Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

During the two World Wars, many young men dropped their bats and picked up guns and a completely different uniform to serve in the armed forces. In World War II alone, it is estimated that approximately 4500 professional players (majors, minors, and umpires) served this nation. Of this number, 2 major leaguers, and 128 minor league players made the ultimate sacrifice. Since then, there have been those who served and lost their lives in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Below are the names of men who played America's game before losing their lives protecting America's freedom.

World War I
Eddie Grant - Grant played third base and shortstop for the Cleveland Naps, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and the New York Giants. He was the first former major leaguer to enlist. During his training, he earned the rank of captain of Company H of the 307th infantry, and was shipped to France in 1918. In October, his regiment was sent into the Argonne Forest to rescue the famous 'Lost Batallion.' On October 5, Grant was trying to help two soldiers injured after a shell exploded nearby, when a second shell hit him. He is buried in France, and a monument was placed on the Polo Grounds in his honor. Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis advocated his entry into the Hall of Fame for his service and sacrifice, but this honor was not granted. Landis said of Grant, "His memory will live as long as our game may last."

Christy Mathewson - While he did not die during his service in France, the Hall of Famer was exposed to deadly gas during a training exercise. This accident led to his death in 1925 of gas related tuberculosis.
***I have read sources that indicate two more major league players were killed in action during the first World War, but I have not been able to find their names.

World War II
Elmer Gedeon - Gedeon played one season (1939) with the Washington Senators, before being moved to the Piedmont League Charlotte Hornets in 1940. In January of 1941, he was drafted into military service, joining the Army in March (9 months before the US entered World War II). By may, he was moved to the Army Air Corps. The following year, he became a pilot and earned the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He was shipped to England in February of 1944. Now a captain, Gedeon performed his duties as the Operations Officer for the 586th Air Expeditionary Group. On April 20th, 1944, Gedeon was part of a bombing raid on German military construction sites in France when his plane was shot down by anti-aircraft guns. He and five others were killed in the crash. A memorial service was held in Charlotte for Gedeon and another Charlotte Hornet killed in action, Forrest "Lefty" Brewer. Gedeon's body now rests in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Harry O'Neill - On July 23, 1939, O'Neill played in his first and only game as a major league catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics. However, he was a star athlete in high school and college, excelling in baseball, basketball, and football. After graduating from Gettysburg College in 1939, he signed with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. After his one and only appearance in the majors, he played for the Allentown Wings, then Harrisburg Senators. Throughout the early 1940's, he was a history teacher and coach at Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania. He was called into active duty in 1942 with the United States Marine Corps. In January of 1944 he was shipped from Camp Pendelton to serve in the Pacific Theater. On March 6 1945, O'Neill was killed during the effort to take the island of Iwo Jima.

Korean War
Bob Neighbors - Neighbors began playing in the minors in 1936 with the Siloam Springs Travelers of the Arkansas-Missouri League. He played for several clubs over the next three years. While with the Springfield Triple-I team, his performance earned him a spot on the St. Louis Browns infield. He appeared in 7 games as shortstop in 1939. After his stint with the majors, he returned to the minors, playing for three more years, until America's entrance into World War II. Neighbors joined the Army Air Force in May of 1942. He did not see combat duty during this time, but he played baseball on various military bases throughout his service. After the war, he decided to remain with the military instead of returning to baseball. By 1952, neighbors had earned the rank of major, and was part of a series of bombing raids against North Korea. He served as a pilot with the 13th Bomb Squadron of the 3rd Bomb Group. On August 8th of that year, his plane was hit, and Neighbors reported that he and his crew were bailing out. No other contact was made, nor was he part of the many prisoners of war that were returned to the United States.

Baseball In Wartime
Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society

Our most sincere and profound gratitude to all those who have served, and continue to serve, the United States, and to those whose lives were cut short in performing their duties.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Breaks His Leg

Blasting an extra inning walkoff grand slam - awesome!

Breaking your leg in the process - effed up!

Kendry Morales, 1st baseman of the Los Angeles Angels, ended yesterday's game against the Seattle Mariners in grand fashion, but busted his leg during the celebration. The typical man pile at homeplate following a walkoff hit turned into an ugly scene when Morales had to be carted off the field because of the injury. He landed awkwardly on homeplate after he jumped on to it emphatically.

This game goes down as a win and a loss for the Angels.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Dugout: Pujols and La Russa Are Getting Divorced

Albert Pujols has been in the news quite a bit recently.

First, his namesake bird attacked a reporter on live TV. Then, approximately a week ago, Pujols and his boss, Tony La Russa, got into a spat over the feisty Dominican's spot in the batting order. The scene was not pretty, as Pujols threw a tantrum, knocked over some stuff in the dugout, and then shouted at his boss "I know how to f*ckin' manage!" when the latter told him to knock it off.

While La Russa is known to be a bit of a control freak with the game-some say to the point of overmanaging the game, all this drama in St. Louis makes for a funny episode of "The Dugout".

Read it and enjoy!

The Dugout: Pujols and La Russa Are Getting Divorced

Have a good weekend everyone!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Impact Rookie Bats

A look around the majors and you'll find some rookies logging significant playing time, some for contenders. The following is a list of such players that have made a positive impact on their team with their bat.

Jason Heyward/OF/ATL- .290/.976, 26 r, 9 2b, 9 hr, 35 hr. The 20 year old phenom is proving many prognosticators correct in predicting him for the NL Rookie of the Year. As of now he's got himself in consideration for MVP too.

Brennan Boesch/OF/DET- .343/.966, 9 r, 17 xbh, 22 rbi. When Carlos Guillen went down with injury, Boesch came out of nowhere and has greatly exceeded expectations. Now that Guillen is almost ready to come back, the Tigers had to find a new position for him (2nd base) because Boesch is hitting so well and needs to remain in the lineup.

Austin Jackson/OF/DET- .335/.837, 31 r, 16 xbh, 13 rbi, 7 sb. Playing solid defense and providing a spark atop of Detroit's lineup. He may strike out a ton (53 k's), but his production outweighs that lone drawback.

David Freese/3B/STL- .316/.847, 19 r, 14 xbh, 28 rbi. Hasn't displayed much power yet, but has shown the ability to get a hit and play adequate defense at the hot corner for the perennial contending Cardinals.

Ike Davis/1B/NYM- .283/.866, 21 r, 13 xbh, 12 rbi. Some feel he may have been rushed to the bigs, but he's held his own thus far and has been an upgrade at 1st base from what was previously there (Murphy and Tatis).

Gaby Sanchez/1B/FLA- .277/.802, 22 r, 17 xbh, 21 rbi. On both of my fantasy teams and is a nice complementary player in Miami.

Honorable Mentions:
Tyler Colvin, Ian Desmond, John Jaso, Sterlin Castro, and Reid Brignac.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Law and Order: MLB

Despite the fact that NBC has pulled the plug on one of the most successful shows in television history, they are preparing to pilot a new Law and Order spin off in the fall. The new incarnation will take place in (yawn) Los Angeles. Looking over today's sports headlines, though, I think Dick Wolf should consider prime time jurisprudence baseball style.
  • New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty In Vomiting Case*
  • Dodgers Sue Lovitz**
  • McNamee To Testify In Clemmons Grand Jury**
  • Settlement OK'd In Leyritz Wrongful Death Suit**
  • Ex-Yanks Pitcher Irabu Arrested For Alleged DUI**
  • Source: Police Rule Out Foul Play In Lima's Death*

  • *ESPN
    **Sports Illustrated

    Normally the sports page isn't rife with civil litigation or criminal activity. Between puking pricks, drunk dicks, perjuring pitchers, and stars who shaft ticket brokers, Wolf has a veritable playground of potential source material.

    Joan Jett - Bad Reputation

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Oh Man, Ohman is Good

    Nearly 2 months through the 2010 season and lefty Will Ohman has yet to surrender a run. The 32 year old reliever was sitting on the scrap heap of free agents most of the offseason until the Baltimore Orioles swooped in and rescued him from unemployment by signing him to a minor league deal in mid-February. A league leading 24 appearances and nary a run...sure seems like a solid investment. Mix in 15 k in 14.2 ip with 7 holds and you're looking at a surefire trade deadline target, because Lord knows the O's are already out of it. Left-handed batters are only hitting .188 against him with a piddling .508 OPS. Bet the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, or many other contenders wished they'd have inked him instead.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    RIP Jose Lima

    Since arriving home to Illinois, I haven't had the time to dedicate myself to pursuing sports blogging excellence like I should. But, today I finally have some free time.

    I'm sure this is old news by now, but when I finally got around to perusing through my usual list of sports blogs today, this bit of news shocked me.

    Jose Lima died on Sunday, May 23, from cardiac arrest.

    Usually, we here at MH don't cover the sad stuff unless there is a humorous aspect to it. This is not one of those things.

    I was shocked to hear that Lima had croaked cuz it wasn't too long ago that I remembered him pitching in the pros. I best remember him with the LA Dodgers, and that during the pregame show on Fox during the playoffs many years ago, he sang a song for Joe Buck and the crew. Apparently, Lima was that goofy, free-spirited guy who liked to have fun at his job and make his teammates happy while he was around.

    While I can appreciate that, the fact was that once he'd dropped out of the pros, going back to the Dominican Republic for baseball, the rest of the baseball world had sorta lost track of him. Lima had a fairly prolific baseball career, spanning 13 years in the majors and five teams: the Houston Astros, the LA Dodgers, the Kansas City Royals, the Detroit Tigers, and a minor 4-game stint with the NY Mets in 2006. He did make an appearance with a minor league team in Canada (Edmonton Capitals) last year. In 2004, after pitching the luckless Dodgers to their first playoff appearance since 1988, Lima sang the National Anthem in front of the hometown Dodgers team, forever searing his presence into Dodger history.

    Jose Lima leaves behind a wife and children. He was 37 years old.

    Rest in peace. You will be missed.


    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Committee Seeks World Cup Excitement and Culture For America in 2018/2022

    In a couple weeks when the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa it will bring with it a new level of attention and popularity for the game of soccer. The majority of the world is accustomed to the popularity of the sport since soccer is widely considered the "globe's game." However, in the United States, soccer isn't considered as interesting in comparison to the other four major sports the country has to offer. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Soccer doesn't get the respect it rightfully deserves in the States, but when it comes down to Team USA versus the world and bringing a cultural event to the country, no matter how Americans feel about the game, they pay very close attention.

    The 1994 World Cup (the last time the games were held in the United States) was attended by a total of 3.6 million people, which is still a record even though the games have expanded. From a United States perspective, it was the highest attended single sporting event in U.S. history. The United States Bid Committee, which is in charge of bringing the games back, understands the significance of hosting such an event and has pulled out all the stops to bring the games to America over other locations like England, Australia, and Japan.

    The U.S. Committee's board of directors is made up of important figures like U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Counselor to former President Clinton, Doug Band. The addition of Doug Band to the U.S. Committee is a smart move on behalf of the committee because Band, an avid fan of the game, is co-creator of the Clinton Global Initiative, and has worked tirelessly to help millions across the globe, adding an internationally recognized face on America’s bid. Band's commitment and global understanding is exactly what the Committee needs to make the games and culture of the 2018/2022 World Cup an American reality.

    With the world watching, the 2010 World Cup will be on the forefront of sports viewing technology with some of the games even being broadcasted in 3-D for the first time ever. Team USA drew a favorable bracket and will open the games against England which has many in the country ready to rename this soccer battle the Revolutionary War Part II. Team USA is posed to begin their quest for their first ever World Cup, and America is ready to root them on showing that 2018/2022 is the time to bring the cultural relevance of the world's most popular sport back to America.

    The United States wants to bring the world’s attention to America by hosting the World Cup and demonstrating their embrace for the international game of soccer. Billions of people come together under the banner of soccer and root for their country's team in hopes of holding the cup. Winning the World Cup bid will hopefully bring the games to our shores but will also convey the message that America welcomes diversity and respects worldwide culture.

    Guest Post By: Marc Parker

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    John Maine is a Liar?

    The Mets are hurting for starters with Ollie Perez being demoted to the bullpen and Jonathan Niese ailing. So why in the world would manager Jerry Manuel pull a healthy John Maine from a start 5 pitches into the game? That's right, Maine wasn't hurt, but apparently committed the cardinal sin of walking the first batter of the game. How dare he? The nerve of that bastard!

    But really, why was Maine yanked?
    "I just didn't think John had enough to compete tonight. When he's throwing that way, then there's got to be something incorrect in that arm. Something's got to be feeling bad. John's a habitual liar in a lot of ways as far as his own health. He's a competitor and a warrior and he wants to go out there and pitch. But you have to be smart enough to realize this guy isn't right. The ball is not coming out of his hand correctly."
    ~Pitching Coach Dan Warthen

    Maine doesn't see it that way, he's pretty pissed...
    "Look, I've felt pain for two years, but I'm over that. I don't care about that. I'm well enough to pitch. I wanted to pitch. That's the bottom line. I've got no position. I don't have enough clout. I don't have enough star power to say anything. Whatever happens, happens. I don't care if it's 95. I don't care if its 75 mph. I just want to go out there and pitch. I think that's what I'm most upset about. I would like an explanation. Me throwing 85 mph I don't think is a good explanation to be taken out. I was asked in the bullpen if Valdes should get up and throw, and I said no. I said, 'I'm out here to pitch, and that's what I want to do.' I said, 'Regardless of what happens, it could be 10 runs in an inning or I could go out there and throw seven innings, I want to pitch.' That's what I want to do. That's my goal every single time. I said, 'I want to pitch.' The next thing I know, Valdes is warming up and I'm coming out. I don't understand. I'm sure he doesn't have any confidence with me. Whatever."
    ~John Maine

    Yikes, more drama for the drama queens from Queens. The Mets are a mess.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    This Brew is Skunked

    The cold weather and long underwear are long gone and that means you can no longer say it's early in the baseball season. With that said there are some surprises in the National League. The biggest is in the Central Division. What the hell has happened to the Brewers?
    For starters the Brewers can't seem to get anything going. Originally the problem centered around the offense, like in April when the Crew managed just four runs in a three game series against the Cubs. Then came the four game debacle in San Diego: two runs in 36 innings. But immediately after that the Brewers scored 11 runs in consecutive games, pounded the Diamondbacks and put up 11 runs in the first two games most recently against Philadelphia. The Brewers have been all over the place this season. The are showing no signs of the playoff team of 2008.

    Then there's the bullpen. Forget about the four blown saves in April, Trevor Hoffman is starting to settle in but he hasn't had a save opportunity since May 7. The real issue is starting to come from the other relievers, blowing open close games like on Saturday against the Phillies or Monday night against the Reds. It's hard to put it all on the bullpen though as the relievers have been used heavily lately.
    And that brings us, as always, to starting pitching. Yovani Gallardo has back-to-back quality starts to go with a 2.89 ERA. That's what you want from an ace, right? Well that doesn't tell the whole story. Gallardo has gone more than six innings only twice and there are times when you need your number one guy to go eight or even get you a complete game to save the bullpen. Gallardo hasn't done this but it's not all on him. Randy Wolf was brought in to stabilize the top of the rotation but it hasn't happened yet. Wolf sports a 4.66 ERA and has yet to go seven innings. From there you have a trickle down effect. Since the top two guys can't eat up innings the bullpen gets strained. As the bullpen gets worn out more production is needed from your offense.
    So now that it's well past early, is it hopeless for the Brewers? Well, not quite. First, just look at the rest of the National League. Cincinnati, San Diego, Florida and Washington are all playing superb baseball, but can they keep playing at that level? The usual heavyweights like the Cubs and Mets have also sputtered. The NL is going to be one big mess with the lone exception of Philadelphia, who is once again making themselves the team to beat. Bad luck has played a role in this too as the Brewers hit the buzz saw with San Diego, Philadelphia and now facing Cincinnati as the Reds are, well, red hot. The Brewers don't need every starter to put up quality starts but Gallardo and Wolf to give more innings. The bullpen needs a break and Hoffman needs a save opportunity more than once a week.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Toronto Blue Jays- Kings of the Extra Base

    Perennial NL East Powerhouses: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and the Tampa Bay Rays (since dropping the Devil).

    The lack of Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles from the group is for obvious reasons...they just haven't been all that good recently. But recently is relative, because this season the Blue Jays are off to a torrid 24-17 start and are absolutely killing the baseball. Currently the Jays sit atop the MLB with 65 homeruns and 105 doubles, which is a good distance from the next closest team (+10/HR & +14/2B). Add in their triples total (6) and that's a whopping 176 extra base hits which helps them top baseball with a .466 slugging percentage and be third in runs scored with 212. Their power source is provided by an unassuming foursome: a rejuvenated Vernon Wells (14 2B, 11 HR), an unwanted shortstop Alex Gonzalez (15 2B, 10 HR), a utility player Jose Bautista (9 2B, 11 HR), and cast aside catcher John Buck (11 2B, 8 HR). Perhaps it's time to start taking this squad seriously.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Bad Albert

    After a stressful week of finals, I'm back and ready to pick up on my journalistic duties!

    Albert Pujols is in the news again. First, it was Gawker-gate (Pujols hits a ball deep, and stares at it for a bit before running, and Fox Sports Midwest won't show the replay), now this:

    Albert Pujols attacks TV reporter.
    And that's exactly what happened-thank God for video cameras.

    HAHA!! Fooled you all! What? You thought the REAL Albert Pujols REALLY did decide to go Russell Crowe-ape shit on a TV reporter? The media practically WORSHIPS this guy!

    Which reminds me...I have the perfect cartoon forming in my head about Albert Pujols, media darling...

    h/t to Big League Stew for posting the deceptively titled video.

    So long, everyone!

    Hanley Ramirez is an Arrogant Prick

    Every day and in every game there's always a player or two that doesn't give 100%. This is referred to as "dogging it", and Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed the crime in yesterday's loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. His punishment- being benched for the remainder of the game.
    "We felt that the effort wasn't there that we wanted. There's 24 guys out there that are busting their butts. Cody Ross got hit with a ball 95 mph and it wasn't hit or thrown any slower and he stayed in the game making diving plays and battling, got two hits and an RBI. You guys call him a marquee guy. I got 25 guys all wearing the same uniform with all of the same Marlins insignia on the front and I think it's disappointing if anybody did it, not just one guy."
    ~Manager Fredi Gonzalez

    Not hustling down the line on a groundout is one thing (still I do not condone), but booting a ball and loafing after it allowing 2 runs to score is another (which is what HanRam did). His benching was appropriate. You do the crime you do the time. However, Hanley thinks much differently on the subject...
    "It's his team. He can do whatever he f--king wants. We got a lot of people dogging it after ground balls. They don't apologize. That's OK. He doesn't understand that. He never played in the big leagues."
    ~Hanley Ramirez

    Wow, what an arrogant prick! Shows no remorse and even takes a jab at his skipper by pointing out his lack of MLB playing time. Lets hope he sees the errors of his ways and eventually apologizes.

    Mark Grudzielanek- Singles Machine

    Mark "Colonic" Grudzielanek was signed to a minor league contract this offseason by the Cleveland Indians. The sure-handed secondbaseman took all of the 2009 season off, but decided there was fuel left in the tank and came back this year. Grudz made the Tribe squad out of spring training and has seen a lot of the playing time at 2nd, which is amazing for a 39 year old coming off hiatus. His fielding remains solid and he's still hitting for average, just with absolutely no power. His .307 batting average is as empty as Jessica Simpson's head, as all of his 23 hits have been singles. Mark was never a slugger, so lack of homeruns is no surprise, but he did gap 391 doubles in his previous 14 seasons. I'm sure he plop a 2-bagger in there sometime soon, but for now he is a singles machine.

    Beyonce- Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Piniella's Perinneal Pains

    Lou Piniella is looking for one more win to reach the 1800 win milestone, but the Cubs continue to disappoint. The team with the third highest payroll in the majors is still playing like a team of Little Leaguers. Last night, Piniella railed against his own team's shortcomings stating that they needed to be more productive, and that the talent on the team was not living up to expectations. According to Piniella, the solution is simple:
    We're confident that we'll get it going but we've got to score more runs consistently and we've got to keep [opponents] from scoring, especially late, because you can't come back from those things...Once we do that, we'll win more baseball games. And then everybody will be happy. The media will be happy. The manager will be happy. The players will be happy. The fans will be happy. And if not, we'll continue to be unhappy.

    Winning means scoring more and keep the opponent from scoring? Brilliant strategy, thanks Napoleon. With 20% of the season down, there is plenty of room for improvement for the Cubbies, once they master the whole "score more" tactic.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Today In History

    For as long as the game has been played, some events occur that do not seem to be all that important at first, but the effects of which go on to either be placed in the record books, or change the face of baseball.

    1897 - The Cleveland Spiders attempt to play their first Sunday baseball game. Police interrupted the game in the first inning intent on shutting it down. Both Washington and Cleveland fans were refunded their fifty cents ticket cost. The first Sunday game played was in 1892 with Cincinnati defeating St. Louis, 5-1. Sunday games were still frowned upon as late as 1917, when the Cincinnati Reds played the New York Giants at Polo Grounds in an August benefit game. Proceeds from the game were going to support troops heading off to France during World War I. Christy Mathewson and John McGraw were brought up on charges of violating Sunday Blue Laws in New York. These charges were dropped two days later.

    1939 - The Philadelphia A's fall to the Cleveland Indians, 3-8. This 10 inning game, played in Shibe Park, was the first night game played in American League history. The first night game was held in Cincinnati on May 24, 1935, where the Reds defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1.

    1957 - Yankees hothead Billy Martin is given a birthday party at the Copacabana in Manhattan. What should have been a pleasant celebration of the second baseman's 29th birthday descends into a fracas, resulting in many Yankees, including Mickey Mantle and Hank Bauer, being fined. Martin would be traded to Kansas City in June, partially due to this event.

    1965 - 19 year old Orioles pitcher, Jim Palmer, wins his first major league game against the Yankees in a 7-5 contest. Palmer also hits his first of three home runs during this game.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    The Dugout: Sleeping When You Aren't Supposed to Be Sleeping-Gate

    You know in baseball certain players are getting old when they start falling asleep in the dugout!

    The Dugout: Sleeping When You Aren't Supposed to Be Sleeping-Gate

    Have a good weekend everyone!

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Classy Move by KC

    Yesterday the Kansas City Royals fired manager Trey Hillman. However, they let him go out with a bang by manning the throne for one last game after the announcement of his axing. That's a classy move by the organization. And go figure, the Royals won the game, something that they didn't do nearly enough of with Hillman at the helm.

    Since taking over in KC in 2008 things have been spiralling downward. 2008: 75-87 .463 4th place, 2009: 65-97 .401% 4th place, 2010: 12-23 .343% last place. That's a bad trend, one that needs to be bucked. It's no wonder the Royals brass decided to move in a different direction, with management being first on the agenda. But lets be honest, aside from a handful of decent players players (Soria, Callaspo, Butler, Grienke, DeJesus), the Royals are pretty much a heap of trash and aren't going to win with Sparky-f'n-Anderson managing them.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Career Gone Sour: Eric Byrnes

    In 2007 Eric Byrnes posted some nice stats: .286/.813, 103 r, 179 h, 30 2b, 8 3b, 21 hr, 83 rbi, and 50 sb at the age of 31. Naturally the Arizona Diamondbacks locked up the outfielder to a 3 year $30M deal. Sadly that was the last year he was even remotely productive. Since then he's fell upon rough times with slash lines like .209/.641 ('08), .226/.663 ('09), and .094/.393 ('10). After being recently released from the Mariners, after he was released this spring from the D-Backs, Byrnes decided to call it a career and announce retirement.
    "To be honest, I don't really have any interest. I've never been scared for it to be done, for life after baseball, and it's not because I didn't love the game. Am I retired from baseball? Yes. Am I retired from life? Not even close."
    ~Eric Byrnes

    To be fair, this wasn't a player who simply gave up and stopped trying. When healthy he played balls-to-the-wall with his hair on fire. He was loved by teammates and others all around baseball because of his charismatic personality that was mostly wacky and borderline crazy, but he was genuinely a good guy. It's a shame injuries derailed his career and that he could never live up to the large contract he signed.

    Career Stats: .258/.320/.439, 963 g, 482 r, 827 h, 191 2b, 30 3b, 109 hr, 396 rbi, and 129 sb over 11 seasons with the A's, Rox, O's, D-Backs, and M's.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Phillies are Cheaters?

    Lotta bitching going on about them Phightin' Phils. Yesterday brought upon two stories that places the Phillies directly in MLB's limelight.

    Story 1: The "Home" Away Game
    With the G20 Summit scheduled in Toronto in June for the time the Phillies were to play an Interleague series there, the MLB decided it would be in everyone's best interest to move the games to Philly instead. Of course this has Mets fans leopard-print thongs in a wad. Now the Phils get 84 home games rather than the allotted 81, meaning disadvantage to the rest of the NL East. Yeah, sorta. However the DH will still be used and Toronto will bat last and get all the money from the gate and have the likely sellouts credited to their attendance, which will be a helluva lot more than it would have been had they played in Canada. So while Mets fans cry afoul, baseball will go about baseball as usual...which is all about the money stupid!

    Story 2: Stealing Signs
    MLB has issued a formal warning to the the Phillies for alleged sign stealing. During Monday's game at Colorado bullpen catcher Mick Billmeyer was caught using binoculars to "observe the Rockies catcher". Shane Victorino was also seen calling the bullpen phone from the dugout. Suspicious? Yes. Cheating? Yes. Ingenious if it actually worked? Hells Yeah!!!

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Sinking Seamen

    The Mariners have finally been able to slap a band aid over the gaping wound that is their team. Yesterday, the announcement was made that Alan Cockrell would be removed from his position as hitting coach. Cockrell gained this position during the management fire sale that occurred after the Mariner's disastrous 2008 season, where they became the first major league baseball team with a payroll of over $100 million to reach over 100 losses. Cockrell will be replaced by Alonzo Powell, current hitting coach of the Tacoma Rainiers. This is a wise move on the part of Mariners management; booting out someone with one season in the majors, with 2 hits in 8 at bats (.250), for someone with twice as many seasons, 16 times more hits in 19 times more plate appearances (or 2 seasons, 32 hits in 152 at bats, or a batting average of .211, for the mathematically impaired). Clearly, Powell is the better choice.

    But will Powell have any hope of making a difference? What does Powell have to work with? Chone Figgins is batting a whopping .185, Jose Lopez has turned out to be another disappointment at .222, Kotchman is ripping .194. Prima dona Bradley is currently restricted from play until he gets is massive ego under control. Even the geriatric veteran Griffey is hitting .208. Maybe Cockrell just didn't know how to communicate his year of batting experience to these guys. Surely he offered a fresh perspective on hitting to someone like Griffey (22 seasons, 2779 hits in 9777 at bats, or an average of .284). Maybe Powell's approach with these seasoned veterans will not be quite so radical. Maybe he can better relate to Bradley, as he too began his career as an Expo. Perhaps he alone - with his deep understanding of the game, years of experience, and accumulated accomplishments - holds the key to the Mariners success.

    For a franchise who has never seen a World Series, and only 4 postseason playoffs, Powell had better have the Midas touch, otherwise it will be his head on the chopping block in a couple of months. Maybe then they'll ask Mike Sweeny (currently batting .176) to be the hitting coach. Wait, no, probably not...he is a 4 time All Star, with 16 seasons, a lifetime batting average of .297, and 1508 hits in 5071 at bats. He's clearly not qualified.

    General Fiasco - Sinking Ships

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    Dallas Braden to A-Rod- "Eat a Dick!"

    Remember when major league asshole Alex Rodriguez disrespectfully trotted across the mound occupied by Dallas Braden after a foul ball? Well, Mr. Knob-Slobber had this quote following a lil' spat on the diamond...
    "He just told me to get off his mound. I was a little surprised. I'd never quite heard that. Especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I thought it was pretty funny actually.

    Hey Gay-Rod, go inject some man-juice in your ass and dye your hair while doing yoga with Madonna. Dallas Braden deserves your respect. He deserved it before, but he certainly deserves it now as he tossed a perfect game today on Mother's Day. Just the 2nd perfect game in Athletics history. After the game I believe I heard him during an interview on ESPN refer to you A-Rod and asked "Is this good enough for him?" and then he told you to "Eat a dick!".

    NWA- Just Don't Bite It (Message to you A-Rod)

    Saturday, May 08, 2010

    Catching On

    A look around the MLB and you'll find a bunch of catchers off to a fantastic 2010 season.

    On Base Machines:
    *On Base Percentage
    1. Geovany Soto/CHC- .516
    2. Ryan Hanigan/CIN- .479
    3. Francisco Cervelli/NYY- .467
    4. Carlos Ruiz/PHI- .457
    5. Ivan Rodriguez/WAS- .409
    6. Brian McCann/ATL- .408
    7. Joe Mauer/MIN- .406
    8. Bengie Molina/SFG- .402

    1. Rod Barajas/NYM- 9
    2. John Buck/TOR- 7

    1A. Ivan Rodriguez- 8
    1B. Joe Mauer- 8
    1C. John Buck- 8
    2. Jason Kendall- 7

    *Stolen Bases
    1. Yadier Molina/STL- 4

    1. Geovany Soto/CHC- 16

    1. Yadier Molina/STL- 19
    2A. Rod Barajas/NYM- 17
    2B. John Buck/TOR- 17

    Friday, May 07, 2010

    Picture of the Day

    When Nomar was still playing baseball, I was a big fan of his. That's why today's post is dedicated to the man and this unfortunate photo. Here he is with his wife, Mia, officially telling Red Sox Nation "goodbye!"

    Though he was received warmly, this photo of the crying Nomar was just too good for my sharp keyboard to pass up!

    Some clever captions from Big League Stew where I found the photo:

    Mia: "You friggin' crybaby, get over it! I'm missing soccer on TV for this?"-Ryan W

    Nomar: "with out baseball my marriage would have never happened, without my marriage I would have been a Hall of Famer with all the pent up energy"-Paul

    Nomar: "Yes, It's true. I slept with David Ortiz's wife, Tiffany. That might explain why he's having a terrible season. I want to apologize to David, Tiffany, Red Sox Nation... and most importantly, my wife Mia."-Aaron T


    Mia: "Go on, tell them. You tell them what happens when a bad boy poops on the carpet."-Dan O.

    I've got finals this week and next, so wish me luck!
    Have a good weekend everyone!

    Major Returns on Minor Deals

    Major League clubs often try to create depth within their organization by signing has-been MLB players to minor league contracts during the offseason. Sometimes these pan out in a big way, and other times stay what they are- minor deals. Through the first month+ of the season there have been some players that signed minor league deals that have been making major contributions at the big league level. The following is a list of positional players and pitchers that have given their team an unexpected jolt.

    *ESPN baseball analyst Rob Neyer thought only Chad Tracy would make a difference, turns out there are many more.

    *Austin Kearns/CLE- .343/.980, 8 r, 11 xbh, 12 rbi, 2 sb. Would be in the top 10 among AL leaders in batting average if he had enough at bats to qualify. One of the few bright spots on the Indians squad this season.
    *Marcus Thames/NYY- .429/1.158. Yankees are glad they have him to mash lefties from the DH spot, especially with all the injuries they've suffered.
    *Jim Edmonds/MIL- .279/.823, 12 r, 8 xbh, 5 rbi. Edmonds took a year off and now is a starting outfielder for the Brew Crew in 2010.
    *Chad Tracy/CHC- .286/.681. Nice versatile addition to the Cubbies bench.
    *Darnell McDonald/BOS- .275/.858, 7 r, 7 rbi. Has filled in admirably for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury.
    *Matt Treanor/DET- .240/.665, 7 r, 6 rbi. Has caught 33% of base stealers, and put up decent numbers for a backup catcher.

    Starting Pitching:
    *Livan Hernandez/WAS- 4 w, 0.99 ERA/1.02 WHIP, 36.1 ip. He's a big reason for the Nationals improved pitching staff this season.
    *Rodrigo Lopez/ARI- 1 w, 4.14/1.38, 37 ip. The Diamondbacks are getting more bang for their buck on a minor league deal with Lopez than they are from the rest of their starting staff.

    *Clay Hensley/FLA- 10 g, 14.2 ip, 22 k, 1 w, 1.84/1.30. Fantastic relief work from the previously untrustworthy Hensley.
    *Will Ohman/BAL- 14 g, 9.1 ip, 0.00/1.29. The lefty has yet to allow a run, what more could you ask for?
    *Guillermo Mota/SFG- 11 g, 10.1 ip, 0.87/0.87. Minuscule ERA/WHIP from just another dependable reliver in the Giants bullpen.
    *Ron Mahay/MIN- 9 g, 7.2 ip, 0.00/0.78. Signed late in spring training, but quick to make a positive impact.
    *Joe Beimel/COL- 10 g, 9.2 ip, 0.93/0.83. The Rox are lucky to have Beimel back.
    *Josh Rupe/KAN- 9 g, 9.1 ip, 1 w, 3.86/1.61. One of the few Royals relievers that can actually get outs.
    *Hisanori Takahashi/NYM- 10 g, 18.2 ip, 26 k, 2 w, 3.38/1.39. Has been a pitching staff savior so far with his long relief ability.
    *Jack Taschner/PIT- 11 g, 14 ip, 14 k, 1 w, 4.50/1.21. Has been the Buccos' second best reliever.
    *John Parrish/KAN- 9 g, 6 ip, 1 w, 3.00/1.50. Once again, a Royals reliever that records outs is a rare thing.
    *Brad Thompson/KAN- 6 g, 7.2 ip, 2.35/0.91. Hard to believe that the best bullpen work for Kansas City has come from minor league contracts.
    *DJ Carrasco/PIT- 11 g, 19.2 ip, 18 k, 1 w, 4.58/1.22. Total workhorse out of the 'pen.

    *Statistics through games played on 5/5/10.

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    R.I.P. Robin Roberts

    Another sad day in the Phillies sports world. Robin Roberts died today in his Florida home at the age of 83. The Phillies said in a statement that Roberts died of natural causes.
    Roberts led the Phillies to the 1950 National League pennant as part of the famed Whiz Kids.The right-hander was the most productive pitcher in the National League in the first half of the 1950s, topping the league in wins from 1952 to 1955, innings pitched from ‘51 to ‘55 and complete games from ‘52 to ‘56.
    He won 286 games over his career and put together six consecutive 20-win seasons. Roberts had 45 career shutouts, 2,357 strikeouts and a lifetime ERA of 3.40.

    The Game from Where I Stand

    Doug Glanville is probably that kid you know from Little League who was always just a little better than the rest of you - faster, hit the ball a little harder, was totally in the game ...but yet, was just one of the guys. In high school he was that kid who successfully made the move between being the "smart kid" and the "jock" with grace. He's a guy who wrote a great book (by himself ghostwriter for Doug) without trashing anyone. In a straightforward manner, he lays down his experiences in professional baseball and gives us all a chance to feel like we've experienced some part of what it's like to get paid to play baseball. Glanville is a smart, honest, and classy guy and his book reflects that.

    Glanville was an Ivy-league educated major leaguer. I only bring this up because it puts him in a rare group. He brings it up because everyone else always did! His father's passion for psychiatry might explain his of player psyche and choices. Regardless, it's an interesting, and manageable, approximately 180 page read.

    He covers the big stuff - steroids (he did play in the height of the Steroids Era), race (to some degree), and what I'll call questionable moral behavior. I found his response to performance enhancing drugs as well as "the list" a wonderful reflection of the man. He covers the small stuff - photo day, what players do during a rain delay, choosing a glove.

    *Note: I'm not positive, but Doug Glanville just might be the president and founder of the Hall & Oates fan club.

    *More information on Doug Glanville's book The Game from Where I Stand.

    *Post guest written by my lovely wife Mandy.

    Hall & Oates- Rich Girl

    Wednesday, May 05, 2010


    Since the passage of SB 1070 out here in AZ, the country has been immersed in intense debate over the constitutionality of the bill as well as charges of racial profiling that could stem from overzealous officers.

    Baseball has not escaped the racial sting either. Aside from players vowing to personally boycott the upcoming All-Star Game in Phoenix, one player has now been arrested and set to be deported back to his home country, according to the following satirical article. Note, IT'S SATIRE!! IT'S NOT A TRUE STORY!!

    Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra was pulled out of the batter's box during his first plate appearance last night after several Arizona fans reported to stadium police that Parra looked suspiciously Mexican. "Under the new state law, we have to follow up on these things," said a stadium security spokesman. "And it's good we did. He didn't have the required paperwork." Parra told police he is from Venezuela, not Mexico, but had no official identification on him at the plate. "His wristbands had his name on them, but that's not good enough," said arresting office Lt. Michael Dellesardo. "It's pretty easy to get fake wristbands these days." Parra was arrested on the field and is now awaiting a deportation hearing. Arizona manager AJ Hinch replaced Parra in the lineup with Cole Gillespie. "Cole is our fourth outfielder and has great potential," said Hinch. "Because he's white."


    PS: The image accompanying this entry is a scene from a Mexican folk tale, "Popo and Itza"

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    Yardbarker Survey

    Please take 57.2 seconds to fill out this Yardbarker survey. They've been backing this site since late 2009 and continue to push the sports blogsphere in terms of quality and mass exposure. By the way, you probably spent more time reading this post than it would have taken you to fill out that survey.

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    Royal Pains

    This has surely been a season of unusual occurrences: the Mets have played like a professional baseball team, and the Nationals are only 1.5 games behind the division leader, and Zack Greinke, last year's Cy Young Award winner, has 0 wins to his credit.

    It appears April was not kind to Greinke, but that is not the case. Although winless, he has an ERA of 2.27, and a stellar 0.98 WHIP. In 6 starts, he's pitched 39.3 innings, allowed 13 runs (10 earned), 4 home runs, 32 hits, and 33 strike outs. He's still pitching like a Cy Young winner. So why does he remain winless? It comes down to a simple truth in two words, Royals Suck. Every time Greinke has left the mound, the Royals have been either on top, or within a run or two behind. Then the Royal relievers come in, and all of Greinke's hard work comes to naught. The Royals have no bullpen. A glimpse at the relievers who have followed Greinke will easily illustrate why this incredible pitcher has nothing to show for his efforts.

    April 5: Royals lead the Tigers 4-2, Greinke pulled in the 7th. He is replaced by Roman Colon, ERA 18.00. Colon is pulled after two batters, and is replaced by Robinson Tejeda, ERA 8.76, who lasts four batters before being swapped out for Juan Cruz (who has only pitched 5.1 innings, but at least has a 3.38 ERA). At the close of the 7th inning, the Royals were behind the Tigers, 8-4. The Royals closed with Kyle Farnsworth (ERA 4.82).

    April 10: Not one of Greinke's better days. The Royals are behind the Red Sox, 1-4. Greinke is pulled after pitching seven full innings and is replaced by Dusty Hughes, who in 10 innings this season has picked up a 4.35 ERA. Hughes lasts three batters before being pulled. Luis Mendoza takes the mound. Mendoza has an ERA of 22.50. He is replaced by Colon. Royals lose 8-3.

    April 16: Greinke again struggles, but keeps the Royals to a 1 run deficit behind the Twins (2-1). Kyle Farnsworth takes over pitching in the bottom of the 6th (where the score is now 4-2, Twins). He faces three batters before being swapped for Hughes. Hughes is replaced by Tejeda in the 7th, who is then replaced by Cruz in the 9th. The Royals lose 10-2.

    April 21: Royals lead Blue Jays 3-2, Greike pitches 7 successful innings. Rupe starts the bottom of the 8th facing only two batters, before yielding the mound to John Parrish (who has an ERA of 3.00 after pitching 6 innings this season). Parrish is replaced in the 9th (for some reason) by the perennial suck-fest of Tejeda. Joakim Soria closes in the 10th. Soria is one of the few bright spots on the Royals roster, with an ERA of 2.31.

    April 27: Greinke pitches 7 innings, holding the Mariners at 0. The Royals are ahead by 2. Josh Rupe replaces Greinke for the 8th inning. Rupe has only pitched 8 innings this season, and in that time he has picked up an ERA of 4.50. He is inexplicably replaced by Tejeda, who is pulled for Bruce Chen after 2 batters. Chen currently has an ERA of 0.00 after pitching 2.1 innings. The Royals lose 3-2.

    May 2: Greinke pitches all 8 innings. He holds the number one Tampa Bay Rays to one run. Royals batting does what they do best (i.e. nothing), and the Royals fall 0-1.

    The dismal pitching staff coupled with equally poor batting has kept one of baseball's best from picking up a single win.

    The Beatles - Help

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    The 2nd Place Nationals?

    I'm a Phillies fan. I hate the Mets and pretty much any other team in the National League, especially the NL East. It pains me to see the Queens from Queens sitting in 1st place and then directly below them in the standings...the Phillies? No. The Braves? Ah, hell no. The Marlins? Don't think so. The Nationals? Holy shit, it is the Nationals! Washington is 13-10 and has been playing well of late due to timely hitting and a much improved pitching staff. Matt Capps is holding it down in the 9th, minor league contracted Livan Hernandez has been outstanding, Ivan Rodriguez is batting over .400, and Nyjer Morgan is one fast bastard. Doubtful, check that absolute, they will not be able to continue these winning ways all season, but for now Gnats fans should rejoice.

    Wise Up Sucker:
    *MLB Trade Rumors is the one stop shop for everything whispered in the baseball world.

    *Sharapova's Thigh wonders what the hell happened to has-been hottie Pamela Anderson.

    *Bootlegger Sports calls out the Wall Street Journal for their retardedness. Those idiots actually called the Cleveland Indians America's most hated baseball team. WTF? Everyone hates the Yankees, even Derek Jeter hate the Yankees.

    *Visit Phoul Ballz for a different perspective on Phillies baseball.

    Pop Will Eat Itself- Wise Up Sucker