Friday, April 30, 2010
Robbie Cano has answered the question if he could handle the responsibility of bating 5th with a .409 BA and a team leading 8 home runs. Nick Swisher, not be out done, has proven he too is a quick study proving he can deliver what we expect from the 2 hole going 0 - 5 last night. Good to see there was no drop off in production with Nick Johnson on the bench.
What really strikes me as unusual, is that Robbie is hot in the field, too. I have no idea how he can get anything on that cross-body throw and yet it's always quick and accurate. He's carrying the team right now, with those highly paid big boppers, A-Rod & Teixeira, looking all too human. If they get cooking, things could get a little scary for the rest of the league.
Let's not forget the pitching staff. Even when the starters don't have their best stuff, they hang in there anyway. There is one exception and we'll see him on Saturday. Maybe Vasquez will find something by then.
***THE SAD STATE OF THE ORIOLES***
They didn't look as inept as their record indicated against the Yanks. The fans sure have given up on them, though. A three game series against NY would normally fill the stands even during the week, but in this series, the attendance averaged 21,000+ in a stadium with a capacity of 48,000+, about 43%. They're already 13 games out and on a pace to lose 120 games.
***YANKS VISIT THE WHITE HOUSE***
When asked what it was like being in the Oval Office, Derek Jeter said, "It was sorta like being in George Steinbrenner's office." I don't know which leader should have been impressed.
***WE HAVE ANOTHER 'UNWRITTEN' RULE***
In a game against the Cleveland Indians, The Angels Howie Kendrick had a walk-off hit against pitcher Chris Perez. With the score tied in the bottom of the 9th, men on 1st & 3rd with two outs, Howie pushed a bunt between the pitcher and 1st base for a hit, scoring the winning run. Perez was incensed, saying that "...major leaguers would want to get a swinging hit in those circumstances. I don't want to say it was 'bush league,' but it wasn't the classy thing to do."
So, trying to get a win any way you can isn't the right thing? There's another unwritten rule I never heard of.
David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, had this to say about unwritten rules: "I'd tell you which rule, but then it wouldn't be unwritten."
***POSADA TALKS ABOUT CATCHING***
I know you're all expecting a joke here (actually, so was I), but this is really an article where Posada discusses various pitchers he's caught (There's another straight line I'm going to ignore).
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The only good thing happening along the gulf coast these days is baseball.
Politics is a race to the bottom and oil is a race to the top.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced today he is running for the senate as an independent disassociating himself from the Republican Party. Rubio, the challanger from within Crist's former party, is fighting an odorous sleaze factor that is only eclipsed by the sleaze that has been coming out of British Petroleum (BP) regarding the massive and continuing oil drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Voters have until November to sort out the political morass. There is no time available to head off a disaster of horrendous proportions in the gulf.
After denying for several days the US Coast Guard's analysis, 200,000 gallons a day of crude oil flooding into the gulf, they admitted today that the Coast Guard is right. Fingers of the spill are already hitting gulf beaches and a solution to the spill is weeks if not months away. This single drilling rig may dwarf the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster that never dissuaded Sarah Palin from screeching "Drill, baby, drill" when she's turned on in front of a camera.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays are playing incredible baseball. In their best (read inept) attempt to highlight the hottest team in the toughest division in baseball, MLB has decreed that Joe Maddon , the Tampa skipper, must cease and desist from wearing a team hoodie during games.
MLB has benevolently authorized the use of hats with sissy flaps for cold weather games and, of course, panty-hose are encouraged - if they carry the manly UnderArmor brand - but no hoodies for Joe.
Reminds me of the old saw, "Nero fiddles while Rome burns."
The Chinese Gymnastics Association has been ordered to return the Women's Team Bronze medal won in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. There is evidence that a gymnast, Dong Fangxiao, was under age at the time of the competition. Gymnasts have to be 14 to compete. The Chinese Government will file a protest saying that 10 years is too long a wait to make such a claim and that Dong is having a hard enough time adjusting to her freshman year in high school.
***CC WINS UGLY***
He walked 2 and gave up 11 hits, but Oriole pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie, gave up 7 runs on 6 hits. After the game, Guthrie said he was, "...embarrassed by the way the game started, embarrassed by the way the game ended and embarrassed that they had to bring guys in from the bullpen." Then he, "apologized to the fans for losing, to his teammates for pitching poorly and to Posada for hitting him." No truth to the rumor that he conducted the post-game interview while lying on a bed of nails.
Robinson Cano continues to impress, while Nick Johnson & Mark Teixeira went a collective 2-9 (a .222 average) which RAISED their collective average from .131 to .137. Johnson has changed his number to try and change his luck, but it didn't do much good. Where's Giambi's gold lame' jock strap when you need it?
...but so lucky, Marlon Byrd couldn't even PRETEND he was actually trying to do this:
http://espn.go.com/mlb/clubhouse?team=chc and click on "Byrd's catch..." on the video playlist.
***NOT THE WAY TO DO IT***
Trevor Hoffman has vowed to continue pitching as long as Mariano Rivera does so he can stay ahead of Mo' in saves. So far this year, Trevor has 4 blown saves and 2 losses. Do the math, Trevor. Don't be like Eric Gagne who announced his retirement this week, two years after his arm did (from The Onion.com).
***COULD YOU REPEAT THAT?***
Who is the "Most Despised Team" in baseball? Usually this is a n0-brainer: The beloved Bronx Bombers. However, the Wall Street Journal, that paragon of financial acumen. by using some obscure algorithm, has determined that the team holding this title is the Cleveland Indians! The Yanks are 5th on the list behind Boston, Cincinnati and Houston. Stick to messing up the nation's finances WSJ; the Sporting News, you ain't
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Vod says Mark Teixeira is the best first baseman. Most of baseball thinks Albert Pujols is baseball's best and many think Justin Morneau has the greatest potential. All this is moot since Howard signed a contract extension for 5 years @ $25 million per year. This means he'll average a little over $23 million per year for the next 7 years.
He's not a great fielder, he's not athletic, he doesn't hit for average and he struggles against left-handers. It doesn't matter; he's the one signing the big checks.
***AND THAT'S NOT THE WORST CONTRACT***
Back in 2000, the Mets released a washed up Bobby Bonilla, who still had about $6 million in salary owed him. In the worst release agreement signing since Don Corleone and the bandleader, the Mets agreed to pay Bonilla approximately $1.3 million a year from 2011 until 2035! Hey Bobby, Here's $28 million, now go away. Do you get the feeling that math is not the strong suit in the Mets front office.
***WHO'S THE BEST?***
The big debate right now is: Who is baseball's best 2nd baseman, Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano? Cano hits for more power and drives in more runs, while Pedroia is a little better fielder, steals more bases and scores more runs. You can't go wrong no matter which one you pick. Personally, I like Cano's uniform a little better.
***ARE YOU SURE YOU THOUGHT THIS THROUGH?***
Baltimore third baseman, Miguel Tejada, thinks that what the Orioles need is to play teams like the Yanks & Rays. That's what will get them playing better and winning. As Bill Cosby says, "That's like saying, if someone throws a left hook at you, you lean into it." Starting tonight, we'll see if that left hook lands or not.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Vod attributed the sarcastic Scott Shields comment to the Yankee broadcast team, when in fact, it was the clueless Fox team of Joe Buck and Eric "somebody." Obviously, Vod watched that game with the sound muted, which is probably the right thing to do. It seemed contradictory to me that Shields was praised and then damned in consecutive sentences. Alas, sometimes my humor (or sarcasm) is too subtle for the masses.
***HERE'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE***
Angel centerfielder Tori Hunter, commenting on Andy Pettitte's gem on Saturday.
"Andy Pettitte pitched a great game. He reminded me of the Andy Pettitte of old when he was young." Where's Casey Stengel when you need him?
***SPEAKING OF CASEY***
There is actually a ninth way of scoring from third as opposed to 2nd:
A fielder's choice
***POUNDING THE HORSEHIDE***
The Yanks "beat up" Scott Kasmir yesterday, smashing 3 hits off the crafty lefthander. Wow! Luckily, two of them were homers so they didn't look totally inept. Speaking of inept, Vasquez continues to disappoint. On the other hand, Bobby Abreu wasn't disappointed, hitting his 10th career homer off Javier. Although he hit the ball hard twice, Teixeira went 0-2 and is now hitting .119. David Ortiz in the meantime, is batting a spiffy .152, which is beginning to look good to Teixeira.
***HE CAN'T HIT, BUT...***
Jose Molina (remember him?), backup catcher for the Blue Jays, threw out 4 Tampa Bay runners attempting to steal yesterday, including Carl Crawford twice. I wonder if Posada was watching?
Sunday, April 25, 2010
There are many reasons why I watch Yankee baseball: they're on my basic cable package - so are the Mets - reason enough; bad judgement; can't find Office reruns.
The real reason, of course, is the expectation of seeing something brillant. Love them or hate them, over the course of 50 years of viewing, you will see more incredible baseball from the Yankees than any other team. Derek Jeter's back hand flip to nail Giambi at home or his head first launch into the 3rd base seats, coming out bloodied but with the ball. Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, and Don Larsen performing World Series magic. Watching the Yankees offers the potential display of baseball perfection. Today's game in Los Angeles - Anaheim was no exception.
Nick "The Eyeball Swisher" was facing LA's hard throwing right hander Jepsen in a batter's count. Swisher tracked a waist high fastball on the inner half of the plate and unleashed his home run swing complete with a high, wide open picturesque finish. As Nick watched his drive soar gracefully deep into the right field seats, the ball simple vanished before instantly reappearing in the catcher's mitt behind Nick's left ankle. So that's a slider. I laughed warm and heartfelt knowing we had witnessed the embodied definition of "swing and a miss." From this day on, every time I hear the phrase I'll think of Nick's moment of perfection.
And there's more. With 1 out and two men on, the hot, switch-hitting Kendry Morales faced The Yanks Marte. Cervelli, the Yankee catcher stood up an signaled for an intentional walk. Marte obliged with ball 1. The Yankee dugout got busy telling both Cervelli and Marte not to give up the intentional walk but rather to pitch to Morales. On a 3-0 count Morales blasted a 3 run HR giving LA a 8 - 4 lead. Perfect irony and, again, a heartfelt laugh of enjoyment. Tip for Joe Girardi - stop signing and start texting.
Side Note: It must have been a slow baseball day yesterday. Picasner actually wrote about a comment made in the Yankee broadcast booth, a booth manned by Ken Singleton and Flash. As we all know, Kenny is incapable of saying anything mean, disrespectful, or controversial about any one or any thing in or out of baseball and Flash is incapable of saying anything interesting at all. It seems P's undies got into into a bit of a bundle when one of the aforementioned referred to Scot Shields as someone considered to be the best set-up man in baseball. Forgetting the prior 8 years of Shields' career and well earned reputation as, well, "the best set-up man in baseball" (ask Dwight Perry), Picasner the Merciless offered a sarcastic backhand given Shields performance over that past 17 games. I hope Mark Teixeira doesn't go into a batting slump any time soon.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
It is a long-standing "unwritten" (there's that word again) rule in baseball, that you should never make the 1st or 3rd out at third, especially trying to steal 3rd with 2 outs. Always the rebel, Picasner has disagreed after hearing Casey Stengel mention that there are 8 ways you can score from third that you can't from 2nd. That's a pretty big number and certainly worth the risk. Ballplayers are obviously aware of this because steals of third have increased over the last 4 years, in spite of Tim McCarver's disapproval. Oh yeah, the eight ways:
I'll take my chances.
***SPEAKING OF STEALS***
The Red Sox are having an awful time trying to prevent stolen bases. Jayson Stark calls it "widespread looting." The Sox set the Major League record for allowing steals in 2001, letting 223 baserunners take the extra base. This year, they're on a pace to allow 364. Theo Epstein built this year's team around speed and defense. They can catch the baseball but not the runners. Must have missed that, huh Theo?
***ANOTHER YANKEE CONTROVERSY***
Surprise! No A-Rod this time. Mark Teixeira slammed into Angels catcher Bobby Wilson Friday night, sending the rookie to the hospital with a concussion. Some of the Angels say the collision could have been avoided and that Teixeira was upset because he had just been hit by a pitch. Even though Wilson set up in front of the plate to take the throw, he had leaned back over the plate to try and make a tag. Unfortunately, the throw had bounced away from him before Tex hit him. If he had managed to catch the throw, none of this would have come up. Teixeira stayed on the back half of the plate and anticipated Wilson having the ball and, by his own words, intended to try to jar the ball loose, not knowing that Wilson did not have the ball. Even Angel manager Mike Scioscia called it a clean play. Someone also mentioned that Tex didn't try to help Wilson up. Very dangerous: the play was still live and technically Teixeira could have been called for interference if he grabbed Wilson. No one wants to see anybody get hurt, but it did appear to be a clean and legal play.
***BROADCASTERS TALK...BUT DON'T LISTEN***
Not even to themselves. Today, this little gem came out of the broadcast booth during the Angels-Yankee game: Angel reliever Scott Shields is considered to be baseball's best set-up man. The Angels just shut him down for a week and will use him in non-critical situations until he straightens himself out. I see, and he's the best, eh?
Friday, April 23, 2010
Brett Favre announced his retirement at age 37. Then he recanted. Announced again at age 38...and recanted again. He can't have too many more retirements left. Lorena Ochoa is apparently planning ahead, She's announced her FIRST retirement at age 28. Take that, Brett.
THE YANKS - A GAME AND A DRAMA***
...and a great play. The Yanks turned a triple play yesterday in a losing cause. It was about time; the last one was over 6600 games ago. That's a long time to hold your breath.
Sabathia pitched pretty well, at one point giving up only one hit but being behind 3-0.
Then came the drama, with A-Rod in the middle, of course. He and A's pitcher, Dallas Braden, got into a shouting match because A-Rod casually jogged across the middle of the infield by the pitchers mound while returning to first base. Braden had a hissy-fit over what he called an "unwritten rule," that runners should not cross the pitchers mound. It might be, but in my 50+ years of watching baseball, I've never heard of this one. Right or wrong, to make an issue over something that trivial, that had no effect on the game, is kinda petty.
I saw in the box score that the game took only 2 hours and 7 minutes. A Yankee game that only took 2+ hours? What did they do, skip innings 4, 5 and 6?
***YA' GOTTA LOVE OZZIE GUILLEN***
From Jayson Stark of ESPN: When asked if he was sleeping okay because of the way the Sox were playing, Ozzie replied, "Naw, I'm sleeping like a baby. I wake up crying every two hours."
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Joe DiMaggio was known for his hook slide. Ty Cobb went in with his spikes held high. Pete Rose did the belly flop (I'll BET that hurt). All of them worked but were no more effective than this method:
Click on "Kowanacki's Leap
***AN OMINOUS SIGN FOR BIG PAPI***
After going 0-3 in last night's game, Manager Terry Francona pinch-hit Mike Lowell for Ortiz. When is the last time you saw that...if ever? I think we're going to see some platooning in the DH spot from now on.
***OH YEAH, THERE WAS A GAME, TOO***
The Sox finally won, but they tried hard not to. The Rangers stole 9 bases against Boston, 5 in one inning. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was the pitcher and I know it's easier to steal against them, but catcher Victor Martinez certainly did his part. Once, when warming up Wakefield, he missed him entirely with the return throw which ended up in centerfield. Later, he missed him again during the inning. So I guess it's a toss-up as to which guy is harder to catch.
***FINALLY, A WIN FOR VASQUEZ***
He got the win but I don't think he's gotten it together yet. He had a terrific curve but his fastball never reach 90 mph. He better amp up the speed if he expects to stay in the rotation. Looks like Teixeira & A-Rod are starting to heat up. Teixeira has quit dropping his back shoulder and is starting to square up on the ball, and A-Rod appears to be ready to go off on a tear.
***IT'S KIND OF A SPORT***
A headline I read on line: Teary Kate Gosselin sent home. She was bounced out of Dancing With The Stars last night and apologized for being a "crybaby." Well, you'd cry too, if you had to go back and take care of 8 kids. At least it'll be a new experience for her.
***FROM MY BUDDY DWIGHT PERRY***
"Thirty-year ESPN vet Chris Berman signed a contract extension with the cable network.
Actually, what they said was he'll be back, back-back-back-back."
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
While in Connecticut, I noticed a news item that said Larry Hasenfus has made the JV baseball team at Springfield College. He's a knuckleball pitcher and the whole school was proud of his achievement. That was pretty amazing.
Oh, did I mention that Larry is 58 years old? Minor point, but important, I guess.
***I DON'T THINK HE'LL BE GETTING A WHIPPED CREAM PIE***
It seems they have walk-off scores in other sports, too. Dan Boyle, for example, scored a walk-off goal in overtime in the San Jose Sharks hockey game. It was a play-off game against the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, it went into his own goal. At least it was quick, Dan. Jim Marshall ran 66 yards the wrong way to score a touchdown for the opposing San Franciso 49ers. All this with 10 Vikings chasing him and all 11 49ers blocking for him. Now THAT'S embarrassing.
***THINGS JUST AREN'T WORKING OUT FOR THEO***
Boston's problems continue. This is a team that was built for speed and defense, but they can't even keep that so-called 'speed & defense' on the field. Ellsbury is missing games because his own 3rd baseman, Adrian Beltre, kicked him in the ribs. I'm not sure why. Mike Cameron is out because of kidney stones. The team has committed 7 errors in the last 5 games (all losses, too). They can't even make it up with hitting. Their 4 big "sluggers," Drew, Martinez, Youkilis And Ortiz are hitting .146, .212, .217 and .158. That's .186 collectively. That ain't gittin' it done, boys.
Team president Larry Luchino is more concerned because the 'Evil Empire' (the Yanks) are becoming more popular in Connecticut than the Sox. "We own New England," he said. Really. Must be behind with the mortgage payments.
Picasner - A Brief History
Chapter 1 - Picasner Arrives
The year, 1944. The place, The Middle of Nowhere, or as named by current residents, Oswego, NY, a name derived from the Native American expression for "Where the hell are we?" It was a scorching July day for Oswego, the temperatures soaring into the mid-60's, when an early morning rumble stirred the hung-over residents from their slumber. Was this the sign that announced the birth of the Fabled One or the Niagara Mohawk steam station blowing out its stacks? Thus begin the mysteries that still surround Picasner these many years later.
Little is written of Picasner's early years although we know his fascination with the Yankees began with the emergence of Yogi Berra as one of the all time Yankee greats in the late 40's and early 50's. While many believe that the Picasner - Yankee symbiosis was foretold many years before by necromancers, tea leaf readers, and the Oracles of Delphi, Picasner's mom insists it developed from a young boy's confusion with Yogi Berra and Teddy Bears and, in Picasner's early teens, Yogi Bear. Regardless, Picasner has, over the years, grown in stature and deservedly earned the the title Most Ardent Defender of the Faith, Keeper of the Pinstripes, and Bret Gardner Publicist.
In 1962 we get a peek into Picasner's fascination with statistics and scientific analysis. While a senior in high school he played for the Ions, a city league basketball team. Who but a group of closet nerds, and the longest running cartoon show in pop culture history (The Simpsons), name their team after an element with an odd number of electrons. Many have suggested that was not the only thing odd about the Ions. But I digress. Picasner's defining Yankee epiphany occurred that same year when he and the first of Picasner's apostles hitchhiked from Oswego to New York City, a distance of 300 miles, to see a Yankee game - a pilgrimage that strikes fear and panic into the hearts of many, and prompts contemporary parents to scream "Are you freaking crazy!" at their young, aspiring Picasnerites asking to repeat the quest.
Chapter 2 - The Oswego Mission
While Vod and Picasner are the same age, grew up (still hotly debated by Annie-O and LT) in the same small town, and attended, if sporadically, the same high school, their paths rarely crossed. You see, Oswego, New York's Little Siberia, is neatly bisected by the Oswego River into The West Side and The East Side, and as every west-sider knows, east-siders are all punks and thugs and, as every east-sider knows, west-siders are all punks and thugs. It is known that east and west-siders commonly were seen in many of the same venues. The east side had the Oswego Speedway, the west the Oswego Theater. The east side had Stone's Candy, the west Flat Rock beach. But each side usually kept a safe distance from the other, because, after all, the other-siders were all punks and thugs. Actually, history has proven both right given the hord from both sides of the river that are currently serving extended prison sentences or are quietly spending eternity at the bottom of a well. Regardless, the east and west side boys were united through a common culture: the DA hair cut held in place by hair pomade, Wildroot Cream Oil, or 50W motor oil, Chuck Converse All-Star sneakers, appropriate for all events from gym class to the Junior Prom, and a fascination with girls from any side of the river. All were on a quest for an opportunity to get to second base (please note that Picasner still makes much of Bret Gardner's ability to steal 2nd) and free passage was guaranteed throughout the city to the young and the horny.
Finally, in the spring of 1963, the orbits of Vod and Picasner intersected in a crash of cosmic proportions, both attending, again sporadically, Oswego State (a school, not a penal institution - also hotly debated), and both joining Sigma Gamma fraternity (confusion once again playing a large part in the development of Our Hero). While much is known, little can be said of their years together at O-State. Most of the details are contained in sealed indictments and the information that is in the public domain is vehemently denied by past O-State coeds and is the basis of pending civil actions.
I will only point out that following two years of the Vod and Picasner mission in Oswego, New York State raised the drinking age to 21, Buckland's Bar (more commonly known as the V-P lounge) was torn down, and a four lane highway was built to aid a speedy retreat out of town.
Chapter 3 - Annie-O and LT
(The following is the redacted version of Chapter 3 and includes all text not deleted by the aforementioned Annie-O and LT.)
They XXXXXXXXX. Picasner XXXXXXXXXXXX. Vod XXXXXXXXXXXX!
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. When XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX unbelievable XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX you want to what? XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
Never XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXX should have known better XXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
What was I thinking when XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX the best lawyer in XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. How could either of you XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX?
And that brings us up to the current day.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Can you believe it? 7.4 % of the 2010 season is in the books. Just a few early questions -
Is Mark Teixeira is actually hitting .429? Yes – according to Bret Gardner’s personal scorer.
Most significant reason why the Yankees have 10 straight error-free games? Mark Teixeira.
Favorite batting averages of the early season? J. D. Drew .132, David Ortiz .171 - Keep it on the interstate, boys.
Has anyone asked Javier Vasquez how much more he enjoys pitching in the American League than the NL? Let’s get Kim to do it.
How many times has Flash used the phrase “He didn’t try to do too much with it (that pitch). 27
Best early example of Picasner Selective Reasoning? Boo Hoos that Nick Johnson was called out on an attempted steal of second while ignoring Matsui being called out at home while the home plate ump simply hung out behind Jorge and never got a decent look at the play. Now that’s nonchalant.
Favorite hitter-making-pitchers-work story? Nick “The Eye” Swisher recently worked the pitcher for a grand total of 8 pitches in 4 at bats.
Got to go before I’m mistaken for someone who cares about this stuff.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Phil Mushnick, NY Post columnist, writes that having every ML ballplayer wear #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson is silly. His point is that the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on specialized uniforms (except for Mariano Rivera, of course) is a horrendous waste of money. Sounds kind of disrespectful at first, until you hear his alternative. Take the money teams would have spent on the uniforms and donate it to a charity to fund ball fields and equipment for underprivileged kids. Not a bad idea if it could be properly monitored. We should still figure out a way to honor Jackie Robinson, though. Maybe an arm patch with #42?
***MISSED OUR CHANCE***
When I read about the Mets & Cards playing a 20-inning game that lasted 6 hours & 53 minutes, I prayed that Joe West was behind the plate. Alas, no.
***FROM BILL LITTLEJOHN***
"What do Larry King, Elizabeth Taylor and the Houston Astros have in common? On one day in April, they were all 0-8."
***LIFE IS JUST NOT FAIR***
Andy Roddick just won the Sony Tennis Tournament in Key Biscayne and is married to swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. At the awards ceremony, he refused the prize, saying one trophy was enough.
***LIFE IS JUST NOT FAIR - PART 2***
In an obvious 'homer call,' Brett Gardner hit a 4-hop ground ball that the Texas 2nd baseman let go BETWEEN his legs. "Base hit," said the official scorer. Please, have we no pride?
***DWIGHT PERRY, SEATTLE TIMES***
Derrick Coleman, former Syracuse Univ. basketball player, has filed for bankruptcy, stating he is $4.7 million in debt, according to the Wall Street Journal. In his NBA career, Derrick earned a whopping $87 million dollars. This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Taking it to the hole."
Saturday, April 17, 2010
With Jose Reyes on 2nd and Luis Castillo on 1st, the Mets pulled a double steal...except Reyes was apparently only kidding. He only faked going to third. So there's Castillo hung up in no-man's land and ultimately tagged out by the catcher. Reyes then decided, better-late-than-never, and took off for third only to be thrown out by the catcher. Nice going. Janice Hough says the Met's slogan should be, "At least we're not the Astros." More likely, it should be, "We wish we WERE the Astros."
***ONLY IN PHILADELPHIA***
I know fans rag on opposing fans at games, but Philly fans go you one better. A Philly fan has been arrested for vomiting on another fan. Oh yeah, "Take me out to the ball game, buy me some kleenex and wet naps..."
***THE UMPIRE ERRORS CONTINUE***
Nick Johnson steals second last night, only to be called out by the ump. Okay, mistakes happen, but 2nd base ump, DJ Reyburn was so nonchalant about it, I think he called him out while Nick was still 10 feet from the bag. Why do they treat these plays at 2nd like they're so automatic?
***MORE ON THE GAME***
# With two on and nobody out, Nick Swisher tries to push a bunt towards first. Flaherty and Kay commented on how Girardi ordered the but because the score was tied and the rains were coming. Wrong! You would think at least Flaherty would know better. Nick waited to the last minute and he tried to push it towards first. If you're sacrificing in that situation, you want the 3rd baseman to field the ball. Am I the only one paying attention?
# While Curtis Granderson continues to struggle against lefties, I am impressed with his professionalism and his knowledge of how to play the game.
# Teixeira's struggles are no longer funny. It's not good to smile benevolently while he flails away at pitches in and out of the strike zone. He's breaking up too many rallies.
All the stars came out last night, let's see how they did:
CC Sabathia - Win
Doc Halladay - Win
Chris Carpenter - Win
Zack Greinke - Loss
Mark Buehrle - Loss
Josh Beckett - No Decision
Friday, April 16, 2010
Picasner is under the gun. Other writers are scouring his work for quotes His son Mark is suggesting he start a second career. He’ll need to hire staff to answer email, explore personal appearance requests, book tours, and manage the entanglements of his skyrocketing celebrity. Picasner is hot!
Now, because of Picasner’s “always generous” sensibility, Picasner Limited is offering his most loyal fans an opportunity to acquire your own small piece of Picasner memorabilia at amazing introductory prices before fame, fortune, and a floating yuan drive prices up, down, or not at all. The future value of certified, official Picasner Trash is anyone’s guess. So don’t be caught short. Act now to trade those increasingly useless greenbacks for Picasner Trash. All items are hand numbered, include a signed Certificate of Authenticity, and are not being currently produced by Amish craftsmen feverishly working by candle light to fill your orders.
Picasner Trash – what every Picasnerite wants, hardly needs, and can live without. Impress your friends by proudly displaying your own Picasner Trash at home, work, in the trunk of your car, and anywhere else you can claim anonymity or an insanity defense.
The Picasner Lunchbox
Graced with the glossy likeness of The Fabled One, the Picasner Lunchbox not only makes a gorgeous display in your basement, barn, or tool shed, but includes an assortment of Picasner’ Brand products. Every Picasner Lunchbox comes loaded with Picasner PowerPop drawn directly from pristine Lake Ontario, Picasner Pork Rinds, so fresh you can hear the squeal, and Picasner Pudding-On-A -Stick – the dessert that lasts longer that a Yankee-Red Sox game. Add the Picasner Poster, suitable for framing or wrapping fish and you have more than Picasner Trash, you have a Wall Street, circa 4th qtr 2008, investment!
Get yours for $59.99 plus shipping and handling.
Picasner Pro Clothing
Now you can wear the same quality gear that Picasner wears as he Etch-O-Sketches his colum. In fact, each article of Picasner Pro Clothing has been worn by the Potentate himself. Our first release is the Slightly Used Picasner Sweat Sock. Buy them individually for $9.95 plus shipping and handling or a set of two for $17.95 to tickle your piggies with certified Picasner Power. Each order is packed by our staff wearing EPA-grade HAZ-MAT suits and is shipped in leak-proof, odor-proof cartons for your enjoyment and protection.
Picasner For A Day
This is the one item that everyone is scrambling for. When it isn’t enough to eat like Picasner and dress like Picasner - be Picasner For A Day! Upon purchase, Picasner LTD. will provide you with round trip transportation via your own car to Rochester, NY. There, you’ll spend 24 hours as the man himself. Keep a scheduled dentist appointment, have lunch at the P’s favorite pizza palace with Vod, and end your day with a candle lit dinner with Annie-O while she nags you about that out of control ear hair.
Not for the faint of heart, Picasner For A Day gives you the opportunity to walk 85 feet in Picasner’s shoes (its been a while since the lad did a mile).
All this for the unbelievable price of $299.99. Allow 6 weeks for a confirmed appointment. Requires a psychiatric evaluation prior to scheduling.
Send your cash only orders for authentic Picasner Trash to: Picasner Trash, 1 Picasner Tower, 6297 Lambert, Victor, NY 14564.
What's scarier than Roy Halladay pitching in the National League? Nothing, according to ESPN analyst, Buck Showalter. Buck describes him as "A man playing with children." Showalter believes that he has a chance to "...push 25-30 wins." Very optimistic, but I'll tell you what: don't bet against it.
***...AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING!***
David Ortiz can't catch a break. Now rapper Jay-Z is suing the Boston slugger for $5 million for using the name 40-40 for his new nightclub. Jay-Z owns a string of clubs with that name. Did you think no one would notice, David?
***THIS OBVIOUSLY WON'T GO AWAY***
Sportswriters everywhere are trying to figure out some kind of punishment for AJ Pierzynski for faking being hit by a pitch. There is no such allowance made for this in MLB rules, so the writers have taken it upon themselves to come up with one. This isn't the first time a ballplayer has done this, so why are they picking on AJ? Maybe because Pierzynski is the most hated player in baseball now that A-Rod's gotten religion.
***WE'RE NUMBER TWO***
Janice Hough has this year's slogan for the Mets all worked out: "At least we're not the Astros"
***IN CASE THE DAY JOB DOESN'T WORK OUT***
Yankee broadcaster, Michael Kay, after watching Sergio Mitre stretch in the bullpen by kicking up his legs: "Mitre getting ready in the bullpen...or auditioning for the Rockettes."
***WRONG COAST, AL***
Yankee analyst, Al Leiter, might not be too sure who's managing these days. When Marcus Thames started to trot when he thought he'd hit a homer and had to sprint to make it to 2nd, Leiter commented, "He knew he did wrong. I'm sure Joe Torre will say something to him in the dugout." Probably have to be a long distance call, Al. Even more surprising was that Michael Kay recognized the mistake.
If you're tired of waiting for Picasner to quote Dwight Perry, you might want to try it on your own: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sidelinechatter/
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I explained about a 'simulated game' a while back. It's used mostly to allow pitchers to get their rhythm and endurance back. There is a problem: the pitchers aren't sharp. In his simulated game, Cliff Lee nailed minor-leaguer Kyle Seager in the side with a fastball. I think it'll be a while before Kyle volunteers for that duty again.
***IT AIN'T CHEATING UNLESS YOU GET CAUGHT***
There is talk that the Blue Jays' Ricky Romero lost his no-hit bid because of a little subterfuge by AJ Pierzynski of the White Sox. After a pitched ball hit the ground NEAR his foot, AJ hopped around like a monkey and then ran to first. Despite protestations from the Jays and a conference by the umpires, AJ was allowed to stay at first. Pitching from the stretch, when pitchers are generally not as effective, and upset about the HBP call, Romero promptly gave up his first hit. Asked about it later, AJ just smiled. Since the home plate umpire was Tim McClelland, is anyone surprised that he missed the call? This is the guy that hardly noticed two Yankees on third base at the same time in last year's post-season, and also missed the fact that BOTH were tagged out. Tim, it's time you looked into retirement. ...and take Joe West with you.
***HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?***
David Ortiz' struggles at the plate is big news, especially in Boston. The phrase in baseball is "hitting below the Mendoza line," which means under .200. Big Papi is currently hitting .157. Well, what do you call it when you hit below .100? Simple: it's called Mark Teixeira. He's currently hitting .097. Of course, he's driven in twice as many runs as Ortiz. Mark has 4.
***ANOTHER FAVORITE WRITER OF MINE***
Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: "Oakland placed leadoff hitter Coco Crisp on the disabled list. That's tough luck for the Athletics, who earlier had to place Fruity Pebbles on the disabled list"
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The front office says it's because they won it all last year and indications are that the team is even better this year. Right. You, ah, don't think it had anything to do with cutting ticket prices again, do you? Actually, they deny cutting prices that much. What they did do was to "rename" some of the highest cost seats to a lower echelon level, so they 'didn't really cut that many prices.' Oh. I wonder if there's an all-star game for marketing geniuses.
***BUT THEY ARE CLASSY***
At least the team is. Gathering around Hideki Matsui as a team when he was called out to receive his championship ring was terrific. The fans followed up by giving Hideki a standing ovation his first time up. This made me nervous since Matsui is well-known for performing in crucial and emotional situations. I was waiting for a homer, but he had a tough day at the plate (0-5). I didn't think too much of the 'fake ring' trick they pulled on Swisher and Matsui.
***AROUND THE LEAGUE***
# Milton Bradley hit a homer yesterday, so the Mariners must have known what they were doing in their little meeting.
# Big Papi (David Ortiz) is coming under a lot of fire because of his slow start again this year. Francona's not ready to pull the plug yet, but Ortiz has to hit for the Sox to be any kind of threat, especially since he's in the middle of the lineup.
# Panic sets in early when the managers contract is in its last year. Dave Trembly of the Orioles and Ron Washington of the Rangers are both aware that their jobs are on the line and that management may not wait till the end of the year. So when the closers for each team struggled...Bam! They were out. Pretty bad when you can't count on being given a chance beyond the first 5 games of the season. I'll bet all the players on both teams are on edge.
# The Astros have started the season 0-7, or as Janice Hough says, "Houston, we have a problem."
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Barry Bonds is surfacing again. He's congratulating Mark McGwire on his confessions about PED's. This doesn't get you off the hook, Barry. We're still waiting for you to come clean. It's interesting that he has not officially retired. It's been said that he's purposely waiting because you don't begin the 5-year waiting period to be eligible for the Hall of Fame until you're retired. The longer he waits, the further away he is from furor over the drug-enhanced home run spree which he hopes will increase his chances of getting in. I think sports writers have a long memory, Barry.
***AND IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH***
Barry's also taking credit for the increased hitting skills exhibited by Ryan Howard of the Phillys this year. "Yeah, I showed him a few things," said Barry. He also said he was surprised that Howard hasn't mentioned anything about his help. I don't know about you, Barry, but to me, that says you weren't much help.
The Seattle Mariner front office has had their first "meeting" with the mercurial Milton Bradley. They said they wanted to "...take the pressure off him." Probably a good idea since there aren't too many players that are wound as tight as he is.
***GOODBYE WES JOHNSON***
I guess it figures. Any star player is pretty much one-and-done these days. Some take a while to develop, and they last, but the real talented ones cannot resist the lure of the NBA money. I suppose you can't blame them, but it's distressing to me personally, since I much prefer the collegiate game to the pros. I wonder how Boeheim feels, having to basically start from scratch every year. Of course, he's already getting his money.
***THE YANKEE CELEBRATION BEGINS IN A FEW MINUTES***
The team will be getting their World Series rings today. I wonder how Granderson & Vasquez feel, having to stand there while their teammates get the gold. Hopefully it makes them want to try harder to get their own.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Here are two consecutive statements from Bob in todays' column:
"Minnesota's trade sending pitching ace Johan Santana to the New York Mets, suddenly isn't looking too bad. The Twins received pitchers Phillip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra and outfielder Carlos Gomez." Followed by this statement:
"Humber and Mulvey did nothing for the Twins and weren't anything special with the Rochester Red Wings. Gomez stuck with Minnesota but was in over his head. Guerra is at Double-A in New Britain." Exactly what wasn't 'too bad', Bob? That they survived the plane trip to Minneapolis?
***NO ONE IS GOING TO BELIEVE THIS ONE***
And I mean NO ONE! Picasner defending Joe West? Sorry, sports fans, but I call 'em like I see 'em. One of the criticisms of Country Joe, in retaliation for his 'pathetic and embarrassing' statements, is that he has a "...strike zone the size of a postage stamp." Ah, my friends, this is not always a bad thing. Because of where umpires set up to call balls & strikes (right on the inside corner of the plate), they are all clueless about the outside pitches. Balls that are shown to be clearly 4, 5 or 6 inches OFF the plate are called strikes. Country Joe won't call them strikes unless they are a lot closer. If these pitches were properly called balls, games would probably be even longer. Joe still can't run and is argumentative and confrontational, but he's, how shall I put it, less inept in this case.
For more on this, I suggest you read Bill Madden's column in the Sunday Daily News:
***MLB IS RIGHT ON TOP OF THE JOE WEST CONTROVERSY***
As previously discussed, MLB had to do something about West's comments, fine or suspension, or both. Well, the word is that Joe "...has been admonished for his remarks. Firmly." Wow, I hope his wrist is okay.
***I'M LOSING MY PATIENCE WITH THIS GUY***
Sports premier 'Conversational Bully,' Mike Lupica, instead of being insightful, has become just contrary. His take on Joe West goes like this:
"Joe West...got jumped pretty good for saying the Yanks & Red Sox play ridiculously long games. But you know what? The Sox & the Yanks play ridiculously, stupidly long games, occasionally nine-inning games that don't just push four hours, but go past five."
Oh, really. Do you really know how long 5 hours is, Mike. It appears to be the same amount of time you spent in Journalism school. Even that 13-inning thriller the Yanks & Sox played a few years ago, barely made it to five hours. You're going to have to prove this one, Mike.
Remember the grief A-Rod got for supposedly calling "I got it," as he rounded third when the 3rd baseman was waiting to catch a pop-up against Toronto? Let's see if this situation gets any play in the news. Minnesota third base coach, Jim Ullger (that IS spelled correctly), stepped onto the field in an apparent attempt to delude a relay man into thinking a runner was on third so he wouldn't throw home. It's illegal and didn't work anyway. Check out these pictures and explanation by Blogger Jim Margalus:
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks, struck out 223 times last year, leading the league. Add in his 76 walks and 5 hit-by-pitches, and you realize that he never touched the ball in 304 plate appearances. Good thing his contract isn't based on piece-count. He might owe the D-Backs money.
***THE PRESSURE'S OFF THE AL CENTRAL***
Last year, the AL Central was described as the "island of misfit toys," because of their expected ineptitude. This year, it's the AL WEST. Buster Olney describes them as "...a division of mudwrestlers." Doesn't sound bad to me if you realize that mudwrestlers are usually women in (and out) of bikinis. They might not play too well, but the stadiums should be full.
***NOT WHAT YOU'D CALL A GOOD TRADE***
The Mariners gave up a ton to get Cliff Lee. What have they got so far? Lee will be on the DL until May and word is, if the Mariners aren't doing well, Lee will be traded in July. Payroll ceilings be damned: can you say "pinstripes?"
***SPEAKING OF SEATTLE***
From Dwight Perry: Get him outta here
"Details are sketchy on a possible Bobby Cox Night in Atlanta to honor the lame-duck Braves manager with the record 154 career ejections, but it reportedly would include a 21-thumb salute."
***THE MILTON BRADLEY BOARD GAME***
Bradley must finally be happy in Seattle. I read that he told the Mariner fans that they were "number one," after they booed him...kinda.
***AND ONLY 5 GAMES IN***
Ozzie Guillen, White Sox manager, has already let reporters comments get under his skin. "If you don't like the way I manage," he said, "go watch the Cubs." Good idea, we all know how well Lou Piniella deals with criticism. Do I detect a pattern with managers in Chicago here? "If you can't win, at least entertain the press."
***THIS IS GOING TO IRRITATE ME ALL YEAR***
My former favorite Yankee, Hideki Matsui, got a walk-off hit for the Angels yesterday. He's currently hitting .417 and I'm getting a headache banging my head on the desk.
***HE'S A WINNER, SO YA' GOTTA LISTEN***
From the New York Times: Uconn womens' basketball coach, Geno Auriemma thinks stretching is "The biggest waste of time in sports." Yet he still has his players do it, but "...just so they can sit around and talk about shoes and movies and things. I stay in my office until they're done. It's nauseating."
***WELL, OH YEAH?***
CC Sabathia did not allow a hit until there were 2 out in the 8th inning against the Rays, yesterday. Joe Girardi says he would have taken him out at the end of the inning anyway. When this was told to CC, he replied, "There would have been a fight."
Friday, April 09, 2010
Joe West continues to take heat from just about everybody about his remarks concerning the slow play of the Yanks & Red Sox. Even stone-faced Mariano Rivera was upset enough to say that, "...if he's got someplace to go, let him go, otherwise, he should just do his job." I have a suggestion as to where Joe should go. Umpire Angel Hernandez did it right by refusing to blanketly allowing time-outs by hitters, well within the rules. Big shot Joe West refused to let Hernandez comment because he wanted to be the lone voice and not take the chance that another umpire would disagree with him.
Players & managers are forbidden to criticize an umpire's performance, are fined or suspended when they do and the disciplinary action is announced. Let's see what, if anything, happens to Joe.
I'm okay, now. ....maybe.
***NOTES FROM THE 1ST SERIES***
Yes, it's way too early for value judgements, but here's what I noticed.
Nick & Nick at bat: According to ESPN, these two guys (Johnson & Swisher) saw 130 pitches in Boston. That's what beats up starting pitchers and it worked in Boston.
Granderson with the bat: He's got power and should be pretty scary in Yankee stadium, but...he still looks pathetic against lefties.
Yankee pitching: The starters looked a little shaky, but the bullpen was lights-out.
1-2-3-4: The top of the Yankee lineup didn't do much. Luckily, neither did Big Papi.
***ALWAYS FINISH WITH A LAUGH***
From Janice Hough: "Umpire Joe West has complained publicly about the Red Sox and Yankees' slow play during their opening series, when all the games went almost four hours. On the other hand, considering the ticket prices at Fenway, maybe the teams felt like they were just trying to reduce the entertainment cost per minute."
Len Berman on the Mets' newest radio sponsor: "Ace Bandages and Braces...Honest. What took 'em so long?"
David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: " Unless you want to wind up as a courtroom witness, don't walk into the Pitts. Steelers' locker room and ask a player what he did in the off-sesaon."
Thursday, April 08, 2010
You generally hear about simulated games in the spring and early season or when a pitcher is rehabbing. How exactly is this done? A pitcher will throw to 3 or 4 volunteer batters with a catcher calling balls and strikes. The batters are allowed to swing, and a coach determines whether a batted ball is a hit or an out. Batters take their base and run just like in a regular game. After 3 outs, the pitcher sits down and waits a specified time just as though "his team" is at bat. They stop when the "game" is over or he has thrown a pre-set number of pitches.
I wonder if there are any arguments about tag plays on the bases.
***THE COST OF A BASEBALL GAME***
This time of year, some organization with time on their hands determines the 'average cost' of a baseball ticket for each team. They take into account seat location and what is being referred to as "premium games." Those are games against the Yankee, Red Sox or any natural rivalry, for which a club feels they can gouge a little more money out of the sucke...er, fans. The highest ATP (average ticket price) this year is $52.56. Can you guess who holds that distinction?
That's right: the Cubs. Fooled you, didn't I? Second, at $52.32 is...Boston. Wait, we're getting to it. #3 is the Yanks at $51.83. The lowest ATP belongs to the Pirates at $26.79, which is why I like to see games in Pittsburgh, plus you can get a footlong hot dog with everything for $6.00.
The other number they compute is the cost of a family of 4 attending a game. This is called the Fan Cost Index. It includes: 4 tickets, 2 small beers, 4 small soft drinks, 4 hot dogs, 2 programs, parking and 2 adult-sized caps. This time Boston wins @ $334.00. (Just think: take the family to all 81 home games and it'll run you in excess of $27,000). By the way, if you buy your caps at the stadium, you're probably dumb enough to pay $27,000 and see all the games. (Of course you'll end up with 162 caps!) And why would you buy 2 programs? In case you wanted to read an article 2nd time? Oh, and McDonalds are everywhere; eat before the game.
***WHAT'S A YANKS-SOX GAME WITHOUT A BEANBALL WAR?***
We started early: Youkilis gets hit in the head and then Jeter gets it in the back. In neither case was it in a situation where you could afford to put a man on base, but the umpires gave their warning anyway. Where's Pedro Martinez when you need him?
***JOE WEST SHOOTING HIS MOUTH OFF AGAIN***
Joe called the Yanks-Red Sox "silly and embarrassing" because of the slow play. This is only fair because we've been calling Joe West silly and embarrassing for years. He should concentrate on being a better umpire and maybe losing a few pounds and then he should still shut up. He's terrible at calling balls and strikes, can't move in the field and picks fights all the time. His nickname is "Country Joe" and I think it's a reference to his size.
***A READER COMMENT***
You mentioned UConn. The UConn women’s basketball team has been on an unbelievable run for two years! The way they played in the first half versus Stanford, however, made me believe that their winning streak would come to an end. I can’t wait until next season to see just how much longer their streak will last.
They are losing Tina Charles next year, so it will be a lot tougher. If the women follow the men's lead, and schedule a lot of softies in the beginning, they will probably keep the streak alive long enough to reach 89 wins in a tow..
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
First, Mark Attanasio, Milwaukee Brewers owner, whined about how he couldn't compete with the Yankees in payroll, specifically about paying big bucks to potential free agent slugger, Prince Fielder. Then, Yankee President, Randy Levine, countered with a rant about those "...hundreds of millions of dollars..." the Yanks pay out in luxury tax to teams like the Brewers. Why do we have to listen to these two guys poor-mouth themselves. Neither one will be visiting a soup kitchen for lunch. Go cry in your lobster bisque, guys.
***CONGRATS TO THE CONNECTICUT LADIES***
They have been making it look easy for two years, but last night they showed what kind of champions they are. Down 8 points at half to Stanford, because of some horrid shooting (17% from the floor!), they came out with fire in their eyes for the 2nd half, beating Stanford 53-47. 10 more wins ties the NCAA collegiate record for consecutive wins (any gender), currently held by John Wooden's magical UCLA men's teams in the early 70's.
***DIDN'T WORK OUT THE WAY HE HOPED***
Theo Epstein built a different kind of Red Sox team this year, stressing defense. He brought in Adrian Beltre, Mark Scutaro and Mike Cameron vastly upgrading an already good defense. So what happened? Mark Scutaro bounces a throw with 2 outs in the 8th inning, keeping the inning alive for the Yanks, who immediately worked a bases loaded walk to take a one run lead. The best laid plans, I guess.
Three other notes:
# Jorge Posada spent half the night getting signals from the bench before calling pitches for Burnett. Is this Girardi's big solution?
# Chamberlain is back where he belongs - throwing smoke out of the bullpen.
# "No Time Out For You" I'm shocked! Shocked! Umpires actually following the rules, which states that time out will NOT be allowed if the pitcher has started his windup or is in the stretch position. Allowances being made for things like quick-pitch attempts or unforeseen actions, of which, adjusting your batting glove does NOT qualify. I like this. When Mike Hargrove played, his nickname was 'The Human Rain-Delay,' and he earned it. His routine:
Screw a pad tight on his left thumb (later in his career he replaced the pad with a glove);
Tug on his jersey at shoulder level;
Tug at his sleeves;
Tug as his pants;
Adjust his batting helmet;
Plant his left foot in the batter's box;
Gently place his right foot in the box;
Measure home plate;
Adjust his athletic supporter;
Adjust the catcher's athletic supporter (They don't generally like this)...
Okay, I made the last three up, but you get my point.
***AH, YOU GOTTA LOVE THE METS***
They're really trying to do it up right with their new stadium. They wanted their fans to celebrate the Mets history and to that end, they've installed commemorative bricks including one honoring the team's 1986 World Series win. The brick listed the winning pitcher for Game 7 as Sid Fernandez. ...It was really Roger McDowell.
***BEST OF LUCK TO THE R.I.T TIGERS IN THEIR FIRST FROZEN FOUR COLLEGIATE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP IN DETROIT THURSDAY NIGHT***
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The collegiate end, anyway. Obligatory congratulations to Duke University for Coach K's 4th NCAA Championship, even though I still don't see how Duke did it. Oh well, that's why they play the games, I guess.
The women close out tonight in a game that probably won't be anywhere near as close as Duke-Butler, if Connecticut plays to form.
The NBA, or as I call it: The We-Don't-Have-To-Dribble-But-We-Can-Do-Chin ups-On-The-Rim League is getting close to it's tournament. I'll report the final champion as soon as it's ends, which should be right around the 4th of July.
***AROUND THE LEAGUE***
Everything went as expected:
Damon got two hits, Matsui hit a homer, the Cubs got crushed, Halladay was unhittable, and President Obama threw out the first pitch and was way off the mark, as usual.
There is a rumor that Matsusaka may rehab in a game in Rochester. Wait till he tries one of Nick Tahou's famous Garbage Plates. That should send him back to Boston with tears in his eyes and cramps in his stomach. The Yanks are back in Boston for a 2nd shot at the Sox tonight.
***SKIP THIS IF YOU'RE NOT IN THE MOOD FOR A RANT***
Bud Selig's famous Recommendation Committee should be presenting their "suggestions" soon. The committee was supposed to be staffed by a wide range of baseball people and 'influential thinkers,' if you believe the hype. Let's start with who WASN'T on the 14-member panel: the were no statisticians, no women, no current players, and no umpires. Oh, and no MLBPA union officials. Yes, let's let those 'influential thinkers' like Joe Torre, John Schuerholz and George Will, correct all of baseball's problems. Even if they come up with some GOOD ideas, and it's possible, do you think Baseball's ruling class will listen? Hardly.
Consider this: when baseball wanted to increase the playoff system, they came up with the Wild Card. Okay, but the National League had sixteen teams, they wanted a four-team playoff so why not a Four Division League? Nope, a three division league with a wild card. When asked why, a reporter was told, "They must have thought this was better." Good Answer.
One final, and most important point. ANY changes will directly impact the players and the umpires and will most likely have to be implemented by them. Without any representation on the panel, changes will in effect be IMPOSED on them. What chance would the changes have of being effective or even taking place? Little or none, obviously. Just another case of mental masturbation.
***WELCOME BACK, VOD***
All the rest, relaxation and good times, did not douse the flame of passion in our good friend to the south. I predict the self-imposed ban on sports commentary will not last simply because of this passion and Vod will soon be publishing his infamous brand of intellect, much to Picasner's consternation. I promise to goad him into action at our next lunch. After all, he was the driving force behind the inception of the Chad Picasner at Large blog.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Ahh, three weeks in Florida and Myrtle Beach, the east coast’s honky-tonk heaven, totally unplugged. We left the PC home, turned off the cells, no cable, no dish, and returned to a much simpler time, you know, circa 1980? We shared time with great friends, rode or motorcycles, and sunned on superb beaches. Enjoyed the St. Petersburg Times, one of the finest small market newspapers in the country and ate fish sandwiches that would close down Rudy’s.
So, in deference to good judgment, better taste, and a renewed appreciation for everything un-electronic, I withdraw from wasting your time and mine discussing professional sports including the Yankees who, despite last night’s fiasco, still meet the financial criteria – are there any others? - of a “professional” team. That also includes all of the young employees, aka student(???)-athletes, of the teams comprising the worst Final 4 in history, and that effervescent fellow The-Robot-Known-As-Tiger Woods who will soon be teeing it up at that fine vestige of 1850 plantation living in Augusta, where men are Ivory Soap pure and women excluded.
I may drop by from time to time to make sure Picasner is dropping hand grenades down appropriate shorts and to check exactly when, during the coming season, his head explodes.
Pray for the success of the Yankees. I would hate to lose another dear friend.
The offense seemed okay, but the pitching & defense failed miserably. With a five-run lead and CC sailing along, things looked good for a while and then it started to break down. CC seemed to run out of steam in the 5th, but got thru it, then Girardi sent him out for the 6th and then compounded the issue by leaving him in too long. When CC starts missing the plate, it's time to move him. The relievers were no better. Posada again illustrated how badly his catching skills have eroded with 2 passed balls (officially 1, but we know better), and is beginning to actually look uncomfortable back there.
Then there's Gardner: hitting the way the Yanks hoped, running the bases like a wild animal, including a beautifully executed steal of home on the back end of a double steal. Then came the THROW. On a single to left, he threw perfectly to third. Well, it would have been perfect if he started the throw from centerfield. Instead he missed the cutoff man, A-Rod and home plate by a mere thirty feet. ...but it was a strong throw.
Newcomer Curtis Granderson performed exactly as expected: good fielding, hitting with power and helpless against left-handers. Hitting Coach Kevin Long has his work cut out for him.
I hope this gets better.
***CONNECTICUT LADIES ROLL***
They took Baylor phenom, Grinder, to school, scoring over her, around her and without her. Twice, Tina Charles beat Grinder down the floor for easy baskets, and showed her that you have to guard Tina on the outside, too. At least Baylor kept the deficit at 20 points.
Stanford, the last team to beat Connecticut, is the final obstacle to a 2nd straight undefeated season. The game is tomorrow night at 8:30 pm.
The mens game, on the other hand starts at 9:00 pm, which means they probably won't be crowing a champion until 11:30. Another sport ignorant of the need to showcase their main event at a time when the next generation of fans might be allowed to stay up and watch it. Who do they think they are? Major league baseball?
***BOB MATTHEW'S PICKS***
AMERICAN LEAGUE: Yanks, Twins, Angels, wild card Red Sox. Really went out a limb, didn't he? Maybe these are last years picks.
NATIONAL LEAGUE: Phillies, Cardinals, Rockies, wild card Giants. At least picking the Giants showed some guts.
WORLD SERIES: Phillies over the Yanks in six. Thanks, Bob.
***ANOTHER ANNOUNCER TO IGNORE***
I pray that this is just a nasty rumor, but I read that Curt Schilling has agreed to annoy ...er, announce baseball games this year. Just great! Maybe they'll set him up with Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan and somebody will set fire to the booth. I have the matches.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
In their final warm-up game, the Yanks managed to eke out a 9-6 win over 'themselves.' But they are ready: Sabathia is ready to resume his role as the ace of the staff, A-Rod is calm & relaxed (so they tell us), Jeter is confident and the ageless Rivera looms in the shadows to close all the doors. Just to complete the picture, Nick Johnson has come down with the first knee injury, as expected. Bosox manager, Terry Francona hopes the Yanks aren't as good as expected (Really?). A few faces new to the rivalry: Mike Cameron of Boston & Curtis Granderson of NY.
For all the whining about having these two powerhouses in the same division, MBL couldn't wait to get this rivalry into the spotlight once again. Long ago, Cincinnati used to have the honor of the Opening Game, by virtue of them being the oldest franchise in the Majors, but now, we go with the $money$. The sports pages and ESPN are full of stories about this game. It was originally scheduled for Monday night, but it was moved to Sunday so as "not to compete with the NCAA Final Four Championship game." Yeah, right. I don't think ESPN was unhappy with having the spotlight all to themselves.
***LETS NOT FORGET THE WOMEN***
The semifinal for the Women's championship is also tonight, with the Connecticut women going against Baylor at 9:00 PM. Oklahoma & Stanford start at 7:00 PM. Connecticut will be going against Brittney Griner, Baylor's 6'8" shot-blocking freshman center. She has an NCAA-record 35 blocks in the first 4 games of the tournament. Baylor thinks she can control CT's AP Player of the Year, Tina Charles, freeing up the rest of the team to concentrate on All-American shooting guard, Maya Moore, who is shooting 70% on 3-pointers in the tourney. This could be v-e-r-r-r-y interesting!
***FROM JANICE HOUGH***
"Congrats also to the Cal women, who won the NIT women's basketball title game 73-61 over Miami. So what do you yell when you win the NIT? "We're number 65?!"
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!
Friday, April 02, 2010
***IT'S NOT JUST CALIPARI***
For those of you who think I'm picking on just Calipari, here's a comment from Janice Hough:
"According to Butler coach Brad Stevens, even though his local team is staying at a hotel Thursday and Friday night before their first Final Four game, the players still were shuttled to class Thursday and Friday morning. Said Duke's Coach K and Michigan State's Tom Izzo. "That's discipline." Said West Virginia's Bob Huggins "What's class?"
(For four of years when Huggins was at Cincinnati he had a ZERO graduation rate.)"
And the old Jerry Lewis line: "Did you go to school, Stupid?" "Yes, and I came out the same way."
***APRIL FOOLS DAY***
Written in Rob Neyer's column as though it were the truth: The Yanks are tired of Joba Chamberlain's grousing about not being a starter and are negotiating with the Pirates to trade him for Andrew McCutcheon. A number of readers commented before one of them realized it was a joke. The "Comments" section became very quiet after that.
From Vancouver Canucks coach, Alain Vigneault, on his teams recent losing streak:
"If I'm going to be honest, if I was concerned, I wouldn't tell you." he said. "If we were concerned as an organization, to be honest, we wouldn't tell you."
"But we're not concerned."
TONY LARUSSA TO USE 6-MAN OUTFIELD
That should cut down on those pesky doubles & triples.