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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Lesley Visser hates them:
It’s a joyful moment burdened by a terrible name. It’s a cascade of emotions for the winning players and their fans, yet it’s described in the most negative way. Johnny Damon, after a home run giving the Yankees their third straight come-from-behind win over the Twins, gets a pie in the face and here’s how it’s portrayed.
Except I can't ever remember an announcer using the phrase "walk-off" contemporaneously with the home run in question. Announcers either have their own home run calls or else they say "it's outta here" or "its gone" or what have you. The phrase "walk-off ___" is almost always a post-game wrapup show or a wire report game story phenomenon, and as far as those things go, cliches are the order of the day. And as Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau notes in the article itself, at least the term is concise and descriptive.
And besides, even if some play-by-play men did use it the moment a home run was hit , there's no chance that Jack Buck would have. He was too damn good.
(link via BTF)
“My kids already know he throws 102 and throws a slider 88. What do I do? Lay low?"
New Mexico baseball coach, Ray Birmingham responding to criticism that he trash talked Stephen Strasburg by telling his team that "102 goes out as fast as it comes in."
After last night's game, Mariners' manager Ken Wakamatsu criticized his putative ace, Felix Hernandez:
"Sometimes you've got to ask guys to step up. I didn't think he stepped up today.''
This afternoon, the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker lays down the serious artillary fire. After an extended recap of Roy Halladay's career arc and an assertion that Hernandez should be doing the same things Halladay did and does, Baker says:
The point is, we're getting to the stage where maturity has to stop being used in the same sentence as Felix Hernandez. It's still a valid excuse to a certain point. But that point is getting slimmer and slimmer. Which is why Wakamatsu called him out last night. He's trying to fire Hernandez up. Hernandez does care about being a staff ace -- that much I'm certain about. Those of you who say he doesn't care really have no clue. I've seen him up close. He sounded casual last night, but you could tell he was mad at himself. That's all fine and good.
From reading both Baker pieces, the game story, and about a million comments from Mariners fans, I'll agree that no, Hernandez probably wasn't as prepared for last night's game as he should have been. He was easily distracted when runners were on base (and there were a lot of runners) and, as Dave Cameron notes, he didn't bring out his highly effective changeup for some reason.
Still, it seems like a bit too much piling on one guy for a team that is loaded with problems right now. No one except Russell Branyan and Ichiro are hitting this year. They've got only three starters, one of whom you have to figure will turn into a pumpkin soon, and their closer has been atrotious. To lay everything at Hernandez' feet like Baker seems to be doing here is a little too much for me.
I implore you, do not read Jim Caple's writeup before watching the YouTube video embedded here. Go in completely blind. You'll get that much more out of the experience.
In other news, I now know what finally caused Bob Welch to quit drinking.
UPDATE: Some quick research reveals that Welch quit drinking in the early 80s. Let us applaud him, then, for not falling off the wagon in an effort to deal with the shame of the linked video.
Lord Haw-Haw reports that Mark DeRosa is on the block:
Indians third baseman Mark DeRosa is one of the first veterans to hit the trade block. Cleveland is now fielding offers for the versatile DeRosa, league sources say.
Given that Cabrera has taken over at short allowing Peralta to slide over to third, DeRosa is far less important to the Tribe than a reliever who didn't stink like three month-old eggs would be.
Someone needs to buy me one of these. I take a large in most shirts, but if it's one that will shrink a lot, better make it an XL.
(thanks to reader Timmy for the link)
Stuff I spewed this morning:
From the AJC's story about how the Braves shuffling their lineup worked wonders last night:
Every batter in the lineup recorded a hit except Jeff Francoeur, including pitcher Jair Jurrjens. And Francoeur got breaks, if not hits. His potential double-play groundball in the second inning drew an error that opened the door to a three-run outburst.
I started to laugh until I realized that, yes, the Rockies' error that prevented Francoeur from hitting into the DP is truly his best moment in a couple of weeks. And then I cried.
Retrosheet now has every box score and play-by-play log from the 1920s.
Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury-News, lamenting the fact that the Selena Roberts book isn't selling all that well:
It does confirm one of my beliefs, however. There's a perception that fans love to read dirt about famous athletes. Maybe they do, on salacious Web sites full of half-truths — but not in well-reported books that rely on facts.
Right now it's just a hypothesis, however. It can't be tested until there is actually a well-reported book about Rodriguez that relies on the facts.