Kris Liakos: February 2008 Archives
Anyway, here's a look at some wimps:
Brad Lidge, Phillies: The centerpiece to Philadelphia's offseason suffered a meniscal tear and just underwent successful surgery. Knee injuries can be a bitch (I'm going through one right now) but since we're talking about Lidge the Phils should be happy it's a physical ailment. Wink Wink.
If you're a girl.
Jake Westbrook, Indians: According to MLB.com Westbrook is "generally sore". When he was healthy for the first half of last season he generally sucked. Good thing he's locked up through 2010.
Scott Kazmir, Rays: Eek. Rays observers seem highly optimistic this season, and alot of that rests on 1-2 rotation punch of Kazmir and James Shields. Team brass says he'll be ready for opening day, but it's worth keeping an eye on. Plenty of good seats still available.
Mark DeRosa, Cubs: DeRosa has had a heart arrhythmia since he was a teenager, so I feel bad for calling him a wimp, but I don't feel like scrolling back up to change it. He just had a "procedure" to fix it, and all signs are that it was a success. That's good news as you'd hate to see him follow in the footsteps of fellow Chicagoan, Todd O'Connor
Omar Vizquel, Giants: Same injury as Brad Lidge, Vizquel is out 4-6 weeks. And thus the vaunted Giants offense comes crashing down.
Tom Gorzelanny, Pirates: Headline of the year: Aching Gorzelanny Scratched As Precaution. DONT SCRATCH IT YOU'LL JUST MAKE IT WORSE!
Garret Anderson, Angels: Raped by a wallaby.
"He played for me," Batista said. "It was my favorite song, 'Alone.' Now, I feel like I've had everything. I've talked pitching with Sandy Koufax, had Kenny G play for me. Maybe if I could have an interview with God, then I'd be served. I'd be complete."
That's quite the Jewish Dude Trinity you've got there Miguel. Sure you don't want to squeeze in a chat with Paul Reiser?
This article made me realize three things:
1. Miguel Batista is ambitious.
2. Miguel Batista is boring.
C. I'm really excited for the season to start so I can start writing about actual baseball stories.
The CF signed a two year deal with the Dodgers in the offseason after the Braves wouldn't meet his contract demands and the Atlanta Journal Constitution is all, "Oh my God, he's totally not over us."
In the story, Jones repeats the "it's a business" platitudes ad nauseum and even says, "I'm not going to let my emotions get in the way." Emo! For his part, Andruw's former teammate, and bold prediction maker Chipper Jones isn't buying the Gloria Gaynor schtick:
"He wants to be here," said Chipper, who played golf this winter with Andruw. "He misses it. He knows he's going to miss it. We talked a little bit. He only signed a two-year deal. He knows the restraints we're under monetarily. He knows that in two years he's going to get an opportunity to come back if he so desires and wants to work with Atlanta."
What the shit is that? Is Andruw going to drop every fly ball hit his way when he's playing the Braves? Is he going to strike out every time up? Ok, that one's a bad example but you're picking up what I'm putting down. Perhaps Joe Torre is also in on the ruse and has been yearning to return to Atlanta for the past 24 years. Once he and Jones bring down the Dodgers from the inside they can return to the golden pastures of Peachtree.
Come to think of it, the AJC is right. I never should have left Atlanta those times I visited in college. I'm going to start pining immediately, and once my two year contract to drink High Life at The Silhouette is up I'm going back.
- is a positive presence
- is just a regular guy who smiles all the time
- likes to make his teammates laugh, but doesn't play practical jokes
- is just a lucky guy from Pine Bluff, AR, who loves baseball and genuinely likes people
- is fun to be around... a real delight
- has been around, knows the game
- is just a good person and he's great with all his teammates. There's an energy there... the guys are rallying around him.
- was one of the best players on the market
- attends morning chapel
Man, he can't really be that nice, can he? There's got to be some boring lame quote about him just getting ready for the season and taking it one day at a time SOMEWHERE in this article. That will reveal him as just another jerky baseball cyborg!
"I like people, man, I love people," he said. "God's greatest gift is people. If everybody would treat everybody like they want to be treated, this world and this clubhouse would be great."
Alright, fine. Torii Hunter is the most kind and lovable human in all of baseball (even if he is going to be 38 when his new contract expires). I concede. And he definitely seems nicer than Milf Hunter. I wonder if they're related.
Apparently Wilson made some politically charged comments to ESPN's Page 2 that have gotten him in hot water with some of his (gasp!) more conservative teammates. In an article on ESPN'S Page 2 Wilson said he couldn't talk about the upcoming election with his teammates. Furthemore:
"It's frustrating," says C.J. Wilson, the 27-year-old Texas relief pitcher. "I'd say there are two reasons. One, there's a general lack of education among us. But two -- and most important -- you're talking about a population that makes a ton of money, so the ups and downs of the economy don't impact whether we're getting paid. Therefore, we often don't care."
The entire affair devolved into a message board back and forth over at our friends Lone Star Ball where, because Wilson's statement about "the economy" was so 'tarded (I am not making this up), Rangers pitcher Brandon McCarthy explains the ramifications of extending Bush's jerkoff rich guy tax cuts. In turn, Wilson called baseball players dickheads or assholes or something. I had to stop reading.
This is now the second time in less than a year that Wilson has stirred up some shit via the ebays. The weird thing is, last time the professed "Taoist" showed his face round here he was posting blatantly racist myspace messages (lol omg 411 QVC) to the aforementioned McCarthy, but now he's in trouble for things he said while hyping Obama. Whaa Happened?
Ron Washington is currently working on his sprint times to diffuse any situations with Milton Bradley. Perhaps he should keep his eye out for any microphones or keyboards in front of C.J. Wilson.
With the exception of the Giants, every single weak hitting team in baseball should consider signing Barry Bonds. The idea that Bonds is some sort of pariah above and beyond anyone else tied up in baseball's ongoing steroid mess is insulting to fans' intelligence. This infuriating Ken Rosenthal column claims that "even if Bonds led his new team to a World Series title, many would consider the victory hollow."
Really, Ken? I don't know a single baseball fan that would claim that. Bonds' numbers last year were more than serviceable and would go miles towards protecting any team's best right handed bat, especially as a DH.
If anything, this offseason's Mitchell report shitstorm makes Bonds' transgressions stand out less. That's common sense. Christ look at a team like the Royals who outright talk about the added punch to their lineup once Jose Guillen finishes his suspension for PED use. In a climate where drug suspensions play out like a hamstring pull, I refuse to buy any front office's moral apprehension at signing Bonds. Having him in the league isn't bad for baseball as some fire and brimstone talking out their asses columnists would have you believe, but for any team trying to compete with the AL's most high powered offenses, it's just bad baseball not to sign the best available players.
It seems reliever Phil Stockman, who grew up in Australia, has given teammates Mike Hampton & Tim Hudson a traditional Aussie good luck token: Pairs of kangaroo testicles. On a key chain. Oh yeah and...
"told them to rub them before each start."
I wouldn't ever want the same good luck charm as Mike Hampton. That's asking for trouble. Also, if they're taking up space on a keychain they should have some function like unlocking the car doors when you squeeze them or maybe some sort of piercing alert whistle in case you get raped by a wallaby.
In any case, I prefer my animals to be living and having recently released a really good record.
Thanks to reader Matt T. for the tip. I owe you a Coke.
The new first base coach brought the quiz along with him from Pittsburgh so you know it gets results. Let's see if I can answer a couple of the questions listed in the article.
Q: Before a game starts, what are the first two things a player should check?
The color of the discharge and whether or not he has a fever.
Q: If the ball hits an ump on the infield grass, is it alive or dead?
Hopefully if it hits Bruce Froemming, he's dead. Oh, you mean the ball?
Well Rusty Kuntz, how'd I do? Can I play for the Royals now? No, because I suck at baseball? Ok, well can you call someone at the Pirates for me then?
Of the proposed $550 million cost, Miami Dade county puts up an initial payment of $382 million, while receiving virtually no revenue from the stadium once it's built. After that, the city is then responsible for the construction of a $94 million parking garage. The Marlins have a $120 million payment out of pocket, which coincidentally, is the same amount of money Jeffrey Loria received for putting the Expos up for slaughter.
Holding the team ransom for a $450 million gift from taxpayers has been the M.O. in South Florida for more than one ownership, but it seems even more unsavory with Loria's filthy fingers on the public money. On top of it, some of the quotes are downright infuriating.
"What happened [Thursday] is the final elimination of uncertainty surrounding our franchise," team president David Samson said. "This date, Feb. 21, 2008, is the day the Miami Marlins are permanently saved in South Florida. Period. There is no more discussion."
Do you see the implications there, South Florida? Every time the Marlins wanted to move it was your fault. Now that you've wised up and diverted some money to them you will be spared the fate of those poor francophone saps without a baseball team in Montreal.
Much like belief in any savior, the stadium logic rests on a big leap of faith. As someone who lived in South Florida for a couple of years, I know how badly that team needed a new place to baseball in. But, I also have a hard time buying that moving the team even further south will do anything to boost attendance once new stadium nostalgia wears off. Is there a huge crop of baseball fans that were skipping games because of the 20 minute drive up the Turnpike? I never met any.
But enough out of me, let's see what other people think!
"It's going to be nice," outfielder Josh Willingham said Friday at spring training. "It's going to be for us. It's going to have a retractable roof and all the stuff that comes with it."
Uh... well put, Josh. When the reporter left I imagine Josh continuing, "We will play baseball there. It will be on earth."
What about you, super old timey Macon Telegraph columnist Coley Harvey?
"True, retractable roofs will allow games to go on without delay. But isn't it part of the joy of baseball to sit through rain delays of indeterminable lengths, sticking around sometimes for hours at a time to finally watch play resume(?)"
I agree! By the way, what's the deal with anesthesia? I want to feel the open heart surgery!
I like Matt Cain. Last season I took him realtively high in my fantasy draft (SUCK IT ICARANE) and projected big things for him. I think he's going to have another good year in 2008 (even though the lineup is even worse).
That being said, I'm still trying to figure what it means for the club that they're making Cain the face of the 2008 season.
Ann Killion's profile of the 23 year old righty in the The Mercury News lays the aw shucks on nice and thick. Cain seems like a good enough guy, but... really?
Cain is on the cover of the Giants' 2008 pocket schedule. Cain was present at the team's 50th anniversary news conference, and is in the new "What Would A Gamer Do?" ad campaign that will launch around opening day. And, most symbolic, Cain will move across the clubhouse and assume a locker stall in the area previously occupied by Barry Bonds.
Didn't this team just sign Barry Zito to a $3 Trillion Dollar contract last year? Doesn't Zito make girls all swoony? Aren't Bay Area bros clamoring for some his transcribed tabs? If he's going to pitch all shitty and stuff again shouldn't they try to get some kind of work out of him?
Who knows, maybe in 6 months I'll be taking this all back after Cain's fourth no hitter of the year (in which the Giants go 1-3), but it just seems a little strange.
Postscript: Approximately one hour after writing this blog entry, the author still couldn't get over how terribly lame "What Would A Gamer Do?" sounds.
Fantastic week of news for Cards fans.
First up it's Albert Pujols' strained right elbow ligament. It's been bugging him since 2003, and affects him more when he throws than when he hits. Still, St. Louis Coach Tony LaRussa said he saw something (hiccup) different in his first baseman's swing last (hiccup) year.
The story hath reaped my early leader for quote of the Spring:
"If it blows out it's going to blow out," Pujols said. "You can't control that."
I'm not so sure that I agree with that logic, but I do know that if you're riding in a car with Bert and his 'check engine' light goes on, don't bring it up. He will call you a pussy.
Then yesterday, previously optimistic projections about Matt Clement were scaled back. Pitching coach Dave Duncan said, "In all honesty, I would be surprised if he's ready for opening day."
In all honesty I'd be surprised to see him pitch ever again. It's not a fun story to follow. Clement can't get strength back in his shoulder, and even when he does it could take a while to get his head back. It's been 18 months since he threw a pitch to a live batter.
As that Fox article goes on to point out, Anthony Reyes, Todd Wellemeyer and Brad Thompson are fighting for the last two spots in the rotation. There are only two spots left because Braden Looper and Joel Pineiro locked up the 2 and 3 spots. Obviously.
Worst rotation in the majors? Let's get it started!
Your friends here at WoW are old hands at these internets, but we're usually crashing at our buddy's house. This is the first time we've had our own place and we're trying to keep it nice. You know how it is when you get your first place in college. You and the roommates map out a schedule of chores, stock the fridge with all kinds of fresh stuff to cook with, and then in two weeks it's all gone to shit. The chore list is being used to mop up the grain alcohol you spilled when you tripped over the huge pile of dirty dishes in the bathroom.
One of the things on our "chore list" here was not talking talking much about steroids. There are a couple reasons for that, but the most important one to me is that the stories are all about things that happened in the past that have no real bearing on this season. That's what we're here to chronicle.
No one else seems to be taking the same route, as the biggest news from camp so far seem to be stories about people not talking. What. The. Fuck. A google news search of "baseball" last night around midnight came up with the following:
- Miguel Tejada not talking about steroids
- Brian Roberts talks candidly about steroids! Uhh.. not really
- Andy Pettite not talking about steroids anymore
- Even outside of steroids, Aramis Ramirez made news by not talking about cockfighting.
Tejada and Ramirez would be great stories from Mime Camp, and Roberts's comments would represent a big step for an agoraphobic. Can I get a fucking story about baseball please?
Ahh... Hank Aaron. I'm sure the media interviewed him for a fine homespun anecdote to get us excited for opening day! Shit.
I never get sick of the blessed double entendre, but some people might think it's hack.
After the jump, I won't be making any cock jokes, but I bet you'll be able to tell when I'm thinking them.
The pencil bearded 3B showed up at Cubs camp and wouldn't answer any cockfighting questions from the media.
"I'm not going to talk about that. That's personal. It's a different culture down there. I'm from the Dominican, so let's talk about baseball," he said when the question was posed the first time.
But the fun police just could couldn't keep their empanadas out of Ramirez's adobe, and asked again.
"I said I'm not going to talk about that. I've just got to say this: It's a different culture in the Dominican, and that's it."
Jesus people. That shit be legal there. Back off. You don't see Aramis busting your balls about listening to the English language version of Hotel California do you? You got that right. He respects your culture.
The Astros OF is scheduled to miss up to a week of camp due to lacerations suffered when he went crashing through a sliding glass door.
Pence and a friend were about to take a dip in a hot tub outside of the house, and unbeknownst to Pence, his friend had closed the door behind them. Pence got out of the tub to use the restroom and walked into the door, which shattered around him.
"It's pretty silly to have this kind of freak accident happen," Pence said. "I didn't think I would go through a glass door. Normally, it wouldn't shatter like that. Somehow, it shattered and I was stuck in the middle of a bunch of broken glass."
Since he was about to get into the hot tub with his buddy, I'm going to blame this all on too much Prosecco. Put some stickers on that bitch!
Pence's blog is strangely silent on the incident. Perhaps he put his head through the monitor.
The backup backstop just took a $200K pay cut to stay with the Sox. Nothing too peculiar about that, but the article in the Boston Globe about it reeks of the worst kind of codependency. Christ, Dougie. Have some self respect or at least a little tact. Why did they even pay him any money? They should have just given him a gift certificate to Java World.
The interesting thing about Mirabelli suddenly pulling the Herlihy Boy act, is that the for the past couple of years the Sox have acted like they were the ones that couldn't live without him. He's become a fan favorite by fashioning himself as a "Dirt Dog," a term as meaningless as it is insufferable (remember, I'm a Sox Fan). When he left for the '06 season, Josh Bard was hardly given a month to learn to catch Wakefield's floater before shipped off to San Diego to bring Mirabelli back. It was quite the retarded scene, man.
His anemic hitting numbers are somewhat offset by the fact that he only plays 5 days a week, but that's only part of the story. With Jason Varitek slowing down at a Gedman-like pace and no one in waiting, Boston is facing an impending catching crisis. Bard's relative youth and much more serviceable numbers would have filled that gap nicely until something was worked out. Creepy devotion has its drawbacks.
When the Herlihy Boy finally makes his plea to move in he says,
"Please? I've already slept in your bed. If you didn't want me to move in, why'd you let me sleep in your bed? Just let me move in with you, please?"
That could have been pulled verbatim from the Globe article. In light of the events two seasons ago it would have made perfect sesne. Regardless, it's not very becoming of a grown ass man.
The Tigers went into August '07 with a 1 game division lead. They went into September behind by 5.5. Cleveland's youth, both in the lineup and in their lethal 1-2 rotation punch held up better in the dog days. That momentum carried the Indians all the way to an impressive 3 games to 1 ALCS lead against the Red Sox!
But like Nancy Pelosi, my devotion to my job, and (hopefully) Justice, that's sooo last year. Detroit has done some heavy remodeling. Speckalate with me by clicking below.
Unless you're a catcher, that is, because you're probably just being used as cheap bullpen help until April.
Some intriguing veterans and storylines, after the jump:
- Apparently the Red Sox have tried to void Curt Schilling's contract. The 1 year deal, signed this offseason, is due to pay him $8 Million. The doc wants him to get shoulder surgery, the Sox don't want him to. At least I think that's what it is. If I read too much about Schilling my eyes glaze over and my face smashes into my desk. Anyway, this makes his claims of taking a hometown discount seem a little suspect. I think Grand Old Pudgy wasn't looking forward to a grueling physical from a new team. Anyway, it's just good business sense by the Sox. Look how Warner Bros. got stuck holding the bag when Heath Ledger wouldn't have medicine cabinet removal during the filming of The Dark Knight.
- Derek Jeter settled an IRS inquiry into a bunch of back income tax he owed the State Of New York. Since Florida has no state income tax he was trying to claim his home in Tampa as his primary residence... even though every gap-boxed R&B singer and cashmere turtleneck delivery man in the tri-state area knows he's living mostly in Manhattan since '01. It will probably just be a wash for the IRS once they pay the Steinbrenner family back all the income tax they'd been taking from George while he claimed to be living for the past 6 years.
- Good news and UghWhateverWe'reTheOrioles news for Baltimore. The good news: Lots of people saying they got good value from Seattle for Bedard. CF Adam Jones has more tools than a Prep School. The Ugh news: Daniel Cabrera got a $2.9 million extension. The guy has a career 1.55 WHIP, so the extension works out to about $75 a baserunner. But I guess he throws hard, and there's always a premium for righties with ERAs over five and a half.
- Clemens went in front of Congress and at this point I couldn't give less of a fuck about anyone on either side of the microphone (except Obama... SQUEEEEEE!) I used to like Roger and I used to like some politicians. Then I turned 16 and everything went to hell. You wont hear another word from me about Clemens for the rest of the year unless he kidnaps a beauty queen or puts out a groundbreaking indie record or something.
- Don Mattingly is having trouble with his crazy ass wife, Mr. Perfect. The tumult made him leave his hitting instructor gig with the Dodgers. The job went to Mike Easler. The Hit Man was a an underrated slugger in his day, but my spies tell me he got the job for his agility in avoiding snapping tendons and a willingness to play bocce at hour all hours of the night.
With the Johan Santana Tantric Trade Talks finally having reached orgasm all over Shea Stadium, the Mets are frontrunners in the NL East.
Santana is the only player that could have instantly changed the conversation for this team. By the time the 'Mazins took their middle and index fingers from their throats and finished forcibly throwing up the division championship last fall, "Moving On" was empty empty empty talk. Give Omar Minaya credit for going out and bolstering the psyche of this team going into Spring Training and April. If the injury bug sets in and it turns out they gave away too much game ready talent, this will be an easier move to criticize, but wait till that happens.
Anyone who still picks the Phils to win the division is most likely tripping their fucking balls off. Their offseason retooling is built on a rock solid foundation of a Brad Lidge renaissance at closer. Let me know how that works out. We're not saying the Mets have it locked up, but you're batshit if they're not your preseason pick.
The two most notable groups of meatheads that didn't get to rape the Twins reside in Boston and the Bronx (the favored meatheads of this here weblog). Chatter out of those two spots has tended towards "Oh well, at least it's the Mets so they'll be sure to waste his talent." This is the second most retarded thing I've heard all week, and that's only because I watched The State Of The Union. The same thing was said about both Pedro and Schilling when they landed in Boston. A team's history has no impact on its present, once they turn the corner with enough talent. With Santana, the most recent and by far the most important of the 771 Hispanic players* Minaya has acquired in the past 36 months, the Mets could be doing just that.
*that's a shitload of Hispanics.