So here we go, the sun is out, the golf ball starts flying at Augusta on Thursday, the baseball season has started, and another addition of List Mania is upon us.
For those not in the know, List Mania is an ode to former Kansas City Star and current Sports Illustrated columnist Joe Posnanski, who famously wrote lists until one day, many years ago, he wrote a column saying he would never list again…
So here goes…
Three sports upsets that I wish would have happened
1. Tom Watson at the 2009 British Open
2. Butler over Duke in the 2010 NCAA title game
3. U.S. soccer team over Germany in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup
White players who’ve won MOP of the Final Four since 1977
1. Christian Laettner, Duke, 1991
2. Bobby Hurley, Duke, 1992
3. Jeff Sheppard, Kentucky, 1998
4. Kyle Singler, Duke, 2010
Top five pitchers in baseball
1. Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals
2. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
3. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
4. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
5. Johan Santana, New York Mets
The five most underrated players in baseball
1. Ben Zobrist, utility player, Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays’ best-kept secret started 81 games at second base and 44 games in the outfield (also chipped in six games at short and two at first base), but his bat is what really makes him special. He had a .405 on-base percentage and an OPS-plus of 146. That’s what happens when you hit 27 homers and 28 doubles*. To put this in perspective. No Royal has had an OPS-plus of more than 146 since Mike Sweeney posted a 148 in 2002. Did we mention Zobrist will make $438,100** this season?
*Zobrist also seems to have good speed. At least, a high-ranking official in the Royals’ organization once praised Yuniesky Betancourt’s arm because he threw out Zobrist on a slow roller. So I’m guessing the official thinks Zobrist can fly.
**Numbers obtained from
of the website, Cot’s Baseball Contracts
2. Shin-Soo Choo, right fielder, Cleveland Indians
Choo, who turns 28 in July, had a .394 on-base percentage with 20 homers and 38 doubles in 2009. Pretty good for a guy who made $420,300. … And I don’t want to sound like a scout here, but the guy really does look impressive in person.
3. Chone Figgins, second baseman, Seattle Mariners
You may ask how Figgins can still be underrated. After all, the Mariners signed him to a four-year, $36 million deal in the offseason. Still, I’m not sure people understand how valuable Figgins is. Last season, according to FanGraphs.com, Figgins’ WAR (a metric that utilizes offense, defense and baserunning to measure total value) was 6.1, the 11th highest in baseball.*
*Who was ranked ahead of Figgins? How about this list?
1. Ben Zobrist, 8.6
2. Albert Pujols, 8.5
3. Joe Mauer, 8.1
4. Chase Utley, 7.6
5. Derek Jeter, 7.4
6. Evan Longoria, 7.2
7. Hanley Ramirez, 7.2
8. Ryan Zimmerman, 7.2
9. Prince Fielder, 6.8
10. Adrian Gonzalez, 6.8
4. Franklin Gutierrez, center fielder, Seattle Mariners
By nearly any defensive metric, Gutierrez is the best outfielder in baseball – and by some, he is the best defensive player in all of baseball. Gold Gloves be damned.
5. Erick Aybar, shortstop, LA Angels
Similar to Figgins, Aybar may be even more valuable than some people realize. He’ll make just a shade over $2 million this season. A pretty solid investment for a 26 year old who hit .312 last season with an on-base percentage of .353. Watch him play in person, and you’ll also realize that the kid can flat out fly.
Five players selected after the Royals picked Luke Hochevar No. 1 in the 2006 MLB draft
1. Evan Longoria, picked third by Tampa Bay
2. Clayton Kershaw, picked seventh by the LA Dodgers
3. Tim Lincecum, picked 10th by San Francisco
4. Joba Chamberlain, picked 41 by the New York Yankees
5. Brett Anderson, picked 55th by Arizona (traded to Oakland)
Five players selected after the Royals picked Alex Gordon No. 2 in the 2005 MLB draft
1. Ryan Zimmerman, picked fourth by Washington
2. Ryan Braun, picked fifth by Milwaukee
3. Troy Tulowitzki, picked seventh by Colorado
4. Andrew McCutcheon, picked 11th by Pittsburgh
5. Jacoby Ellsbury, picked 28th by Boston
Five things that may only interest me
1. So they have Cheeseburger-flavored Doritos now. Really, cheeseburger. Of course, I had to try them. The review? Well, they really do taste like cheeseburger. You get the cheesy taste of regular Doritos, a hint of ketchup – and the smoky flavor of the burger patty. Of course, I’m not so sure this is all a good thing. I’m not so sure I need my cheeseburgers in chip form.
2. President Obama is not allowed to throw out any more first pitches. The poor guy has tried twice, and both times he has come out looking only slightly better than this guy…
Hey, I appreciate that Obama can hoop a little bit. That’s impressive. But is it too much to ask that our commander-in-chiefs have the ability to shoot a basketball AND throw a baseball? Dubya could fill up the strike zone – but he also once did this…
3. The strangest thing about the Masters? How can the most beautiful golf course in the world be in the one of the most plain towns in America?
Five song lyrics for the spring
1. “But times change, sailors these days, when I’m in port I get what I need. Not just Havanas or bananas or daiquiris, but that American creation on which I feed.”
2. “Twelve hours out of Mackinaw City, stopped in a bar to have a brew. Met a girl and we had a few drinks, and I told her what I’d decided to do.”
3. “And its funny how it`s the little things in life that mean the most, not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes.”
3. “The water is warm, but it’s sending me shivers. A baby is born, crying out for attention. Memories fade, like looking through a fogged mirror… Decisions to decisions are made and not bought, but I thought, this wouldn’t hurt a lot, I guess not.”
4. “You can’t start a fire, you can’t start a fire without a spark.”
Five questions to ponder
1. Will Kevin Durant win more NBA titles than LeBron James?
2. Will MGMT’s latest album, Congratulations, released this Tuesday, be the best album of the year?
3. Is Barcelona’s Lionel Messi the most dominant athlete in the world?
4. Whose idea was it to put an “S” in the word “lisp”?
5. Hey is that the truth or are you talking trash? Is your game M.V.P. like Steve Nash?