Siberian Baseball

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good point

In the mix with the trade deadline chatter is this piece by Bugs & Cranks, a fan favorite here at Siberian Baseball.

It poses the intriguing question, "Will the Yankees and Red Sox ever trade players again?"

I tend to agree with their analysis which boils down to, "Sure, just as soon as my dog re-grows his balls."

According to the post:

Before the Mike Stanley trade in 1997, the Red Sox and Yankees last traded in 1986, when Boston acquired Don Baylor for Mike Easler - a swap of DHs. Before that, the two teams had gone 14 years without trading - the infamous Sparky Lyle for Danny Cater trade in 1972. So, in the last 35 years, the two teams have made 3 trades, or roughly one every 12 years. Even the United States and Cuba trade more frequently than that.

So, while crosstown rivals like the Cubs and White Sox will continue to offer and accept bizarre trades and swap players back and forth, the Yanks and Sox will most likely take the same road as other intra-division rivals and just let each other go to voice mail.

I'm fighting a case of the giggles right now, with images of Brian Cashman at a dinner party, when his phone rings, a friend asks if he needs to take the call and he shakes his head and puts his phone back in his pocket and says simply, "No, it's just Epstein again... You were saying?"

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Rich bullpen gets richer - Trading deadline 2007

It's not the wild west trading days of old, but most major league fans will take it.

With few superstars being moved this season, the headliners had to be Boston's aquisition of Eric Gagne - but not Jermaine Dye - and Atlanta's two newest Braves in Mark Teixeira and Octavio Dotel, big enough names, but nothing like the old school fire sales that used to happen.

Gagne is the talk of the telecast as the Red Sox are trailing the Orioles tonight and there is plenty to talk about there. With a bullpen that is already home to All-Stars Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon as the respective setup man and closer for the team.

The reports I've read make a point of mentioning that Gagne agreed to take a supporting role in Boston, so hopefully there won't be any turf wars over the closer's spot. Assuming that holds true and that Gagne is fine with taking it easy on his suddenly shaky arm, this is a great play by the Red Sox.

With Curt Schilling returning from the DL shortly, Josh Beckett's history of injuries and Daisuke Matsuzaka's high pitch counts this year another reliable arm in the bullpen can only help, especially if the starters need to be spelled in August as a long season takes its toll.

There's something to be said for having confidence in a deep bullpen - just ask any Cubs fans this year.

Personally, I thought the move to put Scott Linebrink in a Milwaukee uniform was interesting from a NL Central perspective. Despite his numbers, Linebrink was a bit of an untouchable player in San Diego as he was a favorite of management from everything I'd read. It seemed strange at the time, much like the unnatural attachments fantasy baseball managers seem to develop with their players, especially when they find diamonds in the rough.

For overviews of the trades made, you can check ESPN's take here or a little more blogger-friendly link here.

The Cubs decided to stand pat, with Sweet Lou Piniella opting to get a rubdown as the clock ticked down to zero on the trading deadline and the club prepares the areas around the clubhouse whirlpool tubs for Kerry Wood's return this weekend. Better put up some of those little yellow signs, too - just in case.

Knowing Wood's awful luck, there should probably be a lifeguard on duty just to be on the safe side.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

As long as you have the shovels out...

It's pretty funny that the same day I get the groundbreaking announcement for the Twins' new stadium - slated for this Thursday at 7 p.m, get your plane tickets now - is the day they trade away their starting second baseman to the Mets for prospects.

I guess that if you're going to have the shovels around, you might as well start burying the 2007 team while you're at it.

Keep in mind that the trade that got rid of AJ Pierzynski brought in Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano, but this seems to hint that while it'd be nice for the Twins to rally again this year, the front office isn't feeling the warm fuzzies right now.

This weekend had talk about buyers versus sellers and heartfelt assurances from the Dome that the Twins were still very serious about contending through October - and they kept selling that line right through today's announcement.

So with the Twins just seven games back of the Tigers in the American League Central race and 6 1/2 out of the Wild Card, the decision to move the veteran player seemed to be taken by the team as a sign that the club had chosen to put their focus on the 2008 season rather than this year.

But Ryan vehemently denied that notion.

"We're not giving up at all," Ryan said. "We're 6 1/2 games back, and we're better than we were a week ago. If we didn't think we could absorb this, I certainly wouldn't have done that. Now I know the perception sometimes when you give up a veteran player in late July is that it may not look good. But I still think we can absorb this."

With series against the Indians, Mariners, and Angels - a lot against the Indians - in August, this could get ugly quick.

But don't worry, there's a rookie who is on a plane for the Twin Cities right now.

To replace Castillo as the club's everyday second baseman, the Twins promoted infielder Alexi Casilla from Triple-A Rochester. Casilla, who was hitting .269 with the Red Wings, will be making his second appearance with the Twins this season.

No, I agree. The Twins are still totally in this thing.

(Image from the Minnesota Twins)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tavarez shows signs of humanity... weird

Thanks to Red Sox Monster for this clip - the magic happens with roughly five minutes left, where Julian Tavarez makes up for the previous YouTube video where he's being heckled and looks like he could lose his mind at a moment's notice.

Say what you will about his demeanor, talent as a pitcher or lifetime record - Tavarez is a master at shaking what his momma gave him.

Nice work all around.


Oh, you're so clever - Rally Fry Edition

One of the only downsides of watching out of market games on the MLB Package is that in order to get all of the good stuff the package provides - seeing your team when you're not living in the same town, Vin Scully, being able to turn off Hawk Harrelson and turn on the other team's broadcast - you have to wade through some crap.

Now, I'll fully admit that one man's trash is another man's treasure and that for as much as I can't stand Hawk, there are just as many fans in line to rip Jerry Remy, who I think is hysterical, especially when he falls over when playing air guitar.

As someone who grew up under the watchful eye of his drunken uncle Harry Caray, I fully understand the importance of the hometown annoyances/local flavor.

Despite that disclaimer, it's my great honor to introduce a new, semi-regular feature - The Harry Caray Memorial "Oh, you're so clever!" Award- where I'll bring these announcing oddities to the masses. It'll all be in good fun and no one will be caught with their pants down when the playoffs arrive, right?

Like Dane Cook says... actually, I wouldn't know. I just get angry when I see Cook on the new MLB commercials and can only hear the blood rushing past my eardrums when he's on the screen.

Tonight's inaugural winner are the good folks at Fox Sports Northwest and their rally fries. Which have drummed up their fair share of fan-based ire.

Once a game, the boys in the booth send down an order of fries to an apparently hungry fan base in Seattle. Nothing says baseball like french fries and in terms of rally gimmicks, the list starts and ends with the monkey for me.

It's like winning the lottery the first time you play - there's no where to go but down from there, really.

Also, when it comes to greasy giveaways, I'd expect this from Milwaukee, but Seattle? Shouldn't they have rally seafood or something like that? I guess they are pretty close to Idaho, though.

Holy cow, and have a great weekend.

(Image from WGN Broadcasting)

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Monday, July 23, 2007

The wheels aren't falling off the Dice-K bandwagon

I have to admit that I poach more than my fair share of ideas from little asides I'll hear on MLB broadcasts. Not to the point that I just transcribe what the announcers are saying, but where I'll hear conventional wisdom or skewed stats and wonder if they're correct.

Case in point? Daisuke Matsuzaka's home run totals.

Matsuzaka rattled off five starts - dating back to his June 10 start - without allowing a home run before allowing 3 on July 8 in Detroit and 2 on July 14 against Toronto. Questions of Matsuzaka's pitch counts (more on that later), arm slot and general pitching issues surfaced.

My question is whether or not anyone bothered to look at the numbers before asking those questions on the broadcast.

If you dig a little deeper to the stats for Matsuzaka this year, you'll see a roller coaster of innings, pitches, earned runs and home runs allowed.

Considering that he's had five starts each month - except for six in May and four so far in July and that will change this week - it's not that hard to do the math. For the sake of brevity, I'll use monthly totals, but the full stat sheet is available here.

April - 3-2; 4.36 ERA; 33 IP; 16 ER; 2 HR; 541 pitches thrown; 38 K.
May - 4-1; 5.22 ERA; 39.2 IP; 23 ER; 6 HR; 623 pitches thrown; 30 K.
June - 2-2; 1.59 ERA; 34 IP; 6 ER; 1 HR; 601 pitches thrown; 42 K.
July (four games) - 2-2; 4.88 ERA; 24 IP; 13 ER; 5 HR; 431 pitches thrown; 21 K.

The quick breakdowns show a few things:

* The home run allowances aren't that far out of whack, but after allowing just one homer in the entire month of June, seeing back to back games of three homers and two homers look like a problem. It's not.

* There should be strong concerns regarding pitch counts after throwing no fewer than 112 pitches per game in his five June starts, with a high of 130 on June 5. On the season, he's pitched no fewer than 85 pitches, with three starts under 100 pitches.

Seriously, go look at those stats again - it's ridiculous.

* There is a real "all or nothing" pattern in terms of earned runs in Matsuzaka's starts, where it's six or seven earned runs or two or fewer. Kind of strange.

* While the numbers don't really flesh it out much, Matsuzaka is prone to the proverbial big inning, where he'll get into trouble, walk a few batters, give up a cheap hit and find himself on the short end of a quick flurry of runs. Cubs fans will know this as the Kerry Wood Effect.

* Matsuzaka has allowed 13 homers on grass and only one on turf... so there's that.

* The numbers are pretty equal otherwise if you look at the split stats here. In short, there's no real reason for Red Sox Nation to panic quite yet.

Of course, there's always the second half of the season, warmer days to wear him down, warmer air to help the hitters and the growing body of work that other teams get to pick apart to try and give their hitters the edge in matchups.

In short, here we go again.

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Welcome back, Lester

The Red Sox and Indians are getting ready to start in Cleveland in about 10 minutes.

If you're looking for a ballgame tonight, check out ESPN2.

If you hadn't heard yet, here's why.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

See Joe Run

Last night I saw my first inside-the-park home run in person when Joe Mauer turned it on, got a favorable bounce and crossed home plate standing up to take a 2-2 tie with the Angels
and flip it over to a 5-2 win with the rally in the eighth inning.

The things I'll remember most are whacking my Dad in the leg as Mauer approached second and yelling, "I think he can do this!" before springing up to see two runs cross the plate ahead of Mauer. I'll also never forget my dad laughing and clapping as he watched the play - I think it's the most excited I've ever seen him for a sporting event.

Considering he's a moderate baseball fan who honestly watches more games to have something to talk about with my brother-in-law (a White Sox fan) and me, it was a fun game to see.

What I'll remember most, though, is that it was probably the biggest "first" he and I were able to see together. His first game was years before I was born, my first game was an exercise in patience for him and made for a long, long day of batting practice, the game and hanging around the players' lot hoping to see three seconds of Ryne Sandberg before he slipped into his car.

It was the first inside-the-parker for both of us and that was a cool thing to share. It makes me hope that I don't see a triple play or a no-hitter before I have kids so I can share that with them.

* As a quick side note, I was happy to see a Twins-o-gram on the big screen at the game welcoming Batgirl and Baby Dash to the game. It's nice to see she got home for a game. I was the nerd who clapped as people looked at me like I was nuts.

I was OK with that, though I have to admit, I didn't stand up to claim Justin Morneau as my boyfriend for the game. Sorry if that let here down.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Copyright infringement and Sweet Lou

I had to tune in for the beginning of the Jason Kendall era at Wrigley, where Lou Piniella informed us that among other things, Kendall is a "grinder."*

I'm pretty sure Ozzie Guillen is contractually obligated to assault Piniella with the World Series trophy for using that phrase during a taped interview.

Just imagine Ozzie standing over a bloodied Piniella while screaming, "Choo never, evah, use dat word in my town, Lou!" and you get the basic idea of why I was giggling on my couch during the pregame show.

In my imagination, Ozzie is essentially a Latino Joe Pesci, only with a fouler mouth.

After the Blowout in the Dugout - is there a catchy name for this in Chicago now? Help me out, I'm not in the loop, guys - I'm pretty sure that Carlos Zambrano would fit the same bill.

That's why it worries me to see the "Wake up the rivalry" commercials with Zambrano and AJ Pierzynski, where AJ waxes off one of Zambrano's eyebrows.

Zambrano must be one hell of an actor, because the look on his face suggests that homicide would be an acceptable, measured response.

* For the record, the Cubs broadcast team also told fans not to focus on Kendall's numbers - this recurring theme is starting to scare me. Do his "intangibles" include the ability to calm a nervous fan base that sees a catcher with spotty numbers and no power?"

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Catching up

No one told me that the All-Star Break wasn't a full week.

To bring Siberian Baseball back up to speed, here's a nice catch all post to put the train back on the tracks.

* Jason Kendall is the newest North Sider and many Cub fans who have seen games since 2003 are wondering why.

Phil Rogers wrote a short piece asking Cub fans to just trust the scouts on this one - which is pretty funny when you consider he's coming over from the Moneyball A's, which preach numbers over scouts' hunches - but you can't ignore declining numbers for a catcher.

From that story:

Kendall, acquired by the Cubs on Monday night from Oakland, has a great pedigree, impressive career numbers and more name recognition than Koyie Hill, Rob Bowen and Geovany Soto. But he also has a .226 batting average, a .261 on-base percentage and a 20 percent ratio throwing out base stealers.

OK, Phil, I'm with you - but only because the "Old catcher! Old catcher!" song was being sung for Pudge Rodriguez before his resurgence in Detroit.

* It's official, the Phillies are the, say it with me: Worst. Team. Ever.

The Cardinals beat the Phils for loss number 10,000 on Sunday night. Ouch.

But cheer up Cub fans:

Next on the losing list: the Braves, with 9,681 defeats. It took them stints in three cities (Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta) to reach that total. Not even those lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs, come close at 9,425.

* And finally, Scott Boras is causing a problem in Boston, questioning Daisuke Matsuzaka's pitch counts.

We all are, Boras. We all are.

I'll be back to get this thing moving in earnest soon, but as I mentioned at the mothership, it's a hectic week for me.

Keep your fingers crossed - if something good happens tonight, it'll be sooner versus later. Plus, there's always the embarrassing pre-season picks report card still to cover.

It'll go a long way to explaining why I have no future in the Vegas sportsbooks.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Temporarily out of order

The site will probably jump on- and offline for a little while over the next few days (like this morning) as I try to hook up the new site.

No major changes are in the works for right now, but this whole computer thing is a lot harder than it looks.

Thanks for your patience,

The Management


Friday, July 13, 2007

I might have been wrong about the Rays

Where would I be without Red Sox Monster?

I'd be living in the shadows of despair without the pure, unmitigated joy of seeing this clip, that's where.

Maybe the Rays aren't such a bad organization after all. They should start each game with one extra run just for having this guy on the payroll.

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I'm not quite sure how this will help

The cat is out of the bag - Mark Cuban would really like to be Chicago's new favorite team owner. He filed paperwork and everything. He's bona fide.

As Bugs & Cranks points out here, there are quite a few factors working against Cuban, not the least of which has been his behavior as an NBA owner.

Two quick things: I tend to agree with the assessment that the old network of owners is not going to enjoy Cuban turning the National League into a remake of Caddyshack II. I also know that baseball is about money for the principal players and that the common refrain from the Tribune Company is that they are looking to do what's best for the shareholders - in short, the most money they can run down.

Secondly, I believe that anyone who will serve as the owner of the Cubs will be seen as a positive step by most Cubs fans.

In the past, when the team would tank, stars would leave town to free agency or they'd out and out refuse to sign quality players there weren't a lot of options when it came to properly expressing a fan's God-given right to blind rage.

Imagine your favorite team being run by the banker's pen from the Washington Mutual commercials and how much that would suck. Not only does your team stink, but you don't even have a singular person to boo at the ballpark.

Whether that new face of ownership is Cuban or not, having someone to hold responsible for the team's failures should be a strong first step.

"Stupid f-ing Cuban! What the hell is he doing?" has a nice ring to it.

(Image from:


Monday, July 09, 2007

I was tired of Chris Berman before this even began - 2007's Home Run Derby

I tune in a few moments late to tonight's Home Run Derby to be greeted by what looks to be a montage. Not a problem.

Counting Crows is playing, which is fine, but it's Accidentally in Love from at least one Shrek ago. I channel my inner Simmons and immediately critique the choice made by the Worldwide Leader and question if they have even heard music that was released this year.

Then I see it's actually Counting Crows and they're playing live.

Needless to say, I'm still a little confused. Yes, I know Counting Crows is a Bay Area band. Still confused.

I hesitate to call this a "live blog" of the event because it's nowhere near live and there's a solid chance I won't keep typing to the end.

Other random thoughts from the First Round of the derby:

* Chris Berman announces the players, including Albert "Winnie the" Pujols. It could be worse, but I'd still be pretty pissed if I were Pujols. They should be pulling Berman out of the ground like a railroad spike.

* Prince Fielder gets a jump to make it to the infield on time. Not surprisingly, Berman is still yammering on by the time the big guy makes it in.

* Nice suit, Dusty. You're making a strong case to manage again with solid decisions like that.

* Justin Morneau hits the first home run of the day and finds Waldo. What a talented man.

* Matt Holliday is ripping balls out of the park, nearly hitting the Coke bottle in left center. Then, he sends two screaming liners. I see these kids in the outfield and wonder what sort of waiver is in play to put them in harm's way like that.

* Peter Gammons gets his Barbara Walters on and meets with Barry Bonds, where we learn that he is no longer able to hit home runs, think of anyone but his teammates and never thinks about the home record... right.

Also, everyone in San Francisco sees Barry in the gym. I bet he's got a membership at the Y. That has to be why he's loved at home and no where else.

To be honest, the whole thing seemed really, really weird. Like when a Hollywood star gets out of rehab weird.

* And who is Bonds followed by? Alex Rodriguez. Outstanding.

Would it be that hard for them to interview ballplayers people actually like? I know Rodriguez won the popular vote, but do we need to see him struggle through this?

I have to ask myself every few weeks if I'd be able to cheer for A-Rod if he would end up with Sweet Lou and the Cubs. I'm not saying never, but I might take down the mirrors in the house for a few months after I'd made my peace with that.

* Are the guys waiting to hit really sitting in armchairs? Yet another reason I'd love to be a talented ballplayer. My seats at the ballgame twist up my innards into balloon animals by the sixth inning. It's either that or spend the whole game staring into left center.

Stupid Metrodome.

* David Ortiz and Vlad Guerrero and the bat in a case thing? Genius. It's like a live TV version of Major League 2. I'm just waiting for that goofy seal to lead him out for the next round with a hood over his head.

Playoff Round

* Ron Gardenheire is out to pitch to Morneau in the tiebreaker round. My dad happens to call and check in during this and we're both betting Gardy has been practicing for weeks to get prepared for this.

* Also, Morneau almost clips a kid in the outfield. See? I told you so.

Round Two

* Alex Rios' name is being searched frantically by thousands of lazy fantasy baseball owners. Yes, he's taken. Probably weeks ago by a guy with no social life. We'll call this the "Ryan Howard Effect."

*Kevin Mitchell looks like Ving Rhames these days. That, or the ESPN crew in confused. Also, haven't heard from Kenny Mayne in a while. Can we check on him? Can the Scuba-cam search the bottom of the Bay if the need arises?

* Berman actually drops a funny gold ball / Charlie Finley reference. Blind squirrel, meet nut. Smart money says Leather's been sitting on that one since breakfast.

* Erin Andrews is all smiles and sunshine when the cameras are on. There should be a drinking game where you slam a beer when you see her sulking around in the background on the quick cuts they're doing. She looks like someone whose car was egged -mildly pissed off and just looking for someone to take it out on - when she's not in front of a red light.

* The inside scoop you get from the Baseball Tonight guys? Vlad hits the ball hard.

Thanks, fellas. Top-notch analysis.

* The Dominican Entourage is out tonight - they went pretty nuts when Vlad finished up in Round One. Dominican Turtle is wearing his show-quality airbrushed shirt for the event - I think he might be some sort of barber... but not Manny's barber. I have no idea where these guys came from, but they should be allowed to sit in any dugout in the league at any time they'd like.

* I'm not really trying to rip off the Sports Guy here, I think it's just a function of trying to keep up in real time. And the part where my dad called in? That was weird. He calls once every two weeks, it just happened that he had a question for me tonight and was checking on The Girl's flight home tonight... damn, I sorta did it again.

If this keeps up, I'm adding a first paragraph here about how it's a Simmons parody and I'll pretend that was my plan all along.

* If Leather name drops another Bay Area landmark, I'm getting a plane ticket, waiting outside the ballpark tomorrow night and socking him in the nose. I just paid my credit card bill - I can totally make that a reality. Then, I will fly back, back, back to Minneapolis in time for work Wednesday.

(It's worth noting that Bugs & Cranks beat me to this punchline hours ago.

* They're having live mic issues between segments today - I'm hoping for an f-bomb from Dusty Baker. Or for Joe Morgan to say something dumber than is usually allowed when he's on-air.

*Kenny Mayne is out of the kayak and into the crowd, where he belongs. Why not put Morgan in the kayak for a bit where he can't bother anyone?

Money well spent by ESPN on that gimmick. How many homeless people could they have fed with the cash they sunk into that little circus? 50? 75?

* Leather and Dusty - which sounds like a set of old cowboys from a bad western - agree with Morgan when questioning the safety of the kids out shagging flies. Dusty says his son wanted to be out there, but Dad put an end to that.

Where was that type of parental instinct a few years ago, Dusty?

Final Round

* Rios steps up to Shipping Up to Boston, which is Jonathon Papelbon's music at Fenway. That's a head-scratcher. It's pissing me off that they're switching music in the ballpark faster than a 17-year-old with an itchy trigger finger on their iPod.

Pick something and stick with it. I'd take just leaving the Jock Jams CD in the player at this point.

* The highlight from Vlad's easily predictable win in the finals has to be out number five where Leather is calling the hit and Morgan is repeatedly saying, "He missed it." They sound like an old married couple that hates each other.

Leather: It's up, it's back...
Morgan: He missed it.
Leather: Still going...
Morgan: He missed it.
Leather: Back, back, back...
Morgan: He missed it.
Leather: Oh, not far enough.
Morgan: He missed it... (Under his breath, while thinking, "You dumb prick...")

If I could get a loop of that to play every time I fired up my laptop, I totally would.

(Images from: / /


Sunday, July 08, 2007

One shining moment

If you're on the fence about your budding baseball addiction, there's a pretty good barometer today - are you watching the futures game? If you are, you're likely bitten pretty badly by the bug. If you know more than 25 percent of the players, well, then there's no doubt.

Despite the crushing blow to one's personal relationships and professional obligations, today our misguided souls were rewarded.

It was in the bottom of the second inning, when for the first time in my life - Hu was on first.

Do I get a cookie for being one of the first 25 people to make that joke before Chris Berman does? I bet he's just sitting and waiting for the kid to make the majors, checking his stats every night before he turns off the lights at his cube and heads home.

For the record, Chin Lung Hu is a Dodger farmhand who is a shortstop in AA ball right now.

Blogs of the game's action and inaction are available for the United States and World teams via

(Image from:


Friday, July 06, 2007

Vote, robot, vote!

Quick, who was the starting shortstop for the National League in 1986?

Exactly, who gives a damn after a few years, right?

My initial reaction to Larry Brown Sports' findings that some San Francisco fans might have used technology to their advantage to vote for Bonds up to 50 or 60 times per minute was to make quick, snarky judgments about cheater athletes having cheater fans, but with a little time to cool off, I'm pretty indifferent to the whole situation.

Like most fans, I don't have a great deal of interest about the team, beyond who actually makes the rosters. Truth be told, I get a bigger charge out of the Home Run Derby and Celebrity Softball Game than the All-Star game most years.

For the players, while - say it with me, campers - "It's an honor to be recognized by the fans..." I imagine most of them enjoy having a few days off in the middle of the season to get home, see their families, maybe cut the grass or sell a few grills on eBay.

Aside from cash bonuses that are part of some contracts, there's not a whole lot of incentive to get the players out there. I guess what I'm saying is that if the players don't seem to care, I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep over it.

That's not to say that I believe everyone in the majors is apathetic about the game, but I'd bet that most of the guys who missed out on the voting and the selections are over it by now.

So if it was Bonds' faithful fans or Pat Neshek's that employed the vote-bots to drive the numbers up - as was suggested in the comments section on the Ballhype link - it seems like a few people have all sorts of time on their hands.

Personally, I vote a few times and lose interest and I can't imagine that you wouldn't find odd voting trends for any of the winning players. The then gleefully gloat about how you "duped" MLB by using fake e-mail addresses just makes things that much more pathetic.

That said, I'll be royally pissed off if any of those IP's match up with MLB offices in New York.

(And for anyone who's wondering, the starting SS was Ozzie Smith.)

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What an unfortunate, albeit fitting, nickname

By now, most baseball fans are well aware of Pat Neshek's web site - it was linked here and recently appeared on but for as much fun as the whole campaign is, I'd like to point you to two alternate dates.

The first is Sunday, May 27, where it's revealed that Dennys Reyes nickname is "Big Sweat" which is possible one of the best nicknames for a fat guy in baseball since "El Guapo" and we all know how I feel about El Guapo, don't we?

Long story, short, the gentleman at the right is Reyes and aside from sharing a name with a greasy family restaurant chain, Big Sweat is a fantastic front-line nickname.

The running joke in our little corner of the Dome - OK, well, the two season seats we own - is that you have a Dennys, a (Glen) Perkins and Juan Rincon (at right) looks like the live action version of the Big Boy.

All of this in a state that lacks for breakfast restaurants.

We just need an IHOP now - International House of Pitchers or a one-legged DH, either way - to complete the matching sets.

Next, scoll on down to Monday May 7, and silently curse the lack of links on Perkins site. When you have that much gold in one place, you really need to be able to pick and choose where you land.

I always suspected that people were all kinds of stupid, but to try and get another player to grab autographs from the stars for you? How cheap is that?

I'd also bet dollars to donuts that there was more than one letter just like that one sent to other members in the clubhouse. Wow.

It's bad enough to ask for a signed ball, but to have 10 balls personalized from two of the team's biggest stars and to do so in an exasperated tone? That takes stones.

I have to wonder now - what does, "Everything's coming up Malmo?" even mean?

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dodgers are the McDonalds of baseball

I can only imagine being a bitter Brooklyn Dodger fan, flipping off the last moving truck as the team headed west for California.

"California?" You'd scream, rhetorically. "Screw 'em, no one will ever watch a game in LA. They'll be back with their tails between their legs in three years. And you know what? We'll be right here to tell them to screw off!"

At that point, I'd start to weep until someone took me home. Well, that's the most likely outcome.

Well, for the historically hypothetical me, today would have really, really sucked. According to tonight's Dodgers broadcast, the team turned over the odometer to 175 million fans in the history of the franchise. I can't find any other reference to this yet - Woohoo! The real media is on vacation! It's an exclusive! - but I'll keep checking.

Still, I can't help but wonder where the all-time stats stand for teams that have been around as long, if not longer. Specifically, the Yankees.

For now, the Dodgers are claiming the all-time record - and thank God for the Internet for sites like these to make life easy, great work BallparksofBaseball - which lists the Dodgers as the top draw in baseball for the 60s, 70s and 80s.

I can't help but wonder where they'd stand if attendance was taken when the game started, though. I'm betting they'd be running neck and neck with the Rockies.

(Image property of the Los Angeles Dodgers) at least I assume as much


Sunday, July 01, 2007

My, what a fine grassroots effort

I do realize that most people don't buy tickets from multiple teams' ticket offices like I've done. I say that, because I realize most people only get e-mails from their home team.

After a few moves and different ticket situations, I now get regular e-mails from five or six teams - it just so happens that three of those teams have players in the running this year for the Final Vote.

Looks like MLB was all over this as I got three e-mails in rapid succession tonight. I know these need to be worked up quickly and sent along, but this is pretty much the least effort that can be spent and still actually do some work. The team colors don't even match. Can't they at least try to make it look like the teams are excited about their players?

(Images from mailings)

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"Who the hell is Pat Neshek?" asks America

I'm looking again at the Final Vote for the MLB All-Star Game and the AL options are as follows:

The AL nominees include Jeremy Bonderman of the Tigers, Kelvim Escobar of the Angels, Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays, Pat Neshek of the Twins and Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox.

According to the same post:

Managers Tony La Russa of the National League and Jim Leyland of the American League have gone with pitchers-only in presenting fans with their five nominees per league to decide the 32nd and final rosters spots for the 78th All-Star Game on July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. A pitcher-only ballot only happened once before, when you chose Houston's Roy Oswalt from NL candidates in 2005.

So, in other words, Leyland opted for Neshek and Okajima over Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan and Kevin Youkilis to name a few. That makes little to no sense.

For the record, Neshek and Okajima are having solid seasons - Neshek's numbers are here and Okajima's can be found here - but I doubt Neshek or even Escobar stand a snowball's chance in hell on this one. Not even with Neshek's web savvy disposition, though I haven't checked MySpace for him yet.

On a side note, but because we're talking pitching and El Guapo is one of the funniest characters in recent memory, check out this story from Ump Bump. This plays out exactly like it would if I was drinking with friends in the same ballpark. Only, I never got B's in Spanish, so the second half of the story would have ended with a police officer leading me off the premises after telling El Guapo's mother, "I'm going to hit your son with a cat-flavored empenada."

Also, great play by his fantasy league buddies. Coordination is key in really busting someone's stones.

(Image from:, boy do I miss her)

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Cute league you've got there

It's no secret that the storyline for the two leagues as far as Major League Baseball is concerned is as follows: The American League is a tough, big-time league and the National League is the scrappy younger brother.

See the recap of last year's Home Run Derby where because of the NL's "dominance" the announcers were all over the NL and caught a lucky break with the Cardinals winning the World Series to help support their bullshit reasoning.

Add in a multitude of factors from the existence of the DH providing a cushy job for aging or injury-prone NL sluggers to big-market, big-budget teams from the AL in the Yankees and Red Sox and there isn't a single baseball fan alive who would make a serious argument for the NL being the superior league.

If they didn't, they are playing devil's advocate or a Grade A moron.

It's really no big surprise, then that of the two starting lineups - AL roster is here; NL roster is here - there's a huge gap in All-Star experience.

As far as first-time All-Stars on the AL's starting squad, the list starts and ends with Detroit's Placido Polanco. The next "greenest" player is Boston's David Ortiz, making his fourth appearance. In all, 18 of the 20 named players for the AL have been All Stars in the past.

Compare that to the NL, where two players are All-Star rookies, with Russell Martin of the Dodgers and the Brewers' Prince Fielder making the cut.

Philadelphia's Chase Utley and New York's David Wright Jose Reyes will all make their second appearance.

This means that over half of the starting lineup for the NL will be making their first appearance this week, while the AL will fill their roster with the usual suspects. I have no idea what accounts for this - considering that the fans account for the voting here, it's not like this is a league conspiracy or anything - but thought the numbers looked interesting at first blush.

I'll be sure to post pictures when Twins fans start small, easily managed fires in protest tonight when word spreads that Joe Mauer is not on the squad. has posted the Final Vote nominees, with pitchers only representing both leagues. According to their press release:

Roy Oswalt is back on this NL ballot and bidding to be the first two-time Final Vote winner, joined by Tom Gorzelanny of the Pirates, Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks, Chris Young of the Padres and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.

The AL nominees include Jeremy Bonderman of the Tigers, Kelvim Escobar of the Angels, Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays, Pat Neshek of the Twins and Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox.

(Image from:

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