Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Over four hours and 349 pitches later, the Yankees win. And today , a Becket day-night single header. My wife and I are going to a Redwings game in Rochester tonight - a 7:05 start. It's good to know we'll still get to watch half of the Yankee game when we get home.


Going into Tuesday night's game, the fire seemed to be lacking in this rivalry so far. It came back big time last night. Lackey hit Granderson (one of the many pitches umpire Rapuana missed), CC hit Ellsbury, Lackey hit Posada, CC hit Saltalamacchia (that's the last time I write that out fully) and Lackey hit Cervelli. Everybody claimed, of course, they were just trying "to pitch inside," except Sabathia, who was quite open about what he thought was going on. But then he had his own demons to worry about. After the game, he quipped to reporters that he had to win so they wouldn't keep bringing up the fact that he was 0-4 against the Sox this year.

But back to the game, won by CC and NY 5-2. The Sox left men on base all night, in fact, I think there are still men on 2nd and 3rd this morning. Cervelli hit a homer which prompted a lot of emotion from both clubs, including Lackey, who pitches every game as though the opposing club was holding his mother hostage.

There were failures by both clubs, too. Posada hit into two double plays and would have hit into more but the last two times he batted, there were already two outs. Ortiz failed to score from 2nd on a single to left by Crawford, but let's face it, in a race with Posada, it's even money that neither guy would reach the finish line.

It's good that the Yanks won this one because the Yanks are throwing Hughes and Burnett the last two games. The Sox are pitching two guys named Beckett and Lester. Not good for NY.

Keegan Bradley, a Vermont native who won the PGA Championship this month, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and gave a big fist pump afterward. CC promptly hit him with his first warm-up toss.

The SF Giants are now six games out and falling. The defending champs are 30th in the majors in runs scored. They're averaging less than 3 and a half runs a game and the "big" hitter they acquired, Carlos Beltran, has driven in just four since coming West. The Giants are looking like the biggest flash-in-the-pan since the 1959 White Sox.

Speaking of the White Sox, Ozzie Guillen, who is under contract with the Sox through next season is asking for an extension. Ozzie's record in 8 years is a whopping 667-600, not really all that impressive. It seems to be that way for Ozzie, though. "I am a good manager," Guillen said. "Very cocky and arrogant. There's a lot of worse guys out there than me. I have (a lot) of confidence in myself. I know what I can do. People can think what they want. If they don't think I'm a good manager, be careful what you wish for." A little peace and quiet would be nice.

Milwaukee is still surging and the Cardinals are still falling and there are rumors that this is LaRusso's last season as the St. Louis manager. There are probably a lot of Cardinal players who wouldn't be unhappy to see baseball's most infamous micro-manager let go of the reins (and maybe unclench his teeth).

"The New York State Fair is going to feature 1,500 calorie "Donut Burger" — a quarter pound hamburger between two slices of glazed donut, covered with cheese and bacon." -- Brad Dickson (no punch line here, I just want one)
"UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub, via Twitter, on fighting in his opponent's hometown of Rio de Janeiro: "Besides the Brazilian chants of 'your gonna die' I thought the weigh-ins went really well." -- Dwight Perry
"First reports on Hurricane Irene in New York. An expensive mess, but underwhelming considering its original potential. Sort of like the 2011 Mets." -- Janice Hough
"Vin Scully announced he will return in 2012 for a 63rd season as the play-by-play voice of the Dodgers. That is, health willing and the divorce judge doesn't award him to Jamie." -- Dwight Perry
"London isn’t fit after the rioting to host the 2012 Olympics. However, they did say that they could host the 2012 Stanley Cup." -- Bill Littlejohn
"An L.A. judge has ordered Hollywood actress and former Canadian synchronized swimming champ Estella Warren to four months in rehab after she pled to a DUI charge. Word is Warren's blood alcohol score was .12 - even higher if you exclude the .06 from the Russian judge." -- RJ Currie


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Be Afraid, Very Afraid (Picasner at large Goes Mainstream Media)

Thanks to Michele Bachman for letting us know that the east coast earthquake and hurrricane Irene that devastated a large part of northern New York and most of Vermont are the Grand Old Deity's punishment for the federal budget. Thomas Jefferson once opined that George Washington's mind was not much bothered by "invention and imagination". Certainly can't say the same about Michele.

Switters says that the inertia of the masses and the corruption of the manipulators will require nothing short of a miracle to ensure the continuation of our species on an increasingly sick planet. It's nothing short of a miracle that any sentient being would do anything to place Michele, or Mitt, or Governor Rick Goodhair Perry in a position of authority.

And while were on the subject of heavenly wrath, that might explain the Yankees' pitching rotation that has Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnet starting two out of three games in Boston. Sinners and Yankees repent!

And while were on the subject of Switters, it's football season... "a ritual parody of the primate territorial imperative, complete with nonlethal but often painful violence, colored at its margins with decidedly sexual overtones, and fouled by the stink of commerce".

No doubt, early homo sapiens mated with Neanderthals.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


(Headline on the back page of the NY Post)

The headline refers to the way the Baltimore Orioles handled the scheduling of the 5 games with the Yanks this weekend. Rumors and allegations are flying faster than columnists can keep up with them.
The Orioles claim they presented ALL of the possible options to the Yankees and they rejected them all. They finally submitted a plan which they say the Players Association and MLB approved.
The Yankees claim the Orioles didn't decide how to handle the scheduling until Friday night, while the game was in progress and refused to consider any option the Yanks suggested except for making up the lost game on Sept. 8th, the Yanks only true off-day till the end of the season. Meanwhile, Curtis Granderson, the Yanks player representative, says neither he nor the rest of the team ever approved playing on their last off-day.
It's not over and regardless of how it comes out, somebody is going to be very unhappy.

The Yanks will pitch Colon and Nova and a sweep would make up the game they lost yesterday. Boston is not playing today while Irene saunters through New England.

This seems to be the big question for Mariner fans. For the first time, Ichiro will fail to hit .300, and will not get his customary 200 hits. Never fear, sports fans, Baseball Info Solutions has the answer. "Experts point to Ichiro's age, 37, as a reason for his ebb, but another explanation could be that Ichiro is the unfortunate recipient of superb fielding on the balls he puts in play." Yes, you can count on BIS to come up with a statistic to prove their point. This week's special formula is the Good Fielding Plays (GFPs). In simple terms, a GFP is a Web Gem, a play in which a fielder makes an extraordinary effort to record an unlikely out or to prevent an advancement of a runner. As with all these special stats, at one point, someone has to make an 'evaluation' or 'rate' some particular part of the play to put it in a category. The minute that happens, the statistic as proof holds no credence with me. Interesting? Sure. Proof positive? Sell me some swampland in Florida instead.

See the comment above. Suddenly, he's hitting like the Derek Jeter of old. BIS hasn't gotten around to this one yet, but I'm here to help. His special stat: The OIBUWMKICSTBCA or, Once I Broke Up With Minka Kelly, I Could See The Ball Clearly Again. Gee, this is fun.

Apparently I wasn't too clear on a comment I made about Nolan Ryan's pitching staff. The Stumpy one commented:
"I thought you were against the pitch count determining when a pitcher gets removed? I'm all for removing them when they are tired, but isn't that what he is getting at - remove the pitchers when they are tired? That would make it Ryan's manager that's the idiot for not noticing fatigue when he sees it. What you said makes it sound like you are for the pitch count staying around. I'm not a baseball aficionado, but even I see that.
I am against an arbitrary set pitch-count ceiling; pitchers should be removed when they become ineffective, not just when they reach a certain number. On a day-by-day basis, managers ARE responsible for recognizing fatigue. Over the course of a season, continued high pitch counts can result in pitchers running out of gas late in the season. This is what Nolan Ryan should have expected, and that was my point.


A terrific comment by Bob Ryan on the Sports Reporters today when talking about Peyton Manning: "He's so good, he could make a 100-catch receiver out of a hatrack and a shovel."

"Tickets for the Nebraska University football game at Wyoming are going for $174. To put that in perspective, in parts of Wyoming you can buy a house for $274." -- Brad Dickson

"The last time the Yankees had three grand slams in one day: "The morning David Wells ate breakfast at Denny's." -- Seattle Times reader Bill Littlejohn

"Plans are underway to squeeze in another 6,600 seats behind Lambeau Field's south end zone in time for the 2013 season. Hey, they don't call them the Packers for nothing." -- Dwight Perry


Saturday, August 27, 2011


...we should have rooted for the hurricane. Burnett's performance was so bad, even three homers for the Bombers didn't make me feel any better. After the game, AJ was quoted as saying, "I can't concentrate on the numbers." I wish he'd concentrate on something, 'cause I'm pretty sure it isn't pitching. No more games until we wait for the rains to pass.

The Yankee's ability to draw fans in the opponents stadiums has hurt them again. The Orioles refused to give up a lucrative play date with the Yanks, forcing NY to lose one of the two off-days they have left in the rest of the season.

This is very hard to believe, in fact, I looked it up in a couple of different places to verify it. On Wednesday, 8/24, the Florida Marlins hosted the Cincinnati Reds before a "crowd" of 347 people. They must have thought AJ Burnett was pitching.

John McEnroe was injured at the Rogers Cup. I'm thinking it cannot be serious." -- RJ Currie
"Hear about Ohio State's new holiday gift drive? Toys For Tats." -- Dwight Perry
"Bethany (Kan.) College suspended its men's golf team for three tournaments for posing naked except for strategically placed drivers: "Let us all pray this idea never occurs to John Daly." -- Janice Hough
"Attorneys representing cash-strapped Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in the team's bankruptcy case have petitioned the court for legal fees of $1.7 million for just 5 weeks of work, and it's not looking good. In lieu of a personal check, McCourt asked if they'd take a backup infielder." -- Dwight Perry
"According to a recent survey, kids are receiving an average of 40 cents less from the tooth fairy. That's right, the economy is so bad that even make-believe people are feeling the pinch." -- Conan O'Brien

What with Hurricane Irene causing havoc with sports on the east coast, what am I going to write about this weekend? The National League?


Thursday, August 25, 2011


***YANKS CRUSH THE A'S, 22-9***
The Yanks made sure they didn't get swept, but it would have been nicer if they had gotten some of those runs earlier in the series. I could write all day about all the hitting and scoring, but I did notice one thing that impressed me. Even with the score 16-7 or thereabouts, the Yankee hitters refused to swing at pitches outside the strike zone. That's disciplined hitting. I didn't think I'd ever be saying this , but kudos to the home plate umpire, who never gave in and widened the strike zone either.
Posada almost looked like he was trying to prolong the game when throwing out a runner for the game's final out. I think it's been a long time since he laughed that hard.
In talking about the upcoming series with Baltimore, Michael Kay mentioned that the Orioles had so many injuries, it was going to be like playing their farm team in Rochester. The Rochester parent team is actually the Minnesota Twins. Baltimore's affiliate is in Norfolk.

The Yanks move to Baltimore now, for five games in four days, however, weather could be an issue. AJ Burnett pitches the first game tomorrow night. I don't think I've ever rooted for a hurricane before.

After a basketball player shoots an air ball, the crowd chants, “Air ball, air ball!!!” If you’re at a Yo-Yo Ma concert and he makes a mistake, does the gallery chant, “Wrong chord, wrong chord!!!”? -- Norman Chad

Here's an interesting little tidbit:
Since he took over as president of the Texas Rangers, Nolan Ryan has tried to dispel the theory of 'Pitch Count.' He wanted the practice of removing pitchers from the game based on some arbitrary number of pitches, stopped. He wanted his pitchers to go deeper into games regardless of the pitch count and build their arm strength beyond the accepted 100 pitches. Now the Rangers are being knocked around by the Red Sox hitters and Ryan had this to say about his pitching staff: "They're just not sharp. They look fatigued to me." Gee, I wonder why, Nolan.

Terrible news about the death of former Oriole pitcher Mike Flanagan at age 59. I had the good fortune of seeing him pitch when he was with the Baltimore farm club here in Rochester.

BREAKING NEWS: Jim Thome has approved a deal that will send him to the Cleveland Indians.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011



***BOSTON LOSES 4-0***
Well, I think it's funny. By the way, since the Red Sox have played two more games than the Yanks and are now one full game behind, so even if the Sox win and the Yanks lose tonight, the Yanks will still be in first place by percentage points. (Insert secondary laugh here)

That's right, all women sports, all the time. Columnist Norman Chad suggests some possible changes and some new features:
**All-male sideline reporters
**Out with "Big Monday" in with "Sadie Hawkins Night"
**"Pardon the Menstruation"
(Okay ladies, let's not kill the messenger, now.)

Leading off with a couple from Norman Chad:
“Quiet Please” signs at golf tournaments
Kobe Bryant can make free throws at the end of a basketball game with 15,000 fans screaming and waving stuff behind the basket, but Matt Kuchar can’t putt unless he’s in the freakin’ library? Hey, the ball doesn’t move. The hole doesn’t move. Step up and play, pal.
The two-minute warning in football.
Does the referee really have to go over to each sideline and tell the coaches that there are two minutes left in the half? What, they can’t see the stadium clock? IT’S HUGE. Rather than warning the coaches in regard to time remaining, what would be more helpful — particularly if you’re, say, Lovie Smith — is if the referee could warn a coach that Jay Cutler is about to throw a game-changing interception.
There will be more.

## Interesting note: On this date last year, the Yankees had the exact same record as they do now. They were tied for first with Tampa Bay and Boston was 5 games out (maybe this should be part of the 'Laughs' portion).

## The San Diego Padres retired Trevor Hoffman's number on Sunday. A video of The Star Spangled Banner, sung by Hoffman's Dad, who died in 1985, was played before the game. Dave Winfield reported that there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I can believe it.


Monday, August 22, 2011


## Nova upped his record to 13-4, with a strong 7 inning shut-out against the Twins yesterday. I believe the only reason he shouldn't be the #2 starter is his inexperience, especially in post-season play.

## The inside-the-park home run is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. It's also exciting to see whether the hitter can walk back to the dugout under his own power afterwards. Granderson did both yesterday.

## Sometimes the best decision is the one you don't make. Girardi was sorely tempted to bring in Soriano in the 8th inning yesterday, after Roberson loaded the bases with two outs. As they stated on ESPN, Girardi had "phone issues" in the dugout and couldn't get thru to the bullpen in time to make a change. Annie-O didn't understand this until I explained to her that they didn't say "phony shoes," as she thought. Oh, that's very different.

## To put the Granderson homer in perspective, Jason Varitek, who couldn't win a race against a three-legged horse, actually hit a triple yesterday...and had trouble getting to his feet at third base. Afterwards, he was quoted as saying, "That didn't feel good."

## Joe Torre is trying to ease the tension between the umpires and the players. He got involved in the situation where the Royals hit a home run that should have been called a double but the umpires didn't know the ground rules. Torre's idea is to maintain consistency in the umpiring and he did just that. He did nothing. I can understand mistakes on judgement calls, but not on mistakes concerning the rules. Dana Demuth's crew should have been fined or suspended, but Joe refused to take any kind of stand. Doesn't he realize that this is why the umpires feel that they don't have to answer to anybody?

"Researchers have found the brains of frequent tanners are comparable to those of alcoholics. From now on, I’m putting SPF 30 on my beer cans." -- Cam Hutchinson
"Rex Ryan's mouth officially opened for 2012 season." -- The
"A Miami booster's claims he showered football players with cash and prostitutes: "So far the allegations haven't hurt recruiting. Charlie Sheen just signed a letter of intent." --Brad Dickson
"Coincidence? Eli Manning proclaims to be in the same QB stratosphere as Tom Brady just days before the premiere of "Idiot Brother." -- Dwight Perry
"Alex Rodriguez, still not talking to the media about those poker allegations, went 0-3 in his second minor league rehab start. A-Rod said he wasn't complaining about his performance, and was just playing the hand he was dealt." -- Janice Hough
"Supermodel Gisele Bundchen said in a recent interview she was athletic growing up and the captain of her volleyball team. No surprise really; she is still all over the net." -- RJ Currie


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Halloween

Call me naive, but I'm buying Joe Girardi's and A.J. Burnet's explanation of their exchange on the mound and in the dugout last night. However, if the decoration on A.J.'s noggin is any indication of what's going on below the surface, I'm worried.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


## YANKS WIN 8-1
It seems everyone in the lineup is contributing now. Even Posada who, though he only got one hit, smoked two other balls that would have gone for extra bases if his aim was a little better. Hughes looks stronger every time out. He gave up two hits, one a homer, but only struck out two.
## AJ Burnett against Francisco Liriano tonight. Their records are extremely similar: both bad.
The Yanks have the more potent offense, so they should come out all right.
## I see Ron Gardenhire's career record against the Yankees is 19-61. That's hard to imagine. In an obvious attempt to break the string, Ron got himself thrown out of the game in the first inning Thursday night. Didn't help; the Yanks still won.
## Another frivolous remark by ESPN's current comedy team. Watching a home run blast by Josh Hamilton: "I will serve no fries before their time." ??? What are they putting in this guy's orange juice in the morning?
## While we're at it, who's doing the programming there? It makes no sense to me that they spent 10 minutes (actually timed) on four pre-season (i.e. worthless) pro-football games and 5+ minutes on five baseball games, three of which involved teams fighting for a division. Is it just me?
## Last Sunday, the Sports Reporters advised us to watch the "pennant race" that was heating up between Texas and the Angels. There was only one game separating them and this was going to a battle for the rest of the season. The result? Six days later and the Angels are now 6 games out. Good call!
## In the meantime, the two teams with the best records in the American League are separated by a mere half-game, and both teams have been fighting thru a rash of injuries to key players. And people wonder why their games are on national TV so often. (As they also say on ESPN, that's the Yanks & the Red Sox for those of you who are new to the program)
## More scouting reports:
Abdul Hasheen Abba Ali: 6'10", 305 lbs. Guard. Played high school ball under the name Sylvester Lee Jones until he discovered religion. Abdul thinks Sherlock Holmes is a housing project in Jacksonville . Doesn't know the meaning of the word "fear." (Doesn't know the meaning of many other words, either.)
Roosevelt "Dude" Dansell : 6' 1", 195 lbs. Running Back. From Tyler , Texas . Has processed hair and imitates Billy Dee Williams very well. Before he signed his letter of intent, he wanted the school to change colors to chartreuse and pink. Listed his church preference as "red brick."
## Strange Rumor Dept. Johnny Damon is on the waiver wire, and one writer (name withheld to protect the ignorant) believes he will end up with either the Yanks or the Red Sox, because both teams are in need of a reliable DH. It's also possible he could end up with the Phillies. Somebody find this guy a shiny toy to play with.

"An ESPN analyst said he hoped to see the old Tiger at the PGA Championship. Wish granted. He looked like an old Tiger." -- RJ Currie
"Cash payments, alcohol, strippers, hookers -- no wonder the Hurricanes haven't won much lately. They're exhausted." -- Michael Rosenberg
--OR --
"Have you heard about the accusations of the University of Miami football team? Hookers, drugs, bribes, lavish hotel suites, yachts. That isn't a football team, that's a weekend with Charlie Sheen." -- Alex Kaseberg
"Black Swan actress Mila Kunis told Glamour magazine she is looking for a man who is funny, not good looking. This is great news for most sports humorists." -- RJ Currie
(Hope Annie-O doesn't see that one)


Friday, August 19, 2011


***YANKS WIN 8-4***
The only way to describe Sabathia's performance is sporadic. He started weakly (and lucky), got strong for a couple of innings and then seemed on the verge of blowing up. Somehow, he got thru seven innings and got the win, but he never looked overpowering. But he didn't need to be: the Yankee bats were booming, hitting two doubles, a triple and three homers among their 15 hits. Andruw Jones hit a blast that seemed to move the third deck back two feet and almost cold-cocked a fan in the process.
After Girardi got the umps to review and overturn a "homer" by Justin Morneau, the game seemed to belong to the Yanks. Manager Ron Gardenhire got the old heave-ho for arguing way too long that Morneau's blast should stand. The replays did seem inconclusive at first, but later in the game they showed a replay from a different angle and the ball was clearly foul.
A-Rod has joined the team but isn't supposed to play until Saturday. Freddie Garcia is going on the DL with what the Yankees are now describing as, "...a kitchen accident." Why all the secrecy?

## Add Kevin Youkilis to the growing list of the injured up in Boston. Now he's on the DL. Luckily, the Sox are playing Kansas City and can probably handle them with their second team on the field.
## The Chicago Cubs have been in a real tizzy the last few months, adding some questionable players, trading others and...well, do we need to mention the Carlos Zambrano fiasco, all resulting in a team in 5th place, 18+ games out. Normally, when a team has these kind of problems, the manager becomes the sacrificial lamb, but not here. The Cubs just fired General Manager Jim Hendry.
## The Phillies became the first team to 80 wins and they're 38 games over .500.
## Colorado minor leaguer Mike Jacobs, became the first player suspended for using HGH, Human Growth Hormone. When asked why he would take a chance knowing the possible harsh penalty, he responded, "You try playing professional baseball when you're only 4'10"."


Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pa., has been forced to create a "spirit squad" to cheer at its football and basketball games, the Delaware County Daily Times reported, because the real cheerleaders were too busy practicing and competing in cheer competitions. -- Dwight Perry

The Jacksonville Sharks won the Arena Football League title by defeating the Arizona Rattlers, 73-70. Or as noted by David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Proving once again that defense wins championships."


Wouldn't it be interesting if collegiate scouting reports gave an honest evaluation of the players? It might go something like this:

** Tyrone"Python" Peoples: 6'10", 228 lbs. Wide Receiver. Has a pending paternity suit and two rape trials, but hopes none of his other 9 victims will file charges. Tyrone had already signed letters of intent with six colleges. Likes wild women and red Cadillac's. Thinks Taco Bell is the Mexican Telephone Company

** Willie "Night Train" Smith: 6'4", 225 lbs. Quarterback. Born on an Amtrak train. Birth certificate indicates he is 27 years old. Thinks the "N" on Nebraska 's helmets stands for "Nowledge," but still meets this school's stringent entrance requirements. Insists on wearing No. 32 jersey since it matches his score on his SAT's.

** Quinticious Jenkins: 6' 3", 220 lbs. Running Back. Set state scoring record out of Triton High School , Dunn , N.C. Also led the state in burglaries, but has only 9 convictions. He has been clocked at 4.2 seconds in the 40 yard dash with a 19" TV under each arm.

** Wayfron P. Jackson: 6' 6", 215 lbs. Wide Receiver. Hottest prospect from Texas in the last ten years. Loves rap music. Will demand a mini-cassette in his helmet. Currently holds world record for the most"you knows" during an interview (62 in one minute). Wayfron can print his complete name.

Note: College track coaches intend to use several of the above signees in their track programs. However, instead of using a starting gun at track meets, the NCAA has now agreed to use a burglar alarm.
A thanks to The Casino Cat for this insight.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


***YANKS LOSE 5-4***
They're still in first place, but by the smallest of margins. Luckily, Boston is having a rough go of it right now.
Some thoughts while watching the game:
* Jeter is really swinging the bat well right now, getting his average up to .290. It is amazing that he broke a cardinal rule on the bases: when starting off on the hit and run, you can't get picked off. Of course, it helps when the pitcher uses an illegal move to throw to first. If you watch closely, Bruce Chen's right leg goes behind the rubber when he starts to throw. The rules say that the pitcher MUST throw to home in that situation. Where's "Balkin' Bob" Davidson when you need him.
* Posada's hot streaks don't last very long these days, do they? What'd we get, one day?
* Colon is becoming all too hittable these days.

** The Cubs have signed Wayne Gretsky's 18 year-old son, Trevor to a $375,000 contract. That's what the Cubs need to control Zambrano, a hockey player. Who's next? The Hanson brothers?
** Freddie Garcia is probably going on the DL because of a cut index finger. Okay, that happens, but why is Garcia refusing to say how it occurred? Seems kinda strange to me.
** A couple of nights ago, the Yanks brought in David Roberston to pitch and Annie-O said, "Here he comes. David Robertson, the new Mo'" And she's right.
** The name game, collegiate division...according to Dwight Perry (All real names):
Wave Ryder, Navy
Yourhigness Morgan, Fla Atlantic
Boyblue Aoelua, N. Mexico St.
Mister Cobble, Kentucky
Skylar Stormo, Wash. St.
** Hard-To-Believe Dept.:
The Yanks have resigned Scott Proctor to a minor league contract. Scott claimed in an interview that he didn't feel overworked under Joe Torre, even though he appeared in 83 games and pitched 103+ innings, a record for non-starters. Scott joined the Scranton Wilkes-Barre team on Tuesday. His arm is expected to join him in a few days.
** The MLB Owners are meeting in Cooperstown this week. This is as close as any of them will ever get to the Hall of Fame.
** The "Best Hitting Team In The Majors" had a tough time with Tampa Bay this week. In three games, the Red Sox had a TOTAL of 9 hits and 5 runs
** Also from Boston, Adrian Gonzales has a stiff neck and it's keeping him from generating any power. David Ortiz will be out a week with bursitis. Their pitching staff is now relying on two recent pickups, an aging knuckleballer, a pitcher (John Lackey) who is better in his mind than on the mound, a shaky Jon Lester and a petulant Josh Beckett. This is a good time to make a move on them.

"After all the rioting in London this week, officials are worried that it could mean security problems for the Olympics next year. On the bright side, the guy running with the torch will just blend right in." -- Jimmy Fallon
"Supermodel Gisele Bundchen told Vogue magazine yoga and kung fu are to thank for her body. Thank you yoga. Thank you kung fu." -- RJ Currie
"Kerri Strug, the 1996 Olympic gold-medal gymnast, threw a ceremonial first pitch high and outside from just 30 feet away before a Twins game last week. Three of the seven judges still called it a strike." -- Dwight Perry
"It may take a while for Tiger Woods' ex-caddie to write a tell-all book about him. Ever see those itty-bitty pencils they're forced to keep score with?" -- Bob Mills
"The University of Miami football program has been linked to prostitutes, under-the-table payments, illegal gifts, lies and cover-ups. It's so bad this is being called the 17th or 18th biggest scandal in Miami football history." -- Brad Dickson

Lunch today with Vod and his lovely bride, Laurie. If Vod and I can get a couple of beers into her and Annie-O, we may have some brand-new quotes tomorrow.


What Were They Thinking?

Attempted steals ahead of MLBs number two home run hitter?
Assuming the umpires know all of the rules all of the time?
Top of the 9th, bases loaded, on the road, 2 strikes. Hip, Hip, remember too close to take?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Season of Milestones

As another regular season grinds toward an anticlimactic finish (with the current playoff format can there be any other kind) lets reflect on several of the highlights that gripped or missed our attention for the past five months.

Derek Jeter reaches 3,000 hits - and keeps on rolling. An enormous individual achievement, the first by a Yankee, consuming gallons of media ink, and topped off by a home run. What a script.

An even rarer event - Jim Tome's 600th home run, ignored by most, a testament to hard work, dedication, preparation, longevity, and deserving of first round selection to Cooperstown.

And the rarest of all, Omar Vizquel becomes the first active player to cash a social security check.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jeter Love

If Derek Jeter was a One-Armed Bandit he'd be paying off big time. He's so hot he's wearing asbestos batting gloves. Not bad for an over the hill, are-the Yankees-a-better-team-without-Jeter-in-the-lineup, old fogey. High fives to Annie-O for sticking with him through it all. (But don't forget, Annie, that you and I know something about Derek that no one else knows.)

Figure out how to beat Boston, win the division, and the playoffs, and the Series (look, even if you just get to the Series that will be a relief for everyone). Is that really too much to ask?

In other baseball news...

Over to you Chad


** Jorge Posada says he's definitely going to play next year. You know Girardi would not be looking forward to another year of trying to treat a guy who's over the hill with the respect he deserves because of his history. But, who knows? Maybe Jorge is talking about the Pioneer Independent League.

** AJ Burnett finally won a game in August, pitching into the 6th inning before Boone Logan got the final out in that inning, followed by the "Three Amigos," Soriano, Robertson and Rivera.

** The Yes announcers mentioned the other relievers last night. Ayala, Wade and now Boone are all pitching very well, which may change Girardi's & Rothschild's thinking: "If we can just get 3 good innings from our starter..."

** A typical Melky Cabrera game last night. A couple of line drives at the plate, a strong throw from the outfield, and a strange play on a fly ball. Actually, he really wasn't at fault on the fly ball, it was really a slicing line drive that most centerfielders would've had trouble with.

** You have to give credit to the Royals. Down 5-3 in the 6th inning , and they were still trying to steal bases. Yankee catcher Russ Martin nailed three of them and that's something with AJ pitching. He's very slow to the plate.

** Congratulations to Jim Thome on hitting his 600th career home run. He did it in typical Thome style: No fanfare, no drag-out countdown and no cheapie shots. This guy is a definite Hall of Famer.

** The ESPN Sports Reporters made a big deal out of the "old-fashioned hot pennant race" in the AL West between Texas and the Angels. You can't always predict these things accurately and they didn't. Since Saturday, the Angels have lost three games in the standings and are now 5 games out. It's not over, they still have two games left against Texas this week and they close out the season against them.

** On the other hand, Detroit has lost two more games in the standings and are now only two games in front of Cleveland.

** This is surprising: the Twins trades Delmond Young to their AL Central conference rival, the Tigers. You don't see that very often and NEVER in the AL East.

** The Giants are 2 1/2 games out in the NL West, and without any offense, that's going to be very, very difficult to make up.

** The Red Sox play a day-night double header against Tampa Bay today at Fenway. A bad day today could have Theo Epstein chewing his fingernails down to the first knuckle.

"The Lake County Fielders, whose announcer quit during a game recently, had to cancel a game in the second inning because they didn't have enough baseballs. L.A. Dodger fans, pay attention — this is your future" --Brad Dickson
"An Arizona man accidentally shot himself in the penis with his girlfriend's small pink handgun. Doctors say he'll be shooting blanks from now on." -- Jerry Perisho
"Veteran Basketball Hall of Fame observers say they've never seen such suspense surrounding a player's induction. But really, who cares whether Dennis Rodman goes in wearing a Pistons or Bulls wedding gown?" -- Dwight Perry
"During the PGA first round Thursday, Tiger Woods spent so much time in the sand and the water, his next gig could be an audition for one of those Corona beer on the beach commercials." -- Janice Hough


Sunday, August 14, 2011


***YANKS WIN 9-2***
Playing for the first time in a week, Jorge Posada pounded out a single, a double and a grand slam home run yesterday, driving in 6 of the Yanks 9 runs. There have been many rumors about Jorge's future, some as dire as being released in September, but any decision of that nature, just got a little tougher.
Phil Hughes continued to impress, throwing 6 strong innings. What helped the most was his aggressiveness, going right at the hitters instead of nibbling around and getting into hitters counts. AJ Burnett goes today in their battle for the last spot in the rotation. I still think AJ will get it regardless of his effectiveness today, because of his contract and the fact that Hughes is a proven commodity out of the bullpen.
Good thing the Yanks did well yesterday, because A-Rod went 0-3 down in Florida. No highlights there.

Boston lost (hurrah!) helped by the strong arm of Ichiro Suzuki, who threw out Jacob Ellsbury at the plate as he tried to score the tying run.
Curtis Granderson also homered for the Yanks, tying Jose Bautista for the Major League lead with 33. He also leads the Majors in RBIs and runs scored.
Dan Uggla went 2 for 3 with a homer yesterday to raise his hitting streak to 33 in a row...and raise his average up to .233.

This is some kind of epidemic. Tim Stauffer of the San Diego Padres gave up five home runs yesterday. So what was HIS reaction? He didn't clean out his locker but the manager told him to mop the clubhouse floor and start the laundry. He thought "mop-up man" meant pitching in blow-out games. Not always.

Yesterday, Janice Hough made this comment:
"Pittsburgh Pirates came into SF with 10 game losing streak. And then the Florida Marlins had 7 game losing streak. How do you spell relief? G-I-A-N-T-S-H-I-T-T-I-N-G."
I wrote to her and said she should remove the hyphen between the 'T' and the 'S'. She wrote back and said I wasn't the only one who suggested that.

I've always felt kind of guilty and lazy quoting other people because they're funnier, but I've had a number of people (those with good taste) say they like it, so I'll continue.
"Barry Zito apparently re-injured his right foot in a rehab start in Fresno. No word on which member of the San Francisco Giants management allegedly put the rusty nail on the mound." -- Janice Hough
"The town of Woodward, Okla., is still abuzz after a woman stripped naked during this year's putting contest. Selling tickets to next year's charity tournament at Boiling Springs Golf Course shouldn't be a problem." -- Dwight Perry (I'll be taking orders- CP)
"Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer decided to end its commercial relationship with Tiger Woods. Talk about a time out." -- RJ Currie
"Alex Rodriguez and high-stakes poker games? Baseball officials reportedly became suspicious when he asked to be traded to the Cards." -- Dwight Perry
"The Baltimore Ravens have signed running back Ricky Williams. He’s looking forward to playing on real grass. The stuff they had in Miami was mixed with oregano." -- Alan Ray
It ain't sports, but it's funny:
"Aretha Franklin got out of a parking ticket in New York by singing to a meter maid. In a related story, Michael Bolton tried the same thing and he's now serving life." -- Conan O'Brien


Saturday, August 13, 2011


A pitcher facing a decent hitting club gives up 5 home runs in one game. This is not something you expect out of your top-of-the-line starter, so you watch to see how he responds.

CC Sabathia gave up 5 solo shots in a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. His response was to fire a 97 MPH fastball past friend and former teammate, Kelly Shoppach, with a grim look on his face.

Carlos Zambrano reacted differently. He fired a fastball too close to Chipper Jones and got ejected for it. He wasn't done, though. He went into the clubhouse, cleaned out his locker and told everyone within earshot that he was retiring. Cy Young awards are unpredictable, but you have to think this will cost Carlos a few votes. Not to mention the remaining $24 million on his contract that he leaves on the table. The Yanks should have picked him up when they had the chance. This kind of tantrum would take a lot of pressure off A-Rod and his gambling problem.

Since there was nothing to cheer about in the NY/Tampa game for Yankee fans, the YES network gave at-bat updates on A-Rod's first Single-A rehab game down in Florida, even showing a replay of his home run. George Steinbrenner would be proud.

The SF Giants are now two games out of first, losing the first game of a 3-game series with the last place Florida Marlins, 2-1. Considering the Giants hitting, I could probably have just given you the score and let you figure out the winner. The hitless wonders are on a pace to score 555 runs for the season, a mark 4 other teams have already passed with some 40 games left. Carlos Beltran hasn't played in four games and may be heading to the DL.
The first place Arizona Diamonbacks won behind former Yankee, Ian Kennedy, who is now 15-3.
Dan Uggla went 3 for 3 against the Cubs, running his hit streak to 32 games.
The Yankees will be choosing between Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett for the last spot in the rotation this weekend. Hughes has tons of talent and potential, Burnett has tons of money left on his contract. One of them goes to the bullpen. THIS will be interesting, especially if Hughes pitches well today.

The FCC says you will soon be able to send text messages to 911. I'm sure 911 operators can't wait to get texts that say, "Being carjacked, LOL." -- Conan O'Brian
Britain's female beach volleyball champs have reportedly signed a sponsorship deal to have a bookmaker's QR code on the rear of their bikini briefs. Think it'll work? You bet your bottom dollar. -- RJ Currie
"The back of a bus in Shaoyang, China, crashed to the ground when a bump in the road caused the wheels to fall off. Raise your hand if you just thought of the Seattle Mariners' pennant hopes." -- RJ Currie
"Been a tough year for the NY Yankees, lost all 4 series vs the Red Sox. So today S&P downgraded the Yankees to the Mets" -- Jimmy Fallon
"The Pittsburgh Pirates had lost ten games in a row before beating the Giants Monday night. Maybe the only way to turn the stock market skid around is to send in the San Francisco Giants." -- Janice Hough
The Colorado Rockies lost 3-2 to the Nationals last Sunday, extending their losing streak to 16 in games played on that day of the week. Instead of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" at Coors Field, shouldn't they be playing "Never on Sunday"? -- Dwight Perry


Friday, August 12, 2011


***OH NO. NO MO'?***
Mariano Rivera has been so good for so long, that whenever the media rates closers, they don't even include Rivera anymore. Why? Because he's so far above the rest, you can't compare them to him, so it comes down to "The best of the rest."
You look at some of his stats and it's impossible to register how good he's been for so long. He's in his 15th year as the Yankees closer and in only ONE of those years did he have less than 30 saves (2002 - 28 saves). Now he's had three bad outings in a row. We've seen blips before, but you knew they were just a little bump in the road but he still looked overpowering. But recently, he's looked all too hittable. So when the Yanks try to turn games into six inning affairs, it's worthless if the ninth inning isn't lights-out, game-over.
I've never worried before - now I am.

***EXCUSE ME?***
The MVP discussion starts to become hot and heavy this time of the year, with the so-called favorite changing every few days. Adrian Gonzales seemed like a lock a month ago, then it was Jacob Ellsbury and now Curtis Granderson is being noticed. Of course, Jose Bautista has had his backers all year. This year, however, the analysts seem to favor players on winning teams, unlike past years when all they looked at were stats. I have always felt that a player on a last place team may be the best player around, but he isn't helping his team win...because they can't win. I know, I know, it's not his fault, but consider this: the media is very quick to point out that not everyone is capable of handling playing in New York or Boston, where the pressure to win is enormous. The Yanks never made a serious run at Zack Greinke from Kansas City, because they gave a lot of credence to the thought that he couldn't handle New York. Okay, let's assume the 'winning team' theory has merit and move on to another thought.
How much does defense play into your vote for MVP? Two players with basically equal stats, one a left fielder, the other a shortstop. Who is more valuable? I would think you should lean toward the shortstop. How about two third basemen with equal stats? Then defense could be influential.
But here's my point: How do you distinguish a good fielder from a bad one? I don't mean two fairly equal fielders, I mean one outstanding and one terrible one. Ah, the sabermetric advocates have the answer. After a 'few' assumptions and thousands of numbers, they have come up with a number for you: The Defensive Runs Saved statistic. Think about this one. How can they actually put a number on how many runs a fielder can "save" in a season? There has to be so many 'IFs' involved in this formula, that the first paragraph explaining it has got to have 50 of them. They claim it takes into account everything, from the type of pitchers on his team (fly ball vs. ground ball) to the size of his field in the outfield.
Steve Berthiaume, of ESPN wrote an article explaining this and even he seems to have trouble believing his own numbers: "As with any defensive metric, there is always a subjective element." Of course, with all these sabermetric numbers, they skip over this quickly and NEVER tell you what it is. This new stat has determined that Curtis Granderson is the "worst" defensive centerfielder in baseball. Is Granderson a Willie Mays out there? Of course not, but he's not a Dick Stuart type either. Stuart, for those who don't know, was a Red Sox first baseman known as Dr Strangeglove. His teammates would shake hands with him saying, "Dick, give me some steel." If you've watched a lot of Yankee games this year, you can tell that Granderson's biggest problem is the murderous sun glare in Yankee Stadium's center field. And here's a couple of stats for the sabermetric guys to chew on: Grandy has 3 errors (10th in the majors) and 6 assists (6th in the majors).

Kei Igawa, the free-agent disaster of a Yankees pitcher demoted to the minors, is out of mind but certainly not out of sight. "Yeah, he's passed me on the drive down to Trenton," GM Brian Cashman told The New York Times. "He drives faster than his fastball." -- Dwight Perry
The best reason to keep going to Mets games: "Because when you call up to order tickets and ask them what time the game starts, the clerk says, 'What time can you be here?' " A comment made by a reader to the NY Times
The PGA tournament first round leader is actually the #2 ranked American golfer in the world. Yeah, I didn’t know his name either.’ -- Janice Hough
"The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has kicked a member off the U.S. Ski Team after he urinated on a fellow airline passenger. Imagine running afoul of the rules of the U.S. Snowboard Association. We're not exactly talking military school here." -- Brad Dickson


Thursday, August 11, 2011


It appears the Yanks have found starter #2 in Ivan Nova. The crack Yankee broadcasters had it right: not only were his pitches crisp and accurate, but his attitude and body language were overpowering, too. If nothing else, his performances may be inspiring Phil Hughes to pitch better also. The threat of the bullpen, or even worse, Scranton, hangs over Hughes head.
Granderson hit two last night to give the Yanks a pair of 30+ home run hitters. The last time that happened was 50 years ago, with the M&M boys. Granderson & Teixeira have accomplished it in game #115. Put this in perspective: Mantle and Maris reached that level in game #84, 31 games earlier! Pretty scary. As of last night, Granderson is hitting .275. I remember when Maris was threatening Ruth's record, Roger was chided all year because he was hitting "only" .270 - .280. Yet, we're not hearing anything like that now, but Grandy's not threatening any record, either.

A-Rod is scheduled to rehab in the minors starting Friday and is supposed to be back up on Monday, which should bring about changes to the roster and the lineup. Somebody has to go down, probably one of the pitchers. I'm guessing Noesi. If Girardi follows his usual form, Gardner will be batting ninth from now on. I'd like to see Gardner lead off with Jeter hitting 2nd and moving the rest of the lineup down one spot (Granderson 3rd, Tex 4th, A-Rod 5th, etc.).

The latest rumor is that Toronto is stealing signs by having a guy in the stands holding up his hands for a fastball and not doing anything when the pitch is a curve. Which brings to mind two questions: One, how does he get the signal so fast and can he signal the batter fast enough to do him some good? Two, if it works, why isn't Toronto undefeated at home, or least hitting about .450 as a team? And how much real help is it? even if the batters know what's coming, they still have to hit it and hit it away from fielders. This is these people proved:

Just an update: Yesterday, Granderson hit two home runs, so far today, he has hit into two inning-ending double plays. What have you done for us lately?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


It's a sad day for New York, everybody. The Great Rivera has morphed into Moe the Mediocre.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Was the fact that the Yanks used Hughes out of the bullpen Sunday, a harbinger of things to come? I think so. Was that fact that he was ineffective somewhat worrisome? Absolutely. For the last month, the sports writers have been asking who will be the number 2 starter for the Yanks. So far, it looks like Ivan Nova to me. Actually, the bigger question should be: do we have to assign a number to AJ Burnett? {I remind you all of a discussion from last year, when Annie-O said they should make AJ a position player and I replied that his best position was sitting down.}
Word out of NY is that Posada has been benched and DH duties will be split by Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez. Why would you not want Chavez at third base, at least until A-Rod returns? The Yanks are hoping that A-Rod will rejoin the team early next week or maybe even by the weekend. Buster Olney speculates that the Yanks may bring up Jesus Montero right away as a part-time DH and part-time catcher, but that means sending someone down and I can't see that happening.
Obviously, he'll be there in September along with Benuelos, the left hander. I'd like to see that first baseman, Jorge Vasquez . I really like his swing. He currently has 27 homers and 82 RBIs while hitting .251. Montero has 11 homers and 50 RBIs in approximately the same number of games.

The Rochester paper says that Phil Hughes is the starter for tonight's game against the Angels. ESPN says the starter is going to be AJ Burnett and Buster Olney says it's going to be Ivan Nova. Maybe it'll be Posada. He's not doing anything.

I thought my Mother carried her ethnic heritage too far, but apparently my dentist has the same zeal. I learned today that he almost fired his dental assistant because she cuts her spaghetti with a fork instead of rolling it up. Better be careful, Karen. That's as bad as putting sugar in your marinara sauce.

"The NFL will beging random testing for HGH in the new collective-bargaining agreement: "Know what that means? The players have found something better." -- Janice Hough
"Jennifer Pharr Davis broke the mark for hiking the entire Appalachian Trail: The previous record was held by Gov. Sanford's wife, looking for Gov. Sanford." -- Bill Littlejohn
"According to a recent study, less intelligent women tend to want more sex. This is good news to Alex Rodriguez, who is dating Cameron Diaz." -- RJ Currie
"A woman working at a Dunkin' Donuts was apparently a prostitute. It takes a lot of guts to be a hooker in a place full of cops." -- David Letterman
"It's President Obama's birthday. I can't believe it's been 50 years since his mother forged his birth certificate." -- Jimmy Kimmel


Monday, August 08, 2011


...Rivera blowing the save and the Yanks losing in 10 innings, or having to listen to 'Booby' Valentine for over 4 hours. The Sox won, and maybe they should have, since we've been told from day one how they may be the best team in baseball. Yankee fan or Red Sox fan it doesn't matter - watching these teams go up against one another is like watching two heavyweights slug it out with each other for 10 rounds.
Garcia pitched with guile, cunning and the guts of a 2nd story man and sent a number of Red Sox hitters walking back to the dugout shaking their head. Beckett was more conventional, overpowering Yankee batters with fast balls and off-speed stuff. You had to marvel at both. The Sox may ultimately win out, but they have to know the Yanks won't go down easily.

I wonder if ESPN will ever find a trio of announcers that can competently analyze the game and do play-by-play. Orel Hershiser could put John Flaherty to sleep and who is Dan Shulman? As far is Booby goes, I haven't heard such drivel since Joe Morgan was making our ears bleed last year. I think Valentine believes his job is to disagree with every decision that is made on the field: "Did you see what they did here? That's just wrong." Thanks for that insight, Booby. Then he explains HIS way of doing things, and that's usually thoughtless at best, and silly any way you look at it. Case in point: In the bottom of the ninth, with no outs, man on second and down a run, the obvious play is to have the batter bunt. When Ellsbury does bunt, and a lousy one at that, Rivera is quickly off the mound to field it. He looks toward third, but no one is there, so he goes to first. Valentine couldn't wait to say that Nunez was "out of position" and "there was no reason for him to be in that close." Yeah, right. He was supposed to stay at third and HOPE that the bunt is terrible and right at Rivera instead of down the line, like it's supposed to be. The ONLY way you try for the man in that situation, is to use the 'wheel play,' with the third baseman charging and the shortstop covering third. Now if Valentine had said that, and criticized the Yanks for not doing that, he'd have a point. But no, he had to point out what HE thought was a mistake. Give him credit, though, he tried to anticipate moves both teams might try or the type of pitch that would be thrown. He was usually wrong, of course, but that helped because you could count on that.

It was irritating to watch Sox lefty, Franklin Morales, balk every time he threw to first. The Yanks complained, uselessly, of course, and the announcers picked up on that, but they refused to take a stand on the move. Was it a balk or not? they never said. Their response was to say here's the rule, and explain it in detail. Hershiser went on about drawing a line from the rubber to the running box down the foul line and how the pitcher has to step inside that line to meet the 45 degrees that is allowed. Interesting, but totally wrong. The rule actually says the pitcher has to step TOWARDS first base, not within 45 degrees. Also, once the lefty's right leg goes behind his left leg when starting his motion, he HAS to throw to the plate. They never mentioned that, and Morales violated that one, too.

I loved how Valentine waxed on about how Beckett took 30-35 seconds between pitches and that the umpires never enforced the 12 second rule. "Either enforce it or eliminate the rule," he said. This from a guy who snuck back into the dugout wearing a fake mustache when he was a manager after being thrown out by the umpire. Should we eliminate that rule too, Valentine?

I read this in Dwight Perry's column last night.
"In Friday's 1-0 loss to the Angels, the Mariners had a runner picked off first, another caught trying to steal second and yet another nabbed rounding third too far. Just one foolhardy tag at home, and the M's would've gotten picked for the cycle."
What made this interesting to me, was that this once happened to me exactly as described. Playing in a fast-pitch soft ball game, I made outs at 1st, 2nd and 3rd all in one game, earning me the derisive nickname of "Flash." Thanks for bringing back a painful memory, Dwight.


Sunday, August 07, 2011


There have been other games when CC didn't seem to have his best stuff, but he found a way to hang on until the Yanks put a big number on the board. Obviously, you can't get away with that against a heavy-hitting team like the Red Sox. The big surprise was that they could only muster three runs off of Lackey. Things looked good going in, the Yankee's ace against an inconsistent John Lackey, with the hopes of a two game lead and being assured of leaving Boston in first place. Didn't happen. Tonight, it's Boston's #1 starter, Beckett, against another NY retread, Freddie Garcia. Edge to Boston, but who knows? Nothing has gone according to plan so far.

"The NY Post has learned that the Yankees have put A.J. Burnett, Rafael Soriano and Jorge Posada on trade waivers. That doesn't mean any of the trio will be dealt. However, they are eligible to be claimed by other clubs within 48 hours. If multiple clubs claim them the team with the lower winning percentage is awarded the claim and can talk trade with the Yankees. The Yankees can pull the players back, but if they put them out a second time and they get claimed the player goes to the team making the claim."
I wouldn't put too much thought into this. Burnett and Soriano make too much money for anyone to trade for them and Posada is a 10 & 5 man, which means he can't be traded without his permission.

"In the history of the world, has anybody like Dan Uggla ever hit in 27 straight games and only raised his batting average to .216?" -- Mike Lupica
"The Yankees doubleheader the other night began without a third base bag. Apparently Alex Rodriguez lost it the night before in a poker game" -- Brad Dickson
"He's lost his wife, his swing coach, his caddie and, for a while at least, his golf touch. Add a moonshine bust and a runaway dog, and Tiger Woods could be a Country and Western song." -- Dwight Perry
"So MLB has warned players against using a spray made from deer antlers. So how will they test for it? Play “Bambi” in the clubhouse and see who starts crying uncontrollably?" -- Janice Hough
"The play-by-play man for the troubled Lake County Fielders minor league baseball team resigned in the middle of the game. This is when you know an organization has problems: "The ball is popped up to right ... you know, this job stinks, I'm outta here." -- Brad Dickson


Saturday, August 06, 2011


When the final score is 3-2, you usually don't have to point too many fingers afterward, and that's true here. This game came down to two decisions: one by Girardi and one by Francona. I wrote previously that I thought the difference would be in the bullpens and it turned out that way, at least for this game.
##THE HERO## Girardi, trusting his bullpen, made a very gutsy, unlikely move by bringing in left-hander Boone Logan to face the lefty hitting Adrian Gonzales in the fifth inning, with the bases loaded, two outs and the Sox poised to put the game away. As the song goes, it was one, two three strikes, you're out... and the threat was A-Gon, so to speak. Logan has been shaky at best all year, but he was on point last night. It was probably the inspiration the Yanks needed to scratch together what proved to be the winning rally.
##THE GOAT## In the top of the sixth, you could sense that Lester was tiring, but it appeared that Francona did not have the trust in his bullpen that Girardi had. Even though Lester induced Cano to bounce into a bases loaded double play, Swisher followed with a clutch double past a diving Youkilis, driving in what proved to be the winning run. With Soriano, Robertson and Rivera taking turns out of the pen, it was game over.

In an effort to spark some interest in their league, the Phillies and Giants instigated a full two-team brawl after Shane Victorino was intentionally hit with a pitch. Fun little melee, but I doubt it will result in a NY-Boston like feud.

The Giants continue to falter, losing 7 of their last 10, and only Seattle has scored less runs. Pittsburgh's losing streak has reached 8 games while Milwaukee has won 9 or their last 10.

Atlanta's Dan Uggla has now hit in 26 straight games, which is getting national attention. Keep in mind, however, he is not even half-way to Dimaggio's record.

Now, even NY writers are advocating a playoff system that would make finishing first in the AL East almost mandatory. If the wild card team has to win a one-game playoff to get into the postseason, they would fight harder to win their division. Mike Vacarro says that as interesting as this Yankee-Red Sox series is, it really means nothing because no doubt they will both make the playoffs. But if one of them has to use their ace to win one game to proceed, that would put them at a distinct disadvantage, so winning the division becomes all important. Games between Boston and New York are already played at such a high level of intensity, does it really need another incentive. What more do they want? Beheadings?
If the these two teams are so much better thatn everyone else, why haven't they won every single World Series since 1990? They haven't even been IN every WS since then.
How about if the city whose team that loses the division, has to permanently fire a sportswriter from that city? Not such a good idea now, eh Mike?

"After the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational, an ESPN analyst said Tiger's putter was outstanding. Isn't that what got Woods into trouble in the first place?" -- RJ Currie
Speaking of asses:
"House Speaker John Boehner is urging Republicans to support his bill by telling them to get their asses in line. That's what he said -- get their asses in line. This is typical Washington -- if it's not Obama kissing Wall Street's ass, it's Boehner kicking ass, or it's Congressman David Wu grabbing ass. They're all a bunch of asses." -- Jay Leno
It isn't sports, but...
"A peacock escaped from the Central Park Zoo and wandered around the city. Either that or I just saw a pigeon on his way to a gay pride parade." -- Jimmy Fallon


Performance Art in Boston

Yankees 3 - Red Sox 2

Justin Pedroia's gulping fish face

Youkilis looking like a Ginzu knife infomercial sliding into second flashing his spikes knee high

Eduardo Nunez knocking Pedroia ass over tea kettle without leading with his spikes

Jerrod Salt(etc.)'s home plate tantrum after being banged out on a perfect pitch by Mariano Rivera

Josh Reddick standing speechless at home plate after taking an identical Mariano pitch to strike out ending the game

Friday, August 05, 2011


...and his name is AJ Burnett.

With absolutely outstanding performance by Ivan Nova last night and the masterpiece by Phil Hughes earlier, Burnett looked like a thorn between two roses. The sports media keeps wondering whether the Yanks will send Nova back to Triple-A or perhaps send Hughes to the bullpen, instead of asking the real question: How can they eliminate AJ from the rotation?
Of course, we know that the number one reason is money, AJ being owed some $40 million from now through 2013, and he does have electric stuff, but is that worth risking a season because you have a glaring weakness in your rotation? Of course not. To trade him probably means eating a good size portion of his salary, or to quote Jim Bouton in his book, Ball Four, "Boys, it's a big s**t sandwich, and we're all gonna have to take a bite." I hope the Yankee front office is hungry because we fans are hungry for a World Series ring. I have been an advocate for AJ in the past, mostly because of the quality of his stuff, but I've turned a corner. There have been a lot of talented players in the majors who couldn't turn their talents into winning baseball; I believe now that AJ is one of those.

The beat down was so overwhelming, that even Ozzie couldn't get up the energy to perform. Has he ever gone four straight games with out even making an appearance on the field? The White Sox are not a good team and what they lack in talent, they augment by playing thoughtless baseball. They made a number of mental mistakes in the four games, but frankly, the Yanks didn't really need them.
I mentioned the sad case of Adam Dunn earlier this week, but why doesn't Ozzie do something? Is it really worth having him in the cleanup spot hoping for a worthless solo home run after the game is out of reach? Obviously not.
Here's a thought: trade AJ Burnett for Adam Dunn even up. The Yanks have a good hitting coach--in Scranton.

The Yanks and the Sox head for three major skirmishes at Fenway starting tonight. Both team have lined up their starting pitching rotation, but I think the big key is the bullpen. Both teams like to draw out at bats, forcing pitchers to throw an unusually high number of pitches. If this holds true to form, we might see relievers entering the game as early as the 6th inning. If this happens, the Yanks have an advantage with the slightly better bullpen, especially in middle relief. Most analysts say Boston has an advantage because of all their left-handed hitters and the Yanks only have one lefty starter and one lefty reliever, but Colon handles lefties very well and Garcia's "junk" doesn't rely on overpowering anybody, including the catcher. Rivera's history against left-hander hitters is well known. On paper, the Saturday game (Sabathia vs Lackey) looks weighted heavily in the Yanks favor, so tonight's game is the key. It's a must-win for the Yanks.

Philly continues to roll, winning 7 in a row, Pittsburgh continues to fall, losing 7 in a row. The Giants lack of offense is starting to hurt them. Arizona is only a half-game back in the NL West.

"A man jumped the White House fence Tuesday but was quickly tackled. D.C. oddsmakers immediately installed the Secret Service as 7 ½-point favorites over the Redskins." -- Dwight Perry
"White Sox throw at Adam Dunn's head during batting practice." -
"Ford recalled 1.1 million pickups because of faulty gas tanks: "Picture 1.1 million pickups — it looks like the parking lot at a Texas Tech home game." -- Brad Dickson
"Rodriguez is on the disabled list after having knee surgery in July, so he’s got time on his hands and no excuses for not showing up promptly at baseball’s New York offices to answer questions — other than having to leave Cameron Diaz alone on a beach somewhere, which is always a risk." --Norman Chad


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Good One, Mike

The speculation continues; Hughes or Nova. Meanwhile, A.J. Burnet continues to pile up lousy starts, no wins in July, and unable to last five innings to pick up a win in a game with 18 runs of support. Michael Kay had his best line in months when he commented that even though A.J. got hammered for seven earned runs and gave up hits, 13, to exactly half of the batters he faced, he didn't walk anyone.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


***YANKS DOWN SOX, 6-0***
Phil Hughes was outstanding, throwing, if you believe the radar gun, as high as 95 mph. Even if the speed wasn't accurate, Hughes got a lot of swings and misses and the White Sox were never really able to square up on his pitches. Which leaves Girardi and the rest of the Yankee braintrust (?) to figure out who the 5 starters are. The easiest answer is to send Nova back down and wait for Colon or Garcia to break down, which doesn't appear to be imminent.
Teixeira homered from both sides of the plate to set a major league record. I was shocked to hear that Mickey Mantle didn't hold the record. Ken Singleton and company had the answer, though. When The Mick played, there wasn't a lot mixing and matching going on, so if a right-hander started, that's probably what you faced the whole game. Another reason is that it had only been accomplished 6 times before Mick began in 1955, so it was always a big deal and we began to think he was the only one who could do it. He did it 9 more times before someone else accomplished it in 1962. He retired with 10.
It seems strange to me that the game was called in the bottom of the seventh last night, with Chicago behind. I was under the impression that when a game was called because of rain and the home team was behind, the official game reverted back to the last time the home team hit, in this case, the bottom of the sixth, which would have wiped out Tex's second homer. I guess I was wr-r-r-ong (well, that was an effort).
The Yanks have won 5 in a row and are one game back of Boston with a big 3-game series with the other Sox starting Friday.

It seems we had a few 'unwritten rules' broken again this week. Carlos Guillen "posed" after hitting a homer off of Jered Weaver, then flipped the bat and sidestepped down the first base line. posturing at Weaver. While this isn't against the rules, it's not very nice and can result in some sort of retaliation, which it did. Weaver then threw over the head of the next hitter, Alex Avila. Weaver was immediately tossed, has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended for 6 games. I'm not a fan of such posing and showboating after a homer, but Weaver is a professional and he's got to control himself in that situation. He got himself ejected in a close game against Detroit and will miss at least one start. Not good for a Cy Young candidate on a team fighting for a pennant.
In the same game, Justin Verlander was pitching another no -hitter, when Erick Aybar tried to bunt his way on. It was a close game, but Velander didn't like it. "I know it was only 3-0, so I can understand there are arguments on both sides. But as a pitcher, we call that bush league."
Sorry about your no-hitter, Justin, but the idea is to win games. Aybar is like Brett Gardner. They are not power hitters and speed and bunting is a big part of their games. Unbelievably, Curt Schilling, The Mouth That Roared, agreed, saying that the other team has the obligation to do whatever they can to win the game. He did go on to say that if the score was 10-0, that would be a different story. I guess he missed the Yanks 12-run outburst the other day.
Oddly enough, home plate Hunter Wendelstedt had the best take, "That was stupid -- it was all stupid. Everybody was stupid," he said. I wonder if he was including the umpires.

San Fran update: They've lost 5 of 6 since the 'big trade' and Carlos Beltran still has only 1 RBI in those six games. To make matters worse, Arizona is now only one game back in the standing. They say pitching is 90% of the game (or, "90% of this game is half mental" - Yogi), but you've got to score some runs. Only Seattle has scored fewer runs than the Giants, and they're in last place.

The Florida Marlins have scheduled two exhibition games with the Yankees in their soon-to-be-finished stadium next year, on April 1st and 2nd. Wait a minute. Selig is talking about adding teams and games to the playoff schedule, people are complaining about the season ending in November, and now the start of the season is pushed back three days from this year? Who's in charge here? Will someone please introduce Bud Selig to a calendar.

"Workers at Crystal Springs Golf Course near Burlingame, Calif., were startled to see a mountain lion passing through in the wee hours Sunday morning. Attention, golfers: If a cougar wants to use your sand trap — let it." -- Dwight Perry
"On a Republican filibuster before the debt-ceiling vote: "A filibuster is when someone talks forever with no real point. Or, as Dick Vitale calls that, 'broadcasting." -- Brad Dickson
"Jets coach Rex Ryan said it was a "leap of faith" to sign Plaxico Burress: "Well, at least he didn't say it was 'a shot in the dark.' " -- Janice Hough


Well, Well, Well

Looked what happened in Chicago. Phil Hughes lit up the radar gun and turned in a six inning gem. Once again, it's Ivan Its Been Good to Nova Ya. Forget I said that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Nothing, Nothing, Nothing - A Great Move

Agreeing with Picasner can only mean one thing. Therapy is just around the corner.

No moves before the trading deadline was the smart move for Boy Hank and the CashMan. With Eric Chavez back, ARod's return not far away, and Nunez on the bench, the Yankee infield is just dandy. The outfield is flush. Gardener is playing great, Granderson is on a mission, and Swisher is hitting. As long as Andruw Jones doesn't fall down on his occasional starts, life is good.

Neither catcher can hit .230, Martin is adequate defensively, and Cervelli's play is a constant reminder that Halloween is just three short months away, but who was available?

But pitching, don't they need pitching? Much to the chagrin of every media talking head and gin-addled sports writer, the Yankee staff, by any measure, is among the best in the league. Sabathia is a workhorse, Colon and Garcia continue to pitch well, and who else has 6 guys competing to fill a five man rotation?

The smart move? Get A.J. Burnet a script for valium, move Hughes or Nova into middle relief, and win the division.

Or better yet, A.J. and I could save some money if he's willing to split a session with a local shrink.


***Yanks on top 3-2***
They probably couldn't have done it without Adam Dunn. Most first basemen use leather gloves; Adam's appeared to be made out of stone. Ozzie Guillen doesn't look too bright by putting Dunn in two critical spots: first base, where most of the outs are made and batting cleanup when he's 3-73 against lefties. And of course, the Yanks cooperated by hitting 4 of the first 5 balls in his direction and sending one of baseball's top lefties out to the mound. Dunn responded by turning solid ground balls into surprise singles in the field and at the plate by, as Andrew Marchand says, "...swinging like a man trying to kill mosquito's with a sledgehammer."
White Sox GM, Kenny Williams, is considered one of MLB's top execs, but I'm not sure why. He's feuded with his manager, his manager's son and his acquisitions certainly leave something to be desired. Jake Peavy pitched decently last night, but he'll never reach the level of performance that his pay level would lead you to expect. Alex Rios was a joke from the beginning and as for Adam Dunn, well you saw what happened last night.
Big test for Phil Hughes tonight. If he doesn't pitch well, and I mean very well, I think Ivan Nova will take over his spot in the rotation. As I've noted a couple of years ago, without having to pace himself, Hughes could turn it loose for a couple of innings and perhaps be very, very effective in the bullpen.

## It looks like Clay Bucholz is done for the year with a stress fracture in his back. They normally heal by themselves without surgery, but rest is required. It's interesting that doctors claim it is caused by "overuse."
## There is a very interesting race for Cy Young in the American League between Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia. Verlander seems to be the fans choice, but Weaver has the best statistics. Even though he'll probably win the most games, Sabathia will end up third.
## It looks like the Pirates bubble has burst. They're now in third place, 5 1/2 games out and only one game over .500.
## The Giants signing of Carlos Beltran isn't looking too good right now. The Giants have lost 4 of 5 since Beltran joined the team. Carlos is 4-21 (.190) with no homers and one RBI.
## A headline on ESPN: "John Lackey got pounded." Awwww.
## A late addition to the name game: Colorado's Jhoulys Chachin. I don't know how to pronounce it, but I'll bet it sounds like a respiratory problem.
## A tee shirt currently being sold in Los Angeles: FRANKRUPTCY!
## Because the Yanks didn't make any George Steinbrenner-like moves, giving up 2 or 3 promising youngsters for one over-the-hill name, the press is saying the Yanks were big losers at the trade deadline. They can't seem to make up their minds how to denigrate NY.

I'm beginning to change my mind about realignment of the MLB divisions. Since the emphasis for this idea seems to be that the Yanks and Boston keep other deserving AL East teams from making the playoffs, I suggest we exchange the Yanks and Cleveland. The Yanks would certainly win the Central Division and because they would play so many games against them, the rest of the Central probably wouldn't have very good records. But Tampa or Toronto would have better records because they would each play Cleveland 18 times a year. So what would this accomplish? It would add ANOTHER AL East team into the playoffs and eliminate one of the current AL Central teams from getting in. This is dumb enough to make Bud Selig think it will work. Please don't tell him about this.