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

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