Rob Iracane: August 2008 Archives

Yeah seriously ferreals Aaron Heilman pulled a Kenny Rogers as he walked Josh Willingham with the bases bloated, plating Hanley Ramirez with the winning run for the Marlins. Here's your moment of shrimp:

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, it's been a long time comin'

  • CAN the Red Sox survive with a piecemeal rotation this weekend against the other Sox? I hope David Pauley can throw harder than his mom Jane.

  • WILL the Marlins keep things interesting(er) in the NL East and stay in the race? Three games against the Mets with Volstad, Nolasco, and Olsen can make a world of difference if they win 'em.

  • MIGHT the Dodgers actually score a coupla runs this weekend? Their batting average with RISP has actually been negative this past week, but they're still just a few games behind weekend opponent Arizona.

  • DID you know that there was a picture of a baby in a shrimp outfit on the Internets and you were just holding it back from us? Shame on you if you did.

  • CAN the Blue Jays catch the Yankees this weekend? If so, I have to take a picture of myself wearing a Blue Jays hat saying "Adam Lind possesses superior skills."

That's it for us this week. We're jetting early, so if you haven't already left the office, go Ask Dr. Toast some stuff. It's Labor Day weekend in America but it's abso-fucking-lutely nothing in Canada, so we've entrusted Lloyd the Barber with the keys to the Walkoffwalkmobile for Saturday and Sunday. Email him with your tips and praise.

As for Monday? Walkoff Walk goes dark in honor of union folks everywhere. Have a cold one on me, Norma Rae.

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The day of reckoning has finally come. All fifteen baseball games today will have the possibility of an umpire's call being challenged by instant replay. Only home run calls can be reviewed, so don't expect to see any problems when the Giants are at bat. According to this piece on MLB.com, the decision to review a play will rest solely on the shoulders of the umpire crew chief:

If a play is to be reviewed, the crew chief and at least one other umpire, possibly two, will go into the room and pick up a phone, which is a direct line to a video room in New York run by MLB Advanced Media. Then, the umpires will be relayed feeds from both the home and away teams' television broadcasts, and possibly use the home team's in-house feed, if necessary. An umpire supervisor will be in New York, but only to serve as a technical advisor as to what feeds are needed, and will not assist in making the call.

There is no set time for these decisions, but Young said they want to make a determination in 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

"The room" in question is the umpires dressing room. In some stadiums, that's near the dugouts, but in awkward multi-use warehouses like the Metrodome, it's a ways away from the field, up a huge flight of stairs. Sure, the umps will make their decision in 2 minutes, 30 seconds once they make it to the dressing room but what about the ten minutes it takes them to get there and back? Really, we gotta wait for someone like this guy to chug up those steps?

The managers will have no input as to whether the instant replay machine gets put into use, but do you really think this fact will stop them from arguing the point? One of these chucklehead managers is going to throw a red flag as a goof...and my vote is for Bobby Valentine when he gets hired to replace Jerry Manuel next year for the Mets.

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He may not be as eco-conscious as Jeremy Guthrie, but Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman became just the second Nat to ever hit for the cycle. In an 11-2 romp over the Dodgers, Guzman homered in the first, singled in the second, doubled in the sixth, and tripled in the eighth. Dodgers OF Matt Kemp actually did him a favor when Kemp threw Guzman out trying to stretch that single to a double in the second. Double, double, triple, homer is a nice day at the plate but has no special lexicon in the annals of baseball lore.

Commenter TerpNats over at BBTF's Newsblog did the research and figgered out that this was the first time a Washington player (National, Senator, or Redskin) has ever hit for the cycle in the District. What is it about D.C. that has previously discouraged cycles from being hit there? Was it the pitcher-friendly dimensions at RFK? Was it the hot and humid Mid-Atlantic summertime weather that kept balls in the park? Or was it the fact that there was no baseball in Warshington for thirty-three straight years?

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Here's what happened in baseball while you were a dream passing by in the sky:

Cubs 6, Phillies 4: Cole Hamels built a towering house of cards, magnificent despite its teetering, and the Phillies bullpen knocked it all down in one fell swoop. Aramis Ramirez' eighth inning King Dong off Chad Durbin demolished the Phils' 4-2 lead and sent the Cubs to their 50th Wrigley win. Heck, it must be good to be a Chicagoan lately. First Mariotti and now this? What's next, Perfect Strangers coming back on the air?

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2: Ladies and gentlefolks, Jason Giambi's days may be numbered in the Bronx, but believe you me, the fella is at least going out on top in terms of fan satisfaction. How could he not when he collects all three RBI in a 3-2 Yankees win in the final Red Sox-Yankees game at The Stadium? Kudos, Jason. May your future be bright and full of gold thongs.

Braves 4, Marlins 2: Brian McCann's three-run dong put the Braves ahead and Paul Lo Duca's lazybones kept the Marlins on the schneid. Lo Duca was thrown out at home by Frenchy Francouer in the sixth. Home plate, not his two-bedroom condo in Coral Gables. He uses the second bedroom for his office-cum-"sex with minors" den.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2: You can throw as many quality starts at these Rays as you'd like but no matter, they'll just throw a super-quality start at you. In this contest, Edwin Jackson out-performed Pinellas Park's own Jesse Litsch by taking a shutout into the eighth. Jackson was aided by dual dongs off the bats of Cliff Floyd and Willy Aybar.

Nationals 11, Dodgers 2: With his eighth-inning RBI triple, Cristian Guzman achieved what many thought Cristian Guzman could never do: he hit for the cycle. His pal Elijah Dukes tater-totted twice, dawg. Shame on Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw whose stinko start pushed L.A.'s losing streak to seven. Who wants to win the NL West? Anyone? Takers? Are the Giants still in that race?

I'm headed to the Bronx today for the final Red Sox-Yankees tilt ever at The Stadium in hopes that the Yankees can somehow make up a seven game deficit in one game. Magic? Whatever it takes. Camp Tiger Claw will take you through the rest of the day.

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Wily sleazebag agent Scott Boras is trying to get mo' money for his client Pedro Alvarez, but by fucking with the Pirates' owner Frank Coonelly, the only thing Boras is getting for Alvarez is mo' problems. See, Pittsburgh agreed to a contract with their first round draft pick Alvarez just before the midnight deadline on August 15th and phoned it in to the MLB offices.

However, Boras is unsatisfied with a mere $6 million signing bonus and won't let his kid report to the team unless they cough up more cash, saying the deal was consummated after the midnight deadline. Boras convinced the Players Union to file a grievance on Alvarez' behalf. So Coonelly took the nuclear option: he asked MLB to place Alvarez on the restricted list (meaning no other team can claim him) and to prove his point, he threw the Royals under the bus, too.

"The Pirates are confident that the contract reached with Pedro Alvarez was agreed to and submitted to Major League Baseball in a timely fashion and properly accepted by Major League Baseball. In fact, the contract between the Kansas City Royals and Eric Hosmer, another Boras client, was submitted to the Office of the Commissioner after our contract with Pedro was submitted. Mr. Boras is apparently satisfied with the $6 million bonus that he secured for Mr. Hosmer and has not challenged the validity of that contract. Mr. Boras has been informed that if he pursues a claim that our contract with Pedro was not timely he puts Eric Hosmer's contract with Kansas City in jeopardy.

That's from Coonelly's statement released today. He's basically saying "Oh yeah? Well if we can't have Alvarez then the Royals can't have Hosmer." That's total kindergarten bullshit, but you can't blame the guy for pulling a fast one on a slimeball like Boras.

I normally side with players instead of ownership, but this one is too easy. The Pirates are right and Pedro Alvarez is wrong. Super Agent Scott Boras needs to be dealt with in the harshest way possible, and if that means being packed in a box and sent to Abu Dhabi, so be it.

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Here's what happened in baseball as that echo chorus lied to me:

Red Sox 11, Yankees 3: They say that at the end, you feel no pain. "They" are also big fat liars.

Mets 6, Phillies 3: Phillies fans, how is it exactly that you survive in this manner?

Rays 1, Blue Jays 0: Life is simpler when passed indoors in front of just a small group of your closest friends.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 4: Maybe one day, we'll truly understand why Albert Pujols seems to be made of magic. Maybe.

Indians 9, Tigers 7: This train don't stop here anymore.

Nationals 5, Dodgers 4: If life is truly like a box of chocolates, Joe Torre's box must be filled with animal droppings.

Orioles 11, White Sox 3: Lance Broadway, Lance Broadway, oh why have you foresaken me?

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Hey, is this the first Padres game that I'm liveglogging? Maybe with the luck o' the liveglog they'll finally turn this thing around.

Nah, probably not. The Diamondbacks send old crusty Randy Johnson to the mound in an attempt to prevent a sweep (a sweep!) at the hands of the lowly Padres. He'll face former Mariner Cha Seung Baek who went 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA in two July starts against the D-Backs. Wow, that must have been bittersweet news for Baek earlier this year:

"Hey, Cha Seung, great news, you're being shipped out of Seattle, the worst team in the American League! The bad news is, you're going to San Diego, the second worst team in the National League."

Yes, I am quite sure that is exactly how that conversation went between Baek and his agent. To a tee.

Anywho, the Padres took both games on Monday and Tuesday night. Let's see how they do trying for their first home sweep since....well, since Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed into the bay and was eaten by natives.*

Glog starts after the jump, dear reader.

*historical facts may be made up

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The good people at Baseball-Reference want to know. Not really, nobody can possibly predict the person who will hit the 250,000th tater tot in Major League history. Heck, a quarter of a million ding-dongs is nothing more than a pretty, round number that says "Hey, baseball has been around since the days of Bill Sherman."

Still, we can look back and see which ballplayers hit other milestone dongs, thanks to their handy-dandy tabulation page:

*200,000. 1999-06-12 Paul O'Neill (NYA) off Livan Hernandez (FLO) in 4th inning
*210,000. 2001-04-29 Jermaine Dye (KCA) off Derek Lowe (BOS) in 9th inning
*220,000. 2003-04-12 Doug Mientkiewicz (MIN) off Doug Creek (TOR) in 7th inning
*230,000. 2004-09-23 Gerald Williams (NYN) off Tomokazu Ohka (MON) in 5th inning
*240,000. 2006-09-08 David Newhan (BAL) off Sean Henn (NYA) in 3rd inning

Hey, remember Gerald Wiliams? Yeah, me neither.

So, WoWies, who do you think will hit the 250,000th home run in ML history? I'm gonna go ahead and say....Emil Brown.

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Last night, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto went 3-for-5 with 2 dubbles and a tater tot to collect seven RBI in Chicago's big comeback win over the Pirates. Heck yesterday was no fluke; Soto has an OBP over .360 and a slugging percentage over .500...that's a helluva season! He's not just the best hitting rookie catcher in the National League, he's the best hitting rookie overall and the one of the best hitting catchers in either league. It's nice to bat eighth in a Cubs lineup that, when Carlos Zambrano is pitching, has a dangerous hitter in all nine positions. So how did Soto make good?

Before the season he joined Kerry Wood on a diet involving organic meals delivered to the players. "It's just something he asked me about," Wood said. "I came in and lost a lot of weight doing it. It felt good. I felt strong. So it just basically started out by talking about it, and I think actually Henry Blanco [Soto's defense-minded backup catcher and one of his mentors] might have bought some of the dinners for him and got him started on it."

Soto ended up losing twenty pounds, probably because Kerry Wood's 'organic diet' meals tasted like shit and the kid ended up starving himself. I mean really, who wants to eat tofu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Maybe once Geovany wins the Rookie of the Year award this season, he can finally break down and have himself some a big plate of piononos.

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Here's what happened in baseball while you used a machete to cut through red tape:

Nationals 2, Dodgers 1: Derek Lowe's complete game gem went for naught as his Dodgers were held down like a naughty dog and allowed to score but one run against a bevy of Warshington pitchers. Heck, L.A. got runners on base, but Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman started four double plays; Zim killed more rallies than the Denver police force.

Indians 10, Tigers 4: Cliff Lee has nineteen wins against just two losses for a mediocre Midwestern team. If he doesn't win the Cy Young, I'll eat my hat. Ben Francisco's two tater tots picked up the slack for outfieldmate Grady Sizemore.

White Sox 8, Orioles 3: The South Siders are riding the Obama convention bounce to a tidy AL Central lead. Starter Gavin Floyd went eight strong and helped his team improve to 18-8 in his 26 starts. Selfish infielder Orlando Cabrera had four hits and two RBI.

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2: After three losses in his first three starts against the UPSTART Rays, Roy Halladay finally got his shit together and put a Roy Halladay-style beating on the kids from the F-L-A. Fella only went six innings but hey, Vernon Wells and Rod Barajas both hit a ding-dong to support the cause. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, ROY?

Red Sox 7, Yankees 3: Mike Lupica was right about one thing, that being: "Mike Lupica is an enormous douchebag". Okay, maybe Mike Lupica didn't really say that about Mike Lupica, but you better believe everyone who reads Mike Lupica or works with Mike Lupica or sells coffee to Mike Lupica agrees on one thing, that being: "Mike Lupica is an enormous douchebag". I don't know what that has to do with this game, except I will probably be wearing a Red Sox hat this weekend as part of a silly bet.

Phillies 8, Mets 7 (13): Another day, another former Nats reliever blows a big game for his new team. This time, Luis Ayala earned his role as a stinky Mets reliever by giving up the game-tying RBI dubble to pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets blew a 7-0 lead in this game. I have no jokes for this.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Derrick Goold points out that the Brewers celebratory gesture of untucking their shirttails is akin to the Lambeau Leap or the Bash Brothers bicep-bashing. I just find it crass and offensive to my sensibilities. Bird Land.

  • Dex attacks Forbes Magazine's ranking of "Worst Cities to be a Sports Fan". I agree with him, San Diego should never be on a list of "Worst Cities" for anything, except maybe "Worst Cities to Make Snow Angels". Gaslamp Ball.

  • Walkoff Walk favorite Kyle Blanks hit two ding-dongs and collected nine RBI yesterday, and is the hottest prospect in baseball. MiLB.com.

  • The only way to really assess the Mariners 2008 season: separate the good from the bad. USS Mariner.

  • FoWoW Jonah Keri examines the possible future of Mike Mussina and whether or not his plaque will take residence in Cooperstown. He calls Murray Chass a Luddite, so it's a great piece. ESPN.com.

  • Deepesh Sir went back to India! :( Million Dollar Arm blog.

  • Don't fuck with arugula, McCain. You got a better bitter leafy green for me to dress with Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar, I'd like to hear about it. Serious Eats.

Wait a minute, umpires are going to leave the field to review the video replays? This will not, in any way, make Steve Trachsel's games last 6 hours.

Baseball source tells AP replay starts Thursday

The good people at Boston radio station WEEI have finally figured out the whole athlete blogging thing:

  1. Videotape athletes talking about dumb stuff
  2. ...
  3. Profit

I give you the Official Sean Casey Vlog:


He seems like a nice guy. Also, he seems like someone who was dropped on his head repeatedly as a child after being force-fed paint chips.

(We owe some codeine-laced Coke to BBTF's Baseball Primer Newsblog)

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The Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen is bringing the team down from the inside, not unlike a spy gone bad or a house's foundation made of oatmeal and Elmer's Glue. The team had themselves a nice little streak going before this past weekend: in three series against the Rockies, Astros and Padres, the D-Backs went 7-2 and opened up a tidy two game lead over the Dodgers. But as Los Angeles was getting swept out of Philadelphia in four games, the Diamondbacks bullpen was giving it all away. Here's their line over the last four games, in which Arizona won one game against three losses:

    8.2 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 1BB

That's a 6.23 ERA! The bullpen had three leads and blew two of 'em. Talk about wasted opportunities: Arizona could be five games ahead of the sorry Dodgers now, instead of just three.

Newly acquired reliever (and former Washington National) Jon Rauch was credited with two of the three losses. Rauch gave up a walkoff ding-dong to Jody Gerut last night and gave up a dinger to Cody Ross that blew the game on Friday night. Heck, the Nats are so bad, their shitty players are even infecting their new teams with their suckitude.

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I've expressed my distaste for the baseball hall of fame before, but in case you missed it, here's a quick recap: baseball writers stink at voting for things. Still, in comparison to the nepotistic Veterans Committee, the BBWAA are geniuses. Well folks, get ready for more wackiness from the newest incarnation of the Veterans Committee:

"Allie Reynolds, Joe Gordon and Vern Stephens are among 10 players whose careers began before 1943 who will be considered by the Hall of Fame's constituted Veterans Committee when it meets on Dec. 7.

Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, Sherry Magee, Carl Mays, Mickey Vernon, Bucky Walters and Deacon White also will be on the ballot, the Hall said Monday. The 10 finalists were selected by a committee of the Baseball Writers' Association of America that considered pre-1943 players. A 12-member committee of Hall of Famers, media and historians will vote."

I checked through the Baseball Reference pages for these gents and using my completely unscientific methodology of scanning random stats, I've decided that none of them are worthy of induction. Most of these guys did a decent job of sticking around the league and putting up nice numbers for good teams and even making a bunch of All Star games. But were any of them ever considered the best players in their leagues? No. Not even close. The most famous thing that any of them did was kill a guy with a pitch. This isn't the "Hall of Killing Dudes with Pitches".

Besides, it would be a shame to induct any of them when more recent players like Bert Blyleven or Ron Santo deserve it far more. All of the players whose careers began before 1943 had dozens of chances to be voted into the hall by earlier Veterans Committtes, and despite the committee's sickening cronyism, they never made it.

Also, save for Mickey Vernon, all these dudes are dead. So therefore, Walkoff Walk officially endorses the hall of fame election of Mickey Vernon, if only to give a 90-year-old man one last hurrah.

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Here's what happened in baseball while the the moon was risin' like a discotheque:

Phillies 5, Dodgers 0: The Los Angeles table-setters did their jobs against Brett Myers, collecting nine hits and three walks in Myers' seven innings of work. Alas, the Los Angeles table-clearers failed like a busboy passed out from too many nips off his flask of cheap bourbon, leaving a whopping fourteen runners on base in the game. Manny Ramirez alone left seven gentlemen standing on the bags, just wishing, hoping, wanting to score. The wind was blowing in at Citizens Bank Park, leaving all of the Dodgers' many flyballs just short of tater tot territory.

Mets 9, Astros 1: Carlos Delgado is a fucking Renaissance Man and all those Mets fans who booed him for well over half the season can go shit in their hats. Fella knocked two ding-dongs, made a diving catch, and even acknowledged those frontrunning Mets' fans curtain call. On a day when I privately laughed at the Mets lack of starting pitching depth, fifth starter Mike Pelfrey hurled his second straight complete game victory. Pelfrey eats schadenfreude for breakfast.

Indians 4, Tigers 3 (10): Also a Renaissance Man: Grady Sizemore. He's just the second Cleveland member of the 30-30 club (joining Joe Carter) thanks to his duo of ding-dongs off Tigers starter Armando Galarraga. Franklin Gutierrez' tenth inning homer brought the Indians just 0.5 games behind third place Detroit, their eighth win in a row.

Cubs 12, Pirates 3: Hey, remember when I was all excited about Jeff Karstens being a breakout pitcher for the up-and-coming Pirates? Yeah, ignore my irrational exuberance at all costs.

White Sox 4, Orioles 3: How bad can things get for Baltimore? The Whie Sox' Alexei Ramirez scored the game-tying run on a Chris Waters balk after home plate umpire refused to grant timeout to batter Carlos Quentin.

Last week, we asked for your help to name the mascot for the new single-A team in Bowling Green, Kentuckah. Please do your part as fans of shrimp in baseball and go vote for the Cave Shrimp. Thanks.


Because Mondays are custom made for horrid YouTube videos that make Cubs fans squirm.

(We owe a six pack of Coke to Land of Dave Corzine)

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Olympic beach volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor throws out the first pitch before a Diamondbacks-Marlins contest wearing a D-Backs jersey, despite her marriage to Marlins catcher Matt Treanor. What's more emasculating for Matt, this public display of marital treason, or this groin injury from May?

Ha, get it? A groin injury from May? Ouch, I think I just strained my own groin making that zinger.

(Photo stolen from the AP)

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Astros outfielder Hunter Pence has had a tough sophomore year in Houston as his OPS has dropped over 160 points since his third place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year season of 2007. But, the kid has a nifty way of biding his time when his baserunning gaffe (freezing at third base instead of charging home on an infield grounder) gets him benched the next day: he plays chess online.

Hunter Pence sat in his fold-up chair and stared at the alternating blue and white boxes on the page. He was reading about chess, a game the 25-year-old Astros outfielder has begun to study in place of the computer and video games of his youth.

"Kind of grown out of it, got a little bored," Pence said of Internet games such as Halo and Warcraft. "It's time for me to do something more productive with my mind and body. And I feel like chess is a little better for problem solving and to just sharpen your mind."

I would really love to make fun of Hunter Pence sitting in front of his Gateway laptop in the Houston clubhouse, logging on to the Yahoo! Chess boards with his screenname AstrozSlugger6969 and losing virtual chess matches to eight-year-old Estonian girls, but I never learned how to play chess and have always spent my life playing far less challenging games. So kudos, sophomore baseball player Hunter Pence. You have outwitted this baseball blogger, despite your past addiction to World of Warcraft.

Well, at least he's taught his brain to not run through sliding glass doors anymore.

(We owe a coupla cases of Coca-Cola C2 to the Baseball Primer Newsblog)

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Here's what happened in baseball while the trucks were pullin' in for the show:

White Sox 6, Rays 5 (10): Rays outfielder B.J. Upton is a lollygagger. There's no way around it, the kid just won't hustle his buns to make the play. In the bottom of the tenth, A.J. Pierzynski tagged to second base on a Carlos Quentin flyout that Upton tossed back to the infield with such a lack of urgency, you'd think he was participating in an egg toss. Pierzynski was later granted third base on a shitty interference call and scored on an Alexei Ramirez walkoff single.

Brewers 4, Pirates 3 (12): J.J. Hardy made good on J.J. Hardy Bobblehead Day with a walkoff extry-innings single. This is akin to winning the lottery on your birthday, except with more butt-slapping and fewer taxes pulled out by a grabby gub'mint. Pirates starter Paul Maholm locked horns with superstar CC Sabathia but both ended up with a no-decision. The Brew Crew blew two leads, including a ninth-inning, game-tying RBI single by Nate McLouth that handed Walkoff Walk favorite Salomon Torres his sixth blown save.

Astros 6, Mets 4 (10): Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano had a case of homergivingupitis in extra innings, allowing solo ding-dongs to Brad Ausmus and Darin Erstad. Again, Feliciano gave up home runs to Brad Ausmus and Darin Erstad. At Shea Stadium. In extra innings. Against the mediocre Astros. To say the Mets' bullpen has reached crisis mode is THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5 (11): Throw your panties to the wind, female Red Sox fans. Jed Lowrie's extra inning tater tot put the Sox ahead and Jon Papelbon's two shutout innings earned him a win. Wait a minute...put your panties back on...Jacoby Ellsbury lost a contact lens while crashing into the right field fence. Okay, he found it, he's okay despite some nasty bruising, re-remove the undergarments.

Rockies 4, Reds 3 (12): There were five six extry-inning games on Sunday but they can't all have playoff implications. No matter, Omar Quintanilla's twelfth inning solo tot off Mike Lincoln sent the Rox home happy and the Reds defense home with an F- grade in "Fielding 101". Tough course. See, in the ninth inning, Matt Holliday reached on a Brandon Phillips error, advanced to second on a David Weathers balk, and scored when Jay Bruce made a huge oopsie on a Brad Hawpe flyout. Five errors overall for the Redlegs.

It's been quite the annus horribilis for Twins infielder Adam Everett. First, he went on the D.L. in May with a shoulder ouchie that kept him from playing until August, when the Twins nearly released him, followed soon thereafter with that troublesome encounter with a pepper grinder. To top it all off, he's been caught wearing a defective uniform:

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Yes, that's Adam Everett wearing a Twins road uniform that says "MINNESTOA" on the front. (video here) Hmm...Minnestoa? That must be the 51st state, located on an island somewhere in Lake Superior near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. So how did this mistake get fixed?

The misspelling was caught by former Twins player Denny Hocking, who was watching the game at home on television in Orange County when he noticed something peculiar about Everett's jersey. After double-checking the spelling twice in the at-bat, Hocking sent a text message to one of the visiting clubhouse attendants at Angel Stadium.

So the Twins gave Adam Everett faulty equipment and not a single person in the dugout noticed. Yet Denny Hocking, a stickler for bad spelling with an eagle eye and access to the nuclear hotline, caught the mistake from his living room sofa. Case: closed.

(We owe a strawberry Fribble to David Pinto)

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Dee-troit Tigers manager Jim Leyland (who has received his fair share of slings and arrows from my partner) is actually happy with his job and interested in staying on. The good people at The Big Tilde, the awkward Magglio Ordoñez fanboy blog, stole these words from Peter Gammons Insiders Only blog:

There are rumblings that the Tigers may have to lop $40 million off their payroll before the beginning of the season. But on Tuesday, manager Jim Leyland let it be known to upper management that he'd like his contract extended through 2010, and says "I'd like to manage another five years."

Jim Leyland is surprisingly just 63 years old. This is news to someone like me who thought he was already 63 when the Pirates lost three straight NLCSes sixteen years ago. Regardless of his actual biological age, looking at the man does not necessarily inspire an image of good health and longevity. Still, reading this short news item from last year may prove us all wrong:

Leyland closed out pregame batting practice on Sunday afternoon by grabbing a bat and taking a round. He received applause from Tigers fans in attendance when he sent a fly ball into left field, and he tipped his cap in response on his way off the field.

Well, perhaps Herr Leyland is aging quite gracefully, and will indeed be managing the Tigers for the next five years. In fact, we've obtained actual video of Leyland arriving at Comerica Park on Opening Day 2009.

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Despite their poor second-half showing that followed a promising start to the season, the 2008 edition of the Oakland A's set a franchise record! Most players taking a trip to the disabled list! Whee! Pitchers Sean Gallagher and Justin Duchscherer are the latest creampuffs (more on them later), setting up the A's to bring up southpaws Dana Eveland and Dan Meyer from Triple A Sacramento. Wait a minute, this sounds like something important!

"The team now has an all left-handed, five-man rotation -- including Thursday's starter Greg Smith, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden. The only other time Oakland has had an all-southpaw rotation was in 1973 with a four-man staff of Vida Blue, Ken Holtzman, Darold Knowles and Paul Lindlad."

The A's will play Seattle this weekend, who have a terrible record against lefty pitchers. But hey, they have a terrible record against righty pitchers, and ambidextrous pitchers, and pitchers with no arms at all, so it's nothing new. Still, they OPS about 60 points higher against lefties, so maybe the Mariners will manage to breach the three run mark.

By the way, this is officially the most interesting thing to happen to Oakland since this TV show.

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Here's what happened in baseball while busked around the market towns and picked fruit down in Kent:

Mets 5, Braves 4: Mike Hampton and the Braves relievers did a fine, fine job keeping the Mets batters down. Well, except for Carlos Delgado and his four RBI.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3: Carlos Ruiz put the Phils up with a seventh inning ding-dong and then reliever Ryan Madson gave it all back. It's okay, he had a receipt. Nats break their 12-game losing streak and yet immediately forget how to enjoy the nice things in life.

Blue Jays a lot, Yankees a little: Things got so bad for Sid Ponson and the Yankees bullpen that even Marco Scutaro hit a tater tot. But hey, so did Hideki Matsui so it's not all broken glass and sad tomatoes for the Yanks.

Indians 10, Royals 3: Cliff Lee has eighteen wins against just two losses. He's a slam-dunk for the Cy Young, not just for his gaudy record but also his league leading ERA (2.43), his sexy 5.58 K:BB ratio, and his mediocre fansite.

Cubs 3, Reds 2: Carlos Zambrano giveth, Carlos Zambrano taketh away. Oh, I'm not talking about the ding-dong he gave up to Jay Bruce and the tater tot he hit off Josh Fogg, I mean that he once gave me a BoDeans CD for Christmas and then stole it back the next March.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Doug Glanville reflects on players switching uniform numbers after trades, the "Dirty 30", and Lance "One Dog" Johnson. If that's not enough to get you to read it, then I got nothing for ya. New York Times.

  • Jesse Spector interviews Brad Lidge. The most revealing thing about Brad Lidge? He drives SUVs exclusively. Brad Lidge is a boring man. Touching Base.

  • Bob Timmermann gives us the downlow on catcher's interference. A certain football blogger I know who is running a fantasy baseball league this season included 'catchers interference' as a statistical category. Yes, he's a Reds fan. Baseball Analysts.

  • Lloyd the Barber takes down J.P. Ricciardi's radio call-in show, FJM-style. Wait, scratch that. He does it more like DrunkJaysFans.com, but he's no thief. Ghostrunner on First.

  • Ian Snell learned how to pitch by watching CC Sabathia on his iPhone. Fanhouse.

  • Dinesh is happy to celebrate the festival of Raksha Bandhan in the States, but misses his family: "Back home, I would have had my sister tying a rakhi on my wrist. Made me really homesick." In Hindi, the word rakhi means 'dog anus'. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • The Reds apologized to their fans in a letter, but blamed their shitty play on 'injuries to key players within our starting lineup and rotation'. You dummies, the only real injury that hurt the team was Dusty Baker putting Aaron Harang on the DL from overuse. MLB.com.

  • Carl Pavano is back, in POG form. ESPN.com.

  • Fictitious restaurant wins Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Dr. Vino.
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Remember when baseball hall-of-fame president Dale Petroskey put the kibosh on a Bull Durham 15th anniversary celebration in Cooperstown because of anti-Iraq war statements by actors Tim Robbins and his mom life partner Susan Sarandon? No? Well I pretty much just gave you the gist of what happened back in March when Petroskey got fired.

Well, it's five years later, and the movie is finally getting its special day. Next month, the stars of Bull Durham (and Robert Wuhl) will meet in Cooperstown for the annual three-day film festival. Now that the Iraq War has proven to be a huge mess regardless of ones political affiliation, the corporate fatcats who run the hall of fame can make nice-nice with the hippie activist actors (who are also fatcats).

Still, it seems as though our friend Dale regrets his actions from five years ago:

Petroskey, a former Republican official, said earlier this year he wish he could have had a do-over.

Hey, you and President Bush both, fella.

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So we've got instant replay in baseball now. Camp Tiger Claw and I argued about the prospect of such a rule change back in May, and we agreed that we both were wrong and each others' opinion was ridiculously wrong. Turns out the umpires' union and the MLB corporation were far more agreeable, as they finally buried the hatchet and signed an agreement to allow instant replay starting this season:

"I told our members that it's just another tool that we can use to get the play right, not to look at it as a negative, but a positive," World Umpires Association president John Hirschbeck said. "As hard as you try, as much as you hustle, sometimes with just the landscape of the ballparks nowadays, it's hard to tell. So if we can get it right, you know what, let's use it as a tool to get it right."

Hirschbeck seems like a gentleman and a good communicator, but he obviously knows that umpires are a cloistered sort and quite protective of their craft. Naturally, they should be. No other institution in sports takes more abuse than the baseball umpire, despite their pretty decent record of making the right call. Yes, you've got your Don Denkingers and your Rich Garcias who made questionable calls in tight playoff situations, but for the most part, umpires know their shit.

So now, Bud Selig and his band of merry CEOs are figuring out how to implement new technologies to get home run calls right:

Umpire crew chiefs will determine when replay will be used and will make the final decisions on calls. Up to three umpires will be able to look at the replays, which will be provided from a "war room" at Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York. It's possible as many as five umps could review the replays during postseason.

Will umpires on the field have iPhones in their back pockets? Will the umpires in the war room push the video out to the umpires on the field via AT&T's 3G network? What if videos like this accidentally show up on Hunter Wendelstedt's iPhone?

Perhaps the real question is: how many different ways can Bud Selig screw this up?

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Here's what happened in baseball while I waited patiently for you:

Angels 5, Rays 4: I glogged this one.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Bronson Arroyo did good. Cubs hitters, eh not so much.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 6: Adam Dunn hit ball far. Jake Peavy cowers in fear.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1: Derek Jeter: still dreamy. Game lasted 142 minutes. Short!

Giants 6, Marlins 5: Brian Wilson blows save; Bengie Molina wins game.

Rangers 9, Tigers 1: Hope you enjoyed your season, Tigers fans. Nate Robertson, your ride's here. Rangers clobber back-to-back dongs in 3rd inning; repeat feat in fourth.

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Does this still count as the Wednesday Afternoon Liveglog Club if the game is happening at night? I have no idea, but I'll pretend that it is. Please join me in watching the Tampa Bay Rays host the Anaheim Angels, broadcast nationally on the up-and-coming cable channel called 'ESPN2'. Hey, I think these kids are going places!

Dueling right-handers Jered Weaver and Matt Garza take the mound; Weaver has never faced the Rays while Garza got knocked around by the Angels while with the Twins last July. Garret Anderson hit a ding-dong off Garza last year.

Let's cut right to the chase; your first place versus first place liveglog is after the jump:

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made some great trades to improve their team before and after the ol' deadline, but the one move they didn't make may prove to clinch second place in the NL West. As per smarmy midget Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti could have and should have put in a waiver claim for former Red and current Diamondback OF Adam Dunn:

At the time the Reds put Dunn on waivers, the Dodgers had a worse record than the D'backs, giving them priority in the claiming process. Yet, the Dodgers failed to place a claim on Dunn, awarding a "Get out of jail free" card to the Diamondbacks' sagging offense... The only plausible explanation is that the Dodgers feared getting stuck with Dunn's remaining salary -- about $3.5 million.

Really? A team with a $118 million payroll didn't want to risk absorbing three and a half mil to block their rival from adding the league leader in ding-dongs? How pissed off must Dodgers owner Frank McCourt be after ol' Neddy burned a massive amount of dough on noted busts Jason Schmidt ($47 mil), Andruw Jones ($36 mil) and Juan Pierre ($44 mil)?

How poor are the Dodgers? The Dodgers are so poor, they had to trade away all their prospects to pull in Casey Blake, Greg Maddux, and Manny Ramirez. Their farm system consists of a few lifetime minor leaguers, a dozen goats, and a tumbleweed now, while their money set aside for free agent signings in 2009 is basically a sheet of food stamps and seventeen pesos. Three and a half million dollars is all they needed to block Dunn! Couldn't they have borrowed that from Tommy Lasorda's stripper-and-calamari fund? Or gotten a loan from noted Dodger fan-cum-groupie Alyssa Milano and her shitty clothing line?

By the way, Dunn hit a tater tot to lead the Diamondbacks to victory last night, while the Dodgers lost a game that saw Tanyon Sturtze's dramatic comeback to the bullpen. Advantage: Arizoner.

(We owe thirty cases of RC Cola to Baseball Primer Newsblog)

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Some baseballbloggers are accusing the Brewers of overusing their newest acquisition, front-line starter CC Sabathia, since he will most likely be walking away from Milwaukee at the end of the season with a fat free agent deal. Kid's thrown five complete games in his nine NL starts, including Monday night's 130-pitch outing that earned 27,000 Pitcher Abuse Points from the good folks at Baseball Prospectus.

So is this really abuse, or is manager Ned Yost merely doing what is right for both the team and the pitcher? Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt got the necessary quotes straight from Yost:

"Never once did he labor. Where he labored was the Chicago game (124 pitches in 6 2/3 innings on July 28). Those are the starts that wear on you. ... What those people don't know is my attitude toward our players. I would much rather lose a game than take a chance of hurting anybody. That's not the type of person I am."

Yost seems genuine. His team has some off-days coming up but he is not re-jiggering the rotation to give his top starters like Sabathia or Ben Sheets more starts; he's letting the rest of the rotation keep their spots and give everyone some extra days off between starts.

However, Rany Jazayerli, in that B.P. article cited earlier says that there is no evidence to show that extra days off will do any good for pitchers. (Heck, let's go back to the days of four-man rotations and jettison folks like Kip Wells forever!) There is correlation, though, between high PAP scores such as the one Sabathia earned Monday night and future injury risk, but that's mostly for young starters under age 25.

Sabathia is an absolute horse in his prime, failing to reach 30 starts just once in his eight-year career when he started 2006 on the D.L. with a strained right oblique. This fella can handle a 130-pitch start mixed among some 110-pitch starts. He's got a 69:15 K:BB ratio as a Brewer and the only thing that could stop him now would be an ill-timed wallaby rape.

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Here's what happened in baseball while you were ripped right out of the ground like a fuckin' root:

Blue Jays 2, Yankees 1: New (and old) Yankee centerfielder Johnny Damon had two fly balls pop out of his glove, one of which came back and bit him in the ass. The mistake, not the ball. Can you imagine that? A baseball growing teeth and clamping its jaws on your posterior?

Red Sox 7, Orioles 2: Daisuke Matsuzaka had the control of Matthew Perry in a Percocet factory but survived five walks in five innings to notch his fifteenth win against just two losses. Kevin Youkilis' sexy three RBI added to that noted Bostonian run support.

Rays 4, Angels 2: Sigh. How do you live like this, fans of every team not based in Tampa Bay?

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: The Citizens Bank Park faithful booed Jimmy Rollins but not even the most ardent antirollinsite could walk away angry after Jayson Werth hit the game-winning ding-dong in the eighth. Brad Lidge saved his 31st game and then saved a pigeon with a broken wing by cradling him in his jockstrap.

Mets 7, Braves 3: A bases-bloated dubble by Carlos Delgado in the eighth blew the doors off the Braves bullpen. Not literally. Shea may be a dump but the bullpen doors' hinges are made of solid steel and engraved with Dave Kingman's taint.

White Sox 5, Mariners 0: Clayton Richard picked up where Lance Broadway left off and spun a gem in place of injured Jose Contreras. Yes, you can still call six shutout innings a 'gem' even when it comes against the lowly Mariners.

Twins 13, Athletics 2: Brian Buscher had five RBI while Kevin Slowey struck out 12 A's in seven solid innings. Former Cub Sean Gallagher saw his ERA balloon by two runs after allowing 10 runs in 5 innings. Are Oakland fans just hoping and wishing for a Rich Harden injury now that the team has fallen deep into the shitter?

Cubs 5, Reds 0: Now that's how you executive produce! Rich Harden finally finally finally got a no doubt win, allowing zero runs and striking out 10 in seven innings. Fella even picked up a RBI with his fifth inning sac bunt.

Astros 5, Brewers 2: Any time Brian Moehler outduels Ben Sheets, I have to write about it. There, I just wrote about it.

Pirates 4, Cardinals 1: Three straight quality starts have chopped half a run off Ian Snell's ERA and the pride of Dover, Delaware even picked up the dubya in this one, just his third win since I wrote this. I am dumb.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Joe Posnanski buries the lead here, so read the whole consarned thing to find out his big blog news. JoeBlog.

  • Evan Longoria did well but the other Rays have done far better at third base. Small sample sizes, hurrah! Fifth Outfielder.

  • Peter Abraham has finally descended into a Peter King-esque madness, posting an entire listicle of 'observations'. You're a baseball reporter. Report on baseball. Nobody cares about your taste in TV shows. LoHud Yankees Blog.

  • Think things have gotten bad for the Royals? NOT SO FAST. They're interested in Kip Wells. All Things Rockies.

  • The good folks at FishStripes have been keeping tabs on Marlins catcher Matt Treanor's wife Misty and her pal Kerri as they continue their beach volleyball adventures in Beijing. Tonight tomorrow night is the gold medal match! FishStripes.

  • Pat was happy about the Pedro Alvarez deal. REAL happy. Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke.

  • A cat eating spaghetti. Neatorama.
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The Minnesota Twins are charitable folks! They got together for a charity dinner at Morton's Steakhouse to raise some cash for the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities, acting as the wait staff for the night. Justin Morneau poured heavy drinks at the bar, Nick Punto waited on tables, and even injured outfielder Michael Cuddyer hobbled around the room performing magic tricks. You know, for the kids.

Sadly, the night took an unexpected turn for the worse:

    "As the night unfolded, infielder Adam Everett wielded a mean pepper mill."

Sounds innocent, right? Then how do you explain this news item from MLB.com?

    "Twins infielder Adam Everett was removed from Monday's game against Oakland after being struck on the right hand by a Nick Punto foul ball in the sixth inning."

Obviously, Everett's hand was weakened by a night of incessant pepper grinding for the dullard fat hausfraus and car salesmen of Minneapolis who were lucky enough to pony up $250 for a subpar steak dinner served by an untrained and inexperienced waitstaff. His overworked pepper hand simply could not withstand the friendly fire from his light-hitting teammate. Well now, it's either back to the DL for Adam or time for him to contemplate how much his selfish hogging of the pepper mill has cost his team in a tight pennant race.

(We owe a Diet Coke with Lime to the good people at the Baseball Primer Newsblog)

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We haven't covered Olympic baseball much here at Walkoff Walk (actually, not at all, mostly because of the ridiculous extra innings rules) but this news is too good to pass up. Seems that the Cleveland Indians prized prospect that they received from the Brewers in the CC Sabathia trade got plunked in the head by a Chinese relief pitcher during pool play.

While leading off the seventh inning of a USA-China game, Matt LaPorta was hit in the helmet by a Chen Kun fastball. LaPorta was knocked to the ground and suffered a concussion; he was led back to the dugout by manager Davey Johnson who sent LaPorta to the hospital.

So what led Kun to do his best Bob Gibson impression?

According to game reports, the trouble started against China when LaPorta knocked over catcher Wei Wang in the fifth inning on a play at the plate for a 4-0 lead. Wang left the game with a knee injury.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nate Schierholtz collided with backup Chinese catcher Yang Yang when he scored on a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead. China's manager Jim Lefebvre argued over Team USA's tactics at the plate and was ejected.

Lefebvre! I should have known! Only one of the Riddler's former henchmen could be so dastardly to collude with the White Sox to put a hit on the rival Indians' best prospect. And on the other side of the world to boot!

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Here's what happened in baseball while it broke my heart to see you hangin' from your shelf:

Red Sox 6, Orioles 3: Jason Bay tater-totted twice and Jon Lester won his twelfth game of the year. Kevin Millar went 1-for-3 with a double in what will probably be among his last games with the O's before they trade him back to Boston.

Rays 6, Angels 4: Tampa Bay stays 4.5 games ahead of Boston on a pair of two-run ding-dongs, thanks to Eric Hinske and Cliff Floyd. Manager Joe Maddon managed his bullpen with precision, trotting out five gents in relief of starter Andy Sonnanstine with the relievers earning four holds and a save. That was my favorite Hugh Grant movie.

Giants 5, Braves 0: Barry Zito slashed 0.30 off his ERA with seven shutout innings as he toppled the Atlanta lineup with an array of both grit and luck. Also, the five runs of support seemed to help; Zito has gotten zero or one runs from his San Fran mates in 24 of his starts for the team.

Brewers 9, Astros 3: Guess Cecil Cooper was wrong about sweeping the Brew Crew in Milwaukee. HIs weak Astros ran face-first into CC Sabathia's belly and flopped on the infield despite notching 10+ hits and bloating the bases in the ninth. Other NL teams rejoice knowing that Sabathia completed this game while throwing an eye-popping 130 pitches, his season high.

White Sox 13, Mariners 5: This explains why nobody really wanted Jarrod Washburn.

Athletics 3, Twins 2: Minnesota shortstop Adam Everett left the game in the seventh with a bruised right hand. Let the Brendan Harris reign of terror resume!

As per ESPN2's crawl and Dylan Hernandez at the L.A. Times, pitcher Greg Maddux has been dealt to the Dodgers by the Padres.

It was not immediately known who was sent to San Diego in exchange for Maddux, a future Hall of Famer who is 6-9 this season with a 3.99 earned-run average.

Maddux is expected to fill the shoes of recently re-injured Brad Penny, who may be out for the season with a shoulder ouchie.

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The Tampa Bay Rays future single-A team in Bowling Green, Kentucky needs a mascot name, and we at Walkoff Walk would like to help. The team will play in the South Atlantic League starting next season, home of such cleverly-named teams as the Hickory Crawdads, the Savannah SandGnats, and the Kannapolis Intimidators. So to keep up with the Joneses, the good folks at BowlingGreenProBaseball.com accepted fan suggestions for the team name for a few months.

Here's Bowling Green CEO Brad Taylor:

"This is the fans' team, so it's only natural they get to feel that sense of ownership in having the opportunity to vote for the name of their team. All seven of the finalists are unique names in Minor League Baseball that have a specific connection to Bowling Green, so we encourage everyone to join us in this fun and exciting way of creating an identity. It's an election year, so fans -it's time to vote!"

Here are your finalists (guess which one we like):

  • Bowling Green Speedsters
  • Bowling Green Cave Shrimp
  • Bowling Green Hot Rods
  • Bowling Green Bluegills
  • Bowling Green Turbos
  • Bowling Green Sparkplugs
  • Bowling Green Mammoths

Yes, the Cave Shrimp sounds right to me. Why? Because (a) Kentucky is home to the endangered blind albino cave shrimp and (b) shrimp and baseball go together like ham and eggs. Folks, please head over to the voting page and register your voice in favor of the Bowling Green Cave Shrimp and support the prevalence of shrimp in baseball. Fight the power!

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It's no secret that the Phillies' offense has been just short of impotent over the past two months, and manager Charlie Manuel is about as flummoxed as an old fart can be. The Phils sport a .236 team batting average and a .314 on-base percentage since June 13th as they've fallen two games behind the Mets in the NL East. Surprisingly, the Phillies starting rotation and bullpen have been absolutely remarkable; the starters have the sixth best ERA in the NL and the relievers have the 2nd best, lagging only the Dodgers. Still, they can't expect to win every 2-1 game on a regular basis like they did yesterday against the Padres.

So what is Uncle Cholly to do? Solicit advice from the masses, that's what:

"I'm puzzled. I stay up late at night thinking about how we can get our offense going," Manuel said, before his team beat San Diego, 2-1, at PETCO Park on Sunday. "I'll listen to what anybody's got to say. Fans. Cab drivers. President Bush, anybody."

You heard the man, cab drivers of America, and I know you all read Walkoff Walk while buzzing around Philadelphia in your taxis. The man asked for your advice so you better give it to him. Please feel free to contact Charlie Manuel at his home phone number (215-555-JOWLS), his email address (unclecholly123@hotmail.com) or simply over the facsimile telegraph machine.

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Don't quote me on that, but Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent isn't paying very much heed to what legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully has to say. Seems that ever since superstar Manny Ramirez came west to Chavez Ravine, the entire L.A. offense has significantly improved in that all-important sabermetric statistic of "runs scored".

Kent himself has jacked his batting average up 28 points and his OPS up 48 points ever since Manny assumed the cleanup spot behind Kent, and Scully has taken notice:

It's obvious, though, everyone noticing it, Kent going into Saturday night's game hitting .500 behind Ramirez, Vin Scully mentioning it during each broadcast.

"Vin Scully talks too much," Kent said.

Wait...what? Vin Scully, the man who called the 1955 World Series, Hank Aaron's 715th home run, Dwight Clark's "catch", Kirk Gibson's walkoff homer in '88, and has been the Dodgers' radio guy for fifty-nine years "talks too much"? Yes, Jeff Kent, Vin Scully has been doing nothing else BUT talk for FIFTY-NINE BASEBALL SEASONS. He certainly does talk too much because he is paid to talk too much, in fact, he was inducted into the hall of fame in 1982 because he talked too much.

Enough of my rant, I actually side with Redneck Jeff Kent on this matter. He's obviously been pestered for three weeks about this whole Manny nonsense and he's sick and tired of it. Sure, he was having an off-year before Ramirez showed up but (a) he's 40 and (b) he's one of the best hitting second basemen in history. So maybe that extra protection behind him in the lineup is just helping him reach his normative level of production. After all, he spent most of this year hitting ahead of jerks like James Loney or Nomar Garciaparra.

Also, Kent was just kidding.

(Photograph stolen from Flickr user Malingering)

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Here's what happened in baseball while we forgot all the names we used to know:

Cubs 9, Marlins 2: Ryan Dempster beat his old team as his Cubbies clobbered four doubles in the seventh to topple Chris Volstad. Four doubles? Sounds like Chicago accomplished the vaunted Tetra Twix. Milwaukee and St. Louis both lost their games and lost ground in the NL Central arms race.

White Sox 13, A's 1: Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez both came home with 4 RBI and their respective mommas taped them to the refrigerator door. Because they ran out of souvenir magnets from their trips to Disney World. Javy Vazquez helped keep Chicago tied with Minnesota, who beat Seattle.

Indians 4, Angels: Hey, Cleveland took two of three from Anaheim. Dear Tribe, keep winning two of every three games and you'll hit .500 sometime in December.

Yankees 15, Royals 6: Mike Mussina won his 16th, putting him perfectly on pace to win at least 18 games for the sixth time in his career. But hey, he never won 20 games so fucking forget the hall of fame, right? Yeah, so what if he has as many wins as Bob Feller and more wins than Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, or Mordecai Three-Penis Brown. Never won twenty? Fuck you, pay me. In other AL East news, Alex Rios collected his own personal Tetra Twix to lead the Blue Jays to a rout over the Red Sox.

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 0: Ty Wigginton's first inning three-run ding-dong provided the only scoring for Roy Oswalt's Houston squadron. No worries, Roy pitched 8 innings of one-hit, ten-strikeout ball on the day that the 'Stros retired Seton Hall's alum Craig Biggio's number seven jersey.

Weekend Questions

| | Comments (16)
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Hey kids, get your dirty feet off the new sofa

  • DO you realize how many big name pitchers are throwing tonight? Carlos Zambrano, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Andy Pettitte, Brandon Webb, Frenchy Liriano, and Greg Maddux. That's a fun group.

  • HOW bad does king of mediocrity Paul Byrd feel about not being in that list?

  • CAN would-be contenders like the Phillies and the Yankees turn things around against bottom-feeders like the Padres and Royals? They better, or else face the indifference of rabid front-runner fans.

  • DID you know the Astros and Diamondbacks have the same record? Well, they won't after their three-game weekend series is through, especially after Randy Johnson and Roy Oswalt face off on Sunday.

  • WHAT will this fat slob be named when it's all said and done? My vote is for "Manuel the Undocumented Marmot"

  • THINK Richie Sexson will wear a Yankees hat when he is inducted into the hall of fame? He was sent packing today while Melky Cabrera was shipped off to Scranton to get his shit together.

  • WILL I ever glog a Yankee game again? Heck no. It's impossible to even attempt to be rational when your favorite team is losing.

That's a wrap on another fun week of bloggin' and commentin'. Thanks for reading our sentences and making great jokes at our expense. Please watch baseball this weekend, whether you peep it on TV or hop in your sexy car to head for your local ballpark, and please read the work of our weekend editor and friend Lloyd the Barber. He'll be here Saturday and Sunday to keep us all updated on nearly every game.

(Roy Halladay photo courtesy of Kevin Ward)

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Last week, we asked you to take part in an online poll that would serve to rank ethical transgressions across the history of baseball. I have no way of knowing if you did it, but at least 35,000 people took part in the The Hardball Times poll and they've done their math and calculated the results. So what was the worst thing ever?

In 1899, a minor league player, taking exception to a call made by umpire Samuel White, hit the ump on the head with a bat and killed him. This was voted the single most unethical act in the history of professional baseball, out of 133 such scenarios presented last week by THT.

So besides the ump killings, it seems that the readers who voted tended to group organizational racism (i.e. keeping African-Americans out until 1947) as unethical as gambling on baseball. Both of those were deemed to be worse than steroids or other performance-enhancing shenanigans. Everything was deemed to be worse than sign-stealing or catchers chatting up the batter to distract him.

Of course, this was all based on a college course in which the students got to rank all 133 scenarios individually, as opposed to merely voting on them two by two. The students put the organizational racism right on top, while even including Bill Veeck's 10 cent beer night among the top twelve. Really? What's unethical about 10 cent beer?

The entire list is also online. You'll notice that Pete Rose's gambling problems come in 17th place while Rafael Palmeiro's finger wag before Congress comes in 21st place, thus proving my point: Pete Rose is a dickbag.

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While listening to the Astros-Giants tilt yesterday afternoon on the ol' satellite radio, I heard the Houston radio guys chatting up an upcoming promotion at Minute Maid Park called "Faith and Family Night". I don't know who Faith is or why she's bringing her family to the ballpark or why this is so exciting, so I hit up astros.com to find out:

The Astros have teamed up with Third Coast Sports Foundation to bring you Faith and Family Night featuring Steven Curtis Chapman at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, August 16.

Oh cute, a Christian rock concert. I've heard of this Steven Curtis Chapman fella and he's sure made a ton of dough over the years singing about Jesus. Those folks in Texas will eat that shit up. What else is going down on Faith and Family Night?

2:45 PM: Faith and Family Night program will begin with a player testimonial by Astros first baseman and five-time All-Star, Lance Berkman.

Oh...well...that's nice, I suppose. Nice to see that Fat Elvis believes in all that good Jesus stuff and whatnot. But this is beginning to sound less like a baseball game and more and more like a tent revival. Testimonial? Is that shorthand for 'fundraising appeal'? Anything else happening before the baseball game?

Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato from the hit animated series VeggieTales will be on hand to take pictures with fans.

HOLY SHIT! RUN AWAY! ANTHROPOMORPHIC VEGETABLES WILL EAT YOUR BRAIN! Seriously, Christians speak out against sex in movies but they'll let a fucking cucumber teach their kids about the Holy Spirit? I'm not too familiar with Scripture, but if I had to guess, walking and talking tomatoes are probably the work of the Devil and most likely a sign of the coming apocalypse.

Either way, doesn't this sound like the sort of promotion the Rockies would have?

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Here's what happened in baseball while I tried not to let you down:

Reds 3, Pirates 1: I think the Reds outfield of destiny is already here. Rookie left fielder Chris Dickerson hit the go-ahead RBI dubble in the sixth after centerfielder Corey Patterson had seemingly killed the rally by getting tagged out in a rundown between third and home. Dickerson had three hits to help Johnny Cueto pick up his first win in seven starts.

Red Sox 10, Rangers 0: The Rangers pitching staff doles out big innings like they were super size Kit Kats on Halloween. No, dudes, you're supposed to give out the fun size candy, you dipshits. Someone named Tommy Hunter was the sacrificial lamb tonight, giving up nine runs in the second inning including another three-run ding-dong for David Ortiz. Dice-K notched his 14th win with seven shutout innings.

Cardinals 3, Marlins 0: Cards fans may have given up because they are a bunch of sore losers, but don't tell Tony La Russa. Seriously, don't tell him. He hates quitters. Todd Wellemeyer combined with three St. Lou relievers to shut down the homer happy Marlins. Ryan Ludwick hit his 30th tater tot on the year and picked up his 90th RBI.

Mets 9, Nationals 3: Well hey, at least Warshington didn't get shutout this time.

Cubs 11, Braves 7: Mark Kotsay's cycle was nice but the Cubs three game sweep was nicer. Not so nice? Tom Glavine allowing 7 runs in 4 innings. That's Zito-esque.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Marc Hulet does all the heavy lifting and gives us the rundown on the amateur players who have signed and players who haven't signed yet. No matter what, these kids deserve some cash now because they'll basically be indentured servants until they become free agents. Baseball Analysts.

  • DMac gives us a quick audio clip of announcer Tom McCarthy working Dodgers pitcher Jason Johnson's insulin pump into the conversation. Insulin helps us grow and play! Philadelphia Will Do.

  • Here's some more video of the streakers who ran onto the field at Petco Park this week. I wouldn't really call them streakers, since I don't see any franks or beans. Gaslamp Ball.

  • Bucs Dugout and Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke get together to comment on the latest trade acquisitions by the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are rationally exuberant. Bucs Dugout.

  • RINKU IS SICK! Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Art-house cinemas in England are looking to ban popcorn. My head just exploded reading that. The Observer.

I don't live on Long Island, but if I did, I'd move the heck out. That place is a dump. And this is coming from someone who lives in New Jersey! But before I moved out, I'd hunt down this car just so I can meet the man who was a big enough Mets fan to paint his '88 Celica a horrendous combination of blue and orange:

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Wait a minute, the '88 Celica wasn't bad enough before you painted it? You absolutely had to make it worse? I bet that piece of shit car has more miles on it than El Duque. Here's an idea. Go to Stubhub, pick up tickets for the next Mets-Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, and drive on down I-95 to the 'Illadelph. Let's see how quickly those frontrunner fans start playing cornhole with your hoopty.

(Picture stolen from MetsBlog sponsored by GEICO)

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  • 1:05, Blue Jays at Tigers: All of a sudden the Tigers are dead in the Wild Card race but the Blue Jays are alive. Wait, what? That's what three straight wins will do for our friends from Canada. Jesse Litsch will go for the four-game sweep while Armando Galarraga, the best pitcher in Detroit, will try to use his Galarraga Power to stop it all.

  • 2:05, Giants at Astros: Another team is back in the hunt for the playoffs? When the hell did this happen? Weeks after we wrote them off, the 'Stros are back over .500 and trying for their own four-game sweep over the hapless Giants. It's Brian Moehler versus Kevin Correia if that's the sort of thing that interests you.

  • 2:05, Royals at White Sox: Ozzie Guillen will have his MVP candidate outfielder Carlos Quentin back after missing two games with an ouchie on his arm. Jose Contreras' replacement in the Pale Hose rotation today is Lance Broadway who will try to jazz hands his way through the horrid Royals lineup, while Kyle Davies is just happy to be here.

  • 3:05, Diamondbacks at Rockies: Cy Young candidate Danny Haren looks to take the rubber game for Arizona, who finds themselves tied with the Dodgers after yesterday's shortcomings. Glendon Rusch (4-0 in his last 6 starts) looks to continue his comeback to slight relevance for the Rox.

  • 3:35, Rays at A's: Even without Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria, the Rays find ways to win. I think it's the fundamentals. Starter James Shields will do his best to help the Rays win their third series in Oakland of the last four.

  • 3:35, Brewers at Padres: This one's a juicy matchup, despite the records. Ben Sheets and Jake Peavy fight it out for all the fish tacos.
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Attention fans of the San Francisco Giants: Peter Magowan's reign of terror is over. Prepare yourselves for Bill Neukom's reign of terror. Commence the tearing out of hair and the rending of garments....now. The MLB Executive Council approved the transition of power in San Fran from Magowan to Neukom yesterday. Bill Neukom was head of Microsoft's legal team for a number of years, earning a boatload of moneys in salary and stock options estimated at over $100 million. He's head of the American Bar Association now, and is crazy enough to blow his cash with a professional sports team. Lawyers!

Okay, seriously though, there shouldn't be any concern amongst Giants fans that you don't already have. Your team hasn't truly tasted success since falling to the Angels in the 2002 World Series. Your team hasn't been in the playoffs since 2003. Your team actually hasn't had a winning season since 2004. Your team hasn't had a gentleman hit 30+ homers since 2004. Notice a trend here? Things aren't so good in San Francisco...they're on pace for their second 90-loss season in a row. But the future is bright, what with pitcher Tim Lincecum leading a fantastic young rotation and stud catcher and first round draft pick Buster Posey on the fast track to the majors (as soon as he signs, of course).

So Bill, the best thing you can do right now is let the baseball people do their baseball things, keep AT&T Park clean and keep the garlic fries hot, but most of all, fire Brian Sabean.

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Here's what happened in baseball while some producers with computers fixed all your shitty tracks:

Red Sox 8, Rangers 4: Mike Timlin tried as hard as he could but not even a former Oriole could give this one away. Sporting an 8-0 lead thanks to the hittin' of Kevin Youkilis and the pitchin' of Josh Beckett Jon Lester, the Sox hung on.

Mets 12, Nationals 0: The Nats kept it pretty close. Well, except for the 8-run third inning capped by David Murphy's three run ding-dong. Hey David Wright, there's only room for one David in this town. Yeah, get lost, Byrne.

Cubs 8, Braves 0: Well according to the line score at Yahoo! Sports, the Cubs no-hit the Braves last night. So congratulations to Rich Harden, Chad Gaudin, Neal Cotts, Kerry Wood, and Sean Marshall for combining on a pseudo-no-hitter!

Cardinals 6, Marlins 4: St. Lou picked up 18 hits and stranded two-thirds of those runners. No worries, Jason LaRue's seventh inning bases-loaded dubble put the Cards up for good.

White Sox 4, Royals 0: Mark Buehrle survived the dino attacks and a poor warmup session to pitch seven innings of shutout ball against KC. Tony Pena Jr went 1-for-3 to raise his batting average to .160 as Trey Hillman used his 95th different batting order. KEEP FISHIN! One of 'em will work one of these days.

Dodgers 7, Phillies 6: Nomar ended this one with a walkoff tater tot. It happened well after I went to sleep, but I swear it wasn't a dream.

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Well folks, it was either liveglog this Yankees/Twins, the Atlanta/Chicago rain makeup, or glog the Bodeans live set on XM channel 45. I think I chose wisely. Today, Darrell Rasner and Kevin Slowey go head-to-head in the Metrodome, where it's always 72 degrees and ugly. In limited appearances against the other teams, Rasner has gotten lit up by Justin Morneau while Slowey has bad numbers against Bobby Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, and Alex Rodriguez. Should be a long, exhausting, high-scoring affair.

I'll be listening to the game on my handy-dandy XM radio and doing my best to relay both the game action and the announcers' verbal gaffes and cliches to you, the reader. Derek Jeter isn't playing so don't expect me to swoon on my keyboard.

Please feel free to read along or join the Best Commenters in the Baseballblogosphere down below in our rowdy comment section. Here's how to register. As usual, the glog starts after the jump. Join me there, friend.

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New York Sun contributor Tim Marchman realizes that MVP voters are an easily predictable lot. Heck, he thinks we might as well just throw our hands in the air and give in to their arbitrary ways of choosing each league's most valuable player. Marchman is probably a sabermetrics guy. He probably knows his VORP from his WARP and his WXRL from his DERA. Still, he resigns himself to the fact that the newspaper folk who vote for these awards just look at two things: who's got the most RBI and who plays for a winner.

Marchman goes through the process of eliminating the best hitters and pitchers in the AL who don't fit the arbitrary criteria. Gone are Roy Halladay, Mariano Rivera and Cliff Lee (pitchers), Grady Sizemore, Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley (non-playoff teams), and Alex Rodriguez (not A-Roddy enough). So, which players have enough RBI and play for winning teams? Carlos Quentin and...ugh... Justin Morneau.

All of this leaves us with Morneau and Quentin, who rank second and third in the league in RBI and play corner positions indifferently for two teams locked in a tight playoff race. There are better hitters; there are better hitters at more difficult positions; there are better hitters at more difficult positions for teams in pennant races. There are, in other words, better players. What any of that has to do with the actual MVP award -- which might as well be engraved with the name of whichever one of these two plays for the team that ends up winning the American League Central -- is a mystery.

Man, grow a pair! Rise up against the tyranny of the RBI! Rage against the MVP voting machine! Don't just sit there and accept that baseball writers are single-minded dolts. You've got to shove your mathematics down their throats if you want them to believe. We can't let Justin Morneau win ANOTHER MVP award! I don't want to live in a world where Justin Morneau has TWO MVP awards and Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Derek Jeter have combined for zero.

(We owe a Cherry Coke to the folks at BBTF's Baseball Primer Newsblog)

Baseball Before Bedtime: Pepper

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Here's what happened in baseball while he lost his leg in Dallas dancing with a train:

Reds 5, Pirates 1: I guess Jeff Karstens had to give up a run eventually, or more accurately, three runs in seven innings. New Red callup Chris Dickerson had a hit, walk, and run in the leadoff spot while former leadoff fella Corey Patterson found his groove in the seven hole, collecting two RBI.

Mets 4, Nationals 3: Hey, the Mets got a save! Pedro Feliciano sent the Nats down 1-2-3 in the ninth to save Johan Santana's win, just his third W since June 1st. Damion Easley got the game-winning RBI when reliever Saul Rivera plunked him with the bases bloated.

Indians 7, Orioles 5: Baltimore's four errors help Cleveland win their fifth in a row, moving them ahead of Kansas City for fourth place. I know this is what you've been waiting for, Indians fans! Asdrubal Cabrera! Ben Francisco! Jamey Carroll! Stars on parade!

Blue Jays 6, Tigers 4: Gary Sheffield may be a disgruntled employee but that doesn't mean Gary Sheffield can't ding-dong when Gary Sheffield wants to. Heck, Gary Sheffield will tater tot twice if Gary Sheffield feels like it. Gary Sheffield won't promise any wins, though. Not when the Tiger bullpen allows four seventh-inning runs, spoiling starter Zach Miner's valiant one-run/six-inning effort.

Cubs 0, Braves 0 (PPD): Rain means doubleheader tomorrow. Also, it means plants can grow.

White Sox 9, Royals 0: Javier Vazquez struck out ten Royals in eight shutout innings while opponent Brian Bannister had another night that'll make Joe Posnanski cry into his pillow. This game was completed in a tidy two hours and thirteen minutes; thing move pretty quickly when one team fails to bat more than four gentlemen in any one inning.

Red Sox 19, Rangers 17: Of the eleven pitchers used in this game, here's a list of those who didn't see their ERA skyrocket in this game: Warner Madrigal, Jamey Wright, Hideki Okajima.

Yankees 9, Twins 6 (12): Leading off the twelfth inning, Alex Rodriguez hit yet another meaningless, stat-padding, selfish tater tot. Sure, he put the Yankees up 7-6 but later in the inning, Xavier Nady added a two-run ding-dong that really won the game. HES A TRUE YANKEE

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Jonah Keri bemoans the fourteenth anniversary of the '94 strike, less because of the labor struggles that ensued and more because of the missed opportunities for the beloved Expos. Note: the Yankees had that one in the bag. JonahKeri.com.

  • The Florida Marlins infielders have all collected 20 tater tots, an NL record. Sassy senior Jorge Cantu needs to reach 25 to set the ML record. Fish Stripes.

  • New Yahoo! hire Gordon Edes eulogizes Skip Caray far, far better than we could ever do. Otis Nixon approves. Yahoo! Sports.

  • Matt Sussman emailed us this link and asked "Minor leagues, do they count?" Our public answer to Suss: no, no they don't. Naples News.

  • Speaking of the minors, Dontrelle is coming to save Triple-A Toledo! Whee? Toledo Blade.

  • Rinku and Dinesh visited the Fox TV Studios out in L.A. and were taken on a VVIP (sic) tour. (the extra 'V' is for Vishnu). They saw the building used in the movie Die Hard. Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Tom Mylan thinks all your greenmarket fruitcakes are nutjobs. Well, sorta. Grocery Guy.
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Hey, fans! The Gwinnett Braves totally need your help naming their new rodent mascot! Yeah, they hired a big time "branding group" from New York City but all those ad wizards on Madison Avenue could come up with was this chubby buck-toothed woodchuck fella who's totally in your face! They couldn't think of a name! Duh! Quel dommage!

But hey, the Gwinnett Braves are so very web-two-point-oh; they set up one of them new-fangled internet websites so y'all fans can submit your name ideas!

Having trouble thinkin' one up? Here are some suggestions:

    - Toothy the Tranny Hamster
    - Ernie the Eunuch Chipmunk
    - Ike the Inevitable Roadkill
    - Jeff Francouer
    - Gary the Gassy Groundhog

Namin' things is hard, y'all! Seriously though, I'm just glad this thing won't end up a Mudcatriverdog or whatever is all the rage nowadays with minor league mascot-naming practices. Wait a minute...Mark the Muddogrivercat! Perfect!

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Otis Nixon emerges from his shadowy lair just long enough to bereave late Braves announcer Skip Caray.

(photo stolen from Ben Gray at the AJC)

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Why is it so difficult to predict a team's batting order on any given night? I realize that baseball managers have positional platoons, roster turnover, and assorted injuries to deal with, but can't these dudes just pick an order and stick with it? The good folks over at Baseball Reference have handy-dandy batting order pages for each team and each season, so I ran some numbers on the permutations and combinations. I disregarded the pitcher slot so I just counted the 8 gents who batted in NL parks and the 9 gents who batted in the AL parks. Turns out the average team this season has used about 87 different batting orders over the course of about 118 games. Still, one team is keeping it real simple: the Phillies have used just 57 different permutations on the year, and they've used their most common order 19 times.

Manager Charlie Manuel has penciled in pretty much the same top five batters for most of the season: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, and Burrell, and for good reason. These guys can mash, and they've stayed pretty healthy. Outfielders Geoff Jenkins and Jayson Werth have platooned in right field and the sixth spot, third baseman Pedro Feliz has been chilling in the seventh slot, and catchers Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste have done their duty at eight. The Phillies are second in the NL with 4.90 runs per game. The question is: do the Phillies score well because they use the same lineup day in and day out or does Charlie Manuel pencil in the same lineup because the Phillies score well? I have no idea.

Other notable facts: the Brewers have used just 62 different batting orders on the year but no one order more than 10 times. The hapless Royals have not used a single batting order more than 3 times while scoring a measly 4.2 runs per game. Trey Hillman has worn through enough whiteout to keep Michael Nesmith wearing gold-plated wool hats for years.

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Here's what happened in baseball while planning everything for two:

Twins 4, Yankees 0: I've been reading about something called a "short shutout" lately and I don't really want to give it any credence. Still, Twin Glen Perkins hurled eight shutout innings and was rewarded for his efforts with Adam Everett's second 2008 tater tot and a W.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 1: Boston picked up a series split with Chicago the old-fashioned way: they broke up a no-hitter in the seventh and piled on runs. After fooling the Red Sox bats for six strong innings, John Danks gave up two runs in the seventh to become the loser.

Cardinals 4, Marlins 2: With his team up 3-2, Rick Ankiel made two errors on an eighth inning single by Hanley Ramirez. Fella was playing left field for the first time all year; he bobbled the ball and made a bad throw back to the infield. Ankiel's double-oopsie was not enough for the Marlins to stage a comeback. Reliever Kyle McClellan recorded three straight outs to strand Hanley on third.

Astros 3, Giants 1: Brandon kept the Astros just nine games Backe of the Brewers in the wild card chase.

Pirates 7, Mets 5: The Mets bullpen collapses under pressure not unlike a delicious souffle left in the oven too long. At this rate, Jerry Tranuel will never be able to afford the operation.

Brewers 7, Nationals 1: Brewers starters allowed but two runs in 31 1/3 innings over the four game wraparound sweep over Washington. Prodded for comment, Manny Acta could only reply, "I hope Jerry can afford the operation."

As per the original ouchie reporter himself, Baseball Prospectus' own Will Carroll, the Reds have traded Adam Dunn to the Diamondbacks.

The Dbacks claimed the big slugger on waivers and worked out a deal just before the deadline, according to John Gambadoro of KTAR in Phoenix. Dallas Buck is the one known name right now, but there's at least one and probably two other players headed to the Cincy system.

The Diamondbacks offense was pretty stagnant in June, scoring about 3.3 runs per game while going 11-16. Since then, they're up to about 4.7 runs per game but Dunn should put them closer to the 5 level. He's just that good at getting on base and hitting tater tots, J.P. Ricciardi be damned. Dunn is a huge upgrade over a Alex Romero and Chris Burke platoon.

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The sadsack baseball team that is the Washington Nationals has been the target of many a joke here at Walkoff Walk, from their impotent outfield offense to their futile television ratings to their miserable taste in music. Instead of switching gears and praising their young pitching staff or thoughtful manager, Manny Acta, allow me to kick 'em again: The Nationals are not that far away from setting a record for shutouts.

Not games where they prevented the other team from scoring, no, the Nationals have done that a robust seven times in 2008, I mean games where the offense fails to escort one of their own across home plate, which has happened to them SEVENTEEN times this season (subscription req'd):

For their part, the Nationals were shut out for the 17th time this season, and have now gone scoreless in their last 22 frames. Washington has gotten shut out six more times than the team with the next highest total, Detroit. If the Nats continue getting shut down at their current pace, they will finish with 24 whitewashings, which would be tied for the fourth highest team total since 1956. The record in the last 50 years is held by the 1963 Mets, who were blanked 30 times in their second year of existence.

That all happened after getting shutout on Friday and Saturday by Brewers hurlers CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. The Nats 'rallied' for four runs in yesterday's loss, but three of the runs were charged to Eric Gagne, so they don't count; in the three weekend games, the Nats scored just one run off Brewers starters. Dave Bush goes today; he's 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA against Washington in his career.

So what's it gonna take for the Nationals to maintain their inadequacy for the rest of the year and break the Mets' record? Well, they need less Lastings Milledge (.931 OPS in the last month), Ronnie Belliard (.996), and Willie Harris (.928), and they need more All-Star Cristian Guzman (.521). Stinkeroo! For his part, Milledge leads the team with 12 ding-dongs, including three taters he hit in the past week. Put the kid on the Marlins, though, and he's be in seventh place. Wait, don't put Lastings Milledge on the Marlins or he'd murder and eat Li'l Billy.

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The Cincinnati Fighting Dustybakers are in dead last in the NL Central while their pitching staff has the third worst ERA in the league despite trailing only the Cubs in overall strikeouts.

Why is the roster of young pitchers like Homer "Homer" Bailey and cagey veterans like Bronson Arroyo so piss-poor? Is it bad defense behind them? Are they tipping their pitches with runners on base? Not enough clutchiness? Wrong, says manager Dusty Baker. The pitchers just aren't running enough.

"There's no substitute for running," he says. "I tell little kids to run. How many little kids do you see running?" He's instilled that running spirit in his son, 8-year-old Brandon. Baker does so because he believes it has value. He believes in it because he ran in his boyhood. "We used to run just to take off running," Baker said. "First thing your momma hollered, 'Quit running -- quit running through the house.' That kid that runs is going to be somebody."

What does running like a fool have to do with pitching well? Not really sure, but Baker says that "strong legs lead to strong arms". And none of that fruitcake treadmill or StairMaster bullshit, Dusty wants players to run on God's Green Earth. That'll make 'em throw no-hitters and winning Cy Youngs and they'll be all strong and healthy!

Guess Isaac Hayes didn't run much.

(via the ol' BBTF Primer)

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Here's what happened in baseball quand vraiment je n'aime pas que tu parles comme ça:

Giants 5, Dodgers 4: One of four walkoff wins on the day, this one was a come-from-behinder for San Fran. Down 4-3, the men in orange and black rallied for two ninth inning runs off Hong-Chih Kuo in his first ever MLB save try. Yeah, it's been a rough go of it for Joe Torre since closer Takashi Saito went down. He's gone through Saito, Chan Ho Park, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jiang Yuyuan, and Dat Phan in the fireman role to limited success. Other walkoff wieners: Angels, Brew Crew, and Royals.

Padres 16, Rockies 7: One of three teams to notch 13+ runs on the day, the Padres collected four ding-dongs including one from Brian Giles. The San Diego Tan King went 4-for-4 with four runs and four Raul B. Ibanezes, ruining Livan Hernandez' return to the Senior Circuit. Actually, the person who ruined Livan Hernandez' return to the NL was GM Dan O'Dowd. Nice million-dollar waiver claim, dope. Other supertriskadekaphiliacs on the day: Rangers and Astros.

Rays 11, Mariners 3: Tampa Bay won 71 games for the first time (not all in one night, that would be a record), handing Seattle its 73rd loss on the year. Walkoff Walk favorite Rocco Baldelli returned to the starting lineup and picked up an RBI while hitting in the cleanup spot, Wee Willy Aybar tater-totted twice, and starter Edwin Jackson induced two giddyups among his ten ground ball outs. Every other AL East team lost, so get bent.

Phillies 6, Pirates 3: Tastykakes endorser and erstwhile baseball superstar Chase Utley had his first home dong in over a month and twelfth man Greg Dobbs broke a Phillies club record for pinch hits in a season with his 21st. Phils sold out their 40th game at CBP and moved two games ahead of the Mets, who lost to the Marlins.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, there's more room in the back.

  • WILL the Mets get out the Formula 405, clean up their bullpen, and make up some ground in the NL East as they host the Marlins? The Phillies are itching to make some moves against the Pirates, by the by.

  • IF this whole Ian Kennedy thing ends up well, will the Yankees be able to get over the (temporary) loss of Joba? Jered Weaver has a say in Los Angeles late tonight.

  • CAN Jon Lester keep the homer-happy White Sox from homering in homer-happy U.S. Cellular Field? His ground ball-to-fly ball ratio is vastly improved from last season, and is giving up just 0.60 ding-dongs per nine innings.

  • WHEN will the Astros wake up and see they're not in the 2008 playoffs race? A bad series in Cincinnati would go a long way towards that realization.

  • DID you enjoy our week writing Morning Juice at Big League Stew? We sure did, and so did those knucklehead Yahoo! commenters. Thanks, 'Duk!

That's it for us this week. Enjoy our friend Lloyd the Barber's great contributions to the weekendbaseballblogosphere, and we'll see you all again on Monday.

(Television photo stolen from If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats)

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Ever since Arte Moreno nabbed superslugger first baseman Mark Teixeira from the Braves, the Anaheim Angels have seen their offense improve substantially. They've reached that magical number Mike Scioscia has been squawking about: forty-eight runs scored in eight games equals six runs per game. Heck, even Garret Anderson is getting hits again!

Angel in the Outfield Torii Hunter is especially grateful for Tex' arrival and would like to see the Angels sign Teixeira to a big fat deal. In fact, he's willing to encourage Mark in any way possible:

(Hunter) said he already has launched the "Mark Teixeira in '08 and beyond" campaign, hoping to persuade the slugger to sign a long-term contract with the Angels rather than defect to another team in free agency.

Hunter said he plans to treat Teixeira to fine dining in Orange County and Los Angeles, showing off the region's top restaurants and wonderful weather.

"You can get a tan," Hunter said. "You can tan naked if you want to."

Just be sure to apply SPF 35,000 on your wiener schnitzel. Nobody wants a sunburned wang AKA the ol' red rooster. Just ask Brian Giles.

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Sometimes it's fun to show up early at the ballpark, grab some chicken fingers 'n' fries, and settle into your seats to watch some batting practice. If you're sitting in the outfield seats, you might catch a tater tot! If you're sitting close to the dugouts, you might get Lyle Overbay to sign your program. But if you're a pitcher standing in the outfield shagging fly balls, WATCH THE FUG OUT:

The Washington Nationals, hobbled, hurt and aching in the standings, suffered a scare in batting practice today. Pitcher Tim Redding was smoked by a line drive off the bat from teammate Cristian Guzman. Redding was in center field, approximately 350 feet away, when the ball hit him flush and dropped him. Redding went down and was quickly attended to by a trainer. He limped off under his own power, favoring his right leg. He avoided another line drive near the third base line as he returned slowly to the dugout.

That's Rockies beat-blogger Troy Renck, delivering the bad news to Nats fans who read Denver newspapers online (all zero of them). Who knew Guzman had such power? Sure, he made the All Star Game this year but that was because the NL needed a Washington representative and also, he was the only one who knew the security code for the alarm system at Yankee Stadium.

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Here's what happened in baseball as you were dusted in the dark up in penetration park:

Mariners 2, Rays 2 1: Hey! What happened?!? The pendulum is swinging back the other way for the Rays. Tampa's gotta play on the road sometimes, and when the other team gets last licks, they sometimes take advantage. With the game knotted at one in the bottom of the ninth, Raul B. Ibanez knocked a walkoff tater dong off reliever Dan Wheeler to win one for the M's. This game lasted 129 minutes, shorter by 83 minutes than the director's cut of Goodfellas.

Nationals 12, Rockies 6: Technically, this was a doubleheader, but Warshington won both games by the score of 6-3, so don't argue with me. Lastings Milledge went 5-for-9 on the day with two ding-dongs and five Raul B. Ibanezes; the Nats have taken 6 of their last 7 games to bring them closer than 20 games outta first. Wieners!

Tigers 8, White Sox 3: On the same day Walkoff Walk posted its fiery Detroit obituary, the Tigers began their ascension to first place anew with a smothering of the Chicargo Fightin' Ozzies. Fernando Rodney done got his second save while Carlos Quentin's AL-leading 30th funny bone went for naught.

Yankees 3, Rangers 0: Wang out for the year? Joba has a shoulder ouchie? Hughes and Kennedy got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel? No worries, Mike Mussina will pitch seven shutout innings against the highest scoring team in all the land and pick up his 15th win. Ol' Crosswords McStanfordpants should get nine more starts on the year; win five of 'em and he's a hall-of-famer.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Answer Man David Brown interviews Mike Mussina. It's a great read, but if you want awkwardness, skip to the part where he asks about The Onion. Big League Stew.

  • Our old friend Kyle Blanks gets put in the prospect spotlight. Is he hiding his gigantic 'fro under that batting helmet? One can only hope. Future of Fantasy.

  • Bored Phillies fans debut new fanclub for Kyle Kendrick. To Kyle, this is merely secondary to the fact that he's dating a Survivor hottie. Philadelphia Will Do.

  • Deepesh sir got an official certificate as a baseball coach! He's the first ever Indian to be certified in the United States! I have no idea what that even means! Million Dollar Arm Blog.

  • Maury Brown ranks the top ten locations for MLB expansion and comes out with North Jersey at the top of his list. He also pays proper homage to Walkoff Walk. Thanks, Mo! Biz of Baseball.

  • There was an owl in Joe Torre's office. Inside the Dodgers.

  • Headline of the year: Woman riding a donkey fights off lion with machete. Associated Press.
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Rafael Palmeiro famously denied using steroids under oath and wagged his finger at Congress to drive home the point; test results later revealed he injected all kinds of pharmaceuticals in his tush. Pete Rose denied betting on the Reds while managing the team and was banned from baseball for life; he's since come clean about basically being a degenerate dorkface with a retard haircut.

How would you compare these two ethical transgressions (and 131 others) across the vast history of baseball? The Hardball Times wants your opinion.

"Imagine a college course where students hang out with Ron Coomer in the bowels of the Metrodome, watch video of Lenny Randle on all fours trying to blow Amos Otis' famous squibbler into foul territory, spend hours debating nuanced baseball ethics, and ring up Major League umpires for help on their homework. Sounds like too much fun to be true? It's not. That very course--an academic study in "baseball ethics"--was offered in the spring of 2008 at Carleton College, a top-tier liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota."

The good folks at THT are hosting a great poll that follows up this baseball ethics course. Please do Carlton College visiting professor Willy Stern and the world of academia a favor by heading over to vote. I'm still having trouble figuring out if corked-bat swinger Sammy Sosa or spitballer Phil Niekro was a bigger horse's ass.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the Red Sox are the mystery team who claimed Brian Giles. This goes against my earlier speculation but it makes sense if David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis are injured, and/or the Sox want to block the Rays from getting the well-tanned veteran.

(we owe a Fribble to Baseball Musings)

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Smarmy short dude and omnipresent FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal is reporting that San Diego outfielder Brian Giles has been claimed on waivers by some unnamed team:

    "The Padres have 48 hours from the time of the claim to work out a trade. If no deal is completed, the Padres can take back Giles, or let him go to the claiming team. San Diego stands to save approximately $6 million by parting with Giles -- roughly $3 million that is remaining on Giles' salary for this season, plus a $3 million buyout for 2009."

Giles, 37, is having another above average season, with a .391 OBP that leads an otherwise poor-hitting Padres team. Heck, kid tater-totted off Pedro Martinez last night at Shea, so he's still got value as a corner outfielder.

So who is the mystery team? Is it a playoff contender that needs some outfield depth, like the New York Mets? Is it a team building for 2009, like the Toronto Blue Jays? Is it a team who likes to acquire baseball players without rhyme or reason, like the Seattle Mariners? I guess we'll find out soon, but my money is on the Mets.

Rosenthal lists the eight teams that Giles has listed in his no-trade clause: Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Florida, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington. I'm surprised that Giles wouldn't want to go to beautiful Miami; that South Florida sun would do wonders for his man tan.

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a sampling of the bridges we burned:

Giants 3, Braves 2 — If he hasn't struck you out yet, Tim Lincecum will come to your house and throw three baseballs at your refrigerator door, politely tip his cap, and move on to your neighbor's kitchen. Kid is just unhittable sometimes, like when he sent down all three Braves hitters with a K in the eighth.

Phillies 5, Marlins 0 — Looks like dating former Survivor contestant Stephenie LaGrossa is serving Kyle Kendrick well. He pitched six scoreless and was helped by Ryan Howard's 32nd homer.

Cardinals 9, Dodgers 6 RYAN LUDWICK IS STRONGER THAN ZANGIEF. Kid hit a home run in his fifth straight game. It came right after Albert Pujols hit a Peanut Butter Blaster Parfait (or as you squares call it a Grand Slam). Manny hit one out but who cares.

White Sox 5, Tigers 1 That's it. Stop the fight. The Detroit Tigers are finished. Dog food. No playoffs for a team I predicted to go to the World Series. John Danks mystified em with his stupid facial hair and stupified em with his mystifying pitching. WordUpThome hit a 3 run bomb. Jim Leyland oughta be ashamed of himself.

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Welcome, Liveglog Club members and Yahoo! readers alike! Today, I will be listening to the Houston Astros take on the Chicago Cubs on XM Radio channel 185 and doing my darndest to relay the action to you, the reader. This is called "liveglogging".

Along the way, you can add your opinions below in something called the 'comment' section. You gotta sign up for comments, and if you need help, check out this handy-dandy FAQ. Please feel free to remain at the intelligence level of a Cro Magnon and call us all sorts of idiotic names as you make your comments! We encourage idiocy!

As for the game itself, both Chicago and Houston have decided to send their weakest links in their respective rotation's chains to the mound today: Jason Marquis and Brandon Backe. Marquis hasn't won since June and may soon be pushed to the bullpen while Backe has lost a team-high 10 games.

In a related note, one of the teams in my fantasy league is named "Baby Got Backe" despite the fact that the owner does not, in fact, employ Brandon Backe. Perhaps that's why she's in second place.

Onto the glog! After the jump...

July In Review

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Remember Opening Day? That was four months ago already! Just like you, the season isn't as young as it once was. Also, your rent is overdue. With the turning of each calendar page, Camp Tiger Claw and I will be discussing our picks for:

    - AL Pitcher Of The Month
    - NL Pitcher Of The Month
    - AL Position Player Of The Month
    - NL Position Player Of The Month
    - Biggest Surprise Of The Month

July may have ended almost a week ago but that doesn't prevent us from pretending that our opinions count. The month was broken in half by a fantastic All Star Break at the Stadium and also featured some great intra-division games between the Red Sox and Yankees, the Mets and Phillies, and the Royals and White Sox.

More importantly, Walkoff Walk had some of our greatest hits in July:

    - Naked Lady at Skydome Wows Photographers
    - CTC's All Star Game Glog
    - Brian Giles Enjoys Tanning
    - Rob's Home Run Derby Glog
    - Chuck LaMar Thanks HImself for Rays Success

Please enjoy our idle conversation in which we crown some unlikely players as the Best Dudes of July. After the jump, because it's long:

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a sampling of the mess we made:

Blue Jays 4, A's 3: You think the A's are ever gonna win again? As bad as they've been as a team, it's been a reeeaally bad second half for Huston Street. Last week he lost the confidence of his manager. Tonight, he attempted to get it back trying to close out a 3-2 A's lead, but was terribly unsuccessful. Rod Barajas had the tying double, Kevin Mench had the walkoff single, and Street was left standing in the rubble of his sixth blown save.

Marlins 8, Phillies 2: Getting a healthy Josh Johnson back may have been the best deadline move the Fish could have made. Kid went 6 scoreless against one of the bashingest lineups in baseball. Jeremy Hermida knocked in 4 and Florida has moved to within 1.5 games of these Phils. Tomorrow night Anibal Sanchez makes his second start of 2008, and it will be one to watch.

Cardinals 6, Dodgers 4 (11): Ryan Ludwick's walkoff came off reliever Jason Johnson, who must have been seriously confused since he's a starting pitcher. Why must Joe Torre mess with people's emotions so? James Loney, who got one vote for the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year award, went 1-for-5.

Rockies 8, Nationals 2: Staked to a 2-0 lead after six and a half innings, Washington starter John Lannan was feeling like the prettiest girl at the cotillion. But pinch hitter Ian Stewart's two-run homer tore Lannan's dress and the Nats bullpen's six runs allowed poured punch all over Lannan's up-do.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, don't mix bleach and ammonia or you might blow up the neighborhood

Then stop by here tomorrow for some of the answers to most of these questions, and perhaps some fair-trade organic coffee.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • 'Duk cobbles together some videos and firsthand reports about the wacky, wet and wild storms at Wrigley. The only thing that blew harder than the wind at the game were the Cubs hitters' attempts to hit Brian freaking Moehler. Big League Stew.

  • Meech and Dmac combine their powers as super Philly bloggers to produce this great video of Sal Fasano making an oopsie. Ignore the fact that this happened two years ago. The Fightins'.

  • The Mets are selling pairs of Shea Stadium seats for $869, in homage of their World Championship seasons of '86 and '69. In related news, the Yankees are selling seats for $23,272,832,363,738,394,143,474,950,515,253,565,861,627,778,969,899.00 a pair. MetsBlog sponsored by GEICO.

  • Cardinals fans, upset at the blown games and wasted leads, have taken to comparing the St. Louis bullpen to Miley Cyrus. I have no idea why, but it's funny to imagine Ron Villone taking prurient cellphone pics of himself to send to the Jonas Brothers. Cardinals Diaspora.

  • New Yorker magazine political commentator and former Jimmy Carter speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg's favorite Yankee playing today is Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez because he wears his socks correctly. In other news, Hertzberg really fucking hates Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, and the few other current Yankees who wear their socks correctly. Hendrik Hertzblog.

  • Chili Davis owns Pedro Martinez. Baseball Prospectus: Unfiltered.

  • Dinesh got knocked the fug out while "going through the rigors of the hat drill that involves throwing the ball at each other's direction." Isn't that called "catch"? The Million Dollar Arm Blog.
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The Rays may not have made a major splash in the pre-trade deadline market for an outfield bat, but no matter: Rocco Baldelli's comin' back!

Baldelli was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder back in March and was placed on the 60-day DL. Kid's talented, no doubt, but he simply couldn't handle the rigors of professional baseball because his mitochondria were too busy playing Peggle or something. Here's Rocco:

"I've been waiting a long time to come back and it seems like something that's going to happen, so I'm pretty excited about that. I don't really know how I'm going to feel when I get back out there. I know it's been a long time. ... I'm just excited to get back out there. It's been a long time coming."

Good for him! If Baldelli does indeed come back, who will he replace on the roster? Does this finally spell the end of the Rays' weakest DH-cum-outfielder, Jonny Gomes, he of the sub-.700 OPS? The Rays have only the 20th highest scoring offense in baseball so they need all the help they can get, even from someone whose own cells are conspiring against him.

As for Rocco's disease, I read about 100 words deep into the Wikipedia entry for 'mitochondrial disease' before my eyes started crossing and I began to have flashbacks to freshman biology class. Any of you Doogie Howsers out there in the Walkoffwalkosphere know anything about the disease? Is this similar to what Dorothy Zbornak had in that episode when she thought she had chronic fatigue syndrome? I need answers, people!

How else would you explain these aggressive moves by Prince?


Seems as if Prince was just ticked off that Manny was headed to the showers after being pulled in the seventh after putting the Brew Crew in a 6-1 hole. Heck, I'd be pretty ticked off too if my starting pitcher allowed six earned to the Redlegs. The Brewers shame spiral starts early this year, folks!

(we owe a Coke to Voros McCracken)

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a smattering of what we done did:

Astros 2, Cubs 0 (8) — Houston won the game, but the real winners were the thousands of people in Wrigley who managed to survive the wild storms. Also a winner (somehow): Brian Moehler.

Reds 6, Brewers 3 — Strange night in Cincinnati. The Redlegs were running a $5 ticket, $1 Hot Dog promotion to get people to come to the ballpark. Well, apparently the increased meat and nitrate consumption incensed vegetarian Prince Fielder because he went after his own pitcher in the dugout. My boy, Manny Parra did not have one of his best outings giving up 6 ER in 6 innings. Matters were made worse when Fielder ambushed him after Parra was lifted for a pinch hitter. Come on guys, is that any way for a team with the 2007 Rookie Of The Year, Ryan Braun to act? It's almost as if Ned Yost has lost control of the team. You mean the same Ned Yost that was all but fired a month into the season? Makes sense to me. Oh yeah, Bronson Arroyo pitched well and Jay Bruce had a ding dong and 2 RBI.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3 — The $55M Man, Gil Meche (not Mache) won his fourth straight start helping the Royals take their seventh victory in eight games. Alex Gordon hit a solo funny bone off of Clay Buchholz. But, the Sox did not go quietly into that good night against The Mexicutioner. They loaded the bases and scored a run on a bumbling Keystone Cops infield hit from Jason Bay that I can't believe wasn't called an error. Sean Casey eventually flew out to end the game. Shucks.

Diamondbacks 13, Pirates 7 — Danny Haren has gone over twenty-four innings without walking a batter. In related news, David Wells has somehow gone over twenty-four weeks without bathing in pancake batter.

Oh my goodness gracious, we need a West Coast editor! THATS TWO STRAIGHT DAYS OF WALKOFF WALKY GOODNESS! Thank you, George Sherrill and Chone Figgins!


More later, y'all!

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The Cuban junior national baseballers hit Canada this month for the 2008 International Baseball Federation World Junior AAA Championships, and a few of the kids decided that Edmonton is the place to be. So far, three Cuban athletes have defected and the Canadians just can't catch 'em. It's as if they're covered in plantain oil!

Of course, Mr. Sticky Wickets Dictator himself Fidel Castro is flummoxed:

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro weighed in last week, calling the defections a "despicable betrayal." The comments were made in a column on Cuba's daily Internet newspaper, Granma. In it, Castro refers to Edmonton as a "dumping ground" for Cuban athletes. Two players from the Cuban team defected in 2000 after another junior baseball tournament wrapped up in Edmonton.

Cuba's daily Internet newspaper is called Gramma? Either way, Castro's pissed but the Edmonton officials are all, "Whaddya want from us? We're not babysitters for your super-talented young Cuban baseball players whom North American professional baseball could take advantage of monetarily." That's not an exact quote, but you catch my drift.

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The good folks at Gaslamp Ball discussed a piece in the San Diego Union Tribune yesterday about bloggers posting pictures of professional athletes enjoying the booze. Here's some egghead giving his two cents while pimping his new book:

    Paul Levinson, a professor and chairman of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University and author of the upcoming book "New New Media," defends bloggers' right to do what they do under the First Amendment. But Levinson is no fan of such postings. "These are not very nice people," Levinson said of those who run the sites aimed at athletes.

Hey, I'm a blogger who posts pictures of baseballers and I'm nice! I've even been called 'affable'!

By the by, that's Padres ace Jake Peavy drinking Jagermeister straight from the bottle! At a charity event for autism research! Where he donated his time to be a celebrity bartender! Two years ago! Wow what a drunk! My Puritan values have been compromised by looking at that photograph!

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Programming note: Baseball Before Bedtime is being simulcast this week with Morning Juice, the early morning recap-fest over at Big League Stew. Here's a sample of what we done did:

Mariners 8, Orioles 4: The Mariners used a big 7th inning, including a 2 run ribby from Raul Ibanez and the Mariners pulled themselves out of the dustpan. If you had any emotional attachement to this series, I'm sorry for how your 2008 season is going.

Rangers 8, Blue Jays 4: Gerald Laird, one head of the Rangers' Young Catcher Hydra, had two ding dongs and 4 RBI. Dude's Yahoo headshot is priceless. He looks like a 5 year old speed freak.

Rockies 3, Marlins 2 — Hey, remember 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Troy Tulowitzki? He's back from his second DL trip of 2008! And his RBI single helped Colorado split a four-gamer with Florida, keeping the Rox a tidy seven games back in the mediocre NL West. Marlin pitcher Scott Olsen's six shutout innings went for naught.

Astros 4, Mets 0 — Maybe this Ed Wade character was right about something for once. Newest Astros acquisition Randy Wolf hurled five shutout innings as Houston swept the Mets for the first time since the wacky film Mrs. Doubtfire was sweeping the nation. The Mets scored but seven runs in the three game series; things are hitting the dumps at the wrong time for New York as John Maine and Billy Wagner are both dealing with ouchies.

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Last week, I made a series of predictions regarding the direction GM Neal Huntington and his Pittsburgh Pirates would take with the approaching trade deadline. I am here to report that I nailed exactly two of six predictions, and one of them involved a player who stayed put and was not even mentioned in trade rumors. That's like making a prediction that "No, in fact Albert Pujols will not be traded before the deadline." Brilliant!

Here's my scorecard:

  • Damaso Marte: I predicted he'd be a Met, he's now a Yankee. FAIL
  • John Grabow: I predicted he'd be a Ray, he's still a Pirate. FAIL
  • Jack Wilson: I predicted he'd stay a Pirate, and he still is! WHEE
  • Xavier Nady: I predicted he'd be a Met, he's now a Yankee. FAIL
  • Jason Bay: I predicted he'd stay a Pirate, he's now a Red Sock. FAIL
  • Freddy Sanchez: I predicted he'd stay a Pirate and he still is because who'd want him? WHEE

Kudos to GM Neal for making some good, solid, future-building trades. Andy La Roche can and should be immediately handed the third base job and the team should bring up Andrew McCutchen to roam centerfield at PNC park. Heck, they could even let CTC favorite Craig Hansen be the consarned closer, what with the injury to Matt Capps. I give Huntington a B+ for making the moves necessary to restock the Pirates farm system, and I give myself an F minus for shitting the bed on those ill-conceived bets.

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After years of inept trades and ridiculous free agent signings, Jim Bowden finally made a reasonable transaction as general manager of the Warshington Nationals. Unable to trade catcher Paul Lo Duca before yesterday's non-waiver trade deadline, Bowden did the next best thing and DFA'd the sonofabitch. Anyone out there need an HGH-takin', teen-bangin', over-the-hill dago catcher? No? I'm shocked!

Needless to say, the Nationalsblogosphere is abuzz with joy:

Nationals Enquirer:

As a public service to Lo Duca, (Felipe) Lopez, and (Johnny) Estrada, here's a link to a list of current job opportunities with the Nationals. The Nationals are still hiring Elevator Operators and Security Guards.

We've Got Heart:

Lo Duca made 5 million this season. He hit .230 in 46 games with the Nationals. This was long overdue. He should have never been signed in the first place.

Mr. Irrelevant:

Farewell, douchebag. Just as I specifically requested two and a half months ago, Paul Lo Duca is leaving Washington. Better late than never.

Chris Mottram's blog post at Senor Irrelevanto was titled "Lo Duca Packs Shit, Gets the Fuck Out". Amazing. I couldn't have come up with anything more poignant and elegant if I tried 1,000 times.

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Here's what happened in baseball as time was right for secret meetings:

Braves 9, Cardinals 4: Hey, it's not all tears and scenes in Atlanta after all! Mike Hampton showed up to pitch the five innings necessary to notch a win and even knocked in an RBI of his own, but alas, he couldn't hold on to the lead, allowing two runs in his fifth and final inning. The oft-injured eternally crippled Hampton allowed seven hits, four walks, zero K's, and four runs in his second start of the season. In baseball, we call this a "crappy start". Someone named Clint Sammons tater totted for the Braves, while Casey Kotchman is a combined 0-for-9 as a Brave.

Phillies 8, Nationals 4: Kyle Kendrick, on the other hand, had a quality start, giving up 2 runs in six and two thirds innings while allowing but eight baserunners. His Phillies friends pounced on evil John Lannan, what with ding-dongs by Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth. Rollins added a dubble and 3 total ribbies, and then went out after the game for a Fribble. Rudy Seanez got into trouble in the ninth but Chad Durbin came in to retire the always dangerous (read: never dangerous) Austin Kearns.

Angels 12, Yankees 6: Welp, after allowing three three-run ding-dongs, the Yankees had a go of it in the ninth but eventually came up short. Starter Andy Pettitte allowed two of those triple tots in the third inning, one each to Torii Hunter and Juan Rivera. Chone Figgins went 4-for-5 to propel his ridiculous name to the top of my shitlist. Pudge Rodriguez went 1-for-3 with a K, a GIDP, and 0-of-3 runners thrown out in his Yankee debut; he was also showered with boos but not booze. This whole Mark Teixeira deal is working out horribly for Anaheim. He's only batting .250 as an Angel. I hope you can sense my sarcasm because I'm laying it on pretty thick.