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Friday, May 01, 2009
Marlins 6, Cubs 2: One wonders if the Cubs did much due diligence on Aaron Heilman prior to bringing him onboard. I mean, I watch a lot of baseball, so I certainly knew from Mets games of the past couple of years that he was not to be trusted in tight spots like extra innings, but maybe the Cubs don't watch as many as me since they're playing all of the time. Perhaps his tendency to blow up was simply unknown to them? Yeah, that's gotta be it. And the Cubs certainly need to DL somebody, because you can't win a division using Carlos Zambrano as your primary pinch hitter and playing Koyie Hill at third. Hey wait! If they had a really versatile guy -- a Mark DeRosa type -- and a good relief pitcher -- say, a Kerry Wood type -- maybe BOTH of these problems are solved!
Royals 8, Blue Jays 6: On Wednesday it was Bengie Molina hitting a triple. Yesterday it was John Buck, only he did it twice. Let's hear it for the portly among us! Six double plays by the Royals as well as they take three of four from the previously hot Jays.
Athletics 4, Rangers 2: Ryan Sweeney's robbery of Ian Kinsler at the wall was pretty freakin' sweet. Andruw Jones hit a home run. It was his third, which is the same number he hit all last year. It ain't exactly Babe Zaharias returning from colon cancer surgery to win the 1954 U.S. Open, but he is at .344/.523 /.781 and has to be the early leader for Comeback Player of the Year, right? I mean, he got fat and everything, which is practically dead, isn't it?
Yankees 7, Angels 4: Behold! A bullpen worse than the Yankees! In fact, it's the worst in baseball, and helped New York pull away in the eighth. Every Yankee starter got a hit, which is kind of fun to look at in a box score.
Cardinals 9, Nats 4: I guess that Julian Tavarez in the ninth inning thing didn't work out as well this time, did it? Here Tavarez entered the game, walked a guy, gave up a double, hit a guy, walked another guy, and gave up a single before Acta brought out the hook and brought in Hanrahan. Only two possible reasons for that: (1) Hanrahan wasn't warmed up and couldn't come in until the game was out of control; or (b) Acta actually thought Tavarez could get out of this jam once he was in it. If it was the latter, Acta isn't all that familiar with Julian Tavarez's body of work. Otherwise, it also strikes me that if the Nats are going to with a Frankenbullpen made up of guys like Tavarez, that they should always have two guys warmed up at the start of an inning.
Rays 13, Red Sox 0: The Rays basically ripped off the Red Sox' legs and beat them with 'em. Not much more you can say about that.
Brewers 4, Diamondbacks 1: Max Scherzer probably didn't buy Tom Gordon any beers after this one. Scherzer handed Gordon a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning and Flash did this: walk-wild pitch-single-fielder's choice-wild pitch-single-walk. Four runs charged to Gordon.
Dodgers 8, Padres 5: Rookie James McDonald didn't have it, but luckily Jeff Weaver was around (how many people have ever said that before?). He came in and pitched four scoreless innings to keep the Padres at bay long enough for the offense to come and bail Big Blue out. The Dodgers are now 7-0 at home.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:43am
I've been happy writing for the NBC blog, but I'm reaching the point where my own principles are at risk of being sacrificed. It was 16 years ago that I vowed to one day track, hunt down, and, well, if not kill, seriously bother the person responsible for cancelling "Quantum Leap." I should be using my new association with NBC to collect intelligence for this mission, yet to date I have not. I have taken their money and provided them with my writing services as if they hadn't discarded one of my favorite shows of all time with nothing more than a hastily-put-together and ultimately unsatisfying series finale. "Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home." Ha! You may as well have told me that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were involved in a murder suicide. Jerks.
I say they should bring back "Quantum Leap" today. Bakula and everyone. Well, Dennis Wolfberg is dead, but I always thought it was funnier when Al talked to Gooshie offscreen anyway.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:27am
Sorry it's been so slow today. Lots of workin' for The Man. Anyway:
Ballpark Digest loves my hometown's new ballpark. And I mean really, really loves it:
With this stunning new facility, the Clippers have come close: Combining a strong sense of place with the latest in ballpark features and an outstanding site, the creators of Huntington Park got everything right, creating a deep sense of place in a facility that’s only been open a few weeks. It does provide the ultimate baseball experience, providing an amazing level of intimacy in a venue seating 10,000 . . .
I'll admit that, while I was certainly impressed, I didn't really grasp the coolness when I first visited the place a week ago. I'll chalk that up to chasing small children, however, because I really didn't get a chance to really take the place in. I'll make a return visit soon, making a point to visit the parts of the park I didn't see last week.
In the meantime, if you're near Columbus, it sounds like you have a road trip in your future.
(thanks, as always, to Pete Toms)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:07pm
Selena Roberts' allegations about A-Rod tipping pitches to the opposition hinge on the observations of his Ranger teammates. Interesting to note, however, that two of Alex Rodriguez's teammates with the Rangers are calling the allegations "ridiculous" and "b.s.":
Michael Young played just the other side of second from Alex Rodriguez, so he'd probably notice any funny business between A-Rod and opposing hitters.
Jeff Brantley is more emphatic:
Chris Russo: “It says here in the excerpts [of the book] today [in the New York Daily News], that the opposing team, in a blowout game, a friendly [player] would tell A-Rod what pitch was coming to help break him out of a slump. How about that?”
Maybe it's hard to see what A-Rod is doing when you're playing next to him and thus not watching him like Young, or when you're way out in the bullpen like Brantley was. But they're certainly on the record here. I eagerly anticipate hearing from Roberts' sources about this, assuming there are ever any names attached.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:41pm
I'm told that some of you people actually follow non-baseball news. Not sure why you'd do that, but I guess it takes all kinds. Anyway, for those that care, among the names on President Obama's short list to fill Justice Souter's seat on the Supreme Court is Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If she's picked, I'm assuming that there will be a moderate amount of scrutiny of her judicial record, her philosophy, her political views and all of that stuff, but for our purposes, you should know that she's the judge who, on March 30, 1995, issued the preliminary injunction against Major League Baseball preventing the owners from unilaterally implementing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and using replacement players, effectively ending the 1994 baseball strike.
Because of this, I think I would support her nomination. Not because it indicates how she would approach labor issues, but because by ruling as she did, she made it possible for the Braves to win the World Series that year.
(thanks to Mark Armour for the heads up)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:20pm
Sunday, May 03, 2009
In light of the Roberts allegations, Major League Baseball is investigating Alex Rodriguez for post-2003 drug use:
Major League Baseball is investigating the accuracy of statements by Alex Rodriguez about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, according to people within baseball who were briefed on the matter. Investigators have contacted several of Rodriguez’s associates to determine whether he used performance-enhancing drugs for a longer time than he has admitted, the people said.
Roberts was apparently asked on Friday to cooperate with the investigation but declined to, citing conflict of interest. My assumption is that, per standard journalistic practice, she is not willing to reveal her sources, which is probably what MLB is interested in.
And guess what? I'm fine with that. That's how journalists roll. They can't expect anyone to ever talk with them if they go promising anonymity and then break it simply because someone asks. Baseball doesn't have the power to subpoena anyone and Roberts doesn't have to talk with them. And just to be clear, this is an entirely different deal than Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada faced; they were being asked to reveal a source to law enforcement in the course of a criminal investigation of the very transmission of the source's information to the authors. That's the kind of situation where the source-revealing rubber usually hits the road. For everything I've said about Roberts so far, I am squarely on her side in her refusal to tell MLB who she talked to.
The larger question in my mind, of course, is why she granted everyone anonymity for everything in the first place, but that horse has already left the barn.
Implications: Absent someone coming forward and talking to MLB, Rodriguez won't be disciplined for any 2003-steroid use for lack of evidence. After all, as the NYT piece notes, anything baseball does to A-Rod has to stand up to an appeal to an arbitrator, and arbitrators have higher standards than Selena Roberts' editors when it comes to steroid allegations. The article also notes that MLB is not yet looking at the pitch tipping thing which, frankly, I find much more interesting.
Hat tip to River Ave. Blues, who was all over this first and who is of like mind on the matter.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:37am
Monday, May 04, 2009
Reds 5, Pirates 0: Johnny Cueto is en fuego. His last three starts: 22 IP, 17 K, 2 BB and 1 run allowed, having shut out the Pirates over eight innings yesterday. The Pirates have been shut out in three of their last four games.
Dodgers 7, Padres 3: How many of the teams who passed up on Orlando Hudson (2-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI) this offseason are kicking themselves? He's at .336/.408/.533, which ain't bad considering he only cost the Dodgers $3.3 million. I know there were injury questions about the guy heading into this year, but the two biggies that took him out the past two seasons -- the broken bone last year and the torn ligament the year before -- were both kinda freaky things as opposed to your Ken Griffey-style stuff that seems borne of a predisposition.
Mariners 8, A's 7: The folks who sat through all five hours of this thing probably thought it was over when Oakland scored three runs in the 13th, only to see Seattle match it. Things that happen when you follow a team's games through box scores: because a name, such as, say, Chris Jakubauskas, kind of sticks out, you notice it each time you see it, thereby making you feel like a guy, say, Chris Jakubauskas, pitches every other game. I also just like to write "Chris Jakubauskas."
Giants 1, Rockies 0: Regulation play ended with the match tied 0-0, but the Giants won it in stoppage time. Barry Zito shuts the Rockies out for seven innings, lowering his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since June 4, 2007.
Royals 7, Twins 5: Is there no Mean, but Fast or Feast? Scott Baker doesn't know, given that he took a no-hitter into the seventh and then promptly gave up five runs and lost the game.
Cubs 6, Marlins 4: Carlos Zambrano went five innings and the Cubs got the win. That's good! But he then he led off the bottom of the fifth by straining his hamstring trying to beat out a bunt. That's bad! But hey, he did beat out the bunt. That's no consolation! The Cubs retired Fergie Jenkins' and Greg Maddux's number 31 before the game. In light of Zambrano's injury, I wonder if anyone had the bright idea to offer Maddux a contract.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3: As Matthew Pouliot points out, Carl Crawford's six stolen bases were sound and fury signifying nothing. Not that it still wasn't impressive on some level. And it certainly reveals Jason Varitek to be a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and soon will be heard no more.
Brewers 4, Diamondbacks 3: It was Ryan Braun Bobblehead Day at Miller Park but, but Braun sat with tightness in his upper back. Didn't matter, though, as Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron hit back to back homers in the second and Dave Bush managed to pitch well enough to allow the Brewers to survive the three home runs he gave up in the seventh.
Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3: The key to winning the AL East recently has been to do well outside of the division and then pick on the Orioles. So far, so good for Toronto as they (finally) begin division play by sweeping Baltimore on yet another good start from Scott Richmond. Dude was playing in the Northern League a couple of years ago.
Tigers 3, Indians 1: Justin Verlander's second strong start in a row (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 11K) has to be encouraging for Tigers' fans, because he seemed on a collision course with oblivion for a while there. Welcome to the big leagues Matt LaPorta: 0-4, 2K. Matt, at first these big league pitchers are going to light you up like a pinball machine. Don't worry about it. You be cocky and arrogant even when you're getting beat. And if you keep getting beat? Hey, I'll enjoy watching you here in Columbus.
Astros 7, Braves 5: From the AP story: "Braves manager Bobby Cox said the struggles to drive in runs shows the team misses Brian McCann and Garret Anderson, who are on the disabled list." Well, he's half right.
Rangers 5, White Sox 1: Between Wilson Betemit, Brett Lillibridge, Elvis Andrus, and Andruw Jones in the game, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jermaine Dye riding the pine, it felt like Braves day.
Angles vs. Yankees; Mets vs. Phillies; Cardinals vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: Don’t come around here no more, Bringing me all of your bad rain. Can’t you see I’ve got troubles of my own. I ain’t got time to be messing with all of your bad rain [insert 17 minute guitar jam]
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:05am
The success of the Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group has not gone unnoticed by other organizations, and that includes organizations in others sports:
Boston Red Sox executive Michael Dee has been hired as chief executive officer of the Miami Dolphins and Dolphin Stadium. Dee will oversee business development of the team and stadium, the Dolphins said Sunday. He'll be in charge of marketing the team and new projects at the stadium . . . Dee spent 14 years in major league baseball, including the past five as chief operating officer of the Red Sox while they consistently set records for attendance and revenue growth. He oversaw business operations and such improvements as the Green Monster seats, and brought concerts to Fenway Park. He was also president of Fenway Sports Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of New England Sports Ventures, the parent company of the Red Sox.
FSG has been a huge part of the Red Sox success in recent years, and as its president, Dee will certainly be missed. And not to take anything away from Dee, but the real value of FSG to the ballclub is its structure as opposed to its personnel. That's because as a corporate sibling rather than a component of the team itself, the revenue it creates is 100% non-sharable with the other ballclubs, even if its sole purpose is to, according to Dee himself, extend the Red Sox brand.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:00am
Cliff Lee doesn't have a lot of answers for how it's gone for him so far this year, so it's nice that Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer is helping him out:
What about a buzz cut? Maybe Cliff Lee's fourth loss of the season Sunday had something to do with his haircut Saturday.
Given that I haven't owned a comb or a brush in nearly a decade, I'm probably the last person who should be giving anyone haircare advice, but don't teams stay at hotels with concierge service and, often, hair stylists and stuff? Why is he getting his haircut at the ballpark? And who's cutting it? Luis Valbuena? Rick Manning?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:54am
My bid for Adam Dunn's sweat-stained jersey fell just short. And I was going to give it to Marty Brennaman, too.
And Needham gets the Headline of the Day Award for "Ging, Ging, Gne!"
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:10am