Kris Liakos: February 2009 Archives

Lucky Strike Cigarettes - 1956

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Today's Classic TV Friday clip is so outdated it feels like it's from another planet. Want to enjoy the baseball game?

Step 1. Get to the game early.

Step 2. Look over the lineup cards.

Step 3. Light up a cigarette.

There you go. Those are the three steps. Hey don't look at me, IT WAS ON TV. THAT'S SCIENCE.

Chipper Jones: The Walkoff Walk Interview

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When I was in the Braves clubhouse and saw Chipper sitting alone by his locker in a camo hat, I knew I had to interview him for Walkoff Walk. Did I have anything interesting to ask? As you'll see, no way! I didn't even remember to ask him about hunting. Is it a riveting interview? Not even close! But it's Chipper. He's a star around this site and I'll be damned if I wasn't going to make him a Walkoff Walk Interview. He turned out to be a nice guy. So behold a cub reporter interviewing a Hall Of Famer. It's downrig.....zzzzzzzz.

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Kris Liakos: So how was it facing (Roy) Oswalt today?

Chipper Jones: Not fun.

KL: Is it ever?

CJ: Well it's usually more of an even battle when I have some ABs in me. He's gonna be my teammate for the next couple weeks and he uh... (laughs) he looked good.

KL: You were pretty vocal about some of the offseason moves the team made this year and you seemed especially emotional about Smoltzy leaving. Are you gonna have one eye on him in Boston this year?

CJ: I got bigger fish to fry around here. Obviously, I'm pullin for him and I hope he does well, but we play them six times this year. So I'm sure we'll see him a couple times. It'll be like it was facing Glav or Doggie (Greg Maddux). It is what it is. He thought he had one more shot at winning a championship and he thought Boston was the best place.

KL: I remember last year you made an appearance in the comments of Dave O'Brien's AJC blog. You still read any of that stuff?

CJ: A little bit. A lot less this year. Less than I did last year. I got four boys at home that keep me pretty busy so it's tough. But it's always good to keep your finger on the pulse of what the fans are thinking, and that's where they are.

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I'm pretty sure we're friends now.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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What you think just because I'm all up in locker rooms this week talkin' to players I'm going to go easy on all the wimps in the league? No way. None of these guys actually read us. Once they start I'm discontinuing this feature.

  • Kerry Wood, Indians: Who guessed "before the damn season even started" for when Mark Shapiro would begin to doubt Carl Pavano and Kerry Wood as his two key offseason acquisitions? It's not a major injury but any time one of these guys shows up on Creampuff (this time it's Wood's back) Shapiro is going to gulp.

  • Boof Bonser, Twins: Boof and his agent are hotter then a two dollar pistol about those knuckleheads in the Twins organization waiting until now to recommend surgery for the pitcher. It's a year long rehab! If you guys had seen this coming a year ago he'd be ready by now! Oh wait he was pitching a year ago. And feeling great.

  • Alfredo Amezaga, Marlins: Scheduled to play in the WBC, AA "tweaked his knee" which I think means that his knee is addicted to meth. First it destroys our small towns and rural communities, then it comes for our joints. It's a disease, people.

  • Vernon Wells, Blue Jays: Wells strained his left hamstring and will probably miss a couple of weeks. Wells said that when he had this injury last year he was able to start hitting pretty soon afterwards. Is that supposed to make people feel better?

  • Ryan Feierabend, Mariners: Ligament damage in his pitching arm spells season ending Ryan Feierabend Surgery for Ryan Feierabend.

  • Milton Bradley, Cubs: Bradley left his exhibition game against the Brewers yesterday with tightness in his quad. Milton explained it by saying "when you work out hard you get tight." Everytime I work out hard I just get thrown out of the YMCA. I should start wearing looser shorts.

  • Grady Sizemore, Indians: Sizemore is pulling out of the WBC with a strained groin. This is not good for the USA's Classic chances, since the only other CFs on the roster are Willie Mays and Super Dave Osborne.

Thursday Afternoon Press Box Semiglog Club: Astros vs. Braves

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Afternoon, kids. I'm coming to you LIVE! from the press box of Champion Stadium at Walt Disney World in Orlando. It's the Spring home of the Atlanta Braves and today they'll be taking on the Astros of Houston. I'm enjoying a complimentary Sprite. Your starting lineups and a recap of my morning thus far. After the jump.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I'm thirsty.

  • HOW did you enjoy your first Liveglog of the year? Rob's gonna have a career year once the season starts. He's already making some contact.

  • ISN'T that a beautiful car? That's Carlos Quintana, the Grand Marquis that will be shuttling me around Florida for our Spring Training coverage. I fit right in down here. I look like Morty Seinfeld driving that thing. It's sweet. Nothing much to report today, mostly travel, but I'll be at the Braves/Astros game tomorrow and I'll let you know if anything cool happens.

  • WILL Jim Bowden be unemployed by morning?

  • IF so, is he gonna start reading Walkoff Walk. We're like 2 barefoot kids away from a bread line around here.

  • IS San Jose the next destination for the A's? Unlike Fremont, it is more than a parking lot with a mayor.

  • WOULD you let Lou Piniella mow your lawn?

So, live games. That's something. Join us back here tomorrow. Same WoW Channel.

Tonight's Questions

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chinesenationalteam.jpg Hey kids, Est-ce que Je prends ma raquette de oiseau?

That's all for today. But it's time we had a talk about advertising. I'm sure you noticed the little Google Ad on the right side of the page that started today. Staying independent has always been very important to us here at WoW and this is a good way to generate a little bit of revenue for our server costs without having to join a big network. I'm sure we'll all get used to it pretty fast and soon you'll be ignoring those just like you do all of our writing.

Tomorrow is my first day reporting to camp and I'll be checking in from the road while Rob has you covered on all the day's news. See you here then, pals. Same WoW channel.

(Chinese national team apparel photos courtesy of Catch Central Florida's Flickr stream)

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Rob already hipped you to all the really good bites that are going to be available at Citi Field for this season, but delicious details continue to emerge. As the leading Baseball/Costumed Baby/Gourmet Foods blog on the web, it is most certainly our job to keep you updated. Ted Berg of SNY caught up with Ron Parker the head of Danny Meyers' Hudson Yards, and Floyd Cardoz of Tabla. The interview is pretty mouth watering. Some highlights:

FC: There are a lot of similarities between Mexico and India because you have the Spanish food in Mexico and you have the Portuguese, who came to India -- the part that I came from -- so there were a lot of pork products and beef products and things that I ate growing up, that I see a lot of similarities to in Mexico.

In Mexico and India, you use chilis as flavoring, and that was exciting for me to be able to do that, to get to know this cuisine that I've always loved. When we started developing the menu for Citi Field, we tried 20 salsas, and prepared pork various ways, and chicken various ways, and steak various ways and tried to get the best to stand for what we do.

TB: So that's what we're talking, pork, chicken and steak tacos?

FC: Yes, we're going to start off with three: pork, chicken and steak. And we're going to do a sweet corn with cotija cheese, which is a very typical Mexican street food.

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TB: I almost forgot to ask about booze.

FC: I've been talking to the Brooklyn Brewery about a specialty beer for the taqueria. I think Garrett Oliver is very talented, at Brooklyn Brewery, and he's already developed two -- for Shake Shack and Blue Smoke. He's working on one that's planned for Citi Field to go with the tacos.

RP: And he's working on one for the frites stand, more of the blanc-style beer, and there'll hopefully be Shackmeister beer and Blue Smoke Ale.

FC: We met last week and tasted a bunch of things. We want it to be something that people want to drink at a ballpark. Garrett has a great philosophy where he says, when someone has a beer, it's not what the first sip does, it's what the last sip does. And his rule is that anybody who has a beer is going to get full, so it's got to be that good, to get you full. We tasted a lot of flavors: chilis, cinnamon. We came up with an orange-ish aroma, not sweet beer, but with a slight orange and a slight cinnamon flavor to it. It'll have a complexity with it that will work with the carnitas that we're doing. We haven't tasted that yet, but it's in the works.

Damn. Having spent some time in Mexico and around the trucks of Los Angeles, not many foods excite me more than a simple but authentic taco. Cardoz seems to have that same ethos in mind. It would be quite a coup to get that at the ballpark. Depending where you live it can be hard enough to find one even outside of a baseball stadium.

I'm not as crazy about Brooklyn Brewery as everyone else seems to be. I prefer their boroughmates Sixpoint. But still, if they're creating two brand new brews for the park there's a lot of potential in there. And coming from Fenway where my "craft" option is a Sam Adams, I still applaud the effort.

So yeah. The food looks good. Unfortunately Mets fans are all animals that will eat the urinal cake if you leave them unsupervised.

Who Killed Jose Canseco?

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It was Professor Plum in the kitchen with the tombstone blues! No it wasn't. In fact no one has killed him yet, but former power hitter and 1983 ROY, Ron Kittle thinks it's only a matter of time.

"My first thought was: 'I wonder who's going to be the first one to shoot him,' " Kittle said Monday. "I still think somebody who might have had their life ruined might take vengeance on him. If I were [Canseco], I would think about that.

Canseco, Kittle said, crossed a line when he chose to expose others. "There is a sign in just about every clubhouse: 'What you see here, what you say here, let it stay here when you leave here,' " he said.

Kittle claims he never used steroids but uh... his strong homicidal feelings about the story lead me to believe otherwise. Then again, some dudes are just really into that whole fraternal wall of silence thing. In any case, let's extend Ron Kittle's brief reemergence into public by placing odds on who will be the first person to shoot Jose Canseco.

  • Alex Rodriguez, 20:1 - Would absolutely end up on TMZ hiding in the bushes outside Canseco's house and tell the paparazzi he was looking for his Uncle's watch or something.

  • Sammy Sosa, 15:1 - No tengo un arma. ¿Qué es un arma?

  • Rafael Palmeiro, 7:1 - Ended career as DH. Likes specialization. More likely to hire hitman.

  • Mark McGwire, 4:1 - Always seemed like the kind of guy to already own a gun. Also seemed like the kind of guy to tie them into pretzel shapes if his kid spilled a glass of water. Too many unknowns about his arsenal.

  • Mark David Chapman, 80:1

  • Roger Clemens, 3:1 - Running out of options to prove his innocence. Quickly resembling a rat in a maze looking for a piece of cheese that isn't there. From Texas, where people have guns everywhere including the fridge.

  • Bud Selig 2:5 - The betting window closes in a half hour and Bud's odds go down with each passing second. Place your wagers now.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, cooking with bricks.

  • HAVE you seen how skinny Travis Hafner looks this year in Indians camp? Don't be suspicious though. He went out of his way last week to make sure we knew he never did steroids.

  • WHO is Harold Baines?

  • WHAT was Jim Bunning thinking when he predicted Ruth Bader Ginsberg wouldn't make the year during a dinner speech? Oh right, he wasn't thinking. Because he's an idiot and he always has been.

  • PLANNING on taking advantage of the weak market and buying a home? Make sure it aint contaminated with meth!

  • DID you get your WBC results today? BBTF has em.

That'll do it for today. I am indeed in Florida. It is warm here. I start heading to camps on Wednesday, so I'll give you a taste of all that when it commences. Come back here tomorrow for more stuff. Same WoW channel.

(Picture lifted from Derek Farr's Flickr.)

Ken Griffey Jr. Implores You To Come To A Mariners Game

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Ken Griffey's return to Seattle has been viewed as a sentimental move, almost as much for the "buzz" as for the actual baseball. A look at Junior's contract may lend credence to that notion since it contains attendance based incentives. Last year the Mariners had their lowest turnout since 1995, when they were still playing in the picturesque Kingdome.

As Darren "Greaser" Rovell points out, the attendance incentive is not without precedent. Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Kenny Lofton have all had contracts with them. If the Mariners don't get any better all hope is not necessarily lost for Griffey. He could always make a T-Shirt Cannon and get people out to the park.

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The fallout from the Smiley Gonzalez fiasco continues to expand. Identity fraud on such a large scale rarely comes without some sort of financial scam attached, and it appears this one is linking back to last year's bonus skimming investigation involving White Sox scout David Wilder. Now thanks to the hilarious antics of former players Jose Rijo and Jose Oquendo, Wilder has been linked to bumbling Nationals GM Jim Bowden. Uh oh. Sound confusing? Let's refer to the newly minted muckracking wonders at SI.

Two sources inside baseball say that a long-time scout in Latin America, Jorge Oquendo, 47, is the man who links the FBI's investigations of Bowden and his special assistant Jose Rijo to that of former Chicago White Sox senior director of player personnel David Wilder. Last May the White Sox fired Wilder and two Dominican-based scouts after allegations surfaced that they had pocketed money earmarked for player signing bonuses. Oquendo worked for Wilder in 2006 and 2007, as well as for Bowden with the Reds in 1994 and again with the Reds from 2000 through 2003. Oquendo left Cincinnati in 2005, two years after Bowden was fired. (Bowden became Nationals GM in 2004.)

Oquendo says he's "totally shocked" that he was contacted by the FBI. His ties with Wilder go back to 1982 and he was one of the employees dismissed by the White Sox last year. Knowing that, you'd have to think "shocked" wouldn't be the first emotion that came to mind when the Feds called.

Rijo says that when the truth comes out he'll be vindicated, and Jim Bowden just denied any wrongdoing this morning. I guess he's not taking roster construction into account.

Without direct evidence linking Bowden to any of the skimming/fraud allegations you have to believe that it will be tough to link him to Federal crimes through chains of acquaintances. The story does have the potential to have some legs as a scandal. Wilder is a nightclub investor who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on a gay bar in Phoenix. What does that mean for Bowden? Probably nothing. But for people that write about it on the internet it equals more hits. GAY BAR, BASEBALL PLAYERS, GAY BAR, BASEBALL PLAYERS, GAY BAR!

(LOLBowden stolen from a McCovey Chronicles commenter.)

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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Players are doin' stuff! Playing light catch. Running some easy foul poles. Stretching. You know, the kind of pansy stuff that works out all the cobwebs that built up while they were sitting around drinking Bud Light and customizing their trucks all Winter. Even though a dead retarded monkey could handle the first week of camp, some guys are still all laid up with new injuries. Welcome to your first Creampuff of the '09 Season.

  • Alex Romero, Snakes: Romero got hit by a pitch in Venezuela and will miss about two weeks after X-Rays revealed a fracture. I wonder if "hit by a pitch" is code for "campaigned against the term limit referendum."

  • JD Drew, Red Sox: Florida State Seminole JD Drew had complained last week that the back pain that interrupted his 2008 season was still kind of a problem. Now he says that it's nothing to really worry about and he won't be missing any workouts or time. And people say Doan's doesn't work. Ha!

  • Jeff Francis, Rockies: Jeff Francis showed up at Rockies camp just to tell them he's gonna have shoulder surgery and miss the whole year. Yet he still has no problem breaking up with girls via text.

  • Aaron Miles, Cubs: Raped by a wallaby.

  • Toby Hall, Astros: Hall has been shut down until doctors can find the source of his shoulder pain. The Astros are concerned because, "Humberto Quintero, J.R. Towles and Rule 5 pick Lou Palmisano are the others fighting for the two catcher's slots on the roster." Wasn't J.R. Towles supposed to be good?

  • Mike Hampton, Astros: Mike Hampton was sent home last week with an irregular heartbeat, but everything was deemed ok. Why is he appearing on Creampuff then? Don't blame me, it's the law.

  • Boof Bonser, Twins: Bonser has an MRI set for Monday to get to the bottom of his sore shoulder. A source told me that he started applying deodorant with a hammer this offseason, so that could be part of it.

  • Adrian Beltre, Yuniesky Betancourt, Mariners: Beltre has a sore shoulder and Betancourt has a stiff hamstring. Hear all about it on Geoff Baker LIVE! even though "If people want to act like imbeciles, I can't walk into their living rooms and tell them to grow up."

  • Mike Maroth, Blue Jays: Maroth is going to try and pitch with a torn meniscus. I'm already predicting this to be the worst, and only, 2/3 of an inning Maroth will pitch all year.

Ernie's Imaginary Baseball Game - 1971

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Is the weather lousy where you live? Are you seeing video of camp in Florida and Arizona and wondering how it's possible that you live in the same country as people playing baseball? Outside? Classic TV Friday is here to help.

If the season seems too far away for you, take a cue from Bert and Ernie. Just hallucinate use your imagination and pretend it's time for baseball. See? No matter how old you are you can still find some good advice on Sesame Street.

That's why I live for free in a trash can. How's that mortgage working out for you, sucker?

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, sorry.

  • ARE you look for ideas on how your household can cope with the Xtreme Depression? Take some tips from The Diamondbacks.

  • YOU think you could take Verne Gagne now that he's 82 years old? You're probably wrong.

  • IS it really neccessary to throw a cheeseburger reference into this post about Alberto Callaspo? I think Mellinger is just trying to sneak in under the In-N-Out Mention Alarm.

  • WERE you aware of the Atlas-like burden on the shoulders of Kendry Morales? He's already the most successful Kendry in baseball history? What else does he have left to prove?

That wonderful picture of Jethro Kawakami (he's trying to fit in down there) was stolen from the Big League Stew photostream on Twitter. Speaking of which, did you know that Rob and I also have Twitters? They update automatically along with WoW so you can stay current with whatever we have going on. Also I can tell you what I'm having for dinner or who in my class I have a crush on.

So if technology is your bag then sign up, baby. Next, we're gonna get an AOL Chatroom. Pretty stoked about that. But until then you just come back tomorrow. Same WoW channel.

The Tao Of Dusty Baker, Jan-Feb 2009

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During the winter I can make a really long list of things I miss about baseball. Some are very tangible like having a game on every night while you're cooking dinner, or having nothing to do on a lazy weekend day and deciding to go to a game. You miss following the pennant races or you miss your hometown announcers. Pretty basic stuff.

But then there are other things about baseball that you don't realize you missed until they hit you in face like an open hand pudding slap. Dusty Baker's aphorisms are like that. They're so airy and mind dumbing that you forget what they're like until the ricochet of your eardrums once again.

Cincinnati Enquirer writer John Fay wears denim and blogs about the Reds and his interviews with Dusty Baker have a titanic Frost/Nixon quality about them that makes me happy to be alive. So here to help usher in your Spring is the Tao of Dusty. Out of context quotes lifted directly from John Fay's blog since the beginning of the year.

  • "I told Dickerson: Don't let everybody give away your potential job. You got to fight for your job. It's been a long, tough road to get to the big leagues. I'm not going to give away his job. But I'm not necessarily going to give him a job either."

  • Translation: Have you ever tried to hold onto a fistful of sand? It is there, then recedes. Dusty merely observes your attempt.

  • "That's huge. I was praying for Alex (Gonzalez). I was told you can't depend on Alex. He wasn't responding as well. I believe in miracles, too. I'm not saying this is a miracle. But I had a feeling that Alex was going to be better."

  • Translation: Dusty Baker is in direct communication with God. Or however you choose to define the live affirming force.

  • "I'm very impressed with the shape these guys are in. I was very impressed with the way they came in ready. I saw great attitude and very youthful, athletic bodies, pitching-wise."

  • Translation: The body is a temple. To perform your best you must harness both your mental and physical energies. It will be a real challenge to give all of these guys arm trouble, but Dusty is up for it.

  • "To be a pull hitter, you got to be perfect. It happens to a lot of people. It happened to me. He got that deadly disease -- it's not deadly but it's a disease -- I call it home run-itis. You start liking that trot. "

  • Translation: Being a pull hitter will not cause you to die... probably.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, red pork chile tamale.

  • DID you read my 25 Random Things over at The Stew? The commenters were pretty tame today although one did call me a chump. No one's done that since I fought Clubber Lang.

  • ARE you sad about Touch and Go records almost totally downsizing? Look at that list of labels they did distro for. End of an era, brostick.

  • DID you wish A-Rod a Happy President's Day on Monday? He was waiting for your call.

  • IS Ken Griffey now more likely to end up in Seattle than Atlanta?

  • WILL Rob fly up to Boston and attack John Henry for wanting a salary cap? Frankly, I'm sick of this dumb idea too.

  • IS Tim McClelland the smartest umpire in history? Sure seems like it. That's one enlightened take. Kudos to him.

You all have a wonderful night. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Same WoW channel.

Last Day To Get A Heist Ticket!

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Hey kids, we're getting those Heist tickets tomorrow. and today is the last day to reserve yo'self some. We've already exceeded our attendance expectations and want to make it even better. Pregame is gonna be the craziest, beeriest, shrimpiest tailgate party in Philly. We had some email problems earlier in the week so even if you've asked for a ticket, just confirm with Rob. If you haven't asked for one yet DO IT NOW. His email should be working just fine.

So come on out. Turn your internet friends into real life ones and watch some baseball while you're at it. We look forward to seeing all of you.

Esmailyn Gonzalez REALLY Not Who You Think He Is

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Everyone's got secrets. I've got secrets from her, she's got secrets from me and unless I hack into her email while she's in the shower again, there's a good chance we'll all stay in ignorant bliss keeping these things to ourselves. In the course of every day relationships it becomes easy to do this stuff. One major reason these things slide is that I've never given anyone a $1.4M signing bonus to be with me. Unfortunately, the Nationals aren't so lucky and just gave that amount of money to a guy who is not only older than they suspected... he isn't even the same guy.

A top Washington Nationals prospect and recipient of the largest international signing bonus in team history is not who he appeared to be. Esmailyn Gonzalez, who is listed as 19 years old on the team's roster, is actually 23-year-old Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo, four sources have told SI.com.

The Nationals, owned by the Lerner family, gave the shortstop from the Dominican Republic a $1.4 million signing bonus on July 2, 2006, and trumpeted his arrival as a sign of their commitment to acquiring top-tier talent. (Players from Latin America are not subject to the draft and can sign with the team of their choice.) "This signing is symbolic of the Lerner family's and incoming club president Stan Kasten's pledge to become an industry leader in scouting and player development,'' Washington general manager Jim Bowden said at the time of the deal.

It's really that quote that leaves Bowden with huevos on his face isn't it? The story goes on to say that even when people believed Lugo was a 19 year old they still weren't convinced of his talents and the next highest bonus he was offered was $700K by the Rangers. It had the potential to already be a massive scouting/signing blooper before Gonzalez Lugo went all Clark Rockefeller on everyone's ass.

There are legal issues in play now. Lugo falsified a bunch of documents to dupe the Nats and now may be ineligible to come to the US and attend camp. As for me, I'll be there in Viera, FL next week trying to convince Jim Bowden that I'm actually Nick Johnson and they need to start giving those paychecks to me instead of the fat guy with the broken leg.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, I see the opposite happening here.


We're going to take a 3 day weekend in honor of the Presidents or something. In Lloyd's case it's the Prime Minister. Or Emperor. I always forget what they have up there. Join us back here next week as we continue to get our Sea(son) legs under us. Have a good weekend. Bye now.

Jack Clark Is Red Hot - 1987

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How hot was Jack Clark to start the 1987 season? Let KSDK news in St. Louis try to put it into perspective with some awesomely dated analogies. I won't spoil them for you. I will tell you that if you ever wanted to watch Jack Clark round the bases in slow mo to a song about sexual obsession then this Classic TV Friday is made for you.

Take it away, Art Holliday!

Walkoff Walk's Citizens Bank Heist - July 11, 2009

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Hey kids. We picked a date. Our first ever WoW Field Trip, The Citizens Bank Heist will take place July 11 in Philadelphia for a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Man, I hope either Rinku or Dinesh are pitching.

If you want to go you have until next Wednesday, February 18 to email Rob and let him know how many tickets you would like. They're $30 each and he's buying them Thursday morning. You don't need to send any money or anything right now. Just tell us how many tickets you want. We're not buying any extras so if you think you wanna go, let him know. Once they're all purchased, he'll send you the payment info.

We understand that during the Xtreme Depressionⓒ everyone's fun money is limited and we thank you in advance for wanting to spend yours with us. Look out Philly, were coming for you on 7/11. JUST KIDDING DON'T TIP MY BUS OVER.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, she won't give up the names.

Another day over and deeper in debt. Sorry C of C kids! This has been a pretty good week so far. See you mar mar. Same WoW channel.

(Hanshin Cat from Flickr)

Voice Of The People: Steroids

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Where do you go if you want America's definitive take on baseball's steroid problem? Apparently anywhere but the College of Charleston. It's one of the most beautiful campuses I've been to, in one of my favorite American cities... but boy is this video a real piece of shit!

Join me as host Nate Newberry gets his facts totally wrong, student Duncan Berry rambles, student Erin Drewnaiananay also rambles, Baseball Connisseur Will Cochran wears one of David Byrne's t-shirts from Stop Making Sense, Melissa Kavanagh says the dumbest things I have ever heard in my ENTIRE LIFE (while being interviewed by a dude chewing gum and wearing a fey baseball cap) and Steroid Expert Kevin Broome bros it up, gives you his take and pounds his fist like he's probably juiced himself.

Stay in school, Dummies.

Like That Woman's Love, PECOTA Slipped Through My Hands

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Everyone's favorite individual player projections that are then extrapolated into a full team projection invented by that politics guy, the PECOTAS, were rolled out earlier this week. The AL Central and AL West both look super anemic. The West has devolved to the point where they had the A's, a team that doesn't even seem like they're trying to win anything, taking the division. That inspired the following blog post from the San Francisco Chronicle with the Scooby Dooesque headline, "PECOTA Favorites!?"

PECOTA... shows the A's squeaking into the playoffs with an 82-80 record in an extremely weak division. That's based on the A's offense improving while the Angels' hitting collapses.

Hard to take Februrary projections seriously, especially in a year when several big-time hitters remain unsigned, but PECOTA did hit a home run with its Tampa Bay projection last year. Expanding his horizons to politics, Silver then correctly predicted 49 states out of 50 in the recent presidential election.

Seems like the Angels have to get a hitter soon.

DO THEY? Well they did. They got a pretty decent one too. I'm a fan of Bobby Abreu's hitting, especially for $5M a year. One super enthusiastic fan is calling it "the best deal any team has made this offseason". I wouldn't go that far, so let's refer back to PECOTA. You gotta think those dashing dweebs updated already right? Let's hear it Clay Davenport. How does Abreu change the West?

More significant was Bobby abreu signing with the Angels. I pretty much gave him left field, cutting time that had been given to Terry Evans, Gary Matthews, Reggie Willits, Juan Rivera, and Brandon Wood; Rivera gets a bigger share of DH time to compensate... Anyways, since Abreu's stats come at the expense of lesser players, it delivers a big boost in the standings, changing them from 80-82 (second place) to 84-78 (first place).

PECOTA is fluid. PECOTA is changing. PECOTA is that woman in your office whose affections change with the weather. Just when you think you've got a hold on her the Angels sign Bobby Abreu. Or something. I'm so alone.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, it's quiet in here.

  • IS Miguel Tejada going to get 35 years in prison? It's not even an option but I just thought I'd ask.

  • YOU know who I'm almost sure was on steroids? The dude from Biohazard.

  • WHY are so many cars getting hit by trains in the UK? Probably because they're driving on the wrong side of the road.

  • DO you know which team is having pitchers and catchers report tomorrow? It's the Indians! I know, lame. But still, they're going to make it official. CAMP STARTS TOMORROW YOU IDIOTS!!! WHEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I need a nap. I had a Pastrami sandwich for lunch at the Fenway Bleacher Bar (warning, site contains annoying harmonica music). I gotta tell you, even though it's warm here today the field was still all slushy and baseball looks like a long way away. I'm looking forward to seeing teams in that Florida weather.

But hey, join us back here tomorrow as we take one monumental step closer to the regular season. Same WoW channel. You too, Monkey Baby.

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Rob is the alliterative one. Sue me.

Two more free agent slugger musical chairs were removed today. Cookies Abreu goes to the Angels in a 1 year, $5M deal and Adam Dunn becomes another cog in the Washington Nationals juggernaut. Dunn's deal is for two years and unknown money.

Abreu and Dunn are coming off pretty good years at the plate, OPS+ing at 120 and 129, respectively. Both come with realtively clean bills of health as well. As with almost everyone this offseason their market value is well below what it would have been only a winter ago, and both teams get proven bats at Xtreme Depressionⓒ prices. This also takes away two teams that were in the Manny Ramirez discussion so that hopefully he'll just sign with the Dodgers and we can stop talking about him.

Unless he goes to the Mets and we will all turn on him like a pack of wild dogs.

(Pictures provided by this dude and this dude.)

Baseball Players Victimized By Juiced Up Poultry

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You don't have to have read Fast Food Nation or be in the Michael Pollan fan club to understand that the meat you're eating from factory farms isn't exactly pure. Steroids, antibiotics, chemicals, minerals and other pharmaceuticals are often pumped into birds to increase the meat yield and counteract the cramped and lethargic lives of factory birds.

One of the steroids used in the chicken is an old A-Rod favorite, Primobolan, and according to Gourmet Magazine, eating chickens treated with the drug could cause someone to test positive for it themselves.

In addition to being taken by sluggers hoping to improve their batting averages, methenolone (sold under the trade name Primobolan), is administered to livestock to promote growth.

Gourmet's James Rodewald, who worked for Sports Illustrated before finding his true calling as a spirits editor (I'll leave it to you to determine what that has to do with his knowledge of performance-altering substances), brought my attention to a study conducted by researchers at Kings College London. The British scientists analyzed urine from eight men who had eaten chicken injected with the drug and found that half the subjects tested positive for methenolone 24 hours after dining. "Hence, eating meat containing small amounts of injected hormone may constitute a serious liability to the athlete," concluded the scientists.

J. Peterman would be shocked. How much better would that Gammons interview have been if Rodriguez had sat down and admitted to having a terrible chicken habit while in Texas? "I would just consume buckets and buckets of wings and thighs, Peter. I was young, dumb and full of fowl."

This was a major concern in Bejing last year where one chef said he saw half chicken breasts "large enough to feed a family of eight." Feeding those to an olympic athlete would have absolutely caused them to test positive. The cases aren't that extreme in the US but still exist. According to those party animals at the National Chicken Council use of steroids in chickens is illegal in the United States, but I'm pretty sure if there were drugs that baseball tests couldn't find, the USDA suffers from the same fallibility.

You're gonna tell me the bird in that picture up there isn't on anything?

Glendale's Spring Training Oasis Of Love

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Remember last Spring when the Dodgers were leaving Vero and everyone acted like their grandparents were getting divorced? Well Grandpa's gotta a fancy new dame out in Arizona that he, um, has to share with the White Sox. The brand spankin' new Camelback Ranch Glendale opens this week and it has some pretty lux amenities. Let's forget about The Xtreme Depressionⓒ (that's what we're calling it here) for a second and get excited about this shining new tribute to opulence out in the snoozy Arizona desert. Some of the bells and whistles:

A 2-acre lake, which will eventually be stocked for fishing, meanders through the complex. The reclaimed water will be used to irrigate. fields.

Fishing? Irrigation? If only the Joads had been going to Spring Training, tragedy may have been averted. What are the odds that Ned Colletti catches a stud starting pitcher and throws him back?

Fans can listen to live music on game days at a bandstand alongside the lake.

Dude, I hope it's Aces n Eights. They slay.

Spectators will find more fences around White Sox practice fields, while the Dodgers are more open to allow for player-fan interaction, as was tradition at their former spring home in Vero Beach, Fla.

Ha ha. Silly plebian. You have the gall to think you can get anywhere NEAR Lance Broadway? Not on your life. He's up here and you're down here. But got the urge to stab Jonathan Broxton? Have at it!

Among 12 practice fields are two replicas with exact dimensions of U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and Dodgers Stadium in LA.

To add to the realism there is crippling traffic outside the Dodgers' replica and you don't wanna be around the White Sox one once the sun goes down. Trust me.

About 5,000 plants and trees, including an orange grove, are being planted. Even the batter's eye is largely made of Afghan pines.

And all advance scouts from other clubs are Taliban. The Camelback Ranch Glendale, come get your spectator on!

Josh Beckett, Master Of Foreign Relations

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Join us on a trip to sunny Ft. Myers., economic boomtown and Spring Training home of the Red Sox and Twins. Boston Globe cameras were there to catch the introduction of of Josh Beckett and Takashi Saito, wherein Beckett puts on a rich display of diplomacy.

PECOTA loves the Red Sox bullpen with the additions of Saito and Ramon Ramirez. Their entire offseason was an excercise in low cost/high upside deals. So if you're a Boston fan, and not an impartial blogger like myself, you share Beckett's excitement about the relatively large batch of new guys.

The 2001 Texas Rangers

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A-Rod is coming clean about his PED use on ESPN tonight . Says he was "young" "stupid" and "naive." He basically chalks it up to "experimentation" like all people do when talking about drug use in their younger days.

But hey, that 2001 Rangers roster is to steroid experimentation what the crowd at a Disco Biscuits concert is to shrooms, acid and fish tranquilizers. So let's make up clever nicknames now and never bring it up again. Like when your parents catch you "experimenting" with cigarettes and make you smoke a whole carton.

  • Ivan Roidriguez
  • Rafael Roidmeiro
  • Alex Roidriguez
  • Ken Camisteroidniti
  • Kenny Roidgers
  • Gabe "Steroids" Kapler
  • Roidben Sierra
  • Roid Helling
  • Frank Cattalaroido
  • Darren Oliveroid
  • Roidy Velarde
  • Michael "I LOVE AMPHETAMINES!" Young
  • Pat Mahomes

Rinku And Dinesh Hit Pirate City

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Just a quick update. The guys have arrived in Bradenton. I'm unsure of what Pirate City is built on but I'm pretty sure it's not rock and roll. Their arrival got a great writeup from Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Well worth the read, even if I'm pretty sure he cleaned up their quotes. He relays the guys' realistic ambitions and says that their on field interactions with major leaguers will be limited at best.

But, as usual, the very best info comes from R&D themselves. On their blog they chronicle all of the excitement of arriving in camp complete with that age old go to joke... "turn your head and cough."

We also going American Doctor. this is first time we ever going doctor like this. He having many things he testing us with. They hit knee with rubber hammer. He looking in our nose and ears even. He also checking us for hernia. We not saying how he checking, but we happy JB Sir telling us Doctor doing this thing. If he not telling us, being big surprise.

That's what I call a full physical!

/squirts lapel flower

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So the other day I told you about the secret list of players that tested positive for steroids during MLB's 2003 testing, and how Will Carroll was pretty sure it wouldn't stay secret for long. Well he was right and the "bombshell" on the list is apparently Alex Rodriguez.

Listen, you know our take on steroids around here. We're loathe to talk about them too much, especially when I'm just trying to eat an avocado and listen to Car Talk. But this is likely to be the biggest story in the sports news cycle for the next week, so we'd look silly without it here.

By all means, use this thread to talk about what this all means, though the answer to that seems obvious. The revelation of steroid use over the past few years hasn't done anything except ruin the legacy of those implicated. The public is the final arbiter of how your career is ultimately judged and Rodriguez could now be forever linked with McGwire, Clemens, Bonds and Chyna. That rookie picture is a reminder of what a strange trip it's been for Rodriguez over the years.

Just don't expect us to harp on this for the rest of the Spring when there is real baseball about to be played and there are so many great stories that happen during camp. This is just kind of a snooze, dude.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, that bed used to be against the wall.


That's it for birthday week. I love you all. Even the filthy ones. Happy Arbor Day.

Rafael Palmeiro Pushes Coke - 1992

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Welcome to Hispanic Adolescence, where we trade worthless baseball cards and worship Rafael Palmeiro and wait for our parents to come home from being the underpaid backbone of this country for the past 30 years even though the woe-is-me-white-working-class pretends they are.

Imperialism lives. Get these kids a damned Coke. And hey, don't call me "Dude."

Walkoff Walk Field Trip: The Citizens Bank Heist

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Well guess what, kids. We're all gonna get out of the house and get some of that elusive fresh air. The first annual Walkoff Walk Field Trip is taking place this summer at the home of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. We're calling it The Citizens Bank Heist, and if you don't come we're gonna be really pissed off.

Summer is a busy time for traveling, and it's hard to explain your internet friends to your real friends. We get that. Therefore we're going to let those that are interested in actually attending help choose between the following dates:

6/20: vs. Baltimore, 7:00PM

  • 7/11 vs. Pittsburgh, 7:00PM
  • 7/25 vs. St. Louis, 7:00PM
  • So check with your significant other. Make sure you don't have some boring relative wedding you have to go to. Check flights (Southwest is mad cheap to Philly). Then either comment your preference or email us.

    We're probably going to buy a group of $30 outfield seats with a good view of the action, and a quick walk to crab fries and beeeeeeer. If that's too pricy let us know. We can be persuaded to sit elsewhere.

    Next week we'll announce a date.

    You don't wanna miss this, WoWies. There will be blood.

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    It's been an eventful week or so in the lives of two of our most famous steroid linked baseball legends. First there was that thing with Roger Clemens getting Icy Hot rubbed all over his Jackson to gain an extra edge. Then Brian McNamee (who for some reason I always picture looking like Cousin Oliver) said he has a syringe with a bunch of Rocket's DNA in it. Clemens' steroid news may be way sexier than anyone else's, but from a legal standpoint it's been developments with Barry Bonds that have the most implications.

    Court documents in his perjury trial were unsealed yesterday shedding some daylight on things that heretofore had just been rumored about. There's a tape recording and transcript of a conversation between Greg "Balco" Anderson and Barry's personal assistant. The weirdest part about that whole thing is that it was made by the assistant because he wanted to prove to Bobby Bonds that his son was on steroids. Bizarre. No wonder Barry has been trying to get his mind off things by partying with Rinku and Dinesh.

    There is also the matter of some drug tests from 2003 that show evidence of steroid use. The drug present, THG, had yet to be profiled by MLB testers so it was never flagged. According to our good friend Will Carroll, this is where the newest PR nightmare is going to come from.

    Drug testing works like a mug book on Law & Order. The witness flips through a book and when they see the face, they point. If the picture isn't there, they won't find it. Drug tests look for drugs they know and have the chemical profile for. (It's more technical than this, but that's the basic metaphor.) Since THG was unknown and no test existed, it wasn't found. Once it was known, the profile was added and it was easily detected.

    What's more interesting is that the master list of players that tested positive is in the possession of the IRS, seized as part of a raid on Comprehensive Drug Testing. I won't get into the constitutional or legal issues here, but with some of the evidence about to be unsealed heading into Bonds' trial, that list may well come public. Whether it's 96 or 103 - the number varies depending on your source - there's going to be names that weren't included in the Mitchell Report, which was not given access to that seized 'master list.' If not unsealed, well, nothing else in this case has stayed secret long.

    So there you go! We'll get a whole new list of names which will invariably contain one or two guys who go out of their way to prove their innocence. They'll be shown up as liars and we'll have to hear about their syringe habits and testicular inflammatories of choice during their trial. Which will inevitably lead to more names. And so goes the MLB steroid scandal, with a longer half life than plutonium.

    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, heed advice towards the right door.

    • GET it? That's "Best of Jill Hives". One of my favorite GBV songs.

    • YOU don't think we forgot all the wonderful contributors we had during this first year did you? We had guest writers like Will Carroll. We had commenters write pieces about their playoff teams. We had Troy From WV make a video just for us. And of course the post season blog stylings of Sooze and the immortal Tuffy. Todd Jones even announced his retirement here. Thanks to all of them and everyone else I didn't mention. Couldn't have done it without you.

    • ARE you excited for our thoughts on Manny, syringes and other noteworthy items of the week? Well tomorrow we're back to our regularly scheduled newsbashing.

    See you all then. Same WoW Channel.

    The Best Of Rob Iracane, August Through January- A Listicle

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    In honor of Walkoff Walk's first year anniversary, we thought we'd take the opportunity to pat ourselves on our backs and present to you some of our best work over the past twelve months. Because what's the point of blogging if you can't take a break and do a silly clip show from time to time? Here's Rob Iracane's best work from the second, lazier half of our blog history as judged by me, the Clooney one on the blog:

    Charlie Manuel Fears Change, Falling and Not Being Able to Get Up: Rob investigates which teams use the most and least amounts of different lineups. He ends up praising eventual champ, Charlie Manuel for using the fewest permutations. Pretty prescient analysis from a guy who's favorite band is The BoDeans.

    Angel of Death Arrives at Skip Caray's Funeral: Later that day he spotted the Grim Reaper.

    Help Us Name Bowling Green's Pro Baseball Team: Rob comes up with the brilliant campaign to get the Bowling Green minor league team named The Cave Shrimp. We eventually fail but the townie comments on this one are pretty great. Especially "KyMom." She sounds slippery.

    Astros Fans Cry Foul (HAAHAH GET IT? FOUL?) Over Relocation: We talked a lot about Astros players and fans being total dinks about those hurricane makeup games. Here Rob fires the opening salvo.

    In Triple-A Affiliate Merry-Go-Round, Only Winners are Moving Companies: In which Rob once again pushes Walkoff Walk to new heights in web design.

    I Went to the Last Game at Yankee Stadium and All I Got Was This Dumb Magnet: Rob's relatively unsentimental take on the final game at Yankee Stadium. It's also the first post in which he mentions he has a girlfriend, which to this day causes everyone at Blogger Union Meetings to scream "SCABS!" at us.

    Latino Red Sox Fans Lament Lack of Latino Red Sox Players: Identifying with the Latino Red Sox Fan. Rob is measured and makes some salient points. Also, puts up a picture of a midget.

    Masters of Their Fates: Eulogizing the 2008 Yankees: If you think this is anguished wait till the Yankees miss another World Series with this new roster. Eep.

    Wednesday Night Liveglog Club: World Series Game One: It was impossible to pick my favorite RobGlog, but this was a damn good one. Everything around here got stepped up a notch for the postseason.

    Changeups We Can Believe In: David Price is the Barack Obama of Baseball: Rob combines two of last fall's biggest hype machines. All it needed was some Jonas Brothers and our server would have exploded.

    The Greatest Day in Philadelphia's 300-Year History: Another field trip chronicle. I always look forward to these. Especially because it means Rob is out of the office and not bugging me on GChat all day.

    Jeff Kent: Motorcycle Enthusiast, Homophobe, Political Activist: Wherein Rob reveals Jeff Kent's staunch support of Prop 8, and we come out against it as a blog. Even though no one asked us and we don't live in California. But according to Google Analytics a lot of our readers do.

    Hey ESPN, Buy This Baseball Blog Instead: Rob makes a sales pitch for ESPN to buy WoW. Not only is it a good article, he got to use Money Baby, which he loves.

    Baseball Writers Use Economic Recession As Straw Man: Even we got swept up in Global Financial Crisis Fever! This post got Rob his NPR show: "Talkin' Subprime With A Jersey Goon."

    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, dress in layers.

    • IS Jon Heyman in Scott Boras' pocket? Rich Lederer at Baseball Analysts does an exceptional job laying on and breaking down the evidence. Required reading if you're into media stuff.

    • WHERE were you when you heard that Rinku and Dinesh were leaving LA? It's just like Guy Clark said it would be. They had a going away party and Barry Bonds showed up. He loves these guys as much as us. On to Pirate City!

    • WILL Bobby Abreu be roaming the cavernous outfields of Seattle? Probably not. He's primarily a DH at this point. But Geoff Baker wants to see him do it for the Mariners.

    • WILL Jose Offerman get another chance in American baseball? He's coaching in the Caribbean and seems remorseful about that bat incident. I didn't know he gave a guy a career ending concussion during that melee.

    Tomorrow we'll continue our pre-camp thumb twiddling with some more best of and fresh news... if anyone in baseball actually decides to make any. Same WoW channel. You too, Penguin Baby.

    The Best Of Rob Iracane, February Through July

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    In honor of Walkoff Walk's first year anniversary, we thought we'd take the opportunity to pat ourselves on our backs and present to you some of our best work over the past twelve months. Because what's the point of blogging if you can't take a break and do a silly clip show from time to time? This one is for Ron Iracane, that guy I work with. It's his best work as judged by me: the handsome wild card of the group.

    Chipper Jones Chimes In; Nobody Notices: The opening salvo in the Rob vs. Chipper Jones war that lead to Chipper becoming a WoW commenter. Also notable for the use of the phrase "nubian harem."

    Salomon Torres' Daughters Love The Sausage: Rob worked on this photoshop for about 5 hours, ensuring that anytime Salomon Torres was remotely involved in a story, we wrote about it.

    Pelican Kamikazes Japanese Reporter; Radiation Kamikazes Jon Lester's Tumor: Madcap slapstick antics involving Dan Shaughnessy, a pelican and a Japanese guy. Sounds like quality television.

    Corey Patterson Watch: Game Twenty: Rob's idea to recap Corey Patterson's entire season in detail is actually what brought a lot of people to this site for their first time. People love stats. And Dusty Baker jokes.

    The Case For Expansion: Rob gets all opinionated and facty in one of the most debated and well written posts of the site's first year.

    Yes I Am A Soxapologist: I think we've done a pretty good job at staying impartial this season. Rob even moreso than I.

    Twins Call Adam Everett While Crying, Ask Him To Come Home: In which Rob ponders the meaning of "contemplative outright assignment form."

    Willie Mays Is Everbody's Awesome Grandpa: Rob recaps that much ballyhooed episode of Costas Now for those of us that don't have cable. I remember people talking about this after Rob wrote it, but not before. He's a tastemaker, you see.

    Orioles Fans Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love With Team's Success: It got bad early for O's fans this year. This may be my favorite headline/picture combo.