Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Apparently this is still an issue.

Paul Hamm won the individual all-around gold in Athens fair and square.

If anything, we should have been up in arms about Paul winning the silver in the high bar event final and Aleksei Nemov with his six release moves not even medalling* -- or what about Dimosthenes Tambakos and his step on the dismount taking the rings gold over Jordan Jovtchev and his higher-in-difficulty and perfectly clean routine**? Both of those events had me seething.

However, there are still people out there on the Internet who think Paul is selfish and arrogant for keeping the gold.

I'm writing this entry to make a point: uninformed individuals feed the fire of controversy. They cost people money and reputation.

If you don't remember the event (or don't follow men's gymnastics as well as I do), I'll briefly re-hash it for you.

1. Paul Hamm led the individual all-around (an individual competition consisting of six events [for men]: floor exercise, rings, pommel horse, vault, parallel bars, and high bar) after three rotations. In his fourth rotation he competed on the vault and crashed, scoring a 9.1something. This is terrible. He dropped to 12th.
2. He scored a 9.837 on parallel bars and other gymnasts ahead of him started to suck. Yang Wei fell on high bar. Ioan Suciu messed up on parallel bars as did his fellow countryman, Marian Dragulescu. American Brett McClure got the shaft on rings (another controversy not pursued***).
3. In the last rotation and as the last gymnast of the competition, Paul scored another 9.837 and won gold. (Incidentally, he thought better than a 9.825 would just give him bronze.)
4. The NBC coverage showed Yang Tae-Young crouched with his hands over his head.
5. Sometime later after the contest South Korea files a protest. First misstep: this protest, unless against the integrity of the judging (see: 2002 pairs competition in Salt Lake), should not have been heard. The protest was (as you may remember) about the SV (start value) of Yang Tae-Young's parallel bars routine. He competed on p-bars in the fifth rotation. There was an entire rotation to file the protest before the competition ended.
6. The tape of the p-bars routine was reviewed. Second misstep: video replay was NOT allowed in gymnastics competition (like it isn't in swimming). In stupidly reviewing the tape, they find that Y T-Y's routine was indeed a 10.0 SV, not 9.9 as he was given. (SVs refer to the maximum score a gymnast can earn based on what elements they have in their routine; their deductions are taken from that score.)
7. Everyone freaks out.
8. Paul is interviewed, says he won't give up the medal.
9. FIG says he should give it up.
10. USAG throws a fit.
11. IOC stays out of it.
12. Nothing is solved.
13. But then, the key to the puzzle finds its way to the coffee table. Miles Avery, Olympic coach and Paul's coach at OSU, says that while reviewing the tape of Y T-Y's p-bars routine he finds that there is a hold not deducted for. There are a certain number of holds allowed in one routine and Y T-Y had one more than allowed. The deduction is two-tenths.

Let's break this down.
Say the judges (illegally) give Y T-Y his 10.0 start value. He wins the competition, right? Wrong. In giving him the 10.0 SV they've used the video, so they take off .2 for the hold. He's right back where he started, not winning the gold medal. Then, you have to give EVERYONE the same treatment, reviewing their routines and correcting the scores. Wow, that's dumb. So no one did it.

Results remained the same, Paul has his gold, South Korea is pissed (until Ahn beats Ohno one and a half years later in Turin), and people (Americans!), because they don't bother to get all the facts (Miles Avery's right: when reviewing the tape you can see the extra hold) they make the wrong decision.

*I was terrified this would become bigger than the IAA deal. But noooo, no one cares about Aleksei Nemov and his amazing show of class in shushing the booing crowd as Paul stepped to the podium. Aleksei should have won. Paul shouldn't have silvered. Yann Cucherat wasn't that good. The only real problem was that no one (with the clear exception of Aleksei) was outstanding.

**Bulgaria, whom Jordan represents, actually filed a protest. It was denied. That event was a crock. Jordan was far and away the superior gymnast in that competition. Even my dad thinks so and he knows nothing about the intricacies of scoring. "But he didn't stick his landing!" Exactly. They didn't even take off for the step. Just because he's Greek.

***Same thing happened to McClure that happened to Yang Tae-Young. His SV was about three-tenths lower than it should have been. Did America file a protest after the contest? Nope.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

And now it actually makes sense

McCarver's comment about breathing easy actually has relevance, now that it's the Rockies playing the Red Sox, with at minimum two games to be played a mile high.

The team breathing easiest? That would be Colorado. I'd like to see Ortiz leg out a sure double in that altitude. Actually, I'd like to see Ortiz do anything in a National League park. Who sits?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tim McCarver and El Gyro

"The team that breathes the easiest wins."

...I didn't even come here to try to comment on that winner, but instead McCarver's insistence that the gyroball is a "glorified screwball*." I've heard this both times Matsuzaka has pitched in this series and both times I've said to the TV, "No. It is not a glorified screwball*. It is a slider that doesn't break."

I was intending to supply an article which contains quotes from the only pitcher who ADMITS to throwing a gyroball, C.J. Wilson, but the article has "expired" and so no quotes. However, I've watched a documentary on the gyroball and the guys who know what they're talking about (meaning NOT Tim McCarver) say it's a slider that doesn't break. Incidentally, that's what C.J. Wilson, a guy who knows what he's talking about because he throws the pitch and ADMITS TO IT (unlike Matsuzaka), says.

NOT A GLORIFIED SCREWBALL* but a SLIDER THAT DOESN'T BREAK (thus, a fastball that looks like a slider).

*from wikipedia, "A screwball is a baseball pitch that is thrown so as to break in the opposite direction of a slider." Gyroballs don't break, they just look like they're going to. See, that makes so much more sense.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Joe Buck

"They called it ... tendinitis ... but really, they just wanted to shut him down for the season."

Really? Maybe he actually had tendinitis. Common baseball injury. Legit. If it's just tendinitis, it resolves itself in about two weeks.

But nah. Probably just wanted to shut him down (could have just ... not started him, if that were the case).

Friday, October 12, 2007

...Or not?

I think Tim McCarver made up a word earlier in this broadcast. I may have misheard, but I think it's more likely that he invented a word.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Braves GM steps down

John Schuerholz is stepping down, Assistant GM Frank Wren will take his place. Apparently Wren is terrible. I'm not going to complain.

League Championship Series (pl)!

Cleveland! Boston! Arizona! Colorado! Cities and States! Rookies and Veterans! National League style and American League style (whatever that means)! Moneyball and ... Luck?



Friday, October 5, 2007

Red Sox beat the shift

Two days late, but I gotta say, that Red Sox-Angels game had me laughing. Let's play Youkilis to the opposite field, that makes sense because Lackey's pitching him away because his last at-bat was a home run. Then, let's have Lackey hang a breaking ball and pull it for a double. That's comedy. More comedic is playing Ortiz to pull ... and he hits an opposite field double.

Oh, that and Lackey just not pitching as well as everyone says he should. Who didn't see that coming?

The Red Sox with their "wait around for a home run" and the Angels with their "small ball" approach ... warms my heart to see the home runs come through over the basestealers. Those thieves!


Oh! Jason Kendall on the post-season roster is amazing.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Don't you mean...nevermind.

TBS guy, right before the Phillies-Rockies game began:

"The importance of the Phillies winning this game cannot be understated."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I am too stunned to properly form words

I've got Ninja Warrior on G4 playing as I read this Braves book, and this yelling in Japanese is all that's keeping me sane. "When we come back, a model and a transsexual will walk into Ninja Warrior."

Yes. That's how bad this is.

I've come to the conclusion that Shanks is misunderstanding the Moneyball approach, as he refers to it. He says it's about taking college players over high school players, on-base percentage over makeup, and apparently not taking the best player available (like the Braves).

One of my favorite (I might be a masochist) parts:

Author Preface:
...Then I heard about a book by Michael Lewis called Moneyball. It focused on the Oakland A's and their reliance on computer technology in shaping its major league roster and its farm system. Several people in the Braves' organization warned me not to read it. "It'll get your blood boiling," they warned. "They just do things differently than we do." I resisted for awhile, but then went ahead and read the book.

The differences outlined in the book were amazing. As someone who had watched a minor league system spit out players using on philosophy, it was incredible to read about a wholly different methodology. Some may say I'm being closed-minded, but the brash disregard for scouting in its truest sense as portrayed in Moneyball was just as insulting to me as it was to so many scouts around the game. As it was explained in the book, the A's, and the 'moneyballers,' apparently care more about on-base percentage than the makeup of a player, and even though I knew the Braves paid attention to OBP, it wasn't the telling factor in choosing a draft pick or a possible left fielder. The philosophical differences were staggering.

This is where I stop to laugh, then re-read to make sure I wasn't missing a key word like, say, "NOT!" or "PSYCH!"

...nope. He's still serious.

Because it's been difficult for me to get my mind around the fact that Shanks read Moneyball and failed to pick up on the fact that makeup is VERY important to the A's organization, I'll quote an extensive passage from The Book Itself, illustrating this fact.

Lark is a high school pitcher with a blazing fastball. He's a favorite of one of the older scouts, who introduces him in a language only faintly resembling English. "Good body, big arm. Good fastball, playable slider, so-so change," he says. "A little funk on the backside but nothing you can't clean up. I saw him good one day and not so good another."

"Any risk he'll go to college?" asks Erik.

"He's not a student type," says the older scout. "I'm not sure he's even signed with a college."

"So is this guy a rockhead?" asks Pitter (Chris Pittaro)....

"Ah," says the older scout, thinking about how to address the question. It's possible for a baseball player to be too stupid for the job. It's also possible for him to be too smart. "He may be too smart," is a phrase that will recur several times over the next week,

"He's a confident kid. But--"

"But," says Erik.

"There might be some, uh, family issues here," says the old scout. "I heard the dad had spent some time in prison. Porno or something."

"Can he bring it?" someone finally asks. The air clears.

"I can see this guy in somebody's pen throwing aspirin tablets someday," says the older scout. "They guy has a cannon." ... This old scout likes high school kids and refuses to apologize for that fact,

"I'm worried about the makeup," says someone.

"What does his profile say?" asks someone else.

A young man sits quietly off to one side at the room's lone desktop computer. He punches a few keys. He's looking for Lark's results on the psychological test given by Major League Baseball to all prospects.

"Not good," he says, at length. "Competitive drive: one out of ten. Leadership: one out of ten. Conscientiousness: one out of ten." He keeps reading down the list, but no matter what the category the kid's score is always the same.

"Shit," Bogie finally says, "does he even have a two in anything?" Bogie is the oldest scout. In 1972, scouting for the Houston Astros, Bogie administered what he believes to have been the first ever baseball psychological test, to a pitcher names Dick Ruthven. (He passed.)

"Bad makeup," says someone and no one disagrees.

It goes on like that for awhile, saying that "bad makeup is a death sentence" and so on and so forth. What was it again that Shanks wrote?

Oh yeah.

"As it was explained in the book, the A's, and the 'moneyballers,' apparently care more about on-base percentage than the makeup of a player..."

I beg to differ, Bill.

On another point, something about the A's only drafting college players, Shanks' attempt to prove this philosophy wrong -- even though it ... I dunno ... doesn't actually exist?! -- made me laugh out loud.

The inconsistencies in the Moneyball book make Gillick question its relevance. Gillick points out that while Lewis takes great pleasure in mocking someone in Beane's draft room known as 'the fat scout,' he fails to mention that the same scout, John Poloni, scounted and signed one of Oakland's best players for the first half of the decade, right-hander Tim Hudson. And with all the college talk, it's also conveniently omitted that Eric Chavez, Oakland's best player, was a first round pick out of high school.

Couple things.
1. We can't allege that Lewis took "great pleasure" in mocking John Poloni for his weight.
2. I don't know if convenience is why Chavvy's signing is omitted. Maybe it's ... irrelevance? Billy Beane didn't become the GM until 1997. Eric Chavez was drafted and signed in 1996. [I should note that Beane was indeed in the organization's front office at this point and no doubt part of the decision, but he was not the decision-maker.]
3. I'm also entertained by the fact that Shanks writes "the Moneyball book."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dan Haren, Part Two

"The ERA leader is Haren, but he doesn't have enough wins." - Tigers broadcaster.

Enough wins for what? You mean, he doesn't have enough run support.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What about Dan Haren!?

I suffer not-so-silently when it comes to the subject of Dan Haren being in the running for the AL Cy Young. I mentioned him in my very last post and then ventured to MLB.com in order to check out game times. MLB.com mocked me with their pieces on the CY awards and who's in the running.

For the AL: Wang, NYY; Beckett, BOS; Sabathia, CLE
Dark Horses include LACKEY and Escobar, LAA.
Honorable mentions were Carmona, CLE; Bedard, BAL; Putz, SEA; Borowski, CLE; and Papelbon, BOS.

I'll break this down for you. With the exception of Bedard (who's out for the season anyway and so won't get it), every single one of them is on a contending team. Putz, Borowski, and Papelbon are relief pitchers.

I'll name one pitcher who has better numbers than every single one of the abovementioned men.


What does Dan Haren have to do to get recognition?

  • He could pitch every day to prevent a lesser pitcher, like Joe Kennedy, from losing games for the team. By the same token, he could pitch complete games to avoid leaving decisions up to the injury-laden bullpen and Huston Street.
  • Haren could also bat for himself, surrendering the right to a designated hitter. Who knows, he might be the next Barry Bonds.
  • He could play gratis for the A's, freeing up $12.65 million for better pitching or hitting. I'm sure the addition of Tim Hudson would boost the pitching staff. Alex Rodriguez could be the DH if the infield joined Haren in playing gratis.
  • Haren could add a D to his name and twenty-five to his number in order to shock batters, umpires and radar guns into recognizing the resurrection of Rich Harden's fastball in the body of a Californian four inches taller and thirty pounds heavier than the Canadian, supplementing enough height and weight to add three miles per hour to the four-seam thereby topping it out at 103 mph, challenging Joel Zumaya for the crown of Scariest Fastball Ever.
Maybe then he'd get some recognition. Or maybe those guys could start WATCHING HIM PITCH.

Grand Slams and Billy Beane, this is stream of consciousness

I don't have a lot to look forward to in the remaining days of this baseball season. Brandon Backe's starts, Hunter Pence in the lead-off spot, Oakland rookies playing to get traded, and Dan Haren's run at the AL Cy Young are about it.

The A's hit two grand slams last night. After reading the "Author Preface" of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team by Bill Shanks, I was hoping during the third inning with the bases loaded and two outs that Suzuki, who'd hit the first grand slam the inning previous, would hit another. Then I could say, "lookit the kid, two grand slams in two at-bats, what was that about the fat Braves catcher and two grand slams in a month?" But no dice. Groundout to third. Dan Johnson hit the other one in the ninth inning. I was sound asleep by then, but I'm listening to it as I type now.

The weather has turned cooler, finally. I was hoping it'd stay warm for longer, but I'm in Michigan, that would be a wishful thinking. The temperature is very fall baseball (or the same temperature I've associated with fall baseball) and I can feel October just out of reach. Which teams are going? Which teams will fall at the end? Will the winner of the National League Central have a winning record? Will Boston win it all -- again?

These are questions we all want answered, and they will be by the time November rolls around. To fill the time between now and then, I will be reviewing, in chunks, the aforementioned book about the Atlanta Braves. This is purely for my entertainment, and yours, too, I trust.

I've already done a preliminary skim of the book, utilizing the index in order to spot check for A's, Moneyball, and Billy Beane references. I got a good laugh out of that.

Monday, September 10, 2007

At least Ausmus still puts out.

Sometimes it really sucks not being in your team's market. Last week was one of those times. I got many IMs and phone calls that went along these lines:

-Hey, Skye, did you see Ausmus and his surfboard?
-Skylar! Naked Ausmus!
-Dude, did you get Houston coverage on mlb.tv today? Roy said some pretty funny things.

This is also one of those times I'm thankful for the internet.

-No, I hadn't, but now I have.
-I wish he was naked.
-No, I didn't. So did Brad Lidge and Mike Lamb.

"I was kind of embarrassed to throw to him now. Every time I see him behind the plate now, I'm going to think about that picture. He don't look like he's the manliest guy here right now." - Roy Oswalt

"Maybe we're all just jealous, but at the same time, there's a certain limit to what can be presented, and I think he's maybe stepped over the lines on that one." - Brad Lidge

"I had to get my own copy and keep it forever. I put it up in my game room at home next to my World Series pictures because these are things that I'll miss when I retire. It won't be the game. It will be shirtless pictures of Brad Ausmus." - Mike Lamb

In related news, the Astros are last in the division and their E# is down to 9. The first National League team eliminated from playoff contention was Florida.

[Thank you, Raisa, for those wonderful quotes.]

Saturday, September 8, 2007


1. Adam Melhuse re-signed with the A's not too long ago after having been DFA'd by the Rangers.

2. Eric Chavez has been shut down for the season to get shoulder and possibly back surgery. He's had a torn labrum for 10 years and has a bulging disk in his back. His "tendinitis" problems this year with his forearms were fabricated -- he's had nerve problems.

3. Houston's magic number is down to 13. Wandy is still bad on the road. The Astros are still unable to hit and now Ransom is playing shortstop. Where is Mike Lamb?

4. Eliminated teams are the Orioles and the Devil Rays, with the CWS magic number at 1. Let's see if the Twins and Indians can get wins to make it official.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I was reading Cicero's First Catilinarian Oration and stumbled upon a word that was at once familiar and mysterious.

Cupio, patres conscripti, me esse clementem....

My eyes dashed across the page to the facing vocabulary and my senses revolted at the sight:

clemens -ntis merciful.

Sure, Cicero. More like opposite of.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

But the Astros never run!

On September 2, 2007 in Chicago, IL at Wrigley Field, Jason Kendall allowed THREE Astros baserunners to steal second base.

Ty Wigginton
Hunter Pence
Eric Bruntlett

Where are you, A's fans praising the defense of Kendall's arm? I'm waiting.

Astros update: Following the Wrigley series, the Astros are 15 under and 10 back. The Magic Number is 17.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tremendous "mediocrity" indeed

The Astros are 15 games under .500 aaaaaaand 9 games out.

The Cubs, Central division leaders, are only three over. Milwaukee is a game and a half back at .500 and St. Louis, defending World Champions, are a game under and two back.

I hope that the winner of the division has a losing record. That would make my season.

Monday, August 27, 2007


In possibly the strangest turn of events in Houston this season, Uncle Drayton has fired Astros GM Tim Purpura and manager Phil Garner.

This leaves Astros Nation cheering (after all, we booed Purpura during his introduction at Bagwell's retirement ceremony yesterday), but also puzzled. Why now? Why not, I don't know, when it could have made a difference? Why not wait until after the season?


But, hell. I'm not going to complain. I do, however, want to know who's gonna play interim.
Replacing Tim Purpura as interim GM is Tal Smith, after whom that hill in center is named. He is President of Baseball Operations.
Replacing Phil Garner as interim manager is Cecil Cooper. Bench coach, has coached during Phil's ejections and also suspensions, and I love him. Plus, he's black. TAKE THAT, MILTON BRADLEY.


Foxnews says that Vick is losing "mountains of prestige."

My response?

....Michael Vick HAD prestige to lose?!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What is classy?

Classy is holding the runner at third when a single is hit with your team up 24-3 and there are no outs in the ninth inning.
Rangers won 30-3, setting a franchise record for most hits in a game (...possibly a ML record?) and scored the most runs in one game since 1900.

Now they play the O's again. I'm banking on another 30 runs.
Wes Littleton got the save with a 27-run lead. Here is the definition of a save:
A pitcher is credited with a save when he finishes a game won by his club, is not the winning pitcher, and either (a) enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning, (b) enters the game with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck, or (c) pitches effectively for at least three innings.

Littleton did (c). Now, he could have pitched ineffectively (given up, say, six grand slams) and the Rangers still would have won.

Kendall v. Zito

I was briefly excited that I'd be watching Zito pitch tonight on WGN as the Giants are playing the Cubs, then I realized that wait a second, Kendall has caught Zito quite a few times. Kendall knows all his stuff better than anyone in the world.

This may not be pretty.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Home Runs (plural!) for ... Jason Kendall?!

Perhaps the most shocking event I saw highlighted on Sportscenter was the fact that Jason Kendall had hit a home run.

That's three on the season!

I don't know what to do with myself.

What I Think About Bonds (Finally!)

Yeah, I've been packing for school and driving from Texas to Indiana, plus throw USMS Long Course Nationals in there and there's no time left for Barry Bonds.

But as I sit in this most comfortable bed, I have decided to give all of you my opinion on Barry Bonds and the HR record. I know you've been waiting with bated breath and haven't read ENOUGH opinions on the subject matter, so I shall give you what you desire.

I've been keeping a VHS tape in the VCR this summer labeled "Let's Watch History!" Recognizing this summer as a summer of milestones, my original intention was to record those milestones being reached and broken for posterity. Or maybe a slow winter day. I missed the opportunity to tape Sammy Sosa's 600th HR (cruise to Alaska!), but I did see it live. I decided to stay home from the game that Biggio eventually got his 3000th hit and have that, as well as three of his other hits from that night. Somewhere in there is a long stretch of tennis, with Rafael Nadal making a hard push at winning Wimbledon but it ended up being Federer's historic 5th. And then Bonds, with #755.

I'll probably best remember the #756 game as the one wherein Barry Zito managed to groundout into an RBI, his first in his Major League career. Honestly, Barry Z means more to me than Barry B, and no matter what, that's not going to change. Many people say no one will remember that the Giants lost that game, but I will, because Z was in line for the win before the bullpen blew it.

The worst part of that game wasn't the record-breaking home run and Barry Bonds being booed all across the nation. No, it was Barry Zito being booed by San Francisco, an act absolutely unacceptable to me. Here's a pitcher you're going to have on your roster for at least six more seasons -- love him. You're going to be miserable if you don't.

My mom told me this morning that the Reds radio guys here in Indiana were talking about what a huge mistake SF made by signing him to that monster contract. I explained to her that he's never been on the DL and he likely never will. I don't even feel jinxy when I say that! That's how much confidence I have in the arm of Barry Zito. Besides that, everyone knows what he's capable of -- he just needs a little confidence from himself in order to achieve it.

So this is what I think about Bonds: Willie Mays is his godfather and Bonds is a San Francisco legacy. Aaron congratulated him in front of all of baseball. The record is not tainted. It is what it is and when it's broken Alex Rodriguez will accept the congratulations from Bonds, who will have held that record for a far shorter amount of time than Hank, befitting his lack of grace next to Aaron.

I know that if you allow yourself to admit it, you stood from your chair or couch or barstool -- whatever you were sitting on to watch the game -- and your heart skipped a beat as that ball shot out of that park. You think the fact that Bonds thinks the ball belongs to the fan, not the player, is somehow admirable and you have given him some of your respect for that.

I'll remember that moment forever, his arms raised in not triumph but relief. We all moved on in that instant, the weight of that record and what it means shifting onto a new level, not as heavy and not as prominent.

You were watching history and that is special no matter who's making it.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Kendall Update

Being as the Cubs are in Houston and I'm watching the Astros play, I'll update for each of his at-bats. His last trip to Houston saw him playing left field and hitting a home run. Let's hope that doesn't happen tonight.
This is not Chris Burke playing second. This is Craig Biggio. Eighth error of the season for the oft-benched on the road Not-So-Killer B.
Kendall vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Top 2nd: takes a ball (1-0), takes a strike (1-1), takes a ball (2-1), foul (2-2), foul (2-2), foul (2-2), takes a ball (3-2), popped out foul (catcher).
Top 4th: takes a strike (0-1), takes a ball (1-1), takes a ball (2-1), takes a ball (3-1), takes a ball (4-0) walk.
Top 7th: takes a strike (0-1), takes a ball (1-1), takes a ball (2-1), takes a ball (3-1), takes a strike (3-2), pop out (shortstop).
Kendall vs. Chad Qualls
Top 8th: Strikeout.

Then there was a passed ball which was scored as a wild pitch.


...Did I just hear that right?

Dusty Baker said something along the lines of, "The Cardinals haven't run a lot this season. That's surprising. They don't have a lot of speed, but they don't have a lot of steals."

Don't you mean, "Tony La Russa's the manager, he's known for sending runners all the time and they haven't run a lot, that's fucking surprising." He talks like they SHOULD have a lot of speed with a lack of speed. Use your conjunctions, yo.

And also, it's official: players don't take new photos when they're traded. Now, this is common sense, right, but I see some photos and think, "well maybe that's a new photo."

However, Morgan Ensberg looks like his bear self in his SD cap. Astros Spring Training 2007 FTW!

Yadier Molina just about stole a base. Well, he stole second and advanced to third, but the official scorer has scored it as a wild pitch and a throwing error on the catcher.

I'll go on record saying you don't need speed to steal. Carlos Lee, Not A Deer himself, is second in steals this season with 7 for the Astros, just behind Injured Phenom with Legs for Miles Hunter Pence and just ahead of Lead-off Man When Biggio Isn't Playing Chris Burke.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The DL, part two + #755

Here's a list of the players on my teams who have visited the DL:

Bobby Kielty
Mark Kotsay
Esteban Loaiza
Dan Johnson
Rich Harden (2)
Mike Piazza
Milton Bradley (4+)
Bobby Crosby
Eric Chavez
Justin Duchscherer
Huston Street
Hunter Pence
Chris Sampson
Adam Everett

To this I say, RIDICULOUS! The only impact injuries on this list are Piazza, Crosby, Pence and Everett.


Although we had a party going on in my house last night, I managed to videotape #755 on my "Let's Watch History!" tape (Biggio's 3,000th, Federer's 5th Wimbeldon), and I hope to be able to tape #756. Screw the steroids, this is still history.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Trade Deadline, what?

Houston DFA'd Morgan Ensberg, which is a sad state of affairs for his handful of fans (me among them). However, he seems to be taking it well.

Kenny Lofton went back to Cleveland a couple days ago. I failed to report on it because of a couple reasons:
1. It's not like it's never happened before, Kenny to CLE
2. It's Kenny Lofton, king of trading teams.

A friend's initial reaction was, "Why would anyone want to go to Cleveland?" And my response? "Well, if you're gay, there's Grady Sizemore." Plus, you know, a better shot at October this season.


We've already seen Jason Kendall go to the Cubs (oh hey! He got his first Cubbie rbi the other day), and that was kind of the blockbuster until today.

Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay (now-former member of the Disintegrating Bullpen) were traded to Atlanta for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, and two pitching prospects (Matt Harrison is reportedly one of them).

A few things.

Ron Mahay is a decent pitcher, no doubt. Mark Teixeira is an amazing first baseman, also no doubt. But Teixeira is kind of a rental and Saltalamacchia is so freaking young, and good. I have no idea about the other kids that came over with Salty, but I'll bet in another year we'll be looking back at this trade saying, "Hahaha. Braves got fleeced!"

Which, you know. No big surprise.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Boy Prince

Spring training is a time of fresh faces, limitless hope, sunshine and green grass. It's also the first time you get to see your team's prospects play with the current stars. You see the potential in their bodies, the new, young strength in their arms, and the giddy "I can't believe I'm here!" look in their bright eyes.

For the Astros it was Hunter Pence. His long, quick stride. His powerful swing. His range in the outfield.

For the A's it was Travis Buck. His surfer hair, ability to walk, and quick smile fit right in with the frat house quality of the A's clubhouse.

But for the Giants, it was Tim Lincecum. Shadowed by the recent signing of off-kilter superstar Barry Zito, many were unaware of The Kid's nickname: The Franchise. At maybe 5'10" and 165 lbs. soaking wet, San Francisco had taken him 10th overall and were grooming him to be the next great Giants pitcher.

Today, he pitched 8 innings, allowed no runs, notched 8 strikeouts, and allowed 4 hits. He hit 97mph on the radar gun, his fastball consistently in the mid-nineties.

The next great Giants pitcher has arrived. (I'm also glad he's on my fantasy team. Hah!)

Lucky Glove, Golden Boy

I watched the Astros-Pirates game last night with a couple friends of mine. We were baffled a few times during the game (the barbeque smoke blowing around from center field, Mark Loretta getting thrown out at the plate), but none so much as the HBP so not a hit by pitch as to bring back banished memories of Jermaine Dye and the grand slam that followed. My sister, not a baseball fan, was quite amused by the replay and McLouth playing off the injury like a pro.

I don't think I like Brad Ausmus more than when he's angry.

However, the most important part of this game wasn't the win, or even the spectacular, heart-in-your-throat ending of a dropped third strike and the temporary inability of Ausmus to track it down with the runner on third bearing down on home plate -- it was the fact that Brad Lidge got two strikeouts with the bases loaded.

He's back, my friends. He is back.

In other news, Jason Kendall didn't start today.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hey, Cubbie!

Jason Kendall: 0-8* with a walk as a Cub.

He's starting today against Webb of the Diamondbacks. This should be fun.
Bottom 3rd: Takes a ball. Takes a strike. 4-3 groundout.
Bottom 5th: Takes a strike. 4-3 groundout.
Top 6th: fails to throw out Eric Byrnes stealing second.
*Bottom 7th: Takes a strike. Takes a ball. Foul. 6-3 groundout.
Top 9th: Replaced by Koyie Hill.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The first "Fuckin' A" trade of this season

Yesterday morning in my personal blog I typed the following words: This is the problem with A's catching: Jason Kendall.

Then I went on to explain that since he never took a day off, the Catcher of the Future, Kurt Suzuki, would languish on the bench. This is why Adam Melhuse was traded for cash to the Rangers -- Suzuki rides the bench cheaper than does Melhuse. Piazza's floundering about in re-hab to get his arm back into shape in case emergencies happen before the trading deadline (because we know he WILL be traded -- Jack Cust rocks!)

And then bam.

Jason Kendall and his full no-trade clause is suddenly and completely a Chicago Cub. There weren't even whispers that Beane was already on the move and here we have Kendall, a Cub, and some AA lefty a newly-minted Athletic. Turns out the AA lefty was Jerry Blevins and he came with a catcher, Rob Bowen (recently dumped to AAA in order to, as it turns out, make room for Kendall).

A couple things, here. One, for Kendall to be traded with a full no-trade clause he had to approve the trade. So now we know that Kendall wanted to leave. A's fans, stop defending the guy! He did just the same as Zito, just a few months earlier.

Two, we all should have seen this coming! Kendall wasn't going to be a Type A free agent, which means no compensation picks when he signs with another team in the off-season after being offered arbitration by the A's. Beane wasn't going to sign him anyway -- too expensive. His salary this season is $13M and the only reason the A's have him is because Pittsburgh is footing $5.5M of the bill. Thirteen million dollars in 2007 ... what could he command in 2008?

Three, if you're reading this and thinking, "OMG Danny Haren won't have a good catcher anymore, he's gonna suck!!!" you're an idiot. You are also, as far as I can tell, pretty normal for an A's fan living in the Bay Area.

Goodbye, Jason Kendall. Goodbye, Mike Piazza. Hello, Catcher of the Future!

And Dan Haren? He'll be just fine.

Friday, July 6, 2007

How long until he's fired?

Day game
MIN: 20
CWS: 14

Night game
MIN: 12
CWS: 0

Friday, June 29, 2007

2998, 2999, 3000, 3001, 3002...

Craig Biggio not only made his 3,000th hit into an RBI in last night's game against Colorado, he got thrown out by former teammate Willy Taveras trying to stretch it into a double. If it was any other player on any other day, Houston would be throwing a conniption over the poor baserunning skills employed that ended the inning. Even the first base coach, Jose Cruuuuuuuz, fell into the trap that is a milestone game. He sent him on an outfield arm he knows very well!

That was Biggio's third hit of the night, and if he'd stopped there I still would have been impressed. But the game went into extras after a couple of well-placed home runs (these after Chad Qualls -- you guessed it -- gave up the lead on a two-run home run) and Biggio had more chances to bat than I would have liked (on any other day). He ran out the grounder on two outs in the eleventh to start the patented Astros rally (wait until all chances are squandered before changing your mind about wanting to win the game) and advanced to third on Hunter Pence's double, the softest ever hit in the history of baseball. Berkman was HBP ("You're supposed to hit Biggio!") and Carlos Lee, definitely "not a deer" and probably the only guy in the NL this side of Prince Fielder who could get thrown out at first on a single, made his lack of speed a moot point with a moonshot into the Crawford Boxes.

A little excessive, I say, but why not have a grand slam to end it? I'll take that any day over the game inning double play, quit often hit into by Not A Deer himself.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Because wins and losses are an accurate measure of a pitcher's abilities....

A's-Indians (CLE coverage), top of the second after the last of Carmona's runs score:
"Eight earned runs may hurt your ERA, but it only counts as one L."

Eight earned runs over 1+IP WILL hurt your ERA and that's a lot more damaging than getting nailed for the loss.

Mr. 999 and Where'd our bullpen go?

Far more impressive than 3,000 hits to me, a fairly new baseball fan, is that 999 of Craig Biggio's 2,997 hits have been for extra bases. Not only that, but he has more doubles than any other right-handed hitter in history.

At the risk of sounding blasphemous (his career is as long as my younger sisters' lives), what's so great about Craig Biggio? Consistency? This season, he's consistently mediocre. With the spotlight on his march to 3,000 his inadequacy at the plate becomes the center of attention. Or does it? The Houston Chronicle, on the front of its sports page, proudly proclaims that Biggio went 1-4 last night. He led off the third inning with a single to nab his 2,997th career hit. The next article over talks about how we need to trade everyone.

The Astros went on to lose 5-11 with a 9-run sixth for the Brewers both the loss for Wandy Rodriguez and the nail in the coffin for the bullpen. In 2005, Houston had Clemens, Oswalt, Pettitte, Lidge, Ensberg, Lane, Berkman, Taveras, need I go on? In 2007, Houston has Oswalt, Pence, and Brian Moehler as its steadiest arm in the 'pen.

Jason Lane, can you still pitch?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Disabled List

As my Navy friend so eloquently put it yesterday, "I want to be able to take off from work if I'm tired."

Is it just me, or are there more DL stints across MLB this year than last year? Every time I turn around there's a new name followed by a body part in parentheses parading across the "Bottom Line" on Sportscenter.

Brad Lidge (oblique)
Rich Harden (shoulder)
Darin Erstad (ankle)
Vicente Padilla (triceps)
Jim Edmonds (back)
Curt Schilling (ego)

I mean, should it be this difficult to stay healthy? Milton Bradley, for instance. Three DL stints, I believe, and all of them muscle strains. The Yankees pitching staff during the early season? Muscle strains that led to the firing of the strength coach. The A's pitching staff has lost two starters (Harden and Loaiza) and four+ relievers over the season due to injury.

So here's to America's health care system. You don't need Michael Moore to tell you that the United States is unhealthy and hurting and not getting any help; you can just look at Major League Baseball.