Monday, June 28, 2010
A lot of chuckles in this posting. Check it out:
***AND ALSO JANICE HOUGH***
"Now that the ageless Jamie Moyer has broken MLB’s all time record for home runs allowed, he is dealing with a number of jokes about him having given up one of those home runs to Babe Ruth. “Not true,” said Moyer, “The Babe couldn’t hit me.”
***FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN***
I read in the NY paper that Prince Harry threw out the first pitch at the Mets game on Saturday. No truth to the rumor that Jason Bay swung and missed.
He grounded out to 2nd.
***THERE IS SOME YANKEE NEWS***
A couple of headlines reported that Torre and A-Rod "buried the hatchet." I don't think so. The greeting was so brief that it was apparent that neither one wanted any awkward silences.
Dave Eiland returns to the Yanks on Tuesday. AJ Burnett is waiting in the clubhouse with chains. "He's not getting away again, " said AJ.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
- Mariners add veteran slugger for pennant push -
Pennant push? They're in last place, 14 games out. Doesn't the GM ever look at the standings?
- Ozzie Guillen calms down Carlos Zambrano -
Apparently, Ozzie took Carlos to dinner to discuss his latest blowup. Zambrano plays for the Cubs, who Ozzie hates. Ozzie has never given an interview without at least two dozen *bleeps*. What were they really doing, comparing notes?
- Jackson's '84 Victory Tour glove sells for $190k -
...and no, Manny Ramirez didn't buy it, but it might have helped.
- Girardi says Burnett to stay in the rotation -
I had to read this one three times. I still don't believe it.
- A-Rod has dinner at Joe Torre's house -
Okay, I made this one up.
It was really lunch.
- It's a stupid game anyway -
This is an actual headline in the NY Post, along with many, many puns about the USA's loss to Ghana in the World Cup. Not too much in the way of sour grapes there, especially after all the hype Team USA received after they advanced to the 2nd round.
***LEAVE IT TO FOX NETWORK***
If the game is boring, and Joe Morgan's not around to amuse you, just bring oil and water into the booth. Yesterday, Joe Buck & Tim McCarver had Reggie Jackson & Tommy Lasorda in for a little "friendly" rivalry. Oops, big mistake. BIG MISTAKE! Lasorda had a 33-year old burr in his saddle and absolutely refused to let it go. He called Reggie names, insulted him and the Yankees and even claimed that he told his shortstop he should have hit Reggie in the head.
This was about the incident in the World Series when Reggie got in the way of a throw to first and got away with it. Apparently, Lasorda is still incensed about it. I suppose no Dodger player ever broke a rule and got away with it. Tommy also said that if he was pitching to Reggie, he'd knock him on his back. All of this said in a very serious manner. Reggie tried to cool things off by making a few half-hearted attempts to explain his actions and even tried to kid Tommy out of it, but Lasorda would have none of it. Every now & then, Joe Buck tried to bring a little order while McCarver just stood there with a stupid grin on his face. McCarver also claimed that he knew this would happen all along. In the end, Lasorda almost had to be forced at gunpoint to hug Reggie when it was over.
Shame on Buck & McCarver (and Fox Network) for letting it go on so long. Lasorda came off as an obsessed, bitter old man and may have his destroyed his image as an ambassador of goodwill for baseball.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
***A-ROD BEATS THE DODGERS***
One sports writer claims that A-Rod always makes himself the center of attention. This time, it's because he pointedly ignored Joe Torre during batting practice and warm-ups, unlike the 'core four,' who greeted Torre warmly (?) around the batting cage. Digging deeper, writer Wallace Matthews wondered why A-Rod didn't go and shake hands with Joe and wouldn't answer any questions about him. Matthews claimed it was A-Rod's way of "stealing the show" from the Dodgers and Torre. Matthews did mention in passing that A-Rod scored both Yankee runs and hit the homer that turned out to be the game winner. Manfully conceded, Matthews. There's a Matthews here in Rochester that you should meet.
One more little comment by him:
Before the game Joe Torre was asked about his fabled serenity in the dugout during a game. "Yeah, I know,'' Torre said. "Early in his career, Jeter was asked how he stays calm out there and he said, "I look into the dugout at Mr. Torre, and he's calm, so I stay calm.' I was probably asleep at the time and he didn't know it.''
Probably a good analysis of Torre's managerial style.
This one was by Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks. Guess the Yanks got out of Arizona just in time. A surprising feat by Jackson, since his career record is 43-45 in 8 seasons. Jackson walked 8 batters while baffling the Tampa Bay Rays, winning the game 1-nil...er, 0 (sorry, too much World Cup on TV). Jackson threw 149 pitches. How many managers would let that happen? As Rob Neyer so aptly put it:
"With the Diamondbacks in last place and Jackson sitting on a 4-6 record, (manager A.J) Hinch didn't throw caution to the wind. He grabbed caution by the neck, spit in its face, and then he strangled it."
Joe Girardi would never do that. Neither would Joe Torre. Just wake him up and ask him.
***HOW ARE THE RED SOX DOING IT?***
Their whole outfield is on the DL, playing poker with Nick Johnson, they may lose their spark plug, Dustin Pedroia, for a couple of days and their pitching staff is a disaster. Yet there they are, only three games back of the team with the best record in baseball. It's gotta be Francona.
Happy Birthday to 3-year-old Sarah!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Because the Yanks haven't gone undefeated for the season, the sportswriters begin speculating on all the superstars the Yanks will go after. This year is no different. Girardi started it by suggesting that when Posada can catch full time again, the Yanks will drop a catcher (Moeller) and perhaps add a bat. That's all the experts needed to hear. Among their speculations are the following:
Adam Dunn, who bats left, throws right and catches with neither.
Prince Fielder, who still can't make it all the way to 2nd base without an oxygen tank.
Jose Guillen, who needs to be introduced to his glove.
Paul Konerko, who Ozzie Guillen can't seem to find a spot for.
Plus these guys are all first basemen (and I use the term loosely). It's gonna get awfully crowded there.
And, of course, Cliff Lee, to fill the void in the rotation that everyone but the Yankees feel is there.
All of these guys come with big price tags and their respective clubs will want prize prospects in return. Am I the only one that sees the Yanks in first place with the best record in baseball and with the #3 & #4 hitters having off years? I don't see any desperation nor does Cashman.
***SPEAKING OF FIRST PLACE...***
Remember all the talk about how "perfect" a team the Rays were, with pitching, speed, defense and hitting? Well, all you have to do is hit a little slump and everybody jumps on the "I knew they weren't that good" bandwagon. They're still a good team and will be there to the end, and I did think they would finish behind Boston & New York at the beginning of the year.
***DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE...***
...that the Sox and the Yanks are two of the best teams in baseball and both are riddled with injuries? The Yanks are coming out of it, but Boston still doesn't have an outfield.
***IT'S NOT EXACTLY THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS, BUT...***
I know baseball teams use a lot of promotions to draw fans, just go to a minor league game and see the endless parade of games, contests and mascots that do their best to amuse the fans between innings. The Brewers have their "Sausage Race," the Twins have the "Kissing Game" so the Pirates have come up with their own promo: "The Pierogi Race." For those of you unfamiliar with it , a pierogi is a European dumpling. Annie-O and I will be taking in a Pirate game in August. We'll bring back pictures if the race isn't over with by then.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I played softball (when I was younger, obviously), both fast-pitch and slo-pitch. I was never successful hitting slo-pitch and evidently, neither are the Yankees. It's almost embarrassing to watch the Yanks swing and miss at 78 mph pitches that are also a foot outside. Then when they gear up (down?) for the changeup, they freeze up when a 90 mph fastball wanders over the plate.
***THE NBA FINALS***
No, I don't watch them. I don't recognize that as basketball, since you can take as many steps as you want without dribbling, swing on the rim for a few minutes and carry the ball like a loaf of bread. Why worry about one bad call? Wait two minutes, there will be more.
***SPEAKING OF BAD CALLS***
I didn't see the USA soccer game since I was busy counting the same heads for the third time (it is 'Government' work, after all). I read about the "phantom foul" call and was appalled until I found out the referee was French. We all know what bastions of truth and honesty they are when it comes to officiating sports events. I seem to recall an Olympic ice skating scandal a few years back. Never fear sports fans, when told that in soccer, refs don't have to explain calls or even divulge them, Joe West immediately applied for the job.
***THE YES NETWORK***
When the Yanks are getting beat, I have been known to lose interest in the game. Apparently, so does the crack(ed) announcing team that sits in the booth. Since there seemed to be nothing interesting going on during the game, we were forced to watch clips of Paul O'Neil tantrums, listen to descriptions of the steak dinners they were given and watch telecasts of the three "announcers" eating quarts of ice cream. I guess YES now stands for Yankee Entertainment and Stuff-yourself Network.
***I DON'T WATCH GOLF, EITHER***
Some sports just don't translate well to TV. I don't golf, so maybe I don't understand the subtleties of the game, but I did bowl and I don't watch that on TV either. By the way, I think the "low-price" story was really a joke.
***FROM JANICE HOUGH***
More disturbing World Cup news from Marc Ragovin, "Paris Hilton was arrested last night for flashing her vuvuzela in public."
Friday, June 18, 2010
The best reason for watching The US Open…
While NBA fans and players occasionally slug it out in the stands and soccer fans burn down villages, at what other sporting event can a fan be arrested for “misdemeanor sarcasm”?
True story. On Thursday, a fan was arrested for “misdemeanor sarcasm” after repeatedly shouting “WOW, that’s a really low price.” while perusing the wares offered for sale in the concession tent.
Apparently the truth will not always set your free.
I see that Chad was upset that the Hall asked for Strasburg’s hat following his lights-out debut. Perhaps he would feel better if they asked for the Yankee’s bat. They’re not using them so they won’t be missed. Chad’s right though. What’s the big deal? 32 Ks, 5 walks, and 4 earned runs in 19 innings. Just imagine what his numbers would look like if were lucky enough to face the Yankees – the team that turns bullpen fodder into Cy Young candidates.
ABC hit a new low in selecting their crew for the NBA finals. The play by play was well done but the color guys were as useless as Laker Pau Gasol’s latest love interest, referee Joey Crawford. (Pau and Joey’s favorite song? “I Could Have Danced All Night”.) Describing a slo-mo replay of Gasol hammering Kevin Garnett, the bozo in the booth said that Gasol blocked the shot by hitting “the hand part of the ball”. Apparently both Crawford and the booth bozo missed Gasol hammering the “wrist part of the ball”, the “arm part of the ball”, and the “body part of the ball”. Would the real WWF please stand up?
If you needed and excuse to ignore the remaining FIFA World Cup games (football or soccer or whatever), the screwing the United States received today should fit the bill. While we’ve all seen teams get “homed”, this is the first time I’ve seen one get “Continent-ed”. Soccer may be many things but what a crock when a referee can call a foul and, by rule, is not required to identify who committed the foul or the infraction committed. Sounds like the perfect job for Crawford.
The US Open
It has come to my attention that Picasner is not a fan of golf in general and cannot understand how anyone can waste their few remaining hours of life watching golf on television. Clearly, Picasner knows less about golf than he does about the former location of Pagano’s Market in Oswego. Not surprising since he’s never been in Pagano’s and the only putter he’s played with is… well, that’s another story. While I play golf three or four times a week, the only tournaments I watch are the US and British Opens. It’s a pleasure to watch great players struggle on these courses as hard as we mere mortals flail on our favorite public links. I urge our hero to give the Open at least a look this weekend for three reasons. 1. Unlike his pin-stripped favorites, professional golfers can actually hit a ball with modest regularity. (Admittedly, it helps that a golf ball is stationary – but those of us who play know it doesn’t help that much) 2. Unlike the NBA, these guys don’t need blind mice to make stuff up – they’re required to call penalties on themselves, and do. And, 3. Unlike FIFA, cheating is not an institutionalized art form. What’s not to like?
I can only hope for our safety given the bogus bull that will be flowing out of CP’s flame throwing keyboard as he babbles his way through another ill-conceived response. (Note: it’s getting harder to motivate our anointed one to write something remotely accurate or interesting. Must be all that “government work”.)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
***YANKS UNHAPPY WITH MOYER***
Not only did Jamie Moyer become the oldest pitcher to beat the Yankees, but he also messed up the field with his wheelchair.
***PHILLIES NEGOTIATING WITH PEDRO MARTINEZ***
The stumbling block is not money, which you might expect, but Pedro wants assurances that he won't have to pitch to Hideki Matsui ever again.
***I'LL NEVER LEAVE THE UMPIRES ALONE***
I have a new buddy in Yorvit Torrealba. Read this little rant. There is a hell of a lot truth in what he says.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Well, it wasn't really. When the big hullabaloo about whether or not to reverse the "out" call by Jim Joyce in the 'almost perfect' game, the appointment of Frank Robinson to an oversight position for Major League umpires was pushed into the background. Robinson has a reputation of being fair but outspoken. The hope here is that Frank will institute a return to the Sandy Alderson control of the umpires. Read what Buster Olney has to say about Alderson:
"A common refrain heard among club executives in recent seasons has been that the umpires' performance just hasn't been the same since Sandy Alderson left the Commissioner's Office. See, Alderson was regarded, in the world of executives, as something of a leg-breaker. If an umpire's strike zone was erratic or small, he would contact that umpire directly and let him know that he was being held accountable. If Alderson didn't like an exchange involving an umpire, he dealt with it forcefully and directly (which is why some umpires look back at the Alderson Era in the way that Englishmen might regard the Dark Ages)."
This is probably not good news for Joe West. Sure hope that singing career holds up, Joe.
***THE RETURN OF CARLOS BELTRAN***
..and the departure of Oliver Perez. Ollie has been put on the DL because of "Patella Tendonitis," which is the only way the Mets could resolve the problem of a pitcher who couldn't get anyone out and refused to go the minors to work on his problem. This 'ailment' sounded so phony, that MLB actually investigated it. This was lip service at it's finest, because the DL assignment was allowed, to no one's surprise.
Beltran, on the other hand, will either be returning soon or may have his treatment continue for a while longer, depending on, I guess, the time of day. Mike Lupica says he is not "hopping up and down on one leg, waiting for Carlos' return, because that could cause a serious case of , you know, Patella Tendonitis."
***...AND WHO WOULD KNOW BETTER?***
In a survey of 100 major league players (unnamed, of course) by ESPN, they picked the best and worst umpires in the league. The results were a little surprising:
Jim Joyce and Tim McClelland. McClelland wasn't a surprise, it was a shock! How could an ump screw up so badly on national TV in a World Series, and still be #2? Oh, well.
CB Bucknor and Joe West. Joe West has competition? The man who has set the standard for incompetence isn't even #1.
THE UMP WITH THE QUICKEST HOOK:
Joe West. In fact, he got so many votes, he might be #1 AND #2.
While they were at it, they asked the players whether they were in favor of instant replay on the bases (NO - 76%), replay on fair or foul calls (NO - 86%), and finally, should the 'imperfect game' decision be reversed (NO - 86%).
Speaking of the latter, the best argument I've heard about not reversing the call was this:
If Joyce had called the runner out and replays showed that he was safe, would there be a big call to take the perfect game away? Absolutely not.
***COLLEGE FOOTBALL QUIZ***
What is the worst record for a team that won the National Championship?
Answer: the 2004 USC Trojans at 0-14. That's right, 0-14 after the NCAA made them forfeit all their wins in 2004 for rules violations, BUT allowed them to keep their championship. As Vod has said, the Rules Committee does have a sense of humor. The coach at the time, Pete Carroll, used the "Sargent Schultz Defense," to wit, "I know nothing! Nothing!"
Friday, June 11, 2010
***PABLO'S STILL AT IT***
San Fran's 3rd baseman, Pablo Sandoval is still struggling with the weight problem. He's been watching videos of himself running the bases to help improve his technique. No one has been able to convince him the videos are not being run in slo-mo.
The claim is that every team has someone who is very adept at picking up tips on what a pitcher is going to throw. Little habits that a pitcher develops that give away his intention. So why are there still so many .250 hitters? Well, it's one thing to know, and another thing entirely to hit what you know is coming. Even Mariano Rivera tips his cut fastball: it's when he gets the ball from the catcher.
***OZZIE IN THE NEWS...AGAIN***
White sox manager, Ozzie Guillen, and his GM, Kenny Williams are feuding again, supposedly almost coming to blows during a heated discussion over the recent amateur draft. Ozzie's son was drafted in the 22nd round by the Sox, while Williams son was drafted 6th. Both men deny the exchange but, on the other hand, Ozzie has offered his son $50,000 to refuse to sign with the White Sox. Yeah, there's no problem here.
***HEEEEERE COMES BOBBY!***
The Orioles are courting Bobby Valentine hard. This is probably not a bad move for the O's. Bobby is a decent baseball man and if the Orioles continue to slide, Valentine can provide comic relief to distract the fans. After all, this is the man who returned to the dugout from the clubhouse one inning after being ejected, wearing dark glasses and a fake mustache. It worked, too. Just another play the umpires missed.
***CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?***
The Baseball Hall of Fame has requested Steve Strasburg's hat and a baseball from his debut for display. Are you kidding? One win and he's in the Hall? What will they want for the next win, his glove and a jock strap?
***HOORAY FOR JEFF***
While on a vacation trip last September, Picasner & Annie-O saw a game in Miller Stadium in Milwaukee, picking up a Jeff Suppan Bobblehead doll as part of a promotion. Imagine our grief when Suppan was released outright by the Brewers this week. Annie-O actually blew out the votive candle. Never fear, sports fans, Jeff was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals this week. No return of the candle, of course, 'cause he's in a Brewers uniform.
With supe-richies Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina running for governor and senator respectively in California, residents of La La Land are assured of a perfectly balanced GOP ticket for these two top jobs.
While CEO of eBAY, Whitman managed an operation that created thousands of jobs, as Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, oversaw the destruction of thousands of jobs as HP’s stock tanked. Perfect symmetry.
Let me be clear, I am a huge supporter of Whitman. If there was ever a commodity ripe for sale on eBay, its California. No reserve price will be set.
(What can I tell you, the mind wanders when Picasner lolls away the days “working” and ignoring his responsibilities here.)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Well, I was offended by the Yankees performance in Baltimore tonight, so in the spirit of sportsmanship, let’s offend everybody.
Q. What's the Cuban National Anthem?
A. Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
Q. Where does an Irish family go on vacation?
A. A different bar.
Q. What did the Chinese couple name their tan, curly-haired baby?
A. Sum Ting Wong .
Q. What do you call it when an Italian has one arm shorter than the other?
A. A speech impediment.
Q. Why aren't there any Puerto Ricans on Star Trek?
A. Because they're not going to work in the future either.
Q. Why do Driver's Ed classes in Oswego County schools use the car only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays?
A. Because on Tuesday and Thursday, the Sex Ed class uses it.
Q. What's the difference between a southern zoo and a northern zoo?
A. The southern zoo has a description of the animal ... along with a recipe.
Q. How do you get a sweet little 80-year-old lady to say the 'F' word?
A. Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell, 'BINGO!'
Q. What's the difference between a northern fairytale and a southern fairytale???
A. A northern fairytale begins, ...'Once upon a time...'
A southern fairytale begins, ... 'Y'all ain't gonna believe this stuff.'
Q. Why doesn't Mexico have an Olympic team?
A. Because all the Mexicans who can run, jump, or swim are already in the United States
Chad - get to work or I'll post more of this drivel.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Please don't worry about the Census. Those non-Yankee fans are not lost completely. I simply transferred them all to Plattsburgh where they'll be no trouble at all.
***EVERYBODY HAS THEIR THEORIES***
As an ESPN analyst (and I use the term loosely), J.P. Riccardi gave his reason that Jim Joyce missed the call: "Watch where he's looking," said J.P., "He's watching the 1st baseman field the ball! Why isn't he watching first base?" Watch the rest of the replay, J.P. Joyce did watch in time. I guess when it's difficult to come up with a fresh view on the play, you just make up problems. With the pitcher, the ball and the runner all converging on first base, it isn't the easiest call to make. You can make a lot of excuses, J.P.'s being the worst one possible, but Joyce missed it and I think he knew right away that he did. And, of course, we have the benefit of slo-mo.
By the way, if you watch the YES Network, do you agree with me that it should be "No-Mo" on the "Yes-Mo?"
***YANKS LOSE AGAIN***
It's a shame to waste these good pitching performances. The meat of the Yankee lineup is just that, "pieces of meat." 3-4-5-6 was a combined 2-24 yesterday. Teixeira looked particularly inept as though he was swinging at pitches in another dimension. The NY papers say neither Girardi or Teixeira are concerned. Well, I'M CONCERNED! Ray Charles has a better chance of getting a hit than Tex. It's a good thing the announcers were Bob Lorenz and John Flaherty. They were able to lull me to sleep enough times that the ineptness wasn't as painful. At least there were no issues with the umps, or as Jud calls them, "The Men In Blew."
***AND A FINAL EULOGY***
Leave it to Vin Scully to offer a classy note to the passing of a classy man:
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Hey, Hank, Brian, Joe, and the rest of the Yankee "Brain Rust", it's June. Teixeira is batting .215. He finished the day 0 - 6 with 5 Ks. Get him some help. An optometrist, a psychiatrist, or the spirit of Vodoo Queen Marie. Kevin Long clearly is out of ideas.
In the meantime, move him down in the order. Take a little pressure off. If you're concerned about hurting his confidence, don't. If he has any left its misplaced. A change of scenery hitting sixth just might help.
Getting enough sleep at the wheel, boys?
The good news is that our main man Picasner has landed a cushy job with the census and, thanks to our hero, the job has been completed in record time saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The bad news is that population of the greater Rochester are has dropped precipitously to a total of 2,101.
According to P, “If you’re not a Yankee fan, you’re not worth counting.”
The comment has been made that if it was a Yankee pitcher who lost the Perfecto, Yankee fans would be clamoring for a change. Not this fan. The game is not played in the Commissioners office, but on the field. I am still irked at the "Pine Tar Game" decision. The ultimate decision may have been morally right, but it was wrong to decide against the rules. At least we got to see baseball's best explosive argument. Even George Brett says he's proud of that one.
No comments from Picasner on this one. I slept through the game and apparently the Yankees did the same.
***HEADLINE AT SPORTS PICKLE.COM***
"Ubaldo Jimenez tosses baseball's 211,413th imperfect game."
***THE PASSING OF JOHN WOODEN***
When I was most impressed about Coach Wooden, was that designed his team around the players he had. Dean Smith at UNC, would force his players into his system. Even Michael Jordan was not allowed to play his game but was put into Dean's offense where the number of shots he took was limited and confined to the plays that were run. He did win with that system, but it wasn't the most most exciting or interesting basketball.
I watched Coach Wooden design an offense around two great guards that he had, then around dominating centers that were there, and finally around two great forwards, when they were the best players on the team. That was great coaching.
Friday, June 04, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Ahhhh, back from from an amazing week in Vermont and the Adirondacks, great motorcycling and enough golf to keep the “lies” coming for weeks. And what do I find back in RaCha… the baseball scene as boring as when I left.
Teixeira can’t read a calendar. Hey Mark, its June, not April. Girardi still has him in the three hole offering no protection for the Roid. I heard Joe comment that in spite of an anemic .215 BA (oops… just checked today’s box and he’s up to .217) and a lower than team average OPB, he likes that the visually challenged one has over 30 RBIs. Big deal. Picasner could do that given as many opportunities as Texiera has had. More telling is the number of runners he’s failed to drive in and the rallies that he’s killed. But not to worry, May is just around the corner… the 11 month corner.
Speaking of the much and deservedly maligned P… I sent a copy of his post on umpire Jim Joyce’s latest visual hallucination to Tiger’s manager Jim Leyland. I know he’ll fell much better knowing that “It was a mistake” and simply “…part of baseball”. BP has used the “Picasner Imperative” to explain turning the Gulf of Mexico into a toxic waste dump. It was a mistake and simply part of drilling for oil in 5,000 ft of water. I know I feel better already.
The only real “talk” about MLB reversing the decision has been from the P. While that’s an easy straw man to knock down, get ready for a serious analysis of expansion of umpire reviewed video replays. Before our favorite has a seizure, just remember that “the good old days” never really were.
I guess I we already know that MLB umpires are still visually impaired, narcissistic, wide-bodied fog horns – and currently the buzz of talking heads everywhere. Who says Bud Selig doesn’t recognize a marketing opportunity when it bashes him in his shrunken head. Marketing through Incompetence! That’s the man we love.
The NL remains only slightly more satisfying than watching paint dry (fewer fumes) and much less than watching the grass grow (costs less, smells better). The Ubaldo Factor is fun and so is the Much Ballyhooed Arrival of Strasberg. Still, both will be pitching in a minor league.
The good news is that there is at least two more Stanley Cup games to watch and a renewal of the Celtics – Laker rivalry on tap. Watching a few NBA games called by their bozo refs is the best prep for a long summer of Joe West, Jim Joyce, Angel Hernandez, ad nauseum.
Kudos to the P for calling out Paul O’Neil’s and Mikey’s performance in the booth. Those two need to get a grip on something other than their own egos. I’m so pleased to learn that the self admitted Big Headed One doesn’t yet wear a size 8 hat and that O’Neil’s wife doesn’t allow him to carry actual cash and that he eats like a pig, but as P pointed out, there is occasionally a game in progress. Sadly, the radio broadcast offers little more since Susan is limited to stroking the source of “he’s Swish-a-licious”. Help us.
Finally, with 1/3 of the season over, the standings offer little to be surprised about. The Rays are playing as well as most knowledgeable baseball people expected and the Yankees and Red Sox continue to make the AL East the most if not the only interesting division in MLB. The Central and the West have only 2 teams between them more than 2 games over .500 and the NL is just not ready for prime time – so what could possible be surprising, other than Ubaldo?
I’ll leave it to the P for now to recycle the same stuff until the Yankees do something worth reporting and umpires regain some competency and dignity. In the meantime, I’ll watch Kevin Garnett, the dirtiest player in basketball, and Kobe Bryant, the Tiger Woods of the NBA, do some amazing things on the basketball court while trying to overlook that they are people you warn your kids about.
But it really isn't. It was a mistake, it happens. Unfortunately, this one cost baseball (and Armando Galarraga) some history, but it's a part of baseball. We don't have to like it, but we have to live with it. Those kind of situations go both ways. It seems generally agreed that the 27th out in Don Larsen's perfect game, was a called strike three on a pitch clearly outside.
Two points that need to be made:
## Umpire Jim Joyce allowed a raucus argument after the play without anyone being ejected and stood up like a man afterward.
## There was some talk about whether or not MLB could step up and reverse that call afterward. In a word, NO! You can't get into that kind of situation with after-the-fact reversal of calls by a third party. Where would it end?
Finally, congratulations to Armando for a beautifully pitched game and sorry it didn't work out the way it should have. And kudos to Armando, manager Jim Leland and umpire Jim Joyce for the classy way they handled the aftermath.
It was probably a half of a season too late and that's unfortunate but he was definitely a class act all the way. No PEDs, no on or off the field tantrums, no late night drama, just good baseball. He started his Major League career with somewhat of a reputation for being a brat, but that passed and he was a respected and well-liked teammate. He will be missed.
Pitching and hitting will do that for you. While this has been described as the "cupcake section" of the Yanks schedule, you still have to perform and they have. ESPN publishes a list of the players ratings, with the top ten on the face page of the baseball website. Robinson Cano hasn't been in the top ten until today (he's #10). It's about time.
***THE PAMPERED PLAYERS ARE WORLDWIDE***
The World Cup is at hand - that's soccer if you live in a cave - and, not to be outdone by rock stars and many American professional athletes, these teams have demands of their own. Such as:
Golf lessons for New Zealanders (Tee times weren't mentioned - will they be surprised). Another team wants their own pool, heated to 90 degrees (must be a cold weather country). Argentina wants 6 PlayStations, unlimited ice cream and 3 choices of pudding. 3 choices of puddings? Did they run out of things to ask for? Mexico is bringing their own priest, ostensibly because they can't bring their own referees. So the Worlds Most Popular Sport also has the World's Biggest Prima Donnas.
***HOW DID I MISS THIS?***
Dwight Perry, noting last Tuesday was National Tap Dancing Day: " Baseball fans celebrated by watching reruns of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa testifying before Congress."
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Miguel Tejada was charged with a throwing error that cost Baltimore the game last night. However, a Major League first baseman would have caught that throw. Granted, Ty Wiggington is a 2nd baseman playing first to keep his bat in the game, but he's got to catch that throw...and not fall down trying. He did amuse the crowd in the ninth by back-pedaling down the first base line to avoid a tag. Granderson hit a homerun off a lefty, no less. That made it two surprising performances. Vasquez was simply terrific, working out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the 7th. I was glad to see him get the win. Chamberlain & Rivera performed as they should.
It seems the Yanks can be their own worst enemy. Now Mark Teixeira has fouled a ball off his foot, causing him to leave the game. X-rays were negative and he should play tonight.
One of the ESPN reporters said the Yanks were, "...feasting on the league's bottom-feeders, no offense to the Orioles,..." No, of course not. Who could take that remark badly?
***TAMPA BAY PULLS ONE OUT IN THE NINTH***
Behind 5-3, the Rays scored 4 runs in the ninth to win 7-6 in Toronto, aided by Kevin Gregg's 5 walks in 2/3 of an inning. How could manager Cito Gaston let that happen? Rays manager Joe Madden was tossed in the ninth when home plate umpire, Angel Hernandez, refused to grant hitter Carlos Pena a time out. Not ready to hit, Pena took a called third strike, causing Madden
to argue that trying to speed up a game in that situation was wrong. Wherever he was, Joe West reportedly clutched his heart and fell to the ground, saying afterwards, "I don't know. I just felt a disturbance in the force."
***YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT?***
Mark McGwire's wife Stephanie is expected to give birth to triplets this week. Apparently Mark is still using those "performance enhancing" drugs.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
If you ignore the reality of the actual hitters, walking a guy to load the bases with one out in a one-run game, is the right move. Set-up the double play, force at any base, etc. However, when the next batter is the CLEAN-UP hitter, well...you might want to re-think your strategy. There is history behind the "walk-Teixeira-to-pitch-to-A-Rod" plan and it ain't good for the opposition. I don't think we'll see this plan again. Pettitte has overpowered everybody so far.
O'Neil & Michael Kay had their usual good time, occasionally interrupting their routines with some of the game. Apparently not satisfied with previous answers, Kay asked Paul if, when hit by a pitch, "How does it REALLY feel? Does it REALLY hurt?" You seem a little too preoccupied with pain, Michael.
***WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?***
With the season about 1/3 over, the standings are quite surprising. Only Minnesota occupies 1st place as was predicted. Tampa is in first place in the AL East, where New York & Boston were supposed to battle it out. Oakland leads the AL West over Texas and the Angels. The National League is no different. Atlanta is ahead of the favorite, Philadelphia, Cincinnati is beating St Louis and where the heck did San Diego come from? The pre-season talk for them was when they would begin to unload all their higher priced players, yet, here they are.
One bit of good news for Yankee fans, is that Bob "Wrong-Way" Matthews is predicting Tampa to finish on top with Boston as the wild card because of their superior (?) pitching. I don't know who he's watching, but Beckett is out with a bad back, Matsuzaka has yet to get thru the 5th inning with less than 100 pitches and at least 5 walks and Wakefield...well, consider this. ESPN has an elaborate formula to rate pitching performances, based solely on their statistics. 60-70 is generally a good score, 30-40 is not. Halladay's perfect game rated a 98. Last time out, Wakefield scored a -1. Thank you, Bob.
***I'M NOT SURE IF THIS IS TRUE, BUT...***
...I wouldn't put it past them. I talked earlier about the Baseball Owner's penchant for selling the same seat twice in one day (for two separate games), but the Florida Marlins appear to be going that policy one better: They are selling tickets to a game that was played three days ago! As a special promotion, they are selling unused tickets for Halladay's perfect game as souvenirs. These guys don't miss a trick, do they? What's really sad is that this will work.
***WHAT'S WRONG WITH C.B. BUCKNOR?***
He was one of the 4 umpires in the Yankee/Indian series this weekend. He made some awful calls. Calling guys safe at first when they were obviously out, out at 2nd whey they were safe and had a strike zone that had little relationship to the hitters or the plate. Oddly enough, there was very little grousing about his questionable calls and he never had to throw anyone out of the game. However, Joe West called the Yankee dugout long distance and tossed two players and a trainer.
***FROM DWIGHT PERRY'S COLUMN***
"Perception is everything," wrote Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. "Jason Heyward, with nine home runs and 35 RBI, is having an amazing rookie season in Atlanta. Albert Pujols, with nine home runs and 34 RBI, is having a horrible season in St. Louis.
***DAVID WHITLEY OF FANHOUSE.COM***
"The NFL awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to Mt.Everest. The first 1,000 fans to freeze to death will get officially licensed caskets painted in their favorite team's colors."
"I'm kidding, of course. The NFL would never give away merchandise."