Today is being unofficially tagged as the official start of baseball as it marks the end of football for… who knows? For me the baseball season never really ends. The Hot Stove and offseason is enough to keep my baseball juices flowing even after the playoffs end. I don’t hate football or anything like that. I fully understand the game, have a rooting interest in both the pro and college games, but it’s easily #2 to baseball for me. So those who are turning the page on football to focus their attention baseball are merely joining me and others who are entrenched in baseball year-round. Before we turn that page, let’s start the Dose with a little Super Bowl coverage:
The commercials have by and large been a major dud the last four or five years as the ad execs appear to have just mailed it in anymore and decided to aim only at the lowest common denominator. I expected the same this year, but I was pleasantly surprised when the best of bunch wasn’t just the least annoying work of the night, but rather legitimately quality work. As a native Detroit resident, I’m partial to the Chrysler ad with Eminem and that ended up as my favorite of the night:
I could understand how those from Detroit might not enjoy it as much as me and Michigan brethren, but I was surprised that there was actually some legitimate backlash against the spot. Of course the loudest critic I saw of the ad also thought the Motorola ad for their fake iPad was good so perhaps commercial critiquing isn’t their strong suit.
I also enjoyed what seems to be the overwhelming fan favorite of the night drawing off of the early week buzz it got by releasing before the Super Bowl, the Darth Vader/Volkswagen commercial. During the game was first time I had seen it and I definitely enjoyed it. It worked very well even as a 30-second spot, but there’s a full minute one if you haven’t seen it:
And just so this doesn’t become a complete recap of all the commercials everyone has already seen, two others that I really enjoyed were the NFL Fans one and the Bridgestone Reply All. I was really surprised that the Reply All ad ended up being for Bridgestone, but I guess they were going for straight humor regardless of how it related to their product.
One more video before I get into some actual baseball stuff at the BASEBALL by Paul website. I will admit out front that I don’t find Kenny Mayne particularly funny. I used to enjoy him on SportsCenter to the point where I still use some of his catchphrases, but his brand of humor is pretty much one note and wears quickly. All of that said, I loved his Super Bowl Mayne Event about Mike McCarthy. Of course, it is entirely because of Matt Damon. Just another reason why he’s my favorite actor.
And now for some baseball:
Dirk Hayhurst is one of the more popular ballplayers around thanks to his Bullpen Gospels which I believe started out as a blog and eventually become a book (which I own, but have yet to read). His Twitter, The Garfoose, is pretty popular just for the unique name, but also because he has brought his blogging goodness to the 140-character format. I believe he is scheduled to be on the Jonah Keri Podcast on Tuesday, too. But I especially enjoyed his 10 Commandments for Social Media for Professional Athletes. There’s a lot of wisdom to be found within those commandments, especially in light of how many athletes have thoroughly embarrassed themselves or outright buried themselves on the medium.
Razzball has released their Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Players for 2011. Surprisingly, Albert Pujols does not top the rankings. I’m 100% fine with their top guy. I loved their outlook on the ultra-popular Rockies so far this offseason, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez as well as their thoughts on Matt Kemp. Of course they were WAY too high on Ryan Howard for my tastes so there is give and take throughout the list.
Even if you are not big into prospects, I encourage you to check out Project Prospect’s Top 100 Prospect List released today. It is a very handy fantasy tool if your league drafts minor leaguers, but also all fantasy players should be up on the next wave of talent. It’s basically the last bastion of knowledge in which one can gain an edge on their opponents. And it’s not like the window for it will close because prospecting is far from an exact science. Adam Foster (@AdamWFoster) and his crew are doing excellent work on the prospecting front over at PP and I highly recommend you check them out.
Speaking of prospects, NBC Hardball Talk reports that Toronto’s Kyle Drabek may not have a firm innings cap placed on him this season. You may recall last year that there was a lot of talk around San Diego placing a cap on Mat Latos’ innings. It likely caused him to be much cheaper in drafts and auctions than if news like this had come out or if nothing at all had been said. Instead, everyone was so worried about his season ending at 150 innings that they waited too long or pass altogether. He ended up throwing 185 brilliant innings for a competing Padres team. Bet on the talent and let the playing time factors play out as the season progresses.
And finally, in what has unintentionally become my Baseball Prospectus Plug O’ the Day, I suggest you hightail it over there as fast as you can because if you had reservations about paying, you can get it all for free today and see what I’ve been talking about all this time. The free preview coincides with the release of their PECOTA Projections.