Dan McQuade: July 2009 Archives

Weekend Questions

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  • WILL any of today's deadline deals amount to anything? There were a lot of them, so it's likely.
  • WHAT does MLB Trade Rumors do now that their Christmas is over?
  • WHO does Bronson Arroyo think he is, admitting he took andro and uppers in 2003?
  • WHEN will we stop hearing about trades? About 25 minutes after the 4 p.m. deadline, suddenly Jake Peavy is headed to the White Sox.
  • WILL I remember to prepare over the weekend so we have a top-notch Walkoff Walk next week? Yes, yes I will.
  • ARE the Braves locks to win the World Series this year? Yes, now that Barbaro is playing first base.

Drew Fairservice will be with you over the weekend. Laters!

Photo via Caveman 92223 (I assume this is one of those Geico guys); in the front row, third from left, is Walter Johnson

Trade Deadline Day Update!

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wow.goodbye.png Any trades get made yet today? Let's take a look:

• The Mariners traded Jarrod Washburn to the Tigers for a pair of lefthanded pitchers. Seattle, eight games back in the AL West, gets Luke French (a 133 ERA+ in five starts with the Tigers this year) and Mauricio Robles (who will report to a Mariners' Class-A affiliate).

• The Twins got Orlando Cabrera from the Athletics, he of the .683 OPS. (Jimmy Rollins' OPS is .670, for reference). The A's get Tyler Ladendorf, an infield prospect. Meanwhile in Minnesota, a Hells Angel was arrested for DUI! You just don't expect such behavior from them.

• The Indians continue their 2009 sell-off, as a "Tweet" from USA Today writer Bob Nightengale has Victor Martinez going to the Red Sox. Boston.com has a near minute-by-minute history of today's rumors.

• And, in the most important trade of the day, the Dodgers get Vinny Rottino from Milwaukee for Claudio Vargas. Look out, National League!

I will update this post as additional trades get made, just like every other baseball blog is doing today.

Update: Or I might not. It depends.

Update 2: Awwright, fine, here you go, commenting crew.

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Better?

Update 3: Jonathan Mayo writes on his Twitter that Nick Hagadone and Justin Masterson are part of the V-Mart deal with the Indians. In related news, I am in a Rotisserie league with Jonathan Mayo. I traded for Evan Longoria from a team he runs with a co-owner this year. Who will make out better: Me... or the Indians?!

Update 4: Tomorrow is Victor Martinez Bobblehead Day in Cleveland. Ha!

Update 5: MLB Network reports Ken Rosenthal reports the Dodgers are working out a "blockbuster" trade with the Padres with Loney going to San Diego and Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez going to the Dodgers. And now I'm reporting this.

wow.natlanthem.jpg One of my old college housemates currently works in baseball; when he graduated, his first job was with the Atlantic City Surf. He worked a variety of jobs for the now-defunct independent league team, including selling tickets, scoring games and, of course, playing the mascot at a Quiznos opening.

But I don't know if his duties ever went as far as those of Chelsea Wargo of Ewing, N.J., who interns for the Trenton Thunder and has quite a few different jobs with the club.

Wargo runs around a lot during games. The promotions team selects most promotions contestants prior to the game. The contestants are to report to the guest services desk a half inning before their promotion. It's the promotions team's job to escort that contestant onto the field.

If the activity doesn't require contestants, like the "Dog of the Day" promotion, Wargo and the promotions team still set it up and break it down before quickly fetching whatever or whomever is needed for the next promotion.

There are promotions every half inning between the first and eighth innings, 14 in all. Adding to the crunch July 9, Wargo sang the National Anthem before the game, as she does whenever the Thunder does not have a singer lined up.

Yes, go to a Trenton Thunder game where there isn't some horrific Sony/Epic (or whatever) recording artist or local saxophonist to play the National Anthem and you'll get an intern. She has to be pretty skilled at "The Star Spangled Banner" by now; it's her second year with the team.

Update: If you want to go to the Trenton Thunder on a Tuesday, you can bring a Kraft Singles wrapper with you for a 2-for-1 deal on tickets. Who knew?

Unrelated photo by SD Dirk used under a Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license

1986 - Creepy Phillies Fans

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Today's Classic Television Friday is actually a series of commercials the Phillies apparently thought would bring fans to the Vet in 1986. The Fightins drew 1,933,335 fans to Veterans Stadium that year, good for fourth in the league, so it looks like it worked.

Times must have been tough then in Philadelphia; one of the promos is for a giveaway of a "free lunch" to kids. What, no Tom Herr glove? (I actually received this at a Phillies game once.)

Hey! It's a new feature here on Walkoff Walk, probably/definitely just for today. Let's check out the top fan facial hair of the day!

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Thanks to 3:10 to Joba for notifying Walkoff Walk of this incredible facial hair/regular hair combo package. I think we know why Land Shark Stadium is so empty now.

The.Pen.Logo.jpg Each week (or so), Dan McQuade reviews a baseball movie. He also reviewed MLB Network's six-episode reality show The Pen, featuring the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, which aired Sundays on the MLB Network. Previous installments: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5.

In the final episode of The Pen, we all learned what the show could have been. I know he was a starter at the beginning of the season, but The Pen really should have been The Chan Ho Show.

The producers gave a couple of the bullpen guys cameras to document what they did over the All-Star Break. Yes, the final episode of The Pen was pretty much exclusively about the break. Turns out the baseball highlights were necessary to carry the show, because absolutely nothing happened in this final one.

But back to Chan Ho Park. He took the camera, and put on a comedy spectacular.

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But he also had a message for Brad Lidge (oddly, not really even present in this episode).

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Look, we all know The Pen was kind of a doomed idea from the start, and the producers did a yeoman's job at times with the material. But they really blew it here. Clearly, Chan Ho Park should have been given a chance to do his stand-up.

But as you can see, not all reliever cams are created equal.

Here's what happened in baseball yesterday while your lyrics were bad like a linoleum floor.

White Sox 3, Yankees 2. Nick Swisher homered in the top of the ninth to knot this one at two, but DeWayne Wise singled home Scott Posednik (pinch running for Jim Thome) in the bottom half to give the Chisox the win. Since I'm filling in for Rob I figured I'd start with something he'd dislike, since right now I think I'd rather still be sleeping.

Braves 6, Marlins 3. Atlanta salvaged the final game of their series with the Marlins, the instant classic Battle for Second Place in the NL East. Swingin' Mike Gonzalez gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the eighth, but Brian McCann LASIK'd a three-run blast in the top of the 10th.

Brewers 7, Nationals 3. The Nationals had Mike Cameron nailed at home plate in the bottom of the seventh. Typically for Washington this season, Will Nieves missed the tag, allowing the go-ahead run to score in the seventh. Also typically for Washington this season, a bunch more runs scored afterward.

Giants 7, Phillies 2. All any sports fan in Philadelphia can talk about is the rotation, and who Cliff Lee will replace. Rodrigo Lopez has been good! they all say, forgetting the words "small sample size." Then Lopez goes out and gives up 7 runs to the Giants. Pablo Sandoval splashed a homer into McCovey Cove and drove in four runs.

This is pretty sweet: Rob went away on vacation and left me in charge. In total control! Last time I had to defer to Kris, but this time I am in total control. I'm here for a week and a day; today I plan on doing a crappy job so I'm inspired to do an awesome job next week when re-reading the day's posts. It's a foolproof plan, I tells ya.

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My dad was complaining to me the other day about web gems and the like. He thinks many of the fielding plays that show up in top fielding plays of the day countdowns on ESPN are simply average ones, plays a major leaguer should be able to make. It's just one of those aspects of sports coverage that kind of annoys him. (You could say he feels this way about it: JACKED! UP!) Anybody who watches a decent amount of sports has his1 own particular bugaboos.

Delwyn Young's incredible catch from Monday night is not one of those average fielding plays elevated to Web gem status. Even with Ivy League grade inflation, some kids still have a transcript full of A+'s. On the play, a Randy Winn fly pop bounced off the heel of right fielder Garrett Jones' glove and hit his shin. Jones then kicked it into the air; second baseman Delwyn Young, who was moving in the other direction, stopped, dove, and caught the ball.

The umpire, though, ruled the ball hit the ground. No catch.

Here comes the obvious. Even Young said it right after the game: "It's a great argument for instant replay."

So far this season, I feel that a significant amount of plays -- at first base and home plate, mainly -- are called incorrectly. That's not surprising. Being an umpire is hard. But sometimes these bad calls could change a game's outcome, like earlier this year in the Athletics' comeback win over the Twins.

I dunno. I'm okay with using replay if it can help raise the accuracy of calls. I think a good system reviews any play if some official (maybe a replay official) decides it should be looked at, and probably also allows coaches to request a replay a certain number of times a game.

Sure, there are idiosyncrasies. In baseball's current replay-only-for-homers system, sometimes umpires decide not to review a play, seemingly incorrectly, like in a Phillies' loss earlier this year. Allowing a manager to challenge once or twice a game would attempt to alleviate that problem. And, yeah, it can take a while (especially in the NFL). I think it's better to get the right, especially in an important scenario (say, the playoffs).

(To me, though, it seems weird to do it for balls and strikes, even though that's the area where the ump could probably be replaced today. It would feel weird for the umpire to be removed from behind home plate. I feel silly about this.)

But let's continue on the incremental path for replay baseball has chosen. Home-run replay came in last year; next year point a few extra cameras at the bases and replay catches and plays at first and home. This might severely limit manager tirades; for me that's a vaguely good thing.

Here's a prediction: Within 100 years, most baseball umpiring will be done primarily by computers.2 Umps may remain on the field in a symbolic way. Executive umpires may program the computers (the nerds will truly have won baseball!). Humans may score the game. But I think people will want things to be accurate, eventually. The change will eventually be made when the technology is there to do it quickly and automatically.

So, yes, this is a slippery slope. Whatever. By the time this happens, we'll be dead. Let the people of the future decide their baseball rules, and let us strive to be accurate instead of traditional. Let Delwyn Young lead the way. Let's embrace the technology we're comfortable with now and expand it a little more. In that way, we'll make baseball a little better.

Or maybe we'll cause Armageddon. Either way, at least we tried.

1 Or her. Sarah really hates the Citizens Bank Park Green$ense green fact of the day. She actually yelled at the TV once when it came on, like I do several times a game. We had a moment there. Incidentally, she's anti-replay. When I showed her the Jones/Young play and how the ball didn't hit the ground, she shrugged and said, "I feel like it was close enough."
2 Don't steal this science fiction story idea from me, please.

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Citizens Bank Park image by dameetch used under Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license; everything else is fairuse'd. Click for larger version.

You have to feel for Jamie Moyer right now. Sure, he's playing baseball for millions of dollars, has 9 wins despite a 5.58 ERA (77 ERA+) and occasionally gets profiled by famous livegloggers. All week, though, he's heard himself compared to Tom Watson. Imagine having to read this joke about yourself in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Jamie Moyer is still going strong at 46, 9-6 after the All-Star break. Moyer is the only player in baseball who calls his team owner, "Kid."

My pitching skills would be shot if I had to read things like that about myself. Speaking of that: Hi, I'm Dan McQuade. People actually call me "D-Mac"; Jamie Moyer calls me "Kid." Today: Phillies-Cubbies. Fightins have won 10 straight. Cubs lost last night on a Jayson Werth walkoff homer and put Carlos Zambrano on the mound this afternoon. Apparently, Cubs fans who vote in online polls want him gone! Trade that kid straight-up for Jamie Moyer!

Livebloggery after the jump.

The.Pen.Logo.jpg Each week (or so), Dan McQuade reviews a baseball movie. He's also reviewing MLB Network's six-episode reality show The Pen, featuring the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, airing Sundays at 8 p.m. on MLB Network. Previous installments: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4.

Sadness grips the land. There is only one episode remaining of The Pen, the smash hit reality competition that has everyone talking. While we are excited for the finale, we are also sad that this incredible masterpiece of television history will have no new episodes after Sunday.

Hmm, no, that's not right. The Pen isn't a super-hit like American Idol or Dance Your Ass Off, it's a show about the Phillies' bullpen that I have somehow forced myself to get locked in to watching. Something other than sadness has me gripped.

The penultimate episode of The Pen was probably the most interesting yet, mainly because we learned about the game routines of J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge. (This was probably Episode #1 material, but who's asking? Wait: I am.) Romero and Lidge spend most of the early parts of the game chilling in the clubhouse sitting in desk chairs lounging in luxury.

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It's settled: I need to become a major league baseball reliever. I figure with today's performance enhancing drugs and the lack of mandatory PED testing for all Americans, that I've never really played the sport won't hurt me. I'm going to have to get LASIK twice to get my vision better than 20/20, Tiger Woods-style, and I'm totally writing it into my contract that they have to get me an Aeron chair for the locker room.

Speaking of performance-enhancing drugs, we learned in this week's episode that Chad Durbin just wastes Red Bull willy-nilly! That stuff's like $3.59 a can!

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There are a few other possibilities, I guess. He could be pouring several cans of Red Bull into a larger can, or he could be saying, "We don't need this Red Bull anymore, we've got five-hour energy shots!"

mathnet.title.jpg Each week (or not), Dan McQuade reviews a baseball movie. And he also does TV sometimes, like when he doesn't think he has the attention span for a whole movie. This week in Cinema Varitek: "The Problem of the Missing Baseball," the pilot episode of Mathnet, starring Joe Howard and Beverly Leech, written by David D. Connell and Jim Thurman and directed by Charles S. Dubin.

One of my favorite shows as a kid was Square One TV, the educational math show broadcast daily on PBS in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the end of each program was a short segment of Mathnet, a Dragnet parody where detectives' knowledge of mathematics helped them solve crimes. This was a trend in the 80s; you no doubt also remember the game and show Carmen Sandiego, where you could solve crimes with your knowledge of geography and flags.

The show followed detectives George Frankly and Kate Monday in the Mathnet division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Yes, during the 1980s L.A. apparently had a division dedicated to solving crimes (usually non-violent small ones) with mathematics! Later, the NYPD would adopt the same tactic with George and Pat Tuesday. While DARE may get more press, I think Mathnet is Darryl Gates' real success story in policing. (He gets a "Special Thanks" in the credits here.)

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In the interest of journalism, I recently watched "The Problem of the Missing Baseball," a math/crime hybrid that this website says is the show's pilot. I didn't remember this episode from my childhood, but the plot was familiar; the episode opens with a group of kids looking for their missing baseball signed by Babe Ruth. They had been playing, uhm, sandlot baseball with it and it went missing after a home run. If they don't get it before the kid's father gets home, he's going to get it!

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Of course, in The Sandlot, LAPD officers do not investigate the missing baseball.

The.Pen.Logo.jpg Each week (or not), Dan McQuade reviews a baseball movie. He's also reviewing MLB Network's six-episode reality show The Pen, featuring the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, airing Sundays at 8 p.m. on MLB Network. Previous installments: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3.

Hey, The Pen is back! After a break last week to show Bob Costas' interview with Cal Ripken Jr. (the only MLB Network programming less exciting than The Pen), the Phillies' bullpen gets its time in the spotlight again. And what do we get?

Hot hot Brad Lidge texting action!

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Okay, maybe that's not so exciting. We also get a shot of Chase Utley doing his best Richard Nixon impression, which is a little more exciting.

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Surprised at this development? Don't be. Utley has been a Nixon fan for years, as seen in this photo.

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If you didn't see the bottom of the second at the All-Star Game, you missed out on the best part. Yes, some of that was the National League's three-run outburst, the only time all night the NL got anything going offensively. But Barack Obama was also in the booth in the bottom of the second, and it was the best announcing we got all night.

Obama seemed generally knowledgeable about the game, especially for someone who has better things to do. He explained his decision to wear a White Sox jacket while throwing out the first pitch, talked about ribbing the players in the locker room before the game and even did some good analysis. There was also this (in case you missed last night's liveglog):

Joe Buck: "Barack Obama in the booth with us. What an honor."
President Obama: "It is."

It's settled. The booth for this year's World Series should totally be Joe Buck, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

There is absolutely no reason why we can't give Obama the Ford C. Frick Award even though he's not, technically, a baseball announcer. After all, he was on this year's Scientific American 10 even though he's not, technically, a scientist. Fans can vote for some of the nominees for the Frick Award; this is one election where we can all get together and show our distaste for baseball announcers in general. I mean, if a politician can do a good job in the booth, how hard can it be?

2009asg.magnet.jpg Homers! Outs! Balls! Strikes! Giant arch-shaped magnets! If it's those five things, it must be the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game! I've been resting up all day in preparation for what is sure to be the longest ASG since last year, when it clocked in at a sweet four hours and 50 minutes.

Dire predictions of nearly five hours of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver aside, I'm pretty psyched to bring you my pithy commentary of tonight's game. I'm Dan McQuade, of Philadelphia Will Do and Cinema Varitek "fame," and I hope you'll join me for at least some of tonight's contest.

But I know what we're all wondering about tonight's game: What does John Kruk think about it? Based on his comments before the Home Run Derby last night, I can only assume one thing: He hates it.

Yes, that's right: The one part of the All-Star Break Krukie enjoys is the home run derby. I guess he likes three-hour broadcasts consisting mostly of dead silence and ads for State Farm. Also: Nice upbeat opening to Baseball Tonight!

And with that great opening of my own, I present to you the liveglog to end all liveglogs. (After the jump.)

pedrophillies.jpg Hey, look, everybody's got the news! NBC 10's John Clark. Jayson Stark. Jon Heyman. John Finger. DPOSTM's own Ken Rosenthal. And Todd Zolecki brings word from St. Louis the Phillies are open to bringing in Pedro Martinez.

Yes, it appears Pedro Martinez will be a Philadelphia Phillie by the end of the All-Star Break, despite the protests of several columnists. Will this lead to Phillies destroying the NL East and the return of profitability to Bob's Stores (pictured)? Eh, maybe, if only because the Phillies are probably going to win the NL East anyway. Even Baseball Prospectus gives them a 60% chance to win the East.

The Phillies could definitely use pitching; the team's ERA has hovered in the fives and high-fours all season. You'll note it's been improving. The Phillies are maybe looking for what the Mets got out of Martinez in 2007 (3-1, 2.57 ERA); they would like to take it without a huge September collapse.

Of course, there are the caveats: Martinez didn't have a good 2008. He might only be able to go six innings or so each start. But he also has been off MLB's radar since the end of last season and has probably not been drug tested. I'm actually not even sure if he was even subject to drug tests in the last nine months or so.

You know where I'm going here. Pedro Martinez' fastball was hitting 93 in simulated games for the Phillies, according to reports. Unlike bloggers who actually didn't say certain Phillies were on performance enhancing drugs, I'm going to wildly speculate that I am positive Pedro Martinez is back in the game due to the effects of steroids, human growth hormone, Zyrtec, LASER eye surgery, Dr. David Friendly's cleanse diet, Gatorade, cortisone shots, muscle rubs, the spirits of now-deceased dwarves and that ephedrine-free Ripped Fuel/Bronkaid mix we're all reduced to taking now.

For Phillies fans, this is kind of weird. When's the last time the Phillies have actually landed a huge name mid-season? And no, Joe Blanton doesn't count.

Baseball.Bugs.logo.jpg Each week (or not), Dan McQuade reviews a baseball movie. This week in Cinema Varitek: Baseball Bugs, a 1946 cartoon starring Bugs Bunny. Almost all voices by Mel Blanc. Written by Michael Maltese and directed by Friz Freleng. These reviews usually contain spoilers, but if you can't guess who wins when Bugs Bunny takes on an entire team in a baseball game... well, yikes.

I love cartoons. I grew up watching the Ninja Turtles eat pizza, Garfield eat lasagna and Heathcliff eat... I dunno, garbage, maybe. (Didn't he live in a garbage dump -- or was that some supporting character?) I still love The Simpsons; the recent HD episodes look fantastic. I sat through all four Futurama movies, even that horrid second one. I was also a daily watcher of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.

Growing up, of course, there were also great classic cartoons that would run on UHF stations (sometimes during The Bozo Show). Like you (probably), one of my favorites was the classic Looney Toons short where Bugs Bunny strikes out the side on one pitch. I recently came across the short, Baseball Bugs, and since it has been taken down from YouTube, I think it's only right to review it here. While I cannot expect to match U.S.S. Mariner's sabermetric review of the game, I will do my best. (NB to Glenn Stout: This review of Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch is the best sports article of the year. Maybe ever. And I'm pretty hard on myself, usually.)

Baseball Bugs opens with the Gas-House Gorillas defeating the Tea Totallers at the Polo Grounds. Let this be a lesson to you, kids: If you abstain from alcohol and tobacco, you will totally suck at baseball. I particularly liked one of the opening shots from the grandstand:

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You don't see fans toss their hats and beers into the air anymore, since their 59Fifty hats cost like $29.95 and their beers even more (at least at Fenway).

Run Differential Magic with the Philadelphia Phillies

Almost 10 years ago, some high school friends and I went to a Phillies-Reds game at Veterans Stadium. On 4 September 1999, the Phillies (managed, hilariously, by Terry Francona) were, as usual, out of the race, though they had a record just above .500. The Reds (managed, even more hilariously, by Jack McKeon) were in both the wild card and division race.

We had fun in the near-empty 700 Level of the Vet -- only 16,357 attended -- but it was mainly because we enjoyed heckling the Phillies, not that they could hear us. (That's been a popular pastime in Philadelphia for ages.) Paul Byrd put the Reds down in order in the top of the first and the Phils got 2 runs in the bottom half off Pete "Rated Rookie Pete Harshnish" Harnisch.

Then we got our reasons to heckle. There were nine of them, actually, as the Reds hit a NL-record nine homers in a 22-3 win over the Phillies. It was one of those hilarious blowouts where the final reliever for the winning club (Stan Belinda, in this case) tosses three innings and gets a save. In a 22-3 game.

One of the Phillies pitchers that night was Billy Brewer, now a professional bass fisher.

Last night, the Phillies finally got revenge for the game no one on the current roster probably knows about. The Fightins destroyed the Reds last night, 22-1, though they did hit only four homers. Only four? C'mon, guys!

The Phillies got 10 runs in the first, 9 of 'em off Johnny Cueto, who was fourth in the league in ERA coming into the game but dropped out of the top 10 after lasting just 2/3 of an inning. Cole Hamels ripped a two-RBI double down the first base line to make it 6-0 after a pair of two-run homers by Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs; Chase Utley hit a three-run shot off reliever Daniel Ray Herrera to cap the first-inning scoring.

The Phillies didn't hit another homer in the game 'til the bottom of the eighth, when shortstop Paul Janish gave up a grand slam to Jayson Werth. Janish's ERA for the season is 49.50.

But I know what really drives blog traffic, and that is: Unintentionally hilarious Dusty Baker quotes. Take it away, Dust'!

"We got slaughtered as they used to say... You always think it can't get worse. My daddy told me, don't think that, because it can get worse. And it got worse."

As you all know, they no longer say "slaughtered."