Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sosa enters 600 club

Last night, Sammy Sosa became the fifth player in Major League history to reach the 600 homerun plateau, and the second to do so with the aid of steroids (the other being Barry Bonds, of course). Sosa had sat out the 2006 season in a prolonged sulk after no team offered to pay him the big bucks he was used to receiving (this was because of his paltry .221 average with Baltimore in 2005).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Break Up the Yankees!

Yankees-Red Sox, Yankee Stadium. Photo by Karen Barletta, roving reporter.

After two consecutive 6-2 wins (Mets on Sunday, Red Sox on Monday), things suddenly look a little hopeful in Yankeeland. It's amazing what a win can do for the morale of a team and its fans. The Yanks took the first game of a 3-game series vs the Sox yesterday. Wang was tough, and made the pitches he needed to keep the big bats at bay. Bruney and Proctor were solid out of the bullpen, as usual, and even Farnsworth didn't give up his usual run.

Crazy moment of the night for me: a lumbering David Ortiz trying (and succeeding) to stretch a single into a double against the strong arm of Bobby Abreu. Wow! Do we have to worry about this guys legs now too?

Tonights matchup: Tavárez vs Mussina.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Homer Simpson's all-time baseball team

Saw this on FoxSports:

Homer says: I first fell in love with baseball as a teenager. Like the players, I was always trying to get to second base in spite of the best efforts of the opposing team. Here's my all-time major league baseball roster.

Catcher: Yogi Berra
Hit home runs and stole picnic baskets. I like his life partner Boo Boo as well.

First Base: Bill Buckner
I've had a lot of things go through my legs too, so I can relate. Plus I know what it's like to be hated by a whole city.

Second Base: Billy Martin
Only major league player to get in more drunken bar brawls than me.

Third Base: Pete Rose
He's in my Hall of Fame for helping me place all those bets against the Reds

Shortstop: Cal Ripken Jr.
We share a special kinship, because I've been late to work 2,632 consecutive days.

Outfield: Harmon Killebrew
His name is what I do every night at Moe's.

Outfield: Ty Cobb
A great hitter, and he invented an awesome salad full of bacon and cheese.

Outfield: Ted Williams
Greatest hitter who ever lived, and he was just a frozen head! Just think what he could've done with a whole body.

Designated Hitter: That guy from "The Natural"
It was so cool when he broke that light and then ran in slow motion.

Starting Pitcher: Vida Blue
Hell of an arm, and his last name reminds me of the color of my pants.

Starting Pitcher: Sandy Koufax
Like him, I refuse to work on all Jewish holidays. L'chaim!

Relief Pitcher: Goose Gossage
Mmm, goose at the end of the game.

Now play ball, everybody!

Giambi: "We made a mistake."

As steroids-boy Barry Bonds closes in on Hank Aaron's all-time career homerun record of 755 dingers, Jason Giambi came clean to a USA Today reporter:

"I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said: 'We made a mistake.'

"We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. … Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it."

Today MLB ordered Giambi to keep his yap shut. Seems like they still want to avoid the subject.

Meanwhile "in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 8% of 469 baseball fans surveyed this month said they currently consider Bonds to be the greatest all-time home run hitter. And even if Bonds hits his 756th home run to pass Aaron — which is likely to happen soon; Bonds has 745 — only 34% of fans said they would acknowledge Bonds as the best."

Hank Aaron already has said he won't be in attendance when Bonds breaks the record. MLB commissioner Selig hasn't committed either. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear, does it make a sound?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mark McGwire reacts to HOF rejection

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

From the "No Shit" Department

Mark McGwire as a skinny rookie; the (juiced?) ball McGwire hit for #62 in '98.

This story was released by the AP today:

A company that uses computer imaging claims baseballs had a larger rubberized core and a synthetic rubber ring in 1998, including the ball Mark McGwire hit for his 70th homer.

Universal Medical Systems Inc. said Wednesday that with the assistance of Drs. Avrami S. Grader and Dr. Philip M. Halleck from The Center for Quantitative Imaging at Penn State, it took images of 1998 baseballs.

"Examining the CT images of Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball one can clearly see the synthetic ring around the core -- or 'pill' -- of the baseball," UMS president David Zavagno said. "While Mark McGwire may or may not have used illegal steroids, the evidence shows his ball -- under the governing body of the league -- was juiced."

UMS specifically examined the ball McGwire hit for No. 70 -- a record surpassed when Barry Bonds hit 73 homers in 2001. Zavagno said the company tested about 35 baseballs in all.

"The synthetic rubber ring of the modern-day baseball, in this case that of Mark McGwire's prized 70th home run ball, acts as both a spring and a `stop,"' Zavagno said. "Much like a sling shot pulled back 10 or 20 degrees farther than normal, the subsequent restitution or rebound allows an object to fly faster and farther."

It's cool that there is some sort of evidence to prove what everyone has already known. After the MLB players' strike of 1994, which ran into spring training of '05, baseball was in some serious shit. Attendance was down, sure, but it was the disrespect of the game that sticks with me. Fans chanting, booing, throwing money at the players, fans running onto the field to disrupt the game time and time again. Baseball was in a sad state.

MLB needed to win back the fans, and compete with football and basketball for the fans money. Balls were juiced. Players were juiced. MLB turned a blind eye. And you all know what happened: Baseballs began flying out of the parks in record numbers. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa thrilled America with their chase of Roger Maris' single-season HR record of 61. They BOTH broke his mark. Steroid use was suspected, but no one really cared. Balls were flying out of the park! Dingers are fun to watch! Sammy had his little homerun hop. McGwire was hugging Maris' family! McGwire was hugging Sammy Sosa!

Then the Darth Vader of baseball (Barry Bonds) surpassed the unsurpassable McGwire record of 70 when he finished the 2001 season with 73 HRs. If there was any lingering doubt of steroid abuse, it was dispelled with this new record so soon after McGwire's. It was like when the second plane hit the WTC. Any thoughts that the first plane was a freak accident were forgotten. The truth was there, visible to the naked eye.

The results of this year's Hall of Fame balloting will be announced on Tuesday. My guess is McGwire pays the price. He won't make it, at least not this year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bobby Murcer

Let's send out good feelings toward Bobby Murcer. A brain tumor was discovered on Christmas Eve, after Murcer complained of recent headaches and loss of energy. He's due to have surgery today.

"I'm feeling OK and we're just going to have to see what this surgery will bring," Murcer told the New York Daily News. "I'm hopeful that everything will turn out OK and I'm thankful to have so many friends who are rooting for me."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Big Unit on trade block?

Word has leaked that the Yankees are looking to trade Randy Johnson and his Big Unit. Johnson's no-trade clause requires his approval of any deal, but after the recent death of his brother, Johnson may welcome a trade back home to Arizona, or nearby San Diego or Los Angeles.

Randy has one year left on his contract, and is owed $16 million. The Yanks won't get much for a 43 year-old starter just coming off back surgery. This would be more of a salary dump, and a chance to inject some youth into their rotation. Of course, 44 year-old Clemens is still a possibility, but I wonder if the Yanks may become sudden suitors of lefty Barry Zito, who would command a similar yearly salary as Johnson's, but is 15 years younger.

Although Randy has had his ups and downs in New York, and struggled a bit, he has made 67 starts the past two season for the Yanks, won 34 games, and pitched 430 innings. Even though his ERA was high, it's not so easy to replace those kind of numbers.

Sans Randy, the rotation looks like this:
Igawa or Karstens

I have to believe they'll pull someone else out of their hat. Zito? Clemens? Dontrelle Willis? We'll see.

UPDATE: Barry Zito has signed with the SF Giants. Arizona still seems to be where Randy will end up, but both sides are reportedly still haggling over the contract extension and financial structuring.

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