“Some Hall of Fame Candidates” by Todd Vandenberg

On the most recent (and typically brilliant) edition of Baseball Beer and BBQ, I was lucky enough to join the fellas – said gentlemen being Mr. Fabulous, also known as Ted, and The Sexy God, known in some circles as Lee. As they refuse to acknowledge my chosen sobriquet, Manfred the Wonder Dog, I have settled for Mr. Irrelevant. Continue reading ““Some Hall of Fame Candidates” by Todd Vandenberg”

“Say it Ain’t So, Brock”

From the desk of The Corporation

Okay, so maybe you live in a cave – or you only care about real things, like Baseball, Beer and Barbecue – but for the sake of argument, I’ll admit you may not follow our strange hybrid industry know as “Sports Entertainment”. For example, you’ve got the North American Twerking Association, the Professional Comedy Rodeo circuit, and the Big Kahuna: WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment. Sure, WWE is the best known. They’ve been around since 1952, and they’re currently valued at just over a billion dollars; you’d think they’d know a little bit about business. Funny thing is, what most people think about their business is wrong; see, it isn’t wrestling (or wrasslin’, for the yokels); the core business, the real business, is promotion. They put together drama, comedy, and the occasional in-ring action to create the product, what the ham and eggers watch; but what sells is the hype. It’s all about the backstage machinations, the feuds, the promos. Without all the storylines, it’s NCAA wrestling, and who watches that? Nobody. With professional wrestling, it’s more about the sizzle than the steak. Hell, it’s all sizzle. Continue reading ““Say it Ain’t So, Brock””

3 x 5 American League West Preview by Lee Vowell and Todd Vandenberg

American League West Questions

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Houston Astros

Question: Were the seasons of SPs Dallas Keuchel (2.93 ERA, led the league with 5 complete games and winning a Gold Glove) and Collin McHugh (McHugh: 1.02 WHIP and 2.73 ERA) flukes? Or is this team on the precipice of something great? Continue reading “3 x 5 American League West Preview by Lee Vowell and Todd Vandenberg”

“Between a Rock and a Hard Rock: Food Journalism in 2015” by Todd Vandenberg

Our local paper, the Knoxville News Sentinel, used to publish a popular alternative weekly paper, Metro Pulse. The parent company, E.W. Scripps, apparently decided in late 2014 that Metro Pulse was cannibalizing sales of the News Sentinel’s Friday edition, so they said goodbye to the entire Metro Pulse staff, effectively killing the paper. A quote from the News Sentinel regarding this event: “The staff of Metro Pulse has distinguished itself through the years with its provocative and informative content,” said News Sentinel Publisher and KNS Media President Patrick Birmingham. “Like other businesses, though, the News Sentinel must adapt to the changing business environment. Despite this difficult step, we remain committed to being the authoritative source of information about things to do in and around Knoxville and are excited about the possibilities for our combined product.” (knoxnews.com, October 15, 2014) Continue reading ““Between a Rock and a Hard Rock: Food Journalism in 2015” by Todd Vandenberg”

3 x 5 AL Central Preview by Lee Vowell and Todd Vandenberg

American League Central Questions

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Chicago White Sox

Question: The White Sox made a lot of moves this offseason, adding Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, Zach Duke and Dan Jennings, among others. How much better, if at all, do you think they will be? Continue reading “3 x 5 AL Central Preview by Lee Vowell and Todd Vandenberg”

“Suh Me – I Am Not A Fan” By Todd Vandenberg

First, I’m not going to apologize for writing about football on the BB&B blog. I’m sure Ndamukong Suh has eaten plenty of barbeque and drunk plenty of beer – or if he hasn’t, he could. And now he’ll be getting his fill in Miami with the Dolphins. And I am not happy about that, at all.

I am indeed a Dolphin fan, have been since before the glory days of the early ’70’s. Back in those first glory days, the Fins were known for a tough, swarming defense, anchored by guys like Manny Fernandez and Nick Buoniconti. In the 80’s they had the Killer B’s, with Bob Baumhower, the Blackwood brothers, and non-B (but definitely killer) A.J. Duhe. And now Miami has added a guy with the chance to be their best defensive player ever in Ndamukong Suh. Continue reading ““Suh Me – I Am Not A Fan” By Todd Vandenberg”

3 x 5 NL Central Preview by Todd Vandenberg and Lee Vowell

Three questions for each team and Predictions

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Chicago Cubs

Question: How much will Jon Lester improve this team?

Lee: Over the last seven years, Lester has averaged a 4 WAR. Lester will improve the Cubs. He’s a definite number one. The problem won’t be his value, but it might be difficult to determine his specific value based on the young Cubs improving across the board. If Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, etc., progress as expected the whole team will be much improved, and not just on Lester’s start day. Lester will anchor the staff, though, and his leadership and experience might have even more value off the field.

Todd: You can look at it through sabermetric glasses: Jon’s total WAR for 2014 was 4.5, so he adds 4 or 5 wins to the Cubs. He isn’t replacing their best pitcher, he’s replacing their fifth.  Lester brings them 6 wins, I’d say. And that can be huge in this division. Continue reading “3 x 5 NL Central Preview by Todd Vandenberg and Lee Vowell”

3 X 5 NL East Preview by Todd Vandenberg and Lee Vowell

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Atlanta Braves

Question: With the Braves building towards 2017, what can fans realistically expect from this season’s team?

Lee: The Braves farm system has not been a strength the last few seasons, but they did make some nice moves in the offseason. Those moves may not help this season or next, but by 2017 the Braves should at least be competitive again. They made six trades in an attempt to be younger and got good value back.

I do think the trade of Jason Heyward to the Cardinals was not a good one, however (unless you’re a Cardinals fan). He’s still young and is a plus-plus fielder. His value is great enough defensively to help a team for several years, and it’s not like he is a bad hitter; just not what fans have expected. Yet. Simply said, last year’s 6.3 WAR is nothing to sneeze at. Continue reading “3 X 5 NL East Preview by Todd Vandenberg and Lee Vowell”

“The Professor and the Bird: A Tale of Ks and Cuffs” by Todd Vandenberg

That’s cuffs, as in rotator cuffs. Mark Fidrych, known as the Bird for his most excellent hair, was an absolute phenom in 1976. The 21 year old had spent all of two seasons in the minors, showing a nasty slider and a fastball that would go exactly where he wanted it to go. In 1975, he pitched his last 6 games for the Tigers’ AAA team in Evansville, going 4-1 with a 1.58 ERA, with 29 K and 9 BB. That ERA, combined with 4 complete games in just 6 starts, plus the .900 WHIP (no, that is not a typo), earned him an invitation to Spring Training in 1976. Continue reading ““The Professor and the Bird: A Tale of Ks and Cuffs” by Todd Vandenberg”

“No Hall for Pete” by Todd Vandenberg

Grab a beer; this is a long one.

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How daring of me, I know, to say Pete Rose doesn’t belong in Hall of Fame. “He’s a scurrilous dog; he gambled and lied to Major League Baseball; he lied to the Commissioner; worst of all, he lied to his fans.” Yes, we’ve all read those arguments, ad nauseam, so why read another diatribe against Charlie Hustle? The typical defense of Pete is this: he always bet on his team to win, so how can anyone say he hurt his team? He’d be even more motivated to ensure a win, right, with his own money on the line. Continue reading ““No Hall for Pete” by Todd Vandenberg”