Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hottest Fans of the NL Central

More Hardball wants to know who has the hottest fans in baseball. We'll be running a set of posts over the following weeks featuring images of each teams' hotties, with a voting poll to crown a champion. We've crowned champs of the AL East (BoSox), Central (ChiSox), West (Angels), and AL Wild Card (A's) already, and we're now moving on to the National League. Last week the Phillies won the NL East and now it's time to move on to the NL Central. Sticking true to Major League Baseball's roots, there will be an eight team playoff system where the winners of each division square off with the addition of a wild card team to determine who wins the pennant and represents each league in the World Series of Hotness.

Chicago Cubs:





St. Louis Cardinals:


Houston Astros:




Milwaukee Brewers:


Cincinnati Reds:


Pittsburgh Pirates:


Who has the hottest fans in the NL Central?
Cubs
Cardinals
Astros
Brewers
Reds
Pirates
  
pollcode.com free polls



Black Eyed Peas- My Humps

*I almost didn't run this poll because the Cubs should be the clear winner. Anyone with a jock and a pulse can see that.

*I Google searched for Pittsburgh Pirates women for over an hour and came up empty-handed, hence the cop-out above.

Friday, February 27, 2009

F.U. Manny!

More Hardball refrains from using the "F" word (we're PG-13), but mother f'er, I'm really tempted to bust it out today. Manny Ramirez really pisses me off. He's a lazy, cocky, self-absorbed, egotistical son of a bitch...but dammit he can hit. The latest news that has my back hair raised is that he rejected the Dodgers generous contract offer as if it were some sort of diseased fruit basket or one of those wall mounted singing fish. The offer that he scoffed at was for 1 year with a guaranteed $25M, which is more than all readers of this blog combined will make in a lifetime (unless of course Manny himself tuned in today). There's a player option year for $20M too...guess that can't buy a big enough mansion in Hollywood to fit his massively swollen head into. If he weren't one of the greatest righthanded hitters of all-time, nobody would give two pinches of shit about him right now, but he is that damn good, so of course he's the media circus trucks along. People are tired of the cliche "Manny being Manny", because that's bullshit. It's time he accepts the contract on the table, suits up, knocks the shit outta the ball for an entire season then demands more money again next offseason. My guess, he's just holding out so his slothful ass doesn't have to go through spring training. F.U. Manny!


________________________________________

A Word from the Wise:
*We Should Be GM's took the Garbage Pail Kids baseball concept to a whole new level, covering nearly everyone on the Phillies pitching staff.

*More Hardball had it's best week ever (move aside VH1) with much appreciated links from Deadspin, MLB Trade Rumors, and Baseball Musings.

*3:10 to Joba allows viewers to gaze upon their namesake's (Joba Chamerlain) arm-candy...pretty!

*Sharapova's Thigh (I get tingly every time I type that) takes an in depth look at the Indians...sorry, no Cleveland Steamers for you perverts out there.

*Hugging Harold Reynolds has photo evidence that A-Rod's roiding cousin is no longer on the good stuff, and if he is it must be man-boob enhancers.


Limp Bizkit and Method Man- N 2 Tegether Now

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exhibitionists

Yesterday marked the first set of exhibition games of the 2009 Spring Training season. Below is a brief look at some of the games.

Mets v. Orioles (9 - 3)
There is something wrong with the universe when the Mets win a game and the Phillies lose on the same day. Hopefully, the Mets will do in 2009 what they always do, win early, win often, lose big. Especially if pitcher, Sean Green keeps breaking nails. (By the way Mets fans, it is not Shawn Green, learn to spell your own players' names before posting things on the Internet). He gave up one of three runs to Ty Wigginton before being replaced by Brian Bass. Some reporters are raving about Luis Castillo's performance last night, but did he really do that well? He's decent, yes (Career average .292, OBP .367), BUT weren't the Orioles simply there in form, not in function? What's up with the Orioles, anyway? Hennessey was apparently playing for the Mets, loading up bases in the second inning then being removed because of a sore elbow. This strategic move set up his replacement Chris Waters to allow Castillo to drive in a 2-run single. So he sucks. The Mets were then helped out in the 4th by the replacement of Piss Waters with David Pauley, who must also be working for the Mets, as he gave up four runs to them. Pauley (ERA 11.68, WHIP 2.27), really? Is this the best of the Orioles bullpen? The Colossal Castillo then knocked an impressive fly ball that the left fielder, Luke Scott, simply missed, and allowed two more to score. The Mets still suck, the Orioles just sucked a little harder.

Dodgers v. Cubs (3 - 5 Final)
Ever heard of Micah Hoffpauir? You will. Impressive grand slams are one way to ensure a spot on the team's roster. Ever heard of Manny Ramirez? Yeah, he wasn't there last night. "No distraction whatsoever," said Torre regarding Manny's absence. If the bastard wasn't so self-serving, the Dodgers may have had more of an offensive chance. Defensively, the Cubs started Jeff Samardzija, but after giving up three hits and two tuns in two innings, the Cubbies are considering bumping him back to Triple A.

Athletics v. Brewers (3 - 3 Final in 10th)
This game was called prior to completion because both teams went through all eight of their rotation, and simply ran out of pitchers. That's one way of keeping your pitchers "fresh." Is this new "play and pull" strategy going to be something we see a lot more of this year? One inning pitchers? Brewers Corey Hart looked pretty solid, not great but solid (this is the Brewers after all) after hitting a home run, a single, and stealing a few bases. For the A's Bobby Crosby and Travis Buck were the home run hitters last night. Noticeably contributing nothing to the game, Jason Giambi. The Athletics led until the eighth when two RBI singles were driven in by Brad Nelson and Chris Duffy. These are constantly mediocre teams, I wouldn't expect too much from either of them this season.

Chicago White Sox v. Angels (3 - 12)
The Angels showed up in force. I don't think the Sox even played. On paper, both teams look evenly balanced, but a string of unlucky pitchers from the Sox and some solid batting by the Angles lead to early Angel domination.

Rangers v. Royals (7 - 12)
A baseball game was played last night, and nobody cared...Rangers Hank Blalock looked pretty good, smashing in a two run homer in the first inning against Horatio Ramirez. Granted these are only exhibition games, and they fall before the season, and people are out of their groove, but c'mon Horatio, an ERA of 7 with a WHIP of 35? He pitched his second best for the Royals last year (ERA 2.59) but he has the tendency to give up runs and he looks as if he is falling back into old habits. He's lucky there was some great offense, as there is no defense for the Royals.

More Scores
Diamondbacks v. Rockies (5 - 3)
Red Sox v. Twins (2 - 5)
Braves v. Tigers (4 - 5)
Phillies v. Pirates (2 - 8)
Yankees v. Jays (6 - 1)
Marlins v. Cardinals (5 - 5 in 10th)
Nationals v. Astros (3 - 6)
Reds v. Rays (7 - 0)
Giants v. Indians (10 - 7)


Xzibit - Concentrate

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Base Brawl: Melee at the Mound

Remember when you were a kid, and two idiots got in a fight at school? What did you do? You stood there with the rest of the school and chanted "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" the whole time hoping that one of the assholes would be reduced to a pulp, and it really didn't matter which one. It's okay to admit it: you're the kind of person who watches hockey secretly hoping for gloves to be thrown and a score of players pounding the piss out of one another, or NASCAR for a fiery finish, and basketball for spectacular fouls. Violence is not acceptable in society, but on the rink, track, court, or field of combat spectator blood lust is like a disease. We're still Roman citizens watching some prisoner getting torn to shreds by a wild animal (beast or human) in the coliseum, and we love it. Baseball is no exception. Every now and then baseball moves beyond a little kicking of dirt on the umpire. Sometimes there are mound charging, dugout clearing, knock-down-drag-outs. Here is a sampling of the classics. Really, it is a lot of fun watching multi-millionaires beat the shit out of one another.

Don Zimmer v. Pedro Martinez - October 11, 2003
What Happened? Pedro Martinez had been throwing at batters during an already tense ACLS game. Zimmer charged on Martinez, who then pushed the 72 year old to the ground. Perhaps not the greatest fight of all time, but it did clear the benches, and the old man went down like a sack of potatoes. Don's face and his pride was a little bruised, but otherwise, no serious injuries were sustained. A lot of people gave Martinez crap about this, but old guy or not, the dude is huge, and was charging like a bull, what else would Pedro do? However, this was not Martinez's first incident.

Pedro Martinez v. Tampa Bay Devil Rays - August 29, 2000
Martinez likes to hit batters. It's his thing when he's pissy (at one point, he led the AL in beanded batters). In one of the most bizarre games in baseball's history, this game saw a two brawls that resulted in eight ejected Rays, a flurry of fists, some Daubach cheap shots, and two hospitalized Red Sox. The whole thing started when Martinez popped Gerald Williams on the left hand with a pitch. Williams charged the mound, almost knocked Pedro down, and then punched him. Williams was among the eight players tossed. Pedro, however, was not. Images from St. Petersburg Times

Ed Ott v. Felix Milan - August 12, 1977
What happened? Pirates Ed Ott slides hard into second, Millan yells at Ott, Ott yelled back, Millan punches him in the face. Ott then body slams Millan, injuring Millan's shoulder and ending his career. This was Millan's last game.

Jason Varitek v. A-Roid - July 2004
What Happened? A-Roid was going to charge Bronson Arroyo but Varitek jumped in his face. Literally. I'm no fan of Alex Rodriguez, but apparently Varitek fights like a girl, shoving a glove in his face. This brawl led to these two being suspended for 4 games and fined $2,000. Six others involved in the ensuing scuffle were also suspended.

From ESPN Page 2
Juan Marichal v. John Roseboro - August 22, 1965

Marichal (Giants Pitcher)had thrown a couple of deliberate pitches at some Dodgers batters when he was on the mound. Later, when he came up to bat, Dodgers catcher John Roseboro tried to knock him down from behind the plate. Marichal hit Roseboro with a bat and a 14 minute bench-clearing melee ensued.

And my favorite
Nolan Ryan v. Robin Ventura - August 4th, 1993
Nolan Ryan beans Robin Ventura with a pitch. Ventura, being 20 years his junior charged the mound believing he could sock the old man. Ryan grabbed him in a headlock, and pummeled the bejeesus out of his face before Ventura was pulled away by catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

More Baseball Fun (From ESPN)

Top Ten Baseball Fights - Watch the top videos of the week here

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Minor Threats: Minor League Contract Team

Each offseason MLB players of varying degrees of success are signed to minor league contracts. Sometimes these players excel and become a force in the lineup (Eric Hinske for Tampa Bay last season) or have a steadying effect on the staff (Brian Moehler for Houston last year). The following is a 25 man roster constructed of players that have been signed to minor league contracts for the upcoming 2009 season.

(*2008 stats listed for each player)

Lineup:
1. Scott Podsednik/LF- .251/.323/.333, 12 sb
2. Alex Cintron/SS- .286/.321/.361
3. Rich Aurilia/3B- .283/.332/.413, 10 hr.
4. Kevin Millar/1B- .234/.323/.394, 20 hr, 73 r, 72 rbi
5. Jonny Gomes/DH- .182/.282/.383
6. Emil Brown/RF- .244/.297/.386, 13 hr
7. Javier Valentin/C- .256/.326/.411
8. Juan Uribe/2B- .247/.296/.386
9. Corey Patterson/CF- .205/.238/.344, 10 hr, 14 sb

Bench:
*Chris Gomez/2B/3B/SS/1B- .273/.322/.333
*Daryle Ward/1B/OF- .216/.319/.402
*Jamie Burke/C- .261/.303/.326
*Miguel Cairo/2B/SS/3B/1B/OF- .249/.316/.330

Rotation:

1. Livan Hernandez- 13-11, 180 ip, 6.05 era, 1.67 whip
2. Glendon Rusch- 5-5, 83.2 ip, 5.16 era, 1.42 whip
3. Josh Fogg- 2-7, 78.1 ip, 7.58 era, 1.58 whip
4. Freddy Garcia- 1-1, 15 ip, 4.20 era, 1.13 whip
5. Chris Capuano- inactive in '08

Bullpen:
1. Eric Gagne- 4-3, 10 sv, 46.1 ip, 5.44 era, 1.47 whip
2. Eddi Guardado- 4-4, 4 sv, 56.1 ip, 4.15 era, 1.22 whip
3. Jason Isringhausen- 1-5, 12 sv, 42.2 ip, 5.70 era, 1.64 whip
4. Wil Ledezma- 0-2, 58.1 ip, 4.17 era, 1.58 whip
5. Jamey Wright- 8-7, 84.1 ip, 5.12 era, 1.52 whip
6. Matt Herges- 3-4, 64.1 ip, 5.04 era, 1.60 whip
7. John Parrish- 1-1, 42.1 ip, 4.04 era, 1.46 whip

*The lineup has a bit of speed with Podsednik and Patterson, each capable of 20+ stolen bases with regular playing time. Millar, Brown, Gomes, and Aurilia all have some pop in their bats, with Gomes having the most upside in the lineup. The bench in versatile and anyone of them could be inserted into the starting lineup. The rotation has innings eater Livan Hernandez and a bunch of question marks, hence the reason for relievers that can handle a heavy load. I'm counting on Capuano to bounce back from injury and Garcia to give me 150+ innings. Wil Ledezma can be inserted into the starting rotation when need be, as he's the staff's swingman. Gagne will serve as closer, but Isringhausen has much experience in that role too. Guardado and Parrish are the lefties.


Minor Threat- Minor Threat

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Since the inception of Major League Baseball, there have been few challenges to the sport that were traumatic or had a lasting impact. However, in a nearly forgotten chapter of baseball's history, such an event occurred 95 years ago with the forceful addition of the Federal League to the already established American and National Leagues. The Federal League was an in-your-face outlaw league that was created specifically to challenge major league franchise owners.

In the Beginning...
The Federal League began it's life as a minor league organization (called the Columbia League) created by Chicago entrepreneur John T. Powers. Seeing the potential for large profits in baseball, Powers and a hand full of other wealthy elite created six teams: the Chicago Whales (or Chi-Feds), St. Louis Terriers, Cleveland Spiders, Pittsburgh Rebels, Indianapolis Hoosiers, Covington, Kentucky Blue Sox (who, after playing only six weeks, moved to Kansas City and became the Packers). This league distinguished itself by offering contracts only to free agents of the American and National Leagues.

The Challenger Emerges
The Columbia League proved to be commercially successful, and so it was decided that the teams take it to the next level. In 1914, the league's contributors replaced John Powers with James Gilmore. Gilmore changed their moniker to the Federal Baseball Club, billed the league as the third major league and "declared war" on the American and National Leagues. He also brought in some heavy hitters with money to burn, including Harry Sinclair of Sinclair Oil, and Robert Ward, a Brooklyn millionaire and owner of Tip-Top bakery. The newly minted Federal League expanded to eight teams: the Brooklyn Tip-Tops (named for Ward's business) and the Buffalo Blues (a.k.a. 'Buffeds') were added, while the Cleveland Spiders moved to Baltimore and became the Terrapins. Four new stadiums were built, including Weeghman Park in Chicago (we know it as Wrigley Field).
The most insidious change, however, was that Gilmore refused to honor the hated reserve clause of the other two leagues. The Federal League had significant advantages: small size, deep pockets, and a desire to see their franchise become successful. Almost immediately, major and minor league players, past and present, began signing up. Among the most famous were Joe Tinker (the first to sign), future Hall of Famer Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, Frank "Home Run" Baker, Solly Hoffman, Danny Murphy, Howie Camnitz, Al Bridwell, Mikey Doolan, Doc Crandall, Russ Ford and Claude Hadix. Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson almost joined, but were lured back into their respective teams with wads of cash. This is the Federal Leagues first major impact on baseball - the competition of players and owners for large sums of money. Things were getting pretty serious for the Major League who eventually issued an ultimatum: any player defecting to the Federal League would be banned from Major League Baseball for life.

The Seasons
On April 13, 1914 the Federal League began their first season with the Buffalo Blues playing against the Baltimore Terrapins to a crowd of 27,140 people. These numbers remained consistent throughout the season, culminating in the championship game where the Indianapolis Hoosiers beat Chicago Whales by 1.5 games. Several stars emerged, including Benny Kauf, Dutch Zwilling, and Edd Roush. The 1915 season saw the Indianapolis team move to Newark, NJ and become the Peppers. Other Major League stars joined the league including, Eddie Plank, Chief Bender, Ed Konetchy, and Lee Magee. This season ended with the closest pennant race in baseball history with Chicago winning by .001 (or 1/10 of 1%) of a point over the St. Louis Terriers, and .004 over Pittsburgh.

End of an Era
The ultimatum issued by the Major League prompted the FL to file suit against them claiming that the reserve clause was a violation of anti-trust laws. Presiding over the case was Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (who would, in 1921 become baseball's first commissioner). Landis encouraged all three groups to negotiate a deal, which they eventually did. The resulting settlement allowed Charles Weeghman, owner of the Whales, to buy the Cubs, while Phil Ball, owner of the Terriers to purchase the St. Louis Browns. The other owners were offered $600,000 in cash. The players themselves were sold to the highest bidders. Meanwhile, the Blatimore Terrapins refused to settle. They filed a separate anti-trust suit against organized baseball and the former Federal League owners. The Supreme Court ruled in the case Federal Baseball Club v. National League (1922) that due to the fact that baseball was a game, it was not subjected to the same interstate commerse laws that governed all other businesses. To this day, Major League Baseball is the only organized sport to have anti-trust exempt status.

References:

Baseball Reference
Baseball's Third Major League
Historic Baseball
Everything2.com
Baseball Almanac

For more unwanted people...

Mercyful Fate with King Diamond: Uninvited Guest

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gratuitous Crotchticular Activity

Watch any baseball movie and it'll likely have the cliche crotch grab and tobacco spit. Well, I decided to do some research and I found plenty of evidence that gratuitous crotchticular activity takes place in Major League Baseball.

*Some images found via Home Run Derby

A-Rod grabs rod and Brandon Inge digs in:


Cubbie covets crotch and Farnsworth fondles frankfurter:


Jim jiggles junk and Posada positions penis:


Scutaro scoots sack and Teixeira tugs tallywacker:


Video of legendary crotch-grabber Michael Jackson:

*In honor of this post, I typed it with one hand on the keyboard and one hand on my balls.