December 12, 2013
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Thursday, March 19, 2009
It's a slow news day, so building off of the previous post in praise of Jose Oquendo, Mike Gallego, and knuckleball, I offer you my all-time idosyncratic, oddball, knucklehead, misfit, reject team. This team doesn't consist of my alll time favorite or exciting players -- stabs at those can be found here and here -- and it certainly isn't a team I think could win anything. Like a commenter said this afternoon, this is my version of the Harlem Globetrotters. Something fun to watch and be around, but not anything that represents good baseball in any real sense. For what it's worth:
C: Sal Fasano -- It's all about the mustache.
1B: Dimitri Young -- I'm guessing he knows how to keep things light. Besides, I'm going to be managing this team and I'm going to need someone around like 'Da Meat Hook so I'm not the worst looking guy in a uniform.
2B: Davey Lopes -- we're three guys in and all three have mustaches. Hmm, maybe I should talk to my psychiatrist about this. Beyond the facial hair, however, I put Lopes in because (a) I have to have some competent baseball players on this team; and (b) I can't have a second basemen worse than Oquendo or Gallego, or else I'd be tempted to give them more playing time than I want to. Like I said this morning: I want them around to shoot the breeze with me in the dugout, coach a little, and to go in and be the catcher in the 7th inning or something. They can't be expected to do that if they're starting regularly.
SS: UL Washington -- Hmm, Gallego and Oquendo would probably be able to start ahead of Washington. I'll risk it, though, because I plan on eating a lot of corned beef sandwiches on the bench and I may need to borrow a toothpick from him to get the caraway seeds out of my teeth.
3B: Richie Hebner -- Lots of reasons. The gravedigger thing is obvious -- he probably has some good stories to share along those lines -- but he has a mustache too, and that's apparently a big deal on this team. Oh, and he's the guy that authored that line about how hitting Phil Neikro's knuckleball was like eating soup with a fork. Given the composition of my pitching staff, it will be important for team chemistry to have around someone who respects and fears the knuckly arts like Hebner does. UPDATE: Many have noted that the soup with a fork line was said by Willie Stargell, not Hebner. That seems to be borne out by some Googling, but Hebner's Wikipedia page credits him. I'm going to assume that this is an instance in which Hebner himself is spreading self-aggrandizing lies via his own Wikipedia page. If that's the case, he's even more welcome on this team because that's the kind of subtle chaos I can get behind.
RF: King Kelly -- He played everywhere, so in some ways he was a proto-Oquendo. Different era, of course, so we'll stick him in the outfield where he played more than anywhere else as far as these things can be determined. A mustache to rival Fasano's, and behavior that would make Dimitri Young look like Dale Murphy.
CF: Dale Murphy -- The only position player without a mustache would be forced to room with Young and Kelly on road trips because, oh God, that would be awesome. Murphy gets the roll-away bed.
LF: Lonnie Smith -- Oquendo, Gallego and I are going to get bored during those innings the ShysterBall All-Stars are giving up 15 runs because the prevailing winds aren't helping our knucklers, and watching Skates fall all over the outfield will provide numerous opportunities to laugh and/or gamble.
Bench: Oquendo and Gallego of course. I'll forego much more of a bench for the time being because (a) those two can backup anyone; and (b) Lopes, Hebner, and Murphy are the only guys who seem like they'd exert themselves all that much, so not too much rest will be required. Besides, we're probably barnstorming with this crew, so there will be a lot of days off built in, forfeits, days the bus is broken down, etc., so no one is going to be too gassed. Which reminds me: our strength and conditioning guy will be Bob Horner.
Starters: Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, Charlie Hough, Ed Cicotte and, because we don't want batters digging in too much, Steve Dalkowski.
Relievers: Jim Bouton, Hoyt Wilhelm, and whichever of the starters aren't going that day. The beauty of the knuckleball: keeps payroll low.
I think we'd have fun with this crew, don't you?
The A's are warming up to their new infield coach, Mike Gallego:
Former infielder Mike Gallego played 624 games at second base, 137 at third base and 434 at shortstop and was proficient everywhere. If his managers hadn't been biased against short people (no offense, Tony La Russa), he probably would have been adept at first base, too.
Wait, Crosby was routinely worried about hurting or embarrassing himself before Gallego was hired? Maybe taking away his starting gig was a much better move than even A's fans realize.
But my point of linking this isn't to bury Bobby Crosby, it's to praise Mike Gallego. As regular readers know, I'm a big Jose Oquendo fan, and Mike Gallego falls into that same category. Sure, every team has a utility guy, but they're almost always middle infielder types without a home -- AAAA kind of guys or worse who are just filling the role for a short period of time -- rather than true Swiss army knives like Oquendo and Gallego. If I was a manager I'd prefer to have an experienced and professional utility guy around. I mean, you're going to be on the bench with them a lot anyway, so they may as well be smart older dudes with whom you can have a freaking adult conversation once in a while. Bonus: if they're super-utes like Gallego and Oquendo as opposed to some possible shortstop prospect, you can toy with the idea of having them play all nine positions during a blowout.
Heck, between a guy or two like that and the five knuckleballers I'd put on my staff, Team Calcaterra would be the greatest show in the game.
Mets fans can't be pleased about this:
Omar Minaya referred to Livan Hernandez as "inventory" when the veteran pitcher signed on Feb. 14. Now, Hernandez is on the verge of claiming the No. 5 spot in the rotation, while team officials appear to be seriously weighing the release of pre-camp favorite Freddy Garcia.
Yeah, and he struckout 15 Braves in a playoff game in 1997. He had Eric Gregg then and has had the absence of the game's best hitters to face him this spring. Neither mean that he's someone a playoff contender wants in their rotation in 2009. If you don't believe me, just ask Twins' fans.
The guy has not been even average over the course of a season since 2005, and there's no reason to believe that he will be this year. If this is the best the Mets can do, they're going to have some trouble.
He has even set up a new blog for that purpose. He wants everyone's thoughts, rants, ideas, and hare-brained schemes. I already sent in mine. Go check the new place out and then send him yours.
(note: I'm bumping this up because it was posted late last night and people tend not to scroll back to the previous day).
One of the two big votes on the Marlins' ballpark is set for today, and there's a lot of last minute pot-sweetening:
On the eve of the most important public vote in franchise history, the Florida Marlins agreed to crucial contract changes the team hopes will help secure its elusive permanent home in South Florida.
I suppose this is to be expected. This part of the deal, however, is simply odd:
And Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who jump-started the stadium chess match last month with a set of demands that delayed the final votes until now, said he hasn't made up his mind -- even as the Marlins' concessions appear aimed at appeasing him.
Look, I'm against all of this, but even if you're not, can someone explain to me why on Earth Miami taxpayers should be penalized in order to make life easier for the heirs of a billionaire? What possible business justification is there for this provision?
This is, um, interesting:
The illustrated George Steinbrenner is smiling and robust on the cover of “One Last Time: Goodbye to Yankee Stadium,” the latest Yankees-themed children’s book by Ray Negron, an adviser for the club. Steinbrenner is wearing his familiar white turtleneck and navy sports coat, giving a thumbs-up with his right hand and patting a young boy on the shoulder with his left.
Check out the cover here.
Coming next: the happy, friendly, and soft-focused Steinbrenner is portrayed firing the young boy's father, taking the flowers off of his mother's desk, and hiring Howie Spira to keep tabs on him.
Things to read while recovering from the injuries you suffered in the WBC:
Given the injury carnage afoot, one can't help but wonder if all of those spring training wind sprints the WBC participants got out of by joining their nation's team don't actually serve a pretty important purpose after all.