I'm off to San Francisco today for my first All-Star game. Then, from there, I head back to Los Angeles for the ESPYs Wednesday night. It's my first time back since I moved, so I'm very much looking forward to it.
I'll let you know if it's changed any. As promised, here's a much overdue mailbag...
Polish Sausage (Bradley, Ill.): Got an idea -- how about you send me an e-mail on the days you are "too busy" to TRUM and I'll cover for you. Then again, the readers might be confused when I post an intelligent blog.
TMR: Yeah, I like to keep expectations low.
Paymon (Pensacola, Fla.): Matt, I just have something to add about your columns. I was reading your latest mailbag where people were complaining about your talking about things other than fantasy sports. First, I am a huge fan of yours and have a lot of respect for what you have done over the past seven years to get to where you are. I had dreams of doing that and started to get my own website about six years ago. I guess I wasn't ambitious enough to get it going so my hat is off to you. Anyway, my point is I know that you are a big fan of Howard Stern and I think in one big way, this is what he dealt with as well. People read your articles and pieces (even when they say they won't) because they like you and hate you. Just like Stern, people want to hear what you have to say. That means you are doing something right. I know I don't have to tell you this but please don't ever change and keep up the good work. You have a great balance of entertainment and fantasy expertise.
TMR: Thanks for the kind words and yes, I am a huge Stern fan. He is enormously talented and very smart. Among the many differences between us, however, is that he is worth gazillions of dollars and gets to look at beautiful women all day. I have Nate.
Philip (Panama City, Fla.): Time to own up, TMR. Ben Sheets' June splits are fantastic. Here are the highlights: 2.16 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8.64 K/9 and only two home runs in 41 2/3 innings. Now, Sheets will always be an injury risk. But there is certainly nothing wrong with him right now. I'm proud to say that I did not heed your advice about a month ago to "sell high" and have enjoyed some fantasy goodness because of it.
TMR: Yeah, the poor start against Pittsburgh on Thursday helped, but my call on Sheets isn't looking good. That said, there were red flags and I did say sell high. The problem was he's kept his value at a high level for about six weeks longer than I thought. But congrats on the not listening. I always say I'm here to offer advice and analysis, but ultimately it's up to everyone to coach their own team and make their own decisions. If you want someone to do all of your thinking for you, I'm not the fantasy analyst for you.
Philip (Panama City, Fla.): I don't get your man-crush on Erik Bedard. He gets lit up too much to be considered a fantasy ace. Meanwhile, Sheets has a banner month in June, is eating innings and is watching his K/9 rate rise with every outing. And he doesn't get lit up. At some point you have to shelve "potential" ("potential ace," "potential injury risk") and live in reality.
TMR: Dude, I get it. You like Sheets. But you're nuts on Bedard. I'd rather have him than Sheets this second half, even with the "dead arm." Every day of the week.
Dave (Boston): Nice call on Sheets. He was pitching fine before you send to dump him, and has been nearly perfect since. Problem is the stupid chumps in my league actually listen to you. Ugh.
TMR: You should get in a league with Philip from Panama City.
Andy (Portland, ME): I'm in a semi-shallow 10-team mixed league and I need to cut a pitcher with Rich Harden back. With Curt Schilling's recent problems, is he a safe bet to cut or should I look elsewhere? Other options include Yovani Gallardo, Bob Wickman or Brad Lidge/Dan Wheeler.
TMR: Drop Wheeler. In a league as shallow as yours, you'll always be able to find saves, and Wheeler can't get anyone out. Do not drop Gallardo. He will be back in the rotation.
AJ (Fresno): I am close to pulling the trigger on Carlos Zambrano for Alex Rios. I have Shane Victorino and J.D. Drew on the bench to fill in for Rios. Will Zambrano keep this up or will he be like he was earlier this year?
TMR: Now that Michael Barrett is gone, so are Zambrano's control problems. Expect Z to be a top-five pitcher the rest of the season.
Mr X (from parts unknown): What happened to that fantasy show on the Deuce last fall? I would TiVo it and the WSOP would play in its place every week.
TMR: Yeah, "The Fantasy Show" was a lot of fun. It was put on hiatus (hence the WSOP replays after week 11) and a new fantasy show will debut this fall. "ESPNEWS Fantasy Insider" will air Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. ET starting Aug. 12 on, yes, ESPNEWS. I'm on the show with some other fine folks, including Howie Schwab (of "Stump the Schwab" fame). He's a hard-core fantasy player, so it should be a lot of fun.
Jon (San Diego): Sell high on Joe Mauer? Allow me to respectfully disagree, and to also suggest that you have been leaning too close to your computer screen lately. Who on Earth would I replace him with? Jason Varitek? Bengie Molina? I don't think catcher is that deep a position in any league. Yeah, I could get a very good, maybe even top-tier pitcher for him, but whatever I would gain in pitching categories I would lose in offense.
TMR: Actually, Molina and Varitek are having very solid years, and if they are available in your league, you're in a very shallow league. And Mauer is a big name who really helps only in one category while still being an injury risk. But thanks for disagreeing respectfully.
Ryan (Milwaukee): Hi Matt, I really enjoy your work and your fantasy analysis. With that said, I just want to add a little constructive criticism. Please stop dealing with all the naysayers out there that just trash you. I know how much work you put in, as I'm an avid listener to the podcasts and read the TRUMs and read the chat wraps. However, lately with the chats and TRUMs there seems to be more postings of people bashing you than actual fantasy analysis. It's OK to post a few of those to answer your critics, but please don't waste an entire chat or TRUM on them. Thanks Matt, keep up the good work!
TMR: But ... posting angry e-mails is a lot easier than doing any actual fantasy analysis. I appreciate the kind words, but I write, post and answer to entertain, and the angry ones are often the most entertaining. I could cherry-pick and choose nothing but questions and e-mails about how awesome I am, but that's not terribly interesting to read, now is it? I am an open book, warts and all.
Nick (SF): TMR, huge fan seeks help: My league has had a max roster-move limit of 40 for the past two seasons to prevent the "churn and burn" starting pitcher strategy. Now, halfway through the season, three guys have already maxed out their moves. One of the three guys is the league commish, and he promptly upped the limit to 80 moves. These three guys claim it makes the league no fun if they can't make moves, but I contest that the rest of us have had to alter our strategy to conform to the rules and budget our moves for the whole season. I also don't think any rules should be changed midseason. Pete Becker says I should quit the league, but this is my most competitive league and I'd really rather try to work it out. Your comments on the situation (change rule or don't change rule) would definitely go a long way to settle a heated dispute. Thanks!
TMR: That's a bush-league move and I'm with Pete. I'd leave that league in a heartbeat. You don't change rules midseason, no matter what. Rule changes should be done in offseason and by a majority vote. The commish took the coward's way out, and who wants to win a league with guys like that?
Joe Grahor (Plymouth, MI) Here's a fun one (stats are as of 6/27): Check out these two hitting lines for the season:
Player A: 293 ABs, .270 average, 41 R's, 12 HRs, 49 RBIs, 1 SB.
Player B: 235 ABs, .281 average, 34 R's, 13 HRs, 45 RBIs, 2 SBs.
One player was drafted in the third- or fourth-round of most mixed-league drafts and is owned in all leagues. The other was undrafted and probably still available in mixed leagues. Here's a hint. One is a Pirate. Who would you rather have? Hah, I cheated, they're both Pirates. Player A is Jason Bay. Player B is Xavier Nady.
TMR: Nice. Let's get to the crazy girl karaoke story responses...
C Gattuso (Palatine, Ill.): Matt -- first, run from that girl ... and run fast. I have dated, I am married, and I listen to how my wife is with her friends. Women are nuts, psycho and out there. Guys can be mean, but women are downright nasty. This girl will destroy your car and wake up in the morning and think, "should I have sugar in my coffee." She may be hot, but she is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Find a semi-homely looking, normal, sports-loving woman. You will not regret it. Good luck! (Run!)
Justin (Bethpage, N.Y.) Awesome TRUM today Mr. Talented Roto ... I'm going through something similar right now and it's good to know there are other guys out there going through the same thing and that are willing to actually admit it ... so I just wanted to say thanks. Love your TRUM and chats ... keep 'em coming.
Peter (Seattle) Hot karaoke girl sounds good, but I hope you remember the advice that the Bush administration ignored: Have an exit strategy. If she went Carrie Underwood on a boyfriend who cheated, the bar for lesser violence is probably set much lower. Just be prepared to change your daily walking routine when things go south.
John (New York) Hey TMR, longtime reader (as far back as shortly before you left RW) was one of the OG (original gangsta) subscribers at TalentedMrRoto.com, then I started law school and fell off. Anyway, was glad to see you cashed in and took some of Mickey's Money. Why the long intro? I've never e-mailed you before but the karaoke story thing I felt required it.
Dude, seeing as you lived in the Valley of Rejected Hollywood Hotties, your standards might be a little skewed; this chick who is "cute" is most likely, by Bristol, Conn. standards, "Break Ya Neck Hot." Fact that she's crazy and you're recently divorced ... Vini Vidi Vici TMR. You're not gonna marry the chick and, workaholic or not, we can all use a summer of "crazy chick" every now and then. Anyway, best of luck at the Worldwide Leader...
Harris (Denver): As far the girl goes, get your kicks while you can and make sure she drives on all of your dates. When things go south with the crazy girl (and they will because, you know, she's crazy) start carpooling or taking public transportation.
David Costantino (Denver): First off, loved the karaoke story. The same things happen to me without music or alcohol involved, so I feel you. Second, we need a quick review of the Rush show today, either during the chat or on the next TRUM. Third, Ryan Braun has "filled every category," as I call it, twice in the week that I've owned him. Would you like fries with that combo? Yes please!
Marco (Conn.): Great story about the karaoke girl. It could have been better if it weren't being published to thousands and thousands of readers on a well-reputable site like ESPN.com. Nice story nonetheless. And you are right; crazy girls can be a lot of fun ... until they go crazy.
Ben (N.H.): Yo Berry, that karaoke story was hilarious! Haha...! I especially like the part when ... no, wait, the part when ... ummmmmm ... actually, that story sucked. After thinking you were a pretty cool dude, I have changed my mind after reading that story. I still like your fantasy advice though.
Alex (Princeton): Come on, Berry. There's no way that she is good-looking enough to deal with that nonsense. A good-looking girl looks good in anything. If you just want a fun girl, look for the stamp ... you might save yourself some new tires. Good luck.
TMR: For the record, she does, in fact, have a tattoo on her back...
Micah (Seattle) Berry, The TRUMs and chats are getting better and better, used to be I was kinda sore that (you were all over the place), but now I see the light. You're additive to the site. We get more insight and analysis and ... a whole lot more humor. And I'm digging it. I gotta admit, I'm clicking on the TRUMs first now. And you sealed the deal today with the crazy chick analysis. Couldn't agree more! My girl now is not crazy at all, she's stable and loving, and that's why she's my girlfriend. But man, when you're between women, there's nothing better than going out and hooking up with as many crazy girls as possible; they know how to have fun. Welcome to the team!
Rich (Richmond) Loved the karaoke story. I think the operative words in the Maine reply were "got drunk and hung out." Is "hung out" the new yada yada yada?
Derek (Kalamazoo, Mich.) Great story TMR ... I once had a girl tell me that she didn't call me back because she had read an article about cell phones causing cancer and subsequently decided to stop using her phone...
Josh Kear (Nashville) Matthew, I read your column all the time. What a surprise to see you ranting about a song I wrote ... Good luck with your crazy girl... (At least she went to Maine and not to Jersey). And thanks for the quick rookie pitcher ranking. I'll hold onto Gallardo. Cheers from Nashville!
TMR: Cheers, indeed ... I've texted once with the karaoke girl but nothing more. Haven't decided what, if anything, I want to do ... but appreciate the input.