Saturday, July 11, 2015


Tomorrow is the last day of the first half of the season. Mathematically, it's a little over the halfway mark, but not according to tradition. Originally, is was meant to showcase the stars of each league in a sort of dream matchup, a game between players who did not face each other all year. How would the best pitcher on the Giants do pitching against sluggers from Cleveland or Detroit? Could American League pitchers stop Maury Wills from stealing? The fans of Kansas City would get to see the best from the National League, players that had never appeared in that town.
Now, thanks to inter-league play, the perverted value of the game, combined with the rules and the players that managers are given, the mystique is gone from the game. I guess inter-league serves a good purpose, but the All-Star game itself needs revision - badly. Since broadcasters are recognizing this and airing their thoughts, maybe the powers that be will recognize the problem and fix it. Or, as my friend Brad Dickson says,
"Major League Baseball officials are claiming they have the best all-star game in professional sports. This is sort of like being the smartest stooge."

The lingo of the game:
Have you noticed that former players in the booth use some phrases over and over? Phrases like, "He hit a home run," aren't exciting enough so they've come up with their own lingo. Some are okay, some make no sense and some are just vague enough to be irritating. Here are some with the best explanation I can give:
There are many, many euphemisms for a homer, too many to list here, from He went yard to Went downtown and everything in between.

The hammer - usually a fastball, so called because...who knows.
The deuce - It's a curve ball, given the name because of the normal sequence of signs a catcher gives. One is a fastball, two is a curve, after that, it depends on the pitchers arsenal.
Watching the catchers signals can sometimes allow you to foresee what's coming next. a For example, a fist with the thumb extended usually means throw it to first. It can be fun to see how a batter reacts to the kind of pitch  that is thrown. Try it.
Free baseball - A Michael Kay specialty. He means extra innings, and the idea that you paid for a ticket to a nine inning game and the "extra" innings are a bonus. We at home, get the bonus of extra commercials. Free baseball indeed.
Laser shot - any kind of hard line drive hit. Dizzy Dean used to call them "Blue Darters." Harder to explain but much more colorful.
Highly respected - A phrase assigned to any (make that EVERY) manager, coach scout, or baseball official. If they are that respected, why have they all been fired at one time or another, sometimes multiple times? Some announcers use the phrase almost as though it was a part of the title. I suppose it's better than saying, "Nobody cares too much for him."
Try not to do too much - Sorry but this one makes little sense to me. I like to think my favorite players are trying to do everything they can. It supposed to mean that hitters are not over-swinging, pulling their head and are generally out of control, but they apply it when a batter hits the ball to the opposite field. A player with any training is taught to try hard to do exactly that. They make it sound like a hitter stops at first when he could easily make second, I guess on the theory that you shouldn't expect too many doubles from him.
Cut action or late movement - This is when a pitch moves just a little when it gets right up to the plate. You can always tell when a pitcher has late movement on his fastball because the broadcaster tells you it does. You certainly can't see it. Even in slow motion.

They have a strange culture in the Boston clubhouse. Players texting in the bathroom, Ortiz saying he's too old to play in the field, Ramirez saying he's "not interested" in playing first base.
Texting in the can - well most of us read while we're in there, what's the difference.
Too old? Should the Red Sox cut his pay because he can only play half the game?
Interested? I'll bet he's interested in cashing that paycheck every two weeks. You'd think the GM would say, "If I'm paying, you'll play where I tell you." Maybe couple of pieces of fried chicken on the bag would help.

I mentioned last time how obnoxious Pete Rose was on the Fox Sports Panel last week. Part of it was his insistence that Stephen Strasburg left the game with a cramp when the others were speculating on something more elaborate. "Nope, cramp!" he insisted more than once. No explanation, no justification, just "CRAMP!"  Just for the record, Strasburg had an oblique strain and was placed on the 15-day DL. Pete, don't you get tired of being right all the time?

Phil Mushnick of the NY Post, did a piece on what he calls, "The code of the modern cool."  This is where players DO NOT acknowledge the applause of the crowd over some feat they just performed. They'll go through all kinds of celebratory gyrations with their teammates in the dugout or even on the field, but the fan gets nothing, not even a tip of the cap. In Yankee Stadium, they announced during the game that Brett Gardner has been named to the All-Star team. The crowd in left field cheered like crazy, but Gardner acted like he was totally deaf - until he got in the dugout. On the other hand, Michael Pineda briefly touched his cap when he left Friday's game after a wonderful pitching performance. Better watch out, Michael, you could get kicked out of the Modern Cool fraternity if you keep that up. 

"The Kansas City Royals dugout flooded during a game. Royals' fans promptly voted the squeegee guy who mopped it up to the all-star team."  -- Brad Dickson
"Wimbledon saw another opening round exit for Eugenie Bouchard, who also drew a dress-code violation for her black bra. That’s rough: penalized for the one thing in her game that's been uplifting."  -- RJ Currie
"Jason Pierre-Paul on his fireworks fiasco and its aftermath. There’s no need to point fingers."  --  Marc Rogavin
"An arbitrator has reduced the Cowboys’ Greg Hardy suspension from 10 to four games. This for assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to kill her. Well, not like Hardy did anything serious like smoking marijuana."  -- Janice Hough
"Luke Ridnour, the 12-year NBA veteran from Blaine, Wash., recently got traded four times in less than a week — to his fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth teams of his pro career. On the bright side, upon retirement he’ll still have a full-time job just playing the old-timers’ games."  -- Dwight Perry
"Andong Song is the first player born in China to be selected in the NHL Draft. He was chosen in the 6th round by the Islanders. Let’s hope that they don’t play him on the wong wing."  -- TC Chong
  (Note: only an Asian comic could publish a joke like this - CP)
"A 108-year-old Mariners fan will celebrate her birthday by throwing a ceremonial first pitch when the M's host the Angels. She credits her longevity to over 100 years of laughing — mostly at the Cubs."  -- RJ Currie
" The Baltimore Orioles agreed to sign Cuban pitcher Ariel Miranda. Will the last baseball player left in Cuba please turn out the lights?"  -- Brad Dickson

Congratulations to the USA Women's Soccer team and letting our hometown product, Abby Wambach finally get her World Cup championship.  
(Personal thanks to Vancouver's Tony Chong for his support as asked)


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