Invading Big Mac Land


During batting practice, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols drilled a home run that knocked the lights out of the “Big Mac Land” sign on left field’s second deck. Pujols blasted the “A” in “MAC,” though it wasn’t apparent until the game had started and the lights for the letter were dark.

While it was done during pre-game batting practice, the effect is still awesome:

Continue reading Invading Big Mac Land

The Voice of God

By now, everyone reading this blog should know how I feel about Bob Sheppard, his voice, his presence and how much I hope he’s able to open TNYS next season. There’s an encouraging interview with Sheppard here and it’s worth a read, even if it devolves into a religious discussion on the 2nd page. (I’ll skip the religious discussion since you’re not coming here for that and frankly, I’m the wrong person to discuss that sorta stuff with anyways.)

Here are a few snippets (emphasis mine):
Bob Sheppard (BS): So my target date to be back is July 1. There is an All Star Game to be played at Yankee Stadium on July 15th and one of my goals is to be there and announce it. I did one years and years ago at Yankee Stadium but I can’t recall it. So now this would be something to remember. I do want to be there next year when we open a new Stadium. And I’d like to be the one who says, “Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen”Welcome to the NEW Yankee Stadium.
……
BH: Derek Jeter has requested a recording of your voice be played every time he gets up to bat. With technology the way it is now, would you like the Yankees to create a digital version of your voice to always be played at Yankee Stadium?

BS: No! No! No! (laughs) I didn’t even know that Yankee Stadium would preserve what I had been saying after introducing Jeter for years now. But they started using it because Jeter asked him to do it. And I didn’t even know that he (Jeter) had done the requesting (laughs)! He said, “Mr. Sheppard introduced me the first time I came to bat years ago and I want to keep going that way as long as I’m a Yankee, I want to hear him introduce me.

As I mentioned before: Get well soon, Mr. Sheppard.

Continue reading The Voice of God

How's he doing it?

I type this with a bit of trepidation. I type this only as it was asked to me at work yesterday. I’m about to become a reluctant skeptic and it doesn’t make me feel so hot.

What’s gotten into Jason Giambi?

The question drips with accusation, implied guilt, unfair treatment. It’s also a question in direct violation of “small sample size“. But, how does a player flick the switch as acutely as Giambi’s done this month? I don’t want to hear more about the thong, or that gawd-awful moustache. But how do you explain it? Is it just a guy getting hot for a stretch, or do we have to consider something more insidious given his history?

Remember, too, that this is a guy likely playing for another contract, somewhere, as the Yanks will most likely not exercise his $22M option (paying a $5M buyout).

The evidence
March/April 2008: 23 games, 5 HR, 12 hits, .164 BA, .315 OBP
May 2008: 20 games, 6 HR, 21 hits, .339 BA, .481 OBP

(click here for more splits that are pretty amazing thanks to the always interesting Baseball-Reference.com)

What’s also interesting is that Giambi’s monthly splits are eerily even across his career:

  • Month: BA/OBP/HR
  • March/April: .281/.402/66
  • May: .289/.406/61
  • June: .301/.429/64
  • July: .289/.404/65
  • August: .283/.420/57
  • September/October: .288/.406/62

The last time Giambi batted over .300 for a season was his first year in NY (2002), when he hit .314 with 41 HR and a hefty .435 OBP. He hit 41 the following year but his BA slumped to .250. During 2004, he suffered with the “parasite” and other health issues, hitting just 12 HR while batting just .208. Giambi bounced back in 2006 and 2006, batting .271 and .253, respectively, banging out a combined 69 HR.

So what’s going on here? Just a hot player? Just a healthy player? Just a superstitious player? Or something more?

Not fair, I know, but given his background, do we have any choice but to consider the alternatives?

Also strange, last night, Giambi hit his 11th HR of the season, which was also his 187th as a Yankee. He also hit 187 as a member of the A’s. Doesn’t mean anything, but accidental symmetry is always neat.

Continue reading How's he doing it?

Thanks for sharing

Today, we give Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland the “Too Much Information” award as he shares too much about 3B/SS/1B Carlos Guillen’s, um, sensitive condition:

There’s a reason Carlos Guillen had a rough game — including two errors — Monday night at third base. “He can hardly move — he’s got hemorrhoids so bad,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday. “He’s been playing with hemorrhoids that probably need to be lanced. He probably shouldn’t have been out there (third base on Monday).”

Leyland said the hemorrhoids have been bothering Guillen for about four or five days, but they have gotten worse in the last few days. “He could hardly walk (Monday night),” Leyland said.

Oh, my eyes. Why such details?!? Isn’t that against HIPAA rules or something? Somewhere, Kaz Matsui knows the pain that Guillen must be feeling.

Continue reading Thanks for sharing

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at this soiree

What I wouldn’t have given to be at least a fly on the wall at this soiree….

Berra was inducted the other night, and the Yankee legend was surrounded by heady company, including the astronaut Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, the novelist Toni Morrison, General Norman Schwarzkopf and Bruce Springsteen.

And in typical Berra-ese, when asked about getting inducted into the NJ HOF, he commented:
Hey, it’s just great to be inducted anywhere.”

Ah, Yogi. How cool must that have been? And judging by the picture to the right, Danny DeVito was there, too.

Berra had a good few comments about the current Yanks, notably:

  • “When the pitchers are young and just starting, they are always a little scared when they face big-league hitters. They’re afraid to throw strikes. That’s what I see with Hughes and Kennedy.”
  • “Jorge Posada is a key…it’s tough for pitchers, especially the young guys, to work with backup catchers.”

Continue reading Oh, to be a fly on the wall at this soiree

Home Run Derby

It’s mid-5th inning and the Yanks-Orioles are playing Home Run Derby. So far, 9 HR, five by Baltimore and 4 by the Yanks. Giambi, Abreu, Damon, ARod. Millar (2), Scott, Mora, Hernandez.

The Yanks were up 4-0 before Kennedy gave up a 4 spot in the bottom half of that inning. Yanks stretched it to 8-4 before the O’s cranked 3 HR in the 5th (so far), against Ohlendorf.

Might as well set up a tee and have an extra OF tonite. yeesh.

Of course, that is only a perfect reason to post one of the great stories from an on-the-mound conference ever, courtesy of baseball lifer Mark Grace:

What’s your funniest baseball story?

Grace: One day Rick Sutcliffe gave up back-to-back home runs in Cincinnati. And in Cincinnati, they shoot off fireworks after a Red hits a home run. And Sutcliffe was pretty intense on the day he pitched. So Eric Davis takes him deep and Paul O’Neill takes him deep right after that. So Sutcliffe is all pissed off, and Billy Connors comes out to the mound and Sutcliffe yells at him, “I know I gave up f—ing back-to-back home runs and get your f—ing ass back in the dugout and tell Zimmer to f—ing settle down there, too.

Billy looks at him and says, “I know you have everything under control, Rick. I just wanted to give that guy running the fireworks a little time to reload.” I blew a snot bubble on the mound I was laughing so hard.

Continue reading Home Run Derby

Great moments in Enabling

Two non-baseball posts in one day? Must be a slow day around the diamonds…

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The “working title” of this posting was “Great Moments In Missing The Point” but that became too wordy…. but the point’s the same….

Maybe you saw this, maybe not. When I first read the headlines, I simply thought “Yawn, another ballplayer arrested for marijuana use and an open can of beer in public…” Which is pretty much my standard answer for when pro athletes get nailed for such things. I’ve become numb to guys flaunting their fame to do whatever they want, whenever they want. NBAers happen to be among the most public of potheads though I have no doubt each sport has their fair share.

As it turns out the player, Joakim Noah, is the son of Yannick Noah, the 1983 French Open winner. Yes, the same Yannick Noah who “created a sensation a few years before when he told a magazine writer he smoked marijuana.” The elder Noah does the best (er, worst) job of defending his son by offering these ultra-enabling words:

Yannick Noah is perplexed by “all that fuss” surrounding the arrest of his basketball player son, who was charged with marijuana possession and having an open container of alcohol.
……
I don’t understand all that fuss for just drinking a beer on the street,” Yannick Noah said Tuesday at the French Open.

Sure, why act like a concerned parent when you can act like one of his buddies, enabling bad (and illegal) behavior? Especially when you’ve admitted being a frequent user in the past… It’s so much easier to be his friend than his parent.
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So just in case Yannick wanders over to this mini-slice of the blogosphere, here’s a quick read for ya (here’s another):

Examples of enabling behaviors include:

  • Making rationalizations for their irresponsible behaviors
  • Ignoring the problems caused by the addict’s use
  • Accepting their excuses or believing their lies
  • Not getting help for yourself

Continue reading Great moments in Enabling