Thursday, July 31, 2008

Say it ain't so Griff!

Ken Griffey, Jr. has been one of, if not the, most likable player since entering the league, if not one of the most likable players in all of sports. He was kind of like the Shawn Kemp of baseball there for awhile in the 1990s, only way more talented. Not in the paternal manner, but rather than he was a naturally flashy player who everyone was excited to watch, regardless if they followed his team or not.

And now, in the (post-?) steroid era, appreciation for Griffey's natural skill has only grown. It's commonly agreed upon that if not for Griffey's run of injury shortened seasons, it would be he, not Bonds, holding the career home run title.

Today, the Cincinnati Reds have agreed to trade Griffey to the Chicago White Sox.


It's not so much the impact he may or may not have on the White Sox that upsets me. It's that I can no longer root for him. He's on one of my most despised teams (along with the Yankees). Well, I can still hope that he hits like a billion home runs, meanwhile the rest of the White Sox bat .000 so they never win again.

It's not reported yet who the Sox gave up for him, but I sincerely hope it was someone really good.

P.S. That picture of Griffey is like the quintessential Griffey pose from the 1990s. Watching a home run fly, immediate bat on the ground...classic.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Awwww, El Capitán Chorizo cares...

You know, I found this to be rather endearing of CC.

He took out a full page ad in a Cleveland paper called The Plain Dealer to thank the people of Cleveland for the ten years that he spent with the tribe.

A nice sentiment in this day and age of sports, when often times a player's only farewell to the fans may be in the form of a one finger salute. Or in the case of Brett Favre, an enormous headache.

And speaking of CC, this gave me quite the laugh, despite the fact that Prince Fielder went vegetarian this past year.

I also want to take a moment to send my thanks the Milwaukee Brewers for taking one of baseball's best pitchers out of the AL Central.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Texas puts its priority in its bats. Pitching? Not so much.

Just doing my usual stat perusing and I noticed that not only are the Rangers known for having a good offense year after year and a crappy pitching staff, this year they are actually first in all of baseball in runs scored and last in baseball in runs given up, leading each stat by 32-35 runs.

590 runs scored, 623 runs given up.

It takes a special team to lead baseball in runs scored and yet still have a negative run differential.

It should be noted though that it's not entirely the pitching staff's fault. After all, they're actually only second to last in baseball in earned runs given up, trailing Pittsburgh's pitchers by 7 runs. But the Rangers are 43 runs ahead of the third most earned runs given up. The Rangers lead all of baseball in unearned runs given up with 72. They also lead baseball in errors with 89.

You know, It's generally not a good thing when a case could be made that the best starter you've had all season is Sidney Ponson, especially when he's not even with the team anymore.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Congrats Denard!

Denard Span connected for his first career home run today, a 2 run bomb off of Mark Buehrle in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead over the Chicago White Sox in a pivotal series for the Twins and the White Sox.

Congrats on your first (of hopefully many) major league dinger Denard!

EDIT: Not to be outdone, Twins leader in home runs Justin Morneau got his own 2 run home run in the same inning to take a 4-0 lead, his 17th of the season and the 127th of his career.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Go-Go goes right into the wall

Carlos Gomez left the Twins game in the first inning today after crashing into the center field wall making a sweet catch. Check out the video. He left the game on a stretcher on a cart. No official word on his condition, but on the radio they said the initial report was that he is okay.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pine tar! Pine tar! Pine tar!

Today is the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest moments in baseball history, if not all of sports. For it was on July 24, 1983 that George Brett hit a 2 run home run in Yankee Stadium to give the Royals a one run lead.

I'm sure you all know what happened next, so I'm not gonna take the time to explain the situation. The picture should tell enough about how awesome it was though.

Anyways, the Baseball Hall of Fame has a traveling exhibit called "Baseball As America." It came to the Twin Cities last year, and I had the pleasure of going twice. There are a lot of awesome baseball relics to be seen there. I got to see the Abner Doubleday baseball, a Honus Wagner baseball card (you know, THE Honus Wagner baseball card), and blah blah blah, a whole lot of neat artifacts. But my favorite thing I got to see was the pine tar bat. This is what the display looks like:
And that bumper sticker is one of the finer baseball souvenirs I've ever seen.

It's kind of funny that this is one of the most famous moments in baseball history, and it's actually a pretty meaningless event in comparison to many other famous moments (The shot heard round the world, Don Larson's perfect game, Bill Buckner...).

Searching for Abner Doubleday stuff led me to this, quite possibly the most disgusting baseball relic ever.

The Yankees hate terrorism; love money

A lot of stupid things have been justified over the past seven years in the name of fighting terrorism. Some may make sense, some may not. Then some are just downright ridiculous.

In the name of fighting terrorism, Yankee stadium has a ban on bringing bottles of sunscreen to their games.

"Security guards collected garbage bags full of sunblock at the entrances to Yankee Stadium over the sweltering weekend, when temps hit 96 degrees and the UV index reached a skin-scorching 9 out of 10 - a move team officials said was to protect the Stadium from terrorism."

Not to worry though, the stadium does have sunscreen you can purchase there. It's only $5 for 1 ounce of SPF-15.

Oh yeah, Major League Baseball has been raising awareness of skin cancer for ten years now through their program called "Play Sun Smart."

If you can't bring sunscreen into Yankee Stadium, then the terrorists have truly won.

An open letter to Carlos Quentin from a Twins fan

Dear Carlos-
Hey man. How's it going. Life treating you well? Got a minute? I'd like to talk.

Seriously dude, you need to knock this shit the fuck out. And I'm not talking about the ball out of the ballpark. You've been doing enough of that this season. What I'm saying is, where the hell did you come from, and who the hell do you think you are?

Let's think about this for a second. Before this season, you had hit 14 home runs through 138 career games. Granted, you're a young dude, and who knows what to expect from you. But seriously, 26 home runs through 100 team games? Granted you're not on pace for any records of any sort, but still.

The White Sox gave up Chris Carter for you. No, not Cris Carter. Or Chris Carter. In fact, they gave up a Chris Carter that I can't even find a link for in the short amount of time I'm willing to dedicate to this post.

So let's quit fooling ourselves. You were expected (by most everyone) to be possibly mediocre. So why don't you do us Twins fans a favor and fall back into what your expected path was meant to be?


Monday, July 21, 2008

And now for one of the manlier names in baseball...

So yesterday I made my picks for the day in the AL. I went 2 for 7. Not so hot. Please don't use my preferences in baseball outcomes as betting advice. In fact, betting on baseball is rather silly if you ask me. Sure, there's odds and all who has a chance of winning, but seriously, it's baseball. Anyone can win on any given day, no matter who is pitching. There's 162 games. Not gonna win 'em all.

Anyways, so the Twins lost 1-0 yesterday. That one run? Courtesy of Taylor Teagarden.

Teagarden got his first career hit, a solo home run, off of Scott Baker in the bottom of the 6th, breaking up Baker's perfect game, no hitter, and shutout. As you can see from the picture Teagarden played for the US National Team in 2004. That would have been the 2004 US Olympic baseball team, had they qualified for the Olympics...

Anyways, Taylor Teagarden may be one of my favorite names in baseball (asides from Asian players with cool names; I'm talking purely goofy names), alongside Milton Bradley and Coco Crisp.

I miss Stubby Clapp.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My AL picks for the day

My preferences for AL outcomes for Sunday, July 20, with home team in CAPS:

TWINS over Rangers
Royals over WHITE SOX
ANGELS over Red Sox
RAYS over Blue Jays
ORIOLES over Tigers
A's over YANKEES
MARINERS over Indians

I am too damn impulsive, and the Internet is my enabler. I just randomly decided to bid on like 4 different beckett baseball price guides. One purely for the sweet Deion Sanders picture on the front, you know. Why did I do this?

I'm not impulsive enough however to pay $55 for one these beautiful personalized beach towels.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yo Rookie, they put those signs up for a reason

There's Tough. Then there's MEXICAN TOUGH!

Step aside Old Aches and Pains. Out of the way Orator Jim. The Christian Gentleman? Nope. There's a new best nickname in town, and that is...


Kansas City Royals All-Star Joakim Soria. A nickname that allegedly started on Rany on the Royals. I say: well done. Here's a video of Soria receiving one of these sweet t-shirts.

Ok, so the shirt isn't all that sweet, but the nickname and the image on the shirt both are.

A nickname well deserved. Asides from the obvious (dude's Mexican), he's got an ERA of 1.47, WHIP of 0.721, 25 saves out of 27 opportunities, and...wait a second, this all sounds familiar. Didn't I just cite Soria's stats? Two posts referring to Joakim Soria in a row from me?

Sweet, that means that I get to apply the Mexicutioner tag to a previous post! Anyways...

So this got me looking at the list of baseball nicknames on Wikipedia. Some funny, some bland, some legendary.

You know, Sultan of Swat is actually the coolest nickname ever.

But I noticed a disturbing trend while reading over the nicknames of some current, or recent players. And this trend is known as (bestowed by Chris Berman).


Here we go!

"Paul Orville Assenmacher", "Bruce 'Eggs' Benedict", "Jeff 'See Thru' Blauser", "Ron 'Extrava' Gant", "David Supreme Court Justice", "Greg Mathe Maddux", "Rick Junk Mahler", "Crime Dog" (Ed. note: Crime dog is an awesome nickname), "Mark Bay City Wohlers", "Brady Bunch Anderson", "Harold Growing Baines", "Toby Last Harrah", "Brook Jacoby Wan Kenobi", "Pat Pick Up the Tabler", "Jim Thome Can You Hear Me?", "My Cousin Vinny Castilla", "Jesus Skip to my Alou", "Jeff Brown Paper Bagwell", "Kevin Small Mouth Bass", "Bill Doran Duran", "Terry Swimming Puhl", "Craig Reynolds Wrap", "Wally Absorbine Joyner", "John Mayberry R.F.D.", "Brent Remember the Mayne'", "Jeff Montgomery Ward", "Kevin Alka Seitzer", "John Hia Wathan", "Chuck Dorsal Finley", "Jim Bela Fregosi", "Bobby Seven Year Grich", "Tim Sock-Eyed Salmon", "Frank Tanana Daiquiri", "Greg Gagne with a Spoon"...

I can't do that anymore. There's way too many, and I think you get the point: Chris Berman nicknames are like Family Circus cartoons. In the sense that Berman and Bil Keane should both die.

/astonished to learn that Bil Keane is not already dead

On a side note, FAGGOTS!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back off Kay, McLouth is a good cop!

So Eric Kay of CBS Sportsline has this stupid on-going thing in his column collecting what should be new rules in baseball. A few are actually decent points that I agree with. For instance, I too am in favor of a salary cap in baseball and am opposed to the all-star game determining home field advantage in the World Series.

Most of the "new rules" are stupid and don't actually apply to real baseball rules at all.

Essentially, his readers submit suggestions for rule changes in baseball, he picks his favorite, then presents them on his page for people to vote on. The newest post pertains to "No more token All-Stars in Midsummer Classic." The proposed rule, as submitted by one reader:

"Eliminate the rule that requires every team to have a representative at the All-Star Game. If your team stinks, then your team stinks. As a Pirates fan, it's more embarrassing to have a sub-par 'All-Star' take the field than to have none at all. No more 'Charity All-Stars.'"

My interpretation of this suggestion is that if a team does not have a player having a season worthy of the All-Star game, then that team does not get to send someone. If a team that sucks however has a player that's doing awesome, that player should still be able to go. For instance, the 2003 Rangers were 38-55 at the All-Star break. However, they happened to have that season's MVP in Alex Rodriguez. But yeah, back to the existing rule that each team must be represented.

This is a matter that I'm not sure where I stand. I see plus and minus to it. I'm sure it'd be possible to put together quite an atrocious "All-Star" roster comprised solely of undeserving players there purely because of the rule making sure each team is represented. For instance, I'm sure no one really supported Mark Redman being an All-Star in 2006. The 2006 Royals were a pretty bad team. On the other hand, good teams do not always deserve an All-Star either. For instance, Eddie Guardado did not deserve the All-Star appearance that he got in 2003. If any Twin deserved to go that year, and that's a big if, it should have been Latroy Hawkins. But setup men don't go to the All-Star game. It's for starters & closers.

Anyways, getting to my point. Eric Kay's response to this suggestion is this:

"Applied to this past game, there's a chance we'd have no Cristian Guzman, Nate McLouth, Adrian Gonzalez, Joakim Soria, Carlos Guillen or George Sherrill despite their merits if there wasn't the pressure to include players from struggling teams."

Is he suggesting that the only reason these players were in the All-Star game is because of the obligatory All-Star rule? Or is he suggesting that if a team is subpar, they don't deserve to send an All-Star? Either way, he's stupid.

A case can definitely be made for perhahs Guzman, Guillen, or Sherrill not deserving an All-Star appearance and are only there because no one on their team is having a spectacular season. But McLouth, Gonzalez, and Soria? Are you kidding me? These guys are tearing it up. In fact, I voted for McLouth to start in OF for the NL. Kay basically checked to see what teams have poor records, saw who their lone all star was, and assumed that they don't deserve an appearance.

McLouth is batting .280/.356/.539 with 19 homers and 65 RBI. Gonzalez has a line of .279/.349/.507 with 22 homers and 71 RBI. Soria has pitched 43 innings of relief, and is sporting a 1.47 ERA, 0.721 WHIP with 46 Ks while allowing 22 hits. That ain't bad.

All three perfectly deserving of their All-Star status. On the other hand, the hell was Carlos Marmol doing being on the All-Star roster? He got on the roster as an injury replacement to his Cubs teammate Kerry Wood. Someone like, you know, Johan Santana perhaps could've served as a more deserving replacement than Carlos Marmol. I'm sure there are other pitchers who were not All-Stars that deserved it more than Marmol, but Johan is the easy name to use here.

Side note: The Twins All-Star reps in 2001 were Matt Lawton, Joe Mays, and Eric Milton. I like their three this year a bit better: Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, and Justin Morneau.

Richie Sexson, I mean, why not?

The Yankees are giving a shot to Richie Sexson to be their first baseman. The man recently cut by the Seattle Mariners. Let that sink in for a minute.

Remember, this dude was actually kind of cool for a little while there. Not only was he a power hitter, but he was fucking tall, so he looked pretty awesome at the plate crushing the puny ball out of the park. But that was then, this is now.

He was cut. By the Seattle Mariners. [takes deep breath while thinking about that] A man that was batting .218/.315/.381. A 6'8" man that twice hit 45 homers in a season, and hit 34 as recently as 2006. This is how far he's tumbled. Dude made $15.5 million in 2007!

He was cut by the Seattle Mariners. The team with the worst record in the AL cut him from their roster. But now, he's quite possibly the answer to the Yankees problems, or so says BBTN. They actually suggested something along those lines!

Think about the 2008 Yankees for a second. Think about the reasons that they're underperforming (for Yankees standards) and third in their division despite having far and away the largest payroll in MLB. Now, have you dwelt on the Yankees problems this year...

Does Richie Sexson even remotely fit into what you think could help them 'turn it around?' On an offense with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Jorge Posada, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui (some of whom are injured, yes), you think that Richie Sexson is the answer? If so, you should probably re-evaluate what you think you know about baseball.

I hate the Yankees. For that reason, I am personally excited that they have the fortitude to sign Richie Sexson. Or as he'll soon be known as in New York, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

EDIT: First off, yes, this was probably more a salary dump than anything for the Mariners. Secondly, the Yankees did sign him to help them with hitting left handed pitching. To Sexson's credit, his splits look like this:

         G  PA  AB  H  2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF ROE 
VS. RHP 72 221 191 34 6 0 6 18 28 0 63 0 0 2 3
VS. LHP 34 71 61 21 2 0 5 12 9 0 13 0 0 1 2

VS. RHP 7 1 0 .178 .281 .304 .584 .226 65 69
VS. LHP 1 0 0 .344 .423 .623 1.045 .364 169 198

So we'll see I guess...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the latest edition of things that can't possibly go horribly...

As everyone knows, Francisco Liriano is, er, was an awesome pitcher. His 2006 breakout season was amazing, both Cy Young and Rookie of the Year worthy, had he been able to finish the season. Following demolishing his arm that season, Liriano missed the 2007 season due to Tommy John's surgery and blah blah blah, you know who Liriano is.

So anyways, Liriano has been tearing it up in the minors over his last 3 starts, going 3-0, 0 R, 0 ER, 24 K's, 3 BBs, 10 hits, 20 innings. So does he deserve his due? Well, Liriano's agent, Greg Genske, seems to think so. So much so, that he's willing to file a grievance about it. From Ken Rosenthal

""He's now dominating," Genske told "The team agrees he's dominating. (The union) has determined that there is reasonable cause to open an investigation to see whether the Twins, by leaving him in the minors, are violating his rights in the Basic Agreement."

If Liriano filed a grievance, he could seek either a restoration of major-league service time, financial compensation or both. His loss of major-league time already will prevent him from qualifying for salary arbitration with three years of service and almost certainly will prevent him from qualifying as a "Super Two" player as well."

I can understand both sides in this somewhat, but this would seem to be another one of those situations that could probably be handled a little more graciously than, you know, taking it to the press. Nothing beats strife between a team and a star player. Does wonders for morale all around.

I like how sympathetic Nick Punto looks in this picture.


The Tornado retires

Hideo Nomo, a one time all star, 1995 NL Rookie of the year, and owner of two no-hit games, has officially retired from Major League Baseball at the age of 39.

Hideo Nomo was still around you ask? Well, sort of. After being a failure with Tampa Bay in 2005, which up until this year meant your career is as good as over (i.e. Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, Ozzie Guillen, John Rocker), he didn't pitch again until being given a few innings with the Royals this season. Being offered a few innings with the Royals is the new being-washed-up-in-Tampa-Bay. Anyways, in those 4.1 innings pitched, Nomo gave up 10 hits, 4 walks, and 9 runs, for an ERA of 18.69. Nomo's last season as a serviceable pitcher was in 2003. So it only took five years to accept the inevitable.

On top of the awesomeness that was his rookie season (in which he was the second best pitcher in the NL, damn you Greg Maddux!), Nomo was THE pioneer (does Masanori Murakami count?) for Japanese players in baseball today. He paved the way for such players as Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Kosuke Fukudome, Tadahito Iguchi, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Irabu, So Taguchi, Kaz Matsui, Kenji Johjima, and my personal favorite, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, amongst others.

So without you Hideo Nomo, baseball may have missed out on some of the awesomest names to ever play the game.

Hideo Nomo Retires (AFP)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You know, that Canadian Crusher, is, you know, very polite

I was reading the transcript to the post home run derby interview with Justin Morneau (but I'm not a loser), and it occurred to me what a polite boy that Justin Morneau is. A sample paragraph:

"Yeah, I mean, I didn't really make the rules. But, you know, it's been that way. They changed the rules the last couple years and made it so you add the two total rounds and all that kind of thing. The format is great. I mean, there's nothing really that I would change. But, you know, it does seem kind of unfair that he didn't get, you know, to win the whole thing with hitting the most total home runs. But at the same time, we were, you know, just going by what the rules were, and I'll definitely take it (smiling)"

Two "I means" and four "you knows," plus he ends the paragraph with a smile?

Throughout the nine question press conference, the Canadian Crusher tallied up a total of 27 "you knows" (an average of three per response!), but only 11 "I means."

I think someone has taken quite nicely to Minnesota Nice.

2008 Home Run Derby Press Conference Transcript

And oh yeah, congrats to Justin and the other Twins all stars on great representation of their team. Mauer going 1-1 with a walk, Nathan having a 1-2-3 inning, and Morneau winning the Home Run Derby, coming up with two hits in the all star game and scoring the winning run!