Wednesday, December 30, 2009
By the way, HALLADAY was traded and signed an extension, HOLLIDAY is still waiting.
***HAVEN'T WE BEEN DOWN THIS ROAD BEFORE?***
Cashman has stated that he's perfectly happy with Brett Gardner as his everyday left fielder. In 2006, he said he was happy with Bubba Crosby as his everyday centerfielder and then promptly went out and signed Johnny Damon. If I were Gardner, I'd be looking over my shoulder.
***INTERESTING GAME LAST NIGHT***
Seaton Hall looked like they had 7 men on the offensive board the whole first half. That, and some hot shooting, kept the Hall in the game. In the past, Boeheim teams would usually fold in this situation, but this team seems to have a lot of heart and a decent bench. Vod is right, Triche did look bewildered. Wes Johnson reminds me of Carmelo Anthony in that he can take over a game when needed. This team has a good future.
***PICASNER'S PICKS & PANS FOR THE H.O.F.***
Some chioces are based on numbers, some ar just opinion; you decide which is which.
SHOULD BE IN THERE:
NOT GOOD ENOUGH:
That should elicit a blood-soaked response from Vod.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The money has really been flowing this year, and most players, and more specifically, their agents, were expecting this. So some agents have moved quickly to sign their 2nd & 3rd level clients to contracts before the well dried up. Thus, Chone Figgins, Randy Wolf and Mike Cameronand the like, are set for 2010 and even Scott Boras, whose technique is to wait and wait and wait, until teams panic, has completed deals for Andruw Jones, Mike Gonzales and Alex Cora. BUT...and this is a big but...Matt Holliday, Johnny Damon and Andrian Beltre, Boras' clients all, are still swinging in the breeze. Boras has messed up big time in the past and seems to get away with it, but perhaps no more. One GM has said that the day may come, and soon, when some player sues Boras for improper representation. That would be interesting.
***WERE WE WATCHING THE SAME PEOPLE?***
ESPN Ran a poll asking about the quality of the work of umpires this season: Excellent, Good, Acceptable, or Unacceptable. The results were amazing: 6% Excellent, 34% Good and 40% Acceptable. The Umps must have had relatives stuffing the ballot boxes. That's a total of 80%. 80%! Only 20% voted Unacceptable. I don't think the Umps rating reached the Acceptable level in any one game that I saw. MLB and the Umps just agreed to a 5 year deal, but we won't know the details until the Umpires vote on it on Jan. 14th. Please don't tell me they got a raise.
A reader has asked why I haven't commented on my 'other' favorite NY team, the Football Giants. Easy, you're not allowed to curse on this website.
We've had another comment on our blog, another line of Japanese symbols. I found out that the last comment led you to a soft-porn site, so this one is gone.
Picasner will have some comments on this years' Hall of Fame candidates, either later today or tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This is obviously not the last move the Bombers will make this winter. Granted, 60% of the value of this move is an attempt to shore up the pitching staff, but a huge key will be how they fill the void in left field. Hopefully, Granderson's bat will offset the loss of Damon or Matsui, but they still need another run producer, which Cabrera was not.
The addition now of Holliday or Bay would make this deal, and the Yanks off-season moves, look a lot more productive. It would even be nice to get Damon back, at the Yankees terms, of course, just to spite Boras. I wouldn't make too much of Cabrera's defense, since left field is probably the safest defensive position on the field. I will miss his arm, though.
Picasner will evaluate when the last major move is completed.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
1. At least Bud recognizes that there are problems.
2. This committee will have absolutely no power to change anything.
3. "A camel is a horse designed by a committee."
While no agenda or specific problems have been set forth for the committee, Thomas Bosworth has list of 8 he would suggest. First, the reasonable ones (Picasner's comments in red):
1. Don't award home field advantage in the World Series based on the outcome of the All-Star game. Force Selig to agree to this and then you can disband.
2. No more World Series games in November. Maybe do this one, too, before you disband.
3. Expand the use of video replay in the post season. We could try this one for a year at least.
Gee, 3 out of 8 isn't bad. These suggestions seem to be coming from someone who doesn't like baseball:
4. Ban mound visits by managers and coaches. Yeah, just yell at them from the dugout.
5. No more 'God Bless America' in the 7th inning. How about 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'?
6. Eliminate the 4 pitches in an intentional walk. Right, nothing EVER goes wrong with those.
7.Require a relief pitcher to face a minimum of 2 batters. What if there's two outs in the bottom of the 9th? Does he have to face the first batter in the next game?
8. Enforce a time limit on mid-inning pitching changes. Are you going to force those relievers to RUN in from the bullpen? Then we'll have to wait for them to catch their breath.
Here's one for the fans:
How about shortening the commercial times between half -innings? Sorry, I wasn't thinking.
***NICK JOHNSON? NICK? JOHNSON?***
His name is being bandied about frequently these days. The Angels, Braves and Cubs have all been linked with him. Then the Red Sox were interested, but they need a big power hitter in the middle of the lineup and he ain't it. Now it's the Yanks, and I can't see this one either. True, he can hit, get on base and spell Teixeira at first, but his fielding has slipped because of all the injuries and what little power he had is gone. Besides, wherever he goes, he'll be on the DL before the 4th of July. He's been there so often, he no longer has a number on his back, just a Red Cross.
***JIM ARMSTRONG OF THE DENVER POST***
"Did you hear? Tiger's wife has volunteered to perform his next knee surgery."
***NOT BUYING IT, PUDGE***
Pudge Rodriguez says he's 'only interested in winning,' and promptly signed for two years with the Washington Nationals.
***I DIDN'T KNOW THAT***
Richie Incognito was released by the ST. Louis Rams and signed by the Buffalo Bills, but nobody noticed. (Hint: read that line again)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Texas beat Texas-Pan American, 104-42, hopefully securing their ranking as #2 in the country. Proud of yourselves, Texas? Even in the land of the "Cupcakes," Tex-P A is really inept. This rout brought their record to 1-10. If they have a football team, I think Syracuse has a spot open on their schedule.
***HOPEFULLY, THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING***
This seems a little strange, even for the Yankees. So far, this off-season, they have disposed of:
Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, Ian Kennedy,
Austin Jackson, Hideki Matsui, Chin-Ming Wang,
Xavier Nady, Sergio Mitre, & Johnny Damon (probably).
...and signed only Curtis Granderson. These guys helped win a World Series, so there must be some kind of major upgrade on the way.
***I KNOW I'M RETIRED, BUT...***
I do require some sleep. The NCAA is considering expanding the basketball tournament to 96 teams from the current 65. That's like an additional 30 games. How am I going to watch all those games? And will Texas-Pan American be in the mix? They might have trouble beating the three referees.
***CAN YOU SAY POLLYANNA?***
Tennessee football coach, Lane Kiffin, says the NCAA investigation into the schools recruiting practices, is a "compliment." Just like prison sentences are a reward.
***COLLEGE SPORTS LONGEST WINNING STREAK***
Penn State's Women's Volleyball team has won 100 straight games. And no, Texas-Pan American is NOT on their schedule.
***THIS SHOULD AMUSE VOD***
One General Manager describes the AL Central as, "...the island of misfit toys."
***THIS JUST IN***
I wonder when the "TIN-CAN INVITATIONAL" tournament starts?
***WE'RE STILL NOT DONE***
The Cliff Lee-Roy Halladay trade now include 4 teams. Somehow, Oakland is now getting some warm bodies, too. I hope all these guys know which team they're supposed to report to in the spring.
Monday, December 14, 2009
***CHIEN-MING WANG...IS GONE***
The Yanks wanted to hedge their bets on Wang's bad shoulder and offer a minor league contract with a major league deal if he's okay. Wang's agent wanted it guaranteed. When the Yanks said no-way, agent Alan Nero said, "He'll be moving on."
***BAD TIME TO BE A FREE AGENT***
There were 300 free agents when we started. 34 have signed, which leaves 266 more standing out in the rain. Some of them are going to be disappointed. I can hear Miguel Tejada now: "Attention K-Mart shoppers..."
***WHO'LL BE THE YANKS DH?***
One baseball exec thinks the Yanks will be content to use minor league prospect Juan Miranda. He's a 26 year-old first baseman. He hit .288 with 19 homers for Scranton last year. Naw, where's Matsui?
A workman-like victory over St. Francis (the college, not the icon) yesterday. Vod is right about Andy Rautins; Syracuse is a different team when he's on the floor. Most amazing stat from the game: the Orange had 24 assists on 29 baskets. And consider this: TWO great passes could lead to a basket, but only ONE assist will be awarded, unlike hockey, where two players can be rewarded for passes leading to a score.
***DIFFERENT FLAVOR CUPCAKES***
What do Central Arkansas, Tenn. Tech, UC Irvine, Western Carolina, Sam Houston, Rider and No. Carolina-Ashville have in common? Answer: they all helped the nations' top three basketball programs to a combined 21-0 record. Yes, Kansas, Texas and Kentucky have bolted to undefeated seasons with the help of these "tin-cans." Picasner was aware of this and really wasn't picking on Syracuse.
***A PRO-FOOTBALL QUESTION***
When does Big-D turn into Little-D? Answer: in December. Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo, continues to build up big stats and bigger losses every time it gets down to crunch time in the schedule. Yes, I know there are 40+ other players involved, but only ONE gets to date Jessica Simpson.
In closing, Vod, Chad and the ladies are having plaque put on their table at the Fairport Village Inn after Saturday's 3-hour laugh-fest. The waitress said we were their BEST customers that afternoon. ...Of course, we were their ONLY customers, too!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
The consensus of the ESPN sportswriters seem to think the Yanks made out the best, but Picasner isn't so sure. Yes, Granderson hit 30 homers and stole 26 bases, but he also struck out 140+ times and hit a whopping .186 against lefties. The Yanks also gave up their best prospect, Austin Jackson, who might have been a key part of a potential trade for Doc Halladay. Oh, well.
***WHY IS SCOTT BORAS USUALLY THE STAR OF THESE MEETINGS?***
##Boras says Johnny Damon is a "timeless" player, with a body that belies his age. He has conveniently forgotten all the time Damon has missed in the past 3 years with leg problems.
##Boras' comments about the Giants has irritated SF Gen. Mgr, Brian Sabean to the point that he has refused to talk to ANY Boras clients. Boras told the press that the Giants "...NEED Adrian Beltre and they HAVE to have Matt Holliday and they should spend some of that money they're just putting in their pockets." Sabean commented that "...Boras has enough money and he should buy his own team and let's see how smart he is then." Gotta love this.
##speaking of Matt Holliday, Boras has said:
*He's a good fit for the Cubs.
*The Cardinals need him
*The Mets have plenty of money and have to get him
***THE MILTON BRADLEY BOARD GAME***
The Cubs have shopped him to every sports team they can think of including the Harlem Globetrotters. Even offering to absorb his contract hasn't helped.
***BONDS' AGENT SAYS HIS BASEBALL CAREER IS OVER***
***AND THE LIGHTER SIDE***
Dan Daly of the Washington Times: "Tiger Woods has reportedly redone the prenuptial agreement with wife Elin, to encourage her to stay in the marriage. He must have really sweetened it. Elin is now third on the career money list."
Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, says the Colorado football coach told him the 3-9 Buffaloes were just 10 plays away from being a bowl team. "In a related story, the Titanic was just 10 ice cubes away from the East Coast."
Are the Syracuse Orangemen for real this year? Syracuse is now 9-0 after beating Florida 85-73. That's the third ranked team they've beaten this year and all by double figures. Usually, the Orange build a great record in December by beating a bunch of "tin cans" (teams that are easily knocked over). In fact, their next three games are against St. Francis, St. Bonaventure and Oakland University. The more things change...
Chad Ochocinco was fined $30,000 for donning a poncho and sombrero after catching a TD pass this week. Last week, he was fined only $10,000 for pretending to "bribe" an official during a game. Is there a message here? I guess it's worse to be politcally incorrect than legally incorrect.
We welcome Vod and his charming wife, Laurie, who moved to Victor, NY to get out of the snow (?).
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Yesterday, there was a comment which we have published. I can't say whether it's favorable or not, but I suspect it had to do with Picasner's comment about Hideki Matsui. It's located at the end of the 11/30 posting. If anyone can help with a translation, it will be appreciated.
Monday, November 30, 2009
A great comment from Keith Olbermann about the Hall of Fame ballot (even though he doesn't get a vote):
Mark McGwire: Hall of Fame? For what? For pretending to Congress that nothing happened before that steroid hearing? Fine. You got your wish. Nothing happened. Your lifetime numbers are 0-0-.000.
Brent Mayne, former ML catcher, wrote an article about "creative visualization," seeing an event in your mind before doing it. Oswego coach Dave Powers told me about this theory once back in the 60's and I passed it along to my kids. They seemed to feel it worked, but it didn't do much for Brent, who hit .263 with 38 homers in a sparse 15 year career.
Tiger Woods in the news for crashing his car and his wife, Elin, "rescuing" him by smashing the rear window with a golf club. Since the tree he hit was just a short drive from his house, I assume she probably used a nine-iron.
Read a headline that said, "No takers for Matsui." Relax, Yankee fans, it's Kaz not Hideki.
Notre Dame is considering dumping coach Charley Weiss, who led his team to a 6-6 record this year. That means Notre Dame would have to buy out the remaining 6 years of his 10-year contract, at a cost close to $20 million dollars. My guess is they're going to have a hard time selling that as part of the Bishop's Relief program in South Bend.
A COMMENT FROM A READER:
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
To the people who came up with some of the funniest lines of the year (and I gave them credit):
Greg Cote, Miami Herald
Scott Ostler, San Fran Chronicle
Dwight Perry, Seattle Times
Janice Hough, LeftCoastSportsBabe
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe (I'm SHOCKED! Shocked, that I almost forgot him)
To the announcers and writers that I love to pick on:
Tim McCarver, who USED to be interesting but hasn't grown any since 1985
Joe Morgan, who was never interesting
Michael Kay, whom I kid, but I love (I have a collection of Kay-isms)
Bob 'Wrong-Way' Matthews, Rochester D & C, he's the most consistently off
To the sports figures who haven't learned to keep quiet:
Ozzie Guillen, outrageous AND funny
Bud Selig, who J. Hough describes as "The most unintentionally funny straight man of all time"
Jimmy Rollins, whose career as a prognosticator is probably over
To the Yankee players that I like to watch:
Mariano Rivera, instead of the Sandman, wouldn't the Undertaker be more appropriate?
Hideki Matsui, probably my favorite Yankee, a true professional hitter
Mark Teixeira, I swear he has stick-um on his glove
Nick Swisher, in an interview, he doesn't need a question, just a microphone
To the opponents I can't make myself hate:
Terry Francona, (I never thought I'd ever say this-) Boston Red Sox
Junior Griffey, a classy guy
Roy 'Doc' Halladay, another class act
...and, in no particular order, Jim Thome, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, John Lackey, Ron Gardenhire and Lou Piniella
And to the personal people:
Anne (A.K.A. The Bimb): Who edits my postings and laughs in all the right places
Our loyal readers: (Both of you, I wish there were more)
And finally, Vod Kanockers, who likes to give me a hard time but has been my friend for almost 50 years. There is nothing I wouldn't do for him and nothing he wouldn't do for me. And that's the way we've been for 50 years, doing nothing for each other.
By the way, I finally figured out where Vod Kanockers comes from.
Thank you all for being there and Happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Shenise Johnson, formerly of Henrietta, NY, was a three-time All Greater Rochester Player of the Year. She accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Miami and is one of the 50 pre-season finalists for the Naismith Trophy (top player in women's college basketball).
As a freshman last season, she was the ONLY women's college player to lead her team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. It is rumored that she also sold tickets and worked the concession stands during half-time.
The Hurricanes are 4-0 this season and Shenise is averaging 17.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Instead of Allan Iverson, the Knicks should probably be scouting her.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
SU beats North Carolina by 19. Great early season win.
Leo Rautins, from Jamesville-DeWitt High School, has developed into a great collegiate player. Syracuse is amazing on the defensive end of the floor when he's on the floor. With the addition of transfer Wes Johnson providing an ominous scoring weapon, Syracuse looks rock solid. Jardine has probably surprised everyone but Jim Boeheim and swingman Kris Joseph gives the Orange a 7 man rotation (but only seven deep?). Onuaku and Jackson continue to get it done down low game after game. Whoda' thought? Certainly not the sportswriters or Big East coaches when they selected SU to finish 6th in the Big East preseason polls.
Could they have been the same people who knew the Twins were the 2nd least likely to win the AL East. (My apologies to the "P" for a far-to-easy shot, but it was there and I know he would not have passed it up!)
I wonder how Dick Vitale will nourish his AAC adiction after working tonight's game.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Picasner never said the AL Central was very tough. But even in that weak division, the Twins were supposed to be the 2nd least likely team to win it. With two extremely good players, a few other Major Leaguers (I'm being kind) and a pitching staff that featured Carl Pavano (Yes, THE Carl Pavano), somebody had to be doing something right.
I've been in the Baggy-dome and it is hard to FIND the ball, let alone catch it, I don't care how many games you play there in a season.
Girardi didn't win the award, Scioscia did. Like HIS division was so much tougher.
If it makes you feel any better, Vod, there is a rumor out there that the Yanks are very quietly shopping Nick Swisher, Mohawk haircut an all.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Traditionally, the award goes to the manager of one of the 4 clubs in the Championship series, and this year will be no different. In the AL, the top candidates are Joe Girardi (why not? The Yanks have won everything else) and Mike Scioscia of the Angels. Fine managers and both worthy of the award, but Picasner has his own candidate: Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins. Here's a team that was the pre-season pick for 4th place (behind Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland) and ended up winning even though half of their offensive powerhouse duo, Justin Morneau, missed the last month of the season. Every year, it seems to be the same story: Twins have nothing, Twins finish first. Don't you think the manager had something to do with that?
Speaking of managers, there is a book out, "Evaluating Baseball's Managers, " by Chris Jaffe. A website, The Hardball Times, is currently publishing excerpts from the book, currently, Billy Martin. Very interesting reading. Follow the link:
They focused on pitching and base running, but that wasn't all of Martin's ability. He knew every rule and how to use them, every trick and every mind game. This a biography that should be written.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Costas: "Should Mark McGwire be required to 'make a clean breast of it' before he debuts as Cardinals hitting coach?"
Selig: "When he comes back to baseball, he's going to be tested like all manager, coaches and players right from the start."
Costas: "Why should he be tested? He's not a player."
Selig: "Whatever. Doesn't make any difference."
Guess Selig wasn't there to talk about the past, either.
T-shirts sold at Green Bay for the game against the Vikings, "WE'LL NEVER FORGET YOU, BRENT!"
Las Vegas Sun.com "I went to a hockey game and a New Mexico women's soccer game broke out."
Mark Spitz, after telling a Russian swimming coach that his mustache helped him by deflecting water away from his mouth during the 1972 Olympics: "A year later, every single Russian male swimmer had a mustache. ... and a couple of East German female swimmers, too."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The nominees for election into the Hall by the Veteran's Committee was announced yesterday, and among the nominees is Billy Martin. For a long time, I thought his first name was "Scrappy," since he was almost always described that way. Supposedly, there is some kind of morals clause involved with election into the hall, you know, good conduct, no felony convictions, etc. Don't get me wrong, as an old-time Yankee fan, I love Billy, but HOF material? He was supposed to be an extremely knowledgeable baseball man, but truthfully, he is more remembered for drinking, fighting and being fired as manager of the Yanks. Hardly a ringing endorsement. However, Ty Cobb made it and once went into to the stands and beat up a fan who was heckling him...a fan who also happened to be a paraplegic. But, being a great hitter... As far as baseball stats go, well, if Mazeroski can get in with his .260 career average, why not Martin with his .257?
***GOLD GLOVE WINNERS ANNOUNCED***
One of the ESPN columnists, Rob Neyer, expressed his opinion about the winners and usually there are anywhere from 60 to 100 comments made by readers concerning that day's subject. Today, about 12 hours after the column was published, there are over 1300 comments. Nothing like a subjective award to raise the ire of dedicated sports fans. As for Picasner, he stopped giving any credence to this particular award back in 1999, when Raphael Palmeiro won it for first base after playing that position for only 28 games that year. I think the caterers have got to stop serving beer during these selection meetings.
Good luck to central New Yorkers, since Vod & Picasner will be residing in the same county for the first time since 1966. Monroe County Sheriffs have already been put on alert.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
***...BUT, I'M MICHAEL JORDAN'S SON***
From Steve Rosenbloom @ ChicagoSports.com: Michael's Son, Marcus, wore Air Jordans in a Central Florida game, leading Adidas to drop it's sponsorship deal with the school. "Remember, kids, there is no 'I' in team, but there is 'me' in money."
Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle: "Meb Keflezighi is the first American man to win the NY Marathon since 1982. Lesser known fact: He's also Line 7 on many eye charts."
***THAT'S WHY THEY GET THE BIG BUCKS***
Greg Cote of The Miami Herald: "Yankees-Phillies enjoyed strong TV ratings. Apparently, the only people who missed the World Series were the umpires working it."
***MORE INFORMATION THAN WE NEEDED***
Blogger RJ Currie is not buying Andre Agassi's claim that hairpiece anxiety cost him the 1990 French Open Final: "Let me get this straight. He lost because he was afraid of having the rug pulled out from OVER him?"
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
***THREE BIG NAMES...AND THREE BIG DECISIONS***
Matsui, Damon & Pettitte. Pettitte will probably come back for a one year deal. The smart move would be to let both Damon & Matsui go. Both have health problems and both are detriments in the field. But both can still hit and hit for power and are still dangerous against lefty's. Picasner would keep Matsui and Pettitte and let Damon fly.
***THE PITCHING STAFF***
Who stays in the 'pen, Joba or Hughes? Picasner would leave Chamberlain in the bullpen and make Hughes the 4th or 5th man in the rotation. Do they re-sign Wang? Picasner says yes. The Yanks may also go after John Lackey, ala AJ Burnett (if you can't beat'em, sign 'em).
First, they have to decide on Matsui & Damon. Then they have to look at their big prospect in Triple A, Austin Jackson. Finally, they may make a play for Matt Holliday. Picasner believes he's more of a National League player and wouldn't do well in NY. The sleeper here is the forgotten man, Xavier Nady. Picasner likes this guy and would rather sign him than Holliday.
We'll see how this plays out in the next 3 months. In the meantime, congrats, NY. I'm going to watch the parade on TV.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
So many heroes: Pettitte, without his good stuff (if he still has any), hanging in until the 6th. Derek Jeter, who seemed to go right to 1st base from the dugout without bothering to actually bat, Damon producing good at-bats, 'The Sandman' looking like all he had to do was throw his glove out on the mound (and the Phillies swinging and missing), A-Rod, scaring the Philly pitchers so much that they'd rather face Matsui (BIG mistake) and, of course, Hideki himself. Lets not forget Joba & Marte, who also produced when it counted.
Overall, the Yanks were just too deep, with the better pitching staff, for the Phillies. The Phils may have had an American League offense but they didn't have American League pitchers. Hats off to Cliff Lee, (a former AL Cy Young winner) who was the only Philly who didn't look nervous out there.
Finally, kudos to Brian Cashman, who put the right people together.
It's hard to pick on players unless they make mental mistakes, so that leaves one guy: Charlie Manuel. For all the grousing about the way Girardi handled his pitchers, Manuel was absolutely clueless. He is noted for guessing, going against the odds and just flat out playing hunches, but this wasn't the time. Not only did he give Pedro Martinez TWO STARTS, both times Pedro was sick. Where was J A Happ all this time? Waiting in the bullpen for that 'situational lefty' duty? He should have pulled Pedro as soon as Matsui hit the homer. His offense wasn't going to climb out of any hole; why let it get deeper? Sorry, Charlie.
**Well, I think this is pretty obvious. Joe West, whose strike zone defies description. Fox Network was extremely kind to Joe, only using the overhead camera a few times to show how far off he was. A normally very placid Andy Pettitte was seen yelling a t Joe as he walked off the mound one inning and was pictured in conversation with him another time. Even the other umpires had to be embarrassed by him.
**Candidate 1A has to be Jimmy Rollins, who, I think, hasn't yet realized he lost. He was quoted as saying, "The better team lost." I might accept that if I thought he was talking about the Angels.
**Honorable mention to the Philadelphia Inquirer, who published a full page ad two days ago, congratulating the Phillies for winning their 2nd straight World Championship. Uh, you need to win more than two games for that, guys.
Monday, November 02, 2009
**After reading all the sportswriters blogs and columns, I often look thru the comments made by other readers, just to get a feel for what other fans are thinking. Last night (or rather this morning), the theme has been Philly fans claiming the Yankees have "bought" a championship (What? Are the Philly Fans giving up already?). Instead of spouting sour grapes, why don't those same fans look at the mistakes (no one covering third, Utley trying to be spectacular and just being dumb, etc.)) their team has made instead. And while we're at it: Aceves, Coke, Hughes, Pettitte, Rivera, Robertson, Posada, Cano, Jeter, Cabrera, Cervelli, Ramirez, Wang, Pena and Gardner all made significant contributions this year and are all home-grown.
**To be fair, the Yanks did make some important pickups this year: Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira, Swisher and, last but not least, Kate Hudson.
**Again Girardi takes a rap for the bad decisions he's made. Granted, some have not worked out, but how many other teams have 113 wins so far this year? Couldn't have been that many bad decisions.
**One writer has castigated Chamberlain, saying he's been babied all year and he still is doing lousy. I guess he watched a different game. I saw Joba locate ONE pitch poorly and the Phillies were fotunate enough to hit it out. This coming as he was striking out the side, making 3 batters look like they've never seen a fastball before. I'll bet the Phillies would have traded Chamberlain's inning for Lidge's inning, even up.
**If you want to point a finger, Lidge is your man. A double steal (Damon's Dash) on one pitch blew him away completely. Thank heavens Manuel (He, of the perfect decisions, according to Philadelphia papers), had the temerity to leave Lidge in there, without even going out to calm him down, allowing the Yanks to beat him up. Thank you, Charlie.
**By the way, Jimmy Rollins now predicts the Phillies will win it in 11 games. (Vod, you tell him, I can't stop laughing!)
**Gene Wojciechowski (writing his name takes up half his column) of ESPN, was very outspoken yesterday, saying that Girardi sending ALL his starters out on three days rest was positively crazy. That was yesterday. Today, he says the Yanks are "taking the fun out of the Series." No, that's a good thing Gene. You'll have fewer chances to look silly.
**Did anyone else notice that Ryan Howard did NOT touch home plate in the fourth inning? Or was it just Picasner and the umpire. The ump never called him safe until Posada threw the ball back to the pitcher and Howard was in the dugout. Can't believe the umps got one right.
**Rob Neyer thinks Cole Hamels is "underrated." Yeah, right.
**I can understand the Phillies confidence after beating up the Tampa Bay Rays last year. The Rays were a fluke and the Angels, Red Sox or even the Yanks, would have been a better AL representative.
***WRITING TO SELIG***
I'm sure you read Vod's letter to Bud 'The Dud' Selig. Attached is Picasner' comment to Bud:
Mr. Selig: how can you possibly welcome a steroid user back into baseball (Mark McGwire) after giving people like A-Rod & Andy Pettitte such a hard time about their steroid use? McGwire made a mockery of Senate hearings and you call him "a fine young man." What kind of a commissioner are you?
Sunday, November 01, 2009
***GAME THREE OBSERVATIONS***
Another wonderful strike zone "interpretation" by home plate umpire Brian Gorman. And a moving one at that. In the first inning, Vod commented to Picasner that Gorman's zone was, "high, wide and not-so-handsome." He also predicted that Pettitte would be 'squeezed' later in the game. Right on, Vod. Pettitte's experience and penchant for stepping up in big games was evident last night. He gave up 3 quick runs but battled on and quieted the Philly bats and their mouths. Rollins predicted a Philly win in 5 games before the series and he's still half right: 5 games alright, but NOT the Phillies. He also stated that after seeing Rivera for two innings in game two, they "saw some things," and believe that Mo is certainly hittable and they did not fear him. Then in the ninth yesterday, Rollins proved it by "blasting" a Rivera cutter that almost reached the dirt part of the infield. I'll bet Rivera was sweating.
Glad to see the umps go to the replay after A-Rods hit. The ball obviously hit the TV camera. That bastion of misinformation, Tim McCarver, was "...pretty sure the ball would have gone out if it didn't hit the camera, even thought the camera was over the fence when it got hit." He thought that was what the umps were trying to decide. Actually, according to the umpire crew chief, it is part of the ground rules there, that any ball that hits the camera IS A HOME RUN, regardless of where the camera is. I'm sure tonight, McCarver will explain how he was right all along.
The Yankee bats finally awoke and that can override a lot of the speculation about the three man rotation the Yanks plan on using. Big hits by both Damon and Matsui, two players the media thinks will not be Yankees next year. A good night for Swisher, too, which still leaves Cano & Teixeira the only guys really struggling at the plate.
***GAME FOUR THOUGHTS***
With the Yanks up 2 games to 1, Sabathia on the mound and Joe Blanton's horrible history against the Yanks, would it be much of a surprise to see Manuel change his mind and send Cliff Lee out there tonight?
***UMPS TAKING LUMPS***
Former umpire, Ed Vargo, wrote a letter to Bud, The Dud, Selig 6 years ago, warning him that the the quality of umpiring was declining rapidly. Among his observations were: Poor (if any) training, improper postioning and stubbornly refusing to listen to any criticisms or suggestions. It is most interesting to Picasner that Vargo specifically stated that umpires "HAVE NO CHANCE" to correctly call outside pitches by insisting on positioning themselves on the inside corner at all times. Vargo said he was appalled at the distance pitches were outside the plate and still called strikes. Bud, of course, has not acknowledged any truth to Vargo's statements, nor has he taken any steps to improve the quality of the umpires.
Picasner thinks there are two other situations that should be resolved. #1 The tenure of umpires. It seems that once you become a Major League umpire, you're an umpire until you retire or die. Based on some of the calls we've seen, that might actually be two years AFTER you die.
#2 Conditioning. Joe West, for example, should be embarrassed to be seen running around the field with a stomach that gets to the dinner table ten minutes before his chest does. Even Mrs. Picasner is faster and she has two artificial knees and a bad toe.
By the way, why did it take FOUR umpires to review the A-Rod homerun? Did three of them think the game was over?
Friday, October 30, 2009
1. Pitching on three days rest
2. The use of instant replay
Picasner has already checked in on the three-day rest item, so let's discuss the instant replay controversy.
***HOW FAR DO YOU GO?***
To me, that is the real (and perhaps, only) question. To try and replay and perhaps change a decision in the middle of a play, creates all kinds of subsequent confusion. For example, if an outfielder traps a ball with men on base that is ruled a catch, and replay indicates that it was trapped, what do you do with the runners? Give everybody one base? Two bases, depending on where the play was? Even fair/foul calls could be a disaster. Two men on and a ball down the line is immediately called foul by the ump. All the runners stop. The fielder lets up or stops completely. Replay indicates the ball was fair. Now what? With fast runners, both men might have scored. So now you have the same problem: how many bases do you allow? The rules state that the umpire shall determine if a runner could score on certain dead ball situations, such as fan interference or balls bouncing or thrown into the stands. Advancing runners only two bases isn't really automatic. Again, where do you place everyone?
As you can see, instant replay could create more problems rather than just correcting those mistakes.
I am glad to see one thing: the umpires seem more willing to listen to arguments rather than just give guys the quick heave-ho. Of course, maybe it's because they've been proven wrong so many times for all the world to see.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
***PHILLIES BEAT DOWN THE DODGERS***
For a team who led the NL in wins, the Dodgers looked particularly inept against the Phillies. Was it because the Phillies were on an upswing while the Dodgers happened to be slumping or are the Phillies really a better team? The Phillies were confident and experienced and a sound team (except for a suspect bullpen) and I believe they were that much better. Speaking of confidence, they have been announcing to the world for a week that they are dying to play the Yankees in the Series. Well, here's your chance.
***YANKEES OVER THE ANGELS***
Critics are giving Scioscia the blame for the Angels defeat, citing the number of times he went "against the book" when making his decisions. Well, Girardi went "with the book," and he didn't do much better. These are professional, Major League players, and all a manager can do it put them on the field and hope they do what they're capable of. The Angels were blown out once and the 6th game wasn't really as close as the score indicated, but the other 4 games could really have gone either way. If they had gone the Angels way, you could substitute Girardi's name for Sciocia's for all those criticisms.
Philly fans are pointing to the fact that Ryan Howard had as good a Championship series as A-Rod, so they figure that they cancel each other out. Scouts, however, say that while Howard is downright scary against righthanders, he's very ordinary against lefties. Of course the Yanks will start lefties in 5 of the possible 7 games, and have two lefties plus Rivera in the bullpen. Unless the Yankee pitchers make a bunch of mistakes, I don't see Howard being a factor. Actually, I don't think the Phillies will pitch to A-Rod, so maybe they do cancel each other out.
Yankees 4 games
Phillies 2 games
Weather 2 games
***McGWIRE TO BE ST LOUIS' HITTING COACH***
This ought to be fun: "I can't tell you what I've learned, since I don't talk about the past." I believe Picasner will be tossing a lot of jabs his way next year.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Sometime this evening, Andy Pettitte will take the mound for the Yankees. Chances are (80%, by the latest weather report), he'll be carrying an umbrella instead of his glove. Not unexpected for football weather.
Another do or die game for the Angels, and another chance for both managers to make pitching decisions that fail. You try to put the players on the mound, at bat and in the field that give your team the best chance to win. It's hard to argue with the pitcher decisions on both sides, since both managers went the "dance with who brung you" theory. Fuentes has been beat up, outpitching Chamberlain & Hughes, which is saying nothing. Leaving in Burnett after a lengthy stay on the bench? Well, he had a low pitch count, a 2 run lead and had settled in after a bad 1st inning. Worth a shot and it would have worked had not the 'Gasoline Alley' gang showed up out of the bullpen. The way it's going, maybe Girardi should give Mariano the start in game 6.
Should Scioscia have left Lackey in? He obviously had the competitive fire, but Oliver had done the job all year. It amounts to the same thing: if players perform, the manager looks like a genius, if not, they look like Vod and Picasner.
There are two moves I don't understand. Why not pinch hit for Swisher with the game on the line? Loyalty to a regular, Swisher's potential or just a weak bench? Either way, I sure wish Girardi had given it more thought. Speaking of thoughts, there couldn't have been any thinking involved with replacing A-Rod with a pinch runner in the ninth. As fast as Guzman is, A-Rod is still an excellent baserunner and was just as likely to score as some speed demon without good baserunning instincts. And if you tie the game, sometime in the 11th inning, your cleanup hitter is Guzman? Hairston? Sabathia? Let's not overthink, Joe.
When I heard that cracks had shown up in Yankee Stadium, I thought they were talking about the bullpen.
Sorry, Vod. There's McCarver, Phillips and Morgan. I won't 'give it a rest' until I don't have to listen to them anymore. One down, two to go.
The concrete pedestrian ramps at the brand-new $1.5 billion city-subsidized Yankee Stadium have been troubled by cracks.
The ramps were built by a company accused of having links to the mob, and the concrete mix was designed and tested by a company under indictment on charges that it failed to perform some tests and falsified the results of others.
A spokeswoman for the team, Alice McGillion, called the cracks “cosmetic,” but several people briefed on the problems said that they would cost several million dollars to fix. I wonder where Alice buys her makeup.
The company that built the ramps, Interstate Industrial Corporation, was barred from doing city work in 2004 because city investigators concluded it had ties to organized crime. While the contract for the work at Yankee Stadium was awarded to a company called Central Excavators, the Yankees, Interstate and Turner Construction Company, the construction manager that built the stadium, have all acknowledged that Interstate performed the work.
The company that evaluated the strength of the concrete poured for the walkways, Testwell Laboratories, its owners and several officers were indicted last year on state racketeering charges.
Let’s all thank the Yankees, the Steinbrenners, and their political hirelings for bringing us another publicly financed baseball palace that we so desperately need in a time of 4 billion dollar deficits in the state budget and for bringing Tony Soprano to life. At least he can afford game tickets.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I’m not quite sure why our esteemed leader is still giving ink time to Steve Phillips and Manny. We got it boss. We know how you feel and it’s time to move on. Phillips has made his bed, both figuratively and literally, and has been granted a “leave of absence”. Manny has moved to the minors on the opposite coast so we may never be required to see him again. And when has hair been an issue since the ‘60s and Dick Nixon, the nattering nabobs of nepotism, and commie hippies? Swisher and Damon prove daily that you can look really stupid with short hair “styles”. Dude, give it a rest.
Tim McUmpire gave a stirring apology, to wit, “I believe in my heart Swisher was out.” Bite me. “… according to instant replay” and according to every sentient being on the planet …”mistakes were made.” Eat dirt and die, bozo. And “I saw Cano on the bag…”. Interesting. No one else did until after he was tagged. No credit deserved for either his on field or post game performance.
We’ve found a reason why the World Series can’t start on Saturday, eh Chad.
Agree with the boss that benching Swisher has been over due. An interstate batting average doesn’t compensate for his “creative” defense. But you can’t pull Melky, hitting or not. He’s their best outfield arm and gets to more balls than anyone else and the roster and, get this, he catches what he gets to.
November baseball in New York and Philadelphia? That’s got to be the punch line of a joke.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Starting in 1961, Whitey Ford started with three days rest for 5 straight years. In that time span, his average season was 20-8. He also had 52 complete games. Did this kill him? Couldn't have been too bad; he won 236 games over his career.
Starting in 1978, Ron Guidry did it for three years, averaging a 20-7 record, with a total of 36 complete games.
In 1963, Bob Gibson was a workhorse. For 4 years, he averaged a 19-11 record and threw 71 complete games. He won 251 games.
Finally, for 5 years starting in 1987, Roger Clemens averaged a 19-10 record and threw 43 complete games. And this was before any steroid controversy.
All of these fellows started every 4th day with all kinds of success. These weren't the only pitchers who did this. They all did. I just picked 4 names everyone would recognise.
So let's let this misplaced accolade die a quiet death, please.
There isn't too much you can say. The Bronx Bombers finally showed up in the post-season and simply destroyed the Angels. Swisher and Matsui did nothing but that still left 7 other guys pounding Angel pitching. Even when he got into some minor jams, you just had the feeling that CC was going to bear down and snuff the fire out. One thing I don't understand is why the Angels continue to throw pitches within a foot of the plate to A-Rod. He is in such a zone that they should give him an intentional walk even with the bases loaded. The Yanks are on such a roll, I can't see this series heading back to NY.
***SECOND, THE UMPS***
It's really laughable, now. I can see close plays and judgement calls being missed, but there have been obvious calls right out in the open that are being botched. At least Tim McClelland came out and admitted his mistakes, but he would have looked even sillier if he hadn't or if he tried to defend his calls. According to the rules, there will be an entirely new set of umpires for the World Series. You would hope they will be better than these guys. They're so bad, it almost makes you wish for Joe West. Almost.
***THIRD, THE ANNOUNCERS & ANALYSTS***
In a blowout situation, the announcers can only praise the winning team, so I can't harangue Joe Buck & Tim McCarver too much. And they didn't try to defend or justify the umpires mistakes.
I did see an interesting video earlier in the day, when an ESPN anchor and John Kruk discussed pitching CC on 3 days rest. The anchor reminded Kruk that Steve Phillips ("When I was GM of the Mets, I...") said it was silly for the Yanks to pitch CC with 3 days rest, Kruk said, "Well, Steve Phillips is silly to say that." To which the anchor replied, "If you're going to say that, you're going to have to get in line and take a number." I hope the bigwigs at ESPN are listening. Why is Phillips still on the air? Comic relief?
***LAST CHANCE FOR A MANNY STORY***
After he was pulled for defensive purposes last game, instead of sitting on the bench and watching the last inning, he went in to take a shower . While he was busy lathering up, the Dodgers were busy blowing the game. So Manny went into the shower a winner and came out a loser. Of course, Joe Torre, that strict disciplinarian, had the right response: "What? He's done that before. It's no big deal." Yeah, right Joe. It takes a long time to dry that long mop on his head. You remember. That's the mop he was supposed to cut LAST year.
Since the Phillies could end it tonight, and the Yanks could do likewise tomorrow night, Is there any reason that the Series couldn't start Saturday? Even if it went 7 games, the Series would be over on November 1st. But, no, that will never happen. Instead of brushing off the plate, they're going to have to give the umps snow shovels.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
And what do you think the Yankees charged? NOTHING! That's right, nothing. Are you guys okay?
I don't believe you can play hunches and win championships. It might work for a game or two but then reality kicks in, taking the form of a laser shot off the left field wall. Over-managing, micro-managing, brain-cramp, whatever you call it, the game is still played by human beings, and not robots: "Nyah, nyah, my scouting report is better than your scouting report." I've never seen a scouting report binder sent out to the mound yet.
Why is he running so many pitchers out there for such a short time? Is Joe getting an appearance fee every time he steps foot out of the dugout? If you want to be judicious in your use of Rivera, I understand. The man is 40 years old. Pulling Chamberlain was a good move, you could see that he didn't have it and Swisher was going to need oxygen chasing down all those long drives before long. Why pull Hughes? Instead of having 6 tired guys out there tonight, why not have ONE guy you can't use? Joe's excuse for pulling Robertson was, "We felt the matchup with Aceves was better. What matchup? Aceves has NEVER faced Kendrick in his career. How do you know it was better. Robertson obviously was on his game. Leave it alone. Your best move is usually the one you don't make.
Then there was Joe's other big mistake. He pulled Matsui for a pinch runner in the 8th. We all know Matsui can't run, but he sure can hit. Boy, can he hit. He's A-Rod's protection. You remember A-Rod, don't you Joe? He's hotter than a two dollar pistol right now and you send him up there naked. When A-Rod came up in the ninth, ready for to go deep and give the Yanks the lead again, everyone in the park knew what was going to happen after you took Matsui out. Intentional walk and a flailing strikeout by Hairston. Somebody tie up Joe and gag him and maybe we can win one.
Does anyone else think it's time to sit Swisher and Cabrera and give Gardner , Heinske or Hairston a chance? I realize if you start Gardner, you won't be able to pinch-run for Matsui in 4th inning, but hell, we don't need his big bat in there.
This is the best Yankee team in 10 years, and if we don't win it all, I'm calling Uncle Vito in Utica and giving him Girardi's address.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Forget the Curse of the Babe… there’s a new curse in town: Joe Girardi is cursed to channel Joe Torre and prove again and again that if you run enough pitchers at a team you’ll finally find one they can hit. After firing four consecutive cannons at the Angels with Chamberlain, Hughes, Rivera, and Robertson, Torre… er, Girardi allowed Al Aceves to toss his 88 mph heater to a high average hitting Angels team that had been close to completely shut down for over 3 full games. You could actually see the curse kick in after Robertson got two quick outs. Girardi took a little hop as he bounced over to his scouting report binder, then, march to the mound to send Robertson to the bench as Jeter gazed on in disbelief. You could hear the deep sigh of relief coming from the Angels dugout as Aceves took the mound.
Picasner will fill us in on the rest. And it won’t be pretty.
Thumbs Up to NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez for taking responsibility for Sunday’s fiasco against the Bills. I’ll have equal respect for “Joe is Joe” when he admits to over-managing this sordid affair or allows Robertson a free shot at Girardi’s buzzed (inside and out, apparently) noggin.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Tex is giving a good impression of A-Rod during his years of futility in the post-season, but not one word from the media. Amazing how winning hides a lot of ills, isn't it?
***IT'S FUN TO PICK ON McCARVER***
After claiming that the ump was wrong to insist that the Angel shortstop actually step on the base to make an out (invoking the 'Neighborhood Rule'), he then stated that the argument that Aybar had been doing it all game and why call it now. Later, he stated that he was wrong (no kidding!), that his crew had painstakingly reviewed every double play and Aybar had stepped on 2nd EVERY time. Wrong again, Tim. There are two videos out there that clearly show Aybar missing the bag earlier in the game. It was just well hidden from the umpire. Tim McCarver meet Joe Morgan.
***THE VLAD GUERRERO PLAY***
I can't find anyone else who noticed Vlad running into the ball on his missed third strike play. I was sure some blogger with too much time on his hands would write about it. Wait, doesn't this sound like me? Never mind.
***YANKS GO UP 2-0***
Another walk-off win with Jerry Hairston getting the 'pie' this time. Even though he didn't get the big hit, which Burnett has celebrated with a face full of Cool-Whip, he certainly deserved it. If truth be told, there should have been 8 pies, one for each of the bullpen pitchers, because they're the ones who kept the Yanks in the game (along with A-Rod's blast). Speaking of the homer, if Abreu had been willing to get that close to the wall when he played for NY, he might still be wearing the pinstripes.
Again the Angels had trouble in the field and it seems to be catching, because the Yanks didn't do that well either. I was shocked to see Jerry Land call Cabrera safe at second on a double play try by the Angels. Apparently Aybar and the Angels learned that the "neighborhood" play doesn't mean just being in sight of 161st street in the Bronx. An infielder will swipe the bag on the throw and continue to 1st and maybe the timing isn't always right, but the umps let it go. Aybar wasn't even close to the bag and never actually touched it. Then the resident genius, Tim McCarver, had to comment that "...it was a shame the umpire had to get in the middle of a play in such an important series." Yeah, God forbid they should get one right. McCarver also had a comment on a missed third strike put out at first, saying that Guerrero might have been safe on the throw. Doesn't matter really, because if Laz Diaz had been alert, instead of going through his theatrical third strike call, he would have seen that the ball bounced up and hit Vlad while he was out of the batter's box. On a missed third strike, that's a live ball and Vlad is OUT. Laz' strike zone also changed in the later innings: balls low and outside suddenly became strikes. Maybe he was tired. Or maybe not. Leftcoastsportsbabe had a suggestion:
"Major League Baseball is excusing their postseason umpiring mistakes by saying that six umpires are on the disabled list. But the explanation isn’t clear – are those six working the games or not?"
Hopefully the Yanks will start hitting in the warm weather, because so far it's been pretty bad. During the season they hit .283 and averaged 5.6 runs per game. So far in the post season, they're hitting .252 and scoring 4.6 runs per game. Luckily the other teams are doing worse. I don't think they can count on the Angel's infield to throw anymore games their way.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
***DODGERS COME BACK TO WIN***
I don't know if the Dodgers won or the Phillies lost. Poor Chase Utley. That's two bad throws on double plays in two games, and neither one was close. I am amazed at Pedro Martinez. I was tempted to suggest that Charley Manuel go in for observation when I read that Pedro was starting game two. Glad I didn't; Vod already thinks I'm nuts. Even though they lost the 2nd game, the Phils are in good shape, having reclaimed the home field advantage. It will be interesting to see how the warm-weather Dodgers handle the cold and rain of the east coast. They will be playing again this month, won't they?
***THE ANGELS LOSE***
It's not fair to Sabathia, who pitched a beautiful game, but the Angels didn't play very well. Here's a 2nd case of another team that supposedly is well-schooled in the fundamentals, that failed to execute basic baseball against the Yanks. Is it possible that the pressure of playing the Bronx Bombers helps to create this nervousness? We'll see. A-Rod again found a way to get that crucial first run in with a sacrifice fly. I liked his aggressiveness running the bases, too. He was definitely out at home, but the Angels had to execute perfectly to do it and there were earlier indications that they might not.
Vod's "favorite" announcer, Tim McCarver, again showed his familiarity with the Yanks by explaining that the Yanks would bring in Gardner to play left in place of Damon in the ninth, even though Gardner has never played left. Oh, and Hunter was OUT at first, Tim.
From Janice Hough: "You can't spell Los Angeles Angels without at least three E's."
Friday, October 16, 2009
"Mysterious pitch selection also didn't help Hamels' efforts. After retiring Manny Ramirez in both of his first two plate appearances almost entirely on fastballs (12 of 15 pitches Manny saw in his first two ABs were fastballs), Hamels surprisingly altered his game plan for Manny's third at-bat. Hamels threw him three consecutive changeups, the third of which landed in the left-center bleachers."
So you can't keep throwing the same pitch and you can't change your pitch selection. What's left? Hit the batter? Wild pitches? Keep throwing to first until you pick someone off? Come on, Buster, who do you think you are? Joe Morgan?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Yes, you heard right. There is this rumor going around that the Sox might put him on the block. Not because of his playoff blowup, but because he seems to have developed an "attitude" and 2010 is his last year before free agency. Well, that "attitude" is what helps make him the shut-down closer that he is, so the Sox should just deal with it. It's not like there are a bunch of closers to choose from out there, like so many ripe bananas on a tree.
***...AND THEY HAVE OTHER ISSUES, TOO***
I assume everyone noticed that Matsuzaka and Varitek never showed up in the Red Sox lineup in the Series. In spite of Boston's denials, the Japanese newspapers are claiming that there is still a disagreement on the workout programs that the Sox want Dice-Kay to follow, as opposed to the Japanese style. This one ain't over yet, boys and girls.
Jason Varitek is toast. He isn't going to be offered a contract for next year, at least a playing contract. I don't think there will be any other suitors lining up to sign a 38-year old catcher who can't throw or catch and has proven to be equally inept from both sides of the plate.
***IT ISN'T JUST BRET FAVRE***
After a poor performance in the playoffs against the Angels, Billy Wagner announced that he will NOT seek a job as a closer next year. The next day, his agent reported that Wagner will NOT retire and plans to pitch next year. So, who do we believe? By way of helping you to decide, Wagner's agent is named...Bean Stringfellow! I'll bet you think I made that up. Nope, that's his name. I wonder how long it takes him to convince a receptionist to put his call through to a General Manager? "I beg your pardon?" "No, really, that's my name."
***REMEMBER THIS GUY?***
Bobby Valentine, former Rangers and Mets manager, is back from a 6-year stint of managing in Japan. There are some teams interested in him, especially the Florida Marlins. You remember Bobby. He got thrown out of a game once when managing the Mets. Did this stop him? Oh, no. He went into the clubhouse, donned a fake mustache and dark glasses and huddled in a corner of the dugout for the rest of the game. If he takes the Marlins job, I hope he still has the mustache & glasses.
As my two-year old granddaughter, Sarah, says, "GO 'ANKEES!"
Monday, October 12, 2009
It wasn't as easy as it looked on paper and could have been much harder if the Twins hadn't made so many blunders, but the Yanks will move to the second round...after a 5-day rest. WHY? This could not look any sillier. There is only one reason they're doing this: TV MONEY. There could be as many as two games left to play in the NL Division series. Why not play them on Monday & Tuesday and start the championship series on Thursday? The Yanks & Angels should start on Wednesday. No matter how many games it takes, TV has it's schedule and no one is going to change it. They way it looks now, we could see three games being played in November. NOVEMBER! Give me a break. I wonder how Jeter will look playing in a woolen overcoat and ear muffs. If Skip Carey does the broadcasts, I know I'll be wearing earmuffs.
Another odd play with Swisher involved. How many times do you see a guy single into a forceout? Nick has some very weird ghosts standing next to him out there.
***THE RED SOX ARE DONE***
No hitting and no bullpen will do you in every time. The team Jayson Stark rated as having the strongest bullpen in the playoffs, finished as the seventh-best, ahead of only the Twins. Jonathon "Paple-done," as the NY Post calls him, showed that he has a long way to go to catch up to Mariano Rivera as the best reliever, after claiming last year that HE was the best. The "Curse of the Babe" is back.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
A-Rod, A-Rod and Tex. In a performance reminiscent of Mantle & Maris, the #3 & #4 hitters in the Yanks current Murderer's Row, produced as well as Steinbrenner's money could have hoped. Teixeira's homer was clocked (who thinks up these things?) at 110 MPH off the bat and landed in left field in 2.88 seconds, making it (according to these"experts") the fastest home run in the majors this year. Wonderful! Still only worth one run, though. The Twins did manage to light up the Yanks vaunted bullpen and had the game in hand until Mr. Alex Huds...er, Rodriguez sent one to the Yankee bullpen. As one ESPN reporter put it, "Two out RBI's will get you to heaven." The Twins, whose reputation is that their minors leaguers are 'programmed' in baseball fundamentals like no other program, continue to self-destruct in Yankee Stadium. Joe Nathan, normally lights out, suffered from Joe Torre-itis: overuse and burned out. And of course, another weird play: a man tagged out at second before a runner scores, negating the run. Who, again, was a part of that? Why, Nick Swisher, of course. The man is a highlight reel by himself.
Have you ever seen such a bad job by the umpires? Phil Cuzzi, calls a ball foul that was clearly fair. How could he miss that? If he was any closer, the ball would have hit him in the back of the head. At least Tim Tschida, a stand-up guy, made himself available for a press conference, and admitted the error. In one of the worst performances behind the plate, Chuck Meriwether had a strike zone that defied explanation. Hopefully making his last appearance in the playoffs, He squeezed the zone in the lower half and opened it up in the upper half, a sort of upside down triangle. His next assignment should be counting foul balls from the left field stands.
Only one entry here: Manny Ramirez' hair. Is that a hair style or is he wearing a mop under his hat? I'm glad Torre runs such a nice tight ship.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
You gotta love a team that won't quit and when you get two of them, well, it can get exciting. Actually, both teams had chances to win it but neither team could get that one big hit. Jim Leyland brought up the missed call on the hit batsman, and it's human nature to want to blame ourtside circumstances when you lose, but It wasn't the only shot they had at winning. Some people are wondering why Umpire Marsh claims he "...didn't see the replay," but if you read his statement carefully, that's NOT what he said. He said, "I didn't see a replay that showed him getting hit with the pitch." The more replays I saw, the less sure I was that it hit him. Oswego High alumni should remember Hotter Schaeffer, who used to billow out his jersey till you were sure he was pregnant. Sure worked for him.
***YANKS WIN THE FIRST ONE***
The Twins looked pretty good till about the 4th inning, when I thought they slowed down considerably. I know they probably got very little sleep but all that partying and champagne couldn't have helped either. Let's hope the Yanks got rid of two demons last night: A-Rod's and Sabathia's.
Picasner has always felt that the MVP should come from a WINNING team. For that reason, he favored Jeter or Teixeira or Youklis instead of Mauer for most of September. But now that the Twins made it, it belongs to Mauer. Last night's game illustrated Picasner's point exactly: Take away Mauer last night and the Twins would los...wait, they already lost. Where's the Value in that. Jeter (or A-Rod) was the MVP of last night's game. Well, let's stop beating this dead horse.
By the way, Hannah is back. Hooray!
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
AL EAST-------YANKS---------- YANKS--------------YANKS
WILD CARD----BOSTON---------TAMPA BAY---------BOSTON
Pretty close, actually. If you just count teams that made the playoffs, Picasner was 6 of 8, and Matthews was 5 of 8. Picasner's worst pick was Cleveland, who self-destructed almost from the opening day, while Matthews blew it on the Mets, who waited until June to collapse.
Matthews picks the Yanks to go all the way and obviously, Picasner agrees. Matthews has yet to pick the NL team, but Picasner favors the Cardinals.
Sports writers seem to be in agreement that Tiger manager Jim Leyland mishandled his pitchers completely in last night's game, but Gardenhire also "over managed" in the game. Of course, in a sudden death situation, no manager will wait for a pitcher to work his way out of a jam. Jim Kaat always said "The more times you change pitchers, the greater the odds that you'll run into the guy having a bad day." Picasner's take: "Dance with who brung ya'"
***LEFT COAST SPORTS BABE***
One problem with Major League Baseball playoffs, most kids, especially on the east coast, can’t stay up late on weeknights for the usually ridiculously late games. Now, this years’ division series’ will feature exactly ONE game on Saturday – the Philadelphia Phillies at the Colorado Rockies. And for all those junior Phillies fans…the start time – 937 pm eastern. I can hear it now “Mommy, can I stay up and watch the national anthem?”
It never stops and won't as long as the networks throw big money at MLB. A long time ago, there would be two games on at once on different channels, allowing you to pick the game you wanted. In the words of Inspector Clousseau, "Not any more." The networks now pick for you and their choice today: ALL THREE GAMES. Starting at 2:30 am Eastern and ending, oh, about 1:00 am eastern. We're looking at about 11 hours of baseball. Better buy an extra bag of chips.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
***GREG COTE, MIAMI HERALD***
"Michael Jordan is building a 37,942 sq-ft home in Palm Beach. We cannot confirm that LeBron James coincidentally plans to build a 37,943 sq-ft home."
***DWIGHT PERRY, SEATTLE TIMES***
"Forbes magazine reports that Tiger Woods is the first athlete to reach $1 billion in total earnings. 'That's what you call hitting the green.'"
***BEAR WITH ME ON THIS ONE***
"Peter King of Sports Illustrated, relates the story of the Cowboys' Barry Switzer, Jerry Jones and Larry Lacewell once shared the same lawyer, one Larry Derryberry. They once dined together - Barry, Jerry, Larry and Larry Derryberry."
(The Bimb loved that one.)
***LEFT COAST SPORTS BABE***
James Carville said Glenn Beck was “out-and-out-nuts” and a “blatant hypocrite” for claiming to be pro-American but still celebrating Obama’s “failure” to bring the Olympics to the U.S.
Carville added “Beck wouldn’t know the difference between a football, a bat and a hockey court.”
To which Glenn Beck alllegedly responded. “Right, like Carville’s ever sat through all nine innings of a hockey game in his life.
***IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY***
"Reclassification", as in a demotion from 'super-mega-richboy upper-class' to merely 'richboy upper-class'?
The New York Yankees are reclassifying more than a quarter of their ritzy Legends Suite seats next season and slashing prices on many of the remaining tickets by up to $1,250.
A total of 538 seats along the foul lines will be called the Champions Suite and will no longer have access to the duplex restaurant behind home plate, according to the team's 2010 premium seat plan.
Those seats cost $500 to $1,000 this year as part of full season tickets but will sell for $300 to $500 next year. They will still have waiter service and access to lounges down each foul line with free food to take to the seats and soft drinks.
I'm still saving my money. Now I'll be able to affford a game in 2015.
***OZZIE, PLEASE RECONSIDER***
There is a report that Ozzie Guillen was offered the chance to be a baseball analyst for the postseason, but turned it down. Too bad! He might have been right, he might have been wrong, but he sure would have been entertaining. I would have actually listened to the broadcasts instead of ignoring the dolts TBS will put on.