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?