Tag: Royals

‘Big Game’ Over

Big Game James is gone, and that is totally fine. In fact it’s more than fine. The fans were over whatever it was that Shields brought to the table, and it certainly seemed like Shields couldn’t wait to get out of the mess at PETCO. However, it was the way it finally happened that didn’t make a ton of sense to most of us. Sure, Shields was making a lot of money, but he was rarely thee guy fans pointed to as “the problem”, and that in some weird way was “the problem”. Ron Fowler would disagree with this statement, as he clearly had enough of Shields pissing off managers, and not living up to the contract Fowler himself gave; if that is the reason Shields was finally moved we have a few things to figure out.

Back in 2011 I traded for James Shields down the stretch in fantasy Baseball. He was still slinging for Tampa trying to get out from under the shadow of Bret Saberhagen, and was in the midst of his best season in the majors. His arm did in fact get me into the playoffs however; I did not make it out of the first round. (A not so interesting side note: A week after I made that trade, I dropped Bryce Harper for Francisco Liriano.)

The next year, I couldn’t keep Shields and our relationship ended, until 2015, when he became a Padre. It was a strange signing for everyone involved. Most Padres fans weren’t even that excited about it, they were just more surprised. Shields should’ve gone to the Cubs, but didn’t. He should have gone to the Dodgers, but they passed on his price tag. He should have stayed in Kansas City, but they didn’t really have interest. It seemed like everyone knew what we also knew, but didn’t want to admit – Shields’ best days were behind him, and as we quickly learned Shields is also unable to admit that.

From his very first start with the Padres, things didn’t seem right. Something was off. Perhaps it was just his age catching up to him, or maybe he didn’t have the same desire to pitch in San Diego, or its very possible that he just hated pitching for Bud Black and Darren Balsley. Whatever the problem actually was, Shields definitely wanted to own it without owning it at all. And, that kind of sums up the twilight of Big Game’s career: He wants to be the guy, but he just isn’t.

“The guy” the media focused on, and went to for comments, and he seemed to want that really badly from day one. He seems like a nice guy, a good guy, and genuinely wants the best for every team he’s on, but James Shields wanted to be the face of a franchise for the first time, and picked the exact wrong time to try. In Tampa Shields was overshadowed by guys like Longoria, and Price, the on-going struggles of Melvin Upton, and of course Joe Maddon (Which, is a situation he’d once again avoid by never settling with the Cubs.). He then moved to Kansas City, where it looked like he’d be the headline, but Sal Perez, Ventura, Moustakas, and Cain quickly made him “one of the guys”, and he never stood out. Finally, he was heading to little ‘ol San Diego where he could be thee number one guy for a fledging franchise. He’d be looked at as a savior, the leader, and of course the guy who liked to ‘mix it up’ in the clubhouse. Then two things happened:

1) His contract. He should’ve signed for less. And, I say this purely for his future. He knew once he signed that deal, he had to live up to it. However, his career was at a point where he needed to prove he still “had it”, instead of what he did do, which was pretending he never lost it. And, don’t get me wrong I think James Shields is a very good pitcher, and for a long stretch a great pitcher, but at 33 you’re going to start to see some declining features and that is okay. I’m fine with that, I’m just not fine with paying him a lot of money to pretend to be an ace, and that’s what he did, and everyone but Shields seem to understand this.

2) The 2015 season. Not only was 2015 more disappointing than normal because for the first time in a long time we had a team, that on paper, was a contender. Not World Series champions, but contenders. But, once again Shields couldn’t be “the guy”, he was surrounded by Kemp, Upton, Kimbrel, and even Myers. What he appeared to desperately want, was once again unattainable.

Shields tried to make waves by calling out Bud Black, and was the catalyst for that firing, but new skipper Andy Green laid down the law fairly quickly by naming Ross the ace of the 2016 staff. This time it was Shields who was being called out. He finally got to be “thee guy”, but for all the wrong reasons.

Now, he’s a member of the White Sox, and it’s a great move. Not just for the Padres, who rid themselves of a 34-year old “innings guy” that is just that and only that, but they also get some spare change to go after some young talent. However, it’s also exactly what Shields needs. He’s going to a team that has an ace, plus a lefty who could be the ace on a few other teams (Padres included) and a young stud pitcher who isn’t going anywhere. Shields is put into a rotation that really doesn’t need him, and will look to him for a serviceable 6-7 innings a start and that’s it. If they get more – then that’s a plus! He can’t be “the guy”, and he can’t be “the headline”, and he has to know this going in. He is now a pitcher in his mid-30’s and he can finally begin to come to grips with that.

The final piece of this weird personnel puzzle is Ron Fowler. Fowler pulled a stunt San Diego hasn’t seen since Kroc got on the PA and apologized to fans for how bad his team was. Fowler did something that is an everyday occurrence in sports markets like Boston or Chicago, but not here. We actually need big names (bigger than James) to come to San Diego. We need players to want to come play for Fowler, and Dee, and whoever else. We as fans can’t really afford to let the owner go nuts and call out players, because after a short while, no players will want to play for them. I’m sure Fowler is beyond frustrated, but at the end of the day he said yes to all of this. He gave his million-dollar stamp of approval. He hired the miserable failures. And, it doesn’t matter who he’s referencing as a failure because he hired the guy who hired the other guys, who then hired more people. He is the catalyst for how his franchise will continue to operate, and right now he’s acting like an asshole. But, it’s his team, and he can do whatever he wants. The crazy thing is, I agree with him! He’s right. He just can’t expect to attract top tier talent, while being an asshole.

This organization is being run so poorly that I don’t blame Big Game James for taking shots, calling out his bosses, or Matt Kemp for recently reacting the way he has. It’s making a lot of fans throw their hands in the air, and legitimately not care. The team keeps saying “building” instead of “re-building”, which is basically saying you’re “washing” dishes instead of “cleaning” dishes. When things like this happen it makes a lot people wonder if anyone over there at Friar HQ knows what they’re doing. They seem more interested in creating craft beer nights than scoring runs. Creating social media memes than winning games, and giving fans free fedoras than a relevant product. And, again they can do whatever they want, it’s their team, but once the downtown stadium is built and the Chargers season starts, it’s the Padres that will have to once again compete for fans. So, give away as many fedoras and Dick Enberg themed flash drives as you want, but soon there might not be any fans left to give them to.

For more sports ‘knowledge’ and other ‘stuff’ follow @dallas_mc

MLB Predictions 2016

by Dallas McLaughlin

Well, it’s time for a time-honored, time-sensitive, timeless piece of work known as my 2016 Major League Baseball Predictions! I spend countless time researching and reading and more research and more reading of things, and of course tons of insider information (I know the guy who cleans the Phillie Phanatic costume, so that’s something) that all is equated, tested, and scientifically reworked to provide the closest outcome possible to what might end up being the outcome.

The analysis may sound off, but the picks are always real. And timeless.

Let us start with Alexander Cartwright’s National League:


Philadelphia Phillies: This season the Phillies try something new – and kill Ryan Howard. Not for anything specific, just because. Unfortunately, no one knew that Howard had a direwolf named “Subway”, which goes on a rampage and attacks any Phillie under 25 years old. They play bandaged and bloody, but play well and finish in 3rd.

New York Mets*: Add eight more stud pitchers to the team while forgetting about 1st Base, 2nd Base, 3rd Base, Shortstop, Catcher, and all three outfield spots, but, man that rotation is sweet!

Montreal Nationals: Trade Daniel Murphy after he hits six homeruns in the first week, and no homeruns for the next two months. This opens a spot for Trea Turner who immediately becomes the best second baseman in the history of the game and the Nationals still can’t make the playoffs.

Florida Marlins of Miami: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fof40yqaW1U

Atlanta Braves: Atlanta does everything it can to garner interest in a team that is fielding…Freddie Freeman! They introduce “So, There’s That Night” where any fan who can name the starting outfield wins Freddie Freeman for a day.


Pittsburgh Pirates: Continue to tease fans like your 10th Grade English teacher. Sure, she made it seem like there was a chance, but you knew deep down it would never happen. I mean it might. It totally could, but won’t. Ever. Not until she’s 45 and your 23 and by that time it won’t even be worth it.

St. Louis Cardinals: Who gives a shit?

Chicago Cubs*: The Cubs begin season two of The Riz Goes Mads, and it’s a mess. Anthony Rizzo has left the show due to creative differences (socks), and is replaced by Kris Bryant. However, The Bry Goes Mads never catches on, and the show is cancelled three episodes in. Joe Maddon resigns, Rizzo is busted for steroids, and Kris Bryant gets engaged to Tila Tequila. This leads to a new reality show called The Bry Digs the Hard Stuff, and it runs for eighteen seasons. Somewhere along the way the Cubs do not win the World Series.

Milwaukee Brewers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJzF8_df1R8

Cincinnati Reds: Realize that Brandon Phillips was always on the team, and will always be on the team. He’ll never play anywhere else, and he will never retire. He is the beginning and the end. Genesis and Revelation. He is. Jay Bruce is murdered.


San Francisco Giants* (guest written by Sean O’Donnell): The Giants buy into the “even-year” theory so hard that they declare themselves World Series Champions on Opening Day. They don’t show up to any games, and go 0-162. Somehow they still come in 3rd in the NL West.

Colorado Rockies: Totally forgot they had Jose Reyes. When they remember why he was gone everybody kinda gets the heebie jeebies. Like, ehhhh. You know? Gross. They finish last in the division and DESERVE IT FOR NOT RELEASING HIM WHO CARES ABOUT THE ALLEGATIONS AND RESULTS GROW A FREAKING SPINE HE IS NOT WORTH IT!

Arizona Diamondbacks: Despite the high profile acquisitions and “go for it” attitude, nothing seems to work out right. Goldy breaks his leg in May. Greinke goes into hiding after a fan calls him “incendiary” and he doesn’t know how he’s supposed to take it. AJ Pollock starts making weird splatter paintings with spit in the outfield grass. They lose 83 games, and Pollock doesn’t sell one piece at his first art show “Grass Works”.

San Diego Padres: Andy Green brings a new attitude into the clubhouse, and surprisingly the team finishes in second place in the West. The celebration is cut short when in a ‘happy rage’ Mark Maguire eats Andy Green whole, and all the ghosts that Fernando Rodney has been shooting all these years with ghost arrows enact their revenge on the unsuspecting San Diego public.

Los Angeles Dodgers of Anaheim (guest written by Q): Hit with so many injuries that they sparked a M.A.S.H. reboot—delighting white people everywhere! The Dodgers decided to just go with Kershaw, A-Gonz, and Puig in the field. Unfortunately, Puig was injured riding an actual bull in from right field and Adrian left to model Doublemint gum.  So Kershaw played on. Alone. Somehow, the Dodgers still finished 13 games ahead of the Padres.

WILD CARDS: Dodgers, Pirates


Now, on to Ban Johnson’s load of bull, American League:


New York Yankees: On “Old Timers” Day, the team tries to bring Yogi Berra back to life using jumper cables. Amazingly it doesn’t work, and the results are horrifying. The whole fiasco curses the Pinstripes and they lose a record 145 games. They still finish in 2nd place.

Baltimore Orioles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLaM1d383eg

Boston Red Sox: In the grand tradition of not letting the Yankees outdo them, they try to bring Curt Schilling back to life. Everything was going smoothly until someone realized he wasn’t dead. This caused the Red Sox brass to claim the experiment a success, and that they are once again better than the Yankees. David Ortiz explodes from all the steroids.

Toronto Blue Jays*: At the beginning of the season John Gibbons brings a life-size cardboard cut out of Goose Gossage into the locker room. It’s covered, and every time the Blue Jays win, a piece of the cover is removed revealing more and more of Gossage. The strategy works and the Blue Jays win 120 games. When all the pieces are removed, the Toronto Blue Jays become 35 of now only 63 people who know why Gossage got the nickname “Goose”.

Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria is still playing on this team.


Cleveland Indians: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpZ3LODBK7E

Chicago White Sox: After a very strange Spring Training, to regain the love of his players, Jerry Reinsdorf decides to sign Drake LaRoche to DH in his father’s place. Surprisingly he hits for a better average, but unsurprisingly he’s a little brat. They immediately release him, and sign the pop star Drake to pitch relief. Unsurprisingly he is booed during every appearance.

Kansas City Royals: Chasing the dragon, they start the season by winning 45 games in a row! However, it all comes to a screeching halt on ‘Mike Moustakas Bobble Head’ night when George Brett brings an actual moose to the stadium and it tramples Sal Perez to death.

Detroit Tigers*: Verlander almost makes a comeback. Miggy hits 36 homeruns. Upton has a great year. JD Martinez strikes out a lot. That’s all.

Minnesota Twins: If you listen hard enough, you can hear the faint sounds of every fan in Minnesota softly chanting, “Kumite, Kimute, Kumite…”


Anaheim Angels of Dodgers: Completely shocked he still manages the team; Mike Scioscia decides its time to test the limits. He benches Pujols and starts CJ Cron, trades Garrett Richards and Huston Street to the A’s for Eric Sogard and Josh Phegley, starts Trout at Catcher, and re-signs Josh Hamilton to do absolutely nothing. They win 64 games and he signs a contract extension for $30 million over seven years.

Oakland Athletics*: With Richards and Street now on the roster, they win the division and lose in the first round of the playoffs.

Houston Astros: Springer gets hurt in the first week, Gattis retires after they make him shave his beard, and oddly, Doug Fister does not work out. They still show a ton of effort, and everyone is just really very proud of them.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners re-sign Ichiro for one more victory lap, and he amazingly hits .320 for the season and the team begins to compete for a wild card birth. This ignites the city, and all the fans that claimed to always be Seahawks fans, have once again shifted back and now always claim to have been Mariners fans. Marshawn Lynch sings the National Anthem on opening day.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers are forced to trade Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar when all the other teams enact a long forgotten rule called the “But, It’s Not Fair” rule. They trade Gallo for Steven Matz from the Mets, and Profar for more sunflower seeds.

WILD CARD: Astros, Yankees


WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS: San Francisco Giants (in 6)

That’s it! That’s the prediction. I wish I could have picked some fancy winner, but it’s an even year and what do you want? I was the only one who picked the Giants to win back in 2012, and hot damn I’ll do it again!

Thanks for reading, now go watch some Baseball you idiot!

For more expert analysis and things you won’t like follow me onTwitter @dallas_mc

TKF Pod 25: Raiders vs Chargers

This week Nick, Dallas and Travis recap the depressing Chargers vs Raiders game, the impending move to LA, the Padres manager search, and the World Series. Follow on Twitter @thekeptfaith.

Download the episode here:





2015 MLB Predictions

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for me to be incredibly impressive with my accurate predictions for the forthcoming MLB Season. As always, the picks are real, and you are extremely welcome for the insider info. Please take my picks, go to Vegas, and put all of your money on what I think is right.

We’ll start with the League of our Forefathers: National


Arizona Diamondbacks: After years of mediocre Baseball, and subpar seasons of rebuilding and selling off young talent for nothing in return, the Diamondbacks ask to officially change their name to the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles Dodgers of Irvine: After losing their first 20 games, the Dodgers announce “Rub Tommy Lasorda’s Belly Night”. The promotion goes awry when Tommy gets completely naked and runs onto the field during the 7th inning stretch yelling, “FERNANDO-MANIA HAS RETURNED!”

Colorado Rockies: Have not been heard from for the last six years. If you have any information regarding their whereabouts please e-mail ToddHelton@DanteBichette.geocities.com

San Diego Padres: Have done everything they can to eventually let us all down. KEEP THE FAITH!

San Francisco Giants*: After losing a few key players to free agency, the Giants replace them with castoffs and unknowns and somehow make the playoffs. A statue of Bruce Bochy is erected on top of Alcatraz. He is The Rock.


Cincinnati Reds: Jay Bruce hits .220 with 30 homeruns. Joey Votto hits .290 with 79 RBI. Billy Hamilton hits .183 and steals 92 bases. Johnny Cueto wins 13 games and strikes out 202 batters. The team collapses of monotony and finishes 3rd.

Pittsburgh Pirates*: Are just sooooooooo close!

Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo decides to give himself a Mohawk, wear nothing but cut off shorts and tank tops, and demand that everyone calls him “The Riz!” Joe Maddon likes the idea and pitches a reality show where he and The Riz are unlikely roommates in a downtown Chicago loft. The Riz Goes Mads is a huge hit, and the Cubs lose 98 games.

Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun is once again caught for steroids, but this time it really wasn’t his fault. You see, Jonathan Lucroy dared him to eat all the steroids in the locker room, and at first Braun was like no way, but he’s always been super serious about dares, so he tried to pretend like he was eating them, so he wouldn’t look like a wimp, but then ended up actually eating them all by accident.

St. Louis Cardinals: Are so boring that it took me three minutes (an actual three minutes) to remember they were in this division. Listen, I know two guys who love the Cardinals…So, Sam and Jimmy, I wish you all the luck Matt Adams will have versus Left-Handed pitching this year.


Atlanta Braves: For the first time since the 90’s the Braves aren’t relevant. We can all sleep a little better at night.

Miami Marlins: Christian Yelich surpasses everyone’s expectations by hitting 45 homeruns and knocking in 139 RBI. The Marlins then sign him to a 20-year $874 million dollar contract. Both of his arms are tragically bitten off by an actual marlin on “Bring Your Own Marlin Night”.

Philadelphia Phillies: Finally trade Cole Hamels…for Cliff Lee. Everyone is confused, and no one is happy.

New York Mets: To drum up interest in the new season, ownership starts a nationwide contest called ‘Pitch for the Mets’! Anyone is eligible* (*must be willing to have Tommy John surgery immediately)

Washington Nationals*: The Nationals win over 100 games and go on to the World Series! Bryce Harper drinks soda for the first time and disappears for games one and two. When he finally does show up, he’s married, has no memory of the last three months, and burns all of Max Scherzer’s shoes.

NL WILDCARDS: Padres & Cubs

NL CHAMPS: Nationals

Now, on to the League of Miscreants and Vagabonds: American


Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Josh Hamilton is officially listed as a character from The Wire.

Houston Astros: Listen, you can put the Astros in the Premier League and they’d still be the worst at Baseball.

Oakland A’s*: Surprise the Baseball world once again by winning 90 games and not surprisingly celebrate their great regular season with a 1st Round exit from the playoffs. Billy Beane is found on top of the Oakland Bay Bridge singing “Everybody Hurts” and screaming, “Brad Pitt was me!!”

Texas Rangers: After losing 45 out of their first 60 games, the Rangers clean house. They trade Yovani Gallardo for three double-A relievers, Shin-Soo Choo for Michael Cuddyer, Jr., Elvis Andrus for Elvis Grbac, Prince Fielder for more uniforms, and sign Jurickson Profar to an extension. The strategy does not work, although at least one or two dudes thought it totally could have.

Seattle Mariners: To better connect with the city, the team forces all their players to choose either Nirvana or Pearl Jam songs for their walk-up music. Robinson Cano is fined $10,000 when he defiantly chooses Mudhoney’s “Chain That Door”. [Please note: This joke, and these references would’ve absolutely killed in 1993]


Detroit Tigers*: After letting Kate Upton throw out the first pitch the team becomes cursed. They lose every other game, and somehow nude photos of every player surface on the Internet. Justin Verlander’s demise is finally explained, but everyone agrees it was totally worth it.

Kansas City Royals: After a miracle 2014 season, the Royals are unable to repeat the magic. Ticket sales plummet, and at dinner on July 30th your father is overheard saying, “Now, this is more like it.” Eric Hosmer once again shows a lot of potential.

Chicago White Sox: After spending a busy offseason signing some high profile free agents, it’s unanimously agreed that no one cares and it was all futile. Jeff Samardzija spends all of June crying in the clubhouse when it’s revealed that absolutely no one knows how to spell his name.

Cleveland Indians: Sign Lebron James as a publicity stunt, but when he shows up ready to play, the team just goes with it. He is very bad, and once again the debate begins on who’s better: Jordan or Lebron. Having coached Jordan in the minors, Terry Francona publicly comes out in support of Jordan. Lebron has Francona fired, and takes over as manager. He immediately signs Johnny Manziel, and the Indians go on to lose an unprecedented 300 games; thus completing Lebron’s finite revenge on Cleveland’s sports fans.

Minnesota Twins: Torii Hunter does not work out.


New York Yankees: When Chase Headley is named the starter at third base, A-Rod goes into a roid rage. He breaks all the Hall of Fame plaques in two, eats the bases, and uses Joe Girardi’s legs to beat Didi Gregorious to death. Somehow the Yankees still don’t release him.

Baltimore Orioles: Have another great year, and absolutely no one notices.

Toronto Blue Jays: Heading into the All-Star break in first place, the Blue Jays are riding high, then go on to lose their next 40 games. In an attempt to regain their fan base they invite The Kids In Hall to perform post-game for an entire weekend. Every game is a sellout, but things take a turn when Josh Donaldson is injured as a guest vocalist on “These Are The Dave’s I Know”. [Please Note: This reference is great.]

Boston Red Sox*: After failing to sign every single free agent available, the Red Sox are forced to start some of their young talent. It works out fine, and things go well.

Tampa Bay Rays: After losing Andrew Friedman and Maddon, many feel the Rays mystique is gone. To fix this the team convinces Chris Archer to wear Maddon’s famous thick-rimmed glasses. This inadvertently turns Archer into an elite pitcher, and he wins the Cy Young. The celebration is cut short on a very sad episode of The Riz Goes Mads when Archer is caught stealing all of Maddon’s glasses. Archer is sent to prison, where he starts an all-new reality series –Three Strikes, I’m Out – chronicling Archer’s journey to find redemption, and the perfect curve.

AL WILDCARDS: White Sox and Angels



Well, there you have it: a completely flawless and analytic look at the 2015 MLB Season. Yes, I have the Nationals winning it all, which is highly unlikely, but so far I’ve been .500 in my picks, so there. SHUT UP.

Happy Opening Day!

For more expert sports stuff, and things you probably won’t care about, follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc 

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