Kris Liakos: April 2010 Archives

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, let's talk about lying.

  • WHAT is the best series of the weekend? Gotta be Mets/Phillies and I'm not just saying that because 96% of our readership roots for the Phils.

  • WHAT about in the Junior Circuit? Rangers/M's could be interesting since Cliff Lee makes his debut tonight (and I'm not just saying that because 96% of our readership roots for the Phils) and also because not a single team has yet to distinguish themselves in the AL West. All four teams are separated by a game and a half. The Angels are in Detroit and the A's are in Toronto.

  • CAN Tampa take full advantage of getting the struggling (go figure) Royals at home?

  • WILL the stellar-at-home Padres extend their NL west lead against the Brewers?

  • BORED in Boston without the Red Sox in town? Come see me in Freedom Cops at The Hallway in JP. I'll give you a High Life.

One more bit of site news before we leave you for the weekend: we're leaving you for the weekend. Summer weekends are just too damn nice to make someone sit inside and write about baseball. And most of you folks are out living your offline lives anyway. So starting this weekend, Walkoff Walk becomes a M-F operation, barring major news and, of course, shrimp. You need us more when you're at work. We're just fine with that. Hats off to J, who's done a fine job filling in the big weekend shoes that Drew left. He'll still be contributing, don't you worry.

And we'll see you back here Monday morning. Same WoW channel.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, she's conventional.

  • HAVE you been surprised at Justin Duchscherer's 3 consecutive impressive starts. He suffered through so many injuries and had such a lousy first start, that I kind of have. He takes on the equally dealing Ricky Romero and the Blue Jays.

  • WILL the annoyingly effective Matt Garza and his Rays continue to roll against KC?

  • WILL the Pirates play like the team with the better record against The Dodgers? Because they are.

  • HOW do you feel when you find yourself agreeing with Ozzie Guillen? High, right?

  • DOES anyone have a frontline report from the Diamondbacks protest in Denver, or planning on being at the upcoming ones in Chicago? I'm interested to hear just how much shit the protesters are taking from Joe Baseballfan,. That's his real name.

  • CAN the Yankees salvage rubber from the hapless O's?

Happy birthday to Duane Allen of The Oak Ridge Boys. Hey now. Tomorrow is Friday already. Creampuff and Classic TV and stuff like that. Well, not really. Mostly just that exact stuff. Okay, bye.

Beacons: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • Padres at Marlins, 12:10: Your (tied for) first place Pahds and your scrappy still scoreboardless Fish battle for the rubs. Correia v. Robertson. Both parties have agreed to dismiss their court cases and have their disputes settled HERE. In OUR forum.

  • Pirates at Brewers, 1:10: Even with their 7-4 win last night the Pirates have still been outscored 56-11 by the Brewers this season. In five games. You're telling me they couldn't use Rinku and/or Dinesh right now? Pat Maholm "Boy" v. Chris "Starvin" Narveson. The Peopllllllleeee's COURT.

  • Dodgers at Mets. 1:10: Your first place Mets (/shuts down blog) swept yesterday's double dip and boy are those Dodgers reeling. "We're playing with a lot of confidence right now," says Jeff Francouer (/burns down blog and vows to never write about baseball again). Joe Ely is pitching for the Dodgers? I love "Me And Billy The Kid!" I saw him with Guy Clark once! I saw him with Guy Clark once! Oh. John Ely.

  • Mariners at Royals, 2:10: Rubbin is racing in KC. Ryan Rowland-Smith takes on Gil Meche, who has been just abysmal thus far. 12 BB to 7 K and 19 H in 12 IP. Ouch. Who does he think he is, Jake Westbrook? Ichiro has 9 hits in 14 career Abs against Meche, so you know he'll have plenty of opportunities to get stranded in scoring position today.

  • Nationals at Cubs, 2:20: More rubs in Chicago since the feisty Nats snapped the Cubbies' 6 game winning streak last night. Did you know the Washington Nationals lead baseball in stolen bases? They lead something! What happens if they hang around until the All-Star break? Luis Atilando v. Ryan Dempster. And hey, look. The Cubs shot down an anti-SB1070 scoreboard message.

  • Boycott The Diamondbacks at Rockies, 3:10: Kris Benson vs. Greg Smith with rubber on the line. Protests in the lot.

  • Phillies at Giants, 3:45: Cole Hamels against Tim Lincecum in the big name matchup of the day. In case you were unaware, Lincecum is pitching even better so far this season than he ever has. His WHIP is under 1 and he's struck out 32 vs. 6 BB. Hamels, not so much. He's already given up 7 tater tots and more hits than innings pitched. Phils have lost 4 of 5.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, those were the beginnings of thinking.

  • BORED in New York? They're playing two up in Queens.

  • WHO will emerge victorious in the first Twins/Tigers tilt since Game 163? Hard to bet against Liriano so far.

  • WILL the Sox and Jays play a slightly less maddening game? No mas, 25 runs.

  • CAN the Cubs win their 6th straight game and move above .500? Both they and the opposing Nationals are 10-10. THINK OUTSIDE THE BUN.

  • WILL the Seattle One Eyed Undertakers continue to blow their futile offensive horn against Zark Groonky and the Royals?

What'd I miss? Lots of stuff! Great night for baseball. Catch some if you can. Complain about it here if you want. Or tell us what you're having for dinner. Whatever. See you tomooooorrrrooowww. Same WoW Channel.

Supporting The Diamondbacks Boycott

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This week on Edge Of Sports Dave Zirin laid out his case for boycotting the Arizona Diamondbacks in the wake of Arizona's passage of SB-1070. Zirin says that this will be the last column he writes concerning the Diamondbacks for the foreseeable future. While I don't think that I'll be taking that route (covering 29 of 30 teams doesn't seem like it would allow a site like ours to do its best work), Rob and I support the financial boycott of the team and its owners and would like to urge any of our readers interested in social justice and the civil rights of all people to do the same.

There is a direct causal relationship between the team and this legislation. As stated in the Zirin piece, Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendricks and his family have contributed over $250,000 to the Republican party in 2010 and over $1M in total. This makes them one of the largest financial supporters in Arizona of the party sponsoring this legislation. Team founder and former owner Jerry Colangelo also has a history of supporting conservative religious and political causes that infringe on personal liberty, and some of that money had to come from running the Snakes. I understand the argument that if this caught on and actually affected the bottom line of the team it would be the lower level employees that felt it first, and that Ken Kendrick wouldn't have to start eating frozen dinners. Let's be honest, there isn't going to be a groundswell of that kind of support from most sports fans. But as sports fans who also happen to, you know, engage in the outside world and don't subscribe to the notion that THEY MUST BE SEPARATE!, the financial boycott is a viable way of being heard.

If you're unfamiliar with this issue the video embed above of a Democracy Now! interview with US Rep Raul Grijalva from Arizona is a good place to start. Noting the terrible precedent this legislation can set even he's calling for a targeted economic boycott of his own state. In these days of the Tea Party it is little surprise that he's receiving death threats.

No sport's success is as inextricably linked to the Latin people as baseball's. Without the influx of talent from Latin countries over the past 40 years the game would not be played at even close to the level it is today. It's a shame that Diamondbacks ownership sees fit to profit from that, while playing a role in the denial of basic human freedoms.

Rinku & Dinesh Return From India; Think The Pirates Suck

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Of course he posed in front of a truck.

After spending the offseason back in India, WoW HoFers Rinku Bhramdeen Singh and Dinesh Patel are back in Pirate City, FL enjoying metro Sarasota-Venice's finest chain restaurants, Snooty the Manatee and hey, some pitching! They were treated like kings at home all winter but still seem stoked be back. I guess it's true what they say about taking the boy out of Bradenton.

Our families going crazy when they seeing all the videos and the articles they doing in USA. Dinesh's mom seeing video he pitching and she very worried he hurting his arm. We explaining many rules of the baseball and showing many things we seeing in the USA.

they are happy to see us living in very good place Pirates City, and we getting good chance here.

Many fans sending us emails during off season, but we not having internet in our villages, so we not getting your emails until we getting back today.

We both very happy to be back playing baseball. In India, no one playing the baseball, so we only throwing a little for three months. We feeling rested and we excited to joining team again here.

That seems kind of strange doesn't it? Two young ballplayers going THREE WHOLE MONTHS... without internet. And yeah, the throwing thing. It seems that almost every guy I've ever talked to spends his entire offseason doing baseball related activity. But if there's one thing that we've been convinced of in the two years following R&D, it's that despite our initial skepticism, their handlers have pretty regularly done what's best for them. Except for the ribs incident.

  • The looming problem for the boys seems to be their growing awareness that they play for The Pirates. And while that's never been a good thing, their 2010 futility in the face of what was some mild preseason optimism has made this rough start even rougher. And Dinesh has noticed.

    I pitching pretty good. We watching Pirates losing very bad this week. We not liking this - Pirates our team.

    Poor bastard.

  • Tonight's Questions

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    fish baby.jpg

    Hey kids, the ripples continue until they reach the shore.

    Because we have to. Because we love you. See you here tomorrow, same WoW channel. You too, Fish Baby.

    Let Lou Piniella Tell You About His Box

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    Box, box, boxy box box. Like a diamond, the word "box" is simply constructed and clear yet contains many individual facets and meanings that reveal it's true beauty and versatility. Other than it's traditional "container" or geometric references, this Merriam-Webster definition lists like 6 other meanings.

    Nowhere is "box" pounded harder than in corporate nothingspeak when someone making a non-traditional choice is said to be "thinking outside the box." In fact if you hear someone saying "thinking outside the box" they are using a term so tired and devoid of punch that they're squarely in the center of said box. With the Cubs having won three in a row since Lou Piniella moved struggling ace Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, the skipper's disdain for coming up with ideas whilst inside of a a rigid, typically rectangular container with or without a cover is being praised far and wide. Well, mostly he rambled on about it this weekend himself.

    "I think you better think out of the box here at times," Piniella said.

    "I think [thinking] out of the box is a good thing," Piniella said. "Look, things change. Sometimes you leave Spring Training one way, and all of a sudden something happens and you have to adjust to it, whether it's pitching, whether it's position players, whether it's the bench.

    "Things change, and they never stay the same for 162 games," he said. "Unless you're awfully good and awfully deep, you better think outside the box sometimes. If you don't, you'll get beat up."

    "My job description is to win baseball games, as many as I can, and at the same time to do what's best for the baseball team. That's all I'm doing and that's all I'm trying to do. You better be able to think outside of the box."

    That's from an article titled, "Piniella proving to think outside the box" which is about the most in-box headline possible since Smilin' Lou said it 76 times in the piece. Gordon Wittemeyer of the Sun-Times used the same quotes and titled his piece "Leaping outside the box" which I take to mean that Piniella's ideas are so radically anti-box that simply thinking outside of it won't do. He must propel himself skyward using only the force of his own groundbreaking thoughts, like a Phoenix rising from Arizona. It is also a lame title.

    At least Wittemeyer has the good sense to note that Zambrano has only pitched one inning during the Cubs' recent streak. So while all of this contrarian nonsense may be good bulletin board material for the next managers meeting at Fox & Obel, it hasn't really contributed to the club's success other than it may have kept Zambrano from blowing another start.


    Morning: Today's Afternoon Game

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    • Royals at Blue Jays, 12:37: The Birds have one hand on the broom closet today against the Royals. They've ostensibly got their work cut out for them against Smilin' Zack Greinke, although he has yet to deliver any transcendent stuff in 3 starts this season. He's given up 20 hits in 17 IP and an uncharacteristic 6 BB and 2HR. Small sample size, but the Blue Jays have hit the most ding dongs in all of baseball. Gonna need his K game. Vernon Wells is still hot as a bastard totting again last night.

    EdBerger's 30 Clubs In 30 Songs: Arizona & Atlanta

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    You may know Ed Klingenberger as commenter extraordinaire EdBerger. But he's not just a witty baseball fan, he's also an eclectic and supremely talented musician fluent in many styles of batshit RnR. His new project is so ambitious and utterly WoWian that I had to ask him if we could link it here.

    Ed is writing, performing and recording a song for each of the 30 major league ballclubs. I know, right? First up was Arizona. The Snakes' song gets its slither on with some hazy guitar and progged out time changes. It's like going to Chase Field with Robert Fripp.

    ARIZONA by Ed Klingenberger

    Then yesterday, he rolled out his tune for the Braves. It's in the style of Atlanta heavy bros Mastodon and is the perfect thing to blast out of your headphones and freak out people on the MARTA.

    ATLANTA by Ed Klingenberger

    We'll be linking to Ed's team themed boom tunes each time he drops one, but I urge you to peruse the back catalog over at Ed Makes Things if you're feeling freaky.

    Orpheus Plays The Bronx: Today's Afternoon Games

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    • Rangers at Indians, 12:05: It's David Huff vs. someone named M. Harrison. Come strapped in case the M stands for "Marvin". I guess you'll need a gun if the M stands for "George" too because he'll be a zombie.

    • Red Sox at Twins, 1:10: Hey Minnesota. Nice park. But are you ever gonna play a goddamned night game in it? The Red Sox have been in the 6th inning everyday when I've gotten off work this week. "Oh the cold weather won't affect anything, that's a myth... blah blah." TURN THE LIGHTS ON AND PLAY A NIGHT GAME IF IT'S SO BALMY THEN. Wakefield vs. Liriano.

    • Houston at St. Louis, 1:40: The Astros are stiiiiilllll looking for their first win of the season, and will trot out the excellently named Bud Norris to try and get the job done. A loss today would match their franchise worst 0-9 start in 1983. Back when Mike Scott was a still a ladykiller. Catch Brad Mills fever! Cardinals send out Kyle Lohse.

    • Brewers at Cubs, 2:20: Jesus Jeff Suppan returns from the deel to face Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs. Fukudome has quietly put together a first week and a half, going 10 for 24 with a tidy .773 OPS. Zambrano turned in a decent performance in his last start lowering his ERA 40 points to 11.

    • Nationals at Philles, 3:05: Is there a more fun TV station name to say outloud than MASN? Try it. The Phillies have been a juggernaut thus far scoring runs by the handful. The Nationals try and stop them with Scott Olsen and Philly counters with J.A. "Is Mighty" Happ. Tune in Phillies fans, it's more fun than doing your taxes.

    • Mets at Rockies, 3:20: Mike Pelfrey against Jorge De La Rosa. SMELL IT.
    • Angels at Yankees: 1:05: The Yankees have been knocking the ball around pretty good, and today will face Joel Pineiro, a man who knows from getting knocked around. In the AL, anyway. Not that his counterpart, Javier Vasquez had the most sparkling of season debuts giving up 8 in 5.2 against Tampa. Expect another long afternoon in the Bronx. Bonus prediction! Also expect lots of fat guys in the stands.

    • Royals at Tigers, 1:05: Rubba dub in Detroit. Rick Porcello makes his second afternoon start of the season. Kyle Davies goes for KC. Cats are tied atop the NL Central with the Twins at 6-2. You're already watching a pennant race, kids.

    • Red Sox at Twins, 1:10: And here are those aforementioned Twins hosting the Sox for game two of this series. Apparently opening a new stadium was so exciting they needed a day off to recover. Turnstile rash can be a real bear. John Lackey takes on Kevin Slowey. It's Lackey's second consecutive start as a sort of "stopper" following lackluster starts by Jon Lester. Like every other pitcher in baseball, Lackey has a tough time getting Joe Mauer out. Ol' Sideburn Sally is 9-fer-20 lifetime against him with 2 HR.

    Other games of note: Rays at Orioles (1:35), Brewers at Cubs (2:20), and Pirates at Giants (3:45). Do with those what you will.

    crappy to happy.jpg

    If you tuned into the very start of the Podcast last night (instead of watching Lost like a dork or napping like me) you heard a few minutes of electric play by play as Rob and Drew followed along with Ricky Romero's no hit bid against the White Sox. Alex Rios, a former Blue Jay that has been an object of much derision in Toronto over the last couple seasons and at the very least a topic for spirited discussion elsewhere, stepped to the plate with one down in the 8th. He launched a two run ding dong to deepest darkest left, and there went Romero's no-no.

    Now back to that derision. Rios has taken the high road when it comes to the scrutiny he took in Toronto, much of it asinine. But that was probably the smartest thing for a guy to do after he signs a $69M contract extension and his numbers promptly take a small dive. Of course, none of it went unnoticed by Rios' manager Ozzie Guillen who, pregame yesterday, threatened to beat up a child to support his player. Remember this?

    In the video, a kid is trying to get an autograph, and then an adult starts yelling stuff at Rios when he apparently refused.

    "If you put yourself in Alex Rios' shoes, that kid is lucky it wasn't Ozzie,'' Guillen said. "I would beat the [crap] out of him and the guys. Because the way they approached him to go to that point, is not the way to approach a human being. They were making fun of him.

    "I swear to God, I'll be in jail right now. Because the people surrounding him were harassing him and I don't think they approached him the right way. They forgot. I saw the YouTube with his wife next to him. People think they can do whatever they want with celebrities, 'Oh, us poor people, whoever makes money or whoever a celebrity is.' That's not right.''

    Alright, then. For his part, Rios was quoted in that same story continuing to say things like "It wasn't my choice to leave here, they [waived] me, but it's all good. It's part of the game. It keeps the game exciting," and as for the boos said "I don't mind it. I had it many times here, so I'm kind of used to it.'' Even last night after the game, Rios said he had mixed emotions about his tot because Romero is a friend.

    We can take Rios at face value and believe that the home run would have felt good (or not even that good, since the White Sox still lost) against any other team, and we can also discount the true weight of how much he should even mean to us given the disproportionately loud voice that the Jays Internet Diaspora carries. There are certainly guys who have done less to earn their money over the past two years and escaped much of the heat. But it's way more fun to buy into Rios vs. the Boo Birds and the age old revenge fantasy it conjures.

    And it's also fun to imagine Ozzie Guillen in jail.

    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, the tongue is a sword.

    Yes, by clicking that link tonight at 9 you will be treated to the sweet music of Rob, Drew and me discussing 4 baseball topics and 1 non baeball topic in the fashion that we've been doing for well over a year now. Also we encourage you to call to either chime in or discuss something completely off topic until we hang up on you. The number is, as always, (347) 843-4807. Do join us. Same WoW frequency. You too, RZA.


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    liveglog.jpgI just wrote a whole afternoon preview post with stats and jokes and the whole thing got erased. Thanks for autosaving a big page of NOTHING, Movable Type. Anyway, DMac is glogging the Angels/Yankees game at 1:05. BE HERE!! Blazers optional.
    2-6-5 thief 420.gif

    The giant left field scoreboard that helpfully takes up a bunch of empty space at (I'll give you five seconds to come up with the name of the place... time's up) Sun Life stadium has been hilariously referred to as The Teal Monster. But so far this season it's name has been Mudd. You see, the thing done broke. And no one wants to pony up the cash to fix it.

    The left field National League and American League out of town scoreboards and starting lineup displays are no more at Sun Life Stadium. The two main panels are covered with massive advertisements for the MLB Network. A dorky picture of Billy the Marlin holding up a glove and an ad for the Marlins Community Foundation occupy the spaces where the lineups used to be posted.

    Dating back to last season several bulbs were either malfunctioning or broken. Stadium and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross deemed it too expensive to fix. As lame duck tenants, the Marlins certainly aren't going to put so much as a dime into a facility they will vacate after the 2011 season.

    Now what you're probably thinking is, "Well I guess that makes sense, why should Loria put that money into the stadium that he shares with another team when he's leaving anyway." You're probably thinking that because you're a dummy. Or a Republican.


    What a bum. Who wants to bet they play the second half of this year with the electricity, water and cable shut off? Heading to the park? Bring a pee bucket! Wouldn't hiring a few guys to twist in some new lightbulbs fulfill Loria's destiny as The Great Job Creator?

    First Marlins fans have to deal with the indignity of MLB monitoring the front office so they don't get fleeced, now they can't even comfortably follow the out of town teams that don't have frigid, soulless owners. This is always one of the signs you're supposed to look for in a toxic relationship. When the abusive partner cuts you off from your social circle. It's happening, Fish fans.

    If the scoreboard stays broken due to Loria's crippling neglect we here at Walkoff Walk will hold a fundraiser to get the following scrolling billboard erected at historic Sun Life stadium.


    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, needs more berries.

    • WHO will have the homiest opening? Toronto, Seattle, or San Diego? I'm not sure, the girls in those towns always seemed cute to me. Oh, HOMIEST.

    • WILL Barry Zito turn in another solid start even though he's not pitching against the Astros?

    • WHAT do Stephen Strasburg, Arolidis Chapman, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have in common? They all play sports! Yeah I thought it was going to be more compelling than that, too.

    • IS your preferred team in this new college baseball Top 25? Mine is ranked 7th which means they're in perfect position to once again enter the postseason highly ranked and then be bounced early. I love consistency.

    I can fight ten cops! Same WoW channel.
    • Royals at Tigers, 1:05: The Tigers are off to a 5-1 start and have the good fortune of playing the Royals for the second time in this young season. Max Scherzer, who pitched 6 innings of one hit ball against KC (in what turned out to be Detroit's only loss) gets another crack today. Luke Ho Shaver starts for the Royals.

    • Brewers at Cubs, 2:20: Laverne and Shirley must have put in some overtime at the Old Style factory this weekend getting ready for today's Wrigley home opener. I'd say there are a lot of Cubs fans playing hooky today, but the late Lee Elia reminds us that none of them have jobs anyway. The woeful Cubs offense will at least get to take its cracks against Doug Davis, reminding me of the old joke about the abused child a judge he wanted to go live with Doug Davis because he can't beat anyone. Ryan Dempster on the hill for Chicago.

    • Rangers at Indians, 3:05: Fausto Carmona may need to take a few pointers from Faust on making a deal to win today's game. In 8 starts against Texas, dude has allowed 62 baserunners and 27 ER in 40 IP. ANd the rangers took rubber from Seattle over the weekend with 18 runs in that 3 game series. Rich Harden needs to be more efficient in his second Rangers start after walking 5 through 3.2 his first time out this year. Every inning counts with that guy.

    • Nationals at Phillies, 3:05: Fresh off a weekend of slapping around the hapless Astros, Washington comes to town looking like the '27 Yankees in comparison. They took 2 out of 3 from the Mets over the weekend and handed Philly their only loss, a 6-5 squeaker last Thursday. Riggleman? No, Rigglemania. It'll be Jason Marquis vs. Whole Camels. Ryan Zimmerman out for a second consecutive game with a creampuffed hammy. I'd expect lots of people in Philly to be playing hooky for the home opener, but well, you know.

    • Red Sox at Twins, 4:10: It's the regular season debut of Target Field and all it's various foodstuffs. It's 57 and sunny today in the Twin Cities making the weather just about as nice as anywhere outdoor baseball is playing today. So pour that down your pop hole, naysayers. Jon Lester takes on former Sox farmhand and Yankee legend, Carl Pavano.

    • Astros at Cardinals, 4:15: The bottom feeding Astros are in town for the Cards home opener, which is like when major college football teams schedule tiny 1-AA schools for their homecoming games. Wandy Rodriguez takes the hill for the visitors against Adam Wainwright. Barring anything unusual, like the Astros scoring a run, The Best Fans In Baseball™ should be cramming multiple chili dogs through grins.

    Weekend Questions

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    Hey kids, you cannot run forever.

    Have a good weeeeeeeekend. I'm gonna watch a lot of golf but first I'm trying to decide whether or not to drive 2.5 hours to go see the Noho Wools tonight. That probably means I'll do it. Anyway, Joba's got you all weekend. We'll see you Monday. Same WoW channel. GO TIGER!

    (Photo of Miguel Cabrera and Andy Van Slyke stolen from Let's Play Two.)

    What's Up Creampuff: Guys Who Got Hurt Pt. 1

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    I wonder what my therapist thinks about me turning Friday into a day for pain. Between Creampuff and the Bat Attack Roundup there's something about today that makes me revel in the ouchies. Actually, my therapist is probably more concerned with the fact that I just stopped going a few months ago and still owe him some money. On with the Marys.

    • Chipper Jones, Braves: OL' CHIP strained his oblique swinging yesterday. Seems like no big deal, and he should only miss a couple games. But this is like the 20 trillionth time it's happened to Lar, giving Fonzie O'Brien enough pause to write "Uh-O" in his headline like a pooping toddler.

    • Felix Pie, Orioles: Felix has a minor rotator cuff strain and will miss a couple games. Snoozy, but also notable for not involving his testicles.

    • Brian Sanches, Marlins: Pulled his hamstring leading to this diagnosis from Dr. Fredi Gonzalez:"Usually when it's higher up, it can be more severe than in the middle of the hamstring, or lower," Gonzalez said. Thanks, dude. I wouldn't trust Fredi Gonzalez to pour me a dose of Dimetapp.

    • Orlando Hudson, Twins: Hudson left last nights game but apparently "feels fine after being kneed in the head." That's the same way I'd describe Minnesota taxpayers after seeing how pretty Target Field is.

    • Luis Castillo, Mets: "Castillo, who tweaked his left hand diving into first base on an infield hit Thursday, will not play Friday, but that's due to his calf and not his hand bothering him, the Newark Star-Ledger reports." Meet the Mets!

    • Jeff Niemann, Rays: Done got smoked in the arm by a line drive. Joe Maddon recommends an ice pack and a 2004 Argentinian Malbec.

    • Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers: Just days after his opening day walkoff hit, Salty hits the DL with back pain. Sweet! No finer reward for a job well done than a paid vacation. Enjoy crouching everyday in the Texas heat, Teagarden. Sucker.

    • Aaron Hill, Blue Jays: Hill is out with a tight hamstring. The Blue Jays are replacing him in the lineup with DH Mervin Wells, the heretofore unknown twin brother of Vernon Wells. They're identical except for a mustache and a pair of cheap looking glasses.

    Wild Orphan: Today's Afternoon Games

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    • Indians at Tigers, 1:05: Golden Child Rick Porcello (heeeey, Joey Buttafucco ova eah) makes his season debut. Rick is from Morristown, NJ and so Italian that he sleeps under a blanket of capicola, thus making him the Tigers' own version of Rob Iracane. Porcello is 3-0 in 4 starts against the Indians, allowing but 5 runs in 25 innings. David "Let's Go" Huff "Some Gas" gets the start for the Tigs.

    • Blue Jays at Orioles, 3:05: Brandon Morrow makes his first start as a Blue Jay. Vernon Wells will try and prolong his hot start. PUT YOUR CAP ON BACKWARDS AND HIT THE WAREHOUSE. The Orioles just dropped two of three to the Rays, despite only being outscored by a single run. Brad Bergesen starts for the O's.

    • Padres at Rockies, 4:10: You guys can finally exhale. Clayton Richard and Jorge De La Rosa make their season debuts. Both of these clubs dropped 2 of 3 in their opening series. Please note that Heath Bell is attempting to tag the Padres with the "Why Not Us?" mantra. Well Heath, where would you like us to start?

    • Braves at Giants, 4:35: Arguably the two teams with the most first week hype in the NL. The Braves are 2-1 and riding the wave of excitement that's been brought by Heyward and Hanson (hoo?). The Giants are 3-0 and have gotten stellar pitching thus far. Today they trot out 4th starter Jonathan Sanchez, he of the 2009 no-hitter. This is the one to watch! Unless you're watching The Masters.

    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, embrace disgrace.

    • WHICH future HoFer will have the better start tonight? Brian Matusz against the Rays or Tommy Hanson against the Cubs? Tampa and Atlanta both have brooms.

    • CAN the much maligned (around here) Indians actually win the season's first series?

    • WHAT do you think about Brewers beat writer Tom Hardricourt's taste in food as exhibited by that video up there? What about the fact that he looks like a roadie for Widespread Panic? Stay loose, Tommy.

    • IS there anyway in hell I won't be at The Solid Sound Festival at Mass MoCA this summer? Nels Cline demonstrating an interactive guitar pedal exhibit? You'll need a firehose to keep me away.

    What's the dee-yee-yeal with gornuts? We'll see you tomorrow for Creampuff, Classic TV, and all your other Friday favorites. It's almost the weekend, skinny. Same WoW channel.

    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, use it or freeze it.


    I hope you all have a wonderful evening. Unless you're one of the people in the above video setting a world record in a Hideki Matsui snuggie. Then I just hope that one day you find both the peace and companionship that you are clearly in dire need of. Bon soir, baby. Same WoW channel.

    Muerte De Antoñito El Camborio: Today's Afternoon Games

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    • Rockies at Brewers, 1:10 PM: Rubber in Milwaukee with Aaron Cook taking the hill for the visitors and Doug Davis defending the house. Old Guy punchline Jim Edmonds could make people stop snickering. He's 9 for 16 in his career against Cook with 3 ding dongs. Miller vs. Coors, who ya got? Pete Coors is a facist.

    • Giants at Astros, 2:05 PM: No longer the FACE OF THE FRANCHISE, Matt Cain is still an above average third starter and looks to continue the SF rotation's solid start. Lincecum and Zito powered the team through the first two games and pass the broom to Cain like a baton. Slackjawed yokel simpleton Brett Myers takes the hill for Houston.

    Wake Up And Catch Meat

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    Via the friendly, yet mildly psychotic folks at With Leather comes your 6:30 wake up call. It's a between inning promo from PNC Park (home of The Heist). It involves shooting hot dogs and catching meat and is sure to spoil whatever breakfast you may attempt to eat. PIRATES FANS, HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS?

    Tonight's Questions

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    Hey kids, memories and drinks don't mix too well.

    • WILL Jon Lester and AJ Burnett fare a little better than their staff "aces" did on Sunday night? And WILL the second game of this Yanks/Sox series be nearly as exciting as the first?

    • WILL the Rays begin their not under the radar under the radar 2010 campaign against the perennial doormat but not expected to be the doormat this year Orioles?

    • CAN Barry Zito continue on the upward trajectory he started with last year's semi-bounceback season? Faint praise, as it would have been hard for him to get much worse, but we'll see. Maybe that old salt Lincecum and his two Cy Youngs are finally rubbing off on the headstrong youngster.

    • WANT to read a sportswriter that makes Dave Barry look like Richard Pryor? Look no further than beat writer Henry Schulman's new blog. Hope you've had enough time to warm up your tomato throwing arm.

    • DO you think the Twins are going to lose all their games on purpose until they get to open Target Field? That would be sentimental and sweet but also kind of dumb. Just like Twins fans. ZING. They've got Joe Saunders in game two of their series with the Angels tonight.

    • DO you think a Jason Heyward jersey would look good underneath a leather jacket? Only one man knows for sure: Arthur Fonzarelli O'Brien.

    • HOW will Edwin Jackson fare in his first start as a Diamondback against the Padres? And WILL Florida State Seminole Stephen Drew have another inside the park home run?

    • DID The Colonel know what he was getting into when he started that beatwriter/food contest thing? Who knows, but he sounds exhausted now that it's over. Meech won. No surprise there. Philly knows their fat people.

    Well that's it for us. This is the only thing I've written all day but there should be enough in there to insult a good portion of our readers. My work here is done. Afternoon games tomorrow, but no Wednesday Afternoon Liveglog Club just yet. You've got another week to get your blazers drycleaned.

    Happy 73rd Birthday, Merle Haggard!

    Opening Day Lineupstravaganza: Your Late Games

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    Been quite a day so far. 29 taters in all. Notably: 2 from Pujols, 2 from Garrett Jones, 1 from Jason Heyward in his first AB, 1 from Ryan Howard, 1 from Vernon Wells (it's an on year!) and 1 from Mark DeRosa who I made fun of earlier.

    I'm gonna switch to the NCAA game, but I want to leave you with your lineups for Mariners at A's and Twins at Angels. Both those games are starting up now. I bid good evening to all you West Coast WoWies and those of you just staying up till the last light of Opening Day has faded. Thanks for spending it with us, and we'll see you tomorrow. Same WoW channel.

    Opening Day Lineupstravaganza: Giants at Astros, 7:05

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    Tim Lincecum floating ball woah.jpg

    Hours after Zack Grienke looked pretty good against the Tigers (though KC is currently blowing it), last year's other Cy takes the mound leading punchless Giants against the loveless Astros. The punchless comment refers to last year's Grande squad, since they've ostensibly turned a new page with Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa at the 4-5 providing protection to Obesibear or whatever it is the clever kids are calling Pablo Sandoval these days. Huff is hoping a move to the AL will help him channel the halcyon days of 2008 when he played way over his head. A move to Detroit last year certainly didn't.

    Rickety Roy Oswalt is braving age and a failing body to make his club record8th consecutive Opening Day start for the Astros. If he has trouble staying healthy again this year, it could be nearing the end for the best pitcher in franchise history (his overall numbers are much better than Nolan Ryan's in an Astros uni) and one of the best overall of our generation. Hey, it's Opening Day, why is Liakos reflecting on the totally hypothetical end of Roy Oswalt's career instead of the long winding road of a new season?THE TOMMY MANZELLA ERA STARTS NOW.

    Aaron Rowand, CFKaz Matsui, 2B
    Edgar Renteria, SSHunter Pence, RF
    Pablo Sandoval 3BCarlos Lee, LF
    Aubrey Huff 1BGeoff Blum, 1B
    Mark DeRosa, 2BPedro Feliz, 3B
    Benji Molina, CJ.R. Towles, C
    John Bowker, RFTommy Manzella, SS
    Juan Uribe, LFKelly Johnson, 2B
    Tim Lincecum, PRoy Oswalt, P

    Opening Day Lineupstravaganza: Tigers at Royals, 4:05PM

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    Best pitching matchup of the day. Justin Verlander, last year's 3rd place Al Cy Young vote getter takes on reigning AL Cy Winner, and the game's most universally liked player Zack Greinke. Other excitement in Kansas City comes from the debuts of Rick Ankiel, Scott Podsednik and Jason Kendall. The Royals are bringing in more people on the downside of their career than Celebrity Apprentice.

    The Tigers are your WoW pick to win the AL Central. Rob also picked Jim Leyland to die and subsequently win manager of the year. Bold. Your move, Sports Illustrated. Whatever happens today, the AL Central is going to be one close race and if the Tigers are gonna make my prediction come true, a good start will be essential. No one wants to play 163 games again. What do you think, Asshole Jim?

    "I think we have a competitive club," said Leyland. "Are we going to win anything? I don't know."

    Keep smilin', kid.

    Austin Jackson, CFDavid DeJesus, RF
    Johnny Damon, LFScotty Pods, LF
    Magglio Ordonez, RFBilly Butler, 1B
    Miguel Cabrera, 1BRick Ankiel, CF
    Carlos Guillen, DHJose Guillen, DH
    Brandon Inge, 3BWillie Bloomquist, 3B
    Gerald Laird, CYuniesky Betancat, SS
    Scott Sizemore, 2BJason Kendall, C
    Adam Everett, SSChris Getz, 2B


    Smarcum returns! I won't say anything nice about him for fear it will cause him to get injured again. I will, however, never stop griping about how badly Hogan got jobbed at WM6. Which reminds me, if you don't swing by Deadspin as much as you used to, their Dead Wrestler Of The Week feature is absolute appointment reading. But I digress.

    Marcum's return and his whole season as the #1 (or 1a depending on your thoughts about Ricky Romero) starter provides interest for the the worsening Toronto fanbase. And though there are no shortage of storylines in Texas, Scott Feldman's ascension as 30th round pick cum nondescript bullpen guy cum Opening Day starter is a fun one for Rangers fans too. Ian Kinsler is too 'puff to play, Adam Lind is flush with new dough and rebirth happens where you find it, not where you will it. Who's to say it can't happen today in Arlington? Alright, besides Blue Jay fans.

    ("Photo" stolen from Lil Rob's MySpace page. Of course it is.)

    Jose Bautista, RFJulio Borbon, CF
    Aaron Hill, 2BMichael Young, 3B
    Adam Lind, DHJosh Hamilton, LF
    Vernon Wells, CFVlad Guerrero, DH
    Lyle Overbay, 1BNelson Cruz, RF
    John Buck, CChris Davis, 1B
    Eddie Encarnacion, 3BJarrod Saltalamacchia, C
    An Alex Gonzalez SSAndres Blanco, 2B
    Travis Snider, LFElvis Andrus, SS


    I find it mildly hilarious that Jake Westbrook, perhaps the player I pilloried most during our first year of existence, is the first opening day starter I get to talk about. He makes his faminey return to the mound after missing almost all of the last TWO seasons and pocketing $22M for it. And thus the Indians enter once more into the breach, doing so without a whole lot of fan enthusiasm and veering dangerously close to the aura of the old Cleveland Stadium/Major League days.

    This White Sox team is intriguing. I picked them to finish third, but don't be too surprised if Buerhle/Peavy/Danks/Floyd carries them higher than that. We've been known to be wrong around here before. Also, you know, Ozzie and stuff. That's always interesting. On Dasher, on Dancer, on AL Central and the gaping hole left by Lance Broadway!

    Asdrubal Cabrera, SSJuan Pierre, LF
    Grady Sizemore, CFGordon Beckham, 2B
    Shin Soo Choo, RFCarlos Quentin, RF
    Travis Hafner, DHPaul Konerko, 1B
    Jhonny Peralta, 3BMark Kotsay, DH
    Matt LaPorta, 1BAlex Rios, CF
    Mark Grudzielanek, 2BA.J. Pierzynski, C
    Lou Marson, CMark Teahen, 3B
    Michael Brantley, LFAlexei Ramirez, SS

    Weekend Affirmation

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    • BASEBALL is back on Sunday, and so are you.

    This isn't a cop out post. I'm just so excited that it seems futile to say anything else. We'll have our traditional Opening Day festivities on Monday. Separate posts and full lineups for each game. Come on up for the rising. We'll see you then. Same Regular Season WoW Channel.

    What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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    Despite a decent amount of inclement New England weather this Winter, I stayed relatively injury free. Couple stubbed toes here, a few hangovers there. I also have a bit of chronic lower back pain developing which I attribute to work and I probably should get one of those rad looking lifting belts. But I'll tell you what. I look like Jack Friggin Lalanne next to the following Hummel Figurines.

    • CHIPPER Jones, Braves: We already made note of this yesterday in TQ but ol' Dave O'Brien at the AJC caught sight of the ingrown toenail that was so severe it kept him out of a game this week. I'm surprised he didn't take a couple rounds of duckshot and just shoot it off. He's a ballplayer, dammit!

    • Koji Uehara, Orioles: The Japanese ambassador to Baltimore hasn't thrown off of a mound in a couple weeks and thus, will start the season on the deel. Koji has a relatively long injury history compared to his time of service. Starting the season on the 15 day really shows that you've arrived as a Creampuff, though.

    • Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Missed a couple games with a sore arm. Descriptive. This is why Creampuff is harder to do in camp, obviously, because guys miss games with nebulous injuries that they would just play through in the regular season. If this was a game in July, Ellsbury would just be making weak throws to the cutoff man, sore arm or not.

    • Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Astros: Baseball's other ace named Roy has a body that is seizing up like the engine on an '83 Oldsmobile. Hamstring tightness, chronic back problems, and a mysterious muscle pain on his left side. All of these things will contribute to... Oswalt starting Opening Day. Okay, then. Berkman had surgery in March that's left his knee "cranky, sore and swollen, like walking around on Urban Meyer. He will miss the opener.

    • Alex Gordon, Royals: Gordon has been dealing with a thumb ouchie for bout all of camp and will start the season on the deel. Progressing well, but still an auspicious way to begin a season for a guy trying to bounce back from an injury riddled 2009.

    • Jeff Suppan, Brewers: Suppan has landed on the DL, with cervical disc pain, aka a sore neck. This was caused by either vigorous headbanging at a MercyMe show or nodding vigorously in agreement to a speaker at a Tea Party rally.

    • Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero, Joe Blanton, Phillies: Neither Lidge nor Romero have fully recovered from offseason surgery, and Blanton has an oblique strain that could keep him out for as long as 6 weeks. Didn't even know Cuntry Joe had obliques.

    • Fred Lewis, Giants: Lewis has a strained ribcage that will likely start his season on the DL assuming the Giants keep him at all. Root for the DL Fred!! Don't get traded, San Francisco is lovely in the summer!

    • Cliff Lee, Mariners: Lee threw with no discomfort blah blah Curt Shilling yapping blah blah. Why do I feel like I'm gonna get sick of talking about Cliff Lee soon? What did he do to deserve it?

    Bob Watson Can't Get Monsterous Length Under Control

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    I feel your pain, brother. Blessing and a curse, blessing and a curse.

    Bob Watson, the man charged with the futile job of trying to shorten the average length of ballgames, has taken the tried and true "complaining to the media because I have been charged with a futile job" route of conducting his futile job. The headline of today's article in Business Week should be: Bob Watson To Yankees And Red Sox: Jeeeez Guys, Come Onnnnn

    "We've created a monster," Watson said in a telephone interview. "Will we ever get this under control? I don't know."

    Slow games have exasperated the game's hierarchy since at least 2000, when Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson was hired to stop excessive fidgeting and fussing, among other things. He left in 2002 to manage the Montreal Expos, and Watson, a former Yankees general manager, took over.

    One key is time between pitches, Watson said. The official rule -- 8.04 for those keeping score at home -- says pitchers have 12 seconds when there are no runners on base, according to MLB spokesman Pat Courtney. Last year's average was 27 seconds, according to Stats LLC.

    "My dream for 2010 is to have a pace of 25 seconds per pitch," Watson said.

    So Bwats (that's what I call him) a man whose job is to enforce the rules of the game, and I'm sure handsomely compensated for it, has a DREAM of getting pitchers to throw at a pace that is more than double the stated rule. That's uh, nice work if you can get it.

    Now I'm not suggesting that the umps call a ball on every single pitcher that takes more than the allotted 12 seconds (the article claims this was done "15 to 20 times last season" as if we have no way of tracking these things), that seems a drastic measure leading to total chaos and 2 dead umpires a month. But Watson has been in charge of this for 8 years now and the average time of a ballgame has dropped by a meager 6 minutes in that span.

    Time for some revolutionary thinking if you're serious about getting this done then, eh Bwats?

    Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a 14-member Special Commission, which met for the first time in January to discuss the issue, along with other baseball matters. Possible steps include stricter enforcement of rules, curbing excessive pitcher's mound conferences and not allowing batters to step out of the box during an at-bat, Watson said.

    Seriously? Is this an Onion article? Are they pulling my leg cause it's April Fool's Day? That's what The Commission™ has come up with? YOU'VE BEEN TRYING TO DO THOSE THINGS FOR 8 YEARS.

    When it comes right down to it, Watson's job title should be Chief Complainer. He's specifically down on closers and their darned rock n' roll, citing Trevor Hoffman, and more hilariously Jonathan Papelbon, for taking too long to get to the mound and pitch.

    "Do you have any idea what Papelbon's time is?" Watson said. "It's 4:30 or 4:40. So that's why he's fined. Why would people want to watch him take forever to throw his pitches? It doesn't make any sense."

    You may agree with him on this point, even if you don't share his anachronistic incredulousness. But here's the difference between you and him: IT'S HIS JOB TO FIX IT. There's a rule there. It says pitchers have 2 minutes and 25 seconds. They've fined Papelbon the pocket changeish sum of $9,000 for his infractions. No wonder whining to Business Week has become Watson's latest form of recourse.

    So, here's my magic bullet for Bwats: Give up, duder. You've proven to be less effective in this given task than perhaps anyone in the history of tasks. That's a long time. People have been doing tasks for at least 50 years. And you know, all this is assuming that MLB has even made a good faith effort to reduce game length and isn't just paying lip service to something that nebulous "fans" (and more accurately snoozy sportswriters) are upset about. But they wouldn't do that, would they?