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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Buried in this story about Khalil Greene going back on the DL is this nugget:
The Cardinals purchased the contract of 24-year-old righty Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Memphis. That move restores pitching staff to 13 after one day with a dozen following the acquisition of Mark DeRosa from the Indians.
"Restores." And one whole day with a twelve-man staff? Whatever did the Cardinals do to survive such dire straits? Oh wait, they didn't. They got killed by the Giants last night. I'm sure the thirteenth man in the pen would have made the difference.
There was a time -- I think it was a week ago Thursday -- when teams managed to get by with something less than thirteen men in the pen. The greatest trick that Tony La Russa ever pulled was convincing baseball that such a thing was unthinkable.
It's being reported that the Nats and Pirates are about to consummate a Nyjer Morgan for Lastings Milledge trade. Reader MooseInOhio emails to tell me that someone in Nyjer Morgan nation has already updated his Wikipedia page to reflect that the deal is done:
Nyjer Jamid Morgan (born July 2, 1980, in San Francisco, California) is an American Major League Baseball outfielder with the Washington Nationals Organization . . . On June 30, 2009 Morgan Was Officially Traded To the Washington Nationals For Outfielder Lastings Milledge. Morgan occasionally refers to himself as "Tony Plush", which he says is his gentleman's name.
The world moves too damn fast sometimes.
Wait, what was that about "Tony Plush" again?
The other gig gives me access to the AP and Getty photo wire, each of which contains thousands upon thousands of pictures. And I can pick anything I want. Without realizing it, however, I posted pictures of two mulleted pitchers today, and made specific mention of Tommy Hanson's mullet yesterday (I had a pic of it up, but decided to go with Brandon Phillips at the last minute).
Someone tell me: is this evidence that the baseball mullet is making a comeback, or do I just have some unconscious fetish that's seeking the rare ones out?
Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers opined -- ridiculously, I noted -- that the Cubs should waive Carlos Zambrano. Tribune readers agree:
Your team wants Carlos Zambrano? Go ahead, take him.
I wouldn't crow if I were you, Phil. To vote in that poll, you had to have read to the end of your column first. Such a sample is, by definition, unscientific inasmuch as it ensures that only blithering idiots will respond.
In terms of posts it was a slow morning, but the morning itself was anything but slow. In the wake of that alleged list of the 2003 steroid test positives, I put on my reporter hat and actually called sources and cross checked and wrote stuff down and everything. That's hard work! Someone please remind me of that the next time I slam a reporter for something. For now I'm returning to blogging because that is WAY easier.
And in case you're curious: my "reporters' hat" is a throwback Braves number with the lowercase "a" and a "press" card taped to the brim.
So, Marchman posts a link to a guy who claims to have a list of the 2003 drug test failures. Then Jay wonders whether Marchman posting the link is a hypocritical move based on stuff Marchman has said in the past about trafficking in this kind of stuff. I scanned through the list quickly, and then, just as I was trying to figure out whether I would be committing any ethical violation by linking to it, it disappears.
So to sum up: we have an intermittently invisible list of unsubstantiated names creating a hypothetical blogger ethics problem.
In other words, just another day at the office in the steroids era.
UPDATE: I was able to get the list again, but I personally don't feel comfortable reproducing it unless and until it has some sort of confirmation. If you're really curious you can work your way through the above links and try your luck with the wonky link to the actual names. My only comment: if the list is accurate, there are maybe 2-3 names on it that will raise an eyebrow but no one (I don't think, anyway) whose name on the list will cause anyone to alter their perception of baseball history or anything. I think the biggest surprise is the number of fat and out of shape guys listed. The sort of names who make you wonder whether PEDs actually do anything for anyone.
UPDATE II: It's been suggested by those who have seen the list that I am perhaps underselling the names on it. I think there's some truth to that. My point, though, wasn't that there aren't big names. There clearly are. It's that there are very few names who would surprise you if someone told you today that they used steroids. Only one seems like both a big name and a surprise in that regard. That's all I meant.
That said: I am not going to link it and I'm not going to discuss any names on it unless and until there is some confirmation. For what it's worth, though I'm not a reporter, I'm seeking some at the moment.
UPDATE III: Still not discussing names ON the list, but MatthewA makes a good point in the comments: Jason Grimsley's name is NOT on the list, and by all accounts it should be. We'll see what shakes out of all of this, but that omission is a major blow to the list's credibility.
UPDATE IV: Further basis for doubt, from reader Peter:
The list is obviously in Divisional order going from East to West, AL to NL - but testing was reportedly random, a few players at a time, and over the course of the season. So tests would be stored either in the order they were tested or in some other easily sortable data model - like alphabetical ordering, or something that made any empirical sense. This list is a guy who went through the rosters of each team, picked out the names he thought sounded good, and pruned it down to the number he wanted. And there aren't NEARLY enough fringe players here - we've heard repeatedly that the pressure is for people to take drugs to make the leap to the show.
Good point, though it's possible that either (a) the person who got it was working from a hard copy and sorted it or (b) the list was at one point compiled in team order for reporting back purposes, be it to union reps or the ballclubs, or what have you. That said, yes, prudence and skepticism is in order.
UPDATE V: I have spoken with someone who is definitely in a position to know about the veracity of the list and that person says -- definitively -- that the list is a fake. There are multiple names that aren't on it that would be if this was the real McCoy and vice-versa.
Case closed. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to beat the living crap out of the blogger who made it up. It's rough out here for a blogger, and we sure as hell don't need anyone else doing things to discredit the medium.
White Sox 6, Indians 3: Nice Indians' debut for Chris Perez: He hit the first two batters he faced, walked the bases loaded and then gave up a fielder's choice, an RBI double, a wild pitch and run-scoring single. One of the guys he hit -- Alexei Ramirez -- took it in the head and had to leave the game. Congratulations, Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge! After fifteen years of respectability, you have finally brought the Indians back around full-circle to "Major League" territory, complete with Rick Vaughn on the mound.
Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Rich Harden was impressive, striking out nine and giving up only one run -- while scattering nine hits -- over seven innings. Phil Rogers will likely call for the Cubs to waive him tomorrow. In other news, this may have been the perfect Craig day at the ballpark: small crowd, weekday game, not too hot, good pitching, done in 2:17. Really makes me wish I was there. I can almost taste the Yuengling.
Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: Roy Halladay came back and was good (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7K), but not good enough. Carl Crawford hit a two-run homer, got another hit and stole a base. Pat Burrell too. The homer I mean. If he stole a base I probably would have led with that.
Red Sox 4, Orioles 0: Jon Lester was fantastic (7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 8K) and J.D. Drew homered, tripled, and singled, driving in two. "Baltimore citizenry welcome Boston conquerors: 'we kept your rooms just the way you left them'." The Red Sox are 22-9 at Camden Yards since the end of 2005 and have won eight straight there.
Giants 10, Cardinals 0: Holy crap, Tim Lincecum is good (CG, SHO, 2 H, 8K, 0 BB). Clayton Mortensen hitting Aaron Roward on the knee with a pitch in the seventh was the hardest hit the Cardinals had all night.
Marlins 4, Nationals 2: Florida vs. Washington, on a Monday night in Miami, with a rain delay. It says that paid attendance was over 10,000. What do you suppose the real attendance was. Seventeen? Thirty?
Brewers 10, Mets 6: According to the Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt, Gary Sheffield was booed heavily each time he came to bat. Sheffield was traded away from Milwaukee over seventeen years ago. Sure, he left as a very, very unpopular Brewer, having called out the team's pitchers and allegedly tanked plays at third base on purpose. Either way, though, seventeen years is a long time to hold a grudge, isn't it? Willie Randolph was the starting second basemen and Jim Gantner was the starting third baseman on Sheff's last Brewer club. Rick Dempsey was on that roster. Maybe they should let it go, ya know?
Royals 4, Twins 2: Luke Hochevar has had one dawg of a start since his recall on June 6th, but the others have been aces, including this one (7 IP, 2 H. 0 ER). Like J.D. Drew in the Red Sox game, Miguel Olivo came a double short of the cycle, driving in two runs.
Angels 5, Rangers 4: The Angels are starting to pull away from Texas. This saddens me because I think I may have been the only person in the free world who picked Texas to win the west before the season started and I don't want to see them slide out of contention. Kendry Morales and Juan Rivera did the damage for Anaheim, driving in a pair each.
Astros 3, Padres 1: Roy Oswalt's still got it (CG, 2 H, 1 ER 8K), as he continues to own San Diego.
Athletics 7, Tigers 1: Rick Porcello was beat up by an A's offense that doesn't beat up many, giving up five runs on nine hits. This is one of the better passages from a game story this year: "After Porcello was chased, left-hander Fu-Te Ni struck out Giambi in his major league debut. Ni didn't know who Giambi was, and he raised his eyebrows in surprise when told of Giambi's achievements."
Dodgers 4, Rockies 2: The Dodgers win it on a walkoff homer by Andre Ethier, but it sure took a while to get there. The Dodgers used eight pitchers, so Joe Torre is probably going to be sore today from all of that walking back and forth to the mound.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Here I am talking Phillies-Braves (mostly Braves) over at Crashburn Alley.
This is by far my most humiliating day as a blogger. I posted very few things, and what I did post consisted of two interviews of me and a post about my mail. If I had a publicist I'd give him a raise right now, but I don't have a publicist so I'm going to go home and drink off the overexposure.
Sorry for the slow afternoon, but the day job is kicking my butt today. As such, I may not have anything new this afternoon.
In the meantime, know that this morning's Bucky Dent mystery has been solved. The cards, it seems, were sent by Josh Wilker's publisher. Wilker, as you all know, is the proprietor of the wonderful Cardboard Gods, and that Cardboard Godly goodness is being turned into a book, due out next fall. The cards were to whet the appetite. Though I tend to be dismissive of viral marketing, this one wasn't terribly viral, wasn't too over the top in terms of marketing, and in my view was a lot of fun. So consider my appetite whetted and consider Josh's publisher absolved of aggravated marketing.
Enjoy the rest of your afternoon, folks.
I was interviewed by Russ Smith over at Splice Today, and the results are up here.
Among the covered topics: the future of the Orioles, the future of the Braves, the future of PED scandals, Eric Wedge's lack of a future, and whether, if forced to choose, I'd rather watch a national FOX broadcast or a national ESPN broadcast. Unfortunately, suicide was not an option, so I had to pick one.
Thanks for the use of the room, Russ.