Thursday, June 30, 2011
***LOVE THAT INTERLEAGUE PLAY***
Everyone knows I'm no fan of Interleague play, but it's nice that the Yanks get a week off from playing those tough AL teams. They're all playing well and even when they lose, it's hard to be depressed, because you just knew they would win tomorrow. In the meantime, Boston has had their problems, which just sweetens the pot for New York. As I'm typing, the Yanks are three outs away from sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers, a game which really seemed to end in the third inning when Sabathia struck out Prince Fielder with the bases loaded.
Milwaukee has looked intimidated the whole series, making a number of mental & physical errors. I was impressed when centerfielder, Carlos Gomez sprinted over to leftfielder Ryan Braun, when it looked like Braun had lost a fly ball in the sun. Faint praise for a team in first place in the NL Central.
***IS HE WATCHING THE SAME GAMES WE ARE?***
Writer Wallace Matthews says the Yanks are in trouble because they have too many weak spots including shortstop, starting pitching, the bullpen and Designated Hitter. Boston is by far the best team in the AL, he says, because they have no holes. Well, Matthews, how about their shortstop(s), outfielder Jason "No-Hit" Bay, DL Carl Crawford, who has yet to display his skills, a suspect bullpen and starting pitching with only two reliable starters. I forgot to mention the Yanks 2 1/2 game lead. Hard to believe this guy covers the Yanks.
Just heard the Red Sox have designated Mike Cameron for assignment. And they were so happy when they stole him from NY.
Michael Kay brought up an interesting point: what happens when Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes join the team? The Yanks will have 6 legitimate starters vying for 5 positions. Quite a change from last March when the Yanks had nothing solid behind CC, Burnett & Hughes. Michael's suggestion to put Colon in the bullpen might be the best idea.
***THE NAME GAME***
I'm getting a kick out of some of the names of the ballplayers. I'm not making fun of anyone, but it is interesting. For example:
1st base - Justin Smoak (Great Baseball name)
Lyle Overbay (Sounds more like a dental problem)
Picasner's choice: Lyle Overbay (I have a good dentist)
2nd base - Macier Izturis (Love the first name)
Juan Uribe (Seems like a letter is missing)
Picasner's choice: Macier Izturis (Not a good name if you have a lisp)
3rd base - Yunel Escobar (A common last name, but Yunel?)
Emilio Bonifacio (Gotta love a guy with a "good face")
Picasner's choice: Emilio Bonifacio (Probably should have waited to see a picture)
Shortstop - Asdrubal Cabrera (Of all the Cabreras, this is best first name)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka (I'd hate to be the typesetter on this one)
Yunieski Betancourt (It just sings to you, doesn't it?)
And the winner is: Yunieski Betancourt (How can you go against a 7 syllable name?)
Designated hitter - Edwin Encarnacion
Picasner's choice: C'mon, an eleven letter name? Look no further.
More names in the next post.
From RJ Currie, Sports Deke:
"The website BetUs.com has released odds on how many University of Florida athletes will get arrested in 2011. What's the Gator's motto anyway? Tote that barge; post that bail?"
Friday, June 24, 2011
Yes, the Giambino, as Michael Kay used to call him, will be the DH for the Rockies in all three games at the stadium this weekend.Giambi says he expects a few cheers when he's introduced, but will be booed if he hits a home run. I just hope he's retired the leopard print thong.
***REYES NIXES BORAS***
There are two monster free agents coming up this winter, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes, and Scott Boras has one of them: Prince Fielder. Reyes would have been perfect for Boras, pitting the Yanks and Mets against each other and the usual Scott Boras "Mystery Team." However, as the NY Daily News said, "JOSE, NO WAY." Unfortunately for Scott (I love being able to say that), Fielder won't be as easy. His two favorite suckers, NY & Boston, are set at first base, so this "Mystery Team" is going to get a workout.
***SHE'S GOT EYES OF BLUE...***
As my Dad's favorite song goes, "...and that's my weakness now." Well, it turns out that blue eyes are a ball players weakness. Josh Hamilton has said that the reason he doesn't hit as well during day games is, that he has blue eyes. Yes, and my dog ate my homework. Actually, the intense Mr. Buck Showalter said the same thing to Tim Kurkjian a couple of years ago. I'm not a good one to ask, since my eyes are blue and they're so bad, one doctor said they were off the chart. No wonder I never made the Majors.
Washington National manager, Jim Riggleman, gave his GM an ultimatum: "Pick up my option for next year or I'm done now." Threatening your boss is never a good idea, and GM Mike Rizzo's response was predictable: "I accept your resignation." I think Riggleman's career is over with. No other team is going to hire a guy who quits on his team in the middle of the season over money. Who does he think he is, Manny Ramirez?
***ANNIE-O IS ON PROBATION***
Some of you may have noticed that on yesterday's blog with the two lists, that the second list contained a misspelling in the title. Picasner was spelled "Pacasner". My own name, for crying out loud and my editor blew it completely. Oh, don't go back and look, I've done her job and fixed it now. We will hope for better quality work in the future.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Rain in Cincinnati is like Fair and Balanced News on Fox. It’s predicted, but never happens. After non-rain event, The Aged Ones (aka Yankees) were forced into a split double header, a clear advantage for the Reds. And what a surprise, a split!
I’ll leave any additional comments on this ugly affair to Chad.
In a completely astounding development, the Schilling Anointed Red Sox have inexplicably lost two straight to the hapless Padres. Red Sox starter John Lackey inflated his already bulbous ERA to 7.36 giving up five earned runs in four innings. The Sox gave new meaning to the phrase “timely hitting” scoring one run on ten hits. Throw in a couple of errors and a Mike Cameron sleepwalk off first and it adds up to heartburn in Boston. Curt, say it ain’t so.
Without a game tonight, Its time to continue the “Fair and Balanced” comparison of the Yankees and the Boston CommieSox.
DH: Posada vs. Ortiz
In spite of the resurgence of the Yankees main macho man, raising his average to a lofty .225, the nod goes to Ortiz who is having his best non-juiced year in a decade.
Pick your poison on this one. As it stands at the moment, the Red Sox staff has a combined ERA of 4.00 vs. the Yankees 3.59. Advantage Yankees.
Starting pitching: The current numbers 1s are Sabathia (9 – 4, 3.39) and Becket (6-2, 1.86). I’m calling this a wash because while CC looks like a bag of laundry, Becket sports a really stupid soul patch and infantile chin fuzz.
Number 2s: Right now its AJ Burnet (7 – 5, 4.05) only because Bartolo Colon (5 – 3, 3.10) is on the DL and John Lester (9-3, 3.70). Advantage Red Sox, until Colon returns.
Number 3s/4s: Who knows? Garcia (5 – 5, 3.30) and Nova (7 – 4, 4.13) vs. Bucholz (6 – 3, 3.48) and John Lackey (5 – 6, 7.36). Take Bucholz over Garcia and Nova, who is getting stronger each time out, over Lackey. Again, a wash.
5th Starter? – Both clubs are scrambling but the Red Sox have two veterans who can find there way to the mound without directions, Wakefield and Aceves, while the Yankees are plugging in the helpless (Gordon) and the invisible (nobody else). Advantage: Red Sox
Bull Pen: Short relief and Closer
Robertson (14 Holds, 1.19) and Mariano (19 Saves, 1.89) vs. Bard (14 Holds, 2.55) and Papplebon (13 Saves, 4.03). Advantage: Yankees
Middle and Long Relief: Ayala (23 innings, 1.57) or Albers (28 innings, 2.86). Advantage: Yankees.
Jenks and Wheeler have 34 innings between them and both have an ERA over 6.00. That is really lousy.
The Yankees counter with Pendelton (2.25) and Noesi (4.12) with 31 combined innings.
The rest of both pens have been, to date, inconsequential.
Total Pitching Advantage: The Phillies
Take the aging Veritek over Cervelli. Catches more games, calls a better game, and hit 50 points higher.
I won’t waste your time with much discussion about the remainder of both benches. There’s no one on either bench I care to watch. Both teams have stronger DLs than their current benches.
Advantage: Anybody else
Summary: Curt Schilling is a dumb ass.
They split the two games, with the Yanks taking the first game behind Freddie Garcia's 3-hit pitching and a clutch 2-run homer by Jorge Posada. Posada's homer might not have been so vital had 3rd baseman Ramiro Pena not made two throwing errors and let a ground ball trickle between his legs. Both of the runs Garcia gave up were unearned because of the miscues. The only offense Pena provided, was to get hit by a Mike Leake pitch. There is a rumor that Garcia hit him with a pitch in the dugout twice.
In the second game, Brian Gordon came back down to earth, giving up 5 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings, including 3 home runs. He was "helped" by some dubious calls by home plate umpire, D.J. Reyburn, whose strike zone was not only like a postage stamp, but also moved left and right every inning. I guess he was too busy staring into the Yankee dugout to be more accurate.
Brett Gardner continues to impress in Left Field, making some fine catches and throwing out another runner in the first game. His average is up to .286 also.
Jason Giambi leads the Colorado Rockies into New York for three games starting Friday. I hope Michael Kay remembers that he plays for the opposing team now.
***THINGS PICASNER LIKES***
## Curtis Granderson's swing
## Nick Swisher's smile
## Bartolo Colon's spill-over fastball
## Paul O'Neil's appetite
## David Ortiz's smile (& enthusiasm)
## Mark Teixeira's glove
## Pittsburgh's PNC Stadium
## Milwaukee Brewers' parking lot tailgating
## Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium ushers
## Wrigley Field bratwursts
## "Doc" Halladay's glare at the batter
## Baseball and beer on a sunny afternoon
## Annie-O's ability to make me laugh
***THINGS PICASNER DOESN'T LIKE***
## Joe West (This can't be a surprise)
## Jonny Gomes 'mohawk'
## Kevin Youkilis beard
## Francisco Cervelli's arm (or his aim)
## Inter-league play
## Baseball in November
## Division realignment
## Curt Schilling and his red marker sock (you'll never convince me)
## Umpires that look for a fight (like...well, you know)
## Left hander's balk move to first
## Tony LaRusso
## Parks and Stadiums named after corporations
## The seats at Wrigley Field
I'm sure Vod has his own list.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The final score was 5-3, but it shouldn't have been that close. There are times when I just don't understand Joe Girardi's thought processes. Using the word 'thought' in the same sentence with Girardi is a real compliment...to Girardi. Consider these situations:
1) The hottest hitter in the American League is sitting on the bench while 34-year old Andruw Jones lugged his weary body out to left field. That move looked okay for a while, when Jones singled to drive in a run in the first inning.
2) In the third, Jones hit a grounder to third, walked a few steps toward first and stopped. In the meantime, Russell Martin took out 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips, who got up and completed the easy double play. Okay, I thought, that's it for Jones. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that he could say that excuses his behavior. (A)He thought the DP was a given, (B) He thought there were two outs, or (C) He twisted his ankle. If he uses A, he's lazy & goodbye, or B, his head's not in the game & goodbye. If it's C, he's not physically capable and goodbye. He used C and got sent out to left field. Why? The only reason I can think of is that Girardi wanted him as far away as possible before he hit him with a bat.
3) In the ninth, Joe brought in his 7th inning guy, Luis Ayala, the one he trusts the most after Robertson & Mo. That trust lasted just 5 pitches. Here comes Boone Logan, the 'lefty specialist' who can't get lefties out. One pitch later, he's out and he brings in Mo. Somehow, the Yanks won.
It's no fun watching a game while Annie-O is saying a rosary and lighting votive candles.
In the White Sox-Cubs game, home plate umpire, James Hoye, suffered thru a kidney stone, also known as Ozzie Guillen. When a Sox batter was tagged out at the plate on what everyone in the ball park thought was a foul ball, except the Hoye and Cubs catcher Giovanni Soto, Ozzie took exception. When arguing did no good, Ozzie kicked Soto's mask towards the Sox dugout. That was also useless except Ozzie set a record for hang-time for kicked equipment. Goodbye Ozzie.
***AT LAST, A RULE IS ENFORCED***
Sorry, I don't remember the game, but a batter got hit with a pitch but was called back from his trot to first base, when the umpire invoked a little known, and even less used, rule that a batter must make an attempt to avoid a pitch. They never do, but this time the ump called it. The result: the manager argued to no avail, the batter then struck out, the hitting coach screamed at the ump and was booted. The manager then came out a second time and joined the coach in the clubhouse. That will teach that umpire to follow the rules.
On this day in 1964 Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman disappeared in Philadelphia, Mississippi after being held in the Neshoba County jail. Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman were working in the 1964 Freedom Summer voter registration drives.
Sheriff L. A. Rainey, a burly, tobacco-chewing man, showed little concern over the report that the workers were missing. "If they're missing, they just hid somewhere, trying to get a lot of publicity out of it, I figure," he said.
Their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam six weeks later. Eight members of the Ku Klux Klan went to prison on federal conspiracy charges; none served more than six years.Now, nearly 50 years after these young men were murdered for encouraging poor, rural minorities to register to vote, republican dominated legislatures across the south and midwest are pushing highly restrictive voting legislation. A grand old party, indeed.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Phil Hughes was clocked at 95 MPH in a rehab start in Staten Island yesterday. Most of the Little Leaguers he faced said he had good movement on his pitches.
After their manager, Edwin Rodriguez, unexpectedly resigned, the Florida Marlins named 80-year old Jack McKeon as their new manager. He is not expected to take over the club for a few days while the Marlins install a handicap ramp from the dugout to the field.
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen spent the night in a hospital after passing a kidney stone. That's funny, I thought Ozzie Guillen WAS a kidney stone.
From Bob Molinaro, The Virginia-Pilot: "South Carolina senior quarterback Stephen Garcia was recently reinstated to Steve Spurrier's team after his fifth suspension. That'll teach him."
More later today.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
The score was 4-3, but only because the Bombers made just enough mistakes to keep it close. Cano continues to indicate that last year's Gold Glove was a fluke. He's dropping throws, muffing ground balls and delivering errant throws. He doesn't even look like he's trying sometimes. Girardi better start getting on his case, and soon.
The Fox broadcasters (I can't call them announcers) continue to mess up. McCarver said Yankee baserunners would NOT run on the next pitch (They did), and his counterpart thinks a solo home run ties the score when you're two runs behind ("I didn't think there would be a math problem."). Tonight, we have ESPN guys in the booth. They can't be any worse. ...Can they?
***CHANGING THE PLAYOFF & LEAGUE ALIGNMENT SYSTEMS***
I was hoping that if it got ignored, it would go away, but apparently people are becoming more and more passionate about it. I'll give you my two cents and then not comment again...until they institute it.
## THE EXTRA PLAYOFF GAME: I actually have no problem with this. It allows teams the deserve to get in, a better chance. (It also increases the chance that the Yankees get in.)
## THE SCHEDULE: If they do this, they better shorten the season to 154 games. Sure, it means 8 less games for owners to drain the pockets of the fans, but it should be offset by the increase in attendance for teams with a chance to make the post season.
## INTER-LEAGUE PLAY: No, No and No. This system has been unfair since it started. The biggest argument supposedly was the "natural" rivalries. Bull! The Yankees and the Mets. That's all! Kansas City and St. Louis? No way. White Sox & the Cubs? It's like mothers watching their kids: "I know they're no good, but it's my son!" Florida and Tampa Bay? They can't get their own fans interested in them. The Dodgers and the Giants? That's a good one...wait, they already play each other.
The Yanks are going to play Cincinnati this week. No one has cared about this matchup since the 1961 World Series, and we all know how well those teams matched up.
Changing to two 15-team leagues, means we have inter-league play every day. That's a good idea: take a bad situation and increase it beyond belief.
## DESIGNATED HITTER: If we don't have inter-league play, leave it alone. If we do, install it for both leagues and be done with it.
Okay, I'm done.
***HAPPY FATHER'S DAY***
To all you Fathers out there and especially to those who are no longer with us. One of the biggest lessons my Dad taught me was that there is a big difference in being interested in good sports and BEING a good sport. I hope kids have learned this lesson, too.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
It seems Curt Schilling got under Picasner’s skin by anointing the Red Sox as the best baseball team in the known universe. Two well documented facts: 1) Chad has a very thin skin when it comes to the Yankees, so you need to be careful what you say, or write, unless you feel the need to take future meals through a straw, and 2) Curt Schilling has been, remains, and will always be an incorrigible gas bag.
In an effort to bring sanity to the conversation, as unlikely as that may be given the source, here follows a completely objective (ha!) analysis (ha, ha!) of their current rosters.
1st Base: Teixeira vs. Gonzalez
Both power hitting first basemen. Gonzalez is having a phenomenal year offensively and substantially leads Teixeira in BA, RBIs, slugging, runs scored, hits, and total bases. Teixeira has a 21 – 15 lead in HRs.
Defensively, Teixeira is a vacuum cleaner getting to balls others don’t and saving an erratic Yankee infield from piling up throwing errors. Nonetheless, while I don’t get to see Gonzalez play every night in YES-Mo, his defensive numbers are equally jaw dropping.
Advantage: Gonzalez, Boston
2nd Base: Cano vs. Pedroia
Even though Cano is having a down year offensively he is outperforming Pedroia by a substantial margin, hitting almost 30 points higher and with power Pedroia can never hope to match.
Defensively, in spite of 5 errors to Pedroia’s 3, Cano gets to many more balls and finishes more plays with a cannon arm.
Advantage: Cano, Yankees
SS: Jeter vs. Lowerie, Scuttaro, Whomever
No one in this group is going to excite you offensively. We all understand that Jeter is no longer the offensive threat he was several years ago. Lowerie has been sinking like a rock after a hot start and Scuttaro is, well, nothing special.
Defensively, while never having great range, Jeter still has the uncanny ability to make plays apparently only he can imagine, and most importantly, he provides a level of team leadership far beyond either Boston player.
Advantage: Jeter, Yankees
3rd Base: A-Rod vs. Youkilis
No discussion necessary. Even in a down year for A-Rod,
Advantage: A-Rod, Yankees
Catcher: Martin vs. Saltalamacchia
Statistically, there is little to choose between them, offensively or defensively, although Martin has more than twice the assists. The best measure may be how they each call a game and I don’t have the ability to determine that. Given the number of assists and because the other guy’s name is too long to write more than once:
Small Advantage: Martin, Yankees
Stay tuned for the outfield, pitchers, and bench.
Friday, June 17, 2011
They say the Kentucky derby is the "...most exciting two minutes in sports." Maybe it's just me, but yesterday's game was the most boring seven innings in baseball. I guess that, like Paul O'Neil, I prefer 12-11 games rather than pitching duels, but I couldn't get interested in the game. Innings eight thru twelve were pretty good, though. The Yanks have been really lucky with their K-Mart pick-ups this year and Brian Gordon carried on the luck with five plus innings of good pitching, holding Texas to two runs. The Yanks did leave 13 men stranded yesterday, so they were close to dealing the Rangers another pasting.
Josh Hamilton does not look right. I know he got three hits the other day, but sometimes he swings like his back is bothering him.
I don't care about lefty-righty platooning. I'd rather see Gardner in there against lefties rather than Andruw Jones. As my Dad used to say, he's swinging like a rusty gate.
***WRIGLEY FIELD TODAY***
Everyone is talking about how historic this is, but in my opinion, Wrigley only looks good on TV. Annie-O and I attended a game there about 20 years ago and I found the seats too narrow, the rows too close together and our seats down the 3rd base line faced the left fielder. I spent the whole game craning my neck to the right to see the plate. I don't think it's improved any. Two hours before the game, I walked up to the second deck to take pictures and was treated very rudely by the ushers because my tickets were for the lower deck. I got my pictures, but the ushers weren't happy about it.
Yankee pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, is going home. He spent 9 years in Chicago and worked with Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano. I don't know if you really want to brag about those three, though. Two of them spend an inordinate amount of time on the DL and the third should spend a lot of time in anger management therapy.
The Seattle Mariners are 1/2 game out of first, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are 2 games over .500 and only 3 games out of first. What's going on here?
Curt Schilling was the guest on ESPN's Cold Hard Facts, which, in his case, should have been called, Cold Hard Bull****. When asked if the Red Sox would win their division, he said they had the best lineup, the best starting pitching and, now that the relievers are doing better, they have the best bullpen. Well, I guess the season's over with. Thanks for saving us from watching the rest of the season, Curt.
The Mets lost a game when their pitcher balked with a runner on third in the 10th inning. ESPN, in a rare moment of lucidity, called it a "balk-off."
Speaking of balks, yesterday Al Leiter finally stated publicly, that ALL left-handers balk when they throw to first. Umpires allow them to step toward first at a 46 degree angle, when the rules specifically state that they "..must step DIRECTLY toward the base they are throwing to." Apparently, the umpires not only decide on their own what the strike zone is, they also have come up with a new definition of "directly."
The Yanks Andruw Jones and Jose Torrealba got into a little set-to a couple of days ago, when the Texas catcher accused Jones of stealing signs. First of all, there is no rule in baseball against stealing signs. Secondly, no one says you have to give signs, and if you do give signs, you do so at your own risk. As Jones says, " When you're getting blasted, you have to blame somebody."
Picasner & family also congratulate Vod's #2 son on his achievement in medicine. Psychiatry would have been a good choice, since there is probably a career case study looking him in the face in the form of Daddy. Congratulations also go out to Chad's grandson, Andrew, who, in this week alone, took first place in the Scribner Road School Geography Bee and the Spelling Bee. (Must be the good genes)
Thursday, June 16, 2011
One day into Derek Jeter’s current stint on the DL and the blabbing heads on ESPN’s Around the Horn debated the question, “Are the Yankees better off without Derek Jeter?” A far easier question to answer is, “Would ESPN be better off without Around the Horn?” Absolutely.
Isn’t it more than a little unseemly to debate such a crass non-issue particularly when it involves a future HOF player who is closing in on 3,000 hits, who remains the face of the winningest franchise in baseball, and who has never sullied the image of his team and the game at large?
After Jeter collects his 3,000th hit and achieves baseball immortality, the talking heads will go back to their careers of inventing stories where none exist, chasing rumor and innuendo. (LeBron only needed to narrow his target a bit.)
At the beginning of the 2010-11 hockey season the Boston Bruins had to ask if they would be better without Tim Thomas, a 37 year old goalie nearing the end of his career and without the possibility of winning the starting job. The rest, as they say is history. Thomas played magnificently setting records for most shots faced, most saves, and best save percentage in playoff history.
Who do you want playing short if the Yankees make the playoffs? I’ll take another 37-year-old geezer.
Living with my family is a day at the circus. Clowns all. In fact, the sanest one of the bunch had two career aspirations; med school or rodeo clown college. Gratefully, he recently passed his final licensing exam and is a legit doc. Congratulations, son, but we all wish you had specialized in psychiatry.
The US Open without Tiger Woods is like NASCAR without Dale Earnhardt. Love them or hate them, they are irreplaceable.
When did Vancouver become Northwest Philadelphia?
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
12-4 seems pretty good to me. The Yanks seem to do everything right last night: they hit, they pitched & they fielded. They also had three home runs among their 14 hits to increase their MLB leading total to 98. Justin Verlander is a power pitcher, who blows people away, whereas CC Sabathia is a pitcher, who just finds ways to win. Again last night, he didn't seem to have overpowering stuff, yet Texas couldn't seem to do much against him.
Oh, and Boston lost, which is always good news.
Jeter went on the 15-day DL because of a grade1 calf strain. He joins 10 other Yanks already on the list, among them:
...along with lesser known players like Colin Curtis, Amauri Sanit and Reegie Corona. I almost added Nick Johnson just out of habit. Not wishing anyone bad luck, but add a couple of outfielders and a catcher, and this team could compete in the AL West.
Matt Meyers writes for ESPN. In his latest article, he says the Yankee pitching staff is suspect because, now stay with me, their swing and miss percentage is 7.6%, which is 26th in the Majors. The Giants are first with a 9.6%. How does this relate to anything? I can't see that it does. The Yanks currently have the 2nd best record in baseball and they strike out an average of 6.9 guys per game. Is that good? Well, here are the averages for some well-known pitchers:
Andy Pettitte - 6.2, Whitey Ford - 5.5, and Greg Maddox - 6.0.
Matt, please don't write too many more articles.
The best picture of the night occurred during a Nick Swisher at bat. The pitcher throws a pitch down at Nick's ankles and he fell on his stomach at the plate to avoid getting hit. In the meantime, Ranger catcher, Yorvit Torrealba, shifted over to stop the ball, got his feet tangled and ended up on his stomach, lying right next to Swisher. ESPN should have that one of it's Top Ten Plays.
As Vod noted, the NBA Finals are over and the NHL plays the last game of it's Finals tonight. That means that outside of a few major events in other sports, the Wimbledon tennis finals and golf's US Open, to name two, baseball will be the main focus of the sports page until August. That's when pro football will begin training camps. No, I don't mean the NFL. I'm talking about Ohio State and USC and the like. Car dealers across America eagerly await the influx of cash from the college boosters.
***IT AIN'T SPORTS, BUT...***
"Willie Nelson has been fined $500 after he was arrested for marijuana. Texas border guards smelled marijuana coming from Willie's tour bus. The bus was in Ohio at the time."
- Brad Dickson
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
LeBron James was right about one thing. I woke up this morning, just as he predicted, with the same problems that I had before his ignominious failure in the NBA finals. I’m still 66, certain that I’m single-handedly financing the Mercedes and the Jaguar that my dentist and doc are driving, still have three grown children that I worry about in spite of their strong marriages and success in their careers, and I have less hair and more wrinkles than yesterday. Alas. Woe is me. How can I make it through the muck and mire of the life of a nobody who never gets pandered to by guys like the lacquer-coiffed Pat Riley, a paid-for entourage of homeys and yes-dudes, and stroked by super cool super stars? Might as well sign up for one of those assisted suicide tours to Oregon.
There are a few things I might miss. My wife grows lovelier every day, my children always remember to call even when there is nothing new and exciting to talk about - and I can still beat them at golf -, my grandson always makes me laugh with his recent attempts at walking, I can still rip through the twisties on a motorcycle, and, eat your heart out, I get to hang with Picasner if and when we're awake at the same time.
So, LeBron, I’ll guess I’ll hang in there and bear the pain for at least one more day. In fact, if I can hang on until you either win a championship or grow up, I might live forever.
Finally, after all these years, everyone loves Dirk, including my wife who has been wearing her Dirk shirt non-stop throughout the playoffs. He has earned all the props with a fabulous and gutsy performance against the Heat. Of course, he didn’t do it alone. Jason Kidd proved that a cane, glasses, and hearing aid need not be a hindrance to playing championship basketball and JJ Berea demonstrated that you can’t defend what you can’t catch. Still, my vote for The Guy Who Talked the Talk and Then Walked the Walk goes to Jason Terry. After LeBron shut down The Jet in an early game he responded to reporters' questions with “Let’s see if he can do it for seven games.” Clearly, he couldn’t and Terry repeatedly dissected the Heat defense with huge baskets, penetration, and no look passes. And after Dwayne Wade hit that 3 from in front on the Mavs’ bench to run their lead to 15 in the 4th quarter of game 4, who got in LeBron’s grill and told him the game is not over so take your chest bumps and dance moves elsewhere? And who ignited the Mavs rally that turned both the game and the series? The Jet.
Welcome back to earth, Roberto. After suggesting that he, Roberto the Beautiful, would have easily stopped the winning goal in game five OT that bounced off the back of Boston Bruin goal tender Tim Thomas, Roberto was shelled for four goals on only ten shots last night as the Bruins evened the Stanley Cup series at 3-up. Roberto got to spend most of the game sitting on the bench, hidden by a ball cap, while his teammates absorbed another pounding. At least he got extra needed time to work on his post-game quotes.
Yes, America, there is still baseball being played. While hardly as engaging as the NBA finals and the Stanley Cup, it will soon be the only game in town, soccer (?) not withstanding. Derek Jeter’s inexorable march to 3,000 hits provides a much needed distraction from a .260 batting average and a Yankee season marked by mediocre defense, clutchless hitting, and a who-would-believe-it pitching staff. Unless the 200M BoobCrew turns this thing around, Boston might cruise away and hide for the rest of the season.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
It was easier than when we used to watch John Wayne do it in the movies. Teixeira was no factor, nor was Russell Martin. The other seven starters divided up 18 hits, led by Curtis Granderson's 4-4. And they did it without a home run. Cleveland is not going to win the AL Central, but they have some good young players.
One of the Yanks hits came on a ground ball that almost hit the first baseman in the face and Cleveland got a hit when a ball ate up Jeter. Maybe I'm just a grouchy old man (which Annie-O agrees with), but these guys are Major Leaguers and should be catching balls hit right at them, even if they hit a pebble or the edge of the turf. How can you justify not calling them errors? Annie-O has come up with a designation that I can live with: the F.A.H. - Field Assisted Hit.
I don't think Jeter is going to get his 3000th hit at home. Seven hits in four games is asking a lot, but it's possible.
Speaking of fights, the Yankee hitters have been plunked 8 times in this homestand, while retaliating only once. The Yanks are second in the Majors in hit batsmen with 33. Only the White Sox have been hit more often with 40, probably because opposing pitchers really want to hit Ozzie Guillen but he won't come out of the dugout. The Yanks are going to have to do more than just have the whole team waltz out onto the field to exchange pleasantries with the other side or this isn't going to go away. By the way, Boston pitchers lead the league, hitting 40 opposing hitters. I'm sure that's a surprise.
***IS REALIGNMENT IN THE WORKS?***
There are rumors that one National League team, probably the Houston Astros, will be moved to the AL, giving both leagues 15 teams. This means inter-league play will be a season-long event. Then there are two schools of thought on the league set-up: two 15-team leagues with the top five qualifying for the post season with a wild card play-in, or continuing with 3 divisions in each league with the additional wild card play-in. All this is supposed to correct the injustice of one or two teams in the AL East not getting into the playoffs because of the Yanks & the Red Sox. If that's the case, why not just assign Boston & New York to playoff spots and take the next four teams with the best record? That's what the networks want anyway.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Jordan Matechuk, a long snapper for the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, was arrested at the Canada-U.S. border packing 543 steroid pills, authorities day. Coincidence? His first practice snap split the uprights." -Dwight Perry
"LeBron James is opening a “luxury lifestyle” store called Unknwn. Someone needs to tell LeBron that while there is no “I” in team there is still an “o” in unknown." -Brad Dickson
" Mennonite-based Goshen (Ind.) College will no longer play "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games because of complaints it went against the school's pacifist philosophy.
As if the baseball team's 10-41 record left any doubt." -Dwight Perry
"After his confession Monday, Anthony Weiner announced Saturday that he has requested a leave of absence from Congress while he enters rehab at an undisclosed location. So congratulations to all those who had “five days” in the pool. And what made Weiner decide to enter rehab? Repairing his image, redemption, or the chance to meet and tweet Lindsay Lohan?" -Janice Hough
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Despite last night's lost to the Red Sox that sets up a possible Boston sweep in Yankee Stadium there are several positives that the (Stein)Boob(er) Crew can take away from an otherwise shoddy performance.
1. After showing off his arm, we can rest assured that no one is going to even attempt to steal center field with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate.
2. Without a .280 plus hitter in the lineup no one in the Yankee order need worry about being pitched around. Won't that help there focus at the plate?
3. Yankee pitching found a way to neutralize Boston's dynamic offensive weapon, Jason Varitek. Flashing a gaudy .218 batting average, Yankee pitchers took his potent bat out of play, walking He of the Big "C" twice. Varitek scored both times.
A word of warning to Scranton/W-B fans. Given the state of Yankee pitching, if you want to see your guys pitch at home do it now or you might be taking a ride to New York.
Once again the boys in the booth gushed over Justin Pedroia. No one swings harder. Never gets cheated at the plate. Anyone notice a .247 batting average? Perhaps, he too, like Derek Jeter, has lost a little something at the plate with age. Now that Pedroia is finally old enough to grow a beard can retirement be far behind?
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
***YANKS LOSE ROUND ONE***
The score was 6-4, but it wasn't that close. A-Rod still isn't scaring anyone at the plate. He went 0-5 with two strike outs, and left six men on base, two of them in scoring position. The rumor is he went only 1-5 in batting practice. too. I'm no expert, but it looks to me like there is a "loop" in his swing that makes it hard to square up on the ball.
Posada, who took over at first for Teixeira, hit well, so maybe there is some truth in his belief that it's hard to go from an everyday player to a DH. We'll see tonight, because I don't think Teixeira will be in the lineup except maybe as a DH.
There is also some speculation that the Yanks may retaliate for Lester hitting two Yankees last night. Girardi also seems upset at that the way David Ortiz "flipped" his bat after hitting a home run. After watching Reggie Jackson power-flip his bat after homers, I have nothing to say about that.
Then there's Freddie Garcia. If he didn't have a different uniform on, the Red Sox might have thought it was still batting practice. To paraphrase an unknown source, you know your pitcher isn't doing well when the grounds crew drags the infield AND the warning track in the fifth inning. When the Yanks took the field in the 2nd inning, the bat boy came running out to give catcher Russell Martin his catcher's mitt. "I didn't forget it," said Martin. "I didn't think I'd need it."
***FROM MY LATEST HERO, JANICE HOUGH***
"Nationals prospect Bryce Harper, 18, blew a kiss to the opposing pitcher in Single A after hitting a home run. If Harper had done that to Nolan Ryan, we'd be discussing plans for his funeral."
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Saturday, June 04, 2011
On Thursday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin passed through Boston as part of her totally-not-a-presidential-campaign-test-run, family-vacation East Coast bus tour. Because the purported mission of the trip is to help Americans "appreciate the significance of our nation's historic sites, patriotic events and diverse cultures," the former half-term Alaska governor did what most tour groups do when they come to the city: she checked out the Freedom Trail, which winds past historic landmarks like the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house. As she explained on her blog, "There's so much history here. It's amazing how much of our nation's history can be found in just two and a half miles on the Freedom Trail." There certainly is a lot of history to be found on the Freedom Trail, but Palin appears to have lost most of it.
Here's how she described Paul Revere's famous ride:
"…he who warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh, by ringin' those bells and, um, makin' sure as he's ridin' his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we're gonna be secure and we were gonna be free. And we we're gonna be armed."
This is actually the opposite of everything Paul Revere did. He wasn't sending any messages to the British soldiers who were about to move on the patriots' weapons stockpiles and arrest key leaders. According to history, Revere was warning the Minutemen that the Brits were coming so these militia members could prepare. He did not ring any bells. He instructed a friend to put either one or two lights in the tower of the Old North Church ("one if by land, two if by sea"). He did not fire any warning shots. His ride at the time was no act of symbolism; it was a stealth operation in support of a local resistance movement whose goals at that point remained largely undefined. (Tim Murphy at Mother Jones)
In nightly baseball news, the Yankees can’t hit and lost and the Red Sox can’t pitch and won. Look for Chad's post if you really need more detail.
Bob Lorenz just might be the first baseball broadcaster to make ESPN’s Top Worst Ten moments. Last night’s mind-numbers included this analysis of one of the Angels, “When he’s hot, he’s hot, but when he’s cold, he’s cold.” Stop the presses. Fortunately, Flash was in the booth administering another dose of “color” anesthesia and much needed sleep.
Could there be a YES job in Sarah’s future?
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
By the way, the Yanks won 10-3, with the win going to another Yankee retread, Freddie Garcia, who's last pitch finally reached home plate about 4:00 this morning, three hours after Girardi took him out.
A few observations watching the game.
**A-Rod leads the team in batting average with the sickest .287 average I've ever seen. He generates so little power that it looks like his bat is made out of balsa wood.
**Granderson, on the other hand, is hitting the ball so hard I'm waiting for them to test HIS bat for cork, steroids or flubber.
**I believe official scorers are getting tired of the "Jeter Countdown to 3000 hits," routine being practiced by the crack(ed) YES broadcast team. Last night, the scorer posted a hit on the scoreboard BEFORE the 2nd baseman had a chance to kick the groundball away. They changed it to an error when the scorer was reminded that the 3000th hit was "scheduled" to happen in New York.
**Jeter has ruined the hit-by-pitch routine for everyone. Last night, Gardner had to prove he got hit by showing the umpire the bone protruding from his hand before he let him take first.
**The game was so out of hand last night, that Girardi allowed Larry, Curly and Moe to finish up. Oops, sorry, Moe had the night off.
**The huge stadium looked empty last night. The first game started at 4:10, last night it was 10:05 and today it's 3:35. There's your problem. It Los Angeles they leave the game int the 7th inning because they don't know when it ends. In Oakland, they don't know when it starts. I think they have to change the name, too. "Overstock.com" certainly doesn't fit the attendance numbers here.
**Is it my imagination, or does David Cone look like he came to the game directly from a nightclub? It's possible: this is where his drinking buddy, David Wells, lives.
***IN OTHER SPORTS...***
Somebody just told me that the NHL and the NBA finals are starting this week. For what season? Football is over, though, right? Tennis doesn't count unless the Williams sisters are playing and with Tiger no longer a factor, Phil Michelson is going to have to sleep with some stewardesses if he expects me to watch. Golf on TV is as exciting as Bowling. Both sports are better enjoyed when you play them. ...and in bowling, the beer is colder.
From Janice Hough:
"Maybe once OSU ends up on probation, they can talk to USC about playing a charity exhibition game instead of a bowl game this year. The game could be sponsored by Aladdin Bail Bonds."