Dan McQuade: August 2009 Archives

Weekend Questions

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I wish I had some sort of amazing final thoughts on baseball to share with youse before my week is up, but... I don't. So instead I'm going to type up these Weekend Questions and head to the bar!

Thanks to Rob for letting me do yeoman work this week, and thanks to all of you for commenting. I will be back reviewing baseball movies next week, something I do not need to get up early in the morning to do. Hooray!

2003 Phillies program scan by jjway2006; off the top of my head, the players pictured are (clockwise from bottom right): Todd Pratt, Tyler Houston, some dude (Nick Punto, perhaps?), Ricky Ledee, Jason Michaels and the Pie Man himself, Tomas Perez. Note: I could be wrong.

Here's an ad for Tengen's RBI Baseball. I don't know if the company was sued for this ad, but it's clearly false advertising; I've played the ever-frustrating RBI Baseball, and it's nothing like this.

I really dig the cheesy synthesizer on the announcer's voice. It makes him almost impossible to hear! Maybe this is why Blades of Steel, Tecmo Bowl and its sequel were my NES sports games of choice.

Don't Tase Me, Gio (Gonzalez)!

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Rob asked me to post the video of the A's fan getting tased and I am more than happy to oblige. I was holding in this "Don't tase me, bro!" joke all week and finally I have a chance to use it.

superaids.jpg I was going to write a serious post about what Topps' exclusive deal with major league baseball means for the baseball card industry, but then I came across this reaction from a blog of the Riverfront Times, St. Louis' alt-weekly:

File under ridiculous douchebag bull----: Major League Baseball and Topps have reached an agreement to make Topps the only licensed maker of baseball cards.

I'm not going to try and be balanced or fair about this. This is f---ing bullshit. Of all the shitty things MLB has done over the years - and they are legion - this one just may take the cake. Licensing only one company to make baseball cards? Really? In what alternate universe is this a good idea? [...]

And [Topps CEO Michael] Eisner, my mother always taught me it's wrong to wish ill on another human being. Thus, I shall refrain from saying I would pay good money to see you fall into a giant vat of government-created SuperAIDS.

Yes! Government-created SuperAIDS! That's totally what the head of a corporation attempting to make a profit deserves for cutting a deal with major league baseball.

My buddy RJ noted this line of his blog entry: "Baseball card collecting is one of the few somewhat pure pursuits left; it may not be the Norman Rockwell-esque endeavor the 1950s would have us believe, but it's close." It is most certainly not, even before MLB's deal with Topps. I mean, c'mon, baseball card collecting is one of those well-marketed pursuits that is clearly attempting to pretend to be pure; I thought even the people who bought into it knew this, deep down.

But, then again, at least this guy isn't falling for Eisner's BS. Every other paper just let him give his quote about how this business decision is just really "for the children" and about redirecting the market toward kids. Um, maybe, but I think what Topps is really interested in is making money, hence the exclusive deal attempting to force its competitors out of the market.

An NBC New York writer has an okay take on the situation, but for the best take on the whole deal, check out njpanick's comment from yesterday. Who knew exclusive deals cost more than nonexclusive ones?

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About a year ago I wondered aloud to my girlfriend if a cat would fetch a ball. She laughed at the idea. Naturally, I immediately got to work attempting to teach Sarah's cat (Captain Walker, aka Cat Stairs) to fetch a ball.

It was surprisingly easy. Walker almost immediately started chasing after whatever little ball I'd throw, and would bring it back in her mouth for me to toss again. She loves fetching her ball. Hold a ball in the air and she's immediately at attention; if she hasn't chased a ball across the room recently she does this little meow, or sometimes she'll just open her mouth and not make any sound. It's just so cute.

Ahem. Anyway: Yes, I was right, and my girlfriend was wrong, maybe the only time in the relationship where this was the case. Of course, now little Walker will paw Sarah and me in the middle of the night, holding a ball in her mouth. (Sometimes we'll wake up and there will be three or four balls all on the bed.) Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

Point is, I had this all planned out: I was going to film Cat Stairs chasing after a little foam baseball and post it on the site this week. It'd have everything a blogger needs for a good post: a cat (the Internet loves 'em!), having someone else do all the real work for you (in this case, the cat), et cetera. Last Christmas I bought a little Phillies shirt for Walker from a boutique. All I had to do was get the shirt on her, dress up Sarah's wall like an outfield fence with green construction paper and -- voilĂ ! -- instant Internet gold.

I'm writing this today to let you know I failed, people. Cat Stairs was not ready to put on the Phillies shirt; the above photo is as close as we got to putting it on her. Clearly, she knows better than us: She doesn't want to get called up too early and mess up her career when she doesn't get enough at-bats with the big league squad.

For now, Cat Stairs is a Lehigh Valley Iron Pig. If she ever finally gets that big league uniform on, Walkoff Walk will be the first to report it.

What? Hey, Rob said I could post anything I wanted this week.

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What happened in baseball yesterday when you were slicing up eyeballs

Yankees 13, Red Sox 6. OMGOMGOMGYANKSSOXYANKSSOX!!! And now we have a whole weekend of wall-to-wall coverage from ESPN to look forward to. Anyway, yesterday the Yankees broke the Curse of the Bambino II, ending their eight-game losing streak this year against the Bosox when Muhammad Ali (honored pregame) hit two three-run homers. I think that's what happened.

Angels 9, White Sox 5. "Oh boy, it's going to be exciting," said Bobby Abreu, and who are we to doubt! He and three others (Erick Aybar, Vlad Guerrero and Jeff Mathis) homered yesterday for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a cool 4.5 games up in the AL West.

Dodgers 5, Braves 4. Andre Ethier -- he of the yoga sessions at Dodger Stadium -- hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles. It's Ethier's fifth walkoff hit of the year, meaning all that yoga must be delivering good karma, or something. The Dodgers still have the best record in baseball (67-42).

Padres 8, Mets 3. Clayton Richard, who came over from the White Sox in the deal for Jake Peavy, won his first game for his new team and got his first major league RBI to boot. Adrian Gonzalez also homered. It was just late May the Mets were 27-20 and first in the NL East. They're now an astonishing 11 games back and have 104% of their opening day roster on the disabled list.

Diamondbacks 11, Pirates 6. The D-Backs have won seven of eight, which can happen when you play the Mets and Pirates in back-to-back series. (To be fair, they also have a win against the Phillies in this streak.) It was just early April that the D-Backs were in first in the AL West, for one day, after the first game of the season. They have really been awful since then and are like 100 million games back.

Tonight's Questions

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Hope you enjoyed the liveblog and the kitty. Back tomorrow!

Photo of Chief Meyers and Chief Bender at the 1911 World Series

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Background image by pvsbond; entire image is under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

My rule is: If there's a Phillies game on and I have nothing better to do, I might as well liveblog it for Walkoff Walk. Today, my liveblogging serves a dual purpose, as it not only wastes my time but also gets me off the hook for any other blog posts today.

I'm in luck, too: Today's game should be a pretty good matchup, as Aaron Cook (10-3, 3.88 ERA, 116 ERA+ for the fourth consecutive year) takes on Cliff Lee (8-9, 3.02 ERA, 149 ERA+ overall; 1-0, 1.00 ERA, 430 ERA+ with the Phillies). Plus, the great Paul Bako (.116 BA, 16 OPS+) is catching today for the Phillies.

I'm going to try to talk (er, write) baseball today and not just make fun of the announcers. We'll see how long this lasts. After the jump, as usual.

jaaaaaayhapppedro.jpg Last night, Pedro Martinez drew the largest crowd in Reading Phillies history (just 47 fans shy of 10,000) with his 11-strikeout performance. It was definitely the most exciting thing to happen in Berks County in months. Years, maybe!

Meanwhile, down the road (actually, I-176 and I-76) in Philadelphia, J.A. Happ was striking out 10 batters himself in a complete-game shutout.

With the acquisition of Cliff Lee, the Phillies' rotation is crowded and everyone has an opinion on who should head to the bullpen. Rodrigo Lopez has already been sent there despite posting a 3.62 ERA in starts this year. Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton are definites in the rotation. Happ should be, too, you'd think; even though he's a rookie his workload this year is almost in line with what he's done in the minors. He also has two complete-game shutouts.

But Jamie Moyer can't really be sent to the bullpen, and Pedro Martinez was signed to be a hired gun in the rotation come August and September. Martinez hasn't been fantastic in the minors -- he's having trouble pitching from the stretch -- but he's struck out a ton and could be more than serviceable in the majors.

So what to do? Send the kid to the 'pen? Here's the simple answer I don't know if anyone has said yet: Rosters expand on Sept. 1. Jamie Moyer just needs to get an "injury" and stick it out on the DL, dispensing wisdom to the younger players and spinning yarns about baseball lore; he can come off it when rosters expand.

Pretty simple, right? Sounds like an excellent plan to me. A quick Google search makes me believe Moyer hasn't been on the DL since 1989, which is pretty incredible, so the Moyer would probably also set the record for most time in-between trips to the disabled list. Everybody wins!

Last night, Zack Grrrrreinke (Matt T. suggested Kyle Fursworth; I was also thinking Yuniesky Betancat) ran out onto the field at Kauffman Stadium during the top of the fifth inning.

In the above clip, the PBP guy actually announces the cat's run through the field; he also mentions that the cat is showing its teeth and recaps an "hilarious" blooper where a grounds crew member is scratched and bitten.

He also suggests the cat ran onto the field because someone brought it to the game, instead of the more likely scenario that the cat lives at the stadium. (Veterans Stadium had a family of cats living in it.)

Also amusing: The reactions of the Royals players.

"It jumped from the stands into our bullpen," said Mariners' reliever Shawn Kelley said. "We thought it was going to attack [pitching coach] John [Wetteland] so we had to divert it away from him. It scaled an eight-foot wall, it really did. We were just concerned with saving John. We thought he was in trouble. He was cornered."

Who knew a cat could even comprehend the size of an eight-foot wall, let alone scale it. But whatever. Cats are so cute when they run! I could watch this clip all day. I might, actually.

What happened in baseball last night while you were causing hysteria, on on the stereo

Brewers 4, Dodgers 1. Prince Fielder didn't attempt to storm into any clubhouses after Milwaukee won the series in Los Angeles. There was a hit batsmen in this game, but it was Craig Counsell, who got an RBI for his effort. Or, I guess, his lack of effort in getting out of the way.

White Sox 6, Angels 2. Every couple of months, you look up and there's Jim Thome, still with a ridiculous amount of homers. Big Jim now has 561 career ding dongs after clubbing two more last night. He has 20, including 7 in his last 21 games. That's one homer every three games, in case you're really horrible at math. Sox are a game back in the Central; Angels are still 4.5 up in the West.

Nationals 5, Marlins 4. The Nats won their fourth straight game of the year, a season high. They've improved to 36-72 and have an outside shot of catching Kansas City for the second worst record in baseball; they're only 6 games back in the loss column. To me, this is as exciting as any pennant race.

Phillies 7, Rockies 0. Plunk Chutley! Chase Utley was hit for the 100th time in his career in the bottom of the fifth; by comparison, Manny Ramirez just got his 100th career HBP and Scott Rolen has only been hit 110 times. Could Utley make a run for the all-time record? He'd have to play a long time, and then there would be the rumors that he used performance enhancers (i.e., ibuprofen, Vioxx, etc.); it's probably not worth it. That's two games in a row Utley's been hit by a pitch. Oh, and J.A. Happ pitched a complete game shutout and struck out 10.

Rays 6, Red Sox 4. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver's favorite player from last year's playoffs, David Price, went 6 innings, but the Rays really helped themselves with four home runs from Jason Bartlett, Pat Burrell, Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena. (That's one homer each, not four.) The Rays have 132 homers this year, good for fourth in all of baseball.

Trio: Today's Afternoon Games

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Forget what you're doing this afternoon, there's baseball on! Three games, summarized below. Fun times, eh?

Cardinals at Mets, 12:10 p.m. The Cardinals attempt to build on last night's come-from-behind win, which kept them in a virtual tie for first in the NL Central. Kyle Lohse goes for St. Louis against Jonathon Niese, who was born in 1986 and has started four games this year for the injury-depleted Metropolitans.

Drew will be liveglogging this one for you. Yay!

Giants at Astros, 2:05 p.m. San Francisco routed Houston, 8-1, yesterday, to remain a half-game back of Colorado in the NL Wild Card race. The Astros fell to a game below .500 but I think still has people believing they're a WC team. Joe Martinez, hit in the head with a line drive in April, returns to the big leagues today after posting a 2.93 ERA in the minors in five starts. Houston counters with Brian Moehler.

Braves at Padres, 3:35 p.m. Atlanta moved a game above .500 with a 9-2 win yesterday over San Diego. The Braves run Tommy Hanson out today; the Padres counter with Chad Gaudin, who has quite the facial hair in his headshot.

crazystairs.jpg It was just three years ago that the Mets were one win away from the National League pennant. Now they're the funniest team in the league, especially if you happen to be a fan of one of their rivals. They've missed the playoffs the past two years despite leading the NL East in September, and this season has been lost for quite a while now.

So, naturally, here's some more news for the Mets: Jose Reyes is probably done for the rest of the year, Adam Rubin reports, though I suppose Rubin could just be after Reyes' shortstop job. (Rimshot.)

And, of course, there's Luis Castillo's injury last night, where he fell down the dugout stairs and sprained his ankle. X-rays were negative, but he had to leave the game in the seventh. That link goes to MLB.com, which somehow has a video highlight of Castillo's fall down the steps. Such a useful website!

So what's next for the Mets? I fully expect David Wright to be injured while watching G-Force (he watches it nightly), perhaps while putting on his 3D glasses. Johan Santana should probably avoid any and all sharp objects. Also I guess they'll play out the season and fire Omar Minaya at the end of it, or something.

What happened in baseball last night while you were burned out by battles you thought you'd won

Diamondbacks 6, Pirates 0. Yusmeiro Petit took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a single to Ronny Cedeno; he ended up throwing eight innings of one-hit ball. Ryan Roberts hit a pair of homers for the D-Backs. Zach Duke took the loss to drop to 9-10. As usual, it is easier to toss no-hit ball when the game is being simmed in Triple Play Baseball '97.

Rays 4, Red Sox 2. Evan Longoria hit his second homer of the night with two outs in the bottom of the 13th. I really can't top the commentary of Yahoo! Sports user "jpimpsalot89" (maybe not work-safe) on the AP recap, so I won't even try. There is also big drama among Yankees and Red Sox fans on the Yahoo! comment threads; someone made a racist remark, someone threatened to sue! Everyone is 14.

Nationals 6, Marlins 4. Adam Dunn may not be able to field anymore, but he can still hit the ball a mile. Big Donkey hit a 2-run homer to cap a 6-run eighth inning for the Nats; Washington won its third straight to improve to... 35-72. Yikes.

Cardinals 12, Mets 7. Albert Pujols homered in the eighth to start a rally, then capped it with a grand slam in the top of the 10th as the Cardinals handed the Mets yet another frustrating loss. Frustrating for Mets fans, of course; for everyone else it's quite hilarious.

Rockies 8, Phillies 3. Yeah, the Fightins got smoked, ending my personal CBP winning streak (it was at 8). More on this game later, but it was a snoozer for a Phils fan. Garrett Atkins had 4 RBI and also hit a bomb of a homer to left field.

Dodgers 17, Brewers 4. Dodgers won big. Manny Ramirez had a homer and a two-run double. Whatever. After the game Prince Fielder attempted to go into the Dodgers' clubhouse to go after Guillermo Mota, who hit him earlier. But, somehow, he was held back. Tonight's game is going to be fun!

Tonight's Questions

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Hey, two days down!

Sorry for the delay this afternoon, I had some other things to take care of. I'm headed to the Phillies game tonight, so expect an hilarious report of annoying fan antics. Back tomorrow!

Photo via Boston Public Library

radiowaves.png A friend suggested I post an excerpt from Darren Daulton's If They Only Knew every day this week. Good idea, friend!

So here's what Mr. Daulton thinks about the radio and other forms of communication (p. 81).

When you are listening to your radio, how are you able to turn the dial and go from hearing a station in Los Angeles to one in New York? Energy is everywhere; in televisions, radios, microwaves, gamma, beta and theta rays; all kinds. You get my point. We are literally inundated with different kinds of energy waves. These waves are how information and communication travel instantaneously. Do I need to say anymore than the World Wide Web?

No, Dutch. No you don't. Anything else to add:

Have you ever seen a Hologram? All of creation is holographic, meaning that if you took a thiny part of the whole Universe it would indeed contain the same amount of information and energy as the whole. In essence it doesn't matter where you are; you are still everywhere and in everything.

This is known as Daulton's corrollary to Bell's theorem.

3strikesyrout.jpg There was a good story in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday about the various expensive promotions baseball teams have used, including an Andre Ethier-led Yoga class at Dodger Stadium.

There are a ton of different expensive promotions, from a Phillies Caribbean cruise held in January to a chance to be a groundskeeper for the Detroit Tigers for $1,200. You get to pay to work!

Dodgers president Dennis Mannion says the events sometimes make the team more than it would in tickets to a game. He'd know, because including the Ethier-led yoga session -- meant to attract women -- the Dodgers have also offered fans a chance to take batting practice at the stadium and a chance to go fishing with Brent Leach and James McDonald.

I look forward to more promotions with the players in the coming months. Go whale-watching with Casey Blake. Go to the movies with Matt Kemp. Discuss baseball theory with Joe Torre. Shoot up with Manny Ramirez. Face off against Clayton Kershaw in a hot dog-eating contest. And, for a few grand, Jonathan Broxton will give up an absolute bomb of a homer to you.

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A short mention of Zooperstar Ichiroach yesterday led to an outpouring of love in the comments for said Zooperstars. If you're not familiar with these athlete parody mascots, your life is about to get better when you visit their website.

They're all there: Alex Frogriguez, Dick Flytale, Mackerel Jordan, Shark McGwire, Donovan McCrabb, Centipete Rose, Elephant Presley (for some reason), Monkey Mantle, Clammy Sosa, Harry Canary, Nolan Rhino, Stallion Iverson, Ichiroach, Nomar Garciaparrot, Roger Clamens and, like, a ton more. This page says that Manatee Ramirez and Barack Ollama are coming soon.

Last night, I was thinking that for too long, Cooperstown's doors have been closed to the Zooperstars, due to their obvious steroid use. Hell, so have the doors of Canton, Springfield and Toronto, as well as Wildwood, New Jersey (home of the National Marbles Hall of Fame).

As such, this is a call to all the Zooperstars fans: Write your senators and your representatives. Call your local television stations. It's time the Zooperstars take their rightful place in the Hall.

What happened in baseball last night while you were paving the way for you cats to get paid today

Tigers 6, Orioles 5. All hail Clete Thomas! He hit his first walkoff homer at any level and then managed to give a pretty good quote about it too. No stupid sports cliches! "When I was rounding first and realized it had gone out, I didn't know how to react. It feels better than you even think it will--and that's something you always dream of doing." It is what it is. Justin Verlander gave up 5 runs in the top of the first and then shut out the Orioles for the next 7 innings.

Athletics 3, Rangers 2. How often do you see a walkoff triple? I have no idea. Maybe every night, since it happened last night: Rajai Davis' three-bagger plated 2 runs as the A's scored three times in the ninth off C.J. Wilson. Oakland's now only 19 games back in the AL West.

Astros 4, Giants 3. After taking three of four from the Phillies over the weekend, the Giants apparently celebrated by losing to Walkoff Walk favorite squad Houston. Geoff Blum and Kaz Matsui homered, making you sit up and say, "Whoa! Geoff Blum and Kaz Matsui are still in the league?" Matt Cain took the loss.

Brewers 6, Dodgers 5. Trevor Hoffman got Manny Ramirez to fly out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to end this one. Afterwards, everyone got together and enjoyed their favorite steroid cocktails and had a good laugh about the game, since they're mostly millionaires.

Tonight's Questions

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Hope youse enjoyed your Monday edition of Walkoff Walk. I'm back tomorrow with more.

Photo by Sister72 used under a Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license

spaceinvadersshea.jpg In the last month or so, no one has noticed anything the Mets have done except for hilarious rants by the GM at press conferences. But not all is lost! NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino recently went up to space and took with him the Shea Stadium home plate, SPACE.com reports.

"We're allowed to take up items that are from organizations that are important to us," Massimino told SPACE.com. "The Mets are great. They're tearing down their old stadium. What better way to represent a stadium or a ball field than home plate?"

Massimino, 46, is set to present the plate, returned from its 5.2 million-mile trip to space, Friday evening at a Mets game where he will throw the first pitch. [Editor's Note: He did this, apparently.]

"I'm a big baseball fan, I'm from New York, and the Mets were my favorite team growing up," Massimino said.

Newsday adds this quote from Massimino: "Getting to take a Mets home plate into space makes all the hard work it took to be an astronaut worth it." Really? I thought it was the whole going into space part of it that made all the hard work worth it.

We're in luck, too: Next week, a foul pole from Riverfront Stadium will be sent to the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic Trench.

Darren Daulton's Movie Guide

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iftheyonlyknew.jpg You may remember, a few years back, the Darren Daulton book If They Only Knew, which talked about his, uhm, interesting ideas on existence.

I own this book, and I've read it several times. It's amazing; he even does the "add up the number of letters in words in order to prove something about 9/11" trick. But my favorite part is the chapter titled, "Manifesting in the 4th Dimension Multi-Dimensional Universe." It begins with this paragraph:

Have you ever seen the movie Multiplicity with Michael Keaton? The movie is about a normal guy that finds out there are three others that are identical to him. The concept of the movie is reality except we are unaware of ourselves in these other dimensions.

If you can answer "yes" to Daulton's question, you will know that his summary of the film is a bit lacking. And by "a bit lacking," I mean "entirely incorrect." I quote the plot summary of the movie from IMDb: "A man who never has enough time for the things he wants to do is offered the opportunity to have himself duplicated."

I would love to see Darren Daulton's summary of The Matrix.

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep

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beep.baseball.jpg No, that headline doesn't mean robots have completed their takeover of baseball. Actually, the 2009 World Series of Beep Baseball was recently played. Beep baseball, originally invented by telecommunications employees in the 1960s, is a way for the blind to play the game. Previously, the blind were only able to participate in baseball as umpires.

The first paragraph of the National Beep Baseball Association's guide to the game succinctly explains how it's played:

Spectators who witness today's style of beep baseball are generally delighted. They see blind athletes dive onto the ground to stop a beeping ball and run full speed toward the sound of a buzzing base to score a run. They see desire, determination, teamwork and in many cases skilled performances of sightless players having fun in the midst of extreme competition. They also witness an occasional injury. Beep baseball is not a game for those who are concerned about a scraped elbow. Safety precautions are high priorities, but due to the nature of the game, some injuries do occur. Players know this and fully accept the injury risks for the sake of playing a sport they love.

Desire, determination, teamwork. That's about it. Oh, and the baseball also beeps, there are only two bases (which also beep) and only five times in the sport's history have fly balls been caught in the air. There are sighted spotters, and an out is recorded if a player reaches the ball before a player reaches the base. There are only six fielders.

The game seems pretty cool; next year's World Series is in Rochester, Minn. The West Coast Dawgs beat the Taiwan Home Run for this year's title. Every spectator was, of course, generally delighted.

Mr.Burns.baseball.jpg Steroids have been used in baseball for decades; for years now, the American public has been wondering: When will a politician weigh in on the issue? America's pols aren't accustomed to grandstanding on issues that don't really effect them, so for a while they have remained silent.

But the bravest of politicians, one John McCain, decided yesterday he needed to finally take a stand:

In response to the revelation, McCain sent a message on his Twitter account that read, "David Ortiz tested positive for steroids, 'where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?'"

McCain says the situation in baseball makes him sick. Even more bothersome, he says, is the idea that someone in a laboratory somewhere is trying to develop a substance that tests can't detect. The Arizona Republican spoke to CNN's "State of the Union" for its Sunday broadcast.

Yes, ol' John McCain, who was ringside when boxer Jimmy Garcia was killed during a bout in 1995, is sick because baseball players are doing things to their bodies to make them better baseball players. (He still likes boxing.) And he gets even sicker when he thinks about someone doing that great American tradition of helping rich people possibly break the law, or at least the rules.

I guess now is as good a time as any to point out that when John McCain was 10 years old, black people were still banned from major league baseball. Ha ha, John McCain is old. And sick!

Monday Morning Movement Memo

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winbyanose.jpg Note: Baseball Before Bedtime will no longer be seen on Monday mornings (unless Dan McQuade accidentally writes it anyway) so that we may bring you a quick, post-weekend update on the division and wild card races. Thus, Monday Morning Movement Memo will document which way your favorite team is headed, organized by race.

American League East: The Yankees dropped three of four to the White Sox, including a 10-run defeat on Saturday, and now the Red Sox are only a half-game back. The Sox swept Baltimore over the weekend, which is so easy it almost shouldn't count. Tampa Bay, plus-75 in run differential, is still six games back.

American League Central: The Tigers hold a 1.5-game lead over the White Sox and a three-game advantage over the Twins, which is about the same as a month ago. But did you know Kansas City is minus-114 in run differential? Even Cleveland has passed the Royals for fourth in the division. Even Washington has passed them in run differential. Yikes, KC. Yikes.

American League West: The Angels continue to hold an edge over Texas, now at four games. Seattle has fallen out of the race, Oakland is doing so poorly there's a new article about how Billy Beane should be fired for "writing" Moneyball every 15 seconds. Anaheim, incidentally, has won five straight.

AL Wild Card: Boston, who led the AL East until recently, would still be playoff-bound if the season ended today; the Red Sox are 2.5 games up on the Rangers. Of course, if the season ended today, that would mean some sort of national or world tragedy, and there probably wouldn't be playoffs this year; we still have 2 months left.

National League East: The Phillies are just 6-5 in their last 11 games but still lead the East by five games thanks to a superb 20-7 July. The Marlins took two of three from the Cubs over the weekend; the Braves are seven back after dropping two of three to the Dodgers. The Mets also play baseball in the National League East.

National League Central: Only a half-game separates the Cubs from the Cardinals; four more games separate the Chicago National League club and the Brewers and Astros. St. Louis took two of three from Houston over the weekend, making Rob Iracane's vacation even more relaxing.

National Least West: It's still all Dodgers, people. Manny & Co. are seven games up on both the Rockies and Giants. Maybe the players on Colorado and San Francisco should have taken more steroids.

NL Wild Card: That aforementioned NL West duo is tied for first in the so-called "Wild" Card standings; the Cubs are two back and the Marlins three. I expect a much wilder month of August in this portion of the standings. Yes, that's right: By September, the Pirates will be in first. Okay, maybe not.

What happened in baseball last night while you waiting a lonely lifetime.

Marlins 3, Cubs 2. "Boom!" wrote the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds. Dan Uggla and Cody Ross homered off Chicago closer Kevin Gregg in the bottom of the ninth for the win. The Marlins, five back in the NL East, are still -8 in run differential despite being five games over .500.

Red Sox 18, Orioles 10. New acquisition Victor Martinez went 5-for-6 with 4 RBI and Boston pounded out 23 hits in the win. The Patriots scored the opening touchdown, but the Ravens came back with a touchdown in the third. A missed extra point galvanized New England, though, as the Pats scored another touchdown in the fourth. I guess they got two safeties afterward, too, or else this doesn't work.

Nationals 5, Pirates 3. This game wasn't actually played; MLB just simmed it in Baseball Stars.

Giants 7, Phillies 3. Good thing for the Phillies they got Cliff Lee, or else they might've been swept by the Giants. San Francisco took three of four from the Fightin' Phils, beating Cole Hamels on the strength of a rally started by a Barry Zito single with two down in the fourth. Freddy Sanchez went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI in his first game with the Giants.

Royals 4, Rays 1. James Shields didn't give up a hit until the eighth inning, but the floodgates opened after that. John Buck got the first hit, Alex Gordon stole home and the Royals finally took a game in this epic TB-KC series.

Monday Morning Movement Memo will still be seen today! But I wrote this up before I remembered that Mondays were different, so you get two morning update posts today. Lucky you!