Kris Liakos: September 2010 Archives

Vince Naimoli Signs Books In The Room From "No Exit"

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For the past couple years I've sat here watching the Raysaissance and guys like old GM Chuck LaMar and original owner Vince Naimoli try and glom some credit whereever they could. I've savaged LaMar and attacked Naimoli but nothing I've written has been so coldly effective as Lane DeGregory's story about Naimoli's recent book signing. I'd like to excerpt the entire thing in a blockquote but that's kinda frowned upon so please read it. I'll just pull out some of the super extra most depressing parts.

The headline calls Naimoli "out of the spotlight" showcasing DeGregory's complete mastery of understatement.

Alone.

In the back of Haslam's bookstore.

Reading his memoir.

"VINCE NAIMOLI," screamed the hardback's gold headline, in inch-high, all capital letters. Business, Baseball & Beyond, whispered the white subhead on the glossy cover. Last fall, Naimoli published 5,000 copies.

Someone had shoved a round wooden table into the aisle between shelves labeled Business and Baseball. Someone had poured cranberry juice into a cut-glass bowl, set out a tray of Pepperidge Farm cookies.

Twenty minutes after the signing was scheduled to begin, no one had even looked at one of Naimoli's books.

Oh god, I can't take the crushing sadness. The thing about the cranberry juice and the Pepperidge Farm cookies is so note perfect I feel like it got pulled from a Richard Ford novel. I need one of those lightboxes they give people with Seasonal Affective Disorder to get through the rest of this. Am I changing? Do I feel... bad for this old man? Oh, wait. Nope.

"When we do win our first World Series championship," he wrote in the book's ending, "I'll be bursting with pride. And curious: Will people remember how it all began? How I helped make their dream come true?"

Epic sigh. It all STARTED when you gave up control of the team a couple years ago and... you know what. I can't type this again. I just can't. You've broken me.

The man who once berated a lowly traffic cop with the classic "Don't you know who I am?" compares himself to Clint Eastwood in the book. This guy. Let's get back to the existential nothingness.

Naimoli said he was donating the proceeds from his $24.99 book to college scholarships.

Maybe that's why he stayed.

For more than an hour, he sat at that table, talking to store workers, answering customers' questions. Hardly anyone asked about him. A half-dozen people asked about the Rays.

Three hours before the first pitch, Naimoli had signed one book for a man named Lou. When a disheveled man walked up, rubbing his forehead, he looked hopeful. "I have a weird question," the man said. Naimoli nodded and smiled. "Isn't Ted Williams' body frozen somewhere?"

Oh, to be a fly in the New Age/Spirituality section when that drunken kook showed up. I feel like the ennui in that room was so thick that there's no way DeGregory can't be tainted by it now. I don't even want to meet her. I don't want to come in contact with anyone that was in that bookstore on that night or any night since.

Enjoy your $25 scholarship, Vince Naimoli protege. I think we can safely call this tome a tough sell.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, hey friends, hey enemies, hey passerby.


We'll see you all tomorrow where the rubber meets the road. Same WoW channel.

Don Mattingly's Son Traded By Team Don Mattingly Manages

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Ever play on a little league team with the coach's kid? Ever play on a little league team with the coach's absolutely awful at baseball kid? Starting every game and hitting third while taking flyballs to the face and hopelessly flailing at every pitch. Nepotism is as old as humans living in groups and its worst manifestations are often in youth sports. Oh well, there's no real harm in boosting your kid's ego when those games are just supposed to be for fun.

But there's real consequence and real money involved in pro sports. Just ask Pete Rose! If he'd ever had the chance to start the abominable Pete Rose Jr. in a game you can be sure he'd have been betting on the other team. This weekend the Dodgers angled to take that potential quandary out of future manager Don Mattingly's hands by trading his light hitting son Preston to the Indians.

Preston Mattingly, the Dodgers' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, batted .218 with two homers and 17 RBIs at the Class-A level this season. He struck out 51 times in 165 at-bats.

The 23-year-old Mattingly bats and throws right-handed. His best season as a pro came in 2006, when he hit .290 with a home run and 29 RBIs for the Dodgers' rookie-level team in the Gulf Coast League.

Last night while the skipper slept the Dodgers also traded in his station wagon and sent his cuckoo wife to Russian Psychic School. I guess after a couple years of Joe Torre's Managerial Narcolepsy the club is trying to make Ol' Donnie as uncomfortable as possible so he stays on his toes. Either that or the McCourts have so soured on the idea of the family unit that they're trying to destroy everyone else's.

Ozzie Tweets Gibberish: Now In Spanish

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Opposition parties had a stronger than usual showing in yesterday's Venezuelan national elections. A coalition of parties won at least 59 of 165 legislative seats. Venezuela has a rich baseball tradition and a boatload of good major leaguers from its soil. Magglio Ordonez has already been caught up in the politics of his country helping to campaign for Hugo Chavez sponsored legislation. He was then roundly and annoyingly jeered by Venezuelans in Miami during the WBC for his stance.

But now the division's Speakiest Speakerpants, Ozzie Guillen, has chimed in on yesterday's results via tweet. And while he's clearly anti-Chavez, Google Translate isn't helping me too much with the finer points.

I got this one. I only sometimes need a translator for Ozzie's English.

And then here, Google tells me that Ozzie is congratulating his country on setting a good example for the rest of the world. Hard to argue with that, no matter which side you're on. Relatively peaceful, mutually agreed upon results in a highly contested democratic election. We don't even get that in the US anymore.

But on this one, Google tells me that Ozzie said "To work no more bottle cock." And I'm stumped. Is this a Venezuelan colloquialism? A negative review of a new poultry based soda? Letter to Penthouse? Someone help me out.

The Uses Of Poetry: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • Cardinals at Pirates, In Progress: I just read somewhere that the Pirates are on the precipice of their 100th loss. The writer was pretty good, but not very Clooney. Why else should you watch this game? Um... Laz Diaz is umping at first base and it's always fun to hear people say Laz Diaz. So you know, that. And maybe the Pirates will win on a walkoff and the announcers will melt down again? I dunno. Watch it cause it's baseball and you're unemployed in Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Southern Illinois. Leave me alone.

  • Mariners at Blue Jays, In Progress: Watch this one because Felix is pitching (I, personally, am dropping the "King" thing) and Jose Bautista is going for his 5...DAMMIT I HATE WHEN I PUT UP THE AFTERNOON GAMES POST LATE. Jose Bautista just went Don Yardo for the 50th time this year. Move over Brady Anderson, idiots have a new stale steroids joke for the next 10 years!

  • Astros at Nationals, 4:35: The Astros are 55-0 since Jimy Williams took over and are starting a parakeet at second base. The Nationals send Chris Evert to the mound in search of her 20th win. The Nationals have taken 2 of the first 3 games in this 4 game series that could only be interesting to a 5 year old. Who wants to watch a Ric Flair video!?

Jason LaRue Is Retiring But He Can't Remember From What

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Think football players and boxers are the only athletes that need their brains posthumously scooped out and studied at Boston University? Think again (and feel lucky that you can). Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue is retiring from baseball after the latest of "the 'close to 20' concussions in his athletic career dating to high school football." Jeebus. If you dropped this guy's brain it would probably bounce 20 feet in the air like a Superball.

"If I was in a different situation, it wouldn't be anything like this," LaRue said. "But as a catcher you're so vulnerable to getting another (concussion). All it takes a foul ball to the head. Even as a backup that happened 3-5 times last year. It's not a question of if it would happen again, it's when. Nobody can guarantee anything. It'll probably be worse.

"When I heard all that, I told them, 'You've answered all the questions I need answered.'"

In an interesting twist, LaRue's latest bell ringing game via Johnny Cueto's cleats during the August brawl between the Reds and Cards. LaRue describes the concussion symptoms after being kicked "five or six times" as the worst of his life, but I'm not smart enough to know whether or not the effects of nearly two dozen head injuries is cumulative. In any case, none of this makes Cueto sound very good. Emphasis mine.

Cueto's spikes raked Chris Carpenter's back and found LaRue's face, leaving the Cardinals' backup catcher with a severe concussion that only recently began to abate.

Resulting trauma to the brain left LaRue unable to drive or even to cook for himself. Minimal activity created sensations that he likened to seasickness, as LaRue would develop excruciating headaches and nausea.

"I was going to retire on my own terms," LaRue says. "It's unfortunate that the blow that decided it came from someone kicking me in the head with spikes. I wouldn't say I would change things if you could rewrite history. They say things happen for certain reasons. In this case, I couldn't tell you why. Does it suck that my career is over because Johnny Cueto started kicking me in the head? Yes, it sucks.

Well what ever is going on inside LaRue's melon it certainly has improved his verbal clarity. That's a pretty succinct point he makes. And had he been a more prominent player forced into retirement by the injuries sustained, it's possible Cueto could have gone down in infamy with the likes of Bat Swingin' Juan Marichal and Kermit Washington. As it is now, LaRue will stagger off into the sunset to be greeted by the waiting arms of his three wives and 6 children*, all because Brandon Philips called the Cardinals little bitches. Ah, sports.

*numbers multiplied for seeing triple

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, SHAQ IS FLYING THROUGH THE AIR!

  • WHERE have I been all week? None of your business, I don't owe you anything. J/k luv u ;)

  • WILL Joe Torre manage again after leaving the Dodgers? Rob and I both say yes. Rob says the Mets and I say a Tealuxe franchise.

  • WHY can't we get any audio of Jack Clark saying "poopy"? The text is good, but not good enough.

  • WHY watch any baseball that doesn't involve an NL West team this weekend? The top three are still all bunched up and the Wild Card leading Phillies are in Washington to play the nobody Nats (who still managed to take 2 of 3 from ATL).

  • WHO doesn't already own a skeleton baseball vendor halloween mannequin? Jeez, get with it HSN.

  • ANY true believers in Boston going to have one eye on the series with Toronto and one on the Yankees/Orioles? If so, go see an opthamologist.

  • ANYONE out there seen Pavement on this money grubbing reunion tour? I'm hitting up the show tomorrow, but I'm NOT arriving early to see Jenny Lewis with her stupid boyfriend. I don't stay friends with exes.

See you next week. More stuff, I promise. Hang out here and shoot your comment wad all weekend. Bye now. SWC.

Far Within Us #4: Today's Afternoon Games: NL Wild Card Edition

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  • Nats at Braves, 12:10: The Braves have a 1.5 game lead in the Wild Card and trail the Phillies in the East by two games. They can't seem to get out of their own way against the Nats. They've posted only a 7-7 record against Warshingtin (including last night's shutout at the hands of Livan Hernandez) and today face John Lannan, a guy who held them to two runs in a start last month. After this they move on to CitiField to face the Mets, another lousy team that Atlanta has barely mustered a .500 record against. A loss today would be a real stinkeroo.

  • Brewers at Astros, 2:05:


  • Padres at Rockies, 3:10: The first two games of this series have seen San Diego and Colorado both throw the thing in reverse. The Padres had eked out a split from the Giants (on the heels of a miserable few weeks) and Roxtember was blowing up to the tune of a 10 game winning streak. So of course The Rock N Roll Party Dads have taken the first two games of the series and are going for their first Coors sweep in nine years. Pretty remarkable for a team in the same division. With the Giants once again struggling to hit the ball, perhaps SD can shake off both its NL West competitors by week's end.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, we're getting Weekend At Bernie's wasted.

  • DO you know any Padres or Braves fans? If so, keep em away from sharp objects should either teamlose again tonight.

  • ARE you a Red Sox fan that refuses to give up hope? Well then forget about the Rays, but the Sox still have 6 games against the Yankees. New York has to take on first place Texas this weekend. They've won 4 our of 5 against them this season but still, it's a first place team. Go for the sweep, Rangers!

  • WHAT would the Red Sox have to do then? Basically go undefeated for the rest of the season starting tonight in Oakland. Buchholz/Cahill is your marquis matchup to be sure.

  • ANY of our readers going to Pete Rose Day in Cincinnati tomorrow? Please report back.

  • WILL FSU beat Oklahoma and end the nation's longest home winning streak? EEEEE! I'm cautiously giddy. That usually means the Noles will get blown out.

And what about you? Sitting there all smug in your Herman Miller Aeron Chair. I see you. But I just can't let go. Come back Monday all refreshed. Same WoW channel.

Payback For Tom Candiotti - 1992

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What you're seeing here, according to the YouTube user, is the pilot episode of a hidden camera TV show called Payback. And since there is as little information about this show as you're likely to find on IMDB, I'm gonna take Chuckzvideo's word for it. The portly bespectacled host sure has to press a lot of buttons to get the show started. They didn't have enough money to hire someone else to do that?

But hey, if you were trying to start up a blockbuster TV program why wouldn't you use the high powered celebwattage of The Candy Man? He had a pretty great 1991 split between Cleveland and Toronto and apparently that gave him license to wear tracksuits to interviews and be pathologically jealous of his poodle haired girlfriend.

When this A+ hoax is revealed, Tom's body language betrays a sense of immense relief almost as if he was about to use his knuckles to make a sandwich instead of throw a floater. YOU ALMOST GOT CANDIOTTIED, LADY.

Classic TV Friday on Walkoff Walk: The Original And Still The Best

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, 900 times a night.

Godspeed, speed freaks. We're back tomorrow with Classic TV Friday and other stuff. See you then. S.W.C.

Hank Aaron's Hero Let Him Down

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When it comes to talking about steroids, many Hall Of Fame players have shied away from making bold proclamations to either condemn or or exonerate the accused. But for years the public believed that juice was solely the domain of the slugger and was always waiting to hear what Home Run King Hank Aaron had to say. When America finally pulled its head out of its collective ass to realize that McGwire/Bonds/Sosa were probably on drugs, Aaron stayed out of it. Over the past year he's started to poke at the issue as so many of his generation are now poking at their dinner. It had been mostly insinuation until yesterday when Aaron actually put the names "Bonds" and "Clemens" in a quote about steroids.

"I'm just saddened by it," said Aaron, who held the all-time home run record until Bonds broke it in 2007. "I'm not a judge and I'm not a juror and I don't know who's guilty and who's what. I'm just saddened for baseball and saddened for Clemens and Bonds, both."

Aaron said he hasn't given any thought to whether Bonds' or Clemens' numbers should stand, be wiped away or accompanied by asterisk.

"I have too much to worry about to worry about Clemens and Bonds," he said.

It's a remark nearly not worth commenting on*. A remark so forlorn and hangdog that one really just wants to take Aaron out for ice cream and tell him to cheer up. Except that at the commemoration of the Bud Selig statue two weeks ago Aaron said the following

"Bud Selig is my hero," Aaron said. "He has taken baseball to a better place than where he found it."

So either he was just trying to be nice at the statue appearance (and if that's the case why even show up, you're Hank Aaron) or he is truly under the misapprehension that guys like Bonds and Clemens are isolated cases. Villains of poor moral fiber who snuck their dirty needles in the clubhouse past the watchful eye of the owners and their benevolent leader Bud. Phooey, dude. It's fine to be sad or angry or self-righteous or whatever about the steroid thing (if you want, I don't) but don't say it a few days after praising the man who was too busy counting money and ticket stubs to notice while it went down. We love Hank, but maybe his memory just aint what it used to be.

*especially in light of his other, very relevant, remarks on blacks in baseball from the same article.

Michael Kay Eats Like An Insolent Five-Year-Old

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I don't get to watch many games on the YES Network or listen to many Yankee games on the radio. My opinions on Yankee announcers are mostly formed by what gets filtered through Blogotown and what I'm told by my Yankee loving friends. For the most part it's negative, but vaguely negative. I know Suzyn Waldman cried that time and no one seems to like her. John Sterling has those corny home run calls and no one seems to like him. Michael Kay has a head like a butterball turkey, is pretty smug and no seems to like him. Fine.

But if you're like me and you want a more tangible reason to dislike someone (not saying I need it, but it's nice), then peep this New York Post article about Kay, his fiancee and his disgusting eating habits.

Yankee announcer Michael Kay is a real meathead.

And now that local TV anchor Jodi Applegate is about to marry him, she's desperately trying to figure out how to please a man wedded to only three foods: steak, bacon, and chicken parmesan.

That's all her fiancé ever wants to eat.

"He will eat a salad, but only if it's iceberg lettuce, and nothing else, no dressing. So it's basically frozen water served with a fork," says Applegate, a self-described foodie wannabe.

How's that for a lede? He is a meathead! Give the New York Post a moronic story about two local semi-celebs and they're pumping out Pulitzer quality stuff.

Steak, bacon and chicken parm? I hope when these two get married he gets his own bathroom, because when he's been in there for 25 minutes and then strolls out with the funny pages tucked under his arm it's gonna smell like a dead Arby's employee buried under a pile of fertilizer. It's gonna make Dr. Atkins' movements smell like a Glade Plug-In.

On their first date, they ordered a caprese salad to share -- but Kay took all the mozzarella and left her the tomatoes.

"I was immediately nervous. I thought, 'OK, is he just a quirky guy, or is he really OCD about what he eats?' So I threw a tomato on his plate to see if he freaked out. He just laughed, thank goodness," she recalled.

She also tried to make him classic French beef bourguignon, which she told him was beef stew. That's when she learned he won't eat soup.

What a terrible date! Why is she marrying this giant toddler? He took ALL THE MOZZARELLA? I take back my earlier comments about Kay being in the bathroom. He's probably been backed up since Joe Torre was still managing. This is not a responsible adult. This isn't a picky eater. This is someone with deep emotional and psychological issues. And if you can relate to any of this, then you are too. WHO DOESN'T EAT SOUP? He's a menace and a ticking timebomb that shouldn't be allowed the power of the immense audience he is granted.

What's not to like about chicken parm?" he said. "It combines chicken with mozzarella. Two great tastes together, like a Reese's peanut butter cup."

He's so besotted with the dish that he wouldn't give up the hunt for it even when he and his fiancée went on a 10-day trip to Italy last year.

"It was like being on a great chicken-parm search through Tuscany and Rome," Applegate said. "We couldn't find it on any menus. Apparently, it's an American thing.

Kay was also shocked that macaroni isn't actually cooked on a grill and that there are no hot dog vendors in the Colosseum. WHAT KIND OF COLOSSEUM IS THIS???

Run, Jodi Applegate, run. How much money could this dude actually be worth? Then again, no matter much it is you won't have to wait that long to inherit it all. Oh, what a play by coronary artery disease!

Labor Day Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, have some tomato wine.

  • WHAT do you think the venn diagram of people who go to Burning Man and people who read Walkoff Walk looks like? I think it looks like commenter Chief Wahoo.

  • IS this series with the Reds the Cardinals' last shot at saving their season?

  • WHAT is up with the Padres? They're in total freefall and their lead in the West is down to 3 games. We know one Padres fan, and he blames it all on Sports Illustrated. Of course he does.

  • HOW will the Red Sox and Rangers affect the AL Central this weekend? They've got series with the White Sox and Twins respectively. I couldn't be less interested in the Manny As A White Sock subplot. It's like caring about Gary Cherone fronting Van Halen... if you're one of the morons that cared about Van Halen in the first place.

  • WHAT is this crazy dame talking about? We need to leave politics out of sports, amirite guys!? /runs finger around collar.

Have a good long weekend, Friends of Frempkins. I've got rain to look at. See you Toozday. Same WoW channel.

Finding A Long Gray Hair: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • Blue Jays at Yankees, 1:05: Steroid freak Ivan Nova drops the plunger on his 3rd major league start. The Blue Jays have won seven of twelve in the season series but the the Yankees are as hot as they've been all year having won 6 in a row put 1.5 games between themselves and the Rays. More playoff games from Yankee Stadium. Thrilling. Joe Buck's bony ass must slide right into the contours he's put in that announcer's chair. Juan Guzman gets the start for the Blue Jays.

  • Mets at Cubs, 2:20:

Hurricane Earl Bears Down On Massachusetts

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Tonight's White Sox/Red Sox game could get rained out, and Boston could see winds of up to 40MPH. That's enough to blow your hat backwards and knock over an ump. But all in all, this thing has weakened and won't hold a candle to Hurricane Fay.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, Dink Floyd.

  • WHY did Oakland even bother showing up to their series with the Yankees? They got 1 hit today. Thanks for nothing.

  • DID everybody welcome new commenter "Bvthurtin"? Is that Russian? In any case I hope you said hello because he's never coming back. I think because his caps lock got stuck.

  • WHO'S pumped for the big Indians/Mariners series? Oh well. At least there's FISTER.

  • ARE there any meaningful games tonight? Sorta, there's this makeup game for the Phillies and Rockies. Don't look now but it could be a memorable Roxtember. They've won 7 of 8 and are 5.5 back of the Phils in the WC.

  • WHAT is the funniest thing you've heard about that mindbending Jan Brewer video? I'm going with this Seth Meyers tweet. Her potential reelection reminds me of the old adage: "Fool me... can't get fooled again."

Good night princes and princesses of Kingdom Shrimp. Your love makes me whole. Same WoW channel.



Hey Volstad, congratulations on being the first jar of Hellman's Mayonnaise to make it to the majors. I'm sure everyone back home at the mathematical center of America is very proud. If you threw at me twice in the same game I'd smoosh your head between two graham crackers like the giant marshmallow that it is. Nyjer Morgan's crime was trying to steal a base... down by 11. Is it Stupid Old Man Baseball Code Opposite Day? Not only is that so backwards that only a Marlins fan could agree with it, but you're also a huge wimp. It's easy to be the enforcer when it's 9 on 1. You can reach me at tips@walkoffwalk.com and we'll fight.

Gaby Sanchez, not only does your name make you sound like an actress from The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants but you're also a cheapshot artist. Email me and we'll arrange a time for me to drop you faster than John Lackey. I'm serious.

Jeffrey Loria, I'm always up to fight you out of principal, and this is your team, so I figured I'd throw it out there. Be in touch.

Nyjer, you're our new Milton Bradley since he doesn't play baseball anymore. Stay righteous. Keep being singled out for having an actual personality, for acting like a human, and god forbid, running over A CATCHER. That's what they're there for! Walkoff Walk has your back. For real, I'll fight anybody.

Tree: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • White Sox at Indians, 12:05: Manny was with the White Sox but didn't play. He also didn't answer any questions from reporters in English. I think the latter the awesome but don't fully understand the former. It aint the All-Star break here, Ozzie. The White Sox won anyway on Man Of The People Aj Pierzynskijfdhih's 3 run tater tot. Manny was in the on deck circle, either ready to pinch hit or trying to get a tan. Chicago goes for the sweep today as Freddy "Blech" Garcia takes on Carlos Carrasco.

  • 2:20, Cardinals at Astros: IT'S THE IDIOT CURSE OF GLEN BECK. The Cardinals have lost the first two games of this series 3-0, and lost 4 overall since their manager and best player attended the annual meeting of the He Man Immigrant Haters. They're seven games behind Cincinnati and 4 games out in the Wild Card. Good. Today it's the horrible Jeff Suppan against Nelson Figueroa.

  • Pirates at Cubs, 2:20: It's my day off and RuPaul is on the Rachel Ray show in man clothes. He's really tall and has a mustache. Kinda looks like Ray Allen. Also, he's been famous for like 20 years now, hasn't he? Good for him, I like him. These two teams suck.

  • Phillies at Dodgers, 3:10: Since arriving in Philly, Ol' Roy Oswalt has been as good as anybody in the league. In his last few starts he's even been the best Roy on his team. Theres rubber involved in today's matchup, along with Philly's tenuous 1.5 game wild card lead over the Giants. Oswalt shut out the Dodgers in his last start against them. Clayton Kershaw goes for the Dodgers. He's striking out nearly 10 per 9IP but Philly's been better at avoiding the whiff this year. Should be a good one.