Tagged: Trivia

I guess Operation Shutdown also involves  Cocaine.

S_dbell_spWell, I couldn’t pass this up because it’s one of the better baseball stories of all time. That is, when Derek Bell announced that he was commencing Operation Shutdown. In Spring Training of 2002, Bell – who had hit .173 the previous season – made the following announcement:

Nobody told me I was in competition. If there is competition, somebody
better let me know. If there is competition, they better eliminate me
out of the race and go ahead and do what they’re going to do with me. I
ain’t never hit in spring training and I never will. If it ain’t
settled with me out there, then they can trade me. I ain’t going out
there to hurt myself in spring training battling for a job. If it is [a
competition], then I’m going into ‘Operation Shutdown.’ Tell them
exactly what I said. I haven’t competed for a job since 1991.

In other words, either the Pirates were going to give him a job he didn’t deserve, or he wouldn’t take it. 11 days after that high-class quote, Bell went AWOL from the Pirate Ship and was released two days later. He was then paid $4.5 million for not playing that year. Operation Shutdown was in its 49th month when Bell was pulled over and the cops found a "warm crack pipe" in the car. Looks like Operation Shutdown just became Operation Go to Jail. As the SuperFreak himself once said, "Cocaine…is a **** of a drug." And I’ll never miss a chance to work that in.

And you’re right, Jason. If Bowden survives 10
minutes under the new Nationals regime – if they ever arrive – I’ll be
surprised.  And I mean that in a not-joking way; I seriously think one
of the first moves new ownership will make is firing him. And Jason also brought in that 5th comment. Congratulations, you guys did it. Five comments, and it only took you about two days. Now, I understand that I’m not doing my part as well. I haven’t been making posts at a regular time, and they haven’t had a lot to do with what’s currently happening in baseball. I get that. I’m just saying – let me know you’re still out there, guys. Additionally, check out the Yankees Chick. Her stuff is entertaining and she’s new to the community, so give her a nice welcome.


Flashbacks! Dusty Baker and Detroit Closers

Dusty_baker518 hours until Opening Night. Someone needs to inform academia that Baseball is starting, and so they can lay off the course work for the remainder of the semester. Unfortunately, Albion College doesn’t get out for a ******** five more weeks. I have a boatload of finals to take as well, so I won’t actually be going home until May 10th, 2006. This is about 3 weeks after most of my friends at other schools. There is a 110% chance that I will be attending the May 16th Twins v. Tigers game at Comerica Park. And it’s also been about a year since MLBlogs got off the ground. This blog was started shortly thereafter. So, what better time than now for some good flashbacks from the 2005 season and beyond? I encourage you to check out my first couple posts, they’re pretty funny – and interesting, because so many of my predictions came true. For example, I noted that Roy Halladay was back and no one knew it, as was Mark Prior. I also talked about Mark Buehrle being the most under-rated pitcher in the league. This isn’t true anymore, because now people know about him, but that just proves I was right. I talked about Dusty Baker mismanaging his pitching and no one noticing, including a hilarious quote on the differences between ‘bullpen by committee’ and ‘bullpen by situation.’ It’s so juicy that I have to share it with you now.

After LaTroy Hawkins blew another 1-run save
opportunity on April 23rd, Dusty announced that he was going to go with
a ‘bullpen by situation’ concept. Apparently this is due to the fact
that ‘bullpen by committee’ doesn’t work. Pardon me for asking, but
what’s the difference? Well, we’ll ask Dusty. Dusty, what’s a bullpen
by situation? "[It’s a] bullpen by who’s pitched two or three days in a
row. It could be a number of things. It’s not exactly by committee."
Well, how’s that different from a bullpen by committee? "You say
‘bullpen by committee’ and that sounds like everybody, and it’s not
everybody." Oh, ok. From what I gather, the
‘bullpen by situation’ is where Dusty decides, based on who he trusts
on that given day and who’s arm is rested, who his closer will be. On
the contrary, a ‘bullpen by committee’ is when the manager and pitching
coach decide, based on who they trust on that given day and who’s arm
is rested, who the closer will be. Forgive me for failing to see the

And of course, nothing is more disastrous than leaving Dusty Baker in charge of a bunch of multi-million-dollar-a-year arms. At that point, you’re just leaving the fox in charge of the hens and asking for a huge problem. Put it this way – deciding who’s gonna close a Cub’s game is a lot like firing a nuclear missile – at least, it should be. Anyone who’s seen Crimson Tide knows that, in order to launch a nuke, you’ve got to have more than one person think it’s a good idea. On a sub, the Captain’s key must be turned at the same time as the Executive Officer’s key, which is across the room. The Weapon’s Officer must also pull a fire trigger. This is what needs to be done in Chicago. Before Dusty picks up that phone, he needs to run it by – no, through – the pitching coach. And unless the call to the bullpen is authenticated by said pitching coach, it’s a no go.

On that note, it looks like Todd Jones might be starting the season on the DL for the Tigers. Great. Best part, injury happened on the last batter of the last game of Spring Training. Of course, the argument can be made that since Jones had been feeling a little tight in his hamstring it was going to pop sooner or later, so better now then Opening Day, I guess. Then again, another two days of rest might’ve eliminated the injury risk. Personally, if your new closer tells you he felt a little tightness in his hamstring two days ago, but now he’s ready to pitch – as Jones said tonight – you say, ‘heck with it, you’re not pitching, this is Spring Training, and you’re all ready to go anyway.’ Of course, I have no idea if Jones told Leyland about this beforehand, and I don’t think Leyland would’ve put him out there if he knew, but I just thought I would add that. Jones had this to say:

This is exactly the way I drew it up. This is perfect … exactly what
I wanted to see happen. Looks like I have to take a 15-day timeout. I’m
hoping it’s not too bad, and we’ll see what happens.

Yeah, he’s pissed. Hopefully this won’t turn into a chronic condition, because Detroit has a
way of disabling closers. That is to say, the Tigers haven’t been able to get through the year using the same closer wire-to-wire since Juan Acevedo had 28 saves and blew 7 more in 2002. Acevedo only had 35 chances because the rest of the pen actually blew 15 out of 20 saves. In 2001, they blew 16 saves, with Matt Anderson going 22 for 24, but with a 4.82 ERA. In 2003, they used seven guys. Chris Mears and the recently departed Franklyn German led the team with 5 saves each. German’s ERA was 6.04, Mears’ was 5.44. That’s really, really, really scary. The last time Detroit had a full time, legitimate closer who the coach didn’t try to steal saves away from and give to the rest of the ‘pen to screw up was in 2000. The closer? Todd Jones. 42 of 46.

And what of the previous Tigers closers? If you’ve seen Apollo 13, read this in the Tom Hanks Epilogue Voice. Matt Anderson posted a 12.60 ERA in 10 innings for the Rockies in 2005, and was a non-roster invitee for the Giants this year. Juan Acevedo vanished after 2003. Chris Mear’s 2003 stint in Detroit was to be his only Major League experience – he would never pitch for the Tigers again. Franklyn German went on to be a semi-successful reliever, but was out of options this year and released on waivers a few days ago. Ugueth Urbina, who the Tigers acquired a little ways into the 2004 season, was traded away at the deadline last year. He had a successful 2005, which was marred by the kidnapping of his Mother in his native country of Venezuela. In November of 2005, Urbina was arrested by Venezuelan police and charged with attempted murder. No one has heard from him since. Troy Percival, who was supposed to close in 2005, screwed up his right arm so badly that he could hardly brush his teeth, and has since retired. And as for the rest of us, we’ve moved on…

Again, bring in the New Year with style here at BHGM!

Leiter out, WBC, and some Random Thoughts

I have to cram the past week’s worth of thoughts into this one post, so that’s why it’s long. Thanks for reading, anyway.

Leiter Retires

First off, many of you who read a previous post know how badly I wanted Al 18680469
Leiter to retire. Well,
he did. And that makes me happy. The guy stayed in the game just long
enough to realize that he’s done everything he can. I know people are
gonna say, ‘well, without Leiter, Chacon, Small, and Wang we don’t make
the playoffs last year.’ I mean, did Leiter’s 4-5 record with a 5.49
ERA in 16 appearances – 10 starts – really get us to the playoffs? I
know Cashman literally didn’t have anyone to start that July 17th game
against the Red Sox until he picked up Leiter, but still – I don’t
think he was what pushed us into the playoffs, and I think we could’ve
done it without him. But this begs the question – how insane would it
be if both Leiter and The Rocket made their last professional
appearances in the World Baseball Classic? And how messed up is it that
The Rocket is still so good?

World Baseball Classic

Next, the World Baseball Classic. I only had a chance over break to
catch the March 13th, 2nd Round matchup between Cuba and Team Dominicana,
and part of the March 16th Mexico v. USA game. First, the Cuba and
Dominicana game was one of the best games I saw. I only watched till
about the 7th inning, but it had everything. Seriously, we had the
Cuban’s weird style of play, and mix that with the David Ortiz v. Cuba
matchup, (which I believe was actually a separate game.) I’m gonna
leave the WBC for a second and talk about the Perez’s.

Alright, we also had Odalis Perez
going 4.2 innings and only allowing 3 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 3
– and you have to think the Dodgers are delighted to see that out of
him. Odalis has been one of the most up and down players these last few
years, but he turns only 29 in June, and so maybe it’s his year.
Remember, in 2002, Perez put up 222.1 IP, with 38 BB, 155 K’s, 21HR,
and an ERA of 3.00. You can look at the stats for the other years
yourself by clicking on the link above, but the bottom line is that
he’s gone on to pitch less innings while giving up the same amount of
hits and HR, a little more runs, and less K’s. We’ve been waiting for
him to bounce back and maybe it’s time. Be careful not to confuse
Odalis, who plays for the Dodgers, with Oliver Perez,
who plays for the Pirates. Oliver has had two years that couldn’t have
been more different. In 2004, he finally pulled it together and went
about 200 IP with 239 K’s and ERA of 2.98. He followed that up with
an injury-ridden 2005 where he went 103 IP – none of them really
healthy, I’ll grant him – and had an ERA of 5.85 with 87 K’s and 70
BB’s – about the same walks in half as many innings. Just more

So, back to Cuba v. Dominicana. My favorite part of this game was,
without a doubt, watchingDortizwbchr
David Ortiz jerk Cuba’s Jonder Martinez out
of the yard in the 5th inning. There is no way to describe this if you
haven’t seen it, but basically Jonder left one over the plate, and it
was gone before the bat was off Ortiz’s shoulder, I mean I was watching
at home and I still knew this blast was coming. Ortiz launched it over
everything in Right Field, and you could even see the fans leaning out
of the park trying to find where it landed. Anyway, instead of watching
the Home Run, Ortiz tosses his bat about 20 feet, turns around, glares at the catcher for about a
second, and then goes on his way. Priceless. Ariel Pestano, who was
basically sick of dealing with the pitcher’s inability to pitch, gets
up and starts hollering down Jonder. Where do you ever see a catcher
run down, scream at, and try to coach his pitcher after he gives up the
biggest shot in the world? As if this isn’t enough, the announcers
decided to add the ESPN Deportes call. And here we go again – "No no no
no no no no no!!!!" The whole call translates into something like,
‘that ball ain’t comin back, no no no no…’ Priceless. If anyone knows
where I can find this, please tell me.

As if this isn’t enough, earlier in the game we got to see Albert
Pujols score from first base. On a double through the gap? No. A ball
off the wall? No. A throwing error, from third to first. Talk
about sailing away. There was some additional technicality on the play
too, I have no idea really, but anytime I get to see a guy who plays
1st base score from first base on a ball fielded by the 3rd baseman,
that’s just incredible. Albert Pujols is a big dude, and he just sprinted 270 feet. Alright. Does everyone remember Ken Griffey Jr’s Winning Run?

It was the fifth game of the 1995 American League Wild Card
Playoffs. Down by one run in the bottom of the eleventh inning, the
Seattle Mariners, with Ken Griffey Jr. up to bat, were setting the
stage for the most exciting finish in a divisional series. Ken Griffey
Jr. smacked a single to center field to advance a runner to third base.
Then the American League batting champ stepped into the batter’s box
and drove a pitch deep to left field; one run scored easily to tie the
game. But wait! Here comes Ken Griffey Jr. rounding third. He’s going to try the impossible, scoring from first base. the throw to the plate is on its way. Ken Griffey Jr. hits the dirt. The throw is not in time! The Seattle Mariners advance to the American League Championship Series, thanks in part to Ken Griffey Jr.’s winning run!

This is from the inside cover of the Super Nintendo game, you guessed
it, "Ken Griffey Jr.’s Winning Run." So what if the account of the play
which is the game’s namesake reads like… it’s 640434
really boring. These
people made one of the greatest baseball games out of one play. There
are no other major leaguers featured in the game. All the names are
made up, except for Ken’s. It’s like, Ken Griffey Jr. Fantasy World.
Ken’s trade value is like, 130, and everyone else’s hovers around 70.
If you haven’t played this game, buy a Super Nintendo and then buy the
game. It’s 10 years old but… it isn’t going out of date.

Now, just a few words about the Mexico v. US game. I didn’t see much
of the game, only a few innings really, but I did see that Home Run,
errr Double. Anyone else who watched that part of the game live
probably sided with the announcers, as I did. Because they absolutely
tore up the umpires. Really, its sad. Say you saw nothing of the actual
play. All you saw was a ball in right field, about 20 feet away from
the wall. How, you ask, did it get there? It didn’t just land there.
And if it did, it wouldn’t be rolling towards the infield. Ok,
so it could’ve hit the wall. The wall in Angel Stadium is about 10 feet
tall. So, unless the wall is sloped upwards, there’s no way that ball
comes that far back. There, problem solved. And here’s another thing,
because I’ll grant that the umpires didn’t see exactly where the ball
landed, because they certainly didn’t see the ball anywhere else. If
Mexico is yelling at you that it was a Home Run, which would eliminate
them from the tournament, and the US is standing around watching…
then it’s a Home Run. Just like Barry Bonds, if I’m Roger Clemens and I
know Mario Valenzuela is trying to take credit for going deep on me
when he actually came up about 20 feet short, I’m gonna be pissed and
screaming at the top of my lungs. In any case, you only overturn a call
if you’re absolutely sure that you saw something that no one else did,
and you’reMexwbccel_1

positive about it – 110%.  I’m not gonna sit here and rip on
Davidson because it’s been done, and frankly, I’m sure the guy wasn’t
trying to incite something. My beef is with Selig, a man I usually
respect. If you’re all about this World Baseball Classic, why don’t you
go ahead and book the MLB Umpires? Apparently, he tried to do this but
these umps said they didn’t believe they would be getting paid enough
to do the games, so they declined the offer. Now, Selig has an issue
with the Umpire’s Union, not the individual crews, but in any case if
you’re Selig you make them ump the game. You pay them more
money, you do whatever you need, but you make it happen. The difference
between an MLB and Minor League Umpire isn’t huge, and maybe Selig
could’ve gotten away with it, but you don’t take that chance on your
first attempt. It’s also interesting to note that Davidson was a former
MLB Umpire. And he’ll stay that way now, because there’s no way he’s
gonna be allowed back after nearly starting WWIII.

Now I’m just gonna talk about a few things that happened on my
forced vacation in the last week. I’ll outline them all now: Dwight Gooden and Denny McLain,
Roy Halladay, Mark Mulder, Mark Prior, and A.J. Burnett.

Dwight Gooden and Denny McLain

Jamesrick_cp_6174702So, recent news is that former Mets Star Dwight Gooden was arrested
for violating the terms of his

probation, which was the result of his
DUI in August of 2005. Well, Gooden had a meeting with his parole
officer where he admitted to using the nose candy – that’s right, Gooden
is back on the blow. Rick James once said, "Cocaine… is a **** of a drug."
It appears he was right. The Super Freak himself was done in by
Cocaine, contrary to the initial reports that he ‘died of natural
causes’, because there’s no way someone like that just shuffles off
quietly in the middle of the night. In any case, most of that Mets team
is having trouble with Coke. It’s really too bad. I’m going to stay
away from Kevin Mitchell and Strawberry because I don’t want to be
typing all night, but I couldn’t help being reminded of Denny McLain
when I heard about Gooden. And when I’m reminded of Denny McLain, I
only think of two things: the ‘Beyond the Glory’ episode on him, and
the fact that he now works at a 7-11. This may seem insignificant at
first, but think carefully. McLain just finished serving his second
stint in the slam, this time for stealing from a meat-packing pension
fund. Remember that, when McLain won 31 games in 1968, he was draining an entire case of
Pepsi every day… How do you put the fox in charge of the hens like
that? No doubt McLain has a hose hooked up to the Big Gulp machine.

Roy Halladay and Mark Mulder

Roy just
got extended through 2010, which is good news. He’s amazing. Next,
Mulder is gonna be a free agent next year. The Cardinals need to lock
him up for seven years. I am pretty sure Mulder is baseball’s
winningest pitcher over the last five years. I’ve heard Colon, but I
think Colon only has 84 wins to Mulder’s 88. Again, I have to cite MVP
Baseball 2004 and say that Mulder is amazing for my team. I like the
Cardinals and I like Mulder, a lot. Imagine if Mulder is let loose and
signs with the Red Sox or something? How can you like a pitcher that
plays for the enemy?

Mark Prior and A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett, like Dontrelle Willis,
has never been ‘ok’ in my book. Not sure why, I just get the feeling
he’s not a good guy. Mark Prior, on the other hand, I like a lot.
Anyway, Prior pitches for the poor, sorry Cubs who aren’t going
anywhere this year. As long as Dusty Baker lets them cry, they’re
stuck. Again, I could get really sidetracked here so I’m going to stop.
But my point is that Prior is aMarkpriorbrokenelbow
great pitcher, when he’s healthy. I’ll
always be a fan. Collisions with players and balls don’t make someone
injury prone, but having your manager throw you out there for over 200
innings in your 2nd year in the majors, after throwing only 100 innings
your first year and despite the fact that you’re only 22, is a problem.
And it looks like he’s starting another season on the DL. Here’s the deal with Prior, when he’s healthy he’s on. It’s not like he’s ever had a really bad stretch, or one nagging injury that sidelines him five times a season, like… a blister. Kerry Wood has the same problem, except his is nagging, and you have to wonder if Baker is the cause. Zambrano is a flat-out freak, so he isn’t
going to hit that wall. Next, A.J. Burnett. Toronto’s hopes nearly got
torn apart when they saw Burnett go down the other day. In any case, he appears to be fine. But doesn’t that scare you to death, when your $11 million a year man goes down like that? At least they didn’t sign Blister Beckett.

That’s all for now. Thanks for waiting a whole week between posts. Recently this blog has gotten pretty popular – we’ve gotten people from Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Croatia, UK, Canada, Israel, Honduras, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Venezuela and some others I’m probably forgetting. The main point is that people are reading, which is important. I mentioned earlier that Kevin and I bought a website – http://www.baseballradioshow.com – that should be up in about a month, hopefully. The website will feature this blog as well as the radio show, which will likely be in a podcast form. We also hope to both contribute articles to the site, along with pictures and more. As I said earlier, if anyone is interested in contributing in any way, please contact me. Thanks again for reading, and leave comments and emails.

NL West – Citizenship Revoked

Some people have this thing where they go through the divisions and tell you what they think that division is going to accomplish. Team by team. Well, I’m going to stick with the whole ‘original’ theme of this blog, and go with something new. It’s been irking me all year. So:

I’m sick of the NL West. Let me lay out, in great detail, why I hate it.

San Diego Padres

First, Mike Cameron. Does anyone remember when he collided
with Carlos Beltran
last year? That was probably one of the freakiest
collisions I have ever seen, and unfortunately I had to watch it Padres
live. Cameron
was on my bad side for awhile after getting pissed about moving to Right Field
when the Mets acquired Beltran. I know what it’s like to have to switch
positions, so I’m not angry at guys for being pissed, but it’s something they
need to keep to themselves. If they really can’t handle it, tell the GM in
private how you feel, then shut up and make way. Especially if you’re Mike
Cameron, and he’s Carlos Beltran. I know Cameron’s agent said that they never
wanted his reservations about moving to right to go public, but still. In any
case, Cameron is now in Center with the Padres. If you ask the Padres, they’ll
tell you they’re pumped because now they’ve got someone with wheels patrolling
that massive backyard, and they’re ready for another championship season.

me explain something to you. The Padres did not win a divisional title last
year. Yes, I know that technically they did, but I’ll give Bonds the HR Title
before I give the Padres the NL West. You don’t go 82-80 and win a title. And
if you do, you don’t get to keep it. I’ve touched on revoking the NL West’s
citizenship this year, but now I’m just gonna say, they don’t deserve a playoff
spot this year. I don’t care if one of those teams wins 162 games, they stay
out. If you can put the UofM Basketball team on probation, you can put a
division on probation as well. Meanwhile, you have the Blue Jays trapped in the
AL East. So, give the AL another Wild Card Spot, and there you go. Bud Selig
will never do this, and for that he is a weak man. In any case, the Padres
aren’t gonna bring home another ‘championship’ this year just because they have Mike
Cameron. Seriously, the news coming out of Padres Camp is ridiculous. ‘Padres
reload in an effort to repeat
.’ Please… spare me. In all honesty, I don’t
know what the Padres chances are this year, because I don’t like the NL West.

The Rest of this joke of a division

Why don’t I like them? Not only are they terrible, but they’re far away from me and they’re
Drama Central. Think about it – Barry’s running around screaming at the media,
the Padres are asking who the heck made center field 650 feet deep, the Dodgers
are still trying to invent a successful 7-man batting order, the
Diamondbacks are all over the place, and the Rockies are playing on the moon with a minor league team.

Arizona Diamondbacks

So, to go more in depth with the Diamondbacks, they were tooling aroundRandyjohnson1sized_2

with a
mean Redneck (Randy Johnson,) who vanishes to the team they somehow defeated in
2001, which is all the more
hilarious because in 2004 they were actually a AA
club – look it up. The Diamondbacks were so bad in 2004 that they
managed to win only 3 out of every 10 games. In Moneyball, it’s mentioned that
all teams win a third of their games, lose a third, and the remaining third
determines the best teams. Well, remember that crazy redneck? He had an ERA of
2.60 with 290 K’s, and went 16-14. Still, Randy’s wins accounted for a third of the team’s wins that season. Here’s something I wrote after the 2004

Randy Johnson has got to be on the verge of killing somebody. Near the end
of the 2004 Season, he struck out 15 in 8 innings, allowed one run and received
a no decision, which was on the heels of him pitching 8 innings, striking out 11
and getting a loss, on the heels of him pitching into the 8th, striking out 14,
allowing one run, and getting the loss. So, lets review. In those three starts,
he pitched 23.2 innings, racked up 40 K’s, four ER’s, and walked five guys. His
record: 0-2. He has 14 losses this season – 9th worst in the league – with an
ERA of 2.60 – second best in the league.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Next, the Dodger’s 7-man batting order. Do you remember when the Dodgers
traded Kaz Ishii to the Mets for backup catcher Todd Phillips before the 2005
Season? This was one of the worst trades ever. Both of these teams were going
nowhere. The Mets got a guy who walks eight a game because he pitches around
everyone, including pitchers, and the Dodgers got another catcher who can’t
hit. Apparently, they have a policy where no catcher is allowed to hit over
.220. Piazza and Lo Duca – gone. David Ross? Paul Bako? Keep them. Phillips?
Get him. Well, apparently the joke is up, because the Dodgers were able to
grab a hold of Sandy
for the 2006 Season. Slow down. This guy isn’t an Alomar Jr., he’s
the original, and three months shy of his 40th birthday. For a catcher, in the
NL with no option to DH, this basically makes him a non-factor. Moving on,
we have Russell
. Never played in the majors. Next, Dioner
, who actually smacked for .273 in 176 AB’s last year for the
Dodgers. He also knocked in 14 runs. Fantastic. If you’re the opposing manager,
why walk their 8 spot to get to their pitcher if they’re both easy outs?

anyone think something good was gonna happen when the McCourt’s took over? This
organization is a mess. Frank McCourt’s title is ‘Chairman.’ Tommy Lasorda is
going by the alias ‘Special Advisor to the Chairman.’ Jamie McCourt, the ball
and chain, is going around as ‘Vice Chairman and President.’ You’ve got the following exchange occurring between Met’s
scouts and Kim Ng, ‘VP and Asst. GM,’ 

Mets: "Where are you from!?"
Ng: "China"
Mets: "What country
in China!?"

… and then blaming their racist outbursts on the Atkin’s diet.
In short, the Dodger’s organization, along with the entire NL West, is one
giant Circus.

Colorado Rockies

Here is another team grappling with the fact that11_01_brosius_hr2_300 someone built their
ballpark in a way that makes it impossible to win. Coor’s field is a
launch pad, not a baseball park. A few years ago, USA Today ran a story
saying that analysis had revealed that Coors Field is the worst park
for pitcher’s ERA. I didn’t know that. Anyway, Shawn Chacon couldn’t be
happier to get out of Coors, first off. Next, remember last year when
the Rockies acquired the ‘expendable, $10 million mistake,’ Byung-Hyun
Kim? That’s what Boston called him after he posted a 6.23 ERA in 2004.
And you ship him off to Coors. His debut for the team was nuts – 6
hits, 2 homers, and 8 runs. One out. That’s an ERA of 216.00.
Incredible. The best part? It wasn’t even at Coors. Then, he threatened
to quit if he didn’t get better. More circus action. I don’t think it’s
ever been easier to point to an exact moment in a guy’s career when he went from good to bad. The minute Derek Jeter homered off Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series to win the game – which was just tied after Tino Martinez’s 2-run jack off Kim made it 3-3 – Kim started to go bad. In Game 5, Kim gives up a game-tying Homer to Scott Brosius, and the Yankees end up winning that game in extras as well. I don’t really care where Kim is now, but the Rockies are still terrible, and that’s no mystery. They’re not going anywhere. I don’t care if MLB.com is leading with a story of your young prospects. Remember when Clint Barmes got taken out for months last year because of a grocery/stairway incident? It’s that kind of thing that happens in the NL West. Sure, maybe the Rockies are on the upswing or whatever. But they’re still a giant circus of a team. First they decided to go with the big bats strategy to win games. That kinda worked. Then they decided to go with pitching, that didn’t work. Then they tried fast fielders. Failed. Get a plan, and good luck.

San Francisco Giants

Barry Bonds. As if you could get any more tragic than that.

In Conclusion…

The NL West is still a circus. Get your act together, pack up the tents, and then you can be reconsidered. Until then, the NL only has 11 teams.

Thanks for reading. Leave comments and emails. I’ve been gone the whole previous week, and a post regarding current baseball events will soon follow.

The Greatest Play of All Time

Manny01_2*The following is a post from The Angry Bench Coach, my new blog. If you plan on linking to this story, please link to this version.*

It happened on July 21st, 2004, in the 7th inning, with 2 outs, Baltimore Orioles v. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. David Newhan is at the plate against Pedro Martinez, and it looks like Newhan just took him deep until the ball bounces off the wall in center. Johnny Damon fields the ball and throws it in to Mark Bellhorn at shortstop, but the throw is intercepted by a diving Manny Ramirez. “It was a highlight catch,” Damon said of the maneuver. For this to happen, Manny had to sprint across a substantial portion of outfield. Never in the history of baseball has a left fielder cut off a center fielder’s throw. No manager in the world would practice a triple cut-off to include the left fielder. They’d have Manny practice unassisted triple-plays first. And to make it worse, it was probably his best catch all season. A diving stab. And, as Manny lies on the ground, Newhan comes home, an in the park home run. Only Manny can rise to the bigs without knowing even the rudimentary basics of baseball. “That,” Newhan said, “was kind of a weird relay there.” Even Terry Francona said, “That was a big mistake and we paid for it.”
-UPDATE- I finally found the ‘official’ MLB Stream. Manny Ramirez cuts off Johnny Damon.

Certainly, this has got to be more entertaining than when Manny disappeared into Manny Land, that bizzarro world he found under Monster. It has to be more exciting than Manny demanding a trade, for the third time in four years, and not getting it because his contract runs about $20 million. You can complain about his fielding, but when the dude steps into the box, he mashes. In a game against the White Sox last season – coincidentally, exactly one year after the Greatest Play of All Time – Joe Crede dropped an easy foul pop-up from Manny. 99 times out of 100, you’re out. Manny is not gonna get out twice in one at bat, and not a single person watching thought he wasn’t gonna jerk the next one out of the yard. Even Ozzie Guillen himself said it. “Everybody did, everybody in the ballpark did.” Sure enough, next pitch, home run. Red Sox win, 6-5. Manny might be disappearing into the monster, cutting off throws from center field, and getting picked off while executing routine baserunning, but you’re not gonna get that guy out twice in the same at bat, not a chance.