Tuesday, July 31, 2012


## All the speculation is over and the trades have been made. Some big names have moved, some not so big have changed addresses. Here's a quick rundown:
Texas -- Got Ryan Dempster from the Cubs for, well, no one you've heard of.
Dodgers -- Acquired Shane Victorino from the Phils for a decent reliever, Josh Lindblom and a minor leaguer.
Giants -- Picked up Hunter Pence from the Phils for a backup outfielder and more minor leaguers.
Cincinnati  -- Got closer Jonathan Braxton, the Royals got 'taken'. (2 minor league pitchers)
Pirates -- Landed all-star Gaby Sanchez from the Marlins for, yeah, two more minor leaguers.
Red Sox -- Picked up reliever Craig Breslow for Scott Posednik and Matt Albers in a trade with Arizona.
The Yankees (are you ready?)  landed corner infielder Casey McGehee and saddled the Pirates with Chad Qualls. If nothing else, at least my name won't be sullied anymore.

## I don't understand these injury reports anymore. A-Rod has a "non-displaced broken bone in his hand." What's that mean? We know where the broken bone is? Mark Teixeira's injury to his hand was described as having "no structural damage." That sounds like there is no big problem, he just needs an oil change. Why do they have to be so specific and at the same time, confusing?  Why not just say, "He has a boo-boo, we'll see him in three days?"

You have to give these athletes credit. They are inventive if nothing else when it comes to the use of banned substances. The Hungarian hammer thrower's urine sample was clean but they discovered that it showed evidences of being an accumulation of several different people. Apparently he smuggled in this sample with the use of a fake penis. His name, oddly enough, is Adrian Annus, and that's as far as I'll go.

In the show-jumping event, I read a headline that said that Courtney King-Dye and her horse Mythilus, tested positive for a banned substance. Probably what gave them away was when they tossed a coin before the event to see which one would wear the saddle.

There is no evidence of any illegal drug use by the 16-year old Chinese swimmer, Ye-Shiwen, other than the fact that Olympic officials have waited for two hours to question her, but she still hasn't come up for air.

If the beach volleyball uniforms don't satisfy your purient interests completely, check out the swimsuits of the men's synchronized diving. I've seen plumbers who wore their shorts higher. 

The USA Men's basketball team is running thru the competition (I use the term loosely) and having a ball doing it. Their games look more like a "keg" game than an Olympic event. They might as well put the beer keg at half court and celebrate with a couple of rounds during the time-outs.

## Apparently, winning two games against the Yanks went right to Valentine's head. After the 2nd win, he was quoted as saying. "It wouldn't surprise me if the Yanks don't make the playoffs." Ah, dream on, Bobby.

"Researchers in Zurich say more grey matter you have, the more likely you are to be unselfish. Finally, an explanation for Terrell Owens."  -- RJ Currie
"The Summer Olympics are under way and I look forward to Team USA to bring home lots of gold medals and thrill the country the team  represents which, thanks to their outfits, is China."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Olympics begin this weekend. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth will use a vacation day to attend the opening ceremony. After that, she’ll have 364 left."  -- Alan Ray
"A Canadian man from Ontario accidentally shot himself in the forehead while trying to kill a mouse with the butt of his rifle." -- [I don't think this needs a punchline, do you? - Chad]
"A Chinese Women's swimmer was so fast in the 400 meter IM, that her last leg was actually faster than the men's winner, Ryan Lochte. Something may be going on with the Chinese women swimmers because she also smashed the all-time record held by Flipper."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Rivermead Cup is presented to the 'Low Canadian' of the Canadian Open That’s like giving a trophy to the tallest midget."  -- Dan Halldorson


Sunday, July 29, 2012


## The Red Sox won yesterday, but somehow most of the story had to do with Bobby Valentine. The latest story element has to do with Carl Crawford.
Crawford has a bad elbow and -- here is the first quandry -- he is on a four-day program. What's that mean? He plays four days in a row and then has one day off. We think. Valentine says he knew about it but played Crawford six days in a row anyway, a mistake he says he won't make again. Crawford says he knows nothing about a four-game mandate. The medical says it was only a "suggestion." Crawford says he will need Tommy John surgery on his elbow; the Boston front office says he doesn't need surgery. Valentine said that Carl will "play thru the pain."  Sure, it's not his elbow.
Guess who showed up in the Red Sox clubhouse? Why, it was former manager Terry Francona. Invited by Dustin Pedroia to sit down at his locker, Francona was soon surrounded by his former players and coaches. Which leads us to the 2nd quandry: what was that all about? It couldn't make Valentine happy to see that. Carl Crawford, who didn't get along with Francona, wasn't too pleased either. When he entered the clubhouse and saw Francona, he did an immediate about face.
In the 8th inning, Mark Teixeira hit a game-tying 2-run homer off his mortal enemy, Vincente Padilla. Because these two have quite a history, and Teixeira hits him pretty well, Valentine was asked why he left Padilla in there to face Tex. Ever the genius, Valentine responded, "Well, he's gotten him out more times than Teixeira has homered off him."  If he continues to allow that matchup, those numbers might even out a little more.

The Sox beat the Yanks 8-6, and even Valentine had to admit, "We were good, but we were lucky." Granderson totally misplayed a fly ball in the ninth that was scored a triple, but they had to call it a hit since Grandy never touched it. I haven't seen a ball misplayed that badly since Melky Cabrera's first game in the majors against these same Red Sox back in 2005. Rubber game of the series tonight on ESPN. Maybe we'll find out what happened in the clubhouse with Francona.

## The Miami Marlins built a new stadium, designed to attract their heavily Cuban demographics. They went out and spent a fortune on free agents, expecting to get into the World Series and fill the new stadium every night. They hired a manager, Ozzie Guillen, who is more mouth than ability, expecting him to detract the focus of the media, after their "occasional" losses.  None of this worked and they are dismantling the team after only four months. How wonderful for the fans - as few of them that there are.

## I really meant to write about this a week ago. One of my favorite personalities, Bob Ryan, is  retiring after the Olympics. He wrote a sports column for the Boston Globe, beginning in 1969, covering mostly professional basketball, but he was well versed in all sports.  He was a very good writer, opinionated and out-spoken, but always knowledgeable.  He appeared on many sports programs on ESPN and I always got a kick out of his "I'm shocked! Shocked!" trademark. I will miss him.

## The American Beach Volleyball players, Kerry Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, won their first match. Their "uniforms" were very, er, brief. If they win the gold, it will be interesting to see if their medals are stuffed into their bikini-bottoms instead of hung around their necks.

--From Dwight Perry's column:
"Marylou Cunningham Belles, of Bethel, CT died July 13th, 2012, after giving cancer the finger for 27 years," began the obituary in the Massena (N.Y.) Daily Courier-Observer. "... She was also a lifelong NY Mets fan though surprisingly, that wasn't what killed her."
"U.S. Olympic beach volleyballer Kerri Walsh says she finds their bikinis empowering. So I'm not the only one."  -- RJ Currie
"Bloody shame that baseball has been dropped from this year’s Olympics: Otherwise Chicago Cubs would have had a great chance to win as the world’s best amateur team."  -- Janice Hough
"Hundreds of fans were refused entrance to the Olympic archery venue Friday because they'd purchased counterfeit tickets. Moral of the story: It pays to deal with straight-arrows"  -- Dwight Perry
"Britain's royals will be out and about during the Olympics, with Prince Harry down to attend beach volleyball matches. Of course he will,There wasn't much chance the married prince would get that 'assignment.' "  -- Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune (Thanks, Dwight)
"The Olympic opening ceremonies took place on Friday. Thw highlight occurred when Kenyan marathon runners were awarded the gold medals after organizers determined that it wasn't necessary to run the races.  -- Brad Dickson
"Olympics can inspire American kids to get active. Or it can inspire American kids to sit on the couch and watch the Olympics."  -- Conan O'Brien
"The Olympics begin. The games symbolize world peace, understanding, and cooperation. Security will be tight because quite a few countries really don’t like each other."  -- Alan Ray
"Sir Roger Bannister will be honored at the London Olympics. In Britain, some of the top distant runners are called "Sir." That's opposed to the U.S., where our top distance runners are called "Who?"  -- Brad Dickson
"Scotland announced that it will legalize gay marriage. I don't know what's bigger news, that Scotland did that or that a country where guys wear plaid skirts didn't already have gay marriage."  -- Jimmy Fallon


Saturday, July 28, 2012


## Bobby Valentine has to treat tonight's game against the Yankees as though it was the seventh game of the World Series. Lose tonight and the Yanks win at least two out of three in this series. That would mean the Red Sox leave New York 2 games under .500 and 12 and a half games out.
They hit three home runs last night but so did the Yanks. The difference was, the Sox' homers were all solo shots while the Yanks had 2 2-run shots and a grand slam, or as Wallace Matthews calls it, a "Granderslam."
Former Yankee Mark Melancon didn't show much ability last night, but he did give us a language lesson when Grandy laced a pitch into the stands. I think it's obvious what the word was.
Boston has been searching for a shortstop for about 6 years now. Based on Avilas' performance last night, the search continues.

## The Angels took a big step toward catching the Rangers when they completed a trade for the Brewers Zack Greinke.  They probably could have done alright with their current staff, but this makes sure that Texas couldn't pick up Greinke to improve a glaring weakness in their starting pitching staff. The Rangers still have to figure out what's going on with Josh Hamilton, who seems to have lost interest in playing. Not only isn't he hitting, he can't even seem to hold on to the bat. Fans behind 1st base may have to start wearing armour if Josh doesn't stop flinging the bat into the stands when he swings.

*The opening ceremonies were beautiful and colorful and Rowen Atkinson provided his brand of comic relief. We are now also very aware of Great Britain's Health Care system.
*I watched the Womens fencing competition. The referee spoke French, which we are told is 'The Language of the Sport.' That may be, but it only added to my confusion as to what was happening. All I know is that there were a lot of beeps and flashing lights and every now and then the two fencers would stop. The American ended the first session ahead 10-7, but I think she got style points for having beautiful long hair. At least, she stopped to show it to us -- twice.
*For those of you who are disappointed about the uniform style change in Women's Beach Volleyball, never fear. The uniform for Womens Indoor Volleyball consists of tight t-shirts and shorts that can only be described as 'panties.' Who says sexism is dead?
*The Chinese team won the match I watched. I wonder if their uniforms were made in the USA?
*Maybe I misunderstood, but while I watched the bicycle race, the announcer said they were moving quite fast and were up to 30 MPH, "...which of course, is the limit in the this portion of the race." Does it make any sense that a "race" has a speed limit?
*During the swimming portion, once the competitors were in the water, you had no idea who was who. Would it be that difficult to add graphics to each lane so we had some idea who was winning?

## The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to win. They have won 8 of their last 10 but still lost another game to Cincinnati, who sent 9-1 in that same period.  Currently, the best race seems to be in the AL Central between Detroit and the White Sox. Only a game and a half separate them. Forget the Yanks and the Red Sox, the most interesting baseball is taking place in the two central divisions.

"Germany has opened a new hotline that lets people call in and yell curse words at strangers on the other end. We have something similar in America. It's called Time Warner customer service."  -- Jimmy Fallon
A Scottish brewery has released Never Mind the Anabolics, a beer with eight illegal, performance-enhancing ingredients and high alcohol content. Or as a Detroit Lion calls it, a real time-saver."  -- RJ Currie
"London organizers accidentally played the South Korean national anthem for the North Korean women’s soccer team.  It’s times like this I really miss Sarah Palin"  -- Janice Hough
"At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, they handed out 100,000 condoms. This year it's 150,000. That's 100,000 for the U. S. basketball team and 50,000 for everyone else."  -- Jimmy Kimmel
"The best reason to ax the Tour de France. If we shut down pro cycle racing completely, it would free up enough cops and investigators to stop all the crime in the world."  -- Scott Ostler
"After boxer Martin Tucker was treated for a bloody nose in a bout, the bloody Q-tip was retrieved and the DNA ultimately linked him to a bank robbery. The district attorney wants him to take a mandatory 20-year count.’"  -- Bill Littlejohn


Thursday, July 26, 2012


## After months of behind-the-scenes negotiating, including some up-front media negotiations, Cole Hamels has signed an extension with the Philadelphia Phillies. It is reported to be $144 million over 6 years. That's $24 million a year and approximately $700,000 per start.  In his first interview after signing this deal, the first words out of his mouth were, "It's never been about the money!"  Of course not. He was holding out for that extra week of vacation. As if that contract isn't enough, Hamels is married to Heidi Hamels, who has appeared in Playboy Magazine.
I'm still waiting for the day when an athlete will come out and say, "I've finally got the money I was always  after. Where did you say I'm playing again?"

## The Olympic games started yesterday, even though the "Opening Ceremonies" won't be held until Friday. The USA Womens soccer team beat France 4-2, with hometown  (for me) hero, Abby Wambach scoring a goal with a header, as expected.
The Olympics haven't even officially started yet and 9 athletes have been disqualified for the use of banned substances. Three of them couldn't even get into the country. Maybe there should be a gold medal for the drug testers.

## We love to watch the athletes perform, but the training sessions have to be pretty boring. Even the warm-ups before a race are ridiculous, watching runners shake their legs and windmill their arms. But Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke appears to be changing all that. This kind of warm-up I'd watch all day -- until Annie-O catches me.  She can really run, too.

## The Boston Red Sox lost again last night (Boo-Hoo) and the loss went to former "ace" Josh Beckett. He's now 5-9 for the season. Jon Lester is doing just as badly at 5-8. But never fear, mgr. Bobby Valentine has announced he is going to "have a chat" with the struggling pitcher -- as soon as someone points him out to Bobby.

## Lets see: so far the Yanks have lost an important reliever (Chamberlain), their closer (Rivera), the starting left fielder (Gardner), a starting pitcher (Pettitte) and now their third baseman and #3-4 hitter (A-Rod), and they STILL have the best record in baseball, in spite of a disastrous west coast trip. They went 2-5 on the road trip and have a 5-5 record in their last ten games and  have remained 8 games up in the AL East.  They picked up an aging superstar, Ichiro Suzuki, to fill the outfield gap, so who knows what Cashman might do now that the Yanks have lost A-Rod. I wonder if George Brett is available?
Cashman's magic was in evidence again yesterday, when a bench player Cashman picked up for a song, clubbed a three-run double in the 8th innin to give the Yanks a 4-2 lead they never relinquished.  Boston is next at the stadium, where Ichiro's reception by the Yankee fans may prove more interesting than the 3-game series with the Red Sox.

"Alabama coach Nick Saban's daughter is being sued over a fight with a sorority sister. Her dad has a lot of questions. Being familiar with Nick Saban, I'm guessing the first question is, "Did you win?"   -- Brad Dickson
"Yes, those Brits will bet on anything. London Mayor Boris Johnson got his shaggy locks trimmed this week, and bookmaker William Hill immediately reduced its odds — of the Olympic torch setting Johnson's hair afire during Friday's opening ceremony — from 66-1 to 100-1."  -- Dwight Perry
"Going from the Mariners to the Yankees was apparently Ichiro’s idea. Guess at this point the man wants a ring so bad he’d almost be willing to marry Kobe Bryant."  -- Janice Hough
"The Open: With four holes to go and a 4 shot lead, the announcers said that Adam Scott had one hand on “The Claret Jug” trophy. They obviously didn’t notice his other hand was around his throat."  -- TC Chong
"Question: What do you call a woman who watched NASCAR races on television with a dead man for 18 months? Answer: Married."  -- Cam Hutchinson


Monday, July 23, 2012


## The Yanks have made a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Ichiro Suzuki will be playing right field for the Yankees tonight. The Yanks gave up pitchers D.J. MItchell, Danny Farquhar and fungo bat to be named later. Oh sure, his career stats are impressive, but he's 38 years old, currently hitting .261 (career .322) with an OBP of .288 (career .366).  His next home run will be his 100th -- in 12 seasons.  But he can still throw so maybe the Yanks can use him in relief.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

## You can tell when substitue players are making an impact when they achieve their own nicknames. The Yankee subs - Jones, Ibanez, Nix and Wise are now being called the "Bench Bombers" and the "Jurassic Park Platoon."  Catchy.

## The Japanese team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic is threatening to boycot the event unless they get a bigger portion of the revenue. Who do they think they are? The Yankees?

##  I read that ESPN has acquired the rights to the Rose Bowl Game.  Knowing ESPN, I assume the pre-game show will start on Dec. 10th and run till game day. The game show itself will feature interviews from star players to coaches to trainers and finally the popcorn vendors. There will be a segment on the history of the Rose Bowl Game plus a history of the rose itself. This will be followed by an aerial view of the cheerleaders and a prediction of the score by the parking lot attendent. The actual game will be show as a replay one week later. 

## Thank heavens the Yankees are out of Oakland. Last time there was a beating this bad on the west coast Rodney King was involved.

"Due to the cool rainy weather in London, beach volleyball players will likey swap out their bikinis for long sleeves and leggings.  In an unrelated developement, NBC announced it's reducing scheduled beach volleyball coverage from 26 hours to 43 seconds."  -- Brad Dickson
"Team USA Men's Basketball team defeated Great Britain 118-78. I won't say Team USA is cocky, but the players cut down the nets after the first quarter."  -- Brad Dickson
"A survey by an infidelity website found that most married women would cheat with David Beckham. The rest would cheat with Victoria Beckham.  -- RJ Currie
"Does Nick Saban have X's and O's for everything? The Crimson Tide football coach employed two blockers to keep media out of the restroom while he did his business at SEC Media Days."  -- Dwight Perry
"When asked about the new NBA idea to put ads on uniforms, MLB commissioner Bud Selig said “You learn never to say never, but you know, with us, uniforms are really important.” Translation, “The Yankees don’t want ads.”  -- Janice Hough

Congratulations to my grandson Andrew. His team finished second in the Brockport International Soccer Tournament and Andrew was awarded the Sportsmanship trophy.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


   The Yanks won again and only needed one home run. Girardi started his "mix-n-match" routine early, just to let us know how much of this hot streak he was a part of.  Okay, I'll go along with this as long as Chad S-qualls is not part of any game the Yanks can win.

  The injury bug continues to infect the major leagues. Joey Votto had knee surgery. Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista went down yesterday swinging a bat. David Ortiz damaged an achilles tendon running the bases. Brett Lawrie bruised his calf today when he fell over a railing. While the players aren't doing too well, Johnson & Johnson's sales are up.

  I see they have just called the game in the bottom of the seventh, with the Yanks winning the game 6-0. Toronto heads to Boston to take on the injury-riddled Red Sox, who have now lost David Ortiz for 15 days. The Yanks head to Oakland and then Seattle for the trip out west.

  The off-duty policeman who screamed racial insults at Carl Crawford in a minor league game, is being "punished."  He is on paid leave. Some punishment; sounds more like a paid vacation.

  Ozzie Guillen is mouthing off again, this time because some Chicago writers hinted that the White Sox' success is partially due to the fact that Ozzie has taken his stand-up act to South Beach. By the time Ozzie was done talking, you'd think he was responsible for the White Sox' amazing record..

  This item is from Dwight Perry's "Sideline Chatter" column:
The NCAA handed out the most hollow sanctions in its history last week when it declared that, for using 30 ineligible athletes in 12 sports, California Institute of Technology would have to, among other penalties, forfeit a season's worth of victories.
Said Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, noting the basketball team's 310-game conference losing streak that ended last season: "The baseball team will vacate all wins during a period in which it went 0-112. The men's water polo team will vacate every win achieved while going 0-66.
"Caltech (is) the school that couldn't succeed at sports if it cheated."

"Justin Verlander is reportedly dating SI cover girl Kate Upton. Who knew he was that good at pitching woo?"  --  RJ Currie
"Olympic beach volleyballers might trade in their skimpy bikinis for leggings and sleeves because of cold-weather forecasts: "I think we're about to find out who the real fans of beach volleyball are."  -- Len Berman
"According to a new study, Kobe Bryant is the most overpaid player in the NBA. To his credit, Kobe is not passing the buck, mostly because he doesn't pass anything."  -- Brad Dickson
"An artist made an amazing sand sculpture of Fenway Park–it included Bobby Valentine burying his head in it”  -- Bill Litlejohn
"Kris Humphries signed a two-year deal to stay with the Brooklyn Nets. Leave it to the Kardashians to make the NBA look like a bastion of committed relationships."  -- Janice Hough

They have changed this site again, eliminating some of the features I use, like bold face, italics and spell-check. My 'editor' and I will do the best we can.



Monday, July 16, 2012


Chad Qualls is giving "Chad" a bad name. I may have to go by Mr. Picasner until I can live this down.  When Girardi brought him in, I figured that he thought they had too steep a road to climb and he was saving his bullpen. The Bronx Bombers showed him that home runs mean you are never out of the game. The Yanks won the series which is still a good thing to do. Bring on Toronto.

Bobby Valentine will never learn.  Just when the Youkilis drama was just about over with, Valentine dredges it up by saying that whole fiasco was Kevin Youkilis' fault.  "He couldn't let it go," Bobby said. "There's no feud, it's all in his head."  Even Will Middlebrook, the rookie that made the trade possible, was quoted as saying, "Kevin could have been bitter but he wasn't. He talked to me, he helped me. He was a friend."  I wonder who will get the bigger cheers tonight in Boston.  Youkilis or Valentine?

The answer to yesterday's trivia question: Who was the last switch-hitter to win the AL MVP? It was Vida Blue of the Oakland A's back in 1970. He was a pitcher, but this was before the Designated Hitter so pitchers actually hit. To be fair, we should say Blue was a switch-batter, because he couldn't hit from either side of the plate.
Dwight Perry was the only one who knew the right answer, which means he might be almost as old as me.

Milwaukee Brewers Zack Greinke has been scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday, fueling speculation that a trade is in the works. All the parties involved are denying it, of course.

A very exciting game yesterday, The Angels beat the Yanks 10-8.  It was a see-saw battle with 8 home runs, two great plays in the outfield by Granderson, some hilarious base running by New York and the game ended with the bases loaded with Yankees. So how did ESPN handle the highlights? They showed a home run by A-Rod, a home run by Trumbo, ONE of Granderson catches and A-Rod popping up to end the game. Next time, I think they'll show the scoreboard when the game ends. That way they'll have more time for teasers and commercials.

"A woman filed a lawsuit against the Phillie Phanatic mascot, claiming he threw her into a swimming pool at a wedding. This is when the Philadelphia Phillies are having a bad season - the team is in last place, and the mascot gets sued.  The Phillie Phanatic is entitled to a trial by a jury of his peers. Let's see, the San Diego Chicken, Mariner Moose..."  -- Brad Dickson
"Edwin Encarnacion signed a 3-year, $27-million extension with the Jays. Think of it as re-Encarnacion."  -- RJ Currie
"The Los Angeles Lakers surprised the basketball world Wednesday by signing future Hall of Fame guard Steve Nash. He enjoyed the standard L. A. welcome ceremony. After passing the team physical he was given his jersey, his locker, and his choice of Kardashians."  -- Argus Hamilton
"Two days after the Fourth of July, Ray Allen agreed to leave the Celtics and join the Heat, thus validating that old American bromide -- life, liberty and the pursuit of South Beach. --  Dwight Perry
"Negotiations between Brooklyn and Orlando to have Dwight Howard leave the Magic for the Nets have apparently fallen through. Jeez. The Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes split was accomplished with less drama."  -- Janice Hough


Sunday, July 15, 2012


## Somehow, the Yanks won another game yesterday, behind the soft tosses of Freddie Garcia. He got a swinging strike on a 69-MPH curve that had everybody shaking their heads. He reminds me of a Yankee pitcher from the early 60's,  Bud Daley. Bud was left-handed - out of necessity, because his right arm was deformed as the result of a birth defect. He was listed as 6 ft 1in, but somebody was being generous. I don't believe they made 'platform spikes' back then. Bud threw a variety of slow curves, sliders, change-ups, etc., the epitome of the "junk ball" pitchers. A reporter once remarked, "I think I could hit him with my typewriter finger." Maybe he could,  but major league hitters never figured him out. Now we have Freddie, who finds ways of getting hitters out that Abner Doubleday did not have in mind when he thought up the game.
But we'll take it.

## If a hitter goes two for four with a double, steals a base. scores a run and plays well in the field, would you guess that he's your clean-up hitter? Okay, he really hit third yesterday, but that's a minor detail. That's what the Yankees have hitting in the middle of a powerful lineup. A-Rod continues to put up big numbers - in batting practice, but once they play the National Anthem, he turns into a lead-off hitter.  He can still hit the ball a mile, once he actually hits it. Time after time, I see him foul off good pitches and then lunge after bad pitches and slap a grounder to the shortstop. Yet the Yankees still win. They win with home runs, good pitching an a shut-down bullpen. And not with a home run hitting third baseman.
But, we'll take it.

## The Phillies, we were told again yesterday, were still preparing what is being called, a 'massive' contract for Cole Hamels.  We all know is there's going to be a lot of zeros involved, but I get a feeling the contract is also going to be presented with flowers, trumpets and dancing girls. I think Hamels will be interested in just the zeros.

## Here's a little trivia question, compliments of Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post.  Who was the last switch-hitter to win the American League MVP award?  I'll post the answer in the next post.

## If you didn't own one of those electric football games back in the 50's, this next piece may bore you. I did, so I enjoyed this tidbit from Phil Mushnick:
"As Friday’s Times reported, Norman Sas, inventor of the Tudor tabletop electronic football game, died late last month, at 87.
In 1963, I had one of those games. It kinda worked. Kinda. Nah, it never worked. Still, I spent many winter hours at it, forcing it to work, at least in my mind.
I made it the Giants vs. the Packers, applied the correct jersey numbers to the metal-based plastic players.
I ran the Giants out of a two-back formation, lined them up as Allie Sherman would.  It probably took 10 minutes to set up all 22 “players” after every “play.”  Then you would turn on the switch and the players would vibrate in all directions, some would just immediately topple over, but some actually would block straight ahead all the way to the end zone — even if they were on defense.
I used to “fix” games so that No. 16, Frank Gifford, would “catch” a pass in the flat then “run” for a touchdown. But there was something that caused No. 16, once it reached the 10-yard line, to turn and “run” in the opposite direction. Didn’t matter. I would set it all up again, this time a long pass, No. 14, Y.A. Tittle, to No. 85, Del Shofner, who would “catch” the felt football I inserted under his arm, then fall over and spin in a circle, like Curly in “The Three Stooges.”
Thanks, Mr. Sas. It sure beat homework."

When Bob Matthews retired, I thought I lost a writer I could criticize (in a joking manner, of course), but never fear, Leo Roth is here. He is one of the sports columnist for the Roch. D & C. Today, he wrote a long column about ESPN, The Magazine, and it's "Body Issue." This where athletes pose naked in action photos of their particular sport (Don't worry - no naughty parts are shown). Leo column dealt only with the appearance of local soccer star, Abby Wambach.  His rather lengthy article asked all the expected questions - Did she do right? What was she thinking? What did she say about it? What do her friends and family think? How will she handle the questions from the young fans about the pictures? So what was Roth's position? We still don't know. Leo answered none of the excellent questions he posed, never taking any kind of stand. the one question he did try to answer was the last one about the young fans reaction. His response: "I'm sure she'll have an intelligent answer."  Come on, Leo. Right or wrong (tho' mostly wrong), Bob Matthews always picked a side.

"A volley by Andy Murray during the Wimbledon semifinal hit Joe Wilfried Tsonga square in the gonads. It almost ended the set."  -- RJ Currie
"Larry Bird, via Twitter, on Kobe Bryant's claims that this year's U.S. Olympic basketballers could beat the legendary 1992 Dream Team: "They probably could. I haven't played in 20 years, and we're all old now."   From Dwight Perry's column
"Roger Federer beat Andy Murray for his record-tying seventh Wimbledon title. He has done better on grass than Willie Nelson."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"Clippers forward Blake Griffin is out of the Olympics after tearing the meniscus in his left knee during a Team USA scrimmage, reportedly during a back-door cut — over the back door of a Kia."  -- Dwight Perry
"So Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby and Pablo Sandoval hit a three-run triple that broke open the All-Star game in the first. Not a good week in sports for Weight Watchers."  -- Janice Hough
"The inventor of the tabletop electric football game has died at age 87. Because of electric football, I never left the basement for three years in the 1970s. His coffin will be placed on a gurney and moved via electronic vibrations across the chapel floor."  -- Brad Dickson


Friday, July 13, 2012


What's the question? Well, it could be the REAL home run record, at least in my mind and the mind of a lot of other people. But what I was trying to ask was, How many players appeared in the All-Star game?  If they had more players, the number would have been higher. Silliness.

While rehabbing in a minor league game this week, Carl Crawford stated that a fan hurled a racial insult at him. Boston has never been noted for racial tolerance, but I sure thought we were past this kind of public racism. It turns out that the main suspect is an off-duty policeman from the town of Leominster. The mayor has promised a full inquiry into the matter. Currently, the cop has been assigned desk duty. If convicted, he could be dismissed from the force, or even worse, be required to have Bobby Valentine over to his house for dinner.

Speaking of Boston, the Red Sox main beat reporter, Gordon Edes, has written an article that's not going to make him many friends in the Red Sox organization. In it, he lists a number of the problems the Sox have:
We'll start with the title which is BOBBY-ING AND WEAVING.  Valentine Has His Hands Full.
# David Ortiz has publicly supported Valentine, but sources say that is just for show.
# Another source says Bobby does not have the support of anyone in the clubhouse.
# When Valentine went to the mound in Chicago, the whole infield joined him - except for Pedroia, who stayed at his position at 2nd base.
# He traded Youkilis and the team is still grumbling about it.
# Pitching coach, Bob McClure seldom tells Bobby what is discussed when he goes to the mound and often walks past Valentine without even saying hello.
# Valentine frequently appears ill-informed about the team's injuries and rehabbing players.
# Valentine moves his players around in the lineup which some veteran players don't like. Terry Francona used to tell players the night before if they weren't playing. Now, they don't find out until the lineup is posted.
If Boston doesn't get into the playoffs, Bobby will be ridden out of town.  And the sign-up sheet in the clubhouse for a driver is already two pages long.

Buster Olney said the Boston schedule for the 2nd half is one of the easiest. It's probably even easier for those teams playing the Red Sox.

Cole Hamels is the subject of a lot of trade rumors. Philadelphia is supposedly making one last ditch effort to sign him to an extension. Hamels agent says the STARTING POINT is $22.5 million a year for 5 years. That number sure isn't Salary Cap-friendly.

The Yanks have signed their #1 draft pick, Ty Hensley, a right-handed pitcher from California, who averaged 2 strikeouts per inning in his senior year in high school.  It wasn't mentioned if he graduated, but that doesn't matter, just so his accountant did.

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik keeps insisting he will not trade Felix Hernandez.  If that's true, why does he have to keep saying it week after week?

Boston -  no last minute reprieve for Valentine    FADE
Pirates - A good run, but too much young talent   FADE
Chi White Sox - No real competition and the players like Robin Ventura  SUCCESS
Phillies - No chance FADE
Yanks - I can't see much in their way  SUCCESS
Texas - Yes and no. They'll make the playoffs but they might not win their division  SUCCESS?
Giants - If they don't win the NL West, they'll make the playoffs  SUCCESS
Dodgers - The loss of Kemp showed that they have some big problems   FADE
A-Rod - I don't think it's ever coming back  FADE (but a lot of players would love his numbers)
Houston - Well, they won't have the worst record in the National League next year. 
Oh, and Reggie has made another round of apologies.  It's hard to make people believe you when you have no excuses. 

"I'm sorry, but there are too many records in Major League Baseball. The other night a game was halted to announce a player just tied the mark for most stolen bases on a Thursday by a guy named Gary."  -- Brad Dickson
"Canadian Mischo Erban set a world skateboard record going 130 kph down a steep road in Quebec. It's the fastest anyone has gone downhill this side of Lindsay Lohan."  --  RJ Currie
"The NFL filed court papers alleging that Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams tried to manipulate a drug test, possibly with nonhuman urine. So, in addition to his six-game NFL ban, he's been declared ineligible for next year's Kentucky Derby."  -- Dwight Perry
"It's the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.  Americans get the same thrill running just ahead of the bankers at the first of every month."  -- Argus Hamilton
"The ultimate sports dilemma: "Yankees vs. Red Sox tonight, but you only have one 5-hour energy drink. Do you watch first six innings or last six?"  -- Steve Rushin
"The Seattle Mariners are hitting .195 at home. You think that's bad? They're hitting .212 during batting practice."  -- Brad Dickson
"The MLB All-Star game was basically decided after the first inning. It was so boring, that by the 7th inning stretch, I had taught myself to play "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" on my vuvuzela."  -- TC Chong


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


## Next season, the Houston Astros will move to the American League, which means we will have an inter-league game every day. The 6-game inter-league rivalry series (Yanks - Mets, White Sox - Cubs, etc.) will be reduced to just three games, or perhaps four.  This is so teams like the Mets won't have to face the perennial powerhouse Yankees six times while their opponents in the NL East would only have to play them three times.
Okay, that solves one problem, but here's another. The AL teams will still use the DH and it will be in effect when the games are played in the AL parks only.  This means that at least one roster spot will more than likely be taken up by  a DH-type player, i.e. a player who is past his prime in the field. The NL teams will carry an extra position player because of all the double-switches they employ. Which means that NL teams will be at a disadvantage when playing in the AL parks, and the AL will be at a disadvantage in the NL parks. Both sides could live with this when there were only 12 interleague games. Now there promises to be a lot more, so how does Bunglin' Bud figure to deal with this? I have no idea. Unfortunately, neither does Bud.

## Because of the loss of Brett Gardner, the Yanks DH/part-time left fielders, their super-subs, have been forced to play a lot more. While this was not the plan in the spring, the subs have performed admirably.  Andruw Jones, DeWayne Wise and Raul Ibanez are on a pace to produce 35 home runs and 90 RBIs for the season. They probably won't reach those levels because Gardner is due back at the end of July (hopefully) and there will be the inevitable 2nd half drop off. But it sure is fun right now.

## Robinson Cano was booed lustily all night in Kansas City because he opted not to pick KC outfielder Billy Butler as a contestant in the Home Run Derby.  When there are eight solid choices and you can only pick three, someone is bound to be unhappy.  But here comes Bunglin' Bud to the rescue. Next year, it will be mandatory for one of the Derby participants be from the city in which the All-Star game is played. Which means it's possible that one of the participants will go into the contest having hit only three home runs all season.
Cano's family was also treated very rudely during the contest, which is unfortunate. Knowing Selig, next years captains will have the luxury of having their relatives protected by the Secret Service. Good idea; nobody boos the President, right?

## The next two weeks will tell the story for the Boston Red Sox. They have 3 games against Tampa Bay, 4 against the White Sox, 3 against Toronto and 3 against Texas. Then they have three more at Yankee Stadium.  If they expect to be in contention, I think they have to win 11 of the 16 games, 12 would be better and certainly not less than 10. In theory, they will have Pedroia, Ellsbury and perhaps Crawford back, along with closer Andrew Bailey.  Their rookie sensation, Will Middlebrook, is also expected to be there. I'll keep track.
In the meantime, Kevin Youkilis is tearing up the league in Chicago. He was just named AL Player of the week. It seems Boston got rid of him just in time. It should be very interesting in Boston next Monday when the White Sox come to town.

## According to the New York Times, Reggie Jackson will be allowed back in the Yankee clubhouse starting Friday.  Reggie said he stayed away because, "...he didn't want to be a distraction."  Yeah, that's what he said. This from a guy who should be  called "Distraction" Jackson!

## Congratulations to "The Melkman" on winning the MVP of the All-Star game. With the year he's having, you'd think that Melky Cabrera would be in line for a major contract over the winter, since he'll be a free agent. However, there are a number of scouts who are sceptical of Melky's ability to sustain his numbers in the future. He had a really good season in Kansas City last year, and the Royals weren't convinced enough to make an effort to resign him. The Giants are Melky's fourth team and he's only 27. I wonder what the story is.

"Q. What do you call avoiding prosecution after the government spends millions trying to nail you for performance-enhancing drugs? A. Clemensy"  -- RJ Currie
"Unlike most baseball purists, I'm actually in favor of an inflated playoff field. Postseason baseball is riveting. Regular-season baseball is like shopping at Kohl’s on a Saturday — you’re not sure why all the people are there and you can’t figure out why you are."  -- Norman Chad
"Half the Red Sox are on the disabled list, the team lost 3 of 4 to the hated Yanks at Fenway, and Kevin Youkilis has been ripping it up for the White Sox ever since Boston exiled him to Chicago. But other than that, Bobby Valentine, how was your weekend?"  -- Dwight Perry
"At the the Tour de France, the winner used to be first one to pass the finish line. Now it's first one to pass a urine test."  -- Greg Cote
"Players in the Major League Baseball All-Star game were encouraged to tweet. The commissioner is throwing out all stops to make MLB relevant to social media users. Before the game he announced that World Series home-field advantage would go to whichever team has the most Facebook friends."  -- Brad Dickson    [I had to write to Brad to make sure this was a joke - Chad]
"The Yankees have indefinitely barred Reggie Jackson from team events for his disparaging comments about performance-enhancing drug use by Alex Rodriguez and others. Guess you could say he's now the straw that broke the camel's back."  -- Dwight Perry


Monday, July 09, 2012


I consider myself to be a baseball fan, who happens to root for the Yankees, so you'd  think that I would enjoy this mid-summer classic. I don't. I haven't watched it for a long time. The home field advantage in the World Series depends on the outcome so it's a very important game, yet it's played like it doesn't matter who wins. Pitchers pitch one inning at most, every position player on the team is put in the game at one time or another. One time, they even ran out of pitchers. If they insist on doing this, why give it such importance? This is one of the silliest things Bunglin' Bud Selig ever thought up, if thinking was ever involved. 

Well, it is when you're Boston and those three games are losses. The Sox didn't even really win that one game, the Yanks handed it to them.
Yesterday, Andruw Jones continued his assault on Red Sox pitching with another home run. Boston figured it was wise to start four left-handers, in an attempt to neutralize the Yanks left-handed power. Jones reminded them that NY had some right-handed power, too.
Derek Jeter made two more errors last night. Okay, they only charged him with one, but it was really two. It almost took a gun to his head to get the official scorer to give him an error when he dropped the pop-up. (There was a lot of wind. Do I really have to?)
Adrian Gonzales left in the fourth inning with what was later described as "an illness." I wouldn't be surprised if Bobby Valentine had made him sick to his stomach.

It's becoming more and more prevalent for players chosen as an All-Star, to drop out because of injuries, real or suspect. Some are reasonable (Giancarlo Stanton just had a knee operation), some sound awfully fishy. One has a blister, another has a mild wrist sprain and one has excessive belly-button lint. Alright, I made that last one up, but I'm just waiting for an excuse that silly.  Jeter suffered from a shoulder cramp last night, but he stayed in the game ans he WILL play in the All-Star game.
Buster Only wrote, "It makes absolutely no sense that at the exact time Ian Desmond was getting hits and running around the field Saturday, it was announced that he is too hurt to play in the All-Star game."  You'd swear it was some huge hardship. It's not. It's three days out of the season - and trust me - none of them ever breaks a sweat.

## Buster Olney's Schedule Analysis shows the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 2nd easiest schedule in the National league. That's just what the rest of the NL Central Division teams want to hear. The Pirates already have a one game lead over 2nd place Cincinnati.

## Tampa Bay keeps losing and every story about them includes a reference to the absence of Evan Longoria. That's definitely a big loss, but he's only one guy. He gets one at bat for every nine and he can only play one position at a time. There are certainly other problems they have to deal with.

## Boston's problem is a little different. They have multiple players out, big name players: Crawford, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Bucholz and Bailey. It's possible that they might even lose Crawford for the rest of the year. Yes, the Sox are using a number of call-ups from their minor league affiliate, but they rank second in runs scored in the Majors, and their pitching stats compare reasonably with the Yankees, yet they're tied for last place in the Al East, nine and a half games out.  Can it be that there is a managerial problem?

## A flash of lightning and a sonic boom-like crash of thunder, sent players, coaches and umpires fleeing to the dugouts and ducking for cover during a game in Texas. The Rangers offense has been described as 'explosive,' but I think someone upstairs displayed something a little more potent. check out this link:  http://espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/story/_/id/8142796/booming-thunder-sends-minnesota-twins-texas-rangers-players-scurrying

"A 190-kph serve by Mardy Fish hit a Wimbledon linesperson in the eye. The bad news is the eye is closed. The good news is she's been asked to be boxing judge."  -- RJ Currie
"A U.S. congressional candidate was scheduled to carry the Olympic torch in England on Monday. Considering the quality of congressional candidate we usually see, the Olympic Torch should end up in Sweden."  -- Brad Dickson
"It took three police officers to subdue Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after he allegedly became belligerent when asked to leave a Houston nightclub at closing. Peterson has been charged with resisting arrest and impersonating a Cincinnati Bengal."  -- Dwight Perry
"Erin Andrews has left ESPN. No word yet if this means the college football season is canceled."  -- Brad Dickson
"Yankees manager Joe Girardi, to The Associated Press, on the skill set of 20-year-old Angels outfielder Mike Trout: "Most guys don't hit triples down the left-field line."
"Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald, on LeBron James answering his critics: "If I'm in LeBron James' shoes, I'm going to have a hard time not putting that championship ring on my middle finger."
"Hear about the college jock who flunked his geography final? He thought Lapland was a private room at the local strip club. -- Dwight Perry
"The Wisconsin wedding of two NU grads featured a wedding cake that was an exact replica of Memorial Stadium during a game. It was so authentic I spotted myself outside the stadium trying to buy tickets."  -- Brad Dickson


Sunday, July 08, 2012


Yanks won the opener, the Sox won the nightcap. Boston needed the win badly and found a way with a lineup that was unrecognizable to anyone who follows baseball. Names like Nava, Gomez and Ciriaco are more familiar to residents of Pawtucket than Boston. Geographically, it's only a short 45 mile trip up I-95 to Fenway, but talent-wise, it's a trip that's too long for most players to make. It looks like shortstop Pedro Ciriaco had no trouble with the journey and led the Red Sox to their first win over the Yanks this season. He went 4-5, drove in 4 runs and made several outstanding plays in the field. 
Boston's sloppy play rubbed off on New York as the Yanks made 4 errors and didn't look like a team with the best record in baseball. They still managed to hit three more home runs, to stay on a pace for 250+ for the season.  The last game of the series is tonight on ESPN. Luckily, my TV has a 'mute' button.

Buster Olney did an analysis of the strength of the remaining schedule for the AL teams, based mostly on the current records of the opponents and home vs. away games. The easiest schedules belong to Cleveland and Chicago. Understandable, since most of their games come against the relatively easy AL Central division. Boston has the 2nd toughest and the Yanks are right in the middle.  We'll see how that works out.

One baseball writer noted this week that Bobby Valentine is not very popular these days with the Boston players, coaches or the front office.  On the bright side, I hear the grounds crew loves him.

Why are so many guys getting hurt these days? Plus, they keep re-injuring themselves while doing their rehab. Carl Crawford, who was expected back right after the all-star break, has injured his groin. Brett Gardner has had two setbacks as he tries to return to the Yanks. Pedroia still has a bad thumb. I liked what Michael Kay had to say about Pedroia: "They had to put a guard on his thumb because he's so out-of-his-mind, that he keeps trying to take batting practice."
Now Giancarlo Stanton has a knee injury, Evan Longoria can't get a torn hamstring to heal, and Nationals SS Ian Desmond has an abdominal injury. Oh, for the old days, when the standard treatment of injured players was to rub dirt and chewing tobacco on it and send them back out on the field. They still make chewing tobacco, don't they?

All  we'll be hearing for the next three weeks, is what teams are selling, what teams are buying and who is going to be traded. Some of the more likely candidates appear to be:
Zack Greinke
Matt Garza
Shane Victorino
Ryan Dempster
Francisco Liriano
and Marco Scutaro (are you listening , Boston?)
It all depends, of course, on what teams still think they have a chance and which ones are giving up.

"The National Marbles Tournament just ended in Wildwood, N.J. This was the 89th consecutive National Marbles Tournament held there. Which may explain the Wildwood town motto: “Enough Already.”  -- Brad Dickson
"The New York Knicks announced the signing of 39-year-old Jason Kidd. Just like that, they went from "Linsanity" to "You're Kidding."  -- RJ Currie
"Female tennis players finally pass painful kidney stone."  -- Sportspickle.com
"49-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer  is so old he remembers when 'roids meant hemorrhoids."  -- Greg Cote
"Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Chris Paul are trying to woo free agents to their teams: "This isn't an offseason; it's the NBA version of 'The Bachelor.' "  -- Janice Hough
"Think headline writers aren't salivating at the thought of Pitt recruit Chris Blewitt missing a crucial kick?"  -- Dwight Perry
"The University of Pittsburgh signed a place-kicker named Chris Blewitt. He’s already been named Player of the Year by the National Headline Writers Association. Now Steve Pederson and Pitt coaches are focused on landing receiver Matt Oops and running back Ricky Butterfingers."  -- Brad Dickson


Saturday, July 07, 2012


***NY - 10, BOS - 8***
You can't have a Red Sox-Yankee series without some drama, and this one has started out that way.  We had so many dramas last night, I could fill the blog with stories. This slug fest looked for all the world like a slow-pitch softball game...without the keg - at least in my house.
Neither starter had any command, especially Beckett, who appeared more likely to throw the ball to the backstop than to the catcher. Kuroda, in the meantime, must as well have been throwing underhand, judging by the ease Boston had  hitting him.  As a Yankee fan, I have to say I enjoyed the cheers for Beckett when he finally threw a strike that wasn't laced into the deepest confines of Fenway.
And what is drama without Bobby Valentine?  He got involved in the 7th inning.  He had lefty Andrew Miller throwing the ball in the high 90's, but chose to bring in righty Vincent Padilla to face the switch-hitting Teixeira.  Padilla and Tex have a history with each other, Tex hitting home runs, Padilla hitting Teixeira.  This was no "book" decision, when managers tell reporters "that so & so's numbers were very good against a particular hitter."  No, this was Valentine trying to get inside Teixeira's head with the idea that he might get hit by a pitch. Why you would want to hit a guy with two men on and one out in a one-run game defies explanation.  Needless to say, it didn't work.  Afterwards, Valentine claimed he, "... doesn't pay any attention to personal histories."  Liar, liar, pants on...  Sorry, I got carried away there.
Apparently there must have been some sort of side bet on the game, because both Valentine and Girardi managed like it was the seventh game of the World Series.  Micro-managing at it's finest.
Maybe all the time off Girardi is giving A-Rod isn't helping his power, but it's sure paying off with his legs.  Alex is now 9 for 9 in stolen bases. Who needs Brett Gardner?

It used to be Reggie Jackson, currently it's A-Rod.  Somehow these two guys always seem to  find themselves in the middle of a brouhaha.  Yesterday, it was both of them.
First Reggie: Among his remarks in an interview, again with Sports Illustrated (remember the  "straw that stirs...?), Reggie said that A-Rod's numbers, "were suspect because of his admission to taking PEDs."
Then he listed players he didn't think belonged in the Hall of Fame. He named Kirby Puckett, Gary Carter, Don Sutton, Phil Neikro, Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven in particular.  Interestingly, Bill Mazeroski wasn't specifically mentioned.  He also said, "If accused PED-users are elected,  current members of the Hall will boycott the induction ceremony in protest."  You know, current players like Kirby Puckett, Gary Carter, etc.
A-Rod's response was, "This will remain a private affair between friends." He then added, "With friends like this, who needs enemies?"  Sounds about right.

It seems he's upset with the 'piddling' amount of money Boston is paying him this year. A lousy $14 million, if memory serves. I guess he figures if you're hitting .300 with 22 homers & 56 RBI's, you can say any dumb thing you want. He also said there would be no "hometown discounts," and he was going to actively search for the best monetary deal. Refreshingly honest if not poorly timed.

It's finally happened.  All the different brands of beer are so close in quality, they've resorted to gimmicks to sell their product.  First, there was the label that changed color when the beer got cold. Then they added a deeper color when it got super-cold. Next, another brand came out with the twisted neck "to make the beer pour better."  Now, they have the "punch-top" can so you can get the beer faster. So I guess if it's really cold, pours better and drinks faster, it doesn't matter what brand of beer you buy.  Pretty soon, the beer will come with the automatic "12-step program."

"Kobe Bryant wooed Steve Nash to Phoenix, LeBron James and Chris Paul are both working on Ray Allen. This isn’t an offseason, it’s the NBA version of “The Bachelor.”  -- Janice Hough
" Actor Alec Baldwin was married in New York City. I’m starting to think he might have an anger problem. When the wedding guests threw rice, he threw it back."  -- Brad Dickson
"Arkansas football coach John L. Smith says he's making plans to declare bankruptcy because of several bad land investments. Or as Razorbacks apologists prefer to spin it, he just couldn't get his ground game established."  -- Dwight Perry
"ex-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa denied that grudges played a role in some Reds getting left off the NL All-Star roster: "But remember this, La Russa is a man who intentionally walked Barry Bonds — in spring training."  -- Janice Hough
"Why are the Washington Nationals so concerned about Stephen Strasburg's pitch count?  They must be saving his arm for when he eventually signs with the Yankees."  -- Mike Bianchi
"Two female sprinters may have to do a coin toss after they tied in an Olympic qualifying event. The coin toss will last just a second, while NBC's coverage of it will last about a day and a half."  -- Jimmy Fallon
"The Red Sox now have only one player left (David Ortiz) from their last World Series Championship. The rest have moved on to investing in businesses such as Fried Chicken outlets and Beer and Wine stores."  -- Tony Chong
"The Steelers' LaMarr Woodley is getting married this summer. The wedding party is said to include Ben Roethlisberger, six bridesmaids and 24 washroom attendants."  -- RJ Currie


Thursday, July 05, 2012


Of course, that's not true, but it makes some old-timers happy when you say it (and yes, I mean older than me).  So lets look at July 4th last year first.
New York Yankees - won the East by 7 games
Cleveland Indians - finished second to Detroit by 15 games
Los Angeles Angels - finished second to Texas by 10 games
Tampa Bay was the wild card
Philadelphia Phillies - won the East by 13 games
St Louis Cardinals - finished second to Milwaukee by 6 games
San Francisco Giants - finished second to Arizona by 8 games
The Cardinals did get in as the wild card

Only two of the six leaders actually won their division so if it's an axiom, it's a faulty one.

This years standings look like this.
New York Yankees - For all their shortcomings, they still have a five game lead and should finish in the money.
Chicago White Sox - Some people think they're playing this good just to make Ozzie Guillen look bad - like that's hard to do.
Texas Rangers - A solid team but they may find it harder to repeat than they think it is.
Biggest surprise - Detroit Tigers. They were supposed to run away with the Central but can't seem to get out of their own way. They'll have to go 55-27 (.670) the second half to match last years record. No way.
Washington Nationals - they might actually make it. Meanwhile,  Philadelphia is in last place, 12 games out.
Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates??  Wow! This would be the first time in 19 years they have a winning record.
San Francisco Giants - Ya gotta love Melky Cabrera
Biggest surprise - Everybody but the Giants (At least Janice Hough is happy)

## Kevin Youkilis is hitting .280 for the White Sox and just had a walk-off hit last night. Wil Middlebrooks, the rookie who made Youk's trade possible, may be heading for the DL. Things don't seem to be working out for the Red Sox. Awwww!

## Umpire's interference? Seems to me that occurs whenever they walk on to the field. It's been a long time since I've read the rule book, but I thought the umpires were not supposed to negate a play when they accidentally become part of it. When the Tampa Bay catcher hit the umpire while trying to throw out a runner at third, it was at least half the catcher's fault. Instead, they send A-Rod back to second and it cost the Yanks a run. I wonder if the Umpire will be fined or chastised for this. NAH!

No "THEY SAID IT" feature today. It seems everybody had the Holiday off.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Let's start with the most obvious: Ozzie Guillen.  Here's his latest rant.
"Make sure Miami people don't (expletive) Bell," Guillen told reporters, as quoted in the Miami Herald. "Bell gave up two runs. How about the rest of the (expletives) 10 or 12 runs they scored? That's why this (expletive) game is not (expletive) fair. "It's Ozzie talking (expletive)? No. It's Ozzie talking the truth, about how (expletive) we were before that (expletive) inning. Put that (expletive) down!" That's eight curses in six sentences. C'mon Ozzie. How much of this (expletive) do we have to take?

#  This one only (UGH!) rears it's ugly head about (OOF!) four times a year (ARRGH!).  That's when the four (AAAH!) major tennis championships on being televised (SCREECH!), and we have to listen to the gilrs, excuse me, Ladies, grunt and groan (EEEK!) during every, repeat, every, swing. Oh yeah, the guys do it, too, but not like the "ladies."  Weight lifters don't make as much noise.  Analyst Chris Evert said that Maria Sharapova, one of the loudest screechers, doesn't grunt while practicing, so obviously it's an intentional habit.  If they can grunt, why not the fans. If we did, we'd be ejected, so why not do the same to the players?

#  Anytime Mike Tyson opens his mouth, especially when he tries to sing.  I can't make the point effectively on paper, so try this: Stand next to a blackboard and run your fingernails over it until blood comes out of your ears.  That's the equivalent of one chorus out of Tyson.

The sound of a bat driving a ball out of the park against the Yankee pitchers. Everyone knows the Yanks lead the majors in home runs, but there are only six teams that have given up more.  Teams like Colorado, Houston, Minnesota and Seattle, etc., teams whose pitching staffs make good batting practice pitchers.

  Voices, specifically Tim McCarver, Joe Buck, Dick Vitale, John Sterling, John Flaherty (did I mention Dick Vitale?), that annoy, infuriate and disgust any somewhat informed sports fan.

#  Annie-O saying, "Look what I bought.  It was on sale!"  As Alan King once said, "I asked my wife why she needed a wedding dress, She told me that for $22.50, it could hang in the closet."

"At tryouts for the new Omaha Lingerie Football League team, candidates were judged on their "passing, running and catching skills." Yes, and Miss Universe is chosen for her knowledge of algebra."  -- Brad Dickson
"According to a new study, owning a dog helps men get dates. But not as much as owning a lot of money."  -- RJ Currie
"The emcee for the  weigh-in was New York Mayor Bloomberg.  Got to love it, the man who wants to ban large sugary drinks,  front and center for our country’s greatest overeating competition."  Janice Hough
"Magic center Dwight Howard is a five-tool player: "He can not only score, pass, and rebound, but also whine and complain."  -- Alan Ray
"The most impenetrable line in sports is:  a) Alabama's defensive line.  b) The Cincinnati Bengals' bottom line.  c) Anthony Davis' unibrow."  -- Dwight Perry

Firecrackers signifying the freedom of our great country.


Monday, July 02, 2012

So What. Who Cares? Big Deal.

So the Texas Rangers have seven players on the AL All-star roster including a couple of guys that actually deserve it. The "Deservers" (in honor of sour puss Nolan Ryan's BFF, George W. "English is Not My Native Language" Bush) do not include Rangers' catcher Mike Napoli, currently hitting a pitcher-frightening .235. And, in spite of the excellent year closer Joe nathan is having, the Yankee's Rafael Soriano, not on the roster, is having a better one with 18 saves in 19 attempts and a 1.78 era - better than Nathan - in a much stronger division.

But Yankee fans can take solace in that six Yankees have been selected for the mid-summer classic - and only a Texas yahoo would consider it relevant that one of those will be representing Cleveland and another Pittsburgh.


Sunday, July 01, 2012


## Another good outing for Phil Hughes and the Yanks hit two more "fly balls," according to Jake Peavy. Peavy is unhappy that the Yanks hit so many home runs, especially the three they hit off him on Saturday.
"You have to keep the ball out of the air in this ballpark," Peavy said.  "The ball gets in the air, you got no chance. Obviously that happened three times. How many balls get hit to the left side of the field? None. They have no interest in hitting the ball that way."  I guess the Yanks are supposed to hit the ball to left field so they won't score as many runs. The Yanks hit 7 homers in the four games. The White Sox hit 5 and Peavy never complained about that. Maybe he should ask to be traded back to the National League, so people won't hit homers and score runs off him.

## You learn something everyday. Bill Madden of the NY Daily News, devoted a column about the increasingly poor work by the Major League umpires. Supposedly, umpires are observed, evaluated and graded by supervisors. "The whole MBL supervisor system is a joke," said a baseball person intimately familar with the umpires. "Half the supervisors are guys who were bad umpires and the only way to get them off the field was to make them supervisors."  I suppose the other half were too old to run around the field anymore. 
Here's the interesting point: In spite of specific language written into their last basic agreement with the umpires, MLB can discipline, fine and even fire umpires for bad performance or for consistently bad grades. It doesn't happen.  When is the last time you heard of an umpire being fired?  It appears that they stay on the job until they die, and based on their recent mistakes, for some time after they die.
Keep your eye out for these six umpires, generally acknowledged to be the worst in the game today:
Bob Davidson, Phil Cuzzi, C.B. Bucknor, Gary Darling, Tim McClelland and, of course, Cowboy Joe West.  And with Joe Torre as the guy in charge of overseeing them, there is no end in sight.

## Clay Rapada had done a reasonably good job for the Yanks out of the bullpen until his recent outings, when he has been beaten up.  The Yanks show little patience with this kind performance, as evidenced by the fact that Adam Warren was sent back down to the minors after his disastrous start, even before he was allowed to take a shower.  Now the Yanks have traded for Chad Qualls from the Phillies, who were so anxious to get rid of him, Philadelphia didn't even wait to arrange to get something in return. They basically said to Cashman, "Send us a player when you get around to it, or just some cash or perhaps a couple of baloney sandwiches."   I don't think they even held out for Oscar Mayer baloney. I'm sure Rapada is thinking, "This can't be good."

-- Did anyone else notice the absence of Jorge Posada from the Yanks Old Timers celebration? That seems a little strange to me.
-- Jim Thome was traded to the Orioles by the Phillies.  This was a little more understandable. Thome simply can't handle playing in the field anymore, and was doing little damage as a pinch hitter. Going to the AL, where he can DH makes a lot more sense. Besides, he wants a ring and he wasn't going to get it in Philly this year. He doesn't have a great chance in Baltimore, but at least they're contending.
-- The Dodgers have lost seven in a row and 10 or their last 11, and I don't think you can blame all of this on the loss of Matt Kemp. They obviously have some other issues.
-- The Yanks will have three starters in the All-Star exhibition (I refuse to call it a 'game'): Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson. Manager Ron Washington of the Rangers, has already said he intends to use his whole roster. He should have added the phrase, "Win or Lose."
-- Joe Torre says that Roger Clemens DEFINITELY belongs in the Hall of Fame. It figures. His name isn't Alex Rodriguez, so Joe likes him.

"Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman reportedly paid his ex-wife $1.75 million as part of their divorce settlement. Probably the biggest hit he's ever taken in the pocket."  -- RJ Currie
"The Diamondbacks' Trevor Bauer — after throwing his first big-league pitch against Atlanta last week — was instructed to toss the ball out of play so he could save it as a souvenir. So he threw it into the Braves' dugout."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Women’s Tennis Association says it is going to crack down on players who shriek, shout and grunt when they hit the ball. Apparently some of the women are just too high strung."  -- Jim Barach 
"Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell, last season's SEC freshman of the year, was kicked off the team after police discovered a Luger handgun with an altered serial number under the driver's seat during a traffic stop. So when the Bulldogs say they won't have as many weapons this coming season ... no kidding."  -- Dwight Perry
"When he arrived in Omaha, Michael Phelps was sporting quite a mustache. It looked like Anthony Davis’ unibrow fell on his lip."  -- Brad Dickson
"Boise State is reconsidering its move to the Big East. I’m guessing the meeting went down like this: “Wait just a dang second — we’re in Idaho!”  -- Brad Dickson
"A 6,000-acre fire south of Salt Lake City was believed to have started at a target-shooting range. The NRA immediately put out a statement: Guns don't start fires, people start fires."  -- Janice Hough
"The British National Shin Kicking competition has ended. This is believed to be the first major sports competition based on an episode of "The Three Stooges."  -- Brad Dickson

I'm starting to feel like Brad Dickson's agent.