Shaq Retires

June 7, 2011

- See all 177 of my articles

No Comments

After 19 glorious seasons, the Diesel has hung it up. Riding off into the Big Sunset, the Shaq Daddy has an impressive resume’. An MVP award, numerous rings with a couple of different teams, and one of the most likable guys to ever play in the NBA. The Big Aristotle might also hold the record for most different nicknames ever attributed to an NBA player. This Original Superman started with the Orlando Magic as a young player fresh out of LSU. In his younger days Shaq FU was a physical and dexterous specimen on the basketball court. Many teams underwent the “Hack a Shaq” mentality as the one weakness – the total inability to make free throws on a consistent basis – became more apparent as he moved on to the Phoenix Suns where he played under the moniker of the Shaqtus. He ended his career, fairly unceremoniously as the Big Leprechaun in Boston playing in limited action due mainly to injuries.

Bye Bye Big 401K….your presence in the league will be sorely missed by fans everywhere.

Speaking of NBA….

The finals are in full swing and if not for a complete meltdown and letdown in Game 2, the Heat would have a commanding 3-0 lead. Instead the totally collapsed in Game 2, and nearly repeated the feat trying hard to lose Game 3. Johnny’s notes from the finals thus far…..Dirk is REALLY good, no I mean Really good! Dwayne Wade has been the MVP so far of the Playoffs, and lastly players are flopping everywhere getting ghost calls from the officials. I guess whoever loses will have the officials to blame.

The Baseball draft is being held as we speak. For those of you who are baseball aficionados I am sure you are excited to watch this, but me…nah…not so much. There is a big difference between watching the ESPN full court press crew along with Kiper and McShay and countless highlights and interviews with coaches, players, team owners , the graphics etc. Then Major League Baseball rolls out the White Pages personality of Bud Selig coupled with some high school highlights of players none of you outside of their geography have ever heard of and then a couple of genius comments by the MLB Network Stiffs. Boo MLB for trying to be something you are not to the casual fan….exciting.

Until Next Week, Stay Classy Milwaukee!

Interview With Andy Seiler of MLB Bonus Baby

May 13, 2010

- See all 763 of my articles


Beat reporter Scoop Chevelle comes to us from a secret facility deep beneath the Grand Canyon.  This palatial subterranean complex, powered by a series of dams on the Colorado River, houses the research lab of Andy Seiler, baseball draft guru.

After a two-day hike through the most remote reaches of the canyon, Scoop reaches the hidden door of the facility.  After an iris scan confirms his identity, he is allowed in.  We join Scoop and Andy as they begin the interview in the formal dining room.

Scoop: Let’s start off with the question that everyone is clamoring to know the answer to.  Are you related to Marv Seiler, the man who was unjustly denied the 1992 Heisman trophy despite his heroic performance in Iowa State’s 19-10 victory over 7th ranked Nebraska?

Andy: I could be, but not that I know of. Most in my family aren’t athletic in the football sense. That’s why we like baseball.

Scoop: You’ve been called the Mel Kiper of baseball.  How do you feel about that comparison?  More importantly, how does your hair feel about it?

Andy: I don’t know how I feel about that. My hair is insulted, but if he’s the guy most turn to for draft information in the NFL, I’ll take that as a compliment. There always has to be a Todd McShay, though…

Scoop: The draft is quickly sneaking up on us.  How many hours a week are you spending on research?  How are you managing to balance this with the other priorities in your life?

Andy: I probably spend more time on research and writing than anything else in my life right now, including sleep. I keep telling everyone that as soon as the last pick of the 50th round is announced, I’m going to go into a sleep coma for 36 hours. I’d say the average week in the last three or four has included 80+ hours of research and writing, though that includes weekends. Luckily, this is my wife’s busiest time of the year, too, so it’s not like there’s any pressure to reign it back in.

Scoop: A lot of people are excited about your book, which will contain 750 player profiles and well as information about each organization.  Some of us – including me – have already pre-ordered it.  Several publishers sell guides to the NFL draft, but baseball’s draft has historically been nearly ignored by the mainstream media.  When did you get the idea to publish such a comprehensive guide?

Andy: I’ve had the idea for a couple years, but I didn’t feel strong enough with my information and contacts to know that I’d put out a quality product. My handle on the information and the depth of it have really matured over the last year, so I feel it’s going to be the go-to resource on draft day for those who buy it. I think people will be pleasantly surprised by how the quality of my product and depth of information is as good as or better than any source out there on the Internet, and the price is a fraction of what you have to pay for it online.

Scoop: Bryce Harper is the most hyped prospect in this year’s draft, and many observers feel that the Nationals will grab him with the top pick.  Grab your crystal ball and take a look into the future.  How long do you think it will take Harper to reach the majors, and what do you expect him to accomplish in his career?

Andy: I would say mid-2013 at the earliest is the best possibility. Think of 2011 spent at Low-A ball, 2012 split between High-A and Double-A, then 2013 between Triple-A and the Majors. That’s a best-case scenario, but I think he has the talent to make it happen. I see him becoming a perennial all-star, but he’ll probably follow the career path of more of a Craig Biggio, who had to move off catcher to lengthen his career relatively early in the game. He could also turn out to be J.D. Drew if injuries creep in, and that’s a question that few can answer years in advance.

Scoop: Do you ever get burned out on baseball and just want to sit on the couch and watch reruns of 2 ½ Men for a solid week?

Andy: Definitely. I think the one thing I dislike most about what I do is that I can’t sit on the couch and just watch baseball for enjoyment anymore. I’m always looking at it from a different angle, through the lens of an evaluator rather than a fan. I’m not saying I’m the best scout or anything, but the mindset changed at some point, and I’m not really able to turn it off, even at a little league game watching a cousin’s kid. That being said, though I get tired of it, I always seem to enjoy what I do in the long run.

Scoop: OK, final question, and a very important one.  What sort of cuisine do you partake in when you go to a ballgame?  Personally, I try to grab a Pepsi, bratwurst, and nachos before the game and then try to grab some cotton candy around the 6th inning.

Andy: I’m pretty basic. I get the hot dog with mustard and a Dr. Pepper or Sprite, depending on if I need the caffeine. Once you go to enough high school games, you realize that the caffeine is necessary. Since I’m glued to my seat or wherever I’m standing to scout, I don’t get anything during the game, so I have to get it all down between infield practice and the lineup announcement.

Scoop: Thank for your time, Andy.  I’ll let you get back to your work in the bowels of the Draft Cave.

Be sure to check out Andy’s draft blog, MLB Bonus Baby, where you can find his 2010 Draft Guide for sale (PDF format).  It will contain profiles of 750 potential draftees as well as organizational previews of all 30 Major League teams.  The book will be delivered via email the Saturday before the draft, but you can order yours today.  At ten bucks, it’s a steal for die-hard fans.  Want a preview before you buy?  Check out a couple of draftee profiles and a team organizational profile.  Note – I am not being compensated in any way for endorsing the book – I simply truly believe that it will be a top shelf publication.

The Major League Baseball Draft

May 6, 2010

- See all 763 of my articles

1 Comment

As many of you know, Major League Baseball’s draft is coming up next month.  I’m sure that many of you will set your DVRs to record the event.  I certainly will.  (Yes, I’m serious).

The baseball draft doesn’t receive the same attention given to the NFL’s draft (which seems to nearly overshadow the Super Bowl) or even the NBA’s. 

There are several reasons for the lack of popularity for the event.  Historically, about half the players drafted have been high schoolers, although the balance has shifted in favor of college players in recent years.  Even the very best high school players will take 3-4 years to develop into major league players, and 6+ years is a more common timeline.  Even the college players typically spend a few years in the minor leagues.  Thus, baseball players don’t jump straight from the draft to the television set like athletes in others sports.

Baseball’s 50 round draft is much longer than the NBA’s (2 rounds) or NFL’s (7 rounds).  Considering that the active roster for a baseball team is just 25 players, this necessitates using the minor leagues to develop players.  Without the minor leagues, the players simply wouldn’t get ample opportunities against live competition.  The minors also serve to bring baseball to small cities across America, allowing nearly anyone to hop in a car, drive an hour or two, and catch a game at any point during the summer.

The eligibility rules for baseball’s draft can make your head spin.  First of all, only residents of the United States, Canada, and U.S. territories – and well as students at institutions within those counties – are subject to the draft.  Players in other countries can sign with a team at age 16.  Thus players from Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory) are subject to the draft, but players from the Dominican Republic are not.  It is desirable to not be subject to the draft, as it allows you to negotiate with multiple teams, instead of just with the team that has exclusive rights to you.

As mentioned earlier, high school players are eligible.  Quite a few of the drafted high school players do not sign and opt to attend college on scholarship.  Sometimes teams will take a shot on “unsignable” players later in the draft, and try to convince them to sign with the team.  This is a low-risk/high-reward strategy.  An example of this is Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler.  Fowler was a multi-sport star in high school and was committed to attending college at the University of Miami.  The Rockies took a flier on him in the 14th round.  After freeing up some cash by trading Larry Walker, they were able to sign him for $925,000 – an amount that is more in line with a high second round pick than a 14th rounder.

If a player decides to attend a four year college, they have to wait until their junior year.  An exception to this is that sophomores who turn 21 before the draft are also eligible.  The juniors and draft-eligible sophomores typically sign for more money than college seniors because they have more leverage.  If they don’t sign, they can always return to college and re-enter the draft.

If a player decides to attend junior college, they are eligible to be drafted after their first year.  This is why you will sometimes see very good players in the JUCO ranks instead of at an NCAA school.  In fact, Alex Fernandez transferred from the University of Miami after his freshman season in order to attend Miami-Dade Community College.  As a junior college player, he was eligible for the 1990 draft.  Had he stayed at Miami, he would not have been eligible until 1991.  Fernandez was the #4 overall pick in the 1990 draft.

Who will be the top pick in this year’s draft?  Most are saying that the Nationals will go after teen phenom Bryce Harper.  Harper passed his GED in order to skip his final two years of high school (yes, you read that correctly) and is currently attending junior college in order to gain eligibility for this year’s draft.  Although most scouts are rubbed the wrong way Harper’s arrogance and sense of entitlement, most admit that he is a tremendously skilled player.  While in high school, Harper racked up the miles criss-crossing the country and playing in a variety of elite tournaments.  He got off to a slow start this season, but has heated up in a hurry and it putting up video game type numbers.  Even better, Harper is a catcher – a position where there is traditionally a scarcity of great offensive players.

Should the Nationals and other teams take Harpers demeanor into account before decided to throw millions of dollars at him?  Certainly.  However, the landscape of professional sports is hardly barren of athletes with big egos.  As for Harper’s young age, it’s worth noting that he’ll turn 18 on October 16 – just a month later than some of the other 2010 draftees.

My advice to the Nationals?  Pick Harper – he’s the best available talent.  Then find him a Crash Davis type of player to make sure his head stays on straight.  The Nationals front office has been making some decent moves lately, and the team is actually doing fairly well so far this year.  Add Stephen Strasburg to the mix in a few weeks and Harper a few years down the road, and I think they’ll have a solid core to build upon.

For information about other players in this year’s draft, I recommend the blog MLB Bonus Baby.