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Thursday, July 02, 2009
I think I read about this a couple of weeks ago, but today's the actual ceremony:
Red Sox left fielder Jason Bay has long played America's pastime and will now be able to call himself an American. The 30-year-old player from Canada becomes a U.S. citizen Thursday afternoon in a ceremony at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. Bay is from British Columbia and is the first Red Sox player to be naturalized since Dominican-born David Ortiz was sworn in last summer in Fenway Park.
Sure, he'll tell you that it's because he's married to a U.S. citizen and that he plans to make his home here and all of that, but if you don't think this is a move borne of lingering embarrassment over the circumstances of the British North America Act, well, you're just crazy.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:10pm
The Rangers' financial woes continue:
Amid increased internet chatter Wednesday that Tom Hicks’ sports group - Hicks Sports Group - financial woes are deepening and that the club has borrowed money from MLB’s rainy-day fund, team officials took a strange approach.
It's only a matter of time before the Rangers' become baseball's General Motors.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 1:37pm
Here's an event for you, at least if you're in Brooklyn this evening:
Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns on Thursday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m., with a night dedicated to baseball. At this free monthly event in DUMBO, Brooklyn, hosted by Gelf and Jan Larsen Art, Scott Price, Selena Roberts, and members of the New York Daily News sports investigative team will read from and talk about their work, and take questions. Price has the wrenching tale of the life and death of [Mike Coolbaugh]. Roberts will speak about her controversial biography of Alex Rodriguez. And the Daily News team will discuss its exposé of Roger Clemens and steroids in baseball.
Admission is free. Go to mock Selena Roberts, but stay to listen to Scott Price, whose Coolbaugh book sounds really, really good.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:30pm
Last week, Rany Jazayerli sent a heat-seeking missile in the direction of the Royals' medical staff. The Royals read it. As a result, the Royals have banned him. Banned him from what is not exactly clear inasmuch as Rany lives and works in Chicago and isn't exactly a constant presence at Kaufman Stadium, but banned he is.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous.
UPDATE: I've given this more thought.
I'm still trying to get my brain around this. I mean, the Royals organization obviously reads Rany, or else they wouldn't have gotten mad at what he wrote. However, if they do read Rany, surely they realize that he's one of the best fans in the history of fandom. For years and years he has been optimistic about the Royals, giving them way more benefit of the doubt than they were probably ever entitled. No, it's never been blind faith -- Rany is not some mindless fanboy -- but he has long avoided the cynicism and hopelessness that tends to take over your more critically-minded followers of historically poor performing teams. More importantly, Rany is one of the team's most high-profile fans. In that capacity he gives voice to what many thousands of fans are thinking.
In light of this, when Rany levels criticism, it's safe to assume that (a) it's serious criticism, not a cheap shot; and (b) many, many people who buy Royals tickets are thinking the same way. This doesn't mean you roll over, of course. To the contrary, when a guy like Rany says what he said, the Royals' first impulse should have been to ask themselves whether he had a point. If he did, great, it was a worthy comment. If he didn't, that's fine too. Call him a sonofabitch in the privacy of the team office and make it clear to anyone who matters (i.e. the trainer Rany went after) that he has the team's support and no one cares what this blogger thinks.
But they didn't do that. They got defensive and pissy in a very public way. And by doing that, the Royals sent a signal to an important segment of their fan base -- the plugged-in segment -- that they can't tolerate reasoned criticism. And if one can't tolerate reasoned criticism, one isn't going to act on it.
Which raises the question: In light of this, why on Earth would anyone with a brain continue to be a Royals fan?*
UPDATE II: This is not the first time the Royals have acted so petulantly.
UPDATE III: It's over, and while the Royals are apparently still barring their employees from appearing on Rany's radio show -- as is their right -- they have rescinded their threat to bar team-access to any station that airs Rany's show (got that?). Of course, as J.C. Bradbury noted on his Facebook post "They recanted only b/c they got caught." Specifically, because an Internet #### storm happened and everyone saw how ridiculous the Royals were being.
None of this changes what I said above about the Royals. There's no escaping that they're focused on the wrong things. There's also no escaping that, if this how they respond to external dissent, there's no reason to believe that they're making the right decisions internally either, because all good decisions are made in a setting where people can feel free to say anything without fear of reprisal.
This was probably stated too strongly and/or inartfully. I did not mean to say that Royals fans are stupid. I understand that fandom is not always a rational thing. The comment was merely intended to make even ardent Royals supporters think hard about their support for their team in light of this little development. I probably could have stated it better.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 3:16pm
I never thought I'd cry while watching an Eminem video, but the waterworks started at about the 3:05 mark of his new one.
Detroit natives of a certain age may get a little misty through the whole thing.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 10:08pm
Friday, July 03, 2009
Astros 7, Padres 2; Look, between my two bloggy spaces and the water cooler at work I have probably talked about Manny Ramirez more than anyone in the past couple of weeks. And I'll admit, my reasons for bringing him up are often tenuous at best. But nothing I've written about the guy is as tenuous as this bit from the game story, describing how a swarm of bees descended on Petco Park in the ninth inning: "The bees arrived more than 24 hours before Manny Ramirez makes his comeback from a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy, when the Los Angeles Dodgers open a three-game series against San Diego on Friday night." Did anyone get Manny's comment on the bees? Where does Plaschke stand on all of this? I WANT TO KNOW, DAMMIT!
Mets 9, Pirates 8: In town for a makeup game, the Mets overcome Tim Redding getting shelled (2.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER), and then overcome K-Rod blowing the save in the ninth (though he did vulture the win). Jerry Manuel: "We could have just said, `Let's pack up and head to Philly, it's a short flight, let's get this out of the way.'" "They chose to fight and I thought that was what was most impressive." I don't much like Jerry Manuel so I appreciate that maybe I'm being too hard on him here, but really, could your team have chosen to just pack it in, Jerry? Is that a potential option in the current Mets universe such that their choice not to do so is laudable?
Reds 3, Diamondbacks 2: Joey Votto was the hero, going 4 for 6 and hitting the game winning single in the 10th. The Dbacks have lost ten of twelve. They dead? Yep, they're dead.
Cardinals 5, Giants 2: Are we sure this was only a four game series? It feels like they've been playing for two solid weeks. Anyway, Todd Wellemeyer offers a bit of an F.U. to everyone in St. Louis who has been screaming for him to be sent down or disappeared or shot or whatever (7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 6K). A couple of RBI for Ryan Ludwick who, according to Rick Sutcliffe on Wednesday, needs to start hitting before Albert Pujols can expect to start seeing anything to hit. It was a moderately useful insight the first seven times he made it, but it declined in utility over the next dozen or so times it was repeated.
Braves 5, Phillies 2: The Bravos sweep the phirst place Phils, bringing them within two games of first themselves. Or, put differently, making them three games more likely to do some stupid deal to try and contend this year instead of loading for bear in 2010. My view of things is that if they can contend with what they have, wonderful, I'll enjoy it. But any deal apart from unloading Jeff Francoeur is probably a bad move. As for this game, someone better check Bobby Cox for banned stimulants. He used 18 players in this one, and I don't think he's done that since Clinton's first term.
Mariners 8, Yankees 4: Ichiro, Branyan and Chris Woodward of all people join in the Mariner hit parade, ending the Yanks' seven game winning streak.
Cubs 9, Brewers 5: Derek Lee bangs in seven runs on a three run homer and a grand slam, as the Cubs shell Greenbrier East alum Seth McClung. Stupid Greenbrier East. Woodrow owns you, Spartans! Hells yeah!
Angels 5, Orioles 2: Bobby Abreu flashes back several years and shows that yes, he is capable of hitting home runs. Two actually. Meanwhile, John Lackey flashes back to the non-2009 portions of his career to show that he can still pitch like an ace (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K). Nothin' much doin' for Baltimore outside of a Luke Scott home run. Game story: "Orioles' 3B Ty Wigginton replaced Melvin Mora in the lineup. Mora asked for the night off after the trip to the West Coast." OK. For what it's worth, even my old man sucks it up and plays through jet lag when he visits my brother in San Diego, and he's 65 and flies coach. What, Mora couldn't have gotten a few winks on the plane?
White Sox 4, Royals 1: Bruce Chen? Really? In the same season the Royals ran Horacio Ramirez out there? What, was Terrell Wade not available? Jung Bong won't return your calls, Dayton? Aw, don't look at me like that, whaddaya gonna do, ban me or someth----
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:35am
No work today, so I blogged from home. It's nice, though I'm not sure if it's less stressful than blogging from the office or not. On the one hand, I don't have to shower, shave, drive anywhere, answer the phone or work around meetings and stuff. On the other hand, in many important ways its easier to balance legal work with blogging than it is to balance things like Hot Wheels car parades, fights over which cartoons to watch and wives and fathers asking me to do things around the house. Upshot: if I ever convince someone to let me write from home full time, I'm going to rent an office.
And with that I'm done for the Fourth of July weekend. Probably, anyway. If something strange or major happens -- of it I just have too many beers and get some time on my hands -- I may check in with some other stuff. If I don't, however, have yourself a merry little Independence Day.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 11:19am
Monday, July 06, 2009
Phillies 2, Mets 0: Blanton beats Santana, yadda, yadda, yadda. I want to use this entry to make my first observation of the All-Star season. Fact: Charlie Manuel manages the NL team this year. Fact: he has an All-Star roster with too many first basemen and nary a legitimate centerfielder to be found, among other issues that may very well prevent the NL from winning. Fact: the league which loses the All-Star game costs its World Series representative home field advantage. Fact: the Phillies stand a decent enough chance to go back to the World Series this year. Fact: the Phillies have been a much better road team than home team this year. Theory: Charlie Manuel is deliberately tanking the All-Star game in the hopes that the Phillies lose home field "advantage." Clever, Charlie. Very clever.
Marlins 5, Pirates 0: Ricky Nolasco continues his post-call-up tear, this time shutting out and striking out 12 Pirates and giving up only three hits over eight innings. Hanley Ramirez was scratched from the lineup because his hip is sore. When asked if he'd play in the upcoming series in San Francisco, he said "I'll see how it feels after a 7-hour plane ride." That's funny. I checked Expedia, and there are no direct commercial flights between Miami and San Francisco that take more than six hours, and many take a little less. A chartered team plane shouldn't do any worse. If Ramirez is right, though, I can only assume that Jeff Loria is so cheap that he has his team flying Southwest or something. If you're at the Oklahoma City airport later today and see a guy that looks kinda like Dan Uggla getting a TCBY while waiting for his connection, it probably is Dan Uggla.
Athletics 5, Indians 2: OK, we've got a situation here. Last week I said I'd go with "Major League" quotes until either (a) Eric Wedge was fired; or (b) the Indians won three in a row. In reality, when I said that I assumed that Wedge was a dead man walking and that the bit would end soon. Then, prior to yesterday's game, Shapiro goes and announces that Wedge will keep his job for the rest of the season. So here's the problem: there's no way in hell this team is gonna win three games in a row any time soon. Just look at yesterday: they had two in the bag, their ace on the mound, and Gio-freakin'-7.27 ERA-Gonzales facing them. At home. What happens? Of course they lose. So what do I do? I mean, I beat some bits into the ground, but I had no intention of running "Major League" quotes every day. If I did, I'd start to run out of good ones by, say, September. I'm going to give some thought to how long I stick with this, but I'm leaning towards giving it up and simply trying to find new ways to describe how depressing this team is. I'll leave that decision for tomorrow or the next day. In the meantime: "Let me get back to you, will ya, Charlie? I got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls."
Cubs 8, Brewers 2: The AP game story quotes Ryan Braun talking about how the Milwaukee pitchers aren't getting the job done. That's interesting enough, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quotes him getting into the GM's business as well. He then spent the whole bus ride back to Milwaukee complaining about how the driver changed lanes too much and yelling at Corey Hart for taking up too much armrest space.
Nationals 5, Braves 3: Atlanta sweeps the first place Phillies and then drops two of three to the worst team in Major League Baseball. Anyone who couldn't have predicted that hasn't watched much Braves baseball for the past three or four years.
Cardinals 10, Reds 1: I've sorta not been paying that much attention to the Reds lately, so I had just been assuming that Bronson Arroyo was continuing his patteren of getting shelled, then pitching well, then getting shelled, etc. Looking at it now, the "getting shelled" option has been a lot more prevalent, and it happened again yesterday (5 IP, 11 H, 8 R). Arroyo now has the worst ERA among regular NL starters.
Yankees 10, Blue Jays 8: Joba Chamberlain gets his ineffective butt saved by Derek Jeter and the rest of the Yankees' offense. In Chamberlain's defense, neither of the homers he gave up would have reached the seats in old Yankee Stadium. Such a defense only goes so far, of course, given that Alfredo Aceves pitched against the same Blue Jays and in front of the same outfield walls yesterday, and he only gave up one hit in four innings of relief work.
Red Sox 8, Mariners 4: The Mariners would have liked to take this one, but the fact is that they finished nine road games against the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox 5-4, and that's pretty damn impressive.
Royals 6, White Sox 3: Some interesting thoughts about the whole Rany-Royals dustup here. I wish someone would have thought to ask Ozzie Guillen about this over the weekend. Even in the very likely event that he knows none of the actors and cares not a bit about this drama, the way in which he would have put it would have been pretty entertaining.
Twins 6, Tigers 2: A bunch of those "The Tigers are in the driver's seat" stories popped up last week. Everyone who wrote them forgot the fact that the Twins just never, ever seem to go away, no matter how hard you try and make them. They take two of three from the kitty cats and stand ready to be a total pain in Detroit's butt for the next three months.
Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3: Dan Haren pitched six innings and stood to be the winner after the Dbacks took the lead in the top of the seventh. I probably would have bet the balance of my 401K that the Arizona bullpen wasn't going to hold that lead for him, but I'll be damned if they didn't.
Angels 9, Orioles 6: Baltimore held 4-0 leads on Saturday and Sunday and blew them both. But it's not like there isn't hope.
Dodgers 7, Padres 6: Broxton blows a four-run lead in the ninth (I'm sure it was Manny's fault somehow), but James Loney hits a solo homer in the 13th to give the Dodgers the win.
Astros 7, Giants 1: Roy Oswalt is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA over his last three starts. Randy Johnson bailed early with a strained shoulder. He probably did it while batting earlier in the game. Some joker somewhere will use that as an argument for the DH, ignoring that Johnson has had nearly 700 career plate appearances without incident before yesterday.
Rangers 5, Rays 2: The Rangers sweep the Rays -- allowing only seven runs in the three game set -- and now start a big series against Anaheim. Tasty.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:41am
Great Moments in my day job: This morning I was sued (in my official capacity) by a violent inmate currently serving life in a New York prison. He's trying to get transferred to an Ohio prison, and keeps suing public officials in order to accomplish his goal. I represent public officials in Ohio, so I defend these lawsuits. Mr. Murderer, who shockingly acts as his own attorney, doesn't like the way I'm defending one, so I have now become the latest public official in the lawsuit. The best part: the cover letter which accompanied the complaint ended with the sentence "Get you a lawyer."
I know I risk a Cape Fear situation if I do this, but right now I have an overwhelming urge to mark up the letter's grammatical errors with a red pen and send it back to him along with an 8x10" photo of me enjoying a beer in the sunshine somewhere. Would that be wrong? Should I not do that?
"Counselor . . . .couuuuunselooooor . . . ."
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:06pm
The Cubs deal is finally done. Apparently it's "close to" the $900 million originally offered.
Good job guys. Took you long enough. Now rehab the ballpark.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:32pm