Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pee Your Pants For the Brewers?

Oh, they sure know how to bring class to baseball, those Brewers. As of Saturday, 420 people had signed a pledge that they would pee their pants if the Brewers make the playoffs this season. Few of those pledges are of an age where such a thing might pose a problem regardless of whether or not the Brewers make the playoffs.

No shortage of press coverage on the Milwaukee Miracle, that the Brewers possess the best record in baseball...

Archie Bunker's Army, who bemoans Saturday's Mets loss to the Brewers and questions the sudden rise in the stats of JJ Hardy.

From wurst to first in Milwaukee

"The Milwaukee Brewers haven't been to the postseason since 1982. They haven't had a winning season since 1992.
The Brewers' identity in recent years has centered on two sideshows - their wisecracking broadcaster, Bob Uecker, and the ever popular sixth-inning sausage race at home games.

Usually in Milwaukee, the sausage-race standings are a lot more compelling than the National League Central standings.

Not this year."


Right Mix of Ingredients:

"They are so surprising and so much fun to watch that they inspired a Wisconsin fan to start a website called The 24-year-old fan, known only as "Bernie," is taking pledges from fans to do as the website's name suggests if the team makes the playoffs."


Does this look like Schilling In Shape?

Coming off a 6-1 road trip in which their five starters, Schilling, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Julian Tavarez and Tim Wakefield had a combined ERA of 1.55, the Red Sox have the second-best road record in baseball at 14-6 (behind the Mets' 14-5). Going into Friday's games, their starters, at 20-9, had the most wins of any rotation in baseball and their bullpen, had the second-lowest ERA (2.38) with 13 saves in 14 chances.

By the way, my prediction on Roger Clemens' season with the Yankees: 9-4 4.17 ERA.


BOOK EXCERPT: "The Real All Americans" By Sally Jenkins

With Jim Thorpe, right, taking pitches out of the single-wing offense, the Carlisle Indians almost were unstoppable. (Cumberland County Historical Society Carlisle, Pa.)

Carlisle roared off to a 6-0 start. On Oct. 26, they went to Philadelphia to face unbeaten Pennsylvania, ranked fourth in the nation, at Franklin Field before a crowd of 22,800. No team all season had crossed Penn's goal line.

On just the second play of the game, Hauser whipped a 40-yard forward pass over the middle that Gardner caught on a dead run.

There are three or four signal moments in the evolution of football, and this was one of them. Imagine the excitement of the crowd that day -- and the confusion of the defenders -- if all they had ever seen was a densely packed, scrumlike game. Suddenly, the center snapped the ball three yards deep to a man who was a powerful runner, a deadeye passer and a great kicker. The play must have felt like an electric charge.

"It will be talked of often this year," the Philadelphia North American said. "No such puny little pass as Penn makes, but a lordly throw, a hurl that went farther than many a kick."


Not quite as impressive as the list of those pledging to pee their pants, there is now a list of people who visited Tank Johnson in Jail. Eat your heart out...wonder what the list will be like for Paris Hilton?


Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Wednesday night saw two interesting pitching matchups of ageless wonders:

In Philadelphia, Randy Johnson vs. Jamie Moyer: At 88 years, 48 days, it was the oldest combined age of any opposing lefty starters in Major League history.

The Unit struck out the first 6 Phillies he faced prompting many to begin believing that after two miserable starts to the season, he had finally regained his National League midas touch. He finished with 9 strikeouts over 6 innings and gave up only 4 hits yet was undone by the Diamondback bullpen who surrendered 6 runs working the rest of the game after Johnson had left with a 3-0 lead and what he'd hoped was his first win of the season.

Jamie Moyer, who at 44 is the oldest pitcher in the Major Leagues until Roger Clemens makes his debut for the Yankees. wasn't nearly as flashy but slightly more resilient, lasting 7 innings to earn his 4th win of the season against only two losses.


In Atlanta there was a Hall of Fame Pitcher's Duel matching the 43-year-old Greg Maddux with his 335 career victories against former Brave teammate John Smoltz for the first time since 1992. Imagine that, a duel redux, 15 years later! Smoltz, who turns 40 in less than a week, has "only" 197 wings by comparison but also 154 saves to his credit.

Like The Unit, Maddux left with the lead, after 5 1/3 innings only to see his bullpen waste the potential victory after allowing only one run on four hits. Smoltz, who improved to 5-1 this season and 3-1 lifetime against Maddux, struck out seven, walked none and held the Padres to homers by Geoff Blum, his first, in the second inning, and Adrian Gonzalez, his 10th, in the third.

"It was a special night, it lived up to its billing," Smoltz said. "I think each pitcher would have selfishly like to have beat the other 1-0 and know they pitched a great game. But he showed vintage Maddux stuff and he was able to keep us from hitting the ball when he needed to. You can see while he's still pitching."



Another ageing pitcher in the news, albeit more for his mouth than his performance, was Curt Schilling, who never seems to be at a loss for putting his foot in his mouth.

The 38 year old who has 211 victories of his own and who is energetic enough not only to pitch but also write his own blog, 38 pitches, less than a week after noting the Red Sox "didn't need" Roger Clemens (true enough considering their starting rotation), went on a mild tirade about steroid homer side show Barry Bonds, noting:

"Oh yeah. I would think so. I mean, he admitted that he used steroids. I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes, and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think. Hank Aaron not being there. The commissioner trying to figure out where to be. It's sad. And I don't care that he's black, or green, or purple, or yellow, or whatever. It's unfortunate. There's good people and bad people. It's unfortunate that it's happening the way it's happening."

He later issued a rather massive and all-encompassing apology for his remarks.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Rocket To Lift Off In Pinstripes

So now they're paying their latest star pitcher $28 million in addition to coughing up $27 million for A-Rod.

Yet when considering the Red Sox paid $51 million just for the rights to the thus-far underwhelming Daisuke Matsuzaka, perhaps this money well spent.

Well, not perhaps, definately.

Given the shambles of the Yankees starting rotation it was imperative they signed Clemens. Yes, the Astros could have dearly used him as well but the Red Sox, well they seemed pretty set with their own rotation doing quite well so in essence this was probably the Yankees' signing all along.

Andy Pettitte has twice been pressed into relief action to help out a beleaguered bullpen, while Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Jeff Karstens, Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano have all spent time on the disabled list.

But Clemens will be with the Yankees as a true Rent-An-Arm. He doesn't have to be with the team on trips he isn't scheduled to pitch on.

"We don't need him" is what Curt Schilling said of the signing. Wonder if that will come back to haunt him.

Funny enough, his debut could be 1st June when the Yankees, currently five and a half games behind, face the Red Sox at Fenway. Mark your calendars.


Guess who has the best record in the National League so far this season...

Not the Mets, nor the Braves nor the Dodgers, Giants, defending champion Cardinals.

The Brewers, 21-10 not only have the best record in the NL but they are ahead of even the Clemens-less Red Sox, who at 20-10 have the best record in the AL.

Anyone have a Brewers-Red Sox World Series predicted?

Didn't think so.


Just when you thought the Phillies' season couldn't get any more ridiculous given the Spring Training boasting that they were the team to beat in the East (where they currently sit in 4th with a 14-17 record, the horrific start to the season and the even more horrific start by Ryan Howard, it did get even more ridiculous when their key starting pitcher signing, Freddy Garcia, was injured by an equipment cart.

Garcia, who is 1-2 with a 6.05 ERA in four starts this year, ran into an equipment cart that had stopped along the warning track in San Francisco's ballpark.


Who is going to be the NL selection for the first base All Stars? Derek Lee is hitting .414 for the suddenly resurgent Cubbies and Rockies first baseman an nearly-traded Todd Helton is hitting .394.

Both have a pair of homers to their credit and Helton has 22 RBIs, one more than Lee. Helton's OBA is .526 whilst Lee's is "only" .496.