Kris Liakos: June 2008 Archives

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, how are the kids?

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

The Sun Sets On A Mediocre Division

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200px-Jackass_poster.jpgThe NL West is sputtering into the break with a .500 first place team and the audacity to have the San Francisco Giants sitting only 5 games out of first place. The Giants! The team I told more jokes about in Spring Training than I told about your mother. Rob noticed that something was amiss with this divison pretty early on, but this is just reeeediculous.

Last season 4 out of the 5 NL West teams finished abot .500. What happened? Let's look at some pertinent numbers:

ALL OF THE NUMBERS ARE WORSE. Pitching, Batting, Fielding, Dudes named Barry. Everything is worse.

What can we expect for the rest of the season? I still expect Arizona to get back on the ball and pull away. I thought the Dodgers had positioned themselves to make this a two team race, but they've become incapable of hitting the ball. I'm proud of the Giants for staying competitive thus far, and laugh at the Rockies for not being able to. Enjoy Suxtober, you ski buffs.

Oh, and in case you were wondering whether or not the Padres were buyers or sellers at the trade deadline with a record of 32-51, you're a moron. But today's New York Times baseball blog has your answer. They're not.

"It's probably easier to see us as sellers at this point," Alderson told the San Diego Union Tribune. "If we were to be buyers, it would be hard to choose among catcher, shortstop, outfielder, starting pitcher, half the bullpen. There's not a shopping cart big enough."

Oh you mean for the entire division? You're right Sandy, that would be a pretty big shopping cart.

The Saturday Morning Post

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SatMornPost.jpgSOME OF YESTERDAY:

After losing 12 straight last month the Royals beat the Cards and have now won 11 of 12... Yankees and Mets split the crosstown doubleheader, are just as mediocre as they were to start the day... Joe Mauer's tater tot leads the Twins over Brewers, Twins win streak reaches double digits... Dice-K and JD bring some sauce to Houston and Sox top Astros... Pittsburgh is no help as usual, they fall to Tampa 10-5... A's and Dodgers both superior to their Bayway/Freeway rivals... Jair Jurrens tosses a gem worthy of the '92, Braves cockpunch the Blue Jays... Jorge Cantu stops hitting significant others to drive in 2, Fish beat Snakes... Home team holds serve in Chicago, White Sox trounce Cubs... Tigers steamroll God Squad with 7 runs on 15 hits... C.C. spins gem, Tribe pwnerz Reds

TODAY:

Fox is splitting the Chicago and New York series' like Solomon dividing a baby. If you're not a fan of any of the teams, just hope you get the game without Buck and McCarver. Also, today is my turn to check out the Baseball As America exhibit here at the MOS in Boston.

TONIGHT:

I'll have an eye on those two win streaks in the AL Central, The Lincecum/Duchscherer matchup and the tightening race in the NL West.

Enjoy the day and stop by to say hi to your buddies. As always, drunk/nonsensical weekend comments are kind of your duty as a WoWie.

Telly's Baseball Card Collection Featuring Ron Darling

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I have no idea what year this is from, but today's Friday Classic TV post is from Sesame Street. Telly the indescript maroon Muppet is going through his baseball card collection when Ron Darling shows up. Yup, that about sums it up.

Home After Three Months Away: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 2:00, Mets at Yankees: Today's wacky two park doubleheader starts in Da Bronx With Mike Pefrey taking on Dan Geiss. I'm not that familiar with Mr Geiss's work so I asked an expert for some insight. He said: "oh dan geiss 8==========D." It's a weekend subway series y'all, and these teams stink worse than Chinatown!

  • 4:00, Cubs at White Sox: These two bickering neighbors pick up where they left off last weekend. Well the White Sox hope not exactly where they left off. Getting swept is tiring. Please to enjoy Ryan Dempster vs. Jose Contreras.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGNot too many guys went on the DEEL this week which is great because I'm a little hungover and Creampuff is hard to write.

  • Ian Snell, Pirates: Ever heard of medial epicondylitis? Either had Ian Snell until it's screaming chords of pain came ripping through his right elbow this week landing him on the DL. Make Room For Denny Bautista was the worst TGIF show ever.


  • Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays: Me bragging about how I knew Shaun Marcum was going to have a good season will be delayed for a few weeks. He landed on the DL last weekend and visited Dr. Death, James Andrews. Andrews said no surgery is needed, which is good news for everyone except him because he's putting a new deck on his house.

  • Nick Johnson, Nationals: Johnson looks like he's going to miss the rest of the season after wrist surgery. You have to feel a little bit for the guy who missed all of last season and seemed genuinely excited to get back on the field, even if it was with the Nationals.

Update: Not sure how I missed this one, but Brandon Inge strained his oblique LIFTING A PILLOW. Wow.

Tonight's Questions

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uecker.jpgHey kids, that was a hell of a day on the internet, wasn't it?

  • WILL the Yankees survive staying in the same Pittsburgh hotel as the Furry Convention?

  • WILL I survive getting way sauced and seeing The Hold Steady for the eleventy billionth time?

  • WHAT baseball game are you going to watch tonight? I'm too exhausted to pick out some good ones.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

TIGERS WIN ON WALKOFF WALK!!11!

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MIKE PARISI WALKS CLETE THOMAS IN THE BOTTOM OF TENTH. TIGERS WIN 3-2. Here's the shrimp!

The Big Boots Of Pain: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:10, Rays at Marlins: Fresh off the heels of getting completely pantsed 15-3, the Marlins look to regain some of their dignity and avoid the schweep. They've lost 8 out of 12 overall and are lucky the rest of their division has been losing too. Matt Garza vs. Mark Hendrickson is your matchup.

  • 1:05, Cardinals at Tigers: So the other day I said this Cardinals series could sort some stuff out in both Central divisions. Of course, it hasn't. Today's rubber match pits Todd Wellemeyer against bastion of mediocrity Nate Robertson. Wellemeyer has been on the DEEL for 2 weeks. So... that's something.

  • 2:20, Orioles at Cubs: Jim Edmonds has hit 4 HRs in his last 4 games. According to the fellas at STATS, he's hitting .351 with a .432 OBP at Wrigley since signing with the Cubs. All the doubters (read: everyone) look kinda dumb right now. He looks to stay hot and the Cubs try to snatch some rubber. Rad Liz vs. Jason Marquis.

  • 3:10, White Sox at Dodgers: Hey White Sox, you feel that warm sauerkraut breath on your neck? That the Twins and they're coming for you. Try not to blow it in today's rubber match out in lovely Chavez Ravine. Especially you, John Danks. You'll be squaring off against Young Clayton Kershaw.

  • 3:35, Phillies at A's: Hey the Phils won last night! Their recent struggles have kept them from distancing themselves from the aforementioned Strugglin' Fish. If they want any rubber today they have to snatch it out of RIch Harden's cold Canadian hands. Adam "Alex P. K" Eaton gets the start for The Fightins. Hi Clare.

  • 3:35, Twins at Padres: Hey Minny, you're closer to Ozzie Guillen than it looks. He's just tiny. The Twins have won 9 in a row and are merely 1 game back in the loss column. They've been doing it with great starting pitching. Last night they did it with the bats. They're firing on all cylinders and Ron Gardenhire is so excited that last night he drove his John Deere mower to the liquor store to get some Korbel. Scott Baker vs. Josh Banks, duders.

Alberta Griffey: The Walkoff Walk Interview

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griffey mom.jpgThe 2008 season has been a renaissance for fan appreciation of Ken Griffey Jr. His 600th home run allowed for some reflection and perspective on his career. Everyone knows the story. Young phenom with huge expectations, fufills those expectations, returns to the team where his family legacy is, career gets hampered by injuries. It's a testament to his skill that no other first ballot Hall Of Famer and member of the 600 HR club will ever have a "what if" conversation about them.

Griffey has always seemed like a likable guy but apart from some stories about locker room pranks and the jock strap incident last year, I'd never felt like I had a real handle on his personality. Well, what better way is there to learn about someone than talking to their mom? Last week, I sat down with my telephone and talked to the first lady in Ken's life, his mother Alberta Griffey.

CTC: So you're up in Cincinnati for the Reds' tribute to Ken's 600th homer. What was that like?

Alberta Griffey: It was very nice. There was a message from Hank Aaron and a message from Willie Mays. I didn't think I could go originally, but they called me yesterday morning and got everything done really quickly. I'm good at packing fast and was on a flight at 11 yesterday morning. We ended up leaving the game early because he said he wasn't going to play. Junior lives close to the stadium and we can just walk back there. Then when I got home I saw that he pinch hit and I wanted to kill him.

CTC: Ha. You shouldn't lie to your mom. What did this milestone mean to Ken? What did it mean to you?

AG: Nothing. Junior's never really cared that much about setting the records. He says that if he breaks them, that's what they're made for but it's not his goal. When he trying to make the Mariners he set 15 rookie spring training records. I thought that was amazing. 15! And that was one of the only times Junior's played a prank on me.

On the day when they were making the last cuts Ken (Sr.) called me up and told me I should probably go to camp to see Junior if he didn't make the team. I was thinking, "How are they not gonna put him on the team, he broke 15 records." But since he was so young I thought there might be a chance, so I went. I was in the hotel when he came back in and he just looked at me sad and said he didn't make it and I went crazy! Then he smiled and laughed and said he made the team. They knew he was going to make it.

CTC: Junior is known for his pranks. Do you have a favorite one?

AG: Probably the one with the cow in Lou (Piniella)'s office.

CTC: I don't know that one.

AG: Oh, no! Well Junior and Lou had made some bet where the loser had to buy a steak dinner for the other one. Well Junior lost the bet. One day Ken was driving home and he saw a field with some cows in it so he got the idea. He went to the owners and told them what he wanted to do, and they liked it. So they put the cow in a truck and took it to Lou's office. When he came back there was the cow next to his desk!

CTC: I'm sure Lou took that well. He doesn't have a temper or anything.

AG: He thought it was funny. They were always doing stuff like that.

CTC: What was Ken like as a kid?

AG: All his teachers used to compliment me on how I raised him. They'd always say, "You know Ken never talks about how his Dad is a ballplayer, he never trades on that." That always made me proud.

CTC: You hear a lot about him being in the clubhouse as a kid. What was that like for him?

AG: He wasn't in the clubhouse that much.

CTC: Oh, so that's kind of a misconception?

AG: Yeah, I mean Ken would take the kids in there sometimes, but not very much. Never after they lost because the guys on the team would be mad and cussing and Ken didn't want them around that. They'd go in sometimes when they won, but not very much.

CTC: How about when Junior and Senior played together on the Mariners? That must have been a trip.

AG: Oh my god. Ken and Junior's habits were so much alike. They warmed up the same way they did everything the same. I remember on TV they had a split screen of them just walking up the dugout steps the same. I was like "You have got to be kidding me," haha. It's gone away a little bit as Junior's gotten older. He's developed his own habits. Now people say "Oh my god he looks just like his mother."

CTC: What did it mean to you when he went to play for the Reds?

AG: It cut back on my traveling time! Back when he was with Seattle I'd know that if I was going to go see him anywhere I'd have to pack two suitcases. But now I can just pack one which is good. I only bring a carry on because a little while back they put my Louis Vuitton underneath the plane and they cut it and I said, "No way. No one is cutting my Louis Vuitton ever again."

CTC: Yeah I wouldn't wanna mess with your stuff. You sound tough.

AG: Haha. Yeah now if I have to put anything underneath I do it in a regular bag.

CTC: How does Ken deal with the rash of injury problems he's had in Cincinnati?

AG: The thing about Junior's injuries is that all but one of them have happened on the field while running or trying to make a play. He plays so hard and that's why he's gotten hurt. No one really mentions that when they talk about the injuries. I think sometimes he tries to come back too soon too, but he hates being off the field. He keeps his own positive attitude.

CTC: There have been rumors swirling around. Is Ken coming back to Florida (where Alberta lives)?

AG: Oh you know they're always talking about (the Reds) making trades and breaking down the team every year. But it doesn't happen. They say that every year, you can't believe the rumors.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey, kids. Why? Because we like you.

At Blackwater Pond: Today's Afternoon Game

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liveglog.jpg
  • 1:05, Brewers at Braves: The Braves have their ass on the edge of the dustpan this afternoon. It would be the Brewers first ever sweep in Atlanta. The Braves were once nearly invincible at home but have lost 6 of their last 8 at Bovine University. Chipper Jones is out of the lineup for the fourth straight game and Mark Texiera will continue to try and carry the load. It's Suppan vs. Campillo and Mr. Iracane will have the timestamped breakdown for you in a half hour.

Inside Andre Ethier's Mouth

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dodgers chef.jpgWe all now how much I love me some MLBlogs. I've also made it known that I like the Dodgers. What you may not know about me is that I'm a Japanese Hot Pot aficionado. So, Andre Ethier's new restaurant review blog, Dining With Dre combines my passions in a way not seen since www.toplesswomeninglassesalphabetizingarecordcollection.com

Yes, kids, the young Dodgers' outfielder has found a place to let his taste buds type.

Thanks to everyone for taking a look at my new blog, where I'll be reviewing restaurants around the Los Angeles area throughout the season. I can't really call myself an expert or a true food critic, but I love to try new restaurants and so we though it would be cool to show off some of my favorites...or maybe some of those that I won't be going back to anytime soon.

Oh, snap. Take note restaurateurs of the greater Los Angeles area. 'Dre's not gonna spit out some fluff piece if he's not digging your chow. Watch out A.A. Gill! He's only reviewed one place so far and it was a Japanese joint in a strip mall. Ethier explains that he's got a taste for the orient ever since sampling some of the cuisine with Takashi Saito. Watch out, Mrs. Saito, nudge nudge. Am I right people? But I digress. Let's see what Andre has to say about the food.

"The salmon carpaccio we tried first, which was made of thin sliced raw salmon asparagus, white onion with extra virgin olive oil and ponzu sauce. It was excellent -- not any overwhelming taste -- just a great new twist on an old Italian staple."

"The first was the pork plate, containing business card thin slices and I emphasize "business card thin" because paper thin would just not be right. The pork is a great pink color -- almost a salmon tint. It is all lean with the exception of one side which contains a small strip of fat for that little extra flavor."


I actually took a culinary journalism class this spring. While Andre has a tendency to reuse some adjectives and modifiers (also I think he must have created a keyboard shortcut for "ponzu sauce") I definitely give him high marks for writing so in depth about the food. If Todd Jones tried to do this I imagine it would say, "The meat was fuckin' good. I flipped over the table."

So cheers to you, Andre. I'll keep reading. I look forward to your column about eating sushi off of Alyssa Milano.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Poisonous Darts

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sleepingcats.jpgHere's what happened in baseball while you were going through mad phases, all ages.

Brewers 4, Braves 3: The Brewers had their fans sweating butter as Salomon Torres gave up a two run Mark Teixeira ding dong in the bottom of the 9th, but the Braves came up juuuuust short. But, if you believe the Sausage King it was never in doubt. "Even with (McCann's) hit, I was back in control. I was able to settle down. ... After (Teixeira's homer), I was able to be the Salomon you all know and love" he said. Too true, man. Too true. Dave Bush pitched 7 strong for the win.

Cardinals 8, Tigers 4: The Cardinals knocked around Kenny Rogers, and Braden Looper accomplished the rare feat of scattering 3 home runs. Brian Barton, Skip Schumaker and Brendan Ryan each had a pair of RBI for the Red Birds. Don't you hate these big market clubs stocked with superstars?

Pirates 12, Yankees 5: Bill Mazeroski rubbed his ass on every bat in the Pirates dugout and the lineup exploded for 7 runs on 10 hits against Yanks starter Darrell Rasner. The first part of that sentence is patently untrue. Jose Batista and Ryan Doumit both went yardo.

Rays 6, Marlins 4: Marlins reliever Joe Nelson walked in two Rays in the top of the 8th to put them ahead. It's not a walkoff walk but IT AINT VERY GOOD, JOE. Troy Percival also walked FOUR Marlins in the 9th and though he hung on for the save he proved that SHITTY RELIEF PITCHING MAKES ME TYPE IN CAPS.

Red Sox 5, Snakes 4: On Jerry Remy Day Arizona spent nearly the entire game in the drivers seat. Doug Davis turned in a stellar 7 innings before running into a little trouble and being pulled. Chad Qualls let both inherited runners score, including gaving up a game tying double to Mike Lowell and a go ahead single to Jason Varitek. It was Tek's first big hit in 27,800 ABs.

Mariners 12, Mets 0: The futility torch is getting passed. Unfortunately for Geoff Baker, he is the torch. After losing two games to the worst team in baseball by a combined 16-2, it was announced that MLB is forcing Baker to become the official blogger of the New York Mets. Only he can bring the dread this team deserves. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey went 7 scoreless (obviously) for the win. FIRE JERRY MANUEL. HIRE DAVEY JOHNSON.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpg Hey kids, don't let anyone tell you that you can't eat crayons. You're your own person.

There's a ton of other good games tonight, so let me have it in the comments for missing them. Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Series Preview: Cardinals At Tigers

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cardinal.jpgThe showdown starting tonight in Detroit may go a long way in determining the make up of both Central divisons for the next couple weeks. The Tigers have been good at home and have won 8 of their last 10 overall. The Cardinals were sliding precipitously until taking 2 of 3 in Boston. Expectations, especially my own, have been flipped on their heads by each of these teams. Could this be the series where each regresses/progresses to where I thought they would be?

Your pitching matchups:

  • Tonight: Braden Looper vs. Kenny Rogers
  • Tomorrow: Kyle Lohse vs. Armando Gallaraga
  • Thursday: Todd Wellemeyer vs. Nate Robertson

Oh yeah, they played each other in the 2006 World Series, too. CHECK KENNY'S HAND FOR MUD OR TAR OR SHIT.
scoreboard.jpgMy other Italian friend Mike DiGiovanna at the LA times passes along a bit of optimistic delusion from Angles manager Mike Scioscia. The skipper says he thinks his team has the potential to score more than 6 runs a game. O RLY, MIKE?

"I think our lineup, with the way we run the bases, with what our guys can do when they hit stride, is pretty deep," the Angels manager said. "I think we have the potential to score more than 5-6 runs a game. We've seen glimpses the last couple of weeks, but we need more."

he Angels averaged 4.8 runs a game in April. Then leadoff batter Chone Figgins was injured, and they sank to an average of 3.6 runs in May, a month in which they hit .230.

But Vladimir Guerrero went on a tear in June, Maicer Izturis got hot, Casey Kotchman continued to produce and Gary Matthews Jr. began to warm. Howie Kendrick returned May 30 after a six-week absence because of injury, and Figgins returned June 13, and the Angels upped their average to 4.3 runs in June.

There's no doubt the Angels are hitting better. The team as a whole is hitting stride and looks like they're getting ready to run away with the NL AL West. But +6 runs a game? Let's do some math here.

Let's give Scioscia the benefit of the doubt, and say "more than six runs" means just 6.5. That's still asinine. 6.5 X 162 = 1053 runs. Something that very few teams are cut out for let alone an Angels team that scored just over 800 runs last year.

There's definitely a lot of room for improvement, with the Angels currently 11th in the league in runs scored. But Mike, let's just all sit down, take a deep breath and look at this rationally.

"If we can maintain this," Scioscia said, "we should be able to pressure teams every inning."

JESUS CHRIST, MIKE, YOU START MACIER IZTURIS AND JEFF MATHIS.

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpgHey kids, your mother didn't notice I was gone did she?

  • DID you know the Snakes are only 2 games over .500? Recent struggles have dimmed it a little but this series against the Red Sox has a whiff of postseason. Haren takes on Beckett.

  • CAN Felix Hernandez and Johan Santana please please please turn tonight's game into the epic duel that it has the potential to be? The Mariners' lineup won't object, I swear.

  • WHAT about Jeff Francis and Brian Bannis....zzzzzzz

  • HAVE you forgotten Lobster Baby? It hasn't forgotten you.

  • CAN the Braves sustain their hot hitting against Ben Sheets and the Crew?

  • HOW many innings will it take for The Senators to score on John Lackey?

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel
In the past couple weeks I've had the pleasure of seeing REM twice. While there's been hemming and hawing about the band since Bill Berry left, one super solid addition to the lineup has been guitarist Scott McCaughey. Most notably of Young Fresh Fellows he's a long time Peter Buck associate, having played with him on the Minus 5 records.

As a fan of both McCaughey and a writer at this here stickball website, you can imagine my excitement when I read about his new work, The Baseball Project. He and Steve Wynn (who I also dig) of Dream Syndicate, have gotten together and made a record on Yep Roc with 14 songs about baseball. Killer. You can stream it here.

They've got that head bobbing Rickenbacker strum rolling in and out of tracks like the terribly catchy "Ted Fucking Williams." "Broken Man" is a defense of the juicing player just trying to keep up. "Harvey Haddix" is a plea for recognition of his perfect game, featuring all 17 other guys to have pitched one. There's just something that feels right about the hearing the name "Dennis Martinez" being sung.

Below is their recent performance of "Past Time" on Letterman. The BV article was unclear on whether or not Buck is a full-time band member but he's certainly playing bass (!) here. Enjoy and check out the full stream if you get a chance.

bulldog.jpgWe're down to the CWS finals out in Omaha. The best-of-three championship series starts tonight and features two teams with the same mascot. Yes it's the Georgia Bulldogs vs. the Fresno State Bulldogs. At least one FSU didn't let down their fan base. More than anything, this series just reminds how much I miss Davey Boy Smith.

As I mentioned in our last talk Fresno State is the Cinderella of this whole shindig. Their 45-30 record is hardly impressive, and would be the most losses by anyone to ever win the CWS title. They advanced yesterday with a 6-1 win over heavily favored UNC. We have yet to see Matt T this morning, leading me to believe he's orally pleasuring truckers for a ride to Omaha.

For the love of underdogs and their initials I'll take Fresno State. Whoever wins, it's sure to be a raucous scene over at Starsky's.

Who ya got?

Jerry Manuel Thinks He's Gangster, No Seriously

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homeykids.jpgMuch like a lot of kids I knew growing up in New Hampshire, Jerry Manuel is under the mistaken impression that he is "gangsta." After his dust up with Jose Reyes on Tuesday night, Manuel was asked what he said to his star SS and he responded:

"I told him the next time he does that, I'm going to get my blade out and cut him, right on the field. Hey, I'm a gangsta now. You go gangsta on me, I'm gonna have to get you now."

In fact, during Manuel's introductory press conference on Tuesday, he told reporters that he often uses the expression, "Gangstas on the field, ladies on the bus."

Jerry, if you were really gangster you'd know that now you HAVE TO STAB Jose Reyes. Talk is cheap, my man. As the drunken asshole outside my apartment repeatedly screamed at some other guy last week, "Real knows real!" If you just talk about cutting him and don't do it you'll be a phony. You'll be the Middle Aged Guy Who Cried Gangsta.

As for the second quote... no wonder the Mets are struggling. They're using all their resources on transporting criminals and women. Where the hell are the players supposed to go? Oh oh... you mean you call some ballplayers "ladies" and tell them they can't play. Well Jerry, at least you've got the Gangsta misogyny bit down pat.

Sir Sidney Of The Bronx

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sidney-ponson.jpgFun news out of Yankee Stadium: our pal Sidney Ponson has signed a minor league deal with the Yanks. After being DFA'd by the Rangers, not a single team even offered a bundle of bats for the Tubblemaker and he became an unrestricted free agent. Please pay no attention to the fact that the Yankees DFA's him themselves last season. It's looking like he may start in the double header against the Mets next weekend.

"He's coming into Scranton not to help us in the International League; he's coming in to try to pitch his way into the big leagues," Cashman said.

Ponson was pitching extremely well in Texas and frankly, with all of the spekulashun about who would fill the holes in the NYY rotation, I'm surprised his name never really came up. Keeping Ponson in line will be Girardi's biggest test as Yankee manager thus far. It's a test that eventually he will fail. On a long enough line, Sidney Ponson cracks up 100% of the time. The question is how much can they get out of him before that happens. Personally, I predict he wins 20 then during the playoffs shows up drunk, poops and cries on the mound.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, want some coconut milk?


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers as Rob keeps doing Yeoman's work while I bum around on vacation. If I wasn't so drunk I'd be sad that the site seems even better this week. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Walkoff Walk Field Trip Extravaganza

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School Bus - Cartoon 7.gifPadres fans, how do you live like this? Well, I got some answers to that question last night in the Bronx. After my mom signed my permission slip I was on my way to Yankee Stadium for my first ever Walkoff Walk Field Trip Extravaganza. I even got to meet Rob's dad. I think things may be moving a little fast.

Pre-game, I went to the concession stand and ordered Cheese Fries and a Yuengling. The lady asked me if I "wanted a jumbo." I thought she was talking about the beer so I said "Shit, yes." It turns out she was talking about the cheese fries and I was handed giant tub containing well over a cubic yard of potatoes and 3 pints of cheese sauce. My Yuengling was a lousy pour with nearly an inch of empty cup space. I asked the lady to top me off and she explained it was from a bottle. The total was $17. I ate all of the fries.

Our seats just below the right field porch afforded us a great view of Andy Pettitte's masterful start. He was throwing hard, picking his spots and even picked a guy off at first. It was vintage stuff right down to his hick accent that made it so I couldn't understand anything he said on the Jumbotron. Melky Cabrera made one of the best catches I've ever seen in person. Jason Giambi and A-Rod both went yard. This was all before the 4th.

In the Fourth we went to see Phony Gwynn and his girlfriend. He was in section 19 which is the top tier, in row X which is the last row. The birds eye view gave us a stellar look at the housing projects of the Bronx. I could almost see the children getting sick and having their health care taken away. The wheels came off the Padres wagon almost as soon as we got up there. With Phony's head in his hands, San Diego replacement 2nd basemen Craig Stansberry made two errors. To be fair, he's the first Saudi born player in the MLB so maybe they just caught him praying to Mecca. Also, Giambi went yard again. I told y'all Mustache Power is real.

Chase Headley made his MLB debut for the Padres, so if he makes the HoF he better invite us. Rob and I talked a lot about Scott Brosius's taint and before you knew it the game was over. 8-0 Yanks. Then I went and watched the Celtics win the NBA Championship. Thanks for the ticket, Mr. Iracane!

Tonight's Questions

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phony.jpgHey kids, a dog ate my cat but a bear ate the dog.

  • WILL tonight's unofficial WoW Pants Party (starring myself, Rob and that fine looking gentleman to your left, Phony Gwynn) be the crowning moment of Yankee Stadium's final season?

  • WILL Rob and I get along? We've never actually met.

  • IS the A's/Snakes game playing in your area? Webb vs. Duchscherer should be stellar.

  • CAN Scott Kazmir lead the Rays over their old skipper and put more pressure on the Red Sox? He takes on Ryan Dempster in another good matchup.

  • WHO gets back to .500: the Braves or the Rangers?

  • DOESN'T it feel like the Rangers are always one game below .500?

  • HOW will the Mets fair against the Angels without their Willie? Johan Santana takes on John Lackey.

  • CAN the Tigers bounce back and start another winning streak?


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

You Are A Peanut Eating, Beer Swilling, Foul Ball Target

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bullseye guy.jpgIn today's LA Times, Kevin Baxter has one of the most interesting stories I've come across this year. Though the headline is imbecilic, the article "Foul Balls Are A Scary Part Of Baseball" is at once engrossing, eye opening and, fine I'll say it, chockful of morbidly funny bits.

The story opens with a still obviously haunted Manny Mota recollecting about the time a foul ball he hit struck and killed a kid.:

"It's very difficult," the Dodgers coach and former All-Star outfielder said. "It brings up bad memories."

"It" was a foul ball Mota lined into the seats down the first base line at Dodger Stadium during the third inning of an otherwise uneventful mid-May game against the San Francisco Giants in 1970. But what made this foul ball different from the thousands of others Mota hit into the stands during his 20-year big league career was that it hit a 14-year-old boy in the head, just above his left ear.

Five days later, the boy was dead.

"I felt guilty because I hit the foul ball," Mota said quietly in Spanish. "And a young boy lost his life."

Jesus. Mota went to an immediate slump after the internet (um... incident) and was eventually benched. Baxter tells us that estimates put about 300 people injured by baseballs at professional games every year. This doesn't even take into account Mike Hampton or Phil Hughes.

The striking thing about the article is just how much a player's remorse about hitting a fan can affect his season. Toby Hall's best season at the plate was ruined after drilling a fan, and Jeff Kent is quoted in the story showing compassion for another human other than his agent or hunting buddy. Jim Rice once dove into the stands to scoop up a 4 year old that stopped a ball with his toddlin' noggin. Rice rushed the kid to the trainer's room and is credited with saving his life. He should be in the EMT Hall Of Fame.

My favorite quote of the whole story comes from tree stump Rays' Outfielder Eric Hinske:

"When you're on the field for 162 of them, you're going to see it," he said. "You see people get hit every day. They're oblivious to the whole thing. They're not even paying attention. And they got smoked all the time.

"I just try to look away as soon as possible so it doesn't affect my at-bat."

They get smoked!? Christ, next time I go to a game I'm wearing chain mail. Thanks for scaring the bejesus out of me, Kevin Baxter. Maybe that headline isn't so dumb after all. From now on I'm flying to Japan for games where they have protective netting.

At the end of the article, I was left with one obvious question: WHY IS MANNY MOTA A FREE MAN?

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, I scream for ice cream.


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Spekulashun! Who Will Replace Chien Ming Wang?

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zoltar-1.jpgChien Ming Wang hurt his footsie on the basepaths this weekend and is out for about 10 weeks. It was only the second time since high school that he's had to run the bases. I get that he's a pitcher, and he's always had a DH rule where ever he's thrown but that still seems a little excessive. It's like driving for 8 years without turning left. The number of injuries this staff has endured over the past two seasons is reaching comical levels (well, unless you're a Yankee fan) and even the most dedicated "Stay the course" type Yanks fans are thinking about blowing the wad and getting a big name on the mound.

Our friend Tyler Kepner from the New York times piped up today with that glorious refrain not heard since the waning days of Spring Traning: CC Sabathia is a Tempting Choice. Tempting indeed. It's a testament to the "new culture" over in the Yanks front office that the idea has gone from a forgone conclusion to one of relatively measured debate. But you know what, screw it. I miss the old Yankees. I want wild speculation on other teams' players. I'll join Kepner. Here's my list:

  • CC Sabathia
  • Aaron Harang
  • Randy Johnson
  • Adam Vinatieri
  • J. Uggs Masheen
  • Paul Pierce

Who ya got?
boyzend.jpgToday at 2:00 in picturesque Cooperstown, NY the San Diego Padres will take on the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 Hall Of Fame Game. Alas, the grand spectacle of the HoF Game will end with the final out. Yes kids, today's the last one. "Why?" you may ask. Well it's pretty simple. IT IS STUPID TO HAVE AN EXHIBITION GAME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON. You get that, right? Just like it was stupid to have teams play exhibition games after their "season opener", it's silly to risk injury in a game that means nothing. So maybe next year they'll knock that Japan crap off too.

Lou Piniella spoke out against the game this week. Truly a brave stance. It's that kind of honesty in the face of already canceled pageantry that makes him a leader of men.

Unlike my co-captain here, I like the Hall of Fame. It's an incredible museum and I find no trouble setting aside the flaws and politics of it from the enjoyment I get walking around and looking at all the exhibits, relics and plaques. But like most, I'm glad their game is as dead as Joe Garagiola, Sr. Wait, what?

As for the game itself, as of press time I can't even figure out who is starting. But I hope everyone there has a nice time, or whatever.

The Sunday Evening Post

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i-278_eb_exit_030_15.jpgHey, it's your AL East Gloat Post. The Red Sox and Yanks won by a combined score of 20-0 today. How does this east coast bias taste? Does it taste delicious? I think it's wholly satisfying.

We'll have an entire recap of the weekend in interleague for you tomorrow. Tonight on ESPN it's the Braves at Angels. Jorge Campillo takes on Joe Saunders as Atlanta tries to open the broom closet. Please leave your guesses in the comments for which record Jon Miller is contractually obligated to promote.

Weekend Questions

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hittheballduck.jpg Hey kids, when the shit hits the fan, you need to stop aiming your ass at the fan while shitting.


Enjoy some baseball, some basketball and especially some golf this weekend. Rob will pop his head in tomorrow and I'll be around Sunday. Good work this week, kids.

Babe Ruth, "Home Run On The Keys"- 1937

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This is unquestionably my favorite Classic Tv Friday yet. In this short film we get to see The Babe flex his acting muscles and frankly, he's not half bad. Unfortunately the film is so goddamned strange it's no wonder I had never seen it.

To sum up the plot, Babe is on a hunting trip with some buddies. He comes back to the lodge smoking a pipe. It obviously contains peyote because he goes on a vision quest where he relives past glories that appear in the fireplace. His buddy then plays piano.

Quick cut to a radio studio with three androgynous Hawaiian children singing before Babe comes in and does... something. I'm still confused.

Enjoy!

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGSummer is here and baseball's biggest sissies can't take the heat. I'd tell them to get out of the kitchen but they're already gone, sitting on their couch eating bonbons and watching Judge Mathis. He's got soul!

  • Tom Glavine, Braves: Tom Glavine is going back to his favorite chair on the disabled list. The octogenarian corner painter has a strained left elbow. According to that CBC article Glavine is "stylish." What the hell is wrong with you Canadians? Everyone on the Braves wears the same thing. It's called a uniform. But I digress. Who'd have thought having Smoltz and Glavine in your rotation 2008 may not be the best idea?

  • Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: Looks like we got ourselves another two-timer. Fonzie makes his second trip to the Island of Misfit toys with a broken left hand. He drilled a pitch but unfortunately used his wrist. He could be out for up to 6 weeks.

  • Josh Barfield, Victor Martinez, Indians: Welcome back to the big leagues, Josh. Here's a sprained finger for you. He injured himself checking his swing which is a pretty accurate metaphor for the frustrating couple of years poor Barfield has had. Meanwhile Martinez's right elbow is inflamed and he's heading to the Deel. That's what you get for stirring that 5 alarm chili with your bare arm, Vic.

  • Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: Bert has a strained left calf that landed him on the Deel and he's expected to miss at least 3 weeks. This is terrible news for the Cardinals because they are just waiting to suck and this could be the tipping point. Well, that or their ace, Wainwright, going down with a sprained middle finger. If you had "sprained finger" in this week's Creampuff pool, please bring your ticket up to the stage. You're a winner!

Tonight's Questions

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piggie.jpg Hey kids, what the hell was that noise?


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers, same WoW time. Same WoW channel.

The Eric Patterson Watch

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littlebrosshirt_LG.jpgAlfonso Soriano's untimely injury led the cubs to call up two outfielders from AAA Iowa but only one get s heaping spoonful of WoW love. You may recognize the last name:

Eric Patterson.

Yes, Eric the younger brother of Corey, started for the Cubs today. As of press time in the bottom of the 7th inning he was 1-3 and had grounded into one double play. He's hitting leadoff just like his big brother!

Viva El Pattersones!

Constantly Risking Absurdity: Today's Afternoon Games

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busy-day.jpgJesus, there are 8 games today.

  • 12:35, Nats at Pirates: Hey the Pirates are only two games below .500! The rubber match of the series pits Jason Bergmann against Tom Gorzelanny. Washington has lost 9 of 11, the Bucs have won 4 of 5.

  • 1:05, White Sox at Tigers: To the broom closet! It's Mark Buerhle vs. Kenny "Ham Fists Up My Ass" Rogers. Detroit hasn't had a 3 game winning streak since 5/20-5/22 and hasn't swept the White Sox since '03. Hamfists has been on a tear lately with a 1.29 ERA in his last 3 starts.

  • 1:10, Snakes at Mets: Johan Santana and Dan Haren face off for the second time in a month in the rubber tree of this 3 game jungle. After last night's loss the Snakes are now 7-15 in their last 22. Everyone knows the most accurate barometer of a team's performance is their last 22 games.

  • 2:05, Brewers at Astros: More rubber. The Crew had 5 funny bones last night, and today it's up to Brian Moehler to keep them in the yard. Coincidentally, Rob has a dentist appointment today. Ben Sheets goes for Millie-wah-kay.

  • 2:10, Rangers at Royals: Texas goes for the sweep in a series that's turned into a bigger tearjerker than Dead Man Walking. Eric Hurley takes on Brian Bannister, neither of whom have the moral toughness to quit heroin.

  • 2:20, Braves at Cubs: I'm starting to think the Braves aren't cut out for this 2008 NL Race. They're in position to get swept by the Cubs. They'll send out their ace Tim Hudson to try and counter Carlos Zambrano and his sick stuff. Zambrano looks to bounce back from his worst start of the season, and the team as a whole looks to bounce back from Fonzy Soriano's 'sploded hand.

  • 3:05, Giants at Rockies: The Yahoo! preview calls this Rockies squad "resurgent." I don't think sweeping this Giants team at home is that surgetastic, but I'm sure John McCain would disagree. Jonathan Sanchez takes on Greg Reynolds. Good seats still available.

  • 3:35, Dodgers at Padres: Hideki Kuroda was filthy in his last start, and I'm not talking about the schoolgirl panties in his back pocket. He'll try and keep the magic going today against Jake Peavy in the rubber match of the series. The Dodgers sit just 3 1/2 back from the Snakes in the NL West.

Some Jerk Made Milton Bradley Sad

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601bradleyorange.jpgThis story has kind of caught fire with the national media this morning and I'm feeling a little strongly about it. Milton Bradley was in the clubhouse last night and heard the Royals announcer, Ryan Lefebvre making some unkind remarks about him. Bradley didn't take it well.

Bradley left the clubhouse after the game and reached the press box but never talked to Lefebvre. General manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington chased after Bradley, and Daniels escorted him back to the clubhouse.

Bradley then walked around with tears welling up and his voice breaking as he spoke.

"All I want to do is play baseball and make a better life for my kid than I had, that's it," Bradley said to a quiet clubhouse. "I love all you guys. ... I'm strong, but I'm not that strong."

Many players tried to console Bradley, who had his head down at his locker.

Bradley has never been a guy that keeps his emotions in check, sometimes to famously damaging degrees. I think he's pretty lucky that Daniels kept him from getting to the booth. I haven't been able to find any transcripts of what Lefebvre said, but this is him defending himself and his conversation.

Lefebvre said the comments were intended to praise Josh Hamilton, who missed nearly four years of professional baseball with cocaine and alcohol additions, rather than tear down Bradley.

"It was a conversation about how Josh Hamilton has turned his life around and has been accountable for his mistakes," Lefebvre told The Associated Press. "Right now, it seems like the baseball world and fans are rooting for him. ... It doesn't seem like Milton Bradley has done the same thing in his life."

Well then explain to me what exactly Milton Bradley has to do with Josh Hamilton's rehab? If you're not trying to bring down Bradley, please explain to me the negative correlation he has to a recovering heroin addict. Yeah, I can't possibly see how he'd take that the wrong way.

Excuse me if you will, for pulling The Card but Lefebvre, you should have just come out and said, "From my esteemed position as the announcer for one of the worst teams in sports I'd just like to say, whites > blacks." You sir are my idiot of the day.

Tonight's Contest: Who Wants A $50 Gift Certificate??

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statefarm.gifThe actuaries and adjusters at State Farm sent us an email about their "Call Your Shot" game taking place during this year's Home Run Derby. The promotion sounds neat, you can win all kinds of stuff. More importantly just for promoting the game they're giving us a $50 gift certificate to MLB.com, and Rob and I wanna pass that swag on to you, the loyal and informed WoWie.

First off. Their contest:

Fans can enter the Call Your Shot promotion daily through June 24 at www.sfCallYourShot.com/2008. The grand prize winner of Call Your Shot will win:

  • All-expense paid trip for four to the All-Star Game and State Farm Home Run Derby
  • First class hotel accommodations in New York
  • Tickets to a Broadway show
  • $1,000 MasterCard gift card

The grand prize winner will also get the chance to pick a spot to which two of the Home Run Derby players must compete to try to hit a ball. If the first player hits the ball to the called spot, the promotion ends. If either player succeeds, the fan receives a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid vehicle and a 2009 season-ticket package for any team.
Additionally, 10 fans will win first place prizes consisting of a $300 MLB.com gift card and 25 second place prize winners will receive $100 MLB.com gift cards.

So yeah, go here and try and win that stuff.

Now for OUR contest. Pick the 3 players you think will hit the most home runs between now and the All-Star Game on July 15. It can be any combination of players from either league. You have until 7 PM EST tomorrow . If there's a tie it will be broken by total RBI and if the same trio is chosen by more than one person, the winner will be determined by who sent their pick in first. We'll give the winner this $50 MLB.com gift certificate. Pretty sweet.

Send your picks to our intern, Darren here. And remember, all entries need to be in tomorrow by 7PM. Good luck, kids.

Enjoy your evening and we'll see you back here tomorrow. Pick wisely.

Au Lecteur: Today's Afternoon Games

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liveglog.jpg
  • 12:37, Mariners at Blue Jays: Loyal readers of "Today's Afternoon Games" and "Tonight's Questions" know I'm a sucker for a good pitching matchup. Today we've got two great ones. In the first, Felix Hernandez takes on Shaun Marcum. Lee Elia has done a tremendous job with the M's since taking over as hitting coach. Last night they scored 1 run on 5 hits! I predict Marcum pitches a no hitter today. Rob says if this happens he will "eat his own shit." Let's root for it, kids.

  • 3:35, Rays at Angels: Scott Kazmir takes on John Lackey in our second afternoon duel. This one will be glogged (for at least 4 innings) by the harbinger of hardball hilarity, Rob Iracane. The Angels bounced back to take the second game of the serieslast night, winning 6-1. You know what that means. This game is wearing a rubber!

Cuban Player Recall: He's Defective!

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cuba.jpgOne of Cuban baseball's most popular and promising stars isn't Cuban baseball's anymore. 19 year old Dayán Viciedo took a boat to Mexico on May 20. After spending several hours giggling uncontrollably at some jumping beans he crossed the border to the US and reunited with some friends and family. Now he's looking to break into the bigs.

"He has arrived with youth, he is very versatile and his conditioning is exceptional. We will soon see him wearing the uniform of a major league team.''

Torres added that Viciedo reminds him of Boston Red Sox star Manny Ramirez.

Standing 6-2 and weighing 202 pounds, Viciedo is known as a powerful batter and a versatile defender, capable of playing shortstop, third base and outfield, and he even can pitch. His fastball has been clocked at more than 90 mph, but he said his pitching days are over.

Since age 9, he has played for Cuban national teams in all categories, and at 15 he started playing in the Cuban national championship. He is the first Cuban to play for three national teams at the same time -- 15-16 year-olds, juveniles and majors.

He projects as a 3B in the majors. He says his idol is Alex Rodriguez. Well he's in luck because the New York Post says the Yankees want him. That would be the greatest, latinest, most expensive platoon situation in history!

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpg Hey kids, when you're done listening to "Evil Urges", tune in to find out:

  • ARE the White Sox going to get homesick, or keep the good times rolling on the road?

  • DOES it seem like the best series are always in the NL East? Phils/Marlins is the one that interests me now.

  • CAN the Angels bounce back from the last night's absolute shelacking against the Rays?

  • Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

The College World Series Is Here! /High Fives Self

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omahastar.JPGThe Regionals were good and the Super Regionals were super, but now it's time for the dance. Hike up your stirrups and make enough room in your shitty car for that keg... we're going to Omaha! Below, your opening matchups.

  • Fresno State vs. Rice: Fresno State is as close to a Cinderella as we have this year. They entered the postseason unranked and had to win two elimination games vs. #3 ASU in the super regionals. They're not even the most popular FSU in the Series. Rice has the best overall bullpen in the series and won this thing in 2003.

  • Miami vs. Georgia: Miami has been the #1 team in the country almost wire to wire. While talent is certainly on their side, history may not be. Since the field expanded to 64 teams, only one #1 seed has won it all... the 1999 Miami Hurricanes. Georgia is lead by first round draft pick, SS Gordon Beckham. They're capable of scoring runs in bunches, and also have the country's best closer, Josh Fields.

  • LSU vs. UNC: LSU had won 23 straight games before dropping one Super Regional tilt to UC-Irvine and are as hot as any team in the country. They're led by OF Blake Dean and shutdown releiver Louis Coleman. If things don't work out for Coleman he can always be a 1950s bebop musician. UNC had the easiest time in Super Regional. They swept Coastal Carolina by a combined 26-4. This is their third straight trip to Omaha having lost in the finals the past two seasons. They are not coached by Jim Kelly.

  • The Seminoles of Florida State University vs. Stanford: I HATE NERDS, GO NOLES.

Who ya got?

Nick Swisher Wears Hand Me Downs

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pants.jpgNick Swisher credits two things for his recent hitting renaissance:

1. The help of hitting coach Greg Walker

B. Toby Hall's pants.

Swisher was batting .201 after the Sox lost their third straight at Tampa Bay on June 1. After going 11-for-26 on the homestand, Swisher has upped his average to .228.

"I couldn't be happier,'' Swisher said. "You have to take the good times with the bad.''

Swisher also credited Toby Hall for his recent tear. He's been wearing the backup catcher's pants.

"They're coming with me to Detroit,'' Swisher said.

How does that conversation go? Hey man, I'm not hitting can I wear your pants? Yeah sure no worries, I'm just a backup catcher I dont use them anyway. Just don't take my sweatpants.

Ozzie Guillen thinks they're both fags.

Tonight's Questions

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jobanips.jpgHey kids, do not press the red button.

  • HOW will I ever unsee this picture of Joba's nipple rings?

  • WHICH very early Cy Young candidate turns in the better performance? Cliff Lee or Edinson Volquez?

  • WHAT should I have for dinner?

  • Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Or at least the answer to the second one. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Sidney Ponson Comeback Trail Leads Directly Off Cliff

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sidney-ponson.jpgRemember a couple weeks back when I told that crowd pleasing yarn about Sidney Ponson's renaissance in a Rangers uni? Yeah well... that's over now. Evan Grant had a stellar article this weekend, reporting that the Rangers released the tubby misanthrope for being a tubby misanthrope.

"He had disrespectful and adverse reactions to situations that were unbecoming of a teammate," (GM Jon) Daniels said. "We want guys who want to be here. We're trying to put together a team here, and based on some comments and reactions, he didn't want to be part of that. That's not something we're going to tolerate."

This is coming from an organization that employs Milton Bradley. Ponson had been one of Texas's most reliable hurlers so it's not surprising that sources described the rift between management and Ponson as being rather extreme. Was this his last chance? You'd have to be one hell of a gambler to roll the dice on a guy that can't keep it together now matter how well he's playing.

Identification In Belfast: Today's Afternoon Games

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groundhog-pirate2.jpg
  • 12:35, Diamondbacks at Pirates: Pirate Snake! Randy Johnson brings his gangly ass to Steeltown to take on Zach "David" Duke in the final matchup of this 4 game series. 'Zona took the first two, and the Pirates countered with a 6-4 victory yesterday. Johnson has a career 2.21 ERA against the Pirates, but to be fair, mine is even lower.

  • 1:05, Royals at Yankees: Those Yankees have started taking their Geritol and look better than they have all season. Damon, Giambi and A-Rod are all hitting, and Mike Mussina is having a throwback season. The junkballing old coot gets the start today against Luke Hochevar, a man whose name I was horribly mispronouncing in my head for most of the season.

  • 2:05 Twins at White Sox: The Pale Hose are reaching into the broom closet for the long handled four game sweep. They've scored 33 runs in the first three games and itching to put another serious beatdown on Glen Perkins. Glen Perkins sounds like the name of a mortgage guy or a member of The Grass Roots. John Danks gets the start for Chicago.

Smilla Preempts Thrilla

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Smilla's+Sense+of+Snow.bmp.jpgLos Angeles's KCOP made a rather large mistake during yesterday's broadcast. You could even call it a snafu. Namely they cut away before Mark Ellis's walkoff king dong to show a movie called SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW.

At 5 p.m., just before the final pitch, Channel 13 went to a color bar, a black screen with a KCOP logo, a commercial, and then to the movie, which TV Guide described as a "thriller about a half-Inuit scientist (Julia Ormond) who becomes obsessed with the suspicious death of an Eskimo boy in Copenhagen."

In all fairness, this is THE definitive film about half-eskimo scientists with snowsense, but I'm sure there were some angry baseball fans in the greater OC. Smilla's next case should be to investigate how Chone Figgins got to the major leagues when he's constructed of cotton candy and glass.
christmas_story.jpgJake Westbrook's doctor slid his x-rays through a machine yesterday and a red light started flashing while a robot voice said "Arooogah. Tommy John Surgery. Aroogah." Dr. Lewis Yocum will be performing the surgery.

In other news Kevin Kennedy continues to be one of the most underrated morons on TV. When asked whether the Tigers would miss Jeremy Bonderman (also out) more than the Indians would miss Westbrook, I'm almost positive Kennedy said no because Westbrook is "dominant." The only reason I'm not 100% sure is because my brain cannot accept that someone who gets paid to watch and analyze baseball would say that.

Seeing stuff like that makes you miss the good guys even more. Rest in peace, Jim.

The Saturday Morning Post

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SOME OF TODAY:

Just like I predicted the Royals took the first game of their series in the Bronx. Bannister vs. Pettitte is your first game of the day... Carlos Zambrano looks to get the Cubs to bounce back against the Dodgers... Junior goes for 600 against the Marlins one night after his Reds trounced the Fish... The Phillies and Marlins provided enough drama even for your Mama last night at the Ted. Kyle Kendrick tries to keep the good times rolling for Philly against Jo-Jo Reyes... Miguel Batista takes on Tim Wakefield in what is easily the most excruciating pitcher matchup of the day... Guthrie takes on Burnett in Toronto in the day's best... The Astros and Cardinals slug it out with Adam Wainwright facing WoW favorite, Shawn Chacon... Angels look to extend their 6 game winning streak. It's Jon Garland against Greg Smith...This is happening. Stupid Seminoles, why do you torment me, so?

Did I miss something important to you? You got some other cool shit I don't know about? Let me have it below.

Weekend Questions

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graham-passed-out-1.jpgHey kids, kick back relax and start sending those resumes to Deadspin. The weekend is here!


Should be a good weekend of baseball, music and sweating my ass off. Rob and I will be checking in periodically, so we'll see you around. Let's go, Griffey!

Richie Ashburn Gets A Rubdown- 1950

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Don't even pretend like you're not turned on. And shave that stubble off your face you bum. It's the Classic TV Post and you look like hell.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPG There was a time when I was so broken hearted. Love wasn't much of a friend of mine. The tables have turned, because me and those ways have parted. That kind of love was the killing kind. The word out on the street is that these pansies are on the disabled list.

  • David Ortiz, Red Sox: It appears that Ortiz will not need surgery on his wrist, which should help to quiet some Red Sox fans that were squealing like hysterical women. He just needs rest and immobilization. He should go talk to Schilling about that.

  • John Smoltz, Braves: Smoltz came back for one game then his shoulder caught on fire or something. He's now submitting to season, not career, ending surgery. It will be a sad day when Smoltzy hangs em up but I know he won't leave our lives completely. For some reason I have a totally unfounded hunch that he could be a really good host of "This Old House."

  • Jake Westbrook, Indians: Jakey caught the elbow soreness. I believe it was commenter Chief Wahoo who once asked "CTC, why do you hate Jake Westbrook so much?" I guess it's a combination of 3 things.

    A. He sucks at pitching.
    2. He's always hurt now.
    III. He makes a ton of money.

    Only once in his career has he posted an ERA under four.

  • Vlad Guerrero, Scot Shields, Angels: These ones may turn out to be nothing but this article sounded so mysterious: "Angels' Vladimir Guerrero, Scot Shields to undergo medical tests" It's reminiscent of ekg meters and petri dishes. Vlad is having right knee problems and Shields has something rattling around in his rib cage. According to the Orange County Register, "it wouldn't be surprising if "one or the other" lands on the disabled list." But they also said sitting traffic makes you better looking.

  • Carlos Pena, Rays: Pena hit the DL with a fractured left index finger. Since he's a lefty this probably means he won't be able to do a certain something with his dominant hand. If you do that certain something with your offhand it feels like a strange old man is doing it. At least that's what I heard on a Henry Rollins spoken word CD once. Also, Pena would have been useless in last night's brawl

  • Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: After playing all 162 games last year, Zimmerman is landing on the DEEL after tearing his left labrum on a slide into second base. Zimmerman took the injury as an opportunity to talk about how much he loves the game. "I want to play here for a long time, and there's no reason to go out and do something to make it worse." By "here" he must have meant "earth" because no one can like playing for the Nats.

Your Obligatory Brawl Video

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It's MLB Fight Week, '08 and last night in Boston things got taken up a notch. Coco Crisp and James Shields threw wildly inaccurate haymakers at each other before benches cleared and Coco was gang beaten next to the mound. The only thing missing was a pillow case filled with bars of soap. Watch it before it gets taken down by the Baseball Fun Police!



Emotions and PEDs were still running high later in the game when Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis got all up in each others meat scented grills. Video of that one here. I swear to god, if you so much as look at me in the comments I'm going to kick your ass.

Umpire Face Beaning Update: The Consequences Of Folly

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folly.jpgThe plot has thickened in this umpire face beaning incident. Yesterday we told you about the fines levied on Stephens County High School. But, now you know this story has taken on national significance because some moron is using the opportunity to be self-righteous and garner publicity! From the AJC:

Matt Hill, the Stephens County High School catcher accused of intentionally letting a pitch hit an umpire last week, won't be playing baseball at Gordon College as a result.

Gordon baseball coach Travis McClanahan said today he spoke with Hill on Wednesday and withdrew an invitation for Hill to be walk on with the team next season.

Way to lay down the law there, Travis! It takes a lot of cajones to stand up and not let a kid tryout for the team. It's not like you're pulling a scholarship away from a highly recruited player or anything, but I'm sure you'd muster the same righteous indignation. We're not supporting what Hill did, but this public declaration of piety from Gordon College just reeks.

And here's another interesting quote from the article that got your WoW editors thinking a bit (emphasis ours):

Friend said he talked with McClanahan and Gordon College president Lawrence Weill in hopes of changing their minds.

"The incident is so totally out of character for this kid, but the penalty has taken away his chance to play baseball for the college of his choice," Friend said. "It bothers the family that this one pitch has taken on a life of itself and overshadowed other aspects of people's lives and that family unit. I don't think anyone ever imagined that this was going to get on MSNBC and have 82,000 hits on YouTube.I know that the family is very low-key, humble group of people, and it's been very hard on them."

We'd be remiss not bringing up the fact that we were the first to post this video to YouTube, and the first blog to run with the story after reading the blurb about the incident in the AJC. It struck us as odd, noteworthy and more than a little funny. Yes, I'm sure the family is a little shocked that it's spread the way it did, we are too. But, Hill family? Your son ducked so an umpire could get drilled in the face with a fastball. Sorry for not being able to muster up any more sympathy than we already have.
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  • 1:05, Blue Jays at Yankees: The rubber match meets the road in the Bronx. The Yankees take out their Wang while Toronto shows you it's... McGowan. My prediction for the game: After twenty painful minutes of draft coverage Rob begins kicking himself for not glogging this instead.

  • 1:05 Reds at Phillies: Junior is in the lineup today! Will he deposit a Cole Hamels pitch into the seats for 600th? He's 0-2 against him in his career. Homer Bailey makes his 2008 Majors debut for the Dustys. I expect him to throw 310 pitches. Last season in his only start against the Phillies he gave up 6 runs in an inning and two-thirds. Baseball is a game of matchups people. So is sexual intercourse.

  • 1:10 Orioles at Twins: More rubber. Everyone's all atwitter that Joe Mauer has HRs in two consecutive games. Garret Olson's not gonna give a crap. Bet your lunch money on it. Scott Baker and his 48 MPH fastball gets the start for the Twinkies.

  • 1:10 Cards at Nats: Todd Wellemeyer was named NL pitcher of the month for May. Since we have our own awards here we don't recognize it, but good for him anyway I guess. He takes the hill today against Washington's John Lannan. This is the first game of a day/night twin bill and Tony LaRussa says Albert Pujols will be sitting out both games with tightness in his calf. No word if he'll be spending the day in his Dominican Igloo.
By now I'm sure you've heard/seen John McLaren's sweary press conference from last night, but if not... well here you go:



Ooh, firey! Instead of swearing, McLaren should be thanking Vishnu he still has/ever got a managing gig. Yes this team had some weaknesses that some people may have overlooked, but they've sunk below anyone's most dire expectations. Geoff Baker is in rare form this morning. This is from his newest Staind titled, 25,000 word blog entry, "No One Immune":

The scary part of what McLaren said is that he was bang-on. Yes, scary. Not scary for me. Nor for the players, really, since they have yet to suffer any serious reprecussions for what's gone on other than losing some refreshments and towels post-game.

No, when I say scary, I'm talking about all of you. You should be very afraid for your team. And not just for this year. We're talking next season as well. I touched on this theme a few weeks back. About how management needed to gauge this club to see what the biggest problem was. A few weeks ago, I was convinced this was just a one-year happening. A convergence of events -- a Perfect Storm if you will -- that had contributed to send this $117 million luxury cruise liner to the bottom of the ocean. Add a few good hitters, I figured, and you could clean the mess up by next season and take another shot at contending.

Now, I'm not so sure. And judging by the actions -- or lack of action other than yelling and screaming -- by the team's ownership and management, I don't think they are too sure either. The Mariners seem to be an organization paralyzed by indecision. I feel for them. Because right now, if it was my finger on the button, I honestly could not say whether it's best to do that "two or three big bats" move or blow the whole thing up.
Apparently GM Bill Bavasi ordered all players to stand next to their lockers and discuss last night's loss. Baker had talked about how Felix Hernandez and others had made a habit of hiding out from the media until they left instead of answering tough questions. So in essence, THE MARINERS' SEASON HAS GOTTEN SO BAD THEY ARE NOW GROUNDED.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Golden

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Here's what happened in baseball while people told me that bars are dark and lonely.

Marlins 6, Braves 4: I'm just going to put it out there. The Braves may have a problem in the bullpen. Going into the 9th leading the Fish 4-2, they brought in Manny Acosta and it Acostem the win. He gave up not one, but TWO 2 run funny bones. Mike Rabelo had the tying one, Hanley Ramirez had the go ahead. Bobby Cox said, "You're not going to hold them all the time." Or um... even most of the time.

Brewers 10, Diamondbacks 1: Schweeeep. My main man Manny Parra had a career high eight strikeouts in 7 innings and retired the final 14 batters he faced. Corey Hart had an inside the park, 3 run , cheddar filled tater tot. Now if only the Dodgers could take advantage.

Rockies 2, Dodgers 1: Sheesh. Clayton Kershaw turned in the best performace of his young career, strking out 5 and allowing 2 runs, but Aaron Cook was even better. The Dodgers' offense is flightier than your ex. Jeff Baker drove in both runs for the Rockies. Roxaholism is a disease!

Red Sox 5, Devil Rays 1: Josh Beckett struck out 5 and walked none giving up one run in 6 innings. Florida State Seminole J.D. Drew moved up to third in the order and delivered an RBI double and scored 2 runs. The Sox took first place back from those little rascals.

Reds 2, Phillies 0: Edinson Volquez is really damned good. Joey Votto broke up Brett Myers's no hit bid in the 7th but Ol' Punchy was clearly the second best pitcher in this game. Because Edinson Volquez is really really damned good.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, are you gonna finish that sandwich?


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Umpire Face Beaning Update

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Hick.jpgFrom the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

The Georgia High School Association fined Stephens County $1,000 and placed the athletics program on "severe warning status" Wednesday for an incident that happened in Saturday's Class AAA state championship baseball game.

So the GHSA got to the bottom of it and found the rumors and video evidence damning enough. Ethan Martin strikes out and bitches at the ump. His brother is on the mound in the next inning and conspires with the catcher to drill ump in face. No longer "allegedly" I guess. Ethan Martin was recently named the Georgia High School Player Of The Year which puts him high in the mix nationally. He'll probably forget all about this by the time he gets drafted tomorrow. Justice is served! One last quote from Stephens County Principal David Friend:

"If there's one player I felt bad about, it's our kid [the catcher, Hill] being judged by one pitch because he's really done so much good in the way he's represented his team and school in the classroom,'' Friend said. "I feel bad for his family. This has been devastating for them."

Waaaaaaaaaaah.

HEAD ASPLODE

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Dhalsim.jpgI'm trying to be rational about this. I'm trying not to freak out at my desk because there's no logical way to explain my excitement at this to co-workers without being fired.

There is a new website for our favorite Indian baseball talent search, The Million Dollar Arm. But if you're in the office, make sure you turn the speakers down a little. BECAUSE THERE'S AN ORIGINAL MILLION DOLLAR ARM RAP SONG BLARING FROM THE FRONT PAGE.

It's been a long time comin'
Make somethin' out of nothin'
Sound the alarm!
It's The Million Dollar Arm!
Damned straight it is. The treasure chest of awesomeness doesn't stop here. There are blog entries from our heroes, Rinku and Dinesh. I won't republish the entries here for fear that it would look like I'm making fun of their attempt to learn the language, but let's just say these things are not being ghostwritten. They are a must read.

What's that? You want more? Well then immerse yourself visually in the world of The Millon Dollar Arm, with this series of videos. It chronicles the journey from the contest in Dehli, to the beaches of California where they are heckled by a cameraman. Uplifting stuff! It's safe to say I'll be exploring the site for the rest of the day, but for now I'll leave you with these two videos. (I unembedded the videos because they play automatically.)

Sadly, I can't find anything about Rinku's dad's truck.

Age In Prospect: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 1:05, Marlins at Braves: The Braves are Smoltzless for the rest of the year. Sniffle. But don't despair you lovers of 1993, Glavine is on the hill today! The Bravos are coming off the rare (for them) one run win, and face Mark Hendrickson he of the 7-3 record, 5.26 ERA and living example of why you shouldn't gauge a pitcher on his W-L record. Marlins have (not) taken the first two games of the four game series.

  • 2:05, Diamondbacks at Brewers: Milwaukee is reaching for the Brewm Closet! Get it? Me either. Anyway, it's Micah "Stained" Owings against Manny Parra and if the Brew Crew takes it you can count on them to be referred to as "surging" and the Snakes to be called "floundering." It's the Battle for Adjectives, this afternoon at Miller Park!

  • 3:10, Rockies at Dodgers: One day after the Rumble In The Ravine, the Christians will again feed themselves to the lions. It's the rubber match of the series and the Dodgers just can't seem to get any traction during the Snakes' recent fall back to earth. Like ee cummings they just can't capitalize. Aaron Cook takes on Young Clayton Kershaw.

  • 3:35, Tigers at A's: In another series closer, Detroit looks to avoid being swept by the Bay Area Farthammers. Nate Robertson and his shop glasses take the hill against the emergent Justin Duchscherer. The Tigers would slip to eleven games below .500 with a loss today. That is downright putrid. The A's try and stay and 3 games back of the Angels while they feast on Seattle.

  • 3:45, Mets at Giants: Hey Plain Jane, it's Maine vs. Cain. Did you flush my cocaine down the drain, as the cops maintain? Prepare for pain. Rubber match!

No liveglog today as Rob will be out of the WoW office attending to personal matters. Feel free to pass the time by reading this article I just wrote for my friend 'Duk over at Big League Stew.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids bring me my slippers then tune in to find out:

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Super Regionals: Good Baseball, Lousy Superhero Name

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omaha.jpgBack by popular demand* it's my look at the College Baseball Playoffs. Our original 64 team field has been whittled to 16. 8 different sites host these best of 3 series over the upcoming weekend.

Heeere are your matchups (national seeding in parentheses):

  • Arizona vs. (1)Miami: 6/7-6/9, Coral Gables, FL

  • Coastal Carolina vs. (2)UNC: 6/7-6/9, Cary, NC

  • Fresno St. vs. (3)Arizona St.: 6/7-6/9, Tempe, AZ

  • Wichita St. vs. (4)The Seminoles of Florida State University: 6/6-6/8, Picturesque Tallahassee, FL, former home of Camp Tiger Claw

  • Stanford vs. (5)Cal State Fullerton: 6/6-6/8, Fullerton CA

  • Texas A&M vs. (6)Rice: 6/7-6/9, Houston, TX

  • UC Irvine vs. (7)LSU: 6/7-6/9, Baton Rouge, LA

  • NC State vs. (8)Georgia: 6/6-6/8, Athens, GA


Who ya got?

*no one requested this or as far as I can tell even read the last one

Young Fat Guy And Old Skinny Guy Will Pitch Tonight

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oldguyyoungguy.jpgIt's a big night for some of the gooniest fans in baseball as both Big Apple squads get a couple of high profile starts. In the Bronx, Joba Chamberlain makes his highly anticipated first start against Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays. Out in San Francisco, Pedro Martinez makes his first start for the Mets since coming off the DL. He faces Barry Zito.

Yankee fans have been waiting for Thickburger to make his first start for over a year now. After going through a similar experience for the first couple seasons of Jon Papelbon's career, I was skeptical that Joba would ever make it out of the bullpen. Being the only one of the "young guns" to keep all of his limbs attached has gone a long way towards making that happen. And no matter what the fans may want out of tonight, at least expectations around the organization are staying reasonable. Right, Peter Abraham??

"It's the first start in what could be a 15-year career," (Hank Steinbrenner) told the AP. "With him, we're all looking not just for the rest of this year, we're looking even right now a few years ahead already. That's what counts to us. Hopefully he does well. Again, I would have preferred to start the year with him as a starter, but this is the way they have come up with. Hopefully it works and he has no problem with the transition."
Fantastic! Good to see there's no pressure on the kid. And hey, Iracane's gonna be there, so uh... that's something.

While the sun rises on Chamberlain's career, the Mets wonder how many more hours of daylight are left in Pedro's. He's been on the DL for two months with a hamstring injury and with his father's health failing has talked about retiring at season's end. There aren't many athletes whose words I take at face value, especially about retirement, but Pedro is one of them. He's always been thoughtful enough that I think if he said it, it's a real possibility. He'll be taking the mound tonight against Barry "Eeyore" Zito. Henry Schulman points out that they've never faced one another, so uh... that's something.

No matter what kind of tri-state barbarian you are, tonight will be an important one for your team. Whether it's about the ridiculously long term speculative future or the more immediate one, Joba and Pedro take their first steps towards the horizon.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, when you're done eating buttermilk solids, tune in to find out:

  • CAN Rich Harden stay healthy and dominant for a fourth consecutive outing when he takes on the Tigers?

  • HAVE you been paying attention to Carlos Zambrano's breakout year? Check him out tonight against San Diego.

  • WILL the O's salvage tonight's game and keep Boston's brooms in the closet?

  • WHY do they call it Ovaltine? The jar is round and the mug is round.

  • IF the Mets stay hot against the lackluster Giants, how stupid are the Fire Willie people going to feel?

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Incoming: Conspiracy To Drill High School Ump In Face?

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Matt T sends along an odd story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In this past weekend's Class AAA State Baseball Championship, the home plate ump took a pitch to the mug after a catcher ducked. The whole affair looked so suspicious that it actually prompted an apology.

"It looks bad, and most people who look at it come away with that conclusion," (Stephens County principal) Friend said. "But there have been whacky (sic) things that have happened in baseball and high schools, and all I'm going to conclude is that it does need to be investigated. If we're found to be at fault, we'll effectively deal with the situation."

Friend said he had interviewed his baseball coaches today and concluded they were not to blame. Friend said he had not finished talking to the players.
The article provides nothing in the way of a possible motive, but AJC high school baseball blogger Kurt Aschermann provided video over the weekend, and we're passing on the savings to you, the reader. Watch and judge for yourself.



My thoughts are as follows: "OMFG LOLZ."
JazzHandsKitten.jpgThe usually reclusive Ozzie Guillen stepped out of character to talk to the media this weekend, and Oz dropped some real gems about the state of his team and the lack of production in the lineup.

"There's only one message I'm going to send. That's all I'm going to talk. Just be ready because I expect movement Tuesday. I expect Kenny to do something Tuesday, and if we don't do anything Tuesday, there are going to be a lot of lineup changes. That's all I'm going to say about the offense.

"It can be me. It can be [hitting coach] Greg Walker. It can be the players. It could be anybody. I'm sick and tired to watch this thing for a year and a half. I'm not protecting anybody anymore. [Bleep] it! If they can't get it done, Kenny should find someone to get it done. That's it.

"Another bad game. If we think we are going to win with the offense we have, we are full of [bleep]. I'm just being honest. I expect better from them, if they are in the lineup.''
Well jeez man, what exactly are you talking about here? New office curtains? Are you unhappy with Castrol being the official motor oil of the Chicago White Sox? You couldn't be implying that GM Ken WIlliams should make wholesale changes to a first place team that's having a little trouble hitting the ball. That would seem silly throwing a guy under the bus that's had your back throughout your entire tumultuous tenure. I hope this doesn't get back to Williams and he sees it the same way I do... oh shit. Nevermind.

Here is what White Sox general manager Ken Williams said regarding Ozzie Guillen's comments about fixing the team's offensive struggles. Williams was speaking to Sun-Times reporter Joe Cowley:

``Very interesting, very disappointing. It's never a good idea to throw your boss under the bus, especially when that boss has had his back as much as I have. I guess that lineup will be real interesting to see on Tuesday.

As if this clubhouse wasn't weird enough, Guillen has to flip out and add another layer of administrative tension. He's created a Crucible for himself by putting a spotlight firmly on his team's recent struggles, giving the organization an ultimatum and effectively requesting "more weight." He won't do it to a team four games over .500 but imagine the "movement" Williams could create by canning their drama queen coach.