May 24, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tigers 12, Athletics 2: Lose your starter after two innings? No problem. Because the Tigers have a Hulk. Miguel Cabrera hit two homers and drove in six, starting the A's road trip off in poor fashion.
Reds 3, Cubs 1: Homer Bailey took a two-hit shutout into the eighth over what was likely some very tired Cubs. Cincy's magic number is four.
White Sox 3, Royals 2: Five straight wins for Chicago. And a rare win against the Royals, relatively speaking. Really: the defining characteristic of the 2012 AL Central is the leaders not taking care of business against the cupcakes.
Marlins 4, Braves 3: Atlanta rallied for three in the ninth to force extras, but Jose Reyes' two-run single in the 10th won it. The Braves are already have a gimpy Andrelton Simmons, and now they've lost Paul Janish, who dislocated his shoulder in this one. PLAY CHIPPER AT SHORT, FREDI! LET HIM LEAVE THIS GAME THE SAME WAY HE CAME IN.
Cardinals 4, Astros 1: Kyle Lohse threw seven scoreless innings. See, Philly, this is how you beat a bad, bad team that you're supposed to beat in order to stay in the wild card race.
Brewers 6, Pirates 0: Yovani Gallardo won his eighth straight decision over the listless Pirates. Wait, that's not right. They have list. A strong list to starboard, not unlike the Lusitania just before she went down.
Twins 6, Indians 5: The battle for fourth place has become heated! The Indians used 10 pitchers, by the way. Including David Huff, who pitched for only a minute and a huff. This is just barely identifiable as real baseball at this point.
Red Sox 7, Rays 5: Looking at the schedule back in April and I bet you though this series would matter. Oh well. Fourth straight loss for the Rays and seventh of eight.
Orioles 4, Mariners 2: Let's play two! Or at least two games worth of baseball. Eighteen innings ended, effectively anyway, with a Taylor Teagarden RBI single and yet another Orioles' extra-inning win. Thanks to the Yankees being off for two straight days, the O's have moved into a virtual tie for first.
Giants 6, Rockies 3: Six and a third scoreless innings with six strikeouts for Tim Lincecum. If he's right come playoff time, look out National League.
Diamondbacks 3, Padres 2: After dropping six straight to the Padres at home, the D-backs finally prevail thanks to a strong Ian Kennedy start. They lost Chris Young again, however, who aggravated his quad injury. Which stinks.
Angels 11, Rangers 3: An eight-run fourth inning helped seal a necessary win for Anaheim, which keeps pace with Baltimore, remaining three back in the wild card. The Angels need some help, though. Jered Weaver won his 100th career game.
Phillies vs. Mets: POSTPONED: Been down to the corner, about once or twice. I don't know but it's been nice. I ain't got no money, I can't buy a damn thing that I might like. Let's go down to the dime store on some moonless night and look at the rain.
Dodgers vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: And if you see us on the corner and we're dancing in the rain. I join my friends there when I see them outside my window pane. Shadows in the rain, shadows in the rain.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees: POSTPONED: This one goes out to Yunel Escobar:
Humidity is rising - Barometer's getting low
According to all sources, the street's the place to go
Cause tonight for the first time
Just about half-past ten
For the first time in history
It's gonna start raining men.
It's Raining Men! Hallelujah! - It's Raining Men! Amen!
I'm gonna go out to run and let myself get
Absolutely soaking wet!
It's Raining Men! Hallelujah!
It's Raining Men! Every Specimen!
Tall, blonde, dark and lean
Rough and tough and strong and mean
It’s a case of popular culture meeting the pastime. An unusual photograph of Johnny Bench has been making the rounds on the Internet in recent weeks. It’s actually a black-and-white still of Bench making a cameo appearance on an episode of the old TV show, Mission Impossible.
The episode, which first aired on Feb. 6, 1971, is titled The Catafalque, a word with which I was previously unfamiliar. According to IMDB, a catafalque is a raised platform that is used to support a casket during a funeral service. Providing us with further assistance, IMDB supplies the following description of the 1971 episode:
“In one of the IMF’s most audacious plans yet the team blatantly frames their victim and attempts to snatch the body of a deceased leader literally from under the noses of the honor guards. It’s all part of Jim’s plan to infuriate an official into revealing a sensitive document the US government wants to get its hands on.”
Bench is credited as “The Captain of the Guards,” so we can only surmise that he is the leader of the group of honor guards who are watching over the dead body. Although Bench does not speak in the cameo, he clearly captures the attention of Mission Impossible stars Peter Graves (who portrays James Phelps) and the lovely Lesley Ann Warren (who portrays Dana Lambert). They are giving Bench a combined look of caution and contempt, as if he is to be avoided at all costs. Based on the angle of the photograph, I would venture a guess that Bench does not see the two agents, at least not yet.
So how was it that Johnny Bench, star catcher for the Cincinnati Reds, made it onto the set of Mission Impossible? Well, this was February of 1971, so we can assume the filming took place sometime in the fall of 1970, or just after Bench was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player. In 1970, Bench led the National League with 45 home runs and 148 RBIs, and compiled an OPS of .932, a staggering figure for a catcher. What better way to drive publicity for a show than to strategically place a well-known, headline-making athlete right in the middle of an episode?
Additionally, Mission Impossible executives might have thought that Bench had a real future in acting. After all, Bench has always been outgoing and quotable. When he wants to, he can be as charming and charismatic as any current or former athlete.
As it turned out, Bench did have a small future in Hollywood. Two years later, he would make an appearance, this time in a speaking role, in an episode of The Partridge Family called “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati.” Having never seen the episode, I can only guess that during a concert stop in Cincinnati, the Partridge band runs into Bench, who delivers the following line: “Would you care for a drink?” I would also have to assume that Bench portrays himself. Then again, I could be wrong.
Bench’s appearances on The Partridge Family and Mission Impossible (two shows as different from each other as can be) would lay the groundwork for future work in TV. Bench eventually became the host of The Baseball Bunch, a children’s program that featured skits designed to teach baseball and life lessons.
After a long layoff, Bench is now returning to the Hollywood scene. He will appear as a major league scout in the 2013 release, Easy Rider: The Ride Back. And no, it’s not a sequel to the Peter Fonda/Dennis Hopper/Jack Nicholson counterculture classic from 1969.
And to think, it all started for Mr. Bench with a leer from Lesley Ann Warren.
Ten years ago today we witnessed one of the most infamous displays of fan misbehavior in baseball history. Calling it misbehavior is far too kind. It was hooliganism, rowdyism—just plain senseless violence.
On Sept. 19, 2002, in the middle of a White Sox-Royals game at U.S. Cellular Field, two idiots jumped on the field and began an unprovoked assault on Kansas City’s first base coach, Tom Gamboa. (Well, the ruffians claimed they were provoked by a hand gesture Gamboa made at them, but who the hell wants to take their word for it? Besides, no gesture justifies assault and battery).
It just came completely out of nowhere. In the top of the ninth, the Royals led the White Sox 2-1 with a runner on second and nobody out. It looked like a routine finish to a closely fought game.
Then, with everyone in the park focusing on the batter versus pitcher showdown, all hell broke loose at first. Two fans—shirtless—were out there beating up the 54-year-old first base coach. Security and players soon pulled the duo off of Gamboa, but the damage had been done. Specifically, hearing damage— Gamboa suffered permanent hearing impairment from the unprovoked assault.
This weird assault became even weirder due to some details surrounding it. First off, the shirtless men assaulting him certainly fit the image of classless, drunken ballpark boors. Second, it turned out they were father and son. Their names were William Ligue and his son, William Jr. The son was just 15 years old—but he carried a knife in his back pocket during the attack.
The Ligues justly became national pariahs and jokes. They even became the subject of a David Letterman Top Ten list. (I still remember one item: “We’ll let you know what our legal defense will be once we’ve talked to our shirtless lawyer.” Something like that). Both managed to avoid jail time—the kid because he was a minor and the father because he pleaded guilty to get probation.
Even their hometown of Alsip, Ill., came in for some jokes. Over the years I’ve heard people on Chicago sports radio refer to the “Alsipian” contingency of White Sox fans, meaning the mouth-breather meatheads.
There were some impacts that went beyond Sept. 19. The next year, some other clown ran on the field at U. S. Cellular, this time to assault the first base umpire. Big mistake. It was an especially big mistake since he did it during another series with the Royals. Players from both teams beat the guy up as fast as they could get to him.
To this day the Ligue incident has had a lasting impact on fans at U.S. Cellular, though. It used to be that if you bought a ticket to the upper deck the Sox would let you walk around their big wheel of commerce in the lower deck. No more. The Ligues were upper-deckers who’d sneaked into the lower deck. Because of these two drill rods, the Sox decided that all upper-deckers are to be treated like shirtless would-be felons. I think it’s a pretty big overreaction on the Sox’s part: Walking around the park is part of the fun of going to a stadium. The Sox could just put ushers at the top of each lower deck aisle, but no matter. The Sox have done this ever since the Ligues’ father-son assault, and that assault was 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that took place X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim over things.
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