Siberian Baseball

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Do you even like baseball, guys?

Last names are tricky.

I had an editor who used to go line by line through every name on the agate we'd crank out on a nightly basis looking for mistakes and jokingly calling himself "The Hawk" when he'd catch one.

"McDougal or MacDuggle?" he'd ask. "There was a MacDuggle a few years ago who played for Southern Door - is this a brother or a sister?" If we really dug in our heels, he'd toss us a phone book and tell us to prove it.

We were wrong more often than not.

We thought he was trying to be a dick. He was really teaching us how to do a better job, make better connections and learn that a solid quarterback from 5 years ago might have an equally talented younger brother or sister in the wings.

I always silently suspected that as a prep athlete, his off-kilter last name (Harty not Hardy) might have played a role in this as well. Nothing sucks like doing a great job, clipping the box score and seeing your name spelled wrong.

Even on the high school level, it became our responsibility to get the names right, and while I will never claim to be perfect here, I do make an effort and will check and re-check names I don't know very well.

I guess that's why I'm frustrated when PA announcers and radio and TV personalities get things wrong so often. The Red Sox broadcast team just referenced Andre "Ether" and not Ethier and catching the post-mortem on the Twins/Tigers series had a walk-off homer from Brandon Inge, which was masacred beyond belief (Inguh? Ingey?).

I'm not asking for much, and the media guides even have phoenetic spellings of the names, but anyone who has in interest in baseball knows those two names of hundreds in the majors. Would it kill guys to watch a few games in their downtime?

* Jonathon Papelbon has blown the save and is struggling to get out of the ninth in Boston tonight. Wow, that's weird.

He's just not locating his pitches well and hung a fastball for a two-run homer to tie the game. I can't imagine the speculation on the Sons of Sam Horn board... no wait, I can.

* Elsewhere in the East, Phil Hughes is no-hitting the Rangers (see a pattern here, anyone?) and will have a huge rush on the fantasy boards starting now and continuing through tomorrow afternoon.

There are worse guys to pick up than Yankee rookies, but I always get frustrated at premature runs made on guys in their first games.

* As much as Frankie likes to joke that the baseball season hasn't really begun until Kerry Wood or Mark Prior have hit the DL or are gone for the year, I argue the season really doesn't warm up until Roger Clemens begins his annual auction.

He's begun his annual auction.

* Watching the Brewers this weekend made me realize that last year it was the Brewers and Tigers off to hot starts and I stupidly called them both out as pretenders. There's something to be said for being half right.

Currently, the Brewers are 16-9 and 7-3 in the past 10 games in the upside-down Central Division (Brewers, Pirates, Reds, Cubs, Astros, Cardinals in order).

They are holding strong in the top third in average, OBP, ERA and earned runs. Not running away with anything, but seeing more pitching than they had before. With the young bats and the emergence of a viable pitching staff, it's been surprising, but justifies the preseason hype the team attracted.

(Photo from

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