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Friday, June 26, 2009
And That HappenedIn the wake of Michael Jackson's passing, all of the players in yesterday's games wore one glove in his memory. . .
Yankees 11, Braves 7: Buster Olney went all Jerod Morris on A-Rod yesterday (query: does the fact that Rodriguez tested positive for steroids six years ago, and a year before the institution of punitive testing give one license to play the "one never knows" card all these years later? Geoff Baker -- can I get a consult here?). Less problematic than the steroids speculation garbage was the quoting of scouts and wringing of hands to the effect that Rodriguez has suddenly become a poor decrepit old man who will likely not survive the length of his contract let alone produce during its duration. Jesus. The guy rushed back from hip surgery, played too much, and still isn't 100% right. Is that really the best time to declare someone's career dead? Especially someone who raked like hell just last season? I bet Buster liquidated his 401K in March too. Anyway, reports of Rodriguez's death are greatly exaggerated (3-5 HR, 4 RBI).
Tigers 6, Cubs 5: Geovany Soto pinch hit and struck out. When he was not playing, he regaled Carlos Zambrano with tales about this one amazing killer bong he saw in Iowa City that one time. He ought to straighten up that hophead attitude of his and fly right, though. Look at Magglio Ordonez. That fine young man has shed those hippie locks (and the stoner lifestyle that necessarily accompanies long hair) and not surprisingly he's back on track (1-4, HR, 2 RBI). If only every player could emulate those clean cut and clean living stars of yesteryear!
Pirates 3, Indians 2: Cliff Lee has to be looking around that locker room and feeling like Michael did while looking around the Jacksons' dressing room circa 1979. He's better than these guys, they're doing nothing to help him, and they bring nothing to the party. In fact, I'm going to call Ben Francisco "Tito" for the remainder of the season.
Reds 7, Blue Jays 5: It felt so good to watch Joey Votto break out the whuppin' stick (4-5, 2B, HR 3 RBI). By the way, as I did on Monday, I watched a good 45 minutes of this game on a treadmill at the gym. Unlike Monday, however, I didn't change the channel. Why? Because George Grande and Chris Welsh, while certainly no luminaries, understand that there's a ballgame going on in front of them and actually talk about what's happening in it from time to time. Something else learned from this game: Scott Rolen comes to the plate to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll." I guess it's a play on "Rolen," but at bottom, isn't that song about a guitar chick lusting after a teenage boy?
Mets 3, Cardinals 2: Good pitching matchup, as Santana beats Carpenter and the Mets take three of four from the Cards. The crowd was the largest in Citi Field's young history. According to the article "New York had offered 50 percent discounts on some tickets." With eight dollar beers and all of the rest you'd think that any team with empty seats would cut prices like Crazy Eddie, promote the crap out of it and be confident that they're making it all up in grub, suds and merch.
Marlins 11, Orioles 3: There are some Baltimore Orioles truthers out there who insist that I have decided to not say anything nice about their team. I'll make you a deal, guys: they do something worthy of praise, I'll praise it. In the meantime I will throw you a bone and note that Nick Markakis went 4 for 4 and drove in Z-game. Unfortunately it was 11-2 in the ninth inning at the time. As for the Marlins, Hanley Ramirez went 3 for 5 and knocked in five runs in what turned out to be a laugher.
White Sox 6, Dodgers 5: Chad Billingsley let a 4-0 lead slip away and actually stood to be the loser when he left the game after six. He got bailed out, but the Sox pulled it out in 13. Weisman makes an excellent observation regarding Torre's bullpen use in extra innings: "Torre chose to save Jonathan Broxton for a save situation rather than ensure he'd get an inning out of him. It's an old philosophical bug: the idea that your best pitcher is more useful when you can afford to give up a run, rather than when you can't afford to."
Mariners 9, Padres 3: I'm not sure what surprised me more yesterday: the news that Michael Jackson died or the news that Mike Sweeney was still alive. Good game for him though (4-4, 2B, 2 RBI), as well as Ichiro and Beltre, who combined to go 7-10 with four runs scored. The Mariners now set off on a death march against the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox, all on the road. We'll certainly know what this team is made of in about nine or ten days, won't we?
Rays 10, Phillies 4: It's sort of not fair that the Rays can lose a guy like Evan Longoria and then have his replacement -- Willy Aybar -- hit a homer and drive in three runs. More evidence that the universe is unfair: the
Nationals 9, Red Sox 3: Smoltz got pounded (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER), but he struck out 5 and walked only one. Eh, dude's allowed to warm up a bit. I'm sure someone will analyze his start more closely than I have, but whatever that shows, my gut tells me that he's going to be alright pretty soon and will pitch extremely well until the very moment his shoulder or elbow explodes again.
Astros 5, Royals 4: Lance Berkman launched two dingers and drove in four. The game wouldn't have been as close, though, if it weren't for a bunch of Astros errors leading to three Royals' runs.
Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 8: Chris Davis had four hits, including a two-run homer in the 12th to win it. He wouldn't have had a chance to hit that one if Miquel Montero had held on to a two-strike foul tip the pitch before.
Twins 6, Brewers 4: I live in a city that has a massive (and probably justified) inferiority complex, and one of the funniest things about it is that Columbus can't ever seem to decide which other city it should feel inferior to. Chicago? That's just silly, but you hear it sometimes. Charlotte? Austin? Nashville? Those all make sense for various reasons, but none are perfect. Anyway, as I was staring at the box score of this game and failing to find anything really interesting to say about it, I wondered: does Milwaukee compare itself to Minneapolis? To Chicago? Or is it a city that is comfortable in its own skin, never giving a thought to other places (except when making fun of the elitists in Madison)? The thought gripped me for a while so I decided to Google it a few different ways and came up with this:
Is Milwaukee, with its rich industrial legacy, however small it is compared to its heyday, headed toward a manufacturing heavy Detroit, a financial services hub that Minneapolis is, or something altogether different? Bill Bonifas, an executive vice president with The Polacheck Co. Inc., says the answer to that question illustrates two points: Why Milwaukee is different than Detroit and Minneapolis and where the city’s headed.
Detroit never occurred to me, though I have to admit, there are some basic similarities. An industrial past, Great Lakes access, a snobby little overeducated town a short drive to the west. It works if you squint a little.
I know there's no purpose to this, but does anyone have any ideas here? Lar? And if you don't know a thing about Milwaukee, does your town engage in this neurotic behavior, or is it just a Columbus thing? Does every Springfield have its Shelbyville?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:32am
Jack Marshall said...
Terry Francona seemed to be under the impression Smoltz’s debut was a spring training game, or something. The capper: the last Sox out in the 9th was made by Ramon Ramirez, the relief pitcher. Yeah, it was 9-3 and there were two outs with the bases empty. But the Red Sox scored 11 runs before making an out once this season, and the another Sox team (in the 50’s) once scored 8 runs after two were out to win in the 9th. Kottaras and Dusty Browne were available on the bench, and it wasn’t exactly Rivera on the mound (Taylor Clipperd?) I can’t recall ever seeing this before, even in real blow-outs. Frankly, it ticked me off.
Posted 06/26 at 10:18 AM
Jack Marshall said...
Answered my own question: I’m an idiot. Dusty Brown was sent down before the game to make room for Smoltz, and I was getting a beer when Kottaras came in for Varitek, who has a bad neck. So Tito didn’t wave the white flag after all. Apologies for thinking badly of you all night, Terry.
Posted 06/26 at 10:30 AM
I personally found, in the year I lived there, that Chicagoans’ inferiority complex, such as it is, was more directed towards the West Coast than the East. I think Chicago was always fairly comfortable in its skin as the “Second City,” knowing that it wasn’t quite New York, but had enough of its own merits that it didn’t really matter. But when LA eclipsed Chicago in population and fame, that started to drive Chicagoans a little batty. I’m from New York (and have since moved back), and when I lived in Chicago I never received any flack or got the impression people were testy about it.
You want a city with a MAJOR inferiority complex? Philly. It’s less than two hours from NYC, and manages to get overshadowed by Boston, even though Boston is smaller. Everyone always talks about the NYC-Boston rivalry, even though Philly is actually closer to NYC. People in Philly have a serious, serious complex about New York - witness Phillies fans chanting “Mets suck” after they WON THE WORLD SERIES. I like Philly, but those people need to calm down.
New York’s arrogance can be annoying, at times, but it’s more or less justified. Being an outer-borough guy, though, I do get piqued at Manhattan’s arrogance, because there’s a whole lot more to New York than Manhattan. I’d guess everyone has their bogeymen.
Posted 06/26 at 10:45 AM
Smoltz was an improvement over Dice-K.
Posted 06/26 at 11:00 AM
Vin- Philly does not have an inferiority complex. We just hate everybody.
Are you saying that the phillies’ fans chanted “Mets suck” immediately after winning the world series? because that’s just ridiculous. or are you saying that the phillies’ fans chanted “mets suck” during a mets game when they were quieting down the mets fans who were starting a “let’s go mets” chant?
If you want inferiority, look no farther than Mets fans. A team in their own town casts a godzilla-like shadow over them. and despite outsepnding everyone in their division by tens of millions every year, three other NL East teams have won world series since the Mets last won a championship.
And a serious question, in what way does Boston overshadow Philly? I’m really curious, because I don’t get it. if you’re talking about the success of the boston sports teams relative to Philly’s, than I guess there would be some envy. but I don’t see an inferiority complex about Boston. Boston, as a city, is not even a thought to Philadelphians.
Posted 06/26 at 11:03 AM
I heard/read some story like that - it actually might’ve been “F*** the Mets” and not “Mets suck.” I forget where I read/heard it. I wasn’t there, though, so maybe I’m wrong. Philly still strikes me as a place with an inferiority complex, though.
My observation about Boston was based more on the fact that Boston receives more national attention than Philadelphia does, even though it’s smaller. Personally, I do not think Boston overshadows Philly - if anything, I like Philly more - but it just seems that people outside the Northeast have a more well-formed idea of Boston than they do of Philly.
Mets fans do not have an inferiority complex, aside from a few jerks, maybe. Most of us wouldn’t even want to be Yankee fans.
Posted 06/26 at 11:24 AM
Oh, and the way I heard it, yeah, it was immediately after they won the World Series. But look, I’ll be honest, I’m trading in rumor here.
Posted 06/26 at 11:25 AM
Jason B said...
Denis Leary used to do a rant about people from NYC wearing that fact like a badge of honor, because you had to be tough to survive. But it’s not the same “mugging, subway crash, killing spree, hooker-on-every-corner” type cesspool that it was once made out to be. Now it’s more about the pace of life (FAST!) than about the imminent but unknowable danger that you may face stepping out of your 550 square foot studio apartment every day.
I live in Nashville, which as a city finds itself in a pretty good spot, insofar as most of the major cities around here that we could potentially be compared to and/or feel inferior to (Atlanta and Memphis) have their own issues. Very few people who have ever lived in both Memphis and Nashville prefer the former. And the economy in Atlanta (and throughout most of Georgia) is in the cracks of hell right now.
At the same time, we know that we’ll never be a major megacity, and don’t really have any desire to be, and don’t have anything to be smug about. Our citywide self-esteem checks in at a pretty reasonable level, I guess is what I’m getting at. We’re pretty content to be a midlevel player with something of a niche in the music industry and a pretty good quality of life.
Wish the Sounds had played Albequerque here, dammit. I coulda gone and booed Manny lustily.
(Manny Parra that is.)
Posted 06/26 at 11:41 AM
Vin- Outside of my 20+ years in Philly, I lived in Miami and DC for about 7 years total. From my time there and its small sample size, Boston does appear to be cooler or hipper to outsiders. I have no problem with Boston, I enjoyed a brief stay there. I’m just saying that Boston is just too far away for Philly to consider it a rival city.
As for Mets fans. The ones that come to CBP are the annoying ones. I’m sure there are ten laid back people for every one crazy that feels the need to annoy a nation. I just mostly get to interact with the crazies.
Posted 06/26 at 11:54 AM
I’m talking from a viewpoint of living in Philly over 30 years ago, but the people there were nice, there was no detectable inferiority complex because they were insular. They had always lived there, wouldn’t dream of anywhere else, spent summers at Wilwood because as I said before there is no New Jersey.
Posted 06/26 at 12:01 PM
If players have great years, they probably used steroids.
If players have off years, they probably used steroids.
If players get hurt, they probably used steroids.
If players stay healthy, they probably used steroids.
That seems fair.
Posted 06/26 at 12:11 PM
Jeff V. said...
Yea I have nothing good to say about my O’s after that three game series myself. On the bright side I have taken to saying “Jeff Stone” whenever I am refering to Felix Pie, it makes me chuckle.
Posted 06/26 at 12:22 PM
I wasn’t able to watch Smoltz, but followed it on Gameday a while. It seemed like he left a lot of pitches up in the zone, esp. in the 1st inning when he gave up 4 runs and a hundred hits. Some were 4-seamers, and maybe they were supposed to be high, but there were pitches Gameday identified as sliders, too, which I assume were hangers given the location.
Posted 06/26 at 03:35 PM
Andy L said...
Milwaukee does have an inferiority complex, but definitely to Chicago and not Detroit or Minneapolis. Milwaukee is bigger than Minneapolis (much bigger) and Detroit seems so far away - getting around Lake Michigan is a bitch. But we gotta go down to Chi-Town sometimes, if only to take a flight out of O’Hare. And it will always remind us…
Posted 06/27 at 02:22 PM
Kevin S. said...
Buster Olney followed up on A-Rod today with this: “Fifth: It’s a statement of fact that throughout baseball, skepticism about player performance among players in their mid-30s is growing, and it will continue to have a direct impact on how teams assess what contracts to offer players.”
If he can defend his insinuations about A-Rod with that statement, then Jered Morris is absolutely in the free and clear.
Posted 06/27 at 02:22 PM