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April 24, 2009

Under Pressure

AMC's V-8's have never been known for having strong oiling systems, in fact, quite the contrary, they are known for pretty piss poor oiling systems.

During the most recent Gremlin X engine rebuild, I was talked into opening up the bearing clearances on the 401 that powers the Grem.  What used to be 0.0015 - 0.0020 was raised to 0.0025 - 0.0030.  I was never comfortable with these numbers, but was getting the info from what we will call "The Yoda" of AMC engines (and several other makes as well) so I went with it.  It is my humble opinion this lowered our oil pressure 5 - 10 lbs.

Next time I will take the "it's my motor, I will build it my way" approach.  I've rebuilt this motor 4 times since 2000.  Twice because of issues (cracked main cap, and cracked cylinder head), and twice just as "routine maintenance".  I know this motor, what it likes, how it likes it, and how it runs, and I knew 0.0030 was too big.

So based on this recent build, we can say that as pressure to open up clearances increases, engine oil pressure decreases. My stupidity, or course, remains constant.

Recently the 2002 Chrysler Sebring's (my daily driver) oil pressure idiot light started to flicker at me while sitting at stop lights idling, the light will flicker, and like an idiot, I've done nothing about it to this point.  This is why it is an idiot light.

It pisses me off that there is no gauge on the car, just the light.  When does the light come on, 20 lbs, 10lbs, 5lbs?  The car idles at 600RPM, so I would be ok with 15 or even 10lbs, as long as it goes to 40 or 45lbs when I'm driving.  The problem is I don't know, because the f--king engineers at Chrysler decided that I didn't need to know exactly what it was, just that it is low enough to turn on a light.

On a side note, and much to my wife's shagrin, the car is going to get an oil gauge, and me being me, will probably get an AutoMeter graphite faced gauge or something to that affect.

On a side note the side note, no 'A' Pillar gauge pods, this car isn't fast and sure isn't furious!

So why am I telling you about my oil pressure woes?  Because a few days ago, I drempt about oil pressure.  First it was the Gremlin not having any, my dream was just me in the car warming it up at the track and seeing the gauge not move off of zero.

From there it went to the fix creating too much oil pressure, and blowing seals all over the motor.  It was very graphic in my dream, like a Hollywood movie would be (you know, like the fast and furious) with hoses shooting off of things, oil spraying everywhere, even the line going to the gauge in the car bursting, and covering the interior with oil.

Next I was in the race shop coming up with a solution, which I never got to, because I woke up.

So I know a handful of you reading this know what I'm talking about.  Of all the things I could...and probably should...be dreaming about, you know, sports, friends, girls (only my wife of coures!), I'm dreaming about cars and oil pressure.

I've heard that if you dream about drinking and getting drunk, you may be an alcoholic.  Guess I'm addicted to cars and racing.  Anyone know of a good 12 step program for that?

Thanks for Stopping By - Dan

April 14, 2009

Who Is Overrated?

8 games into the season, and I'm begining to become impatient with ignorant baseball fans.  Recently on a "social networking site" I made a comment to a college friend of mine about Brandon Inge being overrated.  After a couple back and forth's about Inge (and a warning from my wife to her not to get into a baseball arguement with me), they sent the following message:

I will fight to the bitter end to defend Brandon...just so you know. If you want to talk about overrated we should probably start a converison on Caberra. I think with the amount of money they are paying him, he should be able to field and hit. He can hit, but his fielding is scary...I mean it should not be considered an outstanding play because he has to stretch a little to get the ball...a first baseball should stretch. It's pretty sad that Palonco calls him off any fly ball that comes near Caberra. It is like they are down right afraid of his fielding. That is overrated!

Not mad...I am just loyal :)

I saw your pictures from opening day...that is awesome. I am hoping I might make it to opening day of these times. I don't think you could have asked for a better game result...the Rangers got spanked!! Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come!

Go Tigers!!!

I was caught off guard.  How do you go from Inge being overrated to Cabrera being overrated?  Inge is an arguement, no card carrying baseball snob would ever even think to suggest that Cabrera is overrated, but this person just did.

They also can't spell "Cabrera"

So I tried to be nice, trying to appreciate a Tiger fan (female by the way, increasing the level of patience I would exhibit with her slightly, and also making me keep her nameless, and refrain from giving her a nickname like the one I gave to dipshit) and replied with the following: 

Inge has to hit, that is my only point as long as he does what he is currently doing, I'm happy. If he starts to hit below .240, I will go back to my overrated statement. I don't care how good his glove is, your 3rd baseman has to hit.

As far as your Cabrera statement, you absolutely must be smoking crack up there in the Lansing area, you can not argue that at all. He may be a triple crown candidate this year, and will most assurdely be a MVP candidate! First basemen are traditionally your lesser fielders, and Cabrerra is one of the best fielding 1st baseman in the league. I can pull up range and fielding percentage stats if I have to. Being a former 3rd baseman helps him at first. To say his fielding is "scary" is just plain wrong.

Compare Cabrera's big contract and statistics with Inge's big contract and statistics, Inge would hands down win the most overated player argument. Sorry, you have no leg to stand on in saying that Cabrera is overated...especially compared to Inge.

She followed up with this assinine re-statement of her first assinine statement:

I will never submit to this agruement! Caberra IS overrated. Wait until his next game...I guarantee Palonco will call him off any infield fly balls. Wait, I will go further...Caberra will make at least one error. Today's game looks to be rained out...we will have to wait until the next... 

I have no idea why she keeps up with this argument point that Cabrera is a bad 1st baseman, because Palonco calls him off?????  AND, his fielding percentage is currently 1.000, but more on that below.

So here is the reply I sent just before I typed this blog.  (My wife gave me the idea to use this as a blog, so I decided to mail it in a bit, an use this email chain as an entry, hope you enjoy). 

Let me apologize in advance for the length of this message, settle in.

Ok (person to remain nameless), here we go...

First off, I'm going to assume you are an intelligent baseball fan, and I don't have to explain to you that the middle infielders have the right of way over the corner guys, and take charge with fly balls.  This happens in the outfield as well.  So Polanco (which you spelled wrong) calling off Cabrera means absolutely nothing, because IT IS HIS JOB TO DO SO!

Now, since baseball is such a statistical game, I would assume you have some numbers to back up your claim, otherwise it is just an opinion (which is wrong by the way).

1st lets compare Cabrera with your boy, Mr. overrated Inge.  I won't even get into the offensive numbers, because it is a no contest, Cabrera soundly beats Inge hands down in every offensive catagory...well except strike outs, Inge has him beat there.

Now defensively I won't even begin to say that Cabrera is as good as Inge, Brandon is a better defensive third baseman (and Inge might be the best defensive third sacker in the AL), but take a look at the numbers, and they are closer than most would think.

Again with your understanding of the game, I'm sure you know that fielding percentage is the measure of how good a player is defensively.  This is the comparison of how many chances a player has in the field compared to the number of errors he has.  Here is how Cabrera stacks up against your boy:

CAREER FIELDING PERCENTAGE:
Inge: .978
Cabrera: .974

hmmmmm, .004, pretty close.

Next, lets look at 2006, and 2007, the last years both of them played third base.

Inge: .958
Cabrera: .951

hmmmm, again relitively close with a difference of only .007.

But Cabrera is now a first baseman, and I contend, one of the best in the AL...hell, in baseball.  Again, I will now back this up with actual numbers (being the dork engineer and baseball geek that I am).

With the exception of maybe two other teams, any major league team would trade whoever they have playing first to get Cabrera.  St. Louis would probably keep Pujols, and Philly would probably keep Howard.  EVERY OTHER TEAM WOULD TAKE CABRERA IN A HEART BEAT, this isn't only my opinion, you will find a lot of baseball people who would agree.

So lets compare Cabrera's salary and stats with what most would consider the top two first basemen in the league (all numbers from 2008):

AVERAGE:
Pujols: .357
Howard: .251
Cabrera: .292

Pujols is a stud, and I will concede now he is probably the best first baseman in baseball right.  Had Cabrera not switched leagues and started slow, he would have hit around .320.  He is proving that this year, currently hitting just under .500.  Also, Cabrera is 25, and Pujols is 29.  Four years from now, Cabrera will be the best, you heard it here first.

HOME RUNS
Pujols: 48
Howard: 37
Cabrera: 37

Cabrera lead the AL in home runs last year.

RBI's
Pujols: 116
Howard: 146
Cabrera: 127

Howard lead baseball by far in RBI's last year. Cabrera was third in the AL, and fourth in baseball.

So he was in the top 10 in batting average, lead the AL in Home runs, and was third in RBI's.  Still thinking he is overrated?

How about defensively:

FIELDING PERCENTAGE
Pujols: .996
Howard: .988
Cabrera: .992

Slightly worse than Pujols (see above statement), better than Howard, and keep in mind this was Cabrera's first year at 1st base, he improved during the year, and is already much better this year (currently his fielding percentage is 1.000...no errors).

Onto the money.  The all make too much, but you have to compare apples to apples, so lets look at their salaries:

Pujols: $14.5 Million
Howard: $15 Million
Cabrera: $14.3 Million

Cabrera makes the least, but is right in line with these guys.  There are also a couple other First baseman who make around the same amount of money who have much worse stats than Cabrera.

So if you still think he is overrated, I really don't care, you can't argue with numbers, math doesn't lie, and they are laid out in front of you above.

I just hope you can come to appreciate your All Star, future hall of fame 1st baseman and enjoy watching one of the best ever, next time you head to Comerica.

(this was fun!)

I left her a few loop holes, lets see how good she is, and see if she can find and manipulate them.

Thanks for Stopping By - Dan

April 06, 2009

Tiger Predictions Take 2

Well, since the season is now officially one game (and one inning as of this typing), I thought I would look back at my entries and see where we stand with my predictions.

After looking back, I quickly realize why I'm not a baseball columnist, and just a blogger.  To steal a line from the movie Dumb and Dumber: I was way off!

I still have the standing bet with dipshit that Inge will not hit .260 with 15 homers (and I still would not mind loosing that bet).  Also, me and dipshit bet that Ramon Santiago will be your starting shortstop by 6/15.  Since Everett has already been hurt...in spring training...I still ike my chances on this one.

I never did get to the position player predictions, and honestly wouldn't have said anything ground breaking had I posted a blog about them.  I would have repeated my Ramon Santiago thing above, said Cabrera would have a major year (going out on a limb I know), and the defense would be much improved.  I also would have said that Granderson and Polonco will be their usual selfs (again another limb), Guillen would be fine in left, and Ordonez is a very underated right fielder.  Is he outstanding defensively? No, but he is very servicable, and not a horrible defender like some would suggest.

Well Guillen already looks destined to play DH (as he was "rested" the first game of the season)...and I would have never predicted Sheffield would be released, good riddance by the way.

Ordonez has got to start hitting for power again, and not singles like he was doing the last 10 weeks of 2008.  His .320 average does the Tigers much less good if he is hitting singles.

We will have to see how it goes.

But lets look at my pitching predictions:

I said Verlander will return to form, this we can not comment on.  He looked like total dog piss in the opener, but lets not panic just yet (although I'm concerned), will have to wait a few starts to see where he is at.

I said I have no idea what Bonderman will do.  Still don't as he started the year on the DL.

Galaraga is still wait and see, as well as Edwin Jackson who just had a 1-2-3 1st.

Ahhhh, the fith starter.  I said it would be Dontrell Willis, and that he would bounce back.  Unless you consider being on the disabled list with "anixety disorder" bouncing back, you could once again insert the line from Dumb and Dumber here.

Let me now say that Willis is done, and I actually made my self write 1000 sentences that said "I will not make boneheaded predictions about 5th starters again" as punishment.

I also wrote that the tigers can't bring Porcello north.  Willis, Robertson, Miner, and the Bonderman injury left the Tigers with no choice, it had to be him.  Look for Miner and Porcello to battle it out until Bonderman is healthy, if Porcello is the guy, they will move Miner to the pen.  If Miner is the guy, they will send Porcello to Erie.  If Bonderman's shoulder suddenly explodes, things will stay as is.

No matter what, Porcello will be closely watched to keep pitch counts and innings down.

When it comes to the bullpen, I was still way off, but not as bad as I was with the starters...which isn't saying much.

Robertson is in the pen, so my prediction that he will become a late inning guy could still hold true.

Lyon has been horrible, so my comment of not liking the signing still stands.

I said Bobby Seay will be your lefthanded specialist, and he had a good spring, so this one is on track.

My suprise was that Zumaya will be unhittable and your closer...oops is an understatement!  He is on the DL as well, and now I wonder if he will ever be able to pitch again.  He may be another Matt Anderson, or Mark Fidrich.

I said Juan Rincon will be the 8th inning guy, and this looks good as his spring ERA was 0.00 (although he looked only slightly better than dog piss in the 8th last night).  I'm surprised that he hasn't been talked about as the closer, he has looked good this spring! 

Rodney as a closer still keeps me up at night.  Seriousely I've been having nightmares that I'm being attacked by a crooked hat.

So that is it going into the season.  I really don't think you can say this team will be bad this year, I also don't think you can say they will be good, too many questions, and what if's. 

I guess the good news is that the core of this team from 2007 that did ok, and that many thought would win it all last year is still in tact.  The defense will be better, which will help out the pitchers.  The offense will still be there, and should put up plenty of runs.

The bad news is the pitching has way to many what if's, and needs a lot of them to turn into sure things for this to be a good year.

Lets hope Verlander can bounce back, Galaraga wasn't a one hit wonder, Jackson can improve and live up to his "stuff" Bonderman can come back, Porcello can handle the pressure and work load of a MLB season, and that the bullpen can shut the door.

Yep, a lot of what if's, and I don't feel good about very many of them, and don't expect much this year.

Here's to hoping I'm wrong, and 2009 turns into 2006.

Thanks for Stopping By - Dan