May 24, 2013
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Monday, August 17, 2009
Aubrey Huff, that is, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Brett Jacobson. According to Morosi, "In a statement, Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said he liked Huff's versatility and 'ability to play numerous positions.'"
Does DH and 1B -- the only positions he's played all year -- count as "numerous?" Sure, he played a bit of third last year, but after yesterday's game, do you think Leyland is gonna put anyone other than Inge there anytime soon?
I haven't linked to Scott Simkus' excellent blog for a while, but for those who don't know or have forgotten, Scott does a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of cool historical stuff, particularly with the Negro Leagues. Today he has something fun: contemporaneous newspaper accounts of Josh Gibson's bg hits:
To follow, in chronological order, is Volume One of Josh Gibson’s greatest hits, a text-based highlight reel of the legendary catcher at the plate. These are pulled from actual newspaper accounts of Pittsburgh Crawfords’ and Homestead Grays’ games, little vignettes of the man some called “The Basher.”
The best thing: this is Volume One, which implies a Volume Two.
Fun stuff to read while waiting for Stephen Strasburg to tell the Nats that he just can't make low eight figures work for him.
I don't always understand the idea behind hiring ex-jocks to provide general commentary. I mean, does Bert Blyleven really have any greater insight into the pennant races than you do? But when properly deployed, guys like old Bert can be really valuable, such as in this post, where he talks about the art of working inside:
I was 39 years old, pitching for the Angels and nearing the final stages of my career. It was my 21st season in the big leagues, and I have to admit that my shoulder was killing me.
I can read that kind of stuff all day.
The Yankees signed first round pick Slade Heathcott for $2.2 million. I don't particularly care about that. I post this mostly to register my surprise that "Slade Heathcott" is a ballplayer's name and not the name of, say, a rakish dandy with ulterior motives attempting to woo a wealthy widow in late Victorian England.
From Heyman, who says that the Nats have offered "at or above $12 million":
While the Nats are offering a contract above Prior's record deal, Strasburg's agent Scott Boras is said to be using Matsuzaka's $52 million bonus as the baseline. That doesn't mean they wouldn't come off that number. But it likely means they don't believe $12 million is a fair number. Or even a close number. Strasburg's people believe he is worth several times that and shouldn't have to sign for what they believe is a fraction of his true value. They also don't see any reason to hurry to get Strasburg onto a mound after he threw 109 innings for San Diego State.
Only a handful of people really know what goes on in negotiations like this, but I wonder if anyone has ever said "well, Scott, I appreciate that you believe your guy to be worth $X million, but do you have any basis for saying so aside from whatever else it was that came out of your butt when you made that demand?"
Maybe $12 million is too low a number for some good reasons, but it strikes me that when the market consists of a single bidder, notions of abstract "worth" on the part of the commodity in question are not the most important consideration.
And at the risk of falling into silly populism, how does one go home and tell their mama that they turned down $12 million+ to play baseball?
No, wait. It's just gas:
Yankees Class AAA right-hander Russ Ortiz has exercised his right to become a free agent, according to his agent, John Boggs. Ortiz, 35, had the right to become a free agent if the Yankees did not promote him to the majors after three starts.
No pushing, no shoving. Everyone gets a chance to look before offers can be made.
Royals 3, Tigers 2: A lot of people experience anxiety about taking a day off work. They check their email a lot, allow themselves to be preoccupied, and generally feel as though the office can't get by without them. This is baloney, of course. The world goes on fine without you. No one is so damn important that they can't take a day off. Well, no one except Brandon Inge. That dude is freakin' essential, it seems.
Mets 3, Giants 2: At this point, any game the Mets don't forfeit due to a lack of warm bodies has to be considered a victory. This one, however, was a bona fide win, with Daniel Murphy singling in Jeff Francoeur to win it in the ninth. After the game, however, all of the questions were about David Wright. Jerry Manuel: "Nobody wants to ask me about Murphy's game-winning hit? You guys are really bad." Look Jerry, David Wight is practically the last major league-quality hitter the Mets had left, so his health is big news. When a couple of out-machines luck into hits in what will certainly turn out to be a meaningless game, there's really nothing that can be said about it besides some variation of "blind hogs find acorns." Cut the press boys some slack.
Cardinals 7, Padres 5: The Cards are as hot as anyone right now, having won eight of ten and continuing to maintain a five game lead over the Cubs despite Chicago's recent spurt. Yadier Molina and Colby Rasmus were the heroes in the ninth, capping off a come-from-behind win with an RBI single and a home run, respectively. Actual quote from Heath Bell after the game: "I was surprised how big it was when I took my pants off." Context, my friends, is everything.
Angels 17, Orioles 8: Nothing like a tight extra-innings affair. The nine runs scored by LAA in the 13th were the most scored in a single extra inning in 14 years.
Nationals 5, Reds 4: Josh Willingham hit a massive home run, doubled, had three RBI, and scored the winning run from third on a heads up play when Drew Sutton lollygagged a throw in from shallow right in the eighth inning. You know what that makes Sutton, don't you?
Rays 5, Blue Jays 2: Cast in an unlikely role for which he is usually ill-equipped to act, Gregg "Z-Game" Zaun launched a pinch-hit home run in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie. Approaches the unreal, really.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 3: And the Rangers take the series and the wild card lead. I presume that this will be reported in most quarters in terms of Boston's continuing struggles as opposed to the Rangers staying hot, because it's impossible to report on anything in which the Red Sox are involved without casting them in the lead role.
Marlins 10, Rockies 3, Rockies 7, Marlins 3: The class of 1993 splits a doubleheader as they battle for the NL wild card. The Class of 1993 -- San Francisco and Atlanta -- follow close behind.
Indians 7, Twins 3: Cleveland scored six in the third inning, with the first three of those runs coming on eight pitches. The Indians are playing spoiler. Says Grady Sizemore: "Guys are playing loose and having fun. We had kind of fallen back and now we've got nothing to lose. So now we can go out there and just relax and play, and sometimes you get your best baseball when you're playing that way." That's swell, but this happened to the Indians last year too. Perhaps it means that Eric Wedge inspires nervous, sloppy, and all around chokey play when it matters, and can only inspire a relaxed vibe when there is absolutely nothin' on the line. Guys like that often become ex-managers.
Astros 8, Brewers 5: Geoff Blum drove in four as the Astros rallied in the eighth inning to come from behind. In other news, the Astros box score made my mind wander again -- my lord, that team fails to interest me for some reason -- and it wandered into the paintings of Edward Hopper, who just so happens to be my favorite artist. I go back and forth (and forth) between Early Sunday Morning, Office at Night, and Automat as my favorites, though there are no small number of his paintings which stun and enthrall me. Strange to me, though, is the fact that a guy who lived in New York and spent so much time painting modern American life in the middle of the 20th century never touched on baseball. At least not that I know of. Maybe it just didn't speak to him. Maybe every game he ever saw struck him like Astros games strike me.
Athletics 3, White Sox 2: Mark Ellis hits the game-winning home run off of Bobby Jenks in the bottom of the ninth. Oh, and I think these throwbacks looked sweet. Bob Geren even went all Connie Mack before the game, wearing a suit, tie and hat to exchange the lineup cards before changing into his uniform. According to the game story, someone gave him hell from the stands, however, because Connie Mack wore a straw hat. That, my friends, is some good, informed heckling.
Mariners 10, Yankees 3: Chamberlain, Aceves and Gaudin do their part to make Sergio Mitre's seat in the Yankees' rotation feel less hot. Derek Jeter passed Luis Aparicio for the most hits ever by a shortstop. Omar Vizquel is still playing, however, and is only five hits behind Jeter. If you think that Omar isn't sitting in his secret Antarctic lair, watching dozens of video monitors, stroking an exotic cat, and contemplating some devious sort of attack on Jeter in order to incapacitate him and claim the record for himself, well, then you just don't know the capacity for evil and cunning that resides inside the mind of Omar Vizquel.
Philles 4, Braves 1: Atlanta blows a chance to make a real race out of it in the east by dropping two of three. Looks like it'll be more important for fans like me to watch the Marlins, Rockies and Giants' scores than the Phillies scores. Two homers for Ryan Howard. J.A. Happ walks six but gets away with it because the Braves squandered a couple of chances.
Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 3: Randy Wolf was 3-4 with a homer and three RBI and struck out ten over 7.2 IP. He's the Wolf. He solves problems.
Pirates-Cubs: Postponed: It's really gonna suck for the Pirates to have to end the season at Cincinnati, jog back up to Chicago to make this game up, and then head back to Pittsburgh to host Game one of the division series.