Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jeter the Next Hit King? Puhhhh-leeeeease!

Ever since 38-year-old Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter collected his 3,256th career hit a short time ago, I've heard hints and whispers that since he's only 1,000 hits behind all-time leader Pete Rose, it's only a matter of time before he overtakes the reigning Hit King. That's true. It is a matter of time. Time Jeter simply doesn't have. Let's look a little deeper at this thing, shall we?

Jeter is roughly 1,000 hits behind  Pete Rose. Many pundits and so-called baseball experts seem to think it's a given that Jeter will catch Rose in five years. But has anyone really taken the time to think about this? In our day and age where numbers like 1 million, 100 million, and 1 billion are tossed around in reference to players' salaries and the value of franchises, a number like 1,000 seems almost pathetically small. But is it, really? In order to catch Rose, Jeter would have to AVERAGE 200 hits per year for the next five years. Even the best hitters in baseball rarely collect 200 hits in a season, much less when they are in their late 30's/early 40's, a time when a hitter's skills are naturally declining. Do you really think, despite his success this year, that Jeter will be among the league leaders in hitting for the next five years? I don't.

One of the other factors that will hold Jeter back is the position he plays. Rose played many different positions over the course of his career, but when it became apparent that he had a legitimate shot at catching and passing Ty Cobb, he moved to first base and stayed there. First base is a much less physically demanding position than shortstop, as everyone knows. Jeter has shown no willingness to give up the shortstop position, and with Mark Teixiera, the Yankees are set at first base for years to come. Yes, Jeter has the option of stepping into the DH spot, but his overall lack of power makes this a bad fit for the Yankees. So don't look for the Captain to move to DH anytime soon.

So how realistic is it that Jeter can chase down Rose? In my opinion, not realistic at all. Jeter is a great player, and a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, but I don't see any possibility of him entering the Hall as the all-time hits leader. At least, that's the way it looks from the Cheap Seats.

Monday, August 27, 2012

SEC vs. the li'l ten...

My favorite time of the year, college football season, starts this week and I have a question for my Big Ten-loving friends. The marquee matchup of the weekend is taking place Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas and features #2 Alabama vs. #8 Michigan. Alabama, the defending BCS National Champion, lost seven (count 'em), SEVEN starters from their defense to the NFL. But the bigger question may be Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson's throwing ability, or lack thereof. Whatever the storylines leading up to this clash of the SEC and Big Ten Titans, it should be a very entertaining game to start the college football season.

Which brings me to my question, especially for my Ohio State Buckeye-loving pals:  Who are you rooting for in this matchup?  Are you able to put aside you hatred of "That Team Up North," and root for your conference to gain some dignity against the mighty SEC? Or is your contempt so strong that you will root for another SEC team to humiliate another team from the (as I choose to call it) li'l ten?

We have all seen the SEC destroy the li'l ten in past Bowl seasons, so why would we think an opening game would be any different? Now I realize than many readers will bring up Michigan
State's victory over my beloved Georgia Bulldogs last Bowl season, and I acknowledge that loss. I will only say that it only took MSU three overtimes and two botched kicks by Georgia's All-Amerian kicker Blair Walsh to do it, so I consider that a gift victory. A gift that I don't expect Georgia or any other SEC team to give again. And the only other victory of a li'l ten team against the SEC came in the Sugar Bowl a couple of years ago when Ohio State managed to beat Arkansas while using five (5) ineligible players, including QB Terrell Pryor, who is now backing up former Cincinnati Bengal Carson Palmer in Oakland, after having been taken by the Raiders in the NFL Supplemental Draft. That came after Pryor was banned from having contact with OSU for five years. Buckeye fans must be so proud...

So my question remains, OSU fans: Alabama or Michigan? Whom do you hate more, and why? My money's on Bama. And that's the view from the cheap seats.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Frazier for President! (Or, at least, ROY)

If you watch ESPN or the MLB Network as often as I do, you know that the Washington Nationals' rookie Bryce Harper has been tabbed as the next Micky Mantle, among other things. He's a five-tool player who should be an All-Star for years to come. While most (again I say, "most") of the hype is true, Harper has no business even being in the conversation about the National League Rookie of the Year. That honor belongs (at least right now) to Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds.

Frazier, who has played infield and outfield positions for the Reds this season, is batting about 40 points higher than Harper, with more home runs, RBI's, and a better OPS than the supposed Savior of baseball. Frazier has perhaps meant more to the Reds' success this season than any other player, especially since former MVP Joey Votto went down with a knee injury over a month ago. Everyone wonders where Frazier will play when Votto comes back, and with Scott Rolen as the incumbent at third base, and Ryan Ludwick hitting out of his mind in left field, it almost seems that there's no room in the Reds starting lineup for a guy who just continues to succeed at everything he's asked to do. But that's Dusty Baker's problem, and it's a good problem to have. Votto will almost certainly not play everyday when he comes back, and Rolen is an everyday question mark at best due to his age and past health problems. So a lack of playing time shouldn't derail Frazier's Rookie of the Year campaign as the season winds down. One thing is for sure, though:  a lack of playing time is a MUCH bigger threat to Frazier's chances for ROY than Bryce Harper will be.

And that's my view from the cheap seats. What's yours?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Can you feel it? It's almost here. The absolute best time of the year to be a sports fan is just around the corner, and I personally welcome it with all the anticipation of a kid on Christmas Eve. There's simply nothing else like it in the sports fan's calendar. Let's take a look at what's coming up in the next couple of months.

First of all, college football begins in just 11 days. As a die-hard University of Georgia Bulldogs fan, and a general fan of the SEC, I look forward to this time of year as much if not more so than even Cincinnati Reds Opening Day. The preseason polls (which I despise, but that's a topic for another post on another day) have UGA firmly entrenched in the top 10, along with several other SEC representatives. SEC haters (and USC and Oklahoma lovers) will say what they wish to say, but it seems that the national title will again have to go through the mighty Southeastern Conference. Can they make it seven straight? I can't wait to find out.

Secondly, the National Football League's regular season is also about to start. I'm a lifelong Cincinnati Bengals fan (insert your own Mike Brown joke here), and after last season's emergence of quarterback Andy Dalton and All-World wide receiver A.J, Green (a UGA product, by the way), things look bright in the Queen City's football future for the first time in years. The Bengals have a very tough schedule this season, but if Dalton doesn't take a step backward in his development, and Mike Zimmer's defense can elevate their play, look for the Bengals to make some noise in the division this year. Pittsburgh has injuries to deal with on offense, including QB Ben Roethlisberger's torn rotator cuff and Rashard Mendenhall's reconstructed ACL, along with a new offensive coordinator in former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. Linebacker James Harrison is now a question mark on defense after recent knee surgery, and safety Troy Polamalu, while one of the most dynamic and exciting players in the game, is always prone to an injury or two of his own simply because of the way he throws his body around. Baltimore is doing nothing but getting older. Linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed are bound for the Hall of Fame, but at this rate they'll both be eligible for Social Security before they retire from the NFL. Age eventually catches up with everyone, and the Ravens are no different.

But sports seasons are also winding down and getting ready to determine their respective champions during this incredible time of year. The Major League Baseball playoffs are not far off, and my beloved Cincinnati Reds are once again in the driver's seat in the NL Central. Forget their lead in the standings at the moment and simply do the math. The prevailing opinion among most baseball experts at the beginning of the year was that it would take about 93 wins to take the NL Central crown. With the Reds' current record, they can play sub-.500 baseball for the rest of the season (which I don't see happening) and STILL eclipse that number. Their closest purusers, the Pirates and Cardinals, would both have to play at least eight games ABOVE .500 to get there. Couple this with the fact that former MVP and arguably the best hitter in the league Joey Votto will be returning to the lineup soon from knee surgery, and the Reds future looks very bright indeed. There's nothing qute like October baseball in Cincinnati. I'm looking forward to it.

Finally, the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is also about to begin in just a few weeks. With five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and his teammate, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. firmly in the mix for the title, the ten-week Chase will be an interesting watch this season. Earnhardt, NASCAR's most popular driver, will certainly bring more eyes to TV screens and more rear ends to seats at the Chase races this year if he can manage to stay as consistent as he's been this season. But as Tony Stewart showed last year, and Jimmie Johnson has also proven in the past, you have to be better that consistent in the Chase. You have to win races. Junior finally broke back into the win column this year, but it will be very interesting to see if he and crew chief Steve LeTarte can find a way to win when the pressure is at its highest. We shall see.

So there you have it. Just a few reasons why this is truly the most wonderful time of the year to be a sports fan in America. I hope you're looking forward to it as much as I am, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you. Blessings to all, and don't forget, there's nothing like the view from the cheap seats!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Welcome to my first blog!! Thanks for stopping by!!

I hope you'll find this blog not only entertaining, but also a bit educational. My posts will be dedicated to sports and sports news from around the country, but mainly from the Cincinnati area. However, I'm also a HUGE University of Georgia Bulldogs fan, so I'll be writing a good bit about them, as well as SEC football in general. I hope you'll stick around and provide some feedback as we navigate the crazy world of sports today. Thanks again for stopping by, and look for the first "official" post very soon. Thanks!!