Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Royal Tease

Sometimes you hear a name and it forms a funny picture in your mind. It is this humor that has made the "What do you call a man with no arms and no legs..." jokes popular. While perusing through the 40-man rosters of each team recently, I came a cross a handful of players whose names generate such hilarious imagery. Five men from the Kansas City Royals are depicted here, and only one from the New York Yankees.

Catcher John "10 Point" Buck may not have the most impressive rack, or stats for that matter, but he is a solid player and a loyal Royal. Brian Bannister makes his debut with the Royals this season. He's had it rough during spring training, but the team is confident that he will become a sturdy and stable pitcher. Rounding out the nouned nomenclatured pitchers is John "Hay" Bale.

Former Red Sox outfielder Coveli "Coco" Crisp also premieres with the Royals this season. The cereal inspired nickname has its origins in his childhood, and it stuck. I think it has a lot of marketing potential. If not in cereals, then certainly as a potato chip. Youngster Billy "Coleman" Butler served the Royals mostly as a designated hitter in his last two seasons, however, this year they seem to be grooming him to play more games as a first baseman.
New York Yankees
Enjoy the taste of Coke? The Yankees seem to. Rookie south paw Phil "Cherry" Coke, popped his MLB cherry in September of last year against Detroit. He's a strong pitcher, hopefully he won't fizzle out too soon.

Fun with names, FedEx style...

FedEx Ground Commercial

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hot Six

Finally! After six long, dreary, and baseball-less months, the season opener is only six days away. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, here are six lists containing six items related to the number six.

Six Famous Players to Wear the Number Six
6. Ryan Howard - Phillies 1B
5. Johnny Pesky - Red Sox SS/3B
4. Tony Oliva - Twins OF
3. Al Kaline - Tigers OF
2. Steve Garvey - Padres 1B
1. Stan Musial - Cardinals OF/1B

Six Hall of Famers Born in June
6. June 15, 1958 - Wade Boggs
5. June 15, 1938 - Billy Williams
4. June 6, 1907 - Bill Dickey
3. June 19, 1903 - Lou Gehrig
2. June 11, 1879 - Roger Bresnahan
1. June 5, 1874 - Jack Chesbro

Six Recent World Series Games Decided in Game 6
6. 2003; Florida Marlins vs. New York Yankees
5. 1996; Atlanta Braves vs. New York Yankees
4. 1995; Atlanta Braves vs. Cleveland Indians
3. 1993; Philadelphia Phillies vs. Toronto Blue Jays
2. 1992; Atlanta Braves vs. Toronto Blue Jays
1. 1981; Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Yankees

Six Tallest Pitchers
6. Mark Hendrickson, 6' 10" (Orioles)
5. Andy Sisco, 6' 10" (Athletics)
4. Chris Young, 6' 10" (Padres)
3. Eric Hillman, 6' 10" (Mets)
2. Randy Johnson, 6' 10" (Yankees)
1. Jon Rauch, 6' 11" (Nationals)

Franchises Started in the Sixties
1961 - Minnesota Twins, Washington Senators, and Los Angeles Angels
1962 - Houston Astros (Colt .45s) and New York Mets
1966 - Atlanta Braves, California Angels
1968 - Oakland Athletics
1969 - Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals, and Seattle Pilots

Six Random Six Facts
6. Most bases stolen in a single game, 6, by Eddie Collins, who did it twice in September of 1912.
5. The six oldest teams are: Chicago Cubs and Boston Braves (1871), Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals (1882), Philadelphia Phillies (1883)
4. There have been 133 players whose height is or was 6 feet, 6 inches.
3. No single player has ever hit 6 home runs in a single game.
2. Joe Torre as manager of the Dodgers sported a number 6.
1. Abner Doubleday, who invented the game of baseball, was born on June 26, 1819.

Sixx A.M. - Tomorrow

Sunday, March 29, 2009

You Play Ball Like A Girl!

Who the hell is Eri Yoshida? A 17 year old side-arming knuckleballer, who is pitching in the Japanese minor leagues for the Kobe 9 Cruise. Oh yeah, she's a girl too! She's stands a whopping 5 foot even and weighs a half of a sumo wrestler's ass cheek (114 pounds). In the season opener, she made her debut in relief walking the first batter on 4 straight balls, but then retired her second and final batter with a strikeout. She began playing baseball in 2nd grade, and attempts to emulate knuckleballing BoSox Tim Wakefield.

Of course there's skeptics that think this is all a publicity stunt to help draw attention to the new Kansai League, but don't you think this would be more effective (see below)?


Read This!:
*Mr. Ballz of Phoul Ballz takes you to Sunday School with a lesson about old timer Phils pitcher John "Jocko" Thompson.

*The Love of Sports compares Bernie Williams desire to make a comeback to the 40 Year Old Virgin.

*Sparty and Friends has a pretty cool bracket going of Best Sports Movies of All-Time.

I have no idea what the f*ck they're signing.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

World Series of Hotness

More Hardball wants to know which city has the hottest fans in Major League Baseball. We started out by going division by division in each league, then the past two weeks were the playoffs. Now it's time for the World Series of Hotness with the Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Los Angeles Angels.

Hotter fans- Philly or LA?
pollcode.com free polls

Me Likes Two Reed:

*We Should Be GM's previewed the upcoming promotions for the Phillies this season. Personally I'm setting my sites on April 28th which is TJ Simers Feminine Hygiene Day and August 20th when I can get a Chase Utley soap-on-a-rope.

*For a great collection of funny yet insightful sports blog, go to the Slow Breaker Network. Naturally, More Hardball is one of their featured blogs.

*Poor Duke got blasted by Villanova in the NCAA tournament 77-54, No Guts No Glory takes a look at what's next for the Blue Devils.

*Long Drive: Phillies Blog hasn't taken kindly to the Phils lastest addition of Jack Taschner, go with a nice word play of Trashner instead.

*Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies is gearing up the Pitts vs. Nova Elite 8 match-up this weekend.

*Zoner Sports has been running the "Best Sports Blog Name Tourney" and I'm sad to announce our buddies at We Should Be GM's were eliminated in the 2nd round by for f*ckin' votes.

*Bootlegger Sports checks out the 5 shittiest things in the NBA today.

*Sharapova's Thigh (yep, still get tingles from just typing it) goes retro on us and visits a classic baseball card of Dick Drago.

*MLB Homerun delves into the depressing issue of the economy and Major League Baseball. If you need to cry, read this.

*Did you know Buzz Capra was a baseball player? Me either, but Cardboard Gods featured him yesterday anyway.

*Yesterday I discovered Real Clear Sports, and they have an excellent collection of informative sports links every day to choose from.

*Chicago Cubs Online were kind enough to plug our Hottest Fans in Baseball: League Series post last week, so I decided to plug them back. Plugging is so much fun...plug you!!!

Color Me Badd- I Wanna Sex You Up

Friday, March 27, 2009

Revisiting #1 Picks in Draft (1999-2008)

There's a ton of hype surrounding the chosen one Stephen Strasburg. Some scouts think Strasburg can go directly from college to the Washington Nationals starting rotation after they pick him #1 overall in 2009 draft. One scout even said he's better than AJ Burnett right now...craziness! Time will only tell how good, great, bad, or completely worthless Strasburg will be, but time is already telling on some other #1 picks from years past.

2008- Timothy Beckham/SS/Tampa Bay Rays: No MLB experience. Minor league #'s: 1 yr, 48 gm, 35 r, 45 h, 13 dbl, 2 hr, 14 rbi, 6 sb, .246/.309/.350. Beckham didn't exactly impress in his first season as a professional, but he's got plenty of time to live up to his potential. Scouts expect him to be helping the Rays fight for the AL East in about 2 seasons, by which time Jason Bartlett will be due to be displaced from SS. In his brief time in major league camp this spring he went 2-11 (.182).

2007- David Price/P/Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 1 yr, 5 gm, 14 ip, 12 k, 1.93 era, 0.93 whip. This dude got more hype than any young stud in the playoffs since a 19 year old Andruw Jones burst on to the scene with the Atlanta Braves in October of 1996 belting 3 homers with 9 rbi. Price pitched in 5 games last October, compiling 5.2 ip, with 8 k's, and 1.59 era as a 22 year old barely wet behind the ears rookie. There's much debate over whether he's ready for the full-time gig of starting pitcher in the majors or not, so the Rays are sending him to Triple A to get a bit more seasoning. Almost everyone agrees, that once he makes it back to the bigs, he'll be there to stay and be top of the rotation caliber. He's gone 8.1 innings this spring, striking out 10, with a 1.08 era, but has been wild walking 6 batters.

2006- Luke Hochevar/P/Kansas City Royals: 2 yr, 26 gm, 6-13 record, 141.7 ip, 77 k, 5.21 era, 1.45 whip. He's struggled in both the minors and majors, yet people still expect big things from this big righthander (6'5"). As of now he's set to be the Royals #5 starter, but they're still hoping he can become much more than that. He's doing fine so far this spring with a 3.86 era over 16.1 innings, but scouts are still calling for him to develop a strikeout pitch that can put batters away.

2005- Justin Upton/SS/Arizona Diamondbacks: 2 yr, 151 gm, 69 r, 120 h, 27 dbl, 9 trpl, 17 hr, 53 rbi, .242/.334/.435. Justin has since converted from shortstop to play RF for the D-Backs. He's still a bit raw with pitch recognition, and that's why the strikeouts are high (158 k/496 ab) and the batting average low. He's only going to be turning 21 years old in August, so he's essentially a smidge older than a high school student sticking with MLB pitching...not too shabby. Upton is the real deal and pretty soon he'll be posting 25+ homeruns and 25+ stolen bases a season.

2004- Matthew Bush/SS/San Diego Padres: No MLB experience. Minor league #'s: 4 yr, 206 gm, 86 r, 158 h, 22 dbl, 5 trpl, 3 hr, 70 rbi, 15 sb, .219/.292/.276. Bush never made it above A+ ball, and he's been traded to
the Toronto Blue Jays for the infamous PTBNL (Player To Be Named Later). He converted to a pitcher in the 2007 season, but suffered an injury and missed all of the 2008 season. The Padres made this pick for financial reasons, but are now suffering because they didn't pick the best player.

2003- Delmon Young/OF/Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 3 yr, 344 gm, 161 r, 393 h, 75 dbl, 5 trpl, 26 hr, 172 rbi, 26 sb, .292/.326/.413. The kid can hit, he just doesn't walk much, and hasn't developed the power most expect him to yet. He'll be 23 this season and still has room for improvement, especially in terms of attitude. Fans won't care so much about his attitude though once he starts producing like his minor league line of .318/.362/.518.

2002- Bryan Bullington/P/Pittsburgh Pirates: 3 yr, 9 gm, 0-5 record, 33 ip, 20 k, 5.45 era, and 1.46 whip. Bullington has been a colossal failure so far. He's still young enough, 28, so teams are still willing to give him a chance because he has the former #1 status. The Buccos released him last summer, and the Cleveland Indians picked him up, but they've since let him hit the waiver wire too. The Toronto Blue Jays are set to give him a shot this season. Pirates obviously regret making this pick.

2001- Joe Mauer/C/Minnesota Twins: 5 yr, 561 gm, 325 r, 653 h, 128 dbl, 14 trpl, 44 hr, 301 rbi, 30 sb, .317/.399/.457, 2 Silver Sluggers, 2 time all-star, 1 Gold Glove, and 2 time batting champ. The Twinkies did a tremendous job selecting Mauer with the first overall pick in the draft, and he has been repaying them for that decision ever since. He's had offseason kidney surgery that currently has him laid up, but there's no doubt that he'll be returning to the diamond this season and when he does he'll continue to dominate.

2000- Adrian Gonzalez/1B/Florida Marlins: 5 yr, 538 gm, 311 r, 571 h, 126 dbl, 6 trpl, 97 hr, 325 rbi, .282/.349/.494, and 1 all-star selection. For the first part of his career in the minors and majors, he was a disappointment with the Marlins and Texas Rangers. It wasn't until he was dealt to the San Diego Padres in 2006 in a huge swap that included Adam Eaton, Chris Young, Akinori Otsuka, and others that he began to flourish. He's now the main cog in the middle of the Friars lineup.

1999- Josh Hamilton/OF/Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 2 yr, 256 gm, 150 r, 277 h, 52 dbl, 7 trpl, 51 hr, 177 rbi, 12 sb, .300/.370/.538, 1 Silver Slugger, and 1 all-star appearance. Never came to fruition with the Rays, as drugs messed up his life and his career. He finally straightened himself out before the 2007 season in which the Cincinnati Reds selected him in the Rule 5 draft. The Reds traded him to the Texas Rangers after 1 season for promising young pitcher Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera. When healthy he plays a solid defensive outfield and has tons of power to jolt a lineup. He's also an inspirational story to many as he's overcome addiction, became a born-again Christian, and put on an amazing display in last year's homerun derby at Yankee Stadium.

One is the Loneliest Number

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fun With White Sox

In continuing with depicting players as literal interpretation of their last names, I give you the 2008 Central Division Champions, the Chicago White Sox. Below are the noun names from U.S. Cellular Field.
The Urban Dictionary currently has 152 definitions for the word 'dank.' All of them relate to the most potent of weed; particularly sticky, hairy, and stinky weed. Oddly enough, sticky, hairy, and stinky also describes lefty pitcher John "Sticky Icky" Danks. Another pitcher, who has yet to see play as a White Sox is Jon "Zelda" Link. No princess chasing for this guy, his quest is to make it to the active roster.

Bartolo "Irritable" Colon looks like he's trying to push a watermelon out of his own colon every time he pitches. Granted he shares his last name with the man who parked three boats off the coast of Hispanola, Cristobol Colon, but c'mon! It's a friggin' colon!

Perhaps one of the most aptly named players is Josh "Wheaty" Fields, as he is an infielder. Outfielder Jermaine "Tie" Dye sports a jersey of many colors.

Another outfielder, DeWayne "Golden" Wise has started his second season with the White Sox. His teammates say that his personality can be a little spicy, but after spending time with Danks all day, they enjoy hanging around him (something about having the munchies).

Apparently there is a White Sox Song. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Self Love

In the upcoming issue of Details Magazine, Alex Rodriguez is photographed making out with...HIMSELF! You can't make this stuff up! This is the ultimate act of narcissism, short of taping a picture of himself onto a blow up party doll, or sheep, or whatever he finds attractive. Perhaps these over-indulgence are the effects of too much testosterone seething in his system. Regardless of the reason, the star is depicted getting his rocks off on his reflection and that is just plain weird.
Also surreal is the fact that in the accompanying interview, Rodriguez refuses to name his favorite Madonna tune, claiming he didn't want stadiums to play it every time he stepped to the plate. It is a shame Madonna did not write "I Touch Myself." However, based on these pictures, I have a few suggestions:

"Beautiful Stranger"

"Look of Love"

"Forbidden Love"

"Physical Attraction"

Poor A-Rod has a reputation of not being easy to get along with. At least he has someone other than the Material Girl to hold himself at night...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oh, How the Mighty have Fallen!

Player A: 31 years old, 1006 r, 1716 h, 338 dbl, 371 hr, 1131 rbi, 138 sb, .259/.339/.489, with 10 Gold Gloves, and a 5 time all-star.
Player B: 26 years old, 68-56 record, 1046.7 ip, 775 k, 3.91 era, 1.38 whip, 2 time all-star, and Rookie of the Year.
Player C: 30 years old, 123-90 record, 1807 ip, 1347 k, 3.82 era, 1.30 whip, Cy Young award, and 3 time all-star.

Future Hall of Famers? Nope!
Washed-up has-beens? Yep!

Player A- Andruw Jones:
Jones was the cream of the crop in terms of all-around talents of center fielders for a decade with the Braves. He had power, speed, and tremendous defense. Andruw was a World Series hero as a 19 year old in 1996. Then 2 years ago he had a down year in what was a contract year, followed by a bottom-of-the-barrel type performance last season. Originally he was rumored to be asking for 5+ years and 100+M in the winter of 07-08, but he settled with the Dodgers on a 2 year pact instead. LA released him a couple months ago and he signed with the Rangers, but is struggling to even make their 25 man roster. Meaning he faces the distinct possibility of having to earn his way back to the majors by serving minor league time.
2007: .222/311/.413, 27 dbl, 26 hr, 83 r, 94 rbi, and a Gold Glove.
2008: .158/.256/.249, 3 hr, 21 r, 14 rbi, and 76 k's in 75 games.
Spring: .273/.333/.455 but 14 k's in only 33 at bats.
Career Earnings: $102,433,410 and set to make $15M this season.

Player B- Dontrelle Willis:
The D-Train has been derailed. He started off brilliantly as a 21 year old lefty with a deceiving goofy delivery, going 14-6 and winning the R.O.Y. award and a World Series with the Marlins in 2003. People in South Florida would tune in on nights he pitched because he was vivacious, charismatic, and oozed fun. Then like Andruw, two seasons ago things started to fall apart for Willis. However, nobody expected things to get as bad as they have, as he's been demoted to the minors last season and shows no sign of regaining any spunk that allowed him to thrive in the big leagues years ago. Detroit is so disappointed.
2007: 10-15, 205.3 ip, 5.17 era, 1.60 whip.
2008: 0-2, 24 ip, 9.38 era, 2.21 whip (MLB), 4.45 era, 1.69 whip (AAA)
Spring: 0-2, 8.2 ip, 12.46 era, 2.77 whip.
Career Earnings: $18,766,426 in year 2 of a 3 yr $29M deal.

Player C- Barry Zito:
Barry came to San Francisco as "the other Barry" two years, and just like Jones and Willis, has faltered ever since. Before becoming a Giant, Zito rattled off 6 straight seasons of 200+ innings pitched and averaged 15.8 wins per seasons with the A's during that time. However, he's now the laughingstock of big money long-term deals to pitchers.
2007: 11-13, 196.7 ip, 4.53 era, 1.35 whip.
2008: 10-17, 180 ip, 5.15 era, 1.60 whip.
Spring: 1-1, 19.2 ip, 5.49 era, 1.68 whip.
Career Earnings: $42,535,000 in year 3 of a 7 yr $126M deal.

These guys are still relatively young, so it's within reason to think they might be able to get out of these funks. However, reading scouting reports of each of them leaves you much less high on them returning to dominance or even being worthy of a roster spot. They've made millions and are set for life, so pity is not what I feel for them. Still, there's a part of me that feels bad for them. Watching the mighty fall can leave you with a mixed bag of emotions.

LL Cool J- Mamma Said Knock You Out

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Fun With Names

While gathering information on current teams (for Fantasy Baseball purposes), I was amused to see how many players had nouns for last names. It reminded me of an old article I had seen as a kid in Topps Magazine, where baseball cards were altered to reflect literal interpretations of players last names - I distinctly recall David Cone, who was depicted as a giant baseball pitching ice cream cone. Friday, I looked at the Orioles. Today, I pick on players from the Red Sox and Tigers franchises.

Boston Red Sox
Only two men on the 40-man roster had nouns as names; Brad "Copper" Penny (formerly of the Dodgers) and Jason "Cape Cod" Bay. The third player's name, Dusty "Pig Pen" Brown, contains nothing but adjectives.

Detroit Tigers
The Tigers, too, were under represented in the fun names department. See if you can guess which pictures are of Casper "Wishing" Wells, Brandon "Cowardly" Lyon (formerly of the Diamondbacks), and Kyle "Daisy" Bloom.

Each stadium has its own traditions and tunes they play during the seventh inning stretch. For the Orioles, it is John Denver, for the Boston Red Sox, it is Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline." I am as baffled as you are. But there you have it.

Fans sing "Sweet Caroline" during Game 2 of the 2007 World Series.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

90% Mental

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra was well known for his statements that made, at best, logical gaps, at worst, no sense whatsoever. It clearly does not take genius to play baseball and locker room interviews with most athletes often prove this. So here is a compilation of quirky quotes, quips, and quizzical utterances made by baseball players and conveniently categorized into key topics.

Science and Health
-“The sun has been there for 500, 600 years.” Mike Cameron, Brewers CF
-Brooklyn Dodgers Pitcher Billy Loes explains how he missed a ground ball "I lost it in the sun!"
-"The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Somebody actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex." Carl Everett, Mariners OF
-"The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing." Dizzy Dean, Pitcher (Cardinals, Cubs, Browns)
-"Therapy can be a good thing; it can be therapeutic." Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez

-On reports that 50 percent of ballplayers use steroids, Athletics star Rickey Henderson replied "Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there."
-"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." Yogi Berra
-"Me and George and Billy are two of a kind." Baseball player Mickey Rivers, on his relationship with George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin.
-After a 1-0 game Dizzy Dean explained "The game was closer than the score indicated."
-"There is one word in America that says it all, and that word is, 'You never know.'" Pitcher Joaquin Andujar (Astros, Cardinals, Athletics)
-Mets announcer Ralph Kiner "That was Benes' fifth strikeout on the day. He came in with 94, so now he has 104 strikeouts on the year."

Moral Conundrums
-Asked if he preferred grass or Astroturf Phillies pitcher, Tug McGraw said “I dunno. I never smoked any Astroturf."
-Upon being beaned by a pitch, former Giants second baseman Tito Fuentes complained “They shouldn’t throw at me. I’m the father of five or six kids.”
-When asked about serving as a role model for kids, Andre Dawson explained "I want all the kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I want all the kids to copulate me."
-“Every time that I have ever tried to help a woman out, I have been incarcerated.” Jose Canseco

The Game Itself
-"A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings." Earl Wilson, Pitcher (Red Sox, Tigers, Padres)
-“I am the most loyal player money can buy.” Don Sutton who pitched for the Dodgers, Astros, Athletics, Brewers, and Angels
-Padres announcer Jerry Coleman: "Winfield goes back to the wall. He hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It's rolling all the way back to second base! This is a terrible thing for the Padres!"
-Cubs announcer Harry Caray on Jorge Orta: "Aw, how could he lose the ball in the sun, he's from Mexico!"
-"I will perish this trophy forever." - Milwaukee Braves Shortstop Johnny Logan
-"The only thing that keeps this organization from being recognized as one of the finest in baseball is wins and losses at the major league level." Devil Rays GM Chuck Lamar on his team's performance.
-"A lot of good ballgames on tomorrow, but we're going to be right here with the Cubs and the Mets." Thom Brennaman, Chicago Cubs broadcaster.

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