December 2010 Archives



Merry Almost Christmas, dear reader! In honor of the upcoming holiday, I was going to assemble a listicle detailing what Santa should put under the trees of all the general managers in baseball, but since some of them are Jews, it wouldn't make any sense. Also we don't do hack shit like that. Instead, we post videos of our favorite Christmas songs (share yours in the comment section!) and then segue into schmaltz:

I think I speak for the entire staff when I proclaim that our readers and commenters are the lifeblood and backbone of Walkoff Walk. Without you folks, we'd have stopped writing our nonsense after two months. Instead, look how far we've come before grinding to a total stop: over two and a half years! But alas, we promised ourselves a long time ago to never apologize for what we do (or do not do) here at Walkoff Walk. Our true holiday gift to you is a reminder of all the wonderful things we've done for you in 2010 and a promise that the new year will start out action-packed. Seriously.

So on behalf of Kris, Drew, Dan, Darren, and the Street Team, I wish you and yours a very happy holiday. And if you want to make a difference this week in someone else's life: it's never too late to fight hunger with your pocketbook.

See you in January. Same WoW channel. You too, Chrissie Hynde.

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As per the gossipy rag the New York Post, Yankees fan favorite Nick Swisher is getting married to actress Joanna Garcia in Palm Beach, FLA on Saturday. Well, isn't that a coincidence because I, too, am headed down to Palm Beach this weekend to attend a wedding! Sure, the wedding is for a future in-law and not Mr. Swisher and Ms. Garcia but that does not preclude me from crashing the big event, due to be held at the swank Breakers resort on the oceanfront.

So, what other celebrities (besides me) will be in attendance, gossipy rag?

Guests at the nuptials will include Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, former boybander Lance Bass (who'll be one of Swisher's groomsmen) and Cameron Diaz. But it's unclear whether Diaz will attend with Alex Rodriguez, whom she's been seeing on and off since the summer.

Sounds good, but I wonder if any of his How I Met Your Mother co-stars will be in attendance. I've always wanted to tell people How I Met Neil Patrick Harris.

Also, what is that thing in their engagement photograph above? A baby kangaroo?

(hat tip to Upstate Underdog for filling us in with the info)

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Baltimore Orioles outfielder Luke Scott loves hunting. He loves Ted Nugent. And most of all, he loves propagating the positively ridiculous idea that Barack Obama was not born in this country. Birther alert! Birther alert! Heck, Luke must feel right at home in Camden Yards when half the ballpark is taken up by those proud-to-be-ignorant-country-boys from Western Maryland/Pennsyltucky. Yee-haw, here's a snippet from an interview Scott gave to a very close friend of WoW, Yahoo! Sports' own Dave Brown:

That's my belief. I was born here. If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go -- within 10 minutes -- to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, "See? Look! Here it is. Here it is." The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn't answer anything. And why? Because he's hiding something.

You know what? People who have bad intentions, people that are deceivers or are not of honor and integrity -- that's how they act. I've seen it in every -- it doesn't matter what level. It can be in politics, it can be in business, it can be in sports, it can be in the construction field. Doesn't matter. It's all the same attitude. It's the same thing.

Go read the interview. There's more, there's so very much more and it's all a gem. We owe David "Answer Dave" Brown a whole truck full of Coca-Cola for conducting what might be the nuttiest Answer Man interviews in the history of forever. Luke Scott is a LUNATIC and I think he should start his own podcast. I WOULD LISTEN EVERY DAY.

Here's some inside information from one anonymous baseball writer not currently wasting away in Orlando: nobody likes going to baseball's Winter Meetings. Not the caffeine-addled writers, not the beleaguered general managers, not the attention-starved agents and not even former MLB reliever Tom Gordon who I heard tossing softball questions on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio last night. Nope, it sure seems like a pain to drag your ass onto a plane just as the holiday season is swinging wide open and hang out in a hotel lobby for sixteen hour stretches with a bunch of other doughy menfolk.

All for what? To recycle rumours and spread speculation? There are only so many stories in Mickey's gulag. I realize that getting a tasty hot item is worth its weight in retweets in today's nouveau instant journalism but for those of us casual fans in the Twittersphere who just want to be entertained, who are we to follow?

That's where Walkoff Walk's semi-irregular "This Tweet in Baseball" feature comes in. This week in, we'll point out some of the good Twooters and, in the interest of fairness, some of the, uh, less good ones. To the microblogs!

Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand tries his hardest to get a scoop from Cliff Lee's agent, who, by his presumably paraphrased quote, does not possess the ability as a human being to express the emotion of astonishment. But Feinsand smartly corrects a prior story about Brian Cashman's whirlwind travel schedule, so we'll give him a pass on this one.


But sometimes, the gossiping gets to be a little too much. Nobody wants to read the same chit-chat over and over again on the Twittersphere. ESPN writer Molly Knight took a step back to evaluate the stinky reporter-filled lobby at the Dolphin Hotel and, without spreading nasty blind items of her own like, "Which baseball blogger was spotted washing his undershirt in the public mens room?", she opines with this:


Of course, the only thing worse than reading the same gossip over and over again is reading about a baseball writer dealing with the security lines at the airport. (See also: Lennon, David) And what's the deal with airplane food, amirite! Truth is, there are enough of your friends following the major national writers so if you don't want to miss these squawking heads' breaking news tweets, just wait for some other schmo to retweet the news.


Some of the national writers who I've previously derided, however, have improved their Twittering skills greatly of late. One of these folks is Ken Rosenthal, who is thoughtful enough to credit other writers when talking about trades, smart enough to correct his earlier errors, and self-deprecatingly funny enough to poke fun at himself when giving some dude a smackdown. Us short folks gotta look out for one another, so I'm giving Ken a FOLLOW.


Another national voice giving us the news we want to read is Big League Stew's own "Answer" Dave Brown. Sure, it's a bit gossipy but, personally, all I ever want to read about is where Dusty Baker is eating. I need not implore any Walkoff Walk reader to follow Dave because you already do follow the guy. But a note to anyone who might ever see Dusty Baker at a TGI Friday's or Old Country Buffet: tweet it and let me know!


My favorite writer tweet of the Winter Meetings so far, however, has come from Biz of Baseball's Maury Brown. It just illustrates exactly how awful it must be to attend this confab and why folks like me are just happy to poke fun at those who actually make the effort to attend and report the news. Maury, either pick up some Breathe-RIght strips or smother your roommate with a pillow!


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The baseball winter meetings, which anachronistically take place in the season we call autumn, are just getting underway in sunny Orlando, Florida and so far the biggest news that I've seen emerge from the hotel lobbies, bars, and guest rooms is that Maury Brown's roommate needs some Breathe Right strips. Just kidding! Two yooge deals have already been struck with another on the brink of getting done:

  • The Nationals signed free agent outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract, an enormous amount of scratch for a bearded old man and bizarrely similar to that of superagent Scott Boras' other overpaid clients, Barry Zito and Vernon Wells. Yes, it's too much to pay now, but let's not start throwing our waste at Nats GM Mike Rizzo quite yet: perhaps the dollar will collapse in 2012 and the estimated $18 million per annum will only equal about seventeen Hungarian forint.

  • The Milwaukee Brewers traded their hot Canuck prospect, second baseman Brett Lawrie, back to his beaver-pelt-loving homeland. The Blue Jays will enjoy re-indoctrinating the lad back to the Great Northern Ways again even though it means they had to give up their 2009 Opening Day starter, Mr. Shaun Marcum. Instant analysis: good pickup for the Brewers who desperately needed to shore up their starting rotation. One down, four to go, amirite?

  • The Red Sox traded for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and then they didn't, and then they did again. This deal, which will send a handful of top prospects to San Diego and zero MLB-ready folk, caused enough sturm und drang among Padres fans and Red Sox fans alike. Seems that there were some faux deadlines imagined and contract terms agreed to then disagreed to and then put off until the next tax year; most casual fans, though, just want to know who to boo. Here's a hint: boo the folk who speculate on (and therefore profit from) rumours.

Also, the Yankees resigned Derek Jeter to a reasonable enough contract, the A's turned down the pricey Adrian Beltre, and Brian Cashman chased a Grinch down a building dressed as an elf before jetting off to Orlando to arrive in time for the Monday brunch with Mickey. Only half of that last item is fabricated from my imagination. Winter/Fall Meetings, everybody!

UPDATE: I hadn't realized exactly how active the World Series champions are expected to be. Intrigue!

Canadians Are Always Goofy As Shit: Blue Jays Edition

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Happy Classic TV Friday. Here are a bunch of videos of people from Canada in the 80s and 90s that are loosely related to baseball. One has Mookie Wilson but all of them have Canadian people being as goofy as humanly possible. Please to enjoy.



"I like to see Kelly Gruber swing his hips." Said here in 1990 and then not again until his orthopaedic surgeon sent notes to his physical therapist last Wednesday.



How about a tribute to the 1993 World Champs set to the tune of the "Always Coca Cola" song that you'd tried so hard to forget? Stephen Sondheim would be spinning in his grave right now if he weren't surprisingly still alive. Listen to those consonants get stressed in the wrong places!



If only my friends could have nickel for everytime they hear me say "That's together like George Bell" over the next few weeks.

My work here is done. Next week we'll all feast on the low hanging fruit that was The Expo Fan.

cheesecurds.jpgOf all the half-hearted crap fans of professional sports teams are expected to swallow with a smile, the "open letter to the fans" from the departed star is easily the cheesiest.

Everyone from Rocco to Roy Halladay to Lebron James pens a solemn and heartfelt ode to the city in which they drew their paychecks. A great way to satiate the braying masses and distract yourself from the grueling process of deciding between "tile mosaic of own face" or "indoor komodo dragon habitat" for your new stately manor.

The full page ad in the local rag is a great bit of charity: it forces your P.R. team to earn their checks and it represents the first new ad sales in months for the Palookaville Times. Fans seem to like it because it makes it seem like they're rooting for an actual breathing human, not a cyborg trained to play baseball.

Unfortunately, the gesture has become very mechanical indeed. A rote branding exercise aimed at keeping old fans while showing humility to the potential new ones. All in all, completely unnecessary.

That hasn't stopped the good people of SB Nation Rays blog DRaysBay from starting a fund to take out their own ad, thanking outgoing outfielder Carl Crawford for his contribution to the team and community as a whole.

Somehow, blowing even more smoke up the asses of guys who have smoke blown up their asses every day of their lives seems excessive. Putting a full page ad in a local paper thanking a professional athlete for playing baseball? I'm not sure if my feelings are mixed or just turned off.

He's only a baseball player. You thank him by showing up to watch games (Rays attendance joke goes here) and supporting the team with a online shrine. Does Carl Crawford really need to be thanked again?

Maybe, just maybe, if you squint your eyes just cynically enough, this looks like it might be more about DRaysBay than Carl Crawford. I find it hard to believe that anyone is this maudlin, this sentimental about a baseball player after 9 years.

I've written some pretty sappy things about Roy Halladay. I make an effort to celebrate his successes no matter the color of his laundry. But at no point did I feel the need to match his adspace with my own. I appreciate Roy Halladay's ability to play baseball at a very high level and wasn't about to let his move to the Phillies interfere with that appreciation.

This seems a little too self-aggrandizing and a lot like misplaced generosity. Take out an ad to thank someone who deserves praise and recognition, not someone on the cusp of signing a seven-figure contract because he's good at catching flyballs.

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Sad news to share, folks. One of our Million Dollar Arm-ed heroes has lost a job he worked so hard to earn: Dinesh Patel has been cut by the Pittsburgh Pirates. This yatra has ended with tears and an A.J. Burnettesque ERA:

Patel, a right-hander, appeared in nine Gulf Coast League games in 2010 and had an 8.59 ERA in 7 1/3 innings.

GAZAB! To be sure, it was never really about Dinesh; he did not win the Million Dollar Arm competition and probably only accompanied winner Rinku Singh to the USA in the role of sidekick. You know, someone to make Rinku feel less homesick. Someone to share a whopping plate of ribs or hang out with in Barry Bonds' house.

Things are looking better for Rinku, however, as he's earned a roster spot on the Canberra Cavalry in the recently reformed Australian Baseball League. It's a short season, just ten weeks from November to January and it's located in, are you ready for this, Australia. To help you understand what baseball is like in Australia, imagine if Kevin Brown came out of retirement and got a job with, say, the Sydney Blue Sox, had a terrible outing and smashed up another toilet. Since the game happened south of the equator, the water would swirl in the opposite direction. Get it?

Let's check in on Rinku and see how he's doing:

Canberra's Rinku Singh, who won a reality TV program in India that gave him a contract with major league club Pittsburgh, walked (Itaru) Hashimoto when the bases were loaded for Aces left field Josh Davies to make it 3-1.

Whoops, not a good way to make a first impression with your new team, mate. Cheer up, though, at least you'll get a good payday from the Rinku & Dinesh feature film.

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The head honchos at ESPN did the baseball-watching public a huge solid last month when it was announced that color commentator Joe Morgan would not be returning to color commentate for the network's Sunday Night Baseball program in 2011. Morgan, considered by some to be an insufferable gasbag and others to be a folksy gasbag, was a member of the famed 1970s-era Big Red Machine, and spent a great deal of his time during Sunday night games spouting off comparisons between the teams on the field and his own "legendary" Cincinnati Redleg teams.

You know what I'm talking about. "Joe Torre's Dodgers need to be more consistent if they want to win games, Jon. You know when I came to the Reds in 1973 they were a good team with talent but they weren't consistent. After that point, we became more consistent and won more consistently because we were not just playing hard, we were playing consistently."

But without that regular tee-vee gig, Morgan no longer has a medium to express his passion for his historic team, one that, despite its place in the Pantheon of dynasties, lost as many World Serieses as it won. Luckily for Joe, however, Mr. Bob Costas and the MLB Network have stepped in to remove the muzzle from Mr. Morgan's mouth:

Three members of (the Big Red Machine) -- Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez -- reunited to talk about those halcyon days with Bob Costas for the next installment of Studio 42 with Bob Costas on MLB Network. It airs on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

"We were a complete team," Morgan told Costas. "We could do more than just pitch and hit. We could run the bases, we could play defense. And I've said it before, we were the smartest team I've ever been around. ... Bob Howsam was the general manager who put this team together. He said to me after we won in 1976, 'Joe, there will never be another team like this.'"

Oh, the halcyon days of yore! Set your DVRs, people!

The confabulation was taped during the Hall-of-Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown (naturally). Expect at least twenty exasperated comments about how Davey Concepcion is not enshrined in the HOF! Can you imagine! What an injustice! Bud Selig must dissolve the Veterans Committee at once and reassemble it with Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Hal McCoy, George Clooney, and Marge Schott's corpse!