Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Um... I'm supposed to write about this game?


The Red Sox blew a 10-1 lead late... to the Orioles. The above video is a wonderful representation of the game.

What is there to say? It was supreme suckage. The team should be embarrassed. It was grotesque.

And the beauty of baseball is that there is another game tomorrow. Win and this will be an unfortunate hiccup.

But man it sucked.

Let's update the board.


April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)


April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 - 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)
June 30 - 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)

Going into July at EVEN.

Come on Beckett! Win tomorrow and the Sox win the series.

But essentially when I saw the final score of tonight's game, I reacted a lot like this guy when he saw the trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

The Mets aren't winning it this year... so don't make a trade

OK, I am expecting some hate e mail from this post by Mets fans.

I have my guard up.

Let me get this out of the way… I don’t hate the Mets. I have moved on from 1986 (seeing my team win two World Series helps.)

So save any “You are an angry Red Sox fan jealous because of the Buckner error” responses.

Fine… that’s on the record. Let’s get to the post.

I am going to type a few facts.

It is late June and the Mets are a sub .500 team.
It is late June and the Mets are a third place team.
It is late June and the Mets are riddled with an insane amount of injuries.

Carlos Beltran’s career might be in jeopardy.

Carlos Delgado is still unavailable and nobody knows what he will contribute when he comes back.

The Mets offensive output in the recent subway series was nearly matched by Mariano Rivera.

They have issues up and down their pitching staff.

Their line up resembles a AAA team.

The clubhouse seems as to be as enjoyable and healthy place to be as Eli Roth’s Hostel.

Now players are calling for Omar Minaya to make a deal.

Mets fans are screaming for a change in the line up.

Nothing I just typed can be disputed.

Now for my thoughts.

Omar Minaya can’t be blamed for EVERYTHING that happened this year, but for the third straight season since the Haunting year of 2006, the Mets seem like an undermanned team.

And what trade now can fix the Mets ills?

They need hitting. Who are they going to get?

Yeah the A’s are dangling Matt Holliday out there… but what will the A’s be asking for? I alluded to this in my Lion and Prey post. They want players ready for the Bigs.

If the Mets had anyone who was Major League ready, that player would be currently playing for the Mets! Beane could do better just taking the two draft picks.

They could use a solid pitcher… but anyone dealing a pitcher in this market would demand solid prospects in return.

If the goal of the Mets is to win the World Series, I submit this radical plan:


Why? Because this team isn’t a player or two away from being a World Series contender. Can you IMAGINE this team in a best of five playoff series?

How would they do against a Tim Lincecum or a Chad Billingsley or a Chris Carpenter? They made Chien Ming Wang look awesome!

It isn’t happening this year. They don’t have the horses and do a panic move now, they’ll deplete their farm only to be a Division Series and out team AT BEST.

Ah but Sully, what about 2006? The Cardinals stumbled into the playoffs and won it all!

When Jerry Manuel becomes a Hall of Fame manager like LaRussa, I’ll listen. Instead, I’ll call 2006 a fluke.

And yeah, there is 87 games, more than half of the season to go.

But it isn’t THAT early. What part of the first half of the season could make ANY honest Mets fan say “This team can win it all!”

A player that will help turn the season around would cost a Fernando Martinez, a Wilmer Flores or a Bobby Parnell… and even THEN they wouldn’t be better than the Phillies, Dodgers, Cardinals or Brewers.

The Mets aren’t winning the 2009 World Series. You know it. I know it. We all know it. So why sabotage the chances for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons for an ill advised pennant run?

Why revisit Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano?

I say look back to 2006.

No, not Carlos Beltran looking at a called third strike… I’m talking about the 2006 Red Sox!

They were in first place on July 1.

They had a 4 game lead on July 4th.

They were in first place at the trade deadline but experiencing injury after injury. The lead had shrunk to a single game at the trade deadline. The bullpen and the lineup needed reinforcements… and the Red Sox had a TON of minor league talent to deal.

And the team stayed pat. I am convinced that someone in the front office (maybe Theo) thought “this team isn’t winning it… and there’s no way we’re tearing up the farm for an ill advised run at it.”

I screamed bloody murder. “YOU HAVE TO GO FOR IT!” I thought. Who are these young players? Why sabotage the present when you don’t know what those players will even do?

The Yankees tied the Red Sox for the division on August 1. The Red Sox went 23-35 the rest of the way and were completely irrelevant the rest of the season… finishing the season in a distant third place.

And they held on to Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Manny Delcarmen and Jon Lester and they very next year they all contributed to a World Series title.

Some organizational honesty went a long way. If the 2006 Red Sox made the playoffs, they would have been KILLED in the Division Series the way they were in 2005.

They held pat and won big.

Learn from that, Mets.

You aren’t winning in 2009. Admit that and 2010 might be the year that Fernando Martinez, Bobby Parnell and company give the team a spark of youth.

Remember youth?

Or you can wrecklessly stumble into the second half and set yourself up for another painful September.

It's your call.

Get Your Red Hot Roy Oswalts Here!

Roy Oswalt's complete game 2 hitter last night should have been the greatest audition for a pennant contender you can ever have.

Prediction #8 of my 40 Fearless Predictions was that Oswalt would be pitching in the World Series for another ballclub.

To me, there is no reason for that prediction to NOT come true.

"But Sully" you exclaim, "The Astros are only 4 games out."

Come on. Is there anyone on this Earth who thinks this Astros team is going to leap frog the Cubs, Reds, Cardinals and Brewers and make the post season.

And before you say "But the Rockies did it in 2007!" remember that was a huge fluke and that team was filled with young over achievers.

This Astros team is not a young team. Besides Bourn and Pence, the entire lineup consists of veterans 33 years or older. Read today's CNNSI about the perils of being 33 years old.

Oswalt is 31 years old and has given the Astros 8 1/2 wonderful seasons. But he's had an up and down season. The fact that he had last night's masterpiece yet still has a .500 record and an ERA north of 4.00 shows that.

Aces are wonderful but they can also breakdown and become damaged goods before you can say "Brandon Webb."

Oswalt could be the most valuable commodity on the trade market. Almost every team in the pennant race (with the exception of the Red Sox and Giants) are looking for another starting pitcher.

Cliff Lee is out there... and then who? It looks like the Red Sox are holding onto Brad Penny. And if the Mariners continue to contend, Jarrod Washburn won't be available. Jake Peavy is hurt (should have made the deal in the off season, Padres!)

Who else? 

Think the Phillies or Mets wouldn't offer up some valuable prospects for a pitcher of Oswalt's talents?

Add Oswalt to Detroit's rotation and they might be one of the teams to beat in October. 

The Angels could use another arm to put them over the top.

And there are always the Yankees.

The Astros need to put some newer and younger bodies in the line up and on the roster and they are sitting on potentially the most valuable trade chip in baseball.

Or you can sit on him and wait for Oswalt to turn 33 on your watch.

It's your call.

New Yankee Eric Hinske... not sure I get it

The Yankees picked up old friend and one time Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske from the Pirates today. 

Hinske was a left handed bat off of the bench for the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox. 

He also homered in the World Series last year for Tampa and made the last out (and was criticized by my wife for his lack of desire.)

Now Hinske is a nice complimentary player and certainly helps the Yankees bench... so I can't really slam Cashman for this deal.

But I can't say I 100% get this deal.
Or 50% get this deal.

The Yankees are a good solid team but they could use a few parts for the second half.

However I never thought they had a LACK of left handed DH/outfielder types.

Johnny Damon is left handed, can no longer play centerfield and needs to DH from time to time.

Hideki Matsui shouldn't even own a glove anymore and these days is a mediocre left handed DH.

Nick Swisher is a switch hitting outfielder who can't play centerfield.

And Jorge Posada at this point should be a switch hitting DH and put young Francisco Cervelli under his wing as he seems to be playing well (and bringing some youth to the Yankee line up.)

Better get ANOTHER one!

And his place on the roster, plus the inevitable recovery of Jose Molina might mean that Cervelli will be sent down... because you wouldn't want young hungry players who are doing a good job on the 25 man roster!

Now I've heard the logic being that Hinske would give some of the players a rest and play third base for A-Rod once a week.

Um, really? Hinske came up as a third baseman and was shifted to first base and the outfield. Don't teams usually do that because the player can't handle third base?

He's played third base 21 times in the last 5 seasons. Am I still the only one stunned that the Yankees still don't have a jack of all trades infielder?

Hey, who am I to criticize Brian Cashman? OK, so I've done it before... but I just don't get this deal.

Watch him go on a tear and win the AL MVP

Bow down to Lincecum

Appreciate what you have, San Francisco fans.

You have the real deal. You have the kind of ace that keeps teams from long losing streaks.

You have the kind of ace that should fill the stadium when he pitches.

You have the kind of ace that gives the bullpen the night off.

You have the kind of ace that EVERY SINGLE team in baseball covets.

You might have the best pitcher in baseball.

Another day, another complete game shutout for Lincecum... with 8 strikeouts and no walks and only two hits.

He leads the league in strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts and is second in the league in ERA.

He's won a Cy Young award and looks like he's about to make it back to back.

And he looks and sounds twelve.

 I stand by my statement... a World Series title would put him among the most loved players in San Francisco sports history.

And guess what? The Giants are guaranteed to go into July in the lead of a playoff spot. 

Savor it.

And sell out his games!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Calmly and cooly getting the job done

I love wins like the opening game against the Orioles.

I clicked on my Yahoo Sports ticker and I saw that 2 batters into the game, the Sox were up 1-0, and I relaxed.

Seriously, I never for one moment felt nervous after Pedroia knocked in Drew in the first.

Lester calmly took care of business and another number was shaved off of the magic number.

If starting pitching wins titles, then let's look at what the Sox have done their last four games:

Beckett threw 7 shutout innings last Friday.
Wakes threw 6 shutout innings on Saturday.
Penny threw 6 innings and let up 2 runs on Sunday.
Lester threw 7 shutout innings on Monday.

Four games where the bullpen wasn't blown to hell and the pitchers threw to a 0.69 ERA.

Tuesday Smoltz tries again after his rotten first start and then Beckett throws. I take my chances to win this series.

Man, I love playing the Orioles!

2 1/2 games never looked like so big a lead

On May 30th, the Rangers beat up the A's 14-1.

They had a 5 1/2 game lead in the West.

They had the best record in the American League. 

Now everyone knew that June would bring about some hard tests for the Rangers as the heat in Texas rises to somewhere between Ecuador and Arrakis, home of the Spice.

Well how did the Rangers do in their big test month?

Worse than my worst Pre Calculus test.

The Rangers have gone 10-15 since that game against the A's and fell out of first place.

Tonight was the first of the crucial tests against the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim in Orange County off of the I-5. 

And if I turned in that test to my Pre Calculus teacher Mrs. Swain, she would just write on it "See Me."

2 1/2 games.

It doesn't seem like a big lead, especially with 87 games left. But they let the Angels back in it.

They were floundering with injuries, slumping hitters and tragedy. They were at .500 on June 11th.

Now they are hitting their stride and the Rangers may slip all the way to third if the Mariners keep winning.

Can they just blast the airconditioning in Arlington? Because the last time I saw something shrivel in the heat like this to become something small and fragile, I was playing with Shrinky Dinks!


Hey, I don't usually write glowing praising e mails to Yankees... especially those who won the MVP of the 2003 ALCS against my Red Sox.

But last night he got his 500th save. Now the save can be overrated. I have trashed All Time Saves leader Trevor Hoffman a few times because I think that despite his 571 saves, he's not someone I'd want on the mound in a big game.

Don't believe me? Read it and weep.

But Rivera? He's been the best or one of the best for 14 straight seasons... and let's look at that post season.

Imagine if a closer had a 0.77 ERA over 117 1/3 innings. Posting an 8-1 record with 34 saves, striking out 93 while walking only 16.

That would be a hell of a season.

That's his post season totals. 

His only loss was Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. And his failure there and in the 2004 ALCS were so unlikely that they were considered to be two of the most miraculous comebacks ever.

If a team has a comeback in the playoffs against Trevor Hoffman, it is called "par for the course."

And let's see Rivera in one day vanquish another overrated rival, Francisco Rodriguez. Now I have already written about why I think Rodriguez is overrated... but last night gave us all a unique head to head match up... closer versus closer... that put Rivera on top without debate.

Frankie Rodriguez, K-Rod, walked Rivera with the bases loaded. 

In a head to head match up, K-Rod couldn't throw one down the heart of the plate.

Was he expecting that Rivera would take him deep? He had 5 career plate appearances before last night. There were two outs. Lob it!

Nope. He couldn't do it. He was head to head with his superior and lost.

We Sox fans can shake our heads at Rivera and grind our teeth... but we can't deny he belongs with Gossage, Fingers, Eckersley and Wilhelm as the best reliever of all time.

And part of me would like to see him pass Hoffman as the saves leader so we won't have any silly arguments about Hoffman being a Hall of Famer.

But I hope Rivera does it in another uniform.

I am grinding my teeth and I shouldn't

To be fair, Sunday's game should not have been a teeth grinder. The Red Sox had won another series... and they got a solid performance from Brad Penny (showing once again some of Theo's best trades are the ones he DOESN'T make.)

But here I sit Monday afternoon grinding my teeth.


Shouldn't I be encouraged that the Red Sox went in, took 2 of 3 and the one game they lost they got a good pitching performance from Penny but faced a young hot pitcher in Tommy Hanson?

(Are Braves fans still mad that it is Hanson instead of Glavine in the rotation?)

But I'm mad.

They couldn't score 2 more runs? They left the bases loaded in one inning and had the tying run on in the 9th.

Oh who am I kidding? I'm not grinding my teeth because of the Red Sox! They did a good job in Atlanta. If you take 2 of 3 every series, you'd win 108 games!

I'm grinding my teeth at the Mets!

Seriously Mets... you couldn't win ONE GAME at home?

Really? Thanks to the Castillo drop the other week you lose 5 of 6 to the Yankees?

With two games left in June you are at even .500?

YOU FACED CHIEN MING WANG!!!!! He went into last night's game with as many wins in 2009 as Harry Morgan!

(By the way, with all of the recent celebrity deaths, isn't it odd that Harry Morgan is still alive? Did you know he was? I just assumed he died. But I digress.)

How bad is the Mets offense?

Let me put it this way... the Mets drove in 3 runs all weekend.
Mariano Rivera drove in 1.

Rivera matched 1/3 of the Mets offense.

That is grotesque.

Some of the Mets are begging Minaya to make a deal.
What for?

They are a .500 team. They should be dealing VETERANS!

Oh well... it's not entirely the Red Sox fault that they have to sweep a team in order to hold serve... but this isn't about fairness. This is about whether or not my teeth are grinding.

 With sadness I update the board.


April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)


April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 - 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)

Down to +1.

These days nothing cheers me up like a trip to Baltimore. And maybe the Mariners will put up a fight in the Bronx. At least the M's are above .500!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tim Wakefield... conquerer!

Ahhh Interleague Play… I’ll miss you.

Another day and another win for Tim Wakefield.

The dude even got a hit!

174 in all in a Red Sox uniform and a mere 18 behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young for the all time lead in Red Sox history.

I thought Francona was going to manage Wakefield out of a win when he mysteriously lifted DelCarmen for Masterson in the 8th…

And yeah… I thought that McCann hit was gone… and I still don’t know why Drew took the ball away from Ellsbury…

And of course Garret Anderson had to get a 2 out double..

But the Sox wiggled out of it and have won their 7th series in a row.

Keep winning series and the Sox will be in great shape.

After tomorrow, the Sox won’t face the NL again… unless October goes according to plan.


The Magic Number is 85.

Anytime we can get past 86 is fine by me… whether it is 86 years or 1986 that number gives me the willies.

But there were enough moments where I thought the Braves were going to score that I can call this a dodged bullet game.


April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)


April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)

Up to +2.

Go for the sweep tomorrow before heading up to Baltimore!

Baltimore deserves better than the Orioles

It is usually said that New York and Boston are the two biggest baseball cities.

ESPN usually says this, mainly because they are in Bristol, CT... right between New York and Boston. And while that media bias is as plain as the nose on my face, New York and Boston are bigger baseball cities than football cities... a rarity today.

Also St. Louis is usually lumped in with Boston and New York as a baseball first city. But most places seem to be football centric with the exception of Detroit (Hockey), Los Angeles (Basketball) and Seattle (Drinking Coffee.)

I will submit that the greatest sleeping fanbase in all of baseball are the Orioles.

Yes they love their football. The scenes in Diner with Steve Guttenberg quizzing his bride to be about Colts trivia rings true. And in the first Daily Show segment I produced, I went to Baltimore on the eve of the 2001 Super Bowl... and trust me, the city was excited about the Ravens.

But they really love their Orioles.

Remember in an 18 season span (1966-1983), this is a team that gave the city of Baltimore 8 trips to the playoffs including three World Championships and three other pennants.

But since back to back playoff berths in the 1990s, they have been irrelevant since Robbie Alomar was called out to end the 1997 ALCS.

This is the 12th straight irrelevant season for the birds. Peter Angelos has all but driven the proudest organization into the ground with horrific free agent decisions, a rudderless organization and a farm system that used to be the best in baseball and more most of the decade as been the most barren.

And often good seats are available at Camden Yards, the standard for new ballparks.

And yet... the Orioles fans are still there.

Remember these are the same fans who arrived at the airport in 1988 to greet the Orioles after they broke their 21 game losing streak to start the season.

And there is still an awesomeness about their fans.


Well yesterday I poked fun at the Orioles/Nationals series this weekend and said that if you went to the game, you'd never have to prove your loyalty to the Orioles again.

I saw the attendance for last night's game between the Orioles (on pace to finish 74-88) and the Nationals (on pace to finish 48-114).

It was 45.024.

I thought it was a typo.

I had to look it up in 3 other sites just to make sure it was correct.

Each one... 45,024.

Baltimore fans... color me impressed! I will from now on include Baltimore along with Boston, New York and St. Louis as the epicenters of baseball fandom.

Now Orioles management... take a look at that. The greedy Red Sox fan in me wants the Orioles to remain lousy because that would mean 18 games the Red Sox can win.

But for the sake of baseball... you have a fan base who will fill up your park in a lousy series. Put a decent product on the field. You've had 12 seasons!

And while you are at it... bring the smiling bird back.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Doesn't anyone want to win the NL East?

Seriously, you guys know if you win the NL East, you get to go to the playoffs, right?

Heck the Phillies won the World Series last year, so winning it can be advantageous.

The 5 NL East teams lost tonight by a collective score of 37-7.

The Marlins were the only team to show up, losing in the 8th.

The Mets played the worst defense of any team not paid off by Arnold Rothstein. 

World Series hero Cole Hamels fell apart in the 5th and Ricky Romero flirted with a no hitter.

Josh Beckett continues to own the Braves.

And the Beltway Series drama ended in the 6th with an 8 run explosion by the Orioles.

The entire NL East stayed pat.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know. There's a lot of baseball left to be played. But not THAT much!

It's July next week. Teams are thinking about the trade deadline. 

And these games... they count.

Let's see SOMEONE step up!

Nats/Os series

According to Google Maps, it is 38.1 miles between Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore and Nationals Park in Washington DC.

Perhaps it is appropriate that they are so close to each other because they are both many more miles away from the pennant race.

Let me put it this way... the Governor of South Carolina is closer to his Argentinian mistress than these teams are to meaningful games.

So I can't think of a reason to go to an Orioles-Nationals game this weekend in Baltimore, except maybe if you are an Orioles fan you might have an outside chance of seeing your team win.

Let me tell you... if you show up to this series, you never have to prove your loyalty as a baseball fan ever again. 

The Orioles should award every single fan this weekend with a special prize.

I'm not talking about something from Boog Powell's BBQ.
I'm talking about every fan gets to spend a weekend WITH Boog!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I'm serious.

The attendance in Joe Robbie Stadium, or Pro Player Park, or Dolphin Stadium or Landshark Park or whatever the hell it is called now, was pathetic when the two teams met up in late May.

But I expect the Trop to be full.

Remember when people would complain about how the Florida teams should be contracted and that they are a joke? Well guess what? Both teams are exciting and worth watching!

The Marlins are on a roll and are only a game out of first place. You read that right... there is a statistic possibility that the Florida Marlins could be tied for first place by the end of Friday.

The Rays are the defending American League champs, have won their last few games. And thanks to a few winning streaks in June they have turned around their season and are only 2 games behind the big payroll Yankees for the Wild Card.

Both teams have winning records!
The Marlins and Rays have met with winning records in 2004 and last year. Those are the only other two times. 

This could be the time that Florida's place in baseball finally becomes something bigger than a joke.

That's right. I said a joke. This obnoxious Red Sox fan will say it. 

Florida is looked on by the rest of the baseball world as a place where you can watch baseball in Spring Training and then the fans disappear.

You don't like that? Then show up! Show some life! The Marlins and the Rays are filled with some of the most exciting players in the game... and players who are all but certain to skeedaddle when they ask for more than minimum wage.

Show up! Ring those cowbells. Make up some thing for Marlins fans to do. 

Make it so a dude showing up to the Trop with a Marlins hat on has people say "Man, you are brave to wear that here!"

I'm not saying start fights... just have enough fans to have people wonder if a fight is possible.

No excuses for anything less than 30,000 a game.

What else do you need?

THAT could have gone better

As "Debuts of future Hall of Famers for your team" goes... tonight was terrible.

The game was out of control early, but it still was a loss to the NATIONALS.

The only thing that keeps this off of the Teeth Grinder list is the Red Sox won the series.

Off to Atlanta... hopefully to win their 6th series in a row.

Slow news day, isn't it?

I mean Shaq got traded... the NBA draft... lots going on today.

(How happy is Governor Mark Sanford right now? He didn't last on the front page for more than a day!!! He can go fly to the bottom of the globe for a quickie and nobody would care.)

Still no confirmation about Michael... and in 45 minutes, the Red Sox game is starting.

I'm a focused man.

John Smoltz is making his Red Sox debut!

That's BIG news!!!

The Red Sox magic number is 87!

Fehr and Loathing

Donald Fehr is stepping down as head of the baseball union, and I think "Good!"

But I think that not for the reasons that you probably think.

I know a lot of people dislike him because he helped baseball players salaries skyrocket. But I don't begrudge players from making money. Who out there would turn down their money?

I don't blame him for the World Series cancellation. I remember getting into arguments with people during 1994 when I insisted the players were right and the owners were a bunch of liars who wouldn't open their books.

And keep in mind that was tempered by the fact that Fehr helped expose the owners illegal collusion. That collusion led directly to outsing Fay Vincent, Bud Selig being put into office, over expansion, the 1994 strike, steroids and the insane handling of the Expos/Nationals franchise.

In other words, I don't think he's a bad guy.

I think he seems a little creepy and cold. It would be nice to see him smile. It would be nice to see him at a baseball game cheering.

It would have been nice if his name wasn't the same as the word FEAR.

It also would have been nice if his default position on the whole steroid issue wasn't "You have no proof and this is a privacy issue."

But here's something to chew on... the owners seemed to hate him because he was so tough and yet Marvin Miller, his mentor, didn't think he was tough enough.

When the extremes on BOTH sides don't like you, that means you are probably doing a good job.

But it's time to move on.

The collective bargaining agreement is going to expire in a few years, and I think it is time to have fresh blood and new voices at the bargaining table. Almost all of the owners who have colluded have sold the team. And it would be nice if the main characters talking about avoiding a strike are not the same people who fiddled while the 1994 World Series was cancelled.

I was reminded of the California Democratic primary last year.

My wife and I disagreed on who to vote for. She voted for Hillary Clinton and I voted for Obama. 

And as shallow as this might sound, it was the freshness of a new voice at the helm that made me decide. It was nothing against Hillary... but something bothered me.

If you were 19 years old during last year's election cycle, there had been a Bush or a Clinton in the White House your whole life.

And seeing that you don't really pay attention to trivial things like "who is President" until you are 8 or 9, then there were 28 year olds voting with no memory of someone NOT named Bush or Clinton as President. And when you take Poppy Bush's VP terms into account, there were 36 year olds with no concrete memories of a Bush or a Clinton not in the executive branch.

Mention the name Bush to a liberal and they wince.
The reaction is the same from a conservative when you mention the name Clinton.

And I thought "there is too much venom here... let's try a new flavor."

So in this very strange analogy, Fehr is Hillary Clinton. 

It's time to try something new and something that doesn't have such built in acrimony. 

And of course that also means one of those colluding owners needs to go too.

Hey Bud! Take Donald's lead. You've been Commissioner for 17 years. Time for someone new.

(Any chance I can get to ask Bud Selig to step down, I'll take!)

Hunter and Prey

Right now there are several teams that need a hitter for the lineup with July approaching...

One of those teams is the New York Mets, whose GM has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to making deals.

And a team with a hitter to deal is the Oakland A's with Matt Holliday. And their GM, while still without a pennant, is a shrewd enough dealer that Steven Soderbergh and Brad Pitt want to make a movie about him.

Now the A's are... um... not quite as good as I predicted. And Holliday isn't tearing up the AL, but he IS just a few years from an MVP type season.

And the Mets need a bat... and so do the Cubs... and so do the Giants... and even the Yankees could use a corner outfielder.

I have a feeling Beane will be reminding Minaya that on an hourly basis. 

And a division that is quite winnable is just sitting there (especially with Santana throwing another good game today.)

But the Marlins are right behind them... the Giants are looking stronger... and the Mets could miss the playoffs for the fourth year out of five under his leadership.

Can he afford that? Can he afford ANOTHER near miss? Can he NOT pull the trigger?

Oooo those Ghosts of 2006 are still there.

Beane has nothing to worry about.

He could deal with the Cubs or Giants if things don't work out with the Mets.
The Tigers could use another stick. So could the Angels.

And if there is no deal to work out, Beane will sit back, let Holliday walk and collect the two draft picks.

But he knows there is a wounded animal out there... and he's waiting for the right moment to pounce.

It will probably happen after a bad loss where they needed a big hit but Fernando Tatis couldn't deliver.

BEANE: Hey Omar... tough loss. Looks like you could use another bat.

MINAYA: I know what you are doing Beane. I'm not going to make a big deal just to appease the fans now.

BEANE: Yeah I know... I was just calling you to tell you I think the Giants are probably interested in Holliday. 

MINAYA: The Giants?

BEANE: Yeah. They want to pad their Wild Card lead. And who knows... the Cubs seemed eager.

MINAYA: The Cubs?

BEANE: Yeah. Their management needs to show their fans they mean business. And in Wrigley he'll find his stroke again.

MINAYA: I've got a plan.

BEANE: Oh yeah I saw it. Inexperienced kids or imports whose average age is older than the Supreme Court. Hey! It almost worked in 2007 and 2008. Maybe 3rd time is the charm! Hold on, I have a call coming in. I think it is Cashman.

MINAYA: What do you want?

BEANE: Let's start with Fernando Martinez.

MINAYA: No way! He's the future.

BEANE: The future! That reminds me. When the season ends, do you want to join me and the missus the first week of October? We "Non playoff teams" need to stick together.

MINAYA: OK... fine. Martinez. But no other big prospects. I have a long term plan for a home grown Mets team.

BEANE: Hold on. The Phillies are calling.

MINAYA: I'll give you Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores, Bobby Parnell and a player to be named later!

BEANE: I'll name the player NOW? Mike Pelfrey.


BEANE: Wait hold on... Ruben Amaro just stopped by my office.

MINAYA: Take Pelfrey.

BEANE: It was a pleasure doing business with you.

And that my friends will be a full lion.

Am I supposed to know who Mike Burns is?

Mike Burns is pitching for the Brewers today.

And the pictures that have been used for Mike Burns in the various game previews have included him in a Red Sox uniform.

And they all got the same reaction from me.

Mike Burns? Who the hell is Mike Burns?

I follow the Red Sox pretty darn closely. And I don't remember Mike Burns.

Is this a Bryan Clutterbuck situation where there was a player who somehow escaped any recollection on my part?

I went to Baseball-Reference.com and looked up Mike. And lo and behold he pitched 7 games for the 2006 Red Sox.

Of course that was the team that was in first place for much of the year and then had such a horrific August (including being swept in a 5 game series in Fenway) that by the time September came along, they were also rans playing out the string.

And Mike Burns got some innings in.

That was also right around the time I began Sully Baseball in its first incarnation (as an iWeb blog.)

So I am sorry Mike... you pitched for my team and I don't remember you.

Whenever I realize there is a player that I have no memory of despite playing in a time where I SHOULD know them... I'm going to call that a "Clutterbuck."

Mike Burns? No memory of him... he's a complete Clutterbuck.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's like the Red Sox made a great trade

The Red Sox had a rotten DH going into the Yankees series on June 9.

He had 2 homers, was batting .197 and had an OPS of .596.
It was a hole in the lineup who left the equivalent of a small county on base.

His very name in the lineup made Red Sox fans squirm.

Then they swapped that DH for a new DH...

Suddenly the new DH blossomed! He homered twice against New York.

Since June 9th, the new DH has batted .342 with 5 homers and 11 RBI... including a go ahead 3 run bomb tonight.

It's a great deal... crappy David Ortiz for awesome David Ortiz!

Man, that Theo is good!

Admit it Red Sox fans... you thought the same thing

When the Yankees were set down in order for each of the first five innings, admit it. You thought "They are going to be no hit tonight!"

I thought it.

I was borderline giddy.

Ah well... you can't expect the Yankees bats to be dead forever

Hmmm... maybe Fernando Nieve isn't so bad

I've been trashing Fernando Nieve, especially when I questioned the existence of the Yankees advance scouting department.

I mean HOW could a scrub like Fernando Nieve, an Astros cast off, shut down the Yankees?

Well today he shut down the NL Central leading Cardinals.

He pitched 6 shutout innings and raised his record to 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA and has helped keep the Mets in the race.

I hope Fernando and the whole Nieve family accepts the apology from the staff of Sully Baseball

What do A-Rod and the state of Maine have in common?

The number 207

That's the area code for Maine and that's what A-Rod is batting going into tonight's game.

At what point can we stop pretending this all has to do with his hip and can actually say He's off the Juice?

Why I was angry watching the Tampa Bay/Philadelphia highlights last night

Watching the highlights of the rematch of the 2008 World Series and I got mad. I got mad that the Rays were in the rematch and NOT the Red Sox.

And why didn't the Red Sox get past the Rays?

Because David Price, the great phenom for Tampa, came out of the pen with the bases loaded and the Sox down by only 2 and shut down J.D. Drew in the 8th and got the save.

He looked amazing.

He looked like the next great stud.

And the Phillies scored 6 runs off of him in the first, including a gap shot by left Chase Utley.

I closed my eyes and imagined that was J. D. Drew taking him to the gap... and yes... I got mad!

Will Tim Lincecum become the biggest star in San Francisco history?

I may be jumping the gun a little bit here, but I think Tim Lincecum could reach heights of popularity that we haven't seen for any San Francisco star.

Let me explain myself.

As a pitcher, he is already showing he can walk the walk. He's only 25 and not only does he already have a Cy Young Award and with his complete game 12 K performance in Oakland last night, he seems well on his way to a second top 10 finish for the Cy.

So he is in an elite category as a player.

He's also helping turn the Giants around. This was supposed to be a painful rebuilding season... not one where they are contending for a playoff spot going into July.

But he also has a star quality.

He has a Jonas Brothers quality. He looks like a fun kid. He's got his dopey long hair and looks like he should be playing videogames.

He's not a macho athlete. He's kind of a laid back cool guy playing in a not exactly macho but laid back and cool city.

Picture him with long hair and the relaxed attitude in Philadelphia! Or Chicago!

He's tailor made for San Francisco.

Actually Barry Zito, with his yoga, his guitar playing and new age centeredness was tailor made for San Francisco. Unfortunately he left his Cy Young form in the East Bay. Yeah, he's pitching OK for a 3rd or 4th starter these days... but he's not making third or fourth starter money.

Plus he media savvy. His ads for MLB 2K9 are really funny and he comes across like a pro. He could be one of the new faces of the post 'roid era baseball. (Look at that frame... forget 'roids. I question if he is eating his Wheaties!)

And in San Francisco, he is the face of Post Bonds Giants. I am not one to dogpile on Bonds.

I've actually defended Bonds on this blog, even though I think he is less likely to pass a steroid test than Ivan Drago. And the more stars who turn up tainted, the better Barry looks in a twisted way.

But I think Giants fans wanted to turn the page. They want a new era to begin... and lo and behold it has!

Giant fans also want a title.

Their agony is underrated and the hunger for a World Championship is looking verrrrry familiar to this Red Sox fan. 

The player who can deliver it will be beloved forever in San Francisco.

Lincecum could be that guy. If pitching wins championships, then who better than someone who looks like a perennial Cy Young contender?

Who could he unseat as the most popular sports figure in San Francisco history?

Will Clark?

Clark is the most popular Giant I have ever seen. Anyone my age who lived in the Bay Area speaks of him with intense reverence in a way that I can only compare to Yankee fans and Don Mattingly.

But as loved as Mattingly was, he will never surpass Jeter.

Jeter delivered the title. If Lincecum wins one in China Basin, Clark will take a backseat.

Orlando Cepeda?

The Baby Bull was beloved... but let's face it. On his own teams he was the third most feared slugger.

Plus he won a ring... but he did so in St. Louis where he actually had some of his best seasons. 

If Lincecum wins it all, being a member of the Hall of Fame and having a kick ass BBQ in left field will have to suffice.

Willie McCovey?

How loved a Giant was Willie McCovey?

They named the cove behind right field after him and he never played an inning there.

But what's HIS World Series highlight?

You know... Bobby Richardson knows.

If Lincecum wins, he's above McCovey.

Steve Young?

Yup he won the Super Bowl.

Yup he kept the championship tradition going for the 49ers.

But he will always commit the sin of not being named Joe Montana.

Plus there is a little "been there done that" with 49er Superbowls.

There hasn't been a San Francisco Giants World Series title yet. 

Y. A. Tittle?

Sure he was the first huge pro star in San Francisco...

But come on! He played in an era where they didn't have a facemask! Was that football?

He's on this e mail out of respect and to keep someone from writing an angry e mail to me!

Lincecum might be more loved than Tittle NOW!

Ronnie Lott?

One of the great players who was part of the 1980 AND 1990s All Decade team and anchored the defense the way Montana anchored the offense.

But please... you can't have a defensive player be the most loved player of a big sports city!

Jerry Rice?

Hmm... would Lincecum be more popular than Rice?

Tough one. Rice is really loved and possibly the greatest receiver in football history.

Plus he pulled off the whole Dancing With The Stars thing off well.

But yes, I think a World Series title led by Lincecum would put him over Jerry Rice in the hearts of San Franciscans.

Barry Bonds?

Don't be confused... San Francisco fans on the most part loved Barry Bonds and cheered him on even when things got... um... controversial.

And Barry showed as much love as he could... but in the end it was more like Toshiro Mifune in The Seven Samurai. The villagers respected him and were happy for the protection... but it wasn't exactly cute and cuddly.

So yes, despite all of the highlights and saving the franchise and having a ballpark built for him... I believe a World Series title would make Lincecum more popular than Bonds.

Willie Mays?

OK, Willie in many ways will be remembered more as a New York legend than anything else... and he delivered a World Series title in the Polo Grounds but never did on Candlestick Point.

But it was hardly anything you could blame WILLIE for!

So even without a World Series title in San Francisco, he is considered not only to be the greatest all around player of all time, but also the very symbol of an era of pure joy and intensity.

No number of World Series titles led by Tim Lincecum can ever top that.

Joe Montana?

There may be more championships won in San Francisco... but there will never be another first.

Montana led the 49ers to the first ever San Francisco championship... then to the second... and the third... and the fourth.

Watch a Niner game in 2009 and chances are #16 will still be the most popular jersey.

Basically for San Francisco sports fans, he is a Beatle. 

OK, so maybe my hypothesis is wrong. No matter what, Lincecum won't ever surpass Willie Mays or Joe Montana in San Francisco. 

But lead a Giants team to the World Series title, then maybe his name could be brought up in the conversation.

(No pressure.)