Tuesday, October 10, 2017

THE DEATH OF PURE SPORTS

After last night’s Yankee win, Joe Girardi can spend a lifetime knowing he and the incompetence of an umpire share the blame for NY losing this series if Cleveland wins on Wednesday.
Here's to FoxSports 1 for a truly horrible broadcast of this series. John Smoltz should never be allowed to work a Yankee series. He still suffers from the scars of the Yankees winning four straight over his Braves team nearly twenty years ago.

While many use the mute button while watching sports, I needed a button to quickly turn the video off. Last night I counted 108 close-ups of Cleveland manager Terry Francon leaning on the dugout railing and spitting out mouthfuls of trash, and I doubt I counted them all. His over-stuffed yapper and constant oral defecation makes Ron Washington, ex-Texas manager, look like the perfect dinner guest.

Equally useless but at least less disgusting were the hundreds of cameo close-ups of bench players doing nothing and close-ups of pitchers’ nose hair while taking the sign. Real tension builders.
One shot I particularly enjoyed - a close-up of the back of several fans heads and nothing else. Inspiring!

And finally, if you have hung in this long, I’m saddened that any man with even a modest level of self-respect can wear a uniform that includes a racist, Native American caricature, that hideous, grinning, red-faced logo embroidered on the Cleveland jerseys and caps?

VOD-

 It's been a whole since Vod has graced the pages of CP at Large with one of his rants. While I agree with his comments, I wish he had included a few choice words about the Louisville basketball debacle.
CP-

Sunday, October 08, 2017

NO PROBLEM, I'M JUST LAZY

I've said many times, how respect and admiration I have for writers who can publish daily, while I have problems publishing once a week - or even once a month, as you can see. So, here goes with a few rants.

I checked in with ESPN this morning to find out what's new today. There they were, two guys (former athletes?) dressed nicely in suits and one woman with her hair in a bun and dressed appropriately - if she was on her way to a tailgate party. Okay, so it's her choice but on to sports. Except we didn't. For the next 90 seconds, we celebrated the birthday of one of the guys. Pictures of his family holding signs, tweets from other players, all the while the young lady made funny (to her) comments at the top of her lungs, talking over everyone else. No ice cream or cake and definitely no sports.  Goodbye.

It's taken a few years, but I finally agree with something Joe Girardi said. "I screwed up," he said, referring to the non-challenge of a hit-batsman call, a call that probably changed the course of the game. Of course, the bigger mistake was taking Sabathia out in the 6th when CC was going strong.
But that's Girardi. He can't wait to go to the bullpen. He likes to pull the starter in the sixth and get the last 10 or 12 outs with the bullpen. However, when you use 4 relievers, you run a big risk of running into a pitcher who's having a bad day. He'll never learn. His contract is up this year. Maybe Cashman and Steinbrenner will replace him. One can only hope.

So the Yanks are in the post season. Somebodies got to pay for it. Guess who? It's the fans:

With the Yankees back in the postseason, so is the price-gouging.
Parking in the Yankees’ lot, a gulping $35 during the regular season, is now $50.
Bleacher seats to Tuesday’s wild-card game were swollen from a regular season $17-22 to $101 a ticket, plus a $6 per ticket “convenience fee” and another $3.30 tack-on. Thus one bleacher seat cost $110.30.  From Phil Mushnick, NY Post

Sometimes Annie-O and I make fun of David Cone doing the color on Yankee games. He is a huge believer of sabermetrics, often emphasizing their value with his pet phrase, "Without a doubt." But after hearing him and two clowns who shall remain nameless, on MLB Network during a playoff game, you'd have to say that he was far and away the best in the booth. His comments were on point and clear and, unlike one of his cohorts, refused to relate every play to his own career. He ignored repeated attempts by his partner to make fun of his own career and stuck to analysis of what was happening on the field. Way to go David!



***THEY SAID IT*** 
"Detroit Tiger Andrew Romine played all nine positions in a game. Then he ran into the stands and sold hot dogs."  -- Brad Dickson
"Yankees manager Joe Girardi said “I screwed up” in not challenging HBP call. He did. But he wasn’t on the mound giving up six runs."  -- Janice Hough
"Texas’ refurbished football locker room featuring 126 flat-screen TVs. It’s essentially Buffalo Wild Wings, without the liquor license."  -- Norman Chad
"A couple that’s divorcing is involved in a custody battle over their Edmonton Oilers season tickets. Only in Canada do people say, “He can have the kids. I want the hockey tickets.”"  -- Brad Dickson
"Ousted Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said pretty much the same thing he did after his program’s previous scandal: “These allegations come as a complete shock to me.” In a related story, he’s going to this year’s Halloween party dressed as Sergeant Schultz."  -- Dwight Perry
"25th-ranked LSU paid a $1 million appearance fee to — and then lost to — 20½-point underdog Troy. The last time Troy was involved in a story this embarrassing, a horse was involved."  -- Janice Hough
" Rick Pitino, on FBI charges of college basketball corruption: “These allegations come as a complete shock to me.” Right. Every bit as genuine as his hair colour."  -- RJ Currie
"O.J. Simpson could be released from prison as early as Monday. And to think, Los Angeles was worried about North Korea."  -- Argus Hamilton
"Right about now a whole lot of AL teams, including Red Sox would sign a petition to move the Houston Astros back to the NL"  -- Janice Hough
"ESPN.com wrote Jose Altuve, 5’6″, “joined short list of players” with 3 home runs in 1 game in postseason. Did they type that with a straight face?"  -- Janice Hough
"Unconfirmed reports say the Miami Marlins players knelt for the anthem at their last home game. One fan booed. The other fan applauded."  -- RJ Currie

CP-











Sunday, September 10, 2017

NUMBERS AND SIGNS

This is the home stretch for MLB, the last two dozen games, when every game, every at bat, every pitch is so important. Teams fighting for a playoff spot fight for every single game. They set up their pitching staff so their best pitcher starts a game that will help his team the most. Lineups are tinkered with, more pinch-hitters are used and managers mix and match relievers so much, your scorecard looks like a two-year old was turned loose on it.
On Tuesday this week, the Red Sox & Blue Jays used 19 pitchers - 12 by the Sox -  in a 19 inning game that took 6 hours to play, probably an hour and a half just to change pitchers. Now that's going all out to win a game.
Well, maybe not quite all out. The Sox found an easier way to win. They cheated. Using all the wonderful electronic technology available to them, they stole signs, relayed them to the dugout and finally to the players in the field. Both the GM and the manager claimed to know nothing about it. And Sgt. Schultz never saw Col. Hogan's men doing anything suspicious. Sign stealing is not illegal but it's supposed to be unaided by any artificial means, such as binoculars, CCTV or microphones. Vin Scully used to treat his listeners to mound conversations by reading lips. When teams heard about this, they said, "Hey, wait a minute. This could be a good thing." Soon everyone on the field began covering their mouths like they all had a lethal case of halitosis.
Commissioner Manfred is going to have to do something drastic as a penalty because a thousand dollar fine and a slap on the wrist  won't even be noticed by Boston. He could take away some wins but that idea rests only in the dreams of every Yankee fan.  We will see.

Announcers like to inform us of every possible milestone that occurs in a game. So much so, they begin to sound so contrived that it's got to be hard for them to keep a straight face while relating them to us. ("Bob, that's only third time a left-handed hitter with a full beard popped up to third with two men on base and one out in the fifth inning of a game in an East Coast city against a pitcher of Lithuanian decent in the last two weeks.")  I assume they've run out of reasonable stats.
 Here's one that's real and not quite so silly:
Against the Orioles on 9/7, Chase Headley (uniform #12) hit his 12th homer of the season, Later in the game, Starlin Castro (#14) hit his 14th homer of the season. Where the hell is Aaron Judge (#99) when you need him?

The Cleveland Indians have won 17 games in a row - so far. They haven't lost a game since August 23rd. Is there anyone out there who can beat them?  On the other side of the ledger, the Los Angeles Dodgers, at one time on a pace to win 125 games, have now lost 9 in a row, and 14 of their last 15 games. Is there anyone out there who can't beat them?
As I keep telling Annie-O when the Yanks slump, baseball is cyclical. everyone streaks and everyone slumps. To wit, Cleveland isn't that good and the Dodgers aren't that bad.

Best move of the season: The Houston Astros just completed a trade with the Detroit Tigers, with the Astros getting Kate Upton for three players and cash. The trade was almost cancelled when the Tigers insisted on packaging Justin Verlander in the deal, but Houston finally relented.

***THEY SAID IT***
"The Mariners committed five errors in one inning? Everybody knows there’s no I in team, but who knew there were five E’s in Seattle?"  -- Dwight Perry
"Saturday, a huge Nebraska comeback fell just short as the Huskers lost to Oregon 42-35. How bad was the Husker defense in the first half? At halftime the Oregon marching band scored on the Huskers when a third clarinetist caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from a trombone player."  -- Brad Dickson

"Roger Goodell, when asked if a team should sign Colin Kaepernick – “I’m not a football expert.” When the commissioner is right, he’s right."  -- Janice Hough
"The Red Sox are in hot water for using modern technology to relay stolen signs using Apple iWatches. The Yankees are counter accused of using a TV camera dedicated to the Boston dugout. Meanwhile, the Mets are still using 70’s communications with Dick Tracy watches and ‘Get Smart’ shoe phones."  -- Tony Chong
"Patriots coach Bill Belichick summed up their opening game efforts as “nothing was good enough.” No, wait a minute — that was my ex-wife's grounds for divorce."  -- RJ Currie
"Ex-NFL diva Terrell Owens will be on this season’s “Dancing With The Stars”. If you care, keep it to yourself."  -- Bob Molinaro
"Notre Dame will wear Knute Rockne tribute uniforms when the Irish play Navy on Nov. 18. Now comes the tough part: Convincing the players to wear the leather helmets."  -- Dwight Perry
"The St. Petersburg Bowl has been renamed the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. That sounds like something the Centers for Disease Control would warn us about."  -- Brad Dickson
"Norwegian cross-country ski champ Therese Johaug tested positive for a banned substance in her lip balm. She can kiss the 2018 Winter Olympics goodbye."  -- Tom Cuddy, WBZ radio in Boston
"Patriots sign surveillance drone to 7-year deal."  -- TheKicker.com
"Patriots fans soundly booed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during Thursday’s season opener.  Michael Vick got a better reception at the Westminster Dog Show."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"LPGA rookie Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong will be the first golfer ever disqualified for running out of ink while signing her scorecard."  -- Dwight Perry
" In a 19 inning game vs Boston, Blue Jays had to use a few pitchers who hadn’t pitched recently. They were so much out of the loop, they had to ask the Red Sox to decode the signs." -- Tony Chong
"Ronda Rousey got married last weekend. Lately just about everybody has pinned her down."  -- RJ Currie

CP-
 









Friday, August 25, 2017

...AND IN THIS CORNER..

...weighing in, with a pea-sized brain...
Without going any further, I'll bet you know who I'm talking about. Yes, it's home plate umpire Carlos Torres, ably assisted by first base umpire and crew chief, Dana DeMuth who looked totally bored with the whole game.
When Tiger pitcher Michael Fulmer intentionally hit Gary Sanchez, there was a strong case for ejecting Fulmer right then, since Sanchez had beat up the whole Tiger pitching staff for three games. But there wasn't even a warning issued. Either of those actions would probably have forestalled all of the drama that followed.

When Yankee pitcher Kahnle threw behind Cabrera, HE was ejected, followed closely by mgr Girardi.

While Torres was standing in the infield, proudly defending his  poorly timed decision to take control of the situation, he totally ignored the by-play between NY catcher Romine and Detroit batter Cabrera which quickly became an all-out fist fight. That started one of the biggest brawls I've ever seen. This was no usual "grab your partner and dance" standard baseball brawl, this was a few actual battles with players trying very hard to get at each other. Naturally, with all those bodies packed together, this was impossible - except for one guy. Aaron Judge came storming in from right field and parted the waters like they were little kids in front of him. I don't know who he was after but I don't think he reached him since there were no bodies on the ground when the fight finally broke up.

With the score tied in the seventh and the Yanks in the middle of a fight for the pennant, Betances was ejected for hitting McCann in the head with the second pitch of the inning. If you're going to intentionally hit someone in a close game, you don't put the lead off hitter on base and you never aim at the head. You're not Sal Maglie, a notorious headhunter, after all. So. Betances and interim-manager Thompson headed for the showers.

But they weren't done. Tiger pitcher Alex Wilson, who had displayed excellent control to that point, hit Yankee hitter Todd Frasier. Bye-bye Wilson and Tiger manager Brad Asmuth, who, according to Joe Girardi, first suggested that one Yankee player " be fruitful and multiply," but not in those words.

There will be fines and suspensions handed out, but the biggest punishment should be given to umpire Carlos Torres for basically creating the whole problem, followed by the crew chief, Dana DeMuth, who should have taken command but didn't.  Never happen.

** In other news, Cleveland took Chris Sale to the woodshed by blasting him for seven runs in three innings while beating the Red Sox 13-6. Good news for the Yankees at least.

** Can somebody tell me what the Dodgers are doing? With the best record in baseball, heading towards a 116-win season, they go out and get premier pitcher Yu Darvish. Then they trade for Met slugger Curtis Granderson, who promptly hit a grand slam homer in his first game as a Dodger., after hitting a grand slam in his last game as a Met. How much help do the Dodgers think they need? These two guys haven't helped at all. The Dodgers are still only on a pace for 116 games. Maybe Mike Trout is available.

** I heard one of Aaron Judge's homers described as a "moon shot." That's a home run that is hit very, very high. I believe this phrase started back in the late 50's (Yeah, I'm that old) when the Dodgers first moved to California. They played in the old Memorial Coliseum that was not designed for baseball. This resulted in a left field wall that was about 250 feet from home plate, a little too short for major leaguers.  To combat this the Dodgers erected a 40-foot high screen. This was partially successful until a left-handed singles hitter learned to slap fly balls to left which cleared the screen and probably never traveled more than 300 feet in distant. The players name was Wally Moon and this type of homer will forever bear his name. He hit eleven homers that year. Doesn't sound like a lot until you know that he only hit 13 homers total in  the following six years of his career.

** I'm sick and tired of hearing Michael Kay announce the attendance of games and then declaring it as "sold out." Then the box score shows the same attendance number but says the it is 98% or 96% , based on the announced capacity of the stadium. C'mon Michael, don't be such a network stooge.  

***THEY SAID IT***
"Yankee slugger Aaron Judge broke the major league record by striking out in 33 straight games.
That’s what he gets for changing his breakfast menu from Wheaties to Special K."  -- Dwight Perry

"Manu Ginobili signed 2-year, $5mill deal with Spurs. Of course San Antonio saves some money since Manu’s health costs covered by Medicare."  -- Janice Hough
"A man throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in Boston hit a Red Sox team photographer in the groin. Turns out he’s a Yankees fan and that’s where he was aiming."  -- Brad Dickson
"The IOC ordered Los Angeles to upgrade its pistol-target venues for the 2028 Olympics. What’s wrong with the freeways we already have?"  -- Argus Hamilton
"Panda Sandoval was called up this week by SF. Giants immediately installed speed bumps in the buffet line."  -- TC Chong
" Justin Smoak notched his team-leading 33rd homer and 80th RBI helping the Jays win 5-3 over the Rays. Where there’s Smoak, there’s fire."  -- RJ Currie [Note: RJ has officially taken over the lead for the Punmaster of the Universe title from Dwight Perry - CP]
"Just wondering: Do curlers take things for granite?"  -- RJ Currie [See what I mean? - CP]
"Hear about the latest set of Dallas Cowboys trading cards? They’re the first to feature both front and side views."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Dodgers — in the midst of a 43-7 run — landed Rangers ace Yu Darvish, which is like Bill Gates finding money."  -- Greg Cote
"So if these brawls keep up can we expect to see  the Yanks & the Tigers on pay-per-view? Down goes Frazier.  (Clint).  Not exactly what you expect in a baseball game."  -- Janice Hough
"The Red Sox and Yankees may be playing a series next year across the pond. London, UK; where the sport of choice vs baseball is Cricket. A Cricket game can last up to 4 or 5 days. So a NYY-Bos game could probably be no different!"  -- TC Chong

"Last Wednesday, in case you missed it, was National Coloring Book Day. Or as it’s better known around college jock factories,"  National Textbook Day."  -- Dwight Perry

CP-





Sunday, July 30, 2017

IF I WERE COMMISSIONER...

...there's a few things that would be changed.

** Eliminate the Automatic Intentional Walk. You're not really saving any significant time and things happen. Balks and wild pitches can occur.

** There's no such thing as Defensive Indifference. Players care so much about their personal stats, let them pay for giving away an extra base. You let him get to second base than the runner gets a stolen base and it goes on your record that you gave up one.

** Institute the Designated Hitter in both leagues. Does it make the game different? Sure, it does. So What? One of the biggest reasons for it, is it keeps older players in the game longer. How do you think Boston would have felt if David Ortiz could only pinch hit all year? As for the purists, there is no rule that says you have to use a DH. Play your team that way but don't claim your opponent has an advantage by using the DH.

** Eliminate the Interleague play. Other than a few intercity rivalries, there's no big deal in having Tampa play Cincinnati or Arizona going against Boston. Let it go.

** Return the Hall of Fame Game. It was part of the celebration of the induction of the newest members. You can always make the game count in the standings. Let's celebrate the players superior accomplishments with the actual game that they excelled in. (We'll hear more about this when I ask to be in charge of the Hall of Fame.)

** Institute a code of behavior for umpires. We'll have an investigation every time a player or manager is ejected. If an umpire kicks a guy out, he better have a damn good reason. If an ump goes after a player or manager, there better be a compelling reason. When an umpire walks over to a dugout and tosses a guy, the ump is wrong. Being an over-officious jerk on the umpires' part will get him suspended. Here's two of the latest examples:
A) Home plate umpire Will Little (certainly an appropriate last name) threw out three Blue Jays in the course of one at-bat. The manager, the pitcher and finally the catcher all got the hook. Why? Little's strike zone was quite erratic and players complained. Umpires are often referred to a arbiters. An arbiter, by definition, a person whose views or actions have great influence over trends in social behavior. This means that when you make a decision,someone is going to be unhappy. So don't be surprised when they object. You asked to be an umpire, so live with the complaints.
B) Same game, umpire Gerry Davis threw out Adrian Beltre because he wouldn't stay in the on-deck circle. NOBODY stays in the on-deck circle. NOBODY stays in the coaches box either. NOBODY stays in the batters box. Why don't you do something about that? 
Actually, we can make this easier. Watch whatever Umpire Joe West does and stop umpires from doing that.

** Please follow the rules. This is one of my favorite sore spots. "An umpire shall not call time once the batter is in the box and the pitcher has started his windup or is in the set position on the mound."
This is an actual quote from the rule book, yet umpires do it all the time. It also says the umpire should not allow a batter to be out of the box for longer than reasonable, but that's so vague, there is no way to enforce it. You might try not allowing them to re-tighten their batting gloves four times or more during an at bat.

** Post Season games should start by  7:05 PM EST. That's first pitch at 7:05, not the start of pre-game.

Do you hate sports cliches as much as I do? Read Hartley Miller's take on them:

There you have it. All improvements in my mind, at least. Of course, there's little chance of any of these actually occurring, but I can dream, can't I. Now you have some idea of what Annie-O has to listen to every night. That's when I can get a word in when the broadcasters take a breath. If they ever do.

NY Post back page headline after Brett Gardner's walk-off single:
"Guard-ian Angel"

***THEY SAID IT***
"It has become more than somewhat official that Odell Beckham Jr. has become the latest New York City sports star to think that having an unspoken thought is against the law."  -- Mike Lupica
"British Open winner Jordan Spieth took 30 minutes before taking a shot on the 13th hole. It was so slow, Major League Baseball offered suggestions to speed up play. -- Alex Kaseberg
"Star receiver Dez Bryant  reported three hours late to Cowboys training camp  after hosting a hometown barbecue the day before to thank his supporters. Team publicists, already in midseason form, listed him as day-to-day with greasy fingers."  -- Dwight Perry
"Whenever I listen to Sterling I hear a man doing an imitation of Ted Baxter.”  -- Sportswriter Doug Branch
"Alabama DE Da’Shawn Hand was arrested for alleged DUI last night. The Tide open Sept. 2 against Florida State. But I’m sure Nick Saban will send a strong message by suspending Hand for the first quarter of the Sept. 9 Fresno State game."  -- Janice Hough
"I told my wife to buy Tom Brady’s upcoming self-help book: not because it'll make me a gifted QB, exceptionally handsome or very rich, but because I live with a supermodel. She said: “We’re still not getting an 80-inch TV."  -- RJ Currie
"How excited was Minnesota coach  P.J. Fleck at Big 10 media days? Picture Richard Simmons with his finger in a light socket."  -- Brad Dickson
"China has banned Disney character Winnie the Pooh due to comparisons made to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Look for America to follow suit, when the White House will ban the Disney character Pinocchio."  -- TC Chong [Okay, not sports, but I like Tony - CP]
" You can come out now! Al Leiter is off for a while from YES’ Yankees telecasts. Even while inhaling, Leiter doesn’t stop talking. He’s like the universal sister-in-law."  -- Phil Mushnick
" With Chris Paul and James Harden sharing a backcourt, every Rockets game will be a flopping clinic. There will be times when one of them takes a shot and both of them fall down."  -- Scott Ostler
"With two tough losses, SF Giants blew great chances  to climb within 30 games of the Dodgers."  -- Janice Hough
"The LPGA is enforcing a conservative dress code, including limitations on leggings and racerback tank tops. Yep. That'll convince young folks golf isn't an old fuddy-duddy sport."  -- RJ Currie
"LaVar Ball is another one of those guys in sports about whom you have to ask this question:
Does he ever run out of saliva?"  -- Mike Lupica

CP-







Saturday, July 22, 2017

A FEW COMMENTS

Around the horn with Chad:

** The #1 rule for athletes (or what should be #1). Look like you've been there before. Aaron Judge belted another long, long home run last night. Did he pose at home plate? NO. Did he do a big bat flip? NO. Did he trot very slowly around the bases? NO. Did he affect some stupid pose while running the bases? No. He hit it, knew it was gone and trotted around the bases. THAT is the way to do it.

** Pablo Sandoval has resigned with the San Francisco Giants after being released by the Red Sox. The Panda's whole salary is being paid by the Red Sox, but the Giants won't be getting off scott-free. They will have to substantially increase the size of the post-game buffet now that Pablo has brought his fork and spoon to the west coast.

** Don't you think some pitchers should be declared illegal? Last night, Chris Sale looked like he accidentally wandered into a Little League game. As the Angels looked like a Little League team. Note: The Yankees have won both games that Sale has started against them this year. But they never beat him. After facing Sale, the Red Sox bullpen looked like Little Leaguers to the Yankee hitters.

** What's the date? OH yeah, it's July 22nd. ESPN has already declared that Houston & the Dodgers will meet in the World Series. I guess that's why ESPN allots at least one hour a day analyzing the coming pro-football season. Why are they bothering to play the rest of the baseball season. Couldn't be the money, could it? Nah!

** Sam Miller, in what I hope will be a very short tenure at ESPN, has declared that home run videos  are the worst because you know what's going to happen. That's the criteria? Does that mean we shouldn't watch Chris sale pitch because we KNOW no one can hit him? I think Sam Miller may be there to make the other ESPN writers look smart. And while we're at it, please bring back Jamie Sire.

** Annie-O is disgusted because the Yanks are in an extended slump. Take heart, girl, NY still has the 3rd best record in the American League. In the NL, they would have the 5th best record. Both situations mean they would be in the playoffs. And there's still 65 games to go. Could be worse: you could be rooting for the Mets.
I have a prediction: When Aaron Hicks is added back onto the 25-man roster, the Yankees will release Jacoby Ellsbury. You can't keep Frasier, Judge and Hicks out of the line up. They will also  keep Gardner.

** Another good game for Yankee rookie Clint Frasier and the Yankee announcers praised him to high heaven because...he slid into third base feet first. They even described it: right foot extended, spikes up and popped up onto the bag. Very dangerous, guys. He could have sprained an ankle. This business about sliding head first being so dangerous is starting to get to me. "Spikes up," yeah that's good. If the third baseman gets spiked, that's his problem I guess. Can we just let them play and not try to turn it into a geriatric softball game?

** "This will never happen" department. With all the worthless statistics that we have to listen to every night (Strike pct, exit velo, run saved,etc.), how about meaningful statistics only. I'm tired of hearing things like, "That's the most singles to left-center in a game where one team wears blue in a domed stadium on a week night by a left-handed hitter who recently shaved his mustache in the last 10 days."  By the time I figure out what that means and how many players actually meet that criteria, the game is over and I still haven't learned anything significant.

** If you really want to help, keep track of how many strikes and balls are mis-called by the umpire and publish those percentages. Every move the players make is catalogued, why not the umpires?
(Never happen #2)

***THEY SAID IT***
"Consider the most common complaint I’ve fielded since this column began in 1982: Broadcasters who just won’t shut up, every play leads to, is worth forced discussion, analysis, opinion, explanation and debate."  -- Phil Mushnick, NY Post [Amen, Brother - CP]
"The world's smelliest plant is now on display in Des Moines. This should be the worst odor in Des Moines until the Iowa State Fair food concessions open next month."  -- Brad Dickson
"Canadians   Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes won beach volleyball gold at the Porec Major — on Canada Day. Sometimes two thongs can make a right."  -- RJ Currie
"Astros players staged a mock funeral Monday for the glove of 40-year-old DH Carlos Beltran, who hadn’t played in the field in two months. Such events are becoming a habit in Houston. The Astros buried the AL West about a month and half ago."  -- Dwight Perry

"Lavar Ball finalizes 3-year, 3-son deal to date Kardashians."  -- SportsPickle.com
" SF Giants had   "Game of Thrones" night at AT&T Park. Well, with team on pace to lose 100 games not a bad idea to remind fans “Winter is coming.”  -- Janice Hough
"Viagra and Cialis said they'll no longer be advertising on NFL games. With cheaper generics flooding the market, competition is getting stiff"  -- RJ Currie
" A professional marathoner in Maine outran two bears. His big concern? That these were Kenyan bears."  -- Brad Dickson
"It seems only fitting that the Red Sox handed corpulent third baseman Pablo Sandoval a $90 million contract, then had to eat nearly half of it."  -- Dwight Perry
"Pablo Sandoval said “a few teams” were interested in signing him. Is he talking baseball or competitive eating?"  -- Janice Hough
"After the Knicks fired him, Phil Jackson tweeted a pic of his feet on a railing in front of a body of water. Knowing Jackson, it’s probably the Bermuda Triangle."  -- RJ Currie [Obviously, RJ was hot this week - CP]
"There is online video of a wild moose chasing skiers down a slope. If this becomes an official event, I’d start watching the Winter Olympics again."  -- Brad Dickson

CP- 




Sunday, July 16, 2017

THE ALL-STAR GAME: ANOTHER BASEBALL CLASSIC GONE

Actually, it's just misunderstood.  I've been reading that the All-Star game doesn't have the same zing it used to. They have tried to instill some life or urgency into it by making the game decide what team gets the home field advantage in the World Series. As with most major decisions the Commissioner's office makes, it was not well thought out. In fact, it seemed NO thought was put into it. How can you make an exhibition game decide something so important? You can't, and the baseball powers finally woke up to that fact and went back to the exhibition format.

The game has lost some of it's appeal and there is a very good reason that the Home Run Derby has taken over the excitement of the all-star break.  Originally, the game was meant to showcase the stars of the game and show off their unique skills to the fans. If you lived in an American League city, what chance did you have to see National League stars and vice-versa? How would Whitey Ford pitch to Willie Mays? (Not well, if I remember correctly) Can Mickey hit a homer against Warren Spahn? (Mantle could hit a homer against a howitzer.)  Baseball games were on National TV once a week and they usually featured big-market teams like the Dodgers or the Giants, Yankees or Cubs. The lowly Kansas City Athletics could have played in their skivvies and still not get those TV cameras in their stadium.  So the only place to see these players and match-ups, was the All-Star game.

But now, it's all different. ALL teams have their games on TV. Inter-league games are quite common.  ESPN and Fox Sports will show you every exciting play wherever it took place. You can see every team and every star play every single day. Where is that unique opportunity that created the all-star excitement?  Plus, it's still not a real game. Almost everybody plays. Pitchers pitch one inning or to just one batter. Position players change almost before you realize they were in the game. It used to be that the starters played at least three innings. Even the starting pitcher would often go three innings. As Jacques Clouseau (Pink Panther series) would say: "Not any more."  A lot of the players aren't really all-stars anyway, just the best player a particular team has. Don't get me wrong, the players try hard. That professional competitiveness is inherent in them, but that's the only motivation. It isn't the money (never thought I'd write that about professional sports), because they don't get any cash for winning or losing. They do get perks that are worth more than a factory worker makes in a year.

So forget the actual game. Make it skills contest only. A home run derby. Who has the most accurate outfield arm? Who runs the bases the fastest? Compare their paychecks. That will excite those $12-an-hour fast food workers.

It'll never happen.

Congratulations to those fans who witnessed another Yankee-Red Sox classic marathon. Sixteen innings and just a tad short of six hours. And just to see who has the stamina, the two teams will play a double header today. 34 innings of baseball in the space of about 30 hours. We could see two brand new teams on Monday.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Titans cornerback Logan Ryan wed former Rutgers softballer Ashley Bragg. I’m guessing he allowed her to complete a few passes and she let him get past first base."  -- RJ Currie
"So forget politics, let’s get a real argument going – should the SF Giants pick up Pablo Sandoval since the Red Sox are paying his salary?"  -- Janice Hough
" Los Angeles is expecting to host the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics. By that time, Trump’s border wall should be built and Mexico will be favored to win gold in the Pole Vault."  -- TC Chong
" Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said when he was a kid that he drank paint because he thought it’d make it harder to tackle him. Actually, this makes as much sense as Wheaties."  -- Brad Dickson
"Before Aaron Judge was given the starting right fielder’s job with the Yankees, before he became the star of his team, the star of this Yankee team was supposed to be its bullpen.How’s that working out for them?"  -- Mike Lupica

" MLB commissioner Rob Manfred – NY’s Aaron Judge “can become the face of the game.” Yankees fans are going, “You mean he isn’t already?  -- Janice Hough
"A good question for which there is no good answer: A reliever who enters the game in the ninth with a four-run lead is then destroyed [for four runs]. But he has not blown a save because he’s not eligible to blow a save. Who thinks this stuff up?”  -- NY Post reader Ronald Wieck
"Bills defensive lineman Adolphus Washington was arrested Sunday for improperly carrying a concealed firearm outside the Splash Park water park in Sharonville, Ohio. Unfortunately for Washington, it wasn’t a squirt gun."  -- Dwight Perry

"A Cleveland artist created a bust of LeBron James from dryer lint. The painstaking effort took months to perfect. Then LeBron shaved his head and so the artist has to start over."  -- Brad Dickson

"LPGA rookie player S. Santiwiwatthanaphong of Thailand, who finished 11th in last week’s tournament was almost assessed a 2 stroke penalty for taking too long to sign her scorecard. Not only that, but she also managed to crash the “Spellcheck” app on the LPGA computers."  -- TC Chong
"Packers TE Martellus Bennett’s top five QBs had Jay Cutler above two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning. At the risk of dating myself, that’s like ranking Phyliss Diller above Farrah Fawcett for best hair."  -- RJ Currie

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