And That Happened

Pirates 8, Brewers 5: Pittsburgh snaps their 17-game skid against Milwaukee, and the Brewers look pretty damn immature in defeat, plunking Jeff Karstens in what I guess was retaliation for him hitting Ryan Braun back in April. This despite the fact that they hit three Pirates the day after the Braun thing, and had an opportunity to hit Karstens if they wanted to the same day he hit Braun (why John Russell so frequently has his relief pitcher hitting is a topic for another day). Jason Kendall had to be restrained from, it appeared anyway, going after Pirates’ pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, and then after the game kept calling him “Dave Kurwin,” even after being corrected. So apparently Kendall is 6 years-old.

Athletics 14, Twins 13: You don’t win a lot of games when your starter gives up 11 runs on 10 hits in 2.2 innings, but the A’s did. Yep, the Twins led this game 12-2 at one point, but after Matt Holliday’s grand slam in the seventh, followed immediately by a Jack Cust solo shot, the lead was history. Largest blown lead for the Twins in 25 years. Largest comeback for the A’s in 84 years.

Dodgers 7, Reds 5: Jason Schmidt threw his first pitches in anger in over two years, and got the win to boot. Oh, and Manny Ramirez hit his 537th home run to pass Mickey Mantle into 15th place on the all-time list, which should inspire about 125 rage-filled, single-sentence paragraphs from Bill Plaschke or someone like him. Mantle was pure, you see. At least once you took away the booze and the speed and the painkillers.

Mets 6, Nationals 2: Jeff Francoeur! Livan Hernandez! Now if those two just keep on producing like we know they can, well, then, um . . . crap, this was a fluke, wasn’t it?

Phillies 10, Cubs 1: Now that is seems the Phillies have figured out how to win at home, there seems to be nothing that can stop them. Jack Nicholson was at the game, and according to the game story, the Phanatic wore a Batman suit. That’s kind of cool, but it would have been way cooler if he had dressed up like Nurse Ratched or the waitress who wouldn’t hold the chicken. I mean, I love Batman as much as the next guy, but Nicholson has had better foils.

Braves 11, Giants 3: The Braves hit Jonathan Sanchez and then continued hitting Segio Romo. Tommy Hanson, on the other hand, was much harder to hit (7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 11K). And as Mac notes, not all of those earned runs were really “earned.”

Astros 3, Cardinals 2: Carlos Lee hits a three-run homer, receives “stingy kisses.”

White Sox 4, Rays 3: Carl Crawford hit an inside the park home run, but as is the case with so many of those things, it was the product of a bad defensive play. In this case, a crappy jump by Scott Podsednik. Sox won, anyhow, and are only a game and a half behind Detroit.

Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: There are a lot of smart people working for the Red Sox, so surely someone will soon realize that John Smoltz only pitches effectively for a few innings and then falls apart. If only there were some place he could pitch where his outings would be shorter, and maybe more frequent as opposed to longer and more sucky (5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).

Yankees 2, Orioles 1: Eric Hinske has started off with a bang in New York, hitting four homers in his first five games. Jose Molina turned in two sweet plays behind the plate late in the game. No need to congratulate him, though. He’s a Molina and that is what they do. Walkoff for Matsui, and after the game he was hit in the face with a cream pie. Those zany, zany Yankees.

Marlins 3, Padres 2: The Padres have lost 15 of 19. I’m assuming that will all turn around once Oscar Salazar gets a chance to play more.

Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 6: With Colorado’s win and the Giants’ loss, the Rockies take a half-game lead in the wild card standings. And no, I don’t think it’s too early to talk about it. There isn’t a ton going on right now, so I’m totally cool with getting an early start on pennant race stuff.

Angels vs. Royals: Postponed: The fitful alternations of the rain/ When the chill wind, languid as with pain/ Of its own heavy moisture, here and there/ Drives through the gray and beamless atmosphere.

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  1. J.W. said...

    Best thing about Percy Shelley? His awesome middle name: Bysshe. I wish that was my middle name.

    Oh also, like many many others, he was outshone by his wife.

  2. mike in brooklyn said...

    There are people who still watch ESPN?  I made the mistake of looking at it last night to hear “coming up next: which reality show will be better Keyshawn’s or T.O.?”  I then burned Chris Berman in effigy (again!) and found a sports channel to watch

  3. Travis M. Nelson said...

    That A’s/Twins game was historic in another sense: I checked Baseball, and since 1954 (as far back as their database goes for this stuff) there has never been a game in which the starter gave up 11 earned runs or more and the team managed to eek out a win. 

    The max is 10 ER, which has been done 6 times, 5 of them since 1997, and as recently as last year, when Pettitte gave up 10 against the Royals, but the Yanks won 12-11. 

    Jaime Navarro allowed 11 runs (10 ER) in 4.2 innings and his team won, 14-12, in 1997.

  4. David said...

    [text of comment deleted because it contained unfounded accusations of corruption that will not be tolerated here.  Suffice it to say that David thinks the umpire got the last call in the Twins-A’s game wrong.  That’s fine.  The rest of it was not.]


  5. Craig Calcaterra said...

    David—rail against bad umpiring all you want, but your accusations of actual corruption are beyond the pale.  If you have evidence for such a thing, great, advance it. Absent such evidence, however, your comments in that regard are potentially libelous and will not be tolerated here.

  6. MB said...

    Before you call a team immature, perhaps you should research the whole story.  Karstens getting beaned has more to do than just retaliation for him hitting Ryan Braun back in April.  It has more to do with most of the Pirates bench not knowing how to keep their emotions in check and their mouths shut during their losing streak to the Brewers.

  7. Travis M. Nelson said...

    David’s comment wasn’t even accurate anyway.  He said he Cuddyer was called safe and he was called out.  He stated that MLB conspires to improve ratings in the playoffs (as evidenced by that big Red Sox/Dodgers World Series last year, or was it Cubs/White Sox?  I forget…)

    It was a terrible call though.  I’ll post the link to the video showing the “tag” which was high and late, after Cuddyer’s foot had touched the bag.  The Ump didn’t know this because he decided to stand behind the catcher, where he couldn’t see anything.

  8. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Yep.  Because taken in context it’s quite apparent that the threat was, indeed, idle, and not serious.  Just as a snarky comment about how “man, who paid off the ump” comment after the Twins game wouldn’t reasonably be construed as libelous.

    David’s comments, however, were far more serious, far more specific, and were made with no apparent satirical, sarcastic, or humorous intent.  To the contrary, taken together with many of his other comments, there is every reason to believe that he was serious in his accusation of corruption.

    Ultimately this is my judgment to make, and I’ve chosen to err on the side of caution with respect to what appear to be serious, albeit unfounded, accusations of corruption.  I’ll gladly take further discussion on this matter—from you too, David—but that’s where I am right now.

  9. Travis M. Nelson said...

    I’ve seen karstens pitch.  Kid can’t throw hard enough to hurt anybody anyway.  Don’t see what they’re so bent out of shape about.

  10. Drew said...

    Be fair, Craig.  Livan and Frenchy outperforming their capabilities had nothing to do with a fluke, and everything to do with the fact that they were playing the Nats.

  11. David said...


    Give me a break.  First off, what I said wasn’t libelous because I wasn’t stating it as material fact.  It was my thoughts on MLB Inc.‘s incompetent and – in my confident opinion – corrupt umpiring.  So it’s just factually inaccurate for you to say it was libel, and so I have to wonder why the hell you would say that.  You know better.

    Secondly, I wasn’t just talking about last night’s game.  I was talking about a sweeping trend this season of flagrantly inaccurate calls which are going unmentioned by the mainstream media (and, apparently, censored by baseball’s alternative media).  These calls usually come in favor of the home teams and in high leverage situations.  Examples include:

    1) A Friday night Mets @ Orioles game. 

    In the bottom of the 9th, with the Mets leading 4-3, there was a force play at 3rd base where the Oriole baserunner was out by two feet.  The umpire called him safe, leading to a bases loaded/no out situation and, effectively, guaranteeing a win for the Orioles that’d send the 40,000+ home happy.

    2) An early July Brewers @ Cubs game. 

    The game was tied in the bottom of the tenth.  Two outs, bases loaded.  Jake Fox was batting, full count.  The pitcher threw a ball right down the middle for strike three to send the Brewers to bat in the top of the 11th….

    ….Except it was called a ball.  While the pitcher angrily walked toward the umpire, arms outstretched in disbelief as if to say “What the hell is going on?!?”, the Cubs celebrated at home plate and the Wrigley crowd began dancing in the aisles to the boisterous tunes of “Go Cubs Go”. 

    3) Last night’s Twins @ A’s game. 

    The runner was safe.  You could see that he was going to be safe when he was halfway down the third base line.  With his momentum and where the catcher was, there was no possible way that even a perfect throw would be able to beat him.  A no-brainer call if ever there was one. 

    Sure enough, the baserunner beat the throw and slid in while the pitcher’s glove was just catching the ball 18” above his thigh.

    Called “out”.

    I could go on.  These are mere examples that I’m picking from my memory of a sweeping trend. 

    And now that MLB Inc. knows that they’re never to be held to account – ESPN sure as hell doesn’t question the authorities, and even sites like ‘Prospectus’ and, now, THT willfully look the other way – they’ll continue to foster corrupt officiating. 

    If they can get away with it and yet the refuse to do so, they’re in breach of their fiduciary duties.  “Profit is the sovereign criteria of the enterprise”, wrote famed business guru Peter Drucker.  And it worked for the NBA (where games were being fixed from the top down for years without so much as a raised eyebrow from ESPN) and it’d sure as hell work for MLB.

  12. Craig Calcaterra said...

    David: you said that the umpires are “quite probably” corrupt, and then you outlined a scenario that would describe the motive and direction of such corruption. There was no apparent humor or satirical element to it. In my judgment—and that’s the judgment of someone who has defended and pursued defamation cases in the past—that was too close to the line for comfort.  If I’m being too conservative in that estimate, fine, I’ll risk that rather than not being cautious enough.

    I have no problem with criticism of bad umpiring, and have never once edited or delted a comment about bad umping before yours and the examples you give are totally fine. Indeed, I agree that more should be made of bad umpiring. I don’t see nearly as many games as the readers do, so if anyone ever wishes to highlight bad umpiring, by all means do it.  If you can’t distinguish between criticising a bad call and making an accusion of a coordinated, profit-driven attempt on behalf of TV stations and Major League Baseball to fix games, however, God help you.

    And a final note, David: Unlike many of the other readers here I value many of your comments, if for no other reason than you challenege people’s assumptions from time to time, and that’s useful and welcome.

    You have a tendency, however, to get carried very far away very fast.  I don’t know if you are even aware of it, frankly, and in all honesty I wonder whether you can control it.  But no matter the cause, the fact remains that you are one of only three people I’ve ever felt the need to censor at this site.  The other two were for racial epithets, offered by people who had never commented here before or since.  You are certainly the only one for whom I’ve had to do it multiple times.

    With that track record, you must understand that, like an umpire, I am not going to give you the benefit of a borderline call.

  13. David said...

    Obviously, it would be pretty selfish and narcissistic of me to get into a detailed discussion about my the nature of my comments, but I will say that I absolutely recognize and appreciate your tolerance with my posts.  There are a lot of mods at a lot of boards who love to commandeer the threads and punish posters and delete comments for no better reason than because they’re power-tripping losers, but THT has not behaved like that at all.  So I’m not trying to feign victimhood or anything like that, I actually feel pretty darn fortunate to be able to rant and get into heated discussions at this site.

    Having said that, my comments about MLB umpiring (a topic which I’ve also written about at ‘Prospectus’, to no avail whatsoever) were (a) nothing even close to libelous, as I was writing a hypothetical scenario and it was clearly written as an opinion, and (b) the word “probably” mitigates it from any libelous claims, and yet you cited that as a reason that it was libelous.  It’s just totally wrong.

    It’s no fun to be suspicious of officiating, anymore than it’s fun to think that legal cases can be corrupted by unconstitutional laws, an attorney’s friendship with a judge, political pressure, or anything else.  For me, like most people, there’s a very strong desire to have confidence in the honesty and integrity of the systems we’re involved with.  (Otherwise, hell, it’s just chaos, right?) 

    But it’s because honesty and integrity is so crucial that we have to diligently police the policemen (literally and metaphorically) and that, when we sense that the system is deviating from its rules, the problem must be diagnosed and then cured. 

    MLB umpiring this season, in my opinion, has been inexcusably incompetent.  And the magnitude of that incompetence, coupled with many of the calls that I’ve seen, leads me to suspect that it’s actually beyond mere incompetence, it’s been contaminated and corrupted by some external force. 

    My suspicion in umpires is compounded by this fact: In addition to them harming the legitimacy of the competition, we’ve also seen umpires become very comfortable provoking players into arguments, as well as inciting physical confrontations.  (Note that umpires have to have a lot of confidence that MLB has got their back to, say, pick a fight with a 250 lb. 27 year-old man, who’s a physical specimen and who’s also in a heated frame of mind from being involved in a competition.  Would you start sh—with, say, Carlos Zambrano?  Hell no.  The only circumstances where umps would do that would be where they knew that they knew they were protected by MLB.)

    Anyway, I haven’t the time nor the resources to really do a sophisticated study about this phenomenon I’ve observed, and I definitely don’t have the power to take any actions to correct the problem.  So maybe I’m especially aggravated because of my powerlessness over the problem.  But, as a fan, the “integrity of the game” is, in fact, the foundation upon which the entertainment is built.  And I think that that foundation is crumbling, but fans and the media think that if they just ignore it, it’ll go away.  No, it won’t go away.  It’s going to get worse.  If it hasn’t already, MLB will soon become the NBA.  And then it’ll be the WWE, except, unlike wrestling fans, baseball fans will be pretending that their competitions are legitimate.


    One other note.  You wrote:

    “If I’m being too conservative in that estimate, fine, I’ll risk that rather than not being cautious enough.”

    If you’re going to err to one side or another, I personally think that you should err to the side of freedom of speech.  I think it’s just the right thing to do and it also leads to more vibrant discourses.  But that’s just my opinion.

    And, again, I appreciate that you and THT have granted me (and other posters, no doubt) far more license to speak at this site than many other sites.

  14. Jack Marshall said...

    No, actually, Jack doesn’t. The tendency to see malevolent power-elite conspiracies in everything, from history (Holocaust denial) to health (the CIA launched AIDS) to politics (LBJ was behind JFK’s death)to sports, is a toxic trend, and more damaging than mere libel laws can begin to address. Trust is the cornerstone of civilized society, and paranoia is like termites. Yesterday I heard Whoopi Goldberg, who presumes to make political pronouncements daily and has people who give weight to her views, opine that the moon landing was a hoax. People who whisper that everything is rigged and nothing is as it appears without anything but free-floating suspicion to back it up just turns the world into little one-person units of fear and cynicism.

    “Thus endeth the sermon for today…”

    (If you say my name THREE times, Jason, I appear behind you!)

  15. Jason B said...

    And so…let the arms race begin to be fourth on the grand ol’ list!!  It will be at least as exciting as any wild card race.

    For what it’s worth, I think that we give people far too much credit for being able to carefully orchestrate and keep secret a vast and far-reaching conspiracy that requires knowledge and willful complicence from so, so many parties.  All it takes is for one cog in the machine to become disgruntled and blow the cover off.

    Methinks Occam’s Razor applies to most all of these conspiracy theories – one must ask oneself which is the more likely scenario – that you’ve got a host of nefarious and clandestine puppetmasters carefully yet indeliably orchestrating events behind the scenes, without anyone penning the tell-all best-seller when they’re hard up for cash, or leaving the death bed confession, or nary a peep escaping into our feeding frenzy of a 24/7 news cycle…or that the games are played and officiated by generally well-meaning, but fallible, humans, who are capable of a mistake or bad judgment in the heat of the moment?

    One of those scenarios seems vastly more exciting and interesting…yet also vastly less plausible.

    (Of course, ‘the man’ may have already gotten to me.  Welcome…to the machine.)

  16. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Fair enough, David. I agree that there have been some bad calls, and I am particularly bothered by what seems to be some player-baiting on behalf of umps.  Unless I’m given reason to believe otherwise, however, I don’t know that I have any choice but to view it as incompetence as opposed to something sinister.

    As for caution, I’ve been practicing law far too long to “err on the side of freedom of speech” when it comes to such matters. I think I do a pretty good job of that, but ultimate it’s my gut that has to guide me with this stuff.

  17. Jason B said...

    …or basically what Jack said.  More succinctly and just plain better than I did. Power-elite conspiracies titillate with endless speculation, and they are running rampant.  Compare that with the rather mundane notion that umps can at times be downright…human.  That just doesn’t soothe that “all the world’s against us!” itch in quite the same way.

    I remember a documentary on the History Channel a couple years back that outlined the key tenets of the JFK muti-party assassination conspiracy, and just eviscerated them one by one by one.  I mean, that house of cards was totally leveled by the time the two hours were up.  Yet the rather humdrum, scientific explanations that decisively close that chapter don’t get the same coverage that the wild, unsubstantiated speculation does.

  18. Fish said...

    As for the Milwaukee/Pittsburgh incident, not sure if it’s accurate, but a poster on another site said Brewers didn’t take immediate revenge on Karstens in the previous game because both benches had been warned.  Same poster said the 3 HBP’s the next day were all curve balls, not purpose pitches-

  19. David said...

    Jack Marshall:

    You’re so right, dude!  Trust is the cornerstone of civilization, and if anybody mistrusts the government, we must kill them. 

    The government never does anything bad!  Only wacko conspiracy theorists think that they do!  The government never murders.  The government never lies.  The government is as pure as the driven “snow”.  And we must always respect the military. 

    The government wants you to be healthy and to go forth and multiply.

    Yes, yes!  The government is great.  Where oh where would anybody ever get the crazy notion to distrust them?

    And our brave “servants” in the government are so poor!  Wherever would they get the resources to do anything corrupt?


    (1) I, too, believe that trust is the bedrock of civilization. 

    (2) Because of this, I believe that those who breach that trust must be punished. 

    I’m sorry that we disagree on (2).

  20. The Common Man said...

    I’m very intrigued by David’s assertion that “the only circumstances where umps would do that would be where they knew that they knew they were protected by MLB.”  First, I agree that the behavior of several individual umpires has been atrocious and constitutes baiting.  However, I don’t see how umpires would feel confident in MLB’s support these days more than they did in previous eras, when the umpire’s union was not in a contentious relationship with the league and the league was interested in finding ways to weed out incompetent and well-compensated umpiring (Questec, replay) and umpires. 

    It’s also important to remember, however, the reason umpires are given wide latitude and support by the league in potential confrontations with players.  The general support for umpires is rooted in the treatment of the boys in blue in the 19th and early part of the 20th century, when umpires were physically assaulted and intimidated by players, managers, fans, and politicians.  Their protection is designed to keep them from exerting the kinds of bias David is accusing them of, to protect their impartiality.  I think, if the MLB did not give umpires the benefit of some measure of protection, the game’s integrity would be far less than it is today, even with the Pete Rose and steroid scandals.

  21. The Common Man said...

    I’m very intrigued by David’s assertion that “the only circumstances where umps would do that would be where they knew that they knew they were protected by MLB.”  First, I agree that the behavior of several individual umpires has been atrocious and constitutes baiting.  However, I don’t see how umpires would feel confident in MLB’s support these days more than they did in previous eras, when the umpire’s union was not in a contentious relationship with the league and the league was interested in finding ways to weed out incompetent and well-compensated umpiring (Questec, replay) and umpires. 

    It’s also important to remember, however, the reason umpires are given wide latitude and support by the league in potential confrontations with players.  The general support for umpires is rooted in the treatment of the boys in blue in the 19th and early part of the 20th century, when umpires were physically assaulted and intimidated by players, managers, fans, and politicians.  Their protection is designed to keep them from exerting the kinds of bias David is accusing them of, to protect their impartiality.  I think, if the MLB did not give umpires the benefit of some measure of protection, the game’s integrity would be far less than it is today, even with the Pete Rose and steroid scandals.

  22. Jack Marshall said...

    David—-thanks for the fun links, especially the “Reason” piece (really outstanding magazine), which I had somehow missed, and can use. I’m hitting my head, because I should have figured you for an Alex Jones disciple. Oh—-arguing from the specific to a generality is a well-established logical fallacy…even more so when the specific incident involved is subject to multiple interpretations. It should go without saying that rejecting a sweeping generality that the government (or baseball, or any institution) is malevolent is not the same as asserting it “never lies” or “never does anything bad.”

  23. David said...

    The Common Man:

    All MLB needs to do to protect umpires from intimidation by assault or harassment is to penalize players/coaches/management when they do assault or harass them.  There’s no reason they’d need to go above and beyond that bar and say that the umpires can actually assault and harass players, but not the other way around. 

    Further, MLB is lying in many instances.  MLB will say that a player bumped an umpire, when that’s a bald-faced lie.  You can show the video to a 5 year-old and say “What happened, Timmy?” 

    “The fat man in black pushed that man in the gray clothes.”

    “I’m sorry, Timmy.  But you’re a wacko conspiracy theorist, and you must be punished.”

    Flash forward to Timmy when he’s 20 and he’ll be all zombie-eyed: “Carlos Zambrano shoved the umpire.  I can’t believe he dares to attack our brave authority figures.”

  24. MooseinOhio said...

    Not that I don’t enjoy some good conspiracy conversations and wish I wasn’t in meetings all morning to enjoy the blog in real time but I would love to question the continued adherence to one of many of baseball’s unwritten rules – stealing when the game is out of hand.

    The reason I want to ‘question’ the rule is that last night’s A’s/Twin game as well as recent history (e.g. Marlins comeback against Arizona, Orioles v Red Sox) plus the Tribe has had several huge comebacks in the past decade no lead seems safe.  How many extra runs did the Twins need to be safe from blowing the lead because 10 certainly wasn’t enough?

    If the strength of your team or a given player is speed then why not steal when the opportunity presents itself as that extra run may be necessary as the Marlins may score 10 run in the 8th inning.  Shouldn’t Carl Crawford steal a base and put himself in scoring position whenever the opportunity presents itself so that he may be able to score a run if possible?

    I do not hear talk about the unwritten rule of not piling on with homeruns in a blowout game.  When the utility player is thrown in to pitch the last inning of a blow out game I do not see the opposing batters intentionally striking out or tapping the ball back to the pitcher for an easy out.  Why is stealing with a big lead bad baseball etiqutte but a slugger hitting the 5th homerun of the game in the late innings of a blowout not considered an equally unaccpetable violation of some unwritten piling on rule? 

    BTW – Had the Twin stolen a few bases wiht a 10 run lead and scored on a passed ball or bloop single the whole conspiracy conversation of the day may had had to wait for another questionable call from the men in blue.

  25. David said...

    Jack Marshall:

    You called me an “Alex Jones disciple”. 

    While you might be a disciple of media figures and politicians, I don’t have the same reverence for authorities that you have, and therefore disciple is an inaccurate word for me.  (I do try to be a disciple of Jesus, though.)

    Secondly, thanks for looking at the links.  However, it doesn’t really matter where information is coming from.  You might love Fox News and the ‘New York Times’ and lovingly defer to latent homosexual Glenn Beck or childless nothing Maureen Dowd.  That’s fine.  If their data is true, great.  (It’s usually not, but nevermind.)  If a homeless crackhead says that “2+2=4”, I agree with him.  If Bill Gates says that “2+2=5”, I’ll disagree with him, and vice versa.

    I linked to the Reason articles not because it’s an “outstanding magazine” – sometimes it’s retarded, actually – but because that data was abundantly substantiated and because other fine reporters have documented the same trends.

  26. Jack Marshall said...

    “Admirer”? “Follower”? “Fan”? “Acolyte?” Didn’t mean anything cosmic by the choice of word “disciple,” David—-sorry to offend. Let’s say you and Alex are on the same wavelength. (By the way, I have very low tolerance for both Glenn and Maureen. Guess again.)

  27. David said...

    Jack Marshall:

    When good information comes via the ‘New York Times’, I agree with it.  When bad information comes via ‘The New York Times’, I disagree with it.

    When good information comes via Fox News, I agree with it.  When bad information comes via Fox News, I disagree with it.

    When good information comes via, I agree with it.  When bad information comes via, I disagree with it.

    When good information comes via, I agree with it.  When bad information comes via, I disagree with it.

    Several years ago, a friend – who’s a hard-working, honest, and smart man – sent me a link to a little story about an
    undercover CIA operative who was posing as a Muslim terrorist and, while trying to set off a bomb to murder Filipinos, instead blew his own legs off (the CIA quickly medi-vaced him to a military base in San Diego).  I was utterly dumbstruck that such a thing was possible, and equally that such a thing could go unreported.  The only American media that described the events in their entirety was  I’ve yet to read the headline in the ‘New York Times’ “Government Murders Innocent Filipinos to Frame Muslims.”  And I never will.

    After that, I gave less credence to the mainstream media.  Now, I don’t give credence one way or another.  I just try my best to be honest and logical.

  28. The Common Man said...

    You’re making a very large leap, David, to accuse the MLB of lying (I haven’t actually seen the MLB’s statement about Zambrano’s tirade, but if you and I are talking about the same Carlos Zambrano incident (the one where he ends up throwing a ball into left field), it’s pretty clear that Zambrano is the aggressor in that argument, as he pantomime’s throwing the ball down, runs up to the umpire, and is immediately in his face (by the way, that happened at Wrigley, which doesn’t support your argument that umps disproportionally favor the home team).  Frankly, from the video, I don’t see what your issue with it is. 

    And, unless I missed it, no one says they “can actually assault and harass players, but not the other way around.”  In fact, the umpire who baited Milton Bradley last year was suspended for it; his behavior was explicitly punished.  Now, this should absolutely happen more often, and there is no excuse for any umpire to go after a player, but the kind of systemic blind-eye you’re talking about doesn’t seem to be in evidence.

  29. Jack Marshall said...

    Sounds great. I agree. The problem is that our pre-existing biases, experiences, trauma and belief systems often make it impossible to determine subjectively what is “good” and “bad” information. I have no solution to this, and am obviously a victim myself. All we can do is recognize it, and try to make adjustments.

  30. David said...


    First off, I never said that the umpires are only making their incompetent/corrupt calls in favor of home teams.  Indeed, one of the single most inexcusable cases happened against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium….and the player was Derek Jeter!  (That was the incident where the umpire told Jeter that he was out on a stolen base because the ball beat him to the bag.)

    Secondly, in the Zambrano incident, you’re (obviously) right in saying that Zambrano lost his temper and was due for a punishment.  But the umpire clearly bumped into Zambrano, not the other way around.  But the mainstream media simply lied and reported it as “Zambrano bumped into umpire”.  That is a factually bogus statement.  (In fact, earlier we were talking about libel suits….)  I’m not sure whether MLB officially cited Zambrano bumping the umpire in suspending him.  But I do know that the umpire – who should have walked away or else called for the Cubs coaches to come over – was not punished. 

    I’ve not kept a detailed record of umpires provoking players.  I can say that there have been several issues.  That Pirates@Cubs game sticks out for a host of reasons, including the fact that I was intently watching it on WGN.  But I will make it a point to keep an eye out for future instances, and to try to recollect past ones.  (The Magglio Ordonez one kind of counts.)

    But really, the power-tripping umpire phenomenon (if it indeed exists) is far less important than the incompetent/corrupt umpiring phenomenon.  One literally decides the integrity of the game and the legitimacy of the competition.  The other is a discussion over whether player/umpire punishments are fair.  The only reason I brought it up was to illustrate that umpires have grown unacceptably cocky and that this goes unpunished by MLB.  Why?

  31. Dan said...

    Let’s get this out of the way first:

    David’s theory is completely loony.  I have a picture of a man in front of a big HD TV wearing a tin foil hat and screaming obscenities about the terrible “corruption” of competition he sees.

    My question goes to Craig:
    What is the current state of libel law regarding comments posted by a visitor to a website?  Is it established in the case law that the website can be sued for “publishing” the libelous statement?  TV networks and stations protect themselves when they sell blocks of time to infomercial hucksters and the like with a statement that they are not responsible for the content.  Can websites protect themselves with the same disclaimer?  What if you allow a comment and immediately post that the person posting the comment is solely responsible for its content?

    Secondly, even if you feel compelled to delete a post to be “on the safe side,” why have you allowed the gist of his claims to be stated subsequently?  Was his accusations any more actionable in their first permutation?

    Finally, isn’t an analysis of the likelihood of a libel suit part of the process of determining the best course of action?  Who would make a claim of libel?  The specific umpire who blew the call?  The Umpires Association?  MLB?

    Why would any of them be concerned about the ravings of someone whose statements are more indicative of an impending move to, as Detective Harris once said, “the Enchanted Kingdom” than any statement that might be seriously considered?

  32. tadthebad said...


    Perhaps because it’s harder to land such blame on a general group (umpires) as opposed to one, or a few, bad apples.  Do umpires as a whole exhibit the type of behavior you suggest?  Not that I’ve seen, which isn’t to say there aren’t some incompetent umps.  And, as already reported in the comments, MLB has punished individual ump(s) for instigating fights.  Beyond that, do you have any reasonable suggestions?

  33. MooseinOhio said...


    While I am not a follower of Glenn Beck and think he is wrong more often than right I am bothered by the ‘latent homosexual’ label you placed on him.  There was no reason to envoke such a label unless you meant to belittle him by questioning his sexuality, which is not supported by the evidence of his being married to a woman (twice for what it is worth).  Granted there are married men in the closet but at this point there is not evidence that I am aware of to support you claim.  Making such claims only hurts your credibility and as one who claims to be a disciple of Christ it seems a little hypocritical.

  34. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Dan—The Communications Decency Act provides protection in this regard in that it states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

    Query, though, whether I or THT is a “service provider” under the statute. I haven’t researched it exhaustively, but I would not be shocked if a court interpreted that to apply to biggies like AOL and not proprietors of smallish websites. This is especially true given that I’m dealing with, what, a few dozen comments per post max, and that I have a track record of actively participating in and moderating (to some extent) comment threads.

    As for a plaintiff, I think the umpire from the Twins game could theoretically sue if someone used his call to launch into a jag about corrupt umps. I’m not saying he’d win—and I’m not making some judgment that what David actually said was defamation—but it passes the laugh test, and that’s often enough to spur threat letters and other kinds of crap I just don’t feel like dealing with.

    As for restating the gist, defamation law is pretty clear about context and whether something is being stated for truth or what have you. The comments in question, though, are not being offered for truth. In fact, they’re being roundly criticized following their deletion (and David’s subsequent defense of his comments are not in and of themselves libelous).  In this I think it’s no different than when we discuss Brian McNamee’s allegedly defamatory statements or whatever.  No one here is passing off the umpires are corrupt theory as truth, and David himself has since couched his original statements clearly in the realm of opinion and suspicion, which they weren’t before (again, I acknowledge that David and I disagree about the nature of the original comments).

    You last comment—with all due respect to David—may be closest to the mark and may suggest that I’m overreacting.  Yes, it’s possible that one could have read the original comment as a mere conspiracy theory meant to paid no mind.  I was uneasy enough with that, however, that I decided to go to the virtual whiteout.

    I mean, David is nuts, but he’s not a total loon. wink

  35. David said...

    Dan thinks my theory was “loony”.  I think that Dan’s statements look like the words of a phony retard.

    But wait a sec, what “theory” of mine was loony?  If I stated a theory, there must be a quote of it.  Please show cut-and-paste the quote where I laid out a theory.

    And what an imagination you have!  You think “conspiracy theory” and then (I can’t believe how clever this was) you made the association of “tin-foil hat”!  Boy oh boy, you should write novels with that kind of imagination!

    I like how then you try to suck up to the mods by acting inquisitive about their internal policies.  That’s credible.  After all, lots of dudes spend their free time trolling around the ‘net, randomly asking forum mods what their rules are.  Hell, just yesterday I meandered on over to the message boards for the East Alabama Gardeners Club and, ya know, just decided to ask their moderators what their policies are.  It’s cool, dude.  Everybody does it.

    Why is it that all you people who love the government are impotent?  Can you tell me why you need Viagra?  Why doesn’t your penis get hard naturally when you’re close to a woman?  Sure, Rush Limbaugh supports the troops and hates Arabs, but why is it that his crank is every bit as soft that he says “liberals’” spines are?

    Here’s a “theory”, for you Dan: I think that it’s because you and your kind are so fake in every facet of life that your fraudulence creeps down into your sex life.  You tell so many lies, have so many contrived little identities, make so many fake posts online, that it only stands to reason that pretty soon even your sex is fake. 

    That’s a theory about why you people can’t have sex.  The first theory I’ve proposed here.

  36. Craig Calcaterra said...

    David—see, that’s exactly why people refuse to take you seriously.  I see this pattern with you in almost every thread:

    1. Out-there comment;
    2. Walk-back to normalcy and actual sense;
    3. Revert to out-there comments.

    I have no idea what goes on in your head that you retreat to the claims of impotence and accusations of homosexuality every time someone challenges you, but it’s fairly disturbing.  I hope by now, given the conversations you and I have had, that you don’t take this as an attack, but you sound like you need some kind of help, be it pharmaceutical or otherwise.

  37. David said...


    That dude (a) lied and said that I proposed a theory, and (b) tacitly called me a “loony”. 

    If I say “Craig’s insults toward Julio Castillo are bigoted and racist”, I’m willing to bet that you’d be incredibly offended.  (A) You didn’t insult Julio Castillo, and (b) I’d be implying you’re a racist bigot. 

    I’m just sick of these retarded losers – who don’t observe anything worthwhile and can’t even formulate halfway logical arguments – insulting and disparaging me.  And, yes, I also get pissed off because there is a lot of evidence that the reason so many “men” today can get away with this sort of insane lifestyle (that is, telling lies, advocating evil, and hating human beings) is because they get a completely phony sense of machismo from their Viagra (and God-knows-what-the-hell-else: Prozac, Zyloft, Testosterone, etc.)  So when I see these people telling lies and clearly behaving as though they transcend basic rules of discourse and civilization (a’la Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, etc., etc.) I make the assumption that they suffer similar sexual maladies.  (And for the record, I can also relay tales to you from women I know about how the “man” in their lives changed after they started taking Viagra.)

  38. Dan said...

    David, you’d be well advised to remember the adage about being thought a fool vs speaking and removing all doubt.

    I mean really – this is your response?  Criticizing a discussion (with a practicing attorney) about libel law in the internet age is sucking up to a site’s mods?

    And somehow I am now someone who “loves the government” and as a result, is impotent?


    You suggested I should be a novelist, allow me to suggest that you consider a career in stand-up. 

    Forget about MLB-umpire conspiracies, you’ve stumbled on the biggest one of all:

    The government knows that those who “love it” have trouble getting it up – so the government approves all sorts of ED medications to keep its supporters aroused.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the tin-foil hat comedian!

  39. Jack Marshall said...

    Well good…I’m certainly glad the “loony” controversy has been cleared up.

    Is David beginning to remind anyone else out there of “Gen. Jack D. Ripper”?

  40. Dan said...

    So the self-proclaimed “disciple of Jesus” likes to throw around the word “retard,” something I know for a fact that those who work with learning disabled people regard as incredibly offensive.

    Is this what Jesus would say, David?

    I’ve only encountered your comments one time, here in this thread, and its painfully obvious that you do in fact need substantial help, whether psychiatric or pharmaceutical. 

    Who knows, you might even need help in that “special part of a man’s anatomy” – ever hear of “projection”?  Its when a person who feels shame over his own deficiencies projects those same deficiencies on those who he regards as his enemy.

    But seriously, dude.  If you’d stop, you’d at least leave a few people wondering if you are a fool, instead of proving it over and over again.

  41. David said...


    Yes, Dan!  I’ll be the Tin-Foil Hat Comedian (“If you wanna stick, you gotta shtick!”) 

    But I’ll just be the opening act for the headliner: “Dan the Impotent Phony.” 

    I can see it now.  You strut out on stage, “Evening!  How are you folks doin’ tonight!  So this morning I was watching ‘Fox & Friends’ and I thought to myself, ‘Why do they have to put the ‘Friends’ in there?  Isn’t that like saying ‘Super-Large soda’? After all, ‘Fox’ is everybody’s friend!  Except for those loonies like David The Tin-Foil Hat Wearing Comedian.  They don’t have any friends!”

    Or maybe you should instead be a circus act!  “The Man who Trolls Online Pretending to Be Curious about the Terms of Service at Arcane Message Boards.” 

    One way or another, you got a future in showbiz!

    Really, though, your real schtick is pretty transparent.  You’re trying to make insults and then try to look like you’re too cool and humorous to get into substantive discourse.

    We get it, dude:  You think the government is great, we should murder Arabs, and that we should defer to the powerful. 

    So let’s leave it be, eh?

  42. Jason B said...

    Glenn Beck is a latent homosexual?  I’m a practicing homosexual.  Which means that I’m all *kinds* of messed up.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

    (Of course I use the term ‘gay’ to flippantly disparage people and things, too, and I am one.  So it’s not at all that I disapprove of the usage. People need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously.)

  43. David said...

    You got me, Dan.  Like you, I’m impotent.  And, like, when I say that somebody else is lying, that actually means that I’m the liar.  That’s just so useful a rhetorical tool, I’ve gotta start using it.

    Let’s see what else is “projection”.  Like, if you call somebody a loony then actually you’re loony.  That’d be projection, right?

    Or, like, when Rush Limbaugh talks about how the evil Arabs are coming to kill Americans (because, of course, “they hate us for our freedom”) and that everybody who says he’s a liar is “weak” and “spineless”, but then it later turns out that Limbaugh takes vacations to secretive compounds in the Dominican Republic with a bottle of 30 pills of Viagra?  He was projecting his impotence onto people who don’t hate Arabs, right?

    Yes, yes, yes.  This is all projection. 

    Or if a bunch of retards say that I’m crazy and should take pills (which, of course, we know that you guys already do), then that means that you’re the actually crazy ones, right?

    Okay, you beat me: the Arab-hating neo-cons aren’t really a bunch of impotent latent homosexuals (all those reports about O’Reilly, Foley, Limbaugh, Craig, etc., etc., etc.) are fraudulent.  It’s the reporters who were gay and impotent, they were just “projecting”.

    That really is a magical trick.  I’m gonna borrow that one for the future.

  44. Dan said...

    Congratulations, you are the looniest nut job I’ve had the misfortune of crossing paths with online. I mean, I’ve run into some crazies before but your ramblings are so insane and utterly nonsensical that it boggles the imagination.

    So please continue – your insanity is quite entertaining.

  45. The Common Man said...

    “I’m just sick of these retarded losers – who don’t observe anything worthwhile and can’t even formulate halfway logical arguments – insulting and disparaging me.”

    David, first, I’m sorry you feel persecuted, though that may have something (read, everything) to do with your tone and outlandishness.  And if you believe you’re making reasonable, logical arguments and world tells you you’re not making any kind of sense, I’d suggest the problem is within you and not with the rest of the world….

    Unless we’re all out to get you.

  46. Dan said...

    You are HYSTERICAL!!!!!!!!

    Please keep it up.

    In the meantime, I’ll just dream of the day you go out into the real world, encounter someone you don’t agree with, and then throw around words like “retard” and “you’re gay”.

  47. David said...

    Dude, your act is old and transparent.  You’re trying to look like you’re too cool to be serious.  That’s fine.  You’re just an impotent fool and this is how you get your jollies: by telling lies online.

    That’s your thing, and that’s fine.

    But you told a lie about me.  I asked that you correct it, and you did not do so – which is expected, because there was no way you could substantiate it – and now you’ve refused to acknowledge or apologize for lying about me.

    You lied about me and insulted me.  Fine.  I consider the matter closed.  Please just leave me alone.

  48. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Folks: let’s end this conversation right now.

    New topic: anyone gonna take me to task over my comment that Smoltz should be in the pen?  Or is that just obvious at this point?

  49. tadthebad said...

    Remember when this used to be a nice little baseball site?  That is, until it got taken over by the man…

    ah, nostalgia.

  50. Dan said...

    Wait a minute – you went so far off your nut because I said your “theory” was loony and you said “what theory?  Show me the theory!” and I didn’t do so?

    What is this if not a “theory”?

    It was my thoughts on MLB Inc.‘s incompetent and – in my confident opinion – corrupt umpiring.  So it’s just factually inaccurate for you to say it was libel, and so I have to wonder why the hell you would say that.  You know better.

    Secondly, I wasn’t just talking about last night’s game.  I was talking about a sweeping trend this season of flagrantly inaccurate calls which are going unmentioned by the mainstream media (and, apparently, censored by baseball’s alternative media). 

    “Corrupt umpiring” … “sweeping trend” … “flagrantly inaccurate calls” … “censored by baseball’s alternative media”.

    That’s not a theory?

  51. J.W. said...

    Actually Smoltz to the pen is an interesting and illustrative example to consider when thinking about putting pitches like Joba Chamberlain or David Price in the bullpen.  The arguments for sending Smoltz to the pen and sending Joba/Price to the pen are essentially the same: these pitchers are exceptionally good at pitching in short bursts, but not so good at the long-haul stuff.  The kicker, of course, is that Smoltz will only be sent to the pen as a last resort, when he’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that age and injuries have forced him to be a short-appearance pitcher.  Joba and Price and other young pitchers who immediately excel in the bullpen but not in the rotation need to be given LOTS (sorry for the caps, but emphasis is required and I don’t know how to italicize my comments) of time to prove that they cannot succeed as a starting pitcher. If Smoltz continues to struggle in later innings, he should go to the bullpen.  If Clay Bucholz struggles in later innings, he should not. At least not for another 22 years.

  52. The Common Man said...

    Nope, your theory on Smoltz seems right on there, Craig.  It’s obvious that Major League Baseball is working with the umpires and the North Koreans to ensure that Smoltz is given juiced baseballs every time he hits the mound in order to make him accept a bullpen assignment and put Clay Bucholz in the rotation.  Duh.

  53. Dan said...

    I am very distressed at Smoltz’ performance but I can’t see how you get enough value out of using him in the pen vs having him start.  He’s not replacing Papelbon, and at this point who even knows if he could replace the closest thing they have to a long man, Justin Masterson?  Can he throw multiple innings across four games a week?  And how much better will he be than what they already have doing that job?

    Rather I am afraid they have to keep him in the rotation and hope that better outcomes are around the corner.

    At this point its not making a difference anyway, unless Bay and Drew and to a lesser extent, Varitek and Green start hitting again.  Their biggest problem is offense, and unless a major shake-up happens, there is no impact bat that will replace anyone currently in the lineup.  Ortiz is hitting enough that he can’t be replaced.  No one is taking Lowell or Drew or Bay in a trade, and aside from Victor Martinez, there’s no true impact bat out there.  The best they can do is change the bench with a Huff or the like.  And that makes me barf.

  54. tadthebad said...

    RE: Smoltz.  Nah, I’d rather just keep running the guy out there every fifth game and see his BAA go from .200 the first time through the lineup, all the way to about .356 the second time through.  Then, after the game, Smoltz can keep telling the media he just had one/two/a few bad pitches, but otherwise he’s pleased with his progress.  That’s sound nice and all, John, but I think your dome ain’t letting in the requisite oxygen if you believe you’re actually progressing to a palatable level for the Sox.  This isn’t the NL East, Big John, this is the real big boy division.  So get it together, or pack your sh*t and head to the pen.

    OK, I’m better.  I think they give him three more starts, max, to straighten up and fly right.  Otherwise, one of the kids in the pen (Masterson?) gets demoted, or somehow Saito gets traded, and Smoltz goes there.

  55. Craig Calcaterra said...

    TCM:  Stop being ridiculous.  Everyone knows that the Trilateral Commission and the reverse vampires are prominently involved.

  56. J.W. said...

    What’s a reverse vampire? They can only go out during the day and they’re professional blood donors?

  57. lar said...

    I believe that vampires are the world’s greatest golfers but their curse is they’ll never get to prove it.

  58. MooseinOhio said...

    Smoltz to the pen makes the most sense however it may not be the Red Sox pen (though if I’m Theo it is). 

    If I were the Red Sox GM I would promote Buchholz to the starting spot vacated by Smoltz and have him hold the spot until DiceK is ready to come off the DL.  Give Buchholz some spot starts in place of Lester and Beckett (so they can rest) and if DiceK doesn’t look good give the spot back to Buchholz. 

    Trade Saito to a team in need of bullpen help and give his spot to Smoltz.  Use Saito, potentially Penny and a few minor league chips (Bowden, Kalish) to make a trade to get a strong bat that can play first or third.  Boston’s OPS has dropped every month of the season and getting a bat is there most pressing need. 

    Getting San Diego to trade Gonzalez would be ideal as he is under contract (w/option) through 2011 and brings both a bat and glove.  Using some top chips makes sense for him.

  59. tadthebad said...

    Dan, you really think Huff would be so bad?  Without looking at the #s, he’s got to be performing better than Lowell, right?  Youk to 3rd, Huff at first, and bingo, improved lineup.  FWIW, I agree that the lineup is the item to be tweaked.

  60. The Common Man said...

    “Getting San Diego to trade Gonzalez would be ideal as he is under contract (w/option) through 2011 and brings both a bat and glove.  Using some top chips makes sense for him.”

    Moose, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were one of the less rational members of the Red Sox Nation who thinks they can get Roy Halladay for Julio Lugo, Mark Kotsay, Michael Bowden, and the rights to Mike Greenwell (note:  substitute Matsui, Mitre, Austin Jackson, and Mickey Rivers for members of the Yankees Universe).

  61. Dan said...

    I just don’t think Huff is worth giving up anything for.  He probably is a little better overall than Lowell, but as a lefty – and dead pull hitter – he wouldn’t be coming to a team that plays in a park conducive to his swing.  On the other hand, Mikey has figured out how to hit in Fenway, and I actually think he’s going to hit well down the stretch as long as the hip doesn’t become a factor again.

    Common Man, please note that Moose did say “some top chips” for Gonzales.  I’d definitely be open to that but it would still have to be within reason (in other words, one top prospect like Lars or Clay + several from their “depth”).  Hope I’m not sounding like one of the less rational members of the Nation.  wink  But seriously, I’m not talking Lugo Kotsay and Bowden, I’m talking one top guy and two or maybe even three lesser guys, just not two top guys plus someone else.  I wouldn’t even do that for Halloday.

  62. Dan said...

    And just like that, Wakefield is on the DL with a lower back strain and Clay starts Wednesday in his spot.  No indication how serious this is, if its minor, its possible he wouldn’t miss much time since it would be retroactive to his last start before the break.

  63. Kevin S. said...

    TCM, I know you’re going after the less rational Universers, but this Yankme fan (c’mon, you all know you call us that) thinks that it would take Montero, Jackson, Brackman, and one of Joba/Hughes… and it still might be worth it.

  64. Alex K said...

    RE Gonzalez: The Padres have no reason to trade him unless they are totally blown away.  I wouldn’t be totally shocked if they ask for Buchholz and Anderson. 

    I guess that is a roundabout way to say the Sox have almost no chance to get Gonzalez. Because I seriously doubt that Theo would do that.

  65. TC said...

    To be, ahem, phair to the Phanatic: he has a history of dressing in drag, and since most of his intended audience is watching him at a considerable distance, seeing a big, green monster in a white hat and skirt might not be as immediately recognized as, ya know, Batman.  The Phanatic is a populist; Two-percenters don’t become him.

  66. Dennis Koziel said...

    I believe the Yankees have a great home advantage, with the tendency of their park to give up homers and them batting last and everything.  I think we’ll see a few more walk-off homers before the season is done, and perhaps ESPN will only spend 15 minutes, versus the entire show, on the “phenomenon.”

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