Sunday, September 30, 2012


## It would not have upset anyone if, at the beginning of the season, we were told that the American League East would come down to the last four games, with two teams tied for the lead. If we were told the Yanks were one of those teams, everyone would nod and say, "Yeah, it figures."  But the next question would be, "Are they tied with Boston or Tampa? Or both?" If told it was actually Baltimore, we would wonder if the prognosticator had been dipping into the medical marijuana. Well, that's where we stand.

Baltimore is not playing like they were trying to stay with New York. They're playing like they're trying to shake off those pesky Yanks. They have one more game against the flailing Red Sox, who, according to scouts and writers, have been playing like they spend their time in the dugout, packing their bags for the off-season. The Yankees cannot count on Boston helping them out by beating the Orioles, however, they can count on the Sox going all out to beat the Yankees the last three games. That series constitutes the World Series as far as Boston is concerned. "If we can't make the post season, we can at least see that those hated Yankees don't make it either." If this Yankee team has any heart at all, this is the time to show it. The trouble is, they haven't shown it yet this year.

## A couple of comments on yesterday's game:
It's easy to blame the loss on some bad calls by the umpires. An out call at 2nd when Gardner was really safe. Ichiro gets picked off first when the pitcher clearly balked. It's interesting to note that Al Leiter in one of his incessant monologues, never picked that up. The replay clearly shows the pitcher's lead leg go BEHIND the rubber when he picked Ichiro off. The rules states that if the leg goes behind the rubber, the pitcher MUST throw to the plate.
One thing that does make a difference to the Yankees, is an umpire who has a huge strike zone. NY is the best in the league at working the count, and when obvious balls are called strikes, Yankee hitters are in for a bad day.

## One topic that always comes up at this time of the year, is what managers will be fired. Two of the more favorite choices of the writers are Ozzie Guillen of the Miami Marlins and Bobby Valentine of the Red Sox. Both of these managers state that they are positive that they will return as managers next year.
I have a suggestion: Trade the two of them for each other. The Red Sox players are already used to hating their manager, and, as we all know, Valentine looks good in sunglasses, which are a necessity in the Miami sun.

## I toyed with the idea of using the phrase, 'RUN, ROBBIE, RUN" as a headline for this posting. I am tired of Robinson Cano loafing down to first base when he hits an easy grounder or a lazy pop fly. Or when he poses for a couple of seconds when he hits a long drive. If it leaves the park, nobody notices. When it goes into the gap or hits the wall, Cano doesn't turn it on until he's halfway to 2nd, and even then he goes back into cruise control. Of course, we don't hear Michael Kay or any of his cohorts mention this (Actually, Ken Singleton has said something about it). Robinson, if you want to be revered and respected like Derek Jeter, watch the way he plays. Watch him give it all he's got running out a ground ball, even though he's playing on a bad leg.

## One of the NY Post writers mentioned the fact that a major impetus in the finalizing of the contract for the NFL officials, was the shift of so many millions of dollars in the betting operations of the Seattle-Green Bay game. He's right. You can talk all you want about preserving the 'integrity' of the game, or the obvious inability of the replacement officials, but, in reality, you don't want to upset those bookies.  They know that obvious blown calls can affect a game that they have handicapped perfectly and they sure don't want that. All they have to do, is start taking certain games off the line, and with no interest other than their bets on a game, the bettors will stop watching. No audience, no revenues, no NFL. As one writer put it. "The last thing you want to do, is let your audience get used to doing without you."

I'm glad to see Bob Ryan, retired columnist for the Boston Globe,  becoming a semi-regular on the various sports talk shows. The sports world needs his knowledge, his insight and his humor.

"Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who was sidelined with dehydrated corneas, returned to the lineup for a crucial series with the A's. To Texas fans, he was a sight for sore eyes."  -- RJ Currie
"Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb's wife gave birth to their third child last week, an 8-pound, 11-ounce boy. To no one's surprise, replacement officials initially ruled it a girl."  -- Dwight Perry"
" Brandt Snedeker pocketed $11.44 million for winning the PGA Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup: "Heck, some Yankees have to work an entire season to make that much."  -- Len Berman
"In golf news, Brandt Snedeker got a $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup. He plans to use the money to ship a package FedEx."  -- Brad Dickson
" To save taxes, a New York strip club reportedly hopes to convince the IRS that lap dances are works of art. Good luck with that argument. It sure didn't work on my wife."  -- RJ Currie
"A Rhode Island homeowner might be in violation of local noise ordinances for teaching her pet cockatoo to curse. Apparently they've been watching a lot of Red Sox games."  -- Dwight Perry

" A rival team executive's take on the Dodgers: "They are a fortune 500 team. They spent a fortune to play .500."  -- Jon Heyman

"Thousands of Wisconsin students were in Lincoln for the game Saturday night.  It was a great day to be a Breathalyzer salesman in Nebraska."  -- Brad Dickson


Thursday, September 27, 2012


## The Yanks needed an easy win and they finally got one last night. The final score was 8-2, and it wasn't really that close.

The Twins had to remove their starter, Samuel Deduno, in the second inning because of left eye irritation, only to see reliever Brian Duensing give up a 6-spot in the third inning.  That's when Michael Kay came up with the best line of the night;  "Now, it's manager Ron Gardenhire's eyes that are irritated."

 Eric Chavez pulled a big boner when he forgot how many outs there were and stepped on third for the 2nd out instead if going for an inning-ending double play. Sabathia bailed him out, though, which seemed pretty easy the way CC was throwing. 

Jeter had his hitting streak stopped at 19, but Ichiro continued his hot hitting for New York. He's hitting .326 for the Yanks and his overall average is now .282. This resurgence is just what the Yanks were hoping for when they traded for him.

## One of the headlines on ESPN today was "Monday Night Controversy." With all the sports going on, you would think ESPN could find something else to talk about rather than dredge this up 20 times a day. They spent more time on this than on the Kardashians. What are they thinking?

## Consecutive headines: 
This has to be the Boston season in microcosm. Just to give you an idea of how out of touch Valentine is, here's his latest quote. He was asked if the owners had talked to him about next year, he said, "My gut feeling is they haven't talked to me yet."  Might as well go with your gut, Bobby. That's a conversation that most people would have noticed.
Then there was this little gem: "There was not much I would have done differently, I don't think, other than I think I would have kept the beer in the clubhouse." I'm sure the owners loved that remark. I know Terry Francona did.

## The Oakland A's have set an American League record for strike outs, having wiffed 1333 times this year.  They have seven games to go and could reach 1400 by season's end. And none of the top ten strike out artists play for the A's. Adam Dunn of the White Sox leads the majors with 211 with Curtis Granderson second at 188.

## Former Major League reliever, Eric Gagne, has written a book in which he says he used PEDs for three years near the end of his career. He also claims that 80% of his Dodger teammates also took them. He didn't name names. Not to worry, the book is in French, which means most of the players would read about 25% of it before they realized they don't speak French.

" Q: How many replacement refs does it take to screw in a light bulb?  A: None. They only screw up calls"  -- Alan Ray
"The University of Minnesota-Crookston mistakenly painted its midfield logo at the 45-yard line: "They must've used replacement painters."  -- Bill Littlejohn
"Bobby Valentine says he thinks he’s coming back in 2013 as manager of the Red Sox. Sounds like Bobby’s as in touch with reality as he’s been all season."  -- Janice Hough
"Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein said rebuilding the team "won't happen overnight." Which is pretty much what owner Charles Murphy said in 1909."  -- RJ Currie
"An ESPN talking head said nobody works harder than Peyton Manning. Maybe not. Unless you include Lindsay Lohan's lawyer."  -- RJ Currie
"Denver Broncos fans are complaining about pigeons flying overhead pooping on them. I believe this is in retaliation for last year's Broncos game when a Tim Tebow first-quarter pass took out six of the flock"  -- Brad Dickson
" On Tuesday night, Pam Anderson became the first celebrity voted off the “Dancing with the Stars” all-star competition. To give you an idea how low her scores were, this is the first time a celebrity left by catapult"  -- Brad Dickson



Sunday, September 23, 2012


This race does seem like it's going to go down to the last game. Showalter has the Orioles believing they're capable of going all the way, and the Yanks have a lot of veterans who won't panic.

It was a very sloppy game today, with both teams making errors. New York has that enigma at shortstop, Eduardo Nunez.You never know if he's going to make a great play or blow an easy one. The fans behind first have to remain alert whenever the ball is hit to him.
Even though they make plays, the A's  never seem comfortable in the field. The best fielding play all weekend for Oakland, was made by the jersey of pitcher Jarrod Parker. Like Nunez, however, it couldn't make the throw.

After reading that Eric Chavez was unhappy with the "organized hand-clapping ritual" in the A's dugout on Saturday, I expected to see a little fireworks today, but that didn't happen.

Both sides were unhappy with ball and strike calls by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook.  He didn't have a strike zone, he had a zip code. Pitches low, pitches inside, pitches outside, it was all the same to Estabrook: STRIKE!

There are four managers who seem to be on shaky ground, because the owners spent big, big money to insure their teams would get into the playoffs. It appears that two of the managers are probably gone: Ozzie Guillen of the Marlins, who laughs at the thought that he will be fired (everyone else will laugh next month), and Bobby Valentine, who still says he is the best man for the job - we just don't know what the job is.
Detroit writers say if Jim Leyland's Tigers don't make the playoffs, Leyland doesn't make it to 2013. Mike Scioscia will probably be given one more year to get the Angels to the promised land after Artie Moreno gave him CJ Wilson, Zack Greinke and Albert "The Machine" Pujols.
In the middle of the summer, Don Mattingly was a shoo-in for manager of the year. Then the owners went out and "bought" three superstars from Boston and promptly found out why Boston wasn't going anywhere. The "super stars" were really "superduds."  Mattingly's job seems secure, maybe because he's such a nice guy.
Lew Wolff, owner of the Oakland A's, is dying to get out of the Coliseum. The stadium is just not suited for baseball and the A's want to move to San Jose. The San Francisco Giants have the territorial rights to San Jose and say that it's a big part of their fan base. They want the A's to stay in Oakland, 10 miles across the bay. San Jose is 50 miles from the Giants AT & T park. Bud Selig has been working on this problem since 2009 and, big surprise, has no answer yet. Lew Wolff says, "I'm not as frustrated as everyone thinks.I'm comfortable that we'll have a decision this year, and if not, we'll just have to go to plan B."  And what is plan B? No one knows, least of all Bud Selig who doesn't know what plan A is after three and a half years.
The Pittsburgh Pirates beat Houston 8-1 today, but they need to win 8 of their last 11 games to finish over .500 for the first time in 19 years. I hate it when fairy tales have an unhappy ending. Go Bucs!!
If the Detroit Tigers can win the second game of their double header with the Twins, they'll be tied with the White Sox atop the AL Central division.
Bob Raissman of the NY Daily News, criticized the YES Network announcers, Michael Kay and Ken Singleton, because they "failed to specify what the objectionable message was" on the eye-black of Blue Jay infielder Yunel Escobar. Never fear, folks, Raissman told us what it was: "Escobar spelled out on his eye black patches, 'You're a f----t.'"  That's telling it like it is, Bob. I still don't know what it said.

"NFL linebacker Ray Lewis is intense. Niners' coach Jim Harbaugh is intense. But after watching the U.S. Open, Andy Murray's mom scares the crap out of me."  -- RJ Currie
 "Not only have the Houston Astros lost more than 100 games, they recently advertised the presence of Joe Niekro at a luncheon. Sadly for the Astros and for Niekro, he died in 2006.  -- Cam Hutchinson

 "Some are now talking Ryan Braun for the NL MVP if the Brewers make the playoffs. If so, got to love it, the All-Star MVP busted for PEDs and the potential repeat MVP winner playing only because his suspension was overturned on a technicality. Way to clean up the game, Bud Selig. -- Janice Hough
"The Franklin Mint has just announced they are issuing rare gold coins commemorating each of the Mets four post-all star game home wins."  -- Mark Ragovin

"The Orioles beat the Mariners in a tussle that took 18 innings and ended at 3:54 in the morning. Time-wise, that's about an hour shy of a Kardashian marriage."  -- RJ Currie
"Jets coach Rex Ryan thought his players would benefit from some extra rest, so he decided to bring in a sleep specialist. Hey, it was either that or make them watch six hours of Kansas City Chiefs film."  -- Dwight Perry


Saturday, September 22, 2012


...I don't think my heart can handle too many more of these walk-off wins.  I suppose they're better than walk-off losses.

Oakland's got to feel snake bit.  Of course, for the most part, they create their own headaches. Either they just aren't good fielders, or the Yankee Stadium pressure is wearing on them. Three errors in one game in a pennant race is simply unacceptable.

Melky Mesa might have been ready to cut his own throat, when he missed third. A-Rod looked like he might have offered to hold the knife. As usual, a win will make the pain go away. In fact, it will make you forget it. Baltimore continued to win extra-inning games, so this victory just helped the Yanks maintain their one game lead.

Here's a little riddle: What's it mean? 9/15 - 1, 9/19 -3, 9/19 - 4, 9/20 - 2, 9/21 - 2, 9/22 - 3.
Give up? It's the number of hits Ichiro has gotten in the last 6 games he's played. That's 15 for 24, or .625.
He's gotten more aggressive at the plate and he's running like he's in his 20's, not pushing 40. He's basically pushed Andruw Jones out of a job, and it would not surprise me if Jones is left off the playoff roster. Ibanez, on the other hand, showed everyone that a left-handed power hitter is a lethal weapon in Yankee Stadium.

I'll be accepting donations to help finance a trip to New York to kick some Robinson Cano butt. It's disgusting to see Cano lollygag down the first base line, especially after 40-year old Ibanez hustles into second for a double and later tries to take out an infielder on a possible double play.

All you can do is stare in wonderment at Derek Jeter. He still makes plays in the field and he hits, and hits, and hits. I wish he'd give some of that kickapoo joy juice he must be taking, to Robinson Cano.

A Boston writer, who shall remain nameless, says he doesn't believe that injuries and poor performance by some players are responsible for the Red Sox demise. No, it's all Bobby Valentine's fault. He's alienated the players. He's alienated the front office. He makes outrageous statements and shouldn't have even lasted this long. Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay, makes some strange moves, is innovative with his roster and seems to make everything work. If you question his moves, he always has a logical reason for what he's done. Valentine makes strange moves, just to make strange moves and call attention to himself. Ask him to explain and he either tells you it was just a hunch or explain how tough managing the game is. How much tougher is it for the players who have to deal with it?

Washington and Cincinnati have clinched their divisions in the National League, and San Francisco has a big lead in the West. So the only race left is for the two wild cards. Atlanta has one spot sewed up so there are 4 teams fighting for the final spot. The American League is not cut and dried. Only Texas seems to have a hold on their division. Everything else is up for grabs.

Melky Cabrera has declared himself ineligible  for the batting championship he seems sure to win. A very responsible decision. Too bad he didn't show that responsibility by refraining from using a banned substance and then trying to pull a scam to hide it. Certainly takes away most of the glory from relinquishing the batting crown.

"An Atlanta jewellery store is offering a free hunting rifle to anyone who buys $2,500 in diamonds. In a related story, Georgia reports a jump in shotgun weddings."  -- RJ Currie
""Do the math, NHL players want billions, turned down an offer for millions and are happy playing overseas for thousands?"  -- TC Chong
"Brian Hartline criticized the Tim Tebow media circus: "Seriously, a no-name Dolphins wide receiver questioning Tebow's football credentials? This would be like Barney Fife questioning the gunmanship of Matt Dillon."  -- Mike Bianchi
"The Yankees' Ichiro escaped with a base hit Friday night when his ground ball got stuck inside the jersey of A's pitcher Jarrod Parker. What, that's not a ground-rule double?"  -- Dwight Perry
" Replacement refs have been criticized nonstop by fans who attend NFL games. It's pretty bad to have your judgment criticized by a group of people who show up shirtless for games in freezing weather."  -- Brad Dickson
"Dear Troy Aiken: We know there are replacement referees in the NFL. We know they will make mistakes, just like regular referees. Please shut up about it and call the game."  -- Cam Hutchinson
"The space shuttle is going to be driven through Los Angeles tomorrow. That's exciting. The bad news is that it's going to be driven by Lindsay Lohan."  -- Conan Obrien


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


There is a lot of buzz about how almost half the teams in both leagues are still capable of getting into the playoffs. This is, of course, because of the 'extra' wild card. After the three division winners are determined, the next two teams with the best record, play one game to determine the last team in the playoffs.

So in effect, you end up with five teams with a chance to win the World Series. I can't really say they have a chance to be the "best team in baseball," because the team with the most wins seldom ends up winning, or even finishing second. I only went back 10 years because I do have some semblance of a life, and I found that the teams with the best record don't seem to fare well in this format.

In those 10 years, 20 teams participated in the World Series. Only six of those teams ended the season with the best record in their respective league, and only two of those six won the World Series. I don't understand this. You play 162 games, fight through losing streaks and injuries, win more games than any other team in your league, and you have only a 30% chance of playing for the championship. 

This wild card game has another rule that could affect the outcome. The manager sets his 25-man roster before the game, but can designate a different set of 25 players if he should win and continue in the playoffs. Under these rules, there is no reason for you to carry five starters, you can load up on position players and relievers. So a team that has five good starters and a mediocre bullpen has a handicap facing a team with a solid bullpen and a suspect starting rotation. Teams with a deep bench have an advantage over teams that rely on their starters.

So if you happen to be a fan of the Washington Nationals (best record in baseball), or the Texas Rangers (best record in the AL), enjoy the season, because your team might not even be playing in the series to determine the World Series participant. However, if your team is the Philadelphia Phillies with a record of 74-74, you could be rooting for the eventual World Series winner -- even though your team ISN'T Major League baseball's best.

Thank you, 'Bungling' Bud Selig.

If you have tickets to tonight's game with the Yanks and Toronto, bring your umbrella and a book, because you'll only be able to root for the grounds crew.

"Just wondering, can you have the best fantasy-football team on paper — or is that redundant?"  -- Dwight Perry
"After the Tampa Bay defender hit Eli Manning, it was reported that Giants coach Tom Coughlin had an unhappy expression. Which doesn't mean much since the last time Coughlin had a happy expression was when he got a skateboard for his ninth birthday."  -- Brad Dickson
"A streaker who disrupted a high school football game in Florida avoided security by climbing over a chain link fence. The bad news is police have found him. The good news is the school choir has a new soprano."  -- RJ Currie

" Bobby Valentine, on the Red Sox: "This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball." Yeah, he's got his team's back - with a sharp knife in it."  -- Janice Hough
"Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein said today that rebuilding the team "won't happen overnight" and that 2013 may also be tough. Undaunted, die-hard Cubs fans immediately put on t-shirts saying "Wait until the year after next year."  -- Janice Hough
" Line judge Shannon Eastin became the first woman game official in NFL history in Sunday's Rams-Lions game, and Steelers linebacker Larry Foote had no problem with that: "Women are more honest and fair than men, and they know how to catch a man cheating."  -- Larry Foote



Monday, September 17, 2012


I should have added - STRIKEOUTS. It's always easier to win when you have a varied offense. The Yanks put together some well-placed bunts and a timely home run to beat Tampa yesterday. Throw in 3 stolen bases by a youngster (Nunez) and a team high 13th steal by a veteran (A-Rod), and you give an opponent a lot to think about. New York is finally beginning to look like the juggernaut they were back in July when they built a 10-game lead. The lead is down to one now, but the outlook isn't quite so foreboding. The Yanks have a tough series next weekend with Oakland and the pennant race will be much clearer by Sunday night.

A ground ball hit something in the infield and bounced over A-Rod's head at third with the bases loaded. It made the game much closer after two runs scored. If this had happened about 15 years ago when George was running things, there would be a couple of groundskeepers looking for work today.

Matt Moore threw a pitch that sailed back of Curtis Granderson's head. Home plate umpire, Paul Emmel, immediately went out and warned both benches. Granted, Martin had just broke open the game with a three-run homer, but that was two batters before Grandy went to the plate. Tampa manager Joe Maddon, was very vocal in telling Emmel, "You're wrong!" but Emmel had the final say when he gave Maddon the heave-ho. I don't think Emmel was right either.

When Andruw Jones came to the plate in the bottom of the 2nd to face lefty fireballer Matt Moore, Michael Kay remarked, "The Yanks hope Andruw will walk into a fastball."  He did. Moore hit him in the arm with a fastball.  And Michael didn't even take a bow.  Later, Michael had the best line of the day when he recapped all the strikeouts by both pitchers. "When you read the scorecard, it looks like the guest list at my family reunion."

Ozzie Guillen not only hasn't been able to produce a winner for Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, but he's also managed to irritate the Miami Cuban fan base with some complimentary remarks about Fidel Castro. He's got three years left on his contract at $2.5 million per year, and Loria is not one to take money losses sitting down, but word is that he's not happy with Ozzie and his penchant for controversy.

Resident Genius Jim Leland of the Detroit Tigers, has also had a disappointing season. They're not out of the playoff picture yet, but they were supposed to dominate the AL Central, instead, they're in 2nd place, 2 games out and 4.5 games back in the wild card race. There is talk that Leland doesn't have the rapport with his players that he once did.

Speaking of having a good rapport with your players, Bobby Valentine has again talked himself into a corner with another thoughtless remark. In an interview, Bobby said, "This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball." He wasn't going to limit his remarks to the Major League roster, either. When he was asked if he would bring up some rookies from the minors, he replied, "I don't think there's a lot of guys left in Pawtucket that I would bring up." If his expected exit from  the Red Sox was ever in doubt, this should seal the coffin. Some guys just don't know when to shut up.

One guy whose job is NOT in danger is the Orioles Buck Showalter. Baltimore will have it's first winning season in 14 years. The Yanks have a streak of 20 straight winning seasons. The Major League record is 39 held by the Yankees (1926-1964).

 I wonder if the Professional teams have to extend the training season by a few days, so the players can work on their touchdown celebration dances?
 The New York Giants' offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, accidentally shaved off half of his mustache when he momentarily got distracted while shaving. What else could have been going on in that bathroom that was so interesting?
 With less than a minute to play, New England tight end Rob Gronkowski was called for a penalty that forced NE to try a 42-yard game-winning field goal, which they missed. I think "Gronk" may be in for a couple of e-mails from Tom Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen.
From Brad Dickson's BOTTOM TEN:
3. Colorado (0-3): Home games are such non-events that students have begun showing up sober.
5. Idaho (0-3): Lost to LSU 63-14 Saturday in a contest that was pretty much over when the schedule was announced in 2004.
8. Wyoming (0-3): The Cowboys lost to Cal Poly 24-22 Saturday. Their next game is with Idaho in the Someone’s Gotta Win This Thing Bowl.

" The captain of the Costa Concordia that ran aground in January is now charged with prematurely abandoning a sinking ship. In a related story, Red Sox owner John Henry denies he's selling the team."  -- RJ Currie
"An army vet fishing for bass near Springfield, Mo., reeled in a sock with a live hand grenade in it.
It's already being hailed as the fastest catch-and-release in angling history."  -- Dwight Perry
"A poll revealed that 58 percent of Americans believe Barack Obama would beat Mitt Romney in a fistfight: "Make it a pay-per-view event. We could wipe out the national debt in one night."  -- Jimmy Kimmel
"Wisconsin fired its new offensive line coach after two games. He said there are things he wished he had been given time to do in Madison — like unpack."  -- Brad Dickson
" The Patriots fell at home to the Arizona Cardinals. Frustrated New England fans are wondering if they can blame it on Bobby Valentine?"  -- Janice Hough
"The NFL replacement refs have missed calls, awarded extra timeouts and failed to explain penalties. Well, it didn’t take them long to get the hang of the job."  -- Brad Dickson


Thursday, September 13, 2012


...but it ain't easy. Baltimore won't go away and Tampa's not helping. Either the Red Sox are playing over their heads or the Yankees are playing under theirs. The Yanks' three home runs did the job, but they  can't seem to find a way to put teams away, and until that happens, the pennant race will continue to be close. It's hard to tell if the Yanks are feeling the pressure, but it appears to me that Girardi is. I'm starting to question his decisions.
In the 6th inning, with men on first and third with two outs and a right-hander on the mound, he let Chris Stewart hit with Dickerson, a lefty, on the bench. There were two other catchers on the bench, so there was no reason to let the light-hitting Stewart bat. He continues to bring in Robertson every chance he can, with no regard to how many times he's pitched previously. The guy even looks tired.
Oakland now has a better record than NY or Baltimore, so it looks like the AL East has three teams fighting for two playoff spots.

In spite of the fact that the Red Sox continually announce that the stadium is sold out, there appears to be a lot of empty seats. If that isn't a clue to the Red Sox fortunes of late, consider this: Last year, the average ticket price for a Yankee-Red Sox game was $186. Last night, the average ticket price was $67. You could even get a seat for $19 from a ticket broker. In fact, I think the seat was next to Valentine.

It doesn't matter, he's playing. There are 20 games left and Derek will play in all of them, even if it means they have to put a hospital bed out at shortstop, which, according to some sabermetric fans, won't seriously affect his range. Jeter, as usual, won't admit to anything. Girardi says he has a bone bruise on his heel. Jeter reluctantly says his problem is his "lower leg." Then he denied having a lower leg.

Besides losing last night, he had another confrontation with Alfredo Aceves. When he went out to the monud to replace Aceves, Alfredo refused to give him the ball. He gave it to the catcher instead, and then circled the mound to go into the dugout, rather than walk past the manager.
Valentines woes continued later in the game when he was ejected  for arguing balls and strikes. It was the 6th ejection this year for Bobby, a Red Sox record. Sunglasses and a fake mustache were not available, so Bobby stayed in the clubhouse after the ejection.

Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant played college ball at Oklahoma State. I don't say 'attended,' because that would imply he went to classes. He obviously didn't learn anything, including self-control. The Cowboys have actually hired a bodyguard to make sure he doesn't have problems with women, doesn't drink beer and stays out of strip clubs. Now if they could only do something about double coverage on the field.

Actress Amanda Bynes has been involved in five car accidents in the last six months. To put this into perspective, that's one more than Lyndsay Lohan...and two less than Dez Bryant.

"Sony says there is already huge demand for their 84-inch, 3D LED TV with 4 K resolution, set to hit stores in late November. In a related story, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is December 4th."  -- RJ Currie
"The Texas Transportation Commission has increased the speed limit to 85 mph on Interstate highways out of Austin. For disgruntled Texas Tech basketball players fleeing Lubbock, it's 95."  -- Dwight Perry
"Roger Clemens said he only wants to pitch for the Astros in 2012 if he can pitch against a “contender.” So he can “knock them right out of the playoffs” And Barry Bonds is thinking – “And they thought I had a big head?”  -- Janice Hough
"Mitt Romney compared President Obama to a coach whose record is 0 and 23 million. The former coach of the Charlotte Bobcats said, “Leave me out of this.”   -- Brad Dickson
"The NFL season kicked off in New Jersey. The Dallas Cowboys played the defending champion New York Giants. So ladies, I guess we'll catch up with you on Valentine's Day."  -- Jimmy Kimmel


Monday, September 10, 2012


This is for all you SABERMETRIC fans out there, who live, die and pontificate on baseball statistics. Sabermetric stands for Society for American Baseball Research (shouldn't that be Sabr-metrics? - Apparently, numbers are everything, but words are nothing). Sabermetrics is defined as the objective study of statistics to analyze current productivity and predict future results, based on the past. If that's true, then, to quote a Batman adversary, "Riddle me this, Batman."

## Before the season, the Orioles were predicted to finish  a distant 5th in the AL East. Currently, they are 8th in the AL in ERA and 9th in runs scored. Yet here they sit, 2nd in the monster AL East, only one game out of first.

## The Athletics were given little chance to be in the post season. GM Billy Beane made his reputation by compiling a team of  high On-Base-Percentage players. This year, Oakland is 25th in MLB in OBP and 10th in the AL in runs scored.  But the A's are 2nd in the AL West, ahead of those powerful Angels, and the current leader in the wild card race.

## The White Sox were not considered to contend for anything other than being the best team in Chicago, and that's only because the other team is the Cubs, who weren't even expected to  be the best team in Wrigley Field.  The White Sox are leading the AL Central over the pre-season favorite Detroit Tigers.

## The Philadelphia Phillies were the lock in the NL East. Right now they have a stranglehold on 3rd place, 17 games back of the Nationals.

## The Pittsburgh Pirates were dismissed as heading toward their 20th or so straight losing season. The Bucs spent most of the season fighting for the lead in the NL Central and they are only 2 1/2 games back in the wild card race.

Basically, predictions are fun, but as long as they continue to decide games on the field, the winners and losers will be determined by athletes, not accountants.

Should the Nationals lose during the playoffs, there will be all kinds theories as to how they would have done if they had continued to use Strasburg. I will end my attention to the subject with some words from Norman Chad of the Washington Post.
"In the thick of a magical season that may not come around again for 50 years, the best interests of the Nationals are for Strasburg to pitch until his arm falls off. (By the way, if it does fall off, with modern medicine it can be surgically reattached and — at most — he misses two starts.) As for Strasburg, his best interests are to pitch as long as he can as well as he can, for we may never pass this way again."

The Yanks start a three game series in Boston tomorrow. Very little drama this time, since the Red Sox are hopelessly out of any race, and even Bobby Valentine knows he'll sound awfully silly if he tries to demean and insult New York this time around.  In the meantime, the two Yankee rivals, Tampa and Baltimore will be fighting it out in Tampa for three games. Regardless of how the Yanks do, they'll be gaining on somebody.

 "Maria Sharapova said her breakup with basketball's Sasha Vujacic was due to them both having such busy schedules. For those of you scoring at home, make that a double fault."  -- RJ Currie
"Think Big Ben Roethlisberger is serious about this fatherhood stuff? The kid's nursery is reportedly decked out with steel curtains."  -- Dwight Perry
"Marlins reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo — the former Leo Nunez — underwent Tommy John surgery: Oviedo hopes to come back a new man — a guy named Jose Lopez."  -- Greg Cote
"This just in: Bud Selig announces plans to expand playoffs further this year. How far? Just enough so that the Yankees are in the post-season. Even Bud has given up on the Red Sox."  -- Janice Hough
"Why is it called “Tommy John surgery”? Shouldn’t the procedure be identified by the doctor who first performed it, Frank Jobe? After all, the Heimlich maneuver isn’t named after the person who was choking."  -- Norman Chad
"The New England Patriots is offering free Wi-Fi for all their home games. This means that Gisele Bundchen and Wes Welker can tweet each other instantly when Wes drops the bleeping ball."  -- TC Chong


Sunday, September 09, 2012


Umpiring at it's worst helped send the Yanks to another critical loss last night. To be fair, the Orioles power did quite a job, too. Teixeira is sure to be fined after his post-game comments about the quality of the umpires, but a possible suspension won't be a problem, since Tex re-injured his calf and may end up sitting out the remainder of the season.
In the ninth inning with two men on and one out, Teixeira hit a slow grounder to second. When the Orioles tried to complete a double play, Mark dove into first and beat the throw...except umpire Jerry Meals called him out. Both the radio and TV announcers believed he was safe even before they saw the replays. Had he been called safe, the tying run would have scored. Just to add insult to injury, in an interview after the game, crew chief said he reviewed the play and Teixeira was clearly out. Joe Torre said he was going to review the situation, but he was busy napping.
Speaking of breaks, Baltimore is unhappy that Nick Markakis broke a bone in his hand when he was hit by a Sabathia pitch. They'll get as much sympathy as A-Rod got when that happened to him. The Yanks and Orioles meet for the final time in the season today, unless they meet in the post season.

Stephen Strasburg has been shutdown for the year by the Nationals. Their "excuse" is that he's lost his focus because of the debate over his innings limit that has been imposed by the club. The Nationals' argument is that they want him to be a premier pitcher for years, rather than risk losing him by overusing him now. The fans, of course, want a World Series championship now, a feat greatly enhanced by Strasburg"s presence. It seems to me that management would like to see the huge crowds Strasburg draws in the next few years, rather than winning a title now. This scenario bears watching.

The Cubs and the Nats had a little dust-up this week in Chicago. The Cubs pitching coach and the Nationals' third base coach had a heated exchange which resulted in the dugouts emptying, but nothing happened. Apparently, the Cubs were unhappy that a Nationals batter swung at a 3-0 pitch in the 5th inning while Washington was ahead 7-2. In the sixth the Nationals pitcher threw behind a Cubs hitter, and the dugouts emptied again, this time with some spirited pushing and shoving. A player from each side was ejected. Manager Davey Johnson indicated that if the Cubs thought that his club would stop playing hard just because they had a lead, they should prepare themselves for disappointment, because Washington had no intention of easing up. Good for you , Davey.

Boston's Bobby Valentine offered to punch a radio sports talk host in the mouth because he asked Valentine if he has given up because he got to the ballpark late. Bobby said later he was kidding, but the fact remains...

Yankee manager Joe Girardi took on reporter Joel Sherman after last night's game because Sherman kept asking if Sabathia was still injured. Sherman said he "...just couldn't hear," but it was the third time that Joe was asked that question. After the news conference, he called Sherman into his office and closed the door. A lot of screaming and yelling was heard and the security guards rushed in and separated the two.

In Cleveland, closer Chris Perez, who has taken on the fans and his own teammates, has now fired some shots at the owners and the GM because of their "...unwillingness to put a winning team on the field." Chris feels that management won't give the GM a substantial amount of money to acquire good players and the money they do give to the Gm doesn't do any good because he signs players who are ineffective. I understand Perez plans to comment on the quality of the hot dogs sold in the concession stands followed by a condemnation of the parking lot striping. 

The Angels have won five in a row and nine of their last ten, but they're still in third place in the AL East, 7 games out of first and  2 games off the pace for the wild card.
The Boston Red Sox have lost 3 in a row and nine of their last ten, not that it matters because they're in last place 15 1/2 games out and heading for a losing season.  Boo-hoo.

Congratulations to Vod & his lovely wife. Their youngest was married yesterday in a beautiful ceremony in Syracuse, NY. Congratulations also to the newlyweds, Dr. Christian Turner and Christine Fisher Turner.

" Sri Lankan police used an X-ray to prove a suspect ate a 1.5-carat stone at a gem exhibit. Speaking of diamonds, the Yankees blew a 10-game AL East lead. Now that's hard to swallow"  -- RJ Currie
"The newest addition to Time Warner's cable offerings is Australian-rules football, if you've never seen it, is a cross between rugby and second-degree manslaughter."   -- Argus Hamilton
"ESPN mainstay Chris Berman has signed a multiyear contract extension, the cable giant announced. In terms of exact years, though, it wasn't announced how many back-back-backs it is." 
-- Dwight Perry
"Baltimore and New York are now tied for first place in the AL East. Undaunted, the Yankees are reportedly making plans to buy the Orioles."  -- Janice Hough
 "For Saturday’s game against Florida State, Savannah State was a record 70½-point underdog. Against Oklahoma State, Savannah State was a 67½-point underdog. I’m not sure what Savannah State’s problem is this year, but we can rule out overconfidence. Savannah State was paid $385,000 to play at Oklahoma State and get beat 84-0. After the game, the team spent $386,000 on gauze bandages."  -- Brad Dickson
"UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa nearly went to Nebraska. You know what you call people who are happy that Odighizuwa did not go to Nebraska? “Copy editors.”  -- Brad Dickson
"Tiger Woods is the first golfer to make $100M on the golf tour. Tiger is also famous for carrying little or no cash. That’s because his earnings go ‘direct deposit’ into The Swedish Bank of Nordegren branch in Florida."  -- Tony Chong
"New Nike LeBron James shoes cost $300 and come with a built-in IQ test. If you paid $300 for these shoes, you failed."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"There have been an estimated 500,000 errors made in major league baseball since 1876. Not included were the Boston Red Sox trading Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for cash, Cubs fan Steve Bartman interfering with a play in 2003 or the Red Sox hiring Bobby Valentine."  -- Cam Hutchinson


Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Sabathia is pitching okay, but he's not overpowering anybody. He's giving up hits at crucial times and that's not what an "ace" is supposed to do. The biggest problem is that age and injuries seem to be catching up to the Yanks. A-Rod comes back, but Teixeira and Granderson are out and maybe Cano. These kind of injuries were no problem a month ago when Ibanez and Jones were playing like they did in their prime. They aren't any more. They have been able to succeed with Martin hitting under .200, but  that is no longer something they can live with.
Most of the recaps of last night's game report that A-Rod went 1-4. He did not! Oh, the Rays were kind enough to let one roller slip thru the infield, but he never hit a ball hard all night.
The 10-game lead is gone, and with it, maybe the season.

" Here’s a question for Nationals GM Mike Rizzo: How would things have worked out for the ’86 Mets if they had shut Dwight Gooden down, waiting for the half-dozen championships he would lead them to in later years? Maybe the Nats really are on the brink of a dynasty run. Or maybe they will be the latest to learn a hard lesson: Sometimes you only get one crack at it."  -- Phil Mushnick

There's nothing funny about the Yankees right now. Maybe other people can find some humor.
"The Los Angeles Yankees, er, Dodgers lost 10-0 today in Josh Beckett's debut. And around Boston, the hills are alive, with the sounds of giggles."  -- Janice Hough
"ESPN gets new MLB contract to show even more Yankee and Red Sox games."  -- FARK.Com
"Dateline Seattle: Pete Carroll trades QB Tarvaris Jackson to Bills, but insists Jackson still in running to be Seahawks' starter."  -- Dwight Perry
"During a charity game in China, Kobe Bryant scored 68 points in 15 minutes after his teammates repeatedly fed him the ball. Kobe said he's looking forward to returning to the U.S. sometime in late 2027."  -- Brad Dickson
" Lance Armstrong has been banned from racing. Officials suspected he’d been juicing after his third place finish in a recent event. The Daytona 500."  -- Alan Ray
"The Jets didn't score a touchdown in their first three exhibition games, but the news wasn't all bad. They've just been declared the official team of Major League Soccer."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Cowboys have ordained that Dez Bryant must follow some off-field rules, including not going to a strip club, while he is on the team. Let's hope this doesn't throw the Dallas area exotic dancing business into a recession."  -- Janice Hough


Sunday, September 02, 2012


Computer problems have kept me from posting anything for a couple of days. Thanks to our computer-genius son, I'm ready to roll again. And Matt gave us a great discount - but only because his mother hugged him.

The whole game came down to one position - shortstop. The Yankee shortstop, Derek Jeter, calmly waited out a walk after being down in the count 0-2 with the bases loaded and two outs, driving in the tying run. When Nick Swisher then hit a hard one-hopper right at the Oriole shortstop, he didn't make the play and that, as they say, was that.

One scary moment occurred when Granderson had to leave the game with a tight hamstring. that would leave the Yankees without their nos 3-4-5 hitters, but the injury is reportedly not severe and Grandy may be in the lineup on Sunday.

Eduardo Nunez, just returned from the minors today, got a big hit, bringing the Yanks to within one run. The kid could always hit, his problems are in the field. After the game, Nunez was awarded the game ball - which he promptly dropped.

We all know that Joe Girardi likes to "mix-n-match" his pitchers in the late innings, but with the increase in the rosters, he's now doing it with the fielders. consider these moves:
Nick Swisher - 1B to RF back to 1B
Andruw Jones - RF to LF  back to RF
Ichiro Suzuki - LF to CF
Steve Pearce appeared briefly at 1B
Somebody else may have been in the game, but nobody was too sure. The home plate umpire was seen ripping up his lineup card in disgust in the eighth inning. 

 The Cardinals beat the Washington Nats 10-9, in game that had 19 runs, 24 hits and 35 players, 11 of whom were pitchers. Joe Girardi would have been proud.

Friday night, the Oakland A's clobbered the Red Sox 20-2. The Sox used 7 pitchers and the A's scored against 6 of them.

Tampa Bay beat Toronto 5-4 today, when BJ Upton threw out a runner with two outs in the ninth that would have tied the score. In the highlights of the game, ESPN showed the three home runs that were hit but never even mentioned the game-saving throw. Whoever edits these highlights has no clue.

Can't-Be Dept.: Felix Hernandez lost 5-2 today. That's his first loss in over 11 weeks.
Down in Houston,  the Astro's defeated Cincinnati 2-1.  It was their 41st victory against 92 losses).
The Dodgers have lost 7 of their last 10 games. I guess they're still missing a few pieces. I repeat, Alex Rodriguez is available.

The USA Women's Olympic soccer team played an exhibition game against the Costa Rican  National team last night. The USA team featured home-grown star, Abby Wambach, and she didn't disappoint. Abby scored 2 goals in an 8-0 drubbing of the visiting team.  "There's nothing quite like the scream, the pitch and the volume that goes on in your hometown when you get one in the net," she said. The sellout crowd of over 13,000 agreed. 

Correction: I mentioned on Thursday that Melky Cabrera was ineligible to win the batting title, I'd forgotten an addendum to the rule whereby they can arbitrarily add the number of at-bats to make him eligible. This would lower Melky's average from .3464 to .3457. Thanks to Dwight Perry for reminding me.

" Andy Roddick, 30, surprised everyone by announcing he will retire after the U.S. Open. This means spending more time with Brooklyn Decker. What took him so long? -- RJ Currie
"Ex-Notre Dame football player Allen Pinkett said the team needs a few more "criminals" on the roster:  I'm guessing Pinkett wants to change the name of 'Touchdown Jesus' to 'Hands Up, Jesus.'"  -- Mike Bianchi
"Those of you had R.A. Dickey, Johnny Cueto and Gio Gonzalez being tied for the major-league lead in pitching wins entering the season's final month, please step forward and claim your prize."  -- Dwight Perry
" 84 year-old Vin Scully, the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the past 63 years, has signed up for 2013. “That said, the Dodgers have listed him as day-to-day.”  -- TC Chong
"Not saying that #21 Stanford looked underwhelming in beating San Jose State 20-17.  But the chair looked better against Clint Eastwood."  -- Janice Hough
"It's been called the biggest baseball trade since Babe Ruth went to the Yankees. The surprise is that the Dodgers didn't get the Bambino in the deal. Sure, he's been dead for 64 years. As far as we can tell, so has Carl Crawford. And the Dodgers will pay him $102.5 million for imitating a corpse."  -- David Whitley,
"We're hours away from the first Husker football game of 2012. Look for some changes this year, the biggest being that due to severe Lincoln, NE, water restrictions, the traditional postgame shower will be replaced by a sponge bath."  -- Brad Dickson
"I read an article about a man in Kansas whose glass eye bears the logo of the Kansas City Chiefs. The article goes on to describe him as a devout Chiefs fan. You know, when I read the words “glass eye" and "Chiefs logo,” I sort of guessed that."  -- Brad Dickson