gift ever!

sandyu‘s was short and sweet:

The best when my husband got out of the military, he was injured but he was alive and home.

Congratulations to all our winners, your $70 codes have been sent to you via Private Message. To the rest of you, we’ve got more giveaways coming, and if you need flowers, here is a 20% off (with free vase!) ProFlowers coupon. Oh, and don’t forget to hit us with your best, or worst, Valentine’s Day memory.

Read More | Best and Worst Valentine's Day Memories

arod

Apparently, Alex Rodriguez did some steroids back when his sport had a “Don’t Ask - Don’t Tell” policy about performance enhancing drugs. In retrospect, it’s hardly surprising that the world’s most competitive baseball players did something that was not being tested for in an effort to get ahead. Imagine how angry you would be if you were one of the best players in the game watching all the rest of the guys pad their stats and their wallets at your expense.

But this is more than being a steroid user apologist. What they did was illegal and wrong, in the end. How do we evaluate them against each other when it’s time to decide on the Hall of Fame? The numbers are almost certainly not clean on either side of the ball, so what sort of standard should we use in our deliberations of their possible drug effects on numbers around the leagues?

It’s not as simple as just taking 10% off the top. It would be nice to say that, in an effort to compare players of their own era, we’d come up with new benchmarks. Instead of 500 homers, we may have to put automatic entrance at 600 homers. We’d call it the Mark McGwire rule for good measure. But then what do we do about Rafael Palmeiro? He had multiple MVPs, 3000 hits, and 569 home runs… and one failed test after the program was in place. So our rubric needs some work, eh?

Click to continue reading Steroids and the Hall of Fame

Read More | Sports Illustrated

Mophie Juice Pack 3G giveaway We hit you with our Mophie Juice Pack 3G review a couple of months ago, and even did a Juice Pack 3G video. Since then, we’ve continued enjoying how free we feel with the Juice Pack powering our while we are out and about. Worries of a dead battery have all but disappeared, and that’s with Push mail, calendars, and contacts running.

Now we want one of you to be able to share in that experience, which is why we are giving away a Mophie Juice Pack to one Gear Live reader. Since it’s an iPhone accessory, we figured we would center the competition around that. Here are the rules:

Here’s how to enter to win:

  1. If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Gear Live account
  2. If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Twitter account
  3. Add the Gear Live Twitter account to your follow list
  4. On Twitter, post a tweet about out contest and link to this page. In the tweet, include the phrase “#gearlive”.
  5. Once that is done, leave a comment here in this post with a direct link back to your Tweet, and also let us know what your favorite iPhone app is. Be sure you are signed in to your Gear Live account before you leave the comment.

Here’s an example of an appropriate Twitter entry:
“Entering to win a Mophie Juice Pack 3G from #gearlive http://jvu.qlnk.net/”

Now, as to the actual contest dates. The contest starts today, January 28th. You have until 11:59 PM PST on February 4th to enter your comments here on this post. We will then announce our winner, chosen randomly out of all valid entrants and bonus points, on February 5th. Good luck to all, and remember, this contest is only open to residents of the United States and Canada.


OC making another good play on D

Something is wrong in baseball. There is no doubt about it. Does the economy alone explain the players that are still available after the new year? 

Useful parts like Eric Hinske, Joe Crede, and Jim Edmonds often have to wait until spring training to get a job. They are used to waiting around until teams decide they have a need and have a chance to compete and need to fill a spot with a veteran. The fact that these guys are still available doesn’t seem to really point to any core problem with the system.

“Stars” like Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Derek Lowe, Bobby Abreu, and Oliver Perez are also often out of work at this time of the year. It’s not that they can’t get a job. No, this class of player has a highly disputed value. The player and their agent are steadily manipulating general managers and the media, trying to get the offers in line with what they feel is commensurate with the production of the player. Manny already had a 2-year, $45 million dollar offer, and Lowe has turned down 3 years and $36 million from the Mets. Those numbers still represent raises over what the player earned last year, so inflation in the steady rise of veteran’s pay is still in effect.

So why is there obviously a problem?

In a word, Orlando Cabrera.

Click to continue reading Compensation System Broken in Baseball?


Plugged in all the time?

The Columbia Journalism Review just published a meta-review of sorts - trying to get at the future of sports journalism by analyzing the past and discussing the future. The piece itself is somewhat forgettable, sort of a catalog of past and current writers and their different styles. It comes to the general conclusion that long-form journalism has suffered in the era of the internet and the intensification of the battle for the scoop. This seems to be inarguable, even with the good writing that is still out there.

But there is another idea that the article puts forth that is worth discussing: in the era of the rapidly dissipating scoop, what is the future of sports writing?

The meat of the CJR article by Gary Andrew Poole comes down to a fictional anecdote: a slugger pulls his hamstring in the middle of an at-bat and all the sports writers hit their Blackberries, trying to scoop each other and file the story as quick as possible. They know they have to compete with bloggers watching the game with their laptops, in their underwear, in their mother’s basement (as the story goes).

But Buster Olney, listed (appropriately) as one of the good ones, recommends that the future sports writer takes a different tact.

“If I were the editor,” says ESPN’s Buster Olney, who also blogs, “I would say, ‘Don’t worry about beating the seven other papers on the hamstring story; focus on developing your thousand-word game story. Remember the great writing you loved as a kid? Write it up like that.’”

The good news is that this blog is listening.

Click to continue reading Is Sports Journalism Dead?

Read More | Columbia Journalism Review

Sanchez is back, but will he have a third baseman?

There’s a lot of talk going around that the New York Yankees are killing baseball. They are outspending everyone, other general managers whine. They just bought the best hitter and the two best pitchers on the market! What are we supposed to do?

Get over it. The free market is the best way to go. Football has parity, but it’s almost ridiculous how quickly teams change. There’s no team identity from year to year, and very few trades (which are exciting for the fans). Basketball has an interesting mix of continuity and parity, but figuring out a deal in basketball is more a question of math than a negotiation of teams with needs. The maximum salary slots also create a sub-class of overvalued stars that just get shipped from team to team as the league waits for their bloated contract to expire (think Al Harrington).

No, the system baseball has is, for the most part, the best way to go. Teams have a chance of winning every year - just look at the small market teams that have found postseason success over the past five years (the Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Marlins and even the Detroit Tigers have used revenue-sharing dollars to good use). Blockbuster trades happen almost every year, and the baseball trade deadline is the most exciting deadline in sports. The state of the game is strong, despite the Yankee’s spending a good $70 million a year more than the second-most extravagant team.

A salary cap would just give these billionaire baseball owners more money - and they are the richest owners in major league sports. Using a revenue-sharing system to penalize the Yankees for their huge payroll is not a terrible system - provided, of course, that the smaller market teams actually use the money for good use. And that’s where the problem lies. The Florida Marlins are the team that should be shouldering your complaints. Some of the numbers are staggering.

Click to continue reading The Marlins, not the Yankees, are Killing Baseball

Read More | The Hardball Times

Manny Ramirez

A few thoughts on whether the New York Yankees should sign Manny Ramirez.

First, the bad news… and we know it by heart. Manny being Manny. Petulant, moody, a proverbial thorn in the side of teammates, owners, and general managers. Pick your favorite verb or phrase and apply it. No question - he brings a lot of baggage with him. What to do? Grin and bear it.

Stats tell the whole story and Manny has a truckload of ‘em. A lifetime batting average of .314, 527 homers, 1212 career walks and a career slugging percentage of .593. Ten out of 15 seasons hitting .300+. Hits in the clutch, hits for average, hits for power. He is the best hitter since Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs, the scourge of pitchers in both leagues, and a first ballot Hall of Famer. He made the Cleveland Indians a contender, helped the Boston Red Sox win two World Series and led the Los Angeles Dodgers to the playoffs on the strength of .399 hitting.

Forget all the hoopla and remarks about Manny being Manny. It has nothing to do with his talent. He won’t win any popularity contests, but Manny does his real talking where it counts - at the plate. Everything else is more grist for the mill. At age 37, Manny is now approaching the end of his career, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing him down. Just look at the numbers he posted for the Dodgers. A .399 average, 17 homers, 53 runs batted in, a .489 on base percentage.  This writer’s stance on what the Yankees should do is a mere bag of shells. Do what it takes to sign him. If Manny wants two years, give it to him. If he wants an exorbitant amount of money, give it to him. Manny is no cakewalk in the clubhouse and he’ll require a ton of patience, but he is a proven winner.


Woody at the head of a bullpen of horrors?

The Cleveland Indians signed closer Kerry Wood to a reasonable contract: two guaranteed years at $20.5 million with an option year that only vests if he finishes 55 games in one of the two years. They protected themselves against an albatross of a contract in case his shoulder blows out again, and they got him below market rates: both things that a small market team needs to do.

Along with trading for Joe Smith, and previous holdovers Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez, Masa Kobayashi and Jensen Lewis, the Indians bullpen looks, on the surface, like a revamped and solid bully that could become a strength for this team.

So why the headline? Why does this seem so futile? Why does every GM count the bullpen as an area needing improvement in the offseason? Why do some bullpens that look good going into the season turn into bullpens of horror?

Because the bullpen is the single most volatile sector of any team. Why don’t we go down the list of bullpen candidates in Cleveland and detail their dark side?

Click to continue reading Exercise in Futility: Building the Cleveland Bullpen

Read More | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Advertisement

{solspace:toolbar}