Saturday, August 29, 2015


 Baseball now begins the drive for the playoff spots. We only have room for four spots - well, four and a half, really - so who's going to be there in October?

Print the tickets, you're in:
Kansas City, for sure.
Houston won't go away. If someone doesn't take a bat to Carlos Gomez for his antics, I'll be surprised.
Yankees/Blue Jays. A winner and a wild card - you pick 'em.
I should be typing Baltimore here, but I'm not. I just don't know who will be the last team in. There's plenty of candidates: Minnesota, Texas, the Angels. The Twins are doing it with smoke and mirrors, the Angels have an injury problem, which leaves Texas - as good a guess as any.

St Louis because they seem to be able to turn it on when they need to
The Mets will make it, the Washington Nationals will see to it. For a team that was supposed to run away with the NL East, the Nats are being beaten by everyone.
Pittsburgh. They would be in first place in every other division in baseball (Okay, a half game out in the AL Central)
The Dodgers/Giants. One will win the division, the other will be out. The Giants are winning because of karma, I guess, while the Dodgers are like a huge puzzle with a lot of extra pieces. If Mattingly can figure out who should be playing where and when, they will be dangerous.
The Cubs. There, I said it. Maddon runs the team like its a fraternity beer game. Other teams spend money on analysts and cybernetics, Maddon gives them chicken wings and pizza. He may not win, but it sure is a fun ride.

I just watched a movie called "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." Not the one with Spencer Tracy, but that team with the old men in pinstripes. They either beat you into submission or cower in a corner with their thumbs in their mouths. How can you score 4 runs in three games against Houston and then send 15 men across  home plate in one game against Atlanta?
I think Joe Girardi loves the spotlight. Why did he have to come out of the dugout in the 8th inning of a blowout with two men out to change pitchers, move guys around and change a position player? Just because the pitcher was leading off next inning? Let Wilson get the last out, pinch hit for the pitcher and put in a new pitcher  in the ninth. Because then he wouldn't be on TV. Girardi is the master of the useless move.

From Janice Hough: "Vin Scully has announced he will be back for his 67th season broadcasting in Los Angeles. Maybe Vin, 87, is hoping that at some point the Dodgers will treat him like a real member of the team and hand him millions of dollars for doing nothing."
As far as I'm, concerned, millions aren't enough.

" Ohio State’s Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett both said they don’t want a dual-quarterback system. I can’t wait for the Buckeyes to run out on offense for the first time and two guys line up behind center."  -- Brad Dickson
"What’s with Novak Djokovic at the Rogers Cup complaining about someone smoking weed? The guy has three Wimbledon titles — he’s great on grass."  -- RJ Currie
"Rays catcher Curt Casali had to leave Tuesday night’s 11-7 loss to the Twins after straining his left hamstring rounding first base — during his home-run trot."  -- Dwight Perry
"General Mills has partnered with a Minnesota brewing company to produce Wheaties beer. Just what I needed for my corn flakes!  No word on whether they’ll have pictures of Red Sox players on the can."  -- TC Chong
"I've played behind nine centers in the NFL. It's definitely a close relationship right away. My hands are in places not a lot of other people's go." -- Eli Manning
"With all of the money that Major League Baseballers make, what’s with so many scraggly beards and bad haircuts?”  -- Gregg Drinnan
"Raw sewage backed up into the dugouts at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, home of the Mets’ Class AAA farm team. That’s no way to run a pipeline to the majors — with the obvious exception of the one to Oakland."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Giants’ Eli Manning wants to be the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback. Most people can’t imagine him being the league’s highest-paid Manning."  -- RJ Currie
 "A Texas brewery marketing its beer in 99-packs. Or, as Rob Gronkowski likes to call it, Happy Hour."  -- Alan Ray
"Going back to August 14, the Cincinnati Reds have won exactly ONE game, and that an August 24 make-up game from a rain out against Detroit. 1-12. If they’re going to give up on the season maybe they should offer ticket holders their money back?"  -- Janice Hough
"This week's top stories: Brian Hoyer named Texans’ starting QB, Rays catcher Curt Casali pulls up lame, and two topless N.Y. women pose for tourists. Or first strings, hamstrings and G-strings."  -- RJ Currie
" Reportedly, the Bills may sign Ray Rice. Rice, Incognito, Percy Harvin, IK Enemkpali. Rex Ryan is this close to inviting El Chapo to camp."  -- Brad Dickson

Only Tony Chong could come up with this one:
"Yesterday was National Dog Day, except in Korea, where it was just Wednesday."


Friday, August 21, 2015


That seems to be ESPN's attitude. When Toronto was playing out of their minds. the talking heads at ESPN couldn't wait to declare them champions of the AL East. The Yanks are fading, Toronto secured the best pitcher and the best hitter available before the trading deadline and the Blue Jays went on an 11-game winning streak, including a beat down of the Yankees in their own stadium.
When the baseball gods turned around, as they always do, there was no reversal from their previous stance: the Jays are still the champs, just uncrowned at the moment. Okay, they're not alone - the Orioles are coming fast, too.  The Yankees - well, they're having a cute little moment for the time being.          I like cute!

Cashman wouldn't trade his phenoms last month, and we're getting to see why now. Luis Severino is the real deal and Aaron Judge is tearing up the minors. And as for Greg Bird - his only problem as far as I can see, is his name. The Daily News has already said, "The Bird Is The Word,"  one announcer called him "Big Bird," and John Sterling's home run call is, predictably, "Bye Bye Birdie." Maybe he's not ready to replace what's-his-name..Mark Teixeira...but he's no stopgap, so enough with the Wally Pipp talk.

Around the League
## You can quit calling the AL East a weak division. If you want weak, take a look at the AL Central. They still have only one team over .500, the KC Royals.
## The NL Central is a different story. The Cubs are in third place, but their record, 17 games over .500, would put them in first place in every other division in baseball except the AL Central.
## The Detroit Tigers have been a powerhouse for several years now, thanks in no small part to their GM, Dave Dombrowski, but when things went sour this year, the Tigers made a move that probably wasn't too smart, but did give the newspapers an alliterative headline: Dave Dombrowski Dumped.
## What are the Dodgers doing? They gave up two more prospects to acquire Chase Utley from the Phillies. Utley was once a very good player, but at 36, he may have played out the string. The Dodgers will be paying him $2 million for six weeks of service, probably not the best use of their money. Since their payroll is almost $300 million, it would appear that those pockets are very, very deep.
## Joe Girardi got thrown out of last night's game for...I guess just walking out to talk to home plate umpire Dan Iassogna, not the most patient of umpires. Iassogna is not very good at balls and strikes and doesn't like to be told about it. He tossed Girardi before he even got to home plate. This is quite a crew anyway, with CB "You're Outa Here" Buckner helping to incite arguments of all kinds. Buckner will be behind home plate tonight and he's no better at calling pitches, so look for some excitement again tonight.

"Have you seen the recent courtroom sketch of Tom Brady? It’s the worst quarterback draw since the Mark Sanchez butt fumble."  -- RJ Currie
"49ers wide receiver Jerome Simpson’s has now been suspended six game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, his third suspension since 2012. It’s all part of the NFL’s “10 strikes and you’re out policy."  -- Janice Hough
"An Alabama football fan waited in line four days to be first at Crimson Tide Fan Day. Actually, in Alabama this is an acceptable excuse for missing work."  -- Brad Dickson
"The legally challenged Florida State football team had two team photos taken this year because:
a) Coach Jimbo Fisher wanted one with suspended running back Dalvin Cook in the picture and one without. b) Tallahassee Police requested front and side views."  -- Dwight Perry
"Jets QB Geno Smith will be out 6-10 weeks when his jaw was broken in a locker room fight. An unnamed source said that Geno tried to fight back but 3 of his punches fell short, and another 2 were intercepted."  -- Tony Chong
"Buffalo signed QB-puncher IK Enemkpali. First day in the Bills’ locker room, Enemkpali had his lunch money stolen by Richie Incognito."  -- Greg Cote
"A Nepalese teen set a world record by kicking himself in the head 134 times in one minute:. He broke the previous record of zero."  -- Conan O'brien
"Jason Pierre-Paul’s concussion protocol going forward, you have to assume, won’t include the question: “How many fingers?”  -- Dwight Perry

"The Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league baseball team, are offering a provolone-stuffed sausage topped with pulled pork. This sounds like something Gov. Ricketts would come up with to carry out the death penalty."  -- Brad Dickson
" New Red Sox GM “Dave Dombrowski – “I’m not here to blow up the operation.” And Boston fans are thinking “Hasn’t the current team accomplished that already?”  -- Janice Hough
"Despite rumours to the contrary, Jets pivot Geno Smith’s disloacted jaw wasn’t caused by trying to pronounce the name of linebacker Ikemefuna Chinedum Enemkpali."  -- RJ Currie
"‘Pacman’ Jones says he’d have $100 million if it were not for suspensions. He’d have $200 million if not for strip clubs."  -- Bill Littlejohn
"Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams are the highest paid female athletes in the world. After hearing this, Ronda Rousey beat them up and took their money."  -- Conan O'Brien


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Happy Hallucinations to the Delusional Fans of The Great & Powerful HairBag.

Television journalism? I shudder whenever I hear those two words, sandwiched together, suggesting that it’s a real thing - when clearly it is a figment of a cable executive’s overactive imagination.

Thanks to mislabeled cable‘news’ outlets (CNN, FoxNews) The Great & Powerful HairBag who has the support of less than 1/4 of a minority party’s chauvinist, war-mongering, wall-building, gun-toting base has been elevated to FRONT RUNNER status  in a presidential election that is 15 months away. 

Sports ’journalism’ ala ESPN and its multiple sub-channels, is equally sad. Every outlet has one story; Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady. Day after day we are treated to an endless rehash of one of the greatest So What, Who Cares stories of the year. 

We know the devastating impact that repeated blows to the head have on football players. I can only surmise, given the quality of the drivel they produce, that television ‘journalists’ have secretly been bashing in their own noggins with a very large hammer behind closed doors. 

I do have compassion for team beat reporters. After watching Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) instruct Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) how to answer major league sports writers’ question, you know the answer to every question that will ever be asked in a pre- or post-game interview.

The good news for sports fans, regardless of the outcome of any game (or the philosophical wiseacring of any and every sports ‘journalist’ ) the results will have absolutely no meaningful impact on your life.

The same can’t be said of the infotainers that elevate The Great & Powerful HairBag and the other fifteen occupants of the GOP Presidential Candidate Clown Car to ‘serious’ people.

I know, Chad. Something about baseball…

Well, at least for one glorious day in New York - 
The Bird, Bird, Bird
The Bird is the word.

Ride fast, take chances - Z. Vod

2:10 AM
Another fabulous idea brought to you by the GOP Presidential Candidate Clown Car!
If John Kasich was Ruler of the Universe, teachers would no longer be allowed a clandestine space away from their students. 
That’s right, he’d ban teachers’ lounges.
Make working conditions worse to improve education. Brillant!
2:27 AM
How naive of me to think that GOP Presidential Pretender John Kaisich would so easily win the Dumb-Ass Statement of the Day award. 
Ben Carson, currently in 2nd place to Candidate Hair-Bag in the Pretender Polls has taken the immigration debate to an insane new low - suggesting drone strikes at the border. 
According to Carson, drone strikes would be far cheaper than building the Great Wall of Trump, central to the immigration 'policy' of the Great and Wonderful Hair-Bag. (The G&W Hair-Bag imports most of his xenophobic policy ideas from the Peoples Republic of China. While they are cheap and always available at Wal-Mart, their quality is suspect.)
Is this GOP race of the outrageously stupid a SNL skit gone horribly wrong????
And in better news, the Yankees sweep the Twins. 
Yup, it's mid-August and time for baseball.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


It hasn't been a very happy place in Picasner's neighborhood the last few days. I've seen hot streaks like the Blue Jay's latest run and cold streaks the Yanks are suffering through. When these streaks match up like this past weekend, everything becomes magnified. When the Yanks offense is in gear, the 3rd Army couldn't beat them, but when they cool off, the Oswego JV team will give them a hard time.
New York is in Cleveland for three games before they head into Toronto for the 2nd series between the top two AL East teams. The Jays look in good shape with three games against the Oakland A's, the American League doormat.

A few points to ponder:
-- New York has been through some slumps before, but they can break out with a vengeance.
-- Things might not be as rosy as it looks for Toronto. Bad teams have a way of spoiling things for good teams.
 -- Baseball is cyclical. I've said this before. Annie-O wears her heart on her sleeve and it's hard for her to buy into this.
-- Toronto's powerhouse lineup wasn't as dominant as the 3-game sweep would have you think. In the last three games, they scored 10 runs on 20 hits. Throw out Smoak's grand slam and you're down to 6 runs. If the Yanks had won all three games, analysts would be saying that NY shut down the Jays.
-- There's still 52 games to go (49 for the Jays), so no one should start printing World Series tickets just yet.

## Detroit manager Brad Ausmus says Johnny Cueto's delivery is illegal because he pauses in his delivery but the umps won't call it. Where is 'Balkin' Bob Davidson when you need him?

## David Schoenfield says the Yanks "old guys" won't hold up for the stretch run and the Blue Jays are unbeatable. Schoenfield is as big a front-runner as there is, so I don't put a lot of stock in his predictions.
## For all the talk about the weak AL East, Kansas City leads the AL Central by 12 games, a lead helped in no small part by the fact that no one else in the division has a winning record.

## After a Blue Jays homer, a fan threw the ball back onto the field, hitting left fielder Brett Gardner in the head. And you thought Philadelphia fans were tough.

"The New York Knicks are finalizing a deal for Thanasis Antetokounmpo. All that’s left is to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. I mean that literally. It’ll take five days to dot the I’s and cross T’s in “Thanasis Antetokounmpo."  -- Brad Dickson
"QB Geno Smith, booed by NY fans at the Jets’ first publlc scrimmage, says he “thrives on adversity.”. If true Smith should have been the NFL MVP by now."  -- Janice Hough
"If Jason Pierre Paul doesn’t sign with the Giants, he should call Green Bay. Even with a missing finger he’d be an upgrade to the Packers’ hands team"  -- RJ Currie
"Rapper 50 cent is bankrupt. He will now change his legal name by just removing the “5”.  -- TC Chong
" And we don’t think professional athletes have problems. Josh Smith, who just signed with the Clippers for the veterans’ minimum, talking about his finances: “At the end of the day, you know, I do have a family. So it is going to be a little harder on me this year. But I’m going to push through it, you know.” Smith will make $6.9 million this year."  -- Janice Hough
"A recent analysis of water quality for the Olympic Games in Rio has dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria. The IOC says it will be safe for the athletes because sharks or any type of marine life won’t swim or survive in it. -- TC Chong
"We need a border fence with Canada to stop the Blue Jays from taking all of our best baseball players."  --

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


...the Yankees beat up on somebody last night. In the last three weeks, the Yanks have scored 11, 21 and 13 runs respectively on Tuesday nights. Next Tuesday the Yanks will be in Cleveland and if I'm Danny Salazar, the Indians expected starter, I'd be praying for rain. Make that a monsoon; you don't want to take chances.

The Boston starter, Henry Owens, pitched well into the 6th inning but was charged with three runs and the loss. The Red Sox bullpen looked petrified out there and I think it took three security guards to force Alexi Orgando, the 4th reliever, to leave the bullpen, but he finally got there in time to give up Chris Young's 3-run blast.

Joe Girardi's late-inning panic mode is getting worse. The only relievers he trusts are Betances and Miller. Last night, he pulled Wilson in the 8th when Wilson ha a 1-2 count on the hitter. Girardi did everything but tackle Wilson to prevent him from throwing another pitch. But at least Joe had a good reason: "Strategy," he said. "Just strategy. You figure out the reasons."  Oh yeah, that's encouraging.

Dustin Ackley, the Yanks lone trade deadline pickup, is on the 15-day DL with a bad back. How do you get hurt when all you have to do is walk from the clubhouse to the dugout and back? You don't even have to walk fast.

In an interview, the Toronto Blue Jays have said they are not trying for a playoff berth, they expect to overtake the Yankees and win the division. Just so they are aware, yes, they are five and a half back, but they are seven games back in the loss column. If New York continues to win at their current pace, Toronto will have to play .685 ball to TIE New York. The Jays current pace is .519. The Jays and Yanks will meet 6 times in 10 days starting this Friday. I think Toronto will have to win 5 of the 6 in order to have a chance at the title.

Toronto and Kansas City had a little dust-up Sunday because of a couple of hit-batsman and close pitches. The umpires, of course, had no clue how to prevent it and there will be more to come. Back in the day, the pitchers took care of it themselves. There is a story that a rookie had the gall to hit a home run off of Bob Gibson and was seen enjoying it. The nest time up, Gibson knocked him down, the rookie got up and Gibson knocked him down again. After the third straight knock-down the catcher, Tim McCarver, told him, "You might as well let him hit you because he's going to keep doing this until he does."   And there were no "warnings" from the umpire.

"A Cincinnati Reds fan ran around the field and then escaped over the wall without being caught. I’m glad Reds’ security isn’t in charge of capturing El Chapo."  -- Brad Dickson
"NY Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores was shown on TV crying after they told him he had been traded. The deal fell through but Tom Hanks still said he wanted to have a few words with young Wilmer."  -- TC Chong
"Talk about painful to watch at times: This year's squad puts the S&M in Seattle Mariners."  -- Dwight Perry
"The U.S. fell to Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup: "Losing in penalty kicks is like losing a beauty contest to a game of rock, paper, scissors."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"If Pete Rose were a Buddhist, would he be banned for more than one lifetime?"  -- Scott Ostler
"The NFL training camps are in full swing. As usual, the New England Patriots camp began with a ceremonial burning of the rule book."  -- Seth Meyers
"The biggest drawback to the Browns’ variable ticket-pricing policy is the fact that one of the two teams will still be the Browns."  -- The 'Rajah" Cleveland Plain Dealer reader
"A video purported shows Cowboys’ WR Dez Bryant fighting with his teammate Tyler Patmon. Well, training camp hasn’t even finished yet and the Dallas circus appears to be in mid-season form."  -- Janice Hough
"Saturday night a small satellite crashed to Earth – wait, that was the head of Ronda Rousey's last opponent."  -- Brad Dickson
"Toronto has acquired all-star shortstop Mark Tulowiski and former Cy Young winner David Price. It’s nice to see the Blue Jays adding big-name talent for their September collapse."  -- RJ Currie
"Rumor is Urban Meyer suspended those four Ohio State football players after he caught them in the library."  -- Phil Mushnick