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Friday

17

February 2012

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COMMENTS

Morning News: Cubs Report To Camp, More Rankings, Carter, and Lin

Written by , Posted in General

 

Pitchers & Catchers, TOMORROW! The sooner we start the season, the sooner we can move on to 2013! By the end of the weekend, only a handful of teams will be waiting for the early arrivals; and a week from today the entire Cubs squad will be in Mesa (assuming no one decides to continue the self-involved legacy of Carlos Zambrano – and Sammy Sosa before him – by showing up to camp at his leisure).

MLB Future Power Rankings Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. I do apologize to those who aren’t ESPN Insiders (but you get Insider access as a perk if you subscribe to ESPN the Magazine, so the Insider club isn’t THAT exclusive). This is a series of Insider articles that ESPN has posted this week. Before you get your knickers in a twist over the final list, be sure to read how and by whom the process was scored. The goal is project the success of each franchise over the next five years. It’s fascinating – 4 of the Top 6 teams in their ranking are from the AL East, the 5th team in that division is ranked as the worst (30th) overall. The Cubs check in at No. 13 mostly on the strength of a deep pocketbook and good leadership. Essentially we’re a crappy team currently and a middling franchise for the next few years. Hard to argue with that.

The Kid Is Dead HOFer Gary Carter died on Thursday. My enduring memory of Carter is a preposterous commercial he did in the 80s, the thrust of which was that he was “peaked” – phonetically that’s pē-kid as in “pale and drawn in appearance so as to suggest illness or stress; wan and sickly.” He became known as the “pee-kid” guy in our house. I searched high and low for the commercial, unfortunately I was unable to recall the product he was pimping so I haven’t a link. Whatever the product was, it reportedly helped his “pee-kid” problem.

Jeremy Lin Put aside the horrible puns – which aren’t his fault – if you haven’t seen Lin live (on TV or in person), you haven’t seen Lin yet. Highlight reels don’t do him justice. The comparisons are rampant, and I have yet to hear an appropriate one. Some liken him to Tebow, except Lin appears to be more than a unique combination of smoke, mirrors, and hype (plus Lin wasn’t homeschooled to my knowledge!). Others have likened him to Rudy Ruettiger, except Lin appears to be worthy of far more than a token appearance in a one-sided affair. If his sport was baseball, there would be a heavy chorus of “it’s just a few games” – if it was football, we’d hear “wait until there’s enough game tape” or “wait until he sees a good opponent.” But Jeremy Lin started for the Knicks on February 4th and he’s been among the best players in the NBA for nearly 2 weeks. It’s much harder to suddenly dominate in the NBA, because NBA supremacy relies so heavily on talent – it’s much harder to make up a talent disparity with gimmicks, luck, or even coaching in the NBA. Lin has taken the league by storm and the league has been forced to shoe-horn him into the All-Star weekend festivities. The Knicks have gone from borderline playoff team to perhaps the 3rd best team in the East simply because of a guy who had bounced from team to team, seemingly destined to wave a towel 82 nights a year.

  • Buddy

    What in the world does Lin have to do with Tebow? The whole “Lin-sanity” thing is way out of hand. Yes, he’s played well for ten games or so. Let’s see if he can sustain it before we all lose our minds. 

  • Buddy

    What in the world does Lin have to do with Tebow? The whole “Lin-sanity” thing is way out of hand. Yes, he’s played well for ten games or so. Let’s see if he can sustain it before we all lose our minds. 

  • Mark P.

    Every blip on the radar has to have a narrative–the masses eat it up.

  • BLPCB

    I think Jeremy Lin will have a good NBA career, but right now he is being hyped up, and someone is going to overpay. Let the hype die down on this guy. Crazy that I’m 2 months older than him.

  • AC0000000

    I think Jeremy Lin will have a good NBA career, but right now he is being hyped up, and someone is going to overpay. Let the hype die down on this guy. Crazy that I’m 2 months older than him.

  • Doc Raker

    What is this NBA you speak of? RIP Gary Carter, he was one of those guys I always hated to see come into Wrigley Field. Carter would always be a big part of beating up the Cubs. I always remember him as an Expo, not as a Met.

  • Tommy

    As I indicated in Lizzie’s column, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the man and career of Gary Carter. The Cubs have Ernie, the Padres have Tony Gwynn and the Expos/Mets have Gary Carter.  Every team should have an ambassador who exudes the enthusiastic and positive approach these players did. 

    The thing that ties Tebow and Lin together is the hype generated by fans and media alike. When someone does something positive outside the normal narrative, then this kind of thing is a result. 

    • Tebow and Lin both spend way too much time thankingJesus for their abilities, but in my opinion I think Tebow got shortchanged instead.

  • Noah_I

    My one complaint with the ESPN rankings is I think they look too far out for the way they weight their factors.  In particular, I think they weight current MLB talent far too heavily, because by 5 years from now many of the best stars in baseball will be far out of their peak years.  For example, pretty much everyone believes the Phillies are within 2-3 years of having to do a near complete rebuild, and in 2017 the Angels will be just in Year 6 of the Pujols contract, which is when most of the money comes due and Pujols will probably start being in pretty steep decline.  Yet the Angels are No. 9 and the Phillies No. 10.  And the Cardinals three best offensive players will be 41 (Berkman), 40 (Beltran) and 37 (Holliday), yet they’re rated No. 4.  Even David Freese will turn 34 a month into that season.  For comparison, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will be just 27 at that point, and Rizzo will probably still be under team control.  If this were instead, say, for 2015, I’d agree with their methodology more.  My personal expectations for the Cubs is that they’ll be bad, but not as bad as some expect, in 2012.  In 2013, they’ll “compete”, which means they’ll hover right around .500 and technically be able to advertise as being “in the race” for most of the year in the Central.  And then I expect they’ll actually be competitive in the NL Central in 2014.   

    Regarding Lin, I just dislike the Tebow narrative because Tebow was a 5 Star prospect who was recruited by everybody.  Tebow may have been drafted as a project, but he was drafted in the first round.  Lin was passed on by every major basketball college to the point that he had to go to a school that is prohibited by its League from giving scholarships, and then wasn’t drafted.  And I think Lin is likely to have a good, long NBA career for the same reasons you point out Jedi.  He isn’t beating teams on schemes and gimmicks.  He’s beating teams by being a very good basketball player.

  • Noah_I

    My one complaint with the ESPN rankings is I think they look too far out for the way they weight their factors.  In particular, I think they weight current MLB talent far too heavily, because by 5 years from now many of the best stars in baseball will be far out of their peak years.  For example, pretty much everyone believes the Phillies are within 2-3 years of having to do a near complete rebuild, and in 2017 the Angels will be just in Year 6 of the Pujols contract, which is when most of the money comes due and Pujols will probably start being in pretty steep decline.  Yet the Angels are No. 9 and the Phillies No. 10.  And the Cardinals three best offensive players will be 41 (Berkman), 40 (Beltran) and 37 (Holliday), yet they’re rated No. 4.  Even David Freese will turn 34 a month into that season.  For comparison, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will be just 27 at that point, and Rizzo will probably still be under team control.  If this were instead, say, for 2015, I’d agree with their methodology more.  My personal expectations for the Cubs is that they’ll be bad, but not as bad as some expect, in 2012.  In 2013, they’ll “compete”, which means they’ll hover right around .500 and technically be able to advertise as being “in the race” for most of the year in the Central.  And then I expect they’ll actually be competitive in the NL Central in 2014.   

    Regarding Lin, I just dislike the Tebow narrative because Tebow was a 5 Star prospect who was recruited by everybody.  Tebow may have been drafted as a project, but he was drafted in the first round.  Lin was passed on by every major basketball college to the point that he had to go to a school that is prohibited by its League from giving scholarships, and then wasn’t drafted.  And I think Lin is likely to have a good, long NBA career for the same reasons you point out Jedi.  He isn’t beating teams on schemes and gimmicks.  He’s beating teams by being a very good basketball player.

  • Doc Raker

    MLB Network is doing a nice job eulogizing Gary Carter. He finished his career with the Expos. His last big league hit was a game winning hit against the Cubs at Olympic Stadium. He hit a double over the right fielders head to drive in Larry Walker for the winning run, the right fielder was former teammate Andre Dawson. The baseball Gods have a great way of bringing everything full circle. Harry’s call on the play was pure joy for Carter even though his team just lost a game, Harry was a true fan- I miss those guys.

  • cap’n obvious

    I think a better comparison to Lin might be Kurt Warner.  A journeyman who’d been cut a few times, making the best of an opportunity that might not have ever come his way had more reputable guys stayed healthy.  Not sure Lin will have a hall of fame career like Warner…but I like a story like this.  I wonder how many other guys could or would prosper like this if given the opportunity.

    • Noah_I

      That’s the best Jeremy Lin comparison I’ve seen yet.

    • Noah_I

      That’s the best Jeremy Lin comparison I’ve seen yet.

    • Jedi

      I like it, the difference in my mind though is that Lin can still have a 15-year career in the NBA.  Warner was 28 before he blew up – and by 32 he was injured and considered largely washed up…yeah, he still had another run at it with the Cards in 2008, but from 2002 until he retired that was the only time that he really looked like his old self (Fitzgerald and Boldin can do that for a guy).  Obviously something similar could happen to Lin.  But more than likely the Knicks will be investing heavily in his future, and after his 4th season as a starter in the NFL no one was going to make Warner the cornerstone of a franchise.

      A side note for you NFL & college football fans; Oklahoma State QB Brandon Wheeden is already older than Warner was when he entered the league.  Poor guy is going to have to figure out a way to retire after a single contract

    • Jedi

      I like it, the difference in my mind though is that Lin can still have a 15-year career in the NBA.  Warner was 28 before he blew up – and by 32 he was injured and considered largely washed up…yeah, he still had another run at it with the Cards in 2008, but from 2002 until he retired that was the only time that he really looked like his old self (Fitzgerald and Boldin can do that for a guy).  Obviously something similar could happen to Lin.  But more than likely the Knicks will be investing heavily in his future, and after his 4th season as a starter in the NFL no one was going to make Warner the cornerstone of a franchise.

      A side note for you NFL & college football fans; Oklahoma State QB Brandon Wheeden is already older than Warner was when he entered the league.  Poor guy is going to have to figure out a way to retire after a single contract

  • Eddie Von White

    When I hear the Lin talk, I think of Sam Fuld.

    Doc summed it up well on Gary Carter – I echo his sentiments.

    • Dusty Baylor

      How does the Lin talk remind you of Fuld, exactly?  Just curious?

      • Eddie Von White

        More hype than substance.

    • Dusty Baylor

      How does the Lin talk remind you of Fuld, exactly?  Just curious?

      • Eddie Von White

        More hype than substance.

  • Gary Carter’s walk-off against Wild Thing in ’93 is arguably one of baseball’s greatest moments.  

    • Seymour Butts

      Uh…joe….I know it’s a long way to a ballpark…..Youtube that moment and get back to us. I think you will find it was actually Nell Carter, but thanks for the nice sentiment.

      • Jimmy Carter

        I thought it was June Carter cash

      • Jimmy Carter

        I thought it was June Carter cash

  • Tommy

    It wasn’t Amy Carter??

  • Tommy

    It wasn’t Amy Carter??

  • Doc Raker

    It was Jimmy Carter, the box score reads Carter, J.

  • Doc Raker

    It was Jimmy Carter, the box score reads Carter, J.

  • Doc Raker
  • Chuck

    One of the things that gets overlooked is that in the NBA 95% of the players in the NBA can play at a high level.  There are only 450 NBA players at any given time and most all of them can play.  There is little to no difference between most players at the end of the bench and the fringe rotation guys.
    I believe that the “Investment Theory” is at work here.  Lin was never drafted.  He did not have a big contract.  This meant that there was little pressure to play him. 
    Also, the shortened season is at play here.  Teams almost never practice this year so he has not gotten a chance to show his stuff in that setting either.

  • Chuck

    One of the things that gets overlooked is that in the NBA 95% of the players in the NBA can play at a high level.  There are only 450 NBA players at any given time and most all of them can play.  There is little to no difference between most players at the end of the bench and the fringe rotation guys.
    I believe that the “Investment Theory” is at work here.  Lin was never drafted.  He did not have a big contract.  This meant that there was little pressure to play him. 
    Also, the shortened season is at play here.  Teams almost never practice this year so he has not gotten a chance to show his stuff in that setting either.

  • Buddy

    I don’t know we have to compare Lin to anybody. He’s been starting in the NBA for like five minutes. Let’s watch his career develop before we start comparing him to somebody like Kurt Warner, who is going to the Hall of Fame. 

  • Buddy

    I don’t know we have to compare Lin to anybody. He’s been starting in the NBA for like five minutes. Let’s watch his career develop before we start comparing him to somebody like Kurt Warner, who is going to the Hall of Fame. 

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Jedi’s not kidding–for years his nickname was Gary “Peaked” Carter in our house.  (Admittedly, three young boys don’t always have the best sense when it comes to letting go of inside jokes.)

  • Tommy

    Was he shilling Peak Antifreeze?

    • Seymour Butts

      That’s what I thought, but I googled it and couldn’t find any thing.

  • Buddy

    Hmmmm. I haven’t heard the talking heads blame Lin for last night’s embarrassing loss to the Hornets.

  • Time for Cactus League baseball.
    http://westsideculture.mlblogs.com/