Sunday, July 31, 2011


Am I the only one who hates that call? The only good thing is that John Sterling used it in the 2nd inning of the second game.

They won the first game 8-3. Bartolo Colon struggled thru 5 innings, just enough to get the win. Girardi was in full panic mode after losing Friday's game to the Birds. Ahead 8-3 in the 9th inning, and he had Rivera warming up in the bullpen. Hard to believe the Yankee announcers were praising Girardi on how he 'handled' his bullpen.
The 2nd game was a laugher, 17-3. After the game Girardi was heard to say, "We threw the ball okay, but without A-Rod, our ground game is weak." Baltimore manager, Buck Showalter said after the game, "I was proud of our guys. Down 12-0 after the first inning and they were still trying, still throwing strikes. Well, they would have been strikes if they ever reached the catcher."
As is typical in split doubleheaders, both teams brought up minor leaguers to pitch the second game. Unfortunately for the Orioles, they had a slight miscommunication and brought up a batting practice pitcher instead.
Nick Swisher had an amazing day getting 6 hits including a double and 2 homers in the 2 games while driving in 5 runs. After the game, he was so happy, he told reporter Kim Jones, he was ready to go 4 or 5 more. Hopefully, there are still some hits left in the Yankee bats.

ESPN and other sports reporters make a bigger deal out of this every year. ESPN has a countdown clock at the top of their MLB screen, right down to the second. I suppose that's okay when you get big names like Carlos Beltran and Ubaldo Jiminez being traded, but they look kind of silly trying to make the trades of Zachary Walters, Koji Uehara, Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter look like exciting news. Tommy Hunter must be thrilled, going from first place Texas Rangers to last place Baltimore. On the other hand, after watching the Oriole relievers yesterday, with his 2.98 ERA, he's got to be thinking, "I'm going to own this town."

There was speculation that Derek Lee was also going to moved, when he wasn't scheduled to play in the 2nd game for the O's yesterday. But the Orioles denied it vehemently, saying he was only being given a day off. He was then traded to the Pirates.
That's right, the Pirates went out and acquired a player who makes more than the league minimum. Usually, the Pirates are holding their annual fire sale, when for a month or so, the players don't have numbers on their back. They have price tags.

The SF Giants, who rank 28th in runs scored, went out and got a big bat, Carlos Beltran, to help maintain their lead in the NL West. In his first three games, Beltran has one hit in 14 at bats with 6 strikeouts, and the Giants lost two of the games. Apparently, Carlos is still a Met at heart.

The media is starved for some big splash, but the Yanks and the Red Sox are uncharacteristically quiet. ESPN has taken to lighting votive candles and picketing outside Yankee Stadium with signs saying, "Please! Trade someone! Anyone!" In the meantime, Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein are sipping Pina Coladas in Martha's Vineyard and laughing their butts off.

"The Seattle Mariners have lost a franchise record number of consecutive games. It’s made the 7th inning stretch different. Instead of “Take me out to the ball game”, the organist plays “Taps”. -- Alan Ray

"The Dodgers are so broke, their third base coach is just a mirror reflecting the image of their first base coach." -- Seth Meyers

"McDonald's has added apple slices to their Happy Meals. Then an hour later, McDonald's added cheese and beef to their apple slices." -- Conan O'Brien

"RCMP in Quebec have seized over 7,400 pairs of counterfeit-label running shoes, fakes of brands like Nike and Adidas. At last report, their chief suspect is still afoot." -- RJ Currie

Carmen Berra, , on being married 61 years to her Hall of Fame husband: "It's like Yogi says, 'We get along well together, even when we're not together.' " -- St Paul Pioneer Press

"On Thursday, the New England Patriots acquired Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco. An hour later, Bill Belichick called Michele Bachmann to inquire about migraine cures." -- Brad Dickson

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


...for the Mariners, that is.

If King Felix had started one day earlier or Sabathia, one day later, we might well be talking about an 18-game losing streak. No guarantee that CC would have beaten Fernandez, but he probably had a better chance that Hughes.
Hughes pitched okay, leaving after 6 innings behind 2-1. Then the bullpen took over. First Cory Wade showed he was in over his head, then it was "Blow-up" Boone Logan followed by Luis "Ay-yi-yi" Ayala, and the game was all but over at 7-1. The Yanks failed to hit, but they were up against Felix Hernandez.
The Yanks again couldn't hit but they did steal two more bases, however, as Dizzy Dean once said, "You can't steal 1st base."

Melky Cabrera probably won't be traded. He recently stated that he wants to stay in Kansas City, which is not something you usually hear from players. So KC won't trade him...they may have him undergo a psychiatric evaluation, but they won't trade him. For the record, he's hitting .299 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs.

The Cubs are trying to trade Carlos Zambrano, baseball's #1 head case now that Milton Bradley is gone. The Yanks aren't interested and you have to wonder if former Cubs pitching coach and current Yanks pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, had anything to do with the decision. The Cubs are offering Carlos and a suitcase full of money. The Yanks said no thanks to Carlos but are willing to take the money.

Speaking of another Carlos: Beltran has been rumored to be thisclose to being traded to Philadelphia, Texas and San Francisco, which has got to be driving his travel agent nuts.

The Pirates were victims of a horrendous call in the bottom of the 19th inning of their game against the Atlanta Braves. Everyone in the park saw Julio Lugo thrown out at the plate. Everyone, that is , except home plate umpire Jerry Meals. The Pirates have filed a formal complaint with the league against the call, which will be about as effective as 20 lashes with a wet noodle.

A headline that needs explaining: JOHNNY DAMON TIES BABE RUTH. Turns out, he tied the Babe in career doubles, the kind in baseball, not in a bar. The bar record will never be broken.

The Omaha World-Herald now wants me to pay $1.95 a month to read Brad Dickson's column. I don't know if I should be upset by having to pay this annoying little charge, or that Brad should be upset that his paper thinks he's only worth $1.95. Well, I did manage to get this in:

"At the Manure Festival in Newark, a Miss Manure was crowned. What young lady wouldn't want this title? This means Miss Preparation H is now only the second least sought after beauty crown." -- Brad Dickson
"Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez is out for 4-6 weeks after knee surgery. While he's out of action, Cameron Diaz called up some guy from the minors." -- Brad Dickson

"The ink hadn't even been applied to the NFL peace treaty, and Ben Roethlisberger gets a ring and Jay Cutler declares himself a free agent." -- Dwight Perry

"Apparently the New York Giants are considering resigning their former wide receiver Plaxico Burress. When asked, Giants management said they decided they might as well take a shot at it." -- Janice Hough


Sunday, July 24, 2011


***YANKS LOSE, 4-3***
Friday, the Yanks hit everything that came near home plate and then Saturday, they couldn't even hit home plate. In between steak sandwiches, Pina Coladas, and, in a minor concession to healthy eating, a leaf of lettuce, Paul O'Neil made an excellent point yesterday. Without A-Rod, the whole dynamic of the Yankee lineup changes. When he's playing, it always seems as though they try to get A-Rod up at the plate in a critical point in the game. He probably doesn't perform any better or worse than anyone else in those situations, but the threat of him coming to bat seems to put extra pressure on the opposing team.
When you get two men on with no outs and 3-4-5 hitters due up, you have to think the Yanks chances of tying or winning the game are pretty good. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. The only reason they got one run, was because Brett Gardner managed to steal third while Granderson was striking out. He was then able to score when Teixeira hit an easy fly to right center. Cano, who had been hitting rockets all afternoon, bounced a soft ground ball to the infield -- game over.
If you listen to Michael Kay, the highlight of the Yankee effort came when David Robertson struck out his 9th batter in a row with the bases loaded. The fact that he LOADS bases all the time didn't seem to come up. When your team averages over 5 runs per game, and your pitching staff only gives up 4 runs, don't you think you should be winning these games? So now the Yanks are 3 games back of the Red Sox and are facing the A's best pitcher today.

The Sox dealt the Mariners their 14th straight defeat. Dwight Perry says with their record, you can be sure the Mariners aren't taking steroids. I think it's time to start. They may still lose, but they'll be able to get on and off the field faster. That's gotta count for something.

The Pirates have now lost 3 in a row and have slid back to third place, one behind Milwaukee and St. Louis. No one in the NL Central is doing that well. The first place team has a .530 winning percentage. That's the same situation as in the AL Central.
If baseball realigns the divisions, supposedly to separate the powerhouses in the East, won't this also destroy whatever hopes the current Central teams have? Move the Yankees to the Central division and the Tigers, instead of leading their division by a game, will suddenly find themselves 6 games back. I'm sure Jim Leland is okay with that.

Kansas City leads the American League in stolen bases with 101. Do you know who is second? Yep, it's the "Bronx Bombers" with 100. I'm not sure I understand this.

As we get closer to the trade deadline, the rumors get more and more outrageous. Here are some names that are being thrown around when the Yanks are involved: Alfonso Soriano, Marcus Thames, Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy. Sound familiar? I don't think any of this is for real, but you never know. While we're at it, why don't we sign Kei Igawa to an extension?

"Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson asked on Twitter if locked-out NBA players can apply for unemployment. Here's a nightmare for employment counselors — trying to find work for guys who didn't finish school and are used to earning $300,000 per week." -- Brad Dickson
I can see this happening: "Yes, I think I have something over at Burger King...oh wait, never mind."

"New research adds DNA evidence to the theory that Neanderthals and humans started interbreeding between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago. In related news, Ben Roethlisberger was married today" --Janice Hough
"New York 17, Oakland 7. Uh, I know I’ve heard talk of a deal. But how did I miss the start of the NFL preseason?" -- Janice, again


Saturday, July 23, 2011


It's 12:30 am. I'm tired, but checked the blog before crashing. What do I find?

After listening to Chad preach Yankee gospel for fifty years (that, everyone, is painful) he finally gets it right, i.e. the Yankee bench is devoid of offense, and what does he do? Devotes a dedicated, if refreshingly short, post backing away from his most objective utterance in decades.

How sad. We might as well elect him to congress.

Friday, July 22, 2011


It wasn't me . Must have been my evil twin.

Or maybe Vod.



Clubs will usually fire the manager when their team does not perform as expected and sometimes a hitting coach or pitching coach. The real person responsible for the quality of the team, however, is the General Manager. With that in mind, let's see how Cashman has done.

***THE GOOD***
While they aren't great, you have to say that Bartolo Colon and Freddie Garcia have produced all that could possibly be expected of them. Eric Chavez fit in nicely at first and third and was certainly considered dangerous at the plate.

***THE BAD***
In spite of a couple of home runs and an ever-present smile, Andruw Jones has looked like he has very little left. He was supposed to be an upgrade over Marcus Thames, because he was pretty good in the outfield and would hit just as well. Hasn't even been close. In fact, there is a rumor that the Yanks are considering resigning Thames, who was recently released by the Dodgers. If true, this would be his third tour of duty with NY.

***THE UGLY***
The obvious winner here is Raphael Soriano. Not only has he not shown the overpowering talent he had last year with Tampa, he isn't even impressing anyone down in Scranton. Maybe he'll come around, but it's also possible we have another (gasp!) Kei Igawa on our hands. Cashman should batch those two and trade them to the Diamondbacks for, say, a couple of margaritas and a rosin bag. ...and the rosin bag doesn't even have to be unused.

Not much you can do about injuries, they're going to happen, especially with the older players. The loss of Chamberlain and Feliciano along with the above named Soriano has been devastating to Girardi's bullpen. Add in the loss of A-Rod and Damaso Marte and it's the nightmare Cashman was hoping to avoid.

The Yanks need a better bench. They have no offense. When they needed a pinch hitter last night, all Joe had left was a less-than-healthy Curtis Granderson. I hear all the talk about the Yanks going after a starting pitcher and/or a relief pitcher, but perhaps he should look a little more closely at Carlos Beltran and put Andruw Jones (and me) out of their misery.

"Gamera, a 12-year-old African tortoise who had to have a front leg amputated, is getting around just fine after veterinarians at Washington State glued a caster-style wheel underneath that corner of its shell. Which prompts the question: Do the Molina brothers qualify for a group rate?" --Dwight Perry

"Today’s vote by the NFL owners was 31 to 0 with Al Davis abstaining. At least, we think he was abstaining. He may have just been taking a nap." --Janice Hough

"The fan who caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit may owe the IRS $14,000 for gifts he received from the team. Which isn’t a bad deal since $14,000 barely covers the cost of tickets and a hot dog at Yankee Stadium." --Jim Barach


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Pundits often talk about the "Dog Days of August," when cinderella teams would fade in the heat not only of the pennant race, but also the weather. We still have 10 days to go before August arrives and it's already going to hit 97 degrees here today. It's not affecting the cinderella teams though. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are still going strong.

It's been a tough two days for Curtis Granderson. He's been hit by a pitch twice, fouled a ball off his own leg three times, lost two balls in the roof at Tropicana field and ran into a wall catching a fly ball. He also stole a base and hit a home run (#26) to give the Yanks all the runs they needed to beat the Rays 4-0 last night. Forget Kevin Long the hitting coach, Curtis' best friend right now is Gene Monahan, the trainer.
Freddie Garcia continues to baffle major league hitters with his assortment of junk. I've seen slo-pitch softballs reach the plate faster, but it works. Derek Jeter singled to give him 3009 hits for his career, leaving him one behind Wade Boggs for 25th on the all-time list. Eduardo Nunex singled to drive in two runs in the ninth. That was his 52nd hit of his career, leaving him only 2957 hits behind Jeter. Just thought you should know.

The Dodgers have fired their hitting coach, Jeff Pentland, because of "...a lack of performance by the club's offense." That's the price you pay when your team is scoring less runs than the San Francisco Giants. However, consider this: the Giants are in first place, while the Dodgers are fourth, 13 1/2 games out. Maybe the Dodgers have fired the wrong coach.

Stephen Drew, shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks, broke his leg while sliding into home. Along with disallowing collisions at home plate, Joe Torre announced he is looking into making sliding illegal. Don't worry sports fans. Considering Joe's track record, we are a few years away from a decision.
A side note: since Tampa Bay changed their nickname from 'Devil Rays' to just 'Rays', how long before Arizona goes with just 'Backs'?

Speaking of offensive explosions:
"Seattle Mariners fans were shocked tonight when their team, who would have to go on a offensive tear to make it up to “light-hitting,” actually scored five runs in the first two innings.
Then reality set in and the Mariners didn’t score again and lost 6-5 in 14 innings."
"The Mariners lost nine straight games around the All-Star break — while hitting nary a single home run. Look on the bright side: No one's accusing them of using steroids." --Dwight Perry

This one's for Vod:
"World Golf reports there are Nevada golf clubs where, for an additional $200-400, players can hire a ParMate - described as an extremely attractive and outgoing young lady - to caddy during their round. Sounds like one way to make a course play harder." -- RJ Currie

"An Arizona Diamondbacks fan fell over a railing lunging for a ball in the Home Run Derby Monday but his pals caught him by his ankles. He dangled upside down twenty feet in the air without spilling a drop of his beer. The next morning Exxon hired him to manage their pipelines." --Argus Hamilton

"New Raiders coach, Hue Jackson, proclamed, "We're chasing greatness." Mediocrity, they've caught." --Jerry Crowe

"Tiger Woods is skipping the upcoming British Open, citing leg problems. It wasn't clear whose legs were causing him problems this time." --Ian Hamilton


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rays 3 - Yankees 2

Inspired batting order, Joe.
How long did it take you to figure that one out?
No time at all, you say.
No kidding.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fox NEWtS Doing What it Does Best

This item was in Janice Hough's blog this morning:

Fox News reported that "The Undefeated," the Sarah Palin documentary, opened to packed houses. But the article appeared before the film was even showing in theatres. Gosh, who would have expected anything duplicitous from a Murdoch enterprise.

Great to see other people paying attention to the fictional world beamed to us daily courtesy of the NEWTpurt Murdoch Newz Machine.

In real news, you know, the kind of stuff that actually happens -

Bret Gardner had another solid night as the Yankee lead off hitter; 1 - 3 with an RBI, 2 walks, a run scored and a steal. Oh, wait, Girardi moved him into the coveted 8 hole. Doh!

Mark Teixeira's hit (83) to RBI (67) ratio looks like something made up by the NEWTpert. Last night was like so many others this season for Tex. Struggled at the plate (1 - 5) but got the hit for an RBI.

Crazier yet, Francisco Cervelli has blasted out a total of 15, count 'em, hits but has 14 RBIs - the only saving grace in an otherwise dreadful season at and behind the plate. Jose, where art thou? Right, Toronto.

The Yankees need to take advantage of the of their soft, end of July schedule with a 10 game home stand against the A's, Mariners, and Orioles. Looking ahead to the Dog Days, as Keith Jackson said so many times, Whoa Nelly - 30 games in 31 days, 21 games on the road, and a double header thrown in for a really good time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rupert the NEWT

Rupert "Fair and Balanced" Murdoch has outdistanced perhaps the toughest competition in the storied history of the NEWT to capture the coveted NEWT of the Month. Severely tested by Michele "The Barbarian Gay Basher" Bachman and Eric "Watch Me Pout While the Economy Burns" Cantor, Rupert proved his NEWT-Worthy-Ness when his recently uncovered history of sleaze and corruption not only brought down his British media empire but also the publisher of the Wall Street Journal and, in a stunning coup de grace, Paul Stephenson, the Head of Scotland Yard.

Rupert is a bit concerned that the scandal will find it's way into FoxNewz, his American flagship property, although he's pretty sure that once you drink that KoolAid you're a zombie for life(?).

While we patiently wait for other heads to fall, congratulations to Mr. Murdoch, a native Australian, a naturalized American, and a through and through NEWT!

In baseball news...

Be sure to watch the Yankees on Fox. Yes, boys and girls, Hank has a business crush on Rupert.

Bret Gardner gave a classic lesson in lead off hitting today. Can't wait until he's dropped back to the bottom of the order. Doh!

Yesterday, Joe Girardi dropped what may become my favorite quote of the season, "I'm not sure of anything.", when asked if he thought the Jays were stealing signs. Joe could easily trot this one out for all occasions... and always be right.

Someone, anyone, please introduce Mark Teixeira to Kevin Long.

In actually interesting sports developments, congratulations to Darren Clarke for an inspired performance in the The Open. Expect that golfers everywhere will be fitting their bags with kitchenettes and kegs.

The Women's World Cup was sensational and brought to life "The thrill of victory and the agony of da feet".


***YANKS WIN 4-1***
CC Sabathia provided the overpowering pitching and the Yankee offense chipped in with enough runs to cement the victory. Mariano Rivera got thru the 9th but he doesn't look as overpowering as he has in years past. Bret Gardner continues to impress after a very bad start to the season. Yesterday, he turned a bloop single to center into a hustling double, aided somewhat by an artificial turf bounce. His speed can actually be a game-changer.
Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor and Nick Swisher had a conversation after Tichenor rung him up on a third strike. The conversation was brief and looked harmless enough, but after Nick got back to the dugout, Joe Girardi came storming out and gave Todd a piece of his mind (Hopefully, a small piece). Nothing came of it, but it seems that it's another example of the contentious relationship umpires and managers have this year. This supposed to be Joe Torre's bailiwick, but every time he's asked about it, he says he's "looking into it." Joe, you've been in the league since 1960 in one capacity or another. What's left to study? I suspect nothing at all will happen this year.
Since any punishment that is doled out to the umpires is kept secret while player suspensions & fines become public knowledge, I think that contributes to the umpires aggressive stance on any problem. They appear to act like nothing every happens to them and that MLB is taking their side on every problem - they are never wrong. Publicize their punishments and the players and managers will feel like decisions made regarding as situation is fair and just. Never happen.

John Lackey is making no friends in Boston. He continually gestures wildly out of frustration when anything goes against him, especially when his defense commits errors behind him. He also becomes visibly upset when manager Terry Francona comes out to replace him. This is a disgrace, especially when your record is 7-8 with a 6.70 ERA. If he doesn't quit this childish reaction, I doubt he will like the backlash that will occur.

Joe Girardi has been hinting that the Blue Jays are stealing signs from outside the field of play, considered a no-no in baseball circles. Joe thinks there are some parks where this is a possibility and Roger's Center in Toronto is one of them. Are they doing this? The Jays home record is 21-23, so it they are, they aren't very good at it.

The Seattle Mariners have scored exactly ONE run in their last three games. They are making the San Francisco Giants look like the '27 Yanks.

"The Bleacher Report says the Pittsburgh Pirates were in 'unfamiliar territory' by being above .500 at the all-star break. That's right, unfamiliar territory. Like Paris Hilton being lost in thought." -- RJ Currie

Talking about the USA Women's Soccer Team: "Sometimes a team comes along like this out of nowhere and makes you watch and care, and it reminds you why you watched sports and cared about them in the first place. This is one of those days and one of those teams." -- Mike Lupica

I am becoming more and more annoyed with all the baloney and hype you have to watch on ESPN in order to get to the sports reporting. Apparently, so has Phil Mushnick, NY Post. Here is an excerpt from his column:
"ESPN again drove home the can’t-miss feeling that owning the TV rights to a major event, hyping the telecast of the event, listening to talk about the event, reading graphics about the event and otherwise proving that ESPN is, in fact, at the event, is more important than actually showing it."

The rest of the column was even funnier. Here's the link, if you're interested:


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Not only lose, but beaten soundly. Thursday, the Yanks lost 16-7. They hit okay, but the pitching was awful. I thought Colon was very tentative the short time he was in there and there is much speculation that he has re-injured himself or never completely healed in the first place. There should be some kind of announcement about that this weekend.
I read that the Blue Jays were stealing signs on Thursday. This is part of the game and even catcher Russell Martin said the only reason he was mad was because he didn't pick it up sooner. Maybe the Jays knew what was coming, but they still had to hit...and hit it they did.
Friday, the Yanks just didn't hit and when they did hit a ball hard, it was right at someone. They have two more games against Toronto and could salvage a split with Sabathia going today and Hughes on Sunday.
Eduardo Nunez can flat out hit. Annie-O will tell you that I've been saying that since the beginning of the season. This is a good thing, since with A-Rod out, they need every bat they can put in the lineup. So why is Nunez's name being put into every potential trade talk that you read about? People used to talk about how Boss George used to mortgage the future by trading his minor league talent for fading stars to foster his "win now" attitude. Now it's the NY sportswriters who are doing it. So far, Brian Cashman has ignored them, but the trade deadline is fast approaching.

Luckily, Boston lost yesterday, too, and the immediate future doesn't look too bright for them, either. Their pitching lineup looks like this: Lackey (fading fast), Beckett (questionable health), Wakefield (What is he now, 80?), followed by Weiland & Miller (who?).
Don't look now, but who do you think is leading the NL Central? Why it's the Pittsburgh Pirates! I'll say it again: the Pirates. While the Cincinnati Reds and the St Louis Cardinals have been beating each other up with their two-year feud, the Pirates have climbed to 5 games over .500 and tied the Cards for first place, led by former Yankee Jeff Karstens.
The Giants have opened up a 4 1/2 game lead in the NL West, seemingly without scoring runs. They are currently 15th of 16 NL teams in runs scored, averaging about 3 1/2 runs per game. By contrast, the Yanks are averaging 5.1 runs per game (when they score at all).

Picasner was quoted in the Rochester D & C today concerning the use of concealed weapons at Lambeau Field. I actually was quoting an item from Brad Dickson, but didn't label it well. I have let the parties involved know. I try to be very careful and attribute items to the proper people.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Another "exhibition" game is behind us, so now we can focus on a baseball game where the object is to win, not showcase your whole roster. The AL used 29 players, 9 of them pitchers, and every position player had at least one at bat. The NL used 31 players, including 10 pitchers and only catcher Miguel Montero was denied a chance to hit.
I read that the NL won, by virtue of having used more play-...excuse me, scored more runs. It's a good thing this game is very important or more stars will beg off.

Mr Perfect, Derek Jeter, is taking quite a hit for not showing up at the game. Okay, maybe he wasn't up to playing (yeah, right!), but the powers that be wanted him there to take a bow on his achievement. As one broadcaster said, he could have rented a private plane on Tuesday, showed up in uniform, took a bow and flew back home. He probably could have BOUGHT a plane and done that.

CC Sabathia has also come under fire for not playing because "he pitched on Sunday." Why him? First of all, he didn't make the rule and he doesn't decide when he's pitching. Secondly, what about Matt Cain or Justin Verlander or Cole Hamels? They weren't playing either because they also pitched on Sunday, but I haven't heard anything about them. Next, we'll probably hear that A-Rod should have gotten off the operating table and caught a ride with Jeter to Phoenix. Why not? They probably would have only made him play one inning.

Cleveland is still fighting for first place even though they're only 5 games over .500. Of course the AL Central is notoriously weak.
Somehow, Boston is still in first place with a pitching staff that doesn't need a catcher, they need a medical staff.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 4 games over .500 and only one game out of first. One reason we like to go to Pittsburgh to see a game, is you can buy your seats on game day and still have a chance to sit where you please. Not anymore; they just had a crowd of over 37,000 fans.
Bartolo Colon is throwing 94-95 miles per hour and Phil Hughes is not.

"A jury has been seated in the Roger Clemens trial. I’m not sure jurors grasp the seriousness of the matter, during open arguments they were doing the wave.
"Today in women’s World Cup, the U.S. plays France. Let’s hope the French women don’t get desperate and resort to the old "hidden ball in the armpit hair" trick." --Brad Dickson
{They didn't and the USA won 3-1. Hurray Abby Wambach! --Picasner}
"Police in Florida say a man who had his boxer shorts set on fire claims his landlord did it because he hadn't paid his rent. When reached for comment, his landlord said, 'Liar! Liar!'" --RJ Currie
Q: How can you tell it's seventh-inning stretch time at a Mariners game?
A: The fans sing, "For it's 1, 2, 3 balls you're on ... "
--Dwight Perry


Monday, July 11, 2011


For the second time in a week, a batter was awarded first base on a walk with only a 3-ball count. I think this is Joe Torre's plan to speed up the game.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Actually, the best all-stars are probably all on the DL, but I'm sure they'll still play the game.
It's been a long time since I voted, and even when I did, I never voted for a Yankee. Ever since Pete Rose took out Ray Fosse in a collision at home plate (in what was then a meaningless game), and in effect, ended his career, I didn't want to see one of the Yankee players get hurt, so I hoped they wouldn't get in.

Good game today, if you like 1-0 games (I don't). CC looks more and more dominating as the season progresses. A lot of aggressive play on both sides, which I like to see. The one play that wasn't smart was trying to pick off Cano on third. It's a very difficult play because you usually have to throw to the third baseman while he's moving, and he has to find the bag on the fly. The bad throw wasn't that much of a surprise.

"Under Wisconsin's new concealed weapon law, fans may be allowed to carry concealed weapons at Lambeau Field. Considering the mentality of sports fans nowadays, visiting teams will be allowed to dig fox holes in the frozen tundra."
"The Seattle Mariners lost to the Padres after a Padres hitter was awarded a walk after three balls. Umpiring has deteriorated to the point where the director of major league baseball operations said, “Hey, he was only off by one.” --Brad Dickson

"Brett Favre is like a piece of gum you've chewed too long and can't find a place to spit out. Once you finally do — thank God! — you accidentally step in it and can't get it off your shoe." --Greg Couch (

"Many in the media are calling the guy who caught the home run ball that was Jeter’s 3000th hit an idiot for giving it back. They say he could have made $500,000. But the tickets the Yankees gave them are in the Championship Suites section for the rest of the year. Their face value might be over $500,000." --Janice Hough

Congratulations to the USA Women's Soccer team for their victory over Brazil today. They overcame a couple of questionable calls to eke out a last minute overtime win on a goal by Rochester native Abby Wambach.


Saturday, July 09, 2011


Derek has always had a flair for the dramatic and in achieving his goal of 3000 hits, he even out did himself.
He got #3000 by hitting a home run.
He went 5 for 5 with a stolen base.
His fifth hit drove in the winning run.
Other than working the concession stand and personally selling his 3000-hit jerseys and caps, there can't be much more he could have done.
And Annie-O is in a state of ecstasy.

The Dodgers have fired former first baseman Steve Garvey from their Marketing and Community Relations Department. Considering his personal history, it's apparent Steve and the Dodgers had a different idea as to what 'Community Relations' meant.

"Lawyers for Dominique Strauss Kahn now say that the maid in the ritzy hotel also worked as a hooker. A maid who is also a hooker. That’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dream date."
--Jay Leno
Since the MLB precedent has been set for long names that accurately reflect a team's situation, wouldn't it be more appropriate to start referring to them as the "U. S. Bankruptcy Court Dodgers of Los Angeles"? --Janice Hough
"I don't know how an organization that sells a beer for $12 runs out of money, but they did." --Jimmy Kimmel
"The Daily Mail reports the Seattle Mariners are one of of several MLB teams who, in recognition of allergies, plan to have nut-free games this year. I thought they did that when they they released Milton Bradley." --RJ Currie



Friday's game against Tampa was postponed because of rain, but the game won't be made up as part of a doubleheader today. It will be played on September 22nd, an off-day for both teams and Tampa already in NY for two games with the Yanks.
Doesn't playing the makeup today seem all too logical? With the All-Star game looming, a four day break for most of the players (more on that later), it seems they would be able to handle it. But no, Tampa Bay refused to play the twi-night doubleheader. So who ends up suffering here? Why it's the fans, according to the Yankees, the fans who paid good money and made arrangements to be in attendance when Derek Jeter reached the 3000-hit mark.
"We made every effort to do it [Saturday]," said Randy Levine, the team president. "But we only do what we can do. I just feel bad for all of our fans."
"People have made a lot of arrangements to try to see this happen on the day that they picked," Joe Girardi said. That was important to us because of what our fans have meant to our organization."
Said Brian Cashman, "...I can't control a decision that another organization has. We did our vote; they did their vote. Their position is their position, for whatever reason. That's their right."
Aren't those Tampa Bay Rays terrible? Well, maybe not. When you schedule a day-night doubleheader, according to the union contract, both teams have to agree. HOWEVER, if the Yanks had decided to play a straight doubleheader, two games for the price of one, the Rays would not have had a choice. Of course, that would mean the Yanks would have to give up a paid home game, which, at today's ticket prices, means the loss of millions of dollars.
"Our decision to do a split had nothing to do with Derek Jeter," Cashman said. "It had to do with business reasons. From all the baseball operations standpoints, it's fan-friendly, it's Jeter-friendly, it's team friendly."
As Wallace Matthews of ESPN,NY says, "Of course, it is none of those things. It is, however, bottom-line friendly..."
So, to heck with El Capitan, Derek Jeter, and to heck with the fans, but keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. There is a blog, sanctioned by the Yanks, called "It's all about the money."
It certainly is.

It's when he's elected to start by the fans and he decides to skip the event. I understand if a players is injured and can't play, but when it becomes an epidemic, you have to wonder what's going on. First, Mariano Rivera opts out because of tightening in his arm. Upon hearing that news, Joe Girardi needed massive doses of Xanax until he was told that rest was all that was needed. Now Jeter won't play because he needs to rest his calf. A-Rod is not playing because of a balky knee. You will probably see all three of these guys play this weekend, but not in the ASG. What's the big deal? If they follow the usual All-Star Game form, A-Rod and Jeter would probably play three innings and bat once, and Mo wouldn't even need to pitch. I guess when you have been in as many all-Star games as those three, it's no big deal anymore. Try telling that to Nick Swisher, who did everything but hire a campaign manager to get in last year, or to a deserving David Robertson, who was dying to get called on. Maybe to "It's all about the money," we should add, "It's all about the ego."

Baltimore reliever Kevin Gregg and Boston's David Ortiz exchanged haymakers last night. Luckily, neither player connected, but it wasn't for lack of trying, just lack of ability. Big Papi had homered earlier in a Red Sox blowout, but the real fireworks occurred in the eighth inning. After taking a couple of inside pitches, Ortiz hit a lazy pop fly to center and took his own lazy stroll to first. Pitcher Gregg took exception to that and gestured to Ortiz to run hard, which he did...but out to the mound. Nobody got hurt physically, but there are probably some bruised egos in both clubhouses. What Ortiz did, while shameful, seems to be standard practice for most major leaguers when the out seems obvious and Gregg was understandable frustrated just by being a member of the Orioles, who have been doormats for a while now. We may see more "action" today.

Our sympathies go out to the family of Shannon Stone, a Texas Ranger fan who died after a fall while trying to catch a ball for his 6-year old son, that was tossed into the stands by Josh Hamilton. It's a shame when an attempted good deed has such tragic results.


Monday, July 04, 2011

It's a great day for America, everybody.

Into Rochester for a Redwings game.


This may be the most telling sign of the beginning of Mariano's fade. Oh, he's not done, but he's not quite as overpowering as he has been in the past. He'll still get close to 40 saves this year and a bunch more next year to retire as the all-time save leader, and it's been a great run.

For those people who don't get to see a lot of baseball's best players, here's your chance to see them all on the field in one game. Except for those stars not chosen. Even though they have increased the roster to 30 players, there are still a number of players that the media thinks it's a shame they aren't on the team.
Michael Kay is appalled that Sabathia wasn't named, even though by rule he wouldn't be allowed to actually pitch. He has the numbers, but hasn't David Robertson been absolutely overpowering? Well, it's just an exhibition game, anyway. Oh wait, no, it isn't.

Bob Matthews came up with an interesting stat today. The Yanks and the Red Sox are a combined 43-11 in day games and 55-54 in night games and asks if there are any explanations. I think it's obvious: very few players with blue eyes.

The Seattle Mariners may not have one of the best teams in the league, but they sure are entertaining. In one week, they won a game on a wild pitch during an intentional walk, and lost one because an opposing player was walked with only three balls. It's hard to believe that with 4 umpires, 50 players and who knows how many fans, no one could keep track of the count.

If you happen to watch "Mike & Mike in the Morning" today, you got to see the play when Jose Reyes got the infield single on which he pulled his hamstring, 9 times in the space of twenty minutes. And you know what? The play never changed.

A question that has come up a lot in the last few weeks, is who has been more valuable during the Yankees run from 1996 to present, Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter? Good question, and I would go with Rivera. One good argument is the Yanks record since Jeter has been out. Rivera's failure yesterday shows you how valuable the ability to close out the game is.

"Kim Kardashian has set a wedding date — early August. She doesn't know who she's marrying yet, but between the NFL lockout and the NBA lockout, she knows there are plenty of available grooms." - Brad Dickson
"In 2011, Nathan’s will add a special “women-only” division for their annual hot dog eating contest. Maybe next year if they really want to get increased media attention they could add a “supermodel” category – the winner would be the first to finish a cocktail weiner."
- Janice Hough
"FC Rossiyanka, a Russian women's soccer power, announced it will play in bikinis to attract male fans. Which certainly answers the question: Who wants to be first string?"
"Yineth Varon, a backup goalkeeper for Colombia, failed a drug test at the Women's World Cup and was suspended by FIFA on Tuesday. Officials figured something was awry when her first goal kick came down on the 50-yard line — two stadiums away."
- Dwight Perry

Continuing our tour of the alphabet:
Outfielders - Kosuke Fukudome (Be careful with that last name)
Shin Soo Choo (God bless you)
Brian Bogusevic (The first name almost disqualified him)
Catchers - Yorvit Torrealba (Consider that last name: Joe Torre and Jessica Alba?)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia ((The back of his uniform says, "Continued on next jersey)
Picasner's choice: Yorvit Torrealba (Vod doesn't like long names)
Pitchers - Chris Jakubauskas (Yea! another 11 letter name)
Yhency Brazoban (The first name looks for all the world like a typo)
Al Alburquerque (Twelve letters - he's the winner!)
[My spell-checker just went into overload]


Proof. You Can't handle the proof.

Picasner is such a weenie whenever his opinions are even remotely questioned.

If the intent of professional baseball is to provide an audience (fans) with a product (game) they're willing to pay ($$$) for, thus making their product more desirable to a larger number of people, then interleague play is good for baseball. Picasner is right when he charactrizes this as "simplistic". It is. It's not complex...and it works. Why do you think it took the dumb-ass owners so long to figure that out? Now if some other hard-headed types could just recognize how simple it is and pipe down.

Now that may pale in comparison to Picasner's "proof", i.e. "In reality, the players don't like it and managers don't like it...". I'm so pleased to hear that Picasner has been in contact with with enough players and managers to make that assertion. How silly of any of us to think that the Yankees and Mets looked forward to the subway series, that the Brewers relished a chance to come to Yankee Stadium and play on a national stage, or that the White Sox and Cubs looked forward to a backyard brawl, or... . I'll just say "Thanks" for straightening me out.

As regards the managers, if what you say is accurate (proof, please) - so what and who cares? I'll bet dollars to donuts that the majority of fans (and a substantial number of the players) can't name the managers of half the teams in either league.

Reread the "proof laden" Lupica column. Notice his conclusions. Because baseball gets a spike in attendance out of them, that's why. I get it. Why do you suppose that is? It can't be because the fans like it, can it? Nope, just me and the owners.

And that concludes the 2011 hand grenade.

It's a great day for America everybody!

Sunday, July 03, 2011


***YANKS LOSE 3-2***
Normally reliable Ramiro Pena made errors in the 9th and 10th today and which directly led to the Yanks loss. Brett Gardner negated one error by cutting down a runner at the plate, but there was no way to prevent the other error from costing the game. Rivera looked fairly sharp but the Mets were not to be denied. Girardi again over-managed when he replaced Garcia in the 8th with Robertson. Robertson was his usual lights-out, but why bring him in at that point? Garcia had stifled the Mets all day, and had only thrown 82 pitches. If you question Girardi, I'm sure his answer would be, "Well, he's my 8th inning guy." Which is no answer except for being a good excuse if it turns out badly. It's called "Managing For The Post Game Interview." If Freddie got thru the 8th with a reasonable amount of pitches, let him finish the game. He doesn't throw hard enough to hurt his arm anyway.
I see the 'hometown' scorer was at it again on Saturday. With men on 1st & 3rd and no outs in the ninth and the Yanks up by 5 runs, Angel Pagan took off for 2nd while the Yanks basically ignored him. His run meant nothing. Normally, this is scored as "Defensive Indifference." Not tonight. With a chance to get a free statistic, the scorer credited him with a stolen base. He should be ashamed. This is another argument for having umpires be official scorers.

Vod's argument in favor of interleague play is the simplistic "It's good for baseball." No proof, mind you, just the statement. In reality, the players don't like it and managers don't like it, mostly because of the inequities of the scheduling. For example, the Mets have to play the Yanks six times, while Philadelphia plays the Red Sox just three times. The only ones who like it are the owners...and Vod. From Mike Lupica, NY Daily News:
"There is this constant hand-wringing about protecting the integrity of the long season. It starts with bringing integrity to the short season of interleague baseball, which is already skewed, some teams playing 19 interleague games, some playing 15, most playing 18. Why? Because baseball gets a spike in attendance out of them, that's why. I get it. This is about business."
He also wants the DH official in both leagues. The Players Association won't let the DH get eliminated without hostages being taken, and baseball needs have consistent rules in both leagues, especially if interleague play is going to continue. American League teams are built around the DH and the NL is at a distinct disadvantage in the AL parks. And vice-versa without the DH in the NL parks.

Too many Yankee and Red Sox players on the team, but it doesn't make any difference. Most of them will probably only play an inning or two anyway. Here's a game that has such a huge effect on the series to determine Baseball's World Champion, and it's played like an exhibition game. Every team HAS to be represented and everyone gets to play. Now they've changed the rules so that the best pitchers probably won't be able to play. Another fine job, Bud Selig.

I see the Tigers have fired pitching coach Rick Knapp. What did he do? Try to talk to Justin Verlander? Let that be a lesson to all pitching coaches. Stay away from the guy with an 11-3 record.


Saturday, July 02, 2011

A Happy 4th to All!

I haven’t dropped a hand grenade down Picasner’s shorts in a very long time so what better way to celebrate the July 4th weekend?

Never at a loss for inane decisions, the scions of MLB actually got one right with interleague play because it has proven, over time, to be good for baseball. If you’re not so sure, ask any NL owner, player, or fan lucky enough to get a home series with the Yankees or Red Sox how they feel about a guaranteed capacity crowd, the chance to play against the best in baseball, or attending a game with an electric atmosphere before making you’re decision.

Last night’s game in Citi Field, contrary to other reports posted here was a gem. After giving up three first inning runs Niese settled down and made the Yankee offense look less than ordinary. Nova, on the other hand, only gave up one run over five innings but threatened to blow up every time he took the mound.

What a pleasure to watch a game in a park that requires more than the three run, 320’ homer to win a game. I really enjoyed watching A-Rod’s I-hit-the-bejesus-out-of-that-pitch-home-run-bat-flip only to see the ball hit near the top of the wall in left center. I don’t want to see that every day but a little slice of humility for previously juiced sluggers is lovely.

And in the 6th!

I’m neither a psychotic Yankee fan (as is He Who Must Not Be Named) nor a Girardi apologist, but last night he got it all right, managing in a situation we never get to see in the DH dominated AL. Leading 3 – 1, getting Gardner in left for Jones is a no-brainer. Sending Posada up to pinch-hit right handed was a prayer and Jorge responded by watching three called strikes with the bases loaded. But it was interesting. Finally, Dickerson subbing late for Nick “The Dancing Bear” Swisher in right is hardly unusual. If that’s a case of using your entire team, I like it.

And the bullpen! Six Yankee relievers took a tour on the mound last night. Boone Logan got the one man he was intended to get and Robertson was, again, lights out. Ayala was wild, Wade was effective, and Noesi is not the guy I want to see on the mound in the 9th facing the heart of a hot hitting lineup. The fact that he got one out while only giving up one hit gave the Yankees and Mariano, who was already warm and ready to go, the chance to close this one out and still be available for Saturday. It took Mariano just eleven pitches to polish off Jose Reyes, a match up that every fan wanted to see, and Justin Turner who was 3 – 4 before facing Mo.

And there’s more! Gardner made two nice plays in right running down balls few others would reach. Robinson Cano turned a beautiful double play snagging a hot, short-hop stepping on 2nd and making a power throw to 1st. Mark Teixeira saved A-Rod from two throwing errors, flashing leather on A-Rod’s cruddy throws. And we saw a great dust-up at third when third base umpire Ted Barrett inexplicably took a stroll to left field and Jerry Lane had to run down the line to make the call on Reyes sliding into the bag. A call he missed, in part, because A-Rod sold the (missed) tag. A-Rod may not be able to throw but he sure can act. It’s nice to see the Jeter influence at work even as he rehabs.

Yeah, yeah, it was an interesting game. But what really sold me on interleague play? When the Yankees had Milwaukee at home while the Red Sox faced Cliff Lee in Philadelphia. How can you argue with that?

Have a great and safe 4th enjoying America's game in America's greatest city.



The final score was 5-1, and I don't know if exciting was the best way to describe the game, unless you include the word tense. It seemed that both teams played like there was more at stake than just a middle of the season regular game. There were some good plays and some bad plays, with mistakes being made by the players, the umpires and even the official scorers.

The Yanks power played a big part in their win, but the huge expanse of Citifield was also a big part. A-Rod clobbered one in the ninth that should have gone out but only hit off the top of the wall deep in left-center. But that's only half of the story. Because of that size, the outfielders all had to play deeper than normal, which allowed balls to fall in front of them and any ball hit into the gap looks like a sure triple; just ask Jose Reyes, who has 15 of them.

Speaking of Reyes, everyone is praising his aggressiveness when he tried to take third on a muffed relay from Granderson to Nunez, but I don't think it was a very smart play. He was already in scoring position and the Mets were down TWO runs. Getting to third certainly increased his chances of scoring, but they needed two runs not one, and a rally was in the making. Instead, he took all kinds of pressure off Nova by making the 2nd out and leaving the bases empty. The Yanks were helped by a bad call by the home plate umpire, but that doesn't excuse Reyes. Aggressiveness is good, but you have to pick your spots more carefully.

The official scorer made some questionable decisions, too. Reyes threw a ball high to first base, which clipped the top of first baseman Dan Murphy's glove. He might have caught it if he jumped, but then he wouldn't have been able to stay in contact with the bag. They gave the error to Murphy instead of Reyes. Why? Reyes is the face of the franchise. You do everything you can to keep him from getting a negative stat. In the 4th inning, Jonathon Niese was initially charged with a wild pitch on a ball that scooted through the legs of catcher Ronny Paulino. The scorer came to his senses later and changed it to a passed ball, but Murphy's 'error' is still on the books.

Potential hard feelings were poised to erupt when Russell Martin slid hard into Ruben Tejada trying to break up a double play. You could see Martin checking on Tejada's health and Ruben didn't look too happy, but afterwards, both teams said there was no problem.

The only bad part for the Yanks was Girardi's over-managing style again. I don't disagree with his substitutions in the sixth with a chance to put the game away, but I saw no reason to bring Rivera in to get the final two outs. Of course, Al Leiter was thrilled with the National League style of play, where you "...get to use your whole team." What he should have said was you have to use our whole team. By having to make all those substitutions, sometimes you don't have you best players in the game in those crucial last innings, and Girardi was forced to use his whole bullpen except for Sergio Mitre (yes, he's back).

## Matt Meyers, another writer with too much time on his hands, decided to come up with another statistic to determine what pitchers are "aces," calling it the Ace Barometer. Just what we need: another contrived, worthless stat. You can't argue with his top nine, but you didn't need his mathematical genius to come up with the same list without his new stat. By the way, his list didn't include names like Greinke, Lester, Beckett or Sabathia.
## Ben Duronio says that Mark Teixeira is poised to have a big 2nd half of the season as his history indicates. This is good because, according to Matthews, Tex's first half stats are not good. Excuse me? Leading the Majors in home runs and 2nd in RBIs is "not good?" Well, he says, that's because his BABIP is too low. That's "Batting Average for Balls In Play, for those of you who don't know. Rather than that stat indicating a true evaluation of a hitters production, I think it indicates that BABIP is no indication at all. I include all his other "true statistics," such as HR/FB rate (home runs per fly ball), wOBA (weighted On Base Percentage) and his ISP (Isolated Slugging Percentage). Ben says that since all these numbers are below Mark's career average, they're all due to improve for the second half. If they do, good luck to AL pitchers.

One final note to all the Yankee haters who claim the Yankees blow money on players without good results. The LA Dodgers, who recently filed for bankruptcy, still owe some $47 million to players no longer on the team or out of baseball altogether. There's some good financial planning.
The "Most Useless Money Spent" trophy, however, goes to that financial wizard, Fred Wilpon of the Mets. Starting July 1st of this year, the Mets are committed to paying Bobby Bonilla, who retired in 2001, $1.19 million per year for the next 25 years. That's the best pension plan I've ever heard of.