Red Sox and Yankees are fun, there’s no denying that. But is it really as big a deal as ESPN would have you believe? After watching the first 10 minutes of the 6p edition of Sportscenter I had had just about enough. I mean… is there really a bigger non-issue than A-Rod’s slide? First off, look at the play carefully. The dude was way, way, way off-balance. And maybe he intentionally threw himself off. But, the way I see it, he was trying to break up the double play, and somehow or another managed to get his body confused between a pop-up and a take-out slide. That’s why, if you keep watching after he "throws the elbow," as John Kruk so lovingly put it, you’ll see Alex stumble to the ground and fall flat on his backside. Kruk is, not surprisingly, still an idiot. No, the play was not dirty. Alex was not going into 2nd with the intention of giving Dustin an ugly bruise in the crotch.
And, you may say to yourself, "Dustin who? Who is this guy? How dare he talk smack about A-Rod!" Listen. If you actually heard what the little guy said in his post-game, he was not putting anybody down. He said just enough to keep from looking like a coward, but he also went out of his way to say that he was only doing what he had to for the team, etc, etc, etc. Dustin doesn’t care. Alex doesn’t care. Does Curt care? I guess we’ll see tonight. To my knowledge, he hasn’t yet commented on the issue on his personal soap box, the Don Patrick show. But I have this to say – if Curt does drill A-Rod tonight, which he won’t, I will view it as one of the lamest moves in baseball. If you hit the guy, you’re only playing into this whole ESPN-propagated rivalry hype. ESPN loves to make something out of nothing. But there are always a couple guys on every team that like it even more. A-Rod and Varitek fighting down the baseline? That was a heat of the moment, legit fight. Curt drilling A-Rod would just be stupid and childish. Hopefully he has enough sense to know that.
Lets see some comments boys…
Wow. Watching the new Yankee battery of Karstens and Nieves is just not doing it for me. But more on that in a few minutes.
Anyone see last night’s (Friday) Braves v. Mets? I was excited about this for a long time, for many reasons. First, the fantasy implications. I’ve got Jose Reyes, Brian McCann, and Tim Hudson. Reyes and Hudson are, of course, on fire. They’re both playing out of their skulls. So that was the second reason. The third reason was that, since TBS, ESPN, and FOX are the only channels I get that actually televise baseball, I would be able to watch this game. Now, back to my boys. Reyes is leading MLB with 4 triples, (remember when Steve Phillips predicted Reyes would hit 30 triples, and Corey Patterson would hit 40HR with 140RBI?) Reyes has 2 HR, is 9 for 11 in SB attempts, and has an OBP of .456. Yikes. And Hudson is an even better story. After he left Oakland prior to the 2005 season, he cooled down some. Especially in 2006. Which was disappointing, because he is one of my favorite guys. But this year he is insane – you just have to see the whole line for yourself. The point is, he is 3-0, with an ERA of .62, and 19 K’s in 29 IP. And of course, he was looking even better in person last night. All his off speed stuff was working perfectly. Guy had a perfect game going for 3.2 innings, (almost meaningless, of course,) and a no hitter going till the bottom of the 5th. He left before the 9th inning, (?) with a shutout, having thrown 107 pitches. Personally, I think they could’ve sent him out for one more, seeing as he had a 7 run lead and all. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Beltran, Delgado, and Wright were due up. Yeah, that was probably it. Now, I know that was only his fourth start of the season. And just like A-Rod won’t hit 120 HR this season, Huddy won’t finish with an ERA of 0.62. But a good start doesn’t hurt, and while I’m not going to say that the old Huddy is back, I’m certainly hoping. Anyway, for the 9th inning, the Braves sent out the arsonist Rafael Soriano and his 7.36 ERA. Needless to say, he poured the gasoline, lit the match, and fanned the flames. Braves still come out ahead, 7-3.
Interesting event here. Home Plate ump Bob Davidson, (we’re back to the Yankees v. Red Sox,) who I’m sure we are all familiar with, was miked for today’s game. Davidson went to give this little Bostonian Child a ball, but not before making him raise his hand and take an oath to never yell at an umpire. One fan at a time, eh Bob?
Now, I’ve asked before, but I have yet to receive an answer. When did Mark Teixeira become so bad? He started out last season pretty crappy, but he (almost) made up for it in the 2nd half. Dude is just 27 years old. That’s prime time. Finished last year with 33HR and 110 RBI, which isn’t half bad. Down 10 HR, 30 RBI, and .20 Avg points from 2005, but not a terrible year. Before the All-Star Break he had just 9 HR in 353 AB. After the game, which he did not participate in, he had 24 HR in 275 AB. So far this year, he has 2 RBI and just 1 extra base hit – a double – in 16 games. Dude is batting .214… but his OBP is .343, with 10 walks. Maybe he’ll step it up after the All-Star game again? Who knows… he’s on my fantasy team as well, so any thoughts on this would be welcome.
Back again to the Yankee game. The FOX TV crew is promoting Ortiz’s new book, written with Tony Massarotti, and they claim that the most interesting part of the book are the stats. He hit something like 58 HR in 6 years with the Twins, and was released because of his lack of power production. And then, he comes to Boston and hits 31, 41, 47, 54 HR the following years. Really? You guys think that’s interesting? So do I. Just a little PS – Tony wrote another book with John Harper, called "A Tale of Two Cities – The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for The Pennant." Excellent book, and strongly, strongly recommended. Well, after the FOX crew stopped talking about this, Ortiz went and jerked another out of the yard. This puts the Sox up 7-4. Well, after this Rocky and I took a nice trip to the range to decompress. So that was the last part of the game that I saw. But after looking at the box score it looks like that was pretty much the entire game. Ugh. This is what I meant when I said that we’d have trouble with this rotation.
Leave your thoughts. And another thing. BHGM logged it’s 50,000th hit a few days ago. That’s in about 13 months. And BHGM itself turns 2 on April 28th. So that’s that.
I was actually able to watch game tonight. Most of it, anyway. I missed the first collective eight runs. Tonight’s post is going to be a short one, but there isn’t much to say. The bottom line is this – is it possible that the Yankees, with the problems they’re having now, can still win – just not in the way we’re accustomed to? Sure, we may lose a few more games with the weaker rotation and Matsui-less (and whoever else happens to be out,) offense. But, in the end, most of the games will be tighter and closer, but still wins. I’ll be touching on this more tomorrow. Additionally, the Yankees picked up Nick Green today. Nothing like shoring up the lineup with a solid .077 hitter that the Devil Rays just designated for assignment.
Thoughts on the game – I almost felt like Randall found whatever he lost a couple months ago. Like, it just showed up. Lets hope I’m right, and he’s good. He still had an ERA of 9.00 tonight, (go figure) but I’m hoping he’ll turn it around now. And by ‘turn it around’ I mean, start posting ERA’s south of 4.50, at least. And of course, in Randall’s good, we can look at Clement’s bad. I mean, this is one weird dude. But here’s the thing – if your ace has a 6.31 ERA in late May, you’re not going to fare too well in late September. That’s all.
As for Farnsworth – he had me scared to death out there. All those balls where way out of the zone, and it looked like he could’ve been real busted. But then he dropped that K on Ortiz to end the inning – priceless. Bases tagged, Ortiz up, and Farnsworth had just thrown a 3-2 pitch to the backstop – and not even close to home. And then he roars back to strike out Ortiz? That’s why he’s the man.
As for the pitcher trade – I had hoped to get to that tonight, but things didn’t work out the way I had hoped. However, tomorrow is a new day. Not much going on in baseball, and my only day off until the 1st, at which point we’ll be going on vacation for about four days.
Well, this post marks the beginning of our regular time back here at BHGM. Now we’ll be slipping back into the routine of nightly posts. And of course, first things first. In the previous post, (around 4pm,) I told all you regular readers out there to make a comment, especially those that have never done so before. I got one, from Tiffany. Therefore, I expect the comments to come on this post, because I have noticed that none of the regulars have visited since 4pm – creatures of habit, no doubt. That said, let’s get to the business at hand.
Former world-beater Ben Sheets landed on the DL today with strained shoulder. Recall that Sheets started the year with the same shoulder injury, and when he returned, proceeded to go 1-3 with a 6.64 ERA. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Sheets confuses the heck out of me, because I always think he pitches for the Pirates, but it’s actually the Brewers. Hence, I made the mistake of detailing how his three losses might be the Pirates fault, not his own. Thanks to Kellia for being an alert reader! I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the 2am authoring time of this post. Anyway, Sheets will always be remembered for striking out three straight batters on nine pitches, and for "nailing the world to a cross" in the 2000 Olympics. For some reason, I came up with that phrase when I described Sheet’s one run allowed in 22 innings. Anyway, Sheets was a Fantasy stud for me last year, but I stayed away this year. Then again, did anyone even know this guy still played baseball? But then, dude did record 28 K’s in those 20.1 IP so far this year, and only walked one guy. How often do you see a guy trot out a 1:28 BB/K ratio with his 6.64 ERA? Just doesn’t add up. Maybe it’s the 27 hits. So, you’re not walking guys, but you’re letting them get a ton of hits. That 1.377 WHIP (Walks and Hits per IP, for the not-so-statistically inclined, and for ESPN, who refuses to acknowledge it,) will kill you every time.
And it’s raining everywhere, literally. Did baseball misbehave or something? Is there a reason the entire country is being drenched? We had what, three postponed games and one cut short today. And that’s out of 11 games. In other words, Baseball 7, Rain 4.
And for your favorite players that you forgot about a long time ago
Remember Jeff Kent? Remember Nomar Garciaparra? Apparently, they’re back. Well, Kent never really left. He’s been a lock for 100 RBI’s for about 10 years now. But again, completely forgotten about. Maybe because he spent all but two of the past ten years in the NL West? Maybe because he has a reputation as one of the more selfish players in the game? Who knows. Anyway, Kent had been doing rather… poorly as of late. And of course, everyone was pointing out that his numbers were down last year – which they weren’t – and that he was 38. But then he comes back, and so far this week is 5-12, with 3 HR and 8 RBI. Turns out, he’s still pretty good. Just as long as he doesn’t break his wrist popping wheelies on his motorcycle – I mean, "falling off his truck while washing it." That was a real scandal. As far as Nomar, recall that the Nation traded him away in 2004. New uniform, same injury pattern. In 2005, while playing for the Cubs, Nomar nearly castrated himself coming out of the box. And so he didn’t play for most of 2005, which is understandable, really. Freak injury. Then he ended up in a… Dodgers uniform, with Jeff Kent. And he now plays 1st base, as Furcal is at Short. Check out the Dodgers Depth Chart, they’ve only got 8 players out with injuries, and Nomar isn’t one of them! Anyway, Nomar is 6-12 with 2 HR, 3 2B, and 4 RBI this week. Go Nomar.
My Dotrelle Willis dreams come true
I’ve never been a fan of Dontrelle Willis. When I was in High School, I had to make a chemistry project about Hydrogen. I detailed that Hydrogen had an atomic number of one, which was one greater than the number of earned runs Dontrelle had given up so far that year. I think it had been about 3 or 4 games, not exactly sure. Then, of course, Dontrelle gave up an ER that night, turning me into a liar. Never liked him since then. And of course, the near-suicidal leg kick bugs the heck out of me. And now, Dontrelle has a 6.22 ERA, having allowed 57 hits in 46.1 IP, with a 1-4 record. In fact, today he managed to get tagged for 7 runs in 2.2 innings. In his previous start, he was hit up for 6 ER in 4.2 IP. Before that, it was 8 ER in 7.1 IP. If you’re on the Marlins – the worst team in the league – then you can’t expect to pull many wins out of those performances. Then again, in his first four games of the season, Dontrelle allowed a total of 8 ER and came away with one win. So basically, if you’re on the Marlins, you’re not gonna win a ton of ballgames period.
Yankees v. Red Sox (Thursday Night)
I knew we were off to an ominous start when I heard that "Shawn Chacon isn’t afraid to put guys on base." See, that’s not always a good thing. In fact, 100% of the time, that’s not going to work out for you. Contrary to what Dusty Baker will tell you, walks are a good thing for the team that’s up to bat. Anyway, whenever the announcer (who’s being paid by the same guy who is paying the players, no less,) is telling you that this pitcher isn’t afraid to walk guys, you’re in for a long night. I caught the first couple innings on MLB.TV until one of the boys (Evan, who has not yet been introduced on this site – Evan’s the little kid in the crew, at the spry young age of 18, and he likes to come over when I’m home and eat all the food in my house,) stopped by to catch the game. And, because it was Evan, he was "hungry." Caught the next hour of the game on ESPN HD. Of course, this is a real ho-hum way to watch a baseball game. On the one hand, you’ve got the HD Video, which is unbeatable. On the other, you’re listening to Joe Morgan and Chris Berman, which is slightly better than mute. Scratch that, about the same as mute. I just keep them on so I don’t get weirded out by the silence. Anyway, then a miracle occurred. The YES Network feed appeared on my TV. Turns out it was just two channels further up, on the inHD channel. I had largely written this channel off as the Comcast Promo channel, but it turns out they broadcast a ballgame every five days or so. Tonight was my night. I got quality YES Network coverage and HD Video. But then the Yankees started losing. Let me run this down.
First, that woman who nearly grabbed Bubba Crosby’s triple could’ve been killed had Bubba’s hit been about 3 inches to the right. No joke, they would’ve jumped on her. But of course, the main story of the night is the Ferocious Lion, out with a broken wrist. No kidding. Word is three months or the season. Great. And Sheffield is still out. Taking two of your best hitters out of the lineup is not a good thing, ever. Hopefully, Sheffield comes back sooner than Michael Kay thinks. Anyway, next up is the Robinson Cano catch and throw. When that ball went up and Cano started running out, I’m thinking that we need Jeter at 2nd to make this catch. But Cano came through and was already setting up for the throw home as he caught it. Good move, Robinson. I’ll never call you Robbie. As for Jeter’s play, it was a great stop. He should’ve taken a little while longer to set up the throw there, however. Now, it was a tough play and it was close, and of course, in 20/20 hindsight it’s easier said then done. But nonetheless, he had bad footing, which resulted in a sailing throw with men on 3rd and 2nd, a no-error situation. Had Cairo been taller, he wouldn’t have snow-coned it, and it would’ve been a solid out. Oh well. Those things happen, every game. Right alone the lines of Bernie’s non-catch. Michael Kay was quicker than all heck to exonerate the guy, telling us how that happens in right field with the wind swirling around and such. And he’s right. I’ve never hung out in right on a windy day, but I’m sure that Bernie didn’t just forget how to catch a fly ball for that instant. Now, in the box score (despite what we heard on TV,) Jeter was given an error; Bernie was not. On the offense side, it was just a bad day for us, good day for Wakefield. Not much else to say, really. We didn’t get a lot of good pitches to hit and didn’t make the most of it when we did.
As for the pitching, Chacon was obviously suspect. Somehow, he managed to allow 10 base runners in 4.2 IP and only give up one run. That’s a Herculean feat, really. If you thought Sheet’s 1.377 WHIP was high, Chacon’s was above 2, so he really got out of some jams. And another reason to get rid of this new ‘Hold’ stat. Ron Villone, who came up in a big spot and got a couple huge outs, earned a Hold tonight. He also earned the Loss. Now I know this had something to do with Farnsworth giving up some inherited runs of Villone’s and stuff, but that’s still a messed up stat. The Hold? Get it out. And Farnsworth was pretty much great, right? Love that guy. Did you know that the Kyle Farnsworth post accounted for 37 of the last 100 pageloads here, most the result of Google hits? I think that whenever Kyle pitches, people remember that he laid out Paul Wilson a few years back. See above-linked post.
Anyway, that wasn’t a good game to watch. The excitement wasn’t there. Most importantly, the win wasn’t there, and neither was the effort or the energy. I’m going to spare us all a detailed rundown because, quite frankly, we lost. And we probably deserved it. If you give up 13 hits, along with 6 walks, and only get 8 of your own, and just 4 walks, you’ll need some fancy hitting to bring in a win.
Thanks for reading. Again, to all of you readers, (regular or otherwise, anyway,) leave a comment here. We’re doing a bit of a reader inventory. So look, I know there are about 30 of you regulars out there, and I expect comments from at least, say, 8 or 9 of you. So far, thanks to Tiffany for answering the call. I wish we could do better, but I know how you roll. We’re busy people, eh? See you again tomorrow night.
Well, BHGM returns. You thought we were dead? I know, me too. But I’m finally done with what they call ‘higher education’ and I’m back to the real world. At least until next August. Now don’t get me wrong, college is great. I love it. But when it’s the end of the school year and you’ve got chemistry, psych, bio, and calc finals – you just want to go home. Anyway, this will be the last post that fails to focus on much baseball, because starting now I’ll be able to watch games again and make those nightly posts. Actually, I’m watching the Jays – A’s game now. But before I dig in, there are a few questions I have. There’s someone who visits the site multiple times a day from Rutgers University, but they never leave comments. Dude – get an MLB account, sign in, and leave a comment – just so I know how you are. Same goes for the people from ‘Ames, Iowa’, ‘Corinth, Mississippi’, Uruguay, Spain, a bunch of you New Yorkers, and ‘Reston, Virginia’. Actually, I’d like if everyone who’s a regular reader could comment on this post, even if it’s just a "yo, I’m the dude from Rutgers," just so we can actually see who you are. Just do it. Thanks.
Biology: Ecology, Evolution, Biodiversity – Calculus I
So, how do we tie this into baseball? It’s another weak link, really. I’m starting to think that this wasn’t such a good idea after all. But here. If solving baseball calculus problems is your thing, check this out. As for the biology portion, there a few quick hits. By the way, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS, is not primarily a genetically inherited condition. That is to say, an inherited genetic defect accounts for only 5-10% of cases of Familial ALS. For more information on ALS, check here. Well, that concludes our finals edition. It will be a lot more exciting in December, when we’ll be doing Organic Chemistry, Intro to Theater, Research Design and Analysis, and Developmental Psychology. What can I say, I’m a slacker.
Red Sox v. Yankees, (Wednesday Night)
Well, this game was basically the only contact I had with baseball all day, as I was moving back home and all. So I caught everything until the bottom of the 5th, when we busted it open. That is to say that I saw Alex jerk Curt way out of the yard. Anyway, between the fact that I was about to fall asleep and the game was being carried on ESPN, (albeit ESPNHD,) it wasn’t a terribly exciting game. I mean, it was pretty predictable. ESPN blabs about how awesome Curt is and how the Yankees can’t touch him, and then the Yankees touch him up for a few deep bombs. And that’s that.
Blue Jays v. A’s, (Thursday Afternoon)
Nothing like waking up to find a baseball game already starting. Being as the Jays/A’s were "the only game in town," that’s what I was watching. And really, they’re both two of my favorite teams. And a short memo – the Jay’s announcers, (radio and TV,) are some of the best. They’re not annoying and they don’t digress so far that you think you’re just listening to two people talk about baseball, as ESPN does. Anyway, the game. The Jays basically made the A’s look like the Washington Generals. That is, the Jays would keep going up on the A’s, leaving them with this impressive look of, ‘wow, I just got burned.’ And although the Box Score says that Glaus only had two home runs, I’m pretty sure I watched him leave the building about five times. Zaun also had a solo shot. Swisher went deep twice for the A’s with two solo shots. For those of you tracking RBI’s for the Jays: Glaus – 4. Adams, Johnson, Zaun, and Catalanotto – 1. Glaus might be a lock to finish the year below .260, (he’s only finished higher once, in 2000 with the Angels,) but he’s got some pop. And Alex Rios, breakaway star, is currently batting in the 3-hole for the Jays. For those of you who don’t know Alex’s story, it goes like this. In 2004 and 2005, he hit .286 and .262, respectivly. He now leads the league with a .379 average. He’s also on both of my fantasy teams. Despite the fact that Rios’ average is so high, his all-important OBP is an average .389. Alright, that’s on the high end of average, but not really, considering that it’s only 10 points higher than his batting average – that’s what happens when you walk four times. But it’s good for #41 in the league. Meanwhile, Giambi is walking around with a .531 OBP, while everyone’s favorite player – Barry Bonds – shows off his .495. Albert Pujols follows with a .466. Take away all the intentional walks Barry gets, and Giambi’s OBP is 65 points higher than the league’s #2 man. He’s back, people.
What’d you do with the Royals, and who are these people?
Here’s a tough one. The Royals just swept the Indians. On Monday, it was 4-3, Royals. Tuesday, it was 10-7, Royals. Wednesday, it was 10-8, Royals. I mean, keep in mind that they came away with the slimmest margin ever, 1, 2, and 3 runs. But the Royals are now 10-22, which means that they’ve gone 5-2 after we chewed them out bigtime. Are you kidding me? Not only is it beyond our comprehension for the Royals to have won 5 of 7, but it seems that we’ve got some freaky curse/blessing going on here. First, we had the Padres. The Padres scored 6 runs in 2 innings to get a miracle win over the Dodgers, and we wrote a whole post about it. And then what? The Padres win 9 straight games, with win #1 being the previously mentioned. I don’t think I can take credit for the Tigers getting off to a great start after I said they would about 700 times, that was just too big. Then there was the Santana-Halladay matchup in the beginning of the season where I said, ‘Halladay, your future Cy Young winner, will out-duel Santana.’ Just in case you doubt that those blanks really did mean ‘Roy Halladay,’ know that I’ve been calling him our Cy Young winner since February. How about when, on April 26th, I talked about Dusty Baker being crazy. Then, the Cubs have gone 3-11 since that post. That’s about all I can come up with for now. But how crazy is that?
And that’s gonna close us out for now, but we will be back tonight, which will start us off on our nightly post routine again. Plus a few during the day when we have a chance. Basically, we’ll be back in our prime. As for the comments, thanks Rob. I did know that David had been in the tank for awhile, but I didn’t know about what the divers were really doing down there. Thanks for being an alert reader. (Check out Rob at http://robpage.mlblogs.com/.) Lucky Leftie, good to see you here from the BPS. And Jason, your excuse is understood and accepted. If there is one person who will understand the ‘no free time’ argument, it’s got to be me, lately. Anyway, remember – I want to see one comment from every regular reader, to this post or the one that follows tonight. That’s all of you. If you don’t have an MLB account, get one. It’s not a big deal, and they’re not going to bother you with junk mail as long as you uncheck that small box at the bottom. In the two years I’ve had my MLB account, I haven’t gotten one spam e-mail on that address. Plus, after you sign up for an MLB account, you can just sign up for your own team email. Since you’re not gonna tell any of your friends to email you at "email@example.com," you don’t really have to worry about getting any unwanted email, since you won’t even need to check that address. Have a good rest of the day, folks.
Quick recap of tonight’s Game. I can’t say I was very pleased with the Yankee’s style of play. Honestly, I don’t think Wang had it in him. He walked four guys, c’mon. In the first inning, it was getting ridiculous – ridiculous enough that Torre tried to call down to the bullpen to get a reliever up, only to find out that the phone wasn’t working. And, according to the all-knowing ESPN, this was no accident. Right. Terry Francona and Theo Epstein found the time, between preparing for the season’s biggest game and arranging Doug Mirabelli’s arrival, to cross some telephone wires. Ok. In any case, Wang held his own but could’ve been better had he been on his game from the beginning. Small was another victim, making his first appearance off the DL at what was quite possibly the worst time. You have to think that Torre might have made the move in part to instill some confidence in Aaron, but that’s the kind of plan that doesn’t work if your own guy shoots it down as Small did.
Uh, then we had Derek Jeter. He had a bummer of a day. Or, as the idiots at Baseball Tonight said, "It was very un-Jeter like. No, it wasn’t very Jetarian." There’s a new one. Two things; first was the misjudged ball, second was the bassrunning mistake. As far as the fly ball was concerned, that wasn’t Jeter’s fault. If you looked closely, when that ball was hit it was heading towards right field. Yet it landed in shallow left. That should tell you that the wind was doing some pretty wild things up there. Second, the baserunning call could have gone either way. Sure, Jeter was safe, but anytime a play is that close, it’s hit and miss as far as an ump seeing it correctly. By the way, John Kruk hasn’t gotten any smarter. Tonight he tried to show me how to hit a knuckleball. Now, I already know that the best thing to do is pretty much take a hack at it like it’s your average slow fastball, but I was curious what kind of advice Kruk thought he had to give me. After he spent about five minutes going over every stance he had ever tried that hadn’t worked, he proceeded to explain that he had his best luck against knucklers when he just went up there and took his usual stance and took basically a blind hack. Maybe that’s why you were never much of a World-Burner, John.
And how about Johnny Damon? How can Sox Fan boo him? Johnny’s contract was up at the end of the 2005 season. He, like every other free agent before and
since, shopped around the market, eventually finding the best deal.
When he found that deal, he threw down his signature. Just so happens that the Yankees were willing to give him more money. Do you really expect Johnny to put the feelings of "Red Sox Nation" ahead of his own family’s welfare? That’s a joke. Believe it or not, Boston, the Red Sox don’t exist to please you. They’re there to make a living. Sure, Manny will have you believe that he’s just out there to have a good time. Ortiz will act like he’s just hanging out at the ballpark, having a roid-induced, fun and generally successful day. But that’s not why they’re there. Sure, they love the game – if you don’t love the game, you can’t play every day – but if all the money dried up, and they were suddenly making as much as the guy at the Newspaper stand outside Fanuel Hall, they’d be out of town in a heartbeat.
Anyway, this was a different kind of post for me. It required a lot less work and was more of a stream of thoughts and ideas than a concentrated effort. According to Geoff – and in two comments, no less – I’m a "dedicated monster." You’ll be happy to see that you’ve won the contest to come up with the new BHGM description – even if you didn’t know it. I have to agree with him, in that today’s main post was pretty sweet. But hey, what can I say. I’m either doing school stuff or following baseball, and if I’m following baseball I’ve got a post open that I’ll work on through the course of a day. So that’s how it’s done.
We’ve got a whole bunch of things to cover at BHGM today. Basically, it wasn’t a busy day for me on the school front. So this is what you get. Doug Mirabelli, Minor League Umpires, Albert Pujols is good, the Royals/Marlins/Pirates are not, and finally – how do we prevent a repeat of the 2005 Padres making the playoffs? But first – don’t miss the game tonight. That’s right, the Cardinals and Reds are duking it out for first place in the NL Central. Must see. Wait, that is happening, but so are the Yankees-Red Sox. Let’s make bets on how many punches Kyle Farnsworth gets in on Julian Tavarez. Oh yeah, and Sox Fan? Here’s a little reminder:
Apparently the Rangers are in 1st place of the AL West… it looks like we now have two non-divisions – both coincidentally located in the Western third of the country. Interesting, because we just talked about the Padres going over on the Dodgers in stunning fashion last night. My response to Geoff’s comment is a little long, so I’ve moved it to the end of the post. But basically, know this – the Rangers and Padres have no business being at the top of any division now.
The Great Doug Mirabelli returns to beantown.
The Red Sox reacquired Doug Mirabelli. I guess it is kind of difficult to catch one of those dancing knuckleballs. I told you so? …Duh. They couldn’t have said it in a more powerful way – "man, we effed up." Mirabelli could probably demand five million a year and he’d get it. Of course, the best part is that the Yankees tried to acquire Mirabelli first – just to keep the Sox from getting to him first. Good stuff.
Minor League Umpires still not working
In other news, Minor League umpires are on strike. Now, I’m all for minor league umpires making more money and being happier. But hey – you watch baseball games for a living. Also, why should MLB pay you more money? There’s already stiff enough competition for umpiring, and so it’s economically a bad decision. And besides, what are you going to point to as your body of work? Possibly screwing up the World Baseball Classic with a few blown calls?
Albert Pujols is good
–And finally, the NL seems to have caught on to this guy, ‘Albert Pujols.’ Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s supposed to be pretty good. Now, lately the entire NL has been plodding along blindly, much like 2004’s LaTroy Hawkins. This is a story that bears repeating:
In 2004, LaTroy Hawkins – then the Cub’s ‘closer’ – was brought into the game to protect a one-run lead against the Cardinals, better known as Albert Pujols. As it happened, Pujols had already hit two Home Runs that night, and was by all means a Triple Crown contender. And now, LaTroy has allowed two of Pujol’s citizens on base, and Pujols is up. LaTroy pitches him a fat one, and Albert goes yard. After handing the St. Louis Albert Pujol’s a 10-8 victory, Hawkin’s began to fight Umpire Tim Tschida, for a still-unknown reason. Why? He didn’t give up Pujol’s third jack of the game, much less tell you to pitch to the triple crown contender. Sit down, LaTroy.
Back to Albert. This is how the entire NL has been playing Albert – until last night. Finally the Washington Nationals – of all teams, the Nationals! – realized that this Albert guy must have a little pop in his bat. In other words, he’s swinging a big stick. He’ll jerk it out of the yard. He’s really strong. So, Nationals got together, brainstormed, and decided to walk Albert. Four times yesterday. Which means his firestorming days in the NL are effectively finished, unless Walt can come up with someone besides Jim Edmonds to protect him. Surprising that the Cubs didn’t figure out that it was better to let Pujols "clog" the bases than clear them.
There are some very bad teams playing this game
The Royals are really bad, but unless you haven’t looked at the standings in seven years you know this. In fact, they’re what you would call
–"the worst," with their 5 wins, and 17 losses. Now that the team is officially having "a bad season," the Mark Grudzielanek War has begun. The Marlins are the
–"second-worst," with a lowly 6 wins. The Pirates have 7. The still owner-less Nationals have 8. My favorite team, the Padres, have a
–comparatively enormous, (nearly twice as many as the Royals) 9 wins, as do the Twins. On the other hand, the Devil Rays and Reds – pretty much synonyms for "really bad" recently – have done a fairly decent job of not embarrassing themselves. The Reds have been the most remarkable, and actually have the best record in the League right now – good for you. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Rays are still in last place. They’re 11-14, and that’s probably the strongest whiff they’ll get of .500 until Opening Day 2007. But still – keep it up the good work, guys! If it takes the mirage of a rivalry with the Red Sox to get you fired up enough to win, you do what you have to do. Last night the Rays beat the Red Sox on a miracle from Scott Kazmir. I say miracle because, c’mon, how many times will a guy that walks 100 batters in 186IP, (last year,) go 7 innings and only walk one dude? He also struck out 10. Nice.
No one wants to see a .500 team make the playoffs again.
I can’t get enough of last night’s Padres-Dodgers game. Check out the details here.
–I can’t describe in words how ridiculous the entire NL West is. I
–mean… I can, but not until the end of this post. The Padres scored
–more runs in the bottom of the 9th and 10th innings, (6), than they had
–done the entire previous week. Seriously, how bad can you be?
–And to think that this is essentially the same team that won the NL
–West last year? No way. Geoff left a very insightful comment to said post. Basically, Geoff says he begins to doubt the division system when teams like the 2005 Padres make it to the playoffs. Well, obviously. Of course, you can see my whole NL West hate-mongering right here; it’s probably my 2nd favorite post behind the Greatest Play of All Time. Anyway, Geoff says that teams like the Padres make the playoffs when you start allowing more teams in. And he asks me for a solution. Here are my ideas for a fix. If you want to get to the only plausible idea, just go ahead and skip to number 5.
1) My favorite, and the one I think would be most viable, is also the simplest. Probation. According to the NCAA, some guys gave some other guys – who happened to play for the University of Michigan Basketball team, specifically, the "Fab Five" – some cash. Well, about 11 years after the fact, the NCAA intervened with a, "hold it right there ,you cant do that!" Does anyone remember the National Title game against North Carolina in 1993, when UM’s Chris Webber called a timeout he didn’t have which probably cost them the game, as they were behind 2 points with 11 seconds left at the time? Well, you probably do. According to the NCAA, you must be imagining things, because that game never happened. The records have been deleted. "What," one of Webber’s teammates responded, "I was there. Sure it happened." No it didn’t. But let me get back to the point. Not only did the NCAA use the Memory Eraser for seven years, they also put Michigan on probation in 2003. Critical step. Imagine if a couple guys who happened to play for your team 10 years ago screwed up, and because of that, you’re out of the postseason. Even if you run the table and go undefeated. Do the same thing to the entire NL West. You don’t get into the playoffs with an 82-80 record, and if you do, you don’t get to go back for a long time. Nor do your associates, (the people that let you get there, by way of their own *******.)
2) Kind of an extension to #1. If you remove the NL West’s playoff spot, you have an odd team out come October. Now, we can’t just give them a bye. So, transfer the NL West’s forfeited playoff spot to the AL East (Toronto,) or Central. Heck, you might even be able to give it to the NL East. Make it fair.
3) Institute a BCS-like system in the NL West. I’m guessing that the combination of playing most of your games against bad teams, losing about half of them, outscoring your opponents by 42 runs all season, and having an expected win-loss record of 76-86 would keep you out of the playoffs.
4) Nevermind, because we all know Bud will never make such a rational decision. It’s not ok for guys to run around with crack slipping out of their pockets, (1980’s Mets,) but I’ll be darned if I keep a team that was micrometers from slipping below .500 out of the playoffs.
5) A serious solution. So maybe all the previous ideas were too wild to be accepted. Hey, people called Copernicus crazy in his time too. Turns out he was right about that whole "sun in the center" idea after all. Anyway, the only solution is to turn the whole thing into a wild-card type race. Here’s how it will work; four playoff spots will be given out per league, with no more than two going to each division. Best four records win! This plan is entirely foolproof – entirely. It allows no more winners per division than the wild card does, but it’s also a fail-safe against teams like the 2005 Padres. Again, as long as Selig is at the helm this is unlikely to happen, (especially with the whole non-scandal steroids issue,) and especially until someone raises a stink about it. I’ve done that just about every single day here. Maybe one day someone will hear me.
That’s all for today. Might be back with a Red Sox – Yankees recap. PS: If whoever runs RxSN Baseball is reading this, can you fire me an e-mail?