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Archive for February, 2009

2/28/09: The Hottest Fans In Baseball Are Astros Fans – RIGHT???!!!

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Well yall, I just got this comment from morehardball.com.

“More Hardball wants to know who has the hottest fans in baseball. We’ll be running a set of posts over the following weeks featuring images of each teams’ hotties, with a voting poll to crown a champion. We’ve crowned champs of the AL East (BoSox), Central (ChiSox), West (Angels), and AL Wild Card (A’s) already, and we’re now moving on to the National League. Last week the Phillies won the NL East and now it’s time to move on to the NL Central. Sticking true to Major League Baseball’s roots, there will be an eight team playoff system where the winners of each division square off with the addition of a wild card team to determine who wins the pennant and represents each league in the World Series of Hotness.”

The hottest fans in baseball – seem to me it would have to be Ranger fans seeing as how The Ballpark has no roof and it is over 90 after the sun go down in Dallas all summer and

oh, wait

wrong kind of hot.

Hot Astros fans (not counting Sunday afternoon games in May) – hmmmmm

Well, trouble is that I usually go to the Box with at least one child as well as my scorebook and between kidz, game and scorebook, I usually don’t really notice the other fans. We sit in the cheap seats, so we usually get daddys with kids and older couples – not the epitome of hotness, although I have to say that my 2 favorite daddys so far are the Jewish daddy who wore an Astros star on his yarmulke and the daddy who took his 6 year old daughter to the ballpark hoping against hope to create a baseball fan (little grrrl clutched a Barbie in each hand – her daddy asked me to please keep an eye on her for a minute while he went to the Men’s room because daddys aren’t comfortable taking their young daughters inside a Men’s room as mami’s are with taking little boys inside a grrrls room – so I asked her – do you like baseball? and she answered, I like my daddy and HE likes baseball… But I digress)

So on the very few occasions when I go to the Box with my Mama, I do admit that my eyes, errrrr, um, have focused on, uh, well, not always on the ballplayers/field/scorebook and I really haven’t noticed a whole lot of hot guys. The guys who aren’t with families are either with another businessman and don’t understand why the 2 old guys in uni stand outside the field and don’t either hit or catch balls (the 1st and 3rd base coaches) and disremember how many hits to a touchdown – which makes them as unhot as possible to me – or younger guys who are usually at least somewhat drunk, so if I COULD have thought they were hot when sober, I definitely found them icky when not.

This is getting tough. Once I dragged my brother The Playa to the Box and as usual, females were looking longingly at him and licking their lips and touching their hair – but he’s my stupid brother and besides, that was only once.

OK male readers of this here blog!!!

This is your chance!!!

Show the world your hotness – you can attach pix of you – and they gotta not only be safe for work, but they gotta be safe for your granma/minister/priest/rabbi as well. And yes, the pic of Bradley Awesome holding nothin but a surfboard was absolutely FINE (trust me on this.)

Let’s all show the rest of the league that Texans and Astros fans are hot HOT HOT!!!!

2/27/09: Pence And Bourn Walk!!!

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Well, that’s positive, right?

Against the powerhouse Nationals, the Astros managed 2 walks by Pence, 1 walk by Bourn and singles by Blum and Sutton.

Wandy was shaky – gave up 2 singles, 2 doubles, a walk and 2 runs.

Capellan, Wright, Norris, Lumsden and Paronto all pitched scoreless innings and the game was finished in 2 hours, which is what happens when you get all these 1,2,3 innings and there aren’t any commercials.

Miggy Te-roider has decided to go play in the WBC for the DR. Fine – we can get a better look at Maysonnet and Manzella as one of them realistically has to make the roster because Geoff Blum can hardly play 3rd, let alone short.

And Jeff Kallman, erstwhile writer of The Catbird has restarted his blog. He writes like I wish I could if I could get more interest in baseball subjects not necessarily involving Astros or Barry Lamar.

Check it out.

2/26/09: Watching Astros PLAY Baseball is Just WONderful

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Incredible that ESPN showed a spring training game between the Astros and Braves, but hey, I’ll take it. I’d take bout anything, right about now.

I’m glad I got to see Roy pitch because this was his only game before he takes off for the WBC (and Carlos is playing for Panama – Miggy TeRoider has sensibly decided not to play.) I’m just praying it doesn’t screw him up badly as it did Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler back in 06.

Roy was awesome – made 1 mistake – let a FB catch too much of the plate and David Ross hit it out.

Backe was very sharp – pitched 2 very good innings, giving up only a single. He didn’t walk anyone, didn’t even get to a 3-2 count.

Sergio Perez had a bad BAD day. He threw strikes and unfortunately, they were all down the middle – or at least let me say any breakers didn’t. He faced 6 hitters, gave up 1 walk, 1 ROE and 4 hits and 4 runs, 2 earned. Hopefully, he was just nervous.

I wasn’t particularly impressed by De La Vara, who faced 7 batters, gave up a walk, a double, a homer and 2 runs in 1.2 IP. He didn’t have good stuff – not sure what kind of breaker he was supposed to be throwing, but it didn’t catch the strike zone very well.

What makes me very interested is that unlike previous years, a lot of young guys are getting looked at, not just offered a few AB for the heck of it. It’s great to be getting a look at Chris Johnson, who is hitting and fielding VERY well – and this is a guy who had a bad rep as a defensive fielder. And Drew Sutton likewise is lookin good.

They had a guy named John Gall as DH – thought I recognized him, and I did – he spent a few games in a Cards uni. He’s one of those AAAA type guys – hits like a house afire at AAA, but doesn’t impress in the 12- 20 sporadic ABs he’s given to prove himself in the majors (reminds me of J.R. House.)

Maysonnet played short after Miggy left after the 4th innings – made a critical error by booting an easy GB. I wish I could have watched Tommy Manzella field.

The “experts” all have this year’s Astros team as one of the 5 worst teams in the ML – down there with the Nats. If they happen to be right, which they might could be, youneverknow, seeing as how they always insist that the Astros are gonna be BAD and one of these years they BOUND to get it right – anyhow, I’d sure rather watch this team lose with Johnson at 3rd and Sutton at second (yeh, I know Kaz is getting paid the Big Bucks, but we all know he’s a hothouse flower out there) with Manzella backing up Tejada, Towles and Palmisano catching.

It would be kewl if the team with the worst farm in the majors actually put more rookie major leaguers on the field than all the supposedly good farm teams.

2/23/09: Hall Is Out And Towles Might Could Have A Chance

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Not much news goin on except that Toby Hall was discovered to have a torn labrum and he will require surgery to repair it that will prevent him from playing for at least 4 months. The Astros have cancelled his minor league contract and will now argue with Hall’s former team about who will get stuck with the surgery/rehab bill. I would guess that his former team would, seeing as how he’s had shoulder problems for a couple of years, but they might could argue that he just had a sore muscle and he JUST tore the labrum so it’s all the Astros fault.

But this DEFINITELY changed the Astros plans. They had planned to have Quintero as the catcher with Hall as the backup (I toldja so) and now the plan is changed to Quintero and Palmisano. They seem to WANT Towles in AAA (I toldja so) and why on earth they think that Palmisano can hit ML pitching after posting a .672 OPS at AA in 06 and a .787 OPS at AA in 07 – well, I DO NOT get.

shrug

Heck, they’re even talking up Lou Santangelo, who posted a .634 OPS at AA last year and a .696 the year before.

Of COURSE they are not gonna sign Pudge Rodriguez because: 1- he’ll cost more than the minimum and 2 – Boras is his agent.

However, I think that if Towles hits as well in ST as he did at AAA last year .870 OPS, that he actually has a chance to win the starting job, and then Quintero will be the backup. He sure nuff wouldn’t haved had that chance if Hall had been healthy, and the boy best make the most of this opportunity.

I must say though, I am absolutely stunned by the number of Astros fans who think that Jason Castro will either make the team out of ST or will be called up by the ASB. It’s hard for me to believe that so many people really REALLY think there is no difference between hitting college pitchers and hitting ML pitchers. I can’t even find a catcher in the past, say, 20 years who went straight from college to the ML team, or even required only 2 months of minor league hitting to succeed in the majors. Even Matt Wieters, largely acknowledged to be the most polished college catcher, a guy most likely to hit well in the majors, spent all last year in the minors.

Also, I answered some questions about the Astros for Pirates Revolution. Click here to check it out.

2/18/09: Miguel Tejada Isn’t Here To Talk About The Past

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Well, ol Miggy had to face the media music today and the guys from the Chron and Fox showed up and that was it. Miggy “apologised” for getting caught lying to Congress about knowing whether or not any other baseball players talked – that is TALKED about steroids.

tsktsk

But, the guy who received TWO shipments of steroids/HGH and said he threw them both away, when asked if he USED steroids/HGH, said ”I don’t have to talk about that,” Tejada said. ”I just want to talk about what’s going to happen from now on.”

Gee, I don’t see eighty kabillion media types from all over the country/ESPN moaning and crying about how this is the End Of The World like they have done with McGwire for umpty years. Gee, could it be that Tejada has degenerated into a Adam Everett type hitter without his “B-12″ so nobody cares? And oh, yes, Tejada last year had (-) 26 RCAA, same as Everett had in his last full year with the Astros.

And Drayton McLane finally admitted that he and Tal and Wade DID discuss the, um, possibility that Tejada was on the Mitchell report. What Unca DIDN’T say was that they figured that wouldn’t nobody care if he was. And nobody DOES care – as long as he keeps his BA over .270 and has all that “enthusiasm” out there.

Miggy will receive his “sentence” for lying to Congress – doesn’t look as if he has anything to worry about. Unless, of course, his name was right next to Alex Rodriguez’ on that 2003 report and he gets nailed for a SECOND charge of lying to Congress. Will be interesting to see if anyone besides Jeff Pearlman will be outraged. Say what you want about the guy, he is bout the ONLY mainstream baseball writer who is equally outraged with the nobody users as the Star users.

Footnote: in a recent AOL survey, fully 20% of the people who did the survey checked the box which said that Phelps should be banned from any future Olympics because he held a marijuana pipe. Not sure exactly what kind of performance marijuana enhances, but people are getting a little over hysterical about substances. In fact, Gary Wadles, the Olympic Drug Czar said something on the effect that a person who takes anything – that word was ANYTHING – thinking – and again, that word is THINKING – that it will enhance his/her performance, is cheating. Meaning Vitamin C, healthy food, cinnamon roles, dog poop – whatever.

Like Mary Poppins said about saying supercalifragilisticexpialidicious backwards – that’s going a little too far, don’tchu think?

Actually, NOW Miggy should know what to say -

soooooo

when the cat has got your tongue, there’s no need for dismay, just summon up this word and then you’ve got a lot to say -

but use it VERY carefully, cuz it can change your life….

2/17/09: Mike Hampton Has First Muscle Problem Before Throwing One Pitch

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Why am I not surprised???

Apparently, his heart (well, it IS a muscle) is beating irregularly and they are going to apply an electrical current to him. I think this is where (at least on TV) they put the paddles on his chest and everybody shouts CLEAR.

Not sure what exactly is clear, except that they are gonna mini-electric chair the person, but what the heck.

I wonder why a 36 year old guy would have an irregular heart beat that needed to be shocked. Maybe it has something to do with him having so many other medical problems these past 4 years, who knows?

And I wonder why they had to fly him back to Houston to get this supposedly common shocking done – I mean, every ER and doctor’s office has those shock paddles. Maybe they want him seen by some famous cardiologist at St. Lukes?

But honestly, I’m exactly expecting real too much from Hampton. I’m just worried about who they would put in the rotation when, I mean IF, he goes down. I have this terrible sinking feeling it would be Paulino. They luuuuuvvv the guy the way they LUUUUVVVVED Zeke Astacio a couple years back.

2009 Astros Pitchers And Catchers Report

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Thank GAWD!!!!!

No more having to hear about the “purity” and “innocence” of The Game Being Ruined By Steroids!!! because back in The Good Old Days those pweshuus widdow choirboys they was perfeck angelsss and wouldn’t Mickey and Willie NEVER use ANY chemical to enhance THEIR performances, nosirree.

And I got some beachfront property in Lubbock to sell all yall, too. Guaranteed to be hurricane-free!!!!!

Of course, I should have posted this on Valentine’s Day, but seeing as how it was our 9th anniversary and Husband wanted to go to Galveston Mardi Gras and celebrate, well, I’m a little late getting started. In case you’re curious, ain’t much left of Galveston. Sort of reminds me of the Pirates/Orioles franchises – used to be great, but it’s all ovah now.

(My parents took me and my brothers to the first Mardi Gras back in 84 or 85 – I’ve forgotten exactly when they revived the old tradition. I don’t really remember it, and only a couple of pictures survive – me on my oldest brother’s shoulders watching the meager floats and sparse crowds. And I still have the faded strand of gold beads some person on a float tossed to us. By the time I was 10, so many hundreds of thousands came that my parents wouldn’t let me go for fear I would be lost in the thick crowds, and I didn’t go back until I was 17. But that’s a whole nother story…)

Back to baseball.

First, catchers. This year, there are 4 guys fighting for 2 spots on the roster.

- Toby Hall, age 33,(NRI) Lifetime OPS of .671. Won’t walk and has no power.
- Lou Palmisano (Rule V) age 26. Had 100 unremarkable AB at RK and A+ ball last year, .787 OPS at AA in 07
- Humberto Quintero, age 29 – career .230/.271/.304/.567 (and youse guys complained about AUSMUS???)
- J.R. Towles, age 25 – sucked last year in the bigs after he lost his confidence, but has a .300/.390/.474/.864 line in the minors and hit just about that at AAA last year. But the club doesn’t like this guy??? Or is it just Cooper who doesn’t like him?

(They also invited Jason Castro, Brian Esposito and Lou Santangelo, but they aren’t going to make the team, so I don’t see the point in talking about them. Of course, they are going to give Jason Castro, Baseball Prospective’s 76th best prospect, a few ABs, but I doubt the other 2 guys will get much of anything, IF anything.)

This looks like a complete and total crapshoot because Palmissano has not played above AA and his numbers at AA weren’t impressive.And neither Hall nor Quintero can hit even as well as Brad Ausmus. However, reading between the lines fed to reporters, seems the Organization wants Quintero to be the starter and Palmissano to be the backup. Towles doesn’t really NEED any more time at AAA, but this being the Astros, they won’t trade him and try to get SOMEthing for a guy they don’t want and won’t use, and they won’t play him and basically, unless he hits .300 something and the other guys hit less than .200, he won’t be given  a chance. It’s reality.

Pitchers: (40 man) I’ve written about all of these guys at sometime during the past few months, so I’m just going to give a few basic stats:

Alberto Arias, RHP, age 25 – walks too many guys – 373 IP in minors, 3.98 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Brandon Backe, RHP, age 31 – now 2 years post TJ surgery. Acceptable 5th guy last year, 95 ERA+ until he completely ran out of steam at the end of August and stunk it up. Threw 166 IP, didn’t miss a start.
Doug Brocail, RHP, age 42. Dude is old and Coop can’t throw him every day. Had a great 1st half, then plumb wore out until Hawkins arrived at the trade deadline.
Tim Byrdak, LHP, age 35 – walks a few too many, but threw 55 IP, 3.90 ERA (105 ERA+) 1.34 WHIP
Gilbert De La Vara, LHP, age 24 (Rule V from the Royals) total of 59 IP at AA – reliever, 3.40 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3 BB, 8.2 K/9 over 259 IP in minors over 4 years.
Jeff Fulchino, RHP, age 29 – 4.45 ERA/ 1.45 WHIP over 784 minor league innings and 14 suckulous innings in majors. Released from Royals.
Geoff Geary, RHP, age 32 – 64 IP with 2.53 ERA, 1.14 WHIP last year. Had offseason surgery to fix groin problem that had him on DL twice last year. Lifetime in majors, 331 IP, 3.34 ERA/1.34 WHIP.
Samuel Gervacio, RHP, age 24. Hurt most of last year – 278 IP – 2.78 ERA/1.11 WHIP in minors. Hopefully starts year at AAA, even though he’s only thrown 87 innings in AA.
Mike Hampton, LHP, age 36. Has spent most of last 4 years on DL for everything from TJ to shoulder to rib to back to little fingernail/whatever. Managed 78 IP last year with a 4.85 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .281 BAA. (At least he can hit.)
LaTroy Hawkins, RHP, age 36. Threw 22 consecutive scoreless inningsafter coming to the Astros before giving up his only earnie. Doubt he’s gonna do THAT again. Over the past 3 years, he has a 3.95 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
Brad James, RHP, age 25. Finished AA last year, lifetime minor league numbers – 3.45 ERA, 1.32 WHIP over 444 IP. Doesn’t strike out a lot of guys as he is a sinkerballer.
Tyler Lumsden, LHP, age 26. The White Sox’ 1st rounder in 04. Released by KC after 2 years at AAA with icky numbers. You don’t want to know them. Trust me.
Brian Moehler, RHP, age 37. Was made emergency starter after 3 years of relieving, had a reasonable year – 4.43 ERA (as starter) 1.31 WHIP over 142 IP/26 starts. I’d be surprised if he was able to repeat those numbers, but youneverknow… Will be the 4th starter.
Fernando Nieve, RHP, age 27. Sigh. had TJ surgery over 2 years ago and simply hasn’t been able to really come back in either minors or majors. Fast Eddie has basically said that if he doesn’t make the ML team, he’s gone.
Roy Oswalt, RHP, age 31. Ace. Will be pitching in the WBC, unfortunately. He had all sorts of naggin injuries last year, was on DL twice and I am not real too happy about this.
Felipe Paulino, RHP, age 25. Someone needs to explain to me why this guy gets so much face. The guy hasn’t thrown a pitch in AAA, didn’t throw even ONE pitch last year, and yet people talking about him making the ML roster based on minor league career numbers of 4.28 ERA/1.38 WHIP over 351 IP with 8.1 H/9, 4.3 BB/9 and 8.5 K/9. Like I always say, this guy has piss poor control and ML hitters will simply NOT swing at the crap that minor leaguers will. I SAW the guy pitch in 07 – threw 19 innings.
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, age 30. Amazing how many Astros fans simply HATE this guy – he had the same ERA as Roy Oswalt and struck out more guys/9 (8.6) than Roy (7.4) but he is sneered at as a weakling because he spent 6 weeks on the DL. He WAS a #5 guy when he came up on 05, but he has gotten better and too many people simply will NOT recognise that. He’s gpoing to be either the #2 or #3 guy, depending on what they do with Hampton.
Chris Sampson, RHP, age 31. Good pitcher with heavy sinker. Club never wanted him to start and first opportunity they got to make him relieve, they did. He threw 61 innings with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
Polin Trinidad, LHP, age 24 – GOOD starter, just finished AA, hopefully will start in AAA. 3.49 ERA/1.15 WHIP over 461 IP – 1.9 BB/9, 7.4 K/9. Wonder why we hear Paulino’s name and not Trinidad’s…
Jose Valverde, RHP, age 30. Will close. Is NOT going to the WBC, thank GAWD. (remember what happened to Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler in 06? It wasn’t pretty…)
Wesley Wright, LHP, age 24. A rule V guy last year who made the roster and pitched decently as a LOOGY. He pitched 55 innings with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP – gave up very few hits, but too many walks and 8 too many homers after walks. But not bad for coming to the majors straight from AA.

Pitchers, NRI

Jose Capellan, RHP, age 28- an undistinguished AAA lifer who was a Braves pitcheing prospect who Cox?JS decided to trade away (WARNING SIGN!!!!) ML stats: 123 IP – 4.89 ERA, 1.45 WHIP as a reliever. 3.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 1.5 HR/9. Blech.
Danny Graves, RHP, age 35. Who has not pitched in th majors since 06 (and that was not a good year) and threw 85 innings in AAA last year with a 6.30 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.
Clay Hensley, RHP, age 29 – who has been injured off and on since he threw 187 excellent innings for the Padres in 06. Of course, Petco is an extreme pitchers’ park, and he had a 4.34 ERA away from Petco. Last year, he threw 48 innings at AAA with an ERA 3.94/1.29 ERA and he threw 39 innings in the majors with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP
Bud Norris, RHP, age 24 – hurt last year, only threw 80 innings at AA with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.
Russ Ortiz, RHP, age 35. Ate his way off the Diamondbacks TEAM 1 1/4 way into a 4 year contract back in 06. He pitched 49 lousy innings as a reliever in 07 , didn’t pitch at all last year. He supposedly has had surgery, lost weight, had a change of attitude, and people think he might could pitch like he did at Pac Bell from 01-03. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Chad Paronto, RHP, age 34. Another guy the Braves didn’t want. Pitched his way off the ML team last year, although he pitched acceptably in AAA – 3.08 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 9.6 H/9.
Sergio Perez, RHP, age 24. Injured most of last year (broke a finger) and only threw 27 (good) innings at AA. Never thrown at AAA. Still projected as a starter and I hope he doesn’t waste his time on a ML bench.

OK, let’s rearrange this a bit – I’ll make a list of the guys who WILL make the club and their roles:

Starters:

Mike Hampton
Brian Moehler
Roy Oswalt
Wandy Rodriguez

LH relievers:

Tim Byrdak
Wesley Wright

RH relievers:

Doug Brocail
Geoff Geary
Chris Sampson

Setup: LaTroy Hawkins

Closer: Jose Valverde

Fighting for the starting role: (well, actually, I have got it on good authority from an anonymous commenter right here on this very blog that Sergio Perez is gonna be the 5th man – after only 27 innings at AA and none at AAA. Which isn’t so bad seeing as how he looks to be a heck of a lot better than Felipe Freaking Paulino (who reminds me of Ezekiel Astacio, only worse…)

Alberto Arias
Brandon Backe
Samuel Gervacio
Brad James
Tyler Lumsden
Fernando Nieve
Felipe Paulino
Jose Capellan
Clay Hensley
Bud Norris
Russ Ortiz
Sergio Perez

- my guess – if Backe pitches great, he’ll get his starting gig back. If he doesn’t, I would guess that either Clay Hensley or Russ Ortiz would be next in line. Paulino isn’t a good pitcher and I sincerely hope he doesn’t do well in ST and we don’t waste 10 starts on him before realizing that he doesn’t belong in the bigs. The other guys don’t look like ML starters, and actually, I think that Sammy Gervacio, who is a forgotten guy, has the best stats and hopefully will be ready next year after AAA this year.)

Fighting for the last relief role: (I have it on good authority from an anonymous poster on this here blog that Danny Graves is The Last Piece Of The Puzzle and he is going to come in and pitch lights out and his Veteran Presence is going to lead the Stros to the WS. So be it and shall it remain…)

Alberto Arias
Gilbert De La Vara
Jeff Fulchino
Tyler Lumsden
Fernando Nieve
Jose Capellan
Danny Graves
Clay Hensley
Bud Norris
Chad Paronto

Well, your guess here is as good as mine and I have absolutely NO idea how the chips are gonna fall. It might could be that some other guy gets the 5th spot and Backe gets the last middle relief spot as his contract has clearly made allowances for that. (I am assuming that the Organization isn’t looking to waste Sergio Perez or Brad James as a bench guy, but youneverknow)

2/11/09: Miguel Tejada Fought The Law And The Law Won

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Miguel Tejada is apparently going to plead guilty to the charge of lying to congressional STAFFERS about not knowing other ballplayers doing steroids.

NOT because he lied to them about NOT USING them.

One more time – he is being punished for not ratting out his teammates.

This idiotic witch hunt is going from the absurd to the outrageous. Are they going to start Stalin style trials to get ballplayers to “confess” threatening them with federal prison if they refuse to rat out their friends and teammates for USING illegal drugs over 5 years ago, way past the statute of limitations?

And let me point out that harassing and threatening people with federal prison time for failure to rat out their friends for past crimes that can not be prosecuted and pose no danger to the public sets a seriously dangerous precedent.

For example, would any of you want to be hauled in front of a national audience and forced to tell – with the threat of federal prison time – if your close friend committed adultery – a fact that would be released to the press along with the name of the sexual partner for the express purpose of humiliating the persons so exposed?

sigh

If Tejada is in fact sentenced to federal time, as I understand it, his work visa will be revoked. I wonder if Drayton would then have legal grounds for breaking the contract and getting an extra 14 mill to put in his pocket. I wonder if the same holds true if Tejada receives only probation.

We’ll have to see tomorrow – the press conference is at 4.

sigh

I would really REALLY like this stupid witch hunt about who used steroids over 5 years ago to come to a halt. It does nothing but detract from the current game. I’m counting the seconds until ST starts and HOPEFULLY the baying hounds of the media will give it a rest for a while.

2/9/09: Juice-y News

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I am SOOOOOOO freaking tired of this.

Baseball news this offseason has been all about only 3 things

1 – those horrible Yankees have bought 3 new players at the cost of 400 something mill and now they have bought themselves a championship and we need a salary cap to make sure that ballplayers get paid a lot less (and owners get paid a lot more.)

2 – baseball players are overpaid. Look at even the utility infielders getting 400K a year. They shouldn’t be paid more than, um, us sportswriters. It is critical that the team owners get to keep even more of the income from MLB than they do – which has, by the way, been rapidly rising; 10 years ago, ballplayers salaries accounted for 58% of all MLB revenues and they now are 42% but that won’t shut the sportswriters up until ballplayers have to live under bridges or off their wives’ stripper earnings.

On the other hand, nothing is wrong with Bud Selig getting paid 18.5 mill a year.

And nothing is wrong with musicians/actors getting paid more than A-Rod per year.

3 – and speaking of A-Rod, well, we ALL knew what a terrible horrible person he was because he couldn’t never say the right thing and besides, the Rangers offered him 252 mill for 10 years and he took it which makes both him and Scott Boras e-v-i-l. Because A-Rod SHOULD have stayed with the Mariners and forfeited his right to free agency and just took whatever salary they were willing to give him, just like Back In The Good Old Days Of The Reserve Clause When Ballplayers Had No Rights Except Not To Play At All – Before Free Agency “Ruined The Game.”

That’s when the media/fans started hating A-Rod. He committed the terrible, serious crime of taking the contract from the highest bidder. No one does that in real life. And it went downhill from there.

In spite of being a focus of media hate, A-Rod was the almost opposite of Barry Lamar, the other focus of media hate. Both have been portrayed, in one way and another, as bad human beings. Disliked by teammates (with A-Rod, this began immediately after he signed that contract – I never heard about this when he was with the Mariners) and also the best player in their leagues, the media always was determined to continuously find flaws in each man at the expense of extoling virtues.

Now, it seems that A-Rod has committed The Final Sin – he (apparently) used steroids BEFORE they were banned by the CBA in 2004. Now, columnists are howling for his head even more ferverently than they were previously, even demanding that the Yankees write him a check for the remainder of his 272 mill contract, which has 9 years to run so that he is permanently banned from baseball (ala Barry Lamar) to removing every single one of his stats (as well as Barry Lamar’s and Roger Clemens’ stats from the record books. Not even the Yankees can regard 272 million as spare change, but even if they did, they would simply be fools to remove the best player on their team (who, by the way, has been steroid-free since at least 2004.)

Naturally, the sportswriters have zero interest in removing the stat lines of JC Romero, Manny Alexander, Alex Sanchez, Matt Lawton or Ryan Franklin, to name a few. Using steroids is only an egregious sin IF you happen to be one of the best players of all times.

This is just too stupid.

Anyone else remember Ken Caminiti’s confession to Sports Illustrated back in 02/03 when he not only admitted his own use, but said that use was rampant, that a GOOD 3/4 of baseball players were ALSO suing? Anyone else remember reading that famous pitching coach Tom House said that he used back in the 60s and so did lots of other guys?

sigh

Nobody cares, because this is ALL about discrediting baseball players who have played in the juiced BALL era, from 1994 – 2005. Yes, the baseball itself was a bit different enough, would by machine instead of by hand, and bouncing at the highest end of MLB standards. Offense exploded in BOTH leagues and every single guy suddenly shooting up can’t account for that.

Sportswriters especially WANT to discredit ballplayers from the last 15 years because of their fantasy about wonderful, pastoral baseball played by sweet little choir boys who would NEVER have used a chemical to gain an advantage and whose only vice was incessant adultery (which is a wonderful thing to the writers, who wish they had legions of young females with lower morals wanting to fornicate with them) and of course, the players Back Then were “loyal to the team” (much as slaves were “loyal” to their masters) and had no interest in money but played ONLY For The Love Of The Game.”

It’s all about the fantasies – that and, as Pat Jordan once noted, back then, the ballplayers HAD to suck up to the sportswriters to get noticed, and getting noticed in the papers significantly increased your chances of staying with the team. In these days of stats and internet access, baseball writers no longer have the significant clout they once had (hence the hatred of the Buzz Bissingers of the world – Back In The Good Old Days, modern bloggers/commenters had to confine themselves to writing letters to the editor.)

And the fans themselves? Many consider using steroids before they were banned by the CBA to be “cheating.” Not sure why, exactly, except that they supposedly enhance performance. Yes, they do increase muscle size, but they sure as heck have no effect on hand-eye coordination or ability to judge the flight of the ball off the bat, or to improve the accuracy of one’s throwing arm, or even one’s ability to throw a baseball into the strike zone (see Steven Randolph) or the ability to judge WHEN to take an extra base or to steal one. Baseball is not simplistic, like running a foot race or swimming faster. And unlike football, losing control of one’s emotions is NOT conducive to victory, unless  a ballplayer is the type of person who concentrates better if he feels full of anger or hate.

No one complains about any other sort of chemical that enhances performance, such as painkillers or cortisone. And as to the complaint that testosterone-like steroids are now (since 1990) a controlled substance like morphine or cocaine, I would point out that absolutely no one vilifies pre-1990s ballplayers for using dexedrine – failure to use was referred to as “playing naked” and ballplayers who refused to use were scolded by teammates. I will remind you at this time that there WERE ballplayers back then who were opposed to their use (somewhat like Frank Thomas and steroids) and that dexedrine was a Schedule 3 drug since 1960, just like morphine and cocaine and now testosterone.

But who cares that Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and Hank Aaron used these illegal drugs to gain a performance enhancing advantage? (And if amphetamines were not performance enhancing, why would they be banned by Olympic rules?)

Certainly not the sportswriters. Certainly not the fans. Who all scream about “doing it the right way” as if using illegal drugs to enhance performance Back In The Good Old Days was just peachy.

I’m really tired of this. I’m tired of the constant vilification of baseball stars – and ONLY stars, who used testosterone-like compounds prior to their being banned by the CBA. It is over, done with, dealt with, and now, I just want to talk about baseball. As for “hallowed” records – how about growing up and realizing that hitting/throwing/catching baseballs are NOT acts of heroism and that accomplishments in each particular era (dead ball, lively ball, pre-1900, high mound 60s, etc) are looked at under the standards of that era.

Enough of this, PLEEEEZE…

2/3/09: Ty Wigginton Signs With The Orioles; Drayton Signs Aaron F. Boone

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

I have this bad BAD feeling about my baseball team. BAD BAD feeling.

I wonder if this is how Pirates fans felt when the team preferred to sign Andy Van Slyke to a long term contract instead of either Bobby Bonilla or Barry Lamar Bonds. You can see an empty farm and the beginning of a long LONG downward spiral because of owner stupidity/greed and the GM

1 – being unable to do anything about it

2 – doing not so smart things with the moves he WAS able to make.

sigh

We all knew Fast Eddie has always been obsessed with middle relievers, and LaTroy Hawkins is getting 3.5 mill next year while Doug Brocail is getting 2.75 mill. Meanwhile, we have the Blum-Boone-no platoon for 1.85 mill, which will far and away underperform what we could have expected to receive from Wiggy at 3 mill.

Alyson Footer, usually sensible, said Prediction: With regular playing time, Blum will be surprisingly productive. Blum’s defense is a strong suit and will be an upgrade over Wigginton.” On what planet does Blum have defense as a “strong suit?” Answer – Wiggy was actually just barely below average as a glove at 3B (which surprised the heck out of me) – as rated by +/-, he was (-) 1 and Blum was +2. Big Deal – But more importantly, Wiggy is SO much stronger on offense, that even Chris Dial has Wiggy significantly beating Blum on Offense + Defense: 13.4:(-)1.3. That is a HUGE difference. Aaron Boone won’t be getting more than 20% of the total PAs and the BlumBoone-NO platoon will most likely be hitting 7th.

Alyson correctly notes that “This will be a straight platoon situation, with the left-handed-hitting Blum likely to receive more starts and Boone on hand to face lefty starters. Boone has a career .247 average against lefties, while Blum has a career average of .255 vs. righties.” Well, yeah, but Ty hit .275/.278/.285 over the past 3 years (and that is just BA) while Blum hit .254/.252/.240 and Boone hit .251/.286/.241.

“The Astros may miss Wigginton’s power production — he’s averaged 23 home runs over the past three seasons, while Blum and Boone have combined to average just 13 over the same period of time.” SLG over the past 3 years? Wiggy slugged .498/.459/.526 compared to Blum .366/.367/.418 and Boone .370/.423/.384. NO comparison

“That said, Blum had a nice season offensively in 2008, hitting 14 home runs in a part-time role in 114 games.” Big deal – he slugged .418 and Wiggy didn’t slug LESS than .418 except for his first year in the bigs, 2003.

Lousy + Lousy does NOT = OK. Neither Blum nor Boone has an Adam Everett glove which saves so many runs that it overcomes lack of bat.

sigh

But we all knew that the Blum-Boone-NO platoon supposed to make up for the absence of Wiggy with “grit” + “character” was a bunch of, uh, spin.

I supposed we are supposed to endure this with the understanding that next year, Tejada’s expensive roidless corpse will be gone and replaced with Manzella and Chris Johnson will be the new 3B – all nice and cheap and then we can afford, uh, um – well, guess Drayton will come up with SOME excuse like – well, the fans didn’t come out the year before so we have to cut back on payroll.

Yeh, those greedy baseball players.

They should just ask for a small salary – like Bud Selig’s.