Tagged: Cincinnati Reds

Welcome Back

And we’re back. I’ve been trying to make my way here for about 10 days now, and it just hasn’t been the right moment. But know I’ve found the reason, because, as most of you know, the season of ‘football interfering with baseball’ is starting to warm up. I checked out the Worldwide Leader, and I saw another football headline, despite the fact that no one is actually playing football now. It happens every year, right around the time I go back to school – which is in nine days – and I dread it. Football, with the exception of soccer, is my least favorite sport. In any case, a few quick hits for right now, and we’ll be jumping back into the normal stuff soon. There is no huge excuse for the past 40 day absence. I simply couldn’t spend as much time following baseball and working a full time job as I could during the school year. I know that many readers work full time jobs as well; in fact, I would say most of you do. And most of you would find that something like this is just impossible to do every single day. On that note, you can check Kevin’s post in the Chatbox,

KEVIN: rumor has it, reid is planning a great return to theblog. He may say he has been "very busy" but he is lying. He has just
been lazy, and has been catching up in watching The Office

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. If you haven’t seen The Office, you need to watch the entire 2nd season on your computer now. It’s fantastic. Expect to see some references thrown in here from time to time, apropos of nothing. For example, this morning I hit myself in the head with my phone. "That actually took awhile, I had to put more and more nickels into his headset until he got used to the weight and then I just… took them all out." So, let’s get into the baseball. You can expect, from here on out, quality, vintage, ODBM, material. Not the shabby stuff I hooked you up with from April 30th on. Let’s get started with a couple things from the last day.

Former Red Sox Bronson Arroyo decided that, since he hasn’t won a game in nearly two years (actually, since June 19th,) that it must be his hair’s fault. So, for today’s game against the Cardinals he put his hair into cornrows, hoping that whatever black magic ‘broke’ The Curse would bring him a win. It didn’t, and he gave up four home runs instead. But it’s good to see that spending time with his hair stylist is more important than trying to figure out why he can no longer pitch. Actually, stop yourself, Bronson Arroyo was never a great pitcher. Pre-June 19th, he was 9-3 with a 2.47 ERA. So Arroyo was pretty good for about two and a half months. Nothing, least of all hair, can bring that back.

Last night, I had the fortune of watching two no-hitters get broken up in the 6th and 7th innings, and I was responsible for both. As most of you know, I have a strange ability to stop a no-hitter in its tracks, as soon as I open my mouth to Kevin. Last night was no exception. First case, David Bush on the mound against the Cubs. And obviously, if two months ago you had asked me which of the 30 teams would get no-hit this season, I would tell you the Cubs or the Royals. Probably the Royals, since the Cubs have the Dusty Baker "don’t walk, you’ll clog the bases" strategy. Anyway, it’s the top of the 6th inning and Bush is still running a no-hitter. Knowing my past experiences, I try to tell Kevin why I can’t watch the Yankees game. I tell him I’m doing something that involves the letters ‘MLB’, and that one of the teams has the first two letters of the aforementioned three in it, while the other team has an NFL team in the same city which utilizes the final letter. Alas, the next at bat, Bush gives up a hit to Juan Pierre, of all people. How this happened is less of a mystery than how Pierre’s OBP skyrocketed to a lofty .322, with an average of .276. The last I remember, Baker was still plugging him into the leadoff spot with an OPB circa .280.

The next game finds us at US Cellular Field, (formerly New Comiskey, before the sellout.) This one was never in doubt, because after I sent Kevin on the hunt for what I was doing, (see above,) he responded with, "dude no way Johnson is going to pull it off," which is a shotgun blast to whatever chances Randy ever had. I told him to shut up, and about three seconds later Bush gave up his bid. So, I went over to the Yankee game, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing anything special, but knowing that if I didn’t switch over, I would, in fact, miss something special. The next White Sox up to bat gets a hit. I can’t make this stuff up, people. In the past year, I have ruined six potential no-hitters or perfect games, three of which were in the sixth inning or later.

Apparently, the parents are opening their warm arms to welcome some company from The District for the next few days, but tomorrow is also my last day of work. It may be hectic for the next few days, but come Monday – at the latest – we’ll be right back on track. And then, August 19th, it’s back to school. And then, the real fun starts up again.

Thanks for holding out – the site has still been getting nearly 100 hits a day – and know that we won’t be hearing any talk of football here for the remainder of the season. See you guys again tomorrow.


Memorial Day Wrap

Well, this wasn’t the summer I was expecting. I don’t mean to complain – because, certainly, there are worse things that could happen to people – but I’ve been working too much. 50 hours in seven days. Which is exactly why we haven’t been seeing all-star caliber writing on here of late. I apologize. Anyway, I caught the last 5 innings or so of the Red Sox at Blue Jays tonight, after I got home from work and a nice BBQ. Anyway, some thoughts on that game – Roy Halladay didn’t get the win, but he deserved it. He went 7 innings, giving up only 3 runs (all on 2 HR,) and left the game 6-3. Then the bullpen came in and blew it for him, only to come back and win the game 7-6. So, technicalities aside, Halladay would have his 7th win right now. See, I’ve never liked that rule. I feel like, if the pitcher leaves the game – especially in the 7th inning – with a 3-run lead, and his team still wins the game, he should get the win. Especially when the opposing team only ties the game, instead of taking the lead and giving it back up. For this, I’m suggesting a new statistical category – Starter Wins. Call it whatever you want. But whenever a pitcher leaves the game in the 6th inning or later with the lead, he earns a starter win, regardless of the outcome of the game. Of course, if a pitcher leaves the game 6-5, with three runners on, and they score, he doesn’t earn the Starter Win because those were his runners. Well, that’s just what I think.

Remember when the Reds were good? There was that brief period earlier in the year when they were considered the surprise team of the NL. Then they went out and starting losing games again. Bronson Arroyo stopped pitching 7 innings and giving up one run. He stopped hitting Home Runs. Brandon Phillips cooled off. The list goes on. Either way, it resulted in some more losses. Since getting swept by Philly on May 12, the Reds are a typical Red-like 5-11. What, you didn’t see it coming? They’re now 5 games back of the Albert Pujol’s and just 2 games up of the Brewers.

What do you think of SI’s "2nd best team" getting beat by the Royals? That’s right, one of my beefs with SI – besides the fact that, despite the address change I delivered to them, I’m still (apparently) receiving my issues at school, where, since it’s summer, I no longer reside – is that they called the A’s the 2nd best team in baseball in their annual baseball preview edition. They called the Reds the 3rd worst team, and that’s another problem I had at the time. Anyway, they A’s lost 7 in a row, beat the Rangers 6-3, lost again to the Rangers, and then lost to the Royals tonight. Certainly not a way for alleged the 2nd best team in the league to go about acquiring their championship. They’re now 23-28. But, good news, they’re still in the AL West, and only 4 games back of Texas, the division leader. Somehow, don’t ask me how. Weird.

Alright, I’ll be heading to the Yankees game tonight (Tuesday) and tomorrow. I’ll be taking pictures and writing detailed gameday-style accounts. Now, I need to be up for work at 6.50am tomorrow – see you all tomorrow night.

Weekend in Review

So the bad thing about Sunday is that it’s usually day games. By the time I got home from work, all the games – with the exception of Yankees-Mets – were over. So here are a few various items, from both yesterday and today.

Marlins v. Devil Rays
When the Marlins lost to the Devil Rays again last night, 4-3, they blew their fourth game in a row after leading in the ninth inning. The only other MLB team to accomplish that feat? The 2002 Devil Rays. How special. In fact, the Battle for Florida Supremacy, as we’ve taken to calling the series, was so important that D-Rays manager Joe Maddon was "out of town" for the first two games, leaving his bench coach in charge. But in all seriousness, the Rays got a fantastic game out of Scott Kazmir tonight, to take the series 3-0. Looks like we found the best team in Florida, right? Right? Loser heads to Las Vegas, right? Anyway, Kazmir struck out 11 Marlins, going 8 innings, walking one, and allowing just 4 hits and no runs. Funny, because I just wrote about how Kazmir seemed to be back on track, and more importantly, for real this year.

Cubs v. White Sox
So the Cubs beat the White Sox in game 3 of that big Chicago v. Chicago thing. Uh, that pretty much means no repeat. I know the Cubs have been getting attention for being bad lately, but I don’t think people are aware of exactly how bad they are. One of the worst teams in the league, the Pirates, are in the same division and have 14 wins. The Cubs have 18, and one more loss. And it will get much worse before Lee returns. So basically, if the Cubs played the Pirates in a 4-game set, they’d be likely to lose at least two, if not three, games. Anyway, regarding yesterday’s Throw Down by Michael Barrett upon A.J., a few notes. First, A.J. is known as the biggest a-hole in baseball. I mean, this was something people knew years ago. Here’s a list, basically, of why the world should thank Barrett for punching A.J, from Sporlitics. And let me explain to you, exactly, whyBarrett_1_2

Barrett was so upset after A.J. knocked him around sliding into home. He didn’t just train Barrett. He trained him when there was no play at home. And after that, he got up, pounded the plate, and stared down Barrett. Barrett then gave A.J. a quick hug before coldcocking him. As you can see to your right, A.J. never saw it coming. But, Barrett hugged A.J. so they could have a quick chat – what did he say? "I didn’t even have the f*cking ball, b*tch."

I also want to make sure everyone saw the video on YouTube. Actually, MLB already managed to get it taken down – dang, that was fast! Look, I get the whole anti-copyright thing, and it’s cool – I don’t like it, but I can see that if you let people start posting plays on YouTube, it will eventually weaken the fan’s appreciation for the sport, right? Wait… whatever. It’s not about that, right? It’s about something bigger – the principle, right? Look, if you’re going to interfere with the free market that YouTube provides and supports, then you need to provide a better or at least equal service. Which you don’t. If I wrote Bud Selig and asked him if I could post a video from a baseball game on YouTube, would he respond? And would he grant me expressed permission if he did? Alright.

Reds v. Tigers
I was able to attend the first game of this series, which was the only game of the Tiger’s last 10 that we lost. My luck, right. The Tigers won last night on a Felipe Lopez throwing error, and won this afternoon as well – 1-0. Good job. You don’t see a lot of 1-0 games from two clubs which are both in the top 5 of all MLB teams in HR – Detroit at #2, Cincinnati at #4. Anyway, Nate Robertson pitched 7.1 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 7, but walking 5. Obviously, he wasn’t lights out – but he was pretty good. Especially considering what Nate Robertson usually is. And, again, the Tigers are one game above the White Sox in the AL Central.

Albert Pujols
Albert hit another home run today. In related news, the sun came up this morning. Albert’s HR contributed to the St. Louis Albert Pujol’s 10-3 thrashing of the Royals.

Matt Cain
Cain one-hit the A’s on Sunday, also allowing just 3 walks. Matt who? The Giants are now 23-21, which means they can pretty much start printing playoff tickets right now. That is, as soon as they overcome the first place, 25-19, Rockies.

The Twins, my pre-season pick for the surprise bad team of the year, remain bad. They lost to Milwaukee today, and are now 19-25, good for 4th place and 10.5 games back from the AL Central Division-leading Tigers.

Mark’s War
The Citizen Soldiers of the Kansas City Royals are in dire need of a victory. They’re on a 9-game losing streak. Coming up? A 4-game set with the Tigers, and a pair of 3-game sets with the Yankees and A’s on the road, where the Royals are 2-20 this year. In other words, PFC Mark – who returned to the team after being gunned down on Saturday night, trying to score from 1st base – and Captain Bell will trot an impressive 19 game losing streak onto the battlefield when they arrive in Seattle on June 2nd. They will have won 5 games in all of May – three by one run, one by two runs, and one by three runs.

That’s about all for today. Again, didn’t get to do much baseball stuff today, so that’s why we have the short post. I have tomorrow off, but then I have to work 36 hours, in 5 days of 6 days, with only Thursday off. And of course, they wanted me to come in on Thursday too. After that, I’ll be heading to the Tigers-Yankees game on May 31st, and then it’s down to Cincinnati, where BHGM will be on vacation for about 3 or 4 days. If anyone is interesting in posting some guest writings here, contact me at reid@yankeesmvp.com. Check out the liveblog from last night, and lets see some comments too, people.

Gameday: Tigers 4, Reds 9.

Here’s our first Gameday post. I’m shooting to hit about eight games this summer, down from the lofty 11 I made last year, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Tonight was the first Tigers game of the season that we were finally able to get to, so the boys ponied up and headed down to the CoPa for an inaugural interleague matchup. The day started off like any of the previous ten Michigan days – cold, dark, and dreary. I had checked the forecast last night and we were looking at a 30% chance of rain through gametime; odds we considered to be in our favor. If you start turning away at a 30% in Michigan, you’ll spend your life indoors. That’s no joke either. Anyway, today the delegation consisted of Kevin, Soifer, Nick and myself. Nick’s another kid from back in the High School era. Soifer, as we know, member of the original experience from the Groves days as well. Kevin, he’s as much baseball fan as me and co-chair of the Andres Torres Fan Club. So we pile in the Buick and it’s down to Detroit. Obviously, our route is obstructed by various construction sites but there’s no way around that; we had left late anyway, with no intention of sitting around for an hour and a half in the cold. Heck no. So we get to the park around 6pm and grab a meal at the in-park Leo’s Coney Island. Interesting fact – a Cheese Coney at Leo’s in Birmingham is about $1.10; a Cheese Coney at Leo’s in Comerica Park is about $3.75. Heck, they add a buck just for the cheese part, which is a solid joke. No refills on the monster 16oz drinks either. The final tally – $12 a head. By now it’s 6.30pm and we’re heading to the seats.

If you know anything about Kevin and I, it’s that we very rarely pay full price for a ticket to a baseball game. In fact, our record is $2.50 each for one game, and that was a $5 for parking. We had free coupons for upper deck seats, which we promptly vacated, pulled on one of our many usher friends, and ended up in the first couple rows in left field. Today we were using tickets from Soifer’s Dad’s office, some fine duckets in Section 134, Row 22, (right, as seen last year). Basically, 22 rows back from the center of the Tiger’s dugout. That’s a big section for the business men, or, as it was tonight, the drunks, incompetent parents, Piston fans, and TV News hosts. It was an outstanding, all-star mix of folks tonight, but we’ll get to that soon enough. The game started with the typical celebrations, National Anthem by Country Singer, Little League team night, etc. But someone had thrown a wrench into the typical routine; there was also a Pistons game on tonight. They were facing elimination, down 3-2 to the Cavs. Here’s the thing. As has been previously discussed, I don’t care for the Pistons one bit. I used to love basketball. I went to the occasional game, watched some on TV, and was a big fantasy junkie. Then came the Championship – I believe it was 2004, maybe 2003, I don’t care. For the first few rounds it was alright, I even enjoyed a couple games at the Chili’s bar with Jeff, (old school guy from the way back days when I worked at Pet Supplies Plus. Plays amateur ball. Baseball nut.) But after that Lakers series where ‘we’ took the Title, it all went downhill. Basically, everyone who had never seen a basketball before was suddenly the Piston’s #1 fan. I wasn’t down with that, so I quit. And now, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s Pistons bandwagon fans. This will come into play on multiple occasions later.

Back to the game. The first inning was, for the most part, uneventful. You’ve got the chronic late fans, which is an obvious problem when you’re sitting in seat 1. Basically, anytime a vender passes or someone gets up, it’s a break in the action for you. And they are about five times more likely to pass by you just as the pitcher enters his windup than any other point in the game; it’s uncanny. So that was the first inning for you, late arrivals and beer sales. Beer sales which, it turned out, would come back to haunt a few of the surrounding fans. Who will likely wake up tomorrow with no recollection of the loud stories they told or the intelligent heckling they did.

Now, the top of the second is when things began to get scary. Bonderman gave up two runs, and I can personally claim responsibility for one. That would be the Rich Aurelia home run. In typical fashion, my Mom picked gametime to call me. Of all the times she could’ve called to chat all week, she picked gametime. She’s very adept at doing so, in fact, this is the fourth time it’s happened in the last 12 games. Pretty remarkable for someone you talk to on the phone once or twice a week. So, we stand at 1-0, Reds. Next comes a Scott Hatteburg walk and an Austin Kearns double that moves Scott to 3rd. Then Hatteburg scores on a sac fly by Javier Valentine, DH. Good to see the Reds beat us at our own game. Reds up, 2-0. Jason LaRue takes a terrible cut to strike out – so terrible, in fact, that he helicoptered the bat down the 3rd base line. It wasn’t a typical helicopter either, it was weak and barely had any spin on it. Good job, Jason. Brandon Phillips grounds out, inning over.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the Tigers went down uneventfully, again. Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. strike out swinging in the top of the 3rd, with terrible swings at low balls. Maybe Ken failed because the guy to my right yelled, "What happened to you, Ken!" and then to his friend, "Ever since he left Seattle, he’s fallen off the face of the earth." Because he’s getting old, dude. It’s not like he made a conscious decision to be unhealthy, so give the guy a rest. The Tigers go down on the bottom of the third, again uneventfully. This was the last time anyone thought we had a chance in the game.

Now it’s the top of the fourth, and things just blew apart for the Tigers. Scott Hatteberg singles. Austin Kearns walks. Javier Valentin walks. Now the bases are juiced up, no outs, Jason LaRue – catcher! – up to bat. And he gets drilled, driving in Hatteberg. Reds up, 3-0. Now it’s Brandon Phillips up, bases still tagged. And he hits one into the gap – clearing the bags for a triple – but wait! The throw comes into Guillen (SS) who sees what looks like a close play at 3rd and chucks the ball in the general direction, very Knoblauch-esque. Error number 11 for Carlos, Brandon Phillips comes home. Technically a triple with a score on the throwing error, but for all practical purposes, an in the park grand slam. Quite uncommon. Either way, Reds up, 7-0. Leyland has had enough of Bonderman and he gets yanked for Ramon Colon, who came over in the Kyle Farnsworth dump last year. I was pissed when that went down, because Farnsworth is my boy. Anyway, when Ramon comes in you figure the game is pretty much shot, and it was. 3 innings down, 7 runs back. Felipe Lopez grounds out, so we finally get an out there. Then Adam Dunn – he who knows only the K, BB, and HR, literally; dude has 13 singles, 6 doubles, 14 HR, 52 K’s, and 37 BB’s – homers to right. This makes the choice to bat him in the two-hole all the more mysterious. I’ve never witnessed a HR in person that was so obviously out. For a while, Soifer and I honestly thought it was going out of the park. It missed by a few rows. And the entire Al Kaline Porch.  It clocked in at 440ft. But what can I say, it was traveling parallel to us and my outfielder’s eye didn’t have a good fix. Reds up, 8-0. At least my fantasy team, (Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn,) was benefiting. We finally got out of that inning, now down by 8. Then, for awhile, I thought the Tigers would make a real game of it. Polanco singles to left, Pudge singles to center, Ordonez singles to center, scoring Polanco. Reds still ahead, 8-1. Carlos Guillen grounds into a double play, but moves Pudge to third, and Shelton doubles him home. Reds still up, 8-2. Then, a real miracle happened. With two outs and two runners on, Craig Monroe got a hit. Mark your calendars, because it may never happen again. Shelton scored from 2nd, 8-3. Shortly after, inning over.

In the fifth, Brandon Phillips knocked in a run with a sac fly, Reds up 9-3. He had 4 official RBI’s, 5 if you count his error-induced, in the park grand slam driving himself in. In the bottom of the 6th, Marcus Thames homered for the Tigers, putting us at 9-4. And that’s where we finished out. But if the Tigers didn’t entertain us, the crowd wasn’t going to allow any boredom in the stands. It started out with a 2-year-old child wondering around the aisle. Heck, when I’m at work in the hardware store, mothers won’t walk 4 feet down an aisle when I show them a product if it means they have to leave the stroller. This kid was wondering around the aisle, on the other side of his parent’s seat, and right in front of me. Screaming bloody murder in my ear. Absolutely terrifying screams. I have no idea why he was so upset. Maybe it was because his mother, instead of coming to get him, tried to coax him back with a frozen lemonade. This didn’t work for five minutes, and finally an usher came down and told the Mom that no small children were allowed in the aisle. Basically, keep on eye on your brat, lady. The kid can’t even say words yet, he shouldn’t be roaming around the CoPa screaming. He might get snatched. Well, she’s not winning any mother of the year awards.

But we did have some millionaires in the house. Millionaires, I presume, because of what I gleaned from the conversation behind me. Things like, "yeah, I think that’s a good place to buy boats. I was on one that came from there a couple days ago, and it was brand spanking new, couldn’t have been 20 hours old. I think Charlie bought a couple good boats from there too… so, Sunday a big day to sell real estate?" These two guys had jack. And when they left in the 6th inning, they asked us if we wanted their peanuts, which they hadn’t finished. Thanks, because I know that I can’t afford the things on my college budget that you can on your millionaire salary. Thanks again, sir.

And of course, no game is complete without the drunk. But when you mix the witty drunk with the heckler with the loudest voice on the planet, certain fun ensues. Fun like, "Adam Dunn, you’re a bum. Buuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmm!" The guy had superhuman lungs. He had that last ‘bum’ going for no less than 15 seconds. I’m not kidding. Three sections worth of fans were looking right into his sunglass-covered eyes. I nearly responded to the guy, who was a few rows above us, "Dunn is a bum? Because they rhyme? And how much do you make a year? Compared to Adam, you’re a hobo." Drunk Heckler also came up with the following shot at Rich Aurilia, "Number 33… haha!" Clearly, there’s something about the number 33 makes any player who wears it a big loser. You learn something new every day.

Then I had to suffer through two intense bandwagoning Pistons fans. Two women, right above the line, at around 28. All decked out in their Pistons gear. At a baseball game. After hearing the 20th update of the score – which seemed to always find the Pistons ahead by a meaningless two points – I said, simply, "you’re at a baseball game!" Clearly, I was wrong. A chorus of "Deeetroit Baaasketball" followed that erroneous statement. Now, as if throwing the Bandwagon slogan into my ears for the 217th time that night wasn’t bad enough, I was informed by one of the ladies that, "your first-place team can’t even sell out a game on a Friday night!" after which point I stopped listening. First of all, you’re at the baseball game, not the basketball game. Obviously, the Tigers have some draw, or you and bandwagon HQ wouldn’t be in attendance. Furthermore, you haven’t touched on the root of the problem – that you’re cheering for a basketball team while attending a baseball game. If you wanted to watch the basketball game, you should’ve picked that as your Friday night event – not a "girls night out" to the ballpark because, quite frankly, you couldn’t find a date.

But that’s where it got interesting. All of the sudden, a resounding cheer erupted from behind me, in the suite level. I was puzzled, because there was nothing going on at the field – we were between pitches or something. I looked back and saw every suite TV tuned to the Pistons game. Fantastic. Come to a baseball game to watch a basketball game on TV. For the next 10 minutes, random cheers came from the entire suite level and a couple hundred fans who were watching the suite TV’s from down below. The Tigers and Reds must have been completely baffled. Why, wonders Pudge, did everyone just cheer when LaRue threw the ball back to Hammond? What’s going on? And the energy just fed off itself like the nasty machine it was. Pretty soon, the entire stadium was cheering whenever the suite level went off. I don’t think anyone except the suite ticket holders knew exactly what they were cheering for, but the remaining 20,000 fans weren’t going to miss out on whatever it was. That’s not to say that the entire park didn’t have the Pistons on their
mind, it’s just saying that they weren’t watching the game and had no
idea exactly what events were transpiring. The crowd was circling the wagons, and they weren’t going to watch a baseball game simply because it was happening in front of them. C’mon, the ‘stons are facing elimination here! Ben needs me! Ben needs to know that I got his back! Finally, the Tigers made the loss official and we headed home.

Good game, boys. The fans congratulated you with things like, "Well, they had to lose sometime." Right, because the Tigers have never been known for the losing ways. And then, "well, if they had won tonight it would’ve been an 8-game winning streak, and that wasn’t gonna happen." Clearly, Tiger Fan is still in denial. Get with it, people – the Tigers aren’t a 3rd world baseball team anymore. They’re halfway decent. Accept, and move on.

As for the in-game analysis, there really wasn’t much. Bonderman was off, and that’s what cost us the game. He allowed seven earned. Had he had a quality start, you can say he allows 3 runs in 7 innings, and then the relief would be perfect. Tigers win, 4-3. Obviously, that’s the biggest leap into revisionist history ever, but you get the point. Other than that… probably the most unremarkable game ever, outside the fans. And the near-foul ball catch. I bring my glove to every game. And today, I brought my A-game. The closest we got to a foul ball was about 100 feet. But I’ll be ‘darned’ if I wasn’t on my feet and reaching. "You need to jump, Reid! Lay yourself out for those!" shouted Nick. Maybe next time.

Kazmir, Cubs, C. Duffy, and College Baseball  Lying

Didn’t have the time to punch out a post last night and so tonight, with a light day in baseball, we’re going to cover two nights at once. Lucky treat. On the slate from last night: Scott Kazmir learns to throw – kinda, the Tigers have the best record in MLB, the Cubs are getting balls thrown at them, and Barry Bonds is forced to dodge bullets at the plate. As for tonight: Chris "The Liar" Duffy is bent that the Pirates sent him down to Triple-A. Meanwhile, the Reds are back to their old M.O. – losing games, a minor leaguer attempted to convince an umpire that he was hit by a pitch, while the Angels hand the Blue Jays a game.

Scott Kazmir learns to aim – well, at least he’s better at getting away with not doing so.
Now, Scott Kazmir of the Devil Rays has always – since his 2004 MLB Debut – had ‘good stuff.’ One problem, he can’t exactly tell that good stuff where to go. So he walks guys, a lot. In his first full season last year, he walked 100 batters while striking out 174 batters in 186 innings. He also had a 3.77 ERA and went 10-9 on a Devil Rays team. Anyway, Kazmir had a hot start last year, but he started off slow this year – and now he’s back. He’s 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA, 56 K’s and 20 BB’s. Despite the fact that he has given up 20 walks – still 3/5 off the pace he was running last year – his WHIP is a respectable 1.375. Not amazing, but pretty good. Especially when Randall is trotting out his shiny 2.00 WHIP in the last seven games or something.

When you have 4 wins in your last 19 games, people are gonna chuck stuff at you
Turns out, Life Without Lee is just as impossible as Cub fans thought it would be. That is, they can’t score runs, and their pitching is still unruly. But on Tuesday, things reached a new low. The Cubs won, 4-0, but that didn’t stop a "drunk woman" at Wrigley from slinging a ball at the struggling – I mean, bad – Jacque Jones. The ball missed and Jones escaped without harm. Here’s the thing, though. Jones is acting like it’s an isolated incident, and he "won’t let one incident ruin what I came here to do." But understand this – maybe most of Chicago won’t throw a baseball at your head. But most of Chicago is pissed that, while the team’s offense, pitching, defense, and baserunning are all in the tank, you’re being paid $16 million over three years for harming the team in three of those areas. You have a .264 avg, a .967 fielding percentage, and you just got doubled off that night and couldn’t even think of a post-game excuse for why. Here’s the deal; the Cubs are just bad this year. Again. We’ve talked about why, most recently on Tuesday.

Turns out, cheating doesn’t win you any friends.
Barry Bonds got nailed on Tuesday night, as we all know by now. I’ll forget, for a second, that it took Russ Springer five tries until he finally was able to hit Bonds. As I said last night, you might not like the guy, but that doesn’t mean you can cheer when a
pitcher intentionally hits him. The pitch that ended up hitting Bonds
was not that far from his head – see above for video. I’m the
last guy to stick up for Bonds, and fans can boo him if they don’t like
him. But it is not ok for a player to throw at Barry Bonds because he doesn’t like him, for whatever reason. Especially when you know – as Russ no doubt did – how it would be interpreted by the fans. That
is, with cheers. Retaliation is ok, to a point. But to throw a baseball at a guy because you don’t
like him – that’s assault, not sport.

The Tigers have the best record in MLB
Alright, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it 500 times – I knew the Tigers would be good, but I didn’t think they’d be this good. 27-13? The best record in MLB, 40 games into the season? 4, maybe. But 40? How? Well, tomorrow is my day off, so we’ll be taking an in-depth look at what’s going right for the Tigers. And then I’ll be attending the Tigers-Reds game tonight with Soifer and Kevin. But, for a look at a team where everything is going wrong…

Chris Duffy thinks his .194 average is too good for AAA
Well, besides the fact that .200 is the Mendoza Line which, by definition, is when it becomes not ok to be in the Major Leagues, Duffy might just be in the right here. But the Pirates disagree, and placed him in the Restricted List after Duffy decided not to report to AAA ball upon his demotion. Recall that Duffy single-handedly lost a game for the Pirates earlier this year, and not accidentally. That is to say, he told a fib, and he got in trouble for it. Of course, the kicker will come if Duffy announces that he is commencing Operation Shutdown because, hey, he’s never had to compete for an MLB job before, and if there’s competition, someone better let him know. If there’s competition, they should just eliminate him right now because he ain’t never hit in April or May and he never will. Next to the Royals and Cubs, no team has ever made losing this much fun. Ever.

Good, someone found the real Reds.
I was getting worried there for a moment. I thought the Reds might have been a legit good team. I still maintain that they’re not the "3rd worst team in baseball" as SI claims; far from it. The Reds might still be 4-6 in their last 10, just 2 games back of first, and have a 24-17 record – but the writing is on the wall. Well, let me have Bronson Arroyo, who lost to the aforementioned Pirates 7-2 last night, explain it to you:

I felt like I was embarrassed to get behind 4-1 early
in a game like that. It’s not a secret. They don’t
have a bunch of All-Stars in that lineup… I was embarrassed to be beaten by
those guys. That’s not to say you can’t be beat on any given day, but I
thought it was a horse (****) outing, especially against a team like
that. I mean, they are one of the weakest teams in baseball…
This can’t
happen, period. If I can’t stand on the mound and feel comfortable
against that lineup, then something’s wrong with me.

Bronson… you do know that pitchers have to bat in the NL, correct? Strap on the elbow protector next time you step up to the plate against the Pirates next time. But the fun doesn’t stop here. Last night, the Reds finally went over on the Pirates to snap their 5-game losing streak. But, it didn’t start well. The Pirates jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first, (sound familiar, Texas? Minnesota?) only to watch the Reds slowly chip away at that lead as the game wore on. Final score, 9-8, Reds. The AP’s Alan Robinson had this to say about the win: "The Cincinnati Reds seemed out of this one early… Then maybe they realized who they were playing." Basically, if you lose to the Pirates, someone is going to get after you for it.

You have to see this – "Unbelievable!"
Your team is down one run, in the third inning. You don’t know how else to get on base, so you think that maybe getting hit by a pitch is your best bet. Problem is, the ball has to actually hit you before you get that free base. And if the ump tells you that it didn’t hit you – while the fans confirm as much – you don’t have the right to threaten him. You’ve got to love College Baseball. It doesn’t look like Mr. Walker has much of anything under control here. Maybe the Cubs will draft him in the first round.

The Angels just handed a game to the Jays
The Angels had this game won. Bottom of the 9th, no outs, 4-4, Chone Figgins on 3rd base. You can’t lose, can you? Actually, you can, and they did. The Angels managed to get themselves out of that inning without scoring a run, and then the Jays came back to score 3 in the top of the 10th to pretty much seal the victory. I’m not going to watch the rest of the game, but I’m assuming the Jays will win. Of course, that’s what happens when you miss two chances with speedy guys on 3rd and less than 2 outs in the late innings. That also happens when you give the opposing team 5 outs in one inning, which happened when, A) the Angels 1B forgot to pick up the ball when he went to toss it to the pitcher covering the bag, who then collided with him and nearly knocked him down, and B) Vlad catches a routine pop up, but not really, as it rolls out of his glove. The entire night, the Angels gave the Jays every chance they could to win the game. You can’t do that if you want to win baseball games. Then again, the Angels haven’t been doing much of that lately, so it looks like we’re straight. UPDATE: Another ball just flew by Vlad in right field, allowing another run to score for the Jays, 8-4.

Thanks for reading. Sorry about the posting mix up last night. Devin – it’s good to see that you’ve finally got a blog. You’re one of the more frequent readers here on BHGM so that’s always a nice thing to see. I’ll check it out tomorrow. Your comment is reasonable – that Posada isn’t exactly over performing as he isn’t putting up mind-blowing numbers. I’m just saying that he won’t be able to keep that pace up for a whole year, because he hasn’t done so in the past, and he’s only gotten older. He won’t go into a major slump for the rest of the year, he just won’t produce at the level he’s doing so now. See you guys tomorrow.

Let’s talk NL… exciting?

Quick note: you can now access the site at http://www.bihgm.com, (starting later on Saturday.) When you type in this address, you will automatically be directed here. Still waiting for all you regular readers, (and any others,) to leave your comment. So far, the reader inventory has racked up one new reader, Devovsky. Appreciate the kind words, man. Keep reading and keep leaving comments. Jason, you didn’t miss a whole lot the other night. And Kellia, thanks for being our alert reader of the day. You’re right. Ben Sheets does, indeed, pitch for the Brewers, not the Pirates. For some reason, I can’t get that into my head. Geoff – I was going to do a comparative analysis of Ferocious Lion replacements, but I’m going to save that for a few days. But, I will say I’m hearing that the Phillies GM is "expecting a call" from Brian Cashman. Anyway, we continue the call to all readers – leave a comment on this post if you’ve never done so, or, if you’re that against an MLB account, (and I can’t see why,) use the new chat box on the left sidebar. Tonight we’re going to talk about the National League. I don’t like the National League at all. It is, overall, boring. I mean, it certainly has it’s advantages. What would baseball be without Albert Pujols? You’ve also got more of a thinking game when you enter in the hitting pitcher. But in the end, the teams are worse, and the league is obviously worse for it.

Phillies v. Reds
Ever hear of Cole Hamels? Supposed to be the savior of the Phillies, and he made his MLB Debut tonight. He’s invincible, they say. Basically, the first five innings are empty, with the exception of a 2-run home run by the Phillies’ Ryan Howard. And Hamels has a no hitter right until 2 outs in the 5th, when the Reds’ Felipe Lopez breaks it up with a hit into right center. Interestingly, that new centerfielder (in for Rowand) tried to pass it off as a trap at first, but then realized that as he was doing so, Lopez was still running. Another fun time was had when the Phillies’ David Bell was up to the plate and the broadcasters noted that Royals Manager Buddy Bell was his father. They talked about how David is probably pretty proud of the Royals recent success, (three straight wins, prior to tonight’s loss to the Orioles,) but that he probably tells his Dad, "Look, I love you Dad, but please don’t trade for me." After sharing a good laugh, one of them says, "Aww, we’re just kidding, all you Royals fans out there." Seriously? First, you’re assuming that there are Royals fans out there, and that they really do exist. Next, you’re thinking that of all those Royals fans – figure there are a couple thousand in the whole country – are tuning in to the Reds v. Phillies game on Friday night. And, as if that wasn’t enough, you’re assuming that they don’t already know how terrible their team is. Judging by the Chad Carroll loyalty sale, I’m thinking they already know. So remember, assumptions are dangerous. In the bottom of the 6th, after the Phillies yanked Cole Hamels for a pinch hitter (who struck out) in the top of the 6th, Ryan Madsen is pitching to Austin Kearns. First, know that Hamels left his MLB Debut with a 2-0 lead, after allowing only one hit in five innings. Knowing that, Kearns absolutely rips Madsen out of the yard. Remember the Aaron Boone 2003 ALCS Game 7 Home Run off Tim Wakefield? Of course you do. It was exactly like that home run, right down the left field line, except that it went about 150 feet further. So now it’s 2-1, Phillies. Adam Dunn comes up, strikes out, and sits down. Next up, Edwin Encarnacion, who takes Madsen deep for another homer. Just like that, poof. Hamels, who left on top of his game, ends up losing his first win. By the way, the Hamels guy has nasty stuff. Check him out. Phillies beat Reds, 8-4.

Brewers v. Mets
When I saw that Lima Time was holding the Brewers to zero runs, (while my man Dave Bush had given up three,) I was surprised. The Phillies v. Reds game was getting boring, so I switched. Anyway, it’s 3-1 Mets in the bottom of the 5th, with the Brewers up. Here’s how it goes down. First, Damian Miller grounds out. Then Brady Clark gets hit by a pitch. Dave Bush sacrifices Clark to 2nd, then Rickie Weeks walks. So now it’s men on 1st and 2nd with two outs, not a huge jam for Lima. But you know the story of Lima, so you know it’s going to get bad, you just have no idea how bad. Bill Hall singles to left field. Now the bases are juiced, two outs, and it’s all on Lima’s shoulders. The game could go three ways now; either Lima reaches back and gets Geoff Jenkins out, he gets lucky and Jenkins gets himself out, or Lima buckles and the Brewers bust the game wide open. We’re going to go with option number three, and so did Lima. First he pitched Geoff three straight balls. And then Geoff hits a double all the way back to the center field wall – a base clearing double. Now it’s 4-3 Brewers, and Chad Bradford is in for Lima. The broadcasters provide a helpful, "And this call to the bullpen provided by Goodyear, who reminds you that it’s no longer Lima Time." Then Carlos Lee – All-Time Great – singles to center, scoring Jenkins. 5-3, Bradford replaced by Darren Oliver, Prince Fielder up. Fielder homers, knocking in Lee. Brewers up, 7-3. Then Corey "I’m… not so good" Koskie pops out. By the way, in 2004 Koskie was with the Twins. In 2005 it was the Blue Jays. Go Brewers, 6 runs in one inning.   

Rickie Weeks made another simple defensive error later in the game. Trying to get a Web Gem, with a runner on 1st and a ground ball straight to him, he grabs the ball, jumps up and tucks his legs, (???) and makes a terrible throw to 2nd. There was really no play at 2nd, but who cares? Rickie – next time I’m going to have to direct you to 1st base on that kind of play. And don’t try to earn a Web Gem when you’ve made 11 errors already – more than anyone else in the league. Later in the inning, Carlos Lee (in left field) tried to make one of those sliding catches in foul territory, but collided with the tarp and missed the catch. He was ok, thankfully. But think. The game is at Miller Park, and Lee hit the tarp. You know that tarp is there to stop the rain, right? Apparently the fact that Miller Park has a roof doesn’t really matter. As a matter of fact, MLB rules dictate that all parks must have a tarp, just in case. Brewers beat Mets, 9-6.

Dodgers v. Giants
Boring. I mean, what can I say, I tried to watch some NL ball, but around the bottom of the sixth I was so bored that I decided I’d rather… do something else while I attempt to unpack from school. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this game – Brad Penny is a wimp. As the announcers said, this guy is a 100-pitch guy, and when he’s done his 100 pitches, he’s gone. He was even accused of "needing to have that wounded warrior attitude," by one of the broadcasters. In other words, "everything’s against me, I guess I’m just going to have to show them." Anyway, after every pitch, Penny picked one of the following motions: 1) Flailing off the mound, 2) Stretching shoulders and back out, 3) Limping around the mound, 4) Putting his hands on his knees and resting, 5) Rolling eyes, poor body language-type move. And, as the broadcasters also pointed out, no one on his team seemed to care. And the charade didn’t end when Penny reached the dugout. When he arrived, he grimaced as he sat down and reached for a hot cushion, then with a real monster of a grimace. Back to the broadcasters, who said, "that’s not a happy boy face there." Yet people continued to ignore him, while the broadcasters continued to accuse him of "trying to find ways out of the ballgame before the seventh." Listen, I’ll tell you when I know Brad Penny is hurt. In the 2004 season, just a few games after Penny was acquired from the Marlins, he threw a pitch and just went down. He was screaming, grabbing his elbow, running around the mound, the whole deal.  The Dodger trainer runs out, but the Dodgers have never been known for their superior managing skills, certainly not at BHGM. So the trainer tells Penny, "hey, try throwing another pitch." And of course, Penny gets about halfway through his delivery before he’s felled. Did this guy work with NASA before the Dodgers hired him? "That rocket looks a little off… let’s shoot it up again, see if it’s still works…" No, bad idea. So after seeing the Giants roll around the field, I turned that off.

The New Chat Box
The observant among you will have noticed that yet another feature has been added to the BHGM sidebar. This has got to be among my favorites, along with the BHGM Search. I encourage you to try out both. The search is a valuable tool if you’re reading along, and you don’t know what I’m talking about. Just type in, "Dusty Baker clogging bases," and you’ll find out what I mean when I talk about that. Of course, I hope to have the "What you missed in BHGM" post up sometime soon, and that’s going to be detailing all of those obscure references we have here. It should be great. Anyway, the chat – the idea is that, for those of you who still don’t want to leave a comment, you can talk amongst yourselves in that little chat box. All you have to do is enter your name, (no email or URL is necessary, although it’s always welcome,) and a message. For example, "You’re wrong about the Royals, they’re not that bad." That’s the kind of thing that will earn you a full-post ripping here, for being wrong. Anyway, try it out. If no one uses it, I’ll just take it down.

Did someone whisper into the Padres’ ear?
Alright, it’s time to put an end to this. The Padres have won 12 of their last 13. This is just weird. I mean, they’re on fire. Remember last year when the Pirates won 10 straight? Maybe it was in 2004. Either way, no one panicked because hey, they’re still the Pirates. But I’m freaking out right now. In the NL West, winning 12 of 13 can put you up for a long time. Like, the rest of the year. Arizona and Colorado both lost tonight, and now the Padres are suddenly tied for first with the Rockies. They could then continue at a .500 clip for the next 125 games or so, and easily win the division. Again, I refer you to my NL West Solutions, which, according to Geoff, don’t take 15 minutes.

Pirates v. Marlins
In another Battle of the Titans, the Pirates beat the Marlins. By a score of 12-9. Those 12 runs are big for that team, which is second to last in runs scored with 144 – which, for all you math whizzes our there, means that exactly 1/12 of their season run total came tonight. ‘First place’ in that category goes to, you guessed it, the Royals, with 126.  Right now, the Royals are on pace to lose 112 games and score 619 runs. Can’t think about it.

Thanks, as always, for reading. And leave comments, and check out the chat box.

Red Sox/Yankees, Pujols, and NL West Solutions

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:

Not again…
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.

Padres_3No 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?