Kris Liakos: May 2009 Archives

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So what are you up to this weekend? You probably shouldn't garden since last time you got that nasty Poison Ivy mustache. You can't go out for a drive because that bum is living in your car and you're too scared to kick him out. Perhaps you just oughta take it easy and watch some baseball. Let Walkoff Walk be your guide to the best NL and AL series taking place. And for christ's sake, put some calamine on that.

Reds at Brewers

  • Tonight: Johnny Cueto vs. Braden Looper
  • Tomorrow: Aaron Harang vs. Dave Bush
  • Sunday: Micah Owings vs. Yovani Gallardo

Milwaukee had a 2 game lead in the Central as recently as last week but has lost 5 of 6 and dropped to a game back of the Cardinals. The Reds are going the other way, having won their last 4 and sit just a game and half back. Tonight's Cincy starter, Johnny Cueto has been the squad's ace, and one of the best starters in the NL. They've roughed up Milwaukee P Braden Looper in two starts this season.

Combine that with a wave of injuries that has swept over the Crew and it should be a very good Friday and possibly a very good weekend for Dusty's boys. With the Cardinals taking on the feisty Giants this weekend, the Central could have a new leader on Monday.

Red Sox at Blue Jays

  • Tonight: Tim Wakefield vs. Casey Janssen
  • Tomorrow: Brad Penny vs. Brian Tallet
  • Sunday: Jon Lester vs. Ricky Romero

Twas just over a week ago that the Red Sox sent the Blue Jays into a tailspin by sweeping them at Fenway. The vaunted Blue Jays Offence went cold and was held to just 5 runs and 2 home runs. The good news for Toronto may be that, despite losing their ninth straight game on Thursday, they posted 10 runs and are looking to build confidence at the plate.

They face the same three Boston pitchers they struggled so mightily against last week, and again the Red Sox will miss Roy Halladay's turn in the rotation. In a postgame press conference after the final game of the last series, Terry Francona said he couldn't remember that ever happening. He won't be able to say that this time.

Despite it all, the Blue Jays will be ecstatic to be home and done with their nightmare road trip. Removing that mental block could go a long way and I don't think Toronto fans are wrong for trying to put on a good face for the weekend.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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First, some good news to report. No major leaguers were raped by wallabys this week. The neighborhood watches are really working. It just goes to show that community involvement is the most effective tool in combating Marsupial Sex Crimes. Keep up the good work and stay vigilant everybody.

  • Buddy Carlyle, Braves: After begging out of the role of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz due to an extreme allergy to the silver makeup used during filming, he later found success in television. First, as private dick Barnaby Jones, then lovable country bumpkin Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. Oh I'm sorry, that's Buddy Ebsen. Carlyle hurt his back.

  • Rocco Baldelli, Red Sox: My friend Rocco, is dealing with lingering hamstring issues that could be related to his mitochondrial problem. Looks like it's time to take down the "I'm feeling good" sign.

  • Ryan Freel, Farney, Cubs: Both Freel and Farney are on the deel with strained left hammies, making this the 12th consecutive time they've both suffered the exact same injury at the exact same time, dating back to when Freel's mother dropped him on his head.

  • Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: Furcal returned to the lineup last night but if you thought I was going to leave someone with a strained buttock off of this list you don't read this site very much.

  • Nomar Garciaparra, A's: Nomar re-injured the right calf muscle that had already sidelined him earlier in the year, thus completing the rare feat of hurting every part of his body twice. When I was writing about Eric Chavez last week I came across an article that said Nomar was signed as an "insurance policy" in case Chavez couldn't get/stay healthy. If he was a real insurance policy the salesman would be arrested.

  • Brett Myers, Phillies: Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Myers is looking at 3-4 months of rehab following his upcoming hip surgery. It's a blow to the Champs' rotation but also greatly increases their likability.

  • Kenji Johjima, Mariners: J/Ohjima was placed on the deel and is looking at 6-8 weeks of sitting due to a broken big toe. Jeff Clement "accidentally" dropped a bowling ball on it, but alas he has a knee injury preventing him from catching so the Mariners called up Guillermo Quiroz. Quiroz is hitting .188 with no home runs. CATCH MARINERS CATCHER FEVER.

  • Aki Iwomura, Jason Bartlett, Rays: Whoops. Right after I declared the Rays dead for 2009 they lost their entire middle infield. CTC IS A WITCH. Aki is out for the year but Bartlett is going to miss only the minium 15 days, due to his scrappiness.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I dreamt of a factory where they manufactured what I needed.

Tomorrow is Funky Freaky Foie Gras Friday. First 100 commenters get some funky freaky foie gras. So join us, dudes and dames. Same WoW Channel.

Bear In There: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 12:05, Rays at Indians: David Huff is your starter today for the getting warmer Cleveland Indians. They've has won 4 out of it's last 5 despite the fact that in one of those games Huff allowed 6ER in 3IP to Cincinnatti. In his previous start he allowed 6ER in 3.2 innings. I guess what I'm saying here is that Tampa definitely has the potential to score some runs and avoid the broom closet. Jeff Niemann goes for Dem Rays.

  • 1:10, Red Sox at Twins: Getting the season's first glimpse of Joe Mauer has made the hearts of Sox writers and fans go pitter patter. They are indeed coveting thy rival's catcher and talking about Boston trying to bring him into the fold when his contract expires after next season. Personally, it feel like the smarmiest kind of big market roster looting and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Appreciate what you already have, people. SOOZE GON GLOG IT.

Cubs Sale Bogging Down Like Cubs Team

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You know how a meat thermometer has the little nub that pops up whenever your turkey is done? Bud Selig has a vein in his head that does the opposite. According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the longer this Cubs sale takes to get finalized, the angrier the Commish's office gets.

According to sources, (Selig) speaks to both the Zell and Ricketts camps frequently, hearing their sides of the gridlock that has kept the deal from being passed along to Major League Baseball's 29 owners for approval. It's easy to imagine steam coming out of Selig's ears when he gets off the phone, angry that one of his premier franchises remains in such an awkward state of limbo.

You can picture Selig wadding up some document he had just been faxed and flinging it against the windows of his Milwaukee high-rise. He wanted this deal done in 2007, would have settled for 2008 and long ago was assured it would happen by Opening Day. No one seems to know when it will happen, which could leave the hands of Cubs general manager Jim Hendry tied at the July 31 trade deadline.

"It's not even on our desk," the MLB source said. "We can't do anything until we have it. We wish we had it already."

Ownership of the club has been a travashamockery ever since the Tribune's sale. As Rogers points out, Sam Zell never wanted to own the team, yet he has for 2.5 years now. If the two sides had enough of an agreement in place to announce it publicly, usually the last step to avoid egg on face, the delay in the proceedings is a real head scratcher. Perhaps Ricketts is balking on signing papers until he sees how the market goes. Perhaps Zell has added to the team's price. Perhaps there was never anything more than a casual handshake deal in the first place but the two sides were so anxious to get Bud Selig off their asses that they announced it anyway.

Perhaps they should have just let Mark Cuban buy it. Haha, I'm just kidding.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, you can't spell limes without L-I-M-E-Z.

Have a good evening WoWies. Sorry for no liveglog today, but you knew we'd make it up to you. The illustrious Sooze is here tomorrow, doing Sox/Twinks. Getcha some. Same WoW Channel.

(Photo source: Flickr user GeorgiaInfo)

Oh Great, NOW You Can Major In Baseball

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If there's one thing besides baseball that I like to keep an eye on, it's changes in the Japansese HIgher Education System. It many ways it's the most beautiful sport there is. Japanese people taking classes, Japanese people riding their bikes to those classes, Japanese people graduating. It's the true "Sweet Science," and I can't get enough. So imagine my wonderment today when my love of the Japanese Higher Education System collided with my love of baseball! It was like Christmas AND Japanese Christmas all rolled into one. Not only is one university over there about to change how their students choose a path of study, they're gonna offer a baseball major. Neat.

What is interesting about this new development is that the Shikoku Gakuin Daigaku is adding the major of Baseball Science, which is the first such program in any Japanese university. The main subjects the students will be able to study majoring in Baseball Science will be:

  • History of Japanese Baseball
  • Baseball Information Analysis
  • Baseball Methodology
  • Baseball Management
  • Health and Sports Nutrition
  • Introduction of Baseball Communication

The dream of the university is for one of their alumni to become a major league player and expand the business of baseball and develop more "Baseball People" who can contribute to the industry. The school hasn't produced many NPB players. One of the few baseball alumni from Shikoku Gakuen Daigaku is former Hiroshima Toyo Carp Kouichi Amano, currently the manager of the Fukui Miracle Elephants in the Baseball Challenge League.

"Can he hit a curveball?"

"No chance in hell, but he got an A in Intro to Offspeed Pitching so I'm still gonna sign him."

I'm trying to picture what this would be like but all I keep getting are flashbacks to when my friend Tommy got the Extra Innings package so we could watch the Red Sox in Tallahassee. And that's a little fuzzy, so I gotta tell ya, I'm interested to see how this all works out. I also have no doubt that Tony LaRussa is going to try and get a doctorate in this so he can post his diploma all over the clubhouse.


Last night I finally got around to seeing the film Sugar. It was very simple, very moving and probably my favorite movie of the year thus far. It's unflinching portrayal of a talented Dominican pitcher susceptible to the tidal forces of both Major League Baseball and a new country had such a raw emotional feel, it seemed like it was shot entirely in close up. It comes highly recommended for the cliche sounding, but wonderfully executed, look at the actual humans behind the game we love, dissect, write and talk about. The nature of talent isn't as fleeting anywhere as it is in the gauntlet of proving yourself in the minor leagues and beyond.

And that brings us to the story of Daniel Cabrera. Once one of baseball's most closely watched arms, his inability to bring any consistent control to the mound drove him out of Baltimore up the beltway to DC. Life wasn't any sweeter there for the one time potential ace. In 40 IP with the Nats this year he walked 35, struck out only 16 and had an astounding 10 wild pitches. Not content with just giving Cabrera his walking papers, Mike Rizzo took an exasperated and poorly worded shot at the pitcher. It was however, fitting for both his title of Acting GM and that organization in general.

The team informed the right-hander of its decision after Tuesday night's 6-1 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.

By removing Cabrera from the roster, the Nationals will eat the remainder of his one-year, $2.6-million contract.

"You have to put your best 25 players on the roster that are giving you a chance to win," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "I look beyond the contract and look at the execution and performance of the player, and it wasn't up to par. I was tired of watching him."

Hey Rizzo, I'm pretty sure people are tired of watching your entire putrid team. That's a real shame that the contract wasn't up to par. A shame for the sorry club that handed it out.

Cabrera didn't deserve a spot on the club. I'd be pretty mad if he was pitching for my squad. But for Rizzo to single out a guy on a team that's 20 games under .500 in MAY in such sophomoric fashion is lousy. I'm no bleeding heart (ok, yes I am) but it's especially jarring to read a quote like that the day after diving into the highly personal and affecting world of players in Sugar. That's some front office they've got down there in the Capital. Baseball in Washington will always be a disaster.

(Coke oweage goes out to Sportingnews Mottram.)

  • 1:05, Cardinals at Brewers: In this afternoon's rubber scuffle, Todd Wellemeyer takes on Manny Parra (never heard of him). Despite their 1-0 win last night, St. Louis is still 2-10 in their last 12 against the Crew. O AN WINNER TAKES 1IRST PLACE. The Cardinals are doing okay for a team that finds it nearly impossible to score runs on any given night.

  • 1:35, Blue Jays at Orioles: Bad news, Baltimore. It's Halladay Day. The Blue Jays have their best shot at snapping their 8 game skid with Doc on the mound, and would love to end this nightmarish road trip on a high note. The lineup is definitely in a funk and first place Boston heads to Toronto on Friday. Big game against the Orioles? I think so.

  • 2:10, Tigers at Royals: Just a few weeks ago Rick Porcello was the baby faced rook that Detroit fans were excited about. After a few weeks and just 3 ER allowed in his last 24 IP, he's already become a rock in the rotation. Despite dropping last night's contest the Tigers have a 3 game lead over Kansas City and their rotation, with Porcello, Edwin Jackson and Dontrelle Willis all pitching well, is gaining strength.

  • 2:20, Pirates at Cubs: The Cubs finally broke their losing streak in last night's rain shortened contest. With no one else in the division playing exceptionally well, they stiill find themselves only a handful of games back. And with the Pirates only 2 games behind them, stealing rubber in today's matchup is big for both teams. Zach Duke takes on Carlos Zambrano. Pirate Bear!

  • 3:10, Dodgers at Rockies: Afternoon baseball out west. Alright. Everyone is getting smaller in LA's review mirror. No one seems in position to kill our catch them. NICE GUY CLARK REFERENCE. Ubaldo Jimenez tries to keep Clayton Kershaw out of the broom closet.

  • 3:35, Mariners at A's: Erik Bedard vs. Trevor Cahill. Because they've already sold some people tickets.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, now in Hazelnut, Irish Cream and Stinging Regret.

Until tomorrow. You know how I like it. Same WoW Channel.

(Waveland Ave Rooftop photo stolen from the Cubscentric Flickrstream of Wallyg)


Cal Poly (37-19) (Wine Country White People)
Oral Roberts (31-13) (Oral)

Clemson (40-19)* (Hot Women, Dudes Love Croakies)
Tenn. Tech (30-22-1) (Advanced Still Builders)

Oklahoma State (32-22) (Advanced Stillwater)
Alabama (37-19) (Elephant Logo Makes No Sense)

East Carolina (42-17)* (The Forgotten Carolina)
Binghamton (29-20) (Birthplace of Jason Yurgartis)

George Mason (42-12) (Actually More Than One Guy)
South Carolina (38-21) (Hot Girls, Dudes Love Croakies)

4 UNC (42-16)* (Were Supposed To Be Better)
Dartmouth (27-16) (Smart Kids To Slaughter)

Kansas (37-22) (Most Kansas Team In Tourney)
Coastal Carolina (46-14) (WHO KEEPS ADDING NEW CAROLINAS?)

2 CS Fullerton (42-14)* (Mascot Is "Stoned Hoagie")
Utah (26-29) (Racists)

Gonzaga (35-16) (Great Jumpshooters)
Ga. Southern (42-15) (Also A Paper Company)

Louisville (44-15)* (Team Motto: Do The Urkel)
Indiana (32-25) (More like WINDIANA amirite?)

Vanderbilt (34-25) (Named After Bobo Vanderbilt)
Middle Tenn. (43-16) (America's Sternum)

Florida State (42-16)* (I Hope They Don't Lose To Marist)
Marist (31-26) (I Hope They Don't Beat Us)

Ohio State (40-17) (Ecstatic To Play SEC Team)
Georgia (37-22) (Elephant 6-4-3)

7 Oklahoma (41-18)* (In Oklahoma)
Wichita State (30-25) (Excited For Trip To Oklahoma)

Washington St. (31-23) (Moist)
Arkansas (34-22) (Fries Their Gloves In Offseason)

6 UC Irvine (43-13)* (I DO See Irvine)
Fresno State (32-28) (No Fear Shirts)

San Diego State (40-21) (Named After This Aztec)
Virginia (43-12-1) (Dudes Love Croakies)

Mississippi (40-17)* (Liberal Pantywaists)
Monmouth (32-23) (French For "My Mouth")

W. Kentucky (39-18) (The Forgotten Kentucky)
Missouri (34-25) (Least Kansas Team In Tournament)

Rice (39-15)* (Pilaf)
S. Houston St. (36-22) (Pronounced Shoe-stunst) Xavier (38-19) (Starts With X) Kansas State (41-16-1) (Fourth Most Kansas Team In Tournament)

3 LSU (46-16)* (Covered In Gravy)
Southern (30-15) (Lost Civil War Of Generalities)

Baylor (29-24) (Named After Don Baylor)
Minnesota (38-17) (Dinkytown Ding Dongs)

*Host institution for regional round


Well, damn. The Florida State Seminoles (my alma mater) lost to The University Of Virginia Cavaliers (Rob's alma mater) in the ACC Tournament.

The loss not only pushed the Noles out of one of the all-important top 8 seeds, but because life isn't awful enough, the godforsaken Florida Gators snuck in to the 8th seed. The Noles will still host a regional but... ugh. Bad FSU postseason history plus the stench of that Gainesville horseshit makes a man weary of this tourney.

Your 5 word or less breakdown of each clubs using my half experience/half sterotype analysis of the university, below.

1 Texas (41-13-1)* (Cool Music)
Army (34-19) (Veteran's Day Homer Pick)

Boston College (33-24)(My Obnoxious Neighbors)
Texas State (41-15) (Only since 1845!)

TCU (36-16)* (Sunburned Religious Freaks)
Wright State (33-28) (Somewhere West of Pennsylvania?)

Oregon State (35-17) (Don't Be Hard On Beaver)
Texas A&M (36-22) (Ants and Moths. And Mescaline)

Georgia Tech (35-17-1)* (Tech = Cola)
Georgia State (39-20) (Actually in Tennessee)

Southern Miss (35-23)(Oxford Is For Liberal Yankees)
Elon (40-16) (Backwards Nole)

8 Florida (39-20)* (DIE!)
Beth.-Cookman (32-26) (Beth Cookman)

Jacksonville (36-20) !
Miami (Fla.) (36-20) (Weather Name, Fairweather Fans)

5 Arizona State (44-12)* (NO YOU ARE)
Kent State (42-15) (Neil Young Shoots Kids)

In Memoriam: Teams That Are Dead This Memorial Day

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Like I said last year, Memorial Day is a time for reflection. A time for deep thought about what else you can possibly put Montreal steak seasoning on, about how much you hate winter and whether or not it's hypocritical to be celebrating today off when you forgot that we're currently in two wars. So here I am again trying to simpify things for you. In fact, if you're a fan of one of the following teams you can stop paying attention to baseball altogether because you're not seeing any playoffs. Bank on it. Go use that brain power for something useful.

  • Washington Nationals: I'm really going out on a limb with this one, but the team that has a winning pct of almost 100 points lower than any other in baseball deserves not only to be on this list, but they deserve to be at the top. I'd like to see you give up 244 runs through this point in the season. Not even the Orioles or Indians can do that! First in war, first in peace and last in the National League. Your Nationals, everybody.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates are bogged down near the bottom of the standings in runs scored, with 192 total and only 91 scored in May. Their .395 team SLG also resides in the bottom 3rd. Excellent team fielding has kept their mediocre staff from being laughed off the mound, but won't be nearly enough to bring the Pirates a winning season before the next Ice Age.

  • Houston Astros: The Astros are terrible and if Cecil Cooper doesn't get fired soon we'll all know Drayton McLane doesn't even care anymore. They're dragging around a 4.72 team ERA and over the weekend talking Hummel figurine Ken Rosenthal mentioned that the Phillies could be in discussions to acquire Roy Oswalt. His spot in the rotation would be filled by this veteran.

  • Every Team In The NL West Other Than The Dodgers: Not even a 9 game winning streak by the Padres can make this division interesting. Especially since even with their current "tear" they've scored a microscopic 70 runs for the month. But hey, Tim Lincecum!

  • Tampa Bay Rays: It's no secret that Tampa's pitching is not as good as it was last year. Nor is that a surprise. Conversastion about the team leading up to the season centered on how the staff, especially the bullpen, was built on a handful of career seasons. Indeed their ERA is .80 higher than last season. They've scored more runs than any other team in baseball, which would normally keep them off this list, but their BABIP is sitting at a not gonna stay there .327. You can dock them for being in baseball's toughest division. Also, screw the Rays.

  • Baltimore Orioles: Hey, they're better than the Nationals! Anyone wanna buy Jeremy Guthrie a sandwich? He's trying not to spend money.

  • On life support: A's, Indians, Marlins

  • Not as healthy as they look: Cardinals, Angels

Memorial Day Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, you bounced right back again.

  • WHAT can I say about the weekend series that Rob and our commenters haven't said already? I like interleague and there are some good and meaningful matchups over the next couple of days. Enjoy them over beer and a burger.

  • DO you like to eat at the beach? I actually hate it. Sand in my sandwich is a real downer.

  • WILL Rob be greeted at the Heist by an angry mob of Philly natives holding torches and pitchforks? Those commenters don't like me very much either, but I go by my alias. DONT YOU KNOW WHO THE DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPS ARE?

This weekend you'll be in the usual steady hands of Mr. Drew Ghostrunnerbluejayfan. Monday we'll be off EXCEPT for one post. In a tradition unlike any other, I'll be dropping in with my Teams That Were Dead By Memorial Day piece. While you're chopping the condiments for the day's feast, bring the laptop into the kitchen as I declare a handful of teams (and not just the obvious ones) completely out of contention. Should be fun.

Enjoy your long weekend, Americans. Enjoy your regular weekend, Un-Americans. We love you all equally. Same WoW channel.

Let's Go Mets Go - 1986

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So the Mets are in Boston this Classic TV Friday to take on the Red Sox. What better way to stare into the face of the moribund (for Sox fans) history between these two clubs by posting the theme song to the 1986 Champion New York Squad, "Let's Go Mets Go."

Dude's vocals are overwrought and seriously Pall Mall inflected. There are wacky player antics, Gary Carter looks like a tool, there are a bunch of Mets fans in half shirts and a Joe Piscopo sighting. Does it look horribly dated? Good. That should remind you how long it's been since the Mets won a title.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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  • Chipper Jones, Omar Infante, Braves: Rub Chipper's bunions for him. He aggravated an existing one and says "I HAVE SWELLING ON THE JOINT ALREADY." He is questionable for their series with Toronto this weekend. Infante is not questionable, he's on the deel with a broken finger. This article refers to him as a versatile veteran which is also how I'd describe Regis Philbin and and Bob Vila.

  • Carlos Quentin, White Sox: Carlos also has trouble with los pies. The slugger has plantar fasciitis which used to be called plantar's warts I think. Between this and the bunions I hope you're not reading whilst eating.

  • Edinson Volquez, Joey Votto, Reds: That vaunted (by me) Reds rotation takes a hit, as Volquez lands on the deel with back spasms. His injury brings about one sure sign of summer. As sure as the opening of beaches, the starting of grills and the opening of lousy films, Homer Bailey will mark the start of the dog days with a disappointing call up. Go get em, Homes. Votto has an ear infection and will miss the last week of first grade.

  • Alfredo Amezaga, Marlins: It's rare to see this type of candor when speaking about injuries but Amezaga hit the deel this week due to a combination of a knee bruise and the fact that the Florida bullpen sucks. Refreshingly honest!

  • Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Now here's a guy that can't catch a break. Weeks has spent the past couple seasons alternating between being on the DL with a bum right wrist, and looking lost at the plate. He came into 2009 healthy and was off to his best start ever showing some real power at the plate. Alas, fate is cruel and he just had season ending surgery to repair a torn sheath in his left wrist. Poor bastard.

  • Glen Perkins, Twins: Perkins is on the 15 day with swelling in his elbow. It isn't believed to be serious and he'll only miss a couple of starts. It could even be a blessing in disguise, allowing Perkins some free time to work on his IPhone app that records your dreams.

  • Gary Sheffield, Mets: Sheff missed a few games with food poisoning. I thought the food at Citi was supposed to good.

  • Edgar Renteria, Giants: Lingering hamstring issues have kept Edgar out of the lineup for the past 4 games. Lingering jamon issues from Spain have kept Rob in the office bathroom since Tuesday.

  • Vicente Padilla, Rangers: Rob and I were discussing the rubber arms of Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla this week, whilst looking at the high number of innings and pitches that Rangers starters are throwing this season. Apparently Padilla's whole body aint made out of the stuff though. He's got a strain in the deltoid muscle behind his throwin shoulder. Whoops.

  • Don Baylor, Rockies: Raped by a wallaby.

  • Elijah Dukes, Nationals: Elijah landed on the DL this week with hamstring issues, bringing a whole new meaning to the term Voodoo Sabermetrics. Scary, y'all.

A: Hey kids. Good question. I had a salad, a bowl of chowder, a Fenway Frank, a slice of cheese pizza (not pictured), carrots, two scoops of mashed potatoes and a giant slab of rare roast beef. With gravy.


Q: That's it?

A: No, I also had some vanilla soft serve with Butterfinger on it.


Q: You're a pig.

A: That's not a question.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Elephant Bones


Here's what happened last night in baseball while everyone was on everyone's drugs.

Yankees 11, Orioles 4, Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 3: Though the Yankees and Sox weren't playing each other last night, they engaged in a long distance arms race. In Baltimore, Swisher, Cano and Cabrera went back-to-back-to-back off the straight strugglin' Jeremy Guthrie in the 2nd inning. The game stayed close before NY hung 6 runs on the Bodymore bullpen in the 8th.

Meanwhile, in Boston the Red Sox hit 5 happy jacks off of Toronto phenom Brett Cecil. 4 of them came in a 4 dong, 6 run 5th inning. Even Papi Ortiz went yard. I was doing the press box thing last night and was concerned about not being able to cheer if Ortiz did finally go tot. Luckily I had taken a little stroll around the park to fill out an all-star ballot when he hit it out. I cheered. But still, don't get too excited Sox fans. He still looks awful up there. Brad Penny got tagged all game but luckily they were hit right at his outfielders. Jacoby Ellsbury tied the single game putout record with 12.

Reds 5, Phillies 1: Cincinnati snapped a 4 game skid by riding the Droopy Dog jowls of Aaron Harang. Dude threw 7 innings of 9K/4H ball. Brandon Phillips had 3 RBI. The only Philly run came on a Raul Ibanez solo joint.

Cardinals 2, Cubs 1: As my dago colleague pointed out, and Tuffy so eloquently recapped, this was Chris Carpenters ninth career start coming off the DL. Wow. But I guess there's a reason St. Louis keeps welcoming him back. Much like Abe Lincoln the guy is great when healthy. His 5 scoreless upstaged Ryan Dempsters seven solid innings. Khalil Greene had a sac fly! Rejoice!

Tonight's Questions

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presidentspierogies.jpg Hey kids, sick fridge.

  • IF I obtain a vial of Brett Cecil's sweat at the Sox/Jays tilt, how much will a Blue Jays blogger pay me for it?

  • WHAT time will the second half of the Snakes/Fish double dip end if the first game doesn't start until 5? Expect the dozens of fans that stay for the whole thing to be late to work tomorrow!

  • HOW many pitches will Chris Carpenter throw in tonight's Liveglogged Cubs/Cards game before he is doused with a fire extinguisher and put in an ambulance?

  • HOW many more losses does Eric Wedge have in him? Gil Meche and the Royals will try and make him as unemployed as the rest of us.

  • WILL the Yankees extend their winning streak to 8 games against J-Gut and the O's?

  • AND how many of the cases in tonight's Yankee Kangaroo Court will involve a naked Nick Swisher? Over/under is set at 11.

Finito, burrito. Have fun with Tuffy tonight and come back at 8PM for the glog. Show him that webfamous Walkoff Walk Hospitality, will you? Hasta manana. Same WoW Channel.

(Presidents and pierogies picture via Flickr user afagen)

Correction: 2009 Mariners Just Like 2008 Mariners

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How is it possible that a post where I went out of my way to say that yes the Mariners were off to a good start, but IT WAS STILL EARLY, can look so ridiculous a mere 1 month later? Simple. There are no bounds to the level of futility that permeates Safeco Field. It's simply breathtaking.

Yes, having lost 7 of 10 and sliding back down to the bottom of the AL West standings, the glum chums in Seattle are starting to throw their hands up. Don "Waka" Wakamatsu is tossing his star pitcher under the bus, attacking his lineup, and feeling generally lousy about his team. Now THIS is something Geoff Baker can sink his teeth into.

Things aren't so cozy on the good ship Mariner these days. Not after a 12th defeat in 15 games -- capped by Ichiro's strikeout in the photo above -- has dropped the Mariners four games below .500 just 15 days after they sported a 15-10, first-place record.

Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu did not go in the clubhouse and scream at the players the way John McLaren did a year ago this month in New York. But I'll tell you what: this season is starting to take on the feel of 2008. Too many winnable games are starting to slip away from the M's far too easily. Much of it has to do with lackluster play. The defense tonight was not very good and Wakamatsu let it be known that he felt that way.

"Sometimes you've got to ask guys to step up,'' Wakamatsu said of Hernandez. "I didn't think he stepped up today.''

Wakamatsu is also in a tiff with Yuniesky Betancourt and suddenly this season is starting to take on a different, yet equally as dire tone as 2008.

Obviously, in an AL West dominated by the Texas Rangers nothing is set in stone, and theoretically the division is still "anyone's." After their current set against the Halos, the M's get San Fran and Oakland. Beatable teams. But it's one thing to lose a slate of games, and another to feel the foundation crumbling in the middle of May. There was an expectation of failure in Seattle that led to the optimism of last month, and conversely the doom and gloom of this one. A new manager and general manager needed to instill the sort of stability that would prevent that sort of bipolar behavior. Doesn't look like it's happened.

(Update: Knowing all of this, I can't think of a more appropriate place for the first ever LOLCat Cheezburger Night than at Safeco Field. Truly an inspired choice.)

The Waste Land: No Afternoon Games Today

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C'mon MLB. The whole reason the Wednesday Afternoon Liveglog Club exists is because of baseball's rich tradition of Wednesday Afternoon Games. But not today. You gave us NOTHING. This is actually the second time this season you've done this. Double You Tee Eff. Your crass commercialism is robbing citizens of WoW Province the chance to while away the hours by quickly minimize Firefox. You suck.

Normally you could count on at least the Cubs playing some day baseball to get you through work. However they're in a series against the Cardinals and that gets nice ratings. So it's a night game.

But far be it from us to leave you hanging. When baseball hands us lemons we make some kind of super potent lemon moonshine out of it. Timestamping genius and visual visionary Tuffy will be taking time out from writing everywhere to glog the Cubs/Cards Tilt tonight at 8. Be here now then.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, you're only as good as your next hit record.

It's a beautiful night for a ballgame here in Boston. I hope it's the same where you are. See you tomorrow, Sunshine. Same WoW channel.

Bad News Bears: Eric Chavez And Khalil Greene

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Tough day in the news for a couple ballplayers whose careers have already seen their share of ups and downs.

First is A's thirdbaseman Eric Chavez. He's in Arizona rehabbing his back. It's an injury that has plagued him since 2006, and has kept him from achieving the kind of consistency that would have allowed him to continue piling up the kind of numbers that got him a 6 yr./$66M extension in 2004. Now doctors are telling Chavez that if his back goes again, it's the end of his career.

Chavez is rehabbing his most recent back problem in Arizona in the hopes of rejoining the A's on their next homestand. Doctors, however, have told him that a herniated disk in his back could go at any time, even if he sneezes.

If that happens, Chavez will need to have his previously repaired vertebra, the L4-L5, fused with the vertebra that is currently herniated, which is the L3-L4. Another microdiscectomy such as the one Chavez had in October, 2007, is out, because it would leave his spine too unstable, Chavez said.

Spinal fusions don't allow for the type of physical activity performed by pro athletes.

"This last (diagnosis) is a little bit of a punch in the gut for everyone," A's general manager Billy Beane said, "Especially for Eric, because he's worked so hard and dealt with so many issues."

Of course, Spinal Fusion has been a complicated procedure ever since it was first invented by Miles Davis and John McLaughlin on the landmark 1970 album Bitches Brew. Here's hoping Chavez doesn't sneeze and is able to, at the very least, play out the rest of that contract extension. KEEP HIM AWAY FROM THE PAPRIKA.

Hard to believe, but the news is even more depressing for St. Louis Cardinals SS, Khalil Greene. The diminutive infielder has been struggling, just like he struggled during his final years in San Diego. He doesn't exactly have the best mindset about all of it, and suffers from extreme performance anxiety to the point where he physically hurts himself. Eek. Tony LaRussa (who probably thinks he's smarter than most doctors) is going to start benching him. That should help.

"At some point, he needs to play better. I'm just doing what I can," La Russa said before Monday night's game against Milwaukee.

Greene admitted to feeling increasingly overwhelmed by his situation and did not dispute accounts that he has several times punished himself physically.

Several team members have expressed concern about the degree of Greene's self-punishment.

"That's the way it's always been," Greene said, referring to his condition's compulsive nature. "It's not rational. It's not something I think as an intelligent thinking human being. ... I understand the disorder of it. It just doesn't help."

Cardinals fans were way too excited about Khalil Greene's spring training numbers, and it appears with his mercurial emotional state he did too. His anxiety diagnosis manifests itself in more classic and observable ways than the mysterious case that Dontrelle WIllis came down with earlier this season. That's not to say that Willis isn't telling the truth, one just hopes it's not as severe as Greene. But maybe the downtime will help Khalil. After all, if anyone knows the benefits of rest, it's Tony LaRussa.

Honey, Lock Up The Dexatrim. JC Romero Is Coming Back

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When JC Romero was suspended 50 games in January for failing a drug test, he was unquestionably the most valuable player to get banned under the new PED policy. In his two previous seasons with the Phillies he pitched in 132 games with an ERA+ of 193. In last year's postseason run he pitched 9 IP, allowing only 1 ER. The numbers in the Philly bullpen are less than stellar this season, so they must be happy that Ole JC is on his way back.

He will be eligible to rejoin the Phils on June 3, barring rainouts. Major League Baseball rules allow him to pitch in the minors for 16 days before the suspension ends.

Romero began his minor-league assignment with a shaky inning of work for triple-A Lehigh Valley last night. He entered a 3-3 game in the seventh and allowed two hits, a walk and a run, taking the loss in a 4-3 setback to the Gwinnett Braves.

"It's a very bad place to be, worse than being released," he said. "When you get released, you know that you're doing something wrong and you have to step up your game. And when you get suspended for no reason, it's like somebody else is questioning your integrity and doing things with your career that shouldn't be done."

Romero has said he's "accountable" for what happened but he's still suing the company that makes the OTC drug that led to the failed test. While Romero's skills made his suspension notable, his pissing and moaning when it was announced also stood out. My advice to Romero is to follow the lead of once suspended pitcher Carlos Silva. After his suspension Silva returned to baseball apologetically and got right back to his old self, giving up a ton of hits and eating whole turkeys.

Learn from him, JC. Learn from him.

Tonight's Questions

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distressedbatmanbaby.jpg Hey kids, I'll just sit here.

  • CAN the Mets continue their successful West Coast swing in LA, where the Dodgers have been excellent this season?

  • WILL the Pirates use the Nationals lousiness to get back in the NL Central mix?

  • HOW badly do the Twins need to avoid the sweep and leave Yankee Stadium with their dignity and sanity intact?

  • NOW that baseball is moving up the start times for the World Series does this mean Rob can stay up for the whole game with the grownups?

  • DO you Furious Five live on Monday nights at 10 PM, or do you DL it later and listen on the train? If you just ignore us all together, you're really missing out. Plus you're supposed to be supportive, Mom.

We'll see you tonight on the radio. Then back here tomorrow, same WoW channel. You too, Cranky Batman Baby.

Mariners Come Up With Cool Promo, We Ruin It

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The Mariners have locked up what is, in my opinion, the finest promo giveaway of the season. They've basically taken Classic TV Friday, made it Marinerscentric and put it on a DVD. It's a collection of all their greatest commercials, given out to the first 20,000 fans. Awesome. I wish all teams did this.

But alas, they don't, and you can't go to Seattle because you spent all your money on cigarettes and gravy. Don't worry kids, I got you covered. Here are the coolest Mariner Commercials I could find on YouTube.


Here's "Ichiro's Autograph" in which the titular Mariner does a solid for a young fan. But until the last few seconds it's ambiguous enough to think that Ichiro could actually be taunting her.

Here's Jay Buhner fretting over his wife's fidelity at an Eagle Hardware store. He's wearing his uniform, and to tell you the truth I can believe that he wore that thing everywhere. Picking out civillian clothes is hard, y'all.

Another Eagle Hardware promo. This one has Alex Rodriguez taking home repair tips from their friendly staff. He was so young, innocent and vaguely likable back then. Bonus points for the obvious HJ allusion in the hammer scene.

Here's Mariner announcer and WoW favorite Dave Niehaus schilling for Brooks Chrevolet and looking like the bastard lovechild of Fred Mertz and Jimmy Buffett.

This is a Nike commercial from when Ken Griffey Jr. ruled the world. The spot is one of the Griffey For President ones. It focuses on his campaign promise of reinstating the game of pepper in baseball parks. I don't want to spoil all the guest stars for you. But they definitely get better than Teve Torbes.

(We owe cold Cokes to the Surviving Grady dudes for finding the promotion.)

Ron Gardenhire. Now here's a guy that understands that sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) a manager actually has to do stuff to get his team back to winning. You see there was more to the Twins nightmare weekend in the Bronx than just late inning walkoff ding dongs set to sweeping orchestral music and the approving grunts of bleacher bums. Gardy says the Identicals' hitters weren't executing. Especially when it came time for them to make decisions on 2-0 counts.

"We're just going to have to start giving the take sign," Gardenhire said. "You want them to understand the game and not be robots. That's what this game's all about, but it happened two or three times today, where we're 2-0 counts. We need to get a guy on base, and we swing and pop it up.

"That can't keep happening. You give them leeway and then you have to start telling them this is what we're gong to do. Those are the disappointing parts of this, but we've gotta learn from it. So we'll talk to them, like we always do. Continue to make them understand the game of baseball."

Gardenhire noted that (Carlos) Gomez not only swung at the 2-0 pitch but "almost fell down doing it."

Give em an inch and they'll take a mile. It's the same thing with the band of 6 year olds I have selling Chiklets on the streets of Tijuana. I practically have to push them at the gringo tourists while they sit around picking their nose. But I digress.

The Twins are 6th in the AL in team OBP. That leaves them right about the middle of the pack. They're fifth in team WHIP, also right in that meaty part of the curve. Could the Twins benefit from seeing more pitches, tiring out opposing pitchers and possibly gaining some more baserunners in the process? As a matter of fact, yes, every single team in creation can benefit from that. Reinstate the take sign for your 21 year old players, Ron.

Joe Maddon Drinks Too Much Riesling, Flubs Lineup Card

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wine tasting1.jpg

One of the worst kept secrets in baseball is that Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon spends most of his office time working on wine pairings and exotic head cheeses for his next charcuterie party instead of paying attention to his lineup card. Well, his refined hipster taste finally caught up with him this weekend when he entered two 3Bs on his official card and his team had to forfeit the DH spot. MADDON BONERZ.

Manager Joe Maddon planned to have Longoria serve as the DH in the series finale against the Indians with Ben Zobrist playing third base. The lineup was listed that way on the card in the Rays' clubhouse, but apparently not on the official sheet provided to the umpires and the Indians before the game.

After the top of the first inning was played with Zobrist manning third for the Rays, the umpires gathered down the first-base line for a lengthy discussion. They then moved to the Indians' dugout, where they continued the talk with manager Eric Wedge, who appeared animated at times.

Because Zobrist had already played, the Rays had to forfeit the DH slot and have the pitcher bat in what would have been Longoria's slot - third in the batting order.

So Andy Sonnanstine, who loves hitting more than any other Rays pitcher, ended up batting third when play resumed in the bottom of the first inning - and promptly knocked Carl Crawford off the bases with an ineffective bunt down the third-base line that got Crawford forced out at second base.

Whoops. That's even more embarrassing than the time Coach accidentally got Lisa Loeb's frames at Lens Crafters. Sonnanstine wasn't a total loss. He actually had an RBI double in the the fourth and the Rays cruised to a 7-3 victory.

Seems to me that Maddon is getting a little careless and doesn't realize that last year's edition of the Rays kind of steered themselves. This year, with his staff giving up a full run more per game, Joe Cool needs to buckle down and lead his squad back in this thing. LESS SHOEGAZE, MORE MATH ROCK.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Wasps Nest

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Here's what happened in baseball yesterday while you had a wet martini in a paper cup.

Padres 3, Reds 1: Jake Peavy turned in one of his best starts of the season, a 4 hit complete game that included a stretch of 17 straight retired. The Padres completed the sweep, which should make the Reds feel really really terrible about themselves.

Yankees 3, Twins 2: Speaking of sweeps the Yankees, go for one tonight after using walkoffs to take the first three games of this series. Yesterday's was of the tater tot variety, specifically a solo 10th inning happy jack by Johnny Damon. A-Rod went yard again marking one of the only blemishes on Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey's day. AJ Burnett went six point two and only allowed two runs in spite of giving up 6 hits and 6 BBs.

Mariners 3, Red Sox: Good news and bad news for Boston. They've been terrible on the West Coast so far, but luckily don't have to go back. Yesterday's loss came after 3rd string SS Nick Green threw the would be final out 10 rows into the first base box seats. Beyond that it took only a seeing eye single to end the game. Walkoff flub. FSSJD Drew totted to continue his hot streak in the 3 slot. HE SHOULD STAY THERE ALL SEASON.

Brewers 8, Cards 2: Hey, Manny Parra pitched okay again! Whee! Our boy tossed 6 innings of 2 ER ball and Prince Fielder had a 3 run ding dong in the 7th inning. The back to back wins against St. Louis coupled has vaulted the Milwaukee Machas into first place in the division with a 1.5 game lead over the Cubs. That deserves a High Life.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, I've always been plagued by pattern recognition.

  • WHICH weekend series is of the most consequence? I don't think you'd be wrong in saying either Angels/Rangers or Brewers/Cardinals.

  • IS Zack Greinke ever going to make a bad start again? The Orioles hope so, he'll take the hill against them tonight.

  • CAN Jon Lester help Boston make good on this West Coast trip out in Seattle? I'm still hopeful since his indicators point to him snapping out of his funk soon.

  • WILL the Dodgers continue to stay above the Manny mess and gut the floundering Fish?

  • CAN Barry Larkin rap? Of course he can!

  • WILL the Blue Jays TCB against the White Sox and hold on to first place? Living legend Brett Cecil gets the ball at home tonight for Toronto.

  • AM I going to ask that about Toronto for every series they play as long as they're in first? Probably.

  • HAVE you ever seen the 1972 film "Fuzz"? I watched it last night after the sports massacres. Not very good. But Florida State Seminole Burt Reynolds was great in it, Raquel Welch was really hot and it was cool to see the streets of Boston from 1972. So it was bad, but I still recommend it.

The week is over and I'd just like you all to give Daniel "D-Mac" McQuade another round of applause. To say he ably filled in for Rob is a vast understatement and I couldn't be more thankful for the help. He'll still be dropping in, but it was a real treat to get to read him on a regular basis here. Keep up with all the other places he's writing by following his Twitter. Thanks again, man.

And speaking of dudes who show me up on a regular basis, Drew is in the house all weekend. This is site is a damned juggernaut, I'll tell you. See you all later. Same WoW channel.

(Photo of Dewey with the awesome Rollie Fingers 'stache stolen from Bob's Baseball Museum.)

Pete Rose Welcomes You To The Baseball Family - 1985

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When some old guy tells you what a disgrace today's players are, what with their steroid use and at bat rap music, show em this video for me, will ya? In Today's Classic TV Friday Clip, Charlie Hustle thanks fans on behalf of "the baseball family." A family that "has had it's share of problems." Oh, it's also a family that would excommunicate him for life in a couple of years.

So here's Pete Rose (inveterate gambler), acknowledging that baseball has problems, then introducing Doc Gooden (cokehead) and Vince Coleman (accused rapist and firecracker thrower) as just the guys to turn it around. Whoops!

Don't let people tell you that baseball is worse off now than it ever was. It's always been the refuge of degenerates and Walkoff Walk is just proud to be part of the tradition.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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  • Conor Jackson, Snakes: Jackson was placed on the 15 day deel with "a general illness." It's a serious issue who's symptoms include general malaise, general nausea, General Motors and Sgt. Slaughter. He had been struggling as of late, but Arizona must take great pains with his treatment to ensure that he doesn't test positive for Dimetapp.

  • Adam Jones, Orioles: My second favorite Non-Boston AL East player strained his hamstring on Wednesday and had to leave the game. Best to rest those things on a quick player before they get too severe. This can weaken the structural integrity of the hamstring and cause it to snap whenever a player speeds up past walking. See: Ken Griffey Jr, for most of this decade.

  • Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox: Youk's oblique injury that we mentioned last week was bad enough to land him on the deel Tuesday night. He plans to spend his time off catching up on Grey's Anatomy repeats and finally making that triangle costume for his cat, Miss Penelope.

  • Joey Votto, Reds: Votto has been smacking the ball around, but left Wednesday night's game with dizziness. Prior to that game, he had suffered a bout with the flu and missed four games. He needs to stop hanging out with Conor Jackson. In Guadalajara.

  • Nate Robertson, Tigers: Robertson hurt his back while doing squats which sounds like it is 100% made up. He's on the DL but we need the real story here. Let's go to our Walkoff Walk Detroit Correspondent, Joh... oh, really? I guess we laid him off.

  • Josh Johnson, Marlins: Johnson left his start early on Wednesday with weakness in his right shoulder. He'd been the best pitcher on the Marlins up to this point and said there wasn't any pain in his shoulder, it just didn't feel right. He also told his shoulder "it's not you, it's me."

  • Brian Bannister, Royals: Man every pitcher I talked well about this week got hurt. Bannnister yanked himself* from his last start with stiffness** in his shoulder. Not good for that slipping squad.

  • Erik Bedard, Mariners: Bedard will miss his start against the Red Sox tomorrow with a tight hamstring. I hadn't said anything nice about him yet, but I was thinking about it. NOT NOW, WIMPY.

  • Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals: Ludwick hit the deel with a hamstring problem. It looks like, in one of the true upsets of this young season, Hamstring steals a week from Oblique as most ubiquitous injury. Way to go, Hamstring. You've earned it. People in STL are freaking out.



Baseball Before Bedtime: Westfall


Here's what happened last night in baseball, but evil don't look like anything.

Angels 5, Red Sox 4: This game went on so long, I almost missed the beginning of that lousy Celtics game which immediately preceded the lousy Bruins game. A back an forth affair that found Boston answering almost immediately whenever LA would take a lead, Jeff Mathis finally ended the thing in the bottom of the 12th with an RBI single off of Manny Delcarmen. After David Ortiz turned in an 0 for 7 day stranding 12 guys, he gave the following quote to reporters: "Sorry, guys. I don't feel like talking today. Just put down, `Papi stinks."' Great now I'm crying at the coffee shop.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: "'You have to give our trainers Trainer of the Day for getting them back in there,' manager Joe Girardi joked." He's a regular Henny Youngman. That quote was in reference to Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui returning from injuries and contributing key hits in the win. CC Sabathia scattered 5 hits over 8 innings. Brian Tallet pitched pretty well but got in some trouble walking guys. STOP DOING THAT.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 1: Colby Rasmus' 2nd inning 2 run tater tot was all the offense St. Louis needed. Starter Mitchell Boggs allowed 11 baserunners in just 4.1 innings, giving the Cards bullpen quite a workout. Even more so than that time I threw two full nests of angry hornets in there during a game.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, your face is showing.

  • DID the Pirates use my piece from yesterday as bulletin board material? They're going for the sweep of St. Louis.

  • WILL CC Sabathia and the Yankees take rubber from those Blue Jays?

  • CAN the Royals put the brakes on their recent skid against the Orioles?

  • THINKING about attending a show at Johnny D's in Davis Sq., Somerville? Don't. They tossed me and my buddy out of the Justin Townes Earle show last night for hooting and clapping. AT A COUNTRY SHOW. Screw this, I'm moving to Texas.

I bid you all a good evening. Tomorrow is Friday. We've got a whole lineup of good stuff. Creampuff, Classic TV and DMac's Cinema Varitek review of Major League. Get pumped. Same WoW channel.

A Meditation In Time Of War: Today's Afternoon Games

  • 1:05, Marlins at Brewers: The Brewers have their dustpans tucked into the waistband of their baseball pants and are hoping to use them against the straight strugglin' Marlins. Dave Bush gets the start for the home team while the rejuvenated and oft dominant Josh Johnson will go for the Fish.

  • 1:05, Dodgers at Phillies: There's rubber in Philly and DMac is going to bring it to you in his visually stunning Liveglog style. Perhaps he will even tell you what he's eating for lunch. I'm gonna guess Grilled Cheese on White and Tomato Soup. Chad Billingsley takes on C073 Hamels. That's how a robot would spell it.

  • 1:10, Tigers at Twins: Last night's tilt was one of the regular season's most notable games thus far. Dontrelle Willis made his return, giving up 4 runs in 4.1 innings, but more importantly said he felt like he was regaining confidence. The game went all the way to 13 innings before Joe Crede's walkoff King Dong. Today it's the red hot Justin Verlander against Scott Baker as Minnesota tries for the schweep.

  • 2:05, Mariners at Rangers: King Felix takes on Matt Harrison as Texas breaks out the brooms and tries to strengthen its grip on the illustrious AL West. Somebody take it, please! Hernandez, WoW's AL Cy Young pick has been lousy as of late.

  • 2:20, Padres at Cubs: Hoo boy, that NL Central is bunched up tighter than a pack of squirrels in a corn silo. That sounds like something a fan of an NL Central team would say, doesn't it? The Cubs are right back near the top, one of four teams within a half game of each other at the top of the standings. They got the dustpans out today against the nonfactor Padres. But fear not San Diegans, change is coming.

  • 3:10, Astros at Rockies: The surprising Wandy Rodriguez looks to continue his stellar start and then.....zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • 3:35: Red Sox at Angels: LA got a superb start out of Matt Palmer last night to turn today's match into rubber. Ervin Santana is back for the Angels. How will he fare. For the sake of the Red Sox, I hope very very terribly. At least today. BAWSTUN IS A BROTHAHOOD.

Instant Replay Machines Feeling Used

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If you're a superfan of instant replay, last night was a banner evening for you. Also, I'd probably hate watching TV with you because I'll bet you constantly use the DVR. Two home runs were overturned last night, one in Pittsburgh and one in Milwaukee. Here's a recap of the replays.

Soon after Pittsburgh's Adam LaRoche became the first player to have a home run taken away following a video replay review, Florida's Ross Gload lost one the same way Wednesday night when umpires reversed their call.

LaRoche wound up with a double at PNC Park. Gload's pinch-hit drive was called foul at Milwaukee and he eventually struck out.

LaRoche's shot in the first inning struck either a railing or small screen above the 21-foot wall in right field. Both objects are in play, but first-base umpire Lance Barksdale signaled a two-run homer.

Thank goodness for the replay. I knew I couldn't trust a Barksdale. If baseball were ruled by the Iron Fist of Rob Iracane both ding dongs would have stood and the rest of the season would have been a sham. I am Clooney.

You Have Questions, Roger Clemens Has Answers

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How much does it cost for a man to get highlights? Where is the best place to park a Hummer in Houston? What's it like being as popular as the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid?

If these are questions that have been gnawing at you, and let's face it they have, fret not. Your answers are coming. Roger Clemens reached out to The Houstonist, a blog about um... Houston, and offered to take questions from their readers and provide candid answers as part of his Truth Tour '09. He's so gonna be on Oprah soon.

"The fans and the folks in Houston have always been great to Deb, the kids and me and we're grateful for the support.

I know a lot of baseball fans read the Houstonist and that they have asked questions about the false allegations against me. I welcome the chance to answer the questions of your readers."

A call to The Roger Clemens Foundation confirmed that the email is from the man himself. So, what do you want to know, Houston?

What are the chances that The Rocket takes on the tough questions? Actually, what are the tough questions at this point? He's already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, and frankly I think most people have already forgotten all the details of the allegations. I remember some needles and a beer can. I guess most of my questions would just be about hygiene.

The bottom line here is that Clemens still doesn't know the first damned thing about PR. He's under the impression that trying to "clear the air" this long after the initial steroid charges were lobbed at him will actually convince anyone that he's clean. Shoulda done it then Rog, instead of taking a year to come up with your strategy. It's easier to be found innocent than it is to break out of jail.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, what you don't tell people can say a lot.

  • HOW well will Dontrelle Willis fare in his first start of 2009 against the Twins. It must have been driving him nuts... er, really bothering him, not being able to hurl the old pill... er, ball around. Anyway, good luck Dontrelle.

  • IS some sort of plucky momentum being passed in the Marlins/Brewers series? The once hot Marlins are ice cold, while the Crew are just starting to hita stride.

  • DID you stream the new Wilco record yet? I just finished my first spin. I'm reserving judgement until I get a bunch more listens under my belt, but I really like the first track.

  • CAN Johnny Cueto continue his torrid start against the Diamondbacks and keep the Reds nipping at the heels of the Cards?

  • CAN groundball wonderdude Brian Bannister help the Royals end their 4 game losing streak? They're looking for the split in their two gamer against the A's.

  • WHERE would Walkoff Walk be without our talented friends? It's just Rob and me on the marquee up there, but that's a real farce. DMac has been doing yeoman's work all week and Sooze's liveblog was as incredible as always. They're just furthering the already stellar list of things that other people have contributed to this site. WoW is a family.

You've been Wednesday'd! DMac and I will be back tomorrow to Thursday the hell out of you. Same WoW channel.

(Awesome picture of the home run lights in the Astrodome circa 1986 from the Flickr page of Dana Graves.)


Ah, the halcyon days of April 26. It was good times for Pittsburgh's baseball squadron. They were a mere game and a half behind the St. Louis Cardinals and were third in all of baseball with a +33 run differential. I got busy for a couple weeks right around then and wasn't able to blog, or even really follow sports, as much as I like. One thing that hasn't surprised me upon my return? The Buccos regressed. Despite winning last night against, the Pirates are now 6.5 games out. Losers of 12 of 14, they're now rocking a -3 overall run differential.

Injuries to catcher Ryan Doumit, SS Jack Wilson and Matt Capps didn't help, but either has the fact that the team is composed almost entirely of singles hitters. They've tallied an anemic 22 HRs and .389 SLG. While the entire pitching staff is improved over 2008, it isn't the kind of lights out staff that can keep a team with that sort of run production above water for too long.

Sorry, guys. That was pretty much it for the decade. April. Memories are good to have, though. They sustain you through the hard times. Like baseball season. Maybe someday one of the heroes of April 2009 will grace the Altoona Curve with their presence like John Candelaria and Steve Blass! Scintillating.

Pirates fans, HOW HAVE YOU LIVED LIKE THIS for 15 years? Oh, that's right you only care about the Steelers or the Penguins when they're winning. Carry on.

Wednesday Afternoon Liveglog Update

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Our good friend Sooze of the estimable Babes Love Baseball will once again regale us knuckle draggers with her awesome glogocity for today's 3:45 Nats/Giants tilt. It wasn't too hard to convince her. She's pretty much in love with Zimmerman, but we'll all get to reap the fruit of her obsession. Win win! Do join us.
  • 12:05, White Sox at Indians: Today at noon you can travel to Cleveland, buy a house for the price of a VCR, then check out Mark Buehrle take on Cliff Lee for a lunch time showdown. Buehrle is the one pitching more like a defending Cy Young Winner. His WHIP is a chin hair above 1 and Lee's is a chin hair under 1 and a half. With the Indians at 10 games under .500 they need to start winning before my next gypsy prediction comes true and Eric Wedge is in the breadline.

  • 1:10 Braves at Mets: Last night's shirmp filled, disputed call havin' battle royale spills over into an afternoon battle for rubber. Everyone in the NL East hates each other don't they? Let's hope Jo-Jo Reyes and Jon Niese keep it clean and come out boxing. And that Chipper doesn't see any ghosts.

  • 3:45, Ryan Zimmerman at Giants: While Zim tries to extend his hitting streak to 31 games, Barry Zito tries to extend his quality start streak to 5, which is actually far more interesting to me. To recap, BZ has now given up just 4 ER in his last 26.1 IP. Could he be... back?

Rinku And Dinesh Are Doing Just Fine, Thank You

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Received an email from concerned reader David last night.

"There has been no post on (Rinku and Dinesh's blog) since April 30th. In that post it said they were sick. What has happened to them? Do they have the swine flu?

Admittedly, we haven't been doing the wall to wall coverage of these two ever since they went national. This shouldn't surprise anyone since you all think I'm a hipster. But yeah, David was right. This was the longest dead zone I could remember on their blog and last we had heard they were sick during the height of a pandemic.

Well I was going to email JB Sir this morning to get the scoop when I saw they had indeed updated their blog overnight. They love The Hulk and The Love Guru, they think it's too hot in Florida. AND OH YEAH THEY'RE RIDING IN STRETCH WHIPS NOW. GETCHA SOME.

Sickness pulverized. Advantage, those guys.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Four Strong Winds

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Here's what happened last night in baseball while I went out to Alberta.

Mets 4, Braves 3: See below. There was skrimp. But according to Chipper Jones, it never shoulda happened. Here's Ol' Chips take on the umpire calling Carlos Beltran safe on a ninth inning steal: "Let's just say the baseball gods owe us one," Jones said. "The game came down to one play, and the umpire got it wrong. Why he got it wrong, I don't know. I never had a guy slide into my glove and be safe." UMPIRE KILLED BY CROSSBOW.

Phillies 5, Dodgers 3: Jayson Werth gots ants in his pants. Homeboy completed the ultra-rare steal cycle in last night's 7th inning, including a steal of home that gave the Phillies the lead. Boy's got some jumbo eggs on him.

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 1: Yesterday's Halladay/Burnett match up was treated as some sort of Mr. Miyagi vs. Daniel San thing that I thought was a little overblown, but then again I never followed their relationship too closely. In any case, Doc was dominant, as usual, going 9 full, as usual, scattering 5 hits. Scott Rolen had 3 RBI.

Let's get this day started. I'M BACK BABY.

Rob may be over in Spain, but with Drew in the house the Furious Five always has an international feel. And this week we're doubling it. Filling in for Iracane is old friend and Canadian, Jonah Keri. Yup. I'm outnumbered. Jonah is witty, accomplished and a bunch of other things I'm not. So tune in, will you? It should be a maple leafin' good time.

As always, you can listen live or subscribe to us on iTunes and hear us piped through your headphones. Like we're standing right behind you on the city bus. Creepy.


As a member of the Red Sox, Troy O'Leary put together a handful of decent years but is perhaps best known in perpetuity for Bill Simmons always talking about how white his name sounds. Probably not a legacy any ballplayer really dreams about having. At least his clubhouse nickname, "Yummy was less well known.

In any case O'Leary, who seems to be the rare athlete living comfortably retired on his mid-tier career earnings, is looking to build a new legacy as the creator of a a new reality show. And he's bringing some old friends along, Sox fans.

About two years ago, however, he had a thought, born mostly out of frustration from not being able to land a friend a job in baseball and all of the negativity surrounding baseball's steroid scandal. He realized that baseball, even with all of its extensive scouting, might be missing the occasional diamond in the rough.

So he began thinking about a concept for a baseball TV reality series. Month by month, it started to get more creative and involved. He added associates in Alexandra Athanasopoulos and Mike Pearson. He got ex-players and friends like Reggie Jefferson, Mike Stanley, Darren Lewis, John Valentin, Jeff Cirillo, and Rafael Naboa to commit to roles. He received guidance from Reds manager Dusty Baker and from former agent and current special adviser to the White Sox Dennis Gilbert.

Now O'Leary, 39, is ready to become the Simon Cowell of baseball on a show called "Play Big or Go Home."

During the last few war torn and downtrodden years here in the US I said over and over, that what the country really needed was a triumphant return to the spotlight by Reggie Jefferson. As you'll see once Play Big Or Go Home premiers, I am not wrong.

The format sounds a little confusing, as players will send tapes of themselves playing to O'Leary, who will whittle that pack down to 15 finalists who will be judged in person. Criteria is still a bit hazy, but perhaps having a definite benchmark like our friends over at the Million Dollar Arm might be a good idea. Otherwise I just imagine some poor kid standing on a stage and getting 10 fungos hammered at him then barked offstage by an angry Jeff Cirillo after bobbling one. They can change the name to Small Sample Size Theatre.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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newstretcher.JPG My only work injury this week was to my ego when my boss disapproved of a couple frames I was building and sent me back to the warehouse to haul some shit. DEMOTION.

  • Tony Clark, Snakes: Clark sprained his wrist and landed on the deel. In his stead, Arizona has called up a gentleman named Josh Whitesell. Because they are racist.

  • Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox: Youk has sat out the past three games after tweaking his oblique in Monday night's game against the Yankees. He seemed to place some of the blame on ESPN for starting the rain delayed contest on short notice. Maybe he should be a sports blogger. In any case you can't blame ESPN for the Year Of The Oblique.

  • Derrek Lee, Cubs: Derrek Lee has a bulgin disc in his neck but says "It's impossible" that he'll end up on the DL. DERREK LEE IS DR. MANHATTAN HE CAN SEE THE FUTURE IN HIS MARS CASTLE. Either that or his neck doesn't really hurt that badly.

  • Alex Gonzalez, Reds: Gonzalez, who missed all of last year with a knee injury, strained his oblique Monday night against the Marlins whilst flying out. Ctrl+Apple+O = "strained his oblique." Whoops, that just brought up a huge topless picture of Oprah. EMBARASSING.

  • Carlos Guillen, Tigers: Guillen's right shoulder burst into flames, but he wasn't really hitting anyway. Plus, it allowed the tigers to call up Clete Thomas and MLB is just better when there's a guy named Clete involved. That's science.

  • Oliver Perez, Mets: Two days after getting yanked out of the rotation, Ollie was dropped on the deel with a knee problem. Well, I guess that's one way to free up a roster spot since he won't go to the minors. Has there been a more phony injury yet this season? Teams can pretty much make up any reason they want to put a guy on there, huh?

  • Rick Ankiel, Cardinals: Yeah, that'll put you on the DL for a few days.


We've made the first turn of the 2009 season and while there are many interesting stories vying for our attention and bandwidth, you best believe that one unique WoW storyline I've had my eye on is the ERA+ battle between Jon Lester and CC Sabathia. I really really really don't want to be on YouTube singing Bon Jovi for eternity. Either fortunately or unfortunately based on your feelings about duets, both guys have equal ERA+. 99 y'alll!

Yes, 99. Just one tick below the median. But according to our friend Brian MacPherson over at One If By Land, further investigation into Lester's numbers may indicate a sharp upward turn in that ERA+ soon.

But if you consider the company in which his early-season strikeout numbers leave him, you have to believe he's well on his way to better days. Tomorrow's Union Leader story will reference an elite group of pitchers -- nine in total -- who have a K/BB ratio of 3.0 or better and a K/9IP ratio of 9.0 or better. That means they're striking out more than a batter an inning and still striking out more than three times as many hitters as they're walking. Here's the group:

* Zack Grienke, 0.40 ERA

* Johan Santana, 1.10 ERA

* Dan Haren, 1.47 ERA

* Erik Bedard, 2.61 ERA

(How come no one's talking about the start Bedard has had for the Mariners so far this season?)

* Tim Lincecum, 3.16 ERA

* Felix Hernandez, 3.38 ERA

* Javier Vazquez, 4.19 ERA

* Jon Lester, 5.11 ERA

* Justin Verlander, 5.66 ERA

A pretty compelling stat and a pretty good list to be on. The baserunners seem to be coming in clumps for Lester and he's given up a handful of big innings. Spreading that out will bring down those ERs allowed.

Using this metric, Carsten Charles is significantly lagging behind Lester at this admittedly early stage. Dude is rocking a mere 1.6 K/BB ratio and his current WHIP would be the highest of his career. He's a notoriously slow starter, but striking out 5.5 per 9 isn't exactly what the Yankees signed him for. But hey, they can do whatever they want with their money. It's their life.


So last week as I was scrambling to adjust to my new schedule (it's temporary, fear not fans of subpar baseball writing) I really wanted to write a piece telling Mets fans to chill their slits and ease off Oliver Perez. My thinking was that after inking a $36 million deal and not being totally healthy during Spring Training, Ollie would get a little some slack, some leeway to improve on his dismal start. Basically I thought calls for his head and his demotion were a little premature and unrealistic. Trust me, I've had to watch Brad Penny make 5 starts.

But alas, the time to properly write the piece didn't come and well... good thing. They demoted the poor sumbitch.

The Mets are figuring out where to send Perez; apparently, the moon is not an option. And they will wind up making a decision that, as Jerry Manuel said Sunday morning, is in the best interest of everyone, both in the long term and immediately. Now that it's clear Perez will not make his scheduled start Friday against Pittsburgh, the Mets will announce his replacement, and all signs point to Ken Takahashi, who impressed Manuel with how he responded after Shane Victorino nearly knocked his first pitch through his stomach.

"He threw one ball over the middle of the plate and it hit him in the chest, and he said, 'No more. I'm working the corners now.' " Manuel said. "And he did a good job. I was impressed."

Ken Takahashi, a man who sounds more like someone who's name ran in the credits when you beat Bases Loaded then an actual player, is filling in for a $36 million pitcher because he didn't get hit in the chest with a second line drive. METS FANS HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS?

What comes next for Perez, but more importantly what comes next for the NL's NYC club? This a pretty serious panic move when we've barely turned the calendar page to May. An acknowledgment of failure by Perez is an acknowledgment of failure in the Mets front office. And for a team with one of the highest payrolls in baseball, that's a very bad thing.

Speaking to Jose Reyes in camp he told me that one of the things that he really felt was going to put the team over the top in '09 was the stability that came with having transsexual manager Jerry Manuel at the helm for the whole year. No drama. Well I'm not so sure that a major rotation shakeup involving Perez, and I can't stress his $36M extension enough, doesn't serve as a portent for another season of handwringing and circling vultures in Queens. Bad times.

Good old Mordecai Peter Centennial "3 Finger" Brown. Had some mangled digits from a tractor accident, but was still one of the marquee pitchers of the deadball era. He was even on the Cubs the last time they won the World Series. Neat guy. Now thanks to the video editing/flipbook making skills of YouTube user TenAleTilt, you can watch him throw in all his glory. Well a few seconds of his glory anyway.

Now if we can just find one of Ty Cobb punching out some minorities and pushing a baby stroller down a flight of stairs we'll really get a feel for the old days! Please to enjoy.

(We owe a Coke to Tim Marchman.)

Tony Jackson and Jerry Remy: Come Back Soon

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Couple of notes from over the weekend that have hampered my enjoyment of the game we cover. First off was the news on Friday that one of my very favorite beat writers, Tony Jackson who covered the Dodgers for the LA Daily News, was getting laid off due to the budget cuts that are decimating every newsroom in the country. In order to make sure we read as many writers as we can each day, Rob and I set up separate RSS feeds when we started the blog. His contains beat writers for all the NL teams, mine the AL teams. When we want info on a particular story from the other league we trade the links. Jackson's no nonsense style and ability to decipher what were the real stories that affected the team made his writing stand out, and soon I was reading him every day on my own. It was just something I did as someone who follows the Dodgers, not even as an aspiring sportswriter. Dude was damn good, and clearly he'll be missed by many Dodger fans. Here's hoping he pops back up somewhere posthaste.

Secondly, I listen to most of my Red Sox game on the radio, because I'm too cheap for cable. But when I'm around a TV for a game I enjoy the goofy charm of Remy and Orsillo. So when I turned on the game Thursday night from Tampa and was greeted by the decidedly not dulcet tones of Buck Martinez I was worried. Remy had been sick during Spring Training and now is back in Boston tending to a relapse of sorts. He (or someone) explained the absence on his Twitter. Apparently he's recovering from a bout of Pneumonia which he says he came back too quickly from. Translated: he was still smoking a pack a day of Pall Malls in the hospital. Come on, Jerry. Take better care of yourself.

Baseball Before Bedtime: Pale Blue Eyes


Here's what happened yesterday in baseball while I thought of you as everything I've had but couldn't keep.

Reds 5, Pirates 0: Johnny Cueto was masterful in 8 innings of shutout, 9K ball. The Reds blanked the Pirates twice in this series. Arthur "Fender" Rhodes finished the gig with his 10th consecutive scoreless appearance. The Reds pulled even with the Cubs for second place in the division. STOP THE SEASON NOW SO WE CAN BE RIGHT.

Rays 5, Red Sox 3: Tampa Bay took 3 of 4 from the Sox in convincing fashion. Yesterday's win featured Carl Crawford tying the all time MLB mark with 6 SBs. He said he didn't know what the record was, but had he known he definitely would have tried to break it. Refreshingly honest, Carl. Boston's Silver Lining was Kevin Youkilis who continues to be putting up the best numbers in baseball for someone not named Albert Pujols.

Giants 1, Rockies 0: Barry Zito went 7 scoreless allowing only 3 baserunners. But the Rockies staff matched him through 9, and it was Rich Aurillia's pinch hit game winning RBI in the 10th that put the San Fran over the top. Zito has now allowed but 3 runs in his last three starts, going 20.1 IP. That oughta sell some jeans.

Royals 7, Twins 5: Scott Baker had a no hitter going into the 7th, but the Royals broke it and subsequently scored 5 runs. Whoops. Try scattering em next time, Scotty. Jose Guillen led the charge with 4 RBI and a Happy Jack. I take it all back, dude's worth every penny. Now I take that back.

Houston 7, Atlanta 5: Popular score yesterday. Michael Bourn had 3 hits including the go ahead rib in the 7th. His average is now a gaudy (for him) .301. Good on him. The game featured 12 total pitchers, one of whom was Russ Ortiz. That just seems noteworthy.

Yogi Berra For Miller Lite - 1987

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You know we love our old beer commercials around here. Classic TV Friday pretty much lives for them and this week we got a real humdinger. It's the lovable Yogi Berra dropping his homespun wisdom all over this 30 second spot.

On a partially related note, I was listening to an old Berra interview on this awesome 2 CD set I just got of NPR's best baseball stories (pick one up if you can find it) and he talks about how he'd try to distract guys coming up to the plate by chatting it up with them. He'd always ask noted fisherman Ted Williams if he'd caught any big ones lately to which Williams would invariably respond "You dumb dago, I'm up here to hit not talking about fishing." I need to find some good Ted Williams stuff for next week. Anyway, please to enjoy Yogi. I know I do.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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newstretcher.JPGSo I'm a carpenter now when I'm not blogging for you nice folks. Lifting giant set pieces over my head, using table saws, bandsaws, hammers, nail guns etc. Yesterday was my fourth day and had miraculously avoided any injuries. Then I got sent to pick up some stuff at Home Depot... AND SLICED OPEN MY HAND ON A PIECE OF PLYWOOD. There was blood all over Home Depot. Only I could work for a week in a wood shop and sustain my only injury at the store. I'm such a creampuff.

  • Koji Uehara,Orioles: Koge got hit in the sternum with a line drive and is listed as day to day. Can we blame this on the Year Of The Abdomen Injury? I know it's higher up, but a thorax is a thorax.

  • Travis Hafner, Indians: Hafner, on the comeback trail after a shoulder injury limited him to 57 games last year, is back on the DL with an ouchie in the same shoulder. Sounds like terrible news right? Apparently Indians manager Eric Wedge is high because he says, "We don't think it's anything serious." Ok, buddy.

  • Jose Valverde, Astros: Here's a gross one for you. Ho-Valve has some hematomas in his leg that need to be drained. If I was in the OR for this one, I'd save the fluid in a Dixie Cup and sell it on Ebay.

  • Brad Lidge, Phillies: Lidge has some pain in his right knee that has kept him sidelined this week. Todd Zolecki says a trip to the DL "is not imminent" which really isn't that comforting. What would you say if I said I hadn't seen Evil Dead 2 yet? You'd think I wanted to right?

  • Nate McLouth, Pirates: Oh, bleak. Not really he's supposed to be back today.

  • Augie Ojeda, Diamondbacks: Raped by a wallaby.

  • BJ Ryan, Blue Jays: Not only is Beej on the deel, he's getting straight shutdown. Who do the Blue Jays think they are with all these pitching injuries, The Angels?