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Wednesday, April 22, 2009
When I was a kid, I'd range all over Tiger Stadium after a game collecting discarded All-Star ballots and make my family wait for me as I punched out Tiger names in dozens of the things before handing them to a kindly usher or dropping them into the big box at the top of the stairway to the main concourse. But for all my efforts, I never accomplished my ultimate goal: having Tom Brookens start an All-Star Game over George Brett. I'm still kind of bitter about that, but I no longer feel guilty for my failure. I just realize that I wasn't properly incentivized:
Voting is now open at orioles.com for the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis -- and the Orioles have some All-Star rewards just for you!
Yeah, bribes are unseemly, but no one will care when Greg Zaun is the AL's starting catcher come July and the Upper Reserve section of Camden Yards is filled with happy fans come August.
And remember: This time it counts!
(thanks to Wooden U. Lykteneau for the heads up)
MLBAM is launching its own online, opinion-based "tabloid" in May:
MLB Advanced Media will formally announce today that in May it will debut what's meant to be a online baseball newspaper featuring columnists, including NBC/MSNBC's Keith Olbermann . . .
Let's see, fiftysomething ex-newspaper men writing opinions about baseball while being paid by Major League Baseball. I can't wait until I read the tenth version of "Commissioner Selig: Merely great, or the greatest ever?"
Not that I'm complaining. I've been putting off bookmarking all of the columnists I can't stand in one single folder, and now that they'll all be arranged in a virtual barrel, it will make my duck-shooting all the easier.
And you think I'm kidding.
UPDATE: title changed in an effort to cater to you spelling, grammar and clarity fascists.
One of the things about doing ATH each day is that, with the exception of Sunday games when I have a lot more time to read game stories and watch highlights, I have to pretty much talk about what's in the box score. Which is fine, because I think the box score gets you an awful lot of the way home when it comes to a baseball game. It doesn't, however, account for things like Daniel Murphy:
Maybe that’s the question on your minds after Tuesday’s 6-4 loss, another defeat triggered by a Daniel Murphy goof in left field. He took full responsibility after dropping Cody Ross’s fly ball on April 12, leading to two unearned runs, and he did so again after Tuesday’s game. Insofar that he should have caught Brendan Ryan’s liner instead of slipping and watching from his back as the ball zipped past . . .
Neither one of those things were technically errors, so they didn't appear in the box score, but they made all the difference in the world. As does Daniel Murphy, a DH trapped in a leftfielder's body.
I worry about him, frankly. At the very least he may lose his job, but if this keeps up, I also think there's a distinct possibility that Johan Santana is going to march out to left one day and murder poor Daniel with his bare hands.
I don't know that collecting weird, trivial things is any more defensible when the Hall of Fame does it than when my neighbor does, but they're doing it all the same. Balls, shoes, dirt in coffee cups, the whole deal.
Those of you who have been dying to put a nasally voice together with my bald, doughy visage and my obtuse written opinions are in for a treat. I'm going to be on BlogTalkRadio this afternoon at 1:35ish. It should be on the "GetSports" show which can be found at that link. If there's a screwup and I'm put on some right wing political show I'll do my best to fake it.
If you miss it, it will be available on demand at that location after the live airing. If I screw up royally and embarass myself, I'm probably going to launch a DoS attack on their servers to save face, so be standing by for further instructions.
I didn't sleep so well last night, so I'm not quite as proud as a peacock today. Maybe proud as a bright cardinal. A pheasant at most:
My second major in college was English and I'm usually able to pull themes and subtext out of most anything (even if the piece in question doesn't have any), but this thing has me stumped.
If anyone can tell me what the hell it's about, I'd be most appreciative.
Look, when I die, there's just one kind of favor I'll ask of you: you can see that my grave is kept clean. Other people require more complicated things:
Two years ago, when Dennis Mascari went to visit his father at a cemetery, he came up with an idea: Build an area for deceased Cubs fans. Mascari, who said he was broke at the time, made this his mission, and tomorrow his company Fans Forever will open Beyond the Vines, an internment area modeled after Wrigley Field's centerfield wall.
Does it smell like stale Old Style and Lincoln Park Trixies too?
Those that buy space must be cremated. Mascari says the average cost of cremation is in between $3,000 and $5,000 . . .
What could possibly justify a price spread on cremation? You're either cremated or not, right?
. . . the "Eternal Skyboxes" Mascari sells start at $1,295. The average cost of a traditional burial is about $8,000. "When I started thinking about this, it had nothing to do with the economy," Mascari said. "But now, it just makes sense."
Meh. If he really wanted to take advantage of the new frugality he would have gone with composting. Sure, it's a bit icky at first, but you'll always remember dear old dad fondly when your perennials come up lively each spring.
After Mascari does this successfully in Chicago, he says he's thinking about taking it to New York and presenting the idea to Yankees fans.
You know, for as morbid as it is, I bet that he'll sell more premium real estate in his park than the Yankees have in theirs. It's simply a better value to spend your time dead in Mascari's place than alive in Steinbrenner's.
(Thanks to Pete Toms, a man who knows the kind of stories I like)
Indians 8, Royals 7: Sidney Ponson does pretty much what you'd expect him to, and that's get blown up (3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB). And you can tell his attitude is just as good as ever. I watched this game, and as soon as he gave up the homer to Sizemore, he gets annoyed and starts working quickly and angrily which causes him to throw the ball around even more randomly than he had been. So he walks Mark DeRosa on four pitches, and Bob McClure comes out to talk to him. I can't read lips, but during the mound visit, Ponson has the same attitude as Bender from the Breakfast Club when Vernon was piling the additional Saturdays on him. McClure sits down, Ponson gives up a single to Victor Martinez and then is yanked from the game. The Royals would rally off of Joe Smith and then throw a big scare into Kerry Wood to turn it into a one-run game, but Sir Sidney sealed the Royals' fate last night.
Orioles 10, White Sox 3: the Major League debut of Brad Bergesen goes swimmingly (5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), ending in a win. Debuts have to be so hard to for ballplayers, because not only do they have to play, but they have to do so after spending all morning in HR filling out forms, reviewing the employee handbook, getting trained on the voice mail and everything else. Then there's that awkward lunch with their new coworkers which just blows a hole in any hope they had of being productive on Day One. In light of all of this, how a guy like Bergesen doesn't just chalk it up as a lost day is beyond me.
Yankees 5, Athletics 3: Only one home run, this one by Johnny Damon, so maybe we'll all shut up about the ballpark now. I mean, if three or four games was enough to cause us all to say it was a bandbox, I guess one is enough to say it isn't. Kurt Suzuki went 4 for 4, but no one else did anything to help him out, which is pretty much par for the course for this punchless bunch these days.
Rangers 5, Blue Jays 4: The Rangers are the only team against whom Roy Halladay has an ERA over 5.00, and he didn't do anything to change that in this game, giving up five runs in eight innings. Scary moment: Home plate umpire Kerwin Danley was gets taken off the field on a stretcher by paramedics after he was hit by the head of Hank Blalock's bat, which had broken off on a popup. The latest article I saw before the bulldog went to press said that Danley was in the hospital for "observation" and that the extent of his injuries are unknown.
Pirates 3, Marlins 2: According to this article, Freddy Sanchez had severe foot problems as a baby, and a diagnosis that he might never walk. And he never really has walked (only 115 times in over 2,500 plate appearances) but that's not as important when you're batting .360 and hitting game-winning home runs like Sanchez did last night. Disclaimer: I read that article quickly, so I may not have gotten the gist of it. Anyway, the Pirates lead the league in ERA and have won four of their last five games, which probably means that the world is going to end here pretty soon.
Nationals 4, Braves 3: Atlanta jumps out to a three run lead and then gives it back to Washington with some bad defense from Chipper Jones and Matt Diaz and, I can only assume, lack of focus due to two straight days of awful rain delays. One thing back in focus, apparently, are Brian McCann's eyes. After missing some games with blurred vision he got some new contacts and drew two walks last night. So either the eye is good or he was just guessing.
Cardinals 6, Mets 4: Anytime I say that Oliver Perez is a bad pitcher, someone comes out of the Mets' woodwork to tell me that I'm wrong -- that he's really two pitchers: one good, one bad, and you never know which one you're going to get. Well, so far we're running 3-1 on the bad to good board, with last night's stinker throwing things decidedly towards bad (4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 5 BB). Should have been worse, actually, given how many base runners he allowed. As it was, Perez's last act was to walk in a run to make it 4-3 Mets, and then to watch as Casey Fossum walked in another one immediately thereafter. Bad night for J.J. Putz, too, as he gave up the two runs that decided the game in the eighth.
Phillies 11, Brewers 4: Milwaukee got nothin' from Manny Parra and Jorge Julio, who combined to allow ten runs on nine hits in less than five innings. After that Philadelphia only needed to wait out a long rain delay. All Philly regulars except Ryan Howard got a hit, and all bur Howard and Jimmy Rollins batted in at least one run.
Cubs 7, Reds 2: Micah Owings neither hit nor pitched well in this one, giving up five runs in four and two-thirds innings and going 0-2 at the plate. It occurs to me that rather than this should he pitch or should he hit stuff, that maybe he should think about business school or something.
Astros 8, Dodgers 5: The Dodgers send out an offense that has been clicking and Clayton Kershaw and his 1.50 ERA against Russ Ortiz. Thank goodness for Astros' fans that they don't play the games on paper. Kershaw was rocked (4.1 IP, 8 H 6 ER), Ortiz was, well, kind of bad too but better than Kershaw, which is all that matters, because this is a head-to-head league.
Angels 4, Tigers 3: Nothin' like some home cookin' after a 1-5 road trip. A decent start from someone -- Jered Weaver -- helped.
Mariners 4, Rays 2: Among the many things going right for Seattle, excellence from Jarrod Washburn (7 IP, 5 H 2 ER, 9K) is perhaps the least expected. His ERA for the season now sits at 1.71. Fun stuff: Ken Griffey laid down a bunt in the first inning in an effort to thwart a significant shift. It ended up working, but only because of a bad throw by Any Sonnanstine. Second rate color commentators all over the country saw this, stood up and said "Finally!"
Rockies 9, Diamondbacks 6: This game lasted 3:32 and featured 13 pitchers. I'm guessing this is the kind of game that really calls into question MLB Network's decision to keep the highlight show running until the last game ends.
Giants 8, Padres 3: Yesterday I mentioned Matt Cain's poor run support, especially against the Padres. It's nice to know that Edgar Renteria (3-5, GS 5 RBI) was reading.
Twins vs. Red Sox: Postponed. And rescheduled as a double header for today. Several rain dances were also canceled in the Boston area yesterday and will likewise be rescheduled for today, weather permitting.