Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bud Black Top Dog In The NL...

Just like this past Padres season, it came down to the wire, and in the end, Bud Black prevailed over Dusty Baker, and is the NL Manager of the Year in 2010.

Deserving?  You bet.  To me, and admittedly I'm a bit biased, it was a no brainer.   I didn't however think that the BBWA would get it right.  I figured it would go to the sentimental favorite, Bobby Cox, but in the end the writers did the right thing and gave the nod to our own skipper. 

The case is a simple one.  He did the best job of managing a baseball team this season.  Going through the peaks and valleys of the 162 game schedule, Black, guided his team to a 90 win season, 15 more wins than the previous year.  That was the best win differential in MLB.

Did anybody expect this?  No.  Did anybody figure out how to get the most of all his players, every single game?  No.  Case closed.  Vegas set the Padres win line at 71.5 before the season, and as GM Jed Hoyer pointed out today in a conference call, "They don't build those casinos by losing money. For me, [Black] was a clear choice."

Congratulations Buddy, on a well deserved honor.  It has been my privilege to work with him every game for the last four seasons, and I really enjoy talking baseball and other things with him all the time.  What you see is what you get with Bud Black, one of the good guys in the game of baseball.

I'm Baaaack...

Many of you have sent me Facebook and Twitter messages wondering about the status of my blog and after a long hiatus, I've decided to bring back Masur's Musings.  I can't guarantee it will be updated every day, or even every week, but I will certainly do my best to keep it relatively current.  I'm just happy that there were so many people that actually read my blog, I had no idea really, and I do appreciate the following.

Random Musings...

- What a win for the San Diego State Aztecs men's basketball team the other night at Gonzaga.  I've broadcast a few games at the "Kennel" and I've never heard the place as quiet as I did late in the game yesterday.  These Aztecs are for real, and will be a force to be reckoned with when conference play begins.

- The USD Toreros are off to a 1-1 start, coming off a loss at Stanford, Monday night.  This is a young team that Bill Grier has, 2 seniors, 2 juniors and 11 sophomores/freshman.  Hopefully the non-conference season, will get this inexperienced group ready for WCC play.  It's a great bunch of kids, and they are hard not to root for.

- By the way, in case you didn't hear, the Toreros games are on XTRA Sports 1360 this season.  I'm back for my fourth season of play-by-play and couldn't be happier.  I'll be away for the next couple of games to attend a good friend's wedding, so Ben Higgins will step in and handle the games, Friday night and Sunday afternoon at the JCP.

Alright, that's a wrap.  Chat soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hall Of Fame, what a shame....

Andre Dawson is the only player heading into the Hall of Fame in the class of 2010.  I do believe that he is a deserving recipient of enshrinement.  I won't get into all the debate about the numbers, but lets just say, one of three players ever, with 400 or more homers and 300 or more stolen bases. 1987 NL MVP for a LAST PLACE team.  49 homers that year.  Congratulations Hawk on a long overdue honor.

He wasn't the only guy that should have gotten in this time around.  Why isn't Bert Blyleven in the Hall?  Why didn't Roberto Alomar get in on the first ballot?  Why is San Diego native, Alan Trammell not even receiving serious consideration?  Then there's Barry Larkin, and Edgar Martinez.  Not to mention Lee Smith.  The answer, well there are many.

First, some of the living members of the Hall of Fame that get a chance to vote, don't take the responsibility seriously.  Numerous members either turn in incomplete or blank ballots.  This is inexcusable.  If you don't want to vote, don't and then the Hall should adjust the percentage needed to get into the exclusive club.

That leads me to my next point.  Some living members of the Hall, feel a sense of elitism.  Nobody should be allowed to join their club on the first ballot.  Nobody.  They somehow feel that because they are in, it should be a chore for others to get in.  That's just great.  There are certainly no-brainers when it comes to first ballot enshrinement, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken each come to mind, but if a guy is worthy and deserving based on numbers, VOTE HIM IN.  I don't get this.

Roberto Alomar has better offensive numbers than Ryne Sandberg, and the "great" Joe Morgan.  But he's on the outside looking in, just because he wasn't deemed a "first ballot" guy.  Incredible.  I do know that at least one member of the Hall of Fame takes his voting responsibility seriously.  Mr. Padre studies players numbers, and accounts for the era that the guy played in and other factors.  It doesn't take him long, but at least he puts thought into it.  Then again should anybody be surprised by this?

For some reason, SOME members of the BBWA (baseball writers association) feel the need to become elitist in their thinking and voting.  Why?  I recall one knucklehead in Chicago, didn't vote for Gwynn or Ripken, because he didn't think anybody should be a unanimous choice for election, so he would make sure it didn't happen.  Great.  You are an idiot.  Nice to see he broke Journalism rule #1, don't become part of the story.  This is the problem.  Something needs to be done.  Change the system.  This one isn't working.  To prove my point, somebody even gave David Segui a vote. Come on.

I personally like the way the NFL does it.  A committee discusses a list of eligible candidates, whittles it down to a manageable number, then it's an open debate.  Numbers are "broken down" and talked about. Candidates merits are outlined by people that saw these guys play, and then it's vote time.  You don't see the NFL enshrine just one player per ballot do you?  Deserving players get in, those that don't still may be deserving, but have to wait their turn.  It's a better process than leaving it completely up to ignorant former players with agendas.  Seriously.  

Random Musings...
Heading out of town today with USD hoops, as the WCC season begins with two games this weekend.  Friday night we'll be at Santa Clara, with an 8:30 tip time on XX1090, and then Sunday at San Francisco for a 5pm tip, on XX1090 and San Diego 1700.  Hope you'll join me.

Congratulations to Steve Fisher and the SDSU Aztecs on a great performance the other night, in upsetting New Mexico.  The Aztecs are for real.  I could see them starting to play better team basketball in the second half of the game at the Jenny Craig last month.  The MWC is going to be a fun conference to watch this year.  The Aztecs have a great shot at post season play this season.  Hope they keep it up.  It's great for San Diego basketball!

Oh, yeah, who's up for watching the BCS (one letter too many) National Championship game tonight?  Wonder how many would like to see Boise State play the winner?  I would.  My pick tonight is Alabama over Texas and I hope it's close.  Yawwwwwwn.  Bowl games on January 7?  What happened to the tradition of the bowl season wrapping up New Years Day or that weekend?  Cha-ching.

That's it for now...more to come later!  Have a great day and a great weekend!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year...

Yes, I know, it's been a while, but I'm back.  Happy New Year everybody!

I've been traveling the country the last few weeks visiting friends and family for the Holidays, and now it's time to write again!  So here goes...

No News Is Good News?
Not much has changed since my last post in San Diego Padres land.  It's been quiet at Petco Park, but I think that will change shortly.  GM Jed Hoyer has been keeping a watchful eye on what other teams are doing, trying to figure out who may become expendable as a result.  This much is true, he knows there are still holes to fill and will start that process soon.

As it looks now, Adrian Gonzalez will start the year with the Padres, but will he be here come August?  I think A-Gonz's trade value will increase as his numbers do, and as the July 31 trade deadline arrives during the season.  Teams are much more likely to over pay for players if they feel that guy will put them over the top and push that team to the playoffs.

It also seems to me that Kevin Kouzmanoff will be here when the season starts as well.  To me that's great news.  Kouz has been more than dependable both in the field and at the plate (save the first two months!) in his time in Southern California.

The most immediate move will likely be a back up catcher.  Nick Hundley is improving season to season, but I know that the organization would like to have a veteran in there, to continue to bring the young backstop along.  Brad Ausmus is a name you hear a lot about.  The Padres tried to get him a year ago, but decided instead, after Ausmus signed with the Dodgers, to sign Henry Blanco.  Ausmus has the same reputation throughout the league as Blanco, for being a great clubhouse guy and a veteran not afraid to help a youngster along.  Ausmus would also be good for the young pitching staff.

Eyes are still open for a right handed hitting center fielder to compliment Tony Gwynn Jr.  This could be a little more costly a position to fill than the catcher's spot.  Here are a few names to consider:  Reed Johnson, ex of the Chicago Cubs.  A great defender and at age 33 still has something left in the tank.  Another name to consider is that of Jerry Hairston Jr.  I was chatting with Corey Brock of about Hairston Jr.  We both agreed that he'd be a great influence in the clubhouse, like his brother Scott was.  He's also a player that gives you a lot of versatility. He can play the outfield, shortstop and second base.  Jerry Jr is a right handed hitter with a little pop and he has some speed too, which fits into what the Padres are looking for.  Hairston is 34.  Food for thought.

I'm sure that Hoyer would like to add another veteran arm to the rotation as well.  Makes sense, with some youth in the starting five, it's always nice to have that experienced arm to count on once in a while.

Stay tuned, the hot stove should be getting a bit warmer in the next week or so for the Padres.

Big Unit hangs it up...
Randy Johnson is calling it a career.  The "Big Unit" hangs em up after a 22 year career with several teams.  He started with the Expos, but came to become a pitcher, with the Seattle Mariners.  Johnson winds up his career with 303 wins, and finishes up second on baseball's all time strike out list, with 4,875 punch outs, only behind Nolan Ryan.  Johnson was the co-mvp of the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He also owns 2 no hitters, including a perfect game, which he threw in 2004. Might he be the final pitcher to ever reach the magic 300 win number?  Could be.  

Happy Holliday in St. Louis...
So Matt Holliday is going to stay in St Louis after all for 7 years and $120 million.  Shocking.  Not.  Where else was he really going to go?  My question is this...the Cardinals are considered a mid-market team, and now has two, $100 million players, how?  Especially considering, Albert Pujols is entering the final year of his 7 year, $100 million dollar deal.  Good luck Cardinals.  Enjoy this year.

Mourning Markas...
I woke today to some terrible news, that of the untimely passing of Angels play-by-play man Rory Markas.  He was only 54, and died of an apparent heart attack.  He was with the Angels the last 8 seasons, and was also the voice of USC Trojans basketball.   I didn't know Rory very well, but he would always have a "hello" or a "how you doing?" when the Padres and Angels would play in Spring Training or during the season.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all of those in the Angels family, who have had a rough year, with the passing of Preston Gomez, Nick Adenhart and now Markas.  He will be missed.

NFL Playoffs...the Weekend of Rematch...
How strange is that?  3 of the Week 17 match ups will happen again, in the first round of the playoffs.  In the AFC, the Jets who destroyed the Bengals Sunday night, will meet again, but this time with something on the line for both teams and in Cincinnati.  My pick, Cincinnati.  Also in the AFC,  Baltimore visits New England.  Even without Wes Welker, I think the Patriots will be able to get it done and advance this weekend.  Of course that would mean that the Chargers would host the Patriots and make it 12 in a row after dispatching of "The Hoodie" and "Tom Terrific".  In the NFC, it's an all rematch slate.  The Packers face the Cardinals in Arizona.  I think (and this kills me as a Bears fan) the Packers will advance and then beat the highly over rated New Orleans Saints.   Dallas hosts Philadelphia again, and I see the same result happening in this one, Cowboys over Eagles in Jerryworld.   I'll keep an eye on the games, and have more after the weekend.

Alright, that will do it for now.  My New Year's resolution is to keep this blog a bit more updated.  Hope I can stick to it!!!