Sunday, May 30, 2010
I haven't seen a beat-down like that since the Israeli-Arab Six-Day War. Let's hope Burnett pitches a complete game today, because if Girardi goes out to the mound and looks down at the bullpen, all he's going to see is 6 white flags and a "CLOSED" sign. It all looked so promising: an easy 8-2 win Friday, a comfortable 9-3 lead and then...it all went away. Plus, we may have lost another player: Dave Robertson threw 3 pitches and winced. Then the rest of the bullpen threw pitches and WE winced. For a while, it looked like the Yanks best chance at getting an out was to hope a Cleveland runner missed 2nd base when rounding the bag. And there were certainly many opportunities for that to happen. Annie-O and I even went to church in the middle of the game -- didn't help. Today will be a '6-pack and rosary bead' game.
***YOU CAN ONLY HAVE SO MUCH FUN***
My mom used to say, "Keep fooling around and somebody's going to get hurt." Too bad Kendry Morales wasn't around to hear that. What's better than a walk-off, grand slam homerun? Getting past home plate and into the dugout without getting hurt. LA Angels Morales broke his leg celebrating his 10th inning homer yesterday. I think this will put a damper on future walk-off parties at home plate. At least nobody got hurt with Burnett's whipped-cream pie-in-the-face celebration.
***ALMOST A CATASTROPHE***
The Indians David Huff got hit in the temple by a line drive off the bat of A-Rod yesterday. The ball caromed into right field allowing A-Rod to get to 2nd in a very scary moment. Luckily, Huff seems okay after a short stay in the hospital. Annie-O came up with a good suggestion: make it mandatory for pitchers to wear helmets while on the mound. It's already mandatory for base runners and coaches, so this rule can't be too far behind.
***A FEAT NOT TOO SURPRISING***
Roy Halladay threw a perfect game at the Florida Marlins. Everyone knew he'd probably have a great season, but this was certainly special. He's on a pace for 24 wins and a probable Cy Young Award, so why not this? Just to frighten the rest of the NL, Halladay's got time to do this again!
Friday, May 28, 2010
The Yanks lost with Vasquez reverting to old habits. He simply couldn't put anyone away. After getting two strikes, he would try to finesse the plate, ending up with a full count. Forced to throw a strike, often with nothing on it, the Twins would tee off. He should take a page from Pettitte's book: pound that strike zone. A-Rod continues to look helpless at the plate, taking strikes and swinging at pitches outside the zone. If he's guessing, and I think he is, he sure is guessing wrong. To quote Crash Davis from "Bull Durham," "Quit thinking. It can only hurt the ballclub."
***THIS WILL BE A BIG HELP***
MLB has announced that they are "investigating" the Joe West-White Sox incident. Why waste your time? Do you actually think anything will come of this? You know, other than Ozzie Guillen & Mark Buehrle being suspended? The NHL is upset because umpires Bob Davidson & Joe West had more fights than they did this week. These confrontations aren't new. Here are some of the best:
Then there was this little incident between Casey Blake of the Dodgers and umpire John Hirshbeck. After getting on first, Blake complained to Hirshbeck that Cubs pitcher Ted Lily was pitching from 4-6 inches IN FRONT of the pitching rubber. In the video, Hirshbeck seems more concerned with Blake than Lily, pointing his finger and arguing with Blake and not even paying attention to Lily. Blake kept telling him to just look at Lily. Nope! After the game, Hirshbeck said he couldn't tell if Lily was on the rubber, because he "couldn't leave his position to check."
Yeah, I had to read that quote twice, too. This was so serious, that Joe Torre awoke from his nap and actually strolled out to see what was going on, first stopping to talk to Blake to find out what he was supposed to "argue" about. Ted Lily even said after the game that "I might have been a couple of inches ahead of the rubber, I just wasn't paying attention." Apparently, neither were the umpires.
***HERE HE COMES TO SAVE THE DAY***
Jose Canseco says he's going to testify in support of Roger Clemens before the federal grand jury investigating charges of perjury against Clemens. That ought to help. It's like getting marital advice from Tiger Woods.
***HE COULD BE RIGHT***
Columnist Norman Chad says that LeBron James should sign with West Ham of the Premiere Soccer League. "Granted, he's never played soccer but, then again, David Beckham's a big deal and I don't think he ever plays soccer, either."
***MANAGER WATCH UPDATE***
Ken Macha, Brewers -- Still working
Dave Trembly, Orioles -- Still working
Jerry Manuel, Mets -- Still working
Ozzie Guillen, White Sox -- Still talking
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Well, not officially, since the lords of baseball will NEVER miss a chance to sell the same seat twice in one day. More on this policy later. Minnesota continues to be snake-bit when it comes to playing the Yankees. Of course, it's hard to win when you only score two runs in two games. Jeter is starting to play like Jeter again: hitting in the clutch and making a game-saving defensive play. He needs to since Teixeira & A-Rod continue their season long funk at the plate. Somehow, they both have numbers that look decent (Tex has 30 RBIs & A-Rod is hitting .290), but I have no confidence in either when they're at the plate. Pettitte continues to amaze at age 37 and Swisher always seems to get a big hit just when you begin to wonder why he's playing. A big test for Vasquez tonight as the Yanks try to stay ahead of a red-hot Red Sox team.
***OH NO, JOE, NOT AGAIN***
Umpire (& I use the term loosely) Joe West is at it again. He called TWO balks on Mark Buehrle resulting in West's favorite activity - throwing guys out of the game. Way to go, Joe, you certainly don't want baseball interfering with your umpiring. After being tossed by West, Ozzie Guillen was not happy and not quiet:
"Joe has been like that for a lot of years, and he's always going to be like this," Guillen said, dropping several expletives throughout a rant that's certain to get a look from Major League Baseball. "I'm not going to change it, nobody is going to change it, but sometimes he thinks people pay to watch him umpire." Ozzie has been through this enough times to see what's coming: "Ill just wait for my fine." Mark Buehrle had a few words, too.
"I think he's too worried about promoting his CD [West is a country music singer and songwriter with his own website] and I think he likes seeing his name in the papers a little bit too much instead of worrying about the rules." You're probably going to lose a few dollars, too, Mark. Do you think baseball is ever going to wake up and can this clown? Probably not.
***SOSA RUNS FREE***
The House Committee on PED's in baseball will NOT be investigating Sammy Sosa for perjury after his 'testimony' before the committee. When asked to comment, Sosa replied, "I am extremely happy and feel justified that the Committee has chosen not to pursue this outlandish...what? Oh yeah. Sorry, no speaka English."
***...BUT WE NEED THE MONEY***
It is well known that the Yanks charge extremely high prices for tickets, but they haven't tried this trick...yet. The Los Angeles Dodgers are suing Jon Lovitz for non-payment of season tickets to their games. The Dodgers have already RESOLD those tickets, so why sue Lovitz? If they win their suit, it means, you got it, selling the same seats twice. If Lovitz loses and has to pay, could he then claim the seats he just paid for? Don't be silly, that would be a hardship on poor Mr McCourt, who happens to be going through a difficult divorce and needs that extra cash.
***FROM DWIGHT PERRY***
"Yogi Berra will be honored with a $125,000 statue outside his museum in Little Falls, N.J., depicting the Yankees Hall of Famer on one knee in the on-deck circle, holding two bats and gazing skyward."
"In keeping with Yogi tradition, the statue will be 90 percent half metal."
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
***IS KEN KAISER BACK?***
No, he isn't, but he's not needed as long as we have Bob, Don't-You-Question-Me, Davidson. Bob racked up two Rays last night, Carl Crawford & Joe Maddon, for arguing balls & strikes. You can only say so much to these 'sensitive' guys, so it's no surprise they both had a short night. Davidson provoked it by gettting right up in Crawfords face, ala Earl Weaver. Crew chief Tim Tschida saw it the other way, of course.
I mentioned a couple a rifts the other day, but these were mild compared to some of the more famous battles in the past. Follow the link and see Jason Turbow's 11 top confrontations. He only has Billy Martin listed three times and 11 wouldn't even cover Billy's career, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
***HE'S NOT IN IT FOR HIS SPEED, BUT...***
The Tampa Bay Rays are a little upset about David Ortiz's tortuous home run trot. John Maddon tried to make light of it, saying, "Yeah, he's lost some speed," but some of the other Rays weren't so forgiving. According to wezen-ball.com, Big Papi's "run" took 30.59 seconds on their 'Tater Trot Tracker,' tops in the league so far. I don't believe this: Tater Trot Tracker. They actually keep track of how fast people run out home runs? Somebody needs to get a life. ...and me too!
***HOW STATISTICS LIE***
Picasner (and, I suppose, Girardi) have been complaining that the Yanks are not hitting with men on base, but other teams are having their share of troubles, too. For all my complaints, the Yanks actually lead the Majors in runs/game at 5.6. That figures out to over 900 runs for the season. The Seattle Mariner's average (3.5) projects to 567 runs (sorry Dwight). Not that it helps the Mariners at all, but they aren't the lowest...not even close. The Houston Astro's are pounding home plate at a whopping 2.95 runs per game, or 478 runs for the season. No wonder Roy Oswalt wants out.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
***STEVE PHILLIPS, REMEMBER HIM?***
I had hoped that he had faded into obscurity,while being treated for sex addiction. Apparently, one of the symptoms is a lack of blood flow to the brain, since he still isn't making much sense. In a phone call to Mike Francesa, of WFAN, recently, Phillips said, "If I were running the Washington Nationals, I'd trade Steven Strasburg for Ray Oswalt straight up, right now." National fans everywhere issued a sigh of relief. If you had a team vying for a title in July, you might trade a 'prospect' for Oswalt to get you over the hump. But when you're an expansion team, starting to put it together, why would you trade MLB's absolute best pitching prospect for a 33-year old pitcher with 1800+ innings logged on his arm. And Phillips STILL doesn't know why he's not the Mets GM anymore. It's pretty obvious which body organ came up with this idea.
***OH, THOSE BATTLING METS***
This wasn't a compliment. Recently, pitcher John Maine and manager Jerry Manuel had a heated exchange in the dugout. Now, reliever Francisco Rodriquez and Mets bullpen coach, Randy Niemann, had to be separated in the Mets bullpen, over a dispute about how he's being used. What's the bullpen coach got to do with it? Doesn't he just answer the phone and hand the pitchers a baseball? Did Niemann ask him to lock up the bullpen after the game? That's not what "closer" means, Randy.
***I WAS REALLY WORRIED***
The Texas Rangers filed for chapter 11, recently, but have no fear, Yankee fans. Word is that Alex Rodriquez WILL get the $25 million in salary still owed him from the 2004 deal with the Yanks. Phew! That's a relief. I know that's not even a years salary for A-Rod, but still, those actresses he's dating are used to first class. None of those cubic zirconia earrings for Cameron Diaz.
***ALL QUIET ON THE MANAGERIAL FRONT***
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown has been terminated, but baseball's three top candidates for unemployment are still around: Ken Macha, Milwaukee, Dave Trembly, Baltimore, and the perennial Jerry Manuel, The Mets. Ozzie Guillen is a sometimes candidate but his secondary job of White Sox buffoon certainly helps keep him employed.
***INTERESTING LITTLE TIDBIT***
Dwight Perry, Seattle Times, points out that as of this morning, the Toronto Blue Jays, in 3rd place in the AL East, 6 games out, would either be leading or within ONE game of first in all 5 other divisions.
To paraphrase Satchel Paige, "Don't look back, Yanks they ARE gaining on you."
I'm going to eat breakfast now. Annie-O says she has some special cajun dish for me.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Losses to the Mets are even more painful than losses to the Red Sox. At least you expect the Sox to have a good team (or used to, anyways). The pitching staff looks like they're trying to throw shutouts because they don't trust the offense to hit when it's needed. ...and they're right. Last night, A-Rod had 2 hits, Cano had 2 hits, Swisher had 3 hits & Cervelli had 2 hits. That's 9 hits from the 4, 5, 6 & 7 hitters and the the Yanks scored only 3 runs and, in the words of Bob Eucker, stranded a small village on the bases.
Tonight's game is on ESPN, so I'll be getting the 'Joe Morgan Earplugs' out.
***EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES, SOME PAY FOR THEM***
Buck Showalter is considered to be a very smart baseball man. Ever wonder why the Yanks fired him & hired Joe Torre, a move everybody laughed at? Well, this might give you some idea. Phil Rizzuto was not the brightest bulb in the marquee, but he knew a little something about playing shortstop. During the 1995 September call-ups, he suggested to Showalter that Derek Jeter ought to be the full-time shortstop. Showalter told him to "mind your own [bleeping] business." That winter, it was bye-bye, Buck. Rizzuto was still in the booth.
***I SAID I WAS DONE***
Responding to suggestions that he was going to play again, Kurt Warner said, "I said I was retired, and I am. It is a final decision." To which Brett Farve said, "Big deal. I've made that one 3 times, already."
***WHEN MEN WERE MEN AND BATTERS WERE NERVOUS***
From Dwight Perry's Sideline Chatter column:
Former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Bob Gibson, was not always nice on the mound.
"Hard-nosed Hall of Famer Bob Gibson threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Friday night's Cardinals game. ....Bet it was high and tight."
I would have used more from his latest column, but I was afraid he'd ask for money.
Short posting today. Annie-O is cooking one of her rare meals and I'm on fire watch. Don't laugh; her best dish is Blackened Corn Flakes.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Play the hapless Mets 162 times.
Both pitchers benefited facing moribund batting orders and a strike zone that was five feet high and four feet wide. Any pitch that caught part of the plate was a "mistake".
LT and I saw Strassberg Wednesday and he totally overmatched a light hitting Red Wings team. Believe this - we actually saw a batter start his swing before the ball left the pitchers hand. Big time saver, though. When a guy is throwing fast balls consistently in the mid to upper 90's, backed up by an upper-80's curve and an 80 mph change up, and commands all three pitches - mail in your 3 strikes and get ready to play the next half inning.
Rumor has it that Yankee games will be broadcast on the Cartoon Network until they acquire a major league outfield.
Did you catch the matching outfits that Joe Buck and Tim "The Cougar" McCarver were sporting on their pre-game interview?McCarver really should date people his own age.
In the great Steinbrenner "Buy a Winner" tradition, A-Rod is covering the Astro's payroll for every game they beat Tampa. That's so cool. Steinbrenner can't buy a team that can beat Tampa but A-Rod can.
The Phillies have figured out how to draw a packed house with a mediocre Red Sox team in town - show the
Flyers - Canadiens games on their Jumbo-Tron.
Off to Vermont with motorcycles and golf clubs in the trailer.
Chad, drop me a text when Teixeira cracks .250
Yeah, they really overpowered them, didn't they? They might still be playing if Mets 2nd baseman, Alex Cora, hadn't tried to turn a double play by throwing the ball to the left fielder. I guess they do things differently in the National League. Maybe that's why the Yanks put a 2nd baseman in left field last night.
I see Girardi picked up on the NL style of baseball with all the pitching changes. Manuel used 6 pitchers, but the Yanks weren't much better, using 3 pitchers just to get out of the 7th inning and 5 pitchers overall. Actually, if Vasquez hadn't bunted using his index finger instead of the bat, Girardi may have gotten to the ninth with Javier and then gone to Rivera. Mo still doesn't look right. He's always been effective using a sharp cutter and fantastic location. The cutter is still there but he's centering too many pitches. Hopefully, that will improve.
David Wright does not look the same. Scouts say he's giving ground on the curve these days, but last night he was late on fastballs...all of them. Something's not right.
Explain this to me: the Yanks bring up a minor league infielder and promptly put him in left field. It worked, but what's going on?
Now don't get nervous, boys and girls, but with the Yankee's bullpen woes, they might be looking for help. Two former Yanks just got released and I wouldn't be surprised if Cashman considers either or both: Chad Gaudin was let go by the A's and Brian Bruney by the National's. Scary!
***THE RED SOX CATCHING CONTROVERSY***
Martinez can't catch or throw and Varitek can't hit (or throw). The Boston papers say Matsuzaka pitches better to Varitek than Martinez, Beckett likes to throw to Martinez and neither one can catch Wakefield's knuckler. By the way, I still haven't been able to find out why Martinez catches "sidesaddle" when Wakefield is pitching. It looks like he's trying to get a running start chasing down passed balls.
Did I mention that I hate interleague games?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Not only are the losses piling up, but the Yanks continue to look worse with each defeat. The confidence is eroding, too. Down four runs with the bases loaded, the Yanks had Jeter at the plate. Regardless of how he had been hitting in the past, this was always the spot where Jeter would come through with the big hit. So when Derek fails,who can you look to? Unfortunately, no one. Not A-Rod, who seems to have found his power stroke, not the hot-hitting Cano nor the unbelievable Cervelli. They will all contribute and will sometimes come thru in those situations, but we have ALWAYS counted on Jeter. I'm not blaming the loss on him, the pitching staff really blew this one, but to get that swagger back, we need the captain.
***AN INTERESTING END TO THE RAMIREZ SITUATION***
Two Hall of Famers, Tony Perez & Andre Dawson, who work in the Marlin organization, took a hand in this situation with a meeting with Hanley. This from a Joe Capozzi story:
The door closed, and Andre Dawson looked directly into Hanley Ramirez's eyes.
"I'm not going to say a lot, because if you say the wrong … thing to me, then you might wind up on the floor on your rear end," Dawson said with Tony Perez standing by his side in a coach's office at Sun Life Stadium.
There was a lot more said, basically closing off every avenue of excuses that Hanley had tried to use. The end result was an apology by Ramirez to the manager, his teammates and the fans. We need more ambassadors like these two fellows.
***EVERYBODY HAS AN ANSWER***
A talent evaluator says Papelbon's mechanics are screwed up and he can't pitch effectively to the left side of the plate. Fine, now what's the problem with Chamberlain & Rivera?
***STRASBURG - A MAN IN A BOY'S GAME***
He pitched for Syracuse here in Rochester last night and the numbers were scary: 6+ innings, no runs and 9 strikeouts. He also received a standing-O. Vod had planned to go to the originally scheduled game which was rained out. If he and the Lovely Laura went to the make up game, maybe he'll give us a personal opinion.
***THE YANKS NEED TO SIGN A...DOCTOR***
Maybe more than one. The Nick Johnson List (formerly known as the DL) gets longer and longer. Besides President Nick, the list includes Curtis Granderson, Alfredo Aceves, and now, Jorge Posada. Not to mention the walking wounded: Nick Swisher and Marcus Thames. How bad is it? Thames rolled his ankle stepping on his OWN bat while running to first on a base hit. Reserve infielder Ramiro Pena, who is also the emergency catcher, filled in in right field. Girardi is not sure when Ramiro will be pitching, but you can bet it's coming if the bullpen keeps performing the way it has.
Girardi likes to say, "It is what it is," but now it's more like "It ISN'T what it is."
Sorry, still no humor.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
What has happened to that powerhouse in pinstripes in the last week? Hitting is okay, considering the lineup, and the fielding is average, but the pitching...? Seems only a few days ago that I wrote that the Yanks have"...arguably the best starting rotation in the Majors." They are holding up, though shaky, but the bullpen went right through shaky into batting practice mode. From now on, when Girardi goes to the mound he should bring a white flag with him.
I watched that little scenario with Beckett and thought, "Injury? Yeah, right. Only to his pride." I thought Girardi was going to let the Sox get away with it, but then they announced that the Yanks were protesting. That's good, but don't get your hopes up. They have a better chance of getting the 'Pine-tar incident' reversed, than having this upheld. How are you going to prove or disprove back stiffness? The Sox were wrong, the coach obviously signalled for a reliever BEFORE getting the ump's approval, but this will never fly. If the protest is upheld (Ha!), the game reverts to when Beckett left the game, which means the Yankee bullpen will have a second chance to blow it.
***MORE RELIEVER PROBLEMS***
Trevor "I'm-pitching-as-long-as-Rivera-does" Hoffman blew his 5th save in 10 chances. His ERA is a whopping 13.15. Mariano doesn't look good, but Trevor looks a lot worse.
***THE HANLEY RAMIREZ SAGA***
He misses a popfly, kicks the ball into the left field corner and trots slowly after it while two men run around the bases and score. Hanley's excuse was that he was "hurt." Well, he ran pretty good until he kicked the ball. His manager pulled him out of the game and sat him on the bench again yesterday. Even his teammates think he's dogging it. It's been suggested that Because Ramirez is tight with Marlins owner, Jeff Loria, He's waiting for him to step in and tell manager Fredi Gonzales to back off. If that happens, Gonzales might as well quit and let the inmates run the asylum.
***THIS IS HARD TO BELIEVE***
Theo Epstein is taking heat because he was spotted at a Pearl Jam concert Monday night. What do Boston fans want? Put him in a plexi-glass box with computer and phone and pass him sandwiches and lemonade three times a day? Let the guy have a life. Look at Joe Girardi: he even listens to the radio on the way to the stadium every day. The slacker.
Hopefully, I'll be funnier tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Just like his pin-striped counter-part, Jonathon Papelbon blew a save big time yesterday, giving up two homers in the ninth inning, one day after Mariano Rivers served up a grand slam to lose one for the Yanks. A few years ago, it seemed like nobody wanted to face Rivera...except the Red Sox, who him him fairly regularly. Now, it's Papelbon's turn to be beaten up by the Yanks. A-Rod seems to hit him especially well.
Hughes struggled but found ways to stay out of trouble, leading 6-1 at one point, thanks to some laughable outfield play by the Sox. Hermida and McDonald looked like two drunks chasing a wiffle ball in a windstorm. I suppose it's not Epstein's fault the two regular outfielders are out with injuries, which blows his 'pitching & defense' plan out of the water. By the middle of the fifth inning, it was obvious that this wasn't Hughes day, but he retired with a lead and a good chance to go 6-0.
So Girardi made the change, hoping to get thru the game without the likes of Camberlain & Rivera, who weren't available. The Yankee relievers, however, were more like bull**** than bullpen. So the momentum changed and the Sox went into the bottom of the ninth, up 9-7 with their ace closer taking the mound. But A-Rod and Marcus Thames had other ideas with Thames earning Burnett's signature pie-in-the-face.
Here it is May 18th & Cervelli, who had two hits last night, is still hitting .400. Now I get upset when Posada spells him behind the plate.
Sabathia & Beckett tonight which should produce some better pitching. But this is the Sox & Yanks, so who knows.
Monday, May 17, 2010
We always knew he was human, we just didn't want to say it out loud for fear that someone would hit a home run and beat him. Unlikely as it seems, it was the Twins who brought Mariano Rivera back to earth. It has happened before and if history is any clue, then we know Mariano has a short memory. He will be back.
Boston comes to the stadium tonight for the first of nine games that they will play in New York. What a dumb schedule. The first 6 in Boston, 9 straight in NY, finishing with 3 in Boston at the end of the season. Hughes and Sabathia go for the Yanks against Matsuzaka & Beckett. Our old friend Vasquez has been skipped again, much to his consternation. I understand his frustration, but you reap what you sow. One good outing isn't enough to prove he's all the way back. If he's still not right, pitching against the Sox could be disastrous. Yankee fans will have absolutely ZERO patience when the Red Sox are in town. One measly little hit will bring down an avalanche of boos and destroy what ever confidence Javier has. This is a good move. Wait for the Mets on Friday.
***SPEAKING OF THE METS***
Vasquez, Hughes and Sabathia against...I don't know. Santana is supposed to pitch on Sunday. Maybe he'll start all three games. It's up to the Mets new manager. Yes, I know Jerry Manuel is still there, but Omar Minaya is flying to Atlanta and I don't think he's planning to share a Mint Julep with Jerry. Omar better do something quick or he's liable to find a horse's head in HIS bed. On May 1st, the Mets were 14-10 and in first place. Today, they are 18-20 and in last place, 6 games out. Maybe they're just getting their end-of-the-season swoon out of the way early.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
But it took twelve innings. There were 20 walks in the game, 12 by the Tigers. Dontre Willis walked seven of them in three+ innings. Kevin Youklis walked 5 times. For all you Joe West fans, this game took 4 hours & 35 minutes, plus a 61-minute rain delay.
Sometimes you run into these little streaks. The Yanks have beaten Minny 12 straight after yesterday's 7-1 victory. Both Gardner & Swisher made diving catches in the outfield. Which one was better? "I'll say Swisher's," said Gardner. "That's what he says anyway." The Yanks are still winning despite being followed by a M.A.S.H. unit wherever they go. It looks like Teixeira & A-Rod have decided to contribute. The Bombers are actually being led by what is arguably the best starting pitching in the Majors.
Twins Manager, Ron Gardenhire, has been doing his part, making decisions in both games that were questionable at best. He walked Teixeira intentionally to load the bases and brought in a right-handed reliever to face A-Rod: Boom! Career grand slam #19 for Alex basically winning the game. Saturday, Ron brought in a reliever to face Posada: Boom! A long, long home run to centerfield, putting that game out of reach. Maybe you should stay in the dugout, Ron.
The NY Post is now calling Nick Johnson, 'Nick the Knife.'
Philly manager, Charlie Manuel, who recently stated that he should have "...shut up," decided NOT to take his own advice. Now he's accusing the Mets of stealing signs because of their home record, 14-8, 6th best in the majors. The Mets were 41-40 at home last year, so they must still be learning.
***A SUPERBOWL IN NEW YORK?***
I can't believe that this is really being discussed. Isn't freezing, miserable, snowy weather a problem? "No", says Daily News writer Bob Raissman. "The luxury boxes are well-heated." Jonathan Tisch, the NY Giants treasurer has all the answers: "It's a little cold," he said, "but that's why they invented mittens, that's why they invented hand warmers." That's right, Jonathan, and that's also why they coined the term 'frostbite.'
***OK, TECHNICALLY THIS ISN'T SPORTS***
An amateur photographer in the Great Smoky Mountain Nat. Park, tried to take a picture of a black bear. The irritable black bear would have none of it and bit the tourist. When asked if he's learned his lesson, the photog replied, "Absolutely. I've got to use a faster shutter speed!" A quicker retreat wouldn't hurt either.
***BAD NEWS FOR ANNIE-O***
Doug Mientkiewicz, Annie's favorite player (next to Jeter), has been released by Triple-A new Orleans. Looks like the end of the line for the 35-year old first baseman. On the other hand, I'm not unhappy that I don't have to type his name one letter at a time, while checking the spelling.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
On Monday, KC General Manager, Dayton Moore, told the Kansas City Star that Trey Hillman, "...is a tremendous leader. He's exactly what our organization needs at this point in time." The ink wasn't even dry on the newspaper when Hillman was canned 3 days later. I guess the "organization" only needed him on Monday.
***ON TO PHILADELPHIA***
Philly manager Charlie Manuel now 'regrets' having said anything about the binocular incident. "I should have just shut up," he said. Yeah, that's just how Ozzie Guillen would have handled it.
***AND NOW TO NEW YORK***
A-Rod's grandslam in the 7th led the Yanks to an 8-4 victory over Minnesota. A-Rod said he was just trying to elevate a pitch into the outfield to get the run in. Let's see: 1) He was confident facing the righthander, 2) He drove the ball to left, 3) And he didn't swing for the fences.
I'll never doubt Katie Sharp of ESPN again. (CP Blog of 5/13)
***AND IN TEXAS...***
Ranger catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is in Triple-A Oklahoma City, trying to rid of what the Rangers call "the Yips," the inability to throw the ball to the pitcher. Tuesday, 12 return throws either landed short of the mound or in center field. They think it might be caused by recent surgery, forcing Jarrod to learn a new throwing motion. Ever think it might be extra weight on his back, caused by all the excessive # of letters in his name?
***FINALLY, BACK TO NEW YORK***
Curtis Granderson is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, but he probably won't be ready for another couple of weeks. Now Swisher may be joining him, adding to the Yanks outfield woes. Golson, Thames & Winn just ain't doin' it. Golson shows some promise but Thames & Winn appear to be on the downside of their careers. Thames hits lefties okay but he's a butcher in the field. Winn doesn't seem to generate any bat speed with that short stroke of his. It's too early to looking for help and the Yanks have baseball's 2nd best record, so we'll just have to wait it out.
Friday, May 14, 2010
...and that's since Monday morning. Nothing was very pleasant this week"
1) The Yanks lost 3 of 4 in Detroit.
2) Vod is dealing with flat tires and mismatched carpeting.
3) Annie-O has spent the week dealing with 3 different doctors...and that's just for areas above the waist.
***AND IN BASEBALL NEWS...***
# The Royals fired Trey Hillman. A nice guy, saddled with a small-market budget and border-line major league talent.
# Seattle lost when the potential tying run was thrown out at the plate with two out in the 9th inning. All this after blowing a 5-1 lead in the 8th inning...to the Orioles, no less. This is probably the only reason manager Dave Trembly's name wasn't in the first sentence of this paragraph.
# Giants lost 1-0 to the Padres, making more errors (3) than getting baserunners (2)
# The Nationals beat the Rockies and are one game out in the NL East.
***...BUT WE DIDN'T CHEAT***
Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy is still fuming over the Phillies using binoculars in the bullpen. Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, taking a page out of Casey Stengel's book said, "Would we try to steal somebody's signs? Yeah, if we can. But we don't do that." Huh? When Tracy wouldn't let it go, Charlie was very sympathetic: "Keep crying."
Tracy's got a point. The Phillies answer wasn't the most believeable - "We were checking defensive alignments." For what? The Beer Stand behind home plate?
***DALLAS BRADEN ON LETTERMAN***
He did one of those "Top Ten..." skits. I read them and there should have been one more:
#1A - With 10 chances, you'd think they could have come up with something funny. Don't quit your day/night job, Braden: Baseball's Unwritten Rule Sheriff.
***SPEAKING OF LISTS***
ESPN magazine came out with an article titled, 20 Questions for 100 Major Leaguers. Some interesting results:
MOST OVERATED STASTISTIC: Batting average. On-base Pct is a better gauge.
BEST OVERALL PLAYER: Albert Pujols (what a surprise)
BEST MANAGER: Atlanta's Bobby Cox (2400+ wins, 154 ejections). Actually, the question was what manager would you most like to play for.
As a side note, the manager you'd LEAST like to play for was Ozzie Guillen with Lou Piniella right behind. I guess that's why they call Chicago "The second City."
TOUGHEST (SCARIEST) PLAYER: Kyle Farnsworth. Extremely well-conditioned, very mean temperment and a black belt in some asian Discipline. Nobody know what it is 'cause they're afraid to ask him.
MOST OVER-RATED PLAYER: Joba Chamberlain ("What's he done that makes him so great?")
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Brian Cashman sould pay me to rip his moves ever time Javier Vasquez or Phil Coke pitches. Yesterday, Vasquez pitched well enough to win but still took the loss thanks to a moribund Yankee offense.
In the nightcap, Phil Coke blew up allowing 4 earned runs in 1.1 innings.
A great time for everyone with a sense of sports history. The octogenarian Boston Celtics have the opportunity to eliminate the King and his Court and the Montreal Canadiens have knocked off both the 1 seeded Caps and the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins. The ghost of Maurice Richard stirs again.
I wonder if we'll continue to see BPs sun-flower petal logo blink across the TV screen now that they've turned the gulf into a toxic dump. They certainly have earned the right to chant "We're Number One!" in corporate engineered environmental disasters.
Yesterday was a rough one in the old Kanockers household. Found a flat on my bike when I went out to take the dog for a run. Lowes was here to install 50 sq. yds. of new carpeting and discovered they had three rolls of unmatched goods only after they removed the existing carpet - so were living off carpet padding for the next few weeks. My cable froze as the Yankees were rallying in Detroit and Time-Warner can't schedule a service call until Friday. I called Joe West to see if he would hold up the game until then. He said no because that would be almost as long as a NY - Boston game - and he had restaurants to visit.
Personal note to Picasner: Rest easy. Most minimum security prisons have wi-fi (and free dental care!), so, in the worst case, you'll still be able to post.
After being shut our in the first game of a split doubleheader, the Yanks finally came back to win the 2nd, ending a three-game skid. Vasquez finally showed some of the skills he demonstrated for a few years in the Minor, er, National League. The Tiger closer, Jose Valverde, took some heat from the Yankee broadcasters for his fist-pumping in the ninth. They finally accepted that it was okay, since Chamberlain does it all the time (and did it in the 2nd game).
The Yanks took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd game when the powerhouse 3rd & 4th hitters, Teixeira & A-Rod, each drove in a run. A-Rod dropped a dying quail along the right field line and Tex hit a seeing-eye, 14 hopper between the 1st & 2nd baseman. That was impressive.
Speaking of powerhouses, A-Rod has not looked like a homerun king all year, a fact noted by ESPN analyst Katie Sharp. Never fear, sports fans, Katie has the answers. Her suggestions:
1) Regain his confidence against right-handers
2) Drive the ball with more authority to the left side
3) Don't try to swing for the fences all the time
I'll bet A-Rod never thought of these things. Is ESPN paying her for these insights?
***TWO GOOD REMARKS***
Tiger manager, Jim Leyland, on the overuse of his relievers: "Our pitching staff will be at the Detroit Medical Center by June if this keeps up." Who does Leyland think he is, Joe Torre?
Ken Singleton after Tiger 3rd baseman Inge dropped a foul pop-up: "I saw Brooks Robinson drop an easy pop-up once. In my next at bat, I asked the catcher, Bill Freehan, 'When's the last time you saw Brooks drop a pop-up?' 'About five minutes ago,' he replied."
***AND ONE BY OZZIE GUILLEN***
"I'm not a quitter. When I want to quit, I'll do a lot of stupid things and make sure they fire me and then I'll still get paid." Well, it hasn't worked so far, Ozzie.
***FROM IAN HAMILTON OF THE LEADER-POST***
After Nutri-system dropped Lawrence Taylor as a spokesperson, Ian commented: "It's the fastest loss of 230 pounds the program has ever produced.
The Ken Griffey-sleep thing just won't go away. Now some of the Mariners won't talk to Tacoma News Tribune beat writer, Larry LaRue, or talk to any other reporters while LaRue is in the clubhouse. If LaRue claimed to have seen Griffey himself and reported it or chastised Griffey severely because of it, I could understand the players reaction. However, LaRue just reported what he was told by TWO players and won't name them (as he shouldn't). The Mariners are being very childish. Reports are that the two players who blew the whistle have not yet revealed themselves to the other players. Griffey's right: he can't win this and the hole just keeps getting deeper. Somebody better tell these guys to grow up.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Happy 85th birthday to Yogi Berra. Still crazy after all these years and still the finest ambassador of Yankee baseball.
With 20% of the season in the books, Brian Cashman has the early lead in the GM of The Year voting - by other GMs. His off season moves have been tremendously helpful, to other teams.
Sending Super prospect Austin Jackson and reliever Phil Coke to Detroit for Curtis Granderson has turned out brilliantly. Jackson is batting .360, leading the league in hits, and has a .408 OBP - for the Tigers. Coke has appeared in 17 games with a 1.69 ERA - for the Tigers. Granderson - batting .225 and currently vacationing with Nick Johnson on the DL.
Speaking of the Fragile One, Nick performed his "Mark Teixeira in April" imitation superbly, hitting .167, before taking his first 2010 trip to the DL, while the off-loaded Johny Damon is batting .295 with a .412 OBP - playing elsewhere. Even the aged Hediki Matsui has a BA 60 points higher than the weak-wristed one - also playing elsewhere.
However, snapping up Javier Vasquez for a paltry $11.5 M overshadows any of the aforementioned moves. Javey is enjoying the same kind of success he had when he last pitched in New York. 5 games, 23 IP, 9.78 ERA, 8 HR allowed, 15 walks.
While its a small consolation that Melkey Cabrerra is struggling with the Braves, Yankee fans are paying top dollar to watch Marcus Thames and Randy Winn do their Dancing Bear routine in left field.
But after all, these are only statistics, used by "numbers guys" for evil, devious purposes.
Looks like the talking-head eulogies for the Red Sox were played a bit to early. The Sox are 2 games over .500 and a manageable 5 games out. Tampa Bay is coming back to planet earth. The Yankees outfield is a bit of a mess. Toronto is winning. Toronto is winning. Even when repeated its hard to believe, but Toronto is winning (still doesn't help). The division is as advertised - a dog fight.
First, the debate was whether or not to try and bunt for a base hit when the pitcher has not allowed a hit. Those who were against it, had no answer for the argument, "you're trying to win the game." So then it came down to when. Is it okay in the 5th? The 6th? 7th, 8th? Does the score matter? Is it okay if you're only down 3-0? 4-0? 5-0?
Bunting for base hits is certainly a part of the game, and no one like to be no-hit, so why not go for it? What about this scenario: Down 4-0, bottom of the ninth, two outs, no one on and Jason Giambi at the plate? Giambi is a dead pull hitter and teams often use an exaggerated shift on him. If they use the shift, is it okay for him to slap the ball to left? If there was no perfect game on the line and the winning run was on third , would teams employ the shift? Would it be okay for Giambi to hit to left if they did? I think it's the same thing: get on base. You want the perfecto, defend yourself.
***A DENIAL, OF SORTS***
Ken Griffey has spoken out against the charge that he was sleeping in the clubhouse. Actually, what he said was, "I was always available to play." I noticed the word "asleep" was not in that sentence. The Mariners manager, however, did say he CHOSE not to use Griffey and that he WAS on the bench, but that can be verified and I've read nothing that said that replays show Griffey on the bench. All this chatter is simply making it worse. Let's move on, please.
The Rochester paper says the Yanks are playing the Tigers at 1/7 PM today. Boy, am I confused. There's no 1/7th on my clock. Hopefully, I'll have something to write about Yankee baseball tomorrow. I'm certainly done with these two subjects.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
***YANKS LOSE 2ND IN A ROW***
A game of relievers. Relievers started, relieved and finished for both teams. Occasionally a team is forced to do something like this, but this is the first time I've seen BOTH teams do it at the same time. Unfortunately, the Tigers did a better job than the Yanks. Tonight, Vasquez is pitching and I'll be holding my breath.
***GRIFFEY SLEEPS WHILE THE MARINERS LOSE***
Most analysts feel Griffey will be gone by the end of the month. It's too bad a classy player would have to end on such an embarrassing note. It seems that clubhouse naps were a habit with him, but when he was still a force to be reckoned with, it was described as a "lovable trait." I hope he retires instead of forcing the Mariners to release him.
***HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?***
Last Thursday night, the Red Sox played the Angels in a game that started at 7:10 PM. Normally, Home teams schedule "getaway" games in the afternoon as a convenience to visiting teams. Sounds like pretty harsh treatment by the Red Sox, until you realize that the Angels are notorious for ignoring that "unwritten rule." So the Angels had to fly to Seattle to take on the Mariners Friday night. Hah! That'll teach you. Oh wait, it's the Mariners. The Angels won 8-0.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Well, we knew they weren't totally inept. Lester is still one of the best pitchers in baseball and proved it last night. Burnett, on the other hand, is never just mediocre. He's either great or awful, as HE proved last night. Umpire Tim McClelland threw Girardi out last night for arguing balls & strikes. After such a disastrous job in the post season last year, I was surprised that McClelland was still working. Not only was his strike zone befuddling all night, his dramatic pauses before actually making the ball-strike call was annoying to say the least. It was like he was mentally flipping a coin before making a decision. I'm sure if the Yanks were ahead 7-2, it would have been Francona that was tossed. Okay, on to Detroit and a homecoming of sorts. Expect that with every hit Johnny Damon gets , it will bring on choruses of "Yanks shouldn't have let him go" from the ESPN announcers. The same with Austin Jackson.
***DALLAS BRADEN THROWS PERFECT GAME***
Glad to see he's getting recognition for something he did with his arm instead of his mouth.
***YA' GOTTA LOVE TERRY FRANCONA***
According to the NY Daily news, when asked if he thought there would be retaliation for Beckett's 'wildness' Friday night, Terry said he didn't think so. "Besides," he said, "we got them even. We had one of our pitchers hit Varitek."
***SEATTLE MARINERS FIRE THEIR HITTING COACH***
Yes, they did have one, but now he's gone. Alan Cockrell was fired yesterday by GM Jack Zduriencik for failing to make Jack's inept hitters into batting champion candidates. Zduriencik (who should reposition some of those vowels in his name) continued with his bad decision making after bringing in Chone Figgins (hitting .185), Casey Kotchman (.194) and Ken Griffey, Jr., who should have retired last year. What does Jack think Cockrell was teaching them: "Don't hit the balls too hard, we're trying to save money?"
***DWIGHT PERRY, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAD A GOOD DAY***
"The Yankees beat the Red Sox 10-3 and 14-3 in the first two games of their weekend series.
The defense is fine, Sox apologists insist, but they've just got to stop settling for field goals in the red zone."
"The latest sports fan to get tased — a 36-year-old man attending The Players Championship golf tournament — has been charged with disorderly intoxication.
In other words, he was too many shots over par."
Found this is Dwight's column, too:
"Brad Dickson in the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, on the retirement of longtime Cornhusker Trapshoot coordinator Rocky Hoffmann: "He was honored with a 13,000-gun salute."
***AND FROM JANICE HOUGH***
"Marc Ragovin comments “So it was 27 up, 27 down, in Oakland on Sunday. And by that I’m describing the entire attendance during the seventh inning stretch.”
"Tiger Woods apparently left the TPC tournament today with a sore neck. Makes sense, he’s had to swivel around constantly every few minutes since Thanksgiving to see if Elin is behind him with a nine-iron."
I told you other people were more interesting than me.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
I wanted to post the score right away, because if you just listened to Frick & Frack on TV without watching, you'd swear the Sox won. McCarver couldn't send any praise the Yanks way.
"No way did Beckett try to hit anybody intentionally Friday night." R-i-i-i-ght. He's down 6 runs, knocking guys down left and right and turning away with a little smirk on his face. But, according to McCarver, CC Sabathia DEFINITELY hit Pedroia in retaliation. Let's see: clinging to a scant one-run lead, third inning, and he puts Pedroia on. Yeah, let's help them start a rally, so when Martinez hits a go-ahead homer, Tiny-brain Tim can say the Yanks paid for trying to retaliate. Are we absolutely sure this guy played major league baseball? When he slipped up and started to praise Gardner, Joe Buck quickly stepped in and changed the subject to Austin Jackson, hinting that the Yanks were wrong in trading him.
Teixeira hits three homers, Cervelli's so hot, you need a fire hose to cool him off. If Randy Winn doesn't get nailed at third and at home, the Yanks might have scored 20 runs. The Yanks bullpen shut down the Sox again.
By the way, Tim, the Yanks won the game.
***FROM DWIGHT PERRY***
What could be better than playing slowpitch softball this summer — and getting paid $10 million to boot?
Eric Byrnes, still collecting his guaranteed salary after getting released by the Mariners last week, is about to find out, having joined a beer-league team in Menlo Park, Calif.
"This is going to be a blast," the free-spirited Byrnes told MLB.com. "Playing with my buddies. I can't wait for my first hit.
"I'm going to ask for the ball."
Well, Eric, if you had hit for the Mariners, they might have asked for the ball.
The Mariners have scored three runs for Dwight Perry tonight, unfortunately, so have the Angels.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL THE LADY READERS.
Beckett pitched a game last night that the Yanks won't forget for a while. Masterful for three innings, tasteless thereafter. We are told he "lost his command" in the wild sixth inning, but he also has a reputation for being an arrogant brat. Once the game was out of hand, I can well believe that Jeter's plunking was intentional. Just Beckett's way of saying, if I can't beat you, I'll hurt you.
So this whole scenario begs the question: Do you just go ahead and beat the Sox as badly as you can or do you retaliate and risk waking them up? You also have to factor in the crowd since they could also help ignite the Red Sox. As the Sicilians say, "Revenge is a dish that is best served cold." Wait till they come to New York, get a decent lead into the ninth and have Boone Logan bounce a couple of 97-mph fastballs off Pedroia & Youklis. Oops, you know Logan doesn't have "command." (wink, wink)
A fine example of biased scoring: Beckett hits catcher Jason Varitek IN THE ARM with a pitch, and they charge Beckett with a wild pitch. If a Major League catcher can't get his glove on a ball that actually hits him, well, Wal-Mart is looking for clerks. As for Martinez, I've never seen a catcher catch side-saddle before. I guess it gave him a better start when chasing pitches back to the screen, a talent he put to use a couple of times last night.
Cano won't be playing today (or probably tomorrow), Nick Johnson, who has Mt Sinai Hospital on retainer, is headed to NYC to have his wrist checked out and I won't be surprised to see Posada in the dugout for one more day.
Today's game should be v-e-r-r-r-y interesting.
***THIS ONE'S FOR VOD***
From Janice Hough:
"Jamie Moyer, 47, today became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a complete game shutout. If he keeps this up, they may classify Metamucil as a Performance Enhancing Drug."
Thursday, May 06, 2010
This used to be a big deal: fans honing their voices, players sharpening their spikes, the Red Cross laying in a supply of bandages & plasma. It's just not the same and it doesn't have anything to do with the Sox not playing up to par. Lately, the players have been displaying so much respect (if not actual friendship) toward one another, that you'd never know it was a rivalry. Oh, everyone gives it lip-service, but that's just television hype. Two weeks ago, my son attended a game at Fenway, decked out in a Yankee shirt and couldn't get anyone to even spit beer at him, let alone attack him with a David Ortiz Louisville Slugger. Maybe they should get Pedro Martinez to throw out the first beanball.
Jayson Stark wrote about baseball players whose contracts made them untradeable. Kei Igawa (Stark refers to him as 'Special Kei') made the list as honorable mention. Says Jason, "... he's doomed to spend two more years adding to his record as the all-time franchise wins leader in exotic Moosic, Pa., where the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees toil. Why? Because trading him would cost the Yankees even more money." Since he's off the 40-man roster,he doesn't count as salary for the luxury tax. That changes if he's traded.
***A LITTLE FRIDAY HUMOR***
# From LA Times Mike DiGiovanni: When asked if they found anything in the neurological tests on his head after his collision with Mark Teixeira, Bobby Wilson replied, "Just a hamster chasing a peanut."
# Comedian Matt Goldich: "Yankees visited White House yesterday. Michelle got upset when A-Rod cut directly across the Rose Garden"
# Jay Leno on the Philly taser attack: "Let me tell you: These cops are not fooling around anymore. They'll taser anyone on the field who doesn't belong there. … So more bad news for the Dodgers."
# A couple of Senators hosted a ceremony honoring Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox for his years of service in baseball. But the decorative writing on the dessert cake misspelled his name in a rather unfortunate way.
***DAMON GETS HURT***
And that's no bull...wait, it is bull: Red Bull. According to Johnny, that 'extra energy' is a cause of muscle pulls and strains. Damon also admits to not being able to sleep nights because of it. "I've got to cut down on the caffeine," he said. Here's an idea for a new commercial: RED BULL! WE'RE THE NEW STEROID! ...and it's undetectable.
***PICASNER LEADS THE WAY?***
I always feel justified when some baseball figure takes up one of Picasner's cause. The latest is the Official Scorer problems. Some of the judgement calls are ridiculous, but now I'm collecting allies who want to keep the game as pure as it should be. Or are they? I should have known. The concern is NOT over ethics or anything so lofty; no, it's about the money! If scorers play with official statistics, it could mess up a players arbitration arguments. Poor guys. Never mind right and wrong: let's get the money right. I give up on this one.
***COMPLETE GAMES AND PITCH COUNTS***
A story in today's paper mentions that Roy Halladay is the current active leader with 52 complete games and 17 shutouts. Wow! 52 complete games! In a related story, former Philly pitcher, Robin Roberts (not the ESPN personality) died this week at age 83. How are these two related? Well, in a 6-year span, 1950 thru 1955, Robin started 232 games (38+/year) and completed 161 (almost 27/year). By the way, he won an average of 23 games and and logged an average of 323 innings during that period. The innings didn't seem to hurt him, he lasted 19 seasons.
***GOOD GAME TO WATCH***
Kansas City 12
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
***THE UNWRITTEN RULES...AGAIN***
Interesting article by Jerry Crasnick:
***YANKS WIN ANOTHER***
It's a good thing this didn't go into extra innings or we might have seen Nick Swisher on the mound again. First the Orioles tried to hand the game to the Yanks, then the Yanks tried to hand it back. The 'Birds' did do some strange things in this game: on a two-men-on, no-out bunt, Miguel Tejada inexplicably held onto the ball with an obvious play at 2nd. Then another Oriole carefully watched a slow grounder to third STAY fair be fore he decided to run. Too late. Mercifully, the cameras did not show manager Dave Trembly banging his head against the dugout wall.
Andy Pettitte became the latest Yankee to fall victim of an injury. The Yanks 'Core Four' is now within one player (Jeter) of becoming the 'Sore Four'.
***MILTON BRADLEY ASKS FOR HELP***
Bradley has asked the Mariner front office for help with "personal emotional problems."
***FOR EVERY ACTION, THERE IS A REACTION***
The Washington Post once reported that Don Baylor "was hit by 267 pitches yet never rubbed, even once. Of course, several of the balls had to be hospitalized."
It seems I'm providing more links than personal commentary these days. I'm not sure if it's because I think other people are more interesting (which my wife thinks) or I'm just getting lazy (which she also agrees with). You decide.CP-
Mark Teixeira? Alex Rodriquez? Derek Jeter? Mariano Rivera? You expect to see those names in a recap of a Yankee victory, but that's not what's happening now. Francisco, The Cisco Kid, Cervelli, Rameiro Pena, Bret Gardner and Joba Chamberlain are the names in focus these days. It seems that Girardi has the wrong guys batting 2, 3, and 4 for the Bombers. The best thing A-Rod did last night was not take the bat off his shoulder and get an RBI via a bases-loaded walk.
Cervelli blasted a triple to the wall, popped a 'dying quail' single to right and embarrassed Oriole third baseman Miguel Tejada with a perfectly placed bunt. All this, plus running the game from behind the plate like a 10-year veteran. Pena showed that you don't have to slam those picturesque line drives to bring in runs, you can be just as effective with an easy fly ball and slow-rolling bunt. It seems that Bret Gardner makes pitchers nervous just by walking out to the on-deck circle. If he's that dangerous, why do pitchers walk him so much? Rivera gets you out but Chamberlain embarrasses you, too.
Girardi's smiling, Kevin Long is smiling, Dave Eiland is smiling. These youngsters are having such a good time, you start laughing right along with them. Everyone's smiling...except the rest of the league. Enjoy it while you can, Tampa Bay.
***FROM DWIGHT PERRY, SEATTLE TIMES***
"Just for the record, there's no need to tase the paying customers here in Seattle. If the Mariners really wanted to shock their fans, they'd just go out and score three runs."
Note: He may be laughing and making jokes, but I don't think Dwight Perry is too happy with the hometown Mariners these days.
***THE PHENOM IS MOVING UP***
Washington's much heralded sensation, Stephen Strasburg, is being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse this week, one more step in the chain. After this, the next step would be the Washington Capitals. And if he continues to do well, then maybe the Major Leagues.
***SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN***
Another fan ran out onto the field in Philly last night, after 17-year old Steve Consalvi was tasered on Monday night. The 34-year old unnamed rowdy gave up quietly after police threatened to buy him season tickets to the New York Mets.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
# Tampa Bay continues to be the hottest team in baseball, good hitting, good pitching and speed, speed, speed. As Joe Garagiola used to say, "Speed never goes into a slump."
# The Yanks are right behind but starting to get nicked up. Granderson's gone for a while, Posada may be gone and now Rivera has stiffness in his side. Then there's baseball's answer to Medical Center, Nick Johnson, looming in the wings (with his .134 batting average).
# Boston reportedly has "chemistry problems," which is how you describe starting pitchers who aren't pitching, hitters that can't hit and fielders who aren't catching. Other than that...
# Detroit is playing well, led by a young Austin Jackson & an old Johnny Damon (Thank you Brian Cashman).
# The Angels are struggling, slowed by an old Bobby Abreu (.274), an older Hideki Matsui (.260) and a pitching staff that has "chemistry" problems.
# The KC Royals refuse to score any runs when Zack Greinke pitches.
***THE NATIONAL LEAGUE***
# The Mets are playing well; the Mets are playing poorly, and I don't think Jerry Manuel knows the difference.
# Philly plays well when Doc Halladay toys with the National League lineups.
# Albert Pujols continues to scare the be-jeebies (?) out of everyone.
# The NL East looks like the race to the bottom will last all year.
# How did the Padres get so good?
# Joe Torre's low key style of managing has the Dodgers resting peacefully in last place.
# Tim Lincecum is still baffling the NL hitters, allowing a whole 5 runs in five starts. He has such an explosive pitching form, I don't know how long he can keep that up.
On a side note, Joe Torre has told the Dodgers he wants to manage again next year. Asked to comment, owner Frank McCourt revealed his feelings, when he said, "One divorce at a time."
Never saw CC Sabathia give a home plate umpire a hard time before. At least the ump, Bill Hohn, didn't freak out.
Monday, May 03, 2010
I always thought that "stats" were where you took actual, verifiable numbers and analyzed and compared them to other actual, verifiable numbers. The "silly fielding stats" I referred were those that contained qualifiers like "Park Adjustments" and "Pitcher qualifications." After 2 strikeouts, a batter hits the ball and makes it to first safely and we all say, "Look, that's a hit." He's now 1-3 (am I going too fast, Vod?) and he's hitting .333. When a fielding stat is listed with the disclaimer: 'adjusted for home field,' I don't know where that comes from. So Vod, please tell me what the 'park adjustment' is for Yankee Stadium and how this number is arrived at and verified, an I will bow to your superior intellect.
As for Jeter, if you had read Tim Kurkjian's article, you would see that my assessment is not too far off. It was obvious that Cano would not be able to make any kind of play on the ball...except he did. Most young shortstops would have given up on it, unlike Jeter and a couple of other shortstops who also play the game right. We were both brought up in an age where this kind of effort was normal, but today it it not.
***AND NOW FOR THE REAL POSTING***
Jeremy Gutherie pitches for the Orioles tonight. Dating back to 2009, he has hit 10 batters, 6 of them Yankees, a stat not lost on Joe Girardi, who called it 'puzzling.' If a Yankee gets plunked tonight, I think you may see some retaliation, in spite of Gutherie's prolonged apologies last time.
A funny line from Janet Hough about Zack Greinke's amazing 0-3, 2.26 ERA record this year:
"Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals is 0-3 with a 2.27 ERA. This might be the worst case of non-support since Pamela Anderson put on a training bra."
Most of you (like there's a lot) have probably seen these before, but they never fail to amuse.
10 most outrageous sports injuries:
#10 – Snezzing(?)– Assorted rib and back injuries caused by excessive sneezing have felled Sammy Sosa, Goose Gossage, Marc Valdes, and Russ Springer.
# 9 — Joel Zumaya — Missed time due to strained forearm suffered from playing too much Guitar Hero. (in his underwear?)
# 8 — Adam Eaton — Accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach trying to open a DVD with a paring knife.
# 7 — Ryan Klesko — Once overexerted himself and pulled a muscle … while picking up his lunch tray. (I'd like to see that meal)
# 6 — Wade Boggs — hurt his back when he slipped off a chair while putting on cowboy boots.
# 5 — Matt Anderson — Tore a muscle in his shoulder after participating in an octopus-throwing contest in an attempt to win Detroit Red Wings hockey playoff tickets (Must be the octopus didn't let go)
# 4 — Mark Smith — Injured his hand by placing it inside an air conditioner to check why it wasn’t working.
# 3 – Oddibe McDowell — Missed Opening Day because he cut his finger buttering a roll. . . at the team’s “welcome home luncheon.” (Boy, that paring knife gets around) (Oh, and stay away from those lunch trays, Oddibe)
# 2 — Steve Sparks — Dislocated his shoulder trying to tear a telephone book in half as part of a motivational speech.
# 1 — John Smoltz– Burned his chest trying to steam iron a shirt HE WAS WEARING AT THE TIME. (If Mark Smith's air conditioner was working, the shirt wouldn't have been wrinkled)
Honorable mention — goes to Vince Coleman. In 1985, as a rookie, Vince was forced to miss the entire World Series because he was run over by the automated tarp rolling machine during Game 1 warmups. (With his speed, I can't believe he couldn't outrun the tarp machine. - Maybe he didn't get a good jump. You know how tricky those grounds crew people are.)
I’m so pleased that Picasner has dismissed “silly fielding stats” from consideration of future discussions of any particular individual’s ability to “be a winner”. With luck, perhaps we can also dismiss pitching and batting statistics as equally silly. It would certainly cut down on the annoying discussions we have to endure while watching a televised game or listening to a radio broadcast. Gosh, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight could be cut to a 6 minute broadcast; two minutes of scores and four minutes of commercials. And think of it, by this time next season we can forget those silly run stats that numbers guys try to use to tell us who won and lost. It will be so much easier to rely on Picasner Stats! No calculator, abacus, or slide rule required. Simply log on to for the Picasner-Stat-Of-The-Day to know who the real winners are.
Today we know that 90% of the major league shortstops (I hope I’m not being a numbers guy) do not cover second base when a ball is hit up the middle and a man on first . Thank Picasner for this insight. With more like them we’ll never have to worry about attracting excessive traffic to this site. Just a few short hours ago I would do a search to compare the number of put outs and assists His Grace Derek Jeter, the Duke of Bronx Living in New Jersey has compared to loser shortstops, but thanks to Picasner-Stats, I’m free!
But maybe I’ll ask around and see what the 90% of flat-footed, wide-eyed, dirt-kicking, daydreaming so called major league shortstops think about this.
Sorry to go on so long but its been a while since Picasner has written something, so easy to ridicule, and so deserving of more. And I was seriously bored.
We know Picasner has an obsessive compulsion with all things Yankee, in general, and Jeter, in particular. So I suggest we cut the Exalted Pooba some slack on elevating a very nice but hardly spectacular play to a reason for dismissing “silly fielding stats” that the “numbers guys” (statisticians, fans, managers, club owners, baseball card manufacturers, and sportswriters who cast ballots for Hall of Fame admission, among others who use stats for apparently devious if not actually dangerous purposes) and 90% (oops, a stat) of major league shortstops.
But, dude, lighten up. We all know, and no one more than a statistician, that statistics will never provide a complete picture of a baseball player – but neither will a single anecdotal record. In today’s game, Cano made a nice play, knocking down a ball, staying with it, and finishing a not particularly close play at 2nd. Jeter did what we expect little league shortstops to do – with a man on 1st and a ball is hit to the right side of the infield, cover 2nd. A nice assist and put out.
The statistics Piasner decries are no more than the compilation of millions of anecdotal records that we call “plays”. A small percentage are spectacular, most are not, but they all inform the open mind no less than the few plays any of us have the opportunity to see during a lifetime. Enjoy them P. Please, burn books elsewhere.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Of course, the hitting and pitching was excellent, but I was impressed with one play. A Sox player hit a line drive up the middle with a man on first. Cano came from out of nowhere to knock it down. He then grabbed it and flipped it to Jeter to force the runner. Yesterday, I published a link about players not knowing how to play the game. This was a great example of the right way. Of the 30+ major league shortstops, I'll bet only 2 or 3 would have been at 2nd to get that toss. The rest would have stood and watched Cano run it down. Not Jeter, he was in the best position possible, which is the kind of thing that won't show up in any of these silly "fielding stats" that the numbers guys try to use. It's called 'being a winner.'
Poor Alexei Ramirez, The White Sox shortstop. It's one thing to go back to catch a pop up in short left field, it's another to make such a big production of waving off everyone in the park and then not even come close to catching it. He did everything but throw his glove at the left fielder to call him off. He might as well have, because he sure didn't need it. He also dropped an easy flip from the 2nd baseman, plus going 0-2 at bat.
May I have the envelope, please. the winner is: Home plate umpire Dan Iassogna. He had a pretty tight strike zone, but he was consistent with it. He had a little set to with Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski and manager Ozzie Guillen, over some calls. What did Dan do wrong? Well:
1) He shouldn't have come out to stand next to AJ and point a finger at him while obviously arguing with him.
2) When Ozzie came out to protect his player, Dan shouldn't have pointed to AJ like it was his fault.
3) He shouldn't have thrown Ozzie out. He should have given him more leeway, because Dan had to know he was in the wrong.
He precipitated the whole outburst. AJ was trying to help his pitcher and didn't turn around and argue with the ump, which eliminated the ump's favorite complaint: "He showed me up." Even the crew chief, Dale Scott, didn't act too sympathetic toward Iassogna when he joined the crowd. Well, enough said. Everyone knows this is one of Picasner's "hot buttons."
***WE HAVE TO GET A LEASH ON MICHAEL KAY***
When anyone would get a hit to right field, which happens lot, especially with Derek Jeter, I was willing to overlook Michael Kay's description of it as "Jeter-ish," because he stopped using that term very quickly. Yesterday, however, he went way over the line. I do not want to hear that kind of hit described as "Jeterian," (pronounced Je-tear-ian) ever again.
On the other hand, my old friend Bob Matthews has invented a new nickname for David Ortiz which may be around for a while: "Big Pop-Up" Sorry, David.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
The answers: Yes, yes and yes. But...and it's a big but...what has happened to the #'s 2, 3 & 4? It amazing that the Yanks continue to win at a pace to win 110 games without much in the way of production from those 3 guys. How are they doing it? Here are three reasons:
1) The rest of the lineup is over-producing and doing it in critical spots
2) The starting pitching has been so good, the bullpen is getting rusty, but they're effective, anyway.
3) The Yanks are not making mistakes. Skills usually attributed to Ron Gardenhire's Twins and Mike Scioscia's Angels fit the Yanks perfectly these days. We're not talking physical errors here, but mental ones.
The talk that the "Core Four" is getting too old, ignores the fact that these older players teach the younger ones how to play the game right. Think that's not important? Check this link out:
***MAKE EM' LAUGH...***
From Jant Hough:
"Brett Favre has been told he will need surgery on his ankle to play again in 2010, But he wants to get a second opinion from a good paleontologist."