Sunday, May 21, 2006


The Boy Who Caught #714 says "I hate that guy," 19 year old Tyler Snyder said of Barry Bonds before he was whisked away. "I don't really care for the guy."

I will say that I invented the four-ply wallop, the dinger, the dong, the circuit smash. If it weren't for me, Barry Bonds wouldn't have had a road to follow., The Babe, questioned from the beyond about Barry Bonds' tying him.

Ray Ratto, of the SF Chronicle, chronicles the event in his usually adept manner noting The present met the past Saturday, and neither the past nor the present comes out ahead in the exchange. Babe Ruth is no more forgotten now than he was when Henry Aaron passed him, and Barry Bonds is no more ennobled then he was before he hit No. 714.



After getting barreled over in a home-plate collision, Michael Barrett prepares to land a right hook on A.J. Pierzynski.

After a win in Game One by the White Sox, Game Two saw Michael Barrett waiting for the ball when A.J. Pierzynski ran him over. Barrett's reaction? He got up and punched the White Sox catcher in the jaw, setting off a melee between Chicago's two baseball teams even though the Sox eventually won, 7-0.

Pierzynski hit a game-tying home run in the fourth inning Sunday and drew the ire of Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who yelled at third-base coach Joey Cora after alleging that Pierzynski had yelled at him.

Barrett, who was booed lustily every time his name was announced, hit a game-tying triple off reliever Neal Cotts in the eighth, the ball hooking away from the outstretched glove of center fielder Rob Mackowiak.

The lowly Cubs managed to avoid the sweep, barely, winning the finale 8-4 on a four run 8th inning off the Sox's bullpen which suffered another setback after throwing four scoreless innings over three previous games. The relievers now have a 5.65 ERA in May and a 4.82 mark for the season. That won't get them to a World Series repeat no matter how good the starting rotation is.

A Sox fan listed five Cubs who have been on the disabled list this year—Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Angel Pagan, Wade Miller and Derrek Lee—under the heading: "DL Cost—$26,393,667."



All three games went down to the wire, with Mets closer saving two and blowing one. Mariano Rivera blew Game One, won Game Two and wasn't a factor in Game Three.

The entire cycle is played out at Archie Bunker's Army.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Kill The Umps

You have to begin to wonder, with the ejection rate of both players and manager on a steady rise, if the Umps are beginning to take too much control over the game.

"One thing about this league, you can't argue about anything," said Guillen, who said Scott immediately warned him before he came onto the field.

"You argue about balks, you're out of the game. You argue about strikes, you're out of the game. You argue about checked swings, you're out of the game. You argue about hit by pitches, you're out of the game.

"What I would like to know, who ever runs this game, send me a note and say what any manager can go out and argue with the umpire. I don't say it was wrong or right, but I'd like to know what you can argue. Because if you can't argue about anything, why do we have a job for you? It's good to protect the umpires, but you have to have some limits."

"When you go argue with the umpires and the first thing they say is you can't argue this or that, then what is my job, to make the lineup and watch the game?"

The White Sox frustration was palatable, as was their loss which dropped their lead over the second place Detroit Tigers to a half game.


In spite of losing two potential All Star outfielders in Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui, the Yankees starters are 13-2 over their last 18 games and the Yankees improved on their undefeated day game mark, going to 12-0 in day games with their recent victory over the A's.


Unhappy days, (aren't they all) with the Cubbies...

Since returning to the Dodgers from a sprained oblique three weeks ago, Nomar Garciaparra has been among the majors' best hitters, producing a .360 average, 15 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs in his first 75 at-bats.

Injuries For Ace

5-2 2.94 ERA, 48 Ks in 49 IP....

Bad enough that Scott Kazmir continues to be the pitcher that got away from the Mets. Bad enough that the scrubs they got for him never really performed. But look, the Mets announced yesterday that righty reliever Bartolome Fortunato, who pitched in two games for last weekend against Atlanta, will have Tommy John surgery Thursday in New York.

Fortunato, who missed all of 2005 after a diskectomy for a herniated disc, was acquired from the Devil Rays with Victor Zambrano in the Scott Kazmir deal. Zambrano is out for the season with a flexor muscle tear.

By the end of the season, Baltimore may well consider its acquisition of fromer Met pitcher Mrs Anna Benson a heist. While the two spare parts Baltimore sent to the New York Mets, pitchers Jorge Julio and John Maine, have struggled, Benson has turned into the Orioles' best starter. He leads the team in wins and ERA. Benson allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings to record his fifth win, lowering his ERA to 4.38.


Phillies righthander Jon Lieber had a perfect game through 62/3 innings in an impressive 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Phillies, who have won 12 of 13 and remained just two behind the New York Mets in the National League East, took a 1-0 lead in the seventh when Quinton McCracken dropped Ryan Howard's pop fly with two outs. David Bell followed with a double off Reds lefthander Dave Williams, who allowed just two runs in 81/3 innings.

The loss ended the Reds' 15-day stay atop the NL Central for the rest of the season. They fell one game behind St. Louis and will never see first again. The early season fantasy world will crumble quickly from hereinafter. Mark my words, Cincinnati.


Brad Lidge's ERA in the 23 games he has pitched starting with Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS, when he gave up Albert Pujols's game-winning three-run home run. He has blown four of his 16 save opportunities and has allowed five home runs in 22 1/3 innings in that span. From the time he took over as closer in June 2004 until then, he had a 1.80 ERA, had blown seven saves in 83 opportunities and given up 10 home runs in 145 1/3 innings.

Think the Astros aren't missing the Hill Billy?


Jim Thome vs. Frank Thomas

When Frank Thomas took some verbal jabs at the White Sox after his departure, I agreed with him on one thing and thought he was going out on a limb with another. That limb has snapped.

I agreed with Thomas that Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf should have told Thomas their intentions in person. When a relationship lasts that long, it calls for more than a phone call or voice mail.

But when Thomas criticized the Sox for letting him go because they were trading for Jim Thome, I thought Thomas may be setting himself up for some bashing. Thomas said Thome wouldn't do more on the field than Thomas. Let's take a look.

Thomas is batting .178 with six homers and 15 RBI for the A's, who are 17-15 and in second place in the AL West. He has a .270 on-base percentage and .376 slugging percentage.

Thome is hitting .321 with 14 homers and 36 RBI for the best team in baseball. He has a .471 OBP and a .764 slugging percentage.


How many Giants fans care if Bonds hits #714? He's far better for the team walking.

The Giants have scored 40 of their 160 runs following a Bonds walk. They've scored 25 runs after his 15 intentional walks. In the last 16 games, San Francisco hitters are 8 for 13 with 2 homers and 10 RBIs immediately after Bonds walks.


The Grizzled Vet


Excellent photo of the Man Who Won't Retire, Brett Favre. Here's hoping he bounces back big next season.

According to Favre, his career-low passer rating of 70.9 (58.0 in the last 10 games), which ranked 31st in the NFL, was more a reflection of circumstances and the personnel around him than slippage in his own level of performance.

Maybe he should try some of this Russian tea:

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Another Yankees-Blood Sox Battle For the AL East

Is it the height that distorted the strike zone or the ump?

You can say what you want about the Toronto Blue Jays who continue to hover near the top of the standings but aren't likely to last the season. The Yankees-Blood Sox match up was interesting, as always. Less than a week since the Fenway Series it moved to Yankee Stadium where The Big Unit, showing his age more and more as the early season wears on, got slammed hard by the Sox early and hard, lasting only 3 2/3 innings as the Yankees lost the opener 14-3 and Johnson had an MRI of his left pitching shoulder the following morning. Then it was another ageing ace, Curt Schilling, getting blasted by the opposition six runs and eight hits surrendered. Frankly, neither team looks like World Series calibre.

The bloodiest Sock of all, Mr Republican, looking every one of his many years...

More in the Compare Bellies David Ortiz v Jason Giambi:



Honesty is the best policy. The only thing it's missing is some guy next to her holding up a sign that says "And I'm So Drunk, I Fucked Her!"


"The puffball reliever will lay the juiced ball on a tee. The padded hitter will use his bloated biceps to smash it deep into the stands. Every headline will weep. Barry Bonds passes Babe Ruth. He does not. He will not.

Saying Barry Bonds passes Babe Ruth is like saying the Escalade passes the Mustang.
It's like saying text messages pass handwritten letters. It's like saying Zima passes beer."

Brilliant little piece, Babe Is The Man, by the LA Times' Bill Plaschke.


Rick Sutcliffe, a Cy Young award winner and ESPN baseball analyst, gave a rambling, slurred interview during the local television broadcast of the Brewers-Padres game Wednesday night.

Funny thing is, if you read the text of the alleged "rambling", it really isn't all that coherent, it just isn't about baseball. Poor little Cub announcers can't quite get their heads around topics that don't touch on Cubcentric psychobabble. Too bad for Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe's microphone eventually was cut off. Craig Nichols, general manager of Channel 4 San Diego, on Thursday described the interview as embarrassing.


Do The Math On Prince Albert, The New Home Run King

In 1998:
Mark McGwire hit his 18th home run of the year in the 43rd game. He finished 1998 with 70 home runs.

In 2001:
Barry Bonds hit his 18th home run of the year in the 42nd game. He finished 2001 with 73 home runs.

This season:
Albert Pujols hit his 18th home run in the teams's 35th game

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sven Finally Gambles

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, the notoriously cautious Swede, has finally taken a gamble and although on it's face it seems rather outrageous and desperate there is always the chance we might be talking about this as a stroke of belated genius by the end of the World Cup.

Naming Theo Walcott, the 17 year old who has yet to play a Premiership match to the the England side caused shockwaves across England.

"If you take a 17-year-old boy to the World Cup of course it's a gamble," he said, "but I think he's ready and I don't think he will be nervous or feel the pressure. He's a very steady boy."

Sven was forced into taking such an extreme decison after the shocking injury to budding superstar Wayne Rooney and the questionable pace of England's other striker, Michael Owen.

In addition to Walcott, other surprises included the naming of Stewart Downing and the uncapped Aaron Lennon to the England side. That pair and Walcott make up a quintet, with Rob Green and Michael Carrick, who have never started a competitive match for England.

The consensus on choosing Walcott is uneven. Harry Redknapp believes Sven-Goran Eriksson's decision to include Theo Walcott in his World Cup squad "could be a tactical masterstroke."

SIR Bobby Robson, on the other hand, has blasted Sven's decision.

Robson, one of the Swede's most successful predecessors as England boss, criticised the decision as an unnecessary gamble.

Robson, who led England to the semi-finals in the 1990 edition, said to take the 17-year-old Walcott as one of only four strikers is a 'terrific gamble' given the doubts over the fitness of Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.

"I think that's a big risk," Robson told Sky Sports News, pointing out the obvious. "The squad worries me because he (Eriksson) is relying on Owen and Rooney - our two best strikers, of course - to be fit. There's no guarantee that either will make it."

Former England captain Bryan Robson believes Eriksson has lifted the country by naming the teenagers in his squad but he must give now them a chance to show what they can do in pre-tournament friendlies against Hungary and Jamaica. But Robson believes the decision to take them to the tournament has also deflected the doom and gloom surrounding injuries to Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.

Time will tell whether there was any wisdom or foolishness in Sven's decision but one thing he can no longer be faulted for is being too conservative or too afraid of taking chances and not only that, he has finally changed the nation's focus from the lack of Rooney to the addition of an unknown. It's a masterstroke, whether it proves a success or not and there was little else he could have done to alleviate the loss of Rooney. I think it will prove to be such an infamous decision we will one day mourn the loss of Sven by the end of the Cup.


The Dutch also named their squad and surprisingly, Edgar Davids was left off:

Keepers: Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United/ENG), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Henk Timmer (AZ Alkmaar)

Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (Hamburg SV/GER), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Barcelona/ESP), Tim de Cler (AZ Alkmaar), Kew Jaliens (AZ Alkmaar), Jan Kromkamp (Liverpool/ENG), Joris Mathijsen (AZ Alkmaar), Andre Ooijer (PSV Eindhoven), Johnny Heitinga (Ajax), Barry Opdam (AZ Alkmaar)

Midfielders: George Boateng (Middlesbrough/ENG), Mark van Bommel (Barcelona/ESP), Phillip Cocu (PSV Eindhoven), Nigel de Jong (Hamburg SV/GER), Denny Landzaat (AZ Alkmaar), Hedwiges Maduro (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Ajax), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg SV/GER)

Strikers: Ryan Babel (Ajax), Romeo Castelen (Feyenoord), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax), Dirk Kuijt (Feyenoord), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United/ENG), Robin van Persie (Arsenal/ENG), Arjen Robben (Chelsea/ENG), Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (PSV Eindhoven)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Say Hey Is 75
"They invented the All-Star game for Willie Mays."
— Ted Williams

see the bio and history here

Well, it was yesterday, but Willie Mays turned 75 years old.


Haven't read anything by Peter Gammons in a long time but here he suddenly pops up with an absurdist question like Who Is The Greatest Living Pitcher? - it's a rather stupid question, meaningless in that once one dies, they're no longer the greatest living pitcher but they still might be the greatest pitcher - dead or alive.

Not surprisingly, the choice is everybody's favourite free agent, Roger Clemens and there's a bunch of meaningless statistics to prove it.

However, there's a little Roger Clemens story that makes it all worthwhile:

"In a Florida State League game after Clemens signed, a Lakeland first baseman named Jim Morris took out and injured Clemens' Texas teammate Mike Brumley. Morris, it seems, had played at Oklahoma State, a team Texas had had some scuffles with. And when Lakeland went to Winter Haven the next week, Clemens started and struck out the first six batters, then beaned Morris in the head."


Billy Wagner Lite

The big issue over the winter about closers was whether the Phillies could resign Billy Wagner - they couldn't and the Mets did instead and now the man they've brought in to replace him, Tom Gordon, is nine-for-nine in save chances through Thursday. An 0.66 ERA. An impressive 21 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. Only five walks. No homers allowed. A curveball to kill for and a fastball that reaches past the mid-90s on occasion.

Billy Wagner? He was busy blasting his former teammates. There was no support there," he said of the Phillies' clubhouse. "As soon as the game was over, everyone was gone and I was there by myself." -

Wagner will be pitching against the Phillies, most likely, in three days.


The White Sox and Mets are tied for the best record in baseball this morning. The Sox were led by two last night who weren't with them on the World Series run last season. Javier Vazquez, acquired from Arizona, improved his record to 4-1 and his ERA to 2.88, fourth best in the American League, as the White Sox pounded the Royals 9-2.

And Jim Thome, acquired from Philadelphia, socked his third homer in as many games and his league-leading 13th of the season to help warm 38,593 chilled fans at U.S. Cellular Field—the fifth sellout of the season.


On the other side of Chicago, the ineptitude is almost palatable. The Cubs lost their fifth straight game Saturday night by going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1, 10-inning loss to San Diego.


Matched against Florida Marlins All-Star Dontrelle Willis, Mulder doubled home a run in a five-run fifth inning, and the Cardinals got to Willis for 12 hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings before staggering to hold on for a 7-6 triumph in front of a modest crowd of 14,369 Saturday night at Dolphin Stadium. It was Mulder's 100th career victory.

Mulder has won 19 games for the Cardinals and 81 for Oakland since being the second player taken in the 1998 draft behind Philadelphia's Pat Burrell. He has a .662 winning percentage (100-51), which ranks third behind Pedro Martinez (.706) and Tim Hudson (.684) for active pitchers with 150 or more starts.


Opening Day at the Sapporo Dome, 2005

Former Met Shinjo has a new career


Standings, Etc.

Taking stock of the standings this weekend, here are some observations.

1. The Yankees are 1-4 in one run games. The Mets are 9-2 and the Astros are 10-2. The Nats and Marlins are the worst in tight games, losing 7 of 8 and 8 of 9 one run games respectively.

2. The Rockies are 4-0 in extra inning games. And the Padres are 4-1. The Mets have also had five extra inning games and are 3-2.

3. The Tigers have allowed the fewest (107) runs of any team in the Majors. The Orioles have allowed 187, the most.

4. The miserable Royals (7-21) have scored only 95 runs. The 16-15 Indians have scored 199 runs.

5. Best Road team are the Tigers, who are 12-5 away from home. The Nats are better on the road (8-11) than at home (2-10). Other teams with better away records than home records: San Diego (9-4 away, 6-11 at home) and the Marlins 6-9 on the road, 2-11 at home.

* If the baseball playoffs started today:

AL: Detroit @ Yankees
Rangers @ White Sox

NL: Astros @ Mets
Rockies @ Reds

On this date last year, four of the six eventual division winners were already in front, but the Yankees (12-19), Padres (17-14) and eventual NL wild-card winning Astros (11-18) were still lying in the weeds.

Seven Surprising Story Lines in Baseball.

"Former Atlanta Braves teammates Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux both turned 40 this spring and both are pitching as if they have discovered the fountain of youth. Glavine is 4-2 with a 1.94 ERA for the New York Mets. Maddux is 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA for the Chicago Cubs."


Hey kids, it's Cinco de Nomar as the Dodgers win another.


Oscar de la Hoya redeems himself, dopping Ricardo Mayorga with his signature left hook in the first round and finishing him with a furious flurry of lefts and rights midway through the sixth.


No Laker Dynasty

Kobe watches Tim Thomas celebrate, Lakers blow 3-1 series lead against the Suns.


In the first-round playoff series, Cleveland's LeBron James set 11 individual playoff records for the Cavaliers - including most points in a game with 45 in Game 5 - and tied five others. His 35.7-point average in the first-round series against Washington is the third-highest in NBA history for a player in his debut series, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain's 38.7 in 1960 and Lew Alcindor's 36.2 in 1970.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Well, He's No Reggie Bush But...

There won't be any new faces for the franchise like Bush, Leinart or Young but Brad Smith, the first Division I quarterback to throw for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000, will try to play wide receiver for the Jets, who drafted him in the fourth round.

"Toughness, competitiveness and leadership are all attributes that we want as many of our players to have as possible," Jets GM Tannenbaum said Sunday. "We think that's a common thread to successful organizations, not only professional football but other sports as well. It's something we're committed to."

Sounds good to me. It's careful planning, foresight, another mysterious blue print of the New England Patriot's brain trust, chipped away faster than a melting Arctic glacier.

Still, it'd have been more fun watching Reggie Bush run wild every week than exchanging theological discussions about Hinduism with D'Brickashaw over a buffet table loaded with the shriveling carcass of cow.



Damon Returns

"Somewhere buried deep in the civilized mind, there exists the hope that tonight in Boston, a visitor will be treated at the very least with respect - and at the very best, with some measure of gratitude for past favors.

But we are not talking about civilization here, we're talking Fenway Park, and the visitor is not a human being per se, but a baseball player, and not just any baseball player but a member of the most hated organization in these parts that is not a foreign invader or a terrorist organization."
-- Wallace Matthews.

Damon's got it all worked out. The ying and the yang.

"I expect them to cheer for winning the World Series in 2004," he effused optimistically. "And I expect them to boo because I'm with the Yankees."

I would think they should boo him mercilessly. Sure, he helped them beat the Curse but he's been cheered for that already. His crime is chosing their arch rivals to jump to and the boos on principle alone should far drown out any romantic notions with the past.