Siberian Baseball

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Juan Pierre, defender of dead fat guys

I'll admit I haven't been following the Barry Bonds home run chase too closely. It's kind of like hearing your alternator start to go under your hood. You know it'll happen soon and that you won't be too happy when it does, but there's not a whole lot you can do about it.

Knowing that he was one behind tying Babe Ruth going into Tuesday's game against the Cubs didn't sway me one way or another (I'd actually be more inclined to skip a game with Bonds in it than watch it). Seeing Rich Hill get the start was pretty surprising, though. More on that later.

Despite his light-hitting as of late (.172 BA; .273OBP) he redeemed himself in my eyes to end the fifth inning tonight when he made Bonds wait at least another at-bat by picking a near homer at the wall in dead center. Good for him - what's the opposite of a curse? Maybe the Babe will hook us up with that.

Could any other team use a "Benevolent Helping Hand of the Bambino" more than the Cubs? Other than the Royals?

In the imaginary league of my mind, when Pierre left the field after that catch, he smirked and said clearly into his glove, "Fuck you, Juicer... not on my watch."

Back to Hill, it's now the sixth inning as I write this and if he holds on, he's got bigger stones than most rock quarries. Imagine stepping in from the minors and if making it to the bigs wasn't intimidating enough, they stop the game every nine batters to hand you a marked ball in case it's deposited into the outfield stands, tying Babe Ruth's home run record?

Yeah, yikes.

Things that worry me? Two effective pitches from a starting pitcher - a fastball and a big, crazy curve. Things that please me? A left handed starter on the mound - this is big, considering he replaced Glendon Rusch in the rotation.

But hey, Kerry Wood should help shatter attendance records in Iowa this weekend.

Elsewhere in Major League Badminton:

* I'll admit it, I get a kick out of the Giants' announcers. Mike Krukow gets more entertaining the more you watch him. Like the anti-Ken "The Swinger" Harrelson.

I'll admit that the tandem of Duane Kuiper and Krukow was a sideshow for me initially, because of their involvement in the EA Sports series, but they've really grown on me this season. As annoying as Krukow was in last year's game using his catchword, "Meat," when it's used in a live game, it can be pretty entertaining. (When the Cub fan got beaned by the Randy Winn homer, Krukow chimes in with, "Ooooh, not good. Next time bring your glove, Meat." In that case, yes, bring a glove. That was just embarrassing for everyone.)

His gimmick is to "eliminate" fans by covering them with the telestrator - drawing over them for all sorts of crap like hat violations and being a douchebag in a kayak. Good times.

While several color commentators in both leagues make a living circling people (like Minnesota's Bert Blyleven) Krukow enjoys marring fans' images on live TV. Awesome.

(Another strange phenomenon around the league that is tailing off now is making fun of the AFLAC duck as it waddles across the trivia question on FSN broadcasts. Moreso in the first weeks of the season, but it seemed like every announcers was having a cheap laugh at the duck's expense. Leave the duck alone - unless he's out there personally trying to cripple these people. I think this might be a real possibility.)

One thing? Enough with the yahoos in the bay, already. We get it - they ride in canoes with nets. That's great. Stop showing them every 45 seconds. Are things that boring inside the stadium? WGN doesn't sow shot after shot of people on the El platforms at either ballpark, why all of these wet losers?

* I just heard Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano referred to as "The Zombie." Did I miss something? I've never heard that and want to make sure I'm ahead of the pack with this.

If you thought the fake Matt Clement beards were awesome, imagine a few hundred Cubs fans with dark circles around their eyes, moaning and demanding brains. Insert your own early day game/frat boy/hangover jokes here, I'll wait.

* What's up with the lopsided scores tonight?

Initially it was just the Braves slapping the fish 10-2, with the White Sox putting a decent hurt on the Angels. Then, the floodgates opened in New York. By the end of the evening, it looks like this:

ATL 10, FLA 2
CWS 9, LAA 1
BOS 14, NYY 3
MIN 15, TEX 5

Lowly Minnesota and its three road wins beats Texas like the Rangers owed them money for a new stadium. Hell, even the Royals got a 10-spot on the board.

What happened here? Did the new Barry Bonds juiced home run balls get mixed into the gen-pop ball bags?

(On a side note, would there be a better story 10 years from now than if it leaked that Bud Selig introducing weighted balls with a steel core as Bonds' special marked balls? Like a nice, heavy metal so the balls wouldn't leave the park? That'd be phenomenal. If you see a ball fall from the pitcher's hand and hit the mound with a thud like a shot put, you know what's up)

(Photo from /


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