Monday, September 30, 2019

Sac Fly Blog CFB Rankings

All this poll discussion so early in the season is nonsense. #1 Clemson won their game but dropped in the polls. #3 UGA is the only team in the country to beat a top ten team. They held at 3 for a week, then people want to drop them lower after their bye week. For the most part the polls will work themselves out by the end of the year. Bama, LSU, UGA, and Auburn are all good teams. Only one has a chance of remaining undefeated. Will an undefeated Clemson team receive a playoff bid over a one loss SEC runner-up? Probably so. Unless it’s Alabama.
Everyone loves Notre Dame, even after they lost to UGA.  The Irish ran 35 more plays than the Dawgs and still gained fewer yards. Notre Dame is good, but there are ten teams more deserving of a top ten ranking than them. I don’t see how the Irish could earn a playoff bid after losing to UGA (and to Clemson last year). Stranger things have happened. GA outgained ND. GA averaged twice as many yards per play, but only ran half as many plays. I think ND is good. Tough on defense and offense. Shoot ND could probably beat Ohio State, maybe Clemson or Florida or Wisconsin or Auburn. Good chance four undefeated teams will make the playoff, with several strong one loss teams who played tough schedules. Nothing against the Irish. Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, right? I have a picture of the Four Horsemen that pops up on my screen saver every now and then.
This year it could be Ohio State’s turn to get blown out in the playoff, should they cruise through the regular season without a serious challenge. Hopefully Wisconsin and Penn State can give them a game. Michigan may improve, but don’t count on it.  
Dude at USA Today ranked Auburn number one. They havn’t won a big game in years. That’s the society we live in. That’s a pretty accurate ranking for the Sept 28 games. People just remember the last thing they saw. No deep analysis of who has played who (strength of schedule). We’ll see how Auburn and Ohio State do when they face tougher competition. Do you think Alabama should be ranked behind Auburn and Ohio State?
I think the UNC QB knew he was going to be tackled short of the goal line so he tried to flip the ball to his teammate. Yes the UNC QB #7 looked okay for a freshman. Was going to sign with FSU but changed his mind when Mack Brown signed on as NC head coach.
The NC/GT spread should be wider (currently 10 points). Tech’s only chance is if NC is worn out emotionally from playing Clemson. But GT can’t score. Can’t run. Can’t pass. Can’t kick. They can punt, though.
Every other idiot makes predictions, so I will as well. Wait – what?
My Current Top Ten
1. LSU 4-0 plays Bama & Auburn
2. Alabama 5-0 plays LSU & Auburn
3. UGA 4-0 plays Auburn & Florida
4. Clemson 5-0
5. Oklahoma 4-0 plays Texas
6. Ohio State 5-0 plays Wisconsin & Penn State
7. Auburn 5-0 plays FL, GA, LSU, & Bama
8. Wisconsin 4-0 plays Ohio State
9. Florida 5-0 plays Auburn & UGA
10. Penn State 4-0 plays Ohio State
11. Texas 3-1 plays Oklahoma
12. Notre Dame 4-1
My Sept 30 playoff prediction: LSU runs the table, beating Bama, Auburn, and UGA. Oklahoma and Ohio State advance. Undefeated Clemson edges one loss Bama and UGA for the final playoff spot. Would be fun to see Bama and UGA play each other in a bowl game.
Big debate this weekend started by some uninformed numbskull about whether UGA did the wrong thing letting Justin Fields transfer to Ohio State, since he was better than Fromm. Glad to see the Twitter-verse educate the fool, who was wrong on several counts. UGA did not “let” Fields transfer. Justin did it on his own, without even telling his teammates. Fields could not beat out Fromm. The UGA coaches bent over backward to accommodate Fields, calling an easier set of plays when he was in the game, which required fewer reads and easier throws. Still Fields complained. Had Fields showed more in practice, surely he would’ve received more playing time. Fields did play more than most backup QBs. When Fields was finally inserted in a pressure situation (4th down against Alabama) the freshman failed to get the fake punt play started quickly. His hesitation allowed Bama to sniff out the play, and UGA lost the game.
UGA and Ohio State run two different offenses. Fields was never a good fit for the Dawgs pro-style offense. While UGA wanted him, it was Fields’ mistake for not choosing a school that could best use his talents. Fields has done good so far this year, though he has shown a tendency to take off and run if his first read is covered (like he did last year). Before the season there were rumors the Buckeyes had only been able to install a small part of their total offense, due to Fields ability to execute and take everything in. Fields has yet to face an elite defense.
Meanwhile Fromm has impressed NFL scouts with his ability to read defenses and call audibles. The UGA offense requires more complex reads and tougher downfield throws than most read option teams. Fromm has come up big in big games against the best teams in the nation: Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Alabama, Auburn. The loss to LSU was not his fault, and his two interceptions in Baton Rouge were great diving catches by defenders. UGA needs to hope Fromm chooses to return for his senior year.
My rankings of the most NFL-ready QB’s:
1. Jake Fromm UGA
2. Joe Burrow LSU
3. Tua Tagovailoa AL
4. Ian Book Notre Dame
5. Trevor Lawrence Clemson
6. Jacob Eason Washington
7. Hebert Oregon
8. Jalen Hurts Oklahoma
In a related note, former Buckeye QB Dwayne Haskins threw three interceptions in his debut yesterday against the Giants.
Saturday morning I went downstairs early for ESPN College Game Day. Dwayne Wade was the guest picker. At 3:30 I came inside to watch GT/Temple. Kept an eye on Clemson/UNC but mostly Tech. Wanted to see what was the problem. Several poor coaching decisions. Two fumbles caused a 14 point swing in the game, Temple’s way. Collins says they’re going to keep trying hard. Not sure how far they’ll take them. Finally played the best QB, Graham, though the kid seems scared of getting hurt again. The schedule keeps getting tougher.
At 7 pm I started looking for the UGA/Tenn game. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Looked on the internet and saw the game is next week. Watched FSU beat NC State, who I thought was better.
Falcons: everyone blames Matt Ryan, but he wasn’t the one drawing unsportsmanlike penalties or holding on big gains, or missing field goals. Actually I give Matt Bryant a pass since he just came out of retirement to help, after the Falcons had let him go. Loved the throwback uniforms. They ought to wear them against teams with traditional uniforms like the Giants, Bears, Packers, Cowboys, or Raiders.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Know Your Ballplayer #7

JIMMIE FOXX  [SABR Bio] was a Maryland native was known as “The Beast.” - B. 22-Oct-1908, Sudlersville, Maryland He was traded from a perennial winner to a team that would never win during his career. Went to the World Series w/PHA in 1929, 1930 & 1931. The next pennant for BOS was the year after he retired, 1946. Won two MVPs for his first team and one for the second. MVP in 1932, 1933 & 1938, the first one unanimously.
YOGI BERRA [SABR Bio] Bill James deemed him the best catcher of all time. James so stated 04-May-2019 in a public interview at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Only Berra and Mike Trout have finished in the top four in league MVP voting for seven consecutive seasons - MVP top 4 1950-1956, winning in 1951, 54 & 55; finished 2nd in 1953 & 56; finished 3rd in 1950; and 4th in 1952. He received AL MVP votes every season from 1947 through 1962, i.e., 17 straight years! In his first professional postseason action, his team was beat by a team starring Jackie Robinson. In 1946, Berra’s Newark Bears lost to Robinson’s Montreal Royals.  Click here for an excellent article about the series.
SAM THOMPSON [SABR Bio] has the all-time record of career RBI-per-game, racking up .923 RBI over the 1,410 G of his 15-season MLB career. SABR estimates that it “…probably will never be broken.” He played for teams in both the American League and National League in the same city. Played for the NL’s Detroit Wolverines from 1885-1888 and for the AL’s Detroit Tigers in 1906. He played with or for eleven Hall of Famers. Was a teammate of Dan Brouthers, Deacon White, Ned Hanlon, Ed Delahanty, Tim Keefe, Roger Connor, Billy Hamilton, Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford and was managed by Harry Wright. He was born before the war. B. 05-Mar-1860. The Civil War began in 1861.
TONY LAZZERI [SABR Bio] the one-time Cubs coach was the first player to hit a natural cycle, culminating with a grand slam. Cycle 03-Jun-1932. Three Hall of Fame teammates homered in that game as did two Hall of Famers on the opposing team. HRs that day by Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Earle Combs on NYY as well as Mickey Cochrane and Jimmie Foxx on PHA. He coached CHC in 1938. He broke Babe Ruth’s home run record when he hit 60 home runs in the Pacific Coast League in 1925, he bested the 59 that Ruth had hit in 1921 for the record home runs by a professional baseball player in a single season. He grew up in Cow Hollow, loved boxing and dreamt of becoming a prize fighter. Cow Hollow was a rough San Francisco neighborhood in the early 20th century. It has significantly gentrified since then.
NAPOLEON LAJOIE [SABR Bio] was the first player to rack up, in one season, 157 singles, 48 doubles, 9 triples but 0 home runs. Had 214 hits in 1906, mais pas un seul coup de circuit! He didn’t lead his league in triples or singles that year but led the majors in hits. He once cost himself weeks on the DL during a season after wounding himself in fisticuffs with a Hall of Fame teammate. Sparred with Phillies teammate Elmer Flick in 1900. He spent 5 weeks out of action. His team won their franchise’s first pennant their first year without him. Philadelphia A’s released him 21-Apr-1902, two days before Opening Day. He signed on with Cleveland (AL) 31-May-1902. PHA then won the AL’s second ever pennant, 14 games ahead of 5th place CLE.
JIM BOTTOMLEY [SABR Bio] is the only player to hit 40 doubles, 20 triples and 30 home runs in a single season. In 1925, in addition to his 42 doubles, Bottomley led the NL with 20 3b, 31 HR, 136 RBI and 362 total bases. It was not enough to win him the, but he did so 3 years later NL MVP. He reached the doubles total in two other seasons as well but could never duplicate his highs in triples nor homers. His 40 2b in 1926 led the NL. His 44 in 1925 led the majors. For six seasons did he receive MVP votes, but only once did he land in the Top 5. Also received MVP votes in 1924, 25, 27, 31 and 32. Had a fascination with astrology that some found quirky.
RON SANTO [SABR Bio] has the 2nd all-time in career WAR on a franchise that debuted with the National League in 1876. Career WAR of 72.1 trails only that of Cap Anson (84.7). His team won a double header sweep against the eventual World Series champs in his first two games in the majors, halting a nine-game losing streak. His contribution was significant, overcoming early jitters. Debut Gs 26-Jun-1960 (1) & 26-Jun-1960 (2). He was a regular speaker with civic groups during and following his playing career. Suffered diabetes and often gave talks on its prevention and management.
ROGERS HORNSBY  [SABR Bio] is the only member of the 40–400 club. In 1922 w/STL, he hit .401 and had 42 HRs. In the spring of 1962, he uttered one of his lesser-known quotes is, “I’ve posed with some real major leaguers, not bush leaguers like he is (Roger Maris). He couldn’t carry my bat. He didn’t hit in two years what I hit in one." Quote source: NY Mets Spring Training Press Conference (22-Mar-1962). His nickname made him sound like an Indian chief. “Rajah” is an Indian king or prince and a title extended to petty dignitaries and nobles in India during the British Raj.
WEEKLY THEME – Select Hall of Fame players who began their career in one city and ended it in the same city by with a different team in a different league. We purposely excluded Ruth, Mays and Aaron even though they qualify here because of the imminent danger of possible baseball trivia over-exposure.
Player        Debut Team              Final Team           HOF
Berra........1946 NY Yankees ... 1965 NY Mets ....... 1972
WADE BOGGS [SABR Bio] owns more Silver Slugger awards than any other third baseman. Has 8 SS. Mike Schmidt is 2nd w/6. His proclivity for a certain pre-game meal and routine became well-known. Always ate chicken on game days. He had the historic first home run for an expansion franchise. 1st Devil Rays HR 31-Mar-1998.
MICHAEL YOUNG is the only Texas Ranger to be an American League All-Star at three different positions. AS @ SS in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008; @ 3b in 2009; and @ DH in 2011. His Gold Glove season came three seasons after his batting championship. GG in 2008. His .331 led the Junior Circuit in 2005. In college he attended a traditional “party school. Was twice drafted by avian teams. Attended the University of California at Santa Barbara and was drafted by The Orioles and Blue Jays.
CHARLIE GEHRINGER (Why is this man smiling?) [SABR Bio] a Hall of Famer, won his only MVP award the year he hit over .370 and led the league in that category. Received MVP votes 11 times in his career 6 times in the Top Ten. Was the first player in the modern era to hit an inside-the-park home run and a grand slam in the same game - 2 HR = 04-Aug-1930, both off Hall of Fame pitcher Ted Lyons. Only 3 of Gehringer’s 184 career HR were ITP. In fourteen straight seasons, the only time he didn’t bat over .300, he hit .298 - 1927-1940 he hit .300+ save 1932, where he was 2 hits shy. Batted from the left side.
ICHIRO SUZUKI is the only player to win the Rookie of the Year Award and be named Most Valuable Player in the same season this century ROY & MVP 2001. He received MVP votes in 9 of his 1st 10 seasons. He did not, however, receive any more ROY votes. One would have to say he had a very good year as he won his first Gold Glove ad Silver Slugger and was a starter in the All-Star Game. GG was the first of 10 straight; the SS was the first of 3; and the ASG appearances was the first of 10 straight. The same pitcher who surrendered his first professional home run was the same guy who first hit him with a pitch in the majors. Hideo Nomo hit him with a pitch 02-May-2001 but it may have been in retaliation for the HR Ichiro hit off him 12-Jun-1993 when the Orix Blue Wave played the Kinetsu Buffaloes in Japan.
WEE WILLIE KEELER [SABR Bio] was the first native of Brooklyn inducted to the Hall of Fame. B. 03-Mar-1872 in Brooklyn, New York. Played for three teams in the Tri-State area, but had his best years for a team elsewhere. In fact, his first three seasons away from New York, his team won the championship. (A century later to be referred to as a “three-peat.”) Won the NL championship with the Baltimore Orioles 1894, 95, 96, taking the silver in 1897 & 98 before returning to New York. In those five seasons, he amassed well over 1,000 hits and hit .388, including his world-leading .424 in 1897. In his five years “elsewhere” he had five Hall of Fame teammates who all played for a Hall of Fame manager. Dan Brouthers, Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelley, John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson, and played for manager Ned Hanlon.
AL SIMMONS [SABR Bio] was the first American League player to score twice in a single inning  of World Series 1929 WS, G 4, b 7th inning. Jimmie Foxx was the 2nd to do it, 2 seconds later. Sports Illustrated once suggested in a cover story that the team he was on at the time, could possibly be the best of all time - SI 19-Aug-1996 issue. His team’s professional level of play in that World Series, particularly—his—were believed by many to be the provenance of a future widely-held conviction that caprine forces on and beyond the field of play, were going to block future postseason success until lifted - The Billy Goat Curse.
CHUCK KLEIN  [SABR Bio] his record of 44 outfield assists in one season, is the MLB standard for the modern era. 1930 was the big year. Only two other players even had more than 35 and they were in 1903 and 1907. Jimmy Sheckard had 36 in 1903 and Mike Mitchell had 39 in 1907. That same year he had two hitting streaks of 26 games and set the National League record for runs scored in a modern era season. He did all this for a last-place team. His Phillies finished 8th out of 8 NL teams at 52-102, 40 G behind 1st-place STL.
WEEKLY THEME – Players who amassed 200 hits a season for five or more consecutive years. Number of hits bolded indicates led league; bolded & italicized indicate led majors.
Boggs = 8 yrs       With
1983........ 210.......... BOS
1984........ 203.......... BOS
1985........ 240 ......... BOS
1986........ 207.......... BOS**
1987........ 200.......... BOS
1988........ 214.......... BOS*
1989........ 205.......... BOS
Gehringer = 5 yrs... With
1933......... 204........ DET
1934......... 214........ DET**
1935......... 201........ DET
1936......... 227........ DET
1937......... 209........ DET
Keeler = 8 YRS      With
1894......... 219........ BLN**
1895......... 213........ BLN**
1896......... 210........ BLN**
1897......... 239........ BLN
1898......... 216........ BLN
1899......... 216........ BRO**
1900......... 204........ BRO**
1901......... 202........ BRO
Klein = 5 yrs           With
1929......... 219........ PHI
1930......... 250........ PHI
1931......... 200........ PHI
1932......... 226........ PHI
1933......... 223........ PHI
1930 tied for 6th highest all-time (didn’t even lead league)
1930......... 211........ PHA***
1931......... 200........ PHA**
1932......... 216........ PHA
1933......... 200........ CHW 
His 253 in 1925 is the 5th highest all-time
Ichiro = 10 yrs____ With
2001......... 242........ SEA*
2002......... 208........ SEA
2003......... 212........ SEA
2004......... 262........ SEA
2005......... 206........ SEA
2006......... 224........ SEA
2007......... 238........ SEA
2008......... 213........ SEA
2009......... 225........ SEA
2010......... 214........ SEA
2004 all-time record for one season.
Young = 5 yrs......... With
2003......... 204........ TEX
2004......... 216........ TEX
2005......... 221........ TEX
2006......... 217........ TEX
2007......... 201........ TEX 
Young led MLB again in 2011 w/TEX w/213