Thursday, March 30, 2006

Commssioner's office shenanigans

Today the big news is the witch hunt, err "investigation." But I also find the Tavarez suspension a bit curious. Its touched on a bit in the story, that Julian gets 10 days, but with the off days it is just 8 games. And of course if he appeals, they will likely reduce the suspension to 8 games, which is essentially the same (except of course the extra toll on the bullpen with a lack of off days).

So the shenanigans are, why 10 days? With the exception of the steroid suspensions, since when did the commish hand out suspension in terms of days. last year Wells got six games for yelling at the ump. Nixon I think 5 games for his roll in the fight. A-Rod and Tek were suspended 4 games for the famous fight. so why now?


Anna Benson has filed for divorce from her husband Kris. And he didn't even sleep with another woman. Well, maybe he did, but that's not why she's leaving him. And if he didn't, he's probably pretty pissed off about it and is about to make up for lost time. Of course, we geniuses at GYS saw this coming a while back. And no one else did.

And so it begins

The vogue among sportwriters - whom as well all know, are never wrong - is to pick the Blue Jays finishing in the East ahead of the Sox. You know, the "Sox have too many question marks" thing - as if the Yankees and Blue Jays don't have any of their own. Four days before the season begins, Burnett's going on the DL- JP's gotta be thrilled.

What is it with these former Marlins starters? Pavano, Penny, Burnett...hopefully Beckett will be the exception, but suddenly I'm not so optimistic.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

At the risk of sounding like Jay Leno

How about this headline.

Out in right field

Trot Nixon is saying incidents like the Tavarez punch could be avoided if baseball had a balanced schedule. “This is a prime example of why Bud Selig needs to take a look at teams playing each other 19 ... times a year.” Okay, I love Trot, in a non-gay sort of way, but this makes almost zero sense to me.

- Tavarez has only been on the Red Sox for a couple weeks. I suppose one could argue that he was "just trying to fit in with the new team", but come on - the guy's obviously a bit of a headcase, as this list shows. He actually has some history with the D-Rays, back in 2003...when he was with the Pirates. Can't imagine the imbalanced schedule caused that.

- Trot says going back to the balanced schedule might prevent the brawls. Of course, the bad blood between the Sox and the Rays goes back to August 2000 (the Pedro/Williams/Flaherty game). The imbalanced schedule hadn't begun yet. (And I'm pretty some Sox-Yankees fighting had happened by that point?)

- Then, just to prove he doesn't know when to stop talking, Trot then goes on to blame the fans for the problems. "Fans (are) all out of control. Look what happened last year. One of our fans hit Sheffield in the face."

Ugh. Say it ain't so, Trot.

Monday, March 27, 2006


“All that personality and the lighthearted comments? How about hitting .350? How about October? If he doesn’t help us win a championship, he’ll be at the Laugh House in the meatpacking district on open-mike night, and it will be, ‘Here’s Johnny,’ and then Cashman will come out and say, ‘Johnny’s gone’...And we’ll bring in a new comedian.”

Reggie Jackson, on Johnny Damon, as quoted in a New York Magazine article. Way to welcome the new guy!

Well, we know he has brought his temper.

Lets hope Tavarez has brought the same results from the last 3 years. I know we notice these things more because it is "our" team, but for crying out loud, I just want to NOT be a soap opera.

That's a Bold Statement...AL Style

Ok, I don't remember doing this, yet...And with only a few days left until opening day, it is time for predictions.

Let's start with the AL East.

Boston 97-65 (with their pitching, solid lineup, and very good "d" up the middle, their consistency will win this division. They are also deep on the bench and in the minors (with pitching)...Let's not count them out of the Clemens race, too...)

New York 94-68 (not having upgraded their pitching will hurt them. Mussina is set to have a bad year, Wright is cooked, Where's Pavano? Small will not do what he did last year...Their bullpen is worse than last year. They have a great lineup, but they had one last year, too.)

Toronto 88-74 (Very strong rotation, but I don't know if Ryan will repeat his mastery as a closer. I also think their general lack of depth will keep them from making a serious run at the division this year. One injury (Wells, Halladay) could be trouble.

Tampa Bay 81-81 (That's right...a team that hasn't won 70 games, yet (that I am aware of) will go .500. Think of them as the George Mason of MLB. They have a boat load of young talent and will win many games with their aggressiveness and speed.)

Baltimore...who cares? This team has not gotten better. Millar might improve chemistry, but I don't see this team as a contender at all...

I don't know if it is possible with the unbalanced schedule to have that many .500+ teams in the division, but that is my order of finish.

White Sox
Kansas City


Saturday, March 25, 2006


In January I compiled lists of all the punny headlines I could find after the signings of Coco Crisp and J.T. Snow. I was sure we'd see tons with the Hee Seop Choi pickup. Here's what I've found:

Choice Pickup - Empyreal Environs
Hee Sop Joy - 12eight
Happy Happy Choi Choi - Surviving Grady

What the hell? That's all? No "Ode to Choi"? No "No Choi in Mudville"? No "Choi of Sox"?!? C'mon, people. I really hope the puns return before the season begins - I mean, for chrissakes, we have a dude named "Riske" in the bullpen.

Probably the most positive comments on the Choi pickup can be found on a Yankees site, Bronx Banter. Best line: "Choi is a twenty-seven-year-old lefty-hitting first baseman with a severe platoon split who has yet to live up to his potential. Three years ago, the Twins released another twenty-seven-year-old lefty-hitting first baseman with a severe platoon split who had never lived up to his potential..." Nice. It's also pointed out that the tiebreaker rules which gave the Yanks the division last year without a playoff - basically bragging rights, nothing more - ended up hurting the Yanks, who probably would've loved to pick up Choi themselves. As it stands now, their backup 1B is Andy Phillips.

Holy Crap, Part III

So this is pretty damn cool. I've been to two games in which Hee Seop Choi was in the lineup, both of which I've mentioned in previous posts:
  • June 12, 2005, Dodger Stadium, Dodgers vs. Twins: Choi hits three home runs in a game.
  • March 12, 2006, LAngelheim Stadium of California, Korea vs. Mexico.
Both times the entire stadium shook with the chant "HEE-SEOP-CHOI!" It's pretty much the perfect name for baseball. (Other than "Stubby Clapp", of course.) Hopefully we'll hear it a lot at Fenway this season. This move is (1) a phenomenal pickup, (2) surprising, in that no one else made it first, and (3) to me, a pretty clear indication that the FO has zero faith that Mike Lowell will return to his 2004 form. HEE-SEOP-CHOI.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Not that it means anything...

But Marte was sent down to AAA by Cleveland...

There was a report today that DiNardo might only be with the major league club until Wells joins the starting rotation. Then he'll be sent down...AND Riske will stay with the team.

Can Riske be cut? Are there rules against it because of his time in the majors and the fact that he was just acquired in a trade?

Right now (of course this will change in the future), we traded Crisp for Mota. Not bad...and I know that you can trace the trades out further, but essentially those are the guys still in the deal in the bigs (besides Riske...and I predict he'll be on the DL very soon)...


Holy crap this is terrifying. I'm pretty sure I've never seen Timlin smile this much, even after the WS win. "If the kill zone on a pig is the size of a football, I aim for the laces...I enjoy being out among God's creations."

Uh, yeah. There's also something about some guy named Joe Dirt using a staple gun to heal a couple wounded dogs ("I used 85 staples on one, 65 on the other."). Make sure to check out both the Globe article and slideshow.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Reason #4,391

The New York Yankees are trying to shut down the guy. Of course, as a result, just printed an article on it, and so he just got a lot of free publicity. While I'm not a huge fan of the shrill anti-Yankee crowd, I appreciate the guy's logo designs (the throwback Mariners hat has always been my favorite). What I can't understand is: why does this always happen? Some company or organization tries to ban something, and in the process brings it to everyone's attention, and ends up giving it far more publicity than it had previously. All while coming across as the bad guys. Which they are, in this case, since they're the Yankees, but you know what I mean.

Wily Mo, and Mo than that

Not sure if anyone saw Mr. Pena's home run last night. One handed and a blast to boot. Then he absolutely hit a laser for his single. He also made a leaping catch against the wall on a Giambi drive...I know this guy will K a bunch, but he looks ready to go in Boston, so far.

Nice to see that Tanyon Sturtze knows what spring training is all about. A terrible Sox pitcher (Riske), in a tied game in the 7th, hits the leadoff batter (Jeter) with a slider. A few pitches later gives up a bomb. Sturtze for some reason retaliates by drilling Lowell with the first pitch. Honestly, Sturtze is a dope...

Speaking of Riske...another bomb given up last night. I think that makes 9 in just over 9 innings of work. My prediction? He "develops" elbow problems, or a sore back, or a tight shoulder and has to DL it for a while. This guy cannot go with the big league club. He has issues.

Adam Stern hit his second homer of the spring (a shortened spring because of the WBC)...3 for 5 for the night. I hope he sticks with the team. Plus, he's a legit steal guy, too, for late in the game. Oh yeah, he proved that last night, too, with a stolen base.

Papelbon had a pretty good outing. I'd like to see this kid get a shot in the rotation, and I am sure he'll get there by the end of the season (because of a trade of someone or an injury). In the meantime, the bullpen greatly benefits from his move out there.

Mike Lowell's bat seems to be coming around. After starting the spring with a huge slump, he's stringing some good at-bats together and collecting some hits. The power is not there, but at least he's getting on...

The Yankees have 22 home runs and 17 steals in spring training. That frightens me a bit...but I guess everyone knew their offense would be huge. Who knew about the steals, though?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Book of Shadows

Game of Shadows will be released tomorrow. You just know Bud Selig is wishing the WBC could have lasted a couple more days; it really helped keep Bonds off the sports pages the last couple weeks. NY Newsday is reporting that there are some damning allegations about Gary Sheffield in there, that he took much more than just the Cream and the Clear. They also say Giambi "gets off relatively easy". It'll be interesting to see who else is named; the NYT Book Review mentions track stars (Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery), but says nothing about them, or even Sheffield - it was probably a mistake to give the review to one of their critics rather than a sports person. Oh well, we'll see what other revelations there are tomorrow. Here's hoping it's only limited to Yankees and Giants.

Open Letter to Johnny Damon

"It happened -- I'm over it, so they've got to get over it," Johnny Damon said of Red Sox fans' attitude toward him...

"It's something that happens year in and year out in baseball; players change teams," Damon said. "This was a part of it." - Johnny Damon

Um, you're over it? Then why all the quotes all over the place, Johnny. We've heard about your poor financial situation (how you somehow couldn't afford a house in Boston), and disrespect (when the Sox offered you the same contract as the more valuable team captain), and everything else you have to Fans aren't allowed to voice their opinions? Your word is more important and now that you say you're over it, everyone else is supposed to be, too?

If that is the case, shut your mouth. I don't want to hear your ramblings any more than I wanted to hear them last year. You are not an intelligent human being. You contradict yourself more than "Chef" Isaac Hayes from South Park. If this really is something that happens "every year" and is just "part of it" then what is all this crap about disrespect? You don't make sense.

You've made me sad, Johnny. I used to look forward to you coming out to play. Now you've pretty much destroyed that. You are just another guy looking for the largest check (hey, we all are...)...but we don't try to dictate public perception, too. We all would say, "Hell, I went to the highest bidder." We don't have access to the media to plead our case and then, in turn, to try to shut everyone else up.

You know what? I think that if you had just left and gone to the Yankees and kept your opinions to yourself that most of this would have blown over. Funny, all that you did here is starting to fade...I wonder why? Any ideas? Or is that all just "part of it"?

Anna Benson Watch, Part xxx

I just watched Bill O'Reilly's interview of Anna Benson. I know this'll come as a shock to everyone, but it sort of...sucked. All he could do is ask her about her outspoken-ness. Questions like, "Anna, why did you decide to be so outspoken?" (Seriously.) She had little to say except "it is what it is" (twice). And she apparently thinks "God Bless America" is our national anthem. And that is all. It wasn't nearly as awful/awesome as I was hoping. But I figure we need to keep reporting on her, since approximately half of our web traffic is from people googling "Anna Benson naked" and "Anna Benson topless photos". And you gotta give the people what they want.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Breaking (non-baseball) news

So this sort of sucks. I don't want to root for the friggin' Colts. And what's worse, tomorrow's newspapers will all make comparisons between Damon and Vinatieri. Both were: "an integral part of the championship team", "let go for financial reasons", "the face of the franchise", etc etc etc. Gag.

Random Thoughts on a Tuesday...

Well, pretty much most of the championship team is least the whining part...Looking at who was available in the pitching area to trade, it is strange that Arroyo was the choice. He is pretty flexible and cheap...My guess is that the little noise he made when people started to get traded had something to do with this...

Sure, we still have Manny, but he doesn't lament about everyone leaving and how bad the front office is...Besides, they tried to train him.

And when will Damon make his comment on this? Come on, it is all there. Bronson signs the hometown discount and they trade him? That is why no one wants to play in Boston...blah, blah, blah...

Meanwhile the Sox still have an extra starter. So how does it round out?


Does Papelbon crack that group? Does he go to the pen so we don't have to see Seanez?

Speaking of the rotation...I am excited about it. That is a talented group.

I still think that Pena might get flipped to another team in a deal...The papers were saying that the Nationals loved him, but didn't have the pitching to offer Cincy...Could a deal be in the works there?

Seems a bit strange to get a right-handed hitter to platoon with Trot when Dustin Mohr is putting up decent numbers this spring. Maybe with Soriano still making noise about having to play the outfield, he'll be heading this way...Although, dumping a 24-year old not eligible for free agency until '08 with tremendous upside might not be the way to go...

With that said, can't see Trot here next year...

I will add more randomness when things occur to me.

WBC winners

Well, that was fun - congratulations Team Japan. Sadaharu Oh - it couldn't have happened to a better home run champion. Fukudome - your name still rocks.

Two quick thoughts:

1) Team Japan's batting helmets - which are matte rather than shiny - kick ass. I hope that catches on in the MLB.
2) Spring 2007, with no WBC, is going to feel empty.

Monday, March 20, 2006

More Holy Crap!!!!

Bye Bye Bronson. This could be a huge deal for the Sox. Pena is a darn good player and can platoon with Trot, fill in when Trot has inevitable injury and take over for him next year. All for significantly fewer dollars. I actually think I had talked about this trade earlier in the winter since we had a glut of pitching and Cincy had a glut of OF.

Reading Jeff Passan is like snorting coke off the back of Anna Benson's naked body

I know it's lame that I get 90% of my baseball news from Yahoo, but I'm a busy man. First off, I have to admit that Jeff Passan has an impressive turn-around. His stories are usually current. On top of that, they hover in that pseudo-column arena which makes them all the more interesting. Other than that they're ridiculous. Take for example his recent pondering. He pretty much lost me with his first paragraph. Some how the analogy to Bob Dylan converting to electric just didn't resonant. It struck me as a bit over the top, but I decided to cut him some slack, as he's trying to grab the readers attention. So I read on. Next paragraph, first sentence, "Ichiro is not a robot, not anymore at least". Huh? When did he become a robot? I understand that he's a hitting machine, but have I missed something? Have the press called him a robot? So, I'll let this pass as well, mostly out of confusion. I read on. When describing Ichiro's batting technique, "its delicate balance on one foot, is an amalgam of a flamingo and a drunk trying to pass a field sobriety test" I start to think to myself, "this guy's trying to hard". There is nothing flamingo about Ichiro and nothing remotely like a drunk. My incredulousness builds, I read on. "Paean"!? What the?! It's like, he thinks that if he uses a word that no-one ever uses his nonsense will instantly convert to high-brow reporting?! Well, Jeff I just wrote "incredulousness" you peon! Finally, I had to stop reading after his next analogy, "Ichiro said he wanted to beat Korea so badly that it wouldn't want to play Japan for another 30 years, which is like hearing Derek Jeter tell Canada that he will beat them, then buy Roots and turn it into American Eagle." If that's the case, then I sure hope that reading your pseudo-column is like snorting coke off the back of Anna Benson's naked body! Because then I'd have something interesting to write about.

Holy Crap

I'm sure this will be nothing, but can you imagine if they can keep him a bit healthy and platoon him with Trot? Yeah he is old and its wishful thinking - its been 5+ years since he has been good.... Its hard to feel bad for a guy who has made 87MM in his career, but he did pull one of the bigger contract boners of all time in turning down $140 Million over 8 years during the 2000 season - hes' made $38 Million since then, but had he inked that deal, he would have been in the Manny range as second highest paid of all time.

Of course the other issue is - wasn't he one of the named players in Canseco's book?

Sunday, March 19, 2006


So all the Sox and Yankees hitters have returned to Spring Training (I think only two MLB'ers are in tomorrow's finals). Ortiz, like Pujols and Beltre, had a terrible last game. So now seems like a good time for a comparison of how reps from the two teams did:

Yankees hitters (Damon, Jeter, A-Rod, Bernie; 2006 salary $60M):
23-for-72 (.319), 7 BB, 11 R, 9 RBI, 2 HR

Red Sox hitters (Cora, Ortiz, Stern, Varitek; 2006 salary $18M):
13-for-51 (.254), 13 BB (8 by Ortiz!), 11 R, 15 RBI, 5 HR

Woohoo! Small sample sizes kick ass!

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Gary Sheffield is upset about his contract again.

"I always have to play with my back against the wall."

Today's George King article

He's back. And he's not as negative about the WBC as I had expected. Maybe even he had to admit it's been pretty damn good. But the best part of the article is at the end, where he quotes Joe Torre discussing Team USA's early exit:
"It's no-win situation. You are supposed to [win] and if you don't you are a failure."
Weird - I'm sure I've heard Torre say that exact same thing before. But...doesn't he usually wait until October?

Friday, March 17, 2006

This is awesome!!!

I just learned about this awesome album with a song for every baseball team in the majors. Apparently, it's was put together by a Red Sox fan that wrote a song for his old band Plaxico called, "Red Sox Fever". You can check it out at the band's home page. The Expos song is awesome!!! It starts with, "Does Montreal really have a Baseball team." The chorus is "Je ne comprend pas"! So Classic!!! Ah, a poignant reminder of our recent past. I just bought the second to last copy on stock at amazon

Another tired phrase

As a follow up to the GR post on Manny being Manny et al. I submit the next (soon to be) tired phrase in baseball circles. It seems every broadcaster, commentator, and intreviewee can't help but comment on how the Asian ptichers "pitch backward." It really is annoying. The Asians have always thrown more breaking pitches. I swear there are things that people say just because I think they like the way it sounds. Or they think it makes them look smart and intelligent.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bob Davidson....

...may be the worst umpire I've ever seen. Two horribly blown calls in a couple days, both favoring the same team. If the U.S. wins because of that one blown call, he will have singlehandely eliminated Japan from the semis. Twice.

Update: Mexico managed to score the run, thankfully. Still, how the HELL do you call that ball a double? To change direction, it'd have to hit something. It's like the Magic Bullet Theory.


I guess it's a testament to how good the WBC's been so far that I haven't been paying much attention to Spring Training. That's probably a good thing. It seems like people are freaking out about the struggles of a number of potentially key players, particularly Lowell and Arroyo. I just keep reminding myself:

Keith Foulke, spring 2004: 0-1, 9IP, 15ER, 15.00 ERA, 2.22 WHIP
Keith Foulke, 2004 season: 5-3, 83 IP, 20ER, 2.17 ERA, 0.94 WHIP

(Of course, then there's Keith Foulke in 2005, which was worse than his spring training, but whatever...)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Damon's shoulder problem is actually tendinitis. Hard to say how big a deal this is, but it's certainly worse than I thought. I love this line from the AP article: "His ailment is exactly the kind of issue New York owner George Steinbrenner was referring to when he spoke out against the Classic." Yes, that's right, his 8 plate appearances in the WBC gave him tendinitis.

Update: It's begun. According to New York Daily News, "Cashman said definitively that the injury happened while Damon was with Team USA."
Update 2: From the NYT: "Told of Damon's setback in Puerto Rico, the Yankees' Bernie Williams said, 'I better get my arm ready.'"

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dick Pound

Dick Pound is back! The chairman of the World Anti-Doping (WAD) Agency, Dick Pound is known for "coming down so hard on the United States", and is generally successful because he has "the Olympic muscle behind him". In the past, Dick Pound has publicly gone after Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, and the entire NHL based only on hearsay and speculation, and now has baseball in his sights. In the last week, Dick Pound has thrust himself into two separate news stories, the Barry Bonds revelations and the WBC, both of which he says will determine its chances of being reinstated into the Olympics 2016. Sucks that baseball is going to be up against such a prick.

Also, in 2004, Dick Pound wrote a book, "Inside the Olympics". It is apparently a book about porn.

Ben Grieve Watch, Part IV

(formerly Ben Grieve Spring Training Watch; renamed when he was cut from Spring Training)

I'm afraid our friend Ben Grieve has fallen one rung further. From Rookie of the Tampa Bay Devil marginal MLB player...and now to "epitome of the crappy hitter". In a discussion of the mythical "gyroball" (make sure to check out the gyroball's history and the super-cool video of a possible gyroball), Deadspin describes the pitch as
"a phantom pitch out there that turns everybody into Ben Grieve."
See what's missing here? Until now, people felt obligated to refer to him as "former Rookie of the Year Ben Grieve". As in, "the guy who used to be really good and now sucks." Now he's just "the guy who sucks". Sorry Ben.

Two days in a row

Is the Herald reading GYS?

Here comes the whining...

So Johnny Damon's hurt. It doesn't seem to be anything major: a sore left shoulder, the sort of thing the Yanks are going to have to deal with continually for the next 4 years. But no doubt Steinbrenner and other WBC hatahs are going to point to this as the first "casualty". Which is ridiculous, since in the last week he's gotten 8 plate appearances (1 H, 1 BB) and two starts in the outfield, less than he'd have in Tampa had he stayed home.

Team Korea

It seems a little late to post on Sunday's second game, Korea vs. Mexico. But really quickly: it was wild. Over 50,000 people in the stands, 90% of whom were strong Mexico or Korea partisans (they were divided about equally). From the noise at the beginning it felt like playoff baseball - except there were also flags everywhere, and chants I couldn't understand. But as tends to happen when there's too much nationalistic fervor, it got sort of ugly. I heard lots of booing, epithets, and loud curses in Spanish - possibly Korean as well (I wouldn't know). Apparently there was a lot of booing in last night's game as well, though I like to think that was directed towards Team U.S.A., who sucked. The game itself was good - Rodrigo Lopez was terrible in the 1st but settled down, and it became a pitching duel. Seo looked really good. Final score, 2-1. Also, temps were in the 40's, which is very cold for Southern California, and really might be the coldest it's ever been for a baseball game in the area.

A couple random notes:
  • It's pretty obvious by now, but even before they thrashed the US, it was clear: Team Korea is for real. They look really good, and have all but ensured a trip to the semis (meaning there won't be a USA-Japan rematch).
  • Korea has five "Lee"s in their lineup. I was hoping for a Lee-to-Lee-to-Lee double play, but it didn't happen.
  • One of them, Seung-Yeop Lee, is a beast. After 5 games, he's 8-for-17 (.471), with five home runs, for an OBP of .523 and a SLG of 1.353. (He plays professionally in Japan.)
  • And they've made Chan Ho Park, who's apparently not a joke in Korea, their closer. He's pitched 5 innings in 3 games, for 3 saves. Given up 3 hits, no walks, and no runs. Interesting.
  • On the other hand, their uniforms (baby blue with block lettering, and a big capital K on the hat) look even worse on the field than they do on TV. And there's a little Nike Swoosh on their neck. (Which is bad, but not as bad as what Randy Winn did.)
  • Finally, judging from the size of the crowd showing up for a game on 8pm Sunday in the "cold", baseball made a big mistake picking Phoenix and Orlando for Round 1. Those two cities get Spring Training games. Give Round 1 to other big cities, with large immigrant populations (I'm thinking New York and San Francisco), and you get 50,000+ people at every game. I suppose weather was a concern.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Another Long Shot

David Ortiz just hit a massive home run out of Hiram Bithorn stadium. His bat flip was one of the funniest I have ever seen. It's his third hit of the WBC, all home runs. So he's batting .214, but slugging .857. The Dominican Republic is beating Cuba, 6-0 in the 5th.

Update, 6th inning: Cuba brings in a lefty to face Ortiz with 2 outs, bases loaded. Shows bunt on 3-0, doesn't swing. Walks in a run. 7-0.

Update: Video of the HR and batflip can be found here.

A Long Shot

Today's Herald mentions the possibility (however remote) of Mirabelli returning to Boston.

Hey that sounds familiar. Also, on T-Graf, the first deadline to release him is this Friday or Saturday. I imagine they will keep trying to deal him, but as the season gets closer the likelihood of his release will increase daily.


So I just spent most of yesterday watching two World Baseball Classic games at Disney's Big AEdison Park of Los Angeheim Angel Stadium. It was an absolutely fantastic time; if there are any doubters about the WBC after this whole thing is over, I'd be surprised if any of them actually had made it to a game. The first game, USA-Japan, was surprisingly under-attended, with barely over 30,000 people in the park. I suspect part of the reason was because many people (including myself) bought tickets and made plans for the evening game, assuming those two teams would be the winners, rather than the runners-up, of their pools. I'm no fan of uber-nationalism, and the chants of "U-S-A" (by anyone above the age of 15) were a bit lame, but the crowd was great. While fans of Japan were in a serious minority (maybe 5%), everyone was friendly to each other, with very little booing. And maybe it was just the section I was in, but the people around me were among the most knowledgeable group of fans I've seen at a game. I sat next to a Yankees fan, who wasn't at all insufferable, and we actually agreed on most stuff. At one point I complained about Buck Martinez's "managing", and he actually defended the guy: "He's under a lot of pressure". I hadn't thought about it, but that's totally right: Varitek's probably being used so sparingly because the Red Sox are demanding it. So I'm going to keep my mouth shut about Buck's "managing" from here on out.

The game itself was all right. I wasn't really rooting for either team, and mostly cheered for two things: (1) good baseball on both sides, and (2) Yankees hitters failing miserably. A decent amount of the first: shaky pitchers making the pitches they needed to, some nice defense. And a lot of the 2nd (Jeter's DP, A-Rod's K with a guy on 3rd, Damon's pinch-hit strikeout)...until the end. Which sucked. It was a pretty amazing last half-inning, with the tension of a real MLB game. At A-Rod's at-bat everyone was making snarky comments about him being unable to get the big hit. "No pressure A-Rod, your whole country's depending on you!" After his hit a lot of people stood in wonder: "wow, he actually a hit when it mattered." (But of course, it didn't really.)

Other comments:

-The questionable call in the 5th made the 1-run win extra painful; the tag looked fine to me, and the lack of a live replay pretty much sealed it. And umpires changing their mind: shades of Doug Eddings. Sadly the runner could've waited an extra second before tagging because Winn's throw sucked so much.
- I was in the parking lot for Ichiro's leadoff HR. But it was pretty clear exactly what had happened. I was half-expecting he'd turn on his fabled power and get 3 more that day.
- Not sure how it looked on TV, but from where I was, after Lee's dive to catch a foul ball, we were sure he was hurt. Wonder how many Cubs fans had heart attacks?
- The force at 3rd on Young's bunt attempt: was he really out? As the guy next to me said, "That never works!"
- My new favorite player is Kosuke Fukudome. His stats are pretty amazing, but obviously it's his name I like. As in, "Mad Max 3: Beyond Fukudome".
- Nathan and Lidge: ugh. If I were a Twins or Astros fan, I would be pretty nervous.

Later today I'll post on the Mexico-Korea game.

"Someone" Being "Someone"

Can I start a petition? I would love to ban (yes, it is un-Consititutional) the saying "(someone) being (someone)"...It is ridiculous.

First off...Manny being Manny...Wasn't it Ricky Being Ricky?

Today...CHB wrote Foulkie Being Foulkie...

You know what I think all this means? It is people trying to write or talk about something and they don't have an explanation so they throw in this terrible and overused cliche.

Enough already...

That's my rant (for the 9am hour anyway)...

Who's down with WBC? I am down with WBC! Yeah, you know me!

I am jealous of Earl. The US vs. JPN game was pretty awesome. I also caught most of the DR vs. PR game hosted at the lovely Hiram Bithorn Stadium. It's pretty cool to see the players get excited about playing. I have to say, I was a little disappointed in the questionable call in the 8th inning of the US game, it sure looked like he tagged up to me. But the replay was a split screen and the runner was miniscule so it was impossible to tell. I smell a cover up! Man, even Ch-ass wrote some fovarable news about the WBC (no injuries to date).

Its that time again

Its that time again. Book review.

This month’s entry, “Scout’s Honor, The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team.” Funny that Earl, just this morning was throwing out a potential book review for me and that book was focused on the Atlanta Braves. Well, this book is also about the Braves and their commitment to scouting and player development. For some reason it was brought to my attention that this was supposed to be “the answer” to Moneyball.

Continued in comments

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Future book review for X

Via yanksfansoxfan, today Murray Chass has a small item on Atlanta GM John Schuerholz's new book, Built to Win. In it, Schuerholz blasts Moneyball, saying "it is a bogus concept because I know you can't make baseball judgments entirely on statistical analysis to build a team." Which of course is ridiculous because no one has ever claimed teams should be built based upon statistical analysis only. I have to say, Schuerholz, whom I've always been impressed by, just went down a couple notches in my mind. Anyway, I have two questions:
  1. Are there any critics of Moneyball out there who have actually, you know, read the book?
  2. How the hell did his publisher allow the book to be called "Built to Win"? Isn't that just setting it up for all sorts of jokes? Like: Built to Win (in the regular season). Or Built to Win (the NL East).

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Another Source of Ire

We normally reserve our criticism for Murray Chass. But George King is probably even a bigger ass. Maybe its that Chass works for a respected paper and takes shots at the Sox all the time (not to mention that he grew up hating the Yankees as Pirates fan). And I would wear my fingers out if I responded to all his nonsense, but today he had two that cracked me up.

"If Torre opts for 11 pitchers, they will be Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang, Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon, Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth, Tanyon Sturtze, Ron Villone, Aaron Small and Myers.

Of course, there are teams tracking Wright this spring in case the Yankees make him available."

IF the Yankees make him available? Are you kidding me? He's more available than this girl.

And then this gem:

"Other than deciding between 11 or 12 pitchers and having the WBC hijack four very important players, Torre's 11th camp has no stones in the pool."

Yes, the players were hijacked. Steinbrenner would be proud. Maybe if anything happens to Howard Rubenstein, you could get a job with the NYY.

Steroids were made illegal in baseball in 1991

It has been stated many times, on this site and elsewhere, that if Barry Bonds starting taking steroids in 1998 he did nothing wrong, because they weren't banned by baseball then. That turns out to be flat-out untrue. Via commenter kdg123 over at Firebrand, Fay Vincent put baseball's current drug policy into effect in 1991. It reads as follows:
The possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players and personnel is strictly prohibited....This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids or prescription drugs for which the individual in possession of the drug does not have a prescription.
(the full text of Vincent's memo can be found here.)

So that puts that to rest. Anyone using steroids after June 7, 1991 was violating MLB rules. (Same thing goes for anyone using amphetamines without a prescription.)

World Cup of Baseball

Tomorrow I'll be spending half the day in the OC, watching two 2nd round games, at 1:00 Japan vs. USA and at 8:00 Korea vs. Mexico. Should be fun, and some good first games kick off the season.

One thing, though: everyone's hailing the World Baseball Classic as "Baseball's World Cup". (Googling "baseball world cup" gets you a whole bunch of WBC stories.) So what about, you know, the real World Cup of Baseball? It's been going on since 1938, and is run by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), the same group that oversees the WBC and Olympic baseball. The list of winners can be found here - I like that the first one had only two teams. The most recent World Cup of Baseball was in September 2005, won by Cuba and hosted by the Netherlands. (There it's called "Wereld Kop Honkbal", a name which, I'm sorry, is about 1000 times cooler than"World Baseball Classic").

So what happens to the real World Cup of Baseball? Does it continue, or does it get folded into the WBC? Do the Cubans and Dutch keep getting to send the same squads to both, while the US has two squads (professional and amateur) to represent them? It's weird just how little attention this 70-year old tournament has gotten through all this.

Friday, March 10, 2006

He's ba-ack

"The ball was coming out of his [Yhency Brazoban's] hand good, it just wasn't going where he wanted it."
- Grady Little, yesterday

Many more Little quotes over at Dodger Blues.


Following my new favorite team, in their last game of the tournament. Here's hoping a lot of guys with cool names do important things.
  • Dirk van Clooster with a bases-loaded double, to put the Netherlands up 3-0.
  • An error by Panama allows Dirk van Clooster to score, 4-0.
  • Hainley Statia drives in another, 5-0. 2 outs (should be one out, 6-0, but Percy Izenia was thrown out at home a couple plays ago), guys on 1st and 3rd. Panama brings up their third pitcher of the inning.
  • Bienvenido Cedeno (that's Spanish for "Welcome, Cedeno") strikes out Mark Duursma to end the threat. Middle of the 1st, Dutch up by 5.
  • Bottom of the 1st: 18-year-old Shairon Martis takes 11 pitches to get three outs, walking one.
  • Top of the 2nd: Sidney de Jong singles, but is erased by a Randall Simon double play.
  • Bottom of the 2nd: 1-2-3 inning by Shairon Martis, 2IP, 25 pitches, no hits. In 2005, Baseball America rated him the #10 prospect in the Arizona League (he's in the Giants system). Dutch still lead, 5-0.
  • Top of the 3rd: Dirk van Klooster is up to bat again. But the ESPN feed say his name is Dirk van't Klooster. Googling both suggests WBC has his name wrong. Weird.
  • Dirk van't get on base. But three consecutive 2-out hits by Danny Rombley, Harvey Monte, and Hainley Statia (what boring names) bring the score to 6-0.
  • Mark Duursma gets HBP, loading the bases, but Ivanon Coffie flies out to end the inning. In 3 innings the Netherlands have as many hits (10) and more runs (6) than they got total in their first two games, against Cuba and Puerto Rico. Tough division.
  • Man, the stadium is empty.
  • Damn, another 1-2-3 inning by Martis. 3 IP, 39 pitches, 0H, 1 baserunner. End of 3rd, Netherlands up by 6.
  • Top of the 4th: Dirk van/van't Klooster singles in Sidney de Jong. 7-0 Dutch.
  • Bottom of the 4th: Martis continues his dominance, retiring 3 more batters; that's 10 in a row. He's up to 47 pitches, so probably has only 1 inning left.
  • Top of the 5th: Dammit, more name confusion. Which sucks because the cool names are the main reason I'm watching this. The WBC site says the guy at bat is Mark Duursma, ESPN says his first name is Michael. Why is this so difficult?
  • Mark/Mike Duursma gets a hit; guys on 1st and 3rd with one out. Ivanon Coffie at the plate...And he gets a single, 8-0.
  • Panama bringing in their 5th pitcher.
  • Hey, where the hell is David Aardsma? That guy's gotta be Dutch.
  • Sharnol Adriana pinch-hits for Randall Simon and gets a double. 9-0 Dutch, two in scoring position, with 2 out (de Jong struck out).
  • Wild pitch! Ivanon Coffie scores, 10-0. Mercy rule is 15 until the 7th, so there's still much more baseball to be played.
  • Here comes pitcher #6 for Panama. In the 5th inning. Why not, I suppose. And he gets the final out.
  • Holy Crap. Shairon Martis gets through the bottom of the 5th in 5 pitches. Given 65 is his maximum, shouldn't the Panamanian team be a little more patient? I mean, if they just stood around without swinging he'd have to throw at least 9 pitches per inning, and would be gone after 6 at the latest. I don't see how this is the same team that nearly beat Cuba and Puerto Rico.
  • Netherlands fails to score in the top of the 6th. Martis comes back out...
  • ...and gets 3 more outs in 5 pitches. This is ridiculous. I can only assume the Panamanians have given up and just want to go home.
  • And the game is over, mercy rule. Martis pitched a 7-inning no-hitter - not something you'd expect given he wasn't allowed to throw more than 65 pitches. Dutch score 10, and Andruw Jones wasn't even in the lineup. I sure can pick 'em.


A month ago I thought I was all clever, buying tickets to the WBC Semifinals, held in Anaheim: Pool A winner vs. the Pool B winner. Obviously, I thought, it would be Japan (Ichiro, Johjima) vs. US (Yankess, Varitek, Timlin). What great first game to go to for the year. Turns out it's going to be Mexico vs. Korea. Woo-hoo! Vinny Castilla and Karim Garcia vs. Byung-Hyun Kim and Chan Ho Park!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Barry Bonds Took Steroids, Reports Everyone Who Has Ever Watched Baseball"

Setting aside the question of how to deal with Bonds and the other users, there's a pretty nice Special Report in Onion Sports today. No Shit: Barry Bonds and Steroids:

"With the publication of a book detailing steroid use by San Francisco Giants superstar Barry Bonds, two San Francisco Chronicle reporters have corroborated the claims of Bonds' steroid abuse made by every single person who has watched or even loosely followed the game of baseball over the past five years."

Click here for the full story.


I'm still amazed at all the singular attention being paid Barry Lamar Bonds - as if he is the only one to have used PE drugs. I uderstand yahoos on talk radio will say things like make him retire, kick him out of the game, blah, blah, blah. But hey, he got tested twice last year and steroids weren't illegal when he is alleged to have done them. History (and people today) should look at this in context of the ERA. He was not alone in his cheating - he was simply the best in the cheating era. Even when the players knew the tests were coming, something like 50 players tested positive. So Bonds was not even close to being along, yet he is the only one that has not been caught that people want to punish.

Its not just the Yahoos either. The amazing part is the same people that are very quick to hide behind their constitutional rights "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" apparently want to take away those of someone else "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

So far, so good

Well, it's early, but so far there's been a lot to like about the WBC:
  1. Huge underdogs (South Africa, Netherlands) have been providing real competition;
  2. Underdogs have beaten favorites (Canada over USA, Korea over Japan);
  3. The feed doesn't cut to commercials, so you get to hear the ESPN announcers talking, not knowing they're on the air;
  4. David Ortiz is 2-for-3 with 2 HR, 3R, and 3 RBI; Adam Stern is 5-for-7 with 3R, 5 RBI, a double, a triple, and an inside-the-park HR; Jason Varitek is 2-for-3 with 1R, 4 RBI, and a GS;
  5. And George Steinbrenner hates it.
Also, while they're not long for this tournament, I have a new favorite team: the Netherlands. Early media reports had them lumped together with Italy, with the roster being full of Americans of Dutch descent, like Mark Mulder. A look at their roster shows it's nothing like that. Yes, they have a couple major leaguers (Andruw Jones, Randall Simon) but they're from Curacao so are legit. As far as I can tell, no one on the Dutch roster was born in the USA (compare this to Team Italy: 17 of the 30 are Americans). Instead, they have one of most awesome collection of names ever assembled on a single baseball team: Robin van Doornspeek, Dirk van Klooster, Jair Jurrjens, Nick Stuifbergen, Sharnol Adriana, Ivanon Coffie, Yurendell DeCaster, Mark Duursma, and Raylinoe Legito, to name a few. And one of their pitchers, Shairon Martis, is 18 years old.

Go Dutch!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Team Canadia

Team USA is currently losing to Canadia, 0-7, after 4 innings. Pitcher Adam Loewen (lifetime ERA in the majors: 81.00) looked pretty damn good, going 3 2/3 scoreless in 61 pitches. Dontrelle Willis, not so much: 5 ER in 2 2/3 innings (65 pitches). It's certainly far from over, but wow. Normally I'd be thrilled by this (all those Yankess on Team USA), but Sunday night I have tickets to the semifinal between the Pool A and Pool B winners. I was expecting USA-Japan. Just might be Canadia-Korea. Awesome.

Also, Marlins beat the Red Sox 12-1.

Update: Adam Stern with an inside-the-park HR! 8-0, Canadia!
Update 2: Jason Varitek with a grand slam! Great day for Sox hitters. Canadia's still up 8-6.
Update 3: Steve Nash is in the audience! Which makes sense because he's a Canadian who lives in Arizona! (But he was actually born in South Africa.)
Update 4: Awesome diving catch by Adam Stern!!!
Update 5: Lots of exclamation points!!!!!!
Update 6: I really should get back to work!!!!!!!!!
Update 7: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Update 8: Chase Utley hits a 400+ foot blast to dead center in the 8th; would have put Team USA up by 1 going into the 9th. But the newest Sox slugger, Adam Stern, makes a nice catch to end the threat. Oh yeah, and exclamation points!!!!!
Update 9: Bottom of the 9th: Adam Stern with another dive to catch a bloop by A-Rod, to end the game - but it pops out of his glove as he hits the ground. Tying run at the plate for USA - nope -
Update 10: CANADIA WINS, 8-6. WOW.

Hopefully that will shut up all the WBC critics. That was an amazing game.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ben Grieve Spring Training Watch, Part III

Bad news. Ben Grieve has been reassigned to the White Sox's minor league camp. He had gone 1-for-8 in spring training. This could spell the end of his major-league career.

Hoo boy

So as if there wasn't enough going on in baseball right now - Spring Training, the World Baseball Classic, and Kirby Puckett's death - this comes along. SI has the scoop on a new book documenting Barry Bonds' steroid use in minute detail, by the SF Chronicle guys. It's a worthwhile read, as is the authors' list of documentation - pretty damning stuff. Obviously this affects more than just Barry and the Giants, and other (unnamed) players are implicated as well. This could be ugly.

On the brighter side, David Ortiz went 2-3 with 2 HR, 3R, 3RBI, and 1BB. The U.S. Yankess (Jeter, A-Rod, Damon) went a combined 3-for-9, with 0 R and 0 RBI. Timlin and Tavarez each pitched a scoreless inning. Go DR!

Goodbye, Old Friend

No, not Kirby Puckett (although he'll be missed)...No, John Flaherty retired today. I guess he won't be catching Tim Wakefield anymore (maybe that is what did him in)...

I am not sure what the plan is, but with Tek in the WBC, it doesn't bode too well for the pitching staff...

Will Tek return early?

Yet another article...

...on Damon bad-mouthing his former employer. I've been sick and tired of this for a while now, so I can only imagine that if I were a Yankess fan I'd pretty much be hating him already. He can't seem to shut up. But there's something in this last article which no one's talked about:
Johnny Damon never has been shy about telling it like he sees it, and yesterday he continued to respond to questions about the failed negotiations with the Red Sox...
The key phrase here of course is "continued to respond to questions about..." The reporters know he lacks the ability not to respond to any question posed to him, and has no internal filter. So all they need to do is pose any question to him, no matter how controversial or repetitive or tired, and basically they'll have generated another "juicy story". Hell, they can even feign disgust at his apparent obsession with his former club and title their article "Damon won't drop it". No, sorry: the problem is that the media won't drop it. Stop asking him about Boston and maybe he'll stop talking about it.

On the other hand, the article does seem to have a genuinely new piece of information: Damon says "Jason [Varitek] and I talked while [the contract negotiation process] was happening." What exactly do you think Varitek told him? "Well, uh, 4 years, $40M was good enough for me." I can't imagine he was too sympathetic.

The New York sportswriters are revolting

...against George Steinbrenner and his anti-WBC crusade (complete with misspelled sign):

Mike Lupica: If Boss is against it, that is a good sign
George Vecsey: Steinbrenner sails under a flag of convenience ("The next time George Steinbrenner rolls out American flags, anthems, eagles, or military jets over Yankee Stadium, remember this: They're just props.")
Murray Chass: A Sure Sign of Hypocrisy ("Having set the precedent, will Steinbrenner post signs of apology when Manager Joe Torre decides not to play a regular in an exhibition game, as he does in spring training?")

Monday, March 06, 2006


RIP Kirby. Of the next few days we will hear a million stories and tributes about one of the game's good guys and how he "played the game right." From what we hear, he was a good guy and, i Hope, he enjoyed the charmed, albeit far too short, of a life that he had.


I was a little surprised to see this. I was expecting the tradition of the Butt Monkeys, Assprimates et al to go with a more current trend. Maybe one of the several new monkey species discovered recently.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Todays News

The good. Wells has allegedly agreed to stay. Which, I guess, is good. And if he shows he is healthy in his first couple starts, could increase the likelihood of Clement or Arroyo being dealt.

The bad. Slightly ironic that in week filled with stories about one man's exclusion from the HOF, one of the most questinable electees ever makes the news. Regardless (of course Kirby is not to be blamed for the idiocy of the BBWAA), get well Kirby. Yet again strubk by health issues are far to early an age.

The Ugly. In particular David Riske's and rudy Seanez's lines. This continues Riske's late 2005 decline - hell he was practically sent to Siberia by Eric Wedge. And Seanez was an utter disaster the first time around. If Foulke is still hurting as reported and Riske and Seanez are this year's Embree/Mantei/Jeremei Gonzalez/John Halama/Blaine Neal, the revamped bullpen is not nearly as deep as originally planned. On the bright side, DelCarmen and Meredith pitched well, so even if a few guys (but hopefully not three or four) are ineffective, there is some depth to hopefully step in.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Anna Benson Watch, Part ???

I suppose on a day like this we should be discussing the Sox's first two spring training (TM) games - losing to the Twins, 6-3, then beating BC, 10-0 in seven innings (mercy rule?) - or on the WBC Pool A games - Korea blanks Taiwan, thanks to some brilliant pitching by Byung-Hyun Kim and Chan Ho Park (?!?!?!?) - and Japan mercy-rules China, 18-2.

But much more important - and much more likely to get us more traffic via Google - is that Anna Benson has a new interview out. No, it's not the scary Fox News one where you can't tell if the interviewer is turned on more by her looks or by her ultra-right-wing politics. Instead,in this one, she's the interviewer, interviewing her husband Kris for the new FHM. They talk a little about the trade to Baltimore, her attention-whore-iness, their attempts to have careers in different cities...and a lot about sex. Basically, a whole boatload o' issues they're trying to work out. I'm no relationship counselor, but I'm pretty sure conducting an interview in a men's magazine is not the best way to deal with bumps in one's relationship.

That said, it's pretty fascinating stuff. Not fascinating as in "enlightening", but fascinating as in "can't turn your head away from the horror". (Or "the whore". Whatever.) I'm pretty sure no description I provide could possibly do it justice, so here's a typical question:

ANNA: The Doberman would eat his face. When are you going to win a Cy Young?

...and if that question doesn't make you want to read the whole thing, I don't know what will. Well, maybe this will: her followup question includes the words "50 free times up the ass". Plus there are some accompanying photos. Photos of anna benson. Anna benson photos; anna benson pictures; anna benson topless; anna benson nude; anna benson naked. (Welcome Googlers!!!)

Remember That Time...

When our top prospect's shoulder fell off in spring training? Good things we have so many infielders...

As written in another post. Coco was awesome in his debut.

Schilling killed today. Yes, it was against BC, but I am taking this as a good thing. 4 innings/39 pitches...

That's two good things, anyway...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod

Woke up this morning to find my homepage, for the first time in several months, to have today's Red Sox game listed. Good way to start the day. Things like Truck Day and Pitchers and Catchers Reporting have never done much for me - but now that there's actual baseball I'm sort of giddy. Boston vs. Minnesota, 4:05pm (PST).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wisdom from Tito

"If there's an occasional bump in the road, that doesn't take the place of 140 R.B.I."
- Terry Francona, Wednesday


Manny arrives in camp ONE MINUTE LATE!!! 9:01 am, according to the Boston Herald, Boston Globe and the Providence Journal. That's right, all three papers noted his arrival time down to the minute. headline: "Manny reports to Red Sox camp late".

Scandal!!! He's not a team player!!! Trade the bum!!!!!!