Friday, August 28, 2009
Too bad for AJ Burnett; a great outing ruined by ONE bad pitch. Of course it wouldn't have mattered if the Yanks vaunted offense could have pushed some runs across. As Bob Ueker would have said, "They left a small village on the basepaths." Enjoy Texas, maybe we'll see you in the playoffs,...if you make it that far.
***BEST LINE OF THE SERIES***
It came from David Cone, no less. When they flashed a picture of Jack Nicholson sitting in the stands, Cone quipped, "There's a life well-lived."
***YEAH, WHO NEEDS A POWER-HITTING OUTFIELDER?***
Most writers are saying that St. Louis would be crazy to resign Matt Holliday. Why? He'll cost too much. If you get your payroll up to $100+ million, you should be able to find another $10-15 million, especially if it will probably take you well into the playoffs. You get more money that way, you know.
***TOP TEN YANKEES***
Jonah Keri has picked his version of the top ten Yanks in his blog:
Here’s how I’d stack up my 10 best Yankees position players of all-time:
1. Babe Ruth
9. Bernie Williams
10. Earle Combs
Who ya got?
UPDATE: Just to clarify, only time with Yankees counts. So no Maris, Winfield, A-Rod, etc.
I'd rather include Mattingly than Combs.
Next week the rosters can expand to 40 men and you can expect teams to bring their top prospects up for a look-see. Of course the Mets started doing this in July and the Pirates were doing it in April.
Good luck for the next month. Picasner leaves you in the capable hands of Vod Kanockers.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Rochester papers and ESPN both said the Yanks 'cruised' to a 9-2 win. Until they scored 5 runs in the 7th, I didn't see any cruising going on. With the hitters that Texas has, a 2-run lead is far from being safe. We've watched Andy Pettitte pitch all year and I'm somewhat surprised at his 11-6 record. I didn't think he was doing that well. Melky Cabrera needs a rest. We need a decision on Brett Gardner soon: either he's on the playoff roster or not. I hope he is.
***SPEAKING OF THE ROCH. PAPERS***
My old friend, Bob Matthews, has done it again. With the trade of Billy Wagner to the Red Sox, he wonders if Papelbon and Wagner make up the "most overpowering LH-RH closer duo ever." I e-mailed him and reminded him of Gossage/Lyle. Oh no, Lyle wasn't a power pitcher, he replied. All Sparky threw were fastballs and sliders. That makes him a power pitcher in my book (which is a bit thicker than Matthews').
***THE UMPS GET AWAY WITH ANOTHER ONE***
In the San Fran-Colorado 14-inning game, 2nd base umpire Bill Miller called Rockies catcher Torrealba, a derogatory name when he was on second, because Miller "did not like his body language over some calls by the home plate umpire." When some Colorado players told 1st base ump, Jim Joyce, to tell Miller to cool it, Joyce went over to the Rockies dugout and chastised those players. ANYONE get suspended? As much as I'm sure they wanted to, they couldn't suspend any players because they didn't do anything. And, of course, no way do they suspend an umpire. There will be fines according to Bob Watson, baseball's hit man. It should just be the umps, but some players will lose some cash, too.
***BRAD LIDGE IS STILL THE CLOSER***
He's 0-6 with a 7.33 ERA and 9 blown saves this year after being so perfect last year. Manager Charlie Manuel said, "We've got to stay with him, he's got to keep going. What the hell? That's all we can do." Oh yeah, that sounds like a ringing endorsement.
***BIG PAPI IS BACK***
Or is he? Two homers last night, including a walk-off. But wait, let's examine those homers. The first was a fly ball over the Green Monster, which is not exactly miles from home plate. The walk-off, according to ESPN, "curled around the 'Pesky' foul pole, which, I believe, is located 10 feet in back of 1st base. Well, maybe a little more than 10 feet. Walk-a proud, Papi, as my Dad used to say. Oh, Papi is also harping at the Boston press because they didn't back him up enough over the positive-test thing. Hey man, they let you get away with the "duh, I-don't-know-what- I-took" excuse. Count your blessings.
***HEADLINE AT SPORTS PICKLE.COM***
John Calipari promises Kentucky a vacated NCAA title within five years.
*** JIM ARMSTRONG OF THE DENVER POST***
Ex-Duke hoopster Greg Paulus ought to be a perfect fit as Syracuse University's starting quarterback. Why? Because neither has played any football in the past five years.
Monday, August 24, 2009
The Sox are now faced with trying to win the wild card because I don't believe they will be able to catch the Yanks. In fact, if their starting rotation, thought to be invincible in April, doesn't straighten out, the Sox post-season streak is over. Some interesting thoughts on this series:
1. Why did Francona leave Beckett in so long? When you fall 3+ runs behind, does it make sense to let the ace of your staff throw 8 innings and 120 pitches?
2. Hideki Matsui is on a pace to hit 30 homers and have 90 RBI's and yet it seems a forgone conclusion that this is his last year in pinstripes. Of course, how many full-time DH's (Damon, Matsui, Posada and, eventually, Jeter or A-Rod) can a team carry?
3. To reiterate: Joe West is the worst umpire in baseball. He has a strike zone the size of Montana, has rabbit ears and has the biggest ego since Ken Kaiser. He's so far out of shape, I don't think he needs a chest protector when working the plate .
4. Those purveyors of baseball knowledge, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips, are at it again. Derek Jeter leads off with a home run to right center. What startling information comes out of the booth? "Well, the reason Jeter is hitting so well this year, is that he's learned to hit to right." Jeter's only been hitting the ball to right for 14 years. Have these guys ever seen a baseball game? Instead of broadcasting the game, why don't you two take Joe West out to dinner? I'm sure Joe knows a few hundred restaurants in Boston. Put him behind a plate he can actually see.
***THE METS ARE SNAKE BIT***
They've lost Reyes, Beltran, Wright and Delgado to the DL. That's 1, 2, 3, and 4 in your lineup, boys and girls. Last night, down two runs in the ninth with 2 on and nobody out, Manager Jerry Manuel tried a hit and run. Normally not a bad gamble, however, it forced the 2nd baseman to move to cover 2nd, resulting in a line drive hit right at him. Unassisted triple play, game over. Manuel is so cursed that I think if he threw his hat down, it'd only have a 50% chance of hitting the ground.
As an added insult, the Phils winning pitcher was Pedro Martinez. Manager Charlie Manuel (no relation to Jerry) was so pleased that he says Pedro's next start will be against a Major League team.
Bob Knight was ultimately fired for behavior issues, but he will now be inducted into Indiana University’s athletics Hall of Fame. No word on what celebrity will be on hand to throw out the first chair
***WHAT'S THIS MEAN?***
John Smoltz dominates teams for years, then comes to the American League and gets beaten into submission. He goes back to the NL and immediately becomes dominate again. How can you argue that the National League is not weaker. With this in mind, does anyone really think that Jake Peavy is truly going to help the White Sox?
***WAKE UP, BILLY***
Billy Wagner of the Mets wants the Red Sox to refuse to execute a 2010 option and NOT offer arbitration at the end of the year before he will approve a trade. That would make him a complete free agent in 2010, with no strings attached for any team that signs him. You'll get $10 million dollars and play on a team with a chance to make the playoffs, Billy. Shut up and make the move.
In four days, Picasner and Annie-O leave on a 24-day scouting trip to the west coast. We all hope that Vod Kanockers is sharpening his typing skills for the stretch run.
Friday, August 21, 2009
This weekend series in Fenway will go a long way to determining the AL East. I believe nothing less than a sweep by Boston is needed for the Sox to continue to contend. One loss keeps them around, two losses would probably keep them from ever catching the Yanks. A Yankee sweep could keep them out of the playoffs entirely. Tampa and Texas are both snapping at the Red Sox' heels. Of course, a Yankees-Red Sox series always generates a lot of heat. I wonder what the odds are that both "Youk" and "A-Rod" get plunked this weekend?
***MAUER FOR MVP?***
It's a little early for this kind of speculation, but right now the big question is, Teixeira or Mauer?
Tex deserves consideration but there is also Jeter and Rivera to consider. I'm not pushing for any Yankee in particular, but Mauer? My problem with his candidacy is well known. AN MVP is the most valuable player, not necessarily the best hitter. How valuable is Mauer? In my mind, the answer is: where would the Twins be without him? Still in third place? Sunk into fourth? 3rd, 4th, what's the difference? Here is a telling stat: When Mauer missed the first month, the Twins were 11-11. Since he came back, they are 47-51.Using just numbers to make a point, you could say he's kept them from being a .500 team. How valuable is that? Bob Matthews (Mr Wrong), who is pushing for him, says that's not his fault. Then he shouldn't get MVP credit either, Bob. Evidently, the voters seem to agree with Picasner's principle: 137 MVP's have been awarded since it's inception and only FIVE have come from a losing team.
***SHEFFIELD IS AT IT AGAIN***
A week ago, he said he wanted to return to the Mets. This week, he said he wants to be traded to a contending team. Then he tried to negotiate an extension with the Mets. When they refused, he pulled himself from the lineup and said he was thinking of walking off the team. This morning I read that he heard that the Mets put him on waivers, someone claimed him and the Mets pulled him off. This kind of thing happens all the time with all the teams. But Sheffield claims the Mets are "...holding him hostage!" Brave talk from a 41-year old fading slugger who plays Right Field Spot - not the field, just the one spot he happens to be standing in.
***HOW DUMB DO I FEEL?***
Toronto pitcher, Brett Cecil, dropped a return throw from his catcher with a man on first. He alertly checked the runner as he casually walked after the errant ball. He picked it up and asked for a new ball and tossed the old one into the dugout. BUT -- he didn't ask for time first and the runner was awarded third base. He subsequently scored on a single up the middle. Better let the umpires throw the ball away from now on, Brett.
***THE NAME IS CASTER SEMENYA***
The gender is...well, we're not sure yet. After coming out of nowhere to destroy the field in the women's 800-meter race at the World Championships, a gender test has been ordered by the Federation, supposedly at the request of the athletes. This will be interesting. From Leftcoastsportsbabe:
South African runner Caster Semenya is facing questions about her gender after winning the 800 meter race at the World Championships. Apparently the question came up after she put on a new track suit and didn’t ask anyone “Do these pants make me look fat?”
Oakland Raiders fans are equally divided over reports that their coach Tom Cable may have fought with an assistant coach and fractured the man’s jaw. Half think the coach should be suspended and the other half think the Raiders should sign him to play defense.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The Yanks have announced that Brett Gardner's cast will remain on for another week and that he won't be available to play for another 10 days after that. That means he won't be playing until September 5th at the earliest. To be eligible for the post-season, he would have to be on the 25-man roster by Sept. 1st. This could be interesting. At least his injury was related to the game and not some freak non-baseball event. So freaky, that players often make up the way the injury occurred.
The "story" first, the truth in red.
JEFF KENT, 2002
He told the SF Giants he fractured his wrist when he slipped and fell while washing his pickup.
Actually, he broke it when he wiped out practicing wheelies on his motorcycle. The Giants were understandably unhappy.
CLINT BARNES, 2005
He said he broke his collarbone while carrying a bag of groceries upstairs. Well, maybe it was because he fell while carrying a side of venison for his friend.
Or maybe he broke it while riding an all-terrain vehicle at a friend's house.
JOE BIEMEL, 2006
He cut his left hand on a glass while he was in his hotel room.
Close. He was in a bar. It was 2:30 AM. It was on a beer bottle.
DAN MICELI, 2000
This is a beauty. He told the Florida Marlins that he suffered cuts on his right hand and elbow in a fight with "four hippie rednecks" (an interesting combination) outside a bar after they had been hitting on his wife. One of them had pulled a knife. Way to go, Dan. ...or not.
A police report said that he got into a fight with his brother in his kitchen. Their mother had to break it up. Their mother? I guess I would have made up a story, too.
KAZUHIRO SASAKI, 2003
He missed 68 days when he allegedly broke 2 ribs when carrying a suitcase up some stairs
Sources say he broke his ribs while drinking and practicing pro-wrestling maneuvers with some friends.
Of course, team officials aren't always the ones you want to turn to for explanations or announcements. In 2007, JESUS COLOME was placed on the disabled list with "a soft tissue injury in a lower right extremity." That's right; his ass hurt. GM Jim Bowden was just trying to be "sensitive" about a player with an infection in his buttock. Then, he made this remark:
"It's a serious situation. We pray for his buttocks and his family." In that order?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
***COUNT BILL MADDEN IN***
Picasner has defended the Yanks high payroll in past postings (BEST TEAM MONEY CAN BUY) and now Madden has come forth with his opinion and some actual numbers in an article titled "Revenue Shearing":
He talks about how Indians president Paul Dolan, tried to justify trading their best pitcher and their best position player.
"After we traded Cliff, we made a commitment toward a new direction for the franchise," Dolan doublespoke. "We needed to make moves that put us in the best position to compete as soon as possible."
How dumb does he think Cleveland fans are? How are the Indians putting themselves in the best position to compete as soon as possible by trading two of their best players - who both were signed for next year for a total of less than $15 million? I guess it all depends on which set of books Dolan is looking at."
As for the Pittsburgh Pirates, they traded every player they had who made more money than the grill man at McDonalds, because they "couldn't afford them". While they were crying "poverty", owners Bob Nutting and Frank Connelly were receiving $75 million in luxury tax and revenue sharing to help offset their $48 million payroll. Which means they made a PROFIT of $27 million before they sold one ticket.
***FOX BROADCASTING AT IT'S BEST***
Last Saturday, Fox announced that home plate umpire, Jim Joyce, was 'miked'. Oh great, I thought. Now we'll get to see how these guys justify their sometimes unusual calls. No such luck.
With Joe Buck and Tim McCarver behind the microphones (but unfortunately not far enough behind), A-rod got buzzed high & tight and tried to take 1st only to be refused by the Ump. Buck & McCarver then replayed the audio of Joyce's call. "Foul ball! Foul ball! Hit the bat." Okay, I didn't like the call, but at least Joyce was decisive and quick. Later, Joyce dusted off the plate and carried on a conversation with catcher Martinez. Joe Buck actually noticed this and mentioned it. Did they replay that? Nope. Ramirez then hit A-Rod and was immediately tossed by Joyce, and here comes Manager Terry Francona to argue. "Why?" McCarver said. "That's what Francona is asking." Perfect, now we'll get some good use out of the microphone. Nope. Dead silence. They never even said why it wasn't broadcast. This really adds to the credibility of umpires. Not to mention Fox Network, Buck & McCarver.
A lunch with Vod and his handler usually turns into a laugh-fest, even when beer ISN'T involved. I would like to defend myself (and Annie-O) but sorry to say, it was all true. Annie is not a bad driver, but I did have to use my turn signal to drive out of my garage after she parked it. She can read a map, but quick decisions on turns usually come out: "LEFT! NO, RIGHT. LEFT! ...sorry!" and then we turn around.
Steinbrenner Corp. has been informed that in less than two weeks Picasner will be going on an extended vacation. They have responded appropriately and are opening up a big enough lead over the team that always seems to wear filthy uniforms and has that huge-headed Youkilis fellow, that will allow our Beloved Leader (yes, Picasner is North Korean) to enjoy time away without immediate concern for his favorite pinstriped multimillionaires.
The P will be completing an 8500 mile road trip in 25 days and, remarkably, while the Mrs. will be badgering our Prince of Selective Hearing the entire route, Picasner does ALL of the driving. Now, I have seen Annie-O drive, and what this gentle soul does requires a greatly expanded definition of the term "driving" but, geez, it is 8500 miles, so you would think Picasner might get a break. When queried on this issue of reason and safety, Picasner responded that, indeed, not only does he do all of the driving, but Annie-O has been known to sleep through entire states. Mrs. P, however, informed this writer, "Only through the small ones."
While I don't begrudge a vacation for our hero, I am still waiting for an answer to one central question, "A vacation from what?" Believe me when I tell you that our Barcalounged Hero is royally attended and protected by a dedicated and loving life companion (no, I'm not at liberty to tell you who that is). When I told Picasner I was anticipating his comments from the perspective of "the road" I was informed that there would be no postings, no commentary, no opinions, regardless of how outrageously misinformed and devoid of factual basis, no narratives, no quips, no nothing forthcoming from our revered oracle of the obtuse. For over two weeks. I know you feel the pain and cruelty of this seemingly selfish behavior but there is an explanation - Picasner, astonishingly, has no laptop or other portable computing device and the aggressive schedule for his journey simply doesn't allow for time in locations with public access, on-line devices. Now that's a Bummer.
There is an obvious solution. Someone needs to step up to the plate and provide out boy with the necessary tools to feed our need. There must be a Picasner Addict with a spare laptop, a family member with a debt of gratitude, a sado-masocist Bostonian who needs continuous abuse, or simply a benefactor of the blogo-journalistic arts who recognizes talent when he reads it but will pop for a laptop for our guy in spite of that. Help! Do you really want to live two weeks in a world without Picasner?
"How can I help?", you ask.
The Chad Picasner Foundation for Multi-Tasking on Our Nations Highways is accepting donations to keep our outrageous opinionator connected to his adoring public (when this particular public grows to more than 6 people, adoring and public will appear capitalized) while on the road. Send your check, money order, stamps, spare change, valuable collectibles, bearer bonds, precious metals, and any other non-tax deductible contribution to -
225 Hillcrest Drive
Central Square, NY 13036
Please make out checks to Cash for quick and easy processing. No contribution is too large or too small and the Foundation promises not to acknowledge that any contribution was ever made, that the foundation ever exited or respond to any inquiries made by any law enforcement agency. Remember, our motto remains, as always, "What are you talking about?"
Friday, August 14, 2009
***THIS IS ONLY FUNNY TO US***
Adrian Beltry of the Seattle Mariners was hit in the...um, 'bad spot' by a groundball in the ninth inning Wednesday night. He never let on, though, continuing to play into the 14th inning and eventually scored the winning run. Talk about having brass b..., well, you know. The only clue was the sudden appearance of a falsetto voice coming from third base.
***THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN YANKEE STADIUM***
Outfielder Shane Victorino was hit by a thrown glass of beer while catching a fly ball in Chicago. Not in New York! Not at $13.75 a glass!
***FROM JOHN OLERUD IN THE TORONTO SUN***
Never feared for his speed, he told reporters he hit 54 doubles for the Blue Jays in 1993. "Of course," he added, "a lot of them should have been triples."
***SCOTT OSTLER, SF CHRONICLE***
Titans running back, LenDale White, claimed he lost 30 pounds by giving up tequila. "But now White isn't sure whether he actually lost the weight or suddenly was able to read the scale correctly."
Pop quiz answer: Give up? It's the NY Yankees with 52. Yankee batters have only been hit 38 times.
Oh, and the Great American Ballpark is in Cincinnati.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
It happens every year: My guy gets hit, your guy gets hit. My guy gets hit, your guy gets hit, your second guy gets hit and the fight is on. In the meantime, the umpires begin throwing pitchers out with warnings and without warnings, depending on the "intent" of the pitcher. The Great Kreskin couldn't read minds that well. We've discovered the 'You Hit A Guy, We Give Warnings,' policy was ineffective, so now the umps will throw out a pitcher on the first HBP. The warning policy didn't work because it gave the first pitcher a free shot. Tim Keown of ESPN has his own idea: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=keown/090811&sportCat=mlb
***MIX AND MATCH***
This has become one of Michael Kay's favorite pronouncements. You bring in a lefty to face a left-handed hitter, then a righty to face a right-handed hitter,etc. You see how well that worked last night. The Jays bring in a lefty to face Matsui and Hideki gave us his best Mickey Mantle impression, hitting a long, long home run against the sidearming southpaw. At least Cito Gaston can go into the post-game interview and say, "Hey, I played the percentages." Now listen to AL Leiter: "If you keep parading all these relievers in and out of the game, you are eventually going to run into a pitcher who doesn't have it that night." You might want to consider those odds next time, Cito.
***SOMETIMES THE CLICHE' DOESN'T FIT***
After losing the game in the 15th inning, the other night, Red Sox rookie, Junichi Tazawa, was quoted as saying, "I am honored they gave me a chance to pitch in such an important spot." Uh, no honor there, Junichi, you were the only pitcher left.
***THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ATTITUDE***
Sunday, the Phillies announced they were bringing up Pedro Martinez to start on Wednesday and they were moving 46 year-old Jamie Moyer into the bullpen. Moyer's reaction?
Sunday: No comment
Monday: Jamie said he would try to help the club anyway he could
Tuesday: Jamie is unhappy with his treatment
Wednesday: Jamie is angry with management's decision
Moyer also claimed that he was "promised" that that wouldn't happen. We all know how trustworthy General Managers are. Stick around, Jamie, I can't see Pedro lasting very long.
***SOMEONE IS ON PICASNER'S SIDE***
I have commented in the past my displeasure with the sale of stadium naming rights. I have no objection to re-naming a stadium after someone deeply involved with the team or after the team itself, but I don't like naming stadiums after banks, for example, no matter how appropriate that might seem. I don't like Citi Field, PNC Park, Comerica Park, etc. I may be watching a game at the Great American Ballpark next month. Does anyone know where that is? If you agree with me, there is a way to express your displeasure:
Monday, August 10, 2009
The Sox get swept and in reading the various articles about the series, I noticed one glaring difference: They were devoid of comments by Sox fans. Usually they are there, gloating over every Red Sox hit, run, defensive play and victory. They abuse the Yankee players and fans alike and predict World Series championships. Not this weekend. What happened, Sox fans, did you forget there were games this weekend? You can talk about injuries and slumps and the like, but lets give the Yankee pitching staff all the credit they deserve. They were nothing short of terrific.
***YOU CAN'T SHOW UP THE UMPIRE***
Are these guys getting way too sensitive or what? When they start tossing guys standing 300 feet away, it's time for MLB to take a hard look at their attitude. Umpire Ed Rapuano didn't like Philly centerfielder Shane Victorino's reaction to his ball/strike calls, so he gave him the thumb. Maybe if Rapuano paid more attention to the strike zone and not any criticism from the players, he wouldn't wake up Monday morning looking like a petulant little kid.
***WHO'S UP AND WHO'S DOWN***
We know Boston is riding the chutes and the Yanks are climbing, but how about those surprising Washington Nationals? 8 in a row and climbing. I glad to see it, but's let's not lose sight of the fact that they are still 22.5 games out of first. The Phillies are sliding (3-7 in the last 10), Minnesota is slipping (3-7), The Cardinals are coming on (7-3) and the Dodgers are slipping (4-6).
***SPEAKING OF WHICH...***
This little mention from Buster Olney: For weeks, Dodgers manager Joe Torre kept using his relievers heavily, especially Ramon Troncoso and Ronald Belisario, and right on schedule, the L.A. bullpen seems to be crumbling, and the Dodgers' lead is sliding away. By the way, Vod is right: former starter, Jeff Weaver, has been transferred to the bullpen. Of course there's a reason for that.
***BASEBALL'S VERSION OF BUY 1, GET 1 FREE***
Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox, says he's tired of his players getting hit. From now on, he says, if one of his gets hit, two of yours are getting plunked. He'll get suspended for that, but Ozzie says that's okay. Maybe the threat is enough. We'll see.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
***THE BEST TEAM MONEY CAN BUY***
I'm sick of hearing this. Look, we all know the Yankees have greater resources than most teams, if not all, but they USE those resources. They spend it on players. For example, Pittsburgh gets a ton of luxury tax from the Yanks. Were they out there bidding on the big free agents? No. Were they bidding on ANY free agents? No. It seems like they were too busy unloading any player who made more than minimum wage. Where's the luxury tax? Why, in the owner's pocket. The Yanks "outbid" Boston for Teixeira. Yeah, right. Tell me that if Boston bid $160 million, they couldn't come up with another $10 million to at least up the ante. They CHOSE NOT TO. Three sports reporters basically said the Yanks should be leading the league because they "bought" the best team. But one man had the right idea and you'd never guess who. Boston's own Bob Ryan (I'M SHOCKED! SHOCKED!). Ryan said, "It's all about judgment. They made plenty of mistakes in the past (K. Brown, C. Pavano, etc.), and we just laughed at the wasted money. This time they got it right and we blame the money. You can't have it both ways. Give the Yanks credit for continuing to try."
***"WE WANT TO BELIEVE ORTIZ"***
And they admit that Ortiz is making it hard. Mitch Albom made the best point: If Ortiz KNEW he didn't take steroids and that 'tainted supplements' was the most likely reason, why did it take him a week to say this. Aha! Could it be he wanted to make sure about what they found? No point in saying it was supplements if later they say it was injected steroids. The MLBPA lawyer, Michael Weiner (a completely appropriate name), gave a defense straight out of Lewis G. Carroll: "Just because your name is on the list (having tested positive), does't mean you took steroids." What was it on there for, potential replacement judges for American Idol?
Let Picasner give you a list of names: Clemens, McGuire, Sosa, Bonds, Rodriguez, Palmero and Ortiz. Who was the only one to step and say, "Yes, I did." Rodriguez. Maybe there's more to it than what he admitted to, maybe it was spun into the best possible light. But A-Rod is reviled and we want to believe Ortiz. Either reveal ALL the names or ignore these occasional 'leaks.'
***HE GETS PAID TO SAY THESE THINGS?***
Tim McCarver should limit his comments to the obvious (Yes Joe, that was what we call a 'single') and quit trying to inject these moronic little insights into the game. In the third inning, A-Rod almost gets hit (or perhaps he did), but is told the ball hit the bat instead. McCarver says "This is a break for the Yankees. They don't want A-Rod on base, they want him to hit." Was I asleep when they taught that little axiom about baseball? Whenever you have a chance to get on base, you should turn it down and keep on trying to hit a home run. Yeah, nobody cares about On-Base Percentage anymore. Atta boy, Tim. You're the dumbest announcer in baseball...except for the champ, Joe Morgan. Joe Buck is trying, but he has a ways to go.
***AND NOW THE MEDIA***
Mitch Albom is upset that he wasted a lot of time discussing where Roy Halladay might end up and then Toronto never did trade him. A big furor over nothing. He wants to be paid for his 'wasted time'. Well, Mitch, who created the furor? That's right, the media. This all started when Riccardi, in response to a question, said he had no plans to trade Halladay, and he would listen to offers, but it would have to be an outstanding offer. I didn't notice him standing in Central Park holding a picture of Halladay, saying, "For Sale. Cheap" Well, Mitch, we fans wasted a lot of time reading your rumors and guesses, too. Where's my check?
Hannah, where are you?
We can only hope that Boston mastermind Terry Francona continues to bat David Ortiz in the middle of his lineup. That more than compensates for the the Matsui double play machine that the Yankee lineup endures. My fear is now that Ortiz's BA has plummeted back below .220 that Francona might park "The Great Denial" on the bench.
We also need to thank Granny Glasses for providing us with some of the most hilarious moments ever witnessed in a major league outfield since, well, since the advent of Johnny "The Tap Dancer" Damon and Nick "Where? What? Doh!" Swisher. You know my disposition regarding Kevin "10 3/8" Youkilis but he deserves better than to be stuck in left field, particularly in Yankee stadium, so that Casey "The Flapping Elbow" Kotchman can bring his .111 BA to an already needy lineup.
And final cudos to He of the Daintily Placed Cap on Bald Head and Great Spit Wad of Bubble-gum for allowing Yes I'm the Captain Can't You See My Shirt Says So Varitek to catch most of games and flail away at the plate. A thing of beauty.
I wonder if Theo Epstein can sign the recently released professional bean baller Vincente Padilla in time for Sunday's game?
OK. That's clearly a cheap shot at a guy who assembled the best team of juicers of the Steroid Era. I really need to give credit when due.
We all know that Fox News and its CEO Roger Ailes, former Republican hit man, have been nothing more than a propaganda machine for the right wing of the Republican Party (how redundant). Now, it seems, Fox Sports talking heads Joe (thank God Jack was my father) Buck and Tim McCarver (how does this bozo get work?) are no more than Boston Red Sox apologists. Their call of the game was completely Boston-centric and their amazement that head hunting Ramon Ramirez got tossed after hitting Alex Rodriguez was beyond disgusting. It simply didn't occur to either of those morons that Clay Buchholz, a blossoming Boston scumbag , had hit and nearly beaned A-rod in his first plate appearance with the only pitch that "slipped" in a 100+ plus performance. Surely, a second occurrence of head hunting must have been unintentional given the loving relationship that Boston has with Rodriguez. McCarver, in particular is beyond biased. When the hapless David Ortiz was called out earlier on a failed check swing, during the replay McCarver commented that it certainly looked like Ortiz had held up. If Ortiz had made contact with that "checked" swing he would be 2 for his last 23 instead of just one. Still, I blame myself for not muting the volume when these jerks broadcast a Yankee game. Add Joe Morgan to this group and voila - Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest.
The only questions are who will protect Yankee hitters, when, and which Boston lovely will take the brunt of the payback. Ellsbury is young, quick, and hard to hit. Pedroia is just too small of a target. Victor Martinez hasn't been with the super-juicers quite long enough to attract much attention. David Ortiz is now irrelevant. Mike Lowell is too old and slow. No challenge there, and J.D. Drew is too boring to bother with. Varitek is to valuable to the Yankees to risk injuring; he can't hit, the only guy in the league he can throw out is Hediki Matsui, and no one cares that "he calls a good game". Casey Kotchman tried to get hit but couldn't, so why help him out. Nick Green is both irrelevant and boring so he's off the hook. It looks like, once again, Kevin Youkilis had best not dig in to deeply at the plate. While his size 10 3/8 head is an enormous target offering little challenge to anyone with one good eye and half an arm, he remains the target of choice for those wishing to remind the Red Sox pitching staff to play nice.
The play of the game: Youkilis slides into 2nd with spikes high in an effort to take out Jeter on a Lowell grounder to 2nd. Jeter tags 2nd, jumps over Youkilis avoiding his extended spikes, lands, then throws to 1st doubling up the slothful Lowell. Best camera work of the game: shots of Youkilis in left field flexing his right knee after the high slide. You know he'll have pant legs sticking to that skin-burned knee for days. Ooze baby ooze.
Friday, August 07, 2009
This was a real pasting as the Yanks finally exhibited some dominance over Ped Sox (no typo there), but it did take a while to get here. A lot of interesting things in this game, which you don't normally expect in a blowout.
##I don't like Youklis, but you have to hand it to a guy who'll move around the diamond for the good of the team (hear that Michael Young?). Are there three more diverse positions than 1st, 3rd and LF?
##Bye-bye Smoltzie. I appreciate the effort of a 42-year old pitcher trying to come back from shoulder surgery, but... It's not just the Yanks, everybody has been beating up on him.I don't think he'll be on the September roster.
##Dustin PEDroia (this is fun!) is upset because they threw at him. Sure they did. And they walked 12 other Sox just to frustrate the team? Shut up and play.
##S-L-I-D-E. Just wanted to make sure Jorge recognized the word. For one of those old-time, play-the-game-right guys, that was ridiculous, especially considering the situation at the time. The final score does reduce the seriousness of that gaffe.
##Chamberlain was up to his old habits: nibble, nibble, nibble. Did you notice how the Sox kept stepping out after every pitch? They must have noticed Joba's pace in his last game. It worked, too. I can't wait to see how the Yanks handle this innings ceiling they have imposed on him.
By the way, why is it taking Big Papi 2 weeks to talk about his presence on "The List"? He says it's get information on what they found. Good thinking, Ortiz. You don't want to apoligize for taking one steroid when later they announce it was a different one. We certainly don't want to look bad. (Did I just say that?)
A good win, but it's just one game. There are three more coming. Tonight is an absolute MUST-WIN for Boston. Their pre-season vaunted pitching staff is all downhill after Beckett.
***THAT OTHER NY TEAM***
The Mets have announced that they are prepared to listen to offers for closer BJ Ryan. The rest of baseball has announced that they are prepared not to offer anything for BJ Ryan. Now that mental problems is an accepted illness for placement on the DL, how long before poor manager Jerry Manuel gets moved there?
***ANOTHER FORMER STAR***
Jason Giambi is due to come off the DL, but the A's don't seem interested in activating him. He may be all done, too.
***YOU CAN REST EASY NOW***
The Yanks traded for Chad Gaudin. Good move: a pitcher with a 4-10 record and an ERA of 5.13 is just what they need. I think he's going to be handling one of the infield rakes for the grounds crew. The Padres get a "player to be named later." It's Crash Davis (Kevin Costner).
"David Ortiz will call a press conference Saturday to discuss his positive 2003 test results. Early favorites in the pool include “a tainted supplement,” “borrowed from a teammate” and “I forget how speak English.”
"Question for the day. If so many over-the-counter supplements are tainted with steroids, why don’t more Americans appear to be in better shape?"
***WHAT'S GOING ON?***
The Washington Nationals have a five-game win streak. You didn't hear me. The Washington Nationals have a five-game win streak. ...and the worst record in the majors.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
They finished the road trip 5-4, which is very good. Contributions from a lot of people and an obvious belief that they can win every game. I especially liked the fact that Damon gave credit publicly to Melky Cabrera for his contributions, moving runners along and playing good defense, in helping to win the game. Next up is an important 4-game set with the Bosox. I believe the Yanks will do well in this series, even though Steve Phillips, baseball's true Jonah, has endorsed the Yanks. If they don't win, I'm blaming you, Steve.
***WHAT'S HE THINKING?***
Prince Fielder of the Brewers, gets plunked in the 9th inning of a game they're losing 17-4, in retaliation for the Brewers hitting Manny. Well, you knew that was coming and in true old-time baseball tradition, Fielder got up, glared at the pitcher, and walked to 1st base. No problem, right? Nope. AFTER the game, Fielder must have decided that he forgot to charge the mound, so he went thru the tunnel and tried to charge the Dodger clubhouse. Good thinking: all alone against 30 or so Dodgers. You're not that big, Prince. Luckily, he was stopped at the door.
***THIS CAN'T BE***
Jim Thome of the White Sox hit 2 homers last night, but the rumor is that the Sox have no intention of resigning him at the end of the year. He has 20 homers, 66 RBI's and a .390 On-Base Pct. I can't believe GM Kenny Williams has this plan in mine.
***A MOVE THAT HELPED JETER***
I think moving Jeter to the leadoff spot has made him a better hitter. I think he felt that hitting second, his job was to take pitches and try to give Damon a chance to steal or move him along. Now, he's being very aggressive, often swinging at the first pitch of the game and keeping pitchers from getting that nothing-on-it first pitch over for a strike. Damon is doing well, too. He's become more of a free swinger, evidenced by his 19 home runs. A Girardi move that has worked out very well.
Longview CANNIBALS. "Makes the phrase '...that pitch ate him up' take on a whole new meaning, doesn't it."
Ashville TOURISTS "They must play all their games on the road."
Albuquerque ISOTOPES "I guess they're not all dumb jocks."
Las Vegas 51'S "Can someone explain this one to me?"
(What Yankee hit for the cycle twice?)
My original answer was Joe DiMaggio, but that bastion of truth and honesty, The Bimb, pointed out that Lou Gehrig also did it twice. And then to prove how faulty my research was, she also mentioned that Bob Meusel did it THREE times. Thanks a lot, Bimb. You just gave Vod another reason to sneer at me.
I haven't seen Hannah in a few days. Hope she isn't sick. Have you heard anything, Vod?
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
That's twice they have beaten one of baseball's best pitchers. Actually, Since Doc had a minor injury about a month ago, he hasn't been pitching with the usual Halladay quality: very good but not outstanding. Johnny Damon used to have a reputation for being a very good fielder (with a lousy arm), but the the last few years, he's been very scary out there...and getting worse.
The Yanks are now 4-4 on the road trip. A 5-4 record would be great; that's a .555 percentage. Do that and play .600 ball at home (they're currently .673) and you have 93 wins.
I have never seen a catchers defensive skills erode as fast as Posada's. The Yanks better plan on him as next year's permanent DH.
***PUJOLS IS JUST FRIGHTENING***
You may have heard that in 10 at bats with the bases loaded this season, he has 7 hits and 1 walk with 5 homers and 24 RBI's. If teams had just walked him every time, they could have saved themselves 14 runs. Can you believe that?
***WHERE IS SCOTT BORAS WHEN YOU NEED HIM?***
From Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle: "The A's drafted Rickey Henderson and offered him $10,000 to sign. Rickey demanded $100,000. The two sides compromised at $10,000."
"North Korea has pardoned the two U.S. journalists. Proving once again, there is no one better than Bill Clinton if the objective is going after two women.
-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have been involved in the decision to send her husband to North Korea. Can you imagine that conversation. “So let me get this straight, you want me to go over there and see if I can pick up two girls?”
***MELKY HITS FOR THE CYCLE***
Which ruins one of Michael Kay's favorite trivia question: Who was the last Yankee to hit for the cycle? Yeah, Tony Fernandez, we know. But...what Yankee hit for the cycle TWICE in his career?
Sergio Mitre goes tonight. Let's everyone light a candle.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Two players and now two staffers have been nailed in heretofore "clean" Boston. Next, they'll be checking bus drivers. Why don't they just reveal that list and get it over with. It would also help if these idiot ballplayers would quit lying about everything. Can't they see that everything comes to light after a while?
It's also just a constant 'excuse' sportswriters and fans use for any reduction in performance:
A-Rod hasn't had a home run in 53 AB's. Why? He's off the juice.
Manny is mired in a big slump since his suspension. Why? He's off the juice.
Big Papi can't hit at all. Why? He's off the juice.
I'm tired of it.
An article in the paper says that not one player on the Pirate roster is making the Major League minimum ($3+ million). Of course, that's probably true for the Yankees roster, too.
***THIS FROM JIM MANDELARO OF THE ROCHESTER D & C***
"A DH in one league, no DH in the other. Playoff games that start at 10 p.m. An exhibition game that decides who hosts the most important game of the year. This never would have happened if Bud Selig were alive." Should we tell him?
***I LOVE MINOR LEAGUE TEAM NICKNAMES***
Wichita, Kansas WINGNUTS
Lansing, Michigan LUGNUTS
Let's get to the heart of the matter:
Modesto, California NUTS
Lots of teams are named after animals (Tigers, Lions, Orioles, etc.). How boring. Not in the minors. They make up their own species:
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania IRONPIGS
Grand Prairie, Texas AIRHOGS
...and, of course, my favorite:
Batavia, New York MUCKDOGS
Since it's all about advertising, why not be upfront about it?
Saltillo, Mexico SERAPE MAKERS
Texarkana, Texas CASKETMAKERS (No joke)
According to Vod, John Kruk belongs on one of these teams:
Great Lakes LOONS
By the way, Vod, it's one thing to reassign a starter to the 'pen (Hughes) or bring a reliever in to make an emergency start, it's quite different to use a regular starter in relief in a game, which is what your beloved Torre did.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Just stopped by to see what mischief our boy Picasner has been up to lately and am pleased to find that he's been hanging out on the sane side of the planet - except for his Hannah Storm obsession. Woof. There are two mitigating factors. It is the August "dog days" and apparently eyesight is the first thing to go.
Our hero just can't help himself from being wrong when using Joe Torre and bullpen in the same sentence. I am pleased that he conveniently overlooks not only the Yankees bullpen with 2 starters playing relief rolls and another headed for the pen shortly but also 65 LA wins. You make me proud son.
Tonight, John Kruk anointed the Yankees as, currently (!), the best team in baseball. I love the disclaimer, currently. Now John can anoint another team as, currently, the best at 60 second intervals. While I've always admired John for his blatant, boorish, stacatto drivel, this one's a beaut. Apparently Kruk believes that gaping holes in a starting rotation and a dysfunctional outfield are ingredients for the best team in baseball. Or, perhaps, it's the incredibly shrinking 1/2 game lead that tickles his over-inflated fancy. In any case, I thought he was usually wrong about everything and anything before this latest spout, and he has only confirmed my suspicions.
Once again, Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy, has acted in a manner most stand-up with the latest Ortiz and Manny reevaluations. Catch his podcast. It's well worth the listen. He's betting the farm that Boston will run Papelbon out of town when his contract is up and that Dana Bard is their future closer.
Check it out. Steinbrenner Corp. is barely playing .500 baseball in games that CC Pajamabathia starts. Not what they expected from their 28 gazillion dollar non-phenom.
Huge 9 day stretch starts Tuesday. I'll check in when it's over.