Thursday, December 18, 2014

'Twas the Night Before X-Mas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and one thing was clear-
That old yuletide spirit no longer was here;
Inflation was rising; the crime rate was trippling;
The fuel bills were up, and our mortgage was crippling;

I opened a beer as I watched the TV,
Where Donny sang "O Holy Night" to Marie;
The kids were in bed, getting sleep like they should;
Or else they were stoned, which was almost as good.

While ma with her ball-point pen was making a fuss
'Bout folks we'd send cards to who'd sent none to us;
"Those ingrates," she thundered, and pounded her fist;
"Next year you can bet they'll be crossed off our list!"

When out in the yard came a deafening blare;
'Twas our burglar alarm, and I hollered,"Who's there?"
I turned on the searchlight, which lit up the night,
And, armed with my handgun, beheld a strange sight.

Some red-suited clown with a white beard immense
Was caught in our eight-foot electrified fence;
He called out, "I'm Santa! I bring you no malice!"
Said I, "If you're Santa, I'm Telly Savalas!"

But, lo, as his presence grew clearer to me,
I saw in the glare that it just might be he!
I called off our doberman clawing at his sleigh
And, frisking him twice, said, "I think he's okay."

I led him inside where he slumped in a chair,
And he poured out the following tale of despair;
"On Christmas eves past I was jolly and chuckling,
But now 'neath the pressures, I fear I am buckling."

"You'll note I've arrived with no reindeer this year,
And without them, my sleigh is much harder to steer;
Although I would like to continue to use them,
The wild life officials believe I abuse them."

"To add to my problem, Ralph Nader dropped by
And told me my sleigh was unsafe in the sky;
I now must wear seatbelts, despite my objections,
And bring in the sleigh twice a year for inspections."

"Last April my workers came forth with demands,
And I soon had a general strike on my hands;
I couldn't afford to pay unionized elves,
So the missus and I did the work by ourselves."

"And then, later on, came additional trouble-
An avalanche left my fine workshop in rubble;
My Allstate insurance was worthless, because
They had shrewdly slipped in a 'no avalanche' clause"

"And after that came an I.R.S audit;
The government claimed I was out to defraud it;
They finally nailed me for 65 grand,
Which I paid through the sale of my house and my land."

"And yet I persist, though it gives me a scare
Flying blind through the blanket of smog in the air;
Not to mention the hunters who fill me with dread,
Taking shots at my sleigh as I pass overhead."

"My torn-up red suit, and these bruises and swellings,
I got fighting muggers in multiple dwellings.
And if you should ask why I'm glowing tonight,
It's from flying too close to a nuclear site."

He rose from his chair and he heaved a great sigh,
And I couldn't help notice a tear in his eye;
"I've tried," he declared, "to reverse each defeat,
But I fear that today I've become obsolete."

He slumped out the door and returned to his sleigh,
And these last words he spoke as he went on his way;
"No longer can I do the job that's required;
If anyone asks, just say,'Santa's retired!'"

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "This parody was originally published in Mad Magazine in the winter of 1981, in case you're wondering who the hell Donnie, Marie and Telly Savalas are."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mets Hot Stove Analysis, Part III

Until the Mets make any more moves this will be the final installment of my opinions regarding the New York Mets hot stove movement this winter. Click the hotlinks in case you missed part I or part II.
Today I'll discuss pitchers and catchers.

To the catchers-

Only because this is the simplest when you understand that this is Travis d'Arnaud's job to lose with the caveat being he needs 2015 to be his breakout year. His backups are Anthony Recker and Taylor Teagarden (in that order) and neither have shown me they can be a starting catcher for any organization. Both are serviceable as backups so it is crystal clear that d'Arnaud will be the guy squatting behind the dish, and expectations are high, to be sure.
He's being handed the most promising pitching staff in the majors, so his game-management skills shouldn't be put to too great a test. The challenge defensively will be to keep base runners in check and I think d'Arnaud should be aggressive. I'd like to see him, early on, show that he is NOT afraid to pick off runners and throw to first base often. Take those chances and get in the minds of potential base stealers. The mental edge he could grab would be huge, and anything less than 35% of base runners caught stealing would be unacceptable. Ideally I'd like that number closer to 40% but that's asking d'Arnaud to be elite. To me, Travis d'Arnaud is the most exciting player the Mets have defensively because his potential is tremendous and he's right at the point in his career where he should be starting his prime.
Offensively d'Arnaud needs to be more than just consistent, he needs to be a force, and by force I mean clutch. Naturally we want a catcher to flirt with 30 home runs and 100 rbi's, but I would be content with doubles in the alleys and singles to right with runners on first. The power numbers don't need to be high for d'Arnaud to be clutch and protect his mates in the lineup.

To the pitchers-

Only the Mets can have too much of a good thing. To most teams, excessive starting pitching is generally a gold mine of chips to play with but the Mets moved nobody in exchange for an impact player. The Mets have six seasoned, league-proven quality starters. Throw in Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard and that makes eight, count 'em, eight chips to play with. None moved during the winter meetings.
GM Sandy Alderson says he was shopping Jon Niese, but really the only public knowledge was he tried to dump Dillon Gee solely to get his $5 million paycheck off the books. A salary dump? With nothing in return? And there were no takers???
Like I said, only the Mets. (sigh) Here is my projected rotation:

Matt Harvey (r)
Bartolo Colon (r)
Jon Niese (l)
Zack Wheeler (r)
Jacob DeGrom (r)

Odd men out: Dillon Gee (r), Noah Syndergaard (r) and Rafael Montero (r).

I put Niese at number three only because he is the sole southpaw in the mix and I want at least one lefty throwing every five days. Montero has shown (in albeit limited exposure) that he is perhaps NOT the superstar the rumors led us to believe. Syndergaard has not even pitched at the major league level yet and Gee, I feel, can be on any starting rotation in the league.
To some degree it would make sense to go as far as spring training with the status quo because despite the potential, these starting five have some questions to be answered. To wit;
How will Harvey bounce back from Tommy John surgery? Will Colon win 15 games again? How bad will (NL rookie of the year) DeGrom's inevitable sophomoric slump be? Can Wheeler elevate himself to be the number two or three guy? Will Niese even be on the team come spring training?
If any of those questions are answered in the negative, the Mets will need the odd men out to step up and fill in the blanks, but what to do in the meantime?

I just don't know.

I think Sandy Alderson showed great restraint in not making a trade for the sake of making a trade. I'm ecstatic that he did not trade for Troy Tulowitzki. But it's disturbing to think he was willing to throw away Gee purely to dump salary. I hope Alderson is slyly lying in the weeds waiting to pounce on an All-Star caliber shortstop made available via trade. The reality of that happening is nil, but is he looking to further upgrade the bullpen? That makes for a great segue...

To the bullpen-

Why, oh WHY did the Mets not try to bring in Andrew Miller? It's bad enough he signed with the crosstown Yankees but the Mets did not even enter the sweepstakes! Alderson has been saying for months that they were looking for a lefty to join Dana Eveland in the bullpen and there was Andrew Miller, courting suitors. Yet the Mets showed no public interest. If anything happened behind closed doors, nobody's talking, but Met fans sure would have liked to think we were in the hunt for a guy that is as effective against righties as lefties.
Could you imagine Miller joining a bullpen that boasts a back end of Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia (two proven closers) and Bobby Parnell (another proven closer) returning from Tommy John surgery? Boys and girls, that's the 6th, 7th, 8th AND 9th innings LOCKED DOWN!!!
It hurts just to think about what could have been.
Instead Eveland, who is hardly lights-out, by the way, is being complimented by the re-signing of Scott Rice (coming off an injury), untested Sean Gilmartin whom they snatched up via the Rule 5 Draft, and Josh Edgin who, like a venereal disease, just won't go away. Those are the lefties. What of right-hander Carlos Torres? He has shown value in long relief and as an emergency spot-starter. Is he out of the mix thanks to the logjam at the end of the starting rotation?  It doesn't seem fair.
The only certainty of the bullpen is Gonzalez Germen won't be there as he was designated for assignment over the weekend.

In conclusion, the Mets are banking on a bunch of guys with abounding question marks. Who rides the bench will depend upon how many pitchers they decide to bring out of spring training. They did not tender a contract to the speedy Eric Young, Jr so he's gone despite being a stolen base threat and being able to play second base as well as corner outfield.
The big picture begs even more questions. Assuming this group can win 90 games, is that enough to win the NL East? Consider what the rest of the division is doing...

Fans should be terrified of both Washington and Miami. The Nationals seem to be in an all-or-nothing mindset, putting all of their chips on the table now, considering how many of their key players become free agents after 2015.
The Marlins have been very active this offseason, trying to build a winner around Giancarlo Stanton and that crazy extension he signed last month.

Let's not forget about those pesky Atlanta Braves. Are you sleeping on them? I'm not. They are the cockroaches of the NL East. Come September you may not think they're around, but turn on the lights and there are the Braves; scurrying around, spreading disease and vying for a wildcard spot if not the Eastern crown itself. Disgusting creatures, those Braves.

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "What about the Philadelphia Phillies? Don't they get a little-league participation trophy because they try really, really hard?"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mets Hot Stove Analysis, Part II

This is the second installment of a three part series citing my opinions on the Mets hot stove movement so far this winter. I wrote about the outfield yesterday in part I, if you want to catch up. I also gave my impression on Troy Tulowitzki and why the Mets should NOT pursue him. To wit, Part II begins...

To the infield-

The corners are set. Barring injuries, the corners are locked in for a very long time. Third baseman David Wright is the face of the franchise, the team captain and the Mets ambassador to anything and everything the franchise is involved with. And what's not to love? Wright was given a long term, big money contract ensuring he will be a Met for life and he does the fan base proud. He's Mr. Met without the giant head.
There are concerns about his health. Wright has a history of missing significant time, and the nagging, lingering injuries have led to diminished offense. But I like to think David Wright has many productive seasons left, and a few great ones, too.

The Mets made a clear commitment to Lucas Duda at first base with the expulsion of Ike Davis early last season. It turned out to be the right move as despite his deficiencies against left handed pitching, Duda led the Mets in home runs (30) and runs batted in (92). Duda insists he will figure out lefty hurlers but he's been saying that all his life, and at age 28 I can't see him improving much against southpaws before he reaches the end of his prime. As mentioned yesterday, the acquisition of Michael Cuddyer will make the dismissals of Josh Satin and Eric Campbell painless, as he is an upgrade.

It is the middle infield where the Mets have some serious questions...

I have mixed feeling about Daniel Murphy at second base. I understand he led the team in hits (172) and batting average (.289) but those number aren't exactly staggering compared to other team's leaders. Despite scoring 79 runs he only drove in 57. In 596 at bats he struck out only 86 times, but he drew a paltry 39 walks. His $5.7 million price tag seems a bit steep for that offense. His defense, to put it nicely, is a liability. He has trouble turning the double play and makes more than a fair share of errors.
I can't help but think the Mets missed an opportunity to trade him at last year's deadline when he could have returned something valuable. Now they couldn't give him away if they wanted to and they can't afford to trade him, as they have a more pressing need at shortstop and don't need distractions at second.

Shortstop. (sighs) This is a position where, like center field, I would sacrifice offense for great defense. The Mets have neither right now.  At age 25 Ruben Tejada is already deemed a bust because he can't hit to save his life. Wilmer Flores is better with the bat but his glove is inferior to Tejada's. The free agent market is weak and no team wanted to trade for any of the Mets exemplary (and extra) starting pitchers. If the Texas Rangers don't want Dillon Gee, Noah Syndergaard and another piece for Elvis Andrus, then that's their (incorrect) decision to live with. I had no interest in trading with the Cubs for Starling Castro and even less interest in trading with Philadelphia for Jimmy Rollins.
The only free agent that intrigued me was Oakland's Jed Lowrie and he signed with Houston early this morning. I don't even want to know what kind of money Stephen Drew will be demanding. Met fans can complain all they want but the best shortstop right now for the team is Wilmer Flores. Keep Tejada as backup and late inning defense.
In the interim, the best thing the Mets can do is have the Las Vegas AAA club start Wilfredo Tovar at short EVERY DAY until he is big-league ready, and keep Dilson Herrera in Vegas as the every day second baseman and develop his offense. Herrera showed a lot of promise as a September call up and I think he can replace Murphy for good by the end of next year.
I truly believe the Amazin's every day shortstop is already here, be it either Flores or Tovar, but they are still a year away, at best.

Have some patience, my Met brethren, on the next shortstop and part III of this series where I do pitchers and catchers. Stay tuned...

Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva says, "I think Tursi be a wee bit optimistic about those Spanish fellers at shortstop. Stephen Drew played in Boston and has won many chowder-eating contests. I've seen dead tuna at the cannery that could hit better than Wilmer Flores!"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It just goes to show ---

It's amazing what you can learn with just minimal research.

I've been checking out the moderator stats for Turzman Central which I tend to do from time to time. For no particular reason I checked which of my blogs were the most popular in the last thirty days. To my surprise, listed at number two was a post from May of 2005 announcing to my readers that the guestbook was down.

2005. The guest book has been decommissioned since late 05, maybe 2006.  How the hell does that insignificant post get any traffic now?  What kind of foolish entry must be typed into a search engine to find a nine year old post about a defunct Internet guestbook?

All I can do is hope you newer readers will sift through the archives and find something more important, if not interesting.

And share with your friends.  Thanks.

Internet addict Pornocat says, "People search the Internet to watch porn. You won't get new readers until you get new naked girly pictures, meow."

The impatient ghost of Robert Shaw says, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, no one bloody cares!"

I've been silent for too long. Mets Analysis, Part I

December the fourteenth. Eleven days till X-mas. So naturally I shall blog about baseball. With all due respect to Christmas, Hanukkah & the other elements that comprise the Holiday season, I cannot ignore that it is also, Hot Stove Season and quite frankly, I get more joy from that than Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Halloween combined.
It's hard to believe, I know. Any fan of the New York Mets (and any other New York area sports team, it seems. Save for the Islanders and Rangers. Yay, hockey!) knows that we are, in a word, cursed. Yes, cursed. But curses can be broken. (see: Boston Red Sox, 2004) How can the Mets be the next Bosox, before they become the next Chicago Cubs? (see: The year 1908) And why talk New York baseball in December? With baseball's winter meetings having come and gone last week, let's see what the Mets did (and didn't do) to avoid the Chicago shame...

This is the first of three parts analyzing the Mets hot stove movement so far in the winter of 2014/15. Here, I opine on the outfield and why Troy Tulowitzki should NOT be wearing orange and blue next season. Pitchers, catchers and the infield will come later...

First of all, you morons with hard-ons for Troy Tulowitzki need to step back and reconsider. Or at the very least, go away! Trading for Tulo may be the absolute WORST thing the Mets can do. He's expensive, unhealthy, unreliable and over-rated. Yes, his offensive numbers are impressive at home, but in this case, home field being Coors Field, those offensive numbers are rather pedestrian. His stats are inflated by Coors Field. Look at his less than stellar numbers on the road and intelligent people won't see a ballplayer worth the $106 million he's due over the next six years. The Mets cannot afford that ridiculous salary plus whichever starting pitcher(s) the Rockies would demand via trade. The frightening thing is, GM Sandy Alderson would make a move like that; typical Met nonsense to appease an impatient fan base.
No, no, no, no says I. The Mets cannot afford to be that stupid! Be reminded, Tulo is always hurt!!! If the Mets were to bring him in, he would get injured in spring training, leaving themselves in the same position they're in now, except two starting pitchers fewer and $106 million poorer.
The Rockies offered that contract, and Tulo signed on. He has NOT played up to expectations therefore let the buyer beware. Do not make the Rockies mistake. Tulo will never play a full season of baseball again, and the Rox deserve him. Let him descend to obscurity in Denver, counting his money.

Met fans, forget about Troy Tulowitzki, please. To the outfield-

Center fielder Juan Lagares, fresh off a gold glove award. Love him. Center field is one position where I don't mind sacrificing a little offense for exceptional defense and that encapsulates Lagares quite nicely. His offense isn't horrible, but it is barely pedestrian and the Mets plan to stick him in the leadoff spot. Yuck. I wouldn't have anyone but Juan Lagares roaming the chasmal confines of Citifield's outfield, but in order for all to go according to plan he seriously needs to step it up at the plate. His ceiling is high, but can he reach it?
The outfield corners are slightly better now than a year ago. You know what? Say what you will about the signing of Curtis Granderson last off season but he's a welcome member of my outfield, any time. Grandy is the epitome of veteran leadership that every clubhouse needs and he's hardly a liability defensively. Granted, he had possibly his worst season at the plate last year including two separate stretches where he went almost a month without getting a hit! But consider; despite those tepid slumps, at season's end Grandy hit 20 home runs, 27 doubles, drove in almost 70 runs, scored 73 more and drew almost 80 walks. IN AN OFF YEAR! Unless he spends an inordinate amount of time on the disabled list, ALL those stats will be improved upon and we will be lucky to have Grandy in Flushing.
Michael Cuddyer is, from an offensive standpoint, a slight improvement over Eric Campbell, Matt Den Dekker AND Kirk Nieuwenhuis. But at age 35 his health is an issue, and between the outfield and first base the Mets expect Cuddyer to be a full time player. It's unreasonable to expect him to play 162 games, but can he give them 120? Will that be enough to help? If not, can Cuddyer play in at least 100 games? Hey, for two years at $20 million, Michael Cuddyer is a bargain and worth the gamble. Welcome aboard.
So, with Cuddyer playing first base against lefty pitching, the Mets ideally want a right handed bat to join Grandy and Lagares in the outfield. Nieuwenhuis and Den Dekker are both lefties, and Campbell with little more than offensive flashes here and there, did NOT impress anybody.
Enter John Mayberry, Jr, the fourth outfielder and starter against righties. With Cuddyer as a part time infielder the Mets may carry five outfielders on the roster. If not, then fan favorites Campbell, Den Dekker and Nieuwenhuis will start the season at AAA Las Vegas, if in the Mets organization at all.

Check back later for part II of my Mets analysis where I opine on the infield and catchers. My thoughts on the pitching staff will be part III.
Thanks for reading, feel free to leave comments-

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "Wait just a damn minute. No film critiques, no porn stars, no sharks and no Star Trek references. Instead you give us a thousand words on baseball. In December. This is a refreshing change, I'm proud of you, Turz."

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

STORMY NIGHT available from Amazon

I know what you're thinking...

You're thinking, "Turz, we've all heard this before."

And you have.

But this time it's different. This time, it's true.

And that's not to say that I was lying before. On the contrary, every time I posted something along the lines of, "Stormy Night is available now," I thought it was truth. I had certain assurances from (what I thought were) very credible sources that Stormy Night was in fact, actually available. But with every post, tweet, Facebook like/share and screening the accompaniment of a DVD release was sort of like the Loch Ness Monster. It was supposed to be there, but in reality, wasn't.

Ever since, I promised myself I would never get excited about Stormy news again.  Not until I had proof would I ever make a Stormy mention to my progressively dwindling list of readers again.

I have kept that promise and I offer proof-

Here is the STORMY link to the Amazon page.  Now you can purchase and purview the events leading up to the epic battle between Gray and Andrew-

And if for some reason you still can't, now you have a corporate entity to complain to instead of me!

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "The irony is, everyone reading this blog has probably already seen the film since Turz gave out bootlegged copies as gifts over five years ago!"

Saturday, October 25, 2014

a Lovecraft quote, from out of nowhere.

"Outsiders visit Dunwich as seldom as possible, and since a certain season of horror all the signboards pointing towards it have been taken down.

The natives are now repellently decadent...

The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incest and deeds of almost unnameable violence and perversity."

~H.P. Lovecraft