Sunday, May 31, 2015


Obviously, baseball is a game dominated by statistics, mostly from an historical view point. In theory, you could  study a box score and pretty much figure out how the game went. There are, however, variables which can only be appreciated by actually watching the game. The numbers will tell you that a center fielder made 6 putouts in a game, but they won't tell you if the man ran down some long drives or he had 6 easy pop ups - "a can of corn" in the Phil Rizzuto vernacular.
But stat-heads aren't satisfied with that, they want to measure everything and come up with statistics that sound like what two drunks arguing in a bar would make up.
The unusual stat
 Mike is hitting .500 against left-handers after the 5th inning in day games, on the road within two weeks after his wife had a baby and his manager has a hangnail.  Now really, how often do you think that situation comes up? Mike's career could be over before those circumstances appear together again. I actually heard an announcer say, "This happens all the time...except when it doesn't." Sounds like Yogi Berra, doesn't it?
The misdirection stat
So-and-so has a history of getting a ground ball in this situation. If he's been around long enough, sure he does. He probably also has a history of three-run homers in the same situation.
The team is  hitting .330 with men in scoring position. Now this sounds like the team scores a run once out of every three times there is a runner in scoring position. Not necessarily so. Three times in the last week, twice in one game, I saw a batter hit a single into the outfield, but the runner on second didn't score.Does that mess up your statistic? Of course it does, but announcers go right on using it without any clarifications.
Can we get rid of the 'Hold?'
I can't figure out how you even earn one. If you come into the game with your team ahead, and you leave the game with your team ahead, is that a Hold? Can you give up runs and still get a Hold? Do you have to pitch a full inning? Is there such a thing as a 'Blown Hold?"  Lord, I hope not.

Try this sometime: Turn on the game and mute the sound for all nine innings. You will accomplish two things: You will discover and enjoy the game of baseball and you will put some analysts out of a job.

** Bryce Harper, Who is leading the Major Leagues in homers and arguments at home plate, is considering sitting out the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game. Will someone please tell him there are no umpires for that event?
** I used to think that the IOC (Olympics) was the most corrupt sports organization ever, followed by the NCAA (American Collegiate sports). Unfortunately, they are in there with the champs. FIFA (soccer) is showing both organizations just what real corruption is.

"Jack Nicklaus donated the 3-wood he used to win all 18 of his major golf titles to the USGA Museum. No word on whether Elin Nordegren plans to hand over her 9-iron."  -- Dwight Perry
" ESPN’s Skip Bayless once said LeBron James was the most overrated player in the NBA. Ohioans call that the King James libel"  -- RJ Currie
"RIP Lennie Merullo. He was the last living player who played for the Cubs in a World Series. And most Americans are thinking “How’d he make it to 130?"  -- Janice Hough
"Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price was ejected after arguing with umpires while exchanging lineup cards at home plate before a game even started. Somewhere, Billy Martin is smiling."  -- Brad Dickson
" The NBA finals are set. Why do we have to wait until next Thursday before they start? Does it take them a whole week to get the balls inflated to the proper PSI?"  -- TC Chong
"This is the most amazing part about the FIFA scandal: “Do you know how hard it is to take $150 million in bribes without using your hands?”  -- Jerry Perisho
"Slick-fielding Yankees third baseman Chase Headley, who committed nine errors all last season, already has 10 this year. Turns out he’d been giving his Gold Glove a try."  -- Dwight Perry
"Disneyland is celebrating its 60th anniversary. As part of a promotion, next season LeBron James will attempt to make the NBA Finals playing with the seven dwarfs."  -- Brad Dickson
"Rehabbing Marlins ace Jose Fernandez faced live batters in practice for the first time since his surgery, and also became a United States citizen. Fernandez is proof that in America anything is possible, particularly if you can throw 97 mph."  -- Greg Cote
"For all the talk from the Yankees TV booth, funny what creates quiet. Tuesday, on Ch. 11, Michael Kay asked David Cone and Paul O’Neill to name the two players who finished a season with more HRs than singles. After Kay gave the answer, “Mark McGwire, twice, Barry Bonds, once,” silence."  -- Phil Mushnick


Thursday, May 28, 2015


I've picked on everyone else, let's take on the official scorers.

Some recently invented statistics.
1)  The Save
They've had this one for a while and there is some validity to it. What I find difficult to deal with is managers organizing the game to allow certain pitchers to accrue this stat. They call these certain pitchers, Closers. What they do is finish the game, preserving the win for his team. Okay, I buy that, but the managers only use them when they can garner this statistic for their own personal records. If a team has a five run lead, for example, you won't see this "closer" in the game. Plus, the closer is only asked to pitch ONE inning, 90% of the time. If your starting pitcher is completely overpowering the opposing team, most managers will take him out and have their closer pitch the ninth inning, even if the starter has only thrown 85 pitches thru 8 innings. Why? Oh, managers will hand you a line of bull like, "I have the gun, why not use it?" or, "I wanted to keep the starter fresh for his next start."  It's all bull.
Two games in a row now, Girardi has pulled a starter who was cruising in the middle of the 7th inning, finishing the inning with one of his set-up guys and then brought in his two big cannons for the 8th & 9th. Both of those starters could have probably pitched a complete game.

2)  Defensive indifference.
This is where the team in the field doesn't hold a runner on at first late in a game where that run won't make any difference. Naturally, the runner takes second but does not get credit for a stolen base. He should. The defending team is spread out a little more to try and prevent a hit even if it puts a runner in scoring position. The team in the field is supposed to try and prevent the hitting team from having any success. If they ignore the runner then there should be some kind of cost to that. That way, they'd have a stolen base charged against them. Baseball is a game dominated by statistics. This "Indifference" rule contaminates those numbers. Doesn't that seem wrong on any level?
There is a story that Thurman Munson manipulated an assist statistic just to further his own cause.  Informed that he trailed his biggest rival, Boston catcher Carlton Fisk, by four assists for the season, Thurman found a way to pad his total. Whenever a pitcher struck a batter out, Munson would intentionally drop the ball and then throw the man out at first. The first baseman got credited with an out, the pitcher got a strikeout and Thurman got his precious assist. After five or six of these "assists," Munson had his lead. What do you call that? Defensive Intention?

3)  The accidental assist.
A batter hits the ball up the middle and the pitcher tics it with his glove. The second baseman catcher the grounder and throws the runner out at first. Both the second baseman AND the pitcher get and assist. Silly. There are times when the pitcher actually needed to slow the ball down for a fielder to make a play, but not always. It doesn't matter, the assist to the pitcher is automatically given. Leave it up to the official scorer to determine if the pitcher should be credited with an assist or not.

4) Is it as hit or an error?
I am constantly amazed at how many times a scorer gives a batter a hit when it seems obvious to me that an error should be charged. I don't care if a ball was "well hit," these are major leaguers. There are only 750 of them on a major league roster out of some 10,000 professional players in the US. They're in the majors because they CAN catch those balls.
I also object to scorers calling pitches 'wild pitches' when they should be passed balls.  In my mind, a wild pitch is one a catcher can't stop or block. Just because it hit the dirt doesn't automatically make it a wild pitch.

Maybe someone my age shouldn't be watching these games. Instead of Chad Picasner, they ought to call me Chad The-Old-Timer.  (For the record, The Sports Curmudgeon was already taken)

The good news.
Guess who is in last place in the AL East? That's right, Boston. Writers may finally be re-evaluating  their opinion of the Red Sox. This came from Ron Borges of the Boston Herald:
"Fortunately for the Sox, the AL East is like a landfill in August when the wind’s blowing just right: It stinks. The good news is that gives the Sox a chance. The bad news is it gives their management an illusion that, “Hey, things aren’t so bad. We’re only four behind the Yankees. So being four out in the AL East is not a sign of life. That’s a delusion shared only by team management and Sox diehards still willing to pay the highest ticket prices in baseball to watch low comedy."

Joe Girardi says that Masahiro Tanaka's next start could be "...anywhere." Let's hope that it isn't Mt. Sinai Hospital.
Buster Olney says that Jeff Loria, owner of the Miami Marlins, should hire Alex Rodriguez as his next manager. All in favor...
For the next three days, the Yankees, champions of the extended ball game, will begin a game on one day and finish the next. They're in Oakland with a 10:05 P.M. start, EDT.

"SNY’s Gary Cohen, during Mets-Bucs on Sunday, noted Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano has won Comeback Player of the Year — “twice.” Is that anything like having your appendix put back?"  -- Phil Mushnick
"According to a article, alcohol consumption has been shown to improve the aim of archers. In a related story, Johnny Manziel just bought a bow and arrow."  -- RJ Currie
"Tom Brady and Barry Bonds attended the same California high school. I believe the school's known as The Fighting Asterisks."  -- Brad Dickson
"Breaking news. Swiss Police confirm that, when arrested, all seven FIFA officials threw themselves on the ground and pretended to be injured."  -- Ryan Duca
"Apparently tickets were available for game four of the NBA Eastern Conference finals at a reasonable price since Cleveland fans didn’t seem that interested in showing up. Neither apparently did the Atlanta Hawks."  -- Janice Hough
"Marlins GM Dan Jennings — 2-6 since replacing fired manager Mike Redmond in the Miami dugout — last coached a high-school team in the 1980s. It hasn’t gone unnoticed: Three parents have already called up to complain about their sons’ lack of playing time."  -- Dwight Perry


Wednesday, May 27, 2015


The AL East is generally considered to be the weakest division in baseball. It's possible, of course, but it's also possible that there is another reason for their poor records. They beat each other up which keeps their won-loss records near the .500 level.
There is one thing I don't understand: why do the so-called experts keep saying that Boston, currently at the bottom of the division, is still the favorite to win the division because, "...they have the fewest flaws." Really? They are the worst hitting team overall in the division. Their pitching staff is the worst, but their fielding is okay. Perennially a slow team, only the White Sox have stolen fewer bases. What are all these evaluators seeing that I'm missing?  These are the same people that say the Yankees lead the division but only because everybody is so bad.  We'll visit this situation again at the All-Star break.

NY has now won two in a row and is starting to look like the Yanks of the early part of the season. Along time ago, I read this little gem in the Sporting News: "You're never as good as you look when you're winning and you're never as bad as you look when you're losing." 
At the beginning of the season, writers were questioning the ability of the old Yankees to perform close to their career records. They have done that with the exception of  Carlos Beltran, and even he's starting to hit now. There were concerns about the health of their pitching staff, but the replacements are performing okay. The back of the bullpen is outstanding, of course, especially Dellin Bettances. What is confusing is the fact that the Yank's gold-glove third baseman, Chase Headly, has already made 10 errors this year when he only had 9 all last year. Maybe he's using the glove on the wrong hand.

David Cone has found a new stat that he obsesses over: the game scores for pitchers. It's a very detailed score based on a number of  achievements such as number of innings, number hits allowed, etc. It's an interesting number but I wouldn't start basing the quality of a pitcher's game based solely on that number. Like all these cyber-metrics, they start with certain assumptions, which if changed even a little, can skew the numbers in a whole different direction.  But it makes David happy.

It the Yankee's pitching staff falls apart this year, I have to blame Girardi. He over uses Bettances and Miller, bringing them into games where the Yanks are only a run or two behind. I understand using them last night because they needed the work, but other times, its like Girardi panics and tries to keep the game close. If he can't trust the other relievers, he should get rid of them and bring in others.
He doesn't trust all his starters either. Why did he take Adam Warren out last night with one out in the 7th? I never heard a good explanation for that. When Sparky Anderson managed the Detroit Tigers, he had the nickname "Captain Hook," because he was so quick to pull his starters. I think Girardi is trying for the nickname "Major Hook."

Okay, riddle me this.
We've had two pitchers suspended this week for using stick-um on their hands, supposedly to get a better grip on the baseball. This is illegal (according to those pesky rules), but instead of  being outraged at this gross ignorance of the rules. everybody is being sympathetic. Pitchers claim that without this help, the ball is too slick to control and somebody might get hurt. So everybody is pushing for a rule change to have MLB come up with some agreed upon substance that would be legal.  Why is this? Did the balls suddenly become slicker?  Along with better control, apparently it gives pitchers a better grip and make their breaking pitches better. Isn't that why they had the rule in the first place? It's doctoring the ball, pure and simple. Just like Joe least the simple part.

You have to wonder if this guy is paying attention.
This morning, one of the two ESPN anchors was narrating the recap of a game and came up with this doozy: "He came with the score the same...whatever that is...and promptly singled to left." If you're recapping the game for your audience, you should probably try to remember the score. But I'm just a crotchety old man.

"Good news and bad for BC Lions owner David Brayley. The good news is a Toronto consortium bought his Argonauts. The bad news is he had to take Justin Bieber."  -- RJ Currie

" Under terms of his contract, Jameis Winston is not allowed to play baseball. I’m trying to confirm the Cleveland Browns are trying to redo Johnny Manziel’s contract so he’s not allowed to play football."  -- Brad Dickson
" With the most recent arrest of Ray MacDonald, former Gators’ coach Urban Meyer is really solidifying his position as leader of the all-time trouble team."  -- Janice Hough
"Ex-rassler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got his handprints and footprints in cement outside Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. And this is the amazing part: The cement wasn’t even wet."  -- Seth Meyers
"Tiger Woods is leaving Lindsey Vonn on friendly terms, only because he didn’t want to find out how much damage ski poles could do compared to a 9-iron."  -- TC Chong
"At the Geneva Open tennis tournament, a player named Joao Sousa defeated another player named Joao Souza. Everything went well, except for the play-by-play guy tearing out his own hair during the second set."  -- Brad Dickson
"Authorities in Toronto report they’ve discovered another mysterious tunnel. The Blue Jays will try just about anything to get out of the basement."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Marlins have released catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia:. He was a free-agent bust, although he did lead the team last season in longest last name."  -- Greg Cote
"Ex-WWE star The Rock had himself ordained in order to perform the wedding ceremony for a loyal fan. He’s not the first wrestler to pin a guy down."  -- RJ Currie
"Meadowlark Lemon is being sued for alleged unpaid child support by his ex-wife. My favorite part of the trial so far was when Lemon chased the judge around the courtroom with a wastebasket of water that turned out to be confetti."  -- Brad Dickson
"So there was a two hour rain delay in Denver today for the Rockies- Giants game. During which time IT DID NOT RAIN."  -- Janice Hough
 "A giant sinkhole — 80 feet wide and 35 feet deep — opened up near the driving range at Top of the Rock Golf course near Branson, Mo. Alert course officials immediately proclaimed the new hole a par-1."  -- Dwight Perry


Saturday, May 23, 2015


For the last 10 games, the Yanks haven't hit or fielded very well and their pitching, thought to be a real asset before the season, has failed them too. When the pitcher performing the best over that period turns out to be CC Sabathia, well you know the team is hurting. They need a win, a big win, a dominating win. They need their confidence back. They better start now, because Kansas City follows Texas into the stadium and then the Yanks go on another 7-game road trip, this time out to the west coast, which has never been a happy place for NY.
There's no point in asking Girardi what the problem is, he wouldn't give you a straight answer if you asked him what time it is. We know what time it is: it's time for a winning streak.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Bryce Harper may be the most talented player in the game today, but he better put that attitude in a closet some where if he hopes to stay in the ballgame. He had another situation turn bad again last Wednesday against the Yanks. Both teams were unhappy with umpire Marvin Hudson's strike zone. That's nothing unusual.  Harper apparently had more to say than most and that's where the trouble started. Naturally, his manager tried to protect him by taking up the cause, but when Hudson had had enough, off came the mask and warnings were issued. So far, so good. If Harper had gotten back into the box and hit, the whole thing would have died. But no, he had more to say and when the umpire insisted he get back in the box, Harper did a little dance and put his toe on the line and he was gone. Out came the manager who had his say. When he was done, he turned and began walking away only to be booted by Hudson.
The good: Hudson allowed Harper to complain, and put up with a lot from the Washington bench and then gave them a warning. All that was okay. (Marvin Hudson)
The bad: Harper couldn't let it die, he had to try and show up the umpire and not only get himself thrown out, but his manager as well.  (Bryce Harper)
The ugly: Here is where Hudson lost points. He took an awful lot from Nationals manager Matt Williams, but when it appeared to be all over and Williams was returning to the bench, Hudson suddenly blew up and tossed him. Totally unnecessary.   (Marvin Hudson).
It would be interesting to see how MLB handles this.

I'm impressed
Prince Fielder put on quite a show last night, blasting two homers in the 10-9 Washington win, but that's not what impressed me. Twice he ran all out down the first base line on  ground balls, both obvious easy outs. That's the kind of hustle you don't see much of these days. Even Annie-O has remarked how sometimes players don't seem to be running as hard as they can. Certainly not Robinson Cano, when we saw him every day. Every professional player should take a page out of Fielder's book. Way to go, Prince.

What a difference a manager makes
After losing three games in a row and 6 of their last 7, the Miami Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond and hired their General Manager Dan Jenkins as the new manager. Since then the team has lost their last 5 games. ...and they're still in last place.

"Brett Favre said he didn’t think Tom Brady cheated. By the time Brady heard about it, Favre changed his mind."  -- RJ Currie
"You know the world has gone nuts when Putin is playing hockey vs. NHL players and Mitt Romney is boxing Evander Holyfield."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Minnesota Timberwolves reported an 80 percent renewal rate for season tickets despite producing an NBA-worst 16-66 record. Apparently the new abbreviation for St. Paul-Minneapolis is S&M."  -- Dwight Perry
"The latest Deflategate update: Vladimir Putin just gave back Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring, saying if a team can’t play by the rules, it isn’t worth having."  -- Argus Hamilton
"What are the odds of landing a bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr.? “I don’t think that me and him would ever fight, unless we ended up dating."  -- UFC star Ronda Rousey
"The NCAA Pac-12 Conference wants to schedule an annual basketball game in China. Not to be outdone, the Big East has invited U of Taiwan to join their conference. Wasamata U is still open to any invitations."  -- TC Chong
" The Warriors’ Stephen Curry has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for flopping last night against the Rockets. Actually, these fines aren’t for flopping…they’re just for flopping clumsily enough to get caught."  -- Janice Hough
"History will be made when the new span connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, is named in honor of hockey great Gordie Howe. It’s believed to be the first Howe-inspired bridge that wasn’t installed by a dentist."  -- Dwight Perry
"According to a  Fox Sports Report, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul of the L.A. Clippers had a falling out during the season. At one point, Jordan threw a ball at Paul. But then again, it may have been a free-throw attempt."  -- Brad Dickson
"Enough already about the impact of letting air out of balls on Tom Brady’s legacy. He’ll be remembered as one of the all-time greats-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s."  -- RJ Currie


Saturday, May 16, 2015


The Yankees started out the way all the experts predicted - A fragile and too old pitching staff that began to get hurt, a lineup of past-their-prime stars and a good bullpen. When they started winning, it became a good starting staff with an excellent bullpen and an offense rejuvenated. That put them at the top of AL East and, one by one, the experts came around, saying this team could compete for the World Series.
Alas, the pendulum has swung. NY is now the owner of a four-game losing streak and their cushion, once expanding every game, is now gone. Even Boston, media favorite and Picasner doubter, is only 3.5 games out. In fact, last place Baltimore is a mere 4 games back, a one-week winning streak from the top.
After crushing the Yanks last night, the Kansas City Royals will be facing CC Sabathia tonight. I won't say they are unafraid, but I heard most of the Royals didn't leave the stadium after the game for fear that some unforeseen force would prevent them from retuning to fatten up their batting averages against Sabathia. With the injury to Whitley, the Yanks brought up Jose Ramirez from Scranton, who discovered that the difference in quality from triple A to the majors is a bit bigger than the 100 mile trip on the interstate, as shown by an ERA of 36.00.
On the bright-side for the Yankee fans, the Mets have lost 5 in a row and Boston is still 2 games under .500.

I have never understood "Defensive Metrics" as a viable measure of a players ability. Too many variables, too many assumptions and too much of the situation is out of the players control. In these days of extreme defensive shifts, how can you judge how good a shortstop is at fielding his position when he's stationed on the right side of second base? A couple of days ago, Jacoby Ellsbury "stole" third because the third baseman was playing shortstop. So here's a case where a catcher and pitcher have a stolen base charged to them when neither had a chance to prevent it. In the last few days, we've seen numerous foul pop ups fall in the field of play untouched because the fielders were stationed so far out of position, they couldn't even get close to the ball. Yesterday, Defensive Metric advocate, David Cone, had to admit that Brett Gardner made a play that "...would never show up in the statistics, but was very important."  Am I winning him over, finally?
ESPN magazine has an article this week rating the ability of catchers to call a game. What? They claim they can determine how many runs a catcher saves by his ability to call a game. What?? The pitcher ultimately decides what to throw and the pitcher is responsible to get it where he wants it. I understand the catchers great input into the game plan, knowing the hitter, knowing the pitcher, knowing the umpire, etc., but how can you quantify how many runs he saved by putting down the sign. If the pitcher is on his game, the team wins, but if he isn't, the team loses. And the catcher gets the credit for this? It's like giving the grass credit for being green.

Speaking of technology gone wild in baseball, teams now have apps for your smartphone that will give you instant replays of the game your watching from the stands, give you all the stats you'd ever want to know (and some you could do without) and even tell you which lines are the shortest for the concession stands
and the restrooms. They are even working on face recognition technology for season ticket holders so you can just walk into the stadium without having to carry the pesky, burdensome tickets. With all this technology, " appreciation for all our loyal fans." to quote one owner, Los Angeles Dodger fans - IN LOS ANGELES AND VICINITY - have been unable to watch their beloved team on TV for two years because of a feud between the cable company and the team. Apparently. loyalty is a one-way street.

Knick president Phil Jackson is unhappy that owner James Dolan has hired Isiah Thomas back. They were going to make this an episode of "Family Feud," but they couldn't find any women to play on Thomas' side.

WEIRD HEADLINE DEPARTMENT: "Puig aggravates his hammy"  Well, why not? He's aggravated everybody else.

 In recognition of Limerick Day (May 12)
There was a QB named Tom Brady,
Suspected of something quite shady;
He let air out of balls,
And then swore to us all
He knew nothing of things deflatey.

-- RJ Currie, Sports Deke

"Roger Goodell vows to punish whoever’s responsible for suspending Tom Brady.”  -- TheOnion.Com
"The NFL has suspended Tom Brady. They’re going to punish him by making him stay home in his mansion with his supermodel wife and think about what he did wrong."  -- Conan O'Brien
"A four-game suspension … $1 million fine … two draft picks taken away. Probably not the NFL apology that Patriots owner Robert Kraft had in mind."  -- Dwight Perry
" At the time of writing this, the Padres are in a RAIN delay in San Diego. Wonder how long it took the grounds crew to find the tarp?"  -- Janice Hough
"A woman tried to choke a second woman with a bra but was thwarted when the victim fought her off with a ceramic chicken. Odds are good this was a better fight than Pacquiao-Mayweather."  -- Brad Dickson
"By early July, Alex Rodriguez should be recovered from that triple he hit last Friday."  -- Phil Mushnick
"A 54-year-old man from Corpus Christi, Texas, set a world record by completing 4,321 pull-ups in 24 hours. Then he went to high-five someone and his arm fell off."  -- Brad Dickson
"University of Cambridge scientists found a worm that turns its mouth inside out and walks on its teeth, so it literally put its feet in its mouth. They called it Jameis Winston."  -- RJ Currie
"Two shortstops — the Nationals’ Ian Desmond and the A’s Marcus Semien — are tied for the major-league lead with 11 errors. Anyone up for Bobble-Grounder Doll Night?"  -- Dwight Perry


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Bottom Line

While the ESPN talking heads are falling over each other assuring anyone who cares, and many who don't, that Tom Brady's "legacy" will not be impacted by the latest debacle. 

What remains clear is that Tom Brady is a cheater. 

Tom Brady is a liar. 

Bill Belichick is a cheater. 

Bill Belichick is a liar. 

Bob Kraft is the consummate NFL owner driven by hubris, a deep sense of personal entitlement and ready, willing and able to steadfastly support cheaters and liars... as long as they are his bought and paid for cheaters and liars. 

Keep watching their brand of bullshit, people. They can't succeed without a nation of sheep filling their coliseums that, by the way, you largely bought and paid for with tax dollars. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015


When I started writing on this blog, I decided I didn't want to be a reporter, describing a recently played game. There are any number of sites where you can get play-by-play descriptions. I was going to comment on various topics or criticize various aspects of sports in general and baseball in particular. I'd leave the rants to my cohort in crime, Vod Kanockers, who is much erudite than I ever will be. He writes better, too.
But sometimes, things get to me, so I take the opportunity every now and then to become, as Annie-O calls me, A Crotchety Old Man.

## We have a new baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, who hasn't been at his post long enough to irritate me the way old "Bungling" Bud Selig used to. Manfred has hinted at some changes he'd like to see such as reducing the baseball season from 162 games to some unspecified number. 154 might be a good number, anything to try and eliminate late October or early November World Series games. Another suggestion was having Sunday doubleheaders once or twice a month. They would have to be twi-night doubleheaders so owners wouldn't have apoplexy but still, eight of those a year would accomplish the same thing. As far as overworking the players, well, I have no sympathy. If they don't like it, have them put in a 12-hour day in a sheet metal shop in August with no air conditioning and in heavy denim overalls.

## While we're at it, Rob, fix the All-Star game. Let me say that again loudly: FIX THE ALL-STAR GAME. The current situation is the silliest thing I've ever seen since I had to watch umpire Ken Kaiser try to run to cover a base (oxygen, please). Play everyone, pitch everyone with no thought as to the game situation and have the result determine one of the most critical aspects of Major League Baseball: home team of the World Series. Either make it the exhibition game it was meant to be or tell managers, fans and teams that the best players are going to play or pitch regardless of how many players actually get into the game because we're trying our best to win the game.

## All winter and especially during spring training, I read how the Boston Red Sox had the best team in the AL East and that the Yankees were too old. Only Baltimore had a chance to beat out the Sox. I had mentioned that Boston had a terrible pitching staff and it wouldn't do you any good to average 6 runs a game if you gave up an average of 8 runs a game. Well, here we are, 20% of the way through the season and the Sox are on the bottom of the AL East and giving up an average of one more run per game than they're scoring. They have the second worst era in the majors and only Milwaukee has given up more runs. And the Yanks? They're in first place. The evaluators were right about one thing though, Baltimore is ahead of Boston.

## One of the big stories of the day is "Deflategate." (why does the media have to stick '-gate' on the end of everything?)  QB Tom Brady of the NE Patriots is probably going to be suspended, but the question is for how long. Mike Lupica says this isn't an earth-shattering situation and he'll probably get 2 games. I don't get it. Cheating is cheating. A-Rod took steroids and lost a whole season. Pete Rose bet on baseball and was suspended for life. Jim Boeheim and Syracuse University broke NCAA rules and had 38 wins taken away. You can cheat in a lot of ways in sports and if you are penalized, the fans will still take you back, providing you admit the wrongdoing and serve your time. People want Rose in the Hall of Fame and A-Rod just took a curtain call after a home run. The idea of penalties is to force people to think twice before violating these rules. Sit Brady down for or 10 games. Send coach Belichick and owner Robert Kraft with him.

## I see where MLB is proud of itself for reducing the average length of games. They have cut out about 6 minutes. Wow. This is NOT a significant difference. There is so much more that could be done. This is too broad a subject and should have a, I mean posting, all it's own.

## Oh, this is great. NY Knicks owner James Dolan is as clueless as it gets. He hired Isiah Thomas to coach the Knicks and not only did Thomas screw up the team completely, he also got himself charged with the sexual harassment of a female employee, which cost Dolan $11.2 million. So Isiah was finally fired. Now Dolan has rehired Thomas to run the NY Liberty,  Dolan's team in the WNBA. If the ladies are smart, they will put a lock on the locker room door and make sure Thomas doesn't get a copy of the key.

## Just Letting You Know Dept.: While pitching his Centerstage interview show during yesterday's game, Michael Kay said his latest show with Alan Alda  was "...a good one." Paul O'Neil asked if he ever had a bad one and Kay responded yes but refused to elaborate. He revealed the answer on his radio show. It was actor Dennis Quaid. "Quaid was horrible," according to Kay, "and acted like a jerk."

"Pedro Martinez wrote that Manny Ramirez once spiked his team’s drinks with Viagra. No wonder Yankee-Red Sox games tend to last four hours."  -- Dwight Perry
"The NFL is considering a punishment for Tom Brady after studies found that he probably knew about the deflated balls used in the AFC Championship game.  His wife, Gisele Bundchen released a statement saying that “My husband cannot throw the ball and pump the F’ing thing too”!  -- TC Chong
 "The Dolphins brought in ex-Patriots RB Stevan Ridley for a look-see. Stevan is best known for wishing his parents had spell-check."  -- Greg Cote
"On “Inside The NBA” during halftime of the Clippers-Rockets game, Shaquille O’Neal fell out of his chair. NBA players who’ve been retired for four years are still flopping."  -- Brad Dickson
"In the grand scheme of things, how important is the Tom Brady – Deflategate Story? Not that big of a deal. But really, as talented as the Patriots’ QB is..It’s almost as if Jennifer Lopez was caught using butt-enhancers."  -- Janice Hough
"After being ruled out for the season with an elbow tear: “To be fair, 31 years of use is a lot to ask for from a ligament.”  -- Brandon McCarthy
"A hard-core Arsenal soccer fan made his girlfriend pass a 22-question written exam about the team if she wanted to continue their relationship, and she made the grade with 87 percent. Imagine what she could’ve scored if he’d let her use her hands."  -- Dwight Perry
"Lakers coach Byron Scott said some of his players would shoot him in the back. The good thing for him is, most would miss."  -- Brad Dickson
"Tom Brady & Barry Bonds both went to Serra High in San Mateo (Calif.), Rumor: School is strong in athletics, light on ethics classes"  -- Jon Heyman, CBSSports
"Fans that watched the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight were not sure if they had watched a boxing match or “Dancing with the Stars”.  -- TC Chong
" There were anxious moments for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at a White House state dinner. Whenever he tried to pass a biscuit, Malcom Butler intercepted it."  -- RJ Currie
"A pair of Michael Jordan’s rookie Nikes sold for $71,553 at auction. The left a size 13; the right a 13 1/2; both, presumably, with the tongue hanging out."  -- RJ Currie
"What does Mel Kiper Jr. do for the next six months after the draft, work on his hair?"  -- Reader Stuart Evans (From Phil Mushnick)


Tuesday, May 05, 2015

And Now for Something Completely Different... unless you like reading about 3 - 1 losses

Books! An alternative to the steaming pile of crap served up by Fox News, the drivel and pap that is CNN and the sanitized musing s of PBS.

 “Redeployment” by Phil Klay takes readers to the front lines of the war in Iraq, asking us to understand what happened to the soldiers who returned. His work reveals the intricate combination of monotony, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier’s daily life at war and the isolation, remorse and despair that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming.

Klay is a Dartmouth graduate and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq during the surge and subsequently received an MFA from Hunter College.

“No Good Men Among the Living: America, The Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes” is a breathtaking, deeply researched  chronicle that details the lives of three Afghans caught in America’s war on terror – a Taliban commander who rises from a scrawny teenager to a leading insurgent; a US-backed warlord who uses the American military to gain personal wealth and power; and a village housewife trapped between two sides who discovers the devastating cost of neutrality.

Through their dramatic stories, author Anand Gopal shows that the Afghan war, so often regarded as a hopeless quagmire, could have gone very differently. Top Taliban leaders actually tried to surrender within months of the US invasion, renouncing all political activity and submitting to the new government. Effectively, the Taliban ceased to exist – yet the Americans were unwilling to accept such a turnaround. Instead, driven by false intelligence and an unyielding mandate to fight, American forces continued to press the conflict, resurrecting the insurgency that persists to this day.

Anand Gopal is a journalist covering Afghanistan, Syria and other international hot spots. He has served as an Afghanistan correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, and The Christian Science Monitor and has reported for Harper’s, The Nation, Foreign Policy and other respected journals.

Sunday, May 03, 2015


Ar least according to ESPN. Yesterday morning they listed the exciting events scheduled for that day:
1) A NY-Bos baseball game
2) The Kentucky Derby
3) The Mayweather/Pacquiao 'Fight of the Century'
4) A Spurs-Clippers 7th game playoff
5) A continuation of the NFL draft
6) Plus the usual Saturday sporting events: NASCAR Talladega 2015, a Rangers-Capitals NHL Playoff game, The World Golf Match Play Championships, The Tiddlywinks wait, that was last week.

And an exciting day it was. Let's look at the events:
* Not a typical Yankee-Red Sox game. No fights, no controversy - the most noteworthy thing was the fact that the game was played in 2 hours and 44 minutes, which, in most NY/Bos games would only get you through 6 innings.
* The winner of the horse race was the favorite, American Pharoah, the horse with the misspelled name (correct spelling is Pharaoh)
*Another non-exciting  event. One sportswriter called it 'Dancing with the Stars.' That's a typical Mayweather fight. He doesn't really WIN his fights, he just lets you lose.
* The NBA game may have actually been the most exciting event of the day. The defending Champion Spurs were beaten in a last second shot by a one-legged Chris Paul bank shot. Chis was playing on a very painful bad hamstring (I know exactly how that feels), but he was still the guy they trusted to take the last shot.
* Ah yes, those critical 6th, 7th and 8th rounds of the NFL draft. The players picked here usually last until the last two or three cuts, so you can see how important they are. The best part was seeing what stars the teams sent out to announce their picks (The Bills used Jim Kelly). Next year they are going to try something different: they're going to teach Roger Goodell how to pronounce the players names correctly.
* I'll leave it up to you to figure out the results of the other events since ESPN changed their format and I still haven't figured out how to negotiate the site yet.

It's been 24 games now, but the Red Sox left fielder, Hanley Ramirez, still looks lost out there. The centerfielder still has to take him by the hand and show him where to stand every inning. He appears to have forgotten how to catch pop-ups and has to wind up before he throws the ball to the infield. Ken Singleton noted that he plays way too deep a left Field in Fenway because of the Green Monster. But he can hit.
A-Rod has hit home run #660 and the Yankees have reiterated that they have no intention of paying him the $6 million dollar milestone bonus, saying they will follow the contract and that this is what the contract says. The Yanks look petty and cheap and I don't see how they will win this battle. Here's an interesting suggestion from Mike Lupica: "If Alex Rodriguez actually had any grace, he might think about thumbing his nose at the Players Association and telling the Yankees to keep their $6 million “milestone” bonus for home run No. 660. Or, better yet, tell them if they don’t want to give it to him, then give it to charity." Good idea.
Why isn't Chris Young playing more often? How scary is Dellin Betances? He can get it up to 98 mph regularly and throws a slider with a sharp break that most people can't get with a wiffle ball. Then follow him with Andrew Miller and you better be ahead of New York after 6 innings or you don't have much of a chance. 

This morning, I read a headline on ESPN that said, WILD FINISH TO GIANTS-ANGELS GAME. Wow, I thought, I wonder what happened.. I read the whole recap article. I still didn't know. They never mentioned the finish. I went to the Baseball Tonight video of the game. One reporter and two former players saying things like, "I've never seen anything like that in 27 years of covering baseball." or "It's hard to believe, but that's the rule." And finally, "You wonder how that could happen," And all the while, they're pointing to a still of the game behind them. They never explained what happened or showed a replay of the play.         And then they signed off and I still didn't know what happened. 
(Just so you know, with two outs in the 9th with the tying and winning runs on base, a runner got hit by a batted ball that would probably have gone through for a single. The runner is declared out and the game is over. A freak play possibly costing the Angels a chance to win the game. Now was that hard, ESPN?)

"In New South Wales, Australia, a jockey’s pants fell to his knees during a race. This still didn’t look as stupid as 85 percent of the hats at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby."  -- Brad Dickson
"That is why there was a lot more discussion going into Saturday night’s fight about Mayweather’s record outside a boxing ring than his one in the ring. And why all this breathless access we got with him in the days leading up to the fight just made you realize he’s even more of a bum than you thought he was in the first place."  -- Mike Lupica
" It’s now Gone Daddy. Go Daddy is dropping its NASCAR sponsorship for Danica Patrick."  -- TC Chong
"So what comes next? Mayweather’s next fight or his next domestic violence arrest?"  -- Janice Hough
"A surefire sign the Brewers are off to a bad start: “ ‘Going, going, gone’ refers to the fans after the eighth inning."  -- Alan Ray
"A Philippine electric company urged customers to turn off major appliances — even refrigerators — to compensate for a projected 2-megawatt power deficit during Saturday night’s Pacquaio-Mayweather fight. No such problem in Miami whenever the Marlins play."  -- Dwight Perry
" NFL teams tend to overlook draftees’ rap sheets. If Hannibal Lecter ran a 4.3, we’d probably diagnose it as an eating disorder."  -- Cardinal GM Steve Keim
"How about that Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight? There were so many jabs and uppercuts, I felt like I was watching a Kansas City Royals game."  -- Brad Dickson
" An Australian jockey's  pants fell down in midrace. Great news for anyone who bet on him to show."  -- Tim Hunter
"I’m just wondering: If A-Rod does get the $6 million from the Yankees, does Cousin Yuri get a cut?Come on, fair is fair"  -- Mike Lupica
"Congrats to American Pharoah for winning the best two minute event in sports. As opposed to say, Big Papi’s batter’s box ritual."  -- Janice Hough
"What is it about Alex Rodriguez? If A-rod had been abusing soap, I’d still have trouble believing he was clean."  -- RJ Currie
        This one's for Annie-O--
"YES’ Al Leiter on Friday during Mets-Yanks, demonstrated his previously unknown capacity to allow a pitch, now and then, to be thrown without comment, without his standard, protracted clinical examination."  -- Phil Mushnick