Rob Iracane: July 2010 Archives

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, you can't drink thick porridge if you want to keep your mustache clean

That'll jusssssst about wrap up a quiet week here at Walkoff Walk. But fear not: I'm going on vacation again next week and have once again asked Dan McQuade to guest edit Walkoff Walk in my absence. He kindly agreed and plans to melt your face off with kitties on the field, poignant John Kruk anecdotes, and assorted drug references that I'd never get in the first place.

See you Monday, same WoW channel. Well, not me, I'll be somewhere way off the AT&T 3G maps.

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Bud Selig must be sick and tired of baseballers using the wonders of medical science to rejuvenate their tired old bodies after various ouchies. First, players lost old-fashioned steroids like stanzolol. Then they lost their precious greenies. Now, say good-bye to the product of recombinant DNA technology, the wonderful and magical HGH, because Selig ordered testing to begin in the minor leagues.

Effective last night, the doctors and nurses contracted out by MLB will be jamming their needles into the arms of random minor league players during surprise HGH tests.

And you know, it's really time baseball tightened the screws on these drug-addled players. Because if you believe the loudmouth arm of the mass media, baseball is seemingly the only professional sport in America that has a steroid crisis. Yeah, there are no steroids in football. Meanwhile baseball players have run rampant with all the illegal drugs they're using. I heard Jerry Hairston, Jr. is mainlining crocodile semen into his endocrine system thrice daily so he can play six different positions. These violations must end!

But alack and alas, this will not affect your favorite big league players...yet. Because the minor league folks are not members of the players union, Herr Selig did not need to get the a-ok from the MLBPA. He could make this decision unilaterally, like he did earlier in the day when he ordered his pastrami on rye extra lean with only a schmear of mustard. We'll have to wait and see when the cabal of owners can lean on the MLBPA just hard enough to force them to agree to this waste of perfectly good needles.

Think about this for a second: to test for HGH with current technology, testers need blood, not urine like in other 'roid tests. Taking a whiz is something baseball players do every day so it's no big whoop to donate some of their lemonade to the higher-ups. But what of blood? Some folks (read: me) pass out and get woozy when they have blood drawn from their arms; I can't imagine a player who makes his living with his two (or one) arms is going to be very happy having a needle jammed into his money-maker once or twice a year.

And these tests haven't even shown that they work properly yet! Experts in their white lab coats claim that the test can produce false positives, meaning that an innocent athlete could get punished for not taking something that probably isn't even such a bad thing. Bizarre.

So, perhaps this test will need to be improved before we ever see it in the bigs. Hopefully, Selig and his multi-millionaire cronies in ownership will focus on other important things first, like expanding instant replay or banning Kevin Millar from television.

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  • Rockies at Marlins, 12:10: Josh Johnson will show the Colorado contingent what a real Cy Young candidate looks like. Fella hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since April 5th; he's looking for his eighteenth straight quality start and is inching up the league leaders in K's. Oh, did I mention the 15-inning scoreless streak? I could heap more praise on young Josh but I don't want to stress his back.

  • Nationals at Reds, 12:35: Returning Redlegs hero Edinson Volquez will make his second start since Tommy John surgery against someone who's old enough to remember Tommy John before Tommy John surgery. Livan Hernandez just wants to get the heck outta Cincy and back to D.C., where they know what to do with their chili. This one's on MLB Network for those of you who are unemployed or well-enough employed to have cable TV in your office.

  • Blue Jays at Tigers, 1:05: Not sure why the Tigers aren't holding this crazy promotion during this weekend's Blue Jays series in Detroit. Seems like a great way to stick it to the visiting team. Vernon Wells is 5-for-7 in his career against Justin Verlander. This is vital information.

  • Padres at Braves, 1:05: DIVISION LEADERS RUBBER. After today, the next time these two teams meet will either be in the playoffs or in Matt_T's copy of Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball for the Super Nintendo. Braves starter Tim Hudson has never lost to San Diego. Padres starter Clayton Richard has never seen The Royal Tenenbaums. Something's gotta give.

  • Phillies at Cardinals, 2:10: I've been thinking about a way to fix the struggling Phillies for the past few days and I think I've got the answer. Forget bringing over a starting pitcher and screw the whole trade Jayson Werth idea. The real solution? Trade Raul Ibanez to the Mets for Jeff Francoeur. One troubled asset for another. Rivals helpin' rivals. So easy and so hilarious!
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Umpire Adrian Johnson is not a man who will dilly nor dally with his decision-making. In last night's heated Dodgers-Giants game, Johnson, manning home plate with an iron fist, tossed enough Los Angeles personnel to clear up enough room in the dugout for Fat Old Tom Lasorda. And believe this: having given the heave-ho to both manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer after Clayton Kershaw hit a Giants batter despite both benches being clearly warned, thus leaving hitting coach Don Mattingly to lead the team, perhaps the Dodgers would have been better off with Lasorda. Because Mattingly made quite the faux pas.

The game was knotted at five in the ninth and the Giants had runners on second and third. Mattingly had brought in closer Jonathan Broxton despite Torre's wishes to give him a rest after a tough Sunday. He ambled out to the mound for a bit of a chat with Broxton after intentionally walking Aubrey Huff to load the bases. Mattingly then turned and took a few steps toward the dugout before turning again and repositioning first baseman James Loney.

But Giants manager Bruce Bochy knew this was a no-no and realized that the time Mattingly spent chit-chatting with Loney actually constituted a second trip to the mound. A few years back, Bochy, then managing the Padres, pulled the same stunt with Dodgers manager Grady Little, causing Little to pull Brad Penny against his wishes. This time, he tipped off home plate ump Johnson, who discussed the matter with the rest of the crew and decided that yes, Broxton needed to be replaced.

Whoops.

This meant that Mattingly needed to bring in struggling George Sherrill, who was granted just eight warm-up pitches and promptly gave up the game-winning two-run double to Torres. Game over. Mattingly probably screwed this one up, although Rob Neyer investigates what he deems to be a hazy rule that could have forced Mattingly to be ejected, too. Lasorda never would have made that mistake, though, because he'd have been too busy devouring a meatball parm sandwich to even make the first trip out to chat with his closer. That's Hall-of-Fame managing right there.

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Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose teams have not won a pennant in twenty years, is finally giving up the dream of going back to the World Series and will retire at the end of the year. Somehow after surviving ten (10!) years in Seattle and five years in St. Petersburg without losing his will to live, Lou took a job with the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2007 season. Two division titles, two playoff disappointments, and one gigantic Chicago-media-induced headache later, Piniella has finally decided to hang up his manager pants and (presumably) return to the broadcast booth where Steve Lyons can accuse him of stealing his wallet again.

R.I.P. Lou Piniella's managerial career. You brought hope to so many teams only to leave them wishing they'd hired Jim Riggleman at a steep discount.

Good morning, WoWies. Please rise and salute the flag during this rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner". Try not to titter:


That caterwauling you hear in the video is former Dodgers manager and current Dodgers saggy mascot Tommy Lasorda, special guest at Tommy Lasorda Bobblehead Night hosted by his former team, the Albuquerque Isotopes. Of course back in the 1970s, when Tom was the manager of the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate, they were called the Albuquerque Dukes. Also back then, the only Italian food our Fat Friend could find in New Mexico was Chef Boyardee in a can. Seriously: Tommy Lasorda kept Chef Boyardee locked up in his turlet.

(via DILBECK)

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Despite all the less-than-kind things we've said about Goose Gossage here in the past, and despite the fact that he once called Yankees fans "dumb motherf**ers", I must say that meeting the Goose in person was nothing but a delight. They say that time heals all wounds; I suppose the same can be said for a couple of Coronas in a swank Stadium suite and a tiny dose of star-struck celebrity-meeting awe.

What was I supposed to do, tell Mr. Gossage that I think he's no Dan Quisenberry?

Because it's true: I've argued against his Hall of Fame credentials in the past and, when it comes to WAR, he's borderline at best, but I'll be damned if I was going to actually say anything so crass to his face. So what if he signs every baseball with his Hall of Fame induction year? The man earned it. ("It" being the adoration of burger-chompin' beat writers and hackneyed columnists, I guess).

And so it's no big deal if he's on the record criticizing one of my favorite pitchers for something so silly as excessive celebration. It was Old Timers Day! A day when we should be respecting our elders, not sassing them for their out-of-touch opinions. Or goofy trademark facial hair.

I also met David Cone and he was so charming, he could have stolen my fiancée if he wanted. Or me. Dreamy!

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Some memorabilia pig (I'd tell you his name but his YouTube handle is simply "SHAMEONGARYCARTER") brought his young son to the MLB All Star FanFest this weekend and tried to get some 8 x 10 glossies autographed by Gary Carter. Unfortunately, that practice is strictly verboten: Gary was only signing baseball cards. This anonymous goon raises a stink and eventually gets tossed from the event for being a total horse's ass. Imagine that, using your kid, who probably has no idea who Gary Carter even is, as a pawn to get some merch signed so you can flip it on eBay. Pathetic.

Even worse: this guy's dumb YouTube video made me sympathize with Gary freakin Carter.

(via Vin Scully is My Homeboy)

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In a move that seems to indicate the Braves are ready, willing, and able to win RIGHT NOW, Atlanta has shipped shortstop Yunel Escobar and pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes across the border to Canada. In exchange, Toronto sends back two prospects and power-hitting shortstop Alex Gonzalez, in the midst of a career year at age 32. Fella's got pop and a tidy glove, but not much in the on-base department. But I guess old Frank Wren wanted some more power in his lineup and more leather on the field.

With one of the deepest rotations in baseball, young Reyes was expendable to the Braves; he will provide a nice little experiment for Toronto GM Alex Anthopolous. But really, isn't it peculiar that Frank Bird would cut ties with a 4 WAR shortstop in his mid twenties to get an aged, whiff-prone guy who's been feasting on the homer-happy mantra of the free-swinging Blue Jays?

UPDATE: Mark Bradley of the AJC just penned perhaps the worst introduction paragraph in sportswriting history. I just vomited everywhere.

It wasn't just that Yunel Escobar was slow to learn English. He was slower to learn how to be a professional. How many times do you have to be told to hustle -- the concept of which should be the same in every language -- before it's clear you just don't care to do it?

Just file that under 'H' for "Hustle, lack of in brown people".

Courtesy of our pals at The 700 Level, here's a video from the old Veterans Stadium in Philly of a young lad who is desperate to retrieve himself a baseball. Watch as the ball bounds down the third base foul line, caroms off the wall, and then gets chased by the kid as he explodes from the stands. It's really something:



Based on the greasy hairstyle on that ballgirl, I'd guesstimate this video dates from circa 1993. But I could be wrong; South Jersey girls wore that hair for way longer than it was in style.

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Last night, the National League finally got their filthy paws on the coveted homefield advantage with a win over the American League. For the first time since Bud Selig instituted the "THIS ONE COUNTS" policy, the Senior Circuit won the All Star Game behind some tidy pitching and some poor American League baserunning. If it weren't for Hong-Chih Kuo (who I mistakenly called Hong Kong Kuo last night, sorry dude) throwing away a baseball, the NL pitchers probably would have shutout the AL. Their final pitching line: 9 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 8K, and 0 ER. Solid.

As for the baserunning mistakes, blame pinch-runner Elvis Andrus for running past second base and getting tagged out in the sixth inning on an attempted steal; blame David Ortiz for being too bottom-heavy to reach second in the ninth inning on a outfield pop fly that landed for a hit. And yes, I am still waiting for Joe Girardi to send one of the most clutch hitters in baseball to the plate to pinch hit. Alex Rodriguez was the only AL position player to not make it into the game despite having a chance to bat as the tying run. Whazzat?

But more important: Kris and I talked to a bunch of people on the telephone for three solid hours with only seven uncomfortable silences and four breaks to play the Furious Five theme song.

We'd like to thank the following fine, talented folks for phoning in and making with the ha-has:

And of course our boys Drew, Dan Mcquade, and 310toJoba. Capital work! And you can listen to it all if you missed it last night. Because as much as this was supposed to be alternative color commentary about the All Star Game action, it turned out to be a bunch of funny folks talking about baseball, music, jazz hands, food, and explosive diarrhea. Please to enjoy:

(note: listen to the second episode from the top first, then the top one)

Listen to internet radio with Walkoff Walk on Blog Talk Radio

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Thought we were kidding last night? We weren't. Tonight at 8PM, Kris, Drew and I will do a LIVE podcast where we provide our own color commentary for the 2010 MLB All Star Game. We are breaking many, many rules to bring you this Glogcast, so to rid ourselves of some of the legal responsibility, we'll bring in those special guests to spread the blame around.

So please tune in to our Glogcast at Blog Talk Radio. Tonight at 8PM, lasting for three hours. We're really seriously doing this. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are. Seriously.

THIS IS THE NEW SHOW LINK

UPDATE: You can talk about us in a chit-chat window after the jump:

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Because premature reports of his death sadden me. Although it's true he's suffered a massive heart attack and is in a Tampa hospital, so we'll keep this page updated if any other news comes out.

UPDATE: he's gone. RIP, Big Steinz. You were a hero to some, an enemy to most, and a crazy sonofabitch to all.

Bob Sheppard, 1910-2010

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  • Marco Scutaro
  • Mike LaValliere
  • Scott Hatteberg
  • Benny Agbayani
  • Pete Incaviglia
  • Tony Graffanino
  • John Jaha
  • Shigetoshi Hasegawa
  • Hiram Bocachica
  • Fernando Vina
  • Mickey Tettleton
  • Erubiel Durazo
  • Mickey Morandini
  • Tadahito Iguchi
  • Frank Catalanotto
  • Guillermo Quiroz
  • Mike Gallego
  • Gary Disarcina
  • Carlos Baerga
  • Chuck Knoblauch
  • Mark McLemore

Go ahead. Say them aloud in your best Bob Sheppard voice and you'll see what I mean.

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With the New York Post's Joel Sherman reporting that the Yankees are on the verge of acquiring Mister Cliff Lee, aka The Best Pitcher in All of Baseball, from the Seattle Mariners, it's time we at Walkoff Walk squirted out a quick listicle enumerating all the possible places Lee might end up.

Because after all, there's no way Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik would do something so stupid as to shift the entire balance of power in the league by sending Lee to the team with the best record in baseball, right? RIGHT? C'mon Jack, even I'd be embarrassed as a Yankees fan to have this wild trade pair up Lee and former Indians teammate CC Sabathia, especially in these already trying times for Clevelanders.

To wit, here are the teams still alive in the hunt for Lee, in no particular order:

  • Yankees: Because it's not good enough that three-fifths of the rotation is on the All Star roster. Really, they don't need Cliff Lee. But hey, he's a strikeout guy who never walks anyone, and he's a lefty, and he proved in World Series Game One last year that he can go on the road, hop on a subway, and make any team look like a bunch of schmucks. Brian Cashman is said to be offering catcher Jesus Montero, their number one prospect who can rake but has the catcher skills of a Mike Piazza. However, the Yankees aren't special in their lust for Lee; EVERY team wants this guy!

  • Phillies: Like the Phillies, they feel real bad about how they treated their summer 2009 crush and are sending him bouquets of pink roses weekly at this point. GM Ruben Amaro put his rep on the line when he brought in Roy Halladay and sent Lee away, but facing a shortage in capable starters this year, Amaro wants Lee back. They'd probably have to part ways with Meech's best buddy Domonic Brown, a stud outfielder who is killing his way through all levels of the minors. And even with Cliff Lee on the team, they'd still have to figure out a way to correct their worsening offense.

  • Reds: Unlike the Reds, who are seemingly making magic in every facet of the game in 2010. Good starters, good defense, good offense, good relievers, and a great manager. Cliff Lee, however, would provide the team with that One Guy Who Can Anchor a Rotation and tip the division in their favor from the pitcher-laden Cardinals. Do the Reds have enough MLB-ready prospects to deal? Well they can send first baseman Yonder Alonso since he's pretty much blocked at the big league level by All Star Joey Votto. But maybe Jackie Z. wants a little bit more in return.

  • Twins: And the Twins have a little bit more to send, which is why they are among the front-runners in this horse race. Rumours have catcher Wilson Ramos and outfielder Aaron Hicks in the discussion. If the Twins can snag Lee, he'll move from one pitcher-friendly AL park to another. Also, he'll pal around with Carl Pavano and maybe even grow a moustache so they can be twins. Get it?

  • Rangers: The Rangers would love to get it. They might not have a penny to spend on extending Lee's contract past the 2010 season, they might not have an owner, and they might not have a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but they do have Justin Smoak. Smoak is not exactly killing it in 2010 but he's just a lad and needs a bit more refining. Plus the Rangers are in talks to include Money Baby in any Cliff Lee deal.

  • Mets: Haha, just kidding. The Mets have no money and no prospects.

  • Mariners: Wait, what? I thought the Mariners were trying to dump Lee to get a boatload of prospects? Well yes, but Lee himself intimates that the team passed up a golden opportunity to lock him down for years to come. Shame that Jack Z. turned down the idea in the spring because the only memory that Seattle fans will have of the time Cliff Lee played for their team is a month on the DL, two-and-a-half months of dazzling pitching, and endless trade rumours.

So, where will Lee end up? I've got $20 on the Miami Heat.

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Here's some afternoon baseball to enjoy while you listen to the new Schooly D track:

  • Pirates at Astros, 2:05PM EDT: Can you believe the Pirates have gone a measly 0-5 this season against the equally awful Astros? Yet they have a 7-2 record against the Cubs. Quite the dichotomy! The Bucs will attempt to avoid 0-6 but they'll face Roy Oswalt, so let's not get our hopes up. But DO get your hopes up for the PNC #HEIST, happening in just four weeks and two days!

  • Angels at White Sox, 2:05PM EDT: Holy crap, did you see the clip of White Sox starter Jake Peavy having his freakin' shoulder muscle separate from the rest of his body mid-pitch? He's probably done for the year which means that Ozzie Guillen is going to need to come up with a substitute starter for the first time all season. Sorry, Oz, but Orlando Hernandez is taken.

  • Giants at Brewers, 2:10PM EDT: San Fran looks for the unprecedented four-game walloping of the Brew Crew in Milwaukee behind the groovy stylings of Barry Zito. Before this series, the Giants offense was about as productive as a neutered yak on Valium, but thanks to Buster Posey's 4-for-4 night with two taters and six ribs, they're showing signs of life. WoW favorite Manny Parra attempts to stave off hypothermia for the ice cold Brewers.

  • Cardinals at Rockies, 3:10PM EDT: How badly can the Cardinals bullpen screw this game up? After two straight nights of miasmic attempts at closing out a win, they probably won't have a chance to preserve a lead today anyway. Ubaldo Jimenez toes the rubber for the Rox. But hey, just in case the Cards ever have a future lead to preserve, they went ahead and signed bullpen savior Mike MacDougal.


Remember that crazy game last month at Citizens Bank Park when a freak storm rolled through town and caused a hellish rain delay that wasn't exactly a hurricane or tornado? Well there's at least one more great video from that day (yes, this was shot during an afternoon game) and it shows some wacky stuff flying around the concourses at CBP.

Imagine if this weather event had happened during last year's HEIST? You'd have seen hundreds of empty plastic beer bottles spilling out from the 200 level and the rain would have soaked the GARFIELD right off Kris' cat-shirt.

(via our man Meech.One)

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Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospects (and former reality TV stars from India) Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel are going Hollywood. Sony Pictures signed a deal with the pair and (JB Sir, I'm sure) to make a feature length movie about their rise from cricket-playing and truck-driving in their native India to the star-studded fields of Single-A baseball in the armpit of Florida. It'll be the feel-gupta movie of next summer, says Roger Ebert.

The boys, last seen rubbing elbows with President Obama, are already excited to cast their own roles. As per Bob Nightengale of the USA Today:

"I hope some good American actor plays me," Singh says. "You know, somebody like 'Rambo.' That's the guy (Sylvester Stallone) I want."

Says Patel: "I need a short guy. A guy like Tom Cruise. That would be perfect."

Well that's settled, nice and tidy. Hit the bricks, Kal Penn, you're not needed here. Of course, the only question that remains is: in the scene where Rinku and Dinesh visit the lavish Southern California home of a disgraced baseball superstar, who will play Barry Bonds?

In other Rinku & Dinesh news, the boys are actually coming along nicely in their second season with the Gulf Coast League Pirates. Rinku has pitched five innings and struck out five batters, while Dinesh has whiffed three hitters in only 1.2 IP. They are striking with frequency!

Tonight's Questions

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We're just one month away from the #HEIST, so I hope everyone has booked their hotel rooms and entered the contact information for all the Pittsburgh area hospitals and jails into their cellphones. If you decide, on a whim, between now and August 7th that you've changed your mind and want to join us for the Pirates-Rockies game at PNC Park, email me and I'll put you on our waiting list.

See you tomorrow, same WoW channel.



Here's some belated America-lovin' for the Independence holiday spectacular that has passed us by and left us hot and parched in a puddle of sweat, courtesy of Reds pitcher Bronson "I'm Not Brandon" Arroyo. Seriously, if you're not already standing up and saluting the miniature American flag in your pencil holder, you will be halfway through this video. That is, unless you've already went to the video page and clicked the little soccer ball button under the video. Ahh, much better.

(courtesy of the Votto Voters at OMG Reds)

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He's leading the NL in homers, is just one percentage point away from slugging .600, and has overcome melancholy and infinite sadness with honor and frankness, but Joey Votto is not a National League All Star...yet, at least. Votto was not chosen to participate in the All Star Game by either the fans, the players, NL skipper Charlie Manuel, or Bud Selig, whose powers as commissioner include both sekritly altering All Star rosters and turning ballparks into sand.

Sure, Votto has been among the top five first basemen in the Senior Circuit since the birth of Walkoff Walk, but that alone is not enough to guarantee the guy a spot on the All Star roster. See, the mere fact that Votto plays a crowded position is reason enough that the kid is going to have to either learn to accept disappointment or change positions. Heck, Votto is a righty in the field; how hard could it be to move across the field and play third base?

Ryan Howard. Albert Pujols. Adrian Gonzalez. None of them can match Votto's production in 2010 but this conglomerated gathering of ballplayers should never be about which player has been successful for three months. And even if Votto has been more valuable than Howard for three years running, he plays in Cincinnati and not a city that has been to two straight World Series. Harsh, but true. Ryan Howard is an All Star. Joey Votto is a homely Canadian.

Still, he's a homey Canadian currently leading the second-chance voting contest at MLB.com, so there's that. And with the voting power of both Mountie Nation and Red Sox Nation behind him, he's a lock.

Still, there are other players having a nice little season who might deserve to be an All Star and then there's Omar Infante. Who really got screwed the most by not making the team?

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The last place Arizona Diamondbacks have decided that now would be a great time to shake up middle management in the organization, firing doe-eyed young general manager Josh Byrnes, 40, and his cherub-faced sidekick, manager A.J. Hinch, 36. They'll be replaced by club VP for player personnel Jerry DiPoto, 42, and bench manager Kirk Gibson, 53. Byrnes, previously an underling to boy genius Theo Epstein in Boston, should land on his feet with ease in some advisory position with another forward-thinking team. Hinch, I'm not so sure about. He's the guy we knew nothing about when he was hired and barely had a year under his belt in the big boy seat before he was asked to leave. Politely, I'm sure.

The D-Backs, considered by some to be preseason contenders, sit a whopping 15 games behind first place San Diego (yeah, still feels weird to say that). Besides Edwin Jackson's slog of a no-hitter last week, it's been a sadsack season in the southwest, and I'm positive that our support of the D-Backs boycott is indirectly responsible. More directly responsible? Brandon Webb.

Webb, who is earning $8.5 million in 2010, has a grand total of one start in the past two seasons because of shoulder ouchies. From 2006 to 2008, fella won one Cy Young Award and finished as runner-up in two other votes. Webb went 56-25 over that span with his sinkerball inducing groundouts like a man on fire. But without his number one starter presence on the mound the past two years, the Diamondbacks have had to rely on the wild pitching stylings of recently acquired Dontrelle Willis and the offensive contributions of people like recently dismissed player Eric Byrnes. They've failed. So yeah, maybe Josh Byrnes deserved to get fired, giving so much money to his cousin Eric. Nepotism sucks.

As for new manager Kirk Gibson, we all love the guy for being gritty and wearing his stubble so proudly. Tigers fans, Dodgers fans, and people who hate Dennis Eckersley alike can testify to his heroism, but will he be a good manager? Who the heck knows? This isn't rocket science, it's managing a baseball team, perhaps the simplest job in all of professional sports besides TV analyst. Good managers land with good teams and sit back and let things play out. Bad managers get hired by the Pirates. Sure, we at Walkoff Walk will root for Kirk Gibson to succeed, but c'mon, the team he just inherited is made up of folks dumb enough to get stuck in a bathroom.

Today, we salute Bud Selig and the rest of the MLB ad wizards for doing what they've done best: separating baseball fans from their hard-earned dollarinos. They've devised a brilliant new scheme to empty the wallets of the sports most ardent and devoted followers while pretending to give them a helpful service:

MLB.com is offering you the opportunity now to buy tickets at the face value price for your favorite team. Postseason Ticket Reservations is a new feature intended to broaden potential access to these valuable seats, ensuring you that if your team plays in a game you reserve, you get to buy a face-value ticket and go to the game.

Translation? Spend $10, $15, or $20 now per game for the LDS, LCS, or World Series and you'll reserve yourself a ticket for one of your favorite team's home games in the playoff. Add in a one dollar processing fee and Herr Selig will set aside a seat in the upper deck for you and your sweetheart. But what if your favorite team fails to make the postseason? Will your mini-deposit be refunded? No! And what if you end up with Game 5 tickets but the series ends in four, will you get a refund? Heck no!

For MLB to call this money grab a 'feature' is shameful. Even for them to describe it as 'investing in futures' tricks even the savviest fan into thinking he/she is playing right along with the team as it tries to win their division. Ridiculous! There are still 17 teams within six games of first place of their respective divisions; at least nine of these fanbases will spend October farting into their couch cushions and not cheering on their team at the ballpark. So why charge them $11-$26 now to reserve seats for games that will never happen?

Granted, the fee is a small price to pay if one's favorite team does make the playoffs, especially for those folks who can't afford season tickets or afford to wait in line outside the stadium box office. And in the end, this will be cheaper than paging through the StubHub listings come October (which is yet another disgusting money grab by MLB). But for this reservation system to be such a blatant scam is embarrassing. C'mon, Bud, refund at least half of the fee for the Mets fans.

Most shameful of all is that MLB.com's Mark Newman quoted a player and manager in his puff piece, but couldn't find any actual living people to say something nice about it.

"I never could stand losing," Hall of Famer Ty Cobb once said. "Second place didn't interest me. I had a fire in my belly."

"What are we out at the park for, except to win?" asked Leo Durocher, who won two World Series as a player and another as a manager.

Allegedly, Durocher also said, "Nice guys finish last because they don't spend $90 plus $6 in transaction fees to reserve playoff tickets." Use the money quote, Mark.

UPDATE: One cannot reserve Yankees playoff tickets through this system, but if you click through to the other teams, it tells you recent activity and if someone has actually reserved playoff tickets. The oddest part: someone has reserved Orioles playoff tickets but no delusional Chicago fan has reserved Cubs playoff tickets.