Dan McQuade: May 2010 Archives

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, you got me so hypnotized the way your body rollin' round and round

Yes, folks, today we had our first afternoon walkoff walk of the season. I also .gif'd it. Thanks, Rickie Weeks!


When interleague play rolls around every year, plenty of hilarious sportswriters and Internet pundits will make the amazing, incredibly original joke that many of the interleague "rivalries" aren't really rivalries at all! The construction will go something like, "Bla bla bla interleague play is horrible just look the Rays are playing the Astros what kind of rivalry is that baseball tradition bla bla bla," only less funny.

Well, look at this: One of these so-called "non-rivalry" interleague series (Padres-Mariners) produced a bet between two gentlemen people, one a fan of each team. And the loser had to make the above video, perhaps the best baseball rap so far this season. Making it even better: I think part of the rap is about the girl he lost the bet to, so about half this song is pretty nonsensical.

This is amazing. I declare Padres-Mariners a rivalry as classic as Red Sox-Yankees immediately.

Weekend Question

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  • DID you enjoy my week at the helm of Walkoff Walk? Be honest.

Sorry for the nonexistent afternoon here today, but I hope you enjoyed my week in charge of Walkoff Walk. I'm always happy to get the chance to BS about baseball on the Internet even if I had to set my alarm earlier than usual. Thanks as usual to Rob for having me and to 310, Drew and Kris for helping out. Rob will be back Monday.

I will also drop some news. Coming in... oh, let's say, July: Cat Stairs: The Comic Strip. It's going to rule.

Photo by Nurse Kate; Creative Commons license

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This is Hanley Ramirez doing Walkoff Walk-caliber commentary on the Phillies' alleged sign stealing last night during the Mets-Marlins game. According to Twitter, they were made by Dan Uggla and John Baker. Good work, guys.

wow.babygotback.jpg So, this is an old story, but it got sent to me today and so that works for me. It's a piece at Slate riffing off last month's Roy Halladay cover story in Sports Illustrated; in the SI piece, Tom Verducci writes that scouts liked Halladay because he had a curved ass. Apparently, it's baseball adage that flat butted kids don't succeed in the majors.

The Slate piece looks deeper into it. Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein says, absolutely, scouts are biased against prospects with flat butts. "Pujols has a tremendous rump, and it serves him well," he says. Why didn't we get ass-shape analysis after the Ryan Howard contract signing?

The best quote, though, comes from Buck Showalter. Here's what he once said on Baseball Tonight:

"You don't see a lot of good power hitters or good pitchers that generate arm speed that don't have a good, high butt on them," Showalter said on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. And who, according to Showalter, best exemplifies high-buttedness? Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee. "I don't want to say he's got a perfect butt, but when I look at it I say, Wow."

The image of Buck Showalter going around looking at players' asses and saying "Wow" will haunt me for the rest of the day.

Thanks to commenter njpanick

wow.justinbeiber.jpg We all had a good laugh when Nick Johnson (now injured, naturally) started using Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" as his at-bat music. But did you know there are other major leaguers who use stupid pop songs too?

That's right: When Twitter mega-sensation Justin Bieber made an appearance at a White Sox game last week, Mark Teahen used Bieber's song "Baby" as his at-bat music. (Normally, Teahen uses a reggaeton song recorded by Jose Lima (!) or "Barbie Girl.")

The Associated Press article also notes that players other than Johnson have used "Party in the USA", but I guess we didn't hear about them because they're not members of the Yankees. And it also gets a quote from Justin Bieber's publicist about Teahen!

When Teahen used the song again, Bieber "was sitting up in box, and we all got excited. He was very honored," the singer's publicist, Melissa Victor, wrote in an e-mail.

To her knowledge, Teahen was the first player to use a Bieber tune, but if others did, "that would be cool."

If I needed at-bat music, I'd use "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." It'd throw everyone off.

I know we've all seen this scene from The Naked Gun, but whatever: I came across it on YouTube and had to post it. (Plus, I'm feeling lazy today.) Is there a better baseball parody ever made?

Well, okay, the blooper scene is also awesome.

Hey, it's Dick Enberg, now the San Diego Padres' announcer!

wow.loading.jpg Maybe my favorite features on MLB.com are the articles ostensibly written by MLB's marketing department. You may remember the "it's that time of year" article from last Christmas about the Yankees' World Series win and the number 27 and a ton of World Series-themed crap you could buy.

Well, the same author has returned with, "Lower price makes MLB.TV a true value." It sure does!

Now that this Major League Baseball season is more than a month old, it is time to start paying closer attention to the standings and the stats -- and time to make sure you are enjoying the full benefits of available technology as a fan. MLB.com just dropped the price for MLB.TV Premium to $109.95 per year and basic MLB.TV to $89.95 per year, making this an ideal time to sign up and experience live out-of-market streaming.

This is as good as press release-speak. Be sure to get the full benefits of available technology, fans!

Just listen to longtime Red Sox fan Scott Preston, who emailed MLB.com Monday night from his home in Wellington, New Zealand: "This is my fourth year with MLB.TV and it's almost as good as a girlfriend. I have other sports leagues' online packages but MLB.TV is easily the best -- for the price, accessibility, reliability and ease-of-use. I upgraded to the Premium option this season to be able to watch Red Sox games in HD, and coupled with a Mini Mac, big-screen and four-way split-screen, it has pretty much ensured I never get anything else done."

Okay, let's be clear here: MLB.TV is, by far, the best online package of any sports league. It's been that way for a long time. But this is the lamest effing quote I've ever read. Is that how they talk in New Zealand? Do they just shill for whatever you ask them to? And, please, everyone: Don't tell Major League Baseball's official website that one of its products is "almost as good as a girlfriend."

We constantly hear from fans who use At Bat with their iPhones or iPod Touch devices in locations ranging from inside the ballpark, to the office, to the beach, to driving to the store. Some people use that device to follow one game while they watch another on TV and/or the PC/Mac or laptop. You can watch or you can just listen.

When they drive to the store?! Isn't that a little dangerous?

That is a separate app from the one installed by fans on the iPhone and iPod Touch devices. It was first demo'd by MLB.com on stage at the Apple event over the winter unveiling of the iPad, and at that time Apple chief Steve Jobs described it as "Awesome."

Awesome!

We've seen it all so far, it seems. Yet, every day is new and you never know what will happen next. There is much more live Major League Baseball to watch on a multitude of devices, and a drop in the annual MLB.TV subscription just added yet another reason to be part of it.

Yes, we have seen it all so far.

I took random bits and pieces of this article, but it actually weighs in at 1,618 words. Now go buy MLB.TV, I guess.

Image via Mactropolis

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Right?

Be sure to check out the dude's website, which appears to have been created in 1996.

wow.taser.jpg Baseball Prospectus posted a neat (and free!) article yesterday by Tim Kester, who played in the minor leagues for 13 years and also played several seasons of winter ball in Latin America.

He writes about his experiences in winter ball, and passes along this fascinating tale:

Most people know that baseball players like to play practical jokes on each other, especially on long road trips where there is a lot of downtime. One day on a long bus trip, a Venezuelan player fell asleep with his mouth open, usually a bad idea with a group of baseball players. In Venezuela, where most players carry guns for personal protection, it is the worst idea ever. One of the Venezuelan players thought it would be funny to take the bullets out of his revolver and put it into the sleeping guy's mouth with the hammer cocked back. As the entire team gathered around, they woke him up.... To top it off, a second after he opened his eyes the guy holding the gun pulled the trigger and the hammer on the empty gun went 'click.'

Oh, those wacky winter leagues! Although this sounds like a pretty fun practical joke, I think if I were a ballplayer I'd spend my winters sleeping safely in my house.

via Tommy Bennett

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The New York Post reported yesterday that -- surprise! -- Lenny Dykstra needs money. (The paper was able to put a dollar sign in the headline -- i.e., "De$perate Dykstra" -- so you know the editors were excited.)

For $3200, one can get an autographed framed montage of Dykstra. Additionally, whoever buys it will get a call from Lenny Dykstra himself! Here's the best part of the story:

Dykstra's initial reply to questions about the sale was "F--- you." He later suggested, "The Post should buy the stuff."

Eh. That might be what I'd say if the New York Post called me up for a story, too.

Tonight's Questions

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Ahh, memories of youth...

We are more than halfway done the week. Go see Kris' band if you're in Boston tonight. Either way, come back tomorrow.

Photo by RLHyde licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

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I dunno, guys, I might DOUBT IT!! Halladay did give up two singles to start the game.

wow.sleeplessinseattle.jpg Well! It appears the tale of Ken Griffey's alleged clubhouse nap just won't end.

Last night, after winning his first game of the season, Cliff Lee wouldn't speak to the press until the reporter who broke the story left. That'd be Larry LaRue of The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., who stands by his report.

Mike Sweeney, yesterday, told FOXSports.com that "nothing is going to divide this clubhouse, especially a makeshift article made up of lies."

Meanwhile, a source told ESPN's Tim Kurkjian that, in a players-only meeting, Griffey cried over the incident. Man, he falls asleep during games and he cries when retelling it? He really is old.

Whatever the facts of the whole story, the Mariners are using a time-honored tactic for a team in turmoil: Band together against the media! As The Office's Michael Scott once said, "Sometimes what brings the kids together is hating the lunch lady."

Editor's Note: The Photoshop at right is maybe my laziest one ever. I barely even cut out Ken Griffey Jr. even close to correctly, and the fonts don't match, blah blah blah. I believe it's time for a nap. Kris, can you wake me up in time for another post later in the day? Or at least don't anonymously tell Big League Stew I was sleeping on the job.

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What, not Chico's?

This is (by far) the best advertisement at any baseball stadium this season. I mean, look at the cute stock model the company has answering phones!

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If you haven't seen Ken Burns'1 Baseball, you really should. Seriously. Go rent it now. Or it runs on MLB Network sometime, too. Baseball is a fantastic history of the game, one of the best pieces of media ever done about the sport. The 18 1/2 hours just fly by.

But, of course, it can't just be left alone. No. The Tenth Inning will air this fall on PBS. That's kind of exciting, of course, unless Ken Burns goes all crazy bananas about steroids and causes me to throw my shoe through my television.

Tenth is filled with heartfelt observations from die-hard fans and observers, including Boston writer Mike Barnicle, who recalls his then-11-year-old son's "tears as big as hubcaps" following the Sox's 2003 playoff loss to the Yanks. [...]

Novick says they reached out to players tied to steroid allegations. None would talk. But former Sox star Pedro Martinez-- a Dominican among an early wave of foreign-born players initially hired as cheaper alternatives to higher-paid U.S.-born peers -- speaks at length about his start. Obsessive fans, including historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and sportscaster Bob Costas, also are featured.

Okay, a long interview with Pedro Martinez means this thing's already going to be watchable. But, uhm, Mike Barnicle and Doris Kearns Goodwin? Are we sure this isn't a secret documentary about plagiarists? What, Stephen Ambrose wasn't available? (Oh, right, he died in 2002. He wasn't.)

1 Jesus-style possessive intentional.

wow.phillies.stealingsigns.jpg Here's a fun story: In 1898, the Cincinnati Reds were playing the Philadelphia Phillies at the old Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds (Baker Bowl) when Reds' infielder Tommy Corcoran, coaching third base, tripped over a wire in the ground. He yanked it up... and followed it all the way to Phillies reserve catcher Morgan Murphy, who was sitting with a pair of opera glasses and a telegraph machine. It was, by far, the greatest attempt at sign stealing in baseball history.

The Phillies went 78-71 that season, but perhaps the Phillies of recent years have channeled their inner Morgan Murphy to better records. Once again, the Phillies have been accused of stealing signs.

This is a common theme in recent years. The Mets accused the Phillies in 2007. You may remember the Yankees accused the Phillies of stealing signs last World Series. Charlie Manuel said the Phillies didn't have the Yankees' signs but were trying to get them. The Mets accused the Phillies of stealing signs earlier this season when the Fightins scored 10 runs off Johan Santana.

The latest accusation is right out of the 1898 playbook: Bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught looking in at Rockies' catcher Miguel Olivo with a pair of binoculars (aka opera glasses), while Shane Victorino was on the bullpen phone (aka telegraph machine) in the dugout.

Let's be clear: This is awesome. Awesomely cheating, of course, but also awesomely blatant. I am hoping the Phillies will soon hire one of those airplanes with a message behind it to fly over Citizens Bank Park and relay the signs to the hitters. Or maybe the Phanatic can get involved! That'd be great.

via Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra, who apparently believes that stealing signs is perfectly okay as long as it's not done with electronic equipment

griffey.simpsons.jpg Big news! Yesterday afternoon, Ken Griffey Jr. spoke to Iraqi teenagers in Baltimore and didn't fall asleep once while doing it! Congratulations, Ken!

Griffey's in Baltimore for the M's-O's series, obviously, and talked for about a half hour with eight Iraqi teens and their coaches who are in the United States as part of a trip organized by the (deep breath) U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs SportsUnited Office1.

It's actually a really cute story -- the kids started a baseball team because their teacher is a big fan, and they didn't know Ken Griffey Jr.'s name -- and you should probably go read it if you're in need of a cute story this morning. (That, or go look at pictures of kittens.) It's one of those stories that makes Griffey seem like one of the classiest ballplayers of recent vintage.

But back to Griffey's naptime: Yesterday, Junior said parts of the sleep story were not accurate, but he didn't really say what parts of it were inaccurate. He and manager Don Wakamatsu both said he was available to pinch hit.

To me, the whole story seems silly: If the manager wanted Ken Griffey to pinch hit, and he were asleep, he would have gotten somebody to take him up. it's not like Griffey had left the ballpark or was in the upper deck leading the wave. Sure, a groggy Griffey might not be the best pinch hitter, but maybe his nap would rejuvenate him into his first homer of the season!

Honestly, if I were a Mariners fan, I wouldn't lose any sleep over this. (ZING!)

1 Ugh, I hate United. City all the way!

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In his ESPN article about Kelly Johnson's hot start, Doug Glanville (the pride of the University of Pennsylvania!) lets us know how things really work in the big leagues. Take it away, Doug!

Let's keep it real: There are not many places hotter than Arizona in the summer.

I appreciate Glanville's attempt at real-keepin', but I disagree. How about right on the equator at any time? Or the Earth, 4.3 billion years ago? Or how about the surface of the sun?

via my friend Mike

Tonight's Questions

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David Wright's nine consecutive strikeouts made at least one Mets fan put his head into his hands.

Come back tomorrow for more hot posting action from yours truly.

wow.southkorea.png Once again, the United States has been embarrassed. While Joe West can merely complain about the Yankees and Red Sox playing yet another five-hour classic, new rules in South Korea have shortened baseball games by 14 minutes so far this season.

Games this year are averaging 3:04, down from 3:18 last year. (The Korea Times reports games last 2:52 in Japan and 3:13 in MLB.) Before the season, the Korean Baseball Organization instituted new rules, including a 12-second limit on how long pitchers could hold the ball with no runners on base. There have been 28 warnings this year but no extra balls added to any counts.

Oh, yeah, and the strike zone was widened and "the time spent maintaining the field within a game" was cut down. Of course, as The Korea Times notes:

Overall playing time, however, is expected to take a little bit longer as the season proceeds and the competition intensifies, the KBO predicted.

Is it going to be the same in MLB, too? Uh oh. The last series of the season between the Yankees and Red Sox is never going to end.

People_Start_Pollution_-_1971_Ad.jpg Some of the news that was fit to print (at least online): The high winds this weekend caused all the trash around Citi Field to blow onto the field. Apparently, the fans just throw their garbage everywhere.

This, of course, happens at every stadium, but what is incredible is the Mets' front office reaction to it. Take it away, New York Times:

Dave Howard, the Mets' executive vice president for business operations, said the team had no plans to add more trash cans or extra workers to the 18-member crew to deal with the litter.

"It's sort of good now that there is debris to be blown out there," Howard said. "It shows people are spending some money and buying food and drink and enjoying themselves."

Howard says there are hundreds of wastebaskets around the stadium. "But, typically, when people go to their seats, they just drop it on the floor, which is sort of a baseball tradition," he added.

The Mets' front office is maybe my favorite in baseball, non-Ed Wade division. Never before did I think I could hear the positives of trash blowing all over the field. Even how everybody throws their trash on the ground is turned into a baseball tradition, like pretending Abner Doubleday invented the sport or running onto the field and getting tased.

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As first reported (then retracted) by The Fightins and later expanded upon by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, there's a chance the Phillies' series against Toronto on June 25-27 could be moved from The Stadium That Will Forever Be Referred to as the SkyDome1.

The reason: The G-20 summit is scheduled for the 26th and 27th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, about two minutes from the (sigh) Rogers Centre. Our own Drew Fairservice rightly notes the bigger concern is Toronto being turned into a police state during the summit2, but I'm sure the game being moved would get more attention.

The obvious idea is to move the games to Philadelphia, where the teams are guaranteed three sellouts. (ARAMARK would love this; they do the food service for both stadiums.) They could even trot out Joe Carter, and the Philly fans could boo him, and we'd all have a good laugh. That would, of course, give the Phillies 84 home games, so what they should really do is move the game to Montreal. (A commenter on Blue Jay Hunter noted both Detroit and Buffalo's AAA stadium are free that weekend.)

Will they find a way to play the series in Toronto? Probably. (Editor's Note: Incorrect! See update below.) Maybe the G20 attendees can meet in one of the restaurants overlooking the field! But even though the Jays are actually playing quite well right now, it's been a rough couple of months for our friendly baseball fans to the north3. If anything can go wrong for them, it will, so expect Halladay to throw a perfect game at Citizens Bank Park next month.

Update: The series will be moved to Philadelphia, according to various reports. Eighty-four home games for the Phillies it is! The Jays will bat last and the DH will be used.

1 Average attendance this season: 600. (Actually 15,207, second-lowest in the league ahead of Cleveland.) Attendance for Wrestlemania VI (Main event: Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, title for title): 67,678.
2 Well, for Toronto residents. Man, Walkoff Walk is slowly turning into the most awesome political site on the Internet, too. I'm going to have to pen a column calling for legalizing steroids in baseball soon.
3 Those who are paying attention, at least.

wow.fergie.jenkins.jpg Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins recently made an appearance at a luncheon for the Gary Southshore RailCats, a Northern League club. Guess what he talked about? That's right: He said baseball players today were in much better shape than when he played, that the advanced use of scouting, videotape and steroids made the players thousands of times more talented and that he might not make it in the big leagues today.

Just kidding! He said today's players were a bunch of wimps: "In my era, we knocked people on their butt. We enjoyed the game, we played hard, we played fair. Now it's hard to pitch inside." Yeah! How dare today's players not throw 90-mile per hour fastballs right at players' bodies.

Actually, for an ex-player Jenkins isn't really all that over-the-top; I'm not really criticizing him or anything. And what he said about Carlos Zambrano was much funnier!

"The guy I thought was going to be a winner was Carlos Zambrano," Jenkins said. "But he just can't get it together." The reason, Jenkins speculated, was Zambrano's offseason weight loss.

"Zambrano was always a guy who was pretty big. (Now) his fastball is like my changeup. He doesn't have the same movement. I think he took away a big part of his ability by (dropping 30 pounds)."

You hear that, Zambrano! Get out of the weight room and hit that buffet!

It's a little-known fact that if John Kruk were skinny, he never would even have made the big leagues.

wow.kengriffey.lunesta.jpg While covering the Phillie Phanatic's birthday last month -- I was actually covering the Phillies, but let's be clear what the real attraction was -- I was treated to an appearance by the Zooperstars.

While the Zooperstars and other Philadelphia-area mascots were celebrating the Phanatic's b-day, suddenly Ken Giraffey Jr. had a heart attack or something and suddenly fell on to the ground and began to deflate. They attempted to revive him with a bicycle pump, but to no avail. The Phanatic, though, gave Ken Giraffey mouth-to-mouth and saved the day1.

I bring up this story because maybe somebody could have given Ken Griffey Jr. mouth-to-mouth, or at least woke him up, when he apparently slept through a pinch-hit opportunity last week.

The News Tribiune of Tacoma, Wash., reports that Griffey sometimes retires to the clubhouse to text friends and watch the TV broadcast during games.When he was not called up to pinch-hit the other night at what seemed like an opportune time, manager Don Wakamatsu didn't have an answer. But two Mariners' players did!

"He was asleep in the clubhouse," one player said. "He'd gone back about the fifth inning to get a jacket and didn't come back. I went back in about the seventh inning - and he was in his chair, sound asleep."

The other player, who knows Griffey a little better, tried to rationalize. "He doesn't sleep well at night, he's away from his family, he's comfortable in the clubhouse," he said. "They could have awakened him.

To be fair, the Seattle weather would tire me out, too. Then again, if 47-year-old Jamie Moyer can pitch a complete-game two-hitter, I think 40-year-old Ken Griffey can get through a game without passing out.

1 If I were one to be offended by things, I would think this skit is the most offensive thing I'd ever seen. They may as well have had the Phanatic doing lines of coke.

Tonight's Questions

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Is this above clip from Simon Birch the best on-screen death in movie history? It's certainly possible.

Slow-ish start to the week, but I'll have more tomorrow. Come back, please!

Fragile Debacles, Revived!

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boy-who-saved-baseball.jpg It's pretty easy to make fun of those articles from Bleacher Report or Examiner.com one comes across when searching Google News. Then join in with me! Today's special comes from Bleacher Report and contains the awesome headline, "Braden Delivers Perfectly to Revive Baseball of Fragile Debacles."

It's a shameless sport that seems to wilt rather than expose positive innovations, such as legit sluggers or aggressive base runners. But instead it consists of shams, boldly juicing their bodies without producing in a pure and artistic fashion. It was just over a year ago, when frequent drug busts revealed con artists from a disturbing list.

You heard the man: Steroid users are just not as artistic as their natural counterparts. Also, when's the last time a major leaguer has been involved in a drug bust? Sure, Manny tested positive around this time last year, but he wasn't caught moving kilos of coke across the boarder.

All of us felt betrayed and deceived for glancing at overpaid shams, oblivious pitchers and outfielders paralyze America's Pastime, a competitive game our great grandfathers and grandpas endeared before corruption elicited collateral damage. In a game with many misconceptions, baseball is still in a state of uncertainty and needs an antidote to distant from the agonizing, destructive facets that overridden the way the masses recognize the game.

Our fathers and grandfathers enjoyed the game the way it was meant to be played: With little to no minorities and the Yankees controlling the Kansas City A's as a virtual farm club! I believe that is one of baseball's many misconceptions. no?

For years now, a league of performance-enhancing users and cheaters with no morals damaged pride, anonymity which tarnished marvel. So in a league focused on propaganda rather than entertaining the principles of rectitude, suddenly it observes a pleasant landscape. And now, we can finally embrace a remarkable moment in baseball and reverse from all the negatives.

The principles of rectitude sounds like something a girl I take home from the bar wants to do. I guess I could embrace that remarkable moment as well.

Of course, all of this is maybe rendered moot since Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game about nine months ago. Why did that perfect game not save us from all the cheaters but this one did? A question for the ages.

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Last week: Bobby Cocks. And now, the corresponding female body part.

via The Fightins, of course

wow.braden.headshots.jpg Remember back in 2001 when noted loudmouth Curt Schilling lost his perfect game? With five outs to go, the Padres' Ben Davis -- pride of Malvern Prep! -- bunted for a bloop single. The Diamondbacks spent the rest of the game cursing out Davis, Bob Brenly called the move "chicken" and if Curt Schilling had a blog at the time you know we'd be getting a 20,000-word entry out of it.

Well, well! Yesterday, before we all tuned in to Dallas Braden's perfect game1, Evan Longoria attempted a bunt single in the fifth. Since Braden completed the perfect game, nobody cares. And Joe Maddon would have been down with it even with two outs in the ninth!

"Great, absolutely," Maddon said. "We're trying to score runs there, we're not just trying to permit him to go into the record books. Our intent is to win the game and if (Longoria) gets it down who knows what could have happened. So that's another of those unwritten rules that I'm not a subscriber to. If you want to prohibit it, just play your third baseman in. Both sides have the ability to do whatever they want. I believe if you're trying to beat the other team and that's your best way to do it then you do it."

Longoria's bunt rolled foul, and he eventually struck out. And now Dallas Braden has a perfect game and Curt Schilling doesn't.

1 I watched the eighth and ninth. You guys?

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What a start to the week! In what has to be the most improbable perfect game since Len Barker, the Oakland Athletics' Dallas Braden just pitched a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here is the story everyone is going to go with: He hugged his grandmother afterward. The bigger story: The on-field mics picked up Braden telling her afterward, "Let's go eat!" He also called his uniform a "costume" in the postgame interview.

Congratulations, Dallas! Per the collective bargaining agreement, he now gets to kick A-Rod in the balls.

Update, 7:30 p.m.: Both A-Rod and Dallas Braden's grandmother have weighed in! A-Rod says, "No more about him, please." (He also said "good for him," but that won't get any attention.)

Braden's grandmom says, "Stick it, A-Rod."