The Question is: Where do I fit in?

When a person is going to play a pick up game of any sport, a few questions should be asked. This will assure the participant that there will be no conflict with the other players, and also prove that they belong there. No matter what sport you plan on playing (Basketball and Hockey will be talked about it this article). Asking yourself these simple questions is a must.

The first question is: Do I belong playing with this group?

If you have never played that particular sport its probably not the best idea to go. No matter how good your understanding of the game is, playing the game and watching/studying the game is a whole new ball game. Just because you watch hockey does not mean you can get out there on the ice and play how they do on t.v. Same thing with basketball, sure you can sit down and watch a NBA game every night of the week, but when you’re out on the court yourself its definitely not the same. As a person that have never played hockey in my life, I would never think of going to drop-in and playing. For starters, I’m like Luis Mendoza on skates, I cant stop to save my life, and I feel like i would piss off everyone else that was out on the ice. I feel like playing pick-up basketball, I am that pissed of guy sometimes. By no means am I saying that i am a great basketball player, I do have a great understanding of the game though. If you stand out on the court and do not move around at all, or even come close to breaking a sweat, trust me you should not be playing a pick-up game.

Second Question: Am I properly dressed for the sport?

Trust me, showing up in jeans, jean shorts, cargo shorts, or any other type of clothing that is not gym shorts, you cant be taken seriously. I mean lets be honest, who even wears jorts anymore? In all honesty though, if you show up like that, probably not the best idea. I would try and talk about hockey in this question, but I have no clue what would be unacceptable to show up in.

Third Question: Do i have the right equipment to participate?

Again, the right articles of clothing are the top priority, but please do not show up to play a pick up game in Converse or any non-support shoe. Not only do you look silly, there is a potential injury right around the corner.  Also, unless you are just messing around with your buddies, try and stay away from the headbands and the Arm-Sleeves. This is not the NBA.

Fourth Question: When is the right time to shoot?

Basketball is a team sport, and I emphasize the word team. Everyone has to do there job on the floor whether it is to rebound, play defense, set screens, or score. These roles should be determined quickly in a pick up game to avoid any type of frustration between teammates. With that being said, anyone can score though. Quick rule of thumb, if you have taken a few shots with all of them being misses it is probably a good idea to start passing more. Otherwise the consequences could result in being cut-off from the even touching the ball.

Authors Note: If this article seems to be a lashing out, it is in a way. That was not my intention when i began writing this article though, the juices got flowing and it was hard to contain them. It is just a result of playing pick-up sports and I am sure after reading this, everyone can relate to exactly what was said in this article.

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Author: Zach Tanton

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Detroit Tigers 2012 Season Preview – Part 2 (Projected Starting Rotation and Bullpen)


The following is the second article in a three-part series that will offer a 2012 season preview for the Detroit Tigers.

March 31st – Projected Lineup and Bench
April 2nd – Projected Starting Rotation and Bullpen
April 3rd – General Season Outlook
April 5th –  Detroit Tigers’ Season Opener vs. Boston Red Sox


Projected Starting Rotation

1. Justin Verlander, RHP – I hope people can understand what Justin Verlander did to earn AL MVP as a pitcher; He led the league in starts, wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, and batting average against! The Tigers coasted to the AL Central title in 2011, and J.V. was the main reason. He’s been the Tigers’ ace for quite some time, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Some people forget that he is only 29 years old, but I remind myself of the fact every time I doubt his ability to get to the now modernly inconceivable feat of 300 wins.

2. Doug Fister, RHP
Put him in a ghillie suit, and he could star as the beanstalk in a big screen version with Jack and the giant. All jokes aside, the California native was unstoppable in a Tiger uniform in 2011. Fister has excelled this spring as well, logging a 3-0 record with a 2.03 ERA and 11 K’s in 13 and 1/3 innings pitched. If Scherzer pitches near the ceiling of his capabilities, I could understand Leyland putting Fister third in the rotation. However, as it stands right now, I think Fister has demonstrated enough sustained success as a Tiger to maintain his spot in the #2 slot of the rotation.

3. Max Scherzer, RHP
Have they diagnosed Max Scherzer with bipolar disorder yet? No? Well, I’m going to go ahead and diagnose his pitching (and his eyes) as bipolar. I’m fairly certain Katy Perry wrote the song “Hot n Cold” after she saw Max Scherzer on the pitcher’s mound. It seems like Scherzer can never truly get into a grove from game-to-game; he’ll go out and twirl a 7+ inning gem, then follow it up with a sub-five inning debacle. If he can find a way to have consistent command of his Slider in 2012, he’s capable of being a 20-game winner. I don’t see it happening; I’m just saying that he possesses that sort of talent.

4. Rick Porcello, RHP
Calm down ladies! Now that Brandon Inge is (hopefully) off the roster, every jersey-chasing fan girl will have to resort to their second-favorite dreamboat. I’ve been a fan of Slick Rick ever since he tossed Kevin Youkilis’ fat ass to the ground at Fenway. However, if he wants to continue to maintain possession of my fandom, I expect him to approach his freshman effort from 2009. The fact of the matter is that his ERA the past two seasons has approached 5, and I expect more out of a 1st round pick.

5. Duane Below  Drew Smyly, LHP
Just when I was starting to come around on Jacob Turner, he went and got hurt. Turner was in the running for the final spot in the Tigers’ starting rotation, but he came down with a bit of shoulder tendinitis earlier this month and wasn’t able to recover in time. That made it a three-horse race between Andy Oliver, Drew Smyly, and Duane Below for the fifth spot in the Tigers’ rotation. Oliver’s abysmal spring performance made it easy for Jim Leyland to eliminate him from contention. If the race for the fifth starting spot is based solely on spring training performance, go ahead and give it to Smyly. Smyly has been consistent in his 4 outings, registering a 2.84 ERA with 10 K’s in 12 innings pitched. On the other hand, Below has had frequent command problems this spring, issuing 10 walks in his 15 and 2/3 innings pitched. Regardless of who the Marlboro Man goes with to start the season, I expect Jacob Turner to be the Tigers’ #5 by mid-May, at the latest.
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Projected Bullpen

Collin Balester, MRPPlaying the role of new kid on the block, the Tigers were able to obtain Balester’s services during the offseason by unloading Ryan Perry on the Washington Nationals. I don’t know much about the 6’5” 25-year old, but I’m not exactly impressed looking at his career stats. His career statistics through 2011 include a 5-16 record, with a 5.17 ERA; I can only hope Jeff Jones can get him straightened out. If spring is any indication, he’s headed down the right path – Balester is sporting a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Still, I don’t expect Balester to be called out of the pen in close games early in the season; Leyland will probably want proof that he’s capable of pitching in low-stress situations before he throws him into the gauntlet.

Phil Coke, MRP/LRPLast year, Coke was the victim of being forced into the fifth starter position by a coaching staff that was dead set on having a lefty in the rotation; everyone that watches the Tigers remembers how that move worked out. It took until June for Jim, Jeff, and company to permanently move Coke back to the pen. Once they did, he settled back into his role as a middle to long reliever and lefty matchup man. In 2011, Coke’s ERA as a starter was 4.91; his ERA as a reliever was 3.41. I think it’s safe to say he’s found his niche as a Tiger.

Luis Marte, MRP
Who’s that short, fiery Dominican that’s ringing up batters left and right for the Tigers in the Grapefruit League? Wait a minute…I thought Al Alburquerque was out for another 3 months recovering from elbow surgery? Well, actually, that is the case. However, the Tigers have another short, fiery Dominican capable of striking out the side – Luis Marte. Marte briefly came up to pitch for the Tigers in 2011 in the month of September, but his 3 and 2/3 innings pitched didn’t offer much of a sample size. However, he’s been dominate in his 13 innings down in Florida throughout March, rocking a 2.08 ERA and a 16 to 3 strikeout to walk ratio.

Daniel Schlereth, MRP
I must say, I thought the bearded wonder was a pretty reliable out of the pen last year. Let’s put it this way – with Schlereth, I didn’t have that general feeling of unease I experienced when Phil Coke or Ryan Perry jogged in from left field. As a Tiger, Schlereth has been very consistent, yielding earned runs in only 14 of his 67 appearances in the navy, white, and orange. I expect that consistency to continue; Leyland should feel comfortable plugging in Schlereth in the 7th inning when Octavio Dotel needs a day off.

Octavio Dotel, Gap Pitcher/7th Inning Specialist
I can’t decide if I should make a gray hair joke or a joke about using a walker to get to the mound. However, his addition will bring another veteran presence to augment the leadership of his new 8th and 9th inning brethren. The addition of Dotel also should make Leyland much more comfortable putting Porcello and whoever is in the fifth spot in the rotation out on the mound, knowing that they really only have to go 6 innings to get to the usual suspects in the bullpen. It should also be noted that in 2011, Dotel played a vital role on the St. Louis Cardinals’ championship team.

Joaquin Benoit, Setup Man
Has everyone got the image from the playoffs of Benoit with that massive abscess on his face out of their brain? Well, by asking that rhetorical question, I reminded you of it; you’re welcome. The Tigers paid the big bucks to acquire Joaquin Benoit for the 2011 season, and his performance in April and May made Tigers fans wonder if general manager Dave Dombrowski made an expensive mistake. However, Benoit was able to right ship, logging a 1.54 ERA from June through September. I still feel very comfortable when J.V. can only go 7, because he’ll be handing the ball off to two of the best late-inning pitchers in all of baseball.

Jose Valverde, Closer
The man affectionately known as Papa Grande is the most entertaining closer in all off baseball; he also happens to be one of the most effective. Last season, Valverde went a perfect 49 for 49 in save opportunities, as he became only the third pitcher in baseball history to achieve perfection over an entire season with more than 28 saves. He was aptly given the 2011 MLB Delivery Man of the Year Award as the most outstanding relief pitcher of the regular season. Now someone just has to put in a call to get Papa Grande on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.
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Author: Joe Cook

Fantasy Baseball Action Blog!

Can't wait!

Hello there loyal readership, and welcome to the first-annual Fantasy Baseball Draft Live Blog, hosted exclusively by the President and CEO of the “Miguel Cabreras” who currently play in “CLEVE’S LEAGUE” on ESPN. As I have never participated in a fantasy baseball league before, nor do I have much desire to do so now, I thought it would be interesting (or irelevant) to write about the draft as it is happening. I will be updating this post every once-in-a-while over the next four days (which is the average length of a fantasy baseball draft according to multiple sources close to the situation) bringing you live updates about all the stuff that I know nothing about in the fantasy baseball world.

12:11 pm

We are currently 19 minutes from draft time, and I hold the 7th pick out of 10. I still have no idea who I will select (besides Adam Dunn), though I hope Miguel Cabrera falls to me since he stole my team name for his name name. Stay tuned for updates on this breaking news report! And if you have any helpful advice, I really need it.

12:27 pm

3 minutes to draft time! Are you as excited as I’m not? I have actually been working on my national championship viewing plans for tonight instead of doing any research – “research is for turds,” according to several unnamed sources close to the situation.

12:31 pm

The draft has begun! In a stunning turn of events (actually I have no idea if it is stunning or not), team “Lexington Swagg” has selected Adrian Gonzalez. I hate the red sox more than Rick Santorum, so this was quite disappointing.

12:31:30 pm

“And with the second pick in the 2012 CLEVE’S LEAUGE draft, the BX BLAZERS select Miguel Cabrera, first basemen from the Detroit Tigers.” This was my best Roger Goodell impression, and I thought it went pretty well. I also now realize that I have lost all hope of winning the league because my team – the Miguel Cabreras – does not own Miguel Cabrera. Looks like the new name will have to be … the Adam Dunns. That sounds better anyway.

12:37 pm

I’m officially on the clock! What a rush of pure adrenaline and emotion (or is that hunger?)! Who the heck should I take? Looks like it will be either Troy Tulowitzki or Robinson Cano. In case you didn’t know this, I’m a secret Yankees fan living in Michigan, so the pick will be … Cano! I have now decided to draft exclusively Yankees for the rest of time. My hope of winning the league is restored! It has also become apparent that only 2 other gentlemen are currently logged in and live-drafting with me (the rest of our dedicated and excited league members appear to have either forgotten about the draft or have been murdered). I now feel completely like a loser – though Lexington Swagg and Team Murphy (what creativity with that team name!) can keep me company.

12:43 pm

This live blog thing is wearing me out, I’ve already polished off peanut butter and jelly sandwich number 2. Here’s how the first round played out:

1. Adrian Gonzo 2. Miguel 3. Pujols 4. Matt Kemp 5. Ryan Braun 6. Jose Bautista 7. Robinson “I’m leading the Yankees to their 28th title” Cano 8. Troy Tulowitzki 9. Jacoby Ellsbury 10. Joey Votto

In the second round, I quickly snatched up Hanley Ramirez with the 13th pick, confirming that he will have an utterly disastrous season after Reyes grabs the headlines and Ozzie yells something at him in Spanish.

12:55 pm

This fantasy draft is kicking my (pardon my french) derrière. With everyone on autopick, the draft is cruising by and I barely know who has been selected. I already have 7 players on my team (make that 8), including (barf) Lance “I won’t be good now that Pujols bolted for LA” Berkman who I accidentally picked trying to switch between writing this and making a selection. My head is spinning right now, and my team looks worse than whatever the Mets are gonna trot out this season.

1:01 pm

Too fast! I just drafted Matt Wieters! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

1:04 pm

Quick update of my team so far:

Matt Wieters (yuck), Teixeira, Cano, Ramirez, Alexei Ramirez (new team name – “Ramirez Bros” whadya think?), Paul Konerko, Berkman, Carl Crawford (WHAT!?!), Cole Hamels, Zack “Who am I?” Greinke, and Matt Garza

Aaaaand, I’m back on the clock again. This is like p90X, only more of a workout.

1:09 pm

So here’s my justification for selecting Carl Crawford with the 74th pick in the draft – this really is a win-win (I hate that expression) situation for me: either Crawford has a monster bounce-back year and proves that he can, in fact, hit a baseball (his production was so stunningly low last year that something had to be amiss), or he actually is terrible now and I can make fun of Boston fans for the rest of my life for giving this guy a $132 billion contract. In fact, I think I’d rather have the later happen. Oh, and I just picked Joel “I’ve never heard of you because you play in Pittsburgh” Hanrahan with the 127th pick. I figured this would be a good selection because I went to school with a Tommy Hanrahan and he was a decent dude (and played baseball – another win-win!)

1:12 pm

I’m desperate for a 3B and there are none in sight. The next highest rated 3B according to whatever is appearing on my “Fantasy Dashboard” right now is … (searching) … Mark Reynolds. But he plays for Baltimore and that would give me two Orioles, much more than I wanted pre-draft. Looks like I’m going to take  … Cameron Maybin, who will also suck because I have the worst luck when it comes to fantasy teams (I took Brady in the 1st round when his leg exploded in the first game a few years ago) – sorry Padres fans, if there are any of you left.

1:17 pm

Mark Reynolds was only ranked 5 spots lower than my drafting spot when I came “up to bat” (a baseball expression) in the billionth round – but my boy Nick Swisher was starring me in the face (closet Yankees fan, remember). So I threw caution to the wind and took Swisher, hoping that Martin Prado would fall to me with the 167th pick (I’m sure I’ve heard that before)

1:18 pm

Prado and Reynolds taken 163 and 164, respectively. That worked out well. Now my 3B is … Brandon Inge?

1:22 pm

Edwin Encarnacion’s name keeps creeping towards me in the draft line (the 202nd ranked player according to whoever has time to rank 202 baseball players). That makes me want to puke, though not as much as selecting “Chris Sale,” RP for the Chicago White Sox. I’m putting together quite the rotation, complete with Carlos Marm … wait, I don’t want him! I’ll take Josh Willingham with the 194th pick! If you’re in Vegas loyal readership, make sure you put down $100 on Marmol to win the NL Cy Young.

1:29 pm

“Gavin Floyd held [somebody] scoreless in 5 innings yesterday” according to ESPN. Sign him up as pick 207. Next up, Auto pick suggests I take … gulp … Encarnacion. Well, at least I tried hard this season. Sign him up too (long sigh).

1:31 pm

You won’t believe it loyal readership, Adam Dunn is still available. The man I joked about roughly 18 hours ago at the top of this blog (it feels more like 18 days) is riding up the list towards my team at pick 227. It’s either him or Yoenis Cespedes (I wish my name was Yoenis). I’m now on the clock, so it’s gonna be … Dunn! What the heck, he’s gotta do better this year, right? I now have 3 white sox filling up the roster, woot woot!

1:34 pm

Two picks to go, folks! If you have been following every word of this live blog with me today, then you seriously need something better to do (join your own Fantasy Baseball League!). I’m going to go ahead and gobble up Ryan Raburn with the 234th pick. Sleeper alert!!!! One more pick to go …

1:38 pm

Whoever Kenley Jansen is, he is the last member of the 2012 Miguel Cabreras (I really need to change that). And after Mr. Irrelevant is selected (Aroldis Chapman, not too bad actually), our draft is complete. I now have carpal tunnel (I had to look up how to spell that) and I have read more baseball names (that I have never head before) in the last 68 minutes than in my entire 22 years of existence combined.

1:44 pm

Here’s my final notes for the draft: 1. Carl Crawford is out 2 weeks recovering from wrist surgery. I had no idea. I hate myself (I picked him 74th). 2. Kenley Jansen is only owned in 55% of ESPN fantasy leagues! Come on people, this is Kenley Jansen! 3. I’m sticking with the name “Miguel Cabreras,” hoping this will trick our league commissioner into moving him onto my roster. 4. Adam Dunn is my secret to success this year (I’m only 95% kidding about that).

Well that does it loyal readership. 1 hour and 16 minutes after it began, and I have a 9th place fantasy baseball league team (I can beat somebody, I know it). I already have 44.5 points somehow (I have no idea how), good enough for 7th in the league! I’ve offically run out of things to write for Put Away the Whistle for the next 3 months, so keep selecting us in your Google search and I’ll see you in August! Till next time loyal readership

Here's the final roster, come on Adam Dunn!

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Dan “Fantasy Baseball Expert” Etz

NFL’s Decision on Sean Payton

Mr. Goodell in all his glory

In a breaking news bulletin exclusively obtained by the CEO of Put Away the Whistle Sports Blog and home-shopping website, our sources indicate that Roger Goodell has handed down a new ruling in the Sean Payton bounty-program scandal. Commissioner Goodell has decided to eliminate the year-long suspension of Payton if Sean agrees to allow the league to place a bounty of $1,000,000 for the first person to punch Payton in the face. Sources close to Goodell refused to confirm or deny this report, though Payton has reportedly said that his face is worth “well upwards of $2,000,000.”

Haha! Good morning sports fans! In order to get “with it,” as the kids are saying these days, and to boost site views (8 in the last 48 hours? Come on loyal readership!) I decided to engage in a little April Fool’s Day slight-of-hand. It turns out that the above paragraph is what we in the sports writing business refer to as “the ole switch-eroo.” I wrote something that was only 87% true in order to “joke” with the loyal readers of this sports blog. Man, did my editors love that idea!

The truth of the matter is, I received dozens of letters from adoring fans asking if I would engage in any April Fool’s Day hi-jinx. Take the following letter I received from alert reader Dave Goostofian from Kennebunkport, Maine:

“Dan, love the blog! Will you be giving the readers of Put Away the Whistle any sort of April 1st treat?” – Dave Goostofian

Great question Dave! I considered pulling some sort of hilarious prank on the unsuspecting blog-o-sphere, which would ultimately lead to millions of laughs and a television deal for me to produce a show with Ashton Kutcher. However, after giving it several seconds of intense thought, I realized that practical jokes are a way of life. I don’t need a specific day to fool everyone with a fake Sean Payton article to boost readership, I can do that every single day of the year. That is why I am writing this article not on April Fool’s Day, but the day after (not because I forgot yesterday was April Fool’s Day, panicked, and decided to write my column a day late). I live everyday like it is April Fool’s Day – as difficult and challenging as that may seem.

So in response to Dave and the millions of letters I received begging for an epic prank via Put Away the Whistle, I have to politely decline. Yet do not lose hope, for you never know when I might write something completely ridiculous.

In other, much more exciting news, Put Away the Whistle is currently the FIRST (that’s right – FIRST!!!) item that comes up when you Google “put away the whistle.” Take that Omar! In a close second is … Put Away the Whistle! That’s correct loyal readership, we currently own the top two spots in a Google Search! Please uncork your champagne and place the pigs-in-a-blanket in the oven (as we all have done here at PATW headquarters). Below you will see a snapshot of our triumph:

Woot-woot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realize that you are all extremely alert and dedicated readers of Put Away the Whistle, and the news that we own the top two spots in a Google search is likely old lunch meat as far as you’re concerned (I’m literally giddy! ESPN here we come!). I thought it may be worth congratulating the writer whose article appears in both of the Google items. Let’s find out who that is by taking a gander at the above snapshot. Take the aforementioned gander now …

Welcome back. It appears that the articles were written by a “Dan Etz,” who appears to be … me! Congratulations Dan! I don’t want to blow this out of proportion, but you appear to be following in the footsteps of Woody Paige (I can’t wait to stick it to Tony Reali)! Now I would never want to “toot” my own “horn” (at least not in public), but it appears that my quick wit and cutting-edge journalism have lifted Put Away the Whistle from the 18th item in a Google Search to the top two items combined. Don’t look now editors, but someone may be in line for a handsome raise (and a company car – I’m just sayin).

Anywho, since you loyal readers obviously cannot get enough of me, I have decided to quench your thirst by providing live updates from my Fantasy Baseball Draft that occurs today at 12:30 pm. That’s right, in roughly 45 minutes, you will be treated to the finest up-to-the-minute commentary on a fantasy draft that no one in America cares about except for the 10 losers who have time to hold a draft at 12:30 on a Monday. If you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, please see my first-ever emmy-nominated column on Put Away the Whistle: “Welcoming myself to the blog-o-sphere.”

My team, the “Miguel Cabreras,” currently owns the 7th pick in the draft and I have absolutely no idea who to take. All I have is a gut that is telling me Adam Dunn is gonna have a monster year! Read all about the draft in my next post – till then loyal readership.

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Dan “I-own-the-top-two-spots-in-a-google-search” Etz