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Little known fact: like “Maude,” “Trapper John M.D.” and “Laverne and Shirley,” HardballTalk is a spinoff. Well, sorta.  Our roots are certainly elsewhere, as every writer up in this thing either wrote or currently writes for Rotoworld.  Well, not me. I’m lazy. But all the other guys do.

And the coolest thing Rotoworld does apart from being awesome on a daily basis is putting out its annual Draft Guide. The Draft Guide that is now on sale.  Seriously: go here and get it.

In it: tons of analysis, projections, and profiles for over 1,000 players ranging down to A-ball.  Articles covering prospects, keeper-league strategies, mock drafts, sleepers and busts. There are customizable, printable cheat sheets, updated depth charts for all teams and all manner of other goodness.

Though I am too lazy for most things, I did do two articles in it. One is my 2012 “Year in Preview” in which I make hilarious (well, I think they are) predictions of what might come to pass this year.  The other is the top 25 moves of the offseason. Bonus: if you order the online version instead of buying the guide at the store, you actually can see that I acknowledged the Prince Fielder deal! Print deadlines are awesome!

But my stuff is just for the fun of it. The real appeal, here is for fantasy players.  It’s chock full ‘o the kind of goodness you need to pwn your leagues.  Aaron, Matthew, D.J., Drew and many others worked a ton of hours to put this bad boy together.  It’s great stuff.

So go get it. You won’t be sorry.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.