At the Letters: Power Rankings punch lines

Tim Brown
Yahoo! Sports

It's been a while, but it seemed as good a time as any to open some mail. It didn't go well.

As always, I defend myself weakly in the italics that follow.

Power rankings

Tim, I respect your write-ups and even a little commentary from you once in a while, but not for nothing, stick to your serious critiques because it's apparent you're just not a funny guy. Who understands the verbiage or intent of these write-ups anyway? Definitely not the intended audience. No pun intended.

Eastampton, N.J.

I'm so bad at this. Where's the pun again?

Dude, some of your Power Ranking references and blurbs are waaay too obscure! Most of the times the reference is so lost that the comment is just plain weird, creepy, or nonsensical, and I'm usually up to date on my baseball news.


I'm thinking of adding more puns. Way more puns.

Stick to the rankings and leave the funny stuff to comedians, 'cause you're NOT FUNNY!!! And how are the Royals ranked last when they've got four more wins than the Nats and are in a much better AL???

Zac Simkowski

I was just trying to be funny.

Tim, I feel that you missed Jack Cust's(notes) point. The point being is the Mitchell report kept out names of Red Sox players because [Mitchell] was on the Red Sox payroll. As a journalist you should question how they could leave Manny and Ortiz off the report when they were known to hang out with steroid users. Anyone with any baseball knowledge knows that Ortiz's stats are of a steroid abuser. No way do you go from a 15 home-run guy to 40 overnight. How are all Red Sox players were held out of that report? Prove to me you're a good journalist by asking those tough questions, not a journalist afraid to ask tough questions.

Martinez, Calif.

How about this question: Hey, Jack, what's this from the Mitchell Report? “Bigbie's locker was next to Cust's. Cust eventually asked Bigbie if he had ever tried steroids. Bigbie acknowledged that he had, and Cust said that he, too, had tried steroids. Cust told Bigbie that he had a source who could procure anything he wanted …”

Most power rankings you read that try to be funny are stupid. This was actually, legitimately entertaining.


Thanks, Brian. I believe it's all about the puns.

That Adrian Beltre(notes) joke was a good one. I laughed so hard that I suffered a severe contusion to my right testicle.

Lloyd Parifos
Irvine, Calif.

Hey, Lloyd, sounds like you were having a ball. (It's a gift, what can I say?)

The Cardinals are the real deal? They hit .236 against lefties with a .370 slugging percentage. That includes Holliday, who is hitting .500 against them. This comes from giving platoon players (Ankiel, Rasmus, Schumaker) full-time responsibilities. Adding Holliday and DeRosa has lessened the problem, but .236 is still .236. Basically the Cardinals make any average lefty look like Johan Santana(notes).

Brenton Smith

It's a compelling argument, Brenton, particularly for a team that could see left-handers from the Dodgers (Kershaw, Wolf), Rockies (De La Rosa), Phillies (Lee, Hamels, Moyer) or Giants (Zito, Sanchez) on their way out of the National League. That said, the Cardinals have lost to one left-hander (Clayton Richard(notes) on Friday in San Diego) in the past month.

Still no love for the Rangers?


Those errors scare me a little, K. More glove, more love.

How can Boston, San Francisco, and Colorado be above Texas in the power rankings? Did you not see the last Boston/Texas series? They're definitely better than the two NL West teams also.

Los Angeles

At Yankees, at Minnesota coming up. Fifteen of 19 on road. Here we go …

Don't compare La Russa to McGwire. It's juvenile.

Michael Dillin
Liberal, Kan.

More juvenile than the glove/love thing?

Tim, Love your power rankings column, and some great one-liners, but you missed the obvious for the Nats. Maybe you can use next week: Nats sign Strasburg for $15.1 million and sell 6,000 empty seats for $1, thereby lowering actual signing cost to the budgeted 15.094 million.

Bill Hook
Phillies Fan

Seriously, Bill, you couldn't work a pun in there anywhere?

I saw your comment on the Cardinals in the Power Rankings. La Russa and Torre have dinner in St. Louis, Torre strategy of having guy with fewest managerial wins pay backfires for first time. Is this professional journalism? Perhaps you should try a career in stand-up comedy. But baseball writing is obviously out of your league.

Bob Stewart
Johnson City, N.Y.

See how that works, Bill? “Baseball,” “out of your league?” Get it? C'mon, it's fun!

Do you actually ever write about baseball or are all these stupid wisecracks your real talent? I don't need a sportswriter to be clever. What I want to read in the sports section is real baseball comments about the teams, not these little soap opera quips.

Andy Walter
New York

I have a gut feeling this is a hypothetical question.

I can't believe that the Pirates aren't last. I know that they have a better record than some, but nobody that compiled those wins is left on the team! It's going to be tight between them and the Nats at the end of the year in the Bryce Harper derby.

Rob Lah
New York

They keep playing the Brewers and they're going to completely foul that up.

More cracks about Fielder's weight in your latest power rankings. Bravo, you tool. Bravo. I hope he feeds you his bat.

Erik Schmudlach
Madison, Wis.

I'm hanging with Guillermo Mota(notes).

Not a question. I absolutely love reading your rankings each week. They are laugh out loud funny! Go Phils.

Randall Ward
Frederica, Del.

Seems like a good time to move on to other matters.

Manny's at ease as Dodgers slip

My question is “Why don't you just forget the conversations with players if all you're going to do is make fun of them afterwards?” Get a real job, something positive, not writing at someone else's expense. Pretty sad State of the Union if that's what people want to read.

Nancy Bender

You know, that would explain the Vice President and House Speaker standing and applauding behind me whenever I write one of those columns.

You hate Manny. It bleeds off of your writing. Could you describe to him what he is doing wrong at the plate? Of course not, or else you would be his batting coach. But you get to stand on the sidelines and judge, criticize. But you can't hit the changeup down and in either. If you could then you could talk. But you can't. And when he starts hitting who's going to be the one with the broken pencil writing ridiculous articles about steroids? You. Your pen is not mightier than his bat even though you try.

Brandon Lott
Oakland, Calif.

Who said anything about steroids?

At this point I am a firm believer that Manny's success was due to steroid use. He is being watched closer this year than the rest of his career. The sad thing is if he does begin to hit well again I will assume he is back on the juice.

Buffalo, N.Y.

Other than Kevin, I mean.

Quit writing about Man Ram. That guy doesn't deserve your time. He's a loser and a cheat and you love him for it.

Grant Merle
St. Louis


You are a Manny-loving [dude] aren't you?

Robert Darrough
Charlotte, N.C.

Really, stop …

Manny is only worried about Manny. Everyone knows this. So why do you expose your readers to these articles on self-centered jerks?

Randy Sturtz
Tampa, Fla.

OK, I love him. I hope you're all happy.

Calamity Cubs

Hey Timmy, why are your articles about a team that is eight games back in their division? Oh, maybe because it's the Midwest's largest newspaper, and not because it's the recent or the best news, I'm sure this helps in you getting your articles printed. You so-called journalists on the east and west coasts are worried about one thing, AND THAT'S SELLING YOUR SELF-CENTERED COMMENTS. Why don't you try a unique idea and write about the best story that has happened that day, NO MATTER IN WHAT CITY IT MIGHT BE. I know me trying to tell you this, is like spitting in the wind.

St. Charles, Mo.

Geez, Tom, what the heck did I miss in St. Charles yesterday?

Scott Boras

What about the Rays draft pick that didn't get signed? What does (Boras) tell those parents?

Larry Barthle
Dade City, Fla.

To get a loan from Strasburg?

Your Boras story is exactly why owners need to break the union and “start over” with MLB. Salaries are completely unreal, evidenced by players who've never played an inning getting money like this. If the union was broken and all the major league players fired or locked out, who would recognize the difference if they simply elevated the minor league teams? Imagine a salary cap, talent parity across baseball and as a result ticket price reductions and fewer spoiled children and cheaters playing baseball. How about a clean game, one with lifetime bans for performance-enhancing drugs (or a couple of seasons)? And all the while, these salaries escalated out of control, turning a day at the game into a day's wage. It's just not right, Tim. Why should we care about players anymore? Aren't the base salaries built on lies, elevated by years of cheating and lies, hidden by unions (and owners) who wanted to keep a good thing going? Enough is enough, it's time to fix this problem.

Joe Fitzpatrick
San Francisco

The union-breaking is never going to happen, Joe. And I do think most clubs are trying to make it more affordable to attend a game, as long as you're OK with sitting so far away you can't actually see the game. It's sad, you're right. This should be a working-man's game, at a working-man's cost.

Scott Boras is the primary reason ticket prices will continue to rise, and MLB will become less and less affordable for the everyday person/family. The fact that the owners capitulate to this jerk's demands speaks also to the arrogance we see in many young players. I wish these young players luck, but honestly, I will laugh more if the owners start to lose their shirts when the fans say that's enough, or when the prized player never gets past Double-A. I was recently at a packed Fenway Park watching the Red Sox, whom I've been a fan of for almost my entire 46 years, so I know that people keep coming out to the game. I also am aware that the Red Sox have one of the highest payrolls, which they had to do just to keep up with the Yankees. I did not enjoy watching them go down to the Rays last year, but I did take solace in the fact that the Rays were proving payroll does not guarantee championships. Still, as the years go on and guys like Longoria are up for free agency, will the Rays be able to pay? Or will Evan be wearing Yankee pinstripes or Red Sox colors when that time comes? One thing is for sure and that is ticket prices continue to rise and Scott Boras is one of the biggest factors why. Personally, I'd like to see him inside a UFC ring getting pounded!!

Scott Thayer
Wheaton, Ill.

I get a lot of what you wrote here, Scott. Boras, however, is not writing these checks for the owners. If he were, that would be a good story, too.

Another article extolling the virtues of Scott Boras. How about writing about all his clients that have had positive steroid tests, to help them “earn” these contracts? Way to go Timmy, you can't see the trees through the forest.


I do have a tendency to look at things from the inside-out.


I think your comment of the Nats as pathetic is kind of dated. Agreed, the first half of the season was beyond embarrassing. But after the bullpen housecleaning, the gaining of experience of the young pitching staff and the acquisition of [Nyjer] Morgan, the Strasbourg story has unfortunately distracted the press from perhaps the bigger story or one at least as important to us Nats fans -- the big improvement since the acquisition of Morgan on July 1. They are 20-22 since then and 17-14 since the All Star break. And the young reliever they acquired in the first round of this year's draft (as the consolation price for not signing last year's first round pick) is tearing up the minors with a 10-1 strikeout/walk ratio. Strasburg or no Strasburg they are a much better team than the first half of 2009 and will only continue to improve going into next year. After the deadline frenzy dies down -- could you please take another look at the Nats?

Jim Landolt

Would it have to be a long look?

This isn't a question, but a huge complaint. Why should any player drafted, who hasn't even thrown a pitch in MLB, be given a $20 million dollar signing bonus by the Nationals or any other team? Ballplayers are way overpaid as is. There are normal, working American citizens that make $10-$20 an hour and work very hard at making their companies millions to billions of dollars every year, and don't even get a bonus. My wife used to work at a Fred Myer store, and for their Christmas bonus that year all the employees shared a box of oranges in the break room while the GM was given a $90,000 Christmas bonus. What is that all about? These ballplayers think they can get whatever they want, well this has got to stop!!!! This is making watching or supporting these greedy players even harder now days. I remember when no player made over a million a year.

R.C. Corey
Spokane, Wash.

I think an oranges pun here would be totally out of line.

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