Kris Liakos: November 2008 Archives

Thanksgiving Questions

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turkeybaby.jpg Hey kids, I am thankful for all of you.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! WALKOFF WALK WILL LOVE YOU NO MATTER HOW FAT YOU GET THIS WEEKEND.

Tonight's Questions

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bullseye guy.jpgHey kids, put your hands on.

  • SHOULD Barry Bonds be excited that 3 charges against him have been dropped? Well he still faces 12 more, so I'd keep the good champagne on ice.

  • IS an autographed car the dumbest piece of memorabilia ever? That's where your Detroit bailout money is going.

  • IS Thanksgiving your favorite holiday? It's mine. I just wish Burger King had some sort of turkey dish. I hate breaking tradition, especially when I'm alone.

See you in hell. Same WoW Channel.

Old Racist Dude Attacks Rinku & Dinesh

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Seriously. Before we go any further, please read this. In its entirety.

Finished? Ok, let's talk about what a giant turd Ken Slate of The Warren Reporter is.

I don't think there is any other way to do this than to break it down, by paragraph. So let's go.

Several weeks ago, I got up around 6 a.m. and, following my normal routine, made a cup of coffee, sat down at the computer and signed onto Yahoo to check out the baseball news. What I found set me back on my heels: a news report of two Indian pitchers -that's pitchers from India- who were brought to a Tempe, Ariz. sports clinic for a Major League tryout.

He left, "taking my foot off a black guy's throat" out of his normal routine.

Foreign guys playing baseball set him back on his heels, even though his fat bathrobed ass is already poured into a computer chair. We're only to assume he's sitting in one of these

If you ever need proof that someone is completely out of touch, check to see if -they use dashes instead of commas and use four letter state abbreviations. How bout that Louisiana Purchase!-

Back to the scathing racism.

Let me say right off that I have nothing personal against Indians in general or Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel in particular.

"Indians In General" is my second favorite D.W. Griffith movie.
It's just that my head began to reel as I read about this further inroad into my beloved sport, and I became more and more depressed when I tried to imagine the future of America's favorite past-time as we know it; I saw the "O" word creeping in - "Outsourcing."

When most people say "the O Word" it's because they don't want to say orgasm in front of their kids. Ken Slate has never been in the same room as either an orgasm or a child*.

He's back on his heels! His head is now reeling! It's like Glass Joe is writing this column. Our beloved author is now DEPRESSED because foreigners are playing what he claims to be his beloved sport. The grand sport of Clemente, Marichal and APPROXIMATELY 36 MILLION LATIN PLAYERS SINCE 1970 is now being infiltrated by people that weren't born in New Jersey. I think someone just unfroze Ken Slate and he has yet to take his ten minute piss on Walt Disney.

Ok. Time for the superlong unformatted paragraph -sign number two of a batshit crazy old man on the keyboard.-

Truth be told, we brought this development on ourselves. America's generosity and love of the game saw us wanting to share our national past-time overseas. According to MLB.com, American teams first visited Japan in 1908 and the success of the sport there resulted in its expansion by the Japanese to Korea and China. In recent years, American baseball teams have played regularly before foreign audiences, thereby expanding the overseas fan base exponentially. Earlier this year when the Boston Red Sox opened their season against the Oakland Athletics, both teams traveled to Tokyo and played their series opener before a crowd of 44,628.

Do you hear that America? It's our fault. Instead of putting a lead shield over all of our baseball fields as Ken Slate suggested back in 1929, we had to share this game. And now we're paying the price of increased competition.

Last year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Cal Ripkin, Jr. a Special Sports Envoy, his mission being to promote baseball around the world. And Ripkin is not our first representative to showcase our national past-time to the world. Since 2006, the Detroit Tigers' young center fielder Curtis Granderson, one of the game's most visible stars, has traveled to Africa, Europe and China as part of major league baseball's ambassador program; he's also a member of an international delegation trying to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to re-introduce baseball to the summer games. Furthering that effort are the many countries outside America that have active baseball leagues; the IOC decision will be made next year.

You can't even spell Ripken, you tremendous dink.

But back to Rinku and Dinesh. I don't expect them to hold out for salaries equivalent to marquee players like A-Rod, Jeter or Manny. To the contrary, we've seen over the past 60 years that what used to be manufactured in America has moved overseas because foreign nationals are willing to work for less than their American counterparts. After all, when work is scarce, people will accept low wages to feed their families. Is it too farfetched to think that owners of American baseball teams, in an effort to curtail the greed of their players for higher and higher salaries, might seize the opportunity to cut payroll by moving overseas? Don't be surprised to see the Detroit Tigers move to India and be renamed the Bengal Tigers, followed by the Kerala Indians, New Delhi Nationals, Madras Cobras and others. Eventually, we'll outsource the whole sport. If you think I'm losing my marbles to suggest this, consider any recent trip to a baseball game you might have made with your family. Did you first stop off at the bank for a loan? Add to the cost of traveling to the ballpark that of tickets, food and souvenirs and you've got a major-league outlay. And with some seats at the new Yankees Stadium going for as much as $2,500 per game (Hurry! Only a few left) and the Mets at $495 for their best seats, it might work out cheaper to head to Kennedy Airport, grab a flight on Air India and enjoy our national past-time there. Watching from your choice seats at New Delhi's Ambedkar Stadium, you can munch on a bag of crispy bhel puri, washing it down with a cold bottle of Belo beer. Life doesn't get much better than that in India. If you have the time, you might also stop off at the tailor for a custom suit or two, or have major surgery performed at discount prices. After several days of Indian baseball, you could take the family on a tour of the whole country for not much more than it presently costs to attending several games here. Is this is a fantasy scenario of baseball's future? Only time will tell. Send comments to tedslate@yahoo.com.

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT WHY DID MY GRANDPA HAVE TO DIE BUT YOU'RE STILL ALIVE YOU'RE TERRIBLE.

At least he left his email address. I'm going to do my part by emailing him this post.

*by law

Hank Aaron Vs. Duke Snider- 1959

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If I haven't already urged you to buy these DVDs, consider yourself urged.

Weekend Questions

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haimdodgers.jpg

Hey kids, you put the Gin in Gingivitis.

Have a good weekend, friends. Same WoW channel.

(Corey Haim photo stolen from the LIFE Magazine archives at Google Images)

Who Is Don Wakamatsu? No Seriously, Who Is He?

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The job fair that is the 2008 Mariners postseason rolled on yesterday. One month after hiring a new GM, they've announced Don "Waka" Wakamatsu as their new manager. Of course! Don Wakamatsu. What a no brainer. Let's look at his resume.

  • 5 minor league seasons as a catcher before a sip of coffee with the White Sox.
  • 4 seasons as a Minor League manager.
  • 5 years as bench coach with the Rangers. Apparently people are enthused about his working with Buck Showalter. Screw Buck Showalter.
  • Bench Coach with the A's last season.
  • He made Joey Cora cry.

The cynical take is that the Mariners are just trying to regain their position as Japan's team, but Wakamatsu is a third generation American making him as Japanese as I am Greek. He's familiar with all the teams in the division as something of an "AL West guy" and according to Geoff Baker the choice was all Zduriencik's choice. It makes some sense. In any respect, it's important to have our first Asian MLB manager.

So let's all give a big Walkoff Walk hello to Don "Waka" Wakamatsu the Asian baseball team managing Barack Obama.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I like that. Gimme it.

  • WHO is a bigger Scrooge: Cal Ripken Jr. or Scrooge?

  • DOES the Phillies front office dare eat a peach?

  • WHAT the hell is wrong with these kids?

  • AM I alone in not being totally stoked for Chinese Democracy? You snooze, you lose dude.

  • WHY do people think that Mark Cuban ever had a chance of owning the Cubs? This headline would be a hilarious understatement... if it he ever had a realistic chance.

BYE! Same WoW channel.

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpgHey kids, I'm going to jump you at recess.

  • WHAT do Ken Griffey Jr. and Fran Drescher have in common? They're both special US government envoys. Of course they are.

  • WHO will win the AL MVP tomorrow? Probably not either guy that we picked.

  • IS filling the 6 hour gap between my afternoon shift and my predawn shift with a Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos show a bad idea? I guess I'll find out sometime tomorrow.

Till then. Same WoW channel. You too, Lobster Baby.
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It's a big day for knuckleball news. First we go to Japan where, in what is in no way a publicity stunt, independent league team the Kobe 9 Cruise have drafted a 16 year old girl to pitch for them. Before we get to the baseball analysis, let's just state the obvious. There are no bigger perverts than old Japanese dudes. The only thing that would have put more asses in the seats than a schoolgirl pitcher is an animated schoolgirl pitcher. Know your audience and you will succeed. The Kobe 9 Cruise have that down.

Anyway, 16 year old Eri Yashida is a sidearm knuckleballer who clocks in at all of 5 feet tall and 114 pounds. Watch out for those comebackers to the mound, Eri! She hopes to model her career after Tim Wakefield, which is a pretty good goal to have. Pitch for 17 years, win a couple of titles and... retire at 42?

That's the word on the street. Apparently Wake is having some shoulder troubles and is seriously pondering hanging it up. There isn't much to say about him that hasn't been said. I've never been his biggest fan but he always pitches when you ask him to. Something to be said for that I suppose. So if it's true, I wish Tim a room temperature congratulations and Eri Yashida says, "Sayanora, brobro. Thanks for the roster spot."

(I owe an RC Cola to YFSF for the Wakefield tip.)

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, fear can build a bridge.

  • WHO was watching Graeme Lloyd?

  • IF I have to see Synecdoche, NY twice as some people are suggesting, shouldn't Charlie Kaufman have to pay for my second ticket?

  • SHOULD AJ Burnett sign the reported 4 year, $54M offer the Blue Jays have reportedly put on the table? I say, "As quickly as his creaky arm will let him."

That's it for today. Have a good weekend chaps and um... chapettes? Same WoW channel.
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While I may be a perfect 6 for 6 on my postseason award predix and the Clooniest dude in WoWville, I gotta say that deep down I never really felt right about shafting my boy Doc Halladay for the AL Cy Young. But you play to win the game, and despite my man live for Doc, I knew Lee would win the Cy by a landslide so I talked myself into him. Ever the contrarian, Iracane went with Halladay and outlined numerous reasons why he did so. I was not so eloquent in my defense of Cliff.

Combing the wire on what is a rather slow day (even for the offseason) I see that two of my favorite AL writers were not so swayed and went out of their way to display the brass balls that made them choose Doc over Cliff. Balls I am apparently not in possession of. First off, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. And hey, Joe. Like the new contacts! Lookin' sharp.

2. Halladay faced tougher competition, mostly because of all the starts against Tampa Bay, Boston and New York. He was 10-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 16 starts against that AL East trio, averaging 7 1/3 innings per start. Lee went 5-0 with a 2.63 ERA against the Royals.

According to Baseball Prospectus, the batters Halladay faced averaged a .766 OPS. That ranked second among all pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched to Matt Garza (.767). Lee ranked 60th on that list, at .735.

Lee missed his final start (Sept. 28 vs. Chicago) because of neck stiffness, and Cleveland sent Bryan Bullington to the mound in its final game of the season. The White Sox won 5-1, remaining tied with the Twins atop the AL Central.

When it came time to make a tough decision between Halladay and Lee, this weighed into my thoughts, but as the above points show, a good case could have been made for Halladay anyway.

He makes other good points, like Halladay's superior WHIP and K/BB ratio. I SHOULD HAVE STUCK TO MY GUNS. Also voting for Halladay, none other than the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker. Why? Because kiss his ass he's Geoff Baker, that's why.

None of this is to say that Lee didn't deserve the Cy Young, just that you could make a serious case for Halladay and look smart about it. But not me. I am gutless. I am a ninny. I'm sorry, Doc. Take me back.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, boopy bop bip bip.

  • DID you read about the Nick Swisher and Kevin Gregg trades? I give them a C and a B- respectively.

  • HOW will I do on my ServSafe test? I've already learned that it's against code to j/o in the walk-in cooler.
See you tomorrow, suckers.

If Jake Peavy Goes To Atlanta Will He Take A Midnight Train?

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From the very tiny desk of Ken Rosenthal, on very tiny paper comes news that the Braves are super duper close to getting Jacob Zeus Peavy (not his real name).

The Braves are on the verge of a trade agreement with the Padres for Peavy, according to CBSSportsline.com, but the Padres have yet to communicate their acceptance of a Braves' offer to Atlanta officials, major-league sources say.

It is possible that the Padres have decided internally to proceed with the Braves, then finalize the details later Thursday. The teams spoke again on Wednesday, continuing discussions that have lasted for over a month.

The Padres, according to CBSSportsline.com, will receive shortstop Yunel Escobar, Class A outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, either right- hander Charlie Morton or left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes and either reliever Blaine Boyer or one of two minor-league left-handers, one of whom is Jeff Locke.

See ya, Jo-Jo, see ya Blaine. SEE YA GORKYS. At least the Padres are going to up a Fruity Name Percentage (FNP) that was 14th in the NL last year. And for the Braves, this solidifies their position as the third best team in the NL East.

You get the feeling, however, that Ken doesn't really believe all of this by the way he repeats "according to CBSsportsline.com" like a tic. Talk amongst yourselves. I'm hungover.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I have painted myself into a corner.

  • WHEN am I going to start writing on a regular basis again? Soon. I promise. But it's tough being the Vegetable Man with the Vegetable Van.

  • WILL you finally try out for the Mexican National team now that Vinny Castilla is coaching?

  • HOW funny would it have been if Jim Edmonds had found this by landing on it?

  • ANYONE have $300 they can loan me?

See you tomorrow, you heroes of the mid-afternoon. Same WoW time, same WoW archetype.

Tonight's Questions

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Thumbnail image for SQUIRRELface.JPGHey kids, I CAN BUY AND SELL YOU.

  • DO the San Luis Obispo Blues owe you any money? If so, don't take a check.

  • HAVE you hugged a veteran today? I highly, highly recommend one from WWII. They're snuggly.

  • IS it getting heavy?

See you tomorrow. Same WoW time, same WoW frequency.

Tonight's Questions

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sharkbaby.jpgHey kids, what are you gonna do, keep jumping from rock to rock until there aren't any rocks left?

  • WHO gives a shit how you met my mother? Seriously, get lost dude.

  • DO you agree with today's ROY choices? They were pretty much no-brainers.

  • WHICH players will Billy Beane send to the Rockies to consummate the Holliday trade? I hope not Walkoff Walk favorite Greg Smith!

  • WOULD this this look good in your game room?

See you tomorrow, Chuckleheads.

Cubs Sale Going About As Well As Cubs Postseason

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sad stockbroker.jpg

The Cubs are still up for sale. The general assumption was that with the team and Wrigley Field all part of the package, the winning bid would be over $1B. But like anything that has a price tag attached to it these days, the whole thing is becoming a tough sell. It appears the final price will be lower than those original estimates.

The Chicago Cubs, who bombed out in this year's playoffs, may be no closer to getting $1 billion in a sale than they are to a World Series.

Sources said Friday that the credit crisis has trimmed what investors are willing to pay Tribune Co. for the team. Tribune Chairman Sam Zell has been trying to hold firm on his billion-dollar asking price, offering seller financing.

But sources said buyers are reacting coolly to that plan because they think a partnership with Tribune could be a disaster. Some financial analysts believe Tribune could default on debt due around mid-2009.

You can see the problems here pretty clearly. The Tribune company wants to keep an approximately 5% share of the team, to avoid taxes that I assume are associated with a full sale. But with newfound buyer reticence (even with Zell offering Seller Financing), the Tribune may need to assume a larger share than that and as you just read, that will be a problem come next year. What potential buyer wants a partner with a forecast like that?

Everyone knows that newspapers are suffering. It's one of the inescapable "new realities" of this century, like global warming or musicians created by The Disney Channel. The idea is so ingrained in our minds that it's easy to assume the turbulence of this sale stems from the Tribune's involvement. But you have to think that team values are down all across baseball. The Red Sox sale for $700M in 2002 looked exorbitant and then 2 years later, like a steal. As the economic fortunes of the country went, so did the fortunes of baseball and sports in general. I'd be hard pressed to put any realistic sale price on the Red Sox now. It's a total crapshoot.

We know that much of the country's prosperity was more imagined than real, and the sale of a baseball team is a pretty tangible way for a dope like me to see the correction. I only know one thing to be true in this entire story. Mark Cuban still has a snowball's chance in hell of buying the Cubs.

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I'm on vacation for the rest of the week.

Tonight's Question

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Hey kids, bank on it.

  • ARE you going to sign Jason Giambi to your co-ed softball team now that he's available?

  • WILL Jake Peavy be on another team when you wake up in the morning?

  • ARE you going to call me an emo wimp when I say I'm going to see Conor Oberst tonight? I don't care. He understands me.

That movie is from the same auteurs that brought you the Jon Papelbon/Darth Vader Halloween movie. Enjoy this one. It's just as... like that.

See you back here tomorrow. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Dammit People, The Rinku And Dinesh Story Was Mine

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Thumbnail image for Convoy.jpg

Welp. The whole system is crashing down. You and I, the very people who have been following Rinku and Dinesh from their arrival in America to their big tryout next week, are getting left in the dust. Abandoned on the side of the road to fame. Despite the fact that I FOUND THEM FIRST DAMMIT, Jeff Bernstein (JB Sir) found it prudent to give interviews with the guys to everyone but me. Maybe I should have been more subtle than the Dhalsim picture. Let me spin you a yarn.

After a couple of months of following and writing about them every week, I decided late this summer that their adventure had the makings of a pretty good feature story. I shopped it around to a couple of places and one national magazine agreed that it had a lot of potential. I was given enough words to describe them, that incredible blog and get an interview with some quotes. Should have been good for everyone. After all, Bernstein was a marketing agent and this was a pretty big magazine.

Lo and behold after I got in touch with Bernstein all he could ask was "Where did you hear about these guys?" like they were some sort of Indian state secret. I was unaware two guys with a website and a rap song were an unknown commodity. Citing "too much pressure" on the guys he declined the interview saying "they" wished I wouldn't even write the story yet. All of this seemed really curious since The Million Dollar Arm was a reality show in India. Oh I forgot, no one lives in India. No pressure there.

I had a pretty good idea what was going on. Bernstein probably just hadn't figured out a way to monetize the kids yet, and I was about to publicize them before he'd signed any contracts. That was my guess anyway. All the talk about moving them too quickly just didn't jibe with the way they were being handled, especially back home. I wrote the story anyway. It focused mainly on the blog posts since I didn't have too much else to go on. It was detached and not very compelling and as such languished on the desk of my editors. Keep in mind this was about 2 months ago.

It appears the ink has dried on whatever deals Bernstein was trying to work out. In the span of about 3 days last month their blog talked about this USA today story and their new American reality show. They really must have learned to deal with pressure in 4 weeks. The USA Today story has in turn caught on in the blogosphere and alas, Rinku and Dinesh are no longer ours.

Mom was right. Writing magazine articles about Indian teenagers who win a contest to come to America and live on the campus of USC to train and be MLB pitchers, all the while dealing with homesickness and culture shock really is a cruel business. But I swear if anyone uses Dmac's Convoy picture, we're suing.

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The GM Meetings start today in sunny Dana Point, CA. I can only imagine the amount of cream cheese they and the writers assigned to cover them go through each morning at the continental breakfast. The most glamorous (and I use that word as lightly as possible) image of these meetings are trade proposals being run through the Four Seasons by harried bellmen, and Manny Ramirez being put on waivers after a couple of poolside Mangotinis.

Whether or not that is ever the reality, there figures to be little to none of it this time around. Last year limited use instant replay was voted in at the meetings. This year, the agenda includes things like overhauling arbitration and most gallingly, the idea of a neutral site World Series.

In the annals of reactionary baseball thinking this idea is pretty high up the list. I don't think I ever heard this mentioned before last week's rainy denouement in Philly. My aversion to it is pretty simple. I like the showcasing of two different parks each year. I like the element that each fields brings to the game. One of the idea's big proponents is old school icon Whitey Herzog. I have a ton of respect for Whitey, but on this issue I have a big problem with his reasoning for the neutral site Series.

"You could call it World Series Week," he said by telephone Wednesday night before the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays endeavored to finish in windy, frigid weather a Game 5 that was suspended two nights prior.

Herzog is well aware of the opposition for such a proposal.

"You've got the old school people in baseball who say that you're taking the World Series away from the home fans and all that," he said. "That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. If you're really going to be honest, the hometown fans (because of high ticket prices) don't get to see the World Series anyway."

"Right now," said Herzog, "the World Series is only the fourth most sought-after ticket. It's behind the Super Bowl, the Masters and the Final Four. So, in that respect, you can't say that it's the national pastime.

On the surface, Whitey looks to gain some cred by breaking from traditionalists in his support of the idea. But, in reality the foundation for his argument lies in one of the most outdated and traditional notions there is, and one that I just don't understand. Mainly, that baseball has a divine right to be America's pastime, and it is somehow fundamentally wrong for it to be behind football (or anything else) in popularity.

The media's obsession with sounding baseball's death knell owes much to the feeling that once it was outpaced by football in the nation's consciousness, it was no longer relevant. Forget the fact that they drew 78 million fans this year, and in each of the previous 3 years (where there wasn't a recession going on) it set new attendance records. Arguing numbers against football's absolutely monolithic economics isn't going to get you anywhere.

The reason I don't buy into it, or even care about the argument, is because I can't think of a single instance where football becoming more popular has impacted my enjoyment of baseball. They're totally unrelated. Is the drive to be "America's Pastime" itself a sport, rooted in the inherent competition of athletics? Because if so, that's dumb. There is plenty of art, food and style more popular than the ones I like. That hasn't once made me abandon any of them.

A gigantic baseball complex sitting in the middle of Nashville (where the hell did they get Nashville from, anyway) hosting a manufactured spectacle like World Series Week, would only serve to reinforce the divide between baseball and football. If you love baseball for what it is, the downsides are glaringly obvious. And if you honestly care about making baseball as popular as football again, shouldn't you do something more innovative than hollow mimicry?