Holy High Five

It’s difficult for me to actually cheer Manny, but (pardon the play on words) man-oh-man, that catch-high five with a fan over the wall-hit the cut-off man-double up the guy off first was both amazing and hilarious.

Here’s the summary from an ESPN.com summary:

With runners at first and second and one out, Kevin Millar hit a drive to left. Ramirez made an over-the-shoulder grab on the warning track, reached over the seven-foot wall to slap a Boston fan with a high-five and then turned and threw the ball to Dustin Pedroia. The relay from Pedroia to Kevin Youkilis doubled up Aubrey Huff to complete the 7-4-3 double play.

I’ve instructed my sons to “play hard, play fair and have fun” when playing sports. It’s sort of become our mantra. Manny might not always play hard, but he’s always having fun and that’s part of the pro game that seems to be missing. {Witness the hullabaloo the end of last week about Joba and the fist pumping.} Continue reading Holy High Five

Bonds' new charges: Turning 4 into 14

In short, there’s nothing new to this indictment (called a superceding indictment by legal folks), but what it does is take the 4 original charges, called “potentially vague and ambiguous” by the prior judge, and convert them into 14 individual charges, including obstruction.

The U.S. attorneys office filed a superseding indictment on Tuesday that turns four perjury counts against Barry Bonds into 14. He also faces an obstruction charge based on his grand jury testimony denying the use of performance-enhancing drugs.


[If you’re into reading the actual indictment, click here.]

I was suggesting earlier today that so long as Bonds’ (original) indictment didn’t preclude him from leaving the country, that the Blue Jays seems like a pretty good landing spot for him right now. The Jays are starving for offense and just lost stud Vernon Wells for 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist. I doubt that Bonds is restricted from leaving but I suspect these modified charges won’t help his P.R. ‘case’ to find a job anytime soon.

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Unrelated tidbit: For those of you who like nailing others on editing or spelling or grammar, the AP wire had this: “The next hearing in the case is skedded for June 6.” Guess the editor was out to dinner when they ran with this. Though, by the time you see the article, it will probably be fixed. Continue reading Bonds' new charges: Turning 4 into 14

ESPN's look at the Next Dice-K

Well, those guys at the WWL are finally catching up to me. After all, it was six weeks ago (3/24/08) when I wrote A closer look at the next Dice-K. Jim Caple has the honors here, and besides a requisite anti-Yanks quip or two, the expose is quite interesting.

Of note:
Most observers feel he either is already as good as Matsuzaka or soon will be. “I think his numbers in Japan are going to be equally as phenomenal as he continues to move on, barring injury, as Dice-K’s were in Japan,” [former manager and current Royals manager Trey] Hillman says. “He’s got a different type of frame. Dice-K’s got a more powerful frame, but Darvish has looser levers and a taller frame with more whip, and I think that gives him an opportunity to have more powerful and more electric secondary pitches as well as a fastball.”
……
Most everyone says if Darvish is posted, the bidding will easily top the $50 million the Seibu Lions received in exchange for the rights to Dice-K. After that, [Oakland Athletics scout Randy] Johnson says, “The sky is the limit as to where the big-money teams would go.” Given the usual escalation in baseball contracts, it isn’t crazy to think the negotiating fee could go to $75 million.
……
And is there any team for which [his father] Farsad would like Yu to pitch? “I love the New York and Boston area. If he ever makes it there, I don’t know, it’s up to him, anywhere in the States is good, but I personally love New England.”

Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman: Consider that your wakeup call.

In case the video below doesn’t work for some reason, click here

Of course, this will only serve as another flashpoint in the silly posting rules of the Japanese league as part of their agreement with MLB….which was supposed to EVEN the playing ground, not futher isolate the lower revenue teams who can’t concieve of a $75 million posting fee just to talk to this guy.

But I digress. It will be interesting to see how this develops. I’ll be watching. You should, too.

Continue reading ESPN's look at the Next Dice-K

$1 goes further than you thought

No, this is not a commercial for a fast food joint’s ploy to sell you half a sandwich for $1 and make it look both a) appetizing and b) filling.

No, you can get yourself a regular professional ballplayer for a mere $1.

As it turns out, Wes Helms got traded for $1. That is all the Marlins had to give the Phillies, who agreed to pay his $2.4 million salary this season. (He is under contract next season, though the Marlins could buy him out.)

Just awesome. Continue reading $1 goes further than you thought

"So's your mom"

With a big thanks to Shyster, I present you with this, a wonderful email-based dialogue between a writer and Carlos Delgado’s agent. Priceless.

Remember the “I” in this is Star Ledger writer Dan Graziano:

Sorry I missed your ‘joke.’ This is what I wrote: ‘the Mets are paying Delgado $12 million in salary this year plus a $4 million buyout on his 2009 option’I won’t hold my breath waiting for your apology.”

Glad I didn’t. Because it didn’t come. What did come was a total descent into immature madness by somebody who purports to be a major league player agent. Sloane wrote back at 12:40 p.m.:

Apologize this retard, he’s making 16 this year WITH an option for next year @ 16 or a buyout @ 4. Nice research by you but then I guess that whole concept of fact finding escapes you huh? They didn’t teach that on the short bus did they?

Seriously. Not making this up. I cut-and-pasted it.
……….
Anyway, maybe I should have resisted, but I couldn’t. I wrote him back again:

That a joke too? You’re a funny guy.”

And then, at 12:46 pm, in apparent celebration of Mother’s Day, David Sloane, the agent for Carlos Delgado, wrote back the following e-mail, which I present to you in its entirety:

So’s your Mom.”

And there you have it, folks. “So’s your Mom.”

Incredible. Continue reading "So's your mom"

Goose'd

Buried late in an article about Goose Gossage’s visit to the Hall Of Fame is this story. I love hearing from the ballplayers about what they were really thinking at a pivotal point in time. Not right after it happens and they give us something they think we want to hear, but the truth some time later.

Gossage, that famous mustache now gray, claims to have hit only three batters intentionally in his major league career: Ron Gant, Al Bumbry and Andres Galarraga.

They had it coming,” he said.

I love this stuff. Then the sidestory about drilling The Big Cat:

Well, maybe not Galarraga. He was on a hot streak for the Montreal Expos in 1988 and Gossage, who was with the Cubs that season, said manager Don Zimmer warned the staff not to let Galarraga beat them.

I’m in the eighth inning, Galarraga’s up, first base is open, the game’s on the line with two guys on, and I’m thinking back to the meeting before the game,” Gossage said with an impish grin. “I was in my delivery when I thought, ‘I’m not taking any chances.’

“Boom! I wasn’t going to put him on, so I saved four pitches and drilled him as good as I can drill them. Right in the ribcage. You could hear the air go out. It was beautiful.

I’m not sure what’s better: his story about deciding to hit a batter, the twisted joy he derives out of executing it perfectly, or the fact that he noted that he “saved four pitches” by doing so. Either way, I love it. Continue reading Goose'd

The Art of Over-reaction

My head hurts. Trying to decipher the “unwritten rules of baseball” can do that to ya. So, here’s my short but sweet answer:

STOP YER B*TCHIN’

There, I said it. What am I talking about? The whining by the Indians (and others) about Joba’s fist pump/yell after he struck out Dellucci yesterday. Big deal. It wasn’t doing it in his (Dellucci’s face). He turned and let out a bellow of excitement after an important out. Two days after the same Dellucci cranked a 3 run HR off Joba.

That’s what gets him going and that’s what everybody likes to see, but if a hitter was to do something like that they’d probably say it was ‘bush (league)’ and you shouldn’t do it,” Dellucci said. “It’s kind of funny how a pitcher can get away with it.”

Please, get over it. Hall of Famer Eckersley did it and no one minded. Manny admires flyballs, even if they are caught. Juan Uribe, JUAN URIBE!, throws two hands up on a follow-thru when he thinks he hits one. Kirk “I don’t believe what I just saw” Gibson did a double fist thing after his famous homer off of, who else, Eck (OK, that was a bit more important than a K in the 8th inning on May 8th, but I digress).

My point is, so long as the expression of relief/joy is done in the spirit of the moment and not done to intentionally show up the opposition, I am fine with it.

The Yanks had been called “corporate” and “professional” during the latter half of the Torre years. I called it boring and uninspiring. Jeter’s fist pump was as emotional as it got. Watching the impact that younger guys like Melky and Cano and Joba, and even Duncan, have had on the vets is important. The jumping around with Melky/Cano is fun (heck, it even woke up the catatonic Abreu). Joba’s yelling and fist pumping is exciting and not meant to embarass any opposing player. Duncan’s forearm pounding is silly but so what? It’s all meant to give their team a lift.

Stop being such a stodgy stick in the mud.

Continue reading The Art of Over-reaction

Re-examining Wang, Part IV

Sorry for the belated posting about Wang’s performance last night (Wednesday). Two excuses: 1) I was at the game (see pix below) so I couldn’t post after I got home; 2) My company reported earnings today and I just didn’t have the bandwidth to get to really diving into it.

Now, I was there last night, but as you can see, I was nowhere close to seeing how good or bad Wang’s stuff was. What we could tell from our height and distance was that it seemed that he was having trouble with the zone. Walking leadoff guys really stung him. That was not what I would have expected.

So, where is he after last night? No longer undefeated, that’s where.

His line: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 walks, 4 K, 3 ER, 99 pitches.

On any given night, that’s a fairly solid outing. If your starter can give you 7 IP with just 3 ER, you’ll win a bunch of games. But, against a nuclear hot Cliff Lee, it just wasn’t good enough.

Ground ball/Fly ball
ESPN.com shows Wang’s GB:FB ratio down to 1.84.

Again, there were a few hard hit balls but no HR. Surprising that he’s only surrendered 1 HR so far, given the rotation of his GB:FB ratio.

Wang’s ERA took a slight bump up from an even 3.00 to 3.12, below his career average and one the Yanks are no doubt ecstatic to see.

K-Rate
Wang only K’d 4 in seven IP last night. Last year, that’d be a great outing. This year; not so much. It’s not the 4 K’s but the 3 walks that I found disconcerting. You could just tell he didn’t have his best stuff, even from the upper left field stands. His season K-rate now stands at 6.23, down a smidge from the 6.40 after his last outing. No major issues here. Still well above his career rate prior to 2008.

Pitches per inning
Wang needed 14.1 pitches per inning, a bit below his season average of 14.6. Considering the walks and early game struggles, he still managed a few 1-2-3 quick innings. Had he been able to get out of some of those AB’s that he ran to 2 strikes and gave up a hit or walk, it would have been a different result.

It was a tough luck loss since Wang pitched well enough to win. And, I’m guessing here, that his agent should be contacting Cashman soon to see if they can’t work out a multi-year extension before he gets into the heavy arbitration years. I’ll maintain that signing younger players to longer term contracts can be a risk, but I’d surely take that risk with Wang. His demeanor, professionalism, his dedication to his craft and his seemingly endless desire to improve are worth investing in.

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I’ve gotten some good feedback with this “series” about Wang. So long as no one is getting bored with it, I’m happy to keep it going. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see. I can assure you that I’ll be watching closer (like my living room!) next time and be able to give a bit more of a “seen it” review.

Continue reading Re-examining Wang, Part IV