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Wednesday, July 01, 2009
I have a book review and a brief due today, two opinions on pending legislation due tomorrow, and it's my 14th wedding anniversary. By all rights, I should have punted the box scores last night and tried to get a head start on some of that other stuff (and maybe taken some time to think about how to spend my 14th wedding anniversary). But then my palms started itchin' and my fingers started twitchin' and whatever it is that forces me to sit down and crack wise about baseball games every damn day just sort of took over. At least that's what I'm going to tell my editor, my boss, and my wife when they all track me down later today to yell at me. Think they'll understand?
Orioles 11, Red Sox 10: John Smoltz pitched better (4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) but had to leave when the rains came. I wouldn't worry about the short outing, however, because Francona may want him in the bullpen. Why? Because Boston blew a 10-1 lead after their half of the seventh. Among the big blows was an Oscar Salazar pinch-hit three run homer and a Nick Markakis two-run double off of Papelbon after being 0-7 against him entering the game. It was the biggest comeback in Baltimore Orioles history, and one that had to be particularly sweet for Os fans who have had to put up with so many interlopers in their ballpark for Sox games in recent years.
Pirates 3, Cubs 0: Ross Ohlendorf and Freddy Sanchez got to the ballpark, realized that they were the only two Pirates not traded yesterday, and went about their business, Bugs Bunny vs. Gashouse Gorillas-style: Ohlendorf shut out the Cubs over seven innings (pasting those pathetic palookas with his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch) and Sanchez scored one run and drove in the other two for Pittsburgh. Most people thought Sanchez would be out on that run he scored in the fourth because Ted Lilly had the ball and was waiting for him at home plate. Then again, most people probably didn't count on Sanchez having that 1940s pinup in his back pocket to distract Lilly either.
Braves 5, Phillies 4: I told Bill at Crashburn Alley that the Braves would take two out of three in this series. So far, so good. I never would have bet on the Bravos coming back in extra innings after coughing up two late homers like they did in this one, however, because they just don't do that. Martin Prado was 4-5 with four RBI, including the game-winner in the 10th. My guess is that puts Kelly Johnson on the bench until the day Bobby Cox is buried in the cold, cold ground.
Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: I was gonna get all cute and quote some song lyrics here, but I couldn't decide if I should go with "Running to Stand Still," or "Hold On, I'm Comin'." I suppose that all depends on how the Red Sox and Yankees do. Either way I have this feeling that the AL East is going to be redonkulously exciting in the second half.
Diamondbacks 6, Reds 2: Danny Haren's teammates have failed to show up for him so many times this season that he would have been forgiven if he had picked up a bat and beat them silly. Lucky for everyone involved Haren is a clearer thinking guy than I am and decided to simply take the bat to the opposition, going 2 for 2 with a homer and a double. Oh, and he pitched seven innings of one run ball while striking out nine. He then drove the team bus back to the hotel, watched game film, set the lineups for the next week, called Billy Beane and asked what he'd want for Matt Holliday and started spitballin' ideas for next season's promotional calendar.
Giants 6, Cardinals 3: You had to figure Chris Carpenter was going to come back down to Earth eventually. You just didn't figure on it happening all at once (5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER), especially against an offense like the Giants'. Despite the loss, Pujols had his requisite two home runs.
Brewers 6, Mets 3: That's five losses in a row for the Metropolitans, capping off a lovely 9-18 June. Though that's maybe not as important as the fact that, on June 1st, they were 2.5 games out of first and now, on July 1st, they're only 3 games out. My God, the NL East is horrifying this year.
White Sox 11, Indians 4: Crisco. Bardol. Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I'll rub a little jalapeno up my nose, get it runnin', and if I need to load the ball up I just [wipe] wipe my nose. Hey, I haven't got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too. [note: all Indians losses are going to get "Major League" quotes until Eric Wedge is fired or they win three in a row, whichever comes first].
Twins 2, Royals 1: The game story breaks out the first "hapless" I've seen in at least a year. It also notes that the Royals "are among the AL's worst in hitting, runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage." Anyone ever make a movie about the Royals? Maybe I should be quoting that instead.
Marlins 7, Nationals 5: I called the Cardinals a one man gang the other day. So too are Hanley's Fish (2-4, 4 RBI).
Rangers 9, Angels 5: Marlon Byrd homered twice and drove in five runs. Let's hear it for Victor Conte's supplements, everyone!
Yankees 8, Mariners 5: Mariano Rivera threw out the game's first pitch, yet somehow came back in in the ninth to get the save. Don Wakamatsu, showing lots of class, decided not to protest the game.
Tigers 5, A's 3: Armando Galarraga walked six guys. It's not everyday that you can do that and win, but then again, it was the A's he was facing and they are notably poor at making anyone pay for anything. The A's have plugged in Gio Gonzalez into the rotation three or four or maybe fifty times this season, but pretty soon that experiment has to end, right? Because he's, like, terrible. Yesterday he gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, and you can make the argument that that's his best start of the year.
Padres 4, Astros 3: Padres win, but Adrian Gonzalez got hurt. Hard to tell if it's major. Gonzalez doesn't know himself: "Sometimes I feel something and I wake up the next morning and I feel great. Then sometimes I wake up and something aches that I didn't feel the night before." I'm not sure why, but upon reading that I almost immediately got a sonic image of that statement being sung by Kevin Cronin over slowly ascending chords and making an almost perfect REO Speedwagon song.
Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Jason Marquis pitches the game of his life (CG, SHO, 2 H, 3 K, 0 BB), and only needed 86 (!) pitches to do it. And Jim Tracy is the best quote in baseball: "In the seven-plus years I've sat behind a desk like this, that's the first time I've seen a starting pitcher throw a nine-inning, complete-game shutout and do it with less than 90 pitches." He watches games from his desk? I've heard of hands-off managers before, but that's ridiculous. In other news, I was finally getting used to the idea that Manny coming back on Friday would be anti-climatic because the Dodgers simply didn't need him too bad. This skid they're on is changing my mind back again.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:41am
Longtime friend-of-the-blog Jason at IIATMS has new digs with a radically-different look, only a slightly different URL, and the same excellent content. The new site can be found here.
Adjust your browsers accordingly.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:57am
Baseball fans of a certain age (i.e. my age) will recall the Mets-Cardinals rivalry of the mid-to-late 1980s as just about the best in baseball. It's been a long time since then so you have to figure the bad blood has subsided. In the case of Jack Clark -- who was interviewed on Cardinals radio yesterday -- you'd figure wrong. Here's Clark on playing with Mets in the All-Star Game:
“I wanted to let them know I wasn’t glad to be there with them and their teammate, didn’t want to be on any team or be a teammate with them, and we were going to battle.
Here's Clark on Gary Carter:
"[He] talked his way more into the Hall of Fame than deserving it . . . [it was] pretty sickening and disgusting to everybody else."
Here's Clark on Howard Johnson's allegedly corked bat:
“That just goes to show those guys were trying to cheat and, you know, it didn’t end up working for them anyhow. So if his was corked, I’m sure a few other guys’ over there were corked, also.”
I think the only way to resolve this is an old-timers series between the 1985-87 Cardinals and the 1985-87 Mets. Anyone have Bob Forsch's phone number?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:25am
Signs you blog too much: you get angrier at a sluggish Internet connection than you would at, say, a punch in the face or an insult of your mother or something. "I only have SEVEN Firefox windows open!!! Why won't this page load faster!!!"
Because Clemens tried to defend himself against the claims of Mcnamee that makes him stupid according to this clown Calcaterra? What a dumb article written by a complete idiot and this isnt the first one he's written thats been this bad either. I ask the writer of this BS, how would you like him to defend himself? Mcnamee should be responsible for what he said and should not get any kind of protection by the feds, yet more proof the legal system is a joke.
If you think I simply took the high road and let that stuff pass, well, you're simply not familiar with my work.
I'm not totally punting the rest of the day, but I will be quiet for the next couple of hours as I get caught up with other things. Check back this afternoon for more bloggy goodness.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:32am
Inspired by my post about Mariano's potential trade to the Tigers, Grand Cards investigates exactly what such a thing would have meant:
Let's say that trade goes through and Rivera becomes a Tiger in 1995. Other than altering the course of NY Yankees history, what does it do for the Tigers? For Rivera?
Click through for the data.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:56pm
Grady Sizemore's gonna need surgery:
Indians All-Star center fielder Grady Sizemore will likely undergo postseason surgery on his inflamed left elbow, trainer Lonnie Soloff said Tuesday.
I'll defer to Will Carroll or a doctor or something on this, but it strikes me that it's best to avoid using inflamed body parts in most situations. In light of this, why not just perform the surgery now and (a) avoid any risk of aggravating the condition; and (b) ensure maximum effectiveness for games that actually matter?*
*This advice makes the safe assumption that nothing else that happens with the 2009 Indians matters.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:05pm
Thursday, July 02, 2009
A pinch is a device which creates, like, a cardiac arrest for any broadband electrical circuitry. Better yet, a pinch is a bomb - now, but without the bomb. See, when a nuclear weapon detonates, it unleashes an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down any power source within its blast radius. Now that tends not to matter in most cases, because the nuclear weapon usually destroys anything you might need power for anyway. But see, a pinch creates a similar electromagnetic pulse, but without the fuss of mass destruction and death. So instead of Hiroshima, you'd be getting the 1960s with Koufax on the mound.
I think one of those things was set off last night, as there were all manner of pathetic offensive/excellent pitching performances, characterized by multiple 1-0 games. Many of these games can be broken down into three categories: the pitcher who pitched great and won; the pitcher who pitched great and got boned; and the blind pig of a batter who managed to find the one stinkin' truffle of a run that made the difference. Oh, and there's a nice Monty Python bit down in the Yankees-Mariners recap and some totally uncalled for Canada bashing down in the Blue Jays-Rays item. Enjoy!
Dodgers 1, Rockies 0: Won: Ramon Troncoso, but he was a reliever. Clayton Kershaw started but couldn't hang around for the win because he walked too many guys and threw 97 pitches in five innings. Boned: Jason Hammell (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5K), who pitched way better than Kershaw but had no blind pig on his side. Blind Pig: Rafael Furcal with an RBI single.
Reds 1, Diamondbacks 0: Won: Johnny Cueto (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER 8K); Boned: Jon Garland (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER); Blind Pig: Joey Votto with an RBI single.
Mets 1, Brewers 0: Won: Mike Pelfrey (7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 6K). Boned: Yovani Gallardo (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 12K). Blind Pig: Ryan Church, RBI single.
OK, so it was only three, but I don't recall any days in the past couple of years with even that many 1-0 games. Anyway:
Yankees 4, Mariners 2: Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!
Buster Olney: Here's one-
Alex Rodriguez: (feebly) I'm not dead!
Cart-master: (surprised) What?
Buster Olney: Nothing! Here's your ninepence....
Alex Rodriguez: I'm not dead!
Cart-master: 'Ere! 'E says 'e's not dead!
Buster Olney: Yes he is.
Alex Rodriguez: I'm not!
Cart-master: 'E isn't?
Buster Olney: Well... he will be soon-- he's very ill...
Alex Rodriguez: I'm getting better!
Buster Olney: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
Alex Rodriguez: I feel happy! I feel happy! (2-4, HR, 2 RBI)
Red Sox 6, Orioles 5: Back atcha, Baltimore! The O's blow a 5-1 lead in the ninth and woof it away in the 11th. "I thought today was a great opportunity for our bullpen to come show the league what we're really made of," Papelbon said after the game. "I think we answered that with flying colors." And that answer is that the bullpen is made out of mixed metaphors until the cows come home to roost.
Braves 11, Phillies 1: Following up on yesterday's comment, I did tell Bill at Crashburn Alley that the Braves would lose the Hamels-Jurrjens game, so I was technically wrong. Still, I predicted Atlanta winning two of three, so they can vindicate me with a loss tomorrow. Jair Jurrjens pitched better than the guys up in the 1-0 games (7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 6K) and the Braves actually got some offense for a damn change.
Cubs 4, Pirates 1: That's three straight wins for Randy Wells (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). Some other good news: Aramis Ramirez is ready to rehab, and now the Cubs get to see how he plays in Peoria.
White Sox 6, Indians 2: Oh come on cut the rah rah sh*t Taylor! Year after this I go free agent. Plus me and my agent got a couple of plans for life after baseball. So I am not about to risk major injury or displace this property for a collection of stiffs!
Athletics 5, Tigers 1: This is kind of how the A's drew it up in the offseason: Bombs from Giambi and Cust, a solid start from Dallas Braden and a nice win at home. Two facts from the game story: (1) "The 38-year-old Giambi, who has been dealing with sore legs . . ."; and (2) "[Giambi] was in a 2-for-28 stretch before the homer after striking out in his first two at-bats." How in the hell are his legs getting sore? Turning on his heel and walking back to the bench too hard?
Twins 5, Royals 1: Joe Mauer was 3 for 3, knucklebaler R.A. Dickey was perfect for an inning and a third, the Twins won, and Justin Morneau experienced tightness in his groin. Only one of these facts is truly significant in the grand scheme of things, but good for Mauer and the Twins and bad news for Morneau all the same.
Marlins 5, Nationals 3: From the game story: "Asked to explain Florida's baffling mastery of the Washington Nationals, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez offered the simplest explanation. 'We've been lucky,' he said." Wait. Since when did beating the Nationals on a regular basis constitute "baffling mastery" as opposed to "utter inevitability?"
Cardinals 2, Giants 1: Both Adam Wainwright (9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 12K) and Matt Cain (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) were kinda boned in what I'm choosing to call Game 3 of "Molina Fest." Worth noting in light of my little anti-La Russa bit on Tuesday, that this is exactly the kind of game where an extra bat or two off the bench -- as opposed to three or four pitchers you have no intention of using down in the bullpen -- might come in handy once in a while. And for the record, I had this on in the background and found Sutcliffe somewhat less annoying than he was when I ranted about him last week. I can only assume that I either missed all of the obnoxious parts or else the pod people got hold of him the other day and replaced him with a less-assaulting replica.
Rangers 9, Angels 7: This looked like a wild one, at least from the box score. How wild? Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out yet still scored in the sixth inning.
Astros 7, Padres 1: Not much interesting here, but this is interesting "The Padres say Friday night's game against Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers is a sellout." But . . . but . . . Bill Plaschke said we shouldn't approve of Manny Ramirez's vile and wicked ways!
Blue Jays 5, Rays 0: Ricky Romero (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7K) can join the 1-0 All-Stars along with Jurrjens. Oh, and yesterday was Canada Day, too. For those of you who don't know, Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of the 1 July 1867 enactment of the British North America Act, which defiantly declared Canada's independence from the evil British and promised that blood will be shed in the interests of Canadian freedom if necessary. Wait . . .what's that? Oh, I'm sorry, I got that wrong. The Act actually declared that Canada was requesting to form a federation, with said request being gradually granted by British fiat over multiple ensuing decades. All while being overseen by Canada's Governor General, who, to this very day, remains in place as a viceregal representative of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who still goes by the title The Queen in Right of Canada. Inspiring, when you think about it.*
*Before Jonah Keri, Pete Toms and the ghost of John Brattain come after me for this gratuitous anti-Canadian rant, please know that both of my maternal grandparents hailed from the Great White North. Maybe that's a weak (and in and of itself offensive) defense for my thinly-veiled American exceptionalism, but I'm hoping that this, combined with my general tolerance/occasional enjoyment of Rush, my love of Tim Hortons Timbits, and the fact that my family hosted a visiting table tennis player during the 1984 Canusa Games will get me off the hook. Though, in the interests of full disclosure, I feel obligated to say that we all hated that table tennis kid and were happy when he went back home to Hamilton.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:30am
Things I wrote while trying to decide whether it would worse to be a lawyer handling the Michael Jackson estate or a lawyer having to tell this woman's family that, no, there probably isn't a viable products liability lawsuit coming out of this. Wait, that's crazy. Guys will be lining up to file that lawsuit, and this time next year your thermostat will have a 36-point font:
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:38am
I love Joe Mauer, but I'm guessing he's got no flow:
Joe Mauer is from Minnesota. He is white. He plays Major League Baseball. He is considered something of a pretty boy. None of these four things outlaws him from practicing his secret hobby. All of them combined into one 6-foot-5, sideburn-wearing, .400-flirting catcher, however, makes for the unlikeliest rapper in the history of rap.
When I started my new job back in February, I made one or two off the cuff comments about "Watchmen," and suddenly I was transformed into the office comic book geek. Never mind that, aside from a handful of well-known graphic novels, I own virtually no comic books. For me it's basically "Watchmen," some assorted Batman stuff and that's it. But when people don't know your personal habits very well, they tend to latch onto the first semi-defining trait of which they hear. I mentioned a comic book, so I'm the comic book guy, and that's just how it kind of goes in offices. Which is one of the many reasons why you don't even joke about some crap at work.
This strikes me as one of those deals. Mauer probably had one too many Sheep Head Ales, beatbox into a tape recorder, and the rest is somewhat inaccurate history.
(thanks to YankeeFanLen for the link)
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:22pm
Former major leaguer Jim Leyritz was arrested Thursday in South Florida on charges of domestic battery against his ex-wife, just two months before his trial on a DUI manslaughter charge was set to begin.
This would be the ex-wife who, according to Leyritz's weepy interview last month, "moved back in to help with expenses and the kids" when he was in desperate straits following the fatal accident.
You're welcome, jackass.
UPDATE: Yes, I note the conflicting reports, and I also note that the article itself says that Leyritz told police that his ex-wife was drunk and hurt herself to retaliate for him trying to evict her. I have no idea what actually happened, but (a) it was apparently ugly either way; and (b) I've been calling Leyrtiz a jackass since October 1996 and I have no plans of stopping now.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:44pm