Tagged: Elsewhere in the World

You know, you guys should go visit Ballhype

Fine folks over at Ballhype, really. And I’ll tell you why. Not only have they developed this way for everyone to get advertising for free, but now I can bet on sports games at the same time, but with not real money. Let me explain how it works. It’s a points system. You simply select the winner of the game, and then if your pick loses, you lose 1 point. All those points are then added together, one point is added, and the result is distributed to those who picked the winning team. Nine people pick the Braves to win. Five pick the Tigers. The Tigers win. So everyone who picked the Tigers gets 2 points. Most points at the end of the week wins a t-shirt and feature spot.

Maybe this is just the kind of thing Pete Rose needs, since he clearly cannot help himself.


Yankees SP, Friday in Review

Today was a big day for BHGM. For starters, we passed 500 hits today. Next, we’ve got the comments. As always, comments are a lot of fun for me. I like to see you guys work. For example, in the chat box, we’ve got the following exchange between Kevin and Jorge:

Jorge: andres torres quiero que suba ya para grandes ligas el es el mejor te queremos aguada puertorico. andres torres es el mejor.
Kevin: Si, Andres Torres es mi jugador de beisbol favorita. El es el hombre. Me amo Andres! Yo Recibi un 4.0 en espanol este ano!

See if you can guess the native speaker here. I took two years of Spanish back in high school. I’ve been out of contact with the language for about three years. I can tell you that Jorge said something about wanting Andres Torres, for major leagues in Puerto Rico, maybe. I’m really confused actually. As for Kevin, "Yes, Andres Torres is my favorite baseball player. He is the man. I love Andres Torres! I got a 4.0 in Spanish last year!" Anyway, if anyone can decode Jorge’s thoughts, leave a message. Additionally, we finally got one of those mysterious regular readers to chime in with a comment; welcome to Kevin II. Kevin II, until I get a last initial from you, that’s how it’s going to be. Check out last night’s full comments. Anyway, a couple of days ago I promised an overview of possible starting pitchers that the Yankees could acquire. I’ve said that this is, without a doubt, the deal they need to make. In any case, I had written about half of this before I accidentally refreshed the browser and lost it all. Me losing my work is kind of like a sort of classical conditioning. For the next two weeks, I’ll save a copy of each post into Word every minute. Then I’ll get lax about it, because nothing has happened. Four days later, I’ll lose a post. Anyway, on with the baseball. Oh yeah, and, the funniest thing you will ever see in your entire life will be found at the end of tonight’s post.

As mentioned before, we’re here to talk about possible candidates for a starting pitching position with the Yankees. Updates from April 26th, 2007, are in bold. Feel free to read these in a Wonder Years Epilogue Voice.

  • Livan Hernandez, WAS: Livan has been having a less-than-stellar year so far. He has an ERA of 5.19 and a WHIP of 1.52. In short, he’s not earning his $8 million salary. Hernandez also stands to make $7 million next year. If new ownership believes that he is not worth what he’s getting paid, they’ll move him. Few teams need pitching badly enough to make a move for Livan, besides the Yankees. With their attendance falling as fast as their rank in the standings – actually, they’ve been in 2nd to last place all year, while their attendance keeps falling – the Nationals and their new owners need to make a move. The team will be officially out of contention by July, and it’s possible Livan could be moved for cash and a couple minor league prospects. Livan Hernandez never really got his stuff back, and was traded to Arizona, where he currently resides with a 3.96 ERA and $7,000,000 salary.
  • Jason Schmidt, SF: If I had to make one pick for who I thought would be wearing pinstripes by year’s end, it would be Schmidt. He is currently in his contract year, and is known to have significant issues with the San Francisco front office. It’s highly unlikely that he will return to the Giants in 2007. Furthermore, the Giants have revealed that they will not even bother discussing a contract with Schmidt until the conclusion of the season – that is, if he’s still around. Schmidt has bounced back from an awful 2005 campaign, and now has a 3.07 ERA (18th best in MLB) and 1.04 WHIP (5th best.) However, he is making $10.5 Million this year, and few teams would be willing to pick up such a contract unless they absolutely had to have his services this year to contend. Again, the Yankees are one of the only teams that fit this description. If the Giants are out of contention by July, it is very likely that they’ll move Schmidt – and remember, he’ll likely command more money next year. Jason Schmidt did not return to San Francisco. He finished 2006 with the Giants and a 3.59 ERA. He signed with the Dodgers and is now making $16 million.
  • Brad Radke and Carlos Silva, MIN: Both are trade candidates, but not necessarily to the Yankees. Radke and Silva have both had ‘bad’ years – Radke’s ERA is 7.44, Silva’s is at 8.24. However, there is clearly something bothering them both. Perhaps they’ll get on track soon. Meanwhile, Silva is currently pitching from the pen, while Radke has given up at least 4 runs in every start this year (10), with the exception of one against (who else) the Royals. The Twins are, as I said earlier in the year, still rebuilding. They just don’t know it. Right now, the Twins cheap, mini-market formula no longer works. Rookie pitchers have a better ERA and record vs. the Twins in the last 5 years than against any other team. It could be a coincidence, but it could also be that the Twins aren’t scouting. In the first matchup, the pitcher typically has the advantage over the hitter; scouting can help out, but only if you do it. Back to Radke and Silva. If the Twins believe that they can get prospects for the two, they’ll do so. The organization has various pitchers in the pipeline, (Boof, Liriano, etc,) but they could use help with the bats – they have consistently fallen short of the offensive production necessary of a contending team in recent years. If the Yankees are willing to give up hitters and take a chance on Radke and Silva, they may end up in New York. I don’t think it will happen. Sadly, Brad Radke never did pull it together. The 2006 season was his last. The Twins stuck by Carlos Silva, and he finished the season with an ERA of 5.94. He seems to have it together this year, pulling a 2.74 ERA in 4 games.
  • Jason Johnson, CLE: I said so before the season began, and I’ll say it again. Jason Johnson is not a good pitcher. He is, in fact, a very bad pitcher. Right now, he has a 6.52 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. Terrible, awful, numbers. The Yankees would not pay $1 for Jason Johnson, but I enjoyed kicking him on the way out. Johnson continued to be bad, and was designated for assignment by the Indians, but was acquired by the Red Sox. He pitched in 6 games for them, and managed a 7.36 ERA. He was then optioned to Class A, which is where we lost track of him. He spent some time in Cincinnati, pitching 4 games in relief.

Other pitchers that could be seen – Bruce Chen, BAL. Barry Zito, OAK. But only if Oakland is amazingly far out of contention, and even then, it would take a miracle, as the Yankees have very little to offer. I think that we’ll see someone like a Noah Lowry type, in the end. Overall, however, the pitching market is very weak this year; many teams are running around with 4-man rotations, forced into spot-starting different pitchers. The Yankees, Royals, Rangers, Braves, Nationals, Brewers, Cubs – all need pitchers. Furthermore, many teams with arms to offer are in contention now. However, a lot will change by mid-July, and that’s when we’ll be getting down to the wire. Meanwhile, the above is clearly not an exhaustive list, and I welcome all suggestions. On with the night’s news.

  • The Marlins beat the Mets. And the Royals beat the Yankees. You can expect the world to explode any minute now. How did this happen? Isn’t there someone in a control room somewhere, with his hand on an abort button? Two teams with a combined 24-66 record beat two teams with a combined record of 54-37. The Royals alone lost nearly as many games (35) as both the Mets and Yankees combined. If we needed any more evidence at how poor that team is. As for the Yankees game, they almost, almost, blew it again. As in, runners on 1st and 3rd for the Yankees with 1 out and Giambi up, bottom of the 9th, 7-6. Listen Jason, if you’re swinging on 2 strikes just to avoid the K, don’t. Strike out, and A-Rod comes to the plate with 2 outs. Stupid. If you live in New York City, batten down the hatches, stock up on various supplies, and prepare yourselves – it could be a long night. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Jeter hit #2,000. And of course, leave it to the Royals to let it happen on what was pretty much an error.
  • The Tigers won, again. They’ve won 7 straight games, on the heels of winning 7 straight.  And how’s this for weird: since I returned from school on May 10th, the Tigers have lost one game – the only game I attended, on May 19th. Had they not lost that one game, they’d be riding a 15-gamer right now. The White Sox lost today, pushing the Tigers 2.5 games ahead. However, Mike Maroth – who had, probably, a ‘bad’ afternoon yesterday – was placed on the DL today, with elbow irritation. I don’t like this one bit; I described Maroth as the solid, 4.50 ERA, 200 inning guy before the season started. Seems like the clock has struck midnight on that one.
  • Brandon Webb is to pitchers what Albert Pujols is to Men. Webb won again today, pushing his record to 8-0. Read that again – he has started 11 games. He has won 8. His ERA is 2.13. He has walked 9 batters, and struck out 53. He has a WHIP of 1.08. He has two shutouts. See, I did not know Brandon Webb was this good. He pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Randy Johnson, in the now-famous example, went 16-14 with them in 2004 after recording a 2.60 ERA and 290 K’s. Brandon is now on pace to win 24 games. If he does accomplish this feat, well, I’m not sure what will happen. He went 14-12 last year, so maybe the consequences won’t be too dire. But, just to be on the safe side… where’s that guy with the abort button?
  • Your National League MVP, Albert Pujols. Yeah, big surprise there. Pujols has 58 RBIs and 23 HR. You know, there’s really nothing new on this front. I just wanted to, you know, do the whole Albert Pujols thing again… I’ll stop now.
  • Has anyone been paying attention to the Angels as they stink up the joint? They’re on quite a tear of bad playing right now. First off, star Bad Player Jeff Weaver, whom I denounced many years ago. Weaver has an ERA of 6.99. He has 7 losses. He has given up 72 hits and 13 walks in 55.1 IP. By all accounts, he is not good. Yet the Angels signed him anyway. Dear Angels – this is 100% your fault. Jeff Weaver didn’t get bad. What actually happened, see, is that you gave too much money to a guy who, through some mind trick, was able to convince you that he could pitch – despite extensive evidence to the contrary. What were you thinking? Maybe Jim Bowden had a one-day stint at the helm. They’re now on a 3-game winning streak, but, you know how that stuff goes.
  • Jason Schmidt just left his game against the Rockies in the 9th inning after allowing 4 hits, striking out 6, and walking 3. His ERA is now down to 2.78. I drafted him in the 94th overall pick in my Roto league… right before Brandon Webb. Waiver wire pickups for that team include Jeff Kent (some idiot dropped him, and I scooped him right up,) Alex Rios, Hanley Ramirez, Brandon Phillips, Pedro Feliz, Scott Kazmir, Mike Mussina, Bronson Arroyo, and Aaron Harang. It’s a 7-team league, if you hadn’t picked up on that already. Of course, most of the players were picked up about 5 weeks ago.

Thats all for today. We may see another post tomorrow night. But it’s gonna be short, guys. And uh, kids these days. They really like to set up basketball rims by their trampolines and basically dunk like Michael. Here’s the thing – jumping too high can sometimes be a bad thing. Things can happen when you jump over the rim that, well, shouldn’t happen. Observe… ("Oww…Oww…" "Somebody get someone!… You ok?") Get well soon, Barbaro! By the way, when we’re injured, can we not lay motionless and moan? What happened to walking it off? It would also be nice if this kids friends hadn’t run away and abandoned him to the elements. Although, the cameraman laughing at him is perfectly acceptable behavior.



Tigers v. Royals, Yankees, and Jailtime

First up is Tigers-Royals, then Yankees and pitching, then some, well, rather fascinating stories of people who just didn’t want to go away to jail.

Tigers v. Royals
I was very scared for awhile tonight. I was watching the end of the Royals v. Tigers game. I know. What was I doing watching another Royals game? Well, when I saw the score online at 5-3, Royals up, in the bottom of the 7th – I had to intervene. So I turned the game on. It was two outs, bases empty, Craig Monroe – the most unclutch player in history, possibly – to the plate. The Royal’s current pitcher, Ambiorix Burgos, had struck out the last three Tigers. It didn’t look good. But then, Craig Monroe walked. Elmer Dessens came to the mound. Omar Infante singled on a looper to center, Monroe advanced to 2nd. Inge hit another looper to center, Monroe scores, Infante to 3rd. Royals still up, 5-4. And then, it happened. We needed some more runs to take the lead. And the Royals, being the Royals, gave them to us. Curtis Granderson hit a soft liner to center, and it looked like Aaron Guiel would catch it. But he didn’t, he kicked it. It’s the kind of thing that, having followed the Royals this year, you expected to happen. You knew that something just like that had to happen. After all, had the worst team in baseball beaten the best team in baseball, the planets could collide at any moment. So now the Tigers are up 6-5 – we’re safe. But, the Royals wanted to make sure that we had this game. So, Placido Palanco singled up the middle, bringing home Granderson. Tigers up, 7-5. Bottom of the 8th, no runs for the Royals. Top of the 9th, Craig Monroe hits a 2-out, 3-2 pitch over the 3rd baseman’s head to knock home Guillen, 8-5. The Tigers had 4 hits and no runs going into the 6th. In the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th, the Tigers had 13 hits and 8 runs. The Royals went from, "up 4-0," to "losing 8-5." One fan was so "disenchanted" that he brought out the grocery bag and wore that on his head. That works. You can sell your Royal’s loyalty on eBay, or you can wear a grocery bag to the park. Whatever lets you sleep at night.

Other highlights of the game – PFC Mark Grudzielanek was a one-man artillery squad earlier in the game, when he hit two home runs. Needless to say, if you could win a battle with one man, war would be a lot cheaper. And the Royals would be able to win a baseball game. As it is, we have the opposing team’s announcers having the following conversation:

"They’re one out away from losing their 11th straight. It would be their second 11-game losing streak of the season."
"And we’re not even to June!"
"Two of them already!"

Well, there aren’t too many different ways to go 10-33. And that’s what’s most surprising. They might have two 11-game losing streaks, but they’ve lost 11 more games on top of that, while only winning 10. In other words, take out two 11-game losing streaks, and the Royals are still 10-11, a winning percentage of .476 – which still puts them in 2nd to last place in the AL Central. And that’s inches above what would be the new last place team, the Twins, with a .444 winning percentage. Unbelievable. Find me another team who, if you took away 22 losses, would still be a game or two above last place in their division. Heck, only eight other teams in the AL even have 22 losses, and surprise, four of them are in the AL West. That’s the entire division, by the way.

"If you’ll be 29th, I’ll be 30th…"
On that note, another bad team won today. Or is it, another bad team lost today. Heck, both are true. The Marlins beat the Cubs, again. I have nothing.

Yankees; pitching moves
And the Yankees won today. Have to hand it to the BPS, who did predict a thorough beating of Wakefield tonight. I only got a chance to catch the last couple innings after I got home from work, but from what I gather, it looks solid. Wright went 5, giving up just 4 hits and no runs. Proctor, who was the "get rid of him, wait, he’s looking better, keep him," guy, gave up 4 runs in 1.1 IP. Again, don’t know how those runs scored, but they did. A-Rod homered. Good for him. Can someone tell me how many home runs A-Rod has against the Red Sox since he came to the Yankees? Less than 10? Meanwhile, in San Fran, the game isn’t even over and Albert Pujols has already hit another home run. A-Rod, 11. Pujols, 23. Just a second, we’re going to put Albert on hold for a minute. Sheffield was back as well, and that’s obviously huge. But, like I said last night, the big thing is the starting pitching. That’s who I believe Cashman will make a deal for, if he makes a deal this year. Geoff asked me if I had any ideas for said trade, and I haven’t had the time to look into it, but off the top of my head, I’m thinking it’s going to be someone Shawn Chacon like. Not a big name, but a known name. I’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Back to Pujols. Can I just say something? Why are people still pitching to this guy? I mean, I would be devastated if they started walking him, (I thought the Nats figured it out…) but still – it doesn’t make sense. On Saturday, the Royals pitched to Pujols with two men on, and he hit a home run. Same inning, man on 2nd base, and they intentionally walk the 40-year-old Juan Encarnacion to set up the force. Hmm. Anyone know why this team isn’t winning games?

What’s with people violently resisting arrest?
Every once in a great while, something so extraordinary happens that, despite the fact that it has really nothing to do with baseball, I just have to talk about it. Today is such a day. David McCann was found outside a bar at 2am on Saturday morning, with his shirt unbuttoned, and yelling at passers-by that he was "Luke Skywalker." First off, you already know this is going to end badly. Because, quite frankly, people like that don’t just calmly walk away when you tell them to cut it out. And David was no exception. At first, one officer asked David to leave, after he (allegedly) got into a verbal confrontation with two women. Instead of leaving, David charged the officer, who then sprayed him in the face with "an irritant." Two officers then tried to handcuff David, but were unsuccessful, as he continued to wildly flail his arms in all directions. "He continued to attack with superhuman strength and made no attempt to escape," according to the official police report. So, the cops repeatedly kicked and struck David with a baton, but to no avail. He kept wildly resisting arrest. Finally, backup arrived with the Taser. After being Tasered three times and struck with a baton an additional four times, McCann was finally able to be handcuffed and hauled away. Needless to say, the school at which David is a physical education teacher decided not to renew his contract.

This reminds me of an age-old classic tale, one involving Former NFLer Barret Robbins. One night, Barret had a furious struggle with three cops in a ladies bathroom while they were investigating a burglary call. According to the police, Robbins beat the first cop to the floor, picked up the next one, slammed him into a wall and then flung him into another wall, then grabbed the third cop by the face and slammed him into a corner. He then grabbed that cop by the forearms, but was shot twice in the torso. At that point, he dropped to his knees, snarled and growled, and slapped the cop’s gun out of his hands. According to police, he was laughing throughout the attack. Scoreboard: Three counts of attempted felony murder, two counts of depriving an officer of his weapon, two counts of resisting officers with violence, and trespassing. Seven felonies, one misdemeanor, up to life in jail. What a scene that must’ve been. Taking bullets in the chest, laughing and growling, bouncing cops off the walls, knocking guns out of their hands… it’s like the Terminator, but real.

What is it with these people? Are they thinking, ‘geez, here are the cops… if I can just beat these guys up, I won’t have to go to jail.’ That’s not how it works, sadly. Maybe you can beat up the cops. But you can’t beat their radios, you can’t stop their bullets, and you can’t defeat their backup. Sooner or later, the police are going to get what they want, and you’re going to go to jail.

And that’s it for tonight. We’ll be back again tomorrow, and since I’ve got the early shift at work I should be able to catch a few games as well. Or, the Mets and Phillies could just go into 16 innings again. I mean, they’re still playing, and I’m still watching. 8-8, top of the 16th… Chase Utley just got hit by a pitch while trying to bunt. Promise you will see the picture turn up somewhere soon. Utley was facing towards the mound, and when he saw the incoming, he jumped up on one leg, closed his eyes, went limp-wristed, and dropped the bat. Never seen a better fairy imitation in my life.

Yankee OF and Catchup – Part II

First off, I’ve noticed a lot of visitors from military IP’s visiting recently. Obviously, the men and women in uniform are out there protecting our way of life so we don’t have to. If you disagree with what they’re doing, that’s great – because they’re fighting to preserve your power to do just that, and you should exercise it every chance you get. But appreciate your soldiers as well. I was at the mall once and I ran into a soldier who was, he said, about to be shipped out. I didn’t know the man, and I’d never seen him before in my life. But I shook his hand and thanked him for everything he’s done and will do for our country. I think this is the least we can do for those who are willing to give their lives to keep us and our values safe.

That said, on with the baseball. This is Part II of our previous post. Today we’ll be covering Dusty Baker, Yankee Baseball, the Dodger Fan Code of Conduct, The Pirates, Lew Ford, and
the Knicks. It’s mostly going to be the Cubs, because I have to get off to work soon. Late shifts, sweet.

Dusty Baker and the Cubs
Turns out, Dusty isn’t the manager everyone thought he was. Now, I’m a happy man. I was ragging on Dusty Baker two years ago. When BHGM went up over a year ago, he was one of the first things I talked about. It’s no secret that I don’t think highly of his managerial skills. But does that mean I want him fired, as the rest of the world is finally talking about? Heck no. Do you think I want the Royals to win 100 games? No. If Dusty Baker gets fired, the Cubs go from a circus of a franchise helmed by one of the most antiquated baseball minds in the world to a circus of a franchise. In other words, they go from being bad but having a darned good excuse to just being bad. I don’t know what I would do without Dusty Baker telling me walks are "worthless" and that they just "clog the bases." But that’s not the point. The point is, should Dusty be fired? In all seriousness, the answer to that question is no. On the Chicago Cubs, just like every other baseball team, the coach is not responsible for the players on his roster. He is responsible for making those players perform. The Cubs’ GM, Jim Hendry, is at fault for the current slide. After last season, the Cubs needs were clear – they needed to strengthen their starting pitching and add a bat to the lineup to protect Derrek Lee. They did neither. And now Lee is out, and you have no bats. I can’t stress this enough. Right now, there are three Cub regulars with OBP’s above .350. Matt Murton (.366), Tyler Walker (.356), and Michael Barret (.352). Next up is Jerry Hairston’s .313 On Base Percentage. The rest of the team falls below that number. Listen, .313 is a decent batting average. The leadoff man, Juan Pierre, has an OBP of .269. If your leadoff man has a batting average – a batting average! – of .269, he better be drawing a lot of walks or he’s in trouble. Obviously, Baker’s "hit to get on base, do not walk" philosophy is partially at fault. But, if the Cubs had a decent lineup, it wouldn’t be nearly as pronounced. For example, Dusty Baker could never convince Brian Giles to not walk. Guess who was a free agent last year, but was resigned by the Padres? The Brother Brian.

Jim, it’s not like you can’t mix up the roster a little bit. You – and, apparently, the Tribune – simply don’t want to. If the Cubs want to make a decent attempt at salvaging the franchise, they need to call it quits on the season right now. Bring in a new GM – one without the first name Jim (Bowden, Hendry) – and decide if you want to fire up the team with a new manager or keep Baker. Personally, I would get rid of Dusty because he’s not what the team needs now – not because I don’t like him or blame him. They need someone to ride them and get after them when they play sloppy, as they do almost every day. Dusty Baker is perfect if you’ve got a strong veteran team with positive leadership, and a fantastic bench coach for those times you need an in-game manager. Without that, he’s not your guy. It’s time to rebuild. There’s simply no other solution for the Cubs, who are apparently "sick of talking" about losing. Of course, if they were sick about the actual losing, they would step up their game and play through it. But the Dusty Baker-led Cubs are nothing if not notoriously soft-skinned.

How about the Yankees?
I wasn’t sure if I was reading a suicide note or a blog at BPS
this morning. Are you alright Geoff? If I don’t see a post up by 2am
this morning, I’m going to start worrying. Anyway, Geoff thinks that the
Yankees are about to tank. And he’s so far gone that he doesn’t even
know what he’s doing to himself. None of the usual, "but the Yankees
are a better team, so they’ll come out ahead." Just dry claims of how Bubba/Melky are going to set us back "five games." My man, don’t worry.
Sheffield is coming off that DL soon. Then the only man out is Matsui.
Sure, he’s more than "a man," but he’s still only one spot in the
lineup. Don’t worry. And if you’re going to worry, worry about the
Unit. He’s not coming back this time. He’s 42. This is the exact reason
I didn’t want to sign him before the 2005 season, because I knew he
wasn’t invincible. Sure, he was great in 2004. He was alright in 2005.
But now he’s not ok. And the front office knows something’s wrong,
because on May 10th they had an MRI done on the Unit’s arm. That’s
called searching for a reason, and if you’re going to do that you need
to look at a calendar – not an MRI. In his last seven games – all but
two of his starts this season – Randy has allowed nearly two runners to
reach base per inning, while batters hit .300 off him. Those career
numbers are more like 1.16 and .216, respectively. So, he’s acting very
un-Unit like, and that’s because he’s 42 years old. He’s wearing down.
And most of all, he knows he’s 42 – and that’s not helping him get
through it.

The Dodger Fan Code of Conduct
Turns out that a group of "four reasonable, sober, professional adults" is not the fan base that the Dodgers are seeking to acquire. When the above group entered the Stadium last week, they were accused of giving the check-in table a "hard time" and then thrown out. The situation was so ridiculous that one of the fans wrote a lengthy dissertation to Dodger owner Frank McCourt in which he used the phrase "young, poorly trained, overzealous, and rude security staff" about 17 times. This is about the fourth time in a row that the poor Dodger management skills have been brought up on BHGM. Last time it was because they let Hideo Nomo (V2004, he of a solid 8.25 ERA,) start 18 games before DL-ing him, a la Tanyon Sturtze. Before that, it was their ignorant treatment of Brad Penny when his arm flew off. Of course, the Dodgers reside in the NL West, which explains all of those terrible decisions fairly quickly.

The Pittsburg Pirates are struggling
Pittsburg is 11-27. And on top of that, liar Chris Duffy got sent down to the Minors. Anyway, the point is not why the Pirates are this bad, but rather, exactly how bad they are. Sadly enough, the Pirates are still three-thousandths of a percentage point better than the Royals, (.289 to .286,) so they’re only the worst team in the NL, not the whole league. But it’s not like the Pirates are good enough to call the Royals bad, because, well, it’s apples and oranges there. The pot is calling the kettle black. There’s no need to fight for who’s the worst, because they’re both bad enough that it doesn’t matter. Anyway, the point is that even Pittsburg reporter Ron Cook is telling the city that the team’s "tragic number" is 112. They should be mathematically eliminated before the Steelers report to camp, he says. Well, since the Steelers still haven’t reported to camp, he’s right.

Lew Ford spells his name funny?
I was talking to Brad – one of my coworkers at ACE Hardware – yesterday. He had attended a Tigers-Twins game at Comerica Park earlier this year and reported that the guys in his section (left or right field, I forget,) were so hard on Lew that he moved to a different outfield position for the last inning. I told him I didn’t believe him, that there was no way that happened. He claimed that the fans were chanting things like, "Lew $ucks!" while calling him hurtful names, like an ‘F-bomb’ (use your imagination,) and even making fun of how he spelled his name. He claimed that Lew was so upset that he, on multiple occasions, flicked off the crowd. According to Brad, he would remove his cap as if to adjust it, and subtly give the crowd the finger while he did so. I don’t think any party won that fight. Listen, just because he spells it Lew instead of Lou, that doesn’t make him a bad guy. However, the fact that he is batting .229 with 5 RBI’s in 83 at bats – that’s something you can make fun of him for.

On a similar note, I was at a Tigers game last year when Craig Monroe shifted to left field to relieve Rondell White. For those of you who don’t know, Craig was caught shoplifting a $20 belt before the 2005 season began. First off, I’ve paid – actually paid – more than $20 for a belt, and I don’t make $2.5 million a year. Anyway, the stadium was pretty quiet that night; it was early in the year. Then, all of the sudden, a nearby fan shouts, in a calm voice devoid of emotion, "Nice belt, Craig."

We know you want to work for us, but if we give you $40 Million, will you leave?
Say you get hired to coach a Basketball team. They’re willing to pay you a record-breaking $10 million a year for five years. The team isn’t very good, and they struggle through the first year. In fact, they win only 23 games. You’re thinking, "wow, I need to get my act together fast." Unless, of course, Isiah Thomas is your boss. Then you’re thinking, "wow, I could be in line to receive $40 million to not coach this team anymore." Basically, Larry Brown has found himself in this exact situation and is looking at making about $50 million dollars for winning 23 games. That’s upwards of $2 million a win. And you thought Rocket’s rumored contract was nuts? I don’t even follow basketball anymore because I stopped after the Pistons won the Championship – and the Bandwagon loaded up with millions of clueless high school girls and other pseudo-fans. It wasn’t a conscious decision I made or anything. Basketball season came, and I just didn’t care anymore because everyone else did. Anyway, I still know that Isiah Thomas is the worst GM in the world. Thomas, Hendry, and Bowden should buy a sports team. It would be the worst team since the Cleveland Spiders. I want to see this happen.

Thanks for reading. It’s time for me to go to work. Additionally, I need to see some comments, people. Step it up!

Finals Edition: Inorganic Chemistry

Here’s our next installment in our Finals Series. Remember, Saturday Night we had Psychology. Today it’s Inorganic Chemistry. It’s a bit of a misnomer because it’s not really just Inorganic Chemistry. Oh well, Albion College is funny that way. Anyway, try as I might, I couldn’t come up with a single thing that had anything to do with Chemistry and baseball. As I said before, you try connecting ethylenediaminetetraacetato to a baseball and tell me how it goes. Anyway, I got a chance to squeeze in a couple games today (Sunday) while I studied… ok, you caught me, I wasn’t studying, I was watching games.

No Hitters
Today (I mean, Sunday, when I started this,) I saw three no-hitters get broken up. I’m not sure what I was doing wrong, but you can bet I’ll find something. First, we had Casey Janssen (of the Blue Jays,) take a no-no into the six inning. In the same game against the Angels, John Lackey took a no hitter into the fifth. The Jays ended up winning that. But remember, Casey was making only his 3rd start in the Majors. Good day, bad offense… as one announcer said, "when do you draw the line between great pitching and bad hitting?" Next up, Twins v. Tigers. Not too happy about watching Johan take a no hitter into the seventh. Especially since that meant the Twins would win. I felt really guilty wanting to see this no-hitter, what with the Tigers being the ‘victims’ and all. Oh well.

David Blaine
Anyone see the David Blaine 9-minutes underwater attempt? When I saw the commercial, the conversation went something like this:

Deep-voiced Announcer: And now, David Blaine will hold his breath underwater for nine minutes.
Reid: No he won’t.

Anyway, if you got to catch this spectacular event on live television – on ABC, no less – you would’ve seen it all go down. Basically, our boy David went under. For the first five minutes, he’s basically as cool as you can get if you’re not breathing. After we hit five minutes, Blaine starts trying to free himself from the handcuffs holding him down. This was part of the plan. Now, call me crazy, but I feel that if you’re going to try to stay underwater for nine minutes, it would be a good idea to just chill out and not worry about escaping. But hey, what do I know – I’m not the Master Magician that David Blaine is. Around the 5:30 mark, Blaine starts to freak out. It’s barely noticeable, but you can see the muscle spasms start. Slowly at first. Then, around six minutes, he starts to really kick his own a–. His entire body his vibrating. And, surprise, he can’t escape from the second handcuff. I’m very confused as to why he was unable to do that. Finally, around the 6:45 mark, he busts out, and then the divers jump in. I’m not sure if this was part of the plan, or if they did this because they could tell he was gripping it really hard. I walked into the room with literally 45 seconds to go before he went under, so I didn’t get a whole lot of background information. Anyway, the divers are there basically trying to drown David, hand over the mouth and everything. But David wanted to breathe! So at 7:02 he made it to the surface and took his breath – just 2 minutes shy of his goal.

Look, I’m not bashing the man because my personal best, (albeit as a small child, which was when I stopped caring,) is one minute.  So David didn’t breathe for 7 minutes, and I’m down with that. But when you say you’re going to do something on ABC, and you try to get everyone to think you can’t do it so that when you do, it’s that much more exciting – you have to follow through. Blaine didn’t follow through, and I’m upset with that. Imagine if The Bonds told everyone he would hit 715, and then he retired. Sure, History would be very happy, as would many other people. But there would be people that would be disappointed… wait, let me come up with a better example. Imagine if Babe had called his shot – pointed to the bleachers and everything – and then hit a slow dribbler down the line. Well, on that note of revisionist history…

Michael made The Shot, didn’t he?
Anyone seen that new Gatorade commercial? The one where Michael misses The Shot, Posada misses The Tag, and Joe Montana misses the pass? See it here. Anyway, I love that commercial. The first time I saw it I’m thinking, "Wait, wasn’t that The Shot? Didn’t MJ make that?…wait, there was another Jeter-Posada Flip? I mean, I know he made it once, I didn’t know he missed once." Then the football one came up, and since football isn’t my thing I didn’t care. Then they showed the real plays, and I’m thinking, "wow Gatorade, you really had me there for a second." Whoever the video guy is at Gatorade, he’s amazing. Had me completely fooled.

Halladay is back
Roy Halladay is back, and with that my fantasy pay league is in competition again. I’d been ******* it up, (and I mean, really, really bad,) for the last couple weeks. I was getting my butt kicked. I won’t go into the details. But anyway, Halladay 4-hit the Angels, allowing just one run and striking out six, going the distance. That’s the guy who got me to the championship game last year! I figure that his reasoning behind being awesome last night was that he saw fellow Cy Young Contender Johan Santana go out and game against the Tigers on Sunday. A couple days back I said that if Roy didn’t step up soon, he was in danger of losing that Cy Young. Well, what can I say – Roy’s a reader and he really wants that hardware. That, or the Angel’s offense is still struggling and Roy is finally healthy. Hopefully it will last.

Someone – stop the Padres, now!
Also, the Padres won, again – 9 game winning streak. And they beat the Cubs, who have now lost 7 straight. Turns out, life without the D. Lee, Wood, and Prior is rather difficult. Anyway, the Padres are at 17-15, which means they’ve basically got the NL West by the balls. It also means that more than half of the Padre’s wins have come from this streak. It’s too bad they didn’t start off this hot, because then we’d be looking at a wire to wire. The Padres are only 2.5 games back from the Rockies right now. I mean, I’m really scared. If another 82-80 team walks away with the NL West, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’ve said it a million times – I don’t care if the Padres run off 162 straight, I don’t want them anywhere near a playoff spot.

Pedro has a green thumb
09pedro2_lg Pedro Martinez likes to plant flowers. "If something hurts, it disappears when you are in the garden." I didn’t know that. But believe it or not, it’s about to get weirder. Not only is Pedro a real ****** for the flowers, he can talk to them as well. And they listen. "After he talks to his plants, you can really see them perk up. Really, you do," says his wife. I mean, think about Pedro talking to a flower, and then trying to convince the world that it makes them "grow up to be pretty." But hey man, if gardening is what allows you to deal with the intense day-to-day grind of pitching every five days, then all the more power to you. You do what you have to do. Personally, I don’t think the plants listen to me. But if they have ears for your voice, then use it.

That’s all for now. This will probably be our last dispatch from Albion College until August. I’ve still got Calc and Bio finals, but I’m out of here around 5.30p tomorrow. Then, we’ll hopefully be back to the old routine at BHGM. All you bookmarkers out there can get back into the habit of checking every night for a new post. Best part about being home for the summer is, of course, working at the hardware store and going to baseball games. So expect a lot of entertaining stories from both. And the "What you missed" post, the one highlighting all the references? That will be up when I get home… promise. As for the comments, I think Kevin may be right about Royal’s Loyalty being worth less than 278 "bones." And I don’t doubt Geoff when he says he’d "auction off lots of my coolest stuff for another ring or two." Also, welcome to BHGM, Dad. It’s great to see the family chime in with their thoughts. Jason – where are you man? Mike, as for Adrian Beltre not signing with the Tigers – yes, it’s a good thing. Because after what we pulled with Mags, I’m sure we would’ve given him everything he asked for. But in MVP Baseball 2004 (for X-Box,) you’re not so lucky. In the season I’m running, Beltre signed with the Tigers after the 2004 season. Oh well. Hope to see everyone again on Wednesday night.

Midday Quick Shots

Today’s not a big baseball day for me. You regular readers know that Wednesday is my 9hr workday. And in between classes today, I had to write a 5pg math paper. That’s not fun at all. I have a calc and chem exam (9a and 10a, respectively,) on Friday as well, then a Bio focus group, and then home for the Mom’s Birthday. It might get lonely here. That said, a couple interesting things. Some short shots, if you will.

Albion College is nearby to an elementary school. Every day you see little kids walking around the campus in groups of about 60. I don’t know why this happens. Today I got to see them cross the street, military style. Anyone who has seen Black Hawk Down or Band of Brothers knows what I’m talking about. Proper military technique dictates that one soldier cross the road at a time; when he reaches the opposite side, the next soldier does his thing. That’s akin to what I saw today. A whole bunch of 6 year olds, all crossing the street two at a time. Really weird.

If you thought you were going to use the bathroom in my building today, think again. The bathroom is closed, to fix a water problem that I didn’t know existed. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know that there are only two showers with hot water. I know that one of the showers has water pressure. I also know that one shower, (which coincidentally has the hot water and pressure,) went out of commission about two weeks ago because the handle fell off. I also know that none of the water in all of Calhoun County tastes like water. So maybe there is a problem.

There are whispers that the Nationals are about to announce their new owner. MLB has denied the report. Nonetheless, Theodore Lerner’s bid is said to have beat out all others. The Nationals are his, if he wants them. Seeing as All-Star GM Jim Bowden is in the front office, they just got swept by the Reds, and the manager is already taking shots at the team’s record, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned down the franchise. That would hurt.

I’ll try to make another post tonight. I got back from chem lab early today, and tried to watch a baseball game – only to get the slideshow effect from MLB.TV. It’s important to note that this is not MLB.TV’s fault, but Albion College’s fault. The entire 2000-student college has about the same bandwidth as my home network… no joke. There is no segment on comments today because no one left any comments. You guys should be ashamed.

Reds v. Brewers, Cubs, Yanks, and FireFox

Remember how the Brewers started 5-0? Well, did you know that they’re currently 8-9, and that the Reds are 11-6? The Reds are Brewers are currently doing battle at Miller Park. Actually, they were doing battle, but now they’re just playing around. Here’s a classic pitcher’s duel for you:
Dave Bush, (MIL): 7IP, 85 pitches, 1 hit, 0ER, 2BB, 9K’s.
Brandon Claussen, (CIN): 3IP, 86 pitches, 8 hits, 9 ER, 3 BB, 3K’s.
In the fourth inning, Bill Hall homered off Claussen. Damian Miller followed with a 2-run shot. Brady Clark followed with a 2-run shot. J.J. Hardy followed with a solo shot. Chris Hammond came in for relief. Prince Fielder followed with a solo shot. That’s 7 runs scored on five HR’s in one inning, and in case you’re wondering, that does tie an MLB record. Yikes. It’s currently the bottom of the 7th and the Brewers are up 10-0. As for Dave Bush, you may remember him from Toronto. He’s 26. He’s on a decent team. He doesn’t have a terrible track record for a guy his age. And with today’s game, he has an ERA of 3.81 so far. Bush finished the game allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 9 K’s in 115 pitches. I think that as the season progresses he’ll turn in more and more quality performances.

Can someone tell Dusty Baker how to use a double switch? I know I rag on the Cubs more than any other team. That’s because it’s fun and it’s easy, and I’ll never get sick of that picture you see to your left. I don’t watch a lot of NL ball, but I’ve seen enough Cubs games to know that Baker doesn’t really know how to use the Double Switch. That is, he never used it. At least not until today, when he managed to remove the lineup’s second and third best hitters – Todd Walker and Matt Murston – with two. I’ve been watching the Cubs v. Cardinals game for a few minutes now and I’ve already seen three double-switches. On top of that, one such double-switch brought Scott Eyre in the game. He’s still alive? After the beating he put on D. Lee, practically ending the Cub’s season? Surprising that no one has called his shot in the death pool, (I don’t participate in the death pool nor do I think it’s tasteful, but you should know it’s out there). In addition, Baker informed us that all walks are good for is "clogging the bases," which is why three of the six runners his pitchers put on for free scored. On the ‘information’ front, Kerry Wood was set to throw on the side yesterday – but complained of pain in his armpit. Of course, the Cubs have nothing else to say regarding when he will return, or if he still does, in fact, pitch. Ditto for Mark Prior. And Wade Miller was moved to the 60-day DL. Also, Cubs ‘pitching’ coach, who is more deserving of the title "Minister of Information," had this to say about reliever Bob Howry: "He’s got the cool, calm demeanor of an assassin. He wants to go out there and pitch every day." That’s bad news. Howry probably has, at most, one month left before he’s run down by overuse and experiences some freak accident… and oh great. Izzy came in to ‘shut’ the door against the Cubs, and he ending up dropping a routine toss from Pujols as he was running towards 1st, allowing Jacque Jones to reach 1st on the error, and now there’s a man on 1st with one out instead of empty bags with 2 down. That’s a concentration error. Dude dropped an easy, soft toss directly to his chest for no good reason. Ended up not making a difference in the game, but still – that’s not gonna win you any goodwill in this town.

Yanks won today. Watched that game for a little bit as well. Who would’ve thought Shacon would come back from getting skipped in the rotation to allow just 4 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks over 7 IP? Strange, especially after we saw Wang get owned last night. This win was also good news for the Yanks because, not only did our number 5 hold a team to one run, but we one without the big home run. In fact, Matsui’s double was the only extra base hit we had. Only 7 hits, but 7 walks. That’s big, and by putting men on base like that, you manage 6 RBI’s.

Firefoxscreenshot_1 I also want to talk about Mozilla’s FireFox browser. I’m obviously a fan. I switched over about two months ago and I love it. It’s especially useful now that I’ve started reading a variety of different blogs. This involves what’s called RSS feeds. For those of you stuck in IE, RSS means nothing to you because you can’t use it unless you have one of those aggregators or something. With FireFox, all you have to do is hit an orange button in the address box, and it adds this feed to your bookmarks. It looks something like what you see on your right. It’s very easy to access blogs this way, and all you have to do is hover over the link to see what’s new. The feed automatically updates, which is what makes it so valuable. Instead of checking all of these sites yourself, all you have to do is check to see if there’s a new headline up there through your favorites, as IE users may know them. It’s also great for tracking simple news feeds, such as RxSN Baseball (almost every MLBlogger is featured on this site and probably doesn’t know it,) or Deadspin. FireFox is also, in my opinion, a much better browser than IE. FireFox is gaining in popularity very quickly; of the last 100 visitors to BHGM, 29 used FireFox and 67 used IE, (in case you’re wondering, Opera and Safari were also on the list.) There are very few compatibility issues when using FireFox – the only website I have trouble with is the auto-updating Fantasy Scoreboard on CBSsportsline.com; every so often the scripts will stop running. There are also thousands of add-ons, which are little ‘extensions’ created by other programmers for FireFox that do little useful things. For example, an in-browser Gmail notifer and in-browser media controls which can be easily downloaded and immediately applied to the browser. In any case, you can get FireFox right here. And there’s always a link in the site tools section at the bottom of my sidebar.