June 19, 2013
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Monday, July 13, 2009
I read this the first time and laughed. And then I looked up at the humorless picture at the top of the column and realized that this is no parody. Greg Doyel is Very. Very. Serious.
The Home Run Derby is tonight, and it's the perfect advertisement for baseball. Busch Stadium in St. Louis will be sold out, because fans dig the long ball. This thing is so popular that it will be broadcast live on ESPN. The Home Run Derby will even have its own corporate sponsor.
I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of your contrived cynicism. But at least I can ignore you. Geoff Baker, on the other hand, is gonna have your ass:
I wonder who will be pegged a cheater from this year's crop ...
Doyel-to-English translation: (a) one of this year's guys is cheating, and it could be Pujols or Inge, because they just stink like dirty stinkin' roiders; but (b) no one will probably ever be caught cheating because those stupid idiots are too smart to be cheating at the Home Run Derby where, as the rest of my whole article makes clear, is where everyone cheats all the time; and (c) if anyone needs me, I'll be up in the garret burning with enough intensity to set fire to the world.
Can someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong? I've been writing about baseball for over two years now, and it simply hasn't made me angry and bitter yet. This worries me, because everyone else who does it seems to be that way, and they all get paid to do it. Maybe I just need to hit the keys harder or have someone punch me in the neck while I'm writing in order to cultivate the requisite rage to get a full time job doing this.
Grrr, hate.! Grrr, betrayal! Crap. It's not working. Maybe if I listen to Joy Division and think of the girls who broke my heart . . .
(thanks to Sara K for the heads up)
Unfortunately, it will only be the morning, as I have to leave in about five minutes to go to a hearing in beautiful Jackson, Ohio. Johnny and June Carter weren't singing about that Jackson. Neither was Lucinda Williams. In fact, I think the only notable thing about Jackson, Ohio was that they filmed a big chunk of the movie "Best of the Best III" there when I was in college. A bunch of us were going to go down in response to an extras call but we forgot to sober up and make the drive. A shame really, as I think our particular brand of artistry would have lent much to the characterizations. One of those things I'll always regret.
Anyway, in addition to the Manny Acta news, I dropped some B.S. thusly:
There's a chance I'll be back by late afternoon, but I'm kind of dubious: Jackson it's said never gives up her dead when the hearings of July come early.
We knew this was going to happen, we just thought it was going to happen sooner:
In the middle of his third season as manager, Manny Acta has been fired by the Washington Nationals, a source with knowledge of the situation said tonight. Asked in an e-mail about his job status, Acta replied, simply, "Thanks for everything." Acta's Nationals made it to the all-star break with a 26-61 record, worst in the majors, finishing with six losses in their last seven games. During the first half, Acta's job status was the subject of much debate, and those in and out of the organization questioned whether his unfailingly patient approach matched the needs of a sloppy, error-prone team.
Overall, this is just the latest of several de-Bowdenification moves GM Mike Rizzo has made with this team. It's a good move. Acta, for all of his potential, has not seemed at all inspired in the past few months and some fresh air is needed. And now is as good a time as any to do it, mostly because his replacement -- who, if previous speculation is accurate, could be bench coach Jim Riggleman, on an interim basis -- will have a day or two to get his head about him before taking over.
Why do we need an All-Star break? I'm not even tired . . .
Tigers 10, Indians 1: I listened to this game on the radio while painting the railing and trim around my front porch with ShysterFather. ShysterFather is great, if for no other reason than he'll help me paint my porch, but he's never been a big baseball fan. It took a couple of innings before he realized that it was a Tigers game, and when he did, he said "you can pick up WJR here?" I explained to him that it was the Tribe's broadcast and that even if it wasn't, WJR doesn't carry the Tigers anymore. "Ah." We painted on. A few minutes later: "Harwell doesn't do Tigers games anymore." I think it was a statement and not a question, but I wasn't completely sure. "No," I said, "he's been retired for a few years now. He's still sharp -- did an inning or two at the World Series a couple of years ago, I think -- but he's done." We painted on, enjoying the game. "George Kell's dead." This one I know was a statement because he told me about it when he heard it on the news a few months back. I didn't have much of a response beyond "yep." We painted on. Brandon Inge hit his second home run in the 5th and my dad, who I'm certain hasn't paid any attention to baseball since the mid 80s, said "Man, the Indians are terrible." This was definitely a statement, and I quote it here for truth.
Orioles 4, Blue Jays 2: Between this game and the one above, I'm really missing the old AL East right now. Hows about trading the Rays to the NL for the Brewers, realigning back to two divisions and picking two Wild Card teams? It wouldn't actually change the playoff picture too much -- the Tigers and Rangers would be in a mad dash for the second Wild Card slot right now -- but it would restore the aesthetics of it all. As for this game, Brad Bergesen continues his solid ways, leading a team that seems to be trending up past a team that is clearly trending down as the season progresses. Oh, and plate umpire Ron Kulpa suffered a mild concussion after being smacked in the mask by a foul ball. They finished the game with three umps. I wish they would have moved the third base ump to the mound like they did when I played eight year-old minor league or whatever it was.
Cubs 7, Cardinals 3: Zambrano hits a home run and pitches six decent innings to win the game. Phil Rogers demands that he be waived. Kyle Lohse made his first start in over a month, but it didn't go too well. To make room for him, the Cardinals optioned reliever Blake Hawksworth to Memphis. "Blake Hawksworth?" That doesn't sound like a ballplayer. It sounds like a guest character from a four-episode arc of "Dynasty" or the male lead in some bodice-ripping romance novel or something. From the back cover: "Cattle baron Blake Hawksworth is used to getting his way. So he is baffled when Annie Jones, a feisty little hellion who steps between him and a bullet in the back, isn't interested in becoming his latest plaything. If only he knew that Annie is really the Countess of Montevarchi -- in disguise and on the run! -- and that their fledgling relationship is a scandal-in-the-making!" I know what I'm reading during the All-Star break!
Cardinals 4, Cubs 2: Ryan Ludwick: 3-4, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Albert Pujols hits in front of Ludwick and went 0-4 with nary a walk. I think he did it on purpose to show Ludwick how it feels to have absolutely no help around him in the lineup. I may be letting my Pujols man-crush cloud my reasoning on this, however.
Red Sox 6, Royals 0: Josh Beckett ties the Royals up in knots (CG SHO 3 H, 7K, 94 pitches) and wins his 100th game. Jason Bay reached base five times without registering an official at bat, drawing three walks and getting plunked twice.
Mets 9, Reds 7: Francoeur went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the win on Saturday, and then went 2-5 yesterday. Probably worth noting that he started pretty darn hot in Atlanta too. In fact, that hot start is the only reason he stuck around as long as he did. So I guess what I'm saying to my Met-fan friends out there is this: hope and pray that Francoeur cools off quickly, because if he doesn't, Omar won't non-tender him this winter as nature intended, and then he'll be your starting right fielder next year. Making like $5 million.
Athletics 7, Rays 3: Andrew Bailey pitches a two-inning save. Now he may not be available for the All-Star Game on Tuesday! Doesn't Bob Geren know that this time it counts? What will Joe Maddon do without a fresh Andrew Bailey? What if Buehrle, Fuentes, Greinke, Halladay, Hernandez, Jackson, Nathan, Papelbon, Rivera, and Wakefield get into a jam? What then?!!!!
Phillies 5, Pirates 2: Not surprisingly, J.A. Happ (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) is a better fit in the Philly rotation than Chan Ho Park was. Not to take anything away from Happ, but the list of people who would be better fits in the Philly rotation than Chan Ho Park is not limited to Mr. Happ. In fact, even if we limited it to just the H's the list would quite long, and would include just about everyone except for Stephen Hawking and Corey Haim. And I'm not sure about Hawking.
Twins 13, White Sox 7: Nice day for the Twins, but it's a negative like this -- Joe Mauer, 0-5, 4K -- which sticks out the most. In other news, on Saturday night the Twins went throwback with their 1984 jerseys. I think they should go back to those full time when they move into the new park next year. They're simple, clean and classic looking. My only suggestions are: keep blue caps with the "TC" logo at all times (i.e. no red) and don't mess at all with solid blue alternates or anything else. Keep it white at home and gray -- or even be daring and go powder blue -- on the road. The era of the "M" logo and pinstripe should be over the moment the dome is in Minnesota.
Dodgers 7, Brewers 4: Orlando Hudson hit two homers and Clayton Kershaw improved to 4-0 with a 0.76 ERA in his last six starts. Oh, and Manny since his return from suspension: .308/.400/.654. The Dodgers: 6-3.
Angels 5, Yankees 4: New York blew four-run leads on Friday and Saturday. They didn't really blow this one, they just lost, as John Lackey had one of his better starts of the year (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). For those of you keeping score at home, the Yanks are now 2-4 against the Angels to go with their 0-8 against Boston.
Marlins 8, Diamondbacks 1: Josh Johnson gets to go to the All-Star Game, but won't be pitching, as he put up six and two-thirds quality innings yesterday. From the game story: "A woman sitting in the second row near the plate was hit in the face by a Cantu foul ball in the first inning. Her head was wrapped in bandages and she was carried out on a stretcher." And I hereby renew my call for additional netting for the seats down by the field.
Astros 5, Nationals 0: The Nats couldn't figure out the enigma that is Brian Moehler (6.1 IP, 7 H, 0 ER) and end the first half with a crisp 26-61 record. I'm more surprised that the Astros are at .500.
Mariners 5, Rangers 3: A Chris Shelton sighting. Called up to the Mariners on Wednesday, the former Ranger and Tiger hit a pinch hit RBI single to put the Ms ahead for good in the seventh.
Rockies 8, Braves 7: Atlanta led 4-0, 5-1, and 7-3 in this game, but lost because when your starting pitcher only gives you four innings, your bullpen is going to get beat up in a place like Coors Field.
Padres 10, Giants 4: Barry Zito -- after throwing the game of his Giants' career last time out -- pinches off a 4.1 IP, 10 H, 9 ER performance against the worst offense in the league. Wait, make that the worst offense that had been struggling mightily entering this game, having only score six runs in the previous four games. Bengie Molina was back in the lineup after taking two days off to be with his wife for the birth of his daughter, Jayda, on Saturday. Little Jayda Molina -- being a Molina -- was signed by the Marlins, who expect her to compete for the starting catcher's job next spring.