May 24, 2013
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Shyster's Daily Circuit
Baseball. Blogging. Whenever.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Pahk your Zahmboni in Hahvahd Yahd:
It's official: Boston's storied Fenway Park will host the 2009 Winter Classic. The NHL made the announcement at the 97-year-old ballpark on Wednesday. The hometown Boston Bruins will face the Philadelphia Flyers for the annual event on Jan. 1, 2010.
I wish Montreal or Ottawa was playing in it so that we can see if, unlike last night, "O Canada" gets played at this game.
In case anyone was wondering:
Pete Rose's application for reinstatement remains under review -- 12 years after he submitted it . . . Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday he still is examining it and did not provide a timetable for a decision.
As a guy who adheres to the "if I ignore it long enough it moots itself" theory of paperwork, I admire Bud's approach to this.
Hopefully this doesn't come too late to help:
Three strikes and you are out - add a losing record, 56 errors, a bunch of balks and a number of questionable plays, and it's inevitable that the New York Mets would be offered help. One compelling offer comes from some seasoned Long Island baseball veterans, who are joining to produce a video on the fundamentals of baseball to help their hapless metropolitan team.
With a cumulative total of more than 1,400 years' experience, the Bristal All-Stars, a Long Island senior softball team, will work on basics the Mets have at times had trouble mastering, from touching the bases to catching fly balls, Wednesday morning at Baldwin Park. Then they'll package the highlights and present them to the Mets.
Next up, a team of corporate recruiters will make a video specifically for Omar Minaya about the fine art of talent evaluation.
(Thanks to Melissa for the link)
A great find from reader Jamie regarding donuts, swinging two bats, and other stuff in that vein:
Tune into tonight's baseball All-Star game and you'll see a familiar ritual: Batters standing in the on-deck circle will swing a weighted bat (or even a heavy, pipelike club) while they wait to hit. The exercise is intended to improve players' bat speed, with the idea being that the regular bat feels lighter after taking cuts with the heavier one. But a new study suggests batters who add ounces to their practice swings may be making an error.
Practicing with a heavier bat significantly slows down the velocity of the bat head—depriving the batter of slugging power, exercise researchers at California State University, Fullerton, say. Swinging light or normal weight lumber just before stepping up to the plate helps players become accustomed to swinging fast, repetition that is key to athletic training, the researchers say.
Click through for the science.
If you're in the Atlanta area, you have an assignment this afternoon:
He's no longer a Brave, but Jeff Francoeur will always be a Gwinnettian. So to wish the Parkview grad luck in his move to the New York Mets after Friday's trade, the Daily Post will have a banner available for fans to sign.
The banner can be signed beginning at noon on Wednesday at the Daily Post's main lobby. Our office is located at 725 Old Norcross Rd. in Lawrenceville. Fans can also stop by to sign from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday.
The banner will be presented to Francoeur before Thursday's game between the Braves and Mets.
The challenge is to write something utterly insulting about Francoeur while keeping it clean and subtle enough to not cause someone to erase it. Something that goes unnoticed until one day, years from now, the people up in Cooperstown -- who will no doubt be sifting through these kinds of things in the runup to Jeffy's induction -- get a little laugh out of it.
If you sign it, please share your story with the rest of us.
Welcome to one of the slowest days in baseball. Everyone who makes news and everyone who writes news is either on a plane or waiting to takeoff. Amazingly, I found some stuff to blog about this morning:
Pedro to Philly. I predict that the hype of this move will outweigh the competitive impact of this move by a factor of about a zillion.
The Braves may trade for Matt Holliday, but if they do, they best get a better deal than the one O'Brien's talking about.
Stephen Strasburg: "I haven't heard from the Nationals." Also, I offer some negotiating advice for Mike Rizzo.
Fred Wilpon was bilked out of way more money than anyone thought. Anyone except Larry King, anyway. And speaking of Larry King: Say what you want about your other vegetables, but in my book, nothing beats asparagus . . . What ever happened to variety shows? Flip Wilson, now there was an entertainer . . . Got a pair of black brogues yesterday, and I feel like a million bucks . . . Caller, do you have a question for Dane Cook about the hostage crisis? . . . Call me crazy, but I've been putting skim milk in my coffee for a year now, and I can't notice the difference . . .
One day, when the continent stands decimated by the effects of the great U.S.-Canadian War, people will struggle to remember what caused it all. If any of us survive until that time, we will know. Oh, we will know.
Finally, Bob Gibson makes all kinds of sense about steroids. And you know he's being honest because he's Bob freakin' Gibson and he doesn't give a diddly durn what you think.
I didn't really live blog and didn't even really keep too accurate a running diary. I mostly drank wine (like, a lot of wine) and cracked wise, occasionally remembering to write down my observations. And here they are:
If aliens came down from outer space and just looked at the starting lineups, they'd think it was the NL that owned the AL instead of vice-versa. Lots of depth behind the starters, sure, but I can't recall such a weak AL starting lineup in recent years.
A study in contrasts: Pujols predictably gets a big ovation during player introductions. Then Braun is announced and he's booed.
I really enjoyed all of the presidents talking during the everyday All-Stars thing. Am I nuts, or did Obama look like he's growing a little mustache? If so, +100 for him. George W. Bush looks more relaxed than he's been since his days as the Rangers' owner, which is totally understandable. Maybe it's because he's living with his dad now. At least I assume he is, because both him and H.W. Bush were speaking from the same room. Nice callback by Bush Sr. to the "points of light" thing, by the way. That's like a rapper sampling Young M.C. or something. Jimmy Carter is looking pretty spry. I think he's going to break Hoover's record for the most post-presidency years alive. Very underrated record, by the way.
Sheryl Crow did a good job on the anthem. Very businesslike. Almost makes up for the butchering she did of Dylan's "Mississippi" a couple of years ago.
My wife checks in for a few minutes during pregame stuff. She sees Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst, Bruce Sutter and Ozzie Smith in their red blazers and says "who are those guys, real estate agents?" Mrs. Shyster, ladies and gentleman, killing baseball buzzes since 1991.
I love me some Stan Musial, though I wish he wasn't in the golf cart. Reminds me of Ted Williams in the golf cart at the All-Star game in Boston several years back. The next time we thought of him after that was when he died and his son froze him in carbonite or whatever the hell it was. I'm a little sad now, realizing that we probably won't see Stan the Man in public again.
I LOVE that Obama came out in his White Sox jacket. Clinton would have conducted focus groups before deciding what to wear. Bush would have worn a bomber jacket or something. Obama is a fan, and no matter what your politics are, you have to respect that. As for his pitch: Eh, it was a lollipop job that made Tim Robbins in "Bull Durham" look like Roger Clemens, but at least it went over the plate. Unless Greg Maddux ever becomes president, I think George W. is going to hold the record for the sharpest Commander-in-Chief first pitch.
More Mrs. Shyster: "'Joe Buck?' Is that really his name? That sounds like a porn star's name or maybe a male prostitute. 'Midnight Cowboy II' starring Joe Buck as . . . Joe Buck." You're starting to see why I love this woman dearly.
Two pitches into the game and the uber-creative FOX graphics team has already kept us from seeing a pitch. Thanks, guys.
Lincecum plunks Jeter. It was an 81 MPH pitch. I want to believe it was intentional, but Timmy looks wild enough tonight where we can't be sure. Someone talk to Matt Cain and see if he really did have the leash on all day.
Pujols commits an error, and then the next play Lincecum fails to cover the bag. We may see Timmy and Albert fight here pretty soon. This could be hard for me, though, because I love both of those guys. I'm an underdog guy, so I suppose I have to root for Lincecum if they start raining blows down upon one another.
Obama in the broadcast booth is pretty sweet. First he hates on the Nationals, and then he says that "we're out of money." If nothing else you have to applaud him for his honesty. As all that's happening, Roy Halladay is roughed up.
Third inning, and Ryan Franklin is pitching. Really? If you're managing the NL is Ryan Franklin the second guy you have on the mound? Haven't the Cardinals fans had enough pandering over the past couple of days? OK, fine, he sets the AL down 1-2-3, so what do I know?
I blinked twice and missed the entire half inning pitched by Mark Buehrle. I really, really like that guy. I wish everyone pitched like him.
Based on the trailer, the "G.I. Joe" movie looks like the worst piece of excrement ever committed to celluloid. They could have done better by simply making a live-action version of that multi-part episode of the cartoon where Shipwreck wakes up with amnesia and is married with a family and everything. Don't look at me that way. You know which one I'm talking about.
Zack Greinke makes David Wright and Shane Victorino look really, really bad. Too bad his talents are being wasted in Kansas City.
I'm rally mad at Ichiro for fouling off the pitch on which Carl Crawford was trying to steal, because I wanted to see a Molina vs. Crawford showdown. Alas, I had to settle for Chase Utley's nice play in the hole throwing out Crawford at second.
Jumping to the sixth inning, I feel it's time to note, once again, that Adam Jones is the spitting image of Eric Davis. I wish I got more Orioles games where I am, because I think I'd enjoy the hell out of seeing him play every day. By the way, this game is humming right along. Just think: if it didn't take 50 minutes to get through the pregame show, we'd all be able to go to bed at a decent hour tonight.
Pujols finishes his night 0-3 with what will prove to be a costly error, but a couple of gems on defense as well. Go home and sleep now, Albert. You've been a fabulous host for two days, but the Cards need you healthy and rested for the second half.
AAAAARRGGH! Who in the hell is the scary bald guy in the suit, and why is there an ultra-up-close shot of him going to commercial? He will haunt my dreams for weeks.
Pujols being interviewed by Eric Karros:
Karros: So, does the best player in the game get butterflies?
Pujols: I don't think I'm the best player in the game.
Karros: Albert, we are men of action. Lies do not become us.
OK, that's not really what Karros said, but he should have.
Sweet snag of a would-be home run by Carl Crawford off of Brad Hawpe. Methinks that may be important. Then Tejada nails the next pitch to the wall as well. Buck calls Papelbon "automatic" but he's kind of scary if you ask me, even if he is effective. Inning ends with Jason Werth striking out. Matt Kemp wouldn't have done that.
Heath Bell is just a ridiculous human being. He's just big and choppy and sloppy out there, like he's with the Gashouse Gorillas or something. Oh, and he gives up a triple to Curtis Granderson. Wait, let's not blame Bell for that. Let's blame Jason Werth, who failed to hit the cutoff man. If he had, Granderson possibly stops at second or gets gunned down at third. Again, I must ask if Matt Kemp would have done that.
Granderson goes on to score on the sac fly. 4-3 A.L. with Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera waiting in the wings. Remember what I said about the A.L.'s depth? Nathan and Rivera > Heath Bell and whoever the hell is left in the N.L. bullpen, and that's gonna be huge.
Brian McCann fouls out, and thus endeth the Braves' contributions to the 2009 All-Star Game. Now we just wait until Tommy Hanson gets the start in 2010.
Ryan Howard finally gets in the game as a pinch hitter. Is it just me, or does Howard look thinner than he's been in some time? No matter, he gets a big ovation from The Best Fans In Baseball. Then he looks absolutely horrible swinging at garbage in the dirt from Joe Nathan.
We're in the ninth and Morneau flies out to center. Nice catch by Werth. I think Kemp would have caught it too, however.
Mariano Rivera is in by the way. You know what's coming and you can't do anything about it.
Upton grounds out . . .
Hawpe strikes out . . .
Tejada pops out . . . ballgame.
AL wins again, which is fairly depressing for an NL Fan like me. Still, when you see Mariano Rivera closing it out, you have to appreciate how the currents of history are flowing these days. In 50 years, people are going to think about the mid-90s to the late oughts as a time when giants named Rivera and Jeter roamed the Earth, and games like this one are going to form the chronicle. To have interlopers like Francisco Cordero and Brad Hawpe screw with that narrative simply won't do, and we as NL fans have to accept that.
All in all a good game. Brisk. No silliness about everyone getting in the game. It felt like real baseball and looked like real baseball. I don't have any complaints. Good show Messers Manuel and Maddon. Crawford wins the MVP. He's as good a choice as any.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pass out somewhere.