Friday, April 29, 2011
The hitting returns as quickly as it left. When Swisher & Gardner start belting the ball, the Yankee lineup definitely becomes lethal. Still, the key to the Yanks offense remains their ability to work the opposing pitcher as evidenced by the four walks in a row in the third inning off Sox starter, Edwin Jackson.
2nd baseman Gordon Beckham and shortstop Alexei Ramirez hooked up for a weird double play when Beckham made a diving stop of a grounder and "rolled" the ball to Ramirez who completed the double play. I guess he didn't trust Alexei to catch an actual throw. Well, whatever works.
Sabathia never really seems over-powering, but you look up in the 7th inning, and there he is. The Yanks are going to need their pitching to be effective because Toronto can really hit and they are next in the Bronx.
***HERE AND THERE***
After a powerful start, the Texas Rangers are looking quite ordinary lately. Not only did they lose to the Blue Jays, but the winning rally started with a perfectly placed drag bunt, continued with a run-scoring error by Adrian Beltre, and ended with Jose Bautista getting caught off second base, but watching Darren Oliver throw the ball into centerfield for the final run.
The American league has only 5 teams with winning records out of 14. Doesn't seem like anyone is very consistent. The National league, on the other hand, has 9 out of 16 teams with a .500 or better record.
Attendance is down all across the majors. One writer, David Schoefeld, believes it's totally because of the economy, not the weather: "It was snowing Wednesday night in Minneapolis. It was snowing, and we’re supposed to lament that Target Field was only half-filled with hardy Minnesotans? We’re supposed to lament that Mariners fans are setting record-low attendance numbers for Safeco Field...and the weather has been unseasonably cool and cloudy -- even for Seattle -- with just one sunny day in April?"
Right, David, it couldn't be that. No, if people have money, they certainly wouldn't mind sitting in cold rainy weather to watch baseball. Next year, we face the possibility of starting the season even earlier and ending it later, if Bud Selig has his way. Hopefully, it will be Arizona and Tampa as the World Series competitors.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
...but a win is a win.
Cano's laser shot into the right field stands was all the scoring that Bartolo Colon needed. Ozzie must have had a premonition, because he got himself ejected in the first inning. He said the Ump had a right to toss him after what he said to him. Guillen could get fined for that, but he probably won't, because when he gets mad, he's impossible to understand, so there'll be no proving what was said.
Swisher and Posada need help badly. Evey now and then, Posada connects, and because he's swinging so hard, it's usually a home run. Swisher, on the other hand, hasn't even had a loud foul in the past three games.
Colon's out pitch, the spillover, backup slider, the two-seamer, whatever you want to call it, was absolutely unhittable last night. Add in a fastball that ran at 93-94 mph on average and touched 97 once, and you have a winner. Suddenly, it's the pitching that looks like the Yanks strong suit and not the hitting.
Speaking of pitching, the latest word on Phil Hughes is some kind of circulatory problem. Not good.
***UPDATE ON THE RED SOX NATION***
Boston's back in last place, but still only 4 games out. Crawford went 0-4 and is hitting .156. Francona has him batting in the 8th spot right now. He might want to bat him 9th but there's Jason Varitek, hitting a whopping .091. Saltalamacchia, who is supposed to be the full time catcher this year, is hitting only .186 with no homers and 5 RBIs. He might still be starting over Varitek, but scouts say his defense is terrible and Boston pitchers are not comfortable throwing to him. Jarrod, meet Jorge.
***ESPN CAN DO SOMETHING RIGHT***
I've been complaining about all the hoopla that ESPN has been spewing at us and that the sports coverage has been deteriorating. Well, if you can put on a little show that's entertaining, then everyone can be satisfied.
I don't know who's responsible for this, but it had to be a lot of work. Even though it's really a promo for the upcoming NFL draft, another boring bit of quasi-sports, I have to admit this is pretty cute. Enjoy:
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Who has looked good, so far? It's certainly a short list. Cano and Gardner (Gardner?) each happened to hit a ball hard. Other than that: nothing. Burnett & Nova both pitched well enough to win and Robertson continues to get big outs, but Soriano? Forget it. You can't say he'll get better when the weather warms up, either. He hit 97 MPH on the radar gun last night. The only ball that was faster was the one Konerko hit into the left field stands. It's beginning to look like Soriano was a one-year wonder and perhaps Cashman was right all along.
Chavez made a couple of very nice plays in the field, but Cano can't seem to catch throws from the catcher and swiped at a hard hit ball that he should have caught. A kindly scorer called it a hit.
You can blame other things for the loss: a home plate umpire who seemed to squeeze Yankee pitchers while being generous with the White Sox. A utility infielder shoved into right field by manager Ozzie "It's not my fault" Guillen, who made two fantastic plays to win (not save, win) the game for Chicago. It was so stunning, that Ozzie even forgot to take credit for it.
If the Yanks really are going to stay in contention because of their hitting, they better start doing it.
Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of Roger Maris' first home run of the 1961 season. Roger went on to hit 61 that year to become baseball's all-time, single season home run hitter. I don't count the 'juiced' numbers for what is perhaps baseball's most revered statistic. At least it's not tainted anymore by the asterisk that was temporarily placed there by Ford Frick, aptly called by Charles Finley, "The Village Idiot."
***IT'S NOT SPORTS, BUT...***
From RJ Currie:
"A pharmacist in Mississippi says burglars who stole pain medication from his store are in for a surprise because the bottle was a decoy filled with kidney beans. Police expect an arrest soon as they've already picked up the thieves' scent."
From Dwight Perry:
"Duke linebacker Tyree Glover, charged with trafficking cocaine, has been kicked off the Blue Devils' football team. In other words, he chose to excel between the wrong white lines."
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Every now and then, a young pitcher will show you why he got to the majors in the first place. Last night, Phil Humber exhibited the talent that got him drafted in the first round by the Mets. Actually, the Yanks drafted him three years earlier, but never signed him. The Mets traded him to the Twins, the Twins released him and Kansas City signed him. A year later, KC waived him and the Oakland A's signed him and then they waived him a year later. Now the White Sox have him and five teams are sitting around wondering why all that talent never surfaced before.
So he pitched a no-hitter into the 7th and shut the Yanks down completely. The Bombers are still in first, and leading the majors in runs per game with 5.74. It's an amazing stat considering only half the lineup is really hitting. According to talent evaluators at the start of the season, the Yanks hitting was going to keep them in contention, so I guess this is according to form.
***A SHARP SLAP ON THE WRIST***
...probably followed by an apology. Ohio State football coach, Jim Tressel, has been informed by the NCAA that he is being investigated for "...failure to deport himself...(with) honesty and integrity." It would not surprise me if Tressel had to look up those two words. Sure Tressel and the University have self-imposed a five game suspension, but what real punishment is that? It probably means he will be forced to watch the games from the press box instead of the sidelines. He'll still run the practices and determine the game plan. That's as transparent a punishment as when Annie-O tells people that Chad actually has a voice in household policy. Yeah, right.
Now the NCAA could force OSU to forfeit some of it's wins from last year (which they may), or extend the suspensions for the coach and the five players (which they won't) or declare the players ineligible (you can laugh now). But, if things get too bad for coach Tressel, well, Janice Hough has foreseen that possibility: "I see a “leaving the university I love for an NFL job to help my family” speech in Tressel’s future."
This is the coach who preaches responsibility and integrity in his book, "The Winners Manual For The Game of Life." Apparently, it's a work of fiction.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
When I first heard about adding another wild card team in each league, I thought Bud was just making a suggestion, but it seems that he was dead serious. Most writers and analysts think that this is not a good idea, but it does have it's backers, one of whom is Joel Sherman of the NY Post. He has always had an unconventional view of sports.
First of all, he assumes that the extra wild card is is a foregone conclusion. He is already discussing whether it should be a three-game or a one-game series. He thinks it should be a three-game series because he feels a one-game series would be a danger to the 'better' team, the idea being that anyone can get hot and win one game. At least that part is true. He also says this would give the division winners an advantage by being able to align their pitching rotation, whereas the wild card team could not. Of course the division winner would be sitting around for three or four days, getting rusty. They would also lose any momentum they had built up.
Then there is the weather problem. How does Joel handle that one? He says there is little difference in the average temperature and weather conditions between October 31st and November 3rd, assuming that 11/3 IS the last date. One of his arguments (I hope you're all sitting down) is to think of the dates as Oct. 32nd & Oct. 33rd, not Nov. 1st and Nov. 2nd, and don't you feel better now? Right, that already makes me think it's warmer. He also compares this to pro football, where the Super Bowl was actually played in February, the NCAAs spilling into April and pro basketball still going in June.
He can't be serious. How can you make that comparison? Football is often played in the snow, and I have never seen a game postponed in basketball because of rain or snow inside the buildings where the courts are.
How much is Bud Selig paying you, Joel?
***THE UNWRITTEN RULE IS BACK IN PLAY***
Cubs manager, Mike Quade was upset at the LA Dodgers when their catcher tried to steal 2nd in the fifth inning, with the Dodgers ahead 8-1. Quade said he was going to have to "...check his unwritten rule book, to see if someone had changed the rule."
Before you do, Mike, consider these facts: 1) The Dodger pitcher was up 2) There were two outs 3) Four days earlier, the Dodgers blew a game when the Braves scored 8 runs in the 9th inning 4) The next day, the Dodgers had an 8-5 lead and lost when the Cubs scored 5 runs in the 8th. Are you getting the idea that no lead is safe? I believe this "book" exists only in your head.
***THE HOMERS CONTINUE TO FLY***
The Yanks hit 5 more yesterday to lengthen their Major League lead in Home Runs. The big news was the grand slam by A-Rod, his 22nd career bases-loaded blast. The record is 23 held by Lou Gehrig. Gehrig has held this record for an unbelievable 73 years so far. As far as the most famous records go, this is currently the longest held streak in baseball, longer than the following:
Babe Ruth's 60 homers (lasted 34 years)
Gehrig's 2132 consecutive game streak (lasted 56 years)
DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak (7o years and holding)
A-Rod hasn't broken it yet, but it does seem inevitable.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
From Buzz Bissinger of The Daily Beast
"There is simply no way to say with any degree of artfulness so I won’t even try:
Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt is a vile piece of shit who not only ruined what was once the classiest franchise in all of sports but should also face legal consequences if allegations are true that he did reportedly not pay any taxes on $105 million he siphoned from the Dodgers’ for his own personal use.
Some are saying they are shocked by Wednesday’s news of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig appointing a trustee to take over operations of the Dodgers. Given McCourt’s track record, I have no idea why. Perhaps the most vigorous defense in his favor comes from Tommy Lasorda, a profane clown when he managed the Dodgers and even more of a profane clown on the talk circuit. Lasorda says McCourt really loves the Dodgers, which is like saying that Hannibal Lecter really loved his victims before he ate their livers."
The Dodgers franchise may be in shambles but a silver lining appears. While unimpressed that McCourt only skimmed $105 million for his personal use including $600,000 for fake jobs for his two sons, membership at seven exclusive country clubs, and $72.5 million for the purchase of a couple of weekend crash pads, presidential hopeful Donald Trump still believes that he may have found the perfect running mate in McCourt.
While admitting that he would have far more respect if McCourt had siphoned off "some real money" from the Dodgers, he knows McCourt's a guy with the right priorities. Sure, he reduced the Dodger payroll 30%, sticking it to those union stiffs, in a move that will appeal to the Trump's base of tea-baggers. But what clinched the deal for The TrumpWad was the $150,000 of Dodger money that paid for McCourt's haircuts during the last calendar year.
Said Trump, "Here's a guy who can hold his own in tonsorial discussions with congressional powerhouse and prettyboy John Boehner. Finally, a hair cut (and a NEWT!) the American people can believe in."
Friday, April 22, 2011
Baltimore started the season like a house afire, but it looks like someone brought a hose to the party. After a 6-2 start, and time spent in first place, the birds are now 8-10 and closer to last place than first. The Yanks will throw Sabathia, Garcia and Nova against the O's, while Buck Showalter starts three kids, one 23-year old and two 25-year olds. They're all right-handed, so we can probably look forward to 12 futile at-bats from Bret Gardner this weekend. If he doesn't start to hit this weekend, the Yanks are going to have to make some kind of move.
Pedro Feliciano may be lost for the year, but Brian Cashman has to be thrilled with the production of his other signings so far. Colon and Garcia have been terrific, while Eric Chavez has been very productive and Andruw Jones has been serviceable.
***MLB TAKES OVER THE DODGERS***
Because the McCourts are having extreme financial difficulties, Bud Selig has decided to appoint an overseer for the day-to-day operations. Naturally, the Dodger front office is incensed over this action by the Commissioner, as one exec called the move "irresponsible" and "shocking."
The executive claims there is a $3 Billion deal in place with Fox network, so the financial problems cited by the Commissioner's office has no basis. Okay, then why did McCourt have to borrow $30 Million earlier in the week to meet payroll?
Which brings to mind this question: why hasn't MLB taken over the operation of the NY Mets? Their financial problems are well publicized and they also had to borrow money recently to make payroll, too. Oh, I forgot. Selig and Wilpon are good friends.
***BACK TO BASEBALL***
Quick quiz: What division in baseball has only one team over .500? Why, it's the all-powerful AL East. Only the Yanks 10-6 record is on the plus side.
As a side note, Bud Selig has said that MLB will add one more wild card team to the playoffs. the two wild cards will have a playoff to decide which team will be allowed to advance and play one of the division winners. Why this change, you ask? It's to prevent the DISASTER of last year when they couldn't get both the Yankees and the Red Sox in the playoffs. Bud can't have that happen again.
Of course, this means additional playoff time will be needed. So either they have to start the season in mid-March, or replace "God Bless America" with "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" during the World Series.
Curt Schilling, the smartest baseball mind (in his household, at least), says there is nothing wrong with the Red Sox. "They just have to stay healthy, because they WILL hit and they WILL pitch." He also believes they will win it all. There's no reason to doubt him, is there? By the way Curt, how's the ankle holding up?
From Dwight Perry:
Q: What do you call a wardrobe malfunction in the Lingerie Football League?
A: A busted coverage.
From Greg Cote (also in Perry's column):
• Greg Cote of The Miami Herald, with a Mike Tyson update: "Not a lot of people know the former boxer races pigeons. I'd imagine the pigeons usually win."
Janice Hough had a lot of fun with the Phillies ball-tossing robot:
"A baseball-tossing robot – PhillieBot – was booed by Philly fans after its ceremonial first pitch bounced about 10 feet in front of the plate. Afterwards, he did get a message from Santa, saying “Don’t take it personally.” Just wondering, for a pitching robot, is WD40 a performance enhancing drug?"
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
**The Red Sox finally got a decent game out of Dice-K. One more bad outing and his next start might have been in Pawtucket. The Sox aren't exhibiting a lot of patience right now. Mark Scutaro, who was the Sox savior at short last year, isn't hitting right now. Jed Lowrie IS hitting and playing regularly and not only is Scutaro benched, there is a rumor the Red Sox are trying to trade him. On the Carl Crawford front, it's not a good sign when you go 1 for 5 and you raise your average 10 points.
***Bob "Wrong-Way" Matthews has finally gotten one right...kinda. He predicts the Yankees won't keep up their home run pace, which would give them 312 for the season, 48 more than the current record. [Bonus question - Which team holds that record?] I would think that's right, but Bob thinks they will have 229 for the year and that's probably too low. He says the final numbers will include 38 for A-Rod, 36 for Teixeira and 29 for Cano, 103 all together. I think that's low by 15-20 homers. I'll keep track.
***Here's a couple of oddities that were brought to light by Jason Stark, noted Yankee-hater:
This one occurred during the Indians-Orioles game. With men on 2nd & 3rd with one out, the batter hit a long fly ball that allowed the runner on third to score and the runner on second to advance to third. But the Orioles made an appeal against the runner on second for leaving too soon and it was upheld. That's a double play, end of the inning. But the run was allowed to count since it wasn't a force play and the out was credited AFTER the run scored (The out is recorded at the time of the appeal).
One reader to Stark's column, brought up the fact that if the runner on third left too soon also, and they appealed the play at second first, the run would still count even if they then appealed at third, because the inning was officially over after the first appeal. It won't be long before we see an "Official Rules" coach in the dugouts.
Maybe the Cubs don't always win, but they are always interesting. They have had records of 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, and 8-8, so far this year. You tell me what that means.
[Bonus question answer: the 1997 Seattle Mariners. 264. It wouldn't be surprising if very few people got that right, but I sure hope Dwight Perry did.]
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
The Daily Beast reported that when HarperCollins publisher Judith Regan was fired in 2006, she alleged that a senior executive at News Corp., HarperCollins' parent company, had asked her to lie to federal investigators vetting Bernard Kerik for the job of Homeland Security secretary. The executive wanted Regan to keep secret her past affair with Kerik, who would later be convicted for lying to White House officials. Now, court documents have revealed that the mystery executive was none other than Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes—and Regan claims to have a recorded phone call in which she and Ailes discussed her relationship with Kerik. The existence of the tape possibly explains why News Corp. quickly settled Regan's wrongful termination suit with a $10.5 million payout. What a NEWT.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
I thought Vod was talking about the hat Francona wears when it's cold out. I saw him wearing it last year. It caught my eye because, as I said, my dad used to wear one. The 'Tea Cozy' thing I'll look for today.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
An article in today’s NY Times reads 0 - 5 Red Sox Looking for Answers
Ellsbury is too soft. After Tampa Bay, Crawford needs mittens to play in the cold. Pedroia is too short. Gonzalez has too many Zs in his name. Youkilis’s beard is waaay too ugly. Ortiz is too fat. Saltalamacchia, sadly, simply stinks. Scutaro? See Pedroia above. Terry Francona wears his cap like a tea cozy. And don’t get me started on that hideous bunch of pitchers. Would you let your daughter date Becket or Lester?
I didn’t think so.