Thursday, September 30, 2010
In spite of all the talk, I think Girardi is going to rest his players and use his starters in work-out mode (two-three innings) only, for the last three games. In a press conference, Girardi's only answer to every question was, "We'll see." We'll see what? The Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees play the Red Sox? It would be nice to think that Girardi doesn't want to reveal his plans because he doesn't want to have the NY press tell him he's wrong ahead of time, but in reality, I don't think Joe has any idea what he's doing. Doesn't matter; I'll be sleepwalking through these last three games, anyway. So will Girardi.
Tampa, I believe, is going all out to win the division. That's if going 5-5 in their last ten games means going all out.
In their last ten games, the four American League playoff teams have a record of 18-22. That translates to a .450 pct. Over 162 games, it would mean they have the same record as the Chicago Cubs, currently in 5th place in the NL Central, 16 games back. Oh yeah, they're ready.
***THE NATIONAL LEAGUE***
Philly, Cincy and San Fran have it locked up, while Atlanta and the Padres battle to be the team knocked out of the playoffs by Philadelphia. Vod is right; a Philly-Cinci World Series could be on the horizon.
***THE YANKS HAVE A MIRACLE WORKER***
On a lark, Joe Girardi took some batting practice swings the other day and promptly blasted one into the stands. Asked about it later, Joe credited a session with batting coach, Kevin Long. "Yeah, he had me bring my hands back and closed my stance a little. I'm definitely ready for pinch-hitting duties if the manager calls on me. ...Oh wait, that's me."
(A thanks to Annie-O for that one)
***FROM TOM BOSWELL, WASHINGTON POST***
After the woeful Rams dominated the Redskins: "Until the Redskins got here, Ram fans were so depressed that when they tailgated, they took turns sitting next to the exhaust pipe."
***JANICE HOUGH, LEFT COAST SPORTS BABE***
On the offensively challenged Giants and Padres meeting this weekend with the NL West on the line: "This could be the first MLB playoff spot ever decided by penalty kicks."
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Held in check for about a week by the tight grip on the reins by manager Joe Girardi, the Yankees finally allowed him to take a deep breath last night in Toronto. You could see the look of determination on the face of CC Sabathia as he took the mound in the 1st inning, as he simply overpowered the Blue Jays for 8 1/3 innings. Rivera finished up to continue the tradition of Mo' getting the last out in a clinching game. I think they also wanted to test the corrections Eiland made to Mo's mechanics. The results were indecisive.
CC is their Ace, the Stopper, the Big Gun in the Yanks' rotation, hearkening back to the hallowed names of Ron Guidry and Whitey Ford, those pitchers you KNEW would win the critical game for the Yanks.
No major blasts, no 5-run innings, just a few timely fly balls, some speed on the base paths and a couple of helpful calls by the home plate umpire, Mark Carlson. After watching CC's first inning, the feeling was that the Yanks were in no danger of losing and the game never really felt as close as the score.
***WHAT'S THE BEST POSITION?***
1st place or the wild card? It's really hard to say at this point. I thought all along the Yanks would be better off playing the Rangers because of their inexperience in post-season competition and the fact that their best hitter, Josh Hamilton, was hurting. Of course, there is always Cliff Lee lurking in the shadows. To play them however, means finishing 1st.
On the other hand, the Twins have a lot of health problems right now. Morneau is likely done for the year, Mauer is hurting, as is their SS and Jim Thome. Two of their starting pitchers aren't up to par either, and the Twins are weak in that department anyway. But don't count out Gardenhire; he always seems to find a way to get the best out of what he has. Not having to worry about winning the division allows Girardi to rest his oldtimers (and there are a few) and set up his rotation for the playoffs.
Picasner says: Go for the Twins.
***THE RAYS MOUTH OFF***
David Price and Evan Longoria have publicly stated that they are "embarrassed" by the lack of support of the Tampa Bay fans. It's not a good idea to lambaste the people who pay your salary, but the players are right. In a stadium holding 36,000+, less than 18,000 fans showed up to watch the Rays clinch a playoff position last night. Vod claims the stadium is beautiful, the seats are all good and the attendants are friendly and helpful. What's the problem? If Tampa's front office decides that they can't afford certain players this winter, the fans must shoulder some of that responsibility.
***ONE RACE LEFT***
San Francisco, San Diego and Atlanta are battling for the last two playoff spots. It appears that San Fran will probably win the West and Atlanta will garner the wild card. However, none of the three figure to last very long in the post-season.
***ON THE LIGHTER SIDE***
Janice Hough (Left Coast Sports Babe) outdid herself yesterday:
"Tonight, temperamental Chicago hurler Carlos Zambrano stepped up big time and the Cubs hung on for a 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres. Grateful Giants fans are considering sacrificing a water cooler in Zambrano’s honor."
Also from Janice: Bill Littlejohn says:
“Stanford’s FB/LB Owen Marecic became the first player to score both ways at Notre Dame since a 1976 campus visit by David Bowie.”
From RJ Currie, Sports Deke.com:
"A group of paleontologists said this week they've discovered a dinosaur with a horn on each side of a protective head covering. Okay, raise your hand if you thought of Brett Favre."
And one more from RJ (pay attention, now):
"Pittsburgh officials voted last week to level the Penguins' old home, Mellon Arena. In a related story, Life & Style reports Heidi Montag wants her size G implants removed."
From the King of the punsters, the "Great" Dwight Perry:
"The Seahawks released offensive lineman Mansfield Wrotto on Tuesday.
There went plans for a Wrotto Rooters fan club."
Yeah, I know.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Even though he denies it (a lot), Rob Neyer hates the Yankees. He never says it directly, but it seems he jumps on any chance to publish anything negative about the Yanks that he can find.
Now he has dredged up the "Jeter-NOT-hit-by-a-pitch" thing again.
Rob claims a friend wrote to him with this gem:
"Cal Ripken once said that he told base runners to stay on the bag, when an Oriole teammate was planning a hidden ball trick. Junior said that even if a hidden ball trick was successful, in the long term it would come back to hurt a team somehow."
I don't usually comment in these columns, because a lot of times you just get clowns responding by insulting you and arguing with made-up facts and outlandish opinions. Since it appeared that no one had commented, I took a shot.
picasner (9/27/2010 at 5:53 PM)
No way do I believe that Ripken would sabotage his own team by warning a runner to stay on the bag. If he had done that, his teammates would have called him out. Rob, if your friend really believes that, I have a bridge for sale.Do you think we'll ever be done with this Jeter thing?
Well, what do you know? 22 other comments showed up, NONE advocating what Rob's "friend" said. In fact, other people weren't as kind as Picasner, calling Rob an idiot, a moron, and a Yankee-hater. I even disagree with Rob's first statement: I don't believe he has any friends.
At least those with triple digit IQs.
First of all, both teams used a new offensive weapon last night: the other team's closer. Two of baseball's premier closers looked far from overpowering, let alone effective. Secondly, the slow, plodding big boppers from Beantown, stole FOUR bases in one inning off Rivera & Posada. Mo was never very good at holding runners on, mostly because he usually didn't have runners on. Posada, whose arm never scared anyone but his own teammates, has regressed in the last two years, if that's possible. I'm sure the scouts of seven other potential playoff teams were all scribbling furiously in their reports: RUN - RUN - RUN.
The Yanks got nine hits last night, six by the 3-4-5 hitters. A-Rod looks like he's going to hit 30+ homers again and Tex got 3 hits. These guys better hit, the pitching looks a little shaky these days. The magic number for the playoffs is now one, but if Girardi can be believed, they need to keep winning if they want to win the division. I suspect if they win tonight, they will go heavily into "set-up-for-the-playoffs" mode.
I just received word that Hell has indeed, frozen over. Joe Morgan, the self-proclaimed best 2nd baseman ever, has announced that Robinson Cano is a good 2nd baseman. Wow!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Picasner a man of few words? Who would believe it? Then again, what more needs to be said about yesterday's fiasco?
C. Picasner and I are are decidedly very different kinds of Yankee fans. When I was a kid in the early 50's, not the 1850's as Chad would have you believe, I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. When O'Malley followed the dollars to the west coast, I, like many others was heartbroken and could not easily transfer my allegiance to LA or to any other team, particularly the hated Yankees.
I had no further particular interest in MLB until the '61 home run battle between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and none again until the Amazin' Mets 1969 run. I casually followed the A's during their rowdy boys seasons. You had to love a team that sported halloween costume uniforms and some of the wildest mustachios since the Civil War. I even followed the Red Sox during one season of Sparky Lyles' tenure in Boston - another great mustache.
There were always individual Yankees that were special to watch and appreciate; Thurmond, Reggie, Greg Nettles, and the late '90s teams had a special chemistry. The current crop has Jeter, Mariano, and the prodigal Andy Pettitte and how can any baseball fan not appreciate what Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano do in the field day in and day out.
But when the Yankees play the Blue Jays or the Rays, once again, for me, its a flashback to 1955 and at an atavistic level, I'm pulling for the competition to beat The Corporation and the super-sized-ego Steinbrenner clan. Why the Jays? LT and I love going to Toronto for baseball. An incredibly friendly park staff and a great downtown neighborhood make for fine weekends. And Tampa, aka St. Pete? Always plenty of inexpensive seats even when the Yankees are in town early in the season. And I just can't help deriving some enjoyment from insufferably rabid Yankee fans who were moved to defend a convicted criminal owner and see apocalyptic omens in every loss. They need either a large dose of sarcasm or a crowbar upside the head. So if I poke a stick in Picasner's nose from tim to time its only to save him from crowbar induced dementia. A fair trade, don't you think?
When all is said and done, though, what's the point of watching a World Series without the Yankees? The only plusses: 1) no Girardi pointlessly boring post-game interviews, 2) no extended close-ups of A-Roid chewing and spitting pounds of shells or grabbing his balls, and best of all, 3) no need to suffer the McCarver Ordeal.
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Note: I need your help in convincing the P to attend our 50th Oswego High School reunion scheduled for August 2012 and expect help from our Oswego and Connecticut readers. While P and I can identify hardly a dozen people that we would like to see this is a rare event no one should miss if still alive and mobile. Last time I checked the P was both. And, as we all know, its not a party without Picasner.
Phil Hughes is starting tonight. Even though it makes it tougher to win this game, I'll bet Terry Francona is chuckling because he got what he was trying for: to scare Joe Girardi. A win tonight all but cinches a playoff spot and Joe can go back to "resting" everyone.
According to ESPN's Probable Pitching match ups, the Yanks have a good chance to win the Wednesday game. The Yanks pitcher: UNDECIDED.
If I seem particularly sarcastic today, I can only quote Captain Kirk: "I don't like to lose."
This hasn't been a good week for the Yanks. You can't win when your starters can't get out of their own way, the relievers offer no relief and only three guys can hit (notice I didn't say 'hitters').
Girardi has gotten downright scary with the decisions he's making. Maybe Tony Pena should start spitting some of those sunflower seeds at Joe instead of on the ground. I always thought Joe Torre used to over-use pitchers who were getting people out. Girardi over-uses guys who can't get anybody out. Why the fascination with Chad Gaudin? Is he holding one of Joe's kids hostage?
In the movie "The Natural," the club brought in a motivational speaker, who bored the players to death ("...ah, but curable."). The Yanks brought in former NFL coach, Tony Dungy. An NFL coach? What's he going to teach them? How to pick up the blitz? When to use the cover-2? It seems to be working: no one has completed a pass on them this week.
The Yanks have a 5 1/2 game lead over Boston for the wild card, but they have 4 games left with the Bosox, 3 of them in Fenway. Things look a little dicey. Girardi's answer - "If you had said back in the spring, that we have a 5 1/2 game lead with 7 to go to make the playoffs, we'd have all signed on." Sure Joe, until they also said you'd have a 9 game lead with 11 games to go. Can you say New York Mets?
Saturday, September 25, 2010
***SIX HOMERS DIDN'T HELP***
Pettitte didn't have it nor did Abaladejo. You could tell how bad the pitching was when Mitre was the most effective hurler the Yanks had. If Sergio keeps this up, he's going to ruin his standing in the "Mop-Up Rotation." So, 6 home runs couldn't do it. They needed at least 8.
Michael Kay mentioned, tongue-in-cheek, last night, how the Red Sox hadn't given up, feeling that with 6 games left against the Yanks, they still had a chance. Ha-Ha. It doesn't seem quite so funny this morning. It almost appears that the Yankee season now rests in the hands of Nova & Mosley. Not a pleasant thought.
Michael Kay announced last night that this was the Yanks 13th sell-out of the year, yet ESPN listed the attendance at 49,000+, 94.7% capacity. I don't understand.
***AND THE YANKS GET HIM NEXT***
As if the Sox weren't enough, next week the Yanks have to figure out how to stop Jose Bautista, who blasted two more homers last night, to give him 52 for the season. The PED-use suspicion is starting up in the sports columns, but it does seem unlikely.
***TRYING TO LIGHTEN THE MOOD***
From Sports Deke. com:
"Reports say the Tennessee Titans mascot T-Rac completely devoured a cheerleader during their opening game.That sounds hard to swallow." (Obviously took Pun lessons from Dwight Perry).
But, it really happened. Check out the following link:
Friday, September 24, 2010
The Rays came in a half-game behind, and they left a half-game behind. Nothing got settled except to emphasize that these two teams are evenly matched. If they face each other in the playoffs, I think it will come down to a few well-placed breaks. First, they both have to get thru the first round: Texas, with the most holes in their lineup and the Twins, the hottest team in the American League right now.
Last night wasn't very pretty from the pinstripe viewpoint. They had Price on the hook and let him off. Announcers Kay & Flaherty were impressed with Teixeira's swing, saying he looked like his hand injury was okay. I don't think he was able to pull the ball at all. Hitting to right field and right-center is Jeter's territory. Vasquez solidified his spot in "Mop-Up Rotation" with his efforts (I use the term loosely). Gaudin gave up consecutive home runs, but Javier went him one better: he HIT three batters in a row. Anything you can do, I can do better...
Yanks play 6 against Boston and 3 against Toronto to end the regular season; the Rays play 10 games against 3 teams who gave up the ghost a month ago. Good scheduling.
***IS THIS FOR REAL?***
I can't believe this: the San Francisco Giants scored 13 runs? In one game? That's normally a weeks worth of scoring for them. Can't poke too much fun at them though, they're leading the NL West.
***MUST HAVE FORGOTTEN WHERE HE WAS***
One day in New York City and Joe Torre is big news. First the papers make a big deal of Torre and Cashman making up and the Yankees burying the hatchet. Then Torre makes what he thinks is an innocent statement about managing the Mets. Current (for now) manager Jerry Manuel calls him out, asking why would somebody lobby for a job that's already filled. Torre, of course, denied ever making the statement but apologized anyway. Typical.
Interestingly, David Wells, no slouch in the 'big mouth' department himself, criticized the comment and then went further in calling Torre a "coward" when he managed the Yanks, claiming Joe often sent coaches to give bad news to players, rather than telling them himself.
Nothing like the NY press to catch you with your mouth open.
***TWO MILESTONES REACHED IN ONE GAME***
Ichiro Suzuki gets his 200th hit - been there, done that for Ichiro.
Jose Bautista hits his 50th home run - virgin territory for him. He's never hit more than 16 in a year in four full seasons in the majors. Because of the extensive testing, I think we can rule out drugs, so next season should be ver-r-r-y interesting.
***FROM DWIGHT PERRY'S COLUMN***
"Coach Knight has requested that none of the roasters bring up his past behavioral issues or his considerable use of profanity," cracked emcee Jay Bilas to open last week's Bob Knight roast, "so thank you everybody for coming, and good night."
***SEE. IT'S NOT JUST NEW YORK***
Joe Maddon got beat up a little in the Tampa press for screwing up his bullpen and not having a lefty available to face lefty hitting Cano. To quote Joe, "I'm on the mound handing the ball to someone who doesn't look like Randy Choate." Good line Joe, but not every one thought it was funny. One Tampa blogger suggested they institute drug testing on managers.
FYI: "Chad Picasner At Large" has been quoted in 11 different newspapers and 2 other blogs, but this is the first time Chad has been quoted in his OWN blog. (see previous posting)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Steinbrenner got his plaque & Girardi got his win. His was a beautiful ceremony and an emotional rendition of "God Bless America" by GS granddaughter, Haley Swindal. It seemed "interesting" to me that Joe Torre was paraded around after sniping at the Yankees in his book. Well, I guess it was a class move, but I'm not sure I would have done it.
An exciting game, to say the least. Granderson blasted two homers, one high off the foul pole. I didn't think he had that kind of power. Michael Kay mentioned how helpful it is to bat ahead of Teixeira, A-Rod & Cano. "You'll get a lot of good pitches to hit that way," he said. That's good, because those guys didn't. 0-13, with a walk and a sac fly. Not the kind of numbers you want from your 3-4-5 hitters. Chad Gaudin got one out in the sixth to pick up the win. He also reminded us of why he's the 'Mop-Up' guy by walking in the tieing run, first.
***THE INEVITABLE FINALLY HAPPENED***
A bat shattered and a player was struck. Luckily, it wasn't life-threatening, but it was still scary. These maple bats are very dangerous, but MLB doesn't seem to want to do anything about it. Rob Neyer, ESPN columnist, blames the players, of all people. "Why hasn't it happened? Because the players, collectively, care more about their freedom to use any bat they like than about some potentially catastrophic injury." I wonder how Tyler Colvin, the player who was injured, feels about that.
***HEADLINES I DON'T UNDERSTAND***
"DO THE METS PROBLEMS START AT THE TOP?"
Well, it's certainly not Mike Nickeas, the 3rd-string catcher's, fault. The Mets will probably have a new manager next year, but question is, who will take the job? The word is that the owner, Jeff Wilbon, is decidedly tough to work for. The New York papers describe him as a 'George Steinbrenner type, without the smarts. Read what Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes:
"The pithy summary: Wilpon is a "short-tempered, tone deaf credit seeker," he's an "accountability deflector," a "micro-manager" and a "second-guesser." Oh, and he's a bull-headed idiot too, if the phrases Joel Sherman uses -- he's a "less-than-deep thinker," and is "bad at self-awareness" -- can be reasonably parsed. "
Quit beating around the bush, Joel, tell us how you really feel.
***YOU'RE GOING TO NEED A SCORECARD***
On top of all the managerial changes we've seen so far this year, the word is that as many as 16 teams may have new managers when the season opens next year. In fact, if the Yanks don't win the World Series, or at least get in, I think the Yanks will look to replace Girardi. He can be forgiven for some of the mistakes he made last year, since he was really a rookie, but this year? He still pulls some strange moves, especially pinch-hitting for players in the middle of an at bat. Unlike Joe Torre, who used to ride a hot reliever until it took two guys to carry his arm in from the bullpen, Girardi uses everybody, it seems like every game. This "mix-and-match" philosophy appears to be more PYA (Protect Your A**) than playing to match-ups. Hughes better go 8 innings tonight, or we may see Swisher going for a save.
The Marlins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Cardinals, Mets, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Royals and Reds are all rumored to have new managers next year, along with half a dozen others. If the usual pattern occurs, and I think it will, we'll just see all the usual faces being recycled around the league, Bud Selig notwithstanding.
Speaking of Selig, I saw him on TV at the ceremony for George last night. Who dresses him, anyway? He looked like he slept in that suit on the plane from Milwaukee.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Annie, heartfelt thanks from LT and I for remembering our 45th wedding anniversary. It’ must be hard not being a “real” Picasner. You have to try so much harder than the real ones. In your case, nobody does it better.
It was a glorious Sunday. We had a great afternoon of fall golf. The Bombers almost won. Tom Brady’s hair lost to the Jets and 51 Tony Romo passes couldn’t get in done in Dallas. Wonderful!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Obviously, this isn't over. Neither team seems poised to make a big run, so we'll probably see this jockeying for a couple more days until the 4-game set in New York starting Monday. If the Yanks are going to win this thing, they're going to have to hit with men on base. Solo homers and game-winning blasts in the ninth aren't likely to lead to the World Series. But both the Yanks and the Rays will make the playoffs.
Maybe it's my imagination, but it seemed like there were more Yankee fans than Oriole fans in the stands last night. Or maybe they were just louder. Or drank more beer.
***THE PLAYOFF TEAMS ARE BECOMING MORE EVIDENT***
Minnesota has taken charge in the Central, helped by the fact that the White Sox have forgotten how to win, coincidentally when Manny joined the team. A fact not lost on baseball scouts.
Texas still has the very weak West division sewed up. I think their trip to the playoffs will be short lived.
Philadelphia is starting to pull away from the field in the NL East. With a rotation of Oswalt, Halladay and Hamel, they will be the most dangerous team in the NL.
Cincinnati is maintaining a lead in the Central, mostly because the Cardinals seem to have given up. Former player Jack Clark accused them of "quitting" in a radio interview, infuriating manager Tony LaRusso. He took offense at Clark's use of the word "quitter," and hinted that it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Still, LaRusso, the micro-managing king, has to face the fact that the kettle is indeed, black.
Ah, the NL West. This is where the most interesting race is. One team on the way down (SD), one on the way up (Col), and one team in the middle (SF). All three are within a game and a half of each other. Unfortunately, there's a good possibility that only one of them will make the playoffs.
Right now the two strongest candidates for the World Series are Minnesota and Philadelphia.
***GOING OUT IN STYLE***
Bobby Cox's impending retirement hasn't slowed him down one iota. His Atlanta Braves will probably make the playoffs, even if they don't last past the first round. He also added to his ejection record by getting the heave-ho last night. As usual, he got his money's worth, arguing with both the home plate and the 1st base umpires. I hope Girardi was watching.
***INTERESTING ARTICLE ON THE YANKS FARM SYSTEM**
It seems that talent evaluators think the Yanks have an unusually large stockpile of pitching talent. They feel that there are at least three pitchers who project to top-of -the-rotation starters:
Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances and Hector Noesi.
Three who will be bottom-of-the-rotation starters:
Brett Marshall, Manny Banuelos and Adam Warren.
There are three more with great potential but are too new to put a good handle on yet.
Add in Ivan Nova, who's already shown immense ability in the majors and we may not see too many large free agent signings of pitchers in the near future.
***FROM DWIGHT PERRY'S COLUMN***
Seattle Times reader Bill Littlejohn, on the specter of commissioner Bud Selig intervening on behalf of the Dodgers in the McCourt v. McCourt trial: "It could be the first divorce to end in a tie."
***TAKING MY LIFE IN MY HANDS***
This little quip from Janice Hough:
"With Andres Torres out, Edgar Renteria has temporarily won the job of Giants leadoff hitter. And he says he will do whatever necessary to reach base. Guess that means he has a call in for acting tips from Derek Jeter."
"After being released from jail August 2, it was announced Friday that Lindsay Lohan has failed a court-ordered drug test. So congratulations to all those who had 46 days in their office pool."
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Jeter "pretended" that he was hit by a pitch, when he really wasn't. I would have called it cheating, but after listening to all the ex-jocks who are now working as analysts (notice I said 'working as...'), it seems they have other names for it. Faking it, working the ump, part of the game and doing what was needed to win. A rose by any other name, I guess.
The ex-jocks did make some interesting points. What outfielder hasn't short-hopped a fly ball and held up the glove as though he caught it? What infielder hasn't missed a tag and held his glove high before he started a motion to throw the ball around the infield? One former linebacker said he used to "accidentally" push a referee into a running backs hole to jam him up till someone could tackle him. A former basketball player who used to "flop" all the time when he wasn't even hit. "It's up to the official to catch it," they said. Interesting attitude, that. After researching all these viewpoints and opinions, I came away with two very intriguing thoughts:
1) All this faking goes on so much, that we've all become used to it and think nothing of it. "That's the way the game is played," we think. Except now, it's Jeter doing it. Derek "Mr. all-round, great guy, gentleman Jeter. Mr. Perfect. Everyone else can do it, but Jeter isn't allowed to have feet of clay.
2) This came out of the NY papers, of course. Fans may allow Jeter to "have a momentary lapse in judgement," but what would be the outcry if this farce had been perpetrated by Alex Rodriquez? They would have been melting tar and plucking feathers before the game was over. So apparently it's not what was done, but who did it.
The bottom line? I guess we will now stop saying WWJD (What Would Jeter Do). A word to Michael Kay: I believe that a "Jeterian Hit" now has a whole new meaning.
Scene: Pan in on gruff-voiced umpire calling strike 3 on little leaguer.
Zoom in on sad faced little leaguer trudging back to dugout.
Narrator (Cad Picasner, of course.): “A strikeout with the bases loaded? Is that the experience you want for your totally spoiled, under achieving little leaguer? How will he be drafted before he graduates from middle school without an edge?”
“Here’s the good news you’ve been waiting for.”
Narrator (Cad Picasner, of course.): Let Derek Jeter’s new instructional video, Fake It!, teach your son or daughter the life skills used by the professionals.”
Pan to little leaguer writhing in pain on the ground next to home plate.
Narrator (Cad Picasner, of course.): “When your team needs base runners and you can’t hit the ball out of the infield, Lesson 1: Fake One for the Team, demonstrates proper I-Got-Hit technique for bamboozling vision and hearing impaired umpires.”
“Help your child replace those old, worn out values of fair play and sportsmanship with real life skills thoroughly covered in Lesson 2: The Jeter Way - Fake It ‘Til You Make It”.
“But there’s more. Every Fake It! Package includes all of the accessories your kid will need to successfully Fake It! in any situation including the fake ID that every youngster needs to score pre-game chew and a fake nose and moustache for slinking out of town when on the road.”
Zoom to a smirking Derek head shot
And in Lesson 3: I Fake Therefore I Am learn Derek’s secret techniques for slyly peeking at the umpire to see if he is buying your song and dance.
Place your order within the next 10 minutes and you’ll receive a bonus DVD of Derek’s appearance on Faking With the Stars featuring his now famous fake-break-dance performed to his hit duet with Billy Ray Cyrus, Ackey Fakey Heart.
Close: Pan to white-coated EMT pushing a smiling Derek to 1st in wheel chair
Don’t delay. Call Picasner University, 888-IMA-FAKE today. That’s 888-IMA-FAKE. 888-IMA-FAKE.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Three homers, a great catch and an amazing throw. Certainly a recipe for success. It's been fun watching the two best teams in baseball slug it out in front of a few dozen fans...well, actually it was about 28,000 fans. That's about 80%, but it sure seemed like there were a lot more than 6,000 empty seats. But those that were there were really into the game. In fact, both games have been fun to watch. The rubber game of the match is tonight and ESPN has been advertising it as being on their station. Hopefully YES Network will also carry the game because I couldn't handle Joe Morgan midweek. ...or on the weekend.
***FROM BRAD DICKSON OF THE OMAHA WORLD HERALD***
Commenting on reports of an incoming Kentucky basketball player accepting $100,000 in cash and benefits from a Turkish team: "Great, now Kentucky is outsourcing recruiting violations."
***NOT REALLY SPORTS, BUT A GREAT LINE***
From Janice Hough: From Gary Morton on Reggie and the Heisman --" Within a couple of months, Reggie Bush has lost a Heisman and a Kardashian. One has a hand-made, bronze bust, and the other…ok, ok, they both do."
***ATTA BOY, BUD***
Right now, a possible 7th game of the World Series is scheduled for Nov. 4th. "Too late," says commissioner Bud Selig. So he's taken steps to improve that late finish. Instead of opening the season on April 1st, as they did this year, in 2011, the season will start on, are you ready, March 31st - one day earlier. Wow, what a great thing. This is like telling a guy that's being executed that you're using new and improved bullets. YOU may feel better, but it's not doing him any good.
***AND THIS RULE ISN'T UNWRITTEN***
Still a tad silly, though. Texas Ranger Ian Kinsler, has been suspended for one game for violating Official Rule 4.07. Kinsler had been thrown out for arguing balls & strikes (or maybe for mis-pronouncing the umpires name, we're not sure) in the 10th inning. When Nelson Cruz hit a walk-off home run in the 13th, Kinsler left the clubhouse to join the celebration. Unfortunately, even though Cruz had scored, Kinsler came out onto the field and was spotted by the umpires. That's a no-no and he got caught. Ian said, "I thought the game was over. I wouldn't have done it if I had known." Guess the umpires can see when they want to , Ian.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Take a deep breath. Blow it out. Dry your eyes and we’ll go for ice cream.
Joe used the “good” bullpen. Carl Crawford was boneheaded on that bases rather than at home. D. Jeter got two hits to stay out of the .250’s. The Yankees win; Moe gets a save and all’s right with the world.
Good night, Chad.
After a fine few days in the Weha visiting our youngest and celebrating 45 years of married bliss, it’s blog day. Oh well, somebody has to read it.
Let’s see what we have.
Chad found a typo. Good for him. Now, isn’t he special?
Here's a surprise. An umpire rant! It’s about time someone took the blue man group to task. I suppose it’s hardly mentioning that if a player chooses to throw a foot-stomping hissy fit at home plate arguing balls and strikes he should not be shocked if the umpire exercises the rules and throws his sorry butt out.
I did enjoy this line of argument: “When a player argues a call, how can you tell if he's mad at the ump or himself?”
No doubt Carl Crawford’s comments went something like this. “Gosh darn it. I am so upset and frustrated that I was too blind to recognize that several of the pitches you called strikes were, indeed, just that. Heavens, how could I have taken those pitches? Golly, I’ll bet my mother is sorry she gave birth to such a silly boy. I’m so frustrated with my inability to recognize a strike when I see one I’m just going to stamp my foot and return to the bench. Have a nice evening.”
Ah, and the mandatory Manny comment. If D. Jeter rather than Manny got nine hits in his last ten games that would be news. Good news.
Now, before all Yankee loyalists join Picasner in the bowels of despair and start sipping Kool-Aid over last night’s loss… don’t sweat the small stuff. Both the Yankees and Rays will make the playoffs – where games that matter are played. Home field in the playoffs is nice but no one cares if you win the division and lose in the playoffs. And, as you all know, the universal measure of Yankee success is a World Series title.
Believe me, I have encouraged Joe Girardi to send Gaudin, well, anywhere, and if you must keep him, at least change his first name so that when I refer to “Chad” as useless trash no one confuses him with Our Very Own. As for Mitre, no words need be wasted. Given the uncertainty of the Yankee starting pitching, Joe had best not burn up a bullpen that the boys will need in the second season. Robertson and Chamberlain, who lead the team in appearances and have both pitched in approximately 40% of the last 16 games, were given a night off. I was pleased to see that Girardi refuses to channel Joe Torre. Last night’s loss was no big whoop.
Have a cannolo, relax, and save your suffering for the post-season.
Finally, if there are spelling, grammatical, or syntax errors, errors of omission or commission, errors in judgment, infield errors, throwing errors, approximation errors, statistical errors, refractive errors, error messages, errors of the first kind, errors of the second kind, bloopers, blunders, boo-boos, defects, faults, fluffs, lapses, mistakes, slips, or even a faux pas in the above… see the previous paragraph.
***SPEAKING OF THE YANKEES***
Another loss I believe you can attribute to Joe Girardi. After watching CC Sabathia pitch his heart out for 8 innings, who does Joe bring in? Chad Gaudin, who must have been shocked to find himself in a game with all zeroes on the scoreboard. To say Picasner had apoplexy is an understatement. Gaudin managed to get thru one inning by the narrowest of margins, so Joe had to turn to his other "top flight" reliever: Sergio Mitre. BANG! Game over. And it's not just me that wondered about these decisions. Here's Andrew Marchand's take:
"In what was the biggest game of the regular season -- a pitching classic between Cy Young contenders CC Sabathia and David Price -- Girardi sat down his most important relievers and turned to mop-up man Chad Gaudin, who did escape the 10th with the bases loaded, and little-used Sergio Mitre, who wasn't as lucky, giving up the game-winning homer to Reid Brignac in the 11th."
Dave Eiland's comment was, "Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war." Well, Girardi certainly has the 'losing the battle' part down pat.
When the third base coach sends a runner home only to be thrown out, does the manager sit him down and "talk" to him? No, he doesn't. Then why chastise Gardner for trying to steal third with two outs. Okay, he didn't make it, but the number of ways you can score from third as opposed to from second have been well-documented in this blog. Apparently, Girardi is still old school.
***THE CY YOUNG DEBATE***
There have been a lot of discussions the last few weeks about whether the season that "King" Felix Hernandez has had rates a vote for the Cy Young award, as opposed to CC Sabathia, who has a better won-loss record. I have always felt that the MVP award should go to a player on a WINNING team as opposed to a player with better statistics. Since the Cy Young award pointedly says nothing about 'most valuable,' but only about the most dominant pitcher, I think Hernandez is definitely in the mix. Since a pitchers record is so greatly affected by circumstances beyond his control (fielding errors, runs scored for him, the team's bullpen, etc.), you almost have to wonder, who's really good and who's really lucky. Perhaps the only true way to determine the Cy Young Award winner, would be to have the hitters do the voting. They' will certainly tell you who is the most dominant.
***THE UMPS ARE AT IT AGAIN***
They threw out Carl Crawford last night. Why? Because he had the nerve to question a call by the home plate umpire. You'd think home plate umpire Tom Hallion would have a better understanding of the situation: 9th inning, 20 games left in the season, two powerhouse teams separated by a mere half-game in the standing, frustrated by two outstanding pitchers locked in a 0-0 game for first place. When a player argues a call, how can you tell if he's mad at the ump or himself? Or if he's just completely frustrated? Don't weaken one team by ejecting a key player at that point in the game. Let him vent and walk away.
A few days ago, umpire Bob Davidson outdid himself with that powerful thumb. Not only did he toss a player, but also a pitching coach, and a FAN! Davidson said he tossed the fan because he was hurling racial epithets at catcher Bengie Molina. Neither the fan, the people around him or even Molina knew what Davidson was talking about. In a post-game interview, a smiling Davidson said he was "proud" of the job he did. I bet his mother is, too.
***SORRY. NO MANNY STORIES***
In his last ten games, he has 9 hits and no RBI's and had no controversies. ...and no haircut.
Monday, September 06, 2010
Sunday, September 05, 2010
We're at that point in the season when every game puts the Yanks closer to the playoffs, if not the AL East crown. Tampa goes against Boston while the Yanks take on a revitalized Baltimore.
Hughes had decent stuff, but, Flaherty notwithstanding, did not have good command. I think we were watching two different games. Well, a winning streak can't last forever.
I think Michael Kay has his fiance on his mind. For the last week, he has been messing up the number of outs, the score and even the players. Today, he messed up a classic moment in Yankee history, attributing a wonderful catch by Al Gianfriddo off the bat of Joe DiMaggio, to Sandy Amoros. Luckily, one of his friends straightened him out before my Dad, a huge DiMaggio fan, rose up from his grave to smite him down. Very close, Michael.
Girardi made a big mistake in yesterday's game by pulling Vasquez with two out and two on in the fifth, with the Yanks ahead 5-3. Even if he left him in and the Jays tied it up, you knew the Yanks weren't done scoring. I think he destroyed whatever confidence Vasquez had left.
***ON THE SARTORIAL FRONT...***
Manny cut his hair. Yeah, right. His hair still obscures the top of the numbers on his back. He's like a spoiled little kid. He continues to do just what he wants. David Ortiz says Manny has "...found God." If he did, he sure wasn't looking for him in the barber shop.
Manny did take one for the team, getting hit in the arm, pinch hitting in the 8th.
***IF YOU WATCH ENOUGH GAMES...***
The Texas Rangers found a brand new way to lose a game today. On a more positive note, let's say Minnesota found a new way to win: a walk-off interference call. With Texas down two runs in the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, Guerrero grounded a single up the middle which Orlando Hudson fielded. With no chance for an out at first or second, he threw to third to try to catch Michael Young off the bag, but Young dove back in safely. However, when he rounded third, he slapped hands with the 3rd base coach, Dave Anderson, before diving back to the bag. The 3rd baseman appealed to the umpire who promptly called Young out -- game over. Anderson said there was no contact. Young said there was no contact. Then they argued that the contact was accidental and did not aid the runner in any way. Probably not, but it's still the rule. I don't think this one will go away very soon.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
I don't think that A-Rod is going to get many votes for MVP this year. The award is for the Most VALUABLE Player and the Yanks are 22-3 without him this year. A lot of the credit goes to Marcus Thames, who has been belting clutch home runs for about two weeks now. The bullpen has also been outstanding.
Vasquez was up to his old tricks today. No fastball and not even close to having command. Cervelli would give a target down and away and Vasquez would throw a pitch belt high inside. Somehow, the Blue Jays would swing and miss and Javier almost got through the fifth. After letting in the tieing runs, the bullpen went into lights-out mode again.
It looks like Cashman did okay with his trade deadline pickups. Kearns won't keep you from going to the beer stand when he's up, but he's a decent fill-in. Berkman appears to still have something left in the tank and Kerry Woods has been very effective.
This will shock you: he says the Boston fiasco was all his fault. Well Manny, no one was blaming the public address announcer. We've yet to hear whose fault the Dodger fiasco was. I haven't seen any pictures of his "haircut" yet. Manny says he's going to comply fully. Anyone here believe that? I didn't think so.
***A YANKEE-RED SOX TRADE?***
I couldn't believe this when I read it. The deal died an early death, but what was discussed was a three-way trade with the Yanks getting Mike Lowell. No word on any other players or even who the third team was. Lowell has a "no-Yankee trade" clause built in to his contract, so that would have been another stumbling block.
***A-ROD FIRES SCOTT BORAS***
It is true, but this one is far from over. It seems A-Rod still owes Boras over $11 million over the next 7 years. There isn't going to be any more baseball contracts in A-Rods' future, so I don't think Boras is losing any sleep...or money. If you're wondering why this all happened, there is one possibility. A-Rod has some advisers that he's been dealing with for a couple of years and apparently they can provide Alex with something Boras couldn't: dates with Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz and possibly more. I think there's a word that describes that kind of activity.
***QUICK NATIONAL LEAGUE UPDATE***
The Cardinals have won only 2 of their last eight, the Padres have lost 9 straight and Atlanta has set a blistering pace, going 5-5. The 5th place Cubs are 7-3, increasing their lead over 6th place Pittsburgh to 13 games.
Note: Pat Venditte, the Yankees switch-arm pitcher has been promoted to Double-A. Word is he has gotten his fastball up to 86mph, up from 85. ...but only when throwing right-handed. The left-hand is still at 80 mph.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
...Dallas Braden notwithstanding. He actually pitched pretty well, but pretty good won't do, when CC Sabathia is outstanding. Not only did he give up just one hit, he kept the A's from getting a ball out of the infield for 6 innings. That was amazing. CC's gem and three more home runs meant a four game sweep and a 9-1 record against the A's for the season.
Swisher had to leave with a sore knee and the Yanks say he's day-to-day.
Back to playing a Major League team tomorrow; the Blue Jays are always trouble.
We noticed a lot of empty seats, today. So did Michael Kay. He wondered if it was the holiday weekend that was responsible or maybe the crowd was just late in showing up. And it was a lot of the "cheap" seats that were empty, too. You know, the ones UNDER a $1000.
***THE MILTON BRADLEY WANNABEE UPDATE***
Last week in Philadelphia, Nyjer Morgan, of the Washington Nationals, was suspended for 7 games (being appealed) for throwing a ball into the stands and hitting a fan in the head. Now he and the Marlins are going at it. Two days ago, he ran over the Marlins catcher trying to score. The catcher ended up with a separated shoulder. Last night, with the Marlins ahead 14-3, the Marlin pitcher hit Morgan in the side. Okay, that's baseball and everyone accepted it. Morgan, however, had other ideas. He decided to retaliate by promptly stealing 2nd. Two pitches later, he stole third. Then tagged up and scored on a short pop up in right-center. The Marlins thought this was "showing them up," and in the next at bat, threw behind Morgan. Nyjer charged the mound and the brawl was on. Pretty good fight, too. So, apparently this is another "unwritten rule," of which baseball has way too many. You don't want him to steal, throw him out. ...and stop with this "showing us up" business.
My only thought was that the Marlins were wrong in complaining that Morgan showed no respect by trying to steal when his team was behind 11 runs. Just because you're behind doesn't mean you stop trying to score. You never can tell how a game is going to turn out. Last week, the Rockies came from 9 runs down to win the game. The final score of the Nationals-Marlins game was 16-10.
***ARE THE RANGERS NERVOUS ABOUT CLIFF LEE?***
He sure hasn't been the Cliff Lee they thought they were getting. He's 2-5 with a 4.69 ERA since coming to Texas. Some say it's the Texas heat and now Lee has admitted that his back is bothering him. I don't think any of this will keep the Yanks from making a big push for him this winter. Is that where he'll end up? One baseball man thinks it's a sure thing, indicating that it's all about the money. "He'd play in Siberia if there were enough Rubles on the table."
***AND THIS FROM JAY LENO***
"The divorce trial began today of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie. … It's an ugly divorce. On the bright side, the one thing they won't have to fight over: World Series tickets."
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
While Bobby Cox' ejections lacked the histrionics of Sweet Lou, Earl Weaver or Billy Martin, he apparently knew all the "magic words," holding the Major League record for ejections with 157, 26 more than 2nd place John McGraw at 131.
Lou Piniella doesn't have the numbers but he holds the distance records for kicking baseball caps and throwing bases.
Yes, their loss leaves a huge void in the entertainment end of the game, but take heart. There is a rumor that former Met Wally Backman is being considered as a replacement for current manager Jerry Manuel. I think he will fill the gap nicely as this 5 minute video will show. Be advised, this video contains some (actually, a lot) of harsh language.
Three more homers and some timely hitting resulted in a 9-3 victory. Two things continue to be a source of concern: Jeter can't hit and Hughes can't pitch. Maybe they should switch positions.
***MANNY JOINS THE WHITE SOX***
He didn't get in to the game, but they did show him in the dugout in uniform, polishing his helmet (that old "appearance clause" you know). Of course, the hair length hasn't changed (the old "Joe Torre clause" is still in effect). His introductory press conference was conducted in Spanish (the "Sammy Sosa Effect" I guess), with a coach acting as interpreter. Manny still brings a lot of baggage.
Janice Hough had it right:
"Manny Ramirez was in uniform tonight and ready to take on his new role as White Sox DH - designated headcase."
***ANOTHER STATUE OUTSIDE THE PIRATES STADIUM***
The newest one is for Bill Mazeroski, who once hit a home run and...well, that's all I can think of. These statues usually show players in the act of performing their best talent. For example, Willie Stargell is hitting, Roberto Clemente is hitting, but Mazeroski, on the other hand, is just waving his hat. ...But he was really good at it.
***SPEAKING OF STATUES...***
This one from Dwight Perry:
"The Minnesota Twins will unveil a statue of the team's first owner, Calvin Griffith, on Sept. 3 at Target Plaza.
No truth to the rumor that his likeness is tightly clutching a $100 bill.
***BOB MATTHEWS IN TOP FORM***
In a never-ending drive to improve ALL sports, Bob has suggested a new Winter Olympic sport: Snowball Throwing. And he was serious. I guess he was inspired by the Geico "Randy Johnson Commercial." Yeah, Bob, it's a bad idea.
Yes, Vod, the Yanks are in first place all alone, at least for now. Please don't worry about the neighborhood cats and dogs. They've been safe ever since I took over the cooking chores from Annie-O.
A man walked out to the street and caught a taxi just going by. He got into the taxi, and the cabbie said, "Perfect timing. You're just like Brian!"
Cabbie: "Brian Sullivan. He's a guy who did everything right all the time. Like my coming along when you needed a cab, things happen like that to Brian Sullivan, every single time."
Passenger: "There are always a few clouds over everybody."
Cabbie: "Not Brian Sullivan. He was a terrific athlete. He could have won the Grand Slam at tennis. He could golf with the pros. He sang like an opera baritone and danced like a Broadway star and you should have heard him play the piano. He was an amazing guy. "
Passenger: "Sounds like he was something really special."
Cabbie: "There's more. He had a memory like a computer. He remembered everybody's birthday. He knew all about wine, which foods to order and which fork to eat them with. He could fix anything. Not like me. I change a fuse, and the whole street blacks out. But Brian Sullivan, he could do everything right."
Passenger: "Wow. Some guy then."
Cabbie: "He always knew the quickest way to go in traffic and avoid traffic jams. Not like me, I always seem to get stuck in them. But Brian, he never made a mistake, and he really knew how to treat a woman and make her feel good. He would never answer her back even if she was in the wrong; and his clothing was always immaculate, shoe
s highly polished too. He was the perfect man! He never made a mistake. No one could ever measure up to Brian Sullivan."
Passenger: "An amazing fellow. How did you meet him?"
Cabbie: "Well, I never actually met Brian. He died. I'm married to his f*@&ing widow."
And in baseball news, NY won, Tampa Bay lost so the Yanks have sole possession of first – for now so, Picasner, please discontinue the sacrificial offerings to Isis, Osiris, Yicatcuhtil, and Voodoo Queen Marie. The few remaining cats and dogs in the neighborhood can once again run free – for now.