Sunday, December 10, 2017

THE EVIL EMPIRE RETURNS

..and so have I. There have been a lot of mildly (to me) interesting things happening lately, but we finally have a blockbuster. And baseball's winter meetings won't start for a couple more days.

Last year, when the Red Sox landed Chris Sale, it looked like lights out for the AL East. Instead, the Yankees gave Boston all it could handle before the Sox finally won the division only to fall in the first round. Which proves the adage: You can load your roster with big names, but you still have to play the games, The Yankee fans should keep that in mind, because...

The Yanks have added THE big name this year, one Giancarlo Stanton. This gives the Yankees  potentially four 40+ home run hitters. Of course, scoring is only half the battle. You also have to keep the other team from scoring. Cashman will probably try to nab a frontline pitcher. There are a couple of potential land mines with the addition of Stanton:
Can he accept being just one of the stars on a team loaded with them?
How will he react to the overwhelming media coverage?
Can he fit into the clubhouse dynamic?

The Yanks also have a new manager, one with no experience. It will be up to him to get this machine running on all cylinders. Aaron Boone may be a great guy, and a win was expected of him, but now...it's going to be demanded.

The New York media has already come up with one interesting marketing ploy. Aaron Judge may have the "Judges Chambers," but Giancarlo will  have "Stanton's Island." (Between the NY Daily News and the Post, this could be a long summer)

Will we see the birth of a new episode of Murder's Row? The Yanks have had some powerful tandems of sluggers in their past. Ruth and Gehrig, DiMaggio and Berra, and. of course, Mantle Maris. Even if Stanton & Judge match last years home run totals, they still fall 4 short of the M Boys 115 in 1961. It will be fun to see them try.

The Army-Navy game was played in the snow down in Philly yesterday, with Army winning 14-13.
There were 6 punts, 95 runs and only 3 passes. Somewhere, Woody Hayes - author of the "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense, was smiling, having a beer and saying, "Now that's the way we do it."

Syracuse beat Colgate (the college, not the toothpaste) for the 52nd straight time (maybe it was the toothpaste) and they did it with only three players. At least, that's what it seemed like. Howard had 18 points, Brissett had 20 and Tyrus Battle threw in 24. That's 62 points. The whole Colgate team only scored 58. I don't think the Orange played a very aggressive defense: they only had 5 personal  fouls the whole game.

A girls basketball game in Montana ended with the score 102-0. Come on, what reasonable coach would let his team run up a score like that?  Apparently, the losing squad only had five players. I give them credit for staying to the end.


***THEY SAID IT***

" If Yankees win 2018 World Series will they vote Jeter a playoff share?"  -- Janice Hough
" If you already rooted against @Yankees then it’s not sour grapes if you start rooting against Stanton right?"  -- Janice Hough  [Janice is a die-hard SF Giants fan, so expect more of these. - CP]
"Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon said he used drugs or alcohol before every game. “They also help after games,” said Browns fans."  -- RJ Currie
"The IOC said it might consider including pole-dancing, poker and foosball in the next Games. They also said it’s the first Olympics that will be held in a frathouse basement.”  -- Conan O'Brien
"“Giants players beg Al Michaels not to use their real names during starting-lineup introduction.”  -- The Onion.com
" A meteorite may have flown past the U.S. last week. Then again, it may have been a wayward shot from Lonzo Ball."  -- Brad Dickson
"Per presidential custom, Donald Trump pardoned two turkeys last week. He should’ve pardoned the Giants-Washington game."  -- Dwight Perry
"The attempted implosion of The Detroit Pontiac Silverdome was a complete fail. Meanwhile The Detroit Lions continue to implode."  -- TC Chong
"Arizona is considering a bill to outlaw wearing a mask to a public event, which could make it very rough on the catchers during home games for the Diamondbacks."  -- Jim Barach
"Bruins RW David Backes scored two goals in his fourth game back from having surgery to remove part of his colon. That’s right; he punctuated his return with a semicolon"  -- RJ Currie
"I had a nightmare that New York Giants officials were in charge of the North Pole and sat Santa on Christmas Eve to go with his backup."  -- Brad Dickson
"And you wonder why NFL ratings are down! Putting the Dolphins offense on ‘Monday Night Football’ is like putting Aunt Phyllis’ minivan in the Daytona 500."  -- Mike Bianchi
'Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife are expecting their first child. There’s no excuse for not getting Mom to the hospital on time.”  -- Brad Dickson

Just so you know it's really a Yankee Christmas at our house this year.
CP-









 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?

The New York Yankees are looking for a new manager, the only managing job open at this time. It's a very, very attractive job. The new skipper will be taking over a team with a number of young , extremely talented players, with a farm system on the verge of spitting out some more. They have a front office that will spare no expense to provide whatever is needed. You will also become more famous than you ever imagined and in some ways you will not appreciate.

That is the bad news. You will be dealing with a news media that is not constrained by a lot of facts, and they will report every rumor and criticism that they overhear, factual or not. And there are a lot them out there. This leads to the fans also being super-critical. They will  jump on every single move you make and you better have good answers ready. You will start to believe that every manager's press conference should be accompanied with a bottle of Maalox...and you're probably right.

There are already a lot of hats in the ring. So far, GM Brian Cashman has interviewed former manager Eric Wedge (very experienced) and Yankee bench coach Rob Thompson (in the Yankee system for many years). A few of the people who have openly declared an interest are Aaron Boone, David Cone and John Flaherty. There is also a rumor that Alex Rodriquez thinks the chance to manage that team is "intriguing." I would like to declare for the job myself. I've been watching Yankee games since 1955, so what more experience do I need?

I offer a note of condolence to my west-coast sister-in-law, the lovely Pauline, over the World Series defeat of her beloved  LA Dodgers by the Houston Astros. If it's any consolation, Pauline, the Dodgers finished second while the Astros finished next to last.

There is a real question mark over who will be the American League  MVP between Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve. Altuve will probably win because his previous seasons were also pretty good. There is no question about Rookie of the Year, however, Judge has that locked down completely. The AL Cy Young award seems fairly clear cut to me: Corey Kluber has a little better year than Chris Sale, who faded at the end of the season.

In the NL, Cody Bellinger appears to be a shoo-in for Rookie of the year and Giancarlo Stanton will most likely be the NL MVP, even though the Marlins didn't make the playoffs. Being on a winning team has always carried a lot of weight with me when it comes to a Most Valuable player, but Stanton's numbers are not to be ignored. Clayton Kershaw gets my vote for NL Cy Young, Kenley Jansen's 40 saves notwithstanding.
[A side note: now Bill James (with help) has come up with another stat, the CYP - Cy Young Points.
This is an elaborate formula which assigns a value to various stats which will help you determine who has the best year.  Two points here: the values assigned to each stat are arbitrary and they also include a "bonus" of 12 points if your team made the playoffs. What does that have to do with who the best pitcher is? This is not the most valuable pitcher, just which pitcher had the best year. I suppose Bill James has to earn his money somehow.]

The Silly Season (trade rumors) is about to begin and this time, the rumors aren't limited to this season. There are rumors about next season's free agents and trade possibilities. The Biggest question concerns one of next year's free agent - Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. The press is already projecting him as a $40 million a year man with at least a 10-year contract. There are a few teams you could buy for that kind of money.

***THEY SAID IT***
" A tailgating Bills fan is OK after leaping onto a burning table and catching on fire. I’m going to guess the fire was put out with beer."  -- Brad Dickson
"Did someone tell Michigan State players they had a bye week this week.  (Ohio State 48, MSU 3.)"  -- Janice Hough
" Dodgers Cody Bellinger set a Series record by striking out 17 times.  “Hold my beer”, said Yankees Aaron Judge."  -- Tony Chong
"A gambler won $14 million on World Series game seven.  Here’s what’s suspicious — turns out it was some guy named Yu Darvish."  -- Conan O'Brien
"Cleveland wideout Josh Gordon saying he used drugs or alcohol before every game: “To which diehard Browns fans are saying, ‘Welcome to our world.’ ”  -- Jim Barach
"A "Tom Brady Signature Edition" Aston Martin is for sale for $360,000. Because it’s a Brady edition, all the air has been let out of the tires."  -- Brad Dickson
"NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was among the first passengers to ride a new driverless bus in Las Vegas. To make her feel comfortable, they had it follow 33 cars."  -- RJ Currie
"Jerry Jones has apparently declared war on Roger Goodell. Pass the popcorn, this could be more fun than most NFL games."  -- Janice Hough
"Think this guy just might have an ink-cartridge endorsement in his future? Introducing Stanford placekicker Jet Toner."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night to win their first World Series title in team history. Sad news for Dodgers fans, some of whom have been following the team since as far back as Game 3."  -- Seth Meyers
"On a Florida highway, a potato chip truck collided with a beer truck, scattering the contents of both all over the road. This sounds like every other Super Bowl commercial I’ve ever seen."  -- Brad Dickson
"Three UCLA Bruin basketballers questioned for shoplifting in Shanghai. The college basketball season hasn’t even started, and already UCLA leads the nation in steals."  -- Jerry Perisho
"The 2016 Milwaukee marathon's course was 3/10 of a mile too long, and last year it was 6/10 of a mile too short. "Next year it will be just right," said Goldilocks."  -- RJ Currie
"Kate Upton, who is marrying Justin Verlander this weekend, says Astros pitcher fully supports her modeling career. So do I, Kate. So do I."  -- Randy Beard

CP-


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

THE WORLD SERIOUS?

Having rooted passionately for the Yankees since I was 7 years old (Mickey Mantle's rookie year...and, strangely enough, his uniform number), I never have a lot of interest in the Series when the Yanks aren't in it, but I do pay some attention. I don't understand the hullabaloo over this years games. They've played six games and two of them have been hailed as great games, and game five as "the greatest World Series game ever."
Two words: Bull and Roar.We're talking about a game where pitchers couldn't get anyone out. Why does that make it great? My definition for a great game is one that includes no errors, terrific fielding, dominating pitching  and a couple of timely hits. There have been many, many exciting games like game five, but the greatest ever? Afraid not.
Try game six of the 1975 Series between Boston and Cincinnati. That game contained some very timely and exciting plays, culminating with Carlton Fisk's body-english aided home run in the 12th inning. The greatest, however, has to be the 1956 game five - the Perfect Game. Let's have no more talk of the "greatest game."

Let's go to the real question. How come all these Cy Young quality pitchers are failing in the playoffs? Are they overworked? Are the managers panicking and pulling them from the game too early? Are they facing really good hitting all of a sudden? Are they not used to the pressure of a national stage?  It's probably a little of all the above.
I think a major factor is cybermetrics. There, I said it. The Book says that so and so loses it after 80 pitches. History says he has trouble the third time through the lineup. These facts are all averages, you understand. If a pitcher fails after six innings once, but pitches well after six twice, it's self-defeating to automatically pull him after six because you are simply perpetuating the myth, that he's no good after six innings.

Add to that the fact that all the playoff teams have what is considered very good bullpens. Managers feel, "What good is having the guns if I don't use them?"  All year, Keuchel, Kluber and Kershaw and the like have pitched into the 7th inning and gotten into and out of trouble along the way. Here we go into the playoffs and the managers have shown NO patience. Three hits and two runs, well you're all done. Bull pens aren't infallible. You bring in three relievers in a game and bound to run into someone who's having a bad day. Go to four relievers and that's almost assured. Give these guys a chance to solve their own problems. They're the ones that got you there.
In short, these managers are not managing to win, they're managing so as to be able to justify their decisions with front office and the press after the game. Especially the press. The teams that  don't deviate from their normal game have the best chance of winning. This year, it seems to be the team that screws up the least has the best chance. Throw the book away and watch the game.

To paraphrase Charley Brown - "Tell your cybermetrics to shut up!"

Talk about a night game
Could someone have Commish Rob Manfred call me tomorrow morning and tell me what happened during the last two innings of Game seven. I tend to fall asleep in my chair after midnight. I know start times are determined by the advertising dollar, but how much influence does a commercial have on a guy sound asleep in front of the TV?
That'll teach him
I'm glad to see MLB moved quickly to punish Yuli Gurriel for his insensitive mocking of Yu Darvish with his insulting gesture. He's been suspended for five games. Wait, it doesn't take place till nest season? As long as you're being irrelevant you might as well schedule it for spring training games.


***THEY SAID IT***
"Can we make it a felony offense for 1st person who says “Game 7, win or go home.”  -- Janice Hough
"Saturday night, Nebraska played the Purdue Boilermakers. After facing Ohio State last time, the Huskers said it was just nice to be back playing a college team."  -- Brad Dickson
"A kitten wandered onto the field during the Ravens 40-0 thrashing of Dolphins. It looked just as weak as — well, you know — the Dolphins offence"  -- RJ Currie
"A feral cat ran across the field at the tail end of the Ravens’ 40-0 pasting of Miami on Thursday night. Adding further insult, the cat finished the night as the Dolphins’ leading rusher."  -- Dwight Perry
"Miami traded Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia for a fourth round draft pick. A fourth-rounder! Miami may as well have given Ajayi to Philly for a stationary bike and box of kicking tees."  -- Greg Cote

"So Dave Roberts actually had the audacity to challenge a call based on a rule his own 2nd baseman (Chase Utley) caused with a dirty slide?"  -- Janice Hough
"UNC b-baller Joel Berry broke his right hand hitting a door in anger over losing a video game. What's position does the guy play? Pointless guard?"  -- RJ Currie
"Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw only seven passes in a victory over Carolina. There’s a lot to be said for bringing a rookie along slowly, but Trubisky is playing with the world’s largest set of training wheels."  -- Bob Molinaro
"An Italian soccer player was suspended five games for urinating on fans. This raises a frightening question: what do you have to do to be suspended for 10 games?"  -- Brad Dickson
"Game 4 could have started at 7:05 EDT, but TV money commanded that it begin at 8:21 — on a Saturday! And Manfred has the colossal gall to claim that MLB’s top priority is kids — kids who work the night shift."  -- Phil Mushnick

CP-














Sunday, October 29, 2017

2017 RECAP...AND A RANT, OF COURSE

There were good things and bad things in the course of the season, as they are in most years. The good things bolstered the confidence of all the Baby Bombers and helped them realize the great potential they have. Even the bad things were great learning experiences. A 29-game stretch in August when they 15-14, taught them that baseball is indeed cyclical, and that losses came become epidemic. But they also learned that perseverance pays off in the long run and it will help them stave off extended slumps in the future.
To accomplish this, however, they need that veteran clubhouse presence, the team leaders and the Yanks have a few: Bret Gardner, for sure, perhaps David Robertson.  CC Sabathia and Todd Frasier could both fill that role IF they remain on the team next year.
There is always some house-cleaning to be done at the end of the year and hear are my suggestions
Players to dump:
Jaime Garcia - He was only procured as a safeguard anyway and never showed any ability to be anything other than that.
Jacoby Ellsbury - His talents have deteriorated and he's good only as a part-time (very part-time) backup outfielder. The Yanks would have to swallow a decent - actually indecent  - amount of salary but I can't see that as being much of a deterrent.
Michael Pineda - He's a free agent so let him go. He's way too inconsistent.
Chase Headley - Can still hit but prone to extended slumps And his fielding at 3rd base has become a liability. Trade him even if you have to eat some salary.
CC Sabathia - sign him to a one year deal. His knee and shoulder make his continued health a mystery.
Todd Frazier - Re-sign him. He's a terrific fielder and a power hitter and could average 25-30 home runs a year. He's 31, so I wouldn't go more than a 2 or 3-year deal.
Starlin Castro - He can sure hit, but he's absolutely wild at the plate so when he slumps, I doubt anyone can help him. He's a definite liability in the field. I think they should make him part of a package with some 2ny level minor leaguer and get a decent pitching prospect. This will make room for Glyber Torres next year.

I think the rest of the team is fine.

Now the big question - who will replace Girardi?  I can't say I'm sorry to see him go because I was tired of him 3 years ago, and in fact, Annie-O is also glad because she's tired of hearing me scream about his decisions. 
A lot of names are being suggested by the Yankee beat writers, such as bench coach Rob Thompson and a couple of minor league managers from the Yanks farm system. My thinking has led me to one surprising name:
David Cone
He a natural leader, very personable and very smart. As we all know, he is a big, big proponent of cyber metrics. I think he'll work very well with the young pitching staff, and he's very familiar with the Yankee farm system. He would be my choice.  I asked Annie-O if she agreed and she said, "Without a doubt."

And now a word from my cohort in crime:

"The Chad and C. Vod Picasner Dictionary of Contemporary Sports Words and Phrases" Word of the Day!
SCUMBAGGERY - n. : any utterance by a billionaire NFL franchise owner when he thinks he is not being recorded.
Example: Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans said "We can't have the inmates running the prison" during last week's owners meeting, in reference to ongoing player demonstrations.
Perhaps Bob should be taken into the little blue tent and put receive the concussion protocol. Or, better yet, perhaps Bob should be taken into the little blue tent and receive a concussion."

***THEY SAID IT***
"Asking prices for Packers tickets have dropped 50 percent and Green Bay-area businesses expect a 15-20 percent drop in revenue since QB Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone last Sunday. And State Farm is down to just a Discount Single-Check.                '  -- Dwight Perry

"Tiger Woods has pleaded guilty to reckless driving. His short game hasn't been much either."  -- RJ Currie  

" The Chicago Cubs just dismissed their pitching, hitting & third base coaches after losing in NCLS. Wow, one win after a century and talk about greedy."  -- Janice Hough
"During the Astros' 11-inning World Series Game 2 win over the Dodgers, a fan jumped into the Astros' bullpen. If the game had gone another inning the Astros planned to use the guy on the mound."  -- Brad Dickson
"Odds-on favorite to win this year’s “Pot, Meet Kettle” Award: Kentucky’s John Calipari — the only coach to lead multiple schools to vacated Final Four appearances — saying the FBI’s probe of college basketball is giving his sport a “black eye.” -- Dwight Perry
"Apparently the cow that recently wandered onto a Brooklyn soccer field had momentarily escaped being slaughtered. It was like halftime for a Cleveland Brown"  -- RJ Currie 
"Ex-heavweight champ George Foreman, 68, challenged tough-guy actor Steven Seagal, 65, to a fight in Las Vegas after Seagal went off on NFL anthem protesters. They’re calling it ‘The Geezers at Caesars.’"  -- Alex Kaseberg
"For the first time, several dogs at the Iditarod tested positive for a banned substance. People got suspicious when one of the huskies led Stage 3 of the Tour de France."  -- Brad Dickson
"Joe Girardi fired as manager of the New York Yankees because he couldn’t get them far enough in playoffs. San Diego Padre fans are thinking ‘What are playoffs?"  -- Janice Hough 

CP -



 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

THE DEATH OF PURE SPORTS

After last night’s Yankee win, Joe Girardi can spend a lifetime knowing he and the incompetence of an umpire share the blame for NY losing this series if Cleveland wins on Wednesday.
Here's to FoxSports 1 for a truly horrible broadcast of this series. John Smoltz should never be allowed to work a Yankee series. He still suffers from the scars of the Yankees winning four straight over his Braves team nearly twenty years ago.

While many use the mute button while watching sports, I needed a button to quickly turn the video off. Last night I counted 108 close-ups of Cleveland manager Terry Francon leaning on the dugout railing and spitting out mouthfuls of trash, and I doubt I counted them all. His over-stuffed yapper and constant oral defecation makes Ron Washington, ex-Texas manager, look like the perfect dinner guest.

Equally useless but at least less disgusting were the hundreds of cameo close-ups of bench players doing nothing and close-ups of pitchers’ nose hair while taking the sign. Real tension builders.
One shot I particularly enjoyed - a close-up of the back of several fans heads and nothing else. Inspiring!

And finally, if you have hung in this long, I’m saddened that any man with even a modest level of self-respect can wear a uniform that includes a racist, Native American caricature, that hideous, grinning, red-faced logo embroidered on the Cleveland jerseys and caps?

VOD-

 It's been a whole since Vod has graced the pages of CP at Large with one of his rants. While I agree with his comments, I wish he had included a few choice words about the Louisville basketball debacle.
CP-

Sunday, October 08, 2017

NO PROBLEM, I'M JUST LAZY

I've said many times, how respect and admiration I have for writers who can publish daily, while I have problems publishing once a week - or even once a month, as you can see. So, here goes with a few rants.

I checked in with ESPN this morning to find out what's new today. There they were, two guys (former athletes?) dressed nicely in suits and one woman with her hair in a bun and dressed appropriately - if she was on her way to a tailgate party. Okay, so it's her choice but on to sports. Except we didn't. For the next 90 seconds, we celebrated the birthday of one of the guys. Pictures of his family holding signs, tweets from other players, all the while the young lady made funny (to her) comments at the top of her lungs, talking over everyone else. No ice cream or cake and definitely no sports.  Goodbye.

It's taken a few years, but I finally agree with something Joe Girardi said. "I screwed up," he said, referring to the non-challenge of a hit-batsman call, a call that probably changed the course of the game. Of course, the bigger mistake was taking Sabathia out in the 6th when CC was going strong.
But that's Girardi. He can't wait to go to the bullpen. He likes to pull the starter in the sixth and get the last 10 or 12 outs with the bullpen. However, when you use 4 relievers, you run a big risk of running into a pitcher who's having a bad day. He'll never learn. His contract is up this year. Maybe Cashman and Steinbrenner will replace him. One can only hope.

So the Yanks are in the post season. Somebodies got to pay for it. Guess who? It's the fans:

With the Yankees back in the postseason, so is the price-gouging.
Parking in the Yankees’ lot, a gulping $35 during the regular season, is now $50.
Bleacher seats to Tuesday’s wild-card game were swollen from a regular season $17-22 to $101 a ticket, plus a $6 per ticket “convenience fee” and another $3.30 tack-on. Thus one bleacher seat cost $110.30.  From Phil Mushnick, NY Post

Sometimes Annie-O and I make fun of David Cone doing the color on Yankee games. He is a huge believer of sabermetrics, often emphasizing their value with his pet phrase, "Without a doubt." But after hearing him and two clowns who shall remain nameless, on MLB Network during a playoff game, you'd have to say that he was far and away the best in the booth. His comments were on point and clear and, unlike one of his cohorts, refused to relate every play to his own career. He ignored repeated attempts by his partner to make fun of his own career and stuck to analysis of what was happening on the field. Way to go David!



***THEY SAID IT*** 
"Detroit Tiger Andrew Romine played all nine positions in a game. Then he ran into the stands and sold hot dogs."  -- Brad Dickson
"Yankees manager Joe Girardi said “I screwed up” in not challenging HBP call. He did. But he wasn’t on the mound giving up six runs."  -- Janice Hough
"Texas’ refurbished football locker room featuring 126 flat-screen TVs. It’s essentially Buffalo Wild Wings, without the liquor license."  -- Norman Chad
"A couple that’s divorcing is involved in a custody battle over their Edmonton Oilers season tickets. Only in Canada do people say, “He can have the kids. I want the hockey tickets.”"  -- Brad Dickson
"Ousted Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said pretty much the same thing he did after his program’s previous scandal: “These allegations come as a complete shock to me.” In a related story, he’s going to this year’s Halloween party dressed as Sergeant Schultz."  -- Dwight Perry
"25th-ranked LSU paid a $1 million appearance fee to — and then lost to — 20½-point underdog Troy. The last time Troy was involved in a story this embarrassing, a horse was involved."  -- Janice Hough
" Rick Pitino, on FBI charges of college basketball corruption: “These allegations come as a complete shock to me.” Right. Every bit as genuine as his hair colour."  -- RJ Currie
"O.J. Simpson could be released from prison as early as Monday. And to think, Los Angeles was worried about North Korea."  -- Argus Hamilton
"Right about now a whole lot of AL teams, including Red Sox would sign a petition to move the Houston Astros back to the NL"  -- Janice Hough
"ESPN.com wrote Jose Altuve, 5’6″, “joined short list of players” with 3 home runs in 1 game in postseason. Did they type that with a straight face?"  -- Janice Hough
"Unconfirmed reports say the Miami Marlins players knelt for the anthem at their last home game. One fan booed. The other fan applauded."  -- RJ Currie

CP-











Sunday, September 10, 2017

NUMBERS AND SIGNS

This is the home stretch for MLB, the last two dozen games, when every game, every at bat, every pitch is so important. Teams fighting for a playoff spot fight for every single game. They set up their pitching staff so their best pitcher starts a game that will help his team the most. Lineups are tinkered with, more pinch-hitters are used and managers mix and match relievers so much, your scorecard looks like a two-year old was turned loose on it.
On Tuesday this week, the Red Sox & Blue Jays used 19 pitchers - 12 by the Sox -  in a 19 inning game that took 6 hours to play, probably an hour and a half just to change pitchers. Now that's going all out to win a game.
Well, maybe not quite all out. The Sox found an easier way to win. They cheated. Using all the wonderful electronic technology available to them, they stole signs, relayed them to the dugout and finally to the players in the field. Both the GM and the manager claimed to know nothing about it. And Sgt. Schultz never saw Col. Hogan's men doing anything suspicious. Sign stealing is not illegal but it's supposed to be unaided by any artificial means, such as binoculars, CCTV or microphones. Vin Scully used to treat his listeners to mound conversations by reading lips. When teams heard about this, they said, "Hey, wait a minute. This could be a good thing." Soon everyone on the field began covering their mouths like they all had a lethal case of halitosis.
Commissioner Manfred is going to have to do something drastic as a penalty because a thousand dollar fine and a slap on the wrist  won't even be noticed by Boston. He could take away some wins but that idea rests only in the dreams of every Yankee fan.  We will see.

Announcers like to inform us of every possible milestone that occurs in a game. So much so, they begin to sound so contrived that it's got to be hard for them to keep a straight face while relating them to us. ("Bob, that's only third time a left-handed hitter with a full beard popped up to third with two men on base and one out in the fifth inning of a game in an East Coast city against a pitcher of Lithuanian decent in the last two weeks.")  I assume they've run out of reasonable stats.
 Here's one that's real and not quite so silly:
Against the Orioles on 9/7, Chase Headley (uniform #12) hit his 12th homer of the season, Later in the game, Starlin Castro (#14) hit his 14th homer of the season. Where the hell is Aaron Judge (#99) when you need him?

The Cleveland Indians have won 17 games in a row - so far. They haven't lost a game since August 23rd. Is there anyone out there who can beat them?  On the other side of the ledger, the Los Angeles Dodgers, at one time on a pace to win 125 games, have now lost 9 in a row, and 14 of their last 15 games. Is there anyone out there who can't beat them?
As I keep telling Annie-O when the Yanks slump, baseball is cyclical. everyone streaks and everyone slumps. To wit, Cleveland isn't that good and the Dodgers aren't that bad.

Best move of the season: The Houston Astros just completed a trade with the Detroit Tigers, with the Astros getting Kate Upton for three players and cash. The trade was almost cancelled when the Tigers insisted on packaging Justin Verlander in the deal, but Houston finally relented.

***THEY SAID IT***
"The Mariners committed five errors in one inning? Everybody knows there’s no I in team, but who knew there were five E’s in Seattle?"  -- Dwight Perry
"Saturday, a huge Nebraska comeback fell just short as the Huskers lost to Oregon 42-35. How bad was the Husker defense in the first half? At halftime the Oregon marching band scored on the Huskers when a third clarinetist caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from a trombone player."  -- Brad Dickson

"Roger Goodell, when asked if a team should sign Colin Kaepernick – “I’m not a football expert.” When the commissioner is right, he’s right."  -- Janice Hough
"The Red Sox are in hot water for using modern technology to relay stolen signs using Apple iWatches. The Yankees are counter accused of using a TV camera dedicated to the Boston dugout. Meanwhile, the Mets are still using 70’s communications with Dick Tracy watches and ‘Get Smart’ shoe phones."  -- Tony Chong
"Patriots coach Bill Belichick summed up their opening game efforts as “nothing was good enough.” No, wait a minute — that was my ex-wife's grounds for divorce."  -- RJ Currie
"Ex-NFL diva Terrell Owens will be on this season’s “Dancing With The Stars”. If you care, keep it to yourself."  -- Bob Molinaro
"Notre Dame will wear Knute Rockne tribute uniforms when the Irish play Navy on Nov. 18. Now comes the tough part: Convincing the players to wear the leather helmets."  -- Dwight Perry
"The St. Petersburg Bowl has been renamed the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. That sounds like something the Centers for Disease Control would warn us about."  -- Brad Dickson
"Norwegian cross-country ski champ Therese Johaug tested positive for a banned substance in her lip balm. She can kiss the 2018 Winter Olympics goodbye."  -- Tom Cuddy, WBZ radio in Boston
"Patriots sign surveillance drone to 7-year deal."  -- TheKicker.com
"Patriots fans soundly booed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during Thursday’s season opener.  Michael Vick got a better reception at the Westminster Dog Show."  -- Alex Kaseberg
"LPGA rookie Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong will be the first golfer ever disqualified for running out of ink while signing her scorecard."  -- Dwight Perry
" In a 19 inning game vs Boston, Blue Jays had to use a few pitchers who hadn’t pitched recently. They were so much out of the loop, they had to ask the Red Sox to decode the signs." -- Tony Chong
"Ronda Rousey got married last weekend. Lately just about everybody has pinned her down."  -- RJ Currie

CP-
 









Friday, August 25, 2017

...AND IN THIS CORNER..

...weighing in, with a pea-sized brain...
Without going any further, I'll bet you know who I'm talking about. Yes, it's home plate umpire Carlos Torres, ably assisted by first base umpire and crew chief, Dana DeMuth who looked totally bored with the whole game.
When Tiger pitcher Michael Fulmer intentionally hit Gary Sanchez, there was a strong case for ejecting Fulmer right then, since Sanchez had beat up the whole Tiger pitching staff for three games. But there wasn't even a warning issued. Either of those actions would probably have forestalled all of the drama that followed.

When Yankee pitcher Kahnle threw behind Cabrera, HE was ejected, followed closely by mgr Girardi.

While Torres was standing in the infield, proudly defending his  poorly timed decision to take control of the situation, he totally ignored the by-play between NY catcher Romine and Detroit batter Cabrera which quickly became an all-out fist fight. That started one of the biggest brawls I've ever seen. This was no usual "grab your partner and dance" standard baseball brawl, this was a few actual battles with players trying very hard to get at each other. Naturally, with all those bodies packed together, this was impossible - except for one guy. Aaron Judge came storming in from right field and parted the waters like they were little kids in front of him. I don't know who he was after but I don't think he reached him since there were no bodies on the ground when the fight finally broke up.

With the score tied in the seventh and the Yanks in the middle of a fight for the pennant, Betances was ejected for hitting McCann in the head with the second pitch of the inning. If you're going to intentionally hit someone in a close game, you don't put the lead off hitter on base and you never aim at the head. You're not Sal Maglie, a notorious headhunter, after all. So. Betances and interim-manager Thompson headed for the showers.

But they weren't done. Tiger pitcher Alex Wilson, who had displayed excellent control to that point, hit Yankee hitter Todd Frasier. Bye-bye Wilson and Tiger manager Brad Asmuth, who, according to Joe Girardi, first suggested that one Yankee player " be fruitful and multiply," but not in those words.

There will be fines and suspensions handed out, but the biggest punishment should be given to umpire Carlos Torres for basically creating the whole problem, followed by the crew chief, Dana DeMuth, who should have taken command but didn't.  Never happen.

** In other news, Cleveland took Chris Sale to the woodshed by blasting him for seven runs in three innings while beating the Red Sox 13-6. Good news for the Yankees at least.

** Can somebody tell me what the Dodgers are doing? With the best record in baseball, heading towards a 116-win season, they go out and get premier pitcher Yu Darvish. Then they trade for Met slugger Curtis Granderson, who promptly hit a grand slam homer in his first game as a Dodger., after hitting a grand slam in his last game as a Met. How much help do the Dodgers think they need? These two guys haven't helped at all. The Dodgers are still only on a pace for 116 games. Maybe Mike Trout is available.

** I heard one of Aaron Judge's homers described as a "moon shot." That's a home run that is hit very, very high. I believe this phrase started back in the late 50's (Yeah, I'm that old) when the Dodgers first moved to California. They played in the old Memorial Coliseum that was not designed for baseball. This resulted in a left field wall that was about 250 feet from home plate, a little too short for major leaguers.  To combat this the Dodgers erected a 40-foot high screen. This was partially successful until a left-handed singles hitter learned to slap fly balls to left which cleared the screen and probably never traveled more than 300 feet in distant. The players name was Wally Moon and this type of homer will forever bear his name. He hit eleven homers that year. Doesn't sound like a lot until you know that he only hit 13 homers total in  the following six years of his career.

** I'm sick and tired of hearing Michael Kay announce the attendance of games and then declaring it as "sold out." Then the box score shows the same attendance number but says the it is 98% or 96% , based on the announced capacity of the stadium. C'mon Michael, don't be such a network stooge.  

***THEY SAID IT***
"Yankee slugger Aaron Judge broke the major league record by striking out in 33 straight games.
That’s what he gets for changing his breakfast menu from Wheaties to Special K."  -- Dwight Perry

"Manu Ginobili signed 2-year, $5mill deal with Spurs. Of course San Antonio saves some money since Manu’s health costs covered by Medicare."  -- Janice Hough
"A man throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in Boston hit a Red Sox team photographer in the groin. Turns out he’s a Yankees fan and that’s where he was aiming."  -- Brad Dickson
"The IOC ordered Los Angeles to upgrade its pistol-target venues for the 2028 Olympics. What’s wrong with the freeways we already have?"  -- Argus Hamilton
"Panda Sandoval was called up this week by SF. Giants immediately installed speed bumps in the buffet line."  -- TC Chong
" Justin Smoak notched his team-leading 33rd homer and 80th RBI helping the Jays win 5-3 over the Rays. Where there’s Smoak, there’s fire."  -- RJ Currie [Note: RJ has officially taken over the lead for the Punmaster of the Universe title from Dwight Perry - CP]
"Just wondering: Do curlers take things for granite?"  -- RJ Currie [See what I mean? - CP]
"Hear about the latest set of Dallas Cowboys trading cards? They’re the first to feature both front and side views."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Dodgers — in the midst of a 43-7 run — landed Rangers ace Yu Darvish, which is like Bill Gates finding money."  -- Greg Cote
"So if these brawls keep up can we expect to see  the Yanks & the Tigers on pay-per-view? Down goes Frazier.  (Clint).  Not exactly what you expect in a baseball game."  -- Janice Hough
"The Red Sox and Yankees may be playing a series next year across the pond. London, UK; where the sport of choice vs baseball is Cricket. A Cricket game can last up to 4 or 5 days. So a NYY-Bos game could probably be no different!"  -- TC Chong

"Last Wednesday, in case you missed it, was National Coloring Book Day. Or as it’s better known around college jock factories,"  National Textbook Day."  -- Dwight Perry

CP-





Sunday, July 30, 2017

IF I WERE COMMISSIONER...

...there's a few things that would be changed.

** Eliminate the Automatic Intentional Walk. You're not really saving any significant time and things happen. Balks and wild pitches can occur.

** There's no such thing as Defensive Indifference. Players care so much about their personal stats, let them pay for giving away an extra base. You let him get to second base than the runner gets a stolen base and it goes on your record that you gave up one.

** Institute the Designated Hitter in both leagues. Does it make the game different? Sure, it does. So What? One of the biggest reasons for it, is it keeps older players in the game longer. How do you think Boston would have felt if David Ortiz could only pinch hit all year? As for the purists, there is no rule that says you have to use a DH. Play your team that way but don't claim your opponent has an advantage by using the DH.

** Eliminate the Interleague play. Other than a few intercity rivalries, there's no big deal in having Tampa play Cincinnati or Arizona going against Boston. Let it go.

** Return the Hall of Fame Game. It was part of the celebration of the induction of the newest members. You can always make the game count in the standings. Let's celebrate the players superior accomplishments with the actual game that they excelled in. (We'll hear more about this when I ask to be in charge of the Hall of Fame.)

** Institute a code of behavior for umpires. We'll have an investigation every time a player or manager is ejected. If an umpire kicks a guy out, he better have a damn good reason. If an ump goes after a player or manager, there better be a compelling reason. When an umpire walks over to a dugout and tosses a guy, the ump is wrong. Being an over-officious jerk on the umpires' part will get him suspended. Here's two of the latest examples:
A) Home plate umpire Will Little (certainly an appropriate last name) threw out three Blue Jays in the course of one at-bat. The manager, the pitcher and finally the catcher all got the hook. Why? Little's strike zone was quite erratic and players complained. Umpires are often referred to a arbiters. An arbiter, by definition, a person whose views or actions have great influence over trends in social behavior. This means that when you make a decision,someone is going to be unhappy. So don't be surprised when they object. You asked to be an umpire, so live with the complaints.
B) Same game, umpire Gerry Davis threw out Adrian Beltre because he wouldn't stay in the on-deck circle. NOBODY stays in the on-deck circle. NOBODY stays in the coaches box either. NOBODY stays in the batters box. Why don't you do something about that? 
Actually, we can make this easier. Watch whatever Umpire Joe West does and stop umpires from doing that.

** Please follow the rules. This is one of my favorite sore spots. "An umpire shall not call time once the batter is in the box and the pitcher has started his windup or is in the set position on the mound."
This is an actual quote from the rule book, yet umpires do it all the time. It also says the umpire should not allow a batter to be out of the box for longer than reasonable, but that's so vague, there is no way to enforce it. You might try not allowing them to re-tighten their batting gloves four times or more during an at bat.

** Post Season games should start by  7:05 PM EST. That's first pitch at 7:05, not the start of pre-game.

Do you hate sports cliches as much as I do? Read Hartley Miller's take on them:

There you have it. All improvements in my mind, at least. Of course, there's little chance of any of these actually occurring, but I can dream, can't I. Now you have some idea of what Annie-O has to listen to every night. That's when I can get a word in when the broadcasters take a breath. If they ever do.

NY Post back page headline after Brett Gardner's walk-off single:
"Guard-ian Angel"

***THEY SAID IT***
"It has become more than somewhat official that Odell Beckham Jr. has become the latest New York City sports star to think that having an unspoken thought is against the law."  -- Mike Lupica
"British Open winner Jordan Spieth took 30 minutes before taking a shot on the 13th hole. It was so slow, Major League Baseball offered suggestions to speed up play. -- Alex Kaseberg
"Star receiver Dez Bryant  reported three hours late to Cowboys training camp  after hosting a hometown barbecue the day before to thank his supporters. Team publicists, already in midseason form, listed him as day-to-day with greasy fingers."  -- Dwight Perry
"Whenever I listen to Sterling I hear a man doing an imitation of Ted Baxter.”  -- Sportswriter Doug Branch
"Alabama DE Da’Shawn Hand was arrested for alleged DUI last night. The Tide open Sept. 2 against Florida State. But I’m sure Nick Saban will send a strong message by suspending Hand for the first quarter of the Sept. 9 Fresno State game."  -- Janice Hough
"I told my wife to buy Tom Brady’s upcoming self-help book: not because it'll make me a gifted QB, exceptionally handsome or very rich, but because I live with a supermodel. She said: “We’re still not getting an 80-inch TV."  -- RJ Currie
"How excited was Minnesota coach  P.J. Fleck at Big 10 media days? Picture Richard Simmons with his finger in a light socket."  -- Brad Dickson
"China has banned Disney character Winnie the Pooh due to comparisons made to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Look for America to follow suit, when the White House will ban the Disney character Pinocchio."  -- TC Chong [Okay, not sports, but I like Tony - CP]
" You can come out now! Al Leiter is off for a while from YES’ Yankees telecasts. Even while inhaling, Leiter doesn’t stop talking. He’s like the universal sister-in-law."  -- Phil Mushnick
" With Chris Paul and James Harden sharing a backcourt, every Rockets game will be a flopping clinic. There will be times when one of them takes a shot and both of them fall down."  -- Scott Ostler
"With two tough losses, SF Giants blew great chances  to climb within 30 games of the Dodgers."  -- Janice Hough
"The LPGA is enforcing a conservative dress code, including limitations on leggings and racerback tank tops. Yep. That'll convince young folks golf isn't an old fuddy-duddy sport."  -- RJ Currie
"LaVar Ball is another one of those guys in sports about whom you have to ask this question:
Does he ever run out of saliva?"  -- Mike Lupica

CP-







Saturday, July 22, 2017

A FEW COMMENTS

Around the horn with Chad:

** The #1 rule for athletes (or what should be #1). Look like you've been there before. Aaron Judge belted another long, long home run last night. Did he pose at home plate? NO. Did he do a big bat flip? NO. Did he trot very slowly around the bases? NO. Did he affect some stupid pose while running the bases? No. He hit it, knew it was gone and trotted around the bases. THAT is the way to do it.

** Pablo Sandoval has resigned with the San Francisco Giants after being released by the Red Sox. The Panda's whole salary is being paid by the Red Sox, but the Giants won't be getting off scott-free. They will have to substantially increase the size of the post-game buffet now that Pablo has brought his fork and spoon to the west coast.

** Don't you think some pitchers should be declared illegal? Last night, Chris Sale looked like he accidentally wandered into a Little League game. As the Angels looked like a Little League team. Note: The Yankees have won both games that Sale has started against them this year. But they never beat him. After facing Sale, the Red Sox bullpen looked like Little Leaguers to the Yankee hitters.

** What's the date? OH yeah, it's July 22nd. ESPN has already declared that Houston & the Dodgers will meet in the World Series. I guess that's why ESPN allots at least one hour a day analyzing the coming pro-football season. Why are they bothering to play the rest of the baseball season. Couldn't be the money, could it? Nah!

** Sam Miller, in what I hope will be a very short tenure at ESPN, has declared that home run videos  are the worst because you know what's going to happen. That's the criteria? Does that mean we shouldn't watch Chris sale pitch because we KNOW no one can hit him? I think Sam Miller may be there to make the other ESPN writers look smart. And while we're at it, please bring back Jamie Sire.

** Annie-O is disgusted because the Yanks are in an extended slump. Take heart, girl, NY still has the 3rd best record in the American League. In the NL, they would have the 5th best record. Both situations mean they would be in the playoffs. And there's still 65 games to go. Could be worse: you could be rooting for the Mets.
I have a prediction: When Aaron Hicks is added back onto the 25-man roster, the Yankees will release Jacoby Ellsbury. You can't keep Frasier, Judge and Hicks out of the line up. They will also  keep Gardner.

** Another good game for Yankee rookie Clint Frasier and the Yankee announcers praised him to high heaven because...he slid into third base feet first. They even described it: right foot extended, spikes up and popped up onto the bag. Very dangerous, guys. He could have sprained an ankle. This business about sliding head first being so dangerous is starting to get to me. "Spikes up," yeah that's good. If the third baseman gets spiked, that's his problem I guess. Can we just let them play and not try to turn it into a geriatric softball game?

** "This will never happen" department. With all the worthless statistics that we have to listen to every night (Strike pct, exit velo, run saved,etc.), how about meaningful statistics only. I'm tired of hearing things like, "That's the most singles to left-center in a game where one team wears blue in a domed stadium on a week night by a left-handed hitter who recently shaved his mustache in the last 10 days."  By the time I figure out what that means and how many players actually meet that criteria, the game is over and I still haven't learned anything significant.

** If you really want to help, keep track of how many strikes and balls are mis-called by the umpire and publish those percentages. Every move the players make is catalogued, why not the umpires?
(Never happen #2)

***THEY SAID IT***
"Consider the most common complaint I’ve fielded since this column began in 1982: Broadcasters who just won’t shut up, every play leads to, is worth forced discussion, analysis, opinion, explanation and debate."  -- Phil Mushnick, NY Post [Amen, Brother - CP]
"The world's smelliest plant is now on display in Des Moines. This should be the worst odor in Des Moines until the Iowa State Fair food concessions open next month."  -- Brad Dickson
"Canadians   Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes won beach volleyball gold at the Porec Major — on Canada Day. Sometimes two thongs can make a right."  -- RJ Currie
"Astros players staged a mock funeral Monday for the glove of 40-year-old DH Carlos Beltran, who hadn’t played in the field in two months. Such events are becoming a habit in Houston. The Astros buried the AL West about a month and half ago."  -- Dwight Perry

"Lavar Ball finalizes 3-year, 3-son deal to date Kardashians."  -- SportsPickle.com
" SF Giants had   "Game of Thrones" night at AT&T Park. Well, with team on pace to lose 100 games not a bad idea to remind fans “Winter is coming.”  -- Janice Hough
"Viagra and Cialis said they'll no longer be advertising on NFL games. With cheaper generics flooding the market, competition is getting stiff"  -- RJ Currie
" A professional marathoner in Maine outran two bears. His big concern? That these were Kenyan bears."  -- Brad Dickson
"It seems only fitting that the Red Sox handed corpulent third baseman Pablo Sandoval a $90 million contract, then had to eat nearly half of it."  -- Dwight Perry
"Pablo Sandoval said “a few teams” were interested in signing him. Is he talking baseball or competitive eating?"  -- Janice Hough
"After the Knicks fired him, Phil Jackson tweeted a pic of his feet on a railing in front of a body of water. Knowing Jackson, it’s probably the Bermuda Triangle."  -- RJ Currie [Obviously, RJ was hot this week - CP]
"There is online video of a wild moose chasing skiers down a slope. If this becomes an official event, I’d start watching the Winter Olympics again."  -- Brad Dickson

CP- 




Sunday, July 16, 2017

THE ALL-STAR GAME: ANOTHER BASEBALL CLASSIC GONE

Actually, it's just misunderstood.  I've been reading that the All-Star game doesn't have the same zing it used to. They have tried to instill some life or urgency into it by making the game decide what team gets the home field advantage in the World Series. As with most major decisions the Commissioner's office makes, it was not well thought out. In fact, it seemed NO thought was put into it. How can you make an exhibition game decide something so important? You can't, and the baseball powers finally woke up to that fact and went back to the exhibition format.

The game has lost some of it's appeal and there is a very good reason that the Home Run Derby has taken over the excitement of the all-star break.  Originally, the game was meant to showcase the stars of the game and show off their unique skills to the fans. If you lived in an American League city, what chance did you have to see National League stars and vice-versa? How would Whitey Ford pitch to Willie Mays? (Not well, if I remember correctly) Can Mickey hit a homer against Warren Spahn? (Mantle could hit a homer against a howitzer.)  Baseball games were on National TV once a week and they usually featured big-market teams like the Dodgers or the Giants, Yankees or Cubs. The lowly Kansas City Athletics could have played in their skivvies and still not get those TV cameras in their stadium.  So the only place to see these players and match-ups, was the All-Star game.

But now, it's all different. ALL teams have their games on TV. Inter-league games are quite common.  ESPN and Fox Sports will show you every exciting play wherever it took place. You can see every team and every star play every single day. Where is that unique opportunity that created the all-star excitement?  Plus, it's still not a real game. Almost everybody plays. Pitchers pitch one inning or to just one batter. Position players change almost before you realize they were in the game. It used to be that the starters played at least three innings. Even the starting pitcher would often go three innings. As Jacques Clouseau (Pink Panther series) would say: "Not any more."  A lot of the players aren't really all-stars anyway, just the best player a particular team has. Don't get me wrong, the players try hard. That professional competitiveness is inherent in them, but that's the only motivation. It isn't the money (never thought I'd write that about professional sports), because they don't get any cash for winning or losing. They do get perks that are worth more than a factory worker makes in a year.

So forget the actual game. Make it skills contest only. A home run derby. Who has the most accurate outfield arm? Who runs the bases the fastest? Compare their paychecks. That will excite those $12-an-hour fast food workers.

It'll never happen.

Congratulations to those fans who witnessed another Yankee-Red Sox classic marathon. Sixteen innings and just a tad short of six hours. And just to see who has the stamina, the two teams will play a double header today. 34 innings of baseball in the space of about 30 hours. We could see two brand new teams on Monday.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Titans cornerback Logan Ryan wed former Rutgers softballer Ashley Bragg. I’m guessing he allowed her to complete a few passes and she let him get past first base."  -- RJ Currie
"So forget politics, let’s get a real argument going – should the SF Giants pick up Pablo Sandoval since the Red Sox are paying his salary?"  -- Janice Hough
" Los Angeles is expecting to host the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics. By that time, Trump’s border wall should be built and Mexico will be favored to win gold in the Pole Vault."  -- TC Chong
" Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said when he was a kid that he drank paint because he thought it’d make it harder to tackle him. Actually, this makes as much sense as Wheaties."  -- Brad Dickson
"Before Aaron Judge was given the starting right fielder’s job with the Yankees, before he became the star of his team, the star of this Yankee team was supposed to be its bullpen.How’s that working out for them?"  -- Mike Lupica

" MLB commissioner Rob Manfred – NY’s Aaron Judge “can become the face of the game.” Yankees fans are going, “You mean he isn’t already?  -- Janice Hough
"A good question for which there is no good answer: A reliever who enters the game in the ninth with a four-run lead is then destroyed [for four runs]. But he has not blown a save because he’s not eligible to blow a save. Who thinks this stuff up?”  -- NY Post reader Ronald Wieck
"Bills defensive lineman Adolphus Washington was arrested Sunday for improperly carrying a concealed firearm outside the Splash Park water park in Sharonville, Ohio. Unfortunately for Washington, it wasn’t a squirt gun."  -- Dwight Perry

"A Cleveland artist created a bust of LeBron James from dryer lint. The painstaking effort took months to perfect. Then LeBron shaved his head and so the artist has to start over."  -- Brad Dickson

"LPGA rookie player S. Santiwiwatthanaphong of Thailand, who finished 11th in last week’s tournament was almost assessed a 2 stroke penalty for taking too long to sign her scorecard. Not only that, but she also managed to crash the “Spellcheck” app on the LPGA computers."  -- TC Chong
"Packers TE Martellus Bennett’s top five QBs had Jay Cutler above two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning. At the risk of dating myself, that’s like ranking Phyliss Diller above Farrah Fawcett for best hair."  -- RJ Currie

CP-







Sunday, July 09, 2017

SEE HOW EASY THIS IS?

Major League Baseball has been talking for 2 years (longer, actually) about speeding up the game. The best minds in the front office have come up with some of the most ineffectual and inane suggestions you'd ever want to hear. such as these brilliant ideas:
**Institute a 20-second pitch clock.  On the face of it, a good idea, but when MLB got through with it, they've watered it down with details. When he steps off the rubber, the clock would restart. Or, the clock would just pause wherever the countdown happened to be. Didn't anyone realize what that meant? It's no pitch clock if the pitcher can pause it by stepping off.
**The batter must keep at least one foot in the batters box at all times. Then they "fixed" it by saying the batter could step out completely if he swung and fouled it off or swung and missed.  Oh yeah, the penalty for stepping out? They fine him a few hundred dollars. With the money these guys make, it's like fining me a buck and a quarter for shooting someone.
**Cut the time between innings by 20 seconds, Which amounts to about six minutes per game...if they enforce it. They won't, of course, because that means shortening commercial time and that will never happen.
**Eliminate the four-pitch intentional walk, just send him to first base. This works and saves maybe one whole hour a season. Wow.

Yesterday, the Yanks and the Brewers played 9 innings in 2 hours and 36 minutes. How did they do it? The Brewers pitcher, Brent Suter simply stayed on the mound after a pitch, took the return throw, stepped back on the rubber, got the sign and pitched. All of it was unforced by the umpire. In one at bat, Yankee outfielder Aaron Judge not only stayed in the box, he stayed in his pose to hit the ball. I believe his 6-pitch at bat took about two and a half minutes. Enforce the first two suggestions listed and this is what you get; a speedy game.

**Someone explain this to me.
The Brewers are in first place in the NL Central by four and a half games, heading toward a 90-win season. How are they doing this by fielding like they've never seen a glove before. They've made 69 errors so far, including SEVEN in the last two games.
Two of the "smartest" base runners on the Yankees, ran themselves into the dumbest double play I've seen since two Yankees were thrown out at home on one play. On a ball hit back to the pitcher, Didi Gregorious wandered too far of 2nd and got caught in a rundown. The batter, Chase Headley, tried to take second on the play, decided he couldn't make it and got nailed trying to get back to first.  When things go bad...

**Happy to hear that Terry Francona, Indians manager, is out of the hospital after a successful heart procedure. He is currently, in my opinion, the best manager in baseball. I think he's better managing while lying in a hospital bed than Girardi is in the dugout.

**There is always talk about players competing in the home run derby screwing up their swings and suffering through a poor 2nd half because of it. It has happened in the past. There are two guys in the contest this year that I don't believe will have that problem: Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Why? Because neither guy has to over swing to hit the ball out. We will find out if I'm right.

***THEY SAID IT***
"Victoria Azarenka has advanced to the 4th round at Wimbledon. Azarenka gave birth to her 1st child in December  2016. Four words “Weaker sex my ass.”"  -- Janice Hough
"The Cincinnati Reds Billy Hamilton was finally tagged out by the Rays after a 6-5-2-4-5-7 rundown between third base and home. The good news for Hamilton is he was credited with completing his first 5K."  -- Brad Dickson
"Cornerback Shareece Wright took a 450-mile Uber ride to Buffalo to make the Bills' voluntary offseason workout. At the very least, he's a lock for the taxi squad."  -- RJ Currie
"Mets farmhand Tim Tebow hit his fourth career minor league homer Wednesday, passing Michael Jordan on the all-time list"  -- Dwight Perry
"The CFL has begun and Winnipeg starts their season with a bye. If the league gave them 2 bye weeks in a row, they could be mathematically eliminated after week 2."  -- TC Chong
"Cubs outfielder John Jay pitched a scoreless 9th despite throwing pitches in the 50s. In related news Jamie Moyer just unretired."  -- Janice Hough
"Frustrated Wimbledon player Daniil Medvedev threw money at the umpire’s chair. Throwing money at officials only works when you’re trying to host a World Cup."  -- Brad Dickson
"Odell Beckham reported to Giants minicamp with “Shhhhh!!!” on his Nikes. Not to be outdone, Browns players this season will have “Wake up!!!” on their cleats."  -- RJ Currie
"A charity hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., broke a record by lasting nearly 10½ days. Shattering the old mark set by a Yankees-Red Sox doubleheader."  -- Dwight Perry
"“Knicks admit concern that the only team dumb enough to trade for Carmelo Anthony might be the Knicks.”  -- SportsPickle. com

CP- 

















Sunday, June 25, 2017

HOW CAN THIS BE?

After going 2-8 in their last ten games, the Yankees are still in first place in the AL East. Granted, it's only by 2 percentage points, but as my bookie says, "Two points are enough."
The Yankee offense hasn't stalled, it has flamed out. The only one who is producing any runs is Aaron Judge. As the Yankee Stadium crowd says when Judge comes up is, "ALL RISE." But when the rest of team hits, it's "Remain Seated." 

Cashman finally bit the bullet and released Chris Carter and brought up rookie Tyler Austin. Before the game, Austin told a reporter he intended to stay within himself and not get too excited about being called up. Somebody forgot to tell him he was there to play first base because he gave a good impersonation of Carter by striking out twice and hitting into a double play. Now, no one is excited about him being called up. By the way, the Yanks also called up Tyler Webb, bringing the Tyler boys count to three: Austin, Clippard and Webb.

New York brought in  Clippard to pitch batting practice in the ninth. Three hits,two walks and four runs later, Girardi finally realized it wasn't batting practice, but a real game. Sunday is the annual Old-Timers game at the stadium. Some of the "old-timers" may end up in the actual game at 2:00 PM.

The Dodgers have now won nine in a row, lead the NL West by two and a half games and have the 2nd best record in baseball. Two months ago, the Yanks were doing great and the Dodgers were struggling. I lamented that after losing a bet to my west coast sister-in-law over which team has the better season three years in a row, I am now thrilled that there is no bet. Thank you, Pauline.

The Red Sox retired David Ortiz' number in a ceremony at Fenway yesterday. They also named a street after him. The Yanks were thrilled, too, because it means that now there is little chance that David will decide to rescind his retirement.

Here's a headline I thought I'd never see: "Derek Jeter does not have enough money to buy the Miami Marlins."  I thought Jeter had enough money to buy Montana.

There is some excitement building by fans looking forward to watching Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge square off in the Home Run Derby as part of the All-Star break. There is a history of sluggers participating in this event, screwing up their swing and having a bad 2nd half of the season. I believe that happens because hitters over-swing trying to hit balls a long way. I don't think this will happen with these two guys since neither of them have to try harder to hit homers. Their normal swing will do the trick. They might need a bigger park just for these two, like maybe Yellowstone? 

***THEY SAID IT***
"During the first Husker football Fan Fest free pizza and Chick-fil-A was served. Husker football, free pizza, free Chick-fil-A. I believe the unofficial attendance was 13 million."  -- Brad Dickson
"The Giants are advertising July 9 “Slumber Party on the Field” for fans. Alas team has been having a slumber party on field all season."  -- Janice Hough 
"United Airlines is about to unveil the world’s longest flight, 8,700 miles from L.A. to Singapore — nearly 18 hours. To help pass all that air time, the in-flight movie will be replays of three Yankees-Red Sox games."  -- Dwight Perry
"The best thing about having kidney stones:  It takes your mind off Stephen A. Smith."  -- Norman Chad
" Quote heard on CBC: "Manitobans who buy crafts want to meet their maker." "See?" I said to my wife. "Shopping is dangerous."  -- RJ Currie
"A pair of game-worn Michael Jordan basketball shoes were auctioned for $190,372.80. I believe the Michael Jordan baseball shoes went for $2.11."  -- Brad Dickson
" Verdun Hayes made skydiving history. At 101 years old, he is the oldest man ever to jump out of an airplane voluntarily. That was United Airlines’ story, and they’re sticking to it."  -- Argus Hamilton

"So did they schedule a preseason Redskins -  Bengals game in DC and not warn us? Final score was  18-3 Washington over Cincinnati."  -- Janice Hough

"Cornerback Shareece Wright took a 450-mile Uber ride from Chicago to Buffalo — at a cost of $932.08, including a $300 tip — to make it there in time for his team’s voluntary offseason workout.
In keeping with Bills tradition, at the end of the drive he punted."  -- Dwight Perry
"The U.S. Open scores are pretty good this year. Erin Hills isn’t just playing easy, it’s more forgiving than the Tallahassee Police Department."  -- Mike Bianchi
"The University of Hawaii offered a football scholarship to an 11-year-old, fifth-grade quarterback. What was his signing bonus? A PlayStation 4 Pro?"  -- RJ Currie
"Last week former Husker Richie Incognito held a clinic at Beatrice High School. Now the young offensive linemen know the proper way of administering a knee to the groin."  -- Brad Dickson

CP-
 


Thursday, June 08, 2017

WHY DOES GIRARDI GET ALL THIS LOVE?

I constantly hear how smart Joe Girardi is and how well he handles the Yankee bullpen. I guess I'm not a fan of his because the only thing he does that I like is the way he protects his players, In an interview situation, if a reporter asks a pointed question, Girardi will dance around it better than Fred Astaire. And he doesn't even use tap shoes.

I don't think he "handles" his bullpen; I think he overuses it. He can't wait to get Betances and Chapman into the game. He has no faith in his starters. Last night, Boston looked positively helpless against CC Sabathia but Girardi insisted in bringing in a reliever to pitch the 9th, even though CC's pitch count was within reason. Let the man go out and get his complete game shutout. It's 8 - 0, how much trouble could he get into? I understand I'm not in the dugout talking to Sabathia. For all I know, CC could have told Joe, "Sorry, I can't go. I haven't felt my left arm for two innings."  But I don't think so.

I don't think Vod has a lot of love for Joe, either. Read this snippet from his Facebook post about Girardi's lineup change.
"So, is Girardi a genius for finally moving a slow-footed catcher out of the 2 hole or an idiot for taking 2 months and over 40 games to figure out that his explanation for batting Sanchez 2nd was simply head-scratchingly wrong?"
Of course, a lot of Joe's moves have to do with that notebook from hell that he totes around. He can give you numbers to support any move he makes and different numbers when he goes back to the original lineup. He'll ride a hot hitter forever, but he takes way too long to realize that hitter is slumping badly. He has carried Chase Headley for so long that even Chase's mother called and told Joe to sit him. Yes, he has started to hit again, but it was a painful 6 weeks for everybody. 
[By the way, Joe, it looks like the pitchers are catching up to Aaron Judge. You might want to watch his at-bats more carefully]

As long as we're ranting, let's talk about the Yankee broadcast team. Vod has already covered old "Without-a-doubt" David Cone, but his booth-mates aren't much better. My wife likes Michael Kay but I don't. His jokes are lame and he insists on trying to dramatize everything. I've called home runs before Michael even started his "...warning track, wall, see ya'"  performance. Last night, he laughed so much at one of his own jokes, that even Paul O'Neil started to kid him.
Speaking of Paul, I used to think his job in the booth was shilling for the concession stands, but lately, he just picks up on some point that Michael makes and agrees with it.  Why isn't HE making the point. Paul is good for one thing: getting tied up in his own sentences. Remember this little beauty from two nights ago, "Some things continue if they don't change."  What can you say about this except, Yogi Berra lives.

Here's one good thing that came out of the booth a couple of nights ago. Michael Kay asked David Cone what  the Yankees should do about Masahiro Tanaka's struggles. Instead of beating around the bush and coming out with a whole bunch of platitudes, Coney immediately stepped up and said, "Run him out there!"  No hemming and hawing, just "Run him out there." He added that there was too much talent there to give up on him and he'll never find it sitting in the bullpen. Lord, a sportscaster with a definite opinion. David, I can almost forgive you your repetitiveness and total reliance on cybernetics for that one statement.     Almost.

***THEY SAID IT***  
"A new Miss Rodeo Nebraska has been crowned. In this state I'm pretty sure the governor answers to her."  --  Brad Dickson
"After 18 seasons, Bob Stoops said today that he is retiring as Oklahoma’s football coach, and it is not for health reasons. Too soon to start a pool on possible Sooner scandals?"  -- Janice Hough
"United Airlines is about to unveil the world’s longest flight, 8,700 miles from L.A. to Singapore — nearly 18 hours.To help pass all that air time, the in-flight movie will be replays of three Yankees-Red Sox games."  -- Dwight Perry

"Mike Brown is coaching the Warriors in the championship showdown with Cleveland. A  playoff first for LeBron James: facing a coach he fired."  -- RJ Currie
"Belmont Stakes coming up June 10, but, with no Triple Crown in play, not even Belmont cares."  -- Greg Cote
"A drone crash-landed just inches from a fan at a Padres game last month.Baseball stat nerds, not missing a beat, immediately credited it with a launch angle of 29 degrees and an entrance velocity of 62 mph."  -- Dwight Perry  [David Cone, please note - CP]

"The New York Yankees retired Derek Jeter’s  No. 2. In a related story, the Yankees also framed the results of Alex Rodriguez’s second positive steroid test."  -- Alex Kaseberg
" SF Giants and Phillies played a series where both teams look like they richly deserve their 2017 records."  -- Janice Hough
"If the NBA playoffs were any duller, they'd be moved to C-SPAN."  -- Brad Dickson
"The FAA is investigating why a drone appeared in the sky during a San Diego Padres game. Authorities have already ruled out the possibility that someone actually wanted to watch a Padres game."  -- Conan O'brien
"Pittsburgh police arrested a Nashville Predators fan for throwing a catfish onto the ice, then later dropped all charges. Poetic justice — he was caught and released."  -- RJ Currie
"Rihanna has been trash talking court-side during the NBA Finals. The one thing that could save the 2017 NBA playoffs: if a game is decided by a technical on Rihanna."  -- Brad Dickson

CP-