Tuesday, May 27, 2014


** The Chicago White Sox have hired Manny Ramirez as player/coach of their Triple A team. Sox GM Theo Epstein says it's not "a PR move."  I'm not sure what it is, but I'm fairly certain Manny won't be schooling the team on ethics or drug prevention. Maybe it's maternity procedures.

** The Rays and the Red Sox had a little dust up Sunday, when Tampa shortstop Yunel Escobar took third base on fielders indifference with  the Rays leading 8-3. The Red Sox didn't like that and starting jawing at Escobar, who had a few things to say himself. The Red Sox  thought taking third was insulting with a 5-run lead. Stop it! You don't want him to go to third, then try to prevent it. Besides, who said a 5-run lead was insurmountable?  Maybe they feel that with a 10 game losing streak, people should have sympathy for them. I don't.

** Jeter got another big gift on his farewell tour, this time a Yankee bench made out of bats and balls. He got a 6-foot plaque resembling a subway stop from the Mets. Where in the world is he going to put all these things when the season is over? At least the charity donation checks are easy to carry.

** Yankee farm hand Mike Ford hit 4 home runs  in a game while playing for the Charleston River Dogs, the Yankee single A team. Sounds like a week's worth of homers for the parent club. Better make room on the 40-man roster, Cashman.

** The Yanks beat St. Louis 6-4 tonight to extend their winning streak to 3 games. Okay, it isn't THAT many games in a row, but I'll bet the Red Sox would take it. Why is it that the Yankee rallies always seem to involve walks, stolen bases and sacrifice flys?

** Dodger catcher AJ Ellis sprained his ankle celebrating Josh Beckett's no-hitter. To be fair, they don't get to practice celebrating ho-hitters too much. But, congratulations to Beckett on his pitching gem (and also my sister-in-law Pauline).

** Listening to Ken Singleton telling stories about Bob Gibson reminded me of one I heard. I don't know if it's true or not, but this is the way Tim McCarver tells it. The first time Gibson faced a rookie with a big reputation, he knocked him down twice. Whereupon, McCarver told the rookie, "Might as well let him hit you, because he's going to keep throwing at you until he does."

Happy Memorial Day to all, including those troops who have served us so well, especially those who paid the ultimate price. We thank you all for your sacrifice.

"Congrats to the Dodgers Josh Beckett for the first no-hitter of 2014. Beer and fried chicken in the clubhouse on him?"  -- Janice Hough
"General Motors recalled more than 13 nillion vehicles this year. It's the worst performance by a GM in Detroit since Matt Millen."  -- Ian Hamilton
"The Mets have fired their hitting coach, Dave Hudgens. We had a hitting coach? asked every member of the team."  -- Marc Ragovin
"Studies show that women love men in uniform - unless it's a Mets uniform."  -- David Letterman
"The Dodgers released Miguel Olivio after the veteran catcher bit off part of a minor-league teammates ear during a dugout dust-up. There went his endorsement chances with Big League Chew."  -- Dwight Perry
"At the NBA combine, Doug McDermott measured 6-foot-6¼ without shoes after being listed at 6-8. Apparently at Creighton, McDermott was measured by the same guy who estimates crowd size at Bluejay baseball games.'  -- Brad Dickson
"Rory McIlroy opened with a 68 at Wentworth, his first round of golf since breaking off his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki. It's nice he had a hot hand to go with his cold feet."  -- RJ Currie
"Women attending a San Antonio Spurs playoff game woreBarkley Dont KnowT-shirts, and the Texas Rangers misspelledArlingtonon their Prince Fielder bobbleheads. This was perhaps the worst week ever for Texas English teachers."  -- Brad Dickson
"Miguel Olivo is accused of biting off part of teammate Alex Guerrero's ear in a dugout altercation. Guerrero had to have surgery as a result and when asked to comment by reporters he said “What?, What?”  -- TC Chong


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


** During his farewell tour, Derek Jeter has gotten some interesting gifts from teams when the Yanks play there. Last night, the Cubs gave Jeter the #2 from their scoreboard. Not mounted on a plaque, no donation check for Jeter's charity. Just the number. Can you imagine that conversation? "Hey, we were supposed to be honoring Jeter tonight." "Oh yeah, what have got for him?" "Me? I got nothing." "Well, run out to the scoreboard and get a number 2" "Good thinking, boss."
Perhaps it's one last dig by Theo Epstein?

** Is there any hitter that's hotter than Troy Tulowitzky? He's hitting .389 with 13 homers & 35 RBIs. Those are triple crown numbers. Forget about any trade. He signed with the Rockies thru 2020 at $20 million per year.

** I really think Ichiro Suzuki could get out of bed at midnight on New Year"s Eve and slap a single into left. He's hitting .367 in 60 at bats. The limited at bats may be part of the reason he's doing so well. Girardi is doing a good job of keeping his legs fresh.

** The Red Sox are still struggling. They just signed Stephen Drew for the rest of the year, but he won't make that much of a difference. The Sox redid their roster last year, using more role players than all-stars. Did it work or was it that everything just went right? It's now looking like it was a one-shot deal. Do I sound concerned?

** Cleveland beat Detroit in the 13th inning today when Tiger pitcher Al Alburquerque balked with the bases loaded and two outs. Strangely, the balk was called by umpire 'Balkin' Bob Davidson all the way from Boston, where he's sitting out a one game suspension for what has been called "improper situation handling." I don't know what that means, but the words Davidson and improper sure belong together.

** This is typical Girardi. If the Yanks bring in a pitcher and his first outing is a good one, count on this guy showing up in every game, regardless of how well he does. Right now, Alfredo Aceves is that guy. Trouble is, you don't know what you're gonna get. I'm officially changing his name to "Afraid-a" Aceves.

***THEY SAID It***
"New York Mets pitchers began the season by going a record 0 for 46 at the plate. Don't be surprised if the Mets PR. team starts touting "our record-setting season."  -- Brad Dickson
"Michael Pineda has been caught doctoring the ball during rehab long-toss session."  -- SportsPickle.com 
"California Chrome will make a run at the Triple Crown after Belmont Park officials lift their ban on nasal strips. Rival horses were ecstatic - if this means an end to his incessant snoring around the barn at night."  -- Dwight Perry
"Russia's president played in a celebrity hockey game in Sochi. He recorded a Vladimir Putin hat-trick, with six goals, five assists and three foreign invasions."  -- RJ Currie
"Kobe Bryant has asked for "input" into who the Lakers hire as head coach. And by "input" I mean Kobe said he'd call the owners after he'd made his decision."  -- Brad Dickson
"The NFL has awarded the 2018 Super Bowl toMinneapolis. For all those who thought spending the first week in February in New York wasnt cold enough."  -- Janice Hough


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


You know how you will hear a catchy tune, from time to time, and it will stick with you for a day or two? For the last couple of days Ive caught myself humming or whistlingOld Man Riverand its been driving everyone nuts. In the shower, on the golf course, down at the diner, its beenOld Man River”.

My wife, children, and golf partners have told me if they hear one more note ofOld Man Rivertheyll send me up the river.

Today, “Old Man Riverbecame crystal clear. May 21st is Chads birthday, and not just any birthday. Our esteemed leader is celebrating his 70th, and if thats not old, man, what is?

While 70 is absolutely not the new 50, do not fear for Chad. He can still out drink, out eat and out think a man twice his age.

To my dear friend, wingman and co-pilot from decades ago, terrific husband and father and all around good guy, I wish Chad Picasner a happy birthday, good health and many more entertaining years with Annie!

Damn. Now Ill be quietly singingFor Hes A Jolly Good Fellowfor weeks.


Sunday, May 18, 2014


I couldn't believe this. The Yankees are playing a double header this afternoon and you only have to pay once to see both games. I wondered why the Yanks would do this and lose all the money from a game when they usually go out of their way to maximize their income. Then I read the small print: You have to buy another ticket before they'll let you out. Oh, and concession prices are being increased for today only...but only by 30%. So now, a 12 oz. beer will only cost $12.75. Even Warren Buffet is saying, "Geez, that's a lot."                  (Just kiddin')

"Not only have the defensive shifts affected offenses and gotten in the minds of hitters, but many evaluators believe they are hurting the reliability of some defensive metrics that have been developed in recent seasons. Some execs say that a lot of the metrics being used right now are so far askew from the eye test that they are beginning to question the credibility of the numbers."  -- Buster Olney
I don't know why cybermetric nuts should be upset.  Those so-called defensive metrics weren't worth anything is the first place. If a team had a improper scouting report, fielders might have been placed wrong which would screw up all those statistics anyway.

Speaking of 'eye tests,' it doesn't take long to realize that not only has Derek Jeter lost a step in the field, a step he couldn't afford to lose, but his reflexes are not what they used to be and his arm isn't as strong. He's only hitting .263 right now, which isn't enough to justify keeping in the field for the whole game. Girardi's not stupid and he's also kind of cold-blooded. We may see him begin to replace Jeter in the field by the 7th inning if the Yanks have a lead. Everybody keeps saying that you can't sell Jeter short, but once you lose your reflexes, they don't come back. Let's hope he doesn't embarrass himself or the Yanks for the rest of the year.

Brian McCann is some kind of competitor. He's constantly trying to beat the extreme shifts that teams are using against him. Yesterday, he even tried to bunt. If a player is hot, like Teixeira is right now, I can see taking your chances against the shift, but if you're only hitting .215, go the other way and take the freebie.

Are they that strong or are they that weak? With the season better than 25% gone, the Tampa Bay Rays have a .432 winning percentage, and yet they are only 41/2 games out of first. If you told the Red Sox Nation that Boston would be two games under .500 at this point in the season, would they be panicking? No one has gone on any kind of winning streak so they're all bunched together with all five teams still in the middle of a dog fight. Unfortunately, none of the dogs seem to have much fight.Instead of being the Big Beast, they're just the Big Least.

California Chrome is now 2/3rds of the way to the Triple Crown. This probably won't make any new permanent fans of horse racing but it will increase the betting totals for the Belmont Stakes. 

Tell your statistics to shut up!  (Charlie Brown)
The Colorado Rockies lead the majors in runs scored, averaging 5.5 runs per game (241 runs) and are in 2nd place in the NL West. The Atlanta Braves have scored the fewest, 3.0 rpg (122 runs) and lead the NL East. (Must be the defensive metrics)

"Cleveland wideout Josh Gordon is facing a season-long suspension after testing positive for marijuana, ESPN reported. NFL officials suspected something was amiss when he kept referring to his team as "the Brownies."  -- Dwight Perry
"Angels star Mike Trout eats 6 hamburgers at one sitting. After signing a $144 million contract, shouldn't he be able to afford steak?"  -- Bob Molinaro
"The Nets Kevin Garnett - who turns 38 on Monday - came down with a sore leg. I don't think it's a stiff muscle. Based on his age and the state of his career, it might be the onset of rigor mortis."  -- Greg Cote
"The Cubs became the third team in MLB history to amass 10,000 losses. The poor Cubs. They can't even win a losing contest."  -- Jimmy Fallon
"Putt-Putt Golf will celebrate its 60th anniversary this summer. Just to show it's keeping up with the times, the clown's mouth on the 18th hole will be Donald Sterling's."  -- Dwight Perry
"OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant drew praise for the humbleness of his MVP speech. "Bull," said Michael Jordan, "I'm six times more humble than he is."  -- RJ Currie
"The Giants placed pitcher Matt Cain on the DL after he sliced his middle finger making a sandwich. There are two groups that can’t perform with injured middle fingers: pitchers and Phillies fans."  -- Brad Dickson
"The NBA is having one of its most exiting playoff seasons ever. In fact two out of 10 Americans say they watched the NBA instead of the seventh round of the NFL draft."  -- RJ Currie
"There's a big U.S. promotional pitch for cricket, a sport so obscure that Kevin Costner has yet to make a movie about it"  -- Brad Dickson
"55-year old Julio Franco has signed with the Fort Worth Cats of the Independent League. At his age it should be the Independent Living League."  -- Marc Ragovin
"Tara the cat, the internet sensation who saved a little boy from a dog attack, will now throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Bakersfield Blaze minor league baseball game. Hey, don’t laugh. The cat probably has a better chance of throwing a decent pitch than the Mets bullpen."  -- Janice Hough
"Johnny Manziel was drafted #22 by the Cleveland Browns. In Dog Pound years, that's like #154."  -- TC Chong


Friday, May 09, 2014


If the legend is true, Knute Rockne got the idea for his famous shift from watching a female dance troupe performing on a stage. He adapted it to his football ream, having his four setbacks shift from a T-formation to a box formation, confusing opposing teams for a few years.

I don't know who the Yankees set up their defensive shifts after, but I think they better find a new dance troupe. Shifts can work, but you can't be so locked in that you end up hurting the team. As I see it, there are three problems.

1) When you shift because a hitter has a huge tendency to pull the ball, why do the pitchers continue to pitch them away, inviting them to hit to the opposite field. For left-handed hitters, a shift invites them to bunt or slap the ball the other way. Teams say they will give up the single to prevent the extra-base hit. How does letting a hitter go 4 for 4 help your team?

2) When they shift to the left field side for a right-handed hitter, again a bunt is a certain base hit, even if the bunt goes to the first-baseman. Neither he or the pitcher will have anyone to throw to once they pick it up.

3) With men on base, if there is a double play grounder hit, you have infielders throwing to guys coming to second from an unusual angle, which is tough on the fielder trying to catch the ball, too.

Why do the shifts have to be so extreme? Sure, they get to balls they normally wouldn't, but they also give hits that they normally wouldn't. Seems like a wash to me. Pitchers don't appear to like them, infielders aren't too crazy about them, so who does like them?

Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies 23-year old third-baseman, has hit in 28 straight games. He's hitting .322 with 6 home runs. He doesn't strike out much or walk much, which means he puts the ball in play and balls-in-play means hits. It appears he has a good chance to reach Joe DiMaggio's record, but remember, he's only half way there.

Some talk going around to change the bases in baseball. The current ones are so stationary, they might as well be sunk in cement. They are also hard and slippery. They is a type of base available called the Rogers Breakaway base that was tested and proved to eliminate a whopping 98% of injuries caused by a standard base. It's easier to breakaway and is easily replaced. MLB has known about this type of base for 40 years. That's no typo - 40 years! Why isn't it in use? Well, the powers that be...they think that...The problem? I have no idea and neither do they. MLB won't even talk about it. They're not sitting on their hands, though. They have come up with one improvement. They are now selling advertising space on the top of the base.

"California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby. Even more good news for the champion horse. He just had a shoe contract nailed down." -- Alan Ray
"The Bowling Proprietors Association of America has canceled the sport's 2015 U.S. Open, citing a lack of interest from sponsors. Apparently no one had money to spare." -- Dwight Perry
"The University of Utah says it will tweak the lyrics in the school fight song. In fact, when done, it will be more of a mild disagreement song." -- Tim Hunter
"Donald Trump wants to buy the Buffalo Bills and keep the team in Buffalo. That's the good news, Buffalo. The bad news: He'll be changing the team's name to the Trump Titans." -- Brad Dickson
" A Cincinnati Reds fan snagged a line drive barehanded while cradling an infant in his other arm. He got a 20-second ovation from the crowd and a $20-million trial offer from the Yankees."-- RJ Currie
" In the Single A Midwest League, the Burlington Bees were leading the Clinton LumberKings after five innings. Clinton won 20-17 in 12. On a brighter note assume some of those Burlington relievers have already been offered jobs in the Mets bullpen."  -- Janice Hough

"NBA analyst Charles Barkley is in hot water for sayingTheres some big olwomen in San Antonio and its a gold mine for Weight Watchers”. Of course this comes from someone nicknamedThe Round Mound”.-- TC Chong
"Warriors owner Joe Lacob said Mark Jackson - fired as the team's coach despite a 51-31 record this season - "probably could do a little better job of managing up and sideways." Coincidence? Jackson's reaction to that comment probably included the words "up" and "sideways," too." -- Dwight Perry
"Miami Marlins pitcher Brad Hand enters games to Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball." Isn't attendance at Marlins games bad enough without this?" -- Brad Dickson