Archive for January, 2010

The Astros For Better Or Verse

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

All yall know that every now and then, I go and Weird Al Yankovic some lyrics to make em a lil more relevant to the Astros.

So today, in celebration of my friend and blog buddy Astro Annie, I’m going to start off with her rendition of The Hollies’ “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” featuring every (straight) woman’s favorite Astro:

Ausmus is his Name

 
The game went on to extra innings, cause the Cards knotted up the score
Scott Rolen wasn’t happy on first base, thought he’d try to steal one more
Wagner pitching to Martinez, the count stood at 1 and 0,
Rolen thought he had a good lead and he decided to go
Billy’s next pitch was over the plate
Brad’s throw to the shortstop was great

BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Look males, stop complaining. I COULD have posted the pic of Brad wearing just a surfboard if I had wanted to. And I promise that the MINNIT they let women play MLB, I will start posting their pics.
But anyway, Annie has written a book of poems about baseball – “Inside the Park: Voices of Baseball.”
She wrote a poem for each guy on the roster, from the closer to the star to the backup guy to the poor guy who tried to stay off the DL (my fave)
 
“I can’t swing the bat and I can’t make the plays
I’m on the Disabled List, 15 long days.
My elbow was sore, but I didn’t complain,
I tried to disguise it and play through the pain…”
She also wrote a few poems about a few specific players, including Mike Scott and Nick Adenhart. They’re just great.
You can get a copy of her book by clicking here (and no Brad in there, I promise…)

He’s the handsome catcher for the Astros
And Brad Ausmus is his name
Without his arm there everyone knows
The Astros would’ve lost that game

The eleventh and Marrero singles, one out and the score still tied
And just like Rolen in the tenth frame, at first base, he isn’t satisfied.
Unlike Rolen, he isn’t waiting, he’s off on Stone’s first pitch
Ausmus’ throw over to second nails him without a hitch.
Then when it’s his turn to pick up the wood
He crushes another one good

He’s the handsome catcher for the Astros
And Brad Ausmus is his name
Without his arm there everyone knows
The Astros would’ve lost that game

Lidge hit Fernando Vina, the first man he faced that night
Ausmus blocked a pitch that was wild, then Renteria flied out to right
Palmeiro fouled off the first pitch, then stood looking at four balls
That brought up Albert Pujols, who started seeing some strike calls
On the third swinging strike Vina started to run
But he was beat by Ausmus’ gun

He’s the handsome catcher for the Astros
And Brad Ausmus is his name
Without his arm there everyone knows
The Astros would’ve lost that game

Friday night in St. Louis, the first game against the Cards
The Astros’ division rivals, they knew they had to play it hard.
Bagwell singled to the right side, Berkman and Hidalgo walked
With the ground-ball-hitting Ausmus due up, everybody started to mock
He took a strike looking, then held back on a ball
Then hit it left over the wall

He’s the handsome catcher for the Astros
And Brad Ausmus is his name
Without his bat there everyone knows
The Astros would’ve lost that game

Whatever Happened To The 2005 Ex-Stros?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

These past few weeks, I’ve been editing (had to because of the move) the entries I wrote in 04 and 05 – FINALLY done – those fun years we pulled it together after the ASB enough to make it to the playoffs. Amazing to re-read that stuff – 2004, the year we were supposed to be absolutely an AWESOME team, but lacked 1 starter and 2 relievers, and the team stayed at .500 even after The Lousy Jimy Williams was replaced by Phil “Rah-Rah” Gardner, until Roy-O stirred up a hornets nest by throwing at Michael Barrett on yet ANOTHER losing day when his gloves and bats had let him down yet AGAIN and the team suddenly started winning like crazy, but lost to St. Louis because of Dan F Miceli and also because of the failure of Drayton McLane to allow Gerry Hunsicker to get a starting pitcher to replace Andy Pettitte after he was lost for the year.

2005, the year in which we started off with Luke Scott in left – a guy the Organization HATED and couldn’t wait until he had a cold streak so that they could send him down; the year in which we lost every away game but 3 for the first 2 months; the year in which only Morgan Ensberg managed to hit before Lance Berkman came back in May and found his stroke; the year in which Jason Lane had his only full good year (you talk about a wasted career); the year in which Brad Lidge went from infallible to Dan F Miceli territory, giving up homers to the likes of Scott Podsednick in the World Series – which, by the way, I am REALLY grateful I got to go to, as I am pretty sure I won’t see the Astros in another WS in my lifetime…

But I digress…

I thought, just for fun, that we’d take a look at all the guys who used to be on the Astros, see who they were traded for (if they were traded) and how they’ve done since leaving. I’m also going to include a few minor leaguers who are now major leaguers. Please note that I haven’t made any comments about the guys who are “still here” – that’s for my first half review entry.

2005:

 C Brad Ausmus – played until 2008, left as a FA, then signed with the Dodgers for 09: hit .295 over 107 PA/36 games as Russell Martin’s backup. Still smoking hot, too… 
1B Lance Berkman – still here 
2B Craig Biggio - retired after wrecking the 07 season, beatified in 08
SS Adam Everett – was let go as a FA after the 07 season, spent 08 with the Twins (didn’t play much – had an injured shoulder), 09 with the Tigers, will play with Tigers in 2010 
3B Morgan Ensberg – traded to the Padres for chewing gum 8/07. Signed with the Yankees AAA team in 08, had a few crappy ABs when A-Rod was injured - now OOB - never was able to recover his stroke after injuring his shoulder in May 06
LF Chris Burke – traded to the DBax with Juan Gutierrez and Chad Qualls for Jose Valverde. Never recovered his stroke after HIS shoulder injury, neither. Was a utility guy for the DBax in 08, drifted between SanDiego, and AAA for the Braves and mariners last year. 
CF Willy Taveras – traded to the Rox with Jason Hirsh And Taylor Buchholz for Jason Jennings  after the 06 season. He posted a career high 89 OPS+ (.748 OPS) in 07, then went back to his usual suckage in spite of stealing a NL high 68 bases in 08. The Rox preferred Ryan Spilborghs, and let Willy go after 08, and he signed a 2 year deal with Dusty Baker and the Reds – he’s Dusty’s kind of leadoff guy. In 102 games (437 PA) he had a .275 OBP, a 48 OPS+ and 25 SB/6 CS.
RF Jason Lane – traded to the Padres 9/07  (from the minors) for nothing – still in the minors.

1B Mike Lamb – let go after the 07 season, signed with the Twins, got hurt, sucked, spent last year at AAA Buffalo, sucked
OF Orlando Palmeiro – retired after the 06 season
 
IF Jose Vizcaino – let go as FA after the season, signed with Giants, released, signed with WS champion Cardinals, then retired after the 06 series.
1B Jeff Bagwell - anointed as Saint after he retired after the 06 season. Which he shouldn’t have been, seeing as how he cost the Astros 17 mill by insisting on playing in ST that year (McLane shoulda just said NO, but I digress…)
UT Eric Bruntlett - traded to Phillies with Brad Lidge after the 07 season for Michael Bourn – won a Ring. Still can’t hit for spit, but he can play almost every position
C Raul Chavez – not re-signed after 05, bounced around, now with the Jays – still can’t hit 
LF Luke Scott – one of 5 traded to the Orioles for Tejada after 07 – has done well, a 111 and a 118 OPS+ over the past 2 years. Has more RCAA than Miguel Tejada over the same 2 years for 25 mill fewer dollars.
C Humberto Quintero – still here. Unfortunately. Can’t hit and is a lousy receiver.
UT Todd Self – now playing in the indys – last year in OB was at AA in 07 – had .947 OPS
OF Charles Gipson – retired after 05

RH SP Roy Oswalt – still here
LH SP Andy Pettitte –  wasn’t re-signed after 06, returned as FA to Yankees after Drayton refused to let him play Prima Donna and wouldn’t re-sign him. Still with MFY.
RH SP Roger Clemens – wasn’t resigned after 06, returned to Yankees with his former best bud. Now OOB – hasn’t started 10 year service contract with Astros because Roger chose to deny steroid/HGH use allegations by his former trainer instead of getting all teary-eyed and begging for forgiveness as his former best bud did.
RH SP Brandon Backe – DFA’d  last year after 13 innings – brought back after starting the year hurt, severely screwed by Cecil Cooper, who, in 07, left him in 3 games when he CLEARLY had nothing to “take one for the team” as Coop had exhausted his relievers.
LH SP Wandy Rodriguez – still here
RH SP Ezequiel Astacio - went to Rangers AAA club after 06 season, sucked there too, now OOB 
RH SP Brandon Duckworth – signed with Royals as FA after 05 season, spent 06, 07 and 08 bouncing back and forth between ML and AAA, naturally beat the Astros in his game facing us. Sucked at AAA last year

RH RP Chad Qualls – traded to Dbax after the 07 season for Valverde - used as both setup man and closer in 08, closer in 09. Has done well, will be their closer this year, too.
RH RP Chad Harville – put on waivers 8/05 picked up by Boston, in AAA in 06, now OOB
RH RP Dan Wheeler – great setup/closer in 06, had bad year in 07, traded to the Rays for Ty Wigginton 7/07, did great as setup/backup closer in 08 and 09
RH RP Russ Springer – not resigned after 06 season – Tim Purpura’s STUPIDEST move (I don’t blame him for Jennings, Carlos Lee or Woody Williams because those weren’t his decisions, they were Drayton’s) deciding he didn’t want a great 1 inning guy, replacing him with Rick White, who had 10 scoreless games, blew up, then was gone. Springer had ERA+ of 201 for the Cardinals in 07 and 183 in 08. Was league average for the A’s and Rays last year
RH SP/RP Mike Burns – very successful closer for Astros at AA in 04 and AAA in 05 – had 30 relief innings for Astros with 1.19 ERA, but they didn’t want to keep him, not sure why. AAA for Cincy in 06 did well, had a couple lousy innings in the ML, released, picked up by Boston, who converted him to a swing man/long relief. Spent 07 at AAA Boston, spent 08 at AAA Cubs, spent 09  with Milwaukee, spent the first half at AAA, called up after the ASB, won his start against the Astros 8/15/09. Naturally.
LH RP John Franco – the black hole of massive suckage who cost starters runs and wins, who was almost always bailed out by some other reliever, was mercifully released at the end of June. I STILL don’t understand Phil Garner’s massive infatuation for this guy.
LOOGY Mike Gallo – went from good in 05 to horrible in 06, was sent down at the end of May. Spent 07 at AAA Colorado and 08 at AAA Toronto. Now OOB.
RH RP Scott Strickland – Threw 4 ghastly innings. He never did recover from his injuries in the 03 season. Has spent the last 3 years at AAA for the Padres, Yankees and Dodgers.
RH RP Travis Driskill – threw 1 inning in 05, spent 06 at AAA Round Rock, spent 07 at AAA Round Rock, and threw 6 innings for the Astros which I can’t remember. Now OOB.

————————————

Bryant Gumbel Accuses Jeff Bagwell Of Using Steroids

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

I didn’t watch Gumbel’s show, just heard about it. Apparently, he was just vomiting his feelings about Mark McGwire, who is now being treated as if he is a worse human being than the Oklahoma bomber who murdered 200 something children. At the end of his ramblings, he apparently said that Jeff Bagwell, Pudge Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra should now come forward and admit they are steroid users.

Seeing as how the media must be tired of having only McGwire to vilify – not only did that man, more evil than Pol Pot, Stalin and Hitler COMBINED, USE steroids, he refuses to admit that he only hit home runs because he did, like Alex Sanchez.

Gumbel’s idea of “proof” is to say that Bagwell’s numbers “fell off the table.” I see. No baseball player can ever improve, or they used roids. No baseball player can ever have a decline, or they stopped USING roids. Same with losing weight – which is the proof that Ivan Rodriguez used roids. (So I guess that Matt Stairs, who says he lost 30 lbs this year, and Geovany Soto, who says he lost 30-40 lbs this year, must have stopped using roids. Gotcha.)

I guess that only men who shoot up can develop arthritis of the shoulder – it couldn’t possibly be due to overuse/returning too soon after having legal steroids (cortisone/prednisone) shots in the shoulder joint, given by the team doctor. Only steroid users are open to joint injuries, I guess.

Actually, Bagwell had significant shoulder trouble, and I mean SO significant that he couldn’t throw from first base to second, let alone third, by 2002, which was the first year that he EVER had significantly negative fielding ratings. As for his HITTING stats, I don’t see anything whatsoever that is even remotely odd or suspiscious about his decline – he didn’t have any odd peaks at age 36, he had an OPS+ of at least 130 from 1991 to 2002, had one peak in the 110 game season of 2004, age 26 and his next best season at age 28.

In fact, his OPS+ didn’t drop under 100 until 2005 – and he could hardly even swing the bat and he went on the DL after 39 games. Starting one’s decline at age 35 after years of excellence is not exactly a marker for steroid use.

Check for yourselves. Am I missing something? Does anyone else besides Gumbel see any evidence in the numbers which would support his contention that Bagwell is a felon? (Oh yes, and a “cheat”.)

Best I know, he’s not on “The List” and no one has ever connected him in any way to any dealer or other user. He wasn’t a “friend” or teammate of the notorious Canseco, who never ever lies or makes mistakes. He has repeatedly, firmly denied ever using any illegal steroids (but said he used Andro, which was legally for purchase in any GNC by any person. Andro, by the way, has never proven to be any sort of performance enhancer if used by a male athlete in his 20s/30s.) So he is accused because – his throwing shoulder developed severe arthritis???

sigh

I’ve never understood why there are really no laws against libel in this country. Media people can say absolutely ANYTHING they want to without the slightest fear of repercussion. Bagwell, should accuse Gumbel of some heinous crime, then say – well, he COULD have, you know.

Yes, I know I have said many times that I really don’t care who did or did not use steroids. That it wouldn’t matter to me if Kevin Bass or Brad Ausmus or even Wandy used. That is, before it was against MLB rules. It wouldn’t matter. And I honestly don’t care if Baggy used and paid the price of a permanently bad, arthritic, painful and essentially useless shoulder.

But I do care that so many media people, who flat out ignored steroid use in baseball for years, still don’t care one little bitty bit about steroid use in baseball unless the use is done by a mega star or a home run hitter, REALLY don’t care about the continued massive steroid use in football – all feel at liberty to slander or libel whomever they wish. I do care that the vast majority of Americans firmly believe that anyone who is accused of essentially ANYTHING must be guilty, or they wouldn’t have been accused.

sigh

People don’t want “confessions” – they want to hear people they believe “guilty” to say exactly what they want to hear, to affirm their own pre-conceived ideas. And after the pounding that McGwire has taken and will continue to take until he agrees to admit that he couldn’t have hit – maybe even played MLB at all – without steroids (because it is what people want to hear), any major leaguer whose name is even known to most Americans would be an absolute IDIOT to even think of admitting that he used steroids. EVER. All the Alex Sanchezes and FP Santangelos and Paxton Crawfords can feel free to come forward because people will just wish they would shut up about it already – they want to hear HOME RUN HITTERS get it.

sigh

What about we just accept that most ballplayers used steroids, that almost every ballplayer used amphetamines (which is a MUCH more useful performance enhancer than steroids, only no one cares because it does not make a person physically larger), that drug testing is in place, that baseball in 2010 is different than baseball was in 1910 – heck, baseball in 1961 was vastly different than in 1910, that you can’t exactly compare numbers of events that aren’t exactly done under the exact same conditions, and let’s just PLAY BASEBALL, OK???!!!!

Miguel Tejada Returns To Baltimore And The Astros Get No Picks

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Miguel Tejada just signed a 1 year deal to play 3B for the Orioles – not sure for how much. He hasn’t played third before, but he should be able to be a better fielder there than he was at short.

Baltimore made out great on their deal with the Astros 2 years ago – they saved 28 million dollars on Tejada’s salary and paid out approximately 2.8 mill of that to Luke Scott, who alone, had more RCAA and win shares than Tejada over the past 2 years – as well as Matt Albers, Troy Patton (who has been injured) and Dennis Sarfate (who was not exactly successful as a starter.)

Actually, I’ve been meaning to check out the totals of that particular (STUPID) trade, so here goes (note – I don’t get Bill James, so I can’t get Win Shares any more, because THT no longer carries stats and you have to go to Fangraphs, which doeasn’t have WS.)

Miguel Tejada: OPS+ of 92 and 109 over 666, 673 PA: averaged 86 runs, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 15 HR, 21 BB, 60 K, 31 GIDP (actually 32 – all time NL record, and 29, 2009 NL record), 76 RBI: .298/.326/.435/.761 – averaged 74 wRuns Created and averaged (-) 8.2 and 8.7 RCAA each year. Salary for 2 years was 28 mill.

Luke Scott: OPS+ of 111 and 115 over 506, 536 PA: averaged 64 runs, 26 doubles, 2 triples, 24 HR, 54 BB, 103 K, 5-6 GIDP, 72 RBI: .257/.338/.480/.818 – he averaged 71 runs created/year (fangraphs.com) and was 6.5 and 11.0 Runs Created Above Average. Salary for 2 years + 2.83 mill

Matt Albers: 49 IP in 2008 – 3 (lousy) GS: 38 IP in relief with a 2.28 ERA, overall 127 ERA+ and 1.33 WHIP. In 09, 67 IP over 56 games with a 5.51 ERA, overall 89 ERA+ and a 1.73 WHIP – probably because the BABIP went from .258 to .355, even though he increased K/9 and decreased HR/9. Salary over 2 years – 1.09 mill

Dennis Sarfate: 79.2 IP (4 GS – 15.2 HORRIBLE innings, and 53 G in relief) in 2008: as reliever, 65.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .195 BAA; overall ERA+ of 94. In 09, he was hurt a great deal, pitched only 23 innings, had a 5.09 ERA in 20 games over 23 IP with a 1.52 WHIP. Total salary 0.8 mill over 2 years.  

Troy Patton: missed all of 2008 after shoulder surgery (thank you Cecil Cooper); 2009, threw 63 innings of 1.99 ERA/1.09 WHIP ball at AA, then 44.2 innings of 6.45 ERA/1.70 WHIP ball at AAA. Who knows what will happen next year. Salary for 2 years – 0.643 mill.

Mike Costanzo: minor league 3B who had a .728 OPS at AAA in 08, was demoted to AA in 09 and had a .606 OPS. No great loss. Minor league salary – he’s not on the 40 man = pennies.

Salary for Tejada – 28 mill: Salary for the 5 guys combined – 5.363 mill.

Just THINK what Drayton could have bought for 23 mill – like, say, pitching which was better than Russ Ortiz/ Mike Hampton. Or even a manager/pitching coach worth more than a coupld bucks. Or even gotten a couple of great draft picks who he would have to overpay.

sigh

The Last On The Wifebeater; Unrelated Comments About McGwire And Steroids

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

As I said in the last post, I certainly do NOT expect professional athletes to be sin-free little choir boys/mama’s pweshuus boys. Not by a long LONG shot. I think that the Lance Berkmans and Morgan Ensbergs are the rare exceptions to the rule of the behaviour of wealthy professional athletes (and if I were to discover that they are/were serial adulterers, card cheats, liars, thieves, alcoholics or even steroid users, unfortunately, I wouldn’t be shocked at all, very VERY sad to say. Disappointed, sure, but hardly shocked.) But there are SOME things (ahem) which are acts which I can’t and won’t agree to overlook as long as the player does well for my team. Those acts include rape, murder, arson and beating/killing smaller, helpless creatures such as children, women, dogs (and no, I am not talking about hunting and shooting animals for food.) I don’t care a bit about using any chemical whatsoever, legal or illegal, before it was banned by MLB – more on that later…

Some of yall have emailed and commented that I can’t KNOW what happened that night in Boston when Myers was arrested for beating his wife.

Correctamundo. I wasn’t there at the time, didn’t witness the action, have not had contact with anyone who did and am unable to locate video evidence or the police report in its entirety which was filed on the matter.

And there is one OTHER, even more important thing I can’t locate. Let me elaborate…

Baseball players are a very tight knit bunch. These men live and work together, fly together, eat together, train together for 7 months a year. If they come up through the minors together, they live together, eat together, take long bus rides together, and men most certainly DO talk to other men. They talk about their hopes, dreams, fears, conquests, feats, families, religion, beliefs, loves, hates. In short, they are in many ways like army guys in a platoon. Sometimes, the other guys know each other better than their wives, parents, non-baseball friends.

Everyone remember a few years back when Shawn Chacon, uh, expressed his displeasure to Ed Wade at being lied to and disrespected by Cecil Cooper, then into only his 3rd month of managing? Anyone remember what Chacon’s TEAMMATES said? I sure nuff do. Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Mark Loretta ALL said, and ON THE RECORD, to the media, fit for printing, broadcasting, that although it wasn’t OK to hit your GM, that Chacon was a good person and a good teammate. Not one player defended Cooper, whose, um, ahem, actions, started the whole thing. Not one player even mentioned Cooper ON THE RECORD.

That told me PLENTY. And what it told me was that the other guys on the team had Chacon’s back. (Chacon was a guy who had just joined the team, a guy that none of the other Astros had played with before, too.) And that his actions were, um, understandable and reasonable, even if not justified. And that Cooper was not respected by THEM, either. What ballplayers DON’T say is just as important as what they DO say.

And what does this have to do with Brett Myers?

I spent most of yesterday and the day before googling for quotes from other Phillies players at the time Myers was arrested for beating his wife. I had heard from some people who know the Phils players and Phillies team (sorry, anonymous sources) that Myers was not liked real too much by his other teammates. But, that is so much talk, seeing as how they want to remain anonymous, so I thought it would be best to see what the people who know Myers best, namely HIS OWN TEAMMATES, said on the record to the media.

You know what? I can not find ANY quotes from ANY Philies player saying something like – there is NO FREAKING WAY that Brett would have ever hit a woman. Or – there must be some kind of mistake because Brett is a great guy. If your teammates aren’t defending you to the media, there is a reason. They sure as heck could have written to one of the Phillies bloggers, if they HAD said that sort of thing to the media and they wouldn’t write/broadcast positive comments. SOMEONE would have agreed to broadcast/print it, just to get the pub.

If, by the way, anyone reading this can find SOME quote from one of Myers’ teammates saying that he is a great guy who would NEVER hit a woman, please send me the link, I will post it and say up front that I was wrong.

But to me, the silence of Myers’ teammates is even more damning evidence than the multiple eyewitnesses or even the police report, which mentioned Mrs. Myers’ swollen face. They know all right. Oh yeah. They know.

So, until this disgusting piece of inhumanity is off my team, I will not mention either his name or exploits. When I discuss any game he pitches, I will not talk about him, but will discuss the performance of everyone else. As far as I am concerned, Myers does not exist. I mean this. And I mean it even if he pitches a perfect game or hits 4 home runs off any give ace in a game.

Some people have commented/emailed me to say – perhaps Myers is a changed man. Perhaps. But then again, there are two kinds of changed: the first is that he is the same person he always has been, but because of fear of police/being thrown out of baseball, he has managed to control himself enough to not hit his wife. The other change is a change of HEART – sincere repenting the evil of his ways.

Unfortunately, the first is far more common than the second, which I think really only happens with either some sort of severe life-changing event or one’s own impending death. People DO repent, it really DOES happen, and it is accompained by real grief because they have finally managed to see something from the perspective of someone else – they have inwardly walked that mile in the shoes of another and seen from within. And that seeing has allowed them to understand what their own actions have done to others and how it has harmed their own souls.

If Myers has not hit his wife since the Boston incident out of fear of repercussions, well, it is good that he has managed to control himself, but he has not CHANGED. He’s like the alcoholic who is a binge drinker and goes on the wagon. But that person is STILL an alcoholic and inside, really means to drink again, and won’t admit it to him/herself or others.

And speaking of repentance, I suppose I have to talk about Mark McGwire and steroids and all the staged teary eyed stuff.

I absolutely HATE steroids. Not because I see them as far more evil than beating your wife, but because too many self-righteous reporters really REALLY believe that steroids turn Alex Sanchez into Mark McGwire.

What? Oh – Alex only hit 2 home runs in the 2 years he took steroids (and was caught)? Bad example…

Where was I? Oh yeah. Mark McGwire would not have hit home runs if he had not taken steroids. And if he EVER admitted he used, it means he used them from the time he was a child, seeeing as how he had acne even back in high school and college and any man who has acne can ONLY get them from shooting steroids (don’t ask me how women get acne because it destroys the myth.)

Look – it is like this – steroids are ONLY about home runs. Who are the reporters who are furious and indignant and calling for heads being lopped off any baseball player with a positive test who did NOT hit home runs? Are there any? Where are the reporters who want Wally Joyner’s statistics erased from the records? Where are the reporters who are demanding that Paxton Crawford’s statistics be expunged from minor league records? Actually, the reporters don’t WANT to talk about Paxton Crawford, who has stated that he used steroids and that he believes that they DESTROYED his career.

None of the media are demanding that the statistics of every single ballplayer with a positive steroid test, who admitted use, even ONCE, who was named in the Mitchell report, or even Jason Grimsley, be completely expunged from the record books and everyone else’s stats be adjusted accordingly (don’t ask me how they could determine if actual GAMES were won or lost.)

Nope

Because they don’t actually give one single solitary damn about anything but The Sacred Home Run Record. And neither do the fans, for that matter. And I have absolutely ZERO respect for that attitude. No, less than zero.

Let me tell you what this is REALLY about. Revenge. Yes, revenge. The media wants a lot more than a simple pound of flesh from two men – Sammy Sosa (who has not ever been connected in any way with steroid use, except to hit lots of home runs, bring an interpreter to Congress with him and to peak at the unheard of age of 27) and Mark McGwire. Why?

See, I remember all the fawning, moaning drool they belched out all OVAH the airwaves and papers about McGwire The Magnificent Man and Sammy Sosa The Lively Latin who were Saving Baseball. They were worse than the worst groupies I have ever seen. And trust me, I have seen a few (check out the looks on the faces of the girls videoed in some of those old rock videos. They look like they just have seen God in Heaven and they gonna be seated at His right hand. Uck.) That was bout every media guy there was. They couldn’t for ONE second let it enter their fairytale addled heads that perhaps the rumors about ballplayers (especially Canseco and McGwire) were true – maybe they WERE doing drugs. NOOOOOOOO, the He Roes were Pure and True.

Tell you something – they are all like CHICKS, yes CHICKS who won’t nevah SHUT UP for even one second about how wonderful/fantastic/incredible their perfectly perfect in every way man is. Until, that is, they find out that he is screwing their sister, mother and best friend. And he is leaving them for an 18 year old perfect blond with genuine huge boobs and he’s telling everyone that he never knew how wonderful a REAL woman was, being stuck with the cow he stuck with all that time.

- And honey, do they EVAH want massive, serious REVENGE. Absolutely not ONE thing would do except McGwire, Sosa (and probably Clemens and Bonds, on general principles of they hate them too) to commit suicide over their massive perfidy, leaving a suicide note admitting that they wouldn’t have even been able to so much as swing a bat if not for steroids, that they only used them for the SOLE purpose of cheating The Sainted Babe, I mean that whatshisname asterisk 61 guy, out of The Most Sacred Record Of History. Oh yeah, and asking to have their dead heads put up on a pole to warn The Children of what happens to home run hitters who fool the gullible media.

How many have said that OK, well McGwire confessed, but he didn’t really mean it. Or that he needs to give dates and exact substances. Or that he has got to rat out his teammates and friends.

Good grief. If the media knows that teammates and friends were doing steroids too, why all the screeching at McGwire, saying he shouldn’t even be allowed to be a hitting coach? His crime was buying illegal drugs for personal use. Yes, a felony. But no one is complaining about his being a felon, they are complaining that he “cheated.”

There was NO rule against ML players using steroids (the memo applied ONLY to MLB employees, which ML players are NOT.) It was therefore NOT cheating as it was not against the rules before 2004. The word “cheating” actually refers to cheating The Sainted Babe out of His record, as well as cheating on the media. Sort of like Tiger Woods cheating on his wife with an endless string of sluts and prostitutes. And just like a cheated on wife of a rich man wants her revenge in the form of lots of cash and denying the man any access to his own children, the media wants to do whatever it possibly can to destroy McGwire, the man who hit too many home runs.

What really grinds my ass is that not only does McGwire get the entire wrath of the supposed steroid haters, but the media don’t have the guts to go after both Selig and the owners, who were obviously complicit in the entire affair. There were NO problems with Sammy and Mac drawing enormous crowds and endless attention to baseball after the owners had Selig cancel the 94 baseball postseason in an effort to elicit public sympathy for cheating the players out of money that rightfully belonged to the owners.

And in fact, in spite of all the whispers, in spite of all the talk, in spite of the Andro scandal, NOBODY gave a hoot about steroids until Barry Lamar Bonds, The Villain, got into the act in 01. If you say I’m wrong, please provide links to investigative reports published by the media regarding steroid use of baseball players back in 98. I can sure nuff provide links to Tom Verducci (among others) gushing about how WONderful it is that ballplayers now lift weights and to tons of mainstream media columnists screaming at the reporter who asked McGwire about the bottle of andro sitting in plain sight on his shelf, refusing to even consider the possibility of additional usage of illegal substances in Our HEro.

Please don’t tell me that The Public cares about roids. When players who tested positive (not just suspected/accused) came back from their 50 game suspension, they were cheered as if they had just saved 50 babies from a burning building (see Guillermo Mota, Manny Ramirez and J.C Romero.) The Public more than obviously couldn’t care less that college and pro football players are roided to their eyeballs. They care about The Sacred Home Run Record.

Period.

It is time to leave Mac alone and let him be a hitting coach.

Either that or treat every single player WITHOUT EXCEPTION who used steroids the exact same way Mac has been treated. But it won’t happen for the simple reason that they didn’t hit enough home runs to bother with.

And before you ask me if I will feel differently about steroids if I find out that Kevin Bass or Terry Puhl or Nolan Ryan or Mike Scott or Jimmy Wynn or Jeff Bagwell or Craig Biggio or Brad Ausmus or even Wandy used them, I will say, not as long as they didn’t use after they were banned by MLB.

Actually, I wouldn’t be real too surprised if it came out that Hidalgo used – it got him 32 million but ruined his career. And I wouldn’t be real too surprised if it came out that Bagwell used – and it ruined his shoulder. Heck, there is absolutely NOBODY who could be revealed as having used steroids (before 2004) who would surprise me. I would bet that roid usage was as ubiquitous as greenies.

And I still don’t care.

But back to repentance – the all important question – Has McGwire TRULY repented?

I doubt it. And I don’t blame him a bit. He wanted to be a ballplayer, he took what he thought would prolong his career, would make him as good as he could be. I’m positive he is NOW sorry he even ever heard of the stuff, now that attitides have changed and spiteful writers don’t even think he should be allowed near a baseball field.

But the man done the crime, he done the time (been gone from baseball for almost 10 years)  he gone on TV and humiliated himself only to the point of not admitting that he had no baseball talent whatsoever and anything he accomplished was only the work of drugs.

Enough.

At least he didn’t beat his wife…

Ed Wade Adds Phillian Brett “Wifebeater” Myers To Astros Rotation

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Good news and bad news, yall.

Good news is that it seems as if Drayton really has turned over the reins to Ed Wade and has stopped dictating who will and who will not be signed, as there is no way under heaven that Brett Myers, a 240 pound man who felt perfectly comfortable punching his 120 lb wife in her FACE in the middle of a public street in front of multiple witnesses, could POSSIBLY be described as a “good guy.” Yes, I know that his wife refused to file charges – so do most women whose husbands feel perfectly comfortable hitting them in the face. And we are not talking about an argument, we are not talking about a he said/she said unwitnessed “alleged” event, neither. Witnesses took pics and videos – they were posted briefly, then taken down, don’t ask me why. If I still had a link, or if someone had sent me a pic of this, I would post it every time Myers appeared for the team.

To me, this is a clear signal that Drayton has not just stopped interfering with any sort of baseball management, but has stopped caring about the team, period. Remember, he’s the one who advertised the Astros as “The Good Guys” for years. Not so much any more. I know that a lot of fans have hoped that Drayton would sell the team, because they are hoping for George Steinbrenner, sort of like guys who are hoping that if they ditch their fat ugly wife/girlfriend, they will then be able to date Megan Fox (substitute hot woman of your dreams if it ain’t Megan) only to find that the only females who will go near them are even older, uglier, fatter and more demanding and unpleasant women. If Drayton is going to continue to fill the team with wife beaters, or adds other kinds of no-goods like drunk drivers (no, not near as bad as wife beaters) then I’m going to join up with those fans.

I heard tell that Fast Eddie was chasing HARD after Myers at the Winter Meetings; I had a bad BAD feeling that Myers might could be signed in spite of the fact that Drayton supposedly wanted to cut payroll from 107 mill to 90 mill because Ed Wade is obviously obsessed with signing every ex-Phillie who is no longer good enough to play on that team and is unwanted by them. I had an even worse feeling when I found out that all the rumors I had heard about Drayton wanting to sell the team after he became the laughingstock of MLB after the Ike debacle were true. And Drayton obviously doesn’t care any more about the reputation of the team or the men who play on it.

Anything GOOD about this deal? Besides the fact that it might could stop Fast Eddie from signing someone worse to a longer contract for even MORE money?

Well, might could be that seeing as how Myers has had closing experience, he might could be used in that role if Lindstrom fails and if Lyons fails as he did so often in the past.

Good news is that he might could push Moehler into long relief.

And that is just about it.

Bad news is that we have a really lousy human being on our team. And yes, a huge powerful adult male who thinks nothing of deliberately hitting an unarmed, helpless female less than half his size in her FACE, is, to put it mildly, a really bad person. I don’t care if the wife “provoked” him, I don’t care if she “forgave” him, I don’t even care if she is someone who gets sexually excited by being hit, and yes, there really are people like that. There has to be something wrong with your “makeup” to deliberately hit a small, defenseless person.

Even if Mrs. Myers had been a 6’4″ 240 lb woman, she would STILL be at a significant physical disadvantage, based on the fact that even at the same height and weight, an adult male has significantly larger and stronger upper body musculature and no female could possibly hope to so much as fight him to a draw. There is a reason you never see boxing matches between males and females the same height and weight and the reason is that there is no contest whatsoever.

I am not just saying this because Myers is not a particularly good pitcher; I would be saying this if Myers was the best pitcher in the majors and had been for 3 years, had never had surgery and we got him for the next 10 years for free. Every 5th day, this despicable person is going to take the mound for MY team, the team I have rooted for since I was old enough to remember, and I am going to hope and pray that he does SO terribly that he is released, even if it means that MY team loses every 5th day or every time he appears on the mound in relief. Even if it means my team finishes last in the NL. Even if it means my team beats the 61 Mets for the worst record posted by any ML team since 1900. And I have never, ever felt that way about ANY player on MY team before.

sigh

No, I don’t expect ballplayers to be plaster saints or “role models”; I can root for a player on my team who is guilty of many deadly sins. Say, gluttony (Clank) or sloth (um, moren a few guys there) or vanity (all of em, most likely) or lust (wouldn’t be surprised if there was plenty of that) or avarice (grinning – who among them could not cast THAT stone) or envy (all of em, no doubt) and even drunkenness/drugs/steroids. But I draw the line at murder, rape, child abuse and wife beating.

sigh

At least this dirtbag is only signed for 1 year at 5 mill – I can’t find anything about an option.

amusement

You’d think that Ed Wade would have second thoughts about signing a very large violent man after his experience with Shawn Chacon, but maybe he’s convinced himself that Myers only enjoys hitting small defenseless females, not small not as defenseless males.

I would guess that this means that the Astros have decided that Wilton Lopez, Yorman Bazardo, Wesley Wright and Felipe Paulino are not going to be adequate as even 5th men. I HOPE it doesn’t mean that they have given up on Norris. A reporter for the Chronicle named Bernardo Fallas claims that that Myers is going to compete with Wandy for the #2 spot. Right. Myers has never had ONE year in which he has done as well as Wandy in 2009 and has not pitched as well as Wandy did in 08 since 2006. (This is what happens when you have the soccer reporter write a baseball post. People complain about Richard Justice, but he is a VERY good baseball man and wouldn’t make a dumb remark like that…)

sigh

I supposed I had better get to talking about Myers’ career and stats, seeing as how he’s gonna be on this team unless he gets released or until the year is over.

The Phillies signed Brett Myers out of high school in the first round of the 99 draft. He came up in the middle of the 2002 season, started 12 games and had a 1.46 WHIP and a 4.52 ERA. He was kept in the rotation for all of 03 and 04, and his best year by FAR was 05, in which he started 34 games, had a 3.72 ERA (120 ERA+) and a 1.21 WHIP, 8.1 H/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 8.6 K/9.

He was the Phils best starter in 06 as well, throwing 31 games with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. At the end of the year, Billy Wags was a FA and signed with the4 Mets, so the Phils decided to make their best starter into a closer because they had too many other starters – namely Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Jon Lieber, Kyle Kendrick, Adam Eaton and Kyle Lohse.

And mind, this was a year in which JD Durbin got 18 starts and they traded FOR Freddie Garcia, who got 10 more.

Ed Wade.

As a closer, Myers had 3 starts (1 good, 2 horrible) had 48 relief appearances, finished 37 games, had 21 saves, 3 BS plus 5 losses with an ERA of 2.87, WHIP 1.20, 10.8 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9 IP.

Myers was put back in the rotation in 08, threw 30 games over 190 innings, had a 4.55 ERA (96 ERA+) and a 1.38 WHIP with 9.4 H/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 6.4 K/9. I should note that he had a GREAT deal of difficulty readjusting to the rotation and was sent down after 17 starts (June 23) when his ERA reached 5.84. He spent 4 weeks in the minors and got his head and motion straightened out, then returned, gave up 3 ER in 5 IP, then threw 8 straight QS, and 9 of 10 QS, including 2 CG and finished the year with 2 stinkers. He threw 2 excellent games – 7 IP giving up 1 and 2 runs in the playoffs, and one stinker, 5 ER/5 IP, which the Phils won anyway.

He was injured most of last year – started 10 games, then was put on the DL in May and didn’t return until September, and made 8 relief appearances over 7 IP with a 6.43 ERA.

Assuming he has recovered from his hip surgery, ZIPS projects him to have an ERA+ of 98 (of course, that was still when he was listed as a Phillie, and will have to be adjusted for the Astros park. He averaged 1.4 HR/9 IP, but then again, he pitched half his games at Philly, which is more than a bit of a home run park.

He isn’t a #2 starter any more than I am, but IF he has recovered, I would guess he would be the #3 unless Bud Norris, who has better stuff, significantly outpitches him in Spring Training.

Congratulations Andre Dawson! Sorry Bert, Roberto and Barry

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Andre “Hawk” Dawson received 77.9% of all HOF ballots to squeak into the Hall on this, his 9th year.

I’m a LOT happier about his selection than I was about Jim Ed “Teh FEAR!!!” Rice last year.

I know that he didn’t walk much, and therefore had a very low OBP, especially for a Hall of Famer, but unlike guys like McGwire and Edgar Martinez, Hawk was a COMPLETE player. I know that modern baseball places the most emphasis on hitting, especially hitting with power, but I have a LOT more respect with players who can do that PLUS run well and field well, and that was The Hawk.

To me, he is a somewhat lesser version of Barry Lamar, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. But hey, even 90% of greatness is still great.

Andre was an 11th round draft pick (not an Obvious Supa dupa STAH!!! from the beginning) in 1975 by the now defunct Expos (and I certainly hope he will go into the Hall in an Expos cap, not a C*bs one.)

He had a .934 OPS in 300 AB at age 20 in the rookie league that year, and the Organization MUST have seen something unbelieveable, because they promoted him to AA to start the year in 76, and after 143 AB with a .975 OPS, he was promoted to AAA, where he produced a 1.123 OPS over 275 AB and then was called up to the ML in Spetember, where he, uh, fell back to earth with a .584 OPS over 84 AB.

But he never went near the minors again and at age 22, was in the bigs to stay.

That is almost never EVER seen these days, even with Supa Dupa STAHS!!! draftees like Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria had more minor league ABs than Hawk’s 683. And of course these days, teams try to keep their draftees in the monors for as long as they can to delay the onset of free agency – and even if the player is desperately needed, they keep him in AAA until the super 2 deadline has passed to cheat him of a year of FA. Hawk was a FA at age 28, his peak, and teams not named the Yankees desperately try to avoid that sort of thing.

But Back In The Good Old Days, teams saw a great young player, didn’t care if he was only an 11th rounder instead of their top pick, and put him on the 25 man.

This refusing to promote OBVIOUSLY ML ready young players these days really bugs me. And yeah, I think I am getting old enough to have this lawn I gots to tell younguns to get offn.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

Hawk was made the full time starting CF the very next year and responded by posting an .800 OPS and winning Rookie of the Year and he never looked back. He won the MVP in 87 (ahem – yes I know Ozzie shoulda won) and was a top 10 finisher 4 times, with 2 second place finishes. He won 4 silver sluggers and 8 Gold Gloves (and yes, I don’t like the way GGs are selected any more than any other stat geek/geek-ess.)

He finished his career with 2774 hits, 589 walks, 503 doubles, 98 triples, 438 HR, 314 SB/109 CS: a 119 OPS+ over 7 years as a CF, 8 years as a RF, 2 years as a (mostly) DH, 2 years as a PH/DR – well, only 61 AB those last 2 years, so they don’t really amount to much.)

I wasn’t surprised that he was elected – a lot of writers are focusing on steroid-free guys from the past.

I WAS surprised that Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin didn’t make it in. Too many writers are obsessed with Alomar sptting on an umpire (and it was a ONE time event of him losing his cool) and Barry Larkin’s troubles keeping healthy. I was very disappointed that Bert Blylevin missed admission by 5 votes. Must be tough to get 74.9% – close but no cigar is cold comfort after 13 years. I was also disappointed but not surprised at the BBWAA ignoring Tim Raines again. He made the bad mistake of refusing to swing at bad pitches and taking a walk to get on base instead of getting out. And, of course, of playing at the same time as The Rickey and playing in some other country nobody never heard of, to boot, instead of Boston/NY/Chicago, where all the good players at.

Hope they, and Alan Trammell all get in next year because 2012 is going to have at LEAST 5 no doubt about it HOFers in its new class.

UPDATE 1/7: I can’t count. 2014 has the 5 no doubt about it guys. 2013 has the Big Argument guys (Bonds, Sosa, Clemens) who absolutely positively should go in the Hall, but the writers are gonna make sure that they don’t. Which is ridiculous because Bonds is one of the 10 best position players who ever played MLB and Clemens is one of the 5 best RH pitchers who ever played MLB.

And of course, Sammy Sosa has got to be punished for being a (derogatory insulting word meaning a Latin with African descent who speaks English as well as your average 2 year old whose first language is English) for taking a translator when summoned by the government of the United States.