Kris Liakos: June 2010 Archives

Old Ed: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • Phillies at Reds, 12:35: The Phils trot out their ace to try and snatch rubber. Aaron Harang goes for the Reds. K's are down and ERA is up for Harang, although 3 out of his last 4 starts have been Quality. Ryan Howard has 3 HR in 15 career ABs against him. Pencil another one in for today.

  • Tigers at Twins, 1:10: Andy Oliver vs. Kevin Slowey in another rubber match. Winner of this one leaves the series with the division lead. That'll make anyone's July 4 BBQ taste better. Except Joel Zumaya.

  • Astros at Brewers, 2:10: Wandy Rodriguez vs. Dave Bush. What are you having for lunch.

  • Snakes at Cards, 2:15: Broom in St. Louis. The Cards have snuck back into 1st by a half game continuing the forbidden dance of victory that seems destined to enchant the Middlewest for the rest of the summer. Barry Enwright vs. Jeff Suppan. Gotta love a dude named Barry. Always solid. Do we have any readers named Barry? Speak up!

  • Pirates at Cubs, 2:20: Chicago won last night! They're still just 3-8 on the year vs. the Bucs but could maybe grab some rubber. Brad "Don't Call Me Barry" Lincoln vs. Tom Gorzelanny.

  • 2 more games later in the day. 4 NL West teams. Check em out.

The Oil Ball Game: Congressional Baseball Wrap-Up

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Yesterday, Nationals Park in Washington DC played host to some offensive explosions but on this day BP stood for "batting practice." And how! Hasn't that poor company suffered enough? Republican congressional baseball team captain Joe Barton sure thinks so. He's the dude that apologized to company chief Tony Heyward during congressional hearings. But hey, let's give Barton a break. He's really been preparing for this game! He can't decide what his favorite part of baseball is. Drilling a line drive or slick fielding.

(Billy) Shuster is only one of more than two dozen Republican lawmakers who've been practicing together every day at 7 a.m. for more than two months. Team captain Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) has made every practice. "We need dedication to get this trophy back," he told ITK, "so I've been out there every day."

"We'll start [Rep. John] Shimkus (R- Ill.) on the mound again this year," he said, "but there are a lot of players looking really good."

Also looking strong, Barton noted, are Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Connie Mack (R-Fla.).

Connie Mack is good at baseball? I'm floored. You may remember Duncan Hunter as the cuckoo former Republican Presidential candidate that wanted to build a 2,000 mile long border fence from the Pacific to the Gulf Of Mexico (there's that place again!). Presumably, he just wanted to hit some fungoes over it.

The Democrats won last year and were looking to repeat. Which is absolutely shocking when you read these quotes from their team captain.

"I'm looking for a win by maybe five points, which is what we had last year," Democrats' team captain Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.) told ITK. Last summer Democrats beat the GOP 15-10.

Starting on the mound will be go-to pitcher, Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) (shown here warming up). "Baca's just such a consistent pitcher," said Doyle, "but what's great is that our back-up pitcher, [Rep.] Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) can strike people out, too.

"When you only play once a year, you're going to make some errors," said Doyle, "so we've got to hit a lot, make contact, and score points so that we can afford a few errors."

Sigh. Thank god there's no video of that dude throwing.

Despite an imperfect grasp on the terminology Doyle's last bit of strategy is actually sound not only for baseball but also for getting elected to office when you're a moron. It's been working for both teams for years.

So what happened in the game? The Republicans, including tiny third base coach Pete Sessions (FLAMENCO!) who had spent all afternoon poking Elena Kagan with a stick trying to get her to cry, got thumped 13-5. Game was knotted at 4-4 in the 6th inning, but in the top of the 7th (and final) inning the Dems really knocked the ol' tar ball around scoring 9 runs off Shimkus. Shiiiiiiiiiimkuuuuus! Shiiiiiiiiimkuuuuuusssss!

There's always next year, Joe Barton. If you're not locked up or expunged from your party, you crook.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, you can't live in the fridge.

  • HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE THAT GBV IS GONNA PLAY A SHOW IN OCTOBER??? Field trip.

  • CAN the Tigers extend their newly minted division lead against the Twins? Sorry, Sooze.

  • CAN the Pirates improve to 9-2 against the Cubs this season? LOU, YOUR BUTT IS ON FIRE.

  • YOU know where I bet there's some amazing ballpark food? At the Mets/Marlins series in San Juan. Marlins spanked em last night.

  • WILL Yankee announcers (and fans) show any restraint in licking their chops over Cliff Lee tonight in Seattle?
Have a good night. This sweltering Northeast heat is supposed to break. That'll be nice. We'll be back for you in the morning. Be ready when we honk. Same WoW channel.
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The Rays and Red Sox square off at Fenway tonight, and try to create a little breathing room at the top of the claustrophobic AL East. They won't be able to change all that muc as this is one of those interleague bookending nub series, but still. A minisweep for one team would have them feeling pretty good I imagine. As always, injuries are playing a key role in the division and there are quite a few of them between the top three teams. Let's have a look.

New York Yankees

  • Brett Gardner: He has a little bruise on his wrist and is day to day.

  • Mariano Rivera: Stuffed himself at dinner last night. Shouldn't have had that second helping of lima beans. Good to go for next game.

Tampa Bay Rays

Boston Red Sox

  • Josh Beckett: Out since May 19, the Sox nominal ace has made just 8 starts, half of them injury plagued stinkers. He's on track to begin rehab assignments in the next couple weeks and could possibly be ready to come back to the majors by July 31.

  • Dustin Pedroia: The team's hottest hitter over the past 3 weeks broke his foot on a foul ball in SF. He won't need surgery (laser or otherwise) but will still miss 6 weeks.

  • Jacoby Ellsbury: The opening day LF has missed almost the entire season with a rib injury and is acting all weird about it. He hasnt been with the team since June 9 and is staying in Arizona for the forseeable future. Either he hates immigrants or he's got something very contagious. Stay tuned.

  • Mike Cameron: Cameron is also suffering from an abdominal injury that will be with him all season. While he is currently playing he can do so in no more than 3 consecutive games at a time. That's called the Rocco Baldelli Memorial Creampuff Glass Ceiling, folks!

  • Clay Buchholz: Strained his hamstring in SF running to second base. Could miss next start, but may just get extra rest.

  • Jeremy Hermida: Also hurt his ribs. Finally swining a bat after missing more than month. Looking to start rehab assignments next week.

  • Victor Martinez: Caught a foul tip off the thumb in, sigh, SF and fractured it. He doesn't need surgery but is still headed to the deel.

What was it Drew said on a podcast about keeping players healthy being the new moneyball? Can the Red Sox please please please lead that charge? Please?

Lou Piniella Is Gonna Get Fired

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The Cubs are having a terrible, terrible season. And the recent success of the White Sox (though they've dropped 2 straight) has only put the mess over on the North Side into starker relief. Carlos Zambrano has had one of the strangest years in recent memory, first being demoted from #1 starter to the bullpen, and now being shelved for an indeterminate amount of time due to a hissy fit he threw in the dugout on Friday. He's on the restricted list and it sounds like they're hauling him off to the funny farm.

"Beginning Wednesday, Carlos will undergo a treatment program with mutually agreed upon doctors from the Players' Association and Major League Baseball," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Monday. "Basically, he will have to follow the treatment for his issues and be evaluated properly, and if the program is acted on properly in accordance to what the doctors they signify he needs to work on and improve on, and follow their directives, Carlos will not be reinstated any time until after the All-Star break."

Asked specifically what type of doctor Zambrano would see, Hendry declined to elaborate.

"We've obviously had a lot of transgressions with Carlos in the past so I think we all agreed that it was time to go and get help, then address the apologies later," Hendry said.

So there's your update from Hendry. Apparently, Kevin Millar is the only person that's spoken to Zambrano and, you'll never believe this, had a bunch of stuff to say. I won't blockquote any of it because then I'll have his voice inside my head. Seems like you can comment on the situation from everyone except Cubs' manager. You remember him, right? He used to be Lou Piniella.

Buzz Bissinger, who I used to really like until I started following him on Twitter, was basically advocating for the firing of Piniella last night. And unlike the benefits of constantly using the word "douchejuice", it's hard to disagree with him on this one. Fredi Gonzalez got canned in Miami after having a better record than the Cubs with a much lower payroll. Personnel issues and dissent may have done him in, and Piniella's got the mother of all those at the moment. Trey Hillman got fired in KC by a team with approximately 0 expectations, but nearly the same winning pct. There is no legitimate reason to keep Piniella on past July if the Cubs are still 10 games out and he continues to seemingly not care.

It's hard to imagine Piniella getting canned by anyone. He's a guy that seems like he's never had a boss in his life, no matter what his job was. But it's coming. Maybe it will come as a "resignation" but we'll all know. It'll be a bitter send off to a memorable managerial career, but it can't be any worse than having to sit through the rest of this stinker.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, they have a name for that at Olive Garden.

Goodnight, you people. We're all into it. Even Baby Satan. Same WoW channel.

Drinking, Gambling and Snorking (sic) With Rick Dempsey

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Remember the Rick Dempsey Cruise Guy? We had a lot of fun with him and his video ended up getting picked up all over the blogosphere. Great pub, right? Well Cruise Guy didn't think so, and he pulled the video.

So imagine my delight when he upped the ante this afternoon by having Rick Dempsey 1983 World Series MVP do a promo himself. There's cocktails, there's a little gambling, there is the possibility he "may put on a show" and who knows what that would entail. But most importantly, once you all get to Bermuda... there will be Snorking. Make sure you're not drinking anything around the 00:50 mark. Oh, cruiseandlandtours. You are the most wonderful YouTube account of all time. Don't pull this gem from us, please.



Pandemonium in the streets of Detroit. Go figure. The Tigers had just won the title and this poor Doug Llewllyn looking shmoe is having a little trouble covering things for a local affiliate. The time honored "sceaming at people while you think the station has already cut to another shot" occurs at 00:43.

Though I'm having trouble finding any background on this story, I'm 100% positive he gets murdered by the two gentlemen that make their way into the shot at the end. Oh, the 80s. Simpler times for celebratory abduction. Please to enjoy.

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Per Jon Heyman's snoozy Twitter, the Marlins have reached a tentative agreement with Bobby Valentine to make him their new manager. Thus the Marlins evolve from hiring managers with jockey names to one with a bookie name. Mercifully this ends the will he/won't he drama that Valentine has been perpetuating for himself over the past 3 years.

It will be interesting to see how much the Marlins pay him. An ego like that don't come cheap.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, these aren't usually song lyrics.

  • GOT your eye on the White Sox? They've won 12 of 13 and are making a legitimate run at salvaging their season. Ozzie lives again! They'll try for 9 in a row against the Braves?

  • WILL the Red Sox drop another game in Colorado? Chances are good with Roxbaldo Jimenez on the mound.

  • HOW bout that soccer game today? I saw the winning goal on my lunchbreak. Good timing.

  • WHY are the Dodgers having so much trouble in the 2010 Freeway Series?

  • HOW will Edwin Rodriguez fare in his first game as Marlins manager? They're playing Tampa.

  • WHY do Marlins managers always have jockey names?

  • WAS that racist?

  • WILL Barry Zito and the Giants enjoy the fruits of intraleague play against the Astros?
I saw Phish last night. I still like to check in on them and the old hippie diaspora every couple of years. They were great. But I was mostly a zombie today. Rob done good. Back tomorrow. I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand. Same WoW channel.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, they arrested that Swedish punk up the block who's always starting fires.

  • ARE any of your preferred MLB teams playing in this evening's three games?

  • ARE you following the College World Series? Even though I've been lax about writing about it (and um, everything lately) OH MY GOD THE NOLES ARE PLAYING HATED HATED HATED HATED DESPISED SCUMBAG RIVALS UF RIGHT THIS SECOND. LOSER GOES HOME. AHHHHHHH. GO NOLEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

  • EVEN if the "fatty melt" is years old by now, don't you think that Friendly's putting it on the menu is noteworthy just because of David Pinto's impending weight gain? DIP IT IN THE FRIBBLE, DAVEY.

That's it for today. I'm gonna go watch this FSU game and tear my hair out then cry when we inevitably lose and every idiot Gator fan I know that hasn't watched a game all year decides to ride my ass about it. Blech. Anyway, we'll see you manana, amigos. Lo mismo canal de WoW.

(Boylan's Cola to the fine folks at Classic Televeision Showbiz for the video.)

No One Invited Spike Owen To The Red Sox Reunion

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The Red Sox of Boston wrapped up a tidy 8-1 homestand with a sweep of the Dodgers last night. Each game had some exceptional moments. Saturday featured a walkoff laser from worldbeater Dustin Pedroia. That midget has a 10 game hitting streak, 8 of which have been multi-hit jobs. Yesterday's 2-0 win featured another gem of an outing from Clay Buchholz, a player I once doubted but was clearly very wrong about. Hey, it happens.

But it was Friday night's series opener that drew the most pub. A couple of notable faces were in the park. Most importantly, Rhianna was there. She's not only 50 times more listenable than Lady Gaga, but she also makes her look like Strega Nona. Dear Matt Kemp: Thanks for going 2 for 13 this weekend AND bringing her along. Come back anytime.

Then sitting up in the Green Monster seats was none other than old Bruce Banner himself, Roger Clemens. Apparently Clemens signed over 100 autographs. Must be nice to sign something other than court orders and affidavits for a change. He seemed to enjoy himself and I for one was happy to see him back. I don't understand the average fan's need to wish continued misery on an athlete they've never been closer than 500 feet to, but still feel wronged by. Que sera, Rocket. Take in as many games as you can before that Mindy McReady tape comes out.

And someone else was there toooo... oh yeah. Manny Ramirez. Nick Cafardo had a couple interesting tidbits about that guy in his recounting of the weekend.

Ramirez told Red Sox Spanish Beisbol Network play-by-play announcer Uri Berenguer Saturday that he regretted his trans gressions in Boston. "There's no reason I should have behaved that way in Boston,'' Ramirez told Berenguer in a 45-minute private conversation in Spanish.

Berenguer said that Ramirez no longer speaks of retirement, and said that the length of his career will be determined by a higher power. Berenguer said Ramirez has found God, reads the Bible on a daily basis, and quoted scriptures constantly during their conversation.

I felt almost 100% certain that Manny wouldn't pull us for the God loop. SO DISAPPOINTED. And feeling shame for his behavior? I don't even know who this guy is anymore. I always enjoyed Manny's irreverence for the way the game "was supposed to be played" because his success, and the team's success when he was playing well, was undeniable. His slacker style not only won games but immediately branded his detractors with a "back in my day" scarlet letter that let us know we didn't have to care about their opinions. And now he's going soft on us. Dude's a few short steps away from saying "hustle" on Baseball Tonight. Someone give this guy an elderly traveling secretary to assault. STAT.

Mexico City Blues, 2nd Chorus: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • Dodgers at Reds, 12:35: John Ely gets the start for the Dodgers. Like the Dodgers, Ely has come back to earth a bit in the past two weeks giving up 8 runs in 10 IP during his last two starts. He may not need to be lights out today, as the Dodgers have outscored the Reds 18-2 in the first two games of the series. Any Ely start is also an excuse to link to Joe Cowley's prom pic. Bronson Arroyo for the Reds.

  • Nats at Tigers, 1:10: Detroit breaks out the roomba tying to nab it's 8th win in 11 games. Leyland's squad is a mere 2 games back of the Gardy's Boys. WHO'S! MORE! GRIZZLED! The Nats are 5-9 for June and 3 of those wins came against The Pirates. Remember those heady May days when you weren't terrible. It's Luis Atilano vs. Jeremy Bonderman.

  • Roxtober Roxaholics at Twins, 1:10: Another potential sweep in this one... but the Twins will have to do it in a very uncomfortable way, if you get my drift ;) They have to face Ubaldo Jimenez and his sub 1.00 ERA. Francisco Liriano gets the start for the Twins making this the Castrol Protects Against Viscosity And Thermal Breakdown Presents The Walkoff Walk Pitching Matchup Of The Afternoon™! Castrol: Try It In Your Greek Yogurt, Yuppies!

  • A's at Cubs, 2:20: Dallas Braden has given up 13 ER in his last 3 starts and the A's have lost each of his last 6 starts and 8 of his last nine. SO MUCH FOR THE PERFECT GAME. HE IS NOT A RABBIT'S FOOT. Randy Wells goes for the Cubs. Did you know he used to be in BTO? The Cubs have lost each of his 4 starts. Something has to give! You should just watch soccer.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, deustchemark,

  • COULD you do your ol' pal Kris a big favor and come up with your own tonight's questions tonight? I need a nap before I go see The Tugboat tonight. Here are the games. The "strong" and "big" tags should work in the comments, too.

  • READ anything good in the webs today? Use those links as well. We don't share enough.
Rob is out of the picture tomorrow and Friday so it'll be me and DMac and all our other friends carrying you to the blessed weekend. See you in the eh emm. Same WoW channel.

Vanity Fair: Today's Afternoon Game

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  • Orioles at Giants, 3:45: Usually when there's only one PM game I don't do these, but I feel like it's good to highlight every game that Tim Lincecum starts. The end of May showed us he could actually do wrong with three consecutive starts that lasted 5.0, 4.2 and 5.2IP. This was after he hadn't gone less than 6 in any previous start. Throughout last month his walk totals were uncharacteristically high, netting 20 in 4 starts. He's back on track sorta, after two solid starts, including 8 innings of 2 run ball against the A's last week. Look for him to finally sweep the funk out for good when he faces an Oriole's team that is second to last in baseball in runs scored.

  • And hey, it was his birthday yesterday! Take it away hilariously obsessed girl with PowerPoint!


My Pre Dinner Protest At Fenway Park

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What you see there is my protest sign from yesterday's "Strike Out SB1070" protest on Landsdowne Street behind Fenway's Green Monster. No one really got it except one Red Sox security guard who seemed floored that I knew anything about baseball. Which is unfair but just as unfair as me assuming he knows nothing about civil rights. Which I of course, do. So we're even.

I saw flyers for the protest around my neighborhood only yesterday and decided to head on down as much for observation as for actual demonstration. With the news cycle having pretty much let go of SB1070 as a national topic of debate I figured attendance at the rally would be sparse and mostly overwhelmed by a sea of inebriated, testy Sox fans. When I rode up the far end of Landsdowne St. I thought my suspicions were mostly confirmed as I didn't see a single protester... till I got to the end of the block. The protest was actually directly between the Cask & Flagon and Game On, the flatpanel covered, soulless Hatfield & McCoy of Boston bars. Prime real estate for milling about pregame and cramming cheese fries down your maw.

And I was wrong about turnout. The Globe estimated about 200 protesters and we drew an even higher number of ruddy faced anonymous white dudes yelling nonsensical retorts then giving us the finger and scurrying off. When someone tells me to "get a job" as they stumble drunk into a bar at 6PM, I don't think they really mean that.

As that Globe article points out, most players are now mum on the immigration law issue. I don't much blame them, their union has already come out against it. And Snakes' managing partner Ken Kendrick, the original raison d'etre of a Diamondbacks boycott has said he personally opposes the law. So if I'm still going by my original reasoning, protesting this team doesn't make all that much sense anymore.

Which is fine, because that's not we were doing. The rally was to speak out against an unjust law that encourages racial profiling. Profiling a segment of the population that is highly integrated into the fabric of baseball, no less. And with it getting as much attention as it does outside a game (101 comments on that Globe article, the fact that there even is a Globe article), the ballpark makes an appropriate venue for reaching the most people. I'm glad I went. I'm glad 199 or so other people did and I'm glad not everyone's bias or inflated sense of self worth (But they're MYYYY tax dollars, Mommy!) stands in the way of social justice. I even had a couple Sox fans nod their heads in approval.

Afterward, everyone headed down to the State House to support the Student Immigration Movement that is camped out on the lawn. I wanted to march down there with the rest of the gang but the Celtics were on soon. I'd put convictions in front of rooting interests enough for one day.

fuji.jpgYou're never going to guess who the top candidate is for the job in Baltimore. If you said Juan Samuel... you're an idiot. Like every other coaching vacancy of the past 5 years, the front runner here is Bobby Valentine. Because you see, he has experience.

"I made no secret of the fact that given the young makeup of our roster, we will probably place a high premium on experience," MacPhail said. "And preferably experience where they've shown some success and hopefully had some postseason success."

In that respect, Valentine would fit the bill. He posted a 1,117-1,072 record in Texas and New York, guiding the Mets to the World Series in 2000.

I guess when you're as lousy as Baltimore has been over the past decade everything is relative, but that's really pushing the limits of the phrase "some success" isn't it? A handful of games over .500 and one losing trip to the World Series? Bob Brenly actually won the World Series with Diamondbacks the next year, you know. No one is beating down his door. And he looks like a soft core porn director! Valentine had to fake a mustache like that when he got thrown out of a game an.....zzzzzzzzzzz. ADVANTAGE BRENLY.

The other candidate mentioned in this illuminating piece is Buck Showalter. Excited yet, O's fans? He's another guy with a record a few shakes over .500 who, like Valentine, had the benefit of playing his 5-4 homestands in New York City. Let's not forget that Baltimore hired the truly atrocious Lee Mazzilli just because he was an assistant in New York. And also because he had Joe Torre's recipe for baked ziti tattooed on his chest.

Despite MacPhail saying that Samuel will finish the year (hey, he'll get some experience) Valentine is predictably campaigning for the job. He went on the Michael Kay Radio Show (I think I'd rather listen to Sean Hannity or have a nail gun fired into my ear) and spewed this lolarious quote.

"I did go down there and I did talk with the owner [Peter Angelos] and the general manager [Andy MacPhail] and they have a whole lot of problems and they seem like they're really putting their heads together to try to solve them somehow, some way."

BY ANY MEANS NECCESSARY. The Orioles don't need a manager, they need Malcom X. Because this is the only thing that MacPhail seems to have come up with so far (emphasis mine, bold type in places where I smacked myself in the forehead):

"There are definitely pros and cons for an early timetable as opposed to late," MacPhail said.

"I said [previously it] could be days, could be weeks, could be months, could be years. I try to give myself the full spectrum. There are so many variables. I don't know how the process is going to unfold."

MacPhail officially dismissed Trembley on June 4 and called early talks with potential managerial candidates "interesting."

"It's educational. You get different perspectives," MacPhail said. "It's not a fun thing to go through, but like anything, there's some silver linings."

I will never ever get those 4 paragraphs of my life back. I can't believe the man that said those things is employed by a major league ballclub. Maybe it's an Andy MacPhail imposter being played by Kevin Kline. Or maybe I'm an even bigger idiot because I keep reading stories on MLB.com. Hey Baltimore, not too late to convert to being a Nats fan. Plenty of good seats still available.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, do not be be the tiresome kind.

Alright, then. Come back tomorrow? I know I will. Same WoW channel.

Youth And Beauty: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • Giants at Reds, 12:35: Rare is the game when San Francisco isn't the team with the advantage in starting pitching. Cincy sends the other, and thus far more productive, '09 first round phenom, Mike Leake to the mound. Kid's got a 2.22 ERA in 11 starts which includes no ER in his last 13IP and just 2ER in his last 26.1IP. He aint gonna mow down 14 dudes anytime soon (single game high is 6) but has been damned effective. The Giants counter with Todd Wellemeyer and have taken two out of the 3 games in the series.

  • Padres at Mets, 1:10 DOUBLE HEADER: First game sees Latos v. Santana, second gig has Garland v. Niese. You've got your eyes on those Mets right? 2 games out. I guess you can't collapse if you're not in it in the first place. But still, 4 in a row. Good on them.

  • Tigers at White Sox, 2:05: Kenny Williams is throwing in the towel on 2010 already, so the Tigers are probably all, "Why we even gotta play this then? I wanna go see the Banksy movie or somethin'." But alas, the string must be played out despite the dramatic squeals from Chicago's South Side. Them's the rules. Max Scherzer and his righteous 6.66 ERA take the mound for Detroit. John Danks for the Sox.

  • Cubs at Brewers, 2:10: Rubber at Miller Park, and the fight to stave off irrelevancy. Dempster v. Bush.

  • Astros at Rockies, 3:10: Colorado has been in position to take all three games in this series and keep pace with those white hot Dodgers (I don't care about the Russian psychic, GO BLUE!) but has seen their bullpen blow two straight. Now they're 5.5 out. Bullpens are annoying. Oswalt v. Chacin.

  • Angels at Oakland, 3:35: LA took the first two, then got pummeled 10-1 last night. That dropped them back to second in the division. Ervin Santana has gotten the W in five straight starts surrendering but 7 runs. He's got a career 1.50 ERA in 114IP against Oakland. A's starter Tim Cahill is running for governor of Massachusetts as an independent. Whoops. Trevor Cahill.

  • Braves at Snakes, 3:40: Atlanta can't take care of business like a real first place team. 4 games against those weak old D'Backs and they've dropped 2 of the first three. Tommy Hanson goes against Dontrelle Willis. National League Starting Pitching: The middle step between the AL and Celebrity Apprentice!

Tonight's Furthermore

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Hey kids, Pickett never forgave Lee. Years later he said "That old man had my division slaughtered."

  • ANYONE paying attention to that three card monte on top of the AL West? Seems like everybody's got a shot. You know, except the Mariners and their revamped lineup.

  • STILL pitch crazy after last night? You will be hard pressed to find a better matchup this year than Johnson/Halladay.

  • DID you dig Drew's Juice this morning?

  • CAN Clay Buchholz and Boston take their third straight against those Stinky Indians? And will Justin Masterson cry and wave goodbye to the Red Sox bus as it pulls away?

  • ARE Toronto fans getting sick of looking at the Rays?

  • CAN you name two (of 3) teams that have won 8 of their last 10? Here's a hint. Two of them have Los Angeles in their name.

Stay cool. See you tomorrow. Same WoW channel. J is over at Yahoo in the AM.

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Ozzie Guillen's son Ozney (Mama, there goes that name again!) was, by some accounts, a pretty well regarded lefty outfielder eligible for his first amateur draft this week. While "the family anticipated he could be drafted as high as the 10th round" he actually slipped all the way to the 22nd round where he was chosen by, surprise, the White Sox.

The Guillen family has done a spectacular job over the past year or two of acting unbecoming whenever they're in the spotlight. There was that whole Twitter fiasco from Oney which led to his resignation from the White Sox organization. So you're not really shocked that Ozzie and his kid are saying grating stuff about yesterday's draft slide are you?

A source said that Major League Baseball recommends that no player drafted after the 10th round receive a signing bonus of more than $125,000.

"I give my kid 50 grand just to go to school," the elder Guillen said. "I got 50 grand in my pocket to send my kid to go to Niketown or buy something. I don't need the money. But I respect scouts. I respect the scouts' opinion with all my heart.

"I think the 22nd round in high school doesn't mean anything," Ozzie Guillen said. "I think the White Sox did what I told them ... I don't need any favors or he doesn't need any favors. In the meanwhile, it's kind of hard. His expectations, not mine, were a little higher. He thought he was a little better player than what other people think."

Well, okay. Maybe only the part about the $50K was grating and the second part was kind of sad. But take heart, Oz. You can go to USF and get another chance to prove your mettle as a ballplayer as long as you don't gain 30 pounds of margarita muscle in Ybor City. It's not like there's some sort of conspiracy against you or anything.

OR IS THERE? Sun-Times beat writer Joe Cowley thinks Ozney's slide to the 22nd round is just part of the escalating "Cold War" between Ozzie Sr. and Ken Williams. But let's not forget that Joe Cowley looks like this so take everything with a grain of salt.

One of them has to go. It's time for White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to step in and decide which.

The struggle between general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen was cute at first. Team Edward vs. Team Jacob.

Guillen's youngest son, Ozney, was selected by the Sox in the 22nd round of the baseball amateur draft Tuesday.

Feel-good story? Try a slap in the face filled with conspiracy theory.

Don't think the Guillens have missed the fact that Williams' son, Kenneth Williams Jr., was selected in the sixth round of the 2008 draft in what ESPN's Baseball Draft Insider Keith Law described as "the worst pick of the day."

At least one of the Guillens -- tweeting brother Oney -- made it clear why he thought Ozney slid.

"And u told people to stay awya (sic) from him. U would," Oney Guillen tweeted Tuesday, obviously accusing members of the Sox organization of trying to sabotage Ozney's draft placement.

None of this smacks as much as friction and conspiracy as much as it does Cowley and other Sox writers digging up spicy quotes from Ozzie, which has to be the easiest task in American journalism, to jumpstart their coverage of a lousy team. And Oney is just bored or paranoid or drunk or all three. That guy is a real man of letters.

You wanna know how to do this? I begrudgingly point you to Jim Leyland whose son Patrick got taken in the 8th round this week by the Tigers.

Jim Leyland said he was "absolutely thrilled" and he "never pushed anybody" to select his son.

"He can stand on his own two feet," said Leyland, adding anyone who thinks his son was drafted as a favor would be "foolish."

The elder Leyland said he's not sure what his son will do. He said he told teams, including the Tigers, "if you like him, take him; if you don't, don't take him."

He also called this "a moment of truth" for his son.

"You're on your own, son," Leyland said. "Be a man now. Go out and see if you can play."

Next time Oney Guillen sits down to Tweet his monosyllabic sad sack drivel, I want Jim Leyland to burst into his room like the Kool-Aid man and smack his head.

Happy Strasmas/Stantukah

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After months of hearing him spoken of in hushed tones by Bob Ley today is the day that major league baseball fans finally get to see Stephen Strasburg take to a major league mound. Did you know that? Of course you did! There's over 1,000 stories with the kids name in it on Google News and this is unquestionably the biggest day in DC baseball since the Expos had their reassignment surgery and set up shop there in 2005. Aside from construction of a stadium (and who ultimately fails at that, anyway) the whole relocation has generated as much excitement and positive energy as a wet mop. And that's using Montreal baseball as a reference point.

So it's no wonder that some of the most enthusiastic Strassexuals of the day are the people at MLB itself. Under the headline "Strasburg's Debut Up There With The Biggest" John Schlegel nearly blows out the P,H, E, N, O and M keys on his computer before proactively dropping Strasburg into the history books.

No doubt, when the Nationals' 21-year-old pitching phenom steps to the mound in front of a packed house at Nationals Park to make one of the most heralded debuts in years, it will be a big deal, and then some. It's a debut that in terms of attention-wrenching anticipation ranks with those of Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989, Mark Prior in 2002 ... and Mauer, whose promise was recognized well beyond the Twin Cities, just as Strasburg's is outside the Beltway.

There was the ultimate debut, by Jackie Robinson on April 15, 1947, and others that resonated through time like Joe Nuxhall's with the Reds at age 15 -- or 60 years before he'd retire from broadcasting Reds games -- and those of sure-fire greats like Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. More recently, future stars like Dwight Gooden and Pudge Rodriguez came in young and with a lot of fanfare.

Indeed, many of today's superstars' arrivals were celebrated, but to different degrees.

Starting pitchers like Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum and David Price have entered the Major Leagues within a short time after being drafted, arriving with some serious hype of their own, albeit none quite rivaling Strasburg's on a national level.

And while it's easy to make fun of the unmeasured enthusiasm and concurrent rewriting of history books, the most expensive draft signing of all-time pretty much empirically dictates that this is the biggest debut ever. So I guess what I'm saying is, fine. Hyperbolize to your heart's content Washington and the rest of the baseball world, cause pretty soon the buzz'll wear off and you'll just have another Tim Lincecum on your hands. Zzzzz.

Also making his debut tonight is power hitting Marlins OF Mike Stanton. Expectations for him are "sky high". I'm still waiting to hear back from NASA on whether or not those expectations are greater or less than stratospheric. Oh wait. STRASospheric. High five!

Rob Wrote the Juice at Big League Stew

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Hey kids, don't forget that every morning this week we're doing the early AM shift at Big League Stew. Here's Rob's recap of yesterday's action. Dig it.

Regional Weekend: Don't Die Twice

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omaha.jpgIt's Regional Weekend in the 2010 NCAA Postseason Baseball Tourney, there was already a bunch of action yesterday. Some of the more intriguing stuff:

  • Perennial powerhouse Rice got straight up blanked by Zach Osbourne of Lousiana-Lafayette. (Insert tired Ozzy related nickname here) threw a CG 5 hitter dodging in and out of jams. ULL needed the gem as they squeaked by 1-1. Rice gets Rider today in an elimination game.

  • The Citadel whomped up on Virginia Tech behind a couple well-timed tots and will take on South Carolina in one of college sports most storied intrastate rivalries. Not really. But it still illustrates the big guy/little guy upset possibilities that are way more frequent in college baseball (and hockey) than basketball or football.

  • Despite trailing 2-1 all the way through the fifth inning (postseason Nole baseball!) The Seminoles Of Florida State tossed Central Connecticut 11-3, leading to today's showdown with Oregon. The Ducks dumped UConn 5-3 in weirdo fashion. They scored 3 runs in the ninth by leading off the inning with four straight bunts. If you watch enough college innings over the next couple weeks you will see some wild baseball stuff. Guaranteed.

  • And just a half hour after Florida State takes on Oregon, Florida plays Oregon State. I believe in symmetry. The Gators topped Bethune Cookman 7-3 at home before downing some El Indio. The Beavers beat Florida Atlantic 6-4.

  • Garrett Wittels extended his hitting streak to 55 games. Good news! But, his Florida International squad got peeslammed 17-3 by Texas A&M. The Aggies get the Miami Hurricanes today at 4. UM beat Dartmouth 12-8. That's a funny matchup. I love college baseball.
So yeah, plenty of good games today. Who knows, maybe there's a bar in your town that'll be playing the games or you even live by one of the stadiums. For all of you WoWies near Norwich, CT do me a favor and go out to support the Noles. I'll mail you a baseball card.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, It has always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.

  • CAN the Braves win their 10th game in a row? And one month ago did you think that this series with the Dodgers would be the marquee one of the weekend?

  • DID you know there's porn on the MLB.com message boards? MLB probably doesn't want you to since news of them cracking down is leaking at 4PM on a Friday. Sounds like a job for Matsui. Or Tim Kurkjian and his 14 inch love chisel.

  • WILL the Reds or the Cardinals leave the weekend ahead in the airtight NL Central?

  • CAN the Red Sox avenge early season struggles against the lowly Orioles? Now with 50% more Juan Samuel! Boston needs to keep pace with the equally hot Rays and Yankees.

  • CAN the Twins handle the A's and preserve their 2.5 game cushion over Detroit?

  • SEEING any good megashows or going to any festivals this summer? The season is upon us.

Couple programming notes to send you off with. Answer Man Dave Brown from Big League Stew is on his honeymoon all next week. Your friends from WoW will be taking turns covering for him in his Morning Juice column. Yes, the five WoWies each get a run at it, and if you remember our past gigs over there, it'll be worth it for the comments alone. Join Rob as he kicks it off Monday morning.

And I'll be back here tomorrow morning with those College World Series previews I promised you, so you'll have some light brunch reading. Be well and have a blissed out weekend. Same WoW channel.

A TV commercial for a radio show? Why not. How else are we to bask in the glory of Bob McCown and his haircut that's more Canadian than a goddamned maple leaf? Rickey can't act but I bet you already knew that. Laugh along then tune into the Bob McCown show which I'm betting is still on the air somewhere because talk radio guys have longer half lives than plutonium. Please to enjoy.


Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I'm free after 11.

  • WILL the Blue Jays fall (again) to the Rays and be the odd AL East team out (again) if the Red Sox and Yankees win their respective tilts?

  • IS it obvious when I'm just trying to bait Drew?

  • DID YOU ENJOY DMAC'S GLOG TODAY? How could you not have? Check out this wonderful piece he wrote for the Philly Weekly. He's as good at writing about drinking as I am at drinking.

  • WHO grabs rubber in the exciting Reds/Cards series?

  • WILL the Giants and Rockies combine for more than 4 runs? They haven't done it in either game so far this series.

  • ARE you headed to the Dodgers game on Friday? Get there early, our pals at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy say the first 20,000 fans are getting the above Loney/Blake poster. Outtasite!

Tonight I am off to the first of back to back evenings with The National, because I am a white guy in my late 20s. To be fair, I've been doing it since my early 20s, and I never cease to be excited. But hey, baseball games have been extra good the past week or so, haven't they? So you'll have a fun night, too. Till tomorrow, you Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks. Same WoW channel.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, drier times and timed dryers.

  • CAN the first place Braves widen their division lead against the Phils?

  • CAN the Reds bounce back from last night's big loss and get back on top of the division against the Cards? They're tied!

  • DID all of you people clamoring for Walkoff Balk coverage forget this old post?

  • WILL the Yankees be the next beneficiary of the mess that is the Orioles?

  • AFTER a week in the digital ether, you got an opinion on the two new Arcade Fire tracks?

  • CAN Nick Blackburn turn in his sixth consecutive start of at least 7IP and can the Twins help him get his concurrent sixth straight win? Against the Mariners, probably.

Well that was a content rich day, wasn't it? Maybe we'll keep it up for tomorrow and start a streak of our own. Same WoW channel. You too, Nico.

College Baseball Cram Session 2010

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The first time I wrote about college baseball here I went through great pains to explain my affinity for college baseball to you. Not this time. WOOHOOO GO NOLES.

The Noles' Atlantic Coast Conference is tied for most teams in the tourney (8) with the PAC-10 and the SEC. Yes, that's 8 of 10 PAC-10 schools in the final 64.. The state of Florida is tied with California and Texas for most teams (6). Unfortunately, leading that pack from Florida are the loathesome and irredeemable shitbird Gators. They're the third overall seed in the tournament, despite not winning their conference tournament. They get to host their regional and sleep in their comfy, stupid beds. The Seminoles, whose overall record was only 2 games worse than UF, and who WON their conference tourney have to travel up to Connecticut, CONNECTICUT!, to play their regional. The lesson as always: The Gators, their fans and all their cronies are scum.

Other storylines include Arizona State nabbing the first seed after an abrupt preseason coaching change/non-scandal and FIU's Garret Whittels taking his historic chase of the all-time record hitting streak to a National (sorta) stage.

Regionals start Friday and I'll be back around with previews then. Until then, don't forget that you're probably banned from your nearest campus, and Woohoo College World Series!