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Friday, June 12, 2009
Earlier in the week the Astros blamed Aramark for their no-outside-food policy. They may not have Aramark to kick around for much longer:
The company that sells alcoholic beverages at Minute Maid Park could lose one of its state licenses at the stadium because of an incident last summer in which an allegedly drunken driver leaving an Astros game hit and killed a pedestrian.
The background to this is truly awful. The allegedly drunken driver is actually an Aramark employee who was off duty but at the ballpark to watch an Astros game. It's claimed he was given free drinks before running down and killing a Texas Department of Transportation employee who was working on a downtown street.
For anyone who cares about this stuff, Aramark is potentially on the hook for more than their ballpark liquor license. They haven't been named in the pending civil suit yet, but you'd have to imagine that they will be, and that they face some serious potential liability. Indeed, Aramark itself was on the wrong end of the largest ever award arising out of someone being overserved at a sporting event, when a New Jersey jury slapped them with a $105 million verdict for selling beer to a drunken football fan who later caused an auto accident, leaving a 2 year-old girl named Antonia Verni paralyzed. I followed that case for a time a couple of years ago and have since lost track of it, but my understanding was that the damages award was overturned (though liability was not) and then the case subsequently settled.
I enjoy a beer at the ballpark, and I often make jokes about just how many I enjoy, but in light of Jim Leyrtiz, Nick Adenhart, and now this case, it's worth remembering just how important it is to drink responsibly, folks.
The Kansas City Royals Baseball Club has announced that an open free agent tryout camp has been scheduled for Monday, June 22, at Fairfax Park (3800 Fairfax St.) in Eau Claire, under the direction of Royals Midwest Regional Scout Scott Melvin and Wisconsin Associate Scout Kyle Scharhag.
What are the odds that Tony Pena, Jr. or Mike Aviles would actually make the team if they showed up to this thing under different names?
But definitely check it out if you're near Eu Claire. After all, if you have a little lateral movement and aren't literally afraid of a pitched baseball, you may find yourself as the starting shortstop for the Royals this year.
Well, this is awkward:
You know who I thought of first today when I heard of the A-Rod allegations? Bill Bavasi. Yes, that's right. Let me explain.
-- Geoff Baker, February 7, 2009.
Tell us, Geoff: would tarring the entire 2003 Mariners roster as 'roiders have passed the "rigid standards" you used to teach at Concordia? Have go gotten around to looking all 25 of those guys from that team in the eye yet? Will you and Rosenthal still be friends after you allow him to rip you to shreds on national TV over this? So many questions . . .
(explanation of the Geoff Baker Rigidity Award can be found here)
(thanks to Ryan Jones and a guy named "good cripple hitter" in this BTF thread for the link).
Cardinals 6, Marlins 5: Cody Ross let one get through the wickets in the eighth and it rolled all the way back to the 434' sign in center, allowing the tying runs to score and putting the eventual winning run, in the person of Ryan Ludwick, on third. It happens. Andrew Miller on the home run he gave up to Pujols: "That wasn't a situation where I was going to nibble on [Pujols] at 3-1. He's too good of a hitter, he's not going to chase a bad pitch. He's going to get his pitch and hit it. Unfortunately, he did." Wait, why exactly don't you nibble on Pujols there? He's only going to get his pitch to hit if you give it to him, and once you've gone 3-1 on the guy, you really have no business giving it to him unless the bases are juiced, and maybe even then you don't. Wait . . . unless Pujols has finally developed telekinetic powers which enable him to will fat pitches into his wheelhous (as many of us have long expected he might some day). Crap. That's it. We're all doomed. All hail our Pujolsian overlord.
White Sox 4, Tigers 3: The White Sox almost frittered this one away, but then Joel Zumaya slipped on some wet grass while fielding a bunt in the ninth and then Scott Podsednik singled in Brian Anderson to eke out the win. Anderson after the game: "Had that gone the other way, it definitely would not have been as fun a bus ride." It's 97.4 miles from U.S. Cellular Field to Miller Park so a bus makes sense, but I haven't thought too much about this before and now I'm wondering what the cutoff is. Do the Tigers take a bus to Cleveland (167 miles)? How about L.A. to San Diego (124)? Sure, you and I always drive those, but these are rich, pampered baseball players here. How about Philly-Queens? It's 111 miles, but there's lots of traffic. But back to the White Sox: do you think they considered carpools for the Milwaukee trip? I bet Ozzie Guillen never drives. And he probably calls shotgun even when the car isn't within eyeshot yet. I get the feeling Jim Thome's music collection is just awful. Probably a lot of modern female pop country artists. On cassette. I'd probably want to ride with Buehrle. I bet he hauls ass.
Astros 2, Cubs 1: Game story: "Geoff Blum is the first Houston player with winning hits in back-to-back games since Derek Bell did it on July 20-21, 1996, against Atlanta." I call B.S. on that. I watched virtually every Braves game there was while Bell played in the National League, and I never once recall Derek Bell getting a big hit. Ever. He was a total bust against Atlanta, at least in my memories. In fact, I can't think of a supposedly decent opposing hitter that I, as a Braves fan, feared less than Derek Bell. OK, fine, I'll look: Hmmm . . . .270/.322/.405 lifetime against the Braves. That's only slightly below his career averages. I hate to say this, Forman, because you usually do such a great job, but you seem to have somehow screwed up Derek Bell's page.
Phillies 6, Mets 3: Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to win the game. I wonder what could make him do that. I mean, he's old, it was late in the game and it was past dinner time, so he was probably tired too. Maybe a little something to help a ballplayer gain an extra step when he might otherwise be flagging? Some sort of unnatural fountain of youth, hmmm? Yeah, I'm just gonna come out and say it, and I don't care what anyone says: Ibanez is clearly doin' the Dew.
Rockies 5, Brewers 4: The problem with the Rockies' winning streak is that if it goes on much longer, it's going to fool someone in the front office into taking the "interim" tag off of Jim Tracy. Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in awhile.
Pirates 3, Braves 1: Javier Vazquez was brilliant (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 12K) but got the no decision because the Pittsburgh staff was, on the whole, brillianter. Odd things: Francoeur led the Braves' offensive onslaught, getting two hits and even walking once. See above note about blind hogs. Also, Bobby Cox was ejected. That's not news -- he's the record holder after all -- but this was very un-Bobbylike. I'm pretty sure Cox premeditates most of his ejections, because they're usually quick (i.e. he goes straight to the magic word -- God, he's so romantic . . .) and because they usually happen early in the game to ensure plenty of couch time in the clubhouse. This one came in the ninth inning, so he really got no leisure/beer time out of it to speak of. Just not like him, ya know? I hope he's alright.
Indians 4, Royals 3: Greinke rebounded from his previous shelling, but he needed to be better than good on a night when his offense didn't really show up. Shin Soo Choo hit a single off a freakin' seagull in the 10th, driving in the winning run. Learning to play the seagull carom in Progressive Field is one of those things visiting defenders just don't have time to master in a short series. Oh, and now that the memories of the Royals' early-season friskiness have long since passed, can we just get to the end game on Trey Hillman and save everyone a lot of hassle?
Athletics 4, Twins 3: It's a shame about that lead Blackburn lost. It was. That was really a shame. To go so suddenly. Ah, he was tiring for innings. But the very end, when he actually gave it up . . . was extremely sudden.
Nationals 3, Reds 2: The eighth inning throwing error by Brandon Phillips that allowed Christian Guzman to score the winning run wasn't as ugly as the second inning throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman that allowed Alex Gonzales to score the Reds' first run. Phillips had a dude bearing down on him and just misfired. Zimmerman's was an air mail job that, at last report, was entering Canadian airspace.
Mariners 6, Orioles 3: 3 RBI for Russell "how in the hell is he still at .317/.413/.614" Branyan.
Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1: Max Scherzer gave up only three hits while shutting out the Giants over seven and two thirds. Mark Reynolds struck out three times to raise his total to 87. In 1948, Hank Sauer led the NL with 85 for the whole season. The year before, Chris Nicholson led the league with 83. In fact, since the end of the deadball era, guys have led the league in strikeouts with 87 Ks or fewer on 21 occasions. Just thought you'd like to know that.
Rays 11, Angels 1: The Angels have given up 33 runs in their last four games. David Price left in the fourth because he had already thrown 105 pitches. Dude's gonna have to figure out how to reign that in, because hanging around long enough to take advantage of offensive outbursts like this is the stuff that 18-win (and better) seasons are made of.
Rangers 1, Blue Jays 0: Two good offenses collide in one of the most offense-friendly parks in baseball. It's 80 degrees at game time, so sit back, babies, and watch the horsehide fly! Or, if that's not your speed, all of the scoring in the game can happen on a second inning sacrifice fly.
Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: What a miserable night for the Yankees. Getting beat by the Red Sox for the eighth time in a row is bad enough, but having it happen in a cold rain via a blown lead has to add some extra pain. I guess someone has to win a game in the Mets-Yankees series this weekend, but the way things are going, I can't feature either team doing it.