Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We'll Do Our Part

In the wake of the devastating tornadoes in the central U.S., the International Energy Agency has reported that, despite the recession, greenhouse-gas emissions increased by a record amount last year to the highest carbon output in history. A record 30.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere last year, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels—up 1.6Gt from 2009. The shocking numbers mean that the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius—which scientists claim is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change”—is “a nice Utopia,” according to the IEA. "Such warming would disrupt the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the planet, leading to widespread mass migration and conflict,” Professor Lord Stern of the London School of Economics told The Guardian. “That is a risk any sane person would seek to drastically reduce."

We'll do our part. In an effort to stem the growing tide of noxious emissions the Picasner At Large staff pledges to never again waste resources by blowing hot air about the following topics:

Yankee management including Steinbrenner or Cashman references. The stench is bad enough.

Derek Jeter's fielding, batting average, or current love interest. It's time to leave well enough alone.

Robinson Cano's defense. Why dwell on fantasy?

Kevin Long. One Granderson does not a genius make.

Jorge Posada. Hip, hip... please, retire. Now. Retroactive if possible.

Any current Yankee left or right fielder. The less said the better.

A-Rod. How can a "super star" be so incredibly boring?

Looks like we can take the rest of the season off!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In Defense of Michael and A-Rod or Have I Lost my Mind

Crash, Kevin Costner’s character in “Bull Durham” has a wonderful speech about the difference between a .250 and .300 major league hitter – two bloop singles or seeing-eye ground balls a week. Last night Jeter had two hits, a bloop single and a bloopier double to right field. Without those bloops and infield swinging bunts Jeter would be pushing Nick Swisher for a spot on the Interstate on-ramp. So what constitutes “a tear”? A few line drives, a few bloops, and a few seeing-eye ground balls. Add them up and anyone can go 17 for 44, except so few do.

And now for something completely different…

Without an NBA reality show available last night, where zebra clad “officials” function as real-time script writers, or an NHL battle where a 1-0 game can keep you riveted to your chair, I gave an honest effort at watching the Yankee – Seattle three – hour slogathon. Saw Jeter mishandle two ground balls, one scored an error, then, thanks to a home-friendly “official” scorer, changed to a hit. Watched Ivan Nova struggle through a couple of innings. Listened to Ken Singleton quote, for the 18th million time, that Bob Gibson was not afraid to pitch inside – and finally had to change channels to a rerun of “Kitchen Nightmares” to stay awake. Watching Teixeira and Granderson are worth the effort and Robinson Cano’s disaster-waiting-to-happen defense has been, shall we say, entertaining? The rest of the Yanks, just lately, make me fell like a Cubs fan.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Jorge Posada was shown in the dugout last night, mouthing the words, "It's about time." Right you are, Jorge. Rallies have just not been part of the the Yankee offense this year and it sure needs to be.
Is there a better choice for Team MVP than Curtis Granderson so far? Grandy came to the Yanks with a reputation for being unable to hit left-handers, but after a mid-season adjustment with Kevin Long last year, that reputation is now gone.
I thought it was interesting that Toronto 3rd baseman, John McDonald seemed to tell reliever Frank Francisco, not to forget about the runner at first with two outs and the score tied in the ninth. I guess Francisco's attention span leaves a lot to be desired, since Granderson promptly stole second. He scored on Mark Teixeira's "single" to win the game for NY. Teixeira's winning blow hit off the glove of baseman, Juan Rivera, who tried to ole' the ball. It that situation, you MUST keep the ball in the infield, even if it means just blocking it with your body. It probably would have been better for Toronto if they left it up to A-Rod, even if he came though with one of his swinging bunts, which has become his trademark this year.
A-Rod's hitting the fastball okay, but he looks pretty silly when the pitchers throw those slow breaking balls down in the dirt. He started the season looking like a triple crown candidate, but he hasn't been the same since he got hurt.
Congrats to CC Sabathia, who apparently has to throw a complete game to have a chance at a win.

After being berated by Lucy for his poor pitching and hitting records, Charlie Brown responded, "Tell your statistics to shut up!" Probably not a bad idea for all the announcers out there. Stats and averages mean nothing without a large sample size. Telling us that Player X is "hot" because he has 7 hits in his last 20 at bats, doesn't mean he's about to go 4 for 4 today. Last night, Michael Kay told us that A-Rod has been on a tear lately, hitting .386 in his last 10 games. Are you impressed? Actually, he's had 17 hits in 44 at-bats, but only 4 or 5 of them were of the line drive, solid hit variety. The rest were infield hits and seeing-eye ground balls. So if you weren't watching all the games, you might think (mistakenly) that A-Rod was in a groove...except that "groove" is deep enough to be called a rut.

I've ranted before on all the stats that people come up with to judge ballplayers, but even some of the more established stats are being watered down so much that they are losing value. Last night, Marc Rzepczynski (I'd like to buy a vowel, please) entered the game in the 8th inning for Toronto with the score 4-1, faced three batters and gave up two hits and allowed 2 runs to score before getting the 3rd out. For that performance, he was credited with a "Hold." He didn't HOLD anything. Why does he get credited with a positive stat? Next week, some announcer is going to say, "Wow, Marc has 7 holds. He's having a good year."
Jon Papelbon pitched the ninth for Boston last night and gave up a home run. Luckily, he had a three run lead at the time, so he was still able to get his "save." You can have up to a three run lead and still get your save. Seems like an awful lot of leeway for a guy who is supposed to 'close down' the opposing team.
Michael Kay likes to talk about "Quality Starts." That's pitching six innings while giving up three runs or fewer. First of all, that's a 4.50 ERA. You can lose a lot of games giving up 4 or 5 runs every game. What kind of quality is that?
I agree with Charlie Brown: "Tell your statistics to shut up!"

"So the Big 12 conference, despite being down to 10 teams, will keep its name. Meanwhile, the Big 10, which has had 11 teams, will also keep its name when Nebraska joins this fall. Meanwhile the Atlantic 10 has 14 teams. And we wonder why college football players are bad at math."


Sunday, May 22, 2011


Okay, they aren't one of the Al East Beasts, but they play harder against the Yanks. Since I last posted the Yanks took two from Baltimore and the series from the Mets, the last one not really a beat-down, in spite of the score, but, a win is a win, is a win.
After a couple of seeing-eye hits, the real Mets started showing up, starting with SS Jose Reyes. After listening to McCarver (and it was painful) talking about Reyes on Saturday I kept looking for a guy with a big "S" on his chest. I found him on Sunday, but an "A-S..." seemed to appear at the same time. I especially liked how he charged out after a pop up and then kept running instead of trying to pick up the ball, even though it landed about a foot from him. A reporter did a little street poll on Friday, asking fans if the Yankees would be better if Reyes were the shortstop instead of Jeter. That play is why the answer would always be no.
A-Rod got four hits tonight, which were reminiscent of Nellie Fox of the '50-'60 White Sox. Nellie never hit a ball into the outfield that took less than two hops to get there.
Next up are the Blue Jays with Jose Bautista acting like the next Babe Ruth. In a post-game discussion, David Cone quoted the old baseball saying, "Don't give him anything to hit, but don't walk him." Then he added, "I'm sorry, no. Walk him." Might be a good idea.

I also heard McCarver make a big deal out of the fact that A-Rod hit a home run one-handed. Then had them show a replay to show the fans. Big mistake. It was a typical A-Rod swing: hit through the ball with two hands and then let go with the right hand. Didn't help McCarver, though. He still insisted it was a one-handed swing. Listen hard, Tim. Can you hear Joe Morgan calling? Retire! Retire!

Three terrific ballplayers are suffering from cancer and one, Harmon Killebrew, has already passed. He was a great hitter, a wonderful person and a true and deserving Hall-of-Famer. The other two are Gary Carter and Bill "Moose" Skrowron. The prognosis for both is not good. We will miss "Killer" and wish the other two the best.

Two of my favorite columnists did not write this week. Cam Hutchinson has left the Star Phoenix in Saskatoon to join a start-up paper and may soon be publishing again. The other is Stan Kegel, who writes the "Weakly Humerous News," a collection of the weeks best quotes. Stan is off for just this week to attend, and I looked this up to confirm, "The Austin Texas O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships." There is no truth to the rumor that first prize is the Dwight Perry Master Punster Trophy. ...........but it should be.

It was reported that a Vancouver Canucks fan flashed her breasts at the Sharks' Ben Eager as he sat out a penalty late in Wednesday's game. When he was asked about it, he said, "All I can say is that it wasn't my wife.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It looked like it was all going away in the 6th inning until Superman...er, Dave Robertson, walked in from the bullpen. The ice water in his veins and the howitzer he calls a right arm, belie the baby face he has. Mariano gets the saves and the glory, but Robertson is the guy who's in there when the going is the toughest. Forget Chamberlain, Sabathia and even Mo', this is the guy I want to see on the mound when the game is on the line.
A-Rod came through twice last night and basically saved the Yanks. This is the one guy in the lineup who can carry a team. Yeah, I know, it was just two solo homeruns, but when the big dog barks, the rest of the team seems to draw from that strength. Hopefully, A-Rod has come out of his slump and this isn't just a flash, like Jeter, after his monster game.

I don't know what he's taking, Flintstone Vitamins, milk or Coors Light, but it's working. Lance Berkman had a walk-off hit last night, to continue his unbelievable comeback season. He's now hitting .352 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs. Why couldn't he have performed like this with the Yankees last year? Berkman should remember what Ted Williams once said: "If you don't do it in Yankee Stadium, it don't count."

Then there's a whole bunch of guys in Cleveland who seemed to have access to the same magic. With a quarter of the season gone, the Indians still have the best record in baseball - 26-13. Maybe they'll fade as they approach the dog days of summer, but in the meantime - Ride that wave!

Two stories:
Kansas City decided to call up two pitchers from their farm team in Omaha, Everett Teaford and their top prospect, Danny Duffy. When the manager went to tell Duffy, they discovered that he'd already left the ballpark, so they called him and told him there was a team meeting in progress. Duffy, who has a reputation for being very quiet and polite, was stunned and raced back to the clubhouse. The manager and pitching coach met him and with straight faces, berated him for missing the meeting and, to top it off, two players had been called up and tradition says the whole team was supposed to shake their hands and wish them luck. Duffy was devastated and apologized profusely. Then they told him to go out and shake Teaford's hand...and have Teaford shake his. That's when he realized he was the butt of a joke.
Oh yeah, that's hilarious.

I wrote yesterday about the St. Louis-Cincinnati rivalry and how the Red's concessionaire pokes fun at the Cards by selling a "Smoked Cardinal." Well, they've taken that feud a step lower. After hearing that Cardinal manager Tony LaRusso was suffering from shingles, a local roofing company is running a contest. The prize: a load of "Tony LaRusso shingles." Ha-ha.

This woman is afraid of nothing:
"The Donald and Arnold Schwartzenegger are both making headlines this week. Trump because he pulled out early, Schwarzenegger, ...oh come on, I don’t even need to finish this line..."


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


***SIX IN A ROW***
AJ Burnett pitched five terrific innings...unfortunately, Girardi sent him out there for the sixth. You could see he was losing it, but Girardi stayed planted in his seat. Finally, and perhaps predictably, AJ gave up the 2-run homer to BJ Upton. After the game Girardi defended his decision by saying, "Upton was his man. That was his out to get." It was? Why? Was that in Burnett's contract? ["Um, anytime you pitch, you have to get BJ Upton out."]
Eduardo Nunez showed again that the guy can field and he can certainly hit, and if Manute Bol is playing first, he can also throw.
The Yanks scored enough runs to win last night, even though A-Rod struck out three times. Not that bad, considering he struck out four times in batting practice.
The Posada thing will not go away. In various stories on ESPN today, I found out that:
1) Jorge was wrong
2) Jorge was right
3) Jeter was right in doing nothing
4) Jeter should have said something
5) Cashman was too harsh
6) Cashman should have suspended Jorge
7) ...Well, are you getting the idea?
Jorge can make this all go away by getting a couple of hits tonight.
The Yanks signed two relievers this winter and now both of them are on the DL.

"At the Bangkok airport, a man was caught trying to smuggle two panthers, two leopards, a marmoset, a monkey and a black bear in his luggage. And the only reason airport security caught him is because the monkey had nail clippers."
"Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff. Or, he might've said that he bothered to take a hot bath. I'm not sure which."

I know, the baseball stuff is funnier, but it looks made up.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Cashman Goes NEWT

In an unprecedented move, the New York Yankees have petitioned Pope Benedict to allow an exorcism to free Brian Cashman from the undead spirit of George Steinbrenner.

No longer able to exercise free will, rational thought, or sane behavior, the possessed Cashman convened a press event in the owner’s box during Saturday night’s game to throw an already disturbed Jorge Posada under the same bus that Jorge earlier jumped under when he refused to bat ninth. Posada apologized to Yankee manager Joe Girardi the following day but rather than let the story die a natural death, the Steinbrenner-channeling Cashman poured gasoline on the smoldering ashes by ripping Yankee Captain Derek Jeter for his innocuous post-game comments that if he felt Posada had done something wrong he would have spoken to him.

Jeter has been clearly unhappy with Yankee management since their bush behavior in contract negotiations and their really stupid handling of the Posada incident is hardly part of any solution to the Yankee’s on-field problems: a line up with only two regulars hitting over .260, a porous defense, and if you need more, see Chad’s last post.


Being swept by the Red Sox at home is not the way to stay in contention in the AL East. I wrote previously that the Yanks were looking "ordinary." I'd settle for that now; currently, they're looking futile. The starting pitching is stumbling, the defense is bumbling, the hitting is crumbling and that 'great motivator,' Joe Girardi, couldn't convince the wicked witch of the west to come in out of the rain.
Where's that team spirit? Posada refuses to play because Girardi batted him ninth in the order. He batted him ninth because there is no 10th spot. I know they're friends, but why didn't the Captain, Mr. "Winning Is Everything" Derek Jeter step in? He should have chased Jorge across the outfield with a bat. Of course, with Posada's speed, Jeter would have had to give him a two-day head start. A $210 million payroll, and the only guy I want to see play is Curtis Granderson.
A-Rod looks terrible at the plate (and in the field) and Kevin Long keeps saying, "He's close." Yeah, right. And Nicole Kidman wants to bear my child. I have a better chance.

The hottest rivalry in baseball these days, is between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. They went at it again this weekend and another little drama appeared, when Red's reliever, Francisco Cordero hit Albert Pujols in the arm with one out in the ninth. That put the tying run on base, which you don't want to do with the numbers 4 and 5 hitters coming up, so I doubt it was intentional. But the Cardinals screamed at Cordero, Cordero screamed back and it doesn't look like that's going to be the end of it. Of course, even though he wasn't there, LaRusso never lets these things subside. Retaliation is sure to be in the future of this matchup.
LaRusso's take on this: "I know our guys," La Russa said after that game. "This is not the first time that we've been challenged. ... Like I say, there's times that you beat us, we're not good enough. But you're never going to scare us and we're never going to back down."
Writer David Schoenfield has the book on Tony: "La Russa does seem to believe in a certain code of conduct when it comes to pitching inside -- not that he necessarily follows that code too religiously himself."
He's right: You can't throw inside to his batters, you can't knock them down and you certainly can't hit them. LaRusso will retaliate to every threat, real or imagined. In the meantime, the Cards are second in the league in hit batsmen.

Of course, Cincinnati doesn't help ease the the tension.
"The Cincinnati Reds, rotating a themed food item for each opponent, served up smoked quail with St. Louis in town last weekend and called it "Smoked Cardinal." (Dwight Perry)
"Archarcharch is being retired to stud after he fractured a leg during the Kentucky Derby: "Sure beats the heck out of my disability insurance." (RJ Currie)
"Murray Handwerker, son of Nathan, and the man who turned Nathan’s Famous hot dogs into a national name, died at the age of 89. Murray attributed his long life to never eating his own product." (Janice Hough)


Friday, May 13, 2011

3 in a row...

Oh boy, it’s almost time for interleague baseball. There are times I’d rather watch paint dry and always prefer watching the grass grow than suffer National League baseball, but in the interest of making $$$, the masters of the game are bringing it to your town soon.

What joy; six games with the dysfunctional Mets, three with the Cubs, three with the Reds (I suppose O’Neil will be happy), and three with the Brewers. Can you say So What and Who Cares? 12 out of 15 games against teams who will likely have losing records when they face the Yankee. Entertainment like this explains the popularity of The Real Housewives of Stillwater, Oklahoma. The only good that can come out of this is that it may help the Yankees won/lost record and we won’t be plagued by Jorge Posada striking out in NL parks.

The biggest beneficiaries in the AL East could be the Red Sox - and the Rays the biggest losers. The Sox draw the Astros, Brewers, Cubs, Padres, and Pirates – all teams currently with losing records. Tampa Bay sees the Marlins (21–15) for six games, St. Louis (22-16) for three, Cincinnati (20-17), and the Astros (14-23). Not a good draw.

And the opening game highlights in the Red Sox Series? Russell Martin’s two run home run, Curtis Granderson getting a hit with a runner in scoring position – something no one else has been able to do just lately, Bartolo Colon pitching well enough to win but getting a loss, Robinson Cano continuing his balky play in the field, the big three – Teixeira, A-Rod, and Canoe going 1 -11 at the plate, Jorge Posada going 1 – 4 and actually raising his batting average, and Papelbon getting a less than deserved save giving up a run in the ninth. Mediocre baseball at its best.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Winner of the Boxing Writers Assoc. J.J. Walker Award

The Curse Lives


Bill Gallo was 89 years old and had been drawing cartoons for the News since 1960. His caricatures were alwys right on and carried a message that was not lost on even the casual of fan, such as Von Steingrabber. His "Heroes and Goats" cartoon followed every World Series game, depicting specific players, one wearing a halo, the other , horns. He will be missed.


Freddie Garcia pitched into the 7th and the Yanks eked out a 3-1 win. I don't know how Garcia did it, he didn't really have command of his pitches, but he found a way. At times, it seemed as if he was retiring hitters with a wink and a nudge, but it worked.

Everyone still says that A-Rod is ready to break out of his slump, but I'm not seeing it. Yeah, he got the big hit last night, driving in the two winning runs, but he still looks out of sync to me. He missed at least three pitches that he should have hit out of the park. The bullpen, especially Robertson, was lights out again. Good, because the Yanks certainly need it.


It's the end of an era: Milton Bradley has been designated for assignment by the Mariners. If he's not traded in the next 9 days, he's a free agent. He's not hitting and he's baseball's biggest head case, so it's probably the end of his career. He the most exciting player out there, but he was one of the most interesting.

I read that more clubs are changing their pricing procedures to what is being termed, "Dynamic Pricing." The cost of seats will vary based on availability and 'importance.' What this really means is, "We Think We Can Get More Money Out of You." Some clubs, the Yanks and the Red Sox in particular, designated certain games as "Premium," meaning, "We Want More Money." Same thing. So the $500 seat will become a $750 seat for certain games. Now that $500 looks like a real bargain, doesn't it? Baseball is certainly looking out for us fans.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Sometimes the world is just so completely cooperative. After Donald Trump was trashed at the White House press corps dinner and then had his mindless television show preempted by news that was actually important, I began to wonder where we might find the next national clown. And, behold! Newt The Namesake, yes Newt of The NEWT, announced his candidacy for President! What luck.

I certainly hope that Newt has consulted with his doctor to determine if he is healthy enough for the enormous strain of a presidential campaign and the attendant sex. After all, this is the same Newt who explained that the pressure of working as a congressman drove him to extramarital affairs. It seems that job truly worked him into a lather.

Given what he will face as a presidential candidate, the best advice that I can give is, ladies beware, The NEWT is loose.

Monday, May 09, 2011


While it's been the Yanks pitching that has kept them in first place for most of the season, they showed yesterday that the heavy lumber they drag to the plate can rescue a bad outing by their ace, CC Sabathia. Five more dingers, including a grand slam by Francisco Cervelli, did in a struggling Rangers team, 12-5. That's the second time this season the Yanks have hit five homers in one game.
Of course, the big news was the break-out day by Derek Jeter. Four hits, including two homers, should quiet the "washed-up" comments for a while. On the Sports Reporters show yesterday, Mike Lupica made the comment that he may be the only sports writer in America who thought that Jeter was not done for. He looked like a genius some eight hours later, after 'Cap'n Crunch', as the NY papers called him, took the Rangers apart. It's very possible that Lupica, NY's biggest egotist, will insist on a throne instead of a chair, in his next appearance on the Sports Reporters.

There will be a reality check this week in the AL Central, as Kansas City, sporting a .529 winning percentage, enters Yankee Stadium to give the Yankees a shot, and the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians host the Tampa Bay Rays. If the Roylas and the Indians really belong in the hunt, we'll have a pretty good idea by the weekend.
In the NL, the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates have a .500 record this late in the season for the first time in about 17 years. They're only 2 1/2 games out of first and invite the struggling Dodgers into Pittsburgh for a four game series.
The Florida Marlins have the 2nd best record in the NL and host the team with the best record, the Phillies, for three games starting today.

On the other hand, The Baltimore Orioles, who started the season like world-beaters, and now reside in the AL East basement, try to regain some pride by taking on the Seattle Mariners. No sure thing, since the Mariners do have a better record than the Orioles. Resident genius, Buck Showalter, has decided to shake up his lineup drastically, moving almost every one of his players around. Just remember Buck, they're still Orioles you're moving around. As a character in "Two and A Half Men" once said, "You can put a tuxedo on a goat...but it's still a goat." We'll wait and see how the goat is dressed after this week.

"Justin Verlander, who just threw his second no-hitter, is only 28 years old. What’s he going to be like when he REALLY learns how to pitch?
(My friend Tony Alan Banks responds “A Yankee.”)"
(Janice Hough)
"According to a new study, clouds help hitters while sunshine helps pitchers. If clouds helped hitters, wouldn't the Seattle Mariners' team batting average be over .800?" (Brad Dickson)
"They gouge you on parking. They gouge you on concessions. And then they don’t even run hard to first base on groundballs. Seriously, what type of business charges you $35 for parking, then doesn’t refund your parking fee if the game is postponed before it even begins?
Baseball does, at Yankee Stadium."
(Norman Chad)
Let me qualify this by pointing out that MLB attendance totals are suspect. I’ve been to Dodgers games where they announce a crowd of 46,000 and I figure they must be double-counting fans with facelifts." (Norman Chad, again)
"Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen violated a league rule by tweeting twice after being ejected from a game. I'm wondering how many f-bombs Guillen dropped in 140 characters." (Cam Hutchinson)


Sunday, May 08, 2011


Happy Mother's Day! It's wonderful that we have a day set aside to honor the late Frank Zappa and the Mothers.

But, to the point, which apparently is that we are to be grateful for small favors; namely, 5 runs on 6 measly hits. Michael kay waxed ecstatic on Derek Jeter's plate performance last night, that the Yankees had an actually rally, sans home runs, and that Swisher finally hit a dinger. Lost in the translation was another loss coupled with a Rays win and a tie for first.

The biggest laugh from the post game show however was Mike's comment that in spite of Bartolo Colon getting shelled and Boone Logan's continuing inability to get anyone out, if the Rangers hadn't scored 7 runs, the Yankees 5 runs might have been enough to win. Not crazy enough to qualify for a NEWT but definitely a solid HOMER (Simpson, that is).

Saturday, May 07, 2011


But first, a little Yankee news.
***YANKS 4, RANGERS 1***
Don't get too excited, the Yanks still aren't hitting. They only had 5 hits, but two of them were Ruthian blasts by Curtis Granderson, his 9th & 10th of the year. It seems funny that the Yanks most reliable slugger so far has not hit 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th yet this year, even when Teixeira, A-Rod or Cano have been out. Oh well, Girardi must know what he's doing (Did I really just say that?). Nova was terrific, as have all of the starters lately, except for one outing by Freddie Garcia. Nova was helped by some fine defensive plays by Jeter, Teixeira and A-Rod, so I think we can take the "no defense" label off. We won't know about running the bases until the Yanks can actually get some hits.

There he is, Big Joe West, sticking his nose in (or as close as his stomach will allow) where it doesn't belong. This time he irritated Terry Francona of the Red Sox. Francona went out to argue a balk call by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. He got tossed, which is unusual for Francona, but here comes West, who wasn't involved in the play to "protect" Hernandez. He did this by positioning himself between Angel & Terry. He grabbed Francona and bumped him several times. There was no need for West to be involved, Francona is no Earl Weaver, Billy Martin or even Lou Piniella. He'd say his piece and leave. But I guess Joe needed some TV time to sell a few more CD's. Here's what Terry had to say:
“Joe, as we all know, always wants to be in everybody’s business. Joe didn’t have anything to do with it. I didn’t really appreciate what he did. I think he was wrong. I thought he was grabbing me,’’ Francona said. "I didn’t appreciate that. I thought he was out of line.’’
This wasn't West's only foray into the limelight this week. West ejected Tampa manager Joe Maddon earlier this week, for arguing a call...or having a bad hairstyle. Joe West doesn't need a good reason.

The good news for Boston is that Carl Crawford is above the Mendoza Line,...well, at it, actually, hitting a robust .200. On the other hand, Dustin Pedroia, nicknamed "Laser Show," is hitting only .235, which means they may have to change his nickname to "Sparkler Show."

"The 8th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis overturned a district judge's ruling and reinstated the lockout of NFL players Friday.. In other words, upon further review, the ruling on the field doesn't stand." (Dwight Perry)
"Crystal McCahill - Playboy's Miss May 2009 - is upset after learning the magazine didn't pick her hometown Chicago Cubs to finish first in the NL Central. Unfortunately for the Cubbies, their line-up isn't nearly as stacked as Crystal." (RJ Currie)
"Mark Cuban is being mentioned as an owner that could save the Dodgers. Isn't this like the Philadelphia Symphony being saved by Lady Gaga?" (Bill Littlejohn)
"One of the horses in the Derby is named “Pants on Fire.” My son points out what a shame it is that there isn’t another horse in the field named “Liar, Liar.” Because then the stretch drive could be truly memorable.
“And down the stretch they come It’s Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire…”

(Janice Hough)

Following their anticipated early exits from the NBA playoffs the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers will face off in a newly organized Seniors Championship. Games will be played at the AARP Arena in St. Petersburg, Florida. All games will be called complete, regardless of score, by 3:00 p.m. to allow players and fans to make the Early Bird dinner specials at local eateries.

The Boston Bruins have become the current BeanTown darlings with their 4 game sweep of Philadelphia. Confused Boston fans are still pondering why the locals faced the Phillies so early in the season.

Oh, yeah, the Yankees. As expected(!), Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Russell Martin are carrying the team offensively and the two starters with the highest ERAs, Burnett and Nova, are leading the staff in wins. Derek Jeter is looking amazingly spry in the field and increasingly old at the plate. Jorge Posada has the bizarre stat of an equal number of hits and RBIs (14) to go along with a .149 BA. Gardner and Swisher are equally pathetic at the plate.

And the Yankees are in 1st. Now that's amazing.

Friday, May 06, 2011


What have we learned from this "Disaster in Detroit?" Well, the Yanks can't hit, they can't run the bases and now we see that their defense is unreliable. Eduardo Nunez may be a fine prospect with a lot of speed, but has shown a penchant for making critical throwing errors. There are players like that. I noticed in the past that Nomar Garciaparra could really hit and was a terrific shortstop, but if the ball was hit to him in a game-changing situation, Nomar was a good bet to blow it. Nunez may be the heir apparent for the shortstop position, but he better learn to make the plays in a pressure situation.
Speaking of shortstops, there is a lot of talk about Jeter moving down in the lineup. The most reasonable scenario I've read, compared this to the Cal Ripken situation. After passing Lou Gehrig in consecutive games played, the question was always, "When will it end?" It wasn't really fair to put that monkey on the back of the manager, so it became the unspoken answer that Ripken himself would have to decide. He had earned that much respect by his play over the years. Jeter seems to have that respect, too. If he really cares only about winning and what is good for the team, he must make that move himself. If a manager, any manager, would disrespect him by forcing an unwanted (by Jeter) move, it could fracture the whole personality of the clubhouse. If Derek produces, even if it's not at his previous levels, I believe Girardi has to leave him alone. If he doesn't, then Jeter has to move himself or lose all the respect and admiration he has garnered, not only by the players, but also his fans.

There seems to be an awful lot of "name" players who are hitting below the 'Mendoza' line, these days. That line being the .200 batting average. A batting average in the .100's was usually a quick way to find yourself on the bench, but it's a hard thing to do when your name is Magglio Ordonez or Carl Crawford. I discovered there are 10 such players who are in that category, with enough at-bats to eliminate the idea that this is just a statistical anomaly. The averages range from a low of .140 by Jason Varitek to a high of .195 by Kila Ka'aihu (whose name conjures up the vision of a drink with a pineapple garnish). The list also includes Jorge Posada, Vernon Wells, Mike Cameron, Austin Jackson, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn. Somewhere, Ted Williams is turning over in his grave.

My favorite whipping boy, Bob "Wrong-Way" Matthews, has come out with a list of his All-Time Top Ten major league players. An ambitious project at best, especially since he doesn't just list ten players but actually ranks them. Now this is a list that would start a bar fight in any pub on the American Continent and understandably so. I like some choices and question others. I applaud his inclusion of Stan Musial, who is, in my opinion, the most underrated player in history, and, being a Mickey Mantle fan, believe The Mick should be on that list. What is the strangest thing is not that Nolan Ryan isn't on the list, but that Bob calls him "overrated." Perhaps you should ask any hitter who ever batted against him, Bob. You will probably change your mind. My opinion of you sure hasn't. By the way, Matthews has Babe Ruth as #1.

"Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins has thrown the first no-hitter of the baseball season. The way their season is going, if anyone on the Twins tossed a no-hitter, I assumed it would've been during batting practice."
"Federal authorities charged some Delta Airlines baggage handlers with conspiring to smuggle drugs from Jamaica into the U.S. Of course because they're Delta baggage handlers, instead of the U.S. the drugs ended up in France and Switzerland."
"A new survey is out on the "10 Least Stressful Professions for 2011." No. 7 is "Philosopher." There's one caveat. Working as a philosopher is not stressful unless you care about receiving a paycheck once in a while. "


Thursday, May 05, 2011

This just in from Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va -

"Rich Rodriguez (former football coach at WVU) calls his move to Michigan 'a mistake.' In a related story, Boston says it probably shouldn't have traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees."

From Picasner's snores to our ears. With the nations multi-millionaire gladiators competing for our attention in televised battles from hockey rinks and basketball arenas, televised baseball comes in a distant third for entertainment value. However, with Flash at the mike, it remains the number one over-the-counter cure for insomnia.

And for our What Planet is This? moment, conspiracy theorist and fear-mongering talk radio jock Michael Savage opined the following with a caller:

Referring to the Navy Seal operation that took out Osama bin Laden, Savage opined, "Suppose they ginned up the whole thing. Suppose Bin Laden died of natural causes five years ago."

Caller: "Wouldn't that be despicable for the President to do something like that?

Savage, setting a new standard for cynicisim: "Well, I wouldn't put anything past Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel (referring to two of the President's close advisors)."

Move over Donald. We have a new Supreme NEWT for Life.


So was Picasner. Has there ever been a more boring broadcasting duo than Bob Lorenz and John Flaherty? I actually fell asleep twice during the game. Seems like the Yankee hitters were doing the same thing. Give Max Scherzer most of the credit, he was on top of his game. Freddy Garcia wasn't. The Tigers weren't fooled all night and the score could (and should) have been a lot worse. Garcia gave up a two-run shot to Magglio Ordonez on a "good" pitch that was down and in...at least, according to "Flash" Flaherty. He said as much twice during the replay and at least twice thereafter and once during the game recap, each time adding that he thought that "...Garcia wanted that pitch back." If he wanted it back, then it probably wasn't that good a pitch, was it Flash?
As bad as the Yanks are playing, the rest of the AL East is doing their best to keep them in first place. Tampa Bay and Boston (YAY!) both lost.

Frank McCourt says the Dodgers would be in good shape if Selig wasn't nixing his deals with the Fox Network. Probably would have helped if you had nixed some of your wife's spending, too.

I saw Blake Griffin receiving his Rookie of the Year award on TV. He's a big guy and he was wearing a big suit. You could have cut that down and made suits for three point guards.

Janice Hough continues to send out those barbs at everybody:
"Tough times at Citi Field in New York. Have heard the most common chant now has changed from “Let’s Go Mets,” to “Please Go Mets.”
"Rough few days in Los Angeles. The Dodgers found out that the team doesn’t have enough money to cover their paychecks. And the Lakers didn’t do anything to earn theirs."
"Well, so much for all those doubters who didn’t believe Boise State had a big-time football program. They’ve now been charged by the NCAA with rules violations and have self-imposed sanctions. Another step closer to joining the SEC!"

Gotta love this woman!


Wednesday, May 04, 2011


The Yanks had Brad Penny on the ropes a number of times last night, but couldn't put him away. And when they did get on, they didn't stay there. Cano broke for second when a pitch got away from the catcher, but then stopped and tried to go back. Yeah, that always works. Then Posada left 1st too early on, what I pray, was a hit-and-run play. Tell me he wasn't trying to steal. The only one on the team that's slower than Jorge is Gene Monahan, the trainer, and that's because Gene is under doctor's orders.
Then we come to the big play: Andruw Jones got thrown out at home by such a wide margin as to be laughable. Girardi claims it was a "smart play," because it took a perfect throw. No, it didn't. I have always advocated the attitude "make the other team execute the play," that is, if everything has to go right to get you out, make them prove they can do it. That was not the case here. The only way this is a close play, is if rightfielder Casper Wells RUNS the ball into home plate.
A-Rod started the season looking like no one could get him out. Now he's swinging though pitches he should be belting. You can complain about Jeter, Gardner and Posada not hitting, but the Yankee lineup is scary only if A-Rod is hitting line drives.

There is a strong rumor that the Dodgers won't be able to meet the end of May payroll. If that happens, MLB will front the money and take the team away from the battling McCourts.

Milton Bradley has been suspended for one game. I guess this would be news if Bradley HADN'T been suspended, since the words Bradley and suspension spend a lot of time in the same sentence together. This time, he supposedly bumped an umpire with the bill of his cap.

Lance Berkman, who hit .255 with one home run for the Yanks in 106 at bats last year, is hitting .402 with nine home runs in 96 at bats for the Cardinals. Is this a case of another good player unable to perform in New York? Sure seems like it.

The Cleveland Indians still have the best record in baseball, which makes my friend Danny E. very happy. They are currently on a seven-game winning streak.