I saw this clip on YouTube today...
A Mets fan by the name of "Razor" (named after St. Razor no doubt) is obviously pumped after the final nail in the coffin of Armando Benitez' Giants career.
Good for him. Clearly a good Mets fan.
But then he turns to the camera to say "I called that!"
Wow! Really bold prediction there, Razor!
You, a Mets fan who saw him blow lead after agonizing lead, predicted he would blow this game as well? Was it his two balks in the inning or more than a decade of late inning failures that gave you this premonition?
Tomorrow Razor will no doubt watch the sunrise and say "I called it! The sun was coming up! I CALLED THAT!"
Thursday, May 31, 2007
How appropriate was it that the Giants purged themselves of Armando Benitez in Shea Stadium, the home of so many of his meltdowns?
When Bruce Bochy first joined the Giants, the first thought I had was "Wow! He's had Trevor Hoffman, a potential Hall of Fame closer, his entire managerial career. How long could he stand having Benitez blowing games for him?"
The answer turned out to be "less than two months."
And they got a 25 year old kid named Randy Messenger, who has a decent ERA!
After the other day, I would have traded him for an Arby's Super Roast Beef Sandwich and tickets to Hostel 2 (which I saw last night by the way. It is awesome.)
BEFORE his spectacular conclusion to his Mets career, he sensed the end was near and gave his thoughts to the Contra Costa Times.
Among his gem quotes includes this one:
"It wouldn't be the first time I've been traded. But it'd be a mistake."
It's ALWAYS been a mistake... for the other team.
Benitez is gone.
Someone else will have a chance to close.
Let's hear it, Giants fan.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
So Don Zimmer thinks it is too early to declare the Red Sox AL East champs but the other teams need to step up quick.
Gee Zim! Great insight!
Let me get this straight so I can keep up with your baseball genius...
It's still May... and the season ends in October... so yeah! It's kind of early. Nice pick up there.
But you think it would be tough to catch the Sox? Really! I guess an 11 1/2 game lead IS kind of tough!
Wow. I can see why people turn to you for your supreme baseball wisdom!
How about some more questions?
Let's say you are managing a team with lots of talented players on it... and you don't get along with some of them. What should you do?
Give those players away? Including a future Hall of Fame pitcher, a beloved All Star and Yankee Killer, a solid reliever and top pinch hitter?
Let's just say you have a future Hall of Fame catcher on that team with injury issues... how do you handle him?
Catch him 154 times until he breaks down? Interesting choice.
Let's say you have a third baseman whose elbow is falling apart, can't throw the ball and is costing your team games down the stretch? You'd keep him in? Nobody knows baseball like ZIM!
OK... final question... let's say you are facing, oh I don't know, your chief rival in a critical series.
You lose the first 3 games badly.
You need a win desperately.
You have three choices to start the game.
Do you chose
A) The Heart and Soul Ace of the Team
B) The Crafty Left Handed Yankee Killer
C) A Kid pitching the second game in his big league career
Really? You'd pick the kid!
Wow. Can I read such
wisdom in your TWO BOOKS?
I wonder if they have Cliffs Notes for his books.
OK, I have vowed to write at least one post about every team in the major leagues.
Obviously I have the Red Sox covered... and I have written probably too much about the Yankees.
I've talked about Benitez and Bonds, but I have a Giants post I am thinking up...
I've talked Devil Rays... because somebody has to.
And I tried to remind you that the power of the smiling bird will make the Orioles winners again.
So not counting the Giants that is 4 teams covered.. 26 to go.
Let's talk Pirates baseball!
When was the last time anyone said that?
Has anyone since Sid Bream slid across home plate to end the Pirates hope to go to the 1992 World Series?
Have the Pirates been relevant since Barry Bonds was skinny?
The answer is "no."
They haven't had a winning season since that same year, 1992.
And there is no excuse for that.
Or you will HEAR lots of excuses, but there are none that are relevant.
It used to be that they played in a lousy stadium.
And they did.
Three Rivers Stadium was a terrible place to see a ballgame. I went there in 1993 with my dad and it felt like the Steelers were graciously letting the Pirates play in their park.
Guess what?They blew it up!
And they replaced it with a beautiful new tax payer subsidized stadium.
Try again, apologists!
Oh the payroll is too high!
They can't afford the players.
Who are the big spenders in that division? The penny pinching Cardinals? The notoriously cheap Cubs? The Astros? The Brewers? The Reds? Seriously, it's not like they have the Red Sox and Yankees devouring all the players in that division!
Plus players who come up through the farm aren't that expensive!
Just look at the two reigning MVPs, Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau make less than $800,000 COMBINED
We're trying to rebuild!
They'd be better off rebuilding Three Rivers Stadium.
How long will this rebuilding go on?
Let me put it to you this way...
When the Pirates were last good (1992), the Marlins didn't exist yet.
Since then they were formed (1993), built a World Champion (1997), tore it down (1998), built another World Champion (2003), tore it down (2006) and have a brand new core of young talent.
And note that they STILL play in an ugly football stadium... and they can pull it off.
So do the Oakland A's! My god they have the worst stadium in baseball and 1/3 of their games aren't even on TV! Yet they are in the playoffs almost every year.
Same with the Twins who play in a gigantic cream puff and were about to be contracted!
Heck even the Montreal Expos had winning seasons in 2002 and 2003... AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN HAVE AN OWNER!
So here we are... kids who were born the same year Cabrera's single went into left field will be getting their driver's license next year. The Pirates have been completely irrelevant their whole 15 year lives.
And what do we have now in their division?
The Brewers (also 15 years since their last winner) is in first place, but starting to sink.
The Cardinals are a sad sad mess.
The Cubs pitching staff resembles the waiting room in Beetlejuice.
The Reds stink and the Astros just lost 10 in a row.
So, Pirates... why not make a run at it?
You've got Jason Bay and Freddie Sanchez and Xavier Nady.
You've got Gorezelanny and Snell in the rotation and Duke might turn it around.
Torres, Caps, Marte and Chacon all have some ability in the bullpen.
Why not trade away some prospects and get a bat? Mark Teixeira is available... make an offer!
Get another starter. Freddie Garcia is available too. See what they want!
The Pirates are only 5 1/2 games back a sinking Brewers team.
You've got a whole generation of kids in Pittsburgh who have never seen a winner, let alone a playoff series.
Come on! Cue up "We Are Family", make some deals and make a run!
I saw what the Warriors run did for Bay Area basketball fans. It was electric. It was as if the fans said "I didn't know I could feel this way about the Warriors!"
Make a run before you deal away Jason Bay for prospects who will grow up and get traded for more prospects.
You've got the stadium and the winnable division.
You've had 15 seasons to rebuild.
Make a run or those kids will get their drivers licenses and never drive to PNC Park.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
2 balks in the 12th inning?
Worse yet... a game tying 2 out balk?
Benitez is finding ways to blow leads I have never dared dream of.
I told the Giants to trade him when he got his first save knowing his value would never be higher.
I openly questioned what his job description was.
But this is just getting sad because it is no longer shocking.
When he allowed Reyes to score the tying run (thus invalidating a gutty effort by the Giants to come back in the 7th, hold off the Mets in extra innings and move ahead in the 12th) my dad stopped watching.
Now keep in mind my dad NEVER leaves a Giants game. He watches or listens to them right through the post game show on KNBR.
But Benitez balked, Reyes scored and my dad stood up to play with his grandchildren.
He missed DelGado ending the game with a home run the next pitch.
But I guess saying he missed it isn't accurate.
I went outside and he was playing with my two sons.
At one point amidst the laughter my dad turned to me.
"Home run?" He asked.
No need to even watch.
I can't wait to hear from my Mets fan friends tomorrow.
Benitez is FINALLY contributing to a Mets victory.
I look forward to hearing what my Mets fan friends Andres, Liam, Michael, Poppi and my cousin Dave Sullivan think about this poetic justice.
But this is getting ridiculous!
14 1/2 game lead over the Yankees?
22 games ago, the Yankees were 5 back in the loss column and unveiled their new/old toy Roger Clemens.
And this inspired the Yankees so much that they dropped 9 games in the loss column in 21 games.
That's almost impossible!
If they keep falling like this, Clemens might be requesting a trade!
Mariano Rivera has 3 saves. THREE!
Hideki Okajima has 4 saves and he isn't even the main closer!
I mean it can't keep up like this, can it?
The Red Sox are on a pace to go 114-48
The Yankees are on a pace to go 68-94... with the Sox finishing 46 games ahead of them.
By the way, the magic number to eliminate the Yankees is 98.
And note thatISN'T the Magic number for the Division.
Pretty soon we Sox fans will have to stop checking on the Yankees and start scoreboard watching for the Orioles and Blue Jays.
Maybe in honor of Pat and Christin, we'll be checking the scores of the Devil Rays as well.
But the Red Sox CAN'T be this good.
The Yankees CAN'T POSSIBLY be this bad.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
So Armando Benitez came into a tie game in the 9th against the Rockies last night, let up 3 hits, 2 stolen bases and an intentional walk... the Rockies score twice and win the game.
Benitez responded as he did last year after a trademark Benitez meltdown in Washington.
He said "I did my job."
After years of high profile failures which we have covered before, I wondered how he could be so casual about it.
Then it hit me.
Has anyone actually read his contract?
Perhaps in every contract he signed since being with the Orioles, through his times with the Mets and now the Giants, his job has been clearly defined as fulfilling 9 simple goals.
1. If the game is tied in the 9th inning or extra innings, give up the go ahead run.
2. If the team has the lead in the 9th inning or extra innings, give up that lead with lightning speed.
3. When you blow a game, make sure it demoralizes the team after a scrappy come back that your ineptitude makes for naught.
4. Try to let up home runs to light hitting players.
5. Get your fan base to hate the very sight of you to the point that the moment you take your warm up jacket off in the bullpen, you get booed.
6. Become an endless focus on call in talk shows where the team's sanity is questioned for keeping you.
7. Demoralize not only a team but a loyal fan base who can trace the end of their team's pennant chances with your spectacular failures.
8. Despite your failures, insist that you are one of the elites in the game and take no responsibility.
9. Try to gain some weight.
If that is his job description, then I take back my criticism.
He did indeed do his job... and he did it quite well if I may add.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Who is this person in Julian Tavarez's body?
He was supposed to be a lousy #5 starter, biding time until Jon Lester came back from cancer.
He was the guy who broke his hand punching a phone during the '04 playoffs for the Cardinals and came back in time to cough up a game winning homer to Mark Bellhorn in the World Series.
He was the guy sports reporters laughed at when he said the Sox didn't need Roger Clemens.
And I grant you, his stats aren't exactly screaming Cy Young.
But have you noticed he's pitched well in 4 of his last 5 games?
And those 5 games include 2 wins against the Yankees!
That is shaving 4 off of the magic number by himself. (And no, it is never too early to try and figure out the magic number.
Oh yeah, the other win came against a red hot defending AL Champion Detroit Tiger team.
What I am saying is, whatever extra terrestrial has entered Tavarez's body the same way that bug lived in Vincent D'Onofrio in Men in Black... please don't go.
I like you better than the other Tavarez. Stick around awhile.
I am all for body possession if it means a pennant.
ALSO ON TAVAREZ
I know this clip has been going around, but it needs be seen by every nitwit Red Sox fan who wants to see Manny Ramirez off of the team.
What other superstar in sports is this hilarious?
Name the superstar who is this funny.
You can't can you?
Please PLEASE resign Manny
I know I shouldn't be piling on the Yankees... but it's too much fun.
Besides, after years of living in New York as a Red Sox fan, I never remembered much mercy coming from Yankee fans.
So here's another thing to ponder:
Mussina might be toast.
As in this might not be "a bad start."
Or "he's working through some stuff."
It might be over.
He's a 38 year old pitcher. Look at his baseball reference page. The pitchers whose career mirrors Mussina the most usually breakdown in their mid to late 30s. Bob Welch was done by 36. David Cone was done by age 37.
Granted, Welch lived harder than Mussina and it is safe to say Cone wasn't doing a crossword that night in the Shea Stadium Bullpen.
Even Bob Gibson was no longer the ace caliber pitcher by 39, his last year in the bigs.
What I am saying is a 38 year old pitcher with a losing record, only pitched into the 7th once this year (last night when he was shelled), has an ERA of 6.52 and can't keep his team in ballgames might not be going through a slump.
It might be it.
He's had a solid career... a borderline hall of fame career.
But there very well might be yet another hole in the Yankees pitching staff.
However, I will suggest to Joe Torre... LEAVE HIM IN!
Maybe he'll work through it!
I'm enjoying this too much.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Continuing my vow to write something about all 30 teams... today I take on the Baltimore Orioles.
What the heck happened to the Orioles?
Growing up, they were one of the best teams in baseball year in and year out.
They could hit, they could field and man could they pitch.
And they were consistent!
From 1960 to 1985, they had 2 losing seasons.
In that same stretch, even the mighty Yankees had 6 losing seasons.
That's 24 out of 26 seasons with a winner.
And 8 post season trips... before there was a wild card and a three round playoff.
6 trips to the World Series and 3 Titles.
And now... they are on their 10th straight season of irrelevant sub .500 ball.
What's to blame?
Is it the inconsistent ownership of Peter Angelos?
Is it the lack of a productive farm system or dreadful trades or free agent signings that backfired?
Should they never have moved out of Memorial Stadium into Camden Yards?
I say the downfall started in 1988 when the
team had their worst season in Baltimore (54-107) and they changed their hats.
They used to have the smiling, mocking Oriole on the cap.
And what did they change it to? A dull sideways orinthologically correct bird.
Where's the swagger in that? Where is the "We're so better that we're laughing at you" cockiness?
The bird isn't even looking at you!
The 1989 Orioles in the dull caps turned the season around and contended until the last weekend.. but it was an abberation.
In the 18 seasons with the lifeless caps, the Orioles have had only 6 winning seasons and only two playoff trips.
And the team, once one of the crown jewels of baseball, has turned into the place that agents tell their aging clients "Hey, I bet we trick them into one more big contract!"
Bring back the smiling bird!
There was nothing cooler in baseball than seeing Jim Palmer
, Mike Flanagan or Steve Stone mowing down batters with that Oriole grinning back at you.
Or scowling Eddie Murray staring down a pitcher with the bird almost mocking him. "Yup, my pal Eddie is going to take you deep!"
Brooks Robinson makes a great catch, and the bird loved it.
Earl Weaver argues with an up and that bird is almost shaking his head. "Your call was laughable!"
What does the sideways bird give us?
When Cal Ripken broke the record... he wasn't even watching.
When Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa did 'roids... he literally
Who cares if he is orinthologically correct?
We're baseball fans! We don't need accuracy!
We spell "Socks" S-O-X!
Let the bird smile and maybe Baltimore will have something to smile about again
you live by the knuckleball and you die by the knuckleball.
When it doesn't knuckle, you are throwing a pumpkin to the plate
And nobody is intimidated by a thrown pumpkin...unless you are the Green Goblin
Giambi's home run was pretty impressive.
I wonder if he will apologize for it.
Game 2 tonight
Monday, May 21, 2007
He is one of the most recognized names in baseball, and one of the most polarizing as well.
By the mid 1990s, he'd already put together a Hall of Fame worthy resume, including individual awards (including the MVP of his league) and many seasons where he was unquestionably the best in his league. But in his mid 30s, other players were passing him by.
Suddenly, his career exploded again. At a time when most players decline, his numbers IMPROVED. He started winning post season awards at a faster clip than he had before. Kept winning them into the 2000s. His power numbers shot through the roof, he started reaching career numbers reserved only for the elite and passing milestones that seemed unreachable 10 years prior.
He is called a selfish player by many, demanding special rules and getting white glove treatment from his team.
He also has an unquestionable workout method that is the awe of other players.
But there is also a dark cloud. Maybe that surge in his stats when others decline wasn't all clean.
His body changed from being a lean player when he broke into the bigs in the mid 1980s to bulging up comically in the 2000s.
And while he has never tested positive for anything, his name has come up in one of the high profile performance enhancing drug scandals... and no libel suit has been filed.
Meanwhile he is using 2007 to keep climbing up the record book as he is second only to one of the legends of the game in a famous record.
Who was I just talking about?
Was I referring to Barry
Was I referring to Roger Clemens?
That same story can be used for both players.
Yet Bonds is the one everyone is focusing on.
People say they should wipe out Barry's home runs.
I say every time he hit one off of a juiced up pitcher he should get credit for 2!
And forget Barry's 745 homers.
I want those 2 homers Jason Giambi hit off of Pedro Martinez in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS back! Can we wipe those out? Can I declare the Red Sox the 2003 AL Champions?
It's bigger than Bonds... even a puffed up 'roided Bonds.
It's bigger than Clemens... and his ego.
It's even bigger than the echo filled vacuous cavity in Jason Giambi's skull.
If you really care about performance enhancing drugs, test for them all (including HGH) and accept that prior to the latest amendment to the collective bargaining agreement that lots of players on EVERY team used them.
And if you just want to focus on Barry, just admit... you don't like him and that's all what this is about.
And yes, Bud Selig should be there to see Barry break the record. And if he doesn't come voluntarily, he should be strapped in and forced to watch it like Alex in A Clockwork Orange.
I know the rest of the baseball world is tired of us Red Sox fans bringing up 2004.
But you all kept bringing up 1918! It serves you right!
Remember when the bizarre logic leading up the World Series that so many sports writers (and Yankee fans) kept bringing up? Red Sox fans don't want to win it! The love suffering. What will their identity be?
Well the short term effect of winning that World Series was awesome...
And so far the long term has been as well.
The Red Sox have a 10 1/2 game lead on the Yankees on May 21.
Let's stop and savor that sentence shall we?
And the Red Sox and Yankees are playing each other today.
Best case scenario at the end of the series?
Sox have a 13 1/2 game lead on May 24th.
Worst case scenario?
Sox have a 7 1/2 game lead on May 24th.
If I polled 1 million Red Sox fans on opening day and asked them "Would you take a 7 1/2 game lead on May 24th?" I'd somehow get 2 million "yes" votes.
So as a Red Sox fan, I am feeling confident that my team has a better pitching staff... a better bullpen... a comfortable lead... and a bit of swagger.
It's an odd feeling to have.
Before 2004, in this situation there would be panic.
"My god, how are we going to blow it THIS TIME!"
"The Yankees ALWAYS do it! We're going to choke!"
"They've been doing this to us for generations!"
"Quick! Let's dive into that lake and find a piano!"
All that based on the Red Sox always choking and the Yankees being in capable of choking to the Red Sox.
Well all of that worrying was slapped out of Arroyo's glove.
Now I can watch the series like a, GASP, rational baseball fan.
Hope they can win 2 of 3, keep their 10 game lead and continue beating good teams like Detroit and Atlanta.
And know that the Yankees are one injury away from calling ME to start a game, Mariano Rivera continues to stink it up (don't worry... it's only April), Kyle Farnsworth is mouthing off about Clemens... A-Rod is looking at townhouses in Anaheim... Torre and Cashman are checking Craigslist for jobs and Jason Giambi keeps giving vague apologies.
I'm sure Clemens will turn the ship around.
Finally we're no longer the panicking fan base.
Too bad we lost that identity of ours.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
6 in the bottom of the 9th! I'll take it.
Of course I have to lament my own personal timing. I was driving doing errands and I listened to innings 2 through 8... when the Sox were behind, scuffling, the crowd was out of it and Francona waved a white flag taking Manny out. So basically it was like watching Rocky 4 and turning it off before the fight with Drago.
For a couple of guys with a great reputation around pitchers, Mazzone and Perlozzo sure seemed panicked. I mean the team had a 5-0 lead, the kid Guthrie was 2 outs away from a complete game shut out in Fenway against a red hot Red Sox team, they would have won the series and climbed back to .500. Not to mention the fact that Guthrie's confidence would have been sky high.
Hernandez dropped the potential second out, and suddenly Perlozzo became Chicken Little.
Did he think that the Red Sox were finally getting to Guthrie after a pop up to the catcher?
Did he think that he had the reincarnation of Rich Gossage and Rollie Fingers in his bullpen?
Whatever he was thinking, I'm glad he thought it. I heard once Tom Seaver say a team should send the opposing manager a thank you note when he takes out a pitcher throwing a shut out.
Suddenly, the flood gates open, and what looked like a potential season turning series win for the Orioles turned into an unreal collapse.
And of course, I missed it.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I start my vow to write something about every team in the majors by getting the Devil rays out of the way.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a team named appropriately enough after a bottom feeding fish, are starting their 10th season.
And so far the only thing uglier than their inaugural uniforms has been their record.
But they've been around for nearly a decade, and their fellow expansion team from 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks, have experienced 3 trips to the playoffs and a heart stopping World Series title.
So that's more than enough time to come up with 10 great moments!
In honor of my on line friends Pat and Christin, the two biggest Devil Rays fans in the world, Sully Baseball presents...
10 Greatest Moments in Tampa Bay Devil Rays History!
1. April 17, 1995. The expansion Devil Rays sign a 30 year lease for Tropicana Field. The Rays first try to get out of that lease on April 18, 1995.
2. March 31, 1998. The Devil Rays first game. Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Al Lopez and Monte Irvin are in attendance. After the Rays lose 11-6, the front office attempts to add Williams, Musial, Lopez and Irvin to the 25 man roster.
3. April 19, 1998. The Rays beat the Angels to improve to 10-6, the best ever start for an expansion team. Does Tampa have a winner on their hands? (Nope. They would go 53-93 the rest of the way finishing 51 games behind the Yankees)
4. August 7, 1999. Wade Boggs, probably the only Devil Ray you have ever heard of, homers for his 3,000th hit. His celebration makes V-J Day look muted. The Rays were losing when he hit the homer. They were still losing after they hit the homer. They lost the game 15-10.
5. September 18, 1999. The Devil Rays are blown out by the Texas Rangers, but 35 year old high school teacher and coach Jim Morris strikes out Royce Clayton to end the 8th. Some look at this outing as a classic tale of never letting go of your dreams. Others say the Devil Rays pitching was so bad they had the local high school teacher pitch.
Jim Morris' story is turned into The Rookie, one of the best baseball movies ever made and the only one to turn a mop up appearance in September into a tear jerking sequence. Morris should be very happy they got the impossibly handsome Dennis Quaid to play him in the movie.
6. October 28, 2002. The Devil Rays sign Lou Pinella as manager.
Lou clearly wanted to go the Mets and burnt his bridges in Seattle, so he used the Rays as a bargaining chip. When the Mets brought in Art Howe, Lou claimed he wanted to spend more time with his family in Tampa. He clearly knew he had his Octobers free.
7. March 31, 2003. Carl Crawford hits a 3 run home run off Red Sox reliever Chad Fox with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th to win the season opener for Pinella. The sight of the bullpen blowing a brilliantly pitched game by Pedro Martinez contributes to Grady Little's decision to let Pedro pitch in game 7 against the Yankees until his arm fell off.
8. March 30, 2004. The A-Rod era in New York begins, where else? TOKYO! 51,000 fans in the Tokyo Dome, no doubt there to see Aubrey Huff and Toby Hall, watch the Devil Rays stun the mighty Yankees 8-3.
9. May-June 2004. Terrified of Lou Pinella, the Rays somehow win 30 out of 40 games, including 12 in a row. There is whispering that the team might go .500. They finish 70-91, making the 2004 Devil Rays the best team in their history.
10. July 30, 2004. The Mets make a trade for pitcher Victor Zambrano, clearly thinking he was the Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano. In the process they give up prized left handed pitching stud Scott Kazmir. WFAN's phone lines melt from all of the callers hating the trade and it remains probably the best trade in Devil Rays history.
So there you have it.
10 memorable moments.
Most of them taking place in March and April... the only one to take place after Labor Day was when a high school teacher got to pitch.
For Pat and Christin's sake, let's hope the next nine years give them something to cheer about other than watching Dennis Quaid.