Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Bud Selig says the Pirates "are not putting profits over winning." Don't tell me they're not making a profit, either.
Scouts are saying that the Angels can run wild against the Sox' catchers and that the Angel hitters can't hit good fastballs, which the Red Sox pitchers are noted for. Well, this ought to be interesting. One scout says the Sox' pitchers have to try different things to slow down base runners, such as throwing over to 1st more, holding the ball a little longer, using the slide step, etc. He also says he advocated the Roy Halladay approach. What's that? "You can run on Halladay but no one ever does, because he doesn't allow base runners." Good plan.
Two teams who are feeling the pressure: The Phillies and the Rockies. Oh yeah: "METS FEVER. CATCH IT!" The Atlanta Braves are pushing both teams. 4 behind the Phils for the division and 2 behind Colorado for the wild-card.
The cubs are planning no major roster changes over the winter. Apparently second place is very comfortable.
Nomar Garciaparra says he has given no thought as to whether or not he'll play next year. I wonder if he's given any thought to playing this year?
The Yankees, who played without 4 starters and used their #5 starter, beat the Royals 8-2. So naturally, some wise-ass reporter has to ask the KC manager how he liked getting beat by the Yanks "second team?" Why ask a manager a question like that, especially a nice guy like Trey Hillman? What's he supposed to say? "They looked like the first team to us."
The Tigers and the Twins go at it twice today with the AL Central up for grabs. The Tigers plan to start Porcello, their rookie phenom, in the 1st game, and their ace, Justin Verlander, in the 2nd game. It's just my opinion, but why put all that pressure on the rookie? I'd start Verlander in the first game. Win and it doesn't matter what Porcello does.Lose, and you're in a similar situation if he pitched the 1st game. I forgot; the Tigers have one of the two AL resident geniuses as the manager: Jim Leyland.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Last week, Stark rated the pitching staffs of all the contenders. Boston was rated 1st, Yanks 5th. Admittedly, Stark is a Yankee-hater, so that certainly plays a part. Jason has also been known to advocate the front-runners: win three in a row and you're the best team in baseball.

Phillips is the "I knew it all along" king: "I predicted this back in 2001, when I was GM of the Mets." He manages to get that statement into every broadcast. Morgan likes to dispute the obvious as though he were the only one smart enough to see the "real" deal. Both, of course, are always wrong.

His incorrect evaluations have been documented many times in this blog.

From a recent column by Los Angeles' Jon Weisman on National Baseball Writers:

Too often, however, their opinions are based on factual errors that, while not intentional, clearly reflect a lack of familiarity with the team. And as much as it happens when people write about the Dodgers -- just today, I saw someone I respect write about Hong-Chih Kuo's ability to pitch multiple innings, when he hasn't done so once this season -- it's logical to assume that it happens with every other team.
It's no easy task tracking 30 major league teams, so I understand the challenge -- although they'll get no sympathy from me as I watch from 10 feet away as Michael Schneider operates as Variety's only full-time TV reporter (the only one who isn't juggling editing duties). Things are tough all over.
While degree of difficulty might put you in a forgiving mood, it doesn't change the fact that these national baseball writers have become inherently unreliable. It's hard enough finding scribes whose logic and style are top-notch, but when they don't have the facts in place to begin with, readers are really left in a position where they can't trust assessments of other teams from afar. (And don't get me started on network radio and TV announcers.)
National baseball writers today carry influence beyond their worth. I don't mean this in an unkind way, but they can't be trusted. If a writer clearly isn't up to speed on the Dodgers, why would one expect that writer to be up on any other squad?
If you really want to know the scoop on opposing teams, I'm not sure there are any shortcuts. You have to seek out the local writers -- whether they're newspaper beat writers or bloggers -- with the best understanding of each franchise and stick with them.

Team beat writers opinions are usually biased, so you have to take their opinions with a grain of salt, too. But they will know the current status of the players and who's playing well and who's not. Then you wouldn't make the Joe Morgan mistake of insisting a guy play when he has a neck problem and can't turn his head.

The solution: watch the games, enjoy the competition and ignore these so-called experts...except Picasner, of course.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


***YANKS 4, BOSTON 2***
An interesting game, even though I thought at first that I had turned on the movie, "Dumber and Dumber," but it turned out to be just Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips. Good pitching and good fielding by both teams, but the Yanks were able to get the big hit. Why is it that whenever some rare circumstance occurs, Nick Swisher is in the middle of it. He was called out for leaving 2nd too soon on a fly ball. Replays showed that the call was wrong (big surprise), but not to Joe Morgan. Oh no, he says Swisher's heel came off the bag "just a little bit," and the umpire saw it. On Baseball Tonight, after the game, John Kruk said from the angle he had, there is no way the umpire could see both the catch and Swisher at the same time. Ha! Joe Morgan could see everything; even from 300 feet away. If he's in the booth for the playoffs, maybe they'll turn his microphone off.
Then there was the argument that Posada and Damon should be playing. Posada's hurt and Damon has leg problems. Doesn't stop Joe Morgan, Mr. "I'm Always Right". Okay, I'm done now.
The best part of having the best record is getting to choose the format for the 1st series. They Yanks will have one hour after the opponent is known to pick a one-day off series or a two-day off. If the Detroit-Minnesota race goes the distance, a one-day off format will probably help the Yanks the most since the other team will have to use their best pitchers to try to get into the playoffs, while the Yankee staff will be rested and ready.

For the first time ever in his career, including Japan, Ichiro was ejected from a game for arguing balls and strikes. Here's a guy who is a perennial batting leader, who rarely strikes out and knows the strike zone as well as any player in the game, and he argued a call. We didn't see the pitch, but who would you guess is right? Of course if you draw a line in the dirt to show where the pitch was, as Ichiro did, you're going to get booted for "showing up the umpire." This has got to stop. Former umpire Babe Pinelli, once said, "When you put on the blue suit, abuse is part of what you're paid for. I do everything I can to keep a player in the game, especially the stars, 'cause that's who the fans come to see." Obviously, a currently disregarded principle.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Actually, I think not. If the Yanks could steal 7 bases in one game against Varitek, what will the Angels do?
***YANKS 9, RED SOX 5***
A few random thoughts:
**A-Rod does seem a little more relaxed this year. There is a lot of conjecture as to why, but I'll just take the hits, especially that home run.
**Perhaps Matsui deserves more than just a little credit for getting A-Rod some good pitches to hit. I am continually amazed at how well he handles lefties.
**Varitek looks like it's all over for him. Not only did the Yanks run wild, but he did not catch pitches cleanly all night. Neither did Posada, but not nearly as bad as Varitek.
**I don't think using Martinez as the catcher will help too much. He gave a great imitation of Jason Giambi trying to throw A-Rod out on a pickoff play.
**Speaking of which, I'm not sure how the scorer can award A-Rod a stolen base on a called balk. Once the balk is committed (and of course, called), the play is dead. Seems like home town scoring to me.
**Matsui missed a great chance when he got hung up between 3rd and home. There's Varitek standing ON the base line as Matsui ran by him. Veer over and run into him and it's obstruction all the way and Matsui would be allowed to score. Oh, well.
**Damon hasn't been hitting and messed up another play in the field last night. Do you think he might have sealed his fate for next year?
**If the Yanks win today, I don't think we'll recognize either team on Sunday with all the 'scrubs' that will be playing.

Well, it usually is this time of year, however... Picasner & wife attended a game in Milwaukee in the beginning of the month and the stadium was over 98% full. The next night in Minneapolis, we were among 19,000 fans (40% capacity) who watched the Twins beat the White Sox. The Twins were still in the race, the Brewers, not really but you couldn't tell by the attendance.

By the way, do Brewer fans like to party? In just the parking lot we were in (and there are two that are bigger), I estimated about 5000 fans with no tickets, tailgating. Radios, coolers, deck chairs, elaborate gas grills and balls of all kinds, well, I wondered if actually going into the game was the right choice. It looked like a lot more fun out there. They even gave prizes to the tailgaters that they showed on the stadium screen.

We bypassed going to a Pirate game on the way home and we shouldn't have. With just 3000 fans actually in the stadium the other night, we may have missed a chance to watch the game from the Pirate dugout. Oh, well.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Of course it would help if I had any idea what's been going on the last two weeks. ESPN seemed to focus of football (college & pro), tennis and golf, just giving us the baseball scores. The papers didn't help, either. The west coast papers focused on college football, the mountain states papers were full of hunting and fishing and as for the Canadian papers...well, I don't speak Canadian. I did notice a couple of things yesterday, though.

What is it about the Sox' pitchers that make sportswriters feel that they are unbeatable? They started out the season marveling at the depth and quality of the Red Sox pitchers and how did that work out? Smoltz and Penny were both worth a penny, Wakefield needs a back brace, Bucholtz pitches like he's afraid of the hitters, Paplebon has been inconsistent, Matsuzaki spent the summer on the DL and the rest of the bullpen has been bringing a can of gasoline to mound. Now we're heading into the post season, and all of a sudden they've become a Hall-of-Fame staff again. As for the Yankee staff, all you read is they spent $480 million dollars. Going into this weekend, everything is pretty much settled, but the Sox COULD end up with the division title and Texas COULD be the wild card entry, but both scenarios are very unlikely. We'll see which staff rises to the occasion this weekend.

He watched Zack Greinke shut down the Red Sox this week and he "wasn't impressed." He claimed the Greinke "...wasn't overpowering and didn't have good command." Sure, six innings, two hits, five strikeouts and no one beyond 2nd base. Did he do that with mirrors, Jim? He said that Greinke reminded him of Roger Moret. Who? Were they both right-handed? Did they have the same hair color? Maybe you could hit Moret, Jim, but you wouldn't do so well against Greinke. Roger Moret! Give me a break.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I see Marty Foster is making up his own rules, again. He "couldn't let him (A-Rod) argue with him all day." Well, we all know the umps won't let you argue balls and strikes, but, according to the report I read, A-Rod said something about the continuing conversations Foster had with the Oriole catcher. Get caught doing something embarassing, Marty?

What are the Yanks going to do with Matsui? He's going to be very close to 30 homers and 100 RBIs with a swing made for Yankee Stadium. He can't play in the field anymore and if the Yanks are smart, they won't let Posada catch regularly next year, either. It's going to be an interesting winter.

Saw two moose in Teton National Park today. One facing me, the other had his back turned. The one facing me had HUGE antlers. I couldn't see the head of the other. From my vantage point, he resembled Marty Foster slightly.

Bye from Wyoming,

Saturday, September 12, 2009


We finally got into a motel with computer access for the guests. We haven't been able to see any of the games, which is a good thing since VOD has lost two straight.

To hear the guys on ESPN rave on and on about Jeter, I was beginning to think he plays shortstop in sandals.I'm not sure why they make such a big deal over a TEAM record. It's not there hasn't been dozens of guys with 2700+ hits. Oh well, it makes the Bimb happy.

Speaking of which, she insists on announcing speed limit changes, approaching route junctions, approaching towns, as though Stevie Wonder was driving and not me. I started out with a navigator and have ended up with a nag-a-gator. Only one day of rain so far, and it's 90 degrees here now.

All is well. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009




We're actually in Creswell, Oregon. Can't see any games out here because they only show Minor League games: Dodgers, Padres, Mariners, etc. ESPN doesn't spend much time on the Yanks since it's no fun showing slaughters.

As predicted here before the season started, they couldn't handle the pressure of repeating. Actually, I felt they just happened to have one of those years when everything went their way. Yes, they do have some talent, but not enough to stand up to the Red Sox or the Yanks.

We visited some friends in Portland yesterday. The lady is a transplanted Bostonian and lives and breathes Red Sox. Moo & her husband Jeff, are deep in mourning over the Sox' disappointing season. They are confident that they'll make the playoffs, but Picasner thinks it's one and out. Sorry, Moo!

You never know what he's going to do with any ball hit in his direction, but I like his plate discipline. As Michael Kay likes to point out, he must lead the league in full counts.

The good news is Mariano looks okay. The bad news is that Ian Kennedy seems ready to pitch again. What is wrong with Jeter? This is a big slump for him. Even Moo, the Red Sox fan, is worried about him.

For the record, I am not even allowed OUTGOING calls on the cell phone. Send up the flares.
Picasner out.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


For those sorely missing Picasner, today our boy should be waking up in Portland, Oregon with his cell phone turned off. While Annie lets him carry it everywhere, she only allows him to turn it on for for emergencies; outgoing only?

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Imagine my surprise; no one is minding the store. Here we are in Port Angeles, Washington, 3200 miles away and I have to hold down the fort.

We were only able to see one game that was broadcast on the Blue Jays network. Two clowns who obviously didn't do their homework. When Girardi took Chamberlain out after 3 innings, as planned, these guys speculated for two innings what injury Joba had. I almost made a long distance call to ease their feeble minds. They raved on and on what asuper great pitcher Halladay is and how he ALWAYS makes the Yankees look silly. ...ALWAYS. Gues they forgot the two pastings the Yanks gave Halladay the last 2 times out.

Posada still looks like everybody throws too fast for him to get in front of anything. When you miss a pitch that hits the umpire in the arm, it's a strong clue that you've lost it. Someone has to work on that ball-strike count thing with him, too. 3strikes and you're out, four balls and you walk, Jorge.

We're off again tomorrow for Portland, Oregon, and points east. Go Yanks!