August 2008 Archives

The Long Slink Home

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Bananas.jpgIn a baseball sense, we all spent last night with a girl WAY outta our league. A mindless little tart named College Football tried to draw our attention away; but last's nights baseball action went the Sexy Librarian Marine Biologist route, and we were putty in her hands. Now hungover, we can all make the walk (off walk) of shame together. But not before we stop in for some brunch and look down the shirt of the waitress named Sunday's slate of games.

The Big Men that Broke the Elevator: You want big names to seal the deal? Roy Halladay leads his Blue Jays into Yankee Stadium for the final time, with Andy Petttitte offering resistance for the Yankees. The Big Z will take on the Old M in the rubber match in Chicago, a game both teams would love to have. CC Sabathia puts his perfect National League record on the line against the Pirates. Symbolic ace Pedro Martinez hopes to pitch a complete game, lest he be saddled with a ND. Pedro may hit the wall after 90 pitches these days, but an exhausted Pedro is better than whatever trash they'd send out there after him. The Mets bullpen has blown 11 of its last 26 save opportunities. That is downright ugly.

The Even Have Aces on the West Coast: John Lackey leads his Angels against the Rangers, looking for a four game sweep and to lower their magic number to 7. Jake Peavy is an ace, but the current state of the Padres devalues that statement considereably. Peavy is still a stud though, as he takes the man that started Game 1 of last year's World Series Jeff Francis. Yeah, that skinny Canadian kid that has been atrocious this year. Francis has actually thrown together a few good starts, but his K rate is way down and his BB rate is way up. Not generally good for business, even against the Padres.

You're so good, you get to play in front of everyone: The Dodgers and Diamondbacks finish their "big" series in the desert. Brandon Webb works quickly and induces ground balls, a recipe for success. Derek Lowe induces ground balls also, but with the Dodgers defense behind him, that is a recipe for disaster. Lowe is a free agent at the end of the year, his record betrays his performance for the year. Maybe a good outing on a big stage will help convince some GMs? Only if those GMs are Yahoo commenters.

With the odds stacked against it, Sunday afternoon isn't going down without a fight. Lots of good stuff here. Enjoy the games!
baby-lobster.jpgDear Mother of God, last night's ongoings were of a historical and mindblowing nature. If I live to be ninety, I will never forget what I saw. Honestly though, I think my brain might explode.

Marlins 4, Mets 3: Game details mumble mumble...Mike Jacobs...massive home run.....Aaron Heilman...four walks...Brian McCann...home run....Nationals win fifth straight...Who cares? The NL East Brings the Shrimp! Best division in baseball? I certainly think so. Double WoW in the same division! Whichever team emerges from this crustacean-laden morass will win the World Series. The Shrimps have foreseen it.

Rays 10, Orioles 9: The Rays bullpen has been outstanding all year, but last night deferred to a higher power. Nick Markakis's two out, game-tying bomb bounced off the scoreboard displaying Dan Wheeler's previously impressive stats. But that's okay, as it set the stage for an uber-dramatic, ROCCOFF WIN for the Rays. Rocco put the Rays ahead in the 8th with a clutch RBI hit by pitch, then sent the reasonably-sized crowd home happy with a double that scored Carlos Pena from first. Seriously Florida, if this crazy game doesn't bring you out en masse, I'm going to up and move this team to Montreal. YOUPPI WOULD SUPPORT THE FROZEN RAYS. The Red Sox have stolen the Yankees ability to stuff any corpse into their jersey and get production out of it. Young guy Mark Bowden pitched 5 effective innings while 30 year old random Jeff Bailey hit his second career ding dong to pace the Red Sox over the White Sox. Dustin Pedroia is 8 for 8 in this series, and 12 for his last 17 overall. He's little, but good.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 2: No one could ever accuse Manny Ramirez of not trying. Well, you couldn't accuse him of not hitting, effort notwithstanding. Manny knocked four more hits last night, with two tots among them. Danny Haren was not his sharpest, allowing 10 ten hits and five runs in six innings. Chris Young did his best with a double & triple, but the Dodgers still snapped their losing streak and gained a precious game in the standings. The youth movement is in full swing in San Diego. The bunch of plucky youngsters cheaply beat the Rockies in Josh Geer's big league debut. I'm not 100%, but I think Josh Geer may actually be Lobster Baby.

A's 3, Twins 2: Walkoff walks? Roccoff Wins? Boring and predictable, says Bill Beane. The real value is walkoff sacrifice bunts-turned-throwing errors. It's where the real money is. Joe Nathan blew his fifth save of the year and has no one to blame but himself. Sort of. His attempt to get the force at third wasn't perfect, but Brendan Harris really should have done better to prevent the Coliseum's vast foul territory from swallowing the errant throw whole. Emil Brown scored from first on a throwing error. That ain't right. What the Mariners lack in offense, they make up in wacky names. Tug Hulett (!!) hit his first career tater tot and JJ Putz grabbed the ever-popular blown save/win when the Mariners overcame secretly awesome Shin Soo Choo's clutch 9th inning dinger with two runs in the top of 10. The Angels won thanks to some crappy umpiring and Frankie Rodriquez got another damn save. He has 53 now, his third in three days. Even I have to admit that's pretty impressive.

Brewers 11, Pirates 2: Milwaukee maintained its stranglehold on the Wildcard by strangling the Pirates. Corey Hart & Mike Cameron hit home runs, enough for Jeff Suppan when the lowly Bucs are involved. The Cubs actually lost a home game because the Phillies remembered they're the team that hits lots of tots. Albert Pujols joined Manny & Dustin in the Four Hits Club, but his team didn't win like the rest. The Astros hit three homers but grounded into five double plays, keeping this one respectable. I should stress again that Albert Pujols is absurdly, cartoonishly good.

The Royals? Really AL Central, that is the best you can do? That is Gas Face worthy, my friends. On such a historic night, you couldn't bring it up to the level of your peers. I should be more forgiving, as this one night of baseball could sustain me all winter long. I even had to wake up Lobster Baby to commemorate this wondrous night. We all must vote for the Cave Shrimp to keep the baseball Gods happy.

Unless Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb and CC Sabathia all pitch perfect games, today has no shot of approaching last night's awesomeness. Baseball is great, and all is right in the world.
Aiiiiiii! Elijah Dukes walks and the Nats win!!! You shrimped, dogg.



We also would have accepted "You dead, shrimp" or "You walked, shrimpdogg."

Yeah seriously ferreals Aaron Heilman pulled a Kenny Rogers as he walked Josh Willingham with the bases bloated, plating Hanley Ramirez with the winning run for the Marlins. Here's your moment of shrimp:

workersunite.jpgIf you are working on this fine & final long weekend of the summer, you should consider filing suit with your employer. The inability to get to the ballpark, or listen to these games on the radio while you grill meat and/or meat substitutes is a crime. A crime I say!

One for the history books: Yankee Stadium will be at its most resplendent today, playing host to a duel for the ages, Darrel Rasner against John Parrish. I get chills just thinking about the long men taking over for these two gladiators after 4 innings. David Eckstein gets what could be his final start in a Blue Jay uniform, as rumours swirl of him moving to Anaheim or even Arizona. Scrappy white guys everywhere shed a tear.

Fox blew their budget on that new Jerry O'Connell vehicle: That is the only explanation for threatening to broadcast the Mariners and Indians across the nation. Cooler heads have prevailed, so most folks will see the Phillies and the Cubs. America's Shining Star Brett Myers takes on Theodore Roosevelt Lily. The Rockets Red Glare indeed. The Rays get more national love, facing the Orioles at home on the big TV channel. I hope Fox employs Chinese government slaves seat fillers to make the Trop look almost half-full.

Throwdown when the Sun go down: What better way to spend your evening then taking in a pivotal NL West showdown? Things don't get any easier for the Dodgers, facing a growing deficit and Danny Haren tonight. Chad Billingsley will do his part for Dem Bums. The Mets and Fish send two surprising studs of their respective rotations, as good friend to children Mike Pelfrey takes on childishly named Ricky Nolasco. I'll give you a shiny dime if you predicted these two guys would be going head-to-head in a relatively large series. My doppelganger Mark Buehrle tries to stave off the charging Twins, leading his Pale Hose against something called Michael Bowden and the Red Sox. In the grand Red Sox tradition, he will be nearly unhittable in his big league debut, prompting the Sons of Sam Horn to curse every subsequent start he makes as "not good enough."

If you aren't out enjoying one of these games at your local ballpark/backyard/seedy tavern, I have no hope for our world. Some of these games will go a long way in determining who gets the dreaded WoW funeral on Tuesday. Be afraid Scully.
three fried eggs.jpgLast night; baseball was played and you tried to stay up for it all. Sadly you faded out again.

Twins 12, A's 2: The Twins banged out 20 hits (5 from Mauer and 4 from Morneau) in the comprehensive housing of the A's. Jack Cust managed to unclog the bases for a few minutes, but the inability to stop the Twins sneaky attack means they are just a half game back of the White Sox. The Indians welcomed Victor Martinez back just in time to see their winning streak finally came to an end. At the hands of the mighty Mariners, no less! Felix Hernandez was excellent, Jeremy Sowers wasn't bad either, but in a losing effort. The Tigers got another good start from Zack Miner against the Royals, but lost Miguel Cabrera with a strained pectoral muscle. Jim Leyland seems really embarrassed by the changes in Miguel's body.

Mets 5, Marlins 4: A Carlos Beltran tetra tot wasn't enough for the Mets bullpen, who try as they might, simply couldn't give this game away. Luis Ayala did what he could to make Francisco Rodriquez stinking rich, giving up 2 runs and 4 hits in picking up the save. The Mets move 2 up on the Phillies, who are wondering when instant replay will point its all-seeing eyes towards safe/out calls. Ryan Howard was called out at first base on a very close play, only to be called out as the umpire assumed a dude that fat couldn't possibly leg out on infield single. Dude blew his top, first base coach Davey Lopes got tossed (Oh no! Whoever will hold the shin pads?) to no avail, as Alfonso Soriano hit one of those Alfonso Soriano home runs that look like it might break away from Earth in the bottom of the inning. Carlos Marmol relieved Knute Rockne and slammed the very much ajar door shut. Uh, the Nats beat the Braves, and have won four in a row. Democracy wins again.

Rays 14, Orioles 3: So, the Rays are good. They're actually good. You and I can't deny it, all the bitterness in the world isn't going to change it. You're wrong about them being built on high draft picks, too. They hit a King Dong and two ding dongs, stole bases and basically beat the O's all over central Florida. They got a typical outing from the worst ace in the league, the maddening Kid K(an you believe how infrequently I throw strikes?) The Red Sox shoved the White Sox down the back of the dresser, sending Ozzie scrambling to make a pair in the morning. How come Dice-K isn't mentioned in any Cy Young discussions? Dude is 16-2, perhaps his nerd stats aren't as good as Cliff Lee's, he still has a solid WHIP and ERA+. The Yankees sent out unheralded youngster Carl Pavano, and the kid got it done. He held the vaunted Blue Jays offense in check, before turning it over the the vaunted Yankee bullpen who shut it down. AJ Burnett was awesome, but didn't win, so he'll likely go hungry this winter.

Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 3: The LA Dodgers continued to ride the hot hitting of deadline acquisition Manny Ramirez right into a playoff spot. Is what I would be writing if the Dodgers hadn't forgotten how to win. Manny may have been 4-4, raising his NL average to .400 even, but Nomar made more fatal errors than the farm girl during Frosh Week. Chan Ho Park didn't help matters, tossing soju on the fire until the game was out of reach. That would be 8 in a row for the Dodgers, who are 4.5 games back. The Rockies beat the Padres behind Aaron Cook, but hopefully they aren't deluded enough to think they're still "in it."

Astros 3, Cardinals 2: Lance Berkman hit the first walkoff shot of his storied career. His ballpark-adjusted career is less impressive, but let's just enjoy the moment. With any luck, the Cardinals will take one game out of this series, turning it into some kind of double elimination. Show's over fellas, take your peak at Albert Pujols's enormous penis and move on.

You repeated failure is really putting a damper on our relationship AL West. Yes, I know that K-Rod got his 52nd save of the year, but the only thing cheesier than saves is K-Rod's save dance for Jesus. Yes, it means another Gas Face for you AL West. Don't worry, Ichiro will pull you through. Soon we'll look at the day's games, unless you email me and demand a different form of entertainment*.

*entertainment only implied, no guarantees of any kind will be honoured.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, it's been a long time comin'

  • CAN the Red Sox survive with a piecemeal rotation this weekend against the other Sox? I hope David Pauley can throw harder than his mom Jane.

  • WILL the Marlins keep things interesting(er) in the NL East and stay in the race? Three games against the Mets with Volstad, Nolasco, and Olsen can make a world of difference if they win 'em.

  • MIGHT the Dodgers actually score a coupla runs this weekend? Their batting average with RISP has actually been negative this past week, but they're still just a few games behind weekend opponent Arizona.

  • DID you know that there was a picture of a baby in a shrimp outfit on the Internets and you were just holding it back from us? Shame on you if you did.

  • CAN the Blue Jays catch the Yankees this weekend? If so, I have to take a picture of myself wearing a Blue Jays hat saying "Adam Lind possesses superior skills."

That's it for us this week. We're jetting early, so if you haven't already left the office, go Ask Dr. Toast some stuff. It's Labor Day weekend in America but it's abso-fucking-lutely nothing in Canada, so we've entrusted Lloyd the Barber with the keys to the Walkoffwalkmobile for Saturday and Sunday. Email him with your tips and praise.

As for Monday? Walkoff Walk goes dark in honor of union folks everywhere. Have a cold one on me, Norma Rae.

Complete Destruction: Today's Afternoon Game

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black_bear_cub2.jpg2:20, Phillies at Cubs: "Dude. How awesome is it to be out of Oakland? High five." That is me imitating Rich Harden and Country Joe Blanton as they meet before today's game. The former teammates are opposing starters today. The Cubs kept on rolling, beating the Phils 6-4 last night. 100 wins for the Cubs becomes a more likely proposition each day, and with a 6.5 game lead in the Central, we could be talking magic number before you know it. No I'm not trying jinx the Cubs. I only try to jinx the Cardinals.

Beer Lovin' Rookie Ump- 1982

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Today's classic TV post is definitely from one of my favorite genres: the classic beer commercial. Feel your spirits lifted as rookie ump gets the call to the big leagues, listen to your heart soar as he calls his wife from a desert payphone with the good news, try to keep your heart from racing during the intense game sequences, and don't hurt your jaw when it drops after the surprise ending!

But most of all don't laugh to hard at the cheesy music or your boss will get mad. Enjoy!

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGDoes it hurt when I press here? No, ok. Here? Here? Here? Ok. Now pretend you're a baseball player. Does it hurt now? STOP CRYING AND ANSWER THE QUESTION. HOW CAN I LOOK AT YOUR HANGNAIL IF YOU'RE IN THE FETAL POSITION?

  • Josh Beckett, Red Sox: The Sox ace has been scratched from tonight's start against Chicago and put on the MLB shuttle bus that goes to James Andrews' office. I'm not positive, but i think Andrews has had his name appear on this site more than anyone except Corey Patterson. The Red Sox are saying only that he has discomfort in his elbow. Times are tough all around, pal.

  • JD Drew, Red Sox: JD's lower back strain has landed him on the 15 Day. It's better news for the club than initial reports he had a herniated disc. Get well soon, silent hick warrior.

  • Howie Kendrick, Angels: Kendrick is back on the deel with the same hamstring inury that had him there earlier this season. Kid has had a truly difficult time staying healthy in his young career. As the LA Times points out in that story, wasn't the Angels' big lead supposed to prevent this sort of thing from happening? SCOOOOSCIAAAAAA GET IN HERE.

  • John Maine, Mets: Maine's sore shoulder had been nagging him for a couple weeks and the Mets put him on the DL. That Newsday column says they're "giving him a rest," perhaps trying to imply the injury is not that serious. Yeah, except that they're in one of the tightest races in baseball. I imagine the inside of his shoulder probably looks like goulash if he has to sit for two weeks.
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The day of reckoning has finally come. All fifteen baseball games today will have the possibility of an umpire's call being challenged by instant replay. Only home run calls can be reviewed, so don't expect to see any problems when the Giants are at bat. According to this piece on MLB.com, the decision to review a play will rest solely on the shoulders of the umpire crew chief:

If a play is to be reviewed, the crew chief and at least one other umpire, possibly two, will go into the room and pick up a phone, which is a direct line to a video room in New York run by MLB Advanced Media. Then, the umpires will be relayed feeds from both the home and away teams' television broadcasts, and possibly use the home team's in-house feed, if necessary. An umpire supervisor will be in New York, but only to serve as a technical advisor as to what feeds are needed, and will not assist in making the call.

There is no set time for these decisions, but Young said they want to make a determination in 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

"The room" in question is the umpires dressing room. In some stadiums, that's near the dugouts, but in awkward multi-use warehouses like the Metrodome, it's a ways away from the field, up a huge flight of stairs. Sure, the umps will make their decision in 2 minutes, 30 seconds once they make it to the dressing room but what about the ten minutes it takes them to get there and back? Really, we gotta wait for someone like this guy to chug up those steps?

The managers will have no input as to whether the instant replay machine gets put into use, but do you really think this fact will stop them from arguing the point? One of these chucklehead managers is going to throw a red flag as a goof...and my vote is for Bobby Valentine when he gets hired to replace Jerry Manuel next year for the Mets.

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He may not be as eco-conscious as Jeremy Guthrie, but Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman became just the second Nat to ever hit for the cycle. In an 11-2 romp over the Dodgers, Guzman homered in the first, singled in the second, doubled in the sixth, and tripled in the eighth. Dodgers OF Matt Kemp actually did him a favor when Kemp threw Guzman out trying to stretch that single to a double in the second. Double, double, triple, homer is a nice day at the plate but has no special lexicon in the annals of baseball lore.

Commenter TerpNats over at BBTF's Newsblog did the research and figgered out that this was the first time a Washington player (National, Senator, or Redskin) has ever hit for the cycle in the District. What is it about D.C. that has previously discouraged cycles from being hit there? Was it the pitcher-friendly dimensions at RFK? Was it the hot and humid Mid-Atlantic summertime weather that kept balls in the park? Or was it the fact that there was no baseball in Warshington for thirty-three straight years?

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Here's what happened in baseball while you were a dream passing by in the sky:

Cubs 6, Phillies 4: Cole Hamels built a towering house of cards, magnificent despite its teetering, and the Phillies bullpen knocked it all down in one fell swoop. Aramis Ramirez' eighth inning King Dong off Chad Durbin demolished the Phils' 4-2 lead and sent the Cubs to their 50th Wrigley win. Heck, it must be good to be a Chicagoan lately. First Mariotti and now this? What's next, Perfect Strangers coming back on the air?

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2: Ladies and gentlefolks, Jason Giambi's days may be numbered in the Bronx, but believe you me, the fella is at least going out on top in terms of fan satisfaction. How could he not when he collects all three RBI in a 3-2 Yankees win in the final Red Sox-Yankees game at The Stadium? Kudos, Jason. May your future be bright and full of gold thongs.

Braves 4, Marlins 2: Brian McCann's three-run dong put the Braves ahead and Paul Lo Duca's lazybones kept the Marlins on the schneid. Lo Duca was thrown out at home by Frenchy Francouer in the sixth. Home plate, not his two-bedroom condo in Coral Gables. He uses the second bedroom for his office-cum-"sex with minors" den.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2: You can throw as many quality starts at these Rays as you'd like but no matter, they'll just throw a super-quality start at you. In this contest, Edwin Jackson out-performed Pinellas Park's own Jesse Litsch by taking a shutout into the eighth. Jackson was aided by dual dongs off the bats of Cliff Floyd and Willy Aybar.

Nationals 11, Dodgers 2: With his eighth-inning RBI triple, Cristian Guzman achieved what many thought Cristian Guzman could never do: he hit for the cycle. His pal Elijah Dukes tater-totted twice, dawg. Shame on Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw whose stinko start pushed L.A.'s losing streak to seven. Who wants to win the NL West? Anyone? Takers? Are the Giants still in that race?

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, that's a 2 minute minor for tripping.


Thanks for hanging out with me while we were all stuck inside on a beautiful day. Join us back here tomorrow for all the answers and your familiar Friday favorites. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

The Wil Cordero Memorial Linkpunch: Thursday, August 28th

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

  • American dames love Rinku and Dinesh's taste in music. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • But the boys refuse to be massaged by a woman. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Who's been the best hitting catcher in the second half? You guessed it. Kelly Shoppach. Waiting For Next Year.

  • Five more minor leaguers got busted for PEDs this week. Babes Love Baseball.

  • Craig Finn is doing an ESPN chat. Pitchfork.

  • Make these. They're delicious. I recommend fresh local mussels if you can find them. They're meatier when they're fresh and don't have to travel far. Epicurious.

This Guy's Favorite Baseball Teams

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This guy made a YouTube of his ten favorite baseball teams, set to Born To Run, with no explanation as to why. I find it strangely mesmerizing but Rob never lets me post it. WELL ROB AINT HERE TODAY.

MLB Promotes Playoffs With Giant Cultural Black Hole

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Oh, Major League Baseball. You've really got your finger on the pulse of the American zeitgeist! And by "American zeitgeist" I mean, "the TBS Wednesday night lineup." MLB.com pooped out a press release this morning outlining for us, the poor trod upon viewer, their promotional juggernaut for the 2008 Playoffs. And boy is it... filled with words.

The campaign, which is the largest in Major League Baseball history, will feature FOX and TBS personalities for the first time ever including American Idol judge Randy Jackson; Jeff Foxworthy, host of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader; Frank Caliendo, star of TBS's Frank TV and FOX NFL Sunday's comedic prognosticator; Bill Engvall of The Bill Engvall Show; Timothy Hutton, star of TBS's new drama Leverage; and an animated Stewie from Family Guy.

Each celebrity is seen at a computer writing a blog entry about the excitement of October baseball in their own voice and style. Images of the celebrity are interspersed with great moments in Postseason history while the blog entry is narrated.

In one example, Caliendo comically impersonates United States President George W. Bush talking about if the Cubs are jinxed in the postseason while images of the infamous Game Six of the 2003 NLCS are shown. In another, Caliendo imitates sports broadcaster John Madden discussing the difference between the preseason and the postseason.

A blog entry! That's positively modern. Frank Caliendo? Lolarious! Who the hell advises on these things? Who is in these focus groups? As terrible as last year's Caliendo Commerical Carpet Bombings were, this promises to be worse. By combining him with Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall (who calls the playoffs "PURE ADRENALINE") they may have finally cracked the code that will allow them to make my television explode from a remote location in suburban Atlanta.

I am literally dreading these.

I Fellowed Sleep: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 1:05, Red Sox at Yankees: As we all know, the Red Sox have their hand on the broom closet handle. But for Walkoff Walk purposes, last night's 11-3 drubbing was the big one. Iracane now has to take a picture wearing a Sox hat and holding a "Yoooouuuuk" sign. I can't emphasize how happy I am that I won this bet. If he welches we're going to go to his house and hit him in the kneecaps with one of his Pinot Grigio bottles. Today's it's Jon Lester against Mike Mussina, and I have the radio at my desk at the ready!

  • 2:05, Reds at Astros: Aaron Harang drags his formerly vital shell out to the mound to take on Brandon Backe in the Juice Box. There is rubber here but I defy you to care about it.

Rotund Catcher Scores From Second On Popup To Pitcher

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You know I was trying to come up with a clever headline for this one, but I have to agree with my friend, Evan Grant. There's no clever way about it. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hustled his unwieldy catcher gams around the bases and scored from second on a botched pop up to Royals pitcher, Brian Bannister.

The Rangers scored the winning run with two outs in the seventh inning when Royals pitcher Brian Bannister dropped a soft pop-up by Joaquin Arias -- and failed to recover in time to prevent Jarrod Saltalamacchia from scoring from second base.

Note that it takes less time to say Jarrod Saltalamacchia a few dozen times than it did for him to score from second base.

"You close your glove, and it's not in there," Bannister said. "I can't remember the last time I caught a pop-up. It was a weird pop-up, too. It came right off his hands. It was like a cue ball. It hit, and it didn't stick."

"You'd rather have a guy get a hit," Bannister admitted, "than lose a game that way."

Leave it to a Kansas City Royal to be able to discern the subtle nuances in different kinds of losing. There's video of the play here. It really is impressive to watch Salty motor his ass off on the play. He must have caught some of Josh Hamilton's grit and determination. There's no way he learned that from Milton Bradley. AM I RIGHT, WHITE PEOPLE?

Whoa: More Fighty Yankee Stadium Cops

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So yesterday on Deadspin they had an interview with a guy who got roughed up by some NYPD because he wanted to pee during "God Bless America." It was a poor forum for an important discussion because a.) there are lots of dummies on Deadspin, and 2.) the guy's credibility is not 100% certain (even though it sounded legit to me). It was only a matter of time before their ridiculous "no movement" jingoism at a publicly financed stadium ran into some public criticism.

Either way, here's some video of an altercation between NYC's "finest" and a fan at last night's Yankee game. Wish I had more background info on this one. But hey... it's a fight, so that's something.

I'm headed to the Bronx today for the final Red Sox-Yankees tilt ever at The Stadium in hopes that the Yankees can somehow make up a seven game deficit in one game. Magic? Whatever it takes. Camp Tiger Claw will take you through the rest of the day.

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Wily sleazebag agent Scott Boras is trying to get mo' money for his client Pedro Alvarez, but by fucking with the Pirates' owner Frank Coonelly, the only thing Boras is getting for Alvarez is mo' problems. See, Pittsburgh agreed to a contract with their first round draft pick Alvarez just before the midnight deadline on August 15th and phoned it in to the MLB offices.

However, Boras is unsatisfied with a mere $6 million signing bonus and won't let his kid report to the team unless they cough up more cash, saying the deal was consummated after the midnight deadline. Boras convinced the Players Union to file a grievance on Alvarez' behalf. So Coonelly took the nuclear option: he asked MLB to place Alvarez on the restricted list (meaning no other team can claim him) and to prove his point, he threw the Royals under the bus, too.

"The Pirates are confident that the contract reached with Pedro Alvarez was agreed to and submitted to Major League Baseball in a timely fashion and properly accepted by Major League Baseball. In fact, the contract between the Kansas City Royals and Eric Hosmer, another Boras client, was submitted to the Office of the Commissioner after our contract with Pedro was submitted. Mr. Boras is apparently satisfied with the $6 million bonus that he secured for Mr. Hosmer and has not challenged the validity of that contract. Mr. Boras has been informed that if he pursues a claim that our contract with Pedro was not timely he puts Eric Hosmer's contract with Kansas City in jeopardy.

That's from Coonelly's statement released today. He's basically saying "Oh yeah? Well if we can't have Alvarez then the Royals can't have Hosmer." That's total kindergarten bullshit, but you can't blame the guy for pulling a fast one on a slimeball like Boras.

I normally side with players instead of ownership, but this one is too easy. The Pirates are right and Pedro Alvarez is wrong. Super Agent Scott Boras needs to be dealt with in the harshest way possible, and if that means being packed in a box and sent to Abu Dhabi, so be it.

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Here's what happened in baseball as that echo chorus lied to me:

Red Sox 11, Yankees 3: They say that at the end, you feel no pain. "They" are also big fat liars.

Mets 6, Phillies 3: Phillies fans, how is it exactly that you survive in this manner?

Rays 1, Blue Jays 0: Life is simpler when passed indoors in front of just a small group of your closest friends.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 4: Maybe one day, we'll truly understand why Albert Pujols seems to be made of magic. Maybe.

Indians 9, Tigers 7: This train don't stop here anymore.

Nationals 5, Dodgers 4: If life is truly like a box of chocolates, Joe Torre's box must be filled with animal droppings.

Orioles 11, White Sox 3: Lance Broadway, Lance Broadway, oh why have you foresaken me?

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, I'm losing touch with what makes me a violent party entertainer.


And, hey. Go check out the Front Office Page. We added a picture and bio for Lloyd, AND our crack street team finally gets the recognition they deserve. Big ups to all of them.

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

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Hey, is this the first Padres game that I'm liveglogging? Maybe with the luck o' the liveglog they'll finally turn this thing around.

Nah, probably not. The Diamondbacks send old crusty Randy Johnson to the mound in an attempt to prevent a sweep (a sweep!) at the hands of the lowly Padres. He'll face former Mariner Cha Seung Baek who went 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA in two July starts against the D-Backs. Wow, that must have been bittersweet news for Baek earlier this year:

"Hey, Cha Seung, great news, you're being shipped out of Seattle, the worst team in the American League! The bad news is, you're going to San Diego, the second worst team in the National League."

Yes, I am quite sure that is exactly how that conversation went between Baek and his agent. To a tee.

Anywho, the Padres took both games on Monday and Tuesday night. Let's see how they do trying for their first home sweep since....well, since Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed into the bay and was eaten by natives.*

Glog starts after the jump, dear reader.

*historical facts may be made up

NH Mailman Has Dweebiest Disease In History

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Portsmouth, NH letter carrier Richard Trofatter was "fired, fined, given a suspended jail sentence, ordered to perform community service and to pay restitution to the U.S. Postal Service" after it was discovered he lifted a 1915 Christy Mathewson card right from a mail bin. The card had been purchased on Ebay and insured for $655 right before it POOF! disappeared. But don't blame Ol' Five Fingers Trofatter. You see, he has a disease:

His attorney, James Noucas, told the court his client was recently treated for "obsessive compulsive behavior surrounding baseball cards" and, according to a police report, Trofatter described himself as "borderline addicted" to collecting the cards.

A police affidavit filed with the court by Detective John Peracchi says he was contacted by a representative of the Postal Service on May 7 reporting the "mail theft" of a 1915 Cracker Jack baseball card depicting New York Giants pitcher and Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson.

The card had been graded and given a serial number before it was put in the mail by an eBay seller in Wisconsin who insured it for $655, according to court records.

When an eBay buyer in Maine reported he never received it, the Postal Service launched an investigation, discovered the card had been sold on eBay for $1,211, then traced it back to mail handler Trofatter, who was working at the 345 Heritage Ave. postal facility, according to Peracchi's affidavit.

Yes, obsessive compulsive disorder surrounding baseball cards. If he was like, 9 years old I could relate. As a child I developed Baseball Card Related Tourette's by blurting out "shit" every time I got another worthless Greg Harris or Terry Shumpert. But this guy is 31. I find his "condition" creepy and almost certainly 100% fictional.

Hello, Trofatter.

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So how's that "On The Road Again: Republican Convention '08: The Final Countdown: Road Trip Of Destiny: Trip Of A Lifetime: This Time It Counts: Road Trip '08" working out for you Minnesota? Not so good, eh?

The Twins won the first two games of the trip in Anaheim, but have since gone to lose their last 4 including, two against Seattle. They're 1-4 at Safeco this year and only 4-4 overall against a team on pace for 100 losses. Every team has their bugaboo, but Seattle has had such a spectacular and public flameout, it makes it kind of embarassing.

So what's the problem Gardy? How should I pick your team's recent struggles at the worst possible time, against the worst possible team?

"You can pick it how you want to pick it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You can say we're pressing, or they're pitching good. You know what? Probably a little bit of both.

"They're throwing the ball good against us, and we're fighting it a little bit, trying to do too much. That normally happens, but you've just gotta work your way through these things.

"Hopefully [Wednesday's] a day where we'll come out relaxed a little bit and swing the bats a little better and have a better performance."

Consider it picked, you lovable old curmudgeon. Minnesota travels to Oakland tomorrow for a 4 game series against a team that is 11 games under .500. In August. If the Identicals can't pull out a few this weekend (while the White Sox are in Boston) please consider them totally unfit for playoff service.

Blackberry Eating: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:35, Cubs at Pirates: The Cubs are taking care of business and working overtime, work out. They've scored 26 runs in the first two games of this series. Can they keep it up until the playoffs start? Only time will tell. Unless we're talking about Sweet Lou's erection. You can set your watch to that thing. Jason Marquis gets the start, as he seemingly does for every single Cubs afternoon game. He'll take on Zach Duke, who is terrible.

  • 3:35, Snakes at Padres: Holy crap, the Padres have the dustpan out for this one. Yes, the division leading Snakes are on the verge of being swept by one of the ten worst offenses since expansion. Jeezum crowbar. The Dodgers are 3 out and The Roxtober Roxmagic Roxies are just 6 out. What a country!

  • 4:40, Twins at Mariners: Glen Perkins takes on Ryan Feierabend, as the M's reach for the broom closet. More on this later.
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The good people at Baseball-Reference want to know. Not really, nobody can possibly predict the person who will hit the 250,000th tater tot in Major League history. Heck, a quarter of a million ding-dongs is nothing more than a pretty, round number that says "Hey, baseball has been around since the days of Bill Sherman."

Still, we can look back and see which ballplayers hit other milestone dongs, thanks to their handy-dandy tabulation page:

*200,000. 1999-06-12 Paul O'Neill (NYA) off Livan Hernandez (FLO) in 4th inning
*210,000. 2001-04-29 Jermaine Dye (KCA) off Derek Lowe (BOS) in 9th inning
*220,000. 2003-04-12 Doug Mientkiewicz (MIN) off Doug Creek (TOR) in 7th inning
*230,000. 2004-09-23 Gerald Williams (NYN) off Tomokazu Ohka (MON) in 5th inning
*240,000. 2006-09-08 David Newhan (BAL) off Sean Henn (NYA) in 3rd inning

Hey, remember Gerald Wiliams? Yeah, me neither.

So, WoWies, who do you think will hit the 250,000th home run in ML history? I'm gonna go ahead and say....Emil Brown.

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Last night, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto went 3-for-5 with 2 dubbles and a tater tot to collect seven RBI in Chicago's big comeback win over the Pirates. Heck yesterday was no fluke; Soto has an OBP over .360 and a slugging percentage over .500...that's a helluva season! He's not just the best hitting rookie catcher in the National League, he's the best hitting rookie overall and the one of the best hitting catchers in either league. It's nice to bat eighth in a Cubs lineup that, when Carlos Zambrano is pitching, has a dangerous hitter in all nine positions. So how did Soto make good?

Before the season he joined Kerry Wood on a diet involving organic meals delivered to the players. "It's just something he asked me about," Wood said. "I came in and lost a lot of weight doing it. It felt good. I felt strong. So it just basically started out by talking about it, and I think actually Henry Blanco [Soto's defense-minded backup catcher and one of his mentors] might have bought some of the dinners for him and got him started on it."

Soto ended up losing twenty pounds, probably because Kerry Wood's 'organic diet' meals tasted like shit and the kid ended up starving himself. I mean really, who wants to eat tofu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Maybe once Geovany wins the Rookie of the Year award this season, he can finally break down and have himself some a big plate of piononos.

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Here's what happened in baseball while you used a machete to cut through red tape:

Nationals 2, Dodgers 1: Derek Lowe's complete game gem went for naught as his Dodgers were held down like a naughty dog and allowed to score but one run against a bevy of Warshington pitchers. Heck, L.A. got runners on base, but Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman started four double plays; Zim killed more rallies than the Denver police force.

Indians 10, Tigers 4: Cliff Lee has nineteen wins against just two losses for a mediocre Midwestern team. If he doesn't win the Cy Young, I'll eat my hat. Ben Francisco's two tater tots picked up the slack for outfieldmate Grady Sizemore.

White Sox 8, Orioles 3: The South Siders are riding the Obama convention bounce to a tidy AL Central lead. Starter Gavin Floyd went eight strong and helped his team improve to 18-8 in his 26 starts. Selfish infielder Orlando Cabrera had four hits and two RBI.

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2: After three losses in his first three starts against the UPSTART Rays, Roy Halladay finally got his shit together and put a Roy Halladay-style beating on the kids from the F-L-A. Fella only went six innings but hey, Vernon Wells and Rod Barajas both hit a ding-dong to support the cause. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, ROY?

Red Sox 7, Yankees 3: Mike Lupica was right about one thing, that being: "Mike Lupica is an enormous douchebag". Okay, maybe Mike Lupica didn't really say that about Mike Lupica, but you better believe everyone who reads Mike Lupica or works with Mike Lupica or sells coffee to Mike Lupica agrees on one thing, that being: "Mike Lupica is an enormous douchebag". I don't know what that has to do with this game, except I will probably be wearing a Red Sox hat this weekend as part of a silly bet.

Phillies 8, Mets 7 (13): Another day, another former Nats reliever blows a big game for his new team. This time, Luis Ayala earned his role as a stinky Mets reliever by giving up the game-tying RBI dubble to pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets blew a 7-0 lead in this game. I have no jokes for this.

Tonight's Questions

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lobsterchild.jpgHey kids, anyone have a mint?

  • WILL the Red Sox/Yankees series garner more national pub than the more compelling Mets/Phillies tilt that also starts tonight? The answer is almost certainly yes, but if don't have a dog in either fight you should have your eyes on the latter.

  • CAN the Brewers play well enough to deal the Cardinals' playoff chances the Death Blow?

  • CAN Roy Halladay notch a win against the Rays? He's 0-4 against them so far this season. I'm going to answer my own question. Yes. I love Roy Halladay.

  • IS there room in your heart for another lobster child?

  • WILL there be any clarity in the NL West by week's end? The Dodgers play the lousy Nats, while the Snakes have the equally lousy Padres.

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.

  • Derrick Goold points out that the Brewers celebratory gesture of untucking their shirttails is akin to the Lambeau Leap or the Bash Brothers bicep-bashing. I just find it crass and offensive to my sensibilities. Bird Land.

  • Dex attacks Forbes Magazine's ranking of "Worst Cities to be a Sports Fan". I agree with him, San Diego should never be on a list of "Worst Cities" for anything, except maybe "Worst Cities to Make Snow Angels". Gaslamp Ball.

  • Walkoff Walk favorite Kyle Blanks hit two ding-dongs and collected nine RBI yesterday, and is the hottest prospect in baseball. MiLB.com.

  • The only way to really assess the Mariners 2008 season: separate the good from the bad. USS Mariner.

  • FoWoW Jonah Keri examines the possible future of Mike Mussina and whether or not his plaque will take residence in Cooperstown. He calls Murray Chass a Luddite, so it's a great piece. ESPN.com.

  • Deepesh Sir went back to India! :( Million Dollar Arm blog.

  • Don't fuck with arugula, McCain. You got a better bitter leafy green for me to dress with Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar, I'd like to hear about it. Serious Eats.

Wait a minute, umpires are going to leave the field to review the video replays? This will not, in any way, make Steve Trachsel's games last 6 hours.

Baseball source tells AP replay starts Thursday

Wager Time: Rob And I Bet On The Outcome Of Sox/Yankees

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As I'm sure you're aware, tonight is very likely the beginning of the last ever Red Sox/Yankees series at this Yankee Stadium. There are enough modifiers in that sentence to not make me overly nostalgic. The rivalry won't change all that much when the Yanks move across the street, but there is a certain iconography to the Stadium that factors into most of my vivid memories of it. Mo Vaughn launching shots into the porch, Trot Nixon driving a Clemens pitch to right center in the classic Pedro/Roger duel in 2000, Wade Boggs on that stupid police horse, Aaron Boone, Jeter diving face first into the stands. You know, all that crap.

So in the spirit of making things seem more important then they actually are, Rob and I have decided to make a public wager on the series.

IF THE YANKEES WIN THE SERIES: I will have a large photograph of myself wearing a Yankees cap and holding a sign that says "Jeter Is God" posted on this site.

IF THE RED SOX WIN THE SERIES: Rob will have a large photograph of himself wearing a Red Sox cap and holding a sign that says "Yooooooouk" posted on this site.

Your pitching matchups for the series are as follows:

  • Tonight: Tim Wakefield vs. Andy Pettitte
  • Tomorrow: Paul Byrd vs. Sidney Ponson
  • Thursday: Jon Lester vs. Mike Mussina

That third one is a doozy, AND it's an afternoon game. If we're looking at a split series that afternoon, consider the objective restraint we've tried to bring to WoW officially out the window for the day. I do not want history to remember me holding that godforsaken Jeter sign.

The good people at Boston radio station WEEI have finally figured out the whole athlete blogging thing:

  1. Videotape athletes talking about dumb stuff
  2. ...
  3. Profit

I give you the Official Sean Casey Vlog:


He seems like a nice guy. Also, he seems like someone who was dropped on his head repeatedly as a child after being force-fed paint chips.

(We owe some codeine-laced Coke to BBTF's Baseball Primer Newsblog)

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The Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen is bringing the team down from the inside, not unlike a spy gone bad or a house's foundation made of oatmeal and Elmer's Glue. The team had themselves a nice little streak going before this past weekend: in three series against the Rockies, Astros and Padres, the D-Backs went 7-2 and opened up a tidy two game lead over the Dodgers. But as Los Angeles was getting swept out of Philadelphia in four games, the Diamondbacks bullpen was giving it all away. Here's their line over the last four games, in which Arizona won one game against three losses:

    8.2 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 1BB

That's a 6.23 ERA! The bullpen had three leads and blew two of 'em. Talk about wasted opportunities: Arizona could be five games ahead of the sorry Dodgers now, instead of just three.

Newly acquired reliever (and former Washington National) Jon Rauch was credited with two of the three losses. Rauch gave up a walkoff ding-dong to Jody Gerut last night and gave up a dinger to Cody Ross that blew the game on Friday night. Heck, the Nats are so bad, their shitty players are even infecting their new teams with their suckitude.

Another Christmas Without Melky Cabrera Under Your Tree

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It has obviously not been the best 2008 for Yankees CF Melky Cabrera. To begin with he's currently Scranton/Wilkes Barre CF . His rough season landed him in Triple-A the same day that Richie Sexson was released. In perhaps the final sign that the Melky Express makes it's last stop in hell, plans for his Todd McFarlane doll are being scrapped. From the Spawn.com press release:

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada is moving out of our New York Yankees 3-pack and into the MLB 23 lineup, replacing Melky Cabrera. It's the third version of Posada in our Sports Picks series, but the first showcasing him in his pinstriped catcher's gear.

The New York Yankees 3-pack is becoming a 2-pack, and will feature both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in fielding positions, complete with painted pinstripes never before available on these two figures.

A 2-pack? Sounds like the Yankees rotation. Zing! Poor Melky. This is like that time they discontinued Owen Hart's action figure, but it's even worse because instead of dying he had to move to Scranton.

Also, I thought Spawn.com was Steve Garvey's website.

(We owe a glass bottle of Coke to Can't Stop The Bleeding.)

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I've expressed my distaste for the baseball hall of fame before, but in case you missed it, here's a quick recap: baseball writers stink at voting for things. Still, in comparison to the nepotistic Veterans Committee, the BBWAA are geniuses. Well folks, get ready for more wackiness from the newest incarnation of the Veterans Committee:

"Allie Reynolds, Joe Gordon and Vern Stephens are among 10 players whose careers began before 1943 who will be considered by the Hall of Fame's constituted Veterans Committee when it meets on Dec. 7.

Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, Sherry Magee, Carl Mays, Mickey Vernon, Bucky Walters and Deacon White also will be on the ballot, the Hall said Monday. The 10 finalists were selected by a committee of the Baseball Writers' Association of America that considered pre-1943 players. A 12-member committee of Hall of Famers, media and historians will vote."

I checked through the Baseball Reference pages for these gents and using my completely unscientific methodology of scanning random stats, I've decided that none of them are worthy of induction. Most of these guys did a decent job of sticking around the league and putting up nice numbers for good teams and even making a bunch of All Star games. But were any of them ever considered the best players in their leagues? No. Not even close. The most famous thing that any of them did was kill a guy with a pitch. This isn't the "Hall of Killing Dudes with Pitches".

Besides, it would be a shame to induct any of them when more recent players like Bert Blyleven or Ron Santo deserve it far more. All of the players whose careers began before 1943 had dozens of chances to be voted into the hall by earlier Veterans Committtes, and despite the committee's sickening cronyism, they never made it.

Also, save for Mickey Vernon, all these dudes are dead. So therefore, Walkoff Walk officially endorses the hall of fame election of Mickey Vernon, if only to give a 90-year-old man one last hurrah.

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Here's what happened in baseball while the the moon was risin' like a discotheque:

Phillies 5, Dodgers 0: The Los Angeles table-setters did their jobs against Brett Myers, collecting nine hits and three walks in Myers' seven innings of work. Alas, the Los Angeles table-clearers failed like a busboy passed out from too many nips off his flask of cheap bourbon, leaving a whopping fourteen runners on base in the game. Manny Ramirez alone left seven gentlemen standing on the bags, just wishing, hoping, wanting to score. The wind was blowing in at Citizens Bank Park, leaving all of the Dodgers' many flyballs just short of tater tot territory.

Mets 9, Astros 1: Carlos Delgado is a fucking Renaissance Man and all those Mets fans who booed him for well over half the season can go shit in their hats. Fella knocked two ding-dongs, made a diving catch, and even acknowledged those frontrunning Mets' fans curtain call. On a day when I privately laughed at the Mets lack of starting pitching depth, fifth starter Mike Pelfrey hurled his second straight complete game victory. Pelfrey eats schadenfreude for breakfast.

Indians 4, Tigers 3 (10): Also a Renaissance Man: Grady Sizemore. He's just the second Cleveland member of the 30-30 club (joining Joe Carter) thanks to his duo of ding-dongs off Tigers starter Armando Galarraga. Franklin Gutierrez' tenth inning homer brought the Indians just 0.5 games behind third place Detroit, their eighth win in a row.

Cubs 12, Pirates 3: Hey, remember when I was all excited about Jeff Karstens being a breakout pitcher for the up-and-coming Pirates? Yeah, ignore my irrational exuberance at all costs.

White Sox 4, Orioles 3: How bad can things get for Baltimore? The Whie Sox' Alexei Ramirez scored the game-tying run on a Chris Waters balk after home plate umpire refused to grant timeout to batter Carlos Quentin.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, it never ends and it only gets worse.

  • WILL the Phillies complete their reciprocal dustpanning of the Dodgers?

  • ARE the Twins going to use the Mariners to try and get another sniff of first place's taint? They didn't do so hot against them last time.

  • CAN Dan Haren and Jake Peavy bring the heat in their second duel in less than a week?

  • CAN the Cubs keep the good times rolling against the Pirates? They've won 8 straight series for the first time since 1937, which somehow still counts even though the last two were against Cincinnati and Washington.

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

Last week, we asked for your help to name the mascot for the new single-A team in Bowling Green, Kentuckah. Please do your part as fans of shrimp in baseball and go vote for the Cave Shrimp. Thanks.


Because Mondays are custom made for horrid YouTube videos that make Cubs fans squirm.

(We owe a six pack of Coke to Land of Dave Corzine)

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From that bastion of news and sports reporting, the New York Post's Page Six, comes this story about Yankee stars Jason Giambi and Joba Chamberlain struggling on an entirely different playing field. The Beirut table.

IT would be tough for average Joes to beat a couple of Yankees at baseball, but slamming them in a game of beer pong was no sweat. Last week, Jason Giambi and Joba Chamberlain were celebrating their win against the Kansas City Royals at Southern Hospitality, on Second Avenue, when a table of fans challenged them to a game of the college drinking sport. Our spy said, "The fans gave them a beating. Toward the end Chamberlain and Giambi got really competitive, but it wasn't enough."

Apart from the writer's insistence on calling the game by it's simplistic misnomer, everything else seems to check out. I have absolutely no problem imagining Chamberlain and Giambi grunting out various takes on "bro" while their hamfists struggle to maintain aim. Meanwhile across the table stand two SEC expats applying a thin layer of regional patina to "dude." Camera phone flashes explode as the two millionaire athletic behemoths struggle before eventually succombing to Joes Twelvepack with two straight bullseyes. The shrieks of the floozies surround the table rise as the common man emerges victorious.

In other words, it sounds like the worst goddamned thing I've ever heard. There are no winners here.

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Olympic beach volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor throws out the first pitch before a Diamondbacks-Marlins contest wearing a D-Backs jersey, despite her marriage to Marlins catcher Matt Treanor. What's more emasculating for Matt, this public display of marital treason, or this groin injury from May?

Ha, get it? A groin injury from May? Ouch, I think I just strained my own groin making that zinger.

(Photo stolen from the AP)

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Did you kids see what that dastardly character AJ Pierzynski did now? After making a heads up move to advance on BJ Upton's center field dilly dallying, on the next play, AJ got caught in a pickle. He appeared to be a dead man running but somehow actively finagled his way into an obstruction call. He's so creative! Here's the rundown* from Joe Smith at the St. Pete Times:

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski became the center of attention in the 10th, when, after getting caught in a rundown between second and third, he tripped, fell and was tagged by Rays SS Jason Bartlett. But second base umpire Doug Eddings ruled that Rays 3B Willy Aybar interfered with Pierzynski, allowing the colorful catcher to advance to third. Pierzynski later scored on Alexei Ramirez's bases-loaded single.

Aybar said he tried to get out of Pierzynski's way, and only made contact after Pierzynski stuck his arm out. Bartlett said he heard Pierzynski yell, "Obstruction!" after he fell, and Pierzynski admitted afterward that he was thinking about trying to get an interference call.

"That was the first thing I thought of, to get somebody to get close enough to where I could touch them. People go, 'How do you think of that, that fast? Well, if you're not fast, you have to think of a lot of things to try to get you out of bad baserunning."

Vegas watch has a good shot of AJ reaching out and touching Aybar. That guy is such a card. A couple weeks ago when we were writing for Yahoo, some commenter took offense to me singling out Pierzynski when talking about a brawl. He may have had a point, but I still have two fundamental points of contention on my side. Yahoo commenters are dumb, and AJ Pierzynski is SUPER obnoxious.

*get it?

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Astros outfielder Hunter Pence has had a tough sophomore year in Houston as his OPS has dropped over 160 points since his third place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year season of 2007. But, the kid has a nifty way of biding his time when his baserunning gaffe (freezing at third base instead of charging home on an infield grounder) gets him benched the next day: he plays chess online.

Hunter Pence sat in his fold-up chair and stared at the alternating blue and white boxes on the page. He was reading about chess, a game the 25-year-old Astros outfielder has begun to study in place of the computer and video games of his youth.

"Kind of grown out of it, got a little bored," Pence said of Internet games such as Halo and Warcraft. "It's time for me to do something more productive with my mind and body. And I feel like chess is a little better for problem solving and to just sharpen your mind."

I would really love to make fun of Hunter Pence sitting in front of his Gateway laptop in the Houston clubhouse, logging on to the Yahoo! Chess boards with his screenname AstrozSlugger6969 and losing virtual chess matches to eight-year-old Estonian girls, but I never learned how to play chess and have always spent my life playing far less challenging games. So kudos, sophomore baseball player Hunter Pence. You have outwitted this baseball blogger, despite your past addiction to World of Warcraft.

Well, at least he's taught his brain to not run through sliding glass doors anymore.

(We owe a coupla cases of Coca-Cola C2 to the Baseball Primer Newsblog)

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Here's what happened in baseball while the trucks were pullin' in for the show:

White Sox 6, Rays 5 (10): Rays outfielder B.J. Upton is a lollygagger. There's no way around it, the kid just won't hustle his buns to make the play. In the bottom of the tenth, A.J. Pierzynski tagged to second base on a Carlos Quentin flyout that Upton tossed back to the infield with such a lack of urgency, you'd think he was participating in an egg toss. Pierzynski was later granted third base on a shitty interference call and scored on an Alexei Ramirez walkoff single.

Brewers 4, Pirates 3 (12): J.J. Hardy made good on J.J. Hardy Bobblehead Day with a walkoff extry-innings single. This is akin to winning the lottery on your birthday, except with more butt-slapping and fewer taxes pulled out by a grabby gub'mint. Pirates starter Paul Maholm locked horns with superstar CC Sabathia but both ended up with a no-decision. The Brew Crew blew two leads, including a ninth-inning, game-tying RBI single by Nate McLouth that handed Walkoff Walk favorite Salomon Torres his sixth blown save.

Astros 6, Mets 4 (10): Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano had a case of homergivingupitis in extra innings, allowing solo ding-dongs to Brad Ausmus and Darin Erstad. Again, Feliciano gave up home runs to Brad Ausmus and Darin Erstad. At Shea Stadium. In extra innings. Against the mediocre Astros. To say the Mets' bullpen has reached crisis mode is THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5 (11): Throw your panties to the wind, female Red Sox fans. Jed Lowrie's extra inning tater tot put the Sox ahead and Jon Papelbon's two shutout innings earned him a win. Wait a minute...put your panties back on...Jacoby Ellsbury lost a contact lens while crashing into the right field fence. Okay, he found it, he's okay despite some nasty bruising, re-remove the undergarments.

Rockies 4, Reds 3 (12): There were five six extry-inning games on Sunday but they can't all have playoff implications. No matter, Omar Quintanilla's twelfth inning solo tot off Mike Lincoln sent the Rox home happy and the Reds defense home with an F- grade in "Fielding 101". Tough course. See, in the ninth inning, Matt Holliday reached on a Brandon Phillips error, advanced to second on a David Weathers balk, and scored when Jay Bruce made a huge oopsie on a Brad Hawpe flyout. Five errors overall for the Redlegs.

It's been quite the annus horribilis for Twins infielder Adam Everett. First, he went on the D.L. in May with a shoulder ouchie that kept him from playing until August, when the Twins nearly released him, followed soon thereafter with that troublesome encounter with a pepper grinder. To top it all off, he's been caught wearing a defective uniform:

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Yes, that's Adam Everett wearing a Twins road uniform that says "MINNESTOA" on the front. (video here) Hmm...Minnestoa? That must be the 51st state, located on an island somewhere in Lake Superior near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. So how did this mistake get fixed?

The misspelling was caught by former Twins player Denny Hocking, who was watching the game at home on television in Orange County when he noticed something peculiar about Everett's jersey. After double-checking the spelling twice in the at-bat, Hocking sent a text message to one of the visiting clubhouse attendants at Angel Stadium.

So the Twins gave Adam Everett faulty equipment and not a single person in the dugout noticed. Yet Denny Hocking, a stickler for bad spelling with an eagle eye and access to the nuclear hotline, caught the mistake from his living room sofa. Case: closed.

(We owe a strawberry Fribble to David Pinto)

Kingpin1[1].jpgDay games and K machines. Sounds like a good Sunday to me. I'm still here on the homestead, living Polpot's agriculture-based utopian dream.

More Spare Rubber Than Beijing: It is too early to classify these as Crucial Series right? Perhaps simply saying that they are key, key to Meaningful Baseball in September. The Jays and Red Sox hook up their winningest and K-ingest pitchers to decide their three day Canada tilt. Rich Harden's NL numbers are nothing short of frightening, and today he gets to face the Gnats. Another double digit strikeout day is in the works. The ancient Chinese proverb tells us that when Fish and Snake do battle, one should always believe in Ricky. The Angels - Twins division leader tilt comes down to another good pitching match up. Kevin Slowey struck out 12 in his last start, while Santana pitched well but fell to the Rays when last he took the mound.

More from the Mound! We're really spoiled today. CC takes his perfect record and overworked arm to the hill against the Pirates. King Felix gets a shot at Random Lefty X and the A's. The Andy Sonnastine Mirage gets a good look at quick workin', often losin' Mark Buehrle.

The Bank is open late: The Phillies and Dodgers do it again tonight, under the hypeful eye of ESPN. The Dodgers don't want to slip too much further behind the D-Backs, watch for noted firebrand Joe Torre to offer a rousing pre-game speech. Charlie Manual is going to solicit speech advice from whoever shouts "Go Phils Go" at his car.

I'm trading in cow pies for crackheads as soon as I can. The Iracanes and the Tiger Claws will let you know how it all went down tomorrow. Swing by here this week as the Jays "Quest for Heartbreak" continues. Enjoy the Ks!
baseballbed.jpgWhat happened last night while you wrote mildly amusing game recaps at your in-laws. Your in-laws horse farm, to be exact. On a laptop without Firefox, tabbed browsing, keys for the letters S & D, and a connection speed above 56 Mbps

Yankees 5, Orioles 3: The AL East - Where Italian ballplayers Returning From Extended Turns on the DL Happens. Crazy Carl rode some early run support for 5 innings, picking up his first win since the day before forever. Giambi and Matsui donged and Dave Trembley stomped his way out of the game in the 2nd inning. If loving Carl Pavano is wrong, I don't want to be on Who's the Boss? The Rays continued to lay solid foundation under their house of cards, riding more strong bullpen work (three hitless innings) until they finally got to former Expo Javier Vasquez. He was perfect through 5, Jermaine Dye hit two tots, but the Sox still lost. Lost Sox in Toronto too! Jesse Litsch's smoke and mirrors baffled the Red Sox while Vernon Wells double totting bruised them, bringing the Jays and Yanks one game closer in the Wild Card.

Diamondbacks 7, Marlins 1: Yusmeiro Petit stole Micah Owings job, and he don't want to give it back. 6 innings of 2 hit ball is conducive to employment, especially in the "starter pitcher" market segment. One of the hits was a home run by my NL Boyfriend Hanley Ramirez, but Chris Young and Miguel Montero covered that and then some. Barry Zito has heard the cliche his entire life, but finally realized his record wasn't going to get any better unless he "helped his own cause." The Dude picked up his first RBI of the year, and his Giants ruined Dirk "Imaginative nickname derived from a high-brow skin flick" Hayhurst's big league debut. In true NL West style, this game featured zero homers but 2 triples! How sweet.

Angels 7, Twins 5: The Halos were able to overcame a bad Jon Garland start (even by Jon Garland standards!) thanks to the Twins actively participating in their own downfall. Two third inning errors by Brian Buscher led to a four run outburst. Mark Texeira added an insurance ding dong, making Frankie Rodriquez's already simple job that much easier. He's now one save short of 50, and we're seven days short of September. The Angels stat geek-speak "magic number" is now down to 19. Never ask a girl her "magic number" if you don't really want to know. Frugal Lefty Dana Eveland beat Decadent Lefty Jarrod Washburn in a game that defines the Dog Days exactly. C'mon Jarrod, you can't have a pitchers duel if one guy barely qualifies as a pitcher!

Phillies 9, Dodgers 2: The Phillies scored three runs in three seperate innings, powered by Pat Burrel's 30th home run of the year. He went three for five, and knocked in five runs. Five is better than three, so the numerology is even crazier. Johnny Maine (ain't a damn thing changed) got lit up by the Astros, well the two Astros that are famous and/or good anyway. Lance Berkman and Miguel Tejada notched 6 hits and 6 RsBI, which is surprising when you consider that manager/luddite Cecil Cooper hit Michael Bourne second. I must not understand the nuance of having a sub .300 on base percentage guy getting to bat with the second most frequency on your team. So he's been successful there, that doesn't make it right!

Cubs 9, Nats 2: Rather quietly (quietly Canadian, but loudly All Star teamed), the disastrous closer known as the Cum Dempster is having the best season among Cubs starters. Dude scattered 8 hits of 7.1 innings, only walking one terrible Nat. Aramis Ramirez knocked two dingers, (Mark DeRosa had one too) and the Cubbies continued to cruise. The Brewers stayed in control of the Wild Card, thanks to Ryan Braun's powerful bat and refusal to abide by the laws of a beautiful tradition, 3000 years of in the making. Albert Pujols could hit dandruff off an albino, but one man's 1.100 OPS is another man's intentional walk.

Too bad AL Central, you came so close. The price of gas is finally coming down, so I'll gladly distribute it to you in Face form. If I can work the butter churn fast enough, I'll wander through the day games in a mildly amusing fashion.

Shout at the Devil

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dead kid.jpgBe very afraid. The Rays are on national TV the same day we see the return of Carl Pavano. Nothing makes sense, my entire belief system crumbles. If today is truly Z-Day, I'll try not to act too excited.

Games powered by the Sun's final light: Another sure sign that this is the end: Barry Zito! He leads his Giants in a West Coast day game, the futilely overmatched Padres send a guy named Dirk out for his big league debut. The Jays and Sox hook up again in front of thousands of vacationing New Englanders. The Nats look to get back to their losing ways, sending the perennially putrid Odalis Perez against Ol'Flippy Glove.

We now go live to Joe Buck reporting from the Lake of Fire Before they were in the end of days business, Fox picked out a solid game for today. The Dodgers and Phillies have post-season aspirations, so they send some of their best in the form of young studs Cole Hamels & Clayton Kershaw to the Bank bump,. The Braves-Cards game isn't inspiring a lot of excitement, hopefully there will be scoring oddities that will send my scurrying for my rulebook. The Rays and White Sox give us a legit duel: Kazmir versus Vasquez. Expect lots of Ks and lots of pitches. Sadly for Fox, Vasquez is right handed, meaning the nation will be deprived of the sublime joy that is Rocco Baldelli. We're all worse for it.

Fend off a zombie, win a large bag of peanuts! If the Earth isn't scorched from the Rays destroying the suck/time continuum, Carl Pavano will be there to ensure you're feasting on the flesh of the living by midnight. Jeremy Guthrie will offer the surprisingly solid opposition for the O's. Tonight's finest duel features two fifteen game winners; Edinson Volquez and Aaron Cook. At Coors Field. We are really stretching the word duel to unseen distances here. Brandon McCarthy makes his first start for the Rangers, having been Creampuffed all year long. His return coupled with Hank Blalock playing first should do nothing to stem the tatertide in Texas. Clandestine stud Chris Volstad will do his best to keep the Fish in the hunt, while Little Manny goes for the Snakes.

That's me for today. It's been nice knowing ya, remember that a table leg makes a great baseball bat for defending your home from the mindless hordes. If you see me turning into a zombie, don't stop me! Let me have my fun.
breakfastofchampions.JPGI want to know what happened last night! The waiting could crush my heart.

Rays 9, White Sox 4: As unlikely as these two division-leading teams are, is anything more shocking than Tampa Bay's worst-to-first bullpen? An Aussie named Balfour shut the door when it counted, holding the Rays close until the Sox pen gave up 6 runs in the final two innings to put this one out of reach. Rocco Baldelli and Nick Swisher were among the numerous tater-toters, but were the only ones to overcome incredible fatigue before the game. Rocco from a mysterious, barely manageable disease while Swisher was spent from too many Jägerbombs, zebrah. The Red Sox got home runs from the small, overachieving guy and the large, underachieving guy to keep the surging Jays at bay. The Yankees got tots from the cast of the popular daytime drama Jacks and Jill: Love on the Ballfield (Cody, Xavier, Robinson and Jose) to keep the Wild Card in their dreams. Bobby Abreu and his 5 singles are better suited to the WB.

Cardinals 18, Braves 3: I like to think I understand baseball, so I recognize that many noteworthy and/or interesting things occurred during this game. Adam Wainwright was excellent in his first start since June 7th, good to know. The Cards scored 18 runs without hitting a home run, that is pretty cool. Joel Pineiro picked up just the second save of his career. What? A save? In a game decided by 15 runs?!!!? They must have scored all those runs late, and he came into a save situation. It was 12-1 when he entered the game??? I give up. Here's the (incredibly stupid) rule, I'll see you in hell. The Brewers dropped six runs in the seventh to beat the Pirates, maintaining their 2.5 game lead in the Wild Card. Neal Cotts snapped on a water cooler because the Nats snapped their long ass losing streak against the young bears.

Twins 9, Angels 0: The Twins are still in first place, getting past the sand bagging struggling Angels. Glen Perkins ran his record to 11-3, pitching 8 shutout innings. Delmon Young and Denard Span hit home runs and took exception to Chris Rock's view of Minnesota. Cleveland got another good start out of Fausto Carmona to continue their pointlessly strong August. The Royals and Tigers played a game in which one team scored more than the other.

Mets 3, Astros 0: Johan Santana left the game with a three-run lead and went straight to the bar. He emerged later, drunk but pleased to hear that Aaron Heilman and Luis Ayala held on to give the Mets this pitcher's duel. Roy Oswalt went the distance, retiring the last 20 batters he faced but took the loss. Had he pitched the last three innings of a blow out, he would have gotten a save instead. Pack the stats bro, your agent is going to be pissed. Mean kids Ryan Howard and Chris Coste ruined old man Maddux's return to the Dodgers, hitting homers and hiding his glasses in their dugout. Florida weathered 13 Big Unit Ks and scored two unearned runs to come from behind to beat the Diamondbacks. They're pretty much out of it, but those impoverished kids have so much pluck...

Giants 5, Padres 0: Stop me if you've heard this one before: Tim Lincecum is really fucking good. Kid struck out 8, hit a double and pitched 8 shut out innings. I really wish Brian Sabean was a little dumber, Timmy'd be a Jay and I'd be in heaven. Travis Ishikawa hit a triple tot and Fred Lewis wondered when you'll learn his name. The Rockies continued their sick, masochistic joke entitled Livan Hernandez. How does 3.2 innings and 6 runs allowed grab ya? His ERA stays at its glorious level above 15, which isn't fit for the infirmed or nursing mothers.

Ouch, that hurts AL West. Gas Faced again. The Rangers hit two more home runs in a losing effort, which is all they're capable of at this point. And Marinerds, take heart. Brandon Morrow will be back soon. As will I, with a look at today's games!

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, I'm throwing out a bunch of old books.

  • ARE the Dodgers gonna sweep the crap out of the slipping Phillies again? Maddux puts on the Dodger Blue tonight. Hope he's cured that jock itch.

  • HOW will Tampa handle it's second straight series against a division leader? They're headed to Chicago to take on the Pale Hose.

  • CAN Boston get some revenge against Toronto after last week's consecutive shellackings? Not if Paul Byrd gets smacked around again tonight.

  • WHO you got in the Marlins/Snakes tilt?

  • DOES anyone want to help me move?

  • WILL the Mets continue to stay (ugh) hot? They get this Astros series off on the best possible foot by sending Johan to the hill to counter Oswalt.

Another one in the books. Enjoy the weekend, folks. There aint much summer left. But whatever you end up doing make sure you bookend your days with the stylings of weekend editor extrordinaire, Lloyd The Barber. Man's got a way with the written word, don't he?

We'll see you all on Monday.

Come See What's Brewin'- 197?

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Today's classic TV Friday isn't as lolarious as the past few have been, but it sure is catchy. Let's groove along to this classic Brewers promo sung by what I imagine the Starlight Vocal Band would sound like if they got high sometimes. It's swingin, it's fun, it's GOT UECKER. Just don't spill any High Life on your dancing shoes.



For the complete lyrics, check out this dude's myspace blog. Very helpful.

Dream Song 108: Today's Afternoon Game

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  • 2:20, Nationals at Cubs: Chicago gets to spend the weekend mauling the Nationals. They need to be beating up on these weak clubs whenever they get a chance. Our astute intern Darren points out that the second place Brewers play 26% of their remaining games against the Pirates. 9 games in all, 6 at home. So if the Cubbies want to keep that comfy cushion they'd do well to treat Washington like the anemic milquetoasts that they are. John Lannan takes on Jason Marquis.
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Dee-troit Tigers manager Jim Leyland (who has received his fair share of slings and arrows from my partner) is actually happy with his job and interested in staying on. The good people at The Big Tilde, the awkward Magglio Ordoñez fanboy blog, stole these words from Peter Gammons Insiders Only blog:

There are rumblings that the Tigers may have to lop $40 million off their payroll before the beginning of the season. But on Tuesday, manager Jim Leyland let it be known to upper management that he'd like his contract extended through 2010, and says "I'd like to manage another five years."

Jim Leyland is surprisingly just 63 years old. This is news to someone like me who thought he was already 63 when the Pirates lost three straight NLCSes sixteen years ago. Regardless of his actual biological age, looking at the man does not necessarily inspire an image of good health and longevity. Still, reading this short news item from last year may prove us all wrong:

Leyland closed out pregame batting practice on Sunday afternoon by grabbing a bat and taking a round. He received applause from Tigers fans in attendance when he sent a fly ball into left field, and he tipped his cap in response on his way off the field.

Well, perhaps Herr Leyland is aging quite gracefully, and will indeed be managing the Tigers for the next five years. In fact, we've obtained actual video of Leyland arriving at Comerica Park on Opening Day 2009.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGLots to get to this week. Guys are wearing down, guys are getting drilled in the face with fastballs, and several little leaguers were found tied up in the trunk of Iracane's Monte Carlo. Tough time to a baseball player. On to the weakest!

  • Jerry Hairston, Jr., Reds: Hairston has managed to avoid much of our fair site's Reds wrath. Unfortunately he wasn't able to dodge a vengeful god and caught the hamstring blues. Now he's on the DL. And the 15 day disabled list.

  • Mitch Maier, Royals: This one was not funny. Maier got cracked in the face with a fastball and broke his nose and various other bones. There is video here for you brave souls that wanna watch it. Dude's nose was still bleeding 24 hours later.

  • Ryan Braun, Brewers: Braun has a nagging rib injury that isn't bad enough to land him on the DL, but has still kept him out of the starting lineup for the majority of the past two weeks. He doesn't think it's going to go away and says he can play through it. Which is nice and all, except he isn't, you know, playing through it. Take a DL break, buddy.

  • Billy Wagner, Mets: When Wags hit the DL this week with more pain and swelling in his elbow, some reports said he could be lost for the year. That's recently been amended to three weeks. Wagner, said he was "surprised" it would take that long. Yeah, me too. I can't believe the Mets have such patience in getting you back for the 9th inning.

  • Sean Gallagher, Justin Duchscherer, A's: The former has shoulder fatigue and the latter is having hip troubles. Both are on the deel, leading to an all lefty A's rotation. Quirky! As much flack as Beane gets for trading guys heading into their prime, he's gotta be sorry he couldn't dump Duch earlier this season. His career year is partly due to a ridiculously low BABIP, and now his hip is disintegrating like Wilford Brimley.

  • Ian Kinsler, Rangers: Kinsler is out with the dreaded sports hernia. He's feeling better after surgery but this is a notoriously tough injury to recover from. Much more so than a checkers hernia or painting hernia.

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Despite their poor second-half showing that followed a promising start to the season, the 2008 edition of the Oakland A's set a franchise record! Most players taking a trip to the disabled list! Whee! Pitchers Sean Gallagher and Justin Duchscherer are the latest creampuffs (more on them later), setting up the A's to bring up southpaws Dana Eveland and Dan Meyer from Triple A Sacramento. Wait a minute, this sounds like something important!

"The team now has an all left-handed, five-man rotation -- including Thursday's starter Greg Smith, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden. The only other time Oakland has had an all-southpaw rotation was in 1973 with a four-man staff of Vida Blue, Ken Holtzman, Darold Knowles and Paul Lindlad."

The A's will play Seattle this weekend, who have a terrible record against lefty pitchers. But hey, they have a terrible record against righty pitchers, and ambidextrous pitchers, and pitchers with no arms at all, so it's nothing new. Still, they OPS about 60 points higher against lefties, so maybe the Mariners will manage to breach the three run mark.

By the way, this is officially the most interesting thing to happen to Oakland since this TV show.

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Here's what happened in baseball while busked around the market towns and picked fruit down in Kent:

Mets 5, Braves 4: Mike Hampton and the Braves relievers did a fine, fine job keeping the Mets batters down. Well, except for Carlos Delgado and his four RBI.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3: Carlos Ruiz put the Phils up with a seventh inning ding-dong and then reliever Ryan Madson gave it all back. It's okay, he had a receipt. Nats break their 12-game losing streak and yet immediately forget how to enjoy the nice things in life.

Blue Jays a lot, Yankees a little: Things got so bad for Sid Ponson and the Yankees bullpen that even Marco Scutaro hit a tater tot. But hey, so did Hideki Matsui so it's not all broken glass and sad tomatoes for the Yanks.

Indians 10, Royals 3: Cliff Lee has eighteen wins against just two losses. He's a slam-dunk for the Cy Young, not just for his gaudy record but also his league leading ERA (2.43), his sexy 5.58 K:BB ratio, and his mediocre fansite.

Cubs 3, Reds 2: Carlos Zambrano giveth, Carlos Zambrano taketh away. Oh, I'm not talking about the ding-dong he gave up to Jay Bruce and the tater tot he hit off Josh Fogg, I mean that he once gave me a BoDeans CD for Christmas and then stole it back the next March.

Tonight's Questions

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kurtloder.jpgHey kids, I can only see in through the keyhole.

  • WILL Minnesota's "On The Road Again: Republican Convention '08: The Final Countdown: Road Trip Of Destiny: Trip Of A Lifetime: This Time It Counts: Road Trip '08" start off on a good note in Anaheim?

  • CAN Brandon Webb and Roy Halladay keep pace with Cliff Lee for Pitcher Of The Year?

  • DO you like that award I just made up?

  • DO you have your Soundgarden records handy? Mike Hampton takes on Pedro Martinez in the first ever old timer's game that counts in the standings. Kurt Loder will be watching.

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

  • Doug Glanville reflects on players switching uniform numbers after trades, the "Dirty 30", and Lance "One Dog" Johnson. If that's not enough to get you to read it, then I got nothing for ya. New York Times.

  • Jesse Spector interviews Brad Lidge. The most revealing thing about Brad Lidge? He drives SUVs exclusively. Brad Lidge is a boring man. Touching Base.

  • Bob Timmermann gives us the downlow on catcher's interference. A certain football blogger I know who is running a fantasy baseball league this season included 'catchers interference' as a statistical category. Yes, he's a Reds fan. Baseball Analysts.

  • Lloyd the Barber takes down J.P. Ricciardi's radio call-in show, FJM-style. Wait, scratch that. He does it more like DrunkJaysFans.com, but he's no thief. Ghostrunner on First.

  • Ian Snell learned how to pitch by watching CC Sabathia on his iPhone. Fanhouse.

  • Dinesh is happy to celebrate the festival of Raksha Bandhan in the States, but misses his family: "Back home, I would have had my sister tying a rakhi on my wrist. Made me really homesick." In Hindi, the word rakhi means 'dog anus'. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • The Reds apologized to their fans in a letter, but blamed their shitty play on 'injuries to key players within our starting lineup and rotation'. You dummies, the only real injury that hurt the team was Dusty Baker putting Aaron Harang on the DL from overuse. MLB.com.

  • Carl Pavano is back, in POG form. ESPN.com.

  • Fictitious restaurant wins Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Dr. Vino.

Joe Torre's Ghostwriter Is Messing With My Head

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You know I love me some MLBlogs.com. It seems as if the majority of them these days are coming from the Dodgers. There's Alyssa Milano, Tommy Lasorda and the culinary journo stylings of Andre Ethier. There's also the heartbreakingly funny final entry from Andruw Jones's blog. Fun time is over, indeed. The newest entrant into this linguistic race to the bottom is none other than Dodgers skipper, Joe Torre.

It is perhaps the worst kept secret in the world that some of these are ghostwritten, but I tend to think a lot of the MLBlogs are on the up and up. Or at least dicated faithfully. But, I gotta tell you. If this is the real Joe Torre talking, consider my brain fully broke.

  • "Aside from the fact that men don't usually have diaries; even the word "diary" brings to mind a little pink book with a heart-shaped lock and a label that reads "My Secrets" in lavender bubble letters. But that's not really me, so I think a blog is a more acceptable "dude-like" version."

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  • "I saw one of those little candy Valentine's hearts printed with "LOL" and thought it was a typo right up until I started reading about blogs and Web acronyms. I mean, WTF(udge), right? Then there are "web smileys" like ;-) and :-( which frankly make me a bit >:-P (I just made that one up). But live and learn."

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  • "I learned about it first-hand when I found myself walking down Rodeo Drive with this little white Maltese or Pomeranian named Butch under my arm. The funniest (or saddest) part was that I didn't look one bit out of place. Hey, if that's all it takes to fit into LA, I'm in--at least the white fur will match my uniform. Maybe I can get a gray one for my away games."

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  • "Until then, I'll just say BFN, because I have to GBTW, but I'll BCNU soon. But JFTR, I don't think I'm going to be using a lot of this Web slang. IMHO, plain old English works just fine. TYVM and TTYL."

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Remember when baseball hall-of-fame president Dale Petroskey put the kibosh on a Bull Durham 15th anniversary celebration in Cooperstown because of anti-Iraq war statements by actors Tim Robbins and his mom life partner Susan Sarandon? No? Well I pretty much just gave you the gist of what happened back in March when Petroskey got fired.

Well, it's five years later, and the movie is finally getting its special day. Next month, the stars of Bull Durham (and Robert Wuhl) will meet in Cooperstown for the annual three-day film festival. Now that the Iraq War has proven to be a huge mess regardless of ones political affiliation, the corporate fatcats who run the hall of fame can make nice-nice with the hippie activist actors (who are also fatcats).

Still, it seems as though our friend Dale regrets his actions from five years ago:

Petroskey, a former Republican official, said earlier this year he wish he could have had a do-over.

Hey, you and President Bush both, fella.

Last Night I Drove A Car: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:05, Royals at Indians: Anyone got odds on Cee Lee shutting out the Royals today? He's done it once this year and the free swinging Royals are the perfect victims for his pinpoint control. Cleveland is 17-14 since the All-Star break an... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • 2:20, Reds at Cubs: Carlos Zambrano will try and exorcise his recent hiccups against the abominable Josh Fogg and the Reds. Cincinnati has scored 2 runs in the first two games but thanks to Bronson Arroyo has managed to take a game. You don't know how much it pains me to give that goober credit. There is rubber in the ivy.

  • 3:10, Rockies at Dodgers: Dammit, Dodgers. They're facing a home sweep against the lowly Rockies. Every game that the Rockies win just delays Brian Fuentes going to a real team. Cut it out. Derek Lowe goes against Jorge De La Rosa, and if Lowe doesn't get the job done, I'm writing a post with all the freaky rumors I heard about him while he was in Boston. WIN THE DIVISION, YOU DICKS.

  • 3:45, Marlins at Giants: Florida has merely split the first two games of this series and things are going to get mighty tough if they can't put a string of wins together. They're actually further from the Wild Card (7.5) than they are from the division lead (5). Josh Johnson gets the start against Matt Palmer, unquestionably the biggest star from the 31st round of the 2002 amateur draft.

John Is Gone, But Cito Is Neato

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I was on vacation the week that the Blue Jays fired John Gibbons. It wasn't a surprise, hell even I predicted it and I haven't gotten anything else right all season. But when I received the text that they'd fired him and hired Cito Gaston, I laughed believing my leg had been pulled and went back to my underage Malaysian hooker Cobb Salad. But lo, it was not a joke. The new boss was actually the old boss.

What appeared at the time to be a bookmark interim hire has proved to be pretty successful. The Jays are 30-22 under Gaston. What would you say is the key, hirsute Toronto Star columnist Richard Griffin?

I'm not sure if, with regard to Gaston's current managerial style, the word "develop" is as appropriate as the word "nurture". Sports and baseball are so much mental that when a player fails, he needs to be reassured that all is not lost. The Jays under John Gibbons, with the ever-impatient Ricciardi at his elbow, were never able to do that - see Adam Lind's 1-for-19 demotion; see John McDonald's sub-.200 being glued to the bench; see David Purcey's one start and out (twice).

The most telling TV shots are of Gaston in conversation with his players in the dugout as the game is unfolding. The same shots of Gibbons saw him wedged into the home plate corner of the dugout, insulated from his players by at least two coaches.

The key word in that entire paragraph is "Lind." Lind has a robust .534 SLG in 54 games this year. It's kind of funny that Gaston's touch with youngsters is such an improvement over Gibbons, because all the veterans hated him too. The next shoe to drop is obviously Riccardi. There's palpable animosity towards him from writers and fans. Even if Gaston's Jays weren't being so successful between the lines, his latest tenure has been a sign that JP's era is dead on arrival this offseason.

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So we've got instant replay in baseball now. Camp Tiger Claw and I argued about the prospect of such a rule change back in May, and we agreed that we both were wrong and each others' opinion was ridiculously wrong. Turns out the umpires' union and the MLB corporation were far more agreeable, as they finally buried the hatchet and signed an agreement to allow instant replay starting this season:

"I told our members that it's just another tool that we can use to get the play right, not to look at it as a negative, but a positive," World Umpires Association president John Hirschbeck said. "As hard as you try, as much as you hustle, sometimes with just the landscape of the ballparks nowadays, it's hard to tell. So if we can get it right, you know what, let's use it as a tool to get it right."

Hirschbeck seems like a gentleman and a good communicator, but he obviously knows that umpires are a cloistered sort and quite protective of their craft. Naturally, they should be. No other institution in sports takes more abuse than the baseball umpire, despite their pretty decent record of making the right call. Yes, you've got your Don Denkingers and your Rich Garcias who made questionable calls in tight playoff situations, but for the most part, umpires know their shit.

So now, Bud Selig and his band of merry CEOs are figuring out how to implement new technologies to get home run calls right:

Umpire crew chiefs will determine when replay will be used and will make the final decisions on calls. Up to three umpires will be able to look at the replays, which will be provided from a "war room" at Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York. It's possible as many as five umps could review the replays during postseason.

Will umpires on the field have iPhones in their back pockets? Will the umpires in the war room push the video out to the umpires on the field via AT&T's 3G network? What if videos like this accidentally show up on Hunter Wendelstedt's iPhone?

Perhaps the real question is: how many different ways can Bud Selig screw this up?

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Here's what happened in baseball while I waited patiently for you:

Angels 5, Rays 4: I glogged this one.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Bronson Arroyo did good. Cubs hitters, eh not so much.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 6: Adam Dunn hit ball far. Jake Peavy cowers in fear.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1: Derek Jeter: still dreamy. Game lasted 142 minutes. Short!

Giants 6, Marlins 5: Brian Wilson blows save; Bengie Molina wins game.

Rangers 9, Tigers 1: Hope you enjoyed your season, Tigers fans. Nate Robertson, your ride's here. Rangers clobber back-to-back dongs in 3rd inning; repeat feat in fourth.

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Does this still count as the Wednesday Afternoon Liveglog Club if the game is happening at night? I have no idea, but I'll pretend that it is. Please join me in watching the Tampa Bay Rays host the Anaheim Angels, broadcast nationally on the up-and-coming cable channel called 'ESPN2'. Hey, I think these kids are going places!

Dueling right-handers Jered Weaver and Matt Garza take the mound; Weaver has never faced the Rays while Garza got knocked around by the Angels while with the Twins last July. Garret Anderson hit a ding-dong off Garza last year.

Let's cut right to the chase; your first place versus first place liveglog is after the jump:

Tonight's Questions

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liveglog.jpg Hey kids, it sucks as it cuts.

  • ARE the Angels gonna get swept out of Tampa on an orange scented dustpan? Watch the game on ESPN2 with Rob at 7:05, and learn together.

  • WILL the Dodgers or Phillies make a move on first place?

  • IF the Blue Jays beat the Yankees and catch them in the AL East, will the glog turn into and endless stream of profanities about a game that Rob isn't even watching?

Enjoy your primetime glogstravaganza then join us back here tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Orioles Draw 50 Millionth Fan

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Kevin Gracie, a 24 year old Orioles fan who probably has like 2 happy memories of the team was Oriole Park's 50 Millionth Fan.

He was rewarded with $50,000 but then promptly punished with 5 years of season tickets.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made some great trades to improve their team before and after the ol' deadline, but the one move they didn't make may prove to clinch second place in the NL West. As per smarmy midget Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti could have and should have put in a waiver claim for former Red and current Diamondback OF Adam Dunn:

At the time the Reds put Dunn on waivers, the Dodgers had a worse record than the D'backs, giving them priority in the claiming process. Yet, the Dodgers failed to place a claim on Dunn, awarding a "Get out of jail free" card to the Diamondbacks' sagging offense... The only plausible explanation is that the Dodgers feared getting stuck with Dunn's remaining salary -- about $3.5 million.

Really? A team with a $118 million payroll didn't want to risk absorbing three and a half mil to block their rival from adding the league leader in ding-dongs? How pissed off must Dodgers owner Frank McCourt be after ol' Neddy burned a massive amount of dough on noted busts Jason Schmidt ($47 mil), Andruw Jones ($36 mil) and Juan Pierre ($44 mil)?

How poor are the Dodgers? The Dodgers are so poor, they had to trade away all their prospects to pull in Casey Blake, Greg Maddux, and Manny Ramirez. Their farm system consists of a few lifetime minor leaguers, a dozen goats, and a tumbleweed now, while their money set aside for free agent signings in 2009 is basically a sheet of food stamps and seventeen pesos. Three and a half million dollars is all they needed to block Dunn! Couldn't they have borrowed that from Tommy Lasorda's stripper-and-calamari fund? Or gotten a loan from noted Dodger fan-cum-groupie Alyssa Milano and her shitty clothing line?

By the way, Dunn hit a tater tot to lead the Diamondbacks to victory last night, while the Dodgers lost a game that saw Tanyon Sturtze's dramatic comeback to the bullpen. Advantage: Arizoner.

(We owe thirty cases of RC Cola to Baseball Primer Newsblog)

Bowery Blues: Today's Afternoon Games

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***SPECIAL GLOG ANNOUNCEMENT***

Yes, it is Liveglog Wednesday, but please note Rob will be glogging the Angels/Rays game at 7:05 PM on ESPN2. You'll be able to follow along on your Teevee and Rob says there will be more "emphasis on funny instead of play-by-play." So tune in tonight, and please be wearing your Member Blazers. On to the afternoon games.

  • 1:10, A's at Twins: Oakland repented for actually winning the first game of the series by getting the farts hammered out of them last night, 13-2. Dallas Braden goes for Oakland and Disco Francisco Liriano goes for the Identicals. This is Minnesota's last home game before they embark on a 14 game, Neocon mandated road trip. DONT FORGET YOUR TOOTHBRUSH!

  • 2:05, Mariners at White Sox: Chicago has pulled back ahead in the AL Central by taking care of business with the lowly Mariners. Speaking of which, if you haven't read Geoff Baker lately, I highly recommend it. The alternating despair and apathy is sublime. R.A. Dickey and his knuckler take the hill against cologne chugging wunderkind, Gavin Floyd.

  • 2:05, Astros at Brewers: It's rubbertime in Cheeseville. My boy Manny Parra looks to break his string of rough outings (5.70 ERA in his last 5 starts) against Wandy Rodriguez. The Brewers are 6 out in the Central but still hold a 2.5 game lead over St. Louis in the Wild Card. STL CAN NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. I BEG YOU, MILWAUKEE. DO IT FOR ME.

Ricky Nolasco Finds Money In His Glove

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slot.JPGThe Marlins' Ricky Nolasco has had a fine sophomore season, and hit a new peak last night with his complete game, 2 hit ruby against the Giants. Kid kept his pitch count to a measly 110 thanks to a mere 32 balls thrown. But platitudes from handsome bloggers aren't his only reward for the outing. No, Nolasco got that most traditional of prizes: Cold Hard Cash.

Ricky Nolasco won a pot of cash for his first career complete game - thanks to the Marlins' nearly two-year drought without a pitcher going the distance.

Nolasco pitched a two-hitter for his first shutout and drove in two runs with his first double, leading the Marlins past the San Francisco Giants 6-0 on Tuesday night.

His reward: the money that had been accumulating in Florida's complete-game pool started some time after Anibal Sanchez pitched the last such game on Sept. 16, 2006, a major league-record 301 games ago.

"We've been reminded of the streak all the time. You just can't think about it," Nolasco said. "You have to go out and give your team the best chance to win."

It's no secret that the Marlins trot out lots and lots of young pitchers, so it's probably not an entirely bad thing that they haven't had a guy throw a complete game in awhile. I'm not a believer in the vaunted "Pitcher Abuse Points" as a surefire doom forecast, but there's obvious common sense in not overworking a young arm.

Nolasco, specifically, came out of camp last year with a weak arm but has been building that strength all season. The guys at FishStripes had a bit of a conniption when he threw 135 pitches in a near complete game earlier in the season.

But as far as yesterday, Nolasco's 110 throw night can't be looked at as anything but a positive. He cruised and as he told me on the phone this morning,* "I'm just making that paper stack, bitch."

*I have never interviewed Ricky Nolasco
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Some baseballbloggers are accusing the Brewers of overusing their newest acquisition, front-line starter CC Sabathia, since he will most likely be walking away from Milwaukee at the end of the season with a fat free agent deal. Kid's thrown five complete games in his nine NL starts, including Monday night's 130-pitch outing that earned 27,000 Pitcher Abuse Points from the good folks at Baseball Prospectus.

So is this really abuse, or is manager Ned Yost merely doing what is right for both the team and the pitcher? Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt got the necessary quotes straight from Yost:

"Never once did he labor. Where he labored was the Chicago game (124 pitches in 6 2/3 innings on July 28). Those are the starts that wear on you. ... What those people don't know is my attitude toward our players. I would much rather lose a game than take a chance of hurting anybody. That's not the type of person I am."

Yost seems genuine. His team has some off-days coming up but he is not re-jiggering the rotation to give his top starters like Sabathia or Ben Sheets more starts; he's letting the rest of the rotation keep their spots and give everyone some extra days off between starts.

However, Rany Jazayerli, in that B.P. article cited earlier says that there is no evidence to show that extra days off will do any good for pitchers. (Heck, let's go back to the days of four-man rotations and jettison folks like Kip Wells forever!) There is correlation, though, between high PAP scores such as the one Sabathia earned Monday night and future injury risk, but that's mostly for young starters under age 25.

Sabathia is an absolute horse in his prime, failing to reach 30 starts just once in his eight-year career when he started 2006 on the D.L. with a strained right oblique. This fella can handle a 130-pitch start mixed among some 110-pitch starts. He's got a 69:15 K:BB ratio as a Brewer and the only thing that could stop him now would be an ill-timed wallaby rape.

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Here's what happened in baseball while you were ripped right out of the ground like a fuckin' root:

Blue Jays 2, Yankees 1: New (and old) Yankee centerfielder Johnny Damon had two fly balls pop out of his glove, one of which came back and bit him in the ass. The mistake, not the ball. Can you imagine that? A baseball growing teeth and clamping its jaws on your posterior?

Red Sox 7, Orioles 2: Daisuke Matsuzaka had the control of Matthew Perry in a Percocet factory but survived five walks in five innings to notch his fifteenth win against just two losses. Kevin Youkilis' sexy three RBI added to that noted Bostonian run support.

Rays 4, Angels 2: Sigh. How do you live like this, fans of every team not based in Tampa Bay?

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: The Citizens Bank Park faithful booed Jimmy Rollins but not even the most ardent antirollinsite could walk away angry after Jayson Werth hit the game-winning ding-dong in the eighth. Brad Lidge saved his 31st game and then saved a pigeon with a broken wing by cradling him in his jockstrap.

Mets 7, Braves 3: A bases-bloated dubble by Carlos Delgado in the eighth blew the doors off the Braves bullpen. Not literally. Shea may be a dump but the bullpen doors' hinges are made of solid steel and engraved with Dave Kingman's taint.

White Sox 5, Mariners 0: Clayton Richard picked up where Lance Broadway left off and spun a gem in place of injured Jose Contreras. Yes, you can still call six shutout innings a 'gem' even when it comes against the lowly Mariners.

Twins 13, Athletics 2: Brian Buscher had five RBI while Kevin Slowey struck out 12 A's in seven solid innings. Former Cub Sean Gallagher saw his ERA balloon by two runs after allowing 10 runs in 5 innings. Are Oakland fans just hoping and wishing for a Rich Harden injury now that the team has fallen deep into the shitter?

Cubs 5, Reds 0: Now that's how you executive produce! Rich Harden finally finally finally got a no doubt win, allowing zero runs and striking out 10 in seven innings. Fella even picked up a RBI with his fifth inning sac bunt.

Astros 5, Brewers 2: Any time Brian Moehler outduels Ben Sheets, I have to write about it. There, I just wrote about it.

Pirates 4, Cardinals 1: Three straight quality starts have chopped half a run off Ian Snell's ERA and the pride of Dover, Delaware even picked up the dubya in this one, just his third win since I wrote this. I am dumb.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, sometimes a change don't come naturally.


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.

  • Joe Posnanski buries the lead here, so read the whole consarned thing to find out his big blog news. JoeBlog.

  • Evan Longoria did well but the other Rays have done far better at third base. Small sample sizes, hurrah! Fifth Outfielder.

  • Peter Abraham has finally descended into a Peter King-esque madness, posting an entire listicle of 'observations'. You're a baseball reporter. Report on baseball. Nobody cares about your taste in TV shows. LoHud Yankees Blog.

  • Think things have gotten bad for the Royals? NOT SO FAST. They're interested in Kip Wells. All Things Rockies.

  • The good folks at FishStripes have been keeping tabs on Marlins catcher Matt Treanor's wife Misty and her pal Kerri as they continue their beach volleyball adventures in Beijing. Tonight tomorrow night is the gold medal match! FishStripes.

  • Pat was happy about the Pedro Alvarez deal. REAL happy. Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke.

  • A cat eating spaghetti. Neatorama.

Reds Fans Have Finally Lost It

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Would you respect a news institution that has a regular feature called Dance Party Friday? If not, you'll need to look beyond Cincinnati's Local 12 for your live and latebreaking. Last Friday their cracked out weatherman was joined by new Reds mascot Rosie Red. She's totally my type. Dark hair, bangs, short dress, giant baseball head.

Anyway, things really devolve around the 1:18 mark where after some dancing the aforementioned drug addled meteorologist chases Rosie around the studio screaming unintelligibly. Luckily for Rosie and the home viewer, he didn't catch her. When someone is on that much PCP you never know what they're capable of. Enjoy!

Toby Hall: Least Athletic Athlete Ever

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pieface.jpgNot a day goes by where we don't mention how tight the AL Central race is. It's been compelling in that neither the White Sox or the Twins seem to want to take command, no matter how badly the other one stumbles. There is very little breathing room, and subsequently it's not a great time to INJURE YOURSELF WHILST THROWING A SHAVING CREAM PIE, TOBY HALL.

Backup catcher Toby Hall said his right shoulder was fine after teammate Jermaine Dye blocked his attempt at placing a shaving cream pie in his face during a post-game interview following the Sox's 13-5 win over Seattle.

Hall had his right shoulder wrapped in ice but assured reporters he didn't not re-injure his shoulder, which he separated in spring training of 2007.

Wow. Jermaine Dye rejected his pie toss with such authority that he jammed Hall's shoulder. White people are dumb. I look forward to the next Great Chicago Fire being started by Hall's mischievous attempt to hotfoot John Danks.
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The Minnesota Twins are charitable folks! They got together for a charity dinner at Morton's Steakhouse to raise some cash for the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities, acting as the wait staff for the night. Justin Morneau poured heavy drinks at the bar, Nick Punto waited on tables, and even injured outfielder Michael Cuddyer hobbled around the room performing magic tricks. You know, for the kids.

Sadly, the night took an unexpected turn for the worse:

    "As the night unfolded, infielder Adam Everett wielded a mean pepper mill."

Sounds innocent, right? Then how do you explain this news item from MLB.com?

    "Twins infielder Adam Everett was removed from Monday's game against Oakland after being struck on the right hand by a Nick Punto foul ball in the sixth inning."

Obviously, Everett's hand was weakened by a night of incessant pepper grinding for the dullard fat hausfraus and car salesmen of Minneapolis who were lucky enough to pony up $250 for a subpar steak dinner served by an untrained and inexperienced waitstaff. His overworked pepper hand simply could not withstand the friendly fire from his light-hitting teammate. Well now, it's either back to the DL for Adam or time for him to contemplate how much his selfish hogging of the pepper mill has cost his team in a tight pennant race.

(We owe a Diet Coke with Lime to the good people at the Baseball Primer Newsblog)

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We haven't covered Olympic baseball much here at Walkoff Walk (actually, not at all, mostly because of the ridiculous extra innings rules) but this news is too good to pass up. Seems that the Cleveland Indians prized prospect that they received from the Brewers in the CC Sabathia trade got plunked in the head by a Chinese relief pitcher during pool play.

While leading off the seventh inning of a USA-China game, Matt LaPorta was hit in the helmet by a Chen Kun fastball. LaPorta was knocked to the ground and suffered a concussion; he was led back to the dugout by manager Davey Johnson who sent LaPorta to the hospital.

So what led Kun to do his best Bob Gibson impression?

According to game reports, the trouble started against China when LaPorta knocked over catcher Wei Wang in the fifth inning on a play at the plate for a 4-0 lead. Wang left the game with a knee injury.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nate Schierholtz collided with backup Chinese catcher Yang Yang when he scored on a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead. China's manager Jim Lefebvre argued over Team USA's tactics at the plate and was ejected.

Lefebvre! I should have known! Only one of the Riddler's former henchmen could be so dastardly to collude with the White Sox to put a hit on the rival Indians' best prospect. And on the other side of the world to boot!

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Here's what happened in baseball while it broke my heart to see you hangin' from your shelf:

Red Sox 6, Orioles 3: Jason Bay tater-totted twice and Jon Lester won his twelfth game of the year. Kevin Millar went 1-for-3 with a double in what will probably be among his last games with the O's before they trade him back to Boston.

Rays 6, Angels 4: Tampa Bay stays 4.5 games ahead of Boston on a pair of two-run ding-dongs, thanks to Eric Hinske and Cliff Floyd. Manager Joe Maddon managed his bullpen with precision, trotting out five gents in relief of starter Andy Sonnanstine with the relievers earning four holds and a save. That was my favorite Hugh Grant movie.

Giants 5, Braves 0: Barry Zito slashed 0.30 off his ERA with seven shutout innings as he toppled the Atlanta lineup with an array of both grit and luck. Also, the five runs of support seemed to help; Zito has gotten zero or one runs from his San Fran mates in 24 of his starts for the team.

Brewers 9, Astros 3: Guess Cecil Cooper was wrong about sweeping the Brew Crew in Milwaukee. HIs weak Astros ran face-first into CC Sabathia's belly and flopped on the infield despite notching 10+ hits and bloating the bases in the ninth. Other NL teams rejoice knowing that Sabathia completed this game while throwing an eye-popping 130 pitches, his season high.

White Sox 13, Mariners 5: This explains why nobody really wanted Jarrod Washburn.

Athletics 3, Twins 2: Minnesota shortstop Adam Everett left the game in the seventh with a bruised right hand. Let the Brendan Harris reign of terror resume!

As per ESPN2's crawl and Dylan Hernandez at the L.A. Times, pitcher Greg Maddux has been dealt to the Dodgers by the Padres.

It was not immediately known who was sent to San Diego in exchange for Maddux, a future Hall of Famer who is 6-9 this season with a 3.99 earned-run average.

Maddux is expected to fill the shoes of recently re-injured Brad Penny, who may be out for the season with a shoulder ouchie.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, pass the drawn butter.


So tonight, get your vote on for the cave shrimp, then join us back here tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, Same WoW channel.
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The Tampa Bay Rays future single-A team in Bowling Green, Kentucky needs a mascot name, and we at Walkoff Walk would like to help. The team will play in the South Atlantic League starting next season, home of such cleverly-named teams as the Hickory Crawdads, the Savannah SandGnats, and the Kannapolis Intimidators. So to keep up with the Joneses, the good folks at BowlingGreenProBaseball.com accepted fan suggestions for the team name for a few months.

Here's Bowling Green CEO Brad Taylor:

"This is the fans' team, so it's only natural they get to feel that sense of ownership in having the opportunity to vote for the name of their team. All seven of the finalists are unique names in Minor League Baseball that have a specific connection to Bowling Green, so we encourage everyone to join us in this fun and exciting way of creating an identity. It's an election year, so fans -it's time to vote!"

Here are your finalists (guess which one we like):

  • Bowling Green Speedsters
  • Bowling Green Cave Shrimp
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • Bowling Green Bluegills
  • Bowling Green Turbos
  • Bowling Green Sparkplugs
  • Bowling Green Mammoths

Yes, the Cave Shrimp sounds right to me. Why? Because (a) Kentucky is home to the endangered blind albino cave shrimp and (b) shrimp and baseball go together like ham and eggs. Folks, please head over to the voting page and register your voice in favor of the Bowling Green Cave Shrimp and support the prevalence of shrimp in baseball. Fight the power!

voter.jpgDespite having a terribly unfortunate name, Newsmeat.com is an invaluable resource for political junkies and voyeurs. Campaign contributions are public record, and Newsmeat tracks em all. From your neighbor to your favorite actor (guess who he donated to). I looked at some 2008 numbers to see what personalites from the fine sport of baseball are giving, and who they're giving it to.

  • Hank Aaron (Hall of Famer): $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
  • Peter Magowan (Giants Owner): $30,800 to John McCain
  • Frank McCourt (Dodgers Owner): $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
  • Drayton McLane (Astros Owner): $4,600 to John McCain
  • Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox Owner): $4,600 to John McCain AND $2,300 to Barack Obama
  • Curt Schilling (Red Sox Pitcher): $2,300 to John McCain
  • Vin Scully (Dodgers Broadcaster): $2,300 to John McCain
  • George Steinbrenner (Yankees Owner): $15,000 to John McCain AND $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
  • Stuart Sternberg (Rays Owner): $2,000 to Barack Obama
  • Tom Werner (Red Sox Co-Owner): $2,300 to Barack Obama

Nothing entirely surprising about this list. I'm pretty jaded about both candidates so the only real disappointment is that there aren't any current players. Calling Curt Schilling active just because he's on a roster is like calling Heath Ledger active for having a movie out. I guess I can forgive them, seeing as how they've been, you know, playing. I expect activity to quicken after the conventions, as the season winds down and the campaign picks up. I'll update as we get closer to election time.

And yes, Vin Scully. I still love you even though you gave to Bush in '04.
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It's no secret that the Phillies' offense has been just short of impotent over the past two months, and manager Charlie Manuel is about as flummoxed as an old fart can be. The Phils sport a .236 team batting average and a .314 on-base percentage since June 13th as they've fallen two games behind the Mets in the NL East. Surprisingly, the Phillies starting rotation and bullpen have been absolutely remarkable; the starters have the sixth best ERA in the NL and the relievers have the 2nd best, lagging only the Dodgers. Still, they can't expect to win every 2-1 game on a regular basis like they did yesterday against the Padres.

So what is Uncle Cholly to do? Solicit advice from the masses, that's what:

"I'm puzzled. I stay up late at night thinking about how we can get our offense going," Manuel said, before his team beat San Diego, 2-1, at PETCO Park on Sunday. "I'll listen to what anybody's got to say. Fans. Cab drivers. President Bush, anybody."

You heard the man, cab drivers of America, and I know you all read Walkoff Walk while buzzing around Philadelphia in your taxis. The man asked for your advice so you better give it to him. Please feel free to contact Charlie Manuel at his home phone number (215-555-JOWLS), his email address (unclecholly123@hotmail.com) or simply over the facsimile telegraph machine.

The Old Stoic: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:35, Mets at Pirates: The Mets have a shiny new dustpan at the ready. This chrome plated, contour handled beauty is just waiting to collect the remnants of the Pirates after a potential 4 game sweep. A win would be the Mets 7th straight after taking 3 against the Nats. This road trip should have been called "All-Star Break 2: Hot Summer Futility." John Maine makes his 2nd start back from rotator cuff troubles. He takes on Paul Maholm, who looks like he's had quite enough of this Pittsburgh thing.

  • 4:35, Giants at Braves: A San Fran win would give them 3 our of four at the Ted and a fifth win over the Braves in a little under two weeks. The good news for the Braves is that they send Jorge Campillo to the hill while the Giants counter with Barry Zito and his terrible pitching. Zito has 83Ks against 80BBs. Sheesh. That makes me feel gross just reading it.
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Don't quote me on that, but Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent isn't paying very much heed to what legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully has to say. Seems that ever since superstar Manny Ramirez came west to Chavez Ravine, the entire L.A. offense has significantly improved in that all-important sabermetric statistic of "runs scored".

Kent himself has jacked his batting average up 28 points and his OPS up 48 points ever since Manny assumed the cleanup spot behind Kent, and Scully has taken notice:

It's obvious, though, everyone noticing it, Kent going into Saturday night's game hitting .500 behind Ramirez, Vin Scully mentioning it during each broadcast.

"Vin Scully talks too much," Kent said.

Wait...what? Vin Scully, the man who called the 1955 World Series, Hank Aaron's 715th home run, Dwight Clark's "catch", Kirk Gibson's walkoff homer in '88, and has been the Dodgers' radio guy for fifty-nine years "talks too much"? Yes, Jeff Kent, Vin Scully has been doing nothing else BUT talk for FIFTY-NINE BASEBALL SEASONS. He certainly does talk too much because he is paid to talk too much, in fact, he was inducted into the hall of fame in 1982 because he talked too much.

Enough of my rant, I actually side with Redneck Jeff Kent on this matter. He's obviously been pestered for three weeks about this whole Manny nonsense and he's sick and tired of it. Sure, he was having an off-year before Ramirez showed up but (a) he's 40 and (b) he's one of the best hitting second basemen in history. So maybe that extra protection behind him in the lineup is just helping him reach his normative level of production. After all, he spent most of this year hitting ahead of jerks like James Loney or Nomar Garciaparra.

Also, Kent was just kidding.

(Photograph stolen from Flickr user Malingering)

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Here's what happened in baseball while we forgot all the names we used to know:

Cubs 9, Marlins 2: Ryan Dempster beat his old team as his Cubbies clobbered four doubles in the seventh to topple Chris Volstad. Four doubles? Sounds like Chicago accomplished the vaunted Tetra Twix. Milwaukee and St. Louis both lost their games and lost ground in the NL Central arms race.

White Sox 13, A's 1: Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez both came home with 4 RBI and their respective mommas taped them to the refrigerator door. Because they ran out of souvenir magnets from their trips to Disney World. Javy Vazquez helped keep Chicago tied with Minnesota, who beat Seattle.

Indians 4, Angels: Hey, Cleveland took two of three from Anaheim. Dear Tribe, keep winning two of every three games and you'll hit .500 sometime in December.

Yankees 15, Royals 6: Mike Mussina won his 16th, putting him perfectly on pace to win at least 18 games for the sixth time in his career. But hey, he never won 20 games so fucking forget the hall of fame, right? Yeah, so what if he has as many wins as Bob Feller and more wins than Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, or Mordecai Three-Penis Brown. Never won twenty? Fuck you, pay me. In other AL East news, Alex Rios collected his own personal Tetra Twix to lead the Blue Jays to a rout over the Red Sox.

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 0: Ty Wigginton's first inning three-run ding-dong provided the only scoring for Roy Oswalt's Houston squadron. No worries, Roy pitched 8 innings of one-hit, ten-strikeout ball on the day that the 'Stros retired Seton Hall's alum Craig Biggio's number seven jersey.

Pay to Lincecum

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moneybaby.jpgAll the stars are out today, big pitching match ups are the norm. Check out the aces as they make decisions with precision.

Dust levels at All-time High: Not as much with the sweeps this week, with only the Mets, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Twins looking to do the deed. Two game series don't count, just like teams 8 games out of the Wild Card race aren't really in the wild card race.

Olympic Fencing Competition Ignites Dueling Fever! You have you choice of duels today. Would you like the contrasting styles of Shaun Marcum and Josh Beckett? What about unquestioned ace Johan Santana taking on paper ace Jeff Karstens? Remember when Randy Johnson was an Astro? Neither does he. He brings his excellent second half into the 100% Real Juice Homerdome to take on Roy Oswalt. Kyle Lohse and Edinson Volquez bring similarly strong records but shockingly different peripherals to battle in the Natty.

Not Olympic Quality, but Still Compelling: You know what is better than 80% of the Olympics? Watching Tim Lincecum pitch. If he only took the mound every 4 years, it would be a crime. Not unlike Mike Hampton (who got the win last night) drawing an annual pay check yet only pitching during Olympic years. Jeff Francoeur had 4 hits last night, if he does the same today I'll make commenter Matt_T's bed for a week. Lincecum looks to bounce back after taking a ball to his vert ramp-ravaged knees last time out.

Under the Lights: The guy you saw leaving your girlfriend's house this morning leads his Phillies against Cha Seung Baek and the Padres. Baek is going to have to channel his countrymen from Old Boy if he intends on surviving the Phillies lineup. The not-ready-for-prime-time Rays are playing at night, but ESPN couldn't care less. Kid K takes the hill, and laughs at the ideas of "efficiency", "throwing strikes" and "keeping his fastball down." He's just that good.

Watch the day games, go out and do outside stuff, then come home and let Joe Morgan addle your brain. That's me for the weekend, Rob and CTC will guide you through your workweek. If I'm not back next weekend, blame the AL East standings.
Fiberoptics.jpgWhat happened on the baseball field while you smoked and traced the skyline.

Mets 7, Pirates 4: Five straight wins and an excellent start from Pedro? Things look good for the Mets. What? Under the rug? That? That's nothing, just ignore it. Don't lift that up! Dammit! Yes, the bullpen tried their hardest to make it interesting, but Jose Reyes' quick start (home run and triple in the first two innings) was enough to push your favorite squadron 2 ahead of the Phils. Should I be concerned that the Phillies have lost 5 of 6 Shane Victorino? Oh, no questions asked.

White Sox 2, A's 1: Two teams that went crazy with the ding dongs last night opted for the egg white pitchers duel today. John Danks went 6 strong and Bobby Jenks picked up his 25th save, while Nick Swisher called a teammate "bro" for the 10 000th time this season. He's on pace to shatter Brady Anderson's league record. Loser of record Greg Smith is having a much worse year than I am willing to give him credit for. He seems good, but is in fact quite awful. You learn something new every day. The Twins somehow cracked the airtight M's bullpen to remain tied at the top.

Cardinals 9, Reds 3: Albert Pujols is quite enjoyable to watch. Every time he makes contact, the ball seems destined for the lower stratosphere. He hit 2 very Big Flies today; but still trails the Big Fly Big Shot Ryan Ludwick, who hit is 31st. I knew I should have drafted Ryan Ludwick over Pujols in my [redacted]. The schizophrenic Brewers rode Gabe Kapler's fence-riding catch to edge the Dodgers in extras. David Riske K'd Manny to end the game, leaving the Brewers in the wild card driver's seat.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 1: An established meme here in WoWland is appreciation of good pitching. Shameless homerism will always take a backseat to a well-pitched game. When those two glorious worlds collide however.....Roy Halladay is the best pitcher I have ever seen. The Red Sox scored 37 runs in three games against the Rangers, but only mustered 6 singles and a late Pedroia Monster shot against Halladay. Alex Rios took his aborted benching in stride, knocking a home run and a triple. Paul Byrd didn't pitch badly, but is surely no Roy Halladay. The baseball gods offered the Yankees a reprieve yesterday, forcing the Royals into 3 errors and a wild pitch. Poor little Zach Grienke pitched excellently, allowing two Berts but no Earnies. Brett Gardner had three hits including the game winning walkoff single. His brother-in-arms Kevin Maas finally sold the Johnston place on Birch Street. Good day for both of them.

Diamondbacks 11, Astros 5: Who likes tetratots? The D-Backs hit two tetratots, Chris Young and Miguel Montero doing the honors. Miguel Montero had a two tot day, while Chris Young remained red-hot and one of the streakiest players in the league. Adam Dunn had two hits, three walks and a stolen base, but did it all with a look of disdain on his face. What a bum. Livan Hernandez picked up the win! He must be on the way back. Hmmm, 6 innings, 10 hits, 6 runs. That seems poor. But he cut his ERA in half! Still over 15? Troublesome. 2002 Cy Young award winner Troy Tulowitzki added three hits and three RBI. He's been OPS over .850 since the all star break, there might be hope for this kid yet.

I don't want to give you the Gas Face again AL West, what with Texas shutting out the Rays, but I have to do it. This fancy machine shows me that your race is as good as over. The Angels are currently pounding their chests 15 meters from the finish line.
lightning.jpgMany more intriguing battles today in the baseball world. Mrs. Fields is going under, let's hope it doesn't effect worldwide tater-tot production.

When the sun comes out, you can really smell the sewage: Day game in the Bronx! I still don't believe the Yankees are done yet, what with their deal with the Devil still ongoing. The Bombers send the physical manifestation of that deal against the Zack Grienke and his Royals. Grienke will try to replicate the start in April in which he shut the Yankees out over 7 innings. He will not try to replicate almost every other start of his career.

Fox's West Coast Bias is Sickening! Three games pitting AL West teams against rivals from the Central? Typical. Kowtowing to Big Cheese, once again. The Go Go Angels make their weekly stop on your television set, this time against Fausto Carmona and his Tribe. With Lackey going for the Angels, this could be a nice little ground out pitchers duel. The White Sox - A's and Twins - Mariners round out the lineup.

Pour Me Another Sassparilla Paul Byrd and Roy Halladay will turn the clock back to just Gold Rush times, but to last week as well! They met last Saturday inside a half-empty multipurpose facility, a game marred by poor defense and Paul Byrd's success. Tonight they face off in big time divisional game at one of baseball's true shrinesTM. The Mets heave a Pedro Martinez-shaped rag doll towards the mound, knowing that Zach Duke won't offer much resistance. The Livan Hernandez Experience is offered a reprieve, facing the lowly Nats. Weekly target of my jokes Mike Hampton gets meet Fred Lewis up close and personal. The rest of the nation will soon follow suit, kid is going places. I should really cut Hampton some sla...does that say he's due to earn $20 million dollars next year? American dollars? For his rare combination of middling success and constant state of physical disrepair?? Sorry Mikey, the gloves come back off.

Go outside in between innings, but make sure you come back and check out all this sexy baseball today. Next time you make reference to A Rod, K Rod, or ManRam; think about Usain "Lightning" Bolt and recognize what a MAN'S nickname sounds like.
babytype.jpgWhat happened last night? Just look around.

Royals 5, Yankees 4: Ever get the feeling it just isn't your year? Losing at home to the Royals via a wild pitch is a pretty sure sign. Mariano Rivera gave up a double to Esteban German(!) and an infield single, before the guy that only throws fastballs saw one of his patented cutters elude Jose Molina to put the Royals ahead in the ninth. The hard-luck Yanks got the lead off man on in the bottom of the inning, only to see their pinch runner, the guy designated to run, promptly picked off. Sigh. Loaded bases held out over demustached faces as Jason Giambi made the final out with the sacks full. Smirking shitbag Matt Garza dominated the oil money Rangers with a comprehensive 2 hit shutout. The Rays are riding the Woonsocket Rocket right into the playoffs people, it is time we adjust to the new reality. It rained all over Roy Halladay's grimace, postponing the game until September. A day-night doubleheader will balance the schedules, but what about the memories??

Phillies 1, Padres 0: Jamie Moyer led his Cubs Orioles Mariners Phillies into Jack Murphy Petco and pitched a gem against perennial Cy Young candidate 350 game winner Greg Maddux. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn lauded both players determination and willingness to pay exorbitant union fees for more than 20 years. The pair of quadragenarians made their debuts in 1986 for the Cubs, and both men pitched 7 excellent innings tonight. A Pat Burrell homer in the 7th was the difference in the game. In 1986, Pat the Bat was learning to conceal his first STD. The Mets edged the Pirates behind a desperately overdue good start from Mike Pelfrey; keeping them one game up in the East.

Twins 9, Mariners 3: Fransico Liriano was the beneficiary of Rob's praise and a 7 run inning as he lead his Twins into a slice of first in the Central. Former Twin and free market enthusiast Carlos Silva took the loss, his 14th of the year. That is (approx) one loss for every million dollars he will average annually over the life of his current contract. Think about that next time you're negotiating with a man named Bevan. The White Sox attempted to trade jacks with the A's, but designated jacker Jack Cust hit two jacks, while Kurt Suzuki hit the game winning walkoff jack to cap a crazy game.
D-Backs 12, Astros 2: Brandon Webb + numerous home runs = a good night at the ball park. Webb was predictably ridiculous, throwing a mere 85 pitches over 8 innings. Uncle Wandy walked 6 dudes in 2.1 innings (totaling 77 pitches, for what it's worth) but it was Tim Byrdak that surrendered three home runs to Chrises Young, Burke and Synder. Poor Ed Wade is currently scouring the world in search of the best baseball player with a surname beginning with B. That is clearly the missing link on this year's squad, not enough Bees. The newest Dodgers supplied three runs in the slight roughing up of Manny Parra that ensured this division reminded tied. They may not have the best records, but they will make it compelling down the stretch.

Cubs 6, Marlins 5: The Big Z wasn't at his best, but some timely hitting brought the Cubs back against the struggling Florida Marlins. Daryle Ward gazed at the Lenny Harris card in his locker, then went out and pounded the go-ahead home run in the top of 9. The Cubs have won 5 in a row and are opening up a serious gap in the National League Central. America's ex-boyfriend Rick Ankiel hit his first home run in a month and issued a challenge to Michael Phelps. In a desperate ploy to regain the nation's affection, Ankiel suggested that Phelps win a medal in track & field before accepting the title of greatest athlete in all creation.

Despite the best efforts of the Gas Face, a little AL West content snuck into today's mildly amusing recap. Team USA beat Canada in Olympic baseball, with part-time baseball player and full-time Zamboni driver Chris Reitsma giving up the winning runs in the seventh inning. Cuba edged Taiwan 1-0 in the Dissident Classico 2008. Check back this afternoon and we'll look at tonight's games.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, get your dirty feet off the new sofa

  • DO you realize how many big name pitchers are throwing tonight? Carlos Zambrano, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Andy Pettitte, Brandon Webb, Frenchy Liriano, and Greg Maddux. That's a fun group.

  • HOW bad does king of mediocrity Paul Byrd feel about not being in that list?

  • CAN would-be contenders like the Phillies and the Yankees turn things around against bottom-feeders like the Padres and Royals? They better, or else face the indifference of rabid front-runner fans.

  • DID you know the Astros and Diamondbacks have the same record? Well, they won't after their three-game weekend series is through, especially after Randy Johnson and Roy Oswalt face off on Sunday.

  • WHAT will this fat slob be named when it's all said and done? My vote is for "Manuel the Undocumented Marmot"

  • THINK Richie Sexson will wear a Yankees hat when he is inducted into the hall of fame? He was sent packing today while Melky Cabrera was shipped off to Scranton to get his shit together.

  • WILL I ever glog a Yankee game again? Heck no. It's impossible to even attempt to be rational when your favorite team is losing.

That's a wrap on another fun week of bloggin' and commentin'. Thanks for reading our sentences and making great jokes at our expense. Please watch baseball this weekend, whether you peep it on TV or hop in your sexy car to head for your local ballpark, and please read the work of our weekend editor and friend Lloyd the Barber. He'll be here Saturday and Sunday to keep us all updated on nearly every game.

(Roy Halladay photo courtesy of Kevin Ward)

Disco Demolition Night - 1979

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Now this is something I'm glad I watched. I'd always been aware of the fabled Disco Demo night at Comiskey. But I'd always seen it in 5 second clips during documentaries or I Love The 70s or something. I'd never really realized the extent of the chaos. This video has some candid footage of what was basically an on field riot. It's got an interview with the promoter. And it's got some vintage Greg Gumbel. You couldn't ask for more more. Enjoy your Classic TV Friday!

This Ear Tastes Like Ear

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mayhem_logo.jpgI'm going to a minor league game tonight. I love minor league baseball. I love the parks, I love the fans and I love all the extra curricular nonsense surrounding the games. All that being said, there is no way I am as passionate about it as Ogden, UT's finest son, Donnie Haskins.

Two Ogden neighbors got into a fight after a minor league baseball game that ended with one them biting off a part of the other's ear.

The two men, Kevin Olsen, 54, and Donnie Gaskins, 41, had returned to Gaskins home from the Ogden Raptors baseball game late

Wednesday when police say Olsen apparently offended Gaskins with a comment.

Ogden Police Lt. Scott Sangberg says Gaskins responded by striking Olsen in the face several times and then clamping down on his ear with his teeth and pulling back with enough force to rip off a part of the ear.

Gaskins was booked into the Weber County Jail and is facing charges of assault causing mayhem, assault of an officer, possession of marijuana, intoxication and resisting arrest, Sangberg said.

Um. Yeah. I'd say Gaskins was offended. That is one tremendous rap sheet. I've always wanted a mayhem tag.
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Last week, we asked you to take part in an online poll that would serve to rank ethical transgressions across the history of baseball. I have no way of knowing if you did it, but at least 35,000 people took part in the The Hardball Times poll and they've done their math and calculated the results. So what was the worst thing ever?

In 1899, a minor league player, taking exception to a call made by umpire Samuel White, hit the ump on the head with a bat and killed him. This was voted the single most unethical act in the history of professional baseball, out of 133 such scenarios presented last week by THT.

So besides the ump killings, it seems that the readers who voted tended to group organizational racism (i.e. keeping African-Americans out until 1947) as unethical as gambling on baseball. Both of those were deemed to be worse than steroids or other performance-enhancing shenanigans. Everything was deemed to be worse than sign-stealing or catchers chatting up the batter to distract him.

Of course, this was all based on a college course in which the students got to rank all 133 scenarios individually, as opposed to merely voting on them two by two. The students put the organizational racism right on top, while even including Bill Veeck's 10 cent beer night among the top twelve. Really? What's unethical about 10 cent beer?

The entire list is also online. You'll notice that Pete Rose's gambling problems come in 17th place while Rafael Palmeiro's finger wag before Congress comes in 21st place, thus proving my point: Pete Rose is a dickbag.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGIt's your second creampuff of the week. Boy am I glad that I got all those other wimps out of the way earlier in the week. It's the first time I've ever done work early instead of procrastinating. Good thing it was for a fucking blog where I use a pseudonym and not like, school or work or something.

  • Brad Penny, Dodgers: Single Cent is going on the deel for the second time this season. His arm is still stiff. "Everything is the same," griped Penny. He's like Satre with a fastball.

  • Mike Lowell, Red Sox: Lowell is also making a a return engagement on the DL. This time it's with a strained oblique muscle. The Sox were forced to move Kevin Youkilis to third. Youk has responded by hitting the ball so hard that blood is coming out of it. Get well soon anyway, Mikey. I sent you balloons.

  • Dan Giese, Yankees: Dan Giese fell victim to the Greg Brady Tiki Idol curse that has touched nearly the entire Yankee squad. He has a shoulder boo boo which could pave the way for the return of Phil Hughes. Those should be an electrifying two starts.

  • Joel Zumaya, Tigers, Andruw Jones, Dodgers: Thanks for trying guys. Why don't you just come back next spring and we'll try this again.

  • Chris Young, Padres: Young's hard luck season just got worse as he lands on the DL again, this time with a forearm strain. Happened to Popeye a few times. His sinker was never the same.
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While listening to the Astros-Giants tilt yesterday afternoon on the ol' satellite radio, I heard the Houston radio guys chatting up an upcoming promotion at Minute Maid Park called "Faith and Family Night". I don't know who Faith is or why she's bringing her family to the ballpark or why this is so exciting, so I hit up astros.com to find out:

The Astros have teamed up with Third Coast Sports Foundation to bring you Faith and Family Night featuring Steven Curtis Chapman at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, August 16.

Oh cute, a Christian rock concert. I've heard of this Steven Curtis Chapman fella and he's sure made a ton of dough over the years singing about Jesus. Those folks in Texas will eat that shit up. What else is going down on Faith and Family Night?

2:45 PM: Faith and Family Night program will begin with a player testimonial by Astros first baseman and five-time All-Star, Lance Berkman.

Oh...well...that's nice, I suppose. Nice to see that Fat Elvis believes in all that good Jesus stuff and whatnot. But this is beginning to sound less like a baseball game and more and more like a tent revival. Testimonial? Is that shorthand for 'fundraising appeal'? Anything else happening before the baseball game?

Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato from the hit animated series VeggieTales will be on hand to take pictures with fans.

HOLY SHIT! RUN AWAY! ANTHROPOMORPHIC VEGETABLES WILL EAT YOUR BRAIN! Seriously, Christians speak out against sex in movies but they'll let a fucking cucumber teach their kids about the Holy Spirit? I'm not too familiar with Scripture, but if I had to guess, walking and talking tomatoes are probably the work of the Devil and most likely a sign of the coming apocalypse.

Either way, doesn't this sound like the sort of promotion the Rockies would have?

Mark Kotsay Cycles, Probably Wears Dorky Helmet

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old bike.jpgLast night, Mark Kotsay became the first Brave since 1987 to hit for the cycle. The last was "Royal" Albert Hall. Kotsay's seventh inning double off Bob Howry completed the feat AND was his 1500th career hit. Pretty sweet. He had another single in the ninth to grab the 5 hit night. Of course, the Braves lost because they're terrible, but it's still something.

Kotsay's been an every day major leaguer for ten seasons now and he's had a serviceable career for himself. Also, he's married to this dame.

So ladies and gentlemen, let's give the Walkoff Walk slow clap to Mark Kotsay! Huzzah!
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Here's what happened in baseball while I tried not to let you down:

Reds 3, Pirates 1: I think the Reds outfield of destiny is already here. Rookie left fielder Chris Dickerson hit the go-ahead RBI dubble in the sixth after centerfielder Corey Patterson had seemingly killed the rally by getting tagged out in a rundown between third and home. Dickerson had three hits to help Johnny Cueto pick up his first win in seven starts.

Red Sox 10, Rangers 0: The Rangers pitching staff doles out big innings like they were super size Kit Kats on Halloween. No, dudes, you're supposed to give out the fun size candy, you dipshits. Someone named Tommy Hunter was the sacrificial lamb tonight, giving up nine runs in the second inning including another three-run ding-dong for David Ortiz. Dice-K notched his 14th win with seven shutout innings.

Cardinals 3, Marlins 0: Cards fans may have given up because they are a bunch of sore losers, but don't tell Tony La Russa. Seriously, don't tell him. He hates quitters. Todd Wellemeyer combined with three St. Lou relievers to shut down the homer happy Marlins. Ryan Ludwick hit his 30th tater tot on the year and picked up his 90th RBI.

Mets 9, Nationals 3: Well hey, at least Warshington didn't get shutout this time.

Cubs 11, Braves 7: Mark Kotsay's cycle was nice but the Cubs three game sweep was nicer. Not so nice? Tom Glavine allowing 7 runs in 4 innings. That's Zito-esque.

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpgHey kids (clap clap), hey kids (clap clap).

  • WILL the Dodgers pull off an impressive four game sweep of the Phillies?

  • HOW about the Red Sox and the Rangers? Less impressive but still broomy.

  • CAN Florida salvage a split against the Cards?

  • WHY would anyone ever doubt Lobster Baby's supremacy? The entire ocean is his pillow fort.

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.

  • Marc Hulet does all the heavy lifting and gives us the rundown on the amateur players who have signed and players who haven't signed yet. No matter what, these kids deserve some cash now because they'll basically be indentured servants until they become free agents. Baseball Analysts.

  • DMac gives us a quick audio clip of announcer Tom McCarthy working Dodgers pitcher Jason Johnson's insulin pump into the conversation. Insulin helps us grow and play! Philadelphia Will Do.

  • Here's some more video of the streakers who ran onto the field at Petco Park this week. I wouldn't really call them streakers, since I don't see any franks or beans. Gaslamp Ball.

  • Bucs Dugout and Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke get together to comment on the latest trade acquisitions by the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are rationally exuberant. Bucs Dugout.

  • RINKU IS SICK! Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Art-house cinemas in England are looking to ban popcorn. My head just exploded reading that. The Observer.

I don't live on Long Island, but if I did, I'd move the heck out. That place is a dump. And this is coming from someone who lives in New Jersey! But before I moved out, I'd hunt down this car just so I can meet the man who was a big enough Mets fan to paint his '88 Celica a horrendous combination of blue and orange:

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Wait a minute, the '88 Celica wasn't bad enough before you painted it? You absolutely had to make it worse? I bet that piece of shit car has more miles on it than El Duque. Here's an idea. Go to Stubhub, pick up tickets for the next Mets-Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, and drive on down I-95 to the 'Illadelph. Let's see how quickly those frontrunner fans start playing cornhole with your hoopty.

(Picture stolen from MetsBlog sponsored by GEICO)

Playing The Percentages With Payroll

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MonopolyMan.jpgSam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star put his nose to the grindstone last night and made up a list of how much of their revenue teams are putting back into their payroll. The list proves some things we all know are true, namely, Smart Money beats More Money. But the raw numbers are interesting nonetheless.

  • The Marlins are spending just 17% of their revenue on payroll. That's almost 50% less than the next lowest percentage, The A's at 31%

  • Detroit spends the highest percentage by far at 81%. How's that working out? The Yankees, White Sox, Blue Jays and Mariners are next with 64%, 63%, 61% and 61% respectively. Not a very high win to dollar ratio in there except for Chicago.

  • The six division leaders have spent 51% of their revenue, with an average payroll of $94M.

What does all of this mean? Yeah... I bet you'd just like me to spoonfeed you answers, wouldn't you? Why don't YOU tell me what it means and I'll tell you if you're right. Yeah, that's the ticket.
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  • 1:05, Blue Jays at Tigers: All of a sudden the Tigers are dead in the Wild Card race but the Blue Jays are alive. Wait, what? That's what three straight wins will do for our friends from Canada. Jesse Litsch will go for the four-game sweep while Armando Galarraga, the best pitcher in Detroit, will try to use his Galarraga Power to stop it all.

  • 2:05, Giants at Astros: Another team is back in the hunt for the playoffs? When the hell did this happen? Weeks after we wrote them off, the 'Stros are back over .500 and trying for their own four-game sweep over the hapless Giants. It's Brian Moehler versus Kevin Correia if that's the sort of thing that interests you.

  • 2:05, Royals at White Sox: Ozzie Guillen will have his MVP candidate outfielder Carlos Quentin back after missing two games with an ouchie on his arm. Jose Contreras' replacement in the Pale Hose rotation today is Lance Broadway who will try to jazz hands his way through the horrid Royals lineup, while Kyle Davies is just happy to be here.

  • 3:05, Diamondbacks at Rockies: Cy Young candidate Danny Haren looks to take the rubber game for Arizona, who finds themselves tied with the Dodgers after yesterday's shortcomings. Glendon Rusch (4-0 in his last 6 starts) looks to continue his comeback to slight relevance for the Rox.

  • 3:35, Rays at A's: Even without Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria, the Rays find ways to win. I think it's the fundamentals. Starter James Shields will do his best to help the Rays win their third series in Oakland of the last four.

  • 3:35, Brewers at Padres: This one's a juicy matchup, despite the records. Ben Sheets and Jake Peavy fight it out for all the fish tacos.
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Attention fans of the San Francisco Giants: Peter Magowan's reign of terror is over. Prepare yourselves for Bill Neukom's reign of terror. Commence the tearing out of hair and the rending of garments....now. The MLB Executive Council approved the transition of power in San Fran from Magowan to Neukom yesterday. Bill Neukom was head of Microsoft's legal team for a number of years, earning a boatload of moneys in salary and stock options estimated at over $100 million. He's head of the American Bar Association now, and is crazy enough to blow his cash with a professional sports team. Lawyers!

Okay, seriously though, there shouldn't be any concern amongst Giants fans that you don't already have. Your team hasn't truly tasted success since falling to the Angels in the 2002 World Series. Your team hasn't been in the playoffs since 2003. Your team actually hasn't had a winning season since 2004. Your team hasn't had a gentleman hit 30+ homers since 2004. Notice a trend here? Things aren't so good in San Francisco...they're on pace for their second 90-loss season in a row. But the future is bright, what with pitcher Tim Lincecum leading a fantastic young rotation and stud catcher and first round draft pick Buster Posey on the fast track to the majors (as soon as he signs, of course).

So Bill, the best thing you can do right now is let the baseball people do their baseball things, keep AT&T Park clean and keep the garlic fries hot, but most of all, fire Brian Sabean.

pillowfort.jpgOur boy John Fay at the Cincinnati Enquirer comes through with some more grade A insight. This time it's about Reds first round draft pick and all around masher, Yonder Alonso. With the deadline to sign draft picks fast approaching at midnight Friday, Alonso remains unsigned and sticking to some pretty hefty demands. He told Fay if he doesn't get a contract worth $7M, he has no qualms about sitting out next season and playing in the Independent League. Fay, for one doesn't think he's bluffing.

I thought this would get done. But what I hadn't counted on is the A-Rod factor. Alex Rodriguez, that Alex Rodriguez, is Alonso's workout partner and friend. ARod has told Alonso if things don't work to his liking, he's welcome to live with Rodiguez next season and play for Newark or Long Island of the Atlantic League. My guess is A-Rod doesn't live in a fifth floor walk-up.

Whee! Sleepover! They can have chips and dip and they can watch movies and they can build a pillow fort. It's gonna be like camp but with strippers.

The Newark Bears and Long Island Ducks are always known for having novelty old school baseball talent. Think Rickey or Canseco. Between that and living in A-Rod's bachelor pad, I don't really see why Alonso would pass that up for less than $7M. It'll be like when rich kids take that summer to go to Europe after college. Have fun for a year then go join the majors. DONT BE IN SUCH A HURRY TO GROW UP, YONDER.
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Here's what happened in baseball while some producers with computers fixed all your shitty tracks:

Red Sox 8, Rangers 4: Mike Timlin tried as hard as he could but not even a former Oriole could give this one away. Sporting an 8-0 lead thanks to the hittin' of Kevin Youkilis and the pitchin' of Josh Beckett Jon Lester, the Sox hung on.

Mets 12, Nationals 0: The Nats kept it pretty close. Well, except for the 8-run third inning capped by David Murphy's three run ding-dong. Hey David Wright, there's only room for one David in this town. Yeah, get lost, Byrne.

Cubs 8, Braves 0: Well according to the line score at Yahoo! Sports, the Cubs no-hit the Braves last night. So congratulations to Rich Harden, Chad Gaudin, Neal Cotts, Kerry Wood, and Sean Marshall for combining on a pseudo-no-hitter!

Cardinals 6, Marlins 4: St. Lou picked up 18 hits and stranded two-thirds of those runners. No worries, Jason LaRue's seventh inning bases-loaded dubble put the Cards up for good.

White Sox 4, Royals 0: Mark Buehrle survived the dino attacks and a poor warmup session to pitch seven innings of shutout ball against KC. Tony Pena Jr went 1-for-3 to raise his batting average to .160 as Trey Hillman used his 95th different batting order. KEEP FISHIN! One of 'em will work one of these days.

Dodgers 7, Phillies 6: Nomar ended this one with a walkoff tater tot. It happened well after I went to sleep, but I swear it wasn't a dream.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, you win some and you lose some, but you mostly tie.

  • WILL the Dodgers make it three straight over the Phillies? I hope so. The Phillies stole my pogo stick when I was a kid..

  • ARE the banged up Rays going to lose again to the hapless A's? I hope so. The Rays are arseholes.

  • CAN Luis Mendoza and Jon Lester keep less than 36 runs from scoring at Fenway? I hope so. That's bad fundamental baseball.

  • ERVIN Santana vs. King Felix should be pretty good, no? I hope not because I won't be watching it.

Thanks for sticking with us today. It was a weird one. Stop by tomorrow for the answers to these questions and much more. Same WoW time, Same WoW channel.
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Well folks, it was either liveglog this Yankees/Twins, the Atlanta/Chicago rain makeup, or glog the Bodeans live set on XM channel 45. I think I chose wisely. Today, Darrell Rasner and Kevin Slowey go head-to-head in the Metrodome, where it's always 72 degrees and ugly. In limited appearances against the other teams, Rasner has gotten lit up by Justin Morneau while Slowey has bad numbers against Bobby Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, and Alex Rodriguez. Should be a long, exhausting, high-scoring affair.

I'll be listening to the game on my handy-dandy XM radio and doing my best to relay both the game action and the announcers' verbal gaffes and cliches to you, the reader. Derek Jeter isn't playing so don't expect me to swoon on my keyboard.

Please feel free to read along or join the Best Commenters in the Baseballblogosphere down below in our rowdy comment section. Here's how to register. As usual, the glog starts after the jump. Join me there, friend.

Conditioning With: Scott Rolen

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Scott Rolen landed back on the DL this week with pain in his troublesome left shoulder. Even though the Blue Jays have had a disappointing year, Rolen is a consummate pro and working hard to get back on the field before season's end. Here is some exclusive video from Scott's rehab you'll only see on Walkoff Walk.

Axe Handles: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 1:10, Cubs at Braves: The Ernie Banks statue outside Wrigley must have a giant copper boner today, as his Cubbies play two in Atlanta. The first game pits the totally unlovable Jason Marquis against former ladies' shoe salesman Charlie Morton. Remember the stuff I wrote about this game last night? Use it again today.

  • 1:10, Twins at Yankees: Joe Mauer may miss today's game. He didn't play last night either. He has a stiff neck. I had one of those from banging my head at the Spiritualized show last week. There was no way I could have caught against the Yankees the next day either. Today's game features Darrell Rasner against Kevin Slowey, and also one giant Homer. No, not Bailey. Iracane! Rob is gloggin' his team. Be there.

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New York Sun contributor Tim Marchman realizes that MVP voters are an easily predictable lot. Heck, he thinks we might as well just throw our hands in the air and give in to their arbitrary ways of choosing each league's most valuable player. Marchman is probably a sabermetrics guy. He probably knows his VORP from his WARP and his WXRL from his DERA. Still, he resigns himself to the fact that the newspaper folk who vote for these awards just look at two things: who's got the most RBI and who plays for a winner.

Marchman goes through the process of eliminating the best hitters and pitchers in the AL who don't fit the arbitrary criteria. Gone are Roy Halladay, Mariano Rivera and Cliff Lee (pitchers), Grady Sizemore, Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley (non-playoff teams), and Alex Rodriguez (not A-Roddy enough). So, which players have enough RBI and play for winning teams? Carlos Quentin and...ugh... Justin Morneau.

All of this leaves us with Morneau and Quentin, who rank second and third in the league in RBI and play corner positions indifferently for two teams locked in a tight playoff race. There are better hitters; there are better hitters at more difficult positions; there are better hitters at more difficult positions for teams in pennant races. There are, in other words, better players. What any of that has to do with the actual MVP award -- which might as well be engraved with the name of whichever one of these two plays for the team that ends up winning the American League Central -- is a mystery.

Man, grow a pair! Rise up against the tyranny of the RBI! Rage against the MVP voting machine! Don't just sit there and accept that baseball writers are single-minded dolts. You've got to shove your mathematics down their throats if you want them to believe. We can't let Justin Morneau win ANOTHER MVP award! I don't want to live in a world where Justin Morneau has TWO MVP awards and Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Derek Jeter have combined for zero.

(We owe a Cherry Coke to the folks at BBTF's Baseball Primer Newsblog)

Baseball Before Bedtime: Pepper

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Here's what happened in baseball while he lost his leg in Dallas dancing with a train:

Reds 5, Pirates 1: I guess Jeff Karstens had to give up a run eventually, or more accurately, three runs in seven innings. New Red callup Chris Dickerson had a hit, walk, and run in the leadoff spot while former leadoff fella Corey Patterson found his groove in the seven hole, collecting two RBI.

Mets 4, Nationals 3: Hey, the Mets got a save! Pedro Feliciano sent the Nats down 1-2-3 in the ninth to save Johan Santana's win, just his third W since June 1st. Damion Easley got the game-winning RBI when reliever Saul Rivera plunked him with the bases bloated.

Indians 7, Orioles 5: Baltimore's four errors help Cleveland win their fifth in a row, moving them ahead of Kansas City for fourth place. I know this is what you've been waiting for, Indians fans! Asdrubal Cabrera! Ben Francisco! Jamey Carroll! Stars on parade!

Blue Jays 6, Tigers 4: Gary Sheffield may be a disgruntled employee but that doesn't mean Gary Sheffield can't ding-dong when Gary Sheffield wants to. Heck, Gary Sheffield will tater tot twice if Gary Sheffield feels like it. Gary Sheffield won't promise any wins, though. Not when the Tiger bullpen allows four seventh-inning runs, spoiling starter Zach Miner's valiant one-run/six-inning effort.

Cubs 0, Braves 0 (PPD): Rain means doubleheader tomorrow. Also, it means plants can grow.

White Sox 9, Royals 0: Javier Vazquez struck out ten Royals in eight shutout innings while opponent Brian Bannister had another night that'll make Joe Posnanski cry into his pillow. This game was completed in a tidy two hours and thirteen minutes; thing move pretty quickly when one team fails to bat more than four gentlemen in any one inning.

Red Sox 19, Rangers 17: Of the eleven pitchers used in this game, here's a list of those who didn't see their ERA skyrocket in this game: Warner Madrigal, Jamey Wright, Hideki Okajima.

Yankees 9, Twins 6 (12): Leading off the twelfth inning, Alex Rodriguez hit yet another meaningless, stat-padding, selfish tater tot. Sure, he put the Yankees up 7-6 but later in the inning, Xavier Nady added a two-run ding-dong that really won the game. HES A TRUE YANKEE

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, the funk is deep but I can swim.

  • WILL knuckleballer Charlie Zink ably fill in for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in his MLB debut against Texas? Whatever gets Kevin Cash more at-bats!

  • CAN the Dodgers steal another one from Philly and possibly pull even with the Colorado bound Snakes?

  • HOW will the Rays fare in this brave new post Crawford/Longoria world? Facing the A's will take some sting out of it.

  • CAN the Cubs pad their Central lead and extend their road winning streak to 6 games against the Braves?

  • DON'T you love watching Tim Lincecum pitch? If he can keep the ball inside the Juice Box that's another feat for this season.

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.

  • Jonah Keri bemoans the fourteenth anniversary of the '94 strike, less because of the labor struggles that ensued and more because of the missed opportunities for the beloved Expos. Note: the Yankees had that one in the bag. JonahKeri.com.

  • The Florida Marlins infielders have all collected 20 tater tots, an NL record. Sassy senior Jorge Cantu needs to reach 25 to set the ML record. Fish Stripes.

  • New Yahoo! hire Gordon Edes eulogizes Skip Caray far, far better than we could ever do. Otis Nixon approves. Yahoo! Sports.

  • Matt Sussman emailed us this link and asked "Minor leagues, do they count?" Our public answer to Suss: no, no they don't. Naples News.

  • Speaking of the minors, Dontrelle is coming to save Triple-A Toledo! Whee? Toledo Blade.

  • Rinku and Dinesh visited the Fox TV Studios out in L.A. and were taken on a VVIP (sic) tour. (the extra 'V' is for Vishnu). They saw the building used in the movie Die Hard. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Tom Mylan thinks all your greenmarket fruitcakes are nutjobs. Well, sorta. Grocery Guy.
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Hey, fans! The Gwinnett Braves totally need your help naming their new rodent mascot! Yeah, they hired a big time "branding group" from New York City but all those ad wizards on Madison Avenue could come up with was this chubby buck-toothed woodchuck fella who's totally in your face! They couldn't think of a name! Duh! Quel dommage!

But hey, the Gwinnett Braves are so very web-two-point-oh; they set up one of them new-fangled internet websites so y'all fans can submit your name ideas!

Having trouble thinkin' one up? Here are some suggestions:

    - Toothy the Tranny Hamster
    - Ernie the Eunuch Chipmunk
    - Ike the Inevitable Roadkill
    - Jeff Francouer
    - Gary the Gassy Groundhog

Namin' things is hard, y'all! Seriously though, I'm just glad this thing won't end up a Mudcatriverdog or whatever is all the rage nowadays with minor league mascot-naming practices. Wait a minute...Mark the Muddogrivercat! Perfect!

Jerry Manuel Cares Not For Your Job Title

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mrmet.jpgWe've had lots of fun with the Mets bullpen here in recent weeks. Not as much fun as opposing batters have had, but we've had some chuckles nonetheless. Apparently tired of his relievers' frighteningly predictable ineptitude, tranny coach Jerry Manuel has decided to totally flip the script and start using starters in relief.

"Well, I probably need to make some adjustments. Period. We can't continue to perform this way late in the game...I just have to make some adjustments...I've got to figure out what I have and who is willing to step up in those roles...I've got to use all the options that I have here...I might start using starters down there or something (smiling)."

Though Manuel never mentioned a specific starting pitcher by name, when asked if John Maine could be used as a one-inning closer after he returns from the DL tomorrow, he said, "Everything from here on out is a possibility."

Hear that, kids? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IN QUEENS! Pedro Martinez hitting cleanup. Willie Randolph becoming the new closer. Travis Fryman rising from the dead to... oh, really? Didn't know that. Anyway, you get the gist. Jerry Manuel is mad as hell and no one is safe.
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Otis Nixon emerges from his shadowy lair just long enough to bereave late Braves announcer Skip Caray.

(photo stolen from Ben Gray at the AJC)

dead kid.jpgDon't invite Daniel Leddy to your kid's next birthday party. The only presents he'll bring are mortality statistics related to candle accidents and choking on cake. Mr. Leddy took the opportunity in this morning's Staten Island Advance, to remind you that one of these days some kid is gonna get murdered at the Little League World Series so don't go crying to him.

This Friday, the Little League World Series gets underway in South Williamsport, Pa., with the first of a 32-game slate leading up to the championship contest on August 23. All of the games will be televised nationally as eager advertisers take advantage of an expanding viewing audience that can exceed that drawn by professional athletes.

But while Little League's big wigs and corporate sponsors bask in that glow, a terrifying specter once again looms. Hence the question: Will this be the year that a Little Leaguer is killed trying to be king of the world?

It's an entirely fair query because the Little League World Series presents a confluence of circumstances that elevates that risk to an unacceptably high level.

He goes on to wax morbidly about the dangers inherent in the metal bat, even providing a Little League anecdote. The end of the column reads like a sweet combination of Matt Christopher and R.L. Stine as Leddy gives us a couple scenarios that would most certainly spell doom for some poor nameless little leaguer. It's a Tour de Force of adolescent sports gore fear-mongering.

If some poor tyke does meet his maker after a line drive for the first time in the 37 years that the LLWS has used aluminum bats, this little bit of prognostication could earn Leddy a trip to his very own big leagues. Writing for the Stamford Advocate.
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Why is it so difficult to predict a team's batting order on any given night? I realize that baseball managers have positional platoons, roster turnover, and assorted injuries to deal with, but can't these dudes just pick an order and stick with it? The good folks over at Baseball Reference have handy-dandy batting order pages for each team and each season, so I ran some numbers on the permutations and combinations. I disregarded the pitcher slot so I just counted the 8 gents who batted in NL parks and the 9 gents who batted in the AL parks. Turns out the average team this season has used about 87 different batting orders over the course of about 118 games. Still, one team is keeping it real simple: the Phillies have used just 57 different permutations on the year, and they've used their most common order 19 times.

Manager Charlie Manuel has penciled in pretty much the same top five batters for most of the season: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, and Burrell, and for good reason. These guys can mash, and they've stayed pretty healthy. Outfielders Geoff Jenkins and Jayson Werth have platooned in right field and the sixth spot, third baseman Pedro Feliz has been chilling in the seventh slot, and catchers Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste have done their duty at eight. The Phillies are second in the NL with 4.90 runs per game. The question is: do the Phillies score well because they use the same lineup day in and day out or does Charlie Manuel pencil in the same lineup because the Phillies score well? I have no idea.

Other notable facts: the Brewers have used just 62 different batting orders on the year but no one order more than 10 times. The hapless Royals have not used a single batting order more than 3 times while scoring a measly 4.2 runs per game. Trey Hillman has worn through enough whiteout to keep Michael Nesmith wearing gold-plated wool hats for years.

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Here's what happened in baseball while planning everything for two:

Twins 4, Yankees 0: I've been reading about something called a "short shutout" lately and I don't really want to give it any credence. Still, Twin Glen Perkins hurled eight shutout innings and was rewarded for his efforts with Adam Everett's second 2008 tater tot and a W.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 1: Boston picked up a series split with Chicago the old-fashioned way: they broke up a no-hitter in the seventh and piled on runs. After fooling the Red Sox bats for six strong innings, John Danks gave up two runs in the seventh to become the loser.

Cardinals 4, Marlins 2: With his team up 3-2, Rick Ankiel made two errors on an eighth inning single by Hanley Ramirez. Fella was playing left field for the first time all year; he bobbled the ball and made a bad throw back to the infield. Ankiel's double-oopsie was not enough for the Marlins to stage a comeback. Reliever Kyle McClellan recorded three straight outs to strand Hanley on third.

Astros 3, Giants 1: Brandon kept the Astros just nine games Backe of the Brewers in the wild card chase.

Pirates 7, Mets 5: The Mets bullpen collapses under pressure not unlike a delicious souffle left in the oven too long. At this rate, Jerry Tranuel will never be able to afford the operation.

Brewers 7, Nationals 1: Brewers starters allowed but two runs in 31 1/3 innings over the four game wraparound sweep over Washington. Prodded for comment, Manny Acta could only reply, "I hope Jerry can afford the operation."

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, if the trash is too heavy let your roommate take it out.

  • WHO will get off on the right foot in the rather important Phillies/Dodgers series?

  • CAN the Red Sox salvage the split in Chicago? If not, can they at least end another White Sox player's career? I'm looking at you Harold Baines.

  • ARE the Cardinals next in line for a Walkoff Walk obit? The next couple nights in Florida could answer that question.

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

Emergency Creampuff: Guys That Got Hurt This Weekend

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stretcher.JPGThis weekend was chock full o' casualties. So many guys dropped, IT'S STARTING TO LOOK LIKE A MASH UNIT. Maybe they all want shirts. Anyway, I wanted to round em up now so I don't forget about em by Friday.

  • Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks: O-Dog has a dislocated left paw and has to have surgery to repair it. It's his second consecutive season ending injury. I just hope they don't have to put him to sleep.

  • Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: Wake looks to miss at least his next two starts. The Sox put him on the DL with stiffness in his throwing shoulder. It sounds scary but it's a recurrence of the same ailment that kept him out of the World Series last year. Remember that? They played the Rockies! I know, weird.

  • Carlos Lee, Astros: El Caballo (which means El Horse in Spanish) looks to miss the rest of the season with a broken pinky. OH MAN THEY WERE ABOUT TO MAKE THEIR RUN, JUST ASK ED WADE. I just hope they don't have to put him to sleep.

  • Jose Contreras, White Sox: Contreras ruptured his Achilles on a rather innocuous looking play down the first base line. Since no one is sure how old he is, and this is a notoriously difficult injury to rehab there is speculation this mark the end of his career. God Speed Jose Contreras. I just mourn the fact that you never got an appropriately cool nickname.

  • Carl Crawford, Rays: Crawford spent last week in and out of the lineup with leg problems, now he officially heads to the DL after injuring a tendon in his middle finger. This could make it extremely tough to drive in Florida, trust me. Uh oh Rays fans... it's all coming apart!

  • Scott Rolen, Blue Jays: Rolen's balky left shoulder balked again and he was placed on teh 15 Day DL. He went out the same day Vernon Wells returned to the lineup. Those close to the organization expect Wells to be ready to return to the DL once Rolen returns to the lineup.

As per the original ouchie reporter himself, Baseball Prospectus' own Will Carroll, the Reds have traded Adam Dunn to the Diamondbacks.

The Dbacks claimed the big slugger on waivers and worked out a deal just before the deadline, according to John Gambadoro of KTAR in Phoenix. Dallas Buck is the one known name right now, but there's at least one and probably two other players headed to the Cincy system.

The Diamondbacks offense was pretty stagnant in June, scoring about 3.3 runs per game while going 11-16. Since then, they're up to about 4.7 runs per game but Dunn should put them closer to the 5 level. He's just that good at getting on base and hitting tater tots, J.P. Ricciardi be damned. Dunn is a huge upgrade over a Alex Romero and Chris Burke platoon.

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The sadsack baseball team that is the Washington Nationals has been the target of many a joke here at Walkoff Walk, from their impotent outfield offense to their futile television ratings to their miserable taste in music. Instead of switching gears and praising their young pitching staff or thoughtful manager, Manny Acta, allow me to kick 'em again: The Nationals are not that far away from setting a record for shutouts.

Not games where they prevented the other team from scoring, no, the Nationals have done that a robust seven times in 2008, I mean games where the offense fails to escort one of their own across home plate, which has happened to them SEVENTEEN times this season (subscription req'd):

For their part, the Nationals were shut out for the 17th time this season, and have now gone scoreless in their last 22 frames. Washington has gotten shut out six more times than the team with the next highest total, Detroit. If the Nats continue getting shut down at their current pace, they will finish with 24 whitewashings, which would be tied for the fourth highest team total since 1956. The record in the last 50 years is held by the 1963 Mets, who were blanked 30 times in their second year of existence.

That all happened after getting shutout on Friday and Saturday by Brewers hurlers CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. The Nats 'rallied' for four runs in yesterday's loss, but three of the runs were charged to Eric Gagne, so they don't count; in the three weekend games, the Nats scored just one run off Brewers starters. Dave Bush goes today; he's 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA against Washington in his career.

So what's it gonna take for the Nationals to maintain their inadequacy for the rest of the year and break the Mets' record? Well, they need less Lastings Milledge (.931 OPS in the last month), Ronnie Belliard (.996), and Willie Harris (.928), and they need more All-Star Cristian Guzman (.521). Stinkeroo! For his part, Milledge leads the team with 12 ding-dongs, including three taters he hit in the past week. Put the kid on the Marlins, though, and he's be in seventh place. Wait, don't put Lastings Milledge on the Marlins or he'd murder and eat Li'l Billy.

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  • 1:10, Pirates at Mets: Pedro Martinez starts are starting to take on an air of a concert by say, Chuck Berry. One of the seminal artists/pitchers of his generation. Plays/starts with irregularity. Doesn't have his fastball anymore, but it's still fun to watch because you don't know how many more shows he has in him. He was decent last time out against the puny Padres and today gets a crack at the punchless Pirates. The Mets are still two games behind the Phillies and hanging on. Baseball's first tranny manager, Jerry Manuel, hasn't done so poorly. Zach Duke gets the start for Pittsburgh.

  • 2:05, Nats at Brewers: A four game quadrasweep looms in our second afternoon game. The Brewers have dispatched of the Nats rather efficiently. Washington's run scoring is becoming historically inept, something you may even read about later on this very website. Dave "Stained" Bush takes on Garret Mock.

Don't Fukudome Like That

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fukudome homie front.JPGUh oh. Chicago's most famous foreign import since Balki Bartokomous may be facing a little job insecurity. He's been ice cold at the plate, with all relevant numbers plummeting since June. But benching him for Reed Johnson? Oh, Cousin Louie, DON'T BE RIDICULOUS!

"If Lou decides to put me on the bench, that's where I'll be," Fukudome said through an interpreter. "I'm not going to start hitting just because he said something like that. I'll just follow whatever he tells me to do."

Piniella said he doesn't dole out playing time based on salary, which is good news for Reed Johnson, who is making $1.3 million this year, and Mike Fontenot, who is making $405,000, and not so good news for Fukudome ($7 million). Ronny Cedeno deserves to play more too.

"I'm going to put the best lineups that I can out there to win baseball games, period," Piniella said.

In limited playing time, Johnson has shown flashes of his 2006 form, aka his only really good pro season. Granted, the Blue Jays haven't made the best personnel decisions over the past few months, but Johnson was dropped in favor of Shannon Stewart. At least Fontenot has slugged .531 in limited playing time this year.

But, as Rick Morrissey mentions in that column, Fukudome is playing the best right field the Cubs have seen in a long time and more importantly, the Cubs are still winning. It seems like Lou has the luxury of letting Fukudome work things out, a development that would reap much greater rewards than plugging in Johnson or Fontenot.

Keep Fukudome in the lineup. He'll do The Dance Of Joy.
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The Cincinnati Fighting Dustybakers are in dead last in the NL Central while their pitching staff has the third worst ERA in the league despite trailing only the Cubs in overall strikeouts.

Why is the roster of young pitchers like Homer "Homer" Bailey and cagey veterans like Bronson Arroyo so piss-poor? Is it bad defense behind them? Are they tipping their pitches with runners on base? Not enough clutchiness? Wrong, says manager Dusty Baker. The pitchers just aren't running enough.

"There's no substitute for running," he says. "I tell little kids to run. How many little kids do you see running?" He's instilled that running spirit in his son, 8-year-old Brandon. Baker does so because he believes it has value. He believes in it because he ran in his boyhood. "We used to run just to take off running," Baker said. "First thing your momma hollered, 'Quit running -- quit running through the house.' That kid that runs is going to be somebody."

What does running like a fool have to do with pitching well? Not really sure, but Baker says that "strong legs lead to strong arms". And none of that fruitcake treadmill or StairMaster bullshit, Dusty wants players to run on God's Green Earth. That'll make 'em throw no-hitters and winning Cy Youngs and they'll be all strong and healthy!

Guess Isaac Hayes didn't run much.

(via the ol' BBTF Primer)

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Here's what happened in baseball quand vraiment je n'aime pas que tu parles comme ça:

Giants 5, Dodgers 4: One of four walkoff wins on the day, this one was a come-from-behinder for San Fran. Down 4-3, the men in orange and black rallied for two ninth inning runs off Hong-Chih Kuo in his first ever MLB save try. Yeah, it's been a rough go of it for Joe Torre since closer Takashi Saito went down. He's gone through Saito, Chan Ho Park, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jiang Yuyuan, and Dat Phan in the fireman role to limited success. Other walkoff wieners: Angels, Brew Crew, and Royals.

Padres 16, Rockies 7: One of three teams to notch 13+ runs on the day, the Padres collected four ding-dongs including one from Brian Giles. The San Diego Tan King went 4-for-4 with four runs and four Raul B. Ibanezes, ruining Livan Hernandez' return to the Senior Circuit. Actually, the person who ruined Livan Hernandez' return to the NL was GM Dan O'Dowd. Nice million-dollar waiver claim, dope. Other supertriskadekaphiliacs on the day: Rangers and Astros.

Rays 11, Mariners 3: Tampa Bay won 71 games for the first time (not all in one night, that would be a record), handing Seattle its 73rd loss on the year. Walkoff Walk favorite Rocco Baldelli returned to the starting lineup and picked up an RBI while hitting in the cleanup spot, Wee Willy Aybar tater-totted twice, and starter Edwin Jackson induced two giddyups among his ten ground ball outs. Every other AL East team lost, so get bent.

Phillies 6, Pirates 3: Tastykakes endorser and erstwhile baseball superstar Chase Utley had his first home dong in over a month and twelfth man Greg Dobbs broke a Phillies club record for pinch hits in a season with his 21st. Phils sold out their 40th game at CBP and moved two games ahead of the Mets, who lost to the Marlins.

Lemme Get Rid of this Gum

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sweepingbaby.jpgNobody wants to wander the clubhouse alone. Check out today's games and participate in some champagne bukkake with your loved ones.

Sweet, Sweet Sweeps The Mets, Braves, Brewers, Astros, Halos, Tribe, Twins, Rays and Orioles all stand poised to sweep their opponents aside. The Astros are going to have to do it without Carlos Lee, who looks to be lost for the season with a broken pinky finger. He should wrap that shit in a Creampuff shirt. Sweeps in baseball are just like sweeps on TV. Expect a lot of stunt casting, weddings and cliff hangers at the ballpark today.

It Lives! Livan Hernandez drags his carcass onto the mound for yet another team. The Rockies made the curious decision to allow the bloated ERA man to make his debut at Coors Field. He takes on the gunshy Ivy league baller Chris Young and his punchless Padres.

Bring Your Big Guns to War Some strange yet interesting duels today. The Diamondbacks will hope their true ace will stop their slide against Mighty Mike Hampton. The Cubs - Cards game in prime time features all star Ryan Dempster taking on Chris Carpenter. Carpenter looked great in his last start but the team is still going to handle him with the kid gloves. Joe Saunders against Andy Pettitte would be a duel if the Yankees didn't look so bad this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by this weekend. Camp Tiger Claw and Rob will return with your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Enjoy the games!
Bananas.jpgLots of baseball was played while your nose was in the air.

Twins 7, Royals 3: Ladies and gentleman, your first place Minnesota Twins. Their run differential isn't great, they're not a good defensive team, they don't hit home runs and they don't really pitch that well. But fuck it, they're in first place. The White Sox fell to the Red Sox, and sadly lost Jose Contreras to a blown Achilles tendon. I would be shocked to see a man of questionable age like Jose come back from such a tough injury. Ozzie shouted at a reliever and they still lost. YELL LOUDER OZZIE, THEY'LL HEAR YOU.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: The Giants threw a big sombrero party and the biggest head of them all done showed up. Barry Bonds gave a strange, boastful speech that ended with "I'm not retired." Sure thing Barry. The Dodgers blew a late lead and a chance to step into first place. Not for nothing, Manny Ramirez had three more hits and sports a frightening OPS of 1.445 as a Dodger. He wants to be a Yankee now? I thought he wanted to retire a Dodger? Whatever bro, keep raking and you can play wherever you'd like. Danny Haren did not stop the D-Backs losing streak but he did give up a home run to Brian McCann. McCann had four RBI, stole a base and broke the O-Dog's wrist. Add his late-night show with ZZ Top and you've got a full day.

Rays 8, Mariners 7: You'd be better off leaving your teenage daughter with Evan Longoria than trusting your bullpen against the Rays. They came from way the fuck behind again last night, beating the sub-standard M's. The Fat Catcher knocked in the winning run, handing Miguel Batista the loss. His 12th. When your literary agent calls you more than your baseball agent, take your Macbook to Starbucks and call it a day.

Mets 8, Marlins 6: The Mets very expensive 3-4-5 hitters had a field day against the young Fishmen, going 7 for 11 with two home runs, two doubles, and a walk. The beleaguered Mets bullpen hung on for the win, with Aaron Heilman secretly picking up his second save in as many days. The Phillies jumped on Ian Snell early, cruising to a 4-2 and staying ahead in the NL East. Jimmy Rollins had two triples, meaning someone's roto team is happy and Jimmy Rollins is now tired.

Cardinals 12, Cubs 3: The Annual Illinois State Tater Tot Festival kicked off yesterday at Wrigley. Troy Glaus had 2 tater tots, but even he doesn't like tater tots as much as Carlos Zambrano. Carlos hit himself a tater tot, but gave up four Cardinal tater tots. That cancels out the goodness of his own tot. The Cardinals are still close enough to break your heart. The Brewers really, really want to play your team in a short series. The Brewers bullpen decided to do some maintenance work around the ballpark with all their free time this weekend. Eric Gagne and Seth McClung tried to build a BBQ pit, but were disappointed because it didn't look anything like the diagram and none of the grills fit right. Ben Sheets was dominant, allowing just 5 hits, a double by a guy who's layup I blocked in high school among them. So he's not invincible.

The AL West is a done deal, as is their receiving of the Gas Face. Check back and we'll take a look at today's games under the sun. If I play my cards right, I may have the opportunity to heap scorn on Cliff Lee in my outdoor voice.

Banana image courtesy of Steve Hopson

It's a Sad Day America

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bernie mac.jpgA sad day indeed. Bernie Mac will be playing whitejack in heaven tonight. The comedian passed away at the age of 50 due to complications from pneumonia. Hopefully today's games live up to the standard of Mr. 3000.

Canada Comes Correct in the Afternoon: The lone day game features your Toronto Blue Jays hosting Cleveland in a match up of shouldas and couldas. The Tribe's season has been bleak, and they are now holding out hope that a Cliff Lee Cy Young Award will be the only highlight. When I say holding out hope, I mean engaging in shenanigans to give him the best possible shot. They pushed Lee back a day so he doesn't have to face his once and future king Roy Halladay. The Spiders instead send grizzled honky Paul Byrd to the bump.

Foxy Boxing: Two big national TV games feature two very prominent franchises in danger of having their seasons slip away. The Big Zed leads his Chubbies against the Cardinals, weather permitting. Tony La Russa needs to find someone on his current roster to feud with, that seems to yield better results. The Yankees and Angels hook up at Disneyland, with ace Jon Lackey taking on Joba's former caddy Dan Giese. 3 games behind the Sox, the Yanks patchwork pitching staff can't afford to give up 6 per game, as they have since their 8 game winning streak ended.

Saturday Night's alright for questions: Can the Pirates keep their scoreless innings streak alive? Ian Snell doesn't think so. Will Dice-K and Jose Contreras swap duels as well as stories about their immigrant experiences? Can Ben Sheets and Brewers actually make up some ground in the Central? Will Fransico Liriano and Zack Grienke provide the pitching contest of the night? Was I being serious when I wrote that? I don't even know anymore. Jair Jurrjens and Dan Haren don't think so, they believe their duel to be the night's best. Haren needs to put on his Big Ace Pants and stop the Snakes' losing streak in its tracks. Will the Dodgers get good Kuroda or nefarious Kuroda?

Should be a good night, enjoy the games. Check back this afternoon for more of my probing analysis.
math_400.jpgWhat happened last night while you were desperately explaining your presence outside Danica McKeller's house as purely mathematical.

Mets 3, Marlins 0: Ding donging hero David Wright continued his ding donging ways, hitting a two run ding dong in the first inning to give Oliver Perez more than enough offense. The mysterious Perez went a day early in the rotation and turned in an excellent two hit, three walk performance. Mr Met would still be wise not to turn his back on Oliver Perez in a dark alley. Equally unreliable and/or utterly contemptible Aaron Heilman pitched two perfect innings, striking out three. The worst pitching staff in all of baseball is now the proud owner of a 21 inning scoreless streak. The shut-down Pirates held the bruising Phillies in check for 12 innings, squeaking out a 2-0 win. The Mets to climb within a game of first, one up on the Marlins in the loss column.

White Sox 5, Red Sox 3: The battle of hosiery related puns went the way of the bleach last night, making a winner out of Mark Buehrle. Abe Frohman was spotted in the White Sox dressing room after the game, speaking to Carlos Quentin about an unholy union of tater tots and sausage. Something about the Breakfast Kings of Chicago. Jon Lester was saddled with his first loss since May 25th, a misleading fact that exposes pitcher's wins and loses as the sham that they are. The Royals banged out 11 hits and scored but one run, allowing the Twins to defy mighty Pythagoras once more and stay a half game back.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: Silver fox Jim Edmonds had a big day. Hit two home runs, lightly disparaged his former boss, made an almost-necessary diving catch in centerfield. Henry "The Blue Whale" Blanco ruined your day, sucking all the shrimp into his baleen mustache with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Brewers stayed within shouting distance thanks to CC Sabathia's fourth complete game as a Brewer. Did CC suddenly get THAT much better? His ERA+ has more than doubled in the NL (that's good), but his walk rate is slightly up and his K rate is slightly down. His BABIP is actually higher than his BAA, so he isn't getting lucky. Maybe it's the competition? No, that couldn't be. Both leagues are of equal quality, with the NL possessing many of the games top offensive stars...

A's 4, Tigers 2: The Tigers ignored WoW's taunting and the A's terriblosity and announced, finally, that their season is over. The A's snapped their ten game losing streak, and Brad Ziegler insisted that he's the one with more records than the KGB. 37 scoreless innings is 37 scoreless innings, but if he gets close to the all-time record, you can bet the Flat Earth society will disagree. Emil Brown hit a A's tater tot, while Marcus Thames hit one that landed two slums over. The Angels 17 hits and 10 runs succinctly answered the "Can Ian Kennedy sub for Joba" questions. The Yankees might just be in trouble, but it is far to early to say such a thing on a website such as this.

Dodgers 6, Giants 2: The Manny sideshow took a back seat to the Jeff Kent Heehaw spectacular for one night. Kent's bases loaded double gave recently re-activated Brad Penny and the Dodgers bullpen all the offense they would need. The Giants only managed three hits (two for extra bases by Bengie Molina) but 7 walks made this game interesting. Jonathon Broxton got one out in a four run game to "earn" the "save". The Diamondbacks fell at home to the terrible-on-the-road Braves, who got a tater tot from WoW commenter Chipper Jones. The Dodgers are just a half game back while the D Backs have lost three in a row.

The mighty AL East gets the even-mightier Gas Face. YOU ARE LETTING THE RAYS RUN AWAY WITH YOUR DIVISION PEOPLE! That is as gas face-worthy as anything. Stop by later for a preview of today's games and maybe other stuff. I have to work today, so you might as well be entertained.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, there's more room in the back.

  • WILL the Mets get out the Formula 405, clean up their bullpen, and make up some ground in the NL East as they host the Marlins? The Phillies are itching to make some moves against the Pirates, by the by.

  • IF this whole Ian Kennedy thing ends up well, will the Yankees be able to get over the (temporary) loss of Joba? Jered Weaver has a say in Los Angeles late tonight.

  • CAN Jon Lester keep the homer-happy White Sox from homering in homer-happy U.S. Cellular Field? His ground ball-to-fly ball ratio is vastly improved from last season, and is giving up just 0.60 ding-dongs per nine innings.

  • WHEN will the Astros wake up and see they're not in the 2008 playoffs race? A bad series in Cincinnati would go a long way towards that realization.

  • DID you enjoy our week writing Morning Juice at Big League Stew? We sure did, and so did those knucklehead Yahoo! commenters. Thanks, 'Duk!

That's it for us this week. Enjoy our friend Lloyd the Barber's great contributions to the weekendbaseballblogosphere, and we'll see you all again on Monday.

(Television photo stolen from If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats)

Will Clark Screams Like Maniac- 1987

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I know a couple weeks ago I said that the wall collapsing and Joe Torre going bonkers was my favorite Classic TV Friday, but I need to amend that. Today's is my new favorite. Disregard the last 4 seconds of an episode of Home Run Derby that start the clip. Then buckle your seat belts for Will Clark's joyous exultation at winning the 1987 NL West title.



I can't decide my favorite part. It's either

0:11: "Huuh? No waaaay!"
or
0:28: "WOOO! I love champagne! Lemme get rid of this gum! Woo!

Either way, that is one happy redneck. Overmodulating, indeed.
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Ever since Arte Moreno nabbed superslugger first baseman Mark Teixeira from the Braves, the Anaheim Angels have seen their offense improve substantially. They've reached that magical number Mike Scioscia has been squawking about: forty-eight runs scored in eight games equals six runs per game. Heck, even Garret Anderson is getting hits again!

Angel in the Outfield Torii Hunter is especially grateful for Tex' arrival and would like to see the Angels sign Teixeira to a big fat deal. In fact, he's willing to encourage Mark in any way possible:

(Hunter) said he already has launched the "Mark Teixeira in '08 and beyond" campaign, hoping to persuade the slugger to sign a long-term contract with the Angels rather than defect to another team in free agency.

Hunter said he plans to treat Teixeira to fine dining in Orange County and Los Angeles, showing off the region's top restaurants and wonderful weather.

"You can get a tan," Hunter said. "You can tan naked if you want to."

Just be sure to apply SPF 35,000 on your wiener schnitzel. Nobody wants a sunburned wang AKA the ol' red rooster. Just ask Brian Giles.

Odysseus' Decision: Today's Afternoon Game

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  • 2:20, Cardinals at Cubs: It's the most storied rivalry in Missouri, Illinois and parts of Indiana! Chicago has won 9 of 11 but St. Louis has been playing ok, too. They'll send Braden Looper to the anthill to take on Ted Lilly. Lilly has turned in 4 consecutive quality starts which has to be some sort of record for the mercurial southpaw. Oh to be at Wrigley, watching baseball piss drunk before dinner. I need to move.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGThis week each one of our lucky invalids gets a free shirt. Not really, because they're millionaires and they should buy their own. Plus they've got nothing else to do but surf the net, and you probably shouldn't watch porn if you have rotator cuff tendinitis.

  • Rafael Soriano, Braves: Soriano hits the DL for the third time this season with right elbow problems. What really should worry Braves fans is that this time, Raffi picked up his banana phone and called Dr. Death, James Andrews. Methinks this won't be the last time you'll hear his name today.

  • Mark Grudzielanek, Royals: Mark looks like he's done for the season with a torn ankle ligament. All ligaments are important, but in particular the one that keeps your foot on your leg. There's video of the injury in that link. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, G. LOAD.

  • Joba Chamberlain, Yankees: Joba's arm injury caused more hand wringing in New York than a money manager's poodle being dropped out of a penthouse window. Thank jeebus it was only rotator cuff tendinitis and not a tear. Joba's stuff is electric, no doubt but you have to wonder if durability issues are going to force the Yankees' hand into making him a closer.

  • Adam Jones, Orioles: Jones was really start to come into his own as the season progressed, I'm sure much to the chagrin of Seattle. For some unknown reason the baseball gods thought it would be funny for Jones to break his foot in a game against those very Mariners. Seattle is a black hole of misery this summer. Don't go near it.

  • Billy Wagner, Mets: The much maligned closer was put on the DL with a sore forearm. Ready, go. Worse bullpen, Tigers or Mets? Both have been lousy and have seen matters made both better AND worse by recent injuries to their over the hill closers. I report, you decide.
eights.jpgHey it's one of those neat days where the number repeats that we only get to experience 12 times each century. I have an irrational love for these days, and also an irrational love for three players that wore the number 8 in their playing days. So I salute them and wonder if they'll smile when they look at the calendar today. Well, Yaz won't because he's a huge grouch. But maybe the other two will.

Yogi Berra: While he's one of the most enduring faces of New York baseball, Lawrence Peter Berra was actually born in St. Louis. He transcended baseball as somewhat of a folk icon with his wacky Yogi-isms. Everyone knows em by heart, and I'm sure the goofy persona hasn't hurt his wallet over the years, but unlike say, Bob Uecker, you never got the sense any of it was very calculated.

Fewer people are familiar with some of the jaw dropping numbers associated with Yogi's playing career. He was a 3 time MVP and 15 time All-Star. He won ten world championships, a baseball record. He's one of only 4 catchers to ever field 1.000 over a an entire season (1958). In 2,120 career games played, he hit 359 home runs and had a career OPS of .830. He also has an endearingly huge bulbous nose that makes him look comical. That's our Yogi!

Bo Jackson: Vincent Edward Jackson is one Alabama's most famous sons. The most dominant of a handful of professional American multi-sports stars Bo was ubiquitous in the late 80s and if you're of a certain age, you rooted for Bo no matter what team you called your own. Cause Lord knows it probably wasn't the Royals.

He showed streaks of brilliance in baseball before his sporting career was derailed by injuries. From 1987-1990 he hit 107 HR. In 1990, his final somewhat healthy season in his prime, he slugged .523 and had an OPS+ of 142. He had a propensity for strikeouts and making some outfield errors, but Bo Jackson the baseball player always seemed like a force of nature. He could run up walls and I loved him for it.

He's the gold standard for the multi sport athlete. You hear that Jeff Smarjshahfsa? You should jump off a building for taking this picture. You're a relief pitcher, idiot. Bo could snap you over his knee.

Carl Yastrzemski: Carl Michael Yastrzemski grew up on a Long Island potato farm. A fitting beginning for a man who would carve out his legend hitting tater tots. He came up in 1961, taking over left field from Ted Williams. Huge shoes to fill , but early on Yaz proved himself to be a much better defensively than Williams. Later in his career he would move to first base, but in his day he played the Monster better than anyone would.

1967 is the definitive Yaz year, and in many ways a definitive year for the entire Red Sox organization. In the year of "The Impossible Dream," Yaz became the last player to hit for the Triple Crown. He hit .326 with 44 HR and 121 RBI to lead the Sox to an out of nowhere World Series appearance and a crushing 7 game loss to the Cardinals. He's second all-time in MLB history with 3,308 games played. He hit 452 HRs and drove in 1,844 runs. He also has a song about him that will now be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

He's also the reason I wore #8 from tee ball on. But trust me, you don't want to see my career stats.

Editor's Note: Bo only wore #8 in his later 2 season stint with the White Sox. Oh well, still counts. In my defense, my memory is better in some areas than others. The only Yaz stat I had to look up was games played.
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Sometimes it's fun to show up early at the ballpark, grab some chicken fingers 'n' fries, and settle into your seats to watch some batting practice. If you're sitting in the outfield seats, you might catch a tater tot! If you're sitting close to the dugouts, you might get Lyle Overbay to sign your program. But if you're a pitcher standing in the outfield shagging fly balls, WATCH THE FUG OUT:

The Washington Nationals, hobbled, hurt and aching in the standings, suffered a scare in batting practice today. Pitcher Tim Redding was smoked by a line drive off the bat from teammate Cristian Guzman. Redding was in center field, approximately 350 feet away, when the ball hit him flush and dropped him. Redding went down and was quickly attended to by a trainer. He limped off under his own power, favoring his right leg. He avoided another line drive near the third base line as he returned slowly to the dugout.

That's Rockies beat-blogger Troy Renck, delivering the bad news to Nats fans who read Denver newspapers online (all zero of them). Who knew Guzman had such power? Sure, he made the All Star Game this year but that was because the NL needed a Washington representative and also, he was the only one who knew the security code for the alarm system at Yankee Stadium.

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Here's what happened in baseball as you were dusted in the dark up in penetration park:

Mariners 2, Rays 2 1: Hey! What happened?!? The pendulum is swinging back the other way for the Rays. Tampa's gotta play on the road sometimes, and when the other team gets last licks, they sometimes take advantage. With the game knotted at one in the bottom of the ninth, Raul B. Ibanez knocked a walkoff tater dong off reliever Dan Wheeler to win one for the M's. This game lasted 129 minutes, shorter by 83 minutes than the director's cut of Goodfellas.

Nationals 12, Rockies 6: Technically, this was a doubleheader, but Warshington won both games by the score of 6-3, so don't argue with me. Lastings Milledge went 5-for-9 on the day with two ding-dongs and five Raul B. Ibanezes; the Nats have taken 6 of their last 7 games to bring them closer than 20 games outta first. Wieners!

Tigers 8, White Sox 3: On the same day Walkoff Walk posted its fiery Detroit obituary, the Tigers began their ascension to first place anew with a smothering of the Chicargo Fightin' Ozzies. Fernando Rodney done got his second save while Carlos Quentin's AL-leading 30th funny bone went for naught.

Yankees 3, Rangers 0: Wang out for the year? Joba has a shoulder ouchie? Hughes and Kennedy got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel? No worries, Mike Mussina will pitch seven shutout innings against the highest scoring team in all the land and pick up his 15th win. Ol' Crosswords McStanfordpants should get nine more starts on the year; win five of 'em and he's a hall-of-famer.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, got change for a dollar?

  • WILL my column about the Tigers become bulletin board material that spurs them to win every single game for the rest of the season? Or will they just lose to the White Sox again?

  • HOW will the first place Devil Rays fare away from the friendly beige confines of Tropicana Park? Tonight they begin a 10 game road trip out in Seattle.

  • WOULD you watch any of the NL games tonight? Maybe ATL/ARI. Maybe.

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

  • Answer Man David Brown interviews Mike Mussina. It's a great read, but if you want awkwardness, skip to the part where he asks about The Onion. Big League Stew.

  • Our old friend Kyle Blanks gets put in the prospect spotlight. Is he hiding his gigantic 'fro under that batting helmet? One can only hope. Future of Fantasy.

  • Bored Phillies fans debut new fanclub for Kyle Kendrick. To Kyle, this is merely secondary to the fact that he's dating a Survivor hottie. Philadelphia Will Do.

  • Deepesh sir got an official certificate as a baseball coach! He's the first ever Indian to be certified in the United States! I have no idea what that even means! Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Maury Brown ranks the top ten locations for MLB expansion and comes out with North Jersey at the top of his list. He also pays proper homage to Walkoff Walk. Thanks, Mo! Biz of Baseball.

  • There was an owl in Joe Torre's office. Inside the Dodgers.

  • Headline of the year: Woman riding a donkey fights off lion with machete. Associated Press.

Bill James Is: The Lemur Hunter

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leaping_lemur.jpgHere's something that probably won't surprise you. I'm that prick you see reading The New Yorker on public transportation, even though I don't live in New York. Last night whilst riding home from my place of employment (it's like getting PAID to write WoW) my steady diet of stories about Obama and the new wave of rooftop organic foie gras farming in Brooklyn was interrupted by something more whimsical. And weird. Ben McGrath wrote a piece about how Bill James saw a lemur in Boston the other day.

Several weeks ago, James was walking home from Fenway Park, after a Red Sox victory over the Kansas City Royals, when he came across a strange-looking animal with a speckled gray head. He at first took it to be a cat, but soon noticed a number of peculiar characteristics: the animal had large eyes on the sides of its head, a puglike face, and an extra-long tail ("like a broom handle"), and it moved with "an odd sashaying motion." The moon was full. James was alone on the street. He stared at the animal for, as he later recalled, "a length of time which is probably six or seven times as long as the period that a fly ball is in the air." The animal scurried under a parked car, at one point seeming to lift its hind legs over a stick in the road by using its tail as a kind of lever.

James quickly dispensed with the obvious candidates--dog, squirrel, raccoon, rat, skunk, possum--and began working his way down a checklist of more exotic possibilities: sloth, bear, porcupine, beaver. By the time he reached his house, he had decided that the animal he saw must have been a lemur.

He then called animal control. They told him that in 2002 someone else in MA had spotted a lemur, so BILL JAMES CALLED THAT PERSON. Of course, after he posted a 3,000 word tome about the animal on his website. Subscription required.

But, if you're not spending your money to listen to Bill James talk about using nightvision cameras to capture the movements of an urban lemur, what are you spending it on?
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Rafael Palmeiro famously denied using steroids under oath and wagged his finger at Congress to drive home the point; test results later revealed he injected all kinds of pharmaceuticals in his tush. Pete Rose denied betting on the Reds while managing the team and was banned from baseball for life; he's since come clean about basically being a degenerate dorkface with a retard haircut.

How would you compare these two ethical transgressions (and 131 others) across the vast history of baseball? The Hardball Times wants your opinion.

"Imagine a college course where students hang out with Ron Coomer in the bowels of the Metrodome, watch video of Lenny Randle on all fours trying to blow Amos Otis' famous squibbler into foul territory, spend hours debating nuanced baseball ethics, and ring up Major League umpires for help on their homework. Sounds like too much fun to be true? It's not. That very course--an academic study in "baseball ethics"--was offered in the spring of 2008 at Carleton College, a top-tier liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota."

The good folks at THT are hosting a great poll that follows up this baseball ethics course. Please do Carlton College visiting professor Willy Stern and the world of academia a favor by heading over to vote. I'm still having trouble figuring out if corked-bat swinger Sammy Sosa or spitballer Phil Niekro was a bigger horse's ass.

Ballplayer: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:10, Padres at Mets: Rubber match of this series pits Josh Banks against Johan Santana so that can only mean one thing. Santana will leave in the 8th with a 3-1 lead before the bullpen blows it. You can BANKS on it. Bwaaaaaaahaha.

  • 1:05, Marlins at Phillies: They've split the first two games now Chris Volstad takes on Cole Hamels. It's a tough one to call. Hamels is good and the Marlins were shut out last night, but Volstad did write Candide. Toss up.

  • 2:15, Cards at Dodgers: WILL Ryan Ludwick homer for a sixth straight game? Clayton Kershaw will try and prevent that as well as a sweep. Kylohse goes for St. Louis.

  • 3:05, Nats at Rockies: First game of a doubleheader. Jason Bergmann takes on Jeff Francis. Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca says Francis is feeling good. 100% of the time Apodaca is right all of the time. APODACA.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the Red Sox are the mystery team who claimed Brian Giles. This goes against my earlier speculation but it makes sense if David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis are injured, and/or the Sox want to block the Rays from getting the well-tanned veteran.

(we owe a Fribble to Baseball Musings)

HOLY CHRIST MARK BUEHRLELRHE RUN IT'S A TREX

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MAKE TRACKS YOUUU DUMB SONOFABITCH WHY ARE YOU STANDING THERE THEY ARE CARNIVOROUS!!!

(pic: Charles Cherney/Chicago Tribune)

So Long, 2008 Tigers

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dead kid.jpgWe could have actually called this a week or so ago, but I didn't want to jump the gun. John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press intimated it 2 days ago. But, now let's just say it. Playoff hopes for the 2008 Tigers are done. Way to pick 'em, Sports Illustrated And um... me.

After being swept by the White Sox, they've lost 6 in a row. They're 3 games under .500 and an embarrassing 8.5 games back in a division that has yet to field a clearly superior team. They're only 20-30 in that division. The bullpen has been a sore spot since spring training and seems to only be getting worse. As Lowe noted they need nearly a .700 winning pct. from here out to get back to the top of the Central. They have upcoming series with Oakland, KC, Toronto and Baltimore. On paper that looks great. I expect more crippling losses to teams that aren't as good as them.

It's a tough situation. I know a lot of good Tigers fans who's normal anticipation of the season was heightened further by idiots like me and Sports Illustrated getting twisted over the way that lineup looked. Sorry guys, it just aint happening.

I, of course, blame Leyland.
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Smarmy short dude and omnipresent FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal is reporting that San Diego outfielder Brian Giles has been claimed on waivers by some unnamed team:

    "The Padres have 48 hours from the time of the claim to work out a trade. If no deal is completed, the Padres can take back Giles, or let him go to the claiming team. San Diego stands to save approximately $6 million by parting with Giles -- roughly $3 million that is remaining on Giles' salary for this season, plus a $3 million buyout for 2009."

Giles, 37, is having another above average season, with a .391 OBP that leads an otherwise poor-hitting Padres team. Heck, kid tater-totted off Pedro Martinez last night at Shea, so he's still got value as a corner outfielder.

So who is the mystery team? Is it a playoff contender that needs some outfield depth, like the New York Mets? Is it a team building for 2009, like the Toronto Blue Jays? Is it a team who likes to acquire baseball players without rhyme or reason, like the Seattle Mariners? I guess we'll find out soon, but my money is on the Mets.

Rosenthal lists the eight teams that Giles has listed in his no-trade clause: Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Florida, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington. I'm surprised that Giles wouldn't want to go to beautiful Miami; that South Florida sun would do wonders for his man tan.

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a sampling of the bridges we burned:

Giants 3, Braves 2 — If he hasn't struck you out yet, Tim Lincecum will come to your house and throw three baseballs at your refrigerator door, politely tip his cap, and move on to your neighbor's kitchen. Kid is just unhittable sometimes, like when he sent down all three Braves hitters with a K in the eighth.

Phillies 5, Marlins 0 — Looks like dating former Survivor contestant Stephenie LaGrossa is serving Kyle Kendrick well. He pitched six scoreless and was helped by Ryan Howard's 32nd homer.

Cardinals 9, Dodgers 6 RYAN LUDWICK IS STRONGER THAN ZANGIEF. Kid hit a home run in his fifth straight game. It came right after Albert Pujols hit a Peanut Butter Blaster Parfait (or as you squares call it a Grand Slam). Manny hit one out but who cares.

White Sox 5, Tigers 1 That's it. Stop the fight. The Detroit Tigers are finished. Dog food. No playoffs for a team I predicted to go to the World Series. John Danks mystified em with his stupid facial hair and stupified em with his mystifying pitching. WordUpThome hit a 3 run bomb. Jim Leyland oughta be ashamed of himself.

Tonight's Question

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night game.jpgHey kids, hospitals are corporations.

  • IF the Tigers lose tonight are you going to yell at me tomorrow when I write their obituary?

  • WILL Sidney Ponson pitch well enough against the Rangers to make Yankee fans forget about Joba for a couple hours?

  • IS Florida going to creep closer to Philly? Keep your eye on Anibal Sanchez, his full recovery is a huge storyline in the NL East.

  • WILL I pop some champagne after I finish writing our final Morning Juice for Yahoo? What a bear that thing is.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
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Welcome, Liveglog Club members and Yahoo! readers alike! Today, I will be listening to the Houston Astros take on the Chicago Cubs on XM Radio channel 185 and doing my darndest to relay the action to you, the reader. This is called "liveglogging".

Along the way, you can add your opinions below in something called the 'comment' section. You gotta sign up for comments, and if you need help, check out this handy-dandy FAQ. Please feel free to remain at the intelligence level of a Cro Magnon and call us all sorts of idiotic names as you make your comments! We encourage idiocy!

As for the game itself, both Chicago and Houston have decided to send their weakest links in their respective rotation's chains to the mound today: Jason Marquis and Brandon Backe. Marquis hasn't won since June and may soon be pushed to the bullpen while Backe has lost a team-high 10 games.

In a related note, one of the teams in my fantasy league is named "Baby Got Backe" despite the fact that the owner does not, in fact, employ Brandon Backe. Perhaps that's why she's in second place.

Onto the glog! After the jump...

Store Update: What's Up Creampuff Shirt

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creampuffshirt.pngBy popular demand, it's here. We made a T-Shirt for fans of illness, injury and general misfortune. It's the Walkoff Walk Creampuff shirt. Featuring a dope contrast silhouette created by graphic designing whiz, Ryan Pritchard, the shirt features that poor bastard on the stretcher and is available for dudes and dames in about 10 different colors.

Get 'em before Mike Hampton buys em all.

(Note: Graphic is way sharper in the actual store and in real life than in this picture. Size constraints.)

An Ode To Artichokes: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:35, Brewers at Reds: Rubber in a must win game for the Brewers. Most of them from here on out are must wins, but dropping a series to the hapless Reds is anathema to winning the division. Jeff Suppan takes on Homer Bailey who has just been epically miserable thus far. Four times this season he's failed to go 5 innings.

  • 12:40, Indians at Rays: The Rays beat the Indians for the first time in 6 tries last night. They'll try to snatch the rubber with Kazmir on the rubber. Jeremy Sowers goes for the Indians looking to build on a recent string of decent to impressive starts. I think this means Fasano will be catching. Neat.

  • 2:20, Astros at Cubs: Doesn't anyone know how to sweep anymore? These two have split the first two. Brandon Backe takes on Jason Marquis. Here's a Mario Paint version of TNT by AC/DC.(Rob's note: I'll be glogging this affair)

  • :3:35, Orioles at Angels: The Angels were made to look a fool last night against Baltimore rookie Chris Waters. They'll try to bounce back today in this... dammit... rubber match. Does anyone know a good synonym for rubber? Don't say condom. Your matchup is Garrett Olson vs. Ervin "Magic Carlos" Santana.

  • 3:40, Pirates at Snakes: Finally a team gets to go to the broom closet. Arizona looks to send Pittsburgh out to the desert with nary a victory. Going for the PIrates today is Jeff Karstens who I totally slagged in his last start. He responded by turning in a six inning shutout gem against the cubs. I won't make that mistake again. I'll attack the other guy this time. Eat shit, Randy Johnson.

  • 3:45, Braves at Giants: These two have spit the first two games of the series. Timmy Lincecum is still spinning and he'll try and keep the Braves freefall going. Chuck James and his 9.47 ERA get the start for the Braves! They should just start one of those seals out on the pier.

  • 4:40 Twins at Mariners: Minnesota grabbed first place after the weekend and rolled into Seattle liking their chances against the worst team in baseball. Then they lost the first two games of the series. This is why you can't have nice things, Twins. Nick Blackburn will try to help them avoid The Most Embarassing Sweep In Baseball™. He takes on Jarod Washburn.

Idiot Baseball Players Talk About Their At-Bat Music

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Hey look! Baseball players talking about music! It's not even that the songs are bad, there's no accounting for taste, it's just the things they say about them. Since I had to read it, so do you. Good luck!

  • Stephen Drew, SS

    Song: "Swing" by Trace Adkins

    Drew: "At one point I didn't even come out to any music. For me, I don't really care about it. The other guys were saying they wanted me to have a song, so that's how it works for me. It's country and I like country music, so it's not too bad. I'm a low-key guy. I just go out and play every day and just have fun with the guys."

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  • Conor Jackson, LF Song: "Say Yeah" by Wiz Khalifa

    Jackson: "I just like the beat. There's no particular reason. I just heard it and liked it. It's got a little techno beat in it, too. That's how I roll."

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  • Justin Upton, RF

    Song: "The Hand Clap" by Hurricane Chris; "Dey Know" by Shawty Lo; "Get Like Me" by David Banner; "Make Way" by Birdman

    Upton: "I like the songs. They make me feel good when I come up to the plate. I mean, I like listening to music and those are just some good songs."

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  • Jim Thome, DH

    Song: "No Leaf Clover" by Metallica

    Thome: "I just kind of roll with it. I'm not an overly big music guy, so whatever they play is fine. No biggie. I don't even really hear it up there. If I would think about it, I probably would, but I don't pay much attention. I'm focusing what I'm trying to do. So no big deal."

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  • Mike Napoli, C

    Song: "Yahhh!" by Soulja Boy

    Napoli: "I just liked it. We usually play it in here after games that we win and I just liked it. It's the kind of music that I listen to. You hear it, but it's not like you're waiting to hear it. I'm locked in and hitting. If I'm not playing that day or on the road, I listen to other people's songs, but it doesn't really fire me up or anything."

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We get it dummies. You're all too focused on your at bat. Great idea for an article.

Rob is convinced that players have bad taste in music or don't care about music because they were too busy playing ball and banging chicks in high school. I disagree. It's more complex and scientific. I think there's a hitting gene that devours and eats the music appreciation gene around the age of 15. This is why a pitcher such as Lenny DiNardo can listen to cool shit like Townes Van Zandt.

July In Review

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Remember Opening Day? That was four months ago already! Just like you, the season isn't as young as it once was. Also, your rent is overdue. 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

July may have ended almost a week ago but that doesn't prevent us from pretending that our opinions count. The month was broken in half by a fantastic All Star Break at the Stadium and also featured some great intra-division games between the Red Sox and Yankees, the Mets and Phillies, and the Royals and White Sox.

More importantly, Walkoff Walk had some of our greatest hits in July:

    - Naked Lady at Skydome Wows Photographers
    - CTC's All Star Game Glog
    - Brian Giles Enjoys Tanning
    - Rob's Home Run Derby Glog
    - Chuck LaMar Thanks HImself for Rays Success

Please enjoy our idle conversation in which we crown some unlikely players as the Best Dudes of July. After the jump, because it's long:

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a sampling of the mess we made:

Blue Jays 4, A's 3: You think the A's are ever gonna win again? As bad as they've been as a team, it's been a reeeaally bad second half for Huston Street. Last week he lost the confidence of his manager. Tonight, he attempted to get it back trying to close out a 3-2 A's lead, but was terribly unsuccessful. Rod Barajas had the tying double, Kevin Mench had the walkoff single, and Street was left standing in the rubble of his sixth blown save.

Marlins 8, Phillies 2: Getting a healthy Josh Johnson back may have been the best deadline move the Fish could have made. Kid went 6 scoreless against one of the bashingest lineups in baseball. Jeremy Hermida knocked in 4 and Florida has moved to within 1.5 games of these Phils. Tomorrow night Anibal Sanchez makes his second start of 2008, and it will be one to watch.

Cardinals 6, Dodgers 4 (11): Ryan Ludwick's walkoff came off reliever Jason Johnson, who must have been seriously confused since he's a starting pitcher. Why must Joe Torre mess with people's emotions so? James Loney, who got one vote for the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year award, went 1-for-5.

Rockies 8, Nationals 2: Staked to a 2-0 lead after six and a half innings, Washington starter John Lannan was feeling like the prettiest girl at the cotillion. But pinch hitter Ian Stewart's two-run homer tore Lannan's dress and the Nats bullpen's six runs allowed poured punch all over Lannan's up-do.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, don't mix bleach and ammonia or you might blow up the neighborhood

Then stop by here tomorrow for some of the answers to most of these questions, and perhaps some fair-trade organic coffee.

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

  • 'Duk cobbles together some videos and firsthand reports about the wacky, wet and wild storms at Wrigley. The only thing that blew harder than the wind at the game were the Cubs hitters' attempts to hit Brian freaking Moehler. Big League Stew.

  • Meech and Dmac combine their powers as super Philly bloggers to produce this great video of Sal Fasano making an oopsie. Ignore the fact that this happened two years ago. The Fightins'.

  • The Mets are selling pairs of Shea Stadium seats for $869, in homage of their World Championship seasons of '86 and '69. In related news, the Yankees are selling seats for $23,272,832,363,738,394,143,474,950,515,253,565,861,627,778,969,899.00 a pair. MetsBlog sponsored by GEICO.

  • Cardinals fans, upset at the blown games and wasted leads, have taken to comparing the St. Louis bullpen to Miley Cyrus. I have no idea why, but it's funny to imagine Ron Villone taking prurient cellphone pics of himself to send to the Jonas Brothers. Cardinals Diaspora.

  • New Yorker magazine political commentator and former Jimmy Carter speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg's favorite Yankee playing today is Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez because he wears his socks correctly. In other news, Hertzberg really fucking hates Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and the few other current Yankees who wear their socks correctly. Hendrik Hertzblog.

  • Chili Davis owns Pedro Martinez. Baseball Prospectus: Unfiltered.

  • Dinesh got knocked the fug out while "going through the rigors of the hat drill that involves throwing the ball at each other's direction." Isn't that called "catch"? The Million Dollar Arm Blog.
NolanRyan.jpgI simply refuse to believe this is true. According to the Houston Business Jounal in this years Q Scores freakin' Nolan Ryan was listed as the most popular baseball player. Huh?

He may not have suited up in a Houston Astros uniform for 20 years, but pitcher Nolan Ryan still is the most recognizable and well-liked baseball player in the country, according to a new survey.

The annual survey by Sports Q Scores is conducted by Marketing Evaluations/TvQ. The rankings are seen as an indication of how well players are regarded for potential advertising sponsorships.

At the top of the list as the most recognizable athlete in any sport is another player who is no longer active in his sport: Basketball superstar Michael Jordan, whose string of championships with the Chicago Bulls revitalized the National Basketball Association.

At No. 2 is golf wunderkind Tiger Woods, with Ryan -- who bolted from the Astros to the Texas Rangers in 1988 after a contract dispute -- ranked at No. 3. At No. 4 is Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, while former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana rounds out the top five.

Look at that picture! That guy! He's ranked #3 OVERALL??!? Who in God's name did they interview for this? Nolan Ryan made his pitching debut IN 1966, PEOPLE. I think this is just another case of the Bush administration changing information to their liking. The president got ahold of the Q Scores, and said "Derek Jeter? David Ortiz? No way. Nolan Ryan is totally boss. We're making him #1."

That's the only explanation. Either that or perhaps I just do not want to believe that after 40 years my fellow Americans have such a long way to go in hating Nolan Ryan.

She's A Jar: Today's Afternoon Game

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Since the afternoon game is at Wrigley, I've got a treat for you. It's Wilco singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame this past Sunday, followed by an interview with Jeff Tweedy. Whattya know, I've finally seen a cool Cardinals fan. It only took 26 years.



  • 2:20, Astros at Cubs: After last nights crazy, wacky, Elvis filled, rain soaked affair, the teams take the field today for what ought to be a much more tame afternoon. It's 82 and partly sunny with a 20% chance of precipitation in The City With Broad Shoulders, in case you were wondering. Magic Wandy Rodriguez takes on Magic Rich Harden. Harden has allowed 3 measly ER in his past 24.1 innings of work. That's pretty fucking stellar.
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The Rays may not have made a major splash in the pre-trade deadline market for an outfield bat, but no matter: Rocco Baldelli's comin' back!

Baldelli was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder back in March and was placed on the 60-day DL. Kid's talented, no doubt, but he simply couldn't handle the rigors of professional baseball because his mitochondria were too busy playing Peggle or something. Here's Rocco:

"I've been waiting a long time to come back and it seems like something that's going to happen, so I'm pretty excited about that. I don't really know how I'm going to feel when I get back out there. I know it's been a long time. ... I'm just excited to get back out there. It's been a long time coming."

Good for him! If Baldelli does indeed come back, who will he replace on the roster? Does this finally spell the end of the Rays' weakest DH-cum-outfielder, Jonny Gomes, he of the sub-.700 OPS? The Rays have only the 20th highest scoring offense in baseball so they need all the help they can get, even from someone whose own cells are conspiring against him.

As for Rocco's disease, I read about 100 words deep into the Wikipedia entry for 'mitochondrial disease' before my eyes started crossing and I began to have flashbacks to freshman biology class. Any of you Doogie Howsers out there in the Walkoffwalkosphere know anything about the disease? Is this similar to what Dorothy Zbornak had in that episode when she thought she had chronic fatigue syndrome? I need answers, people!

To Do List: Rob Bank. Go Home And See John Kruk.

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john_kruk_autograph.jpgGary Harki of the Charleston, WV Gazette has written a gripping series of articles about former serial bank robber Roy Plummer. The story is powerful, tragic and at times almost unbelievable. Perhaps never more unbelievable then the revelation that he was best friends and roommates with everyone's favorite schlubby hitting savant, John Kruk.

"I'm sure some people back home thought that I would rob a bank before him," Kruk said by phone on Monday. "If he were alive today and you didn't know him or his story, I guarantee in less than a week he would be your best friend. He was a brute. He would foul people [playing basketball] but that was [Plummer]."

Toward the end of the 1987 baseball season, Plummer called Kruk in San Diego, where he was playing Major League Baseball with the San Diego Padres.

Plummer told Kruk he sold his business for $100,000 and asked if Kruk would mind if he came out to San Diego to visit. Jay Hafer, whom Plummer used as a getaway driver on many of his robberies, had received a $30,000 settlement from a lawsuit after being attacked by a dog. He asked if he could come out, too.

"It was great because I was 26 years old, by myself with no wife, no girlfriend," Kruk said. "It was great having people out there I knew. Everyone on my team was married."

Plummer's life devolved into more crime, drugs and violence and Kruk was, not surprisingly, oblivious to most of it. It took him over a year to figure out that things weren't right. A year in which his roommate was robbing banks and possibly selling drugs out of the house. It wasn't until the FBI caught up with Plummer and talked to Kruk did all the pieces come together. Unfortunately, by this point, Plummer wanted to murder Kruk.

The FBI told Kruk that Plummer believed he was the one that turned him in.

"What I'm hearing from the FBI and other people is that he's a drug-possessed, gun-toting psychopath now. Everyone is telling me, 'He's coming after you,'" Kruk said. "Every knock on the door could be a teammate or it could be him. It scared the shit out of you."

Kruk admits the stress affected his play during the 1988 baseball season.

"Oh-for-four meant absolutely nothing to me at that time," Kruk said. "The only thing I wanted was to get the season over with."

"I never went out that year," Kruk said. "I stayed in my room. It was a scary thing. ... The FBI tells me he's armed and he's dangerous. And I know his abilities with weapons."

Poor Kruky. Sitting in his hotel room, jittery as all get out dropping his Slim Jim in terror each time a car passes. Then picking the Slim Jim back up and eating it in one bite. Anyway, read the articles. They're good.

How else would you explain these aggressive moves by Prince?


Seems as if Prince was just ticked off that Manny was headed to the showers after being pulled in the seventh after putting the Brew Crew in a 6-1 hole. Heck, I'd be pretty ticked off too if my starting pitcher allowed six earned to the Redlegs. The Brewers shame spiral starts early this year, folks!

(we owe a Coke to Voros McCracken)

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a smattering of what we done did:

Astros 2, Cubs 0 (8) — Houston won the game, but the real winners were the thousands of people in Wrigley who managed to survive the wild storms. Also a winner (somehow): Brian Moehler.

Reds 6, Brewers 3 — Strange night in Cincinnati. The Redlegs were running a $5 ticket, $1 Hot Dog promotion to get people to come to the ballpark. Well, apparently the increased meat and nitrate consumption incensed vegetarian Prince Fielder because he went after his own pitcher in the dugout. My boy, Manny Parra did not have one of his best outings giving up 6 ER in 6 innings. Matters were made worse when Fielder ambushed him after Parra was lifted for a pinch hitter. Come on guys, is that any way for a team with the 2007 Rookie Of The Year, Ryan Braun to act? It's almost as if Ned Yost has lost control of the team. You mean the same Ned Yost that was all but fired a month into the season? Makes sense to me. Oh yeah, Bronson Arroyo pitched well and Jay Bruce had a ding dong and 2 RBI.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3 — The $55M Man, Gil Meche (not Mache) won his fourth straight start helping the Royals take their seventh victory in eight games. Alex Gordon hit a solo funny bone off of Clay Buchholz. But, the Sox did not go quietly into that good night against The Mexicutioner. They loaded the bases and scored a run on a bumbling Keystone Cops infield hit from Jason Bay that I can't believe wasn't called an error. Sean Casey eventually flew out to end the game. Shucks.

Diamondbacks 13, Pirates 7 — Danny Haren has gone over twenty-four innings without walking a batter. In related news, David Wells has somehow gone over twenty-four weeks without bathing in pancake batter.

Oh my goodness gracious, we need a West Coast editor! THATS TWO STRAIGHT DAYS OF WALKOFF WALKY GOODNESS! Thank you, George Sherrill and Chone Figgins!


More later, y'all!

Tonight's Questions

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pouting kid.jpgHey kids, I've got demons in my mouth.

  • CAN Cliff Lee and the Indians slow down Matt Garza and the Rays? Garza is coming off his first career CG and if he's still on his game this could be be of the better duels of the year.

  • WILL the Cubs keep things rolling with the middling Astros coming to town?

  • ARE we going to make it through the night without being lynched by an angry mob of Yahoo commenters?

  • WHAT about the Red Sox? Will they get punched by any Royals?

  • CAN the Diamondbacks feast on the brains of the Pirates, one of the few teams that wouldn't even have a shot in the NL West?

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

Ramirez Flies To LA, Lands On Juan Pierre

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whyareyouhere.jpgIt's Positional Instability Day here at Walkoff Walk and I couldn't be more excited. Our latest victim also resides out west, and is none too happy about being kicked out of his spot. With the arrival of Manny Ramirez in Los Angeles Juan Pierre has to live like a refugee.

"All I've ever done was be Juan Pierre," he said. "I don't know why, for some reason, they're just sticking it to me this year. I applaud the move. Any time you get a chance to get Manny Ramirez, you get him. But from a personal standpoint, it's putting me in a tough position."

Pierre was moved from center field to left to make room for Andruw Jones. But with Ramirez's place in left set in stone and Jones mired in a season-long slump, Pierre is back in center, a position Dodgers management wasn't comfortable with him playing because of his weak throwing arm.

The Dodgers certainly do employ a lot of outfielders. But, unfortunately for Pierre, the most obvious solution seems unlikely. The Dodgers sunk quite a bit of coin into Andruw Jones and no matter how much sense it makes I can't see the them sending him to AAA. It's debatable that he would even be able to hit at that level. His OPS is .481. That is tragic. In 199 ABs this season, Andruw has collected 11 extra base hits.

Joe Torre claims that Pierre will "get the bulk of" the CF playing time going forward but we all know Torre's blind devotion to certain veterans has been a hallmark of his career so take what he says with a grain of salt.
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The Cuban junior national baseballers hit Canada this month for the 2008 International Baseball Federation World Junior AAA Championships, and a few of the kids decided that Edmonton is the place to be. So far, three Cuban athletes have defected and the Canadians just can't catch 'em. It's as if they're covered in plantain oil!

Of course, Mr. Sticky Wickets Dictator himself Fidel Castro is flummoxed:

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro weighed in last week, calling the defections a "despicable betrayal." The comments were made in a column on Cuba's daily Internet newspaper, Granma. In it, Castro refers to Edmonton as a "dumping ground" for Cuban athletes. Two players from the Cuban team defected in 2000 after another junior baseball tournament wrapped up in Edmonton.

Cuba's daily Internet newspaper is called Gramma? Either way, Castro's pissed but the Edmonton officials are all, "Whaddya want from us? We're not babysitters for your super-talented young Cuban baseball players whom North American professional baseball could take advantage of monetarily." That's not an exact quote, but you catch my drift.

Get It Before It's Gone: White Sox/Royals Fight

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MLB tends to take these down rather quickly so get it while it's hot. FIGHT!

Huston Street Is Overly Demotional

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pluto_demoted.gifThe Oakland A's were one of the feel good stories of early 2008. A bunch of ragtag youngsters with no expectations came out with guns blazing. Even after enduring the maniacal open day Japan thing the A's hung tough until just a few weeks before the All-Star break. Billy Beane did his usual dealing, jettisoning Rich Harden and Country Joe Blanton, but the A's recent swoon has claimed its first casualty still on the roster. Closer Huston Street done got demoted.

A's Manager Bob Geren said Saturday that he's taking Huston Street out of the full-time closer's role for the time being, leaving open the question of whom he'll send out to protect leads on a daily basis.

The move undoubtedly is spurred by Street's difficulties this season salting away victories, though Geren went to great lengths Saturday to de-emphasize those struggles.

Instead, he pointed to the standout work of pitchers such as Brad Ziegler and left-hander Jerry Blevins, two players he's considering as options in save situations.

Asked if he still considered Street his closer, Geren answered:

"Yeah, with the flexibility that I might use somebody else."

Oh, Bob. I find your equivocating so folksy! Street warmed up in the 7th inning of Friday's game, then he came into yesterday's loss against the Red Sox in the 7th inning. He worked the A's into and then out of out of a jam in that inning. All of this change is making Street a little irritable. And you wouldn't like him when he's irritable.

"I would say I'm extremely unhappy about it," Street said Saturday. "(Closing is) what I've done my whole career. Do I think I've been as good as I've been my whole career? No. But I still think there's two months left in the season for me to prove myself . . . or prove myself to them."

My gut feeling on the whole thing is it's a chance for Beane the salesman to showcase as many arms as possible for future deals. Street is only 18 of 23 in save situations this season but will presumably still command value in the offseason, regardless of how the rest of this year shakes out.

There's also the chance that Geren has just pulled this out of his hat, and there's no larger meaning behind it. This is the same guy who declared last week that Eric Patterson was going to become his regular leadoff guy, the day before Patterson was sent down to AAA. Something tells me he's a little out of the loop.
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The good folks at Gaslamp Ball discussed a piece in the San Diego Union Tribune yesterday about bloggers posting pictures of professional athletes enjoying the booze. Here's some egghead giving his two cents while pimping his new book:

    Paul Levinson, a professor and chairman of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University and author of the upcoming book "New New Media," defends bloggers' right to do what they do under the First Amendment. But Levinson is no fan of such postings. "These are not very nice people," Levinson said of those who run the sites aimed at athletes.

Hey, I'm a blogger who posts pictures of baseballers and I'm nice! I've even been called 'affable'!

By the by, that's Padres ace Jake Peavy drinking Jagermeister straight from the bottle! At a charity event for autism research! Where he donated his time to be a celebrity bartender! Two years ago! Wow what a drunk! My Puritan values have been compromised by looking at that photograph!

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a sample of what we done did:

Mariners 8, Orioles 4: The Mariners used a big 7th inning, including a 2 run ribby from Raul Ibanez and the Mariners pulled themselves out of the dustpan. If you had any emotional attachement to this series, I'm sorry for how your 2008 season is going.

Rangers 8, Blue Jays 4: Gerald Laird, one head of the Rangers' Young Catcher Hydra, had two ding dongs and 4 RBI. Dude's Yahoo headshot is priceless. He looks like a 5 year old speed freak.

Rockies 3, Marlins 2 — Hey, remember 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Troy Tulowitzki? He's back from his second DL trip of 2008! And his RBI single helped Colorado split a four-gamer with Florida, keeping the Rox a tidy seven games back in the mediocre NL West. Marlin pitcher Scott Olsen's six shutout innings went for naught.

Astros 4, Mets 0 — Maybe this Ed Wade character was right about something for once. Newest Astros acquisition Randy Wolf hurled five shutout innings as Houston swept the Mets for the first time since the wacky film Mrs. Doubtfire was sweeping the nation. The Mets scored but seven runs in the three game series; things are hitting the dumps at the wrong time for New York as John Maine and Billy Wagner are both dealing with ouchies.

RAYS WIN 6-5 ON WALKOFF WALK, LLOYD THE BARBER'S WoW VIRGINITY OBLITERATED!!
Hooray, here's what's coming to ya...

Deities in Stirrups

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sweepingbaby.jpgEnjoy today's order of games, get the celebratory nonsense out of your system. Tomorrow is the most hallowed of Canadian holidays: Simcoe Day, in which Canadians celebrate the ancient tradition of having a long weekend in August. Act appropriately.

Three game winning streaks are relatively meaningless: Don't tell that to all the curlers in your family. Sweeping is integral to breaking the spirit of you opponents, buoying you for further success. The Sox, Rays and O's can all complete AL sweeps, the Astros, Brewers, Nats, and Giants can do likewise.

Welcome back! Fransisco Liriano makes his return to the Twins rotation, proving once again that whining will get you what you want 9 times out of 10. Livan Hernandez and every stodgy baseball writer that trump wins over stat-geekery can't quite figure it out.

A Duel! Of sorts. Jorge Campillo has been the Braves pitcher most able to keep all his parts in good working order. He takes on Ben Sheets, who's awesomeness and pending free-agency make this a match up to watch. The potential duel between Ian Snell and Carlos Zambrano seems unlikely, as this game is not played in Pittsburgh. Ian Snell's home/away splits are quite terrible. Never before has a man longed so deeply for the warmth of steel mills at his side.

Under the lights: The Phillies and Cardinals will live out their junior high cafeteria dreams and hurl tater tots at each other long into the night. Upstanding citizen who had the good sense not to harm his dog Brett Myers takes the hill against Todd Wellemeyer. The Cardinals just keep scraping this together, staying close and getting production out of several non-Pujols figures. Even Lurch Glaus has a cool 18 home runs. By my estimation, Jon & Joe will offer Albert Pujols their next grandchild before the 4th inning.

Enjoy the games! Enjoy the sun! Enjoy the knowledge that I don't have to work tomorrow! Enjoy the silence!
blackpudding.jpgI'll understand if you missed last night's action, sometimes these things are out of your hands.

Dodgers 4, D Backs 2: People try to tell me that LA is some haven of sin, a den of iniquity. I didn't believe it until last night. Manny's home run sent the crowd into the kind of raucous orgy you usually see when a blogger's parents go away for the weekend. Hiroki Kuroda got the win and Chan Ho Park the save (!) as the Dodgers picked up a game on Arizona. Kuroda & Park will next appear in a fish-out-of-water buddy flick highlighting the simmering tension between the Japanese and Koreans. Speaking of odd couples, Barry Zito pitched 8 innings of shutout ball. Hi-yo!

Yankees 8, Angels 2: Mike Mussina is a miracle of modern medicine. He has erased any memory and/or element of last year's small-d disastrous season by being outstanding this year. The upstart Yanks beat up on the big bad Angels thanks to 7 excellent innings from Mussina. A mere 2 hits and 2 walks looked good alongside tator-tots from recently the disposed Jose Molina as well as Alex Rodriquez, Bobby Abreu and Wilson Betemit. Every team in the AL East won last night, so the only thing that changed was my belief in tectonic upheaval.

Brewers 4, Braves 2: Atlanta rib joints beware! There are two very large, very happy men headed your way and they are in the mood for celebrating! One big man hit 2 home runs and the other pitched into the 9th to pick up his 5th win in 5 National League tries. What is that? One of them is a vegetarian? Well deep-fry that motherfucker a pumpkin and snake out the gravy pipe! They don't care that the Cubs won also, they want to eat and they don't give a shit what their colon says!

Indians 5, Twins 1: Olde-tymey Paul Byrd turned the clocks back to a time when Cleveland wasn't awful, preventing the Twins from taking over first in the division. David Dellucci opted out of a celebratory tater-tot, citing his family's interests in preference for olive oil. The White Sox lost to the surprisingly not last-placed Royals. Billy Butler has really come to life in the last week, and Joakim Soria continued his excellent season with his 31st save.

Marlins 5, Rockies 3: Marlins ace Ricky Nolasco struck out 13 Rocks in 8 innings and was excellent outside of two Matt Holliday home runs. The Fish passed the Mets for second place behind the Phillies, who beat the Cardinals 2-1. All three runs came off of solo taters by Ryan Howard, Greg Dobbs and Ryan "I'll flash you my junk before I flash in the pan" Ludwick.

The AL West is eligible for (and will receive) the Gas Face for going 0 for 4 last night. Come back later on and find out what else is going on outside of Blue Jays in prime time!
Note: The Jays - Rangers game will not be televised nationally. Please resume not giving a shit.
babydog.jpgAnother Saturday, another full slate of games. Already this morning Partick Thistle edged Dunfirmline 1-0 in a thrilling Scottish First Division lid-lifter, so the men playing rounders have their work cut out for them.

The lone early game is another afternoon affair between the Cubs and Pirates, sparing the poor inhabitants of Lakeview the indignity of light and sound pollution in their quiet, residential neighbourhood. Ted Lilly goes against Pat Maholm in a game the Cubs need if they want to hold off the Brewers.

The National Broadcasts will mainly feature the Yankees and Angels battling on scorched-earth. The Yankees have cooled off this week and could really use a win today. The Angels are red-hot and don't even need to be; they're just showing off. Jered Weaver and Mike Mussina should provide a fair match up. The Brewers send CC against the Braves while the White Sox offer Mark Buehrele against the Royals. The Royals on national television? Z-day can't be far off now.

It's too damn hot to play during the day in a lot of cities on this fair continent of ours. Johan Santana and Roy Oswalt are gonna party like it's 2004 in the Duel of the Day. Joe Blanton hopes to stave off demotion from the starting rotation to junior Phanatic, doing Bar Mitzvahs and Krustyburger openings only. The Cards respond with Bradon Looper. The A's & Sox should be another tight affair with lefties Eveland and Lester hooking up at Fenway. I prefer not to think about people hooking up at Fenway, a lot of that dirt has been there for 80 years. Jeremy Guthrie and King Felix figure to provide a strong match up of starters but the Dyson sponsorship is a little puzzling. Manny's madcap adventures continue in a game the Dodgers probably don't want to lose, facing fireballing Diamondback Yusmeiro Petit.

Enjoy the games, don't let Joe Buck get you down. Check back tomorrow to find out if Manny triggered the Big One and caused California to drift away forever.
Gretzky.jpgAll kinds of wonderful things happened last night as you reconsidered your Sal Paradise-style tour of North America.

Rays 5, Tigers 2: Waiting for the Rays to collapse? Pull up a chair, you'll probably want a magazine to pass the time. No, you can't borrow my National Geographic with tribal boobies. We're going to be here for a while, I intend on being comfortable. The Rays survived a mediocre outing from ace Scott Kazmir (110 pitches in less than 5 innings?) with home runs from Carlos Pena and destroyer of worlds Evan Longoria. In New England, Great White Hope Jason Bay tripled and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning, keeping the Sox 3 games behind the Rays.

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: The Pirates key deadline acquisition showed that he's ready to lead the Bucs on a long playoff run. Doug Drabek knows he doesn't have to shoulder the...oh goodness, I'm mortified. Nadybait Jeff Karstens pitched 6 shutout innings and Jason Michaels drove in two. Milwaukee pummeled the Richmond Braves while Ryan Ludwick's one-man hashbrown empire gave the Phillies a taste of their own MO. The Brewers & Birds sit four games behind the Cubs in the Central.

Angels 1, Yankees 0: The G Funk Angels continued their Bitches Ain't Shit tour of the East Coast, beating Mo Rivera and the Yankees 1-0. They've won 5 in a row against the Yankees and Red Sox. They're pretty good. The Seattle Mariners however, are not. Their tragicomedy mercilessly rolled on as the M's put up 5 in the 9th (sounds good!) to halve the score at 10-5 (quite bad). Ugh. Somebody should make sure Ichiro's clubhouse stall locks from the outside.

D Backs 2, Dodgers 1: 99. Manny Ramirez made his Dodgers debut wearing number 99. I suppose 1/17 and α were taken, forcing Manny to make the only other logical choice. Manny had the chance to be the hero, representing the tying run in the bottom of nine. Brandon Lyon bravely induced a double play ball out of Manny, soldiering on despite soiling himself on the mound. The Snakes are now up 3 on the Dodgers. TIm Lincecum remains the best baseball player you'd mistakenly shoo away from your storefront.

Twins 4, Indians 1: The Minnesota Twins are a terrible, unstoppable juggernaut. They cannot be beaten or slowed. They will kill us all without mercy. The lose 5 in a row, then win 6 of 7 to get within a half game of the White Sox. The Pale Hose and a 38 year old man nicknamed the Kid fought out a 4-2 win over the Royals. Griffey had a great night at the plate but was lifted for a pinch runner/defensive replacement in the 8th inning. Ozzie Guillen apologized after the game for brazenly demanding that I admit to my youth being over.

Guess what NL East? You get the Gas Face for letting the Nats represent you in the winner's circle. What a night. I wish I could accurately portray the way my heart soared when Manny appeared wearing 99. More great stuff later on today.

Weekend Questions

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morganna.jpgHey kids, it's hurtin' time.

  • HOW much has the Manny Ramirez trade swung the balance of power in the NL West? We get an almost immediate litmus test this weekend as The Snakes travel to Chavez Ravine. Awesome.

  • ARE the Twins ever ever ever going to get over the hump? They enter the weekend 1/2 game behind the newly Griffied White Sox. They face Cleveland while Chicago gets The Royals. P.S. The Twins also DFA'd Livan and called up Liriano.

  • WHERE are you going to have your hangover curing breakfast on Sunday morning?

Well that was one hell of a week. You laughed. Todd Jones, Farnsworth and I all cried. The trade deadline was eventful. There were important series. Phew. We all deserve a break.

Except for Lloyd The Barber. He's settling in for his second week as your Weekend Baseball Sommelier. He'll have recaps, previews and the rest. Please join him. He's funnier than we are and you don't have to minimize the window when your boss walks by.

See you all Monday.

Bert Blyleven For Century 21- 1985

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Classic TV Friday: Bert Blyleven wants you to remember Century 21 when you're buying or selling your next home. I want the rest of the cast to take acting lessons.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGThe losses are piling up. You can't get back on the field long enough to help. It's frustrating you to the point that it's not just affecting your game, but it's souring your personal relationships. You know things would be right again if you could just shake this one nagging injury. You've still got it. All you want is a chance to be healthy and prove it. Then some dipshit with an alias calls you a creampuff.

  • Todd Jones, Tigers: Apparently Todd has been pitching with pain in his shoulder for the past few weeks. What a warrior! Letting his pain diminish his effectiveness instead of just telling the team and going on the DL. His MRI revealed no structural damage, just inflammation and tendinitis. I hope this doesn't affect his commenting.

  • Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers: Despite what Rob would have you believe, the Dodgers did have a shortstop last week. His name was Nomar. He is a few steps slower than his prime but he's familiar with the position. He'd been playing with competence but sustained a mild MCL sprain. He's not on the DL yet, just day to day. It's ok, Manny will rub Sportscreme on it. Or frosting. Manny can't tell the difference.

  • Alexi Casilla, Twins: Kid was a sparkplug at second for the Twins until tearing the ligament in his right thumb. You see this type of injury all the time in Xtreme Hitchhiking but rarely in baseball. Superstar Adam Everett gets the nod at 2B. If Casilla opts for surgery, his season is over.

  • John Maine, Mets: Maine has a strained rotator cuff. Scariest part of the story for Mets fans?

    "After last night's game, Pedro Martinez provided a chilling assessment of the injury. Martinez finally had rotator-cuff surgery at the end of the 2006 season, despite pitching with the problem for years. And when told how Maine described his own pain on Monday, Martinez nodded."

    Uh ohs. Will Pedro have company under the mango tree?

  • Khalil Greene, Padres: This moron fractured his hand punching a storage chest. It's a vicious cycle. The pills make you punch storage chests and break your hand, but you have to take the pills so your hand heals. Greene says he was frustrated at his poor showing at the plate this year. This is what San Diego gets for hiring a storage chest as hitting coach.

Progression: Today's Afternoon Game

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bear_pirate.jpg2:20, Pirates at Cubs: Wow. Slow clap for the Chicago Cubs. A definitive four game sweep of the Brewers has given them some honest to goodness distance in the NL Central, and to top it off they get the rest of the weekend off with a three game series against the Pirates. Yes, the Pirates who will send Jeff Karstens to the mound today. Jeff "I'm Not Good Enough To Crack A Rotation That Includes Sidney Ponson And Darrell Rasner" Karstens. The Cubs will send out Jason Marquis.

There are a lot of games left, but still. Take the Pirates out behind the shed and party this weekend.
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Last week, I made a series of predictions regarding the direction GM Neal Huntington and his Pittsburgh Pirates would take with the approaching trade deadline. I am here to report that I nailed exactly two of six predictions, and one of them involved a player who stayed put and was not even mentioned in trade rumors. That's like making a prediction that "No, in fact Albert Pujols will not be traded before the deadline." Brilliant!

Here's my scorecard:

  • Damaso Marte: I predicted he'd be a Met, he's now a Yankee. FAIL
  • John Grabow: I predicted he'd be a Ray, he's still a Pirate. FAIL
  • Jack Wilson: I predicted he'd stay a Pirate, and he still is! WHEE
  • Xavier Nady: I predicted he'd be a Met, he's now a Yankee. FAIL
  • Jason Bay: I predicted he'd stay a Pirate, he's now a Red Sock. FAIL
  • Freddy Sanchez: I predicted he'd stay a Pirate and he still is because who'd want him? WHEE

Kudos to GM Neal for making some good, solid, future-building trades. Andy La Roche can and should be immediately handed the third base job and the team should bring up Andrew McCutchen to roam centerfield at PNC park. Heck, they could even let CTC favorite Craig Hansen be the consarned closer, what with the injury to Matt Capps. I give Huntington a B+ for making the moves necessary to restock the Pirates farm system, and I give myself an F minus for shitting the bed on those ill-conceived bets.

manny-2.jpgIt was predestined from the moment the new front office came to town. Manny Ramirez was a signing from the first golden age of megacontracts. An 8 year, $160M contract is something that would never pass the desk of Theo Epstein. There was no complaining about the stats, but until that contract was off the books, it was always a glaring exception to How This Team Was Run.

It became urgent when Manny went all in with the media this week. I was sad last night. I was sad like I was sad when Nomar left. I was more sad than when Mo Vaughn left. I wasn't happy like I was when Roger Clemens left. Despite the number (over/under is 2600) of breakup analogies you'll read today, I did not feel sad like that. If I interpreted Peter Gammons correctly, Manny was planning on just not playing. Sitting on the bench. It was a lousy, if not unexpected way for this to all end up.

On the field, I never bought into the ire that accompanied Manny not legging out an infield hit, or Manny being a dope on fly balls. It's ridiculous to praise someone too highly for being "gritty" when they have no other apparent skills. It's equally ridiculous to denigrate someone with historically apparent skills for not "hustling." This elusive quest for The Hustle In Manny Ramirez always came off as not only stupid but also a little offensive. Those who perpetuated it were bringing down the conversation.

I saw some video of Manny leaving Fenway, this morning. He was smiling as usual. He's heading to a Dodgers team, that is in my estimation, one of the most poorly managed and difficult to root for in baseball. I know this because I try to root for them. He's in a different place than seemingly the majority of athletes that beg/whine their way off of teams late in their careers. They're usually looking to "play for a winner." Manny has two world titles. If he is truly the selfish player that some would believe (and it's hard to protest that too much after this week) he can indulge in that all he wants in LA. He has nothing to prove, and a coach that won't go too far out of his way to make him.

The Red Sox chug along, just the way they're designed to. Their repetition and their efficiency now even closer to their almost dogmatic organizational ideal. Jason Bay will hit a bunch. He or Youkilis or Lowell or whoever moves into the cleanup spot will undoubtedly have a torrid next month and we'll be treated to a shortsighted "Manny Who?" column from Dan Shaughnessy.

But I've decided to be sad for one more day, because I'm going to miss the big goofball. See ya, Manny.
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After years of inept trades and ridiculous free agent signings, Jim Bowden finally made a reasonable transaction as general manager of the Warshington Nationals. Unable to trade catcher Paul Lo Duca before yesterday's non-waiver trade deadline, Bowden did the next best thing and DFA'd the sonofabitch. Anyone out there need an HGH-takin', teen-bangin', over-the-hill dago catcher? No? I'm shocked!

Needless to say, the Nationalsblogosphere is abuzz with joy:

Nationals Enquirer:

As a public service to Lo Duca, (Felipe) Lopez, and (Johnny) Estrada, here's a link to a list of current job opportunities with the Nationals. The Nationals are still hiring Elevator Operators and Security Guards.

We've Got Heart:

Lo Duca made 5 million this season. He hit .230 in 46 games with the Nationals. This was long overdue. He should have never been signed in the first place.

Mr. Irrelevant:

Farewell, douchebag. Just as I specifically requested two and a half months ago, Paul Lo Duca is leaving Washington. Better late than never.

Chris Mottram's blog post at Senor Irrelevanto was titled "Lo Duca Packs Shit, Gets the Fuck Out". Amazing. I couldn't have come up with anything more poignant and elegant if I tried 1,000 times.

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Here's what happened in baseball as time was right for secret meetings:

Braves 9, Cardinals 4: Hey, it's not all tears and scenes in Atlanta after all! Mike Hampton showed up to pitch the five innings necessary to notch a win and even knocked in an RBI of his own, but alas, he couldn't hold on to the lead, allowing two runs in his fifth and final inning. The oft-injured eternally crippled Hampton allowed seven hits, four walks, zero K's, and four runs in his second start of the season. In baseball, we call this a "crappy start". Someone named Clint Sammons tater totted for the Braves, while Casey Kotchman is a combined 0-for-9 as a Brave.

Phillies 8, Nationals 4: Kyle Kendrick, on the other hand, had a quality start, giving up 2 runs in six and two thirds innings while allowing but eight baserunners. His Phillies friends pounced on evil John Lannan, what with ding-dongs by Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth. Rollins added a dubble and 3 total ribbies, and then went out after the game for a Fribble. Rudy Seanez got into trouble in the ninth but Chad Durbin came in to retire the always dangerous (read: never dangerous) Austin Kearns.

Angels 12, Yankees 6: Welp, after allowing three three-run ding-dongs, the Yankees had a go of it in the ninth but eventually came up short. Starter Andy Pettitte allowed two of those triple tots in the third inning, one each to Torii Hunter and Juan Rivera. Chone Figgins went 4-for-5 to propel his ridiculous name to the top of my shitlist. Pudge Rodriguez went 1-for-3 with a K, a GIDP, and 0-of-3 runners thrown out in his Yankee debut; he was also showered with boos but not booze. This whole Mark Teixeira deal is working out horribly for Anaheim. He's only batting .250 as an Angel. I hope you can sense my sarcasm because I'm laying it on pretty thick.