July 2008 Archives

Manny Moved: Dodgers Obtain Ramirez

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manny.jpgHere it is, folks. According to SI's Jon Heyman the Red Sox have traded Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.

UPDATE: Pirates involved in deal. Jason Bay to Red Sox. I'm going to have to stay at work past five... TO BLOG.

UPDATE 2: Rosenthal says Andy LaRoche to Pirates, Craig Hansen to Pirates, to other players to the Pirates one from each the Dodgers and Sox.

To recap. Manny, Derek Lowe and Nomar Garciaparra all play for Joe Torre. In Los Angeles. Weird.

UPDATE 3: I kind of miss him already.

UPDATE 4: I'm too tired to write a TQ. See you tomorrow, everybody!
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

Massive Move In Manatee Metropolis

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jason bay.jpgAccording to sources The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired Jason Bay from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league SS Reid Brignac and and minor league right-hander Jeff Niemann.

The Rays are players, man. This will most likely move Eric Hinske to first and put Carlos Pena at DH. They're serious down in Hillsborough County, indeed.

JULIA TUCKER PUT THE JASON BAY SONG BACK UP, DAMMIT.

UPDATE Not so fasto, amigo. There seems to be a slight hangup regarding the minor leaguers the Rays are to send.

UPDATE 2: Ken Rosenthal says it's not happening. Ken Rosenthal is also a twerp, but he may be right.
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Lost in all the Manny mess and the Maddux miasma is the fact that the Los Angeles Dodgers STILL need a friggin' shortstop. Rumors have been floating around for the past month but nothing has happened since July 1st. Well, except, of course, Nomar Garciaparra becoming the starting shortstop for the team and then getting hurt, forcing the Dodgers to go with...sigh...Royals castoff Angel Berroa.

So let's throw some names against the wall and see which ones cause Ned Colletti to make a crazy trade:

  • Jack Wilson (PIT) - Pirates wanted too much
  • Brian Roberts (BAL) - not even a shortstop, and there's no chance
  • Michael Young (TEX) - why would the Rangers even deal him?
  • Adam Everett (MIN) - THE TWINS NEED HIM
  • Cal Ripken (BAL) - Holiday Inn Express won't budge
  • Snuffy Stirnweiss (NYY) - killed in 1958 when his train plummeted into Newark Bay
  • Brian Bocock (SFG) - giggle giggle snort!
  • John MacDonald (TOR) - who?
  • David Eckstein (TOR) - perfect fit on a mediocre team of veterans
  • Marco Scutaro (TOR) - cripes, how many shortstops does J.P. Ricciardi have?
  • Tomas Perez (HOU) - he still plays? For the Round Rock Express?

So I guess they'll be stuck getting David Eckstein from the Blue Jays. He's a gamer!

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Our friend at the New York Daily News Jesse Spector finally worked up the nerve to approach New York Yankees Detroit Tigers reliever Kyle Farnsworth for an interview. Of course, he did it the morning before Farnsworth was traded, so this convo between these two otherwise disparate gents is mostly worthless, except for the extreme awkwardness within:

1. If you could trade places for one day with anyone in baseball, who would it be?
Kyle Farnsworth: No idea. Go to the next one.

2. Who's your favorite athlete to watch in another sport?
KF: Hmm. I have no idea. Next one.

...

4. What is one thing people need to stop talking about?
KF: Uhh...I have no idea. I'll try to think of something.

Awkward! Okay, okay, I edited that for maximum hilarity, but really, could there possibly be a worse time to interview Kyle Farnsworth, especially when he turned on the tears just hours later?

Can't Stump The Shrimp

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smartypants.jpgNo, not the WoW shrimp. I'm talking about 8 year old Eddie Richardson of Smyrna, GA. The kid says he knows the position of all 750 major league ballplayers. Reporter and skeptical harpy Helena Oliveiro decided to make the kid prove it by testing him.

• Left field, San Diego Padres?

"Scott Hairston"

• Who is Andrew Sisco?

"Pitcher, Chicago White Sox, on the DL"

• Seattle Mariners, first base?

"Miguel Cairo"

For years, Eddie, who started reading at age 4, quietly studied the newspaper every morning.

His dad didn't realize his son's talent with baseball stats until last summer.

"By third day of golf camp, all of the golf pros surrounded Eddie and they kept quizzing him on baseball and they couldn't stump him," said his father, Ed Richardson. "The golf pro pulled me aside and said, 'This is not normal.'

Screw you golf pro. Raise your own kids. Eddie Richardson loves baseball and is quite "normal," no matter how at peace you are with having to buy your son a dollhouse for his birthday.

Eddie if you're reading this, email me. I want you to write a guest column.

May Magnificat: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:05, Tigers at Indians: My, there were a substantial amount of runs scored by these two teams last night. 26 to be exact. Cleveland hit 5 home runs and still lost despite Fernando Rodney blowing a save. Bring back Jones! Today pits Justin Verlander against MANNY RAMIREZ. I mean Fausto Carmona. Sorry force of habit.

  • 2:05 Cubs at Brewers: The Brewers came into this series feeling great but are coming out in rougher shape than your mother. They've scored but 7 runs in the first three games of this series. Facing Rich Harden today, their asses are firmly on the edge of the dustpan, with only MANNY RAMIREZ, I mean Dave Bush to save them.

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The Seattle Mariners got on the trading train today and sent reliever Arthur Rhodes down to Florida. Here's recently injured Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com:

    "According to ESPN's Peter Gammons, on ESPN Radio, the Marlins have acquired LHP Arthur Rhodes in exchange for 22-year-old RHP Gaby Hernandez. If you recall, Hernandez was traded to the Marlins by the Mets in 2005 for Paul Lo Duca."

Left handed relievers don't grow on trees, people, so it's no big deal that Rhodes was (a) out of baseball last year and (b) once really pissed off about Cory Lidle eating Graham Slam ice cream. Marlins win big time.

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Baseball Musings' own David Pinto is, not unlike the rest of the baseballblogosphere, furiously liveblogging the deadline day trade rumors and whatnot. Actually, David updates his site about 25 times a day and he's one of the best and most prolific reporters on the web. But unlike the rest of us pecking away at our keyboards from our cubicles or home offices, he's sitting at his local Friendly's restaurant:

    "With my home DSL down, I'm taking advantage of free WiFi at the Longmeadow Friendly's. Many thanks to the folks at Friendly's for not charging like Starbucks. If anyone reads this in the Longmeadow area and wants to come by to talk baseball, feel free to join me."

David, try the Strawberry Fribble with a side of Marvelous and Magnificent Sundae featuring M&Ms. Whatever you do, stay away from the Supermelts. SUPERMELTS ARE MADE FROM PEOPLE

Massive Manny Miasma Motivating Marlins?

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manny.jpgSo you've all heard the news by now. Manny goes to Florida to play 15 minutes from his house in Pembroke Pines, The Red Sox get Jason Bay, and John Grabow. The Pirates get Jeremy Hermida and a bunch of 5 tool kindergartners with tons of upside. Well according to Gordon Edes, there's still no deal in place so cool your jets, hermano.

The deal makes sense for pretty much everyone. The Marlins get a couple months of happy Manny satiated on mango flesh and his own bed and the Sox pick up most of the tab. The Sox replace a large percentage of his numbers and put another live body in their dreadful bullpen and the Pirates get to be in the newspaper.

Will they/won't they? Frankly whenever I hear any "tentative deals" for Manny I wave my hand at the TV and make a fart noise but this one seems to have more legs than past rumors.

If only that chick hadn't removed the Jason Bay song.
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The Dodgers have finally poked their gamer noses above the .500 mark with a 4-0 win over the rival Giants, their first time with a winning record since May. Still, Ned Collletti wants more more more veteran performance from his team, so he's got his eye on San Diego Padres pitcher Greg Maddux. As per Tony Jackson, the move may hinge on finances:

The Dodgers are said to have some interest in Maddux, but acquiring him probably would make the Dodgers responsible for the remainder of Maddux's $10 million salary, which would come to about $3.3 million. Thus, a trade could depend on owner Frank McCourt's willingness to add to his payroll. But such a deal probably wouldn't require the Dodgers to give up a frontline big-league player or prospect because of the Padres' eagerness to unload Maddux.

Los Angeles has some good starters already: Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, Hiroki Kuroda, and Clayton Kershaw, with Jason Johnson as a spot starter for injured Brad Penny. One can never have enough pitchers, though, especially with Joe Torre's notorious bad luck with starting pitchers.

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Speculation around the league is that the Marlins will send first baseman Mike Jacobs to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Walkoff Walk favorite Bengie Molina. Henry Schulman at the San Fran Chronicle thinks otherwise:

In Florida, Marlins' first baseman Mike Jacobs was lifted in the sixth inning, fanning speculation he would be part of a deal for Molina. Molina, however, played the entire game Wednesday and is not believed to be going anywhere.

Getting Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox would certainly be a boon for the Marlins, but getting one of the best catchers in baseball for Jacobs would be a real difference maker, what with Matt Treanor's injury problems.

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As per Walkoff Walk commenter Donkey Time, smarmy baseball apparition Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Chicago White Sox have reached a deal to acquire Ken Griffey Jr. from the Cincinnati Reds. The teams are waiting on Griffey to decide if he really wants to play for the emotionally abusive Ozzie Guillen. MORE DETAILS AS THEY COME IN.

UPDATE ONE: CTC interviewed Ken Griffey's mom back in June. This has nothing to do with anything, we just feel it didn't get enough publicity at the time.

UPDATE TWO: Wait, don't the White Sox already have three capable outfielders, one capable first baseman, and a capable DH? What will Griffey do on this team? The laundry?

UPDATE THREE: And yet Griff's teammate Adam Dunn sits by the phone, biding his time with the jumble. He leads the majors in tater tots, people!

UPDATE FOUR: White Sox to send Nick Masset and Danny Richar. They may also be sending Nick Swisher to Oakland for Huston Street. Whoops! Congratulations to your 2008 AL Central winners, the Minnesoter Twins!

UPDATE FIVE: Griffey approved the deal. Now we're just waiting for the commish to approve the trade. Also, Marty Brennaman is staying on the sixth floor of the Mayflower Hotel in Warshington D.C. if any of his stalkers want to find him.

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Here's what happened in baseball while overjoyed in this world:

Phillies 8, Nationals 5: Chase Utley's second homer in as many nights can mean just one thing: he has risen from the dead and will eat the brains of anyone who gets in his way. Yes, that means you, Tim Redding. The Phillies' offensive octet opened the door for Jamie Moyer to accumulate his 240th career win. Pat Burrell threw out Jesus Flores at second base in the sixth and was double-switched in favor of Jayson Werth in the seventh for defensive purposes. Wait, what?

Marlins 7, Mets 5: Josh Johnson's first win in two years can mean just one thing: he has risen from the dead and will eat the brains of anyone who gets in his way. Yes, that means you, David Wright (0-for-4, 1K). Johnson was one of the three stellar young arms on first year manager Joe Girardi's 2006 Florida team that ended up losing significant time to arm injuries (Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco being the others). In other words, watch the eff out, Joba Chamberlain. The Mets' loss pushes them a half game out of first in the NL East and just one game ahead of Manny Ramirez' future employer, the aforementioned Marlins.

Cardinals 7, Braves 2: Chris Carpenter's first four innings pitched in fifteen months can mean just one thing: he has risen from the dead and will eat the brains of anyone who gets in his way. Yes, that means you, entire Braves "offense". Casey Kotchman went 0-for-5 with four gentlemen left out in the pasture in his Atlanta debut while the rest of the Braves team could only amass two runs on eleven hits. HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE TH...you get the point. Carp didn't get the decision, but the pride of Manchester, N.H. could care less...he's healthy! Mazel tov!

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, ladies and gentlemen we're floating space.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
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I have no real source for this but who cares. Camp Tiger Claw says that Buster Olney says that the Yankees traded for Detroit catcher Pudge Rodriguez.

UPDATE: Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble are playing Pudge highlight clips on XM 175 - MLB Home Plate.

UPDATE TWO: Kevin Kennedy says this is a great trade for the Yankees. This can only mean: it's a horrid trade.

UPDATE THREE: THE YANKEES GOT RID OF KYLE FARNSWORTH! This means Brandon Inge will have to catch for the Tigers EVERYDAY now.

UPDATE FOUR: The Yankees acquired someone named Pudge and yet Peter Abraham was nowhere near his computer.

UPDATE FIVE: Rob Dibble doesn't think the Yankees are done trading and that they'll probably pick up a pitcher. A Yankee fan calls in a says, "Great show." I turned off my radio. Also, MLB.com has a story up.

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Hey, remember when Oakland was in playoff contention? Right before the All Star break, when they were just a couple games out of first? Yeah, those days are long gone. Since July 11th, the A's are just 2-11 and have fallen into third place in the AL West, thirteen whole games behind the Angels. As for the Royals, they haven't been in playoff contention since the Achille Lauro hijacking, so a potential sweep over Oakland would be absolutely terrific for their huge sportsblogger fanbase.

Oakland will send new kid Sean Gallagher out to prevent said sweep. He's seeking his second AL win in his fourth start. The Royals will counter with Joe Posnanski's favorite pitcher Brian Bannister, whose ERA has ballooned to 5.40 after finally admitting he cannot, in fact, read or write.

Does this game mean anything for the playoff push? Probably not. Is it worth glogging? Any professional baseball game is worth writing pithy remarks about. Enough with the chit-chat, let's get glogging! After the jump, natch.

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Former ESPNet Sportszone movie reviewer and tertiary Mitchell Report character Gregg Zaun is pleased with the way he has performed as member of the Toronto Blue Jays and is ready to move on if traded. He's sad about losing playing time to Rod Barajas and would like to move on to a contender.

That's all news to Toronto general manager and Adam Dunn detractor J.P. Ricciardi who can't even get rid of Zaun for two quarters on the dollar:

"We're aware that Zaunie is unhappy," Ricciardi told MLB.com. "We wish he wouldn't go through the media with it. We wish he would come to us, especially knowing we have a good relationship. Unfortunately, right now, there are no takers for him. If there are, we'll definitely oblige him.

"I think we've been a little bit more proactive than maybe Zaunie thinks. Part of making a trade is someone has to want you. Right now, there's no one that has expressed an interest in him. That's where we're at."

Um, I don't like Gregg Zaun very much and think he's below average for even a backup catcher in the majors. But damn, he can still catch a fastball. And he knows how to put on the catchers gear. And he can kinda sorta hit. That's gotta be worth something. Teams like the Yankees, Mets, and Marlins could use a new catcher and there are not many of 'em on the ol' trading block. You mean to tell me that NOBODY wants a 37-year-old catcher who spent time on the DL this year with a throwing arm injury? Oh.

(We owe a Coca Cola Classic to Fifth Outfielder)

Hurt Hawks: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:37, Rays at Jays: This one's for rubber, brudder. Roy Halladay pitched well last night but Matt Garza was on total lockdown. His complete game performance and huge hits from Hinske and Longoria put the Rays 2 games up on the punchless Red Sox. Today's matchup pits Edwin Jackson against something called a Scott Richman. Where's that Canadian we hired? He might know something about this guy.

  • 1:05, Orioles at Yankees: Millar is hot, Huff is hot, the starters have been good. It's been an exemplary couple of games for the O's at Yankee Stadium. Joba Chamberlain will try and put a stop to the sweep this afternoon. Tons O' Fun completely eviscerated Boston in his last start and has allowed but 1 run in 13 innings since the ASB. He is opposed by Dennis Safarte, normally a reliever making his first big league start. Knock em dead, Dennis.

  • 3:35. Royals at A's: Rob will be glogging this game. The only reasons I can think of are:

    A. He doesn't wanna be forced to do a whole game and can use the 5 O'clock bell as an excuse to leave.
    or
    2. He's trying to impress Farthammer

    Regardless of his motives, the live comedy stylings of Mr. Iracane will be trained on this one featuring Brian Bannister and Sean Gallagher on the ones and twos. KC has their hand on the broom closet.
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Minnesota Twins infielder Adam Everett has had a rough relationship with the team in 2008, and things just got more awkward over the past week. Adam started off the year as the starting shortstop, amassing a horrific-even-for-a-good-fielding-shortstop-which-he-is-not .589 OPS. Kid was put on the 15 day DL in May with a shoulder ouchie and hasn't played since.

So now, what's the haps, Minneapolis Star Tribune's national baseball reporter Joe Christensen?

The Twins placed second baseman Alexi Casilla on the disabled list tonight after he was diagnosed with a torn tendon in his right thumb. To replace him on the roster they activated Adam Everett from the DL.

Yes, there were reports earlier that the Twins had designated Everett for assignment. They actually gave him a contemplative outright assignment form, and he had three days to decide whether to accept it. Tonight, they called to tell him they needed him back.

What, pray tell, is a 'contemplative outright assignment form'? What makes it 'contemplative'? Is it a pamphlet with meditation suggestions? Is it a purchase form for the bestseller Zen and the Art of Baseball Mitt Maintenance? Did they tell Adam to go sit in the corner and think about what he's done? WAS ADAM EVERETT IN A TIMEOUT?

No matter, the Twins are up shit's creek sans Casilla now, so of course they had to come crawling on their knees and beg Adam Everett to come back. Heck, I bet Ron Gardenhire downed half a bottle of Pinot Grigio, wiped his tears away, picked up the phone, and yet couldn't bring himself to dial the last number, so he sent Joe Mauer over to charm Adam into coming back. Those sideburns will do it every time!

We All Need To Follow Ten Year Olds More Often

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kid.jpgYou want pragmatism? You like your pragmatism served with a heaping helping of Brent Musberger, Korean ringers and attention starved moms that pin picture of their kids to their visors and are always on television? Then have I got some good news for you. Limited instant replay will be used in this year's Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.

Replay would be used "to overturn an obvious wrong," said Dennis Lewin, chairman of Little League's Board of Directors.

The rule limits replay to instances in which a batted ball "leaves the field of play at or near the outfield fence, or should have been ruled out of the field of play" at or near the fence.

A Little League "game operations replay official" would need "clear and convincing" evidence to overturn an umpire's ruling on the field, according to the rule.

Replays would likely be rarely used, (Little League President Stephen) Keener said, and if used would likely cause a delay of 30 to 45 seconds.

"I think that's easily a fair trade off," Keener said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press at league headquarters. "I think everyone would agree that getting it right is most important."
Hell, yes. Stephen Keener for MLB Commissioner! Shit, Stephen Keener for US President! Neither players, onfield umps nor coaches will be able to request a replay. It's usage will be determined by "a Little League replay official and an umpire in the booth."

Wow, that makes entirely too much sense. Is it at all possible that eventually MLB will pattern a system for its own game modeled after one created IN LITTLE LEAGUE? If that happens, I can think of no finer and more succinct indictment of the ineffective leadership that has plagued baseball's last twenty years.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Furi

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tiredchinaman.jpgHere's what happened in baseball while you were learning Japanese.

Cubs 7, Milwaukee 1: For the second straight evening the Cubs emerge victorious against their closest division foe. Z went 8 scoreless, striking out 9 and scattering 5 hits. The game was living up it's pitching pedigree, as a 1-0 ball game going into the sixth. In that inning, Chicago batted around against Ben Sheets, including a thrilling mix of hard hit balls and Ryan Braun taking a couple dumps in the outfield. The Cubs give themselves a little breathing room, opening up a 3 game lead.

Twins 6, White Sox 5: Uh ohs! The Identicals scored 5 in the fifth to come back from a 4 run deficit. Justin Morneau had a bases clearing double and was probably all humble about it and then had a glass of Kool-Aid. White Sox rookie Clayton Richard was cruising until that fateful frame. Joe Nathan got his 29th save in 31 chances and is very good. Minnesota sits just 1/2 a game out.

Orioles 7, Yankees 6: Daniel Cabrera and Dave Trembley both got tossed in the 8th after beaning A-Rod, the Yankees tried to mount a 9th inning comeback, Kevin Millar hit his 6th HR of the year against The Bombers and it all amounted to: The Yankees losing to Baltimore for the second straight night and their third loss overall. Phew that was exhausting. Darrel Rasner is sucking back to earth.

Phillies 2, Nationals 1: I've got nothing against the Phillies, but I hate seeing Brett Meyers do well. That redneck malcontent threw 7 shutout innings and even got into a humorous fake spat with Charlie Manuel when it was time to leave the game. Whatever. Between that and seeing a picture of this fat guy, I didn't have much fun writing this recap.

John Lackey No Hits Red Sox...

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...through 8 1/3 innings.

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File this one under "Things That Happened While I Was Commuting" and/or "Things That Sportscenter Deemed Worthy of Taking a Back Seat to Brett Favre News". Yes, the team with the best record in baseball just got bester:

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark on Tuesday that Atlanta Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira is headed to the Los Angeles Angels for Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Steven Marek.

We all know Tex is a super player today, offensively and defensively. He'll help the Angels' lineup tremendously. Sure, he's most likely walking back to Baltimore after the season is up, but giving up an average first baseman and a pitching prospect is a decent price to pay.

As for Kotchman, I said earlier today that Casey Kotchman started off the year hitting well (OPS of .999 as of May 1st but has regressed of late, bringing his OPS under .800. The Angels win this trade for now, but at age 25, Kotchman has some future potential, especially when clever Phillies fans nickname him "Krotchman". Zing.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, stay away from the cheatin' side of town.


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Rich Lederer wants us to get excited about Rockies hurler Ubaldo Jimenez. I'm trying, Rich, but I think I used up all my excitement on Bert Blyleven. Baseball Analysts.

  • Buzz Bissinger struggles with the concept of economics and would love to see the USA fall into a major depression, just so those fat cats get what's comin' to 'em. Squawking Baseball.

  • Rinku and Dinesh have had some great celebrity run-ins while training in the USA, including having met 'the best pitcher in Major League'. No, not Charlie Sheen. They met Rendy (sic) Johnson! Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Buck O'Neal? The copy editors in Kansas City must be on strike. Big League Stew.

  • Goose Gossage hates hippies, hugging, holistic healing, and George Brett. Well, the last one's eminently hateable, so good for him. Machochip.

  • Why pound cake is called pound cake. Cookthink.

That Kid Has His Father's Eyes. In His Playpen.

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evil_muppets.jpgI have a rule. Whenever a story starts out with the phrase, "An alcohol-fueled argument that started about baseball at a 2-year-old's birthday party ended with a 32-year-old White Sox fan losing his right eye," I'm going to read the rest of the story. Call me crazy, but a man's gotta have a code.

Yes, this past weekend in the bucolic Chicago suburb of Huntley, a Sox fan and Cubs fans got into it at a child's party and things got real ugly, real fast.

The men attacked Robert Steele of Gurnee about 10:45 p.m. July 19 at a party at Jerry Czapla's house in the 10900 block of Cape Cod Lane, Fulton said.

Steele's nose and orbital bone were broken and he lost his right eye in the attack after he was kicked in the face with a steel-toed boot.

Steele and his fiancée, April Bieze, said they went to the Abby Cadabby-Sesame Street-themed party that afternoon for Bieze's 2-year-old niece. Bob Czapla and the other men were drinking vodka and beer and started taunting Steele with claims that White Sox fans had missing teeth, Bieze said.

Sesame Street? Non-sensical vodka fueled taunts about dental acumen? I never get invited to the good parties. Mr. Steele is rather messed up. He needs to be fitted for a glass eye and will undergo months of physical therapy. Sounds to me like this Sox fan is getting a little taste of what it's like to be a Cubs pitcher.

MLB Ends Boycott Of Sal's

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sals.jpgLast week I read this Reader's Digest article about Sal Fasano (in the actual print edition!). It was all about him struggling in the minors and what a cool guy he was for never using steroids and how rad it was to be poor and the American Dream and zzzzzzzzzz....... Thing read like a Jeff Pearlman article. Oh.

Well, little did I know, he's in the majors right now. It makes the whole minor league struggle story a little less powerful, but good for him anyway.

The Indians did not bring in Fasano to spice up a team photo or for his wheels. They brought him for his experience -- the Tribe is his ninth major-league team since debuting with the Royals in 1996 -- and his reputation as a pro's pro, someone who knows how to be a stop-gap.

What they could not have anticipated is the instant connection made with one of their key components moving forward, left-hander Jeremy Sowers.

Before Fasano arrived, Sowers essentially had dropped his compass in the woods. Sowers was far from the form that made him a big hit late in the 2006 season.


Sowers had a notably horrendous start to the season but since Fasano has started catching him, he's given up just 11 hits in 22 innings. He credits Fasano for calling good games, and Fasano says he's just trying to "teach him to be a major leaguer and stay here for the next 10 years."

Aww... it's like a Papa Bear teaching a baby bear how to catch salmon. Maybe Fasano has more of a future than just minor league ballplayer. Maybe one day he can be a minor league instructor.
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With just over 48 hours left before the trading deadline renders baseball teams nearly impotent to swap players without all that dreaded waiver malarkey, contending teams are scrambling to snatch up the big get of 2008: Atlanta Braves first basegentleman Mark Teixeira. Atlanta GM Frank Wren recently put his prize possession on the trading block after the Braves have pretty much crippled themselves out of contention. Heck, the Braves have more injured players than a MASH unit, so why not trade a productive first baseman on the brink of his inevitable career decline?

So who is going to pony up and win the Tex Sweepstakes?

  • Los Angeles Angels: Casey Kotchman started off the year hot hot hot but is OPS'ing just .695 since May 1st. The Angels have an enormous lead in the West but are having trouble scoring runs on a regular basis, despite what Mike Scioscia says. They should make the trade but they won't because Tex isn't scrappy enough.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Supposedly the frontrunner to get Mark, the D-Backs are trying to avoid trading young stud Conor Jackson. Arizona would be a lot better off trading Chad Tracy and a coupla prospects, but they still need to figure out a way to solve the Alex Romero/Chris Burke platoon in right field. Yuck.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: Does anyone else get the feeling that the Rays think they are just a bunch of smug artists, creating their craft below the poverty line and sticking it to the man? No? Just me? Okay. Well their offense would be seriously upgraded penciling Tex into the first base slot, pushing Carlos Pena to DH and sending Cliff Floyd to the unemployment line. But these precious small-marketers feel their team's success is built on chemistry, so they probably won't make the move. Hey Tampa, you know what else was built on chemistry? Napalm.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers: Tex is not enough of a gamer. No deal.

  • Boston Red Sox: Think about the possibilities! The Sox could move Kevin Youkilis to left field and trade Manny Ramirez! Still, I think Boston is only being bandied about in these trade talks is to push the price up for other teams. Kinda like the time I won Billy Martin's set of scotch glasses on eBay for $4995.00 after George Steinbrenner made a bunch of fake bids to jack the price up.

So yeah, Mark Teixeira will be a Baltimore Oriole by day's end because he's homesick.

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Pawtucket Red Sox reliever Lincoln Holdzkom has the control of a hyperglycemic toddler in a roomful of rock candy. The 26-year-old righty has twice lost a PawSox game on a wild pitch, but his latest transgression actually came on a strikeout. A walkoff strikeout. To two-time World Series winner Timo Perez:

    Toledo's Freddy Guzman scored from third on a wild pitch by Pawtucket reliever Lincoln Holdzkom with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning. And here's the crazy part: The wild pitch was a curveball that the Hens' Timo Perez swung at and missed for Toledo's 17th strikeout of the game. By the time PawSox catcher Dusty Brown retrieved the wild pitch, Guzman had scored and Perez narrowly beat Brown's throw to first.

Wow, I thought a walkoff walk was bad, but a walkoff wild-pitch-on-third-strike-to-former-major-leaguer-named-Timo? Baseball players are always inventing new ways to fuck up. What's next? The walkoff-bad-throw-back-to-pitcher-by-catcher-with-the-yips? The walkoff-extra-ball-thrown-onto-field-by-fan-thus-confusing-Manny?

Heck, I didn't even know Timoniel M. Perez was still alive. Or that he won the Triple-A All Star Game MVP award last year! But yes, it's true, he won the World Series with the ChiSox in '05 and the Cards in '06. So to recap: Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams: zero World Series rings. Timo Perez: two World Series rings.

(We owe a Diet Coke to Ian at Sox and Dawgs, who also linked us to video evidence of the WoK)

bedtimedog.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball in the fields out behind the dynamo:

Indians 5, Tigers 0: Ol' HGH-usin', Jesus-praisin', pornography-lovin' Paul Byrd finally got his shit in gear just in time to shut out Detroit for eight innings. Hey, now the Indians are only fourteen games back! Thanks, Paul Byrd! Kelly Shoppach and Asdrubal Cabrera tater-totted off sad-sack loser Kenny Rogers. Could there possibly be a matchup of two pitchers I dislike less than these two chumps? Signs point to no, unless Orel Hershiser un-retires and Curt Schilling comes back from the dead.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 1: A.J. Burnett, who absolutely won't be traded, J.P. Ricciardi swears, gave up zero earned runs in seven innings, striking out 10 and picking up his career-high-matchin' twelfth win. No, no, believe me...he won't be traded. Stop calling Mr. Ricciardi immediately. You're wasting your rollover minutes. He will not be traded, ferreals. Matt Stairs, whom Ricciardi would absolutely trade if he got a better offer than "a box of Entenmann's cookies and a carton of goat milk", hit a two-run ding-dong.

Cardinals 12, Braves 3: If Atlanta's season hadn't ended this past weekend, it sure would have been over after this clusterfuck. Rookie hurler Charlie Morton was tagged for eight runs in three and two-thirds innings of 'pitching' in which he gave up 4 farts walks and 7 hits. Joe Mather singled, doubled, and totted to lead the Cardinal offense while Braden Looper was effective and mildly efficient, not unlike a low-budget Japanese sedan. Someone named Nick Stavinoha exists.

Tonight's No Questions Asked

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Hey kids, got any birch beer?


Thanks to The Fightins' for the above video of Dr. Shane Victorino.

Stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Oh no questions asked, same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Todd Jones Sobs

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neanderthal-man.jpgTodd Jones addressed his demotion from the closer role to the Detroit News's Bob Wojowski and it's amazing. The big lug cried. And cried and cried and there was lip quivering and eye reddening and voice cracking and well, just read for yourself.

"I've been to the depths of everything emotionally, but this is just one of those things you have to go through, too," Jones said, his eyes reddening. "You know, you're born into the big leagues and then you're born a closer and then one day you're no longer trusted with the brunt of the load in the ninth inning. My day came -- what is it, July 27? -- so there's no spilled milk here."

Jones stopped and referenced Leyland, who always stood behind him but couldn't do it now.

"I mean, I love that guy," Jones said, his lip quivering, his voice cracking. Finally, he turned away.

Oh my god, I find his tears hilarious. No word if he'll be moving his Sporting News Blog over to LiveJournal. I think it's pretty great that a man who was once so macho as to vocalize staunch opposition to ever having a gay teammate, is witnessed with his "lip quivering." Old age softens even the most grizzled.

Slow clap, Bob Wojowski. You're doing god's work.

Point/Counterpoint Pt. 1

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In honor of tonight's big showdown.





gibberish.jpgWe've had some fun with Joe Maddon around here. We've made fun of his emo glasses, we've called him a yuppie, and I've said privately that he's probably really into arugula. I've never thought of the man as particularly intense, just kind of a hip baseball grandpa. But apparently he let down the cool guy facade and directed a minor tirade at his team this weekend.

For the first time in his three-season reign, Maddon ripped into his team, delivering a brief but pointed message. Several players said he was obviously "hot,'' another described him as "borderline irate - for Joe."

"It was something that really needed to be said,'' LHP Scott Kazmir said. "It really needed to be said.''

The fiery speech was brief, less than two minutes, but very much to the point.
Way to tear it up, Joseph. Since these things are usually held behind closed doors it's always tough to get a grasp on what was said, but Maddon tried to shed a little light on his state of mind.

"I've done it on an individual basis, and I still believe that's the right way to do it. But at some point it had to be done within the group, because you can lose a pennant by one game, and I've been there. Every game matters, every game counts, every play counts. The assumptionists of the world, I would like to eradicate. I want to eradicate assumptionism.''

Maddon's message was a reinforcement of what it is on the inspirational T-shirts he distributed earlier this season, that it takes nine players playing hard to nine innings to be one of the eight teams that make the playoffs. "9 = 8, or else we ain't going there,'' he said Sunday.
Someone either slipped something in his San Pellegrino or he's unprepared for success. That wasn't even English, Keith. That was like Esperanto or some language twins teach each other.

Division Foes So Close, They're Practically Doing It

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After a weekend of slugfests, the races in 5 out of 6 divisions are downright claustrophobic. Four of them, all 3 in the NL and the AL East, have a second place team that sits a single game out, and the Twins are only 2.5 out in the AL Central. The AL and NL east also have third place teams that are within 3 games of the top.

Will anything shake out this week? The ever mystical trade deadline approacheth and with so many horses still near the lead things could get a little hectic. Let's take a look at a few major matchups happening on the field from now until Sunday.


  • Today through Thursday, White Sox at Twins: Minnesota took a big 2 out of 3 over the weekend in Cleveland to keep pace with Chicago. The Twins had been struggling away from home but held serve going back to the Metrodome where they've been dominant as of late. 19 of their next 25 divisional games are at home, so a strong showing this week could put them in strong position. The White Sox are swinging the bats well, averaging over 6 runs a game in their last 10. Jermaine Dye has homered in 3 straight.

  • Today through Thursday, Cubs at Brewers: It's all about the Centrals this week, baby. This four game set pits the top two in the NL Central and features great starting pitching matchups in each game. Tonight CC Sabathia takes on Ted Lilly in what I'm dubbing "The Butter Belt Leftpocalypse." Tomorrow is Carlos Zambrano vs. Ben Sheets in a duel with so many fastballs you'll have white hot fire shooting out of your asshole. Wednesday is Ryan Dempster vs. Manny Parra and Thursday is Rich Harden vs. Dave Bush.

  • Today through Wednesday, Mets at Marlins: The Mets hit the road for six games this week, starting in Dolphins Stadium. New York is hitting well and the Marlins are flailing at the plate. Nolasco, Olsen and Johnson start for the fish and they need quality out of all three.

  • Thursday through Sunday, Diamondbacks at Dodgers: These teams spend the early part of the week playing San Diego and San Francsico, respectively so chances are they'll still be neck and neck by Friday. Both teams are bandied about in trade rumors and should have a couple of new faces by the time the weekend rolls around.

Old Dudes A-Poppin': 2008 Hall Of Fame Inductions

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goose gossage.jpgThis year's HoF induction ceremonies in Cooperstown flew even lower under the radar than usual. Only one player was inducted and he squeaked in on his ninth year of eligibility. Rather than a celebration of his greatness, Goose Gossage's induction just felt like another belated acknowledgment of saves and closers by the committee. "Consistency" is not a word associated with any aspect of that cabal, but discrepancies and oversights seem to be even more prevalent when they talk about closers. Where the hell is Lee Smith?

Dick Williams, two time World Series winning manager and skipper of the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox, was also inducted. As usual the proceedings were weepier and more sentimental than your mom after a jug of Carlo Rossi. To wit:

Gossage and Williams openly campaigned for Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, 78, to be in the Hall of Fame, drawing tears from his daughter, Jennifer Steinbrenner. Gossage, who broke down twice during his 18-minute speech, was emotional talking about teammates who passed away, including Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson.

"I want to thank George Steinbrenner," he said. "I believe he's the greatest owner of all time. He kept the Yankees, the Yankees."

Williams, who led the Oakland A's to back-to-back World Series titles and is only the second manager to lead three franchises to the World Series, also lobbied for Steinbrenner. He worked 10 years as a scout and advisor to Steinbrenner, and his son, Rick, works for the Yankees as a scout.
Fine, whatever. Just don't forget to leave THAT TIME HE WAS BANNED FROM BASEBALL off of his plaque.

In other news, WoW favorite Dave Niehaus was inducted into the broadcaster's wing and The Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award was given to... Buck O'Neil. Who's dead. Nice save! All in all, it was a fantastic day for the regionally semi-famous and the previously snubbed.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Don't Take It Away

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tiredchinaman.jpgHere's what happened in baseball while you stepped over the line:

Mets 9, Cards 1: Johan Santana said there was no way in hell his bullpen was blowing this one for him. He spent 9 innings laying St. Louis down and his offense helped him out by plating 9. David Wright and Ramon "Therapist" Castro each donged. The win helped the Mets maintain their one game NL East lead since...

Phillies 12, Braves 10: ...another day and another offensive bloodbath found Philadelphia prevailing. Five separate Brother Lovers hit tater tots, overcoming a 5 run deficit against the same Bravos that blew a 6 run cushion. To add injury to insult, Shane Victorino went helmet to helmet with Brian McCann at home plate and concussed him thoroughly. Jesus, the souls of Braves fans are in your hands.

Tigers 6, White Sox 4: The Tigers avoided the broom closet behind tots from Thames and Granderson and 4-4 day from Pudge. Zach Miner provided a slow hand and a quality start but the D-troit bullpen nearly blew the whole damn thing. Pregame, Jim Leyland (that asshole) announced that Todd Jones's big fat stupid paws were being replaced by Fernando Rodney at closer. Joel Zumaya left the game injured again, go figure, and Rodney needed 42 pitches to get 5 outs and end the game. Sheesh.

Twins 5, Indians 2: Justin Morneau drove in the go ahead run in the 9th and Minnesota continues to hover 2 games behind Chicago. Like everyone in America saw coming, the Indians have lost 4 of 5 after maybe possibly showing signs of life in recent weeks. Nick Blackburn bounced back from his worst start of the season with 7 innings of one run, four hit ball. I hope he celebrates by saying Hello Darlin to a woman in tight fitting jeans.

Dodgers 2, Nationals 0: Clayton Kershaw got his first win in the majors against borderling major league team. The start the Dodgers had been waiting for included just 4 hits and 5K. Nomar Garciaparra tweaked his knee at short and was replaced by Angel Freaking Berroa. The Dodgers will Knowmore about Nomar depending on whether or non his knee swells tomorrow. Either way, if Angel Berroa is plan B this probably should be addressed before Thursday.
sweepingbaby.jpgEnjoy today's games before vomiting linemen push our beloved baseball from the moving picture sportscast; and rest easy with the knowledge that Casey Blake is quickly adjusting to LA.

Man the Brooms! Many a potential sweep today, with the Yankees, White Sox, Marlins, Angels, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Dodgers, and Blue Jays all looking to take their weekend sets. At all costs, don't be the guy that brings an actual broom to the ballpark. Unless you fill the handle with sweet, sweet booze. Or plan on cleaning up your own peanut shells.

Pitching Match Ups Make Baseball Fun The much maligned Johan Santana takes on the inexplicably 12-2 Kyle Lohse in the rubber match at Shea. Both of these teams need to keep pace in their wacky division races. When one thinks of big games, one shouldn't count out Randy Wolf's Astro debut in the battle of shitballing inning eaters. Wolf! Suppan! The rhythm is gonna get ya. Or perhaps a classic Cy Old versus Cy Young & Terrible is more to your liking? Do you think Barry Zito cashes his paycheck with a straight face? Randy Johnston is 9 wins and 9 years shy of 300.

I'm off to see who wants to see a Jays sweep more: the Blue Jays or the Mariners. Thanks for stopping by this weekend, and thanks to Rob and CTC for letting me ruin their perfectly good website. Barring them coming to their senses, I'll back next weekend, and here in the meantime. Enjoy the middday action.
breakfastofchampions.JPGAs you enjoy a healthy breakfast, let Walkoff Walk catch you up on what happened while you were realizing the wife from the No Country for Old Men is the schoolgirl from Trainspotting.

Phillies 10, Braves 9: Fireworks! Pinch-hit home runs! Synergistic exclamation marks! Greg Dobbs was the hero of a game that featured two IOUSes (innings of unusual size). Mike Hampton seemed lost as he exited the field without a trainer at his side. Hampton gave up 6 runs in 4 innings; craptastic for most, but a moral victory for Mike as all his bones and organs remain intact. Meanwhile, Fernando Tatis admitted having a terrible shellfish allergy in the Mets extra inning loss. 2-2 count with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th, he grounded out to the pitcher. FERNANDO, COULDN'T YOU HAVE THOUGHT OF THE SHRIMP??

Yankees 10, Red Sox 3: The New York Yankees have won 8 games in a row. They are every villain in every horror movie ever made. Each season, they struggle later and later into the summer. But no matter what you do, no matter how hard you bash them over the head with your typewriter, they keep coming back. Robinson Cano warmed the cockles of Joe Morgan's heart with a double, a fried potato product and three rib eyes. Just as Cano's mental second half arrived like clockwork, so has the annual "Whatever shall we do about Manny" storyline. Cue the inevitable speculation about where he may land.

D-backs 5, Giants 3 Lincecum and Webb delivered on their duel promise, only to see the Giants bullpen bring the game back to a suitable NL West quality. Mr Fantastic struck out 13 Snakes but Brandon Webb hung on for his 14th win. Jon Rauch made his debut, shutting the door from well across the room. The Dodgers won and acquired Casey Blake for two prospects and a Mennonite to be named later.

Angels 11, Orioles 6: The Angels really need to examine their organization from the top down. They have no intention of playing Meaningful Baseball in September, which soundbites have taught me to be the point of the season. The Halos will have this locked up by Labour Day. Yeah, that's right. You bring a Canadian aboard, we come with the U's.

Twins 11, Tribe 4: The Twins are trying their best to keep pace with White Sox. They made Fausto Carmona long for the comfort of the disabled list, tagging him for 9 runs in 2 1/3 innings. In Detroit, the White Sox snuck by the Tigers again on the strength of Carlos Quentin's awesomeness. Both teams wore Negro League uniforms, the Tigers selection is sure to be a hit with the streetwear set.

The NL Central gets no love because of all the losing. Sorry Albert, 5-8 with the go-ahead homer just isn't good enough. Lots more fun this afternoon.
workersunite.jpgA bunch of excellent match ups today beneath the clouds and/or retractable roofs.

Day Games the way God intended: The exceedingly excellent and exceedingly overdue for an injury setback Rich Harden leads his Cubs against the Marlins, who reach back into their seemingly endless supply of good young players and counter with Chris Volstad. The lukewarm (winners of 5 of 6!) Jays send a large lefty named David Purcy to the hill against knuckleballin' R.A. Dickey. Darryl from the Office was in my section at last night's game, the Mariners are much more of a Toby team me thinks.

Day Games the way Rupert Murdoch intended: Begin the thawing of Mike Hampton! What better place for your first start in three years than on national television! Against the big swinging dicks of the Phillies! With Cole Hamels as the opposing pitcher! I predict this ending in tears. Grizzled vets Andy Pettitte and Tim Wakefield take to the sepia-toned mound in a marquee match up surely marred by McGarver. Another Yankee win and they're just a single game back of the Red Sox.

Day Games the way alcoholics intended: The NL West has its revenge! The best pitching duel of the day features Brandon Webb and Wee Tim Lincecom going head to head. Fausto Carmona makes his first start since May, much to the chagrin of the Twins. Except Joe Mauer, I don't think there is much that gets him down. Justin Duchscherer puts his tiny ERA on the line against the mashing Rangers. God hates any ERA+ higher than 200, so I'm siding with Josh on this one.

Enjoy the games! Go outside too! Maybe fit in a Dark Knight IMAX showing. I'll sleep when I'm dead, or very hungover. Drunken comments go!
pushpaper.jpgAs the new guy around WoW headquarters, it is expected that I: clean the coffeemaker, polish the Wil Cordero framed mugshot, and finish all the paperwork that keeps my posts out of a Customs lockup. I'm going to forgo the perfunctory throat-clearing and first-person testimonial to get right to the baseball happenings you missed while you taking part in an elaborate zombie-baiting sting operation:

White Sox 6, Tigers 5: Hipsters everywhere will shear their ironic mustaches this morning, hoping to avoid association with Todd Jones. Jermaine Dye's 2 out, 2 run home run in the ninth handed the White Sox the win and Todd Jones his third blown save. The Sox win and another (fifth in a row) Twins loss add up to Ozzie Guillen being an evil genius.

Braves 8, Phillies 2: A well pitched divisional battle received a hearty Lidging and suddenly the Phillies are losers of three in a row. The up-to-this-point excellent closer didn't get a soul out and now the Phils are tied with the Hanley Ramirezes, two games behind the surging Mets. Carlos Delgado's quiet dignity and red-hot July have the Mets in a perfect position to implode under the weight of their own expectations once again.

Yankees 1, Red Sox 0: Some kid named Chamberlain looked damn good in his fourth straight quality start, striking out 9 in 7 shutout innings. Included in those Ks was some guy playing for the first time in two months. This was an exciting, well-played game between the only two teams in the world that can make a 1-0 game last three hours. The Rays had a bye tonight, and remain atop the division that understatement forgot. Xavier Nady became a Yankee last night, continuing his own proud tradition of being good enough to be traded for but not good enough to warrant keeping.

Astros 3, Brewers 1: Manny Parra failed to justify your love and lost for the first time since May 3rd. He had won 8 consecutive decisions, just like the tater-toting Brewers. Parra lost with panache though, allowing but 3 runs over 6 innings. The Cubs, Reds, Pirates and Cards all mixed the flavor of defeat into their hearty Midwestern diets.

Meanwhile out West: Business as usual. Birds sung, K-Rod saved, and the Rangers went buckwild in the 9th inning. No matter what the scoreboard tells me; all the NL West teams lost. Their losses are society's gain.

So....yeah, about that. It will be better next time, I SWEAR. The first time is always awkward. You're always rushing just to get it in there to say that you've done it. Once I arrive home from my walk of shame, I'll fix my gaze on today's games designed for a Zelasko-reduced diet.

Weekend Questions

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nose to nose.jpgHey kids, that's not an angel, it's a burglar.

  • WITH Beckett v. Joba, the return of Papi and The Yankees playing as well as anyone in the AL, is this Sox/Yanks series actually deserving of a little hype? I say yes.

  • HOW different will the top of the AL Central look come Monday morning? The White Sox/Tigers series is huge. The Tigers still have blood on their lips from the Kansas City series, and the White Sox have lost 6 of 10. Minnesota travels to Cleveland and the Twins have been getting their asses handed to them away from the Metrodome. Things wont be any easier tonight against Cliff Lee. Keep and eye on both of these

  • CAN the Mets capitalize on a home series against an absolutely reeling St. Louis club? The Phillies host the middling Braves and the NL East Lead could flip flop all weekend.

  • WILL Texas leapfrog Oakland out West?

  • WOULD you be surprised to see Milwaukee roll right through the Astros and come out with an 11 game winnings streak? It's certainly not impossible. My boy Manny Parra goes tonight. The Cubs need to hang on against those feisty Marlins.

Man there's a lot of good stuff on tap. I didn't even touch the NL West (3 in a row for the Giants, baby!). Have fun with this weekend. When you come in from your swim make sure to check out what Lloyd has for you. Just towel off first so you don't ruin your computer.

Also, good luck to Farthammer with his Jeopardy audition. If he gets on the show we're all taking a WoW field trip to cheer him on.

Don't haze the new guy too hard. We'll see you on Monday.

Big Fat Important Site News

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blue-jays-fan-723761.jpegHey I forgot the afternoon game post! Who plays on Friday afternoons anyway? The Cubs and Marlins are tied at 1 in the top of the third. Your poem is The Colonel by Carolyn Forche.

More importantly, you may have noticed that our achilles heel here at Walkoff Walk is our weekend coverage. There's lots of good baseball on the weekends and we tend to phone stuff in. It makes us look lazy and it's no fun for you to read anyway. So in an attempt to remedy that for everyone involved, I'd like to introduce our new Weekend Editor, Lloyd The Barber.

Lloyd is the proprietor of the excellent Blue Jays blog, Ghostrunner On First. He knows baseball, he knows music, he knows funny and we think he's going to fit in just great. He'll be taking care of you on Saturday and Sunday mornings and maybe even some stuff in the afternoons if the mood strikes him. He's Canadian, so you know you can trust him.

It's a great weekend for him to start, there's a lot of rad divisional stuff we'll look at later, and I'd like to be the first to welcome him aboard. That picture isn't him, but that dude looks cool anyway.

Joe Torre Flips Out- 1982

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Today's Classic TV Post is a fun one. It has all of our favorites: carnage, injured innocents, profanity, and the opportunity to reflect on how poorly someone has aged.

In this 1982 Braves highlight, the wall along the third base foul line actually collapses as fans reach for an errant throw. That's crafstmanship! Anyway this presents some interesting ground rule interpretations for the umps allowing Joe Torre to go totally animal crackerz. It's a truly inspired tirade. Enjoy.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGLast week I saw a game in Anaheim, tonight I will see one in Boston. Different coasts, a trip spanning an entire nation. Wimps everywhere.

  • Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson, Braves: These good ol' boys went down Wednesday night with a strained left hammy and right elbow tightness respectively. Neither have hit the DL yet but it doesn't sound especially promising. Bobby Cox screamed at both injuries and was ejected from the hospital.

  • Kerry Wood, Cubs: The Indestructible Mr. Wood hit the DL for the first time in his career, sidelined by a blister. I wonder if he got it in the All-Star game. I certainly did from typing for the duration of it. That's the last time I'll mention it, I promise.

  • Joey Gathwright, Royals: Joey has a bone bruise in his shoulder. WAY TO COP OUT, SKIN AND MUSCLES.

  • Derrick Turnbow, Brewers: According to ESPN Turnbow was placed on the DL after saying his shoulder "didn't feel right". Well either did that time my girlfriend tried that thing with the motor oil and licorice stick she read about in Cosmo, but you don't see me calling in sick to work do you? Buck up, buddy. Life is strange.

  • Jorge Posada, Yankees: Jorge is still pondering surgery on his shoulder. He's going to spend the 15 DL days rehabbing and making the decision on surgery at the end of that. It's a six month recovery if he opts for the knife. I would suggest he just rub some money on it.

Oh Miguel Batista, Will You Ever Cease To Amaze Me?

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kenny batista.jpgGeoff Baker has been coming through big time lately. His doctor must have upped the dosage on his happy pills or something, because he's been jovial, free spirited and coming up with all kinds of good stuff. Today's pull: Miguel Batista talking about serial killers.

We're talking Richard Ramirez. The infamous "Night Stalker" of serial killer notoriety. Mariners pitcher Miguel Batista throws his name out there along with David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, Ted Bundy and other crazies in this rather interesting website. It's being used to promote his The Avenger of Blood fiction novel. Look, I won't promise it will change your life or anything. But I can guarantee you that you won't find anything similar out there by a major league ballplayer.

Yes the website is a little more than interesting. There's all kinds of trippy flash animation and Miguel in all his ribbed and fitted glory does bilingual voiceovers about various murderers.

According to the site, The Avenger Of Blood is about a 14 year old serial killer but it "explores the relationship between sin and justice, raising provocative questions about faith and religion, searching for hard answers."

That's some pretty heady stuff, but it needs more Kenny G. It took him five years to research, and I think the hard answers replaced his hard slider because he sucks at pitching now. Still, I salute him for being such a renaissance man and always branching out beyond baseball. Jonathan Papelbon read a cereal box once.

I AM UPSET WITH YOU RIGHT NOW

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It's a busy day here today, and what better way to kick things off than with one of the most Captain Insano brawls I've ever seen. Before we go to the video tape let's take stock of the damage:

Before the first inning was finished Thursday, July 24, at Fifth Third Field, three batters were hit by pitches.

The victims included:

• Dayton shortstop Zack Cozart, who left when hit in the head.

• Peoria's second baseman, who suffered a broken leg.

• A fan, who was hit by a ball thrown by Peoria starter Julio Castillo.


Then the following 10 minute fracas. KILL HIM!!!!



Oh yeah, pitcher Julio Castillo didn't hit the showers... he went to jail.

Baseball Before Bedtime: If It's The Beaches

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tiredchinaman.jpgHere's what happened in baseball while you took whatever you thought of, while I gassed up the truck:

Royals 4, Rays 2: Aw shit. Before I even ask the question, tell me you'll say yes. Ok? Good. The Rays are not going to win the AL East. Tonight they fell victim to the overpaid Fat Dad Gil Meche. Pops tossed 7 scoreless and Ross G. Load & John "Uncle" Buck drove some guys in. All together now WoWies: The Rays aren't winning the East.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Tell me how my dustpan taste. Mr. Braun goes fourforfour with a ding dong. Sounds cool right? What if i told you that ding dong was, in reality, a GO AHEAD NINTH INNING TATER TOT FUNNY BONE? Would you like that better? I thought you would. Eat shit, Cardinals.

Cubs 6, Marlins 3: Carlos Zambrano was hot in the poor places last night. Z struck out 6 in 7. Carlos "Nice" Marmol got the save in place of Kerry Wood, Aramis drove in 2, and the Cubs won for the first time in 11 fucking games. Lou Piniella said this:
"I don't know want to use the word remarkable, but that's what comes to mind," Piniella said. "Of the fact that we haven't been to where we want to go for a long time everybody has gotten on our bandwagon but it hasn't been easy. It's been a complete struggle if you want to know the truth.

Anyone who can translate into English gets a beer from me.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, those aren't sirens.

  • DO you think when the Rays and Royals get together nowadays the Royals are all like "Hey guys, remember when you used to be bad like us?" But the Rays just kind of ignore them and keep playing catch, totally forgetting their roots?

  • CAN the Brewers pull off the 4 game sweep of the Cards? Ben Sheets vs. Todd Wellemeyer.

  • IS it a coincidence that the Cubs and Marlins start their series on the same day Bartman turned down the autograph offer? No, those scumbag promoters planned it that way, I'm sure.

  • HEY you guys wanna play Uno or Scrabble or something? The Padres and Pirates are on.

Then tune in tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Arizona fans need something fun and cheery to lift their spirits ever since their midseason plummet started well before midseason. Hence, Top Ten Moments in Diamondbacks History. AZ Snakepit.

  • Answer Man David Brown interviews Texas Rangers star Milton Bradley. Hey, it turns out he's never read The Fountainhead! I can go back to being a Milton Bradley fan! Big League Stew.

  • Politicobaseballblogger Nate Silver analyzes the trend towards smaller ballparks and the subsequent decrease in seating capacity. Remember when Municipal Stadium sat 74,000 fans? No? Why? Because they never sold more than 5000 tickets? Baseball Prospectus.

  • The Yankees are having a record number of new alumni attend Old Timers Day this year. Holy shit, Wayne Tolleson is still alive? MLB.com.

  • Jonah Keri loves Mondays, disagrees with Bob Geldof. JonahKeri.com.

  • Roger Ebert reflects on his departure from "At the Movies". RogerEbert.com.

No (Dress) Code

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vedder.jpgSee what I did there?

On the left in the clown wig and what appears to be Fred Lynn's old batting helmet is Pearl Jam frontman and current solo touring guy Eddie Vedder. To his right is Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Epstein fancies himself something of a rock and roll guy but I've always had my doubts. Apparently he's authentic enough that Vedder wants to hang out with him, so that's something. I've never been a huge PJ fan, and he's not even my favorite rock and roll Eddie but I do respect the guy.

I saw this live the other night and was searching for the screencap for days. Thanks to Mike at Sons of Bill Simmons for getting it out there. Now I can cancel my "eddie vedder theo epstein" Google alert.
horsesass.jpg

Our pals over at the Stew linked us to an nifty trade rumor today, via Danny Knobler at CBS Sportsline:

   "Hot trade rumor of the day: White Sox send Juan Uribe to the Red Sox, freeing up salary room to deal for Brian Roberts and paving the way to send Orlando Cabrera to the Dodgers."

Wow! That really is some massive trade speculation there, involving four teams, three major players, the Gettys, and the Quebecois rebel factions! The paperwork involved in such a dealing would make even swap-happy Ken Williams cower in fear, unless, of course, the White Sox were desperate to get rid of someone. Could it be...Orlando Cabrera?

According to reports, shortstop Orlando Cabrera is upset with manager Ozzie Guillen over a perceived lack of support. The argument, Cabrera says, is rooted in the fact that Guillen publicly frowned upon two calls that Cabrera made to the official scorer earlier in the season after fielding errors were assigned to him.

Oh, right, that little public tiff back in May. Anyone who has followed Cabrera's career know that he's a good-fielding middle infielder with a serviceable bat. Yet consider the number of teams he's played for in his career: he spent the first few years of his career in Montreal before the Red Sox came calling in 2004. Cabrera came to Boston as part of the trade that sent Nomar to the Cubbies, but was not signed for '05 despite helping the Sox win the World Series. He spent the next three seasons in Anaheim before being sent to Chicago in exchange for starter Jon Garland.

If he's traded now, the Dodgers would become, mind-bogglingly, his fifth team in five years. He's seen the inside of more locker room showers than your sister! I'm just speculatin' here, and please forgive my coarse language, but it sounds like Orlando is a terrible teammate and a real horse's patoot. What gives with this guy?

Cut While Shaving: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:10, Phillies at Mets: This series is mercifully coming to an end. How did I get from being so excited about it, to now just wishing it would go away? It was only three games! The Mets will take their chances on the Oliver Perez of Death and the Phillies counter with Jamie Moyer. Moyer's been pitching well lately, while Perez turns in starts where he looks like Sandy Koufax and Sandy Duncan, alternately. Someone take the rubber and leave me alone until you play again at the end of August.

  • 12:35, Blue Jays at Orioles: It's a Roy Halladay game which makes it an event. I love that guy. If the All-Star game really counted, it would have just been 8 innings from Halladay and one from Rivera. Doc takes on Daniel Cabrera, who is also a pitcher. The Jays have taken 2 games so far in this 4 game series. I love Camden Yards, but it needs more hotel strippers.

  • 3:35, Nats at Giants: For evidence of how much I love baseball please refer to Last Night's Questions. I was absolutely enthralled with the Giants/Nationals game. Big hits, interesting relief work. More Rich Aurilia than you can shake a stick at. There was talk of how well he used to handle fly balls at Candlestick. It was some old school good times. Today the Giants look to complete their first home sweep of the year, which is kind of crazy no matter how bad they are. They're only 19-31 at home this season. Face Of The Franchise Matt Cain takes on Tim Redding. I look forward to more clutch hitting by Omar Vizquel (!!). I hope the nun is there too. I am officially pulling for San Francisco to make a run. This is probably verboten since I'm a Dodgers fan, but screw it.

Gotta Serve Somebody, Shin-Soo Choo

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koreanmilitary-small.jpgI'd never known it before, but Shin-Soo Choo is a lot like me. You see, he's facing a potentially life altering problem. One that could disrupt his livelihood and possibly result in jail time. As a South Korean, Choo is obligated to serve two years in the military. His deadline for service is 2010 but there are a bunch of obstacles standing in his way.

How is he dealing with this impending doom as it inches closer and closer? The same way I would. He's totally ignoring it until something awful happens.

Choo, a South Korean, must serve two years in the military. He says the deadline for entering the military is 2010.

"I try not to think about it," he said before the Indians' 14-11 loss to the Angels on Wednesday.

Choo says Korean athletes can get excused from military service if they do well in the Olympics.

"If you win any kind of medal in the Olympics, you might only have to serve four weeks," said Choo.

Choo's problem is South Korea won't take baseball players for its Olympic team if they're on the 25-man roster of a big-league club.

"The Indians couldn't send me to the minors [to be on the Korean team] because I'm out of options," said Choo, who added "There's too much stress to worry about it now."

My god, we're like brothers. Trying to pretend something bad isn't about to happen has been a staple of my emotional wellbeing for over two decades. From school, to work, to relationships, it's a never fail plan. Until it fails.

Maybe the Indians should have looked into this before signing Choo? I can't believe that front office would have done something dumb in the past couple of years.
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While listening to the Tigers-Royals game yesterday to see if Armando Galarraga could keep his perfect game going (he couldn't), I heard an interesting announcement. Seems the Kansas City Royals have an interesting promotion scheduled for Saturday: Dan Quisenberry Bobblehead Day.

Now Dan Quisenberry was one of the best relievers of the 1980s, amassing 244 career saves. Quiz had a wicked submarine delivery that baffled hitters; he didn't have a dominant heater but he fooled batters with his sinker and his bushy moustache. He was a fan favorite and signed a career contract with KC in 1983, only to be released in 1988 after being demoted to mop-up duty (damn you, Steve Farr!). After retiring from baseball, Dan became a poet and published a coupla books of poems.

So what's the problem? Well, don't you think it's a little...weird...to have a bobblehead day for someone who died of brain cancer?

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Here's what happened in baseball as you understood what a seagull is:

Brewers 3, Cardinals 0: So this whole CC Sabathia trade is working out pretty pretty well for Milwaukee. Kid threw his third straight complete game victory, hurling a three-hitter over St. Louis and striking out seven. Tony LaRussa's righty-stacked lineup was ineffective; his 3-4-5 hitters (Pujols, Glaus, Molina) combined to go 0-for-10, and only one Card reached scoring position. Hey, sounds like my high school days! Haw haw. Ryan Braun and J.J. Hardy tater-totted for the Brew Crew who have now collected ding-dongs in 19 straight games. FRANCHISE RECORD. Milwaukee remains one game behind the Cubbies but move two games ahead of the Cards for the Wild Card.

Braves 9, Marlins 4: Is it worth winning the occasional battle when you're losing the bigger war? Yes, Atlanta's roster of walking wounded is worsening as both Chipper Jones (strained hammy) and Tim Hudson (tender elbow) left the game with ouchies. Gregor Blanco and Yunel Escobar each picked up 3 RBI to hassle Florida starter Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco is now 0-3 against the Braves this season and 10-3 against the rest of baseball. Florida's 4-run ninth inning explosion against reliever Buddy Carlyle was too little, too late, not unlike our attempt to buy the Cubs.

Blue Jays 2, Orioles 1 (susp): Rain ruined the Orioles' 25th anniversary celebration of their last World Championship team AND a night of throwback unis for both teams AND of course a tidy pitchers duel between cyclist Jeremy Guthrie and A.J. Burnett. Screw it, they'll finish today. Twenty-two members of that 1983 O's team showed up for the ceremonies, including that smarmy asshole Jim Palmer. WHAT, NO LENN SAKATA?

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpg Hey kids, you can't hold the hand of a rock and roll man.

  • WILL Alfonso Soriano's return spur the Cubs to finally score some runs and not get swept by the Snakes?

  • WILL Brett Myers's return be a swinging success? The Mets are gonna want this one badly.

  • WHAT would a night of high profile returns be without Lobster Baby!? IT'S ADORABLE.

  • CAN CC lead the Brewers to their third straight victory against the Cards?

  • IS Burnett vs. Guthrie enough to get you to watch the O's and Jays? It is for me.

  • CAN you find the differences between these two different stories about Robert Novak hitting a pedestrian and trying to flee the scene? HInt: the second one is from Fox, contains no eyewitness testimony, stresses "minor injuries," and makes no mention of him trying to flee.

Then join us tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

West Allis Baseball: "Now I Kill Your Car"

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walter.JPGDo you see what happens James Jankowski? Do you see what happens James Jankowski? This is what happens James Jankowski when you fuck the West Allis Central High School Baseball team in the ass.

According to Greenfield Police, five athletes along with about a dozen other students damaged cars by breaking windows, slashing tires, and writing obscenities on the vehicles. Some of the suspects include star athletes, and victims don't understand why they'd do something like this.

"You think they would be fine, upstanding kids if they're into sports," says victim James Jankowski. "They have other things to do than damage other people's property."
You're totally right James. None of the high school athletes I've ever known were jackasses.

This being the town of West Allis, WI most of these guys make up the bulk of all the other sports teams. The principal says "their suspension could affect other teams as well." They're not big time like those a-holes over in East Allis with all the specialized, non car destroying athletes.
brewster.jpgLast week was the deadline to submit your bids for the Chicago Cubs. I hope your paperwork was legible. The team is being auctioned off with "related assets" and is expected to fetch around $1B. One of the related assets is ol' Wrigley Field. Bidders are allowed to submit offers for any combination of the assets. Right now there are about 10 formal bids on asset packages that include the team, and over two dozen bids for packages that include the stadium.

So who is in the running to own the North side squad and adopt their sad sack fans? Let's take a look:

(Andrew) Murstein, a New York City taxi tycoon, said in a telephone interview that his group, which includes former baseball home run king Henry Aaron and former Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, submitted a bid for all three assets, as well as one for just the team and TV network stake.

Also expected to submit bids for the Cubs are John Canning Jr., chairman of Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners; Internet billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association Dallas Mavericks; and the family of Joe Ricketts, the founder of Omaha, Nebraska-based TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. Other expected bidders include a group headed by Michael Tokarz, chairman of Purchase, New York-based MVC Capital Inc; Don Levin, owner of the Chicago Wolves minor league hockey team; Rocco Landesman, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns several Broadway theaters; and a group that includes Leo Hindery, who runs private equity firm InterMedia Partners and previously ran Yes Network, the TV channel of the New York Yankees baseball team, and AT&T Broadband.

Two other groups that have not been identified include hedge fund investors.

Of course there are pros and cons to all of these bids. If TD Ameritrade wins, the team could be managed by this guy. If a Broadway theatre group wins we could see Carlos Zambrano being played by character actor Mandy Patinkin.

Most intriguingly and also nevergonnahappen is the bid from Cuban. In a rare move of restraint, Cuban has been quiet about his bid, no doubt in effort to impress baseball's old boy owner's club. Methinks it's a little too late for that, but we can all hope anyway.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:35, Padres at Reds: This is the first of a slate of NINE afternoon games today. Getaway day indeed. It's Greg Maddux vs. Bronson Arroyo. CAN YOU SMELL THE OFFSPEED STUFF?

  • 12:40, Oakland at Tampa Bay: The A's 8-1 victory last night briefly stopped their slide back into irrelevance. Hitters are starting to catch up to today's starter Greg Smith. Smith had a solid opening to his rookie campaign but has been getting shelled as of late, giving up 6 runs in 3+ against the Yanks in his last start. Tampa Bay counters with James Shields and Manatee Encounter.


  • 1:05, Twins at Yankees: The Twins try desperately not to get shoved in the broom closet by another AL East team. Robinson Cano and Bobby Abreu have been smacking the ball around, but then again they haven't faced GLEN PERKINS. His name cracks me up. Would you like to hear the most Glen Perkinsest quote ever? How about this gem: "It's just being able to help the team and get the team wins is what I'm trying to do and that's why I've been successful as a starter so far." Oh, Glen you card! Mike Mussina goes for the Yanks.

  • 2:05, Pittsburgh at Houston: LET THE RANDY WOLF ERA BEGIN. Well he's not pitching or anything yet, but maybe he'll be in the clubhouse playing cards. Brian Moehler actually gets the start for the Astros while the Pirates send out Ian Snell with a broom. Snell has been getting murdered on the road this year, so he should enjoy a pitcher's park like Minute Maid. THIS IS UNTRUE.

  • 2:05, Rangers at White Sox: These two have traded blowouts in the series and today's rubber match pits goofball Kevin Millwood against rookie Clayton Richard. Clayton started the future stars game at the ASG (anyone blog that?), and makes his major league debut today. Jermaine Dye is back, jack.

  • 2:10, Tigers at Royals: The Royals have been outscored 26-5 in the first two games of this series. I'm worried that another blowout could result not in a sweep, but a broom handle up Trey Hillman's ass. Weren't the Royals supposed to be better? Who the hell wrote that? Armando Galarraga gets the start for Detroit against Zach Grienke Pants.

  • 3:05, Dodgers at Rockies: I was all excited to watch these two go at it on my Extra Innings free preview last night, but two things conspired against me. They had the Colorado announcers instead of Vin Scully. The FCC needs to take action there. When Scully is doing a game you should show his broadcast. By law. Also, Clayton Kershaw got shelled. Colorado has also scored 26 runs in the first two games of this series. Put that number in your Megabucks ticket tonight. Hiroki Kuroda will try and slow them down as he takes on Glendon Rusch. Remember when he was on the same Mets staff as Shawn T. Estes? Glory days, I tell ya.

  • 3:35, Indians at Angels: LAFFEY VS. LACKEY! Someone call Cousin Larry. The similarites end at their names. Lackey had a strong outing in the first game of last week's Red Sox sweep. Laffey on the other hand, gave up 8 runs in 3.2 against The Mariners. Bwaahhahaha. He sucks. This game is rubbery.

  • 4:40, Red Sox at Mariners: The Sox haven't swept a road series in 11 months, but they've got Seattle's ass in the dustpan. Unfortunately for them, they're tossing out the struggling Clay Buchholz against King Felix. Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka have rolled through the M's lineup this week, so this could be a good confidence boost for Ears. The Mariners: Baby's First Lineup!
Unfortunately, Mr. Iracane has prior engagements and will not be glogging today. But we can all chip in with free for all updates here in the comments. Make me proud, people.
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Two major transactions ruled the baseball world this offseason: the Mets wiping their farm system out to acquire superstar pitcher Johan Santana from the Twins and Rob Iracane drafting Johan Santana with his first round pick (sixth overall) in fantasy baseball. Yes, nobody cares about my fantasy team but screw you, this is my blog and I'll force you to read my incontinent whines as long as I want to.

First, let's look at the real world. Santana has a middling 8-7 record after 21 starts in the Mets' first 100 games, but his numbers are far better: his 3.05 ERA is more than a run below league average and his 120 strikeouts are more than three times his 38 walks allowed. Granted, his numbers are not as good as they were in his last five years with the Twins, and he's giving up an inordinate number of tater tots for playing in such a cavernous pitchers park, but c'mon, Mets offense/defense/bullpen! You're wasting a stud pitcher!

The team has scored but 12 runs in Johan's seven losses; in only two of those games did Santana allow more than three earned runs (four runs to the Brewers, four runs to the Angels). This dude should have been an All Star with those numbers! This dude should have 12 wins by now! This dude should be carrying my fantasy team!

No worries, though. I'm in second place in my league thanks to young studs such as Joakim Soria, Jacoby Ellsbury, and...uh...Jason Kendall. Wait a minute...how the heck am I in second place with Jason Kendall? And Huston Street?

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Former Indians assistant GM and self-confessed sabremetrician Neal Huntington hit the bigtime last year when he took the head GM position of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Woo, Western Pennsylvania! Anyway, the Pirates are stagnating in last place of the NL Central, a full 13 games behind the Cubbies and going nowhere fast.

Still, they have a talented outfield, a decent bullpen, and a shortstop who can pat his head and rub his tummy at the same time, so every slightly-above-average team is foaming at their mouths for a chance to make a trade with the Pirates.

So what is Neal waiting for? Time to blow up this mediocre team and acquire some prospects and start rebuilding for 2010! Wait...the Pirates haven't had a winning season since the early 90s...time to start building for 2012! Here are your candidates for prom queen:

  • Damaso Marte, RP: Allegedly, twelve teams have inquired with Neal about the lefthanded veteran Marte, who sports a decent 3.55 ERA and decent splits against both lefties and righties. Still, he's got a fat 6.52 ERA away from Pittsburgh so any new team should be careful to coddle him on the road with some swank room service and perhaps a teddy bear. My best guess: he'll become a Met, with the Rays lurking as a dark horse.
  • John Grabow, RP: This lefty reliever is seen as a poor man's Marte, who is really just a poor man's Billy Wagner, who's just a poor excuse for a 'closer'. Perhaps the loser in the Damaso Marte sweepstakes will go for Grabow. My best guess: the Rays will nab him, with the Red Sox waiting in the wings.
  • Jack Wilson, SS: The scrappy veteran shortstop wouldn't normally be the belle of the ball, but with shortstop depth in the majors at an all-time low, desperate teams like the Dodgers (currently employing Nomar Garciaparra) and Tigers could really use his meager .688 OPS at the position. My best guess: he'll stay a Pirate because his price is too high (allegedly the Pirates want Matt Kemp in return)
  • Xavier Nady, RF: Nady's tidy .907 OPS could improve nearly any team's corner outfield positions. Sure, he's playing way over his head but he's cheap and he's easy, not unlike a Belgrade hooker on Saint Vitus' Day. He'd make a good seventh slot hitter for one of the contenders and pick up some timely RBI. My best guess: the Mets will welcome him back to fill Moises Alou's crippled shoes.
  • Jason Bay, LF: What're you, nuts? At least give Pirate fans reason to come to the consarn games. Well, he'd fetch a pretty penny...too bad Omar Minaya blew up the Mets farm system last year. My best guess: he'll stay a Pirate because his price is too high
  • Freddy Sanchez, 2B: The team should have pushed this chip to the middle of the table when its value was high, like when he won the batting title in 2006, not now as his OPS sits under .600. Yuck! Ain't nobody want him now. My best guess: he'll stay a Pirate because he can't hit no more.

Other possible candidates to be traded: Jason Michaels, Roberto Clemente's ashes, and a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card.

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Here's what happened in baseball as you couldn't hide the dead man's ghost:

Phillies 8, Mets 6: I see how this works now...let Billy Wagner sit with a close lead in the ninth inning because of a sore shoulder and let the rest of the bullpen come out, one by one, and shit all over the mound. The New York Mets bullpen tore another page out of the Johan Santana career win book by allowing six ninth-inning runs and ruuuuining a 5-2 Mets lead. So Taguchi and Jimmy Rollins each provided two-run dubbles in that fateful inning and Brad Lidge allowed one meaningless run in the ninth for his 22nd save in 22 chances. HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS, METS FANS? Oh wait, no Mets fans read this blog.

Marlins 4, Braves 0: The Braves got VanderHurked, and they got VanderHurked good. Young stud Rick VanderHurk and his three reliever friends allowed but one hit in nine innings. Chipper Jones got the lone Atlanta hit on the night in the sixth inning off reliever Joe Nelson who I hope was reprimanded properly for his transgression. Mike Jacobs' three run ding-dong provided all the necessary offense for the tater tot tallyin' Marlins. Bobby Cox sat this one out because of the naughty things he said on Sunday.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Kyle Lohse' four perfect innings and seven strikeouts all went into the shitter as Bill Hall's solo ding-dong sailed over the fence in the ninth to put the Brewers ahead. Well really, Lohse had no chance to win after he gave up a run in the seventh and the two tying runs in the eighth. Salomon Torres saved it all in the ninth, delaying the Brewers need for a new reliever somewhat. Ryan Ludwick's first inning tater tot was allegedly the longest homer in New Busch Stadium's history but check here for actual distance.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, don't get sentimental.

  • WILL you be watching the Mets and Phillies play King Of The Hill at Shea? Blanton makes his Phillies debut against some guy named Johan.

  • CAN Clayton Kershaw's return from beautiful Jacksonville spur the Dodgers over the Rockies and keep them in first place?

  • HOW many bases loaded jams will Daisuke Matsuzaka get himself into and then out of against the Mariners? If there were a stat for this he would already be the all-time career leader.

  • WILL the Indians make it eight out of nine and if so, HOW SOON will it be forgotten when they lose their next ten?

  • WHO needs this series in the desert more: The Cubs or The Snakes?

  • IS the Texas offense going to roll straight through the White Sox staff? They got a good start last night.

  • WHAT'S a dorkier last name: Slowey or Rasner?

In a bit of site news, the "search" function is broken. We've lately become popular with some spambots that are tossing monkey wrenches in our fine tuned blogchine. So stay away from that, but join us tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • 'Duk tells us all about A-Rod's new deal with William Morris Agency and then questions why all baseball players receive such meager endorsement deals. Except Derek Jeter, that dude makes mad cash selling Fords.

  • It's free preview week at Baseball Prospectus. Since I steal so much of my material and ideas from them, the least I can do is send you there to poke around. Baseball Prospectus.

  • Rinku and Dinesh met a Korean dude named Joey, played some catch, and ate a delicious Italian meal prepared by JB sir. Rinku used a plastic knife so he wouldn't cut his fucking finger again. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Good news for Salomon Torres' sausage-loving daughters: the Brewers games can now be heard in Spanish on ESPN Deportes Radio. Brewers Blog.

  • Don't show this handy-dandy diagram to Prince Fielder. Serious Eats.

  • The San Diego Chicken's greatest bits. Gaslamp Ball.
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Padres veteran outfielder Brian Giles really enjoys playing in sunny San Diego. The 37-year-old Southern California native loves to tan, and back when he played in Pittsburgh, Giles spent more time in a tanning bed than A-Rod spends in Madonna's bed (TOPICAL REFERENCE! ZING!). Anyway, Giles hurt his thigh last month when slamming into the wall at Yankee Stadium and came away with a nasty, tan-ruining purple bruise:

    Giles injured the hamstring at Yankee Stadium on June 19. He downplayed the injury, even as the back of his thigh became discolored. Said outfielder Scott Hairston: "First time I've seen a purple leg. I've never seen anything like that before." Hairston laughed and jokingly added, "His beautiful tan was altered. I'm sure that hurt him more than anything."

Oh Brian, you're so vain. You probably think this blog is about you. Well, I guess it is, but we're pointing out your vanity for our own entertainment and comparing you to a spoiled rich housewife who has ample time to tan and get her hair frosted with Jason Kendall.

Heck, if the leg was really hurt that badly, Giles should have had Greg Maddux tinkle on it.

(We owe a six-pack of Mexican Coke to Gaslamp Ball)

Manny Has A New Way To Walk

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A funny case of mistaken identity or blatant police racism? Geoff Baker reports, you decide.

Seems that Boston slugger Manny Ramirez was leaving the ballpark, with headphones on trying to look inconspicuous and quickly get away from the crowds still leaving the stadium. He started to cross South Royal Brougham Way, against the signals of a traffic cop who was directing pedestrians. The police officer demanded that Ramirez open his wallet and show identification. He warned him that he could face a $500 fine and possible arrest for disobeying a police officer.

It became clear to those watching that the policeman had no idea who Ramirez was. He didn't ask for an autograph or anything, but did ask Ramirez if he'd attended the game. After the brief lecture, and no argument from Ramirez, the police officer let him go with no further trouble.
I bet the cop told him to cut his hair and get a job too. Seems like a perfect time to play one of my favorite childhood Sesame Street videos. It relates to this story on multiple levels.

Veggie Dogs Join Cracker Jacks, Taters & Ding Dongs

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VEGGIES_sm.jpgJohanna McCloy wants to make it easier for Prince Fielder fans to be more like their hero. For the past 8 years, she's been campaigning MLB parks to add meatless dining options to the concessions. It turns out, instead of being about the head and shoulders with polish sausage, the venues have been rather accommodating. In fact, due to her herbivorical vigilance 15 parks are now serving steakless tube steaks. From today's LA Times:

"I just thought it needed to happen because there was a certain percentage of the fan base at any given stadium that probably would not be eating at all, would bring their own food or would resort to eating only peanuts," McCloy says. "It seemed like it made good business sense. It never dawned on me that it would take off like it did. I got this following -- it was bizarre -- and I went with it."

As an actress who says her main claim to fame was a guest spot on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" -- "I was one of only two women who made out with Worf in seven seasons," she says -- McCloy was used to unconventional followings.

But this was different.

The Chicago White Sox were the first big league team to offer veggie dogs, McCloy says, and 14 more followed, among them the Giants.
Wait a second. She made out with the piano playing dog from The Muppet Show? Kinky.

Anyway, I was a vegetarian for five years before college. There are plenty of really tasty meat alternatives out there, several of which have stayed in my cooking even since going back to consuming dead flesh. There are tasty simulations of chicken, sausage, and ground beef. All that being said, veggie dogs are unequivocally the worst tasting shit ever. They've never gotten it right and they never will.

Johanna, I appreciate your efforts but maybe you should just focus on getting more veggie burritos up in here.
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Baltimore pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and at least seven other Orioles players are doing Mother Nature a favor as they've been riding bicycles to work at Camden Yards this season. Heck, Eutaw Street has become a veritable Chengdu lately.

Guthrie's been commuting via bike since his days at Triple A Buffalo and during his short stints with the Cleveland Indians, and he's hip to the advantage:

"There are some side benefits," Guthrie said. "It's the overall idea of being outside and exercising instead of driving. I hate cars, I hate driving, I hate doing something I don't have to do. For me to drive downtown is a waste of gas; it's a waste of my time. I can ride faster than I can drive."

That's the spirit, Jeremy! And what a better place to be riding a bike around than scenic downtown Baltimore! Baltimore Sun writer Roch Kubakto adds:

Traveling on two wheels instead of four also is healthier, as long as you don't end up under a moving bus, as Brady Anderson once did while in-line skating.

This is the first I'm hearing of the Brady-Anderson-being-thrown-under-a-bus anecdote. A little Googling reveals some details on that story. Weird...I thought the only time Anderson was thrown under a bus was when Jim Palmer accused him of using steroids.

(We owe a Coke to Eamonn Brennan at Die Fanhaus)

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Here's what happened in baseball as we danced, danced, danced, danced, danced to the radio:

Braves 4, Marlins 0: Atlanta pitcher Jorge Campillo brought the junk and the Marlins weren't biting. Jorge and two of his bullpen compatriots held Florida to two hits and zero runs in a tidy 2 hour and 24 minute affair in Miamah. The Marlins may lead the NL in tater tots but couldn't find their swings tonight against ol' slowpoke Campillo. Mark Teixeira had an RBI double and was traded after the game to the Yakult Swallows. THIS IS UNTRUE

Padres 6, Reds 4: Francisco Cordero picked a bad time to blow his sixth save. Actually, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever said. There are no good times to blow a save. Unless the two teams involved are completely out of the playoff picture, I suppose. Anywho, up 4-3 in the ninth, FranCord gave up a leadoff walk to Scott Hairston and a single to Edgar Gonzalez before retiring Brian Giles on a groundball that...oops...let in the tying run. Kevin Kouzmanoff broke the tie with a two-run dubble and the rest was history, aka Trevor Hoffman's 542nd career save despite loading the bases with zero outs. KEEP 'EM ON THE EDGE OF THEIR SEATS

Rays 4, Athletics 0: Tampa Bay pitcher Scott Kazmir brought the heat and the Athletics were swinging. Scott and two of his bullpen compatriots held Oakland to two hits and zero runs in a tidy 2 hour and 49 minute affair in St. Pete. The Athletics may be last in the AL in slugging percentage but that shouldn't lessen the praise for ol' fastballs Kazmir. Willy Aybar had a solo ding-dong and was traded after the game to the Daikyo Dolphins. THIS IS UNTRUE

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, have you embraced the new hot fashions yet?

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

The good folks over at Mottram Incorporated shared a great video of a gentleman at an Orioles game attempting to catch a foul ball with the bridge of his nose:


Full disclosure: my Little League career ended at age 12 when I attempted to catch a shallow pop fly and the ball hit me directly in the left eye. I'd run in to catch it from left field but when I looked up to find the ball, I couldn't see it because it blended in with the overcast white sky. The ball knocked me out and I ended up with a black eye, thus ending my Little League days with a career .220 OPS.

Dress Your Family In Cotton & Shrimp

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wowshirt.jpgHey kids, do you like to wear shirts? Do you hate to wear shirts but friends and family are always making you put one on? If you answered yes to either question, I've got good news. We made Walkoff Walk stuff.

Yes, in association with the fine people at Skreened, we done set up a store with a few different fineries. Just visit http://skreened.com/walkoffwalk to check everything out. There's the shrimp shirt you see at left, in both guy and girl sizes. That logo also adorns a bag (good for carrying whiskey) and a baby onesie (good for making you need whiskey).

If the shimp isn't your style, we've also taken care of you OPS freaks with The Patterson Shirt. Also available for guys and girls and in a couple different colors.

Skreened does everything on American Apparel, so you know where the stuff is being made. AA stuff can run a little small, when in doubt order a size up. They use a unique water based printing system that is actually softer and longer lasting than traditional screenprinting. The quality is top notch and we decided to sell everything at cost. We're making exactly $0.00 to keep prices low. I think it's a good deal for everyone involved.

So check it out (scroll down to see everything), order what you like, and enjoy it. Thanks.

Also, thanks to gentleman, scholar and all around good guy Ryan Pritchard for designing the shrimp logo.
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As per commenter Matt_T, the Braves are shown in high-definition on Comcast cable networks in Atlanta on channel 755. Why is that significant? Hank Aaron ended his storied career with 755 tater tots.

The Yankees are shown in high definition on Cablevision cable networks in New York on channel 715. Why is that significant? Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's storied record with his 715th career ding-dong.

Are the San Francisco Giants games' high definition broadcast shown on channel 762? Or channel 660?

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Hey, remember when Manny Ramirez shoved Jack McCormick, the sixty-something Boston Red Sox traveling secretary? Yeah, me neither, we barely covered it, instead focusing on superstar Red Sox hurler David Aardsma's daddy issues. Welp, it turns out the Red Sox brass are pisssssssssed at Manny:

   According to former WBZ sports director Bob Lobel, Manny Ramirez was fined a six-figure amount for his June altercation with Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick -- and he wasn't happy about it. "Manny was fined six figures to go to a charity," Lobel said this morning on sports radio WEEI. "That got [Manny's] attention ... he became a petulant child by being punished. No matter what the crime was, pushing an employee, that was the issue ... he acted out [after they fined him]. They got his attention. He doesn't like to be punished in any way, shape, or form... "

I don't know who this Bob Lobel character is, but he shore got hisself a scoop! A six figure fine for shoving a sextegenarian! Six figures could buy a whole lotta grills on eBay. Six figures will even put a hurtin' on Manny's $20 million annual earnings! Six figures are enough to bu...oh wait a minute, the fine was only in the $10,000-$15,000 range, as per the Boston Globe's Gordon Edes. Perhaps Mr. Lobel was counting the figures after the decimal point. And then subtracting one. And then carrying the denominator under the integral sign and dividing by e. Math is hard.

Lobel then went on to imply that Manny's taking three strikes looking from Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of a July 6th Yankees win "was a big [expletive] to the Red Sox after the fine." Okay, just so we're all in agreement...radio hosts are all full of shit, yes? Good.

(we owe another Coke to Baseball Musings)

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Before hastily leaving the Walkoff Walk offices on Friday, I posed the question: "(Which) team will we no longer be considering for the playoffs after this weekend: Yankees, A's, Braves, Marlins, Rangers, or the Brewers?" Your answers included: "All of them", "Rangers, duh", and of course "Why are you leaving so early?"

Well, the weekend's up and the Yankees, Marlins, and Brewers (Ray Durham!) are still very much alive, but what of the rest?

  • Atlanta Braves (46-52, 6.5 GB): The Braves lost two of three to the lowly Washington Nationals, usually a sign of the apocalypse, especially considering that the series took place in Atlanta. The Braves are in fourth place in the tight NL East and are tied for sixth in the Wild Card standings with...wait for it...the Houston Astros. They've still got the best pitching staff in the National League, so I'm not ready to call the season for Bobby Cox.

  • Oakland Athletics (51-47, 9 GB): With just two games to play before the All Star break, Oakland sat 4 games behind the division-leading Angels. Coming off a 9-2 victory by new A's pitcher Sean Gallagher, Oakland lost those two games to the Angels, falling six behind. Combine a sweep at the hands of the Yankees with an Angels sweep over the road-weary Red Sox and the A's are now 9 games out. With Joe Blanton and Rich Harden out the door and closer Huston Street and second baseman Mark Ellis supposedly on the trading block, this season could be doneskis. Still, they're just 5 games out in the Wild Card race so I'll give them a temporary reprieve.

  • Texas Rangers (51-48, 9.5 GB): Well, they're only a half game behind the A's, but their pitching is the durst. After losing two of three to the Twinkies, the Texas Rangers are DONE. Eat it, Passan!

Other teams who can begin planning trips to Costa Rica for October: Blue Jays, Orioles, Royals, Indians, Mariners, Nationals, Reds, Astros, Pirates, Rockies, Giants, and Padres. Of course, if any of those twelve teams (plus the Rangers) make the playoffs, you can each individually reserve the right to force-feed me my green Yankees hat.

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Here's what happened in baseball as we got wet with the jet set:

Marlins 3, Phillies 2 (11): Sassy senior Jorge Cantu did do the Marlins a great service when he came to bat with none out and the bases juiced. He singled, giving Florida their ninth walkoff win and a series victory of the division-leading Phillies, and giving Scott Olsen a good reason to put Cantu in a headlock. Celebrate, young Marlins, because the schedule doesn't get any easier.

Royals 8, White Sox 7: Oh Chicago White Sox, your retro 1980s unis didn't serve you well this weekend. You just lost two of three to the hapless Royals! Esteban German's two-run dubble in the eighth, his third hit of the day, was the attention getter, but new third-slot hitter David DeJesus cannot be overlooked with his two hits and three RBI. Joakim Soria, code name The Mexicutioner, notched his 26th save. Bueno!

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5: Oh my stars and garters there is a first-place tie in the NL West and both teams are two games under .500. LA toppled 'Zona in two of three weekend affairs, thanks to a wild five-run ninth off D-Back closer Brandon Lyon. That's a BLOWN SAVE, sir...his fifth on the year and third in his last seven opportunities. Something tells me the Lyon doesn't sleep tonight. See what I did there? Hire me, New York Post headline writing division! Anyway, Matt Kemp's double and Andre Ethier's triple were the big run-scoring plays for the Dodger dogs; Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton tallied his second save since closer Takashi Saito done got creampuffed.

Site News: Radio Radio

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bcsports.jpgNot so fast Mr. Iracane. TIm Lincecum is a creampuff. There ya go.

Also, I'll be on your internet radio tonight joining my friends Matt Sussman and Tuffy on the BC Sports Treehouse Fort. Those two gentlemen are both as ambitious and stupid as me. See, they also liveblogged the entire All-Star game. Suss had the reins at Deadspin while Tuffy was working at SbB. We'll be putting a wrap on the festivities, talking about the visions we saw after typing for five straight hours and various other baseball stuff. So join us at 8:00 EST (that's 5:00 PM for us West Coasters) and listen to my dumb voice make dumb jokes.

See you then.

Site News You Can't Use

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I'm headed to D.C. for the weekend and CTC is out in LA so this may be the last you are hearing from us until Monday morning. If so, here's a question to ponder: which team will we no longer be considering for the playoffs after this weekend: Yankees, A's, Braves, Marlins, Rangers, or the Brewers?

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No, we're not at the halfway point of the season right now, despite all these weaksauce newspaper columnists assigning 'midseason grades' to teams and players. Heck, the Red Sox have played 97 games already and that's nearly 60% of the 162 games proscribed to them by Herr Selig.

So as we approach the three-fifths mark of the season, we also approach the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Let's take a look at which teams might be a little confused about whether they are buyers or sellers.

  • Atlanta Braves (45-50, 6.5 GB): The Braves have been one of the unluckiest teams in the first three-fifths, losing a ton of one-run affairs and even more road games while amassing enough injured players to fill a MASH unit. Still, they have such a good young rotation to replace the Mike Hamptons and John Smoltzes; they just need their offense to maintain or improve their 4.5 runs per game average. If they choose to sell, expect Mark Teixeira to pack his handbags and his gladrags. If they opt to buy, they'll need a good hitting outfielder like the Royals' David DeJesus.

  • Florida Marlins (50-45, 1.5 GB): They're not even supposed to be here! Yeah, nobody thought the young Marlins would get their shit in gear for the 2008 season but yet they sit atop the NL with 135 homers. The pitching and defense have been shaky at best and, with too many games left against the Mets and Phillies, I see them being sellers. Reliever Kevin Gregg would earn a nice ransom from bullpen-starved teams like the Tigers.

  • Texas Rangers (50-46, 7.5 GB): General manager Jon Daniels denies the reports that he and team president Nolan Ryan are a-fightin' and a-feudin' about whether to buy or sell. Still, with a league-high 5.10 ERA and a whopping 968 hits allowed in just 96 games, this team has no chance to contend in 2008. If those reports are true, Daniels should step up and ship out Milton Bradley, despite the fact that he's leading the league in on-base percentage AND slugging percentage. You could get a boatload of pitching prospects for the fella, but perhaps Nolan Ryan knows the old saw: there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. Either that or Ryan is just waiting to put Daniels in a headlock and pummel him senseless.

  • Oakland Athletics (51-44, 6 GB): Just when you think they're out, they pull you back in. No, I don't get what's going on and I don't know if they're going to catch the Angels and no I don't know if they're even trying.

I don't think we're any closer to determining what strategies these teams will adopt prior to July 31st, but we know one thing: the market is bullish on tall dudes.

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Francisco Liriano is doing quite well down at Triple-A Rochester, winning his last seven decisions and sporting a tidy 2.73 ERA and 9.6 strikeouts per inning over his last nine starts. Heck, he even had a 26 2/3 inning scoreless streak that ended last night. The former phenom seems ready to be called up, eh? Not so fast, say the Twins:

"The Twins, winners of 21 of their past 28 games, say they currently do not have room for Liriano in their starting rotation, which consists of right-handers Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Livan Hernandez along with lefty Glen Perkins."

Wait...what? Livan Hernandez is suddenly a better option than Francisco Liriano? The same Livan Hernandez who is 3-4 with a 7.28 ERA since mid-May? The same Livan Hernandez who gives out hits like they're candy (93 hits in his last 55 innings) and tater tots like they're...well...tater tots? Can I write an entire paragraph with only questions?

Liriano's agent, Greg Genske, asked the player's union to file a grievance on behalf of the pitcher. Genske claims the Twins are merely trying to avoid giving Liriano major league service time which would prevent him from qualifying for salary arbitration after this season and delay his free agency.

Twins general manager Bill Smith, however, thinks the team is doing just peachy and promises they'll bring him up sometime before the season ends. Heck, the Twins are just 1.5 games behind the White Sox and their offense is actually above average in the American League for the first time in a while. Still, you have to know that Liriano's 97 MPH fastball and wicked slider are better than Livan's 67 MPH fastball and wicked...uh...durability.

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Here's what happened in baseball as we were a walking disaster:

Mets 10, Reds 8: How does a baseball game feature two blown saves and yet neither of them belonged to Billy Wagner? In fact, Mr. W pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save after the Mets tagged Reds closer Francisco Cordero for four runs in the top half of the inning. David Wright's two-run tater tot was the big blow; he had 4 RBI while Carlos Delgado and Fernando Tatis added 3 each. The Mets blew three leads for starter Johan Santana and yet sit in first place now after the big win.

Cardinals 4, Padres 3: Four solo ding-dongs propelled the Cards to a big win over starter Jake Peavy (who allowed all four tots and most certainly will not be winning the Cy Young this year). The Cardinals had exactly zero runners in scoring position all night but Troy Glaus, Rick Ankiel, and Joe Mather drove themselves in pretty well. Heck, St. Louis had more solos in this game than a typical Rush concert.

Tigers 6, Orioles 5: So Detroit is starting off on the right foot, what with permanent malcontent Gary Sheffield hitting a ding-dong and teammates Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge adding dongs of their own. Garrett Olson took the loss while Kenny Rogers picked up his seventh win on the year, despite allowing 11 of the Orioles' 14 hits. Hey, they can't all be gems. Okay, so none of them really are gems.

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As per the 700 Level, the Philadelphia Phillies have reached an agreement to acquire RHP Joe Blanton from the Oakland A's in exchange for three minor leaguers. Despite his 14-10 record last year with a decent 3.95 ERA, he's regressed to a 4.96 ERA in 2008 and doesn't fit in with the Oakland plan, I suppose.

He's allowed 12 tater tots in 127 innings this season so there's hope that Citizens Bank Park won't eat him alive, despite its much smaller footprint than McAfee Coliseum. The Phillies defense is not on par with the Athletics so I can't see him improving significantly without pushing his strikeout levels up and his walk levels down.

Most importantly, what the heck does this mean about the A's plans for 2008? Are they selling to win now or selling to win later? Damn you to hell, Billy Beane!

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, I'm fixing a hole where the burglars get in.

  • WILL the Mets' hot streak translate into the second half? They've got the right guy on the mound to start things off against the Reds.


  • ARE the Tigers going to score 551 runs in the second half of the season to get to a thousand and not make my preseason predictions look dumbtarded? They get Mags back and kick off side 2 of the 2008 mixtape against the Orioles.


  • CAN Jake Peavy join the illustrious ranks of guys who won the Cy Young without making the All Star game? I have no idea who is actually in those ranks but I wouldn't put anything past that dude. He and the Padres take on Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals.


  • WERE you deprived of baseball enough last night to watch Bucs/Rox?.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
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Holy crap, as if the Richie Sexson deal wasn't enough to get you excited today, then get ready for Tony Clark's homecoming trade that sends him back to Phoenix.

    Under his contract with the Padres, Clark would have received $500,000 from the Padres if traded, but he waived that clause in order to complete the trade.

Now that's desperation to get out of San Diego! "Hey, current team that is under-performing. I'll give you $500,000 to trade me to a team that is also under-performing, but less so." (note: those are not Tony Clark's actual words)

This sets up Arizona with the 36-year-old, six-foot-seven first baseman with one tater tot in 88 at-bats on the season. PERFECT! Oh hey wait, I remember that one tater tot.

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Get ready to boogie down in the Bronx on Saturday, folks...Richie Sexson is coming to town!

   The Yankees will only have to pay Sexson the prorated minimum of $390,000 from his $14 million salary with the Mariners. Seattle is eating the remainder of the nearly $6 million Sexson is owed for the season.

Oh yes, Seattle...eat it up. Nom nom nom how good does that $6 million chunk of change taste? Do you need some crushed red pepper on that to spice it up a bit? Perhaps some fine Washington Pinot Noir to wash it down?

Why does this work? Imagine every team has a big jigsaw puzzle and each team needs a certain number of pieces to finish their puzzle. Richie Sexson's piece was oddly shaped and didnt fit anywhere in the Seatle puzzle, mostly because they needed SO many pieces. Now imagine the Yankees could get that piece for REALLY cheap because it's so odd. And look! It fits nicely in their puzzle.

And yes, my prognostications came true. Stick it, MLB Trade Rumors dot com!

Believe It Or Not: Brian Wilson Is Walking On Air

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brianwilson.jpgMy buddy Jesse Spector at Touching Base has a regular interview feature called Nine Innnings. This morning I read what is easily his oddest one yet. He interviewed WoW curiosity and All-Star Brian Wilson and well... there's some weird stuff there. It doesn't start off particularly well.

Touching Base: If you could trade places with anyone in baseball for one day, who would it be?

Brian Wilson: No one.

TB: Not at all?

BW: No. I wouldn't trade places with anyone, ever, in the world.

Hmm. Ok. Understandable answer but not really conducive to futher conversation. There are various other indignities like Wilson saying he doesn't watch sports but he likes the English soccer player "Michael Rooney." Alrighty then. Just when you think both you and Spector have wasted your time, well then. It happens. Wilson finally cracks.

Ordinarily, this would be the end of things, but Wilson told me that he'd think about the usual final question and to come ask him again another time. Since it was Tuesday when I did this interview, I came back before the Giants-Mets game on Thursday afternoon at Shea. When he saw me, he immediately said, "I've got something for ya!" I'm not sure I would believe what I heard if I didn't have it on tape.

BW: (I am the only player in MLB) to levitate.

TB: To levitate. How so?

BW: I can lift myself off the ground.

TB: Can you just do it?

BW: Yeah.

TB: Can I see you do it, or is it something you can only do by yourself?

BW: Yeah, it's not something I wanna do in the locker room.

TB: How do you do it?

BW: By using my brain powers.

TB: How far? How far off the ground do you get?

BW: About a foot and a half?

TB: Wow. Just magic?

BW: And I could be the only person in baseball with an IQ of over 150. We'll see, though. We could take an aptitude test or something.

TB: OK. There's some pretty smart guys in baseball.

BW: I'm sure there are. Can they do the USA (Today) crossword in less than a minute? I don't think so.

Well there you have it. Brian Wilson is like David Blaine but with less facial hair, more Christ lovin', and the same amount of self confidence in carrying himself like a creepy weirdo.

I watched part of the Triple-A All Star Game last night on ESPN2 and it was quite the exciting contest. Future Pittsburgh Pirates outfield star Andrew McCutchen broke open a scoreless tie in the seventh with an RBI infield single for the International League. The Pacific Coast League came back with six runs in the ninth and held on to win the contest 6-5, despite a two-run tater tot by Pawtucket Red Sock Chris Carter that drove in Pawtucket Red Sock Joe Thurston.

But the real highlights of the night involved MLB.com's senior writer Jonathan Mayo being real awkward as the 'sideline' reporter. You may recall Mayo as Camp Tiger Claw's competition in the NY Daily News Player Pick Pool and the author of some puff piece on Roger Clemens.

Please enjoy my trio of videos

Jake the Diamond Dog is smarter and more capable of doing simple tasks than Jonathan Papelbon


Jonathan Mayo rides a carousel


And to tie it all together, Mayo interviews Jake and engages the dog in a most awkward high five.


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Last night, Bob Costas hosted a baseball-themed episode of his Costas Now town hall meeting-style show live on HBO. Among the topics discussed were the dearth of black baseballers, the hall of fame candidacy of alleged steroid users and Pete Rose, and the economic divide between rich teams and poor teams. Numerous ballplayers, both current and legendary, dotted the audience and panel discussions but none shone brighter than the greatest living ballplayer himself, Willie Mays.

The show started at 9PM but it went off HBO at 10:30, just as Mays and Hank Aaron were getting into the groove answering questions. Luckily, a live video feed went up at HBO.com so Costas could continue peppering the heroes with questions. Mays and, to a lesser extent, Aaron provided the audience with 40 more minutes of fantastic reminiscing and forward-thinking opinions about current issues. At age 77, Mays is at the perfect point in his golden years. Still young enough to tell an anecdote that keeps me engaged and fascinated, and just old enough to remind me of my own grandfather.

Mays and Aaron were both asked (by audience member and actor Robert Wuhl) if they had ever taken any performance-enhancing drugs in their careers, specifically about something called "red juice" (allegedly amphetamines). Aaron pointedly answered no and denied ever seeing anyone take anything; he joked that they weren't getting paid enough to afford anything like that. He then went off on a tangent about players drinking too much back in his day, but that was off point. Mays had a far more interesting answer. No, he said, he never needed to take anything, referring to his "32 inch waist and 189 pound body" that he kept for 20 years. He did admit to seeing a doctor and asking for vitamins, stating a need to "keep going", and when the doctor produced something for him to drink, he didn't ask what was in there. Was Willie Mays juicing? Probably not. Does it matter? Definitely not. Willie and the audience laughed the matter off.

Mays simply stole the show while talking about the racism he encountered, about how many more homers he'd have hit if he played in the Phillies new stadium, about all the tater tots he knocked out during his two year stint in the Army and why they should count in the record books, and about playing the full nine innings in eleven of his 24 All Star Game appearances, all for the love of baseball. You'll have to check the website to see when this will be re-aired or if it can be viewed online. Trust me, it's worth it.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, bloggin's hard, y'all.

  • WILL you all get sore at me for closing up shop early today?

  • HOW will we spend the only night of the season without televised baseball competition?

  • DO you want to go out for some steamed hams?

So tune in tomorrow where we'll forget the All Star Game ever happened and start talking some real good second half baseball stuff.

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Perhaps you are familiar with the Yankee Stadium 'tradition' of the grounds crew dancing to the YMCA while they rake the field between innings. Well last night during the All Star Game, the Yankees had a major surprise and had the real live Village People lead the crowd after the sixth inning.

Personally, I think calling the grounds crew's performance a 'tradition' is an insult to the word 'tradition'. Grouping that nonsense together with real traditions like 'playing Sinatra after a win' and 'wearing pinstripes' and 'embracing asshole comedians' is ridiculous. Enough already, we get it, the grounds crew knows how to spin around and put their arms up while they rake the goddamn field. Just stop already. You've seen it once, you've seen it a million times.

Still, when the Village People were announced last night as a special guest, I got excited! After all, this was a real surprise! Everyone already knew the hall-of-famers were gonna show up, everyone knew Yogi would throw out the first pitch, and everyone knew Steinbrenner was going to be wheeled around the Stadium on a gurney. BUT NOBODY KNEW THE FUCKING VILLAGE PEOPLE WERE GOING TO BE THERE. Well, almost all the Village People, save for the dead biker dude.

Photo by BenYankee

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Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan has uncovered one of the secrets of the locker room and he was good enough to share it with us, the reader. Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki knows how to say naughty words in English and uses them to soil the reputationpants of National League All Stars on a yearly basis:

   "Every year, after the AL manager addresses his team, Ichiro bursts from his locker, a bundle of kinetic energy, and proceeds, in English, to disparage the National League with an H-bomb of F-bombs, stunning first-timers who had no idea Ichiro speaks the queen's language fluently and making returnees happy that they had played well enough to see the pep talk again."

Whoa, whoa, slow down there Jeff...an H-bomb reference when talking about Ichiro Suzuki? I know it was 60 years ago and I know it was an A-bomb, but perhaps you could have chosen a different bon mot in your lede? And later on he quotes Miguel Tejada who wonders if Kosuke Fukudome will do the same thing for the National League. Migs, just because they're both Japanese doesn't mean they are both sick, perverted men who like to collect schoolgirl panties. Only one of them is.

Potentially tasteless jokes aside, I take severe pleasure in knowing that Ichiro is a foul-mouthed sonofabitch who does not shy away from busting down walls between cultures and breaking the ice between veterans and rookies. Passan claims that Ichiro's blue pep talks have helped the AL win all seven (make that eight) All Star Games he has participated in. I just wonder, does Ichiro call Billy Wagner a cunt every year, or is that just me?

Gary Carter Is A Bitch

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sadgirl.JPGWhile perusing this morning's ASG headlines I came across the following life reaffirmation: Gary Carter is one of the most annoying people that have ever lived on Earth. Yes, once you saw he was at the game last night, weren't you just waiting for some petulant quote from the only baseball player to ever beg his way into the HoF? Well LoHud has some piping hot breakfast time whine for you. It seems Gary didn't like the way his famous "I could be in New York tomorrow" coaching the Mets quote was handled and considers himself... wait for it... wait for it... A VICTIM.

"They were totally taken out of context," Carter said when a group of Hall of Famers met with the media at the same hotel prior to riding in the Red Carpet Parade and being honored in a pregame ceremony.

"There was no intent whatsoever. I've already extended my apologies, if that was necessary, to Willie and just to the organization.

"Why was I the victim? I mean, why? Because I just answered a simple question, 'Would I be interested?' That's it. I wasn't trying to take anything away from Willie at all. And I also was thinking in lines of if the opportunity existed in any organization, basically."

What a dink. I heard the interview. He got criticized because he was already coaching a team yet reacted to the Mets question like your dog reacts to a Snausage. He campaigned against Randolph and talked about why he was the wrong coach for that team. It was a virtual sales pitch. No one was lying in wait trying to blow his quotes out of proportion, because frankly, no one cares that much. To paraphrase: There is no vast anti-Gary Carter conspiracy.

So get over it curly. You're bugging me.
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Full disclosure: I left the Bronx last night after nine innings, and I still didn't get to bed until 2AM. I'm not good with 'staying up late on school nights' or 'watching extra innings of an exhibition game' so right now I am an odd combination of 'excited at having seen an historic affair' and 'sleepy mcpeepies'. Forgive me if this passage fails to make sense at any point.

First off, Camp Tiger Claw did yeoman's work last night on our glog. Wait no, yeomen stink. He did the work of a king. Nobody said he had to stay up past midnight to chit-chat about extra innings, but he did it anyway. He's checking himself into rehab for the rest of the week just to recover from the extreme pain and suffering of a 15-inning glog.

Secondly, the atmosphere at the Stadium last night was electric and historic and wonderful, but the thing I can take with me is how much everyone was actually paying attention to the game. There were tense moments late in the game where the building actually fell silent; that'd be a no-no in a playoff situation, but I really think that the collection of Yankee fans and 'other' fans were appropriately cognizant of what they were seeing: an exhibition of the best players in baseball. All that silence went out the window when Mariano Rivera came in, however. Yankees fans like Yankees players, or something.

That entire pre-game happening was touching and well-done. Seeing George Steinbrenner be driven under my right field loge seats was inspiring, despite the bloated and doughy look to his face. Poor old tyrant! Yogi Berra and Willie Mays got the biggest cheers of the night...my dad was especially thrilled to see his boyhood idol Mays standing alone as the only HOF centerfielder on the field.

The pitching was awesome last night. With the exceptions of Billy Wagner and Edinson Volquez, there were very few hard hit balls. I salute every fella who pitched in extra innings (even though I wasn't there to see it) but the guys who pitched earlier were absolutely amazing. Ben Sheets, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Ryan Dempster, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera...these guys were masterful.

Yes, the fans did a good deal of booing last night. Jonathan Papelbon and Billy Wagner got the brunt of the harassment from the stands (including me), but Manny Ramirez, JD Drew, and Jason Varitek got their share too. Heck, people were calling for the guy who caught Drew's home run ball to throw it back. It's all super-confusing, especially when I caught myself simultaneously clapping and booing when Papelbon struck out David Wright to end the top of the eighth. Just so you know, I exclusively booed Papelbon, Wagner, and Wright. Also, Bud Selig. That guy's an ass.

ALL STAR GLOG PART 2

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neil_diamond.jpg12:19: Hello! Anyone out there? I think I wrote too much and broke the WoW infrastructure. This is the new post. 2 on for the AL, one out.

12:23: Wow Nate McLouth, what a throw to get out Navarro at home. 2 outs.

12:25: It's never going to end... it's just not going to ever stop. When the sun peeks in through the window and I emerge grizzled and squinting all will know I glogged. But none other will know how I felt. I am the Marathon Man.

12:29: McLouth singles after the walk. Russel Martin advances the runners with the sac bunt. It works. They'll walk Tejada to load the bases to bring up Uggla. Gosh. If only Uggla used to smoke crack this would be perfect.

12:34: Uggla looked about as awful on that last strikeout as you can. Not a good night for that dude. Damn Fox, if I see Kevin Kennedy this close to bed time i get heartburn. Thanks a lot. George Sherrill is in. He has sucked lately. This could be bad. It's not. He gets the K. Everything I write is taking 7 minutes to load. I'm sorry guys.

12:41: So Guillen doubled, then moved to third on the passed ball. Rob isn't even at the game anymore. Cristian Guzman just made an incredible play to get out Guillen at home. Fuck. Wait. No fuck. It's a foul ball. KNOCK HOME GUILLEN PLEASE EVAN LONGORIA. He struck out. Dammit. Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

12:46: Well we're headed to the 13th. I'm going to go finish this blog in the garage with the car running. Shit i live in an apartment and have no car. And I only live on the second floor so jumping isn't an option. Looks like I'll just have to finish without death's sweet release.

12:53: George Sherrill is throwing gas. The teams are 3-27 with RiSP. That's the end of 13 1/2. Is Selig going to have to make the decision again? The tie decision? I see no way he can call that and avoid a media fallout... but the managers are going to start pushing in an inning from now.

12:55: Testing. Am I actually getting under 6 minute post times? Would you kiss Estelle Getty? Testing, testing.

12:58: Nice Marmol.

12:59: JD, if you hit homer I'll buy you a slice at Momo's. Doooooo it.

1:01: Not a hit, but another Uggla error. Listen I don't care how bad of a hop that is you cannot score that a hit Tim McCarver. You just can't it hit the dude in the breadbasket.

1:02: Three errors for Uggla now. I just wanna reiterate... remember 11 hours ago when this game started we were all coolly jaded about it. We can't change now to take some licks on him. JD Drew with the stolen base. MVP MVP. 2 down

1:05: Lord fuck a duck. We're going to 14. And you know what that means! Here on Walkoff Walk whenever an All Star Liveblog reaches the 14th inning, you get DON RICKLES ON THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS. LAUGH ALONG THIS TIME, AS DON ROASTS SAMMY DAVIS JR!



1:09: I'm sick of hearing about Kazmir. Put him in the goddamned game, or he's never allowed to be an All Star again. Sherrill has thrown about 35 pitches. He's done. That's all he gets. 2 down.

1:14: So we're back to slow posting. There's now one down in the bottom of the 14th. I was supposed to get up at 5 AM for a flight, but now I'm thinking there's no sleep until plane. I hate baseball now.

1:16: Hey look it's Brandon Webb. It took me a few batters to realize it was him because of all the blood that is pouring out of my eye sockets. He's dealing though.

1:20 I dont want to die like this. Huddled. Alone. A sunburn from the TV's gamma rays. Baseball Almost Killed Me.

1:22: So wait. I have the volume turned down pretty low since it's 1 THIRTY IN THE FREAKING MORNING but is Buck implying that Francona is willing to forfeit? In no way will I be disappointed if that happens. Staying up forever for a forfeit. Shoulda left Joe Saunders in longer, dickbreath.

1:26: Sweet merciful Christ, if you wanted me to repent you could have just sent me a sign or immaculately knocked someone up. You didn't have to do this to the All-Star game. Heading to bottom 15.

1:30: I LIKE THAT MORNEAU. I LIKE THAT. 3 MORE PLZ KTHX.

1:31: I wish Ludwick had landed on a bear trap whilst diving. 1 down.

1:33: The Dinosaur Nivarro single puts Morneau at second and brings up JD Drew. Kevin Youkilis is drinking a Red Bull and somehow that makes for entertaining television because at least it's not someone chopping the ball to short. WALK. BASES LOADED. BASES LOADED.

1:37: Sacrifice fly from Michael Young. Morneau is called safe. Let's see if he really was... yes. He was. Ok. It's over. Goodnight everyone. I will not see you tomorrow. Rob will. I may retire and join an internetless monastery. I'll keep you posted. 4-3 AL.

2008 All Star Game: The Glog

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allstar.jpg 8:05: Hey guys, sorry I'm late. I forgot I had to do this because I'm too cool. They're announcing the AL side. There's 36 Red Sox on this year's team and they're all American Heroes.

8:07: When I turned the game on Willie Banks was giving a pep talk. He didn't really sound like he'd prepared at all. No wonder that guy never won a World Series.

8:10: Anyone have any predictions for tonight? I'm predict that it ends in a walkoff walk and while everyone looks all disappointed with the anti-climactic ending, Iracane storms the field jumping up and down, pointing at the Jumbotron and screaming "PLAY THE SHRIMP! PLAY THE GODDAMNED SHRIMP!"

8:12: Carlton, Eck, Rapid Robert Feller, Rollie, Fergie, Gibson, Marichal, Phil Neikro, Palmer, GAYLORD Perry, Robin Robers, Sutter, Sutton, Goose and Whitey. All lined up on the infield. Pretty solid but, WHERE'S PASCUAL PEREZ???

8:16: Wow, more legends. Carew, Mazeroski, Ryno, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda... and Kevin Youkilis. Never in a million years did I think he'd develop into an all-star. Hey! Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Wade Boggs, Wade Boggs's mortifying new hair... Chipper and A-Rod. Oh I see how this is working now. Synergy is delicious.

8:18: Aparicio, The Wizard, Yount, Banks and Ripken... Hanley Ramirez and Derek Jeter. Rob is probably crying like a asthmatic 6 year old.

8:20: Molitor greets Pujols and Bradley. I predict an All-Star Tater Tot from Milton. In left we have Brock, Billy Williams and the criminally underrated Ralph Kiner. Joined by Braun and Manny. I had a dream last night that Manny cut his hair. I looked it up and it means I watch too much baseball. In center it's The Say Hey Kid. He should have been commissioner at some point. Fukudome and Paul Bunyon Hamilton join him.

8:22 In right it's Hank Aaron, Dave Winfield, Reggie and the criminally overweight Tony Gwynn. Joining them are Holiday and Suzuki. I'm willing to overlook how long this is taking because it's so cool. EARL WEAVER! Tommy Lasorda (looks lousy) and Dick Williams. Lee MacPhail representing Hall Of Fame front office executives. Ok, fine. And finally it's Clint Hurdle and Terry Francona. MAKE IT FIVE IN A ROW TERRY. Now it's Geovany Soto and Joe Mauer come out. Oh hey Gary Carter's here. Worst HoFer ever. And Yogi Berra. What, they couldn't invite Ray Fosse? He loves these things.

8:27: Phew. Commercial break. Mavis Beacon would be proud of me.

8:30: Anthem time. At this point I often forget that Sheryl Crow is actually an artist. I feel like she's a company. But she sounds nice. And she's playing live guitar, that's always appreciated.

8:33: George Steinbrenner is delivering the balls by golf cart. He appears to be crying. Someone must have just told him that they could have had Johan for Hughes and Kennedy. But anyway, it's nice to see him. I kinda figured he was in worse shape than he appears. Good on ya, George.

8:37: "You need a physics professor. LUCKILY I AM ONE." Who is this clown? Worst commercial hair since Ron Popeil.

8:39: "Blimp" >>>> "Direct TV HD Starship"

8:42: With all the praise being lavished on Yankee Stadium tonight, never forget it kinda smells.

8:44: Hey look at that. Pacey and Lt. Daniels in the same show. I've been waiting for that pairing. It's about time.

8:46 And here's Cliff Lee. We like him here at WoW. We talk about him a lot. I'm happy with his selection... and McCarver actually makes a salient point in rehashing the trade that Shapiro made to get him. You know, the last good move Shapiro ever made.

8:48: Lee starts off the game with a 2Ks of Ramirez and Chutley. Since everyone is at home watching this I won't be rehashing each play, but I think the leadofs Ks are neat. It must be humid in New York. Berkman's terrible harcut is curling up around his helmet in the on deck circle.

8:51: Berkman flies out. Good first inning for Lee. It wasn't this but it was good. It's just a shame Pedro fell into the Tomb Of The Mummy Emperor.

8:53: Who's got an IPhone? How does my picture look on it? Do I look heavy?

8:54: "Derek Jeter has done nothing but win since he got to the majors," says Buck. Yeah... except lose sometimes. But those two things. Those are the only things he's done. Win or lose. No ties. Oh wait. Except for that one ASG. So win, lose and tie. That's all he's done since he got here.

8:56: Bahhhhaha... Jeter's slow rope takes a bad hop and hits Utley in his face. THAT'S USIN' YOUR FACE! Did I do that right? SB by Jeter.

8:58: Hamilton struck out, but less people are probably watching this than the Derby so he's cool. Rodriguez pops up weakly behind the plate. Soto maked the catch than slips on a banana peel.

9:02: Pujos has a "great batting eye." He'd probably be even better if he just kept em open. He grounds out to third.

9:04: Chipper lines one up the middle. Matt Holiday grounds out two feet in front of the plate and with two outs, it's up to one of your 2008 All Star Jewish Dudes, Ryan Braun. Aaaand he strikes out. Hey was that story about Cliff Lee's workout regimen the second time we've heard about people working out their cores? If I wanted to hear about that crap I'd watch my Tae bo videos I MEAN MY SISTER'S TAE BO VIDEOS.

9:08: Oh shit. Michael Jordan dumped Kevin Bacon for Charlie Sheen. Is that an upgrade? I honestly can't decide.

9:09: Ben "Navy" Sheets comes out to start the second. Manny leads off for the AL. 3 of the next 5 batters are Red Socksers.

9:13: Sheets walks Bradley and Joe Buck is just plain making stuff up. There's no way a torn ACL takes 12 months of recovery. That's fabricated. If you want to know more, WoW resident physician Dr. Rock will tell you more in the comments.

9:16: After a Bradley stolen base, Youk's strikeout syncs up perfectly with a savory enchilada and High Life burp. That's hot and tasty.

9:18: Sheets walks Mauer. His pitch count is getting All Star Game high and you gotta think no matter the outcome, Pedroia is his final batter.

9:21: Pedroia flew out, and both starters turn in a healthy two innings of work. The last two games have seen a combined 14 runs. We could be in for another low scoring one tonight. Oh hey it's Yogi. HE'S SO FUNNY WHEN HE TALKS STUPID.

9:26: Fukudome and Soto both make outs. Yogi has 10 world titles but he looks like Abe Vigoda's older brother. You can't have everything, I guess. Back to the top of the order, and Hanley gets a line drive. Yogi just called Joe Buck "Jack." Yeah, Yogs... we wish.

9:29: Utley grounds out. End of 2 1/2. Hey, Blackberry has Facebook on it! So now you can monitor your ex 24/7 and she'll never feel safe!

9:33: Jeter grounds into a "tailor made double play" which is one of my favorite old school baseball phrase. Wheee Josh Hamilton regrets all 26 of his tattoos! Too bad, homey. I wonder if he ever tried to scratch em off while he was all spun out on meth.

9:37: So Saunders is out, and as mentioned below, that's probably the only All Star inning he'll ever pitch. Glad it was successful. Halladay is in now and truth be told I'd be happy watching him pitch the rest of the night. He strikes out Fat Pumastewart.

9:40: Pooj reaches out, goes the other way with one off the RF wall, Ichiro rockets one back in to beat him at second. Some other guy grounds out to Jeter and the inning is over. I'm glad this game is moving quickly since it's almost midnight.

9:41: This NCAA commercial with Bub Rubb? Well that's just good. WHOO WHOO!

9:44: Zambrano just made Rodriguez look cold stupid. Those are two lousy at bats for him. No one should have told him this counted. Whee Zambrano threw a mini-eephus over Manny's head! I love Spanish people.

9:46: Tim McCarver just accused the batting average numbers of being falsified. Ken Tremendous is already at his computer. Joe Buck's kid turns 9 today and is probably stoked that Dad isn't at her party trying to look cool and embarassing her in front of her friends by talking about the Jonas Brothers. Throwing error on Hanley. Milton Bradley safe at first. Then out at first after being picked off.

9:48: What's the consensus on Pineapple Express. Are we sick of Seth Rogan yet? HIGH LIFE COMMERCIAL.

9:52: Ervin "Magic Carlos" Santana comes in for the AL. I see Grady Sizemore in CF there too. Changes and stuff. McCarver called the Angels a "thoroughly professional outfit." The LA Angels: Baseball's Pantsuit. Joe Buck said "all the do is win" again, which is really starting to piss me off.

9:53 Matt Holiday Ding Dong! 1-0 NL

9:56: A-Rod gets pulled mid inning for Joe Crede. Apparently that was so the Yankee Stadium crown could cheer Rodriguez... but uh... no one did.

9:57: Here's what I said about All-Star Joe Crede in the preseason: "Josh Fields looks to have his breakout season... if he can take third base from Joe Crede. I believe Crede reported to camp in a wheelchair that he powers by blowing on a straw." Oops! Santana strikes out Fuckudome and Soto and the inning is over.

10:00: I WANT YOU EVERY SINGLE DAY AND IT'S LUH. IT'S LUH. IT'S LALALALA, IT'S LUH.

10:02: It's Danny Haren time now, and he looks like an extra from Pineapple Express. He gets in the way of a probable out, but that's all instinct. Mauer gets to first and Kinsler is his pinch runner.

10:07: Ichiro strikes out. I can't believe that's how the 2001 MVP would come through in the clutch.

10:10: Jeter grounds out lightly and poilitely to end the rally. BRB i need an ice cream.

10:16: Duscherererer hangs one to Hanley and is lucky he only lined it into right for a single. Utley fouls it off and there's "a good play made my a fan." Steinbrenner caught it in his bib I bet.

10:18 First and third with no one out after a successful hit and run by Ramutley. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET A'S PLAY.

10:22: First at game dispatch from Rob: "There is something called the Aquafina Sports Magic Team and they throw tshirts to the crowd between innings. This one guy has a bat on his head and it looks like a dildo." Walkoff Walk. Your source for All Star news!Puji singles and Chipper K's.

10:24: So Duscherererer limits the damage. But after the sac fly it's 2-0 NL and homefield is slipping away from the AL here people. Slip. Ping. Away.

10:27: Uggla in for Utley U Unclefucker. Hamilton hits the first pitch for a single. Thank god his at bats are short so Buck can't rehash the.... SHUT UP MAN SHUT UP, CREDE IS UP NOW. SHUT IT. SHUT YOUR BUCKHOLE.

10:31: Hamilton takes off before the crack of the mitt. He takes a freebase. Man that guy has speed.

10:32: I really don't want to see Varitek bat. Sizemore strikes out looking on a pin straight knee high fastball. GAH Milton flies out to center. I wanted that one for him. It's still 2-0 after 6 and if anyone is still reading this, thank you.

10:36: Somehow I knew this dipshit from Sharp was going to be the most played commercial of the night. Take your founding father hairdo and get the hell out of my low definition television.

10:40: Joe Nathan gets Braun, McLouth and Martin out quicker than I can get a can of Duff. Hey it's Josh Groban. He's too scruffy for opera. Or whatever the hell it is you call what he sings. We need our own 7th inning stretch song. Quick to the youtubes!

10:44:


10:47: Edinson Volquez comes in to pitch to your Derby winner, Justin Morneau. Dubble bubble! Wait. What did McCarver just call the "pitch of the islands?"

10:50: Kinsler grounds out but Morneau goes to third. Ok so the changeup is the "pitch of the islands." McCarver read it in "The Wall Street Journal of all places." Does he say that because he didn't think he'd read it there or because he usually only reads Highlights?

10:51: Nasty, nasty fastball by Volquez for the K on Navarro. Florida State Seminole JD Drew will be charged with trying to get some runs on the board. He's cool, I dont care what people from Philly say. About anything, but especially this. TWO RUN DING DONG JD DREW! EAT IT PHILADELPHIA. GO NOLES.

10:57:


10:59: Shut up, New York. Please. Everyone is on Papelbon because of today's ridiculous New York Daily News backpage. He gives up a single. Ugh. This is annoying.

11:03: So Tejada advances to third on the throwing error on his attempted SB. Then a sac fly from Adrian Gonzalez puts the NL ahead. THE JAMOOKS ARE RIGHT, PAPELBON IS OVERRATED. He Ks David Wright to end the inning. TAKE THAT JAMOOKS.

11:06: More updates from Iracane: "THE REAL VILLAGE PEOPLE ARE HERE FOR YMCA EXCEPT THE ONE THAT DIED FROM AIDS."

11:08: Brian Wilson is in for the NL to protect their 3-2 lead. Josh Hamilton just heard Aquafina's slogan, "Make Your Body Happy" and snorted 6 oz of it.

11:12: Carlos Guillen makes like your sister and "chases a high hard one." 2 down. Oh my god, Clint Hurdle just pulled Wilson out for Billy Wagner. C'mon Clint. Are you trying to keep me from going to bed. Oh good, new Taco Bell rapping. I've been dying for some.

11:16: Sheesh. Sizemore rips a single to right. I hate you Blint Wagurdle.

11:20: Every single person in America watching this game figured that would happen if Hurdle brought Wagner in. Every one. Forget the fact that he never should have made the team, what the hell is Hurdle thinking there. You all know there's no way in hell I'm doing this past midnight right? After 8 it's 3-3. Nice jorts, John Cena.

11:27: Frankie Rodriguez pitches to two batters. Walks Aramis Ramirez, gets Corey Hart to fly out. Here comes Rivera. Oh yaaaay! You happy now, knuckle draggers? GO AWAY SHARP TV GUY. I was just told he looks like Jessica Tandy. That's pretty spot on.

11:30 Ryan Ludwick has no chance against Rivera.

11:32: Strike em out, throw em out. End of half inning. Please score AL. Please score. 3 all going into the bottom of the 9.

11:40: Well there's two down. JD is up. If he hits a tater tot that would be the greatest thing ever but the baseball gods don't like me that much. They want me to blog till midnight, quit and miss the most dramatic ending ever.

11:45: OH YEAH JOE IT'S THE FUCKING STADIUM. THAT'S WHY THERE'S EXTRAS. NOT BECAUSE CLINT HURDLE IS A MORON. IT'S THE FUCKING BUILDING'S FAULT.

11:47: McLouth strikes out like an idiot.

11:48 And another thing. If you can't pitch in the All Star Game then don't come to the goddamned All Star Game. Give the spot to someone who can pitch and stop putting your team at a disadvantage. I mean, this time it counts you guys.

11:52: Hit and run works to perfection. Clint Hurdle must have been asleep and one of his assistants called it. Or maybe he scratched his nose and accidentally gave the signal. Either way he's too daft to come up with that on his own. Runners on first and third.

11:54: DAMN YOU UGGLA. Double play.

11:58: Oh and now after Wright gets on the ball goes through Uggla's leg. On a Carlos Quentin single, Wright advances to third with no outs. Let's not get ridiculous and make Dan Uggla a scapegoat here people. It's still the same All Star Game that most people profess not to care about in the first place.

12:03: On two consecutive chances with the bases loaded, we have two straight groundouts from Sizemore and that last guy. I am woozy and my internet is starting to act up. WALK HIM COOK. JUST DO IT.

12:04: Christ, what a play by Tejada. That's impressive. That gave me a second wind. Let's play 20.

12:10: Sorry I got some Gatorade. Cristian Guzman has 126 hits? That's 88% of the Nationals' total. He flies out, 2 down. WE DONT DIE WE MULTIPLY. Yes, that's a non sequitur Bebe's Kids quote. Joe Buck just suggested a dance off. God, Dad your'e such a dork. That guy just flew out. We go to bottom 11.

ATTENTION THIS SHIT IS LOADING TO SLOW I HAVE TO MOVE TO A NEW THREAD ON THE FRONT PAGE

Tonight's Question

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night game.jpgHey kids, kids are having kids.

  • CAN tonight's All-Star game keep us entertained and engaged for its entirety? I'll be here doing some gloggishness, but I reserve the right to bail out at any second like Rob does on Wednesdays.

  • See you then!
    gekko_kocx.jpgMost people have forgotten about the ill-fated umpire walkout of 1999. I haven't because the purge got rid of Ken Kaiser and I hated that guy. 57 umpires quit their job, then rescinded their resignations. 22 didn't get their jobs back. One has slipped back into the ranks and will be tonight's 2B ump in the All-Star game.

    Umpire Tom Hallion will take another step in his recovery from a failed negotiating ploy that cost him his job when he trots to second base for tonight's All-Star Game. Hallion was one of the 22 umpires who lost their jobs in a labor dispute with Major League Baseball in 1999. He spent four years out of baseball -- becoming a financial adviser to make a living -- before winning a spot as a substitute umpire in 2005 and being fully reinstated last year.

    Yes, while times were slow Hallion got his business degree and became a financial advisor. The stock market had once been a hobby, but now he's VP of Brokerage at Regions Financial Corp. I have no idea what that entails but it sounds fancy. He counts 25 umps among his clients, which sounds a little fishy but I'll let it slide. Friends, he's living his very unique dream.

    "I said, `You know what, if I can't have baseball, I'm going to have the next best thing,''' said Hallion."

    So remember kids, that's:

    #1: Baseball
    #2: Financial Advising
    frankie.jpg

    Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez is on pace to set the all time record for saves in a season, but more importantly, he's looking to set a record for salary earned by a closer. Kid is putting himself on the auction block at the end of the season, opting for free agency instead of the $34 million contract the Angels offered him last winter. That's a mere bag of shells, folks. Says Frankie:

    "I'm going to go out there and explore the market," Rodriguez said. "They had six years. They didn't get anything done with me. If I wait six years, why not wait another 2 1/2 months?"

    Good on you, sir. Which team do you think would pony up the dollars for his services anyway? Which teams have ample payrolls and will need a closer next year? I'd guess the Cubs or the Brewers or the Cardinals or heck, the entire NL Central since the whole division stinks at closing games.

    But what about the rest of the 2008 season, Frankie?

    "They're still paying me to do my job," Rodriguez said. "I still have to get my job done, and whatever happens, happens."

    That's why I call him "Lunchpail Rodriguez". Show up, get the job done, pump your fist, and go home to watch Carson on the Tonight Show.

    Mostly Naked Woman At Skydome!

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    topless.jpgHey, alright! Rogers Centre has finally made amends for the debacle of 4/1/90. This lass you see at left, was spotted traipsing around her hotel room wearing little but a thong and her contempt for JP Riccardi (I assume).

    Just before 4 p.m., in the seventh inning, Sun photographer Dave Abel caught pictures of the woman leaning up against the glass in a suite next to the Jumbotron.

    "The Jumbotron videographer told me I might want to look at the suite to the left of the screen, so I looked up, and there she was," Abel said. "You don't see that every day at a Blue Jays game.

    You sure don't! You see lots of guys making a ton of money for being injured and other guys openly hating their coach until their old coach from the 90s comes back like a reanimated TGIF star, but not topless women. Well ok, there might be a slight history of lewdness at the park.

    Since it opened in 1989, there have been at least three incidents at the hotel where couples were having sex in plain view of tens of thousands of fans, as well as one incident when a man was thrown out of the hotel for masturbating at the window, believing it was one-way glass.

    Hey now! Who let Iracane into Canada? Maybe the offender was pretending that Kelly Gruber was actually Beverly D'Angelo from behind. A hearty +1 goes out to Ottawa Sun writer Brynn Weese who tells us that the Blue Jays are 2-3 in games where someone is found "naked or getting it on."
    liveglog.jpg

    While yours truly heads out to The Stadium for the All Star Game tonight to boo Billy Wagner and cheer Derek Jeter, my associate Camp Tiger Claw will keep the home fires burning with his very own liveglog, tonight at 8PM.

    So tune your teevees to FOX, set your laptops out on the coffee table, pop open a bottle of your favorite beer and head over to dubya dubya dubya dot walkoff walk dot com for some of the most entertaining All Star Game livegloggery on the Internet.

    I'll do my best to pipe in with some mobile commenting from the Bronx, so if you want to join in as a commenter, follow this handy-dandy link.

    Canseco Is A Tomato Can, No Wonder He Ducked Me

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    So remember when I challenged Jose Canseco to fight me? And then remember how he totally ignored my email and decided to fight Vai Sikahema instead? Yeah well, that fight went down this past weekend and Canseco got trucked.



    Canseco recieved $35,000 for this. Hey Juice, how's it feel getting your clock cleaned by a Mormon newscaster?

    I would have smoked that clown.
    tatertots.jpg

    So Josh Hamilton ended up going out with a fizzle in the finals of the Home Run Derby and Monsieur Morneau walked away with the hardware. It happens. Does it matter? No. Mr. Hamilton provided the viewers with so many fantastic memories of his 500 foot ding dongs that smacked off the walls at the world's most famous baseball park. He turned an entire nation on to his might with his historic tater tots, and Morneau will forever remain a footnote in history; the mere answer to a trivia question.

    Hey remember that All Star Game back in 1999 at Fenway Park? Remember Mark McGwire hitting all those dingers over the Green Monster? Remember that time he put one over I-90 into the parking lot? Remember who won that contest? It wasn't McGwire, it was Ken Griffey Jr. But McGwire's moonshots have stood the test of time, at least in my mind.

    Same thing with Hamilton's ding-dongs. Heck, he broke a record for most homers in the first round of a derby. That alone should put him at the forefront of the top derby moments ever. HE CAME SUPER CLOSE TO PUTTING ONE OUT OF YANKEE STADIUM. He almost hit the $1,000,000 sign! HE ALMOST HIT RICK REILLY IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD WHICH WOULD HAVE IMMEDIATELY KILLED HIM. Heck, I'm pretty sure he's in the running now to be Barack Obama's running mate in November. Except he's probably a Republican, so maybe not.

    As for Reilly, his "It's a lousy night to be an atheist!" exclamation was perhaps the oddest thing to hear in Home Run Derby history. No Rick, it's never lousy to be an atheist. Atheists are never victims of an angry deity and they never feel Catholic guilt. Fine, ESPN, you hired the jerk to be an online writer. We're not going to argue with that; he's got a sappy style that appeals to idiots. But keep that asshole off the television, okay?

    mash.JPG

    Buried in a non-newsy item about the Braves' travel plans to the All Star Game in New York City, beat writer David O'Brien writes this:

        Chipper was in the visitor's clubhouse, packed and ready to limo it to the airport to board a charter flight along with Brian McCann, McCann's wife Ashley, and Braves trainer Jeff "Bubba" Porter, who was picked to serve as NL trainer.

    Of all the trainers on all the teams in the National League, manager Clint Hurdle grabbed Jeff Porter? The Braves trainer? Heck, the Braves 40-man roster page has more red crosses on it than an episode of M*A*S*H. Here's the list of the currently disabled:

    • Omar Infante (SS) - Strained left hamstring
    • Manny Acosta (RP) - Strained right hamstring
    • Rafael Soriano (RP) - Strained Virginia hamstring
    • Tom Glavine (SP) - Gout and alzheimers
    • Matt Diaz (LF) - Torn ligament
    • John Smoltz (SP) - Shoulder surgery
    • Mike Hampton (SP) - Wallaby rape

    Perhaps Hurdle has devised a scheme wherein he brings in Porter to 'tend' to the NL All Stars with his 'special' methods of 'medicine', wink wink nudge nudge. Then, with all the National League's best players on the DL, Hurdle and his Rockies can ascend from 8.5 games back in the West and once again bring the power of Baby Jesus to the playoffs!

    Either that or Clint just tends to hang out with folks named Bubba.

    hamilton.jpg

    We had so many comments I decided to create an overflow post for the semis and finals. This is where all that will happen. Your semifinalists are Josh Hamilton, Ryan Braun, Justin Morneau, and Lance Berkman.

    9:57PM: Here's Lance Berkman. You are a mere child compared to Josh Hamilton. A fat, fat child.

    10:00PM: Berkman knocks out a few dongs to put his total at somewhere in the teens. Good, but not Hamiltonian enough.

    10:03PM: Justin Morneau once played hockey! And is Canadian! His people sew maple leaves on their lame backpacks when they go to Europe so they are not confused with ugly Americans. Dear Italy, please punch out people with maple leaves on their backpacks. Signed, Rob. Reggie Jackson is snooze-worthy as a guest but gladdens me because we are spared the Bermanian nonsense.

    10:06PM: I know we're not allowed to say no Twins in the home run derby finals. but...no Twins in the home run derby finals, Justin. Slow it down there. Also, SHUT UP AND DIE, RICK REILLY.

    10:08PM: Seriously, I mean it. Oh well, Lance Berkman has been eliminated by Monsieur Morneau. Here comes Ryan Braun. Win one for kosher bakeries everywhere, sir! I WANT CRISPY NORMAL SIZED HOT BAGELS. Oops, commercial break.

    10:12PM: John Kruk was a .300 hitter? Or did Karl Ravech mean he was a 300 lb hitter? I'm not quite sure. Here's Ryan Braun now, ferreals.

    10:14PM: Josh Hamilton proves there is a God? Huh? No Rick Reilly, its a great night to be an atheist, because if there was a God, you wouldn't be on television. You dumb hack.

    10:16PM: Rick Reilly: worst TV commentator in Home Run Derby history or worst commentator in sports history? Ryan Braun looks too skinny to be hitting all these tater tots. Skinny, but strong.

    10:18PM: You know why Josh Hamilton is a great story? Because he can hit 500 foot homers while putting up with the incessant line of questions by the media types. Leave the man alone with his club soda at the corner booth of Mortons, you vultures. Also, Ryan Braun is 4 homers shy of sending that Canuck home.

    10:20PM: And Ryan Braun is eliminated. Holy crap. Justin Morneau versus Josh Hamilton. Evil versus good. For the title.

    10:22PM: Somewhere, Babes Love Baseball blogger Sooze is getting all worked up about this Morneau character. Let's see what Josh Hamilton can do to warm up here for the finals.

    10:24PM: The semifinals for Mr. Hamilton are like the calm before the storm. This is not unsimilar to that time in college when I ran home because I was about to shit my pants, but then lost control right before I reached my front steps.

    10:26PM: Time for another commercial break, brought to you by Lucky Strike. So easy on the draw!

    10:28PM: How does this thing work now? I realize that both gents start at zero, but who goes first?

    10:32PM: Okay I have no idea how this contest works and I don't care who is going to win what. All I know is that we got $50 from MLB.com to give away for posting a link about their contest but now I'm pissed I have to sit through this.

    10:34PM: Fans as a whole are awesome. Individual fans totally suck. Enough already watching this nonsense so some schlub could win a few sheckels or a shitty car. ON WITH THE TATERS

    10:36PM: Here's Monsieur Morneau, who makes an out on his first three swings. Whoops! That's not gonna topple the mighty Hammy.

    10:38PM: A ground ball? Really Justin? Really? Well, I'm sure you'll be happy crying yourself to sleep while snuggling with your ILL-BEGOTTEN MVP AWARD. He has three dongs in his first ten swings.

    10:40PM: JUSTIN MORNEAU WEARS A NUMBER ON HIS BACK THAT HONORS A HOCKEY GOALIE? SIGH. Kid Canada finishes with five measly tater dongs.

    10:41PM: Oh cripes, another commercial break. Brought to you by the good people at Miller.

    10:45PM: Yes John Kruk, someday Josh Hamilton could be a Yankee. Sounds delish! He taters on his second swing. DEEP.

    10:47PM: Has anything ever in history been as assuredly definite as Hamilton winning this thing? As in...if he loses, will the Morneau RickRoll be the worst thing that ever happened to me?

    10:49PM: Berman just used the word "doinker," which is strange, because I invented that word to describe the time I shi....oh, nevermind. CMON, JOSH!

    10:51PM: HOLY CRAP FOR THE LOVE OF GLOG I HAVE NEVER NEEDED ANYTHING AS BADLY AS I NEEDED THIS

    10:52PM: Oh dammit a Twin won the home run derby, thus proving my point: the home run derby is a sham. Sigh. Nobody likes you, Justin Morneau. Not even Erin Andrews, who is now interviewing the 'runner-up' Josh Hamilton.

    10:54PM: Thanks for joining us on our home run derby liveglog, folks! I take back everything negative I said about Monsieur Morneau. He's a great hitter and a class act, through and through. But I swear, if I ever encounter him in Italy and he's wearing a maple leaf on his backpack, I'm gonna shit my pants. GOOD NIGHT EVERYONE!

    liveglog.jpg

    Welcome to our readers, commenters, family and friends. It's our first ever liveglog in primetime and one of the first times I'll be writing about something on television instead of my handy-dandy XM Radio. I'm still pretty new at this whole thing, so I appreciate as many comments as possible. If you've never commented before, please sign up. We'd love to hear from you and keep you hanging around.

    Still, I refuse to pretend that this is your only place to read a liveglog about this Home Run Derby nonsense, so if you get bored of my incessant use of the terms "tater tot" or "ding-dong" or "Justin Morneau hatred", please check out one of the following purveyors of livegloggery:

    But if you love me as much as I love you, you'll stay here at Walkoff Walk. Here goes nothing!

    7:55PM: Hey did anyone watch the Baseball Tonight pre-game nonsense? What did I miss?

    8:00PM: Hey Three Doors Down, irrelevance called and they want you back immediately. Let's move it along, Poor Imitation of a Poor Imitation of an Already Shitty Bon Jovi.

    8:04PM: Sorry, I thought I signed up to liveglog a Home Run Derby, not a concert by a band nobody really cared about in 1999 when they were popular. I have rational hatred for a musical act!

    8:07PM: Holy shit Yankee Stadium has become anthropomorphized and is talking to me. No, I will not hit it into your black. You dirty, dirty boy. Hey, Chris Berman has become anthropomorphized and is being broadcast over the P.A. Bob Sheppard must be spinning in his grave.

    8:10PM: Boo! Justin Morneau! Boo! He once played hockey? Irrational boo! Hey, Josh Hamilton got a lot of cheers. Good for him. I like how the eight players are lined up along the front of the home plate circle thingy. Works well. HOLY SHIT RICK REILLY! KILL IT! KILL IT NOW!

    8:12PM: Yeah I think Chase Utley said "Boo? Fuck you!" during the intros. Chase, I speak for all Yankees fans when I say "We love anyone who hurts the Mets as bad as you, fella." They weren't booing you, they were saying "Doooooooo good, Chase!"

    8:14PM: Chris Berman and Joe Morgan agree with me. Chase Utley will win this thing. Anyone else got any picks? Anyone wanna bet on when this thing ends? Over/under 10:30PM?

    8:16PM: Notorious Jew-hater and half-Puerto Rican Reggie Jackson is set to toss out the ceremonial first pitch to...DREAMBOAT DEREK JETER! Swoon. Good work, Senor Octobre. The fans love them some Derek Jeter. WHO DOESN'T? /glares at Morneau. Hey it's Erin Andrews interviewing the original dreamboat. SENSORY OVERLOAD

    8:18PM: Dan Uggla leads off after the first commercial, Metschick. C'mon back and watch your NL East enemies do good.

    8:20PM: I can't wait to get me some of that Baseball Network goodness. Hopefully they'll end the Baseball Tonight monopoly over live, in-game highlights. Sorry, Gammons, but it's the only way to escape the John Kruk/Steve Phillips cabal.

    8:22PM: Erin Andrews says something about underprivileged kids getting some money or something if something happens. All I know is that a kid wearing a Brewers helmet looks a lot like Urkel.

    8:24PM: Danny Uggla puts his two first pitches over the wall. Nice way to break the ice, sir. I'd like for this to be the year one of them kids shagging flies in the outfield takes a flyball off their eye socket and shatters their orbital bone. Danny's got 4 tater tots in 7 tries so far. LOOK OUT FOR TOTS

    8:26PM: Dan Uggla's kid is simply adorable. Guess his boys can swim well. Hey, Mike Gallego is still employed! Good on him.

    8:28PM: The greatest thing Dan Uggla could have done was murder Rick Reilly with one of them gold balls. Still, lacking that accomplishment, he nailed six tater tots in his appearance. He might advance!

    8:30PM: Here comes lefty Grady Sizemore. He's half-black! Or something! He nails a ding-dong with his first two swings. Nicely done, centerfielder of some reknown.

    8:32PM: Who the fuck just exclaimed "Holy cow, who needs steroids?" after Sizemore put one in the upper deck? What goddamned hack asked that ridiculous question? WAS THAT RICK REILLY

    8:34PM: Senor Sizemore is doing very, very well. If he played for the Yankees, we'd push Jeter out of a plane and call Grady our boyfriend, no questions asked. Sizemore just hit one of the longest homers I've ever seen and Joe Morgan says that "he forced that swing." Fuck you, Morgan.

    8:36PM: Hey Mark Shapiro, we'll send you Melky Cabrera and the remains of Phil Hughes plus $10,000,000 for Grady Sizemore. Deal? Grady ends up with six ding dongs, tied with Danny Uggla. COMMERCIAL BREAK

    8:40PM: I like the Ben Sheets pick to start the ASG. I like the Cliff Lee one too even if Roy Halladay eats pieces of shit like him for breakfast. Hey, it's Evan Longoria! He might get zero tater tots.

    8:42PM: And of course Evan proves me wrong by hitting his second swing out of the park. Whatever, dude. Throw me a bone, kid. You're like 7 years my junior.

    8:44PM: After two of Longoria's tater dongs hit the upper deck in left (a DiMaggioan feat, indeed) Joe Morgan exclaims "Those are upper deck shots." ARE THEY JOE? REALLY? Longoria finishes with three measly tater tots in his HR Derby debut. Not bad.

    8:46PM: Full disclosure: I had tickets to the 'celebrity softball game' and passed. I hung out by the pool instead. I do not regret this choice. Here's Chase "Senor Tasty Kakes" Utley.

    8:48PM: Utley is making me nervous by hitting exactly zero homers with his first three swings, but he puts the fourth one out, despite "overswinging". Shut up already, Morgan. Your repetition is irritating.

    8:50PM: Chase Utley gets booed for not hitting taters and some dumb kid gets cheered for making a lucky catch. Yep, these are my compatriots.

    8:52PM: Utley puts out his first two gold balls to finish with five. Behind Uggla and Sizemore but ahead of Longoria. I don't feel too dumb. At least I don't feel Joe Morgan dumb.

    8:56PM: Oh the George Brett pine-tar incident. I remember it well, because it happened the same day I shit my pants at preschool. My parents call that the "pants tar incident".

    8:58PM: I made that story up. I shit my pants in '82. Anyway, here's Fat Elvis, aka Lance Berkman. That sonofabitch switch hitter is hitting lefty AS OPPOSED TO WHAT I READ ON THE INTERNET TODAY. I hope he gets negative zero dongs.

    9:02PM: Are we sure Miguel Tejada is 34 years old? After Fat Elvis hit an upper deck tot, Tejada giggled like a 12 year old girl who just learned what 'fellatio' means. BTW I still haven't learned that word. Berkman is simply abusing the gold balls. WHAT A GREAT CATCH BY THE KID IN THE BLACK!

    9:04PM: Lance Berkman nails 8 tater tots and earns my respect. He punished the ball worse than the time I got punished for shitting my pants in kindergarten. Interested in playing first base for New York (AL), sir?

    9:06PM: I stole this from Suss:


    He stole it from The Sports Hernia. Good work, gents.

    9:08PM: Instead of talking about Justin Morneau while he bats, I will give a dissertation on John McCain's ideas about economic growth in 2008 and beyond, from a globalization perspective with a focus on supply-side.

    9:10PM: Aw, forget it, I have no idea what I'm talking about with economics OR baseball. Let's talk about LOLcats! Justin Morneau is doing well so far. Rudy Giuliani looks like shit, but that's no different than NINE YEARS AGO WHEN HE WAS RELEVANT. Get bent, jacko.

    9:12PM: Monsieur Morneau ends up with eight dongs, tied with Fat Elvis, and I am shamed by his prodigious output. HEY THANKS FOR REMINDING ME OF THE 2006 AL MVP VOTE, BERMAN.

    9:14PM: I'm going to the game tomorrow night so you'll be able to enjoy the dulcet liveglogging tones of Camp Tiger Claw. I'm not sure how much more of this I can take though. This shit is sensory overload. Here's Ryan Braun.

    9:16PM: On a related note, my local kosher bakery just closed. Where am I supposed to get good bagels now? I mean the real kind of bagels, that are boiled and baked and are nice and crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside and actually have a fucking hole in them and aren't just shitty rolls.

    9:18PM: Ryan Braun's agent had some troubles with the first few pitches but he seems to be setting the kid up well now. Braun's got four taters in his first 11 swings.

    9:20PM: FYI I almost never see upper deck ding-dongs in left field at Yankee Stadium. This is absolutely an awesome spectacle of manliness. In fact, I'm actually getting some extra testosterone from watching this. NO MORE SHITTIN MY PANTS NOW, MA!

    9:22PM: Hey Ryan Braun, I think you'd look good in pinstripes. No, not those ridiculous Brewer pinstripes, I mean real natural dark blue pinstripes. Lemme know.

    9:24PM: I can't wait to not watch the Olympics!

    9:27PM: Josh Hamilton's pitcher is Craig Counsell's great grandfather? Huh? He puts his first swing to good use and knocks a dong to deep right center. Good work. COULDA BEEN A CRACKHEAD

    9:29PM: Well, it's official. Josh Hamilton is MADE OF MAGIC. Five hundred and two feet to the back wall of the bleachers? Walkoff Walk salutes you, good sir.

    9:31PM: I wasn't rooting for Hamilton before because I am a sarcastic prick. Well, I'm still a sarcastic prick but now I'm cheering loudly for the fella. HIT ONE OFF THE UTZ SIGN, SIR. I LOVE JALAPENO CHEDDAR POTATA CHIPS.

    9:33PM: What's in the briefcase that Edinson Volquez just gave to Mr. Hamilton? Some sort of magic potions or lotions? Some sort of miracle power cure? That ump just called Hamilton's wall shot "an out" and got booed worse than the time I shit my pants on the schoolbus home in fourth grade.

    9:35PM: Hitting homeruns is a "new way to get high." Go fuck yourself, Rick Reilly. Chris Berman makes a Hunts Point vegetable market reference despite the fact that the market closed. Jesus, Hamilton has been absolutely magical.

    9:38PM: Milton Bradley has poor depth perception, He just got silly excited about a 295 foot out. No matter, Hamilton has SIXTEEN dongs in 24 swings. Amazing!

    9:40PM: I just gasped like a schoolgirl. Twice. Once when Hamilton put one to the back of the black and once when those cops choked out the kid who caught it. OMIGOD UPPER UPPER DECK. FIVE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN FEET.

    9:42PM: I hope nobody has plans tonight. Hamilton might keep this thing rolling until midnight. Oh David Ortiz, you big dummy. Sit down.

    9:44PM: Wait a minute...I love Josh. Why did I give up my tickets to this Home Run Derby? I mean, I'm grateful to be sharing this with you, the reader, but shit. This is spellbinding. Can we just have Hamilton hit all night? Tell everyone else to go home? Do we really need to see anyone else?

    9:46PM: Hamilton just took a break to have some purple stuff. No, he wasn't 'tussin. No, it wasn't purple drank. Please hit 30, Mr. Hamilton.

    9:48PM: Joe Morgan's voice is what I want to hear in my head when I'm having relations and I don't want to let the flood gates open. He just makes me sad and angry. Chris Berman, however, would render me permanently impotent. GOLD BALL TIME!

    9:50PM: Everyone's dream is to hit 28 tater tots at Yankee Stadium and then smell Erin Andrews' pretty, well-conditioned hair. Twenty-eight ding dongs. That's some good swingin'.

    I CREATED AN NEW POST FOR THE SEMIS AND FINALS, Y'ALL.

    Red Sox closer and dancing white person Jonathan Papelbon made some waves at the pre-All Star game interview session by openly questioning the certitude that the AL's manager Terry Francona would finger Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of the ASG. Here's video proof from our pal 'Duk at Big League Stew:


    Whoops! It's not 'cut and dry' that Francona will go with the best closer in the history of baseball? Really, Jonny Paps? Really?

    I guess he saw the error of his ways after the media session was over; he pulled aside a Boston beat writer to make some additional comments. As reported by Gordon Edes at the Boston Globe:

    Papelbon took the reporter's tape recorder, held it to his mouth like a microphone, and said: "This is Jonathan Papelbon, closer of the Boston Red Sox. Mariano Rivera will be closing the 2008 All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium. "I'm making a statement right now, saying I don't want it, I want him to have it. I said all that earlier, but that's the way I feel about it.''

    That's better, friendo. I can't see a reason not to bring in Rivera in the ninth inning, regardless of the score or the team ahead. Rivera is one of those Yankees that most fans enjoy and respect despite their own team allegiance. Just like Jose Molina. Nobody hates the Molinas.

    Tonight's Question

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    liveglog.jpgHey kids, God made you that way.

    • WHO will win the Home Run Derby? Rob will be watching it and writing about it here. So if you're into reading jokes and making jokes and trying to tune out Chris Berman, come getcha some!

    • Then stop by tomorrow for some stuff. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

    Frankie Rodriguez Emotes

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    Whee.jpgSo ol' Frank got his save on against the A's yesterday. It was the 38th time he's done so this season, but apparently he doesn't subscribe to the "act like you've been there" theory and Jack Cust didn't take too kindly to his post save histrionics.

    "I don't think he's got too many fans in this clubhouse," Oakland designated hitter Jack Cust said of Rodriguez, who is seven for seven in save opportunities against the A's this season.

    "That's what he does; guys know that's his reaction. We would have been pumped too, if we won. If he's overwhelmed with the win, that's fine. I don't usually have enough energy for that."

    I don't necessarily agree with Cust taking offense. Rodriguez is intense and he worked out of a bases loaded jam against his team's closest division rival. He's allowed a fist pump. I didn't always think like this. When I was a kid I hated Dennis Eckersley for years because once he struck out Dwight Evans and shook his fist at him. I was livid. I love Dwight Evans. But people grow up and mature and you get over things like that and chalk it up to the heat of competition. Doesn't make this any less weird. But still.
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    Buried in the Emil Brown alleged sexual assault case is the fact that his accuser, Jennifer Haigh, is a former stripper. As recently as January 2008, Haigh was working at Diamond Joe's topless bar in North Kansas City. She also worked at a strip club named Pure in late 2007. Here's Brown's attorney Greg Leyh defending his client, from the Kansas City Daily Record:

        Leyh, of the Gladstone firm Leyh & Leyh, denied any wrongdoing on Brown's part. He also denied that Brown entered a contract with Haigh. "There's no assault," he said. "There are no criminal charges and no basis for criminal charges. "This is called extortion," Leyh added. "This is an ex-stripper who's trying to extort somebody that she thinks is a target. That's all it is."

    So maybe Emil Brown is really a stand-up guy who just likes to invite strippers to his house for his own personal enjoyment, allegedly not unlike former Kansas City Chiefs footballers Mike Bragg, Greg Wesley, Ryan Sims, Dante Hall and Craphonso Thorpe. According to Jennifer's testimony, she and her stripper friends had frequented the houses of said players, and one of her friends dated Bragg. Allegedly.

    I attempted to read the 150+ page deposition given by Ms. Haigh, but halfway throu....zzzzzzzzzz.

    Emil Brown Sexes With Authority; Is A Welcher

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    snuggle bear.gifSo here's a story. Emil Brown is having a halfway kinda breakout season, but it's not all sunshine and roses. Mainly because some dame says he owes her money for a sexual assault settlement. The story, written by Charles Emerick, ran today in the subscription only Kansas City Daily Record, so I will recount the good parts here for you.

    Emil Brown, an outfielder now with the Oakland A's, faces accusations that he breached a contract in which he was to pay more than $75,000 for a January 2007 incident. Brown, 33, who played for three years in Kansas City, joined Oakland as a free agent prior to this season. In a vague breach of contract lawsuit filed on Thursday, Jennifer Haigh, 24, claimed Brown owes her an undisclosed amount as part the deal they reached after a "pre-suit mediation process."

    See, our buddy Emil was accused by Ms. Haigh of barging through the front door without knocking but replace 'front door' with 'sexual acquiescence'. Then he allegedly "entered into this settlement agreement and release for the express purposes of avoiding the potential harm to his career caused by the threat of personal exposure of Haigh's claims of wrongdoing as well as avoiding the costs and expenses of litigation"

    Whoops!

    The numbers of the settlement are a little foggy. Haigh claims that Brown offered anywhere from $5,000-$10,000. What is not in dispute is that they met at a place called "The Cashew." This is actually the second time this case has been brought to court, the first one was dismissed because, well, Haigh lies all the time.

    "Plaintiff has admitted to lying on two separate occasions to the Missouri Driver's License Bureau about her physical address and has alleged that she lied to her employer in her handwritten note of March 2007 regarding her whereabouts during that time," Wright wrote in his order. "There is no evidence presently before this court that provides any assurances that plaintiff would actually be truthful about her domicile in connection with this litigation. Plaintiff's self-serving statements in her affidavit, her deposition and in her answers to defendant's interrogatories do not inspire confidence and the court affords them little weight."

    All of this adds up to... I have no idea. But I wrote it anyway.
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    Hey remember way back in March when we wrote up li'l previews for the six divisions and made wild predictions about the standings? Yeah, we were about as good at prognosticating as Jose Vidro is at hitting. MARINERS ZING! But hey, who among you really thought the Cardinals would be in second and the Indians in dead last? Not us. And who among you really thought Obama would beat Hillary despite losing primaries in New York, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio? Not us.

    Here are our predictions, followed by their actual standings so far:

    AL CENTRAL (CTC)
       1. Detroit Tigers (actually in 3rd, off by two)
       2. Cleveland Indians (actually in 5th, off by three)
       3. Kansas City Royals (actually in 4th, off by one)
       4. Chicago White Sox (actually in 1st, off by three)
       5. Minnesota Twins (actually in 2nd, off by three)
    These picks were off by an average of 2.4 places in the standings.

    NL EAST (Rob)
       1. New York Mets (actually in 2nd, off by one)
       2. Atlanta Braves (actually in 4th, off by two)
       3. Philadelphia Philles (actually in 1st, off by two)
       4. Florida Marlins (actually in 3rd, off by one)
       5. Washington Nationals (DIRECT HIT)
    These picks were off by an average of 1.2 places in the standings.

    AL WEST (CTC)
       1. LA Angels (DIRECT HIT)
       2. Seattle Mariners (actually in 4th, off by two)
       3. Texas Rangers (DIRECT HIT)
       4. Oakland Athletics (actually in 2nd, off by two)
    These picks were off by an average of 1 place in the standings.

    NL CENTRAL (Rob)
       1. Chicago Cubs (DIRECT HIT)
       2. Milwaukee Brewers (actually in 3rd, off by one)
       3. Cincinnati Reds (actually in 4th, off by one)
       4. Houston Astros (actually in 6th, off by two)
       5. Pittsburgh Pirates (DIRECT HIT)
       6. St. Louis Cardinals (actually in 2nd, off by four)
    These picks were off by an average of 1.333 places in the standings.

    NL WEST (Rob)
       1. Arizona Diamondbacks (DIRECT HIT)
       2. LA Dodgers (DIRECT HIT)
       3. Colorado Rockies (actually in 4th, off by one)
       4. San Diego Padres (actually in 5th, off by one)
       5. San Fran Giants (actually in 3rd, off by two)
    These picks were off by an average of 0.8 places in the standings.

    AL EAST (CTC)
       1. Boston Red Sox (DIRECT HIT)
       2. New York Yankees (actually in 3rd, off by one)
       3. Toronto Blue Jays (actually in 4th, off by one)
       4. Tampa Bay Rays (actually in 2nd, off by two)
       5. Baltimore Orioles (DIRECT HIT)
    These picks were off by an average of 0.8 places in the standings.

    Well it looks like we pretty much nailed the AL East and NL West and fell flat on our faces in the AL Central. The season is just 60% done, however, so maybe those Indians will still rally!

    As for our Prophesy of Mediocrity Contest, reader Sally is in the lead with three correct picks of the six third-place teams. She tabbed the Rangers, Marlins and Giants using the strategy of "picking last year's last place teams". For leading this contest at the All Star break, Sally gets to accompany me to the All Star Game tomorrow night! Lucky gal!

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    Tonight is the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium and I'll be live-glogging it here at Walkoff Walk while I keep ESPN on mute. Heck, they'll have 20 consarn cameras and some of that super slow-motion replay nonsense, so why do I need to listen to Chris Berman, Steve Phillips, and Joe Morgan blathering on incessantly? So cancel your dinner plans, put the kids in their cages, and set the DVR for No Reservations. Be here at 8PM, good readers, and follow along as I make snide remarks about the families of professional baseball players!

    Here are your participants:

    • Lance Berkman (22 ding-dongs) - The switch-hitting Fat Elvis will allegedly be hitting from the right side of the plate to preserve his power stroke. I expect an early exit, followed by a trip to Mike's Deli for a meatball sub.
    • Ryan Braun (22) - Braun's agent (and former Mariners prospect) Nez Balelo will be his BP pitcher for the contest. Wait a minute...the baseball player is a Jew and the agent is named Nez? Braun will be out after Round 1.
    • Josh Hamilton (20) - This lefty slugger is going to simply abuse The Stadium's short porch. Why? Because he once won a Little League Home Run Derby, and presumably he wasn't jacked up on coke back then either. He'll make the finals.
    • Evan Longoria (16) - Kid's got just 16 career homers but with a sweet swing and opposite field power, he'll notch some decent tater tots. Still, he'll be out early.
    • Justin Morneau (14) - This left-handed schlub was asked at the last minute to participate in the Derby only after Jason Giambi politely declined an invitation. Yes, Morneau is only here because a non-All Star said no. He'll make the semis and then fizzle late like the Twins do every year.
    • Grady Sizemore (22) - He's the best centerfielder in the majors and his good eye and power swing will send him to the semi-finals.
    • Dan Uggla (23) - Dan's just happy to be here.
    • Chase Utley (25) - Mr. Tastykakes is going to start out slow and then heat up to win this event, because that's what Phillies do.

    In other ding-dong news, we send congratulations to reader Piazza3931 who won our Pick Three Players Who Will Hit Many Home Runs contest. He (she?) chose Carlos Beltran, Ryan Howard, and Adam Dunn who combined for 32 ding-dongs since June 11th. Howard led all players with 13 tater tots in that span while Beltran's 9 and Dunn's 10 made them solid picks. Shame on reader Bill J for picking Pujols, Manny and Soriano who combined for 5 measly homers. Here's the final tally.

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    Here's what happened in baseball as the first 'half' ended:

    Brewers 3, Reds 2: Good thing Milwaukee traded for CC Sabathia otherwise they'd have been swept by the Reds. Big Boy tater-totted in his complete game victory over Cincinnati while striking out nine Reds. Heck, he sent all three ninth inning batters down via K (granted it was Corey Patterson, David Ross and Joey Votto). Craig Counsell's walkoff sac fly won it for the Brew Crew, and then he was carded at the after party at Victor's. Jerry Hairston Jr. got hurt again, extending the 2008 Curse of Reds Shortstops.

    Indians 5, Rays 2: I kept telling you but nobody ever listens to me. The Rays' downfall would come on the road, and it did. The lowly Cleveland Indians completed a four-game sweep and handed Tampa Bay its seventh loss in a row. Shit, the Rays haven't won in Cleveland since Justice Roberts' reign of terror began Hey the Red Sox are in first place at the All Star break! WHO KNEW! Jhonny Peralta's three RBI toppled Rays ace Scott Kazmir and reliever Tom Mastny collected his first win of the year.

    Giants 4, Cubs 2: You can have your Rich Hardens and your Carlos Zambranos, Cubs fans, but you'll never get any Tim Lincecums no matter how many Matt Murtons you put out on the market. Mr. Lincecum struck out nine Cubs in eight innings strong while adding an RBI triple for good measure. He out-dueled the previously-undefeated-at-home Ryan Dempster who has never beaten the mighty Giants. Ray Durham had a two-RBI single and then beat up a vagrant after the game. Just kidding. He clothed the poor and healed the sick.

    The Sunday Morning Post

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    televangelist2.jpgDAMN YOU, MOVABLE TYPE.

    My whole morning post just erased. Here's what happpened.

    SOME OF TODAY:

    • Twins look for 4 game sweep of Tigers

    • Lincecum vs. Dempster

    • Kazmir tries to stop Rays' slide.

    • Rockies/Mets is your Sunday night game.
    Have a good day everyone. I'm going to go punch the guy that invented MT in the face.

    Late Night Hello: Matt Clement

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    clement.jpg


















    Oh hey were you sleeping? I still play baseball.

    The Saturday Morning Post

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    neil_diamond.jpgSOME OF LAST NIGHT:

    Do you see what happens Tampa? Do you see what happens Tampa? This is what happens when you upset Neil. Rays lose fifth straight against Cliff Lee and Indians... Also streaking: Mets take seventh in a row against lowly Rox... Twins top Tigers and creep back to 1.5 games out, after Pale Hose lose to mashing Rangers... Jason Werth knocks in walkoff single in 12th to help Phillies assert dominance over sub .500 Snakes... Another day, another complete game 2 hitter from Roy Halladay. Jays stick this one to the Yankees... Let us not overlook Kyle Lohse's 7 inning shutout. Sure it was against the Pirates, but still... Sean Gallagher allows 2 hits in his A's debut. Hahahahahahaha. Awesome. A's beat Angels 9-2.

    SOME OF TODAY:

    • Rich Harden makes his Cubs debut.

    • FOX is showing Rockies/Mets, or uh... Twins/Tigers... or uh... Snakes/Phils. I'd like the second one, but I bet I get the Mets.

    • If you're up late, Nolasco/Kuroda should be a good one.

    Enjoy your day, WoWies.

    Weekend Questions

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    pouting kid.jpgHey kids, another week in the books. Time to get plenty of rest and work on those resumes!


    Alright, I was just kidding about the rest and resumes thing. Hope everyone has a good peak of the summer weekend. Get out there and get mildly dangerous. We'll have some morning posts for you Sat & Sun to hang around on if you're in watching some games.

    Mets Fans' Worst Moments

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    Today's Classic TV Friday post isn't classic in the "aged" sense of the word, it's classic in the "the pain of Mets fans turns me on" sense. I remember seeing this a few months back on CSTB but while cruising for today's video, I was reacquainted with its radness. Enjoy!

    Melancholy Breakfast: Today's Afternoon Game

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    • 2:20, Giants at Cubs: Chicago survived their longest roadtrip of the year, going 4-6 but coming out of it with a 4 game lead against the Brewers. They're no doubt happy to be back at Wrigley, owning the best home record in baseball and being welcomed back by the struggling Giants. San Francisco heads to the Windy City after running into the current Mets buzzsaw with their bats still on the luggage carousel. Matt Cain takes on Jason Marquis who will hopefully give up less than 7 home runs.
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    The Rangers lost an absolute heartbreaker to the Angels last night 11-10 in eleven innings. Texas had staged a pretty decent comeback after being down 10-4 in the fourth inning, thanks to tater tots by Marlon Byrd and Max Ramirez and some stellar shutout bullpennery by Eddie Guardado, C.J. Wilson, and Frank Francisco. Texas skipper (and Josh Hamilton favorite) Ron Washington was ejected in the seventh for arguing that Chris Davis' RBI double should have been a home run, and bench coach Art Howe took over.

    Reliever Jamey Wright allowed the go-ahead run to the Angels in the top of the 11th, but the Rangers had a chance to score in the home half. Brandon Boggs led off with a walk and catcher Max Ramirez attempted a sac bunt. Angels reliever Francisco Rodriguez fumbled the ball, though, and Texas was set up with runners on first and second with no outs and HOTTEST HITTER IN THE LEAGUE Ian Kinsler coming up.

    So what does Grandpa Art Howe do? He has Kinsler attempt a bunt, which of course is popped up to the pitcher for the first out. Ramon Vazquez struck out and Michael Young grounded out to end the game. I think it's ridiculous to play for the tie down one run at home with the hottest hitter in baseball at the dish, but Walkoff Walk friend Evan Grant sees it both ways:

    If Kinsler swings away, there is a better-than-zero chance of a double-play grounder and also the chance that while he gets the tying run to third base, maybe the winning run doesn't get into scoring position. And the Rangers were trying to win the game in the 11th. They really didn't have enough pitching to go much further.

    Good point, but how do you weigh the chances of a GIDP against the chances that Kinsler will be unable to bunt against a 99 MPH throwing K-Rod?

    What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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    stretcher.JPGI only call you a creampuff because you're acting like one.

    • Adam Loewen, Orioles: The stress fracture in Lowen's left elbow that led to last season's surgery has returned. That must be a lousy feeling. He's only been off the DL for one month after his recovery from that one. Tough to poke fun at this one.

    • Bobby Jenks, White Sox: Jenks hit the DL this week with Bursitis. I already made a joke yesterday about Bursitis being for old people, so today I'm going to joke that it sounds like the name of a lemon-lime soda.

    • Aaron Harang, Reds: Rob already made the joke yesterday that Dusty Baker murdered Aaron Harang's dead arm so today I'll just say that it sounds like a lemon-lime soda. What? He hasn't even had the MRI yet and is already heading to the DL so that's uh.. . not good.

    • Mike Napoli, Angels: Napoli is the latest victim of baseball's serial shoulder arsonist. This man must be brought to justice. One second you're a terribly weekend hitting catcher minding your own business, the next your shoulder is in flames. Tragic.

    • Moises Alou, Mets: When ballplayers play for a long time you hear people refer to them as "ageless." You certainly can't say that for Moises. He's had enough injuries to actually appear older than he is. This time it's a torn hamstring and this could be the end of his career. Unless he pisses on it.

    • Mark Mulder, Cardinals: Blink and you would have missed Mulder's return to the St. Louis rotation. His shoulder exploded or something and htis could be a disappointing end to a once solid career. Man today's injuries are kind of depressing, aren't they?

    • Vernon Wells, Dustin McGowan, Blue Jays: Vernon has a grade 2 hamstring pull which puts him out for 4-6 weeks. You can't say Wells isn't consistent. This is right in line with his history of one good year, one crappy year, one good year, one crappy year. McGowan is also looking at 4 weeks away but luckily for him and the Jays he won't need surgery on his rotator cuff.

    • Wes Helms, Marlins: Raped by a wallaby.

    Now that we've voted for the final members of each All Star team, we can head over to Vegas Watch and vote on who you think should be recalled from the All Star Game. What, no Billy Wagner? [Vegas Watch]

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    Our good friends in Philadelphia breathed a sigh of relief when superstar slugger Ryan Howard knocked out two tater tots in the Phillies' big 4-1 win over the Cardinals yesterday. He's now leading the majors in homers (and strikeouts) and leading the NL in RBI (and errors by a first baseman). Says Enrico of The 700 Level:

        After yesterday's win, a friend of mine told me about the pleasure he got from telling off his buddies who earlier in the season were calling for Howard to be traded. I like to think I never abandoned Ryan when he was mired in struggles. Sure, I made a few jokes here and there about "how many strikeouts will RyHo get tonight?" But I had faith the former MVP would find his stroke. And he has.

    You have good faith in your favorite team's star players, friend. Ryan Howard has been one of the top hitting first basemen in baseball over the past three years. Even better, he just seems like a nice fella the way the media portrays him. Aw, his mom gives him an allowance still. How precious!

    Kid's got 156 ding-dongs over his 503 game career; project him out to a 16 year career and he'll notch over 650 homers. The problem arises however: can we really project him out that far? Check out RyHo's Baseball-Reference page and look at his similar batters. Sure, there's no Dave Kingman (thankfully) but there is:

    • Norm Cash (925)
    • Cecil Fielder (909)
    • ...
    • Mo Vaughn (884)

    Norm Cash had a very good 19 year career in the offensively-challenged 1960's and ended up with 377 career homers. Not bad, especially with a career OPS of .862. However, Cecil Fielder and Mo Vaughn experienced an enormous amount of success early in their careers and then fell off miserably after age 32. Perhaps Fielder's career was stunted by Gamblor and perhaps Mo Vaughn's career was stunted by Krispy Kremes, but the fact remains: Ryan Howard is a larger-than-average, power-hitting, poor-fielding first baseman who strikes out about 1.3 times per game.

    For the most part, Howard has been quite popular in Philadelphia, what with his MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. But general manager Pat Gillick was reluctant to give him a big payday with an extended contract and perhaps this is why. I like the big fella and I want to see him break out of the career mold set so poorly by Vaughn and Fielder; only time will tell.

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    Here's what happened in baseball while you were thinking like a cannonball shooting out a cannon:

    Indians 13, Rays 2: I told you Tampa Bay would struggle on the road! You didn't listen, but I was right. The Rays have now lost four in a row since they packed their Travelpro luggage and started jetting about the country. Ben Francisco, David Dellucci, Casey Blake and Shin Soo Choo provided the tater tots for the Cleve while Aaron Laffey notched his fifth win with six solid. Andy Sonnanstine was victimized for five singles and four extra-base hits and ate his fourth loss. It tasted like sardine ice cream.

    Pirates 4, Yankees 2: Well Joe Girardi, I told you not to take that layover in Pittsburgh on the way to Toronto but you insisted on making up that rainout. Well you've made your bed and now you'll have to shit in it as Paul Maholm was nasty over eight innings and Nate McLouth ding-donged the game winner off Jose Veras. Mike Mussina pitched well and even added the first 2008 hit by a Yankee pitcher, but what does it matter when your offense and defense's collective minds are already in the halycon city of Toronto?

    Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5: Adam Lind walkoff single Toronto sweep George Sherrill blown save Jeremy Guthrie wasted start Vernon Wells DL 22,279 attendance blah blah blah. No other night games have ended by the time my eyelids got too heavy to finish this whole recap dealie. The American League East basement will have to do, y'all! Hey look, House Hunters! Zzzzz

    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, check out your local purveyors of televised baseball to find out:

    Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

    linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

    • With the Padres' season effectively over, the folks at Gaslamp Ball are undertaking the time-tested tradition of assembling a fictional All Star team using characters from baseball movies. Go vote for the chimp. Gaslamp Ball.

    • Ken Mandel gets down to the nitty gritty reporting and finds out which Phillies pitchers are dropping the punctuation from their names. Hint: none. MLB.com.

    • Wille the Groundskeeper is ticked off that his unobstructed view of the Capitol dome has been rendered partially-obstructed by a big red tent. I guess Nationals fans are finding new ways to not look at the Nationals lose ballgames. Half Street Blues.

    • The folks at Cardinals Diaspora are grieving the possible end of Mark Mulder's career while reacting critically to the terrible two year option that St. Louis picked up on the guy. In the accompanying picture, it looks like he is turning into the Michelin Man. Cardinals Diaspora.

    • Kurt puts his nose to the ol' grindstone and compares the pitching rotations of the National League contenders. What, no love for the Mets? GoatRiders of the Apocalypse.

    • Julia Nunes covered R.E.M. with some funny-looking chick. YouTube.

    Massive news out of Oakland today as the Seattle Mariners have released first baseman Richie Sexson.

    The move was announced by Lee Pelekoudas, the team's vice president and general manager. "We felt that at this time it was in the best interest of the ballclub, and in Richie's best interest, to make this move" Pelekoudas said in a statement released by the team. Sexson, 33, was hitting .218 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI in 74 games this season.

    Sexson is still owed the remainder of the $14 million he was s'posed to earn in the final year of his $50 million contract.

    So, does any team need a tall, good-fielding first baseman who gets on base a lot and has the same power output as a triple A battery? Richie Sexson needs work, y'all.

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    With Shea Stadium set to be imploded/dismantled/burned to the ground after this season is through, Mets fans all over the greater Long Island area are foaming at the mouth for the next great ballpark to arise from the ashes. Citi Field is going to look like Ebbets Field and feel like Camden Yards, but most notably, it's gonna taste like heaven:

    While we've all known for awhile that Danny Meyer had a deal cooking with the new Mets stadium, Citi Field, the Union Square Hospitality Group just released the most detailed line up of the offerings to date. In addition to the rumored Shake Shack and Blue Smoke the new stadium will also have a yet-to-be-named taqueria featuring "authentic" tacos and Pop Fries, USHG's new fry stand concept (think the East Village's Pomme Frites).

    Flushing, Queens is a pretty far trip from my home base in Jersey, and yet even with my hatred of the Mets, I guarantee I will make the three-train trip to this place just to eat my way through the concourses. Shake Shack's original location is in New York City's own Madison Square Park and features some of the most delicious and fresh hamburgers, Chicago-style hot dogs, and hand-spun milkshakes in the world. Blue Smoke is an urban BBQ joint and I can imagine they'll be pumping out Memphis-style pork ribs by the rack. And 'authentic' tacos? Sounds delish!

    Also, I would love to watch Carlos Beltran strike out while downing some pommes frites with some saffron-infused mayo.

    No telling what kind of local beer they'll be serving at the park, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some Brooklyner Weisse beer from the good folks at Brooklyn Brewery. Full disclosure: this beer made my pee smell funny last weekend.

    Ontological: Today's Afternoon Games

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    • 1:05, Cardinals at Phillies: Rubbertime in Philadelphia. The two teams have scored a combined 8 runs in the two games and are hoping some sunshine will give them the vitamin D they require to be better hitters. It's a very important vitamin, you know. Braden Looper takes on Jamie Moyer. People from Philadelphia are animals.

    • 1:05, Twins at Tigers: Hey BC Twins Fan, how's that broom taste? Kevin Slowey and the Twins try and shake off their shellacking against Kenny Rogers and the Tigers. Detroit has won 3 in a row and Miguel Cabrera is on fire at the plate. He's depositing balls in the seats faster than polish sausages in his maw. But Slowey's no slouch and has has been stellar in his last 5 appearances. I would like to watch this game.

    • 1:10, Giants at Mets: San Fran has been totally listless in losing the first two games of this series by a combined 12-0. Barry Zito looks to win back to back starts for the first time all year, while John Maine will try and sweep the Giants under the rug. Where they keep Moises Alou.

    • 2:05, Rockies at Brewers: Colorado has taken two of the first 3 games in this series, and with last night's loss the Brewers fell 5 games behind the Cubs. Well at least they got CC or they'd be looking at a sweep. AMIRITE? Bratwurst! AMIRITE? Jorge De La Rosa takes on Dave Bush. AMIRITE?

    • 2:20, Reds at Cubs: Speaking of the Cubs, they're looking to sweep the Reds right out of their intestinal tract with some fiber I like to call, good baseball. AMIRITE? Bronson Arroyo gets the start today against Ted Lilly. I dislike Bronson Arroyo but take solace in the fact that unless he is traded soon (a distinct possibility) his arm will catch on fire.

    • 3:35, Mariners at A's: The first two games of this series went according to the script these teams have followed most of the season. Close, low scoring games with the A's emerging victorious, and the M's emerging hilariously defeated. Last night was a wacky one as M's starter Miguel Batista went down with a goin strain after only two innings, but the bullpen kept them in it and they actually scored SIX RUNS. Wowza. They'll try and even the four game series today sending R.A. Dickey to the mound against WoW favorite (not sure why though) Greg Smith.
    Power_Rangers.jpgAfter the Rangers mighty fine walkoff win last night, this ragtag bunch of sluggers and their fans are getting kind of excited. The Angels don't look like a runaway train and while the A's have some of baseball's best pitching, if that goes south, they can't score enough runs to make up for it. So do Washington's Army really have what it takes to make a run in the AL West? It could take some deadline moves by much loved/reviled GM, Jon Daniels. WoW friend Richard Durrett of the Dallas Morning News took a look at some possibilities.

    (Daniels) has until the end of the month to figure out exactly where this team sits, but the thinking at this point must remain 2009 and 2010. That doesn't mean a big firesale. I agree with Mike that the Rangers should be sellers, but I don't think that should be everybody. Unless the offer is too good to pass up, I keep Milton Bradley and offer him arbitration after the season. If he takes it, you've got a DH next season (and a darn good one). If not, worst-case scenario is you get two first-round picks in return. So it better be a great deal to trade him. The Ranger player with the highest market value could be Eddie Guardado. I'd be interested to see what the Rangers could get for him.

    Guardado hasn't been "Everyday Eddie" in awhile but it's possible he could fit in as an emergency stopgap somewhere. Let me pull Chicago out of my ass, where Bobby Jenks just hit the DL with bursitis in his shoulder. This is troubling because having bursitis means you're 70.

    Of course all of this hinges on whether or not the Rangers keep winning. Their last series before the break is against those first place White Sox, and they open up the second half with a 9 game roadtrip through Minnesota, Chicago and Oakland. Everyone should have a pretty good idea of where Texas stands after that.

    But, hey! We're talking about the Rangers at the All-Star break. That's a positive sign.
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    A day after giving up a career high seven walks and six runs in just four innings, Cincinnati Reds ace Aaron Harang is due to have an MRI on his throwing arm today, and Dusty Baker is absolutely perplexed.

    Says Dusty:

        "He didn't say anything. There were some balls in one inning in the 90s, then the next inning they'd be in the mid-80's. I don't know. This is puzzling. This has gone on quite a while. I just don't have an answer."

    Well Dusty, let's revisit Harang's year, shall we? Prior to May 25th, Harang was 2-6 with a 3.50 ERA. He was pitching well for a crappy team. On May 25th, the Reds played that 18-inning game in San Diego and Dusty sent Aaron in for FOUR innings and SIXTY-THREE pitches on just TWO days rest. In the eight starts since that game (which the Reds lost, natch) Harang is 1-5 with a 7.31 ERA.

    Kid had been the best pitcher in Cincinnati for the past couple years, going 32-17 with an ERA of 3.75. I'm not saying that the Dusty Baker hire is the reason that Harang has seen his ERA increase by over a run this year, but I'm not ruling it out either. Harang had missed last Saturday's start against Washington due to soreness in his elbow and yet Baker saw it fit to keep him in the game for 108 pitches.

    Harang has been an extremely durable pitcher in his short career, averaging nearly 108 pitches across his 33 starts last season. But obviously, something's amiss now, and perhaps the best idea would have been to send him for an MRI before taxing the arm for 108 pitches. Baseball Prospectus measures "Pitcher Abuse Points" (subscription req'd) and four of the 25 most abused NL pitchers are Reds. Aaron Harang is number seven on the list. Granted, PAPs don't necessarily indicate that a pitcher's arm is in danger, but it's not at all surprising to see 80% of the Reds rotation at the top of this list.

    So Dusty, next time a pitcher complains about arm soreness, send him down the hall to the nurse's office and at least get the kid a lolly.

    Thanks to erudite reader Mike L. for sending this gem our way.

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    Here's what happened in baseball while you said 'hello' to never:

    Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 0: Something tells me that Arizona has tumbled into some sort of purgatory that will keep them hovering one game above and one game below .500 for the remainder of the season. Hey the Yankees were in that fateful boat too and then Jason Giambi grew a moustache! Anywho, John Lannan pitched a gem for Warshington, going six scoreless innings against a lineup sans Eric Byrnes and sans Justin Upton. Jesus Flores had a three-run pinch-hit tater-tot. Full of hyphen-y goodness!

    Tigers 8, Indians 6: Miguel Cabrera's walkoff two-run ding-dong off Jensen Lewis was the difference maker but let's really stick the blame on Rafael Betancourt. The Indians reliever gave up three runs in the ill-fated seventh inning, ruining an actual effective outing from Paul Byrd. Detroit actually came back from a six run deficit in this one. Tiger rightfielder Matt Joyce was a perfectly cromulent hitter in the five hole, falling a triple short of the cycle and knocking in three runs. Crazy blogger Todd Jones pitched a scoreless ninth to earn a lucky win, his fourth on the year.

    Blue Jays 9, Orioles 8: Balty-more's six-run sixth was not enough to topple Toronto's seven-run fourth inning as the two least interesting AL East teams battled it out for fourth place. Both starters were charged with seven runs but A.J. Burnett somehow eked out a win, despite going just 5 and a third innings and allowing seven hits and three walks. Vernon Wells left the game in the seventh with a leg injury and was replac...oh who cares. The Yankees won, the Rays lost, and the Red Sox won. There's your AL East recap.

    Tonight's Questions

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    night game.jpgHey kids, that's entertainment.


    Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
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    Get ready for complete and utter homerism, folks. I'm live-glogging the New York Yankees for the first time this season as they face the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx. The Yanks are 6-5 against the Rays this season and look to move one game closer to first place with a win today.

    Your starters today are Sid Ponson (5-1, 4.19 ERA) and Edwin Jackson (5-6, 4.08 ERA). Sir Sidney took his only loss this year in Tampa but he picked up his only two 2007 wins against the Devil Rays. It's basically the same light-hitting team, except without a Devil and with better defense. Jackson, however, is making his fourth start against the Yankees this season. He's 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA and has struck out 13 Yanks in 18 innings. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez tater-totted off Jackson last year and are OPS'ing over 1.000 against the righty. Get yer lineups over here.

    Enough of the intros, let's get glogging! It's Free Moustache Day at The Stadium! There's a jump down there!

    Death Fugue: Today's Afternoon Games

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    • 1:05, Twins at Red Sox: Don't wake Manny! Too late. I'm not sure if it was legislated by any RSN governors, but Manny has been the main ingredient to the last two wins against Minnesota. He knocked in the game's only run on Monday night, and last night tied the game in the 8th with a two run ding dong. The Twins would reeeeeally like to avoid the broom closet seeing as how the team they're chasing is currently engaged with the Royals. Don't wanna lose more ground. Livan takes on Beckett and i'll be pawing at my office window wishing I could join everyone up the street.

    • 1:05, Rays at Yankees: As Robert mentioned in this morning's BBB, last night was like the Super Bowl for the Yankees. Yes, this July series against Tampa is pretty much the most important thing that has happened to Yankees fans in about 3 years. I'm sure they'd love to keep gloating about last night's win, but it's time to move on. And what better way to move on than to trot out Sidney Ponson! Ol' Smiley got rocked in his last start giving up 7 runs in 5 IP. The Rays counter with Edwin Jackson and 15 years of pent up aggression. Rob is glogging this one because despite all his attempts at neutrality, he's a huge homer.

    • 3:35, Marlins at Padres: The Marlins are only 2 games above .500 but that's good enough to keep them a single game behind the Phils. The NL Central must be hogging all the wins for the entire league. Lord knows the Padres don't have em! This late afternoon matchup pits Scott Olsen vs. Cha Seung Baek vs. your burning desire to leave work early.

    Tiger Saves Kitten, Are You Feline Me? /kills self

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    catch_of_day.jpgIs this what it's come to? The All-Star Game is approaching. The trade market is heating up. But I'm here to tell you about Tigers outfielder Matt Joyce who rescued a baby cat from the batting cage at Comerica Park.

    Hearing the tiny black cat whimper, (Joyce) climbed up on a stool and, with batting gloves on to protect his hands, pulled the animal down, before carrying it up the stairs into the clubhouse. The kitten was last seen being fed milk in a bowl by Joyce in the Tigers clubhouse kitchen.

    The rescue brought some much needed levity to the Detroit clubhouse until Jim Leyland was quoted as saying, "What the hell is this fairy horseshit?" Then stubbed out a match on the cat's back.
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    I think I just threw up in my mouth. The Boston Red Sox have taken this Red Sox Nation lark a little bit too far now. First, the team incorporated the 'nation' concept and solicited $250 memberships from Sox fans. Then, they elected this goofball to be their fucking president. Now, they're expanding upon the republican concept of an aggregation of states and electing governors:

    The Boston Red Sox today announced the selection of the first-ever Governors of Red Sox Nation. One Governor was chosen from each of the six New England states. An outgrowth of the Red Sox Nation "Five-Point Plan" announced this past spring, the Governors program will aim to provide unique access for some of the most loyal Red Sox fans and collect valuable feedback from a diverse collection of Red Sox Nation citizens and members.

    Well congratu-fucking-lations, Red Sox fans. You've fallen for the oldest marketing ploy in the books. The Nation received over 800 applications from the six states for the position of 'governor' and are now opening the competition up to the remaining 46 states (and Warshington D.C. too!) Good job becoming the world's dopiest focus group. Sorry, Red Sox fans, but the Red Sox corporation isn't as interested in your fandom and support as it is in your pocketbooks and kidneys in case Manny Ramirez needs one.

    How much further will this go? Will the states soon be electing senators? Will congressional districts be created and gerrymandered to elect representatives? When will a third branch of gub'mint in Red Sox Nation be added to judge the constitutionality of laws like "Red Sox citizens must cheer for Kevin Millar in his first at-bat and then boo him in subsequent at-bats"? THIS IS ALL SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL!

    Screw it, I think I'm going to apply to become Red Sox Nation's governor of New Jersey. Instead of filing out a proper application, though, I'm going to send in taint pics. Perhaps even my own taint.

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    Here's what happened in baseball while you watched this amazing video:

    Yankees 5, Rays 0: Andy Pettitte's eight strong shutout innings topped Scott Kazmir's nine strikeouts over five innings while Derek Jeter's defense was absolutely Jeterian. Pettitte also picked up his 1,500th strikeout as a Yankee and Jeter added two RBI. Tampa falls to 19-20 on the road. Heck, those silly Devil Rays had better learn to win ballgames outside of the St. Petersburg Terrordome if they really want to impress this fella; they've got 42 road games remaining against just 31 home games. Yes, this was like the Super Bowl for Yankees fans.

    Red Sox 6, Twins 5: Manny Ramirez' two-run ding-dong over the Green Monster tied the game in the eighth; Kevin Youkilis followed with a double and Brandon Moss finished with the game winning RBI single. Twins starter Nick Blackburn's solid six inning nickgasm went to shit when reliever Matt Guerrier gave up four runs in that fateful eighth. Nick Punto's leadoff double (nickgasm!) in the ninth off Jon Papelbon went for naught. Minny loses its second one-run game in a row and things haven't been this bad in Minneapolis since Chuckles bit the dust.

    Mets 7, Giants 0: Everybody off the Tim Lincecum train. Kid gave up tater tots to Carloses Delgado and Beltran in a loss to the Mets. New York outhit San Fran 14-3.

    Cardinals 2, Phillies 0: And now the Mets are just 1.5 games behind Philly for first place, thanks to the solo ding-dong power of Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick.

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    Massive trade news: the Oakland Athletics bolstered their playoff chances by acquiring Corey Patterson's little brother Eric from the Cubs. They gave up pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin and also received pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielder Matt Murton, and someone named Josh Donaldson.

    Eric Patterson is a speedy little outfield guy who hit .237 with 1 home run, 7 runs batted in and 2 stolen bases in 13 games in Chicago this season. Expect the A's to demote center fielder Carlos Gonzalez to double A Midland in favor of SOMEBODY RELATED TO COREY PATTERSON.

    (We owe a Coke to the Hardball fellas)

    Tonight's Questions

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    night game.jpgHey kids, tooths hurt send medic:


    Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

    2003 Chinese Taipei Baseball Team

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    Wow. What a squad. Those are the days we'll always remember, guys.

    linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

    • Adrian Gonzalez has way too much aw-shucks humility to compete in the Home Run Derby. Even worse, his kid brother and teammate Edgar won't be at Yankee Stadium to cheer on his big bro because he has to spend time with his wife. Gaslamp Ball.

    • The gang at U.S.S. Mariner are kinda bored with the Mariners season so they decided to post odds for the Seattle GM search. What, no odds for Steve Phillips? U.S.S. Mariner.

    • Fifth Outfielder gets their hands on a Ned Colletti interview and dissects it. Actually, 'tears Colletti a new asshole' would be a more apt metaphor. Fifth Outfielder.

    • Nobody had as big a laugh about the Mariners using a backup catcher to pitch the 15th inning than this guy. I mean, NOBODY. Futon Report.

    • Joe Sheehan analyzes the CC Sabathia trade and deems that it was a worthy one, even if the Brewers only improve by two or three wins. I agree, if only because Miller Park will see a 10% increase in attendance and a 85% increase in cheese fries consumption. Baseball Prospectus.

    • Fun stuff to put in your garden: the undead. Boing Boing Gadgets.
    jail.jpgIn the lovely burgh of Belmar, New Jersey, St. Rose High School Baseball Coach Bartholomew McInerney is in a bit of hot water. Seems the ol' ballcoach has been encouraging his players to choke up. On their privates. Then text him about it. Shudder.

    The Spring Lake Heights resident is accused of offering to pay male students, ranging in age from 15 to 17, for performing sexual acts on themselves and encouraging them to send him text messages describing the act.

    "In some the cases the boys were actually paid on numerous occasions for their messages,'' Gerhardt said.

    Oh, come on. There's gotta be an explanation for this. Since when have coaches ever taken advantage of the boys and girls they're charged with leading? They're upstanding beacons of heterosexuality. Right attorney, Charles Uliano?

    "There are health teachers who do that every day in school where they talk about various forms of sexuality,'' he said. But he said his client did not break the law. "Bart McInerney is a good man,'' Uliano said after court. "He did not violate the law and he's not guilty of these charges."

    Oh, of course. He just wanted to talk to them about their health. These kids are lucky to have someone that cares so much. To me the more pressing question is how did someone named Bartholomew McInerney build a time machine to escape from the Wild West and commit these crimes here in 2008?

    Well whatever happens with old Bart, I'm sure he'll be waaay into this new Topps card featuring a topless David Ortiz as a baby.
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    Like matter and anti-matter, humidifiers and de-humidifiers, and dog food and rat poison, sabermetricians and traditionally-minded baseball folk can sometimes produce dangerous results when mixed. Exceptions can sometimes be made, like when you're trying to kill your girlfriend's chihuahua, or when Baseball Think Factory picks up a Walkoff Walk piece and stathead Voros McCracken posts a comment on the item:

    In my old age, I try and give the benefit of the doubt in most cases. But, like Cam Bonifay, there just aren't any excuses for Chuck LaMar. The first four years in the history of Devil Rays baseball were among the most clueless and inept I've ever seen. That these years are so obviously critical to getting the franchise off on the right foot with its potential fans makes it doubly so.

    Oh brilliant, McCracken agrees with our own Camp Tiger Claw! Voros is credited with inventing DIPS, a system of statistics that measure a pitcher's performance independently from the crappy fielders who play behind him. For example, DIPS could effectively measure Andy Pettitte's value without taking into account Derek Jeter's total lack of range to his left side. McCracken eventually landed a cushy consulting job with the Red Sox and now maintains his own blog.

    Camp Tiger Claw, on the other hand, is a self-described thick-skulled believer in baseball tradition and tends to lean on jokes. He shuns fancy statistics, partly because he believes they are overtly snooty and partly because he doesn't understand 'math'. But he's no Joe Morgan, and he's no cretin; CTC totally digs on OPS. Still, he wrote a great critical piece on former Tampa Bay GM LaMar. Glad to see that the baseballblogosphere agrees on at least one thing: Chuck LaMar was not good.

    pouting kid.jpgAfter a grueling three days in the minors, struggling Braves outfielder Jeff Francouer is back up with the club. While sitting with his arms folded on a stool in the kitchen of AA Mississippi, Frenchy was told he could go back to the majors and play with the big boys as long as he stopped hitting like crap and didn't argue when it was time to take a shower and go to bed. From our friends at the AJC:

    "Even though it's only been three days, I feel like a new guy," Francoeur told the Journal-Constitution by phone during a layover in Chicago. "I was hoping to get there before the game. But now I'm just excited to be there and be with the guys. The only thing is, I have no clothes.

    "I'm just glad to have it over with," said Francoeur, who found out Monday morning he was going back up. "It's one of those things I'm going to forget about. It won't do me any good to think about what happened. I need to go out and swing the bat and help the team."

    Francoeur left Atlanta on Friday with a .234 batting average, the weight of the world on his shoulders, and upset that he was being sent down after three years in the major leagues. He returns having hit .538 (7-for-13) in three games for Mississippi, with a triple and two RBIs.

    Francouer had some not so nice words for the team when he went down last week, but the four hits he had in Mississippi on Sunday seem to have erased both his distaste with the team and the team's distaste with his hitting. Sadly, Frenchy's Forum is silent on the whole thing. I was hoping to read some catfish reviews or something.
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    Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal was having the April of his life before injuring his back in May. He was getting on base at a .448 clip and he socked five tater tots in just 32 games. Kid was supposed to come back near the All Star break, but lower back surgery put that return date off until September.

    In the 57 games since Furcal's back hit the skids, Joe Torre has used an unhealthy combination of Angel Berroa, Chin-Lung Hu, Luis Maza, and yes, Nomar Garciaparra at short. All those fellas mixed up would give anyone a case of the heartburn. Nomar at short plus Jeff Kent at second base would pretty much open up the middle of the infield for an explosion of ground ball singles, aka Derek Lowe Syndrome.

    So what is wacky general manager Ned Colletti to do? He already decided not to give up outfielder Matt Kemp in the CC Sabathia sweepstakes. Fair move. Now Neddy needs a shortstop, so he's going after the obvious solutions to his problem: Jack Wilson or David Eckstein.

    Wilson is the longest tenured Pittsburgh Pirate and has never been much of a 'professional hitter'. No matter, he's got a stellar glove and he's quite popular amongst the Yinzer faithful. Sorry Ned, he's probably staying put.

    As for Eckstein, his Blue Jay team is quite ready to dump him. They're looking for a longer term solution at shortstop who can actually, you know, hit and you know, field. Fella's gonna be a free agent at the end of the season anyway so the Jays won't suffer if they don't get rid of him right away. Try again, Ned.

    It's a seller's market, for sure. If Ned makes no trades and if something completely expected happens (i.e. Nomar getting hurt), Colletti will be that much more desperate. I think Maury Wills is available.

    (We owe a Coke to Bucs Dugout)

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    Here's what happened in baseball while you walked to a town that all of us burn:

    Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Yes, Boston won the game on Manny Ramirez' eighth inning RBI single up the middle but Minnesota won something far more important: the hearts and minds of a national viewing audience. We were treated to some fantastic pitching by Scott Baker and some amazing defensive plays by right fielder Denard Span and center fielder-slash-Mets castoff Carlos Gomez. True, they were not Wizard Cat-worthy, but it's nice to see a team keep their pitcher happy with some delightful glovework. Daisuke Matsuzaka got the hard-luck no-decision despite his season high 7 and 1/3 shutout innings tallied.

    Pirates 10, Astros 7: Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit continued their assault on the airspace above PNC Park. Their ding-dongs off Royals castoff Runelvys Hernandez powered Pittsburgh to a tidy win over hapless Houston. The Pirates' 10 runs in the first four innings were more runs than they scored all weekend in a sweep at the hands of the mighty Brewers. Ed Wade's super-awesome offseason acquisition Hernandez allowed all 10 runs in 4 innings of work, raising his ERA to a tidy 10.29.

    Mets 10, Phillies 7 9: Super-awesome All Star reliever Billy Wagner actually saved a game, despite allowing the first two runners to reach via a double and a walk. Okay I shouldn't write these recaps before the game ends. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and down 0-2 in the count, pinch hitter Pedro Feliz grounded a single up the middle that scored Shane Victorino; Eric Bruntlett scored on Carlos Beltran's throwing error. Wagner got Jayson Werth to fly out to end the game though. After being down 10-1, the Phillies scored the final eight runs of the game but fell just short, prompting me to ask: "HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS, PHILLIES FANS?"

    Tonight's Questions

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    garfield.jpgHey kids, if it's so unnatural why are those two sparrows giving each other footjobs in the bird feeder?


    Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

    Million Dollar Arm Update: Blood Is Spilled

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    Convoy.jpgShocking news last week from our friend Rinku in the Million Dollar Arm contest. Seems while having their friend Marty over for dinner, tragedy struck when Rinku sliced his fingers open trying to cut some spare ribs. I'll let him explain:

    Back at home; we had Marty sir and his wife over for dinner. Just like we promised. You'll know the menu by now. We don't want to risk making anything but pork ribs. However, I'm not gonna ever handle pork ribs after today. I cut couple of my fingers trying to slice it before serving. Marty sir called the cops. They need to be informed about the smallest incident here. Poor Marty sir came under suspicion initially when the cops got in. They left us with a hospital address once they were satisfied nothing untoward had happened.

    I wouldn't trust Marty either. Perhaps the most damning indictment in the whole post is not of Rinku's cutlery skills, but of the American health care system. Apparently it's way worse than India.

    I reeled at the bill they produced for some simple bandaging and a tetanus shot. 300 bucks! It's whooping. They took me to the emergency room for such a clear-cut case (pun intended). I didn't get any meds and neither did they do anything to ease the pain. To put salt to injury, we had a stack of forms to sign as a procedure. Deepesh sir and I went into hysterics and laughed our guts out. It was crazy. Back home in India, we would've gotten treated just fine for a mere twenty rupees.

    No paperwork in India? What would I move around on my desk to pretend like I'm working instead of writing a baseball blog? Anyway, best wishes to Rinku on a speedy recovery from the entire WoW family.
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    The good folks at subscription-only Sports Business Journal posted TV ratings numbers for each baseball team today, but superstar D.C. sports bogger Dan Steinberg was kind enough to report that the Washington Nationals are dead last in the ratings game:

    "More to the point, the lowest average household numbers, aside from the Nats, watch the Royals (28,000), Orioles (33,000) and Pirates (34,000). To repeat, the Nationals' number was 9,000, less than a third of the viewership in next-to-last Kansas City. The lowest average ratings, aside from the Nats, are found watching the Angels (1.24), Rangers (1.49) and Dodgers (1.57). To repeat, the Nationals' number was 0.39."

    The viewers are down 43% from last season. Yes, the team's outfield is historically awful and the team has seen a ton of injuries to their best players, but only 9,000 households per game? Do people just watch 227 re-runs over and over again in DC? Add "television ratings" to the list of things in which the Washington Nationals rank dead list. Here's a sample:

    In comparison, approximately 325,000 households watch Yankees games and 233,000 households watch Red Sox games. The Sox number would be far higher if the Nielsen company actually counted people watching in bars/taverns/pubs/Southie boarding houses.

    love_me.jpgOver the weekend, Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Enquirer let us all into the rainbow colored world of Chuck LaMar. Mr. LaMar, the former GM of the Rays and current executive with the Phillies, took a moment to carve out a role for himself in Tampa's current success.

    "I'm proud of what we left behind, both players and staff," he said. "In the last 10 or 15 years, you can't think of a better scenario for a new owner and GM to take over. The team had only one way to go - up - and they inherited a group of young players capable of doing it."
    Indeed. For all of you people that speak "English," that translates to, "My legacy of crippling inadequacy and historic shittiness allowed the team to stockpile draft picks. You're welcome." LaMar's economic stimulus package would consist of burning down the stock exchange. He was the GM for 10 years. The majority of his "prospects" are out of baseball by now.

    The Enquirer is complicit in this weirdo stretch of logic. You'll notice under the picture of Matt Garza lies the caption:

    Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Garza pitches against the Red Sox. He arrived in the winter as part of a trade for a LaMar-regime player.
    So what? The trade in question was a swap of players who weren't living up to potential. LaMar gets no credit for Garza's recent success whatsoever. The credit (if it turns out any is due down the road, anyway) goes to Andrew Friedman. LaMar says as much, but I'm sure he doesn't resent the caption's implication.

    LaMar also goes on to say he's happy for Vince Naimoli and "the original ownership group" because they "brought baseball to Tampa." Yes, thanks Vince, for bringing a team to play in a concrete warehouse that was obsolete the second it was built. Thanks for stifling any hint of progress during your penny pinching reign of mediocrity. But mostly, the people of Tampa thank you for getting the hell out of the picture.

    You have my word that I will to keep my eye out for any former old school Rays hanger ons trying to skim some credit for this success. The recent run of good news and good play is well deserved by the people in this organization. Currently. Not the ones that helped set the model for futility by a sports franchise. I'm looking at you, Boggs.

    Photo credit: Mika Ito
    Hal sleeping in small rocker.jpg12:35, Royals at Rays: Jesus, look at the facial hair on today's starters. It's the battle of Mons Chin Pubis today at the Trop. Matt Garza has been hotter than a Puerto Rican's car stereo* and Gil Meche's last outing stunk. In the first 3 games of this seemingly endless series, Carlos Pena is 5-12 with a tater tot and 7 RBI. The Rays are a full 7 games ahead of Boston in the loss column and 10 and 11 games ahead of New York and Baltimore, respectively. Today we are all Royals fans.


    *just checking to see if people actually read these previews
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    The entire baseballblogosphere is up in arms over the American League players' selection of Jason Varitek to the All Star team, but really, it's just an unfortunate result of a poor voting system. Joe Mauer received 554 player votes while Varitek got just 159 votes; since Mauer was already elected in by the fans, the second place catcher automatically makes the team. Varitek is having an historically awful year at the plate but I can assure you that most players (even Varitek hisself, I bet) are smart enough to realize that A.J. Pierzynski is more deserving of a nod here.

    Still, the selection of Billy Wagner to the National League squad is a far more egregious misstep. Do you think the man with SIX blown saves this season will get into the game? Sure, the Mets needed a representative to the game, but why not take the NL's fifth best ERA in Johan Santana? Why not take the second best third baseman in David Wright? Why not take the best all-around centerfielder in Carlos Beltran? Why not take the saddest mascot ever in Mr. Met?

    In terms of Baseball Prospectus' stat WXRL (win expectancy added over replacement level) that rates relief pitchers, Wagner sits at 50th place in the National League. He's behind Duaner Sanchez, Joe Smith, and Scott Schoeneweis on his own team, and at 0.715, he's more than three wins behind league leader Brad Lidge. Wagner has blown six games in 2008 but because of his team's good fortune, he's lost only one game.

    Wagner's strikeout-to-walk ratio is very good at 41:8 but he's allowed four tater tots that have each led to a blown save. He usually comes into the game at the start of an inning but in other certain situations, he's inherited five runners and allowed three of them to score. Yuck.

    So don't expect NL manager Clint Hurdle to motion for Wagner in the bottom of the ninth with a lead. I'm sure he'll want to preserve his Rockies' chance of having home field advantage in the 2008 World Series.

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    According to this All Star report from Sports Illustrated, the two starting pitchers in the All Star Game will be Cliff Lee and Brandon Webb. Now, don't misunderstand my intentions here: Lee and Webb are great pitchers who deserve their moment under the lights in Yankee Stadium. I endorsed their election to the team and will be glad to cheer for them next Tuesday night.

    Still, are these really the two best pitchers in their respective leagues, or are they merely being rewarded for a super-hot start to the season? Let's take a look at their stats split at a completely meaningless date:

    Lee, before May 12: 6-0, 0.67 ERA

    Lee, since May 12: 5-1, 3.72 ERA

    Webb, before May 1: 5-0. 1.80 ERA

    Webb, since May 1: 6-4, 4.21 ERA

    Perhaps Cliff Lee has not fallen off as much as I'd thought. He's 11-1 for a last place team, so that should count for something. But in the National League, maybe another one-loss pitchers should have earned himself a starting nod. San Francisco stud Tim Lincecum is 10-1 with a 2.49 ERA and leads the league in strikeouts with 122. He's the best pitcher in baseball and his team is just 26-43 on days he doesn't pitch. Lincecum may be young but he's earned more than just a roster spot; he should be starting this game.

    And yes, I am a total Yankees homer who wants to see Mariano Rivera start the game. Sue me.

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    Here's what happened in baseball while you were kept grounded, sad and cursed:

    Rangers 11, Orioles 10: The Rangers bullpen were handed a tidy six-run lead after a top o' the eighth Texas explosion but did everything in their power to make this an exciting contest. Eddie Guardado and C.J. Wilson allowed three Oriole tater tots as Baltimore moved within one run before Wilson struck out Brian Roberts to end the game. Kevin Millwood somehow earned a win despite allowing five runs in five innings.

    Braves 7, Astros 6 (17): This one actually lasted longer than the Nadal-Federer five hour five set classic. Heck, Bobby Cox done got ejected in the fifth and this contest still went twelve more innings without the Braves manager. Houston had a lead but closer Jose Valverde blew it in the eighth when he allowed a two-run single to Yunel Escobar. The teams then played eight straight scoreless innings before Mark Teixeira finally hit a walkoff bases-bloated single in the seventeenth. What, no walkoff walk? Dickhead.

    Tigers 2, Mariners 1 (15): The Mariners had no chance once manager Jim Riggleman was forced to use backup catcher Jamie Burke as his seventh pitcher of the day during the top of the fifteenth inning. Miguel Cabrera's double set up the winning sac fly by Marcus Thames and Jim Leyland was lucky enough to have lunatic Todd Jones to save the game in the bottom half. Willie Bloomquist, Ichiro Suzuki, and Adrian Beltre also volunteered to pitch once the Mariners' bullpen had worn thin. Where the heck was Norm Charlton?

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    With the All Star rosters being announced today at 2PM on TBS, I figured this was my last chance to stick my chest out and list which pitchers I would put in the All Star game. Yes, I am violating both my gentleman's agreement with CTC to not blog this holiday weekend and my own antipathy towards weekend blogging, but here goes:

    I'll name twelve pitchers per league but I won't reserve specific slots for relievers or starters.

    American League:

    1. Cliff Lee (11-1 record, 2.26 ERA) - he's fallen off a bit but still the #1 guy
    2. John Danks (5-4, 2.50)- no flashy record but great numbers
    3. Roy Halladay (10-6, 2.88) - six complete games and best K:BB ratio
    4. Justin Duchscherer (9-5, 1.96) - simply unhittable
    5. Jon Lester (7-3, 3.21) - need a Red Sock pitcher
    6. Felix Hernandez (6-5, 2.83) - need a Mariner player
    7. Joe Saunders (12-4, 3.04) - AL wins leader
    8. Mike Mussina (11-6, 3.64) - does crosswords and is sarcastic
    9. Mariano Rivera (23 saves) - zero blown saves
    10. Francisco Rodriguez (34 saves) - record-breaking pace for saves
    11. Joe Nathan (24 saves) - saves really close games
    12. Joakim Soria (23 saves) - need a Royal

    National League:

    1. Tim Lincecum (10-1, 2.49) - best pitcher in baseball
    2. Edinson Volquez (10-3, 2.24) - only reason to watch Reds games
    3. Ben Sheets (10-2, 2.77) - high strikeouts, low walks
    4. Dan Haren (8-5, 2.83) - surpassed Webb as best D-back
    5. Cole Hamels (9-5, 3.22) - hope his arm don't fall off
    6. Carlos Zambrano (9-3, 2.96) - strikeouts are down but so are tater tots
    7. Tim Hudson (9-6, 3.19) - carrying a hurt pitching staff in ATL
    8. Aaron Cook (11-5, 3.38) - need a Rockie
    9. Johan Santana (7-7, 2.96) - can't blame him for his shitty team
    10. Brandon Webb (12-4, 3.43) - gaudy win total
    11. Brad Lidge (19 saves) - he's Senor Shutdown this year
    12. Brian Wilson (24 saves) - has saved 61% of Giants wins

    So there you have it. No Kerry Wood, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, or Braden Looper. No Cliff Floyd, Vicente Padilla, Andy Sonnanstine, Scott Kazmir, George Sherrill, or Jonathan Papelbon. So sue me.

    Holiday Weekend Questions

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    Hey kids. Check out your local purveyors of fine televised baseball this extended rivalry weekend and find out:

    • WHICH American League East team won't lose ground to the streaking Rays, the Yankees or the Red Sox?

    • CAN the Cardinals build on their good 22-17 record against their own division and make up a two-and-a-half game deficit as they host the Cubs?

    • WILL Oakland's pitching staff carry the team when they head to Chicago for a four-game set with the red hot White Sox?

    • MIGHT the Giants finally start winning some home games against the Dodgers and pull closer to the NL West 'leading' Diamondbacks?

    • IF the Phillies sweep the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, will Matt Cerrone break another toe?

    • DO you really think you can make it all weekend without reading this Will Carroll-recommended piece on Tim Lincecum in Sports Illustrated?

    Then meet us back here on Monday morning for the answers to these questions and other questions you never thought of asking. Enjoy your Independence Day weekend!

    Thanks again to Vernon Balanza for taking such great pictures of Lady Liberty

    Your classic TV post for the week is from the 70s. I apologize in advance for the jingle getting stuck in your head. The jingle that states in no uncertain terms "if you have no friends and your dad your won't play with you, get someone to buy you this." It's The Playball!



    • 2:05, Dodgers at Astros: Chad Billingsley takes on Brandon "My Neck My" Backe "Lick My Pussy and My Crack" as the Astros try and even up the 4 game series. Please Dodgers, in the name of everyone who has ever claimed to be the victim of east coast bias, please go on a run and get to .500.

    • 3:40 Brewers at Diamondbacks: My man Manny Parra looks to stick it to Brandon Webb and the Arizona Teamiamsickoftalkingabouts. Parra is unbeated in 10 starts, getting the W in his last 6 and posting a 2.41 ERA. Word.

    Have a good holiday weekend, chuckleheads.

    (Ed. Note: But stay tuned for a special Weekend Questions.)

    What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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    stretcher.JPGAs we approach this 4th Of July weekend, not only do we look back on that day in 1976 when Baby Jesus was born and visited America, bringing popcorn to the Indians, we also reflect on those less fortunate then us. People like those listed below, who are such injury riddled invalids that they can't lick a stamp without getting hurt.

    • Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: The Big Tilde is on the DL for the forseeable future. In fact, El Permo will come back and play when he's damn well ready. I think that's fair. Pulled right obliques don't heal on their own you know. Actually, yeah I guess they do. Whatever.

    • Hideki Matsui, Yankees: Matsui, a man I've always feared the most when coming to bat against my team, is "hobbled" by a left knee injury. There's swelling and all kinds of other nasty stuff. Talk from the trainers is cautiously optimistic. Even worse, is that this is a different knee than Matsui had surgery on in the offseason. Even worsest, he's tried rubbing dirty panties on it and it's not helping.

    • Troy Percival, Rays: One of the dangers of having an elderly closer is that things just start spontaneously straining, snapping and disintegrating. On Percival this week it was the hamstring. Contrary to most soundbites in these situations Percival says he's fighting "an uphill battle" and things aren't getting much better. Sounds like my job too.

    • Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks: GAAH! TESTICLE FRACTURE! Move on, move on, next guy, next guy....

    • Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: Back surgery always sounds serious to me. Optimistic looks like 2 months, reality looks like season ending. That's a tough one as he was one of the offensive bright spots for this team early in the season. I saw a cartoon in the New Yorker last week where a doc says to a patient, "Well the good news is that the surgery will cure your back pain, the bad news is you'll have nothing to talk about." I laughed then looked down on people that don't read The New Yorker.

    • Matt Capps, Pirates: Madcap closer Matt Capps has an inflamed shoulder. He's out eight weeks but will not require surgery. Anyone got a joke here? I got nothin.

    • Felix Hernandez, Mariners: So I'm actually writing to you today from the lovely space needle in Seattle and I just learned of King Felix's trip to the DL with a sprained ankle and... OH MY GOD GEOFF BAKER ALMOST JUST LANDED ON ME.
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    Rookie pitcher Clayton Kershaw was all the talk of the baseballblogosphere this spring. Baseball Prospectus touted him as the #1 prospect in the Dodgers organization, and still has him ranked the #5 prospect in all of baseball. So Kershaw was called up to the big leagues in May and started his first game against the Cardinals, a quality start that earned him a no-decision as the game was decided in extra innings. Since then, the 20-year-old has been pretty average and has compiled an 0-2 record in 8 starts with a 4.42 ERA, just about league average.

    But with starter Hiroki Kuroda coming of the DL this week, the Dodgers sent Kershaw back to double-A Jacksonville, where he was so successful in late 2007 and early 2008. Kershaw isn't too happy with getting sent back to the Jax Suns, as per Tony Jackson:

    "Any way you spin it, I'm getting sent down. They can say they didn't have enough room, but they (brought) me up when they didn't have enough room, because all those (pitchers) were healthy then."

    That's a nice way of saying "GODDAMNIT. JACKSONVILLE? You couldn't send me to Triple-A Las Vegas??" In order to illustrate what a Jacksonville Suns game is like, please watch this video. Done? Anyone in the right state of mind would rather be sent to Vegas than Jacksonville. Well, except Marcus Giles.

    Diamondbacks Lower The Bar Even Further

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    limbo.jpgFans of the NL West, how do you live like this?? Your first place Arizona Diamondbacks are now 1 game below .500. They lost last night to the Brewers, after a go ahead 9th inning single from the immortal Mike Cameron. Sausage King and WoW favorite Salomon Torres shut them down in the 9th for his 15th save in 17 tries. And the reliably loquacious closer didn't let us down postgame.

    "It was a beautiful game," said Torres

    Indeed it was. Unless you're a Snakes fan that is. Since May 18, Arizona is is 14-27. That's a worse record than the Mariners over that span. THE MARINERS. They're now just a game ahead of the anemic Dodgers in the loss column. Time to shake things up, right Bob Melvin?

    "We're going through a tough period where we're coughing up some games where we don't normally give them up," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "They got some big hits when they needed it. That was the deciding factor. They got some big hits and we left some guys out there."
    Oh, mighty Oracle! Where does the fountain of your knowledge spring from? The D'Backs have one of the most effective pitching staffs in baseball, so technically Melvin is right. They need to start hitting. They were absolutely on fire for the first month and a half of the season. According to Intern Darren, they averaged 5.44 RPG in the first 43 games, and 3.48 in the 41 since. Their team OPS sits at a truly middling .737 reflecting their two faced season. Which one is the real deal? An extended slump that lasts a month and half may not even be a slump. It may just be the way this team hits.

    June in Review

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    trophy.jpg

    Remember Opening Day? That was three months ago already! Just like you, the season isn't as young as it once was. Also, your rent is due. With the turning of each calendar page, Camp Tiger Claw and I will be discussing our picks for:

        - AL Pitcher Of The Month
        - NL Pitcher Of The Month
        - AL Position Player Of The Month
        - NL Position Player Of The Month
        - Biggest Surprise Of The Month

    June was fun. In the American League Central, the Detroit Tigers fought their way back into contention while the Cleveland Indians fell behind the Kansas City Royals for last place. Over in the East, the Red Sox and Rays continue to battle it out for first place with the Yankees and Orioles barely staying afloat over .500. Out West, the Angels and A's pitching staffs continue to dominate while the Mariners fired half their staff and yet continue to pay Jose Vidro to play baseball.

    In the Senior Circuit, no team was hotter than the...uhh....well no team was really hot, thanks to interleague play. The NL got their asses handed to them on a platter by the AL teams, especially the East-leading Phillies. In the West, Arizona plummeted to a .500 record but hang onto a good-sized lead because the rest of their division eats it way harder.

    Enough already. Let's peep these picks, after the jump...

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    Here's what happened in baseball while you hit the ground running:

    Marlins 4, Nationals 2: Alfredo Amezaga was amazing after an hour and a half rain delay. His two run tater tot propelled the Marlins to a series win over the Nationals and allowed Ricky Nolasco to earn his ninth win of the season. Reliever Charlie Manning took the loss in relief of Odalis Perez; Nolasco allowed just two runs on a two RBI single by Paul Lo Duca in the second and otherwise escaped unscathed.

    Orioles 5, Royals 2: Daniel Cabrera needed no relief today until well after the game ended and he had consumed an entire five dollar foot long sub. Rolaids to the rescue for that cold cut concoction! Seriously folks, DanCabs pitched a complete game seven hitter to shut down the hapless Royals on 105 pitches. In the world of 'complete games', this rates about a C+, what with his wild pitch and balk. Snoozers! Aubrey Huff had a two-run ding dong in this affair.

    Phillies 7, Braves 3: The Phils collected six extra base hits off Atlanta pitching and rolled to their first series win since Eisenhower rolled out the interstate system (or so). Adam Eaton was terrifically average in picking up his third win of the season, hurling five innings of five-hit, five-walk baseball. The Phillies bullpen was much better, giving up just a Chipper Jones home run in four innings of relief. Jones went 1-for-4, dipping his batting average to a Tony Gwynnesque .391.

    Tonight's Questions

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    night game.jpgHey kids, that laughing gas makes me drowsy.


    Then tune in tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
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    Oh goodness it's a late afternoon liveglog, unless you are a west coaster, where it is time for a post-lunch A's-Angels game. Hey, is it true that there is almost no humidity in Northern California? I'm literally soaked today in hot and humid New Jersey, but I hear good things about Marin County and the like.

    Today, Dana Eveland looks to win the short series for the A's and he'll oppose southpaw Joey Saunders of the Angels. Your lineups can be found here. Wes Bankston done got called up from Triple-A Sacramento to replace Eric Chavez on Oakland's 25 man roster, and he'll get the start today at first base. I may be mistaken, but this seems to be his major league debut.

    Rory Markas and Terry Smith are your home team announcers today on XM radio channel 181.

    Let's glog! After le jump...

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    The folks at the wildly popular sports blog U.S.S. Mariner have been sweeping up the souls of the eternally damned for the past few weeks as their beloved M's have taken up residence in the AL basement. Cheery, right?

    Their latest victim of fingerpointing is Mr. Richie Sexson, who changed his batting stance to be more open last month. Former hitting coach Jeff Pentland was the one to make the suggestion that Sexson open his stance up, so don't go attacking Lee Elia for this one:

    Sexson, up to May 26th: .200/.277/.413

    Sexson, open-stanced since: .282/.384/.296
    Or, if you're into OPS, that's .690 vs .680

    Sexson actually tater-totted last night in a 7-6 win over the Blue Jays, but before that shot, he hadn't hit one out since May 24. In fact, he only had one extra base hit during that span, a double on June 24. Sexson had a total of 5 RBI during June and can no longer be considered a power hitter with a slugging percentage under .390 and fewer extra base hits than Yuniesky Betancourt.

    Still, he's got value. He's a high OBP, good fielding first baseman. If Seattle were to DFA him like all the rumors have been pointing to, his ginormous salary would still be on the Mariners' books. There are many teams who would take a high OBP, good fielding first baseman as a bench player, especially at the prorated league minimum. Heck, the Yankees have no defensive replacement for late innings at first base. Giambi is the best fielding first baseman on the team, and I'd rather have minimum-salary-Sexson coming off the bench than the porous defense of Wilson Betemit.

    Plus with the much-maligned Sexson on the much-hated Yankee team, bloggers heads might explode. That's a win-win.

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    The New York Mets have been the walking wounded this season (especially their pitching staff which has allowed the the fourth most walks in the NL...zing!) but nothing could prepare the Shea-denfreude-filled baseball blogosphere for the latest Mets injury. Yes, the Mets best blogger stubbed his toe:

       According to a source close to MetsBlog.com, Matt Cerrone injured his toe while getting ready for work this morning and took himself to the emergency room for x-rays. Cerrone, who has previously been bothered by knee problems and peanut butter, is expected to miss at least several hours of posting on MetsBlog.

    Looks like Matt's co-blogger Ted Berg has a good sense of humor about the affair. Ha! Peanut butter! But in an update to the post, Ted reveals that Matt went in for x-rays and it turns out Cerrone, who is on the payroll for the Mets' cable channel SNY, broke his metatarsal and will require crutches and a boot. Cerrone will join Moises Alou (strained left calf), Trot Nixon (inadequacy), Matt Wise (shoulder hurties), Angel Pagan (emotional distress), and Orlando Hernandez (wallaby rape) on the disabled list.

    Seriously folks, Matt Cerrone is a great, prolific blogger and we here at Walkoff Walk wish him a quick and painless recovery. Just borrow some 'relaxatives' from Josh Hamilton.

    A Drinking Song: Today's Afternoon Games

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    liveglog.jpg
    • 12:10, Nationals at Marlins: Rubber in Dolphins stadium. Washington scored more runs last night than they had scored in their first 76 games combined*. Odalis Perez celebrates his 54th birthday* by taking the hill against Ricky Nolasco. Dan Uggla has missed the last 3 games with a sprained ankle and is unlikely to be in the lineup today.

    • 1:10, Tigers at Twins: One of the most entertaining series of the first half wraps up this afternoon in the Metrodome. Detroit and Minny have split the first two games, neither of which have been lacking in drama or histrionics. Eddie Bonine (which is what Jeff Conine calls his dick) takes on Nick Blackburn.

    • 3:35, A's at Angels: The Angels score some last night. 5 in fact. Today's rubber match pits Dana Eveland against Joe Saunders, neither of whom have been giving up many runs. Low scoring West Coast baseball? Sounds to me like a delicious recipe for afternoon live blogging. Uncle Rob's gotcha.


    *neither of these things are true

    The Ogden Raptors, a rookie league affiliate of the Dodgers, done got into a brawl with the Idaho Falls Chukars after the very first batter of the game. Here's your YouTubular proof of what happened after a simple hit batsman:


    Yes, that's the Idaho Falls Chukars, affiliated with the Kansas City Royals and formerly known as the Idaho Falls Russets. A chukar is a consarned pheasant, which is far less impressive than their previous tater-tot nickname.

    (via Tony Jackson)

    There Was Some Fine Baseball After Bedtime

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    go west.jpgOne of our limitations as East Coast old guys is not being able to translate some of the nuances of late West Coast games. But last night featured two pitching gems we'd be remiss not to talk about.

    First off was Aaron Cook's absolute sweetness against the Padres. Cook allowed just five hits. He used only 79 pitches and the game was completed in 1 Hour and 58 Minutes. That's only 15 minutes longer than The Love Guru. Well done Mr. Cook. At least Jesus still likes one of you.

    Just as impressive was Matt Cain's total shutdown of the hot hitting Cubbies. He went 8 innings allowing just two hits and striking out ten. Cain hasn't quite met the high expectations he came into the season with but last night he was dominant.

    So yeah. Here's looking at you, West Coast. You almost make me wish I still had crippling insomnia.
    sleepingcats.jpg Here's what happened in baseball while you were going to learn your geography:

    Phillies 8, Braves 3: The Phils have taken 6 of 7 so far this season from the Braves. Shane Vicorino and Pat Burrell both had funny bones, with Victorino's being part of a 4 RBI evening. Kendrick gave up all 3 runs in 6 innings of work, but 3 Philadelphia runs in the top of the 9th sealed the deal. Burrell, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard become the first ever Philly trio to have 20 tater tots before the ASB.

    Rays 3, Red Sox 1: Matt Garza was in control the entire game and JP Howell and Grant Balfour picked up exactly where he left off in relief. Tampa fans have existed for 2 months and already they're annoying. LEAVE THE COWBELLS ON YOUR DRUMSET. The Sox drop to 4 games back in the loss column. Sad Trombone.

    Nationals 9, Marlins 6: Ronnie Belliard hit a King Dong in the 6th and the Marlins kept trying to rebound but never made it over the hump. This was only Washington's 2 win in 11 tries against the Fish. Colin Balester became the first ever WaspWashington National to win his MLB debut. Way to go, buddy.

    Rangers 3, Yankees 2: Mariano "Chita" Rivera had not given up a single run in a save situation this season. Then Michael Young got up in his nonsense and knocked in the go ahead single in the top of the 9th last night. Joba Chamberlain threw 91 pitches in 4 innings. While that pitch count and his four walks will be what all the stories lead with today, let's not overlook the fact that 6 of the 12 batters he retired were by strikeout.

    Tonight's Questions

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    Uncle-Jesse-2.jpgHey kids, Rob may be an uncle but I am still the Uncle Jesse of WoW.


    Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

    The Wil Cordero Memorial Linkpunch, Tuesday, July 1

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    linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

      For all of you into kids, it's Eric Angevine's latest Z-Meter update. Bus Leagues Baseball
    • Me: The Braves record in one run games is bad. Audience: HOW BAD IS IT? Me: The worst ever. AJC

    • Tom Waits is touring and all I got were these newspaper reviews. Columbs Dispatch Phoenix New Times

    • The Rays have a Superfan. That's pretty awesome for a city that's only had a baseball team for one year. Big League Stew

    • Is someone leaking all this Manny stuff to set him up? An interesting question but not as interesting as the theory I'm going to expound on tomorrow. Surviving Grady

    Look Who's Back

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    Look for Harold Reynolds back in your living room any day now. The affectionate analyst debuts with TBS on Sunday. It's about time if you ask me.



    This is the man you tired to keep off TV? For shame, America.

    The Angels Are Not Scoring 6 Runs Per Game

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    Baseball_Batting_Tee.jpgI hope everyone is enjoying "Managerial Review Tuesday" here on WoW. The other day I regaled you with Mike Scioscia's caviar dreams of his Angels club scoring "more than 5 or 6 runs a game." He was as high as a kite on couple nights of solid offense, but just as soon as he said that, well... they went right back to stinking up the joint.

    (A's pitcher Greg) Smith (5-6) scattered four hits over nine innings, sending the Angels to their fourth loss in five games and trimming their American League West lead over the A's to 3 1/2 games.

    The Angels, who were shut out twice by the Dodgers over the weekend, have scored two runs in their last 37 innings and have been held to five runs or less in 31 of the last 38 games.

    "Right now, we [stink]," center fielder Torii Hunter said. "And it is a domino effect. Trust me, we care. We're trying. We're going to get it right. I promise. This [stinks]."

    That is most certainly NOT the Torii Hunter I know. My friend Mike DiGiovanna says it's hard for the Angels to remedy the slump because they have many different types of hitters. He's right. This is a situation unique only to ALL 30 MLB TEAMS. Sheesh. It seems hitting coach Mickey Hatcher would be a tough guy to get rid of because he's so zany and lovable, but they have to do something if this doesn't remedy itself and the A's creep closer.

    Or, comedic denial works too.

    When You Mess The With The Ron You Get The Horns

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    gardenhire.jpgMy man Patrick Reusse at the Minneapolis Star Tribune has jogged our collective memories to the halcyon days of two weeks ago. The Twins were middling in the AL Central and Ron Gardenhire was unhappy. Not only with his team, but with MLB for telling his team they needed to speed up the game. Sound familiar?

    The Twins arrived in Milwaukee on Friday the 13th having lost six of seven on the road trip. They would win two of three against a surging Brewers club, including a 9-4, 12-inning victory on a stirring Saturday night.

    Milwaukee won on Sunday, assisted when plate umpire Brian Runge called out Harris on strikes as he signaled for time against a quick-pitching Guillermo Mota.

    Gardenhire was ejected and fined $1,500 -- mostly for ripping Runge after the game.

    You're dadgummed straight he was ejected. He put down the paper bag of Busch, extinguished his Ronster 200 and took Runge out behind the shed. Well Reusse's point is after that day the Twins started their tear. They've gone 11-2 since then on the way to the best interleague record in the league (14-4) and got as close as .5 game to the White Sox.

    And don't think he's going to loosen the reins just because they've found recent success. Why he got tossed just last night. I love Ron Gardenhire. He's like a Jim Leyland that doesn't want to kill me.
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    Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is a favorite target of us and practically any other funny and smart baseball blog, and for good reason. He's got a Type A personality but seemingly makes the worst possible moves in late and close situations. Heck, he even lets his team bat out of order. Still, he's been a successful manager for most of his career, and even finds a way to win games where he makes the worst moves. Take last night's contest against the Pirates, via Patrick Sullivan at Baseball Analysts, down 3-2 in the eighth and two runners on with no outs:

    - Manager Dusty Baker put a bunt on with (Joey) Votto at the plate.
    - Votto offered and fouled off a (Damaso) Marte pitch. He offered and missed the next. He fouled off an 0-2 pitch and then struck out on Marte's fourth pitch to him.
    - (Edwin) Encarnacion came to the plate and battled through an impressive at-bat, only to strike out on the eighth Marte pitch he saw.
    - With two outs and (Jay) Bruce set to come to the plate, Baker sent the reigning #1 Baseball America prospect back to the dugout in favor of...wait for it...Javier Valentin. "It couldn't possibly be the Javier Valentin with the .222/.275/.286 line," you say? It was. I watched it live. Valentin grounded out to end the inning.

    The Reds put the first two runners on via a walk and single and failed to score. The sac bunt would have been a great idea if Joey Votto actually had 'bunt' in his skill set. True, he has a propensity to GIDP but let the kid swing away. He's got homer power!

    Perhaps the end justifies the means, though, because Alberta Griffey's son Ken hit a pinch hit walkoff two-run tater tot, much to the surprise of Darren Baker.

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    Here's what happened in baseball when I didn't think I'd find you perfect in so many ways"

    Marlins 6, Nationals 5 (10): Walkoff wildness continues for the Nats, only this time they're on the shit end of the stick. Hanley Ramirez' ding-dong tied the game in the ninth and Josh Willingham's third career tater tot pushed the Marlins to the win. Jon Rauch ate the loss and it tasted quite bitter with a hint of tartness.

    Blue Jays 2, Mariners 0: Sorry Seattle. You're not beating up on the little sisters of the poor anymore. After sweeping a weekend interleague series with the Padres, the Mariners got a handful of Halladay and it tasted like dirt with a hint of hay. Roy Halladay notched his tenth career shutout as Rod Barajas and Vernon Wells provided the run-scoring plays. R.A. Dickey was the hard luck loser, but don't feel bad for him, he's gonna play Xbox with the Mariner Moose to get over it.

    Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 3: Former University of Virginia third baseman Mark Reynolds powered Arizona back to one game over .500 and Doug Davis improved his record to 3-3 with the win. Most importantly, Eric Byrnes strained his left hamstring just one week after coming off the DL with a strained right hamstring. Sucker.