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Monday, March 23, 2009

Knobler: Astros’ Cooper: ‘We should win 90’

I’m reminded of Alice Cooper saying they should win 50 states.

“We should win 90 games, without question,” Cooper said this morning. “We have a terrific bullpen. We have one of the best closers in the game. We’ve got the ace in the National League. We’ve got three of the best offensive players at their position. We’ve got, if not the best, then one of the top catchers in baseball.

“I mean, c’mon. We’ve got what it takes. You’re telling me we’re not going to win that many games?”

The Astros do have a top closer in Jose Valverde. They have Roy Oswalt atop their rotation. They have Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee. The Pudge Rodriguez signing can’t hurt.

But 90 wins?

No one outside the Astros clubhouse is predicting 90 wins for this team. More people are predicting 90 losses.

“I’ve heard,” Cooper said. “I don’t care what they say. I’ve been with them everyday. I believe in what we have here. I do believe we’ll win 90-plus.”

Repoz Posted: March 23, 2009 at 04:45 PM | 55 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros

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   1. Juan V Posted: March 23, 2009 at 04:59 PM (#3111538)
Over how many seasons?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:05 PM (#3111549)
This is an awfully dumb thing for a manager to do.

In the very very likely eventuality that the Astros win <90 games, and don't even sniff the playoffs, the obvious question will be "You said you had 90 win talent, why couldn't you manage the team to that level".

This is a great way for Cooper to set up his own firing. Maybe that's what he wants.
   3. The Essex Snead Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:07 PM (#3111553)
Maybe he's talking about the win total across the whole organization?
   4. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:07 PM (#3111554)
We’ve got three of the best offensive players at their position.

Berkman and...

Lee, I guess. Who's the third? Pudge? Tejada? Please.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3111559)
this is a team I fully expect to finish below the Pirates in the standings, I understand trying to motivate your team, but really this is silly. If they win 90 games this season, it would require ROY performance out of half of the team and some incredibly fluky years out of the rest.
   6. RJ in TO Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3111565)
This is an awfully dumb thing for a manager to do.

In the very very likely eventuality that the Astros win <90 games, and don't even sniff the playoffs, the obvious question will be "You said you had 90 win talent, why couldn't you manage the team to that level".

This is a great way for Cooper to set up his own firing. Maybe that's what he wants.


Well, he could say "We'll be lucky to win 80", in which case the Astros owner would fire him now.

The team won 86 games last year, and I'm sure that he thinks (or at least knows that PR requires him to say) that they've improved. He really doesn't have a lot of choice in his predictions.
   7. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:14 PM (#3111573)
I don't know if I'd pick the Astros to finish behind the Pirates, but they look pretty bad.
   8. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:14 PM (#3111574)
We’ve got the ace in the National League.

The Giants traded Lincecum?
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3111576)
Well, he could say "We'll be lucky to win 80", in which case the Astros owner would fire him now.

The team won 86 games last year, and I'm sure that he thinks (or at least knows that PR requires him to say) that they've improved. He really doesn't have a lot of choice in his predictions.


He should say something bland and unchallengeable. "We expect to be very competitive. A lot will depend on our SP. We need some of the young guys to produce."

It is insanity for any team manager besides the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Angels, Mets and Cubs to predict 90+ wins.
   10. salvomania Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:17 PM (#3111580)
Who's the third?

My guess is he's talking Hunter Pence, because of the 25 homers...back in Cecil's day if you hit 25 homers you were usually one of the elite guys at your position...
   11. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3111603)
My guess is he's talking Hunter Pence, because of the 25 homers...back in Cecil's day if you hit 25 homers you were usually one of the elite guys at your position...
Well, Cecil Cooper thinks I-Rod is among the best catchers in baseball, despite not having a job two weeks ago. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say this is just being RahRah! gone mad but if not, well, that's an impressive bit of out-of-touchness.
   12. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:28 PM (#3111604)
We’ve got the ace in the National League.

The Giants traded Lincecum?


No, but you must've missed the Santana to Houston trade. So did I, for that matter.
   13. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:29 PM (#3111608)
Well, Cecil Cooper thinks I-Rod is among the best catchers in baseball, despite not having a job two weeks ago.

Having watched Ausmus and Towles for the last year-plus, I suppose he can be forgiven for being unduly impressed by Pudge.
   14. Swedish Chef Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:29 PM (#3111610)
Why not stick your neck out as manager? If things go awry you will be fired anyhow. That you were dour and negative or bland and noncommital before the season certainly won't be any help to you when the daggers are unsheated. Relentless boosting is the way to go.
   15. THBaseball12 Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:34 PM (#3111620)
"Over how many seasons?"

Yeah, will the Astros surpass the 90-win total by May of 2010?
   16. Suff Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:34 PM (#3111621)
"We suck," Cooper said today. "I pulled the crap they game me last year out of my own brilliance up to 86 wins, but who expects Brian Moehler to win 10+ games this year? I sure as hell don't. Ty Wigginton and his fluke season is gone, too. A contending team with Geoff Blum at 3B? Give me a break. And Miguel Tejada is toast. Talk about a guy who needed to keep taking steroids..."

Cooper ended his tirade by saying, "We have Russ Ortiz in camp. Wandy Rodriguez is our #2 starter. Wandy freaking Rodriguez. That's all I have to say. We'll be lucky to win 60."

-----

Predicting your 86-win team from a year ago to win 90 this year is not really news, even if most observers think there's no way. He's a competitor that came really close to winning that many games last year. This really isn't a big deal.
   17. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: March 23, 2009 at 05:59 PM (#3111677)
No, but you must've missed the Santana to Houston trade

The Astros only wish they could reverse that Rule V disaster.
   18. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: March 23, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3111678)
Oh yeah. I'd forgotten it was the Astros who left Santana unprotected in the Rule V.
   19. Vance W Posted: March 23, 2009 at 06:24 PM (#3111720)
The Astros have a sneaky way of overachieving. That '08 team didn't look like a 86-game winner either.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: March 23, 2009 at 06:28 PM (#3111727)
The Astros have a sneaky way of overachieving. That '08 team didn't look like a 86-game winner either.

agreed about that part, but I think they have gone to the well one too many times with this team, I don't really see a way that this team is competitive at all.
   21. nathanj42 Posted: March 23, 2009 at 06:28 PM (#3111728)
ESPN.com has the rotation being:
Oswalt
Wandy
Mike Hampton - < 150 IPs in the last 4 years combined
Moehler - had some solid years with the Tigers in the late 90s
Russ (or Ramon?) Ortiz - Since '05, he's pitched 227 IP w/ a 6.94 ERA

They're an Oswalt injury away from giving up 900+ runs.
   22. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 23, 2009 at 06:37 PM (#3111744)
It is insanity for any team manager besides the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Angels, Mets and Cubs to predict 90+ wins.

I guess the Phillies would be on this list if not for that fire sale they had after the World Series...
   23. Tricky Dick Posted: March 23, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3111827)

It is insanity for any team manager besides the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Angels, Mets and Cubs to predict 90+ wins


Well, he made this exact same prediction last year at mid-season, so I don't think he considers it a big deal. Based on what he says in the Houston Chronicle's article, he feels like the team last year would have bested 90 wins and met his prediction, without the hurricane. Given that he made the 90 win prediction in the previous season, it's hard for him to evade the reporter's questioning about 90 wins this year.

As for Russ Ortiz, I'm surprised to say that he has looked good this spring. He is coming off his second year after TJ surgery, and supposedly has decent velocity. Who knows...

In fairness to Moehler, he was a fairly serviceable starter in 08...150 innings of 4.56 ERA. I wouldn't bet on him repeating that performance, but he isn't as bad as you might think.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3111845)
I guess the Phillies would be on this list if not for that fire sale they had after the World Series...

You could add the Phillies. I was just listing the teams for whom a sub-90 win season would be a failure, regardless of circumstances.

The Phillies have a post-WS honeymoon. Nobody's getting fired if they win 83 games.
   25. rr Posted: March 23, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3111860)
This really isn't a big deal.

Agreed. The only X factor is how McLane sees it, but if the Astros are anywhere near as bad as people here think they are, Cooper will be fired anyway.
   26. Darnell McDonald had a farm Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:29 PM (#3111894)
I should have a solid gold toilet
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3111897)
Agreed. The only X factor is how McLane sees it, but if the Astros are anywhere near as bad as people here think they are, Cooper will be fired anyway.

Really? If a team with no semblance of a rotation wins 74 games, they're going to can Cooper?
   28. RJ in TO Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:36 PM (#3111901)
If the owner believes that the team should win 85-90 games, then the answer is probably "yes".
   29. Quinton McCracken's BFF Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:45 PM (#3111907)
Well, Cecil Cooper thinks I-Rod is among the best catchers in baseball, despite not having a job two weeks ago.

Manny didn't have a job like 3 weeks ago?
   30. Lassus Posted: March 23, 2009 at 08:51 PM (#3111913)
I don't know what the uproar is here. Predicting 4 more wins for your team is perfectly acceptable, and actually kind of admirable in my opinion. He didn't say they were going to win 95 games, for christ's sake.
   31. DL from MN Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:00 PM (#3111924)
The lead story on the Pioneer Press weekend sports page was on how the Astros were counting on Mike Hampton to get them to the playoffs. I concluded a couple things from that article.

1) Newspapers are dying because they're lazy, who other than the incredibly baseball obsessed in Minnesota wants to read that story? Who thinks that is the best article in the sports pages? Who thinks this sells newspapers and gets repeat customers?
2) How could the reporter not seriously question the ridiculous proposition that Hampton would be a solid starter for the entirety of the article? Objectivity should go out the window when they're blowing smoke up your ass. Why would you reprint a story that is that silly?
   32. Mike Green Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:05 PM (#3111926)
Public predictions of win totals, be they 75, 85 or 95, are a bad idea for a manager.
   33. Styles P. Deadball Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3111930)
I guess our reaction to him citing a number (which I don't think they have a hope in hell of reaching) is the reason baseball guys usually give the "We'll just play 'em one game at a time and, good lord willing, things will work out"-type statements.
   34. Mister High Standards Posted: March 23, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3111948)
I think the demise of the Astros is being overplayed. I think they will finnish pretty close to 500 as a baseline and 90 wins while a very unlikly outcome wouldn't cause my chin to scrape the floor.
   35. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:10 PM (#3111999)
they might have a chance to win 90 but how many of those games is latroy going to blow?
   36. jingoist Posted: March 23, 2009 at 10:18 PM (#3112007)
Yeah, I agree.
This current crop of Astro's might not be the second coming but they are almost a certain bet to finish above the Pirates in 09.
Of course all they need to do is win 70 games this year and they'll finish 2 or 3 games better than the Bucs.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:02 PM (#3112041)
I think the demise of the Astros is being overplayed. I think they will finnish pretty close to 500 as a baseline and 90 wins while a very unlikly outcome wouldn't cause my chin to scrape the floor.

Really!? According to ZiPs, they have only 3 pitchers projected to have an ERA under 5.50 and pitch more than 100 innings, one of whom I never heard of, Chris Sampson (who appears to be a reliever in other projections.)
   38. Tricky Dick Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:48 PM (#3112064)
I tend to agree with the .500-ish range for the Astros. The Astros' starters' ERA last year averaged 4.53. The same starters basically are back, except that every starter with an ERA above 5 as a starter last year (Backe, Chacon, primarily) is not expected to be in the rotation this year. A one-third year of Wolf is replaced with maybe one third year of Hampton, or however pessimistic you might be on Hampton's ability to stay healthy. Russ Ortiz appears likely to be the 5 starter, and he appears to be healthy and throwing well. In any event, Ortiz can't do worse than Backe's 08 results. Oswalt isn't likely to have a repeat of last year's first half. Given all of that, the Astros' rotation isn't great but it is likely to have better results than last year or at worst about the same.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: March 23, 2009 at 11:51 PM (#3112065)
I think the demise of the Astros is being overplayed. I think they will finnish pretty close to 500 as a baseline and 90 wins while a very unlikly outcome wouldn't cause my chin to scrape the floor.

as currently configured I just don't see the Astros doing anything remotely close to a .500 record.
   40. zonk Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:15 AM (#3112073)
If Wandy Rodriquez can get healthy and stay relatively so, I think he'll take a step forward to be a solid mid-rotation starter, but I certainly am not laying money on Cecil's inside info.
   41. base ball chick Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:08 AM (#3112107)
look guys

drayton mclane thinks, really REALLY thinks that he has put together a championship team. or at least a team that can sneak into the playoffs and then it is a crapshoot, just like billybeans sez

cecil cooper is not a good manager and is trying to keep his job

yeh he might could get fired/not get his contract renewed if the astros end up under 500 or they aren't doing their usual post ASB run, but it ain't because he couldn't make chicken salad outta chicken poopoo, it is because he wasn't a good manager in the first place

and of course another manager would make champions out of chicken poopoo. but i digress

and berkman is great and carlos lee is good with a bat and coop thinks tejada is one of the best offensive SS in the NL (where in the eff that come from don't ask me as the guy was like -20 RCAA last year) because he does not know who hanley ramirez is, apparently, let alone jimmy rollins/jose reyes etc. as for pudge, he is gonna bat between .280 and .300 and what else do you need? walks are for pu$$ies and so what if pudge tejada and lee form the greatest trio of GIDP of all time? at least they didn't strike out

as for the starters, hampton won't get hurt and will pitch like he did 10 years ago and russ ortiz will pitch like its 01-03 because he got his elbow fixed and lost some weight. and of course jose capellan will suddenly turn into an ace starter after years of failure and cox/schuerholz will be proven wrong for the 3rd time in 20 years

latroy hawkins only gave up 1 run in 20 appearances last year and therefore he will repeat those stats this year. he'll be the setup guy, not the closer, so he won't be blowing saves like he did in chicago

wandy, as usual is dissed by astros fans even though he was the second best pitcher on the staff last year
   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 24, 2009 at 02:30 AM (#3112195)
cecil cooper is not a good manager and is trying to keep his job


I know you're closer to the situation, but after posting a 101-91 mark with the talent he's had on hand, Coop probably deserves a little more time before we can safely conclude he's not a good manager.
   43. Foster Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:30 AM (#3112283)
He may be a fine manager, and I don't like snark about understandable optimism, but $100 on the under.
   44. base ball chick Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:48 AM (#3112318)
SOSH

sigh

yes i know what the record is, but in my opinion, his decisions that contribute to it are small. chacon wasn't exactly the only guy - um, not happy last year

- if you wanna trade managers, i'd go for it
   45. Suff Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:55 AM (#3112340)
Really!? According to ZiPs, they have only 3 pitchers projected to have an ERA under 5.50 and pitch more than 100 innings, one of whom I never heard of, Chris Sampson (who appears to be a reliever in other projections.)


If you've never heard of Chris Sampson, you lose the right to an opinion on the Astros' chances. He's been on the team for years now, since '06. (There are lots of guys like Sampson on other teams I know little or nothing about, too, but then I don't really have a right to a strong opinion on those teams either).

The Astros are likely to be respectable simply because they have a few elite guys and they have shored up a gaping hole in their lineup, and Bourn has to be better than last year or he won't play much. As for the rotation being the same or better, I'm not sure about that. Anyone in that rotation could go 6+ and not surprise me after Oswalt. Then again, it wouldn't shock me that much for Wandy to win 14+ games and have an ERA under 4, either.
   46. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 24, 2009 at 04:23 AM (#3112382)
yes i know what the record is, but in my opinion, his decisions that contribute to it are small. chacon wasn't exactly the only guy - um, not happy last year


And I'd say that our knowledge of the role his decisions contributed to the record is even smaller.

Maybe it was a fluke (Garner's shown that can happen in Houston). But a guy who's taken a team with not much talent to a 91-81 record in a year and change is going to get a longer look from me before I conclude he's a bad manager, the bruised feelings of a dumbass like Shawn Chacon notwithstanding.


- if you wanna trade managers, i'd go for it


No thanks. Unlike most BTFers, I like my manager just fine.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 24, 2009 at 09:53 AM (#3112621)
If I had to guess Cooper's strength as manager is making every guy feel valued. As a player Cecil spoke how in Boston unless you were one of the main guys neither management nor the media gave a hoo-ha.

It takes effort to make two dozen guys "feel the love". But that can pay off if you make it happen.
   48. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:01 PM (#3112635)
I think it's going to be a race to the bottom of the NL Central this year between the Pirates and Astros, and I think Houston has a decent chance of "winning". In my mind, they're the favorite at this point, though it's close.
   49. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:14 PM (#3112640)
jose capellan will suddenly turn into an ace starter after years of failure and cox/schuerholz will be proven wrong for the 3rd time in 20 years
That was an extra sassy sentence.

it wouldn't shock me that much for Wandy to win 14+ games and have an ERA under 4
You may be a minority of 1 with that opinion :)
   50. zonk Posted: March 24, 2009 at 12:57 PM (#3112648)
it wouldn't shock me that much for Wandy to win 14+ games and have an ERA under 4

You may be a minority of 1 with that opinion :)


Well... I'd say at least a minority of 2.
   51. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:00 PM (#3112650)
He was miquoted. He said we should win IN 90. 2090
   52. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:28 PM (#3112673)
If you've never heard of Chris Sampson, you lose the right to an opinion on the Astros' chances. He's been on the team for years now, since '06. (There are lots of guys like Sampson on other teams I know little or nothing about, too, but then I don't really have a right to a strong opinion on those teams either).

Never claimed to be an Astros fan or an expert on them. I'm just saying, that if your third best starter (and he's really more of a swingman) is a guy I've never heard of (and your 4th and 5th best are Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz), you're in a lot of trouble.
   53. Tricky Dick Posted: March 24, 2009 at 01:49 PM (#3112689)
it wouldn't shock me that much for Wandy to win 14+ games and have an ERA under 4


You may be a minority of 1 with that opinion :)



Well... I'd say at least a minority of 2.


Wandy is one of the better lefthanded starters in the NL. The only thing which keeps him from winning 14 games, at this point, is his prospensity for muscle pulls, which put him on the DL too much. As for an ERA under 4: Wandy's ERA was 3.54 last year and his FIP was 3.62.
   54. base ball chick Posted: March 24, 2009 at 03:15 PM (#3112783)
Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 24, 2009 at 05:53 AM (#3112621)

If I had to guess Cooper's strength as manager is making every guy feel valued.


- not that i've heard about. guys got on his shtt list fast and stayed there. from what i heard it was almost as bad as when terry collins was here


As a player Cecil spoke how in Boston unless you were one of the main guys neither management nor the media gave a hoo-ha.

- he was right, but even if management didn't like/want you, there are 3 beat reporters + richard justice who basically talk to every single guy on the team and we've had reporting on almost every player, even the scrubs. even chacon was good with the media/teammates

It takes effort to make two dozen guys "feel the love". But that can pay off if you make it happen.

- agree
i think that managers who able to elicit cooperation and a good group effort from their entire group are rare
- the old system has been gone for a long time

sigh

one thing i won't never be able to understand about yall male people is why, with a manager, you WANT/need "clubhouse leaders"


Edmundo, survivor of 7 right-sourcings Posted: March 24, 2009 at 08:14 AM (#3112640)

jose capellan will suddenly turn into an ace starter after years of failure and cox/schuerholz will be proven wrong for the 3rd time in 20 years

That was an extra sassy sentence.


- grinning
as an astros fan, i have ENORMOUS respect for the judgement of bobby cox/schuerholz when it comes to pitchers. 3 mistakes over 20 years when it comes to pitchers is simply incredible (and i probably shouldn't count jason marquis) and i don't know if wainwright was actually a mistake or a calculated loss

it wouldn't shock me that much for Wandy to win 14+ games and have an ERA under 4
You may be a minority of 1 with that opinion :)


- make that 3
since he quit throwing slders and quit nibbling (like rueter) he has turned into a very VERY good lefty and strikeout pitcher. tricky dick is exactly right
- astros fans keep focusing on his troubles in 06, not his performance over the last 2 years

that and they don't like that he is "emotional" - sort of like paul oneil - emotional is only ok if u are a closer or paul oneil

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