Kris Liakos: August 2008 Archives

Complete Destruction: Today's Afternoon Game

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black_bear_cub2.jpg2:20, Phillies at Cubs: "Dude. How awesome is it to be out of Oakland? High five." That is me imitating Rich Harden and Country Joe Blanton as they meet before today's game. The former teammates are opposing starters today. The Cubs kept on rolling, beating the Phils 6-4 last night. 100 wins for the Cubs becomes a more likely proposition each day, and with a 6.5 game lead in the Central, we could be talking magic number before you know it. No I'm not trying jinx the Cubs. I only try to jinx the Cardinals.

Beer Lovin' Rookie Ump- 1982

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Today's classic TV post is definitely from one of my favorite genres: the classic beer commercial. Feel your spirits lifted as rookie ump gets the call to the big leagues, listen to your heart soar as he calls his wife from a desert payphone with the good news, try to keep your heart from racing during the intense game sequences, and don't hurt your jaw when it drops after the surprise ending!

But most of all don't laugh to hard at the cheesy music or your boss will get mad. Enjoy!

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGDoes it hurt when I press here? No, ok. Here? Here? Here? Ok. Now pretend you're a baseball player. Does it hurt now? STOP CRYING AND ANSWER THE QUESTION. HOW CAN I LOOK AT YOUR HANGNAIL IF YOU'RE IN THE FETAL POSITION?

  • Josh Beckett, Red Sox: The Sox ace has been scratched from tonight's start against Chicago and put on the MLB shuttle bus that goes to James Andrews' office. I'm not positive, but i think Andrews has had his name appear on this site more than anyone except Corey Patterson. The Red Sox are saying only that he has discomfort in his elbow. Times are tough all around, pal.

  • JD Drew, Red Sox: JD's lower back strain has landed him on the 15 Day. It's better news for the club than initial reports he had a herniated disc. Get well soon, silent hick warrior.

  • Howie Kendrick, Angels: Kendrick is back on the deel with the same hamstring inury that had him there earlier this season. Kid has had a truly difficult time staying healthy in his young career. As the LA Times points out in that story, wasn't the Angels' big lead supposed to prevent this sort of thing from happening? SCOOOOSCIAAAAAA GET IN HERE.

  • John Maine, Mets: Maine's sore shoulder had been nagging him for a couple weeks and the Mets put him on the DL. That Newsday column says they're "giving him a rest," perhaps trying to imply the injury is not that serious. Yeah, except that they're in one of the tightest races in baseball. I imagine the inside of his shoulder probably looks like goulash if he has to sit for two weeks.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, that's a 2 minute minor for tripping.

Thanks for hanging out with me while we were all stuck inside on a beautiful day. Join us back here tomorrow for all the answers and your familiar Friday favorites. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

The Wil Cordero Memorial Linkpunch: Thursday, August 28th

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linkpunch gorilla Sometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • American dames love Rinku and Dinesh's taste in music. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • But the boys refuse to be massaged by a woman. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Who's been the best hitting catcher in the second half? You guessed it. Kelly Shoppach. Waiting For Next Year.

  • Five more minor leaguers got busted for PEDs this week. Babes Love Baseball.

  • Craig Finn is doing an ESPN chat. Pitchfork.

  • Make these. They're delicious. I recommend fresh local mussels if you can find them. They're meatier when they're fresh and don't have to travel far. Epicurious.

This Guy's Favorite Baseball Teams

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This guy made a YouTube of his ten favorite baseball teams, set to Born To Run, with no explanation as to why. I find it strangely mesmerizing but Rob never lets me post it. WELL ROB AINT HERE TODAY.

MLB Promotes Playoffs With Giant Cultural Black Hole

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Oh, Major League Baseball. You've really got your finger on the pulse of the American zeitgeist! And by "American zeitgeist" I mean, "the TBS Wednesday night lineup." pooped out a press release this morning outlining for us, the poor trod upon viewer, their promotional juggernaut for the 2008 Playoffs. And boy is it... filled with words.

The campaign, which is the largest in Major League Baseball history, will feature FOX and TBS personalities for the first time ever including American Idol judge Randy Jackson; Jeff Foxworthy, host of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader; Frank Caliendo, star of TBS's Frank TV and FOX NFL Sunday's comedic prognosticator; Bill Engvall of The Bill Engvall Show; Timothy Hutton, star of TBS's new drama Leverage; and an animated Stewie from Family Guy.

Each celebrity is seen at a computer writing a blog entry about the excitement of October baseball in their own voice and style. Images of the celebrity are interspersed with great moments in Postseason history while the blog entry is narrated.

In one example, Caliendo comically impersonates United States President George W. Bush talking about if the Cubs are jinxed in the postseason while images of the infamous Game Six of the 2003 NLCS are shown. In another, Caliendo imitates sports broadcaster John Madden discussing the difference between the preseason and the postseason.

A blog entry! That's positively modern. Frank Caliendo? Lolarious! Who the hell advises on these things? Who is in these focus groups? As terrible as last year's Caliendo Commerical Carpet Bombings were, this promises to be worse. By combining him with Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall (who calls the playoffs "PURE ADRENALINE") they may have finally cracked the code that will allow them to make my television explode from a remote location in suburban Atlanta.

I am literally dreading these.

I Fellowed Sleep: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 1:05, Red Sox at Yankees: As we all know, the Red Sox have their hand on the broom closet handle. But for Walkoff Walk purposes, last night's 11-3 drubbing was the big one. Iracane now has to take a picture wearing a Sox hat and holding a "Yoooouuuuk" sign. I can't emphasize how happy I am that I won this bet. If he welches we're going to go to his house and hit him in the kneecaps with one of his Pinot Grigio bottles. Today's it's Jon Lester against Mike Mussina, and I have the radio at my desk at the ready!

  • 2:05, Reds at Astros: Aaron Harang drags his formerly vital shell out to the mound to take on Brandon Backe in the Juice Box. There is rubber here but I defy you to care about it.

Rotund Catcher Scores From Second On Popup To Pitcher

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You know I was trying to come up with a clever headline for this one, but I have to agree with my friend, Evan Grant. There's no clever way about it. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hustled his unwieldy catcher gams around the bases and scored from second on a botched pop up to Royals pitcher, Brian Bannister.

The Rangers scored the winning run with two outs in the seventh inning when Royals pitcher Brian Bannister dropped a soft pop-up by Joaquin Arias -- and failed to recover in time to prevent Jarrod Saltalamacchia from scoring from second base.

Note that it takes less time to say Jarrod Saltalamacchia a few dozen times than it did for him to score from second base.

"You close your glove, and it's not in there," Bannister said. "I can't remember the last time I caught a pop-up. It was a weird pop-up, too. It came right off his hands. It was like a cue ball. It hit, and it didn't stick."

"You'd rather have a guy get a hit," Bannister admitted, "than lose a game that way."

Leave it to a Kansas City Royal to be able to discern the subtle nuances in different kinds of losing. There's video of the play here. It really is impressive to watch Salty motor his ass off on the play. He must have caught some of Josh Hamilton's grit and determination. There's no way he learned that from Milton Bradley. AM I RIGHT, WHITE PEOPLE?

Whoa: More Fighty Yankee Stadium Cops

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So yesterday on Deadspin they had an interview with a guy who got roughed up by some NYPD because he wanted to pee during "God Bless America." It was a poor forum for an important discussion because a.) there are lots of dummies on Deadspin, and 2.) the guy's credibility is not 100% certain (even though it sounded legit to me). It was only a matter of time before their ridiculous "no movement" jingoism at a publicly financed stadium ran into some public criticism.

Either way, here's some video of an altercation between NYC's "finest" and a fan at last night's Yankee game. Wish I had more background info on this one. But hey... it's a fight, so that's something.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, I'm losing touch with what makes me a violent party entertainer.

And, hey. Go check out the Front Office Page. We added a picture and bio for Lloyd, AND our crack street team finally gets the recognition they deserve. Big ups to all of them.

Then join us back here tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

NH Mailman Has Dweebiest Disease In History

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Portsmouth, NH letter carrier Richard Trofatter was "fired, fined, given a suspended jail sentence, ordered to perform community service and to pay restitution to the U.S. Postal Service" after it was discovered he lifted a 1915 Christy Mathewson card right from a mail bin. The card had been purchased on Ebay and insured for $655 right before it POOF! disappeared. But don't blame Ol' Five Fingers Trofatter. You see, he has a disease:

His attorney, James Noucas, told the court his client was recently treated for "obsessive compulsive behavior surrounding baseball cards" and, according to a police report, Trofatter described himself as "borderline addicted" to collecting the cards.

A police affidavit filed with the court by Detective John Peracchi says he was contacted by a representative of the Postal Service on May 7 reporting the "mail theft" of a 1915 Cracker Jack baseball card depicting New York Giants pitcher and Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson.

The card had been graded and given a serial number before it was put in the mail by an eBay seller in Wisconsin who insured it for $655, according to court records.

When an eBay buyer in Maine reported he never received it, the Postal Service launched an investigation, discovered the card had been sold on eBay for $1,211, then traced it back to mail handler Trofatter, who was working at the 345 Heritage Ave. postal facility, according to Peracchi's affidavit.

Yes, obsessive compulsive disorder surrounding baseball cards. If he was like, 9 years old I could relate. As a child I developed Baseball Card Related Tourette's by blurting out "shit" every time I got another worthless Greg Harris or Terry Shumpert. But this guy is 31. I find his "condition" creepy and almost certainly 100% fictional.

Hello, Trofatter.


So how's that "On The Road Again: Republican Convention '08: The Final Countdown: Road Trip Of Destiny: Trip Of A Lifetime: This Time It Counts: Road Trip '08" working out for you Minnesota? Not so good, eh?

The Twins won the first two games of the trip in Anaheim, but have since gone to lose their last 4 including, two against Seattle. They're 1-4 at Safeco this year and only 4-4 overall against a team on pace for 100 losses. Every team has their bugaboo, but Seattle has had such a spectacular and public flameout, it makes it kind of embarassing.

So what's the problem Gardy? How should I pick your team's recent struggles at the worst possible time, against the worst possible team?

"You can pick it how you want to pick it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You can say we're pressing, or they're pitching good. You know what? Probably a little bit of both.

"They're throwing the ball good against us, and we're fighting it a little bit, trying to do too much. That normally happens, but you've just gotta work your way through these things.

"Hopefully [Wednesday's] a day where we'll come out relaxed a little bit and swing the bats a little better and have a better performance."

Consider it picked, you lovable old curmudgeon. Minnesota travels to Oakland tomorrow for a 4 game series against a team that is 11 games under .500. In August. If the Identicals can't pull out a few this weekend (while the White Sox are in Boston) please consider them totally unfit for playoff service.

Blackberry Eating: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:35, Cubs at Pirates: The Cubs are taking care of business and working overtime, work out. They've scored 26 runs in the first two games of this series. Can they keep it up until the playoffs start? Only time will tell. Unless we're talking about Sweet Lou's erection. You can set your watch to that thing. Jason Marquis gets the start, as he seemingly does for every single Cubs afternoon game. He'll take on Zach Duke, who is terrible.

  • 3:35, Snakes at Padres: Holy crap, the Padres have the dustpan out for this one. Yes, the division leading Snakes are on the verge of being swept by one of the ten worst offenses since expansion. Jeezum crowbar. The Dodgers are 3 out and The Roxtober Roxmagic Roxies are just 6 out. What a country!

  • 4:40, Twins at Mariners: Glen Perkins takes on Ryan Feierabend, as the M's reach for the broom closet. More on this later.

Tonight's Questions

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lobsterchild.jpgHey kids, anyone have a mint?

  • WILL the Red Sox/Yankees series garner more national pub than the more compelling Mets/Phillies tilt that also starts tonight? The answer is almost certainly yes, but if don't have a dog in either fight you should have your eyes on the latter.

  • CAN the Brewers play well enough to deal the Cardinals' playoff chances the Death Blow?

  • CAN Roy Halladay notch a win against the Rays? He's 0-4 against them so far this season. I'm going to answer my own question. Yes. I love Roy Halladay.

  • IS there room in your heart for another lobster child?

  • WILL there be any clarity in the NL West by week's end? The Dodgers play the lousy Nats, while the Snakes have the equally lousy Padres.

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

Wager Time: Rob And I Bet On The Outcome Of Sox/Yankees

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As I'm sure you're aware, tonight is very likely the beginning of the last ever Red Sox/Yankees series at this Yankee Stadium. There are enough modifiers in that sentence to not make me overly nostalgic. The rivalry won't change all that much when the Yanks move across the street, but there is a certain iconography to the Stadium that factors into most of my vivid memories of it. Mo Vaughn launching shots into the porch, Trot Nixon driving a Clemens pitch to right center in the classic Pedro/Roger duel in 2000, Wade Boggs on that stupid police horse, Aaron Boone, Jeter diving face first into the stands. You know, all that crap.

So in the spirit of making things seem more important then they actually are, Rob and I have decided to make a public wager on the series.

IF THE YANKEES WIN THE SERIES: I will have a large photograph of myself wearing a Yankees cap and holding a sign that says "Jeter Is God" posted on this site.

IF THE RED SOX WIN THE SERIES: Rob will have a large photograph of himself wearing a Red Sox cap and holding a sign that says "Yooooooouk" posted on this site.

Your pitching matchups for the series are as follows:

  • Tonight: Tim Wakefield vs. Andy Pettitte
  • Tomorrow: Paul Byrd vs. Sidney Ponson
  • Thursday: Jon Lester vs. Mike Mussina

That third one is a doozy, AND it's an afternoon game. If we're looking at a split series that afternoon, consider the objective restraint we've tried to bring to WoW officially out the window for the day. I do not want history to remember me holding that godforsaken Jeter sign.

Another Christmas Without Melky Cabrera Under Your Tree

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It has obviously not been the best 2008 for Yankees CF Melky Cabrera. To begin with he's currently Scranton/Wilkes Barre CF . His rough season landed him in Triple-A the same day that Richie Sexson was released. In perhaps the final sign that the Melky Express makes it's last stop in hell, plans for his Todd McFarlane doll are being scrapped. From the press release:

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada is moving out of our New York Yankees 3-pack and into the MLB 23 lineup, replacing Melky Cabrera. It's the third version of Posada in our Sports Picks series, but the first showcasing him in his pinstriped catcher's gear.

The New York Yankees 3-pack is becoming a 2-pack, and will feature both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in fielding positions, complete with painted pinstripes never before available on these two figures.

A 2-pack? Sounds like the Yankees rotation. Zing! Poor Melky. This is like that time they discontinued Owen Hart's action figure, but it's even worse because instead of dying he had to move to Scranton.

Also, I thought was Steve Garvey's website.

(We owe a glass bottle of Coke to Can't Stop The Bleeding.)

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, it never ends and it only gets worse.

  • WILL the Phillies complete their reciprocal dustpanning of the Dodgers?

  • ARE the Twins going to use the Mariners to try and get another sniff of first place's taint? They didn't do so hot against them last time.

  • CAN Dan Haren and Jake Peavy bring the heat in their second duel in less than a week?

  • CAN the Cubs keep the good times rolling against the Pirates? They've won 8 straight series for the first time since 1937, which somehow still counts even though the last two were against Cincinnati and Washington.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
NBL Logo (jpg).jpg

From that bastion of news and sports reporting, the New York Post's Page Six, comes this story about Yankee stars Jason Giambi and Joba Chamberlain struggling on an entirely different playing field. The Beirut table.

IT would be tough for average Joes to beat a couple of Yankees at baseball, but slamming them in a game of beer pong was no sweat. Last week, Jason Giambi and Joba Chamberlain were celebrating their win against the Kansas City Royals at Southern Hospitality, on Second Avenue, when a table of fans challenged them to a game of the college drinking sport. Our spy said, "The fans gave them a beating. Toward the end Chamberlain and Giambi got really competitive, but it wasn't enough."

Apart from the writer's insistence on calling the game by it's simplistic misnomer, everything else seems to check out. I have absolutely no problem imagining Chamberlain and Giambi grunting out various takes on "bro" while their hamfists struggle to maintain aim. Meanwhile across the table stand two SEC expats applying a thin layer of regional patina to "dude." Camera phone flashes explode as the two millionaire athletic behemoths struggle before eventually succombing to Joes Twelvepack with two straight bullseyes. The shrieks of the floozies surround the table rise as the common man emerges victorious.

In other words, it sounds like the worst goddamned thing I've ever heard. There are no winners here.


Did you kids see what that dastardly character AJ Pierzynski did now? After making a heads up move to advance on BJ Upton's center field dilly dallying, on the next play, AJ got caught in a pickle. He appeared to be a dead man running but somehow actively finagled his way into an obstruction call. He's so creative! Here's the rundown* from Joe Smith at the St. Pete Times:

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski became the center of attention in the 10th, when, after getting caught in a rundown between second and third, he tripped, fell and was tagged by Rays SS Jason Bartlett. But second base umpire Doug Eddings ruled that Rays 3B Willy Aybar interfered with Pierzynski, allowing the colorful catcher to advance to third. Pierzynski later scored on Alexei Ramirez's bases-loaded single.

Aybar said he tried to get out of Pierzynski's way, and only made contact after Pierzynski stuck his arm out. Bartlett said he heard Pierzynski yell, "Obstruction!" after he fell, and Pierzynski admitted afterward that he was thinking about trying to get an interference call.

"That was the first thing I thought of, to get somebody to get close enough to where I could touch them. People go, 'How do you think of that, that fast? Well, if you're not fast, you have to think of a lot of things to try to get you out of bad baserunning."

Vegas watch has a good shot of AJ reaching out and touching Aybar. That guy is such a card. A couple weeks ago when we were writing for Yahoo, some commenter took offense to me singling out Pierzynski when talking about a brawl. He may have had a point, but I still have two fundamental points of contention on my side. Yahoo commenters are dumb, and AJ Pierzynski is SUPER obnoxious.

*get it?

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, I'm throwing out a bunch of old books.

  • ARE the Dodgers gonna sweep the crap out of the slipping Phillies again? Maddux puts on the Dodger Blue tonight. Hope he's cured that jock itch.

  • HOW will Tampa handle it's second straight series against a division leader? They're headed to Chicago to take on the Pale Hose.

  • CAN Boston get some revenge against Toronto after last week's consecutive shellackings? Not if Paul Byrd gets smacked around again tonight.

  • WHO you got in the Marlins/Snakes tilt?

  • DOES anyone want to help me move?

  • WILL the Mets continue to stay (ugh) hot? They get this Astros series off on the best possible foot by sending Johan to the hill to counter Oswalt.

Another one in the books. Enjoy the weekend, folks. There aint much summer left. But whatever you end up doing make sure you bookend your days with the stylings of weekend editor extrordinaire, Lloyd The Barber. Man's got a way with the written word, don't he?

We'll see you all on Monday.

Come See What's Brewin'- 197?

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Today's classic TV Friday isn't as lolarious as the past few have been, but it sure is catchy. Let's groove along to this classic Brewers promo sung by what I imagine the Starlight Vocal Band would sound like if they got high sometimes. It's swingin, it's fun, it's GOT UECKER. Just don't spill any High Life on your dancing shoes.

For the complete lyrics, check out this dude's myspace blog. Very helpful.

Dream Song 108: Today's Afternoon Game

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us-vs. a bear.jpeg
  • 2:20, Nationals at Cubs: Chicago gets to spend the weekend mauling the Nationals. They need to be beating up on these weak clubs whenever they get a chance. Our astute intern Darren points out that the second place Brewers play 26% of their remaining games against the Pirates. 9 games in all, 6 at home. So if the Cubbies want to keep that comfy cushion they'd do well to treat Washington like the anemic milquetoasts that they are. John Lannan takes on Jason Marquis.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGLots to get to this week. Guys are wearing down, guys are getting drilled in the face with fastballs, and several little leaguers were found tied up in the trunk of Iracane's Monte Carlo. Tough time to a baseball player. On to the weakest!

  • Jerry Hairston, Jr., Reds: Hairston has managed to avoid much of our fair site's Reds wrath. Unfortunately he wasn't able to dodge a vengeful god and caught the hamstring blues. Now he's on the DL. And the 15 day disabled list.

  • Mitch Maier, Royals: This one was not funny. Maier got cracked in the face with a fastball and broke his nose and various other bones. There is video here for you brave souls that wanna watch it. Dude's nose was still bleeding 24 hours later.

  • Ryan Braun, Brewers: Braun has a nagging rib injury that isn't bad enough to land him on the DL, but has still kept him out of the starting lineup for the majority of the past two weeks. He doesn't think it's going to go away and says he can play through it. Which is nice and all, except he isn't, you know, playing through it. Take a DL break, buddy.

  • Billy Wagner, Mets: When Wags hit the DL this week with more pain and swelling in his elbow, some reports said he could be lost for the year. That's recently been amended to three weeks. Wagner, said he was "surprised" it would take that long. Yeah, me too. I can't believe the Mets have such patience in getting you back for the 9th inning.

  • Sean Gallagher, Justin Duchscherer, A's: The former has shoulder fatigue and the latter is having hip troubles. Both are on the deel, leading to an all lefty A's rotation. Quirky! As much flack as Beane gets for trading guys heading into their prime, he's gotta be sorry he couldn't dump Duch earlier this season. His career year is partly due to a ridiculously low BABIP, and now his hip is disintegrating like Wilford Brimley.

  • Ian Kinsler, Rangers: Kinsler is out with the dreaded sports hernia. He's feeling better after surgery but this is a notoriously tough injury to recover from. Much more so than a checkers hernia or painting hernia.

Tonight's Questions

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kurtloder.jpgHey kids, I can only see in through the keyhole.

  • WILL Minnesota's "On The Road Again: Republican Convention '08: The Final Countdown: Road Trip Of Destiny: Trip Of A Lifetime: This Time It Counts: Road Trip '08" start off on a good note in Anaheim?

  • CAN Brandon Webb and Roy Halladay keep pace with Cliff Lee for Pitcher Of The Year?

  • DO you like that award I just made up?

  • DO you have your Soundgarden records handy? Mike Hampton takes on Pedro Martinez in the first ever old timer's game that counts in the standings. Kurt Loder will be watching.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel. Good job out there today, people.

Joe Torre's Ghostwriter Is Messing With My Head

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You know I love me some It seems as if the majority of them these days are coming from the Dodgers. There's Alyssa Milano, Tommy Lasorda and the culinary journo stylings of Andre Ethier. There's also the heartbreakingly funny final entry from Andruw Jones's blog. Fun time is over, indeed. The newest entrant into this linguistic race to the bottom is none other than Dodgers skipper, Joe Torre.

It is perhaps the worst kept secret in the world that some of these are ghostwritten, but I tend to think a lot of the MLBlogs are on the up and up. Or at least dicated faithfully. But, I gotta tell you. If this is the real Joe Torre talking, consider my brain fully broke.

  • "Aside from the fact that men don't usually have diaries; even the word "diary" brings to mind a little pink book with a heart-shaped lock and a label that reads "My Secrets" in lavender bubble letters. But that's not really me, so I think a blog is a more acceptable "dude-like" version."

  • rummy.jpg
  • "I saw one of those little candy Valentine's hearts printed with "LOL" and thought it was a typo right up until I started reading about blogs and Web acronyms. I mean, WTF(udge), right? Then there are "web smileys" like ;-) and :-( which frankly make me a bit >:-P (I just made that one up). But live and learn."

  • rummy.jpg
  • "I learned about it first-hand when I found myself walking down Rodeo Drive with this little white Maltese or Pomeranian named Butch under my arm. The funniest (or saddest) part was that I didn't look one bit out of place. Hey, if that's all it takes to fit into LA, I'm in--at least the white fur will match my uniform. Maybe I can get a gray one for my away games."

  • rummy.jpg
  • "Until then, I'll just say BFN, because I have to GBTW, but I'll BCNU soon. But JFTR, I don't think I'm going to be using a lot of this Web slang. IMHO, plain old English works just fine. TYVM and TTYL."

  • headasplode.jpg

Last Night I Drove A Car: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:05, Royals at Indians: Anyone got odds on Cee Lee shutting out the Royals today? He's done it once this year and the free swinging Royals are the perfect victims for his pinpoint control. Cleveland is 17-14 since the All-Star break an... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • 2:20, Reds at Cubs: Carlos Zambrano will try and exorcise his recent hiccups against the abominable Josh Fogg and the Reds. Cincinnati has scored 2 runs in the first two games but thanks to Bronson Arroyo has managed to take a game. You don't know how much it pains me to give that goober credit. There is rubber in the ivy.

  • 3:10, Rockies at Dodgers: Dammit, Dodgers. They're facing a home sweep against the lowly Rockies. Every game that the Rockies win just delays Brian Fuentes going to a real team. Cut it out. Derek Lowe goes against Jorge De La Rosa, and if Lowe doesn't get the job done, I'm writing a post with all the freaky rumors I heard about him while he was in Boston. WIN THE DIVISION, YOU DICKS.

  • 3:45, Marlins at Giants: Florida has merely split the first two games of this series and things are going to get mighty tough if they can't put a string of wins together. They're actually further from the Wild Card (7.5) than they are from the division lead (5). Josh Johnson gets the start against Matt Palmer, unquestionably the biggest star from the 31st round of the 2002 amateur draft.

John Is Gone, But Cito Is Neato

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I was on vacation the week that the Blue Jays fired John Gibbons. It wasn't a surprise, hell even I predicted it and I haven't gotten anything else right all season. But when I received the text that they'd fired him and hired Cito Gaston, I laughed believing my leg had been pulled and went back to my underage Malaysian hooker Cobb Salad. But lo, it was not a joke. The new boss was actually the old boss.

What appeared at the time to be a bookmark interim hire has proved to be pretty successful. The Jays are 30-22 under Gaston. What would you say is the key, hirsute Toronto Star columnist Richard Griffin?

I'm not sure if, with regard to Gaston's current managerial style, the word "develop" is as appropriate as the word "nurture". Sports and baseball are so much mental that when a player fails, he needs to be reassured that all is not lost. The Jays under John Gibbons, with the ever-impatient Ricciardi at his elbow, were never able to do that - see Adam Lind's 1-for-19 demotion; see John McDonald's sub-.200 being glued to the bench; see David Purcey's one start and out (twice).

The most telling TV shots are of Gaston in conversation with his players in the dugout as the game is unfolding. The same shots of Gibbons saw him wedged into the home plate corner of the dugout, insulated from his players by at least two coaches.

The key word in that entire paragraph is "Lind." Lind has a robust .534 SLG in 54 games this year. It's kind of funny that Gaston's touch with youngsters is such an improvement over Gibbons, because all the veterans hated him too. The next shoe to drop is obviously Riccardi. There's palpable animosity towards him from writers and fans. Even if Gaston's Jays weren't being so successful between the lines, his latest tenure has been a sign that JP's era is dead on arrival this offseason.

Tonight's Questions

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liveglog.jpg Hey kids, it sucks as it cuts.

  • ARE the Angels gonna get swept out of Tampa on an orange scented dustpan? Watch the game on ESPN2 with Rob at 7:05, and learn together.

  • WILL the Dodgers or Phillies make a move on first place?

  • IF the Blue Jays beat the Yankees and catch them in the AL East, will the glog turn into and endless stream of profanities about a game that Rob isn't even watching?

Enjoy your primetime glogstravaganza then join us back here tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Orioles Draw 50 Millionth Fan

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Kevin Gracie, a 24 year old Orioles fan who probably has like 2 happy memories of the team was Oriole Park's 50 Millionth Fan.

He was rewarded with $50,000 but then promptly punished with 5 years of season tickets.

Bowery Blues: Today's Afternoon Games

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Yes, it is Liveglog Wednesday, but please note Rob will be glogging the Angels/Rays game at 7:05 PM on ESPN2. You'll be able to follow along on your Teevee and Rob says there will be more "emphasis on funny instead of play-by-play." So tune in tonight, and please be wearing your Member Blazers. On to the afternoon games.

  • 1:10, A's at Twins: Oakland repented for actually winning the first game of the series by getting the farts hammered out of them last night, 13-2. Dallas Braden goes for Oakland and Disco Francisco Liriano goes for the Identicals. This is Minnesota's last home game before they embark on a 14 game, Neocon mandated road trip. DONT FORGET YOUR TOOTHBRUSH!

  • 2:05, Mariners at White Sox: Chicago has pulled back ahead in the AL Central by taking care of business with the lowly Mariners. Speaking of which, if you haven't read Geoff Baker lately, I highly recommend it. The alternating despair and apathy is sublime. R.A. Dickey and his knuckler take the hill against cologne chugging wunderkind, Gavin Floyd.

  • 2:05, Astros at Brewers: It's rubbertime in Cheeseville. My boy Manny Parra looks to break his string of rough outings (5.70 ERA in his last 5 starts) against Wandy Rodriguez. The Brewers are 6 out in the Central but still hold a 2.5 game lead over St. Louis in the Wild Card. STL CAN NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. I BEG YOU, MILWAUKEE. DO IT FOR ME.

Ricky Nolasco Finds Money In His Glove

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slot.JPGThe Marlins' Ricky Nolasco has had a fine sophomore season, and hit a new peak last night with his complete game, 2 hit ruby against the Giants. Kid kept his pitch count to a measly 110 thanks to a mere 32 balls thrown. But platitudes from handsome bloggers aren't his only reward for the outing. No, Nolasco got that most traditional of prizes: Cold Hard Cash.

Ricky Nolasco won a pot of cash for his first career complete game - thanks to the Marlins' nearly two-year drought without a pitcher going the distance.

Nolasco pitched a two-hitter for his first shutout and drove in two runs with his first double, leading the Marlins past the San Francisco Giants 6-0 on Tuesday night.

His reward: the money that had been accumulating in Florida's complete-game pool started some time after Anibal Sanchez pitched the last such game on Sept. 16, 2006, a major league-record 301 games ago.

"We've been reminded of the streak all the time. You just can't think about it," Nolasco said. "You have to go out and give your team the best chance to win."

It's no secret that the Marlins trot out lots and lots of young pitchers, so it's probably not an entirely bad thing that they haven't had a guy throw a complete game in awhile. I'm not a believer in the vaunted "Pitcher Abuse Points" as a surefire doom forecast, but there's obvious common sense in not overworking a young arm.

Nolasco, specifically, came out of camp last year with a weak arm but has been building that strength all season. The guys at FishStripes had a bit of a conniption when he threw 135 pitches in a near complete game earlier in the season.

But as far as yesterday, Nolasco's 110 throw night can't be looked at as anything but a positive. He cruised and as he told me on the phone this morning,* "I'm just making that paper stack, bitch."

*I have never interviewed Ricky Nolasco

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, sometimes a change don't come naturally.

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

Reds Fans Have Finally Lost It

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Would you respect a news institution that has a regular feature called Dance Party Friday? If not, you'll need to look beyond Cincinnati's Local 12 for your live and latebreaking. Last Friday their cracked out weatherman was joined by new Reds mascot Rosie Red. She's totally my type. Dark hair, bangs, short dress, giant baseball head.

Anyway, things really devolve around the 1:18 mark where after some dancing the aforementioned drug addled meteorologist chases Rosie around the studio screaming unintelligibly. Luckily for Rosie and the home viewer, he didn't catch her. When someone is on that much PCP you never know what they're capable of. Enjoy!

Toby Hall: Least Athletic Athlete Ever

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pieface.jpgNot a day goes by where we don't mention how tight the AL Central race is. It's been compelling in that neither the White Sox or the Twins seem to want to take command, no matter how badly the other one stumbles. There is very little breathing room, and subsequently it's not a great time to INJURE YOURSELF WHILST THROWING A SHAVING CREAM PIE, TOBY HALL.

Backup catcher Toby Hall said his right shoulder was fine after teammate Jermaine Dye blocked his attempt at placing a shaving cream pie in his face during a post-game interview following the Sox's 13-5 win over Seattle.

Hall had his right shoulder wrapped in ice but assured reporters he didn't not re-injure his shoulder, which he separated in spring training of 2007.

Wow. Jermaine Dye rejected his pie toss with such authority that he jammed Hall's shoulder. White people are dumb. I look forward to the next Great Chicago Fire being started by Hall's mischievous attempt to hotfoot John Danks.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, pass the drawn butter.

So tonight, get your vote on for the cave shrimp, then join us back here tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, Same WoW channel.
voter.jpgDespite having a terribly unfortunate name, is an invaluable resource for political junkies and voyeurs. Campaign contributions are public record, and Newsmeat tracks em all. From your neighbor to your favorite actor (guess who he donated to). I looked at some 2008 numbers to see what personalites from the fine sport of baseball are giving, and who they're giving it to.

  • Hank Aaron (Hall of Famer): $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
  • Peter Magowan (Giants Owner): $30,800 to John McCain
  • Frank McCourt (Dodgers Owner): $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
  • Drayton McLane (Astros Owner): $4,600 to John McCain
  • Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox Owner): $4,600 to John McCain AND $2,300 to Barack Obama
  • Curt Schilling (Red Sox Pitcher): $2,300 to John McCain
  • Vin Scully (Dodgers Broadcaster): $2,300 to John McCain
  • George Steinbrenner (Yankees Owner): $15,000 to John McCain AND $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
  • Stuart Sternberg (Rays Owner): $2,000 to Barack Obama
  • Tom Werner (Red Sox Co-Owner): $2,300 to Barack Obama

Nothing entirely surprising about this list. I'm pretty jaded about both candidates so the only real disappointment is that there aren't any current players. Calling Curt Schilling active just because he's on a roster is like calling Heath Ledger active for having a movie out. I guess I can forgive them, seeing as how they've been, you know, playing. I expect activity to quicken after the conventions, as the season winds down and the campaign picks up. I'll update as we get closer to election time.

And yes, Vin Scully. I still love you even though you gave to Bush in '04.

The Old Stoic: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:35, Mets at Pirates: The Mets have a shiny new dustpan at the ready. This chrome plated, contour handled beauty is just waiting to collect the remnants of the Pirates after a potential 4 game sweep. A win would be the Mets 7th straight after taking 3 against the Nats. This road trip should have been called "All-Star Break 2: Hot Summer Futility." John Maine makes his 2nd start back from rotator cuff troubles. He takes on Paul Maholm, who looks like he's had quite enough of this Pittsburgh thing.

  • 4:35, Giants at Braves: A San Fran win would give them 3 our of four at the Ted and a fifth win over the Braves in a little under two weeks. The good news for the Braves is that they send Jorge Campillo to the hill while the Giants counter with Barry Zito and his terrible pitching. Zito has 83Ks against 80BBs. Sheesh. That makes me feel gross just reading it.

Disco Demolition Night - 1979

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Now this is something I'm glad I watched. I'd always been aware of the fabled Disco Demo night at Comiskey. But I'd always seen it in 5 second clips during documentaries or I Love The 70s or something. I'd never really realized the extent of the chaos. This video has some candid footage of what was basically an on field riot. It's got an interview with the promoter. And it's got some vintage Greg Gumbel. You couldn't ask for more more. Enjoy your Classic TV Friday!

This Ear Tastes Like Ear

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mayhem_logo.jpgI'm going to a minor league game tonight. I love minor league baseball. I love the parks, I love the fans and I love all the extra curricular nonsense surrounding the games. All that being said, there is no way I am as passionate about it as Ogden, UT's finest son, Donnie Haskins.

Two Ogden neighbors got into a fight after a minor league baseball game that ended with one them biting off a part of the other's ear.

The two men, Kevin Olsen, 54, and Donnie Gaskins, 41, had returned to Gaskins home from the Ogden Raptors baseball game late

Wednesday when police say Olsen apparently offended Gaskins with a comment.

Ogden Police Lt. Scott Sangberg says Gaskins responded by striking Olsen in the face several times and then clamping down on his ear with his teeth and pulling back with enough force to rip off a part of the ear.

Gaskins was booked into the Weber County Jail and is facing charges of assault causing mayhem, assault of an officer, possession of marijuana, intoxication and resisting arrest, Sangberg said.

Um. Yeah. I'd say Gaskins was offended. That is one tremendous rap sheet. I've always wanted a mayhem tag.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGIt's your second creampuff of the week. Boy am I glad that I got all those other wimps out of the way earlier in the week. It's the first time I've ever done work early instead of procrastinating. Good thing it was for a fucking blog where I use a pseudonym and not like, school or work or something.

  • Brad Penny, Dodgers: Single Cent is going on the deel for the second time this season. His arm is still stiff. "Everything is the same," griped Penny. He's like Satre with a fastball.

  • Mike Lowell, Red Sox: Lowell is also making a a return engagement on the DL. This time it's with a strained oblique muscle. The Sox were forced to move Kevin Youkilis to third. Youk has responded by hitting the ball so hard that blood is coming out of it. Get well soon anyway, Mikey. I sent you balloons.

  • Dan Giese, Yankees: Dan Giese fell victim to the Greg Brady Tiki Idol curse that has touched nearly the entire Yankee squad. He has a shoulder boo boo which could pave the way for the return of Phil Hughes. Those should be an electrifying two starts.

  • Joel Zumaya, Tigers, Andruw Jones, Dodgers: Thanks for trying guys. Why don't you just come back next spring and we'll try this again.

  • Chris Young, Padres: Young's hard luck season just got worse as he lands on the DL again, this time with a forearm strain. Happened to Popeye a few times. His sinker was never the same.

Mark Kotsay Cycles, Probably Wears Dorky Helmet

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old bike.jpgLast night, Mark Kotsay became the first Brave since 1987 to hit for the cycle. The last was "Royal" Albert Hall. Kotsay's seventh inning double off Bob Howry completed the feat AND was his 1500th career hit. Pretty sweet. He had another single in the ninth to grab the 5 hit night. Of course, the Braves lost because they're terrible, but it's still something.

Kotsay's been an every day major leaguer for ten seasons now and he's had a serviceable career for himself. Also, he's married to this dame.

So ladies and gentlemen, let's give the Walkoff Walk slow clap to Mark Kotsay! Huzzah!

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpgHey kids (clap clap), hey kids (clap clap).

  • WILL the Dodgers pull off an impressive four game sweep of the Phillies?

  • HOW about the Red Sox and the Rangers? Less impressive but still broomy.

  • CAN Florida salvage a split against the Cards?

  • WHY would anyone ever doubt Lobster Baby's supremacy? The entire ocean is his pillow fort.

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

Playing The Percentages With Payroll

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MonopolyMan.jpgSam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star put his nose to the grindstone last night and made up a list of how much of their revenue teams are putting back into their payroll. The list proves some things we all know are true, namely, Smart Money beats More Money. But the raw numbers are interesting nonetheless.

  • The Marlins are spending just 17% of their revenue on payroll. That's almost 50% less than the next lowest percentage, The A's at 31%

  • Detroit spends the highest percentage by far at 81%. How's that working out? The Yankees, White Sox, Blue Jays and Mariners are next with 64%, 63%, 61% and 61% respectively. Not a very high win to dollar ratio in there except for Chicago.

  • The six division leaders have spent 51% of their revenue, with an average payroll of $94M.

What does all of this mean? Yeah... I bet you'd just like me to spoonfeed you answers, wouldn't you? Why don't YOU tell me what it means and I'll tell you if you're right. Yeah, that's the ticket.
pillowfort.jpgOur boy John Fay at the Cincinnati Enquirer comes through with some more grade A insight. This time it's about Reds first round draft pick and all around masher, Yonder Alonso. With the deadline to sign draft picks fast approaching at midnight Friday, Alonso remains unsigned and sticking to some pretty hefty demands. He told Fay if he doesn't get a contract worth $7M, he has no qualms about sitting out next season and playing in the Independent League. Fay, for one doesn't think he's bluffing.

I thought this would get done. But what I hadn't counted on is the A-Rod factor. Alex Rodriguez, that Alex Rodriguez, is Alonso's workout partner and friend. ARod has told Alonso if things don't work to his liking, he's welcome to live with Rodiguez next season and play for Newark or Long Island of the Atlantic League. My guess is A-Rod doesn't live in a fifth floor walk-up.

Whee! Sleepover! They can have chips and dip and they can watch movies and they can build a pillow fort. It's gonna be like camp but with strippers.

The Newark Bears and Long Island Ducks are always known for having novelty old school baseball talent. Think Rickey or Canseco. Between that and living in A-Rod's bachelor pad, I don't really see why Alonso would pass that up for less than $7M. It'll be like when rich kids take that summer to go to Europe after college. Have fun for a year then go join the majors. DONT BE IN SUCH A HURRY TO GROW UP, YONDER.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, you win some and you lose some, but you mostly tie.

  • WILL the Dodgers make it three straight over the Phillies? I hope so. The Phillies stole my pogo stick when I was a kid..

  • ARE the banged up Rays going to lose again to the hapless A's? I hope so. The Rays are arseholes.

  • CAN Luis Mendoza and Jon Lester keep less than 36 runs from scoring at Fenway? I hope so. That's bad fundamental baseball.

  • ERVIN Santana vs. King Felix should be pretty good, no? I hope not because I won't be watching it.

Thanks for sticking with us today. It was a weird one. Stop by tomorrow for the answers to these questions and much more. Same WoW time, Same WoW channel.

Conditioning With: Scott Rolen

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Scott Rolen landed back on the DL this week with pain in his troublesome left shoulder. Even though the Blue Jays have had a disappointing year, Rolen is a consummate pro and working hard to get back on the field before season's end. Here is some exclusive video from Scott's rehab you'll only see on Walkoff Walk.

Axe Handles: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 1:10, Cubs at Braves: The Ernie Banks statue outside Wrigley must have a giant copper boner today, as his Cubbies play two in Atlanta. The first game pits the totally unlovable Jason Marquis against former ladies' shoe salesman Charlie Morton. Remember the stuff I wrote about this game last night? Use it again today.

  • 1:10, Twins at Yankees: Joe Mauer may miss today's game. He didn't play last night either. He has a stiff neck. I had one of those from banging my head at the Spiritualized show last week. There was no way I could have caught against the Yankees the next day either. Today's game features Darrell Rasner against Kevin Slowey, and also one giant Homer. No, not Bailey. Iracane! Rob is gloggin' his team. Be there.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, the funk is deep but I can swim.

  • WILL knuckleballer Charlie Zink ably fill in for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in his MLB debut against Texas? Whatever gets Kevin Cash more at-bats!

  • CAN the Dodgers steal another one from Philly and possibly pull even with the Colorado bound Snakes?

  • HOW will the Rays fare in this brave new post Crawford/Longoria world? Facing the A's will take some sting out of it.

  • CAN the Cubs pad their Central lead and extend their road winning streak to 6 games against the Braves?

  • DON'T you love watching Tim Lincecum pitch? If he can keep the ball inside the Juice Box that's another feat for this season.

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

Jerry Manuel Cares Not For Your Job Title

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mrmet.jpgWe've had lots of fun with the Mets bullpen here in recent weeks. Not as much fun as opposing batters have had, but we've had some chuckles nonetheless. Apparently tired of his relievers' frighteningly predictable ineptitude, tranny coach Jerry Manuel has decided to totally flip the script and start using starters in relief.

"Well, I probably need to make some adjustments. Period. We can't continue to perform this way late in the game...I just have to make some adjustments...I've got to figure out what I have and who is willing to step up in those roles...I've got to use all the options that I have here...I might start using starters down there or something (smiling)."

Though Manuel never mentioned a specific starting pitcher by name, when asked if John Maine could be used as a one-inning closer after he returns from the DL tomorrow, he said, "Everything from here on out is a possibility."

Hear that, kids? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IN QUEENS! Pedro Martinez hitting cleanup. Willie Randolph becoming the new closer. Travis Fryman rising from the dead to... oh, really? Didn't know that. Anyway, you get the gist. Jerry Manuel is mad as hell and no one is safe.
dead kid.jpgDon't invite Daniel Leddy to your kid's next birthday party. The only presents he'll bring are mortality statistics related to candle accidents and choking on cake. Mr. Leddy took the opportunity in this morning's Staten Island Advance, to remind you that one of these days some kid is gonna get murdered at the Little League World Series so don't go crying to him.

This Friday, the Little League World Series gets underway in South Williamsport, Pa., with the first of a 32-game slate leading up to the championship contest on August 23. All of the games will be televised nationally as eager advertisers take advantage of an expanding viewing audience that can exceed that drawn by professional athletes.

But while Little League's big wigs and corporate sponsors bask in that glow, a terrifying specter once again looms. Hence the question: Will this be the year that a Little Leaguer is killed trying to be king of the world?

It's an entirely fair query because the Little League World Series presents a confluence of circumstances that elevates that risk to an unacceptably high level.

He goes on to wax morbidly about the dangers inherent in the metal bat, even providing a Little League anecdote. The end of the column reads like a sweet combination of Matt Christopher and R.L. Stine as Leddy gives us a couple scenarios that would most certainly spell doom for some poor nameless little leaguer. It's a Tour de Force of adolescent sports gore fear-mongering.

If some poor tyke does meet his maker after a line drive for the first time in the 37 years that the LLWS has used aluminum bats, this little bit of prognostication could earn Leddy a trip to his very own big leagues. Writing for the Stamford Advocate.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, if the trash is too heavy let your roommate take it out.

  • WHO will get off on the right foot in the rather important Phillies/Dodgers series?

  • CAN the Red Sox salvage the split in Chicago? If not, can they at least end another White Sox player's career? I'm looking at you Harold Baines.

  • ARE the Cardinals next in line for a Walkoff Walk obit? The next couple nights in Florida could answer that question.

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

Emergency Creampuff: Guys That Got Hurt This Weekend

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stretcher.JPGThis weekend was chock full o' casualties. So many guys dropped, IT'S STARTING TO LOOK LIKE A MASH UNIT. Maybe they all want shirts. Anyway, I wanted to round em up now so I don't forget about em by Friday.

  • Orlando Hudson, Diamondbacks: O-Dog has a dislocated left paw and has to have surgery to repair it. It's his second consecutive season ending injury. I just hope they don't have to put him to sleep.

  • Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: Wake looks to miss at least his next two starts. The Sox put him on the DL with stiffness in his throwing shoulder. It sounds scary but it's a recurrence of the same ailment that kept him out of the World Series last year. Remember that? They played the Rockies! I know, weird.

  • Carlos Lee, Astros: El Caballo (which means El Horse in Spanish) looks to miss the rest of the season with a broken pinky. OH MAN THEY WERE ABOUT TO MAKE THEIR RUN, JUST ASK ED WADE. I just hope they don't have to put him to sleep.

  • Jose Contreras, White Sox: Contreras ruptured his Achilles on a rather innocuous looking play down the first base line. Since no one is sure how old he is, and this is a notoriously difficult injury to rehab there is speculation this mark the end of his career. God Speed Jose Contreras. I just mourn the fact that you never got an appropriately cool nickname.

  • Carl Crawford, Rays: Crawford spent last week in and out of the lineup with leg problems, now he officially heads to the DL after injuring a tendon in his middle finger. This could make it extremely tough to drive in Florida, trust me. Uh oh Rays fans... it's all coming apart!

  • Scott Rolen, Blue Jays: Rolen's balky left shoulder balked again and he was placed on teh 15 Day DL. He went out the same day Vernon Wells returned to the lineup. Those close to the organization expect Wells to be ready to return to the DL once Rolen returns to the lineup.
Chuck Berry live at the Fillmore summer 1967.jpg
  • 1:10, Pirates at Mets: Pedro Martinez starts are starting to take on an air of a concert by say, Chuck Berry. One of the seminal artists/pitchers of his generation. Plays/starts with irregularity. Doesn't have his fastball anymore, but it's still fun to watch because you don't know how many more shows he has in him. He was decent last time out against the puny Padres and today gets a crack at the punchless Pirates. The Mets are still two games behind the Phillies and hanging on. Baseball's first tranny manager, Jerry Manuel, hasn't done so poorly. Zach Duke gets the start for Pittsburgh.

  • 2:05, Nats at Brewers: A four game quadrasweep looms in our second afternoon game. The Brewers have dispatched of the Nats rather efficiently. Washington's run scoring is becoming historically inept, something you may even read about later on this very website. Dave "Stained" Bush takes on Garret Mock.

Don't Fukudome Like That

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fukudome homie front.JPGUh oh. Chicago's most famous foreign import since Balki Bartokomous may be facing a little job insecurity. He's been ice cold at the plate, with all relevant numbers plummeting since June. But benching him for Reed Johnson? Oh, Cousin Louie, DON'T BE RIDICULOUS!

"If Lou decides to put me on the bench, that's where I'll be," Fukudome said through an interpreter. "I'm not going to start hitting just because he said something like that. I'll just follow whatever he tells me to do."

Piniella said he doesn't dole out playing time based on salary, which is good news for Reed Johnson, who is making $1.3 million this year, and Mike Fontenot, who is making $405,000, and not so good news for Fukudome ($7 million). Ronny Cedeno deserves to play more too.

"I'm going to put the best lineups that I can out there to win baseball games, period," Piniella said.

In limited playing time, Johnson has shown flashes of his 2006 form, aka his only really good pro season. Granted, the Blue Jays haven't made the best personnel decisions over the past few months, but Johnson was dropped in favor of Shannon Stewart. At least Fontenot has slugged .531 in limited playing time this year.

But, as Rick Morrissey mentions in that column, Fukudome is playing the best right field the Cubs have seen in a long time and more importantly, the Cubs are still winning. It seems like Lou has the luxury of letting Fukudome work things out, a development that would reap much greater rewards than plugging in Johnson or Fontenot.

Keep Fukudome in the lineup. He'll do The Dance Of Joy.

Will Clark Screams Like Maniac- 1987

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I know a couple weeks ago I said that the wall collapsing and Joe Torre going bonkers was my favorite Classic TV Friday, but I need to amend that. Today's is my new favorite. Disregard the last 4 seconds of an episode of Home Run Derby that start the clip. Then buckle your seat belts for Will Clark's joyous exultation at winning the 1987 NL West title.

I can't decide my favorite part. It's either

0:11: "Huuh? No waaaay!"
0:28: "WOOO! I love champagne! Lemme get rid of this gum! Woo!

Either way, that is one happy redneck. Overmodulating, indeed.

Odysseus' Decision: Today's Afternoon Game

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  • 2:20, Cardinals at Cubs: It's the most storied rivalry in Missouri, Illinois and parts of Indiana! Chicago has won 9 of 11 but St. Louis has been playing ok, too. They'll send Braden Looper to the anthill to take on Ted Lilly. Lilly has turned in 4 consecutive quality starts which has to be some sort of record for the mercurial southpaw. Oh to be at Wrigley, watching baseball piss drunk before dinner. I need to move.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGThis week each one of our lucky invalids gets a free shirt. Not really, because they're millionaires and they should buy their own. Plus they've got nothing else to do but surf the net, and you probably shouldn't watch porn if you have rotator cuff tendinitis.

  • Rafael Soriano, Braves: Soriano hits the DL for the third time this season with right elbow problems. What really should worry Braves fans is that this time, Raffi picked up his banana phone and called Dr. Death, James Andrews. Methinks this won't be the last time you'll hear his name today.

  • Mark Grudzielanek, Royals: Mark looks like he's done for the season with a torn ankle ligament. All ligaments are important, but in particular the one that keeps your foot on your leg. There's video of the injury in that link. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, G. LOAD.

  • Joba Chamberlain, Yankees: Joba's arm injury caused more hand wringing in New York than a money manager's poodle being dropped out of a penthouse window. Thank jeebus it was only rotator cuff tendinitis and not a tear. Joba's stuff is electric, no doubt but you have to wonder if durability issues are going to force the Yankees' hand into making him a closer.

  • Adam Jones, Orioles: Jones was really start to come into his own as the season progressed, I'm sure much to the chagrin of Seattle. For some unknown reason the baseball gods thought it would be funny for Jones to break his foot in a game against those very Mariners. Seattle is a black hole of misery this summer. Don't go near it.

  • Billy Wagner, Mets: The much maligned closer was put on the DL with a sore forearm. Ready, go. Worse bullpen, Tigers or Mets? Both have been lousy and have seen matters made both better AND worse by recent injuries to their over the hill closers. I report, you decide.
eights.jpgHey it's one of those neat days where the number repeats that we only get to experience 12 times each century. I have an irrational love for these days, and also an irrational love for three players that wore the number 8 in their playing days. So I salute them and wonder if they'll smile when they look at the calendar today. Well, Yaz won't because he's a huge grouch. But maybe the other two will.

Yogi Berra: While he's one of the most enduring faces of New York baseball, Lawrence Peter Berra was actually born in St. Louis. He transcended baseball as somewhat of a folk icon with his wacky Yogi-isms. Everyone knows em by heart, and I'm sure the goofy persona hasn't hurt his wallet over the years, but unlike say, Bob Uecker, you never got the sense any of it was very calculated.

Fewer people are familiar with some of the jaw dropping numbers associated with Yogi's playing career. He was a 3 time MVP and 15 time All-Star. He won ten world championships, a baseball record. He's one of only 4 catchers to ever field 1.000 over a an entire season (1958). In 2,120 career games played, he hit 359 home runs and had a career OPS of .830. He also has an endearingly huge bulbous nose that makes him look comical. That's our Yogi!

Bo Jackson: Vincent Edward Jackson is one Alabama's most famous sons. The most dominant of a handful of professional American multi-sports stars Bo was ubiquitous in the late 80s and if you're of a certain age, you rooted for Bo no matter what team you called your own. Cause Lord knows it probably wasn't the Royals.

He showed streaks of brilliance in baseball before his sporting career was derailed by injuries. From 1987-1990 he hit 107 HR. In 1990, his final somewhat healthy season in his prime, he slugged .523 and had an OPS+ of 142. He had a propensity for strikeouts and making some outfield errors, but Bo Jackson the baseball player always seemed like a force of nature. He could run up walls and I loved him for it.

He's the gold standard for the multi sport athlete. You hear that Jeff Smarjshahfsa? You should jump off a building for taking this picture. You're a relief pitcher, idiot. Bo could snap you over his knee.

Carl Yastrzemski: Carl Michael Yastrzemski grew up on a Long Island potato farm. A fitting beginning for a man who would carve out his legend hitting tater tots. He came up in 1961, taking over left field from Ted Williams. Huge shoes to fill , but early on Yaz proved himself to be a much better defensively than Williams. Later in his career he would move to first base, but in his day he played the Monster better than anyone would.

1967 is the definitive Yaz year, and in many ways a definitive year for the entire Red Sox organization. In the year of "The Impossible Dream," Yaz became the last player to hit for the Triple Crown. He hit .326 with 44 HR and 121 RBI to lead the Sox to an out of nowhere World Series appearance and a crushing 7 game loss to the Cardinals. He's second all-time in MLB history with 3,308 games played. He hit 452 HRs and drove in 1,844 runs. He also has a song about him that will now be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

He's also the reason I wore #8 from tee ball on. But trust me, you don't want to see my career stats.

Editor's Note: Bo only wore #8 in his later 2 season stint with the White Sox. Oh well, still counts. In my defense, my memory is better in some areas than others. The only Yaz stat I had to look up was games played.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, got change for a dollar?

  • WILL my column about the Tigers become bulletin board material that spurs them to win every single game for the rest of the season? Or will they just lose to the White Sox again?

  • HOW will the first place Devil Rays fare away from the friendly beige confines of Tropicana Park? Tonight they begin a 10 game road trip out in Seattle.

  • WOULD you watch any of the NL games tonight? Maybe ATL/ARI. Maybe.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel. Good job out there today, people.

Bill James Is: The Lemur Hunter

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leaping_lemur.jpgHere's something that probably won't surprise you. I'm that prick you see reading The New Yorker on public transportation, even though I don't live in New York. Last night whilst riding home from my place of employment (it's like getting PAID to write WoW) my steady diet of stories about Obama and the new wave of rooftop organic foie gras farming in Brooklyn was interrupted by something more whimsical. And weird. Ben McGrath wrote a piece about how Bill James saw a lemur in Boston the other day.

Several weeks ago, James was walking home from Fenway Park, after a Red Sox victory over the Kansas City Royals, when he came across a strange-looking animal with a speckled gray head. He at first took it to be a cat, but soon noticed a number of peculiar characteristics: the animal had large eyes on the sides of its head, a puglike face, and an extra-long tail ("like a broom handle"), and it moved with "an odd sashaying motion." The moon was full. James was alone on the street. He stared at the animal for, as he later recalled, "a length of time which is probably six or seven times as long as the period that a fly ball is in the air." The animal scurried under a parked car, at one point seeming to lift its hind legs over a stick in the road by using its tail as a kind of lever.

James quickly dispensed with the obvious candidates--dog, squirrel, raccoon, rat, skunk, possum--and began working his way down a checklist of more exotic possibilities: sloth, bear, porcupine, beaver. By the time he reached his house, he had decided that the animal he saw must have been a lemur.

He then called animal control. They told him that in 2002 someone else in MA had spotted a lemur, so BILL JAMES CALLED THAT PERSON. Of course, after he posted a 3,000 word tome about the animal on his website. Subscription required.

But, if you're not spending your money to listen to Bill James talk about using nightvision cameras to capture the movements of an urban lemur, what are you spending it on?

Ballplayer: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:10, Padres at Mets: Rubber match of this series pits Josh Banks against Johan Santana so that can only mean one thing. Santana will leave in the 8th with a 3-1 lead before the bullpen blows it. You can BANKS on it. Bwaaaaaaahaha.

  • 1:05, Marlins at Phillies: They've split the first two games now Chris Volstad takes on Cole Hamels. It's a tough one to call. Hamels is good and the Marlins were shut out last night, but Volstad did write Candide. Toss up.

  • 2:15, Cards at Dodgers: WILL Ryan Ludwick homer for a sixth straight game? Clayton Kershaw will try and prevent that as well as a sweep. Kylohse goes for St. Louis.

  • 3:05, Nats at Rockies: First game of a doubleheader. Jason Bergmann takes on Jeff Francis. Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca says Francis is feeling good. 100% of the time Apodaca is right all of the time. APODACA.


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(pic: Charles Cherney/Chicago Tribune)

So Long, 2008 Tigers

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dead kid.jpgWe could have actually called this a week or so ago, but I didn't want to jump the gun. John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press intimated it 2 days ago. But, now let's just say it. Playoff hopes for the 2008 Tigers are done. Way to pick 'em, Sports Illustrated And um... me.

After being swept by the White Sox, they've lost 6 in a row. They're 3 games under .500 and an embarrassing 8.5 games back in a division that has yet to field a clearly superior team. They're only 20-30 in that division. The bullpen has been a sore spot since spring training and seems to only be getting worse. As Lowe noted they need nearly a .700 winning pct. from here out to get back to the top of the Central. They have upcoming series with Oakland, KC, Toronto and Baltimore. On paper that looks great. I expect more crippling losses to teams that aren't as good as them.

It's a tough situation. I know a lot of good Tigers fans who's normal anticipation of the season was heightened further by idiots like me and Sports Illustrated getting twisted over the way that lineup looked. Sorry guys, it just aint happening.

I, of course, blame Leyland.

Tonight's Question

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night game.jpgHey kids, hospitals are corporations.

  • IF the Tigers lose tonight are you going to yell at me tomorrow when I write their obituary?

  • WILL Sidney Ponson pitch well enough against the Rangers to make Yankee fans forget about Joba for a couple hours?

  • IS Florida going to creep closer to Philly? Keep your eye on Anibal Sanchez, his full recovery is a huge storyline in the NL East.

  • WILL I pop some champagne after I finish writing our final Morning Juice for Yahoo? What a bear that thing is.

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

Store Update: What's Up Creampuff Shirt

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creampuffshirt.pngBy popular demand, it's here. We made a T-Shirt for fans of illness, injury and general misfortune. It's the Walkoff Walk Creampuff shirt. Featuring a dope contrast silhouette created by graphic designing whiz, Ryan Pritchard, the shirt features that poor bastard on the stretcher and is available for dudes and dames in about 10 different colors.

Get 'em before Mike Hampton buys em all.

(Note: Graphic is way sharper in the actual store and in real life than in this picture. Size constraints.)

An Ode To Artichokes: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:35, Brewers at Reds: Rubber in a must win game for the Brewers. Most of them from here on out are must wins, but dropping a series to the hapless Reds is anathema to winning the division. Jeff Suppan takes on Homer Bailey who has just been epically miserable thus far. Four times this season he's failed to go 5 innings.

  • 12:40, Indians at Rays: The Rays beat the Indians for the first time in 6 tries last night. They'll try to snatch the rubber with Kazmir on the rubber. Jeremy Sowers goes for the Indians looking to build on a recent string of decent to impressive starts. I think this means Fasano will be catching. Neat.

  • 2:20, Astros at Cubs: Doesn't anyone know how to sweep anymore? These two have split the first two. Brandon Backe takes on Jason Marquis. Here's a Mario Paint version of TNT by AC/DC.(Rob's note: I'll be glogging this affair)

  • :3:35, Orioles at Angels: The Angels were made to look a fool last night against Baltimore rookie Chris Waters. They'll try to bounce back today in this... dammit... rubber match. Does anyone know a good synonym for rubber? Don't say condom. Your matchup is Garrett Olson vs. Ervin "Magic Carlos" Santana.

  • 3:40, Pirates at Snakes: Finally a team gets to go to the broom closet. Arizona looks to send Pittsburgh out to the desert with nary a victory. Going for the PIrates today is Jeff Karstens who I totally slagged in his last start. He responded by turning in a six inning shutout gem against the cubs. I won't make that mistake again. I'll attack the other guy this time. Eat shit, Randy Johnson.

  • 3:45, Braves at Giants: These two have spit the first two games of the series. Timmy Lincecum is still spinning and he'll try and keep the Braves freefall going. Chuck James and his 9.47 ERA get the start for the Braves! They should just start one of those seals out on the pier.

  • 4:40 Twins at Mariners: Minnesota grabbed first place after the weekend and rolled into Seattle liking their chances against the worst team in baseball. Then they lost the first two games of the series. This is why you can't have nice things, Twins. Nick Blackburn will try to help them avoid The Most Embarassing Sweep In Baseballâ„¢. He takes on Jarod Washburn.

Idiot Baseball Players Talk About Their At-Bat Music

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Hey look! Baseball players talking about music! It's not even that the songs are bad, there's no accounting for taste, it's just the things they say about them. Since I had to read it, so do you. Good luck!

  • Stephen Drew, SS

    Song: "Swing" by Trace Adkins

    Drew: "At one point I didn't even come out to any music. For me, I don't really care about it. The other guys were saying they wanted me to have a song, so that's how it works for me. It's country and I like country music, so it's not too bad. I'm a low-key guy. I just go out and play every day and just have fun with the guys."


  • Conor Jackson, LF Song: "Say Yeah" by Wiz Khalifa

    Jackson: "I just like the beat. There's no particular reason. I just heard it and liked it. It's got a little techno beat in it, too. That's how I roll."


  • Justin Upton, RF

    Song: "The Hand Clap" by Hurricane Chris; "Dey Know" by Shawty Lo; "Get Like Me" by David Banner; "Make Way" by Birdman

    Upton: "I like the songs. They make me feel good when I come up to the plate. I mean, I like listening to music and those are just some good songs."


  • Jim Thome, DH

    Song: "No Leaf Clover" by Metallica

    Thome: "I just kind of roll with it. I'm not an overly big music guy, so whatever they play is fine. No biggie. I don't even really hear it up there. If I would think about it, I probably would, but I don't pay much attention. I'm focusing what I'm trying to do. So no big deal."


  • Mike Napoli, C

    Song: "Yahhh!" by Soulja Boy

    Napoli: "I just liked it. We usually play it in here after games that we win and I just liked it. It's the kind of music that I listen to. You hear it, but it's not like you're waiting to hear it. I'm locked in and hitting. If I'm not playing that day or on the road, I listen to other people's songs, but it doesn't really fire me up or anything."


We get it dummies. You're all too focused on your at bat. Great idea for an article.

Rob is convinced that players have bad taste in music or don't care about music because they were too busy playing ball and banging chicks in high school. I disagree. It's more complex and scientific. I think there's a hitting gene that devours and eats the music appreciation gene around the age of 15. This is why a pitcher such as Lenny DiNardo can listen to cool shit like Townes Van Zandt.
NolanRyan.jpgI simply refuse to believe this is true. According to the Houston Business Jounal in this years Q Scores freakin' Nolan Ryan was listed as the most popular baseball player. Huh?

He may not have suited up in a Houston Astros uniform for 20 years, but pitcher Nolan Ryan still is the most recognizable and well-liked baseball player in the country, according to a new survey.

The annual survey by Sports Q Scores is conducted by Marketing Evaluations/TvQ. The rankings are seen as an indication of how well players are regarded for potential advertising sponsorships.

At the top of the list as the most recognizable athlete in any sport is another player who is no longer active in his sport: Basketball superstar Michael Jordan, whose string of championships with the Chicago Bulls revitalized the National Basketball Association.

At No. 2 is golf wunderkind Tiger Woods, with Ryan -- who bolted from the Astros to the Texas Rangers in 1988 after a contract dispute -- ranked at No. 3. At No. 4 is Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, while former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana rounds out the top five.

Look at that picture! That guy! He's ranked #3 OVERALL??!? Who in God's name did they interview for this? Nolan Ryan made his pitching debut IN 1966, PEOPLE. I think this is just another case of the Bush administration changing information to their liking. The president got ahold of the Q Scores, and said "Derek Jeter? David Ortiz? No way. Nolan Ryan is totally boss. We're making him #1."

That's the only explanation. Either that or perhaps I just do not want to believe that after 40 years my fellow Americans have such a long way to go in hating Nolan Ryan.

She's A Jar: Today's Afternoon Game

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Since the afternoon game is at Wrigley, I've got a treat for you. It's Wilco singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame this past Sunday, followed by an interview with Jeff Tweedy. Whattya know, I've finally seen a cool Cardinals fan. It only took 26 years.

  • 2:20, Astros at Cubs: After last nights crazy, wacky, Elvis filled, rain soaked affair, the teams take the field today for what ought to be a much more tame afternoon. It's 82 and partly sunny with a 20% chance of precipitation in The City With Broad Shoulders, in case you were wondering. Magic Wandy Rodriguez takes on Magic Rich Harden. Harden has allowed 3 measly ER in his past 24.1 innings of work. That's pretty fucking stellar.

To Do List: Rob Bank. Go Home And See John Kruk.

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john_kruk_autograph.jpgGary Harki of the Charleston, WV Gazette has written a gripping series of articles about former serial bank robber Roy Plummer. The story is powerful, tragic and at times almost unbelievable. Perhaps never more unbelievable then the revelation that he was best friends and roommates with everyone's favorite schlubby hitting savant, John Kruk.

"I'm sure some people back home thought that I would rob a bank before him," Kruk said by phone on Monday. "If he were alive today and you didn't know him or his story, I guarantee in less than a week he would be your best friend. He was a brute. He would foul people [playing basketball] but that was [Plummer]."

Toward the end of the 1987 baseball season, Plummer called Kruk in San Diego, where he was playing Major League Baseball with the San Diego Padres.

Plummer told Kruk he sold his business for $100,000 and asked if Kruk would mind if he came out to San Diego to visit. Jay Hafer, whom Plummer used as a getaway driver on many of his robberies, had received a $30,000 settlement from a lawsuit after being attacked by a dog. He asked if he could come out, too.

"It was great because I was 26 years old, by myself with no wife, no girlfriend," Kruk said. "It was great having people out there I knew. Everyone on my team was married."

Plummer's life devolved into more crime, drugs and violence and Kruk was, not surprisingly, oblivious to most of it. It took him over a year to figure out that things weren't right. A year in which his roommate was robbing banks and possibly selling drugs out of the house. It wasn't until the FBI caught up with Plummer and talked to Kruk did all the pieces come together. Unfortunately, by this point, Plummer wanted to murder Kruk.

The FBI told Kruk that Plummer believed he was the one that turned him in.

"What I'm hearing from the FBI and other people is that he's a drug-possessed, gun-toting psychopath now. Everyone is telling me, 'He's coming after you,'" Kruk said. "Every knock on the door could be a teammate or it could be him. It scared the shit out of you."

Kruk admits the stress affected his play during the 1988 baseball season.

"Oh-for-four meant absolutely nothing to me at that time," Kruk said. "The only thing I wanted was to get the season over with."

"I never went out that year," Kruk said. "I stayed in my room. It was a scary thing. ... The FBI tells me he's armed and he's dangerous. And I know his abilities with weapons."

Poor Kruky. Sitting in his hotel room, jittery as all get out dropping his Slim Jim in terror each time a car passes. Then picking the Slim Jim back up and eating it in one bite. Anyway, read the articles. They're good.

Tonight's Questions

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pouting kid.jpgHey kids, I've got demons in my mouth.

  • CAN Cliff Lee and the Indians slow down Matt Garza and the Rays? Garza is coming off his first career CG and if he's still on his game this could be be of the better duels of the year.

  • WILL the Cubs keep things rolling with the middling Astros coming to town?

  • ARE we going to make it through the night without being lynched by an angry mob of Yahoo commenters?

  • WHAT about the Red Sox? Will they get punched by any Royals?

  • CAN the Diamondbacks feast on the brains of the Pirates, one of the few teams that wouldn't even have a shot in the NL West?

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

Ramirez Flies To LA, Lands On Juan Pierre

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whyareyouhere.jpgIt's Positional Instability Day here at Walkoff Walk and I couldn't be more excited. Our latest victim also resides out west, and is none too happy about being kicked out of his spot. With the arrival of Manny Ramirez in Los Angeles Juan Pierre has to live like a refugee.

"All I've ever done was be Juan Pierre," he said. "I don't know why, for some reason, they're just sticking it to me this year. I applaud the move. Any time you get a chance to get Manny Ramirez, you get him. But from a personal standpoint, it's putting me in a tough position."

Pierre was moved from center field to left to make room for Andruw Jones. But with Ramirez's place in left set in stone and Jones mired in a season-long slump, Pierre is back in center, a position Dodgers management wasn't comfortable with him playing because of his weak throwing arm.

The Dodgers certainly do employ a lot of outfielders. But, unfortunately for Pierre, the most obvious solution seems unlikely. The Dodgers sunk quite a bit of coin into Andruw Jones and no matter how much sense it makes I can't see the them sending him to AAA. It's debatable that he would even be able to hit at that level. His OPS is .481. That is tragic. In 199 ABs this season, Andruw has collected 11 extra base hits.

Joe Torre claims that Pierre will "get the bulk of" the CF playing time going forward but we all know Torre's blind devotion to certain veterans has been a hallmark of his career so take what he says with a grain of salt.

Get It Before It's Gone: White Sox/Royals Fight

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MLB tends to take these down rather quickly so get it while it's hot. FIGHT!

Huston Street Is Overly Demotional

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pluto_demoted.gifThe Oakland A's were one of the feel good stories of early 2008. A bunch of ragtag youngsters with no expectations came out with guns blazing. Even after enduring the maniacal open day Japan thing the A's hung tough until just a few weeks before the All-Star break. Billy Beane did his usual dealing, jettisoning Rich Harden and Country Joe Blanton, but the A's recent swoon has claimed its first casualty still on the roster. Closer Huston Street done got demoted.

A's Manager Bob Geren said Saturday that he's taking Huston Street out of the full-time closer's role for the time being, leaving open the question of whom he'll send out to protect leads on a daily basis.

The move undoubtedly is spurred by Street's difficulties this season salting away victories, though Geren went to great lengths Saturday to de-emphasize those struggles.

Instead, he pointed to the standout work of pitchers such as Brad Ziegler and left-hander Jerry Blevins, two players he's considering as options in save situations.

Asked if he still considered Street his closer, Geren answered:

"Yeah, with the flexibility that I might use somebody else."

Oh, Bob. I find your equivocating so folksy! Street warmed up in the 7th inning of Friday's game, then he came into yesterday's loss against the Red Sox in the 7th inning. He worked the A's into and then out of out of a jam in that inning. All of this change is making Street a little irritable. And you wouldn't like him when he's irritable.

"I would say I'm extremely unhappy about it," Street said Saturday. "(Closing is) what I've done my whole career. Do I think I've been as good as I've been my whole career? No. But I still think there's two months left in the season for me to prove myself . . . or prove myself to them."

My gut feeling on the whole thing is it's a chance for Beane the salesman to showcase as many arms as possible for future deals. Street is only 18 of 23 in save situations this season but will presumably still command value in the offseason, regardless of how the rest of this year shakes out.

There's also the chance that Geren has just pulled this out of his hat, and there's no larger meaning behind it. This is the same guy who declared last week that Eric Patterson was going to become his regular leadoff guy, the day before Patterson was sent down to AAA. Something tells me he's a little out of the loop.

Weekend Questions

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morganna.jpgHey kids, it's hurtin' time.

  • HOW much has the Manny Ramirez trade swung the balance of power in the NL West? We get an almost immediate litmus test this weekend as The Snakes travel to Chavez Ravine. Awesome.

  • ARE the Twins ever ever ever going to get over the hump? They enter the weekend 1/2 game behind the newly Griffied White Sox. They face Cleveland while Chicago gets The Royals. P.S. The Twins also DFA'd Livan and called up Liriano.

  • WHERE are you going to have your hangover curing breakfast on Sunday morning?

Well that was one hell of a week. You laughed. Todd Jones, Farnsworth and I all cried. The trade deadline was eventful. There were important series. Phew. We all deserve a break.

Except for Lloyd The Barber. He's settling in for his second week as your Weekend Baseball Sommelier. He'll have recaps, previews and the rest. Please join him. He's funnier than we are and you don't have to minimize the window when your boss walks by.

See you all Monday.

Bert Blyleven For Century 21- 1985

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Classic TV Friday: Bert Blyleven wants you to remember Century 21 when you're buying or selling your next home. I want the rest of the cast to take acting lessons.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGThe losses are piling up. You can't get back on the field long enough to help. It's frustrating you to the point that it's not just affecting your game, but it's souring your personal relationships. You know things would be right again if you could just shake this one nagging injury. You've still got it. All you want is a chance to be healthy and prove it. Then some dipshit with an alias calls you a creampuff.

  • Todd Jones, Tigers: Apparently Todd has been pitching with pain in his shoulder for the past few weeks. What a warrior! Letting his pain diminish his effectiveness instead of just telling the team and going on the DL. His MRI revealed no structural damage, just inflammation and tendinitis. I hope this doesn't affect his commenting.

  • Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers: Despite what Rob would have you believe, the Dodgers did have a shortstop last week. His name was Nomar. He is a few steps slower than his prime but he's familiar with the position. He'd been playing with competence but sustained a mild MCL sprain. He's not on the DL yet, just day to day. It's ok, Manny will rub Sportscreme on it. Or frosting. Manny can't tell the difference.

  • Alexi Casilla, Twins: Kid was a sparkplug at second for the Twins until tearing the ligament in his right thumb. You see this type of injury all the time in Xtreme Hitchhiking but rarely in baseball. Superstar Adam Everett gets the nod at 2B. If Casilla opts for surgery, his season is over.

  • John Maine, Mets: Maine has a strained rotator cuff. Scariest part of the story for Mets fans?

    "After last night's game, Pedro Martinez provided a chilling assessment of the injury. Martinez finally had rotator-cuff surgery at the end of the 2006 season, despite pitching with the problem for years. And when told how Maine described his own pain on Monday, Martinez nodded."

    Uh ohs. Will Pedro have company under the mango tree?

  • Khalil Greene, Padres: This moron fractured his hand punching a storage chest. It's a vicious cycle. The pills make you punch storage chests and break your hand, but you have to take the pills so your hand heals. Greene says he was frustrated at his poor showing at the plate this year. This is what San Diego gets for hiring a storage chest as hitting coach.

Progression: Today's Afternoon Game

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bear_pirate.jpg2:20, Pirates at Cubs: Wow. Slow clap for the Chicago Cubs. A definitive four game sweep of the Brewers has given them some honest to goodness distance in the NL Central, and to top it off they get the rest of the weekend off with a three game series against the Pirates. Yes, the Pirates who will send Jeff Karstens to the mound today. Jeff "I'm Not Good Enough To Crack A Rotation That Includes Sidney Ponson And Darrell Rasner" Karstens. The Cubs will send out Jason Marquis.

There are a lot of games left, but still. Take the Pirates out behind the shed and party this weekend.
manny-2.jpgIt was predestined from the moment the new front office came to town. Manny Ramirez was a signing from the first golden age of megacontracts. An 8 year, $160M contract is something that would never pass the desk of Theo Epstein. There was no complaining about the stats, but until that contract was off the books, it was always a glaring exception to How This Team Was Run.

It became urgent when Manny went all in with the media this week. I was sad last night. I was sad like I was sad when Nomar left. I was more sad than when Mo Vaughn left. I wasn't happy like I was when Roger Clemens left. Despite the number (over/under is 2600) of breakup analogies you'll read today, I did not feel sad like that. If I interpreted Peter Gammons correctly, Manny was planning on just not playing. Sitting on the bench. It was a lousy, if not unexpected way for this to all end up.

On the field, I never bought into the ire that accompanied Manny not legging out an infield hit, or Manny being a dope on fly balls. It's ridiculous to praise someone too highly for being "gritty" when they have no other apparent skills. It's equally ridiculous to denigrate someone with historically apparent skills for not "hustling." This elusive quest for The Hustle In Manny Ramirez always came off as not only stupid but also a little offensive. Those who perpetuated it were bringing down the conversation.

I saw some video of Manny leaving Fenway, this morning. He was smiling as usual. He's heading to a Dodgers team, that is in my estimation, one of the most poorly managed and difficult to root for in baseball. I know this because I try to root for them. He's in a different place than seemingly the majority of athletes that beg/whine their way off of teams late in their careers. They're usually looking to "play for a winner." Manny has two world titles. If he is truly the selfish player that some would believe (and it's hard to protest that too much after this week) he can indulge in that all he wants in LA. He has nothing to prove, and a coach that won't go too far out of his way to make him.

The Red Sox chug along, just the way they're designed to. Their repetition and their efficiency now even closer to their almost dogmatic organizational ideal. Jason Bay will hit a bunch. He or Youkilis or Lowell or whoever moves into the cleanup spot will undoubtedly have a torrid next month and we'll be treated to a shortsighted "Manny Who?" column from Dan Shaughnessy.

But I've decided to be sad for one more day, because I'm going to miss the big goofball. See ya, Manny.