Friday, October 28, 2011
My point is that without context, most baseball plays don't mean too much. Last night, the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals played one of the most exciting World Series games ever. If you missed the game, the only way you would know that it was an exciting game was because ESPN told you it was. They didn't show it to you. Oh, they showed all the big plays, with the barest of set-ups and moved quickly on to the next play without delving into the reactions or the impact on the game as a whole.
First of all, there were a total of 5 errors in the game. Did we see any of them? Nope. A player gets picked off third base with the bases loaded. Did we get to see that? Another big no. ESPN didn't even start to show "highlights" until the 7th inning, and one of the analysts even said, "This game really started in the 7th inning." Oh, really? What about the 11 hits, 8 runs, 5 errors and a crucial pick-off play that occurred in the first 6 innings?
It isn't like they are pressed for time. They have all that fruit salad advertising the fact that you're watching ESPN (in case you don't know what you tuned into) and a flash of all the special plays you are about to see, the flash being slightly faster than the real thing and containing only slightly less info than the "full" highlight. Recap the game. Build on the excitement, showing this rise and fall of the emotions in the crowd. What ESPN actually does is like having a stripper walk on stage completely nude, doing one spin, and walking off. Action and no drama, right? It's the same thing with their coverage.
The ESPN producer who puts these recaps together, ought to be forced to watch "Howdy Doody" reruns until he screams in pain. But let's show him highlights of the show first.
## I don't think Janice Hough is a big fan of Tim McCarver.
"After both listening to game six in the car, and watching it on television later, I have to hand it to Tim McCarver. He is doing as much as anyone in the game to promote the tradition of baseball on the radio."
"There's a work stoppage in Greece. According to experts this is the biggest work stoppage since the one staged by the Boston Red Sox in September." -- Brad Dickson
(Yeah, I'm still enjoying this one.)
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I've heard all I wanted. None of La Russa's story rings true. None of it. A manager who is noted for being the best (worst?) micro-manager in sports, a manager who has already planned who his pinch-hitter is going to be in the seventh inning of game seven, doesn't know who is warming up in his own bullpen? A bullpen coach who can't distinguish between the names of Jason Motte and Lance Lynn? What's happening?
The crowd noise was too high. The phone was static-y. I couldn't see the bullpen. I slurred the names. ...oh yeah, and my dog ate my lineup card. I had better excuses for not doing my homework in 1st year Latin.
It's been two days, the lies haven't changed, only enhanced, and humorless Tony La Russa is telling jokes. Let's face it. we're never going to find out the real story. ...until bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist retires.
## Red Sox pitcher John Lackey is having Tommy John surgery on his arm. Too bad there isn't a tendon replacement surgery that would repair his personality.
## Now the Red Sox can retaliate for having the Yanks force the Sox to pay dearly for Carl Crawford, by feigning interest in CC Sabathia. Maybe it'll really be serious interest.
## Not to say that superstars get treated differently, but Albert Pujols gets to put plays on all by himself? Without checking with Tony La Russa? The above-mentioned, tight-assed, micro-managing Tony La Russa? I know I said that La Russa likes to hog the headlines, but this is getting ridiculous.
## The Yanks hold a $10.5 million option on Nick Swisher, and it's being discussed in great detail. There has been a lot of talk about the Yanks failure to hit in the post-season, and Swisher is a big part of that problem. The word is that Nick feasts on 2nd tier pitchers and falls apart when the big boys step on the mound.
***THEY SAID IT***
"The Boston Red Sox announced that they are adding several more sections of alcohol-free seating sections next year, starting with the dugout." -- Marc Ragovin
"An investigation has confirmed that several popular pitchers with the Red Socks drank beer during games last season. They would have gotten away with it, too, if the manager hadn't noticed the Jacuzzi they were soaking their arms in had a head on it." -- Bob Mills
(Has everyone noticed that I'm having a lot of fun with this story?)
"Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall, who talked tough last week and then botched two potential touchdown catches against the Jets, missed Wednesday's practice because of a quadriceps injury. Veteran Fish-watchers suspect he did it trying to pull his foot out of his mouth." -- Dwight Perry
"Rick Perry said he wants to eliminate the three million word tax code. If he succeeds about the only time you'll hear three million words is when Tim McCarver is describing a routine fly ball to the outfield." -- Brad Dickson
"A high school in suburban Chicago is punishing students who ask for more than three passes per semester to use the restroom. When reached all the students were too busy hopping up and down to comment." -- Brad Dickson
Monday, October 24, 2011
***REALLY, JOE? REALLY?***
Joe Torre just heard that there may have been drinking going on in the Red Sox clubhouse. Now I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of this. Joe has already commented to the Boston Globe: "I know I have plans just to talk to some people." Way to go go, Joe, we don't want to move too fast on this. "It's something we're going to look at and find the best way to approach it, let's put it that way," he said, according to the paper. "That's one thing where I feel comfortable..." Right, not solving the problem, just deciding how to investigate it. Then we'll see some action (Hah!). He may even go so far as to (Gulp!) ban beer from the clubhouse. "If we do happen to bar alcohol from the clubhouses, you have to understand the intent of this thing and what it looks like." Whatever that means.
Gosh, wait till he hears about the possible drinking in the dugout.
***WAIT A MINUTE, IT'S NOT 'SILLY SEASON' YET***
The Yankees are hard at work scouting the latest Japanese super-star, pitcher Yu Darvish. I guess they figure that Kei Igawa needs a roommate down in Trenton. This is expected to be another one of those $50 million auction bids for the right to negotiate with him. That's an awfully expensive way to steal the headlines back from Theo Epstein's defection to the windy city.
***OH YEAH, THE ACTUAL 'GAME' OF BASEBALL***
If you are not among the few people watching the series (along with Vod), the Rangers have tied it up at two games apiece. MLB is not happy with the low ratings the series is getting, and their reasons (excuses, actually) are many. The participants are from small market areas, the teams with the best records aren't playing, etc.
One sports writer, Mike Lupica in fact, has an interesting take on this. We've already had four "world series" before we got down to two teams. Remember when the winning team from each league, and therefore the teams with the best record, played for the championship? From the time the teams clinched until the WS started, there was the usual buildup in the press to whet the appetite for the Championship Series. Now, we get that buildup four times before we have the final series and the momentum is long gone. Plus, as happened this year, the two 'best' teams aren't even in it. And don't give me the "they didn't earn it" argument. The Phillies earned it all year. St Louis just happened to start playing over their heads at the right time.
I think Lupica has a good point.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
***OH, THE HORROR!***
Want to hear a scary story? On Sept. 1, as The Mag began work on the Boston issue, the Red Sox were in first, Theo Epstein was a genius, Terry Francona was beloved and Jonathan Papelbon was a lock in the ninth. Never had we devoted an issue to one city before. What could go wrong? Cut to: A nightmare collapse. A closer chokes. A team once called the Devil rises from the dead. Theo and Tito disappear. Fans stumble down Yawkey Way like zombies, mumbling of bloody socks.
The moral? Curses are real. So, um... sorry about that, Boston.
***THEY SAID IT***
"A truck carrying more than 2,000 chickens overturned in northern California.
Red Sox pitchers are reportedly inconsolable." -- Dwight Perry
Comedy writer Alan Ray, on pitch counts expected to exceed 200 at World Series games: "And those are just the Fox promos."
Oh, by the way, the Rangers have tied the series by beating the Cardinals 2-1 last night.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I thought there was something wrong with my TV until I realized it was just the cameraman shivering. Thanks again, 'Bunglin' Bud, for the World Series schedule.
***FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LISTENED TO THE GAME***
I think Janice Hough said it best:
Tonight during game one of the World Series, an excited Tim McCarver responded to a seventh-inning strikeout by saying “STRIKE – It’s a five letter word.” And then he proceeded to spell it “S-T-R-I-K-E.”
If “strike” is a five letter word, by that standard so is “stupid.”
***JUST AS I SAID***
A couple of days ago, I wrote this about the World Series:
** Hopefully, the Brewers will end up in the World Series, otherwise we will see more of Tony LaRussa than most of his players. Win or lose, he will be out to show everyone what a 'smart' manager he is. He will make some of the weirdest (or craziest) decisions. Anything so people will be talking about him and not the game.
And, here is a headline in today's Rochester D & C:
La Russa's moves pay off in game 1
## On a personal note, thank you to all my friends and relatives who continue to shower me with their good wishes. I appreciate it.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
***If New York is the Evil Empire....***
...then what does that make Boston? So when all the dust has settled, what did we learn? That the Red Sox did not have the best team in the American League, but a collection of unprofessional, egotistical clowns who disregarded not only themselves, but the whole franchise.
True, there were some players who still showed respect for the game--Youkilis, Pedroia and Ellsbury for example. There had to be a reason that Adrian Gonzales seemed to lose his focus over the last two months and Carl Crawford lost all interest in playing there. I have always respected Terry Francona, but he has to shoulder the blame for allowing this situation to continue.
The person who came out of this looking the worst has to be Theo Epstein. He destroyed Boston's farm system, saddled the organization with some onerous contracts and paid no attention to team chemistry, that is, how well the players would get along. After completing this total devastation he abandoned the Red Sox and ran off to the Chicago Cubs leaving the Red Sox organization to deal with the results of his mismanagement.
Epstein and Cashman were considered to be the two brightest and best General Managers in baseball. It now appears that it was 'no contest'.
I believe that Boston should start over. Keep a few key players and dump all the players who have shown so little respect for the game. One player who should go is David Ortiz. For someone who is considered a team leader, he not only did nothing to rectify the situation, but claimed not to even notice any of the problems. I don't believe that for an instant. Goodbye, David!! Goodbye Boston!!
Note: Up to this point, I haven't mentioned the Bosox 'incidents' directly. The allegations were that pitchers not scheduled to pitch that day, spent the game in the clubhouse drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games. I didn't want to limit the problems to that one circumstance, since I believe there was a lot more to it than that. For example, there are now allegations that beer was actually being consumed in the dugout during games. I'm sure there will be more incidents revealed in the near future.
Correction to Vod's posting:
Hard to disagree with Vod, however, there are a couple of minor corrections I should point out.
Soriano actually came from Tampa, but Pedro Feliciano was a former Met. It doesn't matter, the Yanks did get taken both times. Might as well add Sergio Mitre to the Scott Proctor fiasco. I think Vod means Noesi not Nunez when referring to the pitching.
Because of my recent surgery, I am physically unable to maintain my focus or sit in front of the computer for any length of time. I haven't kept up with my usual writers who keep me on top of the sports world. People like Dwight Perry, Brad Dickson, R.J. Currie, Cam Hutchinson, Buster Olney and Jason Stark have been the source of insights, information and humor and I miss reading them. Hopefully that will be changing.
Welcome back, CP!!! Exclamation points are really fun to use and The Return of Chad does deserve three of those little buggers. And it’s good to know that as long as Chad’s docs fill him up with the good stuff from time to time, we get his best work and are looking forward to a his run down on the Red Sox – although in their case, we’ll have to read it over a club house beer. And the mandatory fried chicken.
Following the maestro’s lead -
Teixeira: The biggest issue with Teixeira is spelling. When you get to the second “ei” it’s really hard not to break out in song. Old McDonald Had a Farm, specifically. Ei-ei-o.
Kevin Long is not the guy to help him. Long had a full-season opportunity with no improvement in average. Derek Jeter had amazing success with his personal swing coach, not Kevin Long, and Teixeira would be wise to pursue a similar course, albeit, he won’t have the same immediate opportunity to see results that Jeter had. Some glove, eh?
ARod: Exactly right.
Jorge Posada: 2011 was Jorge’s “A Bridge Too Far” epic. What a great 15 years catching so many World Series pitchers, several of whom will, in time, take their place in Cooperstown. So long, it’s been good to know ya’. (Jorge did tick me off many times this year.)
Rafael Soriano: The Mets put one over on the Yankees. That’s hilarious.
A.J. Burnet: The Jays put one over on the Yankees. That’s hilarious.
(Scott Proctor: The Yankees put one over on the Yankees. That's really hilarious.)
The Boobers always provide so many opportunities to repeat oneself, but I’d hate to see A.J. go. He’s got some of the best body art in the business and sometimes has haircuts more bizarre that Nick Swisher (another total-post-season dud). But best is the suspense he provides – on every pitch. Predictions of where each of A.J.’s pitches will eventually land has been the basis of ESP research at NYU for the past several years – and the Yankees can afford to support paranormal psychology research for at least one more season.
CC Sabathia: Omar the Tent Maker? Good one, although CC will forever be Mr. Laundry-bag to me.
Phil Hughes: If Scranton doesn’t scare him straight, threaten a trade to Boston.
Colon and Garcia: A no-brainer so no points for making the easy call.
Eric Chavez: See Colon and Garcia above.
No need to say more than CP said re: C.J. Wilson.
As regards the kids, Chad needs to add some specificity. Exactly what kids and what fields do you mean? Montero can hit but has no natural position other than a right-handed DH. Austin Romine can catch but can’t hit major league pitching, and Nunez will only get innings behind everybody who starts. That doesn’t look like that basis of a dynasty any time soon so there must be others coming. Right?
Yankees I no longer wish to see (or hear) not included above: John Sterling, Nick Swishalicious, Nick Swisher, Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, any Steinbrenner, Steinboober, and assorted dumb asses, Ramiro Pena, ARod – a constant reminder of how well our gladiators are compensated and our misplaced values, Robinson Cano when he’s not paying attention, Derek Jeter when he’s shilling another crappy product. There goes the roster.
On Phil Mushnik’s ponderings on sports broadcast drivel – the only source of more banal drivel is the Republican presidential primary debates. And I’m not sure which Texan is more crass and annoying, Rick “Governor Good Hair” Perry or Ron “The Spit King” Washington. Actually it's Perry. What comes out of his mouth is far more offensive than what comes out of Washington's, and far more dangerous.
Good to have you back, P.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
One sports writer commented that the Yanks are built to win the season, not the post-season. Pretty good analysis. The Yankees beat up teams they should beat up, but can't pull out the one big win against the better teams. There are a number of question marks for next year.
Mark Teixeira: Someone (Kevin Long) has to teach him how to hit like the Teixeira of old. He's trying to pull everything. If he goes back to hitting to all fields, the homers will still be there and we'll have a .300 hitter again.
A-Rod: He's a streak hitter now and very fragile. Get him out of the cleanup spot. 5th or even 6th is where he should be hitting. If he stays healthy, 30 homers & 100 RBIs are not out of the question.
Jorge Posada: Beautiful career, thank you very much, but he's got to go. Find a good spot in the organization for him.
Raphael Soriano: Goodbye, and Hello Joba Chamberlain. Unfortunately, Soriano will not exercise his opt-out clause, because he won't get any offer better than what the Yanks will be forced to pay him.
A.J. Burnett: Just when we thought he was out, he pulls himself back in. One beautiful well-pitched game in a crucial situation and you remember why you were willing to spend $80 million on him. Pick up his salary and dump him. We've suffered long enough.
CC Sabathia: He'll opt out and get re-signed with a couple of years added. That's okay, but put in a weight clause. That way, you can get Omar the Tentmaker off the payroll.
Phil Hughes: Rumor has it that he showed up to Spring Training out of shape and overweight. Remind him that there are some good weight-loss clinics in Scranton.
Colon and Garcia: Make offers for one year only
Eric Chavez: Definitely bring him back.
Here's a suggestion I favor highly---get Larry Bowa back as a coach.
If you can sign C.J. Wilson, get him. Keep the kids and put them on the field. Maybe it takes a year for them to produce, but then you may have the makings of a dynasty.
I don't expect to see Cashman making any moves until December at least and then nothing major.
***BLAH, BLAH, BLAH***
Phil Mushnick of the NY Post, wrote an interesting column about the drivel being produced during sports broadcasts. His suggestions are brilliant, so smart, in fact, that the network bigwigs will never listen to them. Decide for yourself:
***THEY SAID IT***
"Officials at a marathon in the U.K. disqualified the third-place finisher after he admitted to taking a bus the last six miles. Jeesh, when will these meddling governing bodies stop their nitpicking over minor infractions and just let the athletes compete?" -- Brad Dickson
"If Peyton Manning is out for the season and the Colts go 0-16, will he win his fifth MVP?" -- Norman Chad
"Former NHL great Mark Messier, 50, will run in the next New York City Marathon. Word to the wise: Give him lots of elbow room." -- Dwight Perry
Tomorrow, we'll talk about the Red Sox
Saturday, October 15, 2011
** Yanks drop out early again. For all the talk about the pitching, ultimately it was the hitting which failed them. Teixeira, A-Rod and Swisher were completely unproductive. There they were, #'s 4,5 &6 breaking up rallies and ending innings.
** Tampa went down easily since they couldn't count on Texas to fail to hit with runners in scoring position. Detroit could, and are now fighting to get into the World Series.
** I have never been a fan of Jim Leyland, and I do not understand how the Tigers got this far. In the ALCS he's made several questionable moves, blown his bullpen apart and dragged 133 pitches out of his ace, Justin Verlander, pretty much eliminating any possibility of his contribution for the rest of the series. I love his press conferences though. No explanation of his moves, just the same basic statements: "This move worked (or didn't work), but we're here and we'll keep playing." Ready-made prediction of failure.
** As disappointing as the Yankees' season ended, the Phillies' end might be catastrophic. So, another fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants genius, Charlie Manuel bites the dust.
** Hopefully, the Brewers will end up in the World Series, otherwise we will see ,more of Tony LaRussa than most of his players. Win or lose, he will be out to show everyone what a 'smart' manager he is. He will make some of the weirdest (or craziest) decisions. Anything so people will be talking about him and not the game.
***THEY SAID IT***
"A Boston Globe report says the September collapse of the Red Sox is partly due to pitchers Beckett, Lester and Lackey eating fried chicken during games.At least they were putting something across the plate." -- RJ Currie
"The man accused of leaking nude photos of Scarlett Johansson could face up 21 years in prison. The man pleaded "totally worth it." -- Conan O'Brien
Headline at SportsPickle.com: "Jose Reyes wins Bush League batting title."
In my next post, I'll discuss my two favorite subjects: The Yanks and the Red Sox.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Late Season Greats
Adam Dunn, the Chicago White Sox’s 56 Million-Dollar Man, fell six at bats short of the 502 needed to qualify for the worst full season batting average in baseball history. As Jim Hugar of The Buffalo Beast opined, Adam will always be Number 2 in out hearts.
CC Sabathia earned $96,000 per inning pitched for the Yankees this season. 25 percent of children in the United States live below the poverty line. Have a nice day.
Once again we all get the pleasure of “spitting images” of Texas manager Ron Washington beamed into our homes during the playoffs. Ron, you are the King of Really Disgusting Seed Expectoration.
A-Rod came within “spitting distance” of Ron, turning the batters box and base paths into his own personal spittoons. However, his performance in the Grab Your Crotch and Adjust Your Stuff marathon put Alex over the top in that coveted category. Given his mediocre batting average makes one wonder if there isn’t some truth to the notion that certain behavior may lead to blindness.
Chad’s been away for a few days getting a couple of new parts installed at the local body shop. We expect he will be more “hip” than ever when turned loose. Missed you, Chad.
Workers manufacturing iPads, iPods, iPhones, and Macs in Apple's hell-hole Chinese sweat shops were allowed to pause for one minute of silence to mourn Steve Jobs. They were docked for two minutes of pay. Sad that Steve the Visionary was blind to how his products are made.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
### Before we annoint Joe Maddon as the resident genius among managers for pinch-hitting Dan Johnson for Sam Fuld, let us consider the following. Johnson is a home run threat, Fuld is not. A single by Fuld means that the Rays would probably need two more hits to tie the score. Fuld had a grand total of 5 at bats the whole month of September, and only appeared in 7 games in that span. You might as well give a chance to someone who had a much better chance to hit one out, namely Johnson. Oh, and Johnson was the only position player left on the bench. Pretty tough choice, wasn't it? If it failed, Maddon would have been butchered in the press for using up all his decent players, leaving only a .108 hitter left. Yep, genius.
### Jose Reyes bunts for a hit when competing for the batting championship. No problem with that. Then he takes himself out to give himself the best chance of winning the championship. Now, we've got a problem. One headline said that Reyes is no Derek Jeter. Another said he is no Ted Williams. He's not even Walt 'No-Neck' Williams. The body part Reyes is missing is somewhat lower on his body.
### Boston just gave up on the best manager they ever had. He basically admitted that he couldn't get the older, over-paid superstars, to concentrate on playing for the team and trying to win games instead of playing for personal stats. Besides the pitchers drinking in the clubhouse, I think we will slowly discover more of the bad things that went on, which probably was the main cause of the disastrous month of September. These things didn't happen in the NY clubhouse or in Tampa, which may explain why Carl Crawford looked so unhappy.
### Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Roger Maris' 61st home run, which, in my opinion, is the real single-season home run record.One that is not tainted by steroids and egos.
### Andy Pettitte is scheduled to throw out the first pitch for the Yanks today. I'm betting it will be a cutter, down and in.
### Did everyone notice that after Russell Martin got buzzed twice high and tight in the fourth by Doug Fister, that Ivan Nova promptly threw a pitch BEHIND Victor Martinez in the very next inning? I think the Tigers learned a very important lesson.
***THEY SAID IT***
"The Twins beat the Indians thanks to a steal sign by manager Ron Gardenhire. Turns out he didn't give a steal sign, he just scratched his goatee. Scratching is the Twins' steal sign. This almost makes up for the time Gardenhire got poison ivy and 19 Twins runners were thrown out." -- Brad Dickson
"That junior-varsity football coach in Marcellus, N.Y., who tried to inspire his players by making them lie down in the local cemetery has been suspended for two games. On the plus side, his team leads the league in coffin-corner kicks." -- Dwight Perry
"It's Friday morning. And Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the Atlanta Braves, and the Boston Red Sox are still dead." -- Janice Hough
"Q: What fashion accessory figures to be this holiday season's most popular gag gift? A: Braves and Red Sox chokers." -- Dwight Perry
"Kim Kardashian reportedly went bowling in New York dressed in skin-tight leather pants and a see-through top with an exposed lace bra. Male bowlers in attendance had a hard time keeping their mind out of the gutter." -- RJ Currie
Kinda long, but funny:
"NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon has taken advantage of a new "Stimulus Package" program to employ inner-city youth by firing his professional pit crew, and replacing them with ex-gangbangers. This was inspired by a documentary on youths from street gangs removing sets of wheels from cars in less than 6 seconds. Gordon's pit crew could only do it in 8. At the first practice session, the inexperienced crew changed all 4 wheels in under 6 seconds, and within 12 seconds had changed the paint scheme, altered the VIN number, and sold the car to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 10 cases of Bud, a bag of weed, and photos of Jeff Gordon's wife in the shower." -- Author unknown