Dan McQuade: March 2010 Archives

wow.count.8.jpg Problem: The Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992. Solution: Bat the pitcher eighth!

In a move to stimulate an offense that ranked at the major-league bottom in most key categories, Pirates manager John Russell posted a lineup for the second time in three days that he plans to use throughout the 2010 season: The pitcher batting No. 8, shortstop Ronny Cedeno behind him as a secondary "leadoff" hitter, Aki Iwamura No. 1 and Andrew McCutchen No. 2.

"I think we're going to look at it and probably go with it," Russell said this morning, after posting a lineup with starter Paul Maholm batting eighth and shortstop Bobby Crosby -- a late recplacement for a scratched Cedeno, who's battling lower-back tightness -- batting ninth. "We tried it a couple of years ago, trying to get the right guys in the lineup. I think we have that now with Aki and Andrew and Ronny and Andy [LaRoche] hitting in front of the pitcher, a patient-type hitter. it sets us up to be able to score more runs and get a couple of hitters in front of Andrew. With the makeup of our lineup, it only seemed to make a lot more sense to get more guys in scoring position in front of AKi, Andrew and [Garrett] Jones and [Ryan] Doumit. I think we have the personnel to do it."

As if things weren't bad enough for Pirates fans. First, they have a gorgeous baseball stadium that's always half-empty (but not on August 7!). Second, they've had to endure 16 straight losing seasons. (For comparison: The Phillies, once the standard-bearers of horrible baseball, have had nine winning seasons since the Pirates' last year over .500. The Royals have even had three winning years since 1992.)

And now, third, the Pirates' fans have to live with their baseball team batting the pitcher eighth. Is losing season No. 17 on the way?

stephenkingfishface.jpg Stephen King was once the Most Famous Author in America. (The current titleholder is Stephenie Meyer.) Now he's just one of many Celebrity Red Sox Fans.

That doesn't mean he hasn't stopped writing. King will soon release a new novella, Blockade Billy, described by King's website thusly:

He may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, but today no one remembers his name. He was the first -- and only -- player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game's history.

Every effort was made to erase any evidence that William Blakely played professional baseball, and with good reason. Blockade Billy had a secret darker than any pill or injection that might cause a scandal in sports today. His secret was much, much worse... and only Stephen King, the most gifted storyteller of our age, can reveal the truth to the world, once and for all.

Since the story that would make the best horror book ever (Phillies win World Series) actually happened two years ago, I guess he has to go with Blockade Billy. Eh, works for me.

There's actually a chance Blockade Billy could be pretty good, especially since it's a novella (a +5 shift in VORK, Value Over Replacement King), is about baseball (+1 VORK) and comes from a small publisher (+3 VORK). There is, of course, also a chance the book will end with the Hand of God helping Blockade Billy hit a homer to win the World Series (-75 VORK).

The book is available pre-order for $25. If I can one day charge twenty-five bucks for one of my novellas, I will consider my life a success.

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Who's name is that on the big screen up there? Hey, look, it's Pete Rose! Yes, the all-time hit king hosted WWE Monday Night Raw earlier this week, on the week before Wrestlemania no less! In the foreground of this photo is Shawn Michaels, who wrestled at the pay-per-view I attended with my dad at the Spectrum in 1990. (I was seven.)

Also on the big screen in this photo: Pro wrestler Kane, shown hitting a piledriver on Pete Rose at a previous Wrestlemania. Charlie Hustle has been beaten up by Kane every time he's been at a WWF/WWE event, and as guest host tonight ordered Shawn Michaels to face Kane.

That is, honestly, the only thing Pete Rose did. I remembered why I hadn't watched an episode of Raw in like 12 years: It's completely unbearable! The annoying owner of the company a major part of several storylines, there is a lot of interview time taken up by people who can barely talk and now the WWE product is aimed at 10-year-olds now so Vince McMahon's wife has a shot at winning the Republican nomination for Senate in Connecticut. That all adds up to a really boring two hours of television.

Rose did show up one more time, of course, a moment I've captured on video below. After Shawn Michaels defeated Kane, Rose went back to his dressing room to celebrate.

Now there's an actor. You should also note it says "HIT KING" on the one side of his collar.

Tonight's Questions

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A special late edition of TQ.

  • DID I agree to do Tonight's Questions and then forget about it almost immediately? I'm pretty sure you know the answer to this one.
  • HOW will Ron Washington keep his weight down now that Tom Hicks has decreed "zero tolerance" on cocaine use?
  • WHERE will the Mets and Marlins be playing from June 28-30? That'd be San Juan, Puerto Rico, instead of Miami. Now the residents of the United States' largest unincorporated dependent territory can see the Mets screw up live and in person!
  • WHAT will Cliff Lee be doing for the first five games of this season? Apparently, sitting on the bench, as he's been suspended.

Okay, fellas, back tomorrow for more fun. FREE RON WASHINGTON!

031610wow.peterose.kane.jpg That's right, folks, there are two baseball-related professional wrestling stories in the news, and I'm going to cover them both!

First off we have the news that Pete Rose will be the guest host for WWE Monday Night Raw on March 22. Hey, that's next Monday!

Pete Rose has done WWE/WWF shows before, as well as commercials! He was also a guest ring announcer at Wrestlemania XIV in Boston, where he told the crowd, "I had tickets for Bill Buckner, but he wasn't able to bend over to pick them up." He was then fictionally beaten up!

Expect a Cinema Varitek on this, as Rose will certainly be fictionally beaten up again by at least one wrestler. Maybe more, if we're lucky.

In other news, Bob Uecker will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next week! He was the master of ceremonies for Wrestlemanias III (Hulk Hogan-Andre the Giant) and IV (WWF Title Tournament), and apparently the WWE has been attempting to induct him for years, but there were always conflicts. William "The Refrigerator" Perry is also a WWE Hall of Famer, incidentally.

Uecker will, naturally, be inducted into the HOF by Dick Ebersol. Pete Rose is already a WWE Hall of Famer, because I think you get paid like 10 grand when you enter the WWE HOF.

And, what that, we end with video of Andre the Giant choking out Bob Uecker.

Amazing Uecker doesn't drop the microphone through all that.

Mike Schmidt's Keys to Susan Dey

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In addition to Larry "Bud" Melman, another early sidekick of David Letterman was Michael Jack Schmidt.

Thanks Chrissmari for looking up Susan Dey videos on YouTube and finding this. The full clip, if you're interested.

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The New York Daily News' Jesse Spector recently interviewed Nick Punto, and got a pretty awesome answer to one question:

What is one product that you would like to do a TV commercial for?

Nick Punto: A product... I don't know. I would... that's a tough one, man. Can I get some help?

TB: Sure.

NP: Matty! What product would you like me to do a commercial for?

Brian Duensing: Extenze.

NP: Extenze.

You think this is the only Extenze (sorry, "ExtenZe") reference in professional sports? Please. Kevin Conway drives the #37 ExtenZe car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

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Nice job Photoshopping a Seattle Mariners jersey on to Cliff Lee, Topps. I didn't know the Seattle Mariners would be honoring Harry Kalas this year with a patch on their jerseys like the Phillies did last year!

Okay, I'm actually impressed with the Photoshop job putting Lee in the Mariners jersey. And this has nothing to do with Topps' exclusive deal with MLB. But, whatever, who expects me to write a post about Topps and not mention that?

Thanks, Uni Watch and Kieran Kelly

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Above: Jayson Werth's beard (attached to Jayson Werth), Nick Swisher (from How I Met Your Mother) and autograph-seekin' Rob Iracane (from Walkoff Walk).

Hey, baseball's back! Well, okay, not really. It's just spring training, but Roy Halladay and C.C. Sabathia will be squaring off to start the game! This is a legit World Series preview, people, and so I've decided to liveblog it today instead of running errands or working or whatever.

Join me after the jump for liveblog goodness at 1 p.m.!

mr.belding.night.wow.jpg The Reading Phillies have unveiled their Top 10 Promotions of 2010, and one of them is a karaoke night with Mr. Belding. Sorry, I just had to get right to it. Actually, Meech spotted this first, but flagged the Ryan Howard garden gnome (August 3) as his lead. That's pretty good, but Mr. Belding is the one who will get all the real Internet traffic. Quoting the R-Phils' website:

Dennis Haskins, better known and loved by fans as Mr. Belding, will be on hand for a special Mr. Belding Schools Out Teacher night on Wednesday, June 23. The lovable principal on one of television's most popular teen shows ever, Saved By The Bell, will treat fans that enter through the turnstiles for the 7:05 p.m. game against the Bowie Baysox, to an event like no other. Fans will have the chance to meet Mr. Belding during an autograph session, presented by Berks Technical Institute, and will even have the opportunity to hear Mr. Belding sing karaoke, during a pre-game karaoke party beginning at 5:00, presented by Rock Hits Y102.

Did you catch that? There is a school advertising itself with the principal1 from Saved by the Bell. Also, yes, you can hear Dennis Haskins sing karaoke. I'm not quite sure what the draw of that is. Karaoke is mostly fun when you sing yourself2, not when you get to watch celebrities ("celebrities") doing it. Unless Mr. Belding is going to sing "Friends Forever" by Zack Attack.

It's not all garden gnomes and 59-year-old actors in Reading this year. April 23 is Jerry "The King" Lawler night; fans over 21 get a Pabst commemorative cup of the pro wrestler. There are also several beer tasting nights, multiple insane-sounding Mascot Band Pre-Game Concerts, 26 nights of fireworks, all-you-can-eat Gluttony Nights, something called "'Yo Pimp My Ride' Clunker Car Give-Aways", a chance to meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, two nights for Deadheads, Food Allergy Awareness Peanut Free Night and probably 40 other kinda funny things I skimmed over.

I dunno. I kinda think I could go to the Reading Phillies every night this year.

1 I think there's an episode where Mr. Belding reminds Zack that "the principal is always your P-A-L." Only it's not a mnemonic device, it's a legit attempt at a poignant moment. If this episode didn't exist, it should, so I'm really not wrong.
2 I tend to rap, usually "Regulate" or "Lose Yourself," though I'm working on Ludacris' "Stand Up." One time I made my then-girlfriend's ears bleed with a rendition of Lisa Loeb's "Stay."

jim.bunning.batman.jpg I assume a majority of the Walkoff Walk audience is, in addition to being highly educated and attractive, reading about baseball on the Internet in order to kill time at work. A great American tradition! But, especially with the recent economic trends, I figure another significant portion of the site's audience is unemployed slackers.1

Well: Welcome to our unemployed visitors, possibly on a library computer! You already know by now that Hall of Fame pitcher, perfect-game tosser and U.S. Senator Jim Bunning is holding up an extension of unemployment benefits! He's also forcing the government "to furlough workers", apparently some kind of sex act, and is also disrupting COBRA and Medicare payments. The government's taking away my money! Finally, I know what it feels like to be a rich person.

And he's the mad one, because blocking this bill made him miss a Kentucky basketball game. He also, Salon reports, has a fraud of a charity.2 Geeze. It almost makes you want to wish SuperAIDS on the guy, even if he does look a bit like Adam West.3

Who knows, maybe Jim Bunning will eliminate the deficit and UK will win the National Championship with his grandstand. I don't really understand, or care about, politics. But what I do understand and care about are videos of people acting like hilarious jerks. Hey! What do you know, when CNN's Dana Bash and ABC News' Jonathan Karl went to ask Bunning a few questions, he flipped out!

Apparently, players in the 50s and 60s were just as full of themselves as players are now. Excuse me!

1 Here's a tip: Call yourself a "freelance writer." No way you're picking up somebody in a bar if you say you're unemployed.
2 Even worse, Jim Bunning is making me agree with something in Salon! This is the deepest cut of all.
3 Sweet! Adam West mentioned in back-to-back posts!