Friday, May 23, 2008

Let's (Re)fool America!

Recently, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep introduced their plan to protect humanity from evil gas prices, also known as their "Let's Refuel America" program:

Program participants use a special card linked to their MasterCard or Visa credit card account. The card may be used to purchase enough fuel at $2.99 per gallon to travel up to12,000 miles per year in each of the next 3 years. So no matter what the price at the pump says, you'll never have to pay more than $2.99 per gallon for qualifying fuel.
In the face of high gas prices, such a program could be an enticing option for those in the market for a new car. But here are some facts which should be kept in mind:

1) While gas is a real cost of car ownership, it's not the most significant cost. The actual purchase price, and the cost of maintenance, are generally both more expensive than the cost of fuel.

2) Speaking of the actual purchase price, do you think that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep is not somehow making back what they're losing on this gas deal? An old axiom remains true here, "there's no such thing as a free lunch." Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep has undoubtedly raised either their prices or interest rates to compensate for this program. Not to mention this next fact.

3) "To qualify, you must purchase or lease an eligible Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep vehicle from May 7 through July 7, 2008 and have a valid MasterCard or Visa credit card." What are these "eligible vehicles?" Are they certain models that generally don't sell well? If so, there's probably a reason they don't, and that reason probably has something to do with...

4) These are Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles we're talking about here. This is perhaps the most important fact of all. Jeeps are some of the least-reliable, most gas-guzzling cars on planet Earth. Chrylsers and Dodges are only marginally better.

So basically what I'm saying is there's a lot more to buying a car than the price of gas. I'll hand it to Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep for shrewd marketing. They're doing a good job attempting to capitalize on people's general annoyance with rising gas prices. But if you're willing to drive a piece of junk unreliable, inefficient car to save a few dollars per fill-up, you might want to re-think your buying process.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The All-Laboring Runners Team

This is a tribute to those baseball players whose lumbering (though not necessarily slow) efforts on the basepaths make childbirth look graceful by comparison. Remember to breathe, fellas.

Current team:

C Bengie Molina
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Jeff Kent
3B Ty Wigginton
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Jack Cust
CF Hunter Pence
RF Jeff Francoeur
P C.C. Sabathia
DH Frank Thomas

All-time team:

C Mike LaValliere
1B Sid Bream
2B Jeff Kent
3B Bob Horner
SS Cal Ripken, Jr.
LF Kirk Gibson
CF Kirby Puckett
RF Babe Ruth
P David Wells
DH Frank Thomas

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What the Giants could do

San Francisco Giants' pitcher Barry Zito currently boasts an 0-8 record, with a 6.25 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, and .337 BAA (batting average against). His fastball is currently in the mid-80's. He was demoted to the bullpen a few weeks ago, though recently reinstated to the rotation. To put it nicely, the Giants are not getting their money's worth on his 7-year $126M contract.

But have the Giants considered trying to truly get all they can out of Zito? They're paying this guy so much money, why don't they just make him throw a complete game every start? People may say that this increases his risk of injury, but in fact, Zito has been one of the most durable pitchers in recent history. He has started at least 33 games and pitched at least 196 innings in every year since 2001, the year after his rookie season. He has never spent a day on the disabled list.

People may also say "well, he isn't very good, don't overuse him and that will give the Giants have a better chance at winning." But let's not kid ourselves, the Giants are simply not a good team. I mean, look at them. If they lose every 5th game by a score of 14-2 instead of 7-2, honestly, what's the difference? Despite Brian Sabean's wild delusions, they're not competing in 2008. Therefore, get your money's worth, Sabean. Unless you can somehow get Hank Steinbrenner to eat his contract, in which case, I suggest that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

john lackey, rogue league return tonight

As a John Lackey owner in my fantasy baseball league, I have some nervous excitement about his return for the Angels tonight. He has had four minor league/extended spring training starts to rehab a strained tricep in his pitching arm. There are a lot of unknowns when a pitcher returns from injury. Here are the possible scenarios for John Lackey as I see them, in order from most to least likely:

Scenario A - Lackey is Chris Carpenter. They've been rehabbing him in single A ball to hide the fact that he's still got an injury and now sucks. Whatever he does tonight, he'll need Tommy John surgery very soon. His career is basically over in everyone's mind except Tony LaRussa's.

Scenario B - Lackey is Jeremy Bonderman. He's not hurt anymore, but his velocity is diminished, and since he's a power pitcher, he's basically now a shell of his former self. Effectiveness will be sporatic. Surgery is possible down the road.

Scenario C - Lackey is Jason Schmidt. His velocity is diminshed and he's still hurt. He'll spend a lot of time on the DL, will never have a major surgery, and when he does pitch, he'll be mostly ineffective.

Scenario D - Lackey is Deion Sanders. Diminished ability in baseball leads him to turn to football, where he excels and helps a Mormon QB win a Super Bowl. He begins to wear hammer pants for no apparent reason.

Scenario E - Lackey is an alien from another planet. He assumes the form of a furry, snouted creature, and lives with a suburban middle-class family. He survives by feeding off humanoid food and, occasionally, cats.

Scenario F - Lackey returns to his 2007 form.

Lackey trains for new career as Foot Locker employee