I’m back from a brief hiatus. I hope you all enjoyed the Birthday posts – I thought the last one was good enough to carry me through a rough Wednesday off the blog. So, I’ve taken my vacation and I’m back. Sorry. As for the rest of the night, I’ll lay out what I have because it’s a lot. First, I’ve actually cut out the first part of this post in the interest of length. Basically, I didn’t like it as much and so I decided to get it out of here. It can be found in Part I. There, we’ll explore the dynamics of hitting a fastball, followed with a quick analysis of Detroit at Oakland – which will actually turn out to be more like Esteban Loaiza’s Biography, The Fernando Rodney Prophecy, and why Barry Zito plays for Oakland.
Back to this post, we go over the Miller Park Crane Disaster, followed by the Mike McClary Podcast. After that, we’ll explore the Chicago Cubs Universe, which is rapidly shifting away from the Red as it implodes, with a special emphasis on Magician Larry Rothschild and holograms Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. But, we’ll also touch on Scott Eyre, possibly 2003 Marlins’ Fan inside man, who was the replacement for the Bartman ball, which Cubs fans managed to wrest from 2003 Marlins Fan by blowing up. Never mind the fact that baseball is not voodoo. After this, we’ll hit on the Yankees. Then, we’ll take a look at some interesting DL Notes.
Miller Park Construction
I was watching the History Channel last night and they showed what happened when some giant crane (right) collapsed on Miller Park as it was being constructed. How did I not hear about this? A crane twice as high as the Statue of Liberty just came crashing down on Miller Park, killing three. I don’t remember this. In 2000, the county courthouse decided the operators of the crane were 97% liable. The manufacturer of the crane was found 3% liable. Does it matter? I just felt I had to include this because, not only was I oblivious to the fact that they made cranes that high, but I assumed that if they did, they would be running them on a pretty tight ship. Not allowing them to blow over while lifting up a section of the roof "twice as large as your average housing lot, in an average development," as some guy from OSHA described it. For those of you fortunate enough not to have worked in the retail business, OSHA are basically the dudes that get after your boss when he does something bad.
Mike McClary’s Podcast
Also, Mike McClary over at the Daily Fungo has just released his first Podcast. Check it out, I listened to it and it’s good stuff. This is kind of what Kevin and I are shooting to launch in about a month, but there will obviously be two of us.
And Cubs Fans are probably ready to jump ship. Now, recall that I previously ragged on the Cubs for their dealings with Mark Prior and Kerry Wood – not exactly old news. I also cracked on Dusty Baker for being incompetent when given control of the two. For a quick recap, Baker should not be allowed near any young arms, and any order he issues regarding a pitcher should be put through pitching coach Larry Rothschild before being acted upon. Now, Rothschild is about the 2nd to last person I would trust with an arm, right before Baker. But it’s an improvement. My beef with Rothschild lies in the fact that he’s running a magical information force field around Wood and Prior. It’s almost as if the two pitchers held Rothschild’s hand as he jumped into an alternate dimension. Apparently, the three are hanging out in Arizona chucking practice pitches – despite the fact that it’s nearly May, and despite the fact that they allegedly have no injuries. Now, Larry isn’t going to let you get the wrong idea with this – "It will be more than a bullpen session – we’ll keep counts and outs, stuff like that," he said regarding Wood’s then-upcoming bullpen session. But back to the injury question – what’s wrong with these two guys
in the first place? If you ask the Cubs if Prior is always in trouble because of his elbow, they’ll tell you he has no elbow injury. If you respond by asking why he’s on the DL, they’ll tell you he has a shoulder injury, not an elbow injury. Ask him what brought on this shoulder injury, and they’ll tell you he had a virus in the offseason, and that set him back in his Spring Training preparation, but that he should still be ready for opening day. Anyone see a hole in this reasoning? A little strange that you suspect an elbow problem, but by the time you’re done with the Chicago Ministry of Information, you think that Prior suffers from a mysterious shoulder injury caused by a mysterious virus that will mysteriously allow him to pitch a game 2 weeks in the past, despite the fact that he is – mysteriously – not with the team.
Anyway, the Cubs resemble the Bad News Bears in more than the obvious ways. You see, something truly spectacular happened the other night. Derrek Lee – All-Star and team leader – and last-reliever-standing Scott Eyre were both injured. In the same week? Yes. Same game? Yes. Same inning? Yes. Same play? Yes. One thing if they did it to each other, but they didn’t. Imagine having nearly a quarter of your players on the field go down within seconds. If that’s not a bad omen, I don’t know what is – I mean, besides not blowing up the Bartman ball. See, Eyre tried to flip a bunt to Lee, but instead ending up flopping down in front of the ball. This resulted in a ‘flip’ that, had Lee been 13 feet tall, would’ve been over his head. Not realizing the enormity of Eyre’s Error, Lee tries to back up a little, oblivious to the fact that it won’t make a difference, and certainly not realizing that Rafael Furcal is about .5 seconds away from occupying the same piece of real estate. The two collide, fracturing two bones in Lee’s hand. Well, he’s out 2-3 months, and that puts you in… July when your best player returns. Eyre, apparently, will be ok. Not that it matters, because The Saboteur won’t have too many leads to preserve for Ryan Dempster after that. See you next year.
New York Yankees
In Yankee News, Mike Mussina can still pitch, and he’s really smart (Stanford,) as well. Last night’s 3-1 victory over the Jays was a big deal, because it was the first time everything clicked. That is, we got solid pitching, solid defense, and solid hitting all in one game. We didn’t need to score 13 runs to bail out the pitching, and that’s a big deal. Right now, the Yankees are 7-7. Of those 14 games, 3 have been at home. And critics will tell you that those 3 games don’t matter, because they were against the Royals – and we won all three. In any case, once the schedule evens out, we’ll be back on top. I did a detailed breakdown of the Yankees and Red Sox stats thus far on Tuesday, so you can look at that if you want.
You see, the Disabled List is a bit of a misnomer. There is no actual list of disabled players, at least not one that I’ve seen. It would be interesting to have that list, because there are some splendid treasures to be found. Here are a couple ‘highlights.’
- D. Lee was placed on the D.L. with his previously mentioned busted hand.
- The Rangers transferred Adam Eaton to the 60-day DL while he continues to recover from a broken finger. This is bad for the Rangers, as Chris Young is better than Adam Eaton’s broken finger, but they made the trade anyway. The Rangers still need pitching.
- On April 18th, Greatest Play of All Time participant (in the role of in-the-park home run hitter,) David Newhan was placed on the DL by the Orioles.
- On April 17th, Ken Griffey Jr. was placed on the DL for the 29th time in 3 seasons – that’s right, he still plays. This time, it was his fault, because on the day of the injury he told us all about how happy he was to be healthy.
- The Marlins placed OF Jeremy Hermida on the DL. An early exit for the supposed Rookie of the Year. This move probably drops the Marlins from last place in the NL East to last place in the NL East.
- On April 16th, the Royals brought Mark "The Cavalry" Redman off the DL. Redman hopes to rescue Mark "We won’t be a bad team this year, but if we are, we’re gonna battle all season long" Grudzielanek from losing the battle of his life. There are few situations where the phrase "too little too late" can be applied in week 3 of the season, but this is one.
- Ben Sheets was brought off the DL. I am still waiting for him to strike out 3 guys on 9 pitches again.
- On April 12th, David Wells was activated from the DL. On April 15th, David Wells was placed on the DL, retroactive to April 13th. In other words, the Red Sox brought a guy of the DL, then put him back on the DL the very next day.
- Also on April 15th, the Pirates had an awful day. Sean Casey was placed on the DL with ‘lower back fractures,’ which is a nasty-sounding ailment. Former good pitcher Kip Wells was transferred to the 60-day DL with another injury – surgery to replace his axillary artery. The surgery, performed over a month ago, will allow blood to flow through Well’s arm again.
- On April 14th, The Dodgers activated Kenny Lofton from the DL. Surprisingly, they have not reversed this move yet, as Lofton remains uninjured. Former Savior Yhency Brozaban also joined former Savior Eric Gagne on the DL. Unsurprisingly, the McCourt’s continue to run the Dodgers.
- In Minor League Notes, the Toledo Mud Hens – the Tiger’s AAA Affaliate – lost Don Kelly for a couple days after he was hit with a throw. Thinking the throw was heading home, Kelly had his back to right fielder Ryan Ludwick – and everybody knows you don’t turn your back to Ryan Ludwick. Unless you want to get hit in the back of the head by a relay throw, which is what happened to Kelly. I learned this in little league – don’t throw to a guy who isn’t looking at you.
We’ve added Australia, Switzerland, Norway, and China to the visitor list. Thanks for checking in, and if I don’t start seeing some more comments, I’m going to get pissed. Jeremy, I’ve seen your Lasko commercials. I thought about including those in the list, but they’re just bad, not funny. Unfortunately, those are the only comments I have to talk about right now. I’m going to go ahead and assume that BHGM’s readers are just as busy as BHGM’s owner. Does that mean I’m granting you a free pass? No. Until I see five (5) comments, I’ll remain upset. People, five is a really small number. Despite the fact that no posts were made on Wednesday or Thursday (so far,) we received 211 hits. And one comment. Pathetic.
I’ve been hoping to post a lot more in the last few days than I have been. But, alas, I have real responsibilities. However, I did have a chance to watch the Cleveland v. Chicago game yesterday afternoon as I wrote a calculus paper. A calc paper? Those are never good. Here are some thoughts on that game and more.
Indians v. White Sox – April 5th, 2006: Indians Win, 4-3 in 11 innings
One series doesn’t tell you jack about a team. But in this game, the Sox had plenty of chances to win and didn’t cash in on any of them. That said, I wasn’t able to watch the game that close so I’m going to limit my comments to things I really know about.
Cliff Lee had a solid outing… sorta. He was cruising until the 6th inning, when, as I recall, he basically let Ben Broussard and Victor Martinez collide while shooting for the same pop-up, hit two batters, and walked another. In other words, the Sox got on base because Lee let them. They ended up scoring two runs that inning, which is the only reason they were even in the game. Lee only had 1K but allowed only 4 hits and a walk, plus the 2 HBP. I think this was a cause of the beginning of the season jitters/not physically ready thing. The rest of the Cleveland bullpen held down the Sox without allowing one run in 5.2IP – in fact, they only allowed 4 hits. Apparently, things aren’t as advertised. Cleveland’s bullpen isn’t terrible, (duh,) and the Sox offense isn’t invincible. Chicago, you had your run, now it’s time to wait again. See the previous post for the Cubs No World Series Thing.
Pedro is gonna get slapped around tonight
Here’s another bold prediction. Pedro isn’t ready to pitch. If it wasn’t Pedro, and it wasn’t at Shea Stadium – which no one seems to notice is a pretty solid pitchers park – there’s no way you start your guy with 7 innings pitched during Spring Training. It helps that it’s also against the Nationals, which are as much of a mess the Devil Rays or Marlins. Pedro is heading down, people. And apparently, they’re finally replacing Shea. Why? From what I’ve heard, you have cement pillars obstructing the sight lines, incoming aircraft, and no reasonable dining options. On the other hand, you have green grass, white lines, and brown dirt. But so does a park.
Pujols v. Lidle
I’m ‘watching’ the Phillies v. Cardinals game right now. I say ‘watching’ because Albion has a bit of an internet bandwidth problem. Seems the word ‘streaming’ is actually more like, ‘slow as molasses.’ If you’ve ever tried watching a baseball game at the speed of .25 frames a second, and really sketchy sound.. that’s kind of what it’s like. Just, try blindfolding yourself and turning on a vacuum cleaner. The only time you can see is when you can peek through the blindfold, and the only time you can hear is when the vacuum is going backwards. It’s no fun. Anyway, back to Pujols. Lidle threw him a breaking ball that pretty much skidded through the dirt before the plate and Pujols took a monster swing. He thought he was gonna take that pitch 500ft out. Pujols missed by about a yard. Anyway, he turns at nods at Lidle, basically telling him "I’m a boy, you’re a man." That said, Pujols can mash better than just about anyone else out there.
Barry in San Francisco
I switched to the Braves v. Giants game, because it’s on TBS and I want to really watch a game. Well, Bonds steps up to the plate with 1 out and runners on 2nd on 3rd. A couple interesting things then happened. 1) The fans gave him a standing ovation and shouted his praises, even holding up signs telling him they loved him. 2) Bonds ignored them. 3) Bonds received another intentional walk. 4) My roommate said that was dumb, and I responded by saying that even though there was only one out, there were 2 runners on, if someone besides Moises Alou was batting behind Bonds this wouldn’t happen. 5) Moises Alou grounded into a double play.
This is, again, one of those NL West phenomenon-type things. It’s never ok to go from 1 out, 2 runners on with Barry Bonds up to ‘grab my mitt, rookie’ without scoring a run. Give Bonds some protection, please! I might hate the guy, but I’m a baseball fan before everything else.
Noah Lowry just exited the game due to injury. He was replaced by the 43-year-old Jeff Fassero. I hear that people are predicting the Giants to win the NL West. If this is the team that’s supposed to win a division, I’m going to e-mail Bud Selig and tell him why this can’t keep happening. Or, just check it out here. Sorry for getting so upset, but I can’t let this happen again.
We added Spain, Nigeria, and Benin to the visitor’s list today. Add that to Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Croatia, UK, Canada, Israel, Honduras, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, France, Germany, South Africa, Uruguay, Germany, Finland, El Salvador, New Zealand, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, The Netherlands, Panama, Ireland, and Malaysia. That’s 29 countries (counting the US,) and there are 193 countries in the world. That’s 15%. Keep spreading the word! We’ll see some more solid baseball related posts in a couple days. Until then, what’s up with the "Greatest Play of All Time?" Apparently that post has become something of a thing on the internet. Apparently it’s being linked on message boards all over the net, and now there’s some e-mail circulating around with a link in it. Wow. Thanks. It also helps that we’ve added video to that post, so now you can actually see Manny cutting off Johnny. It’s nuts.
Some people have this thing where they go through the divisions and tell you what they think that division is going to accomplish. Team by team. Well, I’m going to stick with the whole ‘original’ theme of this blog, and go with something new. It’s been irking me all year. So:
I’m sick of the NL West. Let me lay out, in great detail, why I hate it.
San Diego Padres
First, Mike Cameron. Does anyone remember when he collided
with Carlos Beltran last year? That was probably one of the freakiest
collisions I have ever seen, and unfortunately I had to watch it
was on my bad side for awhile after getting pissed about moving to Right Field
when the Mets acquired Beltran. I know what it’s like to have to switch
positions, so I’m not angry at guys for being pissed, but it’s something they
need to keep to themselves. If they really can’t handle it, tell the GM in
private how you feel, then shut up and make way. Especially if you’re Mike
Cameron, and he’s Carlos Beltran. I know Cameron’s agent said that they never
wanted his reservations about moving to right to go public, but still. In any
case, Cameron is now in Center with the Padres. If you ask the Padres, they’ll
tell you they’re pumped because now they’ve got someone with wheels patrolling
that massive backyard, and they’re ready for another championship season.
me explain something to you. The Padres did not win a divisional title last
year. Yes, I know that technically they did, but I’ll give Bonds the HR Title
before I give the Padres the NL West. You don’t go 82-80 and win a title. And
if you do, you don’t get to keep it. I’ve touched on revoking the NL West’s
citizenship this year, but now I’m just gonna say, they don’t deserve a playoff
spot this year. I don’t care if one of those teams wins 162 games, they stay
out. If you can put the UofM Basketball team on probation, you can put a
division on probation as well. Meanwhile, you have the Blue Jays trapped in the
AL East. So, give the AL another Wild Card Spot, and there you go. Bud Selig
will never do this, and for that he is a weak man. In any case, the Padres
aren’t gonna bring home another ‘championship’ this year just because they have Mike
Cameron. Seriously, the news coming out of Padres Camp is ridiculous. ‘Padres
reload in an effort to repeat.’ Please… spare me. In all honesty, I don’t
know what the Padres chances are this year, because I don’t like the NL West.
The Rest of this joke of a division
Why don’t I like them? Not only are they terrible, but they’re far away from me and they’re
Drama Central. Think about it – Barry’s running around screaming at the media,
the Padres are asking who the heck made center field 650 feet deep, the Dodgers
are still trying to invent a successful 7-man batting order, the
Diamondbacks are all over the place, and the Rockies are playing on the moon with a minor league team.
mean Redneck (Randy Johnson,) who vanishes to the team they somehow defeated in
2001, which is all the more
hilarious because in 2004 they were actually a AA
club – look it up. The Diamondbacks were so bad in 2004 that they
managed to win only 3 out of every 10 games. In Moneyball, it’s mentioned that
all teams win a third of their games, lose a third, and the remaining third
determines the best teams. Well, remember that crazy redneck? He had an ERA of
2.60 with 290 K’s, and went 16-14. Still, Randy’s wins accounted for a third of the team’s wins that season. Here’s something I wrote after the 2004
Randy Johnson has got to be on the verge of killing somebody. Near the end
of the 2004 Season, he struck out 15 in 8 innings, allowed one run and received
a no decision, which was on the heels of him pitching 8 innings, striking out 11
and getting a loss, on the heels of him pitching into the 8th, striking out 14,
allowing one run, and getting the loss. So, lets review. In those three starts,
he pitched 23.2 innings, racked up 40 K’s, four ER’s, and walked five guys. His
record: 0-2. He has 14 losses this season – 9th worst in the league – with an
ERA of 2.60 – second best in the league.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Next, the Dodger’s 7-man batting order. Do you remember when the Dodgers
traded Kaz Ishii to the Mets for backup catcher Todd Phillips before the 2005
Season? This was one of the worst trades ever. Both of these teams were going
nowhere. The Mets got a guy who walks eight a game because he pitches around
everyone, including pitchers, and the Dodgers got another catcher who can’t
hit. Apparently, they have a policy where no catcher is allowed to hit over
.220. Piazza and Lo Duca – gone. David Ross? Paul Bako? Keep them. Phillips?
Get him. Well, apparently the joke is up, because the Dodgers were able to
grab a hold of Sandy
Alomar for the 2006 Season. Slow down. This guy isn’t an Alomar Jr., he’s
the original, and three months shy of his 40th birthday. For a catcher, in the
NL with no option to DH, this basically makes him a non-factor. Moving on,
we have Russell
Martin. Never played in the majors. Next, Dioner
Navarro, who actually smacked for .273 in 176 AB’s last year for the
Dodgers. He also knocked in 14 runs. Fantastic. If you’re the opposing manager,
why walk their 8 spot to get to their pitcher if they’re both easy outs?
anyone think something good was gonna happen when the McCourt’s took over? This
organization is a mess. Frank McCourt’s title is ‘Chairman.’ Tommy Lasorda is
going by the alias ‘Special Advisor to the Chairman.’ Jamie McCourt, the ball
and chain, is going around as ‘Vice Chairman and President.’ You’ve got the following exchange occurring between Met’s
scouts and Kim Ng, ‘VP and Asst. GM,’
Mets: "Where are you from!?"
Mets: "What country
… and then blaming their racist outbursts on the Atkin’s diet.
In short, the Dodger’s organization, along with the entire NL West, is one
Here is another team grappling with the fact that someone built their
ballpark in a way that makes it impossible to win. Coor’s field is a
launch pad, not a baseball park. A few years ago, USA Today ran a story
saying that analysis had revealed that Coors Field is the worst park
for pitcher’s ERA. I didn’t know that. Anyway, Shawn Chacon couldn’t be
happier to get out of Coors, first off. Next, remember last year when
the Rockies acquired the ‘expendable, $10 million mistake,’ Byung-Hyun
Kim? That’s what Boston called him after he posted a 6.23 ERA in 2004.
And you ship him off to Coors. His debut for the team was nuts – 6
hits, 2 homers, and 8 runs. One out. That’s an ERA of 216.00.
Incredible. The best part? It wasn’t even at Coors. Then, he threatened
to quit if he didn’t get better. More circus action. I don’t think it’s
ever been easier to point to an exact moment in a guy’s career when he went from good to bad. The minute Derek Jeter homered off Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series to win the game – which was just tied after Tino Martinez’s 2-run jack off Kim made it 3-3 – Kim started to go bad. In Game 5, Kim gives up a game-tying Homer to Scott Brosius, and the Yankees end up winning that game in extras as well. I don’t really care where Kim is now, but the Rockies are still terrible, and that’s no mystery. They’re not going anywhere. I don’t care if MLB.com is leading with a story of your young prospects. Remember when Clint Barmes got taken out for months last year because of a grocery/stairway incident? It’s that kind of thing that happens in the NL West. Sure, maybe the Rockies are on the upswing or whatever. But they’re still a giant circus of a team. First they decided to go with the big bats strategy to win games. That kinda worked. Then they decided to go with pitching, that didn’t work. Then they tried fast fielders. Failed. Get a plan, and good luck.
San Francisco Giants
Barry Bonds. As if you could get any more tragic than that.
The NL West is still a circus. Get your act together, pack up the tents, and then you can be reconsidered. Until then, the NL only has 11 teams.
Thanks for reading. Leave comments and emails. I’ve been gone the whole previous week, and a post regarding current baseball events will soon follow.