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The Top 5 Batting Surprises Of The 2010 Season

This is a guest post by Peter Schiller of Baseball Reflections.

It's been a strange season for baseball so far. Who could envision that Kelly Johnson would lead the NL in home runs or that Casey McGehee would be second in baseball in RBI? With so many new players leading the league statistically, it's a good time to look at the top 5 offensive players surprises of fantasy baseball 2010:

5. Paul Konerko, 1B of the Chicago White Sox
2010 Stats: 21 R, 14 HR, 30 RBI 0 SB and a .262 BA

Konerko is leading all of baseball with 14 home runs and now has half of his 2009 total only 2 months into the 2010 season. I expect him to continue to hit home runs, but he will not hit 40 by the end of the season. Still, hitting 30 plus will make his fantasy owners pretty happy as he’s now 6 HRs better than Albert Pujols.

Konerko hits a home run against the LA Angels

4. Vernon Wells, CF of the Toronto Blue Jays
2010 Stats: 29 R, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 2 SB, and a .301 BA

Wells hit only 15 home runs last year with 66 RBIs. He is only 5 shy of his 2009 total while hitting 40 points higher on his batting average. This is back to where he should be with his numbers, though his stolen bases are down as he stole 17 in 2009. I can see him keeping this up to 30+ HR and 100+ RBIs with double digit stolen bases. It might have just taken him this long to tweak his mechanics and recover from the injuries he’s had over the past few years.

Vernon Wells hits his first home run of the season

3. Kelly Johnson, 2B of the Arizona Diamondbacks
2010 Stats: 29 R, 12 HR, 25 RBI, 3 SB, and a .260 BA

Johnson also appears to be healthy once again and is benefiting from Chase Field being more of a hitters park than Turner Field in Atlanta. He’s currently hitting over his head as he is not a Chase Utley-type offensive second baseman, but remains a strong offensive player for his position. His power numbers will plateau over the course of the year, but the rest of his numbers should stay in line. He’s already surpassed his 2009 HR total and is hitting almost 40 points higher, just like Wells.

2. Casey McGehee 2B/3B of the Milwaukee Brewers
2010 Stats: 23 R, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 1 SB, and a .325 BA

The question often asked this off season was if McGehee would be able to replicate the numbers he flashed in his shortened 2009 season after he was called up. Most said no, but he is proving them wrong so far and I expect to see hit reach 25 HRs with 75 RBIs with a batting average well above .300.

Casey McGehee hits his first Grand Slam in 2009

1. Ty Wigginton 1B/2B/3B of the Baltimore Orioles
2010 Stats: 20 R, 12 HR, 27 RBI, 0 SB, and a .305 BA

Wigginton is playing mostly 2B with Brian Roberts on the 60 day DL. He has already hit one more HR than he did all of last year in a part time role and he should shatter his 2009 totals all around if he can stay in the line-up, but I don’t think he can keep up this HR pace and his average will eventually drop into the .270s. The biggest question is if Roberts returns in 2010, where do the O’s play Wigginton or will he have regressed into a back up role by then? I think they will have to find a place for him or trade either him or Luke Scott for them both to find playing time on this Oriole’s team.

*Legend: R = Runs, HR = Home Runs, RBI = Runs Batted In, SB = Stolen Bases, BA = Batting Average -- All stats current as of May 21, 2010*

Via PBH: The Top 5 Offensive Fantasy Surprises In 2010

6 Things You Learn At Business School

Dear Dad,

B-school is good. There’s free pizza everywhere. And I can’t even get that mad about summer classes. It’s like summer camp, except with reading. There are still some things that take some getting used to, however. The Professors try to cram the word “synergy” into every other sentence. Everyone curses Greece hourly. And in the time it took me to write this sentence, I got five emails for sublet apartments in Chelsea.

Here are six other lessons after one semester:

6. Law school kids are right. Business kids have more fun.

Exhibit A, your Honor. The free, weekly Happy Hours. I had no idea this thing adults call “networking” is really just drinking with smart people. Some Thursday nights you’re rubbing elbows with the future titans of business world. And some nights you’re a synchronized swimmer performing to Queen.

5. Business school girls “just want a rich banker who will buy me s---!”

4. “It’s different this time.”

The four most expensive words in the English language. You don’t necessarily need an MBA to tell you this cautionary tale. But it helps if the story-teller has won the Nobel Prize for Economics. The examples are usually glossier, too. For example: in 1929, JFK’s dad Joe Kennedy was getting his shoes shined by some youngster. The kid started rattling off his stock tips. Joe Kennedy promptly paid the boy, went back to the office, and sold everything. Kennedy’s rationale was if even his shoe-shiner had money in the market, it was time bail. In the 2000s, we had pizza delivery boys becoming real estate brokers.

3. “Bill Gates and Warren Buffet will be on campus tomorrow. Light refreshments will be served.”

2. Its empowering.

I spent over a year cloistered in a dimly-lit office in Midtown Manhattan. Bernie Madoff bilked investors out of $50 billion two buildings down. Citibank threatened to topple the global financial system right across 3rd Avenue. And a few Subway stops downtown, Lloyd Blankenfeld and the Goldman Sachs crusaders carried out “God’s Work”, also known as: deceiving and plundering investors in the name of quarterly profits.

Compared to those Dark Ages, business school is a veritable Renaissance. You are pushed and prodded by the brightest minds the world over, there’s nice artwork, and the Italians are everywhere. Attending business school is back to the purest of endeavors. Your job is to learn for learning’s sake.

1. It’s worth it.

Yes, graduate school is expensive. Most of us will be saddled with a Mt. Everest of debt when we graduate. To cynics, its $168,000 for a shiny piece of paper. And it can be, if you are foolish enough to let it. A scruffy tour guide once told me you can achieve 2 of 3 things at school. You can i) meet a lot of interesting people, ii) learn a lot, or iii) gets lots of sleep. Why would you ever choose option iii? Business school is a serious investment. But it’s an investment of the best sort. In yourself.

P.S. Please send socks. Lots and lots of socks.

Parakeet and Kitten Love Story, In Pictures

Kitten and Parakeet Fall In Love

How adorable is this too? The hunter is now the hunted:

Underwater Bull Dog

Underwater Swimming Bull Dog

Being Lebron

When you woke up one morning from uneasy dreams, you found yourself changed in your bed into LeBron James. You are America’s best and most beloved athlete. You are so famous the President says he’s you: "I'm LeBron, baby. I can play on this level. I got some game." The press is literally calling this is the Summer Of You. You are 25 years old, and you are on the market. It’s good to be King. You report on the set for your first Hollywood movie in a couple weeks.

But alas, all is not right in the Kingdom. You just got bounced from the playoffs early (again) by an aging, banged-up Celtics squad. With a few passive jumpshots, your crown lost some luster. This is the year you fell off the Michael Jordan trajectory. MVP titles. Olympic gold medals. None of that matters. At the end of the day, it’s all about the rings. MJ had six. Kobe has four. You have none.

The Best 5 Pranks Of All Time

Ever been Chatroulette pranked? A buddy, lets call him Jean, catches you in the packed school library and raves about this scintillating new website— Its part YouTube/part Facebook, and its completely taking the web by storm. Even Jessica Alba and Ashton Kutcher use it, he says. So you check it out, spin through the crystal-clear video chats. First time you may get some college frat dudes. Next, probably an empty room, maybe a Goth chick. But within 5 or 6 spins BAM! there’s a pudgy Eastern European naked—or worse—staring right back at you. Except he wasn’t just staring at me. He was also scoping out the mortified Corporate Finance study group seated behind me. He gave them a creepy little wave, and… it was awkward. In honor of graduation and the pending Senior Pranks here are five legendary pranks to pull on your school or my “friend”:

5. During the 2006 World Cup, German hooligans painted cement balls over to look exactly like soccer balls. The pranksters then added signs reading: Can you kick it?

4. Jimmy Fallon has his own late-night show. Trust me. Bored NBC executives have been pranking all of us. I’ve just been waiting 15 months for the punchline. And the first result for 'Jimmy Fallon Is Not Funny' in Google is his performance at the VMA's... I can hardly disagree:

3. The New York-based comedians Streeter and Amir have been locked in an unforgettable prank war for years. Streeter most recently exacted his revenge in the infamous Half-Court Shot Prank. Amir was “randomly” selected to take a blind-folded half-court shot for $500,000 during half-time at a University of Maryland basketball game. While Amir was debriefed in a sound-proof room, Streeter got the Terrapin crowd to play along with him. Amir came out minutes later and heaved the shot. The ball bounced harmlessly 20 feet wide and 10 feet short of the basket. But Streeter and the crowd cheered wildly as though Amir pulled off the unthinkable. Amir ripped off his blindfold, believing the applause. And the fans egged Amir on as he sprinted across the court ecstatically thinking he had won a half-million dollars. Streeter broke the news minutes later:

Kansas high schoolers tried to copy-cat with their basketball coach this January. There was just one problem. He nailed the shot. All the stunned high schoolers could fork over was a $10 Chipotle gift card, but the video became a YouTube sensation and the media exposure netted him Final Four tickets this year:

2. From humans hidden inside toilets to fake sniper hoaxes, Japanese game shows are in to some twisted jokes. In the United States they would be instant lawsuits, but in Japan they make for humdrum evening TV. The more innocuous variety is the crowd prank:

An unsuspecting Japanese businessman ambles down the street when suddenly 100 screaming people run in the opposite reaction. Sometimes they chase down the businessman, other times they swarm as a mosh pit and toss him up and down in the air, but every time is a sure bet to YouTube away your afternoon.

1. New Trier High School students in Illinois master-minded the granddaddy of all high school pranks: the Pig Prank. Seniors scooped up three massive pigs, Sharpied #1, #2, #4 on their backs, and let them loose, hog-wild in the school. School administrators located piggies #1, #2, and #4 within the hour, but they closed the school for several days before realizing there was no piggy #3.

Via All That's Interesting: The Top 5 Greatest Pranks

Watch Out Jessica Simpson

Because there is a new idiot in town. And his name is Justin Bieber:

During an interview on a New Zealand television show, he was asked if "Bieber" meant "basketball" in German. After admitting he didn't know what 'German' meant, he responded by saying: "We don't say that in America." What?

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