The Weekly Tendown March 25-31 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dear Internet:

It's sort of like when you order off the menu at In-N-Out; U-Verse has a secret fifth Tier that lets you watch shows from the future.  Mike Mayock not only breaks down the corners for the upcoming NFL Draft but also knows who won the 2012 Masters and if you got your taxes filed on time.  It's really a helluva deal.

120 is here. This is Tendown 121.

1. Don Draper Gets Keiblered.

Here's my (spoiler alert) reading of the first episode of the new season of the television series most deserving of textual analysis, Mad Men.

Don Draper got Keiblered.

I love me some George Clooney; I'm a 40 year old white dude in the United States of America, I think Clooney's the coolest guy on feet.  He's comfortable in his own skin, right - if you had to describe Clooney in just a handful of words, that's what they'd be.  He doesn't have to try too hard to be George Clooney, the seams don't really show.

Until this year.  This year, each time I saw Clooney with Stacy Keibler on a red carpet during awards season, my immediate reaction was "she makes him seem old."

Time hits everybody; I feel like I've aged ten years in the last two, death, foreclosure, job loss, and complex carbohydrates will do that to a brother.  For George Clooney it's Stacy Keibler - in theory, it's Clooney being Clooney, he gets tired of having sex with one model and then finds another one.  There's a Chris Rock line, "a man is only as faithful as his options" and Clooney is not a man with a limited number of alternatives.

But to me there was just no question - in the span of a few months, Clooney went from this:

To this:

George Clooney got Keiblered.

More than maybe any television series ever, Mad Men is about the passage of time; consider that the main element of speculation before the beginning of each season is in what year will the next episodes be set.  To my eyes, 1966 is the year Don Draper got old; it's not because he turned 40, not because he is now disinterested in work, those are symptoms - the root cause is that he got Keiblered.  Don Draper's slept his way through Manhattan, but this:

...this peeled away that effortless veneer more quickly than a dozen visits from Dick Whitman's half brother. Draper didn't just look uncomfortable, he looked like an old man who has to work to keep up.  You see that generational shift throughout the office, Pete trying to pry Roger's office away from him; Peggy's brow furrowed when she disrupts the birthday party with work talk.  The degree to which the show has set up someone waiting in succession for the main characters puts me in the mind of Michael Corleone replacing Don Vito.  I'm not saying Draper's first name was chosen specifically to make a Godfather reference, but if Peggy ever looks at whatever hippie boyfriend she's with at the time and says "I told you never to ask me about my business" and the series ends with her closing an office door to to keep him out of a high level business meeting, remember where you heard it first.

2. What I'd Find Weird

Stevie Nicks got rolled out like a new product this week, doing appearances on both American Idol and Up All Night.

The thing that most struck me is her telling Colton that she knew who he was (well, until she told Phillip that if it were 1975 he would have been asked to join Fleetwood Mac, which I think means under California law that he's automatically married to Christine McVie). The game I play along at home when I watch shows like this is "how would I react if I met person Y".  I don't think I'd be easily star struck, but having someone who I knew the way I "know" Stevie Nicks tell me they knew who I was - that somehow, as a concept, I existed in Stevie Nicks's brain - that wouldn't be something I'd readily be able to wrap around.

3. Mark Leyner's Back
And you can read about it in the NY Times Magazine.

4. And Olbermann's Gone Again.
Jesus, man.  It's an election year.  You're driving me bonkers.

5. Meanwhile, at My House.
A good piece about Florida in 2012.

The Left should be paying attention to Florida. If you’ve ever desired a nightmarish vision of the legislature-driven austerity measures sure to proliferate around the country in the coming years, look no further than the Sunshine State’s 2012 budget. With little protest, Florida lawmakers are eviscerating public welfare and rapidly turning the state into a haven for the exploitation of workers. 

6. Obamacare
A year ago, Lawrence Tribe wrote a piece in the NY Times saying that even with the right wing lunge of the Court, the health care case was so clear that it would, at worst, be decided like 8-1.

Then this happened.

Government already forces you to buy insurance you may not want, and thereby to subsidize others, via Social Security and Medicare. The check on the abuse of this power is a familiar one: the ballot box. George W. Bush’s failed Social Security privatization scheme tried to greatly reduce this cross-subsidization. Had he succeeded, the poorest old people, who have only Social Security to support them, would have gone from watch-your-pennies poverty to grinding, desperate poverty, just above the level of homelessness and starvation. Evidently the electorate didn’t regard it as a cruel injustice for the strong and rich to help support the weak and poor.

Once you admit that government has a general power of taxation and can spend for the general welfare – and the Constitution does expressly say both those things – then there really is no limit on its powers of redistribution. The hapless Verrilli said that he was not justifying “forced purchases of commodities for the purpose of stimulating demand,” but of course that happens whenever anything is subsidized, or whenever government purchases a lot of anything. Have you ever heard of the defense industry?

I'd rather not have to buy health insurance either; I'd rather be able to be part of a Medicare like single payer program where my tax dollars aren't going to fund corporate profit but instead used in the way Social Security is used, the 80% of us who don't regularly need the use of health insurance dollars are essentially subsidizing the 20% who do, with the recognition that those populations are fluid; today I don't have a half million dollar medical bill, but perhaps tomorrow and almost certainly one day.  I'd rather that was the law that was passed; that's a more progressive law - but the law that was actually passed is one that preserves corporate dominance in the health care field, and to do that it contains the right wing created individual mandate.  That the right wing now views funneling money to insurance companies as tyranny is just politics, but it doesn't have anything to do with the obvious constitutionality of the law.

7. Broccoli

Here's Jack Balkin on "if the government can make you buy health insurance, where are the limits, what's to stop it from making you buy broccoli" argument.

8. Baseball's Back
I've got all the posts you could possibly want.

My 2012 MLB predictions. Take Kansas City's under.
The 150 best players in baseball.
All of my fantasy rankings, the gateway for which is here.
My Wrestlemania 28 preview.
And on April 1, Counterfactual Wrestlemania 27.

9. Rick Santorum's Subliminal Campaign Ad
Did you see it? Good times.

10. I Got Two Words For You...
Taco Copter.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time....

Your pal,


WRESTLEMANIA 28 Preview/20 Best Matches in Wrestlemania History(WM 28 Review is now here too)

Friday, March 30, 2012

My 2012 Royal Rumble preview/review was here.  I do previews of the four quarterly major WWE PPVs, and in one form or another, have been doing this since just after WM 12.

'Cause I'm old.

Wrestlemania 28 is Sunday from Miami.

 Here's the card.

 The Rock vs. John Cena
 -The best moment of a particularly chatty Wrestlemania build was the Rock's, and perhaps fitting in a year when a silent movie won Best Picture, it was when he didn't say a word.

John Cena, unsurprisingly, had been received as the decidedly lesser of the two entertainers for the bulk of the year long build to this year's main event - until during an in ring back and forth promo he called out the Rock for having his scripted bullet points written on his wrist.

It's an interesting criticism; on its face "you have your words written for you" falls as it would be like saying "Rock wouldn't have ever won a match if not for predetermined booking".  Rock's scripted, Cena's scripted, it's scripted, that's how it works. It put me in the mind of the "Obama uses a teleprompter" argument from the right wing; these guys have speechwriters, that didn't start when the President's kid was named Malia and not Amy.

But the perception of authenticity, of being "real" is coin of the realm; you watch enough reality TV and you recognize that "you're fake" is the ultimate 21st century slur - Fake is the new F word.  And that's how Rock reacted - when Cena said Rock was reading from his wrist - Rock immediately bowed up, went chest to chest with Cena and the buzz was noticeable, "These guys are gonna go - they're really gonna go."

That should have been the go home moment.  Had that been the last moment of the last show before this match, there would have been fans willing to pay money to see them fight - and that's the very core of why the entire industry exists.

The moment worked because Rock sold it. Cena landed a blow and the Rock reacted like it had landed.

Cena would not have done the same.

The most important element of the John Cena character as sussed out over the course of the build is that he is unbothered by criticism.  Say whatever you want about him - he doesn't care, he "rises above hate".  And that's an element of today as well, the "I just brush it all off my shoulders" posture favored by hip hop culture.  It penetrated wrestling, I'd suggest, with the Clique - a loss, no matter how big, didn't really matter, an insult, no matter how true, was just chatter - in your mind's eye you can see Shawn Michaels smirk or Hall and Nash wag their fingers in that "I'm soooo scared" motion; the Clique made emotional untouchability their brand.  Weakness doesn't move merch.

But constant strength doesn't engender passion.  Does anyone really care about Triple H?  His active, full time in ring career has clearly ended.  Did anyone cry?  Hunter lost to the Undertaker at last year's Wrestlemania - and the storyline for the rematch is its the Undertaker who has something to prove.  The Hunter character is only concerned with the loss of business that might result from the loss of the Undertaker character.

And when the Rock calls Cena "Fruity Pebbles" as a shorthand for, "you're a corporately created character geared just for children" - Cena laughs it off and becomes a cereal pitchman.

And that's the most fake thing of all.

Because being bothered by being insulted, being bothered by losing titles and matches is real - if you're not, either you're fake - or the whole thing is fake.  When you no sell "Cena Sucks", when no selling Cena Sucks becomes your primary character trait - either you aren't real or the whole thing isn't real - you might as well put the finishes of the matches on everyone's wrist.  We don't want to see the teleprompter - we want to think "these guys are gonna go."

Unfortunately, that moment, the best moment of the build for Wrestlemania 28, wasn't on the go home show, it was a month ago.  And over the past month we've just had two famous guys being famous in the general vicinity of each other.  I'd encourage you to watch the hour long Rock/Cena hype show WWE put together.

It's terrible. Rock knows famous people, Cena knows famous people, they're both very busy, music plays in the background.  But there was literally not a second in the entire hour where there was a reason why they were in a fight, other than they're the two most famous guys WWE could get into a ring on April 1 2012.

I saw the show on the Style Network.  Which is where it belonged.  It's just a show, no different than any of the Rock's movies.  None of which I'll pay to see.

Someone will win Sunday.  And on Monday, no one will care.

As a booking matter, I'd put Rock over.  There are lots of reasons people dislike John Cena, but they can largely be distilled into the belief that his constant push erodes the reality of the world they've created.  If Cena wins the reaction will be "Goddamn WWE, they keep shoving Cena down our throats, there's no way he beats the Rock."

But if Cena does his very best and loses - and it matters to him - if the go to promo line that always gets under Cena's skin is "you aren't as good as the Rock" - it makes Cena more "real" - it undermines the most basic element underlying the Cena dislike, it provides an immediate entrypoint to any future Cena program, and it sets up a rematch, even if its five years from now.

As a match - eh.  They're sports entertainers. Cena's in ring work is consistently overrated, and the Rock, even at his best, was more entertainer than wrestler.  They'll get plenty of time and the crowd will be smoking hot, it'll be worth watching once but probably not more than that.(3 1/2 stars; it was fine, although too long as Rock got a little blown up.  Rock went over clean with Cena, in storyline, making a mistake, getting overly confident and costing himself a win.  That's an interesting book)

 The Undertaker vs. HHH in Hell in A Cell with Shawn Michaels as special referee
 - The Dead Guy will win.

This has been a pretty boring build, boring enough that they couldn't even come up with a segment for the go home show.  A year ago, Undertaker kept his streak by beating Hunter in a match similar to his beating Shawn the two years previous.  They were all really good, really overrated matches.  A generation ago, Meltzer gave negative 5 stars to the Hogan/Andre match, because there was a recognition that famous guys staring at each other wasn't the same as workrate.  The last 3 Undertaker matches weren't Hogan/Andre (for both good and ill) but they weren't Misawa v. Kawada either.  I've forgotten which one it was, I think the first 'Taker/Shawn, Meltzer went 4 3/4 or 5 stars and really dismissively spoke about any rating that dropped below, say 4 1/2.  Then Misawa died.  Meltzer spoke about rewatching some of those mid 90s All Japan matches and said that if Shawn/Taker was 5 stars then some of those Misawa matches must be 6.

I'd assume this will be more of the same, both guys are a year further away from youth but neither has been troubled by doing any wrestling recently.  The Cell gimmick is smart to protect their limitations, but hasn't really been part of the build.

Neither has anything else.  The core of a good idea for a build is here - Shawn was always better than Hunter, the Undertaker retired Shawn, therefore, Hunter beating Shawn would give his career a "I'm not just a Hall of Famer because of my wife, honest" coda.  

The problem is nothing's been done to make us believe any of that.  That's an angle built on the fragility of Hunter's ego, and Hunter's not fragile, he's the Game.  That's an angle built on the idea that Shawn's ego is so outsized that he would rather his best friend lost a match than be perceived as having eclipsed him. And late career Shawn is no longer the Showstopper, he's Saint HBK. That's an angle built on a crack in the Hunter/Shawn friendship, and they'll be inducting Mike Tyson into the WWE Hall of Fame Saturday night.  That's an angle that required some real depth of character analysis given the historical importance of all three guys, some pretaped interview segments where each guy sat down one on with with JR and were treated like veteran athletes; and it just felt like no one wanted to work that hard to build up this match.  Rock/Cena was on top - and they kind of mailed this program in.  (3 3/4 stars; this is the 4th straight year of this 30 minute Undertaker match that relies much more on drama than athleticism; I think each one has gotten a little bit worse than the one before; I liked the violence, but there was a real lack of mobility - and the storyline was a few notches overwrought; they started pressing the "Shawn should stop the match" button about ten minutes too early. I think I liked the story told conceptually more than in practice - I'm unsure the actual match they gave us quite reached the match they were telling us it was in the story of the match. I'm in the minority, but this wasn't the best match on the show. Watching it a third time, I'm willing to go 4 stars.  ) 

WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

 - When last we left the lineal WWF Champion was CM Punk and it still is.  That's a good thing; you want the title in as few hands as possible, so it can be the focus of a program.

And that's what it looked like this program was going to focus on - Punk's the champ and says he's the best wrestler in the world.  Jericho's a former champ and says he's better.  The two main event matches couldn't focus a build on in ring work, but this match clearly could be about the title belt - and the build to it could have featured each man wrestling good, television matches where they beat top guys and looked like good wrestlers doing it.  Cena/Rock is the star match, Taker/HHH is the veteran match - and the title matches can be about wrestling.

Until they decided that wasn't enough to build a match on, so they stopped talking about the title, stopped talking about wrestling, and focused on Jericho quasi shooting on Punk's family.  Punk's dad's a recovering alcoholic, his sister a recovering drug addict - Punk's mom (quelle horreur!) was pregnant before she got married.  

And that Punk sold - Cena doesn't care when you say he's a corporate product epitomizing everything that's wrong with the WWF, that the inability of adult men to believe that he could beat anyone up is one of the stark contrasts between WWF and the product they actually do purchase, UFC.  But Punk is driven to rage by the thought that his mom got knocked up before marriage.  

I hated this program.  Not every match can be set up in the ring - but this one, this one could have cleanly been about who the better wrestler is, who deserves to be WWF Champion more, this match could have focused on the history, the lineage of the WWF title, the history of WWF title matches at Wrestlemania - you could have sold this match to fans who care about wrestling matches - here's Punk who was the WWE's best wrestler in terms of match quality in 2011 - and the reason Jericho came back to the company was to beat him at Wrestlemania in a great wrestling match and take his World Title.  So easy to do and instead it became about Jericho wanting to see Punk drink.  I hated, hated, hated this program.

I assume this will be the best match of the night.  I'll say Jericho goes over. (3 3/4 - this was the best match on the show; I loved the back half of this match and am superclose to four stars; the crowd didn't love the first half of the match, which is not something I get overly worked up by...I may revisit this ranking, but right now, I'm good here, and I liked it more than the other match. I revisited.  4 stars.)

Undertaker obviously goes over.  I assume Cena goes over.   (

Smackdown Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
- When last we left, Bryan (the best wrestler in the hemisphere) was the champ.  He still is.  This is a very good thing.

The best thing that ever happened to Danielson was the move to Smackdown; injuries to Orton and Henry opened the door a little bit wider to accommodate the push of his heel character (which is now a little less chickenshit heel and more focused on his bullying his prop girlfriend). He's escaped the "well, maybe he can work some independent matches for the internet nerds, but he sure has no charisma" coffin that the company looked to bury him in and become the lead promo guy on Friday nights.  Right now, there's really not a babyface in the company, including Cena, who they couldn't slide Danielson into a program with.  

That hasn't translated into great wrestling matches yet, although Danielson has had a handful of good TV matches in this run, but a move up the card means more match time - and more match time will mean better matches - and if you can both get over with promos and ring work that makes your opponent look good, there's an increasing chance to have a WWE career that looks more like Punk's than like Low Ki's.  

Which, if Bryan Danielson is your favorite ever North American wrestler who didn't kill his wife and child, is a good thing.

This is a pretty simple program, which is perfectly fine - Danielson's the undeserving champ, Sheamus the fighting heel who has been trying to get his hands on him.  I'm hoping it gets 15 minutes, I'll settle for 12, if it's 8, I riot.  Sure, I'll be watching it on my computer probably Tuesday morning, but I'll riot nonetheless.  I assume Sheamus takes.  

(Dear Jim, Fuck you. Love, Vince)

Intercontinental champion Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show
-Cody Rhodes has been IC Champ since August, that's the longest run in like 7 years.  He's done a good promo job and done a good promo job in this program with the Show, which focuses on how Show's had some crappy Wrestlemania matches.  That's a little kind of Rhodes, as Show's had crappy matches in tons of other shows too.  There's zero chance this is a good match, so I'm not interested.  A switch seems unlikely, but maybe a rage related DQ screwjob type of thing. (They switched - just gave the big guy the belt in a nothing match).  

 Randy Orton vs. Kane
-It's a lost half year for Orton, who presumably is still the company's second biggest full time act.   He did a rare for the WWF clean sheet program loss to a heel, Mark Henry, who was below him on the roster.  But then Henry got hurt - so Orton didn't get revenge.  Orton had a largely 50/50 program with another heel below him on the roster, Wade Barrett, but then Barrett got hurt - so Orton couldn't get the definitive blow off win. More importantly, Orton's had a series of concussions, and we live in a post "hey 8 year olds, go do a thousand soccer headers and then take some laps" world (speaking from experience).  Randy Orton's ringwork could generously be called safe in the best of conditions, so there's
some reason for pessimism about his future.  This is just filler - Orton goes over in a bad match. (Kane went over in a bad match)

Team Johnny:  David Otunga & Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger & Mark Henry & Miz & Drew McIntyre vs. Team Teddy:     Santino Marella & Great Khali & Zack Ryder & Kofi Kingston & R Truth & Booker T
-Speaking of filler...

So, RAW has a heel general manager, Smackdown a babyface general manager - after Mania one of them will be running both shows.  The RAW team is better; I'm going to say the Smackdown team goes over.  This is a workrate downgrade from the Money in the Bank match that its replacing. Otunga sucks, Ziggler's a future Mania headliner, Swagger's stalled and could go either way, Henry got over with people who aren't me last year, his next good match will be his first, McIntrye's not bad, I have always assumed he'd carve out a career; I forgot Miz, and I'm not the only one - he was in last year's main event and since has slipped further and further down the card; Santino's charms are lost on me; Khali's one of the worst wrestlers who ever lived; Ryder had some youtube related buzz in 2011 that has probably passed, Kofi's good in a limiting gimmick, Killings is just a guy, and Booker's an announcer filling a babyface spot they couldn't put Rey in because he's not ready to go yet. (Not really any reason to have had this match)

 A Women's Match With Maria Menounos

And that's all I got for that one. 

And now that's all I have about that one.  

The biggest stars not on the card are Christian (apparently injury related) and Del Rio (apparently not). Some good main roster workers not on the card are Kidd/Tatsu and the now injured Bourne. Speculation is perhaps Brodus Clay (don't care) is added for a squash and the tag title (Colons, maybe vs. Usos) might be a dark match.  (A perfectly reasonable 7 minute dark match, with a Kidd/Gabriel tag team added to the mix)

The top four matches should all be good - nothing else on the show is likely to reach that level.  How long they give the two title matches is probably the difference between a really good Mania and a reasonable show.  Having both Punk and Danielson in matches that presumably will be given a decent amount of time is a significant upgrade from recent Manias, so it's a show that I'm looking forward to watching.  (It's a good thing I watched the show the following day, because then I could just laugh at what they did to Danielson, because I recognize that Vince couldn't possibly care less about my end of his customer base.  I always hope they'll give me good matches to justify the amount of energy I put into thinking about the product, but I've been here for a long time, I get Vince's deal.)  

It's possible that one of those matches will make this list...(I really did like the last half of Jericho/Punk, but right now it doesn't make the list.)

The Best 20 Matches in Wrestlemania History are here; before WM30 my aim is to rewatch each match in Mania history and give them new grades.  

1. Razor Ramon d. HBK (10)

2. Owen Hart d. Bret Hart (10)

-I have these as the only five star matches in WM history; one could order them in either way.

3.Bret Hart d. Steve Austin (13)

4.Ricky Steamboat d. Randy Savage (3) (You remember Wrestlemania 3, brother - Andre the Giant had been dead for a week and a half and rigor mortis had driven up his body weight to eleven hundred pounds; as I stood in the ring I didn't know if he was going to do business or not; but when I lifted his corpse high over my head and heard those 2.6 million Hulkamaniacs in the Silverdome cheering me on, brother, I felt his life essence flow into my vital organs; and it was at that moment that I invented the NWO.  I went to the back and called Ted Turner, who was running old tapes of Ric Flair wrestling a pig in the Omni...)

5.HBK d. Bret Hart  (12)

6. Chris Benoit d. HBK d. HHH (20)

7. Kurt Angle d. Shawn Michaels (21)

-I've got all of these matches at either 4 3/4 or 4 1/2, the distance among them is slight enough that I wouldn't object to really any ordering.  

8. Edge/Christian d. Hardys d. Dudleys (16)

9. Edge/Christian d. Hardys d. Dudleys (17)

10.Randy Savage d. Ric Flair (8)

11.Undertaker d. Shawn Michaels (25)

-These are the 4 1/4 matches, there's more distance between the prior group and this group than between this group and the rest of the top 20, which consists of nothing but 4 star matches.  So, you could order this group in any way that suits you - and really could intermix this group with the balance of the remainder of this list in any way and not draw too much objection from me.  

12. Brock Lesnar d. Kurt Angle (19)

13. Undertaker d. Shawn Michaels (26)

14. Money in the Bank (Edge) (21)

15. Steve Austin d. Rock (15)

16. Kurt Angle d. Chris Benoit (17)

17. Eddy Guerrero d. Kurt Angle (20)

18. Bret Hart d. Roddy Piper (8)

19. Shawn Michaels d. Chris Jericho (19)

20. Undertaker v. HHH (27)

Top 150 MLB Players - 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MLB Network did a countdown of the top 100 players in baseball for the 2012 season; is counting down the top 500 players in baseball for the 2012 season.

I'll do 150.  I actually have another 50, but sorting them is really splitting hairs, so I won't. The MLB Network list is first. I'll offer some comparative thoughts. I'll edit in the ESPN list when it's done. My list is at the bottom.

MLB Network List:
100. Ichiro Suzuki (wouldn't make my top 200)

99. Carl Crawford (about where I have him)

98. Steven Strasburg (I have him much higher)

97. Starlin Castro (I have him higher)

96. Chase Utley (the injury makes him super hard to rate, I have him higher)

95. Michael Morse (I have him higher)

94. Michael Bourn (wouldn't make my top 200)

93. Craig Kimbrel (I have him lower in my 150)

92. Ryan Madson (injured now)

91. Shin-Soo Choo (I have him much higher)

90. Madison Bumgarner (about where I have him)

89. Adam Wainwright (I Have him higher)

88. Gio Gonzalez (would not make my top 200)

87. Kevin Youkilis (I have him higher)

86. Alex Rodriguez (I have him higher, and near Youkilis)

85. Howie Kendrick (about where I have him)

84. Dan Uggla (I have him higher)

83. Rickie Weeks (I have him much higher)

82. Carlos Beltran (I have him higher)

81. Ben Zobrist (I have him much, much higher)

80. Joe Mauer (I have him much, much higher)

79. Carlos Santana (I have him much, much higher)

78. Heath Bell (not in my top 150, but he'd be in my top 200)

77. John Axford (wouldn't make my top 200)

76. Brian Wilson (MLB Net went on a closer run here in the 70s; I'd have him at the very, very back end of the top 200, which is where I have a similar run of closers)

75. Jhonny Peralta (I have him much lower) 

74. Brett Lawrie (about where I have him)

73. Eric Hosmer (I have him much lower)

72. Yovani Gallardo (I have him lower)

71. Tim Hudson (in my top 200, but doesn't make my 150)

70. Adam Jones (about where I have him)

69. Alex Gordon (I have him higher)

68. Cole Hamels (about where I have him)

67. David Freese (I have him much lower)

66. Aramis Ramirez (I have him much lower)

65. Ricky Romero (would make my 200, but not my 150)

64. Zach Grienke (about where I have him)

63. David Price (about where I have him)

62. Jose Valverde (would be at the end of my 200, in that run of closers)

61. Jonathan Papelbon (I have him much lower)

60. Buster Posey (I have him higher)

59. Ryan Howard (also hard to rate because of the injury, but I have him much, much lower)

58. Shane Victorino (about where I have him)

57. Josh Beckett (I have him significantly lower)

56. Chris Carpenter (now out with the injury)

55. Mark Teixeira (I have him higher)

54. Carlos Gonzalez (I have him higher)

53. David Ortiz (I have him much lower)

52. Derek Jeter (The Late Derek Jeter would make my 200, but he's not in the 150)

51. Lance Berkman (about where I have him)

50. Jon Lester (I have him much lower)

49. Ian Kennedy (I have him much lower)

48. Miguel Montero (I have him much lower)

47. Brian McCann (I have him higher)

46. Matt Cain (about where I have him)

45. James Shields (I have him lower)

44. Pablo Sandoval (I have him higher)

43. Matt Holliday (He's in my top 20)

42. Andrew McCutcheon (I have him higher)

41. Giancarlo Stanton (He's in my top 20)

40. Brandon Phillips (I have him lower)

39. Alex Avila (I have him lower)

38. Yadier Molina (I have him lower)

37. Dan Haren (About where I have him)

36. Hunter Pence (I have him lower)

35. Nelson Cruz (About where I have him)

34. Mike Napoli (I have him lower)

33. Paul Konerko (I have him much lower)

32. Asdrubal Cabrera (I have him lower)

31. Ian Kinsler (In my top 20)

30. Josh Hamilton (About where I have him)

29. Michael Young (How is an old singles hitter without a glove one of the 30 best players in baseball?  In my 200, but not the 150)

28. Justin Upton (About where I have him)

27. Mariano Rivera (I have him much lower)

26. CC Sabathia (About where I have him)

25. Jose Reyes (About where I have him)

24. Hanley Ramirez (In my top 20)

23. Curtis Granderson (I have him lower)

22. Ryan Zimmerman (About where I have him)

21. Evan Longoria (In my top 10)

20. Felix Hernandez (I have him lower)

19. Tim Lincecum (I have him lower)

18. Cliff Lee (About where I have him)

17. Jacoby Ellsbury (About where I have him)

16. Adrian Beltre (I have him lower)

15. Joey Votto (In my top 10)

14. Adrian Gonzalez (In my top 10)

13. Jered Weaver (I have him lower)

12. Dustin Pedroia (I have him lower)

11. Albert Pujols (In my top 10)

10. Prince Fielder (About where I have him)

9. Ryan Braun (In my top 10)

8. Robinson Cano (About where I have him)

7. Roy Halladay (About where I have him)

6. Jose Bautista (About where I have him)

5. Clayton Kershaw (I have him lower)

4. Troy Tulowitzki (About where I have him)

3. Miguel Cabrera (Only guy in the entire 100 in exactly the same spot on my list and MLB Network's list)

2. Justin Verlander (I have him lower)

1. Matt Kemp (I have him lower)
ESPN List:
I'll offer some thoughts about 500-151, then edit in 150 on, as I ranked my top 150 below.

#500 - JD Martinez
-he'd be in my top 200

#468 - Josh Thole
-he'd be in my top 250.

#454 - Sean Rodriguez
-he'd be in my top 250

#451 - Addison Reed
-he'd be in my top 250

#436 - Pedro Alvarez
-he'd be in my top 250

#420 Jamey Carroll
-he'd be in my top 250

#418 Omar Infante
-he's in my top 150.

#413 Chris Heisey
-he'd be in my top 200

#352 Daniel Murphy
-he's in my top 150

#357 Andres Torres
-he's in my top 150

#358 Brendan Ryan
-he'd be in my top 200

#366 Jason Bartlett
-he'd be in my top 150

#374 Clint Barmes
-he'd be in my top 200

#324 Angel Pagan
-he's in my top 150

#326 Carlos Lee
-he's in my top 150

#252 Jason Kipnis
-in my top 200

#261 Jason Kubel
-in my top 200

#271 Chris Iannetta
-in my top 200

#273 Marco Scutaro
-in my top 200

#283 Kelly Johnson
-in my top 150

#291 Brandon Belt
-in my top 200

#292 Mark Reynolds
-in my top 150

#293 Jason Bay
-in my top 150

#203 Yunel Escobar
-in my top 50.  Yes, top 50.

#204 Cameron Maybin
-in my top 100

#209 Danny Espinosa
-in my top 150

#210 Torii Hunter
-in my top 150

#216 Denard Span
-in my top 150

#218 Brandon Beachy
-in my top 150

#219 Gaby Sanchez
-in my top 150

#220 Johan Santana
-in my top 150

#224 Matt Joyce
-in my top 100

#229 Josh Willingham
-in my top 150

#235 Rafael Furcal
-in my top 150

#239 Drew Stubbs
-in my top 150

#242 Dexter Fowler
-in my top 150

#244 Chris Sale
-in my top 150

#247 Rafael Betancourt
-in my top 150

#152 BJ Upton
-in my top 100

#153 Alexei Ramirez
-in my top 100

#154 Jesus Montero
-in my top 150

#158 Desmond Jennings
-in my top 100

#164 Colby Lewis
-in my top 150

#169 JJ Hardy
-in my top 150

#170 Carlos Ruiz
-in my top 150

#176 Billy Butler
-in my top 100

#182 Martin Prado
-in my top 150

#186 Jhonny Peralta
-in my top 150

#187 Erick Aybar
-in my top 150

#188 Jayson Werth
-in my top 100

#191 Logan Morrison
-in my top 150

#193 Russell Martin
-in my top 150

#197 Ike Davis
-in my top 150

#200 Geovany Soto
-in my top 150

150. Michael Cuddyer
149. Nick Markakis
148. Justin Masterson
147. Carlos Marmol
146. Brandon McCarthy
145. Dustin Ackley
144. Corey Hart
143. Peter Bourjos
142. Michael Bourn
141. Brett Gardner
140. Max Scherzer
139. Jaime Garcia
138. Nick Swisher
137. Freddie Freeman
136. Hiroki Kuroda
135. John Danks
134. Mark Buehrle
133. Aramis Ramirez
132. Tommy Hanson
131. Adam Jones
130. Shaun Marcum
129. Derek Holland
128. Jordan Zimmerman
127. Jeremy Hellickson
126. Michael Morse
125. Howard Kendrick
124. Alexi Ogando
123. David Freese
122. Chris Young
121. Jair Jurrjens
120. Shin-Soo Choo
119. Joel Hanrahan
118. Doug Fister
117. Trevor Cahill
116. Mike Adams
115. Derek Jeter
114. Joakim Soria
113. Andrew Bailey
112. Carl Crawford
111. Tim Hudson
110. Dan Uggla
109. Clay Buchholz
108. Daniel Hudson
107. Ervin Santana
106. Jason Heyward
105. Andre Ethier
104. Miguel Montero
103. Ubaldo Jimenez
102. Jose Valverde
101. Johnny Cueto
100. Heath Bell
99. Ryan Madson
98. Matt Garza
97. Ben Zobrist
96. Alex Gordon
95. Carlos Beltran
94. Jimmy Rollins
93. Jonny Venters
92. Gio Gonzalez
91. Shane Victorino
90. Rickie Weeks
89. Eric Hosmer
88. Starlin Castro
87. Hunter Pence
86. Madison Bumgarner
85. Lance Berkman
84. John Axford
83. Brett Lawrie
82. David Robertson
81. Michael Young
80. Carlos Santana
79. Brandon Phillips
78. Asdrubal Cabrera
77. Ricky Romero
76. Mat Latos
75. Paul Konerko
74. Michael Pineda
73. Alex Avila
72. David Ortiz
71. Josh Beckett
70. Neftali Feliz
69. Matt Wieters
68. Jay Bruce
67. Chase Utley
66. Ryan Howard
65. Pablo Sandoval
64. Brian Wilson
63. Elvis Andrus
62. Yu Darvish
61. Ian Kennedy
60. David Wright
59. Nelson Cruz
58. CJ Wilson
57. Kevin Youkilis
56. Mike Napoli
55. Matt Moore
54. James Shields
53. Yovani Gallardo
52. Jonathan Papelbon
51. Stephen Strasburg
50. Craig Kimbrel
49. Yadier Molina
48. Buster Posey
47. Adam Wainwright
46. Carlos Gonzalez
45. Ryan Zimmerman
44. Ian Kinsler
43. Alex Rodriguez
42. Zack Greinke
41. Andrew McCutcheon
40. Giancarlo Stanton
39. Joe Mauer
38. Matt Cain
37. Matt Holliday
36. Adrian Beltre
35. Dan Haren
34. Brian McCann
33. Hanley Ramirez
32. Mark Teixeira
31. Jon Lester
30. Josh Johnson
29. Chris Carpenter
28. Curtis Granderson
27. David Price
26. Jose Reyes
25. Josh Hamilton
24. Jered Weaver
23. Jacoby Ellsbury
22. Dustin Pedroia
21. Justin Upton
20. Cole Hamels
19. Joey Votto
18. Cliff Lee
17. Prince Fielder
16. Evan Longoria
15. Adrian Gonzalez
14. Jose Bautista
13. Matt Kemp
12. Mariano Rivera
11. CC Sabathia
10. Robinson Cano
9. Tim Lincecum
8. Troy Tulowitzki
7. Clayton Kershaw
6. Ryan Braun
5. Felix Hernandez
4. Justin Verlander
3. Miguel Cabrera
2. Roy Halladay
1. Albert Pujols

My List:

150. Chris Sale
149. Carlos Lee
148. Michael Pineida
147. Neil Walker
146. Brandon McCarthy
145. Gaby Sanchez
144. Ryan Howard
143. Eric Hosmer
142. Dexter Fowler
141. Denard Span
140. Mark Reynolds
139. Andres Torres
138. Drew Stubbs
137. Erick Aybar
136. Johan Santana
135. Angel Pagan
134. Chris Young
133. Rafael Betancourt
132. Jason Bartlett
131. Omar Infante
130. Josh Willingham
129. Jimmy Rollins
128. Jason Bay
127. Matt Garza
126. Neftali Feliz
125. Russell Martin
124. Shaun Marcum
123. Craig Kimbrel
122. Carlos Marmol
121. Rafael Furcal
120. Torii Hunter
119. Josh Beckett
118. David Freese
117. Carlos Ruiz
116. Jhonny Peralta
115. Brandon Beachy
114. Jesus Montero
113. Kelly Johnson
112. Geovany Soto
111. Danny Murphy
110. Danny Espinosa
109. Jonathan Papelbon
108. Colby Lewis
107. Logan Morrison
106. Ubaldo Jimenez
105. Matt Wieters
104. Elvis Andrus
103. JJ Hardy
102. Ike Davis
101. Aramis Ramirez
100. David Ortiz
99. Tommy Hanson
98. Ian Kennedy
97. Madison Bumgarner
96. Brett Gardner
95. Carl Crawford
94. Jon Lester
93. Mariano Rivera
92. CJ Wilson
91. Yovani Gallardo
90. Miguel Montero
89. Yadier Molina
88. Martin Prado
87. Alexei Ramirez
86. Desmond Jennings
85. Cameron Maybin
84. Alex Avila
83. Nick Swisher
82. Daniel Hudson
81. Adam Jones
80. Billy Butler
79. Howard Kendrick
78. Matt Joyce
77. Michael Morse
76. Andre Ethier
75. Yu Darvish
74. BJ Upton
73. Mat Latos
72. Chase Utley
71. Starlin Castro
70. Brett Lawrie
69. Asdrubal Cabrera
68. Shane Victorino
67. Paul Konerko
66. Carlos Beltran
65. Dan Uggla
64. Brandon Phillips
63. James Shields
62. Adam Wainwright
61. David Price
60. Cole Hamels
59. Zach Greinke
58. Lance Berkman
57. Mike Napoli
56. Jayson Werth
55. Hunter Pence
54. Jay Bruce
53. Kevin Youkilis
52. Alex Rodriguez
51. Josh Johnson
50. Matt Cain
49. Yunel Escobar
48. Shin-Soo Choo
47. Rickie Weeks
46. Alex Gordon
45. Adrian Beltre
44. Stephen Strasburg
43. Dan Haren
42. Nelson Cruz
41. Felix Hernandez
40. Curtis Granderson
39. Jason Heyward
38. Josh Hamilton
37. Jared Weaver
36. Tim Lincecum
35. Carlos Gonzalez
34. Mark Teixeira
33. Buster Posey
32. Brian McCann
31. Carlos Santana
30. Ben Zobrist
29. Jose Reyes
28. Jacoby Ellsbury
27. Dustin Pedroia
26. Andrew McCutcheon
25. Pablo Sandoval
24. David Wright
23. CC Sabathia
22. Justin Upton
21. Clayton Kershaw
20. Cliff Lee
19. Matt Holiday
18. Giancarlo Stanton
17. Ryan Zimmerman
16. Joe Mauer
15. Ian Kinsler
14. Robinson Cano
13. Hanley Ramirez
12. Jose Bautista
11. Justin Verlander
10. Roy Halladay
9. Prince Fielder
8. Adrian Gonzalez
7. Matt Kemp
6. Evan Longoria
5. Troy Tulowitzki
4. Joey Votto
3. Miguel Cabrera
2. Ryan Braun
1. Albert Pujols

2012 Fantasy Baseball Rankings - National League, Top 200

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Part of a series.  Previous post is here.

I'm writing this Saturday morning, right after news of Madson's injury. I'm unlikely to make an additional edit. I have the first pick in my NL only draft, I am taking Braun, maybe a little begrudgingly over the next two.

1. Ryan Braun
2. Joey Votto
3. Matt Kemp
4. Hanley Ramirez
5. Carlos Gonzalez
6. Troy Tulowitzki
7. Roy Halladay
8. Matt Holliday
9. Jose Reyes
10. Justin Upton
11. Brandon Phillips
12. Cliff Lee
13. Michael Bourn
14. David Wright
15. Tim Lincecum
16. Andrew McCutcheon
17. Brian McCann
18. Jayson Werth
19. Starlin Castro
20. Ryan Zimmerman
21. Clayton Kershaw
22. Giancarlo Stanton
23. Hunter Pence
24. Jay Bruce
25. Cole Hamels
26. Michael Morse
27. Miguel Montero
28. Aramis Ramirez
29. Matt Cain
30. Pablo Sandoval
31. Buster Posey
32. Drew Stubbs
33. Carlos Beltran
34. Dan Uggla
35. Ian Kennedy
36. Shane Victorino
37.Stephen Strasburg
38. Geovany Soto
39. Ian Desmond
40. Angel Pagan
41. Chris Young
42. Dexter Fowler
43. Jason Heyward
44. Freddie Freeman
45. Rickie Weeks
46. Yadier Molina
47. Jimmy Rollins
48. Carlos Marmol
49. Andre Ethier
50. Daniel Hudson
51. Carlos Lee
52. Lance Berkman
53. Jonathan Papelbon
54. Neil Walker
55. Corey Hart
56. Cameron Maybin
57. Wilson Ramos
58. Jose Altuve
59. Michael Cuddyer
60. Daniel Murphy
61. Yovani Gallardo
62. Mat Latos
63. Craig Kimbrel
64. Huston Street
65. James Loney
66. Zach Greinke
67. Martin Prado
68. Danny Espinosa
69. Jose Tabata
70. Emilio Bonifacio
71. Heath Bell
72. Josh Johnson
73. Paul Goldschmidt
74. Ike Davis
75. John Buck
76. Gaby Sanchez
77. John Jay
78. Ramon Hernandez
79. Chase Headley
80. Adam Wainwright
81. Brian Wilson
82. Drew Storen
83. Nyjer Morgan
84. Jonathan Lecroy
85. Lucas Duda
86. Marlon Byrd
87. David Freese
88. Ted Lilly
89. Rafael Betancourt
90. Shaun Marcum
91. Tommy Hanson
92. Melky Cabrera
93. Andres Torres
94. Ricky Nolasco
95. Brandon Beachy
96. Madison Bumgarner
97. JD Martinez
98. JJ Putz
99. Chris Heisey
100. David Dejesus
101. Josh Thole
102. Joel Hanrahan
103. Matt Garza
104. Nick Hundley
105. Jason Bay
106. Rod Barajas
107. Will Venable
108. Mat Gamel
109. Aaron Hill
110. Frank Francisco
111. Logan Morrison
112. Allen Craig
113. Johnny Cueto
114. Carlos Ruiz
115. Ryan Roberts
116. John Axford
117. Edinson Volquez
118. Johan Santana
119. Jair Jurrjens
120. Jordan Zimmerman
121. Jason Motte
122. Adam LaRoche
123. Sean Marshall
124. Rafael Furcal
125. Jason Kubel
126. Yonder Alonso
127. Jaime Garcia
128. Omar Infante
129. Mark Buehrle
130. Zack Cowart
131. Gio Gonzalez
132. John Mayberry
133. Marco Scutaro
134. Todd Helton
135. Dee Gordon
136. Devin Mesoraco
137. Garrett Jones
138. Alex Presley
139. Ryan Dempster
140. Chad Billingsley
141. Cory Luebke
142. Kenley Jansen
143. Ian Stewart
144. Chipper Jones
145. Chase Utley
146. Ryan Howard
147. Mark Ellis
148. Tim Hudson
149. Erik Bedard
150. Anibal Sanchez
151. Trevor Cahill
152. Brett Myers
153. Jason Bartlett
154. Clint Barmes
155. Tim Stauffer
156. Scott Rolen
157. Gerardo Parra
158. Ryan Ludwick
159. Aubrey Huff
160. Nate Schierholtz
161. Carlos Quentin

162. Ryan Hannigan
163. Mike Minor
164. Vance Morley
165. Wandy Rodriguez
166. Darwin Barney
167. Brandon Belt
168. Chris Johnson
169. Ryan Vogelsong
170. Mike Leake
171. Edwin Jackson
172. Sergio Romo
173. James McDonald
174. Aroldis Chapman
175. Chris Carpenter
176. Stephen Drew
177. Jeremy Guthrie
178. Aaron Harang
179. Alex Gonzalez
180. Joe Blanton
181. Kyle Lohse
182. RA Dickey
183. Jerry Hairston
184. Pedro Alvarez
185. Chris Capuano
186. Jhoulys Chacin
187. Carlos Gomez
188. Tyler Pastornicky
189. Carlos Zambrano
190. Randy Wolf
191. Jed Lowrie
192. Casey Mcgehee
193. Tyler Greene
194. AJ Ellis
195. Francisco Rodriguez
196. Jason Castro
197. Bronson Arroyo
198. Javy Guerra
199. Roger Bernadina
200. Matt Downs

2012 Fantasy Baseball Rankings - American League Top 200

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I have the third pick in my AL draft; by the time this posts, it will have occurred.  I'm editing this for probably the final time Friday, so if there's been something significant since, it won't be reflected in the list.

Part of a series.  Previous post is here.

1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Albert Pujols
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Ian Kinsler
5. Justin Verlander
6. Dan Haren
7. Adrian Gonzalez
8. Prince Fielder
9. Felix Hernandez
10. Jered Weaver
11. CC Sabathia
12. Curtis Granderson
13. Robinson Cano
14. Jose Bautista
15. Dustin Pedroia
16. David Price
17. Mike Napoli
18. Mark Teixeira
19. CJ Wilson
20. Joe Mauer
21. Mariano Rivera
22. BJ Upton
23. Alex Rodriguez
24. Josh Hamilton
25. James Shields
26. Carl Crawford
27. Elvis Andrus
28. Carlos Santana
29. Eric Hosmer
30. Nelson Cruz
31. Nick Markakis
32. Desmond Jennings
33. SS Choo
34. Mark Reynolds
35. Alex Gordon
36. Ichiro Suzuki
37. Adam Jones
38. Brett Gardner
39. Evan Longoria
40. Coco Crisp
41. Billy Butler
42. David Ortiz
43. Howard Kendrick
44. Adrian Beltre
45. Derek Jeter
46. Ryan Doumit
47. Paul Konerko
48. Asdrubal Cabrera
49. Alex Rios
50. Alex Avila
51. Yu Darvish
52. Michael Young
53. Austin Jackson
54. Andrew Bailey
55. Alexei Ramirez
56. Josh Beckett
57. Jon Lester
58. Jesus Montero
59. Torii Hunter
60. Alejandro DeAnza
61. Russell Martin
62. Jose Valverde
63. Ben Zobrist
64. Brett Lawrie
65. Kelly Johnson
66. Erick Aybar
67. Denard Span
68. Matt Joyce
69. Peter Bourjos
70. Chris Davis
71. Joe Nathan
72. Jemille Weeks
73. Kevin Youkilis
74. Josh Willingham
75. Yoenis Cespedes
76. JP Arencibia
77. Yunel Escobar
78. Adam Lind
79. Matt Wieters
80. Michael Brantley
81. Ubaldo Jimenez
82. Jeremy Hellickson
83. Gavin Floyd
84. Adam Dunn
85. Carlos Pena
86. Ervin Santana
87. Delmon Young
88. Brennan Boesch
89. Max Scherzer
90. Sergio Santos
91. Chris Sale
92. Ryan Raburn
93. Edwin Encarnacion
94. Brandon League
95. JJ Hardy
96. AJ Pierzynski
97. Colby Rasmus
98. Kurt Suzuki
99. Jason Kipnis
100. Neftali Feliz
101. Nick Swisher
102. Chris Perez
103. Cliff Pennington
104. Matt Thornton
105. Brandon McCarthy
106. Justin Morneau
107. Colby Lewis
108. Brandon Morrow
109. Kyle Farnsworth
110. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
111. Danny Valencia
112. John Danks
113. Mike Moustakas
114. Daniel Bard
115. Dustin Ackley
116. Matt Capps
117. Jhonny Peralta
118. Jake Peavy
119. Mitch Moreland
120. Michael Pineda
121. Dayan Viciedo
122. Brent Morel
123. Seth Smith
124. Lorenzo Cain
125. Jeff Francoeur
126. Alcides Escobar
127. Mike Carp
128. Justin Masterson
129. David Murphy
130. Phil Hughes
131. Josh Reddick
132. Chris Iannetta
133. Matt Moore
134. Josh Tomlin
135. Cody Ross
136. Ben Revere
137. Chone Figgins
138. Jim Johnson
139. Hiroki Kuroda
140. Gordon Beckham
141. Kendrys Morales
142. Clay Buchholtz
143. Travis Hafner
144. Jordan Walden
145. Grant Balfour
146. Scott Baker
147. Addison Reed
148. Greg Holland
149. Yorvit Torrealba
150. Alexei Castilla
151. Doug Fister
152. Alexi Ogando
153. Jason Vargas
154. Luke Scott
155. Wei-Yin Chen
156. Jamey Carroll
157. Justin Smoak
158. Ricky Romero
159. Sean Rodriguez
160. Miguel Olivo
161. Casey Kotchman
162. Francisco Liriano
163. Nolan Reimold
164. Derek Holland
165. Hisashi Iwakuma
166. Carl Pavano
167. Mike Adams
168. Mike Aviles
169. Vernon Wells
170. Eric Thames
171. Brian Roberts
172. Kevin Slowey
173. Jeff Niemann
174. Raul Ibanez
175. Salvador Perez
176. Brett Cecil
177. Rick Porcello
178. Brent Lillibridge
179. Jason Hammel
180. Endy Chavez
181. Vinnie Pestano
182. Eduardo Nunez
183. Jonathan Sanchez
184. Luke Hochevar
185. Jonathan Broxton
186. Bruce Chen
187. David Huff
188.Wade Davis
189.Rajai Davis
190. Andruw Jones
191. Franklin Guttierez
192. Dallas Braden
193. Grady Sizemore
194. Phil Humber
195. Dustin McGowan
196. Brendan Ryan
197. Fautino de Los Santos
198. Joey Devine
199. Jose Molina
200. Luke Hughes

2012 Fantasy Baseball Rankings - Mixed Leagues Top 200

Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm compiling this 17 days before I'm planning to post it, so if there's been some injury that I'm failing to account for (hello people of the future!  Have you killed Sarah Connor's son yet?  Get on that please) that would be the explanation. My 3 fantasy drafts are in a cluster ending on the 27th, so the 3 boards you'll see over the next few days represent something approximating the boards I used for the drafts.

My last update to this list was Friday the 23rd right after the Astros 3B switch.  Okay, one more on Saturday after Madson.

Here's the mixed board.  I play 5x5 roto.

1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Ryan Braun
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Joey Votto
6. Jacoby Ellsbury
7. Ian Kinsler
8. Prince Fielder
9. Roy Halladay
10. Matt Kemp
11. Troy Tulowitzki
12. Robinson Cano
13. Cliff Lee
14. Mark Teixeira
15. Matt Holliday
16. Carlos Gonzalez
17. Curtis Granderson
18. Justin Upton
19. Mike Napoli
20. Tim Lincecum
21. Hanley Ramirez
22. Dustin Pedroia
23. Dan Haren
24. Brandon Phillips
25. Justin Verlander
26. Cole Hamels
27. Jose Bautista
28. Clayton Kershaw
29. Jose Reyes
30. Joe Mauer
31Carlos Santana
32. Felix Hernandez
33. Jered Weaver
34. Brian McCann
35. Matt Cain
36. CC Sabathia
37.Stephen Strasburg
38. David Wright
39. Alex Rodriguez
40. Eric Hosmer
41. Ryan Zimmerman
42. Andrew McCutcheon
43.Giancarlo Stanton
44. Jayson Werth
45. Josh Hamilton
46. Nick Markakis
47. Jay Bruce
48. Billy Butler
49. Mark Reynolds
50. Michael Morse
51. David Ortiz
52. Miguel Montero
53. Dan Uggla
54. David Price
55. Aramis Ramirez
56. Starlin Castro
57. Evan Longoria
58. Paul Konerko
59. Hunter Pence
60. Ryan Doumit
61. Alex Avila
62. Ian Kennedy
63. CJ Wilson
64. Adam Jones
65. Adrian Beltre
66. Mariano Rivera
67. Josh Johnson
68. Daniel Hudson
69. Michael Bourn
70. Jonathan Papelbon
71. Jesus Montero
72. Huston Street
73. SS Choo
74. Michael Young
75. James Shields
76. Carlos Marmol
77. Zack Grienke
78. Asdrubal Cabrera
79. Pablo Sandoval
80. Craig Kimbrel
81. Buster Posey
82. Adam Wainwright
83. Mat Latos
84. Derek Jeter
85. Howard Kendrick
86. Ted Lilly
87. Carlos Beltran
88. Dexter Fowler
89. BJ Upton
90. Freddie Freeman
91. Geovany Soto
92. Elvis Andrus
93. Tommy Hanson
94. Yovani Gallardo
95. Yu Darvish
96. Rickie Weeks
97. Alexei Ramirez
98. Heath Bell
99. Rafael Betancourt
100. Jason Heyward
101. Yoenis Cespedes
102. Josh Beckett
103. Drew Storen
104. Chris Young
105. Desmond Jennings
106. Torii Hunter
107. Madison Bumgarner
108. Brian Wilson
109. Chris Sale
110. Shawn Marcum
111. Russell Martin
112. JP Arencibia
113. Andre Ethier
114. Austin Jackson
115. Brandon Beachy
116. Carl Crawford
117. Lance Berkman
118. Johan Santana
119. Chris Davis
120. Kelly Johnson
121. Ricky Nolasco
122. Ichiro Suzuki
123. Neil Walker
124. JJ Putz
125. Matt Weiters
126. John Buck
127. Jon Lester
128. Alex Rios
129. Ben Zobrist
130. Matt Joyce
131. Kevin Youkilis
132. Carlos Lee
133. Kenley Jansen
134. Jeremy Hellickson
135. Yadier Molina
136. Adam Dunn
137. Ian Desmond
138. Yunel Escobar
139. Jose Valverde
140. Josh Willingham
141. Carlos Pena
142. Paul Goldschmidt
143. Danny Espinosa
144. Joe Nathan
145. Wilson Ramos
146. Matt Garza
147. James Loney
148. Andrew Bailey
149. Adam Lind
150. Drew Stubbs
151. Ubaldo Jimenez
152. Cameron Maybin
153. Shane Victorino
154. Brett Lawrie
155. Alejandro DeAnza
156. Frank Francisco
157. Michael Cuddyer
158. Jason Motte
159. Lucas Duda
160. Eric Bedard
161. Daniel Murphy
162. Ike Davis
163. Edinson Volquez
164. Matt Thornton
165. Sean Marshall
166. Sergio Romo
167. Tim Hudson
168. Jordan Zimmerman
169. Neftali Feliz
170. Angel Pagan
171. Martin Prado
172. Joel Hanrahan
173. Corey Hart
174. Coco Crisp
175. Erick Aybar
176. Jair Jurrjens
177. Jimmy Rollins
178. Gaby Sanchez
179. Brett Gardner
180. Jemile Weeks
181. Chase Utley
182. Chase Headley
183. Johnny Cueto
184. Sergio Santos
185. Jake Peavy
186. AJ Pierzynski
187. Jaime Garcia
188. JJ Hardy
189. Brandon League
190. Max Scherzer
191. Cory Luebke
192. Mark Buehrle
193. Denard Span
194. Kurt Suzuki
195. Chris Perez
196. Ervin Santana
197. Daniel Bard
198. Chad Billingsley
199. Colby Lewis
200. David Freese

The Weekly Tendown March 18-24 2012(Happy Mad Men Day)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dear Internet:

Geraldo Rivera  said it was the hooded sweatshirt that got Trayvon Martin killed.  In Florida, apparently, wearing a hooded sweatshirt is asking for it.

Hopefully, I'll avoid George Zimmerman this week.  As apparently, this picture is a reasonable threat to his life.

119 is here. This is Tendown 120.

1. Reason Rally
The largest political gathering of atheists in US history was yesterday in Washington.

You can see some clips here.

As a political act, it's important for members of marginalized groups to come out of the closet.  If every American had known that FDR was disabled, what impact does that have in fast forwarding a full inclusion of the disabled into positions of leadership?  If every gay athlete and action movie star were to come out tomorrow how much good would that do in emboldening bullied gay kids across the country?

The equation of religion to morality, specifically conservative Protestantism to morality is so ubiquitous that someone like Tim Tebow is spoken about by sports media in the most glowing personal terms you can imagine.  In sports character analysis "he reads the Bible" is shorthand for "he's a good person"; locker room worship and on field displays of religiosity start at the earliest of ages and don't seem to run up against any real opposition but were a quarterback to say "God is just a fairy tale" with the level of fervor that Tebow is allowed, he'd never make it past Pop Warner.

Here's a question from the University of Minnesota study from 2011:

I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group....
Atheist: 47.6%
Conservative Christians: 6.9%
I would suggest its self evident as to which of those two groups does the most damage in the United States; the politics of conservative Christianity drive anti-science legislation on climate change, drive anti-women legislation on abortion and contraception, and provide a vehicle for opposition to social programs from health care reform to the minimum wage.  There is, let me suggest, no force more destructive to the collective good of Americans than conservative Christianity.

Atheists don't have the individual power to change that, but to the extent they can model elements of character like honesty and intelligence as atheists in the public sphere, to the extent that people perceived as "good" people "come out" as atheists, it permits a greater number of Americans to associate atheism with those good qualities and perhaps - perhaps to increase the degree to which they challenge the assumed morality of conservative Christians.

2. A Less Confrontational Picture
Zooey Deschanel and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.  Best celebrity couple ever.

3. The Problem is I Don't Know How to Work
There are a group wrestlers to whom I formed an attachment during the previous decade from watching them on the independent circuit for several years.  Through the miracle of tape trading, I saw Bryan Danielson's first match, a blond CM Punk wrestle at an ice rink, Homicide working in someone's basement in New Jersey.

They've built an equity with me; I watched them nearly kill themselves in front of a hundred people when they didn't have health insurance; when a guy like Punk breaks through I root for him in the way one might cheer particularly hard for a baseball player who he saw slowly work his way through the system.  If anything, I root harder for the wrestler, as the number of available jobs are so preciously small and you trust that baseball, for example, is a meritocracy in a way that wrestling is not.  When Brandon Belt (perhaps not the best example) kills AAA, you know he's headed for the Show.  But Vince McMahon doesn't care about Low Ki's match ratings.  To make it in big time American pro graps, you have to catch a series of breaks.

There are 4 major matches on this year's Wrestlemania, Punk and Danielson are in two of them (and Jericho, from a previous generation of young lions, is wrestling Punk) and I'm eager for it.

I'm in play for a tenure track position at a university; I've referenced this opportunity for the past month and a half, and I am as close to it as a person could be.  Since I moved away from law and began teaching almost 15 years ago, this kind of position has been the eventual goal.  I've spent those years on my version of the independent circuit, I've probably taught 75 different courses altogether, at the high school and for profit college levels; I've taught online, I've done seminars, I've had classes with one student and fifty; I've taught at 7 in the morning and 10 at night, I've taught for 12 straight hours with barely a break or an ability to sit down; I've taught in schools without clocks, taught with the lights out, taught without air conditioning, taught outside, taught at schools where the computers had to be locked to keep them from being stolen. I've taught chefs and mechanics and hairdressers and 12 year olds and 70 year olds and students without high school diplomas, without the ability to speak English, and who were taken away by the police during class. 

I've been teaching since my late 20s; I'm 41, for the last few years I've taught 7 days a week for virtually an entire 365 day calendar.  I'm not bad.  I'm not Bryan Danielson but you wouldn't fast forward through too many of my matches either.  I'm like the Claudio Castagnoli of for profit instructors.

I am at the very last breath of this hiring process.  This close to going to my version of WWE.

In the meantime, I still have bills to pay, so I interviewed at a school in a strip mall next to a Wings Plus this week.  Perhaps I'll team teach a course with Colt Cabana.

4. This is Probably Gonna Stick

5. My Movie Recommendation
I saw Moneyball finally; it's my new favorite film from last year, although not as good as Social Network from 2010.  The movie I'd suggest you consider (although it isn't as tough on the guys who made the original audio recordings as it could be, and doesn't flesh out its characters as much as you'd like) is a documentary Shut Up Little Man that would be worth your 90 minutes.

6. Booooooooooo.

The second greatest Golden St. Warrior of all time had his jersey retired this week.

The greatest Golden St Warrior of all time chewed out the fans during the ceremony for booing the team's owner.

I'm in favor of all of this.  Mullen should have his jersey retired, the fans displeasure is disproportionate to the current offense (trading Monte Ellis for Andrew Bogut) but long overdue given 35 years of sports crimes perpetrated against the GSW fanbase.  And Rick Barry's a pain in the ass.  He was a young pain in the ass, now he's an old pain in the ass - I want him standing at center court saying "you kids today with your Beatle haircuts, get off of my lawn."  It was perfect.

I'm okay with Alex Smith coming back to San Francisco; I would have been okay with his leaving.  He's just another guy; and if his interception rate ticks back up this year he'll face competition from Josh Johnson.

Denver won the Manning derby; that doesn't mean they go to the Super Bowl, they rode an easy schedule to a hot streak last season; if both the Niners and Broncos go 9-7 next year that wouldn't surprise.  I'd rather be the Colts than either of them (not next year, but prospectively).

And I assume Tebow winds up with that Jets job at some point.  I don't know that he works as a backup.

None of that analysis was as good as Pat Robertson's.

"And you just ask yourself, okay, so Peyton Manning was a tremendous MVP quarterback, but he’s been injured. If that injury comes back, Denver will find itself without a quarterback. And in my opinion, it would serve them right.”

Christian conservative - Pat Robertson.  Good marriage material, apparently.

7. And If You Don't Like it...Get Out
Rick Santorum, Presidential Candidate, made an appearance in Louisiana last week.

He was introduced by a minister, who said America is a Christian nation, we worship Jesus, and if you don't like it, "get out."

Candidate Santorum clapped and clapped and clapped.  It's here.

Were a candidate for President to have appeared at the Reason Rally, and were a speaker to have said, "We are not a Christian nation - we are a nation under the principles of the Enlightenment, depending upon human reason and not magic to uncover truth.... and if you don't like it - Get Out!" and that candidate were to have clapped and clapped and clapped at that sentiment - what would have been the reaction?

8. Stand Your Ground = The Bush Doctrine of Self Defense Law
Here's a walk though of the Trayvon Martin case.

9. Looking for a Job...
Be prepared to turn over your Facebook password.

10. Happy Mad Men Day

Consider this piece as pregame.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time....if there is a next time.....

Your pal,


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