a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

1st and Five - The Weekly Tendown, Halfdown Edition July 25-31 2010

Dear Internet:

Pentagon Papers 2K were released this week; the response "well of course the war's unwinnable and the government's been lying about it" reflected less that the papers weren't significant and more our suicide cult like unwillingness to change direction even in the face of catastrophic inevitability.  Let's try this metaphor - the American public is the guy who has gained so much weight that his skin has become fused with his couch and Dick Gregory has to come in with the jaws of life to pry him out.  It isn't that we're unaware we're dying, it's not that we're unaware our living room is covered in buckets of original recipe and animal feces, it's not that we're unaware that every can of frosting we down is another day closer to the end.

It's that we've decided it's too late.  Once you've passed 5 bills, the next hundred pounds hardly matters - who among us, seriously, this means you - who among us looked at the plan to radically increase troops in Afghanistan and said "helluva plan - we're gonna win this thing"?  We know our almost decade long dump of dollars and bodies in the middle east is going to kill us as surely as that fourteenth deep dish meat lovers.  We just don't care. 

But if you want to read Nick Kristof from this week that would be good too:

 For the cost of just one soldier in Afghanistan for one year, we could start about 20 schools there.

What's the argument that's not a better idea?  Absent the authoritarian need some Americans have to pound submission into brown enemies and the degree to which policymakers are wed to the military industrial complex - what's the theoretical case that our lives are better off by spending our money on guns and not butter? 

In 2010 the Republicans held up extending unemployment benefits for two months, a grain of sand in the desert of our budget, with the stated claim of fiscal responsiblity.  But we continue to set fire to hundred dollar bills every single second of our lives without any sort of movement to stop it.

And Don Draper hired a hooker to slap him around on Thanksgiving, 1964. 

That was this week.  Here's Tendown 37.

First: 60-45




Get used to baseball talk.

SFG is 60-45, 1 1/2 up in the NL WC, with the 3rd best record and second best pythag in the NL (62-43)  BP has us with a 42% chance to make the playoffs, but significantly higher, 68% if you run the PECOTA simulation - that's my general preference, and it's what I usually think about first when forecasting.  I would have liked a bat at the deadline, but it was the premium arms (Haren, Oswalt) that got sold short (Cards weirdly overpaid for Westbrook though).  With fewer than 60 games left in the season - let's say it plays out like this:

AL East - NYY
Central - Minnesota
West - Texas
WC - Tampa

-Other than White Sox/Twins in the Central and which one of the two teams in the East wins the division, the AL looks to be over. 

NL East - Braves
Central - Cards
West - Padres
WC - Giants

-At the half way mark, this is exactly how my modified picks looked, except I had the Reds winning the WC - let's say we hold off them and the Phillies (Oswalt.  Grumble, grumble) and work our way into that spot.  We could also take out the Padres, which places me against my financial interests, given the odds they were still getting a month ago to win the West were too tempting to pass up. 

Pat Burrell gave us our Brian Johnson moment yesterday, taking Broxton out to put us at our high water mark.  I posted my look at the Nineties in my full recap of SFG history this week (perhaps I finish this week, but it's August and time for my next post over at the counterfactual).

Right now - here are the team leaders by WAR/WARP3

LF Huff 4.8/7
-Huff's on track to have a better year than Sandoval did in 2009; which would make it the best season for a Giants position player since Bonds in 2004.  I was heavily critical of Sabean for the Huff signing - I was wrong.

CF Torres 4/5.9
-Andres Torres is in track to have the best year for a SFG CF since Butler in 1990 - at the very least - it might go back to '88 by season's end.

C Posey 1.5/3
-Posey's late callup leaves him behind a handful of Molina/Estallela/Manwaring seasons - but my guess is he winds up with the best SFG catching season since Brenly in '87 - and the  best SFG catching season (as will be revealed when I finish my posts recapping our full history) is not a high bar - it's probably too late for Posey to make it this year - but in 2011, Buster Posey will turn in the best season for any SFG catcher ever.

SS Uribe 1.4/2.7
-This is probably not going to be the year Uribe had in '09, but an above replacement season for a Giants SS is always a welcome happening.

P Cain 2.8/3.5
Lincecum 3.1/3.1
Zito 2.7/3
Sanchez 1.5/2.1
Bumgarner 1.1/1.5
Wilson 1.8/2.9
Romo 1.2/1.8

In 2009, we had 4 starters above replacement value (everyone but the Unit) - this year we are locked into 5; none of whom are having significant seasons historically, but if you tack on the two plus relievers, we're in good shape here as well. 

One more bat would have been good. 

Looking forward to seeing how it ends.  How will I get crushed this time?

After the jump - the rest of the Tendown