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Monday, July 20, 2009
This morning in ATH I said:
Ian Kinsler starts the game with a leadoff homer and ends it with a walkoff. Pretty neat! Not so neat that he did it off of a knuckleball, of course -- Karma's gonna kick him in the jewels for that somehow -- but I suppose he's riding pretty high today, anyway.
Reader GregE shows the limitations of box score divination, however, with this comment:
Kinsler hit the walkoff off of the knuckleball's 85 mph fastball pretty much down the middle of the plate.
So, it would seem this is not a simple instance of a hitter disrespecting the flutterball. It's an instance of R.A. Dickey losing faith in the very wellspring of his power. "When was I not there for you?" I hear the knuckleball whisper. "Why would you forsake the guile which has always aided you in your journeys in exchange for an illusion of power? A power which has betrayed you time and again?"
Team: Minnesota Twins
Player: R.A. Dickey
Transaction: Placed on 15-Day DL, (soul).
Is it just me, or is it the slowest day in baseball news history? Seems that way, anyway. So I circle back to where I began the day, which is with the Sanchez-Wilson deal. Just read Dejan Kovacevic's chat transcript over at the Post-Gazette, where he fields this question:
Mr_Xiaoqi: How much did the whole Wilson/Sanchez contact negotiation look like a sham to you?
Seems to me that the reason they're losing out on this becoming public is because it was a bad attempt at P.R., not that it was no P.R. attempt at all. If you're not interested in P.R. you don't issue statements tantamount to press releases about your contract offers and then speak even more loudly once the offers are rejected. In response to a question you say you're negotiating. In response to a question about the status, you say that the offers were rejected. Every other statement Huntington has made on the subject seems designed to paint Sanchez and Wilson in a bad light and make the Pirates appear as though they are trying to keep two popular players around when the offers on the table suggest otherwise. That's a textbook example of P.R.
And I don't get the statement "But the idea that it was a "sham" implies, to me, that they issued offers they never wanted to have accepted." It's just as much a sham if he makes offers he knows won't be accepted, right?
Following up on the Man in the Moon post from this morning, Lar at Wezen-Ball has a great post up about how baseball reacted to the "moon landing."
And as a bonus: this is just weird.
Oh, and this has nothing to do with baseball, but it's pretty cool anyway. One wonders what could have killed the astronauts out at that sound stage in Great Basin National Park, however . . .
Ozzie Guillen saying what I suspect a lot of managers think:
"I'm always bored," Guillen said. "I'm not playing. You're sitting around for seven innings. My game starts in the sixth [or] seventh inning. That's when you see me look around the stands a lot, because you play this game for that many years and coach it and be there for that many years and you're just managing, it's a boring game all day for me."
What, you think Guillen sits in the dugout consulting charts about opposing runners' base stealing percentage?
(Thanks to reader Amos for the link)
Just reading some cards from the suggestion box . . .
"Howard Stern rules"
"If you can read this you are a dork"
"Coupon for one free kiss from Treder if you are a girl"
"We need more complaint cards"
"Coupon for one free kiss from Treder if you are a guy"
"You will go on a journey, happy long time"
"Jaffe is a moron"
"No I'm not"
"Yes you are"
"No I'm not infinity"
"Yes you are infinity plus one"
And this one, "I have doobie in my funk," which I assume is some sort of reference to the Parliament Funkadelic song, "Chocolate City."
Man, why did that crazy woman have to kill Phil Hartman? As you ponder, enjoy some more of these, and then enjoy some of this:
A series of funny anecdotes about how the anniversary of the moon landing intersected with baseball. I'm a little dubious of the Gaylord Perry story -- the home run was legit, but I'm guessing Alvin Dark's comments wouldn't stand up to scrutiny. This one was pretty good though:
It was 10:56 p.m. when Armstrong walked on the moon. Most games were over. But on the East Coast, the Mets watched it together as a team.
Funny, eh? Not the irony, I mean, but the fact that Swoboda is one of those sheeple who thinks we actually sent human beings to the moon.
Wake up, folks.
Well, it should have been called that anyway.
One scans the wire reports in this line of work, and sometimes the wire reports contain strange things. Like this list of remaining free agents:
BOSTON (5) - Paul Byrd, rhp; Sean Casey, 1b; Curt Schilling, rhp; Mike Timlin, rhp.
I mean, I suppose that's useful on some "I'm the 17th sub-assistant to the Assistant GM and I read everything" level, but I can't exactly feature some major daily newspaper picking this up off the wire and running it.
My boy turned four yesterday and started the proceedings off by waking up at 6 A.M., eating two bowls of Cocoa Puffs and then demanding presents, cake and the like for the next 15 hours. If the recaps are less than stellar today, it's because I'm whupped.
Braves 7, Mets 1: Correlation is not the same thing as causation, but it's worth noting that the Braves are 5-2 since unloading Francoeur. The Mets are now seventeen games back of the Nats in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. Maybe that makes them a longshot, but I like their chances of winning that race way more than I like them winning the N.L. East.
Phillies 5, Marlins 0: While the Braves trend upwards and the Mets trend down, the Phillies simply don't plan on losing, it seems. J.A. Happ shuts the Marlins down for seven and four others combine to handle the remaining two innings, as the Phils sweep the Marlins. They lead the East by 6.5 games, and no one else in that division looks as though they have a higher gear.
Angels 1, Athletics 0: It was like Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, but only if Jack Morris was lifted after nine and John Smoltz was lifted after eight. And if Dan Gladden was a Venezuelan right fielder with minimal range who homered instead of doubled. And if the game really didn't mean all that much. Hope you didn't blink during this one, though. It was 2 hours, 17 minutes for a 10 inning game.
Giants 4, Pirates 3: The Giants finally find some post-break offense. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to finally win a game. Matt Cain was strong (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). Heavy hearts in the San Francisco dugout, as earlier in the day Giants' part owner Sue Burns died of complications from cancer. According to reports of her death, she was diagnosed with the disease July 10. Christ, why do we care about most of the stupid crap we care about in this world when any single one of us can go from zero to cancer to the sweet hereafter in nine freakin' days?
Dodgers 4, Astros 3: Big surprise as the Dodgers' seventh hitter goes 3-3, scores four runs and hits the game-winning dinger. Oh, wait. It was Matt Kemp, so I suppose the only surprising thing about it is that he's still hitting seventh. Whatevers, Joe.
Rockies 6, Padres 1: It's Jason Marquis' world; the rest of us are just, quite unexpectedly, living in it. The Major League leader in wins -- I repeat, Jason Marquis, the Major Leagues' leader in victories -- not only pitches eight strong innings, but he doubles and drives in two runs as well.
Cardinals 2, Diamondbacks 1: Joel Piniero is apparently living in Jason Marquis' world too, contributing on the hill and at the plate (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER; 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI).
Rays 4, Royals 3: Roman Colon walked in the winning run after getting ahead of the hitter 0-2 which, like so many other things in Kansas City these days, had to be kind of depressing. Luke Hochevar pitched well. When asked about it, he sounded like he was sending Colon a message: "I got to two strikes a lot and I tried to put them away." "Unlike that no-good sonofabitch Colon," Hochevar thought but did not add. And this may mean nothing, but Joe Posnanski's Facebook status last night said "Something big coming?" I suppose it could mean that a Skyline Chili is opening up in Kansas City, but with Joe that would have inspired an exclamation point. No, if I had to guess, I'd say he heard someone telling someone that someone was getting fired. Or something.
Yankees 2, Tigers 1: Nice weekend for the Yankees as they sweep Detroit, but this one is especially nice as Joba Chamberlain looked good for the first time in a while. Can't say that the Tigers looked bad, though. Leyland pretty much said it all: "If you told me that we'd hold those guys to nine runs in three games in this ballpark, I'd say we'd have won two out of three for sure, maybe even sweep. We just didn't get any hits. Period."
Orioles 10, White Sox 2: Jeremy Guthrie (8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) and Greg Zaun (3-4, HR, 4 RBI) had nice days to salvage one from the Chisox. In other news, I like to say "Chisox." Chisox, Chisox, Chisox.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1: Halladay was his usual ridiculous self (CG, 6 H, 1 ER, 7K, 0 BB). He's still not going anywhere, despite what the writers of all the game stories say in the seven paragraphs that precede any discussion of the actual game action, but yes, he was impressive. The Sox' lead over the Yankees is now down to one game.
Cubs 11, Nationals 3: Julian Tavarez had another bad outing and was designated for assignment after the game. Chico Harlan has a detailed story about it all, and it's actually kind of sad. Tavarez lives in a hotel room near the stadium in Washington and keeps no friends in D.C. He gets to the park early. He does nothing else but play, go home, sleep, and then come to the park again. He says that baseball is everything to him. You hear about a guy like that and hope that he can stick around a while. When he doesn't, you probably have to worry about him even more than you did when he was on the team.
Mariners 5, Indians 3: If there were any doubts -- and I suppose there could have been a few -- as to whether Ichiro was a Hall of Famer based solely on his U.S. output, they're being put to rest this season. He went 3-4 yesterday, raising his average to .363, which suggests a Tony Gwynn-decline, not a Roberto Alomar one. As for the Indians, I'm running out of smack to talk. There was a "the bright side of the 2009 Indians" kind of article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday, and it focused on Sizemore, Choo, Martinez and Cabrera. Those dudes combined to go 0-15.
Reds 5, Brewers 3: It's curious that the Brewers have now lost four straight Yovani Gallardo starts. I mean, usually you're better off with your ace on the mound. Lots of complaining about the umps in this one from the Milwaukee side of things. "[Dale Sveum] felt that this guy's strike zone was a little erratic," manager Ken Macha said, adding that "the strike zone got a little wide in the eighth and ninth innings." Well yeah. Umps got flights to catch after Sunday games just like anyone else. What does Sveum expect?
Rangers 5, Twins 3: Ian Kinsler starts the game with a leadoff homer and ends it with a walkoff. Pretty neat! Not so neat that he did it off of a knuckleballer, of course -- Karma's gonna kick him in the jewels for that somehow -- but I suppose he's riding pretty high today, anyway.