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Tuesday, July 21, 2009
And That HappenedPirates 8, Brewers 5: Pittsburgh snaps their 17-game skid against Milwaukee, and the Brewers look pretty damn immature in defeat, plunking Jeff Karstens in what I guess was retaliation for him hitting Ryan Braun back in April. This despite the fact that they hit three Pirates the day after the Braun thing, and had an opportunity to hit Karstens if they wanted to the same day he hit Braun (why John Russell so frequently has his relief pitcher hitting is a topic for another day). Jason Kendall had to be restrained from, it appeared anyway, going after Pirates' pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, and then after the game kept calling him "Dave Kurwin," even after being corrected. So apparently Kendall is 6 years-old.
Athletics 14, Twins 13: You don't win a lot of games when your starter gives up 11 runs on 10 hits in 2.2 innings, but the A's did. Yep, the Twins led this game 12-2 at one point, but after Matt Holliday's grand slam in the seventh, followed immediately by a Jack Cust solo shot, the lead was history. Largest blown lead for the Twins in 25 years. Largest comeback for the A's in 84 years.
Dodgers 7, Reds 5: Jason Schmidt threw his first pitches in anger in over two years, and got the win to boot. Oh, and Manny Ramirez hit his 537th home run to pass Mickey Mantle into 15th place on the all-time list, which should inspire about 125 rage-filled, single-sentence paragraphs from Bill Plaschke or someone like him. Mantle was pure, you see. At least once you took away the booze and the speed and the painkillers.
Mets 6, Nationals 2: Jeff Francoeur! Livan Hernandez! Now if those two just keep on producing like we know they can, well, then, um . . . crap, this was a fluke, wasn't it?
Phillies 10, Cubs 1: Now that is seems the Phillies have figured out how to win at home, there seems to be nothing that can stop them. Jack Nicholson was at the game, and according to the game story, the Phanatic wore a Batman suit. That's kind of cool, but it would have been way cooler if he had dressed up like Nurse Ratched or the waitress who wouldn't hold the chicken. I mean, I love Batman as much as the next guy, but Nicholson has had better foils.
Braves 11, Giants 3: The Braves hit Jonathan Sanchez and then continued hitting Segio Romo. Tommy Hanson, on the other hand, was much harder to hit (7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 11K). And as Mac notes, not all of those earned runs were really "earned."
Astros 3, Cardinals 2: Carlos Lee hits a three-run homer, receives "stingy kisses."
White Sox 4, Rays 3: Carl Crawford hit an inside the park home run, but as is the case with so many of those things, it was the product of a bad defensive play. In this case, a crappy jump by Scott Podsednik. Sox won, anyhow, and are only a game and a half behind Detroit.
Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: There are a lot of smart people working for the Red Sox, so surely someone will soon realize that John Smoltz only pitches effectively for a few innings and then falls apart. If only there were some place he could pitch where his outings would be shorter, and maybe more frequent as opposed to longer and more sucky (5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).
Yankees 2, Orioles 1: Eric Hinske has started off with a bang in New York, hitting four homers in his first five games. Jose Molina turned in two sweet plays behind the plate late in the game. No need to congratulate him, though. He's a Molina and that is what they do. Walkoff for Matsui, and after the game he was hit in the face with a cream pie. Those zany, zany Yankees.
Marlins 3, Padres 2: The Padres have lost 15 of 19. I'm assuming that will all turn around once Oscar Salazar gets a chance to play more.
Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 6: With Colorado's win and the Giants' loss, the Rockies take a half-game lead in the wild card standings. And no, I don't think it's too early to talk about it. There isn't a ton going on right now, so I'm totally cool with getting an early start on pennant race stuff.
Angels vs. Royals: Postponed: The fitful alternations of the rain/ When the chill wind, languid as with pain/ Of its own heavy moisture, here and there/ Drives through the gray and beamless atmosphere.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:46am
To be, ahem, phair to the Phanatic: he has a history of dressing in drag, and since most of his intended audience is watching him at a considerable distance, seeing a big, green monster in a white hat and skirt might not be as immediately recognized as, ya know, Batman. The Phanatic is a populist; Two-percenters don’t become him.
Posted 07/21 at 08:17 AM
Dennis Koziel said...
I believe the Yankees have a great home advantage, with the tendency of their park to give up homers and them batting last and everything. I think we’ll see a few more walk-off homers before the season is done, and perhaps ESPN will only spend 15 minutes, versus the entire show, on the “phenomenon.”
Posted 07/21 at 08:48 AM
Best thing about Percy Shelley? His awesome middle name: Bysshe. I wish that was my middle name.
Oh also, like many many others, he was outshone by his wife.
Posted 07/21 at 09:27 AM
mike in brooklyn said...
There are people who still watch ESPN? I made the mistake of looking at it last night to hear “coming up next: which reality show will be better Keyshawn’s or T.O.?” I then burned Chris Berman in effigy (again!) and found a sports channel to watch
Posted 07/21 at 09:28 AM
Jim D. said...
How about the horrendous missed call to end the A’s / Twins game? Expand replay!!
Posted 07/21 at 09:36 AM
Travis M. Nelson said...
That A’s/Twins game was historic in another sense: I checked Baseball Reference.com, and since 1954 (as far back as their database goes for this stuff) there has never been a game in which the starter gave up 11 earned runs or more and the team managed to eek out a win.
The max is 10 ER, which has been done 6 times, 5 of them since 1997, and as recently as last year, when Pettitte gave up 10 against the Royals, but the Yanks won 12-11.
Jaime Navarro allowed 11 runs (10 ER) in 4.2 innings and his team won, 14-12, in 1997.
Posted 07/21 at 09:36 AM
[text of comment deleted because it contained unfounded accusations of corruption that will not be tolerated here. Suffice it to say that David thinks the umpire got the last call in the Twins-A’s game wrong. That’s fine. The rest of it was not.]
Posted 07/21 at 10:04 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
David—rail against bad umpiring all you want, but your accusations of actual corruption are beyond the pale. If you have evidence for such a thing, great, advance it. Absent such evidence, however, your comments in that regard are potentially libelous and will not be tolerated here.
Posted 07/21 at 10:09 AM
Jason B said...
But…we will still tolerate idle threats of Andy Dick punchin’, ne?
Posted 07/21 at 10:19 AM
Before you call a team immature, perhaps you should research the whole story. Karstens getting beaned has more to do than just retaliation for him hitting Ryan Braun back in April. It has more to do with most of the Pirates bench not knowing how to keep their emotions in check and their mouths shut during their losing streak to the Brewers.
Posted 07/21 at 10:23 AM
Travis M. Nelson said...
David’s comment wasn’t even accurate anyway. He said he Cuddyer was called safe and he was called out. He stated that MLB conspires to improve ratings in the playoffs (as evidenced by that big Red Sox/Dodgers World Series last year, or was it Cubs/White Sox? I forget…)
It was a terrible call though. I’ll post the link to the video showing the “tag” which was high and late, after Cuddyer’s foot had touched the bag. The Ump didn’t know this because he decided to stand behind the catcher, where he couldn’t see anything.
Posted 07/21 at 10:23 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
Yep. Because taken in context it’s quite apparent that the threat was, indeed, idle, and not serious. Just as a snarky comment about how “man, who paid off the ump” comment after the Twins game wouldn’t reasonably be construed as libelous.
David’s comments, however, were far more serious, far more specific, and were made with no apparent satirical, sarcastic, or humorous intent. To the contrary, taken together with many of his other comments, there is every reason to believe that he was serious in his accusation of corruption.
Ultimately this is my judgment to make, and I’ve chosen to err on the side of caution with respect to what appear to be serious, albeit unfounded, accusations of corruption. I’ll gladly take further discussion on this matter—from you too, David—but that’s where I am right now.
Posted 07/21 at 10:24 AM
Travis M. Nelson said...
I’ve seen karstens pitch. Kid can’t throw hard enough to hurt anybody anyway. Don’t see what they’re so bent out of shape about.
Posted 07/21 at 10:25 AM
Be fair, Craig. Livan and Frenchy outperforming their capabilities had nothing to do with a fluke, and everything to do with the fact that they were playing the Nats.
Posted 07/21 at 10:45 AM
Give me a break. First off, what I said wasn’t libelous because I wasn’t stating it as material fact. It was my thoughts on MLB Inc.‘s incompetent and - in my confident opinion - corrupt umpiring. So it’s just factually inaccurate for you to say it was libel, and so I have to wonder why the hell you would say that. You know better.
Secondly, I wasn’t just talking about last night’s game. I was talking about a sweeping trend this season of flagrantly inaccurate calls which are going unmentioned by the mainstream media (and, apparently, censored by baseball’s alternative media). These calls usually come in favor of the home teams and in high leverage situations. Examples include:
1) A Friday night Mets @ Orioles game.
In the bottom of the 9th, with the Mets leading 4-3, there was a force play at 3rd base where the Oriole baserunner was out by two feet. The umpire called him safe, leading to a bases loaded/no out situation and, effectively, guaranteeing a win for the Orioles that’d send the 40,000+ home happy.
2) An early July Brewers @ Cubs game.
The game was tied in the bottom of the tenth. Two outs, bases loaded. Jake Fox was batting, full count. The pitcher threw a ball right down the middle for strike three to send the Brewers to bat in the top of the 11th….
....Except it was called a ball. While the pitcher angrily walked toward the umpire, arms outstretched in disbelief as if to say “What the hell is going on?!?”, the Cubs celebrated at home plate and the Wrigley crowd began dancing in the aisles to the boisterous tunes of “Go Cubs Go”.
3) Last night’s Twins @ A’s game.
The runner was safe. You could see that he was going to be safe when he was halfway down the third base line. With his momentum and where the catcher was, there was no possible way that even a perfect throw would be able to beat him. A no-brainer call if ever there was one.
Sure enough, the baserunner beat the throw and slid in while the pitcher’s glove was just catching the ball 18” above his thigh.
I could go on. These are mere examples that I’m picking from my memory of a sweeping trend.
And now that MLB Inc. knows that they’re never to be held to account - ESPN sure as hell doesn’t question the authorities, and even sites like ‘Prospectus’ and, now, THT willfully look the other way - they’ll continue to foster corrupt officiating.
If they can get away with it and yet the refuse to do so, they’re in breach of their fiduciary duties. “Profit is the sovereign criteria of the enterprise”, wrote famed business guru Peter Drucker. And it worked for the NBA (where games were being fixed from the top down for years without so much as a raised eyebrow from ESPN) and it’d sure as hell work for MLB.
Posted 07/21 at 10:46 AM
Steve A said...
The White Sox are only 1 game behind the Tigers now, not 1.5 games. :(
Posted 07/21 at 11:00 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
David: you said that the umpires are “quite probably” corrupt, and then you outlined a scenario that would describe the motive and direction of such corruption. There was no apparent humor or satirical element to it. In my judgment—and that’s the judgment of someone who has defended and pursued defamation cases in the past—that was too close to the line for comfort. If I’m being too conservative in that estimate, fine, I’ll risk that rather than not being cautious enough.
I have no problem with criticism of bad umpiring, and have never once edited or delted a comment about bad umping before yours and the examples you give are totally fine. Indeed, I agree that more should be made of bad umpiring. I don’t see nearly as many games as the readers do, so if anyone ever wishes to highlight bad umpiring, by all means do it. If you can’t distinguish between criticising a bad call and making an accusion of a coordinated, profit-driven attempt on behalf of TV stations and Major League Baseball to fix games, however, God help you.
And a final note, David: Unlike many of the other readers here I value many of your comments, if for no other reason than you challenege people’s assumptions from time to time, and that’s useful and welcome.
You have a tendency, however, to get carried very far away very fast. I don’t know if you are even aware of it, frankly, and in all honesty I wonder whether you can control it. But no matter the cause, the fact remains that you are one of only three people I’ve ever felt the need to censor at this site. The other two were for racial epithets, offered by people who had never commented here before or since. You are certainly the only one for whom I’ve had to do it multiple times.
With that track record, you must understand that, like an umpire, I am not going to give you the benefit of a borderline call.
Posted 07/21 at 11:01 AM
Jason @ IIATMS said...
Jack Marshall approves of this rant by David.
(just playin’ around, Jack!)
Posted 07/21 at 11:13 AM
Jason @ IIATMS said...
Fifth Outfielder DEFINITELY approves of any anti-Craig rant.
Posted 07/21 at 11:16 AM
Obviously, it would be pretty selfish and narcissistic of me to get into a detailed discussion about my the nature of my comments, but I will say that I absolutely recognize and appreciate your tolerance with my posts. There are a lot of mods at a lot of boards who love to commandeer the threads and punish posters and delete comments for no better reason than because they’re power-tripping losers, but THT has not behaved like that at all. So I’m not trying to feign victimhood or anything like that, I actually feel pretty darn fortunate to be able to rant and get into heated discussions at this site.
Having said that, my comments about MLB umpiring (a topic which I’ve also written about at ‘Prospectus’, to no avail whatsoever) were (a) nothing even close to libelous, as I was writing a hypothetical scenario and it was clearly written as an opinion, and (b) the word “probably” mitigates it from any libelous claims, and yet you cited that as a reason that it was libelous. It’s just totally wrong.
It’s no fun to be suspicious of officiating, anymore than it’s fun to think that legal cases can be corrupted by unconstitutional laws, an attorney’s friendship with a judge, political pressure, or anything else. For me, like most people, there’s a very strong desire to have confidence in the honesty and integrity of the systems we’re involved with. (Otherwise, hell, it’s just chaos, right?)
But it’s because honesty and integrity is so crucial that we have to diligently police the policemen (literally and metaphorically) and that, when we sense that the system is deviating from its rules, the problem must be diagnosed and then cured.
MLB umpiring this season, in my opinion, has been inexcusably incompetent. And the magnitude of that incompetence, coupled with many of the calls that I’ve seen, leads me to suspect that it’s actually beyond mere incompetence, it’s been contaminated and corrupted by some external force.
My suspicion in umpires is compounded by this fact: In addition to them harming the legitimacy of the competition, we’ve also seen umpires become very comfortable provoking players into arguments, as well as inciting physical confrontations. (Note that umpires have to have a lot of confidence that MLB has got their back to, say, pick a fight with a 250 lb. 27 year-old man, who’s a physical specimen and who’s also in a heated frame of mind from being involved in a competition. Would you start sh—with, say, Carlos Zambrano? Hell no. The only circumstances where umps would do that would be where they knew that they knew they were protected by MLB.)
Anyway, I haven’t the time nor the resources to really do a sophisticated study about this phenomenon I’ve observed, and I definitely don’t have the power to take any actions to correct the problem. So maybe I’m especially aggravated because of my powerlessness over the problem. But, as a fan, the “integrity of the game” is, in fact, the foundation upon which the entertainment is built. And I think that that foundation is crumbling, but fans and the media think that if they just ignore it, it’ll go away. No, it won’t go away. It’s going to get worse. If it hasn’t already, MLB will soon become the NBA. And then it’ll be the WWE, except, unlike wrestling fans, baseball fans will be pretending that their competitions are legitimate.
One other note. You wrote:
“If I’m being too conservative in that estimate, fine, I’ll risk that rather than not being cautious enough.”
If you’re going to err to one side or another, I personally think that you should err to the side of freedom of speech. I think it’s just the right thing to do and it also leads to more vibrant discourses. But that’s just my opinion.
And, again, I appreciate that you and THT have granted me (and other posters, no doubt) far more license to speak at this site than many other sites.
Posted 07/21 at 11:40 AM