June 20, 2013
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Monday, May 25, 2009
Mr. T. Front row, just to the first base side of home plate. He pops on the screen and I yell "Mr. T! Wow, how does he rate such good tickets?!"
Mrs. Shyster turns to me like I'm an idiot and says, "He's Mr. T. Of course he has great tickets."
I had no argument.
I know I throw a lot of old references out there, but I'd like to think they read better than this one about the Cubs' impotent offense from Gordon Wittennyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:
Chumbawamba and Vanilla Ice have more hit singles than these guys had the last week.
Tom Boswell must be trying to spike Marty Brennaman's blood pressure:
Throughout his eight years with the Reds, five of them 40-homer seasons, Dunn was typecast as the easy-going lug who didn't care enough -- about the team, his defense, his conditioning. That image was part of the reason the Nats got him when the free agent market dried up and his phone didn't ring. Why, $20 million was enough to get a 275-pound slugger for two years. The Nats probably could have signed him for a third year, too, but shied away. Dunn says that image was never him. Whatever. It's not him now . . . Right now, what attitude the Nats have, or even aspire to, comes from Dunn.
Detractors will probably say that anyone could be a team leader on a losing team, but Dunn really does seem to have his head on his shoulders since coming to Washington. He's smarter and seems more committed than most people have historically given him credit for. Given how bad the Nats are no one will probably point to his signing as one of the better pickups of the offseason, but he truly was. One shudders to think how bad the Nats would be without him right now.
I know it's a holiday. Who cares? I'm here, I have an Internet hookup and some free time to blog today. The urge to grill and drink beer is probably going to take over sometime early this afternoon, but until then, here are six posts for your edification and enjoyment:
Milton Bradley believes he's under attack:
Bradley believes his strike zone is being widened, forcing him to chase pitches he normally doesn't swing at or risk being called out on strikes. Asked if there have been repercussions from Vanover's fellow umpires since the incident, Bradley didn't mince words . . .
This seems like something that could easily be checked via PITCHf/x data, and I assume someone with PITCHf/x-fu will do so at some point (I possess no PITCHf/x-fu). Probably doesn't matter, though. Bradley seems like the kind of guy who's going to cast himself as a victim no matter where the pitches are. I found this comment interesting, though:
You lead the American League in OPS (in 2008), and two years in the top three in the league in on-base percentage. All of a sudden now, I come to Chicago and I can't see the ball no more? I don't know a strike from a ball?
While I've seen guys talk about OPS in the course of articles/interviews that specifically dealt with advanced metrics, this, I think, is the first time I've seen a player throw out OPS casually like this.
Angels 10, Dodgers 7: Torii Hunter absolutely destroyed himself running into the wall (and making the catch) in the fourth inning, shook it off, stayed in the game, and then had key run-scoring singles in the sixth and seventh to lead the Halos over the Dodgers. Orlando Hudson got popped in the head by a Jamie Hoffmann elbow later in the game but managed to stay in as well despite spending some time laying in the dirt. All in all it sounded pretty brutal for laid back L.A.
Rangers 5, Astros 0: A nine-hit shutout for Brandon McCarthy as the Rangers sweep the Astros. Mike Hampton took the loss with Russ Ortiz mopping up. I'm not going to go back and look, but it seems like every single Mike Hampton start has featured Ortiz in relief this year. What are they doing, reviving the spirit of the 2003 Braves? All the Astros need now to get the same 101 wins are unexpected monster years from Javy Lopez and Marcus Giles, a big year from Gary Sheffield immediately after working out with Barry Bonds over the winter, Robert Fick and Vinny Castilla hanging around for flavor, and a disillusioningly mortal year from Greg Maddux and all will be on course. In other news, the less I think about the late-dynasty Braves the better off I think I'll be.
Nationals 8, Orioles 5: Great moments in dunderhead managing: Lefties hit Orioles' reliever Jamie Walker at a .368 clip, yet Dave Trembley brought him in specifically to face Adam Dunn, who promptly deposited a 2-2 pitch in the left field stands for a grand slam. Why? Because he's a lefty, dammit, and lefties are supposed to face lefties! I swear, they teach that at managers' school and everything!
Red Sox 12, Mets 5: I'm probably not alone in thinking that Youkilis really had two homers in this one, but replay took the first one away. Which, given the way the burden of proof works with these things is understandable because it seemed kind of close to me. Of course I missed the one that was actually scored a home run. Why? Because it was raining here and my kids, who were cooped in the house and starting to go crazy, were demanding to watch their Smurfs DVD and I caved. I don't even know why they like the Smurfs. I mean, I guess it's OK on some retro level, but there's really nothing in the cartoons themselves that any kid should like. It wasn't a total loss, though: for the rest of the day my wife and I made each other laugh by saying things like "Smurf off," and "Smurf you" to one another in front of the kids without anyone catching on. In other news, we really need to get out more.
Mariners 5, Giants 4: Last time out for King Felix, Don Wakamatsu said he didn't "step it up." This time: ""I thought he stepped up today . . ." Thank goodness that's all settled. At least one San Francisco Chronicle writer attributed Barry Zito's recent good starts to Twitter. This was more of a MySpace start. Wait, make that Friendster.
Athletics 6, Diamondbacks 2: I love it: A's backup catcher Landon Powell hit what proved to be the game-winning home run in the sixth inning, but did so on a really bad leg that caused him to gimp his way around the basepaths. Sitting in the Dbacks' dugout: Kirk Gibson, Arizona's bench coach. I didn't see any highlights, but I'm going to assume that Gibson stood on the top step of the dugout during the home run trot and stared daggers at Powell for stealing his bit. Please don't tell me if this didn't happen.
Rockies 3, Tigers 1: Dontrelle Willis, continuing to dare someone to investigate whether his stint on the DL for anxiety disorder was bogus: "When I'm getting guys out, it looks like I know what I'm doing, and when I don't, it doesn't. It has never stopped being fun, though. It was fun when I was pitching in the minors. I love playing baseball." Is deep denial and/or immediate, night-and-day recovery a side effect of anxiety disorder? Because Willis sounds more centered than Yoda lately.
Phillies 4, Yankees 3: I'm sure you've seen or heard about Mark Teixeira's broken bat home run in the sixth inning. I'm no physicist so I can't tell you what this really means. Maybe there's a reason why the breaking bat actually helped. Maybe this would have been a broken bat home run in any part. But sometimes none of that scientific stuff matters and events like these take on lives of their own. This home run, I think, is going to ultimately become THE symbol of New Yankee Stadium's bandbox tendencies.
Braves 10, Blue Jays 2: And the sweep. Are the Braves finally pulling it together? Are the Blue Jays finally reverting to preseason expectations? I guess both can be the case, but seeing as though Atlanta beat Roy frickin' Halladay on Saturday, I'm going to give them more credit for winning than criticism of the Jays for losing.
Padres 7, Cubs 2: The Padres are back to .500 after reeling off nine straight. The Cubs are down to .500 after losing seven straight. God, I love symmetry. I like patterns too. Here's the Cubs' run totals over the last six games: 0-1-1-0-1-2. If I remember my LSAT prep, the Cubs next six games will have them scoring 0-1-3-0-1-4. They could possibly win that last one if they get a good pitching performance.
Twins 6, Brewers 3: You know what's going to be hilarious? When, despite the latter having a huge advantage in OPS over the former, Justin Morneau beats out Joe Mauer for the AL MVP because of RBI totals attributable to Mauer always, always being on base in front of Morneau.
Marlins 5, Rays 4: Quote of the day comes from Ross Gload, who knocked in the game-winning run against a five-man infield: "You're just trying to hit the ball hard. If I could control where the ball went, I would be a lot better than I am."
Reds 4, Indians 3: This one went 11 innings, but probably shouldn't have, as Grady Sizemore's tying run in the seventh should never have made the board. Sizemore tripled, and then headed home on Adam Rosales' muff of the relay throw. Johnny Gomes picked it up and fired it home, nailing Sizemore. Except the ump called him safe, ruling that Rosales interfered with him as he he headed home. After the game: "He didn't even graze me," said Rosales. "I couldn't believe it [the call]." Said Sizemore, "We didn't necessarily run into each other. He was more in my path. I hesitated, but I was surprised [the umpire] called it."
Royals 3, Cardinals 2: Brian Bannister: stopper. Banny allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings and helped prevent the sweep. He also got an RBI single, which I'm going to selectively use as evidence to eliminate the DH. All data of ineffective hitting from AL pitchers this weekend will hereby by disregarded.
Pirates 4, White Sox 3: Bobby Jenks doesn't blows a lot of saves, and Jack Wilson doesn't hit a lot of home runs. To have both of those things come together like they did here yesterday has to be a sign or portent of some kind.